MCN Commentary & Analysis

The State of Oscar. 122819. Are The Boats Turning?

Christmas Day has come and gone and some distributors are happily sleeping, their bellies filled with the comfort of their films’ position. Others are — or should be — getting twitchy.

The most comfy of all should be Netflix, for whom absolutely nothing has changed since this holiday window began last Friday the 20th. This is the power (and sometimes weakness) of releasing movies designed to live in a different paradigm than the other distributors competing for Oscar. They lean only on awards marketing and the movies themselves to stake out their position on the field. There is only the call to voters… no response… at least until nominations morning.

The process of The Great Settling still happens for Netflix. But the expectations that are stirring the pot are those of the movies themselves, the marketing, and little else.

On the other hand, Lionsgate is on both sides of the double edged sword this week. Bombshell, which is wildly undervalued, is not being highly valued or seen by the public. This is very dangerous for this film. There was a scent of “only the actors” around it from the day it first screened. But an energized audience could have changed that. The film should be around the $20 million mark when the people go back to work next week, which is not inherently disqualifying.

But none of this is about reality. It is about perception. And the message around Bombshell after a few weeks is “meh.” Mixed feelings amongst voters. Mixed feelings amongst ticket buyers, not so much after seeing the film, but clearly, when deciding what movie to see.

Since first seeing it, the key to the movie seems not to be the three women in the leads, each of whom gives a remarkable performance, but John Lithgow’s Roger Ailes, whose complex villainy appears, on the surface, to be pushing against the idea of the film as a #MeToo clarifier. But he is at the center of what is best about the film. The complexity and the near-banality of how power, particularly male power, has foisted itself and abused women in the work force. And indeed, the fight among all women and even among the victims themselves to unite and fight this abuse.

I should write a piece about how #MeToo has been let down by this industry over and over since the Harvey Revelations came to light. Even the best intentioned are still trying to figure this out. The film Bombshell delivers as well as anything has in this regard. But I don’t think the pitch —and you may have read about my love of the trailer choice, which I still love — found the tone that was needed to make this movie feel more important to audiences. No one (who isn’t a film critic) wants a lecture at the movies. And no one wants to trivialize the issue here. But in many ways, the film is a whodunit where you know who did it… but its about the journey. The marketing never quite went there, so you are asking people to embrace the film based on the three actresses and the proximity to Fox News. Clearly, not enough. A very hard get. I’m not sure what, if any, studio would have done better. But at this moment, it’s feeling not as effective as needed.

On the other side of the sword, Knives Out has positioned itself as a potential surprise Best Picture nominee. This is a possibility that I discounted since seeing and loving the film at TIFF in September. Genre is wrong. Cast is wrong (aka, unlikely to single out a nominee). The film has a Crash-like cast of well-liked actors, but is a true ensemble piece, which makes it challenging.

But here’s the thing… people really like the film. A lot of people really like the film. And in analyzing The Academy, there is a tendency to forget how much the 9000+ voters tend to be more like the masses than we expect. I am not saying Knives Out is anything close to a lock. But we are in a season of mixed feelings, so a film that everyone seems to agree on becomes a lot more empowered than might have been expected. Plus, the film is the front line on stories about “the kind of movies studios don’t make anymore” getting made and finding a big audience (should be around $115 million by the end of the holiday, plus more than $100 million more from the rest of the world).

This has been a season of terrific movies… but not a season of fun movies. Knives Out has the potential that pure pleasure brings.

This is also an advantage for Sony with both their awards films. Little Women had a big first-screening push, then some pushback, and now we are seeing how the wide expanse feels about it. My experience is that, especially for women, that feeling is joyous. (As a result, it may get to $35 million domestic — in eight total days in release — before the holiday is over.)

Likewise, as violent as the third act of Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood gets, Quentin Tarantino wrote an unusual two-hander about two sides of the coin of fame (turns out it has about twenty sides) and mixed in a shit-ton of nostalgia for boomers (especially Hollywood boomers) and as always, great and unexpected supporting performances all over the place.

