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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Sadly…

We are in one of those periods where, as David Carr puts it, “the plot not only thickens, it morphs by the hour.”
Except that it doesn’t.
Lots of journalists want it to.
But, it doesn’t.
This is that time of year when Crash, The Pianist , and Munich are dead and Million Dollar Baby can’t possible beat The Aviator.
This is that time of year when people convince themselves that there is a real race between Felicity Huffman and Reese Witherspoon.
This is the time of year when they tell us that Mystic River has a chance to topple Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
Fernando Meirelles, Sophie Okonedo, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent in Iris

85 Responses to “Sadly…”

  1. Aladdin Sane says:

    It’s all spin to me.
    Back when I was 16, I thought LA Confidential could overtake Titanic for Best Picture…then again, I didn’t know too much about the trades etc. But up until James Cameron won Director, I thought, Titanic’s gonna lose in an upset.
    C’est la vie.

  2. Hopscotch says:

    The only award Mystic River might (I stress might) have taken ROTK was Best Adapted Screenplay. No one ever thought Picture and Director were in reach.

  3. MASON says:

    The Hot Blog — 12/29/06
    “The reason I am writing this is that I am finding myself deeply amused by this week

  4. David Poland says:

    And I still think Dreamgirls will win Best Picture, Mason. No waffling. But I have never said it was a lock.
    Is that okay or too gay for your tastes?

  5. Jimmy the Gent says:

    I agree with just about e everything Poland says on people’s personal favorites clouding their objectivity in anlyzing the Oscars.
    I always hope for a Bruckheimer-type of upset. I think upsets make the Oscars fun. It rarely happens. Even though I loved Shakespeare in Love, I was still shocked when Ryan didn’t win Picture. Crash winning isn’t really an upset, but it was a surprise for a lot of people.

  6. anghus says:

    I’m beginning to feel as if i’m drowning in a sea of really mediocre pictures vying for the last two spots. I mean, let’s look at the supposed best picture nominations
    Little Miss Sunshine – liked by everyone across the board, loved by few. It’s the kind of across the board hit that makes award voters wince, but no one can find a bad word to say about it.
    The Departed – Again, liked by everyone but the film elite call it ‘good but not great’. They call it a ‘Return to form’ for Scorcese meaning that it’s good but pales to his classic work.
    Babel – i have heard no one but critics and websites discussing the oscar race talking about this movie. almost zero permiation in the mainstream market. no one knows this film or cares about it. Totally a NY/LA thing. Zero resonance outside the award zone.
    Dreamgirls – the only film i see that has any real passion attached to it. those who love the movie LOOOOOOOVE it, and everyone else shrugs, not really understanding what the big deal is. I think it’s way too early to count out Dreamgirls because it’s the one film that seems to illicit any emotion in people, other than Children of Men, but we know that ain’t happening.
    The Queen – As best picture? I suppose if you handed out best picture nominations based on performance over rather pedantic material, sure.
    Letters from Iwo Jima – the frontrunner for a week, now barely even mentioned. It was dead on the table after about 8 days. I can’t remember the last time everyone got behind a film so quickly and then completely vanished in the wake of other releases.
    Pan’s Labrynth – where is the award buzz for this coming from? From the critics who’ve seen it, i’m sure, but the problem is that regular people haven’t seen it yet and the slow roll has created a lot of head scratches.
    So the only film that seems to be a lock for best picture that has any kind of die hard support from movie fans is 1. Dreamgirls and 2. Little Miss Sunshine. Sunshine gets the nomination because it is so well liked by everyone, Dreamgirls wins the Best Picture oscar because fans are so fervent about it.
    Am i wrong here?

  7. David Poland says:

    But you see, Hopscotch, that is how we choose to remember it now. But sitting in the middle of it, there was a lot of talk – in early January, not in February – about Mystic River stepping up and taking down the big dog.
    And even this year, people are already remembering how things have gone this year differently from how they actually have happened. Repeat a lie enough times…

  8. Wrecktum says:

    “Dreamgirls will win Best Picture.”
    “I have never said it was a lock.”
    How are those two contrasting statements reconcilable?

  9. MASON says:

    Exactly.

  10. Ian Sinclair says:

    Ah, comon Dave, you don’t want to be the only ostrich in town, Dreamgirls is sinking like a stone. You don’t want another Phantom of the Opera on your hands, do you?

  11. bipedalist says:

    “I am not saying

  12. Ian Sinclair says:

    Give him hell, BiP!
    Honestly, Dave, you know she’s got you by the short and curlies. Take it like a man.

