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Author Topic: 2016 Academy Awards Thread  (Read 27126 times)
The Schofield Kid
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« on: January 15, 2016, 01:27:14 AM »

We usually don't start this thread till a week before the big show but with the nominations announced earlier today, some of us might like to speculate on the awards.

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Best Picture

The Big Short – Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner
Bridge of Spies – Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt, and Kristie Macosko Krieger
Brooklyn – Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey
Mad Max: Fury Road – Doug Mitchell and George Miller
The Martian – Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam
The Revenant – Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon
Room – Ed Guiney
Spotlight – Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust


Best Director

Lenny Abrahamson – Room
Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
Adam McKay – The Big Short
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road


Best Actor

Bryan Cranston – Trumbo as Dalton Trumbo
Matt Damon – The Martian as Mark Watney
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant as Hugh Glass
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs as Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl as Lili Elbe / Einar Wegener


Best Actress

Cate Blanchett – Carol as Carol Aird
Brie Larson – Room as Joy "Ma" Newsome
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy as Joy Mangano
Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years as Kate Mercer
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn as Eilis Lacey


Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale – The Big Short as Michael Burry
Tom Hardy – The Revenant as John Fitzgerald
Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight as Michael Rezendes
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies as Rudolf Abel
Sylvester Stallone – Creed as Rocky Balboa


Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight as Daisy Domergue
Rooney Mara – Carol as Therese Belivet
Rachel McAdams – Spotlight as Sacha Pfeiffer
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl as Gerda Wegener
Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs as Joanna Hoffman


Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies – Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Ex Machina – Alex Garland
Inside Out – Josh Cooley, Ronnie del Carmen, Pete Docter and Meg LeFauve
Spotlight – Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
Straight Outta Compton – Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus


Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short – Adam McKay and Charles Randolph from The Big Short by Michael Lewis
Brooklyn – Nick Hornby from Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
Carol – Phyllis Nagy from The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
The Martian – Drew Goddard from The Martian by Andy Weir
Room – Emma Donoghue from Room by Emma Donoghue


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/88th_Academy_Awards
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2016, 02:53:06 AM »

Thanks, SK! :) If anyone wants a link to the official websites ... (which I also found on Wikipedia ... )


   
   
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Rawhide7
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2016, 02:57:54 AM »

Thanks SK and KC.
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2016, 07:45:59 AM »

I plan on seeing The Revenant soon--maybe in a couple days. Of course I could mention this in the 2015 movie discussion thread as well... :D  But it does have the most nominations. I think it looks intense, and apparently the experience of filming it was pretty intense as well.

It's fun seeing Mad Max on the best picture nomination list! I liked it a lot and have been wanting to watch it again. The Martian was also another one of my favorite movies from last year (though I think I accidentally left it off my list when I mentioned my favorite movies from 2015 in the discussion thread).
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2016, 06:52:59 PM »

Of the nominees for Best Picture, I've seen 4 of the movies: "Spotlight," which was my favorite movie of the year, "Bridge of Spies," "Room," and "The Martian."

I'm rooting for "Spotlight" to win everything that it's nominated for. I also want to congratulate Rachel McAdams for her Best Supporting Actress nomination. I did not expect her to be nominated. Since she's gorgeous, and she is often relegated to forgettable roles where she plays the romantic love interest, I don't think she's given the respect she deserves as an actress. So I was very happy to see her nominated for "Spotlight."

I've watched interviews with the Spotlight team, and she was a great choice for journalist Sacha Pfeiffer. Sacha Pfeiffer has spoken often about how impressed she was with Rachel and how much work she put into portraying her, and that shows when you compare Rachel's performance with the real person. I am hoping that with this nomination that her peers are beginning to value the talents that she has, and that this nomination will help her to secure better roles in the future! :)
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2016, 06:21:27 PM »

What about everyone else? Which movies and/or performances are you rooting for this year?
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2016, 12:54:59 AM »

I haven't seen The Revenant. That's got to be the favorite by a long margin. Of those I have seen, my favorite is The Big Short followed by Spotlight. Also looking forward to Room.
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2016, 04:06:13 AM »

I'm rooting for Sly to win for Creed, Leonardo for the Relatvent, Rachel McAdams for Spotlight, Steven Speilberg for Bridges Of Spies and... John Williams for Star Wars!!!   (Quite surprised Harrison or any of the cast isn't nominated, or its director either)
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2016, 05:32:43 AM »

Love me some cinematography!

