How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

For the films of 2015
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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby Bog » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:24 pm

I absolutely agree with you Italiano, and I am totally assuming here, but figuring Tee is alluding to the basic fact Ronan is the winner if Larson is not.

The more lauded Riva couldn't triumph over the new, hot young thing so Rampling is waaaay back, while Cate winning is likely out of the question purely (arbitrarily) because of Jasmine in the same category and the 3 statue thing...despite being the best in the category AND better than her previous win(s). For the fifth option...see above but eliminate the words 'best' and 'better'...

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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:54 am

Mister Tee wrote:if someone-over-Larson turns out the night’s upset, it’ll make me wonder if the Oscars were created purely to plague me.

But why? I agree with your post except here. I haven't seen Brooklyn, but at least two Best Actress nominees are, I think, better than Larson, and even if you think that Larson is the best, you should admit that a (surprise) win by Blanchett or Rampling wouldn't be such a disgrace. I mean, it's not like there aren't good alternatives.

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Re: How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby CalWilliam » Sat Feb 20, 2016 6:33 am

Thank you for your great post, Mister Tee.

It's maybe a little off-topic, but have you seen this? ... -32-years/

If Stallone and Vikander win, they could give them a plaque instead, for the sake of this nostalgia.
"Rage, rage against the dying of the light". - Dylan Thomas

Mister Tee
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How Did the Season Lose Its Fizz*? (*If It Did)

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:39 pm

I look at Greg’s predictions thread, and see he’s put down a set of selections that, certainly at the top, will probably be echoed by hundreds of people in the blogosphere. And I have to wonder: how did this year come to seem so cut-and-dried to so many? This a year when, in December, veteran Oscar watchers pronounced themselves mystified; when the three big guilds all went for different films for the first time in 11 years; when, for a change, neither supporting performer was able to sweep the TV sector (albeit for placement reasons). Yet still we end up with everyone “knowing” the full slate, as if this were 2003 all over again. We’ll find out in ten days whether this means the blog-ization of the Oscars has permanently removed suspense and surprise from the proceedings, or if it just means the denizens of the Internet are talking to themselves and have persuaded themselves things are more certain than they actually are.

Start with the best picture category, where The Revenant has suddenly become the overwhelming choice – largely thanks to the DGA, but with side-kudos to the Globes and BAFTA. As a long-time DGA booster, I can’t claim to doubt the film’s chances, but I wonder at all the people who fought me in 2010 and 2013 – incorrectly touting David Fincher in the first case, correctly going with 12 Years a Slave in the second – or advocated for a split last year, yet now seem Revenant/Innaritu or bust.

As I see it, there are good reasons to expect The Revenant to win best picture next Sunday:
1) It won the DGA, the Guild of longest standing for accurate prediction.
2) It led nominations with 12 – well ahead of its perceived-strongest competitors, Spotlight and The Big Short.
3) As noted, it won picture/director at both the Globes and BAFTA.
4) It’s got a slam dunk best actor winner attached; some would argue the sure-thing director award for Scorsese in ’06 provided The Departed’s margin of victory.
5) If it wins, The Revenant’ll be the highest-grossing best picture winner since The Return of the King.

But, the reasons why it might not:
1) It’d also be the lowest Metacritic-rated best picture since Crash, and the lowest scorer among this year’s eight nominees (has the film with that distinction ever won in the expanded field?).
2) In winning both, Innaritu would become the first director in Academy history to win film/director back-to-back. In recent times, it’s been difficult for directors to win a second film/director exacta in the same decade (Oliver Stone and Steven Spielberg were both nipped at the finish line trying for it), let alone in consecutive years.
3) Along those lines: this wasn’t an issue for BAFTA and the Globes, since they’re two of the groups that gave Birdman practically nothing last year – the Globes even denying it best comedy film.
4) It doesn’t have a SAG Ensemble nod. That’s meant death to every omitted film since Braveheart (in the year the category was first created).
5) It doesn’t have a screenplay nomination. This is what people kept yelling to me about Gravity, and it turned out dispositive in the end. In the modern era (post-1933), the only best picture winners without screenplay nods are Hamlet (understandable), The Sound of Music and Titanic – each of the last two, at the time of voting, the highest-grossing film in Hollywood history. I don’t see The Revenant as having the same obstacle-leaping status.
6) In the years of the expanded best picture field, all winners except one have actually WON best screenplay (and the exception, The Artist, was a frickin’ silent film).
7) The voting system for best picture is different from best director. This is something we bring up every year, which hasn’t proven important yet, but maybe this is the time it matters. Innaritu can win a five-way battle with a plurality, but, in a preferential ballot, consensus counts. And I could imagine Spotlight or The Big Short achieving greater consensus.