  13. Josh Massey says:

    “Little Miss Sunshine” WILL WIN Best Picture.
    And I’m going to vomit when it happens.

  14. Jonj says:

    “This is that time of year when Crash, The Pianist, and Munich are dead and Million Dollar Baby can’t possible beat The Aviator.”
    I agree that people like to shake it up to keep things interesting. But it’s hard not to wonder what’s dead now that might come back into play. It has happened before. But personally, I just don’t see many major surprises coming our way. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending upon one’s point of view.

  15. martin says:

    It does feel like a Scorcese Director and Dreamgirls picture, but who knows.

  16. bipedalist says:

    The truth is, no one knows how it’s going to go until the nominations come in. That will be our only clue as to which film they like/love best. Also, what wins at the Globes/BFCA, etc.

  17. Crow T Robot says:

    Come on… does anyone really give a frog’s fat ass about a group that declares A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, Return of the King, Million Dollar Baby and Crash as the best movies of their respective years?
    I mean, why not just ask my Aunt Kathy for her favorites?
    Snap out of it, fellas.

  18. Ian Sinclair says:

    Return of the king was the Best Picture of its respective year. It was also the best-reviewed wide release movie of the year at both MetaCritic and Rotten Tomatoes. Just because you don’t think so doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. It’s just your sad little solitary opinion.

  19. Crow T Robot says:

    I liked Return of the King. But it was fat and unfocused. It won that year because there was no good argument for it not winning.

  20. Lota says:

    well Crow,
    this is exactly why I remain perennially disappointed by the Oscars…I’m almost never surprised by who wins.
    In a business sense the oscars–nominations and wins are good for business and important for business for all of the people in sets, costumes, make-up, sound, etc to get further work, to get more movies made etc
    but in the aesthetic sense the Oscars can be a cold experience, where the REALLY good films are hailed as good films years later, and many actors get “owed” a statuette in retrospect.
    I usually watch the Oscars with a bunch of Drag Queens (for their clothes and plastic surgery ‘critiques’), we each have a hip flask or large bottle and we can have fun Bitching despite movies like CRASHed or Beautiful Mind winning BP.
    But I do have that vain hope that surprises– like Mereilles being nominated–could actually be a shock win (doesn;t happen too often), so I hope there will be surprise noms this year. Oh please at least one.

  21. anghus says:

    i suppose once you kind of realize that the oscars are just an award show, and are rarely an indicator of what really is “best” in any category, all this sound and fury really does signify nothing.

  22. Jonj says:

    anghus: “i suppose once you kind of realize that the oscars are just an award show, and are rarely an indicator of what really is “best” in any category, all this sound and fury really does signify nothing.”
    You’re absolutely right, but we’ll still talk and blog about it endlessly. They must mean something or people wouldn’t keep debating them. I just don’t know what they mean. Perhaps it’s just the memory of that rare year when a film you (as in anyone) thought should win best picture actually did win best picture.

  23. Jonj says:

    I think people just expect more from the Oscars than other awards show. The Grammys are clearly crap (since a former boy band member can trump Bob Dylan). The Emmys are also crap. The Academy Awards is one show where people can actually hope to some realistic degree that what they think is the best picture has a chance to be nominated and win. Of course, that doesn’t make it a reality.

  24. Pat H. says:

    “Personally, I see it as a rhetorical question. Dreamgirls will win Best Picture.”
    Let me get this straight. You say nobody should even question whether Dreamgirls will win BP because it will.
    Yet now you ask people to believe that by saying that you are not implying that Dreamgirls is a lock to win.
    Interesting logic.

  25. David Poland says:

    How long have you people been reading me?
    I didn’t write, “Dreamgirls is a lock to win Best Picture.”
    I wrote: “Personally, I see it as a rhetorical question. Dreamgirls will win Best Picture. And part of that is that there really is no other candidate that has the weight or whim to beat a box office winner with a muscular presence in all of the guilds, two actors who are expected by most to win the two Supporting categories, and which is, first and last, a story about making it in show business.”
    It’s all very amusing to OCD me, but I also wrote: “SAG, PGA, DGA, BFCA, ACE

  26. For crying out loud: PEOPLE LIKE DISCUSSING THE OSCARS!! Snap out it yourself Crow. Deal with the fact that other people like it more than you and shut up. You’re adding absolutely zero to the conversation so why bother?
    Dave, how was Jim Broadbent in Iris not a factor? I remember he had that Moulin Rouge! and people thought he would certainly be nominated but weren’t sure what for? The Best Picture nominee or the film with two other lock nominations?
    The notion of Scorsese’s “return to form” still amuses me. How would they have spun that if Scorsese had actually won for The Aviator (which would have been deserving).

