Connect with us

Awards

2004 MTV Video Music Awards: Winner Predictions

Oh, MTV, what has happened to you? This year’s list of Video Music Award nominees reads more like a TRL line-up.

Published

on

Jay-Z

Oh, MTV, what has happened to you? This year’s list of Video Music Award nominees reads more like a TRL line-up. But what do you expect from a channel that doesn’t even play music videos anymore? In the past year, Fuse (formerly MuchMusic) has bitten a chunk out of MTV’s core audience. And guess what they’re peddling? Music. MTV2, MTV’s supposed all-music-all-the-time offshoot, is snuggled comfortably right next to Fuse on my cable box, but quite honestly, I can’t tell the difference anymore. It’s blocks of bad hip-hop videos vs. blocks of bad hard rock videos. Hmmm…I think I’ll watch Best Week Ever instead. What’s more, MTV is now paying record labels for exclusive rights to videos by certain artists. Looks like another shot in the foot to an industry bent on rendering itself irrelevant. That’s right, kids, you’ll eat what you’re served, and don’t ask any questions. (Now, if only I could stop watching VH1’s I Love the ‘90s I’d sit down and try to remember the last time I saw a video on that channel.) The VMA ceremony is being held in Miami for the first time this year so things should be sufficiently gross. Maybe Prince will make out with Usher and André 3000!

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

OutKast, “Hey Ya!” (Will Win)

Usher featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris, “Yeah!”

Britney Spears, “Toxic”

D12, “My Band”

Jay-Z, “99 Problems” (Should Win)

Sal Cinquemani: I have no idea what D12 is doing here. Does Eminem own shares of MTV or something?

Ed Gonzalez: Black girls screaming for Outkast the way white chicks used to scream for the Beatles? The subversion ends there, and while Outkast are the frontrunners, MTV could go out on a limb and reward “99 Problems,” Mark Romanek’s iconographic representation of black culture, because it is the best video of the year.

SC: It’s hard to believe, but Britney Spears has never won a VMA.

Alexa Camp: She does have a few STDs though.

BEST MALE VIDEO

Usher featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris, “Yeah!” (Will Win)

Jay-Z, “99 Problems”

Justin Timberlake, “Senorita”

Kanye West featuring Syleena Johnson, “All Falls Down” (Should Win)

Prince, “Musicology”

AC: This one is Usher’s to lose.

SC: And hopefully he will. Has MTV even played “Musicology”?

EG: I don’t believe for a second that a prepubescent Prince ever used a vacuum cleaner for a microphone, and since this award should go to a clip that challenges and reinvents the way the male is represented in the music video medium, Kanye West should win (sorry Jay-Z!).

SC: I never really paid attention to Kanye’s video until just now. It’s very good.

AC: Is that Dionne from Clueless?

EG: In the end, a Gen Y-pandering MTV will no doubt give this one to Usher for shaking his bon-bon.

BEST FEMALE VIDEO

Britney Spears, “Toxic” (Will and Should Win)

Beyoncé, “Naughty Girl”

Alicia Keys, “If I Ain’t Got You”

Jessica Simpson, “With You”

Christina Aguilera, “The Voice Within”

SC: Well, isn’t this one giant collection of crap. Ms. Keys was nominated for the wrong video. “You Don’t Know My Name” should have been a lock—and a win.

AC: Seriously. What a bunch of has-beens. The average age in this category is 57. Where’s Hilary Duff?

EG: Though I prefer the Britney video where she kills herself and never makes music again, her “Toxic” is a nifty little video installation companion to Joseph Kahn’s Torque. Xtina’s “The Voice Within” ain’t stripped down, it’s just plain lazy, and no amount of fierceness can save Beyoncé’s “Chicago in En Vogue Minor.”

SC: Yeah, and what’s with all that twitching?

Eric Henderson: She must have just heard that Jessica Simpson song. Same thing happens to me every time I hear it.

AC: Nice of you to join us Eric.

BEST GROUP VIDEO

No Doubt, “It’s My Life”

D12, “My Band” (Will Win)

Hoobastank, “The Reason”

Maroon 5, “This Love” (Should Win)

Good Charlotte, “Hold On”

SC: “Hold On” is a glorified Public Service Announcement.

AC: Yeah, I hate Wilson Phillips.

EG: If they’re solely rewarding a band’s ability to visually interact with each other, No Doubt and Hoobastank should win here. Pity then that their videos are lame hipster wank jobs. As for Good Charlotte’s “Hold On,” it makes me want to kill myself, and that can’t be a good thing. D12 will win because it’s the only video here that’s up for the top prize, but Maroon 5’s “This Love” is the most fuckable clip of the year.

EH: Choke. More like the most rape-worthy.

