a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘the Academy’

A.C.E. announce! The Importance of Editing to Oscar

Nightcrawler 2The A.C.E. or the Eddies, the Editing organization that the public may not know about, but the industry sure does, just announced their nominees and this year in their two film categories there were 11(!) nominations.  Six in Drama and Five in Musical/Comedy, like the Golden Globes. There was a tie in the Drama category, but they’re not saying who or which film. Including “Nightcrawler”, they were “Gone Girl,” “Boyhood”, “Imitation Game” and “Whiplash.” And the also surprising last minute, late comer to the race,  Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.”

The importance of editing as the central or key aspect in film-making today and in the awards season race, can not be underestimated. And also, no Best Picture has won without at least an Eddie nomination, Which is bad news for “Selma”.

If I had it to do over again, I’d study film-editing myself. Sometimes you feel like you’ve missed your calling and I think about trying to start to learn how to edit everyday. But I digress…

The guilds are the first REAL sample of how the industry is feeling this year about the Oscars. All the other awards so far are mainly voted on by CRITICS! And there are NO critics or press in the Academy.

There ARE press agents, but they only are allowed to nominate five pictures for Best Film, as one small for instance. When the nominations are announced they THEN get to vote in all the categories, but this is Phase I, the nomination phase. In fact, Academy members are nominating right now as we speak.

And next to the VAST Actor’s Branch, the second branch that really has a say, I think, is the Editor’s Branch. Not all the members of A.C.E. are IN the editors branch, by the way, but it’s a pretty good indicator.

And what’s surprising about today’s announcements, is what was left in that wasn’t expected, like for instance “Nightcrawler” (on my year’s 10 Best List for sure) and also the late opening Clint Eastwood “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper.

Nobody expected either of them to make it and that means they may make it into the Best Picture race at the Oscars. Left out was “Selma”. Which is kind of shocking, with all the supposed momentum that is building for it. But maybe it’s not. Also left out, I’m sorry to say was my fave “The Theory of Everything.” Watch for the Oscar nominations to correct that in two weeks.

But Jake Gyllenhaal has started really picking up nomination speed with nods from the Golden Globes, SAG, and the Broadcast Film Critics. And now this.”Nightcrawler” has LEGS! As many legs as a centipede, it seems.

http://www.hitfix.com has the rest with spirited analysis by their great Kris Tapley and Gregory Ellwood. The complete list is there.

And on Monday, the Producer’s Guild is set to announced its’ list of ten nominees for Best Picture. The PGA as it’s called was the first group to vote for “The King’s Speech,” when they voted for their winner that year when everyone else up to that point was going “The Social Network,” a film that I STILL intensely dislike. I still think of it as “The Joy of Typing.”

The PGA even more than the A.C.E. Eddies are ALLLL mostly Academy Members. They have ten slots and use a preferential ballot, like the Oscars do.

So films that are on the edge of the Oscar bubble, like for instance “Gone Girl,” “Nightcrawler”, “American Sniper,” “Unbroken,” “Into the Woods”, “A Most Violent Year” or “Whiplash” will find their hopes either raised or dashed on Monday.

I think frontrunners like “Boyhood”, “Birdman”, “Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” will all be on the Producer’s List. And “Selma”, too, even though it was left off the A.C.E. Eddie’s today.

Never underestimate the importance of film editors. They silently run the show, and year after year do great unsung work that is respected and admired by the industry. These are the first voters we’ve heard from who REALLY count.

So who do these Eddie Nods help? For sure, Jake Gyllenhaal’s bid to get in to the extremely tight Best Actor Oscar race. It could help give “Nightcrawler” Best Picture cred, too. And don’t forget the wonderful 60-year-old-but-still-glamourous Rene Russo, who could get swept into the Supporting Actress race. Why not? She certainly deserves it.

And what of Bradley Cooper and “American Sniper”? Well, we shall see what we shall see.

 

 

 

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The United Colors of Lupita!

The United Colors of Lupita!

A picture, in this case a photoshopped one, is STILL worth a thousand words! And all of them are Lupita, Lupita, Lupita!!!

Scott Feinberg has chosen to wind up his extensive coverage of The Race over at the Hollywood Reporter http://www.thehollywoodreporter.com with anonymous, and VERY candid interviews with FOUR very differnet Academy voting members.

They are all so all over the place, it’s not to be believed. This year is one for the record books in that sense, but three out of the four VERY different(men I think, all of them, so far) all agreed on only one thing LUPITA NYONG’O for Best Supporting Actress!!! And none of these voters were from the Actor’s Branch which already awarded her the SAG award in this category.

