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Category Archives: poll

Best Original Song Nominees (90th Academy Awards)

The Oscars’ Best Original Song category is one that has gone through some serious shifts over the years. When the category began back in the mid 1930s there was no shortage of movie musicals to pull original songs from. It was one of the most popular genres at the box office through a few decades and even with the admonition against songs from Broadway musicals being imported to the screen and becoming eligible for the award, they always seemed to be able to fill out the category without too much trouble. After all, songwriting legends like Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin were still pumping out hits, and what better way to make sure people heard your great new song than to slap it into a movie? This was true to the point that if you’re someone who has seen lots of old movies you’ve probably stopped being surprised when a straight comedy or even drama stops abruptly to let somebody sing a song that might not have much to do with the rest of the movie.

While this emphasis on songs didn’t guarantee nominee classes stacked with classics, by comparison the number of truly legendary songs you find in those first few decades is pretty impressive. Consider 1936 in which “Pennies From Heaven” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” weren’t quite good enough to beat out “The Way You Look Tonight” or 1941 in which “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” “Baby Mine,” “Blues in the Night,” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy From Company B” all lost out to Kern’s “The Last Time I Saw Paris.” Even through the fifties and sixties, more traditional type singers like Doris Day and Frank Sinatra popped up and helped to define an Oscar-winning song as one that might sit comfortably on the shelf alongside the great American songbook. But even a relatively conservative voting body like the Academy couldn’t completely ignore that there had been a definite change in what popular music meant by the late 1960s.
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Fixing Oscar For One Film: Part One

Okay, so I’m obviously an unrepentant lover of the yearly film Bacchanalia that is the Oscars. That should be obvious by my obsessive yearly coverage of the awards here at LeBlog. At the same time, it’s not like I’m not fully aware of the shortcomings of the whole exercise and some of the mistakes the Academy’s voters might have made along the way. My recent article on the history of the Best Picture category touches a bit on these things. Anybody with a love of film who has taken the time to consider the winners and losers with any detail or who has sat down and watched the ceremony play out in real time more than a few times probably has that one choice by the Academy that sticks in their craw just a little. Yes, in the end it’s just a meaningless award, but darn it movie Y obviously should have beaten movie X in 19-blah-dee-blah.

Well, I’m here to offer the readers of LeBlog an opportunity to scratch that itch. As a team, we will be sifting through some of the greatest Best Picture nominees to ever come up short on cinema’s biggest night. Every other day for the next couple of weeks I’m going to be presenting five such pictures for your consideration, sharing a few of each movie’s credentials, and giving you a chance to vote for your favorite amongst them. Once we’ve acquired a winner for each group of five, those surviving films will be pitted against one another in a winner-take-all competition whose champion will forever after be known as “LeBlog’s best-Loved Loser.” Yes, anytime the film is spoken of here at LeBlog in the future, that moniker will be attached to it (I can imagine we will come up with reasons to mention it more often than we otherwise would have).

While we won’t strictly be moving forward by decade, some effort has been made to group the films in roughly appropriate chronological sets. Today we start with a rather tightly packed bunch of movies stretching from 1938 all the way to 1940. What can I say? It was a pretty good time for movies.
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Best Picture Oscar Nominees (89th Academy Awards)

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As I covered during last year’s warm up to the Oscars ceremony, the change the Academy made in 2009 by expanding the list of nominations in the Best Picture category from the traditional five to as many as ten has significantly altered the conversation. This is what it was meant to do, but perhaps the conversation has not quite changed the way it was intended to. If you look at the list of Best Picture nominees from this year’s awards there are definitely a couple that we’re happy to see included which might not have been in previous years, even the sic-fi picture Arrival is not exactly a mainstream style popcorn flick, but represents the sort of focus on art which is the standard for Oscars material. For the most part it really appears that the voters have adapted to the new rules and have pretty much resumed with its promotion of “Oscar-bait” films. Despite some genre fans holding out hope that favorites like Deadpool or Zootopia could grab at the big prize, that didn’t happen. But we do have some pretty interesting nominees and how they interact when considered against one another gets the old brain hummin’ too.

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Best Actor Oscar Nominees (89th Academy Awards)

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In most years, the Best Actor category is one of the major flash points of Oscars evening. Last year’s win for Leonardo DiCaprio was seen by some as the rightful end to a long-standing wrong (I wasn’t one of those people, but we’re not talking about me here). Both 2009 and 2010 featured Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth as top nominees with each man eventually taking home one statuette. Longtime favorites, unexpected darkhorses, and actual movie stars have made the walk to the stage to be honored over the years and there’s usually a lot of suspense or anticipation over a tight race or a coronation. Despite some uncertainty over who the actual winner will be, I’m not quite getting the same sense of excitement over this race as I have in many other years. No matter who wins, that performance will be seen by most as deserving, but I’m not sure there are a ton of people outside of the productions themselves who are emotionally invested in the outcome. Join me below as i discuss each nominee and maybe offer some hints as to why people might feel this way. Then help us vote for our own favorite to take home Oscar gold in this category!
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Best Actress Oscar Nominees (89th Academy Awards)

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While there have definitely been years in which the Academy appeared to be having trouble filling out this category, this was definitely not one of them. Probably the most talked-about exclusion of the Oscar year was Amy Adams’ lead performance in Arrival, which managed to grab eight other nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and in several technical categories without likewise honoring Adams. It has been suggested that perhaps she split the vote with her equally fine work in Tom Ford’s entrancing Nocturnal Animals. Still more onlookers favored Annette Bening’s turn in 20th Century Women or Taraji P Henson as mathematician Katherine Goble Johnson in Hidden Figures. Clearly none of these women would have looked out of place on the final list of nominees. This is a good sign for actresses in general, but maybe not a great one for those hoping to take home an Oscar. The competition appears to be getting even more fierce.

