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The Critics Choice – Something Old and Something New

To hear many people talk about this year’s Oscar race you will hear them say the same thing over and over again, “It’s been the Artist since Cannes.” There are some Oscar years where the undertow is simply too strong to fight against. There are also some Oscar years where surprises are hiding in the shadows. While last night the Critics Choice, a group that mostly tries to align themselves with Oscar and/or supplant the Golden Globes in precursor status, went overwhelmingly with The Artist for Picture and Director, Score and Costume, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer took Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, which is shocking in and of itself, but especially shocking considering how predictable the race has seemed so far.

For those wins, and really only those wins, the BFCA might actually end up being somewhat influential after all, as this has been the first critics awards that has not gone to either Meryl Streep or Michelle Williams. In every other way, I’m afraid, the Critics Choice mostly fell in line with conventional thinking. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It really could be that we’re in for a year like Slumdog Millionaire which, if you remember that year, was like having to sit through the Don’t Stop Believin‘ for an entire weekend. It’s pretty great the first couple of times you hear it but after a while you start to feel impatience creep in and before you know it you’re unleashing waves of hatred for something fairly harmless. Why, because we don’t want people to always agree one everything. Sooner or later popular opinion becomes distasteful. So then we have to wonder, why do actually want any film to win if we’re just going to hate it in the end?

Even the delightful Michel Hazanavicius, upon beating Martin Scorsese for Best Director, was a little dumbfounded, and admitted he felt stupid winning, especially after that Scorsese reel. Yeah, it’s like that. It takes a French dude to put it all in perspective, doesn’t it? But we don’t measure the win for Best Director by the level of difficulty, the artistic achievement so much as we reward the buzz, or the Critics Choice folks do at any rate.

The Artist is a great movie, there is no denying it. But it wasn’t built to sustain the onslaught of the Oscar race. Whether it can or not is mostly a mystery, although there is no shortage of know-it-alls who keeps repeating it like a mantra – believe me, that’s all I ever hear on Twitter. And the truth is, I really don’t care if so and so thinks The Artist is going to win. That’s sort of like saying it’s going to be sunny tomorrow in Los Angeles. It makes me want to say after, “yeah, and?”

I’ve never been a person who wants surprises for the sake of surprises. To tell the truth, there isn’t a whole lot I do believe about the awards race. When you’re talking about a majority vote, a consensus, you can’t possibly ever learn anything from that except to know what was popular at a given time. In an ideal world, the film critics would have a greater depth of knowledge about what makes something great. But we all know that the awards race doesn’t work that way. Because we are a species inclined towards the notion of winners and losers, most of us will always see the Oscar ceremony as the end-goal and if a film doesn’t “win” there it somehow means that the film is less so. On the contrary, the important lesson to take from last year’s colossal goat fuck was that winning the Oscar race doesn’t mean you made the best film. It just means you captured the buzz for a brief moment in time. You made people feel something for a brief moment in time. Don’t stop believing.

For many of us watching the race, we know that what the Oscars are really about is power positioning. What wins decides what kinds of films get made the following year. Who wins decides who gets offered the better parts and the higher salaries. What studio takes home the gold, what publicist ushered in a winner simply means they did their job the best that year. Does it mean anything beyond that? The only time it means something is when a major group does something different, against the commonly held notions that drive our business. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer winning last night, whether they won because the BFCA are second guessing the Academy or because they won for the right reasons – that the voters thought they deserves it, the end result is the same: fucking wow.

For me, I cling to those moments when something like that happens and it doesn’t happen very often. The business, as it were, is run by people who sell things to a public that really only likes one kind of thing, one kind of actress, one kind of story. For the Oscar race, that is usually the most likable, vanilla, least offensive film of the bunch. Say what you will about The Help, or even The Iron Lady, but those films have people talking at least — The Help is bringing up all sorts of interesting discussions about race relationships in our culture. The old guard will have you believe that black characters are only worth celebrating if they are portrayed “right,” if they illustrate “progress” and not depict “stereotypes.” Meanwhile, the river roars on, doesn’t it. White stories rule the day because they are untouchable. They don’t have to be “right.” Black characters and actors have to carry both the burden of our own shameful past and the burden of our shameful present: why can’t WE get it right? Because in our hearts we are a racist culture. This is the reason they can’t put a black woman on the cover of Vogue (unless she’s Oprah) and why there aren’t any major prime time television shows with any kind of demographic except white people.

But Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer got lucky one day when a script with black characters in it came across their desks. For Davis, a black woman over 40, to get a leading role in a major studio film is mostly unheard of. Despite being a characters actress for many decades, despite being a Soderbergh regular and versatile, brilliant performer, she’ll never get offered the kind of parts Meryl Streep or Michelle Williams wouldn’t even read let alone agree to do. When Meryl Streep won with Viola Davis she sent out a wish to Hollywood for them to find better parts for Davis to play – and someone finally did.  To watch Streep watch Davis win was one of the more moving moments at the ceremony.  This is one of the many reasons why Streep is one of the great ones.

At any rate, there isn’t much else to talk about with the Critics Choice awards that hasn’t already been said. We have the Globes on Sunday, which will alter perception yet again. What these early awards sometimes do is test the reception of a winner. Does it feel good to watch The Artist win again and again? I tell you one thing, with Slumdog Millionaire it never got old watching Danny Boyle win. It never got old watching Kathryn Bigelow win. Will it get old watching Michel Hazanavicius win? I don’t know. But for now, until Sunday, don’t stop believing.

99 Comments on this Post

  1. smoothcriminal

    Great read, the Viola/Streep matchup is great to watch, I love seeing actors who truly support each other without a shred of ego.

    Does anyone have a clip of Davis winning? I’d love to see it!

  2. Tero Heikkinen

    “She’ll never get offered the kind of parts Meryl Streep or Michelle Williams wouldn’t even read…”

    Is Hollywood really this racist? Or maybe it’s more to do with age? At 40, you are old in Hollywood if you are a woman.

  3. It’s been the Artist since Cannes.

  4. “Does it feel good to watch The Artist win again and again?”

    Well, actually that´s what many people were wondering last year when Social Network sweeped everything including the Golbes. :-) And it was even more on a triumphal procession than “The Artist” who had to share the citics wealth with “Descendants” and “Tree of Life”.

    But nevermind if it´s a great film. Social Network deserved the praise, “The Artist” in my opinion too. I think it would be a brilliant choice for “Best Picture”!
    And I do also believe that this is no “Slumdog”-year. There is some tight competition with “Hugo” and “Descendants”. 4 Critics Choice Awards doesn´t change this thrilling race as dramatically as you might guess.

  5. Lovely. To me all nominees are winners, yeah it’s sappy to say but it’s true. The Ultimate winner is a specific taste, a buzz, a hype, that at the end may or may not be true, but ultimately when I look back at the list of nominees I will consciously agree that they all deserved to be there.

  6. Julian the emperor

    I agree with most of what you are saying in this piece, Sasha. You almost sound as disillusioned as me, which I can only recommend…it’s a great feeling!

    Where I don’t agree with you is the “wow factor” of the Spencer/Davis wins. Maybe you have to be American to fully appreciate this. And when it comes to what it’s like to be American, well, I’m clueless.
    All I see is a mediocre film winning three major awards last night (including best ensemble). I don’t see two black women winning, I see two women winning for taking part in a mediocre film.
    Davis winning is ok with me, I guess, the competition this year is weak at best (but Swinton, to me, is an immeasurably greater actress than Davis, end of story). Spencer winning makes me cringe a bit; it’s a typical supporting actress winner, ie the weakest of the bunch.
    THAT makes me feel entitled to my crown as (self-anointed) King of Disillusionment…

  7. RobertlowercaseA

    Every year, we always say the race is predictable, but the truth of the matter it always ends up being predictable. The Artist is probably going to continue winning all the major awards until the history repeats itself like last year when the film industry totally disagrees with critics’ choice(i doubt it). I thin The Artist is a very “gimmicky’ movie, if you take a way its silent film format, it is actually a very sappy and overly sentimental film. I believe its originality comes from the its gimmick of being a silent film. It is unusual if you look at its format, but that is its power, it is a feel good movie, it is about Hollywood, it is old fashioned, and unfortunately, I can see Hazanavicious taking over DGA, and the film taking PGA, easily. I think The Artist might even take the best original screenplay over Midnight in Paris at the Oscars. The trick with predicting the Oscars is just go totally conservative and safe, it is always predictable. The Artist will win like Slumdog, unfortunately. The Artist is a good film, but for best picture??? No way in my opinion. However, just my two scents. This year is a weak year for films anyway. I won’t stop dreaming, and maybe, in my wishful thinking, the industry might disagree with the critics like last year. Just when you want the film industry to disagree with the critics, so we can have “Anything, but The Artist” mentality(No offense to The Artist fans), it will just go the opposite and piss us off,lol. We will see. I am predicting The Artist to win the big prize next month, so I won’t set my self to disappointment,,
    Oh crap!

  8. RobertlowercaseA

    Correction:
    “Every year, we always say the race is unpredictable, but the truth of the matter it always ends up being predictable. The Artist is probably going to continue winning all the major awards unless the history repeats itself like last year when the film industry totally disagrees with critics’ choice(i doubt it).”

  9. How come you don’t say the same thing for The Hurt Locker when it was also winning awards left and right and just single out Slumdog Millionaire? Is it because you are partial to The Hurt Locker and for that it’s okay for it to win all those awards but not Slumdog?

  10. Gregoire

    The Artist will win everything, then at the Oscars, it will lose to The Help. It almost seemed ordained to happen that way.

  11. I agree with RobertlowercaseA. It’s a good, nice, entertaining, diverting film but it is nothing more than a gimmick. All you need to do is compare it to contemporary examples of “silent” cinema like the first 20 minutes of There Will Be Blood or the first half of WALL-E. These are sequences that just happen to lack dialogue. The Artist, on the other hand, alienated me by relying so much on retrograde pastiche. I could never attach myself to it emotionally and that’s where I disagree with public opinion.

    On the other hand, it’s out of our control. We could rant and rave and seethe about The Artist — which I do think is a sincere work — until we’re blue in the face. But what’s it going to do, other than annoy and upset fans of the film? The spectacle of an awards ceremony is enough for me. I don’t care who wins.

    (But I’ll be a tad bitter if and when Gary Oldman is snubbed.)

  12. Your first paragraph seems to suggest that the BFCA have provided us with the first real surprise in an otherwise predictable season. I actually thought the dominance of The Artist and The Help was very predictable indeed. I’ve been expecting those films to emerge as frontrunners in certain categories once the major awards started being handed out. This wasn’t shocking at all. Nor has the race seemed predictable thus far. The collective indecision of the critics’ groups, The Ides of March’s success at the Golden Globes, Drive’s success with the critics’ awards, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s success with the guilds – none of this is predictable.

    And your statement that this is the first critics award not to have gone to either Meryl Streep or Michelle Williams is, regardless of opinion, just wrong. Davis has won plenty of critics’ awards, as have Tilda Swinton, Elizabeth Olsen and Kirsten Dunst.

  13. Rudi Mentär

    A think as a compromise The Artist is a good movie to win best picture. It’s a feel-good movie about hollywood, old fashioned, Hazanavicious is a sympathic guy who everyone likes to see winning and it`s really good. Maybe it’s not the best, but it’s really good. It is this kind of movie academy members USUALLY agree on.
    I don’t believe that there is an alternative now. The votes are out and most voters wouldn’t dare to pick a film that hasn’t got a realistic and obvious chance to win.
    But I don’t think that it is such a bad thing (except when someone like Hooper wins over Fincher), because movies are for people and not for the critics. Especially in Hollywood.

  14. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Is it because you are partial to The Hurt Locker and for that it’s okay for it to win all those awards but not Slumdog?

    I guess you must not remember that, like Scorsese with The Departed, most people thought Bigelow would win Director but THL would not win Best Picture. There was never a question with Slumdog. It started winning and never stopped.

  15. red_wine

    The Artist will win Best Picture, Best Director and Best Score at the Oscars.

    It will win! It will win! It will win!

  16. no i think it was hurt locker to win always, globes did mess around awarding avatar but they were so stupid doing so and everyone knew it. everyone loved hurt locker including sasha and she too predicted it to win.

  17. TheSinginghotDog

    Wow, “Colossal goat fuck” of last year. Isn’t it about time we got over last year. Move on you sore LOSER!!!! When your favorite film wins, they got it right, and if not….”GOAT FUCK.”

  18. The Slumdog wins were all rightfully given. Sure I would have liked Benjamin Button to have taken more awards home, but Slumdog was a worthy win. As for The Hurt Locker, I just don’t understand it, it had some very fine moments- but it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, (and I saw it at the theater, over the summer, before all the hype surrounding it).

  19. knee play

    “The Help is bringing up all sorts of interesting discussions about race relationships in our culture.”

    so did “Crash”. and that was a garbage movie too.

  20. As for last night, I can’t speak for The Artist because I haven’t had the chance to see it yet. It, too, thought it was odd for Scorsese to lose after having been honored. The Help wins: Both were deserving of the awards, however I have to say that I think the movie is over-hyped a bit- While good, I don’t think it’s one of the year’s greatest.

    I loved the win for Thomas Horn, simply because I loved EL&IC getting some recognition. Yes, I’m aware that this win won’t raise awareness for the movie. The War Horse and Potter wins were nice, even if I had to search the net for it since it wasn’t shown.

  21. Daveylow

    Though I think The Artist is a pleasurable confection, I will be somewhat disappointed if it wins. It will be the first foreign film to win the Best Picture Oscar, right? I wish it had been Crouching Tiger, Z, Cries and Whispers or The Emigrants, all more daring films than The Artist.

    I personally think if the Academy is going to honor nostalgia, the BP should go to Hugo but that film has not created buzz and it hasn’t done overwhelming box office. But it’s a beautiful film and one that will become a classic.

    Robertlowerclass A says the Oscars are always predictable but not always. Not in the year of Chariots of Fire, Gladiator, Braveheart, Brokeback Mountain. And probably this year.

  22. Daveylow

    I thought Thomas Horn’s performance was the worst among the nominees.

  23. @ TheSinginghotDog

    As much as I too have tired of hearing Sasha bring up last year’s result, it’s important to understand why she’s doing so. It’s not just the fact that her favourite film was beaten by a film which she regards as inferior, but also what The King’s Speech’s victory represents. It was a “fuck you” to the critics, and to progressive, contemporary, creative filmmaking of a very high order. It was the industry’s way of saying “We’ve had enough to towing the critics’ line these past few years, whether it was right or wrong. We’re going to do our own thing, like it or not”. And I can imagine how much that would affect me had my favourite film been in The Social Network’s position – I would have been outraged.

    And I’m speaking from the perspective of someone who preferred The King’s Speech!

  24. @Daveylow, Not as bad as the way he coached for that acceptance speech.

  25. “The Artist” would have been better as a short film–it’s sweet, slight, and, except for Dujardin, forgettable. It will be the emptiest best movie Oscar winner since “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

  26. I don’t think the problem is with blatant old-school racism and sexism so much as a kind of inexplicable social myopia. Women of color are simply invisible to the powers that be. As America gets browner and more diverse, Hollywood studio heads, producers, directors and casting agents continue to cast films as if it were still the 1950’s.

    This makes zero sense considering the fact that most film roles are not race-specific and could be played by any attractive, capable actress. But no, the idea of color-blind casting is still mainly foreign to too many folks in positions to do something about it.

    That’s why I was so happy to see Julliard-trained African American actress Nicole Beharie cast in the role of the love interest in Shame. The role wasn’t written specifically for a black actress, yet Beharie was cast because she was right for the role. Ironically, Shame director McQueen has stated that he was advised against casting an actress who happened to be black, even though it could certainly be argued that Shame is not film made to appeal to the masses.

    Because he is a person of color, McQueen is no doubt more sensitive to the fact that many beautiful, talented, non-white actresses simply don’t get the opportunities they deserve and that the reasons for this are pretty damned lame.

    You know things are effed up when a black woman has a better chance of Being U. S. Secretary of State, President of a Fortune 500 company or President of a prestigious university than she has of landing a lead role in a major Hollywood film.

    Talented, well-trained, Asian, non-white Latino and black actresses are out there and and are not hard to find. It just takes a willingness to cast them.

  27. Great piece, as always, Sasha. Moving, felt, pointed, and yes, Viola Davis gave the speech of her life-time. She said everything she needed to say in exactly the right way, putting it in to historical perspective.

    Having seen her stage work, I’ve always held in the highest esteem. She did a play, with Corey Stoll, yet, of “Midnight in Paris” in it, playing a seamtress at the turn of the last century, who made ladies’ undergarments. “Intimate Apparel” and if you think she was good in “The Help”!!!! Ditto her Tony Win(her second)for “Fences” with Denzel.That was truly one of the most exciting evenings I’ve ever spent in the theater. I hope both these plays get made into movies.

    I was underwhelmed with Octavia Spenser, however.

    And the Globes could change things. Jean Dujardin and Michelle Williams will both win, most likely, in the Musical/Comedy categories. And they will undoubtedly also give memorable speeches.

    Meryl is down for the count. It’s the movie, not her. People LOVED “The Help” but TIL not so much.

    But there’s no film to stop “The Artist.” It IS like “Slumdog” in that sense.

    And George I felt was embarassing in his entitlement. His speech about HIS share-cropping grandfather and his mother making his clothes was just ICK, after the speech Viola Davis gave.

    AND he has an Oscar already. They DO hold that against you. But “The Descendants” won NOTHING else and Shailene Woodley lost TWICE. In Young Actor/Actress and Supporting.

    And lest we forget THERE ARE NO CRITICS in the Academy. DIFFERENT set of people, entirely.

  28. Daveylow

    Sasha writes: “Why, because we don’t want people to always agree one everything. Sooner or later popular opinion becomes distasteful. So then we have to wonder, why do actually want any film to win if we’re just going to hate it in the end?”

    So now you know how some of us felt about the year of The Hurt Locker and The Social Network — maybe not hate but boredom.

  29. Daveylow

    @Paddy M — Or maybe the industry voters simply liked The King’s Speech more than The Social Network. It’s all fine when they pick No Country for Old Men because it seems cool but when they choose a more popular film, they are a bunch of idiots.

  30. Unlikelyhood

    The trick is not minding colossal goat fucks.

  31. For the first hour last night, everything went exactly how I thought it would until Shailene Woodley lost Best Child Performance – even though she’s really not a child and wasn’t overwhelmingly the best performance anyways.

    Otherwise, the only real surprises in the televised show – which didn’t even include the Best Picture award (thank you, TiVo/inefficient hosts) – were the Screenplay awards, particularly Moneyball. Those are what we should be wondering about after the BFCA. The acting awards feel locked down, especially after Clooney’s and Davis’s speeches, but I suppose there is still a chance for Meryl and maybe Brad Pitt.

    What a strange year this was. Christopher Plummer was probably always destined to win in his weak category. But I still feel like this year was Meryl Streep’s, Leonardo DiCaprio’s, and Vanessa Redgrave’s to lose, coming in, until everyone saw their movies and decided that they dropped the ball. Clooney and The Help ladies gave fine performances, but in one year’s time NOBODY will be talking about any of this year’s Oscar-winning performances. Weakest lineup in years, and anybody who questions that is in denial, IMO.

  32. I’m thrilled for Viola Davis winning Best Actress from BFCA.

    Not so thrilled about Octavia Spencer, however. I think it is a rather “gimmicky” performance, lacking in complexity.

    Jessica Chastain in “Take Shelter” . . . now there’s an actress who has sunk her teeth into a role! She can speak volumes about her character just by a glance, a movement, a sigh, a loving, slow hug. I think she should win the BSA Oscar. But I’ve said it before on this website, I fear for her nomination . . . she’s given so many good performances this year that I suspect AMPAS will split the votes amongst the abundance of good roles she’s had this year. Will she get it for “The Help”? Will she get it for “The Tree of Life”? WIll she get it for “Take Shelter?” Will she it for “Coriolanus”? Will she get it for “The Debt”? It could very well be she doesn’t even get nominated because of all of the various campaigns for her in different movies.