And the excellent Mark Harris notes that if “12 Years a Slave” loses to “Gravity”(or something else), it will win what “Precious” won which was Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress.

I rest my case.

E.T.A. They also all agreed on Cate Blanchett.

Oscar to go E-lectronic ONLINE Voting! Chaos? Progress? The End?

With the shocking announcement the very day AFTER the Academy’s Big Reveal of their 2011 Nominations, AMPAS has sent out a statement saying that is it going digital at last =  the last bastion of postal snail mail, Oscar voting, going the way of the Do-Do. Scary stuff. Some Academy Members are not even ONLINE. Some don’t even OWN a computer, nor want to. I’m not kiddin’. You can’t make this stuff up!

But you know what the Do-Do said to Alice, don’t you? “Everyone has won, and ALL shall have prizes!”

Guess so.

Which I, a victim of technology, as much as Jean Dujardin’s character in “The Artist”, see this as just an INVITATION to the hacker-sphere to “Come ‘n’ git it!”

What if the Oscar results got hacked? And you know THEY WILL…

I’m a Voting Member of the Drama Desk and yes, we all have to vote e-lectronically, but there’s still the OPTION to mail your ballot in. But it seems everybody does use the Internet. Does this mean Theater Critics are hipper than the Hollywood Academy? It would seem so.

You can read the actual press releases themselves at www.deadlinehollywood.com and Steve Pond’s great www.thewrap.com.

This will also herald an earlier Oscar night. Maybe as early as late January or early February. The E-balloting would be instated to MOVE THINGS up, and make things FASTER, voting and tallying-wise.

But it’s progress. They can’t avoid it. But it’s going to wreak havoc on an already crowded awards-season year-end calendar, which OF COURSE, will cause the BFCA, The Golden Globes, this Sunday night’s SAG awards and yes, even the BAFTAs to move THEIR Awards extravaganzas up, too. OF COURSE! D’oh!

Which means that films will have to move up their unseemly December glut to November? Well, that could easily be done. This year’s, 2012, I mean, films will all have to just get finished earlier. Heard THAT Mr. Spielberg?

He’s got Daniel Day Lewis’ BIG OSCAR contender of next year”Lincoln” on the boil…He’ll just have to finish it faster. And he COULD do that. For this announcement to come out THIS EARLY, it’s letting those who are preparing next years extravaganzas to SPEED IT UP! It’s doable.

For example, “War Horse” was more than ready and being screened all over the country, but god forbid not in L.A. and New York, where we, the huddled media masses could see it.

And he DID get nominated. But not THAT much. (He didn’t get nominated for Best Director. Though it did get Best Picture. But like “Hugo” none of his actors got nominated.) He went from being a front-runner, to being, well, just a runner. It’s being held back til Christmas Day did diminish its’ Oscar chances.

You could argue that holding “Dragon Tattoo” back til the last-minute on Xmas day, also, hurt its Best Picture chances. But you could also argue that it never had any chance at BP (Best Picture, not Brad Pitt) to begin with. It’s a genre film to quote Anne Thompson of www.indiewire.com

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of www.awardsdaily.com  called it “re-arranging deck chairs on the ‘Titanic!’ “

Being accused of looking backwards this year, these pronunciamentos from AMPAS feel like Papal Nuncios. “No! You see! We aren’t looking backwards. We’re looking FORwards!”

But really, is it going to mean anything, except that voters will have to watch more films SOONER? Which means that Voters will inevitably watch LESS films than they even do now.

You better believe it! And that hurts the smaller fringe films. I’m pretty sure they didn’t even WATCH “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin,” “Shame” and also probably, “Drive.”

I swear that Albert Brooks in “Drive” and Vanessa Redgrave in “Coriolanus” both lost out on being nominated this year on BOTH sides of the Atlantic, because voters just didn’t watch EITHER of their films.

They got turned off in the first 30-40 minutes by the violence and didn’t stay to see Brooks’ and Redgrave’s great, villainous performances, which really kicked in LATER in both films.

AMPAS voters, and probably SAG voters, too, certainly are just OVERWHELMED by the amount of films they have to watch on their DVD players, and that is the way most of them do see these films. The super 3d of “Hugo” loses a lot in 2D on anything but the most sophisticated home players. for instance.

Whereas films with a smaller TV-friendly aspect ratio, like “The Artist” look even BETTER! “The Descendants” would gain on the small screen, too. AND “The Help” AND “Midnight in Paris.”

