Tag Archives: Awards

Television Academy’s New Rules – WHY?

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This has got to be a conspiracy. Folks sitting up high in ‘creative’ fields seem to have a huge problem with creativity itself! I’m referring to the brand new set of rule changes the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences just announced.

All those dramedies you love? The ones making TV so worthwhile today? Shameless? Orange Is The New Black? You can stop calling them funny because they’re officially ineligible for Comedy Series (jeez if you want Modern Family to win that bad, just say so!). The category will now accept shows that only clock in at 30 minutes. Jane The Virgin, which is most definitely a comedy MIGHT get in if a special case is petitioned. The other two shows can still compete in Drama Series, which is being expanded to seven categories because that race wasn’t crowded enough already.

Also smaller serialized dramas like Sherlock? You’ve probably seen the last of them because they don’t qualify for “Limited Series”, the new name given to the Mini-Series category. The category states that the series should have “no ongoing story lines or main characters” in subsequent seasons. That’s right, AHS: Freak Show kinda shot themselves in the foot by connecting two universes through Pepper and Sister Mary Eunice.

The Guest Acting rules now require that a performer must appear in less than 50% of the program’s episodes. The big losers here of course are the OITNB ladies that scored three nods (and a win) in Guest Actress last year. Looks like amazing recurring turns this season by Lorraine Toussaint, Samira Wiley, Yael Stone, Selenis Leyva, and Alysia Reiner officially just went to waste. Meanwhile SNL guest hosts and name-value cameos get to keep their free passes.

I know what you’re thinking, even I used to think rules are changed and revised to make things better.

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Oscar Nominations: What The Hell Guys?

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Before I unload my outrage, I want to maintain that Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the best president A.M.P.A.S has had since Frank Pierson. And based on ‘Dick Poop’, ‘Richard Link-Later’, and an embarrassed moment of silence after announcing the Best Director nominees, she was clearly as shaken as most of us by how The Academy voted this year.

Yeah, isn’t it? To be honest, I smelled disappointment beforehand. Antonio Sanchez’s score for Birdman was disqualified, a good number of impressive films didn’t make the Foreign Language shortlist, and Whiplash was deemed an adapted screenplay.

Then suddenly (like 3 days ago), everyone started falling in love with American Sniper despite it being laced with inaccuracies all over. But since it released wide rather late, it didn’t have to shield itself from accusations the way Selma did for two whole weeks. Deep down, I was scared Selma would pay the price for Sniper‘s upsurge. There was also some overlooking from all the Guilds, but even that didn’t matter.

Here’s an entire pile of shocking snubs in the wake of the nomination announcement:
Selma in most major categories: I called it months ago on this very blog, I said Ava DuVernay will find being nominated much harder than her male counterparts. But I still hoped to be dead wrong, and for a while it seemed that I would be, DuVernay would make history. Today, I hate that I predicted that and I’m amazed that despite her film being superior to three of the nominees (no names will be named), she’s the one who got left out. Moreover, David Oyelowo’s universally acclaimed performance was also ignored in favor of Bradley Cooper. Best Actor, a crowded race this year, was bound to yield some disappointment (Gyllenhaal and Spall also robbed), but Oyelowo was a lock till the last minute, his absence is inexplicable. Bradford Young is the future, his cinematography elevates any indie in quality, also not nominated.

Life Itself: Steve James, the man notoriously overlooked for Hoop Dreams 20 years ago, found himself in the same position with his latest documentary feature despite the acclaim. Roger Ebert would give this move Two Thumbs Down.

Benoit Delhomme: If there’s one fantastic thing about The Theory Of Everything, it’s the breathtaking cinematography. But since Academy voters almost never honor groundbreaking camerawork and lighting (because DP’s should only be people who can shoot vistas of mountains and trees) and thanks to the Reserved For Roger Deakins Spot, younger virtuosos like Delhomme and Young don’t get their due.

Gillian Flynn: The only female scribe with a realistic chance of a screenplay nomination for Gone Girl, was missing from the final list of nominees, a revelation that belied months of Oscar buzz. Flynn used to be a film critic for Entertainment Weekly, could this be a vendetta against her by the voters?

Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione: They were supposed to win Film Editing for Birdman, not even nominated. It feels like a cruel joke, except that it isn’t.

Force Majeure: Another apparent lock (in Foreign Language Film) was somehow not in the final five, even though the race seemed down to it and Ida (both films are spectacular btw).

To be completely fair, it isn’t a total letdown, here are some of the pleasant surprises:

Beyond The Lights, the poignant yet little-promoted drama by Gina Prince-Bythewood got some love in Best Original Song with Grateful, a Diane Warren pseudo-ballad. Although, Fly Before You Fall made a far better candidate.

Marion Cotillard landed a Best Actress nod for her phenomenal work in Deux Jours, Une Nuit, and it’s pretty well-deserved. But must say, it’s hard not to feel bad for Jennifer Aniston after the tireless campaigning she did with Cake.

And FINALLY, Wes Anderson got some deserved nominations beyond his staple screenplay nod for The Grand Budapest Hotel, one of my favs this year and one of his best works.

2013 was pretty disappointing in terms of the snubs too, culminating with a horrible ceremony hosted by Seth MacFarlane (We Saw Your Boobs anyone?). But after last year’s wonderful turn, I was hoping things were looking up but clearly, this was a backlash year. Here’s hoping better for 2016.

Olive Kitteridge: Can We Give Lisa Cholodenko An Award Already???

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If you’re anything like me, you were disappointed when Lisa Cholodenko’s was snubbed out of a Directing Oscar nomination for The Kids Are All Right in 2011 (In the same year, Debra Granik was shut out for Winter’s Bone and that upset me equally)The film did land Best Picture and Original Screenplay nods, as well as recognition for its stars, but Cholodenko was so crucial to the film being made the way it was, it just didn’t feel right to silence her auteur-like voice.

Not to make anyone an unnecessary villain, but on the other hand, there’s this cultish admiration for David Fincher. I never got The Social Network, nor did I get the praise heaped upon it. He got nominated but neither Cholodenko nor Granik got that honor. It will most likely happen again this awards season when he becomes a shoo-in for Gone Girl but Ava DuVernay will be a long shot for Selma despite the rave reviews. It’s equally noteworthy that post Kathryn Bigelow’s 2010 win for The Hurt Locker, no woman has been nominated, not even Bigelow again for the acclaimed Zero Dark Thirty.

Cut to today. A significant change in the TV landscape has been the revival of the miniseries(or ‘limited series’ or ‘event series’ based on what works for your brand). The Emmys went back to splitting the miniseries and TV movie categories this year, simply because the number of such programming is increasing vastly. Whether it’s based on the success of similar British formats or the anthology nature of American Horror Story, people are finding themselves invested in smaller episodic runs.

The tide is high, and riding the wave soon will be Olive Kitteridge, an adaptation of Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer-winning novel. Much like Top Of The Lake and Fargo, it’s set in a mellow coastal town with interconnected stories. Starring Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, John Gallagher Jr., Rosemarie DeWitt, Zoe Kazan,and Bill Murray, it premieres this November on HBO. Helmed by? None other than Lisa Cholodenko herself. It’s her first major attempt since Kids and based on the previews and hype, it’s set to be a great viewing experience.

Given what happened this year, the Emmys have their own wrongs to right, a dubious voting system that seems – arguably- broken. As a result, an oligopoly of winners just keeps on winning. The miniseries category is luckily immune to this disadvantage. I for one can’t wait for Olive Kitteridge, it will air in four parts over the span of two weeks. HBO struck miniseries gold with Angels In America and John Adams, this could be headed in the same direction.