  27. Oh, and also – Dreamgirls is not going to be another Phantom of the Opera. That’s silly.
    I loved in your 20 Weeks to Oscar column when you said Grumpier Old Men was once seen as a viable Oscar candidate. That’s very funny. Very very funny.

  28. bipedalist says:

    You can run but you can’t hide, DP.
    And just to clear things up – Carr did not use my forums as a source; he doesn’t read them.
    “The only tangible problem Dreamgirls is actually having right now is with the same half dozen press members and a couple of awards consultants who have been gunning for it

  29. jeffmcm says:

    I think one issue that should also be raised is the question of media-induced inevitability. If enough writers and pundits repeat over and over again that movie X is the leader, the unstoppable force, then it creates the aura of fact. DP knows this; he brought it up in this very posting. He knows that sometimes, it can bring about momentum, and sometimes it can bring about resentment, and often both.
    But media hype only happens by active choice.

  30. David Poland says:

    Ah… so BiP, you are the only source on Oscarwatch he cares about…
    I’m not asking anyone to forget that I have had Dreamgirls in front. Not a concern for me.
    And if you think anyone is out there gunning for any film other than Dreamgirls right now, you are missing the story.
    Is there anyone else there with daily spin as unbelievably malicious and stupid as what we’ve seen on Dreamgirls in the last week? Do you think that is a coincidence?
    Gail Berman was fired based on Dreamgirls’ alleged drop in the Oscar standings? “Oscar Shortlists Seven for Makeup: Dreamgirls Snubbed” when none of the other BP films got nominated either in an all make-up effects kind of group? The Page Six piece on Condon?
    Just wait for the “Terry Press is leaving DreamWorks because Dreamgirls is failing” schtick. Of course, it won’t mention that she is already signed to handle Sweeney Todd – next year’s candidate – and that her choice to exit has been all but set for months and months.
    And again…. it’s all water under the bridge. When Dreamgirls cracks $100 million on the weekend after the nominations, that will become the story.
    But enjoy the Golden Globes. The story on Tuesday will either be, “Dreamgirls wins 4 Globes… so what?” or “Dreamgirls wins 2 Golden Globes… DISASTER!”
    And if The Departed or Little Miss Sunshine wins one… “We told you! They’re rolling!”
    That’s a lock. That’s where we are right now.

  31. Spacesheik says:

    THE DEPARTED was a thrilling, highly entertaining wicked piece of celluloid; nevertheless, it does not deserve to win Best Picture and Jack Nicholson certainly doesn’t deserve any kind of award for his usual ‘bad boy’ phoned in performance (they’ve given him enough awards for movies such as AS GOOD AS IT GETS). The only one who deserves a Best Actor nomination is Di Caprio but I think the studio dropped the ball on that one, focusing instead on Mark Wahlberg’s Best Supporting Actor turn (he was brilliant as the salty-tongued asshole but it was a one-note performance).
    IWO JIMA I wouldn’t rule out yet for a Best Film nomination, although you are all right, it’s time has come and gone; it has fizzled very swiftly for some strange reason.
    Now for the piece de resistance: DREAMGIRLS: a lavish, entertaining musical with some great performances (i.e. Hudson) but I fear alas it won’t be able to truly embrace Academy members the way CHICAGO did.
    LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE and CHILDREN OF MEN are building strong momentum and shouldn’t be ruled out as serious Best Picture contenders.
    BABEL is over and out.

  32. jeffmcm says:

    Iwo Jima fizzled quickly because it’s a downbeat war movie in a foreign language about the losing team with no big stars. At least Flags had patriotism and easier identification going for it.

  33. EDouglas says:

    I have to admit that I’m not feeling too bullish about Dreamgirls anymore, but that’s only because The Departed and Babel are making such strong showings among the guilds and Condon’s lack of notice among the WGA (i.e. his peers) is a bit daunting, especially when he got bumped for a movie “adapted from an improvised TV show.” The only BP winner without having a writing nom in the last ten years was Titanic… is Dreamgirls quite that size a phenomenon yet? I’m not sure. I could see the votes being split up between Dreamgirls and Departed and something else stealing the win.

  34. EDouglas says:

    “Iwo Jima fizzled quickly because it’s a downbeat war movie in a foreign language about the losing team with no big stars”
    Bingo! That’s why I couldn’t figure out why David and Kris were raising it over their shoulders like the new victor shortly after seeing it.

