Gurus Favoring Descendants

The Best Picture forecast in yesterday’s Gurus of Gold post-Toronto update has Alexander Payne‘s The Descendants on top, followed by Steven Spielberg‘s War Horse. The latter lost a lot of heat yesterday when everybody took a look at that Harlequin Romance horse’s-mane-with-Fabio-hair poster, but perhaps the Guru vote was counted before this.

At this juncture War Horse‘s best Guru friends are EW‘s Anthony Breznican, Hitfix‘s Gregg Ellwood, In Contention‘s Kris Tapley and Movieline‘s Stu Van Airsdale.

The Help, significantly, now sits one slot below the fifth-ranked Moneyball. The Artist and Midnight in Paris are ranked third and fourth respectively. Seriously? Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone is the only Guru to give Moneyball a #1 ranking. It seems a bit strange that after those Moneyball raves and that $20 milliion opening last weekend that some people are still putting the perfectly likable and satisfying Midnight in Paris above it in the Best Picture likelihood rankings, but whatever.

69 thoughts on “Gurus Favoring Descendants

  1. actionman on said:

    I loved Moneyball to within an inch of its life, but something tells me it won’t make the final selection for best picture, especially since 10 slots are no longer guaranteed. It’s too subtle of a movie. And there are a ton of prestige pictures that still haven’t been released yet. I see it getting Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor nominations, and hopefully, Supporting for Hill.

  2. Don’t forget, Jeff – it’s not just that poster swaying the opinion of Hollywood’s foremost prognosticators, it’s ALSO what Ben Brantley said about THE PLAY six months ago! These guesses aren’t made in a vacuum after all!

    Next we’ll be reviewing IMDB entries….yeesh.

  3. I know, like and appreciate Ellwood, Breznican, Tapley and Van Airsdale,but their ardent prognostication points out why all Oscar coverage can die in a fire, because I will contend that not a single one of them has actually seen WAR HORSE. Christ, I doubt if anyone but Spielberg has.

    Again, not only can the Oscars die in a fire, but Awards Coverage — designed only to suck ad money out of huge conglomerates — is utter total nonsense. I’ll be over here, reading things written by grown-ups who have actually seen the movies they’re writing about; all you Oscar junkies can enjoy a hollow, shrill echo chamber of conjecture, ground axes and the beating of chests as ostensibly adult people pride themselves on predicting the aesthetic and artistic choices of a group of 800-year-old white millionaires.

  4. “I liked Hill, but if he gets nominated, it’ll mean it was a weak year for that category.”

    I tend to agree. HIll’s definitely good in a good film, but it is a “like you’ve never seen him before” sort of role. That said, it does appear to be a weak year so far.

  5. I thought Pitt and Hill were perfectly matched. If Demetri Martin had gotten the job as initially reported it wouldn’t have been as good. Hill’s comedic timing is second to none (maybe Rogen is his equal) and I loved listening to the two of them bounde all of that great dialogue off one another.

  6. Fuck this shit. I feel like I’ve seen all the excellent movies 2011 has to offer. After Descendants and a few token indies, what’s left? Spielberg’s horsey movie, a Stephen Daldry Joint, and that Dragon Tattoo shit again? I’m in for the double barreled Fassbender attack, but other than that, time to close up shop on 2011.

    Keep championing that middlebrow, Oscar.

    Oh, and since no one wants to talk Margaret, I should say that I think Anna Paquin SHOULD be discussed for a second Oscar. She’s that good in this.

  7. The Oscars are a popularity contest, they’ve got nothing to do with the quality of the actual film. The Hurt Locker was a terrific little film but surely nobody thought it was a more deserving Best Picture winner than The Thin Red Line or Full Metal Jacket, both of which failed to win the Best Picture Oscar? Does anybody really think that Slumdog Millionaire deserved to be crowned the Best Film of the year? The King’s Speech, which in essence was a TV movie? The only way to actually determine what a Best Film actually is would be to grab 20 directors, give them all the same script and see which one came out on top. Ranking art is pretty ridiculous. Guaranteed it will be something crap that wins this year and Jeff and Sasha will be devastated that a better, more deserving winner loses yet again.

  8. I hope Hill gets nominated, for his ego’s sake. We can all watch it explode. Maybe give him the trophy too, and then we can text Bill Murray how easy that was for Hill and for Bill to go suck on it.

