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Tag : State of the Race


The State of the Race: The Stuff that Dreams are Made On

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“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” Oscar ballots don’t go out until February 14th. That’s two whole weeks of madness that might occur just as ballots are sailing out to voters’ mailboxes. It’s too quiet. This is the calm before the storm, the moment just before the dirty work begins. Remember last year’s congressman debacle where he called…

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The State of the Race: Best Picture, Too Close to Call

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The Producers Guild pulled out the rug out from awards season by awarding two films their top prize. This has never happened in all of PGA’s fairly short history, which started all the way back in 1989, when Driving Miss Daisy won.  That leaves Best Picture down to two, but perhaps three if you factor in the potential for a split vote year. Generally speaking, when Picture and Director split…


The State of the Race: A Wolf Crashes the Party

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The early morning streets of Los Angeles were virtually empty as I drove down Wilshire towards the Academy theater. Nothing the Academy does is ever, to borrow a term my mother often uses, “half-assed.” Parking was easy. Getting into the theater, easy. A lavish breakfast spread put out as a courtesy to the hungry press. Before the nominations were announced, press gathered in the best theater where I have ever…


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

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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 Hustle wins Best Picture.  That might mean Jennifer Lawrence wins her second Oscar back to back, or that…


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

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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 million) — but all of them, with the exception of Frozen, were directed by men. There are also a few key films about…


The State of the Race: To the Wonder

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“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. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: ‘I stand for consensus?” Margaret Thatcher In a year with so…


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

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“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 this country over the past several decades. As the effects of the economics schemes put in place during the Reagan era play now begin…


The State of the Race: “Oscar Potential”

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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 what can and can’t make it to the Oscars. The internet opened everything up, evened things out so that anyone can have a…


The State of the Race: One Month Away from Knowing

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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 remembered unless the films that hit during the festivals were duds. They weren’t. Those films would be remembered…


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

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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 episodes of Survivor, you know, before reality TV ruined network television. Flying under the radar was an effective strategy…