Scott Hardie | February 8, 2022
Has it been another year already?

Our annual contest has begun.

What do you think of this year's nominees?

Samir Mehta | February 8, 2022
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | February 9, 2022
I was surprised that Don't Look Up did so well. I thought that was not well received. Is it because people are voting for their colleagues in Hollywood and that movie has some well-connected people on and off screen? Is it because of the climate change message? I do wonder how close Meryl Streep came to another nomination for it.

I haven't seen Licorice Pizza yet, but I'd really like to see Paul Thomas Anderson win for either writing or directing. The man has been making superlative movies since the mid-nineties and still has not won an Oscar.

Samir Mehta | February 9, 2022
[hidden by request]

Evie Totty | March 20, 2022
My apologies ahead of time for this post, lol, but I want to keep up with what I have/haven't seen. I believe I have access to nearly every (if not every) film in the big categories (even Drive My Car) and will be attempting to round out the list before next Sunday. I will not be listing out every category, because I either don't care, or have no hope of seeing enough of the ones in that category to make an effort.

Strikethrough means I've seen it.

BEST PICTURE
"Belfast"
"CODA"
"Don't Look Up"
"Drive My Car"
"Dune"
"King Richard"
"Licorice Pizza"
"Nightmare Alley"
"The Power of the Dog"
"West Side Story"

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Javier Bardem, "Being the Ricardos"
Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Power of the Dog"
Andrew Garfield, "Tick, Tick... Boom!"
Will Smith, "King Richard"
Denzel Washington, "The Tragedy of Macbeth"

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Jessica Chastain, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye"
Olivia Colman, "The Lost Daughter"
Penelope Cruz, "Parallel Mothers"
Nicole Kidman, "Being the Ricardos"
Kristen Stewart, "Spencer"

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jessie Buckley, "The Lost Daughter"
Ariana DeBose, "West Side Story"
Judi Dench, "Belfast"
Kirsten Dunst, "The Power of the Dog"
Aunjanue Ellis, "King Richard"

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Ciaran Hinds, "Belfast"
Troy Kotsur, "CODA"
Jesse Plemons, "The Power of the Dog"
J.K. Simmons, "Being the Ricardos"
Kodi Smit-McPhee, "The Power of the Dog"

ORIGINAL SONG
"King Richard"
"Encanto"
"Belfast"
"No Time to Die"
"Four Good Days"

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
"Encanto"
"Flee"
"Luca"
"The Mitchells vs. The Machine"
"Raya and the Last Dragon"

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
"CODA"
"Drive My Car"
"Dune"
"The Lost Daughter"
"The Power of the Dog"

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
"Belfast"
"Don't Look Up"
"King Richard"
"Licorice Pizza"
"The Worst Person in the World"

DIRECTOR
Kenneth Branagh, "Belfast"
"Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car"
Paul Thomas Anderson, "Licorice Pizza"
Jane Campion, "The Power of the Dog"
Steven Spielberg, "West Side Story"

PRODUCTION DESIGN
"Dune"
"Nightmare Alley"
"The Power of the Dog"
"The Tragedy of Macbeth"
"West Side Story"

CINEMATOGRAPHY
"Dune"
"Nightmare Alley"
"The Power of the Dog"
"The Tragedy of Macbeth"
"West Side Story"

COSTUME DESIGN
"Cruella"
"Cyrano"
"Dune"
"Nightmare Alley"
"Westside Story"

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND
"Belfast"
"Dune"
"No Time to Die"
"The Power of the Dog"
"Westside Story"

ORIGINAL SCORE
"Don't Look Up"
"Dune"
"Encanto"
"Parallel Mothers"
"The Power of the Dog"

VISUAL EFFECTS
"Dune"
"Free Guy"
"No Time to Die"
"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"
"Spider-Man: No Way Home"

FILM EDITING
"Don't Look Up"
"Dune"
"King Richard"
"The Power of the Dog"
"Tick, Tick... Boom!"

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
"Coming 2 America"
"Cruella"
"Dune"
"The Eyes of Tammy Faye"
"House of Gucci"

Evie Totty | March 20, 2022
As far as my opinion on the nominees, I know there was an outcry about Spider-Man: No Way Home not receiving a nomination. Was it the best film of the year? No, but it was my favorite. It should have slid into the top ten. BUT - I've heard from someone who has a family member who is a voter that some people turned in their ballots before S-M was released and that's likely why. And I'm sure screeners were not sent out. (Cyrano, really? I can't even see it yet here).

Samir - don't worry about Don't Look Up - the best film will be between Power of the Dog and CODA -which one the PGA last night and is usually a ... dang I can't think of the term ... of the winner. I'm not sure how the voting goes (I just texted my friend), but Campion may suffer from her comments at the CCA if they are still taking votes this week.

