Posts Tagged ‘Avatar’

23 Days To Go Sit Back, Relax, Enjoy Being The Show

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

And so, with 23 days to go, here we sit. Once again, frontrunners emerge with such force that everyone – except Paramount – is laying down and letting it happen to their movies.

Not the least of this are Fox and Summit, who really care… but are just not that interested in spending money on this Best Picture fight… at least, not much money.

And that’s okay.

Warner Bros is now supporting Sandra “Sandy” Bullock’s campaign in earnest… which mostly means paying for her travel, parties, and hair. They weren’t so interested in doing so before she became the co-frontrunner in the Best Actress category. How much of it Alcon is paying for is unknown by this chronicler of Oscar.

Sony has the Statue of Liberty in Meryl Streep… unassailable… unexcitable. The big loss for their awards efforts was Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, which actually is a shame. Their big win was getting in District 9… which somehow has not turned into something that anyone is talking much about.

The Weinstein Company is praying for a shocking upset with Inglourious Basterds swooping in to win Best Picture while the expected duo duke it out.

And Paramount is, indeed, fighting the big fight for Up In The Air, the quietest $80 million grosser with a really well liked star, a fast-rising writer/director, and all the heat you could have coming out of Toronto… which was almost 5 months ago now.

Lionsgate shot their Precious wad in November, their one big move – after Oprah – being the unveiling of a sweet, goofy, charming Gabby Sidibe.

Focus and Sony Classics are very happy to be at the table… again… and would be thrilled to score and animation upset or to win Foreign Language as expected.

And Disney still wants their Up Oscar for Animation… but would seem to have given up on Best Picture… though there is no one left over there to give up. It’s like the bad guys riding into Rock Ridge and finding an empty town that only looks like Rock Ridge.

Anyway…

The media equation for this year’s Oscar season has been interesting. It’s crowded. Way too crowded. But the 10 nominees allowed a much wider spread of “the wealth,” both in stories and advertising gelt.

It’s getting pretty clear that while the move to 10 BP nominees helped keep start-ups in business, things are not as pretty for the Trades and print media that solicit awards advertising aggressively, as just getting ads is not enough… they need high rates. And this year, studios went bargain hunting, even as they were doling out cash.

Meanwhile, on the editorial side, there was near desperation to find some breathing room for stories that could be in any way unique.

The Story has evolved from:

10 Nominees! It’s Gonna Be Star Trek & The Hangover!, to…

It’s Gonna Have To Be Star Trek & The Hangover, Because There Is Nothing Else To Vote For!, to…

Precious! Up In the Air!… Up In The Air! Precious!, to…

We’re Waiting On Eastwood and Harvey Now, to…

Are Nine & Invictus really that bad?, to…

Up In The Air! The Hurt Locker!, Precious!, Inglourious Basterds!, to…

Avatar, really?, to…

Avatar Vs The Hurt Locker… Artifice Vs Art… Big Vs Little, to…

Sandy’s Turn,…

And here we are.

The new spin that Oscarologists are trying to sell is that the races are not as clear as everyone seems to think they are because the counting methodzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

Need I remind everything that there have been two real surprise wins for Best Picture in the last 30 years… Shakespeare In Love and The Last Emperor.

Shakespeare In Love upset Saving Private Ryan, which had been a summer movie against a lighter film about show business folk that was commercially hot as the Oscar season rolled out.

The Last Emperor, a period epic from a legendary director, was relatively low grossing… but not the lowest grosser amongst the nominees in the 1987 race. John Boorman’s brilliant Hope & Glory had that distinction. Fatal Attraction was the big grosser in the group, but wasn’t the kind of movie that ever wins. The rest of the field did some business… but the commercial spread was not massive, from Moonstruck’s $60m when nominated to Broadcast News’ $48m to The Last Emperor’s $25m to Hope & Glory’s $10m.

Did either movie win because it was objectively “better” or more lastingly popular, as we look back? Not so much.

How about Meryl vs Sandra?

The Great Streep has lost to Shirley MacLaine, Geraldine Page, Cher, Jodie Foster, Kathy Bates, Susan Sarandon, Hillary Swank, Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet. Katherine Hepburn, Maggie Smith.

Freaks and career achievement awards.

I’m not diminishing any of these performances. Just saying… the way thinks work at the Academy is not as simple and pure as we’d like to think. As Mark Harris smartly pointed out in a NY Mag story this week, a lot of it is about The Story.

When Streep won her first Oscar, she was the stunning newcomer (freak!). When she won for Sophie’s Choice, she was, amazingly, already getting a lifetime achievement award. (She was also stunning in the role and the competition wasn’t her toughest.)

Who is the big competition, all of a sudden, this year? A lifetime achievement award for a terrific performance.

If you want real surprises, look to the categories that no one much is talking about. What would Mark Boal beating Tarantino for Original Screenplay mean? Could be a signal for Picture or it could be a well-deserved consolation prize.

Film Editing could be a signal category. Perhaps neither Avatar or The Hurt Locker will win. Don’t be too shocked if Sally Menke takes home the gold. It doesn’t mean that Inglourious Basterds is going to win Best Picture. But if Avatar or Locker does win… it could be a signal.

Inglourious could well win Cinematography also, over both front-runners. But if Avatar does win, it would seem to signal an acceptance that the film was not just made by some guy in a computer closet somewhere. If it’s The Hurt Locker, it could also be a signal, but a less well-defined one.

I don’t expect either film to win for Score or Song. If Avatar loses Art Direction, it will be a bad sign for them.

But the “locked in” categories… pretty much locked in. If there are surprises, they will come from the co-front-runners.

