Requiem For a Pickmaker: Oscars Confound Again
January 22, 2009
Nominations are in. For the third straight year, Yesterday’s Salad goes 4/5 picking Best Picture nominees. That sounds good, but it’s also disheartening. No matter how many numbers you crunch, you can never be exactly right. The Dark Knight, what we thought was the best picture of the year, failed to be nominated. Congratulations, you’re now the 4th movie to score over 3.5 on our scale not to be nominated for Best Picture. And congrats, Academy, on having picture and director match 5/5: you’ve made things easier on me and Nate, but at the expense of an individual talent like Christopher Nolan.
I feel pretty good about identifying The Reader as the movie most likely to sneak in:
Over the last 8 years, no movie nominated for Best Picture has been outside of the top 10 in our rankings, so we’ll restrict ourselves to those movies.
So what movies in the top 10 have directors with multiple Best Director nominees?
The Reader (1.69; 7) and Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Daldry was on the outside looking in in 2000, but Billy Elliot was nominated for director, and he was nominated again for The Hours. The Reader got a new shot of buzz when it was nominated by BAFTA last week, and this being the year of the Kate could help it immensely.
So, when all is said and done, I feel … more confident in picking The Dark Knight for the 5 slot, but if you gave me really good odds–really good–I might bet on The Reader.
No, my confidence wasn’t rewarded, but I think we’ve struck upon a good way to pick Best Picture upsets: films in our top-10 with multiple nominee directors. It sounds pretty intuitive, but it’s not. Gran Torino was everyone’s favourite to upset and sneak in, but we knew it was too low to get the nomination. Likewise, this system keeps us from betting on critically acclaimed upstarts (The Aronofskys of the world). At Best Picture time, the life of the reactionary is the life to lead.
(I was extremely plussed by the fact the Academy nominated Richard Jenkins for The Visitor, a YS favourite that “suffered” from early release syndrome)