Oscar History

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Entries in precursor awards (274)


Sundance Winners: Will "Fruitvale" and "Blood Brother" March On to Oscar Glory?

Here is Amanda Seyfried with some paparazzi at Sundance. Amanda is great at being a celebrity. 

So even if Lovelace didn't exactly light the world on fire, she still wins.

But I suppose we should discuss actual festival winners, now that the fest has wrapped and the journos have all exited the snowy peaks of Park City, Utah. Before we list the winners, let's look at the context of how well they usually fare come Oscar time the following year. Are there any patterns?

2012 Beasts of the Southern Wild & The Sessions split the jury & audience prizes for drama, respectively. Beasts went on to major Oscar nominations and The Sessions (which also won a prize for its ensemble acting held on for one Oscar nomination in the form of the title character played by Helen Hunt (back then it was called "The Surrogate" remember?). The House I Live In and The Invisible War split the juried & audience prizes for doc and the reverse happened: Oscar went with the audience fav rather than the jury fav. (Personally I think The House I Live In is a much stronger documentary so that outcome disappointed me). 

Total Oscar nods from Sundance prize-winning films:  9
Most Predictive: Best Documentary. 3 of the eventual 5 nominees won prizes here 

2011 This year produced a lot of disparate favorites but most of the hot films in the cold climate of Park City like How to Die in Oregon, Tyrannosaur, Project NIM, Like Crazy, Buck, Circumstance, Martha Marcy May Marlene, failed to win any Oscar nominations.

Total Oscar nods from Sundance prize-winning films:  2
Most PredictiveBest Documentary. 2 of the eventual nominees won prizes here 

More after the jump including this year's winning Sundance films. Obviously, congratulations for now and well done, can't wait to see you. Etcetera. (But will we be talking about them at Oscar time next year?) 

Click to read more ...


Three Reasons Why "Argo" Became the One To Beat

You can't always know how the future will treat each year's awards recipients. Will their strengths will come into sharper focus as time erodes the particulars of the movie culture and conversation they arrived into or will that erosion grind a movie or performers appeal down with it? What will we make in five year's time of this moment when Hollywood threw awards at Argo instead of, say, Lincoln? That's what happened again last night at the Producers Guild Awards when Ben Affleck's 1970s CIA rescue tale took the top prize.

We don't have to wait for hindsight clarity when it comes to Argo's sudden rise in the previous deadheat Oscar race.  I'd say that three things are responsible, two of which no one could have predicted.

1. I'd been saying from the very start that Argo's narrative subtext, embedded into its truish story of a fake movie being used to rescue Americans from a hostile regime, that 'Movies Save the World!' feel would be irressistible to the back-patting awards season mentality in much the same way it was for the documentary The Cove some years ago.

The other two factors were not things anyone could have predicted though....

2.  Zero Dark Thirty emerged to somewhat reductive "so much better than Argo!" laudatory soundbytes (they both involve CIA meddling in the Middle East so they must be compared incessantly!) and for about a week it looked like The Real Oscar Deal but what happened next with it was very kind to Argo. Zero became the media's most slobbered on and teared at rag doll with everyone tsk-tsking and fuming and eventually subtly equating the making of it with condoning torture. By extension voting for it felt unpleasant to some, too. Suddenly the "better than Argo" conversation died and was replaced with just "...Argo", a rebooting if you will of where the Oscar conversation had previously been. Sometimes opening early helps and it's more than helped Argo.

3. The last, and most shocking turn of events was Ben Affleck's omission from the Best Director lineup. I'd long been predicting him to win that statue even though I hadn't viewed Argo necessarily as the future Best Picture champ, suspecting that we were in for a split year. The best thing that ever happened to Argo in terms of its Best Picture prospects was Affleck's "snub". And conversely, that's the worse thing that happened to Lincoln. Whatever one makes of the quality of the Best Picture nominees (have you voted for your favorite here?), Lincoln previously had the strongest narrative arriving as it did in this historic year of President Obama's reelection and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Affleck's over-mourned "snub" (people keep conveniently forgetting how strong the Best Director lineup is without him!) handed Argo an underdog narrative in a season where the narratives -- those tricky hooks that make a person or movie so irresistible in the Story of the Year's Entertainments -- weren't all that strong even if the movies were.

