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Entries in Oscar Trivia (282)

Tuesday
Feb022016

Q&A Part 1: Leo's World. 

Dear Readers, Last week I asked for more reader questions but since three of them at least were about Leonardo DiCaprio let's get them all out of the way as an appetizer to the main Q&A post. Ready... here we go.

LADY EDITH: Now that you have experienced the "Jonas blizzard" so recently how do you feel about giving "The Revenant" Oscars? [More]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb022016

Spielberg's Best Pictures and New DVDs

Time to check in to see which movies we all can check back in with or catch up with now that they've hit the home market. The big title, Oscar wise is Steven Spielberg's 10th Best Picture nominee as a director, the cold war drama Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance both doing fine work as a lawyer and the spy he must bargain with for a prisoner of war trade. Only one of Spielberg's directorial efforts has ever won Best Picture (Schindler's List, 1993) but which is your favorite? I'd rank them like so...

  1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  2. Schindler's List (1993)
  3. Jaws (1975)
  4. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)
  5. Lincoln (2012)
  6. The Color Purple (1985)
  7. Bridge of Spies (2015)
  8. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  9. Munich (2005)
  10. War Horse (2011)

With the disclaimer that everyone knows I'm not a Spielberg aficionado really (the top three are the only ones I'm completely wild about from this list with Close Encounters of the Third Kind also a favorite but Best Picture was not among its 8 (!) nominations. [Trivia Aside: It's tied for second place with The Dark Knight and some other films for 'most nominations without Best Picture,' though the expanded Best Picture field will probably insure that no more films join said list. The all time record holder is They Shoot Horses Don't They (1969) which is completely amazing film but somehow missed a Best Picture nomination despite 9 other bids for the gold.]

ICYMI Murtada just got done ranking the Spielberg Nominated Performances so we're in that sorta mood you could say

Also New on DVD or BluRay

Burnt Bradley Cooper is a chef. And lots of actresses orbit him
Chi-Raq Spike Lee's randy funny raging update of Lysistrata (See: Best of 2015)
Downton Abbey (Final Season) which I'm loving as it airs
Freeheld in which Julianne Moore & Ellen Page fall in love and fight for their rights
Goosebumps in which monsters come to life and Jack Black and kids fight them
Our Brand is Crisis a rare flop for Sandra Bullock as a campaign manager
Suffragette Mulligan, Streep and Bonhman-Carter fight for their voting rights
Truth Cate Blanchett and her fabulous curls fight a losing battle to bring down President Bush with his sneaky draft-dodging

New to Netflix Instant Watch

Better Call Saul (S1) in which Breaking Bad lives on to hold on to its Emmy slots. Now Streaming on Netflix.
Lila & Eve Viola Davis goes vigilante. February 6th.
Love (Gaspar Noe) in which Gaspar Noe splooges into the camera (in 3D!). This explicit sex drama should have really been something but Christ it's a bore. February 4th. 
Mad Men (S7.2) in which we try to be all zen while saying goodbye to the greatest TV show of all time. February 5th.

READER'S CHOICE
We might start doing a poll where you choose which old movie, just released to Instant Watch, you want to force Nathaniel to watch and write up and discuss with y'all. What'cha think? Some of this month's new/old options are Charlie's Angels (2000), Cruel Intentions (1999), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Jennifer 8 (1992... I used to be really into this one because: Uma), Losing Isaiah (1995), Stardust (2007), Teen Witch (1989), and I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)

Monday
Feb012016

Ranking the Oscar-Nominated Performances in Steven Spielberg's Films

Mark Rylance’s best supporting actor nomination for Bridge of Spies marks the 13th time a performance in a Steven Spielberg movie has been nominated for an Oscar. Which of course calls for a list, so without any further ado here's Murtada's ranking. 

Oscar Nominated Performances in Spielberg Films Ranked

13- Anthony Hopkins - Amistad (1997)
Other Nominees: Robert Forster – Jackie Brown, Greg Kinnear – As Good as It Gets, Burt Reynolds – Boogie Nights, Robin Williams – Good Will Hunting.
Winner: Williams

Did Hopkins have a big righteous courtroom speech? Must be, because why else was this performance nominated. The only thing I remember about it is that Hopkins robbed Rupert Everett of his nomination for My Best Friend’s Wedding.

