Five Years Later: The 81st Oscars Postmortem

I’ve read Bill Simmons a couple times suggesting that we should hand out Academy Awards at a later time—say, five years later—because the distance in time from the buzz surrounding initial release and in-season campaigning combined with the chance to reflect on a certain crop of movies would elicit a more objective opinion of that crop’s best movies and performances. I readily acknowledge that objectivity in evaluation of any art, including movies, is unattainable, but picking winners a few years down the road seems more reasonable to me than the undue influence accorded some elements of Oscar-season politicking and decisionmaking. For example, Jared Leto, who some think should be docked this Sunday because he wasn’t sufficiently respectful in his Golden Globes acceptance speech. If you wanted to dock Leto’s performance and the character he plays in Dallas Buyers Club for the borderline disrespectful perpetuating of drag queen stereotypes, then I’m all with you! He shouldn’t win! But sadly, half of the reasons Oscars are given out are based on how well people meet certain strictures of etiquette—the other half generously reserved for, you know, the quality of the movie and whether or not you’ve won before.

And the five-years idea would save us from the media being clueless as to how to cover another spectacle. Oscars coverage is the opposite of election coverage, where bullshit artists fall all over themselves to let us know the race for office is neck-and-neck even though their comments belie a complete misunderstanding of Nate Silver’s crazy probability machine. No, Oscars coverage actually stifles competition by creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. You’d think the media would want to try and provide the impression that any nominated movie has a shot at winning its category, but no! One dude says “I think it’s between American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave this year!” and then another due repeats it, and then I’m left to wonder why an awesome movie like Her was even nominated for Best Picture in the first place. To me, it’s counterintuitive, especially considering that in the grand scheme of things, the concept of the Oscars is pretty fucking stupid. We’re not determining the leader of the free world, so if a vote is a little less important than that, why not make it a little more exciting, and by doing so spread those self-fulfilling prophecies a little more broadly.

Of course, this is never going to change and that’s thanks to Hollywood’s business model, which incentivizes releasing awards bait as close as possible to the voting deadline. But I’m also going to do something I do increasingly infrequently, and that’s admit that Bill Simmons has a point. If the Oscars and the media think we have ADD, they’ve misdiagnosed us. We don’t talk about movies purely in a vacuum, and movies we liked or didn’t like when they came out can rise or fall in our estimation over time. Maybe five years is still too early to officially judge a movie, but you’ve gotta arbitrarily draw the line somewhere, and five is an easily multipliable number and also the number of years that baseball players have to wait before they can appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. Yes, the Baseball Hall of Fame process is horrible, too, but fuck it let’s just talk about the Academy’s favorite movies of 2008 (awarded in 2009). I’m going to offer my opinion on who I think should’ve won from the slate of nominees in the eight most prominent categories and offer a suggestion from outside the list of nominees as to who I think should’ve been included:

BEST PICTURE (winner in bold)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button                                                                                             Frost/Nixon                                                                                                                                         Milk                                                                                                                                                       The Reader                                                                                                                                           Slumdog Millionaire

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The Americans S2E1: Comrades

kyra: Buckeye, I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a real show to talk about again. Sure True Detective has kept us up late on Sunday nights, but it just hasn’t sucked me all in. The Americans, on the other hand, had just as good a debut season as pretty much anything I’ve ever seen, coming in at #3 on my Best Of 2013. That being said, Homeland also had a great Season 1 only to drive straight into a tirefire when they ran out of story. And on that positive note, let’s talk about Comrades.

I must admit, I don’t think the ‘last season on The Americans‘ did a good enough job refreshing me on everything that went on. I supplemented it with the Wikipedia entry on the last episode, but even then I still don’t remember all the details with the Colonel and what not. There’s the guy with gambling debts, then there was a scientist they had turned–are those different people? I guess what I’m saying is they could’ve done a better job reminding me of what went down at the end of the Season 1. Aside from this complaint though, I thought Comrades did an excellent job diving back into the world, setting up some long-term plots, and hitting the ground running with a violent bang.

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Checking in on True Detective

I hesitate to write about True Detective at all until I see the finished product. As Wesley Morris opined, it’s like judging a book halfway through. Unlike the serial nature of TV drama, this is a miniseries. It is only 8 episodes, and I think it’s more appropriate to be judged as one project like a movie. That being said, I wanted to pen down some mid-season thoughts before the show finishes.