Evie Totty | March 20, 2022
Ok my friend said voting is a very short window - from last Thursday (the 17th) until this Tuesday (22nd).

Scott Hardie | March 20, 2022
People complain about the growing divide between arthouse cinema and blockbuster cinema, and how great entertainment like Spider-Man: No Way Home can't get a serious Oscar nomination like it might have in years past, but I don't see the trend changing. In fact, the so-called "trend" has been going on for two decades now and is just the way things are now. There are lots of reasons for it and lots of parties complicit in it, so I don't see any point in blaming it on anyone. There are people whose job is to worry about Oscar ratings and Oscar prestige and how the lack of popular nominees hurts both, but I'm not one of them.

I'll make my final predictions next weekend. I look forward to the show. Good luck, everybody!

Scott Hardie | March 20, 2022
Yeah, everything's online now, including the screeners. They don't need such a large window any more because they don't have to wait on postal delivery. Accordingly, they could do the show earlier in the year, except that there's a whole assortment of other similar award shows now and the Academy wants to go last.

Scott Hardie | March 25, 2022
Today's sign that I'm getting older: Reading a cranky old man's things-ain't-like-they-used-to-be rant online and realizing that he's younger than me. Seriously though, Ross Douthat's reasoning could be summed up as, "Movies don't resemble what they were like when I was a kid. Therefore, movies are dying."

Scott Hardie | March 28, 2022
Expert prognosticators around the Internet have made it really hard to compete in the Oscars contest, because so many players copy the online predictions that there tends to be a cluster at the top. Much like how the goo game has evolved from "guess who this celebrity is" to "Google who this celebrity is," the Oscars contest has evolved from "guess who will win Oscars" to "Google who experts say will win Oscars." We've had dual winners before, but this is our first year with four people tied for the top prize, and nineteen people within ten points of them! I like this annual contest, but I'm not sure that it makes sense to keep running it like this. :-\

Don't think I'm not happy for the winners. I'm pleased! Some of those guys have been playing for years and I'm glad to see them win. It's just the ongoing viability of the contest that worries me.

Steve, you're the only person in that cluster at the top who's a regular elsewhere on Funeratic, so let me single you out to say well done! Me, I intentionally deviated from a few of the expert predictions, thinking I could get ahead of the pack, but my gambles didn't pay off. So it goes.

As for the moment of the night, the slap heard 'round the world: Some people are mad at Chris Rock for making a joke in bad taste, mocking Jada Pinkett Smith for a disease beyond her control. Other people are mad at Will Smith for using violence and intimidation, especially in an industry struggling to move beyond abuses of power. Can we all just agree that both men's behavior was shitty? I don't know if security should have removed Smith from the building or not—the fact that it's the crowning night of his career should matter at least a tiny bit, right?—but I wouldn't be surprised if the producers didn't have a plan for this kind of incident and were as stunned as the audience and weren't sure what to do.

Evie Totty | March 28, 2022
What about the sexual harassment by Regina Hall? If a man had done that to two women...

Evie Totty | March 28, 2022
Oh, and I had purposefully stayed away from the "prognosticators" in order to participate in this. Though I will admit that I went with the crowd when it came to the "hell if I know" ones, haha.

Steve West | March 28, 2022
Thanks, Scott, for the acknowledgement. Although, scoring best among the regular site users isn't much more than being the King of the Losers! But it still feels good. I felt pretty good about most of my picks and only felt I was going out on a limb once (Film Editing, which I lost). I received notes of congratulations from previous Oscar winners recognizing my "talents".

Dear Past Steve,
You were sooooooo stupid. Quite simply, beyond stupid. I can't even explain how stupid you were,
Love,
Robert Duvall

Dear Present Steve,
You're still stupid. Seriously, Film Editing? Just not as stupid as before.
Love,
Daniel Day Lewis

Dear Future Steve,
Don't be stupid.
Love,
Tom Hanks

Overall, I feel good about this year's Oscar picks... except for that losing thing.

Matthew Preston | March 28, 2022
Congrats to the winners!

Wow. Not only did I completely miss that the Oscars were last night, but I hadn't even heard about the slap. A post on reddit this morning said, "Will Smith is going to slap you. How do you prepare?" And I thought, wow, how random of a question. It must be why it has so many upvotes.

I'm curious, at what part of the telecast did the slap happen? Before or after Smith won?

And Evie, I can't find the Regina Hall harassment moment. What did she do?

Steve West | March 28, 2022
The slap was before he won. He apologized to the Academy for it during his speech, but not to Chris Rock.

