erik lundegaard

Movies - The Oscars posts

Saturday February 22, 2014

IMDb's Highest-Rated Best Picture Nominee is Rotten Tomatoes' Lowest: Any Guesses?

best picture contenders 2013

When you think of the 2013 best picture nominees, if you think of the 2013 best picture nominees, you might see it as a battle between the popular, technically innovative ones (“Gravity”) versus the quietly artistic ones (“12 Years a Slave”) versus the bombastic, artistic ones (“American Hustle,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”).

So you might think that a movie like “Gravity,” the seventh highest-grossing film of the year, would do well on a user-rating site like IMDb.com and less well on a critics site like RottenTomatoes.com. Similarly, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Martin Scorsese's three-hour opus to chicanery and debauchery on Wall Street in the 1990s, would do well with the critics and leave plain folks cold.

But it's almost the opposite. These are the best picture nominees as ranked by IMDb score:

Movie IMDb rating
The Wolf of Wall Street 8.5
12 Years a Slave 8.4
her 8.3
Gravity 8.2
Captain Phillips 8.0
Dallas Buyers Club 8.0
Nebraska 7.9
Philomena 7.8
American Hustle 7.6

I assumed “Wolf of Wall Street” would be difficult for a general audience and would rank lower, while “American Hustle,” more accessible and fun, would rank higher. Instead this.

Meanwhile, over at Rotten Tomatoes, the critics hold up “Gravity” and bundle Scorsese in the trunk of a car and whack him:

Movie RT Rating
Gravity 97%
12 Years a Slave 96%
her 94%
Dallas Buyers Club 94%
Captain Phillips 93%
American Hustle 93%
Nebraska 92%
Philomena 92%
The Wolf of Wall Street 77%

77%? Veering toward rotten? So I doublechecked what “top critics,” as opposed to “all critics,” thought. Surely when you weed out the online fanboys, Marty's numbers would go higher. Nope. They actually drop: 70%.

As for IMDb, some part of me was still thinking, “Well, not enough people have seen 'The Wolf of Wall Street,' so folks easily offended, and Americans are nothing if not easily offended, haven't weighed in yet. Once they do, its number will drop.”

Except the domestic box office for Scorsese's movie is the third-highest among the nominees:

Movie Domestic Box Office
Gravity $268,428,128
American Hustle $142,383,074
The Wolf of Wall Street $111,518,691
Captain Phillips $106,892,780
12 Years a Slave $48,554,723
Philomena $31,523,936
Dallas Buyers Club $24,449,501
her $23,570,610
Nebraska $16,088,873

And its worldwide box office? Zoiks!

Movie Worldwide Box Office
Gravity $701,028,128
The Wolf of Wall Street $336,979,691
Captain Phillips $217,592,822
American Hustle $214,668,815
12 Years a Slave $118,310,402
Philomena $80,911,942
Dallas Buyers Club $30,449,501
her $27,663,751
Nebraska $16,088,873

I always think of Martin Scorsese as popular with critics and less so with moviegoers and at the box office. I know: Sex + Leo = $$$. Even so, if you'd asked me yesterday which best picture nominee had the lowest-rated Rotten Tomatoes score, the highest-rated IMDb score, and the second-highest worldwide box office, I would've guessed half the movies on the list before guessing “The Wolf of Wall Street” ... which was, of course, my favorite movie of 2013.

So kudos, people. You surprised a cynical man.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street

Here's to IMDb and worldwide box office. RT critics can get off the boat now.

Posted at 09:14 AM on Feb 22, 2014 in category Movies - The Oscars
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Thursday January 16, 2014

And the 2013 Oscar Nominees Are ...

Hey Chris Hemsley, no one should look that good at 5:30 AM. I'm still in my PJs.

“American Hustle” is obviously the big early winner. It got 10 nominations in all, including picture, director, original screenplay and all four acting categories. When was the last time that happened? Oh, right. Hey, does this make David O. Russell the Oprah of acting directors? “You get a nomination, you get a nomination, you ALL get nominations!”

“Hustle”'s main competition seems to be “12 Years a Slave” (picture, director, actor, supporting actress) and “Wolf of Wall Street” (picture, director, actor, supporting actor). But “Wall Street” is the challenging version of “Hustle” and the Academy doesn't do challenging much.

Oh, and “Gravity.” Each got 10. But “Gravity” got no screenplay nom and the last film to win best pic without a screenplay nom was “Titanic.”

Snubs? “Inside Llewyn Davis” which got cinematography and sound mixing but nothing for the Brothers C or T-Bone. It's so Llewyn Davis to get bupkis. Also Emma Thompson, seen as a front-runner, now not even in the race. Plus Robert Redford, but best actor was stacked, and, as insiders said, he wasn't politicking. Good for him. Still a great performance.