AC: Does that mean you guys want to fuck the video? That’s kinky. Even for Ed.

BEST RAP VIDEO

Jay-Z, “99 Problems” (Will and Should Win)

D12, “My Band”

50 Cent featuring Snoop Dogg & G-Unit, “P.I.M.P.” Remix

Ludacris, “Stand Up”

Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz featuring Ying Yang Twins, “Get Low”

SC: It’s between Jay-Z and Ludacris, who’s proving himself to be the male Missy when it comes to freaky videomaking.

AC: Speaking of which, where is “Pass That Dutch”?

EG: The real tragedy of this category is not that Missy is noticeably absent but that a video as beautiful as “99 Problems” has to compete with the likes of “P.I.M.P.” and “Get Low.” Morally and aesthetically, these acts represent everything that Jay-Z and Mark Romanek are trying to rectify. Lucky for pop culture, Jay-Z will win this battle.

BEST R&B VIDEO

Usher, “Burn”

Alicia Keys, “If I Ain’t Got You” (Will Win)

Brandy featuring Kanye West, “Talk About Our Love”

Beyoncé, “Me, Myself and I” (Should Win)

R. Kelly, “Step in the Name of Love”

EG: Poor Usher, living all alone in his multi-million dollar pad with no girlfriend to sit on his Oriental decor. Equally ridiculous is Brandy’s color-starved domestic melodrama, R. Kelly’s wholesome boat trip, and Beyoncé’s Midnight Love identity crisis. Because the “You” in Alicia Keys’s video refers both to a guy and a piano, MTV will likely reward the singer with a moon man, ostensibly because they’ll prefer her complex double entendre to Usher’s insatiable fire metaphor.

SC: I actually like “Me, Myself and I.” Four Beyoncés are always better than one.

AC: She should just clone herself and give Kelly and Michelle the boot on the next Destiny’s Child record.

EH: R. Kelly’s dance partner’s great big maternal thighs are the most compelling single element in this line-up. We should all leave him alone, since it’s obvious he prefers women cut from a more mature cloth.

BEST HIP-HOP VIDEO

Outkast, “Hey Ya!” (Will Win)

Black Eyed Peas, “Hey Mama”

Kanye West featuring Syleena Johnson, “All Falls Down” (Should Win)

Nelly featuring P. Diddy and Murphy Lee, “Shake Ya Tailfeather”

Chingy featuring Ludacris and Snoop Dogg, “Holidae In”

SC: Can someone please explain the difference between Best Rap Video and Best Hip-Hop Video? Actually, nevermind. I don’t care.

EH: I think it used to be the line between what soccer moms will and won’t tolerate on the SUV ride home, but I’m not sure anymore.

EG: Yeah, I can’t tell the difference either. All I know is that Nelly needs to hop on the next train out of the Latin ghetto and take Justin Timberlake with him.

AC: “Shake Ya Tailfeather” is like a dance interpretation of our music video forum.

BEST DANCE VIDEO

Usher featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris, “Yeah!” (Will Win)

Black Eyed Peas, “Hey Mama”

Beyoncé, “Naughty Girl”

Britney Spears, “Toxic”

Missy Elliott, “I’m Really Hot” (Should Win)

EG: Do they vote for the video with the best dancing or do they vote for the video that makes you want to dance the most? Missy. Missy. Missy. But since she doesn’t play on KTU, or isn’t mixed by DJ Scribble for his Jersey Shore contingency, I suppose this one is Usher’s to lose.

AC: Are any of these actually “dance” videos? Maybe “Toxic.” I guess that should win by default.

SC: “Toxic” embodies everything that was wrong with music videos from 1999 until 2003: too much greenscreen and too much Joseph Kahn.

AC: And not enough Taylor Dayne.

EH: The house renaissance is truly over. (Sob.)

BEST ROCK VIDEO

Jet, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” (Should Win)

The Darkness, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” (Will Win)

Hoobastank, “The Reason”

Evanescence, “My Immortal”

Linkin Park, “Breaking the Habit”

SC: Jet’s video is simple and inventive. That’s my pick.

EH: Why do I get the feeling Justin Hawkins of The Darkness got plastic surgery with the intention of making himself uglier? I think their mission is to put the “ick” back into dick rock.

AC: I just don’t get The Darkness. Am I missing something?

EG: After seeing The Darkness video, I somehow can’t get the image of Tiny Tim touching himself out of my head. Why would MTV want to reward a provocation like this?

BEST POP VIDEO

Britney Spears, “Toxic” (Will Win)

Jessica Simpson, “With You”

Hilary Duff, “Come Clean”

No Doubt, “It’s My Life” (Should Win)

Avril Lavigne, “Don’t Tell Me”

SC: This is Britney’s to lose. And hopefully she’ll lose it to No Doubt.

