March 6, 2010

Oscar Prediction

Doubling the number of Best Picture nominations without doubling the number of Best Director nominations simply predestined five of the ten Best Picture nominees to be Honorable Mentions.

Everybody in the Academy, most of whom are either character actors or technicians, gets to vote on nominations for the ten Best Picture nominees, but only directors get to vote for the five Best Director nods. Since the directors are the guys who most know what they're talking about, overall, I would have to imagine the rest of the Academy would follow their lead in ignoring An Education, Up, A Serious Man, The Blind Side, and District 9.

That leaves Precious, Up in the Air, and the Big 3 of Avatar, The Hurt Locker, and Inglourious Basterds. Harvey Weinstein ought to be able to maneuver Tarantino's movie to the Best Picture Oscar, or he should hang up his Academy-manipulation title. It's Goldilocks's choice: Avatar made too much money ($714 million domestically) and The Hurt Locker too little ($13 million), while Inglourious Basterds made just the right amount for a Best Picture Winner ($121 million).

Moreover, I.G. has all sorts of themes and layers and dimensions to appeal to different constituencies among voters, especially older voters. I would position it against Avatar as the anti-digital tribute to the glories of old-fashioned film stock, and I would position it against The Hurt Locker as the anti-shaky cam, anti-documentaryish traditional, expensive looking movie movie. I would sell it to actors as a film in which Tarantino gives the actors lots of clever lines and then gives them time to show off as if they were on stage. I would sell it to old make-up people, costumer, set designers, and the like as a triumph of traditional crafts, in contrast to "Avatar" employing a million young computer geeks (few of whom are yet Academy voters).

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

40 comments:

biatch said...

Hurt Locker will win because it was made by a woman.

jody said...

it's the least predictable show in years.

although i continue to get a chuckle out of the idea that any industry professional could be said to "know what they are talking about" if they think there was anything exceptional about the hurt locker. everything in the hurt locker has already been done better, multiple times, by better directors, without winning any academy awards. every bourne movie is VASTLY superior to the hurt locker in every way.

the producer's guild award for best picture going to the hurt locker is the biggest WTF in the history of the movie industry. the hurt locker was so good, that not a single producer ON EARTH wanted to pay to give it a wide release? it's like those auto industry awards from the last decade where the latest mediocre vehicle from ford wins "Car of the Year" but everybody on the voting panel drives a BMW, toyota, or volvo.

the hurt locker was decent, nothing more. some good action sequences broken up by boring, below average character development that dragged the pacing of the movie to a crawl. wait a minute, this is just like all of bigelow's other movies! best screenplay? for a movie with no plot and not a single memorable line of dialog? total baloney.

there was not one moment where this movie achieved greatness. i find the lack of discussion of bigelow's other movies to be damning evidence that the experts are actually aware of this. it is absolutely, positively standard to discuss how a master director's latest movie compares to their other movies. this basically never happens when the hurt locker comes up though, because if it did, the experts would be forced to stop pretending that bigelow is some kind of great director, instead of the person who made near dark, blue steel, point break, and strange days. all of which i liked to various degrees, none of which were academy award caliber.

teacher.paris said...

District 9 is finer by far than the nominees. Only one of the bunch I bought and recommended to friends.

SKT said...

Now that's the classic Sailer we all love! Great analysis, and hard to find fault with any of it.

Anonymous said...

Did you put money on IG? It never crossed 15% at Intrade, spending most of its time at 5%, including now.

Glossy said...

I don't think that Inglorious Bastards (I feel degraded whenever I'm asked to misspell things intentionally) will win Best Pic. However, anyone who does think that it will win can make a killing on Intrade if he's right. You can buy IB contracts for 6.5 right now. They will mature at 100 if IB wins tomorrow.

Steve Sailer said...

"Point Break" was far and away the finest surfing bankrobbers film of the 1990s.

Anonymous said...

"Near Dark" was fine movie, also.

Anonymous said...