Let’s marvel at the highs and lows of a serial killer investigation…oh wait, it’s mostly lows. This show reminds me of a poker game: 99% biding your time for 1% action. That can be fine if the investigation is compelling, but through 5 episodes now it seems Nic Pizzolatto (the writer) does not care as much about the investigation as he does developing Martin Hart and Rust Cohle. By the 5th episode this has become redundant.

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A Brief History of Tracking Shots, Part I: True Detective (with Videos!)

Do you watch True Detective? Us too. Not bad, right? It features two outstanding actors and, in my opinion, has set itself apart from a lot of its predecessors in its serial killer genre by focusing above all else on tone. It has a near appalling indifference to its female characters, but that’s a possible subject for another essay. Eerie and, not to be redundant, bathed in high-stakes tent-revival religion and Southern Baptist iconography, it wades into a broadly weird and hazy bathtub using equally creepy policemen as our guides. (The creepiness of Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle mirroring the unsettling confusion of the backwards bayou murk; the creepiness of Woody Harrelson’s Marty Hart mired in the comparatively more mundane slog attached to a husband’s deceit. Happy Valentine’s Day!) Matt Zoller Seitz was right to see shades of Capt. Willard’s hellish boat journey in Cohle’s deep-cover trip down the swap in the fourth episode, and Wesley Morris and Alex Pappedemas had it right in their podcast discussion of True Detective from earlier this week: the serial killer plot is a MacGuffin. Seriously, try and name the victim or try to picture what she looks like aside from the spirals inked on her back. In other words, it’s the pretense for our investigation into the detectives themselves, particularly Cohle, who remains a mystery in contrast to Marty’s typically and masculinely shitty poker face. As in David Fincher’s Zodiac, we’re more interested in the psychological damage done to the pursuers than the physically mortal damage done to the pursued. No surprise that the show is probably the closest in approach and mood to Fincher than I’ve seen recently.

Last week, True Detective also featured a six-minute long tracking shot. I’ve included it above. You might have heard about this, because it was all people seemed to want to discuss about the most recent episode. And it seemed to me that people preferred to discuss simply that the shot existed and HOLY SHIT IT WAS A CONTINUOUS SHOT THAT LASTED SIX ENTIRE MINUTES rather than what the shot actually contained and depicted. Unfortunately, this, I find, is a common crutch reviewers lean on, noting their amazement at the pure feat of the shot’s execution instead of kicking that crutch aside and considering its purpose within the wider scheme of the work at hand and the extent to which the use of a tracking shot succeeds in furthering and elevating the filmmaker’s intent. The reflexively automatic adulation that so frequently greets these shots and the directors behind them resembles, to me, the same almost involuntary praise visited upon any new #LONGFORM magazine piece: fraternal backslapping on Twitter for the writers by other writers that appears in the echo chamber before anyone can consider what was actually written or, in the case of the tracking shot, go back and think about what was filmed. Succinctly summarized by the postmortal Drew Magary better than I, these reactions should alert us to possible bad incentives for both the creators (to neglect the best way to serve their stories by employing formal elements they know people will lap up) and the critics (to only look at the surface of what they’re supposed to review).

This is not to say that directors and DPs (or journalists) don’t deserve accolades for the time, technical skill, and patience required to make these formal elements work. They do! With movies or TV, there are a lot of crew people and actors involved, and each must be required to be in a certain place at a certain time. To nail a shot that’s six minutes long needs painstaking rehearsals and the ability to not get aggravated when one person or gadget malfunctions and forces you to start all over again. And if shooting on digital makes filming them cheaper, they’re still tough!