Matthew Preston | March 28, 2022
Thanks Steve. Regardless of the motivation, that is straight up assault. I am impressed by how quickly Chris Rock bounced back. I have a feeling that's not the first time someone has "slapped the shit out of" him.

Scott Hardie | March 28, 2022
Very funny, Steve. :-)

Just to be clear, I didn't mean that every single player at the top is definitely copying the online experts. Some may have just guessed really well! But when there are so many players submitting so many near-identical ballots and they all match the online experts and they all come out clustered together at the top like that, well... I reiterate my point above that the contest may not make sense to continue in its current form.

Something that really bugs me about the slap: People keep pointing out that when Chris Rock first made the bald joke, Will Smith was smiling, and he only seemed to get mad after Jada Pinkett Smith was visibly hurt by it -- meaning, Smith's anger was just a performance for his wife. And that might be true, but as Smith himself mentioned in his acceptance-speech-slash-apology-slash-please-continue-to-hire-me-speech, part of show business is that you're expected to smile for the camera and pretend to be enjoying yourself all the time even when you're hurting inside. If the anger was a performance, it's equally likely that the smile was a performance too, so let's not presume to know what was going on in his head.

Evie Totty | March 28, 2022
And Chris might not be aware (or had forgotten in the moment) that Jada has alopecia and her hairstyle choice was not a choice.

@Matthew: Regina did a bit where she called folks from the audience to go backstage to give them COVID tests with her tongue (all were handsome single men, but that's not what I'm talking about - though had it been reversed...).

Right after that, Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa came out to give an award and she gave them a "COVID pat down". I'm pretty sure she only felt up their legs, but still. Had it been reversed...

Scott Hardie | March 28, 2022
I hadn't seen or heard about either of those, but... yikes. :-(

Evie Totty | March 28, 2022
Here is the COVID Testing lineup and here is the pat-down.

Evie Totty | March 28, 2022
And the Academy is conducting a review of the Will Smith thing according to Deadline.

I was actually working and didn't get to "see" a lot of what was going on, but I just happened to be watching at that moment and was like "holy shit". I thought it was a punch at first (and therefore fake, since Rock wasn't laid out), but then my feed froze and when it came back, it was silent. I forgot what Rock said exactly after that and that made me go "oh shit, that was real".

Matthew Preston | March 28, 2022
A thing occurred to me that there’s a good chance Chris Rock didn’t even write that joke. Maybe Will Smith should be slapping the shit out of Bruce Vilanch?

Samir Mehta | March 29, 2022
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | March 29, 2022
All good points!

I am as exasperated as ever with the people insisting that the slap was staged, complete with the sort of diagram that proves nothing that you see conspiracy theorists throw out all the time as if it's definitive proof. First of all, why in the hell would Will Smith agree to do permanent damage to his career and reputation for the sake of producing some Oscars buzz in a broadcast that was nearly over? Second of all, jumping in and declaring "FAKE! STAGED!" as soon as anything at all happens has become simply the most tiresome response possible. We're all aware of the potential for something to be fake these days (including even this), but it adds nothing to the conversation to declare that you know the unknowable with no point to make. I would argue that any one of the thousand useless think pieces that Samir mentioned is still more useful than someone declaring "STAGED!"

Evie Totty | March 29, 2022
Yeah - I'm not going to speculate. All I know is what I saw.

Chris Lemler | March 29, 2022
Well i think what Will Smith did wasn't a very smart move. I read where Will son said "Now that's all we do it". Now Will basically giving his son bad ideas. I think in my own eyes neither Chris Rock or Will Smith ought to be allowed at next years Oscars. That was unprofessional on both parties actions at the time and place. Just a question for everyone do you think not letting Rock or Smith in the next years Oscars would be a proper punishment?

Scott Hardie | March 29, 2022
Yeah, I'm disappointed in both of them. If I ran the Academy, I wouldn't try to rescind Smith's award (either he earned it or he didn't; the slap can't change that), but I'd consider not inviting him back to the show for a few years to let this cool off. Rock's joke was in poor taste and I'd ask him not to punch down like that again; would he have made a joke about Liza Minnelli being in a wheelchair?

It feels like we've now seen the real Will Smith. He released a memoir last year in which he wrote at length about the constant stress of maintaining his public persona of a charming, smart, happy-go-lucky guy, one that he and his therapist nicknamed "Uncle Fluffy" because it was so separate from his real self. I think the extreme stress of the moment got to him and forced him to break character, which is understandable. But how insufferable must the real Will Smith be? Just look at the kids that he raised, forced into entertainment careers in adolescence that at least one of them has said he wanted no part of. He must put himself through hell to be the biggest movie star in the world, and that stress must be insanely toxic to everyone close to him. :-(


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