    If we need a not-so-serious nomination to balance the heavy-handed turns in Warrior, Tinker Tailor Spy, and Tree of Life, my vote is Chris O’Dowd/Bridesmaids.

  9. James goes on set visits paid for by studios and kisses the asses of the talent involved in shit like Couples Retreat. I guess that’s called working for a living in his world. Or being a grown-up, perhaps. I see it as being as whorish as the next guy.

    However, to assume our coverage is limited by the Oscars when that is merely a platform for us to write about the films we love is to, apparently, not read us.

    Someone asked me to rank films in contention for an award upon which I never personally place any value. If that bends you out of shape, I’m sorry. But a few of your employers probably wouldn’t have the money to pay your for your freelance ass-kissery if not for awards season dollars, so maybe think about how it filters up the chain, oh noble, hip one.

  10. I still need to see “The Ides of March,” “Anonymous,” “The Rum Diary,” “Melancholia,” “Takes Shelter,” “The Descendants,” “Hugo,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” “Shame,” “A Dangerous Method,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “A Seperation,” “The Artist” and some other stuff I can’t think of.

    I guess there’s something positive about not visiting all of these festivals: we don’t blow our load in one week with nothing but “The Iron Lady” and “J. Edgar” waiting for us…

  11. Predicting films that haven’t yet been seen is nothing new – as Damien Bona points out in our recent Oscar roundtable (which you should read, James). It’s not really meant to be about picking winners so much as picking films most likely to get nominated or to win. If you’re asked to rank films for a contest that amounts to nothing more than a silly game and you leave out War Horse because you haven’t seen it – some other person is going to have it on their list and if the movie does manage to do what it’s designed to do: win Oscars then you have to then explain why you were too stupid to see the writing on the wall.

    Having said that, i agree essentially that predicting it or any film you haven’t seen to win is a risky, crazy game (again, see the Oscar roundtable where we discuss it) but to say we should all die in a fire is an asshole thing to say.

    Why are you even reading it if you hate it so much anyway? Why comment at all if doing so means you just stepped in a big pile of dog shit?

    I can’t defend all of the Oscar coverage. I’ve been doing it for 13 years and I’ve seen it grow immensely. I also have a 13 year old kid to raise that I do on my own and therefore I have no moral dilemma when it comes to deciding whether to behold the holy institute of cinema over getting groceries for her and school clothes and whatever else she needs – dude, it’s a no-brainer.

    I love movies. I love writing about them. I hope every year that the Oscar race is about the best Hollywood has to offer. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t – but it’s worth covering. It’s worth writing about whether people like you care for it or not. Hell, people have been attacking us for years – and usually they are put in the position of having to write about the Oscars just to earn a paycheck. I’ve seen it happen to at five journalists in entertainment, including Mr. Jeff Wells.

    So you know, dude, but for the grace of god go you.

    I hope nobody dies in a fire, not ever.

  12. No, Chase – You don’t need to SEE those movies, you just need to look at the POSTERS and then you can maybe be a Guru of Gold too!

    Like that Ides of March poster? The one with Clooney holding up the magazine and the other half is Gosling’s face or whatever? That tells you, very clearly, this film is classy enough to be nominated but likely not good enough to actually win Best Picture. Acting noms? Probably.

    See? just that easy! You can see it later and do a review, sure, but make sure you establish some basic facts on the ground first. That’s what the experts do. Only plebes and red staters with sandals wait to see the movie. Come on!

  13. Hey, Kris, my COUPLES RETREAT Review is on the record — and if a 2.5/5 review is “kissing ass,” then I’m a lousy pucker-er. Asking interview questions of people about a film you have no fondness for is also part of my job, and separate from a review. And if movie studios want me to talk to actors and actresses — which my employer also wants — and I have to get on a plane to do that, I do it. I personally prefer it when I only have to drive 10 mins., but as a freelance employee, I go where I’m told. Am I compromised? Sure. Are the things I write paid for by soap and car and movie ads? Yes. But Oscar handicapping when YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM is nonsense. And my objections above were, as you’ll see, more about the process in general than you specifically. But thanks for jumping to ad hominem attacks because deep in your heart you know you can’t defend the indefensible, Kris. I’m not noble and not hip. But I’m also not treating the fricking Prom for Rich People like it’s the Papal nuncio convening to choose the next Pontiff.

    And Sasha, I said Oscar COVERAGE should die in a fire. Not Oscar Coverage-ers. Oscar Cover-ers. You know what I mean.

    Looking forward to your 2012 Best Picture frontrunners piece you’ll run in Dec. 2011,

    James.

  14. It’s called predicting, James. Predicting. Are you aware of the definition for that word?

    “I’m also not treating the fricking Prom for Rich People like it’s the Papal nuncio convening to choose the next Pontiff.”

    Nor are we. Once again, it’s a platform. My top 10 films last year were things like Another Year and Exit Through the Gift Shop, Enter the Void, The Way Back, A Prophet, etc. Hardly major Oscar players. So, again, if you actually read the coverage (I can only imagine you don’t at this stage), you’d see that I frequently call the Oscars nonsense and frequently stump for films I love. It is THE BULK OF MY COVERAGE to write passionately about what I love. But, I never go so far as to think fringe things will ever get headway with the Academy, hence predicting the predictable, a la War Horse.

    I think a “grown up” would understand that.

    And it wasn’t an ad hominem attack so much as a simple attack. You’re the clueless whore calling our street corner dirty. And it’s a tired, old, pointless argument.

    I’m reminded of Stu, who you mention, and who I do like. He used to talk so much shit about Oscar coverage. Now not only is he doing it consistently but he’s writing us up asking for quotes for his pieces.

    I look forward to the day when you’re suddenly in the same boat.

  15. I know what predicting means, Kris. I just can’t imagine why you’d bother. “I never go so far as to think fringe things will ever get headway with the Academy, hence predicting the predictable, a la War Horse.” So you wake up every day and try to get a read on a corrupt invalid system. For fun and profit. I can’t imagine anything worse.

    If I ever do have to write up nothing but Awards predictions about movies I’ve never seen — which has a fair possibility — well, you can laugh. But considering you’re betting the Oscar for a film you, and no one else, has seen — the crux of my argument with the process — eight now, the joke isn’t on you. You — and, to be fair, any one else doing so — are the joke.

    J.

  16. The central problem with Oscar coverage is that it continues to feed the studios exactly what they want. WAR HORSE may well end up being the best film of the year, but unless it’s THE LOVELY BONES-level bad, it’s guaranteed a nomination at this point, because everyone tends to agree it will get one. And Oscar prognosticators are a HUGE part of that. They’re essentially predicting WAR HORSE because WAR HORSE is being sold as an Oscar movie.

    I don’t have a problem with anyone making money off of this system – Lord knows I’ve done my fair share of casting announcements and trailer articles to pay the bills – but I wouldn’t mind a little more honesty about the process, and certainly some more left-field picks, just to get the names out there.

    For example – Gabe is right. If Paquin doesn’t get nominated, it’ll either be the best year for female performances EVER, or…you know, it’s the Oscars. But to those in power, who write these pieces and contribute to these polls – push those you believe in.

  17. That last sentence is plagued by a lot of weird diversions in your train of thought, but I think I followed it. Your final point comes in loud and clear, in any case.

    And I’m glad we got that out of the way, James. It’s good to know where you stand with people. Especially vipers who smile to your face and then hide behind the internet.

    Although it’s really confusing. I gather you think none of this matters. But then you seem so up in arms about someone expecting the Oscar-bait-slathered film of the year to likely be in Oscar contention that I can only think it comes from a place of thinking it really DOES matter, these guessing games that aren’t considered much more than sport by those that do it. On Twitter you want to buy me a “lighten up, Francis” shirt (love the reference). Maybe you should wear it.

    In any case, once again, I wake up every day eager to see good films and write about them. That often comes in the context of Oscar consideration. I’m sorry it’s such a burden for you. Just remember to expense your tampons the next time Paramount or whoever flies you out to butter up the talent of films you hate on location in some gorgeous locale. Because, truly? I can’t imagine anything worse than THAT. The dishonesty of it — and how tone deaf you are to it — is staggering.

  18. Scott: We often push those we believe in, in the form of reviews and general coverage, which is much more in-depth and meaningful than a list of predictions. But why predict Certified Copy to sweep the Oscars when we know there isn’t a snowball’s chance? The logic of that makes no sense.