Just pronounce it Bar-stewards

jody said...

yeah, district 9 is better than the hurt locker. but so were a couple of movies this year. not a strong year for drama, but up in the air was also better.

point break and k-19 remain bigelow's best movies. they were pretty good. the hurt locker was good in some parts, but not in total.

star trek is never academy award material, because it's silly, fun, and totally not serious. but the ironic thing is that star trek 2009 was better than the hurt locker in every way, too. it has better character development, and told the origin story of many familiar star trek characters in an interesting, never boring way. plus all the actors were better, all the acting was better, the script was better, the dialog was better, the music was better, the effects were better. and non-trekkers went to see it, always a sign of doing something right. $250 million in the bank, US.

from out of nowhere, 2009 was perhaps the best year for science fiction ever. i believe this is due to a talent shift, already underway in comic book adaptions, where the best writers, directors, and actors are now interested in making good popcorn movies. a guy like christopher nolan just plain torpedoes the academy, because he's a better writer than anybody writing the dramas which they prefer, but he'd rather write science fiction, which the academy does not want to award.

jody said...

sorry for hogging the thread, but anyway:

the academy has never awarded a science fiction movie with best picture, so it would not be any kind of upset here to give the award to inglorious basterds or up in the air.

cinematography and director should be a slam dunk for cameron though. if this were any other field, science or music or engineering or art, there would not even be a discussion here. the development of, and correct usage of, the 3D camera would be the cinematography award. not only did he invent it from scratch, but cameron has shown how to properly frame and focus the fusion 3D camera so the result is immersive and background information, rather than making it IN YOUR FACE.

many major directors now want to copy this technique. scorcese, spielberg, et cetera. this is THE measure for how important something was. in effect, every director who wants to use cameron's 3D camera is giving him a citation, exactly the same as in science or medicine or music. this is the process used in selecting nobel prizes and grammy awards. nobody is going to copy bigelow's camera work, because all she did was imitate what michael mann and paul greengrass have already been doing with hand held cameras. she didn't even do it as well as them.

the director award would be for cameron's development of the virtual cam, which enabled him to direct the actors as they will appear in the rendered version of the movie. he is the first person to solve this problem for motion capture, a problem which has resisted zemeckis' best efforts for over 10 years. the virtual cam takes the guess work of the acting, so the the director sees exactly what the actors are doing instead of telling them what to do and then hoping it looks right after the computer guys get done animating it. he took the whole process away from the computer guys and put it back into the director's hands.

note again the directors who are now planning to copy cameron's work on avatar: spielberg, scorcese, zemeckis, and plenty of others like jackson, soderbergh, and the widely hated michael bay. come on, it's obvious who the best director was here. although cameron certainly does not need a pat on the back and a golden statue, the academy should try to retain some credibility and award the correct person.

Whiskey said...

I agree with most of what Jody said above. However, I do disagree with the STYLE of Cameron's visuals.

While, yes, his investment (he did not "invent" the useful 3-d camera system, he threw money at talented people and told them what he wanted, lacking a degree in physics, optics, and so on, or even an engineer's understanding of the same) was quite innovative and indeed a leap-frog advance in movie-making ...

His visuals are a crowded Me-too of Lucas's in the Phantom Menace and beyond. While the first Star Wars film was truly mind-blowing in how beautiful and used the future looked like, where real people instead of Logan's Run / Buck Rodgers lived, the beauty and the visuals were never overwhelming. Because Lucas had to use clever models, figures, mattes etc., the focus was on the expressive actors, and the emotion you were supposed to feel following them.

Lucas in Phantom Menace, and Cameron copies this, has immersive stuff that is just ... too distracting. Information overload won't let you process the story. Its too real, instead of the removed reality that allows us to process just a few characters doing things at any one time.

At any rate, my guess is the Academy will vote PRECIOUS all sorts of awards, and the morbidly obese lead actress will never be heard of again.

Weinstein's time was then, not now. He's as over as Rahm Emmanuel, last seen looking for the exits at the Obama White House.

