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Oscar History

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Have a question for the podcast?

Sunday morning Murtada and Nathaniel will be recording a podcast. For this Sunday's podcast we'd like to have a whole episode of reader questions, so ask away in the comments and we'll pick several to answer! 

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Reader Comments (45)

Why didn’t Ben is Back get a wide release? Why was Julia Roberts ignited completely from giving one of her best performances ever??

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

Why do you guys think that no female directors are an actual threat this year for a nomination? Is it because some of the locked movies like The Favourite and The Wife are considered feminists or women centric so the "feminist quota" is already filled?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Murtada marry me?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

According to you could ROMA actually win Best Picture, Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMirko

Considering the changes that were made to last year's nomination announcement, what do you hope to see for this year's announcement? What would be your ideal nomination if you were given creative control?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHowards End

What are some of your favourite performances that haven't been getting any notices on the awards circuit whatsoever that you believe are deserving? Some of mine are Charlie Plummer (Lean on Pete) and Hari Nef (Assassination Nation)

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBen Kelly

I don't understand the supporting categories sometimes. They seem like categories where you can win even if you're an unknown (Mark Rylance), your film is not well liked (Alicia Vikander) or even your performance is not that respected (Alison Janney). How did Christoph Waltz managed to get a second Oscar so soon (and for a leading performance) and how come that same thing is happening to Mahershala?

On a different note, don't you think we are currently going through a really good moment with the Academy? I feel like it's partly because of the new members, but gone are the days when most of the nominees were movies nobody cared about, and they have proven to have good taste with their recent winners/nominees (Roma's frontrunner status, Moonlight BP win, more foreign language nominees in acting and Directing, etc). I feel like the Academy is actually changing with the times.

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLucky

I have several to choose from:

1) I see a link between the announcement and subsequent intense arguing about the Academy's "Popular Film" award and the stunningly bad Best Picture win for Bohemian Rhapsody at the Globes.Throw in there all this discussion about how Black Panther HAS to be nominated for Best Picture because it was so popular (or else?). A movie like Bohemian Rhapsody doesn't just win Best Picture at the Globes, so that's the only explanation I can think of for its win, that all this talk about "Popular" gave the HFPA an excuse to vote with their hearts and not their heads. Thoughts?
2) So far, we are 3/4 in terms of the actors winning every televised award again, after the awfulness of last year's absurd rubber-stamping all 4. We won't get 4 this year b/c of Supporting Actress, but do you think this is the norm now? That we will get 3 or maybe even all 4 again always winning EVERY SINGLE TELEVISED AWARD (BFCA, Globe, SAG, BAFTA & Oscar)? I kind of do.
3) Given the changing Academy and the popularity of this movie, I am feeling slightly like predicting that Spider Man-Into the Spiderverse might get into Best Picture. It's unbelievably successful commercially, critically, and it's "POPULAR". It's making tons of Top 10 Lists too.
4) What are some back-to-back acting nominations in the same category that you love & hate? For example, Cate Blanchett's back-to-back for Notes on a Scandal and then I'm Not There are incredible. And on the other side, I think Octavia Spencer's back-to-back for Hidden Figures and then The Shape of Water are two of the worst nominations ever. No range in either, but more importantly deprived much better performances of nominations (Greta Gerwig in 20th Century Women & Holly Hunter in The Big Sick).

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCharlea

I think Octavia Spencer's back-to-back for Hidden Figures and then The Shape of Water are two of the worst nominations ever. No range in either

Her uninterrupted coronation for The Help was trash and so engineered when they gave Streep her third.

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

If The Academy put their foot down and category fraud was outlawed, what do you think this year's acting line-ups would look like? Would Emma Stone or Rachel Weisz stand a chance at getting into Lead over Olivia Colman? What ACTUAL supporting performances would have gained traction by this point?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterben1283

Why do romantic Male Leads not win Oscars or get nominated for them.I'm thinking of Cooper maybe not winning this year.