That could also be demonstrated by how much trouble I had deciding on my own rankings in this category.
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The 2017 Best Costume Design Nominees

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Hello again! I’m Allison, and I love writing and costuming. So I’m thrilled to be back on Le Blog for a second year of discussing the Oscar nominations for Best Costume Design, especially as I recently wrapped my consistent blogging project, Lizzie McGuire Reviewed.

We’ve got an interesting crop of films this year. They’re almost all period pieces (with the exception of La La Land, which wants to be) and none are particularly over-the-top; we certainly don’t see any costuming as downright bonkers as last year’s winner, Mad Max: Fury Road, but this year’s list also lacks the bright, fantastical design of Disney flicks like Cinderella or Alice in Wonderland that usually appear in this category. Most critics are calling a toss-up between Jackie and  La La Land for the award. I’d be fine with the former. We’ll….get into the latter.

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Best Supporting Actor Nominees (89th Academy Awards)

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I consistently find the Best Supporting Actor category to be the most interesting and competitive group just about any Oscars night. Perhaps that’s because a high percentage of my own work in theatre has been done in supporting roles, but it’s also true that there are naturally more supporting roles available over the course of a year in film which tends to lead to more variety. This time we’ve got a couple of eccentric lawmen, an uncertain father figure, a son dealing with his father’s death, and another trying to find his way back home. Past winners in this category have included luminaries such as Karl Malden, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine, Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Christopher Plummer. There have also been a bunch of guys you haven’t heard from since. Will this year’s winner fit into one of these categories? Join me below and we’ll discuss.
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Supporting Actress Oscar Nominees (89th Academy Awards)

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Oscar’s not so white this year, is he? In case you were wondering, that’s a good thing, culturally and business-wise. Also, we’ve got good performances from good movies. There are some familiar faces in this category this year and one which most of us might not know was already familiar. What we also have is the most hands-down favorite of the year. No other potential acting winner is as predictable as this one this Sunday night. A little issue that bit us in the butt last year is maybe rearing its ugly head again this time around, but maybe not to the same degree depending on where you come down on that particular performance. Let’s dive right in!
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Best Original Song Nominees (89th Academy Awards)

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Does anything about that top image look slightly off to you? If so, it’s probably because there are only four films nominated in the Best Original Song category instead of five. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t five nominated songs. It’s just that one of these movies has two. No points for guessing which one.

This is actually not that uncommon. In fact, the Best Original Song category has a history of wonky nomination counts for a variety of reasons. Back in 2013 one of the songs had its nomination revoked. Prior to that, a series of rules changes designed to reduce any perception of the category being “filled out” with unworthy nominees sometimes resulted in fields of three or four. A nomination process that required voters to rate each song, with only those rated higher than a set target gaining a place on the Oscars stage produced a situation in 2011 in which only two songs were nominated (prompting one high-profile singer to accuse the Academy of being “mean”). Over the first eleven years of the category’s existence voters were permitted to nominated as many songs as they liked…and boy did they like! Throughout the early forties no less than nine songs were nominated every single year, topping off at a whopping FOURTEEN in 1945. Obviously that was an out of control situation. People love being honored and they certainly love seeing their projects get free promotion. With no television show to keep on time, why not pile up as many nominations as possible if you can?

For a good long time after that, the Academy put a cap of five nominations on the category and as far as I can tell that was working pretty well. There were a few times when there were a small number of songs which the Academy considered to be qualified, and they would automatically reduce the number of nominated songs to three. This happened in 1988 when Carl Simon’s song from Working Girl took home the gold over Phil Collins’ retro bit of fluff from his otherwise unknown starring vehicle Buster. Considering the well-publicized demographics of the Academy it’s a little hard to swallow when they proclaim that only two or three songs deserve nominations. I’m going to stop short of criticizing them for nominating more than one song from a single movie, though. I personally think it’s pretty great if a particular musical is really that good that they can shower it with praise. Disney’s Beauty & the Beast really is that good, and a lot of people felt the same way about The Lion King. Besides, if they were limited to one song per film, my favorite movie song of the year probably wouldn’t have been nominated this time around.
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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game Final!: Austin Powers vs Boogie Nights

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Yep. Here we are in the championship round of our 1997 movie bracket, and obviously we all knew that this matchup was coming from the start…right?

Certainly nobody here was foolhardy enough to think there was any chance we’d see something like Titanic against Men In Black in the final. What kind of numb nut would have entered this exercise with that sort of expectation? Such a person would surely have been underestimating our fine readers at LeBlog.

>Ahem<
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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: Austin Powers vs The Fifth Element

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Well, here we are in our second-to-last bout of this bracket game and we’ve got a pretty surprising pairing fighting it out for a spot in the final. As I did previously, I’ll be covering a couple of actors from the flicks in question.
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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: Boogie Nights vs Jackie Brown

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Here we are in our final four, so it’s nothing but the cream of the crop from here on, right? Well, that certainly the case in this particular contest. Both started the bracket among my favorite five overall in the game, so I’m pretty pleased to have to make the tough decision when I cast my vote. Both movies feature top notch artistry from their actors, directors, cinematographers, and designers. For our final four round I’m going to be featuring members of the casts, covering not just their work in the films in question, but also in some other notable appearances.

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Movies of 1997 Bracket Game: The Full Monty vs The Fifth Element

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These two films really don’t have much in common do they? One is a character-havy comedy set in a working class British town and is populated by men who are either pushing or smack dab in the middle of middle age and are largely uncomfortable with their own physicality. The other is a stylish sic-fi pastiche featuring bright blue opera singers, rubbery monsters, and sleek fashion models. Let’s take a look!

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