Oscar History

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With Six You Get Linkroll

Jeremy Cowart tales from a stunning photoshoot starring actor John Schneider
Policy Mic 7 reasons why Frozen is the most progressive Disney movie 
Grantland Mark Harris on "The Nolan Effect" and how the expanded Best Picture field is actually shrinking the number of movies deemed Oscar Worthy. Statistically, it's getting worse each year. I co-sign all of this.
YouTube Cate Blanchett's awesome SAG press room performance - she even sings the Beatles
Huffington Post Amy Adams does Wicked's "Defying Gravity" at karaoke 
Deadline Quentin Tarantino very upset about the leaking of his Hateful Eight screenplay. Who knows, though? Maybe we're all winners here since did he really need to do another violent ensemble guys western so soon after Django?  

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Reader Comments (26)

Miss Blanchett was incredibly rude jerking off her SAG statue during her speech. I can't believe you encourage this sort of behavior.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Jean Brodie

I'm not really into Blanchett in "Blue Jasmine" (if you're looking for someone who didn't like the performance, here I am), but it's kind great to see her accept awards just to see how her speeches do. She was hilarious in the SAG. Come on people, chill.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

I would like the Taranruno who made Jackie Brown to come back. But this is also suspicious timing since Weinstein just said he is turned off to doing more violent films. Mmmhmmm

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Interesting theory floated around Twitter when that Deadline story had Tarantino quoted accusing Dern and Madsen's agents of leaking. Even for him that seemed over-dramatic so maybe this is all a ruse. Maybe after the announcement that Harvey Weinstein has sworn off doing any more violence-filled films (His work with Quentin are really the only films on his resume that really feature violence) that Tarantino is just using the leak as excuse to abandoned a project or delay it after one of his most frequent collaborators has backed away. Quentin was already uncomfortable fielding the Django Unchained violence questions.

The Mark Harris piece in fantastic by the way. It makes me wonder are the lack of diverse films among the major nominees has to do with voters only eying certain films a little more than others or that some films in the old system would at most fill only one of those categories.

Amy just looked like she was having drunk fun. I'm glad at how imperfect it was because had been flawless I would be a little suspicious, and I think she is a good singer who needs to do a musical or five.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I really like the Mark Harris article, too. Of all the factors that he points too, the most fixable has to be moving the nomination deadline to allow for more movies to be seen, right?
It doesn't seem possible for the Academy to go back to five at this point - it would make these 9-10 years look even more random than they already are, and it would be admitting they were hasty, which just isn't done - so I wonder if giving more time to watch the movies would change much at this point.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

The reference about Judy and her pills addiction at the Globes was unnecessary and the manipulation of the SAG statue incredibly vulgar. I'm baffled with the general approval.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

It's becoming clear that Cate Blanchett just does not give a damn, she knows she is winning the Oscar, I imagine after this, with her multiple nominations and two wins, finally one for a lead role, she won't put this much effort into awards campaigning ever again, she clearly hates certain aspects of it , like talking about her fashion style , answering inane questions from Ryan Seacrest, etc, but she loves being around other actors / movie stars she adores ('I met Rita Moreno, OMG').

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRami

Mike, I agree. Harris mentions how abbreviated the new pre-nomination window is, but sorta retreats from the point to make other (but perhaps less actionable) suggestions, at least if the current BP nomination procedure remains the same. Moving the nomination and ceremony dates farther apart to give more time for audiences to see the nominated pictures is great, but not if it fails the primary mission of the Oscars-- to find and reward great films, even those that aren't being hyped as contenders.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

The Academy should never have expanded the number of best picture nominees to 10- this takes away from the honor- I mean from this years list how many of those movies are truly Oscar worthy?

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Evan & Mike -- or how about films having to be released before December so we don't get all these fakeout (it's a 2014 movie but we're pretending it's 2013) movies each year and that glut where no one can possibly see everything all that once. I think that would help. I would personally change the rule to require at least 3 weeks of consecutive theatrical run for the Best Picture eligibility. That way a movie truly belongs to its year and you are actually judging one cinematic year

January 22, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I really don't see the problem of expanding the field in principle. Making a "top 10 list" is standard practice for critics.

