Slant's Predictions

Sabin
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Postby Sabin » Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:26 pm

Oscar 2011 Composite Winner Predictions
BY ED GONZALEZ AND ERIC HENDERSON ON FEBRUARY 27TH, 2011 AT 9:00 AM IN AWARDS

Picture: The King's Speech
Directing: Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Actor: Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Actress in a Supporting Role: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Original Screenplay: The King's Speech
Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Foreign Language Film: Incendies
Documentary Feature: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3
Documentary Short: Poster Girl
Animated Short: The Gruffalo
Live Action Short: Wish 143
Film Editing: The Social Network
Art Direction: The King's Speech
Cinematography: True Grit
Costume Design: The King's Speech
Makeup: The Wolfman
Score: The King's Speech
Song: "I See the Light," Tangled
Sound Editing: Inception
Sound Mixing: Inception
Visual Effects: Inception

TALLIES
7: The King's Speech
3: Inception
2: The Fighter, The Social Network, True Grit
1: Black Swan, Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Gruffalo, Incendies, Poster Girl, Tangled, Toy Story 3, Wish 143, The Wolfman,
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Postby Sabin » Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:34 pm

The last one.

Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Picture
BY ERIC HENDERSON ON FEBRUARY 26TH, 2011 AT 10:00 AM IN AWARDS


The ascendance of the stuttering king and Oscar's perceived instantaneous regression into the mottled pastures of White Elephant Cinema (how quickly we forget The Reader) has rendered some of our most reliable barometers speechless. Suddenly, the movie no one wanted to pay attention to became the movie all your friends and relatives who see two movies a year have seen and just know is the best picture of the year. What can one say in the face of that? Even dependable crank Armond White, who had been working himself up a pretty good head of anti-Social Network steam leading up to an Ingracious Basterd-worthy final snit as MC of the New York Film Critics Circle awards, has been more or less reticent in the wake of The King's Speech's dozen proofs in support of the theory that dusty linens, not bloody tourniquets and certainly not hackers' grease-stained pizza boxes, are the fabric that holds Oscar together. And why shouldn't he remain mum? There's no one this year to disabuse of the notion that Oscars actually matter.

Bitter truth: the '70s didn't last in the '70s, and they certainly couldn't be expected to last in the new century. And just because Oscar voters remembered how much they loved The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II when they threw their support behind The Departed and No Country for Old Men doesn't mean they can be expected to suddenly forget how much they also supposedly loved Out of Africa, Forrest Gump, and A Beautiful Mind. And Chariots of Fire. And Gandhi. And My Fair Lady, The English Patient, The Sound of Music, Ben-Hur, Around the World in 80 Days, Cavalcade, Cimarron, and Dances with Wolves.

Dredging up these lamentable titles an umpteenth time may be singing an old song here, but it's worth doing it again if it makes a point to the Oscar bloggers whining about how Harvey Weinstein is set to steal The Social Network's rightful Best Picture Oscar. Oscar, like Antonio Salieri, is forever aligned with mediocrities. (So much so that the Oscar-sweeping Amadeus seems pretty lithe and entertaining in comparison.) How can a movie win every single critics' award, as well as the Golden Globe and the Broadcast Film Critics Award, and still lose the Oscar? Has a movie ever had so much momentum only to have it cut completely dead in the final lap? (Ahem, Brokeback Mountain.)

The misleading thing about citing—make that nitpicking—precedent these last few years is that, even a decade ago, precursor season hadn't quite reached pandemic proportions. The reason no movie ever won more precursors than The Social Network leading up to the Oscar nominations is that there never were as many precursors as there are now. Patterns are tougher to spot in an echo chamber, but they're there. So even though the last few years of reasonably pleasant outcomes in the top Oscar category have us less than 100 percent sure we won't actually hear the Facebook movie's name read out when the envelope is opened, nothing changes the fact that it's not the movie that swept the guilds. And your grandmother is not on Facebook. (Grandma Henderson is, though, and she just liked The King's Speech.)
Will Win: The King's Speech
Could Win: The Social Network
Should Win: The Social Network or Winter's Bone
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

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Postby Sabin » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:51 pm

Yup. Let it happen, America.

Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Directing
BY ED GONZALEZ ON FEBRUARY 25TH, 2011 AT 10:10 AM IN AWARDS


Six. That's the number of times the DGA winner has failed to win the Oscar. Advantage: Tom Hooper. Two thousand and three. That's the last time the DGA winner didn't seize the Oscar, which went to Roman Polanski instead of another Harvey Weinstein-backed newcomer, Rob Marshall. Advantage: David Fincher? Not exactly. Fincher, even though he's never roofee'd a girl in Jack Nicholson's Jacuzzi, doesn't have sentiment on his side. (Note to the chilly auteur: It's okay for the awards process to make you uncomfortable, just ask Danny Boyle, but at least pretend to want to be in its spotlight.) One clear advantage for Fincher was securing the support of the stiff upper lips who make up BAFTA's directors branch, but by how many votes did he best Hooper? More or less than the number of votes Hooper beat Fincher by for the DGA prize? And how many of those Fincher-favoring BAFTA directors will also cast Oscar votes? Enough to null Hooper's advantage once you consider all those TV directors who voted for the DGA (which didn't, by the way, reward Hooper for John Adams) are taken out of the equation? In the end, you don't have to have the mind of John Nash to come up with a formula that factors all of those scenarios, along with the prevailing mood of Oscar's non-director branches (we know how their respective guilds went down), and doesn't end with Hooper taking this in a walk. We know the Oscars have agreed with critics more than usual this past decade, making very respectable choices for Best Picture since Crash won the top prize, but with more than one critic hailing the The King's Speech the best film of the last decade, it really is looking like it's going to be a Ron Howard sort of year.
Will Win: Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Could Win: David Fincher, The Social Network
Should Win: David Fincher, The Social Network
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

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Postby Big Magilla » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:35 pm

The difference between Mo'Nique last year and Melissa Leo this year is that Mo'Nique's performance was so far above the competition that if they denied her the award it would have been an obvious rebuke.

Leo has much stronger competition. I doubt any named player interviewed on the record would say "I voted against Leo because of...". They'll simply say "I liked so-and-so more", which gives them the perfect out.

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Postby ITALIANO » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:48 pm

Sabin wrote:(We love Sasha Stone as much as the next guy, but has anyone ever taken anything more ludicrously personally—indeed, near suicidally—than the perceptible fall from grace her pony The Social Network has allegedly suffered?)

This is absolutely true. And kind of embarassing. But very funny, too. We on Cinemasight have become too cold, too gentleman-ly - I miss the drama that Signora Stone provided on her board. (I know, we had Mister Tee, but he was TOO dignified...)

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Postby Sabin » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:35 pm

Second paragraph down, first sentence. Yup.

Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Actress in a Supporting Role
BY ERIC HENDERSON ON FEBRUARY 24TH, 2011 AT 10:00 AM IN AWARDS


While maybe not quite as tight as this category was in 2007, at which time we guessed correctly that Tilda Swinton would take the trophy from the likes of Cate Blanchett, Amy Ryan, and Ruby Dee practically by default, once again Best Supporting Actress is giving Oscar prognosticators everywhere the fear of—gasp!—getting one category wrong. The only candidate everyone feels pretty safe writing off without a qualm is Jacki Weaver, whose performance as Animal Kingdom's quasi-incestuous Ma Barker picked up a citation from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, but whose slow-burning presence in the film doesn't really start to accrue merit points until long after some voters could be expected to hit eject.