Poor Roger Deakins. He is one of the best at his art and has lasted long enough to become one of the true elder statesman in his business, but despite working with filmmakers like Joel & Ethan Coen, Martin Scorsese, and Denis Villeneuve, Mr. Deakins has not yet managed to win an Oscar for Best Cinematography. Sicario marks his thirteenth nomination! Unless he drops dead, he will win one of these eventually. But not this year. Again.

With his long white hair, Robert Richardson could be considered an elder statesman of cinematography, and boy is he still in his prime. Unlike Deakins, Richardson has won before. Three times, actually: Oliver Stone's JFK and Scorsese's The Aviator and Hugo. He has five other nominations, including Tarantino's previous two flicks Django Unchained and Inglorious Basterds. Working in full 70mm must have been a joy worth every challenge it presented, but he has the bad luck of this work coming in the same year as that OTHER snowbound Western. His ninth nomination won't bring him his fourth win, but at only sixty years old he should have many, many more nominations and maybe even a couple more wins coming, especially if he keeps working with the likes of Tarantino and Scorsese.

I like Ed Lachman a lot. Going back to the beginning of his career in the 1980s with films like David Byrne's True Stories, Mira Nair's Mississippi Masala, and Paul Schrader's Light Sleeper, then teaming with Soderbergh for The Limey (still my favorite from Lachman) and Erin Brockovich before his first collaboration with Todd Haynes in Far From Heaven. They subsequently paired for the Bob Dylan piece I'm Not There and the HBO mini-series "Mildred Pierce". Carol is evocative of a pristine, dreamlike 1950s which is lovely and belies the nightmare of secrecy and intolerance the characters find themselves in (and less stylized than the colorful Douglas Sirk aping going on in Far From Heaven). But he won't win. His only other nomination was for Far From Heaven, the year Connie Hall won posthumously for The Road to Perdition.


Australian John Seale has been working since the 1980s as well, with his first two Oscar noms coming from Peter Weir's Witness and Barry Levinson's Rain Man, plus he also shot Gorillas in the Mist, The Mosquito Coast, The Hitcher, Children of a Lesser God, Dead Poets Society, Steakout, and The Firm in the first chunk of his career. He won the Oscar for The English Patient, was nominated for Cold Mountain, and helped establish the look for the whole series when he lensed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. George Miller's return to Mad Max was something he couldn't say no to as he came out of retirement to help bring the ambitious actioner to life. If this is the capper to his career, wow, what an amazing way to go out (the Depp/Jolie dud The Tourist was his previous credit, five years ago). If Emmanuel Lubezki wasn't the most amazing Director of Photography around right now, he may even have a chance of winning, but even as magnificent and striking as Fury Road is, this is Lubezki's to lose.


Emmanuel Lubezki is simply lapping everybody else in the biz, right now. He has been one of the best cinematographers for the past twenty years, but he is emerging as perhaps the cinematographer of this era. The Revenant makes his eighth nomination, and he has won the award the past two years in a row, for Gravity and Birdman. And now he will become the first person to ever win three in a row for his amazing work in The Revenant. Filming period pieces in natural light has been done before. A benchmark example is when John Alcott won the Oscar for 1975 for his stunning work in Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, no small feat with the lenses and technology available at that time. Lubezki and Iñárritu certainly have more impressive toys to play with, but having the equipment and using it to its full glory are different steps.

If you haven't yet learned the name Emmanual Lubezki, you damn well should. If you see his name attached to a project know that you are going to be overwhelmed by some of the most beautiful images and ingenious camerawork in all of cinema.