OscarOK, here are the nominees:

Best Picture

WHAT'S MISSING: Inside Llewyn Davis. Bummer. Also Saving Mr. Banks and The Butler but I wasn't a fan of either so whatever. But for a time they had buzz. Also All is Lost, prefiguring this next category.

Best Actor

  • Christian Bale, American Hustle
  • Bruce Dern, Nebraska
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Wolf of Wall Street
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
  • Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

WHO'S MISSING: Robert Redford in “All is Lost” and Tom Hanks in whatever. Plus Oscar Isaac. But this was one of the toughest categories we've seen in years and the Academy did well with it.

Best Actress

  • Amy Adams, American Hustle
  • Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
  • Sandra Bullock, Gravity
  • Judi Dench, Philomena
  • Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

WHO'S MISSING: The real shocker: Emma Thompson in “Saving Mr. Banks.” She seemed a lock. Streep talked her up recently but not her film. BTW: All the best actor nominees are from best picture nominees but only three of the best actress nominees are. Again.

Supporting Actor

  • Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
  • Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
  • Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
  • Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
  • Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street

WHO'S MISSING: Some may say Daniel Bruhl but this was a less stacked category than in recent years. I'm just glad Fassbender made it.

Supporting Actress

  • Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
  • Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
  • Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
  • June Squibb, Nebraska
  • Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

WHO'S MISSING: Oprah Winfrey had some buzz earlier. I'm glad Sally Hawkins is getting props.

Best Director

  • Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
  • Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
  • David O. Russell, American Hustle
  • Alexander Payne, Nebraska
  • Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

WHO'S MISSING: Some thought Paul Greengrass for “Captain Phillips” would or should. I didn't think should and I don't know would. But the Coens? Did no one else like Llewyn Davis? Hang me, oh hang me. Fare thee well.

Original Screenplay

  • Eric Singer, David O. Russell, American Hustle
  • Spike Jonze, Her
  • Craig Borten, Dallas Buyers Club
  • Bob Nelson, Nebraska
  • Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine

WHO'S MISSING: The Coens. Maybe the Academy is full of dog people?

Adapted Screenplay

  • John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
  • Terrence Winter, Wolf of Wall Street
  • Steve Coogan, Philomena
  • Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater, Before Midnight
  • Billy Ray, Captain Phillips

THOUGHTS: I am glad for the “Philomena” love. Could've done without “Before Midnight” of course.

Foreign Language Film

  • The Great Beauty (Italy)
  • The Hunt (Denmark)
  • The Grandmaster (Hong Kong)
  • Omar (Palestine)
  • The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)

THOUGHTS: Sorrentino's film seems the frontrunner but not because it's the only one I've seen. Wish we could get more foreign films here sooner.

Documentary Feature

WHAT'S MISSING: Stories We Tell, Blackfish, We Steal Secrets ... The list goes on.

Animated Feature

  • Frozen
  • The Wind Rises
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Ernest & Celestine
  • The Croods

WHAT'S MISSING: Monsters University. The only animated movie I've seen all year. Unless CGI counts as animated. Then I've seen tons.

Song

  • Alone Yet Not Alone (Alone Yet Not Alone)
  • Happy (Despicable Me 2)
  • Let It Go (Frozen)
  • Ordinary Love (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
  • The Moon Song (Her)

WHAT'S MISSING: Puh-Puh-Please Mr. Kennedy" from You Know What.

The full list and thoughts from my favorite Oscar blogger here.

See you March 2nd. Go braless.

American Hustle

Picture, director, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, screenplay.

Posted at 06:03 AM on Jan 16, 2014 in category Movies - The Oscars
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Friday September 06, 2013

Early Oscar Predictions: The Signal and the Noise, Noise, Noise

OscarThe other day, Amir, on Nathaniel Rogers' Film Experience site, threw up a post about the 10 biggest awards-season flops: movies that had buzz, then didn't. A few of these speak ill of the Academy (both “Zodiac” and “In the Wild” deserved more attention), but most (“Bobby,” “J. Edgar”) speak ill of the buzz machine, which makes noise without knowledge, without, often, having seen the movie in question. This machine, some combo of PR and online prognostication, seems to be getting bigger and louder.

Interestingly, Nathaniel himself has just joined the main online prognosticators, David Poland's Movie City News' Gurus of Gold, which, a few weeks ago, tossed up its early predictions for 2013's best picture. (Click for a bigger version. Or go right to the source.)

August 2013 early Oscar predictions: Movie City News Gurus of Gold

Many haven't seen the movies in question yet so I'm sure we'll have a few “J. Edgar”s in the group. But most have seen “Lee Daniels' The Butler,” and yet there it is, up there at the top.“ It's such a nothing movie, such awful history. But then ”The Help" was nominated. Awful has nothing to do with it. 