I am always surprised by how smart studio folks actually are. They know. They aren’t interested in throwing good money after bad. So we have a very quite Phase 2 upon us.

There was no Great Settling this year because there was nothing much left to settle.

So let’s enjoy the celebration of film. Leave the handicapping to Vegas.

– by David Poland
February 11, 2010

February 2

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
……….……………………………
x
1
The Hurt Locker
3
1
1
1
2
1
2
2
1
3
1
1
1
2
142
2
Avatar
1
2
2
2
1
2
1
1
2
2
2
4
2
1
129
3
Inglourious Basterds
4
3
4
4
3
5
3
4
3
1
3
3
4
4
106
4
Up in the Air
2
4
3
6
5
3
5
5
4
5
4
2
3
3
100
5
Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
6
5
5
5
4
4
4
9
8
4
5
6
5
5
79
6
Up
7
7
6
10
6
8
7
6
5
9
7
8
6
8
54
7
An Education
9
6
9
9
8
7
6
7
7
8
8
5
8
7
50
8
The Blind Side
8
8
7
3
7
9
8
3
6
10
10
7
9
6
52
9
District 9
5
9
8
8
9
6
9
8
9
6
6
9
7
9
46
10
A Serious Man
10
10
10
7
10
10
10
10
10
7
9
10
10
10
21

……….……………………………
x
1
Kathryn Bigelow
The Hurt Locker
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
69
2
James Cameron
Avatar
3
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
1
2
56
3
Quentin Tarantino
Inglourious Basterds
4
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
4
3
4
38
4
Jason Reitman
Up in the Air

2
5
4
5
4
4
4
4
4
5
4
3
4
3
29
5
Lee Daniels
Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
5
4
5
4
5
5
5
5
5
4
5
5
5
5
17

………………………………………..
x
1
Jeff Bridges
Crazy Heart
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
70
2
George Clooney
Up in the Air
2
2
2
2
2
3
2
3
2
3
4
3
2
2
47
3
Jeremy Renner
The Hurt Locker
3
5
4
3
5
2
4
2
3
2
2
2
4
3
40
4
Colin Firth
A Single Man
4
3
3
4
4
4
3
4
4
4
3
5
3
4
32
5
Morgan Freeman
Invictus
5
4
5
5
3
5
5
5
5
5
5
4
5
5
18
……………………………………….
x
1
Sandra Bullock
The Blind Side
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
2
1
1
1
1
68
2
Meryl Streep
Julie and Julia
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
1
1
2
2
2
2
58
3
Carey Mulligan
An Education
4
4
4
5
4
3
3
4
3
4
4
3
3
4
32
4
Gabourey Sidibe
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
3
5
3
4
3
4
4
5
4
3
3
4
4
3
32
5
Helen Mirren
The Last Station
5
3
5
3
5
5
5
3
5
5
5
5
5
5
20
………………………………………
x
1
Mo’Nique
Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
70
2
Anna Kendrick
Up in the Air
2
2
2
3
3
2
2
4
2
3
2
2
4
2
49
3
Vera Farmiga
Up in the Air
3
3
3
4
4
4
4
2
3
4
3
5
3
3
35
4
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Crazy Heart
4
4
4
2
5
3
3
5
4
2
4
3
2
4
35
5
Penelope Cruz
Nine

5
5
5
5
2
5
5
3
5
5
5
4
5
5
21
…………………………………….
x
1
Christoph Waltz
Inglourious Basterds
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
70
2
Woody Harrelson
The Messenger
3
2
2
3
4
2
2
4
3
2
3
3
3
3
45
3
Stanely Tucci
The Lovely Bones
2
5
4
4
3
3
4
3
4
4
2
4
2
2
38
4
Christopher Plummer
The Last Station
4
4
3
2
2
4
5
2
2
5
5
2
4
4
36
5
Matt Damon
Invictus
5
3
5

