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Awards Update Archive for October, 2011

19 Weeks To Oscar (20W2O) Charts: October 23, 2011

With 19 weeks to go, the Oscar race has barely moved. The only real event of the last week was the successful release of Tintin in 19 countries overseas.

That’s all about to change. In the next 3 weeks, most of the award season will take root. All but a couple of the contenders will be exposed to the light. Talent will be filling the corridors of LA’s hotels and screening rooms at a nearly insane level. Some will rise. Some will fall.

But for now… animation.

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Brett Ratner Is Amused

Brett Ratner Is Amused

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19 Weeks To Oscar: The Mean Season?

It’s a tough year for Oscar voters. Lots of great movies… but not too many that will leave them walking out of the theater with a smile on their face for the whole human race. Insanity, rape, murder, sex addiction, 9/11, and even one of the “feel goods” is about sacrificing something you love for your country. Fun Fun Fun!

(Charts to come.)

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20 Weeks To Oscar (20W2O) Charts: October 23, 2011

We are now on the 20 week road to Oscar and here, to go with
the first column of this year’s series, are the first set of post-Toronto charts for Best Picture and the four acting categories. Six unseen movies are still major question marks in all of the races, especially Best Picture, which could have anywhere from 5 to 10 nominees this year.

(BP Chart corrected, Monday 11:30a)

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Line Dance

20 years of Oscar consultants, in-house and out, figuring out how to game the system, and a decade of deteriorating media standards has led to an out-of-date response mechanism at The Academy, which just wants to do what it’s been doing all these years and to protect, as best they can, their membership from being prayed upon by the vultures.

But where is the line?

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1 Week To 20 Weeks To Oscar: Counting Best Picture Ballots

So I’m a week from writing the weekly column… but the one issue that seems to keep cropping up is how the change in the Best Picture vote accounting rules really works. Steve Pond did a nice job trying to lay it all out when it happened. But people still seem to be unsure what is really up. So I had a chat with AMPAS’ Ric Robertson and Leslie Unger in the name of clarity. This is where I landed…

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“The core fear is what can happen to you, personally. Your body. That’s what horror films deal with, precisely. We are a very thin skin wrapped around a pumping heart and guts. At any given moment it can come down to that, be it diseases, or somebody’s assault, or war, or a car wreck. You could be reduced to the simple laws of physics and your body’s vulnerability. The edged weapon is the penultimate weapon to disclose that reality to you.”
~ Wes Craven, 1996, promoting Scream

MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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