OSCAR TALK: Ep. 49 — Final pre-nod discussion

Posted by · 9:00 am · January 21st, 2011

Oscar TalkWelcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you’re new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar’s stage and we’re here to address it all as it unfolds.

We’re moving into the last weekend before the Academy’s big nominations reveal on Tuesday. Anne is calling from Sundance, where the festival is just gearing up, leaving me alone in LA to my devices. But there are a number of things to address in these final pre-nod hours, so let’s see what’s on the docket today…

Leading things off, the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Movie Awards happened last weekend. We discuss.

Rather than move through each category with last-minute thoughts, we single out a handful of fields that have real meat on their bones and a couple that we haven’t really addressed yet, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, Best Documentary Feature, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Feature Film among them.

This leads us into discussing a few upset picks, contenders not many are predicting that we think could easily surprise.

Finally, reader questions. We address a quick mishmash of queries from yesterday.

Have a listen to the new podcast below. We go a bit longer than normal but there’s a lot to cover a few days before nominations. If the file cuts off for you at any time, try the back-up download link at the bottom of this post. And as always, remember to subscribe to Oscar Talk via iTunes here.

(NOTE: With Anne in Sundance, we had ever-so-slight audio issues.)


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39 responses so far

  • 1 1-21-2011 at 9:48 am

    Ed D. said...

    Great discussion. When Anne said, “how do you know?” at the best picture discussion, Jack Nicholson’s face instantly popped into my head. lol.

    I’m glad you guys covered the possibility for Best Actor upsets; I personally think Wahlberg still has a good chance to sneak in, but that’s just me.

  • 2 1-21-2011 at 9:53 am

    Agent Zero said...

    Kris – meat to chew on? LOL
    A bit of a double entendre there?

  • 3 1-21-2011 at 9:56 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    You said it.

  • 4 1-21-2011 at 9:57 am

    Drew said...

    I’m assuming that Joe Bruno’s the guy punching the bag. Good old Albany politicians! There’s plenty more stories to come out of that area.

    I’m not sure if Gasland is eligible since it aired on HBO.

  • 5 1-21-2011 at 9:57 am

    ben said...

    Great point on the BAFTA/Oscar connection. There’s so many examples in recent years where the tendencies of BAFTA differ from the guilds and journalist awards and ultimately align with the Oscars…

    In the Loop nominated for screenplay.

    The Reader nominations in place of The Dark Knight. Also Kate Winslet winning in lead.
    In Bruges nominated for screenplay.

    Into the Wild snubs.
    Atonement nominations.
    Marion Cotillard and Tilda Swinton winning.

    Dreamgirls snubs.
    Alan Arkin winning supporting actor.

    I’m really excited to see how the lead and supporting actress categories play out Tuesday. There’s so many differnt possible combinations considering the category confusion in addition to the overall competitive field.

  • 6 1-21-2011 at 10:00 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Drew: It’s eligible. On the shortlist.

  • 7 1-21-2011 at 10:08 am

    Andrej said...

    I was upset with Michael Stulhbarg missing the Best Actor nomination last year for A Serious Man.

    Why did they bother with Morgan Freeman for Invictus if A Serious Man was up for Best Picture and Screenplay anyways.

    And of course, Bruce Springsteen and “The Wrestler” song. “Jai ho” and “…O Saya” were far, far too excesive, and by Oscar time, I couldn’t tolerate anymore the Slumdog steamroll.

  • 8 1-21-2011 at 11:07 am

    Joey said...

    I don’t think Surf’s Up has that much complexity when it comes to animated films, and it was nominated.

    I think Tangled is in. It’s a traditional Disney princess musical that just so happened to be computer animated.

  • 9 1-21-2011 at 11:08 am

    Silencio said...

    I’d say I’m still a little irked about Scarlett Johansson being snubbed for Lost In Translation.

    And I still think Amy Adams gave the lead actress perf of the year in Enchanted, but I was under no real illusion that she’d get in.

    And, of course, Let the Right One In for foreign language film.

  • 10 1-21-2011 at 11:35 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Joey: “Surf’s Up” is really respected by animators. I talked to many that year who loved it and its unique approach. (I also quite like the film myself, to be honest.)

    It’s not about “complexity.” It’s about appreciation of the animation, and they liked what was done there.

    If you want to argue against “Shark Tale,” however, I’ll be on board.

  • 11 1-21-2011 at 11:46 am

    Joey said...

    Kris: I meant complexity of story. I thought the animation was actually well done. I was probably suffering from penguin fatigue by the time that came out. I just didn’t care for the plot that much.

