You find a thread at the end of your week. Open? (Y/N)
Nothing really interesting happening in the world of pop culture this week. Everything’s at sort of a standstill. So you can talk about … oh, wait, there’s the 82nd Annual Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Award Ceremony coming up on Sunday. We could probably talk about that.
We’ve talked the Oscars to death in a lot of other posts, so let’s just focus on recent Oscar news:
- Mo’nique, odds-on favorite for Best Supporting Actress (Precious), made gossip columns for refusing to campaign for votes. Why a successful comic actress wouldn’t want to associate herself with the child-abusing role that made her a star, I have no idea.
- Nicolas Chartier, producer of Best Picture nominee and critical darling The Hurt Locker, has been forbidden from the Sunday night ceremony for e-mailing Academy members urging them to vote for his movie. So first we’re supposed to campaign for the Oscar, now we’re not. Unbelievable! If you can’t count on consistency from the body that’s nominated Meryl Streep for a dozen Oscars, what can you count on?
- Finally, Sacha Baron Cohen has lost his slot as an Oscar presenter, after the Academy nixed a skit spoofing James Cameron’s Avatar. Cameron claims that he would have been okay with the gag. Having seen a description of the proposed skit, though – where Cohen plays a female Na’vi knocked up by Cameron, who confronts him a la Maury Povich – I’m glad it got axed. Where’s the punchline?
Question: list your picks for Oscar winners!
Submit the most accurate list of Oscar picks, and you could win the respect of the smartest people on the Internet! And isn’t that worth more than anything? Well, except winning an Oscar. Or getting paid to predict who’ll win the Oscars (which we aren’t). Discuss these and other quandaries in the comments, since this is your … open thread.
Last night on the Daily Show he did a little piece on Chat roulette which reminded me of when you guys talked about it on the Podcast a few weeks ago! I found it funny and interesting that you guys were talking about it before the rest of the media picked it up. Does this mean that you guys are more in-tune to what is/isn’t popular culture?
Winning the respect of the smartest people on the internet would be like having 10 Oscars! Now, if you could just provide me with a link to their website… (Hi-O!)
Anyway, this isn’t shaping up like a particularly fun year for Oscar predictions. It’s basically Hurt Locker v. Avatar and Streep v. Bullock and the rest seem pretty locked up. Regardless, here are my predictions, with the caveat that I’ve only seen one Oscar nominated film from last year and it was, of course, A Serious Man.
Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
Best Director: Bigelow
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges
Best Actress: Meryl Streep
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Waltz
Best Supporting Actress: Mo’nique
Those are the big ones, but I’ll also throw in Up in the Air for Best Adapted Screenplay, Inglourious Basterds for Best Original Screenplay (they’ll throw Tarantino a bone here), and “The Weary Kind” from Crazy Heart for Best Song. Also, while I’m at it, The Cove for Best Documentary and A White Ribbon for Best Foreign Film. Oh, plus Up for Best Animated Film obviously. And Avatar will win every technological award it is up for. That is all.
ChatRoulette showed up in a Penny Arcade strip about two weeks back and I first heard of it on an adult forum I visit. It being praised as “the ultimate tool in finding anonymous cybersex.” As for OTI getting to the topic first, it’s only natural as it takes awhile for internet meme and trends to hit the mainstream media (assuming they do at all).
Here’s my picks for what I want to win Oscars (as opposed to what will probably win):
Best Picture: District 9
Best Director: Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds
Best Actor: Morgan Freeman in Invictus
Best Actress: Anyone besides Sandra Bullock
Best Supporting Actor: Chris Waltz
Best Supporting Actress: No opinion
Best Original Screenplay: District 9
Best Animated: Up
I have a feeling that James Cameron’s billion dollar behemoth is going to be unsurmountable in Best Picture and Best Director categories though making my picks mere dreams instead of tiny golden statuettes.
I believe the controversy over Nicolas Chartier’s campaigning is that it wasn’t a public campaign. It’s perfectly acceptable for any member of the production staff or actors to take out an ad in a trade magazine or a billboard as everyone knows you’re campaigning for your film and can decide if they want to respond in a similiar or larger display than you. When it’s the private e-mail and correspondence it can be seen as an attempt to collude for votes. (Did I use that verb correctly? Perich? Wrather?)
If Christopher Waltz does not win best supporting actor, would that be considered the biggest upset in recent Oscar history?
Some notable upset wins that in my opinion went to the right person:
Three 6 Mafia (Glad they modernized the best song)
Dances with Wolves (Its win over Goodfellas was an upset, but its more of a 2 beating a 1 in the final four)
Tommy Lee Jones (Ralph deserved it movie wise, Tommy career wise)
Marisa Tomei (Although there was not a clear frontrunner, the dark horse certainly one. Although, nearly 2 decades later, she is a better actress and I can still recite the “I’m a fast cook” and most of the “Slip differential” speaches.
