Gurus of Gold


Finke writes the following on Deadline Hollywood Daily:

On what planet does The Washington Post reside? The paper actually claims in a recent article about Oscar publicists that “because Barry Dale Joseph is working on Slumdog Millionaire, the slumdog underdog, already nominated for a Golden Globe, has become the favorite.” Reality check: sure, his real name is Johnson (not Joseph), he works for ID PR, and he’s an okay flack. But he reps Fox Searchlight films¬†so the guy is already working with frontrunner gold at awards time (like past pics he’s done Oscar campaigns for, Juno and Little Miss Sunshine). Now, let him turn barely talked about In Bruges into a winner –¬†and I’ll be really impressed.

I thought In Bruges was a Focus film, not Searchlight. Finke is high profile and she’s just put out word that In Bruges is the underdog to root for. The Slumdog campaign is more of a non-campaign, for the record. The ads are out there but they aren’t coming on as strongly as Little Miss Sunshine nor Juno – no Sunshine cupcakes or Juno busses for this one – it’s not seeking to take the quirky underdog slot but is going all the way for Best Picture and most people I read believe it to be the one to beat – that it’s unstoppable at this point. Those people include: David Carr, David Poland, Kris Tapley, Roger Friedman, the Gurus of Gold and the Buzzmeter. More to follow in the coming days as we barrel towards the nominations. Ballots go out tomorrow.

Erik Childress is keeping a nice Eye on things, and currently has the tally this way:

Slumdog Millionaire in the lead, the Gurus of Gold also has the film in the number one spot. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is in second place, followed by Milk, Doubt, Wall-E, Vicky Cristina, The Dark Knight, and on down the line.

During the first two weeks of December everything starts to fall into place. But that doesn’t stop the majority of us from playing this weird game of ranking films and actors onto lists suggesting we know something about the race. Trust me on this one, we don’t. It is just a game of odds at this point. It’s filler until the substance arrives. The Gurus of Gold has just put up their chart and there is some consensus here and there but there are also oddities. I have Milk at number 6 for Best Pic but I really do believe it will be nominated. Why did I put it at number six? I have no idea. Back in the day only a few people did these blind predictions with regularity. At some point they became the norm. I do them because I’m asked to do them but I hereby order anyone reading this site to completely disregard them in every way.

I have been slow picking up on Cinematical’s former MVP, Kim Voynar and her recent inclusion in Movie City News’ ever-growing cast of characters. She writes The Oscar Outsider, and the latest column is a lament about the lack of female filmmakers in the race, or Best Picture contenders driven by females. Off the top of my head I can think of two that are strong contenders that feature female characters quite prominently but we’ll have to wait a bit on naming those.

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Looming Large

2008 is shaping up to be another year of an Oscar season that echoes the 1970s. At this stage of the game, when so many of the big guns have held their movies back in an unusual, somewhat daring move, two films still seem to define both the era in which we are living and the Oscar year we are about to live through.  The Dark Knight and Wall-E.

Both films are apocalyptic in their view of the state of the things, both films feature an untraditional hero and both films challenge authority, especially when it has become too focused on the wrong goal. While the mood could dramatically shift after November 4, the upcoming Oscar films, the Best Picture candidates, seem to take over where last year left off: the individual, not the institution is what counts. Gone are the heroic leaders and reliable good government confronting the evil forces of other countries. The evil, it seems, is right here in America where the institutions on which we have built our belief systems have crumbled before our eyes in the last ten or twenty years.

Frost/Nixon, Revolutionary Road, Defiance and Doubt, too, each fit perfectly with this idea that nothing is what it seems — not the American dream, not the institute of organized religion, not the presidency. Of these, Defiance is the most traditional in terms of good and evil, right and wrong: there is no gray area with the Holocaust.¬†¬† But it‚Äôs the title, Defiance, that brings to mind a personal revolution to take justice into one‚Äôs hands and fight until the death.

The end of the year will still bring surprises though there are some films already that have so much heat on them their flame is likely to burn brightly through the next few months. Continue reading…

Just a reminder that the Gurus’ Top 10 is not that different from the AD readers Top 10, based on our poll — more than a month ago. The significant difference being the sudden emergence of Slumdog Millionaire at TIFF (Slumdog wasn’t on our August Poll at all.)

Does this mean AD Readers are as smart as the Gurus of Gold? I’d say smarter. Because you guys had your list lined up weeks ago, and you’re not giving up on The Dark Knight.

Sure, I’m biased, but except for the absence of Slumdog Millionaire (which nobody was talking about in August) the AD Readers Poll looks to me like a more solid ranking of top contenders than the predictable predictions the Gurus are giving us. Of course, we have our secret weapon, don’t we? Founding Guru and Awards Daily Fearless Leader, Sasha Stone, who’s taught us everything we know about Oscar forecasting.

When we retake the poll in a week or two in the light of fresh developments, no doubt Slumdog Millionaire will jump to frontrunner status. I’d encourage everyone to hold tight to your devotion to The Dark Knight for now (It’s the only title in the top 5 any of us has actually seen, after all). As if you need my encouragement to pledge allegiance to the film that’s generated more passionate feelings than any other movie this year. Also, can anyone say with certainty that Australia still won’t dazzle its way into the final five? We’re all guessing at this point, but I’m guessing no matter what Baz Luhrman gives us for Christmas it’ll more exciting than the pair of socks I usually expect from Ron Howard.

Breakdown of the chart comparisons and details of our August 20 Poll after the cut.

Continue reading…

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