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Oscars 2011 Update: Producers Guild Awards

The big day has come and gone, and The Artist is still going strong.

The Artist won the Producers Guild Award for Best Picture tonight, cementing its status as the frontrunner for Best Picture next month. I personally thought they were gonna give it to Hugo, and then it was gonna be a bit of a back and forth between the two, but apparently it’s The Artist all the way. And I’m not even a little upset.

The great thing about this is that it feels like pleasant payback for all the things the Academy has done to me over the past decade. When the backlash against this film happens (and rest assured, it will), I will be immune to it. The backlash won’t be against the film’s quality (since it’s hard to hate this film. It’s so damn likable), it’ll be against the fact that it’s going to win, much like with Slumdog Millionaire, a film that, while I loved it, come Oscar night, even I was like, “Jesus, can we just get it over with already?” It just got annoying that people we so for it so as to forget all the other nominees, and just blindly gave it everything. And it was like, “Even Sound Mixing? Really?” It was overkill. But that won’t happen with this film. Or Hugo. No matter what happens. And I love that.

The reason it won’t happen is because those films are about cinema, and they say that, “History matters.” They do it in different ways, which is why I honestly don’t care which one of them wins (and why I’d be let down if something like The Descendants won. Because that, to me, is simply just a very good film, whereas The Artist and Hugo are good films with a positive message about cinema). And why, over the next month, when someone says something negative about The Artist, I will not be affected. Because someone rejecting The Artist to me is kind of like Michelle Bachmann and the Tea Party rejecting books. Rejecting silent film to me is like saying, “I don’t need to read! Fuck basic education!” How do you take those people seriously?

So, anyway, The Artist is your Best Picture favorite. And The Adventures of Tintin won Best Animated Film, so that’s the favorite for Best Animated Feature, which I think we all figured was the case throughout. Some people thought Rango, but to me, that was just a product of the BFCA win and nothing more. Tintin was always the film.

There’s really not that much to report here, so I figured I’d point out just how much of a gauge the PGA is for the Oscars. If you remember, yesterday I said they got something like, one out of every 3-5 years wrong or something like that. I even forget. But here is a list of all the years the PGA has been given out, what film won, and what film won the Oscar for Best Picture:

1989: PGA Winner: Driving Miss Daisy

Oscar Winner: Driving Miss Daisy

1990: PGA Winner: Dances with Wolves

Oscar Winner: Dances with Wolves

1991: PGA Winner: The Silence of the Lambs

Oscar Winner: The Silence of the Lambs

1992: PGA Winner: The Crying Game

Oscar Winner: Unforgiven

1993: PGA Winner: Schindler’s List

Oscar Winner: Schindler’s List

1994: PGA Winner: Forrest Gump

Oscar Winner: Forrest Gump

1995: PGA Winner: Apollo 13

Oscar Winner: Braveheart

1996: PGA Winner: The English Patient

Oscar Winner: The English Patient

1997: PGA Winner: Titanic

Oscar Winner: Titanic

1998: PGA Winner: Saving Private Ryan

Oscar Winner: Shakespeare in Love

1999: PGA Winner: American Beauty

Oscar Winner: American Beauty

2000: PGA Winner: Gladiator

Oscar Winner: Gladiator

2001: PGA Winner: Moulin Rouge!

Oscar Winner: A Beautiful Mind

2002: PGA Winner: Chicago

Oscar Winner: Chicago

2003: PGA Winner: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Oscar Winner: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

2004: PGA Winner: The Aviator

Oscar Winner: Million Dollar Baby

2005: PGA Winner: Brokeback Mountain

Oscar Winner: Crash

2006: PGA Winner: Little Miss Sunshine

Oscar Winner: The Departed

2007: PGA Winner: No Country for Old Men

Oscar Winner: No Country for Old Men

2008: PGA Winner: Slumdog Millionaire

Oscar Winner: Slumdog Millionaire

2009: PGA Winner: The Hurt Locker

Oscar Winner: The Hurt Locker

2010: PGA Winner: The King’s Speech

Oscar Winner: The King’s Speech


So, in all those years, what do we see? Where were they wrong?