AC: Just like her virginity.

EH: Best Popped Cherry.

BEST NEW ARTIST

Jet, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”

Maroon 5, “This Love”

JoJo, “Leave (Get Out)”

Kanye West featuring Syleena Johnson, “All Falls Down” (Will and Should Win)

Yellowcard, “Ocean Avenue”

The Darkness, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”

AC: You know, even though I don’t like The Darkness, I love Michael Bolton. Does that count?

SC: I think the director of “Ocean Avenue” saw Run Lola Run and Memento a few too many times…and then he got high…and then he made a music video…and then it got nominated for two VMAs.

EG: And then JoJo ate Hilary Duff. God, how many movies have I seen with that monster in it?

EH: The JoJo video is precious. Little tyke thinks she’s accrued the sort of life experience that would give her head-jerks and hand-to-the-sky testifying some measure of depth. If only Dakota Fanning had made a video, there’d be a real contest.

MTV2 AWARD

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Maps” (Will Win)

Elephant Man, “Pon De River”

Yellowcard, “Ocean Avenue”

Twista featuring Kanye West and Jamie Foxx, “Slow Jamz”

Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out”

Modest Mouse, “Float On” (Should Win)

SC: What’s the purpose of this category?

EG: Has anyone noticed that Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” is a video interpretation of the Pixies’ Doolittle album cover? Regardless: I know that “Maps” is the best song in the category, but Modest Mouse’s dreamy “Float On” has the cute cutout sheep.

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY IN A VIDEO

Usher featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris, “Yeah!” (Will Win)

Black Eyed Peas, “Hey Mama”

Missy Elliott, “I’m Really Hot” (Should Win)

Beyoncé, “Naughty Girl”

Sean Paul, “Like Glue”

AC: Usher should win for “Yeah!”

SC: And Michael Jackson should accept the award.

EG: Yeah.

BREAKTHROUGH VIDEO

Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out”

Modest Mouse, “Float On”

Kanye West featuring Syleena Johnson, “All Falls Down”

New Found Glory, “All Downhill From Here”

White Stripes, “The Hardest Button to Button” (Will and Should Win)

Steriogram, “Walkie Talkie Man”

SC: “Take Me Out,” “Float On,” and “All Downhill From Here” will cancel each other out, giving the White Stripes a worthy win. They’re proving themselves to be quite the little video pioneers, aren’t they?

EG: It looks like it took Michel Gondry 20 years to make “Walkie Talkie Man,” but his musical math equation for the White Stripes’ less-is-more “The Hardest Button to Button” blows my mind every single time I see it.

EH: So does this category. Really, is there anyone shallow enough to not realize that MTV is straining for credibility here by tabbing the truly buzzworthy clips, but selling out to superstardom in the “Video of the Year” category.

BEST DIRECTION IN A VIDEO

Jay-Z, “99 Problems” (Director: Mark Romanek) (Will and Should Win)

No Doubt, “It’s My Life” (Director: David LaChapelle)

Outkast, “Hey Ya!” (Director: Bryan Barber)

The White Stripes, “The Hardest Button to Button” (Director: Michel Gondry)

Steriogram, “Walkie Talkie Man” (Director: Michel Gondry)

EG: Michel Gondry’s videos are those of a stoned algebra teacher. Mark Romanek’s videos are products of a sober, socially conscious poet and iconographer. I’m not high right now so I’m leaning toward the latter.

SC: If Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” can get nominated you’d think Loretta Lynn’s “Miss Being Mrs.” would get some recognition.

EH: The Gondry clips will probably cancel each other out, and LaChapelle’s incandescent starfuckery is getting a little bit tired.

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS IN A VIDEO

Incubus, “Megalomaniac” (Will Win)

Outkast, “Hey Ya!”

The White Stripes, “The Hardest Button to Button”

Modest Mouse, “Float On”

Steriogram, “Walkie Talkie Man” (Should Win)

SC: Can the White Stripes really win here? Is it really special effects or is it just great editing?

EH: It’s amazing that videos like “The Hardest Button to Button” and “Walkie Talkie Man” can grab tech nominations by the score but still come up clippa non grata in the spotlight categories.

EG: “Walkie Talkie Man” should win.

BEST ART DIRECTION IN A VIDEO

Steriogram, “Walkie Talkie Man”

No Doubt, “It’s My Life” (Will Win)

Outkast, “Hey Ya!”

Alicia Keys, “You Don’t Know My Name”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Maps” (Should Win)

EG: Again, “Walkie Talkie Man.”

SC: I’d be content to see either Alicia Keys or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs take this one home.

AC: Has anyone else noticed how popular the word “yeah” is this year?

