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Podcast: Critics Awards, Capernaum, Vox Lux

Nathaniel RMurtada Elfadl, and Nick Davis to talk new films and awards madness

Index (68 minutes)
00:01 Top ten lists mania. And what makes a screener gay?
04:42 Vox Lux. What is going on there with Brady Corbet's messaging and Natalie Portman's ACTING?
16:01 Celebrity Cameos: Boots Riley, Julia Roberts, and pre-SAG silliness
22:16 LAFCA prizes and critical consensus especially around Roma
36:00 Ethan Hawke vs Bradley Cooper for Best Actor
41:22 Nadine Labaki's amazing Oscar submission Capernaum
49:20 Foreign Film Contenders. We don't like Girl
56:45 "Narratives" Glenn Close, Regina King, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt
63:30 Category Fraud Giggles and Carol Throwbacks
66:50 Ask us some questions, bitches!

Further Reading / References
Boots Riley's Twitter account
Foreign Film Race
Nick's take on Girl
LAFCA Awards
• ...oh and this is Christopher the cat, who was present for the recording

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunesContinue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Critics Awards, Vox Lux, Capernaum, and More...

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Reader Comments (24)

I always love a good discussion of the Foreign Language race!

Based on my understanding of the changes to the voting process, it seems they've lowered the number of films that a person must see in order for their vote to count. They've also taken away the film assignments. So, where you used to be put into a group where you'd be assigned 20+ films and you'd have to see 17-18 of those 20+ films in order for your vote to count, now you only have to see 12 and they can be whichever 12 you like.

From my understanding of the history of the category, this is both good and bad. It's great because voting in the category will not be as big a time commitment and someone who wants to participate won't have to be be available for 17 specific screenings spread over the course of 2.5 months. This means that younger, working folks will have more of a chance to participate and can hopefully make more daring selections than the previous voting body, which skewed toward older, retired, more conservative voters with lots of time on their hands.

It's not so great in that assumedly people will go to see the most buzzed-about films. (Interestingly, the one of the new heads of the Foreign Language committee comes from a company promoting Roma.) Part of the fun in this category is having quality films you've never heard about make the shortlist or get nominated. I worry that this is now less likely to happen.

I'm certainly going to make my predictions skew toward higher profile films...

My question for you guys: What do we think about Amazing Grace? Has anyone seen it and does it arriving late but with such fanfare make it more or less likely to get a nomination?

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

BBB aka Bland Boring Basic Emily Blunt has no narrative. She does not deserve to be nominated for an Oscar over Viola Davis or Nicole Kidman.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAveryStepfon

P.S. Have we heard that The Guilty and Woman at War are going to be remade with Jake Gyllenhaal and Jodie Foster, respectively?

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

@Evan: How do you KNOW all this? Truly impressive.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

I already said as much on Twitter yesterday but I completely agree with Nick on Hawke and wish some critics groups would go for other Lead Actor performances like Cooper, Foster, Phoenix, Plummer, etc. Curious who your favorite Lead Actor and Actress performances are this year, Nick?

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRayLewis1997

Nick, I love the category! It's the quintessential Oscar experience: amazing movies, questionable decisions made, and painful moments where you feel you have to watch something terrible because it's Oscar-adjacent...

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Am I on crazy pills? I saw Vox Lux this morning and I loved it. . I thought that it was a really thoughtful film and I thought that Natalie was incredible. I don’t get how “Wrapped Up” isn’t in contention for Best Song. The rest of the songs were turd ass pop garbage, but that song is solid. I’m excited to see where Brady’s career goes.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJosef

Cute kitty :)

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRicopolo

If Emily Blunt has the most screen time in A Quiet Place but has absolutely nothing to do until the last sequence, is she really in the movie until then?

So I’m kind of regarding her Mary Poppins nomination with Chris Nolan’s director chances for Dunkirk, I’d be more confident in it happening if Blunt had been nominated at any point before now. Are she and McCarthy really the 4 and 5 in Best Actress? This was the closest y’all have gotten to a real deep dive in the actress categories, I’d be interested to hear who you guys think has a shot.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNick T

How dare you, Nick T? Emily had LOTS to do in the early going, like hang all that washing, and watch other people roll soft dice, and ask to be saved by her juvenile son.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Cooper did win DC and NBR (as did Gaga). And I feel pretty confident that he'll have an Oscar, Golden Globe and a SAG Award come February. People will be complaining about him "sweeping" soon enough.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I also sense the King win is a foregone conclusion this year. That said, I can't picture the Academy "moving on" from Adams. Her filmography keeps getting better, not worse.

