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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB: Oscar Night


60 Responses to “BYOB: Oscar Night”

  1. djiggs says:

    No matter who wins tonight, I hope for a fairer world that enables all of its citizens the opportunities to contribute to this world. To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, the chance to be the warrior in the arena irrespective of victory or defeat-to exist and have your voice heard. A favorite film of mine, 1998 “Dark City” died a quick death in its theatrical release and had no major accolades. But, at least Alex Proyas’ voice was heard and thank you Roger Ebert for helping “Dark City” to rise again.

    Or look at the career of the late Bill Paxton filled with movies somehow lived and escaped onto movies screen: Streets of Fire, After Dark, Terminator, One False Move, Boxing Helena, A simple Plan, Fraility, Haywire, Nightcrawler,Mean Dreams, etc. He never won an award but Bill Paxton got the CHANCE to show how talented he was. His hard work & dedication to his craft leaves an inedible mark on those who love and live movies. I will work and hope for a world that allows all of its citizens the opportunity to leave their own positive marks with their fellow human beings.

  2. Sideshow Bill says:

    Well said ^^

    The Witch was a life-altering film for me. It’s up for nothing but I don’t care. It exists and has enriched my life. So has Boogie Nights. Didn’t win anything. Was barely nominated. But it’s a desert island film and moves me every time I see it.

    But I like the awards. They’re fun. Before my wife died we would watch the show and each fill out or choices. Whoever had the most wins took the other to dinner. She’s been gone years but I still watch and enjoy.

    The politics will be interesting. perfect storm of things happening. 5th anniversary of Trayvon Martin shooting. Trump. Must see TV.

  3. Sideshow Bill says:

    FWIW my wife has been gone 3 years. I forgot the 3. Carry on.

  4. Mike says:

    Zero Effect was a movie I found only because of Siskel and Ebert, and that was life-changing for me. I don’t put a lot of stock in the Oscars, but the power of movies, even ridiculous ones like Joe Vs. The Volcano, which I love, is what I’m celebrating today.

  5. Sideshow Bill says:

    If you told me 10 years ago that Michael Strahan would be interviewing celebs at the Oscars I would have told you that you were high.

  6. Hcat says:

    Dunaway and Beatty, never ends well for those two.

  7. Bob Burns says:

    LOL, Heat. Faye was in trouble from “Hey, Boy” forward.

  8. Hcat says:

    Eastwood is at home telling an empty chair what a fool Beatty made of himself tonight. I feel horrible for the Moonlight people who did t get to fully appreciate their win, first time someone got to take the upset and still get robbed.

  9. EtGuild2 says:

    Apparently it was PriceWaters House Coopers…there are two envelopes for each category and they got the 2nd for Best Actress.

    That being said, Beatty did read the card incorrectly. He should have declared that Emma Stone had singularly won Best Picture in the greatest upset in cinema history. “Papa always said my life is like a movie!”

  10. Glamourboy says:

    In another thread here I predicted that there was a growing La La Land backlash. Some were expecting it to win as many as 11 Oscars tonight, but I”d been hearing so many rumblings of people who finally saw it and felt it was overhyped. I felt there was going to be an upset for Best Picture. I didn’t think they would have the guts to give it to Moonlight but I am so happy it did. This is the same organization that gave best picture to Crash instead of Brokeback Mountain and now they have given their highest award to a small indie film about a young black man. Awesome.

  11. EtGuild2 says:

    I definitely didn’t see it coming, but am glad it happened even though I didn’t really care for it. Being one of the Top 3 or so grossers on awards night really seems to be a kiss of death now…Oscars are the anti-Grammys. The backlash against DOWNSIZING has probably already begun.

    Weirdest fact of the night to me: Damien Chazelle is the first American to win best director this decade.

  12. Stella's Boy says:

    My favorite movie of the year won Best Picture. I’m thrilled. Doesn’t happen often, if ever. Good for you A24. Ethan I am shocked you don’t care for Moonlight.

