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  1. My understanding was that many British schoolchildren wrote to the troops during World War II. The circumstance of a schoolgirl corresponding with a (somewhat) distant relative on whom one has a crush...in a world that's a lot more watchful of even the appearance of agrooming, it probably looks worse now than it would have at the time. To (some) modern eyes, their letter writing is the equivalent of an 18 year old trying to slide into a middle schooler's DMs or running a countdown clock for the Olsen twins, when the reality may have been more, benign correspondence shared with the family. Anyway, I thought the story was that Philip wasn't considered a suitable match for Elizabeth, even once she was old enough for them to date? * It's a biographer who's interviewed Harry. She says it's the first thing he asked her was if she watched The Crown and that's when he spoke of stopping the show from depicting him. This news fits with Rebecca English saying Harry reads tabloid/internet press and comments sections about himself. Most celebrities probably aren't thrilled with unauthorized biographies or ugly tabloid stories, to be fair. Still, if I consider the prospect that Harry and possibly Meghan have been consuming the worst stories and comments about themselves, then everything makes a lot more sense.
  2. All the voters who didn't even watch Hustlers because "it's not an Oscar movie," can't really say that about Little Women. It's not "too small" or from a filmmaker they've never heard of, or too quirky or not in English, but a literary classic that's been adapted and nominated before. That can be a drawback, too, because voters may like previous versions better and wonder why this latest one even exists. The narrative technique Gerwig employs for it has been used by other Best Picture nominees in the past, and those other movies got "I didn't understand what was happening," complaints in those anonymous ballot stories. Directors should make the movies they want, but if the goal is to play to a group whose members are not always known for grasping complex storytelling... Somewhere, Christopher Nolan is probably looking at all the hardware Sam Mendes and 1917 are collecting and is thinking, "Really?!" But calibrating a movie too much to appeal to awards bodies can backfire, and land you in the "This Had Oscar Buzz" pile. The demographic makeup of the Academy is often discussed, but the people who professionally write/blog/podcast about the awards all year are not necessarily any more diverse, and they have a hand in shaping the Oscar conversation. Maybe there are more women in the space, but it's very white overall. And these writers are a bit more openminded than Oscar voters in general, but anyone can have unconscious biases. Sometimes they can be caught up in statistics and trying to be right in their predictions, and dismiss contenders that don't seem Oscary enough, even if they like them. The media/critics championing a contender sometimes pushes a movie over the top, but if it seems hopeless, they'll give up. Gerwig wasn't the only woman who directed an acclaimed movie last year, but the one with the best chances for a Directing nomination by far, and maybe the one a lot of awards media identified with the most, so she got more attention from them than the others. Unfortunately, I think whatever chances Lulu Wang and The Farewell had at Oscar nominations weren't helped by the rise of Parasite as a major contender. Of course, they are very different stories, but as it's been pointed out, Oscar's history with Asian/Asian-American movies and especially performers is not great. Should they be able to appreciate two movies with Asian casts, primarily not in English? Yes, but that it didn't happen is sadly predictable. The Farewell not being eligible for the International Film category at the Oscars also placed it at a disadvantage. The more categories where a movie is a contender, the more inclined people might be to watch it.
  3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Awards I believe the balloting is entirely done online now, but most of the other factors are still at play. * I think a blue ribbon panel/jury deciding on the nominees wouldn't be a horrible idea in theory, but it would probably go over very badly with many Academy members and get attacked from many corners as a de facto quota system. It could have the unintended consequence of the voting body as a whole going for the most "traditional" options either by default (because that's what naturally appeals to them out of what did make the cut), or in retaliation against a system they feel is trying to "force" them to vote a certain way.
  4. Given the movies that Brad has chosen to produce, I think he takes film pretty seriously and is a diligent awards voter. It must be so much fun to be able to vote for yourself, for an Oscar. I think Brad will probably win but recall the pundits saying Glenn Close's speech at the Golden Globes was supposed to seal her Oscar win, and that didn't quite work out. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has much more support than The Wife and Pitt is a bigger star, so an upset would be very surprising at this point.
  5. It still has RDJ fresh off the Avengers franchise and the special effects don't look cheap, at least. The reviews would hurt a kids movie a lot more with something more obscure, like an Oogieloves or Uglydolls. Universal must have known they had a turkey to release a family movie in January instead of Christmas. If they hadn't had Cats to push to Oscar glory (LOL), I wonder if Dolittle would have gotten a holiday release after all. The reviews would have still been bad, but you'd have gotten two weeks of kids out of school, and if they didn't want to see Jumanji: The Next Level again... Who ever would have guessed a year ago that Universal would make the most money this winter from a World War I movie led by up-and-coming actors?
