How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

For the films of 2015
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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:53 pm

Sabin wrote:I am all for the season losing its fizz if Oscar night remains this entertaining.

The reason I had the asterisk in my title was hedging against the possibility the consensus was wrong -- which it happily was in two of the top five categories. It would still be more fun if there were less consensus going in -- upsets are a kick, but genuine suspense leading in gives weeks of pleasure, not just five seconds. (Like Hitchcock's theory about the bomb: if it goes off unexpectedly, there's a moment of jolt, but if you tell people it's under the table, they'll watch with anxiety for the whole scene.)

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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby Sabin » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:34 pm

I am all for the season losing its fizz if Oscar night remains this entertaining.
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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:48 pm

flipp525 wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:Also, I was never an especially daring predictor - I mean, I never saw Binoche over Bacall. But I have always been very personal, trusting my feelings and my insight, and I was often proven right. In the past.

I'm surprised you didn't say anything about Dreamgirls here. I know you wanted to!

.


I swear that I wasn't thinking of THAT :)

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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby flipp525 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:45 pm

ITALIANO wrote:Also, I was never an especially daring predictor - I mean, I never saw Binoche over Bacall. But I have always been very personal, trusting my feelings and my insight, and I was often proven right. In the past.

I'm surprised you didn't say anything about Dreamgirls here. I know you wanted to!

ITALIANO wrote:I have recently seen The Hateful Eight. Only a few years ago, one could have even predicted a "surprise" win from Jennifer Jason Leigh as Best Supporting Actress - you know, a showy turn from a once-respected actress making a "big" come-back (and in an all-male cast). Today, it would be foolish to think it could remotely happen. And, of course, it WON'T happen.

This is my one big wish for Oscar night, actually. I'd love it if JJL came in with a surprise win. It seems like the days of "surprise" anything in above-the-line categories is pretty much over.
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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:01 pm

The Original BJ wrote:I think the biggest reason the air went out of the balloon is simply the dreariness of so many of the frontrunners.


Yes, this is the point. I don't know if American cinema has really been so bad in 2015, or if it's just the Academy's choices - but being an Oscar completist this year is tough. Very tough. I still have to see Spotlight and Brooklyn, but I'm not sure that I will find a truly good movie among the main nominees - the only exception being, of course, Carol. (I will also admit that there are good things in 45 Years, The Hateful Eight and The Big Short, but all these also have major flaws).

Also, I was never an especially daring predictor - I mean, I never saw Binoche over Bacall. But I have always been very personal, trusting my feelings and my insight, and I was often proven right. In the past.

In the last four or five year, EVERY TIME I have bet against the mass - and by mass I mean the mantras from the internet world - I have failed. So in a way I understand those who lazily predict Di Caprio-Larson-Stallone-Vikander. It may turn out this way - and, sadly, the main reason will be because people predict that it will turn out this way. It's like a circle.

I have recently seen The Hateful Eight. Only a few years ago, one could have even predicted a "surprise" win from Jennifer Jason Leigh as Best Supporting Actress - you know, a showy turn from a once-respected actress making a "big" come-back (and in an all-male cast). Today, it would be foolish to think it could remotely happen. And, of course, it WON'T happen.

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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby OscarGuy » Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:09 pm

That's why, BJ, when I make my predictions, I try to put into words how tight certain races are and explore, beforehand, the myriad outcomes that could occur and then set forth the reasons specifically why I think certain outcomes are likely. Perhaps that's why I'm not more widely read? People just don't want practical insight, they want vibrant, in-your-face style that declares triumphantly that it's right about everything or with such certitude as to be thought to be prescient.
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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:33 pm

I think the biggest reason the air went out of the balloon is simply the dreariness of so many of the frontrunners. Obviously everyone's individual mileage varies, but for me, the prospect of five of the major prizes going to The Revenant, Creed, and The Danish Girl strikes me as depressing in a year with so many better pieces of filmmaking.

As for the predictability conundrum, that's of course something we can't really answer until after the Oscars. But a few thoughts:

First, one reason why so many prediction lists look the same just has to do with the natural impetus to predict the frontrunner in most categories. Even if you think there will be a minor upset somewhere -- most likely in Picture or one of the Supporting categories, and numerous categories down-ballot -- you're of course on safer ground sticking with the most likely candidate than trying to figure out which of the late surging contenders might upset.