  35. MarkVH says:

    “And if you think anyone is out there gunning for any film other than Dreamgirls right now, you are missing the story.”
    My God, I wish somebody would start gunning for Little Miss Sunshine at this point, ’cause all this talk of it actually pulling out a win needs to be stopped right now. I liked it, but sheesh – do people seriously think this can/should upset for a Best Picture Oscar? Really?
    And from where I’m standing, the Oscars/Globes/whoever else are pretty much out of touch with what has been the movie story of the last two months – the emergence of the three amigos. If the awards season was truly representative of the tastes/trends in the movie landscape, they’d be nominating Cuaron, Innaritu and Del Toro for Best Director, and the films themselves would be nailing multiple nominations in addition to Best Pic. Innaritu’s inevitable nomination feels more like back payment for his earlier, better films (21 Grams snagged a few acting noms), so I really don’t think it gets the whole story. These guys are now.

  36. Ian Sinclair says:

    I see DREAMGIRLS scored a mighty total of two BAFTA nods this morning, none of them in a major category. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t a lot of Academy members also share BAFTA membership? Perhaps the most famous one I know of is Spielberg. More bad news for DREAMGIRLS in any event.

  37. Josh Massey says:

    “Return of the king was the Best Picture of its respective year.”
    “Return of the King” wasn’t one of the ten best movies of its year. Of course, that’s the fun of different opinions. Especially when yours is wrong.
    (The “Grumpier Old Men” reference stood out to me as well, by the way. What else was up for Oscar that year, “Congo?”).

  38. transmogrifier says:

    a) it’s kind of pathetic that someone claims something is definitely going to happen, and then claims that they never, rather than admit they are wrong.
    b) it’s even more pathetic that it’s the Oscars and anyone cares.

  39. Eric says:

    Congo was unfairly snubbed that year. It’s a shame that animatronic gorilla will have to settle for a Lifetime Achievement Award twenty years from now.

  40. ThriceDamned says:

    No John Massey. If you believe that “Return of the King” WASN’T one of the ten best movies of that year, it is clearly you who are wrong…not only was it the best movie of that year, it towered above the competition. The only thing that came even close was “City of God”.
    And since you disagree, then please post your top 10 for 2003 so I may learn the error of my ways.

  41. bipedalist says:

    DP, you should take a lesson from Ed Douglas’ book – he was all over DG and now you see he’s backing off – but he never trapped himself with words like “it will win best pic.” You have to always say, “it could win,” or “it looks like it will win,” or “it is the frontrunner” – but “it will win,” always a bad call this early.

  42. EveHarrington says:

    DP, you are attempting to reframe the argument. You’re right in that Dreamgirls is doing great in spite of all the negative campaigning that’s being waged against it. The people on this message board are not attacking Dreamgirls at all, in fact. On this very board, BiP has posted again and again that Dreamgirls has only gotten stronger since Christmas. It’s not about Dreamgirls. It’s about your backpedaling from unequivocally saying Dreamgirls WILL WIN to saying “I never said it was a lock.” You have to mean what you say, stand firm, or admit you spoke out of enthusiasm or whatever, but when you deny that you posted something when anyone can go back in the archives and see that you did, you lose some credibility.

  43. Me says:

    When I first read the column, I thought, “How can Dave say he never said it was a lock?” But as he’s explained himself, I get the distinction he’s making. He’s saying that he said it will win (and I think he’s sticking to that) because everything else has enough flaws to keep them out of a real race. But that is different than saying it is so overwhelming that someone would be ridiculous to claim that it won’t win (a la ROTK, Titanic, or even Helen Mirren this year), which as far as I recall he hasn’t really said. It’s parsing words in some ways, but I get the distinction.

  44. James Leer says:

    But that is what he said by dismissing doubts as rhetorical questions, i.e. questions that don’t even need to be asked, because they’re so far afield. If he says it will win, it’s without question, then the only way that’s not calling it a lock is if you have a pretty wonky definition of “lock.”

  45. Wrecktum says:

    Poland can parse and explain and deconstruct all he wants. Hell, it might even make sense to some, though I can’t wrap my brain around his argument.
    But the bottom line is, if Dreamgirls does not win best picture, people will be throwing the line “Dreamgirls will win Best Picture” in Poland’s face for the rest of his online career.