In the controversy about Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate in this film, I come down squarely on QT’s side. With some space, I now see the film as a story about the two fictional men, with Sharon Tate as the shiny object that drives men mad that was in that briefcase in Pulp Fiction. I know that saying that the character is an object in the film seems anti-feminist. But I simply disagree, because she is not objectified as a woman so much, as she is an ideal that is lingered on throughout the film by DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton that he once embodied and no longer does. The flipside of that ideal is the women of Manson, who have given their power to a different kind of false idol and pay for it with their lives (in this film). If there is an argument for sexism in the film, it is about the lack of a woman in the middle ground. The women in the film other than Sharon or Manson Girls are either precocious children, bimbos or ballbusters. (What I would give for a Tarantino script on The Mamas & The Papas.)

So what of Ford v Ferarri, which will is over $100 million domestic and should pass $200 million worldwide this weekend. Will it make the cut? Is there anything that DisneyFox can do about it?

Here’s the thing… no idea. This is the film’s seventh weekend in theaters and it is now sliding towards its box office end, short of an Oscar nomination boost. The major critics groups didn’t help. So there has been no spark in a while. Just a strong, well-liked quality movie. It isn’t a natural underdog, filled with surprises, like Knives Out. There are so many movies about men that there is not constituency for men, as may drive support for a film like Little Women. This could well be the most well-liked and successful film left out of the Best Picture race this year.

Warner Bros. shoved Just Mercy into the awards race, originally having dated it in 2020. Then they left it to die with just four screens through the nomination period. And the signal there is that the film is not going to be as popular as Harriet, which is also a walking dead Best Picture title, in spite of strong box office. Harriet did $18 million in its first eight days. With Christmas and holiday week, a comparably strong 8-day wide launch for Just Mercy would be about $25 million. In all frankness, if Warners didn’t believe that this film could do that kind of business, this whole early release is just a Hail Mary to get Jamie Foxx a nod in a mostly colorless season.

Universal is also doing a qualifier for 1917 and going wide January 10. And it is in a very different position than Just Mercy. It is, by its nature, a higher-ceiling movie commercially. It’s a thriller. It’s a tear-jerker. It’s an epic. The management of this film is being asserted from a position of strength, not from an effort to sneak into the race at the bottom end of the Best Picture group. Though there is a negative thought to be had in this case too… had Universal launched wide (against its own Cats), soft numbers could have damaged it in the awards race in a real way. They will open 1917 wide before Oscar nominations, but those nominations will, they hope, propel 1917 to bigger numbers through January and into February. Sam Mendes doesn’t have the rep of a Spielberg or Scorsese or Eastwood. But this is a big-balls old-school Oscar pattern release. The goal is to be peaking at the box office when Oscar voters vote, not maxing out and starting its theatrical descent. We’ll see how that plays as it widens.

It is odd to think that Jojo Rabbit has been in release for almost 2.5 months already. Yes, I live in a showbiz bubble. So Searchlight didn’t have a lot at stake in this holiday window. I am honestly shocked by how many Academy members I hear from who have not seen the film. They have the DVD. The film has been offered to them in theaters over and over. The film grossed over $20 million, which is about right for what it is. But this may be a case where critics did manage to slow a film down enough to mortally wound it. (Unique to TIFF, where is won the Audience Award, is that audiences bought tickets and went to see the film before a group of critics lined up to throw allegations of too-light-on-Nazis at the film… and those audiences clearly disagreed with those critics.) I still think that there is enough love amongst those who have seen the film to get it nominated. And once nominated, it becomes dangerous, because everyone who hasn’t stuck the disc in the machine will stick it in the machine. Some will hate it. Many will love it. And the Best Picture win this season feels like it is up in the air.

Parasite has managed a remarkable $21 million without being on more than 620 screens. The holiday is a non-issue for the film. Either it is or isn’t in position to strike out to win Best Picture. But Neon should not be relaxing now. If Little Women and Knives Out are both getting stronger, the double nomination is a little more challenging than it was before. Don’t trust the media to tell you that you are fine. The film is in for BP. A lot of people are talking about it winning. But so far, few Academy members I have spoken to, including those who are hearing it could win, are voting for it as their #1. So…

That leaves, aside from Netflix, Joker.

