So most years when I write this article, I talk about how good I feel, how nice it is for the crunch of awards season to be over. But honestly, I’ve been relaxed for about a week. I finished my picks and all that stuff last Sunday night after BAFTAs. I proofread it Monday morning, and really all I did between then and now was maybe tweak a ranking or two (none of which ended up actually mattering in the end, which we’ll get to). And they shortened the time span this year, so the whole thing went pretty quickly and didn’t drag on at all. And now here we are, with the entire rest of February to go. This is weird, but also kinda great.
I’ll straight up say it — I put like no effort into this year’s awards. I kept putting off having to actually think about everything until all the results were in. I thought harder about what would be nominated than I did about this. There was only about three weeks between nominations and the awards, so I just let the results come to me and once they were all in, sat down and went, “Yup, that all looks about right,” and let the picks essentially make themselves and didn’t worry all too much about it.
And for most of the night, it sure looked like I might only get one category wrong of all the 24. That didn’t happen, but I still did insanely well (sorry to spoil it at the top, but I did). But man, for a while I thought, “There’s no way I’m gonna do well on this. I feel like I’m phoning this one in.” Because most of the choices were so obvious and I didn’t agonize over them like I normally would. So I figured it had to just be that I was wrong. Or maybe I’ve just done this so long that I’ve learned that I don’t have to spend much time thinking about it all. Which is kinda freeing.
Anyway, let’s recap the Oscars, so we can finally put 2019 to rest and close out the decade in film (sort of).
So this is the quick version of the giant article I posted this morning. The Oscars are on in two hours, and just so you don’t have to go back and reference the giant article if you don’t want to (though you should, there are nice colors and gifs and everything, and I put some real effort into it), I’m giving you the abridged version of it all.
I used to do this in two articles, but I’m just gonna do it in one, since I always put the rankings here anyway, so I’ll just make that section my official ‘Scorecard’ entry for this year. (And if you don’t know what that is, go read the big article. It’ll explain it. And it’s something I recommend you start doing if you’re serious about trying to guess Oscar winners. It’s so much better than just a straight ballot.)
Anyway, here’s your Oscar cheat sheet for later on: (more…)
It’s Oscar night, folks.
I’ve done this enough to know what’s about to happen. You all want my picks for what’s gonna win because I’m the person you know who’s stupid enough to actually put real thought into this whole charade and generally am right about all this stuff, and I like talking about this nonsense. So we have the trade-off… I write a lot and you pretend to read it while skipping down to what I picked.
We all know the drill — I’m gonna ramble for 24 categories, try to make sense of it all, eventually decide “fuck it” and leave it to chance, then I’m gonna go get drunk and eat Chinese food and watch the ceremony. Everybody has their traditions.
Here’s how this works: every day leading up to the Oscars, I break down each of the 24 categories. The goal is to both familiarize everyone with the category itself (how it works, what its history is and how you go about figuring out what’s gonna win) while also making it easier to reference when I write my giant article with picks and everything. A lot of the leg work is already here. But really, the goal is to see if there’s anything to look for leading into Oscar night that could be a shortcut to me picking the category.
What we do is — I give you all the winners of the category throughout history, go over all the recent trends if there are any, discuss the precursors and whether or not they matter, and then we talk about this year’s category and how we got to it, and then just look at where we are and rank the nominees in terms of their likelihood of winning (at the current moment in time. Of course, things can and will change going into the ceremony). It’s all pretty simple. I’ve done this every year. Everyone should know the drill.
Today is Best Original Song, and a category that really turned itself around after it bottomed out in 2011. Unfortunately, original songs in film are not always very strong, and this year in particular brought us a particularly weak crop, of which they left off probably the best song that was written all year. So we’ve got a pretty ho hum category and… honestly do you care? Let’s just get into it. (more…)
We’ll finish up today with this one, since I went over this list a few hours ago. I wanted to save it for the end, but the other stuff requires actual effort for me to speak intelligently about them, so we’ll finish with the last easy one. (Score is also kinda easy, but I also have to look at what wasn’t eligible and all that, so I’ll just save it for the morning when I’m fresh.)
There were 75 films eligible to get on this and they shortlisted 15 of them. It seems like a weak year, so I’m expecting at least ten of these to go to the ones I tossed on my list. Honestly, let’s just see what they did.
Here’s your shortlist for Best Original Song: (more…)
That’s right, people. It’s back!
Okay, so no, it’s not officially back. The Academy is pulling that same bullshit that they did last year and only releasing a shortlist instead of all the eligible songs and then the shortlist (cowards). In fact, that shortlist is due any time now, so I’m not even gonna look for it or any of the others until I finish this article.
All — and I mean all credit to The Wrap, who managed to get a hold of the eligibles list and released an article going over their opinions of each of the nominated songs, cannily putting the titles of all of them in the article, giving us a nice tidy list without officially releasing the list. Good on you, guys.
I don’t know what the Academy is thinking, not releasing the list anymore. It’s like what the NBA did that one time where they were like, “You know, we’re not gonna televise that All Star Game draft where the players pick each other for the teams.” And a lot of people were like, “What the hell are you talking about? We love that!” Because, if people like something, they can’t get enough of it. They want more. Though something tells me that was them trying to cover their asses so they don’t look bad when the branch does something stupid (as they usually do) and doesn’t nominate one of the big songs. But trust me, guys, Original Song is not the branch you need to worry about in terms of that happening. It’s Documentaries first and International Film second. Song is a distant third at this point, and potentially could even fall out of that spot, given how generally good they’ve been over the past couple of years since they updated that archaic voting system.
Anyway, let’s get into this article, because it damn well may be the last time we ever get this again, so let’s enjoy it while we can.
Here are all 75 eligible songs for Best Original Song this year: (more…)
This is the most relaxed moment of the year for me. This is the day your thesis is turned in and all the work is done. At this point, Oscar season isn’t particularly stressful for me, but it’s a culmination of two-plus months of thinking about this stuff. And it’s been something going up every single day since December. Now, it’s all over, and the books are closed.
I wish I could say I’m remotely shocked by anything that happened. But no. This all went about how I expected it to. A couple of minor surprises here and there, but nothing that far from the realm of expectation. At one point throughout the night I remember remarking to a friend, “Bohemian Rhapsody has won every award it was nominated for. It has four awards and Black Panther has three. Which is the most Academy thing ever. ‘Look at us, we’re inclusive! (But also we’re still us.)” Honestly, how could anyone be surprised at the way things turned out? I mean, I never am because I’m so deep into this shit I’ve figured out every possible permutation for how things could have gone. So to me, this is all, “Yup, yup, yup, oh that won there, which means this will win here and it won’t win there.” I was calling out three categories ahead when they announced a new one. That’s where I’m at. I’m almost incapable of being surprised by all this. That’s why I do the Scorecard ballot thing now.
Anyway, let’s recap what happened and close the book on 2018. (more…)