  13. EtGuild2 says:

    @Stella, my issues stem from a few area. I didn’t see it as a transcendant experience, and was mildly annoyed that it’s been praised as socially transformative when you have “Pariah,” “My Brother the Devil,” and so much more…we had “Spa Night” just this year. I enjoyed many of those movies more.

    But I also acknowledge that I’m white and so see the experiences in these movies differently and that’s not Moonlight’s problem…for me it was the 3rd act; the actor they had as Chiron didn’t fit. I couldn’t tell if they were going for universality, but if so, why use such similar actors for the first two segments? Or was the change Chiron went through so excruciating that they wanted to represent it by drastically altering his physicality/enunciation/mannerisms/etc? I just didn’t get it, and felt like I was missing a key piece of the movie in this. Maybe you can help?

    Also, I love Naomie Harris, but I thought she fell into “look at me act!” territory.

  14. brack says:

    La La Land and Moonlight both won due to all the free publicity for both films. More and more upsets will happen due to too many Best Picture nomination spots. Since this has happened, rarely does Best Director and Best Picture winners have gone hand in hand.

  15. Stella's Boy says:

    It’s a little unfair to hold that and how the media framed its existence against Moonlight. I am white too, and straight, and I was incredibly moved by it and do think there’s universality present throughout. It connected with me and touched me immensely. I loved these characters. They felt completely authentic to me, as did their experiences. I do think Chiron’s physical alteration is meant to represent how much he changed and what he went through. I’ve hardly ever seen a more intimate and powerful depiction of self-discovery and first love. I had goosebumps from start to finish. Nothing else made me feel like that in 2016 (granted I haven’t seen several of the year’s most acclaimed films). Really everything about it works for me, with one exception. I do agree re: Harris. She feels out of place and overdoes it. Not a fan of her performance.

  16. Sideshow Bill says:

    Thought I would be more annoyed when Huppert lost. I was but Emma is a star, and I love her. I didn’t like the movie but she’s a genuine person and very talented. She even glowed in those awful Spiderman films. I’m happy for her.

    I want to be happy for Casey Affleck. the film has grown over time in my estimation. It really stuck with me, for very personal reasons. And he was great. But….all the other stuff. Same with Gibson. It really sucks. I try to separate the person from the art but it’s not always easy. Denzel’s reaction is so loaded. He was so efffusive. Something was on his mind.

    Happy Moonlight won. I liked Arrival a bit more and wanted to sci-fi awarded finally. But I had fun with the show. And I have some great films to re-watch as well as some to seek out. I need to see Land Of Mine ASAP.

  17. Triple Option says:

    Do you think the Academy switches to Deloitte & Touche next year?

    I was thinking Harris was way too fed and pretty for a crack addict.

    In general, I think the movies with big productions or serious content get an extra boost in the BP category. I totally thought The Big Short should have won last year but knew as essentially a comedy with no weepy moments did it stand a chance. I’d love to see a popcorn movie take it one year.

  18. Stella's Boy says:

    I love Stone but I’m still bummed Adams didn’t even get nominated for Arrival. A much better performance in a much better movie.

  19. Mike says:

    Gladiator and The Departed were popcorn movies that won.

  20. Sideshow Bill says:

    And Titanic.

  21. Mike says:

    Lord of the Rings.

  22. drevill says:

    What was with Denzel though? He must really hate Casey Affleck? Or just crushing disappointment that unfortunately got caught on camera?

  23. Mike says:

    I think he really expected to win and thought he earned it. I wasn’t crazy about his SAG speech where he referred to Casey as a young pup, but apparently Twitter is blowing up with hate for Casey Affleck right now.

  24. Stella's Boy says:

    Hard to feel real sorry for Casey Affleck.

  25. Hallick says:

    Twitter blows up with hate at everything and everyone 24/7. What’s it good for?

  26. Sideshow Bill says:

    I don’t feel sorry for him at all. I just wanted to be happier that a performance I liked won. Didn’t help that his mumbly speech sucked, too.