I just don’t know. There will certainly be nominations. But Best Picture… hmmm… just not convinced. The holiday obviously means nothing in this regard… except… did “the kids” insist on watching the film while their voting parents and/or grandparents were talking about Trump? Or were they watching Knives Out or Parasite or Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood or Little Women? Warners and their consulting publicists have done an amazing job of keeping the film in the conversation for the last three months. But do enough people love the film to get it a nomination? Tough. And I have appreciated the work put into the film, from Todd Phillips on down the crew list, more and more as the season has worn on and the work has been shown from many perspectives. But while Joaquin Phoenix seems undeniable for a nomination, Best Picture… hard.

And then there was Netflix.

The Irishman. Marriage Story. The Two Popes. Dolemite is My Name.

Strong films. The only significance of their theatrical releases has been the stunt of those theatrical releases. I am actually shocked that I only found one story online about The Irishman‘s run at The Belasco on Broadway after it began and that was on November 7, showing social media responses from people who loved the free stuff and atmospherics that were part of the presentation. No more stories about sold-out shows or $400 resales. This doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great idea or an excellent piece of (very expensive) execution. But how many people are seeing The Two Popes or Marriage Story at The Paris today? No idea. And the truth is, it doesn’t matter. Netflix got its publicity hit.

Oddly, with a Bowl game on the TV, the Netflix take on theatrical reminds me a bit of a great player who wants to compete at the highest level, but whose parents want him to sit out the big game because he’s already projected to go high in the NFL draft and don’t want him to take the chance of failing or getting hurt when it isn’t absolutely necessary. And indeed, we saw the Alabama QB expected to go #1 in the draft get a serious injury in garbage time in a game this year, likely costing him millions on his first NFL contract, with the long-term costs still unknown.

Still, there is another side to that argument. Yes, Netflix markets their awards films to high heaven in Los Angeles and New York and across the globe (where new Academy members are) and completely avoids the ad costs and dangers of theatrical release. But in the end, there is no avoiding the films themselves. Netflix films compete mostly on the basis of being seen on TV, as so many of the films now do. The films themselves have to deliver.

Even the difference between the habit of turning on Netflix and watching something/anything and having to stick a disc in a DVD player is an advantage in terms of voters seeing the films. The films are in your face. This also means some people will see them and not love them. But strategically, the first step in any Oscar effort is having voters see the films. And Netflix has a head start there over all the theatrically- driven titles.

So what might Team Netflix be feeling over this holiday window? A little anxiety. But they really have no reason to feel like they are leaving anything undone. They were really done last week when The Two Popes and Marriage Story arrived on the service. Mission complete. Roll over and smoke a cigarette or whatever one does these days that is considered to be a safe choice. Hollywood is pregnant… or not. Y’all are done. You gave all the power to those movies.

I don’t know if this will happen next year or not. However… if I were Warner Bros. and I had a film like Just Mercy next season, looking for the best awards opportunity, I would be seriously considering releasing the film by October 1, specifically so I could have the film move exclusively to HBO Max by November 15.

And if I was a company like Netflix and had a Dolemite Is My Name, I would skip the festivals, do a legitimate six-week theatrical window, committing to $15 million in marketing for the release, then put it on the service a month before Oscar voting.

No matter what the result of this season, both sides should seriously consider the new tools that are available to them. Netflix is stubborn and simply wrong about theatrical. If they had given Scorsese a real release this year and, sanely, demanded that he cut his film by 45 minutes, he and they would be in a much better position to win Best Picture this year, even for a film that gets 12 or 13 nominations without those choices.