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

could you talk a bit about who will *win* the oscar for best actress? sounds a bit of a weird question, but i've heard a lot of talk about who will be nominated, win sag, etc., but not exactly who will *win* the oscar. gaga has the song award locked up, will that bar her from winning actress too? or will she win because colman and close will split? does colman have a real shot of winning? as of now, she's always been put away in comedy--perhaps she didn't win the BCFA actress because she'd won the BCFA comedy actress? we'll know more after sag, but will bafta just confuse? and when we see how AMPAS responded to favourite / wife / star in terms of nomination count. can't wait to hear your thoughts!

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCharles O

What Oscar clip during the award show in the acting categories was most fitting for the nomination? If not what moment would you replace it with?

Ex. Leslie Manville's perf Oscar clip last year OR Laurie Metcalf's (altho overused during the televised award shows). Or replacing T Chalemet's with a different clip, etc.

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermikenewq

I always thought that the hosting gig could go to a newcomer or somebody who is not superfamous. Would that really affect the ratings that much ? No! Why do we need s mega star to host them? It would be a great opportunity to tout their efforts of inclusion and support of new talent. Don’t you think?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCris

Favorite scenes or moments in 2018 films, even if the films didn't work as a whole.

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKJ

What are the chances of a total curve ball nomination?

I'm thinking along the lines of Linda Cardellini (who has a better chance than most of us believe)

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBen

Hi guys:

I know we probably all have our own opinions on this but I'm interested in your take:

If you were an academy voter, what criteria would you use to make your choices? Specifically with respect to the actress categories--do you simply choose your personal favorite performance of the year, or the one you consider the most "skilled"? If not, what other factors do you weigh and what weight do you give "overdue narratives" if any? I'm thinking of, for example, Glenn v Gaga here. Hypothetically, if you love both performance but think Gaga's is the stronger of the two, does that automatically mean she gets your vote or would you consider voting for Glenn since she also gave a great performance and, at the end of the day, she deserves to be an Oscar-winner more?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMack B.

Do you think it's possible that as a reaction to the criticism SAG, BAFTA and the BFCA members took for rewarding films with mixed (at best) reviews, Academy members decide this time to purposely reach for more critically-acclaimed work?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

And yes I realize in many cases they're the same voters in each group.

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

I could ask you guys questions for days, but I've limited myself to three:

-- This season will mark the 10th year in a row that the Academy has opted to nominate 5 or more films for Best Picture. Do you think the switch to five-10 nominees has worked? How would you fix it, if you could?

--- Out of all the movies you've seen this year, which character's wardrobe would you most want to wear in real life? Don't laugh, but I would kill to own Ryan Gosling's yellow mock turtleneck in FIRST MAN.

-- In the last 10 years, is there a film that ranked high on your top 10 list that you no longer love today?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

I've got 2 questions about a category I know fairly little about, in case either would spur your interest.

A) What do you think was the most memorable Oscar performance for a best song nominee? I'm partially asking for selfish reasons - I'd be curious to look up some of those from years past. But I'm also legitimately curious what resonated with you and why.

B) For those of us who don't follow the category closely, what tends to guide what gets nominated? I can usually figure out what'll win from from the 5 nominees. But I've never figured out what seems to drive what gets nominated in the first place. Like for this year, I'd have thought that having the opportunity to put a Best Actress winner on stage to sing a Sia song (and a short one at that, that wouldn't eat up much time in the telecast) would put Wrapped Up in the conversation - but, nope. So, I'm curious what drives this.

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

How do you solve a problem like category fraud? I might be wrong but I've seen more outrage online this year than with the Vickander/Mara fuckery.

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

@Peggy Sue First it has to be defined. Is it a certain % of screen time denotes lead vs. supporting? Or is it something more esoteric. Then the awards givers have to start implementing the definition, starting with the early critics awards like NBR and NYFCC (who should probably list all the nominees in each category to make it clear). When they start awarding correctly, that will set the tone for the bigger awards givers.

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

I like to play a game I call: "If you saw this, then why?"

It started in 2011, when Christopher Plummer won the Oscar and every other award imaginable for "Beginners", but Ewan McGregor did not get a single nomination anywhere despite being great. I didn't understand how apparently everyone had seen the film, but nobody seemed to like McGregor's performance enough to show him some love.

The game's about films that receive (multiple) acting wins or nominations, but where you still feel like there's this one person that is doing stellar work and is being overlooked.