Fred said...

Jody,

The Academy has technical Oscars it awards for inventing a new camera. You don't get best director Oscars for that.

Fred said...

Whiskey,

You underestimate Cameron's technical knowledge. The first thing he did when he rented a movie camera the first time was take it apart and put it back together. He used to read academic theses on special effects.

Sogaristic said...

When did Rock Concerts become complex? Despite the wild and anarchic passions between artists and the audience, the logistics at big concerts are pretty tight, with lots of security people and with everyone with a full grasp of the pecking order: rock stars are gods, the rich folks get the front seats, others get the lawn. It's like controlled barbarianism.

Ah, the good ole days of Woodstock when you could crash the whole event and have fun.

sorryastic said...

oops, my comment about rock concert was meant for the end of silver age topic post.

Caggles said...

http://www.dariusgoeswest.org/

Hey, here's BLIND SIDE or PRECIOUS on wheels. Another Save the Big Black Whale movie.
A white liberal's dream, a site of a big lovable Negro who's in need of compassion and help. Even as liberals say they wanna empower blacks, they have a fetish for black disadvantages.

Steve Sailer said...

"When did Rock Concerts become complex?"

When TicketMaster achieved a monopoly and started adding 30 or 40% in service charges.

Bear said...

I think the extra 5 nominees is all about splitting mainstream votes, increasing the chances for more fanatical fanbases to get their movie to win. Sci Fi fans will split their vote with Avatar and District 9. Women can split their vote with Hurt, Precious, An Education. But Tarantino fans are of course sticking to Basterds. And Jews love that movie as well. So even though Basterds didn't win any awards, it has a better chance here.

Anonymous said...

Steve, have you ever seen the Al Pacino film "People I Know"? It was basically shut out of the theaters. Check out the DVD - it has deleted scenes involving the WTC.

Anonymous said...

IG is also an honorary holocaust movie - which makes it a shoe-in.

-Abe Foxman, mister tolerance,, thinks it should get best pic- a movie about torturing prisoners of war.. I guess i could see why such a movie deserves 'best picture' it shows america's new moral standard

Truth said...

I have two questions:

Does anybody really think that Up in the Air deserves an Oscar?

Does anybody really think that George Clooney can act?

He has to be the most wooden, overrated so-called thespian of our generation. Talk about a guy with illuminati backing, I keep hearing about what a great actor he is and what a sex symbol he is and how handsome he is and I just don't get it. Someone please explain.

Now here's an Oscar contender you guys should take your wives, girlfriends and young sons to.

Dan Kurt said...

re: " Anonymous said...
Steve, have you ever seen the Al Pacino film 'People I Know'? It was basically shut out of the theaters."

Interesting flick. It is the only DVD movie that I own, btw. Bought it because of the internet buzz as I don't go to the movies except when my wife drags me to one such as "Marlie & Me" during which she cried and I slept and I could not find it in a video rental store.

Oh, as to why "People I Know" is an interesting movie:
1) Some how the director manages (Special Effects?) to make Tea Leoni ugly;
2) It was the Hollywood version of "Der ewige Jude."

Dan Kurt

DCThrowback said...

Live odds, from my book that "matches" offers and acceptors from bettors:

Avatar +130 (13:10)
Hurt Locker -115 (10:11.5)
IB +1650 (16.5:1)

The market speaketh.

AmericanGoy said...

"Inglourious Basterds"

This is a joke, right?

Thus snuff film masquarading as entertainment is up for any kind of an award?

What next?

Hostel 3, up for Oscar for best effects - see how realistic this scene of sawing off this guy's hand is, how he screams, how the blood flows? Audiences everywhere love it!

Anonymous said...

The Hurt Locker has heft, a female director, and the fact that it's an Iraq War movie that Hollywood can grudgingly support.

Inglorious Basterds has the holocaust/Jewish angle, Tarantino, its general enjoyability, and the fact that comedies so rarely win Best Picture awards.

Avatar has nothing but its technical merit - and Cameron's already won an Oscar.

