February 03, 2007
Charting the buzz as it comes around the bend...

1. "Letters from Iwo Jima"
2. "The Queen"
3. "Little Miss Sunshine"
4. "Babel"
5. "The Departed"

Column on Monday.


I just can't understand why you have The Departed down so low when it will most likely take Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Editing. It can even surprise in Best Supporting Actor. And the statement that the academy doesn't like violence is not coherent, since Gladiator and Braveheart have plenty of bloodshed.

kris, I don't understand either. The Departed at the five slot???

The Departed isn't a feel-good film that's why it ranked so low.

Gladiator and Braveheart didn't have what could quite easily be construed as pointless violence. Plus, those films had heart. Departed does too, but it's buried.

And I sincerely doubt it'll win editing.

In any sane year, Departed would obviously be the least likely winner of this crop of nominees. It's all wishful thinking, I feel.

And yes, it is, to me, the best film of the nominated five. Can't pin playing favorites on me.

The Queen as #2? Whaaaaat?

Really, this is a 3-picture race: Sunshine, Babel, and Departed.

The "wishful thinking" you speak of is more relevant to Letters from Iwo Jima, not The Departed.

Pointless violence? Come on, we have to give the Academy a little more credit than that. They might have made some dumb decisions in the past but I don't think most people are going to view the ending of this film as pointless violence. Violence is at the heart of this film, and there's a reason why this film is named The Departed. Anyhow, if Scorsese does win the DGA, considering their impeccable record with matching up with Best Picture, I'd hope you'd consider boosting it up a couple of spots.

Wishful thinking? Because why? Letters wasn't even in my top ten.

Who are you getting your information from? If you tell us that, we might be able to add some insight.

Not getting my information from any secret source. Just judging from phase two strategies, perception of where buzz was and is and good ole' fashioned gut instinct.

I guess it doesn't hurt that I've spoken to a few Academy members and industry folk, but not enough to be any indication. This is still a 6000 person body of people we're talking about.

"Wishful thinking" in that you called it for "Iwo Jima" awhile ago, then backed off, and now want to seem like you right all along.

No, that's not the case, John. And it's even slightly insulting, but I'll chalk it up to you reading your own perspective into the matter.

I don't want to "seem" like anything. I'm constantly looking for the answer, and this week, even with Marty winning the DGA, I think the two films that have a message and would be something of a statement in so voting are at the top.

"Letters" has the unique position of beginning its buzz rather than coming around the fourth turn like the rest of the field.

"Iwo Jima"'s buzz is building? Even after the Oscar nominations, it's still struggling to attract any kind of an audience. I just don't see the Academy saluting a film that's made less than $10 million, regardless of it being made by their beloved Clint.

And I didn't mean to insult you whatsoever. I phrased my previous message poorly.

It's just my hunch that since you pegged "Iwo Jima" for the win before the noms, you were all the more tempted to fall back on it post-noms. But I could be entirely wrong - that's just the impression I get.

I actually think Kris is 100% correct. I don't live in LA, but you have to look at the type of people who are voting and how the films match up with their tastes. LETTERS has AMPAS written all over it (not to mention it's a very good film), and so does THE QUEEN. I wonder, though, if SUNSHINE should be higher, maybe at 2? I see it as a three-way race between LETTERS-QUEEN-SUNSHINE.

And John Y, if Kris thought that LETTERS wasn't actually going to win, why the hell would he say he thinks it's going to? It would not look good for him to be wrong. I think he was on to something back in the beginning of December when he was the first person to project that LETTERS would factor big into this pony race, and this this shows that he hasn't changed his mind. And as I said before, he's probably right.

Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised AT ALL if LETTERS wins on Feb. 26. It makes perfect sense.


Can you elaborate a bit. Yes, a few AMPAS members isn't necessarilly representative of the entire body, but is The Departed really that far beind? It's especially strange since it has Best Director locked up.

Having said that, I've been predicting THE QUEEN for the win since November. I think it's the only film that has wide appeal among AMPAS members. I think that it's an especially attractive choice to the older voters for whom The Departed is too violent, LMS is too...young(?) And Letters too Japanese.

Also, I've been thinking for a while now that THE DEPARTED's language may be just as much of a hindrance as it's physical violence. Any thoughts?

I'm beginning to sense that I shouldn't have used the word "buzz" at the top here. "Charting" was the important word, and cearly I'm drawing froma lot of gut feeling here. But there we are.

Things should be explained clearly in tomorrow's column.

why are most of the people criticizing this chart Scorsese's fanboys from OW mmmm interesting....

While I would certainly call myself a Scorsese fanboy (who wouldn't?), I think "The Departed" is weakest of the nominees in terms of quality.

Yet, that won't stop me from thinking it's the front-runner at the moment.

I canĀ“t imagine a movie that didn't get a nom from the WGA and the DGA winning the Oscar.
It's between Sunshine, Departed and Babel.

Why does no one seem to understand that the guilds didn't see Letters?

Are you sure Kris?

Uuuuh...yeah. Many of the guilds don't allow screeners, and Academy members didn't receive THEIR screeners until the last week of the year.

Kris: I have the unique and first blog in spanish in the Internet about the Oscars. It's www.oscar-countdown.blogspot.com. Could you add it to your links? I update it everyday, more than one time. Please, help me.

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