So my question would be, who would be your "If you saw this, then why?" contenders this year?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterChris P.

Completely unlikely fifth slot no guts no glory - who will be our blindside (so to speak) this year?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Bruno and Peggy Sue: Re: category fraud, my view is that it should not be defined in terms of a percentage. This is partly because, who would do the counting up? And also, how would they count? Does counting screen time mean counting only the footage that the person is visible on screen or does it mean counting the scenes that the person is in, even including the shots they are not in? (How does the Smackdown count screen time?) But more importantly, the percentage shouldn't be the way of defining it because it shouldn't come down to percentages. It should come down to common sense.

Therefore, I we could tackle category fraud by encouraging voters to bear in mind two things:

1) Be aware of the issue, for starters. I think a lot of category fraud happens because voters simply aren't thinking about it. They are unthinkingly following the placements the campaigns have presented to them. Voters need to know that they don't need to follow those placements.

2) The award is Actor/Actress in a Leading Role, not Actor/Actress in THE Leading Role. A film can have more than one leading role of the same gender. If two (or more) people are in leading roles in the same film and you think you might want to vote for them, the leading category is where you should put your votes. If you then have too many leading candidates for your five slots (or, if you're a critic, three or however many you need to put forward), you need to choose between them - don't let them spill over into the supporting category, where genuine supporting performances will be crowded out of their rightful recognition!

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

@Edward L. I agree that education is always a good thing. But I really doubt that the more lazy voting bodies we have today will change these habits. The only way to really end category fraud is to regulate it.

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Has there ever been a category or year where you would have completely replaced all the nominated films/performances with different ones?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom G

Which film (or films) this year best encapsulate(s) the state of society in 2018? In 2017, it felt like Get Out and Ingrid Goes West were really great in that way. I have high hopes that they'll age well, too. What movies will do that the best for 2018?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash

I miss Michael Cusumano. Would you ask him if he's planning to come back?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJorge

Do you think SHALLOW is strong enough that, even if Lady Gaga had won a couple years ago, she would still win again this year - becoming the Hilary Swank of the music branch?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

One of my Oscar pet peeves is having a presenter who is somehow connected to one or more of the nominees - except for the previous year's actors and actresses. What are some of your Oscar pet peeves?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

1. Do you think Cheryl Boone Isaacs' changes to Academy membership/voting will be seen this year? How does John Bailey's tenure so far compare (I've heard absolutely nothing about him, and had to look up his name.)

2. Do you have favorite movie trailers? If so, what are they?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJames from Ames

Non Oscar-related: do you guys still buy DVDs and/or Blu-rays? I feel like I must be the only one and everyone in my life gives me a hard time about it. And if so, what was the last DVD you bought?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan: I still do! Ignore those who give you a hard time. But streaming is useful too, for the titles you want to see but don't need to keep, or when you aren't bothered about the extras.

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

What is your favorite Original Screenplay nomination ever?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJakey

Sacrilege! Steven Spielberg is remaking West Side Story. How can he improve on the divine? Your thoughts?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLarry Berg

Is Roma winning Best Picture AND Best Foreign Film or should we keep and eye on Shoplifters or Capharnaüm?

January 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Are the Academy’s voting rules ageist?

January 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Do you think voters should have a minimum number of films they should have seen, how would you set that number, and if an academy member asked you, how would you prioritise seeing the films (from an abstract academic way?)

January 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBJT

As a member, do you have to vote for ten movies or can you just vote for 5 or 8 or whatever suits you?

January 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

What clues will you be looking for when they announce the first round of nominations on Tuesday? Ie -- if Bohemian Rhapsody does well in certain tech categories, does that mean it'll get a Best Picture nomination? Etc.

January 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

Now that we’re at top 10 season and revealing personal ballots and quote-unquote snubs, what’s a film or aspect of a film you really love but still ended up in the 6th spot?

January 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNick T

What would happen if the acting/screenplay/directing awards were voted on using the preferential ballot? At the very least it would put an end to rubber stamping all the winners.

January 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

Who will win SAG for Best Supporting Actress? Amy Adams has virtually no wins up her sleeve, Regina King isn't there, and 3 of the 5 are category frauds.

January 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno
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