Tag Archives: AMPAS

The Oscars’ Real, True, ACTUAL Start Time

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The 87th Academy Awards begin tonight, Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 8:30pm Eastern Time (7:30pm Central, 6:30pm Mountain, 5:30pm Pacific).

For years, every time the Oscars come around I search online for the start time, plan my party around that, and then get annoyed with an extra 30-90 minutes of Red Carpet coverage that I could care less about. The Oscars’ OFFICIAL WEBSITE, for instance, lists the start time at “7e/4p.”

Last year I decided to dig a little deeper and discovered that the real answer is a full HOUR AND A HALF LATER than advertised. My blog post to that effect was subsequently the single most viewed post in the history of this blog – by several orders of magnitude!

In a brazen attempt to capture lightening in a bottle twice, I have done my research again and have returned to tell you that, yes, the real, true, actual start time is indeed 90 minutes later than advertised. In fact, the LA Times has a complete breakdown of the entire day’s broadcasting events and times. (Note: their times are all Pacific, so if you live in Central or Eastern, etc. just do the math.)

So once again, if you want to avoid all the Red Carpet nonsense, the Oscars REALLY start at 8:30pm EST/5:30pm PST.

Enjoy the show!

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AMPAS Rescinds Oscar Nomination for Song

alone movie

Remember that one song that got nominated for an Oscar a couple weeks ago? The one you’ve never heard of? Of course not, why would you? “Alone Yet Not Alone” is a crappy faux-hymn from the Christian-market-only film of the same name. Apparently one of the songs composers, Bruce Broughton, is a former head of the Academy’s Music Branch, and as such he has the entire voting membership in his contact list. He emailed the song to that list asking for votes, and viola! The most obscure nomination in Oscar history.

It was an embarrassing nomination, and yesterday the Academy decided to undo it. Broughton and his wife responded to the news quite indignantly and defensively on Facebook. (See below to read both sides of the argument.)

Honestly I can see their point about not being able to compete with the massive campaign funds of the bigger contenders, and I would argue in defense of them, if it wasn’t such an obviously terrible song! Even objectively there is no way a voter could listen to that alongside, say, Lana del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” from The Great Gatsby, and think the silly little hymn is better. The only way it could have gotten votes is from thinking “Oh hey, that guy’s my friend. I’ll vote for him.” Or, “Oh hey, that guy has a lot of influence in this industry. It’ll help my career to vote for him.”

Here’s the Academy press release….

“On Tuesday night, the Academy’s Board of Governors voted to rescind the Original Song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone,” music by Bruce Broughton and lyric by Dennis Spiegel. The decision was prompted by the discovery that Broughton, a former Governor and current Music Branch executive committee member, had emailed members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period.

“No matter how well-intentioned the communication, using one’s position as a former governor and current executive committee member to personally promote one’s own Oscar submission creates the appearance of an unfair advantage,” said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President.

“The Board determined that Broughton’s actions were inconsistent with the Academy’s promotional regulations, which provide, among other terms, that “it is the Academy’s goal to ensure that the Awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner. If any campaign activity is determined by the Board of Governors to work in opposition to that goal, whether or not anticipated by these regulations, the Board of Governors may take any corrective actions or assess any penalties that in its discretion it deems necessary to protect the reputation and integrity of the awards process.”

An additional nominee in the Original Song category will not be named. The remaining nominees in the category are:

“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”
Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams

“Let It Go” from “Frozen”
Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

“The Moon Song” from “Her”
Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze

“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson

 

And here’s the response from Broughton…

“What’s on my mind? The mess of this afternoon’s news and the positive responses of so many friends. If you want to really vent your feelings in a positive way, one that transcends your lovely notes to me, you can let the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences know.

“How do I feel? I feel as though I’m the butt of a campaign to discredit a song, the nomination of which caught people by surprise. As many of you have noted, the campaigning on the other songs is epic compared to my simple email note. The marketing abilities of the other companies before and after the nomination far outstrip anything that this song was able to benefit from.

“We learned this morning that the song will appear on Billboard’s charts shortly. Somebody’s listening to it. Somebody likes it.

“But most of all, I feel sullied, and I feel disappointed not only for me, but for Dennis Spiegel, who wrote a lovely (and although hardly anyone has noticed), truly ecumenical lyric which helped drive the story in the film, and for the unassailable Joni Eareckson, whose vocal on the song breathed real life into it.

“So, if you’re really upset by this miserable turn of events, I appreciate your notes enormously (I also read Belinda’s page), but let the Academy know.”
– Bruce Broughton, evening of Jan. 29.

