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American Sniper (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producers: Bradley Cooper, p.g.a., Clint Eastwood, p.g.a., Andrew Lazar, p.g.a., Robert Lorenz, p.g.a., Peter Morgan, p.g.a.

Birdman (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole

Boyhood (IFC Films)
Producers: Richard Linklater, p.g.a., Cathleen Sutherland, p.g.a.

Foxcatcher (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Megan Ellison, p.g.a., Jon Kilik, p.g.a., Bennett Miller, p.g.a.

Gone Girl (20th Century Fox)
Producer: Ceán Chaffin, p.g.a.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Wes Anderson & Scott Rudin, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales

The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)
Producers: Nora Grossman, p.g.a., Ido Ostrowsky, p.g.a., Teddy Schwarzman, p.g.a.

Nightcrawler (Open Road Films)
Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy

The Theory of Everything (Focus Features)
Producers: Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten

Whiplash (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
Producer: Roy Conli, p.g.a.

The Book of Life (20th Century Fox)
Producers: Brad Booker, p.g.a., Guillermo del Toro, p.g.a.

The Boxtrolls (Focus Features)
Producers: David Bleiman Ichioka, p.g.a., Travis Knight, p.g.a.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 (20th Century Fox)
Producer: Bonnie Arnold, p.g.a.

The LEGO Movie (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producer: Dan Lin

The television nominees are:

The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television:
The Long-Form Television category encompasses both movies of the week and mini-series.

American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)
Producers: Brad Buecker, Dante Di Loreto, Brad Falchuk, Joseph Incaprera, Alexis Martin Woodall, Tim Minear, Ryan Murphy, Jennifer Salt, James Wong

Fargo (FX)
Producers: Adam Bernstein, John Cameron, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Michael Frislev, Noah Hawley, Warren Littlefield, Chad Oakes, Kim Todd

The Normal Heart (HBO)
Producers: Jason Blum, Dante Di Loreto, Scott Ferguson, Dede Gardner, Alexis Martin Woodall, Ryan Murphy, Brad Pitt, Mark Ruffalo

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (PBS)
Producers: To Be Determined

Sherlock (PBS)
Producers: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Beryl Vertue, Sue Vertue

In late 2014, the Producers Guild of America announced the Documentary Theatrical Motion Picture, Television Series and Non-Fiction Television Nominations. The following list now includes complete producer credits.

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:

The Green Prince (Music Box Films)
Producers: John Battsek, Simon Chinn, Nadav Schirman

Life Itself (Magnolia Pictures)
Producers: Garrett Basch, Steve James, Zak Piper

Merchants of Doubt (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Robert Kenner, Melissa Robledo

Particle Fever (Abramorama/BOND 360)
Producers: David E. Kaplan, Mark A. Levinson, Andrea Miller, Carla Solomon

Virunga (Netflix)
Producers: Joanna Natasegara, Orlando von Einsiedel

The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama:

Breaking Bad (AMC)
Producers: Melissa Bernstein, Sam Catlin, Bryan Cranston, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Mark Johnson, Stewart Lyons, Michelle MacLaren, George Mastras, Diane Mercer, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett

Downton Abbey (PBS)
Producers: Julian Fellowes, Nigel Marchant, Gareth Neame, Liz Trubridge

Game Of Thrones (HBO)
Producers: David Benioff, Bernadette Caulfield, Frank Doelger, Chris Newman, Greg Spence, Carolyn Strauss, D.B. Weiss

House Of Cards (Netflix)
Producers: Dana Brunetti, Joshua Donen, David Fincher, David Manson, Iain Paterson, Eric Roth, Kevin Spacey, Beau Willimon

True Detective (HBO)
Producers: Richard Brown, Carol Cuddy, Steve Golin, Woody Harrelson, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Matthew McConaughey, Nic Pizzolatto, Scott Stephens

The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy:

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Producers: Faye Oshima Belyeu, Chuck Lorre, Steve Molaro, Bill Prady

Louie (FX)
Producers: Pamela Adlon, Dave Becky, M. Blair Breard, Louis C.K., Vernon Chatman, Adam Escott, Steven Wright

Modern Family (ABC)
Producers: Paul Corrigan, Megan Ganz, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Sally Young, Danny Zuker

Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)
Producers: Mark A. Burley, Sara Hess, Jenji Kohan, Gary Lennon, Neri Tannenbaum, Michael Trim, Lisa I. Vinnecour

Veep (HBO)
Producers: Chris Addison, Simon Blackwell, Christopher Godsick, Armando Iannucci, Stephanie Laing, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Frank Rich, Tony Roche

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:

30 For 30 (ESPN)
Producers: Andy Billman, John Dahl, Erin Leyden, Connor Schell, Bill Simmons

American Masters (PBS)
Producers: Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks, Junko Tsunashima

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (CNN)
Producers: Anthony Bourdain, Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia, Sandra Zweig

COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey (FOX/NatGeo)
Producers: Brannon Braga, Mitchell Cannold, Jason Clark, Ann Druyan, Livia Hanich, Steve Holtzman, Seth MacFarlane

Shark Tank (ABC)
Producers: Becky Blitz, Mark Burnett, Bill Gaudsmith, Phil Gurin, Yun Lingner, Clay Newbill, Jim Roush, Laura Roush, Max Swedlow

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television:

The Amazing Race (CBS)
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo

Dancing With The Stars (ABC)
Producers: Ashley Edens Shaffer, Conrad Green, Joe Sungkur

Project Runway (Lifetime)
Producers: Jane Cha Cutler, Desiree Gruber, Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Jonathan Murray, Sara Rea, Teri Weideman

Top Chef (Bravo)
Producers: Doneen Arquines, Daniel Cutforth, Casey Kriley, Jane Lipsitz, Hillary Olsen, Erica Ross, Tara Siener, Shealan Spencer

The Voice (NBC)
Producers: Stijn Bakkers, Mark Burnett, John De Mol, Chad Hines, Lee Metzger, Audrey Morrissey, Jim Roush, Kyra Thompson, Mike Yurchuk, Amanda Zucker

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television:

The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
Producers: Meredith Bennett, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Barry Julien, Matt Lappin, Emily Lazar, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart

Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
Producers: David Craig, Ken Crosby, Doug DeLuca, Gary Greenberg, Erin Irwin, Jimmy Kimmel, Jill Leiderman, Molly McNearney, Tony Romero, Jason Schrift, Jennifer Sharron, Seth Weidner, Josh Weintraub

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
Producers: Tim Carvell, John Oliver, Liz Stanton

Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
Producers: Scott Carter, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen, Bill Maher, Billy Martin, Matt Wood

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
Producers: Rob Crabbe, Jamie Granet Bederman, Katie Hockmeyer, Jim Juvonen, Josh Lieb, Brian McDonald, Lorne Michaels, Gavin Purcell

The following programs were previously announced in late 2014. They were not vetted for producer eligibility this year, but winners in these categories will be announced at the official ceremony on January 24th:

The Award for Outstanding Sports Program:

24/7 (HBO)

Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Atlanta Falcons (HBO)

Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Cincinnati Bengals (HBO)

Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March To Brazil (ESPN)

Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel (HBO)

The Award for Outstanding Children’s Program:

Dora The Explorer (Nickelodeon)

Sesame Street (PBS)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon)

Toy Story OF TERROR! (ABC)

Wynton Marsalis: A YoungArts Masterclass (HBO)

The Award for Outstanding Digital Series:

30 For 30 Shorts (http://espn.go.com/30for30/shorts)

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (http://www.crackle.com/c/comedians-in-cars-getting-coffee)

COSMOS: A National Geographic Deeper Dive (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkiFfAEB5M8)

Epic Rap Battles Of History (http://youtube.com/erb)

Video Game High School Season 3 (https://www.youtube.com/user/freddiew)

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  • Josh

    Unbroken is toast.

  • Yogsss

    Foxcatcher! FUCK YES!

  • FOXCATCHER and GONE GIRL in. Good good.

  • Okay, my initial reaction is I’m very happy for Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Nightcrawler, but I’m surprised to see no Selma. Wow!!

  • Kiko

    Good list of nominees.
    Happy for the Grand Budapest hotel

    Selma and unbroken are officially dead though.

  • willyant

    NO SELMA! I didn t want to see coming American Sniper.

  • PJ

    No Selma? American sniper hits ADG and PGA AND ACE? What a difference a couple of weeks make!

  • Josh

    Shit, I didn’t notice no Selma. That sucks. Very happy for Grand Budapest, Gone Girl, Nightcrawler though. And VERY VERY happy for Foxcatcher.

    In my opinion, movies with very little chance at best pic nom: Unbroken, Interstellar, Into the Woods, A Most Violent Year. Sad on three of those four.

  • willyant

    Happy for Nightcrawler, Gone Girl and Foxcatcher. I miss Guardians and AMVY

  • willyant

    CITIZENFOUR, out.

  • Pete

    Selma and Unbroken are done. DGA gets interesting now.

  • Robert A.

    Wow! I’m shocked about Selma. This lack of a PGA nod dooms it as a potential spoiler to Boyhood. Now it’s going to have to fight just for a BP nomination.

    Foxcatcher is revived! I’m pleased about that. American Sniper is coming on strong right now. PGA, ACE Eddie, and ADG nominations. Whiplash and Nightcrawler continue to pop up all over the place. Underestimate the both of these at your own risk.

    Meanwhile, many a box-office behemoth–Unbroken, Interstellar, Into the Woods–is badly damaged, their carcasses left on the side of the Oscar road. I suppose one of the three could still make the BP lineup in an Extremely Loud kind of way, but I wouldn’t count on it.

  • Simone

    Very happy for the Gone Girl recognition!

  • Pete

    It is interesting to see how Selma apparently is being badly hurt by the accusations of inaccuracies, but American Sniper so far seems immune to the same criticisms.

  • Interstellar RIP.
    Nightcrawler keeps coming and coming, damn!
    Good day for Foxcatcher and Whiplash.

  • Simone

    ps, I have a theory about the Selma snubs:
    The success of 12 Years a Slave (with its wins both warranted and needed) has exhausted people’s interests in the plight of blacks during slavery, and post-slavery struggles. It’s complete bullshit, but, that’s Hollywood kids. :/

  • Pingback: PGA Awards 2015 – Boyhood, American Sniper e The Imitatation Game verso l’Oscar | Il blog di ScreenWeek.it()

  • Oh, on a personal note, HOORAY for Gone Girl!

  • Jake

    I still think AMPAS passes on American Sniper in favor of Selma. Other than that, it seems like this is your BP lineup (minus Nightcrawler).

    Boyhood
    Birdman
    The Imitation Game
    The Theory of Everything
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    Gone Girl
    Selma
    Foxcatcher
    Whiplash

  • Jim

    Christ. How the hell did they leave Selma off? It’s vastly superior to most of these nominees–The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, Nightcralwer, Birdman…and I liked those movies! Some quite a bit! The only ones on here that I disliked were Gone Girl (inferior to the book, which I might have just loved too much to be able to watch the movie clearly) and Foxcatcher (which I found dreadful). Regardless, Selma was easily one of the five best movies of the year (including foreign films that would never have a chance here). It’s insulting to see it left off a list in favor of two biopics that are perfectly pleasant but so much less artful and powerful. Shame on the PGA.

  • I’m also really happy to see The LEGO Movie competing in the Best Animated Feature category. That was my favorite animated film of the last few years.
    Plus, I get to cheer at least 1 more time for Breaking Bad. Yay! Sad that Silicon Valley was ignored. Boo!

  • Robert A.

    For some reason I don’t think the lack of a PGA nomination dooms Selma for a BP Oscar nomination. I think it pretty much dooms it for a win, but not necessarily a nomination. There have been a lot of reports about Selma’s screener issues and the movie (perhaps) being underseen by the various voting committees. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, and eventually we have to stop making excuses for Selma and accept the fact that, for whatever reasons, it’s underperforming. With that said, though, I think it’s possible the film’s underperformance is due in part to not enough voters having seen the film, and that voters will “catch up” with the movie just in time for Oscar nominations.

    Or not.

  • elvis

    woow No Selma. Selma is now fighting to get Oscar BP nod, Unbroken and Interstella are dead. American Sniper is in. don’t underestimate Clint Eastwood’s power.

  • It looks like Gary Michael Walters is having a wonderful day. Haha! 🙂
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0910230/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cr15

  • Christophe

    Shit, I posted the noms on another thread bc I couldn’t see this post yet.
    The year of the great rift, each voting body going its own way, all over the place, anything is possible!

  • Christophe

    Happy for the Boxtrolls! But was Kaguya not eligible for Outstanding anim.?

  • elvis

    I am happy about Gone Girl.

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  • Robert A.

    Kris Tapley is reporting that Selma sent screeners to Academy voters in December but to no other guild groups. Is that true? I thought I’d read some other report that claimed a couple of PGA voters had received screeners for Selma (maybe they were also AMPAS members?).

    Very confusing. If it’s true, though, the whole screener issue has really messed up Selma’s campaign.

  • Zach

    Shocking. I guess no Selma would’ve been my NGNG pick, but who really would’ve guessed it? There does seem to be a discrepancy between the critics in their unanimous praise of Selma and the industry precursors in their muted reception of the film. Now it has been shut out of SAG and PGA — any possibility of the screeners not reaching members in time, as happened with the SAG? If DuVernay misses, it will be another totally whitebread Director lineup. And a bad day for Brangelina.

    I don’t see Foxcatcher making the Oscar lineup as it’s very muted and polarizing, but you have to acknowledge it got a Globe nom too, and Carell has not missed yet.

    The box-office titans are likely dead, Gone Girl being their best hope. Gone Girl is like the more audience-friendly Foxcatcher, but both are too dark and polarizing for most older Academy members. Nightcrawler too, as entertaining as it is. Nightcrawler seems to be playing really well with the guilds while Selma, despite Pitt and Oprah, is having an Atonement-like run.

    Best Picture Predictions:
    Boyhood
    Birdman
    The Imitation Game
    Selma
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Theory of Everything
    Whiplash
    American Sniper
    The real wild card: Gone Girl
    You never know: Unbroken
    I don’t think so: Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler, Interstellar, Into the Woods, A Most Violent Year, Inherent Vice, Wild, Still Alice

    Comparisons with other years are always a fool’s game, but is Unbroken the Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close to Gone Girl’s (and Foxcatcher’s and Nightcrawler’s) Dragon Tattoo?

  • benutty

    I mean, is this another case of Paramount really dropping the ball on both Selma and Interstellar? At least one of them should have gotten in, right??

    Does anyone think that if Selma gets into BP at the Oscars that it could make an Argo-like “snub” case and actually win?

  • benutty

    If anything, Paramount has indirectly proven that guild and AMPAS voter reliance on screeners in order to see films is RIDICULOUS. I think screeners need to end immediately. Part of the movie-going experience is ACTUALLY GOING TO THE MOVIES. If a voter can’t be persuaded to see a movie via the same channels that an average moviegoer is persuaded then we’ve truly given studios and the “Oscar race machine” all the power to determine what an awards-caliber film is. Studios and screeners are determining what voters choose from. That’s wrong.

  • elvis

    “And a bad day for Brangelina. ”
    Not really. Brad Pitt is nominated for The Normal Heart, and I have just found out Brad Pitt is not the producer of Selma, he is EP, even if Selma was nominated, he wouldn’t be nominated. maybe thats why PGA didn’t nominate Selma because Brad Pitt wouldn’t get nod anyway.

  • KLLM

    I’m a PGA member, and I can tell you that I never got a screener for Selma nor any from Paramount, which could also explain why Interstellar was snubbed.

  • I think minus Foxcatcher this could be our Best Picture Lineup. Unfortunate about Selma, but I haven’t seen it yet so I don’t know how to feel.

