Oscars

Opinions, Oscars

How To Make The Oscars Better


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I’m an avid Oscar-watcher. Every year since 2008 I’ve always tried to watch every contender in every category (save Best Song, which I think is a dumb category), and I do it because it’s a good incentive for me to go out to the theatres and see some of the most remarkable movies of the year. Also, I enjoy watching the show. I think the people look amazing over there, the production values are top notch and the political twist the Oscars have every year is fun, sometimes even remarkable. Also, it’s a great look into American culture: this is what American TV-entertainment is, every day, throughout the year. Once a year is enough for me. It’s really, really exhausting.

Having said that, the unfortunate fact is that this year, the Oscar ratings dipped to all-time low, marking fourth year of steady decline since 2014. Apparently, something is wrong. And there are many reasons: the awards season is packed with all kind of shows competing on importance, and many have managed to gain foothold in the recent years. Also, the competition is more fierce: how to get people dragged away from their games, sports, other shows, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu – for four consecutive hours? And last, but not least, it’s a 90-year-old TV format, which hasn’t practically changed at all during those ninety years, how can you expect to keep the attention of people of nowadays?

So, for the Academy, I have compiled here a list of changes you need to do in order to get the show back on track for next year. Let the new era of Oscars begin.

oscars-2018-full-nominations-list

1. Algorithm it! What the hell are you doing with this ages-old secret Illuminati-type organization called “Academy”, when you can go full-on Orwell, create a secret yet always changing algorithm which creates an infallible system on which you choose the films for each category.

2. Gamify it! I mean, a real competition, that’s what’s popular nowadays. Let the academy choose each category contenders, but the audience to choose the actual winners. And don’t make it boring: make them reprise their whatever role it is: actors performing their roles, directors directing, sound designers creating their sounds… Live. That’s sexy nowadays. Like American Idol. That shit sells. And cooking shows.

3. Optimize it! I mean, it’s totally possible have different set of films, awards and presenters for each group out there, all you have to do is just to optimize it based on the person’s political views. Current Oscars are missing the apparently massive amount of Americans who support Trump, NRA, school shootings, racism, sexism and all that stuff -so why even bother showing the current format to them. Better yet, just create your own presenters for every different segment, and it’s all much better and nobody needs to get upset.

4. Make it a journey! Customers need to be brought to the new media in a completely new way. You have to start making the Oscars a journey for the audience. You have to add an Augmented Reality layer on movies, where one can start awarding their Oscars right when they watch movies. They form Teams and then you can all be #TeamShapeOfWater or #TeamThreeBillboardsOutsideEbbingMissouri on the social media and make it a fight that lasts not just one night but the whole year.

5. Geofence it! There’s something Americans will never believe: we still love you. We want to see your award ceremonies in Europe, so start selling those advertisements locally so that we have a chance to watch the show everywhere. And no, even if you sell it to say China broadcasting, it doesn’t mean China broadcasts the show live, which is kinda the idea, really.

6. Micro-Momentisize it! Would you like to know more? Do I need to say more? People want to spend time with your show, but four hours is quite a long time. Make it possible for them to do so at their own pace, base don their own interests. Just remember to add a nice price tag to every click and split the revenue between presenters and award-winners so everyone can make this into a nice dog and pony show for their paycheck.

7. Build Some Smart Content! We want to feel special, right. Wouldn’t it be nice if the winners would say: “…and I want to give special thanks to Timo, who made it all possible for me.” I’m sure there’s an easy tech fix for that, just scan the nominees and make them come wearing a green hood over their heads when they pick the award and everyone can be mentioned.

These are just some of the brilliant ideas I think would really spark up the Oscars. So, see you next year, and feel free to call me in for more terrific consulting. Oh, and the buzzwords are stolen from this website. Thank you Isabella Andersen!

Oscars

Oscars 2018 – My predictions / ruminations


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It’s that time of the year again – the Oscars are indeed coming. As it has become my tradition, I will submit my predictions and this time also a short explanation on why I think a certain film will win the category.

All in all, it’s going to be a very interesting Oscars ceremony this year. The #metoo and other hashtag-movements – and I call them hashtag-movements with respect, because I’m still in awe on what these movements have achieved – have dethroned many powerful figures from the American film industry, and the ripples of those splashes have reached all around the world. Finland went through its’ own #metoo outing a bunch of film industry assholes, and now it seems the movement is slowly moving towards music industry – and there I am sure will be a lot of dirt to be unearthed, too.

The awarded films this year were quite a colorful bunch of movies – horror and fantastic realism stir the Best Movie category, which has its’ typical share of political films, coming-of-age stories and smaller, hard-hitting indies. There is more diversity amongst the nominees, which is great, and the topics are braver.

This year’s big nominee is of course Del Toro’s The Shape Of Water, which will most likely steal many categories, but there’s also a lot of things to be said on behalf of other movies. Nevertheless, here are the nominees, my predictions and explanations.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

NOMINEES

TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET

Call Me by Your Name

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS

Phantom Thread

DANIEL KALUUYA

Get Out

*** GARY OLDMAN ***

Darkest Hour
Not the most original pick, but I think mr. Oldman nailed the complicated role well and made an immemorable, well fleshed out character out of a very complex personality.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

 

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

NOMINEES

WILLEM DAFOE

The Florida Project

WOODY HARRELSON

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

RICHARD JENKINS

The Shape of Water

*** CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER ***

All the Money in the World
Christopher Plummer jumped into the shoes of Kevin Spacey and filled them many times over. While the film itself is not that amazing, Plummer’s role is inseparable, and I can’t understand how Spacey would’ve played any better.

SAM ROCKWELL

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

NOMINEES

SALLY HAWKINS

The Shape of Water

*** FRANCES MCDORMAND ***

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
It’s quite clear Frances McDormand will gather her second Oscar, playing definitely the strongest of all nominees – and they all were very good – in a otherwise pretty mediocre movie, which became great just because of her. 

MARGOT ROBBIE

I, Tonya

SAOIRSE RONAN

Lady Bird

MERYL STREEP

The Post

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

NOMINEES

MARY J. BLIGE

Mudbound

ALLISON JANNEY

I, Tonya

*** LESLEY MANVILLE ***

Phantom Thread
This one is pretty hard to guess, since there’s a lot of options but I think the scary, creepy sister in Phantom Thread was probably the most memorable of all roles. 

LAURIE METCALF

Lady Bird

OCTAVIA SPENCER

The Shape of Water

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

NOMINEES

THE BOSS BABY

Tom McGrath and Ramsey Naito

THE BREADWINNER

Nora Twomey and Anthony Leo

*** COCO ***

Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson
Only Pixar has the balls to do a children animation talking about death in a colorful, vivid way. The film is impeccable execution of wonderful storytelling, tricky topic and whole family accessability.

FERDINAND

Carlos Saldanha and Lori Forte

LOVING VINCENT

Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman and Ivan Mactaggart

CINEMATOGRAPHY

NOMINEES

*** BLADE RUNNER 2049 ***

Roger A. Deakins
Deakins has been nominated fourteen times for an Oscar, but never won one. Speaking of film-defining craftmanship, Blade Runner’s cinematography is beyond anything I’ve seen in ages. Simply beautiful, wondefully lit and while the film itself is a bit of a meh to me, the visual display Deakins has brought forward is just amazing.

DARKEST HOUR

Bruno Delbonnel

DUNKIRK

Hoyte van Hoytema

MUDBOUND

Rachel Morrison

THE SHAPE OF WATER

Dan Laustsen

COSTUME DESIGN

NOMINEES

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Jacqueline Durran

DARKEST HOUR

Jacqueline Durran

PHANTOM THREAD

Mark Bridges

*** THE SHAPE OF WATER ***

Luis Sequeira
The world of The Shape of Water is the thing that makes the film so brilliant, and definitely the costumes are a key factor in it. Although I don’t think the film really lives up to the hype, the artistic values of the production design and costumes is the best there is this year.

VICTORIA & ABDUL

Consolata Boyle

DIRECTING

NOMINEES

DUNKIRK

Christopher Nolan

GET OUT

Jordan Peele

LADY BIRD

Greta Gerwig

PHANTOM THREAD

Paul Thomas Anderson

*** THE SHAPE OF WATER ***

Guillermo del Toro
I’m not much of a fan of The Shape of Water, but Del Toro does terrific job in directing the lead actress and taking the story, which is pretty simple, almost a bit dumb, and elevating it into a wonderful cinematic experience, exactly the craftmanship of a director.

