Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Alien-Loving Producers Guild

The Producers Guild of America announced their motion picture nominations today and there’s something for everyone whether you like war films, science fiction, unimaginative triumph-of-the-spirit exercizes, comedies, contemporary dramas or toons. The award is named after Darryl F. Zanuck who himself could claim to have brought a little something for everyone to the screens over his seemingly everlasting career (all the way from the silent era to the early 70s)

the nominees
AVATAR James Cameron & Jon Landau
DISTRICT 9 Carolynne Cunningham & Peter Jackson
AN EDUCATION Finola Dwyer & Amanda Posey
INVICTUS Clint Eastwood, Rob Lorenz, Lori McCreary & Mace Neufeld
PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE Lee Daniels, Gary Magness & Sarah Siegel-Magness
STAR TREK J.J. Abrams & Damon Lindelof
UP Jonas Rivera

The PGA has always swung more populist in their nominations than Oscar so, despite what you'll read elsewhere, don’t expect all three of their science fiction nominees to transfer to Oscar’s top ten. People are so excitable. You know they'll start saying it.

Though this guild may be making a devout effort to supress the Academy’s science fiction allergies history doesn't suggest that Oscar will budge much. Unless I've made an accounting error (possible) only 3 sci-fi films have ever been nominated for Best Picture: E.T. The Extra Terrestrial(1982) and Star Wars (1977) and A Clockwork Orange (1971). Nope... Close Encounters, Blade Runner, and 2001: A Space Odyssey (among other sci-fi classics) were passed over. Look it up! It's arguably the Academy's least favorite genre -- fantasy and even horror seem easier to find in their archives.

Even with their animated nominees the PGA tilted sci-fi embracing the otherwise shunned "9" (which hasn't been racking up the raves or the pre-season honors) in their field of five. The other nominees are expected Oscar favorites: Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog and Up.


Terence said...

When was the last time horror was widely accepted by the Academy?

Overall, I like the PGA's list but I don't think Star Trek or District 9 will make Oscars short list.


Silence of the Lambs, The Exorcist are the two that come immediately to mind. but there's some acting nominees too.

sci-fi is what they like least.

The Dude said...

If you count A Clockwork Orange as sci-fi, that's 3.


oops you're right.

Unknown said...

If we're counting Hitchcock as "horror", let's not forget Rebecca and Psycho! (I suspect they're at least as much horror as The Silence of the Lambs). And that's just off the top of my head.

Jorge Rodrigues said...

Wasn't the superhero genre the least favorite of the Academy? No superhero flick has ever been nominated, right?

Unknown said...
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Ryan said...

be it that i was barely old enough to see BEAUTY AND THE BEAST with mom & pa back in 1991, i've got a question for Nathaniel:

What was the general tone like near the end of the '91 Best Pic/Director race? was consensus that SILENCE would sweep or did BEAST & BUGSY's Globe victories have everyone fooled…? I mean the latter also had LAFCA while I believe SILENCE had the top guild prizes and NYFCC (not to mention People’s Choice Award). But then JFK’s Oliver Stone had the Globe as well as a mega-watts cast. So I guess what am asking is was there a clear frontrunner or did all three films/helmers appear to be on equal footing prior to the big night? And, do you think the Academy still would have overcome their aversion to horror had SILENCE not been a box office smash/cultural phenomenon.

Ryan said...

two more things lol...

do you think NINE's inevitable Globe victory + tech friendly nature + deeply respected ensemble cast will keep it from falling off Oscar's short list?

And if not, will one of the sc-fi hits take it's place or will THE MESSENGER get in?

Clover said...

Let's not forget that Crazy Heart and A Single Man have great reveiews as well, they could get in.

And I'm not sure if the Globes can get away with Nine winning. I mean, Nine is their wet dream, but, really? Although I can't see The Hangover, Julie & Julia or It's Complicated winning, maybe (5oo) Days of Summer could? Vicky Cristina Barcelona won last year over Mamma Mia, so that could be a sign.

Anonymous said...

District 9 seems to be picking up some steam late in the game- I really wouldn't be surprised if it held on and beat out either Nine or A Serious Man for a slot.

Besides Star Trek (and District 9), I think the other eight are pretty solid. District 9, Nine, A Serious Man, and The Messenger will compete for the last two slots IMO.

adam k. said...

Mamma Mia! couldn't possibly have won last year, since it was legitimately terrible, and frankly, ridiculous. As in, it wasn't even trying to be good, or trying to win awards. Not only that, the source material is terrible.

And I say this as someone who enjoyed it.

Nine, on the other hand, is basically classic source material that's been somewhat botched in translation. It suffered from the tyranny of high expectations. But it's a prestige musical all the way, tailor made for the globes. I think it'll win.