  • Robert A.

    “If anything, Paramount has indirectly proven that guild and AMPAS voter reliance on screeners in order to see films is RIDICULOUS.”

    Unfortunately, this is probably true. Seems like so many voters these days wait for the movie to pop up at their doorsteps, and if it doesn’t, they can’t be bothered to go to a theater and watch the movie.

  • DaneM

    Swap “Selma” out for “Whiplash” and no surprises here for me.

    I can still see “Selma” getting a Best Picture nomination. But it has laid an egg with 3 of the 4 most important guilds. It’s time to note the “time of death” as far as its chances of winning the thing.

  • Daveylow

    I hope the Academy includes Selma and leaves out Foxcatcher. I wish Mr. Turner wasn’t being ignored.

  • Steven Kane

    Benutty, I don’t think Selma would ever get a win like that. Argo came out in September, Selma is still being released.

  • elvis

    “I’m a PGA member, and I can tell you that I never got a screener for Selma nor any from Paramount, which could also explain why Interstellar was snubbed.”
    wow, what was Paramount thinking? I think Paramount didn’t send screeners to any Guild.

  • DaneM

    Here’s a question – Does IFC have the kind of money that it takes to run a Best Picture campaign? Will Boyhood be swallowed up by a film like American Sniper with WB backing it?

  • Big lavish campaigns are nice but if the biggest campaigns always swallowed up all the little ones, Avatar would have won Best Picture.

  • benutty

    DANEM, isn’t the Boyhood campaign kind of running itself at this point? I’m not sure any money needs to be invested.

  • NGH

    The problem is, without screeners, it’s kind of hard to see Selma right now. It doesn’t hit WIDE release until this Friday. Unless you live in NY,LA,CHI it’s a bit difficult to find a theater showing it right now.

  • Christophe

    “Paramount has indirectly proven that guild and AMPAS voter reliance on screeners in order to see films is RIDICULOUS. I think screeners need to end immediately.”
    We can’t complain voters don’t see enough films and then take their screeners away. It’s still a very useful way to get them to watch more films, including many they wouldn’t care to watch without screeners. Most voters have jobs and even the retirees are probably busy bees. They can’t bother to go to the theater every couple days, especially when all the good stuff is released over 2 or 3 months right before voting.

    “wow, what was Paramount thinking? I think Paramount didn’t send screeners to any Guild.”
    well, maybe this will be the year we realize not even guilds matter in the Academy’s decision process.

  • Bob Burns

    Makes me wonder if Selma is mounting a competitive campaign. People won’t watch it without being asked.

  • JP

    Selma was victim of a disastrous release strategy by its studio. Had they waited to release the film this year and make the whole festival circuit, it would easily build buzz, people would watch it and it would become a top contender for the WIN.

    It will get a Best Picture nomination in the end but now it will have to fight for a Directing nomination. And could even miss Best Actor.

  • WW

    Surprised to see ”Selma” miss the cut, but also ”CitizenFour” isn’t among the Documentary Features.
    Thrilled about ”Nightcrawler,” but not thrilled about the overrated ”Foxcatcher.”
    As we know, the PGA and the Oscars don’t match up 100%, so what will the differences be?

  • JS

    Actually, I’m all for screeners, and this argument harkens back to the 2003 screener debacle, if you remember. Screeners benefit small movies as well as larger ones because voters don’t have to leave their homes to see them. It helps level the playing field (for those studios who wish to compete). Withholding screeners wouldn’t take the emphasis off campaigning, anyway – it would most likely increase it. In 2003, they almost did away with screeners, and there was such an outroar from critics [and folks like us] because smaller movies would inevitably get overlooked in the process. The LA Critics even suspended their awards in protest (until the decision was changed) and Oscar responded to the whole debate by nominating a drove of smaller films for major awards.

  • Okay, so here is the updated Best Picture Race according to my findings.

    NYFCC (Dec. 1) – *Boyhood
    Boyhood

    NBR (Dec. 2) – *A Most Violent Year
    A Most Violent Year
    American Sniper
    Birdman
    Boyhood
    Fury
    Gone Girl
    Inherent Vice
    Nightcrawler
    The Imitation Game
    The Lego Movie
    Unbroken

    LAFCA (Dec. 7) – *Boyhood
    Boyhood
    The Grand Budapest Hotel

    AFI (Dec. 8)
    American Sniper
    Birdman
    Boyhood
    Foxcatcher
    Interstellar
    Into The Woods
    Nightcrawler
    Selma
    The Imitation Game
    Unbroken
    Whiplash

    OFCS (Dec. 8 / Dec. 15) – *The Grand Budapest Hotel
    Boyhood
    Ida
    Mommy
    Nightcrawler
    Selma
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Lego Movie
    Two Days, One Night
    Under the Skin
    Whiplash

    SAG (Dec. 10 / Jan. 25)
    Birdman
    Boyhood
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Imitation Game
    The Theory of Everything

    HFPA / GG (Dec. 11 / Jan. 11)
    Birdman
    Boyhood
    Foxcatcher
    Into The Woods
    Pride
    Selma
    St. Vincent
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Imitation Game
    The Theory of Everything

    BFCA / CC (Dec. 15 / Jan. 15)
    Birdman
    Boyhood
    Gone Girl
    Nightcrawler
    Selma
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Imitation Game
    The Theory of Everything
    Unbroken
    Whiplash

    ACE Eddie (Jan. 2 / Jan. 30)
    American Sniper
    Birdman
    Gone Girl
    Inherent Vice
    Into the Woods
    Selma
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Imitation Game
    The Lego Movie
    Wild

    National Society of Film Critics (Jan. 3) – *Goodbye to Language 3D
    Birdman
    Boyhood
    Goodbye to Language 3D
    Mr. Turner

    PGA (Jan. 5 / Jan. 24)
    American Sniper
    Birdman
    Boyhood
    Foxcatcher
    Gone Girl
    Nightcrawler
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Imitation Game
    The Theory of Everything
    Whiplash

    Winners
    Boyhood – II
    A Most Violent Year – I
    Goodbye to Language 3D – I
    The Grand Budapest Hotel – I

    Nominees
    Boyhood – IIIIIIIIII
    Birdman – IIIIIIII
    The Grand Budapest Hotel – IIIIIII
    The Imitation Game – IIIIIII
    Nightcrawler – IIIII
    Selma – IIIII
    American Sniper – IIII
    Gone Girl – IIII
    The Theory of Everything – IIII
    Whiplash – IIII
    Foxcatcher – III
    Into The Woods – III
    The Lego Movie – III
    Unbroken – III
    Inherent Vice – II
    A Most Violent Year – I
    Fury – I
    Goodbye to Language 3D – I
    Ida – I
    Interstellar – I
    Mommy – I
    Mr. Turner – I
    Pride – I
    St. Vincent – I
    Two Days, One Night – I
    Under the Skin – I
    Wild – I

  • DAVE

    Where is Witherspoon’s nom for Gone Girl? I thought she was a producer..

  • lou

    I think selma can get a BP nom instead of foxcatcher or maybe whiplash. Sniper certainly seems to have cemented its spot. We’ll see what happens with the DGA.

    Nevertheless, the race continues to be incredibly predictable, the same way it’s been for a few months in spite of all the “this year is all over the place” narrative that some writers are desperately trying to keep alive to sustain interest. Boyhood will take everything (BP, BD, Arquette, and maybe script) and nothing can realistically stop it. We’ll still get a thousand pieces about alternative universes in which Boyhood doesn’t win though…

  • benutty

    Christophe is this (“Most voters have jobs and even the retirees are probably busy bees. “) also why the United States has a voting problem when it comes to politics? If you can’t find the energy or time to both research and vote then you shouldn’t be allowed to vote IMO!

  • Brainypirate

    Re: PGA v. AMPAS on Selma:

    Aside from the screener issue, does AMPAS have a higher % of people of color than PGA? I’m wondering how much lift Selma will get from black (&maybe even Latina/o) AMPAS voters. But I’m assuming the PGA is significantly whiter than AMPAS.

  • Corvo

    Megan Ellison is in, that’s all I need to know. Well done. Foxcatcher is one of the best films of the year. I’m still hoping for Bennett Miller being nominated as best director.

  • lou

    one interesting question though is whether sniper’s sudden popularity means that cooper has a shot of getting into the already insanely competitive best actor lineup

  • benutty

    NGH, isn’t this (“The problem is, without screeners, it’s kind of hard to see Selma right now.”) only a thing because of the current set up of the system? If screeners didn’t exist then Selma would have either a) come out earlier or b) waited for the 2015 season IF Paramount had any awards interest in the first place which perhaps we’re all assuming is the case, but might actually not be.

  • Paul Hanlin Jr

    As of yesterday’s estimates
    American Sniper 2,192,000
    Birdman $25,416,000
    Boyhood 24,290,800
    Foxcatcher 7,943,000
    Gone Girl $166,370,000
    The Grand Budapest Hotel 59,076,019
    The Imitation Game 30,808,000
    Nightcrawler 31,985,000
    The Theory of Everything 24,780,000
    Whiplash 5,902,000
    Total between them: 378,762,819

    Versus…
    Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: 323,875,000
    Interstellar: 182,742,000
    Their combined total 506,547,000

    The mainstream moviegoing public will not be represented once again if this holds as the Oscar BP lineup. Again.

  • JS
  • JS
  • Zach

    Elvis, good to know about Brad Pitt. I thought he might just pull off a repeat this year.

    Maybe the screeners issue paints a bad picture of a lazy industry, but anyone who wanted to see Interstellar already would have in theaters. That’s a movie you see at the theater. No, I just don’t think it has the industry support. Selma, on the other hand, is not out in wide release. Even for LA filmmakers, it’s not as widely accessible. You can’t vote for a movie you haven’t seen (though we know they often do).

  • SAMMY

    Selma may also miss the DGA.

  • Christophe

    Benutty,
    Please excuse me, but your comparison doesn’t register. Watching dozens of films in a few weeks time is very difficult, even for the best-intentioned. Add to that the hassle and time wasted in traffic to go to and from the theater and it’s next to impossible for someone whose life or profession is not centered entirely around watching movies, to see all the films that matter. So we should be grateful screeners exist to make sure voters have as little excuses as possible to watch stuff. As for political elections, I have no idea why people don’t go. It is a different process in which voters have several years to judge a person or party’s work in office and then a few months to look at what their opponents are offering. I would actually argue it’s easier to make up your mind in such conditions but that’s just my personal opinion.

  • Igor Sousa

    Boring list!

  • If Paramount didn’t do their job and get freebies out to guild members too lazy to get off their asses to go see a film, perhaps Paramount should reconsider its role in the movie business.

    If guild members won’t see a film unless it is delivered to their doors, perhaps they should not be allowed to vote. That would make a nice match for the other ridiculous rule on the obligation of screening in a theatre to qualify.

    If Selma was dismissed because “we did the black thing last year”, the industry should hand its empty head in shame because that is an ignorant mindset. By that logic, why would they do two white boy scientist pics in the same year? Oh, yeah, right – white don’t count.

    Finally, if Selma was dismissed because of political controversy, just wait until the plague of locusts is released over American Sniper. Can’t go after one and not the other.

  • I’m more surprised that Nightcrawler is in a better position for a BP nom than Whiplash is.
    BTW, where is Nick Johnson? He’s gonna be so happy like I was when I saw Nightcrawler up for the PGA.

  • Patrick

    Selma is screwed. Don’t be surprised if the Directors Guild snubs it, too. These nominations also confirm my suspicion that Life Itself is the real documentary front-runner. It’s a good choice for movie-lovers and packs a lot of emotion.

  • Mitchell Iglesias

    The PGA didn’t receive screeners for Selma, but they did for American Sniper. That explains the snub of one but the embrace of the other. They did send out screeners to the academy so I think it should be fine there. This is just like the SAG snub, and shows why the screener culture is hurting the awards chances of late-comers to the race

  • The Great Dane

    If the guilds never received any Selma screeners, it will be very difficult for it to get a DGA nom now. If it can’t even crack the Top 10 at PGA without screeners, how will it be able to crack a Top 5 at DGA? Team Selma has one week before DGA voting closes so they better milk the “PGA snub” factor as much as they possible can before then.

  • Jerry Grant

    “Foxcatcher is revived!”

    1. Foxcatcher never went anywhere, except in the minds of pundits and on websites like this one. It has all the precursors to be nominated for BP.
    2. No “Selma” nom here is a shocker. To my mind, this hurts its chances to win BP, but does not hurt its chances to be nominated. It will be nominated.
    3. “American Sniper” and “Nightcrawler” still weaker than “Foxcatcher” when it comes to the BP lineup, I think. “Whiplash” thankfully looking pretty solid, as solid as “Grand Budapest” and “Gone Girl”. The BP nine to my eyes looks exactly like it did two weeks ago:

    Birdman
    Boyhood
    Foxcatcher
    Gone Girl
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Imitation Game
    Selma
    The Theory of Everything
    Whiplash

    Although “Foxcatcher” could fall to “American Sniper” or “Nightcrawler.”

  • Jerry Grant

    Also, as everyone is saying, this indeed confirms that there is not enough support for Unbroken, Interstellar, or Into the Woods.

  • elvis

    Paramount is a dumbass studio.

  • JoeS

    KLLM: “I’m a PGA member, and I can tell you that I never got a screener for Selma nor any from Paramount, which could also explain why Interstellar was snubbed.”

    Disgusting. Shame on both the Producers who didn’t make the effort to see those movies AND the Distributor for being so neglectful (or cheap, or incompetent – or all 3).

    I again re-iterate my notion that the Academy should follow the Grammys lead and set a firm NOVEMBER cut-off for all Oscar eligible films to be released by in order to have the best chance that the most potential voters can see the most movies. (and, it can be just a token 1 week run in West Covina).

  • Edkargir

    A documentary or foreign film is not going to get nomination by the Pga.
    I agree with 6 of the nomination.
    I liked Whiplash and Gone girl less than the critics and ad bloggers. I would have voted for Mr. turner, Selma,love is strange and Locke.

  • Andrew

    I have to say I didn’t care for Nightcrawler. Not sure why it’s so well liked. Is it that Gyllenhaal is just so appealing?

  • phantom

    Oscar Prediction : Mr. Turner knocks out Nightcrawler, Selma knocks out Whiplash, Into the Woods OR Unbroken MAY knock out Foxcatcher.

  • This is taking the piss now. If someone does not bring them food, are they unable it fucking eat too?

  • benutty

    Christophe, you’re right I didn’t consider the fact that most films come out in a short amount of time. I just think, in theory really, that part of the job of a good film is its ability to appeal enough to you to make you want to see it. Personally I find it frustrating when I hear friends or anyone say that they “can’t decide on their favorites of the year yet because I still have to see [insert film here],” because that sometimes means that an outside source–like the Oscar race–is telling them that something is worth seeing rather than them coming to that conclusion on their own.

    Screeners do this “telling” thing in a much more pronounced fashion because it is literally the studios choosing which films to send to people. If a voter never goes to the theater all year and just waits until screener time rolls around then the films from which their selecting from is already narrowed down to only what studios are telling them to watch.

    My critique of screeners is less practical than it is theoretical.

  • immature

    Why should the mainstream be represented? Interstellar is okay, but not on the level of these other films, and should Mockingjay really be a contender?

  • CORRECTION*

    This is taking the piss now. If someone does not bring them food, are they unable to fucking eat too?

  • Jeremy

    Welp. I went 10/10 and 5/5 in Animated in my predictions.

    I knew Selma was dead in the water as soon as I saw it. It’s so boring, self-righteous, talky and nondescript. People keep bringing up 12 Years a Slave as a reason that people aren’t voting for it, but a better film to invoke might be Lincoln, which was far more vivid and nuanced a film than Selma is, with much better performances. It withers in comparison.

