Through the grapevine

Posted by · 2:48 pm · November 10th, 2009

Matt Damon in Invictus“People say believe half of what you see, son, and none of what you hear.” Marvin Gaye’s Motown standard may as well have been written about Oscar punditry.

Still, it’s hard to resist the allure of hearsay in this game, and even as I douse myself with multiple pinches of salt, I found these two recent tidbits from Steve Pond’s The Odds blog interesting. Interesting, I hasten to add, and little more.

The first addresses the matter of how “Precious” might play with the older, white, male audience that comprises the Academy majority:

Among the viewers who saw the film over the weekend, incidentally, were a group of Academy members and guests at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater Sunday evening. I hear that the AMPAS members screening drew a smallish audience (about 300 in the 1,000-seat theater) but played well, with the largest applause going to the film’s lead actresses, Gabourey Sidibe and Mo’Nique. (Director Lee Daniels, in contrast, reportedly didn’t prompt as much enthusiasm.) The size of the crowd suggests to me that the film’s biggest problem will get getting Oscar voters to see it.

The second offers some speculation as to which of the season big four unseen titles might underperform:

Based on what I’m hearing at the moment, I suspect that “The Lovely Bones” will work and “Invictus” will disappoint … though maybe it won’t disappoint enough to knock Clint out of the race. Lots of people thought Eastwood’s trailer was impressive enough to seal the deal; I thought it was awfully by-the-numbers, and got its emotional kick mostly from the song it uses from the South African a capella band Overtone.

I agree with him about the trailer. Beyond that, well, back to the song.

→ 10 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

10 responses so far

  • 1 11-10-2009 at 3:04 pm

    Glenn said...

    “The size of the crowd suggests to me that the film’s biggest problem will get getting Oscar voters to see it.”


    This comes up every year! “Will they see it?” Obviously they do since these tiny movies “that nobody sees” keep getting nominated. And since “Precious” will be making some serious bank and with all the buzz, I am sure that any serious Academy members will be seeing it.

    What a load of tosh.

  • 2 11-10-2009 at 3:12 pm

    Michael said...

    I wouldn’t be so sure, Glenn.

    There’s a chance other films — Up In The Air, The Hurt Locker — could start pulling away if Lee Daniels doesn’t get the hype for Director and Precious relies on acting nominations only.

  • 3 11-10-2009 at 3:17 pm

    Me. said...

    YAY To The Lovely Bones. I’m rooting for it REALLY HARD. :D

    In a perfect world, Micmacs would be the frontrunner for Best Picture and Best Directing.

  • 4 11-10-2009 at 4:11 pm

    Sam said...

    Why is it that the old, white males are the only group to be singled out for the cause of problems within the Academy? If these members were afraid or not interested in watching films such as Precious, then how do you explain Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Jennifer Hudson, ect WINNING Oscars?

  • 5 11-10-2009 at 4:36 pm

    qwiggles said...

    Micmacs? Come on. It’s basically Shoot ‘Em Up in the aesthetic of Amelie.

  • 6 11-10-2009 at 4:40 pm

    The Other James D. said...

    He’s probably right about it not being enough to knock it out of the race, but I sense he’s onto the general reception it might receive.

    As for “little films no one will see”, I completely side with Glenn. I mean, really, “Frozen River” doubled our expectations last year, “In Bruges” completely stunned us with a nomination, and Leo and Jenkins proved insurmountable for their token-indie-slot noms. There always tends to be doubt each year, which I find almost laughable, since each year somebody “surprises” with a nomination.

  • 7 11-10-2009 at 4:47 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    good to hear about lovely bones, if not somewhat expected, jackson wont disapoint

  • 8 11-10-2009 at 6:20 pm

    Danny K. said...

    Hey Guy, interesting to hear these comments. I actually wrote an article after I saw the trailer describing how I thought ‘Invictus’ would underperform in this year’s Award race and I based a lot of it on the trailer. You can read it if you like, my thoughts were brief because there isn’t much to go on at this point….

  • 9 11-10-2009 at 10:29 pm

    Glenn said...

    Michael, “The Hurt Locker” is one of those films that nobody has seen! It only made $12m! I think it’s safe to say that “Precious” will make more than that.

    “The Reader” and “Frost/Nixon” were in the same wheelhouse last year and then, especially the latter, cruised on through to nominations over movies that I’m sure every Academy member (or at least a large majority) saw.

    Academy members WILL see it, it’s whether they like it that’s the real issue.

  • 10 11-11-2009 at 8:40 am

    DHE said...

    Is it possible that the best, most interesting films of the year mostly got released before festival season?