Thoughts In-Season

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 16212
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:36 pm

The ten will be a combination of critically acclaimed films that make lots of money (Up in the Air); critically acclaimed films that don't need strong box office to register with the voters (The Hurt Locker, The Messenger), box office phenomenons that are also well regarded though not as nearly unanimously so (Avatar, Inglourious Basterds) and films AMPAS members deem good for the industry (Nine may be one of these, Invictus may be another). An Education, Precious, A Serious Man, A Single Man and Where the Wild Things Are are also hovering. That's more than ten without making room for a film that has its own category.

On the other hand, if either Up or Fantastic Mr. Fox cracks the top ten, all bets are off going forward.

I don't see Star Trek making it. Nor do I see The Last Station having much of a chance.

Okri
Tenured
Posts: 2669
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:28 pm
Location: Edmonton, AB

Postby Okri » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:52 pm

1. Filmfan, I asked that earlier about Up - namely, does a strong animated film slate make it stand out less. And I think an animated film NEEDS to stand out if it's gonna crack through the ghetto-minded prejudice.

Here's the thing though: I can't come up with a line-up of ten without it. The Lovely Bones is bombing and bombing hard. Nine currently has 33% at Rotten Tomatoes. Even if we assume that it pulls that number up, I can't imagine a huge number of people going ape for it. Given what's on thin ice (depending on who you ask - Invictus, The Last Station, A Serious Man...), I'm struggling to come up with a viable ten films line-up without it

2. How much does gross matter, Tee? Well, I don't think it's that big a deal for the actors. Casey Affleck, Kate Winslet/Jackie Earle Haley, Ryan Gosling, Peter O'Toole and more have all gotten nods for films grossing less than 5 million. Melissa Leo seems to have the dubious honor of nominee in the lowest grosser from the past five seasons (2.5 million) (going farther back, I think it means a little less).

As for picture.... well, the ten-wide is really shaking up predictions - see Star Trek being touted as a possibility. So I really do wonder (though I don't think The Hurt Locker would make it without the ten film line-up. I think it'd just miss)

User avatar
rain Bard
Associate
Posts: 1611
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 6:55 pm
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Postby rain Bard » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:40 pm

Zahveed wrote:They could very well just re-release The Hurt Locker if it does get nominated and make more money, echoing a certain loathed Best Picture winner of this decade.

Here in San Francisco, a small theatre has just booked it to open on Friday, in fact.

As for Up vs. Wall-E: One advantage the former has is more potential appeal to older voters if they appreciate the way its elderly character is portrayed. Another advantage: the animators themselves seem more behind it; they seemed cooler to Wall-E than the general and critical public was, presumably because they weren't that impressed by the feat of character-animating a robot as opposed to a believable flesh-and-blood creature.

FilmFan720
Emeritus
Posts: 3507
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 3:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Postby FilmFan720 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:37 pm

Remember also that The Hurt Locker failed at the box office earlier in the year, and comes out on DVD in early January. The rules tend to change when films come out on home video and pick up a lot of interest that way...There Will Be Blood came out on Christmas, so it was still picking up speed by the time of nominations. The Hurt Locker seems like the kind of box office "bomb" that does well on video...it will play well on small screens, people are more open to the "unappealing" genre in their own homes, it is getting a lot of good buzz here at the end of the year and people will want to check it out. By the time nominations roll out, I think it will have been seen by a much wider margin and will be a much more known quantity.
"Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good."
- Minor Myers, Jr.

ITALIANO
Emeritus
Posts: 4076
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 1:58 pm
Location: MILAN
Contact:

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:37 pm

OscarGuy wrote:I think Janet McTeer would agree with what you say about box office and performance. Tumbleweeds only made $1,350,248 at the box office. Keisha Castle-Hughes would also jump on that bandwagon, though her film made $20M.

Yes, and even Barbara Harris, Carol Kane, Jessica Lange (Blue Sky), many others.

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12689
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:06 pm

I think Janet McTeer would agree with what you say about box office and performance. Tumbleweeds only made $1,350,248 at the box office. Keisha Castle-Hughes would also jump on that bandwagon, though her film made $20M.
Wesley Lovell
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

ITALIANO
Emeritus
Posts: 4076
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 1:58 pm
Location: MILAN
Contact:

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Dec 16, 2009 4:36 pm

If we talk about Best Picture nominees, and especially Best Picture winners, it's true that commercial success counts, which could be a problem for Hurt Locker. A nomination is, of course, a sure thing by now, and I feel it'd be sure even in the old five nods system, but if the movie has really been such a financial failure, a win might be more difficult.
Yet, if we talk about the Acting nominees, I'd say that being in a box office hit, while definitely important, counts less. Historically there have been lots of nominees, even in the Supporting categories, from movies which were, if not obscure, certainly little seen. The precursors, and even more importantly a good word of mouth among the branch members, seem to be a major factor here; and I'd say that especially actors, even in Italy, take a strange but understandable kind of pride in praising colleagues giving great performances in movies which were flops or even, sometimes, downright bad "except" for that colleague's contribution.

