General Oscar Telecast Discussion

For the films of 2015
Mister Tee
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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:02 pm

I don't know what it was like at anyone else's place, but when Andy Serkis announced Ex Machina as the winner for FX, it was like a bolt of lightning -- the first time in years, it seemed, to have a winner utterly from the blue. It reminded one of how much fun the Oscars used to be on occasion.

But that, of course, was only a minor category. With Vikander's desultory win already in the books, I awaited Patricia Arquette's announcement with dread -- basically thinking, if this comes up Stallone, the precursor/blogger squad will have drained all the fun out of what seemed an unusually free-range season. Rylance's win brought a whoop from me: Oscar spontaneity may remain on life support, but it ain't completely dead yet.

And then the finale was icing on the cake. All season, even as precursors mounted, best picture had seemed somewhat open, for reasons we'd all been poring over -- the prejudice against making anyone, especially Innaritu, the first back-to-back picture/director winner; Revenant's lack of a screenplay nod; the three-way split at PGA/SAG/DGA. And by that point in the evening, with (as BJ notes) The Revenant having amassed an in-context paltry three wins, a win by one of the other two contenders seemed very possible, even though it would take us back to 1952 for a precedent, a film winning best picture with only one other trophy.

A few things about that: 1) I started to watch my DVR late last night, and noted the same thing Sonic did: that, with screenplays having been uncharacteristically chosen to open the show, Spotlight had the truly weird distinction of winning the first and last awards of the evening, with nothing in between. 2) Mark Harris notes that this is the first time since the 1981 trainwreck that film/director/editing went to three different films. Similarities to that race: the editing prize went to a action franchise that won the most overall awards (Raiders tied Chariots of Fire, actually); the best picture winner was the only one of the three that won screenwriting; and Reds, like The Revenant, came in with 12 nominations and best picture hopes, but won just director/cinematography and an acting prize. 3) When the preferential ballot/group of up-to-ten system was inaugurated in 2009, some of us thought film/director splits might become common. For the first three years, it didn't happen -- but now we've seen it in three of the past four years (each under different circumstances). And, going back further, 7 times in 18 years. This is a sea-change: from 1952 to 1998, the split was basically a once-per-decade thing. We now have to consider it an active possibility almost annually.

One funny thing: while the night stacks up as one with more surprises than usual (toss in the Sam Smith win, as well), it wouldn't have felt so surprising if you'd shown me this list in December. Spotlight had been declared the year's winner in September by Vulture, and had done well enough in critics' voting to be confirmed as the favorite -- and we all along figured it was the kind of indifferently-directed film that might not carry along its director. Mark Rylance had been a pretty big critics' favorite, and I'd have assumed he'd have swept through the TV awards. In fact, post-critics pre-Globes/SAG, I'd have thought the person on this win list with the most precarious route might have been Brie Larson. The precursors added some suspense, and took some away.

The Mad Max putsch of the tech awards was kind of dreary, though the only one I truly begrudge it is costuming. Was anyone else half-thinking, given the near-sweep, that George Miller might pull out best director? Though the loss in visual effects was a bump in the road. (Another reason why the Ex Machina win was so startling.)

I decided to add "last in the In Memoriam" as a tie-breaker at our party this year, and the only person correctly choosing Leonard Nimoy happened to have the worst overall score. (He was also the only one to correctly pick Writing's On the Wall -- apropos of which: I echo BJ's "the song's not that bad/they all sucked, anyway"...though Gaga's rendition of her mediocre material was powerful.)

I'm glad my instinct on Son of Saul was wrong -- I'd feared it might be too technically innovative, and had heard from many people that they responded far more emotionally directly to Mustang (which I haven't got to). Either Saul's prominence or the Holocaust-rules! custom saved the day.

I'll stick to my prediction that DiCaprio's win will not be viewed kindly by history. But his speech was graceful and gracious.

I'll save my futures forecast on Vikander for Who'll Be Back?, but I'll just say here that her win was just a shrug for me -- I do like her, and acknowledge her solid year, but this is not a win I can endorse. And Tom Hooper now has acting wins for three consecutive films.

Chris Rock's opening was pretty terrific -- he had a difficult job, but seemed to me to strike just the right notes.

Best presenters: Ryan Gosling/Russell Crowe -- who knew Gosling's comic timing was that good? It almost makes me think I'll go to see their upcoming movie, though the coming attraction looked pretty dire.

Worst presenter: Sacha Baron Cohen, who was off doing his own thing and really ended up trashing Room in the process. And, geez: all the winners got played off after 40 seconds, but he got to go on and on.

As far as the Internet's overdue gang: Stallone of course was skunked, as was Diane Warren; DiCaprio and Ennio Morricone were the only ones to successfully nab the life achievement prizes. Hence, their standing ovations (shared with Joe Biden).

I'll perhaps think of more to say after I've watched my DVR top-to-bottom, but these are my primary reactions. All tolled: thanks to just enough unpredictability, the most fun set of winners in a while.

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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby mlrg » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:38 pm

I too thought this was one of the worst ceremonies I watched live (and this year marked the 25th straight ceremony I watched live) mainly because there was not any enthusiasm for the nominated films nor the audience at the Dolby.

I had the general feeling that not even those in attendance cared that much. Of the winners only diCaprio and Morricone got standing ovations for obvious reasons. I also noticed that many of the nominees were missing from their seats during large portions of the show and not even the seat fillers bothered to take their seat. I think that having such a long awards season with televised award show increasing every year is becoming really tiresome for both the viewers at home and the nominees.

Chris Rock did ok. Much better that Neil Patrick Harris, but the racial theme got tiresome after the first commercial break.
Last edited by mlrg on Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:24 pm

I wouldn't call it an unmitigated disaster, but I do agree that the scrolling names don't work. Did Pete Docter's daughter see the note at the end of his scroll that it was OK for her to get a dog?