  46. Melquiades says:

    I agree that Return of the King was not the best of its year (I think it might have crept into the bottom of my top ten, or possibly top fifteen).
    The ending(s) alone keep it from being great.
    Better films that year (in no particular order): City of God, Lost in Translation, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, 21 Grams, In America, Whale Rider, Pirates of the Caribbean, American Splendor, School of Rock, Finding Nemo, The Fog of War, Capturing the Friedmans…

  47. Me says:

    James, that’s what I thought, too. But he was saying it is rhetorical because the others aren’t strong enough to win. It’d be like me saying, “Hilary Clinton will get the Dem. nomination because no one else is strong enough to compete.” It’s just an argument. Granted, I’m making a prediction, but I’m not saying that it’s a foregone conclusion by everyone. And I’m not saying, “Everyone agrees, Hilary will win whether we have primaries or if the party just hands it to her.” I think that’s the distinction the rhetorical remark was meant to convey.
    Wreck, I think it’s fine to throw it back on Dave if DG doesn’t win, because that’s what he predicted. But the distinction that he’s making (I think) in his defense, is that one is about his predicting skills and the other is about his ability as a journalist to report about the temperment of Hollywood.

  48. Sam says:

    There’s a difference between a prediction and a sure thing. I do sort of see how the line between the wording of Dave’s prediction of a Dreamgirls win blurs the line, but HEAVEN FORBID we give someone the benefit of the doubt around here.
    By the way, if I may pay Dave a compliment with the alterior motive of patting myself on the back, I refer us to the October 19 Best Actress chart, which lists four “locks” for the category, plus the subsequent discussion, wherein I agree with him and seemingly everybody else takes issue.
    Thank you, thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

  49. Sam says:

    Of course, by accepting kudos early, I’ve probably jinxed it. Watch for a surprise happen in that category.

  50. jeffmcm says:

    Yeesh, Melqui, half of those 2003 movies up there are not very good.
    My two favorites from that year were Elephant and Master and Commander.

  51. Melquiades says:

    Which half, Jeff? I enjoyed them all very much, and loved a handful of them. My point was they’re all better than Return of the King.
    I also liked Master and Commander quite a bit. Never saw Elephant.

  52. musealien says:

    To thricedamned: Return of the King is one of those movies, like Chicago and A Beautiful Mind that people already look back at and go….sheeeeeesh what were we thinking? It would never win today.
    Maybe they should start awarding Oscars 2 or 3 years after the event so films like those don’t win.
    (Although to be fair, ROTK is nowhere near as bad as the all-time worst Oscar winner, chicago.)

  53. jeffmcm says:

    Melquiades: Since you asked, I think City of God, Lost in Translation, 21 Grams, Whale Rider, and School of Rock are all overrated mediocrities.
    I like The Fog of War, Finding Nemo, In America, Kill Bill, and American Splendor, but ROTK is better than all of them.

  54. “LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE and CHILDREN OF MEN are building strong momentum and shouldn’t be ruled out as serious Best Picture contenders.
    BABEL is over and out.”
    Did nobody notice this hilarious reply. Cause they should’ve. It’s hilarious.
    Musealien… wtf? That’s ridiculous. I doubt anybody goes “Wow! We gave Best Picture to Return of the King? HOW DUMB WERE WE?!?!
    *scratches head* weird.
    For the sake of no reason, my top 10 for 2003 were Lost in Translation, Elephant, Kill Bill Vol 1, City of God, The Station Agent, LOTR:ROTK, Finding Nemo, Matchstick Men, Shattered Glass and Alexandra’s Project (aussie film) although it’s hard to fill out a top 10 from 2003 with titles I completely unabashedly unwaveringly love. As much as people have complained about 2006, I have more than enough titles that fit that criteria.

  55. Spacesheik says:

    Personally, I thought RETURN OF THE KING was the best picture and deserved to win, but you guys have to keep in mind one thing: the flick got Best Picture not only based on its quality but on the *overall* work Peter Jackson put into the trilogy; the performances, the special effects, the cinematography etc etc, over a decade in the making, a labor of love and the closest cinematical approximation to our generation’s WIZARD OF OZ.
    If you want to discuss Best Picture flukes talk about KRAMER VS KRAMER beating APOCALYPSE NOW and ALL THAT JAZZ, talk about ORDINARY PEOPLE beating RAGING BULL, talk about OUT OF AFRICA beating PRIZZIS HONOR or THE COLOR PURPLE, talk about BEAUTIFUL MIND beating LORD OF THE RINGS: FOTR, talk about CRASH beating MUNICH or BROKEBACK, but don’t knock RETURN OF THE KING for winning Best Picture when the competition was….
    MASTER AND COMMANDER
    LOST IN TRANSLATION
    MYSTIC RIVER
    SEABISCUIT
    …all excellent films but certainly undeserving of the BP award.

