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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

20 Weeks To Oscar: Nominations Morning – Follow The Voting

A rather bizarre list… but not really shocking, in that it played within the lines that have been well-established for over a month. Within that structure, there were those that are more surprising than others.

For instance… the DGA nominated just 2 of the 5 directors that the director’s branch at The Academy chose. I will spend more time at some point today figuring out if that has ever happened before. But probably not.

The entire list of nominations is a checkerboard, which speaks to the mess The Academy created with the January 3 date (which subsequently changed to January 4 when The Academy bothered to look at the calendar sometime in December.)

An argument could be made that this is exciting… that the nominations being all over the place, with the exception of Lincoln, makes for a more interesting night. Perhaps.

But this morning, what I see is a bunch of branches getting different kinds of access… different percentage of voters getting in their ballots or successfully navigating the oft-broken e-voting system… and a big disadvantage to the latecomers. Django and ZD30 each got 5 nominations. Les Mis did a little better, but that is a tribute to the stunt screenings just after Thanksgiving, hitting the Guilds hard and fast. But basically, they got Picture, the 2 stars, and traditional “costume drama” nods.

It’s always a weird feeling to talk about any nomination as anything less than wonderful. These are all very, very talented people and the work is worthy.

But even though many will be quick to just move along, rationalizing every oddball angle of this group of nominations, it is a bit of a car wreck overall. It’s not like – aside from Beasts, perhaps – there is a single radical thing in the group of nods. But there is an incoherence… well, not unlike the Independent Spirit Awards, which has many nominating committees, the left hand never connected to what the right hand is thinking.

The interesting part is that we could see Lincoln lose in the face of awards history screaming that Lincoln must be the winner. But personally, I have never been one to enjoy rooting against (except for the NY Jets). I would much prefer rooting for something.

And so does media. So don’t look for much soul searching about what this mess of a nominations list means and how it happened. That would require journalistic thinking. And based on what I saw on 2 networks this morning, none of that is left in this business.

“Forget it, Dave, it’s Academytown.”

But if anyone is interested… follow the voting… that is where the oddness in this vote seems to have started. It will likely remain a bit of a mystery forever. The Academy refuses to be accountable, more under this administration than ever.

One more element that I am personally fascinated with… are the Globes votes in yet? Or will they shift their winning choices to better fit these nominations?

30 Responses to “20 Weeks To Oscar: Nominations Morning – Follow The Voting”

  1. movielocke says:

    big flub on oscars official website on the side bars part of the press kit

    http://www.oscars.org/press/presskits/nominations/pdf/85/85aa-sidebars.pdf

    “Kathryn Bigelow:
    First woman to have more than one directing nomination
    First woman to be nominated for directing and picture twice (only other woman to have dir & pic noms is Sofia Coppola)
    Only the sixth woman to have more than one pic nom”

    they also thought Maggie Smith was nominated.

    Apparently Bigelow even shocked the academy’s fact gatherers!

  2. movielocke says:

    As I said on the other column, I think Affleck will win the DGA now, just like Howard did in 1994 when he was snubbed for Apollo 13 at the Oscars. This is the biggest snub since then.

  3. movieman says:

    I guess all of those, “Is it too early for Bigelow, even Hooper to repeat?,” pronouncements were a tad premature.
    As was the constant referencing of the Academy’s delight in awarding their directing prize to well-liked actors.
    The Bigelow and Affleck snubs will surely go down as two of the biggest head-scratchers in Oscar history.
    But as a “SLP” booster, that film’s unexpectedly powerhouse showing (acting nods in every category?! writing AND directing nods for Russell!?) warmed the cockles of my jaded heart.
    Could this be the little-movie-that-could that upsets the seemingly invincible “Lincoln” march to victory?
    Or will they go even smaller and honor…”Beasts”?
    Or, just maybe, will all of the (inevitable) public hand-wringing over the Bigelow/Affleck/Hooper snubs result in a dramatic, nobody-saw-THAT-coming upset?

  4. johnrieber says:

    This feels like 1998 all over again – “Saving Private Ryan” v. upstart “Shakespeare In Love”. And we all know what happened there…

  5. Daniella Isaacs says:

    Movieman, you bring up some interesting points: First, SLP, more than LINCOLN, is in a strong position today. It earned ALL the major nominations it possibly could, including the seemingly decisive nod of Best Editing. Even though, for me, the two best films last year I’ve seen are LIFE OF PI and BEASTS (so I am very happy today), I’d be shocked to see either win the big one. It will either be LINCOLN, SLP, or this will be the first year since DRIVING MISS DAISY in which the best picture winner was not also nominated for best director.

  6. Daniella Isaacs says:

    As for David’s comment “the left hand never connected to what the right hand was thinking”, I’d say it depends on what you think the “hands” are. All the director nods match up with picture nods, there are no films with, say, nominations in virtually all the major categories EXCEPT best picture, etc. If you think the body is “director” and the left hand is DGA and the right hand is AMPAS, then okay… but that’s not really as accurate a way of thinking about it as one branch of the Academy being part of the same body as another.

