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20 Weeks to Oscar

20 Weeks To Oscar: One Week Left

So the question… is it the failure of the system that there isn’t more clarity… or the genius?

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20 Weeks To Oscar: What We Talk About When We Talk About Best Picture

The die is likely already cast, even if all the votes are not. My experience of talking to voters is that those who are waiting are trying to see the short film selections and perhaps a doc or foreign language film, not hedging on Best Picture.

But what that answer is… I can make a list… I make a list every week… but do I know? I must admit, I have never felt this far from knowing this far into the season in 17 years of doing this.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Is The Door Wide Open Again?

Could the Academy’s bizarre preferential balloting system be the defining issue in coming to a Best Picture winner this year?

And let me note again, before going any further, that the existence of the preferential ballot system at The Academy is IDIOTIC and I will forever believe that this was a bad joke foisted on The Academy by an exiting Bruce Davis.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: It’s Gettin’ Hot In Here

There are a lot of theories out there about how to read the tea leaves this season. But for me, the truth is that I have never seen anything quite like it.

PGA and SAG, Birdman. Globes, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel. LAFCA and NYFCC, Boyhood. Coming up in short order… DGA, BAFTA, WGA.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Ragin’

I don’t know that I have seen anything like this before. It’s kind of about Oscar season. It’s mostly not. But Oscar has yelled “pull” and now everyone is shooting at the clay pigeons. And the bullets are flying from every direction.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Most Shocking Event Of The Week!!!!

The Answers

Clint Eastwood.
Bradley Cooper.
Alexandre Desplat.
Foxcatcher.
The LEGO Movie.
Life Itself.

The Question…

What are six Oscar occurrences today that are legitimately more surprising than Selma “only” getting a Best Picture nod?

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Screenermania!

An industry in which a $2.4 million buy-in ($900,000 before you are nominated for anything) just for DVDs—before ads, books, promo items, appearance costs, etc,—to be considered “serious” about receiving awards is a problem.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Trouble With Endings (spoilers)

This piece deals with the end of three Oscar Best Picture candidates, reveling the ending of American Sniper, The Imitation Game, and Unbroken. DO NOT PROCEED is you haven’t seen the films or do not want to know the endings… you have been warned!

SPOILER ALERT!!!

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20 Weeks To Oscar: SNUB!

A snub is a smile turned upside down. That’s the First thing that always hits me when people scream, “SNUB!.” In order for some potential nominee who didn’t get nominated to be snubbed, someone who did get nominated has to have been undeserving in the eyes of the screamer(s). Second thing I think of is…

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20 Weeks To Oscar: How To Get Nominated

I’m starting this piece with less than an hour to go in the Oscar voting. And my advice (this is the cheap stuff… if I ever became an awards consultant, my advice would be way more valuable than this) is different for Phase II. But here goes… a list. I hate lists. But it feels like the right format here…

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20 Weeks To Oscar: In A Holding Pattern

There will be plenty to do for the next week, as we wait for the only nominations that the industry actually cares about. The Critics Choice Awards… Golden Globes… in some ways, these are really the start of the award season for real people. Neither group is particularly legit and neither will have more than a very, very minor influence on the ultimate Oscar winners. More, these televised awards tend to continue the process the settling.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Sexism and Racism and Awards Voting, Oh My! (2015 Edition)

This morning’s PGA vote is as unsurprising as unsurprising can be. To begin with, there is nothing included that is out of the box that has been defined for months. American Sniper has built a lot of heat over the holidays. Nightcrawler has been gaining heat for a while already. And Foxcatcher has been expected by most prognosticators since Cannes, pushed into “unexpected” status only in the last few weeks.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Soft Settling

This is the time of year when I usually write a story about what Bill Condon coined, “The Great Settling.” What that means, essentially, is that Academy voters have now had a chance to watch their DVDs, go to their screenings, hear some whispers, be fed a bunch of narratives, and get advertised to endlessly for a month and the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Another Oscar Zit

Walter Keane’s daughter from his first marriage, Susan, believes her dad’s story. And she built a website.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Oscar Zit Of The Day

Wasn’t it just 48 hours ago that I wrote about the foolishness of reconsidering Selma as a work of art because of what may a legitimate beef on the detail of the film by a witness to a part of the history the film covers? Now we have an eruption from the only participating central subject in Foxcatcher, Mark Schultz. He is angry, angry, angry at Bennett Miller…

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20 Weeks To Oscar: History Is Written By…

I don’t care whether Selma is a work of precise historical accuracy. I do care how it makes me and other audiences feel, how it makes us think, what it has to say. This is just as true of The Interview and American Sniper and Foxcatcher and The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything and Unbroken and Big Eyes and The Penguins of Madagascar.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Box Office

After The Hurt Locker won with less than $15 million in the box office till… after The Artist won with $32 million… And even 12 Years A Slave at $50 million and 4 well-respected contenders over $100 million… does “a wasted vote” exist anymore?

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Trouble With Biopics

We’re close to an all-biopic Oscar season. Maybe that’s why it’s such a blur right now. The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Selma, Unbroken, Foxcatcher, Mr. Turner, Big Eyes, and American Sniper are all specifically biopics. Boyhood and Birdman are fiction, but have major biographical elements driving them. Lots of bios.

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“The evening’s curious vanity and irrelevance stay with me, if only because those qualities characterize so many of Hollywood’s best intentions. Social problems present themselves to many of these people in terms of a scenario, in which, once certain key scenes are licked (the confrontation on the courthouse steps, the revelation that the opposition leader has an anti-Semitic past, the presentation of the bill of participants to the President, a Henry Fonda cameo), the plot will proceed inexorably to an upbeat fade. Marlon Brando does not, in a well-plotted motion picture, picket San Quentin in vain: what we are talking about here is faith in a dramatic convention. Things “happen” in motion pictures. There is always a resolution, always a strong cause-effect dramatic line, and to perceive the world in those terms is to assume an ending for every social scenario… If the poor people march on Washington and camp out, there to receive bundles of clothes gathered on the Fox lot by Barbra Streisand, then some good must come of it (the script here has a great many dramatic staples, not the least of them in a sentimental notion of Washington as an open forum, cf. Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington), and doubts have no place in the story.”
~ Joan Didion On Hw’d In 1970

CAMPION: We were driving around the countryside the other day, and we happened to chance upon a lone bull and cow going through some sex rituals. I was so surprised to see how lengthy the whole process was for this bull. He started licking the cow’s shin and worked his way quite laboriously up toward her ass. And every now and again, you thought, “Maybe she’s ready now—he’ll try a quick move.”
TAYLOR-JOHNSON: She wasn’t ready.
CAMPION: She made it clear that that wasn’t the case. We couldn’t even wait; it was like 15 minutes, but it was really adorable. Even when we came back, they were still at it. The foreplay was phenomenal.
TAYLOR-JOHNSON: You don’t think of animal love in that way.
~ Jane Campion And Sam Taylor-Johnson in Interview

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