Sunday, November 18, 2007

Naked Gold Man: Song and Dance

He's 13 1/2 inches tall. He wears only a sword. He's shiny. Everybody wants him. This is a weekly Sunday series --keeping the Oscar discussion corraled in the weekends until the precursors begin.

Previously: Early Birds and Phoenixes

As daily readers of the blog know, I’ve been in a sour mood lately. In trying to shake it and perusing possible topics for this week’s naked gold column I had a flash of inspiration: musicals! Is there any surer over-the-counter remedy for a bad mood? Just pop one in and thrill to a little song and dance. Suddenly instead of waking up on the wrong side of bed and glowering into your coffee, you’re singing in the shower. Musicals = better moods. It’s a fact. Even depressing ones lift spirits … on account of all the serotonin locked inside of showtunes.

This year three musicals are in the mix: Once, Hairspray and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Before we consider each, let’s take a quick trip back through Oscar history. Do the Academy voters love musicals? Certainly a lot of musicals have been nominated but this was a fairly common movie genre for many decades. Just how much does the gold man prize singers and dancers?

Read the Rest for more on...
If John Travolta is nominated could he be a threat to win?
Can Once's musical affect bring it gold?
Why the quality of Johnny Depp's singing won't affect his Oscar's chances
*

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yet you refuse to see Across The Universe?
If you could just have gone to sit back and let it take you for the ride, instead of being so sure it would be bad, I personally think you would have liked it.
I guess it is your loss.

Hairspray? Compared with the original? Now that was by the numbers mediocre.
Hollywood cheese.

James Henry said...

Just to try and help you out, I believe those three musicals you are missing are "One Night of Love" in 1934, "100 Men and a Girl" in 1937 and "The Music Man" in 1962

adam k. said...

I honestly believe that either Sweeney will flop and Depp will not be nominated at all, or it'll hit (at least a little bit) and Depp will win. Period. In situations like these - overdue, beloved legend takes on an equally legendary, utterly oscarable role - you can't go halfway. Especially since there is no other lead actor this year who is DUE for an award the way Depp is.

And I'm starting to feel the tides turning his way. For one thing, there are already a bunch of people who are impressed. Even the naysayers aren't exactly hateful... it's more like "well, yeah, he's good in the role, he's just not a trained singer." If that's the most anyone can come up with against him, I think the oscar is his to lose. Do you really think, when voters see Depp's name on the ballot, they'll really just think, "eh, let's just give Day-Lweis another one"?

The rest of the categories are a different story... but not out of the question either.

I also think Once is less of a longshot than people think. If it gets he globe nom and lots of critical love, it will definitely be in people's minds... and could rack up original songs noms, too. I'm not 100% convinced that "Falling Slowly" and the others are eligible, but it seems like they are... when will we get official word?

Plus, amidst all the commercial failures/not well performing films, Once is actually a success. Yes, it only made $9 mill, but on a $150,000 budget? I'd call that a success. And films have been nominated with less.

Hairspray I don't know about. It could really go either way. In any case, it's gonna be really interesting to see where that GG comedy/musical win goes.

Are you not counting I'm Not There as a musical?

(sorry, I'm really really into this topic)

adam k. said...

Also, re: Depp...

I have a hard time seeing him not winning the globe, no matter what. Who would beat him exactly? Ryan Gosling? Doubtful. Unless the film just doesn't go over well at all.

Depp's been nominated about 5 billion times at the globes, including 4 times in a row since 2003. By January, it will be 5 (or 6!) times in a row (I think they're gonna double dip for Depp).

So yeah, that globe will certainly help him in the oscar race.

DL said...

Is there a reason you forgot to mention West Side Story in the article??

DL said...

Also, I'm starting to think Helena Bonham-Carter and Johnny Depp could both actually be nominated for Lead Oscars. It doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me.

James Henry said...

Plus, I don't think the 1933 version of "State Fair" is a musical. I think it became a musical in the 40's.

Lyn said...

I know this wasn't the question, but I'm curious, if anyone knows: are there any musical nominees / winners of the foreign film oscar?

adam k. said...

WHOA yeah I second DL's question.

Anonymous said...

travolta no way he was woeful,aaful,miscat just plain bad bad playing a woman not becoming a woman his every gesture calculated too mannaered,pfeiffer deserves a supp nod imo.

Brian said...

lyn: yes indeed. Musical nominees include India's Mother India (1957) and Lagaan (2001), Spain's Carmen (1983) and Argentina's Tango (1998), the latter two both directed by Carlos Saura. I'm sure there must be more than that, but they come to mind first.

Rural Juror said...

I just don't see Sweeney Todd making much of a splash. Johnny Depp has a chance, but that's about it.

Once better frikkin win best song, tht's all i'm saying

Jeff said...

Does Enchanted belong in this discussion as well? It sounds like as much of a musical as Mary Poppins.

Also, Criterion's Eclipse line will be releasing a box of four Ernst Lubitsch musicals in February...three of which were nom'd for Oscar.

NATHANIEL R said...

omg. figures i'd forget my favorite movie ever. ha ha -what a space cadet i am sometimes

i'm actually starting to think Helena will end up supporting after all. all this talk about making Sweeney the focus and shortening or removing songs. it's obvious the Mrs. Lovett role is reduced.

NATHANIEL R said...

james -thanks for those early ones but the music man was not nominated for best picture. So I'm still short one (after removing the non-musical state fair and adding in WSS for crying out loud)...

i'm still missing one

I forgot about ACROSS THE UNIVERSE but i don't expect it to get even one nomination. As for ENCHANTED how much singing is there? Has anyone seen it?

NATHANIEL R said...

anonymous #1 --not sure what you mean by your last paragraph? which hairspray do you hate? But even if you hate it you gotta remember that oscar functions on perceived quality + public reaction + media & critical reaction + campaigns... so hairspray is looking good on several levels. Not that it's going to get nominated but it's not a total impossibility (especially considering that there's so little comedic this year)

if there wasn't this animated category i wonder if RATATOUILLE could get any traction. i always wonder that now with the toons that people go crazy for.

Manuel B said...

Nat: I really wish Disney-Pixar decided to take the Academy full force and run Ratatouille all the way into the Big Five though it'll be a long-shot due to the ghetto that is the Animated Feature category.
As for the musicals - I would love for ONCE to take off and for Johnny to get some Oscar love, but we'll all have to wait and see.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I'm currently predicting Travolta for a nod. It just makes sense to me. Travolta is incredibly popular with actors (aka, the people who do the nominating) and you just know they got a kick out of seeing him in drag. Whether the performance warrants a nom is completely besides the point though.

Suara's Tango is amazing if for nothing else but the dance sequences. Just... wow.

All I know about Enchanted (it's out next w/e in US isn't it?) is that it has some music by Alan Menkin and he is a god for the music branch, right?

I, personally, didn't care much for Once, but would like to see it with an original song nomination. Is it the sort of movie that when academy members are watching it on dvd will get restless? Cause, really, not much happens and the musical sequences aren't exactly bubbling with visual energy. Oh well.

Dave said...

I know that "Enchanted" has at least 3 original songs, at least 2 of which are up on the myspace page for the movie and those clips look freakin' adorable. Count on that to get at least one song nom locked in.

Also, I'm sorry to say this, but I think almost all the music for "Once" came originally from an album called "The Swell Season" that Glen Hansard put out a few years back. So I haven't compared track listings, but I think almost all of the "Once" songs are ineligible because they were previously released.

Dave said...

Ok, my bad, "Once" had more original songs than I thought, but "Falling Slowly" is definitely out.

Jeff said...

