Oscar Predictions at Year End

For the films of 2011
mayukh
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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby mayukh » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:50 pm

ITALIANO wrote:And honestly, a Best Actress race that will probably include names like Meryl Steep, Glenn Close and Tilda Swinton (and Michelle Williams) is objectively one of a very high level.


See, no, I don't buy this. It's a comforting idea but I find it totally wrong-headed when applied to 2011. Even if each one of these very talented actresses is "dependable", this isn't like 1971 where you've got Fonda, Christie, and Jackson, proven great actresses, working at what might be the highest levels they've ever worked at in their careers (Redgrave is my favorite actress but we all know Mary wasn't her finest hour). We're talking about something akin to Spacek being nominated for The River and Lange being nominated for Country. Certifiably talented actresses offering negligible work that's not as illuminating as what we know they're capable of. And this year's realistic alternatives – hell, even Theron and Mara are incredibly impressive – prove more exciting prospects than the work offered to us by women who've proven their talents to us before. Olsen, Colman, Dunst, Paquin – these performances challenge and arouse, and the actresses are dynamic and expressive in ways that the vets are not.

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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:20 pm

Sabin wrote:
Italiano wrote
Sabin wrote:
Did you just refer to yourself in the third person?

Mmm... Yes, today I am in a third-person-mood... Do I deserve death penalty?

Oh! I get it. 'merica.


:)

Yes, 'merica, and I'm surprised that some here are so unconfortable with the simple truths I've tried to explain. Actors win Oscars not just for their talent, but often for the characters they play, for the ideas they embody, and sometimes for the cliches they represent, too. And when a country feels weak - and which western country doesn't feel weak these days? - cliches prove reassuring. It's easy.

As for this year's actresses, it's true, there have been times like 2006 when the lineup was locked up probably even months before nominations day. And it's also true that "safeness" is an aspect the Academy looks anxiously for, and not only in actresses. But what is "safe"? I don't think Lesley Manville's role and performance last year were so safe - which, by the way, may be one of the reasons why she wasn't nominated (only one of course - there were others).
This year, I think that four out of five of the Best Actress nominees will belong to "safe" - yes, including Glenn Close, whose movie is actually quite traditional. The "Dogtooth nod" will be only one and at this point it's very possible that it will go to Tilda Swinton (whose movie and role are certainly not mainstream, but who's also a respected performer and a former Oscar winner). There are others who are mentioned, I know, and some have vague chances, but it could also be that this has simply been a year with less "safe" roles for American actresses (something, by the way, which I wouldn't be so sorry about).

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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby Sabin » Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:18 pm

Italiano wrote
Sabin wrote:
Did you just refer to yourself in the third person?

Mmm... Yes, today I am in a third-person-mood... Do I deserve death penalty?

Oh! I get it. 'merica.

...

This is a stupid argument predicated on usage of the word "overweight". It will only result in veiled critiques of how Americans view beauty, race, its own history, etc. I'm going to continue into something that is more interesting to me:

I have not seen Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin, but that is a name that keeps popping up that is a mystery to me. More so than Albert Nobbs, this film just seems like the kind of thing that is given one or two awards and then shut out of the nominating process.

Since starting to pay attention to the Oscars, there have been two kinds of Best Actress races: a series of floating regulars amidst the strong contenders, or just entirely locked up. 2000's lineup of Allen, Binoche, Burstyn, Linney and Roberts. 2004's lineup of Bening, Moreno, Staunton, Swank, and Winslet. 2006's lineup of Cruz, Dench, Mirren, Streep, and Winslet. You can certainly say "Well, that's true of any year." No, it's not. When the Best Actress lineup is locked up, it is locked up. Because A) there just aren't that many roles for American actresses, and B) for actress in a film outside the system or country to get noticed it would appear there must be quite a few caveats checked off that rarely happen. We Need to Talk About Kevin certainly looks like one of those films to me. I suppose in retrospect, Albert Nobbs is a safe enough production that Glenn Close's nomination is indeed secure. But look at last year at who didn't make the cut: Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right, Lesley Manville for Another Year, Hilary Swank for Conviction, there was even talk about Hailee Steinfeld going for lead. These were roles that were floating beneath the surface and there was a safeness to them. That safeness is lacking from We Need to Talk About Kevin, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And although the role may be enough to push Glenn Close into the circle, the performance itself has drawn incredibly mixed reviews - perhaps more so than any other performance that gets nominated this year.