But while we're on the topic of Oscar bloggers, do you get the sense that the people who are most offended by Melissa Leo's cleve-thrusting extracurricular Oscar campaign are…Oscar bloggers? Especially given no group more frequently and unashamedly positions themselves as the stewards of Oscar's whims? (We love Sasha Stone as much as the next guy, but has anyone ever taken anything more ludicrously personally—indeed, near suicidally—than the perceptible fall from grace her pony The Social Network has allegedly suffered?)

What Leo's campaign did on behalf of her, up to now, frontrunning performance as The Fighter's blowsy Ma Barker Ma Fratelli is, until next Sunday, anyone's guess, because it isn't really clear what we're being asked to "consider." That she's still a good-to-go goddess fighting for her piece of a prize that usually goes to rail-thin young pieces of tail? That she's got the range to scrub off that Lowell grime and hit the red carpet? Whatever the message Leo was trying to sell, to hear Oscar bloggers describe it, she's dealt her chances a fatal blow, despite winning nearly as many precursors as Mo'Nique did last year. (You know, the same Mo'Nique who allegedly demanded appearance fees on the Oscar campaign trail and still won.)

If Leo's campaign was, as she's said, a reaction against ageism in Hollywood, don't you think Amy Adams's performance in the same film would have emerged by now as a reasonable alternative? She's now on her third nomination, so the Academy clearly likes her. She's comfortably under the hill. And you know a significant portion of the voting body's Ernest Borgnine demo would love to have her sit on their laps. (And, if I may editorialize, her surprisingly veracious, moxie-popping MTV girl represents the first time I've been happily surprised by the actress I'd up to now considered a one-trick pony.) But no, the only significant precursor Melissa Leo has given up to anyone else was the BAFTA, which went to Helena Bonham Carter as The King's Speech's Ma Barker Ma Fratelli Queen Mum. Though we've reached the point that we could almost imagine Harvey Weinstein engineering a win for The King's Speech in Best Documentary Short, for HBC to score an upset here would represent a coattail win to end all coattail wins.

And so it is that Oscar bloggers, seeking to itch the scratch Leo's blatant assertion that campaigning, not prognosticating, is what wins Oscars, have collectively shifted the balance of power back to the plucky 14-year-old girl who tore through every scene (every. scene.) of the Coens' beloved True Grit. Steinfeld's sass certainly falls in line with precedent for teen girls winning this category (i.e. Tatum O'Neal, Anna Paquin), and there's something to be said for the inclination that voters will want to turn True Grit's 10 nominations (a mere two less than The King's Speech) into at least one above-the-line win. But, really. If voters were really so completely taken by Steinfeld, wouldn't they have had the decency to place her in the correct category? The demotion (which was, admittedly, the result of campaigning) reeks of consolation prize. So, as we said back in 2007 and as it, no doubt, came to pass last year, "default" is the name of the game in Best Supporting Actress, and we're putting our chips on the house favorite.
Will Win: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Could Win: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Should Win: Amy Adams, The Fighter
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

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Postby Sabin » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:12 pm

Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Film Editing
BY ED GONZALEZ ON FEBRUARY 23RD, 2011 AT 10:00 AM IN AWARDS


Because this year has turned into one of the more unexpectedly unpredictable Oscars in recent history, and because we have to redeem ourselves after falling on our asses with our 2010 predictions, we've been forced to play things a little more conservatively than we would like, not exactly predicting a blitzkrieg for The King's Speech, but something close to it, understanding that the film's appeal hasn't quite reached the obscene levels recently documented and exploited by a shameless Harvey Weinstein, and that when the Academy likes something, well, it really isn't shy about showing it. But can the film take Best Film Editing?

Because this category often anticipates the winner of Best Picture, this is naturally a nail-biter between The Social Network and The King's Speech. Of course, if any of the rage-infected theatergoers interviewed outside the Gateway Arch for that King's Speech trailer linked above reach the AMPAS-member hot zones of L.A. and New York in time, this may be another lost cause for The Social Network, or maybe sanity will prevail—as it more frequently does in the tech categories—and the award will go to the winner of the Eddie, which, though it doesn't always anticipate the Best Picture winner, has predicted the winner here the last decade.
Will Win: The Social Network
Could Win: The King's Speech
Should Win: The Social Network
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

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Postby ITALIANO » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:46 pm

Oh you mean the scene with the two brothers on the couch. Yes, that was nice.

