THE BRIEF

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The Martian scored seven Oscar nominations last month including Best Picture and Best Actor for Matt Damon. Ridley Scott’s sci-fi adventure is about an astronaut left behind by his crew on the desolate planet Mars. Matt Damon plays Mark Watney who has to use all of his ingenuity to survive and communicate back to NASA and his crew that he is still alive.  Drew Goddard delivers a script with thought provoking moments intertwined with humor, and earned a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination.

Revisit The Case For The Martian and  Sasha’s piece on Matt Damon charming his way into the Best Actor Race.

 

 

The Case for The Martian

 

 

From Darkness to Light: The Case for Ridley Scott and The Martian

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Women producers nominated in the Oscar race have seen their numbers steadily increase since the beginning, but not many have won. The first woman to be honored by the Academy as a producer was Julia Phillips, who won for The Sting in 1973. It wouldn’t be until 1989 that another woman won, Lili Fini Zanuck, for Driving Miss Daisy, 16 years later. Since then, only six other women have won an Oscar for producing a Best Picture winner. Dede Gardner won in 2012 for co-producing 12 Years a Slave. If The Big Short wins this year, she would be the first two-time winner in Oscar history.

1989 – Lili Fini Zanuck for DRIVING MISS DAISY
1994 – Wendy Finerman for FORREST GUMP
1998 — Donna Gigliotti for SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE
2003 – Fran Walsh for THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
2005 — Cathy Schulman for CRASH
2009 — Kathryn Bigelow for THE HURT LOCKER
2013 – Dede Gardner for 12 YEARS A SLAVE

This is Gardner’s astonishing third nomination in a row as a producer: in addition to 12 Years a Slave, Gardner co-produced Ava DuVernay’s Selma last year. Gardner is not a producer who chases awards but instead is committed to bringing daring works with a strong social conscience to the screen. With all of the hubbub this year about Alejandro G. Iñárritu and his string of recent successes, there’s not a lot of talk about Gardner. We offer her a crisp salute here at AwardsDaily.

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Ed Lachman is nominated for Best Cinematography in Carol. This is the fourth time Lachman has worked with director Todd Haynes. Two of those collaborations resulted in Lachman’s two Oscar nominations (the other time was Far From Heaven, 13 years ago). Those two films and HBO’s Mildred Pierce represent his three ASC nominations.  I sat down with Lachman as he described three key scenes, walking us through the film from his mind’s eye — discussing colors, ideas, and influences in each scene with his insightful narration:

 
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It’s such an interesting year to test the Oscar stats. Even Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan is not 100% on board on with The Revenant being a surefire winner as most others are. Why didn’t it win the Producers Guild award? Why didn’t it get a SAG Ensemble award nomination? Those questions still haunt this year’s wildly unpredictable race. But it’s harder to argue with a total of 12 Oscar nominations. Except, when we look more closely, you see that in all the years of the preferential ballot, there have only ever been four Best Picture nominees with 12 nominations heading in. Of those, only one – The King’s Speech – won Best Picture. The other two did not: Song of Bernadette and Lincoln. The Revenant is the fourth.

The other interesting stat to note is that in the recent years where the preferential ballot was in play, no Best Picture winner won more than 6 Oscars total (The Hurt Locker). In most recent years, Best Picture has won as few as 3 or 4 Oscars, total. In split years, no Best Picture-winning film has ever won more than 3 Oscars.

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The art of being mindful, careful, and diligent; we must remember these things when writing and reporting, but most of all when we’re consuming.

The mob mentality of the Internet has made such things increasingly difficult, especially at a time when important conversations about issues of racial and gender equality are on the table each and every morning.

In the war against the patriarchal domination of the film industry (let’s not forget that only 7% of the 250 top-grossing films of 2014 were directed by women), we need people willing to speak out against a system that simply doesn’t foster inclusion or channels for diversity to thrive. This does not mean blindly calling the Academy racist; this does not mean slamming every opinion that doesn’t strictly adhere to the narrative created by ill-informed instigators disguised as legitimate social justice warriors. This means instilling the notion that equality is not a tool, but rather an ideal we must believe in, subscribe to, and work for in order to make it a livable reality.
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Contender Tracker

FRONTRUNNERS

Best PicturEBirth of a Nation
Manchester by the Sea




Best ActorCasey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Nate Parker, Birth of a Nation



Best ActresS


Supporting ActoR


Supporting ActresS


Director
Nate Parker, Birth of a Nation
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea



Original Screenplay


Adapted Screenplay

Editing

CinematographY



Production Design


Sound Mixing


Sound Editing


Costume Design


Original Score



Foreign Language Feature



Documentary Feature


Animated featureZootopia
The Little Prince


Visual Effects


Makeup AND HAIR


Song


Live Action Short

Animated Short


Documentary Short



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