Awards Update

20 Weeks To Oscar: The Big Quiet

Can you hear it?

Listen carefully.

Silence.

We are still a month from The Oscars.

We are still weeks from voting.

And in what has felt like a pretty open season is not accelerating into a passionate discussion of the top movies of 2017. The discussion is about the Solo trailer and Black Panther.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Nomination Day (Page 1 of 2)

Most of the Gurus marked up the Oscar nominations and ranked every category. If they are seeing the future correctly, no movie will take home more than four statues, but it’s early. And the winners are…

Page 2 of Prognostications

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Nomination Morning

In meetings all over town this morning, the question of whether Phase II will be a war or a love letter is being determined. Me? I think the door is open just wide enough for people to come out fighting. But we shall see… about this time next week, just before every single person alive is honored in Santa Barbara, we will know.

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Gurus o’ Gold: On The Eve of DGA Nominations

The Gurus offer their insight in the days between the Golden Globes and the Director’s Guild nominations, musing on what five directors will get the greenlight from the DGA and whether the Oscar 5 will be different. (Greta and Steven might want to wake up early.) Also, Picture and the four acting categories, where The Shape of Water is up and The Post is down.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Season of Assumption

There has never been less plain talk in an Oscar season.

The field lacks many frontrunners and has representation on many fronts, which is stirring passion amongst a wider-than-usual range of interested observers.

This is a good thing.

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Gurus o’ Gold: The Globes Party On

The Gurus return from the holidays with a mostly unchanged view of Best Picture, along with picks of all the winners at Sunday’s Golden Globes, with strong consensus in only five of 14 categories.

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Gurus o’ Gold: And The Horses Are In The Gate (And Going On Vacation)…

As Oscar voters head to the beach or the snow or lands of eternal beauty and dysentery, The Gurus take one more look at Best Picture, the Acting races, Director and Screenplay, Also, some suggestions about which DVDs should make the journey with you and fill your happy holiday nights. Even better, find a movie theater with these films and buy a ticket. You can afford it… you just got a big tax break! Happy, happy holidays from the Gurus o’ Gold.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Precursors Narrow The Field

The Gurus lay out Picture, Acting, Directing and Screenwriting in the hours before Golden Globes nominations. The groups of potential nominees get smaller as the year gets shorter.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Now We’ve Seen It All

The Gurus recovered from Thanksgiving and have seen the final two expected Oscar contenders, Steven Spielberg’s The Post and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread. Looking only at Best Picture, Directing, Acting and Screenwriting, The Gurus consider in which categories these two newcomers might strike gold or not. And as always, the full Best Picture field, with some big movers and a debut.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Year of the Reconstructed Rom-Com

Award seasons have a theme that emerges as the season progresses. With the arrival of Phantom Thread and The Post, this year is loaded with rom-coms that don’t want to be rom-coms.

The form has been torn down in recent years and barely exists now in Hollywood movies, indies, or even TV. But take the idea of a romantic comedy about, say, the black guy being brought home to meet the over-exuberant white suburban parents and give it a twist… and BAM!… Get Out.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Thanks

The Gurus offer their usual Best Picture chart, with The Post having arrived for screenings and Phantom Thread due a day after the turkey’s been eaten. In addition, please check out the Oscar nominations that The Gurus would be thankful for as the first groups start voting next week. Lots of wonderful treats voters should have an eye out for.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Oscars For The Ages

The Gurus do the normal Top 10, then take a look at what age groups in The Academy they think will be the primary base of support for each movie. (Here’s a hint… Get Out is for the young voters, Victoria & Abdul for the elders.)

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Season of a Different Color

I don’t know if this will be an #OscarSoWhite year. But even if Denzel Washington and Octavia Spencer are nominated, it will be the same way as two seasons ago… and likely, two seasons into the future.

The problem is not how many nominations people of color get from The Academy. The problem is that we have such a small group of “movies of color” for Academy members to consider.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Pick The Winners Way Too Early

As The Gurus get into the weekly habit of prognosticating again, there was no messing around. Who is going to win? The Gurus, who are insightful, but not fools, didn’t vote for any of the movies or performances that haven’t yet been shown widely (that changes over Thanksgiving). For a “wide open season,” there are a bunch of categories that seem surprisingly close to settled in the minds of The Gurus.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Known Unknown

I see no rhyme nor reason to hang onto trying to figure out which of this group will be The Ones. I think I can guess 6 with pretty high assurance. But others would intensely disagree. It gets more complicated because many people will get excited about more than 10 of these titles. And there aren’t enough slots.

