Oscar reactions and BOPMadness results 2019

Oscar reactions and BOPMadness results 2019

AWARDS SPOILER ALERT (although I figure with something like the Oscars, a day gives you enough time to have watched them without spoilers, if you wanted to do that)

Well, this was certainly a different Oscar year…both in the results and in the broadcast!

I follow them closely, and have been doing an Oscar prediction contest (BOPMadness…Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) for decades. We are usually very accurate, and this year, I think we were probably as far off as we’ve ever been.

I think my method is sound…one factor may have been that we had relatively few players. While I haven’t analyzed it, my intuition is that the more players we have, the better we do. I promoted it quite a bit on Twitter, and I’ll plan to do that again next year, but that didn’t get me many guessers.

It also seems like a lot of other people didn’t do as well as usual. This suggests, perhaps, that the Academy has been successful in changing its membership and its attitudes. In particular, they’ve been trying to address the “#OscarsSoWhite” controversy and the winners this year did reflect more ethnic diversity, especially in the Big Six (acting, directing, Best Picture). Still, outside of the gender-defined acting categories, the nominees were overwhelmingly male…

First, I’ll do some reactions to the broadcast and the results generally, then I’ll talk about the BOPMadness results:

  • Not having a host seemed to work…certainly, it felt like things ran more predictably. That’s both good and bad: if you ask me about my memories of Oscar broadcasts, many of them would have to do with the hosts…especially Billy Crystal. The moment of Jack Palance doing one-handed push-ups, and Crystal’s reaction? Classic! However, in recent years, it has sometimes felt like the Oscars were too much about the host, especially with canned comedy bits and stunts
  • That said, I don’t understand how, when everything seemed to be running like clockwork, they still managed to run significantly late!
  • Something that did still feel like stunts? The choice of celebrities who presented. I understand why they wanted to go outside of Hollywood…it shows the broad interest in movies that people might think is fading, over prestige TV and other options. Also, it seems like people are increasingly politicizing Hollywood, and this helps disarm that. I have to say, though, some of the presenters seemed like they felt awkward…
  • Big congratulations go to Black Panther for the first Oscar wins for the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe)! While it didn’t win Best Picture, which was what some people wanted, it did get into mainstream categories, especially Costume. It had to defeat period pieces, and what could legitimately be called “costume dramas”…however, geek-friendly nominees have won in this category in recent years (2016: Fantastic Beasts; 2015: Mad Max: Fury Road; 2010: Alice in Wonderland). DC, by the way, did win one in recent years…Suicide Squad won for Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Even bigger congrats to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for its Animated Feature win! It had been winning quite a bit, and this is a win for Marvel, even if not specifically for the MCU
  • Green Book’s win surprised us, and many other people. We had it at 58%, which made it tied for 2nd (with The Favourite)…but we had Roma at a 93% chance
  • Outside of Black Panther and the animated categories, geek-friendly nominees were pretty much shut-out. Even in Visual Effects, the most muggle of the group, First Man, won
  • Trevor Noah probably had the funniest joke of the night (even though you had to understand Xhosa to get it live…I don’t, by the way)
  • I was pretty surprised by people’s reactions to the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper duet. It took me three tweets, but I said, “If the rest of us find the social embracings of actors and actresses somewhat excessive, we must remember three things. Not only are they trained to show their passions easily, but they are also put under severe emotional strain by the nature of their work, and, in addition, theirs happens to be a particularly insecure occupation. They need all the mutual reassurance they can get.”–Desmond Morris, writing in Intimate Behavior | As a former actor myself, I feel sorry for those who seem to feel that the connection shown by Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga during the Oscars can only happen between romantic (& for some, the implication is sexual or future sexual) partners

Now, in terms of BOPMadness:

  • Big Six: we were 81%
  • The Incredibly Difficult Maven Section: 74%
  • Overall: 76%
  • We predicted the following categories: Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Costume, Makeup & Hairstyling, Score (well, half-way…our top two were a tie), Animated Feature. For contrast, last year we picked all of the Big Six except for Best Picture (where our second choice won)…last year was far more typical
  • Our top winner, “George Monkey”, did really well! 94% on The Big Six, 92% on the Maven section, and 93% overall! KT also did pick Green Book for Best Picture…impressive!
  • As for me…76% on the Big Six, 75% on Maven (I usually do really well there), and 76% Overall. That’s not bad, but not as good as I would have liked

I really appreciate everyone who played! I hope you all play again, and that we have even more people next year!

Now, I do want to talk generally about the Oscars…I’ve had some discussions about it on Twitter.

For me, there is a very big difference between the awards and the broadcast. The awards are for by and for the professionals. Given that, I would like to see more Oscars…especially stunts (SAG does that) and casting. I also think doing one for trailers would make sense…it’s a special art form which can have a giant impact on movies.

The broadcast is an educational and fundraising activity: it’s for the public. That’s why they already pick which Oscars appear on the telecast…they don’t do the scientific/technical ones. Yes, it’s nice that all of the current awardees get to be on TV…but honestly, I would understand if there were some which were removed from the main broadcast. They could also be made available other ways. That’s not to say that I respect those artists any less….but the broadcast needs to be popular.

On the other hand, I think it’s important that the awards themselves not try to become less “arty”. I don’t like the idea at all of having a “popular” movies category. What that would tend to do is keep very popular movies from winning the regular “Best Picture” category…that’s also an argument against the Animated Feature category, but an animated movie is objectively different (even though that seems to be where a lot of the most successful original, non-remake or sequel, work is being done). A movie which is popular is not by definition different from one which is “art house”. Some movies which start out as art house movies later break $100m dogro (domestic gross), which I think we can safely say is popular.

The Oscars have the “lane” of being the prestige insider awards, and they should stay there. They don’t want to compete with MTV and The People’s Choice, and they aren’t awards given by critics or journalists. Figuring out how to make the broadcast of the awards attractive is fine…but don’t do it by changing the nature of the awards.

That’s what I think…feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post!

Well, it was another interesting Oscar year! I’m already starting to contemplate next year… 😉

See you in the movies!

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

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