We’re giving away a signed poster by Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons & Damien Chazelle, along with the Whiplash soundtrack to celebrate the film being released in theaters. The giveaway is open only to US residents and no PO boxes. But if you don’t live here and you’d like to share your First Oscar Surprise please feel free to do so. We can select and ship only to US residents, however.
Whiplash is a wonderfully written, acted and directed knockout of a film that is likely to be an Oscar surprise to most. Damien Chazelle could be nominated for Best Director or Best Adapted Screenplay and JK Simmons is currently predicted to win in Best Supporting Actor.
To enter, please share with us your first and/or most memorable Oscar surprise. For me it will always be when Halle Berry and Denzel Washington won on the same night when everyone was predicting “only one black actor” to win, either Berry or Washington. I remember being among the very few who predicted both and thus, I screamed so loudly I made my then three year old daughter cry. The other great surprise for me was when The Departed won. I’d been wanting to see Martin Scorsese win an Oscar since I started my site back in 1999. I’d watched as Gangs of New York and The Aviator got oh so close. I watched as Harvey Weinstein got Robert Wise to advocate for Marty but then get smacked down for it by the Academy. I watched as Clint Eastwood strolled into the room with Million Dollar Baby and won the whole thing. Sure, The Aviator was always going to be a tough sell for the Academy. As ambitious as it was, they didn’t “like” it.
The Oscar Best Picture can be defined as the one movie you can sit anyone down in front of — the mailman, the maid, the daughter, the son, the mistress, the hairdresser, the 1%er, the homeless guy — and they will at least get it, if not love it. That’s your Oscar movie. And you can find it by looking at two things. 1) Cinemascore (unfortunately) and 2) the negative rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Sure, there are always exceptions – like Crash or A Beautiful Mind but The Departed had everything a Best Picture winner needs. I knew it immediately and the best part of it was: no one else did. Or hardly anyone. They were all downgrading it — so by the time the DGA rolled around and Scorsese finally won…?
Thing is, some directors are better off never winning Oscars. In fact, for them to be able to appeal to Oscar voters (or Cinemascore for that matter) they have to create general audience entertainment. For them to do that they would have to stop being the auteurs, the creators, the daring artists in a business designed for entertainment. But Scorsese did it – just barely – with The Departed. Though there are dumbass internet people who are too stupid to be allowed anywhere near a keyboard writing inane articles that downgrade films like Pulp Fiction or The Departed, pay attention to them at your own peril. Is nothing sacred?
Those are my two Oscar surprises. How about you? Enter in the comments and we will select a winner by the end of the day.