Where was Jimmy Kimmel before the Oscars? Kathryn Bigelow could have used him. On Wednesday night, the late-night talk-show host gave a comic lesson in marketing when he showed this trailer for the March 19 DVD release of Zero Dark Thirty that re-positions the movie as a romantic comedy instead of a pro-torture CIA procedural. All it takes is a little voiceover magic and some creative editing to depict Jessica Chastain as a workaholic in search of "the man of her dreams." more »
To quote Patton Oswalt from his great KFC Famous Bowls routine, “America has spoken,” and for Oscar pundits bemoaning Lincoln’s loss to Argo, this Oscars truly was a “failure pile in a sadness bowl”: A reported 40.3 million people tuned in to the Oscars telecast, making it the most-watched entertainment show in three years, Entertainment Weekly reports. (Suck it, Golden Globes.) more »
Jennifer Lawrence's Best Actress Oscar win is more than a career milestone. During awards season, Lawrence got dinged by people like me for speaking her mind and not being more politic during the campaigning process. She didn't really listen, and, guess what, it didn't really matter. more »
The early ratings for last night's Oscars indicate that the telecast may have racked up its best numbers since 2007, according to Deadline. Which is good news for Seth MacFarlane, especially if you ignore that the biggest viewership increase came after The Walking Dead ended on AMC and that six of the nine Best Picture nominees had done more than $100 million at the box office. Otherwise, what do you really remember from last night's telecast besides Jennifer Lawrence's face plant, the Jaws play-off theme (which was funny exactly once) and the steamed look on Ben Affleck's mug when he came out on stage after MacFarlane's Gigli remark?
And that brings me to my first Oscars recap observation:
1. Was everybody in the Dolby Theater on Ablixa? Beginning with the show's weirdly cold opening, the telecast was devoid of the emotional highs and lows, pomp and circumstance that the Oscars used to have and haven't had for a few years. During the Movieline liveblog, I wondered if Harvey Weinstein had gotten Trazodone, which is name-checked in Silver Linings Playbook, added to the Academy Awards gift bag. But I now think the Side Effects antidepressant reference is more appropriate. Even MacFarlane's most out-there insults seemed even-keeled. New York Magazine slammed the Family Guy creator for being sexist, but I thought his bigger sins were being mediocre and cold. It's as if the digital revolution didn't just rewrite the way the film industry makes and releases movies, it reduced the way Hollywood generates excitement into a kind of binary code. Everything's either a 1 or a 0. That's what last night felt like, and the only time some of that old-timey Oscar excitement crept back into the broadcast was when Affleck gave his speed-speech. The privilege of being able to make movies is obviously still exciting to him, and he's good at spreading that giddy feeling.
2. The Oscars should not aspire to be the Tonys. So, I understand why there was a preponderance of musical numbers last night: MacFarlane is a show-tunes freak, Les Miserables, Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway were all nominated, and Barbra Streisand was on board to perform a tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch. But that doesn't mean they were a good thing. The show was listless to begin with, and all those musical numbers didn't help. Plus, the Chicago (2002) and DreamGirls (2006) tributes left me wondering if I'd slipped and fallen into the Hot Tub Time Machine. I half-expected to see Jackman join MacFarlane for some sort of tribute to The Music Man (which Family Guy has parodied more than once). I'm not going to suggest this is part of a trend, by the way, but have you noticed that a similar things has been happening over at Saturday Night Live? The practice of having musical guests hosting and performing — as Justin Bieber just did — is not helping the show's comedy cred, and, for a number of seasons now, an unusual number of skits seem to be built around musical performances. (On a related note, as a big Lonely Island fan, I just have to say that "YOLO" clip with Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar was lame.)
3. The only real surprise of the night was Christoph Waltz's win: Coming as it did near the beginning of the telecast, Waltz's Best Supporting Actor Oscar — which had been predicted in some quarters but mostly as a longshot — left the impression that a night of surprises was ahead. And then everything unfolded as predicted. If you followed all of the pre-season Oscar punditry, I bet you were bored.
4. Was Ben Affleck's comment about not holding grudges directed, in part, at Seth MacFarlane? One of the more interesting observations Affleck made during his Best Picture acceptance speech was, "You can't hold grudges. It's hard. But you can't hold grudges." The Argo director could have been referring to the Academy's decision to snub him for a Best Director Oscar, but, he just as well could have been referring to MacFarlane's remark that he'd gone from "starring in Gigli to becoming of the most respected filmmakers of this generation." The line didn't seem so sharp to me. Gigli is an awful movie. But Deadline reported that Affleck was pissed off by the remark, and the filmmaker did launch a half-hearted jab at MacFarlane when he came out on stage shortly after the Oscars host uttered the punchline. (Affleck said something about it still being possible for MacFarlane to "turn the show around," but wouldn't it have been cool if he just said, 'Argo, fuck yourself"?) The grudges remark, which Affleck delivered during his Best Picture acceptance speech, was a nice zen-like catch-all that demonstrated that Big Ben wasn't just an Oscar winner, he was an enlightened Oscar winner.
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The weeks of punditry and teary talk-show performances are over! Seth MacFarlane is about to take the stage and Movieline is about to liveblog the Oscars. Grab your favorite cocktail, enable your hand-held device and join me for Hollywood's most holy night. Let the pageantry and snarky comments begin!
“Argo to win it all.” This has been the Oscar pundit thesis statement ever since Ben Affleck was left off the Best Director list and promptly blew over the Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Awards in a whirlwind weekend of Oscar analysis. Every award Argo has gathered since that weekend last month has added to the confirmation bias. Affleck and his film established themselves as the storyline of the 2012 Academy Awards. more »
If Beyoncé plans to take part in the Oscar festivities this weekend, then her people should reach out to the producers of War Witch. As I wrote yesterday, 16-year-old Rachel Mwanza, who gives a remarkable first-time acting performance in the movie has been granted a visa to attend the Oscars. And her big dream is to meet Sasha Fierce during her trip to the United States.
With the Academy Awards just three days away, the Internets are being overworked by bloggers and moviegoers obsessed with staying up on the latest in Oscar news. I also wouldn't put it past awards season's prime navigator Harvey Weinstein to have a boiler room full of trained chimpanzees plugging in Jennifer Lawrence's name and "Silver Linings Playbook" into all the top search engines, such as Yahoo!, for instance. The web portal has collected some interesting data about Oscar-related searches, which I've culled below: more »
The quest to predict this year's Oscar winners with the same mathematical precision that fivethirtyeight blogger Nate Silver called the 2012 presidential election has got a new contestant. The filmmaking website The Credits has teamed up with the social analytics and monitoring company Brandwatch, to create a predictive data visualization that it has dubbed "Social Oscars." East Coast Editor Bryan Abrams says the algorithm, which was created by British quant Edward Crook, predicts the Oscar front-runners by focusing on the positive mentions that nominated films, directors and actors generate via critics and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. more »
With less than two weeks before the Academy Awards, the Oscar conversation is veering from “What now?” to “What if?” Amid all the talk of frontrunners and inevitabilities, some pundits are pondering the inscrutable. What if Oscar voters suddenly ignore all that Argo mojo (which got a further boost last weekend with Best Picture and Best Director wins at the BAFTAs)? What if the Best Supporting Actress race isn’t fait accompli, but instead, as Roger Ebert observed, asserts, as in years past, its independence as the category “where the voters like to throw a curve ball?” What if a BAFTA win earned Emmanuelle Riva a little Oscar Amour? more »
Two weeks after carrying home the big prizes from the Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Awards, Argo firmly established its Oscar front-runner status with another one-two punch in the form of the PGA's Motion Picture Producer of the Year honor and the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast. And in a season of confusion and contradiction, that front-runner status gives Argo traction that none of its Best-Picture rivals have. more »
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Norah Jones has been tapped to perform "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from the 2012 feature Ted, Oscar telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said Monday. This will be Jones' first time performing for the Oscar ceremony.
OSCAR INDEX: J-'Argo'-naut! In Spite Of Academy Snub, Oscar Momentum Continues To Build For Ben Affleck's Picture
It’s one month before the Academy Awards: Do you know where your Oscar buzz is? This week has been rife with distractions from the main event, including the Sundance Film Festival and the presidential inauguration, not to mention the public spectacle of admitted liar Lance Armstrong and online hoax victim Manti Te’o. And then there’s the little matter of new Academy rules that prohibit campaigning following the Oscar nominations. more »
If you need an idea of how intensely competitive Oscar campaigning has become, look no further than Jennifer Lawrence's opening monologue for Saturday Night Live. Given the ridiculous media tempest that arose from Lawrence's First Wives Club "I beat Meryl Streep" reference at the Golden Globe Awards, I figured that the show's writers were going to address the issue in Lawrence's opening segment. And they did — in such a half-hearted way that it sounds like some negotiating went on to make sure that the Silver Linings Playbook star and Best Actress nominee didn't say anything that would hurt her chances to bring home a statuette. more »