@bob – umm… I think you’ve dated yourself a bit. Oh wait, I know what you’re referring to, so I guess I’m dating myself.
@Open Thread – Best Picture and Best Director should go the Hurt Locker not because it’s the best redo of Lethal Weapon since OTI pointed out. Rather, there’s nothing that drives an egotistical arse crazier than having his ex-wife kick his ass professionally. For those of you that haven’t heard Katheryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) was married to James Cameron (some blue kitty flick) from 1989 to 1991. She has crushed him at the BAFTA, the Director’s guild and other award ceremonies.
Maybe, just maybe, his crushed ego will spare us more tripe.
Seriously, the best movie out of all of this would be the real life story of Bigelow and Cameron, Act 1 would be marriage and end in divorce, Act 2 would be professional competition and conflict with a cameo from Jamie Lee Curtis – Bigelow’s “Blue Steel” (1989) and Cameron’s “True Lies” (1994). 3rd Act would open as Cameron losing to Bigelow at the Oscars. He’d break a la Truman Capote and be loved by all, but never able to make another film. Bigelow would continue on directing but future films would be more deep, less financially rewarding.
GO District 9!
@Darin – Just curious, how was I dating myself? Looks back – hmm, those are all old references, although most came out when I was in Grammer school.
Also – would love to see the Bigelow/Cameron movie. Anyone else think they have a Bay/Bruckheimer relationship. Cameron is a lot of flash while Bigelow has more heart (The Reality Series Bruckheimer, not the motion picture).
Also – I agree Hurt Locker should win the Best Picture. Personally I think that Avatar has less gravitas story wise than The Matrix but is getting a lot more kudos for esentially making the same motion picture leap forward The Matrix it.
Okay: let’s play.
SHOULD WIN: Bearing in mind that I haven’t yet seen Precious or A Serious Man, I guess I’ll say District 9. Really I wasn’t particularly taken with any of the eight nominees I saw.
WILL WIN: I was going to say Avatar, but now my money’s on Hurt Locker.
Actor in a Leading Role.
SHOULD WIN: Jeff Bridges. Flawless performance. Love.
WILL WIN: Jeff Bridges, hooray!
Actor in a Supporting Role.
SHOULD: Christoph Waltz.
WILL: Christoph Waltz.
Actress in a Leading Role.
SHOULD: Carey Mulligan? Sure, why not.
WILL: Meryl. (Although I guess I wouldn’t be surprised by Bullock, who was surprisingly decent in a horrendous movie.)
Actress in a Supporting Role.
SHOULD: I don’t know, I haven’t seen Precious. None of the other, non-Mo’Nique actresses are popping out at me, though.
WILL: Apparently Mo’Nique has this one in the bag.
SHOULD: Fantastic Mr. Fox, by far. (Although I really want to see The Secret of Kells now…)
WILL: Up. (Blah.)
SHOULD: Well, I haven’t yet seen In the Loop or Precious, but I’m still going with Up in the Air. Clever little script, that.
WILL: Hmm, hard to say. Let’s go with Up in the Air again.
SHOULD: Having seen neither A Serious Man nor The Messenger, I’ll say Inglorious Basterds.
WILL: I want to say Inglorious Basterds but my gut says Hurt Locker.
I think everybody’s heard that there’s some Hurt Locker backlash going around. But I’ll say for myself, as a soldier who deployed to Iraq and worked side by side with an EOD tech for a year, the Hurt Locker does some absolutely horrible things to the image of soldiers, (and considering its use of the documentary-style filming, its inaccuracies depicting EOD in particular are just egregious). For that, in my mind, it doesn’t deserve an award like Best Picture. Give Bigelow Best Director if she deserves it, since it rewards a mastery of technical craft.
I actually saw almost all of the nominees, except for the Blind Side and Precious. I thought District 9 was the most exciting and most enjoyable. But I think the two that will stand the test of time will be A Serious Man and Inglourious Basterds, with Serious Man winning out. Its cryptic story will reward multiple viewings.
I agree with mlawski that Up In The Air should win best adaptation, since the novel really wasn’t that great.
Overall I’m not excited. It feels like waiting for high school homecoming king or queen. The people I like (the token nerds in the “court”) won’t win anyway, so I’ll probably just turn off the tv and crack a book.
@Brian Williams: I didn’t know that you’re a soldier! (I thought you were an anchorman ;) I’d love to hear more about what you thought of The Hurt Locker. I obviously know nothing firsthand about what it’s like to be an EOD tech, but something tells me that each unit isn’t just two or three guys acting by themselves like lone bomb-diffusing cowboys. I might be crazy, but I was led to believe the armed services were all about teamwork?