Of course, there are a subset of people who don't claim to be doing this -- they're the ones claiming Stallone and Vikander are locks -- as if somehow predicting winners with more certainty gives one greater bragging rights when proven to be correct. These are the people who act like they KNOW exactly how everything is going to turn out, and have supremely short term memories over how well their knowledge worked in previous years.

Because although I would agree that the glut of precursors has softened much of the surprise of the Oscars -- for instance, much as I love Brie Larson in Room, I'm pretty shocked she's just run the table given how many strong competitors are on that ballot -- the ceremony itself is often not as predictable in the moment as it can often look in retrospect. I've seen numerous columns touting that we clearly KNEW early on that Birdman would win Best Picture -- that's a bunch of baloney. There were predictions for straight Boyhood tickets in Picture/Director as well as splits in both directions up until Oscar night last year, and both categories felt like nail-biters. Similarly, Best Actor and BOTH Screenplay races were super-tight, with plenty of predictions for numerous candidates in those races. There wasn't any HUGE shocker last year, but to say the ceremony lacked suspense is revisionist history.

I've also noticed a strange sense of revisionism in the other direction lately too. That article about Room in the New York Times a few days ago made all kinds of wild claims -- referring to The Hurt Locker and Million Dollar Baby as upset winners (the latter was even called a "huge upset") when both were by far the most widely predicted candidate in each year. Both examples, though, seemed steeped in the author's attempt to rewrite narratives after the fact to make points regarding this year, as others have attempted to do by claiming that 12 Years a Slave was a certain winner, when Gravity (and for a while, even American Hustle) was nipping at its heels all season long.

It's pretty easy to imagine the Monday morning quarterbacking this year, too. If Spotlight ends up winning, people can say of course it won, it was the frontrunner all season long. If it's The Big Short, people will point to the PGA win and what "everyone" "knew" was a late surge by the movie. If Stallone loses, those same people touting him as a sure thing will somehow realize all the weaknesses in his candidacy many of us saw all along. And so on.

At this point, all we can do is root for surprises to shake things up -- and given that many of the frontrunners are so lame, those surprises would have to be more pleasant outcomes in some cases, right?

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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:12 pm

Snick's Guy wrote:What would happen if the Oscars moved up their ceremony to say mid-January. Would that both decrease the number or precursors as well as lessen the impact of the others? I suppose the downside to an earlier telecast and shorter campaign period would be that films released very late in the year could go unnoticed.

The earlier the Oscars move their date the earlier the others do as well. As long as the studios supply all the precursors with screeners they're happy. Some of them would be just as happy to give out their awards in October if they had advance access to all the films that would be released by the end of the calendar year.

It's still possible, but not probable, that Oscar will come up with at least one surprise this year that will make the evening worth the attention we're all going to be giving it.

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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby Snick's Guy » Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:47 pm

I think it is all the precursors, not the blogs, that have removed the suspense. There are simply so many Oscar precursors, and so many of them have now been around long enough to have developed substantial track records, that it is now possible to very-powerfully predict the nominee chances from the precursor record.[/quote]

What would happen if the Oscars moved up their ceremony to say mid-January. Would that both decrease the number or precursors as well as lessen the impact of the others? I suppose the downside to an earlier telecast and shorter campaign period would be that films released very late in the year could go unnoticed.

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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby Greg » Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:33 pm

Mister Tee wrote:We’ll find out in ten days whether this means the blog-ization of the Oscars has permanently removed suspense and surprise from the proceedings, or if it just means the denizens of the Internet are talking to themselves and have persuaded themselves things are more certain than they actually are.


I think it is all the precursors, not the blogs, that have removed the suspense. There are simply so many Oscar precursors, and so many of them have now been around long enough to have developed substantial track records, that it is now possible to very-powerfully predict the nominee chances from the precursor record.
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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby Reza » Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:41 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Will Larson concentrate on the blockbusters while Ronan tackles the more serious stuff? Which path will get them back in the Oscar race the quickest?