  7. Daniella Isaacs says:

    Oh, and as for the “big disadvantage for latecomers” comment, AMOUR came out only four days before LES MIS and it far exceeded expectations.

  8. Jeremy says:

    Life of Pi and Beasts were two of my favorite films last year and I am thrilled that they are both included on the Academy’s shortlist. My prediction though: Affleck wins the DGA, the way Ron Howard did for Apollo 13. Who’ll win the Oscar is anybody’s guess. Also, upset Anna Karenina didn’t get more love, as it was my favorite, but it did well in the technical categories!

  9. Daniella Isaacs says:

    “How many things that never happen have to happen this award season before media stops singing from the old hymn book?”

    Okay, okay, okay, David, we know you’re outraged that Bigelow didn’t get nominated. But what exactly are all these things that never happened before that happened this year? Seriously, I have no idea what you’re talking about, unless it’s that the Oscar nods don’t match up with the guilds, which to me is… very little. In some ways, I’m glad they’re showing themselves to be their own people with their own take on things.

    If you think the practice of an acclaimed film directed by a woman being nominated for a ton of Oscars but being snubbed for Best Director has “never happened” before, see CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD, PRINCE OF TIDES, AWAKENINGS. Just because Sophia Coppola was nominated once and Bigelow won before, doesn’t mean sexism has left the academy’s directing branch for good. As for Affleck being snubbed, see APOLLO 13, etc. As for the LES MIS “snub”, that film really did seem to direct itself, didn’t it? That was its problem: no director on the set. (I was saying Holland was a mediocre director the year of THE KING’S SPEECH.)

  10. David says:

    As for rooting against someone, my daughter tells me we should never “boo people on.”

  11. YancySkancy says:

    Daniella: “Okay, okay, okay, David, we know you’re outraged that Bigelow didn’t get nominated…”

    Outraged, but apparently not shocked, Daniella–David doesn’t “do” shocked. :)

    I gasped at the snub of John Hawkes and the three “sure thing” directors; smiled at the inclusion of DJANGO for BP (and nice to see it in Sound Editing); was mildly surprised that Waltz and Weaver got in (or that DiCaprio and Smith didn’t, which ever way you want to look at it).

  12. J says:

    Looking at this, maybe the SLP marketing/expansion weirdness — that heavy press of early promos, even costly spots during football games, way before most of the country had any access to the film — came before the Weinsteins were deciding to refocus on a post-nom push?

    The thing’s been limping along at the box office, but everyone I know who’s seen it has really responded to it. Saw it with the extended family over the holidays and everyone came away loving it. (I have loved some of Russell’s work, and liked this flick, but nods in every major category?) It shouldn’t have been such a tough movie to market. But the Weinsteins seem to buy Oscar spots like they were Golden Globes, and maybe it was a case of stick to what you know.

  13. movieman says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the Best Picture nomination for “Amour” is kind of wasted?
    Since it has absolutely zero chance of winning in this category (just like all of the previous foreign language films that scored BP nods in the past), wouldn’t it have been nicer to see a film that might have actually benefitted from the recognition (say, “Moonrise Kingdom,” “The Master” or even “Skyfall”) get nominated instead?
    No knock against “Amour” which looks to be as much of a lock as “A Separation” was last year in the Foreign Film category, just saying.

  14. YancySkancy says:

    movieman: I see your point, but by that logic we’d probably never have more than three Best Picture nominees per year. It’s hard for a body as big as the Academy to do any kind of ‘strategic’ voting, especially at the nomination stage. It would call for a level of group-think far above that which is already assumed. “Let’s see, AMOUR was one of my absolute favorites, but it has no chance, so I’ll throw a bone to THE MASTER.”

  15. J says:

    A lot of people never even look at the foreign language noms except to guess at their office pool. The Best Pic nod is the biggest single advertisement ‘Amour’ could ever take out. It’s huge, comparatively. It’s never going to make ‘Skyfall’ money, but ‘Skyfall’ already ran its billion ads and made its money.

  16. anghus says:

    im happy with these nominations. i think the best films got represented and i feel almost validated seeing Hooper and Bigelow not on the Director’s list.

    ZD30 is a good film that feels under directed to a fault. Les Mis is a good movie that feels almost manhandled in it’s direction.

  17. Glamourboy says:

    Maybe I’m the only one that didn’t love SLP, but I am completely mystified by all the oscar love. I am a huge David O Russell fan, but I just didn’t buy this story for a minute. I’ve known my share of people dealing with mental issues, but I’ve never seen anyone instantly turn into the kind of phony put on that Bradley Cooper tries to sell in the movie. DeNiro does exactly what he always does. Jackie Weaver stands around with one frozen, terrified look on her face the entire time and no one in the movie seems to notice that the camera work suggests a two hour earthquake. And then…a third of the way through the film the movie pivots on a DANCE ROUTINE? I went with 4 friends and all of us afterwards thought it was the most bizarre, unrealistic movie we’ve seen.