And his wife…

 “I cannot believe that the Academy just did that to Bruce. Bruce has given hours and hours of his time to the Academy over a period of 30 years, has tirelessly fought for composers, is the only top composer I know who will generously lend out his scores to composers, spends hours having lunches giving advice to up and coming film composers. These poor huge production companies who had their noses put out of joint by a little song. All I can say is, they must have been terrified by the song and it’s one damn good song too. Well, they are happy now, they can play together in the same sand box again. Shame on you Motion Picture Academy for taking the low road, saving your own butts and doing this to one of your former Governors and Head of the Music Branch. Maybe a phone call to Bruce, from one of the Academy Governors of the Music Branch would have been nice too? (Angry wife!)”
– Belinda Broughton, evening of Jan. 29

 

 

 

 

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3 Films ‘Hustle’ for the Lead – Oscar Nominations Breakdown

gravity 12 years hustle split

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts ad Sciences (AMPAS) gave us plenty of surprises – both good and bad – when they announced their 86th Annual Oscar nominations this morning.

The big story is American Hustle, which tied Gravity for the lead with 10 nods each, followed closely by 12 Years a Slave with 9. Any one of them could still win, but this proves it really is a 3-way race. All 3 got the crucial Picture/Director/Editing trifecta that is often necessary to go the distance.

All 9 of the Best Picture nominees got more nominations than any of the other films. A majority of the different branches seemed to be on the same page. I feel like this kind of symmetry is actually pretty rare. (Scroll to the bottom of my complete nominations list for a list of total nominations per film.)

I’m actually pretty proud of a decent showing in my own predictions. (Scroll down to see my brag list and how I did on each category.) But there were a fair number selections and snubs that few people saw coming – including at least one that NOBODY could’ve guessed.

The Good…

  • A much stronger-than-expected showing for The Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club was very heartening to see.
  • Philomena for Best Pic, expected but not guaranteed.
  • American Hustle got nods in all 4 acting categories (the best thing about the movie). This is extremely rare, and yet it’s 2 years in a row for a David O. Russell film.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor. I predicted it, but most pundits figuring he was in 6th place. Now that he’s in, I think he actually has a decent chance for the win, though it’s still a tight race.
  • Sally Hawkins was excellent in Blue Jasmine I’m happy to see her remembered here.
  • The Hobbit’s FX and dual Sound nods. Despite the series’ chronic bloating, it still continues to break new ground on the tech front.
  • Ernest & Celestine!!!
  • Get A Horse!

The Bad…

  • American Hustle‘s tied for the most nominations makes it even more likely to steal the ultimate win from Gravity and 12 Years a Slave (two vastly superior films).
  • Zero nominations for Rush, The Butler, Pacific Rim, or The Hunger Games.
  • Captain Phillips had a worse showing than expected, with both Tom Hanks and director Paul Greengrass missing out on nominations.
  • Part of the Rush shutout, Daniel Bruhl was passed over for one of the very best performances of the year.
  • Part of The Butler shutout, Oprah Winfrey (the best part of that film) was denied.
  • The Coen Bros. missed a screenplay nod for Inside Llewyn Davis. The film itself only managed 2 mentions.
  • 12 Years a Slave’s stunning cinematography was ignored.
  •  Part of The Hunger Games shutout, the amazing costumes were not mentioned, nor the memorable Makeup & Hairsyling
  • Speaking of M&H: the Academy seemed to love American Hustle, so how did it miss out here for those amazing hairdos?
  • No love for Hanz Zimmer’s excellent score for 12 Years a Slave, or Alex Ebert’s work on All Is Lost.
  • No Pacific Rim for visual effects is a travesty. If it weren’t for Gravity, I would’ve pegged it for the de facto winner.
  • Monster’s University is Pixar’s second ever miss for Animated Feature, after Cars 2.
  • Blackfish really deserved a nomination, and it could’ve used the extra publicity to help its valiant cause.
  • Stories We Tell was also widely expected to compete for the documentary win. While I haven’t seen it yet, everything I’ve read makes me disheartened that it was left out.

The WTF??!?!…

  • Best song. This category is notorious for providing some real head-scratchers year after year. (Last year they included a little-known documentary, and the year before that they only nominated TWO songs!) This year is no different, with an unexpected snub for Lana del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” from The Great Gatsby.
  • But the real shot of crazy here is “Alone Yet Not Alone” from a film of the same name. A film which NOBODY has ever even heard of, let alone seen. It doesn’t appear on Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, or Box Office Mojo. It turns out it’s a religious film with a fairly offensive sounding synopsis, made purely for the Christian market. So how the hell did it get nominated? Perhaps because one of the composers is head of the Academy’s music branch…

Brag List
79 (+ 9 alternates) correct out of 108 predictions
2 perfect categories (+ 6 with alternates)
14 categories missed only one
5 missed two
0 missed more than two
Plus I got the one animated short I predicted, Get A Horse!

My predictions, by the numbers…

Best Picture 9/9!!!
Out: Saving Mr. Banks; Blue Jasmine

Best Director 4/5 + alternate
In: Alexander Payne, Nebraska; Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
Out:  Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips; Spike Jonze, Her

Best Actor 4/5
In: Christian Bale, American Hustle; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Out: Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips; Robert Redford, All Is Lost

Best Actress 4/5 + alternate
In: Amy Adams, American Hustle
Out: Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks

Best Supporting Actor 3/5 + alternate
In: Bradley Cooper, American Hustle; Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Out: Daniel Bruhl, Rush; James Gandolfini, Enough Said

Best Supporting Actress 4/5
In: Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Out: Oprah Winfrey, The Butler

Best Adapted Screenplay 5/5!!!

