As we head into the weekend, we’re at our last stop before Oscar ballots are mailed out to voters. It’s been a season full of twists and turns. It has been unpredictable in many ways, with the final verdict still to be determined. We don’t know if the Oscars themselves will surprise us by making history, or if they will surprise us by NOT making history in an unpredictable season.
Why is it unpredictable? Usually, either the acting races OR the Best Picture race are unpredictable. This is a year where Best Picture and Best Director are both too close to call. Usually voters have to decide between two Best Picture frontrunners, like last year’s Boyhood and Birdman. Sometimes there are three movies in the Best Picture race, like in 2013 when 12 Years a Slave and Gravity tied at the Producers Guild, Gravity won the Directors Guild, and American Hustle won the SAG Ensemble award. In the end, 12 Years won Best Picture and Gravity won Director, American Hustle went home empty-handed.
If you think back over Oscar history and wonder why no films about journalists have ever won Best Picture, it suddenly becomes all too clear how much things have changed. When journalists were heroes the world was a better place. Watching how the press covers Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is proof that objectivity in journalism has been replaced by survival clickbait journalism, where bringing down a powerful woman and elevating a scrappy underdog becomes the narrative because that’s what sells.
This is true on network television, but it’s even more true online. When you have biased leftist outlets like Huffington Post or Salon, extreme right wing sites like The Blaze or Daily Caller, and mainstream trustworthy sites like The New York Times all painting basically the same hot-button headlines, you long for the days when journalists were respected and respectable. I’m not seeing much of that anymore. I’m seeing outlets that feed the mob to get clicks.
It is now more than ever that a film like Spotlight has relevance. Those Boston Globe reporters had the option of going off half-cocked, before having all of the information firmly in hand. Instead, they carefully and meticulously set about getting the story right and making it complete, asking the hard questions about molestation, building relationships with sources, questioning themselves and vetting their own coverage, all in the name of ethics. That is something we are sorely missing across-the-board now: yes, even at The New York Times, especially at The Los Angeles Times. Forget TIME magazine, and CNN you can shitcan too. Forget it. A mob of online clicktivists seem to be in control of our media and I personally have never longed more for a better firewall of journalistic ethics. We’ve also lost our two most trenchant media critics — Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. It turns out they were sort of irreplaceable. Bill Maher has become so biased in his own coverage that he, too, has become unreliable. Where are we to turn?
Matt Charman’s Cold War screenplay is based on the true story of U.S pilot Francis Gary Powers whose U-2 spy plane is gunned down in the Soviet Union. Tom Hanks plays James Donovan a lawyer recruited by the CIA to negotiate his release. Mark Rylance plays Rudolf Abel, a convicted Russian spy who plays a key part in the prisoner exchange that Donovan negotiates.
The drama has been a hit with the critics who have awarded Rylance with several prominent Best Supporting Actor wins. Rylance has received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for the role. Bridge of Spies received a total of six nominations, including Best Picture for Steven Spielberg.
Catch up on interviews with Rylance and screenwriter, Charman below :
(thanks to Wayman for the tip, and Deadline for the list)
4 award for the Force Awakens, 3 for The Revenant (all about the bear), and 1 for Fury Road.
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature
The Good Dinosaur
1. If Alejandro G. Iñárritu wins Best Director at the DGA, he will make history not only by becoming the first Mexican-born director to win two DGA awards, but also the first director ever to win two DGA awards in consecutive years. And with Alfonso Cuaron winning the previous year, it would be the third straight year a Mexican-born director has taken the DGA.
2. If either Adam McKay or Tom McCarthy win the DGA, it will be only the third time an American-born director has won since 2009 (the others are Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck). If either wins the Oscar for directing, he’ll be the first American director to win since 2009, breaking a five-year streak — the longest in Oscar history — that no American-born director has won. Technically, Ang Lee is Taiwanese-born but according to most sources he is a naturalized American citizen.
This is the strangest Oscar race I’ve seen a while, maybe since 2000. Usually there are two movies pushing through to the top of the heap, sometimes three. This year, we have four. The major wins thus far have been split up all over the place. Stats can’t tell us what’s going to happen. They can only tell us what has happened in the past. How rare are splits? Pretty rare. Do winners sometimes pop up out of the blue? Sometimes. Let’s take a look at where we are so far in terms of precedents.
First, the stats that count as we know them (focusing only on industry awards):