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Entries in precursor awards (224)

Wednesday
Dec302015

Oscar Ballots Out Today. Three Simple FYCs for Voters.

Let the Oscar balloting begin. The image we use to illustrate is envelopes because they're pretty but they're also analog when even as ancient an institution as Oscar -- he's 88 years old now! -- has gone digital. Academy members can start nominating their favorites TODAY.  I won't barrage AMPAS members with requests other than these three wishes:

1. Please ignore precursors. Surprise us! 
The precursor bodies make terrible mistakes in trying to predict you (SAG & Critics Choice in particular this year are just a mess of lazy "what will the Academy vote for?" impulses rather than a searching for what constitutes great work which should always be the only concern). Two fine movies off the top of our heads that nobody expects you to vote for this year but why the hell shouldn't you? Sicario and Tangerine. People also seem to agree that you won't get behind stories about women but we know you have it in you. The public is enjoying reliving 1977 because of Star Wars: The Force Awakens but remember in 1977 how 80% of your Best Picture lineup was about women? Good times! I mean, why shouldn't you vote for something as gentle, resonant, and well modulated as Brooklyn, for example?

2. FYC: Remember that love stories require two leads. 
Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett are a beautiful team in Carol - so don't separate them in two different categories. Think of the classic screen couples (Gone With the Wind, The Way We Were, Titanic, It Happened One NightCasablanca, Coming Home, etcetera). In none of those romantic dramas do people pretend one movie star is "supporting" the other movie star. Be reasonable and put an end to greedy campaign strategies that make the very notion of awards seem crassly opportunist when the conversation should be edifying and fun; "Best" is a beautiful word! And love stories are love stories are love stories whether the couple is straight or LGBT. (See also: The Danish Girl)

3. Most ≠ Best
This isn't just about the acting categories but how about a deserved nod here or there that you could never call "Most" but could definitely argue "Best".  Three examples of many: The Production Design of Room (a top notch technical achievement but also emotionally intelligent and a true creative challenge); The Visual Effects of Ex Machina (there's no grand setpieces, sure, but damn if these fx aren't a master class and hugely impressive in comparison to the typical CGI shenanigans of blockbusters like Jurassic World); and the Original Score of Steve Jobs (unusual, contemporary, and creatively retro too).

HAPPY VOTING EVERYONE!

Thursday
Dec242015

Holiday Podcast Part 1: The Ballot Rush

Nathaniel, Nick, Katey, and Joe all return for a two part discussion -- something you can listen to while you're travelling for the holidays, a gift from us to you. This was recorded on December 13th (apologies for the delay) so it predates the Critics Choice nominations and subsequent Star Wars kerfuffle which is why we don't discuss those. But we're here to talk precursors and more. (Part Two will be up tonight)

42:30 minutes 
00:01 The Big Short is suddenly a factor. Why?
07:30 Helen Mirren in Trumbo and Woman in Gold
11:00 Sarah Silverman and Best Actress
15:00 Randomness and SAG voters
22:00 Spotlight and the Globes
24:30 Rooney Mara & Alicia Vikander & BFCA
32:00 Best Director & Picture Possibilities
35:00 Original Song Contenders
40:20 Weird Stats plus Hair and Makeup

Further Reading for Context:
SAG Nominations
Globe Nominations
Original Song's 74 Contenders
Oscar Charts

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

Holiday Podcast Pt 1

Tuesday
Dec152015

Tweetweek: Clue, Star Wars, Awards Silliness

We weren't allowed to say this for fear of screening crashers but as you're reading this I'm probably watching the credits crawl at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. More soon obviously.

The past week has been just crazy with awards announcements and it's easy to drop usual columns on accident but I can't not share these choice tweets that amused on actressexuality,.

Clue, Sir Patrick Stewart, Golden Globes and a lot of Star Wars silliness after the jump...

 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec142015

Critics Choice Nominations: "Fury Road" Leads and Category Fraud Refuses to Die.

Furiosa is coming to devour your Critics Choice AwardsThough I am a member of the BFCA, the organization behind the Critics Choice Awards, I can't say I'm often too pleased with their choices. Their penchant for attempting to predict the Oscars rather than voting based on earlier reviews continues to be the source of endless frustration. For example: everyone thought the SAG nominations were insane when they were announced but just a week later, the BFCA is repeating them despite lukewarm reviews (at best) for films like Trumbo. And though the reviews for Joy have been anything but great they gave it two major nominations, surely based on a year of Oscar expectations for it. Their difficulty in looking past mainstream pictures even in categories ripe for invasion from indies is also truly unfortunate (Tangerine and What We Do in the Shadows for example have 96% and 97% approval ratings from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and NONE of the BFCA's nominees for Best Comedy come anywhere close to those scores. Hell, Joy is currently at only 56% which is not good. And BFCA members are part of the Tomatometer so what does that tell you?

Unfortunately the members also embraced all the Category Fraud contenders in their studio preferred categories despite the BFCA endorsing a lead vote for Rooney Mara before voting began and somewhat suggesting that maybe Alicia Vikander didn't belong in supporting either. I understand from voting members of the OFCS that this exact situation preceded their vote. It's tough to root out Category Fraud when people have been so conditioned by the studios to believe that anything goes.

The complete list of nominees for film and television (with commentary is after the jump)

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec132015

35 Days Until the Critics Choice Awards. Nominations Tomorrow.

Actor/comedian TJ Miller (Silicon Valley and "Tuffnot Thorston" in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise) is hosting. Though I usually attend funds are low this year so I haven't yet made the travel decision. (It will be tough to beat last year's experience with Jessica Chastain at any rate.)

Do you think these films will get the boost they need tomorrow?The nominations for the 21st annual Critics Choice Awards will be announced tomorrow. Since there are six nominees in each acting category (which you'll know annoys the purists like me and probably many of you -- the correct number is always FIVE) you can safely bet that most of the Oscar frontrunners will be accounted for so what's interesting is the fifth and sixth free-for-all spots in each lineup. I'm perhaps most curious to see how films on the bubble perform  (like Steve Jobs, Bridge of Spies, and Creed) or whether films that risk being forgotten (like Sicario) come roaring back to life. This is the second to last clue in precursor season about which films and performances are well loved as we approach Oscar nominations (the last clue being the various guild nominations to come).

I shan't predict these BFCA "Critics Choice" nominations since I vote but rest assured that I did my part for Carol, Mad Max, Room and the other movies we've showered love on here. But how about you? Any predictions.

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