Posted Oct 19, 2008 @ 6:12 PM
Posted Oct 19, 2008 @ 9:45 PM
Posted Oct 19, 2008 @ 10:40 PM
I'd also like to see Sally Hawkins recognized for Happy Go Lucky. There also looks to be some big names for Best Actress as well, but Hawkins made you root for a character that might otherwise have gotten on your nerves.
Thirdly, while Edge of Heaven isn't eligible for Best Foreign Film because it was submitted (and rejected) last year, I'd love to see it get a Best Screenplay nod, and maybe a Supporting Actress nod for Hanna Schygulla. It may be my favorite film of the year, doing everything Babel tried to do.
Finally, I know this will be a hot potato for some, but I'd love to see Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired get a nod for Best Documentary. No matter where you stand on Polanski, this doc lays out all the facts of his case in a lucid way.
Posted Oct 19, 2008 @ 11:21 PM
Posted Oct 20, 2008 @ 8:08 AM
Is the Roman Polanski documentary eligible?
Yes; it played in NY and LA one week to qualify for the Oscars, and this was about a month before it played on HBO.
Posted Nov 5, 2008 @ 2:25 AM
Edited by MethodActor05, Nov 5, 2008 @ 2:27 AM.
Posted Nov 5, 2008 @ 8:41 AM
Can I say how much I dislike the term "Oscar-bait"? To me, it seems like it's supposed to be shameful that a movie wants to be recognized as one of the five best of the year. Yes, I know that there are politics involved and some filmmakers and actors know which types of movies press the Academy's buttons more. But, it just bothers me that "Oscar-bait" movies are sometimes treated like the scum of the movie world, while movies that are made for no other reason than to make money are given a pass.
Also, in terms of acting, it seems like actresses are accused of "Oscar-baiting" way more than actors. Like, if an actor gains or loses weight, uses a different accent, or wears a lot of makeup for a role, he's a Method actor. If an actress does it, she's "Oscar-baiting."
Sorry for that rant, but that kind of double-standard really bothers me.
Posted Nov 5, 2008 @ 9:33 AM
Having seen this recently, one other performance I hope gets recognized at the end of the year is Kristin Scott Thomas in I've Loved You So Long. It's also a really good film (except for one shot near the end), and part of the reason why is her performance. There's nothing showy about it; there's a real stillness there, perfectly consistent with her character just being out of prison, and having, to put it mildly, issues. And her gradually reconnecting to the world around her is also done in a nice, understated way.
Posted Nov 6, 2008 @ 8:11 PM
It's good to hear about I've Loved You So Long, ethanvahlere. I know the indie theater near me is getting it within the month and I can't wait to check it out. Oh, and like alynch, I'd love to see Melissa Leo get a nomination for Frozen River. That was a damn good film. She'll probably have to settle for a Spirit Award nomination though.
Here's my .02 on the Oscar-bait stuff because I'd be willing to bet everyone's definition is a little different. I tend to use the term a lot around the Fall movie season, but it has nothing to do with studio films VS. indie films and everything to do with marketing. For me, the Oscar-bait flag goes up when I see a trailer and the music bludgeons you over the head by telling you how EPIC/MOVING/LIFE-CHANGING the movie will be. It doesn't mean I think the movie is going to be bad, it's just annoying when a marketing team is blatantly telling me how to feel about something before I experience it for myself.
Edited by hardy har, Nov 6, 2008 @ 8:51 PM.
Posted Nov 6, 2008 @ 9:29 PM
See, I don't think it was too terribly long ago that directors/studios made movies just for the sake of making movies, and if their movie happened to be good enough or one of the best that year, then the Oscar would come; they didn't have to suck up to the Academy with these dramalogues and biopics, biopics, biopics. If a blockbuster movie wanted to sacrifice quality for box office gold, then they would get their commeupance by not getting an Oscar. Which ultimately leads to the situation this year. If the fall Oscar-bait films weren't so Oscar-baity, then there would be NO QUESTION that The Dark Knight and WALL-E should be getting Best Picture nominations. Instead, they have to play the waiting game and see if the Oscar bait films live up to quality and, thus far, many haven't (Changeling, Blindness, Miracle at St. Anna).