The greater irony is that Netflix could be leading the market in the way they did with streaming by fully integrating the theatrical option into their model. Their stock seems unstoppable. Their stock is up to a still-crazy 329 on the Dow as of Friday, so while it’s not a suicidal 400+, they are fine. But Disney+ is just the beginning of the turf wars for streaming and Netflix is surely looking for their next iteration. A billion a year in theatrical would make an already superstar stock even bigger. (shrug)

In the new era of The Academy, with up to 10 nominees for Best Picture, we will soon see a major de-emphasize theatrical and focus on promoting their film of choice by pushing it out “early” to subscription streaming. If Disney had dated Ford v Ferarri in October, the film could be on Disney+ today. And that might have been a better strategy to get a Best Picture nomination than they have had this season.

Interesting times for Oscar and the industry.

18 Responses to “The State of Oscar. 122819. Are The Boats Turning?”

  1. movieman says:

    I liked “Bombshell” (esp Theron and Kidman), but don’t share your enthusiasm for Lithgow (sabotaged by atrocious prosthetics which was all I noticed).
    Or Robbie for that matter (the character–“Right Wing Evangelical Lesbian”–made little sense: seemed more agenda-driven than the movie itself, and for me she overacts her quite frankly impossible role).

    Interesting take on The Netflix Conundrum.
    I keep waiting for them to kowtow to the exhibition gods (I’m looking at you, Regal and Cinemark) and give their more awards-friendly titles 90-day windows (at least). Hasn’t happened yet, but there’s always…next year.

    Final thought:
    Please don’t accuse me of jingoism or political incorrectness for suggesting that foreign language/non-English language films should be automatically disqualified from Oscar’s (or anyone else’s, including BFCA) “Best Picture” category.
    There’s already a slot for “International Films” (is that the p.c. term?).
    Let “Parasite” compete (and win) there, just like “Roma” did last year.
    And “Parasite” was #6 on my 2019 10-best list; “Roma” tied for my #1 spot in 2018.
    It’s not that I don’t love those movies, I’d just like to see more films get a shot at a BP nomination.
    And double-dipping feels gluttonous.
    I’ve felt that way ever since the ’70s when “The Emigrants” stole a nomination that might have gone to any number of fantastic American movies in the heyday of the New Hollywood era.

  2. cadavra says:

    Re: BOMBSHELL. Am I the only one who thinks it may have been hurt by the perception that it’s just a Reader’s Digest version of THE LOUDEST VOICE, which most everyone could have watched at home this summer or fall and thus didn’t feel like paying to see essentially the same tale again?

  3. movieman says:

    Not helping “Bombshell” is Lionsgate’s “are we in, or are we out?” release strategy.
    While 1,000+ screens seems “wide,” the relatively paltry number of screens accorded “Bombshell”–as opposed to…well, pretty much every other holiday release–makes me wonder if they screwed the pooch.
    Since they clearly weren’t interested in going wide-wide (2,000+ screens at least) this month, wouldn’t it have been wiser to have maintained the “exclusive” December 13th screen count and waited to expand beyond a dozen or more screens (with their juicy PSA’s) in January?
    Just brainstorming here.

    On an unrelated point, I continue to be stunned by the complete apathy displayed towards “A Hidden Life” by both audiences and (most, not all) critics.
    Were Malick’s post-“Tree of Life” movies such a turn-off to whoever saw them that neither Terry or his films will ever get a fair shake (or the benefit of an open mind) again?
    I’m totally flummoxed.
    As I said in another thread, I could easily picture “Life” having been an awards favorite in an alternate season: a revered veteran director w/ “interesting” history who’s never won and therefore “overdue;” an accessible work whose humanist bonafides nobody (well, maybe the NYT’s Dargis) can dispute, etc.
    I’m beginning to think the only way Malick will ever be considered “relevant” again is if he directs a f***ing Marvel movie.
    Not that that’s ever gonna happen (or should).
    But Chloe Zhao hardly seemed like a future Marvel employee on the basis of her first two no-budget, neo-realist Native American masterpieces either, so…

  4. Glamourboy says:

    Bombshell has an even bigger problem (for me)… is clearly a film for the left wing….with protagonists who are right wing. I love that these women are going to take down RA….but I can’t root for people who work for Fox News. Good performances aside, I just can’t get behind this movie.

    I totally agree with you Movieman about the Best Picture concept and how foreign films should only go up for the foreign film prize. It is a slot that should be taken by another movie.

