No one needs awards coverage this deep
Also: Predictions in each field as Guy Lodge joins in
Welcome to Oscar Talk.
In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
Today Anne is still up in Park City for the Sundance Film Festival while I'm back home in Los Angeles. We're joined today by Guy Lodge to discuss a little bit of business that dropped this morning, so let's see what's on the docket today…
One more week to get to know the town of Dirt
"Rango" sidles back into theaters for a one week limited engagement.
Credit: Paramount Pictures
With “The Adventures of Tintin” out of the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar race, Gore Verbinski’s “Rango” can breathe a bit as it feels like the field’s frontrunner. In any event, it’s the standout as far as I’m concerned.
In light of its nomination this morning, Paramount was quick to announce that the studio will re-release the film for a one-week limited engagement at the Arclight Hollywood beginning this Friday, January 27th.
A Spaghetti Western animated comedy about a chameleon (voiced by Johnny Depp) who is unleashed from his enclosed glass terrarium only to find himself the (unqualified) leader and hero of the town of Dirt, it is one of the films that is markedly filled with homage this season. It feels like a film lovers' film to some degree, though its charms have also reached into the hearts of the audience at large.
What can we glean from the Oscar nominations about this group of people?
Jennifer Lawrence and Tom Sherak deliver the news to the world at this morning's nominations announcement.
Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
It's been a busy morning. The nominees are out. About a thousand different variations of "it's humbling and exciting" are coming through from the various contenders. And all eyes are fixing on February 26. But as we transition into phase two of the 2011-2012 film awards season, it's worth it to pause and consider what we might have learned today.
Each and every year, the eventual slate of Oscar nominations reflects a number of key things about the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Often they solidify already agreed-upon truths, but sometimes other things are illuminated. It's silly, of course, to be overly reductive and chalk the Academy up as a singular entity. It's a wide-ranging group with a bunch of different perspectives bouncing around within its ranks, but nevertheless, when they get together to tap the year's excellence in this and that, it's an eye-opening experience.
Fassbender, Woodley and Brooks duplicate SAG snubs while 'Extremely Loud' pops up in nine-film Best Picture category
Gary Oldman, an Oscar nominee at last
Credit: Focus Features
The nominees are in and the surprises are few and far between, in my opinion (though others seem to be picking their jaws up off the floor this morning). As I mentioned yesterday, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" caught fire with voters down the stretch and was very much on their lips. The film turned up in the nine-film Best Picture category today, despite being critically disassembled, and that was pretty much the only eyebrow-raiser of the major categories. The film only showed up in one other category: Best Supporting Actor for Max Von Sydow.
"Hugo" led the way with a whopping 11 nominations while "The Artist" wasn't far behind with 10. But what's interesting is that there is a big gap between those two films and the next tier, as "Moneyball" and "War Horse" (which made it into the Best Picture field and was clearly popular throughout, despite its paltry guild showing) landed six each. "The Descendants," meanwhile, landed five (and Shailene Woodley was indeed snubbed, following suit with the indications of SAG last month), as did "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," which was snubbed in the Best Picture field after a really strong guild showing.
10 mentions for Iranian Oscar hopeful, 9 for 'Mysteries of Lisbon'
One last (I presume) set of critics' award nominations before we head into the second stage of Oscar season: the International Conephile Society is made up of over 80 international journalists and film professionals, and that diversity is reflected in the nominations, with "A Separation" topping the list with 10 nominations (including four acting bids, none of them for the superb Sarina Farhadi). I participated in the voting, which probably won't surprise you when you read the nomination tallies for "Weekend" and "Margaret." Full list after the jump.
Declaring final predictions in all categories
Will Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" spin BAFTA crossover and goodwill into multiple Oscar nominations tomorrow?
Credit: Focus Features
How many Best Picture nominees will there be? We don't know. Which of the 10 or 11 films in clear contention for a nomination will get squeezed out? We don't know. How will the tweaks to the Best Picture balloting procedure change the situation over all? We don't know.
The Best Picture category is an odd bird this year. Most probably have the same seven or eight films predicted, but there are a lot of variables flying around in the math of it all that could shift things in an unexpected direction. The Academy got its wish: the mystery is back.
