Oscar, Oscar, Who'll Get the Oscar?

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Postby Big Magilla » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:50 am

Have you seen District 9?

Maybe it's that I don't watch too many science fiction films, but I thought it was the best of the genre since the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), which in turn was the best since The Day fo the Triffids (1963).
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Postby Damien » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:16 am

Big Magilla wrote:I'd also like to see Neill Blomkamp nominated for Best Director over James Cameron and Sharlto Copley nominated for Best Actor over Morgan Freeman, but neither is likely to occur.

And while I'm at it, I'd like to see Cary Fukunaga pull a "no chance in Hell" nomination for Best Director for Sin Nombre over fifth slot contenders Clint Eastwood and Lee Daniels.

Hanging out at the pub with the Dublin critics tonight, Big? :D
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Postby Big Magilla » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:27 am

Swinton is the most likely of my"wishful thinking" choices this year.

While District 9 has an outside chance of breaking into the Best Picture race, what I'd really like to see is it replacing Avatar. It's basically the same story but told with a great deal more style and wit on a small budget.

I'd also like to see Neill Blomkamp nominated for Best Director over James Cameron and Sharlto Copley nominated for Best Actor over Morgan Freeman, but neither is likely to occur.

And while I'm at it, I'd like to see Cary Fukunaga pull a "no chance in Hell" nomination for Best Director for Sin Nombre over fifth slot contenders Clint Eastwood and Lee Daniels.
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Postby Mister Tee » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:12 pm

Three things:

I'm with BJ that Sidibe is a dead-certain lock. The fact that many (including Sabin) dislike her performance doesn't change that reality.

Swinton would indeed be a miracle -- though one to at least root for.

I'm not exactly disagreeing that Mirren's the likely fifth nominee. Based on SAG/Globes, she's emerging as the path-of-least-resistance choice, and Blanchett/Elizabeth II showed us how far such a choice can travel, despite little visible enthusiasm.

But I still view her as vulnerable...again, given the month-long window voters have to look elsewhere for candidates, and the fact that at least a few names (Blunt & Cornish, in addition to Swinton) are out there for consideration. I might change my mind were I to see Mirren's performance and consider it in serious nomination-like territory. But seeing how scathing some of the reviews were (A.O. Scott in particular), it's hard for me to consider her on a par with Winslet/Little Children, who had received far more critical support.

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Postby The Original BJ » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:20 pm

Although I once thought that Mirren was vulnerable, after getting Globe and ESPECIALLY SAG noms, I'd be pretty surprised if she were omitted at the Oscars. She's a hugely admired actress with a showy role in a faux serious picture.

I'd thought The Last Station really hurt itself with the one-week qualifier, but Mirren and Plummer have shown up at the precursors, and I think that's evidence enough that voters have tasted the film and are swallowing it as well.

I'd be STUNNED if Gabourey Sidibe were omitted, though. Especially when she's appearing in a top Best Picture candidate. She's seemed set to me for a while now.

I guess I have a hard time seeing any candidate other than the SAG five breaking into the lineup. As much as I'd want Swinton to get in, I think that's more of a UAADB fantasy than anything else. I don't hear much talk of Julia or her performance anywhere else, and if voters haven't seen The Last Station, they REALLY haven't seen Julia.




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Postby Okri » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:08 pm

Helen Mirren is about as locked in as Kate Winslet was in 2006. Meaning, she's getting the nod.

No one has seen it? Who cares. This category already has two popular candidates in Streep and Bullock, and two hot buzz people in Sidibe and Mulligan (though both films suffer from overhype and backlash). Mirren's respected with a scenery chewing role. They've got screeners and will likely check it out. Remember New Line stalled Little Children at less than 50 screens for over two months and that didn't really hurt Winslet (helped that her contenders were Gyllenhaal and Watts for similarly small releases).

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Postby Sabin » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:28 pm

BEST DIRECTOR
I think one should always be dubious re: a Picture/Director split. Regardless, it looks like Bigelow and Cameron are sure things with Reitman and Tarantino alongside. These seem like Branch-approved nominees. That would leave Lee Daniels for Precious but I don't know. He makes a lot of amateurish "Look at Me!" choices that will turn as many people off as on. Clint Eastwood took his spot at the Golden Globes but Invictus seems like a non-starter this year. I know I have no interest in seeing it and I've heard very little positive about it. I'm guessing not this year. If An Education made a stronger impact with the Golden Globes, I'd cite Lone Scherfig as a stronger contender, but as it is I think she might have the best chance. I think it's between her and the Coen Brothers right now. Right now it's between James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow, and I see Bigelow winning.


