Sunday, November 30, 2008

Some Hopes for the Oscar Season

The Oscar awards season kicked off today in ridiculous fashion with the Satellite Award nominations and the National Board of Review to chime in a couple of day. I haven't seen many of the "Oscar-bait" films (but, then again, who has?!?) but I have a few hopes for the critics groups and awards bodies that will be handing out invitations masked as awards all December long.

1. Put your money where your mouth is and give a "Best Picture" prize or two to The Dark Knight. It will be incredibly easy for critics groups to hide behind a Heath Ledger Best Supporting Actor prize before giving their top honour to something more "acceptable" (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, etc) but if they really want to put a foot down and give their big prize to a summer blockbuster then that would say far more than just giving it to Ledger.

2. As much as I liked James Marsh's Man on Wire and as much as I suspect it will be the almost unanimous pick for critics to hail as Best Documentary (and I'll be happy to see it swoop in and take the Oscar when the time comes, too) but I'd like to see Yung Chang's superior (in my mind) Up the Yangtze rewarded once or twice. Catch up with this beautiful documentary on DVD, please!

3. Please don't let Milk sweep the Best Picture prizes. I'm currently thinking it will win Best Picture and we don't want another repeat of "Black Sunday" do we?

4. I do hope the critics lay off the category fraud this year. Don't give Kate Winslet your Best Supporting Actress prize for The Reader if she's actually the lead. Don't buy in to Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Best Supporting Actor if he's truly a co-lead with Meryl Streep.

5. When honouring Gus Van Sant for Best Director with Milk how about you include one of those "Also for Paranoid Park" things you occasionally do. I do so love that movie and hope somebody somewhere notices it in their awards. Please?

6. Elsa Zylberstein for I've Loved You So Long. Just sayin'...


J.D. said...

#5 is a SERIOUSLY EXCELLENT point. With the two, it really seems to be an excellent year for Van Sant, with one being brilliant and other having the legitimate potential to be BRILLIANT and/or a multiple Oscar winner. But it's sort of hard to beat Paranoid Park?

Boyd said...

Agree with #5 as well; #6... not so much. Claudel for screenplay or even director, fine, but Elsa??!

Cal said...

Agreed on Zylberstein and especially with Up the Yangtze. A gorgeous, captivating documentary. Loved it.

adam k. said...

Am I the only one who was a bit bored with Man on Wire? Maybe it's cause I saw it in a strange little theater in the back and couldn't see very well (especially the subtitles). I dunno.

I don't currently see Milk as a best picture winner, but maybe I'm just not letting myself be so optimistic? It just seems like the typical Ray, Capote type biopic nominee that never wins cause it's all about the central performance. Plus it's just SO gay. Way more gay than Brokeback, no?

But perhaps if Slumdog reads too lightweight and really is the Juno/Little Miss Sunshine of this year (i.e. not the winner), and Button is just too weird and cold for them, Milk will emerge as the emotional, topical, ripped-from-the-headlines winner? Maybe it'll be their penance for Brokeback, and FINALLY the first Best Pic oscar for Focus?

That would be cool. Here's hoping.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I'm not into Zylberstein, but I still say they should fly you into the restaurants where and when these things will be decided. Everyone would benefit.

Anonymous said...

Do these awards that are currently being handed out now include films not yet released up until Dec 31? If they do not then perhaps another film will emerge in the next few weeks. I think Frost/Nixon could be the winner out of all this.

Glenn said...

Adam, you didn't think the story was absolutely fascinating in Man on Wire? The man walked between the Twin Towers! Captivating stuff (but Up the Yangtze was better, thank you Cal).

In regards to Milk being too Ray/Capote like, well Capote was very small... well, you're potentially right about Ray.

Anon yes they do, but I'm personally not feelin' the Frost/Nixon thing at all.

adam k. said...

The story was fascinating, but I found the film's execution dull in parts. I was expecting to like it more. But as I said, it may have been the venue. It was free, though.

And I'm now starting to expect Milk to win the SAG ensemble award - none of the other frontrunners are really ensembles or being touted as such - so maybe your theory on it taking it all is actually right.

Glenn said...

Yeah, it's got this year's Diablo Cody writing, got plenty of big names and a director who is well-respected and has done his fare share of mainstream and arthouse movies. It's just a theory, obviously, but I reckon it'll win.

Guy said...

Glad to see some Zylberstein love -- right with you there. As is Andy Garcia, apparently. Who knew?

Apart from my admiration for the performance, she is such a sweetheart in person -- really one of the most generous, articulate people I've interviewed. If she gets to work the publicity rounds, I think a lot of people will be charmed.

Paul Martin said...

My 2c worth, Glenn.
1. Ledger deserves an Oscar, the film doesn't.
2. Up the Yangtze won't get close to Man on Wire.
3. I've not seen Milk, but will see anything Van Sant does.
5. You know what I think of Paranoid Park, I think. I loved, loved, loved it. And I saw it 3 times. And I have the DVD.
6. Zylberstein is so-so in that film. A bit too melodramatic at times.

Paul Martin said...

FWIW, Elephant was my favourite Van Sant film, but Paranoid Park is so powerful (in an understated manner) that I think I like it at least as much. They're so different that I can't decide. They're both brilliant.

Glenn said...

Oh yes, I am very aware of your feelings towards Paranoid Park, Paul. I love it too.

As for The Dark Knight - I don't think it deserves to be named Best Picture by the Academy or anyone, really (I liked it a lot but I have higher ranked films from '08 and I still haven't seen the majority of the Oscar players) but I hope at least one critics group awards it their Best Film prize simply because they harped on about it being better than The Godfather and so on (well, some did) but I can picture them giving an award to Heath and then tossing of their top prize to something far more "prestigious". Because, being the cynic that I am, if The Dark Knight doesn't get a nomination for Best Picture with the Academy it means the critics groups' prediction ratio won't drop!

Er, did that make sense? Basically, critics groups try and pick what they think the Academy will pick so that in the future their picks can be seen as "100% in line with the Academy" and thus "more important" or whatever. Again, make sense? I hope so.

And, yeah, I reckon Man on Wire will scoop the pool in the Documentary categories, but I do hope Yangtze gets a mention somewhere. It's not on the Academy shortlist so it's not getting any love for Oscar, unfortunately.

scooterzz said...

i'm a little confused here...'up the yangtze' was released in canada in 2007 and i seem to remember getting a screener last year at this's also not on the academy's doc list so what recognition could it get?....all that said, i think 'man on wire' is a lock....

Glenn said...

It was released in the USA this year and it was just nominated at the Independent Spirit Awards so it's definitely in play.

ed said...


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