Dana Stevens, Troy Patterson, and Dan Kois Answer Your Questions About This Year’s Academy Awards

All about the Academy Awards.
Jan. 24 2012 7:01 PM

What Was This Year’s Biggest Oscars Diss?

Dana Stevens, Troy Patterson, and Dan Kois answer your questions about the Academy Award nominations.

(Continued from Page 2)

Dan Kois: It's very likeable! It's just when I compare it to the other movies Woody's made in the 25 years since his last BP nomination that I feel sort of bad. Like, it's not as funny as BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, for cripes' sake.

Steve Katz: Also, I liked Midnight in Paris quite a bit, but Owen Wilson just did not mesh well. Seemed like the wrong kind of actor for the part.

Heather MacDonald: I'll go to bat. MIP reminded me (yet again) there's no one writing relationships like Allen. Sure, his dialogue can be creaky, but the ambivalence, misanthropy, projections, and self-delusion within couples is unmatched on the screen. That alone is worth a nod. Plus, I love the idea of Gertrude Stein as matchmaker.

Dan Kois: But Heather, I feel like any argument about how truthful the relationships in MiP are is undercut by the fact that Rachel McAdams' character was a shrill, horrible harpy.

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Boris Kossmehl I find this the most dispiriting list of best picture nominees I've seen in a long time, especially as there have been a few good films out this year. More nominations in this case only seems to mean more mediocre films. The Tree of Life is the only slightly edgy film. The only surprise inclusion was the shock of seeing the mawkish Extremely Loud ..., which would have been instantly forgotten had it been released half a year ago. Wasn't the whole point of having more nominations to give more marginal films a chance "People keep going on about Fassbender and Shame. I think he would have deserved a nomination for X-Men rather than for Shame, not a great film, but he was fantastic. My contender for best male performance of the year never had a chance: Tom Cullen in Weekend: far too subtle and truthful.

Dan Kois: You're preaching to the choir about Tom Cullen in WEEKEND, my favorite movie of the year. But no, it never had a chance.

Troy Patterson: Actually, the idea was to give blockbusters a chance, funnily enough. On a different topic, he continues, "I think [Fassbender] would have deserved a nomination for X-Men rather than for Shame." WHUH?????

Dana Stevens: I'm afraid getting dispirited by the Oscars' lack of edginess, or failure to recognize performances like Tom Cullen's in Weekend (which I also adored) is a dangerous path to go down. I'm writing about this a bit in my post in Dan's, Troy's & my Oscar discussion.

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Eduardo Garza Santos: Dana, do you not think Michelle Williams has a chance? I'm all for Meryl Streep, but just because she keeps getting nominated doesn't necessarily mean she should get a "finally" or "she deserves it after so many nominations" award for it. I think Michelle Williams did a fantastic job in My Week With Marilyn. I still think she should've won for last year's Blue Valentine.

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I had this conversation with somebody about Meryl Streep vs. Michelle Williams. Meryl Streep, as of late, anyway, has been great at mimicking personas and their subtleties (Julia, Miranda Priestly, Thatcher). On the other hand, Michelle Williams can go beyond that and exude a whole other set of emotions that hide behind her eyes and her look that give the character some depth.

One a side note: Can someone please tell me why My Week With Marilyn was under the "Comedy or Musical" category at the Golden Globes?

Dan Kois: Michelle does have a chance, sure. She gave a good speech at the Globes, she is well-liked, she was good in the role even though the movie was lousy. And at the Globes, it was classified as Comedy/Musical because that's how its producers classified it, in a delightful case of category fraud that was rewarded when she won the Globe.

Dana Stevens: I share your love for Michelle Williams, but I think she has zero chance of winning for Marilyn. Too minor of a film, and it's not her time.

Troy Patterson: Will someone explain to me how Harvey Weinstein will orchestrate campaigns for both Streep and Michelle Williams?

_______________________

Jaclyn Mosher: I know it’s a less flashy category, but I'm really upset that Tinker Tailor Solider Spy didn't get nominated for art direction. What a fantastic job they did on the bleak, bunker-like, alternatively sparse and cluttered period-perfect sets. Costumes were also top-notch.

Dan Kois: Jaclyn: I think that's one of the 5 stupidest non-nominations of the year, in fact!

Dana Stevens: Tinker Tailor not getting a production design nod is a diss indeed. What's that about? The Bakelite phones alone should win an award.

Dan Kois: Achievement in Phones.

Dan Kois: Also, Gary Oldman's glasses should win Achievement in Glasses.

_______________________

Jay Arntson: I'm interested in the critics vs. lay-audiences debate about The Tree of Life. How does this conflict play out come Oscars night?

Troy Patterson: I don't think it does come out. I think the movie is too far out to win anything except the editing prize.

Dana Stevens: But Troy, wasn't Tree of Life not even nommed for editing? Quelle scandale. OK, now I'm really out. Goodbye & thanks!

Dan Kois: Thanks everyone for your great questions! Sorry we couldn't get to them all!

Dan Kois: Don't forget to submit your ideas for how to make the Oscars better in our Hive.

Troy Patterson: Dana is correct. I meant to say cinematography, perhaps demonstrating my unfitness for the medium of Facebook chatting. I'm off to practice! Thanks, gang!

Jay Arntson: Thanks everyone! :-)

Erik Stadnik: Thanks all—oodles of fun! Way more fun that the awards. :-)

Dan Kois is Slate's culture editor and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.

Dana Stevens is Slate's movie critic.

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