  27. Mike says:

    I liked Casey’s performance better, though I don’t think much of Casey or Denzel.

  28. Stella's Boy says:

    I meant the Twitter hate Bill. Denzel is a national treasure.

  29. Sideshow Bill says:

    I understand, Stella’s Boy.

  30. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Well at least we got an iconic Oscar ‘moment’ for the books, and that’s what I wanted most of all frankly. Sacheen Littlefeather. Rob Lowe and Snow White. Palance’s push-ups. ‘You want Tom Cruise and you get Jude Law’. Feels like a while since we’d had something that will live on in Oscar infamy, so there’s that. Oh, and as for next year? To be honest, I can hear the ‘Nolan is finally due’ drum banging even from here.

  31. Triple Option says:

    Point taken but I’d still maintain that Gladiator, Titanic & Lord of the Rings were all epic movies. The Departed popcorn…? ehh, idk, maybe. If a movie like Bridesmaid, Looper, How to Train your Dragon, The Prestige, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Ring, The Usual Suspects could win, films the general public loved and industry insiders could agree were well made for what they were, those were more of what I was speaking to. Sorry, didn’t mean to move goal posts. I don’t think making a good solid comedy that everyone laughs through is any less of a feat than some weepy period piece.

  32. EtGuild2 says:

    That’s a heartfelt defense Stella…well said. And yeah it’s not the movie’s fault on how it was portrayed….and I’m just saying even as a gay white guy, there’s something in stuff like SPA NIGHT, MOONLIGHT, etc that I still might miss authentically, so maybe I should give it a second look, this time alone lol. Even when the reaction is positive, perhaps I’m not the best judge between what separates a movie like MOONLIGHT from PARIAH in terms of personal connection to the audience.

    Back to the movie..for me the middle section was so strong…the first was good. I just didn’t connect to the third at all. I don’t think it was bad, but it felt like it was from another movie entirely to me. Maybe just the passage of time :) But yeah, perhaps another look would be good.

    Re: popcorn movies, we’ve now had the Top grosser on Oscar night lose 10 times in a row. Clearly the preferential format sinks popular movies. No Top 3 nominee in box office in any given year has won since we left the 5-film format…that’s remarkable.

  33. Stella's Boy says:

    Interesting take. Despite the drastic change in Chiron’s appearance, I felt a natural connection between the middle and final sections. They seemed like grown-up versions of those teenagers on the beach. The looks they give each other. The palpable chemistry. The amazing performances. I was smitten. That scene in Kevin’s kitchen could have lasted another hour and I would have been fine with it. I can’t wait to revisit it and see how it holds up. I hope it holds up and I wasn’t drunk on the hype.

  34. leahnz says:

    whoda thunk Oscars 2017 would be such a teachable moment on ‘old fucks: wear your damn reading glasses’ yikes

    (i’ve only seen ‘moonlight’ once but wasn’t chiron the teen and ‘black’ him as an adult? i thought his transformation for the final act was important because he got buff-n-tough after a lifetime of bullying as his defence mechanism but inside he was still the same sensitive, searching soul. –SPOILERS– didn’t he say to kevin at the end that he was the only man who’d ever (physically) touched him? that was devastating. were we to infer that he was living a lie as a straight or perhaps never having had another sexual experience? i really need to see it again, such heart-wrenching melancholy and moments of tenderness, a really lovely movie — and i’m a straight white chica for whom little/chiron/black’s life experience was both utterly alien and yet completely relatable, his story so very specific and yet universal in the themes of feeling lost and alone and yearning for love, care and connection, the ultimate beauty of cinema to me, to live inside another person’s skin so completely different from my own and yet feel the universal truths of the human experience from that perspective)

  35. EtGuild2 says:

    The official odds of the Top 3 box office nominees losing from 2009-2016 (since the Academy abandoned the 5 film format and took up preferential voting):

    6,561: 1

  36. pat says:

    I predict the academy is going to drop the preferential voting next year.

