Why 'Zero Dark Thirty' Crashed...

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by HS Cult Leader, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. HS Cult Leader

    HS Cult Leader Elite Member Gold

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    Why 'Zero Dark Thirty' Crashed Just Outside the Compound

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    Richard Lawson Jan 28, 2013



    At last night's SAG Awards ceremony, Ben Affleck's Argo was given the Best Cast prize, all but ensuring, in many people's minds, that the film will win the Best Picture trophy at the Oscars next month. The last SAG award of the night is usually a good predictor of that Oscar category — they've matched up six out of the last ten times. That Argo, an almost universally well-reviewed film, is getting this kind of awards treatment isn't exactly a surprise, but its late-season trouncing of another film certainly is. Meaning, what happened to Zero Dark Thirty?

    Earlier this month, the conventional wisdom was that Kathryn Bigelow's hunt-for-Osama bin Laden film was the one to beat. Zero Dark was considerably ahead in the awards tally, taking top prizes from the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle, among others. The film was perhaps even better reviewed than Argo, and had the added benefit of being a truly serious film about contemporary geopolitics. Argo is similarly about the Middle East and full of shaky-cam intrigue, but it's a decidedly lighter film, with long comedy sequences and genial performances by cozily likable actors. It's serious, but Zero Dark Thirty is more intense, newsier, and undeniably grim. It's grownup and respectable, in other words. Where Argo is entertainment, Zero Dark is enrichment.

    This dark gravitas elevated ZD30 above other Oscar competitors too, from the way less hokey than it could have been but still kinda hokey Lincoln to the cute but ultimately rather small and slight Silver Linings Playbook. Zero Dark's lead actress Jessica Chastain seemed destined for Oscar glory herself, winning more awards than her main competitor, Silver Linings' Jennifer Lawrence, and generally being viewed as the deserving heir apparent to an older generation of stately talent — your Streeps, your Langes, your Benings. Just a few weeks ago, Zero Dark Thirty had all that going for it! But then, Argo won a Golden Globe and the SAG (and the Producers Guild award), and, adding insult to injury, Lawrence snatched the prize from Chastain on both occasions. What's going on? Well, the truth is, it has probably been over for Zero Dark for a while now.

    In turns out, the film was just too controversial. With pundits and bloggers debating Zero Dark's stance on torture — does it make a correlation between "enhanced interrogation" and the discovery of bin Laden, or is it simply realistically depicting something that did happen somewhere, at some point? — the praise for the film's artistic merits began to get lost. People either forgot that they liked the movie on technical grounds or simply were afraid to say it, at risk of wading into the heated political debate and being excoriated for liking a problematic movie. It became significantly less trendy to like Zero Dark Thirty in the weeks leading up to the Golden Globes, and the film has suffered because of it. No one is turning tail and saying that it's a bad film, it's just become something vaguely taboo. You can like it, but not too much.

    MSNBC's pillorying or not, the reality is that the "difficult" nature of Zero Dark Thirty was always going to be a problem come Oscar time. Unlike various critics groups, the Academy is often not a fan of ambiguity or ambivalence. Instead, voters tend to opt for movies like The King's Speech over moodier, murkier fare like Black Swan or The Social Network. Sure they gave the Best Picture award to Bigelow's last picture, The Hurt Locker, back in 2009, but that was a win for technically expert filmmaking. Though it doesn't, in our opinion, make any distinct political declarations, Zero Dark is a much more thematically urgent, button-pushing film than Hurt Locker. Argo, with vaguely similar themes and motifs, is a lot more easily digested, and is thus likely to better satisfy the Academy. Plus, when Argo isn't skulking around Iran, it's in sunny Hollywood, offering a gentle parody of the industry before ultimately celebrating its valor. That's something that the Academy, especially the older members, will find hard to resist. Last year they gave the top prize to the showbiz love letter The Artist. This year it seems they're going to give it to the movie that shows the industry doing noble work for a greater good. Everyone will feel good about what they do for a living, and some town favorites like George Clooney and Ben Affleck and Alan Arkin will get recognized in the process. It's a good win.

