Official General Oscars Discussion

For the films of 2014
The Original BJ
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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:34 pm

Here's MY Oscar prediction I want to lock into a box and not open until 2025:

The media will accuse the 97th Oscars of being elitist and out of touch with the public because critically acclaimed films dominated the awards instead of the hottest box office items.

TOP THAT NEIL PATRICK HARRIS.

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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby nightwingnova » Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:03 pm

The media is reporting two interesting insights about this year's awards:

1. That new groups brought into membership has diversified the Academy's tastes towards "smaller" movies.
2. That the Academy's choices no longer reflect the general public's tastes. The Academy's choices seem "elitist."

My thoughts:

*The Academy's job is to promote the movie industry through the awards - not as perceived that they are honoring the truly best.
*It is partly to impart values and discernment in moviegoers.
*But, it is mainly to get folks to appreciate and see movies.
*Providing an award to The Tree of Life for instance does little good, as most folks would not see it even with Oscars. For the Academy's goals, middle-brow choices work best to instill artistic discretion and increase viewership among the general public.

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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby mlrg » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:10 pm

Mister Tee wrote:
Greg wrote:I know it would take the women a very long time to get ready, but, I still don't think it would take more than three hours, let alone eight.

More to the point: I doubt anyone in Hollywood wants to turn this into an afternoon affair. They've already, over the years, moved the time up an hour and a half -- when I was young, the show always started at 10 PM Eastern -- to accommodate the East coast. In the long run, it's a local Hollywood affair, and they should stage it when it suits their schedule.


My first live televised ceremony was in 1993 (Unforgive won) and it started at 4am in my local time. It now starts at 1:30 am wich allows me a three hour sleep :D

Saturday would be an excellent choice but I guess the viewing % in the US would be 50% below the average.

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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:45 pm

Greg wrote:I know it would take the women a very long time to get ready, but, I still don't think it would take more than three hours, let alone eight.

More to the point: I doubt anyone in Hollywood wants to turn this into an afternoon affair. They've already, over the years, moved the time up an hour and a half -- when I was young, the show always started at 10 PM Eastern -- to accommodate the East coast. In the long run, it's a local Hollywood affair, and they should stage it when it suits their schedule.

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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby Greg » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:00 pm

I know it would take the women a very long time to get ready, but, I still don't think it would take more than three hours, let alone eight.
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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:21 pm

I think the women would have a problem with a show that starts at 2 P.M. Pacific Time. They would have to get up at 3 A.M. to get ready for an 11 A.M.-12 P.M. arrival to get into the theatre on time.

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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby dws1982 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:52 pm

We had a weather delay today, so I wasn't bothered by the show ending when it did this time. But normally, yes, it ends pretty late so I'd be totally okay with an earlier start.

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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby Greg » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:43 pm

Does anyone think it would be better if the Oscars start at something like 5:00 PM ET to allow for winners to make longer speeches without being played off? As they now are on Sundays, it would not be too early to start. I don't think the length of the Oscars is as much a problem as its leading to people having to stay up late to watch all of it. The Super Bowl is just as long, but people don't complain so much about its length because it starts earlier and they don't have to stay up so late.
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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:29 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Julianne Moore at last has an Oscar!



Yes, and this is as good for her as it is for Oscar. I mean - an award, any award, is as prestigious as its recipients generally are. The Academy will always be criticized for ignoring Greta Garbo centuries ago, a bit like the Nobel prize, even today, is critized for ignoring Lev Tolstoi. But then the Academy did pick actresses like Hepburn - the two Hepburns actually - Davis, Magnani, Signoret, more recently Tilda Swinton. Not necessarily for their absolute best performances, but names count, and these are all excellent names. And let's face it, especially in the last two decades, Oscars have been won by actresses who just weren't that good, and sometimes to actresses who haven't done much after their win, and hadn't even done much before. So when an actress as solid, as reliable, and let's say it, as talented as Julianne Moore becomes an Oscar winner, it's the Academy which benefits more from this kind of choice. Nobody, certainly nobody in Europe, will ever complain.

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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:42 pm

As always, I have to spend a few hours watching my DVR before I feel fully competent to comment; I miss a lot in the whirl of hosting a party. Pardon the scattered structure in what follows; I’m having trouble organizing my many reactions.

