Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

For the films of 2014
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby nightwingnova » Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:09 am

I have come to the conclusion that voters like Boyhood but not enthusiastically. However, it seems there may be a substantive bloc that don't understand or like Birdman. But, Grand Budapest Hotel is a comedy, which don't win Best Picture. And there doesn't seem to be momentum building for any of the other movies. So I'm going to stick with Boyhood.

I think Innaritu runs stronger in the director's race because folks are impressed by his overall technical achievement.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby CalWilliam » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:42 am

[quote="OscarGuy]

I cannot recall anything in the history of the Oscars that was oddball as Birdman winning Best Picture. [\quote]

That's absolutely true, but at least when I think of Birdman winning, All about Eve is the example that comes to my mind as one winner that could resemble Iñárritu's creation. Nevertheless, when I think of Boyhood as a winner, it doesn't remind me of Kramer vs. Kramer, Ordinary People or Terms of Endearment AT ALL. I know these are preposterous comparisons, but I think both films would be equally oddballs as Best Picture winners, but I also believe Boyhood is going to prevail at the end because it's admittedly easier to recognize a 12 year project focused on an American family's life than Birdman's corrosiveness.

The Grand Budapest Hotel would be an even odder winner in my book.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:12 am

The Original BJ wrote:A bunch of industry people I work with (who aren't Academy voters, but still) have been loudly exclaiming to me in recent days that they don't get whatever there is to get about Birdman, it doesn't make any sense to them, and they will try not to think less of me for liking it. As in, it's not even worth discussing any merits it might have because it's so impenetrable and worthless. So, I'd still argue that -- based on reactions like that -- the movie is a little bit more out there than your traditional Best Picture winner, though I don't ultimately think it's too inaccessible to win Best Picture, because COME ON.

Yeah: no one's saying Birdman is Godard. But we're in an era where Traffic, Sideways and The Social Network have been treated as too-indie/out-there -- in such context, something as formally innovative as Birdman is hardly a typical choice. And thinking "It's about actors" is enough to render all that moot seems strange. Cassavettes' Opening Night is about actors, as well; could anyone imagine that ever being a best picture winner?

But, of course, occasionally there's a No Country for old Men, which seemed equally out of the Academy wheelhouse, and won in the end because, well, something had to win. That's more the situation we have this year.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby OscarGuy » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:04 am

I've been saying for awhile that precedents will fall this year. That's certain. The last time a film won PGA/DGA/SAG and didn't take Best Picture was 1998 when Apollo 13 lost out to Braveheart. That's another case of genre pic losing to mainstream, bloated project.

There's neither type of film on the docket here, but there's the Best Editing precedent that has been in force for 34 years. That and the BAFTA win are the reasons I think Boyhood will still win. I cannot recall anything in the history of the Oscars that was oddball as Birdman winning Best Picture. It's been a long history and you'd think there'd be something more akin to it winning were it the type of movie they tended to recognize. That doesn't mean that it won't or can't, but that finale is just a little too off-the-wall for Oscar voters, whether it's an actors kind of movie or not.

The Academy, for all its attempts to broaden its scope and membership in recent years, is still a hopelessly old fashioned entity. That's why the BAFTA prize seems more foretelling than PGA/DGA/SAG. Those groups add new members regularly, which means tons of younger actors who can go in for the weirdness of Birdman will be members of SAG. PGA will be about finding films that are good for the industry rather than films that are good for the mediocre soul and the DGA has always been its own entity (remember how they recognized both Affleck and Bigelow, directors who'd made new careers/bigger careers as directors, thus embodying the dream while the Academy nominated Benh Zeitlin and Michael Haneke. Certainly oddball choices, but quite a bit different than Affleck/Bigelow.

My point is, we won't know for sure until the envelope is opened which precedents take a hit, but I'm going for the one that foretold Brokeback losing Best Picture when almost everyone else made the right decision.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:41 am

A bunch of industry people I work with (who aren't Academy voters, but still) have been loudly exclaiming to me in recent days that they don't get whatever there is to get about Birdman, it doesn't make any sense to them, and they will try not to think less of me for liking it. As in, it's not even worth discussing any merits it might have because it's so impenetrable and worthless. So, I'd still argue that -- based on reactions like that -- the movie is a little bit more out there than your traditional Best Picture winner, though I don't ultimately think it's too inaccessible to win Best Picture, because COME ON.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby Heksagon » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:35 am

Valid point, although the way I’d prefer to express it, is that the Academy likes its films to be story-driven, rather than having pensive dialogue or unconventional photography distract from, or slow down, the story (I’m guessing that a lot of people would not describe Birdman this way, though).