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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2016, 07:47:49 AM »

  Well now I who's responsible for one of the reasons why I loved the The Revenant.  I'm rooting for it to clean up at the Academy Awards.  I don't want to spoil the ending, so I'll just say that the final 15 minutes of the movie was so beautifully shot that I was talking about that moreso than the plot unfolding after the movie with a few friends.

  Room was a great flick, and I'm glad see it get some Oscar love.  I'm rooting for Jennifer Jason Leigh for Best Supporting Actress, as I thought she played a difficult role (any more over-the-top and it could considered overacting) perfectly.  Straight Outta Compton was a great flick, though I don't think I would have liked it as much had I not already known the story of NWA.  Mad Max: Fury Road was the best action movie I've seen in the theater in years, and its cool to see Road Warrior movie in the mix for an Oscar.  I thought The Big Short was good overall, though I don't think it should win anything.  Spotlight is a really well acted, good procedural drama, but I wouldn't put it over some of the others in the running.
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2016, 11:13:45 PM »

I haven't seen enough of the movies to make a meaningful post here. But, isn't it great to see Holden post again? :)  You've made me want to see The Revenant.

Holden, I know you dislike the Rocky franchise, but have you watched Creed? If so, what do you think of Stallone's nomination?

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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2016, 02:07:53 AM »

I haven't seen enough of the movies to make a meaningful post here. But, isn't it great to see Holden post again? :)

Amen! (To both parts of this.)

Holden, I do hope you'll be sharing more of your thoughts about the Oscar race! Or anything else! 8)
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2016, 06:32:12 AM »

I watched The Revenant a few days ago and enjoyed it! And I loved the lighting in that shot that Holden posted the picture from. I wouldn't be surprised if it wins quite a few of its 12 nominations.
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The Schofield Kid
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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2016, 02:13:21 AM »

So who's planning on watching the big show next Sunday night (Monday afternoon here in Australia)?

I have to be home all day next Monday so I'll think I'll sit back and post the results as they are announced.  :)
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2016, 11:32:31 AM »

I might watch since "Spotlight" is up for so many awards, but Oscar prognosticators are predicting "The Revenant" to win Best Picture and Director this year. I have not seen "The Revenant," but I found the director's previous effort, "Birdman," to be unwatchable. I couldn't believe it won Best Picture and Director last year. Since "The Revenant" looks similarly unappealing to me, I'll be very disappointed if the Oscar prognosticators prove to be right. 
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2016, 12:49:34 PM »

I want Sly to win Best Actor in a Supporting Role, but that's the only category I am interested in. I believe the supporting roles are the first Oscars given out, so I might (if I remember) turn it on in the beginning.
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« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2016, 01:26:09 PM »



All signs seem to be pointing to a likely Best Picture/Best Director split this year, but as for whom that director doing the splitting is, there isn’t all that much mystery. Alejandro González Iñárritu has already won the Golden Globe and most crucially the DGA Award. The Directors Guild of America is by far the most reliable of all the pre-Oscar awards in predicting who will win the corresponding Academy Award. The DGA started handing out their award in 1948, and in all those decades and generations of filmmakers since, Iñárritu is the first person to win in back-to-back years, having won the DGA Award and the Oscar last year for Birdman. If he wins the Oscar for The Revenant, he will join John Ford and Joseph L. Mankiewicz as the only directors to win back-to-back Oscars (Ford earned his for The Grapes of Wrath and How Green was My Valley, Mankiewicz for A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve). This is Iñárritu’s third nomination in this category, having also been nominated for Babel (the year Scorsese won for The Departed).

Since 1950 there have only been six directors who won the DGA Award but then didn’t win the Oscar. Three of them somehow weren’t even nominated at the Oscars: Spielberg for The Color Purple, Ron Howard for Apollo 13, and Ben Affleck for Argo. The only other three to lose the Oscar after winning the DGA are Anthony Harvey for The Lion in Winter (Carol Reed won for Oliver!), Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather (Bob Fosse won for Cabaret), and Rob Marshall for Chicago (Polanski won for The Pianist). Will Alejandro González Iñárritu join their company this year? He could, of course, but the odds and Oscar history are against it. Vote your heart, vote your gut, flip a coin, do what you will, but if you vote for anybody other than Iñárritu, you are going way against the odds.