  6. The (not-so) Anonymous Oscar Voters are off to an early start, as Academy members viciously reveal why Lopez, Sandler, Murphy got snubbed from Oscars, and they are as charming as ever: And here I thought Lady Gaga losing Best Actress was more about everyone thinking she was a lock to win another category, so why reward a singer/actress twice in one night, some not thinking her performance was the best, and that her movie suffered the same lukewarm Oscar fate as its predecessors, but okay... Also, where does Glenn Close fit into this voter's theory? Funny, when I read Anonymous Oscar Ballot articles, I hardly ever end up thinking, "You know what? The voters are so respectful of the process and the honor that's been bestowed upon them." It's actually the opposite, more often than not. * You know if Eddie didn't do any campaigning, there would've been voters saying, "Well, of course he didn't get nominated, he didn't put in any face time and show that us that he cared!" You can't win with some of these folks...
  7. January 17–20, 2020 Estimates: 1. Bad Boys for Life $59.1M (3-Day) | 3,775 Theaters | $68.1M (4-Day) | $90M Budget | $68.1M 2. Dolittle $22.5M | 4,155 Theaters | $30M (4-Day) | $175M Budget | $30M 3. 1917 $22.1M (-40%) | 3,612 Theaters (+178) | $27M (4-Day) | $90M Budget | $81.6M 4. Jumanji: The Next Level $9.5M (-32%) | 3,323 Theaters (-581) | $12.6M (4-Day) | $125–132M Budget | $273.4M 5. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker $8.37M (-45%) | 3,058 Theaters (-1,221) | $10M (4-Day) | $275 M Budget | $494.2M 6. Little Women $5.9M (-24%) | 2,503 Theaters (-713) | $7.4M (4-Day) | $40M Budget | $85.9M 7. Just Mercy $6M (-38%) | 2,457 Theaters (+82) | $7.19M (4-Day) | $20.7M 8. Knives Out $4.3M (-24%) | 1,667 Theaters (-393) | $5.25M (4-Day) | $40M Budget | $146.9M 9. Frozen II $3.7M (-37%) | 2,080 Theaters (-575) | $5.09M (4-Day) | $150M Budget | $466.2M 10. Like A Boss $3.8M (-62%) | 3,081 Theaters (+3) | $4.5M (4-Day) | $29M Budget | $17.6M Underwater $3.56M (-49%) | 2,791 Theaters | $4.2M (4-Day) | $50–80M Budget | $13.4M Spies In Disguise $2.58M (-50%) | 1761 Theaters (-910) | $3.86M (4-Day) | $100M Budget | $59.6M Parasite $1.74M (+83%) | 843 Theaters (+498) | $2.16M (4-Day) | $11M Budget | $28.2M Weathering With You $1.73M | 486 Theaters | $4.8M Jojo Rabbit $1.44M (+587%) | 1,005 Theaters (+880) | $1.78M (4-Day) | $14M Budget | $23.8M Ford v Ferrari $1.09M (+44%) | 1,080 Theaters (+513) | $1.33M (4-Day) | $113.1M
  8. On another site I visit the issue came up, of how supportive the Queen was or wasn't to Meghan. One poster argued that the Queen had been very publicly supportive of Meghan: she'd been invited on one-on-one engagements with the Queen far sooner than Catherine had at the same stage, a big show of just how much she considered Meghan a part of the Royal Family now. And the counterargument was essentially, that's nice, but maybe a public statement from the Queen blasting the press might have been more useful and a bigger show of support to Meghan? How much a statement from Buckingham vs. Kensington Palace would have changed the reporting, I don't know, but it's not surprising that the Queen/her advisors were operating under the usual ways (stiff upper lip, keep calm and carry on, everyone in the family has their turn at bad press), while the Sussexes and their fans were expecting them to address the issues head on and to be more proactive in offering a defense of Meghan. The church visit today isn't a "public event" any more than the photos of the Queen riding/driving around in the past week were, but that's not the perception people will have or what the reporting will be, especially from US sources. The courtiers should be asking themselves if the Queen should be seen with Andrew ever again, even in a "private" capacity. Charles would probably love to have Andrew locked away in the tower for all time; it will be interesting to see what happens to him after Mama is gone. Rebecca English of the Daily Fail wrote a piece on how Harry has changed since she's known him and since he met Meghan. It gives an insight into how the royal rota types think and the sort of interaction they were accustomed to having with senior royals. I get the sense that some of them genuinely thought they were friends with the royals, even as they worked for papers that published awful stories about the Windsors through the years. As such, IMO, they didn't understand what was so different with Harry's latest girlfriend (now wife) or why it changed, just that it did when Meghan came along, therefore she "took" their Harry away from them. An interesting nugget the article drops is that (apparently) Harry regularly read supermarket tabloid coverage about himself and later, online articles and comments sections. If that is true, yikes, that cannot do anything good for his mental health. This does not excuse the awfulness of the media or internet trolls, but Harry, don't torture yourself that way! Here's a link to the article:
  9. It's like the people who would repeatedly slight Meghan as a "mediocre actress". I would always think, "Well, if someone was going to walk away from acting to become a royal, better that it's a person who supposedly isn't very good at it and was only so famous, right?" I think the internet has made many far less tolerant about people/things they don't like being popular. They get together and fixate on the object of their ire in a way that wasn't possible before we were all so connected. Not that there weren't obsessed stalker types before, but the web makes the rage more collective. The tabloids were always going to pit William and Harry's wives against each other and it depended on the woman, which angle(s) they would use. When Harry was dating Chelsy, she was more fun than Kate but her family's money was sketchier. Cressida OTOH was more of a blue blood, so the tabloids would try elevating her above Catherine. Suppose the actress who'd agreed to marry Harry wasn't Meghan, but Jennifer Lawrence: there wouldn't be racial attacks, but still some "she's American and vulgar and an actress and will never be royal!" takes. If Harry had ended up with Emma Watson, the tabloids wouldn't have slammed her past in acting nearly as much and probably made her out to be "better" than Kate, at least at first. It's hard to say; the media narratives change. Fergie was once a breath of fresh air compared to Diana, until she wasn't. It's really all of it with Meghan: she's biracial, she's American, an actress, divorced, [slightly] older than Harry, ran a lifestyle blog: each is a thing that would have upset some people but altogether is a true bonanza of "outrage" in royal watching circles. And that was before she wanted to do things differently. You would think the royal rota would be thrilled with the endless clickbait Meghan provides, as surely their nonsense/awful stories about her generate far more traffic and income than "Cressida's mum is posher than Carole Middleton!" pieces (an actual thing I read on the Daily Mail once). But no, it's really about Harry not picking the woman and living the life they want him to, therefore he (and his wife) must be punished for not bending to their will.
