Oscar History

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Entries in Oscars (11) (332)


Yes, No, Maybe So: "Dangerous Method"

In the series Yes No Maybe So we parse out movie trailers to determine just how excited we are about an upcoming movie. Today... David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method in which two very infamous doctors of psychiatry (Freud and Jung) find a perfect guinea pig in unstable Russian woman Sabina Spielrein;  Psychoanalysis is born, though it hasn't quite worked out its doctor/patient boundaries just yet.

Viggo Mortensen, David Cronenberg's chief muse these days, plays Sigmund Freud and their second reunion after the masterpiece A History of Violence (followed by the compelling Eastern Promises) would be enough for a sober grunted "yes" on its own. Stir the Crazy of Freud/Jung into the mix with justifiably Most-Wanted Michael Fassbender in the lead role of Carl Jung and the yes becomes as hysteric as Jung's patient Sabina played by Keira Knightley (who is obviously out to raise her game as an actress lately).

On the other hand, sexual repression and experimental psychiatry aren't the easiest topics to portray without the possibility of unintentional laughs or hindsight ridicule in these arguably more enlightened times. The trailer does have a weird fallback mode in which someone says something we're to register as Shocking or Telling and... cut to: Fassbender immediately shifting his intense glance to the side.

Though Cronenberg is one of the world's most fascinating auteurs and Viggo and Fassy two of its most genius actors, the trailer gives off the distinct aroma of Keira...

As in... this will all live or die or, rather, doze off with boredom or leap off the psychiatrists couch with abandon if she's up to her central role. I worry that they refer to her as Russian and Keira doesn't sound Russian at all in the trailer? And given that her role is extreme with the theatrics, will she be Oscar beloved or sliced up with the critics knives?

Keira The MadwomanKeira Oscar-Clipping It.Keira the Masochist "PUNISH ME!"

Will this feel like a stage play with the all the talking and observing in offices and bedrooms?
Will the trio of famous faces invest the heady mind games with heart, body and soul?
Will Cronenberg finally have an Oscar hit on his hands what with the true story, biographical figures and period detailing?

So many questions... so much worth analyzing.

Watch the trailer at the film's official site!

Are you a Yes, No or a Maybe So...?


Podcast: "Midnight in Paris" and Oscar's New Rules

Since I never officially reviewed Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, I thought we'd have to at least cover it in discussion form. So for the newest podcast, Kurt from Your Movie Buddy and first-time guest Mark Blankenship from The Criticial Condition joined me to discuss Woody Allen's biggest hit in some time as well as Oscar's new "up to 10 nominees for Best Picture" ruling, which I recently discussed with Katey for her Kino Katey podcast.

But, you know, we can't ever shut up about Oscar, can we?

Other topics: Best Original Song and first and favorite Woody Allen pictures seen. Two articles that you might want to read that we mention are Fandor's list of movies about movies and Mark's investigation of the 1980s in the Best Original Song category.

As always please join the conversation in the comments.

PODCAST: Midnight in Paris


Welcome to the Academy

The Academy has released the annual list of new invitations to their hallowed ranks. Now you can blame THESE people next time you don't like a nomination or win! I hope none of these people are reading because I'm going to be divvying them up into the following categories:  

"duh!" an obvious choice that makes sense based on current career or recent nomination.
the public or the industry is hot for them now.... even if they're not exactly "oscar worthy"
isn't this too early OR too late?
"curious" Perplexing choices. Some of them are wonderful but we still can't figure out why they've been given this great honor... especially if their fame is largely TV based (There's another Academy for that. You may have heard of them since they also give out coveted statues.)
we do not approve.

New Actors
Duh!: Vincent Cassel, Jesse Eisenberg, John Hawkes, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anthony Mackie, Lesley Manville, Ellen Page, Mia Wasikowska, Jacki Weaver
Starfucking: Russell Brand, Gerard Butler, Bradley Cooper, Beyonce Knowles
Now?: Rooney Mara, Jennifer Garner, Nastassja Kinski, Tea Leoni, Connie Nielsen, Wes Studi
Curious: Robbie Coltrane, Rosemarie DeWitt, Peter Dinklage, Dominic Monaghan
WTF: John Corbett, David Duchovny...

....John Corbett is obviously qualified to judge the artistry of Tilda Swinton and Daniel Day-Lewis, don't you agree?

New Directors
Duh!: Susanne Bier (In a Better World) and Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) both won Oscars last year and Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) and Debra Granik (Winter's Bone) both directed Best Picture nominees. Cholodenko and Granik were also invited to the writer's branch so they'll be able to nominate in three categories: Picture, Director and Screenplays.

Surprising but welcome choices: Gregg Araki and John Cameron Mitchell

Curious: Yojiro Takita (do they always invite the foreign directors whose films win? He directed Departures) Now?: Neil Burger (The Illusionist, Limitless).
: Gregg Araki (Kaboom) and John Cameron Mitchell (Rabbit Hole)

But that's not all...

Click to read more ...


Podcast With Katey. Oscar Rule Change

Hey people. Katey Rich, who you'll remember from those old vodcasts and podcasts right here (that's us to the left when we were talking up Inglourious Basterds) has been making waves with her podcast/vodcast series "Kino Katey." I'm a guest star for the first time there to talk about the Oscar changes. Listen in!

She's also doing this fab new series "Virgin Territory" where she watches a classic she's never seen before and talks it up with a friend who loves it, the latest being Apocalypse Now.


Kino Katey. Oscar Rule Changes


No hay banda. No hay linka. 