The other four nominees this year had never even been nominated in this category, and Alejandro González Iñárritu seems poised to win it in consecutive years.

Despite the odds being stacked in A.G.I.’s favor, if there is going to be an upset, the groundswell and certainly the film’s rabid fanbase would suggest it’ll be George Miller as the only other nominee with even a slim chance. The 70-year-old resurrected his iconic character and dusty post-apocalyptic drag race of a world for a long gestating fourth edition of the Mad Max series, and not only was it a box office smash but it is one of the best reviewed movies of the year, if not the best. Even its detractors must marvel at its style and use of practical effects, and no doubt Fury Road is a heck of a flick. Whether it is Oscar fare beyond the technical categories, where it should just about entirely sweep, we shall see, but I think Best Picture and Best Director are both beyond its leather-clad, chainsaw-swinging grasp.

I loved Room, and Lenny Abrahamson, who is no kid (he’s forty-nine), has finally arrived on the scene in a big way. He has made small indies in his native Ireland, and two years ago had a bit of an arthouse hit with Frank – that’s the one with Michael Fassbender as a weird singer/songwriter who wears an oversized papier-mâché head. But Room is dark and weird and unsettling and engrossing, somehow even doing all of that with the first chunk of it taking place in one teeny set, so I love that he got nominated. He won’t win, but I anxiously await his next projects.

Tom McCarthy became a favorite director of mine right of the gate when he made The Station Agent, with Peter Dinklage as a dwarf who inherits an old train depot and reluctantly befriends some of the locals. It is endlessly charming and rewatchable. His followup, The Visitor, was just as good, with Richard Jenkins as a professor who becomes invested in the visa problems of an immigrant he’s met in New York City. Win Win with Paul Giamatti isn’t quite as strong as the first two films, but McCarthy’s deft touch and Humanistic approach to characters made for another good film. Spotlight is different from his first films in scope and tone, but he does a nice job telling the story. He also has the odd distinction of birthing one of the year’s worst reviewed films, Adam Sandler in The Cobbler, in this same calendar year. Even if Spotlight wins Best Picture, McCarthy won’t win this year, but now that he is on the Academy votership’s radar, I hope he makes it back multiple times in the future, and that his next wonderful gem like The Station Agent won’t be lost in the shuffle, next time.

Likewise, Adam McKay may see his movie, The Big Short, win Best Picture, but there are slim chances that even if it does that he would win Best Director. Yet it is a worthy nomination. He is the former head writer of ”Saturday Night Live” who with his partner Will Ferrell made a comedy empire for themselves with the website Funny or Die and a slew of hit movies like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy and Step Brothers. He might not have seemed like the perfect choice to bring Michael Lewis’ non-fiction best seller about the housing market collapse that nearly cratered the economy to life as a narrative feature, but his comedic inventiveness is exactly what was required. A large and good ensemble cast is aided immeasurably by breaks like actress Margot Robbie naked in a bubble bath explaining the very dry banking concepts and loopholes that you must know to fully understand what happened. It was an unusual and ultimately winning way to adapt the material for the big screen. He will likely be rewarded with Best Adapted Screenplay for his work, and The Big Short may even manage to win Best Picture, but McKay will have to find another project down the line to bring his brand of storytelling to if he wants to win Best Director.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 04:34:06 AM by Holden Pike » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2016, 01:33:14 PM »

The Best Picture race, whether there are five nominees, eight, ten, or if they expand it to twenty, always comes down to two or maybe three films, and for there to be even three titles legitimately in the mix is unusual. Most years there is a clear favorite, if not an outright assumed winner, and one other that could, conceivably, upset it...though it almost never does. But this has turned into a year where three movies seem to have legitimate shots at winning, and possibly even a fourth as that wild card (in this case, very wild). Leaving the final award of the night an actual mystery, for once. Can hardly wait to find out which one it will be.

