kottke.org posts about Oscars
Stutterer by Benjamin Cleary won the 2016 Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film and is now available to view online for free courtesy of the New Yorker.
It’s a thirteen-minute movie about a young London typographer named Greenwood (Matthew Needham). Greenwood stutters, to the extent that verbal conversation is difficult. When he tries to resolve an issue with a service representative over the phone, he can’t get the words out; the operator, gruff and impatient, hangs up. (For surliness, she rivals the operator in the old Yaz song.) When a woman approaches Greenwood on the street, he uses sign language to avoid talking. But in his thoughts, which we hear, he does not stutter.
Great little film…my heart broke three separate times watching it.
Not all of them are direct adaptations, but a number of the movies up for Oscars this year were based on books (or otherwise have book versions). We’ve already talked about The Revenant, The Martian, and The Big Short — collectively henceforth known, along with The Danish Girl, as The The Media1 — but I was unaware that Bridge of Spies and Carol were both based on books (Strangers on a Bridge and The Price of Salt, or Carol respectively). As for best picture winner Spotlight, the Boston Globe’s investigative team wrote a book about the events that inspired the movie, Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church.
Chris Rock opened his monologue at the Oscars last night with “I’m here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards” and for the next ten minutes, talked about racism in Hollywood.
Update: As much as I enjoyed Rock’s monologue, I also agree with Stacia Brown’s piece, Chris Rock, Justice for Flint and why we still have ‘real things to protest’.
We still have real things to protest. If water contamination in a U.S. city due to alleged negligence doesn’t call for “real” protest, what does? Disinvestment in the Oscars — especially for DuVernay and Coogler — isn’t a frivolous undertaking. And black performers don’t want equal opportunity just to be considered for awards. In this country, celebrity has always afforded people the platform and the capital to push forward the issues that are important to them. There couldn’t have been a Justice for Flint fundraiser on the scale that they were able to mount without star power. Black celebrity — its acknowledgement and its compensation — is significant.
From as far back as 1927, when the award was for “Best Engineering Effects”, here’s a list of all the films that have won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. Among the winners were Alien (x2), Titanic, Star Wars (x3), Lord of the Rings (x3), Ben Hur, Benjamin Button, Gravity, and The Matrix.
As we gear up for the upcoming Oscars… Ok, let’s stop right there. There are a lot of problems with the Oscars, starting with diversity, but I just love movies. And this review of every Best Picture winner is a fun trip through motion picture history.
Oh, and here’s a look at all of the films nominated for Oscars this year (not just for Best Picture):
There are lots of movies from the past year I haven’t seen yet (The Revenant, Carol, Creed, Anomalisa), but the best 2015 movie I saw was The Big Short. Spotlight and Mad Max were up there as well.
From Star Wars to Life of Pi, this is a video compilation of clips from every movie that’s won the Best Visual Effects Oscar since the introduction of the award in 1977.
Alan Light got himself invited to the Academy Awards in 1989 with full access privileges…he took along a camera and shot dozens of candid photos of celebrities on the red carpet, at rehersals, and at after-parties. Here are Drew Barrymore and Corey Feldman arriving:
Barrymore, 14, and Feldman, 17, were dating at the time. At this point, Barrymore had been in rehab twice for drugs/alcohol and is two months away from a failed suicide attempt. Light also got photos of Lucille Ball a month before she died, Tom Cruise and Mimi Rogers, Mayim Bialik, Jodie Foster (who won the Best Actress Oscar that year for The Accused) and, my favorite for some reason, River Phoenix.
Andy Baio presents his annual look at when the Oscar nominated films get leaked online.
Continuing the trend from the last couple years, fewer screeners are leaking online by nomination day than ever. Last year at this time, only 41% of screeners leaked online; this year, that number drops again slightly to 38%.
But if you include retail DVD releases along with screeners, 66% of this year’s nominated films have already leaked online in high quality. This makes sense; if a retail DVD release is already available, there’s no point in leaking the screener. But I think it’s safe to say that industry efforts to watermark screeners and prosecute leaks by members have almost certainly contributed to the decline.
