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RySenkari

CAYOM Year 1- Oscar Analysis!

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Decided to do a topic analyzing the Oscars in the style of a Grantland article. It's kind of my CAYOM-wank attempting to reconcile CAYOM happenings with realism and the like. For example, I'm imagining that the ACTUAL ceremony, skits, speeches and the like would've been a lot more elaborate than Impact wrote it (obviously, nobody has time to script out a whole Oscar ceremony), so certain details I'll be referring to are fabricated in accordance with that. I'll be speaking "in character", so this article doesn't necessarily reflect my personal opinions (though it mostly does), and if anyone disagrees with some of the analyses in the topic, let me know and I'll rewrite some stuff. I hope to do this after every Oscar ceremony.

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Well, last night's Oscar ceremony was exciting to say the least! There were upsets, there was controversy (more on that later), and all-in-all it was a perfect capper to one of the more interesting years in recent memory. I'll be breaking down the awards one by one... well, I'll probably group the techs together since I'm lazy. We'll see.

THE CEREMONY:

The ceremony was... surprisingly entertaining. Aside from a few rather unhip jokes, Billy Crystal did a surprisingly bang-up job. The ratings reflect that (though most of the ratings in younger demographics were most likely due to the presence of films such as Rapture and The Morrow), the ceremony was one of the higher rated in the last ten years. Having Eddie Murphy host would've definitely been interesting, but Brett Ratner ruined it for everyone and Crystal did an absolutely fine job. You can't really hate Billy Crystal anyway, even after that piece of crap My Giant. It's time to move on. The songs were performed really well, performance of the night had to be Delta Goodrem's amazing performance of "Faith", though Josh Groban's rendition of "I Will Soar" was a close second. Vincent Martella and Ariana Grande knocked "I'm Not All Alone" out of the park, trumping Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore's nervous "I See The Light" from last year's ceremony. All in all, the ceremony itself was above average, but of course what really made it an exciting night were the films.

BEST PICTURE - RAPTURE:

A deserving winner of what was ultimately a two horse race with a cameo third wheel. Earlier in the year it was between Rapture, And The Band Played On, and Chronicle neck-and-neck-and-neck. Chronicle sadly fell off, only to be replaced by a surging Wings of Icarus that probably came closer even than Toy Story 3 to winning Best Picture. Ultimately though, Rapture was the front runner pretty much all year. And The Band Played On was an exceptionally good film and I wouldn't have been sad to see it win, but Rapture is the film that's going to be studied in film classes 20 years down the road. Brilliantly edited (should've won the Film Editing Oscar too) and brilliantly acted, deserving of its 99% RT score (Derrick Chatham from the Salt Lake City Tribune, what in God's name were you thinking giving it two stars?!?) and ultimately of this Oscar too. It was a pretty interesting race, and that brings me to another point. This year we went back down to five Best Picture nominees, and all of them grossed more than $100 million domestically, which hasn't happened in... I can't remember the last time that happened, and it's because the Academy's had a hard-on for artsy films for the past few years... yet every single nominee this year was a mainstream hit. Let's break down each film and why it grossed the way it did.

And The Band Played On ($185 million): Struck a chord with LGBT audiences in a way Philadelphia, Brokeback Mountain, and Milk never did. Extremely well reviewed and advertising was everywhere, the book got a re-release and this ended up doing incredibly well with metropolitan crowds. This film seemed to be adding theaters for like seven straight weeks.

Hired Guns ($118 million): Standard Tarantino crowds, no real explanation needed and it actually didn't do as well as say a True Grit did. Released in the holiday season, this could've gotten to $150 million.

The Morrow ($617 million): We all know about The Morrow, biggest sci-fi smash since Avatar. It did vastly overperform expectations, but for some reason this movie did really well with females as well as males. I don't even think Mary Elizabeth Winstead's incredible character can explain that. Extremely well-reviewed, that probably helped.

Rapture ($220 million): Got the perfect storm of teen crowds plus artsy crowds. There was somewhat of a controversy when Brent Blowhard Bozell whined about too many under-17s being admitted to this movie but that just brought more of them in. This movie has struck a serious chord with teens and is part of the culture now, I was visiting my old high school last November and almost everybody was talking about it. This film captured the cultural zeitgeist in a way everyone was expecting The Social Network to do.