  • Martin Pal

    I am shocked that SELMA wasn’t nominated. I have seen all ten of these films
    and to one degree or another I like all of the films they nominated except one: FOXCATCHER.
    SELMA is so far superior to that one. I have not seen INTO THE WOODS, yet, though I thought
    it might get in. I thought AMERICAN SNIPER might not get in because it was released so late and
    I don’t know anyone that got a screener of that one, either. ? There are so many good choices
    for lead actor this year, but Bradley Cooper really impressed me in that. Far superior to his other
    two nominations. I still think SELMA will be nominated for the oscar.

  • So, I’m starting to wonder if this year’s race is gonna be similar to the 2011 race.

    Clear front-runner The Artist (2011) / Boyhood (2014), and 5 other top favorites, but then too many other films that can’t find a consensus.
    Could this be a year when we could see another Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close get in?

  • Jonny

    @BRAINYPIRATE you also can’t forget the british contingent of the Academy helping Selma’s chances. David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, and Tim Roth are all respected English actors.

    I am pretty sad Selma has not been getting into a lot of these list. It is an incredible piece of work, Masterful directing, acting and cinematography. It is not an ordinary civil rights film or biopic. In a year of Based on a true story film making (many I really enjoyed) Selma stands out as more than just ” this important story” film. It is must see because it’s just damn good.

  • JPNS Viewer

    Congrats to all of the nominees especially ones in the […] Motion Picture category.

    Each annually submitted or not, this year’s PGA prediction of #mine has most likely proven to be the #most pedestrian (7/10 [I wrongly predicted #Selma, #Interstellar and #Into the Woods rather than #Foxcatcher, #The Theory of Everything (personally, I should have known better than ignoring it) and #Nightcrawler (quite a surprise despite some of the previous precursors)]).

    It disappoints me to spot no love for #The Tale of Princess Kaguya (in Outstanding Producer for Animated Theatrical Motion Picture) and no support at all for #Conan (in […] Live Entertainment & Talk Television). I am wondering how much weight they’ve placed on the host him/herself in comparison with other factors re the Live Entertainment & Talk Television — because to me both #Coco and #Colbert themselves seem to be miles ahead from others.
    But I’m glad to see some base provided for #American Horror Story: Freak Show.

    – – –

    Looking forward to hearing from Sasha re Selma not making it.

  • Tim

    Oprah might be getting herself a Razzie nomination.

  • Robert A.

    “I’m more surprised that Nightcrawler is in a better position for a BP nom than Whiplash is.”

    I don’t think it is. Other than a potential best actor nomination, it’s hard to see where else Nightcrawler gets nominated by AMPAS (maybe screenplay, although original is already pretty packed), and even that best actor nomination isn’t a guarantee, especially if American Sniper is picking up steam and puts Cooper in contention for a slot. Whiplash, on the other hand, has a definite nomination (and probable win) in best supporting actor, is likely to turn up in original screenplay and editing, and has a decent shot at a sound nomination and even for popping up in director. Plus, Whiplash seems to score high on the “passion” index, which helps a picture out during the nomination stage. I think Whiplash is set for a BP nomination. Nightcrawler, I’m not so sure about.

  • Geremy

    Yes! Nightcrawler and Whiplash are basically locks now. Unbroken is out, which I’m fine with, it looked incredibly generic. But Selma! I still haven’t seen it but it’s such an important story especially after all the atrocities of last year. Hopefully the academy can still fit it in. Otherwise really nice picks from the PGA.

  • Roberto from Italy

    Bradley Cooper and Steve Carell jumping at that fifth spot in Best Actor bumping Oyelowo?

  • Martin Pal

    @ Jeremy re: SELMA: “It’s so boring, self-righteous, talky and nondescript. ”
    Wow, did we see the same film? And heaven forbid if a film is “talky”. LOL! LINCOLN wasn’t talky?

  • Robert A,

    Those are all good points. I agree that JK Simmons seems like a sure thing, where Jake Gyllenhaal does not. It’s true that the more nominations the AMPAS voters give, the more likely they’ll nominated for Best Picture.

  • Ra S.

    It is really Boyhood vs Birdman other than Boyhood vs Selma vs Birdman. Both Interstellar and Unbroken are out. Interstellar still remains my best movie of the year though with Birdman second and Gone Girl third.

  • Christophe

    Benutty,
    Most people don’t even know which films are nominated so it’s already a good sign that your friends are interested in watching those. Now, I’m sure they can safely rely on you to advise them what else is worth watching 🙂
    As far as voters are concerned, let’s say we can differentiate between those who don’t watch the films because they don’t care, and those who miss a few titles because they really didn’t have the time to check everything. Also, at the end of the day the list of screeners they receive is pretty extensive (70 to 80 titles, add 20 to 30 for those who belong to anim, foreign or docu branches) so I’m not sure we can say any contender is being discriminated, unless there’s a screw-up, but it’s rarely voluntary, TWC still hasn’t sent out The Immigrant though.

  • Ra S.

    @Martin Pal Wow, did we see the same film? And heaven forbid if a film is “talky”. LOL! LINCOLN wasn’t talky?
    Lincoln had better screenplay though than Selma.

  • phantom

    There are five films that received a SAG Ensemble nod and BP nominations from PGA, HFPA, BFCA :

    Boyhood
    Birman
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Imitation Game
    The Theory of Everything

    The BP race seems to be down to Boyhood and Birdman. The Imitation Game may pose a threat IF it can pull off a BD nomination, we’ll have a few clues about whether that is even a possibility, in the next week or so (Bafta nominations on Friday, DGA nominations next Tuesday).

    To me, the most interesting part about this, is the surprising strength of The Grand Budapest Hotel. That makes me believe now that Ralph Fiennes (along with maybe even Ellar Coltrane) will actually make the cut in Best Actor.

  • Nick

    Shocked Selma is not there. But I’m still keeping my predictions. American Sniper wont make the cut IMO. Selma will still be nominated . I am still having faith for Into the Woods and Interstellar is hanging by the end of the thread while Unbroken is done.

  • I’ve never understood what these awards are looking for. I’m not a Producer of films, but I always thought the producers were the money guys. So I used to think that the bigger money makers should fare better with them. When I realized that wasn’t the case years ago, I stopped trying to guess what they’re about. It’s the same here.

    Also, as everyone is saying, this indeed confirms that there is not enough support for Unbroken, Interstellar, or Into the Woods.

    See what I mean. Money everywhere. No awards love. IDGI

  • The BP race seems to be down to Boyhood and Birdman.

    Wasn’t this the case months ago though? Nothing has changed. Lots of articles and commenting and fighting and scandals and it’s the same as it ever was.

  • Josh

    Phantom:

    I’ve been saying the past few weeks about Grand Budapest Hotel. It was an afterthought just six weeks ago or so but then it started showing up nearly everywhere. It’s a player and I’ve said it before…I think Fiennes WILL get nominated and so will Anderson for director. It’s a big player (not for the win).

  • Jonny

    @jeremey how on earth do you think Selma was self righteous? Do you know the definition of self righteous? Also Lincoln in his silhouettes, heavenly lighting and Tony Kushner speeches is more “nuanced” compared to Selma? I really liked Lincoln but I found Selma to be more engrossing and with superior acting. The acting in Selma was completely human and honest in my opinion.

  • CB

    Surprised Selma wasn’t included but not angry. There is a brilliant MLK movie out there waiting to be made and worthy of that man, one of the top 5 greatest Americans, maybe even the greatest. Selma, with its weak writing, wildly inaccurate (and for the sake of simplifying, not enhancing the plot) history, and often shoddy direction (remember the shot where MLK is on the far left and there’s a desk taking up the rest of the screen – wtf?), is not it.

    Thrilled to see Whiplash, a perfect movie. Gone Girl, pure entertainment, I’m happy to see. Foxcatcher was wonderful. Birdman was pretentious but still had something to offer. Nightcrawler had a bit of its head up its ass, but still was quite good. American Sniper was great.

    The one sad thing about no Selma is that it only makes Boyhood – 12 mediocre short films filmed over 12 years – the impossible-to-beat winner.

    This was a truly pedestrian year. How the hell is Imitation Game doing so well?

  • I don’t need to have seen Selma to know that the PGA has massively dropped the ball today. That’s just fucking shameful.

    Steve, don’t count on it. Them plagues of locusts usually seem strangely attracted to liberal-skewing films. Not American Fascist. It’s Clint Eastwood. Not some black woman!

  • Roberto

    IN MY OPINION:

    Locks: Boyhood, Birdman, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Gone Girl (6)

    Almost There: Selma, Whiplash, Nightcrawler, Foxcatcher, American Sniper (5)

    There’s a chance: Into the Woods, A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, Wild (4)

    Almost Dead: Unbroken, Mr. Turner, Love is Strange, Still Alice, Inherent Vice, Under The Skin, The Homesman (7)

  • murtaza

    What if it’ll be like 2011, girl with dragon tattoo in guilds but kicked out in Oscars.
    Gone girl in guilds and Selma in Oscars.

  • It’s Clint Eastwood. Not some black woman!

    Maybe deep down there’s a black woman struggling to get out.

  • TonyBiigood

    I think Gone Girl’s in. I don’t buy the comparison with Dragon Tattoo. In my opinion, the success, the strong performance of Rosamund Pike and themes of the film will make difference.

  • CB

    I don’t need to have seen Selma to know that the PGA has massively dropped the ball today. That’s just fucking shameful.

    Steve, don’t count on it. Them plagues of locusts usually seem strangely attracted to liberal-skewing films. Not American Fascist. It’s Clint Eastwood. Not some black woman!

    With all due respect, I’ve seen both films and American Sniper is fantastic and hardly fascistic. You may not like Clint Eastwood’s politics (I sure as hell don’t) but the man makes a great film, and this one didn’t seem politically problematic for me, not that a movie with separate politics from mine is problematic. I like encountering the refined voices of my opposition.

    Also, you should probably see Selma before you decide that it’s shameful for it to have been excluded.

  • murtaza

    What the fuck is The Theory of Everything doing in the list. The list is incomplete without Selma.

  • Jesus Alonso

    Let’s take a second to celebrate, “EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY” is a PGA nominee.

  • Joseph

    Another blow in terms of Selma chances at the Oscar.
    I’m still seeing it as a possible Best Picture nominee in favor of Foxcatcher and American Sniper in the field of nine. However, unless it can get nominations in the other categories, the film could end up being shut out of the Oscar race.

  • Julianne The Empress

    What. No picture of Rosamund driving in her car???? How ……weird. Oh, let’s give Gone Girl’s Oscar space to Selma.

  • With all due respect, I’ve seen both films and American Sniper is fantastic and hardly fascistic.

    I struggle to believe that I’ll think it’s fantastic, but I’m clearly being hyperbolic. My main issue with the film is that is doesn’t appear to present its hero in a manner at all satisfactory to me. I know I can’t judge the film yet, not having seen it either, but the trailer rather proudly declares his position as ‘the most lethal sniper in U.S. history’, as if being responsible for the deaths of more people makes you a national hero. Kinda sickens me.

    Also, you should probably see Selma before you decide that it’s shameful for it to have been excluded.

    No, I don’t need to. See, it’s not about quality, not about merit. I don’t think it’s shameful that Pride or Under the Skin have been excluded, for example, because they weren’t realistically in line for nominations here. But the PGA had the opportunity to nominate a film directed by a woman for one of the first times in their history, a film directed by a black person for one of the first times in their history, a film directed by a black woman for the actual first time in their history. And given what’s been happening of late on the streets of America’s towns and cities, yep I think it’s pretty fucking shameful of them to turn their back on one of America’s most noble heroes and instead to embrace one of its most questionable.

  • Steven Kane

    “The mainstream moviegoing public will not be represented once again if this holds as the Oscar BP lineup. Again.”

    Paul Hanlin, I’m not sure which stats you’re looking at but the “moviegoing public” are very much represented. 2014 – 12 Years a Slave almost tripled it’s budget at the box office, American Hustle made 150 mil, Gravity made enough money to run a small country. 2013 – 6 of the 9 best picture nominees made more than 100 million dollars, Zero Dark Thirty was 5 mil short of 100. 2012 – The Artist made 3 times it’s budget, The Help made almost 7 times it’s budget. 2011 – Toy Story 3, Inception, The King’s Speech, The Social Network. 2010 – District 9, Inglorious Basterds, Up, oh and AVATAR. So how is the mainstream public not represented…again?

  • Steven Kane

    Bloody shit I fucked up the italics again. Oy

  • Aragorn

    Of course, as expected, some people are more than ready to make it all about race!!!! Some believe that Selma should receive nomination without even seeing it! It is all about that stupid “history making” thing! Why would they care about history making when they are supposedly evaluate movies for their quality? Boyhood is not any less history maker if you think about it! Was there any other movie made over 12 years? Nope! So here is your history making in progress! Oh wait! There are no black actors in it so it cannot be enough history making!!!

    American Sniper is a really good movie. Regardless of political identity of its director it is a well-made movie. I wouldnt be shocked if it made the cut for BP.
    By the way, I still think Selma will get BP and BD dreictor nomination. This is the “right” time to do that! They cannot not nominate it!

  • Dean

    Screener blackmail. It’s so sad.

  • Aaron

    I am torn about the screener issue. Logically, Part of me thinks that they should obviously see the films in theaters with an audience, with the rest of us common folk. I also understand that most of them have very hectic schedules (like the rest of us) with constant traveling and seeing many, many films over the holiday season can be a burden, particularly with familial commitments and other logistics. So the screeners expedite that process of seeing as many films as possible at home, on your computer as you travel, etc., etc. The fault really lies with the studios, however, and this insistence on releasing a million films at the tail-end of the year in limited release in only a handful of theaters really is annoying. Many producers do not even live in NYC or LA, so the likelihood of seeing films like Selma, A Most Violent Year, Two Days, One Night, Mr. Turner, etc., is virtually nil.

    I still think Selma will receive a best picture nomination. A Most Violent Year is unlikely, in my opinion, as well as Into the Woods (which is disappointing cause I thought it was delightful). I am still unsure about Unbroken. Right now, I could see it pulling an Extremely Loud/Blind Side nomination, but I just don’t know. Nightcrawler is showing up all over the place, so perhaps it’s Best Picture/Best Actor chances are stronger than we think.

    Right now, I’d say:
    1. Boyhood
    2. The Imitation Game
    3. Birdman
    4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
    5. The Theory of Everything
    6. Selma
    7. Gone Girl
    8. American Sniper
    9. Nightcrawler
    And then: 10. Foxcatcher, 11. Whiplash, 12. Unbroken–any film outside of this top 12 would shock me.

  • Steven Kane

    Paddy, not having seen American Sniper I am only going off the trailer as well. But I took that “Most lethal sniper in history” a bit differently. Given the tone of the film, the footage following such a “title” I did not take Kyle as being hailed a hero. Whether he is or is not, to me, doesn’t make a difference in this case. I kind of viewed it in the same way that I viewed the end of The Social Network. Zuckerberg sits by himself, slumped in a chair, waiting for that girl to accept his friendship request and the subtitle says “Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in the world.” Yeah it’s great he’s rich and all, but what’s the point if he’s not happy? I’m sure American Sniper will show Kyle’s remorse, PTSD et all while people hail him as a hero.

  • Steve Kane, lower case i or em (for emphasis), that’s the ticket

  • Steven Kane

    Ryan, I had it before and I succeeded after many comments and help from some of the gang. But over the weekend my mind is like a goldfish. I’ll get it.

  • lou

    @antoinette

    100% right. nothing has changed, and it doesn’t look like it will. It’s boyhood vs. birdman, with boyhood leading, as it has been for months. Everything else is speculation.

