Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby Okri » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:19 pm

To find a Best Actor winner that was in a Best Picture hopeful, one has to go all the way back to...2009. And before that, 2006, 2001, 1995...which is to say, it happens somewhat infrequently.


I presume you mean to say not in a best picture hopeful, because Firth and Dujardins were in best picture winners.

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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby Sabin » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:58 pm

I agree. Gary Oldman is a weak front-runner, but he is the front-runner. He’s our third in a row. Nobody thought that Leonardo DiCaprio did career best work in ‘The Revevant,’ and Casey Affleck gave a very atypical Oscar performance in ‘Manchester by the Sea.’ Gary Oldman, on the other hand, gives as typical an Oscar performance as I’ve ever seen in a film not terribly beloved that is unlikely to receive a Best Picture nomination. To find a Best Actor winner that was not in a Best Picture hopeful, one has to go all the way back to...2009. And before that, 2006, 2001, 1995...which is to say, it happens somewhat infrequently.
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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby dws1982 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:07 pm

I've seen Darkest Hour (but not Call Me By Your Name yet) and I totally agree. Oldman is a weak frontrunner if I've ever seen one.

Sure we've seen lots of biopic Best Actor winners, but most have either been in much stronger vehicles (Best Picture nominees that had consistently made the lists throughout the precursors) or swept the critics awards.

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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby flipp525 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:59 pm

Post-Christmas “hot take”:

I know that all signs point toward an Oldman career Oscar this year (which is what many prognosticators have been saying for months now, performance unseen), but I don’t see how he’s some major frontrunner at this point. I know the points against Chalamet (age, newcomer status, gay role), but his performance has been rapturously received by critics and audiences.

This year’s Best Actor race is reminding me just a bit of the Hoffman vs. Ledger year but only loosely since Oldman is in no way netting the haul of Hoffman that year. But there are some basic similarities: journeyman actor at the center of a biopic versus emotionally resonant gay-leaning role in a breakout film. I have thought since the second that I saw Call Me By Your Name (and especially with the choice of how that film ended lingering on Chalamet) that he absolutely has a chance to win Best Actor this year.

We’ll see what kind of mood for the season the Globes set up. I write this having not seen Darkest Hour yet, so I could be totally wrong here.
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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby Sabin » Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:30 pm

Mister Tee wrote
After that, I'd say 2012 was the next year where we were faced with just too broad a field, and we all know what happened there -- chaos in film/director. The year had a different outcome, though, compared to 1988 or 1995: the old rules suggested Argo was a loser there, thanks to its directing miss; the race should have been down to Lincoln or Life of Pi. But customs had loosened over recent years, and Argo emerged triumphant.

I was going to write more about 1995 (the omissions by Howard and Lee are still baffling) and 1999, but you've got me thinking about this year more and more...

When we look at that race now, it's impossible to think of it in terms of anything other than Ben Affleck's omission from the Best Director lineup and 'Argo's eventual steamrolling to Best Picture. At this point in 2012, one would be forgiven for thinking that yes, 'Les Miserables' isn't just going to win Best Picture, it's going to end up with twelve nominations. Or 'Zero Dark Thirty' isn't just going to win Best Picture, it's going to end up with nine nomination. Instead, we think of it as the year where Ben Affleck defied the odds.

If the nominees for Best Director turn out to be Guillermo Del Toro, Martin McDonagh, Christopher Nolan, and Steven Spielberg, THAT is going to be what the year is going to be remembered for. I'm sure neither want to be thought of this way especially this year, but Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele will both be "The Ben Affleck,' a person who was unfairly denied what they were due. If one is nominated, that film is likeliest to win. If neither is nominated, it will be unholy hell. If one or both is nominated for a DGA award, it will be hard to envision a scenario where something as small as 'Get Out' or 'Lady Bird' can beat something as big as 'Dunkirk,' 'The Shape of Water,' or 'The Post.'

I also see chaos in film/director, but come February, it's going to be seen as chaos in racism/sexism.
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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:53 pm

Sabin wrote:
Mister Tee wrote
But I'm not certain that's what Sabin meant by his original remark. Is it possible he meant the best picture race in '88 is similar to this year's? If he clarifies, I'll be glad to weigh in.

