Movies - The Oscars postsThursday 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.
OK, here are the nominees:
- 12 Years a Slave
- American Hustle
- Captain Phillips
- Dallas Buyers Club
- The Wolf of Wall Street
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
See you March 2nd. Go braless.
Picture, director, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, screenplay.
Early Oscar Predictions: The Signal and the Noise, Noise, Noise
The 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.)
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?
Zack Wagman Ranks the Best Pictures: from 'Casablanca' to 'Crash'
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)
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Tom Jones (1963)
Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)
Going My Way (1944)
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
The Broadway Melody (1929)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1928)
I wanted to write in “Pocahontas” but they wouldn't let me...
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?
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.
- The Oscars tend to skew female and gay.
- 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.
- 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.
- That framework—Capt. Fucking Kirk—is also a straight-guy framework.
- 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 and the L.A. Gay Men's Chorus singing about boobs.
“Reaction shots” from actresses like Charlize Theron made it twice as funny.
Crunching the Numbers: What are the Most- and Least-Popular Best Picture Winners of All Time?
Welcome to Oscar day.
As mentioned in yesterday's post, my friend Vinny crunch the numbers of the first 71 readers (we're now close to 100) who ranked the best picture winners. He explains his methodology here:
I started out sorting results by “Rank” (Ex.: “The Godfather at No. 1; ”Crash“ at No. 77), but soon switched to “Percentile Rank” (0% to 100%, with 100% being best) because it gives a better sense of the popularity of the films. Emily, for example, who only watched 21 movies, ranked “Slumdog Millionare” as her least favorite (#21), putting that film on even footing with a very good film that was ranked #21 by someone who has seen most or all of the best pictures. CM Gardner saw 81 filmes and ranked “Schindler’s List” as #21. Putting it in terms of percentage makes it easier to see how people feel about the movies.
So what are the most-popular best pictures? Here is our top 20:
|3||All About Eve||1950||61||80.6|
|4||The Godfather Part II||1974||62||79.36|
|5||Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans||1928||29||78.67|
|8||Gone with the Wind||1939||64||70.86|
|9||Lawrence of Arabia||1962||55||69.6|
|10||The Silence of the Lambs||1991||69||68.65|
|11||One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest||1975||66||68.33|
|13||On the Waterfront||1954||55||67.13|
|15||No Country for Old Men||2007||67||64.97|
|16||It Happened One Night||1934||50||64.07|
|18||The Deer Hunter||1978||49||62.41|
|19||The Bridge on the River Kwai||1957||47||62.02|
|20||All Quiet on the Western Front||1930||30||59.1|
I'm pleasantly surprised that “Annie Hall,” a favorite of mine, ranks so high. I expected “Lawrence” to be a bit higher. But overall these are the expected best-of-the-best-pictures. The best pictures with status and gravitas.
All the decades are represented: One from the 1920s (an unofficial one, unfortunately), three from the '30s, two from the '40s, three from the '50s, two from the '60s, five from the 1970s, one from the '80s, two from the '90s, and one from the aughts. We'll cut the 2010s some slack. As Karen C. sang, it's only just begun.
The next 20:
|22||West Side Story||1961||61||58.18|
|24||The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King||2003||64||56.86|
|26||The Best Years of Our Lives||1946||33||56.48|
|27||The Hurt Locker||2009||65||55.42|
|28||The Sound of Music||1965||62||54.52|
|29||From Here to Eternity||1953||45||54.2|
|31||The French Connection||1971||47||53.64|
|34||Terms of Endearment||1983||52||48.36|
|35||Kramer vs. Kramer||1979||58||48.35|
|37||The English Patient||1996||60||47.14|
|38||A Man for All Seasons||1966||37||46.91|
I think of “West Side Story” as firt tier but modern moviegoers have generally been tough on musicals. Surprised “The English Patient” is so high. Don't people listen to Elaine Benes? Or Brenda? Ditto “Kramer vs. Kramer.” “Better than 'Hamlet.'”
The next 20:
|41||My Fair Lady||1964||58||45.69|
|42||An American in Paris||1951||48||45.34|
|43||The Lost Weekend||1945||34||44.9|
|46||The Last Emperor||1987||47||42.46|
|48||All the King's Men||1949||29||42.13|
|49||In the Heat of the Night||1967||45||41.91|
|53||How Green Was My Valley||1941||29||39.9|
|54||Shakespeare in Love||1998||69||39.61|
|55||Mutiny of the Bounty||1935||28||39.53|
|56||The King's Speech||2010||64||38.16|
|58||You Can't Take it With You||1938||29||38.11|
“An American in Paris” should be higher. I'm also a fan of “The Last Emperor,” if only to look at its beautiful colors. One of these days I'll have to finally see “Ben-Hur,” if only for the Gore Vidal subtext.
Heading to the bottom now.
|62||Million Dollar Baby||2004||60||35.54|
|65||Out of Africa||1985||48||34.19|
|68||The Life of Emile Zola||1937||11||32.69|
|69||Chariots of Fire||1981||51||32.37|
|72||Dances with Wolves||1990||56||30.19|
|73||A Beautiful Mind||2001||66||26.39|
|76||Driving Miss Daisy||1989||56||25.24|
|78||Going My Way||1944||19||22.32|
|79||The Great Ziegfeld||1936||16||18.19|
|80||The Greatest Show on Earth||1952||28||15.23|
While I'm surprised moviegoers have been as unimpressed with “Gentleman's Agreement” as I've been, these are definitely the “meh” best pictures. How sad that the Academy has given us so much “meh” under the guise of “best.”
Finally, the dregs:
|82||Around the World in 80 Days||1956||32||13.2|
|85||The Broadway Melody||1929||13||5.63|
An argument can be made that unfamiliarity breeds contempt, since the bottom five is littered with the best pictures most of us haven't seen. An easier explanation is the moviegoers who have seen them, and ranked them, are the Oscar watchers, the true cineastes, who are more discriminating in their tastes. They're a tougher crowd. Which makes “Crash”'s bottom-five turnout all the more impressive.
Have you had your say yet? (VOTE HERE.) It's never too late. This is an ongoing project. Because it's not just the Academy judging movies; it's moviegoers judging the Academy.
The movie readers consider the best of the best pictures didn't win best director.