This year, the Leading races seem to be more interesting than the Supporting ones. I'm sure that Jeff Bridges will fight like a lion to win an Oscar which he probably by now deserves; but at the moment the only reason which could vaguely harm George Clooney's chances is the fact that he has an award already. But then that award was for Best Supporting Actor (or, more precisely, for Best Director), and by Hollywood standards Clooney is a two-Oscar-caliber star.

It's maybe true that Streep is better in Julie & Julia than in Doubt; but if she wins this year (and it's certainly possible that she will) it will mostly be because there's no Kate Winslet among the nominees; by "Kate Winslet" I mean the prototypical Best Actress winner of these years, a young, pretty star whose talent may be more "official" than real but who's still PERCEIVED as talented. Bullock may be a star but till now nobody thought of her as an Oscar worthy actress, and the others will probably be new faces. An upset can always happen, but not many will complain if Meryl wins her long awaited third Oscar, even if it's for a minor (by her standards) job in a forgettable movie. And of course even that OTHER great American actress won Oscars late in her career for so-so performances.




Edited By ITALIANO on 1261003137

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6793
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Dec 16, 2009 4:26 pm

The Original BJ wrote:
dws1982 wrote:But at the same time, if Bigelow is to win, her film has to have a shot in the Best Picture race. A Best Picture non-contender probably isn't going to get its Director a win. A Director frontrunner is more likely to pull his (or her) film in with him (or her). And Dennis Bee isn't here anymore to remind us, but it bears repeating: Never bet on the split.

This is the line of thinking that has made me not fall into lockstep with the thought that Up in the Air is the Best Picture frontrunner but Bigelow is the Director favorite. I'm not saying such a situation is out of question, but I agree with dws -- in order for Bigelow to win, The Hurt Locker has to emerge as a genuine threat to win Best Picture. (If Bigelow wins the DGA, I might change my tune.) But if Up in the Air emerges as the dominant frontrunner, I think Reitman wins too.

Yes, there have been a number of splits lately, but the last few times splits were widely predicted they either didn't happen ('04) or the splits weren't at all the ones everyone thought they'd be ('00, '02).

I certainly on the whole agree with this. Best director in the past has been essentially an adjunct of the best picture race; splits came about when either the best picture favorite was a bit slight and a countervailingly weighty film got the directing prize (Chicago/The Pianist), or, more commonly, when the DGA winner was viewed as a bit heavy, and voters dutifully awarded it for directing (Reds, Born on the 4th of July, Saving Private Ryan) but chose something more conventionally entertaining for best picture. In all cases, the films involved had to be legitimate best picture possibilities. Thus, the advocacy for Scorsese for Gangs of New York was silly, because no one thought Gangs had even the slimmest chance of becoming best picture. But Marty's chances were better in both '04 and '06, with the latter finally coming through for him (and, not universally expected, dragging his film along with him, proving the overall strength of the correlation between the two categories)

Of course, we should acknowledge that "in the best picture race" might only be apparent after the fact. We only thought The Pianist rated such a designation once it had won best actor, screenplay and director; going into the presentation it seemed a classic also-ran. And Traffic caught us pretty much off guard as well.

The reason I think this year could be different -- extreme emphasis on "could" -- is the ten best pictures slate. I'm not arguing that will necessarily divorce the two categories -- the evidence from the 30s/40s is mixed, with early years featuring lots of splits, but five of the last six 10-and-5's matching. But it's possible there will be more of a psychological separation in people's minds; given the different modes of voting in the two categories, they may be more comfortable than bfeore voting opposing ways.

And I also think "elect the first female best dirctor" will be a wild card, just the way "vote for the guy with two nominations" was for Soderberg in the year he pulled an upset.

Greg
Tenured
Posts: 2810
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 1:12 pm
Location: Greg
Contact:

Postby Greg » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:58 pm

Mister Tee wrote:
Greg wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:(Pressed today, I'd have Avatar, Basterds, Up in the Air, Precious and Hurt Locker as the slate of five)

My five would have Up in place of Precious, making the siwtch to ten even less necessary.

After LA-winning Wall E's fate last year against crap competition, I don't see how you can make that argument.

Just that all the contenders other than Avatar, Up In The Air, The Hurt Locker, and Inglorious Basterds have been dropping so much that I think Up could sneak in even if there were only five nominees.

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4312
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:54 pm

dws1982 wrote:But at the same time, if Bigelow is to win, her film has to have a shot in the Best Picture race. A Best Picture non-contender probably isn't going to get its Director a win. A Director frontrunner is more likely to pull his (or her) film in with him (or her). And Dennis Bee isn't here anymore to remind us, but it bears repeating: Never bet on the split.

This is the line of thinking that has made me not fall into lockstep with the thought that Up in the Air is the Best Picture frontrunner but Bigelow is the Director favorite. I'm not saying such a situation is out of question, but I agree with dws -- in order for Bigelow to win, The Hurt Locker has to emerge as a genuine threat to win Best Picture. (If Bigelow wins the DGA, I might change my tune.) But if Up in the Air emerges as the dominant frontrunner, I think Reitman wins too.

