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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) B+/A-
Nymphomaniac (2014) B-
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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd


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Virgin Nominees

It took Gary Oldman *forever* to get an Oscar nomination. Do you think he'll return for a second?Five years ago I did a study of Oscar's acting categories and multiple vs. singular honors. I discovered that 64% of Oscar nominees never return for a second nomination.

That year I polled readers who voted Transamerica's Felicity Huffman, Good Night and Good Luck's David Straithairn, Crash's Matt Dillon and (OOPS) Junebug's Amy Adams least likely to return. Readers had the most confidence in return engagements for (OOPS) Cinderella Man's Paul Giamatti... but weird that he hasn't been back, right?, Syriana's Clooney, Capote's Phillip Seymour Hoffman and (OOPS) Hustle & Flow's Terrence Howard! So some of y'all got it pretty right in the polling and also way wrong which just goes to show you that you never know!

The Streeps and Winslets are a true rarity. Even major movie stars across the decades have had to settle for one. And sometimes people just get snubbed forever.


P.S. Have your say in the comments: why'd you vote the way you voted? 

New Oscar Post - Snubs That Hurt 


How Would *You* React to an Oscar Nomination?

Today is the Great Day of Press Releases, of Oscar nominees or their people issuing brief outbursts of joy and pride from their good fortune. Rarely are the quotes anything but generic 'it's such an honor!' cries followed by a deferrment of praise to other people involved. If you'd like to see a ton of them, In Contention has a plentiful roundup.

But here are six that stood out for me from all the emails that I'd like to say one or two sentences about.

I woke up to a text and thought, 'Am I still dreaming?' What an absolute honor to be nominated. Thank you to the Academy on behalf of the entire cast, crew, our swashbuckling cat and his boots! This is beyond a thrill...and I'm pretty sure I'm awake."
-Chris Miller (Animated Feature) Puss in Boots 

Funny is always good. And we're always suckers for that old standby classic intro 'I just woke up' . P.S. I'm pretty happy at the way the animated category worked out, aren't you?

It's an honor to be nominated a second time, it is a personal accomplishment and triumph for women and women of color. I'm so glad the film has been recognized, it was a labor of love from the moment it was conceived and it is rewarding to see the impact it is having."
-Viola Davis (Best ActressThe Help

This one is fairly standard until you realize how rare this truly is and why shouldn't Viola point it out!

Only one other woman of color has been twice nominated and that would be Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg (The Color Purple and Ghost). Women of color seem to only get one shot at the Oscar. The same is fortunately not true for the men, who have had better luck with career longevity and multiple visits with Oscar.

Four more after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Curio: Tinker Tailor Condor Spy

Alexa here. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was one on my favorite movies this year, so I was a bit disappointed this morning at its lack of notice by the Academy for Best Picture. But I wasn't surprised, what with most of the predictions not mentioning it (including Nathaniel's).  Perhaps it was too professorial, too quiet, too stodgy for most. Thankfully Gary Oldman got his nomination for managing to seep George Smiley from every pore, and its le Carré-adapted screenplay got notice.

Thinking about it while listening to the nominations I was reminded of another one of my favorite spy-intrique films with a 70s setting, Three Days of the Condor, similarly ignored by the Academy in its time (save for an editing nomination), despite its timely post-Watergate release. Sydney Pollock's film is certainly the sexier of the two, with Redford and Dunaway in their heyday, but one glance at Max Von Sydow's glasses and you know you're in a similar landscape to Tinker Tailor.  Here is a cheesy Rona Barrett's Hollywood magazine I bought simply for it's coverage of the film, and its entertaining barely-there tidbits about the filming of this classic, 35+ years ago.  Add it to your queue if you haven't seen it.

[Filming of] Condor took place entirely on location in and around New York City...During one exterior scene that called for a winter rain, the co-eds of the nearby Finch College cut classes to gawk at the publicity shy REDFORD and scramble for his discarded paper cups! But ROBERT's presence was felt [also] by the appreciative crew, which got careful instruction from the superstar-ecologist on how to defoliate the plant life used in the scene without harming them.

Co-star MAX VON SYDOW gingerly commuted between Denmark and Manhattan while finishing up [on a] Scandinavian film. FAYE DUNAWAY seemed not only to enjoy doing the film but loved having the chance to love a few weeks in her beloved New York City. She and her husband, PETER WOLF, maintain a Central Park West apartment where married life definitely agrees with them.


Podcast: Instant Reactions. Oscar Nom' Morning

Oscar Nomination Morning has always been like Christmas day to me. I sleep restlessly. I wake early. I tear open my presents. When I first met Nick Davis ten years ago, we knew we were kindred spirits since it's also like that for him. In some ways it can be even more exciting than Oscar Night. More to celebrate / complain about. We lean celebratory as best we can here. Congratulations to you and you and you and you... and okay, you too.