  56. ThriceDamned says:

    Musalien: if you’re talking about the academy looking back and sheeshing, then you may be right, I have no way of telling. However, the general public loves it as much as ever, as evidenced by its 4th place placement in the IMDB top 250 list of all time (higher than both FOTR and TTT)
    Unlike other such huge films in terms of both box office and awards, such as Titanic, I sense no backlash (finding someone today willing to go on record saying he likes Titanic is an exercise in futility). In fact, I contend that the LOTR series as a whole will only gain in reputation and will end up somewhat like the original Star Wars series, discovered anew with every new generation.
    For the record, my top 10 of 2003 would be something like:
    Return of the King
    City of God
    Master & Commander
    Capturing the Friedmans
    Lost in Translation
    Winged Migration
    Infernal Affairs
    Millenium Actress
    Lilya 4-Ever
    Kill Bill, vol. 1

  57. Joe Leydon says:

    So, OK, BFCA has picked The Departed as Best Picture. Does this mean Dreamgirls is toast?

  58. Me says:

    I am hearby saying on the record that I love Titanic. Watch it again, rather than just go by what you think you remember, and see if you don’t get swept up in it. It’s corny, but as one of the script writers of Casablanca said, sometimes corn works.
    But even beyond my affection for the film, you need to remember the context. Considering what a personal achievement it was for Cameron (him giving up his pay to make it), as well as what a triumph at the box office (a gigantic event romance to rival Gone with the Wind), there was no way anyone could say that wasn’t the movie of the year.

  59. EDouglas says:

    “So, OK, BFCA has picked The Departed as Best Picture. Does this mean Dreamgirls is toast?”
    Not at all… what does a bunch of TV and radio critic/journalists have to do with actors, directors, producers and other filmmakers? Sure, there have been many years when critics and the Academy were on the same page, but c’mon, there isn’t a Chicago or a Return of the King this year. Everyone is all over the place with their favorite choices. Hopefully all of the ridiculous critical support for Scorsese’s most overrated film to date will turn off Oscar voters who see it for the male posturing that it is. I’m guessing that a lot of the Academy like or love Babel and The Queen which will give them a stronger chance in such a weak year. Put it this way, the Academy obviously has an issue with Scorsese if neither he nor all of his pictures have been able to win in over 30 years. They’ll give him his directing Oscar and give BP to something else.

  60. Eric says:

    To suggest that the people that vote at the IMDB Top 250 list is representative of “the general public” is a little silly.

  61. EDouglas says:

    And yes, Return of the King was an easy victor that year because it was pretty clear from the first movie’s nomination that everyone was going to wait and honor Jackson and the trilogy as a whole if he could pull it off. I’ve actually one of those all-day marathons of the three movies (at Lincoln Center) and it’s an experience I’ll never forget.

  62. bipedalist says:

    “Not at all… what does a bunch of TV and radio critic/journalists have to do with actors, directors, producers and other filmmakers? Sure, there have been many years when critics and the Academy were on the same page, but c’mon, there isn’t a Chicago or a Return of the King this year. Everyone is all over the place with their favorite choices. Hopefully all of the ridiculous critical support for Scorsese’s most overrated film to date will turn off Oscar voters who see it for the male posturing that it is. I’m guessing that a lot of the Academy like or love Babel and The Queen which will give them a stronger chance in such a weak year. Put it this way, the Academy obviously has an issue with Scorsese if neither he nor all of his pictures have been able to win in over 30 years. They’ll give him his directing Oscar and give BP to something else.”
    LOL, because you know everything.

  63. EDouglas says:

    Put your money where your mouth is Sasha, I’ll bet you *and* Tapley 20 bucks that Departed doesn’t win BP. I lose, I’m out $40 to $20 each if you both are right. We’ll see how confident y’all are on the last minute about-face.

  64. ThriceDamned says:

    Oh Eric?…why is it silly?
    The IMDB is the closest we have to a democratic voting system on movies. Anyone can vote, and anyone can register. I find that the top 250 list represents really well what movies my non-cineaste friends love the most. You know..the people I would consider “the general public”.
    Please explain to me the silliness of my statement.