  19. Sasha, every human being on the planet was at one point or is presently a child. Everyone alive needs food. I don’t think it’s a valid excuse for having no “moral dilemma” about your work choices as a parent. Not that Oscar predicting is evil or hurts anyone, but I think people are hoping that the few good writers left in cinema criticism (yourself included) don’t get swallowed up by that hideous Oscar black hole. Why spend time predicting what the voters’ tastes are? Look who’s been winning the last 20 years and you’ll see what these voters think. So what? It’s not about art, because “best” in the case of film can only ever be a personal opinion. it’s about marketing, and some here are tired of it.

  20. I’m going to wade in and ask a simple question. Is there an actual demand for all the Oscar prognostication that certain people are bitching about? Or is it a case that there are simply more outlets to funnel it, so it’s created to fill those outlets perceived need?

    Too obvious?

  21. Kris – Sure, when you go that far afield, your point is well taken (though I, too, would love to see Certified Copy in serious contention), but there is merit in predicting films that have a long row to hoe, as it were. I think you actually put it best in your latest column:

    “It’s almost every awards pundit’s self-defeating catch-22 that we mourn the films and artists that’ll never get the recognition that they deserve – even as we strike them from the contenders list because they’re not “that type” of film or artist. How do we hope for the ‘awards movie’ bracket to widen if we define it so narrowly from the outside? It’s the deluded (not to mention conceited) critic or blogger who imagines that his passions hold any sway on voters during Oscar season, but that isn’t an automatic argument for accepting your lot and shutting up.”

    And, for what it’s worth, kudos for keeping The Tree of Life in the conversation. I think it’s a shoe-in myself, but then, I know that if more people saw Winnie the Pooh, the Animated Film race would be OVER.

  22. Kris: You’ve been to my home. I’m not hiding behind anything. And your line about “expensing my tampons?” Wow, crass AND sexist. And yet more evocative and colorful than anything else you’ve ever written. I’m glad you get to make money off old white people’s petite-bourgois pageants, Kris. But I stand by my point that anyone putting WAR HORSE at the top of the Oscar picks list is silly, and part of the problem.

    I’m done here,

    J.

  23. Miserable – I participate in the predictions because I’m asked to by Gurus and by Gold Derby. It has always been against my own personal policy for 13 years now not to predict ON MY OWN SITE movies I haven’t seen. I have always been uncomfortable with it – I have always wrestled with it. My site has a contender tracker. On it are only movies that either I’ve seen or someone else has seen. In my own tiny way I draw the line. And that is good enough for me. I need to participate in Gurus and Gold Derby because it keeps my voice in the discussion.

    But let me put it another way: if I was hired by a website tomorrow, say, Slate (as if), and they wanted me to do nothing but SIGHT UNSEEN Oscar predictions? And it would be my only source of income? I would HAVE NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER doing it to feed my kid. While you might have skills I was working as a janitor before I started selling ads and trust me you haven’t lived until you’ve cleaned shit off the walls while your daughter does her homework in the hallway.

    Let’s just not get into it. I think I do a lot of good for smaller movies – championing, say, Winter’s Bone last year. I blog for the better good, or I try to. The Oscars make the Hollywood machine run. They get films made. They make careers. They can sometimes change the dynamic of sexist and racist traditions. It just so happens that I love what I do and that I get to make money doing it is a win/win for me.

    But I would still do it just for the money if it meant supporting my kid — rather than be a janitor, hell yes.

  24. I’m with James that Oscar prognostication is silly but as a daily reader of In Contention I need to say that it is about the movies first over there and the awards second, at least from my perspective. Sure there is a contenders section and at the end of a review Kris or Guy will put a footnote saying what elements of a film have a shot at Oscar but if that bothers you then just ignore it.

    James is wrong though about predicting War Horse. If you are predicting the Oscars you need to put the upcoming sentimental or epic Spielberg or Eastwood film somewhere near the top. You especially need to do this after a year where the Academy chose The King’s Speech over The Social Network.

    I’m pretty sure if James were given a million dollars to right now bet on a film to win best picture at the upcoming Oscars he would spend that money on War Horse and not Drive or Martha Marcy May Marlene.