BEST EDITING IN A VIDEO

Jay-Z, “99 Problems” (Should Win)

The White Stripes, “The Hardest Button to Button” (Will Win)

Jet, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”

Simple Plan, “Perfect”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Maps”

SC: Now this is what a major category ought to look like. “The Hardest Button to Button” is the obvious choice here, but something subtle (“99 Problems”) or even subtler yet (“Maps”) could steal.

EG: Romanek’s photo log for Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” wouldn’t have the effect that it does if the pages didn’t turn when they do.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY VIDEO

Jay-Z, “99 Problems” (Will and Should Win)

No Doubt, “It’s My Life”

Beyoncé, “Naughty Girl”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Maps”

Christina Aguilera, “The Voice Within”

SC: It’s between “99 Problems” and “Maps,” two of the best videos of the year.

EG: If the folks at MTV don’t check off “99 Problems” then they’re just blind.

SC: Who votes for this shit anyway?

EH: I sure wouldn’t.

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Advertisement
Comments

Awards

Oscar 2020: Complete Winners List

Parasite earned four awards, edging out 1917 for best picture.

Published

on

Parasite
Photo: Neon

Across the last month, we contemplated various pendulum swings, drew links between the Oscar voting process and the Iowa caucuses, and generally mulled over the academy’s ongoing existential crisis, only to come the conclusion that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or that’s what we thought prior to the Academy Awards ceremony. In a welcome surprise, Parasite took the top prize, becoming the first international title to do so in the history of the awards show, while Bong Joon-ho became the first director since Roman Polanski to win the directing Oscar after failing to win the DGA prize. (Parasite is also the first Palme d’Or winner since Marty way back in 1955 to claim best picture.)

In the era of the preferential ballot, one stat or another has been thrown out the window each year, but after last night, it feels like every last one was shattered to bits, and that the triumph of Bong film’s could signal a shift in the industry when it comes to not just what sorts of stories can be told. Indeed, Parasite’s victory is redolent of Moonlight’s no less historic one a few years ago, giving us hope that the very definition of an “Oscar movie” has been forever rewritten. Predicting the Oscars has become a little bit harder now.

Here’s the full list of winners.

Picture
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Parasite (WINNER)

Director
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Todd Phillips, Joker
Sam Mendes, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Bong Joon-ho, Parasite (WINNER)

Actor
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (WINNER)
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Actress
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy (WINNER)

Actor in a Supporting Role
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (WINNER)

Actress in a Supporting Role
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Laura Dern, Marriage Story (WINNER)
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Adapted Screenplay
The Irishman, Steven Zaillian
Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi (WINNER)
Joker, Todd Phillips and Scott Silver
Little Women, Greta Gerwig
The Two Popes, Anthony McCarten

Original Screenplay
Knives Out, Rian Johnson
Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach
1917, Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino
Parasite, Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won (WINNER)

International Feature Film
Corpus Christi (Poland)
Honeyland (North Macedonia)
Les Misérables (France)
Pain and Glory (Spain)
Parasite (South Korea) (WINNER)

Documentary Feature
American Factory, Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, and Jeff Reichert
The Cave, Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfod, and Sigrid Dyekjær
The Edge of Democracy, Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris, and Tiago Pavan
For Sama, Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts
Honeyland, Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska, and Atanas Georgiev

Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis, and Bonnie Arnold
I Lost My Body, Jérémy Clapin and Marc du Pontavice
Klaus, Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh, and Marisa Román
Missing Link, Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner, and Travis Knight
Toy Story 4, Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen, and Jonas Rivera (WINNER)

Film Editing
Ford v Ferrari, Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland (WINNER)
The Irishman, Thelma Schoonmaker
Jojo Rabbit, Tom Eagles
Joker, Jeff Groth
Parasite, Yang Jinmo

Cinematography
The Irishman, Rodrigo Prieto
Joker, Lawrence Sher
The Lighthouse, Jarin Blaschke
1917, Roger Deakins (WINNER)
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Robert Richardson

Production Design
The Irishman, Bob Shaw and Regina Graves
Jojo Rabbit, Ra Vincent and Nora Sopková
1917, Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh (WINNER)
Parasite, Lee Ha-jun and Cho Won-woo

Costume Design
The Irishman, Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson
Jojo Rabbit, Mayes C. Rubeo
Joker, Mark Bridges
Little Women, Jacqueline Durran (WINNER)
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Arianne Phillip

Visual Effects
Avengers: Endgame, Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken, and Dan Sudick
The Irishman, Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser, and Stephane Grabli
The Lion King, Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Elliot Newman
1917, Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, and Dominic Tuohy (WINNER)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach, and Dominic Tuohy

Original Score
Joker, Hildur Guðnadóttir (WINNER)
Little Women, Alexandre Desplat
Marriage Story, Randy Newman
1917, Thomas Newman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, John Williams