There are three actresses who are pretty much assured nominations and in the running for the win: Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, and Michelle Williams. Competition between those three is pretty fierce. The rest is pretty much open season.
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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:28 pm

FilmFan720 wrote:


No, she's not, but she is not very elegant in The Help, and is made to look frumpy and un-skinny. Her sexiness doesn't carry over to the role.



This is exactly what I meant. But some don't seem to understand (don't WANT to understand).

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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby FilmFan720 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:26 pm



No, she's not, but she is not very elegant in The Help, and is made to look frumpy and un-skinny. Her sexiness doesn't carry over to the role.
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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:25 pm



Ah, bizarre... So that's the way she looks in The Help? I thought she was playing a completely different kind of role, I'm so sorry...

Please.

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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby bizarre » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:16 pm


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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:02 pm

Sabin wrote:Did you just refer to yourself in the third person?


Mmm... Yes, today I am in a third-person-mood... Do I deserve death penalty?

I know what you meant about Albert Nobbs, and I happen to disagree. I think that - with probably one exception - Glenn Close would be considered a potential Best Actress nominee in any of the last 10 years. And I'd say the same for Janet McTeer in the Supporting Actress category. Actors love this kind of roles, and they also love a comeback.

Original BJ, well, I only remember her from Doubt, and she wasn't exactly Halle Berry.

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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby bizarre » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:00 pm

mayukh wrote:Moving on...bizarre, I'm really hoping you're right about Olsen. For some reason the buzz since Sundance so early in the year has been too strong for me to fully believe that she's fallen completely out of the consciousness of some voters. I also do think it's the kind of ingenue performance that inspires a lot of passion within people, meaning she may get a bunch of number 1 votes. Wishful thinking, I know – I can hear someone saying "Abbie Cornish" – but it could happen, and at this point I think she's as likely as Mara or Theron.


Yeah - Frozen River, An Education, Precious and Winter's Bone all built up too much passion to ignore, and Blue Valentine, Animal Kingdom, The Savages and Half Nelson all had late-year revivals of support. Martha Marcy May Marlene didn't win the top prize like Frozen River, Precious or Winter's Bone, but it is probably better-reviewed than most of those film's save '...Bone'. Olsen has a good story, being the sister of the (in)famous twins, and she has a huge precursor total even if neither of those precursors are Globe or SAG. Keisha Castle-Hughes is the only first-time nominee to have netted an Oscar nomination in Lead without SAG or Globe nominations (she didn't even have BFCA) and I think her situation is somewhat comparable to Olsen's, especially in a year similar to 2003 where some major contenders have limited critical (Albert Nobbs) or audience (We Need to Talk About Kevin, Young Adult) appeal.

This year the only Sundance films that are honestly in the mix are Like Crazy - and we know Jones is destined to be an also-ran - Martha Marcy May Marlene and Take Shelter, and even though Shannon's and Chastain's performances are popular his nomination is still a big 'if'. It would be odd for nobody from the festival to make it.

Regarding The Help, I just saw it - it is a surprisingly competent bit of technical filmmaking let down by an incompetent script and uncomfortable racial politics. This is a film where we can identify the heroine because she is the only white woman who says 'hi' to her gardener. This is as progressive as 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' and even that was politically outdated in 1967. It's sad, too - at the beginning of the film Stone's character asks Davis' "when you were a little girl, did you know you'd grow up to be a maid?". Perhaps a better question would be to ask Davis the actress "when you were a little girl, did you know you'd grow up to play a maid?"