Right off the bat, you can pretty much throw out any of the Best Picture nominees that don't have their directors nominated. This year that would be Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, and The Martian. Movies without a corresponding director nomination have won before. I mean it just happened three years ago with Argo and Ben Affleck. But before that it hadn't happened since Driving Miss Daisy (1989) and Bruce Beresford (Oliver Stone won for Born on the Fourth of July). Before that, you have to go all the way back to first few years of the Academy Awards.

In 1932 Grand Hotel won Best Picture without Edmund Goulding being nominated (Frank Borzage won for Bad Girl), and at the very first Academy Awards Wings won Best Picture while William Wellman went unnominated. But for those first two misses, it should be noted that the format of the Oscars (which hadn't even been given the nickname "Oscar" yet) was very different. Wings was one of only three nominees for what was called "Outstanding Picture", though they also had a similar category called "Unique and Outstanding Production", which also had three nominees and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans won that. By the second Academy Awards, those two were combined for a single Best Picture award, with five nominees. That first ceremony also had Best Director split between Drama and Comedy categories, with five total nominees (two comedy, three drama). That was similarly blended into a single Best Director category in the second year, though they allowed seven nominees. The year Grand Hotel won, the fifth ceremony, there were eight Picture nominees but only three Best Directors.

So if you throw out those first two instances when the Academy Awards were still playing with the format quite a bit, in all the decades since it stabilized with five Best Director nominees, it's just Driving Miss Daisy and Argo in all those years to win Best Picture without a nomination for the director. Is it going to happen again? Sure, at some point. Is it going to happen this year with Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn or The Martian, just a few years after Argo? Nope.

To make the Best Picture race truly interesting, I think there really has to be the possibility of a split between Picture and Director. It is certainly not uncommon for those two awards to go to different films, though the norm is for them to match. So far in the 21st Century it has become relatively common, compared to the five or six decades that ended the 1900s, to have a split now and again. In the fifteen most recent Oscars, from Birdman on back to Gladiator, Picture and Director have matched ten of the fifteen years. But two of the last three were mismatches. Iñárritu and Birdman of course won last year, but before that 12 Years A Slave won Picture while Alfonso Cuarón won Director for Gravity, and Argo won Picture though Ang Lee won Director for Life of Pi (again, Affleck was not even nominated for Director).


The Revenant seemed like the immediate favorite when the nominations were announced, and since then Alejandro Iñárritu has emerged even more clearly as the heavy favorite for Best Director. But while The Revenant may well still win Best Picture, it seems that both Spotlight and The Big Short have picked up some serious ground in recent weeks, and The Revenant is no lock to win, even if Iñárritu does.

The Revenant is a very brutal, bleak movie. Not that brutal and bleak movies haven't won before, but in comparison to The Big Short and Spotlight, it is a cinematic ordeal. That is its strength, of course, that it is an immersive experience, and why the direction and cinematography are such heavy favorites in their categories. But will the overall Oscar votership go for it? They certainly could. 12 Years A Slave, The Hurt Locker, No Country for Old Men, and The Departed are recent winners that could broadly be described as major bummers, even if in a couple of them the protagonists actually survive their ordeals. So the Academy isn't afraid of going dark and brooding and punishing. But that does contrast The Revenant pretty sharply with both Spotlight and The Big Short, both of which are serious subjects, but not presented in the unrelenting style that The Revenant employs.

Besides its darkness and intensity, the main marker that has me questioning whether The Revenant can really win, from a Oscar history buff perspective, is that its screenplay is not nominated. As rare as it is for a film to win Best Picture without its director being nominated, it is almost as rare for one to win without the screenplay getting a nod. Doesn't have to win, but at least be one of the ten nominated screenplays. Once again throwing out those initial years of the Academy Awards where they were figuring out the format, in the many decades since then there have been exactly three movies that won Best Picture without their screenplay being nominated. They are Larry Olivier's Hamlet (1948), Robert Wise's The Sound of Music (1965), and James Cameron's Titanic (1997). That's it. Olivier refused to take a writing credit for the adaptation, meaning it is officially credited to Billy Shakespeare alone, Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music was a Broadway smash before it was adapted into the movie, and for all of its spectacle I think anybody other than twelve-year-old girls must acknowledge that Titanic has some absolutely dreadful dialogue.