    I just voted for the WGA awards….JoJo Rabbit, Honey Boy, Parasite and Dolemite were the ones I was most excited to vote for. Reasons I didn’t vote for other front runners? Marriage Story felt too insular, too white, and I never liked either of the two characters, The Two Popes felt weight down by a subplot that I wasn’t interested in, The Irishman–the story could have been told more effectively with about 45 minutes cut from it…it felt too precious, Knives Out….I am primed to love it but Lionsgate didn’t send a digital screener and I’ve been traveling…they sent the dvd out too late, so I just missed the movie (even Star Wars sent a digital screener…so Lionsgate really missed the boat)….I was also primed to like The Farewell, but I missed it in theaters and they never sent a screener, so that’s out. Didn’t vote for Little Women because the framing device was creaky. and at the end of the film, I honestly just didn’t care enough. And has anyone checked in on the team promoting Judy? They seemed to be coasting on all the early praise, then went home and went into hibernation. It was in very few theaters, there were very few screenings and no screener for the WGA…..shows very little faith in their film. Lighthouse was a wonderful, weird movie…but a screener would have been nice to be able to take the film in for a second time and look at the plot more closely.

  5. movieman says:

    I totally get that, Glam.
    Liberals don’t want to see a movie about Fox News and their employees, and Trumpers (the concept of “conservative” went out the window the day Donnie was elected) don’t want to see a movie critical of their favorite source of “news.”
    Totally makes sense that the movie is stalling out of the gate.
    Silly me for treating it like just another well-reviewed awards contender (w/ a big name cast).

    Don’t share the universal love for “Dolemite.” While I liked all of the performances, there were two unaddressed matters that left a sour taste in my mouth. Surprised that no one has commented on them.
    The first was the matter of cultural appropriation.
    Rudy Ray Moore essentially steals all of his primo material from homeless men. Bad enough, right?
    But then he kicks them out of their home when his film company uses the abandoned hotel they’re squatting in as a de facto studio.
    The second thing that didn’t sit well with me was the editing of Rudy’s “sex scene.” I found it remarkably insensitive that the only person in the room denied a reaction shot to Rudy’s antics is the actress in bed with Rudy. Knowing that she was also in on the joke would have been nice. The way the scene is cut denies her of any humanity.

  6. Christian Hamaker says:

    MM: Again, I just want to join your bafflement re: the apathy for A HIDDEN LIFE – an obvious slam-dunk for a once revered filmmaker who’s overdue for acknowledgement from the Academy, even if he wouldn’t play the awards game, right down to not showing up for the ceremony or giving a speech if he won. Could his longstanding aloofness be hurting him with voters?

  7. movieman says:

    Christian: Malick’s longtime aloofness certainly didn’t hurt him w/ Academy voters in 1998 or 2011 w/ “The Thin Red Line” and “Tree of Life,” so I’m not sure whether that’s the reason for the collective snub of “Hidden Life.”
    I’m beginning to think critics and even old fan-loyalists are just starting to take Malick for granted.
    When his films were few and far between–e.g., the infamous 20 year gap between “Days of Heaven” and “Red Line”–they felt like great gifts from the cinematic gods. But now that Malick is downright ubiquitous (five movies in nine years!?!), it’s easier to shrug them off as just “More of the Same.”
    Which is precisely what most former admirers have done.
    I can’t help thinking that if “Life” had opened at another period in time (and another period in Terry’s filmography), it would have been an Oscar lock. It certainly looks/feels like a “classic” Oscar movie.
    But it can’t even get any awards traction in the cinematography category which is truly insane.
    The sublime physical beauty of Malick’s films is now treated like old news or, even worse, cliche.
    I really don’t have a solution for what he can do to retain his old luster.
    And considering his advanced age, another lengthy hiatus seems ill-advised.
    It’s baffling and inordinately depressing to this longstanding Malick-phile.

  8. Daniella Isaacs says:

    movieman, If you don’t get how a FEMALE right-wing Christian could fall into bed with another woman, you don’t understand right-wing Christians. Remember, these are people who don’t think oral sex is sex. As long as they end up accepting a man as their master and bear his kids in the end, they’re alright by God.