Reason no. 3 is in some ways the most understandable now that it's happened and the most baffling. If you really step back for some perspective Ben Affleck is an enormous waste of a Sympathy Vote. He's already an Oscar winner. He's an Oscar nominee even when he's snubbed (he'll win the Oscar if Argo wins Best Picture since he produced) - fancy that. He has a happy Hollywood marriage. He rose to fame with his best friend who is still a huge power player in Hollywood, too. He's risen from the ashes of a weirdly shaky leading man career to become a respected director and a... uh... leading man again. He's super handsome and aging well. He's made only three films all of which received Oscar attention, the latter two of which were big big hits. If anything he's a true golden boy of showbiz with a hugely enviable career and awards run and yet, you'd think he were dying! To this Awards Season he's suddenly treated like the Fantine figure in Les Miz on her death bed; the one to cry over "if only life weren't so cruel!", the one to promise everything to in order to make amends.

And all because he missed out on an expected Best Director nomination?

Mrs. Affleck at the PGAs. Oh, you know she makes this pose at home while mock scolding BenTHE WINNERS

Outstanding Producer, Film: Ben Affleck, Grant Henslov, George Clooney for Argo
Outstanding Producer, Documentary: Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn for Searching for Sugar Man
Outstanding Producer, Animated: Clark Spencer for Wreck-it Ralph
Outstanding Producer, Longform TV: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Jay Roach, Amy Sayres, Steven Shareshian, Danny Strong for "Game Change"
Outstanding Producer, Episodic TV (Drama): Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Michael Cuesta, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Michael Klick, Meredith Stiehm for "Homeland"
Outstanding Producer, Episodic TV (Comedy): Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker for "Modern Family" 
Outstanding Producer, NonFiction TV: Prudence Glass, Susan Lacy,Julie Sacks for "American Masters" PBS 
Outstanding Producer, Live TV: Meredith Bennett, Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Barry Julien, Matt Lappin, Emily Lazar, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Tom Purcell,Jon Stewart for "The Colbert Report" 
Outsanding Producer, Competition TV:  Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo for "The Amazing Race"

Outstanding Sports Program: "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel"
Outstanding Children's Program:  "Sesame Street"
Outstanding Digital Series: "30 Rock: The Webisodes" 




Is "Lincoln" Nervous About Losing SAG?

Early "Lincoln" SwagThis just in. A SAG voter shot me a note yesterday after received a Lincoln screener at the tail end of voting -- the Awards are this Sunday night -- wondering if the Lincoln team was nervous about losing the SAG Ensemble prize to one of its formidable competitors in the seemingly wide-open Best Picture race. 

It was sent last minute, priority mail envelopes, clearly put together quickly.  It wasn't on the initial list of screeners or downloads so it was a last minute decision, it would seem."

It seems weird to hear "put together quickly" about a Lincoln screener since mine was artfully packaged and I received it a month ago. Truth: Lincoln has been the most active movies in terms of continual swag at least at my house: I've gotten Spielberg books, Presidential cookbooks, a screener, a hardcover script (those are rare) and more... but it is a significant expense to send screeners to SAG voters as compared to 6,000ish AMPAS members and 300ish BFCA since members since the Screen Actors Guild has so very very many voting members. 

Do you think Lincoln is nervous about a potential Ensemble loss on Sunday... and thus less momentum heading into the final month of Oscar voting?  

I'm torn myself as to which film I think is winning: Momentum is with Argo, but Silver Linings Playbook is definitely a hit with actors and is campaigning hard. Maybe Lincoln wouldn't have had so much to worry about if they hadn't abused their ensemble by leaving out some of the best players... and not even campaigning for Supporting Actor for audience favorites like James Spader (dear god I never thought I'd write the second half of that sentence). 

only seven -- SEVEN -- members of Lincoln's sprawling awesome cast are nominated in the "Ensemble" category. That's less actors than are in most of the scenes! In contrast: Argo has 13 nominees; Les Miz has 12; Best Exotic has 8; Silver Linings Playbook has 6

P.S. For what it's worth if I were a Screen Actor (I am... not) I would probably vote for Lincoln in this category but not happily since the award would not go to many of the colorful performances featured.


"Get out of heeeeeerre"

A week later and I'm still giggling about this. And also SO FRUSTRATED THAT SAG IS NEXT SUNDAY INSTEAD OF TODAY.

Award Shows. I get The DTs. Don't judge.

This calls for a poll!




Critics Choice Awards Live Blog

8:01 Auspicious Beginnings - the sound is already out of sync on the intro!
8:02 Fixed. But Ooh the reaction shots are already rough. Anne Hathaway and Sally Field don't look so happy to be there. Jessica Chastain isn't even faking it well and she usually looks so cheerful. Or maybe I'm projecting since I'm bone tired from the Oscar Nom run up and early morning.
8:04 Sam Rubin, critic, is drooling on the IMPORTANT. FAMOUS. PEOPLE. 