Then there are other elements, like how the final stretch has changed the landscape. "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," for instance, is a film that ended up on the lips of numerous voters in the last days of balloting. The BAFTA nominees, which share some crossover membership with AMPAS, indicated strength for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" that could carry over, which was expected, but then inserted the added interest of "Drive" being a contender in areas we might not have anticipated.
Goodbye, Park City
Spike Lee at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival premiere of "Red Hook Summer'
Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
PARK CITY - The wind-down on my Sundance experience began yesterday morning as I spent most of the day preparing predictions and whatnot for tomorrow's big nominations announcement. On one hand, it's been nice to be here in order to lay off the obsessive Oscar considerations. On the other, it's been difficult to focus on the work at hand here in Park City and see enough movies.
Last night I saw a chunk of Spike Lee's "Red Hook Summer" before feeling a bit under the weather suddenly and having to bail. What I saw I liked but I got the sense it was a bit bloated as things went along. Indeed, I heard from more than a few later that the film could use some tightening, but regardless, from what I did see, it was actually a refreshing piece. It's Lee back in truly personal territory for the first time in a while, and that passion plays out in the filmmaking and that trademark sense of confidence. I can't wait to see the whole thing.
A sense of disconnect comes to light in an interview with playwright Yasmina Reza
(from left) John C. Reilly, Yasmina Reza, Roman Polanski, and Kate Winslet at the Paris premiere of "Carnage"
Credit: AP Photo/Christophe Ena
The notion of man releasing his thinly held guise of civility to reveal the beast within has long been a theme in literature, the stage and screen. The limitations of our societal norms have been explored in stories ranging from “Tarzan” to “The Lord of the Flies” to “Heart of Darkness.” Or, as an example of a tale that illustrates the consequences of clinging too dearly to arbitrarily established rules: “The Age of Innocence.”
To varying degrees all tales ask their protagonists to stretch beyond the boundaries of their self-imposed mental constructs, or the restrictions that have been created for them by the outside world. If they do so with noble intent, or for the sake of a purely held passion (one that is, at least metaphorically, divinely ordained) they become a hero: a Luke Skywalker, William Wallace or yes, even a Rudy. If they succumb to avarice and greed, however, they are tainted and perhaps irredeemably lost.
Also: Spike Lee's Sundance protest, and the craftwork of 'Drive'
I'm the only one of Gold Derby's 31 pundits predicting a nod for Brad Pitt in "The Tree of Life."
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures
You want Oscar predictions? You got 'em. I posted mine last night, and Kris and Gerard's will arrive today, but if that's still not enough for you, Tom O'Neil has gathered the guesswork of 31 pundits (yours truly included) across 14 categories -- more than enough to make you second-guess yourself many times over. With this vast chart of predictions, it's most interesting to seek out the wild-card picks: I'm somewhat alarmed to see I'm the only one stumping for Brad Pitt in Supporting Actor, while you might be surprised to see a few mentions of Charlize Theron in the Best Actress rundown. As for Best Picture, I'm not alone in my "Tinker, Tailor" hunch, while others are plumping for "Bridesmaids" -- and there's no consensus whatsoever on how many nominees there even will be. Browse away. [Gold Derby]
Two days from the announcement, many question marks remain
Michael Shannon in "Take Shelter."
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics
There are three reasons I've chosen the photo to your left to illustrate this post: 1) Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay nominations for "Take Shelter" are two of the fragile limbs I've climbed out on in compiling my final predictions for Tuesday's Oscar nominations announcement (with Kris and Gerard's to follow tomorrow); 2) Michael Shannon's face, staring impassively but uncertainly into the ill-lit darkness, roughly represents where I am with said predictions; and 3) if you look closely, Jessica Chastain's in the background, and since she's in the background of approximately half the films I expect to be nominated by the Academy, it seemed appropriate.
This feels like a tenuous year for predictions, and not just because -- for the first time in Oscar history -- we have the added variable of not knowing how many films will be nominated for Best Picture. In most years, at least a couple of categories feel more or less locked in place ahead of this announcement: this time, we have several major categories where a pair or trio of frontrunners are so far ahead of the pack (Clooney-Dujardin-Pitt in Actor, Davis-Streep-Williams in Actress, Hazanavicius-Allen in Original Screenplay), that the remaining slots, having already acquired the status of mere formality, are vulnerable to surprises.