Friday, February 25, 2011

In a Better (Oscar) World

Time to recap this year's awards season--all of it's ups and lows, its snubs and surprises, its critical darlings and guild favorites, and its former front runners and new dark horses.

Awkward is What We Aim For started blogging the Oscars back in October and, proving once again that you can always be surprised, my stipulations at the beginning of the year all proved somewhat false.

First, I posited the idea that The Social Network would have to hold on to its buzz in order to do well come awards time. It certainly held the buzz, but it also "underwhelmed" (I use quotes because I don't necessarily consider all the early awards and eight Oscar nominations underwhelming) because it is likely to lose Best Picture come Sunday. I never saw the strange, out-of-nowhere turn for The King's Speech coming.

Second, I said that if Black Swan did poorly upon its reception, it would be significantly stunted at the Oscars. Well, there's nothing poor about 86% critical approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a $100 million gross (double that if you factor in foreign grosses as well), but only five Oscar nominations (as opposed to an organization like BAFTA, which gave Swan 12 nominations) is pretty underwhelming. Just because it's popular doesn't mean it's to the Academy's tastes.

Finally, there was my insistence that Love and Other Drugs was better than we were expecting it to be (so much for that), that True Grit was worse than we were expecting it to be (it wound up with over $150 million in box office and I absolutely loved it), and that we had The Fighter pegged as a strong contender (admittedly, I seem to be the only one who has a problem with The Fighter).

So it's clear that what I "knew" earlier on was all nothing but bullshit. C'est la vie.

Todd: "La vie."
Nice, Todd. That was solid.

Looking at my predictions, I actually did much better there than elsewhere. 4/5 on adapted screenplay and original screenplay, 2/5 for supporting actor (I missed Renner, Hawkes and Ruffalo for Garfield, Harris and Brolin), 4/5 for supporting actress (missing Steinfeld, who I thought was lead and didn't place her at all), 3/5 on actress (missed Kidman and Williams for Hawkins and Manville), 4/5 on actor (missing Bardem, but then again, who didn't?), 4/5 on director (missing Aronofsky), and 9/10 on picture (missing Winter's Bone, embarrassingly enough, for For Colored Girls). That's only 9 misses three months ahead of time--not half bad!

We've learned a lot from this Oscar season. We've learned that the critics really don't matter, but the guilds matter plenty. We've learned that the "Oscar movie" may not yet be dead. We've learned that if you're looking for consistency, the Academy is not your friend. And we've learned that as Sasha Stone loves to remind us, we know nothing. "The trick is not minding."

Best of luck to all nominated come Sunday. We'll be here, live-blogging within an inch of our lives.

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