OSCAR TALK: Ep. 16 — ‘Nine’ stumbles, so cui bono? Plus ‘Avatar’ as frontrunner and forecasting the films of 2010

Posted by · 10:42 am · January 1st, 2010

Oscar TalkWelcome to the first installment of Oscar Talk of 2010 and, indeed, of the new decade. Oscar Talk is your weekly kudocast between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood.

It’s been two weeks since we dug into the Oscar race in this space. Here’s what’s on the docket today:

Rob Marshall’s “Nine” has landed in theaters and been both critically and commercially dismissed, so the question is: Is it out of the Best Picture race? Anne and I discuss potential replacements if that’s the case.

From the bottom of the list to the top, we talk frontrunners. Is “Avatar” the one to beat? Which films are threatening that position?

Speaking of which, could Zoe Saldana be in the mix for a lead actress nomination despite perceived CG bias? Anne puts forth the general narrative, but I think that’s a bit defeatist. Rules are broken every year.

Finally, a new year a new list of anticipations. Anne and I run through a big list of films we’re most looking forward to in 2010.

You can listen to this week’s podcast below, with Robert Burns’s “Auld Lang Syne” leading the way. Cheesy, I know.  And as always, you can subscribe to Oscar Talk via iTunes here.

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→ 30 Comments Tags: , , , , | Filed in: Oscar Talk

30 responses so far

  • 1 1-01-2010 at 11:27 am

    aspect ratio said...

    I was gonna say something about Fantastic Mr. Fox being a possibility for Best Picture (look at criticstop10.com, it’s no.5 ahead of the likes of Up in the Air and Avatar, not that the critics are the same as the Academy voters, but still) then Anne goes and talks about Up being on shaky ground because it wouldn’t be supported by all the branches who work in live-action film. With five nominees, fine, but with ten films, after several year-end films have stumbled and we’re pretty much grasping for straws to try and come up with a list of ten films it would REEK of bias if Up STILL missed out.

    Considering Avatar would qualify for the Animated Feature Film category had it been submitted (what’s the rule, 75% needs to feature animation? Looney Tunes: Back in Action qualified I believe), I can’t imagine the Academy shunning Up because it’s animated when Avatar, regardless of mo-cap and not being sold as an animated film, pretty much IS an animated film.

    Perhaps if there’d been no Avatar this year the bias against animated films might’ve remained, but considering Avatar pretty much put all the craft branches that make costumes, and light/build sets, etc. out of a job then by Anne’s logic Avatar isn’t going to make the cut for Best Picture either.

  • 2 1-01-2010 at 11:52 am

    AmericanRequiem said...

    the audio is cutting off for me at 6 minutes

  • 3 1-01-2010 at 12:48 pm

    George said...

    I agree that Up is on potentially shaky ground with the top 10, but Avatar is a lock at this point.

    The whole #1 on the ballot thing is the reason I continue to contend that Where the Wild Things Are could pull a surprise appearance on the BP list.

    As far as winners, I this year will have quite a few splits, but for right now I’m thinking:
    Up in the Air
    Jeff Bridges
    Meryl Streep
    Cristoph Waltz
    Julianne Moore
    A Serious Man for Original Screenplay
    Up in the Air for Adapted Screenplay

  • 4 1-01-2010 at 12:52 pm

    George said...

    …And Kathryn Bigelow for Director

  • 5 1-01-2010 at 1:33 pm

    Alex in Movieland said...

    Kris, thank you again for this wonderful audio delight. It’s always a pleasure :) and it’s strange, cause sometimes I feel like adding or talking to the computer :P

    I myself still have a problem predicting against Nine. It’s because you see it on every tv show. it’s because of their agressive campaign which would make me feel guilty predicting against it.

    I’m curious how is it with the NINE screeners? Are they putting something special in the dvd’s the voters receive? how is their campaign going on?

  • 6 1-01-2010 at 1:58 pm

    Al said...

    I dont think Basterds only slipped in because of disappointments considering the reception it was given from the very beginning and several pundits calling its nomination from the starting gate.