However, the ensemble is fantastic - and not just in that crowd-pleasing, to-the-rafters Steel Magnolias way. What impressed me most is that how the entire cast (excepting maybe Bryce Dallas Howard, but she has the most limited role and she's never shown herself to be a particularly intuitive actress) eke character out of caricature. This is either very smart casting of very smart actors or excellent direction within a rigid Disneyfied framework - the script's politics are simplistic but every time Davis, Spencer, Stone, Janney or Ellis are on screen they complicate it. Spencer, especially, surprised me. I've always enjoyed her contributions in TV and bit parts but from the trailer and the reviews I was expecting a 'sassy' stock character transplanted to 1960s Mississippi. And yes, she bears the brunt of the script's problems - no joke, she is made to say at one point "I looooooooooove me some fried chicken", the subplot with her husband is grossly underdeveloped and resolved off-screen (in voiceover, no less), and she's given no history compared to, say, Davis' or even Chastain's characters. But she fills in the blanks, and she develops Minny's 'sass' as a natural defense mechanism, a tool to seize power where she can while inhabiting a powerless role. Her best moment comes when Chastain's character notices and nurses her black eye and tells her to hit her husband back the next time he beats her. For the first time on screen Minny is the one taken care of. Her reaction is wordless and for a moment, she looks completely lost. And I think this look gives more insight into the experience of being a black woman at this point in time than any of the film's made-up testimonials.

I'd fully support nominations or wins for Davis or Spencer even though, at this point, only Spencer would my ballot - strong year for performances even if the pool of possibility for the Oscars is generally weak. I'd throw my support behind Janney as well although she obviously has no precursor support (strange, she has an important, varied and showcased role). Chastain's performance has perhaps the biggest online 'cult' out of the film's cast, but I gotta say I didn't like her. She was fun but... "click, click, click".
Last edited by bizarre on Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:29 pm

Viola Davis is NOT overweight.

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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby Sabin » Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:19 pm

Italiano wrote
Not really. Albert Nobbs is exactly the kind of movie which would be talked about - for those two acting nominations - even in the most competitive year. The kind of movie which critics don't like much, but actors, for reasons that I don't even have to explain, do.

Albert Nobbs is a curiosity that would fade from mind. It certainly is a competitive year between three actresses (Streep, Williams, and Davis), but that McTeer's performance is being considered a likely possibility is a welcome surprise and one that derives from a lack of competition. I'm just saying it's a film anchored in a lead performance that doesn't really work, and would be forgotten rather quickly in a race with more viable possibilities and McTeer with it.

Italiano wrote
The Help gives us two overweight black actresses at the price of one (well, maybe more than two even, I don't know, but certainly two who will be nominated). And trust Italiano - there's no way that BOTH of them will go home empty-handed. No way. I'd even say that both could win Oscars, except that Americans may be politically correct but they aren't stupid, they know that slavery, racism, the Ku-Klux-Klan, etc. may have been bad, may not be the most admirable side of an otherwise perfect country (a country where, let's not forget it, J. Edgar Hoover is only known today as a strange character in a Clint Eastwood movie - and one that next-to-nobody wanted to see), but, come on, they are not worthy of TWO OSCARS in the same year! I mean, one is enough to amend those little pecadilloes of "our" history.

Did you just refer to yourself in the third person?
"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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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby mayukh » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:23 am

Moving on...bizarre, I'm really hoping you're right about Olsen. For some reason the buzz since Sundance so early in the year has been too strong for me to fully believe that she's fallen completely out of the consciousness of some voters. I also do think it's the kind of ingenue performance that inspires a lot of passion within people, meaning she may get a bunch of number 1 votes. Wishful thinking, I know – I can hear someone saying "Abbie Cornish" – but it could happen, and at this point I think she's as likely as Mara or Theron.

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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:45 am

Sabin wrote:a film like Albert Nobbs would be talked about and then forgotten. Now for lack of competition, it's a pretty good bet for two acting nominations..


