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February 27, 2012


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At what point can we just merge Best Director into Best Picture?


In all the discussion of THE ARTIST, did anyone notice that 21 years ago, its (now) Oscar-winning producer Thomas Langmann starred in Chantal Akerman's NIGHT AND DAY? (I know, probably no one cares, but I found it interesting, and this seems like one of the few sites where people would discuss both THE ARTIST and Akerman).

Matt Blankman

We all know how much Billy Wilder loved moves with cute little dogs who save the day.


I know complaining about self-congratulatory back-slapping at the Oscars is a bit redundant but they seemed to really lay it on with a trowel last night. It really needed a Stewart or Letterman or Gervais to cut through the thick smug.

I thought Natalie Portman wanted Gary Oldman to win.


Anyone else stop watching after Richardson won for cinematography? I loved everything about HUGO... except for the garish photography. I don't know enough about the craft to decide who is responsible for making everyone's skin orange--in fact, for draining all color except for orange and blue out of the movie--but my guess is that the DP has some say in the matter. This one should have gone to TREE OF LIFE.

Chris O.

"There was one award winner when the cutaway to Jolie's reaction was a near-perfect "I approve ... CONDITIONALLY" sort of deal."

Which one?

A.O. Scott

"My own informal survey of other critics on Twitter showed a diversity of opinion, although I'm still not sure about the New York Times critic who, to my mind, used the word "nailed" in a too-ambiguous context."
You may want to correct this. The word I used in that too-ambiguous context was was "killed," which might be problematic in a different way, I guess. http://twitter.com/#!/aoscott. Unless you mean another New York Times critic.

Miriam Reed

Mr. Kenny, I read your review of the Oscar Awards show on MSN.com, and I was disappointed to see yet another step down in quality of vernacular used in the print media. In an otherwise reasonably written piece, the use of "what-the-eff" seems to trash out the story from the very start. I'd suggest "surprising," "unpredictable," or "astonishing" in place of the engineered, hyphenated attempt to connect to the lowest common denominator in readership.

Glenn Kenny

@ A.O. Scott: Ooops! Correction under way! Also: indeed!

@ Miriam Reed: As Mr. Scott can tell you, I'm actually a fairly trashy guy.

But seriously...I grappled, for not a huge amount of time but at least a little while, with that formulation myself and I have to admit that for the sake of what I considered AT THE TIME to be idiosyncratic prose flow, I settled. Perhaps not my best choice.


"Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot" has always been my vernacular of choice.


Mr. Kenny, dude, I tried to read your review of the Oscars on MSN.com, but I couldn't follow it. In the very first paragraph, you used a bunch of words I didn't know - brevity, inextricable, fleetest, dint. WTF, dude? Who do think reads these things -- English nerds? It's MSN, not some snobby magazine like, um, Newsweek or something.

Brian P

The audio was atrocious.


@Bettencourt: I didn't know that Thomas Langmann was in Akerman's "Night and Day" though he did look awfully familiar - thanks for pointing it out!
I saw "Night and Day" many years ago on VHS and haven't seen it since. I think it and "Window Shopping" are underrated (definitely not widely available) in Akerman's oeuvre.
Anyway, thanks again for the heads up.


Mr Kenny, is Ms Reed your old English teacher or summink? I mean, what the blazes?

Claire K.

Chin up, darling!! The piece was "OTHERWISE REASONABLY WRITTEN." Take that, enemies of reason!!


"We train our young men to drop fire on people but we won't let them write FUCK in their Oscar roundups"


I did not like the "in memoriam" piece at all. It felt like they believed some people deserved clips more than others, and besides that, it seemed as though the hope was that the design would be noticed, more than the deceased.


"Anyone else stop watching after Richardson won for cinematography?"

Yes, but for the opposite reason - I finally caught HUGO at a matinee on Saturday and was floored by the 3D, which seemed to me to be exponentially better than any other 3D film I've seen (though I admittedly tend to avoid the format). I thought Scorcese and Richardson did a phenomenal job with the depth of field, and I was glad to see it recognized.

Glenn, in the unlikely event you're still keeping score: the theater was about 2/3 full, mostly families with young kids, and they were silent and (assumedly) engaged the whole time.


@Matt: I did not see it in 3D. That may have been why I was underwhelmed by the photography. Otherwise, I loved everything else about the film.


As it happens I saw HARRY AND TONTO on Oscar eve. As egregiously undeserving oscar winners go, they certainly made them better back in 1974.

Jim Gabriel

Second-tier Mazursky is higher than most people's top shelf.

The Siren

@Matt Blankman:


Russ H

Chris. Rock.

Jim Gabriel

Siren from the corner for three... AND IT'S GOOD!


If we're going to discuss injustice from the 1974 Oscars, I'd say that The Towering Inferno winning Best Cinematography over Chinatown, Lenny and Murder on the Orient Express (I'll ignore the fact that Earthquake was also nominated), as well as such non-nominated cinematography as The Godfather Part II, The Sugarland Express and Young Frankenstein, far surpasses Art Carney's Best Actor win (great as Finney, Nicholson and Pacino were in Orient Express, Chinatown and Godfather 2, not to mention the non-nominated Hackman in The Conversation).


You have a point Betterncourt, though I'd add that Carney also beat an unnominated Peter Falk in A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, while Erland Josephson was also locked out when SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE was declared ineligible.


These were never gonna happen, but I'll throw 'em in the mix: Philippe Noiret for The Clockmaker, Warren Oates for Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and Jason Miller for The Nickel Ride.

Michael Dempsey

James Coburn as Sgt. Steiner in Sam Peckinpah's unsung but finest film, "Cross of Iron" -- one of the truly top-tier performances ever put onto the screen.

Russ Queen

Wow, '74 was a great year for actors. Sung and unsung. But Carney was really good in that cat movie. Not saying he deserved the big prize, but not a complete travesty, like Sean Penn for Mystic River.

Josh Z

If you're going to cite an acting travesty, cite Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman. Yes, Sean Penn went over-the-top in his big crying scene, but he was actually pretty good in the rest of Mystic River. Maybe not Oscar good, but that was certainly not the worst mistake that Oscar ever made. Pacino, though...


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