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Best Actress -- Who will be nominated?
Davis? Blunt? Adams? Chastain?

"I'm glad everyone is cheering Fences on, but I feel that people are overestimating its Oscar potential. The furor reminds me of when people were going ga-ga for August: Osage County. " - Jes

"Davis  in Fences. I saw it on Broadway ... it is a true blue supporting role." - Charlie G

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Entries in Oscar Trivia (278)

Sunday
Jan242016

Podcast: Oscar's Diversity Initiative, PGA Win

NathanielKateyJoe and Nick, talk about this week's tumultuous Oscar season events and somehow Dolores Hart former actress/current nun, keeps popping up in conversation.

30 minutes 
00:01 PGA goes to The Big Short. Will SAG?
03:00 Hollywood & Racism
08:40 AMPAS new diversity plans
16:30 Oscar Stats, Prestige Math, and Future Oscar Races
22:20 12 Years a Slave (2013)
25:00 Who might lose their Oscar vote?

Related Reading For Context:
Academy press release Diversity initiative
PGA winners
Birth of a Nation (2016) at Sundance
Penelope Ann Miller's statement
• Mother Dolores Hart "From Hollywood to Holy Vows"

On the Next Podcast:
We all share our top ten lists! 

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes soon

Diversity & Hollywood

Friday
Jan222016

This just in... Academy's New Diversity Plans Announced

After the emergency meeting of the Oscar's governing board (51 players strong) to discuss what to do about their sorry track record of diversity these past few years -- #OscarsSoWhite had become the only story out of the Oscar nominations -- they've announced plans for changes to take effect immediately following this Oscar season.

It boils down to a plan to significantly expand & speed up the initiatives President Cheryl Boone Isaac had already put in place with one very significant change.

  • New Members* 
    Though they've been adding more members annually already, between now and 2020 they vow to double the number of female and diverse voters. The Academy currently has about 6,261 voting members with estimates of women and nonwhite members making up about 1400 of that number so expect a couple those more members. 
  • Three New Board Members
    The 51 seats will increase to 54 with the new members chosen by the President. (All eyes will be on who she selects I'm sure. Is it too much to ask that we get an LGBT person in there somewhere? Because the Academy's track record) 
  • Membership Terms
    This one is the major change. It's no longer a lifetime appointment (unless you are an actual nominee or winner so yes Roberto Benigni gets to stay) but a ten year appointment. Members must be active in film during the decade to renew their membership when it's up. If they don't meet the criteria they will become "Members Emeritus". This will apply retroactively after the Oscars this year. Voters who do not qualify will not lose any privileges except voting. So they still get all the screenings and perks and such. 

* One more change involving the new members to be invited (which usually happens in the summer) was announced but it's a bit vague. Variety describes it like so:

The Academy will supplement the traditional process in which current members sponsor new members by launching an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy's current President

Cheryl Boone Isaacs states:

The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up. These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”

This is all very promising but we'll still need the industry to catch up to insure that different types of stories are told and heard each year. And audiences will still need to support stories that aren't about superheroes or men to get more of these films made. But that's another struggle.

For now hear hear on Ms. Isaac's swift actions! 

HERE IS THE ACADEMY'S PRESS RELEASE

Thursday
Jan212016

Oscar in Panic Mode. This Rarely Ends Well...

Readers I'm getting nervous. I love the Oscars. Ever since I saw the shiny gold man on a TV guide cover as a little boy and was all "what is that?" I've been hooked. So their history means a lot to me.

It's actually because of that history that it's fun as well as uplifting to chart their progress over the years in dealing with diversity -- and there has been a lot of progress no matter what the current cultural rage would imply. It's been a thrill to see the "first this" and "first that" over the years. 

But this year things are getting ugly. The Academy often makes terrible mistakes when they're criticized (note all the 'we can't make up our minds' volatility with the rules following The Dark Knight year) and now they'll be meeting on possible rules changes including returning to 10 Picture nominees. President Cheryl Boone Isaacs promises "big changes". Some people are even floating acting fields as big as 10 nominees. This is probably the worst idea I've ever heard in relation to the Oscars. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan192016

Well "Hello, Dolly!" ...Again (Feat: Channing, Pearl, Bette, and Babs) 

Bette on the Tonight Show in 2014Bette Midler basically gave the game away in a tweet last night but today it's official: The Divine Miss M will be taking over Carol Channing's signature role Dolly Levi in a Broadway revival of "Hello, Dolly!" due in the Spring of 2017. Carol Channing made a huge enduring career out of the role, of course, playing it three different times across four decades on Broadway and touring with it, too. Barbra Streisand tried to wrestle the role away from her in the movie musical adaptation in 1969 -- there are multiple catty anecdotes about this in the trivia-filled gossipy book "Roadshow! The Fall of the Film Musicals in the 1960s" that do not paint a pretty picture of Babs --  but despite the plentiful Oscar nominations thrown that movies way, it didn't really stick and no one thinks of Dolly as anyone's but Channing's.

Babs, Bette, Carol Channing & Pearl Bailey after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan182016

'Critics Choice' Winners List & Oscar-Calling Post-Mortem

the night doubled as a live tribute to Amy SchumerDespite the disdain many members of the media, including some within the BFCA, seem to hold for the HFPA, the organization that runs the Golden Globes, everyone seems to want to be them. The Critics Choice Awards, now in their 21st year, have had trouble emerging from that institution's shadow.