But I just don’t see Birdman as being insufficiently straightforward for the Academy. Admittedly, the more plain narrative in Boyhood is perhaps closer to their taste. But obviously, the awards are not just about which film happens to be stylistically closest to their taste.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby nightwingnova » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:57 am

12 Years a Slave won because it was a critically-acclaimed "message" movie - the kind the Academy believes should be awarded its best picture prizes. As we all know, the Academy sees these awards as not only promoting the good in the industry but also to promote strong cultural and political messages.

As for Birdman, it's not the context of the film that is not to the Academy's taste; it's the artsy, intellectual content that may be too much for some. The Academy does prefer more straightforward (middle-brow) fare.

Heksagon wrote:I’m predicting that Iñárritu will walk away from the ceremony with three Oscars.

He won the DGA, so it’s an obvious safe bet he’ll win the Oscar. Linklater winning this one would be an upset in my book - although such upsets have been known to happen, from time to time. Linklater’s chances for Best Picture are more realistic, but Iñárritu’s film has to be the front runner here as well.

Last year’s split happened, I believe, because of the Academy’s reluctance to award their top prize for a special-effects driven sci-fi movie. In the 80s and 90s a film driven so heavily by SFX as Gravity would not have been anywhere near the top awards, not for the Academy; Guilds; HFPA; or film critics. But since then, visual effects driven films have gradually become critically more acceptable, in part by first making their presence felt in the type of historical epics that AMPAS always loved.

Gravity, however, is an old-fashioned alone-in-the-space sci-fi movie that the Academy has never liked, rather than a romantic epic. Cuarón was running away with the director prize, and some other year he could have had the Best Picture award as well, but this time, the Academy had the appealing option of a strong historical civil rights-themed film that was more to their idea of a Best Picture winner, and they went with it.

I don’t at all agree with Tee and BJ’s sentiment that Birdman is too eccentric for the Academy, or not in their taste. Keep in mind that it’s a film about actors and deals partly with filmmaking. Any films like that won Oscars lately? I think the film is very much in their taste.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby Heksagon » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:45 am

I’m predicting that Iñárritu will walk away from the ceremony with three Oscars.

He won the DGA, so it’s an obvious safe bet he’ll win the Oscar. Linklater winning this one would be an upset in my book - although such upsets have been known to happen, from time to time. Linklater’s chances for Best Picture are more realistic, but Iñárritu’s film has to be the front runner here as well.

Last year’s split happened, I believe, because of the Academy’s reluctance to award their top prize for a special-effects driven sci-fi movie. In the 80s and 90s a film driven so heavily by SFX as Gravity would not have been anywhere near the top awards, not for the Academy; Guilds; HFPA; or film critics. But since then, visual effects driven films have gradually become critically more acceptable, in part by first making their presence felt in the type of historical epics that AMPAS always loved.

Gravity, however, is an old-fashioned alone-in-the-space sci-fi movie that the Academy has never liked, rather than a romantic epic. Cuarón was running away with the director prize, and some other year he could have had the Best Picture award as well, but this time, the Academy had the appealing option of a strong historical civil rights-themed film that was more to their idea of a Best Picture winner, and they went with it.

I don’t at all agree with Tee and BJ’s sentiment that Birdman is too eccentric for the Academy, or not in their taste. Keep in mind that it’s a film about actors and deals partly with filmmaking. Any films like that won Oscars lately? I think the film is very much in their taste.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:46 pm

dws1982 wrote:
CalWilliam wrote:What really puzzles me is that possible three year in a row split. That never happened before. Even in the 30's it didn't happen. I think this precendent is more powerful than "Every Best Picture winner wins with editing citation since Ordinary People", so that's what's keeping me cautions on predicting.

Statistics don't work like that though. These are independent events, and two Picture/Director splits in a row doesn't have any impact on whether there'll be one this year.

I tend not to bet on the split, but I'll also admit that with Best Picture voting different under the expanded lineup, splits may be statistically more likely to happen.

Actually, it DID happen in the 30s -- '35 (Mutiny/John Ford), '36 (Ziegfeld/Capra), '37 (Zola/McCarey) -- and that was in the decade where voting was much like today (straight-up voting for director, preferential for the wider best picture field).

