Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oscar Nominations

So, "the narrative" of this year's Oscar race - because there always is one - is Young vs. Old or, rather, Analog vs. Digital: "The King's Speech," a solid but utterly unremarkable film you could none the less sell, unedited, as the ultimate parody of formula Oscar Bait vs. "The Social Network," a film whose subject matter, editing/directing style and even principal-cast may as well have just stepped out of a flying-saucer as far as much of The Academy is concerned.



That's not to say that it's ONLY between those two films, at least not yet, but that's The Narrative. See also: Christopher Nolan snubbed for Best Director (EASILY the biggest outrage of the year - "Inception" DEFINES "director's movie" the same way "Speech" does "actor's movie") and Daft Punk being shut out of a Best Score nod for "Tron: Legacy" - thus denying TV audiences worldwide the fun of seeing two guys in Power Rangers helmets sitting among the swells in crowd-shots... although it's not entirely surprising, can you imagine The Academy's half-mummified voter-base listening to the tracks, futzing with their player and wondering where all that electronic-distortion is coming from and where the "music" is? Honestly, "Tron" being shut-out of the art and FX categories in general is pretty glaring no matter what you think of the overall film.

Also snubbed: Edgar Wright, Mila Kunis, and probably some more I'll think of later.

30 comments:

Q said...

I never get people who hate on the Oscars. Is it because the subjective aspect of films causes people to become insecure in their own opinion that they are constantly searching for reassurance that when the Oscar or AFI don't provide that they immediately fling excessive amounts of bile on it.

I mean neither the 'King's Speech' or 'The Social Networks' are perfect films they're about as good in two opposite directions (2 films about unremarkable subjects that are flushed out by either focusing on the human element or trying to draw some sort of Shakespearean element from it)

It isn't really that big of a deal.

Q said...

After all, we all know that Toy Story 3's going to win. ;)

TonyCoog said...

I would also say Chloe Grace Moretz for Kick-Ass got snubbed, as well as Kick-Ass in general (it had the best costumes of the year), these are the worst Oscar nominations since at least 2005

jameshayes said...

@ Q

Personally, I've never hated the Oscars, but, this year, Chris Nolan's snub is an outrage.

He was snubbed for The Dark Knight a few years back, but at least that was understandable, being a comic-book movie.

With Inception, Nolan has proven that a smart, intriguing film can be released to a summer audience and still pull in heaps of money - it gave me hope for the future, especially since Avatar's success a year ago was an intellectual outrage in-and-of-itself.

I'm not sure if this was said by Bob or another blogger/vlogger I follow, but it just proves the reason that "Oscar worthy" movies tend to be released within the last 3 or 4 months of the year - many of the people voting for the noms and awards are so old, there's fear that they will literally forget any movie that came out before October.

Everybody knows that Christopher Nolan is a hell of a director. He's a visionary, one of the only young filmmakers today whose work can be compared to the greats of past generations. It truly is a shame that he won't be formally recognized this year for what I would call his masterpiece.

An Oscar win is pretty much as close as you can get to a guarantee that your film will remain in the mind of the public for generations to come. The only reason people remember Kramer vs. Kramer is because it beat out Apocalypse Now for Best Picture in its respective year.

Everyone should see Inception, and it's a shame that chances are it won't have the luxury of having an Academy Award for Best Director to its name (not counting the slim-to-none chances that it wins Best Picture).

That's why I'm mad.

heenleo2 said...

I'm pleasantly surprised to see Toy Story 3 getting a Best Picture nomination. I guess after having snubbed 'The Dark Knight' 2 years ago, they're finally trying to be more diverse in their nominations (admit it, folks, we all thought last year's nomination for Up was a one-timer).

Other than that, I think Ellen Wong really should have got a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her Knives Chau had every reason and opportunity to be unbearably annoying, and yet not only is she adorable, but she steals every scene she's in.

I also wish Scott Pilgrim would have made it to the nominations for best FX, at least.

Other than that, I agree with you, Bob on what you said, especially about the Tron: Legacy score.

Adam said...

That "trailer" pretty much summed up why I find the Oscars so incredibly boring nowadays.

Q said...

@jameshayes

List of Best Picture Winners that people have pretty much forgotten*:

The Broadway Melody
Cimarron
Cavalcade
The Great Ziegfeld
How Green Was My Valley
Going My Way
All the King's Men
Tom Jones
Ordinary People
Out of Africa
The English Patient
Crash
The Hurt Locker

*Highly subjected list of course

Awesome movies don't need any help being remembered. They're awesome.
But as to Nolan's snub, I do actually think that Academy was right in giving Nolan a Writing nod instead of Directing.

To point you to a "smart person that agrees with me" here's AD Jameson

http://bigother.com/2010/08/08/seventeen-ways-of-criticizing-inception/

Inception is not greatly directed, its about an interesting subject that is blandly directed. It's Content not Technique.