Posted Nov 6, 2008 @ 11:21 PM
And I also agree with hanzz. I love a good serious drama, but I also get annoyed when that's turned into Serious-Drama-By-Numbers. And frankly, by knowing exactly what buttons to push for the Academy to take notice, that is seriously becoming a formula. A manipulative formula, less interested in the story than the reactions to it. And formulas in general annoy me, be it for summer blockbusters to make money or these real-world dramas, which yes, when they are so blatantly formulaic, I do consider them "Oscar-bait." Unless they can actually pull off the formula better or differently than those that came before it (like Iron Man did this summer - a VERY tired formula pulled off with talent and style that made it feel fresh). The disdain I get from what I consider Oscar-bait comes from the fact that simply because they used the right formula and pushed the right buttons, the true best films of the year (like Wall-E or maybe even The Dark Knight) will probably get overlooked. And I do think there's some injustice there.
Of course, I have no idea if a movie is Oscar-bait until I actually see it, but like hardy har said, Oscar-baity marketing can certainly be a turn-off. For example, Changeling had the generic Oscar-bait style of trailer, which seemed to be telling me how I'm supposed to feel about the film before I even see it, while the marketing Doubt actually tried to do something different and represent the movie instead of the audience's anticipated reactions to it. And I found the latter to look much more interesting as a result.
But the term Oscar-bait does often get used to described ALL the fall Oscar contenders, and in that case, I don't think it's supposed to be a slam, just an easy nickname. Unless it's said by someone who just doesn't like the heavy fare. ;)
Edited by flickchick85, Nov 6, 2008 @ 11:26 PM.
Posted Nov 7, 2008 @ 9:49 AM
See, I don't think it was too terribly long ago that directors/studios made movies just for the sake of making movies, and if their movie happened to be good enough or one of the best that year, then the Oscar would come; they didn't have to suck up to the Academy with these dramalogues and biopics, biopics, biopics.
Let's see now; in the late 60's to mid-70's, which is picked by many to be a, if not THE, golden age in American filmmaking, there was Anne of the Thousand Days, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (technically speaking, a biopic, since they were real people), Z, (a docudrama, whic gets lumped in with biopics a lot), Patton, The Great White Hope, Tora! Tora! Tora! (docudrama), Cromwell, Nicholas and Alexandra, Mary Queen of Scots, Lady Sings the Blues, Young Winston, Serpico, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Ludwig, Lenny, Dog Day Afternoon (docudrama), Give 'em Hell, Harry!, All the President's Men (docudrama), Bound for Glory, Voyage of the Damned (docudrama)...that's a list of biopics and docudramas nominated for an Oscar between the years 1969 and 1976. And those, like I said, are just the ones nominated - I'm not even mentioning non-nominated biopics/docudramas like W.C. Fields and Me or Gable and Lombard, nor have I mentioned semi-autobiographical films or memoir films like Gaily, Gaily or Amarcord. And there were biopics long before that as well - The Story of Louis Pasteur and The Life of Emile Zola, among others, in the 1930's, Wilson and Joan of Arc in the 40's, Love Me or Leave Me and Moulin Rouge in the 50's - and believe me, those are just the tip of the iceberg. Are all biopics good? Of course not - you couldn't pay me enough money to sit through Anne of the Thousand Days or Nicholas and Alexandra again, and of the films I listed between 69-76, the only ones I would consider classics are Z, Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon (I haven't seen Ludwig, which is supposed to be good). But at least they're trying to do something. And whatever you think of Che Guevara as a person - and there have been plenty of arguments on both sides - he is without a doubt a crucial historical figure, and yes, I think worthy of being the subject of a good movie (though yes, there has also been much debate on whether Che is in fact a good movie, and I don't think The Motorcycle Diaries, which dramatized his younger, pre-revolutionary years, was that good).
I don't know what "dramalogues" means, so I won't tackle that. I will definitely agree there are paint-by-numbers dramas - Smart People, from earlier this year, was a good example, in my opinion. But to say comedies don't contain the same "sentimental mush" as dramas are accused of is way off base. Reviewers are currently taking Role Models to task, for example, for combining raucous comedy with sentimental uplift, but that is nothing new - In & Out, for example, which meant to satirize issue movies like Philadelphia, climaxes with a scene that wouldn't have felt out of place in Philadelphia, and damaged what was for me a very funny movie up to that point.
