Awards Watch Archive for February, 2017

ACADEMY RESCINDS SOUND MIXING NOMINATION FOR GREG P. RUSSELL ON “13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI”

LOS ANGELES, CA – Upon recommendation by the Sound Branch Executive Committee, the Academy’s Board of Governors voted Thursday (2/23) to rescind the Sound Mixing nomination for Greg P. Russell from “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” for violation of Academy campaign regulations.  The decision was prompted by the discovery that Russell had called…

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Gurus o’ Gold: Our Final Votes

In this final look at the field before Oscar Sunday, The Gurus bet heavy on La La Land. Also, a long list of categories where The Gurus think upsets are still possible, though the only La La upset with any traction is Huppert over Stone (and still, all voting Gurus went Stone and only 5 consider the upset possible). Plus, the Gurus are still fuzzy on the shorts.

Thanks for joining us for another season. We predict we will see you again in August.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: 4 Days Away…

It wasn’t complex. It wasn’t full of surprises. And nothing in its nature has suggested any real change at The Academy or inside The Industry.

The Academy is still old and white. Young people still tend to spark what is new about the industry. But the process of “becoming” for non-actors tends not to be an overnight event.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Final Voting Has Begun… The Gurus Weigh In

The Gurus offer their Top 2 in every category… except when a Guru feels the win is so locked in that there is no realistic competition. Seven of the categories have unanimous votes (Actress, Supporting Actress, Animation, Documentary, Score, Song, VFX). If The Gurus’ vision is clear, one film will win 9 Oscars on the night. The Gurus will be back one more time, after voting closes.

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Oscar 89 Names Production Team

89th OSCARS® PRODUCTION TEAM ANNOUNCED Over 75 Years of Combined Oscars Telecast Experience LOS ANGELES, CA — Producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd today announced eight key members of the production team for the 89th Oscars®, which will air live on Sunday, February 26, on ABC. It was previously announced that Glenn Weiss would…

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USC Libraries Scripter 2017 honors “Moonlight,” “The Night Manager,” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson”

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 11, 2017 – The authors and screenwriters behind the film “Moonlight,” and the television series “The Night Manager” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” received the 29th-annual USC Libraries Scripter Award in a Feb. 11 ceremony at USC’s Doheny Memorial Library. The Scripter Award recognizes the year’s best cinematic…

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Cash & Carrying Gold

Here is a key stat about winning Best Picture: Since the expansion to 5+ Best Picture nominees, no film that has won Best Picture has been better than #3 on the list of domestic box office grossers amongst the nominees.

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The ASC Awards

“Lion” Takes Top Prize at American Society of Cinematographers Awards; “Game of Thrones,” “Mr. Robot” and “The Night Of” Win in TV Categories; “House of Others” Claims Spotlight Award Greig Fraser, ASC, ACS earned the coveted Theatrical Award for best cinematography in a motion picture for “Lion” at the 31st Annual American Society of Cinematographers…

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Gurus o’ Gold: Pick Your Top Two

This week, the Gurus were asked for their Top 2 picks in every category… unless they thought the winner is a lock. The results were not surprising, although Denzel Washington has moved into a lead and virtual Guru tie with Casey Affleck for Best Actor. Also close: Original Screenplay.

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Awards Watch

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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