  65. bipedalist says:

    I’m not saying it WILL win but I’m not saying it WON’T win no matter what, which is what you’re saying. We have no way of knowing what is going to happen until nominations are announced. Ballots have only just been turned in. A lot of factors are still to be determined. But you coming out so sure it can’t win is a worthy LOL. I may bet you but not at this stage of the game, not after I just argued for LMS to win.

  66. EDouglas says:

    Sure, there’s a chance of it winning, but if it does win, I’d be embarassed to be a member of the Academy..not for picking it but for snubbing such great films as Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull and yes, even The Aviator. Are Oscar voters so out of touch that they have to bend to the pressure of the internet to finally give one of Scorsese’s films an Oscar? Fact is that he should have won for Aviator, especially with it winning so many of the technical awards. I doubt Departed will get nearly as many nominations.

  67. Joe Leydon says:

    Speaking of Best Director nominees — am I the only one who still thinks Robert Altman might get a sentimental mention in the final five?

  68. Eric says:

    ThriceDamned, your statement was silly because while anyone can vote on the IMDB Top 250, but not everyone does vote at the IMDB Top 250. For one, the respondents are self-selected. And two, the type of person most likely to register an account at IMDB and vote on movies is disproportionately likely to be a fan of that particular type of movie, i.e. movie geeks.

  69. ThriceDamned says:

    Really?
    Let’s take a look at the top 10 shall we.
    1. The Godfather
    2. The Shawshank Redemption
    3. The Godfather II
    4. Return of the King
    5. Good, Bad and the Ugly
    6. Casablanca
    7. Schindler’s List
    8. Pulp Fiction
    9. Seven Samurai
    10. The Empire Strikes Back
    Do these strike you as the kind of choices hard-care movie buffs would make?
    ‘Cause they strike me as the typical very general, easy, safe choices the general public makes. I’m not saying that these movies aren’t great. I’m saying that these are the movies that everyone from my uncle Bob to my aunt Fanny agree on. Sole exception being Seven Samurai (’cause it’s not even in ENGLISH!!). You’re still failing to convince me of my silliness.
    *For the record, I have neither an uncle Bob nor an aunt Fanny. More like the other way around.

  70. Sam says:

    I never understood how “safe” got to be a justification for some choice as unfit.
    Maybe “The Godfather” is so universally and uncontroversially accepted as a great film because it *is* a great film.

  71. EDouglas says:

    There’s an interesting thing about the IMDB ratings… if you look at movies like The Queen and Dreamgirls, they each only have 4,000 ratings… Babel has like 11,000… .The Departed has over 50,000 which is an insanely huge amount and it obviously correlates with the film’s male-driven premise that would probably appeal to the audience who probably spends the most time on the internet (see the OFCS results as proof). I wonder if more of the little old ladies who went to see The Queen or the AA audience who went to see Dreamgirls were online, both of them would have more ratings and be ranked higher. Still, none of the movies are ranking under 7, so obviously the people who saw the movie and liked them felt strong enough to post a ranking/rating on the site.

  72. Eric says:

    I said the self-selecting sample of IMDB voters is not representative of the general public, which is why it is silly to assert it as such. If we’re going to have a dialogue, you’ll need to respond to that in some way.
    You don’t really think that Return of the King is the world’s number four movie of all time, do you? Of all time? Or that Pulp Fiction would make that list?
    And furthermore, the basis for those votes at IMDB is never really explained and each respondent thus has a different criteria. Is each person voting on how much they love the movie, as you’re asserting? Or are some voting on the basis of the quality of the craft, while some others are voting on the political content of the movie? I “love” Bill & Ted, for example, but I wouldn’t give it a 10.
    Asserting a movie’s quality based solely on its IMDB ranking is silly, a metric almost as arbitrary in this discussion as success at the box office.

  73. ThriceDamned says:

    Okay, a couple of points..
    First of all, Sam, The Godfather IS a great movie. To quote myself “I’m not saying that these movies aren’t great. I’m saying that these are the movies that everyone from my uncle Bob to my aunt Fanny agree on”. I happen to think that the IMDB top 10 list contains some truly great movies.
    Secondly, Eric, you still haven’t said WHY the IMDB list isn’t selective of the general audience. Just because you don’t know the basis of how each person sets down their vote?..would you know that in any other form of survey? Some films I like for their artistry, others for their story, other’s for their dialogue, other’s for their political convictions. The fact that I like movies for different reasons each one, doesn’t invalidate my list if I were to make one. There is no unequivocal level playing field from which all movies should be judged.
    Now, I’m not in a position to quote a general survey among the populace, but I remain convinced that if you did conduct one, you’d end up with something very, very similar to the IMDB list. Those are simply the movies that the greatest number of people connect with.
    Of course I’m not necessarily saying that ROTK is the nr. 4 greatest movie of all time (although it is somewhere in my top 20) or any of them. That’s the point. If I, a guy who has seen thousands of films would make a top 100 list, it would no doubt look a lot different and more eclectic than the IMDB list. And until there is a super-survey with hundreds of thousands of participants from all walks of life is held every year to reeealllly ascertain which movies are in favor, I will continue to look at the IMDB top list as the best indicator we have.