    I cringe when I think about Shark Tale. That was almost successfully removed from my memory.

  • 12 1-21-2011 at 12:05 pm

    Estefan said...

    I’m probably beating a dead horse in the comments here, but I still think Tangled is in. It’s getting Little Mermaid-calibre reviews and box-office, to compare it to another Disney fairy tale musical. If The Little Mermaid was released today, do you honestly see it getting snubbed in best animated feature?

    I agree with Thompson in that they will really be behind the creation of the hair, which will help many future computer-generated films, where hair has almost always been the most tricky thing to do. Not to mention, John Lasseter and especially Glen Keane are hugely respected in the animation community. More-so than Sylvain Chomet and Chris Meledendri (sp?). Call me stubborn, but I just don’t see Tangled missing out.

  • 13 1-21-2011 at 12:27 pm

    Andrej said...


    “If The Little Mermaid was released today, do you honestly see it getting snubbed in best animated feature?”

    In a year of three nominees, probably yes, it’d be snubbed.

    I think the “Disney princess” model that was all the rave back in the 90s no longer applies nowadays as literally as back then. The Princess and the Frog literally drowns for me in second viewings, and I have yet to see a little kid who was really excited with that movie. Every one I’ve met was bored to tears.

    It’s not a completely bad film though, but it’s very old fashioned for the target they’ve inteded to make it for. That’s why I do think Tangled is in*, it’s a fresher film overall, even if it uses the same old Disney Princess formula.

    *Unless The Illusionist has something to say about it.

    “I agree with Thompson in that they will really be behind the creation of the hair, which will help many future computer-generated films, where hair has almost always been the most tricky thing to do.”

    Maybe, but they didn’t nominate Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and that probably has the best 3D cartoon character animation to date, and some of the most creative and unique scenery in 3D animation so far. It’s not always about technical merits.

    Also, I’ve heard Keith Lango was very excited with the animation of Despicable Me, especially with the minions… so who knows what they exactly regard as not the best, but the third best. Perhaps they’ll go with a Persepolis pick and choose Angels & Idiots instead.

  • 14 1-21-2011 at 12:36 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I see what you mean now, Joey.

  • 15 1-21-2011 at 12:41 pm

    Maxim said...

    “In a year of three nominees, probably yes, it’d be snubbed.”

    I find that highly unlikely, personally and could even argue that all things being equal it could even win. But then I’m not sure I would equate Tangled with The Little Mermaid, the difference in animation technique being just one reason why.

  • 16 1-21-2011 at 12:43 pm

    Maxim said...

    “especially with the minions”

    You know what the minions remind me off? Those little spinning spoungy things in those the Swiffer Jet commercials. I would not be suprised if they were created by the same team.

  • 17 1-21-2011 at 1:24 pm

    Andrej said...


    “I find that highly unlikely, personally and could even argue that all things being equal it could even win. But then I’m not sure I would equate Tangled with The Little Mermaid, the difference in animation technique being just one reason why.”

    However, if it’s a year of five, surely it’d be in. But just like Princess and the Frog did.

    I’m just saying that the term ‘Disney princess’ has become somewhat of a negative cliché after how gradually worse their movies were becoming by the end of the 90s, and maybe that would hurt a movie like Mermaid beyond how great the visuals are.

    Not to mention that visuals alone won’t get a nomination with these guys. Ga’hoole is nowhere to be seen in this year’s Oscars, and Ponyo didn’t make it last year.

  • 18 1-21-2011 at 1:34 pm

    Maxim said...

    Andrej, I just feel that your argument is somewhat flawed. For one thing, how much of a debit could the “Disney Prince” really be after “Princess and the Frog” made it in? Sure, the formula has become tiresome but I still thing that “The Little Mermaid” is different enough and appealing enough to make it in again.

    “I’m just saying that the term ‘Disney princess’ has become somewhat of a negative cliché after how gradually worse their movies were becoming by the end of the 90s”

    True, but The Little Mermaid was a product of a different time and it shows. You also seem to be forgetting that The Little Mermaid was a mighty film and is frequently credited for launching the second golden era of Disney Animation. It is a much more appealing work then you give it credit for. Following a load of “Disney Princess” movies didn’t hurt it then so why would it hurt it now? I don’t even think the label applies 100%.

    “Not to mention that visuals alone won’t get a nomination with these guys.”

    I said nothing about the visuals, actually. But I will say that musucally it’s more interesting than Tangled.

    Ponyo, by the way, wasn’t given enough credit for how beautiful it was actually. In fact, some saw it as simplistic, which is a real shame. Maybe the two best animated movies of that year.

