Silver Screener: So here we are again, another year, another Oscar race.
March King: And the competition's pretty fierce. It's nice to see a year so evenly matched across the board.
SS: And by evenly matched you mean....
MK: Well I can think of five films I'd be okay with winning best picture, two best actors, three supporting actors, three best actresses, two supporting actresses, two animated features... basically any category you look at I have multiple favorites. That is not a regular year for me. In most years previous I have had decided champions in my mind for every category, but the Oscar season has been quite good to us.
SS: Ok, I would agree with that. I was just surprised to hear you say it! I know you were disappointed with some of the snubs. But of course, now I’m curious to hear your five, two, three, three, two.
MK: Well yes, the omissions have been somewhat surprising in my mind.
|You know what they say, "Unlucky at Awards Ceremonies, lucky at women and men and transgenders and... well you get the point."|
But that doesn't take away from the ceremony. Now we know where the Academy is coming from in relation to the year. And it makes for an interesting demographic of performers and creators, no question. Let's start with writing, shall we? In original screenplay, I have to say Midnight in Paris and The Artist both stand a very good shot of taking the gold.
SS: It's going to be The Artist. I just feel so certain about it. I'd love for it to be Midnight in Paris, but I think overall love for the former will see it win in the Big Four.
MK: Trends do seem to be in that direction. So we move on. In adapted screenplay I have three in mind.
SS: Move on already? What about personal picks, shoulda beens, opinions on the individual nominees?
MK: (laughs) I feel like we're going to be covering Woody and Michel again pretty quickly. Do you have someone else in mind that you'd like to see get it?
SS: ...no. But I wish Diablo Cody was nominated for Young Adult.
|She didn't wake up in time and missed the whole FYC campaign.|
MK: Agreed agreed. I find it a sad omission, one of many. But the more I talk to people on the subject of Young Adult, the more negativity I hear. I disagree, but popular opinion seems to be against her.
SS: I still haven't seen A Separation or Margin Call.
MK: Neither have I sadly. But only so many hours in the day.
SS: Hm. Well, then, adapted. You have three possible winners or three you'd like to see win?
MK: Three I'd be okay with... Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Moneyball, and The Ides of March. And in that order.
SS: Wha--YES! YES EXACTLY! Exactly that order, exactly those three. Hugo and Descendants are waaaaay further down in the quality field.
MK: (laughs) They are. I'm left wondering what was ignored that should have been there... The Help perhaps?
MK: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?
MK: Jane Eyre?
SS: Never saw it. Maybe?
MK: Maybe. While I've never read the book, I have been told that it is the most interesting adaptation of that particular story to date.
SS: Maybe. I wouldn't know. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was a great movie. That's a nomination I'd've liked to see.
MK: Absolutely! Not quite enough love for that film.
|At least he's got his mother's love.|
But none-the-less... Sorkin is a god and Tinker Tailor was just a piece of mastery. I'd also like to see George get some recognition for his quite potent ability to captain the film ship in every aspect of the production.
SS: But we know that's not gonna happen. In my dreams, Tinker Tailor surprises in much the same way Precious did two years ago.
MK: Mmm... that would be a very nice surprise. VFX? I say Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
SS: I can see this being the category where they give a shout-out to the Harry Potter films. It's inconceivable that they haven't won a single award after all this time, and it's not going to be Art Direction or Makeup.
MK: Perhaps, but in my mind Potter doesn't even touch on how perfectly those Apes were crafted. This is one of the few categories that just seems like an easy choice to me.
SS: I’d agree, yes, but sometimes what I think is the best (in this case, Apes) doesn't match the Academy's. Like The Golden Compass.
MK: It's true. No denying, at the Oscars, nothing is ever definite.
SS: And then there's Hugo, which leads the pack with 11 nominations. It's got good chances of winning, too.
MK: Well yes, odds would say it'll take something away from this... but I just feel it's beaten in practically every category.
SS: I see Hugo winning one category, definitely, and maybe two others (besides this).
MK: You're probably right, though it pains me to say so.
SS: You'd even begrudge it Original Score? The music in that movie is magical, in a way few movie scores are. Listen to it coming off an escalator at the metro station...as the buildings start to rise into view...yeah. And in context, it's still great! So let's discuss Original Score and how my love of Alberto Iglesias' Tinker Tailor work is deep, but not as deep as my love of Howard Shore's Hugo.
MK: (laughs) Well no one's denying Howard Shore's abilities. The man is responsible for some incredible stuff. He could win for Hugo, but that's probably the only win I'd be on board with. Still Iglesias did a phenomenal job!
SS: Agreed! My second choice! But HUGO, man! HUGO! It doesn't matter anyway, because this category will also belong to The Artist.
MK: The Artist. Could it really be the powerhouse everybody's painting it out to be?