Maybe Reza has some inside information on what his Pakistani-Canadian friend who was the recipient of the Documentary Short award felt about her treatment.

I thought the worst was Sacha Baron Cohen's putdown of the film he was supposed to be heralding for Best Picture, but I guess expecting him to show a little class is like expecting Donald Trump to apologize to the people he insults.
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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby Greg » Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:32 am

I don't know how many will agree with me, but, I think this is absolutely the worst Oscar show in recent memory. It just reached extreme proportions where winners were not given enough time to make a speech and were always played off by music, but, the presenters were given so much time for all their half-assed attempts at comedy. The nadir of this was the Documentary Short category where the winner was played off while mentioning how the film actually played a role in saving people's lives right after Louis C.K. was given all the time in the world to make fun of the nominees before he mentioned who they were. Instead of the announcer mentioning facts about presenters, there were way-too-small subtitles. The scrolls of names went by too fast. Poetic irony inserted itself for this whole debacle when the sound died for the reading of the Sound Mixing and Sound Editing nominees. What an unmitigated disaster.
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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby ksrymy » Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:05 am

One big complaint I heard from friends was that a telecast so heavy with messages of diversity certainly only focused on black people. There were no mentions of sexism, homophobia, or anything else, but the writers and Rock kept pushing "DIVERSITY! DIVERSITY! DIVERSITY!" while staying only black.

I, for one, thought Rock stopped being funny after his monologue. The only laugh after then was the Jack Black joke.
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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:25 am

I told myself going into the ceremony that if there was ONE pleasant surprise, I'd call it a good night. And I was pretty much ready to do that when Mark Rylance triumphed over Sylvester Stallone, probably the award I was most dreading. (It was also a nice confirmation of the arguments many of us have been making all season long, that Stallone had a lot of weaknesses the folks saying he was a lock on sentiment just weren't acknowledging). So when Spotlight toppled The Revenant for Best Picture -- for me, another case of a solid choice stopping a lousy one -- I was happy to call the evening a success on all fronts.

It did seem a bit crazy going into Best Picture -- with both Spotlight and The Big Short winning nothing but the Screenplay prizes -- that either of those movies could have enough steam to triumph. But at the same time, voters didn't exactly go hog-wild for The Revenant either -- its three prizes seemed only like the bare-minimum it could have received, given its sizable haul of tech nominations. Alejandro G. Iñárritu joins John Ford and Joseph L. Mankiewicz as back-to-back Director winners, but the outcome suggested (as those did, though in reverse) that it's nearly impossible to win BOTH Picture and Director back-to-back. And, of course, this slate of wins also reinforces the notion that you really do need a Screenplay nod to win Best Picture.

Obviously no one was surprised Chris Rock addressed the diversity conversation, though I have to admit I was surprised it seemed to take up the entire portion of the telecast. If I must gripe a bit about it, it did seem short-sighted sometimes, as if "diversity" literally only means nominations for black actors -- the joke about the Asian kids seemed a bit off, as did the Carol girl-on-girl bit Sonic already pointed out, and probably most of all Tracy Morgan in a dress in The Danish Girl send-up. And, given Room's subject matter, it also struck me as a bit misogynist for that movie to get a clip introduction from Sacha Baron Cohen mocking it as a movie about a bunch of white people trapped in a room.

Am I alone in not finding Sam Smith such an appalling choice? The Internet went into hysterics, but given the available options, I don't think his song is appreciably worse than anything else voters could have chosen.

Did ANYONE see Ex Machina's Visual Effects win coming? Here was a movie that was 1) the lowest grosser of the nominees, 2) the lowest budgeted of the nominees, and 3) with the fewest Oscar nominations of the nominees, and it toppled two Best Picture nominees, including one that virtually stormed through the rest of the techs, and the highest grossing movie of all time. Bizarre.

It's always weird for presenters to be assigned to categories where their film might win: the producers got lucky assigning Ryan Gosling to present The Big Short's Screenplay prize, but extra-unlucky when Cate Blanchett opened the Costume envelope to announce that Sandy Powell had lost twice. (I'll fully admit to eating crow on dismissing Mad Max's chances in this category -- though it's still startling to me voters went here given the gorgeous fashions on display in Cinderella and Carol.)

Great moment for Ennio Morricone at 87, an age when it's pretty clear this is likely your last shot ever at one of these prizes.

This is the first year I watched all of the nominated shorts in the three categories before the Oscars, so of course I missed predicting any of them.

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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby anonymous1980 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:13 am

I enjoyed this year's telecast spoiled slightly by Sam Smith winning.

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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby Snick's Guy » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:18 pm

Gaga was great once again!

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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby mlrg » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:17 pm

well that was a powerful performance from Gaga

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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby mlrg » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:50 pm

Also, I can't remember a show were the seat fillers are doing such a lousy job

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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby OscarGuy » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:48 pm

I think the producers may have set up an automated system that starts the play-off. I'm not even sure they are using an orchestra this year. A lot of the music sounds canned.

Bring back producers who will say they aren't cutting anyone off as long as the speech is moving along. I also think they should give categories with multiple winners more talk time.
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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby jack » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:43 pm

The orchestra needs to stop playing people off so quickly.

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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby Heksagon » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:27 pm

They're saving it for Stallone. Or if he doesn't win, DiCaprio.

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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby Franz Ferdinand » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:24 pm

There have been zero standing ovations so far this evening, compared to last year's large numbers.

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Re: General Oscar Telecast Discussion

Postby Okri » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:23 pm

Sonic Youth wrote:After the droids and the minions, I can't take it anymore. I'm boycotting. Good night...

Heh, I never started. I'm Netflixing Jessica Jones and hitting refresh.

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