  • 19 1-21-2011 at 1:58 pm

    Estefan said...

    Also, to add another point, if you think about it, it’s kind of weird to live in a world where a Disney animated film with rave reviews, huge box-office and is a frontrunner for best original song is not considered a lock for best animated feature.

    It may not have the same level of critical love as Dragon, but it’s certainly close.

  • 20 1-21-2011 at 2:16 pm

    Andrej said...


    There’s no denying that The Little Mermaid had an impact in Disney. I’m just saying that if The Little Mermaid had shown up just now, but keeping Disney’s success in the 90s intact, then I’d have my doubts with it because we’d be like ‘been there already’ about another princess movie with Disney, regardless of how beautiful the animation and the technique was.

    I’m not saying the visuals and the animation are awful, they’re very impressive. I’m just saying that I don’t think that the sole work on those areas would get Little Mermaid a nod today (hence the ‘visuals’ bit from before) because as a whole, it still could be perceived as something not as fresh and original like it was back then, pre-Disney princess mania.

    Also is worth mentioning that Disney was the only one making large scale animated films back in the 90s with any sign of acclaim and success. Don Bluth was fading into an embarrasing obscurity and WB was no match for Disney. Nowadays we have Pixar, Dreamworks, Sony Animations, Ghibli, Aardman, a bunch of indie animators, etc, so there’s enough competition to eclipse Disney, and this currently happens more often than not.

    Plus, Pixar and Dreamworks are getting automatic (but mostly well deserved, at least for Pixar) byes to Oscar night every year anyways, so in a year of three, Little Mermaid would be caught in a free-for-all like the one Tangled is in currently. But nominated in a year of five? Absolutely, but I couldn’t predict as easily that it’d win.

    tl;dr … we need some Timewarp Oscars right now. lol.

  • 21 1-21-2011 at 2:28 pm

    Andrej said...



    “Following a load of “Disney Princess” movies didn’t hurt it then so why would it hurt it now?”

    Didn’t hurt financially, but come on. Pocahontas and Mulan aren’t glowing examples of Disney’s work. The formula was getting tired, and Princess was copying it again.

    Tangled has a better shot of restarting the disney princess theme than Princess and the Frog (or the hypotheical Mermaid) had by being a bit more aware of this formula, leaving room for self parody, and it’s 3D, and both elements are undeniably more appealing with kids today.

  • 22 1-21-2011 at 2:47 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Very good podcast; actually, one of the best, and most balanced; though I always enjoy them.

    On animation: industry love makes me think Despicable Me will also be the 3rd spot. And I can definitely understand, if not agree, with Anne’s assessment. I just hope it’s Tangled or The Illusionist; if onyl because I didn’t care for Despicable Me.

    On Bridges: I understand that he is extremely well liked and has gotten great reviews in a popular movie, but I’ll be sad when he gets in over a Bardem or Gosling. Duvall … same thing. He’s loved, but he’s like 7th or 8th in my personal rankings.

    Either way, I’m psyched for Tuesday. And I’m hoping (and kinda expecting) for some surprises.

  • 23 1-21-2011 at 3:57 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Tell me why you loved it so, JJ. Not because I want to hear more accolades (okay, a little bit) but want to know what’s working as always.

  • 24 1-21-2011 at 4:06 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Is it just me or did you totally not talk about the Golden Globes? o_0

  • 25 1-21-2011 at 4:24 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I noticed that too. Tried to let it pass without mention BUT THANKS ENGLISH.

    It flavored our discussion, let’s say. :)

  • 26 1-21-2011 at 4:32 pm

    DylanS said...

    Kris: I have to disagree with you on Hershey v. Kunis. Hershey, although playing it well, is doing nothing more than the “Crazy mother” sterotype that Ruth Gordon already perfected in “Rosemary’s Baby”. Don’t get me wrong, she’s good, but a one-note performance like that has no place getting a nomination. Kunis, on the other hand, actually provides something new to the “evil rival” stock characterization and gives the film some breathing room in the midst of all the melodrama. I think many could have stepped into Hershey’s role and the film would have been just as good, whereas without Kunis, the film probably would have sunken a bit, at least for me.

  • 27 1-21-2011 at 4:43 pm

    DarkLayers said...

    Kris, on awards bloggers, do you think there is more of a need for coverage over the year, as the convo began around july and hurt locker came out in the summer last year?

  • 28 1-21-2011 at 4:44 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Oh, I think she’s doing much, much more than that. If only because there is more built into the character directorially than something that reductive.

