Thursday, February 15, 2007

2nd Annual Oscar Symposium Begins

Please welcome my guests from OscarWatch, Slant, Nicks Flick Picks, Low Resolution, Pajiba, and Cinephilia at the first day of the symposium. You'll learn who everyone is rooting for, when they lost their Oscar virginity, which best picture is "the roommate of the girl you want to nail", and endure the communal nitpicking about the Best Actress and Foreign Film categories.

Got something to say about what you read? Say it here in the comments (more conversation follows tomorrow afternoon)

tags: Oscar Watch, Slant Magazine, Helen Mirren, movies, Kate Winslet, oscars, Academy Awards, Babel, Pajiba, Penelope Cruz, cinema, Little Miss Sunshine,Best Picture, foreign films


J.D. said...


Too late to even dare to join? lol. Maybe next year.

[sighs] Does anyone think there is any sort of chance that someone can beat J-Hud? [stunned silence] Sorry.

I'm rooting for Rinko. I know it's futile, but I don't care. She was great, and I think she has more of a chance than anyone else to take it against J-Hud, however unlikely.

No more Crashes this year I assume. For you all, that's the best you can ask for. But I thought Crash was the best pic of '05. [more stunned silence] I'm leaving.

John T said...

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Helen Mirren is about to enter Judi Dench territory? Both are revelatory, longtime great actresses, but weren't really discovered by the Academy until late in their careers? I know that Mirren already has two nods, but I suspect she doubles her nod count in the next decade, ala Dench.

Anonymous said...

I have to interject regarding the Foreign Language Film category.

Yes, I'm just as heartbroken as the next Volver fan its disgusting exclusion, but I think someone needs to look at the big picture. In general terms, look what's nominated: four critically-acclaimed movies (though obviously not in harmony with everyone's taste) and one film not loved by cineastes but adored by mainstream critics and audiences. Now let's look at last year: four tepid movies and one great one, and the great one didn't even when.

The new system, for all its faults, is a good change as far as I can see. It's obvious to me that if they were still operating under the same rules, we'd have France and the two World War II films nominated, despite the thousands of message board comments (and general critical consensus) saying they suck. Also, the voting body as a whole leans unfairly old school, with members outright refusing to acknowledge bourgeoning film industries unless they conform to the WASP codification of "good foreign films." (Witness the sudden burst of love for South Africa.) In this way, the select 20 can reflect on the nine finalists are able to fully digest what they're seeing.

In short, I'd rather have a select few people rejecting a masterpiece because they legitamately prefer five other films than a flock of hundreds rejecting classics because of their stupid Eurocentric inclinations (the snubs of contemporary classics In the Mood for Love, City of God, Atanjurat: The Fast Runner, Osama, Spring, Nobody Knows).

Speaking of which, this has to be pay back for Spain stealing Hong Kong's 1993 trophy for Farewell, My Concubine, an anti-Asian vote if there ever was one. (Three Asian films were up for the award that year, including one by Ang Lee.)

- Adam Luis

Glenn Dunks said...

I think once the older people (that's men and women) finally win that unless it's truly special they don't feel they have to nominate them. If Dench had won for Mrs Brown she wouldn't have won for Shakespeare and, I would guess, not be nominated for Chocolat.


i hadn't thought of it that way. you might have a point. It's a new system so we'll have to wait and see really what the effect will be in general...

glenn. true. but get nominated AFTER your win can be difficult so who knows on MIrren.

Anonymous said...

I found out through the Academy's link that I might actually be able to watch the Oscar show from Thailand this year. Might is the operative word here as I am in Chiang Mai, not Bangkok, and Thailand where things don't always go according to schedule.

I also found a list of the entire foreign film entries from a couple of years back that showed that Infernal Affairs was Hong Kong's entry. Unfortunately, it didn't even make the final five.

And thanks for the Valentine's Day shout out!

Anonymous said...

Really, kamikaze? The majority of Dench's nods have been post win (Chocolat, Iris, Ms. Henderson Presents, Notes on a Scandal). She gets nodded in weak years (2005); in strong years (2006, 2001). I think they really like her. As for post-win nominations in general, I think it really depends on how you capitalize on your success.

Adam, I'd question the designation of "After the Wedding" and "Days of Glory/Indigenes" as critically acclaimed. Neither had particularly glowing reviews, at Cannes or Toronto. But yeah, I'm not all that heartbroken about Volver not making it either. I've seen three of the nine shortlistees (Volver, Water, Pan's Labyrinth) and I've gotta say, none were particularly impressive.