  33. writing_me

    I saw a clip of Viola Davis winning and she had a nice speech, but it’s been taken off already. Charlize Theron looked really miff at the win. It’s funny, looked like she was having a Mavis Gary moment. I’m sure she wasn’t feeling negative, but the camera just picked a funny moment to center on her while Davis is taking the stage.

  34. @ Zach

    Shailene Woodley didn’t lose Best Child Performance, it was Best Young Actor / Actress. You don’t have to be under 18 to be nominated. But I agree that that award was a low point – I find Thomas Horn sickening.

  35. And I’d like to add that since my recording cut off the Best Picture award, I didn’t actually see The Artist win Best Picture, so I only saw it win one televised award (Director). Hardly a runaway victory when all of the following contenders won at least one award:

    -The Help
    -The Descendants
    -Moneyball
    -Midnight in Paris
    -The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    -War Horse
    -Hugo
    -The Tree of Life

    I know Woody Allen is a living legend, but beyond the conceit, Midnight in Paris doesn’t equal his best works; in fact, I’m still debating whether I personally preferred it to Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which didn’t even get him a nomination. Sure, The Artist is foreign and silent, but if voters really loved it, they wouldn’t let those factors keep them from voting for its script too.

    And George digs deeper than at least Brad and Leo, but in a stronger year his would be a very beatable performance. I haven’t seen The Artist, but apparently Dujardin didn’t give an Adrien Brody-type performance or else he might be sneaking towards surprise wins.

    The point is whether you favor The Artist or not, it doesn’t have a direct shot to the podium.

  36. TheSinginghotdog

    @PaddyM and @Daveylow

    Paddy, I certainly understand the point she was trying to make, but I think the point is easily made with out rehashing last year. It comes across as being bitter and a sore loser.

    Daveylow, I agree with you 100%. No one really knows how voters think unless you have a vote. But I don’t really think voters say to themselves “I am not going to be pushed around by the critics and I am going to vote the other way no matter what and really show them.” I agree with Daveylow, isn’t it a more plausible scenario that they just preferred The Kings Speech to The Social Network. In that thought, I don’t think they were trying to say “Fuck You” to the critics last year at all. There have been years when that side with the critics as well.

  37. @ Keifer, Chastain is obviously getting in for The Help. There was some doubt before, but everyone wants to award her for her crazy success this year, and The Help is the Academy favorite, with the more quirky and multidimensional performances. The whole movie is still gimmicky, but I have no doubt she’ll be nominated for The Help, so that’s one less thing to genuinely wonder about.

  38. TheSinginghotdog

    @unlikelyhoods LOL….right there with you…..not every leaves happy Oscar night. All the nominees are there for a reason, that they are very good films. Everyone has different tastes. I remember being pissed off as a kid wanting Star Wars to win BP. Was very bummed that night…as bummed as an 8 year old could be that is. I have seen Annie Hall as an adult now, and certainly understand why it won.

  39. In the grand scheme of things, these awards don’t matter. I have to remind myself that when I get caught up with these things. Yesterday was the second anniversary of the Haitian earthquake and there are still hundreds of thousands homeless Haitians. And they could care less what the best film is and who the best actress is when they’re worrying about what to eat and where to sleep day to day. And yet, while this is just a diversion for me, it matters still because these films and performances touched my life somehow and I want them to be recognized for their hard work. But it’s not the end of the world if they don’t. Just trying to put things in perspective. That said, I will be rooting for Hugo all the way!

  40. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    – “She’ll never get offered the kind of parts Meryl Streep or Michelle Williams wouldn’t even read…”

    — Is Hollywood really this racist?

    It’s not Hollywood, and I don’t know if I’d use the word racist in this sense either.

    It’s the economic reality. There’s no reason in the world Nina in Black Swan could not have been a black dancer. (Though the title might’ve been a bit cringy then)

    But Black Swan would not have grossed $300mil worldwide had it starred Beyonce or ________ (just try to fill in the blank with the name of a black actress, and see how instantly difficult this game becomes.)

    Flame on with your outraged “WHY NOT?”s. I’m just saying, that’s my own gut feeling, and if you’re a realist your gut will feel the same way. It’s a sick queasy gut feeling, but it’s hard to deny.

    I can’t lay all the blame on Hollywood. Nor is it entirely the fault of America’s social illness. It’s global audiences everywhere.

    Let’s not kid ourselves. If The Help were not so saturated with pretty white faces and pastel dresses The Help would not have earned $169mil. (it’s so top-heavy with white actresses, many of you don’t even feel Viola Davis is the lead!)

    I saw The Help opening week in a mid-size Southern US town, and the theater was packed. With white women. I made sure to look around to confirm it. 700 people in the audience and not even half a dozen black women among them. I’m not kidding you.

    It’s not likely that matinee would’ve sold out if there had been no white characters onscreen with whom those groups of very nice whitelady moviegoers could identify.

    Sure, there are exceptions — Dreamgirls and… (help me out here.)

    an intellectually ambitious debut drama, all the more notable for setting well-drawn fictional characters in a fraught, real moment in civil rights history.

    No, that’s not a description of The Help. That’s Entertainment Weekly’s A- review of Night Catches Us (2010) — grand total domestic gross $76,185

    I’m also pretty sick of hearing this argued as a strictly American mental problem. Take a look at the all-star A-List black cast who starred in For Colored Girls. No, really, please. take a look at them. Did any of you bother to see it? (no, me either, I’m just as guilty)

    For Colored Girls earned a respectable $37mil on a budget of $25mil. Anybody want to guess how much it earned in the UK? Would $17 suprise you?

    Not 17 million. 17 thousand.

    fewer than 2000 people in all of England bought a ticket to see For Colored Girls.

  41. The Help is bringing up all sorts of interesting discussions about race relationships in our culture.

    *vomits*

    Because in our hearts we are a racist culture.

    *pukes some more*

    I tell you one thing, with Slumdog Millionaire it never got old watching Danny Boyle win.

    I think my pancreas came out that time.

    Look I don’t get what Viola Davis’ speech was about last night. If she’s going to pull a Halle Berry and start making it about race I’m going to start moving away from sending her any positive vibes. Wikipedia tells me that she moved to Central Falls in Rhode Island when she was two months old. I grew up less than an hour away from there in southcoast Massachusetts. She’s about 8 years older than me. So we pretty much grew up in the same part of the world at around the same time. Now while everyone has different experiences growing up and she may have been super poor, I think giving a speech like the one she gave last night makes it sound like they owe someone an award for what the characters in THE HELP went through. And if people get confused by what kind of life the actress had and what kind of life those fictional characters had, it’s not going to be fair. I think we should be beyond the whole race thing by now, especially people of our generation (X). That this stuff keeps coming up is sickening. I don’t know what the hell kind of acting lessons or auditions are 5 hours away from where she grew up. I guess she went to Maine or Nova Scotia to act. But regardless, everyone struggles unless they grow up in Hollywood like Angelina Jolie or Gwyneth Paltrow, etc. That’s why I was glad when Clooney gave his ‘I’m a Kentucky boy’ speech. That man had to be in a movie about killer tomatoes. Yes he’s a success now but he didn’t come up with a silver spoon or connections either and it took him forever to be where he is. I cannot be the only one who remembers watching him on “The Facts of Life”.