    But since you said it, I frankly think anyone could have played Kunis’s role, too.

  • 29 1-21-2011 at 4:55 pm

    DylanS said...

    Anyone willing to go through all that rigorous training, of course, though I couldn’t disagree more. I still felt that there was no arc whatsoever to Hershey’s character and that by the end, the story almost doesn’t know what to do with her. She’s manic and control-freakish and that’s about it. I blame the script for that though, and not Hershey. I do want to watch it again to if there is something deeper in her performance.

  • 30 1-21-2011 at 5:22 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    And where is Kunis’s arc? She really isn’t much more than a diversion, on the page.

  • 31 1-21-2011 at 5:23 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    And by the way, she’s manic and control-freakish for a reason, I think. And I think it becomes obvious over the course of the film. She’s living vicariously through her daughter, trying desperately to feel the joy she felt as a dancer herself.

  • 32 1-21-2011 at 6:06 pm

    DylanS said...

    Not so much an arc but more nuance to her character. You’re never really sure if she’s actually causing Nina to sink further into insanity or if those are merely projections put on her by Nina. I think there’s a hell of a lot more going on with her character than Hershey’s. And I wasn’t complaning that Hershey was manic and control-freakish, it’s obviously for a reason, but it’s still one note and something we’ve seen many times before.

  • 33 1-21-2011 at 6:38 pm

    Hero said...

    Thanks for opening and closing with “Me and Tennessee,” which reminds me that the only song in contention this year that doesn’t give me the willies quite possibly won’t be nominated Tuesday.


    Seriously, though, I know it’s been mentioned that the Academy doesn’t have a history of going for country songs, but they occasionally come up with some crazy, weird picks. I mean, Eminem and Three 6 Mafia are Oscar winners, so could “Me and Tennessee” maybe happen?

  • 34 1-21-2011 at 7:20 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Kris, but accolades are fun, aren’t they? :)

    OK, so, this may sound ‘douchey’ (loved that you let that one fly today) and disrespectful (I don’t mean to) and wrong (sayin’ straight up) … but I think I just enjoyed this podcast more because Anne didn’t bug me, haha.

    So, that’s pure opinion, and can’t help for future podcasts (suggestions).

    As far as when I said “balanced”, I guess I just meant that you guys really touched upon so much and thoroughly without much padding. It was a full, but brisk podcast. i.e., great music choice, nice intro, critics choice awards, globes (sorta), bafta, many category discussions for this coming Tuesday, reader questions, Sundance, and out.

    And on another shallow note, loved the delayed and hushed “why?” you gave Anne upon her hunch that Winter’s Bone is in.

    It may very well be in. And as I’ve said before, I respect Anne (without often agreeing with her), and will gladly be humbled for predicting against it – if it’s in.

    So, yeah, just a very good podcast, but they all are. Thanks!

    And as a p.s. – just got back from ‘The Way Back’. Very good. Stellar acting from all. Glorious cinematography. Oscar winning-caliber make-up (like … wow). My only issue with the film is that I was missing an emotional crest in the end. But as I said, thoroughly pleased. And I agree with you & Anne’s coments (from months ago).

  • 35 1-21-2011 at 9:36 pm

    Hans said...

    I find it interesting that you’ve got Matt Damon in your sidebar seeing as how he has shown up nowhere. He’d be an interesting Maggie Gyllenhaal-like inclusion.

    Also, I feel shaky about Mila Kunis but my head says she should be ok. BFCA/GG/SAG nods. It’s happened with a little more frequency lately where a triple hit misses at Oscar: Paul Giamatti, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Angelina Jolie, and Kate Winslet (for Rev Road) all missed out after hitting all three.

  • 36 1-21-2011 at 10:56 pm

    darklayers said...

    Hmmm….I think “Eternal Sunshine” and “Mulholland Drive” not getting nods was notable in their years, in light of the decade lists. Naomi Watts’ lack of a nod, in particular.

    On the personal heartfelt level of the question, I love “Almost Famous” and I think it really deserved a nod. Director for “Zodiac” in 2007. “Toy Story 2” in 1999.

  • 37 1-22-2011 at 5:41 am

    JR said...

    Anne’s pronunciation of the Canadian foreign language film’s title is so cute.

  • 38 1-22-2011 at 11:06 am

    Estefan said...

    Yeah, I’m going to beat more dead horses here and another reason why I think Tangled is going to get in, is that I noticed that since the category for animated feature was created, the Disney films not to get in (Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons) are ones that weren’t all that acclaimed to begin with.

    Meanwhile, Tangled is widely loved.