That said - they also snubbed the Asian films (none made the final nine, though it should be mentioned that Water is an Indo-Canadian production, so it certainly will feel Asian to the whitebread). And yeah, the way they snubbed the Asian films from 1990-1995 was ridiculous.

Like Nathaniel said, though - this is clearly a wait and see time for this category.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Judge. We get it, you liked Crash. That makes one of you.

I found Judi Dench to be the best in an already strong year of actresses. The fact that she IS going to lose to a less worthy performance (but still, pretty good) is really sad.

It's like when Nicole Kidman wasn't even nominated for her gutsy and heart-wrenching performance in Birth (a deeply misunderstood movie). Whenever she sticks to drama, she knocks it out of the park. Too bad I don't see Kidman getting nom'd again anytime soon.

As for Foreign Film: I found the majority of the foreign film entries to be better than Pan's Labyrinth. It's just that damned grape eating incident that makes me want to shoot myself - that and I REALLY must have missed something when trying to mesh together the reality and the fantasy. Nothing seemed cohesive to me, not to mention, I just LOVE one-dimensional characters like the villain in Pan's.

At least in Water you had some nice Indian music. Very un-Bollywoodish music.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 9:34 - I completely agree with you about Pan's. Hell, visually it was all that impressive (certainly not all the critics have made it out to be, certainly not all an impressive 6 nominations, four in technical categories, would lead you to believe). It didn't really stick together in any cohesive way, and much of what the film asks you to believe it doesn't really delve into.

The logic surrounding the grape eating scene bothered me too.

adam k. said...

I also was annoyed by the grape-eating scene. And just in general, I felt the movie was more about Del Toro feeding his fantasies for showing violence and crazy alien monster things than anything important or profound. Still totally a good movie, though.

And can we please stop picking apart the best actress lineup? Why must we look so deep down into the gift horse's throat? These are five wonderful performances by five lovely actresses. And Mirren is worthy enough, even if others are better. This is a great year for the category. Must we bitch about how Winslet was better in Holy Smoke! or how Dench is too often nominated or how Mirren is over-rewarded? You don't get much better than this lineup. EVER. I, for one, will just take it and not ask questions.

Anonymous said...

Quite honestly even if she is sweeping the awards, I feel Helen Mirren is Oscar-worthy. I can live with hearing Oscar Winner Helen Mirren a hell of a lot better than Oscar Winner Helen Hunt or Oscar Winner Halle Berry.

This line-up is the best in years I feel, while I didn't have Cruz high on my list she was #6 for me but still even her at #6 for 2006 almost kicks any of the performances for 2005 I felt.

Andy Scott said...

I agree with a lot of the comments about Kate Winslet, especailly after seeing Little Children a second time. It's a good performance, sure, but like Sasha said, I think Kate's popularity gave her the upper hand. In fact, I'm still a little surprised she lasted this long, even though I never removed her from my predix.

Glenn Dunks said...

Arkaan, Dench's win though was for an 8-minute performance the year after everyone says she was robbed of the Best Actress prize. It'd be like if Mirren lost this year, if she was nominated for anything next year she would win hands down.

Edward Copeland said...

I agree that this is the strongest best actress lineup in ages. I wish they had nominated Maggie Gyllenhaal for sherrybaby, but I can't say that any of the five ladies they did nominate weren't worthy. Also, though I'm usually pretty finicky and tough on movies, this is the first time in ages where I actually liked four out of the five best picture nominees and wouldn't be upset by any of them winning, except for the pretentious muddle that is Babel.

Jason Adams said...

Re: Pan's grape-eating scene - the whole movie is about Ofelia trying, and constantly failing, to do whatevcer the hell she wants to. Like the speech given by the doctor before getting shot in the back - it's about having free will, the free will even to do something foolish, versus following orders and becoming a cog in a monstrous machine.

The scene follows dream-logic more than actual logic - hasn't anybody ever been unable to stop themselves from doing something in a dream when you know it's gonna bite you in the ass?

SusanP said...

Great job, Oscar "Symposers" - can't wait to read more! And LOVED Sasha's gf breakdown of the Best Pic race...

Seriously, even when I disagree with points made, everyone is so intelligent and funny when it comes to discussing film. Excellent job pulling it all together, Nathaniel!

Edward Copeland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

part 2 is up