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Best Picture Narrative

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  • Bird
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    #195427

    The last couple of years, I’ve noticed the best picture winner has some sort of narrative pushing it to the win. Last year was “anything but Boyhood”, the year before was finally awarding a film with a black cast, 2012 was the missing director, 2011 was first silent film to win since Wings.

    What possible narratives can a film from this year pick up?

    Right now I see The Martion having potentially the strongest narrative with the one two punch of first Science Fiction film to win and rewarding Ridley Scott with a director win.

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    ConMan
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    #195429

    These are the messages that some potential winners could send

    “Room” – The indie film that could!

    “Steve Jobs” – We’re with the times now!

    “The Revenant” – Back to back Inarritu!

    “Joy” – O Russell’s time has come!

    “The Hateful Eight” – Tarantino finally wins one!

    “Inside Out” – First animated winner!

    “The Danish Girl”/”Carol” – Important subject that needs to be adressed!

    “Son Of Saul” – First foreign language winner!

    “The Martian” – Sorry Gravity!

    “Mad Max: Fury Road” – It’s the young and hip Oscars! 

    The only one I don’t know about is Spotlight, because I don’t know much about that movie but also, I can’t really think of the ‘message’ that would cause people to vote for Spotlight to win. Maybe that’s why I’m not predicting it for the win.

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    benutty
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    #195430

    I think the idea of a “winning narrative” goes deeper than just “anything but Boyhood” and “black cast.” Birdman had a very strong industry appeal to voters, as well as the illusion of the one-take, Keaton’s comeback story and a love-it-or-hate-it quality. 12 Years a Slave rode the waves of many strong performances, a first-time win for a film directed by a black director, and the historical/biopic/adapted screenplay narratives that are popular BP winning qualities.

    This year, I think the narratives are yet to be fleshed out, but I think a few have strong ones already in the making:

    • Spotlight and Bridge of Spies both come with a film nostalgia quality in both subject matter and filmmaking. Reviews seem to narrow-in on comparing them to highly-regarded films from golden ages of Hollywood and this is a similar approach to what helped Birdman win last year.
    • Carol comes with a very strong Haynes narrative about he’s overdue for recognition, as well as residual good faith from Far from Heaven and Emmy wins for Mildred Pierce. It also slides in as the most critically lauded film ABOUT women in a time when gender is a high alert topic in the industry. It doesn’t hurt that Blanchett and Mara are both highly competitive in their respective categories.
    • Beasts of No Nation is under-the-radar, but if voters aren’t turned off by Netflix and go the way of Emmy voters, the “new media” narrative could really have an impact.
    • The Martian could finally be the space/sci-fi film that is palatable enough to win over voters. It’s clear that the Academy is willing to embrace these types of films, but Avatar, District 9, Gravity and Interstellar weren’t generic enough to appeal to enough people. The Martian is.
    • Both Joy and The Hateful Eight come with narratives via their directors, but those are narratives that may give them BD wins. They’ll need something stronger or something else for BP wins.
    • The Revenant brings a lot to the table. Not only is there the three-peat for Lubezki, who again filmed in a daring and buzzworthy way, but there’s also DiCaprio’s “overdue” factor and the rarity of giving a director two consecutive BP wins.
    • Youth has the industry focus that Birdman did, as well as an appeal to the older demographic and a chance to recognize a foreign director–it should be noted that non-American directors have a really good track record right now.
    • Brooklyn could capitalize on a lot of narratives–it’s the Sundance-to-Oscar hit that Whiplash was, a better romance story than Theory of Everything, and has both an all-star cast and features up-and-comers. It’ll appeal in much the same ways that Imitation Game did last year.

    I would be shocked if our BP winner is anything other than one of these.
     

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    DominicCobb
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    #195431

    I’ve been predicting Joy for BP since the film was announced. The Academy is going to award Russell at some point (unlike Tarantino, who by the way already has two Oscars, DOR is clearly really loved by voters when you look at the noms his recent films have gotten). It’s gonna happen at some point. In my mind that’s enough narrative.

    The reason I’m sure is that it’s also an Oscar-friendly real life story, and it’s female centric. Usually that’s a minus, but this is a big year for female driven pictures and I think that could help it out too.

    There are other films with narratives as others have rightly explained, but none as strong as Joy, in my opinion. Spotlight’s narrative is so weak that I don’t buy its frontrunner status for a second (feel free to bring up this post in a few months if Spotlight beats Joy, hah).

    Side note about Beasts of No Nation. I think there’s a good chance it will be, in my opinion, the best film of the year. If that’s the case, I’ll most certainly be rooting for it to win. BUT, if it does win, it will need a narrative. And that narrative (Netflix) is potentially toxic. Toxic for me because I’m worried about what it’ll mean for the future of theater-going*, also toxic to voters for the same reason. It’s actually a narrative that could work against it. 

    *It’s tough. On the one hand, opeing up the industry to streaming could help the smaller films prosper. But at the same time I don’t want to live in a world where every theater only shows superhero movies for $30 on fake IMAX screens and the better smaller films you have to watch on TV, or worse – your computer.

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    Bird
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    #195432

    I’ve been predicting Joy for BP since the film was announced. The Academy is going to award Russell at some point (unlike Tarantino, who by the way already has two Oscars, DOR is clearly really loved by voters when you look at the noms his recent films have gotten). It’s gonna happen at some point. In my mind that’s enough narrative.

    The reason I’m sure is that it’s also an Oscar-friendly real life story, and it’s female centric. Usually that’s a minus, but this is a big year for female driven pictures and I think that could help it out too.

    There are other films with narratives as others have rightly explained, but none as strong as Joy, in my opinion. Spotlight’s narrative is so weak that I don’t buy its frontrunner status for a second (feel free to bring up this post in a few months if Spotlight beats Joy, hah).

    I can see David O. Russel narrative, but I haven’t been a fan of his recent work, so I hope that’s not the case (unless Joy is really good). I agree with your point about Tarantino to an extent. He just won screenplay again a couple of years ago, so I think he needs another film or two before he sweeps with a picture, director, screenplay win.

    Your point about Spotlight is another reason why I made this thread to begin with. The only narrative it has right now is it’s current frontrunner position. Besides that, what does it have? I’m not saying every best picture winner needs to have a narrative. King’s speech didn’t have much of one besides being a feel good film, but it also had Weinstein behind it. Spotlight has Open Roads whose sole nomination up untill this point was screenwriting for Nightcrawler.

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    CAROL-CHANNING
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    #195433

    My mind is seriously being blown that people are calling The Martian a BP contender…

    Like… is this real life, or are we joking?

    Please excuse me while I put my head in the oven. 

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    Bird
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    #195434

    My mind is seriously being blown that people are calling The Martian a BP contender…

    Like… is this real life, or are we joking?

    Please excuse me while I put my head in the oven. 

    I haven’t seen the film yet, so I can’t judge the film for myself, but as of right now the film has good enough reviews, strong start at the boxoffice, and a potential narrative. Honestly though, the big reason I have faith in it is because my screenwriting professor likes it. It’s only one guy and he’s not even very deep in the industry, but if you put him into a crowd of academy voters, you would have trouble picking him out. 50’s, white, liberal to a point. His favorite film last year was Birdman and he hated Boyhood with a passion. He has high regards for The King’s Speech. And he looooooved The Martian. He told the class that it was his favorite movie of the year, so far, by about a mile. Thats not to say that some film won’t come along and knock The Martion out of his top spot of the year, but based off the way he talked about it, I don’t think that will happen. 

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