Twitch What's this? What's this? David Lynch may be prepping a "Club Silencio" to open in Paris. Mullholland Dr. lives on and on.
My New Plaid Pants defaces the Larry Crowne poster. I'd see this imaginary movie and I'm not even a horror fan.
Cineuropa Apichatpong Weerathesakul will head the Horizons Jury at this year's Venice Film Festival. More details at the link
Hollywood Wire Tap wait... now it might be David O. Russell directing Angelina Jolie for Maleficent? I can't keep up. This is why I ignore the rumormill. Better to concentrate on actual films.
MTV Madonna finally returning to the recording studio.
The Wrap Avi Arad talks about producer Laura Ziskin (RIP)

Two Videos
Filmdrunk explores "Woody Allen Surrogates" with this video.

A Retrospective of Woody Allen Surrogates from FilmDrunkDotCom on Vimeo.


And this Green Lantern news bit from The Onion made me giggle. Especially the movie posters "[pictured above]", the franchise sequel plans and this Ryan Reynolds quote.

'Green Lantern' To Fulfill America's Wish To See Lantern-Based Characters On Big Screen

I've been a Green Lantern fan every since I was told I would be the person starring in the Green Lantern movie so this is a thing come true for me.


Finally... if you can't gather enough opinions about the Oscar Best Picture Shift to sate your lust for all things shiny, naked and gold here are more reactions on the Latest Oscar Rule Shift (already discussed right here)  from Peter Knegt (super con and then mixed), Kris Tapley (very pro), Sasha Stone (con -- she liked the ten) and Stu Van Airsdale (pro with a dose of 'so what? there are larger problems')


10 Best Picture Nominees... OR LESS

Just when we were getting acclimated to the new system of ten best picture nominees, Oscar is changing up their rules again. Deadline reports that after carefully studying their voting data, the Academy's governing board has decided that that Ten Best Picture Nominees thing was perhaps a little too generous. 'Shouldn't there be some threshhold of passion for a film to win that coveted "best picture" title' they asked themselves.

Their answer was "yes".

How much passion will be required exactly? The magic number is 5%. In short, a film will have to win at least 5% of #1 votes in the nomination balloting in order to join the Best Picture Lineup. There'll be no less than 5 Best Picture nominees in any given year and no more than 10. So one could say they're splitting the difference between the old system and the new.

Best Thing About This Change
It'll be quite unpredictable. We won't know until Oscar nomination morning how many "Best Pictures" we're getting. Otherwise I can't see an upside. We'll still get those pictures that we scratch our heads over "how did that get in there?! That doesn't belong!" -- don't think for a moment, for instance, that you can wipe out choices like The Blind Side. After all, we had those kind of decisions in the days of five nominees. Bad taste is indestructable!

The ZZZ Thing About This Change
I suspect other pundits will disagree but I don't see how this change means anything at all in terms of precursor madness. Not all precursor awards -- those would be tastemakers that proceed AMPAS's 'final say' -- are bound and determined to predict the Oscars but they'll stick with 10 nominees anyway as it gives them more wiggle room in the mirroring.

The Worst Thing About This Change
If you value visual and numerical symmetry as I do -- and boy do I -- you'll hate that you won't be able to line up various years in neat chart formats or say things like "2013's lineup is so interesting but nothing beats 2007. No, no, let us not speak of 1999!" There won't be any way to directly compare year-to-year anymore. (How will we even structure our prediction charts?) There's something quite beautiful about tradition in mythic institutions like Oscar. The chronologies will line up nevermore. Won't it also be more of a slap in the face for the snubs? "Sorry there were only 5 nominees this year but the rest of you who were 'in the hunt'. Turns out they only told you they loved you in the heat of the moment. They didn't."

Here's the part I found most intriguing* about the decision...

“In studying the data, what stood out was that Academy members had regularly shown a strong admiration for more than five movies,” said Davis. “A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit. If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honor in a given year, we shouldn’t feel an obligation to round out the number.”

If this system had been in effect from 2001 to 2008 (before the expansion to a slate of 10), there would have been years that yielded 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 nominees.

*And by intriguing I mean CRAZY-MAKING. Does this mean none of those years would have seen 10 nominees? Will ten films be a once a decade thing? [Tangent: This DOES mean that they keep all the voting data. How is it that this never leaks? Price Waterhouse must be guarded by Heimdall or suspended in a heavily guarded plastic prison like Magneto.]

You know what else this means: LISTS, Lots of lists! We'll look at 2001 through 2008 soon but we have to save some chi for a later post, can't blow it all at once on this announcement.  For now, let's just discuss this change and wonder which films would've been axed from the top ten by way of not getting enough #1 placements.

Here's my guesswork...

2010 - 8 nominees

I realize I'm stubborn about The Kids Are All Right... I enjoy being stubborn. But there was a time, if we're being honest with yourselves, that people thought it would be one of the five even if there were only five. My guess is that 127 Hours just barely slipped in and that Winter's Bone, despite being very well regarded was lacking in #1 votes. Who knows... But there did seem to be a broad range of support for many features last year so perhaps only The Boy And His Rock would've been eliminated.

2009 - 7 nominees

Though I was personally horrified at The Blind Side's inclusion in 2009 I do not think it was in 10th place. Oscar is so much more mainstream than the media likes to pretend and given the massive embrace of that movie from the general populace, there are few sound reasons to think AMPAS voters weren't also squeezing it, with formulaic tears streaming down their faces. District 9... well, I'm still surprised it got in given Oscar's history of shunning sci-fi. Perhaps most controversially, I'm guessing Pixar would've had to wait until Toy Story 3 to get the "only the second animated picture nominated for Best Picture" honor.

What'cha think of the rule change?

P.S. In other rule changes, the number of Animated Features nominated will be more flexible too. Previously it was 3 or 5. Now it'll be 2 to 5 depending on the number of films released that are eligible and number of votes those films received. The documentary category's eligibility will now be in sync with the calendar year like most categories.