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February 26 2006

Joss Deserving of Oscar Nom. Maitland McDonagh of TVGuide.com says Joss Whedon got dissed for Best Director at the Oscars.

"Who got dissed: David Cronenberg for A History of Violence, Neil Jordan for Breakfast on Pluto, Stephen Gaghan for Syriana, Danny Boyle for the utterly ignored Millions, and first-time feature directors Shane Black and Joss Whedon for their assured and hugely entertaining debuts, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Serenity."

This is my first time posting, so please let me know if I did something wrong. :X
Looks good, fortunateizzi. Gosh, that was a line or three. Anyway, welcome to the best room on the 'net :)
I think where he actually got dissed was for adapted screenplay, but I'm quite sure I must have ranted about that before.
Don't even get me started. Joss has been ripped off so often....counting to ten. Deep breath...Ok, returning to normal.
I've got to be honest - I think this year has had some exceptionally strong films and directors. I'd tend to side with theonetruebix's argument, though, that screenplay is where the credit should lie. There's some talk of the first "kitchen sink" version of Serenity on the UK DVD, running at over 4 hours if it'd been filmed it appears, so adapting it for the big screen was certainly a task and a half.

That said, certainly something like Walk The Line is deserving - that had a compelling human story from a long life story.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-02-26 04:17 ]

[ edited by gossi on 2006-02-26 04:18 ]
I haven't seen Munich, so I can't say this with any assuredness, but it would've been nice to not see Spielberg nominated for one of his grand non-sci-fi efforts that almost always seem to get in (Minority Report, War of the Worlds, A.I.--none of his recent sci-fi got a Best Pic nom, yet Munich does. Personally I always thought A.I. could've gotten nominated at the most and deserved it, even though I sometimes have issues with those last 15 minutes like others do. Depends on how I'm feeling when I watch it). Joss could've filled that spot, definitely.

"Who got dissed: Danny Boyle for the utterly ignored Millions."

Danny Boyle got dissed for 28 Days Later as well, IMO. That was one of my favorite movies that year, if not the favorite. If any "zombie" movie was ever going to be nominated in the past history of the Oscars, that really should've been it.

[I know they weren't zombies, they were the "infected", still very much alive and human--always had a bit of an issue with people who'd seen the film still referring to them as zombies]
Munich is a really fantastic film, I think. Films which make the point violence breeds violence are actually rare - normally more with the guns - and it deserves any respect it gets I think. Plus, a fantastic performance from Eric.
Munich was a powerful film and it still breaks my heart to watch it. It shows the true price of revenge and that's something we shouldn't forget. I haven't watched the other films.
I think this is so phat that Joss got a shout out from TV Guide dude. It will at least be one more little blurb supporting the film to make readers go "hmm...I never saw any publicity for this film. It must be some indy, I'll check it out".

I tried to see all the films up for the major awards, but never did. Just saw Brokeback which was a gorgeous and heart breaking.
Q'Orianka Kilcher not nominated Best Actress for The New World is the diss that enrages me most of all. And Terence Malick of course, as well.

But it's nice to see Joss getting a shout-out from tvguide, even though genre films are never acknowledged at the Oscars, Lord of the Rings being the rare exception.
I'm glad someone else loved Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. I watched that movie, expecting to like it. (Shane Black wrote Lethal Weapon and The Long Kiss Goodnight and co-wrote The Monster Squad - all stuff I loved). When I was done I couldn't even bring myself to watch the other movie I had planned for the night, I knew I would judge it unfairly after seeing a movie that good. I was totally blown away. Pre-ordered the DVD right after seeing it.
I loved Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Odysseus! One of the most entertaining movies I saw all year, and I was so surprised it never found an audience.
I agree with Harmalicious in that I love that Joss got this shout-out Ė just one more thing to make people who dismissed Serenity out of hand potentially give it a second chance. That said, do I really thing he deserved a best director nom for it? Not given the field this year, no. I do wish David Cronenberg had gotten a nomination for "A History of Violence," and would have given that over George Clooney (who I thought did a very poor job directing "Good Night and Good Luck") in a heartbeat. But much as I love Serenity, and what Joss did with it, I don't really think it was one of the top-5 directed films of the year, and I firmly believe that Ang Lee, Stephen Spielberg ("Munich" was terrific, Kris), Paul Haggis, and Bennett Miller deserved their nominations.
Best Screenplay really could have been a possibility for me, though. (And would it have been under best-adapted, rather than original, since it was based on "Firefly?"). Again, all the nominations in that category were really strong (and I never say that about the Oscars), but I think Serenity could hold its own among them. Sadly, though, comedies and genre films are never, or rarely, recognized on Oscar Night. It's a sad fact (I would love to see some 40-year-old Virgin and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang love too), but it doesn't take away from the truly excellent films that were nominated.
Best Adapted is when the movie script is based on a book or play. Serenity, theoug the characters are from a TV show, is an original screenplay since the story in the movie is original.
Best Adapted is when the movie script is based on a book or play. Serenity, theoug the characters are from a TV show, is an original screenplay since the story in the movie is original.