I haven't seen Another Year yet, but it's easy for me to believe you on this.

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Postby Sabin » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:34 pm

I meant literally the final scene of The Fighter. Not the ending. There is nothing innately special about the story of The Fighter. It could have been any story. But the final scene between Bale and Wahlberg I found quite moving. I have no idea how the screenplay to The Fighter could have been nominated.

...then again, I have no idea how half of these screenplays were nominated. Mike Leigh deserves the Oscar this year for Another Year. The Kids Are All Right and The King's Speech have serious deficiencies, but some charm to their writing. Inception is just wrong-headed from the get-go. And there just isn't much special in The Fighter to begin with.
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

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Postby ITALIANO » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:05 pm

Interestingly, I think that one of the most banal things in The Fighter - which has SOME good things by the way - is its ending. The good guys win - once again. The fact that it happened in real life doesn't make it less banal, of course.

As for explanations - rational or irrational - in Black Swan, I agree with you on this: "ultimately it's best not to think about it". Because this is simply not the point. I guess that we are just not used to movies like this anymore, in America probably more than in Europe. And it's a pity, because this film is American and it's good.

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Postby Sabin » Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:50 pm

(ITALIANO @ Feb. 22 2011,4:31)
(Sabin @ Feb. 22 2011,4:06)
Because I don't think it works as anything remotely psychological.

Exactly - it doesn't, at all. And this is why I find all the talk about the lack of psychological motivations, etc, quite useless, because the movie doesn't want to be about that. One is allowed not to like Black Swan of course, to find it full of flaws even - and I'm not saying that it's a masterpiece - but if that's the reason, then it's from a wrong perspective.

I think it ultimately becomes useless but I know quite a few people who think that Black Swan is an incredibly intelligent film, which probably comments on how "incredibly intelligent filmmaking" can compensate for subtextual shortcomings. Likewise, I don't think there's anything wrong at all with not liking Black Swan because it is psychologically shallow. I'll say it again: this film is dumb. This filmmaking is not, and, in tandem, the result was fiendishly entertaining, if I occasional felt embarrassed to fall for it.

I don't think Black Swan begins to work on a symbolic level. Like Shutter Island, Black Swan wants it both ways. It wants to be a dream, a hallucination, and something in between, but ultimately it ends up neither fish nor fowl. There's no rational or irrational explanation for how or why anything really happens in this film, and ultimately it's best not to think about it, which is why I can't really praise Darren Aronofsky enough because he makes it somewhat possible. You say something interesting: "Symbolic Approach". The approach may be symbolic, but the result certainly isn't. I've only seen Black Swan once, but I hold it in far higher regard than most of the people here, probably on equal grounding as the similarly stunning yet limited Social Network. On a conceptual level, both of them are similarly myopic but in different ways: Aronofsky's film never really decided which way it wanted it, and Fincher's film never really decided whether it ultimately cared to begin with. They're both superior to The Fighter, but I know which film damn near moved me to tears on the basis of the final scene alone.
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Postby ITALIANO » Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:31 pm

Sabin wrote:Because I don't think it works as anything remotely psychological.

Exactly - it doesn't, at all. And this is why I find all the talk about the lack of psychological motivations, etc, quite useless, because the movie doesn't want to be about that. One is allowed not to like Black Swan of course, to find it full of flaws even - and I'm not saying that it's a masterpiece - but if that's the reason, then it's from a wrong perspective.