BEST ACTOR
Will there be a winner this year? I don't see anyone with the plaudits right off the bat. Clooney gives a classic movie star performance that rarely wins these things. Morgan Freeman plays a great historical figure, but in a performance that's been described as something between distant and as Armond White says almost redundant. That would normally leave two strong performances in dark horse independent films to start picking up the slack. Crazy Heart looks a lot like The Wrestler-redux. He does his own singing and nobody has an unking word to say about him, so that could certainly work in his favor. On the other hand, Colin Firth is said to be brilliant in A Single Man, an overly fussy stylized film that he commands. All four seem to be in. That leaves a wide open race for the last slot. For ages I thought that Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man) and Damon (The Informant!) would make it in. Now it seems more like Renner, if only because The Hurt Locker seems to be maintaining a strong degree of momentum going in, and his fine, subtle performance is wisely viewed as key in anchoring. If I had to bet, I'd say that the film of the bunch that is fading the fastest is Invictus and an upset nominee like Stuhlbarg and Damon would come at Freeman's expense. For the win, Jeff Bridges looks like the best chance.

BEST ACTRESS
I don't understand why pundits are discussing what *might* get in. Aside from Streep, Mulligan, and - I guess - Bullock, this race is wide open. Is Helen Mirren LOCKED in for The Last Station? NO! Nobody's seen it! Is Gabourey Sidibe LOCKED in for Precious? NO! She's not given the chance to give a performance! Tilda Swinton could be nominated. She really could. I look at Sidibe and I see a performance that will not be nominated, and it won't be due to Emily Blunt. It will be something that knocks people down like Swinton or Melanie Laurent. It's entirely possible. Dave Karger given the widest forum for discussion cites Maya Rudolph for the horrible Away We Go. At this point, I'd rather see her discussed than the same five. Meryl Streep looks like the winner for Julie & Julia because it has become in style for people to enjoy Meryl Streep having a good time and she's clearly very amused with herself in Julie & Julia. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be rooting for Carey Mulligan but as quietly as I've rooted for someone in a while. I haven't seen The Blind Side or The Last Station, but this looks to be the worst lineup of films in some time.
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Postby Big Magilla » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:33 pm

danfrank wrote:
Sabin wrote:At this point, Up in the Air isn't John Kerry. It's Howard Dean. A few weeks ago, I was calling it overrated. Now it's underrated. It's a very strong piece of writing that's invoked a dearth of passion because of the choices it makes. Its lack of a SAG nomination mystifies me;

This just occurred to me: as an actors' union, is it possible that the SAG nominating committee blacklisted Up in the Air because of its use of non-actors?

I don't think so. Every year the SAG ballot for ensemble omits some cast member that draws controversy. It's likely that had Up in the Air been nominated only the professional actors would have been listed on their ballot.
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Postby Sabin » Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:53 pm

Well, not very high praise then I'd say.

What? Luigi's pretty cool.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby danfrank » Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:41 pm

Sabin wrote:At this point, Up in the Air isn't John Kerry. It's Howard Dean. A few weeks ago, I was calling it overrated. Now it's underrated. It's a very strong piece of writing that's invoked a dearth of passion because of the choices it makes. Its lack of a SAG nomination mystifies me;

This just occurred to me: as an actors' union, is it possible that the SAG nominating committee blacklisted Up in the Air because of its use of non-actors?

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Postby ITALIANO » Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:30 pm

mlrg wrote:
Sabin wrote:Up in the Air isn't Mario. It's Luigi.

Happy, Frenchie?

Up in the Air is Sarkozy, not Berlusconi

LOL

Well, not very high praise then I'd say.

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Postby mlrg » Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:21 pm

Sabin wrote:Up in the Air isn't Mario. It's Luigi.

Happy, Frenchie?

Up in the Air is Sarkozy, not Berlusconi

LOL

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Postby Sabin » Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:08 pm

Up in the Air isn't Mario. It's Luigi.

Happy, Frenchie?
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby ITALIANO » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:20 pm

John Kerry, Howard Dean... Who ON EARTH are these people?! Mamma mia, get more international young man please! Or you want to be understood only in your small country?

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Postby Sabin » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:57 pm

BEST PICTURE
Bill Condon is right. The Academy isn't popular. I first realized this in 2004 when they nominated The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, Ray, and Sideways. Even if the average moviegoer LIKES these films, they certainly don't love them. Especially in a year of Fahrenheit 9/11, The Incredibles, The Passion of the Christ, or Spider-Man 2. These movies incited strong reactions from the public, and the Academy for better (Munich, Letters from Iwo Jima, There Will Be Blood) or worse (Babel, Atonement, The Reader) has indulged in prestige films that - I'll say it! - your average moviegoer doesn't really care about. I certainly think that your average moviegoer is categorically wrong across the board most of the time, but when when every film nominated looks like John Kerry, it becomes tiresome.

At this point, Up in the Air isn't John Kerry. It's Howard Dean. A few weeks ago, I was calling it overrated. Now it's underrated. It's a very strong piece of writing that's invoked a dearth of passion because of the choices it makes. Its lack of a SAG nomination mystifies me; certainly, Precious had a wider range of performers, but is the Screen Actor's Guild truly desiring to support them? Up in the Air cast all of their friends, whereas Precious casts everybody in front of them in line they try to ignore! I think Up in the Air still has a reasonably solid grasp on Picture, Director, Actor, Farmiga & Kendrick for Supporting Performance, Adapted Screenplay, and Film Editing, but then again I thought Sideways was a very good bet for all of these. Any time a comedy gets seven nominations, it has to be reconciled with. I think this is the first time a front-runner with more Golden Globe nominations than any other picture is considered fading fast.