Yes, there have been a number of splits lately, but the last few times splits were widely predicted they either didn't happen ('04) or the splits weren't at all the ones everyone thought they'd be ('00, '02).

User avatar
Zahveed
Associate
Posts: 1838
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:47 pm
Location: In Your Head
Contact:

Postby Zahveed » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:49 pm

They could very well just re-release The Hurt Locker if it does get nominated and make more money, echoing a certain loathed Best Picture winner of this decade.



Edited By Zahveed on 1260996583
"It's the least most of us can do, but less of us will do more."

User avatar
flipp525
Laureate
Posts: 5897
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 7:44 am

Postby flipp525 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:45 pm

Tee, what are you thoughts on the supporting races?
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."

-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6793
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:28 pm

FilmFan720 wrote:I have a question, and please don't shoot me down for it. Might we be overestimating the power of Up? I know that we all think that the opening up of Best Picture will broaden the scope of nominees some (though not as much as the mainstream media seems to think it will), but there has still only ever been one animated film to break into Best Picture. Up has not been picking up the juggernaut steam of Wall-E last year, and is it possible that there is a slant against animated films (especially with them having their own category) that could go deeper than we imagine and keep it off this longer list....

I know that Pixar films have gotten many nods over that past few years, but those have all come in the music, sound and writing categories. Are those three branches enough to keep a film in contention under our new system? Actors, cinematographers, directors and craft guilds have always joked about being weary of animated films taking away their jobs (Billy Crystal mocked it in the 1991 Oscars)...might there be a backlash??

It's possible. Certainly Up is nothing like the contender Wall E was. Mr. Fox has actually been doing well at the critics' groups lately, which might mean less individual push for Up.

We're all going on faith at this point as to what profile the additional five films will fit. Looking at the nominees back in the late 30s/early 40s period, it seems at that point, at least, screenplay nominations were a strong indicator -- also, broad popularity. These are the factors I think help Pixar, but we won't know till nominations morning.

User avatar
rolotomasi99
Associate
Posts: 1943
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2003 4:13 pm
Location: n/a
Contact:

Postby rolotomasi99 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:25 pm

I for one have never accepted the idea that the Academy nominates films based on their box-office performance.

There are far too many examples of Oscar-bait films that were successful at the box-office (DREAMGIRLS) which were passed over for a nomination for films that made next to nothing (LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA).

However, I agree Mister Tee that the low box-office can sometimes reflect the general public's low opinion of a certain film. As much as I would like to think being in the Academy, and therefore making movies yourself, somehow makes you smarter than the average movie-goer; however, I know this is just not true.

I think part of the reason THE HURT LOCKER did not do very well at the box-office is because of its sub-genre. No other Iraq/Afghanistan war film has done well. Not the art house films nor the big Hollywood films. People are just not ready for it.

However, if Summit had any confidence in the film, they would have released it in this particularly slow winter movie season and used all this year-end award attention to get people to see it. They really fucked up the release of the film.

If you look at the imdb page, 19,221 people voted on THE HURT LOCKER's page and gave it a solid 8.0 rating. Clearly, most people who saw it, liked it. I doubt it was bad word of mouth that sunk this film.

I think that it seems UP IN THE AIR is going to take Best Picture, but THE HURT LOCKER will take director and possibly original screenplay and editing as well. Hopefully that will be enough to encourage people to check it out on DVD.




Edited By rolotomasi99 on 1260995370
"When it comes to the subject of torture, I trust a woman who was married to James Cameron for three years."
-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12689
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:25 pm

Some facts worth considering:

The Hurt Locker: Total $12,671,105
It was out for 20 weeks. It's average gross fort he first two weekends was $36,338 and $14,578 respectively. Its widest expansion was to 535 theaters in its 7th week. So, it wasn't like it didn't get a decent expansion.

The Messenger: Total (To Date) $541,782
It has been out only 5 weeks and opened with a miniscule $11,131 per screen average. It's widest expansion has been 50 theaters so far.


Now, let's compare the two.


There Will Be Blood: Total $40,222,514
It was out 18 weeks, but opened at a smaller $25,904 per screen and on par $14,421 average in its second weekend. It, however, was at $8 M before it went semi-wide to 885 in its 5th week and eventually went to 1,620 theaters.

In America: Total: $15,539,656
It was out 28 weeks, opened with $18,657 average for its opening weekend. Not as low as The Messenger, but fairly close. Before it expanded from 47 to 146 theaters, it was at $803,254, not too far behind The Messenger's total.


So, There Will Be Blood proved that strong critical support can bolster a not-so-great box office performer. And In America proves that even with not-so-great grosses, a tiny film can earn Oscar nominations (for those who don't remember, it picked up Actress, Supporting Actor and Original Screenplay nominations).
Wesley Lovell

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin


Return to “82nd Predictions and Precursors”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests