Oscar Talk 2012: The DGA Awards are important (in case you didn’t know)

January 29, 2013

DGA-2013a

We all want to be able to correctly predict what film is going to win Best Picture. It’s something you can wildly debate about with your friends for countless hours, and then have the bragging rights if you select the winner. There are even Vegas odds and bets placed on the prestigious night. But while I’ve been in the game of Oscar watching for almost a decade now, there is still only one thing that I know: your guess is as good as mine.

I guess it’s kind of funny for me to admit that, but year after year that is what I keep saying. I’ll give my predictions and my reasons for believing in certain movies and certain upsets, but the truth is that your guess is as good as mine and as good as anyone else’s. If I somehow correctly predict 23 out of the 24 awards given out, I’ll be the first one to tell you that it was luck. Why do I keep doing it? Because it’s so much freakin’ fun.

So back to the game, this past weekend revealed that Argo seems to be back as the front-runner for Best Picture. Winning the PGA and the SAG awards is a pretty big deal. Am I ready to call it for Argo yet? No. It still has the HUGE obstacle of winning without a Best Director nod for Affleck, but if it wins this Saturday at the DGA awards and then gets the WGA, well it’ll practically be a lock then for Argo.

But just because it won the PGA and SAG doesn’t mean it’s a lock quite yet. In 1995, there was a crowd-pleasing film about an American event that went down this same path. Apollo 13 won the PGA, SAG, and even the DGA for Ron Howard (and also Howard didn’t get a Best Director nomination). It was expected for Apollo 13 to take the Oscars, but Braveheart swooped in with the upsets winning Best Picture (and Best Director for Mel Gibson, even though Howard wasn’t nominated).

Needless to say, this is a very strange road to the Oscars that we’ve been on thus far. You know what would really throw a wrench in the whole thing? If Ben Affleck or Steven Spielberg DOESN’T win the DGA. Imagine that? Because whoever wins the DGA out of those two will easily become the front-runner going into the Oscars. But let’s say… Ang Lee wins the DGA (which he’s won twice already). That would really throw a curve-ball at everyone, but at the same time it would hurt Spielberg and Lincoln more than anything else.

ben-affleck-argo      spielberg-lincoln

Okay… so where do we stand? Silver Linings Playbook has NO chance at Best Picture since it lost the SAG where it was expected to win. And unless Ang Lee can win the DGA, you can count Life of Pi completely out as well. As for Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild, well they’re just happy to be there. So it’s Lincoln vs. Argo down the stretch of the last month before the Oscars air.

Here’s a little bit of history, something like what we’ll be referring back to in the future if Argo wins Best Picture. Driving Miss Daisy is the only film to win Best Picture without a directing nod in 80 years and many people are comparing it to Argo. Born on the Fourth of July was a film that looked like was on its way to a Best Picture win. Here are the accolades for both films leading up to the Oscars:

Driving Miss Daisy
– won PGA
– won Golden Globes Comedy/Musical
– won WGA

Born on the Fourth of July
– won DGA
– won Best Director
– won Golden Globes Director and Drama

Though tradition was on Born of the Fourth of July’s side, Driving Miss Daisy made history with its Best Picture victory. Only once in the last 10 years has the Best Picture winner not matched the Best Director (Crash beating out Brokeback Mountain). So like I said earlier, there is a very good chance that history will be made… that is unless Spielberg wins the DGA and Lincoln sweeps at the Oscars. If that’s the case, we can all just have a good laugh.

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Atonement on thin ice?

January 11, 2008

Poor Atonement.  After showing such potential to reek havoc at the Oscars, it’s been completely shut out by the WGA, DGA, and SAG for the guild awards.  What does this mean?  Well this means that it has greatly fallen into quicksand and is sinking by the minute.  It’s going to benefit from a PGA nod, but the way the momentum is going for Atonement, things do not look good. 

What could’ve gone so wrong for this beloved film in Britain, and mostly positive (some raving) reviews in the States?  The box office results haven’t been outstanding like Juno, but it’s still keeping up with most independent films.  It has an 84% (out of 100%) on the critics tomatometer, which is better than good.  So why is it being completely snubbed by the guilds, which are the main precursors and indicators for who will make up the Oscar nominees. 

