' ' Cinema Romantico: Emerging Oscar Storylines

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Emerging Oscar Storylines

With "Argo’s" recent wins at the Golden Globes, PGA (Producers Guild of America), SAG (Screen Actors Guild), and BAMBCA (Brothers Affleck Memorial Bar Crawl Awards) it seems to have become a virtual lock for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. How did this happen? This happened because of what the Argo that provides “Argo” with its title is not – a good story.

Hollywood, theoretically, is all about good stories, and awards seasons looks for and then latches on to good stories. And often screenwriters (the barbacks of awards season) will tell you they have to get a ways into their script before they fully grasp the direction and meaning of the story. That is what has happened.

When Ben Affleck failed to land an Oscar nomination for Best Director while his film itself, “Argo”, earned a Best Picture nod, he became a story. We thought (i.e. I thought) that Kathryn Bigelow not getting a directing nod for “Zero Dark Thirty” was the story but it turns out that and the controversy surrounding the depiction of torture in “Zero Dark Thirty” was merely the teaser campaign to this awards season. Because once Affleck was “snubbed” and he then proceeded to win the Critics Choice Award and the Golden Globe, he became the story which, by extension, made “Argo” the story. Thus, it will win Best Picture.

The story of Best Supporting Actress has turned into Anne Hathaway Overload. At this point, Anne can’t do anything – not a single thing – without having the Twittersphere and gossips snap at her. Every word she utters during an acceptance speech is awful and if she were therefore to choose not to utter a single word during an acceptance speech she would be belittled because not speaking would be a sign that she is selfish for not thanking all the people everyone was complaining about her thanking. If she is seen buying a latte at Starbucks in the next month, she will be vilified for not getting a mocha. If she buys a cat, she will be persecuted for not buying a dog. If she doesn’t leave her house, she is a shut-in. If she leaves her house, she is a glory-seeker. But the Overload cannot officially crescendo UNTIL she wins the Oscar. Thus, she has to and she will.

Seriously, people, Tommy Lee Jones has not been amused for years. This isn't news.
The story of Best Supporting Actor has turned into Tommy Lee Jones’ Not Amused Face at the Golden Globes. I find the Not Amused Face amusing because if anyone had seen the college football documentary “Harvard Beats Yale 29-29” they would have seen Jones interviewed (he played offensive lineman for the Harvard football team in the late 60’s) and they would have already seen the Not Amused Face. Seriously, I can’t tell you how Not Amused he appears in that movie. But now Academy members want to see how Jones reacts if he wins. Thus, he has to and he will.

The story of Best Actor is that there is NO story. Daniel Day Lewis will win. He will win because he floats in the regal ether above the pedantic stories of the Academy. Hype rolls off of him. Backlash is frightened to death of him. Twitter is powerless to stop him. Daniel Day Lewis is Daniel Fucking Day Lewis and that is why he will win.

The story of Best Actress has drifted from “the motherfucker that found this place” (Jessica Chastain) to The Face Of MTV’s Super Sweet Sixteen (Jennifer Lawrence). Lawrence, upon winning at SAG, thanked MTV because it was doing promos for their “Super Sweet Sixteen” program that earned her a SAG card at the age of 14 which she proclaimed as the best day of her life. You tell that story, you win. Pick up the hymnals, Chastain. Mass is over.

At this point, Eli Roth might still be in the running for Best Director
The story of Best Director, on the other hand, is akin to “Last Year At Marienbad.” I don’t know what the hell’s going on. Ben Affleck won the Globe after not being nominated and it certainly feels as if momentum is on his side to take home the DGA (Director’s Guild of America) award this Saturday. If that happens, all bets are off. I mean it – all.bets.are.off. Steven Spielberg could win for “Lincoln” and then go all Ving Rhames and call Sofia Coppola up onstage and just give her the Oscar instead – whoops! That was my own fantasy! I meant to say, he could call Ben Affleck up onstage and just give him the Oscar instead. David O. Russell could win and then launch into a tirade about how the Oscar validates his genius OR he could win and serve the entire audience cake. Michael Hanenke could win for “Amour” and take the opportunity to advance the agenda of snuff films. Benh Zeitlen could win…….ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Okay, I guess not ALL bets are off.

Long story short, sometimes you just have to go with the flow and figure out the story after it’s all over.

And I’d like to discuss the story of the Best Original & Adapted Screenplays but the producers are telling me we’re all out of time.


Andrew K. said...

*slow clap*

And that's just for the Anne paragraph.

"Poor Anne Hathaway." My 2011 self can't believe that my 2013 self is typing that because I've been genuinely apathetic to Hathaway as a star since forever. I don't dislike her, but she's just not for me and I tend not to only tolerate her in small doses. But even I am baffled at the vitriol being spewed her way because even as she isn't my choice for the top prize she seems generally congenial through the season. She doesn't emanate the faux-surprise I've seen her accused of, she seems kindly enough in her own sometimes sickeningly sweet way, she's quotable and she seems grounded through it all.

I'd say it's because she's won at all three major televised awards but so have Jennifer Lawrence and Daniel Day Lewis and no one seems to be incensed about them.

Baffling and more baffling.

Oh, this season.

(End of long comment. *Puts mic down gently*)

Nick Prigge said...

I've liked Anne Hathaway since I saw her in "Rachel Getting Married" and/or the first time I saw her host "SNL." Heck, I was one of the idiots who thought she was going to make a FANTASTIC Oscar host. (Whoops!)

And I think part of the reason I like her is because she seems to have a very genuine sweetness. And sweetness? In this day and age? That just doesn't play to the masses well.

Anonymous said...

Haven't seen Les Miz so I'm mum about Anne Hathaway. But LOVE your comment on DDL, ahah so true isn't it. And yes, ARGO ftw!

– ruth

Nick Prigge said...

It really is true. DDL is just immune to the problems that seem to curse so many other Oscar nominees. I wonder, though, if that's because we so rarely seem him in the public eye. People don't tire out on him.