First, 1992. The Crying Game. That was a very tough year, with that, Unforgiven, A Few Good Men, Scent of a Woman and Howards End being up for Best Picture. But this, and 2004, we see the Academy skewing toward Eastwood. I can’t say it wasn’t a good decision, but it’s interesting that the PGA went with The Crying Game.

Then, they got 1995 wrong. Which, we can sort of consider that an upset, since Apollo 13 was the film that year. It even hit the DGA. But for some reason, come Oscars, it didn’t get a Best Director nomination, and then Braveheart just beat it. I was only 7 at the time, so I have no idea what happened. But it seems weird, since Apollo 13, to me, is the better film. Maybe it was a late surge?

They also missed 1998, with Shakespeare in Love and Saving Private Ryan. This is a year that’s considered a big upset, and it makes sense they missed this. That was one that was building for a while.

Then they missed 2001. That one also makes sense, since 2001 was a really shitty Best Picture category, where there wasn’t a set winner. Fellowship didn’t have a shot (since, what were they gonna do, give all three films Best Picture?), which left A Beautiful Mind, Moulin Rouge!, Gosford Park and In the Bedroom left. None of those should have won Best Picture. (I’d have been all over the Moulin Rouge! bandwagon had they used original songs. But using preexisting songs is just like — I love Across the Universe, but it shouldn’t have won Best Picture. Same deal.) So I can see how that ended up the way it did.

Then 2004. That is interesting. I did not realize The Aviator was that strong a film going in. I can see how that can now be looked at as a big upset. I remember being young and being all for Million Dollar Baby winning, having not even seen The Aviator. I just remember The Aviator was the film, and being upset about it. And then Million Dollar Baby being what it is, I jumped on it the way the Academy jumped on it. I can blame my youth and inexperience. What can they blame?

2005. Of course. Everything was Brokeback that year. Strangely, I guessed this one. I called Crash come Oscar night. Called it cold, since I wasn’t into the Oscars yet. I just liked guessing them. I didn’t know all my stuff like I do now. I just remember watching Nicholson come out to read it and going, “He’s gonna say Crash.” And then he did. But yeah — this makes sense. Not that I think Brokeback should have won either, it’s just — it makes sense. (Man, that category sucked.)

2006. This one’s interesting. I wonder why they went with Little Miss Sunshine. I mean, I love that film, but — it’s strange. I’d have thought they’d have went with Babel. But in a way, I’m glad they didn’t. I guess this was one of those logjam scenarios, with Sunshine, Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima and The Departed all getting votes, and since The Departed was Marty (and was also really fucking good), I guess that gave it enough votes. It feels like that had a consistent voting base, while Sunshine, Babel and Iwo Jima only had pockets of people. Like, the Eastwood crowd, the arthouse crowd, and the people who like the uplifting, emotional picture.

And they haven’t missed one since.

(And also, just to get it in here, even though it’s not really major — with Best Animated Film, they only missed once. 2006 (the first year of the award in the PGA), with them picking Cars and the Academy going with Happy Feet. Another one I had come Oscar night. But other than that, it was Wallace and Gromit in 2005, the 2006 one, then Pixar every other year: Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, and Toy Story 3. So the PGA, who loves Pixar, going against them here is a sure sign of Tintin winning the Oscar. The Academy already showed their willingness to go against Pixar twice, with the first Best Animated Feature award going to Shrek over Monsters, Inc. (you think they regret that one?), and then 2006, with Happy Feet over Cars. By now, it seems all but guaranteed that Cars 2 won’t even factor into the Oscar race. It seems Tintin is a strong favorite, with Rango a distant second. Now, it really comes down to whether or not they nominate Winnie the Pooh. I’d really like to see them do that, even though I know they won’t. Oh well.)

So, while the PGA isn’t a guaranteed harbinger of a Best Picture win, it’s definitely enough to consider that the film to vote for, unless you see a definite upset happening.

But honestly, at this point, what other film has won enough awards to be considered an upset? The Descendants won the Globe, but so did The Artist. Other than that — The Artist has won every other major award, really. So that’s gonna be the vote from here through Oscar night, unless there’s a clear shift that takes place after nominations are announced.

