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David Poland

By David Poland

Oscar – 20 Weeks & Gurus

The notion of prognosticating, which is often attacked by those who have no skill at doing it, is not a science. It is an artistic endeavor. And like all art, there is good and bad … and taste involved.
Oscar prognostication is particularly odd, since we are already well into the period of weaning out the likelies and unlikelies even though a significant percentage of the films that are “in play” have still not been seen by as much as 20% of the Academy membership. Yet here we are, both reading and influencing the process … all the while both blind to statistically significant input from voters and irrelevant to their decision-making in the long run.

The rest…
The rest…

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22 Responses to “Oscar – 20 Weeks & Gurus”

  1. Aladdin Sane says:

    While I think Hairspray is one heck of an entertaining film, I don’t think it’s Best Picture material. I don’t think we live in an era where two musicals will be nominated for Best Pic…either way, if a musical gets in, it’ll be Sweeney Todd (which I can’t wait to see!).

  2. T. Holly says:

    I know boring, and it’s become completely boring. It’s become boring because The Academy hasn’t changed enough. You may as well get out your ouigee board or throw some darts or tarot cards, because that’s how irrelevant and voodooish it’s become. The top 5 thing is meaningless now, it’s dead, after 100 years of making films, “we’ve” become better at making more good movies, and good movies, better.
    Perhaps this can be the tipping year, so I propose a parallel system to begin immediately: 10 noms, 2 awards.
    And a new show: The first Award goes to “me,” speech by me, and the second Award goes to “you,” speech by you. Less filler, more stars and movies.

  3. jeffmcm says:

    T. Holly, would the two awards be divided into, say, Drama vs. Musical/Comedy?
    And I don’t understand your last paragraph at all.

  4. Crow T Robot says:

    The notion of HUCKSTERISM, which is often attacked by those who have no skill at doing it, IS a science. It is NOT an artistic endeavor. And like all HUCKSTERS, there is ONLY bad… and NO taste involved.

  5. T. Holly says:

    No mcm, don’t change the categories, just the number of nominees and winners from 1 out of 5 (20%) to 2 out of 10 (also 20%).
    Down with hucksterism and false prophets. Down with The Academy and their 5 best bullshit.

  6. David Poland says:

    All very witty, Crow… could you actually SAY what you THINK instead of trying to WIN your non-argument on STYLE points?
    Just pissing on things is neither a skill, a science or an art.

  7. T. Holly says:

    Yeah, like me. I’m telling you this “one Oscar goes to movie x” thing is antiquated and cannibalizing it’s inherent value faster than unprotected film is fading.

  8. jeffmcm says:

    T. Holly, now I get what you mean, but your idea would just make the show longer, not to mention diluting the value of each award.

  9. T. Holly says:

    I’ve got it all figured out, here’s the new show: The first Award goes to “me,” speech by me, and the second Award goes to “you,” speech by you. Less filler, more stars and movies.
    Dilute? No, it will elevate the meaning of winning from the current meaninglessness of it. It’s boring beyond belief to witness the circle jerking that has become the Academy Awards. Modern film history requires they change.

  10. jeffmcm says:

    And how does that follow?
    If I win an Oscar, I don’t want to be ‘co-winner’.
    You’re basically pitching a variant of the Golden Globes strategy.

  11. T. Holly says:

    I never said it would be easy and you represent the resistance. This is reform. It’s hard for people like you, granted, to say there are awards for 2 best in each of category X, Y and Z and 10 nominees. It’s not a strategy, it’s recognizing the system is failing everyone: the films, the filmmakers, the actors, the producers, the public and film history itself.

  12. T. Holly says:

    And the prognosticators and The Academy members, who are increasingly looking like buffoons. It’s an artform. No wait, it’s a sport. Uh no guys and gals, it’s meaningless the way it’s going.

  13. adorian says:

    Have all the people in all the critics groups who are going to be voting seen all the movies already? I have heard nothing about Woody Allen’s “Cassandra’s Dream.” Is it still on for 2007? Or has it been bumped into 2008?

  14. bmcintire says:

    Saw the trailer for CASSANDRA before I’M NOT THERE, and the “Directed by Woody Allen” credit at the end got the same gasp that the trailers for MATCH POINT did. I’m actually looking forward to this one as well.

  15. Hopscotch says:

    that trailer blew. my hopes for that movie sank when I saw it.

  16. movielocke says:

    so does this mean that DP is an artist? or an artiste?
    woe is the artist, for he is misunderstood.

  17. “And the prognosticators and The Academy members, who are increasingly looking like buffoons.”
    They’ve always been buffoons it’s just that now there are more avenues to express such buffoonery.
    bmcintire, I remember hearing loud mutterings through the cinema at the end of the Match Point. Especially considering the trailer was in front of a movie that was adult-oriented so there were a lot of people who, I assume, actually knew who Woody Allen was.

  18. bipedalist says:

    Yeah, I might buy your blunt little tool of a line, Kamikaze, if it was true. Fact is, everybody and their brother is now a “prognosticator” – whatever you mean by that. I see a lot of buffoons on the net and I don’t see how you can single out people who predict the Oscars.
    I personally don’t think you have a case, though, not just because I am one (whatever that means) but because I know a lot of them and there is nothing worse or better about them because they focus on the Oscar race instead of, oh I don’t know, kissing the assholes of studio heads with their enthusiastic fan sites?
    I know people like you like to lump them up in a tight little group and flush them down the toilet – I mean, if it makes you feel superior I suppose it was worth it? But this very blog you’re writing on is written by someone who dips into the Oscar beat, as do many other “film writers” on the web.
    But you’re only 22 so I guess I should cut you some slack. Everybody looks like a buffoon to a 22 year-old.

  19. T. Holly says:

    I said they’re buffoons, because apparently The Academy is rigid like Kim Jong-il, and after collectively making films for 100 years, they see no harm in their in their precious rule of 5. The inside prognosticators keep them convinced we’re happy, but we know it’s for fools and their fun for us is in the past.

  20. Noah says:

    Why does ever conversation about the Oscars these days turn into a pissing match, where somebody calls someone else an “asshole” or a “buffoon”? Everyone likes to pretend they know more than someone else, but it’s all a guessing game until the envelopes are opened. However, there ARE people who know enough Academy members to give them an insight into how the voting process is going.
    The big point is this, though: if you don’t like the pronosticators, then don’t read them; if you don’t like the Oscars, then stay out of the conversation. It seems that there are a lot of people who just like to piss on everyone else’s parade when there are some folks who truly love to talk about all things Oscar. The Oscars can’t possibly ruin the enjoyment of watching a movie, so why bother railing against them or the people who make a living predicting them?

  21. T. Holly says:

    Noah, the prognosticators can’t bite the hand that feeds them.

  22. Sorry, I was talking about the “Academy members” looking like buffoons, not prognosticators. I just misread the statement that T Holly made. I love prognosticators. I’m one myself! I meant that the Academy has always made silly decisions but it’s only in this day and age that people can so easily express it. If a bad movie won 30 years ago outside of your little circle of friends you’d never hear about it, but now millions of people can discuss it together and so people seem to have this bizarre notion that the Academy are becoming “irrelevent” when really it’s just there are more people chiming in to say so.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon