Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Entries in Best Picture (239)


Best Picture... Settled Contenders or Confusing Vacuum at Top?

Nathaniel R

In the absence of a Best Picture frontrunner, something I think we all can agree on at this particular juncture in time, does that mean anything could happen with Best Picture nominations? OR does that mean the Best Picture competition is fairly settled but that the films (i.e. campaigns) have yet to sort out who is the most formidable?

I'd argue, perhaps foolishly, that it's the latter. I see a fairly clear situation ahead where these seven films (and maybe only these seven) are going to be nominated. A winner will emerge but none have yet made a clear case that they're "the one".

Call Me By Your Name | Darkest Hour | Dunkirk
Get Out | Mudbound | The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Since Academy rules allow for 5-10 nominees in a given year in the top category and since we've usually seen the final size of the list land at 8 or 9 that leaves us with only one or two super competitive slots. With rumors (take 'em or leave 'em since it's only hearsay) starting to swirl that the four big remaining unseen films (Phantom Thread, Greatest Showman, The Post, All the Money in the World) aren't all that, perhaps we know the field fully? Methinks The Florida Project  (a little picture that could), I Tonya (*shudder* but easy to picture for counterprogramming vote which also helped it at serious festivals) and Last Flag Flying  (meh but easy to picture as the #1 choice for the manly side of Oscar voting) are next in line should there be enough room for them. It's tough to say but there are several films with pockets of support that are in play for one of those coveted spots if the precursors and media are especially kind to them in the next month or two -- yes, even Wonder Woman.

P.S. Comedy at the Globes?
The comedy category is as wide as the Grand Canyon IF a number of the 'could go either way' films choose drama instead. Three Billboards, rumored to be choosing drama for example, is basically a tragicomedy so you can call it either safely! Films that could theoretically be up for COMEDY OR MUSICAL at the Globes (should they choose to campaign this way) are... 

Baby Driver | Battle of the Sexes | Beauty & The Beast
The Big Sick | Disaster Artist | Downsizing
Get Out ??? | Girls Trip | Greatest Showman
Guardians of Galaxy vol 2 | I Tonya | Lady Bird
Last Flag Flying ??? | Victoria and Abdul 

And theoretically that high profile boost could really help them. As would a Producers Guild or SAG shoutout.  How do you think this will all pan out?



Link Roundup 

NYT Dan Kois profiles 'the loose screw rattling around inside the Marvel machine,' director Taika Waititi as Thor Ragnarok approaches
Film Stage Murtada interviews the director of Senegal's Oscar submission Félicité
TFE ...which you may recall he raved about right here.
Variety Jamie Foxx and Anthony Mackie will star in a Johnny Cochran biopic (Mackie as Cochran) with Taylor Hackford directing
Guardian can Michael Fassbender survive his string of flops?

Coming Soon The Seagull starring The Bening and Saoirse Ronan will be distributed by Sony Pictures Classic next year
ScriptNotes John and Craig welcome female screenwriters Daley Haggar and Dara Resnik to discuss the possible Post-Weinstein era in Hollywood
The New Yorker Harvey Weinstein's cameo in a 2005 animated movie for Mattel
My New Plaid Pants five photos of rising French actor Rabah Nait Oufella
My New Plaid Pants 'do, dump, or marry' on Greg McLean's Jungle with Daniel Radcliffe
Streamline on William Wyler's now-underdiscussed Wuthering Heights (1939)
Awards Daily Still no Best Picture frontrunner this late in season? (I personally love the more unpredictable years)
Tracking Board Netflix trailer for a western series Godless starring Jeff Daniels and Jack O'Connell and a mysterious town of all women
Variety Ben Mendelsohn eyeing the villain role in Marvel's Captain Marvel

Towleroad a step-by-step sculpture of Freddie Mercury
Metro John Boyega is still being asked questions about whether Poe and Finn are gay for each other in Star Wars
Gr8er Days There's a documentary coming about the gay actor who starred in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge

EW Actor Robert Guillaume, best known for his classic "Soap" character Benson (so popular he spun off into an even more popular series "Benson") but whose career hit all three acting mediums has died at 90.
Browbeat Legendary musician Fats Domino has died


TIFF: Notes on Oscar hopefuls "Darkest Hour" and "Downsizing"

Detroit may have bombed but the letter "D" could still reign come Oscar time with Dunkirk, Darkest Hour, and Downsizing all potential Best Picture players. Though it can sometimes feel gross to discuss rich movies from an Oscar perspective before they've even been considered as films, it happens to us all this time of year and the films invite it with their slow rollouts from festival reviews that result in months of discussion and speculation before the public can buy tickets. In other words: Look what they made me us do!

After 'miniature masterpiece' style reviews at Venice the critics got considerably chillier with Alexander Payne's latest once it hit Telluride. Now the film is playing in Toronto and the reviews continue to be mixed. This could spell trouble for the film, but be patient. Initial reviews are only part of the Oscar equation...

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The Bening hits Venice. Telluride and TIFF queue up.

by Nathaniel R

Consider prestige season officially on. The Venice Film Festival is currently in its first full day of screenings after last night's glitzy opening and Telluride just announced its lineup (which they always keep secret until after everyone has booked their passes). You can safely expect that many of the Oscar players will emerge in the next two weeks though with Spielberg's film not ready for the festivals and with Dunkirk already in theaters this could be the first year in ages where the eventual Best Picture winner does NOT emerge at the fall festivals...

