Rachel Iz Married Getting?
October 14, 2008
With apologies to both the popular Ican website and the German language.
Yes, it’s true that there hasn’t been much going on here lately. I’d like to blame that on the economy, but I won’t because we don’t play the blame game. Instead I’ll just say this: Bill Ayers, guy from the neighborhood.
Amazingly little has changed on the Best Picture/Best Director front, which actually means quite a lot has happened. Neither Body of Lies, Appaloosa, nor Miracle at St. Anna managed to set the world on fire, somewhat clarifying the best picture picture by way of negative addition. In fact, only one movie that has come out recently has a higher Metacritic score than the average Best Picture nom: Rachel Getting Married. So, the question: does Rachel have a shot at the top prize?
Since this analysis is supposed to be objective rather than subjective, let’s start by classifying Rachel Getting Married and finding its comparables instead of evaluating its merits. Rachel, with its major focus on one character and their relations to the external world, is best defined as a star vehicle, in this case a best actress star vehicle. The promotion, to the extent that there’s been promotion, has also focused on Princess Anne Hathaway.
Now, not all actresses nominated for best actress come from this category; many come from ensemble movies or for movies designed for the interplay of 3 leads or less (apologies to structuralism). But, the best place to look for successful BASV that were also nominated for Picture is by comparing the Best Actress nominees to Picture nominees.
What we find is that, over the last ten years, there is only about a 1:5 correlation between the 2 categories (22%), and very few of these movies can be said to be Best Actress vehicles. In short, there’s little reason right now to think that Rachel Getting Married will be nominated for Best Picture.
Interestingly, there’s a 2:5 correlation between Best Actor and Best Picture, however, again, very few of these movies can be said to be single star vehicles. I believe that this correlation has less to do with gender than it has to do with the scope or nominatablity of the Best Actress star vehicles.
The textbook Best Actress Star Vehicle that was nominated for Best Picture is Erin Brockovich, however there’s little in common between the two movies. One is a broad comedy and the other isn’t; one has a star at her absolute summit, the other on the climb; one has a director establishing his stardom, the other has an older, could have been director. Most importantly, one was a broad commercial picture (and a big hit and that) and the other is a smaller independent film. Erin Brockovich is best compared to Jerry Maguire while Rachel Getting Married is more like North Country or any of the many movies Anne’s former co-star Meryl Streep made over the years: a smaller, deserving movie that has a good shot of getting its lead nominated in an individual category, but is unlikely to garner a nom for itself.
The race as stands now:
Likely: The Dark Knight
If everything disappoints: Wall-E
Unlikely: Rachel Getting Married