5

1
5
5
3
5
5
3
4
5
5
5
21
……..……………………………..
x
1
The Hurt Locker
2
1
2
2
1
1
2
1
1
2
2
1
2
2
62
2
Inglourious Basterds
1
3
1
1
2
2
1
2
2
1
1
4
1
1
61
3
Up
3
2
3
4
5
3
3
5
3
4
5
2
3
4
35
4
The Messenger
4
4
5
5
3
4
4
4
5
5
3
3
5
5
25
5
A Serious Man
5
5
4
3
4
5
5
3
4
3
4
5
4
3
27
………………………………………
x
1
Up in the Air
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
2
67
2
Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
3
5
2
2
1
2
3
4
3
1
2
3
4
2
47
3
An Education
4
3
4
3
4
4
2
2
2
3
5
2
3
4
39
4
District 9
2
4
3
5
3
3
5
5
4
4
4
4
2
5
31
5
In the Loop
5
2
5
4
5
5
4
3
5
5
3
5
5
3
25
……….……………………………
x
The White Ribbon
Germany
1
1
2
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
2
1
1
43
Un Prophete
France
2
2
3
2
2
2
2
1
4
2
2
4
2
2
33
El Secreto de Sus Ojos
Argentina
3
3
1
3
3
4
4
4
2
4
4
1
3
4
27
Ajami
Israel
4
5
4
5
4
3
3
3
3
3
5
3
4
3
21
The Milk of Sorrow
Peru
5
4
5
4
5
5
5
5
5
5
3
5
5
5
11
……….……………………………
x
The Cove
Nominees TBD
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
1
43
Food, Inc
Robert Kenner, Elise Pearlstein
3
2
2
1
2
2
2
3
2
1
2
2
2
2
33
Burma VJ
Anders Østergaard , Lise Lense-Møller
4
3
3
4
4
4
3
2
3
5
3
3
3
3
22
Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg & the Pentagon Papers
Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith
2
4
4
5
3
3
4
4
4
3
4
5
5
4
20
Which Way Home
Rebecca Cammisa
5
5
5
3
5
5
5
5
5
4
5
4
4
5
13
………………………………………..
x
Up
Pete Docter
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
1
44
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Wes Anderson
2
3
2
2
2
2
2
3
3
3
2
2
3
3
33
Coraline
Henry Selick
4
2
3
3
3
4
4
2
2
1
3
4
2
2
27
The Princess and the Frog
John Musker and Ron Clements
3
4
4
4
4
3
3
4
4
5
4
3
4
4
21
The Secret of Kells
Tomm Moore
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
4
5
5
5
5
10
……………………………………….
x
Avatar
Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
40
Sherlock Holmes
Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
2
3
2
3
2
3
2
5
5
4
4
4
2
2
29
Nine
Art Direction: John Myhre Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
5
2
4
2
5
1
3
3
3
3
5
3
3
5
26
The Young Victoria
Art Direction: Patrice Vermette Set Decoration: Maggie Gray
4
5
5
5
3
4
4
4
4
2
3
2
4
4
19
The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus
Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
3
4
3
4
4
5
5
2
2
5
2
5
5
3
17
………………………………………
x
Avatar
Mauro Fiore
4
2
1
4
1
2
2
1
3
1
1
1
1
1
36
The Hurt Locker
Barry Ackroyd
3
1
2
1
2
1
1
2
1
2
2
5
2
4
34
Inglourious Basterds
Robert Richardson
2
3
3
2
4
4
3
3
4
3
4
2
3
3
29
The White Ribbon
Christian Berger
1
4
4
3
3
3
4
4
2
4
3
3
5
2
26
Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince
Bruno Delbonnel
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
4
4
5
10
…………………………………….
x
Nine
Colleen Atwood
2
1
3
2
5
3
2
1
4
2
4
2
1
1
36
The Young Victoria
Sandy Powell
5
5
1
1
1
1
1
4
1
1
1
1
3
2
36
Bright Star
Janet Patterson
4
2
4
4
2
2
3
5
5
4
3
3
4
4
24
Coco Before Chanel
Catherine Leterrier
3
4
2
3
3
5
4
3
3
3
2
4
5
3
23
The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus
Monique Prudhomme
1
3
5
5
4
4
5
2
2
5
5
5
2
5
16
……..……………………………..
x
The Hurt Locker
Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
2
1
2
1
2
1
2
1
1
2
1
2
2
1
40
Avatar
Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
4
3
1
2
1
2
1
2
3
1
2
1
1
2
37
District 9
Julian Clarke
1
2
3
5
3
3
4
4
4
3
3
4
4
3
26
Inglourious Basterds
Sally Menke
3
4
4
3
4
4
3
3
2
4
4
3
3
4
22
Precious
Joe Klotz
5
5
5
4
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
10
………………………………………
x
Up
Michael Giacchino
1
1
1
4
3
1
5
1
1
2
1
1
1
2
36
Avatar
James Horner
3
4
2
1
1
2
2
2
2
3
2
2
5
1
30
Fantstic Mr. Fox
Alexandre Desplat
2
3
4
2
4
5
4
5
3
1
4
3
4
3
27
Sherlock Holmes
Hans Zimmer
5
2
3
5
5
3
1
4
4
4
5
4
2
5
22
The Hurt Locker
Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
4
5
5
3
2
4
3
3
5
5
3
5
3
4
16
………………………………………
x
“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)
Crazy Heart
Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
45
Take it All”
Nine
Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
4
4
4
4
4
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
28
“Down in New Orleans”
The Princess and the Frog
Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
2
3
2
3
2
4
3
3
4
3
4
3
3
4
27
“Almost There”
The Princess and the Frog
Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
3
2
3
2
3
3
4
4
3
4
3
4
4
3
26
“Loin de Paname”
Paris 36
Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
9
………………………………………
x
Avatar
Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
44
The Hurt Locker
Paul N.J. Ottoson
2
1
2
2
2
2
2
2
1
2
2
2
5
2
37
Star Trek
Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
3
4
5
5
4
3
4
4
5
3
5
3
3
4
20
Inglourious Basterds
Wylie Stateman
5
5
3
3
3
4
3
3
3
4
4
4
4
3
20
Up
Michael Silvers and Tom Myers
4
3
4
4
5
5
5
5
4
5
3
5
2
5
14
………………………………………
x
Star Trek
Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
1
3
1
1
1
28
The Young Victoria
Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore
2
3
2
2
2
1
2
3
3
2
1
3
2
2
19
Il Divo
Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
3
2
3
3
3
3
3
2
2
3
2
2
3
3
13
………………………………………
x
Avatar
Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
2
1
1
44
The Hurt Locker
Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
1
2
2
1
4
2
37
Inglourious Basterds
Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
4
5
3
3
3
4
3
3
3
3
3
4
3
3
22
Star Trek
Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson, Peter J. Devlin
3
4
4
5
4
3
4
4
5
4
4
3
2
4
20
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson
5
3
5
4
5
5
5
5
4
5
5
5
5
5
12
………………………………………
x
Avatar
Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
29
District 9
Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
2
2
2
2
2
3
2
3
3
2
2
2
3
2
19
Star Trek
Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton
3
3
3
3
3
2
3
2
2
3
3
3
2
3
12