It's my understanding that the Once songs (including Falling Slowly) are still eligible because they WERE composed specifically for the film. It just took so long for Once to reach the light of day that The Swell Season ended up being released before the film. I can't remember (or find) where I heard that though.

adam k. said...

I think what Jeff says is true, and I know that's the logic that people at OscarWatch etc. are using. I want it to be true. But even if it is, I could see the academy pulling a "Come What May" and disqualifying the songs anyway. Sigh.

Dave said...

Clip of one of the songs from "Enchanted", spoiler-y I suppose: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KObgs81QyR4

I haven't seen it yet, but combine the youtube clips with the recent rave review from Variety, and I'm starting to think that Amy Adams could be a lock for a best actress Oscar nom. Really.

Marcos said...

I believe the missing musical who was up for Best Picture is NASHVILLE (1975).

NATHANIEL R said...

James --you're right. I fixed the article. It was THE MUSIC MAN I was missing. During my research I could never find it because I was scanning and in the academy books it's MEREDITH WILSON'S THE MUSIC MAN so my eye just kept passing it by ;)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1 here
Hairspray the Waters'original...loved it. Divine.
Hairspray the musical...hijacked by Hollywood. By the numbers. Over the top, cheese. Travolta missed the whole point of having a man play Edna. He tried to actually be a woman...so just hire an actress. There aren't enough roles for women anyway.
Blonsky impresses in the musical numbers only. Looks green otherwise. Golden Globes will love this Greasy redux...Oscars, not so much, except in the below the line categories, I think.

About Across the Universe, I know it was devisive...but the main problem is Sony obviously won't support it. They wouldn't even market it. It should have been taken more seriously however. The art direction and cinematography are perfect. It has old fashioned musical values as well as ballsy in your face numbers. The actors actually sang...live, on the set. The ballads are all lovely. Their voices are pretty naked and they sound great.

But the main point is this, don't you think that this year with so many musicals it should warrant the best musical category being brought into play? There is a provision for one, isn't there?

Kamikaze Camel said...

"Hairspray the musical...hijacked by Hollywood."

ummm... Hairspray 2007 is a Hollywood adaptation of the Broadway musical. If they wanted another movie exactly like the 1988 original then they would rerelease that one. So if you have a problem then bring it up with the Broadway producers.

And, btw, John Waters who signed off on the project, is very happy with the project and gets a very handsome royalty check every month because of the project.

My guess is the people complaining about Hairspray 2007 being "Hollywoodised crap" or whatever are falling entirely into John Waters trap. I imagine he would be highly amused by people getting their underwear in a twist.

Anonymous said...

Out of those Musicals I would say Hairpsray is in.

Enchanted, yes there is singing, so it could very well be a musical. The reviews aren't raves though, they all talk about Amy. So Amy is more likely to get in than the movie itself.


Best Actress

Marion Cotillard
Laura Linney
Ellen Page
Julie Christie
Amy Adams (Remember Disney's Pirates w/ Johnny Depp)

Don't you guys love how there is no frontrunner in any of the categories.lol. I guess the closest thing to a lock for frontrunner would be Javier Bardem, but look out for Casey Affleck. Ratatoulle , but look out for Persepolis.lol.

Brady said...

I personally like ACROSS THE UNIVERSE a lot more than HAIRSPRAY. Despite some naysayers, I bet the supporters of UNIVERSE are a lot more passionate than those for HAIRSPRAY...

Almost everyone is now saying Amy Adams is a likely nominee for ENCHANTED, which is a full out musical.

Edith Spears said...

Hmm.. comparing Adams in Enchanted and Depp in POTC does not make sense.. Enchanted won't be a big hit like POTC (because it appeals more to women/girls duh !) and PLEASE, is Adams due like Depp was due in 2003 ? He had Donnie Brasco, Ed Wood, Benny & Joon, What's eating Gilbert Grape, Dead Man, Edward Scissorhands... she only has Junebug (which two people have seen)

Stephen G said...

