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…)
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…)
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…)
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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The MPSE Awards were apparently handed out last night. This has been such a weird season. All the dates these guilds have been posting for ceremonies have changed so many times. But whatever, we have winners and that’s all that matters.
Greyhound won the big award, for Sound Effects and Foley. Trial of the Chicago 7, very unsurprisingly, won for Dialogue+ADR, Tenet won for Music Underscore, Eurovision won for Music in a Musical and Soul won for Animated.
Greyhound and Soul are the two nominated for the Oscar and, along with Sound of Metal, tare the favorites to win. Sound of Metal feels like the more presumptive Sound winner based on its BAFTA win and feels more likely to contend at CAS for Mixing, which is handing out awards as we speak. So I’ll update with how those went in a bit. For now, basically we just found out that three of the five Sound nominees now have precursors, which could potentially be scary or could just be white noise distracting us from what is a really obvious outcome. Guess we’ll find out in a week.
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The ACE Eddie Awards were handed out today.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 won for Best Dramatic Editing, while Palm Springs won for Best Comedy Editing, and Soul won for Best Animated Editing. Oh, and My Octopus Teacher won for Best Documentary Editing. So, while this basically helps sew up two other categories, this does keep the Best Editing category wide open for next weekend, as now Trial of the Chicago 7 and Sound of Metal have split the precursors (including a tie at BFCA). Plus, with Nomadland being the Best Picture favorite, that’s also gotta be considered in contention as well, which turns Editing into one of those few really interesting categories that you have to put some thought into.
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Today is Best Cinematography, a category that was not overly straightforward when trying to guess the nominees, but one I am very pleased about because I managed to guess all five nominees. There aren’t many things related to the Oscars and guessing stuff that make me legitimately happy, but being able to guess nominees 5/5 in a category that’s not so obvious going in is definitely one of them.
This isn’t the usual flashiness we tend to get in this category, but all five are a real solid set of nominees. ASC, the cinematographers guild, doesn’t actually announce a winner until tomorrow night, but even so, I think we’ve got enough evidence to be pretty certain how this one’s gonna go. (more…)
The Annie Awards were handed out tonight. Not that they really matter, since we kinda know where the Animated Feature category is headed, but since they legitimately go deep in recognizing animated films, I like talking about them.
Soul won Best Feature, as well as Writing, Music, Editorial, Effects, Character Animation and Storyboarding, while Wolfwalkers won Best Indie Feature as well as for Direction, Production Design, Character Design and Voice Acting. The two films split every single category, with Soul winning 7 awards to Wolfwalkers’ 5. Just in case you weren’t sure that those were the two top Oscar choices.
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Today is Best Supporting Actress, a category that began as something you really weren’t sure about to now probably one of the safer categories of the night. Which is why I always tell people not to make any decisions about things until all the information is in. Too often do people overreact to one piece of the puzzle without looking at the entire thing.
A month ago, you’d have had absolutely no idea who was gonna win this category. Two weeks ago, you’d have went, “Wait, is she really gonna win this?” And now, you go, “Oh, yeah, she’s gonna win. That makes total sense. It feels a bit like the escape in Cast Away. Where all he had to do was get over those initial rough waters and as long as he could weather that it was all smooth ocean from there on out.
Anyway, here’s Best Supporting Actress: (more…)
Today is Best Production Design.
Funnily enough, when scheduling out these categories, I thought to myself ‘Costumes seem easier than Production Design, so I should put that first and then wait on BAFTA for Production Design’. Turns out, Production Design is one of the easiest categories on the night and Costumes is actually up for debate. Oh well.
Either way, we’ve gotta deal with this now, and based on how the precursors have gone, this should be a pretty straightforward one on the night. Which is good, since the more easy ones you have, it gives you more time to consider what you’re gonna do for the hard ones. (more…)
Today is Best Makeup & Hairstyling, a category that’s quietly gone over a bit of an overhaul the past few years that nobody noticed. Just three years ago, there were only three nominees in this category and no real precursor help to speak of. Now we’ve got it all — a shortlist, five nominees, three major precursors… and still generally the same stuff winning every year.
This year presents us with an intriguing referendum on the integrity of voters. Because we know they love actor transformations in this category, almost as much as they love ‘how did they do that’ makeup effects. So here, we have our classic actor transformation alongside a stunning achievement in makeup effects. However, one of those films is a foreign film. So now you have to wonder — are voters actually gonna watch all the nominees like they’re supposed to before they vote in this category? Or are they simply gonna vote for what they know and not consider the foreign film because it hasn’t come across their radar?
That’s what lies before us in this year’s Makeup & Hairstyling category. (more…)
The Costume Designers Guild handed out their awards today.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom won Period, Mulan won Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Promising Young Woman won Contemporary.
All that basically means that despite the frills of Emma, Ma Rainey has won every single Costumes precursor and is basically gonna win the Oscar.
That was easy.
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Today is Best Original Screenplay, a category I wanted to wait on the BAFTAs to go over, just in case they decided to go against how the tide in this one was already going.
In the end, we’ve got a pretty straightforward one, and it’s pretty clear which choice is gonna win and who’s gonna win if that one doesn’t. You really couldn’t ask for better help than that.
So here’s what this one looks like: (more…)
Today we go over Best Director, a category we arguably could’ve gone over a week ago and nothing would’ve changed.
But hey, at least now we’ve got both DGA and BAFTA in, and they’ve confirmed what we already knew, so this one’s basically a walk in the park and there’s not much we need to discuss. (more…)
Today is Best Adapted Screenplay. A category that, in the 90s, used to dominate the writing categories. Most Best Picture nominees came from this category. But in recent years, that tide has turned. And it feels like now most Picture nominees come from Original, while there’s always those other few who end up here. And because it’s not as overly stacked as it used to be, most years there’s been that overwhelming #1 that you’re almost certain is gonna win.
This year is no different, and we pretty much know where this one’s gonna go and we really don’t need to waste too much time talking about it. (more…)
So the BAFTA Awards were handed out in two parts this year, which is strange to me. I’m just gonna cover it like I usually do and run down all the categories. But some of these were handed out yesterday.
Either way, I’m curious to see what, if anything, this does for the Oscar race, since at this point most of my beliefs about what’s going to happen locked up (even if that belief is ‘the category is wide open’). Mostly I’m expecting them to either solidify the things I feel are going to happen or go completely off the board and not help at all. But we’ll see.
Here are your BAFTA winners: (more…)
And the DGA Awards.
Chloe Zhao won for Nomadland, which sews up that category in case you had any doubt about that. She’ll finish up with a BAFTA win tomorrow, now that she needs it, and we’ll have yet another locked category on the night.
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