  10. I listen to several movie podcasts, some more awards-focused than others, but the hosts are mostly male and I would say less than half had read Little Women before or really knew the story from a previous adaptation. Some said they'd seen the 1994 version at the time but didn't remember much about it. One host recalled there was a Friends episode where Joey reads it and that a big spoiler was blurted out, but he couldn't remember what it was. Of course, there are also women who haven't read the book or don't like it, and men who are big fans. Anyway, on one of my awards podcasts (Mike, Mike and Oscar), the hosts were both fans of the movie but cited the sequence of Beth's death as the worst moment. They thought it was too jarring to cut from Dying Beth to Living Beth on Meg's wedding day. The host who hadn't read the book thought that Jo waking up and learning that Beth got better, was all a dream. They also felt the ending with Jo and Bhaer was too much like a rom-com (I heard this POV on more than one pod, from people who hadn't read the book). I loved the movie, but it's very much having a conversation with other versions and the pressures Louisa May Alcott faced in writing the book. Any film that goes too meta risks alienating part of its audience, though it's certainly possible to go into this movie cold and enjoy it. Some people also find nonlinear narratives confusing, or dislike them as a superfluous narrative trick and vastly prefer chronological storytelling. If you are familiar with those Anonymous Oscar Ballot articles, there is a segment of voters who...well, to be nice, I'll say that some of those types really go for uncomplicated stories and don't respond well to ambiguity. There's also a strain of "nobody can tell me what to do" among that group, which, considering the entertainment media pushing for Gerwig to get into Best Director and preemptively saying how terrible it would be if it didn't happen, I worried some voters would say, "Nope!" just because of the pressure, even if they were fans of the movie overall. The six nominations were far more than I expected, given the precursor run.
  11. Doria is American and has conducted herself with total grace. Tackiness, jealousy and narcissism are not unique to a particular nationality. Through the years, British tabloids have paid loads of money to their countrymen to spill their guts in embarrassing, attention-seeking, tell-all interviews. Harry could have just as easily fallen head over heels for some C-list British actress from one of their soap operas or something, with relatives just as dysfunctional as the Markles. It's not like there aren't toxic, estranged families all around the world. Kate's parents seem like fundamentally stable people who provided a loving environment for their children. I think they likely would have done the same even if they'd kept working for British Airways (or whichever airline it was, where they met) and Carole had never created Party Pieces. Her brother (Kate's uncle) has actually been quite the embarrassment himself at times, though he's never (AFAIK) been malicious about her to the press.
  12. I was listening to an Oscars podcast and the hosts said that among editors, there's a feeling that a movie is made in the editing room. Because of the nature of a "one-shot" movie like 1917, the cuts are preplanned, so some branch members may not consider that "real" editing in the same way. Birdman won the Best Picture Oscar but also failed to get a Best Film Editing nomination.
  13. The overall previews of Randall having disturbing dreams/visions throughout his life briefly made me wonder if the intruder downstairs is even real. The scenario also reminded me of The Sixth Sense, and a (fictonal) M Night Shyamalan movie has been a peripheral element of the show this season...
  14. A hall pass? Ouch, Poor Kevin, but he was moving way too fast with her. I'm guessing the Sophie call is a red herring (maybe some relative of hers/ex-in-law of his has died, and she's letting him know because they were family, once), and the future fiancee is Madison. Toby should be talking to a therapist/counselor about his feelings, not LadyKryptonite or his other workout friends. I am glad we had the flashfoward already to Jack 2.0 as an adult, so it prevents any speculation that his visual impairment will be temporary. Sooner or later, Kate and Toby will come down from the high of discovering Baby Jack being able to detect light, and Kate will throw Toby's comments in his face during an argument. It will probably be THE fight that leads to a separation.
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