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

NOMINEES

ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL

Steve James, Mark Mitten and Julie Goldman

FACES PLACES

Agnès Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda

ICARUS

Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan

*** LAST MEN IN ALEPPO ***

Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen Jespersen
Tricky one again, but I believe Last Men in Aleppo deserve the win. Just the fact that someone has stuck their neck out to document the worst humanitarian crisis of our time, and brought up the real heroes of the conflict, the White Helmets, is commendable as itself. As a documentary the slightly staged feel some discussions and elements takes a bit away from its’ novelty value, but when the going gets rough, it’s as real as it can be, in all its’ horror.

STRONG ISLAND

Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

NOMINEES

EDITH+EDDIE

Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright

*** HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405 ***

Frank Stiefel

HEROIN(E)

Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon

KNIFE SKILLS

Thomas Lennon

TRAFFIC STOP

Kate Davis and David Heilbroner

FILM EDITING

NOMINEES

BABY DRIVER

Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos

*** DUNKIRK ***

Lee Smith
War movies are extremely hard to put together and maintain the balance, but Lee Smith is able to run the big scale story and make it feel just huge and real. 

I, TONYA

Tatiana S. Riegel

THE SHAPE OF WATER

Sidney Wolinsky

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Jon Gregory

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

NOMINEES

A FANTASTIC WOMAN

Chile

THE INSULT

Lebanon

LOVELESS

Russia

ON BODY AND SOUL

Hungary

*** THE SQUARE ***

Sweden
Since Cannes, Ruben Östlund’s The Square has been going around the award ceremonies, grabbing price after price – and for a good reason. The film feels alienated and cold in its’ nasty satirical tone, which is exactly where it aims. 

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

NOMINEES

*** DARKEST HOUR ***

Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick
However they managed to make Gary Oldman into an overweight old man is beyond me to understand, but as fat suits go, the work was brilliant. 

VICTORIA & ABDUL

Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard

WONDER

Arjen Tuiten

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

NOMINEES

DUNKIRK

Hans Zimmer

PHANTOM THREAD

Jonny Greenwood

*** THE SHAPE OF WATER ***

Alexandre Desplat
Beautiful, jazzy soundtrack that fits the film’s magical world like a nail in the head. Together with the beautiful production design and costumes, the music takes the viewer into the strange world of Del Toro and leaves no questions open whether or not it could happen.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

John Williams

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Carter Burwell

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

NOMINEES

*** MIGHTY RIVER ***

from Mudbound; Music and Lyric by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson

MYSTERY OF LOVE

from Call Me by Your Name; Music and Lyric by Sufjan Stevens

REMEMBER ME

from Coco; Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

STAND UP FOR SOMETHING

from Marshall; Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Lonnie R. Lynn and Diane Warren

THIS IS ME

from The Greatest Showman; Music and Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

BEST PICTURE

NOMINEES

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges and Marco Morabito, Producers

DARKEST HOUR

Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten and Douglas Urbanski, Producers

DUNKIRK

Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers

GET OUT

Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr. and Jordan Peele, Producers

LADY BIRD

Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Evelyn O’Neill, Producers

PHANTOM THREAD

JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison and Daniel Lupi, Producers

THE POST

Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers

*** THE SHAPE OF WATER ***

Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale, Producers
I think Del Toro’s magic reaches from screen to the Academy; the film speaks to both older and younger generation, to both filmmakers and film lovers and is the most special, defined movie of the year. Also, given its’ award run so far, I’d be surprised if it didn’t take home this one as well.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh, Producers

PRODUCTION DESIGN

NOMINEES

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

BLADE RUNNER 2049

Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola

DARKEST HOUR

Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

DUNKIRK

Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis

*** THE SHAPE OF WATER ***

Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau and Jeffrey A. Melvin
This is a tricky fight between Blade Runner and Shape of Water, but this year is definitely Del Toro’s year, so it’s very probable Production Design goes here as well.