A lot of anti-backlashers are arguing, “Well, it doesn’t have to be realistic! It’s just a moooovie!” But I agree with you: films made in documentary-style that seem to be saying “This is the way things really are” need to be held to a higher standard of realism than, say, Avatar or Inglorious Basterds.
The Blind Side is kind of a waste of time, so if I were you I wouldn’t bother with it. Any episode of Friday Night Lights stands heads and shoulders above that silly, white-washed sap-fest. (In other news, everyone should watch Friday Night Lights — the TV show, not the movie. It’s streaming on Netflix.)
@Brain Williams – I too would love to hear your thoughts about Hurt Locker. Having never served, I would love to read the insight. I had a fraternity brother who served as a Ranger with people from Blackhawk down and it was interesting to hear their side.
@mlawski – I think there could be a great debate about documentary-style higher standard. I’m trying to tread light here because I’m not sure if my feelings are best expressed in a few lines in response to a ‘Open Thread’, although I’ve tried several times. For example – both The Hurt Locker and District Nine were shot in documentary style and neither identified itself as a ‘True Story’. Is it the filmmakers responsibility to not show a story in particular style because some of the audience members aren’t sophisticated enough to tell the difference?
Why does a movie like the Blair Witch Project get a free pass when it is shot in documentary style and bills itself as a True Story? Why are documentaries seen as absolute truth when they can be proven as fictional as The Hurt Locker (There are several documentaries on how the Moon Landing was faked, even though you can purchase a high powered telescope and see the landing site from your backyard)
I can understand Brian Williams plight to tell people ‘its not how it really is’ as many people saw the Geeky Star Wars movie ‘Fanboys’ assumed that is how I live my life, even though it wasn’t shown in a documentary style and I don’t own Star Wars sheets. But is this something that can mapped or is it more of a ‘feeling’ – x is okay but y is not?
@bob and mlawski – the d.p. (dir. of photography) and director pick the lens, the style, the way to tell the story visually. If you want people to get connected to the action you shoot documentary style, none of this over-the-shoulder stand-in soliloquy crap that most big names do. If people impute that is a documentary because it feels like one, well… is that good cinematography or trickery? I vote good cinematogrpahy.
@mlawski – My close friend was Navy EOD in a variety of places and went back to Baghdad as State Department. He said two things about “The Hurt Locker” 1st – “pure Hollywood”, 2nd – there’s a protocol for everything and eod teams are eod TEAMS, a lot of the rank-and-file stuff that happens with the grunts disappears because everyone contributes and is onboard. I haven’t see the movie.
@bob – Bob wrote, “I can understand Brian Williams plight to tell people ‘its not how it really is’ as many people saw the Geeky Star Wars movie ‘Fanboys’ assumed that is how I live my life” -> made my day.
MINOR SPOILERS FOLLOW:
Apologize for the long post, but this is a huge can of worms that I’ll try and keep contained. Like Darin said, the depiction of the job was complete Hollywood, but A) I don’t think any job is depicted faithfully in movies, and B) it’s probably not a good idea to show actual bomb-diffusing procedure on film.
So it wasn’t so much the ‘that’s not how it was’ aspect. It was the three military-movie tropes that deserve to die:
1. The Lone Wolf.
2. The drinking.
3. Everyone is a sniper.
Lone Wolf: The choice of an EOD tech to showcase the Iraq War was a brilliant decision. But to then have him ‘play by his own rules’ is to ignore everything that makes these guys who they are. Fail.
Drinking: This is really my biggest problem with the movie. Besides the fact that no soldiers (but turds) drink while deployed, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal. (An unfair depiction, detrimental to the public’s opinion of the military, but I digress…) But again, to have your EOD protagonist get drunk is to have him decompress, when they are on-call 24/7: they _can’t_ decompress. That is what informs his actions, what causes his stress, the destruction of his life. He’s not like us, he can’t sit back for Miller Time at the end of a hard day; once he drinks he ceases to be so alien from us (which was the point of the ending in the cereal aisle). Fail.
Sniper: This is obvious. The entire scene was ridiculous, and as it was 20 minutes long it really weakened the movie. I understand the point was to show them working together, but it would’ve been far more effective to do this with another bomb scenario. They obviously just wanted a cool sniper scene. Fail.
Okay, I’m not a film critic, but yes, I think there is a difference between the faux-documentary device used in District 9 and Blair Witch and the style of The Hurt Locker. The former were Science Fiction/Horror, and nobody went in expecting a true depiction of anything (some folks were fooled by Blair Witch, but whatever).
