It took a little while, but Avatar has finally won its first guild award. James Cameron’s smash won the Art Directors Guild prize in the Fantasy Film category, while The Hurt Locker picked up the Contemporary Film award, and Sherlock Holmes took home the Period Film trophy. Though Avatar has certainly won major pre-Oscar prizes already this year (including the Golden Globe for Best Picture), this is the first time it’s won an award where the voting body actually has some overlap with the Academy. Tonight Avatar competes directly against The Hurt Locker at the American Cinema Editors’ Eddie Awards. Can it finally top its main Oscar competition at a guild-award ceremony after falling short at the Producers and Directors Guild? Or will The Hurt Locker increase its overall awards-season lead with another victory? Stay tuned…
Tag: Best Picture Oscar (71-80 of 143)
UPDATE 3/3 The Oscar balloting process may now be over, but negativity surrounding The Hurt Locker is still dominating the news, as producer Nicolas Chartier has now been banned from attending the Oscar ceremony as punishment for sending campaign emails to voters.
2/25 And as if on cue, the Hurt Locker backlash is ratcheting up. Paul Reickhoff of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has written an essay in Newsweek pointing out what he perceives as the film’s inaccuracies, saying they “reveal not only a lack of research, but ultimately respect for the American military.” Since there are only five days left in the balloting process, many voters have already turned in their ballots.
2/21 The Hurt Locker and Up in the Air‘s victories at the Writers Guild Awards don’t change much in the overall awards race—since Inglourious Basterds was ineligible for the Writers Guild prize, The Hurt Locker didn’t have much competition in the original screenplay category. And Up in the Air has swept the adapted-screenplay awards all season long.
2/16 This weekend’s Eddie Awards ceremony, in which The Hurt Locker topped Avatar to win the American Cinema Editors prize, still puts Locker in the lead for the Academy Award. Meanwhile, Avatar‘s James Cameron is packing in the campaign stops in New York: He’s being honored by environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., at a cocktail party tonight followed by a Q&A for Screen Actors Guild members, while tomorrow he’ll be feted at a lunch and will tape an episode of Inside the Actors’ Studio.
2/12 Now that the Academy Award ballots have arrived in voters’ mailboxes, the campaigning is heating up once again. Best Actress nominees Sandra Bullock and Gabourey Sidibe have been making the talk-show rounds, while Inglourious Basterds teammates Quentin Tarantino and Christoph Waltz were just honored at a Manhattan lunch hosted by Harvey Keitel. Here are my predictions of who will win in the eight major categories when the Oscar ceremony takes place on March 7.
Prediction: The Hurt Locker In the (albeit brief) history of the Producers Guild Awards and SAG Awards, no film has ever won Best Picture without winning at least one of the four major guild prizes (PGA, SAG, Directors Guild, and Writers Guild). Avatar already lost PGA and DGA to The Hurt Locker, and it wasn’t even nominated for SAG’s best ensemble prize (Inglourious Basterds won that one). And even though it was nominated, it’s obviously not going to win the Writers Guild award. So I’m siding with history and putting my money on The Hurt Locker.
Prediction: Jeff Bridges Bridges, a five-time nominee who’s never won, already has a Golden Globe, Broadcast Critics, and SAG Award on his mantel for Crazy Heart. But even more than that, I’m swayed by the standing ovations he’s routinely received at these award shows, where the audience includes dozens of Academy members. He’s got it in the bag.
Prediction: Sandra Bullock This is clearly the only thing resembling a race in the acting categories. The Blind Side’s Best Picture nomination (compared to no other nods for Julie & Julia) means Bullock has the edge. But you can never count out Meryl Streep, who certainly has legions of fans in the Academy, who may be sick of seeing Bullock beat her. Still, it’s Bullock’s to lose right now.
Prediction: Christoph Waltz Waltz has been the front-runner for this award ever since Basterds‘ Cannes debut last May. There’s no way he’s losing.
Prediction: Mo’Nique The mother of all locks this year. Precious is likely to lose five of the six trophies it’s up for, but not this one.