  18. YancySkancy says:

    For some reason, just realized: No Cotillard; no PERKS for Adapted Screenplay.

  19. J says:

    Perhaps the presence of a dance routine may be one of ways the movie is communicating to you that realism is not what it is aiming for.

  20. movieman says:

    Nominations for best foreign language film, director, actress and
    screenplay are pretty darn substantial, J.
    I really don’t think an add’l nod in the BP category will convince anybody to buy a ticket that wasn’t already interested (in checking it out) on the basis of those other nominations.
    “Amour” isn’t–to name a few more audience-friendly subtitled
    movies in recent years–”The Intouchables,” “Amelie” or “Crouching Tiger.” It’a really, really tough film that’s unlikely to appeal to a wide swath of moviegoers.
    The importance of a Best Picture nomination for “Moonrise,” “The Master” or “Skyfall” has less to do w/ generating any add’l b.o. revenue. (All three are pretty much kaput in first-run release; in fact, “Moonrise” has been on dvd for months.) It’s the prestige of being–and, down the road, having been– an Oscar nominee. That stuff is golden in certain quarters.

  21. Daniella Isaacs says:

    Having “X Academy Award Nominations including BEST PICTURE” on a film’s posters or DVD/Blu-ray cover, including AMOUR’s, is going to cause people to give it a second look that it wouldn’t otherwise have gotten.

  22. MarkVH says:

    Called this on another blog, but I’m picking it here too. Lincoln for Best Pic. Haneke for Director. I’d put money on it.

  23. movieman says:

    I’m just saying that “Amour” didn’t really need two Best Picture nominations, Daniella.
    It would have been really nice to see a Wes Anderson film (or a Bond movie: the best Bond ever, in fact) finally get a BP nod.
    Personally, I don’t even think foreign language films should be eligible outside of the f/l category.
    Yes, I know that’s opening a whole new can of worms re: the Academy’s arcane process for selecting foreign films. And no, I’m not a xenophobe.

    On an unrelated note, I’m surprised that no one has yet mentioned the irony of “The Dark Knight Rises” not receiving a single nomination.
    “Irony” since it was 2008′s “The Dark Knight” that opened another can of worms (i.e., increasing the # of BP nominees).
    And weren’t “TDKR” and “Skyfall” both discussed as potential (popcorn-concession) BP nominees?

  24. J says:

    I don’t know, Movieman, there are moviegoers out there who only look at the nominees for Best Picture. And I don’t know who the prestige is supposed to help among the trio you cited. Wes A., most obviously, but he’s coming off his highest-grossing twee pic yet. PTA and Mendes have both helmed former BP nominees. I don’t know that the future of the Bond franchise hinges on awards recognition. I have nothing against any of those movies, but the category can go to 10, no? Why swap out instead of adding one?

    If you want to talk long-term prestige, I think the ‘Amour’ BP nom is good for the Academy as well. It is good for it to rank great made elsewhere among its own, and since the category has swollen from 5 it would be great to consistently see at least one foreign language film there. Especially one that might not have been the official selection from its country.

  25. Jerry says:

    I guess there are a lot of directors in Hollywood that misunderstand ZDT and think it is a pro-torture film since there seems no other reason why Bigelow would’n't get a nomination. The same misunderstanding for the wider academy also means that ZDT probably has little chance to beat Lincoln for best picture.

  26. David Poland says:

    I actually believe that the problem with late voting is probably the culprit in terms of BIgelow.

    Late release, discs late to holiday luggage, back to LA, big wall to voting.

    With only 80 votes needed for nomination, 20 votes not getting in for Bigelow could easily have cost her the nomination.

  27. movieman says:

    Especially one that might not have been the official selection from its country.

    But in this case, “Amour” was the designated entry by its respective country of origin…and got a best (foreign language) pic nomination.
    I’m just saying that it seems silly to nominate a movie twice for Best Picture in the same year when equally, or in some cases, more deserving films go away empty-handed.
    There oughta be a law (or rule), lol.
    And yes, as much as I admire “Amour,” I heart “Moonrise,” “Skyfall” and “The Master” more.
    Truth be told, previous Haneke films (the original “Funny Games;” “The Piano Teacher;” “The White Ribbon”) have made a more visceral impression on me.

  28. Jerry says:

    How could late voting not impact Amour? Did its disc get shipped sooner?

  29. Pete says:

    Maybe a massive amount of vote splitting nets Zeitlin the big prize? Beasts is what’s going to get a ton of feel-good press in the next month.

  30. Bob Burns says:

    the directors held Bigelow responsible for screwing up, shame on the writers.

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