  37. psb says:

    So here’s the thing. La La Land was not my favorite among the nine nominees (Lion was, and Manchester was also better), but it was infinitely better than Moonlight and should have won the Oscar.

    I’m gay and I grew up in poverty with a parent who was an addict. (I’m white, however, and maybe that’s the issue?) For me, Moonlight was all pretty pictures, great cinematography and music, and no emotions whatsoever. Every time the director had a chance to show feelings, he either cut away or turned up the music. The characters were so remote that I couldn’t reach them, and they couldn’t reach me. I respected the work everyone did, but I felt nothing for Chiron at any of the three stages of his life.

    I thought all four acting winners were well chosen; I might have voted for Dev Patel over Ali, or Ruth Negga over Stone, but not to the point of being upset. And Casey Affleck underplayed so beautifully that he made me cry all through Manchester; Denzel’s overacting was annoying throughout Fences.

    I think the choice of Moonlight was about being politically correct rather than awarding the Oscar based on actual moviemaking. Movies shouldn’t be illustrated concerts; they should make us feel. Lion made me feel. So did Manchester, so did Arrival, and so, in its way, did La La Land.

    Now if we could go back and check the envelopes when they awarded Oscars to Birdman and Argo and The Artist and The King’s Speech and No Country for Old Men…ah, that would be nice.

  38. Bulldog68 says:

    I could be wrong but something else happened last night that no one is talking about. Suicide Squad, is an Academy Award winner. Something I believe no Marvel movie can claim. How do you like dem apples?

  39. EtGuild2 says:

    @psb, I dealt with parental addiction, but not poverty, and for me it was Harris’ portrayal I had the biggest issue with. But for a gay black friend who grew up in a similar environment, he was floored by it. It’s very subjective subject matter…it’s similar to how I felt about STORIES WE TELL, ironically.

  40. EtGuild2 says:

    Last thing to add: I didn’t feel the ability to critique Monique’s performance in PRECIOUS as either a true facsimile or a caricature, because I felt so removed from it that I took it at face value. Perhaps in criticizing Harris, I make the mistake of believing I’m close enough to it that I can credibly discount it, when I’m actually not. That’s the general feeling white gay guys I know have for MOONLIGHT: admiration tempered by criticism. I can’t tell if for me, that’s my own problem or I am correct in allowing myself to be harder on the movie than something like PRECIOUS.

  41. Stella's Boy says:

    I could not possibly disagree more psb. La La Land is the most overrated movie of 2016. Wouldn’t make my top 50 of the year. I felt nothing whatsoever. Didn’t care about either of the leads of the fate of their romance and I was mostly bored. Songs are good though. I’d also argue Manchester is overrated. I admire the performances a lot but didn’t find the movie as good as I expected it to be based on the hype. Didn’t make me feel much other than wow this guy sure does suffer a lot. Misery porn. Moonlight made me feel, more than any other movie of the year. It made a hell of a lot of people feel. It’s nonsense to claim it only won due to political correctness. It’s exactly what my right-wing in-laws claim. It’s infinitely superior to La La Land. Not even close.

  42. palmtree says:

    Moonlight is much more subtle about the ways in which it makes the viewer feel than Manchester, which was WAY over the top especially with the over-wrought use of Albinoni’s Adagio. La La Land grows dimmer upon reflection as well.

    The power of Moonlight didn’t hit me until it was over but then it continued to glow as I reflected on it, specifically the third chapter. That kind of feeling and thinking is something I think is harder to achieve than anything Manchester or La La Land did.

  43. EtGuild2 says:

    I do think “Moonlight” is unique among recent Best Picture winners in that one of its primary aims–whether it succeeds for everyone or not–is to forge a transcendent humanistic connection with the audience, irregardless of specific time period or framing. It’s a movie you’re meant to feel off and on for weeks, if not months. LA LA LAND and other recent winners have for the most part focused heavily on rendering an artistic vision(“Birdman,” “The Artist,”), or more broadly envisioning an historical event (“Argo,” “The King’s Speech,” “Spotlight,” even “12 Years a Slave”).