Wings Of Icarus ($308 million): Combined Disney tradition with Pixar-esque reviews and a PG rating to lure in all kinds of crowds. That and the fact that it came out at the perfect time in the holiday season and had three weeks pretty much to itself (yeah, there was Santa Goes To Jail over Thanksgiving, but parents with good taste insisted their families go see Icarus).

So yeah, all five of these films had very sizable fanbases pulling for them and that equalled huge ratings. Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

BEST DIRECTOR - QUENTIN TARANTINO

Okay, if you haven't seen it by now, go to Youtube, search for "Quentin Tarantino's Oscar Speech", and watch it. I'll wait. ...you done? Tarantino's acceptance speech was the most controversial Oscar moment since Michael Moore accepted the award for Best Documentary and bashed Bush back in 2003. People are sharply divided over the speech, in which Tarantino trashed David Fincher and Steven Spielberg and pretty much made Michael Jordan's Hall of Fame speech look like a paragon of humility. As for me? I absolutely loved it. Tarantino deserved to win for Pulp Fiction, he deserved to win for Basterds, and he finally won his Oscar tonight (with a film that was not even close to his best), over one of the most stacked fields in the history of the award. Seriously, you had three heavyweight titans in Spielberg, Fincher, and Tarantino, a hot young visionary upstart (Cuaron), and a big-time actor putting up an incredible directorial effort with a fantastic film (Clooney). Quentin Tarantino's well-deserved win was a chance for him to vent years of frustration at losing out on the big prize, and that speech was beautiful to hear. Plus, it's the latest salvo in the Tarantino/Fincher feud that seems to be roiling up. To be fair, comparing a writer/creative mind like Quentin Tarantino and a hard working perfectionist director like David Fincher is like comparing an apple to an orange, but that's for another day. Steven Spielberg is awesome, but he wasn't going to win for Apocalypse (another great film but not nearly his best effort). George Clooney was great, but And The Band Played On could've succeeded with anyone behind the camera, and Alfonso Cuaron's efforts were more than likely overshadowed by the visual effects and storyline in The Morrow. This was Tarantino's year.

BEST ACTOR - MICHAEL FASSBENDER

This was a race that seemed to fluctuate at times. Michael Fassbender was the frontrunner most of the year and should have been the obvious frontrunner going into it, but everyone was tossing out their picks and we had Aaron Johnson getting a ton of buzz (protip: he had no chance in hell) and Jared Leto as the popular dark horse (to be fair, it was by FAR the best performance of his career). And then there was Tom Cruise. He MADE The Seventh Seal. I never, ever imagined anyone could beat Max von Sydow's amazing performance, but if Tom Cruise didn't quite beat it, he absolutely made every single comparison valid. Say what you want about the man's weird behavior, but he's a hell of an actor and has pretty much redeemed himself in my eyes (okay, he redeemed himself in Tropic Thunder, but this performance ended all doubt). Still, this race was Fassbender's to lose and I doubt too many people were surprised to see him take the stage last night and hoist the statue. A deserving win for a wonderful performance, in the midst of a great ensemble cast he absolutely stood out and it's good to see him getting this award now rather than being one of those great actors who's constantly getting snubbed. His star is definitely rising and this win will make him Hollywood's hottest commodity, I think.

Speaking of rising stars...

