Anyone who truly reads my Oscar coverage each year (which is in the tens) knows how much I love the National Board of Review. It’s my favorite voting body. They’re the only precursor group whose nominations/awards I actually look forward to. Everything else is marginal to me. The reason I love them is twofold. First, it’s the only group with as much history as the Oscars. And second, it’s the group that tends to be closer to my own personal tastes than any other one.
To get more specific about that first point — NBR started in 1909, when a bunch of theater owners banded together to show that films, which were looked at as a “lower” art form, and pretty immoral based on their content, to say, “No, look, these films are artistic.” So they would put their stamp on approval on the films they thought furthered the art form and showed what cinema could be. And in 1930, two years into the Oscars, they started putting out a list of their ten favorite movies each year. Which they’ve continued to this day. And unlike all the other precursor groups, they’re not just industry people (SAG and the other guilds) and they’re not just critics (HFPA, BFCA). They’re made up of critics and students and film lovers and people who just love movies. They are as locked into their tastes as anyone — I can always count on them to have certain types of films on their list each year — but very rarely do I look at their list and straight up disagree with more than one, maybe two of their choices.
Which brings me to that second part — I find that almost every year, their top ten films are almost all in my top 25 films of the year. Maybe like one of them falls outside of that. And when there is something outside, it’s never something I straight up disagree with. It’s always, “Yeah, I get it.” I always compare them to that good friend you have who also loves movies… sure there are gonna be things they like that you don’t, but you’re always like, “Yeah, I get it. You love those kinds of movies.” That’s how I feel about them. We may not be entirely aligned, but we generally agree and I know that, sight unseen, I already am like 70% in line with them. (more…)
They announced the Independent Spirit Award nominations today. And I, for one, am happy. Because as much as I’ve tried to get stuff done this year, nothing makes me amped more than the beginning of Oscar season. I don’t even have to try to come up with stuff to talk about. Pretty soon NBR is gonna announce, and then everyone’s gonna start forming real opinions and not half-cocked ones based on what movie came out first and made money, and we can start talking about stuff for real. Meanwhile I’m knee deep in watching everything and gearing up for end-of-the-year article bonanza.
But now, we can look at what the indies are doing, which I never find overly helpful, but it is fun to look at. So here we go. Your Independent Spirit Award nominees for 2018: (more…)
That’s another Oscar season in the books. I won’t lie — this was the hardest one I’ve ever had. Not in terms of picking and all that (because, spoiler alert: I did fucking great), but in terms of everything else. I honestly didn’t think I was gonna make it through to the end. I barely got my nominations picks done in time. I don’t even remember much of anything I wrote on here since early January. With the amount of stuff that was going on, I’m honestly surprised it all got done. Fortunately the one thing I was able to put some thought into since January was the giant picks article, which, as you’ll see… worked out pretty well. I will let a lot of things fall apart, but I won’t let you guys go into your Oscar pool unprepared.
Anyway, these 90th Academy Awards are in the books, and overall, while an entertaining night, and one that didn’t feel as slow as some other years (even during the segments that slowed the show down), not a particularly surprising one. So much of the night felt exactly like it was meant to go. And the moments where I was wrong, I knew what would win instead.
There’s not a whole lot for me to say about these awards. Or maybe that’s just the exhaustion talking, knowing it’s finally all over. Who’s to say, really? Let’s find out together, shall we? (more…)
So rather than just do that plain old “guessing winners” thing, I’ve decided to make my Oscar picking more complicated. Rather than having a score out of 24, I’ve now also begun doing this, which grades me on how well I can pick an entire category and not just the winner.
The way the Scorecard Ballot works is, you take every category and rank all the nominees in terms of their likelihood of winning. If the nominee ranked #1 wins, you get 1 point. 2 points for a #2, 3 points for a #3 and so on. A perfect score would be a 24 (meaning your #1s in every category won). Ties make things confusing, but it’s only happened 6 times in 89 years, so let’s just figure that won’t happen and deal with it if it does.
Ideally, most people get between 16/24 and 18/24 each year. I try to get between 18/24 and 20/24. So, of the categories you get wrong (say 7, for argument’s sake)… you want your #2 to win, so that way you’re only +7 over the minimum of 24. It’s like golf. Okay, sure, some #3s can win. It happens. But only like two. Then you’re +9. That’s reasonable. To me, a good year on the Scorecard ballot is a +6. +8 is fine, +10 isn’t great, but acceptable, and the higher you go, the worse you dod.
It’s more interesting to me, since I’m about the all-around analysis than just straight up winners. To me, the words “that’s a #4” mean something. To most people, they don’t. So this is my way of quantifying that specificity.
So, for those of you who wanna try a Scorecard Ballot for this year, here is mine for the upcoming ceremony: (more…)
I put up my giant article already, but for those of you who don’t respect me (or, thinking positive, those of you who already ready it and just wanted the cheat sheet version), here’s everything I think you should take and what I’m taking in a much simpler version. Not only do I give you the extended editions, but I’m also giving you the cliff notes. (What a guy, right?)
I’ll also, in about twenty minutes, put up my Scorecard ballot for easy reference as well. That is, for those of you who wanna attempt that way of picking the Oscars. (The rankings here are not the same as my Scorecard ballot, FYI.)
Anyway, here they are, the quick picks for the 90th Academy Awards: (more…)
Ever like something so much you’d do it for free? Hi, I’m Mike DiPrisco and I’m here to talk to you about Match.com…
Admit it, that was funny.
But really, though. I’m so into the Oscars I’m about to give you 48,000 words of shit you don’t need, and the kind of analysis that, if this were sports, people would make you pay for. And I’m doing it purely out of the goodness of my own insanity. (Mostly because otherwise no one would listen to it.)
You know all those texts you guys have been sending me the past couple weeks? Well, this is all the shit I’ve got stored up that I didn’t tell you about when I answered you. If all you wanted was what I thought was gonna win — here’s way more of that than you ever needed. And if all you wanted was for me to help you win your Oscar pool, then well… same. Though I’m also helping tens of other people do the same thing, so let’s hope you don’t know anyone else who reads this site.
I’m not so much giving you all the answers (because I don’t have all the answers) as much as I’m giving you all the information you need to make the most informed decision about what you think is going to win, and helping you along with what I, your friendly neighborhood ne’er-do-well, think will win. In a way, you might say I’m giving you all the clues.
This has become an annual tradition the day before the Oscars. In order move away all the subjectivity and negativity that happens when figuring out what should win and what’s going to win, I use the day before the ceremony to get away from all of that stuff and celebrate the films that are nominated for Best Picture.
We take this day to look at them as masterworks of cinema and not as films competing for a trophy. All of that other stuff — the analysis, the opinions — that’s all done with. Today, we take a minute, we stop, and we appreciate the films themselves. I count down my five favorite moments (or elements) of each of them.
When you take away all the awards, all the competition, and all the arbitrary decisions about what film is better than the others, what we’re left with is great cinema. That’s what we’re celebrating.
Our final nominee is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.