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

NOMINEES

DEAR BASKETBALL

Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant

GARDEN PARTY

Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon

*** LOU ***

Dave Mullins and Dana Murray

NEGATIVE SPACE

Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata

REVOLTING RHYMES

Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

NOMINEES

DEKALB ELEMENTARY

Reed Van Dyk

*** THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK ***

Derin Seale and Josh Lawson

MY NEPHEW EMMETT

Kevin Wilson, Jr.

THE SILENT CHILD

Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton

WATU WOTE/ALL OF US

Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen

SOUND EDITING

NOMINEES

BABY DRIVER

Julian Slater

BLADE RUNNER 2049

Mark Mangini and Theo Green

DUNKIRK

Richard King and Alex Gibson

*** THE SHAPE OF WATER ***

Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira
The technical Oscars will definitely go to The Shape of Water.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce

SOUND MIXING

NOMINEES

BABY DRIVER

Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H. Ellis

BLADE RUNNER 2049

Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth

DUNKIRK

Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo and Mark Weingarten

*** THE SHAPE OF WATER ***

Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern and Glen Gauthier

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Stuart Wilson

VISUAL EFFECTS

NOMINEES

BLADE RUNNER 2049

John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Dan Sudick

KONG: SKULL ISLAND

Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

*** WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES ***

Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist
For the first time in my life I’ve seen visual effects so good that they would fool me. At least that I know of. The apes of War for the Planet of the Apes are just next level amazing…

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

NOMINEES

*** CALL ME BY YOUR NAME ***

Screenplay by James Ivory
My personal favorite of the year, and although it won’t be winning big in any category, the script could easily fall here. Great characters, very believable setting and a surprising story that manages to tell a love story in a way that’s just relatable and beautiful without feeling tacky or fake.

THE DISASTER ARTIST

Screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber

LOGAN

Screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold

MOLLY’S GAME

Written for the screen by Aaron Sorkin

MUDBOUND

Screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

NOMINEES

THE BIG SICK

Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani

GET OUT

Written by Jordan Peele

LADY BIRD

Written by Greta Gerwig

THE SHAPE OF WATER

Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor; Story by Guillermo del Toro

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Written by Martin McDonagh

DENZEL WASHINGTON

Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Oscars

We lost, by the way, you know…


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Well, the one thing everyone will remember from the Oscars is that… Moment.

So, as expected, La La Land gets the best picture Oscar… almost. Then, things turn weird. There’s a bit of a commotion on the stage as the producers are giving the final thank you -speeches, red envelopes are flicked back and forth, then the reality hits everyone: those giving their acceptance speech actually were not the rightful winners. It was not La La Land, but Moonlight that had won. They had given the announcers Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope.

Suddenly, the whole stage is full of confused people holding Oscars, Warren Beatty giving a staggering explanation, host Jimmy Kimmel sort of hanging on the edge of things and the producers of La La Land taking charge of, and handling the extremely awkward situation with as much grace as possible, saving what’s left to be saved.

Americans sure know how to entertain.

But, really looking back at the Oscars, the award ceremony was actually a pretty damn good one. The true winners were the African-Americans, gays and the muslims. From Mahershala Ali‘s win as the first muslim to pick the prestigious golden statue for best Supporting Actor to Viola Davis‘ best Supporting Actress award, from White Helmets’ winning the best short documentary (the cinematographer not being allowed into the country) and absent Asghar Farhadi‘s win for best Foreign Picture with The Salesman, and finally Moonlight picking best script and -picture statues – the picks of the Academy were this time surprisingly heavy topics.

This means the Oscars are becoming a better representation of actually good movies. The fact that Moonlight, a film made with under two million USD on a topic that’s rarely even discussed about – gays in black community – won already speaks books about the search for the best film, not just the most enamouring one. Also, the diversity is becoming a norm, not just in theory but in actuality. The days of all-white winners, subjects and stories are in the past, and will be for quite some time.

Now, it’s time for the film community to stand up against what Trump is trying to make the new normal – the racism and the fear.

