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Oscars: How Important is Best Picture?

How meaningful is a Best Picture Oscar in the grand scheme of things? Well, obviously that’s going to depend on the point of view of each individual person considering the question. For the purposes of this article we’re going to assume that it’s a pretty big deal within the context of the awards themselves, but we’re going to have a look at the history of voting patterns in relation to other Oscars given out each year, its importance within the film business, and how these relate to long term relevance.

Let’s see how much I can find to say on this subject, shall we?
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What if the LeBlog Readers Ran the Academy Awards?

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Do you sometimes wish you lived in one of those ‘parallel universes’ or ‘alternate realities’ science fiction stories are so fond of dreaming up? You know, the kind where the whims of you and your friends would just fall into place and where your own tastes were pretty much accepted as common knowledge. Well, we’re going to give you just a little taste of what such a place would be like today. In this scenario, we plunge into the heart of a black hole and come out on the other end in a universe in which LeBlog readers are the arbiters of all pop culture taste. So much so, in fact, that when it’s time to give out the yearly awards in film (affectionately nicknamed “the Lebeaus”) it is only the members of the Academy of our readership who get a vote on the major categories. The golden statuette is a reference to two of our favorite genre pictures, Star Wars and Goldfinger. It carries a sword to deal with any smart guys who find it necessary to point out that the history of these awards goes back thirty-five years prior to either of those movies.

Today we will discover how such a world would be different from our own in respects to the film awards that were given out just this past weekend in our own tawdry original timeline. How do we know such a thing? Well, thankfully we’ve been collecting data from our readers over the last couple of weeks for just such an occasion. Obviously, from the top image you can tell that our wise readers have selected George Miller’s thrilling action sequel Mad Max: Fury Road as Best Picture of the year. The decision was not unanimous, with Earth 616’s eventual winner Spotlight posting a strong second place showing. In the end, however, brilliant production design and water tight staging of action sequences won the Lebeau for Miller and company.

Would you like to see the rest of this parallel universe? Just click below and enter a most glorious place and time.
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An Oscars Conversation with Lebeau and Daffystardust

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Greetings lovely LeBlog readers! As a part of our Oscars coverage this year Lebeau and I decided to try a little conversation on the topic via traded typing. We’ll be discussing our personal favorite nominees, the current controversies surrounding the awards, our expectations of the televised event, and whatever else might just pop into our heads. I’m your Oscars coverage manager Daffystardust and obviously I’m an Oscars enthusiast. Lebeau is less so, but hey, his name’s on the joint so he’s gonna get his say. Hey there Lebeau! What stands out for you about this year’s nominated films and performances?
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This Year’s Costume Design Nominees

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Hello! I’m Allison, and I care about costume design.  These days I mostly express that by calling out the zany Y2K looks of an old Disney Channel sitcom, but at other times in my life I’ve had the more constructive outlets of costuming theatre productions and teaching costume design and costume history workshops at a theatre camp. I’ve occasionally had to consult my friend Camille’s encyclopedic knowledge of fashion history when designing, so she’s my collaborator for this post as well (which was especially handy when she was brave enough to watch The Revenant, a task I could not stomach).

When it comes to this award, the Oscars love a period piece –  since 1967, only two films have won for contemporary costuming. More recently, over-the-top designs for films like The Great Gatsby and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland have been dazzling the Academy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, this category has not been kind to gritty survivalist stories, which is bad news for the beautifully bonkers design of Mad Max: Fury Road and the designated haberdashery of Leo’s suffering in The Revenant. Bear those trends in mind and it seems likely that it’ll be Cinderella’s year, but there are strong nominees that could challenge it on Sunday night.

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This Year’s Best Picture Nominees

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This here is the big kahuna. Best Picture. The film that is held up as the best of the year and made to embody that year for the rest of all time. So why is the winner so often overshadowed by another nominee that gains with repeat watchings, or ages better, or simply is better? Why by my estimation are there more than forty nominated films over the years that have been better than the movie that ended up beating them for this honor? Well, group think is part of the explanation. A few of the right people start spreading an opinion and suddenly those around them start nodding along. It’s also fair to say that it’s not always easy to figure out what will age well or be seen as not just out of fashion, but downright corny or offensive by future generations. You can’t expect the voters to be soothsayers. The sooth is not simple to say. You’ll also have to look at it from the other point of view. More than forty of the Best Picture winners actually are tops among the nominated films of the year. By my estimation, at least.

Now let’s have a look at this year’s nominated films!
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My Lovely Day of Movies

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After summer months filled with a Disneyland vacation, directing for my developing theatre company, and transitioning into a new job, I finally found a weekend that was not already spoken for in one way or another. So I decided to try to catch up with a couple of the movies that had so far slipped past me this year. Despite seeing the mildly disappointing Avengers sequel, the Pixar smash Inside Out, the fantastically creepy Ex Machina, the lighthearted Marvel world builder Ant-Man, and the Ian McKellan vehicle Mr Holmes (McKellan is wonderful in it, by the way), I was still left feeling way behind overall. As I perused the lists of films that were still playing on the big screen locally I found that getting anywhere close to up to date was going to be a daunting task indeed. Running out and taking in a couple of popcorn flicks on a lazy Saturday was not even going to come close to doing the trick.

What formed in my mind instead was a scheme that would both allow me to “x” out plenty of empty boxes on my movies checklist and make the endeavor into an event in and of itself.
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