I was referring to Best Picture contenders. Imagine winnowing it down to five! Even with an expanded roster, there’s a sense that we’ll know which film will end up coming out on top once the nominations are announced and we can do the math and figure out which one is ‘Rain Man’ (ie, the one with all the boxes checked).

Okay, to tackle from that angle:

Yes, 1988 was a year that, like this year, had many many candidates. Films that weren't among the best picture five but had been very well-reviewed and/or decent box-office successes: Big, Bull Durham, Gorillas in the Mist, A Fish Called Wanda, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. All but Roger Rabbit were screenplay-nominated (and Zemeckis' film had a DGA nod). In mid-December, there was no consensus whatever on the ultimate best picture choice. Early pundits pointed to Mississippi Burning, for its "message", but reviews were more tepid than expected. The magazine Seven Days (whose entertainment coverage soon migrated to Entertainment Weekly) touted Dangerous Liaisons, as being in the spirit of the previous year's Last Emperor. But Rain Man became the favorite in early January, partly because of winning the Globe, but more because it turned into an astonishing box-office success, one that well outperformed the rest of the field. (Peter Bart said it was the MGM film that finally, in pure dollar terms, broke Gone with the Wind's gross total.) The way the nominations broke out -- with Accidental Tourist and Liaisons missing director, and Mississippi Burning and Working Girl failing at screenplay -- best picture became a fait accompli, but I think it was settled even before that.

But you've got me thinking that there are only these very few years where the number of candidates is truly vast, and that this situation frequently results in chaotic nominations. Here in 1988, the DGA nominees were Rain Man, Mississippi Burning, Working Girl, A Fish Called Wanda and Roger Rabbit. Three repeated as best picture/director nominees but only one got screenplay, one got director/screenplay only, and Roger Rabbit got nothing -- with Tourist and Liaisons popping up as surprise best picture candidates, and Last Temptation of Christ a complete wild card in director.

1995 was a similarly wide-ranging year -- I've noted many times that there are about 30 films I could recommend from its releases -- and there we had the insane omissions of Apollo 13 and Sense and Sensibility from director, Leaving Las Vegas not getting its expected best picture nod, Babe popping up as a film/director candidate despite no DGA mention, and Il Postino -- which seemed a classic lone director choice -- unexpectedly parleying its DGA nod into a best picture candidacy. When you totted all that up, Braveheart -- a movie taken so unseriously that Entertainment Weekly didn't even have it as a best picture possibility in its Oscar Race Begins issue -- became the statistically likely winner...a position it cashed in on Oscar night, though may of us hoped/believed otherwise right up to the opening of the envelope.

1999 sort of fell into this over-stuffed category as well -- we can all look at The Talented Mr. Ripley, Being John Malkovich, Boys Don't Cry, Election, Magnolia and Three Kings, and wonder why they weren't in the best picture chase. But voters kept things fairly staid that year -- four of the best picture nominees got film/director/screenplay nominees, and, by leaving out all the other hipper movies, they made it fairly easy for American Beauty to triumph.

After that, I'd say 2012 was the next year where we were faced with just too broad a field, and we all know what happened there -- chaos in film/director. The year had a different outcome, though, compared to 1988 or 1995: the old rules suggested Argo was a loser there, thanks to its directing miss; the race should have been down to Lincoln or Life of Pi. But customs had loosened over recent years, and Argo emerged triumphant.

I'm wondering if that's going to be true this year as well, in spades: people are already trying to toss films overboard for missing SAG Ensemble, or falling short at the Globes. I think the combination of way too many notable entries, the radical membership changes of recent years, and the ongoing disconnection from precursor tradition will make this a year of surprises in more places than we've come to expect.

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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby Okri » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:49 pm

Betty Gabriel is definitely amazing - I singled out Keener more because she has AMPAS history

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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby Sabin » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:05 pm

Mister Tee wrote
But I'm not certain that's what Sabin meant by his original remark. Is it possible he meant the best picture race in '88 is similar to this year's? If he clarifies, I'll be glad to weigh in.