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Oscar Chart Updates - Everything! 

The Oscar Charts are all freshly updated (but for the second two pages of foreign film submissions which will go up very soon). It's an exciting time because before the fall festivals hit and while we're still contemplating the highlights of the year's first seven months, it seems like anything's possible. That feeling will soon dissipate of course but for now, (almost) anything goes. Biggest gains this update go to The Papers, mother!, The Big Sick, and Wonder Wheel. Meanwhile Wonder Woman enters several charts, though not with much in the way of current predictions as it gears up for a campaign. Dunkirk solidifies pre-release Oscar faith now that people have layed eyes on it en masse. Taking the biggest hit this time is Detroit tas it gears up for wide release but is proving divisive and controversial. Our initial hunch/faith in The Snowman (due primarily to the director) dissipates with its somewhat generic thriller trailer.

And here's the wonderfully opaque teaser for mother! which might be exactly the kind of thing that works in acting categories (where psychological horror is sometimes popular if the film is a hit) so I've had to boost Jennifer Lawrence up in the Best Actress chart... not sure what I was thinking to so undervalue her previously...

Check out the charts and report back, won'cha?



Actress Chart Updates: Kate Winslet is Buzzing

Wonder Wheel continues to gather quite a lot of pre-release hype. It's opening quite late for a Woody Allen picture on December 1st. If you look at the history of his releases they've been summer counter-programming for a very long time now. Midnight in Paris (2011) and Blue Jasmine (2013) have been his biggest Oscar and commercial successes since the 1990s and they both opened in the summer. You have to go all the way back to Match Point (2005) to find a successful December release for the annual Woody Allens and that one came up short of expectations on Oscar nomination morning (1 nomination) despite a lot of pre-release critical buzz.

But Amazon Studios, who plan to distribute Wonder Wheel themselves (a first for them), seem to have an eye on Oscar. Perhaps they've bought into the common (and very wrong) belief that you have to be a December release to catch Oscar's eye? Good luck to them and we hope the movie is as good as we're hearing!

Consider this high praise from Kent Jones who selected the movie to close the New York Film Festival in October:

I’m not quite sure what I expected when I sat down to watch Wonder Wheel, but when the lights came up I was speechless. There are elements in the film that will certainly be familiar to anyone who knows Woody Allen’s work, but here he holds them up to a completely new light. I mean that literally and figuratively, because Allen and Vittorio Storaro use light and color in a way that is stunning in and of itself but also integral to the mounting emotional power of the film. And at the center of it all is Kate Winslet’s absolutely remarkable performance—precious few actors are that talented, or fearless.

Now, it's important to note that Kent Jones is the Festival Director and thus has an obligation to promote his festival but still... wouldn't it be wondrous to see Kate rise again after the delicious hint of her full throttle starpower returning via The Dressmaker last year?

Best Actress - Kate, Emma, and Meryl on the rise
Best Supporting Actress - Holly Hunter securely up top... for now
Foreign Film Chart 1 - Afghanistan to Ethiopia speculation


C O N S I D E R - Favorites of 2017, 2nd Qtr

THE YEAR'S FIRST HALF IS OVER! But rather than wait for this "halfway mark" for year in review listicles we started at the end of the 1st quarter so you'll have to combine those lists (movies / actresses / actors) with the highlights from your host's April through June screenings for a complete "halfway mark" take. Got it? Unlike many critics orgs and the Oscars, The Film Experience believes that moviegoing is a 12 month long activity and each month can hold worthy efforts.  Here are 4 or 5 highlights of what we've seen the past three months per Oscar category in alpha order. How will they measure up to what's still to come?

Key movies I regret missing this quarter: Beatriz at Dinner, HeroGifted, Manifesto, and Their Finest

(i couldn't decide which to cut so this first grouped selection is 6 wide)

BABY DRIVER (Edgar Wright)
THE BIG SICK (Michael Showalter)
THE LOVERS (Azazel Jacobs)
LOST CITY OF Z (James Gray)
THE WEDDING PLAN (Rama Burshtein)
WONDER WOMAN (Patty Jenkins)

Lots more after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Moonlight"

by Nathaniel R

Little and Juan framed by nature

A truth: No matter how much you love a movie on first viewing, what makes it become a classic, a masterpiece even, is less predictable. That's in how it endures and oft times whether it can keep giving you new information. Aging, even for non-living things like a movie which is already "complete," before it begins that process, is tricky. But after a handful of screenings of Moonlight over the past nine months, it's quite obvious that the film (not to mention its surprise Best Picture win) will age spectacularly well. A prediction: We're just barely getting to know its marvel.

The Hit Me With Your Best Shot series initially started as an idea to honor Cinematography but film is so collaborative and complex that that's not how it turned out. It's ended up being more of a mise-en-scène appreciation ... sometimes the images that grab you are lighting based, other times it's the perfect marriage of a sound and picture, and then there are performances so indelible that they even become the primary iconic visual. Because Moonlight is rich in all of its moving parts, I opted to just look at the first act (for now). And I did something I never do: I watched it with the sound turned off... 

Click to read more ...