This will make late summer/early Fall Film Festivals Toronto,Montreal, Venice, New York, even MORE important than they’ve always been.

Because now people like Jason Reitman, who held his “Young Adult,” back from TIFF & NYFF, lived to see his film wither and die outside the Festival circuit.  And now he’ll have to go running back to Toronto, where OF COURSE, they’ll take him back. Like the prodigal son that he is, if only for a nano-seceond. In this scenario, his film of LAST year “Up In the Air” which was accused of “peaking too early” would never have had the chance for that to happen to it. There would’ve been NO TIME! Ditto “The Joy of Typing.”

It will mean that film critics like myself will have VERY busy Novembers instead of Decembers.

And what WILL Harvey Weinstein do?

Well, since he’s always busy ANYway, this new roundelay of “change” may make things even EASIER for him. Certainly more refreshing.

But come what may, this is what is on the way, dear readers, dear cineastes. Change! The Computers are taking over EVERYTHING!

National Board of Review gives “Moneyball” & Brad Pitt NO-thing!

So now the National Board of Review announces. Sadly (to them) in #2 after the New York Critics Circle announced FIRST on Tuesday. And as I predicted this is group who would be so incensed that they were not the FIRST out of the gate, as they always have been historically, they would pick NO BIG WINNERS who already won earlier this week. “The Artist” did hang on to a spot in their Top Ten(They have a very odd line-up of awards, always).

But picture went to “Hugo” which I despised, and Best Director was Martin Scorcese for said non-children children’s film. BORED ME TO TEARS for the first hour! With the worst child actor EVAH in a leading role. EX-CRUUUU-CIATING.

This leviathantian epic is PROBABLY NOT going to get nominated for Best Picture. Even. It’s not gonna look good in 2D on a screener which is the way most AMPAS voters, and SAG, too, for that matter, will inevitably view it.

Best Actor is their beloved George Clooney, who is SUDDENLY back in the race again, after being left out pretty completely on Tuesday by the NYFCC. And Shailene Woodley, his mouthy teenaged daughter-from-hell probably does cement her Supporting Actress nomination with this win. (And also an Indie Spirit nom in this category, when Clooney got NO-thing from the Indie Spirits.) And “The Descendants” won big here with three major wins. George, Shailene and Alexander Payne for Adapted Screenplay…But they award George almost every year no matter what.

But who and what this hurts(if it hurts at all) is “Moneyball” and Brad Pitt and everyone involved with it , who did not even score in the NBR’s Top Ten. OUCH!!!

So it is Brad v. George for Best Actor? I think they effectively cancel each other out and hand it to Jean Dujardin for “The Artist” which at least scored in their “Top Ten”. Oh! I’m repeating myself!

So, I will repeat myself some more and once again reference “The Artist”s artists with moi on my You Tube channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

The only award that duplicated the NBR win last year at the Oscars was Christian Bale in “The Fighter.” So this bodes well for Christopher Plummer who won here for “Beginners.” And doesn’t bode so well for George or Shailene, who will probably get nominations from AMPAS, though.

The NBR also has a very bad history with Actress winner, so the stunningly brilliant, yet horrifying turn by the great Tilda Swinton for “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin” who is the winner here as Best Actress…is basically winning what can now be called the Lesley Manville award, since that brilliant Brit won here for the amazing “Another Year”, and then went on to win nothing else.

I don’t think Tilda’s tremendous, bloody turn will sit well with the Academy. Though certainly it needs to be…if there is any justice in Oscarland, and we know of course, that there isn’t.

So other than Rooney Mara getting a Breakthrough Performance Award and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” landing in the Top Ten, this is the only recognition this film that made the NYFCC WAIT got. Rooney Mara is playing Lisbeth Salander here in David Fincher’s American re-make..

So what does this all mean? I think it means CLEARLY less than the NYFCC. It means that Gorgeous George is down but by no means out. And that “The Descendants” is still in the game. And that Brad Pitt and his “Moneyball” makers better look to their PR campaigns for Oscar, like NOW!

But it is pretty much of a sharp slam to Pitt & co.

And “The Help” got Best Ensemble, FWIW and nothing else…

So the only one who this wacky award clearly helps is Christopher Plummer. But then we knew he’d win for Best Supporting Actor way back in June!

And “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two” made it into the Top Ten and got a special award for the franchise as a whole. OR hole, whichever way you want to parse it.

For a complete list of the NBR(also-rans)winners see Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone’s www.awardsdaily.com

 

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