I was referring to Best Picture contenders. Imagine winnowing it down to five! Even with an expanded roster, there’s a sense that we’ll know which film will end up coming out on top once the nominations are announced and we can do the math and figure out which one is ‘Rain Man’ (ie, the one with all the boxes checked).
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:33 pm

One thing that immediately leaps out to me about 2017 vs 1988 is that there isn’t a ton of overlap between the films that seem like the strongest director candidates (Dunkirk, The Shape of Water) and the ones that seem like the strongest screenplay candidates (Get Out, Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name, Three Billboards). It’s very possible we end up with a slate where there aren’t that many films that score all three Picture/Director/Screenplay mentions; maybe not as few as 1988’s Rain Man, but it wouldn’t shock me if only 2 movies got that triumvirate this year. (And that’s with the benefit of more Best Picture nominees — I could see a movie like Phantom Thread getting Director/Screenplay but only making Best Picture due to the expansion, when it wouldn’t have otherwise qualified under the old rules.)

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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:45 pm

flipp525 wrote:
Sabin wrote:Would 1988 be an analogue for this year’s race?

Wasn’t there a rather random collection of Supporting Actress nominees that year? I seem to recall that being a “no one could have predicted” category.

Well, it depends how you look at it. Back then, there was no SAG or Broadcasters, so the only precursor set of nominees was the Globes. The Globes had a somewhat oddball batch of nominees: Sigourney Weaver the only "obvious" one, Diane Venora, Lena Olin and Barbara Hershey excellent choices from films from that were a bit at the fringes (Venora had won the NY Critics award, but Bird really died at the box office), and a baffling Sonia Braga for a movie (Moon over Parador) that was neither a critical nor financial success. (Possibly it was HFPA belatedly catching up with her Kiss of the Spider Woman performance.)

The Oscar nominees were, except for Weaver, entirely different, but they seemed more in the Academy's wheelhouse (not least because they were all attached to best picture nominees). Frances McDormand has won NBR and seemed a no-brainer. Michelle Pfeiffer had had a breakout year, especially with Married to the Mob; there was no room for her on the crowded best actress slate, but Dangerous Liaisons offered a strong supporting role (and the film was of course widely embraced). Geena Davis had also been very highly praised. The only real surprise was Joan Cusack, who had a much smaller role than Weaver but impressed enough voters anyway.

But I'm not certain that's what Sabin meant by his original remark. Is it possible he meant the best picture race in '88 is similar to this year's? If he clarifies, I'll be glad to weigh in.

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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby Sabin » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:04 pm

My friend was the 1st AC on ‘Get Out.’ He said that particular shot was incredibly difficult to keep in focus. When I asked him about the set and who the best performer to work with was, without hesitation he said Betty Gabriel.
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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby mlrg » Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:48 am

flipp525 wrote:
Okri wrote:Another name to throw out that I've heard someone mention - Catherine Keener for Get Out.

Betty Gabriel is also a stand-out in Get Out. That scene where she kind of malfunctions and is saying “No, no, no, no...” is an unforgettable moment from the film.


I saw Get Out yesterday and I totally agree with you

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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby OscarGuy » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:23 pm

I think Daniel Kaluuya is a pretty solid bet for a Best Actor nomination. He's gotten a lot of attention and the SAG nomination certainly suggests people recognize his work and the love for Get Out in general.
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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby flipp525 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:57 pm

Okri wrote:Another name to throw out that I've heard someone mention - Catherine Keener for Get Out.

Betty Gabriel is also a stand-out in Get Out. That scene where she kind of malfunctions and is saying “No, no, no, no...” is an unforgettable moment from the film.
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Re: Pre-Christmas Look at the Top Races

Postby flipp525 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:00 pm

I think Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell will be the duo out of the three pairs (or triad if you consider Stuhlbarg for The Shape of Water too) competing to be the first dual Best Supporting Actor nominees since, off the top of my head, Bugsy in 1991. Other nominees will be Hammer, Dafoe, and Plummer. It’s a great category this year.
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