Though the CCMAs had seemed to be on a slight upswing around the turn of the decade (the Meryl Streep years of Doubt and Julie & Julia seemed to go well in terms of media interest, comparatively at least), things have been since trending downward and went truly haywire this year.  In addition to the "never take us seriously!" self-sabotage to change a nominee lineup after nominations had been announced, there are the strange impulses that can only come from not trusting the voting body such as the need to give Amy Schumer a special prize in the year when she's already going to win a normal prize.

Meanwhile the continued expansion of categories over the past several years has created a clusterf*** that requires that very few of them be televised live. Which is a pity because if they were they might be worth discussing. Mad Max Fury Road won 9 prizes but it didn't even remotely emerge from the night feeling like a big winner since only one of the nine was televised! [More...]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan162016

Handwringing: The Ongoing, Important but Not Always Helpful #OscarsSoWhite Conversation

Have you been following the #OscarsSoWhite discussion? Or rather the shouting? Discussion happens after the fact so we waited 48 hours. There was a lot of knee jerk anger on the day of the Oscar Nominations and many bold statements. Some were totally understandable. Others had us wondering if we've been watching a different Oscars for the past quarter century than anyone else.

If you can't read another word about this we'll understand and hope you'll come back for the next article. But if you'd like to discuss and are willing to think about diversity as a wider and more important topic than a list of 20 names published this year and who or who isn't on it, than read on.

First, I need to get something off my chest...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan142016

Oscar Trivia: First Time Lucky

Refresh your screen periodically for updates as this post will evolve

If you missed the Oscar nominations  this morning you can check out the full list at our Official Nomination Index Page. The individual Oscar charts will take some time to update but should go up throughout the day. But while we're all gathered let's have so fun checking off some trivia and stats. This post is dedicated to the first timers in Oscar's club.

Feel free to contribute "firsts" in the comments!

First Time Lucky
Mad Max Fury Road is the first live action sequel ever nominated for Best Picture whose original wasn't nominated. In fact the entire Mad Max franchise had received zero nominations up until this morning. Mad Max is only the second sequel ever nominated for Best Picture whose original wasn't up for the same prize. The only other example is Toy Story 3 (the first Toy Story did receive a special Oscar though, before the creation of the Animated Feature Category) 

First Time Nominees
Acting: Bryan Cranston, Brie Larson, Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rachel McAdams, Tom Hardy, and two acting legends, film goddess Charlotte Rampling and stage giant Mark Rylance (whose shelves have all fallen from the weight of various trophies... but he doesn't work in movies much.) 

Directing: Adam McKay, Lenny Abrahamson, Thomas McCarthy... and George Miller, believe it or not. Yes, he is an Oscar winner and previous nominee but in different categories (and two of three previous Oscar trips were for talking animal pictures, LOL, the super classic Babe and the animated winner Happy Feet). As of today he's now been nominated in five separate categories: Best Director (MMFR), Best Picture (MMFR & Babe), Best Original Screenplay (Lorenzo's Oil), Best Adapted Screenplay (Babe), and Best Animated Feature (Happy Feet). 

Pop Star: Lady Gaga follows up her Oscar Sound of Music medley performance with an actual Oscar nomination for songwriting for "Til It Happens To You". Oscar voters seem happy with her which is weird because they've shunned her predecessor Madonna remarkably oftenn in this category with movie songs that becamse big hits like Into the Groove, This Used to Be My Playground, Live to Tell, etcetera. 

Other hit songwriters on their first nods include Sam Smith and James Napier for "Writing's on the Wall" from Spectre. And "Earned It" from 50 Shades of Grey from The Weeknd, whose star went supernova recently. The LA Times on his rise to fame

First Time? Not Exactly but It's Still Cool
The Muse reports that Antony Hegarty (of Antony & The Johnsons fame) is the first trans person to receive an Oscar nomination. Antony is nominated for co-writing the "Manta Ray" the Original Song nominee from the documentary Facing Extinction. But this isn't strictly true. First time in modern era when people are quite aware of such things.

Coincidentally, the only previous example of a trans Oscar nominee also comes from the music categories.  Angela Morley (born Wally Stott) was nominated in the music categories twice in the 1970s for The Little Prince (1974) and The Slipper in the Rose (1976). (Lana Wachowski, Hollywood's most famous trans filmmaker, has yet to be Oscar nominated -- the Matrix (1999) which she co-directed with her brother Andy, was nominated for and won four Oscars but none of them went to the Wachowskis.)

First For Your Country
Colombia and Jordan are enjoying their first Foreign Language Film nominations for Embrace of the Serpent and Theeb respectably. Also though I haven't fact-checked I believe Chile is enjoying it's first animated short film nomination with Bear Story. 

FINALLY...

The First Mean Girl Oscar Nominee
Queen Bee Regina George it is. Rachel McAdams is up for Spotlight. Tina Fey has won Globes & Emmys, Lizzy Caplan has been nominated for an Emmy. Will their be a second Mean Girls Oscar nominee at some point? If so who you think it'll be? 

 

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