Some Thoughts On Today’s Really Bad Oscar News


Today, we learned some news about the future of the Academy Awards and it was pretty much all bad.

First off, here’s the message that was issued earlier today:

Dear Member,

Last night, the Board of Governors met to elect new board officers, and discuss and approve significant changes to the Oscars telecast.

The Board of Governors, staff, Academy members, and various working groups spent the last several months discussing improvements to the show.

Tonight, the Board approved three key changes:

1. A three-hour Oscars telecast

We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide.

To honor all 24 award categories, we will present select categories live, in the Dolby Theatre, during commercial breaks (categories to be determined). The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast.

2. New award category

We will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming.

3. Earlier airdate for 92nd Oscars

The date of the 92nd Oscars telecast will move to Sunday, February 9, 2020, from the previously announced February 23. The date change will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.

The 91st Oscars telecast remains as announced on Sunday, February 24, 2019.

We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.

We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you.

John Bailey and Dawn Hudson

Let’s take this point-by-point.

Number one: the three-hour telecast.

Who cares?  I mean, yes, the Oscars always run long.  But really, that’s part of the charm of the whole ceremony.  It never runs as smoothly as it’s supposed to and it’s a reminder that, as smug as Hollywood can be, they have as difficult a time meeting deadlines as the rest of us.

But, even if you do think that the length of the ceremony is really a big issue, is the solution really to punish the winners?  For me, one of the good things about the Oscar ceremony is that it acknowledges what is too often forgotten.  Film is a collaborative medium.  People like Roger Deakins, Colleen Atwood, Joi McMillon, and Carter Burwell are just as important to the overall quality of a film as Ryan Gosling or Jennifer Lawrence.  Giving them their awards during a commercial break is not only insulting on a personal level but it also goes against everything that the Oscars should stand for.

Plus, I happen to love it when a previously unknown filmmaker wins the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film and then totally geeks out about it on the stage.  I mean, that’s the magic of the movies right there.  At that moment, you’re sharing the best moment of this person’s life.  If I have to choose between listening to Chris Overton and Rachel Shelton talk about winning the Oscar for their short film, The Silent Child, or listening to Meryl Streep insist that she’s actually just a working mom from New Jersey, I’m going with Overton and Shelton every time.

If you want to cut down on the length of the ceremony, how about not opening with the host giving a 10-minute monologue?  How about not wasting time with those always cringe-worthy segments where stars visit the theater next door or the host insists that everyone buy his daughter’s girl scout cookies?

(I know that everyone loved the Oscar selfie but seriously, every ceremony now feels the need to try to top it and it’s just annoying.)

How about not even having a host?  Or at the very least, how about a host who will just introduce the presenters without bring their own time-consuming schtick to the stage?  I mean, Jimmy Kimmel has a show of his own to have celebrities read mean tweets on.  There’s no need to bring the Oscar ceremony to a halt for it.

Number Two: Best Achievement In Popular Film

Eh.  You might as well just call this the Christopher Nolan Trophy or maybe the MCU Award.  Though the details aren’t clear yet, it basically sounds like a participation trophy.

Basically, this award says, “We’re not willing to seriously consider a film like Black Panther for any of the major awards but we’re freaking out about the ratings so here’s an honorable mention.”  It’s kinda like in high school, when someone would really debase themselves to get the popular kids to come to their party and you ended up losing respect for them regardless of whether the party was good or not.

We all know that the Academy needs to open its mind and, at the very least, give some consideration to films like Wonder Woman, The Dark Knight, Skyfall, and Black Panther.  But this isn’t the way to do it.  If anything, this award just gives the Academy even more of a excuse to ignore those “popular” films when it comes time to select the nominees for Best Picture.

Add to that, what does popular mean anyway?  Why not just give a trophy to the producer of the film that made the most money at the box office?

Number Three: The new dates

To be honest, this upset me more than anything.  This doesn’t take effect until 2020 but, if the ceremony is moving to February 9th, then when are the nominations going to be announced?  Considering that most Oscar contenders get a limited release before going wide in January, this is going to create a situation where people like me, who don’t live in Los Angeles and New York and who don’t want to move, aren’t going to be able to see the majority of the nominees before the nominations are announced.  It’s interesting that, in their attempt to appeal to a wider audience, the Academy is basically embracing elitism like never before.

Here’s the thing: the Oscars are never going to be cool.  They’re just not.  Nobody — not even the biggest Oscar fanatics — believe that the Oscars ever truly honors the best films of the year.  The Oscars have been around forever and they’re always going to be viewed as being a bit stodgy.  If giving best picture to Moonlight couldn’t change that perception, nothing ever will.  The more the Oscars try to change, the more they’re like Steve Buscemi carrying a skateboard and saying, “Greetings, fellow kids.”

There may be a solution to the Academy’s woes but this isn’t it.

Oscar, in happier times

 

4 Shots From 4 Mario Bava Films: Black Sunday, Kill Baby Kill, Lisa and the Devil, Shock


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

104 years ago today, the most important Italian filmmaker of all time was born.  Today is Mario Bava’s birthday!  And, as we often do here at the Shattered Lens, it’s time to celebrate with…

4 Shots From 4 Films

Black Sunday (1960, dir by Mario Bava)

Kill, Baby, Kill (1966, dir by Mario Bava)

Lisa and the Devil (1972, dir by Mario Bava)

Shock (1977, dir by Mario Bava)

4 Shots From 4 Clara Bow Films: It, Wings, Dangerous Curves, Call Her Savage


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Happy birthday to my pre-code role model, the amazing Clara Bow!

