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Entries in Oscar Trivia (164)

Friday
Feb212014

9 Days Til Oscar. Should 9 Times Nominated "12 Years" Worry?

Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, once the Oscar frontrunner and perhaps still, has nine nominations. As we move into the final days of voting (ballots are due on Tuesday the 25th), how many of its categories can it win? I'm thinking about 12 Years again today due to Harvey Weinstein's awful potshot at it over at Deadline where he suggested that Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained was better at covering slavery.

I liked 12 Years A Slave, but Quentin covered a lot of that ground first, and dealt with violence, slavery and oppression, shining a light on the American holocaust, as he called it.

Oy!

I'll flesh out some of the following thoughts in the "final predictions" article a week from now but until then, let's discuss it's upcoming Oscar battles... 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb212014

Red Carpet Lineup: All of Meryl Streep's Oscar Looks

a better photo of the Silkwood Oscar dressThis is the last Streep-centric post for this Oscar season (unless she does something crazy at the Oscars), promise!

I used to always make a point of saying that Meryl Streep gets nominated for 39% of her performances, having appeared in 46 features and being nominated 18 times. But in truth her record is better than that. Once you eliminate the performances that couldn't have been nominated her record is an even more incredible 53% (a good example is her leading role in Plenty released in 1985 since she was nominated for her leading role in Out of Africa and an actor may only have one nomination per category unlike behind-the-camera people who are allowed to double up). So, fact: as soon as she reports to work on each new film she is more likely to be nominated than not for whatever it is she is about to do.

Is this the best record ever? Among actors, yes (once you eliminate the people who only made a few films and died/quit). But, otherwise, nope. John Williams has the closest thing to infallibility since he's nominated for virtually everything he does but let's not get sidetracked. Let's look at Streep's past in gown form and her future in role form after the jump

All of Meryl's Oscar Nominated Looks 1978-2012
With thanks to Google Image Search and Simply Streep 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb202014

Acceptance Speech Nerdgasm & Oscar Party Tiebreakers

who will be in a group photo THIS year? And will they look as much like the top of a wedding cake as this quartet did?What will Matthew McConaughey say first after he wins the Oscar? I mean after "all right all right all right". Statistics suggest that he'll either thank the Academy or launch right into the Leto or Vallée appreciation. (Or maybe DiCaprio or Dern will win in a shocking upset)

Jennifer Lawrence started her speech at the last Oscars with "This is nuts" and if she wins again over Lupita  'this is nuts' won't even begin to describe it. If you want a fun tiebreaker for your Oscar party prediction pool, go with the speeches!

Four Tie-Breaker Questions: 

1 "Who will forget a totally key person?"
(JLaw forgot her director last year!)
2 "Which of the acting winners will thank the most people by name?"
(Hathaway rattled off 23 names last year)  
3 "Will anyone thank God?" Other than their God
(i.e. the director)  
4 "How many of the four acting winners will get a standing ovation?"
(this is actually harder to predict than you'd think because sometimes who gets one and who doesn't is confusing when you're in the living room and not in the Kodak)

Over at Slate I've updated my massive acceptance speech analysis project. Even if you've seen it before, look again because I die for those interactive graphics they include. They are so fun to play with and I'm super proud of this now annual tradition.

Tuesday
Feb182014

12 Days Til Oscar: Best Picture Nominations by the Dozen

Tim here, with your daily dose of Oscar numerology. We’re now in the third year of the Academy’s undoubtedly well-intentioned "some random number that always turns out to be nine" approach to selecting Best Picture nominees, and for some of us, this is irritatingly arbitrary. But it could be so much worse. Think of how awful it must have been to been a rabid Oscar fanatic in the first decade of the award’s existence: depending on the year, there were anywhere from three to twelve Best Picture nominees, until it was finally nailed down at a nice, round ten at the 9th Academy Awards, for the year 1936.

The magic number of the day being 12, I'd like you to join me, for a closer look at 1934, the first of two years with 12 nominated films (for space reasons, I am alas compelled to leave 1935 to fend for itself) - the first year, as well, that the awards corresponded to a single calendar year. What can we learn about the Academy’s tastes and habits down the decades from each of these?

BEST PICTURE It Happened One Night (released by Columbia)
What It Is: One of the greatest of all screwball comedies, in which the sexily odd-looking pair of Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable cross country and banter.
The Slot It Fills:
The long-abandoned "comedies are a valid form of artistic expression like anything else" spot. But, of course, the period in which the film came out was unusually good at producing top-notch comedies starring the best movie stars of the day.

Only 11 more slots to fill after the jump

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb172014

When All Acting Nominees Come From Best Pictures...

If you're an Oscar stats geek, you should check out the new blog 1:37:1 which responded to the recent debate about whether or not the number of Oscar-nominated films is shrinking due to the expanded Best Picture field with lots of charts. It's fascinating but requires concentration. Then a follow up specifically looking at the acting categories.

All was lost this year for male actors without Best Picture heatThe most interesting finding in the second article is how enormously rare it is for an acting category to feature only performances from Best Picture nominated films. It's happened only 10 times in Oscar's entire 86 year history and 2 of those times were this year alone including, for the first time ever, in a supporting category. That's a disturbing development if you're of the opinion (and you should be) that great performances can happen anywhere including within movies that aren't otherwise popular or great.

The Only Times (Once All Acting Categories Were Invented) When All Acting Nominees in a Category Came From a "Best Picture"

• 1939 BEST ACTRESS Davis (Dark Victory), Dunne (Love Affair), Garbo (Ninotchka), Garson (Goodbye Mr Chips), Leigh (GWTW)
• 1940 BEST ACTRESS  Davis (The Letter), Fontaine (Rebecca), Hepburn (Philadelphia Story), Rogers (Kitty Foyle), Scott (Our Town)
• 1942 BEST ACTOR Cagney (Yankee Doodle Dandy), Colman (Random Harvest), Cooper (Pride...), Pidgeon (Mrs Miniver), Woolley (Pied Piper)
• 1943 BEST ACTOR Bogart (Casablanca), Cooper (For Whom The Bell Tolls), Lukas (Watch on Rhine), Pidgeon (Madame Curie), Rooney (The Human Comedy)
• 1964 BEST ACTOR Burton (Becket), Harrison (My Fair Lady) O'Toole (Becket), Quinn (Zorba the Greek), Sellers (Dr Strangelove)
• 1966 BEST ACTOR Arkin (Russians are Coming...), Caine (Alfie), Burton (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, McQueen (Sand Pebbles), Scofield (Man For All Seasons)
• 1977 BEST ACTRESS Bancroft (Turning Point), Fonda (Julia), Keaton (Annie Hall), Maclaine (Turning Point), Mason (Goodbye Girl)
• 1988 BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Cusack (Working Girl), Davis (Accidental Tourist), McDormand (Mississippi), Pfeiffer (Dangerous), Weaver (Working Girl)
• 2013 BEST ACTOR Bale (Hustle), Dern (Nebraska), Ejiofor (12 Years), DiCaprio (Wolf of), McConaughey (DBC)
• 2013 BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR  Abdi (Capt. Phillips), Cooper (Hustle), Fassbender (12 Years), Hill (Wolf of), Leto (DBC) 

a sample chart from 1:37:1

As we can see and to no one's surprise if you've ever read an Oscar stat in your life, Best Actor has the closest ties to the Best Picture race. In the 64 year span (1944-2008) in which we had only 5 Best Pictures a year, though, this exact correlation Actor-Pictuer has only ever happened twice (1964 & 1966). 

Do your share Mark Harris's original concern that the Academy is actually looking at less films now than they use to for honors?

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