Awards Update

The Gurus o’ Gold Oscar Blowout – Part 1

The Gurus make their final estimations of the field as seen by the Academy… no huge surprises, but Vice tumbled in almost all categories, with a few stray hopes for an editing nod.

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Gurus o’ Gold: At The Start of The Season 2018/19

The festival season has started and contenders are getting their first screenings. The Gurus take a close squint and the known-knowns and the maybe-knowns in the first charts of the season. Off to the movies! Let the surprises begin!

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Gurus o’ Gold: Final Guesses

The Gurus are nearly exhausted, predicting 11 unanimous selections, including all four Acting categories, Directing, Original Screenplay and Animated Feature. The most competitive categories? Best Picture and Best Documentary.

The Gurus also pick three potential upsets each, with Get Out as Best Picture leading the way, followed by both screenplay categories and Supporting Actress.

And with that, The Gurus head back to the mountain to hibernate until September. May The Show Be With You.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: A Week To Go

Every one of the five films that is considered to have a real chance of winning Best Picture has a position of strength and a soft underbelly.

Do you want to go through them all again?

I don’t either.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Top 3

As The Gurus count down to Oscar night, they pick their Top 3 in every category (except picture, where it’s still Top 5). The group is unanimous in a surprising nine categories, including all four acting awards, while Editing and Doc Feature are toss-ups. The Gurus see the maximum number of Oscars going to one film being… three.

Next week… Top 2.

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Gurus o Gold: Counting Down To Oscar Night

The Gurus are working through this final stage of the Oscar season. This week, The Top 4s. Next week, The Top 3s. Then, The Top 2s. And on show week, Only The Winners. (They’re all winners… it is an honor just to be nominated.)

And as you asked… The Gurus currently thinking no movie wins more than four Oscars. And the second biggest number of Oscars to… Dunkirk.

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

Best Picture, Acting, Directing & More

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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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Awards Update

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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