Sound Mixing
Ad Astra, Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson, and Mark Ulano
Ford v Ferrari, Paul Massey, David Giammarco, and Steven A. Morrow
Joker, Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, and Tod Maitland
1917, Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson (WINNER)
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler, and Mark Ulano

Sound Editing
Ford v Ferrari, Donald Sylvester (WINNER)
Joker, Alan Robert Murray
1917, Oliver Tarney and Rachael Tate
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Wylie Stateman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Matthew Wood and David Acord

Makeup and Hairstyling
Bombshell, Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, and Vivian Baker (WINNER)
Joker, Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou
Judy, Jeremy Woodhead
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten, and David White
1917, Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis, and Rebecca Cole

Original Song
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4, Randy Newman
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Rocketman, Elton John and Bernie Taupin
“I’m Standing with You,” Breakthrough, Diane Warren
“Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“Stand Up,” Harriet, Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo

Live-Action Short
Brotherhood, Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon
Nefta Footfall Club, Yves Piat and Damien Megherbi
The Neighbor’s Window, Marshall Curry (WINNER)
Saria, Bryan Buckley and Matt Lefebvre
A Sister, Delphine Girard

Documentary Short Subject
In the Absence, Yi Seung-jun and Gary Byung-seok Kam
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl), Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva
Life Overtakes Me, John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson
St. Louis Superman, Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
Walk, Run, Chacha, Laura Nix and Colette Sandstedt

Animated Short
Daughter, Daria Kashcheeva
Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver (WINNER)
Kitbull, Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson
Memorable, Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre
Sister, Siqi Song

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Picture

How could the essentially non-political 1917 not arrive as sweet solace in our cultural moment?

Published

on

1917
Photo: Universal Pictures

We now have roughly a decade’s worth of data to postulate how ranked-choice ballots have altered the outcome of the top Oscar prize, and we’ve come to understand what the notion of a “most broadly liked” contender actually entails. And in the wake of wins for The Artist, Argo, 12 Years a Slave, Spotlight, The Shape of Water, and most especially Green Book last year, we’re left with the impression that the biggest change in what defines a best picture is no change whatsoever. In fact, what appears to have happened is that it’s acted as a bulwark, preserving the AMPAS’s “tradition of quality” in the top prize during a decade in which the concept of a run-the-table Oscar juggernaut has shifted from the postcard pictorials of Out of Africa to immersive epics like Gravity and Mad Max: Fury Road, both of which won two to three times as many awards as the films they lost out to for the top prize.

We’re far from the only ones who’ve noticed that—Moonlight eternally excepted—the contours of best picture winners seem to be drifting in the opposite direction of where Academy representatives have indicated they want to go. Wesley Morris recently concluded that, despite his fondness, if not downright love, for the majority of this year’s top contenders, the slate still just doesn’t jibe with a purportedly forward-thinking, brand-spanking-new academy: “Couldn’t these nine movies just be evidence of taste? Good taste? They certainly could. They are. And yet … the assembly of these movies feels like a body’s allergic reaction to its own efforts at rehabilitation.” Melissa Villaseñor’s jovial refrain of “white male rage” two weeks ago knowingly reduced this awards cycle down to absurdly black-or-white terms, but if the YouTube comments on that SNL bit are any indication, raging white males aren’t in the mood to have a sense of humor about themselves, much less welcome serious introspection.

Neither is that demographic alone in its disgruntlement. What was yesteryear’s “brutally honest Oscar voter” has become today’s “blithely, incuriously sexist, racist, and xenophobic Oscar voter.” As the saying goes, this is what democracy looks like, and given sentiments like “I don’t think foreign films should be nominated with the regular films” and “they should have gotten an American actress to play Harriet,” it looks a lot like the second coming of Hollywood’s Golden Age gorgons of gossip, Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons.

It might be a stretch but we can imagine that, to many voters, the presumptive frontrunner, Sam Mendes’s 1917, comes off a lot less like a first-person video game mission and a lot more representative of what it feels like to navigate our landmine-strewn cultural landscape as your average politically neoliberal, artistically reactionary academy member circa 2020. Especially one forced to make snap decisions in the midst of an accelerated Oscar calendar. And even if that is, rhetorically speaking, a bridge too far, there’s no denying the backdrop of representational fatigue and socio-political retreat liberal America is living through.

How could the stiff-lipped, single-minded, technically flawless, quietly heroic, and, most importantly, essentially non-political 1917 not arrive as sweet solace in this moment? It’s the same reason why we suspect, despite ranked-choice ballots pushing Bong Joon-ho’s insanely and broadly liked Parasite in major contention for the prize, it’s actually Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit we most strongly fear pulling off an upset. After all, how many Oscar voters are still more concerned about Nazis than they are global income inequality? Or, if you’d rather, how many of their homes look more like the Parks’ than like the Kims’?

