Trophy Talk, With Chris and Mike
People love watching famous people accept trophies. So, every so often, The Huffington Post's Chris Rosen and ScreenCrush's Mike Ryan will speculate about these trophies and which famous person might win one. It will be fun. Let's talk some trophies!
Mike: So, 'The Imitation Game' is going to win Best Picture, isn't it? It feels like a movie that checks off all of the boxes that people like in a Best Picture winner. It even had a fake controversy this week!
Chris: Caveat here that it's September and 'The Imitation Game' is in no-way the kind of perceived lock that '12 Years A Slave' was last year at this time ... yes, 'The Imitation Game' is definitely going to win Best Picture. (Or maybe not.) But, to me, the controversy about the film -- which deals with how it portrays Alan Turing's homosexuality -- is a sure sign it's our favorite. You don't see that kind of passionate discourse about any other film right now
Mike: Oh, I agree completely, there's no clear cut favorite this year, which I think means people will migrate even more toward 'The Imitation Game,' because it just feels like a movie that should be the clear cut favorite. That's not a dig on the movie, I really liked it. But, it has those beats: Overcoming odds, crowd-pleasing moments, tragedy.
Chris: It's the movie that's supposed to win Best Picture, so we all kind of think it will. To be honest, this year already kind of feels like 2010 to me: 'The Imitation Game' is kind of like 'The King's Speech' (the surface plot similarities, but also a Weinstein Company release with a relatively unknown director behind the camera); 'Gone Girl' is our David Fincher movie (that year it was 'The Social Network'); Christopher Nolan has a mysterious blockbuster that starts with the letter "I" making a push for some kind of awards love. 'Wild' is similar to '127 Hours.' I could go on and mention 'Whiplash' and 'Black Swan'...
Mike: (I've never a been a big proponent of the "it's only September" argument when, because of film festivals, we've seen, what, a good 70 percent of the movies that will be involved in all of this?) Well, I think the big difference between 2014 and 2010 is that there are two 'The King's Speeches' this year. 'The Theory of Everything' has similar beats to 'The Imitation Game' and has better performances. I really feel that's the only reason people don't want to anoint 'The Imitation Game' as "the favorite" because 'The Theory of Everything' exists. They really are companion pieces for the next few months, until they aren't because Stephen Hawking really has nothing to do with Alan Turing -- but for right now, they have everything to do with one another, which is weird.
Chris: Right, which is why I'll make Sasha Stone happy by speculating that if 'The Imitation Game' and 'The Theory of Everything' cancel each other out on account of being relatively similar (if not at all), then Fincher could finally get his 2010 make-up Oscar for 'Gone Girl.'
Mike: I never understand the "cancel each other out" theory. It's not like those votes disappear. If there are 100 votes (for this example) and 40 people vote for 'The Imitation Game,' 40 vote for 'The Theory of 'Everything' and 10 vote for 'Gone Girl' (which we won't actually see for another week), it's not like those 40 votes each go away and 'Gone Girl' is anointed the winner. Or, is it saying that only 40 people would vote for either one of those? That line of thinking has always confused me.
Chris: Well, the voting is confusing, I think, by design. That way dopes like us can talk about it without really talking about it. But in a preferential ballot system like one the Oscars use, second place votes are actually really valuable. S,o if a lot of people wind up putting 'Gone Girl' in second, and there's no true consensus between 'The Imitation Game' and 'The Theory of Everything,' that will help 'Gone Girl' in the long run. But, like you said, we've seen 'The Imitation Game' and 'The Theory of Everything.' What are you expecting from 'Gone Girl'? I'm excited but it never seemed like an "Oscar movie" until it did.
Mike: OK, that's a good point, because we're assuming very few people will list 'The Imitation Game' first and 'The Theory of Everything' second, or vice versa. Yeah, 'Gone Girl' is a weird thing. I thought of it more along the lines of Fincher's 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' -- which, yes, got some nominations, but not Best Picture -- a thriller based on a very popular book, not 'The Social Network,' which was trying to SAY something. Though, people do feel Fincher is overdue.
Chris: I've found his media push super interesting in the best way: He's done interviews with Playboy Details, and each have painted him as both a mad genius but one who gets "it." It's not an apology tour, per se, but it's the kind of narrative building stuff that wins Oscars in the long run.
Mike: What are you expecting from 'Gone Girl'? And 'Inherent Vice' and 'Birdman,' which will all play at New York Film Festival, which starts next week? (I realize "what are you expecting from a movie you haven't seen yet?" questions are the worst, but this is Trophy Talk.)
Chris: As for the movies, which is what we should actually talk about, I'm excited! We might be the last two media members yet to see 'Birdman'? So that'll be fun. 'Gone Girl' is a great book and Ben Affleck is perfect casting. I think that's going to be the role of his life, and possibly the first one mentioned in his obituary many years from now, Batman be damned. 'Inherent Vice'? Who knows? I'm hoping it's like the first two thirds of 'The Master' and not the last one third? But would it kill PTA to have fun? Remember 'Boogie Nights'? That was fun!
Mike: When I talk to people who have seen 'Inherent Vice,' the consensus seems to be, "Um ... well, it's good..." And I agree 100 percent about Affleck. We should be talking about this role more than we are, as opposed to Batman. This was my only caveat to Affleck playing Batman: I think he'll be a great Batman, but his other roles will be overshadowed. And it's already happening (Mostly I'm looking forward to watching noted Red Sox fan Affleck wear St. Louis Cardinals paraphernalia in the Missouri-set 'Gone Girl.') Hey, I think we're done with this edition of Trophy Talk. Anything you want to add as a final word? Next time we can talk a little bit about Reese Witherspoon in 'Wild,' who really is making the McConaughey-type comeback.
Chris: Well I just watched the trailer for 'A Most Violent Year,' and now I want that to win all the Oscars. So maybe we can talk about that too. Trophy Talk! (We should also get some kind of radio bumper. It sounds like we're on a 1987 talk show in the best way.)
Mike: I just watched it, too. I wish we would have done this whole Trophy Talk segment about 'A Most Violent Year.' We have failed.
Chris Rosen is the senior editor of Huffington Post Entertainment. You can reach him on Twitter.
Mike Ryan is the senior editor of ScreenCrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.