Entries in magazines (79)
Someone's been paying attention to every single media firestorm in Hollywood this past year from ageism to equal pay to diversity. Gracing this year's cover of Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue is political showbiz icon Jane Fonda (2 Oscars), the inspirational crusading awesomeness of Viola Davis (1 phantom Oscar -- well, everyone knows she deserved it!), "the world is round people" diva Cate Blanchett (2 Oscars), and equal-pay-demander Jennifer Lawrence (1 Oscar).
VF's "Hollywood Issue" tradition is one of the key attractions in the showbiz circus of Oscar season. Though the covers aren't tied thematically to the Oscars they usually include current nominees. The primary form is a "predict the future superstars" covers in which they lean into the young in-demand crop who are having good years. The less common form is a survey of A listers and legends and a few people that scream "now" and that's the type we got this year. And girl, it's a beauty.
The only real gripe is that even when the media is actually trying to express diversity (presumably to "help" Hollywood though the media, including this Vanity Fair cover tradition, has its own problems in that arena) they are still thinking in binaries of black and white. Why not include an Asian or Latina actress or let Ellen Page have a place on the cover again since she's still headlining films and working hard to stay in the game after coming out?
Let's take a closer look after the jump...
The second that people started realizing that everyone was actually loving the new Star Wars episode, you could feel the Oscar buzz wave building and building and broke with lots of "Best Picture nomination! demands online. The BFCA even announced a ridiculously embarrassing extra ballot measure to ask the members if they'd like to add the movie into their Best Picture lineup after the fact. In short: no one will ever take this group seriously again. (Sigh) 'The Force Awakens will be swimming in Oscars!' the internet seems to have proclaimed en masse.
But not so fast young padewans.
Oscar nominations can prove elusive, especially for franchises, family films, and genre films three groups to which Star Wars belongs. People will cite "Oscar voters grew up with the franchise -- they'll be nostalgic!" but, consider: I grew up with the franchise. I loved episode 7. And I wouldn't vote for it.
This is not to say that I would make a typical Oscar voter. I would not. But typical Oscar voters tastes lie somewhere in the space between critics and general audiences. Put more plainly: there's a difference between totally enjoying a spectacle and wanting it honored as the very "Best" of its year.
Let's look back at Star Wars Oscar history to get some clues as to how The Force Awakens will fare after the jump...
I'm not in the habit, as some online pundits are, of dissing articles written by other people but two articles just published enraged me. ...I exaggerate. They made my skin crawl from their indifference and hypocrisy. Let's get the indifference out of our system first.
Variety's "Long and Honorable History of Category Fraud" - Tim Gray
Gray immediately pisses the reasonable Oscar-lover off with the way he begins this defense of Category Fraud, a topic birthed and coined right here at The Film Experience years ago since nobody else was willing to get riled up about it and make it a cause. He introduces the topic in the the context of real world problems with life & death consequences as a way to insure that any complaints about the topic are, in the grand scheme of things, entirely irrelevant. Yes, it's true, Tim. Category Fraud does not lead to car accidents (unless Nathaniel is enraged and driving) and it doesn't threaten the world's natural resources. But this is a cheap argument. Imagine the rage you'd conjure in the reader if you used this same tactic when speaking about the lack of diversity in casting and directing jobs in Hollywood. The same is, in fact, true. Nobody will die and it won't cause starvation or droughts if people of color don't get acting jobs and women aren't considered for directing big budget Hollywood movies. But that is absolutely no reason to not care about these problems!
Every topic will seem small when placed against death and disaster. By this logic the Oscars aren't worth talking about either! But that does not mean that the topics are unimportant within their own "ecosystems." That's Gray's choice of word so let's use it. [More...]
I have successfully avoided much information about (Episode VII) Star Wars: The Force Awakens in an effort to preserve a pre-internet style excitement for the new film. No, scratch that. I've done so in an effort to generate excitement since I felt none. Unlike the rest of the internet I remember all too painfully how godawful the last three movies were. *shudder* As for the new film, I've only seen the first trailer and only know character names because no matter how hard you try to say "pure" and go in cold, information will be absorbed from the 24 hour news cycle.
But truth: the nostalgia is finally getting to me and I'm officially excited. It must be all the appearances of Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford in my news feeds even if the articles go unclicked to stay pure.
If you've been reading The Film Experience for a long time you'll know that The Empire Strikes Back (1980) was a formative experience as a kid. By the time Return of the Jedi (1983) came out, half of my bedroom was covered with magazine collages of ewoks, Jabba the Hut, Yoda, Darth, Luke and Han. Princess Leia in her gold bikini dominated, duh! The actressexuality came fast and early before I even knew what it was.
On a scale of 1-100 how excited are you to have the Force awakened?
We'll have to wait a little while for the full video, which is more fun than the cover but it's always exciting to see THR's roundtable covers nonetheless. Like Vanity Fair's "Hollywood Issue" -- less thrilling than it once was for a myriad of reasons -- it's a tradition that is both great fun for its glamour and personality and highly aggravating for its exclusions and repetitions and limited world view... just like, HEYYYY, the Oscars themselves!
By now you know the drill. First an image. Then the thoughts that come to mind without self-censorhip after the jump...