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January 1, 2016 at 5:55 am #204722
At this point, Spotlight is the presumed frontrunner for Best Picture. But as much I thought Spotlight is a very good movie, I think we may be overestimating its chances at actually winning Best Picture. Here’s why:
1. The critics may be giving their Best Picture prizes to Spotlight but it’s not really that surprising given that it’s journalists honoring a movie about….survey says, journalists. Also, remember last year when critics through their weight behind Boyhood, and look what happened.
2. Spotlight is very unsentimental. As history has taught us, they often go for sentiment over gritty or cynical (i.e. The Social Network over The King’s Speech, Rocky over Network, Taxi Driver, and All The President’s Men, Argo over Zero Dark Thirty, etc.) This year, they have a good amount of opportunities for them to go sentimental like Brooklyn which is not only filled with heart, but it’s old school period setting might make voters feel nostalgic. Even The Martian, with its optimistic main character and retro 70’s soundtrack, might be a more viable option or Room which may not be an easy watch, but still has something uplifting about it. While Spotlight leaves you feeling disgust towards humanity, films like Brooklyn, The Martian, and Room are more uplifting.
3. Its filming style is very restrained. Another thing that history has taught us is that they often like films or performances that are very flashy and bombastic like when Birdman won Best Picture over Boyhood. That’s why we might see something like The Big Short upset it because that film is more caffeinated in terms of its editing and even its lively performances. They tend to like caffeine over decaf.
4. There’s not really a crowd-pleasing element. It doesn’t have this rooting factor that has you going, “Yeah, go Spotlight!” Some of the films I mentioned earlier, like Brooklyn and The Martian, have that element. Even something like Mad Max might inspire more passion. Even if Mad Max is quite violent, it is still flashier and fires on all cylinders in terms of its craftsmanship. That’s what happened with Argo a couple years ago and The King’s Speech a few years before. They had that crowd-pleasing element.
So that is why I think we’re overestimating Spotlight as the frontrunner. What do you guys think? Agree or disagree? Let’s discuss.January 1, 2016 at 8:09 am #204724
The wonderful and fun thing about this year’s Oscars is that imo there are no clear winners yet! (: Last year, Julianne moore, J K Simmons, and Patricia Arquette were absolute locks on winning their categories. While it seems that Leo D and maybe Brie Larson are clear frontrunners, I don’t believe it is cut and dry at all. I see scnenarios where others win – I think many academy members aren’t going to vote for this particular Leo performance, having nothing to do with liking or disliking him. They will prefer other performances in the category. Best Picture, yes, Spotlight is the frontrunner, but it’s really going to come down to what the 8-10 nominations in the category are. Will there be 3 sci-fi nominees, which will cancel each other out for the win? How many nominations will there be?
I actually found Spotlight very uplifting. But I lived through this tragedy personally so for me the fact that the media finally paid attention and there was awareness of what was going on after so many years of it being hidden felt triumphant. And the dogged persistence of the Spotlight team was inspirational. I would love it if it were to win, but i also love Room, The Big Short, Creed, The Danish Girl, Carol, The Martian, Steve Jobs, Brooklyn, Inside Out, Trumbo, Love & Mercy… hated hated hated Mad Max Fury Road and The Revenant and certainly hope they don’t win. I liked Bridge Of Spies but not enough to think it ought to win this category. (haven’t seen Beasts Of No Nation).
So I am not sold on Spotlight winning quite yet – let’s see what happens with the major precursors. I do think it’s currently the most likely to win and I would be thrilled if it did.January 1, 2016 at 8:25 am #204725
There needs to be that strong alternative choice out there as the opposite or “sentimental” choice besides “Spotlight.” Maybe that choice emerges this season, or maybe it doesn’t. But “Spotlight” currently looks like the consensus-type choice I could see MANY voters rally toward and feel proud of themselves for doing so. Two consecutive BP winners with Michael Keaton starring in them is an added bonus lol. None of those enumerated points were all that convincing, and “rules” are made to be broken, especially in a year like this one.January 1, 2016 at 9:00 am #204726
But what can Spotlight win? Picture and Screenplay?…Is that enough?January 1, 2016 at 9:11 am #204727
I’ve always been hesitant about Spotlight I still am. However I look at the other contenders I just can’t find one other film that can take it down. The Big Short has been getting attention and you have other films like The Revenant, Room, Carol. But Spotlight just seems like the front runner at this point because no other film is jumping out at meJanuary 1, 2016 at 9:55 am #204728
But what can Spotlight win? Picture and Screenplay?…Is that enough?