    All the people who predict the Green Bay Packers or New England Patriots to win a Super Bowl before they watch them play a single down are not a joke. They are making educated predictions based on past history. This is pretty much the same thing.

  25. Can we not gloss over this Rocchi throwaway:

    “Kris: You’ve been to my home…”

    Home? I follow some of this dudes on Twitter, and they’re always talking about their HOMES and HOUSES. I thought movie blogger was some low-rent Luke Thompson type shit where you still work a dayjob and make about 300 bucks in a good week from freelance reviews. Suddenly like Rocchi and Stone and Tapley and Faraci and Poland apparently live in like palatial mansions like Alan fucking Stanwyk. I figured movie critics all lived in ratty one-bedroom apartments with their Asian girlfriends covering most of the billz. How are any of you guys affording HOUSES and HOMES? Don’t you have to be pretty much a millionaire to own a HOUSE? If you guys seriously have HOUSES, you MUST be making 300k MINIMUM a fucking year, in which case no one should be looking down at anyone for being in the Oscar prognostication game if it pays THAT well.

    Also Rocchi sure isn’t coming off well here.

  26. Somehow this thread is all playing out like I imagined the summer’s debt ceiling debate did back in Washington. (Which also explains why we almost had a government shutdown.) I just can’t figure out who’s Obama and Boehner in this case.

    Hoping we can all agree to convene a meeting of “super-bloggers” on both sides of the issue to decide on the exact merits of Oscar prediction by next year…

  27. Mr. F: The bit from James about awards coverage being “designed only to suck ad money out of huge conglomerates” is dangerously close to Romney’s “corporations are people” bit, so maybe that gives some clue?

    I kid.

  28. The Oscars are a popularity contest, they’ve got nothing to do with the quality of the actual film. The Hurt Locker was a terrific little film but surely nobody thought it was a more deserving Best Picture winner than The Thin Red Line or Full Metal Jacket, both of which failed to win the Best Picture Oscar? Does anybody really think that Slumdog Millionaire deserved to be crowned the Best Film of the year? The King’s Speech, which in essence was a TV movie? The only way to actually determine what a Best Film actually is would be to grab 20 directors, give them all the same script and see which one came out on top. Ranking art is pretty ridiculous. Guaranteed it will be something crap that wins this year and Jeff and Sasha will be devastated that a better, more deserving winner loses yet again.

  29. I am with LexG in wondering how much some of the aforementioned film bloggers take in a year.

    Jeff has mentioned a few times that he’s doing well these days, but still chooses to fly to Albuquerque NM and drive to Telluride, just like any regular bargain hunter. You can draw some conclusions from that. I’m guessing around $100-150k.

  30. Well this is good news, and hopefully War Horse slips further. That way people would actually view the movie on its own, rather than with contempt of being “oscar frontrunner.” Well … one can dream at least

  31. The money is good. Let’s just say that.

    Also, Kris, remember when Pete Hammond totally dissed us in that piece he did way back when? And then he became the Oscar guy! I love ya Pete, wherever you are. kaching kaching.

    Crawling back into my slimey tove.

  32. I wasn’t really trying to inspire people to guess at Jeff or Sasha’s income.

    Just Rocchi’s. Or Faraci’s. Since they’re both kind of assholes, and I cannot FUCKING BELIEVE they make the kind of coin I’m grudgingly guessing they do. At least Faraci is sort of a “brand” and has a site. Rocchi just seems like a freelancer/glad-hander type dude. Unless he made a shitload from winning the Earl Keese Lookalike Contest, how’s this dude have a “home”? He should be kickin’ it Clubber Lang style in an apartment.

  33. A man’s home is his castle, isn’t it?

    It doesn’t matter whether you live in an apartment, a mansion, a trailer, a houseboat — it’s still your home, Lex.

    For the record, I don’t own a home (and I do okay, although I work the equivalent of two full time jobs) and I don’t know a lot of people in this racket who do. So while it’s nice to make a decent/good living off this line of work, it requires a lot of hustling to make it all add up.

  34. Eh, that sounds like some seriously sketchy 1099 or off-the-books type shit. How do you guys get INSURANCE?

    I’ve always been wondering if all movie bloggers aren’t WESLEY SNIPES level tax evaders… Seriously, you guys all BEST vote Republican, or it’s kind of hypocritical, because I’d all but GUARANTEE you guys aren’t declaring all the $ from FYC ads on your returns. Though considering every film blogger’s outspoken political leanings, especially with regard to TAXING THE RICH, maybe I should safely assume you guys gladly fork over your fair share of all that hard-to-quantify banner action.

  35. If you get the right membership in some sort of guild or local chamber of whatever, you can get insurance. Me, I’m waiting for my AARP membership to kick in before give up my day job.

  36. I cannot believe the amount of effort put into this thread to poo-poo Oscar predicting as something not worth doing. What’s worth less than guessing the Oscars? Giving crap to others for guessing the Oscars? If it’s worth so little, then WHY….?

    Ehh, you get my drift.

    The Hurt Locker & Full Metal Jacket >>> The Thin Red Line

    Happy to put a few more pennies in Jeff’s jar by increasing the hit count.

  37. My day gig takes care of the insurance, luckily. A number of folks I know don’t have any. So even though it’s tough to work two jobs, you do what you have to do. Hopefully Medicare will still be there by the time I’m eligible, unless the Republicans dismantle and destroy it like they want to.

    I know Lex thinks us film writers all lead glamorous lives — and I don’t for a minute take any of the perks for granted — but it’s a day-in, day-out job just like any other in many respects. I would never bitch about that, though, and anyone who does should probably get out. I also count myself lucky because just like every other job, it could all disappear tomorrow.

  38. Wow, if Jeff is really raking in 6 figures off the kind of web traffic numbers an H-W gets, that would be something. Clearly there’s a sales hustle behind the writing that has to be respected. Or it’s maybe just that the studios spread the cash around recklessly on all these ads to cover their asses. I prefer to think it’s his hustle–out there working it on the streets, zipping around on his scooter, yellow boots blazing, wild hair flying in the wind.

  39. “If you’re asked to rank films for a contest that amounts to nothing more than a silly game and you leave out War Horse because you haven’t seen it – some other person is going to have it on their list and if the movie does manage to do what it’s designed to do: win Oscars then you have to then explain why you were too stupid to see the writing on the wall.”

    Explain it to who? St. Peter? Your children? The I.R.S.?

    I visit your site every day and love your writing, Sasha, and agree with many of your points. But is there, like, a penalty for picking with your heart (as Wells often encourages) instead of following conventional wisdom?

    If all of you people keep paying lip service to the usual suspects, you’re adding to the P.R. machine and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps you feel the bloggers can’t make or break a film, bt collectively you harm or hurt them. Spielberg doesn’t need your fucking help, so why not expend your energy on something less-known?

    David Poland has made a handful of boneheaded predictions and I doubt his ad revenue has plummeted because of it. And as you said, different drummer Wells is making more than all of you.

  40. Thank you Raygo! And to Roland it is Jeff’s hustle. 100%. He has a kick ass ad salesman too but Jeff works harder than any blogger I know. Way way harder. I’ve never seen such a work ethic. In Telluride he would come home at midnight and be writing. I would wake up early in the morning, go downstairs (thank you buckzollo) as early as possible and there would be Jeff, showered, dressed and working. Insane. Dude never stops working. He also has great traffic numbers. With Jeff I can definitely say his salary is well deserved.

  41. Lazarus – I generally lead with my heart. I can’t really fake love for a movie. If I really hate a movie usually I will just not write much about it. I did go after The King’s Speech pretty hard last year and took a lot of shit for it (still do). I supported The Social Network and it didn’t win. But such things don’t really seem to impact ad sales. I just hate to shit on a movie — I always have.

  42. Wow, this comment thread was CLASSIC. And also, a useful reminder that even classy, usually neutral entertainment journalists like Rocchi can make a boneheaded comment or three.

    The thing is, Tapley and Stone had an easy defense. They could have simply told Rocchi, “Dude, it’s not that big a deal, calm down,” or even, “Sports columnists speculate on the Super Bowl, political pundits handicap debates in advance, and we prognosticate on the Oscars. Not so scandalous.” Like, entertainment journalists discuss the Oscars with each other all the time, and it’s a fun pastime, but writing those thoughts down is bad for some reason?