Okri mentioned that some races can seem open, like 2004, but turn obvious in retrospect. And here we had, despite grave doubts going in, the DGA choice for film/director, the exact SAG roster (for the third time in five years), and the only fresh writing winner a film that wasn’t eligible at WGA (and was the best picture favorite). This is hardly brave-new-Oscar-world.

But it was a mostly likable evening, because hardly any of the films involved were traditional Oscar bait, and, though my personal preferences might have gone elsewhere in several instances, not many awards gave me the groans.

The exception, of course, would be best actor. For those of you who admired (or at least tolerated) Redmayne’s performance, it was no doubt an easier moment. For me, it was the only crusher of the evening: a synthesis of the Academy’s worst tendencies (aggressively sentimental/retro film, handicapped performance, and celebrity impersonation) – plus I haven’t admired Redmayne’s work in general, and I find his public persona a bit cloying.

I’m sure some will say Redmayne was a sure thing, because of those factors I cited. But the way I look at the category – what distinguishes it from the other acting races -- is, in the others, it’s hard to pick who’d win in the absence of the front-runner; no one fits an especially strong winner profile. Whereas Keaton fit that profile perfectly; he just had the ill luck to run against this prime Oscar bait. And it’s a particular shame because who knows if he’ll ever have such an opportunity again.

Apropos of which, to move on to something more positive: Julianne Moore at last has an Oscar! BJ mentioned in the actress prediction thread that this choice somewhat echoed Scorsese: the rare example of seeing justice rendered, even if some time down the line. Since I’ve had a lot more years of living through Oscar history, I’ve see a few more such vindications: Nicholson and Hoffman, Spielberg and Ang Lee. But the list of those who never got their due is also long: Kubrick and Altman went to their graves without prizes, and people whose work I’ve loved -- Liv Ullmann, Debra Winger, Michelle Pfeiffer and Emily Watson -- seem miles away from ever winning a prize (though Jeff Bridges should teach us to never fully abandon hope). In any case, let’s celebrate a deserving lady who did (and acknowledge her quite graceful speech).

Patricia Arquette was playing possum with us all season: giving fairly white-bread speeches at the various prelim awards, and only when in front of a worldwide audience turning into a political crusader. It turned out she was setting the tone for the most political set of speeches I can remember at the Oscars since the golden activism years of the 70s and 80s – John Legend on voting rights, Graham Moore on gay rights, Innaritu on immigration. They could have been writing the Democratic platform for 2016.

“Glory” really plays well live – it killed both at the Grammys and here (though I confess to a bit of queasiness at seeing the Pettus Bridge turned into an item of set background). The other songs didn’t fare as well: Adam Levine’s version of “Lost Stars” is a bit over-produced to begin with, but his histrionic rendition last night wasn’t even as good as the version on YouTube. And “Everything is Awesome” sounded dreadful, even to those who enjoyed it in the movie.

I didn’t really notice it at the time, but watching the replay, I’m struck by Innaritu’s embrace of Linklater after the best director announcement – an acknowledgment that one of the two of them was going to get lucky in this atypical year, and it could as easily have gone the other way. Oddly, prior to this year, I’d been a bit iffy about both directors (and Wes Anderson, to be honest) – I admired aspects of their work, but never swooned for any of them the way their most ardent fans do. But I really liked each of their films this year – my three favorites on the year – and I’m sorry the prizes couldn’t have been spread out a bit better. (Someone pointed out at another site, it’s very rare for three different people to get picture/director/writer nods and for one of them to hog them all)

And yet the prizes in general were pretty spread around. We seem to be in a non-sweep period. Seven awards has always struck as the cut-off, to describe a best picture winner as having pulled off a sweep. Between 1982 and 1998, fully nine films won 7 or more and gained that designation. Since then, only Return of the King and Slumdog Millionaire have managed the trick (though Gravity would have joined the group had it managed that one last award).

In the early part of the evening, it looked like we were in for a fully routine evening – all the contested categories seemed to go in the least unexpected directions (like Interstellar for visual effects, Whiplash for sound mixing). Big Hero 6’s upset in animated feature – which came about an hour and a half in – provided the first jolt of surprise (and elated me, since I thought it was easily the best of the four I’ve seen).

