Cleansing the doors of cinematic perception... for a better now

Friday, December 20, 2013

Baiting Oscar: A Handy Checklist for Predicting Nominees

Blue is the Warmest Color will never be nominated for Oscar, though.
The Academy is notoriously unkind towards the female orgasm

The recent glut of 'safe' academy pictures is enough to make me wanna wretch! Sure, I haven't seen any of them, or have I? Is there any real point to a film like Saving Mr. Banks other than to give Hanks and Watson shots at another Oscar each? And what about The Book Thief? Nazi persecution + literacy + freedom of speech? You can't beat it .

What's actually kind of shocking is that this year there are so few period films celebrating movie makers as saints for lifting up the little guy, filling his sails with dreamzzz and/or helping hostages escape, or silent film stars learn to be team players... oh well - maybe they know we're onto them!

The things that win Oscars checklist:

1. Jews / Nazi persecutors

2. Old people with a kooky twinkle in their eye but a sadness too for their lost spouses.

3. A meticulous recreation of an old movie studio (c. 20's-50's).

4. A-list actor/s playing an iconic movie maker, star, or author from an earlier era.

5. An oppressed person with a love of reading or being read to, a reverence for the printed word.

6. Someone (a child or man-child) letting their imagination soar - so we see them imagining as well as what they imagine or dream.

7. Movie-making equated with some sort of divine gift from talented dreamers to a humbled, grateful world.

8. Decades-spanning historical sweep (with stars in old age make-up)

9.  Historical detail/ specific moment in history / injustice: political or social

10. Humble black folks caring/guiding white people

11. Unrequited / doomed love / reticent moping / guilt - one person lost in their alienated mindset

12. Bourgeois memoir / adaptation of classic novel with literary pedigree

13. Eccentric family memoir / celebration of the "little" people (homecomings - holidays, funerals  --allows for multiple past award winners to team up for a script that allows each at least two scenes to grab for some gold)


Saving Mr. Banks - 2,3,4,5,7,9,11,12
The Book Thief - 1, 2, 5, 11
American Hustle - 9, 12
Secret Life of Walter Mitty - 5, 6, 11
The Butler - 8, 9, 10, 11
Wolf of Wall Street -9, 11
Great Gatsby - 9, 11, 12
Inside Llewyn Davis - 9, 8, 7, 11,12
Gravity - 11, 6, 7
August: Osage County - 13, 12, 11, 8, 5
Nebraska - 13, 11, 2, 6
12 Years a Slave - 12, 5, 8
Blue Jasmine - 13, 12 (all Woody is #12), 11, 2
Labor Day - 11, 13, 9, 6, 5, 2, 1
The Invisible Woman - 13, 12, 11, 8, 6, 5, 2
------------------------- --------------------
Predicted Winner: Llewellyn Davis, Gravity or 12 Years a Slave

PS - I haven't seen very many of these, so I may be off in some of the elements. Forgive me... And of course, forgive me if I sound jaded. I'm sure most of these films are very well made, have something deep to say, and court Oscar only as an afterthought. Why not?

As I wrote back in Feb (Salieri Shades), the Oscar usually goes to a cool, termite art film after two bourgeois self-congratulatory "you artists of Hollywood deserve a hand" style prestige pics. The last non-bourgeois winner was The Hurt Locker in 2009, so Oscar is overdue. Hence I predict Gravity, 12 Years a Slave or Inside Llewyn Davis - which are all excused from directly courting Oscar via their auteurs' outsider statuses.

Not to be toooo cynical but I think the Village Voice film critics poll fits into this as well - albeit en verso:

Things that win Village Voice Critics Poll:

1. Youth, disaffected, alienated, mumbling, unemployed - in NYC or LA
2. By an Indie Auteur, established (in the last 20 years)
3. Groundbreaking something or other
4. Experimental edge, editing or film stock
5. Social issues: abortion, divorce, street hustling
6. Contempt for first world society
7. Death
8. Kitchen Sink Realism / Socialism

Her - 1,2,3,4,6
Frances Ha  - 1,2,4,6,7, 8
Inside Llewyn Davis  1,2,5,6,8
Gravity - 3, 4, 7
Before Midnight - 2,3,4, 5,6
Don Jon - 1,2,4,8,5
Upstream Color  - 8,7,6,5,4,
Blue is the Warmest Color -1,2,3,4,6
The Act of Killing -3,4,5,7, 8


  1. Is there a category for Most Easily Blown Off Later? That seems to be a winning characteristic. I liked The Artist, but as Best Picture and Best Actor, they made little to no impact on anything going on now. My favorite two movies, and my favorite from last year, are all Matthew McConnoughey; just saw Dallas Buyer's Club and Wow! Does that movie transcend any and all presuppositions. Mud was a good story told well, with the added grace of Joe Don Baker praying for the death of his enemies, and Killer Joe. Damn. Compare McC in that to McC in Dallas Buyers Club. Can they give an award for getting over oneself and living up to ones potential?

  2. jervaise brooke hamster23 December, 2013

    Merry Christmas Erich, have a great time geezer.

  3. The uniformity of the critics' 'best of' lists seems worse than ever. Movies about the arts and entertainment industries are always popular with filmmakers and critics alike because the protagonists are filmmaker avatars and critics naturally relate to them.

    Then there are the subgenres: a) kids are inspired by movies/books/music, b) young adults try to make it in the big city as writers/filmmakers/musicians, c) early career creative professionals return to their hometown and deal with rubes, d) late career creative professionals try to recapture their inspiration. They're really the life cycle of various kinds of creative professionals, who are all stand-ins for filmmakers.


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