Prior to the 86th Oscars on March 2, THR’s awards analyst Scott Feinberg will present an eight-part series of posts breaking down the key facts and figures pertaining to each of the “big eight” Oscar categories. (For his predictions, see the weekly “Feinberg Forecast” post.) This post focuses on the best picture Oscar race. And the nominees are…
By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter
A few weeks ago, I moderated the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Directors Panel, which featured five of this year’s Oscar-nominated filmmakers: best animated feature nominee Jennifer Lee (co-director of Frozen), best documentary feature nominees Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) and Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing) and best foreign-language film nominees Paolo Sorrentino (director of Italy’sThe Great Beauty) and Felix Van Groeningen (director of Belgium’s The Broken Circle Breakdown).
The ability to get viewers to suspened disbelief is an important part of the cinema going experience. It’s the reason we can enjoy movies set in a galaxy far, far away or watch a man age backwards with no qualms. The Academy has often looked to these films as nominees and with Her in the race, and gunning for a screenplay prize, it might behoove us to look at films that required the audience to engage in a different way.
With less than a week to go before the 86th Academy Awards ceremony and less than 24 hours before the final round of Oscar voting closes, several categories still appear to be too close to call. One of them is the best original song contest, which I first dissected just a couple of weeks ago. Here is a look at what each of the four nominees have working in and against their favor.
The final round of Oscar voting closes at 5 p.m. PT on Tuesday. Knowing that many Academy members wait until the last minute to turn in their selections — either via online voting or paper ballots, which some even hand-deliver to the PricewaterhouseCoopers offices — and that numerous categories in this year’s race are still too close to call, contending distributors and talent have been fighting for every vote in every imaginable way. Will any of their efforts make a significant difference in a contender’s prospects? We’ll never know for sure. But that won’t keep them from trying.
By Mark Pinkert
* * *
For my final post of the Oscar season, I decided to interview Scott Feinberg, the preeminent Oscarologist and namesake of this website, to get some insights from him about his own career and influences, his experiences on the awards circuit this year and his impressions about the current state of the film industry. Below is the full transcript of our conversation. It’s long, but certainly worth a read.
When the Los Angeles Times published the study of the Academy two years ago, many people were equally shocked and not surprised at the information given about the demographics. Since the piece, many have trumpeted the 94% white, 77% male, and average age of 62 years old as a way to justify certain predictions. With several veteran contenders in the race this year, how much affect will the Academy’s demographic have on the race.
In one week, when the 86th Academy Awards are presented in Hollywood, many Oscar pools across America will be lost by people who correctly predicted major categories but blew the three categories devoted to shorts. Correctly predicting best animated short, best documentary short and best live-action short is what separates the men from the boys — or the female equivalents — when it comes to Oscar contests. And so, in an effort to try to correctly predict all three categories’ winners, as I did last year and in several years past, I did what I always do: I actually watched the nominees.
As the legendary Judi Dench nears her 80th birthday, she is enjoying as great a third act as any actor ever has. In January, for her performance as a mother searching for her long-lost child in Stephen Frears‘ Philomena (which is based on the true story of Philomena Lee), she landed her seventh Oscar nomination; all of them, including her best supporting actress win for just eight minutes of work in Shakespeare in Love, have come in the past 16 years, since she turned 63.
By Mark Pinkert
In less than a week, the Academy will crown its 2013 Best Picture and, soon after, we’ll all move on to 2014. But which of the current films will stand the test of time? Which ones will we re-watch, now and later, despite massive influxes of new movies? Some of this year’s films, we’ll find, are “re-watchable,” while others fill us up after one viewing. Here’s my look at the nine Best Picture contenders and how I think they’ll fare down the road.