    Once you’re there and once you’ve been working for a while it should be your performance that counts. Your struggles are in the past. If Davis gets nominated, and I believe she’s a lock, this will be her second nomination. Her second deserved nomination because her performance is good enough. I don’t care what her racial background is. She doesn’t need an affirmative action vote. She would deserve it if she was white as snow. So why the damn race card all the time? I’m so sick of it.

    And Slumdog was about race too. That movie wasn’t good enough to win. It was like a montage of Indian poverty’s greatest hits with a big production number at the end. The whole movie was about making people feel bad that they’re so rich and white while there’s people on the other side of the world who either had to grow up miserable in slums being abused etc. or they get the really great job of tea boy. Then at the end they tacked on “Jai Ho” so after all that people could leave happy which is how you really get the votes. I’m so sick of the Academy being manipulated through guilt to award movies based on their subject matter and not whether or it’s the best film. And if the actors try to squeak in based on that same guilt vote, I’m not going to be rooting for them.

    About THE ARTIST. Occasionally some of us complain about how out of touch the Academy are with the movie going audience. We point to this as why more people don’t watch the ceremony. I love the movies. I really enjoy the Oscar race with all it’s ups and downs. I usually start to engage around September and I’m usually pretty informed even though I don’t live in a major city. Well, me and most of America, with the Oscar nominations announcement less than a week away have had little to no opportunity to see THE ARTIST. For most of the people in this country when they hear the Oscar nominations they aren’t going to be thinking “Oh right that French movie” or “Oh right that silent movie” or “Oh right that movie with the dog”. They’re going to be the thinking “The what?” And it’s not their fault. Almost everything else that’s going to be nominated has probably come up on their radar one way or another. Even if people haven’t seen THE DESCENDANTS they probably know it’s the George Clooney movie where he’s running in the commercial. They know what MONEYBALL is. They saw THE HELP. They know MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is Woody Allen, etc. THE ARTIST they probably still haven’t heard of at all. But that’s people who aren’t trying.

    I try. I try all the time. I can’t travel to another city/state to see movies all the time. I’ve said before I’ve got 24 screens within 5 minutes of my house. Most people have a multiplex that they got to so why should they go out of their way? If the Oscar movies don’t make it to the multiplex before Oscar nominations, or into the redbox before then, people are not going to be engaged by the time the ceremony comes around. And that is why they don’t tune in. If THE ARTIST had come out earlier in the year and was available on DVD at this time, it might be Joe the Plumber’s favorite film and he might be planning an Oscar party. But that’s not what happens. It happens like this every year and it’s getting worse. I have been forced to watch movies by way of the computer which is something I don’t want to do. I’d much rather pay to see a film in the theater. With evil texters and old ladies who explain the plot to each other, I’d still rather go and watch a film on the big screen. But I’ve just not been able to do that locally this year, even with movies that were supposedly released wide like J.EDGAR and TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY. I understand why it’s happening but if it continues I think it’s going to be bad for the whole industry. For now, it’s just keeping normal people uninterested in the Oscars. But if we keep focusing only on the receipts and not on the art, it’s going to be gloom and doom for everyone. Where is the harm in having a packed theater for MI4 and 20 people next door watching THE ARTIST, instead of having 2 half full theaters for MI4? That’s the same amount of popcorn and same number of tickets. But you give people a choice. And you’d give normal America a chance to be engaged in the Oscar race. But instead we’re going down this road. It’s bad news for everyone involved imo. They can change the ceremony or hosts a million different ways and it won’t change anything. This is the real reason why people don’t watch. It’s not the subject matter of the films it’s that the films just aren’t available to them.

    What scares me the most is the number of nerds who had to drive an hour out of their way and back to see six minutes of footage for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. I mean that’s basically a huge trailer. Promotion for one of the biggest movies of 2012. People had to be “special” in terms of location, or batshit crazy enough to drive, to see what is in essence an extended commercial that never became officially available online. What precedent are we setting here? Is this the moviegoing version of the 1%?

  42. zfedekll

    The Artist is like Mitt Romney. We keep trying to find the anti-The Artist in this race, but we’ve seen all the other movies, and there just isn’t one we can all get behind. So it’s Mitt Romney ftw.

  43. Why all the Xenophobia against the British last year with the ‘King’s Speech’ and now this year against the French for ‘The Artist’? Like the director said last night in his speech, The Artist was made in L.A. with crew from the U.S. and most of the actors in that movie are American. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on the other hand was made in Sweden and had to hire a certain amount of Swedish crew plus has other foreign actors in the movie first and foremost being the lead Daniel Craig yet no negativity about those “foreigners”. Are we only Xenophobic towards movies we don’t like? The Oscars are an international organization we should be welcoming of movies from all over the world. American movies have the best advantage from the get go, if the Academy thinks the American movies are the best then they would vote for them. Anyway loved the show last night, Viola Davis brought me to tears (damn her), I was happy for the Artist (it’s not MY best film of the year but I hold no bad will towards them), loved Clooney’s speech as well as Marty’s. Looking forward to the Globes.

  44. John-Paul

    When “The Artist” debuted as Cannes last year, many people at the festival favored it to win the Palme d’Or. Back in the awards blogosphere, I remember consistently reading things like “It’s a crowd-pleaser, but it’s too unconventional/artsy/different to be an Oscar contender.” Now that it’s the Oscar frontrunner, people are saying that it’s too conventional, safe, and gimmicky. I think this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Oscar buzz alters people’s perceptions of movies, because back in May, this was the Cannes darling and everyone loved it, but now that it’s the Oscar darling, no one wants it to win.

  45. “There’s no reason in the world Nina in Black Swan could not have been a black dancer. Though the title might’ve been a little cringy then) but the movie would not have grossed $300mil worldwide had it starred Beyonce or ________ (just try to fill in the blank with the name of a black actress, and see how instantly difficult this game becomes.)”

    You’re right about most people being unable to name more than a handfull of black actresses.

    It becomes obvious when you see suggestions on message boards for casting of the few roles that specifically ARE written for black actresses.

    So many people make suggestions of actresses that are too old, too young, or who are not right for the role for any number of reasons. Yet people suggest them because they don’t know any black actresses other than Halle Berry, Angela Bassett, Alfre Woodard and Whoopie Goldberg.

  46. I’ll just say : Bravo Jerry and bravo John-Paul.

    Vive The Artist !

  47. María Elena – Chronic dissatisfaction,
    that’s what you have.
    Chronic dissatisfaction.
    Big sickness.

    Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

    It didn’t refer to the Oscar race analysis, but it could very well apply. All these retrospect views, this one should’ve won this, that one should’ve been nominated for that one and not for that other one. If it wasn’t for this or that… Chronic dissatisfaction, that’s what it is. Freaking genius. I wouldn’t mind if he upsets the Best Director category and wins (isn’t it amazing he has only won once as a director?).