The boyf and I saw Across the Universe last week and completely, unexpectedly fell in love with it. Sure, it's about 20 mins too long and messy in parts, but it's also visually wondrous, makes fantastic and unexpected use of overly familiar musical material, and has at its core a pair of young lovers as heartbreakingly sincere and beautiful as those in Once.

In recent months, it's been 4 films based around music that've affected me the most deeply and made me most excited to see them again - Hairspray, Once, Control and Across the Universe. Great post, Nat, am really enjoying this series.

Anonymous said...

Hairspray was hijacked by Hollywood to even be a broadway musical. I saw it on broadway too, and without wonderful Harvey...yawn!
Still, can't remember a single song.
Yes, I imagine John Waters is laughing all the way to the back, and why not? But, it is a by-the-numbers show. It is.
Across The Universe seemed about ten minutes too long to me, but then, I went back a second time, relaxed, because I already knew how long it was, and enjoyed the hell out of it.
I still say, shame on Sony for putting a boot on this movie.
Peter Bart wrote a great article, where he said that when he finally decided to check the movie out, Sony acted like he shouldn't waste his time. he said "I found it remarkable".
Jim Sturgess and Sam Rielly (Control) were the break out actors of the year.

NATHANIEL R said...

it is strange that Sony abandoned that movie because it did pretty well for itself with minimal promotion. imagine what a lot of promotion would've done.

Eric said...

Yes, Nathaniel...imagine.

I went to a BAFTA screening back in October. It was Julie Taymor's 2 hour and 20 minute cut. I would not have cared if it had been three hours.

After the screening we were lucky enough to see the main cast sing live at the Viper Room in Hollywood. They performed with a Beatles cover band, and these kids can really sing. (with the exception of Joe Anderson, who did have a little help from his studio friends, but no matter he's a terrific actor.)

During the evening Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood sang a duet of Ticket to Ride. They sounded amazing together, and it brought up the biggest flaw of the film. There was in fact, no duet between Sturgess and Wood in the movie. There should be a rule that the central love story lovers MUST sing a duet in the course of the movie.
Having seen them sing live, I can tell you, it was not a fault of the actors. Wow! Wood also sang a pretty amazing version of A Day In The LIfe.

I also wanted to add, I don't think that Sweeney has a prayer of flopping. "Enchanted" will also open BIG I think. Every kid in my family wants to go immediately!

Anonymous said...

Go to OscarWatch and see the topics:
*Amy Adams - A Star is Born
*The Savages - Laura Linney's Movie.

According to these articles, I think we have the two locks for the best actress race.

adam k. said...

Anyway, re: Depp...

I think he actually has a quite nice-sounding voice. It's just obviously untrained. Which is why I wish Burton had made him train a bit more. It just seemed kinda rushed. But still, many of the greatest singers lack formal training. You just have to have a knack for it. Maybe Depp does...

Anonymous said...

I feel like the lead actor Oscar is Johnny Depp's to lose. He's the most overdue of the group that will likely be nominated, and he'll have momentum leading up to that with the Globes (where he'll be nodded twice for "Sweeney Todd" and "POTC 3") and the SAGs for "ST". Helena Bonham Carter should be supporting, b/c she could actually win that category there. Tim Burton's always iffy, but personally, I don't think that the Academy is ever going to give him a best director nomination. There's always technicals, maybe adapted screenplay, and original score/music?

NATHANIEL R said...

depp can't be nominated twice i don't think since both of his performances would fall under the MUSICAL or COMEDY category

Anonymous said...

Yes he can. Leonardo DiCaprio was just nominated last year for both "Blood Diamond" and "The Departed" at the Globes. Helen Mirren was nominated twice in the same category for television at the Globes with "Prime Suspect: The Final Act" and "Elizabeth I". It can happen in any of the acting categories there, and it can happen for Johnny Depp this year with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and "Sweeney Todd".

Anonymous said...