8:05 For some reason Henry Cavill are presenting the first award. Because when you think of Superman you always think... Best Ensemble? 

Ensemble: Silver Linings Playbook
Young Actor/Actress: Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild (who reads her speech from an iPhone which is adorable)

8:18 Some awkward banter for Famke Jannsen where she's not supposed to know what famous action movie quotes are like "I'll be back". Um.... banter isn't supposed to make the star look bad. Do you think she's annoyed that she was a Bond girl before the currrent Bond hoopla? 

Jennifer, Jessica, Rebel and more after the jump

Click to read more ...


BAFTA ♥ Lincoln (But Not Spielberg)

So much happening and I was seized by offsite emergencies. Apologies. In the wee hours of the morning here in the States... we'll call it "last night",  BAFTA announced their nominations and went wild for all six of the top presumed Best Picture Oscar nominees. The biggest surprise inclusion in the British Academy's list has to be the Best Actor nomination for Ben Affleck in Argo (in place of the usual suspect John Hawkes from The Sessions... though Denzel Washington was also absent since The Master was well represented in the acting categories). BAFTA's devotion to their fellow countrymen is a factor each year -- it's no surprise to see Skyfall with 8 nominations because BAFTA loves Bond (Casino Royale had 9 nominations in 2006!. But this 'Brits first!' thing is also grossly exaggerated by the media since it's hardly an infallible formula. Supporting Actress hopeful Maggie Smith is noticeably absent - note the one nomination "British film" for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. And though Anna Karenina rebounded in awards season with several nominations here, Keira Knightley was not rescued from its train tracks in Best Actress where Helen Mirren held on to her default Best Actress bid --- will she do the same tomorrow with Oscar?.

The biggest oddity of the day? Steven Spielberg's Lincoln led the pack with 10 nominations but Steven Spielberg himself was not nominated for directing it. It's totally deja vu -- t'was nearly the exact Oscar nomination fate of The Color Purple (1985) with 11 nods but none for the man in the director's chair!

Full nomination list after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Nom Nom Nom: The DGA's.

Hey, lovelies. Beau here, with the announcement of the DGA Nominees for 2013 whilst Nathaniel lunches with one of them.

  • Ben Affleck, Argo 
  • Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Tom Hooper, Les Miserables
  • Ang Lee, Life of Pi
  • Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

And so, the open spot goes to Tom Hooper, a recent recipient a couple years back for his work on The King’s Speech. If anything must be said about Les Miserables, it is that it is indeed a director’s vision; the intimacy of the camera superseding the largeness of the story in an effort to maximize the full emotional impact of the musical.

While I have many issues with the film, Hooper’s vision does lend itself well to Hathaway’s ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, the strongest scene in the film. Observing despair and bottling it in a shot that would have made Bergman proud, his attention to detail in Hathaway makes for something profoundly intimate and personal. That the rest of the film never lives up to this moment is not really surprising; its pacing and its reticence to self-edit do it a disservice, as the film never really gives its audience a moment to breathe and take in the considerable emotional toll. 

That being said, this is the lineup many have been predicting for quite some time now, give or take Hooper in place of Russell or Tarantino.  We’ll just have to see if Oscar feels the same way come Thursday morning.

Until then, dears. xo, Beau


National Society of Film Critics Loves Amour

National Society of Film Critics is the last of the three big critics' groups to announce their annual winners and they have followed LAFCA's footsteps in giving their top prize to Michael Haneke's Amour. It's yet more fuel in the film's fire as Sony Pictures Classics awaits the Academy's nominations on Thursday, though with the voting deadline already passed, this prestigious honour will have no persuasive power on Academy voters.

As with LAFCA,  Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master came in second in the top category, but this wasn't the only place where NSFC agreed with their Los Angeles counterparts. Emmanuelle Riva and Amy Adams also topped the lead and supporting actress categories, respectively.

Daniel Day-Lewis and Matthew McConaughey were the winners in the male acting categories. McConaughey, whose award was shared for Magic Mike and Bernie, has been a critical favourite all season - he won NYFCC's prize for the same two films as well - and is still lurking right around the nomination zone despite missing out on SAG and Globe nominations.

In the nonfiction category The Gatekeepers just edged out This Is Not a Film to the top prize, ahead of a distant Searching For Sugar Man at third. Jafar Panahi's film also managed a citation for Best Experimental Film. Tony Kushner and Mihai Malaimare Jr. rounded out the winners with prizes in the screeplay and cinematography categories, respectively.

Full list of winners after the jump...

Click to read more ...