It’s truly unfortunate, because I felt it was one of the strongest films of the year (ranked #4 on my top ten list).  People said that the Ian McEwan novel would be impossible to adapt to the screen, but I felt that Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice) did a magnificent job.  Also, the performances were solid all around.  Sure, there isn’t one stand-out star in the film… Keira Knightley is the biggest celebrity… James McAvoy had more scenes, but both were still supporting to the character Briony (who was played by three actresses)… but the overall ensemble cast were as good as any this year (too bad the SAG didn’t agree with me).

One thing that Atonement is already being talked about is the amount of awards it’ll be nominated for at the Academy Awards.  Its superior technical and visual departments can possibly bring in half a dozen nominations.  Its score was argueably the most memorable of any this year.  The cinematography was superb, as was the editing and costumes.  But without any nominations for the major categories, it falls greatly short of expectations.

Entertainment Weekly is taking quite a bold statement putting Keira Knightley with James McAvoy on their front cover for their Oscar issue.  Are they that certain Atonement will make a huge splash on this year’s Oscars?  A safe bet would’ve been the Coen brothers’ film No Country for Old Men, which basically swept the precursors for best picture.  But nonetheless I applaud EW for making an impact… hopefully this positive act can ring throughout the AMPAS so Atonement can be in the race for best picture.  If it makes the top five, it’ll surely be a popular underdog favorite for a lot of people.


WGA Nominations Announced

January 11, 2008

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

JUNO, Written by Diablo Cody, Fox Searchlight

MICHAEL CLAYTON, Written by Tony Gilroy, Warner Bros. Pictures

THE SAVAGES, Written by Tamara Jenkins, Fox Searchlight

KNOCKED UP, Written by Judd Apatow, Universal Pictures

LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, Written by Nancy Oliver, MGM

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, Screenplay by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, Based on the Novel by Cormac McCarthy, Miramax

THERE WILL BE BLOOD, Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson, Based on the Novel Oil by Upton Sinclair, Paramount Vantage

THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, Screenplay by Ronald Harwood, Based on the Book by Jean-Dominique Bauby, Miramax

INTO THE WILD, Screenplay by Sean Penn, Based on the Book by Jon Krakauer, Paramount Vantage

ZODIAC, Screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Based on the Book by Robert Graysmith, Paramount Pictures

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY

THE CAMDEN 28, Written by Anthony Giacchino, First Run Features

NANKING, Screenplay by Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman & Elisabeth Bentley, Story by Bill Guttentag & Dan Sturman, THINKFilm

NO END IN SIGHT, Written by Charles Ferguson, Magnolia Pictures

THE RAPE OF EUROPA, Written by Richard Berge, Nicole Newnham and Bonni Cohen, Menemsha Films

SICKO, Written by Michael Moore, Lionsgate/The Weinstein Company

TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, Written by Alex Gibney, THINKFilm


Oscar Watch Update

January 7, 2008

The National Society of Film critics Awards are in… and There Will Be Blood is the big winner.

Best Picture:  There Will Be Blood
Best Director:  Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
Best Actor:  Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
Best Actress:  Julie Christie (Away From Her)
Best Supporting Actor:  Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James)
Best Supporting Actress:  Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There)
Best Foreign Language Film:  4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
Best Non-Fiction Film:  No End in Sight

I can’t say that I’m not a little surprised at the outcome here.  The success of There Will Be Blood puts them at the top of Oscar buzz at the right time.  Could this catapult them as the clear frontrunner?  Possibly.  I saw the movie last night and loved it.  I’m probably a bit biased because I’m a fan of PT Anderson, but it was definitely one of, if not the best, work he’s done.  I just hope the AMPAS acknowledge him this time around.
In other news… the Golden Globes telecast is cancelled (according to DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com).  Dick Clark Productions and the WGA couldn’t come up with a deal and the WGA said they were going to picket the awards show.  Because of this, a lot of the actors said they wouldn’t cross the picket lines which resulted in the cancellation of NBC’s telecast.  Instead, “the HFPA will make an announcement of the winners which will be broadcast on NBC News as part of a ‘stripped-down’ ceremony” (the site reports). 

What do I think… well I’m glad that the telecast is cancelled and that the SAG supports the WGA so much.  Hopefully this gives the WGA some sort of leverage, though the NYTimes said this doesn’t.  I just want the WGA to get a fair deal asap so the strike can end and my damn television shows can go back on the air.


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