The State of the Race: American Hustle Takes the Lead to win Best Picture

In all of the ways people think the Oscar race is predictable it always turns out to be surprising when the dust settles. There is no point in not saying what is the obvious writing on the wall — David O. Russell will finally collect the big Oscar for directing as American...
Posted On 06 Jan 2014

The State of the Race Part Two: The Vanishing Stories of Women

This has been a banner year for women at the box office – Hunger Games ($361 million, #2 for the whole year so far), Gravity ($253 million), two starring Melissa McCarthy made it into the top twenty (The Heat—$159 million and Identity Thief—$139 million), and Frozen ($170...
Posted On 19 Dec 2013

The State of the Race: To the Wonder

“The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead....
Posted On 12 Dec 2013

The State of the Race: The Collapse of the American Dream

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” ― John Steinbeck Three strong films in the Oscar race face down the rise of the 1% — a rise that has accelerated alarmingly in...
Posted On 03 Dec 2013

The State of the Race: “Oscar Potential”

It isn’t just the Oscar race where everyone is an expert. We talk about movies now like we’re beat reporters at old-school Variety. Or assistants to producers having coffee and casually talking about the potential failure or success of a film. Or publicists, who talk shop about...
Posted On 05 Nov 2013

The State of the Race: One Month Away from Knowing

Usually the year of films that are aimed at the Oscar race begins on a weak note. But 2013 wasn’t one of those years. With early films as good as Mud, Before Midnight and Fruitvale Station, you could tell already that it was going to be a heartbreaker. They all wouldn’t be...
Posted On 22 Oct 2013

The State of the Race: How to Fly Under the Radar

After witnessing how Argo took last year’s very competitive Best Picture race, the key to winning Best Picture seems to be clear — find a way to fly under the radar so that no one really pays much attention. We all learned this trick years ago as we watched the early...
Posted On 15 Oct 2013

The State of the Race: The New American Hero

“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.” – Emerson There is no doubt that America is changing. You can feel the old ways reaching out their talons to pull us back into the past but it isn’t going to work. With asshats in silly...
Posted On 01 Oct 2013

The State of the Race: I’ll Stand on the Ocean Until I Start Sinking

The central theme of many of 2013’s best and most important films is survival – in both literal and metaphoric ways. 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Captain Phillips, All is Lost, and Dallas Buyers Club are all about a protagonist’s literal struggle to survive. While other films...
Posted On 11 Sep 2013

The State of the Race: Telluride and the Best Picture Oscar Race

Over the past few years, Telluride has become the launching pad for Oscar contenders and winners. You’d probably had to have been watching the race evolve over the past 15 years to understand why. Back before they changed the date for Oscar, roughly 2003, the Oscars were held in...
Posted On 02 Sep 2013