' Cinema Romantico: Oscar Nomination Q&A

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar Nomination Q&A

Now that the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards have been announced it is time for Cinema Romantico to answer a few of the most pertinent questions. (A full list of nominees can be found here.)



Q: Mark Harris recently wrote the following on Grantland: “But the miasma of ill feeling in which the nomination season has drawn to a close now seems to be a semipermanent feature of the landscape: historians complaining that historical fiction contains fiction as well as history, film critics wearily caviling that the Oscars shouldn’t “matter” (which never really translates to more than “Listen to me instead”), and a whole lot of blahblahblah about how there’s way too much blahblahblah and not nearly enough blahblahblah.” Thoughts?

A: (Slow clap. Stands. Speeds up clapping. Looks around. Sees everyone is too busy bickering to join in. Stops clapping. Sits back down.)

Q: “Boyhood” took the Golden Globe for Best Picture and seems positioned as front-runner for the same award at the Oscars. It’s been holding steady as a front-runner since its release this summer and yet the backlash against it has yet to swell into a genuine movement.

A: I spoke with Myron Plotz, associate director at the National Backlash Research Institute (NBRI) in Oceanside, CA and he too expressed mild shock at the low levels of backlash they have been monitoring this awards season for “Boyhood”. He indicated that while traditional backlash might have targeted “Boyhood” for its “white male perspective” or it merely being “a gimmick” or how it's a story that “I've already seen”, the “Selma” issue with “historical” “inaccuracy” and the notion of “Birdman” merely being “a stunt” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” being a story that “I've already seen” because it's Wes Anderson and anti-Andersonians simply assume they've already “seen” it likely consumed much of the backlash intended for "Boyhood." On the other hand, the Academy is a known fan of films with huge production crews that create jobs for Academy members and “Boyhood’s” indie, fly-by-night-every-year operation might hinder it. You know what the synoptic gospels of Oscar prognostication say – films that rack up a lot of technical awards have a better chance at the big enchilada.

Q: So are you rooting for “Boyhood”?

A: No, I’m rooting for “The Imitation Game.”

Q: Really?

A: If it wins, the ensuing critics’ meltdown will be Twitter’s Tunguska Incident. Do your thang, Harvey.

Q: Best Actor is shaping up as potentially our most, if not only, hearty race.

A: Sure is. Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing. Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking. Steve Carrell as John DuPont. Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle. And, of course, Michael Keaton as Michael Keaton.

Q: Who’s the favorite?

A: I don’t know. But I do know every time you use a phone, or a computer, you use the ideas that Alan Turing invented. Alan discovered intelligence in computers, and today he surrounds us. A true hero of mankind. 

Q: What does that have to do with Cumberbatch’s acting?

A: (Chuckling) Such a sweet kid.

A vote against Alan Turing - er, Benedict Cumberbatch is a vote against a true hero of mankind, and that makes you no better than the gum on the mollusk's shoe.
Q: Julianne Moore earned her fifth nomination and seems the front-runner for her work in “Still Alice”.

A: Seems like it. Though I hear that movie is terrible.

Q: Would it disappoint you if she won for a terrible movie?

A: Let’s get something straight right now – Julianne should have won an Oscar 17 years ago for playing Amber Waves. These are the facts of the case. And they are undisputed. It is well past time for Julianne’s “It’s Her Time” Oscar.

Q: But I thought you were vehemently opposed to all “It’s Her/His Time” Oscars?

A: In my younger, more brash, foolhardy days, yes, I regretfully admit that I was. But I’ve grown. I’ve matured. I’ve come to view the Oscars not as some grand This Is How It Is edict that should result in fire and pitchforks if “they get it wrong” so much as a televised pageant of glorious pomp and absurd circumstance that means actors and actresses can have the words “Academy Award winner” attached to their name in every trailer where they appear. The Oscars are about career achievement in the guise of best performances of the year and about making things right. They are about Al Pacino winning for “Scent of a Woman” but really winning for Michael Corleone and Frank Serpico and Sonny Wortzik and us all knowing it. They are about undefinable Academy whims declaring it someone's “time” and not someone's else's because that someone else will have it be his/her “time” some other “time”. So just let yourself go. Embrace it. This is right. This is good. This is Ms. Moore's “time” and you cannot conquer “time”.

It's her "time". Deal with it. 
Q: Marion Cotillard, who gave your favorite female performance of the year in "Two Days, One Night", landed a Best Actress nod. Surprised?

A: It's an Oscar nomination day miracle! We whine, we kvetch, but when one of your actual favorites gets the call...well, suddenly you're on the sunny side of the street without even having to cross.

