Awards Update

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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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Golden Goose & Those Lovely Eggs

The illusion of free will that is foisted on Phase I becomes much more real in Phase II. Because the power of narrowing choices actually shifts to the Academy voters and away from the media and the consultants.

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Gurus o’ Gold: What Films Are On The Edge & Who Will Win Golden Globes?

The Gurus tighten things up, with only 10 Best Picture picks. They ask, “What films are on the edge of being in or out of Best Picture contention?” Also, in honor of the Golden Globes nominations, The Gurus pick their winners. Only two of eight categories are unanimous, but all but Best Drama have overwhelming leads.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: #GlobesSoWhite

The other three “black” films? Fences was good enough for its two big stars of color to be nominated. Loving was good enough for its two likely Oscar nominees to be nominated. Hidden Figures was good enough for its Oscar-winning star to be nominated along with, uh, Best Score.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Top 8 Categories A Few Days Before The Globes Nominations

Thirteen Best Picture titles have votes from more than half the voting Gurus this week, after all the movies expected to be in play, aside from Passengers, have been seen. That is the field from which 7-10 will get Best Picture nominations. Scorsese’s Silence didn’t rise… but it didn’t fall either. Denis Villeneuve, Andrew Garfield, Isabelle Huppert and Janelle Monáe are on the rise.

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“A shot is a story. A shot on its own should be a piece of a story. Which is why I talk a lot about watching films, even the films we’re working on, with the sound off. Just to analyze how the film works, because a film should work for an audience without any sound. The biggest problem I see is that someone may have a superficial understanding of what a shot is propositionally, but they don’t have an understanding of how all of these shots are part of a family that needs to connect, and so you’ll get something that’s like a sentence arranged poorly with six nouns in a row. That surprises me, because I think that’s something that can be learned. Some things can’t be, but that can. It’s a grammar. In a classroom I could walk somebody through the difference between a sequence in which the filmmaker has a deep understanding of how images connect, and someone who doesn’t. It’s not really an intellectual process. Some people are just born with it and are just sort of savants at that deep mathematical understanding of shot construction.  I’m better than I used to be, but there are some people I’m just never going to catch. Spielberg. His staging ability. I’m never going to catch him. But when you’re trying to figure out how to get better—I’m not competitive in the sense of looking around at other filmmakers and comparing myself to them. What I do have to think about in trying to navigate myself through a career is: what can I get better at, and what do I have that I can enhance that somebody else doesn’t have?”
~ Steven Soderbergh

“It’s not going to be huge. He and I had been corresponding for a while. When I finally met him, he said, ‘We should collaborate.’ When John Ashbery says that to you, you don’t say when, you just say yes. It has not been easy to conjure this out of nothing. Sean Price Williams and I spent time with him, and it will appear on FilmStruck before the year is out…. I have figured out how to streamline things. I still have dreams of making movies with bigger budgets, and they might be considered to have more of a voice in pop culture. I don’t want to let go of that. I also realize that you grow up a lot of your life with wishful thinking and waiting. I have figured out ways to avoid doing that. I am working on a bigger movie about Nikola Tesla, set in the past, so it is not an easy film to make. I am also working on an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s ‘White Noise.’ That seems more likely to catch fire.”
Michael Almereyda Steps It Up