Had I an Intrade account I'd put a lot of money on IG (it's trading around 5 right now) for the long-shot, big payoff, then hedge my bet by putting the same amount on The Hurt Locker (trading around 50). If IG wins then you get a 20-1 payoff. If The Hurt Locker wins then your losses are covered. If Avatar wins you lose it all.

Jake P. said...

We watched Hurt Locker on Friday on DVD, and my wife was asleep before the halfway point. I stayed awake, but was so unimpressed that I had a hard time remembering and telling her what happened in the second half. I simply don't understand what all the fuss is about. 97% favorable on Rotten Tomatoes? Really?

Last night, in contrast, we rented Taking Chance with Kevin Bacon. Much, much better movie. Bring a hankie, maybe two.

Tinsel Means Crap said...

This civilization is fading to black. These Oscar Best Pic awards are more proof of this civilization's widening artistic vacuum.

Sure a few old time Oscar Best Picture awards were given to crappy films. But we are on a steady slide to oblivion now. Year after year of forgettable filler is passed off as greatness. Remember: somebody has to win every year. If they had any real artistic standards then they would call off the award when there was simply no film that deserved the award.

America's pop art culture is in the ditch. That total piece of crap American Beauty happened ten damn years ago! And it wasn't a blip. It was just another part of the steady downward trend.

We are on a trajectory toward a Soviet level of artistic merit in this society. Which synchs up nicely with the Sovietization of our media.

Mr. Anon said...

Any industry in which Quentin Tarantino is considered one of the leading lights is a putrid sewer. F**k Hollywood and all it's works.

mnuez said...

"Bear", speak for your shallow self. I haven't seen (aside for a few minutes while waiting for "A Serious Man") Inglorious Basterds and I won't see it.

I don't give a damn about the thoughts and feelings of the Jew Haters that populate the right wing blogosphere but so my hatred of Inglorious Basterds isn't on account of any subservient apologetics to them. The movie simply is a disgusting bit of violence pornography that the torture enthusiast Tarantino cunningly thought he could use the Holocaust for.

Against my interests the Holocaust happens to be a big deal on the radar of many Americans and Tarantino saw it as a good canvas for his disease. He couldn't quite have fun at the expense of the Jews (and thank God he didn't pretend to honest sentimentality on BEHALF of the Jews) so he went for revenge flic against the Nazis.

Trust me my man, I'm all for revenge. I regret that Israel chose Weidergutmachung instead of bombing the hell out of German cities in 1952. I'm all for revenge against Nazis and the people who voted for them and supported them. It isn't bleeding heart squeamishness that keeps me disgusted by IG and hopes deeply that it goes away forever by not winning any big awards tomorrow.

I hate IG because Tarantino is an animal, his fans are animals, he used the torture and murder of my family for cheap, perverse, torturous pleasures and because the fact the he could do that testifies to the further whoring out of the holocaust to the special interests of people who weren't there and don't descend from people who were.

Yes, I'm feeling ranty. Tear in.

mnuez

SF said...

I hear you on the rotten political message of Avatar, but doggone, it moved me. The Hurt Locker, and Inglorious Basterds just didn't do it. and IG devolved into farce at times.

Chutzpah said...

I hate IG because Tarantino is an animal, his fans are animals, he used the torture and murder of my family for cheap, perverse, torturous pleasures and because the fact the he could do that testifies to the further whoring out of the holocaust to the special interests of people who weren't there and don't descend from people who were.

LOL

Sam said...

the fact the he could do that testifies to the further whoring out of the holocaust to the special interests of people who weren't there and don't descend from people who were.

So first you're supposed to feel guilty for not caring enough, and now you're supposed to feel guilty for caring too much and taking advantage of it.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Anonymous said...

"Does anybody really think that George Clooney can act?"

Absolutely not. He has smirk one, smirk two, smirk three. That's it.

Anonymous said...