Julianne Moore won her Oscar almost 20 years after her first nomination. For Amy, that would be 2023-2025? The only difference is Moore went longer stretches without Oscar attention. I don't see how being even more beloved by the Academy works against Adams in this case. And she's so much easier to cast than, say, Glenn.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMiz Miz

I think that a good experiment to gauge genuine consensus versus rubber stamping would be for all of these organizations to announce their winners and nominees on the same day. I do believe that there are certain films and performances which inevitably rise to the top, but I have a hard time believing that approximately 50 organizations all feel the same way about the same things. Hell, we disagree about countless things in the comments section here daily.

Every year we have the same conversation about Amy Adams, and every year she either doesn't win or isn't even nominated. I'm of the opinion that in order for her to finally get an Oscar she absolutely will need to sweep almost every single precursor. Short of that, she will be a perennial also-ran.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

@Troy H: The fact that she's in the conversation almost every year is not only remarkable, it will likely contribute substantially to her future Oscar win.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Okay, maybe it's greedy to ask another question since "can you talk about Best Actress?" doesn't feel like thaaaaat out of the ordinary, but here goes. What's a film that's likely to get nominated that you believe is not being talked about in a race you think it should be? Like, I'm completely in the tank for Can You Ever Forgive Me? getting recognized for its two actors and its screenplay but am a little surprised that it's not getting any attention for Marielle Heller or Dolly Wells or its amazing costumes and makeup.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNick T

All I want from Oscar is a Glenn Close win. Please movie gods let her Geraldine Page without the premature death afterwards.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

My Oscary Question: If Rachel and Emma weren't category-frauding their way to nominations, who do you think would fill in their place? Michelle Yeoh? Nicole Kidman? Or, given that nominees usually come from Best Picture nominees, someone else?

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPoliVamp

Interesting discussion of Vox Lux. I liked the first half of it a lot, but was much cooler on the second. I think a positive thing about it is that it is a provocation that can be read multiple ways. Personally, I wonder if it should be paired with The Childhood of a Leader (I loved that one), in that both are charting the rise of highly unusual children (in the case of Vox Lux, I'm think of how Richard Brody's review describes our introduction to Celeste), experiencing highly unusual circumstances, who go on to be influential celebrities (of very different sorts, of course, and whether or not their rise is merited, or due to them, personally, versus the nature of their times).

That diner scene was a heck of a lot to take, but even if by the end of the film I didn't necessarily "like" it, I'm going to be thinking of it for some time, and I'm looking forward to Corbet's "The Brutalist".

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

His next film is called The Brutalist? Goodness gracious. It's like he's trying to be the next Von Trier.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Thanks for all these great questions! I have to really think about my answers.

@3rtful: I know you're not even joking, but that still made me smile.

@Scott: Even though I liked VL more in general than you did, I agree with everything you said so eloquently here.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

I disliked Vox Lox. An interesting idea, but little else. The first half was okay, the second half not so much. Never understood how the sweet young girl picked up a weird new accent between 13 and 31 and became a monster.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMark F.

A small point, but when you say that Olivia Colman is best known for her work on the BBC in the UK, that isn’t exactly true. Although she’s done plenty of BBC work, she’s still probably best known for her roles in Peep Show (Channel 4) and Broadchurch (ITV). I say this only because the identities of the major British TV networks, whilst more malleable now than they used to be, do still have fairly clear identities. Channel 4 is traditionally younger-skewing and boundary-pushing, whereas ITV is a much more mainstream, commercial channel. I’m being pedantic - for which I apologise - but a lot of US coverage of British TV shows does tend to misattribute what channel they originated on.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterben1283

/3rtful, so it will be done.

I posted in another thread that you should ask for podcast questions separately, but I guess I'll post my question here:

If you could reassign an Oscar win throughout history that would then have a cascading effect, what would it be? For example, mine is that Ralph Fiennes would win for "Schindler's List" (I thought he was best at the time) which would mean that Tommy Lee Jones would get "overdue!" hosannas for his legitimately great performance in "Lincoln" and win there.

This accomplishes a few things:
-Ralph Fiennes with an Oscar
- We no longer have the abomination of Christoph Waltz with a second Oscar for "Django" (he deserved it for "Inglorious Basterds", but the second win makes it difficult for me to say that)
-Jones still has an Oscar, but gets celebrated later and people write awesome think pieces about how he was awesome in this or that and we all get to read some great analysis of his acting over the years instead of the kind of collective shrug of "yeah, he was great in Lincoln, let's nominate him for that I guess" and we get to see the (now?) taciturn Jones give a speech and if he shows a little joy, we're delighted, and if he doesn't, we're still delighted at this wonderful curmudgeon.

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

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