  48. Everyone has an opinion and they’re all fascinating to read, even when I vehemently disagree with them. To me, the ‘shocking’ choices of Davis and Spencer (who I love) weren’t shocking at all. It simply proves just how pandering and desperate to “predict” the Oscar race the Broadcast Film critics really are. And Clooney (as much as I love him) shows they’re just starfuckers! Honestly, the true surprise would have been selecting Swinton and/or Fassbender. Truly great performances. And to not even nominate Mara? Ridiculous. Can’t wait for the Globes. (and I never thought I’d type that sentence!!!!)

  49. For Colored Girls? Loved, the play. I was The Lady in Red in a production done at my university.

    I want to see deserving actresses of color get work. But nothing will make me want to see another Tyler Perry movie.

    The guy hasn’t grown artistically at all. And his arrogant attitude indicates he isn’t likely to try to get better. Black audiences deserve much better.

  50. zfedekll

    I don’t think it has anything to do with The Artist as a film. I just think people don’t want the race to be boring with one front-runner winning everything all the way up to the Oscars and done. We like a two-horse race. It happened last year with The Social Network, it was the front-runner, winning everything in sight, and just when people thought it was going to run away with it all, people started embracing King’s Speech instead, it gained steam and eventually went on to win. Same thing happened with Crash over Brokeback Mountain. The only problem is, there might not be a “King’s Speech” out there this year. Like the year Slumdog won, there’s only one film that fits the mold, where you see it and think “that’s the one, that one feels like an Oscar winner” and it’s The Artist or nobody this year.

  51. It’s all subjective. I mean, we’re not talking about a gulf in artistic quality that is so huge that it’s laughable.

    It’s not like Citizen Kane is going up against Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Reasonable people can disagree.

  52. I just don’t get how the Artist isn’t doing very good at the box office

  53. Joao Mattos

    Hummm, this is just my hunch for today, don’t know tomorrow, can completely change my mind, but I’m getting a vibe for “Help” as BP, Davis for Actress and Ficher for Director at the Oscars.

  54. Dragoneer

    ‘The Artist’ grossed about $6,000 per theater last weekend. For comparison, ‘…Ghost Protocol’ did about $5,500 per theater.

  55. WillNomNoms

    Viola Davis is an extraordinary actress. I would give the Oscar to Kirsten Dunst but she’s not even in the running so Viola would be my choice followed by Elizabeth Olsen. I think Davis was robbed for her performance in Doubt. She overshadowed Meryl Streep in just a few minutes of screen time and deserved that Oscar. She’s had bit parts in tons of films but she’s always the best part of the film and I saw her in Fences. The woman doesn’t embody a character, she transforms into them. I don’t understand the rave for Jessica Chastain in The Help though. It seems some people believe her performance was better than Viola’s which is mind boggling to me. @Suzie Q I hate Tyler Perry. I read For Colored Girls in a few lit courses in college (of course in the af-am lit courses, god forbid we’d read a person of color in a general American lit course) and it’s one of my favorite pieces of literature. Tyler Perry almost ruined it for me. His horrible interjections of dialogue interspersed with Shange’s were ridiculous but those performances. Every actress tore into their characters souls. Thandie Newton was a tad to histrionic and over the top which seems to happen to her when a lesser director doesn’t “direct” her to a subtler level. Kimberly Elise and Kerry Washington deserved Oscar noms for their performances. Actually, can we just cast these extraordinary actresses in more films? Along with Viola? Congrats Viola hopefully you’ll get the chance to be in better films and continue to wow us.

  56. Remember people, at this point last year ‘The Social Network’ was a stronger contender than ‘The Artist’ is now : it had basically 90% of the bp-bd-bs awards of the critics groups, the BFCA-win and then the GOLDEN GLOBE-win…if the guilds go a different way – sure, unlikely, but hey, it happened last year – we could still have a big surprise in the end. What if The Help takes the PGA and SAG Ensemble (maybe even WGA ? Could it be a Driving Miss Daisy-type bp-winner that doesn’t have a strong bd-contender, probably not even a bp-nomination ? What if after snubbing him last year, the PGA-DGA goes for Fincher this time around ? Could Dragon Tatto then pull off a surprise that THIS kind of latelatelate entries rarely do ? Could it be the same scenario as last year only the players switched places ? Weinstein-crowdpleaser being the early frontrunner, the Fincher-Rudin film pulling off the guilds ? Yes, I know, ‘not gonna happen’…but then again…didn’t we say the same thing about The King’s Speech this time last year ?

  57. I also wouldn’t count out Midnight in Paris and The Descendants.
    Bottom line : FINALLY an exciting race.

  58. This was really said about George Clooney? Yes he’s a success now but he didn’t come up with a silver spoon or connections either and it took him forever to be where he is.

    He is the nephew of Rosemary Clooney! And he wasn’t just a simple Kentucky boy, his father was the anchor on the local news in Kentucky, the the host of his own TV shows in Ohio before going on to LA and being the main anchor on KNBC in Los Angeles! He was raised with plenty of money, support, opportunity and connection.

    Not that any of that matters. It is supposed to be about the performance. But don’t sicken all of us by comparing George Clooney’s road to success with that of Viola Davis. It’s embarrassing.

  59. Daveylow

    I guess you didn’t hear Clooney’s speech last night. When he was growing up his parents didn’t have much money at all.

  60. SClub88, cause it’s only showing in 170 theaters….

  61. @Mel

    Oh. Okay I forgot. He grew up with his aunt Rosemary giving him everything in Hollywood and getting him a bunch of great roles. That should explain his cousin Miguel’s collection of Oscars considering he’s a better actor. The point is and was everyone struggles. The point both of them are at right now is far beyond where either of them came from. So in Oscar race 2012 kicking up the ‘my life was bad, give me something’ card is ridiculous. That’s why his “I’m a Kentucky boy” speech was so damn perfect. Anyone can claim poverty. Why doesn’t Johnny Depp start a campaign about how many Native Americans are Oscarless like him? Anyone can come up with some sort of ridiculous angle saying I deserve more because my life was so bad a long time ago when I wasn’t standing on stage in designer clothes with millions of people watching me.

    Go ahead and tell me how difficult Viola Davis’ life was compared to George’s and why she deserves an Oscar because of it. Go right ahead. You must be an expert on everything that’s happened to her and I’d like to hear it. But if I’m embarrassing you, please by all means never respond to anything I say again and I will ignore you in return.

  62. MICHAEL LEWIS

    Great article, Sasha. I am very happy for everyone who won the Critic Choice Awards last night. I believe Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer will win at the Oscars. I believe Meryl Streep will win another Best Actress Oscar, too, but not this year; hopefully for an original “non-biographical” role that will really test her untouchable abilities as an actress. The Artist looks like it’s positioned to win the Best Picture Oscar as well, but we’ll have to wait and see how the industry guilds vote first. If it so happens that they generally agree with the critics this year, unlike last year (The King’s Speech versus The Social Network), it may mean The Social Network was too cutting edge at the time. Yet, look at director David Fincher’s DGA nomination this year. Is it an acknowledgement that maybe he should have won last year anyway? I don’t know. But The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo looks cutting edge to me. It would be earth-shattering to me if The Artist wins best picture at the Oscars while “Tattoo” walks off with the Director’s statuette!

  63. As far as For Colored Girls go, I saw the play in a production at Amherst College (when I lived in MA) a few years ago and it remains to this day one of the most powerful stage experiences I’ve ever had. As far as the movie, I had no, and I mean NO desire to see a film version directed by Tyler Perry and starring Janet Jackson. I’m sorry, but it just seems like blasphemy to me.

    And @Antoinette. I agree with everything in your post. Beautifully written and articulated.

  64. I would like to see Martin Scorsese winning best director once again. If Hugo is not named Best Picture, I hope there will be a split between picture and director. I think this is a great year for movies: “Hugo”, “The Descendant”, “War Horse”, “Moneyball”, “The Artist”, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “Harry Potter” (I haven’t seen “Shame”, “The Ides of March”, “J. Edgar”). So far, the only movie that was a disappointment is “The Help”. I still do not understand the status it has reached. I think, it is what it is because of the cake part. The part of Vola Davis is more supporting than leading. The movie subject is very important but it was more interesting the way some 80’s movies approached the same theme. The character of Mara Rooney is more iconic than that of Davis. Mery Streep and Tilda Swinton show more on their films.

  65. As you say, I don’t stop believing that TINTIN will win at Oscars

  66. I’m not sure why so many people care what Viola Davis says while accepting an award. The fact that people seem to want to slam her for sharing her heart or what she wanted to share, kind of telling. Walk in her shoes, then tell me what she should or shouldn’t say. Walk in anyone’s shoes and then come tell us how someone needs to act.

    She’s not even my pick or favorite this year. But some of this unkind sentiment toward her for sharing her heart and what all this is meaning to her this year, sure makes me want to root for her more.

  67. I don’t mind seeing Viola take it all. All I know is I hope that was the last award George Clooney wins – I can’t stand to see him win another Oscar and give another smug speech.

  68. Why spend so much time on what critics award?

    If this is Oscar watching, better to observe the campaign race, analyze the strategies and the marketing by competing studios.

  69. Bob Burns

    Viola Davis. (pronounced Viola Davis, period)

    I like Don’t Stop Believing.

  70. John-Paul

    I don’t think “The Artist” is going to be the juggernaut it looks like right now. It’s still too early to tell if this is going to be a noncompetitive race. I, for one, think “The Help” is going to win the SAG Ensemble, and it has a decent shot at the PGA as well. I don’t believe it will win the Golden Globe just based on the fact that neither its direction nor screenplay was nominated, but you never know. If those things happen, and then the duo of Davis and Spencer keep winning, it will be a formidable opponent for “The Artist,” especially if “The Artist” fails to pick up any wins for Dujardin or Bejo. By the way, if it does turn into a legitimate battle of “The Artist” vs. “The Help,” I think we’re going to see a lot more people in the online movie community expressing their enthusiasm for “The Artist,” because no matter how conventional or gimmicky people are saying it is now, if it comes to the point where “The Help” looks like it could pull off the win instead, “The Artist” will instantly become the artsy choice once more.

  71. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Aubrey,
    It’s not only about Oscar watching. We do that, sure. But jeez, I’d be so sick of myself if the only things I thought about and wrote about were Oscar related.

    If you notice, most of the time many of us focus on the Oscars it’s to look askance or recoil. Certainly never to slavishly play along with the game.

    Why is everyone talking about the Critics’ Choice? Because it happened last night.

    Stick around. In hour you’ll see us all moving on — to this afternoon’s AFI citations and gearing up for the Globes.

    They’re each their own thing. I don’t try to hitch all the carts to the Oscars. It’s interesting enough for me to look at all the aspects of awards season independently.

  72. At the end of the day, it’s audiences, not Hollywood. No one wants to venture outside of the homogenized anymore. That’s why the Michael Shannons and Viola Davises of the world won’t be popular. But they’re are immensely talented and that should be good enough.

  73. Julian the emperor

    Antoinette: best post today! (though a bit long…;))

  74. So George Clooney was a poor Kentucky child who struggled to succeed? Man oh man does Mr.Clooney ever want that Oscar! Should Clooney win it will be Oscar #2 and he will be listed among such winners as Bogart,Brando,Olivier,Newman,Crowe,Pacino,Hanks,DiNiro,Nicholson and Paul Scofield.Hollywood is one strange place.

  75. Zach,

    YOu may very well be correct there. But if Chastain gets nominated for “The Help”, she’ll lose to Shailene Woodley (assuming they are both nominated). Chastain stands a much better chance of winning the BSA with “Take Shelter” or “The Tree of Life”. (Just my opinion.)

    I also think AMPAS may nominate Vanessa Redgrave’s performance in “Coriolanus” . . . she’s getting some of the best reviews of her career for this film . . . and that’s no small accomplishment! AMPAS obviously loves nominating her (they’ve done many times before) . . . they just don’t like GIVING it to her (i.e., “Julia”).

  76. I’m on team Davis and team Clooney, so I’m happy with the outcome. I can’t find Clooney’s speech, but to me Viola Davis’ was flawless. She was acknowledging and paying homage to the kind of people portrayed in The Help. She didn’t focus on any kind of dramatic circumstances in her life, if existent, quite the contrary. She was just saying that thanks to people like Aibileen, like her mother or her grandmother, she was lucky she could dream and make those dreams come true. I see her reference to her whereabouts as meaning she didn’t grow up in Hollywood or in a background where acting was the usual thing. Pretty much like Winslet and Cruz did in 2009, just off the top of my head.

    Is she going to be mentioning race issues during the awards season? Well, she’s in a movie about racial issues. To me what is surprising is that the source material was a best-selling novel in the 21st century. And there’s also that small detail that she’s a black actress who probably doesn’t get as many parts as other less talented white ones. So, she’s got all the right to do it, imo. Others use feminism in one way or another, even if the characters they play are just hacks. I’d rather live in a world where someone really talented and deserving gets an extra empathy vote because of her race, than in a world that excludes systematically non-white straight people. And there’s no worst way of being excluded than not being even considered.