    @julianne the empress

    LMFAO re gone girl’s pic!!

  • George Golden

    @Julianne.Fortunately you are not the one to make that decision.Gone girl is here to stay..Sorry….Happy for all the nominees .Well deserved.

  • My main issue with the film is that is doesn’t appear to present its hero in a manner at all satisfactory to me.

    American Sniper tells you Chris Kyle’s side of the story exclusively through the POV of Chris Kyle, 100% through Chris Kyle’s eyes. Just like Chris Kyle did in his memoir, he tells us how it all went down, from his POV, from his mindset, with his attitude. No questions asked, no questions even allowed.

    Clint Eastwood does not make the slightest attempt to raise an eyebrow at anything Chris Kyle wants to tell us about himself.

    American Sniper would make a terrific chapter in the 256-chapter miniseries “Chris Kyle and the 255 People He Killed.” But the only thing a lot of Americans want to hear about is the American guy’s version.

    Consider this alternate history: Iraq invades America unprovoked. Iraq wants America’s oil and Iraqi war-profiteers want to drain Iraq’s treasury so the war profiteers can become bigger billionaires. So Iraqi soldiers swarm into America. Lo and behold, there are lots of Americans who don’t like that idea. They try to fight the invaders. We’ll call those Americans “insurgents.” Now there’s this one Iraqi sharpshooter who doesn’t like it when the American insurgents shoot back at him and his buddies, so he kills 255 Americans who try to resist the Iraqi invasion. ok, so maybe he’s a little bit torn up about killing American children, but hey, what can you do with these Christian and Jewish “savages” — they’re “pure evil.” Kill them.

    So now Iraqi film studios consider making a movie about the Iraqi sharpshooter who murdered 255 Americans based on lies that he was told, lies that he fell for like a dumbass, lies he told himself to convince himself he was doing the right thing, lies he he reinforced when he went home to Baghdad and made a lot money for himself, selling his blood-soaked serial-killer story. Lots of Iraqis would love to see that movie. Who here wants to see that movie? Not me.

    Chris Kyle was literally working as a rodeo clown before the Army took him and trained him to be a serial killer hit-man for Dick Cheney’s war profiteering schemes.

    But hey, really cool production values and sharp editing and all that. That’s all that matters, right? And anyway, let’s not ever kid ourselves that a good number of producers in Hollywood are statistically likely to be Republicans. Republicans like to see their shitty little myths splattered on the big screen, too, you know?

    “savages” “pure evil” — That’s what Chris Kyle wrote about the Iraqis he killed. Clint Eastwood says, “Whatever you say, Chris, it’s your story, your movie.”

  • John

    At this point, while I do think Selma will get nominated for Best Picture, I really do question its chances for Director, Writing, Editing, et al. Maybe song gets in? Heck, with Gyllenhaal, Cooper, Carrell, Feinnes likely RISING, I wonder where Oyelowo lands with those contenders.

  • These nominations are a little surprising, but not concrete.

    First off, I had a feeling American Sniper would make the cut. Clint Eastwood always knows how to play the awards circuit marvelously, and it helps his movie is getting good reviews and looks to make good money- it’s playing on a LOT of commercial breaks during major sporting events.

    Secondly, Selma is still going to be nominated for Best Picture. Lack of screeners obviously is why it didn’t make the cut- which is a lazy reason, but that’s what we get in 2015.

    Foxcatcher and Nightcrawler I am not sold on. Both are smaller, weirder movies that rely on their lead performers. And both Carrell and Gyllenhaal are struggling now to be nominated since Best Actor is so crowded. Assuming the actors from Birdman, Selma, Theory of Everything and Imitation Game are in- who is our final candidate? I say Mr. Turner, actually.

    BEST PICTURE PREDIX, January 5 2015:

    American Sniper
    Birdman
    Boyhood
    Gone Girl
    The Imitation Game
    Selma
    The Theory of Everything
    Whiplash

  • Paul Hanlin Jr

    And look how things turned out, Steven with the winners:

    2009: The least seen BP winner, adjusted for inflation or not, in the history of film making in the United States, just so a woman could get Best Director.
    2011: A crapola year for movies, and the 2nd least seen BP winner, adjusted for inflation or not, in the history of film making in the United States. A gimmick movie as much as the 2014 frontrunner is (Boyhood).

    Imagine how many millions of viewers there’d have been in 2013 if you had The Hunger Games, The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers in the BP category representing the intelligent crossover hits with fans and critics. The MTV Movie Awards gave us that dream matchup.

  • Why would they care about history making when they are supposedly evaluate movies for their quality?

    No they fucking don’t. Who the fuck even thinks that any more?

    Boyhood is not any less history maker if you think about it! Was there any other movie made over 12 years? Nope! So here is your history making in progress! Oh wait! There are no black actors in it so it cannot be enough history making!!!

    stfu

    Also, how many times do I have to say this? Lav Diaz made Evolution of a Filipino Family over 11 years fs on a budget of literally a few thousand pesos. So, yeh, it has been done before, and who the fuck gave Lav Diaz any Oscars for it?

  • Imagine how many millions of viewers there’d have been in 2013 if you had The Hunger Games, The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers in the BP category representing the intelligent crossover hits with fans and critics. The MTV Movie Awards gave us that dream matchup.

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    But no, rly, on a serious note:

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

  • Patrick

    Selma should have been nominated because it was made by a black woman? It should have been nominated because of all the racial unrest last year? That’s the single dumbest thing I’ve read on any thread on any website about this year’s Oscars. If Selma gets nominated, it’ll be because it earned it. The suggestion that it should have been nominated here for reasons other than its quality is beyond insulting to both those honoring the films and DuVernay herself. There’s no need to be civil: Please, swiftly remove your head from your ass.

  • Evan

    Benutty and Christophe, you’re both right. I loveeeed Benutty’s first post– the impact of screeners is getting out of control, but Christoph is right that it’s really the best way for many Academy members in the prime of their careers to see a wide swath of movies. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything, I guess.

    Selma isn’t dead. DGA may very well nominate Duvernay. Even still, AMPAS did get the screeners so they may rescue it.

  • Nick Johnson

    Even if Nightcrawler misses out on BP, all this love it’s getting leads me to believe that will pick up a major nomination somewhere. And all signs point to Jake getting nominated! Actually he’s far from a sure thing, especially with American Sniper surging the way it is. But I wonder if both Jake and Bradley could both make the cut? But who gets snubbed? Oyelowo looks the shakiest right now.

  • Steven Kane

    Paul, you said the mainstream movie going public was underrepresented, I showed you they were NOT underrepresented. Nominations mean they were NOT underrepresented. The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games, Avengers…they are good movies. Dark Knight Rises is a great movie. None of them deserved a best picture nomination. “Imagine how many millions of viewers there’d have been in 2013 if you had The Hunger Games, The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers in the BP category representing the intelligent crossover hits with fans and critics.” This to me shows you care more about sales of tickets rather than the content. “Just so a woman can get best director.” Right, because Avatar was the absolutely most amazing movie of that year they decided to ignore the general public so a woman and her little ol’ movie can win. The Academy says, “fuck the public” right? Because the following year they gave best picture to King’s Speech, which was basically a 20 million dollar movie that grossed something like 150 million. Did they listen to the public then? By your logic, yes they did. I loved Avatar, I thought it had a better than average script and I give Cameron a lot of credit for not only pushing technology forward in the industry but also write great roles for actresses. I think it was one of the best experiences of the entire decade at the movies. But just because a movie grosses 2 billion dollars and redoes 3D does not mean it deserves best picture. It’s an achievement no doubt, but it was no better than Hurt Locker. I would easily knock out Avatar for a movie that was definitely snubbed for attention all year, Where the Wild Things Are.

  • Joe Clinton

    It’s the end of the line for Interstellar, Into the Woods, and Broken.

  • Martin Pal

    @ Ryan Adams: “American Sniper tells you Chris Kyle’s side of the story exclusively through the POV of Chris Kyle, 100% through Chris Kyle’s eyes. Just like Chris Kyle did in his memoir, he tells us how it all went down, from his POV, from his mindset, with his attitude. No questions asked, no questions even allowed. Clint Eastwood does not make the slightest attempt to raise an eyebrow at anything Chris Kyle wants to tell us about himself. ”
    You may not like it or approve, Ryan, but every biographical film doesn’t have to present Rashomon scenarios. Not everything needs to be balanced by something opposing it. Can film reviewers review the film that’s there without imposing their own agendas on it? Have you ever seen Hollywood biographical films like WILSON? It’s a wonderful film, but I know Wilson was no “saint” like the film might have you believe. Should GANDHI Have included the alternate stories about him and his womaninzing and such. if we need to get down to brass tacks? Same with MILK, or HOFFA maybe.
    Why did you even see a film that you pobably knew you wouldn’t like, and then rage (right word?) against it because the film is a powerful depiction of the story it wanted to tell? Same with the film about Thatcher a couple years ago. Why not bring in 12 YEARS A SLAVE, while we’re at it, if you want to talk about a film through the eyes of one man and one man only.

  • Steven Kane

    Martin Pal, Ryan was actually defending the film and saying Eastwood told the story the way Kyle probably would’ve wanted it to be told. Not sure where you got that Ryan wanted Eastwood to go all Rashomon up in the Middle East.

  • CB

    Patrick beat me to the punch – well said. It is insulting to say that a movie must be honored because of director’s skin color and gender.

    Regarding what Paddy said:

    I struggle to believe that I’ll think it’s fantastic, but I’m clearly being hyperbolic. My main issue with the film is that is doesn’t appear to present its hero in a manner at all satisfactory to me. I know I can’t judge the film yet, not having seen it either, but the trailer rather proudly declares his position as ‘the most lethal sniper in U.S. history’, as if being responsible for the deaths of more people makes you a national hero. Kinda sickens me.

    If your’e a sniper, then the ‘achievement’ is an achievement. The film is very much from Kyle’s perspective, just as The Wrestler is from Randy’s perspective and Capote is from Capote’s perspective. Plus I’m judging it on its merits as a film. Were it promoting wildly some grotesque neoconservative ideology, then yes, I’d have an issue. But it doesn’t, so I’m judging it as a film, just as I’m judging Selma.

    Me: Also, you should probably see Selma before you decide that it’s shameful for it to have been excluded.

    Paddy: No, I don’t need to. See, it’s not about quality, not about merit. I don’t think it’s shameful that Pride or Under the Skin have been excluded, for example, because they weren’t realistically in line for nominations here. But the PGA had the opportunity to nominate a film directed by a woman for one of the first times in their history, a film directed by a black person for one of the first times in their history, a film directed by a black woman for the actual first time in their history. And given what’s been happening of late on the streets of America’s towns and cities, yep I think it’s pretty fucking shameful of them to turn their back on one of America’s most noble heroes and instead to embrace one of its most questionable.

    The PGA did not turn its backs on MLK by deciding that this film wasn’t up to snuff. That’s like saying that to not award Jobs was to turn their back on a great inventor. (Yes, I know the films and the heroes in them are different in stature and quality – and besides, I don’t like Steve Jobs – he created a product which people paid his price for. Hero?) Why do they have to award a film simply because the politics are right? The movie is, to many people, not particularly noteworthy on a cinematic level – the directing and writing are just not that great. Disliking the movie is not disliking the advancement of black women in film, nor is it disliking MLK. The script is hugely problematic – the often wooden dialogue is bad, but the completely unnecessary and destructive LBJ clinch the film as an extremely flawed document. I have a rule of fictionalizing history: it has to make the story more interesting, not less. You know what’s an interesting – and more complimentary – portrayal of MLK? Showing him and LBJ shaping the media narrative and using their respective positions, activist leader and political leader, to affect change. How interesting! Nope! Instead LBJ, probably the most pathologically fascinating and politically brilliant president besides Richard Nixon, is depicted as a slumping wuss who impotently demands Hoover investigate King. What. The. Hell. It’s insulting to history buffs, to Democrats, and to audiences. (It’s also absurd to depict such an impotent, hunched over LBJ right after his landslide reelection, before he’d pass more landmark legislation than anyone has since or did before besides FDR.) You know what LBJ said after he passed the Civil Rights Act? We’ve lost the South for a generation (turns out it’s been longer than that). As a liberal Democrat, I’m proud that my party gave up winning in the service of equality and I’m offended that the man who did it is being besmirched because it’s an easier screenplay to write.

    I was no fan of Lincoln – I found it boring and self-congratulatory. But at least it enjoyed the process of whipping votes and changing minds, while maintaining some sense of moral gradient in the man passing it (James Spader). Selma was more interested in a vague (and vaguely shot – such a hazy-looking movie!) hagiography than anything resembling a thematically or politically complex narrative. And that’s a damn shame, because MLK was as complex as he was heroic.

  • “Why not bring in 12 YEARS A SLAVE, while we’re at it, if you want to talk about a film through the eyes of one man and one man only.”

    Solomon Northup has never been shown to be a bald-faced self-agrandizing liar like Chris Kyle has proven himself to be. That’s one reason.

  • K. Bowen

    The biggest takeaways:
    1) The Grand Budapest Hotel is in for Best Picture.
    2) Selma. Popcorn, please. It’s going to get …. something …. around here.

  • K. Bowen

    Is there any evidence that Selma is an Oscar contender whatsoever? I’m not saying that good, bad, fair or unfair. I’m just trying to describe reality.

  • ALEX GOES

    @RYAN ADAMS
    I probably side with you on the problematic politics (or lack thereof) in American Sniper. But when I think about American Sniper vs. Unbroken (really a stacked comparison) I can appreciate that Eastwood’s approach to this material seems deliberate in its opacity. I think after Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, etc…Eastwood seems to be making the stories that he finds interesting. Not unlike Scorsese, his work seems less driven by awards attention and more by personal interest than say, Stephen Daldry (he got raves for Billy Elliot, and to a lesser extent The Hours–and now he seems to have a one track mind towards sentimental, mawkish, “inoffensive” awards bait).
    And Eastwood (in my opinion) made one of the best war films of the decade (Letters from Iwo Jima). So it’s not that he’s unwilling or incapable to make a commentary on war or violence, but rather he very deliberately made this film’s focus on Kyle’s narrative. It may not be my approach to the material, but it does welcome a vast array of audience participation (both sides seem to be bringing a meaning to this film that may or may not be present onscreen).

  • Jeremy

    A lot of the comments here are forgetting the main reason why PGA is an important precursor — the preferential ballot.

    Above all else, this shows us the films that have passionate constituencies. These are the films that, for whatever reason, are inspiring #1 votes on ballots.

  • Steven Kane, when we’re talking about the movie going public we’re talking about movies they liked before they were nominated for Best Picture. Movies like THE KING’S SPEECH and 12 YEARS A SLAVE made their money when it was already common knowledge that they would win BP if they hadn’t already. Those people were going to see the Best Picture winner, so they could say they did. It wasn’t about wanting to see them just like any other film.

    The movies Paul is referring to are the blockbusters that were meant to be blockbusters that were just as good or better than the movies that got nominated in their respective years. You can’t go by the final tally for the box office. This stage that we’re at now, when you have the box office giants before the nominations, you can see which films the people have chosen on their own. Movies that have been held back for wide release are not the types of movies we’re talking about. We’re talking about everything that you can look up right now that have made more than $100million in 2014. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2014&p=.htm You have to get all the way to GONE GIRL at number 17 before you find a popular film that’s in this Oscar race. Sorry but that is actually worse than normal. The next closest one is INTO THE WOODS at number 32, but apparently this PGA decision today tells us that it is toast as well.

    For the record, in my opinion, #3 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, #4 THE LEGO MOVIE*, #7 X-MEN:DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, #10 DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, and #15 INTERSTELLAR should at least be part of the conversation for Best Picture. This is again genre snobbery. It happens every damn year.

    *I’m obviously not talking about the Animated category.

  • Jeremy

    K. Bowen,
    Selma has gotten zero guild support so far. This is worrisome, for certain. I think we also have to remember that it didn’t make the NBR top ten.

    It did make the AFI Top 11, though, and it got Globe nominations.

    At this point, I’d compare it to The Great Debaters, with a bit more critical support and support for Oyelowo. The passion doesn’t seem to run that deep.

  • ALEX GOES, I agree with you on every point. Eastwood knows exactly what he’s doing. Nothing on screen in an Eastwood movie is there by accident. The fact that his intentions rub me in all the wrong ways is probably something he would take as a compliment. He didn’t make this movie to make people like me happy.

  • Martin Pal

    @ Ryan Adams: “Solomon Northup has never been shown to be a bald-faced self-agrandizing liar like Chris Kyle has proven himself to be. That’s one reason.”
    That’s probably because, like most famous and well-known authors and lecturers, Solomon Northup simply disappeared.

  • Christophe

    The lack of mainstream appeal of award-contending films is to blame entirely on the drift between the studio system and indie filmmaking, not on the voting bodies. It is after all the studios that should be responsible for producing (or buying) and distributing films with both commercial prospects and artistic value. But instead of that, they drew a thick line between the world of entertainment (tentpoles, cheap genre flicks) and the world of art. The former pushes the common denominator ever lower, and treats its creations like common merchandise, while the latter prides itself on its own elitism and edginess. In the meantime, middlebrow fare is being pushed aside as a thing of the past, because no one really believes that sophistication, sentiments and box office can really go along any more. So, to conclude the Academy and other voting bodies should not feel obligated to vote for a movie solely on the account of its popularity with the public at large, but they are supposed to put quality first, and rightly so.

  • ALEX GOES

    “He didn’t make this movie to make people like me happy.”
    Agree with you on every point–but in a weird way I admire when directors are trying to make moviegoers happy. In a similar way, I admired that Kathryn Bigelow refused to compromise the narrative of Zero Dark Thirty to satisfy either the right or left. I much prefer ZDT, but that’s another conversation. After watching American Sniper I immediately thought of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (strange connection, but hear me out). It seemed that a lot of people were annoyed and put off by that film because its opacity–it wasn’t a condemnation of the ruling class. I loved it because of that.
    But I also share your frustration, because Eastwood has made really powerful films about the nature of violence that seem almost opposed to American Sniper. That said, it’s still a better and more interesting film than Unbroken…I’m bracing for hate for the Angie fans…

  • ALEX GOES

    Oops. Meant to say, “I admire when directors AREN’T trying to make moviegoers happy.”

  • Has there evah been a more botched campaign than “Selma”s? It’s appauling, really. And it’s PARAMOUNT, for g-d’s sake! Way to shoot yourself thorughly in the foot, if not both feet. I still think “Selma” will get a nomination for BP, but it now sure looks like “Boyhood” will win. This MAJOR snub really hurts Ava DuVernay and also possibly kills Oyelowo’s chances, too. With Clint’s Bradley of “American Sniper” and also Jake G. in “Nightcrawler” coming on so strong now.

    But SOOOO happy for “Gone Girl” which I LOVED and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” which I also was insanely crazy about. This perhaps bodes well for Wes Anderson finally getting some DGA rocogniton. And to whoever said that “there’s no WWII or Nazis in the mix this year” TGBH is dealing with the gathering forces of darkness that are about to end classical Europe as it was. But of course, it’s in a totally comedic way. But what is Edward Norton playing in that if not a Nazi?
    Also, this annoucement helps, of all people, Renee Russo, lifting “Nighcrawler” as this nomination for the PGA surely does. It helps Jake(who is in a very crowded category) and Renee(who is not.)
    No love for “Most Violent Year” anywhere. Not even in this great, rollicking thread.

  • Martin Pal

    The truth is, if all of you people who posted comments on this site today made up a list of your favorite/best films of the year, like snowflakes, there would be that many different lists.

  • Claudiu Dobre

    I’m going to stick with my earlier BP predictions (in decreasing order of likelyhood), although I too, like many others, I suspect, have a strong feeling Selma might not make the lineup (as it doesn’t really fit the profile for non-PGA Oscar nominees in any way, and looks more like this year’s Inside Llewyn Davis). However, stats-wise, this still seems the most solid list at this point:

    Boyhood
    Birdman
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    The Imitation Game
    The Theory of Everything
    Gone Girl
    Whiplash
    Selma
    Foxcatcher (Alt.: American Sniper, Unbroken, Nightcrawler – hard to ignore it at this point)

    “Wow! I’m shocked about Selma. This lack of a PGA nod dooms it as a potential spoiler to Boyhood. Now it’s going to have to fight just for a BP nomination.”

    Sounds about right. It was kind of already doomed, with no SAG or ACE nominations, but OK, if confirmation was still needed…

    “eventually we have to stop making excuses for Selma and accept the fact that, for whatever reasons, it’s underperforming.”

    They’ll never stop making excuses. It’s what happens…

    “Unfortunate about Selma, but I haven’t seen it yet so I don’t know how to feel.”

    Yup, same here.

    “Benutty, I don’t think Selma would ever get a win like that. Argo came out in September, Selma is still being released.”

    Good point.

    “Boyhood will take everything (BP, BD, Arquette, and maybe script) and nothing can realistically stop it. We’ll still get a thousand pieces about alternative universes in which Boyhood doesn’t win though…”

    🙂

    “Selma may also miss the DGA.”

    It seems kind of inevitable at this point. And then pull off the unthinkable and lead the Oscar nominations, and win BP without any guild love… 🙂 but, really… see previous quote…

    P.S.: Honestly, already at this point I’m pretty much 100% sure Boyhood is winning Best Picture this year. I wouldn’t mind there to be an actual race, to prove me wrong, but I don’t even believe there’ll be any real suspense at any point.

  • Stevie Gee

    I really don’t post here a lot…maybe twice an Oscar season, but I couldn’t let this one go.

    Whoever wrote earlier that “the PGA had the opportunity to nominate a film directed by a woman for one of the first times in their history, a film directed by a black person for one of the first times in their history, a film directed by a black woman for the actual first time in their history. And given what’s been happening of late on the streets of America’s towns and cities, yep I think it’s pretty fucking shameful of them to turn their back on one of America’s most noble heroes and instead to embrace one of its most questionable.” has literally written the most ridiculous comment I have ever read on this site. Because a group of people didn’t like a movie they have turned their back on one of America’s most noble heroes? Really…maybe (and I know you might find this hard to believe) they just didn’t think the movie was all that great. It is possible. Nominating a movie solely because the director is an African American woman does a disservice to everyone involved, Mrs. DuVernay most especially. Every nomination should be based on merit alone, and that is what everyone should want…even though we know it doesn’t always happen. A nomination for any other reason cheapens the nomination itself and the entire show…and the Oscars have been cheapened enough in the past. My favorite nomination of all time was (and still is) the Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for “About A Boy” it was a well deserved shock…if I though for a second it was nominated because the previous Nick Horsby adaptation wasn’t nominated that would have completely diminished the entire nomination. You shouldn’t want your favorite movie nominated because of any other reason other than merit (and especially not a movie you haven’t even freaking seen yet). See the movie and then say why you enjoyed it, what about it was so fantastic and why the PGA messed up, otherwise you just sound like a fool

  • Stevie Gee

    All that being said…I really want Gone Girl to win (or Nightcrawler…even though I haven’t seen it yet)

  • Richardskin

    Extremely happy about “Nightcrawler” getting in. I thought it was pretty good when I first saw it, and I loved Gyllenhaal’s performance. But the special thing about “Nightcrawler” is that even weeks later it kept popping up in the back of my head. Which is a big deal to me. The same went for “Gone Girl” and “Birdman” which are probably my favorites of the year. At least s far a “Oscar” movies. As a superhero geek I’d have to include “Guardians of the Galaxy” as the movie that entertained me the most and has the most replay value.

  • This is in response to a comment by Antoinette:

    “Those people were going to see the Best Picture winner, so they could say they did. It wasn’t about wanting to see them just like any other film.”

    But what’s the difference between that and seeing a movie based on word of mouth or overwhelming hype? How many people went to see The Avengers just because literally everyone else around them was going, just to be able to participate in the conversation? How many people went to see Catching Fire because it had a high Tomatometer rating? My point is that a film like 12 Years A Slave or The King’s Speech need not be punished for making money, regardless of how it got to that point. If the frontrunner status they enjoyed drove ticket sales, that’s great! That’s supposed to be one of the positive aspects of the Oscars. I would also add that both of those films have high ratings on iMDB and both sit comfortably on the site’s top 250, so it’s safe to say that the majority of people who saw those films (and again, a LOT of people saw them) were satisfied with what they saw.

  • Also, DANEM, why swap the best film of 2014, Whiplash, for Selma, when you could swap it for the milquetoast Theory Of Everything or the well-made-but-wrong-headed American Sniper or the too-cold-by-half Foxcatcher?

  • And to all the folks engaged in a Selma vs. American Sniper debate:

    First of all: Why???

    Second of all: Selma is a better film than American Sniper, full stop, regardless of any problematic content in Sniper. Even if I agreed with everything that comes out of Chris Kyle’s mouth, I’d still find Selma to be better directed, acted, shot, edited and written. Not saying Eastwood/Cooper/et al did a bad job; there’s clarity in the action sequences, a firm grip on tone and pacing, a fine bit of character acting from Cooper and excellent production value across the board. But ALL of these things are evident in Selma, and then some. Selma made my top 20 of the year. American Sniper had to settle for being an alphabetically listed Honorable Mention (on a list of 30 additional films that it would find itself in the bottom half of if I actually ranked them).

  • For the record, I just checked my master list and I have American Sniper ranked at number 47 of the year.

  • but in a weird way I admire when directors are trying to make moviegoers happy.

    ALEX GOES, oh, make no mistake, Eastwood will make many moviegoers happy with American Sniper, and he knows it. He knows who he wants to make happy, he knows who he wants to irritate.

    It’s easy to recall the image of Eastwood basking in the waves of adoration he got from the crowd of hyenas at the Republican National Convention. He knew his “disrespecting Invisible Obama” skit was making that crowd happy. He seemed to have no idea that the rest of the world was looking at him make a utter fool of himself. He was playing to a specific crowd, and that crowd ate it up.

    Nearly half the population of America thinks Bush and Cheney did the right thing in Iraq. The other half of us are disgusted by what happened in Iraq. Eastwood decided which half the country he sides with. We don’t have to speculate or assume. He proved it when he argued with a stool in front of the entire world as if that was some kind of incisive political theater.

    Yes it’s frustrating that Eastwood doesn’t make more movies like Unforgiven or Letters from Iwo Jima. But at some point when a guy makes 75 movies and 70 of them are turds, I have to wonder if the 5 great movies are lucky flukes.

    His ideology is all over the map throughout his career, to the extent that I wonder if he even has a moral center of his own. He just shoots whatever is on the page — and if the script it brilliant then the movie is brilliant. Pity most of the scripts he tackles are far from brilliant.

    Unforgiven is my favorite Western of all time. Creating a monumental masterpiece is an enviable achievement. Great, I guess, that he’s still squeezing out movies and making money for people. I’m sure he’s an inspiration to all the Academy members older than 80 (of which there are hundreds), but Eastwood hasn’t done anything that interested me in over 20 years.

  • TOP 50 OF 2014

    1. WHIPLASH
    2. BOYHOOD
    3. WE ARE THE BEST!
    4. NIGHTCRAWLER
    5. THE BABADOOK
    6. GONE GIRL
    7. INTERSTELLAR
    8. SNOWPIERCER
    9. THE IMMIGRANT
    10. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
    11. BLUE RUIN
    12. THE DANCE OF REALITY
    13. INHERENT VICE
    14. SELMA
    15. MAPS TO THE STARS
    16. BIRDMAN
    17. CITIZENFOUR
    18. NEIGHBORS
    19. LOCKE
    20. JOE
    21. THE RAID 2
    22. CALVARY
    23. A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
    24. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
    25. THE GUEST
    26. THE LEGO MOVIE
    27. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
    28. FOXCATCHER
    29. THE IMITATION GAME
    30. IDA
    31. EDGE OF TOMORROW
    32. ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
    33. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
    34. JODOROWSKY’S DUNE
    35. JOHN WICK
    36. FORCE MAJEURE
    37. THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
    38. THE SKELETON TWINS
    39. UNDER THE SKIN
    40. NOAH
    41. TOP FIVE
    42. DEAR WHITE PEOPLE
    43. THE DROP
    44. OBVIOUS CHILD
    45. WILD
    46. STILL ALICE
    47. AMERICAN SNIPER
    48. 22 JUMP STREET
    49. INTO THE WOODS
    50. MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN

  • 10 of my top 50 grossed over 100 million in the US, lest anyone accuse me of ignoring mainstream films.

  • anyone who remotely agrees with me in this debate is a brave soul because I know my harsh stance is really toxic.

    the whole concept of filming American Sniper this way is so weird and sickening to me.

    I would almost wonder how movies like this ever get made, but then I remember the 50 million people who voted for Bush TWICE, and then I remember that Hollywood has always been great at obediently making army recruitment videos to lure poor dumb kids into the meat-grinder of endless war that billionaires thrive on to sustain their fabulous lifestyle.

  • ALEX GOES

    @RYAN ADAMS
    “He just shoots whatever is on the page — and if the script it brilliant then the movie is brilliant. Pity most of the scripts he tackles are far from brilliant.”
    Took the words right out of my mouth. Although Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Bridges of Madison County are definite guilty pleasures for me…

    On an unrelated note–happy to see Foxcatcher and Whiplash make the cut. I’m not so sure that Selma missing out on the PGA is as much an obstacle as the fact that Selma (and every other film in contention) is not Boyhood. I just have this feeling that nothing will beat Boyhood. Selma still seems good for a nomination–almost every year a film that misses out on the guilds gets a nomination. It’s usually a critics darling (In the Bedroom) or an awards-bait film (Atonement). And Selma has both of those going for it (it’s far superior to traditional Oscar bait).

  • For the record, I just checked my master list and I have American Sniper ranked at number 47 of the year.

    On IndieWire’s list of the 50 Best Films of 2014 … American Sniper is MIA.
    On Film Comment’s list of the 50 Best Films of 2014 … American Sniper is MIA.

  • Fabinho Flapp

    Nightcrawler.
    Jake’s power. 😉
    ————————————
    Happy for Whiplash and Gone Girl.
    Selma is almost dead.

    In the end, always was between Boyhood and Birdman.
    And that’s the way it’s going to be…

  • ALEX GOES

    @RYAN ADAMS
    Just to clarify, American Sniper would be no where near my top 10 of the year. I can probably think of 30 films that I liked better than American Sniper. The Skeleton Twins, however, did make my top 10. I’m sad that that film seems to have died after Sundance.

  • Ben

    Chiming in to join the anti-American Sniper camp. I confess I dislike its flag-waving rah rah simplistic one-sided politics, but even aside from that, its just not that good a film (aside from the sound mixing and editing, which are amazing). Tour #1 is exciting, no doubt about it, it one-ups the very fine (but ultimately overrated Hurt Locker). Tour #2, still exciting, but more of the same. Tours #3 and #4, once again, more of the same. We know Chris does not die in Iraq because he wrote the book, and there are no other characters well-developed enough to sufficiently care about, so I ultimately lost interest in the action sequences, they were just too redundant without anybody to root for. Worse than that though, Clint sets up the Iraqi sniper as the guy to root against simply because he’s the best sniper on that team. But are we ever shown why he’s there, doing what he’s doing, even for an instant? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s any justification for that war (or almost any war) and all that horrific mindless killing, but just as Chris feels he’s defending his guys, I’m sure the Iraqis feel are they defending theirs. Its all action all the time, but what’s this war about? Please don’t say that’s not the point of this movie, I understand, but if you’re going to set up good guys-bad guys, at least take 2 minutes to explain just a bit of the ideologies beyond the obvious flag-waiving (literally) we’re the good guys and they are vile animals. Life is not that simple, but this movie is, which diminishes it as a piece of art. But as they’ve shown repeatedly, at least half the Academy is still old guard Republican (a la the still beyond outrageous Brokeback loss), and Sniper will probably take the 9th spot.