BEST ACTRESS - ELIZABETH GILLIES

I'm watching the Victorious opening sequence right now and just having a surreal moment. Oscar winner Elizabeth Gillies... is in a Nickelodeon sitcom. And she's not even the star. This would be like Lawrence Fishburne winning an Oscar while still playing Cowboy Curtis. ...okay, it's not that weird, Victorious is a surprisingly decent show with a very talented cast (Matt Bennett may be the next from that show to win an Oscar... just you wait), and I'd advise all of you to give it a chance. Seriously though, Liz Gillies was the frontrunner all year and I doubt it was even close. There was some drama in the past few weeks where analysts were saying that the race was getting a lot closer and someone like Jennifer Lawrence or even Emma Stone could take it, but I'm pretty sure that was just the press trying to create drama for the biggest stone cold lock category of the entire night. You know on Survivor, where you pretty much know someone's getting voted off, so the editing crew spends the last five minutes leading up to Tribal Council trying to make you think it's someone else, but in the end it ends up being 8-1 for the original suspect anyway? Yeah, it was like that. Gillies' win comes over one of the weakest Best Actress fields, well... ever, but that doesn't take anything away from it and she likely would've been one of the frontrunners even in a normal year. Two things... first off, Gillies is insisting that she's going to stay with Victorious... and I actually believe her. That cast is INCREDIBLY tight (did you see Victoria Justice and Ariana Grande on either side of Liz, holding her hands as the nominees were announced? And did you see the entire cast, PLUS Dan Schneider, practically leap from their seats when she won? They're like a family on that show, it's so cute) and it's clear she has a lot of fun performing on that show. Of course, as soon as Victorious ends, watch as she shows up in like five or six different films in a single year. Secondly, this has to be the feel-good story of the night. From Liz's incredibly gracious and tearful Oscar speech, to that moment backstage where she was with Meryl Streep (Liz's acting idol) and Meryl was showering her with praise and Liz was struggling to hold back the tears, to that live video of the Oscar party at a theater in Liz's hometown, where after the crowd saw her win Best Actress, they all started hooping and hollering like their team had just won the Super Bowl (and their equally excited reaction at Rapture's Best Picture win), to the reports of the post-Oscar party that the Victorious cast attended where the group was partying like they'd just won the state basketball championship (and to all the scandal seekers, no underage drinking was sighted, only a TON of loud singing and dancing and hugging), there were so many things about this win that just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Also, another report from that Victorious Oscar afterparty... Michael D'Antonio (head writer of Wings of Icarus) and Dan Schenider reportedly had an hour-long conversation over a bowl of nachos. One can only imagine what they were discussing. Could Dan be trying to lure Michael away from Disney? Could Michael be trying to lure Dan away from Nickelodeon? While the idea of a collaboration between the two is intriguing, I'd advise them both to stay right where they are. Michael D'Antonio is now living his dream, he's just directed Disney's most successful film since The Lion King and he's pretty much got carte blanche to do whatever he wants over there. Meanwhile, Dan Schneider is Nickelodeon's equivalent of Seth MacFarlane and probably the only guy over there who has complete creative freedom. I can't imagine either of those guys wanting to work anywhere else right now. Maybe they were just talking sports.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - DANIEL CRAIG

A lot of people tweeted me last night saying that they didn't like this pick. While I can't really say I liked it, I can't really say I hated it either. Daniel Craig gave an Oscarworthy performance in Trails of Tears, and though George Clooney might've been better, he wasn't nearly better enough to make this a real "robbery" type of upset. I'm happy for Daniel Craig, though I honestly thought he'd get an Oscar for Bond long before he got an Oscar for this. There was a lot of kvetching that Josh Brolin got screwed, but Fassbender overshadowed him and Hired Guns honestly wasn't Brolin's best performance (he was better as W). I've actually got to put my two cents in for Ed Harris in The Seventh Seal, I thought he was perfect to play the part of Death and if someone was going to pull the upset this year, I was hoping it would be him. What can I say, this was a surprisingly competitive race. George Clooney probably must've been having a lousy night, but he can take solace in the fact that he's got a nice shiny Oscar at home. That and the fact that Tarantino didn't rip into him.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD

This was the first time I went "WHAT THE F***?" all night. I mean, Winstead absolutely stole the show in The Morrow, but I still thought this award was Streep's going away. The only performance I felt that didn't make it a stone-cold lock was Krysten Ritter's in Rapture, I thought Rapture's strong critical following and the strength of Ritter's performance might have pushed her to the upset. I also thought that Elle Fanning might even sneak in there, though I was hoping against hope that that wouldn't happen. It didn't, but Elle's reaction to the loss was very gracious and she's got a lot of years left in the tank (obviously). Plus, Meryl Streep's got tons of Oscars and I'm sure the Academy must have felt it was time for someone different. There was obviously a big underground push for Naya Rivera (mostly led by Gleeks, the most annoying TV fanbase this side of bronydom), but like Aaron "Boytoy" Johnson, she had no chance in hell. Still, I'm unimaginably happy for Mary Elizabeth Winstead, whose tear-filled Oscar speech was even more touching than Liz Gillies' (who might just be better at keeping it together, I dunno) and who honestly seemed shocked and touched to win the award. It's not like she DIDN'T deserve it, like I said, she was amazing in The Morrow, but it was definitely the shocker of the night and I'm sure someone won an assload of money prop-betting on Winstead to take the Oscar. Good on ya, I lost $50 on a 3-to-2 for Streep.

BEST ENSEMBLE - CHRONICLE

Despite Chronicle being muscled out of the Best Picture race, I knew it still had a shot at winning this award and was pleasantly surprised to be right. Hired Guns, And The Band Played On, and Rapture all had chances, but Hired Guns was wrecked by Fassbender towering over the rest of the cast and Rapture was wrecked by Sharkboy (I am sorry, but no matter how good the film editing was and no matter how hard David Fincher tried, Taylor Lautner CANNOT F***KING ACT. There's a reason they cut away from the rape scene, which they ended up filming a lot more of and you can see it in the Rapture Blu-Ray deleted scenes. It's silly. Elizabeth Gillies is ripping your heart out with her gutwrenching performance and Taylor Lautner is doing his best to act menacing but... god, it's like LeBron James trying to carry Anthony Parker during those last couple years in Cleveland.) And The Band Played On had a good shot and I expected it to win, but in the end, Chronicle's cast just worked so damn well together that it ended up taking the award. And The Band Played On's cast was just too disjointed, they didn't meld quite like Chronicle's did.

BEST ORIGINAL/ADAPTED SCREENPLAY - RAPTURE/AND THE BAND PLAYED ON

Expected winners here, though I expect that Hired Guns and Chronicle made it close for Rapture and Wings of Icarus probably made it interesting for And The Band Played On. I have to comment about Call of Duty real quick, if Adapted Screenplay was given out solely for making a movie BETTER than its source material, Call of Duty would be the winner hands down. How they took a game about basically going around and shooting people (I know, I know, it's more than that, I love the series too, but let's be honest with ourselves) and made it into THAT awesome of a movie that I will be first in line to see its sequel, THAT is an accomplishment. Why couldn't they have done that with the Mario Bros. movie? My childhood would've been so much better if the Mario Bros. movie had been that good. But seriously, And The Band Played On absolutely deserved best adapted screenplay. The day a Disney film wins for ADAPTED screenplay is a day that we won't see for a long, long time, no matter how good the adaptation is. As for Rapture, I figured it needed to win this award to be the Best Picture front-runner, and I was probably right. If it had lost to a film that didn't even get a BP nomination (Chronicle), it probably would've been an indication that the Academy had gone with And The Band Played On. Though I could be wrong about that. Still somewhat shocked that Chronicle didn't get a nomination, it fell out of the race so quickly... it probably should've come out in November, though of course that would've been a box office buzzsaw.

BEST ANIMATED/DOCUMENTARY/FOREIGN - WINGS OF ICARUS/CHILDREN OF THE MISTS/THE STORYTELLER

Best Animated was obviously a two-film race (Wings of Icarus vs. The End Of The Universe) and I suspect it was extremely close. Both were HUGE commercial and critical successes, End of the Universe is rumored to have been within a hair's breadth of a Best Picture nomination and there were passionate arguments for both films from their respective fanbases. Still, Wings of Icarus probably deserved to win and I'm glad it did. It's actually Disney's first win ever in this category, which is astonishing from a studio that used to crank out ginormously good films every year in this category but ever since Mulan has really taken a nosedive in quality. Tangled deserved a nomination last year but didn't get it. Glad to see Disney take it this year, is this the beginning of a new "Golden Age" for Disney? An in-house rivalry between Disney and Pixar perhaps? As for best documentary, I thought Park51 had the inside track but it was Abraham Gold's stunningly tear-wrenching documentary about modern-day child slavery in Africa that took the grand prize. Maybe Michael Moore's got a lifetime Oscar ban on him or something? As for foreign films, I don't really watch them. I'll have to watch The Storyteller sometime. I heard nothing about it though so it can't be THAT great.