Sorry to have led you down the garden path on make-up, Sonic. I stand by my reasoning; sometimes knowing the history isn’t enough (I still think I was right to predict The English Patient for screenplay, but the category-atypical Sling Blade somehow beat it). Historical trends were also cast aside under cinematography. But in one case, we were right to say “this doesn’t really meet the parameters of the usual winner”, as Whiplash topped Boyhood for editing. (Which left Arquette a pretty lonely representative of the Boyhood team.) I can live with Whiplash as a sound/editing winner; I’m glad it stopped short a screenplay win (something the filmmakers must have thought totally possible at that point). Actually, it’s odd that two directors – Chazelle and Anderson – got multiple salutes from craftsmen on their teams, and both failed to win any prize themselves.

Oh, and, am I wrong, or did BAFTA match on every single below-the-line category?

I confess I initially thought Jessica Chastain calling out “Chivo” was a bit odd; I forgot they’d have known one another from Tree of Life. Still, as Mark Harris said on Twitter, after the words “and the Oscar goes to…” nothing should come but the winner’s name – an admonition also to be given to Sean Penn. (Who, I forgot till today, worked with Innaritu prior, on 21 Grams) By the way: Penn is someone I’d never have thought of as a best picture presenter, but a two-time winner seems an eminently solid choice.

Harris also pointed out that the Jack Black interruption of the opening number was to some degree right in the spirit of the evening’s best picture winner.

I thought Neil Patrick Harris was OK. The opening number was certainly impressive logistically, and had some nice tiny touches (which I only caught on the replay). Some of his bits fell flat (pretty much everything in the audience, plus the whole laborious predictions gag). But his Travolta joke was a gem, which led into the best extended section of the show, as Menzel and Travolta both carried the gag forward perfectly (except for Travolta’s weird “if I keep stroking your chin, the rumors might stop” bit).

And then, Lady Gaga. When that segment started, I stared incredulously, from the sheer incongruity of it. But quickly I shifted to, damn, these aren’t easy songs, and she’s singing the hell out of them. I wasn’t surprised by the audience ovation. And to top that off, Julie Andrews herself. I’ve made it clear here in the past, how sour I am on The Sound of Music at this point in my life. But nothing can completely wipe away my childhood attachment to the film and its star; I thought it was a wonderful moment.

And then she gave out my hands-down favorite contested award of the night, to long-overdue Alexandre Desplat for wonderful work. At some point early on I’d thought to myself, just give me Desplat and Keaton and I won’t complain. At least I got 50%.

Once Robin Williams was glided by in the In Memoriam section, it was clear to me Mike Nichols would show up last. At our party, though, we spent most of the segment – and about 15 minutes following – maddeningly trying to identify the familiar-but-not-coming-to-mind music playing under it. At first we thought Prince of Tides, but finally it came to me that it was Sophie’s Choice (which fit with Meryl as introducer).

The results of the first two years of everyone voting for foreign film/docs/shorts suggest the era of wild upset in those categories is over. Until further notice, bet the most widely seen nominee.

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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby dws1982 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:41 pm

Hope Zadan and Meron don't come back next year. They haven't produced a train wreck of a show the way Alan Carr or Laura Siskin did, but this one was full of bad ideas from the start. Once again, Zadan and Meron spend time paying tribute to themselves: That Jennifer Hudson song was from their failed NBC show Smash; that dig at the Annie remake seems pretty childish when you consider that the TV version of Annie from 15 years ago was produced by--you guessed it--Zadan and Meron. Most of the memorable moments came from the acceptance speeches, not from anything they came up with. And dammit, not everything has to be musical. I can somewhat understand the desire to have some type of opening number (although I thought Steve Martin's monologues were funnier), but there's absolutely no need to stop the show every thirty minutes for a musical number of some sort.

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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby Kellens101 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:26 pm

I can't decide if that would be good or bad. Then we could end up with movies again like The Blind Side or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Only more than that

The Original BJ
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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:10 pm

So...20 nominees for Best Picture next year?

I kid, I kid. Kind of.

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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby OscarGuy » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:44 pm

The question to ask is how much of the show's failures on a writing level were Harris' responsibility and how much were the producers.

Everyone says it was one of the lowest rated and they blame NPH for that, but really they should be blaming the blockbuster-lite slate. Sure, American Sniper now has over $300 million. The next highest is Imitation Game with $83, then Grand Budapest with $59. You can't build an audience on competitions they don't have a vested interest in. I guarantee that the ratings would have been significantly higher had something like Guardians of the Galaxy been nominated for Best Picture.
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Re: Official General Oscars Discussion

Postby anonymous1980 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:14 pm

I thought the opening number was great but his bits in between was very hit-and-miss. It was overall a good show. Not the best but far from the worst.


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