Because Avatar is THE ONE. Avatar has to be the single dumbest movie of the moment in recent memory. For something to be so technically revelatory and so superficially subversive, I actually admire it. And yet at this point, I'd rank almost half the Best Picture Winners this decade beneath it (Slumdog, Crash, Chicago, A Beautiful Mind, probably Gladiator). Avatar has an Awe-factor that jaded filmgoers can tap into after childhood. On the flip-side, James Cameron has indeed written a film that condemns American imperialist greed. And yet, what ghost will he invoke this time when receiving his Oscar for Best Motion Picture? A moment of silence of the soldiers needlessly lost in Iraq? The Palestinians? Or will -- as truly he will do -- James Cameron just talk for a while about advances in 3D Motion Capture? I'm still unsure just how much Avatar touches upon something in Americans. Just as viewers flocked away from 70's depression towards Star Wars, we now get the chance to be something else, something special: ten feet tall, blue, connected, running around and shit. Avatar is a better movie than Star Wars but no less retarded. You can't spell NAIVE without NA'VI. It's hard to really hate where James Cameron is coming from politically, but it's done so from the point of view of somewhat who votes based on what they watch on the Daily Show.

Precious is the big question mark to me. Truly, how much do voters like Precious? Is it something they will sit through, let alone like? It literally have no idea how this will go over. It's such an unpleasant experience. I can see a Director's and Producer's Guild snub putting some water on it, but let's just see where it goes. Despite its five Golden Globe nominations and SAG Ensemble nod, Nine appears to be "over". Nine may be the kind of over that still sees it as a nomination leader like Dreamgirls. This is regardless very good news for Inglourious Basters, a film that seemed like a wet blanket at Cannes and now the second coming of the wunderkind. It's making a very strong standing

In its wake, we have The Hurt Locker. This is the film for serious people. I'm dubious of any instance where a Picture/Director split is called so early. With Gladiator/Soderbergh, it was certainly in the cards but who knew for certain which way it would go? Up in the Air/Bigelow talk has been going on for some time. With ten nominees this year, we are truly privileged enough to see what exactly Academy voters like. I'm going to answer this directly in a few paragraphs. Before that, I want to throw a scenario out there. Let's presume for a moment that the Alternate Reality Five Gilded Best Picture Nominees will be:

Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious
Up in Air

...maybe you can toss Invictus in there, but nobody really seems to be talking about it much. I like these five. I like them better than the previous year. Precious is a terrible movie, but so was The Reader so it's almost not worth splitting hairs between them. Last year, I thought Slumdog and Benjamin Button were disappointing films of under- or overreaching narratives. Avatar and Inglourious Basterds are the same respectively but both far superior and ambitious in the design of production. Frost/Nixon is just as tidy a film as Up in the Air, but at least Up in the Air has personality. I loved both Milk and The Hurt Locker above the rest but with so many other superior films released during the year, it's hard to really champion it as Film of the Year. 2009 may be a weak year for movies, but if we had five, I'd much prefer these five to last year's.

Here's what it seems some are predicting for the remaining five spots.

An Education
Invictus
Nine
A Serious Man
Up

Can't really argue with those. I personally think (500) Days of Summer has a better shot than Nine, but these are films of pedigree that seem to garner the attentions of Oscar voters right now. That list looks familiar. The films aren't very popular outside of Up, but coupled with the above five, they look right!

What if it's these five:

The Blind Side
The Hangover
It's Complicated
Julie & Julia
Star Trek

Look at these! Consider for a moment the possibility of ten nominees in 2007, and seeing not just American Gangster instead of Into the Wild, but The Great Debaters instead of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly! We. Don't. Know! Quite frankly, I only now am starting to realize that ten nominations isn't a good idea. It didn't use to bother me because there should be. There are always ten good movies every year and this spreads the wealth to those who wouldn't see it! But now...I don't want to know what these people think is ALMOST as good as The Hurt Locker!

In all fairness, it's probably not going to be those five. We could be privileged with (500) Days of Summer or District 9 instead of the worst of them; truth be told, I'd much prefer those two, and Star Trek to most of the films talked about this year. I bring this up because with a wider swath of nominees, we see votes going to different places. It becomes harder to get a consensus juggernaut unless truly earned. Neither Avatar nor Up in the Air will EVER be a juggernaut. Not when people are still talking about a Picture/Director split. Voters like movies that make money. Nothing is making more money than Avatar, but people who like being told a good, simple story - as seems to work over the years! - might tend to just go with The Blind Side.

That's why The Hurt Locker has a chance. As of now, I'm predicting Avatar will win Best Picture. He pisses a lot of people off so a split is still possible, but The Hurt Locker is a film that people have remained as passionate about the day of its release until the day of voting. The same is somewhat true of Inglourious Basterds. This is going to be a year where the awards are split about. After sitting through Slumdog last year, I'm fine with that.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver


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