February 29, 2016 at 9:04 am #219465
Two things right off the bat: First, Spotlight is a fine film. It was not my favourite, but that never wins and is usually not even close. On the contrary, it is the first Best Picture to make my personal top ten in years. This it not about its quality. Second, my score is worse than I would wish that anyone who cares about this would get, so have a good laugh. But I was happy to be wrong about many things (Stallone being willed by the media to a win after years of bad movies, Lady Gaga losing to a better song despite being “important”, a superior documentary overcoming a Holocaust name check, Mad Max deservedly taking the sound categories and so on). This is not about that either.
I became frustrated this season with the pundits because they ignored the derby. They shrugged off Spotlight‘s under-performance in the SAG nominations, Globe nominations, ACE nominations, BAFTA nominations, Globe awards, PGA awards and BAFTA awards. What is the point of looking at the derby day-to-day if you are not going to acknowledge what is happening in the derby day-to-day?
The media also shrugged off George Miller’s BAFTA snub and created and aggressively pushed narratives that were never true in the industry, like the academy owing Ridley Scott and Sylvester Stallone. It is this whole idea that the media can never be wrong. So when it turns out that they are way off about something, like Ridley Scott, it is not that they were way off in that prediction; it is that the academy was wrong because he was “supposed” to be nominated. Tom has touched on the fallacy of the “echo chamber” in a couple of videos.
Turns out that the derby does not matter; the precursors are not indicative. (For the record, losing PGA is not the issue because maybe it was off by a few votes; it is that coupled with the ACE snub and the dual BAFTA snubs and so on. Mine and others’ dismissal of Spotlight was absolute for many reasons.) And that means that all of what I have been writing these last few months has been kind of bullshit, so sorry about that. Spotlight was the film that most struck me as “Best Picture” when I saw it in the fall and it did well in the Oscar nominations and that is all that you need. It has been fun the last few years using logic—disappointing for that to be over.February 29, 2016 at 9:17 am #219467
Or “Death of Gold Derby”? they really did terrible at predicting oscars this year ;pFebruary 29, 2016 at 9:26 am #219468
Tell me about it. I remember actually switching to Spotlight after Oscar nominations were announced because it had performed markedly better there than anywhere else. I should have stuck to my guns, but I got caught on The Big Short train and then The Revenant bandwagon for obvious reasons.
I really wish I could say I called the Mark Rylance win. Seems obvious in retrospect, as not only was there little passion for Creed but Rylance was by far the most celebrated aspect of Bridge of Spies. It didn’t even matter that he gave the quietest and subtlest performance of the nominees. I’ve also learned that watching the Short nominees doesn’t necessarily help; the only one of the three I got right (Documentary) was the only one where I hadn’t seen any of the nominees. And it was a last-minute switch based on Anne Thompson’s podcast!February 29, 2016 at 9:33 am #219469
I think both the Spotlight and Rylance wins, as well as the Inarritu one and in a lot of ways the Vikander one, too, are indicative of a sense of apathy toward the race that I felt very strongly this year. The conversation about the Oscars truly did become about what wasn’t nominated rather than what was and because of that a lot of the nominees lacked the right kind of narrative that makes the race rewarding.February 29, 2016 at 10:29 am #219470
It’s not the end of the Derby. It was pretty unpredictable from when Spotlight lost the Globe.
I LOVED this season more than any other I’ve fully followed. There were many surprises, categories up in the air, and talking points from near every ceremony. It was a RACE on Oscar night, and not a foregone conclusion.February 29, 2016 at 10:47 am #219471
I’m right there with you on the Spotlight point, but I have a different conclusion. Here’s my analysis of the derby this year: I came into and out of the nominations thinking that there was no other film that could have won. The nomination of McAdams showed more support than expected and I knew it was going to win SAG, I figured it wouldn’t win BAFTA, and if it had won ACE and PGA, or especially DGA, then I would have looked at it as being inevitable. It also helps that it felt most like a BP nominee of all the films.
It then became clear that the only races it really stood a chance in was Picture and Screenplay. The same argument I’d been using against TBS was just as true for Spotlight. TBS also got the nominations for McKay in director and Bale in SA that showed a bigger support. Then the same could also be said about the Revenant, with Hardy getting in SA. At this point, I realized we had a true derby.
With Scott’s absence, Innaritu was the obvious pick of the DGA, and I came to the conclusion that it was going to win BAFTA because it was less America-specific than the other two, and that’s often the way it goes at those awards. It had two awards locked up with Leo and Lubezki, and it should logically have had the advantage. Then it lost at PGA, and that made TBS the obvious choice. It had all the key nominations and that key victory, and its sense of relevancy was a big plus.
Spotlight didn’t have the momentum, Spotlight didn’t have the narrative. All Spotlight had was the basic broad appeal and traditionally good filmmaking that made it feel like a timeless Best Picture winner. Its victory essentially takes away all the importance of these few months, and I think that’s fine every once in a while. The actual elements of the film is too easily disregarded in the Oscar race, because it doesn’t have much to back it up. It might be easier to look at odds, and that’s what we do here, but the Oscars are only fun to predict because they will tend to do something unexpected. Having more factors, like the ‘feeling’ of a BP winner, only enhances the derby, not kills it. Analysis should have its place, but I love that this isn’t entirely like fantasy football, that there’s something a bit exciting and subjective about it. I’m going to come into next year’s derby with the same outlook, but I can finally at least take my own opinion into account, something I’ve consistently avoided.February 29, 2016 at 11:05 am #219472
What I find hillarious is the same people that claim past movies are irrelevant and for that reason Leo’s win is “undeserved” claim Rylance deserved to win over Stallone because “his career has been great” and Stallone “has made awful action movies”. So do these arguments only apply to actors we like and nobody else? Very hypocriticalFebruary 29, 2016 at 11:11 am #219474
According to the pundits and precursors Mad Max was going to win 3 and the Revenant 7. The Revenant was going to take the sound categories and Star Wars Visual Effects. Supporting Actor, Sylvester Stallone and Best Picture either The Revenant or The Big Short. All of that was bullshit. This year’s Oscars were one of the best because it showed that precursors don’t necessarily mean much.February 29, 2016 at 11:13 am #219473
What I find hillarious is the same people that claim past movies are irrelevant and for that reason Leo’s win is “undeserved” claim Rylance deserved to win over Stallone because “his career has been great” and Stallone “has made awful action movies”. So do these arguments only apply to actors we like and nobody else? Very hypocritical
Has anyone tried to make that argument on this thread? I think Rylance deserved to win, but not because of his highly decorated career versus Stallone’s multiply razzed one.February 29, 2016 at 11:33 am #219475
What I’ve learned from this year: when Best Picture could still go to 2 or 3 films, look at the contenders and ask “which one of these do the fewest people hate?” This year that thought process would have easily led me to Spotlight over The Big Short and The Revenant. It also can apply to a few other Best Picture races with the preferential ballot:
2014: Birdman over Boyhood
2013: 12 Years a Slave over Gravity and American Hustle
2010: The King’s Speech over The Social Network
2009: The Hurt Locker over Avatar
This will be my thought process in picking Best Picture in the future.February 29, 2016 at 11:38 am #219476
^ I think there were small minorities who hated The Hurt Locker, 12 Years a Slave and Birdman actually. All three were helped either by the fact that their closest competitors were also divisive (Avatar, Boyhood) or because of social and political importance working against genre bias (12 Years over Gravity).February 29, 2016 at 12:07 pm #219477
I think it’s *good* that Oscar voters don’t just blindly follow ‘precursors’ regardless.
Though part of that is that I never, ever bought into Revenant winning even though it grabbed up so many of these non-AMPAS awards. Mostly because I did not buy a director getting multiple BP wins, when in the last 50 years it’s only been Coppola/Forman/Eastwood, for very distinct and impressive acting hauls from their winning pairs. While agi was just getting his 1st actor a win yesterday…February 29, 2016 at 12:09 pm #219478
We do not look to the guilds and BAFTA because the Oscars “follow” them; we look to them because they overlap voters and are otherwise voted on by people who work in the industry and thus have similar sensibilities.February 29, 2016 at 12:21 pm #219479
Well, the Baftas have become too much of a “try to predict the Oscars” thing of late, with the added bonus of “making up” for when they don’t choose an Oscar winner, such that I question certain times whether their actual sensibilities are even being displayed.
I.e. Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle after losing the Bafta for Linings, and now BP Revenant after Birdman lost the Bafta.
Plus, if we wanna talk about guilds, Revenant missed Sag Ensemble and the industry seemed to not recognize that it even had a screenplay. So the guilds weren’t all that enthused about that movie.February 29, 2016 at 12:36 pm #219480
The Revenant may have missed ensemble because of its late release, so I could never quite hold that against it. Would it have gotten an ensemble nomination if they had voted a couple of weeks later with all of the other guilds? I am uncomfortable saying one way or the other. That it gained a supporting nomination at the Oscars and that most of the people who got in at the Oscars after SAG snubs were in late releases certainly casts doubt as to the legitimacy of its ensemble snub. It did consistently miss screenplay, but it won BAFTA without it and Gravity seemed pretty close to Best Picture.
Those BAFTA points are really valid though.
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