    Of course Ben Affleck didn't end up receiving his much-anticipated Best Director nomination, so it might be that the Academy is not as up on the movie as we think. But Affleck's snub could easily spur voters, especially the actors, who make up the Academy's largest bloc, to cast their ballots for the larger film, as a consolation prize to the increasingly beloved, hard-working actor-turned-director. And, sure, Harvey Weinstein could also pull a February surprise and convince enough voters to go for easy feel-good-ness and give top honors to his Silver Linings. That's happened before and it might again if voters are feeling geopolitical fatigue and want to reward a wistful indie comedy that made them happy. Or there's always Lincoln! We can't fully discount Lincoln.

    Today's point, though, is that Zero Dark Thirty, once the clear frontrunner in a fairly crowded year, has fallen considerably behind. Bigelow and company don't seem quite as willing to campaign as the Argo and Silver Linings crew, but they still have time. Final votes are due on February 19, meaning there are a little more than three weeks before final arguments have to be made. We'd like to see the film wrangle a win — it's a more complex and more intellectually rewarding film than Argo (which is, again, quite good), and certainly seems to have struck a chord with people, in varying ways. That kind of controversy should not be viewed as a mark of in-distinction. Really, it means that Bigelow and company were that much more successful in their efforts. Which were, y'know, to stoke a conversation about this complicated recent event. In a more just Oscar world, a film would be rewarded for teasing out those questions. But, that's just not the way things work.

    The Oscars will likely go for a Middle East story that ends on a definitively happy note. With Americans and their collaborators (the short-changed Canadians) looking like heroes, including two Hollywood film producers. It's the stuff of Oscar dreams. As is, potentially, the well-acted romantic comedy with some "difficult" subject matter that's handled frankly enough to earn potential Best Picture status, but also cavalierly enough to actually win. (No one really wants to talk about bipolar disorder that can't be cured with dance competitions.) But that terrorism drama that shows Americans at their worst (and best, in some respects) and ends with a big shadowy sigh? Yeah, maybe we were crazy to think that ever had a chance.


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    Long read but interesting!
     
  2. jrstinkfish

    jrstinkfish The Slow Adult VIP

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    Jessica Chastain was on The Daily Show last week. I am in love. She reminds of me of a ginger Julia Roberts, but actually attractive.
     
  3. Nemo

    Nemo Beer Can Thick Gold

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    shit reading ain't that all
     
  4. Nemo

    Nemo Beer Can Thick Gold

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    someone tell me what i should think about all those words
    thanks
    :hat:
     
  5. Gusbuss

    Gusbuss VIP Extreme Gold

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    Argo comes to DVD next week and I can't wait to see it. Zero dark 30 was ok but after Homeland it was boring. Django was my favorite , but I know it doesn't have a chance.
     
  6. Nemo

    Nemo Beer Can Thick Gold

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    Real Argo was a bore
    Movie Argo full of shit that never happened
     
  7. Chimney Portions

    Chimney Portions I drink cum Banned User

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    I watched the first half hour of Zero Dark Thirty and never got back to it. It wasn't bad, but I had no interest after the first 30 minutes. Maybe I'll give it another shot.
     
  8. HS Cult Leader

    HS Cult Leader Elite Member Gold

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    It says:

    Silver Linings Playbook - Fun for the whole family.

    Argo - light and breezy.

    ZD30 - Serious and forces the Hollywood left to possibly agree with something they were told to disagree with.


    SO, ZD30 gets no awards!
     
  9. Kamie

    Kamie Active Member

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    As Kathryn Bigelow said, depiction does not mean endorsement, but that has escaped politically correct minded individuals. Such a shame. Also, the Argo Best Director snub has decreased ZDT's chances of winning Best Picture, as pointed out in the article. There is now a feeling of pity towards Ben Affleck (Bigelow got snubbed too!!), and so that pity might translate to votes. It's looking that way.