Will Win: 1917

Could Win: Jojo Rabbit

Might Win: Parasite

Should Win: The Irishman, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, or Parasite

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Director

Given the academy’s long history and resurgent embrace of technical triumphs, we’re not holding our breath for an upset here.

Published

on

Sam Mendes
Photo: Universal Pictures

Last week, when Eric brought to my attention the New York Times article that exposed the myth of Hollywood being in the tank for movies about the industry, I used the piece as a jumping-off point for why Quentin Tarantino was vulnerable in the original screenplay category. At the time, I thought I was stepping on Eric’s toes by referencing his intel, believing him to be charged with giving our readers the lowdown in this category. Turns out he was tasked with whipping up our take on the film editing contest, meaning that I had stepped on my own toes. Which is to say, almost everything I already said about why QT was likely to come up short in original screenplay applies here, and then some.

Indeed, just as math tells us that the academy’s adulation for navel-gazing portraitures of Hollywood has been exaggerated by the media, it also tells us that this award is Sam Mendes’s to lose after the 1917 director won the DGA award, the most accurate of all Oscar precursors, having predicted the winner here 64 times in 71 years. A win for the pin-prick precision of Bong Joon-ho’s direction of Parasite would be a welcome jaw-dropper, as it would throw several stats out the window and, in turn, get us a little more excited about predicting the Oscars next year. But given the academy’s long history and resurgent embrace of technical triumphs—trust us, the math checks out—we’re not holding our breath.

Will Win: Sam Mendes, 1917

Could Win: Bong Joon-ho, Parasite

Should Win: Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Film Editing

The only thing louder than the vroom-vroom of James Mangold’s dad epic is the deafening chorus of “Best. Movie. Ever.”

Published

on

Parasite
Photo: Neon

This past Monday, while the nation waited hour after embarrassing hour for the Iowa caucus results to start rolling in, Film Twitter puzzled over an AMPAS tweet that seemed to leak this year’s Oscar winners—before the voting window had even closed. It didn’t help matters that the slate of “predictions” tweeted by the academy seemed plausible enough to be real, right down to Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite for best picture.

As it turned out, the academy’s problems weren’t so unlike the DNC app gumming up the works in, as the New York Post shadily dubbed it, “Duh Moines.” And sure enough, AMPAS fessed up to a quality-control gremlin (sorry, “issue”) that resulted in someone’s personal predictions going out on the main account. As Iowa’s snafu reaffirmed that Occam’s razor isn’t just something you need to keep out of Arthur Fleck’s hands, we’re 100% certain that the intern who posted that ballot on the academy’s account meant to post it on their personal one.

Speaking of Joker, if you would’ve asked us even just a few days ago whether we thought Ford v Ferrari was any more likely than Todd Phillips’s dank meme to take the Oscar in the category that has frequently been characterized as the strongest bellwether for a film’s overall best picture chances, we’d have probably collapsed in a fit of incontrollable giggles. And yet, with a BAFTA film editing win in Ford v Ferrari’s favor, we’re not the only ones wondering if the least-nominated best picture nominee actually has more in its tank than meets the eye.

The only thing louder than the vroom-vroom of James Mangold’s dad epic, however, is the deafening chorus of “Best. Movie. Ever.” being sung on Parasite’s behalf, and indeed, it was selected as the academy’s unofficial, accidental prediction in this category. As Ed noted yesterday, momentum is in its favor like no other film this year. Well, maybe one other, and it was mere providence that the one-shot gestalt kept Sam Mendes’s 1917 off the ballot here, or else one of the tougher calls of the night could’ve been that much tougher.

Will Win: Parasite

Could Win: Ford v Ferrari

Should Win: Parasite

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay

One of the realities of the Oscar race is that you never want to peak too early.

Published

on

Parasite
Photo: Neon

So much has happened across the home stretch of this perversely shortened awards season that it’s almost difficult to process it all. Believe it or not, at the start of our rolling Oscar prediction coverage, just after the Golden Globes and a few days before the Producers Guild of America Awards announced its top prize, I was still confident in my belief that we were heading toward another picture/director split, with Jojo Rabbit taking the former and Quentin Tarantino the latter. But flash forward two weeks and we’re now looking at an Oscar ceremony that will be in lockstep with the final wave of guilds and awards groups, leaving frontrunners in various categories up to this point in the dust.

Case in point: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood in original screenplay. Even after a recent New York Times article used old-fashioned math to expose the myth being propagated by awards pundits—even us!—that Hollywood is in love with seeing its image reflected back at itself, we figured that the film, even if it isn’t our stealth best picture frontrunner, and even if it isn’t Tarantino’s swan song, couldn’t lose here. After all, the category is practically synonymous with QT, who only needs one more win to tie Woody Allen for most Oscars here.