Q: Patricia Arquette appears locked in as Best Supporting Actress for “Boyhood.”

A: And you know what? While I often get bored with Foregone Conclusion Races (see: Best Supporting Actor), I’m okay with this one. I am. The utter lack of drama when the envelope is opened to reveal Ms. Arquette’s name will be completely made up for by the overwhelming amount of awesome. The only thing that could make it any better is if Christian Slater is the one opening the envelope.

Q: Oh my God! Yes! Yes, yes!!! YES!!!

A: “Hello, Mrs. Worley.”

Q: “How do you do, Mr. Worley?”

A: “Top of the morning to you, Mrs. Worley.”

Q: “Oh, by the way, Mr. Worley, have you seen your lovely wife today?”

A: “Oh, you’re speaking of my charming Academy Award winning wife, Alabama Worley?”

Q: “Of course, are there others, Mr. Worley?”

A: “Not to me.”

Alabama & Clarence 4Ever.
Q: Oh, and Meryl Streep, of course, landed her record-breaking 217th Oscar nomination for “Into the Woods.”

A: That wasn’t Meryl Streep.

Q: What are you talking about?

A: That was actually Hope Davis in Meryl Streep makeup. They conspired to see if Hope Davis could finally get nominated if she pretended to be Meryl Streep. And she did! Joke’s on you, Academy!!!

Q: Is J.K. Simmons the lockiest lock in the history of Best Supporting Actor?

A: J.K. Simmons seems like a really good guy and so I kind of want him to concoct a faux-scandal between now and the Oscars just to see if it would actually hurt his chances and/or prevent him from winning. Like, he pretends to beat up a bellboy at the Beverly Hilton. Or announces his intentions to star in “Norbit 2.”

Q: Wait, wait, wait…you want that happen just so Ethan Hawke can win for “Boyhood”!

A: All I know is, Mr. Hawke better hone his annunciation of “It’s just an honor to be nominated.

Q: So, Best Director? Seriously. What’s up that that Tyldum nomination for the professional if decidedly un-spectacular “Imitation Game”?

A: Woe is Tyldum if he actually wins and is forever resigned to the Island Of Misfit Oscar Winning Directors with Tom Hooper and John G. Avildsen where mean film critics pee in his soda bottles.

The man no one knew they hated until today.
Q: Linklater is the favorite for “Boyhood”, yes?

A: For “Boyhood”, yes, though I’d like to think of it as a makeup Oscar for the Jesse & Celine Trilogy.

A: So...should we discuss Ava DuVernay's snub for "Selma" in this category? And the general apathy toward "Selma" in all categories aside from its Best Picture lip service?

Q: Was it a snub or just a terrible Oscar campaign by Paramount? Remember, "Dr. Dolittle" got a Best Picture nod in 1967 basically because 20th Century Fox bought off the Academy by wining and dining them. A person, to paraphrase Tommy Lee Jones in "Men in Black", is smart. The Academy are dumb, panicky dangerous animals who like free caviar and frilly ads, and you know it.

A: But doesn't that mean there's a systemic problem within the Academy? 

Q: Well, sure. When hasn't there been?! 

A: But with decisions like this, aren't the Oscars coming closer and closer to irrelevancy?

A: Uh, we're talking about them. Twitter's tweeting about them. Everyone's whining about them. They'll do the same damn thing next year. What is that if not "relevancy". Look, the immortal Roger Ebert-

Q: Whose documentary, "Life Itself", was shockingly snubbed.

A: Sure. He gave some bad notices to Academy members over the years. Not that they'd be so petty!!!

(Laughter.)

A: Ebert said the Oscars are really nothing more than a big show. And it's true. Oscar Nomination Day isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind. And that's what's been changing. People complain over snubs rather than rejoice for what I can only assume are the Academy's happy little accidents. Like Marion. That makes me rejoice. Fuck all the rest. See you Oscar night.

1 comment:

Derek Armstrong said...

Such a joy to read.

This year is a funny year in that I am probably rooting for Boyhood to win best picture even if it is only my third favorite of the best picture nominees. Honestly, I'd be pleased if any of the four movies in my top 20 for the year (Birdman, Whiplash and Grand Budapest being the others) won. The more distance I get from Grand Budapest the more sure I am it is a singular achievement.

Last year was the "diversity year." Sorry Ava. Though I would not be surprised if people were trying to figure out a way to nominate Denzel Washington for The Equalizer, just to be on the safe side.

Speaking of people who sometimes get nominations due to a voting reflex by Academy members ... Into the Woods was awful.