    On another note, they say that Affleck may have gotten snubbed because of hubris. He consistently puts himself in his movies as the lead. In Argo, he cast people who looked like the real-life characters they depicted with the exception of Tony Mendez, the gentleman below, who was played by Affleck. Big disconnect. There was also a gratuitous shower scene where Affleck showed his six-pack, as he did in The Town, and that is said to have turned the Academy off. If he stays behind the camera once in while he'll have better shot at Best Director.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Nurse Remulak

    Nurse Remulak New Member

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    Ya know... A bunch of Hollywood types sitting around in millions of dollars worth of jewelry and designer clothes congratulating themselves by handing out awards TO EACH OTHER is pretty fucking lame. I mean really, 6 months from now WGAF?
     
  11. Chimney Portions

    Chimney Portions I drink cum Banned User

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    I liked O&A talking about the plane takeoff scene. That's just fucking ridiculous. There's no way I can take that movie seriously now.
     
  12. Gusbuss

    Gusbuss VIP Extreme Gold

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    I hate when they hype a movie so much, it is usually a dissapointment.
     
  13. Nemo

    Nemo Beer Can Thick Gold

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    fuck due process?
    drone assassination is amazing?
    water boarding...a war crime...fuck Bush/Cheney?
     
  14. Kamie

    Kamie Active Member

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    Loved Django, but it could have been a bit shorter.
     
  15. Gusbuss

    Gusbuss VIP Extreme Gold

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    :yes:
     
  16. HS Cult Leader

    HS Cult Leader Elite Member Gold

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    When you read the real story, it makes you wonder if it was even based on reality.

    They left out a ton of things that actually happened!


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_caper
     
  17. StRyDeRxX

    StRyDeRxX Bling Bling Gold

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    I saw Argo and thought it was a good movie. Ben Affleck never stated that Argo would be a "facts only" film. I don't think a pure documentary would have been entertaining. Argo is a movie that is "based" on real events but its still a movie and as such needs to take some liberties to make the film enjoyable (IMO).
     
  18. IlluminatiJones

    IlluminatiJones New Member

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    or maybe if he was actually a good director he'd have a better shot at "Best Director" :mad:

    there's not a "best" anything in that sorry lot of nominations.......................with the possible exception of "Lincoln": I haven't seen it yet, but I'm sure Daniel Day-Lewis is fantastic in it.

    And that's my point: you've got Daniel Day-Lewis lumped in with Howard's wet dream Bradley Cooper. You've got 4 mediocre talents playing checkers against a real artist. Well, I like Joaquin Phoenix but I can't bring myself to see any of that Paul Anderson prick's movies, so he's out! :mad:

    I saw "Silver Linings Playbook". It was a decent rom-com with decent performances but it was nothing special at all. And it's nominated in 4 of the "top" 5 Oscar categories! :facepalm:

    It's not even Russell's best movie: "I Heart Huckabees" and yes, "Flirting With Disaster" are WAY better, and where were they during nomination time those years? Nowheres, that's where.

    Should any predictable movie get nominated? At any point in "Silver Linings................." did you doubt that the dude was gonna have the chick's legs pinned back behind her ears by the end?

    Of course you didn't.

    But tell me you could see 10 minutes up ahead of Huckabees or Flirting With Disaster. You couldn't; they were great rides with much better characters and performances and stories and....................everything. :mad:
     
  19. Bababaloney

    Bababaloney Fudge Packer Banned User

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  20. IlluminatiJones

    IlluminatiJones New Member

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    :D

    But really, it could have been announced to 0.0 hype and fanfare and it still would have sucked.

    You know those movies that you go back and watch and say "It doesn't hold up"? "Private Parts" didn't hold up at the time. It was stillborn.

    It was as unfunny as it was untrue; just like his marriage. How that all played out was so amaaazingly fitting it's not even funny. Like "Private Parts"-not even funny.