But directors insert tracking shots for reasons other than looking cool, too. In thinking back over some of my favorite examples, a few of which I’ve included below, I think I can discern at least four functions that tracking shots add to a film’s or an episode’s other frames. First, they can enhance the action. Tracking shots are the product of a moving camera; if the camera is moving, the people being filmed by that camera often are, too. That usually means that they’re doing something, and if the film is asking us to follow them around for an extended period of time, calling for us to pay attention to what’s going on for a continuous sequence, the goal is often to brim the surroundings with some exciting events. The True Detective shot definitely wanted to accomplish this, and it succeeded in momentarily removing us from the show’s slow, mumbling stillness. It was a marked change in tone for the series, and one at which Seitz bristled, but I don’t have a problem with a methodical show using punctuated action as a payoff—let’s face it, the way the show is structured, and whether it ultimately delivers on its storytelling, will likely depend on the payoff to its various mysteries. By giving us a more urgent glimpse into what Cohle and Marty have gotten themselves into, we have a more solidified impression that the show’s tone isn’t a bluff. Entering the biker bar brought us down deeper into the Louisiana underworld, and leaving the bar didn’t restore anything resembling normalcy. Sure, we knew that McConaughey’s character would survive the botched raid, but we didn’t know ahead of time who the collateral damage would be, and we gained further insight into the torment that was already bothering Cohle and that promises to linger throughout the years to come. Increasing the tension was the shot’s sound design: McConaughey’s warnings over the muffled white noise of his supposed accomplices’ taunts punctured by shattered glass and ears ringing after a gun fires. (It’s a very subjective shot, and I’ll return to this in a second.)

Morris and Pappademas correctly expressed reservations that some of their fellow critics were praising the shot for existing, and in doing so Morris noted that there are already plenty of examples of continuous sequences in movies—and, he said, on the stage. It’s true that a play or a musical is a two-hour continuous sequence, but I’d argue that there’s a big difference between the boxed-in intimacy of the stage and what tracking shots can convey. There isn’t room to move around and gaze from different angles in a theater, where the action takes place in a confined space. These inhibitions are much, much less prominent on a movie or TV set, and that brings me to tracking shots’ second function—their ability to establish or reinforce scope. To consider the difference I’m trying to say exists, let’s compare a couple long shots. First, a seventeen-minute take from Steve McQueen’s Hunger, in which a completely static camera observes a conversation between Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham in which the two discuss the purpose of Fassbender’s character’s hunger strike (start at 0:23):

It’s riveting dialogue, expertly handed by Fassbender and Cunningham. But it’s not a tracking shot: neither moves away from the table, the camera doesn’t move at all, and the action consists solely of the pair’s words. Basically, it’s an example of what Morris was citing, and if you saw Fassbender and Cunningham replicate the scene on Broadway you’d come away with nearly the same exact impression. But would couldn’t be transposed to Broadway is the three-minute crane shot that famously opens Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil:

That’s simply because there’s too much literal ground for the actors and the camera to cover. What Welles does is establish the look at feel of the movie’s seedy and lawless border setting. McQueen, it should be said, isn’t after establishing scope the way Welles is, or the way Alfonso Cuarón is in Gravity (a snippet of that film’s lengthy opening shot can be seen here)—there’s a reason directors use tracking shots to open their movies, as a way of channelling their films’ size, in terms of both setting and ideas.

Of course, Sunday’s True Detective tracking shot wasn’t as interested in establishing scope, mostly because the show has already devoted so much energy to detailing Louisiana’s underbelly. We have a rough visual and tonal framework sprouting from the film’s exteriors and color palate, and we know both that the landscape is flat and weedy and that this landscape is populated by some unsavory ghosts and zombies. Thus, the shot confirms our perspective by using its length to demonstrate the constant danger and unpredictability with which our detectives must contend. I don’t think the shot adds anything where scope is concerned, the way Cuarón unveils the ultimate rot of the security state in the urban battle scenes of Children of Men (seen below), but True Detective called on us to double down on our suspicions, and its for that reason why I’d nitpick Seitz to say that the shot, while jarring, isn’t really out of lockstep with the show, at least so far.

Notice how the camera in the above clip uses Clive Owen as a pivot point. Notice, too, how the camera in True Detective spends some time doing exactly the same, staying with McConaughey but swiveling on either side him as the commotion ignites. Here’s a screen shot:

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 7.54.50 PM

I think the third function served by tracking shots is to tell us who’s important. This dovetails, certainly, with the establishing function I described above, in that long tracking shots can be introductory devices, especially in films or series with large casts. A good example is Boogie Nights, which features a cast so large Paul Thomas Anderson split the audience meet-and-greet into two lengthy shots. The second begins at 0:42:

Here, we meet all of the principals, learn what they do for a living, and critically for the film’s theme, the root of their individual and collective insecurities that have marginalized them. I think it’s an open question whether Anderson would’ve been better off combining the major introductions into one scene or if that would’ve been overwhelming. I’d lean towards the former if for no reason that the second shot exists almost solely to pay homage to a similar camera-goes-underwater shot from I Am Cuba, but keep reading for some better examples of incorporating allusions.

Again, we’ve already met Rust Cohle, and specifically our impression is one of a weird fucking dude. We’ve met Rust Cohle, but we don’t really know him, and this is where I think the True Detective tracking shot did elevate the material a little bit. I mentioned above that it’s a subjective shot—this is welcome particularly because the technical aspects of the shot and the outcome of the scene both hinge on Cohle. The ringing sound after the gun first goes off? I think that’s to replicate what he’s hearing. I think there’s a reason, too, that his voice is really the only discernible one during the scene—Cohle knows what he’s getting into but there is so much noise around him that he can’t control. Cohle is still an enigma, but now we have an idea of the people he used to run with, the peril in which he’s willing to place himself, and his near psychotic commitment to the job to the point where he’ll risk his humanity and his morality.

And last, as I intimated above, tracking shots are another tool in the filmmaker’s metafictional arsenalPTA made clear reference to I Am Cuba in Boogie Nights, though as I said he’s not riffing on that shot so much as finding an easy way to include it in his film—they’re both mood-setters. But other great tracking shots are not without wit, and I’m specifically thinking of the length shot with which Robert Altman begins The Player:

Some context is helpful here: Altman was largely shunned from Hollywood in the ’80s, and The Player was his response, a ruthless satire that openly mocks the studio culture in all of its vanity. That’s all on display in the opening, in which screenwriters pitch Tim Robbins stories by basically combining two movies that had already been done or resorting to sequel ideas. (The shot also introduces us to its protagonist in addition to setting the tone and scope and threatening the action to come.) Altman is shoehorning all that is good about movies, and all that is repulsive about Hollywood, and all that is groundbreaking about his own techniques (the slow zooms, the overlapping dialogue), to expose the studios for the same kind of circlejerking I discussed at the beginning of the essay, that of people who know when to say something is good while getting their facts wrong or not explaining why something is good, artistically speaking. (Fred Ward, for example, misquotes the length of Touch of Evil‘s opening shot while only praising it for its length.) That Altman extends the shot for even longer than True Detective did, and calls out studios’ championing of art while failing to trust the audience’s patience with so much cutting, gives him the last laugh. No such allusion was made in True Detective, at least to the best of my limited knowledge, though I’d love to hear if someone picked out a reference to another show or movie.

But True Detective did use its tracking shot in several of the ways that other talented and respected filmmakers have, in a fashion in which only film or TV is capable. To sum up, I’ll say that I bristle both when tracking shots are praised for the sheer fact of their existence and when they are dismissed as only being cameramen’s stunts. The certainly are cameramen’s stunts, but only slightly more than the rest of the movie or episode of which they are a part are cameramen’s stunts. Part of the reason I’m watching movies and TV shows is to see what the camera does and how a film’s technical elements interact with its story and its performances. No, I don’t want a tracking shot to be superfluous, but I would allow directors and DPs to show off a little bit—that’s certainly present in Sunday’s shot, especially when the camera hops over the chain-link fence that McConaughey and his miscreant biker hostage are climbing. At that point, the show wants to be sure you understand that the sequence was filmed in one take, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a crime. Especially not when we watch this stuff in part because we’d like to be wowed a little bit by whatever its creators and actors and crewmembers are bringing to the table, and not when in good movies and shows, chances are the tracking shots do their works justice. I’ll welcome their flourishes if we can also think about the motivation behind their inclusion.

And if you want one perfect example of how it’s done, one that also includes some metafictional appeal by standing in relief to its film’s frenzied closing act, I give you Henry Hill escorting Karen to the front table in GoodFellas. Happy Valentine’s Day, indeed:

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True Detective Episodes 1 & 2 Review

Apologies for the lateness on this, as I had a sojourn in Park City followed by a return to the academic world. I thought about waiting until after the 3rd episode to write down my thoughts, but seeing as I watched Episode 2 recently I might as well do it now.

