The Gestalt

For the films of 2013
ITALIANO
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Re: The Gestalt

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:26 pm

As I said before, nowadays it's not so much about the "big night" as it used to be, but about the season and its many precursors. I still wouldn't avoid Oscar night, of course - it's still the peak - but today it's what happens before which matters most. We may be nostalgic - and I remember that when I was a teenager the Academy Awards were a magic night, potentially full of surprises - but things have changed, maybe forever.

Still, all these precursors don't just influence the young bloggers and, let's face it, ourselves and our predictions. They even influence the Academy members - and rhis is why "big" surprises are so rare now. It's possible that members belonging to some branches are more influenced than others - when one read interviews to (anonymous) Oscar voters who are actors, directors or writers one feels a certain level of independent thinking (and when it comes to the nominations surprises still happen - like the Ben Affleck snub). But it's the whole crowd which votes for the awards, and, I mean, it's not like a sound technician must necessarily be an expert on film acting. (The opposite is also true, of course - I still remember Ingrid Bergman talking about the Oscars in her beautifully accented Italian and defending the nomination mechanism - "Thank God each branch chooses the nominees, because I wouldn't know much for example about the best editing!"). And when one isn't an expert, looking at the precursors as a guide can be a possible solution.

Okri
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Re: The Gestalt

Postby Okri » Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:18 am

Yes, everyone wants to be Tom O'Neill. And I go back to 2004, a season where there seemed to be a couple of close races but in the end, they went a straight DGA/SAG/WGA ticket.

Franz Ferdinand
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Re: The Gestalt

Postby Franz Ferdinand » Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:02 am

I certainly hope you are wrong about the ironclad frontrunners running the show, this Oscar season has been much too interesting for that.

Mister Tee
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The Gestalt

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:45 pm

I monitor the other Oscar boards, just to grasp the full id of the Oscar-blogging world. Two things I’ve seen there recently have struck me as representative of why the competition always seems to lose its element of excitement near the end.

The first: someone mentioned a few maybe-not-probable but “some-people-think …” scenarios – like, June Squibb might sneak through in that tight supporting actress category; or, maybe the preferential ballot could work to put American Hustle on top. The mob descended, with a batch of “no one who wasn’t nominated by BAFTA/failed to win at WGA/didn’t finish first at XYZ” can win. For a lot of these people, the Oscars have turned into a series of algorithms; there’s no sense of gut feeling anymore. And I can see why. Adrien Brody was over a decade ago; the closest we’ve had to a from-nowhere upset since then was the Precious/Up in the Air screenplay surprise. This generation badly needs a Marcia Gay Harden – a Juliette Binoche – a Marisa frickin’ Tomei.

The second: someone said, re: the supporting actress race, “I was hoping BAFTA would settle this”. Excuse me, but, unless you can win an extraordinary amount of money for getting a perfect score, why would you want anyone but AMPAS to settle things? Are people at these sites inflicted with what, in DC circles, is called the cult of the savvy? – the desire to be in the know, to be able to say “we saw it coming”, to develop a conventional wisdom? Does everybody want to be Tom O’Neil?

I see a conventional ballot has emerged from even in this crazy-ass season: 12 Years/Cuaron/McConaughey/Blanchett/Leto/Nyong’o. Some (including me) dissent on best picture, and a few are going with Jennifer Lawrence, but otherwise the favorites are being pushed relentlessly.

I can’t help but feel this is the wrong year for this. This has been a season just dotted with surprises – first in the critics phase, with the abrupt emergence of American Hustle at NY, NBR bringing Her into the discussion, LA unable to make up its mind in multiple categories, 12 Years going through the original four groups with not one best picture win (despite predictions it could sweep all four); then in the nominations, when only 7 of the 10 “absolutely ironclad” lead performances made the list, when 12 Years somehow managed to rank third in total nods; then the guilds, where American Hustle won at SAG just when everyone thought it was done, and PGA offered the impossible tie; and finally BAFTA, where a widely-expected 12 Years sweep fell woefully short all evening – until the end, when it won the top prize. Today’s Spirit awards are pretty much the only event that went as expected all season; it helped that half the Oscar field wasn’t in contention.

I don’t rule out big surprises tomorrow night. I can imagine 12 Years rising from the dead and doing the kind of sweep its supporters were sure of in November – picture/actor/director/supporting actress/screenplay/techs. (Alfonso Cuaron can’t possibly lose, you say? Ask another English-not-his-first-language nominee, Ang Lee, about that.) I can imagine American Hustle doing a version of the same (though Cuaron would probably hold on in that scenario). I can see Matthew McConaughey winning by a mile, or a four-way race where anyone but Bale could take the prize. I’m not BETTING that way – like everyone, I’m playing not to lose, so I’ll stake the favorites, mostly. But this year seems to have had the unexpected built into it from the start, and it’s just hard to believe it’s going to run out now, when we need it most.

We’ll know in about 24 hours if I’m right or wrong.


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