With the Academy Awards finally taking place tomorrow (can you believe that for a long time they were regularly held in April?), there wasn’t a whole lot going on this week around the movie blogosphere except Oscar predictions and guides and other fun Oscar-related content. There was a spot of news here and there, maybe a review of one of The Rock’s billion films coming out this year, but mostly we and other sites have just been posting stories about Hollywood’s biggest night.
So, this week’s Reject Recap is solely devoted to the Oscars, a mix of our own features and great stuff we found elsewhere around the web.
Sure, we’ve been posting our own predictions throughout the week, and we’ll have all those compiled later today for you. Mixed in there, though, we also shared predictions from a cat and a dog, both of them named Oscar. It was scientific, obviously: “Who says that cats and dogs can’t get along? Oscar the cat and Oscar the dog agreed on the following Academy Awards picks: Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin) and… Yup, that’s it. Wow, you’d think we were just going totally random with our pet-picked Oscar winners. Wild stuff.”
If you want something a little more scientific, celebrated statistician Nate Silver did some computing at the New York Times while making a few comparisons between the Oscars and the presidential race. He offered the following chances for an upset for the top prize: “‘Lincoln,’ once considered the front-runner, has been nominated for almost every best picture award but won none of them. Counting on a comeback would be a bit like expecting Rudolph W. Giuliani to have resurrected his campaign in Florida in 2008 after finishing in sixth place everywhere else.”
Among our predictions of actual Oscar winners, we also explored the idea of a Best Stunt Coordinator category, which many movie fans wish existed. Ed selected the logical nominees representing five deserving films (Argo, The Raid: Redemption, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall) and chose the following winner: “Eka “Piranha” Rahmadia, Esa W. Sie, and Yandi “Piranha” Sutsina for The Raid… I don’t know if the studio system could ever really craft a film like The Raid. These Stunt Coordinators were responsible for choreographing and organizing probably 85% of the screen time. That is how much action is packed into this film. And when you add actors who are doing their own stunts and minimal-to-no CGI work, a film like this simply takes an enormous amount of time to shoot. And who knows if Hollywood can ever afford to take a page out of these filmmakers’ book. But I vote that they try. Rahmadia, Sie and Sutsina created an action masterpiece, and what they lacked in scope and budget they more than made up for in brilliant choreography, staging, and brutality.”
More on action movies:
Dying Hard: Will Hollywood Action Movies Evolve or Become Extinct?
In this week’s Commentary Commentary, devoted to Argo, Rob listed out 20 things learned from the Best Picture frontrunner’s Blu-ray commentary track, and one of the most notable bits is what Ben Affleck says about what the film has to do with 9/11: “A brief shot of a NYC poster on the wall was an intentional choice as Affleck explains it is ‘the briefest homage to 9/11 there… the notion that all of this stuff led to further events that were all part of the cycle that led to 9/11.'”
More on Affleck:
Watch Ben Affleck’s Embarrassing Directorial Debut from 1993
Our friend Matt Singer makes another appearance at the Recap this week with a worthwhile discussion of Oscar season’s effect on a nominated film’s favor, looking specifically at the Best Picture frontrunner. He wrote: “I can’t blame people who are ready to tell Affleck and company to “Argo” fuck themselves. We’ve been talking about and giving awards to this movie for five straight months. It wears you down. By late February, following these endless Oscar campaigns begins to feel like drinking the last sips of a bottle of scotch you chugged in one sitting. Sure, it tasted great at the beginning. But now you’re nauseous and exhausted and the last thing you want is more scotch. You start to hate the movies the Oscars are supposed to be here to honor.”
Every now and then we hear about the difficult trips to the Oscars for foreign filmmakers. This year, one of them was 5 Broken Cameras co-director Emad Burnat, who was detained at LAX for many hours and nearly deported back home to the Middle East. Michael Moore told the story on his blog. Here’s an excerpt: “He told us that this sort of treatment is something he is used to ‘on a daily basis under Occupation.’ He gave an eloquent and moving impromptu speech, in his usual soft-spoken voice, to his fellow nominees. He said this was his 6th trip with his film to the U.S. this year and that this was the first time he was detained. He said they wanted to see some ‘official document’ that he was an actual nominee. I said, ‘Doesn’t Immigration have Google?'”
This week’s filmmaking tips come from Oscar-winning directors Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, Peter Jackson, Kathryn Bigelow, John Ford and the Coen Brothers, who say to be cheap. Scott explained: “The pair have spoken before on wanting to make their financial backers happy on every project, but when your ideas are esoteric and out of the mainstream, it’s also good to keep the risk low. Plus, the confines of a smaller budget leave the weight to the dialogue, plot and characters. It’s safer for the commerce side, and it’s a positive challenge for the art side.”
More on the Coen Brothers:
CBS Films Will Go ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ with the Coen Brothers
More filmmaking tips, this time from nominees:
Step 1: Watch a Movie a Day for Two Years. Step 2: Make a Documentary.
Kate Aurthur is a staff writer for BuzzFeed and also the daughter of All That Jazz screenwriter Robert Alan Aurthur. When he was nominated for an Oscar posthumously, she got to attend the 1980 ceremony when she was 10 years old. Her write-up on the experience is a great read throughout, especially the bits about Justin Henry, Miss Piggy, Robert Duvall and Richard Dreyfuss‘s drug problem, but it’s the stuff you didn’t see in the telecast that make it, such as interactions with Mickey Rooney and, after the ceremony: “We went to the Governor’s Ball, and Bette Midler, who had been nominated for her transcendent performance in The Rose, was seated next to me, the poor thing. We discussed the entrée options. I didn’t realize at the time that being stuck sitting next to a 10-year-old might suck. Luckily, she was lovely.”
Did you know the Oscar statue is made in someone’s image? Specifically a Mexican actor who played villains in classic Westerns. Scott informed us: “Every year, dozens of people wrap their hands around Emilio Fernandez‘s torso and hoist him high into the air while thanking their supporters. Usually, they’re played off the stage by a swelling orchestra, but they still get to take Fernandez home. Fortunately for everyone involved, he comes in portable size that you can keep easily on your shelf because Emilio Fernandez is the Oscar.”
Actually, not all the award show moments in David’s list of “8 Great (Fictional) Award Moments From Movies” are Oscar send-ups. But it’s the parodies and fictional depictions of the Academy Awards that we enjoy the most. His number one choice comes from The Naked Gun 33 1/3: “I love the Naked Gun formula of ending each one at a big event, continually and ridiculously hindered by Drebin in the form of some kind of alias. Watching poor tied up Enrico Pallazzo cringe at the sight of Leslie Nielsen slaughtering “The Star-Spangled Banner” under his good name – that shit just gets me. So seeing James Earl Jones and Olympia Dukakis passively watch “Phil Donahue” throw up in a tuba is simply heaven.”