And then—tell us if you’ve heard this one before—Parasite happened. Here’s a category in which Oscar voters aren’t reluctant to award genre fare, or re-imaginations of that fare. That’s Tarantino’s stock in trade…as well as Bong Joon-ho’s. Parasite’s screenplay, co-written by Bong and Han Jin-won, found favor with the WGA last weekend, and while we weren’t ready to call this race for the film at that time—Tarantino isn’t a WGA member, and as such can’t be nominated for the guild’s awards—we’re doing so in the wake of the South Korean satire winning the BAFTA against Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. That victory proves, among other things, that one of the realities of the Oscar race is that you never want to peak too early.

Will Win: Parasite

Could Win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Should Win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

Oscar has a long-standing history of using the screenplay awards for token gestures, especially toward writer-directors.

Published

on

Jojo Rabbit

As soon as the Oscar nominations were announced and the headlines were dominated by the academy’s cold shoulder toward female directors, it sure felt like the balance of this race was tipped in Greta Gerwig’s favor. After all, Oscar has a long-standing history of using the screenplay awards for token gestures, especially toward writer-directors; they’re where filmmakers like Spike Lee, Sofia Coppola, Pedro Almodóvar, Jordan Peele, Spike Jonze, and, to date, Quentin Tarantino have won their only Oscars.

Gerwig’s status as the most conspicuous best director castaway in this category might not in itself have been enough to push her through, but virtually all the press on her exceptionally good Little Women has focused specifically on how successfully she remixed the novel vis-a-vis jaunting back and forth between different periods in the chronology. Her framing device allows the novel and its modern fans to have their cake and eat it too, to be told a story overly familiar to them in a way that makes the emotional arcs feel fresh and new, to be enraptured by the period details that have always fascinated them but then also come away from it feeling fully reconciled with Jo’s “marriage” to Professor Bhaer. Within the world of pop filmmaking, if that doesn’t constitute excellence in screenwriting adaption, what indeed does?

Alas, as was confirmed at this weekend’s BAFTA and WGA awards, the token gesture this year looks to be spent not on Gerwig, but the category’s other writer-director who missed out in the latter category. We’re no fans of Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, and we aren’t alone, as it boasts the lowest score of any best picture nominee this year on Metacritic. Still, we admit that it must touch a nerve somewhere in the average academy voter who not only finds the Holocaust so irresistible a subject that they’re willing to back a film that this year’s crop of “honest Oscar posters” memorably dubbed Lolocaust, but who also, while continuing to feel increasingly persecuted about the online catcalls over their questionable taste, would right about now love to drop kick Film Twitter out a window like Jojo does Waititi’s positively puckish Hitler.

Will Win: Jojo Rabbit

Could Win: Little Women

Should Win: Little Women

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Production Design

Oscar voters are suckers for scale, throwbacks, ostentation, and, above all, a sense of prestige.

Published

on

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Oscar voters are suckers for scale, throwbacks, ostentation, and, above all, a sense of prestige. No film nominated in this category checks off all those boxes, but two come close: The Irishman and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. While the former never caught fire the way it needed to in order to vie for even the major prizes, the latter has been cruising toward more than just a win in this category from the second people laid eyes on it out of Cannes last year. Regardless of what you think of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, it’s difficult to imagine the scope of Quentin Tarantino’s sense of regard for a bygone Hollywood being possible without Barbara Ling’s production design and Nancy Haigh’s set decoration.

Still, this one is going to be a squeaker. First, there’s the matter of 1917’s late-in-the-game surge and whether or not the film can run the table in the technical categories, even in this particular one where war films almost never prevail. And then there’s Parasite. Near the start of our rolling Oscar coverage, I mentioned how almost every day is bringing us some article praising the perfectly lit and designed architectural purgatory that is that film’s main setting. Now there’s a black-and-white version of the film making the rounds that will certainly allow people to think anew on the dimensions of the film’s thematic and aesthetic surfaces. Because winning in most of Oscar’s tech categories isn’t about restraint, but “more is more,” Parasite’s concentrated sense of texture is more likely the spoiler to the vividly haunted past-ness that clings to every surface across Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood’s plethora of settings.

Will Win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Could Win: Parasite

Should Win: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Visual Effects

The tea leaves are reading that it will be another win for middlebrow respectability.