  74. Eric says:

    You’re not really reading what I’m saying. The IMDB list isn’t “selective” of the general audience because the people who choose to vote there are not a truly representative of the general audience. It is a self-selected population– of people who choose to register at IMDB and take the time to vote.
    And yes, you can have many reasons for voting the way you do. I never said otherwise, and you prove my point by listing yours. What I did say is that those various reasons are too complicated and undefined to simply declare “the general public loves it as much as ever.”
    So, let’s repeat my two points: It’s not “the general public” that’s voting, and you can’t necessarily attribute those votes to “love.” And thus any assertion that the list accurately reflects the sentiments of “the general public,” to the degree that you could win an argument simply by citing them, is silly.

  75. ThriceDamned says:

    Funny. I wasn’t trying to win any argument. I thought we were just having a discussion, not an argument. All I was saying is what I believe to be right which is that the IMDB list is a good indicating list of what the general public, self selecting or not, likes to see in a movie. In the absence of a better, more sophisticated way of finding out, I will continue to do so.
    If you believe otherwise, fine, doesn’t affect me at all. Certainly not to the degree that I feel a need to win any “argument” about it.
    However, you seem to have a different view of the word “love a movie” than I do. If a movie has all or even any of those things I mentioned, I am inclined to “love” it. Perhaps you feel admiration or some other feeling, in which case we are simply operating from different assumptions.

  76. Eric says:

    You were trying to win an argument, actually. You said “No John Massey. If you believe that ‘Return of the King’ WASN’T one of the ten best movies of that year, it is clearly you who are wrong…not only was it the best movie of that year, it towered above the competition. And since you disagree, then please post your top 10 for 2003 so I may learn the error of my ways.”
    Sounds argumentative to me, and just a little condescending, too. And you backed it up later with the IMDB list thing, which was, as I said, silly, and is how we got here now.

  77. Joe Leydon says:

    As I posted on another thread: Before I entered academia, a friend warned me that the battles would be all the more vicious there because the stakes were so small. I wonder if something similar could be said about the clashes that often occur on this blog. (And, no, I’m saying I always consider myself above the nasty fray.)

  78. Eric says:

    Well, Joe, just saying what you said is, in and of itself, a little snippety. But you have a point. In my defense, I’ll just note that I said one small thing, and simply elaborated upon it when I was asked to.

  79. ThriceDamned says:

    In case you didn’t read what John Massey wrote, let me quote:
    “”Return of the King” wasn’t one of the ten best movies of its year. Of course, that’s the fun of different opinions. Especially when yours is wrong.”
    That statement is what rubbed me the wrong way and why I joined in in the first place. Against John Massey I will admit I was feeling argumentative and perhaps a little condescending. But hey, he started it.
    However, against you I am not trying to win any argument. Even though I think your constant use of the word “silly” is a bit condescending (since we started flinging that word around), I have deliberately not taken any insult, since I was operating under the assumption that we were simply having a discussion about something upon which we disagreed.

  80. Eric says:

    Fair enough. I didn’t think I was involved in the argument per se, as I don’t have a very strong opinion about Return of the King one way or another. I was, um, arguing about the argument.
    I think we can call it quits here. And team up against Joe Leydon.

  81. ThriceDamned says:

    Alright then. Fair enough.

  82. Joe Leydon says:

    Hey, leave me out of this. I’ve never even seen Return of the King.

  83. Eric says:

    Really? That seems like one of those things you’d be obligated to see as a critic, even if you don’t really want to.

  84. Joe Leydon says:

    I saw the first Lord of the Rings movie. That was enough for me. I didn’t hate it. But the magic didn’t happen for me. Same thing with Harry Potter — I saw one, and that was quite enough. Life is short, and you have to set priorities. I don’t see every slasher movie that comes along, either.

  85. jeffmcm says:

    There are plenty of people (I’m not one) who would feel insulted at the comparison of their beloved Harry Potter or LOTR movies with any old slasher movie.

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