"The Definition of Insanity is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results" - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

33 Days of Oscar

Academy Award Nominations came out this morning at approximately 8:50am. Which means today is the first day of 33 days of my obsession with the Academy Awards. This year, I will be making 5 ballots:

1. A Preliminary Ballot
2. A Hirsch Family Ballot
3. A Meshuganotes Ballot
4. A Fantasy Ballot
5. A Final Ballot

Each category is assessed a certain number of points. More points are awarded to the more difficult categories to predict the winner of. More points are also given to guessing correctly in the preliminary ballot, than in the final ballot. This is because momentum can shift between the nomination announcement and the actual ceremony, and also because once the Guild awards are announced, it is much easier to predict some of these winners.

The Preliminary Ballot and the Final Ballot will be used in a pool with Andy, to determine bragging rights for the upcoming year. The Hirsch and Meshuganotes ballots are used in those two pools respectively. And the Fantasy ballot is for my own purposes, just because sometimes it is nice to imagine a perfect world where everything I want to win actually wins. All of these ballots have been organized on my computer into a fabulous excel document by my wonderful and magnificent friend, Alex. I won't be giving updates on how I am filling out these ballots because members of my various pools could read them, but I will be able to give commentary on the different movies as they pertain to my blog posts.

As of right now, I've seen 7 of the 10 nominations for Best Picture, and I intend to see them all before the ceremony in 33 days. Still left on my list is True Grit, 127 Hours, and Winter's Bone. Once I view all 10 films, I will decompress them for readers.

And now, the truly exciting information: My reaction to the nominations.

Well, on first sight, I'm happy. But I'm not sure if this is just happy because it is Academy Awards season, or because I happen to like the same films most of the critics liked. However, there are some serious gaps in nominations that I feel like I need to address.

1. HOW ON EARTH IS CHRISTOPHER NOLAN NOT NOMINATED FOR BEST DIRECTOR? To quote E! "What on Earth does Chris Nolan have to do to get an Oscar Nod? We have no idea."

Seriously Academy? How did you nominate Inception for Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Art Direction, and Score but NOT for Best Director? I feel like this is Baz Luhrmann and Moulin Rouge syndrome all over again (To paraphrase Whoopi Goldberg, 'Apparently that movie directed itself'). Accept that I like Chris Nolan, and Baz Luhrmann is a directorial Hack.

But seriously. I hate to throw in some theoretical critique of movies, but it needs to be done. For anyone who has read Andrew Sarris' work about Auteurist Theory, it could not possibly be more supportive of Nolan's necessity of an Oscar Nod. Because Inception is Christopher Nolan. It is his vision in every single aspect of that film. But not in a crappy, over the top way like when watching Tim Burton's "Alice In Wonderland," but in a perfectly crafted and balanced wheel of motion that combines directorial vision and style with result. Inception is Chris Nolan, and to nominate it for that many awards and not acknowledge that none of it would have been possible without Nolan's directing is political film blasphemy and garbage.


It's a movie about dreams that we don't truly understand how we got here (or whether or not it was all a dream, but I'm not stupid enough to try to nail down the meta-themes of Inception) But the whole reason that movie works is the editing. Example: Cobb and Ariadne sit in a cafe, and he asks her how they got there. We as the audience are waiting for the explanation because we want to know as well, but then there isn't one. Why, because of the FILM EDITING. And every other single scene about entering and escaping the world of the dream is only possible because of the film editing. Why this fantastic oversight was overlooked in favor of 127 Hours (which yes, I know I haven't seen yet, but believe you me, it will be soon remedied) is beyond me.


Hailee Steinfeld is in every single scene in "True Grit." That movie is about her character. She should be nominated in Best Actress. And consequently, Jeff Bridges should be nominated in Best Supporting Actor. Why Steinfeld is nominated in Supporting is beyond me, considering it can't be a political ploy to secure her a win versus a nod, because in my opinion the Supporting Actress category is pretty tied up (I won't say with who right now). So really, Steinfeld should have been moved to Best Actress, which would have left a spot for Mila Kunis in Supporting. And Kunis is awesome in "Black Swan" and it totally would have ruled if she had gotten nominated for it. Granted, I understand why she didn't, but still, should have happened.

Other notable acting nominations missing include Andrew Garfield (and honestly Justin Timberlake too) for The Social Network. I'm not entirely sure why Ruffalo beat out Garfield for the spot, because I found him just ok in that movie, but it could have been because of the complete oversight that was not nominating Julianne Moore from "The Kids Are All Right" instead. And Moore was much better than Ruffalo in that movie. But as we all know, the Academy doesn't often listen to me.

Let's just hope 33 days from now, we'll be in sync.

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