The article about Frozen is several parts nonsense. A number of its pronouncements about past Disney heroines make absolutely no sense, especially that "the idea of an outspoken princess was unheard of" until Brave. That's..completely wrong.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

@Miss Jean, Peggy Sue... I agree that the Judy Garland comment was rather inappropriate, but other than that, have a bit of sense of humour guys! She was probably hammered at both parties (see her much more politically correct speech at the Critics Choice) and at least she's spontaneous. It's not like she's the first one to make dirty comments/jokes at an awards ceremony.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

I'm okay with the expanded field because I think that it just exacerbated other problems in the system. Like Nathaniel I'm thinking that either making a three week release mandatory or an initial release in November would make sense. Say have the current rules be moved to having that week release be done before December 1st with maybe a multi-city release in December.

However with all of this I'm just loving the Globes more and more. The Comedy/Drama split (while wrongly applied at times) is something I largely support in theory.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterQueermyntcritic

Excellent article by Mark Harris. As succinct and as unquestionable a takedown of the current Oscar culture as I've ever seen. I hope the Academy is reading. Question: Is it possible to instate a quota for voters in the Academy? Like, can the Academy tell voters they have to see at least say 30 films in a year to be able to vote on nominations? Obviously there must be problems with that or they would have already done it, but why is that a problem?

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Cate Blanchett's Awards Season Tour is pure gold.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I kind of don't understand the Tarantino fiasco... haven't many of his scripts leak prior to release? For example, I remember people talking about the Django script months before production even wrapped.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBryan

Peggy Sue, how can you be baffled by the general approval of Cate Blanchett's tactless actions? Jennifer Lawrence is the biggest movie star in the world right now. Vulgarity is the new black.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSheree

Nathaniel- yes, getting rid of the end-of-the-year glut would be optimal. I like your suggestion, but figure that it would extend release durations but not really move the release dates (or, if a movie has to be out for three weeks in a given year, would there be no Christmas releases?).

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I forgot to note that Amy choosing 'Defying GRAVITY' is CRAFTY.

TB- I wish I was in AMPAS. I would send out so many heavys threatening people to go to Academy screenings and watch their screeners. I wish there was proof of screeners watched or something.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Sean: Agreed. It seems like every time a movie comes out that respects its female characters as individuals, it's suddenly a breakthrough, because I guess that's how some entertainment writer can turn it into news. Disney has had progressive heroines for decades now, dating back to at least The Little Mermaid and perhaps further if you consider them relative to the societal norms of the day.

The James Bond franchise does the same thing. Every time the publicity engine gears up for the next Bond film -- dating back to at least The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977 -- there is talk that THIS time the Bond girls aren't just ornaments on Bond's arm but strong, independent women with their own agendas and able to match Bond move for move. Irrespective of what you think of the relative successes or failures each of the films since 1977 have had at doing this, there is something phony and forgetful about trotting out the same line every time out and pretending it's new.

Personally, I don't think we'll be in a good place on this issue until it's no longer something we feel compelled to talk about. Seeing a well-drawn female character in a movie should be the norm, not something so remarkable as to warrant comment.

What confuses me is that even when we DO see strong female characters in movies, we just forget about them by the time the next one rolls around. I don't know how to account for that.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Mr. Harris' astute observations really hit home. The expansion of Best Picture provides a built-in cheat sheet for lazy voters in the Academy. Previously, the narrower field forced them into thinking outside the box when nominating for other categories. Now, they have a ready excuse to honor the same movies over and over.

The wider field for BP just defies common sense. Are there really more than five or six films a year that deserve to be called Best Picture nominees?

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Sheree -- Touchée ;)

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

brookesboy: YES THERE USUALLY ARE. The real question is: Are there more than five or six films that realistically appeal to the Academy that deserve to be called Best Picture nominees? That's dicier. To that, I'd say...rarely. 2009 and 2010? No issue. District 9, Up and Toy Story 3 as honest to goodness Best Picture nominees? Just in terms of how conduicive it seemed they were trying to be to the outside world, those were AWESOME picks. 2011 and 2012? Dicey in terms of actual quality, but at least there was a decent mix of reality, fiction, pop blockbusters and independent artistic statements. This year? SIX films (Dallas Buyers Club, Captain Phillips, Philomena, The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave) are plucked from true stories. Even if they're all good, isn't that a bit much?

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

5 is the warmest number.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

The big eight, in the five years leading up to the expanded slate, and the five years following

2004: 16 films
2005: 18 films
2006: 19 films
2007: 21 films
2008: 18 films

Average: 18.4

2009: 19 films
2010: 15 films
2011: 21 films
2012: 14 films
2013: 12 films

Average: 16.2

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

The Jeremy Cowart piece and photos is brilliant.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

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