Pre-Nomination Musings

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Postby rolotomasi99 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:41 pm

dreaMaker wrote:Scherfig's nomination would be one of the most undeserving nominations in the history of Oscars...

You would be correct if the following people (from only the last three decades) had not been nominated:
Reitman - Juno
Haggis - Crash
Hackford - Ray
Marshall - Chicago
Soderbergh - Erin Brockovich
Scott - Gladiator
Shyamalan - The Sixth Sense
Benigni - Life Is Beautiful
Hicks - Shine
Zemeckis - Forrest Gump
Brest - Scent Of A Woman
Lyne - Fatal Attraction

If all of them had not been nominated than maybe Scherifig would be the worst nominee of the past three decades, but with James Cameron as a possible nominee (and winner!) Scherifig would not even be the worst nominee of the year.
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Postby Hollywood Z » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:54 am

sijmen wrote:2008: The Reader (picture + director noms)
2007: Atonement (picture nom)
2006: United 93 (direcor nom - the film is not entirely British, but Greengrass is)
(2005: no surprising nominee)
2004: Vera Drake (director nom)

There is a problem with this theory...

2008: The Reader (picture & director noms) - This is something probably everyone should have seen coming: A successfully-completed-despite-all-of-the-insane-production-hang-ups Harvey Weinstein production of a Holocaust story where two of the films nominated producers, who were well loved in their own medium, died in the same year, directed by a man who has been twice before nominated, this time directing a film where the lead was assured a long overdue win. Undeserved? Yes, but we all should have seen the formula a mile away.

2007: Atonement - Now, I never counted this movie out of the Best Picture race, if only because I know the Academy loves costume romances. And Atonement is definitely one of the best and most unique of recent years. The only problem was too many people were thinking that Into the Wild, with all of it's precursor buzz, was building up steam with the Academy and Atonement's disinclusion of precursors was losing steam.

2006: United 93 - Yes, this one seemed to come out of nowhere, but it's also a film that has some very strong supporters and think that it couldn't have been as impactful as it was without Greengrass' vision. Not to mention, he was at the helm of a very successful franchise that was about to go into it's second sequel the following year. This one was a surprise, but for people like me who really supported it, the surprise was that it only earned two nominations.

2004: Vera Drake - Now, this one literally came out of nowhere. A film where everyone thought the only chance it had was for Best Actress suddenly sneaks in with an Original Screenplay and Director nomination. But let's not forget that Leigh is someone the older Academy voters like for his very grounded, yet still very profound style of directing and some of the younger ones admire his unique, no shooting script to begin with and everything's sort of shot on an improvisational style approach to filmmaking. (It still boggles me how that approach has earned him four screenplay nominations when practically all of the dialog hasn't been written by him.)

So while the Brits do have a history of sneaking into this race, I don't see it happening for An Education because one factor you forgot to take into consideration for your evidence was that the filmmakers who were nominated have been very well established. You'd have to go back to Peter Catteneo in 1997 to see a surprise Brit director and he got in because The Full Monty earned a Best Picture nomination.
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Postby rudeboy » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:07 am

Also, if the Academy dinosaurs were so backward-thinking as to deliberately vote against a female frontrunner, I have a hard time imagining the same people would vote for an ultra-violent sci-fi action movie.

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Postby Big Magilla » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:57 am

At one point prognosticators were floating the possibility of three women directors this year with Jane Campion (Bright Star) added to the mix. Bigelow, though, has consistently been the one out in front.

I even recall a post in which I speculated that Drew Barrymore might also be in the mix for Whip It, a film that turned out to be pure crap.

I seriously doubt the "old guard" in the directors' branch would nominate a second woman to siphon off votes from Bigelow. Anyone who wouldn't vote for Bigelow because she's a woman wouldn't vote for any woman, but I don't think that kind of bias extends to awards. It might keep a talented female director from getting her foot in the door, but once it's in, she'd be judged on the work.
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Postby OscarGuy » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:32 am

I may be a bit jaded here, or I could just love conspiracy theories (which I kind of do), but I could see two reasons why Lone Scherfig got the nomination.

1. It would be the first time in Oscar history where two women were nominated for Best Director. This might encourage a few voters to pick her.