    Regarding Nine, despite the fact it has disappointed everyone, myself included, I still have a feeling that its going to get Best Picture nomination. Its a performance movie that performers love. Considering the domination that actors hold over the academy, Nine is staying put. At least in my opinion.

  • 7 1-01-2010 at 2:10 pm

    Jim T said...

    Well, Kris, thanks for making fun of me but I have every right to think Avatar’s script is bad. Make every funny voice you want.

    If it gets nominated, it will be a BIG mistake. It’s one thing to say “I didn’t have a nig problem with it” and another to consider it one of the year’s best. And Titanic had a far better script that didn’t get nominated.

  • 8 1-01-2010 at 2:58 pm

    Andrew2 said...

    Nine has stumbled but many ballots already in and Harvey gets what Harvey wants.

    Wish Bright Star would sneak in

  • 9 1-01-2010 at 3:13 pm

    JJ said...

    question: won’t a film like NINE, or INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS benefit from having it’s large cast, because all those actors and friends of those actors will likely vote for those movies as #1 or 2 or so, and the more technical love it gets, same there, too? No?

  • 10 1-01-2010 at 3:16 pm

    JJ said...

    Kris, Anne, I was not enamored with The Hurt Locker. I found it well crafted, well acted, but a bore. It would go nowhere near my #1 ballot. And I have a hard time thinking that most people think it’s the best. I really think that.

  • 11 1-01-2010 at 3:22 pm

    RJL said...

    Re: Zoe Saldana… I have not seen Avatar but I wonder why people are not commenting about or comparing her performance to that of the 1980 Oscar nominated performance by John Hurt in “The Elephant Man”. What is the difference of being computer generated or wearing a bag over your head? If the voice is hers and the body movements are hers, what is the difference? And what about all those whose makeup totally altered their Oscar-nominated or -winning performances? If Zoe Saldana is worthy, or if Jim Carrey is worthy, then they should receive nominations. Or do we need a “Best Non-traditional Performance” Oscar?

  • 12 1-01-2010 at 3:24 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Jim: Never met you or spoken to you. Way to think something is about YOU.

  • 13 1-01-2010 at 3:35 pm

    JJ said...

    Jim, why you so … irked?

    I think the script is the weakest aspect of AVATAR (liked it, overall), but why the venom?

    I personally think that Cameron will get rewarded in directing and not screenplay. There are many strong Original Screenplays out there this year. I could name 10 right off the bat that could have a strong chance for Top 5.

  • 14 1-01-2010 at 3:56 pm

    red_wine said...

    Nine is gonna be the poster child for tirades against 10 nominees. People are gonna say even Nine got nominated. Something of an embarrassment for all involved, so many stars, so much talent, all in the service of a turkey it seems.

    I’m with both of you on Star Trek, its the definition of well crafted entertainment. It plays extremely well on repeat viewings.

    This Avatar writing thing is a disaster waiting to happen. But I know when a film gets big, people feel obliged to vote for it. Eg. Slumdog winning Actors, costume designers & production designers guild.

  • 15 1-01-2010 at 4:09 pm

    Jim T said...

    “for making fun of ‘people who, like me, don’t like Avatar’s script’ ”

    Kris, is it better now? Come on…

    JJ, venom? Towards Avatar or Kris? In the Avatar case, I just dislike the script and I didn’t like the movie because of it. Where is the venom?

  • 16 1-01-2010 at 4:19 pm

    m1 said...

    If Nine truly is out of the BP race, then I think Broken Embraces could EASILY sneak into the last spot. Not that I’ve seen it, but it would be interesting to slip in a foreign film (Sin Nombre has a shot too).

  • 17 1-01-2010 at 4:28 pm

    JJ said...

    Kris, just curious. What are your thoughts on ‘A Single Man’ both in general, and for BP, acting, technicals, etc..

    I saw it the other day and was completely taken with it.

  • 18 1-01-2010 at 5:56 pm

    tony rock said...