So that’s it, folks. The Artist is the film, unless you want to pick a Hugo or Descendants upset.

This is exciting. I haven’t been this excited for a Best Picture win since…

…shit, The Departed? But even that wasn’t a guarantee.

So maybe… no. I haven’t been this excited in a while. Since Slumdog wore me out (not the film, the reception for it), I was hoping for There Will Be Blood in ’07, ’05 I was rooting for Good Night, and Good Luck, 2004 I’ve retconned and switched over to Aviator, 2003 was a foregone conclusion, so there was nothing to be excited about…

Gotta be honest with you, there has been nothing in a long time that I’ve been this excited for. The closest thing since I’ve been born is maybe The Silence of the Lambs, but I’m too young to remember that race.

So this is really exciting for me. That’s why it feels like pleasant payback for all the stuff they’ve done to me over the past decade. This is the first Best Picture favorite I’ve been legitimately excited for… ever.

And there’s a very good chance it won’t be ruined for me. Even if, by some chance, The Descendants does win Best Picture, it’ll just be a let down. I won’t even be pissed, I’ll just be disappointed (because I’m conditioned to see things like that coming and expect them a little bit).

But for now, it’s looking good. Here’s hoping it stays that way.

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6 responses

  1. BlueFox94

    Great analysis, as always :D

    I’m curious about “THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN”, its being stop-motion. Didn’t AMPAS establish rules last year that stop-motion is not technically animation (since it is not a frame-by-frame filmmaking technique)? Nominating “… TINTIN” just does not make any sense.

    And, you know what, I have been watching and reading many Oscar commentaries and lookbacks on last year’s animated films and I can only think of ONE GUY who caught that “… TINTIN” is not allowed to be nominated for Best Animated Feature. Have you noticed that oddity? O_o

    January 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm

  2. You mean motion-capture, right? Because wasn’t Coraline stop-motion?

    Plus the Academy already shortlisted it. It would have been ruled ineligible months ago if it weren’t.

    Wikipedia says: “In 2010 the Academy slated a new rule regarding the Motion Capture technique employed in films such as Disney’s A Christmas Carol from Robert Zemeckis and The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn from Steven Spielberg, and how they might not be eligible in this category in the future. This rule was possibly made to prevent live action films that heavily relied on motion capture, such as James Cameron’s Avatar, from getting in.”

    But to me, the characters in Tintin were so clearly made to be animated that it was let on. I think they meant that they didn’t want films like A Christmas Carol to get on, which are primarily live-action, but animated over that. Tintin, to me, felt like an animated movie all the way. I bow to the shortlist. If it’s on, it’s on.

    January 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    • BlueFox94

      I apologize for the mix-up. Yeah, I meant motion-capture, not stop-motion.

      Still, as much as I enjoyed “THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN” and how “animated” it felt, rules are still rules and the film is still motion-capture. Why AMPAS shortlisted it despite their recent rule regarding animated films is still beyond me.

      *sigh* One of the many ways the Academy just perplexes me in the way they nominate… ^_^

      January 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      • I’m actually happy to have it on this year. Because I really don’t want to see Cars 2 take it. And I know the Academy will got with Cars over Rango if they had the chance. So I’m glad Tintin can muscle out the competition. The last thing I want is Puss in Boots or Kung Fu Panda (or god forbid, Rio) to take it. And I know they won’t even nominate Winnie the Pooh, so to me, it’s just one of those things you don’t need to think about, so I can focus more time on what the hell they’re gonna do with the Supporting categories.

        January 22, 2012 at 4:05 pm

  3. BlueFox94

    Fair enough.

    “CARS 2” should not take it, but it deserves the nomination to make up for the undeserving reception it got. I gotta say, it still was technically better than both of the DreamWorks releases this year.

    January 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm

  4. j

    One can love silent films but hate this one as an unoriginal watered-down overacted retread. Not necessarily my opinion, but others have it; just saying.

    January 22, 2012 at 8:16 pm

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