True Detective is billed as a showcase for two heavy hitters–Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson–to unveil their acting chops. They’re dropped into a world that has become a production darling: the serial killer realm. Just in the last 2 years there’s been a number of series using this backdrop, and they range from high quality (Top of the Lake; Broadchurch), to middling (The Bridge; Hannibal), to bad (The Following; The Killing). Of course these series’ have differences (Top of the Lake for instance isn’t about a killer really but a child rapist and the girl who’s gone missing), but the general idea is to create a really dark show that deals with people’s fucked up lives.

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Oscar Nominations, and That Click-bait Best Picture Crap

Folks, live-blogging inane awards shows will really drain the hell out of you. Much as kyra and I may or not like them, we love to make fun of them, and you’d be surprised how much crap to mock or nitpick a bunch of egomaniacal Hollywood types in a three-hour span. You combine that with every producer trying to dump their Prestige Films on the adoring public and Oscar voters between Christmas and New Year’s Day and I had to take a two-week break.

But I’m back today with some brief comments on the old news of the Oscar nominations from sixty weeks ago and a response to this embarrassingly un-sabermetric, un-mindful-of-anything-resembling-the-study-of-statistics Mark Harris article in Grantland blaming the lack of films nominated in major categories on the expanded Best Picture field. This is a mindbogglingly dumb conclusion to draw because,as  this history and Spanish major with a rudimentary but apparently (and worryingly) superior understanding of statistical correlation will show you, it is one that cannot be drawn, and is too soon to draw in any event. Unfortunately, it’s an exercise in desperate conclusory headline writing and cherry-picking that people you’d consider intelligent, you’d think, should dismiss but instead have accepted at face value, as seen here, and here. After discussing the nominees, I’ll debunk this bullshit masquerading as insight, for which I’ll use the incredibly difficult to access database of past Oscars winners and nominees. Anything to delay erasing on the guilt I’ll feel if I don’t see Philomena and complete the ritualistic High Honor of seeing all Best Picture nominees.

Best Picture

  • American Hustle (God, no)
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Nebraska
  • Philomenia
  • 12 Years a Slave (by my editorial intuition, a title that starts with a number should come first in alphabetical order, but whatever)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street Continue reading
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Golden Globes Live Blog

11:08 kyra: The Golden Globes makes The Wolf of Wall Street look like it should enter the short films category. Yet another night of gratuitous Hollywood self-masturbation. We can only hope that with 12 Years a Slave’s victory we’ve finally paid our dues for slavery. Good night everyone.

11:02 bp: In sum, a pretty classic Globes. Some weird drunk energy brought by that lush who walked up there to accept her miniseries award, kept alive by Diddy. Your classic random, pointless awards to people like Jon Voight and maybe-good shows that nobody really knows about. But Leo won! And 12 Years a Slave is my much preferred frontrunner to American Hustle where I’m concerned. I was also pleased by Matthew McConaughey’s contributions to the vernacular this evening, as compiled here:

Your final summation kyra?

11:00 kyra:

photo (1)

This bearded guy still runs a plantation in Charleston

10:57 kyra: Johnny Depp is so normal

10:56 bp: I really disliked Dallas Buyer’s Club  but I’m not about to get upset at McConaughey winning a damn thing

10:53 kyra: Also let’s not let it get slip past that Leo said Kate Winslet is NOMINATED for Labor Day!? What the fuck? Is the movie even out yet? How did this happen?

10:52 kyra: Fun fact–this is actually a make-up award for McConaughey’s extraordinary work in Failure to Launch

10:50 kyra: Jessica Chastain’s inner thoughts: just get through the 12 Years a Slave Guy’s name and then you’re home free

10:48 bp: Jessica Chastain’s speech is rather…*puts on sunglasses*…tortured YEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH

10:45 bp: “Like a supermodel’s vagina, let’s all give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio” //stands up//applauds//

10:42 bp: 

10:41 kyra: When whoever that guy was speaking thanked the actors Megan Ellison pointed at them like ‘that’s you guys!’ They’re not children Megan.