The Revenant was partially adapted from a novel of the same name which tells a version of the true life story of famous fur-trapping mountain man Hugh Glass, who was indeed mauled by a Grizzly and managed through sheer force of will to survive after being left for dead by the men he was traveling with. The same core story was adapted into the 1971 film Man in the Wilderness starring Richard Harris. Iñárritu's film is extremely visual, and there are huge stretches of the running time where DiCaprio's Glass is alone, barely alive, hiding from men or animals, and doesn't have a syllable of actual written dialogue. Which is probably why it didn't make the cut for screenplay. But the question becomes is The Revenant so strong and beloved and respected by the Academy voters that it is going to triumph the way Hamlet, The Sound of Music, and Titanic did? I have my serious doubts. If it does, it joins that very small list. But if you just want to play the odds of Oscar history, there is at least enough doubt there to knock it off of its early front-running perch.

Which leaves room for speculation.


Speaking of room, Room, though it is nominated for Best Director, doesn't seem to have the proverbial snowball's chance of actually winning Best Picture. I like this movie A LOT, and if I was filling out an actual Oscar ballot, I may even slot it as my number one choice. But while I think it is fantastic that it got as many high profile nominations as it did, and that Bree Larson is the heavy favorite to win Best Actress, I can't imagine any scenario where it actually wins, here. It is one of those yearly instances where it is truly an honor to have been nominated.



continued....
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 01:34:32 PM by Holden Pike » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2016, 01:33:35 PM »

The Big Short has an all-star cast and it is on a serious subject, thought it takes an irreverent and inventive approach to presenting that subject matter as a feature narrative. Its director, Adam McKay, is nominated for both Best Director and for co-writing the screenplay, from Michael Lewis' non-fiction best seller. It is a heavy favorite to win Adapted Screenplay, but does that all add up to a Best Picture win? A few weeks ago, it seemed very unlikely, but in addition to whatever intangible "buzz" it may have as more people, including Oscar voters, actually get to see it, the feather it has in its cap that absolutely MUST insert it into the conversation for Best Picture, is that it won the Producers Guild Award. Unlike the Directors Guild, the Producers Guild does not have as long a history with their year-end award, but it does usually mirror the eventual winner for Best Picture. Usually, not always.

The PGA Award has been around since 1989, when Driving Miss Daisy won their inaugural honor. It also won Best Picture at the Oscars. In the subsequent twenty-five years, the PGA winner and the Academy Award winner have differed only seven times. Those differences were The Crying Game/Unforgiven, Apollo 13/Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan/Shakespeare in Love, Moulin Rouge!/A Beautiful Mind, The Aviator/Million Dollar Baby, Brokeback Mountain/Crash and Little Miss Sunshine/The Departed. So they had three "misses" in a row there in the middle of the last decade, with The Aviator, Brokeback Mountain, and Little Miss Sunshine, but none since (though they did cheat a bit and had a tie two years ago with 12 Years A Slave and American Hustle). Is The Big Short going to be another anomaly, the first such one in nine years?

The Golden Globe Awards that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association gives out are often not the best predictor for Best Picture since they have two categories for the top films of the year, Drama and Comedy/Musical (however they choose to define what a comedy is versus what's a drama). It is also a completely different and much, much smaller voting body than the industry awards, which have at least some overlap with the Academy voter pool. However, since this may be a year where the PGA seems like it is giving a different signal than other awards, let's go back to see what they did in January. The Revenant won the Golden Globe for Best Picture Drama, over Spotlight, Room, Carol, and Mad Max: Fury Road. The Golden Globe for Comedy or Musical went to the wacky Disco-fueled hijinks of The Martian over Joy, Spy, Trainwreck and The Big Short. Although yet another problematic predictor that is only accurate half the time, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Cast, which some like to equate to Best Picture, that went to Spotlight over Beasts of No Nation, Trumbo, Straight Outta Compton and The Big Short.