It can win Director if the whole Ridley Scott/The Martian thing doesn’t take off. I could easily see that happening; remember Scott’s never been nominated for a sci-fi film, only for a crime drama, a historical epic and a war movie. I’m still waiting for strong evidence of The Martian’s Oscar status (AFI and Critics Choice don’t count). If Scott isn’t nominated, McCarthy would probably be the default frontrunner based on his film alone (assuming it is the frontrunner) – for instance, Tom Hooper and Michel Hazanavicius won basically because voters loved their films, not because they themselves were particularly well-liked, although they both apparently did a lot of glad handing. Also if either Keaton or Ruffalo end up getting nominated they could potentially win.January 1, 2016 at 10:58 am #204730
I completely agree with Nick. Spotlight just seems to be a weak frontrunner. But here’s my question-what will surpass it? Mad Max certainly has passion, but I have a hard time believing that the Academy will go for it. The Martian has zero momentum right now? So what will be the alternative?January 1, 2016 at 11:11 am #204732
The alternative is The Big Short. It deals with an important subject matter like Spotlight (Housing Market crash vs Priests molesting boys) and it’s told in a much more innovative and inspiring manner. It features an ensemble cast like Spotlight, only The Big Short’s cast seems to be more awake and alive then the former’s snoozefest. In terms of big stars, Big Short has bigger names and even celebrity cameos and it mixes the dramatic events of wall street with edgy comedy (I found it far more realistic then Wolf of Wall Street, and funnier).
I think The Big Short is very competitive to win both the SAG Ensemble award AND The Comedy Globe- since everyone seems to hate The Martian right now (or maybe that’s just on Goldderby). So if you’re looking for your alternative, there’s your man.
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FYC: Derbyite of the Year, 2017January 1, 2016 at 11:31 am #204734
The alternate will be Star Wars!! (im only kidding)
It’s probably The Big Short. Though I can’t imagine McKay getting in Director at this moment.January 1, 2016 at 11:37 am #204735
If it’s going to be ‘The Big Short’ I don’t think it does win director. I think it would take the Argo prizes of editing, screenplay and picture, leaving Mad Max to sweep the techs to director.January 1, 2016 at 11:40 am #204736
My one thought about The Big Short is whether it’s TOO cynical for Oscar voters, who are not always known for embracing cynicism.
It’s really going to be interesting to watch.January 1, 2016 at 12:24 pm #204737
I would definitely agree that Spotlight is a weak frontrunner at this point- I’d say Trumbo and The Big Short are the films to look out for and if the Academy finally honors a sci fi film, Mad Max could be the film to do it.January 1, 2016 at 1:39 pm #204738
Critics do not decide the Oscars, but I do think that their influence is greater now than it used to be. With the rise of Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, it is no secret anymore what people are supposed to think is a good movie. I think that that is why Crash has been the only Best Picture winner in the last twelve years below 86 on Metacritic. Before, maybe you read your local newspaper or heard rumblings and narratives moved by word of mouth, but the critical consensus is now publicly quantified. The Oscars are not the critics, so they did not go with The Social Network or Boyhood, but there does seem to be a line. This is all to say that Spotlight may take this just because its biggest competition is down at 81 and the Oscars do not want to embarass themselves.January 1, 2016 at 2:03 pm #204739
Spotlight will not win Best Picture, nor will any other low grossing film. The last two BP winners have a combined box office gross of less than $100M. That hasn’t happened in almost 40 years. There is no way a third consecutive lightly seen and low grossing film will win.
If you want to find a legitimate alternative, the floor starts around $70-75M. The winner will be one of these films: Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Star Wars: The Force Awakens or possibly The Big Short or The Revenant if their grosses reach that threshold.
People around here may hate it and discount its fortunes, but Star Wars has an excellent chance. Titanic and Avatar both rode massive box office success to numerous Oscar wins and nominations despite being mediocre films. Star Wars will be at or over $1B domestically once it comes time to vote and that number will heavily increase its chances.January 1, 2016 at 3:41 pm #204740
Box Office success really isn’t the factor in Spotlight’s weak chances- Films like Crash and The Hurt Locker won Best Picture and both of those films were not box office smashes in any way. Avatar, Gravity, and Life Of Pi were all box office succeses, but all failed to win Best Picture. The Oscars don’t automatically honor the blockbuster film and none of the Best Picture winners this decade match that bill, even if they’ve made more money then Spotlight has.
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