    I’ll give it this–whether or not it pulls the feat off for everyone, it certainly doesn’t pander, which many similarly humanistic winners have (“Slumdog,” “Crash”). “The Hurt Locker” is the best comp for me, and I had the same issues with that movie; perhaps it’s accurate, but there were elements that subjectively either rang slightly false or it fell short in.

  44. Movieman says:

    I can’t remember the last time I was as conflicted over a BP win.
    I adore “Moonlight” (it was #3 on my 2016 ten-best list), but I also love “La La Land” (which tied for #1 on my best list w/ “O.J.: Made in America”).
    “La La” already feels iconic: I’m sure it will only gain in stature over the years/decades to come.
    Can’t help feeling that it was punished for being a movie about pretty young white people in a year when that was deemed uncool.
    And when you consider the # of lesser showbiz valentines that have won in recent years (“The Artist,” “Argo,” yes, even “Birdman”), “La La” being denied the big enchilada feels punitive.
    Plus, it’s infinitely superior to the last musical that won (“Chicago”).
    Was it a rebuke to #OscarsSoWhite, a reflection of the increased diversity in voting membership or simply a giant F.U. to the Orange Menace? Not sure. But like “The Salesman” (my least favorite Farhadi to date) winning, it felt more knee-jerk political than anything else.
    But like I said at the beginning of this post: I’m hugely conflicted because I do think “Moonlight” is wonderful and that Barry Jenkins is a huge talent.
    I just love “La La” a little bit more. (And Chazelle is a huge talent, too.)

  45. Stella's Boy says:

    I don’t think La La Land is going to age well. Take out the songs and you have a very dull and ordinary romance between two very bland people. It’s the most generic love story ever, with musical numbers. It’s just not very good. The better movie won Best Picture. It’s really that simple.

  46. EtGuild2 says:

    That’s a bit harsh. I don’t think it has any competition for Best Musical of the Decade; none going back to 2007(apologies to those whose idea of a good time is swooping up Hugh Jackman’s snotty nasal passages and listening to Russell Crowe mimic an opossum mating call). I suppose people could simply pretend the musical genre died in 2008, but that seems unlikely. These movies don’t knock the socks off everyone because it’s the most difficult genre to pull off. I’m betting LA LA may finally challenge MOULIN ROUGUE as the Film 101 Musical mainstay.

  47. Stella's Boy says:

    Maybe it is a bit harsh and I’m blinded by my dislike of it, but I just don’t think it’s already iconic or on its way to becoming a classic, even if it does become a Film 101 Musical mainstay. I actually much prefer Moulin Rouge and enjoy a good musical. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is in our regular movie rotation at home. Kids love it.

  48. palmtree says:

    “I don’t think it has any competition for Best Musical of the Decade; none going back to 2007″

    Seriously? As far as modern musicals in the last 10 years, I think the work of John Carney does more for me than La La Land. I’m talking about the fantastic musical trilogy of Once (2007), Begin Again (2013), and Sing Street (2016!!!!!). In fact, it was shocking to me that Sing Street didn’t receive at least a nomination for best song.

  49. psb says:

    Interesting discourse. I agree – La La Land is not by any stretch a great musical. I’m happy with it because it shows that the talent is out there to make great musicals. Now we just need people to build on its success and create even greater works out there, works with more depth and diversity. But at least we know the possibility exists – and that audiences will come!

    Palmtree, I completely agree about John Carney. Sing Street wasn’t perfect – the ending was a little too nice for me – but I loved the music. And both Once and Begin Again are favorites of mine.

    As far as Moonlight…sigh. I also hated Brokeback Mountain – I found the lead character too morose and lugubrious. You mean three people are going to fall in love with that lump? If the story had stayed with Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, who had some energy (and some interesting tension with Anne Hathaway as his wife), it might have been worthy. As it is, it put me to sleep.

    Moonlight isn’t that bad. It’s visually arresting, but there’s almost no emotional content in it. You want to see a great gay story, watch Weekend.

    Of the nine BP nominees, all of which I saw at least twice, I’d put Moonlight at #8, just ahead of Hacksaw Ridge (and if HR’s first half hadn’t been so bland, Moonlight would have been #9). Lion was my #1, followed by Manchester and Arrival. Then La La Land.

  50. palmtree says:

    Agreed, but the ending of Sing Street was rumored to be a re-shoot demanded by Harvey, who likes feel-good endings. So I really don’t blame John Carney for that one.

  51. EtGuild2 says:

    Too saccharine. Carney’s movies are like a post-Halloween sugar hangover for me, Harvey or no Harvey. I do like ONCE, one of the reasons I mentioned 2007. But you get a “wow that was a really great musical!,” once or twice every 10 years, so even if you liked SING STREET, we’re probably done till the mid 2020s.

    @psb…you hated Brokeback??? Jeez. I’m tough of gay movies (“Keep the Lights On,” “Weekend,” and “My Brother the Devil” are recent favorites), but I think Brokeback and Moonlight are masterpieces compared to a lot of semi-corny stuff like “Milk” and “Dallas Buyers Club.”

  52. Stella's Boy says:

    That is some weird moving of the goalposts. La La Land isn’t a great musical but it’s good because it displays the possibility of making great musicals? I agree that John Carney’s films are vastly superior to La La Land. At least Once and Sing Street are. I love both. Haven’t seen Begin Again.

    As for no emotion in Moonlight, I am dumbfounded by that. Makes no sense whatsoever. I must have seen a different movie. The scene with young Chiron asking about his sexuality? The beach scene in the middle section? The scene in Kevin’s kitchen in the last section? Or the restaurant just before that? I know different strokes and all of that, but those are incredibly moving scenes. How someone could be left cold by those scenes but moved by La La is beyond me.

  53. Sideshow Bill says:

    I’m a white, straight, divorced 46 year old single dad and I found Moonlight immensely moving. I also say that as someone with 2 teenage daughters who are both gay, and struggling to find themselves. It spoke to me in ways I didn’t expect.

  54. poet67 says:

    A lot of films will eventually become classics, whether we personally like them or not.

  55. Bulldog68 says:

    It wasn’t my favourite film of last year but it definitely resonated. I’m similar to the character. Gay black male, grew up in the Caribbean where those things are not acted upon out of fear. Suppressed those feelings, like many men have done, got married, had kids, and came out late in life.

    It really didn’t try to hit you over the head. It actually reminded me of Remains of the Day with its exercise in restraint. It’s primed to be the most memorable of the nominated films.

  56. EtGuild2 says:

    I’m enjoying this discussion. It terms of aging, it’s always hard to tell on these more personal movies. BOYS DON’T CRY has aged better than I expected it would, but never really caught on…people still don’t know what it is.

    THE HURT LOCKER comparison is imperfect, but it’s much more well known than its $14 million gross would indicate. Everyone knows what it is…but the negative comparisons to ZD30 are almost immediate, despite reserved respect for Renner’s journey . Luckily MOONLIGHT doesn’t have to deal with inevitable comparisons to a major historical event.

  57. palmtree says:

    If it’s any indication, the films of Wong Kar Wai (that MOONLIGHT drew inspiration from) have aged pretty well.

  58. Movieman says:

    I also think there’s a little of Andre Techine in “Moonlight,” too.
    It felt in many ways like an American variant on “Wild Reeds.”

  59. Ray Pride says:

    Barry Jenkins is a through-and-through cinephile and can talk the influences he melds into his work the day long.

  60. JS Partisan says:

    I just want to put out there, that I fucking love God damn LA LA Land. It stays with you. Especially, if you’ve been in and out of those same doors.

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