Saturday, February 09, 2008

Octogenarian Oscar Voters

I've heard about the Reel Geezers show on YouTube before, movie reviews by a pair of 80somethings Marcia & Lorenzo. But I hadn't known until watching their Oscar special that they're Academy members, too. I loved this two part episode because it gives you a peak into their voting thought process and both confirms suspicions we always hear about voting (making people wait for it til they're older, personal taste trumping critical thought, etcetera) and denies them (they don't seem to have a sentimental pull towards Holbrook or Dee and when it comes to voting without seeing the movies: Marcia is not going to do it)

People more inside than myself always say that attending the events and schmoozing with the voters is more crucial than anyone on the outside realizes when it comes to campaigning for the nominations and gold --people have told me this is why nothing happened for Joan Allen in The Upside of Anger in 2005, despite a weak year she just wasn't around, shaking hands for it --so I loved this tidbit on Julie Christie in Away From Her
Marcia: ...Julie Christie in Away From Her
Lorenzo: I think she gives a fantastic performance...and also so different from the way she used to be in -- this wonderful young thing...
Marcia: Darling
Lorenzo: Darling when she was Warren Beatty's girlfriend and all that stuff. I mean she has --she's run the gamut. And one thing I have something. A personal disclosure: Recently she was my dinner partner at a small dinner
Marcia: mm-hmm
Lorenzo: I was so awed by it that I drank too much wine and don't remember what I said.
Marcia: [giggles]
Lorenzo: And so I'm certainly very happy to vote for her.
Marcia: Very good.
Lorenzo: I find her absolutely...
Marcia: She'd be thrilled to know that....
Lorenzo: She'd be thrilled to know that.
Marcia: ...that you were that drunk that it made the difference for her.
Lorenzo: Exactly. She's something. Like a creature come down from heaven.
Marcia: [giggles]
Lorenzo: But anyway I'm going to vote for her [to camera] "Hi Julie!"
Marcia: Listen, I loved her performance. I thought it was great. I'd like to vote for everyone on this list.
It was also fascinating to note their devotion to Michael Clayton. They don't seem all that excited about No Country For Old Men or There Will Be Blood... and even after they both rave about Cate Blanchett in I'm Not There they say they're both voting for Tilda Swinton. Final note: Marcia is still upset that Diving Bell and Butterfly didn't get nominated. Watching this little show reminds us that Oscar voters are in some ways just like Oscar fans --they play favorites, they bitch about the snubs, they shake their heads at Oscar's past bungles. Twenty-eight years later, Marcia would like you to know that she's still pissed that Raging Bull lost Best Picture.


Nick M. said...

Thank you for this. What a gas.

adam k. said...

OMG, these people are SO cute and funny. I love old people.

Does anyone know who they are or what they actually do? In terms of what branch they're in? I'd be curious to know that. But they do seem more intelligent and discerning than the average voter.


well she says in the show that she was a writers agent and he says he was a writer... i'm not sure how agents are in there in terms of branches

Craig Hickman said...

Why wouldn't voters be just like fans?

People are people.

The clips were hilarious.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Though I disagree with about 90% of what they said, these two are adorable. They almost makes me forgive the academy for things like Beautiful Mind and Trash.

Glenn Dunks said...

It's so interesting the things that these Academy members say.

Glenn Dunks said...

BTW, if you watch the start of their Atonement review they mention that Marcia is an executive producer on a new movie called Death Defying Acts (which features Saiorse Ronan) so that's probably how she's an Academy member. Something to do with producing.

The Jaded Armchair Reviewer said...

Maybe you should track them down and have them for one of your audio interview sessions. :)

Anonymous said...

That's depressing that votes can hinge on such arbitrary things, like who they're awestruck by or who they've worked with in the past. And some films they didn't seem to give a shot. Did they try to see Casey Affleck's performance? Before the lady could even get the film's name out, he said "NO!!!". WTF? I get that's the way the game's played, but still.


but in fairness to the academy don't we as filmgoers also make snap judgments from time to time that aren't all that "fair" per se.

like the fact that everyone on the internet is convinced that Cate Blanchett will be brilliant before they ever see the movie

and like i'm convinced that Michelle pfeiffer will be amazing before i see a movie ;)

i'm feeling more generous to the academy this year because i feel like the nominations aren't insulting this year, bar one or two things

gabrieloak said...

Marcia worked on The Big Chill. Lorenzo wrote the screenplays for The Parallax View, Pretty Poison, Three Days of the Condor, Never Say Never Again. Papillon.

Anonymous said...

Yes,. we make snap judgments as film watchers, but we're not Academy members, and we're not held to the same standards that they should be held to. They don't even watch half the films they're supposed to watch to properly judge the categories. It's not only depressing, but it makes winning an Oscar less and less significant once you see how cavalier the membership is with their voting.

Glenn Dunks said...

It was hardly "half". There were a few that they seemed to say they weren't able to see, but it shows that Academy members can get riled up by the nominations they're given.

Plus, these "geezers" have a review of Superbad on their youtube page and that is so incredibly amazing.

Anonymous said...

"Marcia worked on The Big Chill. Lorenzo wrote the screenplays for The Parallax View, Pretty Poison, Three Days of the Condor, Never Say Never Again. Papillon."

Thanks for that info Davey - those are some very impressive resumes. (Ok, there are some lapses, but Three Days of the Condor is still on my favorites list and Papillon - the final act has far less dialogue, far fewer words than the average Oscar winner's rambling speech. With screenplays like that, I'm more than willing to forgive "Never Say Never Again.")


Anonymous said...

It was hardly "half". There were a few that they seemed to say they weren't able to see, but it shows that Academy members can get riled up by the nominations they're given.

It might not have been half, but it was enough to make their ballot questionable, and you know that genius. Granted some of their picks are horrid, but it still goes back to voters claiming they're in a place to judge the best of the year when they so clearly haven't seen all of the contenders to make their appraisal reasonable. Even I've seen all 20 of the acting nominees from 18 different films this year, and if I can do it in the sticks area that I live in, they sure as hell can too if they tried.


yes in this you are correct. they have no excuse since they can see them all for free and often get screeners too