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Category : State of the Race

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The State of the Race: The Return of the “Oscar Movie”

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It‚Äôs been a while since we could say there was an ‚ÄúOscar movie,‚Äù but that old trope roared to life today, as did the Oscar Whisperer, Harvey Weinstein‚Äôs dominance with the AMPAS. Longtime readers will recall that we always had a saying around here, ‚Äúnever underestimate the power of Harvey Weinstein.‚Äù I think we can bring that back today. What is an ‚ÄúOscar movie‚Äù? Well, it‚Äôs what various Oscar pundits…


The State of the Race: Hand Covers Bruise

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In each of the five films nominated for Best Director by the Directors Guild yesterday, overcoming an obstacle to become a winner drives the main characters. Micky needs to rid himself of his brother‚Äôs shadow and his own lack of self worth, Nina needs to rid herself of her repressed, infantilized vision of herself to become a perfect dancer. Cobb needs to overcome the guilt he feels in planting the…


The State of the Race: The Best Best Pictures

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It’s funny to think that a whole year’s worth of films can boil down to just ten. There has been much chatter on Twitter of late that this would be a great year to have only five nominees rather than ten. This business of picking “the best” is really about what a majority thinks, not what a few critics think; even the most powerful critic in the land cannot push…

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The State of the Race: “Now We Live on the Internet”

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Yesterday, Kris Tapley lamented on Twitter, “Most over-covered, over-considered Oscar season ever. Yes, I’m aware of the irony.” Is it really the case, though, or is there just more of it online? It seems to me that every year there is consideration and over-consideration and hemming and hawing and denying the obvious. Maybe he means there are just more people doing it, or maybe he means the strange kind of…

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The State of the Race: The Changing of the Guard

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I often get asked the question if I think the Academy’s demographics are changing, if the infusion of younger voters is changing the way they choose what they think is best. I am not sure that I could say it was the infusion of the young so much as a turn towards the art of filmmaking, rather than the emotional impact of the experience. If I could name one of…


The State of the Race: Landslide

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It happened so fast. Some of us saw it coming, or thought we did. We had no way of knowing for sure. Many said they assumed the critics would rally behind one film but that, in the end, AMPAS would not. What makes large groups of people like one thing over another has everything to do with perception, timing and the quality of the film itself; most of us know…

The Social Network

The State of the Race: Likability

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Whenever I hit the “like” button on Facebook, or one of the hundreds of sites I visit every day that is connected back to Facebook, I always feel my primate roots rising up: pretty shiny thing? I LIKE it. I like it, I press a button that expresses how I feel. What has been missing in many of our internet experiences has been our emotions, our tastes clearly defined. We…

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The State of the Race: White Light, White Heat

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Not since the 1970s have we seen such a display of anti-heroes, reluctant leaders, and misfits filling the shoes of the traditional male figure that often leads the charge in both American film and the Oscar race. Since we have been looking at the 1970s in our podcasts, one is reminded that during an era where we don’t feel like winners, particularly, the films we respond to can sometimes reflect…


The State of the Race: Going Money

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There are heroes and anti-heroes in this race. There are social networks and black swans. There are kings and cowboys. There are fighters and lesbians. There are teen mothers and toys. There are dreams and nightmares. And through it all, there are going to be currents that run through the chosen films that reflect the currents within us. The themes that run through this year’s contenders will ultimately reflect how…


The State of the Race: the Frontrunner

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Since we just had an election, it seems like a good time to talk about the terms of politics and how similar it sometimes is to the Oscar race. The only other way you’ll hear that word, “frontrunner” is in politics, mostly. The frontrunner is in place because of polls. If you are the frontrunner, it is expected you run the “frontrunner’s campaign,” which means, you keep your head down,…