20 Weeks to Oscar

27 Weeks To Oscar: Ohhhhhhh

A lot of things are unfolding at once in the Nate Parker-The Birth Of A Nation story. Once emotions are stirred, it’s understandably hard to sort them out. Some would say that you shouldn’t have to sort them out. But for better or worse, that’s how my mind works.

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29 Weeks To Oscar: Let The Wild Rumpus Start

As usual, at this point in the year, the pickings for Oscar already seem light. Lots of presumably good movies. But how much Oscar bait is there in the ocean, really? Let’s just dive in. My first Top 10… in which I feel strongly about the nominations bets on only 3 of these titles. The deck could…

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364 Days To Oscar: Wrapping Up

This show was 85% of the way to being the kind of show that builds the loyal audience and can then build on that audience. Big congratulations to Reggie Hudlin and David Hill. They did it right… or at least are on the right track.

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Gurus o’ Gold: The Final Vote (including a few last second changes)

A couple of Gurus have last minute changes to their picks. And the entire rundown in every category is here.

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9 Days To Oscar: Is That All There Is?

Is there anything left to mine this Oscar season?

I really like the group of movies this year… but I am paying very close attention and I can’t find anything to get excited about at this point. If people I like win, I will be happy.

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3 Weeks To Oscar: Exposing The Wizard

Stop me if you’ve heard this…

How is it that the person with their finger on the nuclear button, and some group of producers who get to take home the coolest swag in Hollywood, are on the same short-term-memory track?

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Race & Race – Part 3: All Fixed

This has been an unpleasant week. And yet, there should be unrestrained celebration amongst all Academy members and all believers in efforts to seek greater (and ultimately achieve) racial and gender diversity in all film industry organizations, including The Academy.

So what is the problem?

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Race & Race – Part 2: Four Suggestions To “Fix” The Academy

This is where we are… the third season in the last six without a “black” film or black actor nominated. That was background… here is the foreground. Three small but perhaps important suggestions about how to “fix” the problem at The Academy. And then one last suggestion that I think may actually be the most actionable and helpful of the lot.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Race & Race – Part 1: Expectations

This is the first of a series examining the issue of Race and The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. It follows a Gurus o’ Gold special edition that charted the history of the Gurus voting for Best Picture over the course of the season.

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Nomination Reactions

“I am sitting in a coffee shop with my mum and just found out I have an Oscar nomination. Feeling very overwhelmed and just can’t believe it. Better pick out a gown.” – Sam Smith “I am in London and just heard the good news! We gave it our all on this film and this…

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Nomination Morning

This morning is what has been missing from this season so far… this was, in an instant, The Great Settling… which usually occurs in mid-December or so. Or as a director once said (it’s been attributed to so many), they didn’t finish Oscar nominations, they took them away. Another week or two and they could have changed again (by 10% – 20%… not completely).

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6 Weeks To Oscar: Parsing, Peak Award Season, and The Alleged Seven

We have all allowed the award season to become a gaping, hungry maw that leads to… the starting line. Which is insane, when you think about it. If we are at Peak Award Season Bullshit, let’s all get out the GPSes and plan a course for a change. The movies deserve it.

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8 Weeks To Oscar: Pretending We Know

Expect surprises on nomination morning… even if the biggest surprise ends up being that there are no surprises at all.

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10 Weeks To Oscar: Work It!

What movies seem like they are playing above their station this season? Room? Brooklyn? Spotlight? What do they share?

Hustle.

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11 Weeks To Oscar: Control Freak’s Lament

Candidates for awards are both artists and salesmen. The media covering the season is both a source of perspective and a source of myopia. The studios chasing awards are driven by both ego-driven vanity and earnest pride in the work to which they are parent.

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20W2O: 14 Weeks to Oscar

No matter how many times we go around this track, it gets weird at some point. It’s not like there is a bag of tricks and all you need to do for your film to get where you want is to repeat the same tricks… which is not to say that the same tricks don’t get endlessly repeated. But the subtle difference between a strategic choice that works and one that doesn’t is almost agonizing.

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15 Weeks To Oscar: The Tightest, Most Open Acting Races Ever?

This season, i have tried to stay out of the predicting circus tent as much as possible. Individual situations are individual stories. Gurus o’ Gold is Gurus o’ Gold. But with The Revenant debuting widely on Monday, The H8ful Eight rolling out already, and Joy to land sometimes after Thanksgiving, we’re almost there. And I guess it’s time for me to jump in with both feet.

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16 Weeks To Oscar: What Works

Three potential field-changers – The Revenant, Joy, and The H8ful Eight – loom out there, largely unseen. But even their stories are already written in many ways, waiting for rewrites as exposure to the light changes things to whatever degree it does.

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“To be a critic is to be a workaholic. Workaholism is socially conditioned: viewed favourably by exploiters, it’s generally ruinous to a worker’s mental health. When T.S. Eliot said criticism was as inevitable as breathing, he failed to mention that, respiratory problems notwithstanding, breathing is easy. Criticism is reflexive before reflective: to formalise/industrialise an involuntary instinct requires time, effort and discipline. The reason we seek remuneration, as opposed to the self-hatred of being a scab, is because all labour should be waged…

“Criticism, so the cliché by now goes, is dying. None of the panel discussions on its death agony, however—including those in which I’ve formally participated—come at it from the wider perspective that the problem surely needs. They defend the ways in which criticism functions in relation to the industry and to the public, but they fail to contextualise these relationships as defined by ultimately rotten and self-harming imperatives.

“Criticism was a noble profession so long as only a few could practice it for money; when the field expands, as it has with a so-called ‘democratisation’ of our practice, those few lose their political power. Competition grows and markets are undercut: publications are naturally going to start paying less. Precarity is both cause and effect of a surplus workforce: the reason you’re only as good as your last article is because there are plenty of other folks who can write the next one in your place. The daily grind is: pitch, or perish.

B”ut criticism, so a counter-cliché goes, is not dying. An irony: this is an elite sport that is no longer elite in terms of who is able to practice it, but in economic terms it’s clutching to a perverse and outmoded hierarchical structure. It’s more meritocratic than ever, now: which is to say it isn’t meritocratic at all. That’s a paradox in bad need of a resolution…”

~ Michael Pattison Manifestoes Film Criticism

“It’s easy to forget when you’re reading a critic every single week or multiple times a week, that most of us who do this job, and have been doing it for a long time, understand that this is basically a parasitic profession. I don’t mean in the sense that we’re evil bloodsucking creatures, but we couldn’t exist if we didn’t have something to analyze. And I’m always conscious of that. So whether I like or don’t like a particular thing you do, my point of view is always that of an appreciator. I just like to be in the world that you create.”
~ Matt Zoller Seitz To Sam Esmail

Z Weekend Report