Well I'm quite willing to wait for both to come back.......whenever. There's absolutely no rush though. Lawrence already has one while Blanchett has two. Wish the Academy would show some good taste and surprise us by giving it to Rampling.

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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:02 pm

For the first time ever, I would be happy with any of four actresses winning. Had Mara been nominated here instead of Lawrence, it would have been all five. That would be unprecedented for me in any category.

Blanchett wins my personal award simply because she's never won despite five previous nominations whereas Larson and Ronan don't have that level of sustainability, at least not yet. Rampling is an actress I've been familiar with for half a century now. She is, however, someone I was never impressed with until she started playing mature characters in the early 00s, unlike say, Maggie Smith who was magnificent at every stage of her long, illustrious career. Will she have another chance at this level? I think it's more likely in support, which is where most of her recent work has been.

I have no idea where Larson and Ronan's careers will take them next, but Ronan's about to open on Broadway in a revival of The Crucible, has an animated feature about Vincent Van Gogh and a new version of The Seagull in the can. Larson is currently filming a King Kong prequel. Will Larson concentrate on the blockbusters while Ronan tackles the more serious stuff? Which path will get them back in the Oscar race the quickest?

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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby OscarGuy » Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:51 pm

I think Ronan is superb in Brooklyn and would be a very deserving winner. She won't win because it's not a performance laced with theatrics or big moments. It's a subtle, experienced performance that actresses twice and three times her age couldn't have pulled off convincingly. I think she's easily better than Blanchett (then again, I also think the more subtle Mara tops Blanchett).
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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:42 pm

It's partly what Bog says -- that I do see Ronan as the likely beneficiary of any upset, and, though people here and elsewhere whose taste I respect disagree, I see Ronan's performance as a rung below the Larson/Blanchett/Rampling level.

But even were it to be Blanchett or Rampling taking the trophy, I'd be a tad disappointed because 1) I do view Larson as something of a first among three equals (though it's a gun-to-head thing) and 2) in a year when Fassbender over diCaprio, Rylance or Bale over Stallone, Mara or Winslet over Vikander would for me represent a good choice in place of a dreary one, it would irk me no end that the one place the crowd was wrong was the one place I'd have been happy for them to be right.

Analogize to the best director outcome of 2000: the "DGA never misses" principle (1985/95 flukes excluded) was suddenly violated, and the victim was Ang Lee for Crouching Tiger -- a director with serious credentials and a beautifully executed film. The resulting winner, Steven Soderbergh, was a perfectly strong, deserving choice on his own, but why did the divorce from DGA have to happen in a year when I was unusually enthusiastic about their pick? A point underlined a year later, when the beyond-dull Ron Howard took DGA, and sailed to an undeserved Oscar as well.

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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:38 pm

Bog wrote:I absolutely agree with you Italiano, and I am totally assuming here, but figuring Tee is alluding to the basic fact Ronan is the winner if Larson is not.

The more lauded Riva couldn't triumph over the new, hot young thing so Rampling is waaaay back, while Cate winning is likely out of the question purely (arbitrarily) because of Jasmine in the same category and the 3 statue thing...despite being the best in the category AND better than her previous win(s). For the fifth option...see above but eliminate the words 'best' and 'better'...


Oh ok. Well but - with the obvious exception of an unbearable Jennifer Lawrence - the selection is very good this year, and even Ronan - whom, again, I haven't seen yet - at least on paper shouldn't be THAT bad... So would her win really be that dreadful?

As for Room, I think it's mainly the child's movie. And the child is very well directed - like children in (the best) European movies usually are. The mother is ok, don't get me wrong - a good actress certainly, but I can't say that she left me speechless. I had never heard of her, so I was kind-of expecting an acting turn ike Emily Watson's in Breaking the Waves - you know, when a young unknown actor gives such an explosive performance that you KNOW you are in front of a new, unusually strong talent - and thar you look forward to seeing his or her next movie, whatever it is. In this case I wasn't disappointed (and she will obviously be the best of the four acting winners), but I can't say that I will lose any respect for the Academy if she doesn't win. I am old and I have seen much worse outcomes.


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