All in all, the ceremony was great fun, mainly thanks to Jimmy Kimmel’s extraordinarily cool handling of the whole show. While Justin Timberlake’s performance in the beginning was a bit dull, the Hollywood Tour Bus stunt was good fun. The speeches were nice – Viola Davis was strong and gripping, while Casey Affleck was relatively lame (in the fashion of the characters he likes to play). Trump and his politics had a full load of all kind of shit dumped on them, and while Kimmel and the winners were preaching to the choir, I’m sure the word got out: fuck you, Trump.

For me, the best moment was Kimmel’s note about Sweden, after La La Land’s cinematographer Linus Sandgren walked off stage with an Oscar. He said he was sorry to hear what was going on in Sweden just last week, hoping Sandgren’s family and friends are OK, in reference to Trump’s ridiculous statement “look at what’s going on in Sweden”. The bickering between Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel was also fun to watch, although I had no idea what it all was about and why.

Obviously, the biggest winner was La La Land, with 6 Oscars, but the real, true winner of the evening was Moonlight, of course because of the Best Picture Oscar, but also because of the cock-up. But the way La La Land’s producers handled the situation was really cool, so big props to them, too. And of course to Damien Chazelle, who, at 32, became the youngest ever Oscar-winning director.

Well, it surely wasn’t a dull show, and mostly great films won the awards – save Suicide Squad, which I think was a dumb film and a shit call from the Academy.

Here are my predictions and what I got right and wrong. Next year better, I guess!

Timo.jpg

Oscars

The 2017 Oscar Winners Are…


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la-la-land-watching-04-videosixteenbyninejumbo1600

Well, La La Land – it goes without saying – is going to win everything. I honestly think, though, that the film sucks. It’s a film about white people and nothing in particular. It’s a soothing, numbing experience that takes us away from the world’s horrors for a moment and gives us a chance to dance into the galaxy like there’s nothing to worry about in the world. Like there wasn’t a war in Syria, a Nazi regime in America shaping up, immigrants drowning trying to get to Europe and inequality and racism becoming a norm again everywhere in the world. To top that, it’s also a musical. Some people love them, but not me.

But let’s, for  just a short, passing minute think that Oscar voters wouldn’t be so obsessed with the good old days of Hollywood, and would actually be interested in contemporary films that have the balls to discuss the current topics, have great, unforgettable performances in them, directed by daring directors who fear not go where directors haven’t gone before, written by writers who care about the world around them and dare to speak their mind, and films that look, sound and feel like nothing you’ve ever seen, felt or heard before.

I know, this is not what Oscars are for, but if it was, the list of winners would be quite different.

The best picture would probably go to Moonlight, a film that discusses homosexuality in black communities. Casey Affleck would grab the best male performance from his extremely precise work on Manchester By Sea, and Emma Stone‘s amazing audition scene in La La Land would stand above all when choosing the best female performance.

Supporting roles would go to Jeff Bridges at Hell or High Water – or even, if the Academy was really daring, to Michael Shannon from Nocturnal Animals – and Viola Davis for her fucking amazing work in Fences.

davis

Barry Jenkins would grab the best director’s golden statue, and writing Oscars would go to Moonlight and Manchester By The Sea.

But, like I said, it won’t go down like this, unfortunately. La La Land will grab all the important ones it’s being nominated for, save maybe Ryan Gosling, who is merely a thin shadow of what Casey Affleck is a master in – you know, staring and doing nothing. Let’s not even get started with the craft Oscars, all going to La La for sure.

The actual competition this year will most likely be in Foreign Language film, to see whether The Academy fell in love with the German comedy Toni Erdmann more than with the Iranian drama The Salesman, and Documentary Feature, where they either go for the black history at 13th, or shed some tears to the poor souls of Fire At Sea, trying to escape the Middle-Eastern and African horrors to Europe.

toni-erdmann-5-rcm0x1920u1

Nevertheless, because Oscars are not about who should get it, but a game of trying to guess what The Academy prefers – here’s my gritty Oscar ballot, left here with a unsatisfied frown on my face. (Note 24.2.2017 – I’m still about to watch few of the contenders, so this might change, but I’ll update latest when the actual broadcast begins.)

timo

Oh – and if you ask me, the best picture of 2017 was Manchester By The Sea, and the best actor and actress were Casey Affleck and Emma Stone.