    I’m going to predict Nine doesn’t make it, only because I can’t bring myself to predict it will, because if it does it’ll be a travesty. And I agree that people will use it as a sticking point when they bitch about 10 nominees in the future. Anyways, hope Nine doesn’t get in. Would much rather see District 9, 500 Days of Summer, or Star Trek get in. Havn’t seen them, but The Messenger or A Single Man could make it.

  • 19 1-01-2010 at 6:09 pm

    JJ said...

    “Travesty” to the majority who don’t like it. I liked it; didn’t love it.

    And I think there are some AMPAS members who DO like it who will be spurred on by the hate to make a point about putting it #1.

  • 20 1-01-2010 at 6:38 pm

    Loyal said...

    Avatar has the heat. It could become the first film to ever cross the 1 billion dollar mark during its Oscar campaign.

    Titanic and Return of the King may have crossed it after their wins, not sure. But in any case, that’s good company.

  • 21 1-01-2010 at 6:47 pm

    Sean said...

    I agree Up is not a lock. It belongs in animated and voter’s won’t waste a top 10 slot on it. Crazy Heart was a total bore, Bridges was great, but oh what a boring movie-no top 10 on that one. I don’t get the Clooney mania. His work in Up in the Air was typical Clooney work.

  • 22 1-01-2010 at 8:11 pm

    George said...

    Although I’m glad Nine is slipping off the 10 BP’s, I’m still rooting for “Take it All” for original song… And Cotillard for Actress/Supporting Actress (although this category split may be the big issue)

  • 23 1-01-2010 at 8:24 pm

    Murdock said...

    I’m with George on WTWTA. I thiink it stands a very good chance for that exact reason.

  • 24 1-02-2010 at 3:02 am

    aspect ratio said...

    Why should Up be relegated to the Animated Feature Film category, just because there is one, when it is one of the most acclaimed films of the year? Those who think like that, did you also think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon didn’t deserve a Best Picture nomination because there was a Foreign Language Film category?

    Filmmaking is about telling stories, period. Regardless of your medium, the languages that are spoken and how you accomplish it.

    And like I wrote earlier, if you think Up doesn’t deserve to be nominated for Best Picture because it’s animated, you should also think Avatar doesn’t deserve to because the difference between Avatar and Up is lesser than the difference between Avatar and The Hurt Locker, or Precious, or Up in the Air, or Inglourious Basterds, etc.

  • 25 1-02-2010 at 10:17 am

    m1 said...

    I have a list of dark horse contenders for that #10 spot:

    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    Broken Embraces
    Where the Wild Things Are
    The Messenger
    A Single Man
    A Serious Man

  • 26 1-02-2010 at 11:05 am

    Big Braveheart said...

    What about Tom Hardy for best actor for Bronson?

  • 27 1-29-2010 at 5:45 pm

    Twills said...

    Am I the only one that believes race is playing a factor as to why Zoe Saldana is a questionalble nominee

  • 28 1-29-2010 at 5:46 pm

    Twills said...

    I have posted this on several sites and the sites keep erasing my blogs.

  • 29 1-29-2010 at 5:56 pm

    Twills said...

    Traditionally, black women that are allowed to shine in hollywood have been beautiful, but not talented(Halle Berry) or talented but not beautiful(Oprah, Whoopi, Sherri Shepard). Black women who have the total package(Angela Basset, Zoe Saldana, Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good, Phylicia Rashad) get ignored by hollywood. Does anyone honestly think that the upper elite in hollywood can not see that Zoe Saldana did all of her acting. Of course they do! How can you be a judge in hollywood and not understand how technology works. The buzz for this movie was so big that I am sure people knew how the technology worked before the movie was in theatres. They are just buying time, because they dont want a beautiful, talented and young black woman getting any shine. In other words black women with the total package are a threat to the Julia Roberts and Scarlett Johannsen’s. Zoe Saldana did all of the acting.

  • 30 1-29-2010 at 5:58 pm

    Twills said...

    Princess and the Frog(first black disney princess) was one of the first Disney movies not to produce any McDonalds toys. What up?