The fate of 1917 at the oscars and how it was inevitable

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aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Just to be upfront...this is all in the hindsight.I think there are multiple reasons as to why 1917 came in short at the Oscars. Here are few.

1) Academy has become reactive up to a point in the recent years.Reactive to media perception and inclusivity.

2) You need to understand what it would mean if sam mendes won the oscar and 1917 won best picture. It would put him in the same ranks as spielberg/innaritu/ang lee/curon. All those directors have never been sell outs. Yes, ang lee made hulk/gemini man but those are experimental failures. Whereas mendes was a sell out when he made the bond movies. So in that respect academy voters are acutely aware of whom they are giving their vote to and what that means for that person.

3) Its a bloody competitive year. Period.

4) The cruel but inevitable fate of auteur culture. The reason why mendes didn't win director is exactly the same reason why Scorsese and Tarantino has loads of fans and it is the exactly the same reason why Tarantino probably will never win director Oscar. Mendes doesn't exactly have a directorial style. He is a competent director but you don't see any correlation between jar-head and american beauty or even with sky-fall. Skyfall feels very much inspired by the dark knight and 1917 by dukirk. I am not saying they are the same but there is some strong correlation. So when academy voters sees 1917, the world war aspect of it feels like inspired by dunkirk. And the "immersive" experience in 1917 is very much inspired by birdman/revenant. You could say they are inspired by work of terrence malick but that is not true. Malick's work is much more small in scale in terms of production. Where as these movies are huge in scale especially revenant and 1917. They will notice that. Tarantino is sort of locked into his style that he can't, wont and shouldnt get out of. If his magnum opus didnt win him a single Oscar then I am not sure if he will ever win. But the moment he breaks from it he will fail with critics and industry. When your entire style is pro-populist and not artistic enough for the majority of the academy then you will have a very tough time breaking through.

5) But the big baddy of all is competition, it is the greatest enemy when it comes to Oscars. No matter anything else if there is someone with a better narrative than you then there is a very strong possibility they will win. Narrative should be natural not forced unlike Greta gerwig or people of color representation.



It would be nice to know how close or how far 1917 was from Parasite in votes. If in fact it was second in line. Without that it would all be mostly heresay. And let's face it, Parasite was story wise a unique thing. 1917 had a good story. A cinematic achievement in terms of technique. They both would have been great winners. But have no complaints. If we cry out for collective awards like Scorsese got for the infinite rejection before, Bon can fall into that category. Just his bad luck his parents got frisky in some other part of the world!!!
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An interesting question is whether Parasite won for being artistically risky or if any other reason is likelier.

I think the Academy can have social and/or political motivations in their voting to some extent. I don't think it's coincidence that Dances with Wolves won Best Picture the year after the 100th anniversary of Wounded Knee. (Edit: I personally enjoyed the film, but in terms of personal favorites, I'd prob watch Goodfellas, The Hunt for Red October, and The Rescuers Down Under more when it comes to 1990 films)

Also Spotlight's victory I think was motivated by the church controversy it explored (though I personally haven't seen it).



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
I haven't seen 1917 and got too busy by the time it was in theaters and left. Wish I had! However, the movie is stereotypical Oscar bait. Not to say that that's bad, but the Oscars usually pick historical dramas and historical war movies. That's their taste usually. Not that it's a bad movie at all, it's just that it's nice to see the Oscars, pick a fictional story set in modern times, rather than historical dramas they are use to picking.



This is the part that confuses me... About 800 odd people vote for best picture. If a year is going to be politically motivated, I would think 40-50 of the voters can think that way and vote that way. But all of the voters? Or at least most of the voters to swing it in a movie's favour?



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Is there a way to find out what the ratio of the votes were?



The trick is not minding
1917 is still showing in theatres as far as I know. I just watched it a few days ago.
I donít think it had anything to do with being a ďselloutĒ. Thatís just assumption.
Is it entirely possible that perhaps the academy actually voted for the right film for once? I ask, having not seen Parasite yet, so Iím unable to compare the two.
but this isnít unheard of, where a film gains steam and stars the thunder from another that was previously favored.
See Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan, Crash over Brokeback Mountain, Moonlight over La La Land, Million Dollar Baby over The Aviator. Some were a bit more dubious, such as Shakespeare winning was the result of an aggressive ad campaign by Miramax.
But many of those films that won werenít considered the favorites originally.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Well when it comes to people expecting a certain movie to win only to have something else picked, what is it about these particular movies that make people think they are going to win more? For example, a lot of people were expecting 1917 to win but why? I never saw it as the one that was going to win the most? I only found out after the show, and people were talking about how they thought it would win but did not. But why were most people expecting that particular one to win over the others?

I actually thought Jojo Rabbit was mostly likely going to win because of it's subject matter it deals with, which I thought the Oscars would like, since a lot of times, they pick movies dealing with racism.



The trick is not minding
Usually a favorite emerges based on the amount of awards it has won leadings up toe the Oscars.
1917 had won several leading up including DGA, BAFTA, The Golden Globes.
Parasite had its fair share as well, but foreign films never won these previously. Thatís what made it especially shocking.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Oh okay, I thought the academy didn't care so much about previous awards and picked movies based on subject matter they usually like, hence why I thought they would pick Jojo Rabbit.



The trick is not minding
They can, and sometimes willpick based on subject matter, but quite often those films line up with previous awards.
Like Schindlers List for example.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Oh okay. Has Jojo Rabbit, also dealing with similar subject matter, won any similar awards, previous?



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Oh okay. I didn't know the Oscars cared about previous awards, I just if your movie is in a historical setting, and it's about racism, than that is what you need to more likely win, but didn't think of past awards .



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
The voters have become increasingly more varied, with the inclusion with many women and foreigners. This will eventually change the pattern, even if it's still a too PC ceremony.
The good thing is, maybe the right films will start to get the Oscars, for a change.
None of the American films these year were beyond average, I'm glad Parasites won.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
I have only seen four of the nominees so far, but Paraste is the best of those four for me, so glad it won so far too. Do they Oscars often pick the wrong ones do you think though?



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
If his magnum opus didnt win him a single Oscar then I am not sure if he will ever win.
Pulp Fiction won best Original Script.



The trick is not minding
I have only seen four of the nominees so far, but Paraste is the best of those four for me, so glad it won so far too. Do they Oscars often pick the wrong ones do you think though?
The Oscars have often gotten it wrong before. Take a look at their history, courtesy of filmsite.org that goes very in depth.
The Oscars arenít perfect and never will be.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Can you give any examples of how they got it wrong? I mean for example there are sometimes movies that I think should win best picture that aren't even nominated. For example in 1998, the whole weather or not Shakespeare in Love, or Saving Private Ryan should have picked, I vote neither, and say The Truman Show should probably, but it wasn't even nominated, cause they do not tend to pick sci-fi movies.

Or in 1995, instead of Braveheart winning, I thought Kids, was the best movie of the year probably, but I guess the Academy is not going to nominate an NC-17 rated independent film.



The trick is not minding
Crash over Brokeback Mountain.
The greatest show on earth winning BP over High Noon or The Quiet Man.
Around the world in 80 days over Giant.
Just a few examples.