2. The old guard might see her getting a nomination as a way to siphon the "vote for a woman" votes from Bigelow and split them so one of their male contemporaries could make it through. I don't know that the theory would work, but it might.

Anyway, she could also get nominated because some felt she deserved it, but I'm not so sure that's going to be the case. Blomkamp is my pic and I think being South African may, in this case, count as being British for Sijmen's case.
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Postby sijmen » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:48 am

dreaMaker wrote:Scherfig's nomination would be one of the most undeserving nominations in the history of Oscars...

I haven't seen the film yet... But since when came quality into play :-)

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Postby dreaMaker » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:42 am

sijmen wrote:I'm surprised no one mentionned Lone Scherfig yet as the possible fifth director nominee. In recent years, there were a lot of surprise nominees for British films:

2008: The Reader (picture + director noms)
2007: Atonement (picture nom)
2006: United 93 (direcor nom - the film is not entirely British, but Greengrass is)
(2005: no surprising nominee)
2004: Vera Drake (director nom)

So this year, the most logic surprise nominee would be An Education's Lone Scherfig.

I still don't think she'll make it tough (I'm guessing Blomkamp too), but she's a strong contender IMO. Never underestimate the Brits :-)

Scherfig's nomination would be one of the most undeserving nominations in the history of Oscars...

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Postby sijmen » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:29 am

I'm surprised no one mentionned Lone Scherfig yet as the possible fifth director nominee. In recent years, there were a lot of surprise nominees for British films:

2008: The Reader (picture + director noms)
2007: Atonement (picture nom)
2006: United 93 (direcor nom - the film is not entirely British, but Greengrass is)
(2005: no surprising nominee)
2004: Vera Drake (director nom)

So this year, the most logic surprise nominee would be An Education's Lone Scherfig.

I still don't think she'll make it tough (I'm guessing Blomkamp too), but she's a strong contender IMO. Never underestimate the Brits :-)




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Postby rain Bard » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:27 am

Mister Tee wrote:I'm starting to wonder if we'll ever have a genuinely wide-open tournament again, as long as the unholy alliance that is BFCA/Globes/SAG/BAFTA continues to flood the zone -- staging shows not merely precursing but essentially co-opting the Oscars,and all of them, it seems, having adopted the Broadcasters' "We must predict the Oscar choices" credo. I love Jeff Bridges and his performance, but it's basically impossible enough SAG voters saw Crazy Heart to choose him; their votes just about had to be a salute to his career, and confirmation of his growing seasonal "buzz" (a word I've come to loathe in this context). There's every signal that the precursing groups now take this sort of thing as their mission, which has vitiated interest in the big award, and will only continue to do so. I truly don't see any way out of this.

I recently spoke to a young critic who was excited to tell me that he had gotten a chance to vote on "the Oscars" this year for the first time. At first I was extremely confused- as far as I know this guy was not a filmmaker or a publicist (are there any other categories of people voting for the Academy Awards?) but upon a little probing I realized he meant that he had just joined one of those multiplying regional "Critics Circle" groups that we all pay attention to in mid-December. I asked why he called it the Oscars, and it became clear that he considered the primary (only?) purpose of the exercise was to influence the actual Oscars.

By the way, this group picked The Hurt Locker for Best Picture (that narrows it down doesn't it?); though this critic did try to argue against doing so, he was quickly shot down by more experienced members of the group. His favorite film of the year was something that never got released on more than a couple dozen screens at one time, but from the way he was describing the byzantine rules for how the awards were selected, I got the impression he didn't even vote for it because he knew it was a lost cause.

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Postby rudeboy » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:24 am

Some people seem to be underestimating Lee Daniels. To me he seems, if by no means guaranteed a slot, easily the most likely candidate to repeat his DGA appearance in that fifth slot. As Tee mentioned, the five films cited by the Directors’ Guild this year are those generally thought to be the five best picture nominees based on the old system. They’re also the only five of those in contention which it’s pretty much inconceivable won’t be among the ten best pictures this year – just about anything else, however likely, could miss. Precious was also nominated for the best film BAFTA, despite not being released here yet – and there it beat off the hugely popular Inglorious Basterds, which I had thought would be a strong candidate to win in the UK. I think it has the support to carry Daniels through, especially as he’d be ticking two minority boxes, which is a talking point. Against all prediction logic they went for Daldry last year, so I have no problem imagining them going for a fresh young director whose film is (by all accounts anyway) a lot edgier and much more widely beloved than The Reader.