Posters featuring accurate movie titles for some 2010 Oscar nominees.
Up —> Suck It Dreamworks
Inglourious Basterds —> Inaccurate Trailer
Blind Side —> White Lady Saves the Day
Greg Sloane, who calls the streets of New York home, thinks that Avatar should win best picture at the Oscars.
“I hope ‘Avatar’ wins so they keep it in theaters longer,” he said. “It’s three hours long, so you get more time to sleep.”
Andy Baio is back with his annual report on how many Oscar nominated films have shown up online prior to the awards ceremony (ripped from screeners, DVDs, etc.). For some reason, fewer films have been leaked this year and they are taking longer to show up online.
Are studios doing a better job protecting screeners and intimidating Academy members? Or was this year’s crop of films too boring for pirates to bother with? I can’t tell if this is a scene-wide trend or localized to the Oscars only.
Too soon for that title? Anyway, Hitfix takes an early look at the Oscar contenders for 2010. Among them, Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, Star Trek, Where the Wild Things Are, Malick’s The Tree of Life, The Road, Amelia, and The Lovely Bones.
Whoa, next year there will be ten nominated films up for the Best Picture Oscar instead of the customary five. I’d love to see a statistical analysis of how different the results are between long nominee lists and shorter subsets. (via crazymonk)
Update: It’s not quite a statistical analysis, but a couple of folks have guessed at the impact. First, from Tyler Cowen:
With five entries there are usually only two or maybe three real contenders. Strategic voting is present but manageable. There can be split votes across a particular actor or genre. With ten entries it is much harder to tell which picture will win. Counterintuitively, it might be harder for “odd” pictures to be nominated because they might end up winning. Popular movies like The Dark Knight will win more often because it will be hard not to nominate them (it didn’t even receive a nomination).
From Noel Murray at the AV Club:
With more Best Picture slots open, studios and indies alike could be pushing harder to get their movies seen. What does that mean to you, the home viewer? It might — just might — mean that some smaller movies get longer runs in the big city arthouses, and even end up finding their way into the hinterlands. Everyone knocks the taste of the Academy (and often with good reason), but it’s not like everything that gets nominated is dowdy and self-serious and simplified. And it’s certainly true that plenty of excellent movies contend for the honor of contending each season. More of those excellent-but-low-priority movies may put up more than just a token campaign, and as a result, the average movie fan may become more aware of them, and may even get to see them.
And then there’s this little tidbit from the NY Times:
In all about 300 films were eligible for awards in 2008. Were that to hold going forward, roughly one of every 30 films would become a best-picture nominee.
During the closing credits of the Academy Awards, a clip was shown previewing some movies that will open in 2009. None of them look like they’ll win any Oscars so I presume this was paid advertising and not editorial on the part of the program. Fun though! (via /film)
In a NY Times op-ed piece, Emily Oberman and Bonnie Siegler argue that the Oscars should have a category for the design of title sequences. Hear, hear. Their pick for this year’s hypothetical award:
1. “WALL-E,” Susan Bradley and Jim Capobianco/Pixar. These poignant end titles, which show humans and robots flourishing on a revived Earth, offer a quick history of art, from cave paintings to van Gogh. They then proceed to retell the entire movie, this time in the pixelated style of old video games.
So how’d Nate Silver do with his predictions on Oscar night? He got four out of six, missing Penelope Cruz for best supporting and Sean Penn for best actor. I, however, am one for one with my Nate Silver predictions.
Update: Silver’s postmortem.
Nate Silver, who used polling statistics to predict a clear Obama win in the Presidential election in November, turns his analytical tools loose on the Oscars.
For example, is someone more likely to win Best Actress if her film has also been nominated for Best Picture? (Yes!) But the greatest predictor (80 percent of what you need to know) is other awards earned that year, particularly from peers (the Directors Guild Awards, for instance, reliably foretells Best Picture). Genre matters a lot (the Academy has an aversion to comedy); MPAA and release date don’t at all. A film’s average user rating on IMDb (the Internet Movie Database) is sometimes a predictor of success; box grosses rarely are.
