Saturday, January 29, 2011

Box Office and the Oscars®


There is often speculation that motion pictures that do well at the Box Office have more of a chance of winning an Oscar®. I have been an "Oscar watcher" for longer than I shall admit here and, frankly, there does not seem to be a correlation. I would love to research it and do a quantified statistical study. Anyone want to fund it? But, then, there are so many variables.

So, let's get down to crunching some numbers pertaining to this year's nominees for Best Motion Picture and their Box Office numbers just before they were nominated. We will do the winner's stats after the 83rd Academy Awards®, February 17.

Having compared the grosses of the ten nominees on January 24, let us rank them all, highest gross first with the number of their nominations in parentheses:

TOY STORY 3, $414.9M (5); INCEPTION, $292.5 (8); TRUE GRIT, $137.9M (10); THE SOCIAL NETWORK, $95.4M (8); BLACK SWAN, $83.2M (5 ); THE FIGHTER $72.6 (7); THE KING'S SPEECH, $57.3M (12 ); THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (4 ); 127 HOURS (6); and WINTER'S BONE $6.2m (4). (For more see: Box Office Mojo.)

Please, keep in mind that these movies were released at different times. Some had a longer time to amass Box Office numbers than others but, even so, one can easily see that the Box Office receipts had little impact on the number of nominations a movie received.

To get a better comparison, let's break them down starting with TOY STORY 3, which was leading the Box Office receipts by miles just before the Best Picture nominations were announced. It was the earliest Best Picture nominee to release, June 18, and it's gross was $414.9 Million on January 24. By comparison, the lowest-budgeted independent movie, WINTER'S BONE, released June 11th, with a gross of $6.2M. The highest and the lowest. Yet, WINTER'S BONE is nominated for four Oscars, Toy Story, five.

The second best gross was INCEPTION'S $292.5M, released July 16th. We can compare that to the low-budget nominated movie released only two days before on July 9th, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, which came in at $20.8M.

Moving on to Oct 1st, and to one of the most anticipated movies of the year, THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Its gross was $95.4M.

THE KING'S SPEECH was released November 26th, almost two months later, and grossed $57.3M. Do the math, use an algorithm, whatever, and you see right away that THE KING'S SPEECH was only $48.1M behind THE SOCIAL NETWORK on January 24th and, therefore, THE KING'S SPEECH shows stronger legs than THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Also released in November, 127 HOURS opened on November 5th, and it grossed a weak $11.2M. Wobbly legs at best.

Three nominated movies were released in December. BLACK SWAN opened first, December 3rd, THE FIGHTER on December 10, followed by TRUE GRIT on December 22nd. The last Best Picture nominee to open.

How do their gross totals on January 24 compare? One would think that the last movie opening would have the least gross. Not so. The last film grossed the most behind INCEPTION, which was released five months earlier. The grosses for the movies opening from the 3rd to the 22nd of December were: BLACK SWAN $83.2M, THE FIGHTER $72.6M, and TRUE GRIT $137.9M. I predict TRUE GRIT has legs of a stallion.

Click the title of this post to access the Official 2011 Oscar Web site.
See previous posts, below, for more, and there will be many more posts between now and the February 27th 83rd Academy Awards Gala. Next Post: "Acting Nominations Compared to Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards."  The SAG awards will be held tomorrow night.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Discussing More Best Picture Oscar® Nominations

In the Previous post directly below, we looked at the Academy Awards® nominations, announced January 25th. We began with the Best Picture nominee that received the most nominations for the coveted Oscar®, The King's Speech (12), and right behind it, True Grit (10). Next in the order of the number of nominations for Best Picture, are The Social Network, Inception and The Fighter. The Social Network and Inception each received eight nominations.

Besides the Best Picture nod, other nominations for The Social Network are: Best Actor for Jessie Eisenberg’s portrayal of  Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, Director (David Fincher), Adapted Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin) and Original Score (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross). Other Achievement nominations are for Cinematography, Film Editing and Sound Mixing.

The other nominations for Inception are: Art Direction, Cinematography, Original  Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, and Original Screenplay (Christopher Nolan). 

The surprise is that the creator of the film and director, Christopher Nolan, was nominated for Original Screenplay, but did not receive a nomination for Best Director. Because Nolan did not get a nomination in that category, and there is no nomination for Film Editing, either, Inception may be hurt in the final voting. The more nominations related to the Hollywood Guilds, the more votes a movie garners. With large Academy memberships are the Screen Actors Guild of (SAG), The Producers Guild of America (PGA) and the Director's Guild of America (DGA). The SAG nominations are this weekend.
The Fighter is next with seven nominations. Besides Best Picture, The Fighter received three acting nominations, as did The King's Speech. Christian Bale is nominated for an actor in a supporting role; Amy Adams for an actress in a supporting role; and Melissa Leo for an actress in a supporting role. Other Achievement nominations were: Directing (David O. Russell); Film Editing; and Original screenplay (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson).

Click the title of this post to access the Official 2011 Oscar Web site. There will be many more posts on this blog discussing the nomination categories between now and the February 27th 83rd Academy Awards Gala. Next post? "Box Office and the Oscar".

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Best Picture Oscar® Nominations and One Long Shot

I found no surprises in the Oscar nominations announced today by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the 83rd Academy Awards®. I haven't even seen The King's Speech, yet, but I tapped it a month ago to get an Oscar® nomination for the Best Motion Picture of 2010. It received the most nominations, twelve in all.

Actors Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush all received nominations, a stellar lineup. Firth was nominated for Best Actor in a lead role. Rush and Carter were nominated in the acting supporting categories, actor and actress respectively. Director Tom Hooper made the cut for achievement as best director.

The other nine Best Picture slots went to 127 Hours, The Kids Are All RightBlack Swan, The Social Network, Inception, The Fighter, Winter's Bone, Toy Story 3, and True Grit. The King's Speech did exceedingly well in the technical categories to gain a sure footing on the path to a Best Motion Picture Oscar.

Remember boys and girls, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has the biggest voting block in the Academy. Thus, where SAG goes, the academy usually follows. SAG will give their awards this Sunday (30th).

All the actors nominated for their roles in The Social Network are also nominated for SAG awards in the same categories. Plus, the movie is nominated for the Best Cast award. The others nominated by SAG for best cast are: Black Swan, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right and The Social Network.

The other directors nominated are: David Fincher (The Social Network), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), the Brothers Cohen (True Grit) and David O. Russell (The Fighter).

The King's Speech received seven other nominations for achievement in: art direction, cinematography, film editing, original score, original screenplay, sound mixing and costume design.

Getting the most nominations is always commendable in the Oscar race, but movies have racked up the most nominations before, only to go home empty handed. I do not think The King's Speech will experience that problem.

Now, that I have acknowledged True Grit above, I must clarify the statements used in some of the reporting about the movie's lack of even a single Golden Globe nomination. The words, or phrases, used were snubbed, overlooked, passed over, ignored, etc. The truth is, True Grit was not released until December 22, and the Globes ballots were mailed to members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) on December 2nd. The final screening date was the 8th, press conferences the 9th, and ballots were due at Ernst and Young on the 10th for tabulation. Paramount set the HFPA an impossible task.

In not releasing True Grit before December first, Paramount allowed the studio to grab a good box office gross over the holidays, and take the lead in money charts, but it was too late for True Grit to get any Golden Globe nominations. I think that was a bad move by Paramount.

True Grit came in second in the Oscar race with ten nominations, including acting honors for Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld. Also, the aforementioned Cohen brothers directing nomination as well as their nomination for best adapted screenplay. In the other "achievement in" categories, True Grit was nominated for: art direction, costume, cinematography, film editing, sound editing and mixing.

Actor Jeff Bridges (Rooster) is nominated by SAG for best actor. SAG nominated actress Hailee Stienfeld (Mattie) in the best supporting actress category, too. There has been some contention about Stienfeld's supporting actress nod. Some believe that she should have been nominated as best actress.

The best picture long shot? That would be Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney), which I previously suggested would probably be nominated in the Best Motion Picture category, as well as the Best Animated Feature Film category. With it in the last category are: How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) and The Illusionist (Sony Pictures). If I were voting, I would vote for Toy Story 3 for the Oscar in this category. It is no Fantasia. I think the Best Picture nomination is a "special salute" to Walt Disney and all those who participated in the Toy Story trilogy, and that, in itself, is a good thing.

The same was probably true about the salute to UP last year. I personally felt that the salute was not only for Walt Disney and Pixar, as well as all who participated, but it was an extra special salute to Mr. Edward Asner and Mr. Christopher Plummer.

More posts to follow about the nominations. Next post, "Discussing Three More Best Picture Nominees".

Monday, January 24, 2011

Oscar® Nominations on Internet and Mobile

Tomorrow morning, Tuesday, January 25, the 83rd Academy Awards® nominations announcement will be streamed live on the Internet, which will also be available for viewing on mobile devices. As usual, the nominations will be broadcast from the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Web and Mobile cast will begin at 5:30 a.m. PT with “Road to the Oscars®,” featuring Chris Harrison, host of ABC’s The Bachelor and TV Guide Network’s Academy Awards red carpet show. His co-host will be Dave Karger, senior writer at Entertainment Weekly. will facilitate the stream on behalf of the Academy.

Harrison will introduce several brief segments that celebrate the year in movies as well as the upcoming Oscar® ceremony. Karger will join him in a discussion of movie trends from 2010 and how those trends might be reflected in the nominations.

