Movies - The Oscars postsMonday December 17, 2012
Oscar Predictions ... for 2014?
Most of us are busy enough trying to keep track of (and see) this year's Oscar contenders (only 23 days, 11 hours, 58 minutes as of this writing, according to the clock on the Film Experience site), but Jeff Wells over at Hollywood Elsewhere is all “Been there, done that” with 2012 movies. He's moved onto 2013 movies and the 2014 Oscars, listing the top 16 likeliest picks: from John Wells' “August: Osage County” (No. 1) to Baz Luhrman's delayed “The Great Gatsby” (No. 16).
Based upon storyline and past performance, I'd put “12 Years a Slave” (“A man living in New York during the mid-1800s is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep south”) by Steve McQueen (“Shame,” “Hunger”) higher than #15. Ditto “Foxcatcher” by Bennett Miller (“Moneyball,” “Capote,” “The Cruise”) at #9.
BTW: The cast in these two movies alone? Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Michael Kenneth Williams, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Alfre Woodard. Sorry. That's just the cast for “12 Years a Slave.”
The past is always bleak. The future is always bright.
Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave.” The past is bleak, the future is bright.
Quote of the Day
“When I arrived in L.A. [in 1974, to receive an honorary Academy Award for his lifelong contribution to film and film preservation], I thought that the Oscar was like our Legion of Honor. But it's much more important than that because everyone and his brother gets one of those eventually. An Oscar is truly a serious matter. I didn't realize how much it meant. It's comparable to being chosen as a master craftsman by one's fellows in the time of the guilds.”
--Henri Langlois, in the documentary "Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinémathèque” (2004). Langlois, who is considered the father of film preservation, the auteur theory, and the Nouvelle Vague, took film more seriously than the Academy. He took the Academy more seriously than the Academy.
The 2011 Academy Awards - Postmortem
At the start of the evening I said I wanted one thing: pleasant surprises. I didn't get any and won my Oscar pool—or at least split it four ways: with Mr. B, Mr. P and Jayne. If Viola had won I would've won it outright. But how can you not love Meryl? And her speech? In 2005, I wrote an MSNBC piece on which performers were overdue for an Oscar, and brought up her name even then:
An argument could be made that the actress most-due is Meryl Streep. Yes, she’s won, twice in fact (lead and supporting), but not since 1982. Since then she’s been nominated nine times (eight lead, one supporting). Time to get her out of her seat already.
Even so, this was the wrong year. Should've been Viola's year.
So what were the surprises--pleasant or otherwise? That “The Artist” won? Dujardin? Davis? “Midnight in Paris”? “The Descendants”? That Billy Crystal was funny? It seems we have the Academy figured out. Too bad.
I guess the big surprise for us was that Uncle Vinny left early. What the hell, dude? I kept looking for you to share something and found you gone.
The line of the night, at our party, came from David, who, after Penelope Cruz said something innocuous like “And the winner is...,” but in her dynamite accent, and of course looking like she does, David, after a pause, asked, “Can we rewind that?”
Our 2012 Oscar party.
Mr. B raises faux-Oscar high after tying with three others for first place. But he gave a helluva speech.
Woody Allen at the Oscars 2002
I saw this video clip on Slate.com today of Woody Allen's only Oscar visit in 2002. It was great seeing it again. I realized what a terrific person he was, and how much fun it was just listening him. And I thought of that old joke. Y'know, this... this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Doc, uh, my brother's crazy; he thinks he's a chicken.” And the doctor says, “Well, why don't you turn him in?” The guy says, “I would, but I need the eggs.” Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about my relationship with Woody. It's totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd. But I guess I keep going through it because ... I need the eggs.