Scott Bowles
…… USA Today
Anthony Breznican
…… USA Today
Greg Ellwood
——–HitFix
Pete Hammond
…… LAT Envelope
Eugene Hernandez
…… indieWIRE
Peter Howell
…… The Toronto Star
Dave Karger
…… Entertainment Weekly
Mark Olsen
…….LA Times


David Poland
…… MCN
Steve Pond
…… The Wrap
Sasha Stone
…… AwardsDaily.com
Sean Smith
…… Entertainment Weekly
Kris Tapley
…… In Contention
Anne Thompson
…… Thompson On Hollywood
Susan Wloszczyna
…… USA Today

January 28

Thursday, January 28th, 2010
.……………………………………
x
1
Avatar
25%
80%
30%
60%
80%
40%
45%
70%
35%
25%
20%
3
3
60%
12
47.5%
2
The Hurt Locker
30%
10%
32%
35%
10%
40%
25%
20%
40%
20%
30%
3
3
25%
12
26.4%
4
Inglourious Basterds
15%
2%
15%
2%
3
10%
10%
5%
5%
30%
15%
3
3
5%
11
10.4%
3
Up in the Air
20%
3%
15%
2%
10%
10%
10%
1%
10%
10%
5%
3
3
10%
12
8.92%
5
Precious
5
5
5
3
3
5
5
6
5
5
6
3
3
5
10
58
6
Up
6
6
7
3
3
6
6
5
7
6
7
3
3
6
10
48
7
An Education
7
7
8
3
3
7
7
7
6
7
8
3
3
7
10
39
8
District 9
8
6
3
3
8
8
8
5
3
3
8
6
26
9
Invictus
9
9
3
3
9
9
8
9
9
9
3
3
9
9
19
10
A Serious Man
8
3
3
10
10
10
3
3
4
6
The Blind Side
0
10
3
9
9
13
8
10
3
6
The Messenger
9
10
1
2
3
Star Trek
10
11
10
10
3
3
Nine
9
10
12
1
1
This is It
10
1
1
……….……………………………
x
Katherine Bigelow
45%
60%
45%
40%
60%
50%
50%
39%
45%
45%
65%
3
3
45%
12
49%
James Cameron 35%
40%
42%
45%
40%
50%
40%
59%
40%
40%
20%
3
3
55%
12
42.3%
Other
20%
0%
13%
5%
0%
0%
10%
2%
5%
15%
15%
3
3
0%
12
7.1%
………………………………………..
x
1
Jeff Bridges
60%
60%
60%
60%
80%
50%
80%
60%
60%
80%
60%
3
3
90%
12
66.7%
2
George Clooney
15%
40%
35%
20%
20%
20%
10%
15%
20%
10%
15%
3
3
5%
12
18.8%
3
Jeremy Renner
20%
0%
1%
15%
0%
30%
5%
25%
15%
5%
15%
3
3
5%
12
11.25%
5
Other
5%
0%
4%
5%
0%
0%
5%
0%
5%
5%
10%
3
3
0%
12
3.25%
……………………………………….
x
2
Sandra Bullock
35%
60%
40%
40%
55%
45%
45%
55%
40%
40%
45%
3
3
65%
12
47.1%
1
Meryl Streep
35%
40%
35%
45%
45%
55%
45%
43%
45%
41%
40%
3
3
35%
12
42%
3
Others
30%
0%
25%
15%
0%
0%
10%
2%
15%
19%
15%
3
3
0%
12
10.9%
………………………………………
x
1
Mo’Nique
90%
90%
95%
90%
100%
100%
90%
90%
90%
90%
85%
3
3
100%
12
92.5%
2
Other
10%
10%
5%
10%
0%
0%
10%
10%
10%
10%
15%
3
3
0%
12
7.5%
…………………………………….
x
1
Christoph Waltz
90%
95%
95%
100%
95%
85%
90%
95%
90%
75%
3
3
100%
11
90%
2
Others
10%
5%
5%
0%
5%
15%
10%
5%
10%
25%
3
3
0%
11
10%
……..……………………………..
x
1
The Hurt Locker
40%
35%
50%
60%
50%
45%
45%
50%
50%
30%
3
3
50%
11
45.9%
2
Inglourious Basterds
40%
45%
45%
40%
50%
45%
40%
45%
40%
55%
3
3
50%
11
45%
2
Others
20%
20%
5%
0%
0%
10%
15%
5%
10%
15%
3
3
0%
11
9.1
………………………………………
x
1
Up in the Air
80%
65%
50%
40%
95%
65%
55%
50%
35%
55%
3
3
70%
11
60%
2
Precious
10%
25%
30%
60%
5%
25%
40%
30%
30%
5%
3
3
30%
11
26.4%
2
Others
10%
10%
20%
0%
0%
10%
5%
20%
35%
40%
3
3
0%
11
13.6%

Scott Bowles
…… USA Today
Anthony Breznican
…… USA Today
Greg Ellwood
——–HitFix
Pete Hammond
…… LAT Envelope
Eugene Hernandez
…… indieWIRE
Peter Howell
…… The Toronto Star
Dave Karger
…… Entertainment Weekly
Mark Olsen
…….LA Times


David Poland
…… MCN
Steve Pond
…… The Wrap
Sasha Stone
…… AwardsDaily.com
Sean Smith
…… Entertainment Weekly
Kris Tapley
…… In Contention
Anne Thompson
…… Thompson On Hollywood
Susan Wloszczyna
…… USA Today

7 Weeks To Go, Ten Is Good

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

At this quiet moment, between a rock rippling the voting pond and a hard count of nominees, a moment of reflection on the State of The Oscars.

I couldn’t be happier with the 10 nominee thing.

Sure, it has taken an annual narrow race and made it wider, but still narrow. The group of films we talk about as we get close to nominations has been 2 or 3 titles beyond the 5 nominees to come for years. So now, it’s 10 nominees and maybe 14 titles to pick from, most of which are now in fluid 7 – 10 slots, as opposed to fluid 3 – 5 slots.

None of us reallyreallyreally know what will happen next Tuesday morning. After we “experts” have counted out movies like The Blind Side and The Hangover and Julie & Julia and The Last Station, you know what? They could all be in.

Or they could all be out.

And by my accounting… great.

What the 10 has done, so far, is to open up the thinking of distributors about what is possible. The only $100 million movies that seem to still be in play are Avatar and Inglourious Basterds. Meanwhile, tiny films like The Messenger and A Serious Man remain in play. Unexpected films like District 9, Star Trek, and The Blind Side (Pete Hammond is still on the This Is It bandwagon) are still in play.

But it’s more than who is still in play. It’s the shut-down mentality that comes, especially in a year like this, when you only have the five nominees. Precious, Invictus, Up, and An Education would all be sweating nominations a lot more than they are this weekend in a field of five. Would that be a good thing?

Of course, you could argue, “Why not make it 20 nominees?!” And you would be right. No matter how large the group, someone is going to be disappointed to be left out. In the end, all but one of the nominees will be disappointed.

But it’s about celebrating movies. Regardless of why Precious, for example, slipped from front-runner to also-ran, in terms of the win, I love the idea that the film, with all the passion that has been behind it, will be celebrated in some way. And I am not the film’s biggest fan.

I think it really is an honor to be nominated. It really should be a pleasure.

To offer some perspective, I decided to parse our MCN Critics Top Ten Chart as though it was an Oscar nomination vote. Interesting.

First, 24 critics don’t get counted because they voted without numerical preference… which we can’t use for this experiment. That leaves 201 “voters” with a “magic number” for nomination of 19.

The next step is eliminating all ballots without #1 votes. That leaves 52 films from the full list of 239 films. Three film from our Top 30, by average vote, have been eliminated for a lack of #1 votes; Star Trek (#15), The Messenger (#22), and The Road (#28). 27 titles ranked lower than these films are still in play… though pretty obviously, none of them has a chance of being “nominated.” Still, interesting.

And we have our first two nominees; The Hurt Locker, with 35 #1 votes and Up In The Air with 34.

Dropping the lowest ranked films, Enter the Void, Made in the USA, and The Exiles are out, each only having one vote, albeit for #1. But what’s interesting is that the critics who voted for those films will now have their #2 votes included, Star Trek voters, for instance, whose ballots are otherwise out of the system.

That leaves “142 ballots” and a “magic number” of 16.

ROUND TWO – Inglourious Basterds, Up, A Serious Man are “nominated” with #2 votes … but not in that order. Because of the preferential system, Serious is first in, followed by Inglourious, and then Up. It doesn’t matter much, as they are now in with the Top 5. But if it was near the end, it could mean a lot.

Another 53 ballots are out, leaving 79, plus a percentage of the ballots for films that have already been counted, based on how much over the then “magic number” they got in with.

The new magic number is “14.” And we’re counting all the way to the #3s.

ROUND THREE – This round is interesting, as Fantastic Mr Fox, which is #9 on the other version of our list, has only 8 clear votes. But the percentage rule works in its favor as ballots that were eliminated for the first 5 “nominees” just barely cross the magic number of 14.

Precious, with only 3 clear votes does not… nor does any other film.

ROUND FOUR – 71 ballots still in play… magic number is still 14. Counting to the #4s.

This is where is gets a little wild. With 4 slots left, #15 Summer Hours leaps ahead with 9 clear votes. #12 on the weighted list, Where The Wild Things Are leaps ahead with 8 clear votes, followed by #9 Avatar with 7. #13 In The Loop has 5 clear votes. At 4 clear votes are #8 An Education, #10 District 9, and #11 (500) Days of Summer. And both #7 Precious and #16 White Ribbon have 3 clear votes each.

At this point, the competition for the last four slots comes down to the “leftover” votes from ballots that voted #1 – #3 for films that are already “nominated.”

Getting in are #12 Where The Wild Things Are, #7 Precious, and #15 Summer Hours, and #9 Avatar.

(Phew… that was exhausting to do!)

In this small sample, the 1-7 titles by way of weighted ballots got in. Kinda getting the shaft, #8 An Education, #10 District 9, #11 (500) Days of Summer, and #13 In The Loop.

In any case, it will be interesting. And personal taste aside, I can’t really think of a bad way for The Ten to go. See you Tuesday…

– by David Poland
January 28, 2010

Avatar actor Zoe Saldana

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Avatar actor Stephen Lang

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Page 24

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

Karen Durbin

1 Hunger
2 Hurt Locker
3 White Ribbon
4 Treeless Mountain
5 Precious
6 Bright Star
7 Where the Wild Things Are
8 Private Lives of Pippa Lee
9 Inglourious Basterds
10 Jennifer’s Body
Link to the List

Quentin Tarantino

1 Star Trek
2 Drag Me To Hell
3 Funny People
4 Up in the Air
5 Chocolate
6 Observe and Report
7 Zombieland
8 Julie & Julia
9 Avatar | The Hurt Locker
10 District 9
Link to the List

David Edelstein

1 Summer Hours
2 Everlasting Moments
3 Brothers
4 Fantastic Mr. Fox
5 Tyson
6 A Serious Man
7 Coraline
8 In the Loop
9 Food Inc
10 The Hurt Locker
Link to the List

J. Hoberman

1 The Hurt Locker
2 Hunger
3 Police, Adjective
4 I’m Gonna Explode
5 Coraline
6 The Sun
7 Beaches of Agnes
8 The Headless Woman
9 Inglourious Basterds
10 Red Cliff
Link to the List

TC Kirkham

1 Astroboy
2 Avatar
3 Departures
4 (500) Days of SUmmer
5 Julie & Julia
6 New York, I Love You
7 9 | Sita Sings the BLues
8 Star Trek | Taking Woodstock
9 Up
10 Watchmen
Link to the List

Robert Levin

1 Up in the Air
2 A Serious Man
3 The Hurt Locker
4 Of Time and the City
5 Avatar
6 The Messenger
7 The COve
8 Up
9 Sin Nombre
10 Big Fan
Link to the List

Geoff Berkshire

1 Precious
2 Up in the Air
3 Summer Hours
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 Where the Wild Things Are
6 Ponyo
7 Moon
8 Sugar
9 A Single Man
10 Funny People
Link to the List

Irv Slifkin

1 A Serious Man
2 Taking Woodstock
3 Avatar
4 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
5 Fantastic Mr. Fox
6 Hurt Locker
7 (500) Days of Summer
8 The Hangover
9 In the Loop
10 Sugar

Geoff Berkshire | Karen Durbin | David Edelstein | J. Hoberman | TC Kirkham | Robert Levin | Irv Slifkin | Quentin Tarantino

Page 23

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

Betsy Pickle

1 That Evening Sun
2 Up in the Air
3 (500) Days of SUmmer
4 Avatar
5 The Messenger
6 Inglourious Basterds
7 In the Loop
8 Bright Star
9 An Education
10 Julie & Julia
Link to the List

Al Alexander

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 Up in the Air
3 Up
4 In the Loop
5 The Hurt Locker
6 The Messenger
7 (500) Days of SUmmer
8 Food Inc
9 Baader Meinhof Complex
10 Coraline
Link to the List

Jen Yamato

1 Beaches of Agnes
2 Fantastic Mr. Fox
3 Up
4 The Hurt Locker
5 Bronson
6 Where the Wild Things Are
7 The Messenger
8 An Education
9 District 9
10 (500) Days of Summer
Link to the List

Jennifer Merin

1 An Education
2 Beaches of Agnes
3 Bright Star
4 The Cove
5 District 9
6 Fantastic Mr. Fox
7 The Hurt Locker
8 The Messenger
9 Precious
10 Up in the Air
Link to the List

Susan Granger

1 Avatar
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 Invictus
5 Julie & Julia
6 Nine
7 Star Trek
8 The Blind Side
9 Up
10 Up in the AIr
Link to the List

Tricia Olszewski

1 Up
2 Inglourious Basterds
3 Up in the Air
4 Paranormal Activity
5 Coraline
6 Adventureland
7 World’s Greatest Dad
8 The Hurt Locker
9 Food, Inc
10 Sherlock Holmes
Link to the List

Ann Lewinson

1 Gomorrah
2 An Education
3 The White Ribbon
4 A Serious Man
5 Hunger
6 District 9
7 The Single Man
8 The Hurt Locker
9 The Limits of Control
10 Princess & the Frog
Link to the List

Jette Kernion
AWFJ

1 A Serious Man
2 Bronson
3 World’s Greatest Dad
4 Coraline
5 St. Nick
6 A Town Called Panic
7 District 9
8 Fantastic Mr. Fox
9 Up in the Air
10 Inglourious Basterds
Link to the List

Marjorie Baumgarten

1 Where the Wild Things Are
2 The Beaches of Agnes
3 A Single Man
4 A Serious Man
5 The Hurt Locker
6 Summer Hours
7 An Education
8 Up
9 Antichrist
10 Bright Star
Link to the List

Katey Rich

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 Up
3 In the Loop
4 Star Trek
5 A Serious Man
6 Avatar
7 The White Ribbon
8 Fantastic Mr. Fox
9 Sugar
10 Duplicity

Al Alexander | Marjorie Baumgarten | Susan Granger | Jette Kernion | Ann Lewinson | Jennifer Merin | Tricia Olszewski | Betsy Piickle | Katey Rich | Jen Yamato

Page 22

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

Nell Minow
AWFJ

1 Up in the Air
2 Where the Wild Things Are
3 Precious
4 Fantastic Mr. Fox
5 (500) Days of Summer
6 District 9
7 Coraline
8 Up
9 Star Trek
10 An Education
Link to the List

Jessica Barnes

1 Where the Wild Things Are
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Moon
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 District 9
6 Funny People
7 Watchmen
8 Star Trek
9 Adventureland
10 Food Inc.
Link to the List

Shelli Sonstein
AWFJ

1 Up in the Air
2 Inglourious Basterds
3 Up
4 The Hurt Locker
5 Precious
6 The Messenger
7 Avatar
8 Zombieland
9 Pirate Radio
10 Bruno
Link to the List

Cynthia Fuchs

1 Back Home Tomorrow
2 Beaches of Agnes
3 How to Fold a Flag
4 The Hurt Locker
5 Living in Emergency
6 October Country
7 Sugar
8 35 Shots of Rum
9 Treeless Mountain
10 24 City
Link to the List

Diana Saenger
AWFJ

1 Avatar
2 The Messenger
3 Bright Star
4 Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
5 Sin Nombre
6 Me & Orson Welles
7 The Cove
8 The Burning Plain
9 The Hangover
10
Link to the List

Joanna Langfield
AWFJ

1 Up in the Air
2 The Hurt Locker
3 A Serious Man
4 Avatar
5 Up
6 District 9
7 Crazy Heart
8 An Education
9 (500) Days of Summer
10 Adventureland
Link to the List

Thelma Adams

1 Up in the Air
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Star Trek
4 The Hangover
5 The Young Victoria
6 District 9
7 Coco Before Chanel
8 Inglourious Basterds
9 Paranormal Activity
10 Up
Link to the List

Rebecca Murray

1 Avatar
2 (500) Days of Summer
3 Up
4 An Education
5 Inglourious Basterds
6 The Hurt Locker
7 The Road
8 Zombieland
9 Up in the Air
10 District 9
Link to the List

Claudia Puig
AWFJ

1 The Hurt Locker
2 Up
3 Up in the Air
4 Sin Nombre
5 Sugar
6 (500) Days of SUmmer
7 District 9
8 Inglourious Basterds
9 A Serious Man
10 Summer Hours
Link to the List

Carol Cling
AWFJ

1 The Hurt Locker
2 An Education
3 Bright Star
4 Up
5 Princess and the Frog
6 The Cove
7 A Serious Man
8 In the Loop
9 Up in the Air
10 Sin Nombre

Thelma Adams | Jessica Barnes | Carol Cling | Cyntia Fuchs | Brandy McDonnell | Nell Minow | Rebecca Murray | Claudia Puig | Diana Saenger | Shelli Sonstein

Page 21

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

Susan Wloszczyna

1 Up in the Air
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Up
4 Precious
5 A Serious Man
6 An Education
7 Zombieland
8 Coraline
9 Fantastic Mr. Fox
10 Inglourious Basterds
Link to the List

David Walsh

1 Everlasting Moments
2 Of Time and the City
3 The Country Teacher
4 Laila’s Birthday
5 Where the Wild Things Are
6 Serbis
7 The Men Who Stare at Goats
8 24 City
9 A Serious man
10 Bright Star
Link to the List

Karina Longworth

1 Silent Light
2 Two Lovers
3 The Girlfriend Experience
4 Summer Hours
5 Beeswax
6 Cargo 200
7 The Limits of Control
8 Bad Lieutenant
9 The Hurt Locker
10 Inglourious Basterds
Link to the List

Mark Jenkins

1 35 Shots of Rum
2 Summer Hours
3 Still Walking
4 The Beaches of Agnes
5 The Hurt Locker
6 24 City
7 The Cove
8 Tokyo Sonata
9 Departures
10 Police, Adjective
Link to the List

Sean P. Means
Salt Lake Tribune

1 Sita Sings the Blues
2 A Serious Man
3 Up
4 The Cove
5 Up in the Air
6 Phoebe in Wonderland
7 The Class
8 Pirate Radio
9 Every Little Step
10 In the Loop
Link to the List

Aaron Hillis

1 Tetro
2 Two Lovers
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 The Hurt Locker
5 Fantastic Mr. Fox
6 35 Shots of Rum
7 You, the Living
8 The Informant
9 Paradise
10 Tony Manero
Link to the List

Caryn James

1 Up in the Air
2 Bright Star
3 The Hurt Locker
4 A Single Man
5 Inglourious Basterds
6 An Education
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox
8 In the Loop
9 The Road
10 Seraphine
Link to the List

Dennis Lim
Moving Image Source

1 Summer Hours
2 The Limits of Control
3 The Headless Woman
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 24 City
6 Police, Adjective
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox
8 Night and Day
9 Liverpool
10 Beeswax
Link to the List

Richard Brody
New Yorker

1 Fantastic Mr. Fox
2 Beaches of Agnes
3 Funny People
4 Two Lovers
5 Gentlemen Broncos
6 Police, Adjective
7 24 City
8 Lorna’s Silence
9 Frontier of Dawn
10 Alexander the Last
Link to the List

Ed Gonzalez

1 Two Lovers
2 Up
3 Julia
4 Where the Wild Things Are
5 The Hurt Locker
6 Revanche
7 35 Shots of Rum
8 Inglourious Basterds
9 That Evening Sun
10 The Window

Richard Brody | Ed Gonzalez | Aaron Hillis | Caryn James | Mark Jenkins | Dennis Lim | Karina Longworth | Sean Means | David Walsh | Susan Wloszczyna

Page 20

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

Amy Taubin
Film Comment

1 35 Shots of Rum
2 The Hurt Locker
3 The Headless Woman
4 Tulpan
5 Tokyo Sonata
6 The Informant
7 Lake Tahoe
8 Police, Adjective
9 The Sun
10 Sugar
Link to the List

Chuck Wilson
LA Weekly

1 Bright Star
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Everlasting Moments
4 A Single Man
5 Drag Me to Hell
6 Police, Adjective
7 Public Enemies
8 The Beaches of Agnes
9 The Messenger
10 Bad Lieutenant
Link to the List

Joe Leydon
Variety

1 Up in the Air
2 That Evening Sun
3 (500) Days of Summer
4 The Messenger
5 Fantastic Mr. Fox
6 A Serious Man
7 The Informant
8 Summer Hours
9 The Hurt Locker
10 Funny People
Link to the List

Gerald Peary
Boston Phoenix

1 The Hurt Locker
2 A Serious man
3 Precious
4 Humpday
5 The Baader Meinhof Complex
6 Lorna’s Silence
7 The Informant
8 Beeswax
9 Up
10 Treeless Mountain
Link to the List

Sam Adams
LA Times

1 Still Walking
2 A Serious Man
3 The Sun
4 Fantastic Mr. Fox
5 Coraline
6 The Hurt Locker
7 The Limits of Control
8 The Headless Woman
9 Two Lovers
10 Crank: High Voltage
Link to the List

Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out Chicago

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 The Hurt Locker
3 A Serious Man
4 Tokyo Sonata
5 The Headless Woman
6 Julia
7 The Box
8 The White Ribbon
9 Public Enemies
10 Summer Hours
Link to the List

Nathan Lee
Film Comment

1 The Headless Woman
2 Halloween II
3 Summer Hours
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 TheSun
6 Next Day Air
7 Adventureland
8 Loren Cass
9 The Feature
10 The Limits of Control
Link to the List

Matthew Wilder
Collider.com

1 Broken Embraces
2 A Serious man
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 The Hurt Locker
5 The Headless Woman
6 Tetro
7 Bad Lieutenant
8 The Informant
9 Night and Day
10 You, the Living
Link to the List

Matt Prigge
Philadelphia Weekly

1 In the Loop
2 Inglourious Basterds
3 Duplicity
4 The Headless Woman
5 I’m Gonna Explode
6 The Beaches of Agnes
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox
8 Sita Sings the Blues
9 Afterschool
10 Crank: High Voltage
Link to the List

Sean Burns
Philadelphia Weekly

1 Up
2 A Serious Man
3 Adventureland
4 Public Enemies
5 The Hurt Locker
6 Two Lovers
7 Where the Wild Things Are
8 Fantastic Mr. Fox
9 Funny People
10 Bad Lieutenant

Sam Adams | Sean Burns | Ben Kenigsberg | Nathan Lee | Joe Leydon | Gerald Peary | Matt Prigge | Amy Taubin | Matthew Wilder | Chuck Wilson

Page 19

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

Whitney Matheson
USA Today PopCandy

1 Fantastic Mr. Fox
2 Star Trek
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 The Rock-afire Explosion
5 Tyson
6 Whip It
7 Humpday
8 Coraline
9 Best Worst Movie
10 Adventureland
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Don Sanchez
ABC-7

1 A Single Man
2 An Education
3 Avatar
4 The Blind Side
5 The Hurt Locker
6 Inglourious Basterds
7 Nine
8 Star Trek
9 Up
10 Up in the Air
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Michael Sragow
The Baltimore Sun

1 The Exiles
2 The Hurt Locker
3 The Class
4 Up
5 Waltz with Bashir
6 Harvard Beats Yale 29-29
7 Bright Star
8 Cheri
9 Everlasting Moments
10 Precious
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George Roush
Latino Review

1 Up
2 Inglorious Basterds
3 The Hurt Locker
4 Precious
5 District 9
6 Taken
7 The Cove
8 In the Loop
9 The Hangover
10 The Mystery Team
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Curt Holman
Creative Loafing

1 Up
2 The Hurt Locker
3 12
4 In the Loop
5 The Damned United
6 District 9
7 A Serious Man
8 Fantastic Mr. Fox
9 Coraline
10 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
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Brandy McDonnell
The Oklahoman

1 Inglorious Basterds
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Up in the Air
4 (500) Days of Summer
5 Precious
6 Fantastic Mr. Fox
7 Up
8 District 9
9 Invictus
10 The Brothers Bloom
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Matt Goldberg
Collider.com

1 The Brothers Bloom
2 Up
3 A Serious Man
4 Where the Wild Things Are
5 District 9
6 Inglourious Basterds
7 A Single Man
8 Away We Go
9 In the Loop
10 Fantastic Mr. Fox
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Brad Schreiber
Huffington Post

1 Coraline
2 Duplicity
3 Moon
4 The Baader Meinhof Complex
5 The Last Station
6 Hunger
7 O’Horten
8 A Serious Man
9 An Education
10 The Hangover
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Clint O’Connor
The Plain Dealer

1 Precious
2 In the Loop
3 Fantastic Mr. Fox
4 Up in the Air
5 Avatar
6 Me & Orson Welles
7 Inglourious Basterds
8 The Hangover
9 The Hurt Locker
10 A Serious Man
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Matt Pais
Metromix Chicago

1 A Serious Man
2 Where the Wild Things Are
3 The Hurt Locker
4 Tulpan
5 Crazy Heart
6 Mary & Max
7 An Education
8 In the Loop
9 The Girlfriend Experience
10 Extract

Matt Goldberg | Curt Holman | Whitney Matheson | Brandy McDonnell | Clint O’Connor | Matt Pais | George Roush | Don Sanchez | Brad Schreiber | Michael Sragow

Page 18

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
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C. Robert Cargill

1 District 9
2 Fish Story
3 Avatar
4 Star Trek
5 Moon
6 Fantastic Mr. Fox
7 The Road
8 Up
9 Taking Woodstock
10 Up in the Air
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Amanda Mae Meyncke

1 Bright Star
2 Inglourious Basterds
3 The Brothers Bloom
4 A Single Man
5 Public Enemies
6 (500) Days of Summer
7 An Education
8 The Hangover
9 Avatar
10 Sunshine Cleaning
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MaryAnn Johanson
Film.com

1 The Hurt Locker
2 District 9
3 The Road
4 The Soloist
5 A Serious Man
6 Bright Star
7 Up
8 Inglourious Basterds
9 Fantastic Mr. Fox
10 The Brothers Bloom
Link to the List

Laremy Legel

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 In the Loop
3 Fantastic Mr. Fox
4 Star Trek
5 Sherlock Holmes
6 Up
7 (500) Days of Summer
8 The Hangover
9 The Brothers Bloom
10 Away We Go