I'll add something I heard Clooney say once, and I have to give him credit for his honesty. He said as a kid he was obsessed with being a celebrity, that as he aged, his goal remained to be a celebrity. He has achieved that.

Anonymous said...

I'll add something I heard Clooney say once, and I have to give him credit for his honesty. He said as a kid he was obsessed with being a celebrity, that as he aged, his goal remained to be a celebrity. He has achieved that.

Several of the kids I knew in high school drama went on to have some bit parts in Hollyweird, but the only one who has earned any lasting celebrity was the single most [overtly] evil child I ever crossed paths with in my entire childhood.

Saw him again at a high school reunion a few years ago, and he hadn't changed a bit.

PS: There used to be some guy at Free Republic, who knew Tom Cruise as a kid, and who said that Cruise was a world class jerk when they were growing up.

Bruce Banned said...

I regret that Israel chose Weidergutmachung instead of bombing the hell out of German cities in 1952.
Too late, the Allies already dit that! Or were you charitably thinking about nukes?

Peter A said...

"Does anybody really think that George Clooney can act?"

Damnit, yes. Go see "Burn Before Reading." He's very good in that. Clooney is a real 1940s-50's style movie star, probably the last one we'll ever have. By your standards Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, and Bogart probably couldn't act either. But audiences don't want a steady diet of Phillip Hoffman and Paul Giamatti, talented as those men are.

Anonymous said...

"Damnit, yes. Go see "Burn Before Reading." He's very good in that. Clooney is a real 1940s-50's style movie star, probably the last one we'll ever have."


I don't agree. There is absolutely no nuance in either his voice or facial expressions. He never seems to be "reacting,"and that is why it seems he is only "acting." And that has nothing to do with being a 40s or 59s "star."

Truth said...

I don't agree. There is absolutely no nuance in either his voice or facial expressions. He never seems to be "reacting,"and that is why it seems he is only "acting." And that has nothing to do with being a 40s or 59s "star."

Totally correct. One thing that most of you gentlemen must understand, and admittedly, it is my cause celebré in life, and I cover it, with poor results, here often, is that we live a world that is almost totally comprised of make believe; very similar to the movie "The Matrix."

As Lenin said, "A lie told often enough becomes the truth."

Of course it's subjective but try these on for size:

George Clooney is a poor actor
George Clooney is not overtly masculine
George Clooney is not physically imposing, particularly roguish, he doesn't strike me as funny, dramatic or versatile, and most of his movies flop miserably.

Here's the kicker: I'm not gay or a woman, but I don't see what is so handsome or sexy about him either, (maybe some female posters could tell me otherwise).

In a nutshell, he strikes me as almost completely average, yet year after year after year, there are articles written about him that describe him as "Hollywood's greatest actor", "A Movie Star with Golden Age Appeal", "The World's Sexiest Man." Please.

Now granted, this is all subjective, but so is saying that Scarlett Johansen is more attractive than Roseanne Barr. Yet I think that most people would agree with me.

I sorry to tell many of you (for, oh, the 132nd time now) but Clooney is the emperor, the MSM is the PR arm/Tailor and you are the fools lining the street.

The most pathetic aspect of all is that you feel that you see the conspiracy SOMETIMES. Case in point; let's take another blank slate of meager accomplishment who keeps getting great jobs, for argument's sake, we'll call him "Barry". You people have managed to turn Barry into the world's greatest Superhero / Arch-villain of all galaxies. Yes gentlemen, on both the left and the right, you are the same people who manage to do this, jumping on cue like trained seals, and then bragging about your IQs.

Now here's the mindfuck, are you ready?

Seeing have the conspiracy doesn't put you halfway to the truth (compared to the people you feel are stupid) it puts you doubly-far away. You can't see the similarity I'm drawing between Barry and Georgie? what a shock!

Barry and Georgie and Boy George, and David Duke, and Hilly, and Jay-Z and many, many others I could name are useful tools for useless fools, and nothing more. But hell, at least they get paid for their buffoonery.

I'm no genius but I can tell a man from a mannequin.