Question. Do buzz machines like MCN actually help promote the unworthy? In Nathan Silver's dichotomy, do they create any kind of signal or simply more noise?

On his site, Nathaniel often goes over past Oscars, and what should have been nominated (or should have won) instead of the mediocrity that did. The Academy, like any group, has a long legacy in this regard. But does the machine contribute to this problem? By forcing the discussion into what will be nominated rather than what should be nominated?

Stay tuned.

Posted at 06:37 AM on Sep 06, 2013 in category Movies - The Oscars
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Wednesday February 27, 2013

Zack Wagman Ranks the Best Pictures: from 'Casablanca' to 'Crash'

poster for "Casablanca" (1943)Zack Wagman Ranks the Best Pictures

1. Casablanca (1943)
2. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
3. Annie Hall (1977)
4. Schindler’s List (1993)
5. Chicago (2002)
6. The Godfather Part II (1974)
7. The Godfather (1972)
8. All About Eve (1950)
9. Amadeus (1984)
10. The Apartment (1960)

11. Forrest Gump (1994)
12. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
13. Braveheart (1995)
14. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
15. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
16. No Country for Old Men (2007)
17. Titanic (1997)
18. Gladiator (2000)
19. The Departed (2006)
20. Oliver! (1968)

21. Gone with the Wind (1939)
22. Rocky (1976)
23. On the Waterfront (1954)
24. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
25. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
26. American Beauty (1999)
27. Ghandi (1982)
28. The Sound of Music (1965)
29. The Sting (1973)
30. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

31. Unforgiven (1992)
32. The French Connection (1971)
33. The Deer Hunter (1978)
34. Patton (1970)
35. It Happened One Night (1934)
36. An American in Paris (1951)
37. West Side Story (1961)
38. The Hurt Locker (2009)
39. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
40. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

41. Platoon (1986)
42. Rebecca (1940)
43. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
44. Rain Man (1988)
45. Terms of Endearment (1983)
46. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
47. Mutiny of the Bounty (1935)
48. My Fair Lady (1964)
49. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
50. Marty (1955)

51. Ordinary People (1980)
52. Ben-Hur (1959)
53. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
54. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
55. The English Patient (1996)
56. Dances with Wolves (1990)
57. The King’s Speech (2010)
58. The Artist (2011)
59. Out of Africa (1985)
60. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

61. All the King’s Men (1949)
62. The Lost Weekend (1945)
63. Chariots of Fire (1981)
64. Gigi (1958)
65. From Here to Eternity (1953)
66. You Can’t Take it With You (1938)
67. The Last Emperor (1987)
68. Cavalcade (1933)
69. The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
70. Grand Hotel (1932)

71. Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
72. The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
73. Crash (2005)

Haven’t Seen

A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Tom Jones (1963)
Hamlet (1948)
Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)
Going My Way (1944)
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
Cimarron (1931)
The Broadway Melody (1929)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1928)
Wings (1927)

Zack's Comment

I wanted to write in “Pocahontas” but they wouldn't let me...

My comment

But if we started there, where would we end? Before or after Ed Wood? Interesting fifth choice, btw. I guess I had the same problem with “Chicago” that I do with most CGI movies: a sense of claustrophobia.

OK, who's next?

Rank Oscar's best pictures from 1927 to today.

Posted at 11:38 AM on Feb 27, 2013 in category Movies - The Oscars
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Sunday February 24, 2013

Five Reasons Why Seth MacFarlane's 'We Saw Your Boobs' is the Best Thing To Happen to Oscar in Years

Let me count the ways.

  1. The Oscars tend to skew female and gay.
  2. There is no greater straight male song about the movies than “We Saw Your Boobs.” It's what every straight guy remembers. Many a gay guy, too. Don't even get me started on gay women.
  3. It was presented within a framework—Capt. Kirk returning from the 23rd century to warn host Seth MacFarlane his Oscar show was about to go down in disaster—that softened it. That made it palatable.
  4. That framework—Capt. Fucking Kirk—is also a straight-guy framework.
  5. Better, that framework gets out in front of the obvious ragging-on-the-Oscar-host that we've been subjected to for the last 15 years.

I was dubious about Seth MacFarlane hosting. I'm not a fan of his shows. I laughed at “Ted” but felt unclean afterwards. And to be honest, a lot of his bits tonight were merely so-so. But “We Saw Your Boobs”? Not just comedically brilliant, but tactically brilliant for the demographic that Oscar needs to bring back to the show. It's the viral moment Oscar needs. See it here.

Seth MacFarlane: We Saw Your Boobs

Seth MacFarlane and the L.A. Gay Men's Chorus singing about boobs.

Charlize Theron: We Saw Your Boobs song

“Reaction shots” from actresses like Charlize Theron made it twice as funny.

Posted at 11:00 PM on Feb 24, 2013 in category Movies - The Oscars
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