I compare it to a fairy tale because like fairy tales it works more on a symbolic level - fairy tales are fascinating treasures of symbols, archetypes, metaphors, subtexts, prejudices even (this is why accusations of mysoginism or homophobia don't really make sense); Black Swan isn't that rich probably, and it's a bit too intentional, too "polished" to be that meaningful (Italian giallos, for example, are much rougher, more naive, and because of that they are infinitely more complex); still what can I do - if I had to choose between the tv-style psychological realism of The Fighter and the symbolic approach of Black Swan, I personally wouldn't have doubts.

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Postby Sabin » Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:06 pm

Absolutely. What I've noticed about most fairy tales is that they announce themselves as such. Aronofsky directs Black Swan as he did The Wrestler, by following Natalie Portman around with a verité quality. Black Swan does eventually evolve into something rather operatic, but I haven't really seen a fairy tale like this. Let's say for the sake of arguing that Black Swan is a fairy tale. What is it about? Because I don't think it works as anything remotely psychological. It's entirely possible that the extent to which Black Swan has anything to say is delegated to the black-white swan dichotomy.

Black Swan is entirely from a male point of view. The males making it and the males watching it. Vincent Cassel is categorized by his masculine sexual predaciousness, but it could just as easily be gender neutral sexual predaciousness.
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Postby ITALIANO » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:30 pm

Some fairy tales are very dark, as you know. As for voyeurism, it's certainly there, and it's certainly from a male (director) point of view - I guess that's what you mean by "androcentric", as there aren't many male characters in it.

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Postby Sabin » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:28 pm

(ITALIANO @ Feb. 22 2011,12:00)
(Big Magilla @ Feb. 22 2011,9:50)
Calling Black Swan a fairy tale lets it off too easily.

I repeat: not that easily. But never mind.

This is a very interesting observation, especially considering its topical modernism (disorders, E, lipstick lesbianism) and that the filmmaking would seem antithetical to the softened blows of an outright fairy tale. But it's entirely possible that it doesn't work as anything else. Misogyny, I don't buy. Androcentric, it certainly is. I've used the word "voyeuristic" a lot when describing the film because the film creates a buffer between viewer and character that is as sensual as it is sensory. You just take in everything you're watching like you're on a trip, like the more inspired parts of Enter the Void. I think calling it "fairy tale" is fine, but I think "fairy tale" modifies the kind of "voyeurism" it is rather than the "voyeurism" modifying the kind of "fairy tale" it is.



Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing
BY ERIC HENDERSON ON FEBRUARY 22ND, 2011 AT 10:00 AM IN AWARDS


Conventional wisdom says that one film wins both sound awards only about half the time. Which means betting on double ups makes only a little more sense than betting on a Picture-Director split. Since nearly everyone this year is doing just that, we feel a little safer presuming that Christopher Nolan's moody, pretentious apparatus is the frontrunner for both Best Sound Editing as well as Best Sound Mixing. Do we wish a musical had somehow found its way into the mix here to make our job easier, even one as nontraditional as, say, the fluttering Black Swan? You bet your ears, especially since it's difficult to tell when exactly voters will clean out theirs and back superior, if less showy, mixes like those accompanying The Social Network and True Grit. They heard beyond the sound and fury last year when they awarded The Hurt Locker, but were deaf to the positively terrifying environment of No Country for Old Men. Which goes to show that the only barometer less reliable than worrying about what's going on over in Best Sound Editing is to consider the dynamics guiding Best Picture. Not that that's going to stop us, especially not this year when we're looking at maybe the biggest sweep since Peter Jackson's hobbits stormed the Kodak. When Ed and I were comparing notes the other day to see just how many awards we had The King's Speech penciled in for wins, we realized the projected tally had ballooned to eight. We weren't including this category in that count because, well, aside from its reasonably impressive simulations of early microphone technology, the movie's focus is on the sounds that don't happen than those that do. Still, Harvey Weinstein turned The English Patient's dozen nominations into nine Oscars, and the ninth…was in this category. Consider us nervous.
Will Win: Inception
Could Win: The King's Speech
Should Win: The Social Network




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