Published

on

1917
Photo: Universal Pictures

Typically, it’s the short film categories that are most likely to trip up Oscar pool participants hoping to run the table, and not just among those who haven’t bothered to watch the nominees. A check on our own record reveals a number of years in which we failed to correctly guess at least one of them. It’s far more rare for the visual effects category to be one of any given year’s toughest calls. A quick glance at recent category history shows that Oscar voters clearly prefer what the industry refers to as “supporting” effects in a respectable movie for adults, like Life of Pi, Inception, and last year’s winner, First Man. Heck, voters are so counterintuitively serious-minded about this category that they eschewed the rollickingly impolite Mad Max: Fury Road—a juggernaut in the technical races back in 2015—instead opting for the not-just-comparatively minimalist Ex Machina.

Unfortunately, this year’s slate is almost ominously balanced between highbrow supporting effects, photorealistic animated animals in a kiddie epic, and template-oriented maximalism in support of action franchises. The result is the only slate where a bet on any given nominee would pay out more than double your investment, according to the latest Vegas oddsmakers. Still, the Visual Effects Society just handed the better chunk of their honors to The Lion King. It’s tempting to take stock of that, to consider The Jungle Book’s win three years ago, and to admit that the Disney remake is largely in a lane of its own here, and then take that as our cue to “hakuna matata” our way out of any further deliberation.

And yet, we’re not troubled by the VES awards’ preference for The Irishman over 1917 in their “serious movies” category. For one, the effects industry’s own affinity for character-oriented work is well-documented. Out in the wild, the uncanny valley of Scorsese’s age-reversing trickery has been as widely ridiculed as it has been embraced, especially that moment when Robert De Niro’s hitman roughs someone up in flashback, bearing a waxy youthful face but a very much seventysomething body. Given 1917’s 11th-hour surge, its Gravity-ish use of effects to blur cinematography, editing, and postproduction, and the fact that its grandest fabricated images never get in the way of the story, cue another win for middlebrow respectability.

Will Win: 1917

Could Win: The Lion King

Should Win: 1917

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actress

One of the great mysteries of this year’s awards season is the ultimate fate of Jojo Rabbit.

Published

on

Laura Dern
Photo: Netflix

One of the great mysteries of this year’s awards season that won’t be answered until the end of next week’s Oscar telecast is whether or not Jojo Rabbit will go home empty-handed. Taika Waititi’s film seemed destined for the top prize as soon as it won last year’s audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and then, well, lots of things happened since then, but nothing quite so damaging to the film’s awards ambitions than 1917, with which it likely shares more of a fan overlap than any other film in the best picture race. We don’t believe that there are enough academy members who cast votes with the intention of “spreading the wealth” to sway races in unexpected directions, but we do believe that Jojo Rabbit remains a major player in any category where it isn’t nominated against 1917.

That’s us saying that a win for Scarlett Johansson in the supporting actress race wouldn’t surprise us. And the only reason that we’re not going to call it for her is because there are other narratives that we believe in when it comes to securing an academy member’s vote, such as a nominee’s devotion to the campaign trail. The stars have lined up perfectly across the last few months for three-time Oscar nominee Laura Dern, a celebrated veteran of the industry who, for us, sealed the deal with her gracious SAG speech, which she prefaced with a touching pit stop at the Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood table in order to give her father, Bruce Dern, a hug. Also, given that Johansson is the likeliest spoiler in the best actress race, for a performance that would be difficult to imagine without her Marriage Story co-star’s collaboration, we’re also of the belief that if enough voters consider a vote for Johansson here an act of redundancy, if not betrayal, Dern’s victory is all but guaranteed.

Will Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Could Win: Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Should Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Awards

Oscar 2020 Winner Predictions: Costume Design

The path of least resistance and most chronological distance almost always wins here.

Published

on

Little Women
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When we shared Odie Henderson’s un-improvable joke, “Who wins the Costume Design Oscar for Joker? The Goodwill?,” we admit we hadn’t yet bothered to look up the person responsible for its downtrodden anti-chic shabbery. And seeing it was none other than Phantom Thread’s Oscar-winning Mark Bridges chastened us only long enough for us to remember that he was left off the ballot at the BAFTAs in favor of Jany Temime’s work on Judy, which, no matter what you think of the film itself, makes a lot more sense as a nominee in a category that, as Bridges well knows, often defaults to frock fervor. So while we could easily get more bent out of shape that the Costume Designers Guild this week gave its award for excellence in period film costuming to Mayes C. Rubeo for Jojo Rabbit, and while we could also ponder how this year’s slate skews not only surprisingly modern, but also far more male-centric than usual (from Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson’s baggy midcentury suits in The Irishman to Arianne Phillips’s groovy Cali duds in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood), the path of least resistance and most chronological distance almost always wins here. Jacqueline Durran’s win is both deserved and assured.

Will Win: Little Women

Could Win: Jojo Rabbit

Should Win: Little Women

We’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, consider becoming a SLANT patron, or making a PayPal donation.
Continue Reading

Trending