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One Last Oscars Post

I am a confirmed movie nerd — the kind who never met a director’s commentary she didn’t want to hear, who watches making-of featurettes and cast interviews with fan-girl avidity, and who spends a possibly unwholesome amount of time contemplating the unrivalled perfection of the young Peter O’Toole and wondering what Klaus Maria Brandauer, Campbell Scott, Allison Janney, and Kristin Scott Thomas are up to lately. I read pretty much everything I can get my hands on about the movies, so the advent of the Oscars is a mixed blessing: quantity soars, but quality plummets.

Now, I’m by no means averse to a healthy dollop of dumb Hollywood dish — I really do care why Jessica Chastain can’t seem to quite nail a good red carpet look — but the real goods for me is the insider stuff. Larry Miller occasionally talks about the nitty-gritty of getting movies and TV shows made on his podcast, as does, of course, our own inside man, Rob Long. I like hearing from the people doing the making rather than the people doing the watching. So if you’re anything like me, you will love this post from The Hollywood Reporter, called “An Oscar Voter’s Brutally Honest Ballot.” 

Here is this anonymous insider’s take on the Best Sound Editing ballot:

This is more about sound effects done in post. I’m going to dismiss ArgoDjango and Life of Pi because I don’t think their post sound effects were terribly interesting or original. Zero Dark Thirty? I imagine that a great deal of the raid was done with sound effects editing. But I’m gonna go with Skyfall. The sound of that movie was absolutely extraordinary — in particular, when the train comes colliding into the station.

Now I have to see Skyfall again — not that that’s a hardship — so I can take special note of the sound of the train coming into the station.

Here he is on Best Cinematography:

Lincoln was way too milky for me; I have that problem with almost everything Janusz Kaminski does. The Anna Karenina cinematography was totally unimpressive. Django Unchained was Robert Richardson, and he, in general, does far too much top-lighting for me. I’m voting for Skyfall because I want Roger Deakins to win an Oscar. Now, I’m a person who knows that Roger Deakins shot Skyfall, but a lot of people in the Academy will have no clue who did because they don’t tell you on the ballot; in fact, they won’t vote for it because it’s a James Bond film — you know, ‘How can you give James Bond an Oscar?’ But they should go back and rewatch that opening shot where Bond is approaching the camera, and he’s out-of-focus and he slams into focus in a way that I’ve never seen done before. I also really love the way that Deakins plays with dark and light in the film.

And on Les Mis, via a discussion of Anne Hathaway’s chances:

Sometimes it’s one scene that wins it for you. Not just anybody can come in and kill one song; there are many songs that Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe should have killed, and, in fact, they killed them literally.

Be warned that this guy’s language is salty; most of his comments are unprintable here. But if you’d like one last look — an insider’s look — at this year’s Oscar contenders, give it a read.

PS: As a bonus, here is Paperman, this year’s winner for Best Animated Short.

  1. Stephen Dawson

    Judith, if you like Paperman, I’d suggest that you check out this short: Signs. Stick with it through the first three minutes, which are a bit depressing.

    Surely it’s an inspiration for Paperman. Virtually dialogue free, young man and woman communicating from opposing skyscraper windows. I’m a sucker for romances so I loved it.

  2. Skyler

    Nice essay, Judith. You bring a fresh perspective to the movies. But I was very disappointed by Paperman. The animation was unoriginal. The story had so much promise but didn’t deliver. Everything was predictable and of any possible results to the man, the animator a pretty much chose the least interesting. It was a premise that should have wowed me but didn’t. What a shame.

  3. Pony Convertible

    You and I wouldn’t have much to talk about over dinner.  I haven’t seen a movie in years.  There was not one name in your article that I had ever heard of before.  On the other hand, you probably couldn’t draw the wiring diagram of a 66 Mustang from memory (I haven’t tried to do this, but I have had to looked at it enough I am sure I could draw most of the circuits. Including wire colors).  Different people have different interests.  That is why I read Ricochet, to find out what is on the mind of other folks. 

  4. Israel P.

    “One Last Oscars Post”

    Promise?

  5. Ross C

    I will admit I am impressed with the discussion of the Oscar voting.  Who knew?  I wonder if this person is representative or exceptional in his understanding (surely not sub-par)?

    BTW, I noticed that the Hollywood Reporter website had two of three teaser windows showing pictures of Charlize Theron at the Oscars.  I don’t pay much attention to the movies, but seeing Charlize in all her dolled-up perfection is worth wasting an hour or two on the Oscars (but not three).

  6. Fricosis Guy

    She would have convinced me to sign up on the Prometheus.

    Ross Conatser: I will admit I am impressed with the discussion of the Oscar voting.  Who knew?  I wonder if this person is representative or exceptional in his understanding (surely not sub-par)?

    BTW, I noticed that the Hollywood Reporter website had two of three teaser windows showing pictures of Charlize Theron at the Oscars.  I don’t pay much attention to the movies, but seeing Charlize in all her dolled-up perfection is worth wasting an hour or two on the Oscars (but not three). · 1 minute ago

  7. EJHill

    I have a copy of the first Oscars broadcast. It was on the “Blue” Network and lasted for one hour and only included the three main awards of the evening. Add Bob Hope to that mix and it’s movie heaven.

