Awards Update

23 Weeks To Oscar: Actors!!!

This is a good year for movies. It may become the most boring Oscar race in living memory. Why? Because even though the answers are not 100% clear in any category yet… the reason that no one has taken “absolutely winning” position is not a lack of great performances, but a distinct lack of “must win” candidates.

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24 Weeks To Oscar: Where We Are After TIFF

Only two movies came out of North American premieres at TIFF (which is essentially over, even though it goes on for five more days) with legitimate Best Picture hopes, Molly’s Game and the Venice premiering Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

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25 Weeks To Oscar: What Happened In Telluride

Twenty-nine new films premiered (or close to it) at Telluride. About half figure in the award season. The two clear winners – at a festival without a competition – were Lady Bird (which gets first billing as the less-expected smash) and Darkest Hour, a movie highly anticipated for the performance of Gary Oldman… and then overdelivered. Expect Best Picture nominations for both. From there, it gets complicated.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Dawn Of A New Award Season

Venice starts in five days. Telluride in six. And The Gurus are here to let you know that the only films that are considered sure bets are Dunkirk and Steven Spielberg’s still-editing Pentagon Papers movie. Also accruing over 80 points are Get Out, The Shape of Water, Downsizing and the Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson. So what does this mean? Expect big surprises over the next couple weeks as fortunes rise and fall.

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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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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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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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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Simple Case For Moonlight

The phenomenon of Moonlight was on full display at the Telluride Film Festival. Audiences were not only screaming and standing on their feet when the movie ended, but many walked the intimate streets of Telliride in a kind of shock, rocked to their core. Men and women. Straight and gay. Some were black… but it is Telluride and well… most were not.

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Gurus o’ Gold: First Take At Ranking The Nominees

The Gurus ranked every Oscar category except for the shorts (even Gurus need to catch up with those nominees). And according to the Gurus, La La Land won’t break or tie the record for most wins. The film will have to settle for nine wins. The category in which The Gurus are the most indecisive? Make-up and Hair, with all three nominees ranked within two points of each other.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Simple Case FOR La La Land

How can anyone claim that a musical that opens with scores of people getting out of their cars to dance and sing on the freeway is “easy” “obvious” or “made for Oscar voters?” If audiences didn’t fall in love with that 5 minutes, the whole picture probably goes down. That is a massive risk.

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Nomination: Reaction

“I am thrilled! Loved making this film. I would work with Tom anytime, anywhere. Jake and Aaron and Karl made it easy for me. Nice to get some good news in the midst of all the carnage, so to speak.” – Michael Shannon   “I was just lying in bed when I found out. I…

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Right Before The Noms

This has been, perhaps, the most boring Oscar season in modern history.

But the other truth is, this has been a great award season for movies. Everyone has their personal preferences, but man, what a high quality line-up of product for awards this year. High and low.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Last Guesses Before Nominations

The Gurus are making their last group gasp before nominations arrive on Tuesday. (A couple Gurus, stuck in Sundance, may add to the charts.) Not a lot has changed in Best Picture, but some long-expected nominees have been pushed out in Actress. If the Gurus are channeling a true vibe, La La Land will lead the way with 14 nominations, followed by Arrival with 10. Dive in. Every category except for shorts is there this week. And after nominations, The Gurus will return with rankings of the nominees.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The 4 Kinds Of Best Picture Winners

I believe there are 4 kinds of Best Picture wins.

Big Love.
Big Obligation.
Big Avoidance.
Default.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Let The Ballots Be Filled

In the last pre-Globes Best Picture poll, a lot of stability on top of the Best Picture chart and a lot of instability in the last few potential slots for nomination. Also, The Gurus were asked if they had anything to say about it all at this moment… only 3 decided to speak up.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Doc & Foreign Faves

The Gurus are on vacation, but they left behind their thoughts about the short-list races of Feature Documentary and Foreign Language, offering up their personal preferences about both categories. And as always, Best Picture. Happy New Year to all. Oscar nomination voting starts in less than a week.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The (Shock) Corridor

My problem with The Corridor is that the period has become desperate and grabby. The smartest and the most simplistic players are stuck playing the same game… using fake awards events (high and low) and all forms of screening/dining contraptions and terrible hackneyed advertorial that not even ad buyers expect to be read.

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Gurus o’ Gold: ChristmaChanukah Time!

The Gurus answer the question on everyone’s mind… what are the best gifts The Academy could give us this holiday season? And, as always, the latest look at Best Picture, where there isn’t a lot of change. Happy Holidays!!!

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“BATTLE OF THE SEXES: Politics and queerness as spectacle/spectacle as politics and queerness. Pretty delightful, lovely, erotic. A-

“Not since EASY A and CABARET have I seen Emma Stone give a real sense of her range. Here, she has pathos and interiority and desire. I love the cinematography and the ways in which the images of the tennis icons are refracted and manipulated via various surfaces/mediators. Also, wild how a haircut is one of the most erotic scenes in cinema this year. Spine tinglingly tactile that feels refreshing. Proof that *cough* you don’t need to be ~graphic/explicit~ to be erotic *cough*. Also, it made me want to get into tennis. Watching it, at least.

“There are interesting touches and intimations as to the cinematic nature of sports, & unpacking the formal approach of broadcasting sports.Also, I was here for Sarah Silverman smoking. And also, hi Mickey Sumner!! It’s a really interesting film about the ways in which public spectacle is never apolitical, and how spectacle is prone to assignation.

“There’s this one other scene from BATTLE OF THE SEXES that I love, and it’s the one in the bar. You see Billie looking after Marilyn as she dances. Through a crowd. There’s a paradoxical closeness and distance between them. In the purple light, and the kitschy decor, everything is distorted. But Billie catches a glance and you can feel the nervous swell inside.”
~ Kyle Turner

“Our business is complicated because intimacy is part and parcel of our profession; as actors we are paid to do very intimate things in public. That’s why someone can have the audacity to invite you to their home or hotel and you show up. Precisely because of this we must stay vigilant and ensure that the professional intimacy is not abused. I hope we are in a pivotal moment where a sisterhood — and brotherhood of allies — is being formed in our industry. I hope we can form a community where a woman can speak up about abuse and not suffer another abuse by not being believed and instead being ridiculed. That’s why we don’t speak up — for fear of suffering twice, and for fear of being labeled and characterized by our moment of powerlessness. Though we may have endured powerlessness at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, by speaking up, speaking out and speaking together, we regain that power. And we hopefully ensure that this kind of rampant predatory behavior as an accepted feature of our industry dies here and now. Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing. I speak up to make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance. I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence.”
Lupita Nyong’o