    On the other hand, I was at the Governor’s Awards in November, and spoke with several Academy members (I am not one), including the very nice Cheryl Boone Isaacs. Brokeback and other politically movitivated Oscar winners/losers came up in discussion, and it was wonderful to see each of them fess up to what happened, and their organization’s checkered past (as opposed to 2006, when I was blatantly lied to in Entertainment Weekly by the former Academy President in response to a published letter). Several people used the same words: “Its a new Academy”. I hope so. We’ll see in no small part based upon whether American Sniper and/or Selma make the cut. I believe Selma will, though at least one very prominent Oscar-winning Academy member who was actually materially involved in the Civil Rights movement with MLK, Jr., has said he was disappointed by the film’s inaccuracies. That’s problematic, though I wonder how many Academy members truly know what the film got right and wrong. Either way, I strongly agree with those who contend its a fine film, certainly finer than American Sniper, and not just because it is on the right side of history.

  • daveinprogress

    They (AMPAS & PGA) share the preferential vote system, but they are not the same. The reactivity after each set of nominations is always fun to read. It ain’t over until the botox-heavy starlet or aging botox heavy lothario announces the winner at the end of a long night. They (the guiilds) never align. We complain if they all go the same way; we complain when they diverge. We don’t know anything; nor do the members who vote. They want what they want to see recognised. It is in the eye of the individual beholder. Box office, metacritic ratings, critics prizes – a lot of sound and fury and signifying nothing!

  • BrainyPirate

    DaveinProgress’s last post makes me hopeful, because it also implies that AMPAS voters who think Selma was snubbed by the PGA and who are worried about its Oscar chances might now be more inclined to rank it higher to give it a boost.

  • “anyone who remotely agrees with me in this debate is a brave soul because I know my harsh stance is really toxic.”

    Most of us who are with you on this, Ryan, are located safely beyond the border – toxicity levels are considerably lower out here. No bravery required.
    I expect both Selma and Sniper to make the BP noms, so I may just join you in the lion’s den.

    “No love for “Most Violent Year” anywhere. Not even in this great, rollicking thread.”
    I wouldn’t say that, Stephen. Nobody expected the little allegory on capitalism to give anyone in the PGA a boner, so nobody’s surprised that it’s missing. That doesn’t really translate to a lack of love.
    (It is rollicking, isn’t it? 🙂 )

  • Martin Pal

    @ Chris Price: “TOP 50 OF 2014”
    As I previously posted, everyone who responds here will have a different list.

  • Martin Pal

    @ Ryan Adams: “On IndieWire’s list of the 50 Best Films of 2014 … American Sniper is MIA.
    On Film Comment’s list of the 50 Best Films of 2014 … American Sniper is MIA.”
    Not surprising for two reasons. One, it’s only out in 4 theaters and two, it’s politics. I don’t know how many people I know who absolutely refused to like Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher because of politics.
    @ Ryan Adams: “anyone who remotely agrees with me in this debate is a brave soul because I know my harsh stance is really toxic.”
    Guess what? I share your views. But I like the film American Sniper. People (film scholars) always write about Leni Riefenstahl’s TRIUMPH OF THE WILL and OLYMPIA as brilliant films, but pieces of propaganda. (In a way, aren’t all films to some degree?) Do these people support the politics of those films?

  • Martin Pal

    @ Ben (talking about AMERICAN SNIPER): “But are we ever shown why he’s there, doing what he’s doing, even for an instant?”

    Well, yes we are and not only “shown”, he explains his reasons for it in the film as well. One may disagree with that or his reasoning, but it is definitely there.

    @ Ben: “But as they’ve shown repeatedly, at least half the Academy is still old guard Republican (a la the still beyond outrageous Brokeback loss), and Sniper will probably take the 9th spot.”

    If you think they’ll vote for American Sniper just because of their politics, well, I ask, do you do the same? Your stance sounds a lot like the AMPAS member, after watching the documentary PARIS IS BURNING, was quoted as saying he wouldn’t vote to nominate it because “It was just about drag queens.”
    I liked American Sniper and I liked Brokeback Mountain and I liked Selma and I liked Pride. If you and Ryan want to do your own film about the issues you bring up. Go for it.

    @ Ben: “On the other hand, I was at the Governor’s Awards in November, and spoke with several Academy members (I am not one), including the very nice Cheryl Boone Isaacs. Brokeback and other politically motivated Oscar winners/losers came up in discussion, and it was wonderful to see each of them fess up to what happened, and their organization’s checkered past (as opposed to 2006, when I was blatantly lied to in Entertainment Weekly by the former Academy President in response to a published letter).”

    I have that issue. Would you care to write about what they said somewhere about their fessing up? (Dave Cullen Forum, perhaps?)

  • Guess what? I share your views. But I like the film American Sniper. People (film scholars) always write about Leni Riefenstahl’s TRIUMPH OF THE WILL and OLYMPIA as brilliant films, but pieces of propaganda. (In a way, aren’t all films to some degree?) Do these people support the politics of those films?

    Martin Pal, yes, I’ll give you that.

    Although, I think it’s easier to appreciate Triumph of the Will purely on the basis of filmmaking today or even in 1960, than it was to admire Riefenstahl’s work in 1946.

    Everyone’s capacity for calming-the-fuck-down is different and I’m not going to pretend that I’m much good at it on this topic. I’m not there yet about Iraq.

    I am onboard with your suggestion that Clint Eastwood might be regarded as the Leni Riefenstahl of Iraq, 30 or 40 years from now.
    🙂

    Gotta say though, honestly, at the moment it looks more to me like a guy who sees 20 million red-state gun-nuts lining up and slapping down 8 bucks to watch a good ol’ Texas boy blow hundreds of swarthy Iraqi brains out.

    I do agree with you that many many intelligent people will be able to watch American Sniper and detach the filmmaking skill from the political implications.

    I’m just glad I got a screener, because where I live I don’t feel comfortable sitting in the dark surrounded by 500 people who think Chris Kyle is a great patriotic role model for their sons. I flat-out would never dream of buying a ticket in my town and sit in the middle of such a bloodthirsty crowd.

    American Sniper is going to be a big hit, and we all know what type of people will be buying the most tickets. (Not film scholars.)

  • julian the emperor

    “No, I don’t need to. See, it’s not about quality, not about merit.”

    Paddy, oh, Paddy… I like your passion (some times), but you’re DEAD WRONG about this. Try and think about the implications of what you’re saying and what that means. What you’re advocating is some form of society that could be fairly described as a case of inverted fascism where preconceived standards of purity (in this case: a certain set of politically correct assumptions) is trumping any democratic or individual right to think and act freely without fear of censorship or being told to shut up or think otherwise.
    Right now, as of 2015, there is an interesting political experiment taking place in Sweden, where (seemingly) the mainstream political parties (of both the left and the right) are excluding a party called the Swedish Democrats from having anything to say by ignoring them (and in extension, their voters) by having signed a deal that is a carte blanche to the government on full support on all big decisions simply because they fear the influence of the alternative (a right wing party that have a strong anti-immigration policy, which is NOT a pleasant thing, by any means, but that’s not really the issue here). By excluding a party and by saying some opinions are not allowed in the public debate you will only create a less free society where resentment will only grow since it is not allowed a proper outlet.
    Ok, this is different from what you’re saying, but then again: Every time political or moral standards trump the individual’s freedom to act and choose as he or she pleases, we lose a sense of what liberal democracy is: a safe haven for the individual within a state whose main role it is to uphold the basic tenets of freedom (and thereby making the society much more safe and cohesive as a whole). So, saying that a film should be nominated regardless of its quality (btw, I don’t doubt the quality of ‘Selma’, but we could have been talking about any movie here, because it’s about principles), you’re allowing a different mindset to take hold, a mindset which is not about the freedom to think and act as an individual, but a society that wants to decide for the individual and tell the individual when he or she strays outside of the ‘purity’ of convention (telling them to be ‘ashamed’, as you do). That’s a dangerous path and it’s a very problematic conception of what a democracy should strive for. A liberal democracy is about the freedom of the individual, not about the state telling its subjects what to think (if they want to be considered as upright citizens). The minute people feel excluded from voicing an opinion, because they will be judged accordingly by the ‘public tastemakers’, you begin to create a society of segregation, not based on gender, creed or race (like in the old days), but on opinions and morals. That kind of marginalization plays a dangerous role in the societies of today’s Europe, whereas in the US you still have to deal with the old form of segregation. Maybe that explains why your remarks are not considered outrageous among American liberals? Because in most of Europe (Sweden is a dubious case, as I mentioned), most liberals would not think twice about shaking their heads in disbelief when confronted with your remarks.

    Ok, and I haven’t even touched upon the philosophically problematic premise of mixing politics and aesthetics. Let’s leave that for another day…

    “Eastwood hasn’t done anything that interested me in over 20 years.”

    Woah, woah, Ryan. That’s not what you said when we had a heated discussion about J Edgar a couple of years ago! Remember?;)
    You defended Clint rigorously, saying Mystic River was one of your favorite movies (if my memory serves me well). Back then, I was saying some less flattering things about him (Letters From Iwo Jima being the only thing by him post-Unforgiven that I liked), and you came to his rescue.

    Is Clint’s politics the ONLY reason for this radical change of heart?

  • Julian, I was referring mainly to the fact that voters rarely pick the best films. They pick the films they feel the most affection for out of a small group of titles that has been vetted for them and deemed worthy of awards consideration. If it was about best, then Under the Skin might have stood a chance. But does anyone think A24 sent out screeners of that film to PGA members? Fuck no. Did Universal send out screeners of the infinitely inferior The Theory of Everything to PGA members? You fucking bet they did.

    Still, everything you just wrote. Like, everything. Like, fucking yes mate, everything.

    (P.S. dunno if your comment at all hinges on my perspective as an American and yours as a European, but I’m not American. I’m British.)

  • julian the emperor, I’ll have to go back and try to find that conversation about Mystic River. I think Mystic River is lightyears better than Million Dollar Baby, but here is the fact: I have only seen Mystic River once in my entire life. I watched it with my father. My father really liked it. I like Lehane’s novel better. I can’t imagine that I would be “rigorously defending” a movie that I only saw one time and never cared to watch again in a dozen years. *My father’s taste in movies is dubious, at best.

    Who knows what sort of corner you had me backed into 2 years ago. I’ll try to find the discussion and see what you were doing to me 😉 but I don’t think much of Mystic River one way or the other anymore. It’s one of Eastwood’s better efforts and the story (Lehane’s story) touches troubling resonant chords for me. But it’s very much another case of Eastwood happening upon a sophisticated complex property (rare for him) and managing not to fuck it up because too many components were already good. I gotta go see what this “rigorous defense” of mine looks like. I have no recollection of this encounter with you.

    But, short answer, East wood’s politics have always always made me queasy. He’s been this way for decades so I didn’t just suddenly realize he was a closet orangutan butt when he exposed it 2 years ago.

    One thing I remember liking about Mystic River is the palpable sense of mob mentality that has the insidious power to ruin innocent lives – because I have seen that happen firsthand and those scenes in the movie captured the vibe. It’s one of the few movies where Eastwood seemed to have any clear sense about guilt and innocence, responsibility and culpability.

    Only Eastwood-directed movies I would care to save in a warehouse fire would be Unforgiven, Iwo Jima, and Mystic River. But those first two are on a whole ‘nother level.

  • Claudiu Dobre

    “Unforgiven is my favorite Western of all time.”

    Mine too, and easily one of my top 10 all-time in any genre. Also, I think Letters from Iwo Jima probably should have won Best Picture (definitely over The Departed), even though, personally, I like Little Miss Sunshine even more (it’s just my kind of movie, though, and I realize most might not get as much out of it as I do, even though they should probably at least admit that it’s quite good). But Letters is a masterpiece, no question about it… Mystic River (since we’re discussing Eastwood) or Million Dollar Baby I don’t like nearly as much, though they’re both OK-to-good.

    “He just shoots whatever is on the page — and if the script it brilliant then the movie is brilliant. Pity most of the scripts he tackles are far from brilliant.”

    But surely there are countless ways to mess that up, even. I don’t think just anybody can do it as well as he does it. 🙂 There are still tons of important choices that he has to make, as the director, I’d imagine (I say this not knowing nearly as much about this stuff as you, Ryan). Is it impossible to mess up a great screenplay just with bad direction?

  • Claudiu Dobre

    Gravity last year (and probably others before it) taught us you can mess up a great movie with just lousy writing quite a bit, though not making it a bad movie altogether, just not a full-fledged masterpiece. Is direction less important? 🙂 I’m asking with all honesty, I can’t tell for sure from the outside.

  • Claudiu Dobre

    After all, Sasha keeps saying each year that the director is the most important…

  • julian the emperor

    Paddy: You’re British, ah, ok,…;)

    I think things work different in Continental Europe than in Britain, what with your curious affinity for class distinctions etc, but maybe you get my point after all…? The thing is, the moralism of supporters of opinions (which I often share, btw) that can be aligned under a ‘political correctness’ banner (that is, a clear cut defense of minority rights, in particular) are actively opposing their own supposed ‘love of tolerance’. You see it clearly every time people discuss issues concerning race, gender and sexual orientation. It’s almost prohibited to voice anything critical about someone if that someone happens to be either black, Muslim, gay or a woman. People actively refrain from taking a critical stance against people who represent some form of minority, no matter what bullshit they bring upon the world. This is troubling, to say the least. That’s one of the reasons I encourage a completely free debate about the pros and cons of for example immigration, because by shutting down that kind of debate, you will only make matters worse. The majority of people (who are not elitist tastemakers like the ones who have an easy access to the media) need to feel represented in the debate about the direction of society, otherwise everything will go berserk eventually. UKIP in Britain? I dislike their views thoroughly, but I will defend their right to say whatever they feel like saying rigorously. That’s the mark of a democratic state of mind, to me. I don’t see that in very many liberals unfortunately. They are busy looking down on people who do not think like the well-educated minority of the population.
    Ok, maybe I lost you somewhere along the line, I don’t know HOW that relates to what you said explicitly, but I just wanted to elaborate a bit on why this is an important matter, and why even something like the ‘right’ taste in movies can be emblematic of e greater ‘evil’ on a societal level…

    Ryan: I don’t recall exactly. Maybe some private communication? Hmm. My memory is not the most reliable entity I can think of, so I might be completely wrong. Maybe I just fantasized about us having that discussion…?:)

  • Pete

    Some small consolation for people upset about Selma’s snub. Take a stroll over to Steve Pond’s site and look at the comment section there after Drudge linked to it. Literally thousands of bloodthirsty racists venting their spleens at the film, Oprah, and black people on general. Really sickening stuff. So while people here may get in each other’s grills about socially conscious films, this site has never degenerated into the freak show I witnessed over there today.

  • Julian the emperor, I probably have every email you ever sent me so it will be easy to search inbox. Likewise keyword site search. Your being able to narrow it down to J Edgar time span should help me find it.

  • I wholly support what Julian has said and would never support censorship on any level, for any reason, but filmmakers must accept the fact that if they incorporate politics in the framing of their stories, those ideas are as open to debate as the acting, direction, and production values.

    What makes the war film so popular and lasting is the extreme circumstances into which the protagonist is tossed. This has been the case since the days of silent film. The brilliance of the best of the genre (The Hurt Locker, Letter/Iwo Jima, Das Boot, All Quiet/Western Front, Joyeux Noel, Gallipoli, Stalingrad (’93), Platoon, Thin Red Line, Battle of Algiers, much of Cold Mountain) is the ability of the storyteller to remove any political stance and focus on the situation at hand, which is the struggle of individuals in difficult moral and physical conditions.

    In each of the films I listed above, the main characters are come from a variety of political situations, some of which are unsupportable, even horrific, but because the filmmaker chose to focus on character and not politics, we, the audience, can submerse ourselves in their struggle. Imagine how differently you would view their respective films if Captain in Das Boot or Inman in Cold Mountain espoused the beliefs of the powers that put them ito battle.

    So this brings us to American Sniper. If Eastwood has chosen for his character to represent issues beyond those that are personal, those choices are open season for debate. Freedom of expression must be practiced on both sides of the screen.

  • julian the emperor

    “Literally thousands of bloodthirsty racists venting their spleens at the film, Oprah, and black people in general. Really sickening stuff. So while people here may get in each other’s grills about socially conscious films, this site has never degenerated into the freak show I witnessed over there today.”

    This – the fact that if you allow every form of opinion you will have to bow down to the lowest common denominator with discouraging speed – is the strongest argument for some kind of legislation on complete free speech. It certainly challenges my conception of liberal democracy quite a bit. Because should you allow possible hate speech just so every citizen can feel fulfilled by his or her urge to say what they really think? There is a HUGE grey zone where potentially illegal hate speech intermingles with the right to say what you want… Finding a way to deal with that gap is one of the great challenges of public debate (and legislation) today.
    I’m afraid a true democracy must deal with the fact that sometimes free speech means creating a cesspool of ignorance in any given context. We are, after all, always allowed to oppose the voices of ignorance, so we should never refrain from doing so. I think, ultimately (but it’s a close call), a free debate is better than a controlled debate, because the latter will never achieve what it sets out to do. You can not educate people to think and act freely and at the same time try to control them when they do what they were told to do: being a living embodiment of democracy by engaging in a debate.

  • benutty

    re: “Solomon Northup has never been shown to be a bald-faced self-agrandizing liar”

    Well, actually, that’s not true. There were/are quite a few allegations that his narrative was financed and manipulated by white men who had the agenda of showing free black men as intelligent and heroic. While none of us would ever argue against such a POV, we can’t actually say that his story doesn’t include manufactured events and/or lies. It might, it might not. Hard to say.

    The FILM however sits outside this type of dialogue now, but also I AM SO LOST ON THIS TOPIC OF AMERICAN SNIPER AND HOW 12 YEARS A SLAVE EVEN CAME INTO IT, but it was fun to read other people get heated for once 😉 lol

  • Leo C

    Friends, I’m having a hard time reading all these negative views on Clint Eastwood as a director. It’s quite shocking to me, since he’s been one of my favorite directors for quite some time.
    I couldn’t disagree more with Eastwood the citizen/politician. He’s made a fool of himself on the Obama episode etc…

    But as a filmmaker, wow, he’s nothing short of brilliant, in my opinion.

    He’s one of the great classical directors in activity. By “classical” I mean he works within the frame and principles of classical narrative. He believes in the power of the pure image and of mise-en-scène (where to position the camera, what point of view that placement stands for, how do move it, how to move actors and vehicles in front of it, how to place objects and information within the visible frame, how to suggest and to explore what’s offcamera and so on).

    In my view, Clint is one of the 3 or 4 top classical directors in America (the others being James Gray and Alexander Payne) . I know many here will disagree, but to me his list of great films would include not only Iwo Jima, Unforgiven and Mystic River, but also Bridges of Madison County, Gran Torino, Bird, Million Dollar Baby, A perfect world, Midnight in the garden of good and evil. I have yet to see American Sniper.
    Even his lesser films are a joy for me to watch, as a cinematic experience: Changelling, J. Edgar, Hereafter, Jersey Boys, Invictus, Space Cowboys. Much like a lesser Woody Allen, or a lesser Scorsese.

    Eastwood also shows great understanding and tolerance as a filmmaker (much more than he shows as a citizen!). How remarkable is it that he presided the jury that gave the Palme D’or to a film so radically distant from his cinema as Pulp Fiction?!

    By the way, I am not saying that I only appreciate classical storytelling in the movies, on the contrary. Among my favorite living directors, many are very far from classic hollywood style, such as Almodóvar, Scorsese, Allen, Lynch, Cronenberg, De Palma, Fincher, Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Manoel de Oliveira, Kar Wai Wong.
    Yet I just can’t help but admire Eastwood as a director who keeps filming (mostly) elegant, poignant, moving stories without ever resorting to gimmicks or stylization, just based on what David Bordwell calls “The way Hollywood tells it”.

    Ok, I got if off my my chest. Now I’ll go back to rooting for my 3 favorite movies of the year: Grand Budapest Hotel, Gone Girl and Mr. Turner.

  • “we can’t actually say that Northop’s story doesn’t include manufactured events and/or lies. It might, it might not. Hard to say.”
    ^
    Wow, wow. This is some weak pathetic bullshit

    “MAYBE, MAYBE NOT, WHO KNOWS, WE CAN IMAGINE ANYTHING IS A LIE IF WE CHOOSE TO.”

    That is not the inane standard of veracity I’m talking about for Chris Kyle.

    Chris Kyle told people that he was sent to New Orleans and sat on roof of the Superdome, shooting looters after Katrina. He told people he shot 30 looters, all on his own. That’s a LIE. It’s not, “hey, I wonder if that’s a lie…” It is a lie.

    Chris Kyle wrote in his barely-literate wingnut book that he encountered Jesse Ventura in a bar, Ventura was badmouthing GW Bush. Chris Kyle had to teach Jesse Ventura a lesson, “tables flew, stuff happened,” Kyle gave Ventura a black eye and strutted out of the bar victorious. Fun scene from a bad episode of the A-Team, right? and yes, it’s all bullshit. It’s all a lie. Jesse Ventura sued the estate of Chris Kyle and won the defamation case for $1.8 million. Chris Kyle, compulsive liar.

    Chris Kyle has another cool story about Chris Kyle, Superhero. Apparently Chris Kyle was at a remote gas station and he got carjacked by two thugs? Chris Kyle, 007-at-large, license to kill, pulls out a pistol and shoots the two carjackers dead. Calls the cops, says, Hey hi, Chris Kyle, Man of Steel here, I just shot a couple of crooks so you can come get their dead worthless bodies. Cops show up, like wtf. Kyle says, Call the Pentagon, they’ll vouch for me. Cops call Washington DC, find out Chris Kyle really does have a right to assassinate anyone who gets in his way, and the cops back away in awe. The cops give Chris Kyle a pat on the back, “good job, sir” and Kyle says he got emails from cops all across the country thanking him for “cleaning up the streets.” Behold, Chris Kyle, Maker of Myths, a Legend in His Own Eyes, LIAR.

    Wikipedia (not exactly the strictest factchecker) refuses to take Chris Kyle’s word for anything. In the very first line of his wiki-bio, Chris Kyle is described as “self-proclaimed most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. No survey has been conducted across any part of the spectrum of Special Operations to confirm that

    Pathological liar Chris Kyle says so, though, and it sure looks great on the cover of his wingnut-magnet book, so “who’s to say whether he’s lying or not?!” *shrug*

    “pleeeeeease, please be a hero, Mr Kyle, please, please, we need some Iraq hero stories to help us swallow the unspeakable tragedy of a million lives Bush and Cheney wrecked, ruined and wasted. Please be Rambo, Mr Kyle.”

    And Eastwood just splatters it onscreen unfiltered, never for an instant calling into question what went so mentally wrong with a man that he cannot stop fabricating stories about how he roams the planet ridding the world of looters and carjackers and “pure evil””savages.”

    ===

    Now, benutty, go find me some similarly bizarre fabrications cooked up by Solomon Northop. You do realize that as soon as Northop’s story became known in 1853, slave owners and racists were already squealing and gnashing their rotten teeth about how it was all made up. So I hope you’re aware of the type of person you’re throwing yourself in with when you seek to insinuate Northop invented parts of his story.

    LUCKILY, there are people like professor Sue Eakin who devoted virtually her entire life to documenting, verifying and annotating every detail of Northop’s memoir. Her exhaustive research confirms every smallest fact of Northop’s account. But go right ahead and say, “well maybe Northop made stuff up, you can’t prove he didn’t.”

    Go read this detailed rundown of The Lies of Chris Kyle. This is the real movie. This is the movie that needs to be made. The movie that reveals Chris Kyle could be every bit as delusional as John DuPont.

    That’s not the movie Eastwood wanted to make. Because that’s not the movie red-state moviegoers would ever pay to see.

    Nobody wants to hear that Louis Zamperini grew up to be an abusive alcoholic.

    Nobody wants to hear Chris Kyle was probably mentally deranged with a bizarre savior complex.

    But yeah, The Washington Post needs to print 3 destructive articles pouting about LBJ having the slightest hesitancy about pushing too fast for Voting Rights.

    Gotta keep these glistening white guy heroes sparkly cleansed and absolved of any little grey areas, don’t we?

  • CB

    Ryan, with all due respect, why is it that you are so furious with Chris Kyle’s alleged lies but you don’t care that ‘Selma’ depicts LBJ ordering J. Edgar Hoover to commit vile illegal acts against MLK, which, as we all do know, never happened? Why don’t you have an issue with ‘Selma’s depiction LBJ as a coward who opposed the march, when in fact he was integral in its success? Why do you accept the lie that LBJ was dithering on Civil Rights, when in fact he was incredibly proactive and hugely important to its passage?

    Why are you incensed with ‘American Sniper’s inaccuracies, but ‘Selma’s are no big deal? I don’t get it. As I’ve stated before, ‘Selma’ makes the story LESS interesting by vilifying and lying about LBJ, so there’s just no reason for it other than simplicity of plot.

    Why is one lie more egregious than the other? One would argue lying about the history of Civil Rights and vilifying a hero is worse than glorifying a single sniper.

  • So this brings us to American Sniper. If Eastwood has chosen for his character to represent issues beyond those that are personal, those choices are open season for debate.

    I think it’s pretty clear that I welcome the opportunity to call into question the narrative and moral rationale being paraded around under the slimy guise of an American “hero” who brags with such relish about murdering people.

    It’s actually a great personification of the sickness of any society that brainwashes men into thinking they’re saving the world with bullets, when all they’re really doing is making the Top 20 Filthy Rich families in the world even filthier and even richer.

  • ‘Selma’ depicts LBJ ordering J. Edgar Hoover to commit vile illegal acts against MLK, which, as we all do know, never happened?

    Can you remind me how we all know that never happened?

  • CB

    It’s actually a great personification of the sickness of any society that brainwashes men into thinking they’re saving the world with bullets, when all they’re really doing is making the Top 20 Filthy Rich families in the world even filthier and even richer.

    Not so sure about that – though I’m with you in hating the top of the 1% – whenever I feel myself leaning the slightest bit to the right, I read about the Waltons and am restored with my inner socialist Democrat 😉

    Having said that, there is a place for knowing – and effective – jingoism, and I dare say ‘American Sniper’ earns its keep as an effective movie. I think you’re upset mostly that ‘Selma’ was shut out of the PGA and not getting loved despite its subject matter (MLK) by a tiny minority of viewers and, admittedly, by the PGA. I understand the feeling, when you love a movie AND its message (I felt bad when ‘Fruitvale’ got ignored last year – I thought it was one of the year’s best; I was also upset when ‘All Is Lost’ was shut out – its message was lovely and the film was a masterpiece), but that doesn’t mean ‘American Sniper’ was bad.

  • Why don’t you have an issue with ‘Selma’s depiction LBJ as a coward who opposed the march

    Selma does not depict LBJ as a coward. I saw Selma before any of this wankery blew up, and my chest swelled with pride to see LBJ carefully negotiate a treacherous minefield of conflicting obligations. LBJ comes across as a sage and determined stubborn statesmen.

    CB, I really have to wonder if you even SAW Selma if you think LBJ is portrayed a “coward”

    … good grief, will someone else who has actually SEEN Selma please step up and let me know that I’m not crazy for being INSPIRED by Wilkinson’s portrayal? His final scene, LBJ’s speech before Congress, is one the most uplifting 3 minutes of film I’ve seen all year. It’s soaring.

    CB, have you really even seen the movie? Be honest.

    I have to say this, point blank: Anybody who watches Selma and thinks LBJ looks like a “coward” or a “racist” is, well, not too bright. So I want to assume you’re basing your description on lies you’ve read elsewhere, CB.

    You’d better be prepared to explain to us in what scene, what lines of dialog, what reaction shots does LBJ EVER appear to be cowardly. I really hope you’re just repeating second-hand impressions and not reaching this weird conclusion from your own first-hand viewing experience.

    “Coward?” yeesh, I’m speechless, that’s such a bizarre thing to say.

  • CB

    ME:‘Selma’ depicts LBJ ordering J. Edgar Hoover to commit vile illegal acts against MLK, which, as we all do know, never happened?

    RYAN: Can you remind me how we all know that never happened?

    Authorization to Hoover was given by RFK during his brother’s administration, not during the Johnson Administration: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/20/martin-luther-king-fbi_n_4631112.html

    In an effort to prove he was under Communist influence, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover spent significant resources monitoring King’s movements and eavesdropping on his communications. Attorney General Robert Kennedy gave consent, allowing the organization to break into King’s office and home installing phone taps and bugs to track the leader’s movements and conversations as well as those of his associates. Although the recordings did not reveal any association with the Communist Party, they did reveal extensive details about his extramarital affairs.

    Then there’s this in the Washington Post today – remember, I’m addressing your question of ‘Can you remind me how we all know that never happened?’ – http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2015/01/05/the-questions-we-should-be-asking-about-selma/

    The case of the triangular relationship between Johnson, King and Hoover is more complicated. My colleague, Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, in a long piece on the tendency to fact-check films, writes: “I especially regret that an edit in the film erroneously suggests that Johnson ordered FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to send incriminating tapes of King’s alleged infidelities to the activist’s wife, Coretta. If I had a wish for ‘Selma,’ it would be that DuVernay could have found another way to solve a structural problem — getting from the White House to the King residence and the tapes — without inviting that inference.”

    But if Johnson did not order the tapes be sent to Coretta King, Nick Kotz argues in “Judgement Days,” his sharp and illuminating book about the Johnson-King relationship, that Johnson was not ordering Hoover to stand down his long-term campaign against King, either. After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, “One of Johnson’s first calls after returning from Dallas was to J. Edgar Hoover [his long-time neighbor]. ‘You’re more than the head of the bureau,’ Johnson told Hoover. ‘You’re my brother and personal friend.’” Kotz explains. “Hoover answered Johnson’s flatter with a flurry of activity” focused at furthering his surveillance of King and keeping Johnson apprised of the results.

    So Johnson did not order Hoover to stop spying on King (though to be fair, to have done so would’ve seemed insane – Hoover spied on EVERYONE and was feared by everyone as well, and the FBI routinely spied on anyone who opposed US policy – even John Kerry when he was a Vietnam Vet for Truth, my point being, it would be shocking if the FBI HADN’T spied on King, though the intimidation using that info was never used by LBJ).

    So you asked: ‘Can you remind me how we all know that never happened?’

    All evidence in history shows that it didn’t happen. The only thing that’s saying it did happen is a movie whose director is hiding behind the ‘it’s not a documentary’ excuse. Okay, so let me put the burden of proof on you – prove to me it did happen.