Academy President Tom Sherak and last year’s Supporting Actress winner, Mo’Nique, will then take the stage in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at 5:38:30 a.m. PT, to reveal the nominees for 10 categories: Leading Actor, Leading Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Animated Feature Film, Directing, Foreign Language Film, Adapted Screenplay, Original Screenplay and Best Motion Picture.

Immediately following the live announcement, Harrison and Karger will return to discuss interesting facts about the year’s nominees, Academy records that may have been broken, the movies receiving the most nominations and the races that look to be especially compelling.  Additionally, they will be revealing a new piece of information about the Oscar telecast.

In February, “Road to the Oscars” will return exclusively on, the official Web site of the Academy Awards (click title of this post). Harrison will host the 10-episode series, with Karger offering insights about each of the 10 movies nominated for Best Picture.

The January 25 nominations announcement edition of “Road to the Oscars” can be viewed on (click title of this post),, and, as well as on other sites that choose to embed the stream.  The stream will also be enabled for mobile devices.

As usual, numerous television stations and networks will broadcast the 5:38:30 a.m. announcement live. However, the “Road to the Oscars” content before and after the announcement will be available exclusively online and on mobile devices.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live on the ABC Television Network.The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Three Categories announce Oscar® Race Short Lists

The ballots are in for nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards® in the categories for which all Academy members voted. Committees are hard at work choosing the films submitted by certain guilds in the Academy considered having the knowledge to choose those nominees.
 The nominees will be announced live next Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT, in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Making the announcement will be Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President, Tom Sherak, and Oscar-winning Academy member, actress Mo’Nique.

The committees choosing the nominees for the Best Foreign Language Film of 2010, the Best Special Effects, and Best Makeup have issued their short lists:

Nine Foreign Language Films Continue in Oscar Race

Sixty-six films originally qualified in this category and now there are nine. The films, listed in alphabetical order by country with director, are:

Algeria, Hors la Loi (Outside the Law), Rachid Bouchareb;
Canada, Incendies, Denis Villeneuve,
Denmark, In a Better World, Susanne Bier;
Greece, Dogtooth, Yorgos Lanthimos;
Japan, Confessions, Tetsuya Nakashima;
Mexico, Biutiful, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu;
South Africa, Life, above All, Oliver Schmitz;
Spain, Tambien la Lluvia (Even the Rain), Iciar Bollain;
Sweden, Simple Simon, Andreas Ohman.

Foreign Language Film nominations for 2010 are again being determined in two phases. The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 66 eligible films between mid-October and January 13. The group’s top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute this shortlist.

In Phase II, this list will be winnowed down to the five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles. They will spend today, January 21, through Sunday, January 23, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.

Seven Features Vie in Special Effects (VFX)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, AMPAS®, for short, announced seven films remain in the running in the Visual Effects category for the 83rd Academy Awards.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Iron Man 2
Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Tron: Legacy

All members of the Visual Effects Branch were invited to view 15-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films on Thursday, January 20. Following the screenings, the members voted to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration. Those five will be announced next Tuesday, January 25.

Seven Advance in Makeup Category

AMPAS has announced that seven films remain in competition in the Makeup category for the 83rd Academy Awards. The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

Alice in Wonderland
Barney’s Version
The Fighter
Jonah Hex
True Grit
The Way Back
The Wolfman

Tomorrow, Saturday, January 22, all members of the Academy’s Makeup Branch will view 10-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration, and they will be announced with all the nominees on the 25th.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Oscar® Nomination Ballots Due January 14

Voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences must return their completed Oscar® nominations ballots to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) no later than 5 p.m. Friday, January 14. Ballots received after that deadline will not be counted.
The 83rd Academy Awards® nominations will be announced live Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT, in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak, and Oscar-winning actress and Academy member, Mo’Nique.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented Sunday, February 27, 2011, in the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Vine Highland Center®. The gala will be televised live by the ABC Television Network, and also televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Possible Feature Film Oscar® Nominees

5,755 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® have received nomination ballots for the upcoming 83rd Academy Awards®. Completed ballots must be returned to PricewaterhouseCoopers by 5 p.m. PT, Friday, January 14, 2011. Ballots received after the deadline will not be counted. See previous post for the complete list of eligible films.

Those of us who follow the movie business, but are not members of the Academy, always like to make our own lists and rate how close we come to picking the nominees and winners. I have managed to complete one nomination list. Here are 12 movies I think stand a very good chance to receive an Oscar® nomination for Best Feature Motion Picture:
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Black Swan
  • Frankie and Alice
  • Inception
  • The Fighter
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King's Speech
  • The Social Network
  • The Town
  • True Grit
  • Winter's Bone
  • 127 Hours

Also, there is buzz for a possible nomination for Toy Story 3, not only for Best Animated Feature Film, but also for Best Feature Motion Picture. It is unusual for animated movies to be nominated in both categories. However, UP (2009) was nominated in both categories last year (2010). It won for Best Animated Feature Film.

The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT, in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.