Prediction: Kathryn Bigelow Even if Avatar pulls out the victory for Best Picture, Bigelow still stands to make history as the Academy’s first-ever female Best Director. A similar result happened in 2001, when a blockbuster (Gladiator) took home Best Picture and the filmmaker behind a grittier entry (Traffic‘s Steven Soderbergh) won Best Director.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman, The Messenger
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson & Tom McCarthy, Up
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Prediction: The Hurt Locker This may just be the toughest race to predict. It’s definitely between Boal and Tarantino. Since the Academy likes to double up and give its Best Picture winner a screenplay prize as well, I’m thinking Boal’s you-are-there Hurt Locker script will take it…barely.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche, In the Loop
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious
Nick Hornby, An Education
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Prediction: Up in the Air This one, not so tough to call. With Up in the Air a true underdog in all its other races, this is the film’s best (and perhaps only) shot at a win.
What do you think of my predictions? On the money? Too safe? I’ll have updates on the Oscar season on Twitter (@davekarger) leading up to the big night.
Over the last few months I’ve noticed several movies repeatedly popping up in your comments to my OscarWatch posts. Three of those films — (500) Days of Summer, Bright Star, and Where the Wild Things Are — were all but left out of this week’s Academy Award nominations announcement despite mostly positive reviews and strong cult followings. So let’s look at each of these entries and figure out how they went from possible awards bait to eventual also-rans.
(500) DAYS OF SUMMER
The quirky summer comedy was one of the breakouts from Sundance, along with Precious and An Education. It scored three major Spirit Award nominations and two big Golden Globe nods, for Best Comedy and Best Actor in a Comedy, but lost both, even though some prognosticators (like myself) thought it had a shot at the Best Comedy trophy. While it was always a dark horse for one of the ten Best Picture slots, its adorable script by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber was considered a top contender for Best Original Screenplay, even earning a Writers Guild nomination alongside A Serious Man and The Hurt Locker. But The Messenger stole its Oscar slot. The fault doesn’t lie with the campaign: Even after Fox Searchlight focused its attention on its late addition, Crazy Heart, it still did right by (500) Days in terms of For Your Consideration ads and industry events. But at the end of the day, the Academy is still an older voting body, and likely didn’t fall for the film’s bittersweet tone as much as all of us fans did.
When it premiered at Cannes, Jane Campion’s period drama was widely considered a return to form for the filmmaker as well as a star-making vehicle for lead actress Abbie Cornish. So why did it only end up with one nomination, for Best Costume Design? In my mind, it was a question of timing and resources. Once the film then played at Toronto, it had several other strong female-driven films to contend with, most notably An Education. And while Cornish dutifully did her PR rounds (including a lovely interview with yours truly), no one could possibly compete with the charm offensive that was the captivating Carey Mulligan. It didn’t help that Bright Star was released relatively early in the season, in September; after a so-so box office showing, many people soon forgot about the film. Plus, Bright Star‘s fledgling distributor, Apparition, then put out The Young Victoria, another costume drama with a solid lead female turn, in December, all but shunting Star to the sidelines.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
Spike Jonze scored a Best Director nod ten years ago for Being John Malkovich. And his unorthodox adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book started strong, earning a decent $77 million at the domestic box office and landing on the National Board of Review’s top 10. Then it basically disappeared from the awards universe. My hunch is that, as with (500) Days, the stodgier members of the Academy didn’t cotton to the film’s woodsy look, which belied its steep production cost. (If a movie is going to cost a lot of dough, they want to see the money more explicitly on the screen.) Also complicating matters was the Academy’s decision to disqualify Karen O and Carter Burwell’s music from Best Score consideration; many observers believe it was because it was the work of two composers working separately rather than as one team. The moral of the story: If Jonze wants to do his trippy, bizarro thing, the Oscars want it to be for grown-ups.
Image credit: Wild Things: Matt Nettheim; Summer: Chuck Zlotnick
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