SS: Yes. It's wins at various Guilds and BAFTAs show strong support within the industry. I don't think it's going to win all its nominations, but it would be foolish not to think the silent movie is going to win Original Score. The music is its only constant aural quality, and while the Vertigo controversy may hurt it a little, it won't be enough to make a difference.
MK: Okay, well then let's talk about this for a second. Hazanavicius constructed something baffling to most modern day audiences. He brought us a silent film... a good silent film (I'm not denying), but still it's a work that... oddly enough... relies on a gimmick. My thought here is, Woody's Midnight in Paris makes us feel similar things... brings us back to the past, makes us want to remember a time we couldn’t possibly know... and he does it all... and in my opinion better... without that gimmick. He just made a great movie. What's funny is we all assume the silent gimmick would weaken any ordinary movie, but in viewing The Artist, people still love the film. But maybe it doesn't weaken a film... maybe people just decided to actually watch this particular one because it was a "new" (old) idea. Something they weren't used to.
SS: Maybe, like anything, nothing can weaken a film as long as the film is actually good.
MK: I can't remember the last "main stream" silent. Maybe Mel Brooks' Silent Movie?
SS: That would be it, yeah.
MK: (laughs) Damn. I guess I'm just wrapped up in Woody love.
SS: I think Midnight in Paris should win Best Pic, but I don't think it's going to happen.
MK: Yeah. But here's to hoping. So let's talk editing for a moment...
SS: Ooh, now that's a category I always have trouble with. Sometimes they go for the action flicks, sometimes they go for the Best Pic frontrunner, sometimes they actually make the right call.
MK: My pick would be Dragon Tattoo. But I'd be happy with Moneyball, The Artist, or even The Descendants. Hugo is the one awkward one for me. The inconsistencies of the editing frequently pulled me out of the movie.
SS: Man, fuck The Descendants.
The editing was part of the tonal inconsistency, flat narrative, and draggy pace. Fuck that.
MK: Yet somehow it made it in over Tinker Tailor... I say they should have given it to Undefeated actually... or is a documentary ineligible for some insane reason?
SS: No, doc is eligible. It just doesn't always happen. The Artist, now, that's the award it should win, no doubt about it. It could’ve lost to Drag Tat or Moneyball, but the editing in The Artist keeps it ebullient, allows it to transition to the more dramatic section with ease.
MK: True. Those three could all take it to me. I guess my dislikes about The Descendants weren't completely based on the editing. I think there were greater woes to that overall film. But anyway... I missed every foreign language nominee... but can't believe The Skin I Live In was ignored. Those had better be some excellent flicks to win out
SS: Most of them haven't been released, I believe. Footnote, In Darkness....limited for Bullhead and A Separation....I don’t know what Lazhar is.
MK: Yeah, it's a shame they never get those out in time for us to see. I feel like I always miss at least two in that category.
SS: Well, generally they're held on purpose so they can use the nomination/win in their marketing. It's much easier for foreign language films to get noticed that way, especially if they're more arthouse fare or don't boast known Auteurs.
MK: Hmm, so the tag "Currently Nominated" wouldn't carry some interest? Like, "Hey guys. If you want to actually care about the awards show, here's an interesting way to do that."
SS: When English-language Oscar nominees are still in theaters? Think about it.
English-language Best Picture nominees?
MK: I am, but January and February are routinely slow months at the movies anyway. Maybe that's the time for films like these to steal a little attention.
SS: Well, A Separation is, and look how that's doing.
MK: But it's such a limited release. Designated to the Laemmle annex.
SS: It would absolutely get killed in a wider market. If our theaters don't have it, it's because our theaters don't want it.
MK: Too bad. I think they'd make more money than they realize.
SS: No. They wouldn’t. Asking the average American to see a movie from Iran? Absolutely not.
MK: Paradise Now got its self an audience.
SS: Paradise Now had more controversial, timely subject matter and A Separation has already made almost twice what Paradise Now made. Paradise Now didn't have an audience so much as it had talking points. as much as I heard about Paradise Now, I don't remember meeting anyone who saw it, or reading any reviews.
MK: It was... not amongst my favorites. (laughs)
SS: A Separation probably won't win anyway, because it's rare that the Big One does.
MK: Ex. Pan's Labyrinth.
SS: It's probably going to be Footnote or Monsieur Lazhar.
MK: But a separation has a nomination for screenplay as well. That's kind of a big deal. Truly rare.
SS: I will give you the screenplay nom. All I know is, when we had Incendies in Boca, we had to avoid discussing the Middle Eastern aspect of the story (which is the WHOLE THING) because to mention a non-Israeli Middle Eastern movie was to mention THE DEVIL HIMSELF.
MK: (laughs) But we're in Hollywood and I've seen surprising movies take off in this market. Honestly it's difficult to know what will make it here. I've seen tiny moves thrive and massive movies flop... hard. The film-going culture is changing
and sometimes it's just worth making an actual push.
SS: If you can afford it.
Sorry folks. We got a little carried away. The rest of the conversation will be up shortly in The Silver Screening Room.