  • The “vile act” in question in the movie has NOTHING to do with who initially authorized Hoover to bug MLK’s hotel rooms.

    That’s not addressed in the movie.

    SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

    There’s only one face-to-face meeting between LBJ and Hoover in Selma. Hoover has only one brief scene in the movie. In that scene, LBJ is visibly REPULSED by the tactics Hoover suggests. There is NEVER the smallest indication that LBJ told Hoover to make the tapes. Hoover gives the impression that he already has all the slanderous information he needs to destroy King, and all he needs is the greenlight to use it. LBJ says no. Hoover is clearly aggravated that LBJ is reining him in.

    Some time later, after a frustrating meeting between LBJ and MLK, LBJ utters one line: “Get me J Edgar” . Then in the next scene we see Coretta and Martin listening to a tape of heavy breathing. Martin denies that it’s him. Coretta says she knows, she says she knows it’s not the way Martin sounds.

    “Get me J Edgar.” — that’s the closest the movie comes to saying LBJ gave Hoover the go-ahead to use dirty tactics.

    Nothing about LBJ authorizing Hoover to tape MLK in bed. NOTHING.

    In fact, exactly simultaneously with LBJ’s heated dispute with MLK, people on MLK’s team are speaking to LBJ’s chief of staff to complain about their suspicions that all their rooms are being bugged.

    Throughout the film, FBI transcripts from the MLK dossier are typed across the screen . BUT AT NO TIME IN THE MOVIE DO WE EVER SEE LBJ “authorizing” Hoover to bug MLK. It’s crystal clear in the film the surveillance was ALREADY ongoing long before any scene between LBJ and Hoover.

  • benutty

    Ryan, please please please for the sake of our respect for each other, stop prescribing beliefs to my statements that are just NOT THERE. My response was only to your assertion that no claims against the truth of Northrup’s accounts have ever been made. They have. I read his and many narratives years before 12 Years a Slave the film was even imagined, so don’t try it with me. I’m a huge fan of the story in both its written and cinematic forms. I know next to nothing about Chris Kyle or American Sniper so I really am not interested in furthering this topic with you–once again, I was just making my own observation on the topic.

  • CB, where did you see SELMA?

  • CB

    CB, I really have to wonder if you even SAW Selma if you think LBJ is portrayed a “coward”

    … good grief, will someone else who has actually SEEN Selma please step up and let me know that I’m not crazy for being INSPIRED by Wilkinson’s portrayal? His final scene, LBJ’s speech before Congress, is one the most uplifting 3 minutes of film I’ve seen all year. It’s soaring.

    CB, have you really even seen the movie? Be honest.

    I have to say this, point blank: Anybody who watches Selma and thinks LBJ looks like a “coward” or a “racist” is, well, not too bright. So I want to assume you’re basing your description on lies you’ve read elsewhere, CB.

    You’d better be prepared to explain to us in what scene, what lines of dialog, what reaction shots does LBJ EVER appear to be cowardly. I really hope you’re just repeating second-hand impressions and not reaching this weird conclusion from your own first-hand viewing experience.

    “Coward?” yeesh, I’m speechless, that’s such a bizarre thing to say.

    Ryan, I have seen ‘Selma’ and I must say I’m a little miffed that you’d doubt that. I wouldn’t cite the weakness of writing and directing all over this if I couldn’t substantiate it.

    But you want evidence showing LBJ acting cowardly? How about how he’s portrayed by the second half of the movie – hunched over, sad. Resigned. (Even though this is early 1965 when he’d just enjoyed a huge victory over Goldwater and was passing bills left and right.) When he says ‘Get me Hoover’ in that quaking voice. When MLK comes to the White House for a final face-to-face and the famously cocky LBJ is essentially talked over by King and left looking at the floor. He was totally portrayed as a coward who, when King refused to capitulate to his demands, asked for Hoover in an act of pathetic last resort. Come on. The performance and depiction speak for themselves. Even the announcement of the Voting Rights Act is depicted as an act of giving up and giving in to King’s demands. Give me a break.

  • Okay, so let me put the burden of proof on you – prove to me it did happen.

    I’m glad we’re getting down to basics, CB.

    Let’s just start with you telling me where in SELMA does LBJ authorize Hoover to commit “vile acts”

    Because that never happened in the movie. If you say it did happen in the movie, then you’re all mixed up.

  • CB

    Ryan, not that it’s your business, but NYC, where I live. I’ve been posting on these boards for a couple years and we’ve debated before so I don’t appreciate the fact that you disbelieve that I’ve seen the movie.

  • But if Johnson did not order the tapes be sent to Coretta King, Nick Kotz argues in “Judgement Days,” his sharp and illuminating book about the Johnson-King relationship, that Johnson was not ordering Hoover to stand down his long-term campaign against King, either.

    EXACTLY, great quote! Thank you. This IS PRECISELY WHAT SELMA SHOWS US. It shows Johnson not ordering Hoover to proceed and it never shows Johnson ordering Hoover to stand down.

    Thanks, I’m glad you cleared that up for yourself. The situation and possibilities outlined in that quote are PRECISELY the same situations and possibilities that Ava DuVernay conveys in 3 minutes of dramatized elegance.

  • CB

    Let’s just start with you telling me where in SELMA does LBJ authorize Hoover to commit “vile acts”

    Because that never happened in the movie. If you say it did happen in the movie, then you’re all mixed up.

    I consider signing off on the FBI’s calling a man’s wife and playing a recording of two people having sex (her husband and his mistress – falsely – Coretta knows it’s ‘not what you sound like’*) a vile act, but I’m old fashioned like that.

    * still believe I haven’t seen it? 😉

  • benutty

    I didn’t get “coward” out of LBJ in Selma at all. But I also didn’t get “uplifting” from him either.

    I went into Selma before any of this LBJ nonsense started up in the rags so I wasn’t looking for truths or untruths in the portrayal of him. That being said, I did feel a little put-off by his role in the events as shown in the film. By the time he gives his speech at the end I was left with the impression that he was getting all the credit for something he was at that time unwilling to do without the persuasion of MLK and the national attention that he and the others in the city of Selma helped give the cause.

    I’m not sure if it was here or elsewhere, but someone somewhere attributed a lot of this to the film editing and that seems like the most logical foundation for this whole LBJ brouhaha.

  • CB

    But if Johnson did not order the tapes be sent to Coretta King, Nick Kotz argues in “Judgement Days,” his sharp and illuminating book about the Johnson-King relationship, that Johnson was not ordering Hoover to stand down his long-term campaign against King, either.

    EXACTLY, great quote! Thank you. This IS PRECISELY WHAT SELMA SHOWS US. It shows Johnson not ordering Hoover to proceed and it never shows Johnson ordering Hoover to stand down.

    No, actually the film shows a scene where Hoover comes in and makes LBJ an offer to smear King. LBJ first says no. Then when King refuses to cancel the ‘Selma’ march on LBJ’s wishes (AHISTORICAL!), LBJ says, ‘Get me Hoover’ to his lackey. Either the next scene or the scene after, we have Coretta Scott King hearing the gross phone call.

    Yes, LBJ never ordered Hoover to stop spying on King. Again, Hoover was spying on EVERYONE, including JFK, LBJ’s predecessor. So it’s true, LBJ never told Hoover to stand down, nor did he tell him to CALL CORETTA SCOTT KING AND PLAY A VILE PHONE CALL. That’s what I’m asking you to prove. That and the notion that LBJ tried to stop the march on Selma.

  • I’m not disbelieving you, CB. I was only sincerely wondering.

    Because I know you to be a smart guy, and we both saw the same movie. I see a dignified statesmen LBJ. You apparently saw a “coward”….

    So I was wondering if that “coward” thing wass something you read, or if you somehow got that on your own. I was only asking you, bot doubting you,

    It’s mystifying to me how anybody could watch SELMA and think LBJ is coward.

    So, here were are. AD readers who might be reading this far.

    CB tells you SELMA shows LBJ is a coward.

    Ryan tell you SELMA portrays LBJ as a cunning wary statesman who’s as bullheaded any president ever is, and who ultimately shines like a beacon as the boldest most powerfully compassionate white guy in the entire movie.

    y’all can decide to who to believe. See the movie for yourself and decide.

  • so don’t try it with me

    don’t poke at me about every turn of phrase I write, and I won’t have to explain how annoying that is

    you want to play a flimsy comparative veracity game between Solomon Northop and Chris Kyle in order to chip away at something you can see I care very deeply about? ok, I can do that.

  • CB

    (try this fun game: google “LBJ coward Selma” and see if you can find anything . good luck with that.)

    Well, if you can’t find it that way, why’d you think I was getting my info elsewhere? 😉

    I think calling in Hoover because you can’t control MLK is cowardly – it’s just pathetic and spineless and cheap. And untrue, but in the context of ‘Selma’s fictional story, it shows LBJ as a weak president seeking pathetically to take control of the morally righteous MLK and failing. It shows a man who history has shown was a master of persuasion and even bullying as being impotent against MLK. Hey, if that story were actually true, we’d know about it – because by now, the story of MLK standing up to LBJ and forcing him to take drastic steps against him and still going through with the march would be as much a part of King’s legend as ‘I Have a Dream’ and ‘Letter from the Birmingham Jail’. But it isn’t, because it’s not a part of history.

    Ryan, you loved ‘Lincoln’ (I didn’t) and much of that film is about whipping votes and winning sentiment and manipulating the political and social feelings of the time. That could’ve been such a great film – MLK and LBJ using each other and working together – activist and president – to ruin George Wallace. That’s actually WHAT HAPPENED and speaks to MLK’s brilliant strategic mind, a trait of King’s that is often forgotten in his role as an American Hero even the GOP pretends to like. A story about King the tactician – which IS the story of the Selma march? What a missed opportunity!

  • benutty

    re: “A story about King the tactician – which IS the story of the Selma march? What a missed opportunity!”

    I mean, this is the Selma film I thought I watched. It’s not a film about MLK, it’s about the events that informed and resulted from the march in Selma. MLK was shown to be the tactician–politically, morally, socially, emotionally, etc.–that orchestrated many of the circumstances surrounding it.

    re: “you want to play a flimsy comparative veracity game between Solomon Northop and Chris Kyle in order to chip away at something you can see I care very deeply about? ok, I can do that.”

    That’s not what I was doing. In fact, someone else started the comparison and you responded to it with something I disagreed with. I see you care deeply about this issue, but that shouldn’t mean that you react so disproportionately to some of the disagreements that others have with parts of your arguments. I highly doubt that most of the engaging commenters here come to “chip away” at you or Sasha, but the defensiveness and apparent disinterest and abusiveness toward differing opinions is becoming exhausting and nearing discouraging.

  • the story of MLK standing up to LBJ and forcing him to take drastic steps against him and still going through with the march would be as much a part of King’s legend

    I don’t know about “legend,” but it’s certainly historical FACTUALLY ACCURATE:

    Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Louis Menard:

    Johnson recognized the need for additional voting-rights legislation, and he directed Nicholas Katzenbach, soon to be his attorney general, to draft it. “I want you to write me the goddamnest toughest voting rights act that you can devise,” is the way he put it. But then progress slowed. Johnson had the most ambitious legislative agenda of any President since F.D.R. (his idol), and he explained to King that he was worried that Southern opposition to more civil-rights legislation would drain support from the War on Poverty and hold up bills on Medicare, immigration reform, and aid to education. He asked King to wait.

    King thought that if you waited for the right time for direct action (as nonviolent protests were called) you would never act. So on January 2, 1965, he went to Selma, where efforts by local activists and members of the Student Non-Violent Coördinating Committee to register African-Americans had been under way, with little success, for several years.

    “LBJ asked King to wait.”
    “LBJ asked King to wait.”
    “LBJ asked King to wait.”

    But King did not wait.
    King proceeded on his own.
    King was tired of waiting.

    fact, fact, fact.

    CB, I’m sorry that you came away from Selma thinking LBJ looked cowardly.

    To me, LBJ looked like a man at the crossroads of a seismic shift in American history, fully aware of the momentous upheaval on his hands, with dozens of milestone projects on his agenda, trying to carefully proceed without turning American society upside down.

    I saw an LBJ who found the strength to forge ahead and throw his power behind the right cause, and to me that’s far more interesting than seeing a saintly LBJ who never had a doubt or moment’s hesitation or qualm in his life.

    I loved seeing LBJ transform from being a man of caution and expediency to become a man of single-minded determination. Because to me that’s a far more accurate reflection of LBJ’s own real-life evolution over a period of many years — and I’m completely ok with seeing that evolution transposed and compressed to occupy a 10-week time-span for the purpose of dramatic impact.

  • CB

    I’m glad you saw that version, and I wish I had too. If anything, I’d have enjoyed the movie and I don’t go to the movies to not have fun.

    I saw a president who history shows knew that 65-67 were a once-in-a-generation supermajority and passed bill after bill after bill. Louis Menand isn’t wrong (though he’s not the most reliable historian in the world), but the movie shows LBJ digging in his heels rather than what history shows – he offered MLK his opinion, MLK said he didn’t want to go along, so LBJ happily strategized along with him. The scene with George Wallace in the Oval Office is extremely out of context. In history, LBJ and Wallace were both acting like rascals, and talking around the point until LBJ, with a wink, called Wallace’s bluff and said, ‘Let’s go out there and make an announcement saying you’re for voting rights?’ and Wallace essentially folded his cards. In the movie it’s presented with the utmost drama – in real life it was two good ol’ boys playing hours of verbal poker. Again, a missed opportunity for nuance. The film had none, at least in terms of politics (and kind of in terms of everything else too).

  • that shouldn’t mean that you react so disproportionately

    you’re going to pester me about Solomon Northop and Chris Kyle being remotely proportionate and then be bothered when I carpet bomb Chris Kyle the way he needs to be carpet-bombed?

    nobody forced you to cast this sort of vague aspersion on Solomon Northrop:

    “we can’t actually say that Northop’s story doesn’t include manufactured events and/or lies. It might, it might not. Hard to say.”

    Why don’t you just say it: “Margaret Thatcher might have sucked dog dicks. She might or might not. Hard to say.”

    Chris Kyle is LIAR. There is PROOF that Chris Kyle is a liar.

    When you have proof that Solomon Northop spent 12 Years in Tahiti and proof that Margaret Thatcher sucked dog dicks, then come back and use them as ammunition to take jabs to undermine what I’m trying to say about Chris Kyle.

  • Martin Pal

    Thank you Ryan and others for spirited discussions about American Sniper and Selma.

    @ RYan: “… will someone else who has actually SEEN Selma please step up and let me know that I’m not crazy for being INSPIRED by Wilkinson’s portrayal? His final scene, LBJ’s speech before Congress, is one the most uplifting 3 minutes of film I’ve seen all year. It’s soaring.”

    This is only my opinion, so here goes: I like Tom Wilkinson in almost every film he’s in. I did not like his portrayal of LBJ. I grew up watching and listening to LBJ on TV and the dozens of exaggerated personas of him by comedians and impressionists. Wilkinson didn’t come close to any of my associations of LBJ. So, I had to just think of that character as “the President” in this film and forget that it was LBJ. That was my one problem with this film. Another slight quibble is that in some of the very dramatic moments, they used a “song” for the background of the film, when I thought scoring would’ve served it better.
    Minor quibbles, though, I really liked the film.

  • Thanks, Marin Pal, for maybe not agreeing with me but least not saying I’m nothing but a rude hall-monitor.

    I probably need to stop trying to address how I feel about the LBJ/Selma issue in such piece-meal snippets, and make a better attempt to present a tidy statement on the main page that sums up my stance. But thanks to everybody for being such challenging sparring partners!

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  • Andrew G.

    How did Breaking Bad qualify, since it hasn’t aired since 2013???

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