Sunday, September 11, 2011

Early Best Picture Facts, Predictions, & Reckless Predictions

This time of the year is really the kickoff for Oscar campaigning, with various festivals such as Venice, Telluride, and especially Toronto acting as a launch pad for many fall films.  So I thought I would get a head start this year on the Oscar over-analyzing, and start it off with a full-on discussion of the Best Picture race with a few facts, predictions, and reckless predictions.  In the coming weeks, I plan on breaking down some of the other major categories also.   

FACT: No more than 8 films will be nominated for BP this year.  If you’re not a complete dork like me who follows these things, you likely don’t know of the rule change that the Academy made this year, which is that anywhere from 5-10 films can be nominated for Best Picture, but to get in the field, a film must have at least 5% #1 votes (voters rank their BP choices).  This is actually a difficult threshold (the speculation is that last year, at least two films would not have made the BP field based on this criteria).  

As someone who follows the Oscars closely, I’m still not sure what to think of this rule change.  I blow hot and cold.  On the one hand, it’s cool that in years with an exceptional amount of great movies, it’s likely that more movies will be nominated for BP.  On the other hand, what if a film is really good, but a large majority of voters put it at #2 or #3 on their ballot, and fails to get at least 5% #1 votes?  Does it really not deserve to get nominated over a film that isn’t on most voters’ ballots, but that somehow still meets that threshold?

I am indeed predicting that the star of
'Norbit' will do well as host of the Oscars.
Regardless, it’s sort of laughable that the Academy has undergone two significant rule changes regarding the BP field in the past 2 years (the other being the original decision to expand to 10 nominees).  It smacks of instability in the organization, being blown every which-way like this and not standing by their decisions. 

FACT: No animated film will make it into the BP field this year.

PREDICTION: The Help will make a run at some acting nominations, but fail to be nominated for Best Picture.

RECKLESS PREDICTION: Eddie Murphy will stun everyone with his Oscar-hosting gig, and actually be very funny and a refreshing change of pace.  In making this prediction, I am assuming that Norbit was an elaborate joke played on the American public. 

FACT: For the first time in 84 years (and only the second time ever), a silent film (The Artist) will be nominated for Best Picture.

I'm just saying, I think this is
gonna win it all.

PREDICTION: One of these 3 films will WIN Best Picture: War Horse, The Descendants, or The Artist. 

RECKLESS PREDICTION: The Artist will win Best Picture (that’s Babe Ruth calling his shot right there).

FACT: Harry Potter will not receive a Lord of the Rings-style “career” award/BP nomination despite being one of the best-reviewed films of the year. 

PREDICTION: A Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris, will be nominated for BP for the first time since 1986. 

RECKLESS PREDICTION: It will be the last Woody Allen film ever nominated for Best Picture.

FACT: There is a 70-year-old dude who looks like Gollum who has been staring at me with a creepy frown for the past 10 minutes in the coffee shop I am currently in. 

PREDICTION:  The movie Drive is more in play for a BP nom than you think.  It will, at the very least, be in the conversation come January due to critical success and better-than-expected box office.

RECKLESS PREDICTION: The Gollum guy will have a stroke in the middle of the coffee shop if he continues the intense staring for much longer, and I will somehow feel responsible for this.

Don't you dare cross Walter White.
FACT: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Breaking Bad is the best shows on television right now, and in the conversation for best TV show ever.  Season 4 has just been otherworldly good.   This with all due respect to Mad Men, which is neck and neck with it. 

PREDICTION: Many of you will disagree with me on that last fact. 

(Speaking of drug use and violence) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo will fail to be nominated for Best Picture, despite critical success and a Best Actress nomination for Rooney Mara.  Just looks a little too gritty. 

FACT: George Clooney’s The Ides of March will be largely irrelevant in this year’s Best Picture race.  It will not be nominated.

(SAD) FACT: So will Polanski’s Carnage. 

PREDICTION: This year’s Best Picture field won’t hold a candle to last year’s in terms of quality. 

RECKLESS PREDICTION: One of these 3 long-shot films will emerge as a contender upon its release, and be nominated for Best Picture: Moneyball, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Young Adult.  Right now, people in the know about these sorts of things aren’t predicting any of them.

FACT: Transformers 3: The Dark of the Moon will not be nominated for Best Picture, even though they sent out an invite to Academy members for a special screening, specifically campaigning for Best Picture.  Excuse me while I try not to burst out laughing. 

PREDICTION: I have watched twice as many movies in the last 6 weeks as I will at any future 6-week period ever again in my life.  You want the list?  Fine: The Dark Knight, The Lincoln Lawyer, Crazy Stupid Love, Stranger Than Fiction, Source Code, Dog Day Afternoon, The Way Back, Hall Pass, Barney’s Version, The Illusionist, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Syriana, Another Woman, Manhattan, Alice, Kill Bill, Brothers, Heavenly Creatures, Insidious, Naked, Gangs of New York, Limitless, Network, Tangled, Unstoppable, 30 Minutes or Less, Sideways, The Lost Boys, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Win-Win, Our Idiot Brother, The Conspirator, Hunger, Dumb and Dumber, Hot Tub Time Machine, Secretariat, The Fighter, Bottle Shock, Mary & Max, Contagion, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, The Beaver. 

That’s 44 total.  In 43 days.  Judge me. 

RECKLESS PREDICTION: My wife will divorce me upon reading the prior paragraph.  (Actually, that should have been a fact). 


Now that I’ve made some predictions, here is how I see the Best Picture field lining up as of this moment.   My plan this year is to give you an updated chart every couple of weeks or so.  Just remember, I’m probably wrong. 

Best Bets:
War Horse
The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Midnight in Paris

Trying to Separate From The Pack:
J. Edgar
Tree of Life
The Help
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The Ides of March

Long Shots:
Harry Potter
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Young Adult

1 comment:

Emily said...

OK. I my comment is going to be long but I'm going for it.

I feel proud to have assisted in one of the "predictions" by giving you my opinion on The Help. You're welcome.

I'm actually sort of excited about Eddie Murphy. Anything has to be better than last year.

I am SO SO excited for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. So excited. I'm almost as excited for that as I am The Hunger Games. ALMOST.

What did you think of The Beaver? I think I'm going to rent it this weekend.

Out of your Best Picture Predictions, I've read half of them in book form. I'm proud of myself. I'm still skeptical of Sandra Bullock's casting in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close but willing to give it a try.