The Hollywood Reporter recently ran what it describes as a conversation with “a longtime member of the Academy” who wished to remain anonymous. If the goal was to perfectly encapsulate everything I despise about the Academy, mission accomplished, and then some.
First, let me say that I’m tired of all of this talk about “snubs” — I thought for every one of [the snubs] there was a justifiable reason. What no one wants to say out loud is that Selma is a well-crafted movie, but there’s no art to it.
Selma was a brilliantly deconstructionist take on the traditional biopic, weaving in its source material in a way that allowed you to enjoy both the facts and the interpretation (think – the way it used those time stamped FBI surveillance notes on MLK). Meanwhile, the Academy nominated The Theory of Everything, a movie about a disabled guy who smiles a lot that uses milk swirling in tea as a metaphor for the universe expanding. I have to assume “no art to it” here means “not enough blatant horsesh*t.”
If the movie had been directed by a 60-year-old white male, I don’t think that people would have been carrying on about it to the level that they were. And as far as the accusations about the Academy being racist? Yes, most members are white males, but they are not the cast of Deliverance — they had to get into the Academy to begin with, so they’re not cretinous, snaggletoothed hillbillies.
“How could we be racist? We’re rich!”
If the movie isn’t that good, am I supposed to vote for it just because it has black people in it? I’ve got to tell you, having the cast show up in T-shirts saying “I can’t breathe” [at their New York premiere] — I thought that stuff was offensive. Did they want to be known for making the best movie of the year or for stirring up sh*t?
Just let that one sit, it’s going to become important in a second.
American Sniper is the winner of the year, whether or not it gets a single statuette, because for all of us in the movie industry — I don’t care what your politics are — it is literally the answer to a prayer for a midrange budget movie directed by an 84-year-old guy [Clint Eastwood] to do this kind of business.
If that is “literally a prayer” it is literally a prayer so f*cking weird it makes Scientologists look sane. “I don’t care what your politics are or what you think about the actual product, you have to be thrilled that a really old rich white guy made a massive return on his medium-sized investment.” PRAISE GOD! A RICH OLD WHITE GUY MADE MONEY FOR OTHER RICH OLD WHITE PEOPLE! GOOD THING WE SACRIFICED THAT HIPPIE AT THE LAST COUNTRY CLUB SOCIAL, FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.
It shows that a movie can galvanize America and shows that people will go if you put something out that they want to see. With regard to what it did or didn’t leave out, it’s a movie, not a documentary. I enjoyed it, I thought it was well done, and I can separate out the politics from the filmmaking.
“Did they want to be known for making the best movie or stirring up sh*t?” [ONE PARAGRAPH LATER] “I can separate out the politics from the filmmaking.”
Birdman is a great job by Fox Searchlight — it’s a weird, quirky movie that they did a really good job of selling. I never thought that it would make it all the way to the finish line like it has
I assume the “finish line” is the end of “Oscars season,” because there’s no actual “finish line” that exists in movies. This person is actually using the studio’s Oscar campaign as a basis for their Oscar vote. This article is an artist’s suicide note.
— but then I remember that it’s about a tortured actor, and when you think about who is doing the voting, at SAG and the Academy, it’s a lot of other tortured actors. I just don’t know how much it’s resonating out in the world. I mean, American Sniper made more in its third weekend in wide release than Birdman has made in its entirety.
“Resonating out in the world” = making money, apparently. Why isn’t Trans4mers nominated for anything? It resonated more out in China than American Sniper did in its own country.
If you told me when I saw Boyhood that it would win best picture — or even be in the running — I would have told you that you were insane. Watching it, I thought it was ambitious and a directorial triumph, but the kid was uneven and Patricia Arquette probably was sorry she agreed to let them film her age over 12 years.
Here I thought this person couldn’t find a criteria more sh*tty and artistically irrelevant than the studio’s Oscar campaign, and BOOM! He/she nails me with “the actress started to look old.” At this point, we might as well have Reddit MRAs rate the films on a scale from “2/10” to “would definitely bang.”
The funny thing about Whiplash is that while the rest of the world thinks that the J.K. Simmons character is an overbearing, horrible monster, there are many people in Hollywood who would model themselves on that character. As for the film itself, it’s a very traditional story, in some ways, about mentoring and excellence — that kind of movie has existed since [the 1933 film] 42nd Street. “You’re gonna go out there, and I’m gonna yell at you that you can do better, and you’re not gonna like me for it but then you will.”
