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Old 02-11-2008, 07:05 PM   #1
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Weirdest Oscar season ever?

By Gregory Ellwood
MSN Movies

One of the most surreal moments of the last year had to be waiting in the ballroom of the Beverly Hilton hotel before the Golden Globes "press conference" and watching the assembled media treat the arrival of Entertainment Tonight's Mary Hart like a superstar had just walked into the room. Because of NBC's arrogance and the threat of a Writers Guild picket, the Globes had turned into a fiasco where the circus around the event eclipsed coverage of the awards themselves. Standing next to me that evening, in a spot where a table filled with the cast of "Atonement" likely should have been, was Pete Hammond, award season columnist for The Los Angeles Times' TheEnvelope.com. Recently, we chatted about whether this year was truly going to go down as one of the strangest ever.

"Ya think? I think this is a crazy awards season," Hammond says with a good-natured laugh. "I've never seen anything like it. It's the uncertainty that has dogged this whole awards season. You just don't know if there is gonna be an awards show at any given moment."

You may know Hammond's name from his review quotes seen on many movie advertisements, but the longtime insider is also known around town as one of the best awards season experts out there. He'll never cop to it, but he was one of the first prognosticators (along with myself) to predict the Oscar nomination of "Crash" for Best Picture, and the only one who believed "Letters From Iwo Jima" was still in the race after a disappointing commercial launch. The man has contacts and he knows his stuff.

Hammond says that strange twists and turns occur every awards season, but that this year's horse race has been so wide open that Academy and guild members aren't voting in their usual, predictable patterns.

"With the strike it's become a whole different ballgame," Hammond says. "People are voting perhaps more on their sympathies for or against the strike. Movies like 'American Gangster' are hurt because they are coming from major studios. Some of the rank and file in the voting organizations are voting against those types of films for those reasons."

A prime example of how strange a year it's been (and continues to be with Sean Young's recent bizarre outburst at the Directors Guild Awards) is that the consensus best picture of the year, "No Country for Old Men," is actually expected to win Oscar's big prize. That rarely happens, so perhaps all this external drama has resulted in an unexpected benefit.

The bigger question, though: How has all this negative coverage affected the public's view? Hammond is unsure.

"Looking at the ratings at the People's Choice Awards and the Golden Globes, I think it's going to hurt them in the long run," Hammond says. "The Oscars are the real litmus test here. Do people realize they can live without them or do they really miss them?"

We'll find out if America is still interested on Feb. 24. I'm betting that if big stars like Angelina and Brad strut the red carpet, the answer will clearly be "yes."
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Old 02-11-2008, 07:19 PM   #2
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I don't know if it is the weirdest, but it is easily the best considering films like No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood since God knows when.

Average or bloody awful films like A Beautiful Mind and Crash won in the last couple of years, so this is a refreshment.
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:14 PM   #3
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I loved a beautiful mind...hated crash and american beauty
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:55 PM   #4
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don't be a hater
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:01 PM   #5
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Well, Crash did suck.

Entertainment Weekly had a good article about Daniel Day-Lewis and Javier Bardem playing evil characters and how rare that is to win or something like that.

It drank my milkshake.
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Old 02-15-2008, 08:53 PM   #6
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Let's type our Oscar predictions! mine are:

There Will be Blood win for best Pic ( even though i'm for the wonderful little movie Juno)

Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor for There Will Be Blood
Ellen Page For Best Actress for Juno
Javier Bardem for Best Supporting Actor for No Country For Old men
Cate Blanchett for Supporting actress for I'm Not There.
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen for best director for No Country for Old Men

and so on, i basically stated the main attraction (not to underappreciate the other categories and their beautiful work)ops:
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Old 02-15-2008, 08:59 PM   #7
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I think we're going to start an official Pick the Winners thread in the days leading up, hopefully we'll get a big turnout for that.
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Old 02-15-2008, 11:29 PM   #8
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I have no idea who will win Supporting Actress.
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Old 02-16-2008, 11:57 AM   #9
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There Will Be Blood and No Country for me, two strong films for different reasons (TWBB not a great film since as usual PT Anderson's lack of coherent narratives turns me off, and even as a fan of DDL he did over act) No Country was better but still not the greatest movie of the decade, and certainly not the Coen Brothers best. Zodiac for sheer achievement and Atonement for ambition and near perfect execution are my top films of the year, but Atonement despite winning the Globe and the BAFTA is screwed without the BD nom. Juno being up for Best Picture as fun as it is, is a joke, Jason Reitman up for Director over Joe Wright? A Travesty.

But the Oscars are wrong with pretty much 90% of their picks and the best are usually the ones snubbed, it wouldn't bug me so much if they didn't have so much prestige over impressionable idiots.
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Old 02-16-2008, 01:16 PM   #10
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powerhour: you should submit a ballot for the Interference Movie Awards...

YLB: It's tricky right now because Blanchett won the Golden Globe, Ryan won most of the critics awards, and Ruby Dee has the SAG. I'd like to think that the Academy is above giving Dee some sentimental award for a film she was in for less than 5 minutes. They've done stupid shit before, but this would be one of their all-time lows. They also love a cinderella story, and that's why I'm leaning a bit toward Ryan. Blanchett just won 3 years ago and I can't see her winning so soon. What's interesting is that none of the three films those women are in are nominated for anything else, which would appear to give Ronan or Swindon a shot. Swindon is definitely the dark horse here, as Michael Clayton could wind up with nothing else.
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Old 02-16-2008, 01:25 PM   #11
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Beatriz Straight and Ned Beatty were in Network for like 5 minutes and both won Supporting nods. That was weird to me.

Ryan probably has the best chance though.
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Old 02-16-2008, 02:58 PM   #12
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My mistake, Beatty didn't win, but he was still nominated over Robert Duvall.
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Old 02-16-2008, 06:44 PM   #13
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I was going to correct you on that, but I read "nods" as nominations, which would have been right.

I think Beatty did win Best Constricting Anus for Deliverance, though.
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Old 02-16-2008, 11:52 PM   #14
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Edward Norton won deservedly for American History X, too.
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Old 02-17-2008, 12:29 AM   #15
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Was that a joke?
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