Pic of the Day: “I need the reason. Don’t say money. Why do this?” “Why not do it? … Because yesterday I walked out of the joint after losing four years of my life and you’re cold-decking ‘Teen Beat’ cover boys. Because the house always wins. Play long enough, you never change the stakes, the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big, and then you take the house.” “Been practicing that speech, haven’t you?” “Little bit. Did I rush it? Felt like I rushed it.” “No, it was good, I liked it. ‘Teen Beat’ thing was harsh.” (20th Anniversary)
So I know the Oscars are never a ‘fun’ show to watch. They’re always overlong and tedious and full of bad jokes and filler. But man, this year just felt so tedious, the way they did it. Which is weird, because I was into Soderbergh being one of the producers and loved how they set it up at the beginning. It started off so relaxed and seemed like it was gonna be something different and fun. Everyone hanging out at a cocktail hour beforehand outside and then going into that room and trying to do a different type of ceremony…
Then we had those overlong presenter intros that took way too long and didn’t translate as well in person as they maybe seemed when they thought them up. And then it felt almost like they were rushing through stuff rather than focusing on the right parts of the night. Somehow they avoided filler until right near the end, when they did that one bit with Glenn Close (which I didn’t hate, just because I know they have to do stuff to go viral nowadays, but you’d think they’d have done it an hour earlier, and not when we were all looking at the time like, “Okay, let’s wrap this up, guys”).
And then there was that ending, where you had three hours of Black presenters and Black winners and Black music, and an Asian woman winning and all sorts of diversity… and then the two older white people won to end the night. Honestly, how fitting. How ironically fitting, the Academy trying to go, “Look at us! We’ve changed!” and then the older white contingency still going, “…not so fast.”
It was the absolute perfect unintentional metaphor to end that ceremony, especially after you take into account how truly meaningless a lot of this is anyway. (more…)
Once more, unto the breach, dear friends.
It’s Oscar night, and we all know what that means: I get all analytical about what’s gonna win (and why) and nobody cares and only reads the picks. It’s okay. I don’t take it personally.
The goal this year has been brevity… so here’s my pick for Best Animated Short.
I really have tried to skip the rigamarole though, given all we’ve gone through this past year. I’m still gonna give you all the information you need to pick a ballot. I’m just gonna do it as succinctly as I can. Of course, last year I said that and still wrote 30,000 words. So we’ll see how it goes. (more…)
So apparently the Independent Spirit Awards were handed out on Thursday instead of today. No idea why that happened, since I thought it was a truth universally acknowledged that the day before the Oscars, everyone got drunk in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. But I guess they taped the ceremony like they did for SAG and just aired it. Okay then.
I refused to talk about it before today, though, because you just can’t have the Independent Spirit Awards properly before the day before the Oscars. It doesn’t affect the proceedings either way, so it’s mostly just window dressing. But hey, awards. (more…)
Pic of the Day: ♫ “Thanks for the memory / Of candlelight and wine, castles on the Rhine / The Parthenon, and moments on the Hudson River line / How lovely it was / Many’s the time that we feasted / And many’s the time that we fasted / Oh well, it was swell while it lasted / We did have fun, and no harm done.” ♫
And finally we get to Best Picture.
The funny thing about Best Picture most years is how, for the biggest category on the ballot… it’s usually the easiest to predict. It’s the category with the most precursor awards (5) and you can kinda, based on how all the other categories have gone in precursors and look to go on the ballot, gauge what’s most likely to happen. Most years there’s either a clear #1 that’ll for sure win or there’s a #1 and a #2 that could win, maybe won’t, but at least you know it’s either one or the other. I’ve had maybe one questionable Best Picture choice since I started doing this (2015), but otherwise there was either a clear winner or it was between two choices.
This year, it’s been pretty much a wrap from the word go and we haven’t even had to think about this category whatsoever. So even though I save this article as a culmination of sorts of all the other categories, I really could’ve put this category first and it’d have had the same amount of impact since we all know where it’s headed. (more…)
Today is Best Actress, the single most wide open acting category in years. We thought Supporting Actress was gonna be the difficult category this year and that turned into a veritable walk in the park compared to this. The last category I can remember off the top of my head being this wide open was maybe Best Supporting Actor 2012 (between Waltz, Jones, Hoffman, De Niro and Arkin).
We have, for the first time since Best Supporting Actress 2000, a situation where every single precursor has gone to a different nominee. Though whereas in 2000, the fifth nominee (who won without any precursors) wasn’t nominated anywhere else, here, the fifth nominee was. So you’re left with four people who split and the fifth who’s lost everything. Which means you’re either picking who makes the most sense on paper or which precursor feels most impactful. Which means… you’re basically just guessing and hoping for the best.