Twelve more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan262016

Best Acting, Male Division: Personal Ballots & Oscar Charts

In the war of scene-stealing antagonists this year, Oscar Isaac's Nathan (Ex Machina) > Tom Hardy's Fitzgerald (The Revenant). We love both actors here at TFE and loved them before the rest of the web did (brag brag) but when it comes down to awards season you have to make tough choices.

That's just a handy way of saying Oscar and I go our separate ways more often than not in the acting categories but now both lists are available for your (hopeful) entertainment... 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
On the subject of category placement antagonists are often tricky. They definitely move the plot -- neither The Revenant or Ex Machina can function without these devious men, but often you can see either argument for lead or supporting. While Ex Machina arguably has three leads being such a chamber drama I occasionally relax the soapbox for performances that straddle the divide. A recent rewatch of Ex Machina confirmed that Oscar Isaac would make whichever shortlist we put him in (and I'd switched him back and forth during the year in drafts). It's such an inventive approach to a thoroughly imagined character so I tossed the dice and supporting he went. Now watch him tear up this fucking dance floor...

Only one of Oscar's men makes my own personal ballot (just posted) with apologies to Mark Rylance who I thought would place but he fell in the dread sixth spot! It happens. I've completed the Oscar chart as well and included trivia for this golden sausage party. Speaking of sausage parties... I think this is the first male Oscar lineup ever in which ALL the men have gone full frontal in other movies. Weird, right? It's an exhibitionist group this year. This only occurred to me to check because I was a big fan of Intimacy (2001) back in the day which starred Mark Rylance and everyone knows that Sly starred in a porno before Rocky (1976)

The charts also include our "How'd they get nominated" fun. So here's a sample -- the Tom Hardy in The Revenant edition: 

25% Leo's bro power pulls his main men in w/ him
21% Spicy Bait: Villains prioritized in this category 
20% Timing. 'The Revenant' was the shiniest new toy
15% Everyone wishes they could have punched Iñárritu in the face
10% Performance - they like 'em BIG to shake up slow epics (see also: The Zeéeeee in 'Cold Mountain')
9% 'Mad Max Fury Rd'

P.S. I should not that though Hardy didn't make my top 12 in supporting I appreciate his go for broke attempts to save The Revenant from its own grandiose self-importance with a little cured ham.

Matt Damon a nominee at both the Oscars & the Film Bitch AwardsBEST LEADING ACTOR 
Given the weirdly unanimous "meh" factor that Oscar's shortlist has produced in audiences, at least on the web, it's hard to imagine it coming to be at all. But then you remember the media complicity in producing these sorts of safe groupings of all-stars whether or not people were actually hugely impressed with their work. Oscar produced a list of five major players who unfortunately could have been nominated based on the roles themselves before anyone saw the work (always a problem!). You've got your reigning Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), your mega stars (Leonardo DiCaprio & Matt Damon), and your highly-revered thespians (Bryan Cranston & Michael Fassbender) with all but one of them (Damon) playing real life people. That's the baitiest of bait to awards types -- not just Oscar! --  though after 15 years of covering movies and awards seasons I still can't fathom why playing someone who really exists/existed is so much more likely to be lauded than creating a character from scratch with only the screenplay, director and your imagination to guide you. 

But anyway that's Oscar's list. Only two of them survive to make my personal ballot and I had to correct some category campaign problems too to put Jacob Tremblay (Room) and Paul Dano (Love & Mercy) where they belonged. Since DiCaprio's fans can be quite touchy I should note that he's solid, as ever, in The Revenant. He's locked up to win the Oscar finally but sadly the film just isn't asking very much of him, emotionally, beyond grief and anguish which he's been playing with minor variations for at a dozen years now. Sorry Oscar campaign narrative but tough physical working conditions and weird diets ≠ acting triumph. 

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 ...

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