Not really. Albert Nobbs is exactly the kind of movie which would be talked about - for those two acting nominations - even in the most competitive year. The kind of movie which critics don't like much, but actors, for reasons that I don't even have to explain, do.

There have been far less competitive years, especially in recent memory. And honestly, a Best Actress race that will probably include names like Meryl Steep, Glenn Close and Tilda Swinton (and Michelle Williams) is objectively one of a very high level. It's true that there aren't clear front-runners at the moment, but that's not because the potential nominees are bland.

As for the actresses. It's too soon to talk about this, of course - we still don't know who the nominees will be, and I still haven't seen most of the important movies, including The Help and The Iron Lady. But - through this board and through the Academy - I've come to know two or three things about Americans. And one of these things is - they love overweight black actresses. Or better - they love the characters these actresses play, because they give them a chance to pity them. And pity, while sometimes hypocritical (in this case, definitely), brings votes. Many votes.
The Help gives us two overweight black actresses at the price of one (well, maybe more than two even, I don't know, but certainly two who will be nominated). And trust Italiano - there's no way that BOTH of them will go home empty-handed. No way. I'd even say that both could win Oscars, except that Americans may be politically correct but they aren't stupid, they know that slavery, racism, the Ku-Klux-Klan, etc. may have been bad, may not be the most admirable side of an otherwise perfect country (a country where, let's not forget it, J. Edgar Hoover is only known today as a strange character in a Clint Eastwood movie - and one that next-to-nobody wanted to see), but, come on, they are not worthy of TWO OSCARS in the same year! I mean, one is enough to amend those little pecadilloes of "our" history.
So I still don't know if it will be the Lead or the Supporting, but one will win. I'll say more after The Help opens in Italy, which will be soon.

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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby mlrg » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:43 am

Sabin wrote:A slight side-note but still in the realm of what we're talking about:

This is very much a year of middleweight contenders. I don't think any of these films would really be taken seriously in 2008 or 2007. They might make some noise but a film like Albert Nobbs would be talked about and then forgotten. Now for lack of competition, it's a pretty good bet for two acting nominations.

I've just seen War Horse today and discussed it in the 2011 thread, and I really don't know if voters are going to like it. I've said that about a few films this year like The Descendants, a movie that I don't get the buzz about but I can understand people liking it because the story is admittedly innately moving. There is something so intrinsically corny about War Horse that I think just is not in fashion. It's already grossed around $45 million and it appears to be making money over the winter season which I attribute to appealing to an older audience, but I doubt it will become much of a hit beyond that. And the reception appears to be more appreciative than ecstatic. I honestly don't know who War Horse is for. I'm sure that a lot of money will be pushed into an awards campaign, but I don't think it will be enough.

I'm predicting it for Best Original Score, Cinematography, Film Editing, Art Direction, Sound Mixing, and Sound Effects.



Meaning that it will get the same love as Empire of the Sun got back in 1987

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Re: Oscar Predictions at Year End

Postby Sabin » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:22 pm

A slight side-note but still in the realm of what we're talking about:

This is very much a year of middleweight contenders. I don't think any of these films would really be taken seriously in 2008 or 2007. They might make some noise but a film like Albert Nobbs would be talked about and then forgotten. Now for lack of competition, it's a pretty good bet for two acting nominations.

I've just seen War Horse today and discussed it in the 2011 thread, and I really don't know if voters are going to like it. I've said that about a few films this year like The Descendants, a movie that I don't get the buzz about but I can understand people liking it because the story is admittedly innately moving. There is something so intrinsically corny about War Horse that I think just is not in fashion. It's already grossed around $45 million and it appears to be making money over the winter season which I attribute to appealing to an older audience, but I doubt it will become much of a hit beyond that. And the reception appears to be more appreciative than ecstatic. I honestly don't know who War Horse is for. I'm sure that a lot of money will be pushed into an awards campaign, but I don't think it will be enough.

I'm predicting it for Best Original Score, Cinematography, Film Editing, Art Direction, Sound Mixing, and Sound Effects.
"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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