So though it won the prestigious Producers Guild Award, The Big Short did NOT win either of the Golden Globes or the SAG Award. Since the PGA has moved from what used to be five nominees and expanded to ten as well as moving to the same “preferential voting system” that the Academy started using at the same time (seven years ago), the PGA winner has matched Oscar every time. And though there isn’t complete overlap in membership, another reason the PGA is used as a great indicator is that they have a similarly sized voting body.

Since they have changed to the preferential voting, has a movie won the PGA and Oscar without winning a Golden Globe, SAG for Cast, or the DGA Award? No. The Hurt Locker did not win the Golden Globe for Drama (Avatar) nor the SAG (Inglourious Basterds), but Kathryn Bigleow did get the DGA Award (as well as the Oscar). That’s the closest a Best Picture winner has come to losing all of the other big awards leading up to the end, and still managed to win. The PGA is really the only award The Big Short has won, this season. Is it alone strong enough to float it to the top of the Oscar ballots?

So how about Spotlight this awards season? It did win the SAG for cast, which is right only 50% of the time, but did not win a Globe, nor the PGA, nor the DGA. But could it win Best Picture? For as inventive as The Big Short’s narrative is and for as immersive and stark as The Revenant is, Spotlight is very traditional, by comparison. It employs nothing especially fancy as it tells its story of the Boston Globe reporters who uncovered proof that the Catholic Church was well aware of the abuse problems and was systematically moving offending Priests from parish to parish. The cast is excellent, but in narrative and stylistic terms it follows a pretty standard formula, even if it applies that formula very well. It is a good movie, but other than the story itself there is nothing very memorable, cinematically speaking. In a year with some very flashy and intense choices, will this throwback drama be the one that manages to rise to the top and actually win Best Picture?

Spotlight is a rarity in that it is a positive story about journalism. Most of the great films with journalism as a subject use it as a whipping boy, be it The Sweet Smell of Success, Ace in the Hole, A Face in the Crowd, Shattered Glass, Nightcrawler, or even Citizen Kane. There definitely are other great movies about the good journalism can do, like Good Night and Good Luck, The Killing Fields and All the President's Men, the latter being the most obvious cousin to Spotlight. Most of the 21st Century movies about journalists seem to be preoccupied with relevance in a new media age while Spotlight really is old fashioned in that it just wants to show how a huge scandal like this can be revealed, piece by piece, source by source.

And then of course there is that freakiest-deakiest of all wild cards, Max Max: Fury Road. If Alejandro Iñárritu doesn’t win Best Director, surely it will be the 70-year-old Aussie George Miller who does. There were thirty years between the release of the third Mad Max film, Beyond Thunderdome, and Fury Road. Mel Gibson wasn’t back as the title character, but Miller and his mayhem were. It was a hit and incredibly well reviewed, currently idling at a massively impressive 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is insane and brutal and kinetic. Gloriously so. Furiosaly so. It has racked up all sorts of critics prizes and its fanbase is as loyal as a paint-inhaling War Boy. Its fans have convinced themselves that in this year when there is no clear frontrunner, something like Schindler’s List or Titanic, that George Miller is going to triumph as Best Director and that Mad Max: Fury Road is going to plow ahead and explode as Best Picture come Oscar night. That kind of passion is cool, it’s what makes being a cinema nerd fun, and it may increase the viewership of this particular ceremony, with fanboys and fangirls making a drinking game out of the evening, bolting back full cans of Fosters for every win it amasses, and early on when the technical awards are given it should do very nicely indeed. But actually winning Best Picture?