On the other hand, it also happened in 4-of-5 years between 1948 and 1952, which strikes me just as statistically unlikely, and that was in the more common straight-up-vote-for-both era.

Which is to say, I'm with dws: this is akin to the old "if a coin comes up heads 50 times in a row, what are the odds it comes up heads the next time?" -- the answer is, as always, 50/50.

It strikes me the prediction of/wish for a split is, like that for a tie, emotionally based, but the fact of either is coldly mathematical.

BJ, I'm glad you started this thread, because I knew it needed to be discussed, but didn't have the energy to go through the whole mishegas. A few bullet points to add:

I can't think of a year where so many seemingly foundational precedents have been so easy to swat away. Boyhood didn't win SAG or WGA? I didn't expect either -- the first because a basically non-professional actor has the largest part, the second because a lot of the film feels improvised (whether it was or not). And Birdman missing that (we've always though) key editing nomination? Hell, the whole point of the movie was to feel like there never were any cuts. Just like that, we toss off rules we've held sacrosanct.

Along those lines: someone at another site, apropos Boyhood storming back to win, asked, has any movie ever won best picture without winning any of SAG/DGA/PGA/WGA? Answer, no...but we know for sure that we came within one vote of it last year. (Boyhood at least won ACE, something 12 Years a Slave didn't manage)

I was ready to throw in the towel, Argo-style, for Birdman after its DGA win. But the BAFTA outcome really threw me (and I know BAFTA is a looser precursor than the Guilds, but there is some substantial membership overlap, and a number of recent high-profile upsets -- Arkin, Cotillard, Streep -- were foretold there). It's not just that Boyhood won the two top prizes; it's that Birdman got virtually shut out -- despite all its nominations, it only won the prize Children of Men did in '06. That, along with what BJ notes -- the fact that Birdman just seems a loopy choice to become the default Academy favorite -- makes this contest feel up in the air.

I'm a diehard DGA-for-both guy, so I'll have to bet on Birdman/Innaritu. But I'll be pleasingly uncertain about either category till the envelope's opened.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby Okri » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:35 pm

I'm telling myself not to do it. Honestly. I'm telling myself not to predict The Grand Budapest Hotel for best picture. But right now... it's what I'm feeling.

The Grand Budapest Hotel/Linklater would be a current predictions.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:19 pm

I'm still anticipating Boyhood/Linklater wins but a split with Inarritu taking Director would not surprise me. A Birdman/Linklater win would.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby dws1982 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:59 pm

CalWilliam wrote:What really puzzles me is that possible three year in a row split. That never happened before. Even in the 30's it didn't happen. I think this precendent is more powerful than "Every Best Picture winner wins with editing citation since Ordinary People", so that's what's keeping me cautions on predicting.

Statistics don't work like that though. These are independent events, and two Picture/Director splits in a row doesn't have any impact on whether there'll be one this year.

I tend not to bet on the split, but I'll also admit that with Best Picture voting different under the expanded lineup, splits may be statistically more likely to happen.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby CalWilliam » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:59 pm

nightwingnova wrote:I think Innaritu's got Director. The last time a nominated DGA winner didn't also win the Oscar for his/her work was 12 years ago. Likely result with no mitigating factors.

I'm conflicted about picture. But, I'm going with the positive, uplifting Boyhood over the weird Birdman. More accessible and more to the Academy's taste (Gladiator over Traffic, Chicago over The Pianist, The King's Speech over The Social Network, The Artist over The Descendants, A Beautiful Mind, etc.).


What really puzzles me is that possible three year in a row split. That never happened before. Even in the 30's it didn't happen. I think this precendent is more powerful than "Every Best Picture winner wins with editing citation since Ordinary People", so that's what's keeping me cautions on predicting. Birdman will likely win, but Iñárritu as well; or Boyhood along with Linklater, what I think is going to happen at the end.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby nightwingnova » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:51 pm

I think Innaritu's got Director. The last time a nominated DGA winner didn't also win the Oscar for his/her work was 12 years ago. Likely result with no mitigating factors.

I'm conflicted about picture. But, I'm going with the positive, uplifting Boyhood over the weird Birdman. More accessible and more to the Academy's taste (Gladiator over Traffic, Chicago over The Pianist, The King's Speech over The Social Network, The Artist over The Descendants, A Beautiful Mind, etc.).

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Picture/Director

Postby Kellens101 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:38 pm

Are you rooting more for Boyhood/Linklater or Birdman/Inarritu?


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