I agree that the only real suspense this year among the top line categories is in best picture (discounting actress, where I honestly believe the Streep supporters are kidding themselves). Unfortunately, the DGA tomorrow could wipe that final question mark too. If Bigelow wins, we still have a race. If Cameron wins, I’d grudgingly suggest that it’s pretty much over. Of course, there’s always the slim chance they’ll go with Reitman, Daniels or Tarantino, in which case the eventual winner is anybody’s guess.

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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:03 pm

I agree the people pushing Eastwood for director don't seem to have thought it through -- such a placement usually comes from enthusiasm, and Invictus, which couldn't even score in a de-nuded WGA field, is barely hanging on.

I couldn't find a candidate who truly feels like he or she fits the modern criteria. Despite the Cannes prize, White Ribbon hasn't really caught on at the level of some prized foreign efforts, so picking Haneke would be pushing the enevelope. (The only precedent is Kieskowski, and he had full-throttle Weinstein working for him) And A Serious Man -- though I would cheer its selection -- just doesn't seem to have the cache.

My advocacy of Blomkamp actually goes back to a slightly older model -- films like A Fish Called Wanda, or non-auteur foreign nominees like La Cage Aux Folles or My Life as a Dog. None were artistic breakthroughs, but all were sleepers from foreign backgrounds viewed kindly by critics. I think Blomkamp's South African-ness, the sense that the film came from nowhere, respect for the inventiveness of at least the film's start, and maybe the political subtext give District 9 a shot at this slot that a comparable American film wouldn't have.

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Postby The Original BJ » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:55 pm

What's turning me off to this year is the fear of three of the top four awards going to my least favorite of the awards contenders -- Avatar and The Blind Side. Of course, there's also the real possibility that The Hurt Locker wins the top two awards, and at least Streep wins Best Actress, so it could be a perfectly acceptable evening. (Though I went into both the '00 and the '01 ceremonies feeling the same way, only to be brutally disappointed in a number of major categories.)

In terms of director, I'm having a tough time trying to figure out who the "lone" director candidate might be. I don't think Daniels is completely out, but, based on precedent, it's a lot more likely for him to be omitted than not. But if not him, who? A lot of predictors have been hanging on to Eastwood, but I think that's highly unlikely. Historically, the lone director has either come from a hip, auteurist film (Talk to Her, City of God, The Sweet Hereafter) or a just-miss for Best Picture (Billy Elliot, The Truman Show, Thelma & Louise). Invictus definitely wouldn't qualify for the first group, and it's barely hanging on for Best Picture in a ten-wide field as it is. Haneke would be deserving, but seems WAY too out there, IMO. I can see the push for Blomkamp, but he doesn't really seem to fit either of the usual qualifications either. I think the newly-minted Coen Brothers might actually be the best bet, but A Serious Man has remained under the radar the last few weeks. (Then again, City of God wasn't even on the map.) I'm highly excited to see who they choose, and really hope it's not just a xerox of the DGA field.

I'm basically with Mister Tee on the lead categories. I wouldn't call Best Actor locked, but Renner's SAG nod and The Hurt Locker's overall support puts him way above the stragglers in that race. Mirren is indeed a pretty weak Best Actress contender, but I can't think of anyone who could genuinely unseat her at this point, especially after she's shown up pretty regularly with the precursors.

Supporting Actor is another matter entirely, and I hope it gets a shakeup. Damon and Tucci, despite precursor support, seem pretty shaky, based on the overall reception toward their films, and the fact that no one seems to be truly enthused about these turns. On the other hand, based on performance alone, McKay and Molina would have seemed to be very strong candidates but for their absence from the Globe and SAG lists, though I still think there's the possibility one or even both of them could make it. It's puzzling to me that Molina hasn't been recognized when his film has been in other categories (especially SAG Ensemble) -- he seems like a well-liked character actor overdue for a first nod. But does his absence from the precursors suggest that, even though voters are seeing An Education, they just might not like him? Or is he a Harden in Mystic River-type candidate, where you wonder all season long why he hasn't been recognized only to see him show up on Oscar nom morning, making perfect sense as a nominee. McKay has an even more Oscar-bait role -- impersonating Orson Welles! -- but a nod for an little-known actor in a small film without precursor attention? Seems like an uphill battle, but again, his nomination wouldn't be shocking. My hope is that, in a year with many candidates in this category, the Academy doesn't just go with the same five we've been seeing all season.