    I agree with David, who’s point about Lithgow is one of his best insights all year. By giving his character a smidgen of humanity, they confuse audiences wanting… what’s David’s beautifully diplomatic term? Oh, “a #MeToo clarifier.” Exactly. Ironically, Ailes is the most watchable and interesting character in the film (along with Kate McKinnon’s Jess).

  9. movieman says:

    Sorry, Daniella, but I couldn’t get past the atrocious prosthetics Lithgow was buried under. It utterly sabotaged his performance for me.
    And I still think Robbie’s character–as written and (over)played–didn’t make a smidgeon of sense. If contradictions were the point of the characterization, they certainly didn’t help make her behavior either coherent or explicable.
    I did like (plenty of) other things about the movie, though.
    But it’s failure to break through seems like a combination of (A) Lionsgate’s neither in nor out release strategy; and (B) demographic confusion.
    That is, who exactly is the film hoping to draw into theaters?
    Most liberals would find the very concept of the film off-putting, and most Trumpers will surely avoid it for fear that it portrays their favorite “news” outlet in an unfavorable light.
    A lose-lose proposition.

  10. palmtree says:

    I’m going to be contrarian and say I’m okay with foreign language films getting best picture nods (in addition to best foreign nods too). And it’s not about jingoism or political correctness…

    First of all, it happens so rarely that it has to be a pretty unique film that captures the Academy’s attention in that way. It’s only happened 11 times in all of the Academy’s history, and this includes masterpieces like Grand Illusion and Cries and Whispers. I’d argue Parasite falls in line with this trend of quality.

    Second, it includes a few films that were foreign-language but was produced by Americans like Letter from Iwo Jima and Babel. We can’t go disqualifying films based on a language requirement. The Farewell is a good example of something being largely about Asian Americans even if it takes place in China with a lot of Chinese dialogue. It’d be absurd to call it “foreign” just because of the language. So these definitions are too difficult to prescribe for every case.

    Third, the title “best” picture has very little meaning if you start limiting what can compete for it. The BAFTAs have best British film. If we really wanted to exclude “international” films, we could introduce have a best American film or a best English language film category. But I like the idea that theoretically any film could win best picture.

    Anyway, I’m mainly being devil’s advocate here. I could easily see the argument for the other side.

  11. JERMS says:

    Parasite should be in the running for Best Picture as well as Best Foreign Picture, just like Roma.

    Haven’t the actual winners the past few years felt like everyone’s second choice? Green Book, Shape of Water, Moonlight, Spotlight, Birdman…

    That’s why I wonder if The Irishman is actually going to win Best Picture. Feels like a safe vote.

  12. Bob Burns says:

    There are about 20 films that could easily fall into line behind previous Oscar winners without standing out…. one just as plausible as any other.I don’t see much to fight over. Good film making has become common.

    Kinda like the National Book Awards. There is so much good writing, they can’t go wrong.

  13. movieman says:

    I have no problem w/ honoring outstanding foreign language films (like “Parasite” and “Roma”), Palm and JERMS.
    I just think there’s something inherently weird/wrong about the same movie competing in two “Best” categories at the same time.
    I would feel the same if a wonderful animated feature or documentary scored a “Best Picture” nomination along w/ a “Best Animated Feature” or “Best Documentary” nod.
    Is it so terrible to want to give other deserving films a chance at a Best Picture slot? Especially when “BP is the most coveted nomination of all.
    There really ought to be an Academy rule: only one Best Picture nomination per film in any given year.

  14. palmtree says:

    “There really ought to be an Academy rule: only one Best Picture nomination per film in any given year.”

    I agree in principle, but in reality, I’m not so sure. If a documentary or animated film is beloved and respected enough to become people’s votes for Best Picture, it speaks to that film being a rare phenomenon that deserves to be honored in this way. In other words, it becomes the exception that proves the rule. I believe Parasite is such a film that has garnered critical and audience praise as well as had a disproportionate impact on the culture. I can’t help but feel that it would be nice to honor it with a nomination the way we did Grand Illusion, another masterpiece about class.