10:34 kyra: Also, when he said “to my friends, you know who you are.” We all know–it’s the pussy posse

10:33 bp: B-b-b-b-ut Leo didn’t make sure we all know that Jordan Belfort is a scumbag! SHAME ON HIM. I would like to amend your earlier statement to read “If LEO stared and me and then said dude we partied in St. Barths my life would be complete”

10:30 kyra: It’s sad that I was so surprised to hear Leo won because he deserves all the awards for so many roles and is criminally under-nominated. Really happy for him, and that was a professional speech. Got all the names down, very composed, lookin like a stud. Bravo sir

10:25 bp: I have seen two episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. They were funny! The non-pilot episode was funnier than the pilot! I don’t think this is some earth-shattering comedy or anything, but it’s definitely better than Modern Family. The lesson is that you must always trust Mike Schur, a true #hero.

10:24 kyra: 

10:17 bp: Ryan Howard isn’t fooling anybody into thinking he’s not overpaid or not a famous British director in those fake glasses

10:10 bp: Our buddy Dobbs: “Is Diane Keaton weird or drunk or both?” Both. Lest we keep pointing out what a creep Woody is I’m going to remind you of his unparalleled career with these two videos:

10:10 kyra: Woody Allen couldn’t be here tonight because he was home fucking his own daughter

10:08 bp: Can we get live coverage of Mia Farrow’s Twitter feed right now?

10:04 bp: These people know Woody doesn’t just show up to awards shows, right? What are they gonna do, pull him out of a hat or something?

10:01 bp: Can we start giving Parks and Rec more awards now? That shit was about ten years overdue and the show hasn’t been on for ten years. Shoutout to Ken Tremendous.

#LaborDay going for the classic “Fuck, this prestige film sucks and won’t win any awards so let’s dump it on people at the end of January.”

9:58 kyra: That’s a good peach. #LaborDay

9:56 kyra: When I hear ‘Fare Thee Well’ I can’t help but smile thinking about Inside Llewyn Davis. It was a phenomenal movie and I can’t recommend enough that everyone see it.

9:54 bp: I know nothing about any of those animated movies but the dude they just thanked as the songwriter wrote Avenue Q and helped Trey and Matt out with Book of Mormon so it’s got that crossover appeal of the two Broadway shows I like. Still animated though

9:53 kyra: I say pretty confidently that Chris Pine is my least favorite actor in Hollywood.

9:51 kyra: I actually am really enjoying the James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell reading text messages commercials. They’re funny both because the concept of these two great voices reading them is amusing, but also because the texts actually sound real. Great job by Sprint.

9:43 bp: If The Great Beauty is any indication every Italian male over the age of 40 is having bunga bunga parties. I have it on sources that Berlusconi’s are the best but during the 2 weeks of every year when he’s in jail it helps to know the lay of the land. Diddy probably has the scoop!

In all seriousness the Globes actually does the foreign language category waaaay better than the Oscars, which has all these convoluted rules.

9:42 kyra: Thank you to Orlando Bloom for doing your own hair tonight.

Also, based on the 1 second clip of The Great Beauty I assume it’s about Berlusconi’s bunga bunga parties.

9:36 bp: I still have not moved past episode 4 of Arrested, which is the point I was at when I wrote about it this summer. My parents like Brooklyn 99 at least, so that counts for something.

9:34 kyra: Seeing Jason Bateman nominated only reminds me of what an abortion Season 4 of Arrested was. It was legitimately a chore to watch.

9:32 bp: Spike Jonze asking David O. Russell for editing help is such a dicey proposition. Good thing the dude went to Soderbergh, or Johnny Knoxville.

9:27 kyra: 

9:21 kyra: SPOTTED

photo Kate Mara showing off the twins

9:20 bp: Ok we’re at the American Hustle montage segment; I have plenty of snark in my back pocket for when the time’s right, but I want to share Amy Adams’ effusive praise for Megan Ellison. Nobody has ever put unearned money to great use like patron saint of good movies, Megan Ellison.

9:18 bp: I love when directors talk to actors about their work and say complete bullshit like “create her out of marble if you want.” Robin Wright really took the note Fincher. Relatedly I am way more excited about House of Cards then I ever expected to be. How is Robin Wright going to bring the environmental lobby to its knees?

9:17 kyra: It seems as if Kerry Washington forgot her white hat tonight. BAM nailed the Scandal joke.