Q said...

Wow, I forgot to mention to
"Shakespeare in Love"

There you go.

Caspian said...

I definitely see The King's Speech, The Social Network, or Winter's Bone winning. (Winter's Bones simply because it's the only movie in the running for Best Picture that I haven't seen yet, and that movie tends to be the one that wins it)

I gotta admit... I've come to terms with the Oscars snubbing things in the past, and I've normally been ok with it because I knew it was coming. Just as he was for Dark Knight, I knew Nolan would be snubbed for Best Director this time around for Inception.

But snubbing Tron for Best Original Score just PISSED. ME. OFF. That is a load of CRAP. I probably should have seen it coming, too, but that's just... damn that makes me so angry. I think the literal only reason they got snubbed was because they didn't want Daft Punk to show up in their costumes, as they obviously would have.

In my dreams, Toy Story 3 wins the Best Picture. I can almost just see it happening... but considering that's the one I'm very strongly pulling for, it's not going to happen. Neither will Inception, Black Swan, or True Grit.

Willingdruid said...

I was happy to see Dogtooth got a nomination... but unsurprisingly it was in the foreign films category (because everyone knows films made outside of Amerikkka aren't real films and can't put in any other category).

Arturo said...

Is it just me or is this year's nominee's list very monotone? In almost every other category, you'll find a nomination for King's Speech, Inception, Social Network or 127 Hours.

As much as I wish Toy Story 3 took the big one home (it's high time Pixar wins it), I know it won't. So yeah, go Social Network!

Not that anyone cares but my top 3 of the last year are (descending order) Inception, Social Network and Toy Story 3. Nice to see they all got nominated for Top Honors.

Also, you'd think that Inception would get Nolan nominated...but no. Damn it.

My biggest outrage howerver is TRON Legacy getting COMPLETELY snubbed, not even for the technical awards. That's just WRONG

The Grey Man said...

I second Q's stance on "Inception." Nolan has always been a functional director of fantastic scripts. "Inception" did, admittedly, mark something of a growth spurt for him as a visual director, but he's still a long ways away from Aronofsky, Gondry, or Jonze in terms of contemporary directors. "Inception" was great, and I agree with its nominations. I wouldn't balk at a director nomination, but there are other directors I'd rather see get one over him as well.

I also agree with the outrage over the "Tron: Legacy" snubs. Just sound editing? Really? As opposed to nominating it for one of the very few memorable scores this year and the only one I'd voluntarily listen to when not watching the film? Harumph.

As for best picture, I don't know what I'd put my money on, but "Winter's Bone" is far and away the best film of the year, and will be one of the best of the decade come 2019, so I'm hoping it wins everything but Best Actress (Portman was better than Lawrence). I'm especially jazzed that John Hawkes got a nomination for his performance, I was convinced that he would get overlooked.

So, only one snub outrage and close fields for most of the categories puts this as a good batch of nominations in my book.

Christian said...

Tron should've been nominated for Best Score; Scott Pilgrim should've been nominated for Best Effects; Tangled should've been nominated for Best Animated (not that I think it should win, but it deserves more recognition).

Elessar said...

We like to rag on the Oscars in geek culture (it's gotten to the point where I could probably make a cartoonishly over simplified example of how geeks respond to the oscar noms to match the cartoonishly over simplified example of an 'oscar movie') but can we please remember that they have been getting better?

Less than 10 years ago they gave 11 oscars to a fantasy epic film. Not a sort of fantastic film like Pan's Labyrinth or something like that; A full on fantasy movie with wizards, orcs and giant spiders.

Hell, less than 5 years ago they gave Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actor to a hyper-violent, extremely cynical and disturbing caper film. Even the 10 nominations thing was essentially done for geek's benefit.

So instead of being angry about what didn't make it up, let's be happy about what did? Like see, Inception is up for best Picture and Screenplay? Awesome. And how about Social Network being one of the front runners for best picture? And a movie about lesbian parenting, how about that?

Or to simplify: Cheer up.

Elessar said...

And since I forgot:

And DOGTOOTH is up for Best Foreign? Fucking Dogtooth. Did you SEE that movie? It is mind breaking. Seriously, one of the most unique (and twisted) movies in YEARS. I mean sure, Biuitful is the big front runner for Foreign (which is about what now?) but still. Dogtooth made it into the top 5. Be happy about that.

bobbzman said...

Honestly, it's a good list of nominations. OK, you can always bitch about "snubs" but ultimately they have limited space to work with. So the best you can hope for is that most of the films will be good in the areas they've been nominated for. And (as far as I can tell), that's pretty much what we got.

Willingdruid said...

Also how come Piranha 3D isn't nominated for best makeup?

john said...

ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES RUN BY NARROW-MINDED, INCREASINGLY-IRRELEVANT GEEZERS, FILM AT 11.

Daft Punk getting snubbed, though...dammit. The one time an FM synthesizer other than a Yamaha DX7 is used in a movie score...

Q said...

@John

You probably have to blame the film for that one.

But you know, I guess your right, I mean it's not like the academy would ever nominate someone like, I don't know, a Nine Inch Nails frontman or something like that...oh, wait.

Jonnyp555 said...

Ever since Juno won an oscar I've generally considered it a rule of thumb that the achademy thinks with its anus

KingOfDoma said...

Does anyone see parallels between the argument between Inception and The Social Network and the argument between Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption? The high-concept thrillride with a lot of flashy effects, and the relatively quieter, less over-the-top affair? Not that either is less worthy (coughscrewyousocialnetworkillgladlythrowyoutothewolvestoelevateoneofthebestfilmsofourtimecough), but it kind of speaks to what kind of audience the Oscar nom committee is. (Though I can't help but think that the entire committee is going "eee! We can nominate a film about 'young people' and 'technology' without having to nominate one of those icky sci-fi or fantasy films!")

Pat said...

I'm endlessly annoyed that Daft Punk's score wasn't nominated, but I can understand it. The Academy only wants music that wouldn't stand out if you were to play it in a concert hall. Typical, boring, orchestral.

That's the kind of music that their generation finds memorable.

We're the generation that finds video game music memorable.

Still, while I'm sad that we won't get a Daft Punk red carpet moment, at least there's a possibility that Trent Reznor will have to make a speech. That can't help but be interesting.

And the Academy continues its plan to placate the audience that doesn't "get it" by giving them an additional 5 Best Picture nominations that are effectively meaningless so that they can continue to be short-sighted pricks about every other category.

Frankly, I still haven't forgiven them for "Hurt Locker". I watched that movie hoping that I would see what everyone else thought was amazing about it. I wanted to see why this film was worth not only being nominated, but winning the coveted awards of that year. What I saw pissed me off. If the movie wasn't ultra-topical, political, and directed by a woman that everyone wanted to win that year, it would have been ignored. I saw a movie with essentially the same message but with much more interesting characters called "Jarhead". I didn't love it, but I thought it made its point well and I cared about the main characters. But because it was about the OLD Iraq war and because it was less about the psychological turmoil of combat and more about the psychological turmoil of being trained for combat but not having the chance to use your training, and probably also because Sam Mendes had already won a few Oscars at that point, nobody gave a crap about it. Take a similar theme, update the war, include a lot more violence, and put in a fresh-blood director, and suddenly no one can stop talking about it. It wasn't bad, but not truly worthy of winning. In my opinion, it wasn't even worthy of a nomination.

Wake me up in twenty years when hopefully the Academy will have fewer old people who can't seem to get enough generic war drama and hot-button issues.

Chris Wyatt said...

The two biggest snubs for me was Christopher Nolan for Best Director and Tron Legacy for visual fx.

Daft Punk getting snubbed was lame too, but I expected that to happen, so I was prepared for it, more or less.

But what infuriates me the most is that Tron was overlooked for Visual FX. First off, with the exception of maybe Inception, TRON Legacy was easily the most visually stimulating film of the year... in terms of special effects at least.

But what really grinds my gears is that one of the films that was nominated was the incredibly underwhelming Hereafter. Not only was the movie disapointing, but the visuals were just so... meh. They ranged from generic and bland to just plain crappy. For a film so underwhelming to take the nomination for a visual masterpiece like TRON... makes me loose faith in humanity.

tyra menendez said...

Like best costume always goes to an English period piece, taking place from roughly the 15th to 19th century, usually involving monarchy. Never mind the costuming of something like Hellboy 2 or the Lord of the Rings movies. So, yeah I haven't really cared about the Oscars in a while.

Clayton said...

Not to rage on the King's Speech, but it just REEKS of Oscar Bait. It's a feel-good historical film (set in World War 2 no less) that is mostly about the two admittedly great performances by Rush and Firth and is also BRITISH. Considering how much the Academy leans towards the taste of the fossilized remains of actors it's hardly surprising.

Nolan getting snubbed for the 3rd time is also outrageous. Despite getting commendations from the Director's Guild for Memento, The Dark Knight, and Inception he has NEVER been nominated for Best Director. In all honesty it'd probably because his films aren't pretentious enough for a lot of the Academy.

