The Academy spreads Oscar wealth


Last night marked the eight-fifth year of the Academy Awards, with Ben Affleck’s Argo taking home the Oscar for Best Picture. The ceremony had its first tie (Best Sound Editing for Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty) since 1994, and just the sixth tie in Oscar history. The tie was just one of the many Oscar history rarities included in last night’s ceremony.

Argo was the presumed favorite for Best Picture after overtaking Lincoln in the last few weeks before the show, and it won. However, besides Best Picture, Argo only captured two other awards, for Original Screenplay and Editing. While that’s nothing to slouch at, it is interesting how much the Academy spread the Oscars around this year. Check out this year’s breakdown:

Life of Pi: 4 (director, cinematography, visual effects, original score)
Argo: 3 (picture, editing, original screenplay)
Les Miserables: 3 (supporting actress, make-up and hairstyling, sound mixing)
Lincoln: 2 (actor, production design)
Django Unchained: 2 (original screenplay, supporting actor)
Amour: 1 (foreign language)
Silver Linings Playbook: 1 (actress)
Zero Dark Thirty: 1 (sound editing)
Beasts of the Southern Wild- 0

Since the Academy changed its Best Picture format from five nominees to ten in 2009, there have been one or two films that take the majority of the awards and four films (all three years) who have gotten shut out with zero awards. Here’s a breakdown of those years:

*Best Picture Winner

2009:
*Hurt Locker: 9
Avatar: 3
Precious: 2
Up: 2
Inglourious Basterds: 1
The Blind Side: 1
Up in the Air: 0
District 9: 0
An Education: 0
A Serious Man: 0

2010:
*King’s Speech: 4
Inception: 4
Social Network: 3
The Fighter: 2
Toy Story 3: 2
Black Swan: 1
True Grit: 0
127 Hours: 0
The Kids Are All Right: 0
Winter’s Bone: 0

2011:
*The Artist: 5
Hugo: 5
The Descendants: 1
The Help: 1
Midnight in Paris: 1
Moneyball: 0
War Horse: 0
The Tree of Life: 0
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: 0

Although Argo won Best Picture, it failed to win the most Oscars of the night as Life of Pi won four awards. This has not happened since 2004, when The Aviator won five awards and Best Picture winner Million Dollar Baby only won four. Argo also became just the second Best Picture winner since 1977 to win only three total Oscars, joining 2005’s Crash. Both Crash and Argo failed to win any acting Academy Awards. The similarities do not end there. The last time that the Best Director and Best Picture awards were not given to the same film was also in 2005. You might be asking, well who won Best Director in 2005 then? The same guy who won last night, Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi director, Ang Lee. Hmmm, interesting.

Whether or not the Academy got their choices right is debatable every year, however this year’s results have validated their choice to have more than five nominees for Best Picture. If four nominees are getting zero awards each year then there are too many nominees. However, this year was first time since the switch that only one Best Picture nominee got shut out from awards. While no film is all together perfect, nearly all of the Best Picture nominees had aspects about them that were deemed Oscar worthy, something not seen since the change. This does not speak to Argo’s weaknesses necessarily, but rather the depth and diversity of this year’s Best Picture nominees. The Academy was not shy about spreading the Oscar love this year, except to Steven Spielberg, who is now 2/7 in Best Director nominations, and 1/8 in Best Picture nominations, making him (statistically) one of the biggest losers in Oscar history. Something tells me that Spielberg’s four going on five (five?!) decades of dominating Hollywood is a nice consolation.

Advertisements


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s