I guess the larger question, and my point, is this: William Goldman once said there were three types of movies - movies that aspire to quality and succeed, movies that aspire to quality and don't succeed, and movies that never meant to be any good at all. "Oscar-bait" movies that fail belong in the second category, but they are treated as worse than pond scum in many quarters, while movies in the third category generally get either a pass or a ho-hum "well, of course they suck, but what can you do?" shrug, and I want to know why.
Edited by ethanvahlere, Nov 7, 2008 @ 9:51 AM.
Posted Nov 7, 2008 @ 10:18 AM
I mean, let's be frank. A good percentage of "Oscar-bait" movies are flat out boring.
Eh, that's a bit of a generalization. You could say the same thing about summer blockbusters. A good percentage of blockbusters are indeed terrible. We had some good ones this year, but last summer was particularly dreadful. So to point out that there are always some stinkers at the end of the year is, I think, a bit unfair.
I usually much prefer the movies that come out at the end of the year, if only because they represent something different than what we see for the first three-quarters of the year. I find very few of the end-of-the-year pics boring, and many of them are incredibly compelling. Does this make me a movie snob? I'm not sure, but I always look forward to Oscar season, for better or for worse.
Like ethanvahlere said, there seems to be a common misconception that the Academy has undergone a radical POV shift over the last decade or so, which is simply not true.
Posted Nov 8, 2008 @ 10:36 PM
Let me give a couple of examples of my idea of 'Oscar-baiting':
I agree that everyone's idea of "Oscar-bait" is probably a little different and with what hardy har said about the marketing. That's definitely a factor and it does kinda bug.
One of my favorite actresses of all time, Jodie Foster. Silence of the Lambs, won the Oscar, but not Oscar-baiting role. Just a great role that she killed at. On the other hand, Nell. Pure Oscar-bait. Mentally challenged with a heart of gold that opens up the closed-hearted scientists around her.
Example #2: Hillary Swank in Million Dollar Baby, won the Oscar, but not Oscar-Baiting. On the other hand, next year's biopic of Amelia Earhart. I haven't seen one second of this film and I can tell it's Oscar-bait.
My idea of Oscar-baiting is big, showy, Acting performances, usually biopics of larger than life characters or mentally challenged characters.
To use a hackneyed sports metaphor, Oscar-baiting pictures or performances are like the showy, look-at-me, dance-in-the endzone football players as opposed to the ones who just hand the ball to the ref when they score.
Posted Nov 9, 2008 @ 2:07 PM
Posted Nov 9, 2008 @ 3:31 PM
Trust me, though, I have the same disdain for movies that were solely made to make money. Spiderman 3? Every sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean? Every CG Dreamworks Animation movie save for Kung Fu Panda, original Shrek, and Over the Hedge? All leave terrible tastes in my mouth, but they still got what they wanted ($$$) just like an Oscar bait film will get what it wants.
So, that is why this year I am pulling for films that fell into neither of these categories. They were films that were given so much attention to quality and entertainment value that, naturally, the money flowed in as well as 95% and 96% approval ratigs from critics. These are are the films that deserve the Oscar.
Posted Nov 9, 2008 @ 4:01 PM
Best Feature -- Ballast; Frozen River; The Visitor; The Wrester; Synecdoche, New York.
Here's a list of all the nominees. I love that they have a category called Best Film Not Playing At A Theater Near You.
Posted Nov 9, 2008 @ 4:17 PM
Yes, studios will quite often give a film a qualifying run at the end of the year, but that's usually just the first step. The films are usually expanded into more theaters over the next month or so, hopefully with nominations increasing public interest. Furthermore, I don't think there's any studio out there that doesn't care whether or not people have heard of their movie. A studio that thinks like that will be bankrupt quite quickly. They like awards because they give them more ammo for selling their films to the public. They allow them to get people to see their movie who might otherwise not be interested in a three hour film about a misanthropic oil baron.
Half of the films nominated for a particular year are only given "qualifying runs" of maybe a week in a theatre in LA. To me, that's a studio saying, "Yeah, we really only care about the Oscar and academy voters, so come February when we walk away with the gold and no one outside of the Kodak theatre has heard of our movie, we won't care."