Those last two supporting actress slots seem like anybody's guess. I still think, despite her SAG omission, that Julianne Moore will make the cut -- she's got a showy role in a film that the actors will definitely be seeing for Firth. Plus, Moore is the kind of respected thesp who gets nominations, and it's been a number of years since her last one. As Tee has said, Samantha Morton has pulled through on iffy prospects before, so she's not out of the race for The Messenger, but I wonder if one major nomination (Harrelson's) might be as far as a film this small goes. As I've said, I wonder if the Cotillard/Laurent lead placements with the precursors haven't given us an accurate representation of their overall support, particularly with respect to the latter. I pray to god that the Nine collapse Cruz is done, and though Kruger wouldn't shock me, I think her awards run started a bit late to make a ton of traction -- most people didn't even mention her as a contender until that SAG nod.

Tee, I'd throw An Education into the list of possibilities for Costumes as well, in addition to the ones you've cited. My hope this year in that race -- a break with recent tradition, and award for something other than Most Obvious Costumes. (Not that The Young Victoria's clothes aren't pretty, but come on, people, shake things up a bit!)

Last thought: I just recently realized that the Oscars aren't until March 7th. (I'd thought they were end of February.) That's a heck of a ways from now, with so many of the precursors already rewarded. That's quite a number of weeks with a whole lotta nothing happening awards-wise. Here's hoping voters take the time to absorb these films while the current of-the-moment "buzz" dies down (of course, except when such buzz applies to Carey Mulligan. :D )

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Postby Big Magilla » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:34 pm

The ennui seems to be settling in earlier and earlier each year now. We haven't even come to nominations morning and already we've lost interest.

Is it group think or were Christoph Waltz and Mo'Nique far away the most interesting contenders in the supporting categories? The polls I ran earlier this week would seem to indicate that we (those of us who voted) concur heavily with those choices.

Best Actor is split right now with Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth even at 7 votes each while my choice, George Clooney, has only one vote - mine. Had Clooney not already won an Oscar a few years ago it might be a more exciting three-way race, but Bridges would probably emerge the favorite anyway. In a year when there is no clear favorite, the senior most veteran tends to win on career achievement.

Best Actress is the year's most interesting race. In our poll, Tilda Swinton leads with 9 votes to 5 each for Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan, 3 each for Sandra Bullock and Abbie Cornish and one for Gabourey Sidibe. No one voted for Helen Mirren.

Is Mirren's performance that unpopular or is it simply that no one has seen it? Christopher Plummer also came up empty in the Supporting Actor poll. Does that lack of interest extend to the Academy membership? If so, Swinton would seem to have a better chance than we think of turning up as the fifth nominee.

Best Director seems set in stone for Biglow, Cameron, Reitman and Tarantino with Haneke and Blomkamp now seemingly more likely to fill the fifth slot over Eastwood and Daniels. Wouldn't it be something if both were nominated and one of the four seemingly invulnerable ones were ignored? Please let it be Cameron!
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Postby Greg » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:35 pm

It seems that if people have contests about picking the Oscar awards, this year the winners will be decided fron the documentary and short subject categories.



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Postby OscarGuy » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:20 pm

Oddly enough, I'm posting our Director predictions on the site within the next few minutes (before 1p CST), so you'll be able to see those.

But, for me, I have Blomkamp replacing Daniels, but for a bit I considered Daniels being the 6th-spot spoiler, but at the last minute, I changed it to a name you haven't mentioned: Michael Haneke. The directors love foreign directors and while Blomkamp is South African, he may seem a little too English and the reception for White Ribbon has been exceedingly strong. With the Vera Drake/Talk to Her surprises, I can't help but think Haneke stands a strong chance and I wouldn't be surprised to see him there.
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