4 Shots From 4 Clara Bow Films

It (1927, dir by Clarence G. Badger)

Wings (1928, dir by William Wellman)

Dangerous Curves (1929, dir by Lothar Mendes)

Call Her Savage (1932, dir by John Francis Dillon)

 

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions for July


Well, here we are.  We’re more than halfway through the year and, to be honest, the Oscar forecast seems just as cloudy as ever.

To be honest, I’m starting to get the feeling that this is going to be a year where the Academy is more concerned with sending a message than anything else.  Just as the Emmy nominations were all about sticking it to Trump (as opposed to actually honoring the best that television has to offer), it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Academy try to do the same thing.  That doesn’t mean that the nominees aren’t going to deserve to be nominated, of course.  Instead, it just means that this might be a good year for films with a political agenda.

Anyway, here are my predictions for July!  They’re still pretty random, to be honest.  Be sure to also check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, and June!

Best Picture

Backseat

Black Panther

BlackKklansman

Boy Erased

The Favourite

First Man

If Beale Street Could Talk

Mary, Queen of Scots

Old Man and The Gun

Widows

Best Director

Damien Chazelle for First Man

Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk

Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite

Spike Lee for BlackKklansman

Josie Rourke for Mary, Queen of Scots

Best Actor

Christian Bale in Backseat

Steve Carell in Beautiful Boy

Ryan Gosling in First Man

Robert Redford in Old Man and The Gun

John David Washington in BlackKklansman

Best Actress

Glenn Close in The Wife

Felicity Jones in On the Basis of Sex

Keira Knightley in Colette

Rosamund Pike in A Private War

Saoirse Ronan in Mary, Queen of Scots

Best Supporting Actor

Russell Crowe in Boy Erased

Sam Elliott in A Star is Born

Topher Grace in BlackKklansman

Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther

Sam Rockwell in Backseat

Best Supporting Actress

Claire Foy in First Man

Nicole Kidman in Boy Erased

Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk

Margot Robbie in Mary, Queen of Scots

Sissy Spacek in Old Man and the Gun

4 Shots From 4 Films For World UFO Day: The Eyes Behind The Stars, Starcrash, War of the Robots, Star Odyssey


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Happy World UFO Day!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Eyes Behind The Stars (1978, dir by Mario Gariazzo)

Starcrash (1978, dir by Luigi Cozzi)

War of the Robots (1978, dir by Alfonso Brescia)

Star Odyssey (1979, dir by Alfonso Brescia)

Lisa’s Early Oscar Predictions for June


We’re nearly halfway through 2018 and it’s time for me to once again post my somewhat random Oscar predictions!

As usual, these predictions are a combination of instinct or wishful thinking.  Do I really think that Orson Welles’s final film will dominate the Oscars?  Well, why not?  It’d be a great story if it happened.  The same goes for Black Panther becoming the first comic book movie to receive a best picture nomination.  It’d be nice if it happened and, with most of the contenders still unseen, there’s no reason to arbitrarily dismiss the film’s chances.

Based on the reaction that it received at Cannes, I’ve added Spike Lee’s BlackKklansman to my list of predicted best picture nominees.

As always, take these predictions with a grain of salt.  Some of these films and performers will be nominated.  (First Man, for instance, seems like a lock.)  Many of them will not.  If nothing else, my monthly predictions always seem to be useful for a good laugh in retrospect.  And there’s nothing wrong with that!  The predictions that don’t come true are often even more fun than the predictions that do.

It should also be remembered that some of the films listed below don’t even set release dates yet.  Some of them might not even open this year.  There are other films — like Burden — that seems like they should be contenders but they’ve yet to get a distributor.  And then there’s Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, which is scheduled to be released by Netflix in 2019 but it’s always possible that film could be moved up on the schedule.  If The Irishman does get a last-minute December release, chances are that the Oscar race will be dramatically altered.

Or maybe not.  Remember how Silence was a front runner all through 2016, just to end up with one nomination?  It’s hard to predict which films will have “that Barton Fink feeling.”

(Yes, I’m currently watching Barton Fink.  Thinking about the Oscars will enjoying a film from the Coen Brothers?  Life is good, as my twitter girl crush often puts it.)

Please be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, and May.

Best Picture

BlackKklansman

Black Panther

Boy Erased

First Man

If Beale Street Could Talk

Mary, Queen of Scots

The Other Side of the Wind

A Star is Born

White Boy Rick

Widows

Best Director

Damien Chazelle for First Man

Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk

Spike Lee for BlackKklansman

Steve McQueen for Widows

Orson Welles for The Other Side of the Wind

Best Actor

Steve Carell in Beautiful Boy

Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born

Willem DaFoe in At Eternity’s Gate

Ryan Gosling in First Man

Robert Redford in The Old Man & The Gun

Best Actress

Viola Davis in Widows

Felicity Jones in On The Basis of Sex

Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Chloe Grace Moretz in The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Saoirse Ronan in Mary, Queen of Scots

Best Supporting Actor

Timothee Chalamet in Beautiful Boy

Russell Crowe in Boy Erased

Adam Driver in BlackKklansman

Sam Elliott in A Star is Born

Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther

Best Supporting Actress

Claire Foy in First Man

Nicole Kidman in Boy Erased

Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk

Margot Robbie in Mary, Queen of Scots

Sissy Space in The Old Man & The Gun

4 Shots From 4 Marilyn Monroe Films: All About Eve, Don’t Bother To Knock, Bus Stop, The Misfits


4 Shots from 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots from 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

If only she hadn’t been destroyed by the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe would be 92 years old today.  Though Marilyn died in 1962, her performances will live forever.  This is…

4 Shots From 4 Marilyn Monroe Films

All About Eve (1950, dir by Joseph L. Mankiewicz)

Don’t Bother To Knock (1952, dir by Roy Ward Baker)

Bus Stop (1956, dir by Joshua Logan)

The Misfits (1961, dir by John Huston)