The night of DGA, I found myself hoping The Big Short wouldn’t win, because it would then be too obvious a winner. When Innaritu won, I was able to make a pretty good case why he would be chosen there without being an overall favorite: Spotlight, as we’ve noted all season, doesn’t feel like a directo'r’ vehicle – even when we saw it as the favorite, we envisioned a potential split; Adam McKay has years of crud on his resume, and might have to prove himself further to win such a prize; Scott’s shut-out at the Oscars made him a long shot; Miller and Innaritu were the visual hot-shots most likely to win directing prizes for their pyrotechnics without getting the top award. Thanks to the BAFTA follow-up, though, most have moved beyond that thinking and are all-in for The Revenant…but I’m not sure my analysis that night isn’t closer to the truth.

For the other categories: Yeah, no sense putting up an argument against DiCaprio; him losing would make Lauren Bacall’s fall look gentle. My remaining interest is how this win looks in history – will it be Pacino/Scent of a Woman-like, with future generations of this board mystified why Fassbender was denied?

Best actress is, by rights, just as decided: no one could stop Larson even at BAFTA. It’s probably just my own paranoia – and memory of Julie Christie, who looked pretty strong at this point in 2007 – that makes me dwell on the disparity in grosses between Room (which has at least got over the $10 million bar) and Brooklyn, the far clearer crowd-pleaser. I hope my pessimism is proven wrong; if someone-over-Larson turns out the night’s upset, it’ll make me wonder if the Oscars were created purely to plague me.

Then there are the supporting prizes. I can certainly see why Stallone and Vikander are getting the most support, but I feel like neither one is close to where Simmons/Arquette were last year. Stallone has a career of junk to defend, and he’s the only candidate without a best picture attached. Vikander, yes, has those additional credits -- though her three movies together didn’t gross as much as The Hateful Eight, and the two groups who were given a chance to vote for her critically-endorsed Ex Machina work passed in favor of someone else. I simply have trouble believing such a poorly-reviewed, poorly-attended film as The Danish Girl is such a lead-pipe cinch for any Oscar.

Parenthetically, I hate that, when I say this to people, they come back with “So, you’re picking Winslet” – because in this Oscar era, it’s not enough to be on the ballot to have a chance of winning; you have to have won a televised precursor. Are we completely past the time of someone coming from nowhere to win? I never thought I’d miss Marisa Tomei so much.

The screenplay awards do seem locked in, at about DiCaprio level. The below-the-line stuff, though, I think is in flux. With both Revenant and Mad Max nominated almost everywhere, it’s possible a trend for one or the other could sweep up everything in its path -- but how does one decide which? And in the categories where they’re not in play – like song and score – I could see multiple outcomes. The songs are all sub-par, and I don’t know that counting on Lady Gaga’s celebrity to carry the day is sure-fire. And, while I understand the desire to honor Ennio Morricone, I’m always skeptical of the Academy voting a prize to a movie they demonstrably don’t like. Get right down to it: except for cinematography and make-up (Revenant and Max, respectively), I think all techs are competitive enough I wouldn’t advise leaving the room.

So, to answer my thread title: it’s possible all the fizz went out of the season – but that depends on whether the template everyone’s drawn up plays out on the 28th. If it doesn’t, it could be an entertaining evening. If not – Oscar pools will be decided by the shorts categories, and we’ll start moaning sometime around 1AM ET.

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