Awards Watch Archive for February, 2014

20 Weeks To Oscar: 3 Days To Go

There’s no real sport to making Oscar picks. The star athletes have, in most cases, completed their work over a year ago. The others, including the director, have been done with the work of creation for at least 4 months. Nothing will change between this last Tuesday and Sunday evening.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Time To Open Envelopes

In their final look at the Oscars, picking only a winner in each category, The Gurus are unanimous on 12 of 24 awards and the only categories without at least a two-thirds majority are Picture, Film Editing, and Live Action Short. Based on the Gurus vote, 12 Years A Slave would win Best Picture and 2 other Oscars, while Gravity would lead in wins for the evening, taking home 6 Oscars. And Dallas Buyers Club would have the third highest Oscar count on the night. In a year where people are talking about a limited field, Gurus voting says that the Top 8 categories would go to 5 different movies. Statisticians, start your spreadsheets.

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And the Oscar presenters are…

STARS COME OUT TO CELEBRATE ON OSCAR® SUNDAY

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Gurus o’ Gold: Top 3

This week, The Gurus offer their Top 3 in 13 Oscar categories.

Only 2 of the categories are still highly competitive in the Guru voting, however, given the chance to vote on fewer than 3 in each category if they felt it was a lock, very few Gurus chose to step up to that in very few categories.

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20W2O: 12 Days To Go – Season of Pudding

I have to say, I am pretty agnostic at this point. I have my favorites, but I know that a very good film will win Best Picture, great performances will win the acting categories, and so on. I can foresee very few opportunities for me to really feel that anyone is going to win an Oscar this year leaving me feeling like the result was bad.

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FINAL OSCARS® VOTING BEGINS FRIDAY

Closing on Tuesday, February 25, at 5pm PT.

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Gurus o’ Gold: If We Could Sway The Academy

After opining on the Best Picture race (which isn’t changing much in order, but is getting tighter & tighter), The Gurus offer their personal feelings about The Race. If they could sway Academy members to vote for as many as 5 nominees to win the gold, these are the ones they would choose.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Media, Publicists, And Trying To Do Harm

My perspective on this season is that the movies have been well-liked and the fighting mostly affirmative. Inside Llewyn Davis asserted itself intensely and with some really beautiful efforts… and didn’t get the votes. Nebraska pushed hard with actors, but not much else, and did get the votes. Go figure.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Frontrunners & Potential Upsetters

This week, The Gurus offer their weekly look at the Top Ten and then, a look at the category frontrunners and potential upsets. Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o, Frozen, and the screenplay of 12 Years A Slave are the five clear frontrunners, with all 15 Gurus voting for them. The most competitive categories, by this measure, are Original Screenplay… and Best Picture.

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20W2O: What The Oscars Should Learn From This Super Bowl

The Oscars benefit from and have long benefited from what the Super Bowl does. It is an institution. Like all live events (and ironically, like opening a movie), no one knows what the content of the show is going to be. All they know is that they want to participate in that event. They want to have fun. They want to go, “ooooo.” They want to get ticked off. They want Jen Lawrence to trip going up the stairs but to be the world’s biggest movie star once she gets to the podium.

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GRAVITY Earns Top Honors from Cinematographers

KILLING LINCOLN, GAME OF THRONES and DRUNK HISTORY Win in TV Categories   LOS ANGELES, February 1, 2014 – Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC; Jeremy Benning, CSC; Jonathan Freeman, ASC and Blake McClure earned top honors in the four competitive categories at the 28thAnnual American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Awards for Outstanding Achievement. The ceremony was held here…

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Writers Guild Awards 2014

SCREEN NOMINEES ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY American Hustle, Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell; Columbia Pictures Blue Jasmine, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics Dallas Buyers Club, Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack; Focus Features Her, Written by Spike Jonze; Warner Bros. – WINNER Nebraska, Written by Bob Nelson; Paramount Pictures ADAPTED SCREENPLAY August: Osage County, Screenplay by Tracy Letts; Based on his…

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Statement Regarding “Alone Yet Not Alone” Song Decision

The Board of Governors’ decision to rescind the Original Song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone,” music by Bruce Broughton, was made thoughtfully and after careful consideration.  The Academy takes very seriously anything that undermines the integrity of the Oscars® voting process. The Board regretfully concluded that Mr. Broughton’s actions did precisely that. The nominating process for Original Song is intended…

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin