Man, I thought last year was tough. Well, this year is just as bad. Maybe even worse because at least there year there are some really obvious films that ought to walk away with a lot of awards (12 Years a Slave for all the big stuff, Her for stuff like writing, production design and music, Gravity for technical categories), but because Her is “weird” and 12 Years doesn’t pat white people on the back for ending racism in 1962, what should be obvious becomes occluded. Last year, the politics of campaigning mattered. This year it’s less about that and more about the sheer arbitrariness of taste. Continue reading
Archive for the Event Category
Welcome back to another installment of the Ethel Awards, in which I fix Oscar’s past mistakes by sorting out egregious, Academy-committed errors. This year we’re tackling the 78th Academy Awards, which were held in 2006 to honor movies from 2005. AKA the year Crash won Best Picture over Brokeback Mountain, a decision which looked ridiculous by the end of that night, let alone eight years later. (This is why I hope American Hustle doesn’t win Best Picture. It was perfectly enjoyable but entirely forgettable and no one will remember it five seconds after the Oscars end.) Usual Ethel rules apply—the year in question must be at least five years past and wherever possible, I’ve chosen the more deserving winner from the available pool of nominees. Continue reading
2013 was a great year in film. It was a “dart year”, meaning that if you threw a dart, you would hit a movie deserving of recognition and praise. It’s the kind of year where there are no real snubs, simply because there was an abundance of good work, not only from actors and directors, but writers, cinematographers, editors, composers, stylists, and engineers—everyone was firing on all cylinders last year. That said, there will definitely be regrets about the 2014 Oscars within five years. Not all of these movies are going to hold up—in fact, I can already pick four on the Best Picture list that won’t hold up at all: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf of Wall Street.
Three hours, precisely. That’s how long the Golden Globes were. It felt, however, like it took a year to watch the broadcast. Terrible pacing, janky cutaways, and amateur-hour direction bogged down the broadcast, not to mention everyone who won taking dramatic pauses and delivering their thank you speeches in slow. important. actor. dialect. Except for America’s Pretend Girlfriend, Jennifer Lawrence, who was her usual gushy self. (Maybe…too usual? She was so “oh gee me” gushy, it reminded me painfully of Taylor Swift. Jennifer Lawrence: She’s faking it? Discuss.) On the whole, though, it was an okay show. I didn’t think Tina Fey & Amy Poehler were quite as sharp—or maybe we simply knew what to expect this time—as co-hosts, but they still nailed Grade A jokes about George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio, and shaded Taylor Swift in between. Continue reading
The last couple years I’ve actually done fairly well with my handicapping, but this year I am not at all confident in my picks. Too many races are too close, but there’s also a wide disparity between the movies that will win versus the ones that should win. I enjoyed Argo, I like Ben Affleck as a filmmaker and I think he’s developing into one of the most consistent and entertaining American directors, but Argo was not the best movie of 2012. It won’t even go down as the best movie of Affleck’s career. But the politics, they matter this year, even more than usual. With no clear masterpiece to lead the field and critical tastes too evenly spread over too many movies (primarily Argo, Lincoln and Life of Pi) and with Harvey Weinstein shoving Silver Linings Playbook down our throats like it’s something other than a rote, if well-acted, romantic comedy, the Oscar race turned into a dog fight. But it’s almost over. The Oscars are on Sunday, so it’s time for final predictions. Continue reading
It’s been an exhausting award season. It’s a knock-down, drag-out fight in most categories, with very few locks going into the Academy Awards in two weeks (only Anne Hathaway and Adele are locked in at this point). But I think we’ve all felt it, yes? The shift toward Argo, whether motivated by pity for Ben Affleck’s director snub (maybe a little) or that Argo is a movie about film literally saving lives (much more likely) starring beloved character actors (yes, very much), you can’t help but feel that Lincoln has been cut off at the knees and it will be Argo’s night.