20 Weeks to Oscar

20W2O: Keep To Your Knitting

Oscar punditry reads a lot like the months and months and months of expertise voiced on cable TV and via print/online media for 18 months leading to the November 8 absurdity of a Trump election. And the voices after the results settled in last night reminded me so much of the post-Oscar (and often, pre-Oscar) whining.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Wars Before The War

I should have written a column last week… but this season is turning into a beautiful bore. And by that I mean that there is some truly wonderful, exceptional work out there and on the way out… and many categories are wide open in terms of exactly who will be nominated… but those excited fish are swimming in a very small barrel.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Settling Into The Starting Gates

By this time next week, the only unseen contenders in the race will be Allied, Collateral Beauty, Hidden Figures, Fences, Passengers, and Silence. And I expect, sight unseen, three of those six titles to be nominated for Best Picture. This is not an insignificant group.

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24 Weeks To Oscar: Lots of Festivals, Few Surprises

So… seven films got Best Picture nominations after festival launches last year… launched from seven different festivals.

In other words… there is no awards magic to any of these festivals (though they all have their own magic). What works is what works. Period. Exclamation point!

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27 Weeks To Oscar: The Shifting Award Show Cycle

The market will out. One of the little-discussed reactions to the new instant-information era is the downgrading of many of our favorite (for some, least favorite) parts of the movie year, festivals and award shows. Sundance is a true market festival in the United States and as such has become a consistent launchpad for awards…

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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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Quote Unquotesee all »

“I’m an ardent consumer of Fassbinder. Years ago, when I heard that he was a big admirer of Douglas Sirk, I went straight to the source — to the buffet Fassbinder dined out on — and found that there was plenty more. And what palettes! I love the look of Fassbinder movies. Some of them are also hideous in a way that’s really exciting. When you go to Sirk, it’s more standardized. The movies produced by Ross Hunter — those really lush, Technicolor ones. I know Sirk was a painter and considered himself a painter first for a long time. He really knew how to work his palettes and worked closely with whatever art director he had. I was a guest speaker for the Technicolor series at TIFF Bell Lightbox and we screened Magnificent Obsession. To prepare for that, I watched the movie with a pen and paper. I wroteto down the names of the palettes. Soon, I realized those general color terms weren’t good enough. I used to be a house painter and I remembered the great names of the 10,000 different colors you could get in a paint chip book. So, I started to try to name the colors. Sirk used 100 different off-whites, especially in the surgery scenes in Magnificent Obsession!”
~ Guy Maddin On Sirk And Fassbinder

“I’ve never been lumped in with other female directors. If anything, I’ve been compared way too much to male filmmakers whom I have little to nothing in common with except visual style. It’s true that women’s filmmaking is incredibly diverse, but I am personally interested in how female consciousness might shape artwork differently, especially in the way female characters are constructed. So I actually would encourage people to try to group women’s films together to see if there are any threads that connect them, and to try to create a sort of canon of women’s films that critics can talk about as women’s films. One reason I want to be thought of as a female filmmaker is that my work can only be understood in that context. So many critics want to see my work as a pastiche of films that men have created. When they do that, they deny the fact that I am creating my own world, something completely original. Women are so often thought of as being unable to make meaning. So they are allowed to copy what men make—to make a pastiche out of what men have created—but not to create original work. My work comes from a place of being female, and rewrites film genres from that place. So it’s essential for me to be placed into a history of female-feminist art-making practice, otherwise it’s taking the work completely out of context.”
~ Love Witch Writer-Designer-Director Anna Biller