Clint was double nodded that year too in director for "Letters From Iwo Jima" and "Flags of Our Fathers", which prevented a possible nod for Guillermo del Toro, Pedro Almodovar, or Paul Greengrass. Meh.

Alison Flynn said...

I like the Depp-gold picture. Is that a subliminal message? :)

But still, many of the greatest singers lack formal training. You just have to have a knack for it. Maybe Depp does...

It depends on the type of music, Adam. Pop/rock singers don't need formal training because the style doesn't call for it (though some may train).

There's also a big difference between a live performance and a studio recording. Many singers can sound great on recordings but are very weak (even bad) singing live.

I think it was a mistake for Depp to not do at least some formal training. His voice is pleasant and he can carry a tune, but his lack of technique and vocal control, his limitations, prevent him from emoting on the level that he might have. When a singer has full control over their instrument, the emotion comes through in the voice, in the singing. There's actually a clip of the film with the music that I've seen(it's on myspace). His gestures and expressions are great. The movie looks like it's going to be wonderful. Depp is a great actor, and has made acting choices that offset the technical difficulties and make those parts work. But the performance would have been even better if the emotion could have come through in his singing voice, too. It doesn't. Just my opinion. I'm sure there are people who will disagree with me on that.

But if the movie is as good as everyone is saying, and if he nailed the character the way I've heard, then he will definitely be a lock for a nomination and probably a best actor win.

nat's dildo said...

I think that Tim Robbins was also double-nominated in the musical/comedy category the same year, in the nineties, for Bob Roberts and The Player

Anonymous said...

I hope something from Once gets a nomination. At least one Original Song, to show some love, please.

Also, I wouldn't count out the song from Golden Compass. Kate Bush may not be well-known in America, but she's a huge star around the world and more importantly, HIGHLY respected among musicians. Lots of people in the Music branch of the Academy are going to want to see Kate Bush have an Oscar nomination. It helps, a lot, that the song is gorgeous, and fits the movie perfectly.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Holy crap, KATE BUSH is singing a song for The Golden Compass.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I meant to end that statement with a ?

daveylow said...

I just saw the musicians from Once perform at the Beacon on Monday night in NYC. If a song from Once doesn't win the Oscar, I will be pissed. They all sounded even better than they did in the movie. Glen Hansard he would be excited to perform on the Oscars but he is so humble that I don't think he's expecting it. He said a high point for him was seeing Elliot Smith perform on the Oscars.

Glen Hansard mentioned that he did write songs specifically for the movie but he didn't say which ones.

Anyhow, the musicians did songs outside of Once that the Frames have performed. I loved every minute of their concert. They ended with a Bob Dylan song they recorded for I'm Not There.

Martha Wainwright was the opening act and I disappointed in her songs. I had never heard her before but I wasn't crazy about her material compared to her brother's work, which I really like.

NATHANIEL R said...

i don't like Martha Wainwright's songs either but her voice is cool when she's singing other people's material. She was pretty amazing doing STORMY WEATHER at Rufus's "judy judy judy" concert

anyway. yes, Glenn, Kate is doing the song "LYRA" for GC --see sidebar for when i mentioned that. Can't wait to see her at the Oscars!!!!!!! I'm a huge fan

daveylow said...

Martha did one song of her songs with the Once musicians and it was the only one I liked--it was one that people in the audience seemed to know very well. I wish I knew the title but I think it had ***hole in the title several times.

Anyhow I don't know if the Once people can win at the Oscars against the Enchanted-Disney juggenaut--but it would be cool.
Do Alan Menken-Stephen Schwartz need Oscars? Doesn't Menken have hundreds of them already?

Anonymous said...

I think the golden globes will have a profound effect on the oscar noms this year. for instance, I think Angelina Jolie could definitly win the drama actress section, effectively pushing julie christie out of the oscar list (which would then include adams, linney, jolie, cotillard and page). I also think jason leigh could upset blanchett in supporting and thus knock redgrave out of that category. just a though