Plus, the dissenting votes will be spread out all over the place. The Hangover has no other nominations, and is too crass and disgusting to win. Julie & Julia and It's Complicated seem to cancel each other out (both Streep romantic comedies, one has more nominations but is actually worse, the other has fewer nods and is good but will be honored elsewhere), and 500 Days is just so small and not really the kind of thing that usually wins. I suppose it COULD... but if they really loved it, wouldn't they have nommed Zooey or the screenplay?

Wouldn't it be something though, if 500 Days left the ceremony with best picture and actor trophies due to Nine's epic fall.

I do think Nine's winning picture, though I have to see the film before I assess DDL's chances. It would SO sweet though to see JGL win. Love him.


Jorge... yeah maybe. Except it's such a new genre that does it really count? I'm not sure it can count historically.

sci-fi has been around since before sound pictures and they almost never go there.

Ryan -- my memory of 1991 is kinda shaky actually 1990 and 1991 due to things going on in my life were my weakest paying attention years in the early days of oscar obsession.

i do remember that there was some degree of suspense but that people thought that BUGSY would probably hang on to take the big prize. I also remember that back then the "most nominations wins!" rule was much more sacred.

as for the sci-fi thing... i know i probably sound like a killjoy for fans of the genre (i count myself as a minor sci-fi geek... or sci-fi hobbyist perhaps. i don't live for it and it's not my favorite genre or anything but i've always enjoyed it and always felt it should be taken more seriously) but i just think history shows they don't really care that much about sci-fi so i'd be surprised if anything other than AVATAR makes it in.

Ian said...

There really is no reason for "Invictus" to be there other than it's Oscar Clint bait. A comedy should be on this list, and it should have been "The Hangover."

Unknown said...

Oh, God. I'm so hoping Nine loses at the Globes. Absolutely dreadful (not the acting, but what are they acting for?). I hate to cop a line from someone else, but I think Nick Davis says it best: "A staggering inattention to whether the audience has any reason to care." Right on the money.

My ranking for the category would look something like this:

1. 500 Days of Summer (B+)
2. It's Complicated (B)
3. The Hangover (B-)
4. Julie & Julia (C)
5. Nine (D)

For my money, It's Complicated is both the superior Streep film, and contains the better Streep performance (my irrational Oscar wish this year is that AMPAS pulls a surprise switcheroo here). I thought Julie & Julia was pretty mind-numbing.

Even Meryl can't save the film when she's saddled with two of the most obvious "I want a baby!" characterizations; plus, she's fighting against the black hole that is literally every.single.second of Julie Powell's storyline (and I love Amy Adams!).

I haven't thought exhaustively about it, but the lobster scene easily ranks as one of the year's worst. All the histrionics and my only thought was: "Just place the f***ing lid back on."

The Hangover, I thought, was so consistently over-the-top and cartoonish that no particular piece of it seemed worth getting annoyed at. In the end, just harmless fun. To me, it'd be like getting pissed at an episode of South Park.

But Nine? Yikes.

The Jaded Armchair Reviewer said...

"When was the last time horror was widely accepted by the Academy?"

The Sixth Sense is the most recent that comes to mind.

Kirby Holt said...

I remember the 1991 Oscars quite well and it was pretty much a given that "Silence of the Lambs" would win Best Picture by the time the Big Night rolled around. The only real "surprise" of its wins was Best Actress, and only because Jodi Foster had so recently won her first (for "The Accused" in 1988).

The Dude said...

what??? completely unture
Like stated, horror was (and is) not an Academy friendly genre. At first the race was initially thought to be between Streisand's The Prince of Tides and Bugsy. With Streisand suprisingly missing the Director cut, Bugsy scoring the most nominations and winning the Globe, people thought it was going to win. Beauty and the Beast was an outside shot, but since it was the first animated film to get in, it was a very, very outside shot. Lambs had its fair share of precursors, but was only really expected to take home Actress and possibly Screenplay.
Hopkins win was a surprise, and so was Demme's, but only until the ceremony everyone's BP predictions changed to Silence instead of Bugsys.

Ramification said...

Hopkins win for Silence was not a surprise, he was the clear frontrunner that year.

Andrew R. said...

Where is Ponyo in Animated? For crying out loud!

And I think the Academy has enough brains to not nominate Nine for Best Picture. None of the actors except MAYBE Cruz have a shot either-Cotillard's category confusion will hurt her, and they won't nominate Fergie. And the rest suck. At this point, nine of the nominees are sure things:

Up in the Air, Precious, Hurt Locker, Invictus, Up, Avatar, Inglourious Basterds, Serious Man, and An Education.

Who is the tenth nominee? I'm leaning towards Bright Star or A Single Man, preferably the former.

Star Trek and District 9 are sci-fi, White Ribbon is foreign (plus no one has a lock in Foreign), they'll never nominate The Road or Where the Wild Things Are.

C'mon, give the Academy some credit. They probably won't nominate Nine.

Kirby Holt said...

Whatever, Dude. "Silence of the Lambs" went into the Oscars that night with the PGA, DGA and the WGA awards. I was at an industry event that night and nobody was expecting anything but a win for "Lambs".