By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

THE MUSIC BOX THEATRE TO “OUTGUESS EBERT”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Chicago, IL, 2/20/12 — Last Friday the Music Box Theatre, via its social networks, threw down the gauntlet and challenged Roger Ebert, one of the greatest living film critics, to a battle of Oscar guesses.  After a period of what we can only assume was deep and thoughtful consideration, Mr. Ebert publicly accepted our‘foolish’ challenge.

On February 8th, as part of his annual “Outguess Ebert” contest, Mr. Ebert announced his predictions for the 2012 Academy Awards, which take place this Sunday.  The Music Box (and its fans) believe we know better.

From Mr. Ebert’s website: “In self-defense, I will point out that the deadline for my predictions was Feb. 7, with the Oscars more than two weeks away, on Feb. 26. Predicting so far in advance is a handicap, and as a result, you have an excellent chance of outguessing me. Still, this annual contest is fun and provides me with an opportunity to show how badly I can do.”

The Music Box Theatre will solicit the opinions of their over 13,000 Facebook fans and nearly 8,000 Twitter Followers in six categories to help make predictions to outguess Ebert.

So, while the winners of Mr. Ebert’s challenge could win an all-expense paid free trip to L.A. for a film premiere, the gentleman’s bet between the Music Box Staff and Ebert is simple… if the Music Box Theatre wins, Mr. Ebert will offer up signed copies of his books to give away to Music Box patrons… but if we lose, and dark prevails, Mr. Ebert will get to pick a film of his choosing to screen publicly at the Music Box Theatre.

That’s right, if Roger wins, he gets the Music Box for a night.

Here’s how it will work: From Monday, February 20th through Friday, February 24th the Music Box will post a Facebook poll each day, asking the assistance of their fans in making a decision in five categories:  Foreign Language Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, & Best Picture—at the end of the workday, the Music Box staff will make a prediction and award prizes to those who participated!

On Sunday night either the Music Box or Mr. Ebert will emerge victorious.  Tune in to the Music Box Theatre Facebook and Twitter feeds for all the fun!

https://www.facebook.com/musicboxchicago
http://twitter.com/musicboxtheatre

People are encouraged to sign up for the official “Outguess Ebert” contest here:

http://suntimes.upickem.net/upickem/contest/questions.asp?contestid=50026

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“Yes, good movies sprout up, inevitably, in the cracks and seams between the tectonic plates on which all of these franchises stay balanced, and we are reassured of their hardiness. But we don’t see what we don’t see; we don’t see the effort, or the cost of the effort, or the movies of which we’re deprived because of the cost of the effort. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice may have come from a studio, but it still required a substantial chunk of outside financing, and at $35 million, it’s not even that expensive. No studio could find the $8.5 million it cost Dan Gilroy to make Nightcrawler. Birdman cost a mere $18 million and still had to scrape that together at the last minute. Imagine American movie culture for the last few years without Her or Foxcatcher or American Hustle or The Master or Zero Dark Thirty and it suddenly looks markedly more frail—and those movies exist only because of the fairy godmothership of independent producer Megan Ellison. The grace of billionaires is not a great business model on which to hang the hopes of an art form.”
~ Mark Harris On The State Of The Movies

How do you make a Top Ten list? For tax and organizational purposes, I keep a log of every movie I see (Title, year, director, exhibition format, and location the film was viewed in). Anything with an asterisk to the left of its title means it’s a 2014 release (or something I saw at a festival which is somehow in play for the year). If there’s a performance, or sequence, or line of dialogue, even, that strikes me in a certain way, I’ll make a note of it. So when year end consideration time (that is, the month and change out of the year where I feel valued) rolls around, it’s a little easier to go through and pull some contenders for categories. For 2014, I’m voting in three polls: Indiewire, SEFCA (my critics’ guild), and the Muriels. Since Indiewire was first, it required the most consternation. There were lots of films that I simply never had a chance to see, so I just went with my gut. SEFCA requires a lot of hemming and hawing and trying to be strategic, even though there’s none of the in-person skullduggery that I hear of from folk whose critics’ guild is all in the same city. The Muriels is the most fun to contribute to because it’s after the meat market phase of awards season. Also, because it’s at the beginning of next year, I’ll generally have been able to see everything I wanted to by then. I love making hierarchical lists, partially because they are so subjective and mercurial. Every critical proclamation is based on who you are at that moment and what experiences you’ve had up until that point. So they change, and that’s okay. It’s all a weird game of timing and emotional waveforms, and I’m sure a scientist could do an in-depth dissection of the process that leads to the discovery of shocking trends in collective evaluation. But I love the year end awards crush, because I feel somewhat respected and because I have a wild-and-wooly work schedule that has me bouncing around the city to screenings, or power viewing the screeners I get sent.
Jason Shawhan of Nashville Scene Answers CriticWire