So let’s just get into the guessing. (more…)
And now Best Editing. This is one of the few categories this year that feels like it’s actually pretty open and can have multiple legitimate winners. Each year, you generally have your locks, your wide open stuff (which are usually the shorts and categories like that), your ‘it’ll almost definitely be this, but this other one could beat it’ categories and then your categories where you’re like ‘I know it’ll be this or this, but I have no idea which is more likely’. That’s what Editing is this year.
Let’s get into it. (more…)
Today is Best Live Action Short, which oscillates between years of an absolute clear winner and years of ‘fuck if I know, any of these five can win’. This year is one of the latter years. So, while most years you should be fully prepared to do horribly in this category because it is one of the most unpredictable categories there is, you should especially be ready for that to happen.
The thing about Live Action Short is that there are no precursor and it’s a category based entirely around people’s tastes. Which, if you’ve been around Hollywood at all, you realize that most people don’t actually have any taste (and if they do, it’s usually bad) and that a lot of their decision-making is reactionary based on what’s making money, what seems to be popular and what other people are saying is the best thing. So a category like this makes you have to think ‘okay, who’s actually watching all the nominees and casting a vote (whether it’s them or their assistant) and which seems like it’ll get the most votes?’ Which, as I said earlier… is a dicey proposition this year. (more…)
Pic of the Day: ♫ “Baby, look at me / And tell me what you see / You ain’t seen the best of me yet / Give me time / I’ll make you forget the rest / I got more in me / And you can set it free / I can catch the moon in my hand / Don’t you know who I am / Remember my name, fame / I’m gonna live forever / I’m gonna learn how to fly, high.” ♫
Today is Best Sound. We’re used to this being Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Which is how things have been for roughly 60 years. The Sound Editing category started in 1963, but after a few initial years disappeared for a while until Star Wars and blockbusters started happening, and it’s basically been a mainstay since 1982. Though they didn’t really take it all that seriously until 2006, since before then it had maximum three nominees in it. So we only had about 14 years of two Sound categories, five nominees apiece. And what did they notice was happening? By the end, nobody could tell the categories apart and the same stuff started getting nominated in both and then most years the same film would win both categories. So they made the executive decision to just combine the two back into a singular Best Sound category, which was something suggested by the sound branch of the Academy, so it’s not like they took it away from them or anything.
And so now, while we do have something new and we do have to figure two sets of ideologies competing in the same category (because remember, it was always — musicals win Mixing and war movies win Editing), we also have two sound guilds handing out precursors and BAFTA. So instead of all the cat juggling we used to have to do to figure all this out, now we have a wealth of information and only need to figure out a single category. We’ll see how these first few years go, but I imagine our lives just got a whole lot easier.
Here’s Best Sound: (more…)
The ASC Award was handed out today. Mank won, which livens up the Cinematography category a bit, since Nomadland won the other two precursors. It was always gonna be between those two anyway, but at least it now no longer looks like an abject rout.
That’s our last precursor, so now we have a week to finalize guesses. I’m pretty much set in what I’m planning to do, so I’m gonna be using this week to just confirm my feelings and finalize my giant article (which, like last year, is basically done already).
Oscar night’s a week away, folks.
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Today is Best Documentary. Initially I tried to schedule this as late as humanly possible because this was one category I had zero idea about what was gonna happen. But, in the past ten days, this went from ‘I have no clue’ to ‘Oh, this is gonna win’. Which isn’t a gimme, but it sure does make it a lot easier to think about this one and not start to get panicked that any one of the five can win.
I am curious, though, if most people have any kind of rooting interest in this category or even knowledge of most of these nominees. I feel like unless you went out of your way to watch stuff… there wasn’t that one galvanizing documentary that it feels like there usually is (even if that doc usually gets left off this category). But that could just be a product of what this past year was.
Either way, here’s Doc Feature: (more…)
Pic of the Day: ♫ “I keep wishing I were somewhere else / Walking down a strange new street / Hearing words that I have never heard / From a man I’ve yet to meet. / I’m as busy as a spider spinning daydreams / I’m as giddy as a baby on a swing / I haven’t seen a crocus or a rosebud / Or a robin on the wing. / But I feel so gay / In a melancholy way / That it might as well be spring / It might as well be spring.” ♫
The Cinema Audio Society handed out their awards tonight for Sound Mixing.
Sound of Metal won for Feature Mixing and Soul won for Animated Mixing.
After MPSE, we now have all our Sound precursors in and have our work cut out for us, as three of the five nominees have won something and seem to have legitimate cases to be made for them winning. All part of the fun of Oscar season, folks.
Only one more precursor to go, ASC, which announces tomorrow, and after that, everything is in and all that’s left is figuring out what you think is gonna win. Strap in, folks, it’s about to get good.
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