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One-Hundred-Seventy Documentary Features Submitted For Oscar

One hundred seventy features have been submitted for consideration in the Documentary Feature category for the 90th Academy Awards. The submitted features, in alphabetical order: “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” “Aida’s Secrets” “Al Di Qua” “All the Rage” “All These Sleepless Nights” “AlphaGo” “The American Media and the Second Assassination of President John F. Kennedy”…

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Gurus o’ Gold: Early Line

The Gurus are back a week early this year, launching with Best Picture, Acting categories and Director. If this early look matched nominations exactly (which, of course, it won’t), the only nominated actor of color would be Octavia Spencer for The Shape of Water, and Get Out would get a Best Picture nod. Also of note, a big showing from Call Me By Your Name, as well as a female directing nominee.

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Quote Unquotesee all »

What do you make of the criticism directed at the film that the biopic genre or format is intrinsically bourgeois? That’s the most crazy criticism. That’s an excuse for not engaging with the content of the movie. Film critics sometimes, you know, can be very lazy.

Come on, formal criticism is valuable too. But I’m amazed when this is the thing they put in front of the discourse. My situation is that I’m dealing with a highly explosive subject, a taboo subject that nobody wants to deal with.

Karl Marx? Yes, this is the first film ever in the Western world about Marx. And I managed to make an almost mainstream film out of it. You want me at the same time to play the artist and do a risky film about the way my camera moves and the way I edit? No, it’s complicated enough! The artistic challenge — and it took me ten years with Pascal to write this story — was the writing. That was the most difficult part. We were making a film about the evolution of an idea, which is impossible. To be able to have political discourse in a scene, and you can follow it, and it’s not simplified, and it’s historically true. This is the accomplishment. So when someone criticizes the formal aspects without seeing that first, for me, it’s laziness or ignorance. There’s an incapacity to deal with what’s on the table. I make political films about today, I’m not making a biopic to make a biopic. I don’t believe in being an artist just to be an artist. And by the way, this film cost $9 million. I dare anyone in the United States to make this film for $9 million.
Raoul Peck on The Young Karl Marx

“The Motion Picture Academy, at considerable expense and with great efficiency, runs all the nominated pictures at its own theater, showing each picture twice, once in the afternoon, once in the evening. A nominated picture is one in connection with which any kind of work is nominated for an award, not necessarily acting, directing, or writing; it may be a purely technical matter such as set-dressing or sound work. This running of pictures has the object of permitting the voters to look at films which they may happen to have missed or to have partly forgotten. It is an attempt to make them realize that pictures released early in the year, and since overlaid with several thicknesses of battered celluloid, are still in the running and that consideration of only those released a short time before the end of the year is not quite just.

“The effort is largely a waste. The people with votes don’t go to these showings. They send their relatives, friends, or servants. They have had enough of looking at pictures, and the voices of destiny are by no means inaudible in the Hollywood air. They have a brassy tone, but they are more than distinct.”All this is good democracy of a sort. We elect Congressmen and Presidents in much the same way, so why not actors, cameramen, writers, and all rest of the people who have to do with the making of pictures? If we permit noise, ballyhoo, and theater to influence us in the selection of the people who are to run the country, why should we object to the same methods in the selection of meritorious achievements in the film business? If we can huckster a President into the White House, why cannot we huckster the agonized Miss Joan Crawford or the hard and beautiful Miss Olivia de Havilland into possession of one of those golden statuettes which express the motion picture industry’s frantic desire to kiss itself on the back of its neck? The only answer I can think of is that the motion picture is an art. I say this with a very small voice. It is an inconsiderable statement and has a hard time not sounding a little ludicrous. Nevertheless it is a fact, not in the least diminished by the further facts that its ethos is so far pretty low and that its techniques are dominated by some pretty awful people.

“If you think most motion pictures are bad, which they are (including the foreign), find out from some initiate how they are made, and you will be astonished that any of them could be good. Making a fine motion picture is like painting “The Laughing Cavalier” in Macy’s basement, with a floorwalker to mix your colors for you. Of course most motion pictures are bad. Why wouldn’t they be?”
~ Raymond Chandler, “Oscar Night In Hollywood,” 1948