THE TECH CATEGORIES

Ah, it's the infamous tech awards, AKA the "piss break" moments in the Oscar ceremony. There were a wide range of winners in these categories. One of the big winners of the night was The Seventh Seal, picking up wins for Cinematography and Costumes. When I first heard that they were remaking The Seventh Seal, I let out a groan and a loud "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" escaped my lips, but the film ended up being amazing and I actually liked some parts of it better than the original. Who knew taking a 1950s Swedish classic and gussying it up with big budget special effects and English dialogue would make it awesome? It was a far, FAR cry better than this year's horifically misguided To Kill A Mockingbird remake/travesty whose cast and crew should be ashamed of themselves and who I'm sorry Harper Lee had to be alive to see this mockery of her work. ...honestly it wasn't an AWFUL film, but you can't remake a masterpiece and have it come out as good as the original. ...unless, apparently, you're remaking The Seventh Seal. The Morrow won for Use of Action, though this category was STACKED this year, with Call of Duty and Apocalypse also being worthy contenders. Call of Duty DID win Best Film Editing, though I think I mentioned earlier that Rapture got robbed. The editing in Call of Duty was really good, but Rapture was cut together amazingly well and I was surprised to see it lose. Really though, it seemed like every major film this year won a little bit of something, which is par for the course in a competitive year like this. No TRULY great films, Rapture and And The Band Played On are probably the only two films from this year we might see end up on AFI's 20th Anniversary top 100 list (Chronicle has a shot too if it gets a real popular surge ala Shawshank Redemption, which it might), and in the tech categories we had a ton of big-budget sci-fi flicks. I'm surprised there wasn't any kind of fan backlash toward the end of the year, the fact that a lot of them got great reviews really helped. This was truly the year of the sci-fi film, though we'll see if fan patience continues to hold once the inevitable sequels start to pop up.

BEST SCORE/BEST SONG - WINGS OF ICARUS/"FAITH"

I was actually surprised to see Disney's Menken/Rice combo take it, as this year was full of legendary composers and big epic orchestral scores. No John Williams appearance this year, but Hans Zimmer showed up and did some of his best work for The Seventh Seal, which I thought would surely take it. And The Band Played On showed up with a surprisingly fantastic score orchestrated by Thomas Newman, I thought the Disney film's score was a solid third with not too much of a chance of taking the prize. The win gave Wings of Icarus two Oscars, which is one more than I expected it would win. Its Oscar nominated songs were both touching, but nowhere near Disney classics such as "A Whole New World" and "Be Our Guest". "Faith" was pretty much the front-runner, the only one of this year's song nominees to become a somewhat mainstream hit, and one of the more beautiful movie songs in recent memory. "Against The World", the latest in a tradition of musicals adding new movie-exclusive songs to compete for Best Song at the Oscars, was a worthy contender, but nowhere near the quality of "Faith", whose win gives The Seventh Seal its third Oscar.

So that was the Oscar ceremony for this year, a year of surprising hits and some fantastic films at the top of the heap. While there were several surprising winners, none of them were TRULY undeserving, and we even got a classic Oscar controversy with Quentin Tarantino's speech! Now let's bring Eddie Murphy back for next year and we'll truly be entering a new Oscar Golden Age.

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I did not realize you gave Rapture and ATBPO that high domestic grosses. Those grosses are totally insane, unrealistic, and loony. Even more insane than what you did to Jericho Returns' OW way back in the old CAYOM.ATBPO shouldn't have done much more than 75-80 million probably, and Rapture could have snuck past 100 million a bit.

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I did not realize you gave Rapture and ATBPO that high domestic grosses. Those grosses are totally insane, unrealistic, and loony. Even more insane than what you did to Jericho Returns' OW way back in the old CAYOM.

ATBPO shouldn't have done much more than 75-80 million probably, and Rapture could have snuck past 100 million a bit.

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