9:14 kyra: Thrones Season 4 trailer //cums

9:11 bp: Dat stache


9:07 bp: Julie Delpy NOT pleased by RDJ’s dismissal of her great movie as a sequel. Nor should she be


9:04 bp: Jon Voight’s award is the funniest tonight. After realizing we shouldn’t waste more than a dozen words on Ray Donovan this summer we had the idea to just post Jon Voight’s most ridiculous homophobic and racist slurs from the previous night’s episode. They were just slurs for the sake of being slurs, and they were so incompetently delivered. God, don’t watch Ray Donovan.

9:00 bp: I just want to register that I had the complete opposite reaction to the 12 Years a Slave score. I was SHOCKED to find out it was composed by Hans Zimmer. The score had a quirky percussive quality but wasn’t as overwhelming as Hans Zimmer’s normal DUH DUH DUH GAME OF THRONES DUH DUH train wrecks, in my opinion. Maybe that’s just me.

Let’s agree that Diddy should stay up on stage the rest of the night as the peanut gallery though. Major credit to him and Jacqueline Bisset for encouraging the boozing tonight. And to his St Barth’s composer buddy for being sky high

8:57 kyra: Diddy is so hammered. In other news, I want to be Diddy

8:53 kyra: If Diddy stared and me and then  said dude we partied in St. Barths! my life would be complete

8:51 kyra: 12 Years a Slave is a powerful movie, but the score by Hanz Zimmer is fucking terrible. It sounds just like the score from Inception, which shockingly was also written by Hanz Zimmer!

8:49 kyra: No John C. Reilly, your voice doesn’t make taxes ‘cool’ or ‘fun.’ On that note, why isn’t there an IMDB of commercials so I know who does all the voices and stuff!

8:47 kyra: Did anyone else think when Aaron Paul got up there he was gonna thank Breaking Bad for enabling him to get the hottest woman on Earth to marry him?

8:46 bp: I like how the HFPA admirably waited until the Emmys people decided it was fit to start giving Breaking Bad some hardware. You’re right, huge missed opportunity by Vince there re the bolo tie.

Also please tell me what on Earth Jim Carrey, Bradley Cooper, and Joaquin Phoenix have in common that they might actually sustain a conversation with one another. I’m legitimately scared to find out


8:43 kyra: Shocking that Breaking Bad hadn’t won a Golden Globe up until now, which just shows how worthless the Hollywood Foreign Press is. As our buddy Dobbs pointed out, this was truly a missed opportunity for Vince Gilligan to carry Philip Rivers’ mantle from this afternoon and rock a bolo tie.

8:39 bp: Paula Patton just singlehandedly proved that cotton candy is alive and well as a ballpark commodity, or alternatively she forgot that the James Franco Wizard of Oz movie already came out. I’d ask Robin Thicke for his thoughts, except it’s not July.

8:38 kyra: what the fuck is Paula Patton wearing?

8:36 kyra: And here we see Jonah Hill’s improv acting skills….wait a minute, you can’t even improvise an introduction to your own goddamn movie?

8:32 kyra: Holly Hunter’s part notwithstanding, it was a well acted and shot miniseries. The series carries a dark tone, emphasized with the colors blue, gray, and black, which feature prominently. Seeing an American play an Aussie is interesting for a change, but I didn’t think any of the ground covered in the story was novel in any way. Numerous of the ‘twists’ you can see coming, so I’d say if you have the time go for it but you’re not missing anything riveting. I really don’t get how Andy Greenwald has it as his #1 of the year. I would still like to see Broadchurch, and True Detective which debuts tonight. The dark, cops-search-for-a-killer drama has been driven into the ground recently, so given that those are both out there I’d advise trying out one of those.

8:31 bp: kyra I know you were a fan of Top of the Lake. I watched the first episode but was already weirded out by Holly Hunter, who is fucking weird. Should I keep watching the next six?