As for oscar-baiting, I see no reason to get upset about the intentions behind making a film. If you get worked up about intentions, then there'll be almost no movies worth seeing. For example, every film that is made with studio backing is made because the studio believes that it can be profitable. That's the reality of the business. The only thing that should matter is whether or not the films are good. Take for example the upcoming Milk. It's a film made by a true artist that is by all accounts excellent. However, it seems likely that the studio only gave the film the go ahead because they saw the potential for awards and profitabilty. Does that somehow make the film less a piece of art? The films themselves are what shoud matter, nothing else.
Edited by alynch, Nov 9, 2008 @ 4:30 PM.
Posted Nov 9, 2008 @ 10:15 PM
Posted Nov 10, 2008 @ 11:08 AM
Being Oscar bait doesn't immediately preclude a movie from being a great movie.
Does it matter if they're actually great movies?
Posted Nov 10, 2008 @ 5:23 PM
Posted Nov 10, 2008 @ 6:08 PM
Edited by CantThinkUpName, Nov 10, 2008 @ 6:08 PM.
Posted Nov 14, 2008 @ 6:42 PM
As for oscar-baiting, I see no reason to get upset about the intentions behind making a film. If you get worked up about intentions, then there'll be almost no movies worth seeing. For example, every film that is made with studio backing is made because the studio believes that it can be profitable. That's the reality of the business. The only thing that should matter is whether or not the films are good.
I completely agree. It's the end result that really matters to me. Is it an excellent movie, or not? As far as the term Oscar-bait is concerned, I've never liked it because it's always sounded like an insult to me. I think every field where there are major awards, people will want to get them. That's no sin to me. What writer wouldn't want a Pulitzer? What scientist wouldn't want a Nobel prize? Very few wouldn't want those prizes, whether that was their intention when they started.
Sometimes film makers will fall short in their quest for awards, and other times they will succeed. But at least the goal is to make a quality film. If they do that, and I end up enjoying the film, that's what really counts for me in the end.
Posted Nov 15, 2008 @ 1:39 PM
Sometimes film makers will fall short in their quest for awards, and other times they will succeed. But at least the goal is to make a quality film.
Well, sometimes. If a filmmakers try to make a good or interesting movie, but fail, then I accept that. I might not like the movie, but that doesn't bother me. What bothers me, personally, is when it feels like filmmakers were just trying to push the buttons of Oscar voters without even trying to make a good film in the process. There's a certain kind of humorless independent movie, for example, that's constantly taking. itself. seriously. seems to get made solely for the purpose of being submitted to the academy. Sleepwalking, which came out earlier this year, came across to me like that kind of movie. And that's different than a movie like Rachel Getting Married, which I think is the kind of movie that we would label "Oscar-bait," but that I think was excellent, or Margot at the Wedding, which I think was also probably "Oscar-bait," and only partially succeeded but, in my opinion, was trying to do something interesting. The kind of Oscar-baiting that I am talking about bugs me because it seems so lazy and because sometimes it succeeds (I'm sure opinions will differ, but I would put Crash in this category of movies that I don't think are actually very good, but were made to push voters' buttons and succeeded in doing so).
Posted Nov 15, 2008 @ 2:38 PM
Posted Nov 15, 2008 @ 4:34 PM
Posted Nov 16, 2008 @ 3:14 PM
They should also definitely have a Best Ensemble category.
Posted Nov 16, 2008 @ 3:32 PM
I hate the Best Comedy/Musical route because they always seem to lavish praise on the musicals. If it's a comedy-musical like Enchanted, it's comedy. If it's a musical-drama like Chicago, it's a drama.
I almost wish the Oscars would follow the Golden Globe route and do split the Best Movie category into Best Drama and Best Comedy/Musical.
Posted Nov 16, 2008 @ 5:59 PM
I suppose this is just a fundamental disagreement, but I don't believe such a scenario exists. I believe that almost every filmmaker out there is trying to, at some level, make a good film. Making films is a very difficult process, and I don't believe that people would put themselves through months of hell doing something that there hearts aren't in that stands little chance of being profitable just to be able to make a minute-long speech on a stage at some point in the future. In order to win awards, so many stars have to be aligned so perfectly that it just seems unrealistic for them to be the primary goal behind making a film.
What bothers me, personally, is when it feels like filmmakers were just trying to push the buttons of Oscar voters without even trying to make a good film in the process.
Edited by alynch, Nov 16, 2008 @ 6:23 PM.