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen right here at the bottom of the post. If you haven't yet seen the nominations, we have a full chart.

podcast topics include but are not limited to... 

  • Oscar as Christmas. Troubled sleep.
  • "Man or Muppet?", Bret McKenzie and Original Song
  • Blockbusters and how they performed in their categories.
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and War Horse overperformed while The Help underperformed
  • Echo chambers and their limitations ... especially in the various craft categories. 


  • Tilda Swinton's Oscar trajectories
  • NINE BEST PICTURES? Spreading the wealth.
  • Iron Lady's makeup and Harry Potter's nominations.
  • Brad Pitt happiness.
  • Congratulations to all the nominees... except you.
  • Actually we breeze through everything! 

Here's our instant reaction to the nominations!
I did no editing on this one so when you hear only silence that is Nick and I both furiously reading names on a screen rather than paying homage to The Artist.

Other New Oscar Posts
Here's an FYC for next year ;)  | Virgin Oscar Nominees | What would you say if you got an Oscar nom? |  Prediction Stats

Instant Reactions


How We Did On Our Predictions! How About You?

I am not one to put too much stock in "scores" for Oscar Predictions. It's more exciting to predict something fewer people saw coming and this is why, I think I'm much better at "year in advance" predictions than most pundits; I don't always embrace the "sounds good on paper" options. But there's a flip side! My willingness to take risks always hurts my stats somewhere down the line. Nevertheless we have to take stock. It's fun to survey where you soared and plummeted each year. On average I'm completely happy with my track record. Here are my hits and misses!

I had a sensational batting average with Moneyball

My Perfect Scores
Supporting Actress. I knew Janet McTeer was stronger than people were guessing. She's a gender bender and Oscar loves drag. She totally steals the movie and Oscar loves Grand Theft Movie. Plus, it's a moving role with modern resonance.
Best Director. I figured Terrence Malick was too much of a god among directors for his peers to pass up.
Cinematography. Though I'll readily admit that this didn't feel too terribly tough to predict.
Moneyball and The Artist and Hugo and A SeparationI guessed their every placement correctly...which seemed risky with two of them.

Incorrect Guess That I Was Still Kinda Right About
I knew that if Rooney Mara prevailed it'd be Tilda taking the dive. Tilda Swinton joins Sally Hawkins from Happy Go Lucky in the exclusive sorority of  "People With More Precursor Notices Than One Could Possibly Dream of But No Oscar Follow Up" ...It's a very long name for a very tiny club.

Abject Failure
Wow did I ever miss on Original Song this year. Even with five guesses I couldn't manage 1 correct one. But then, this category is the worst. The documentary branch and the foreign film branch get the most push back each year on needing guidance and rule adjustments but it's actually the music branch that's in dire need of infrastructure work. More on that in the podcast (coming in a couple of hours. It's uploading). I also made a mess of the Documentary Feature category where I only guessed 2 correctly (Pina and Paradise Lost 3).

The Single Thing I Feel Stupidest About Missing
John Williams double nomination for score. I only guessed War Horse. I predicted him to get his umpteenth double nomination for practically the whole year until the precursors and other pundits convinced me to jump on the Dragon Tattoo train which I never felt right about (in that particular category) since Reznor & Ross's Oscar success with The Social Network felt like such a wonderful anomaly. Wonderful anomalies rarely repeat themselves.

The Long Shot I Most Wish I'd Predicted for Bragging Rights
Max von Sydow in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. In retrospect it'll feel kind of obvious to people especially since Supporting Actor felt unstable beyond Plummer. And here we have a legendary actor in a mute role (when does Oscar not go for that?) 

Something I Both Overestimated and Underestimated.
The Power of The Weepie. I put all my eggs in The Help's basket but War Horse and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close both ate into the demographic that Mark Harris amusingly dubbed "tear duct based voters" 

My Stats
37/44 in the big eight categories 
74/104 in the categories everyone tries to predict... the sound-based categories just destroyed me! 
83/119 if you include the shorts which many people don't bother with. 

How'd you do? 


*purists (you know who you are!) may quibble that I predicted only 6 Best Picture nominees. But hello the number is a separate guess from the titles ;)  I listed them in order of likelihood "if 6 nominees then... if 7 nominees then... if 8 nominees then... " etcetera which means I scored 8/9 for the Best Picture nominations. Ta da! If you don't count it that way it penalizes the people who guess fewer and awards the scaredy-cats who guess ten spots to cover all their bases.