8:30 kyra: Bono is such a fucking punchable face

8:27 kyra: Watching elizabeth moss struggle to get to the stage is RIVETING

8:26 bp: I’m going to use the miniseries category to take some stock of what we’ve seen so far. To answer your question kyra, I’d rather Behind the Candelabra get renominated every year because it’ll probably be superior to any miniseries, plus I like being reminded that Michael Douglas is cancer-free. I’d also like to offer an apology to Lupita Nyong’o for misplacing the apostrophe in her name. But I will not apologize for favoring her even over my girl J-Law, with whom I would disagree that David O. Russell is a genius. David O. Russell is crazy, but I’m not sure he’s a crazy Van Gogh style savant or anything. American Hustle made no sense. It was like he had no idea what he had planned so he told some talented people in ridiculous haircuts to yell at each other.

8:23 kyra: As one of 3 people in America who saw more than 1 of the things in this category, all I will say is that this Globe was won on star power alone. On a different note though, doesn’t it feel like Behind the Candelabra came out like 5 years ago? How is this still nominated for shit?

8:19 kyra: dear God…

8:17 bp: And RIGHT ON CUE is this completely liquored up Scotslady. I have no idea what she was nominated and damn it she’s gonna slur right through the play-off music to give us some hair stylist recommendations

8:14 bp: Another problem with this early start time besides the interference with football is that it starves the actors of another hour they spent getting liquored up. J-Law was not nearly drunk enough during that speech. I like my Golden Globes winners stumbling up to the stage rather than faking nervous energy. Also Lupita N’yongo (I’m sorry now for any spelling errors) should be racking up in this category.

8:11 kyra: How horrible a decision was Kerry Washington’s to marry Nnamdi Asomugha? I haven’t seen a career fall that fast since Greg Kinnear began starring in Rake.

8:07 kyra: Just wanted to chime in. I just got home because sorry America I was watching football. Not waiting with bated breath for the fucking Golden Globes to start. The Globes, we must remember, is the stupidest of all major award shows. No one really cares about who wins because no one cares about the voters, but the speeches are always better than the Oscars because 1) people get hammered, and 2) its before the Oscars so people are more surprised if they win. I don’t want to drone on, so I’ll just start by saying hopefully Amy and Tina can deliver like they did a couple years ago. //takes 5 shots

8:01 bp: Amy with the uncalled-for shot at straight guys who actually clicked away from football early. I don’t appreciate it. But I have zero shame about doing so.

8:00 bp: This ballroom is STAR-FILLED, ok.

7:58 bp: NO MORE MATT I NEED AMY AND TINA. I love how “Amy and Tina” has already become synonymous with “great hosting”

7:56 bp: Amy Adams’ boobs are two of the best Method actors working today. Still in character!:


7:53 bp: Who the fuck is this dude, and what is he wearing?photo

I don’t watch E! so apologies if he’s one of Joan Rivers’ fashion police toadies

7:50 bp: Haven’t seen Lena Dunham yet. Assuming she’s wearing designer Buck S. Naked

7:45 bp: Hayden Panettiere is currently proving the absurd correlation between incredible hotness and an incredibly, incredibly boring personality. JUST CAUSE VLAD KLITSCHKO LAUGHS AT ALL YOUR STUPID JOKES DOESN’T MEAN I WILL

7:41 bp: Let’s all remember the shining rays of comedy Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be hosting again tonight. A reminder of their true brilliance can be seen in last year’s opening monologue (Unfortunately there is an ad, but I am too busy to look for another version. It is so worth the 15 second wait to hear them mock Quentin Tarantino’s sexual fetishes):

7:30 bp: Okay so we’re getting started with the live blog here. First let me comment on the poor timing—there is no reason for the Golden Globes to start within a half an hour of the football game ending. What if there’s overtime? It’s a crappy game, but still.

Some more logistics to get out of the way: the Golden Globes “celebrate” both television and movies, and WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT kyra and I write about both. kyra’s top ten TV shows of the year can be found here; my top ten movies that I just published like eight minutes ago can be found here, or you can just scroll down. I also posted my review of Her today. Again, you have your choice of clicking on it or scrolling down.

Let me begin the SNARK-FEST by noting how insulted I am that they’ve forced J-Law to converse with Matt Lauer. They should not let anybody speak to Matt Lauer. And I like how NBC has given up on re-branding Matt Lauer as anything other but the cunning Machiavellian prince of morning talk shows is particularly hysterical. He looked like a cruel bastard in those sunglasses.

Posted in 2013 Movies, Golden Globes, Movies, TV | Tagged , | 1 Comment