Silver’s “Gamble-Tron 2000 Lock of the Oscars” is that Danny Boyle wins Best Director for Slumdog Millionaire with a whopping 99.7% certainty. I suspect that the Oscars will prove more difficult to predict than the election and that Silver will be wrong in at least two categories. I will report back on Oscar night. (via fimoculous)
Andy Baio has published his annual report on how many Oscar nominated films are available online in pirated versions. A: Almost all of them.
Out of 26 nominated films, an incredible 23 films are already available in DVD quality on nomination day, ripped either from the screeners or the retail DVDs. This is the highest percentage since I started tracking.
A somewhat uneven list of the best films that never won a Best Picture Oscar. As the commenters point out, lots of good films (like Raging Bull & Dr. Strangelove) were missed. (via house next door)
Just a heads up to let you know that a liveblog of the Oscars is going to be starting here in a little bit. Follow along as I follow along, if you know what I mean (and I think you do).
7:44a, Feb 25th: The Oscars are over. 20% of the nominees won. The cat threw up on the rug and Ollie’s a bit fussy this morning. We’ll see you back here next year.
11:42p: Bedtime. Last update until tomorrow morning, when I assume the Oscar ceremony will finally be over.
11:06p: None of the stories on the front page of Digg refer to the Oscars. Unsurprising that they have their heads in the sand on such an important issue.
10:47p: BREAKING NEWS: The program on ESPN2 right now is not Fisting; it’s Fishing. Fishing. Also, 1363 unread items in my RSS reader.
10:28p: Fashion update. Just took off my shirt. It’s hot in here, it’s not just me.
10:08p: Battery life at 31% and dropping.
10:00p: Just checked the movie times at the theater two blocks from my apartment. Juno at 10:50, There Will Be Blood at 10:20, Atonement at 10:30, and No Country for Old Men at 10:15 & 10:55. Michael Clayton is on Movies OnDemand for $4.99 at any time.
9:32p: Is this a good time to go to the movies? Lots of empty seats at There Will Be Blood maybe?
9:07p: My liveblogging outfit this evening: jeans by Banana Republic, long sleeve tshirt by American Apparel, socks by Wal-Mart, boxer shorts by Muji.
8:55p: What else is on right now: The Mummy on Encore, Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Fox Movie Channel, Miller’s Crossing on Encore Action, The Departed on Cinemax, episode #8 of The Wire on HBO, the Masterpiece version of Pride and Prejudice on PBS, Bulls vs. Rockets on ESPN, Godfather II on AMC, and Born Into Brothels is just ending on IFC but Spanking the Monkey starts in 20 minutes.
8:43p: Non-ceremonial bulletin: I’ve turned on the comments.
8:34p: I’m told that the ceremony has started.
7:58p: The Oscars have not started yet.
The Oscar nominations are out. Surprises include Juno for Best Picture and Cate Blanchett for Best Actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, a movie that received mixed reviews at best. And I’m thinking that Daniel Day-Lewis is pretty much a lock for Best Actor, no?
Update: Most of the Oscar nominated animated shorts are available online.
Sorry this is late, but clip and save for next year: how to win your Oscar pool. Short answer: follow the wisdom of the crowds.
A list of 16 genuinely good Oscar-winning songs. As noted in the comments, Lose Yourself by Eminem should have been included.
Andy Baio has a report on Oscar nominated films showing up online. Out of the 34 films nominated in one form or another, 31 have been released online. “The average length of time between a film’s USA release and its first appearance online is 12 days.”
David Lynch, in an effort last month to promote Laura Dern’s performance in his film, Inland Empire, for consideration by the Academy, set up shop on Hollywood Blvd. with a huge sign and a cow.
Bitter disappointing rant from Brokeback Mountain author Annie Proulx about the Oscars. How can you trash the Oscars and then be totally pissed when you lose? Sour grapes indeed.