“I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.” – Sir Thomas More of A Man for All Seasons (1966 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture)
Can you help me understand some of the 2018 Oscar Nominations?
I enjoy the movies. I don’t necessarily enjoy paying an average of $12 dollars for an average of 2 hours of screen time – $6 an hour seems a bit steep – to sit in what can only be very unsanitary seats, but that’s what Ramen noodles and handy wipes are for. They have also recently installed leather, reclining (like full recline, people) seats in one of the local theaters which puts the average $6 an hour rate into perspective. Sure it’s a bit more seat area to wipe down, but there’s just no better way to watch a movie than in one of those dreamy reclining seats. Why no one thought of that until 2017 is beyond me – but I am grateful for the new concept.
Anywho, I always try to see as many of the Oscar nominated films before the big event each year as I can to cover most of the categories – best picture, acting, documentaries, screenplay, directors, etc. Couple of reasons.
First, I love a good challenge. This was a far easier feat way back when there were only like 5 best picture nominees and most of the acting nominations came from those same movies. We’ll refer to that as “when Hollywood got lazy with their academy award nominations”. It’s certainly much more challenging to do now (there are 9 best picture nominations for crying out loud), but it’s completely fine because at least there’s some level of “diversity” and I use that term loosely as it is often apparent that Hollywood’s old-boys-club tends to demonstrate a total lack of understanding of what ‘diversity’ actually means…yes, I said it. You really shouldn’t be too shocked that an HR person dropped the “D” word.
Second, I like to see how my taste in movies lines up with “the critics” and the film industry. Lately it’s been all over the place (using the recent Oscar nominations and Rotten Tomatoes as my base-line).
It used to be that the nominations were fairly predictable – you saw a movie, said to yourself, “Self, I bet that gets nominated for an Oscar – what a great movie”, and boom – come January, Oscar nomination. I mean did anyone think “what were they thinking??” when films like Forrest Gump, Schindler’s List, Braveheart, Driving Miss Daisy, Gladiator, Titanic (god help me), and Rocky were nominated? No. But it’s not quite as predictable anymore – at least the using that logic of a great movie with great talent gets awarded during “Hollywood’s biggest night” and that for those that don’t win, it was an honor to just be nominated, kind of way. Like the world we live in, it’s become more complex.
Nowadays, you could certainly argue that there is still a predictability to the Oscar nominations in that we can predict that there seem to be patterns or categories that the nominees fall into: some nominations will be obvious, some will be “trendy”, some will be statements against a cause, some will be because the lead danced, sang, or played a character that was outside the comfort zone of conservative Americans, some will be nothing but Hollywood politics, and some will be so off the wall that you will wonder if you maybe saw a different movie of the same title. It is not as straight forward as it used to be, so it’s fascinating to see what gets nominated and what doesn’t. What’s not to love about that.
Lastly, I like movies. And a bonus for 2018 – my fabulous friend, Nicole (the gal that supplies all the Starbucks – see some of the previous posts), gave my sister and I both a MoviePass for Christmas, so we have a free year of movies. Like I said. BONUS.
The Nomination Process
I’ll say that I have a beginners to intermediate level of understanding of the Oscar nomination process. The whole process is really handled by an accounting firm. The period of review is October through September of the previous year, I’m fairly positive (although I’m thrown by this in regards to this years nominations, because many were just released – so it may just be when they were released in LA). There are some six thousand voting members that consists of filmmakers and actors and people “in the business.” There are standards that have to be met in order for someone or a film to be eligible for consideration – think minimum qualifications to get an interview for a job. Members only get to vote for their particular category – so directors only get to vote for directors, actors only get to vote for actors, editors for editors, and so on. All get to vote on best picture. Oddly it seems fairly logical.
Producers of the movies actually have to submit an official form in order for their film to be up for consideration. A little factoid that I’ve always found interesting. Ballots are sent out. Voters get to submit/rank up to their top five. Votes are counted and the whole shebang is handed back over to the accounting firm, which for 80 years was PricewaterhouseCoopers, for the number crunching and the nominees are ultimately announced. I think we all remember PwC from the 2017 Oscars (probably not as well as the cast and crew of la La Land). They made a rather asinine blunder at the show – if you don’t remember the details, go check out my post on the 2017 Oscars. They got fired from the Oscars.
For some reason I thought it was important to include this information. You can take it or leave it, I suppose.
The End Game
Well, long story short, I am going to do my best to watch as many of the nominated films, performances, and documentaries that I can access before the big night. And I’m going to follow-up most with my riveting commentary in an Oscar special series on the ole blog. I may even toss out some predictions based on my personal preferences and opinions. This could get wild and crazy.
Please try to contain your enthusiasm…