| August 2, 2021
The best we can hope for from this event is…
People will watch more of the nominees. Not Academy viewers, 80% of whom will be 80% of the way to completion (aside from docs, international, and shorts) when the nominations are announced, but real life people.
That’s really it.
If real people are paying attention to the movies that get nominated, they might watch the show wreck to come, which is important to The Academy, which will, for what it’s worth, run an Oscar show for a 10-month year in 2022.
Of course, as illogical as that is (as was expanding the window through February this year for what turned out to be zero reasons), the natural progression of Oscar tends to block out any movie that opens before March anyway. So… maybe no harm, no foul there. (And if you are feeling your defense of the handful of movies that qualified late this year… they would have pushed back to a December window if the rules hadn’t been changed, so please release your pearls.)
I would be truly thrilled by some serious surprise nominees in this year’s batch a week from Monday. And surely, there will be a handful. Will Judas & The Black Messiah or Tenet or Sound of Metal or The News of The World or The United States vs Billie Holiday or Borat Subsequent Movie Film be 4 nomination-plus titles?
But even if they are, would any of them have a chance of winning big awards in the end?
Team Studio – Searchlight has Nomadland, which is clearly the default candidate to win Best Picture. A24 has Minari. Focus has Promising Young Woman. Sony Pictures Classics has The Father. And Universal has News of the World, the only potential *Oscar BP nominee to be in the box office Top 10 in the 14 qualifying months with a domestic gross of $12.2 million.
Team Netflix – Looks like 3 Best Picture nominees and a parade of nominations behind each: The Trial of the Chicago 7, Mank, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Getting in Da 5 Bloods would be a bonus round.
Team Amazon – One Night In Miami and Sound of Metal are in the race. One could make it. Both could make it. And yes, both could miss the party. Hopes for Borat Subsequent Movie Film grabbing a Best Picture slot are fading, but would be a kick in the ass of the whole event,
Team Other Streamers – Judas & The Black Messiah is a Warner Bros movie that premiered on HBO Max. The United States vs Billie Holiday is a Paramount film that got bought at the last second for a Hulu premiere. Soul is a Pixar/Disney movie that Disney pushed to Disney+.
For what it’s worth, News of the World is the highest theatrical grosser in play (WB abandoned Tenet when Nolan went on the attack) and the only other movies in competition with more than $1m at the domestic box office is Promising Young Woman with $5.4 million and Nomadland with $1.2 million.
This means only 3 movies with a shot at nomination have been seen on a big screen by as many as 125,000 Americans.
Here’s another issue… The *Oscars will be the only show relying exclusively on “movies” to draw an audience. The Emmys, Globes, and Critics Choice have all leaned heavily (or exclusively) on TV and the larger audience for “TV” shows. Even the streamers have much bigger audiences for the content that isn’t chasing awards as movies than these potential nominees.
Let’s be plain about it. Three Netflix movies and Nomadland are in. And after that, it’s completely a crap shoot.
Of the 5 “black movies” (not including Ma), will at least 2 get in? In not, there will be a lot of screaming for a month. Do I think the exclusion or inclusion of any of these films be based on the race of the central characters and story? No. But what I think does not matter.
Will there be a lean to studio releases that at least tip a hat to theatrical? Probably not… in great part because The Film has not been there. Nomadland is where it has been for many months, really. No one has dislodged it. Minari is one of those low-budget indies that have a passionate Academy audience. If News of the World gets in, it will because it has some size to it… a period western in a year loaded with 1960s (and earlier) films that (aside from Da 5 Bloods) have a narrow visual scope. But I don’t see many voters choosing to lean into legacy studios.
It’s like playing Yahtzee. Take 6 10-sided dice and you could really just throw them onto the table and be as likely to come up with the mixture of 6 titles that get Best Picture noms (after the locked 4) as any “expert” or really, anyone on earth.
But it can get more interesting – even though so far, it has not – in the full month between nominations being announced and the final voting beginning. Nomadland is the favorite unless someone can make a super-strong case for their movie. (Some will also try to shoot Nomadland down.)
But getting back to the opening of this piece… what is the best we can hope for? 1. The Academy won’t humiliate itself with a messed up show that trips over its ambitions to be something more than is really on the table right now. 2. That real human beings are drawn to watch all and any of these films once they are nominated.
Anything above that… golden gravy.
| August 2, 2021
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July 25, 2021
"A subsidiary of South Korean entertainment company HYBE in April acquired Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings for $1.05 billion. Seoul-based CJ Entertainment and Merchandising invested in studio Skydance last year, as part of a $275 million strategic funding round with other investors."
South Korea Wants A Hollywood Footprint: JTBC Studios Acquires Majority Stake In Content Arm Of CAA
| July 25, 2021
The Staff And Board of The Canyon Cinema Foundation Address SFMOMA On Planned Elimination of Film Program
"SFMOMA’s recent decision to eliminate its Film Program (among other vital, inclusive, and community-focused programs) is a stunning disavowal of its own history. Moreso, it is a shocking divestment from SFMOMA’s stated commitment to “exhibiting film as an essential medium of modern and contemporary art” and to fostering a vibrant film culture in San Francisco. Following the renovation of its state-of-the-art Phyllis Wattis Theater in 2016, SFMOMA has demonstrated the ability, and financial willingness, to present film at the highest quality. Combining excellent film curation and world-class projection, SFMOMA has become a flagship of cinema exhibition in the Bay Area, which makes the decision to cut its Film Program especially puzzling. It is disappointing and disheartening to learn that a museum that claims to be a center for “the most innovative and challenging art of its time,” now holds the medium of film and the projected moving image in such low regard..." [More here]
July 24, 2021
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