Lancelot Links: Oscar Edition
- The most interesting piece I've read this Oscar season is the least-surprising. Three reporters at The LA Times, John Horn, Nicole Sperling and Doug Smith, finally break the cloak on anonymity that has always surrounded the Academy and give us exact numbers ... and it's pretty much as we always suspected: Oscar is old, white and male. Specifically, he's 94% white, 77% male, and with an average age of 62. I once compared the Academy to Gordon Jump on “WKRP in Cincinnati” and it's not far off. The surprise? I always assumed the Academy was made up of past nominees and winners but 64% of its members, including TV stars Erik Estrada and Gavin McLeod, have never been nominated. So how did they get in? We don't really get that from the Times. We don't get a sense of who gets invited and why. Apparently women and non-whites are still vast minorities in terms of even new membership. At the same time, I don't think this kind of rash action is doing anyone any good:
“People of color are always peripheral,” said veteran African American character actor Bernie Casey (“Under Siege”), who said he recently quit the academy because he was disenchanted with its racial makeup.
- The audio of my recent turn talking Oscars on “Karl Show! (Starring Jason)” is up. Love the “Citizen Kane” gif they gave me. What am I trying to get the masses to applaud for there? “Young Adult”? “Tree of Life”? CRITIC LUNDEGAARD FOUND IN LOVE NEST WITH “FILM.”
- “Kids Re-enact the Oscar Nominees” is a cheap laugh but I laughed out loud for the “Moneyball” version.
- More kids: Guyism.com's Ryan Jones interviews kids on the upcoming Oscar ceremonies. LOL line: “What's the favorite movie you've seen over the last year?” “'Dolphin Tale.'” “'Dolphin Tale'? How does that compare with 'The Tree of Life'?”
- Nathaniel Rogers temporarily leaves his Film Experience site to pen an interesting piece, over at Slate, in which he breaks down who and what gets thanked, and when, during Oscar acceptance speeches. Basics: God beats Oprah but loses to Meryl Streep.
- Slate also has a piece, by Elbert Ventura, about how sneakily profound “The Descendants” is, but he doesn't say anything I didn't in my review last November. Oh, except that the movie is as existential and profound as “The Tree of Life.” Because it's not.
- Via the eagle-eyed Uncle Vinny: Dave Weigel breaks down “The Iron Lady.” Cleavage and all.
- A Harvard freshman, Ben Zauzmer, has created a mathematical formula for predicting the Oscars, although—caveat!—he says it's not foolproof. His method would've predicted correctly 19 of 20 in 2009 but only 16 of 20 in 2010. Still, he offers his 2011 predictions. Let's hope he's wrong about Meryl. (So odd to be rooting against Meryl.)
- Meanwhile, FilmJerk.com's numbers cruncher makes his own predictions. And yes, Virginia, there are differences. Jerk goes Clooney over DuJardin, Davis over Streep, Bejo over Davis. Oddly, among his formulations, “hotness” isn't a factor. Which, with the average Academy member, it totally is. I'd stick with the Harvard kid.
- The Seattle Times' Moria Macdonald makes her predictions (and lets her wishes be known) in the eight major categories. For what it's worth, she agrees with young Ben on everything but, well, Meryl.
- Via Le Monde, Césars 2012: le triomphe de “The Artist.” Peut-etre a Hollywood aussi? Question: Why do they use the English version of the title (“The Artist”) in a French newspaper? Do they call it “The Artist” in France? Not “l'Artist”? FWIW: Dujardin lost out on meilleur acteur to Omar Sy, but Bejo won meilleure actrice. So Gordon Jump is alive and well and living in France.
- David Denby has a nice homage to silent film in the latest New Yorker. To which everyone should be subscribing.
- Then Denby goes through the looking glass with fellow critic Richard Brody to talk about silent films via a silent film. Fun.
- Oh, don't forget this: My Oscars page.
- Finally, in 2005, I wrote a piece for MSNBC on who was most due for an Oscar. Among my choices? Martin Scorsese, Jeff Bridges, and Glenn Close. Done, done, and... probably not.
No live-blogging tonight kids. Oscar hosting. But I'm sure I'll have an opinion or two when the night is through...
Oui, vous est tres jolie. Je t'aime, vraiment. Mais... meilleure actrice?