Kunis also should been nominated for Best Supporting Actress. I'm glad Steinfeld got a nomination, but it SHOULD have been for Best Actress. Scott Pilgrim should have been nominated for Best Visual Effects, but considering its dismal box office record and the obvious generation/cultural gap we can guess accurately why it wasn't nominated. Tron: Legacy also should have been nominated for Visuals as you could cut out Alice in Wonderland and Hereafter with no trouble

Best Picture is probably going to go to The Social Network or the King's Speech. I would like Fincher to get Best Director, Best Actor is going to Firth, Best Actress is Natalie Portman (who is now the #1 reason a lot of people will see Your Highness), Bale is locked for Supporting Actor, no clue for Supporting Actress (though Steinfeld would be nice), Toy Story 3 for Animated Feature, and just guess for everything else.

Silens Cursor said...

We talk about the typical snubs (Nolan for Best Director, Mila Kunis for Best Supporting Actress, Daft Punk for Best Original Score), but what about Edgar Wright?

Yes, I know that Scott Pilgrim wasn't anywhere close to a great Oscar flick (despite the fact it was pretty damned awesome), but Wright should have still been nominated for Best Director or Best Screenplay for that flick. Technically, Wright's one of the most competent and strong directors in Hollywood right now - there's not a wasted moment in Scott Pilgrim, and that kind of technical skill and acumen shouldn't be overlooked.

Q said...

And what about the snub for Kanye West's "Runaway" music video! It has better Ballet than "Black Swan" and better music than "Inception"! I would expect it to get a nod after the glowing review from Mr. White!!!
ARGH!!!! IT'S RIGGED!!!!!! OSCAR BAIT!!!

I sorry but I do find this all to be a bit inconsequential.

First off, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science never post a full list of their members so the assumption that "all the members are OLD!" can not be proven.

Spring Cleaning!

@tyra menendez
Lord of the Rings did win for Best Costume design in 2003, a little late but there you go.

@Pat
The reason "no one cared" about "Jarhead" was that no one wanted to think about war in the early days when we were at war(even though I do agree Jarhead is better). No, the Hurt Locker won because it was safe. The members knew they could vote for the Hurt Locker without a large amount of shit being pour down on them because 1) very few people watched the Hurt Locker before it won and 2) it was a "pro" war film that conservatives wouldn't bitch about. The Academy has gotten a lot more cowardly over the years.

@Clayton
You know what? The term "Oscar Bait" is starting to piss me the fuck off. It's a derogatory term that speaks nothing of a film's quality and only of its subject matter. You know, the same thing you don't want people doing when talking about Sci-fi or Horror films. It's intellectual stagnation. I can produce a list of films that have never been nominated yet are what you would consider Oscar bait. But Oscar Bait is a handy term isn't it when it comes to confirming one's own prejudice. It kills my hope that our generation will be any better than the ones before us because you see in about twenty years from now Oscar Bait will describe the wholly overrated, uber-pretentious indie comic book adaptions, like a "Cry for Justice", or "Countdown" movie with a glassy-eyed techno soundtrack from the Far East Moment and it's going to just as bad then as Oscar Bait is now.

jameshayes said...

@Q

I have to agree with you, although I'm disappointed that Inception wasn't nominated for directing or editing (two categories that, if you asked me a few days ago, would be the two categories I would be POSITIVE it would be nominated for), worrying about it is inconsequential.

I have to say though...the Hurt Locker was pro-war? Sure didn't seem like it to me. It was told from an American perspective...but the main character had serious PTSD issues, and he was bordering on absolutely psychotic.

Q said...

@jameshayes

To people who read too much into these things, a "pro" war film is basically any war film that isn't explicitly anti war. Because by not being against war, the film allows the audience to treat the war like it's a real life action movie and feel consequential catharsis as the brave soldiers foil the plans of their nemesis.

See the Tv Trope "Truffaut Was Right"

As for Inception and editing, I would say that that last dream killed it for that. During that shoot out scene, the film kind of broke down into the old Tony Scott-esque confusing action sequence where you didn't know who got shot and why should you care because they were just some face-less, name-less bad guy.

That one scene probably killed it.

Pat said...

@Q It's not so much that Oscar Bait is a term used to say that a movie is necessarily bad, it just means that a movie that is Oscar Bait will typically be nominated regardless of it's quality. Bad or mediocre films that fit the Oscar Bait quality still find themselves nominated.

Generally, films aren't made with the intention of winning awards. That would be silly. It's easier to make another rom-com. But many times a film that is difficult to market will be released in December with the trailer that pretty much flags it as Oscar Bait. Whether or not it is good is often irrelevant.

Oscar Bait as a derogatory term is directed more towards forgettable "classy" pictures that exploit the Academy's weakness for said films in order to gain notoriety. Sometimes "classy" films that the Academy likes are also good. But when I see an Oscar Bait trailer, I feel less like I'm watching a movie trailer and more like I'm watching a campaign ad.

Movies can be about the things that Oscar Bait tends to cover, but in my opinion, they should just be what they are and stop trying to grasp at notoriety. It seems hollow.