  77. Sasha, I’m one of those people who keep saying The Artist has BP locked and has had it locked. You can say yeah and? to me, but I will just tell you like this. WE all keep saying this because all the postings about “The Descendants could upset” or “Hugo is poised to steal it away” are just nonsense. THE ARTIST has this award in the bag and has had it in the bag since Cannes and that’s it. Mark it down, put a period after it, and think about another category. :)

  78. One other thing I’d like to say as well, the people who keep unleashing displeasure at “The Help” never say anything but “It’s a mediocre film” blah blah blah, but they never say what’s wrong with it. The talk about Davis giving a bad performance, but in case people don’t realize most black women in the 60’s weren’t big loud mouths like Octavia’s character. Viola’s was a self reflective character. She said she was a writer and most writers live and feel within themselves, they aren’t external people. So, when they do finally show emotions as in when Davis talks about her son dying or the “Godless woman” scene, it’s a big deal. If people have an opinion that the “civil rights” was glossed over, um it totally wasn’t. The women even say “we’re not doing civil rights”, but that is what this whole film was about. It was about all these maids holding their own civil rights march in their own way by telling their stories and showing people what goes on in their town. Because all these women did this it led to changes in their town.

  79. SuzyQTip

    I disagree that Davis was playing the race card. She spoke about the same things in Essence magazine which is geared towards black women.

    From whom could she have been trying to draw sympathy in that interview?

  80. Unlikelyhood

    Phantom is always the voice of reason.

    Antoinette fascinates, though.

  81. Jake G.!

    REally the oscars are going to take the weinstein oscar frieght trained film The Artist just like they took their majorly campaigned film TKS like last year? Two years in a row? I wouldnt doubt Weinstein wins Best Picture 10 years in a row from here on out!

  82. Jake G.!

    Hugo has no chance of winning Best Picture! Come on its a childrens movie, since when has a childrens movie won bp?

  83. It is odd that not ONE individual critics group has awarded Viola Davis, yet as a whole they awarded Viola Davis. I’m still with Streep and we’ll know more after the Globes.

  84. RobertlowercaseA

    I am hoping the industry will totally disagree with critics like last year,,,

  85. RobertlowercaseA

    “The Artist is like Mitt Romney. We keep trying to find the anti-The Artist in this race, but we’ve seen all the other movies, and there just isn’t one we can all get behind. So it’s Mitt Romney ftw.”
    Haa ,hilarious.

  86. Brandz, I told people, Viola Davis is going to do the same thing that Bullock did two years ago. Win nothing from the critics then come in and win Critics choice, GG, SAG and then Oscar. :)

  87. RobertlowercaseA

    There won’t be a split of Best Picture and Best Director. It will be The Artist all the way, unfortunately.

  88. Byron Gray

    My God, Sasha, if you’re so jaded about awards, why do you cover Oscar 24/7, 52 weeks a year on this website? Maybe that’s your problem: Burn-out.

  89. writing_me

    It’s really simple why movies featuring white actors do better than movies featuring black people. People want to see characters they can most closely relate to. If you’re white, that means you have a preference for white movies. It’s the same with gay people.

    It’s just the way it is. It accounts for white actors being more popular to a big extent. You want to see a version of yourself on the screen. It’s not fun to lose out in that way if you’re black/gay/category, but it’s the law of averages.

    Sometimes it’s not that deep, or personal, people.

  90. writing_me

    More white people in the land, means more white movies in the cinema.

    More straight people in the land, means more straight movies in the cinema.

    I’d love to see more stories of gay guys, as I’m gay myself. I want to see my story told more often and be represented in (mostly) positive, but more so relate-able ways, onscreen. But it isn’t to be because I’m a minority. Just as the case is with black people in America. That’s really all there is to it.

  91. brandz, Viola Davis won only one award during the critics-phase, although in supporting (Indiana), but I agree with ryan, she could easily pull a Bullock and sweep the American big ones (SAG-GG-BFCA) even if critics groups didn’t go for her. It is a very blindsidesque situation : female lead of smash hit crowdpleaser with good-ish, but definitely not great reviews. Only unlike Bullock, Viola Davis has been taken seriously from Day 1 because she has a much more impressive resume with her prestigious stage-background (two Tony Awards) and previous Oscar nomination.

    The one award she probably won’t come close to, is the BAFTA, that will probably go to Meryl Streep (unless they still REALLY hate the character she is playing) and considering it would be only her SECOND award and they even snubbed her for Sophie’s Choice (in retrospect, how embarassing for them), I think they will realize it is time to embrace Streep AGAIN…and if she could have the British-vote, she could still pull off the Oscar, too…unless the British go for Michelle Williams, that is a more than viable possibility.

    Bottom line : Still a 3-way race between 1. Davis 2. Streep 3. Williams…and if Glenn Close wins either the Golden Globe OR the SAG, then it could be THE most open Best Actress race of all time.

  92. I am going to continue hoping beyond hope for Marty and Hugo to win.

  93. I saw a great deal of the Critics Choice awards last evening and my first impression was that if anyone complains about the tech values of the Oscars or the hosting they should be forced to watch repeated broadcasts of this years Critics Choice Awards. ’nuff said about the quality of the show.

    I also heard both of George Clooney’s brief “speeches”. The Red Carpet comments were rather interesting since we seem to be caught up in “the hard road to success” to film stardom. I think before anyone gets up and starts ripping out their hard luck resume that they really need to look at the six figure paycheck they are probably depositing in their checking account and then think about the thousands of actors and actress, technicians, stunt men, directors, writers who also followed their dream and will never reach that same pinnacle of success regardless of their ethnic background.

    George Clooney said a couple of things last night that resonated quite clearly. And I’m parpharising because I don’t have the complete quotes, “When someone begins to speak about their trials and tribulations in life they need to remember that their trials and tribulations do not always compare to the trials and tribulations of a great many other people who walk this planet.” Then during his acceptance speech he talked about his grandfather being a sharecropper, and how his mother made his own clothes. It was almost as if he were saying to those who wish to use their personal history to underscore their success that everyone has a story. Some stories might be more difficult than others and some might not. But I think, and this is my interpretation that it sounded like a “salvo” being fired across the bow of a ship warning that if you keep playing that same card over and over again you might put yourself in “peril”.

    Sadly as much as I respect the work of a woman in a very popular film I’m praying she doesn’t win. I would rather see Sandra Bullock win again this year than have to listen too someone who is cashing some pretty hefty paychecks and thinks that her’s is the only hard luck story in the world and if she thinks that she’s “lighting” the way for those who wish to follow in her footsteps I think what she really is doing is dimming the lights.

  94. Sometimes I have the feeling that Sasha have something against sentimental or feel-good films winning awards…

  95. Tero Heikkinen

    Not true, she prefers Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan. It is clear which one is more sentimental and feel-good.

  96. “And the truth is, I really don’t care if so and so thinks The Artist is going to win. That’s sort of like saying it’s going to be sunny tomorrow in Los Angeles. It makes me want to say after, “yeah, and?” ”

    That’s kind of how I felt last year when all I heard was so-and-so saying The Social Network is better than The Kings Speech.

    ps: so-and-so is Sasha. Just wanted to make sure that one landed.

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