BLOG: Fixing the Oscars: Shortened Principles

by Ken Bakely

NOTE: This will either be a stand-alone blog post or the start of a multi-part series detailing various suggestions for improving the Oscars. Whether or not there are sequels will depend on my enthusiasm for writing them and the web traffic performance of this installment.

I’ve made no bones about my distaste for the Academy Awards themselves. In that respect, I’m in good company, but I seem to be in more of a minority when it comes to my criticism for the structure of the ceremony itself. I consider myself something of a casual award show viewer, in the sense that I focus on the “major” ones: those that can be specifically named as synonymous with their industries, and don’t contain the word “choice” in the title. The Oscars seem to always stand out as the most endless of all of them. The Globes, Emmys, Tonys, and Grammys are usually pretty good at fitting into their allotted timeslots. Oscar ceremony producers seem to use the scheduled end time as a 30 minute warning.

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BLOG: Dancing in the Moonlight: Thoughts on the 89th Academy Awards

moonlight-oscar-card

A last-second correction is made at the Oscars.


by Ken Bakely

Between this and the Super Bowl, 2017 is a confusing year for people who turn off their TVs early.

The circumstances surrounding Moonlight winning Best Picture overpower the surprise that comes from the very notion of the film taking the trophy: this was, in any case, a tremendous upset. Every prognosticator, myself included, had predicted a victory for La La Land. Yet as the night went on, with the movie losing several categories seemingly tailor-made for it (sound awards and editing, etc.), a weakness emerged. But nobody could have foreseen how it all ended.

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Finals for Finalists: The 2017 Oscar Nomination Predictions

oscars statues

by Ken Bakely

Has it really been a whole year? The Academy Award nominations are upon us yet again. Before we kick things off, let me reprint my yearly awards season mantra:

“To predict the outcome of awards shows, you don’t need to have seen all of the nominees, you just need to have seen awards shows before.”

I’m going to try something a little different this year. Instead of running through an exhaustive list of all twenty-four categories, I will stick to predictions for a handful of major races, providing more in-depth commentary for each one. Each category’s predictions will be ranked in order of how likely it is that each title or individual will be nominated. Every category will also have one or two “biggest threats” – potential, less likely nominees which could still find themselves in the mix on Tuesday morning.

UPDATE (January 25): I have added a “reaction” section to each category now, detailing my accuracy score and my thoughts on what ended up getting nominated. These comments will be in blue.

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BLOG: A Spotlight on the 88th Academy Awards

What other picture did you think I would use for this post? (Credit: Getty Images)

What other picture did you think I would use for this post? (Credit: Getty Images)

by Ken Bakely

First off, yay Leo!

My personal prediction score was 17/24, or 71% (about par for the course). I’m happy that my bet on Spotlight winning Best Picture panned out. It’s not my favorite out of the nominees, but I’m not overly upset that it won. It was great to see Mad Max: Fury Road take home six statuettes, and even more wonderful to witness 87-year-old Ennio Morricone win his first competitive Oscar, clinching the Best Original Score award for The Hateful Eight, following an unprecedented career of more than six hundred projects over the past seventy years. Interestingly, Mark Rylance was able to capture the Best Supporting Actor trophy, after many (myself included) had long switched over into believing Sly Stallone had the Oscar in the bag. The word on the street is that Rylance hardly campaigned at all, so it was up to the studio’s PR department to rally the votes.

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BLOG: 2016 Oscar Predictions

Academy_of_Motion_Picture_Arts_and_Sciences_logooscar

by Ken Bakely

The Academy Awards are upon us yet again. In just a few days, fancy envelopes will tell us what movies old white men in Hollywood liked the most from last year. And as is tradition for this site, I will share my predictions for the big show with you, and if you really feel like taking a risk, I’ll let you use them for your own Oscar pools (that is, if you’re prepared to lose potentially large sums of money). I will be providing my predictions in all twenty-four categories, although I’ll only provide commentary for the biggest and/or most contested categories.

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Road to the Oscars: 2016 Nomination Predictions

oscars statues

by Ken B.

Before we kick things off, let me reprint my yearly awards season mantra:

“To predict the outcome of awards shows, you don’t need to have seen all of the nominees, you just need to have seen awards shows before.”

As we had last year (and I will copy-paste the same introductory statement I wrote last year), there will be a rank, from 1 – 5 (or 1 – 10 in the case of Best Picture and 1 – 3 in the case of Best Makeup/Hairstyling), and 1 Biggest Threat (or 2 for Best Picture), which, if nominated, do not count towards my final accuracy score. The lower the number, the higher the odds of a nod (in a five nominee category, #1 has what I see as a 99.9% chance of a nomination (round to 100), #2 has a 90% chance, #3 has an 80% chance, and so on).

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Blog: Oh, What a Night: Reactions to the 87th Academy Awards

John Travolta gets a little too apologetic with Idina Menzel in what was arguably one of the most uncomfortable moments at the 87th Academy Awards.

by Ken B.

First off, answers to the questions I asked at the end of my final predictions post:

  1. Something that would have been significantly more enjoyable had it been shorter or earlier in the show. She still killed it, regardless of time.
  2. Eh, about a six and a half.
  3. No.
  4. About 30 seconds in, no less.
  5. As far as I can tell. Didn’t happen though.
  6. The numbers went through the roof. One of my best looking traffic reports in months.

As for Neil Patrick Harris in the hosting position… what a letdown. I love the guy (who doesn’t), but I thought he really fell flat here. With a mildly promising opening number (“Moving Pictures”) behind him, NPH was stuck with reams of poor material and bad jokes, delivered at inopportune times and a fatally bad setup to a trick (the locked briefcase with his predictions) which had a payoff that was way too late in the night and way too unspectacular to be worthwhile. While it’s obvious that he was giving a real effort to keep the show going, it doesn’t help when you don’t have worthwhile content to start with (“best and the whitest” line notwithstanding). One of the arguably oddest bits of the night was a recreation of the Times Square scene in Birdman, which culminated in Harris walking onstage and introducing the next presenter in his underwear. Already feeling like a bad comedy sketch to begin with, the question becomes how much of the viewing audience actually saw Birdman and understood the reference? Assuming an average movie ticket price of $10, less than ten percent of roughly 35 million viewers in the United States.

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Blog: 2015 Oscar Predictions

Oscars 87

by Ken B.

NOTE: View the most recent update to this post here.

February 7, 2015 — The Academy Awards are upon us yet again. Just three short weeks from now, fancy envelopes will tell us what movies old white men in Hollywood liked the most from last year. And as is tradition for this site, I will share my predictions for the big show with you, and if you really feel like taking a risk, I’ll let you use them for your own Oscar pools (that is, if you’re prepared to lose potentially large sums of money.) This year, we’re doing something a little different. Instead of spilling my whole set of picks at once, I’ve decided to spread this out over the next few Saturdays, until we get to February 21, the day before the show.

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