And I’m not saying THL tries to be a documentary, but it does have a look to it. Not even a documentary look, but definitely a “look at me” quality. And going in, the things I knew about it were: the writer had been embedded with EOD in 2004, the explosions were true to life (and they were BTW), and the uniforms, weapons, etc. were all true to life (true for the most part). Basically, they made a point to get it 95% RIGHT, and made a point to TELL everyone that. But the 5% they got wrong was devastating.
It’s bad, it’s I-will-never-watch-it-again-bad. I’m usually not the annoying military type that rags on war movies. I wouldn’t have a problem with THL, but it’s being rewarded with the highest award possible.
And the real kicker is that it was so unnecessary. It was the Lone Wolf just to have a Lone Wolf, and without an effort to fit him to the setting. I agree 100% with Fenzel’s Lethal Weapon comparison.
Again, sorry for the rant, and I don’t really know how to end this. So I guess I’ll just end it. Um, sorry.
Looking at my post, maybe No. 3 wasn’t obvious, the fact that not every soldier is a sniper. But in THL, one of the guys hits a target at 1000 meters out, at a RUN, with a .50 cal sniper rifle. Thats the shot of a lifetime for a trained sniper, much less some guy that would’ve never done it in his life.
True, EOD carries those rifles. But they’re not snipers, they use them in last-ditch efforts to blow devices. The Army has schools for both EOD and Sniper because they are both special skills, and are both VERY hard. You might as well see him fly a helicopter.
Having him just pick up the rifle and become a sniping master of death makes it a 20 minute deus ex machina. Barf city.
(I worked as a scout-sniper platoon leader, and was security escort for EOD, so I’ve witnessed both jobs.) Okay, I promise not to comment anymore.
on an unrelated note:
someone beat you to your “meta-the-movie” idea
* for who I want to win
** for who I think will win
The Hurt Locker**
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart**
Colin Firth, A Single Man*
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia*/**
Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds*/**
Best Supporting Actress
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker**
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds*
Best Original Screenplay
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds*/**
Best Adapted Screenplay
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9*
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air**
Best Animated Film
Best Art Direction
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus*
Best Costume Design
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus*
The Young Victoria**
The Young Victoria*/**
“Almost There,” The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman*
“The Weary Kind,” Crazy Heart, T-Bone Burnett & Ryan Bingham**
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Visual Effects
That link from Daniel is hilarious, not in the lol cutesy sort-of, but in the true OTI well done spoof.
I expect “Miss March” to be the real upset of the night in terms of Best Picture winner…
Having not seen “Avatar” (yes, I’m that one guy who hasn’t), I don’t know where this pent-up rage I feel towards the film is coming from. It could be that I’ve read and heard enough about the film to form the opinion that it’s all sound and fury signifying nothing (or at least “Smurfs for grown-ups), or the fact that James Cameron looks like an old lesbian now (I expect him to open a New Age bookstore in San Francisco with his life partner Susan any day now) or just leftover residue of unease from the time “Titanic” swept the Oscars and Cameron came off looking like a douchebag, or just an animosity towards big Hollywood spectaculars of late (all flash, little substance save a few exceptions). At any rate, I just hope for “The Hurt Locker”s sake that their bonehead producer doesn’t cost them (yes, you should campaign for your film, but you can’t be *obvious* about it).
I’ve seen three of the best picture noms (Hurt Locker, IB, Up in the Air), and I’m planning to watch Up tonight to get it a nice four-some. If the awards were still five films, I’d be doing better than I have in a long time. Alas, the damn Academy decided they had to go younger and hipper by having…Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin host. I can feel the love already for what will surely be a memorable turn at the podium (I like Messrs. Baldwin and Martin, but I feel like this is a bit like the NFL having the 2/4s Who perform at halftime. Faded glory, etc.).
It’s easy to pick apart what the Oscars do wrong (the “five previous winners making nice with the nominees” was rightfully sent up at the MTV Movie Awards with Ben Stiller’s lifetime achievement award), but if they give Christoph Waltz the Best Supporting Actor I think they’ll get it right.
Actually, re: Marisa Tomei, there was a rumor at the time that Jack Palance actually misread the card onstage, and that she wasn’t the actual winner
Okay, so after viewing that link that was posted above, I have to change my vote for oscar noms. Movie Title for best picture!!! Hilarious!!!
@Valatan – there are two separate issues going on – 1) that Jack Palance read the wrong name (Proven wrong by the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse) and 2) That Marisa didn’t deserve the Oscar (Which helps proponents of #1). I was simply referring to the fact that many people think she didn’t deserve it.
@Brian Williams – thank you for your explanation why you didn’t like it. Personally I loved the sniper scene (In my uniformed opinion it was highly stressful and did a good job of putting the leads out of the element) but while watching it I thought it was totally against type and noticed it stuck out like a sore thumb compared to how the EOD works.