Best Original Screenplay 4/5 + alternate
In: Dallas Buyers Club
Out: Inside Llewyn Davis

Cinematography 4/5
In: The Grandmaster
Out: 12 Years a Slave

Costume Design 4/5
In: The Grandmaster
Out: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Editing 4/5
In: Dallas Buyers Club
Out: The Wolf of Wall Street; Rush

Makeup and Hairstyling 2/3
In: Dallas Buyers Club
Out: American Hustle; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Score 3/5 + alternate
In: Philomena; Saving Mr. Banks
Out: 12 Years a Slave; All is Lost

Song 3/5
In: Alone Yet Not Alone (Alone Yet Not Alone); “Happy (Despicable Me 2)
Out: Young and Beautiful (The Great Gatsby); So You Know What It’s Like (Short Term 12)

Production Design 4/5 + alternate
In: Her
Out: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Sound Editing 4/5
In: The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug
Out: Rush

Sound Mixing 4/5
In: The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug
Out: All Is Lost

Visual Effects 3/5 + alternate
In: The Lone Ranger; Star Trek Into Darkness
Out: Pacific Rim; Oblivion

Foreign Film 4/5 + alternate
In: The Missing Picture
Out: The Grandmaster

Animated Feature 4/5 + alternate
In: Ernest & Celestine; Despicable Me 2
Out: Monsters University

Documentary Feature 3/5
In: Cutie and the Boxer; Dirty Wars
Out: Blackfish; Stories We Tell

Animated Short 1/1

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Oscar Predictions

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The Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow morning. Bright and early at 5:38am Pacific (7:38am Central) Chris Hemsworth and AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs will deliver the news.

Or at least some of it. The live announcement (usually streamed online – I will update this page with a link tomorrow morning when I have it) is actually just the most major 9 categories. The rest are given in the form of a press release, and announced by most news outlets immediately after. Last year broke with tradition a little bit when Seth MacFarlane also announced Best Song live, presumably because he was one of the nominees. I don’t expect anything like that happening with Hemsworth.

Here are my final predictions for the nominations. My choices are based on a mix of the guilds and other precursors and following other awards watchers. (Kris Tapley, et al over at In Contention are some of the best in the field at predicting these things. Check out their predictions here.) There’s simply no way to predict the short categories so I pretty much skipped those, with the exception of one film I feel is guaranteed of a nomination (and probably an eventual win). I also listed one or two alternates for almost every category to help you with your own predictions.

What do you think? Any stupid choices or glaring omissions? Let me know in the comments!

Best Picture – There can be anywhere from 5-10 nominees, but I think the first 7 are pretty much locked.
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
If there are 8: The Wolf of Wall Street
If there are 9: Philomena
If there are 10: Saving Mr. Banks
Alternate: Blue Jasmine

Best Director
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Alt: Spike Jonze, Her or Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaghey, Dallas Buyers Club
Alt: Robert Redfort, All Is Lost

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Alt: Amy Adams, American Hustle

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Brühl, Rush
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Alt: Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, The Butler
Alt: Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station

Best Adapted Screenplay
12 Years a Slave
Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
Philomena
The Wolf of Wall Street
Alt: August: Osage County

Best Original Screenplay
American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Her
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
Alt: Gravity; Dallas Buyers Club

Foreign Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Grandmaster
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
Omar
Alt: The Missing Picture

Original Song
Let it Go (Frozen)
Young and Beautiful (The Great Gatsby)
The Moon Song (Her)
Ordinary Love (Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom)
So You Know What It’s Like (Short Term 12)
Alt: Atlas (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)

Score
12 Years a Slave, Hans Zimmer
All is Lost, Alex Ebert
Gravity, Steven Price
Her, Arcade Fire
The Book Thief, John Williams
Alt: Saving Mr Banks, Thomas Newman

Animated Feature
The Croods
Ernest & Celestine
Frozen
Monsters University
The Wind Rises
Alt: Despicable Me 2

Cinematography
12 Years a Slave
Gravity
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
Prisoners
Alt: Captain Phillips

Costume Design
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Invisible Woman
Alt: Saving Mr. Banks

Editing
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Gravity
The Wolf of Wall Street
Alt: Rush

Makeup and Hairstyling
American Hustle
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger
Alt: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Production Design
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Gravity
The Great Gatsby
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Alt: Her; Saving Mr. Banks

Sound Editing
All Is Lost
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Lone Survivor
Rush
Alt: Iron Man 3

Sound Mixing
All Is Lost
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor
Alt: 12 Years a Slave; Iron Man 3

Visual Effects
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim
Oblivion
Alt: Star Trek Into Darkness

Documentary Feature
20 Feet from Stardom
The Act of Killing
Blackfish
The Square
Stories We Tell
Alt: Tim’s Vermeer

Documentary Short
n/a

Live Action Short
n/a

Animated Short
Get A Horse!
n/a

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