Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscars & Other Film Awards, What They Really Insure

The Oscars were on last night but I don't watch the Oscars anymore. I only need them for one thing and that is why I remain a huge fan of them.  That one thing is that they motivate all of these beautiful people to drop their usual rigamarole and do quality work instead.  For the Oscars they will take less money, or hell maybe no money. They will take off all the gunk on their faces, make a mess of their hair, ruin their faces or bodies, whatever it takes. They will do anything to appear the opposite of the way they do they do on Oscar night; they become actors instead of movie stars. If there were no Oscars, we would see nothing but drek all year long. It would be one super hero, one car chase, one homicide after another. But these people are human, they want to win one and they will do whatever it takes.

It used to be pretty much just the Oscars which brought about this fierce competition. However, now the awards circuit is worldwide. At this point, we need to make a distinction though. The major awards have large lists of nominees in every category. By contrast, at film festivals, like Sundance or Cannes, everything shown is considered a nominee and only the winners are typically listed. Festivals actually show the films whereas awards events show no films, like the Oscars and Golden Globes. So you need to look at nominee lists at awards events and films being shown in competition at film festivals.

There is only one awards show which is for the worst work of the year and that is the Razzies. The Razzies I only check for fun as I already know the people on their lists are must-avoid, such as Kim Kardashian who this year won in Temptation as Worst Supporting Actress. Sylvester Stallone is the all time Razzie contender with 31 nominations, three of those just this year.

Why is this important?  It matters because you can set yourself up for worthwhile watching all year long just by keeping nearby a list of the nominees.  At the end of this entry I have put a list of all of this year's Oscar's Nominees.  Watch any of those if hunting for something decent to watch. Keep in mind, winning awards is a very political undertaking with a lot of campaigning and glad handing, just as if you were running for political office but within the movie industry. The people who often win do one of the following: run the best PR campaign, have been overlooked too often, are the politically correct person or issue of the moment, or, best of all, just died. That doesn't mean someone or something else shouldn't have won. So by having the list of the contenders instead, and not caring who wins, you have a plan for using Netflix, Amazon, and your cable or satellite service. Best of all, these lists are just a google search away. Every film festival and film awards event now has its own website with an archives. These films often come online faster too because they do not do a huge American box office so are cheaper to buy for streaming. So let's get you started on where to go: 
Oscars website
golden globes website
sundance film festival
Just look up film festival or film awards on google to find more. Now, the list I promised.

Oscars 2014 Nominees
Best Picture
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O Russell, American Hustle
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Actor
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Actress
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage Country
Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Best Animated Feature
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest and Celestine
The Wind Rises
Best Documentary Feature
20 Feet from Stardom
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
Best Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Omar (Palestine)


  1. Interesting outlook on the Oscars, Carol. I rather like your attitude.
    But I think you've overlooked one aspect of winning at all costs.
    Since movie stars are looked at by our young people as "heroes" I think their effort to play the difficult part...mess their hair, pad their cheeks, lose or gain some weight, etc. may win a Oscar...what does that prove?..that there are "monsters" like Halle Berry's attacker, that there are killers, like Charlize Theron's character, that there are sleeze bags like Matthew McConnaughey's rodeo stud?
    And why do we have do be reminded that there used to be slavery of minorities every year or so? This year, the Academy gave an award to a British black director who apparently likes white women, a Kenyan gal who looks good in clothes who happened to go to Yale drama school, and almost slipped up and gave one to a scoundrel who pried money from gullible folks to splurge on a grand lifestyle?
    What kind of heroes are these?

    Oh, I like a good movie and a good performance every now and then. But I'll be darn if I'm going to watch a technical savvy GRAVITY...a Brit playing a slaveowner...another star-studded dysfunctional family AUGUST-OSAGE COUNTY....

    So next year I'm looking forward to Russell Crowe as Noah and Christian Bale as Moses...a change of pace! And only one transformation... Charlize as the strange gal in Gillian Flynn's DARK PLACES...what a great book. Did you read my Amazon review?


    1. Jane, Your demographics are off. Oscars are considered movies for the older person. They are released usually in November and December when older people go to the movies. The average age of a voting member of the Academy is well over 50. The movies which are slated for a younger demographic are released closer to summer and are rarely up for Oscars.

      Much as I enjoyed comic books as a kid, I for one am tired of the super hero movie character of the summer. I also am tired of flawless heroes since there is no such real person. I was an English major in college as was Jim so we really enjoy the exposition of flawed characters. My favorite movie of the year was THE ATTACK which was about an Arab surgeon working in Israel whose wife becomes a suicide bomber. I have thought and thought about that movie for two months since I saw it.

      As for people in the arts and their personal lives: I don't want to know anything about their personal lives. It interferes with my immersing myself in their work. I do not want to know, for example, about Paul Gaugin's desertion of his family and leaving them penniless while he painted in Tahiti. Unfortunately, I do know this and I have to shove it out of my mind when I look at his work. People in the arts are not great human beings. They never were and never will be. The work is much more capable of being appreciated when one accepts this fact.

      I read Flynn's GONE GIRL which I enjoyed but have not read her other two books yet. I just read a terrific thriller for the VINE program which I posted yesterday at Amazon. I will go over and read your review.