    Maybe it was the fact that there were real stars back then but even Oscar on radio was better than it is now.

  8. Todd
    Stephen Dawson: Judith, if you like Paperman, I’d suggest that you check out this short: Signs. Stick with it through the first three minutes, which are a bit depressing.

    Surely it’s an inspiration for Paperman. Virtually dialogue free, young man and woman communicating from opposing skyscraper windows. I’m a sucker for romances so I loved it. · 4 hours ago

    The other inspiration for Paperman was the Red Balloon, and the film even includes an homage to the French classic about 5 minutes in.

    Overall, I enjoyed Paperman, particularly the score by Christophe Beck.

  9. Pseudodionysius

    I am a confirmed movie nerd

    That makes two of us.

  10. Fricosis Guy

    Der Bingle with a shout out for Bob “the Academy Awards, or as it’s known at my house, ‘Passover’” Hope! 

    EJHill: I have a copy of the first Oscars broadcast. It was on the “Blue” Network and lasted for one hour and only included the three main awards of the evening. Add Bob Hope to that mix and it’s movie heaven.

    Maybe it was the fact that there were real stars back then but even Oscar on radio was better than it is now. · 29 minutes ago

  11. EJHill
    Fricosis Guy: Der Bingle with a shout out for Bob “the Academy Awards, or as it’s known at my house, ‘Passover’” Hope! 

    I wanna tell ya… That first broadcast is actually quite touching. That’s the year Crosby won for Going My Way and Hope gets noticably choked up watching him get the Oscar. You can listen in here.

  12. Fricosis Guy

    Nice… I’ll commandeer some bandwidth to listen.  It’s good to be the boss ;-)

    You’re so right about what passes for stardom these days, especially among Americans.  At least there was some order to the star system. Today their craft is simply mimicry and their careers have random trajectories.  Sometimes I think stupidity in an actor is a survival adaptation, not a flaw.  

    I just wish it weren’t contagious.

    EJHill

    Fricosis Guy: Der Bingle with a shout out for Bob “the Academy Awards, or as it’s known at my house, ‘Passover’” Hope! 

    I wanna tell ya… That first broadcast is actually quite touching. That’s the year Crosby won for Going My Wayand Hope gets noticably choked up watching him get the Oscar. You can listen in here. · 8 minutes ago

  13. EJHill
    Fricosis Guy: …You’re so right about what passes for stardom these days, especially among Americans…

    The biggest difference between then and now is that there’s no longer any mystery. You know waaaaaayyyy too much about the “stars” and the process and all of that.

    When Hope or Jimmy Stewart went on talk shows and revealed something about themselves it was actually interesting.

  14. Brian Clendinen

    I am with you, in one part. Being a business nerd, I love anything on the technical side that gets into the business of making movies. The acting part is my least favoriate of the aspects therefor Actors Studio does not toally count, I love hearing about everything else though.

     

    Celebrity gossip on people in the industry, blah.

  15. Pseudodionysius

    Being a business nerd, I love anything on the technical side that gets into the business of making movies.

    I am as well, but there’s quite a bit on script writing and the acting side applicable to the business world especially when it comes to pitching people and projecting confidence in a hostile crowd.

  16. Henry Scanlon
    Stephen Dawson: Judith, if you like Paperman, I’d suggest that you check out this short: Signs. Stick with it through the first three minutes, which are a bit depressing.

    Stephen– What a lovely little film!  Thanks for the heads-up!

  17. Pseudodionysius
    Henry Scanlon

    Stephen Dawson: Judith, if you like Paperman, I’d suggest that you check out this short: Signs. Stick with it through the first three minutes, which are a bit depressing.

    Stephen– What a lovely little film!  Thanks for the heads-up! · 15 minutes ago

    I have one more lovely little film for anyone who has a few spare dollars that they don’t know what to do with: Light of Love.

    (Get out the hankies while watching the trailer).

  18. Fricosis Guy

    I second @Pseudo’s advice, especially if you’re an introvert (I’ve already suggested it as a way to meet people).

    For example, how many salespeople are really introverts who have learned to act like they’re not? Far more than you think.

    Pseudodionysius

    Being a business nerd, I love anything on the technical side that gets into the business of making movies.

    I am as well, but there’s quite a bit on script writing and the acting side applicable to the business world especially when it comes to pitching people and projecting confidence in a hostile crowd. · 15 minutes ago

  19. Fricosis Guy

    TMI is the curse of the connected world.

    EJHill

    Fricosis Guy: …You’re so right about what passes for stardom these days, especially among Americans…

    The biggest difference between then and now is that there’s no longer any mystery. You know waaaaaayyyy too much about the “stars” and the process and all of that.

    When Hope or Jimmy Stewart went on talk shows and revealed something about themselves it was actually interesting. · 2 hours ago

  20. Indaba

    TMI.The sing called I’ve seen your boobs is actually telling actresses what men really think, it was shocking but probably the truest thing said. Did those actresses really care?