I really don’t see it happening. Obviously it can happen, it is on the ballot unlike any other number of recent blockbusters from The Dark Knight to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As I listed above when talking about The Revenant, yes, the Academy can get dark and weird in their Best Picture choice, from time to time. I mean Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture, what more evidence do you need? But no Sci-Fi film has ever won. As beloved as the genre is globally, even more pronounced over the past couple decades when filmmaking technology finally caught up with some of the fantastical things the genre can imagine, the Academy doesn’t go for this type of thing. Not in numbers enough to win. Yes, the cumlination of Tolkien's Fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won just about every award there is, including Best Picture, and Sci-Fi films as diverse as A Clockwork Orange, Star Wars (1977), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Avatar, District 9, Inception and if you want to include them Gravity and this year’s The Martian, along with Fury Road, have garnered Best Picture nominations. Even Avatar, which was then the biggest box office champ of all time having passed Cameron’s own Titanic, didn’t pull off the win, though. Classics of the genre including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kid, Alien, Blade Runner, The Thing, The Terminator, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and on and on were never even nominated for Best Picture. None of them were able to get it done...but it’s going to be the fourth Mad Max movie that does?

Mad Max: Fury Road is so much kick-ass fun, but thinking that is what the Oscars reward for Best Picture is either forward thinking or being completely blind. Movie nerds would absolutely lose their sh!t if it was called for the final award of the night, but it is very unlikely to happen. If it does, what a lovely day, and may your chained up electric guitar player’s riff echo to the gates of Valhalla. But when it doesn’t, and The Revenant or The Big Short or Spotlight is called, try not to break too much stuff in your house, or to road rage some poor unsuspecting mini-van in protest.

What about total number of nominations? Doesn't the film with the most noms wind up winning? As with most Oscar trivia, well, I mean sometimes, yeah. This year for these four I am focusing on, The Revenant has the most nominations of anything at twelve, Mad Max: Fury Road two behind at ten, Spotlight six, and The Big Short has five. Last year the Picture winner, Birdman, did have the highest number of nominations, nine, tied with The Grand Budapest Hotel. And in 2012, The King's Speech had the most nominations in the field, with twelve. But in 2014, both Gravity and American Hustle had ten nominations to 12 Years a Slave's nine. In 2013 Lincoln towered over all with a dozen noms, Life of Pi had eleven, while the Best Picture winner Argo had only seven. In 2012 Scorsese's Hugo had one more nomination, eleven, than the winner The Artist. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button had thirteen nominations to winner Slumdog Millionaire's ten. And when The Hurt Locker bested Avatar, they both were tied coming in with nine nominations each.

The Revenant may win Best Picture, but it having more than twice as many nominations as The Big Short doesn't mean one has a lock over the other.


Given ALL of that, with no obvious winner sitting there waiting to be anointed, if I had to guess...I think it is going to be Spotlight that ultimately prevails and is named the next Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In a year full of bleak stories up for Best Picture, it is the one that perhaps is the most positive. It’s about good old fashioned journalism and truth and the powerful being taken to task instead of getting away with it. It’s an underdog story in that sense, not as adrenaline-pumping as Rocky, but with a well earned righteousness of good triumphing over evil (or if not triumphing, at least exposing it). The Revenant is about survival and revenge, The Big Short a largely comic look at how things got so damn bad but while those handful of smart people figured it out nobody was able to stop it and nothing much has changed, and Fury Road is a wonderfully chaotic train of pure cinema that doesn’t stop moving. I think among those choices, the more narratively conservative and relatively uplifting story is the one that will rise to the top. It may not be listed first on a lot of those Academy ballots, but it’ll be second and third, and in a year where there is no clear cut front runner, that may be exactly what it takes.

Gonna be fun finding out, anyway.

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« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2016, 05:11:13 PM »

I want Sly to win Best Actor in a Supporting Role, but that's the only category I am interested in. I believe the supporting roles are the first Oscars given out, so I might (if I remember) turn it on in the beginning.

Ennio Morricone is nominated for Best Score for "The Hateful Eight." Wouldn't you like to see Ennio win an Oscar, Matt? I haven't seen "The Hateful Eight," since I hate Quentin Tarantino's films, but I'd like to see him win, since he's such a fantastic composer. He's 87, he's been composing amazing scores for decades, and he's still never won a competitive Oscar! 
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