    Instead, they both CAVED hilariously. Tapley suddenly said that he thinks the Oscars are stupid dumb-dumb awards (may we all make a living covering things we think are stupid and dumb!) and that Rocchi wears tampons. And Stone flat out felt the need to apologize for her profession and position it as a “it was this or my child would go hungry!’ sophie’s choice. It is crazy that a week can’t go by without journalistic infighting, but it’s also kind of fun. Somebody should make some wagers or predictions on it.

  43. I get that Sasha. One grows tired of snark and negativity at a certain point and to be honest I only tend to read “positive” criticism/analysis these days. But you haven’t answered my initial point regarding what penalty there is for being wrong, or for throwing a bunch of longshot wrenches into the Gurus of Gold machine.

    And conversely, what is to be gained by predicting a Spielberg weeper correctly? You can’t say “I told you so” to a herd that’s been mooing the same tune in unison for months.

    It’s not about whether people have the courage to bash high-profile films, but rather the courage to simply ignore the obvious suspects and use every opportunity to say the names of fillms that don’t have so much marketing $$ already behind it. Imagine if you, Tapley, Pond, Karger, whoever kept putting Another Earth and Brit Marling at the top of your lists regardless of the current level of buzz–you start a chain reaction perhaps, instead of just passing the buck.

  44. “WAR HORSE may well end up being the best film of the year, but unless it’s THE LOVELY BONES-level bad, it’s guaranteed a nomination at this point, because everyone tends to agree it will get one. And Oscar prognosticators are a HUGE part of that. They’re essentially predicting WAR HORSE because WAR HORSE is being sold as an Oscar movie.”

    I’m sorry, but that’s just ridiculous. Just ridiculous. I’m not even sure where to start, but let’s debunk the idea that Academy voters actually pay any attention to what on-line bloggers or film critics say, first and foremost, because that’s just delusional.

    Now, your point might make some sense if it weren’t for the fact that every year there is a list of accepted predictions, and every year they get at least two or three completely wrong. Three years running now, Clint Eastwood has had a movie on the list as late as January and still not gotten the nomination (and this certainly looks like a third). It wasn’t that long ago that everybody insisted that one Eastwood movie (‘Flags’) would get nominated, and it didn’t — but the other one did! So that’s one director who completely debunks your theory.

    The idea that film bloggers are driving the Oscar conversation is silly. They want to, certainly, and some even believe (or pretend to) that they are, but it’s just a question of how good their ears are. If you listen to the buzz coming out of Los Angeles (and, to some extent, New York), you can get a pretty good sense of what will be nominated.

  45. …and for all this power and moolah and work ethic we still can’t get an updated “Most Wanted” list on this site. The thing is at least two years out of date now.

  46. It’s not a Sophie’s Choice: it’s the best way for me to make money – there is no choice to be made. I don’t know if you’ve ever been really broke for a long time but it wears you down. It wastes time and it ages you, pretty fucking fast. Now, I don’t begrudge anyone who does what they have to to make a living. It’s hard out there for a pimp, even harder for a whore.

    And anyway, you’re saying we should have just shrugged it off — someone said we should die in a fire. Yeah, not gonna shrug that off.

  47. Jarves: Nothing hilarious about it. You get the same “bone-headed” arguments from snarky web journos day in and day out and try not to blow up occasionally.

    There’s also nothing sudden about my opinion of the value of an Oscar, by the way. Well on the record for that. And it’s not like there aren’t other stops along the way that are considered just as heavily.

    I’m happy it’s so entertaining for you, though.

    “you start a chain reaction perhaps”

    I can’t speak for others, but I have no interest in doing that. It places too much value on the actual prize at hand.

  48. I can’t believe James Rocchi just pretended that he is better than anyone because of fyc ads. I read Tapley and Stone daily.

    When has anyone here went, “You know who I haven’t read in a while? James Rocchi. He’s so good.” I hope MSN pays in hope and kittens you prick. It’s really easy to judge when you don’t have to support yourself through a blog like others.

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  50. Is true that all you have seen and read,sometime when it is raining I have to move my office in the walk to keep working.
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    I had a put up a couple of very droll comments but they were “accidentally” erased by Jeff. I’m sure that my saying that if the grain monks ever got together with the 1.85 fascists they could make Jeff feel sufficiently oppressed to write his own “Darkness At Noon.”

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