Yes, this person thought Whiplash was JK Simmons’ hero’s journey.
On paper, The Imitation Game seemed to be the one to me. It’s a great story, well-crafted, [Benedict Cumberbatch] is really good and it’s been a big success. It’s what you call “prestige filmmaking.” So why isn’t it receiving more recognition? I’d like to believe it’s karma for Harvey [Weinstein]. But I’m going to hold my nose and vote for it anyway because when you vote for best picture, what you should try to do is vote for the movie that, years from now, people will still watch and talk about.
This person is going to vote for the film people will still be talking about years from now: the film that no one’s talking about now. Makes a lot of sense, when you think about it.
I’m voting for Richard Linklater. I think that what he did — as a “thing” — is extraordinary. I’m absolutely comfortable with breaking up picture and director; I wouldn’t know [The Imitation Game’s] Morten Tyldum if I walked into him.
“Sure, he made a great movie that I loved, but I probably wouldn’t recognize him on the street, so who cares? Has he ever been the subject of a magazine profile? Probably not. Sting. Sting is another hero to me. His music, I don’t really listen to it, but the fact that he’s making it? I respect that.”
I’m voting for [Birdman‘s] Michael Keaton because I love him and for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is he seems like a completely sane person who lives in the middle of the country and works when he wants to work. I’ve loved every interview that he’s done. He seems grateful, not particularly needy, and I don’t know when he’ll ever get another chance at this; the other nominees will.
Note to actors: It’s more important how you act in interviews than how you act in the actual movie. “Let’s be honest, the movie was terrible, and the acting was unwatchable, but did you know he took the part to help pay for his mother’s operation? That’s just so sweet.”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
I’m voting for Arquette. She gets points for working on a film for 12 years and bonus points for having no work done during the 12 years. If she had had work done during the 12 years, she would not be collecting these statues. It’s a bravery reward. It says, “You’re braver than me. You didn’t touch your face for 12 years. Way to freakin’ go!” MY VOTE: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
How much plastic surgery the person has had, yet another relevant yardstick for art. “I thought it was very brave of her to age, even though that was the reason I ultimately disliked the film.”
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
I’m not voting for Nightcrawler — that was really unpleasant.
BURN IT ALL DOWN.
With Foxcatcher, they said seven words in the whole movie and the rest of it was people staring at each other, so I’m not voting for that. I didn’t really get the sense of a screenplay with Boyhood — it was more like they just turned on the camera once a year. Birdman and Budapest were both pretty clever, but I liked Birdman more. MY VOTE: Birdman
Be honest, Hollywood Reporter, is this person Nikki Finke? Only a shut-in or someone truly wealth and fame-ensconced could express moronic non-opinions with this kind of stridency.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
If you can call anything a “snub,” this year, it was The Lego Movie, which was one of the best movies of the year. I don’t know what happened there, but it is inconceivable to me. Of the five they did nominate, my favorite is Big Hero 6, which was adorable and original. MY VOTE: Big Hero 6
…Actually, I agree with all of that. COMPROMISE: From now on, this person is only allowed to watch cartoons.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
I don’t get the whole Citizenfour thing — he [Edward Snowden] is annoying, he has a little bit of a God complex and a lot of what’s in there I felt I’d seen in other places.
“Why should I care about some 20-something guy who threw his entire life away so he could expose government abuses? Dude was annoying. And what was up with his loud chewing? Pass. I liked the one about the kitties, the screener came with a free cookie.”
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
I haven’t seen enough of them to vote. MY VOTE: I abstain.
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The Birdman single-shot thing gave me a headache.
Of course, so does thinking. “One time I almost had a thought and broke out in hives!”
BEST SOUND EDITING
BEST SOUND MIXING
I never vote for these categories because I have no idea what’s good sound or bad sound — and believe me, I’m not alone among Academy members. MY VOTE FOR BOTH: I abstain.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
I don’t think I should be able to vote for this category either, but I can’t resist another opportunity to support Guardians of the Galaxy. It should get something. MY VOTE: Guardians of the Galaxy
BEST ANIMATED SHORT
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
MY VOTE FOR ALL THREE: I abstain.
The Academy, everyone. It’s like democracy, if everyone was your proudly out-of-touch drunk grandma who only reads US Weekly.