    But then your argument goes “Parasite should only run for Best Picture.” But if then we removed Parasite from foreign categories so that it could run in the best picture race, then that would only help gain more nominations for foreign films since it would promote an extra one taking Parasite’s vacated spot. And you’re still left with the same problem: fewer strictly American titles for Best Picture.

  15. Glamourboy says:

    Just as a the producers of a film decide which actor is running in which category (lead or supp.) I think a foreign film should choose whether they want to be considered for best film or foreign film. It won’t make a difference 99% of the time, but it would make films like Roma or Parasite have to choose between one.

    And JERMS, The Irishman is not the safest best for BP–there are many Academy members who do not want to vote for a Netflix BP win. It certainly worked against Roma last year which was much more critically acclaimed than Green Book. It will happen at some point, but my guess is that its too soon for Netflix to be considered in the club, even if it is someone as big as Scorcese at the door. Once Upon a Time….in Hollywood or 1917 will be the real contenders in this race, I believe.

  16. Hcat says:

    “I think a foreign film should choose whether they want to be considered for best film or foreign film.”

    I don’t believe it is up to them, it is selected from the host country. I am all for them competing amongst the foreign films and the larger crowd. They have such an uphill battle to begin with it seems they have to be truly exceptional to get a BP nomination (with the obvious exception of Il Postino). And since they are almost always championed by smaller distributors I appreciate having them in the mix. A BP nom will raise Parasites profile to a higher level and create more interest in it, which is precisely the reason the Oscars were created to begin with, to point out quality amongst the commerce.

  17. sam says:

    The good: Netflix reopened the Paris!
    The bad: apparently just as a Netflix showcase so that means no chances for long runs for other distributors’ movies.

  18. movieman says:

    Came up with a better/fairer way for non-English language movies to compete in the “Best Picture” category.

    How about eliminating the “Best International Film” (formerly “Best Foreign Film”) slot altogether?
    That way the best int’l movies can compete on the same level playing field as Hollywood, American indie, British, whatever films.

    Maybe the “best” movie would actually win “BP.”
    But who am I kidding?
    How many times in the history of Oscar has the “Best” film actually won?

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The New York Times

"Netflix, the great disrupter whose algorithms and direct-to-consumer platform have forced powerful media incumbents to rethink their economic models, now seems to need a big strategy change itself. It got me thinking about the simple idea that my film and TV production company Blumhouse is built on: If you give artists a lot of creative freedom and a little money upfront but a big stake in the movie’s or TV show’s commercial success, more often than not the result will be both commercial (the filmmakers are incentivized to make films that will resonate with audiences) and artistically interesting (creative freedom!). This approach has yielded movies as varied as Get Out (made for $4.5 million, with worldwide box office receipts of more than $250 million), Whiplash (made for $3.3 million, winner of three Academy Awards), The Invisible Man (made for $7 million, earned more than $140 million) and Paranormal Activity (made for $15,000, grossed more than $190 million).From the beginning, the most important strategy I used to persuade artists to work with me was to make radically transparent deals: We usually paid the artists (“participants” in Hollywood lingo) the absolute minimum allowable by union contracts upfront, with the promise of healthy bonuses based on actual box office results—instead of the opaque 'percentage points' that artists are usually offered. Anyone can see box office results immediately, so creators don’t quarrel with the payouts. In fact, when it comes time for an artist to collect a bonus based on box office receipts, I email a video clip of myself dropping the check off at FedEx to the recipient."
Jason Blum Sees Room For "Scrappier" Netflix

The New York Times | April 30, 2022

"As a critic Gavin was entertaining, wry, questioning, sensitive, perceptive"
Critic-Filmmaker Gavin Millar Was 84; Films Include Cream In My Coffee, Dreamchild

April 29, 2022

The New York Times

Disney Executive Geoff Morrell Out After Less Than Four Months

The New York Times | April 29, 2022

The Video Section See All

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The Podcast Section See All