That's not as it's been explained previously, when people said that "adapted" is anything that originally existed in another form -- in this case, it'd be considered adapted from a television series.

*shrug*

Someday, someone will have an answer to this that comes complete with a handy link citation to finalize the matter.
Yeah, I agree with the consensus that Joss probably shouldn't be in the Best Director category nor should Serenity be in the Best Film (tho' for my money 'A History of Violence' definitely should as acp says and I would've liked to see some nod to Ralph Fiennes for his wonderfully subtle performance in 'The Constant Gardener' tho', I don't know who i'd take out) and I must confess, again, i'm not sure what i'd take out of the screenplay slot to make way for 'Serenity' (probably 'Match Point', completely unfairly since I haven't seen it but have heard decidedly mixed reports). Mostly tho', I think this year's nominations are reasonable.

'Munich' was enjoyable and Eric Bana was absolutely fantastic (in fact all the main players were tho' I might put Ciaran Hinds and Geoffrey Rush as best of the rest) but I just didn't become all that emotionally involved. I've had this problem with every serious Spielberg movie post 'Schindler's List' (e.g. 'Amistad', 'Saving Private Ryan' which I thought, apart from the harrowing first half hour, was hugely overrated and occasionally offensive). I can always tell where i'm meant to be moved but I just don't feel it viscerally. Also, I may be alone in thinking that tho' it was brilliantly depicted in 'Munich' surely the idea that violence and revenge corrupt those committing it is so obvious as to be almost facile ? Personally, I wanted a little more of an idea how he felt on the subject of state sanctioned murder (I don't think it's necessarily portrayed as morally objectionable in the film) and found his treatment of the politics of Israel/Palestine to be a bit superficial. One of the things that stood out tho' was the way the violence was portrayed as chaotic and totally unglamourous (it rings true to me that people could be running ten feet from each other firing their guns and still missing due to fear and adrenaline, especially if they weren't particularly experienced).

Strangely, I found 'Minority Report' (tho' not flawless by any stretch) to be the film of his that moved me most in recent years. I find the bit where Anderton realises he doesn't have a minority report but still 'chooses' not to murder anyway to be beautifully hopeful and uplifting (free will ? Meh, we don't need no stinkin' free will ;).

(And I thought A.I. was saccharine, manipulative rubbish - tho' visually stunning and sometimes very well performed but, y'know, differing opinions are all part of that spicy variety stuff).

Well, that's certainly a lot of thinking and opinionating for this time on a Sunday morning. Need a cup of tea and a lie down now ;).
As fas as I know, even if the characters have existed before it's the story, the plot, that counts. Had Joss remade an episode of Firefly then it would have been adapted, since the plot of Serenity is new and not adapted from a previous work then it comes under best screenplay.
Of course Joss or Serenity won't show up on lists like this. Joss didn't set out to make an Academy Award winning movie (I think...). If he had wanted to do that, he wouldn't have made a movie with spaceships in it. Instead Serenity would have been about Mal as a WWII soldier who is having trouble merging back into American culture after the war. It would have touched the hearts of millions or something.

We (except maybe Joss) should actually be thankful that Serenity isn't on any of these lists. The Academy Award version of Serenity would probably lack a lot of the things we like about it. After reading the imdb entries of the movies nominated for best motion picture I can honestly say that I have absolutely no interest in seeing them. I'm exposed to enough of these topics in current events to want to see movies about them. They don't sound bad, but as a romantic escapist (is that redundant?) they don't appeal to me.

Well, that's certainly a lot of thinking and opinionating for this time on a Sunday morning. Need a cup of tea and a lie down now ;).


I agree, and when I see this post tomorrow I'm probably going to be wondering what I was thinking when I wrote it.

[ edited by Caleb on 2006-02-26 12:53 ]
Heh, you only watch movies for escapist fun, Caleb? Wow, you must miss out on some good movies :-p Seriously though, I don't even think Serenity is purely escapist fun, seeing as it has something to say about our current times as well. It has a universal message and is better for it.

I also wholeheartedly agree that Millions should have made the list at least somewhere. That was a truly amazing little film, which - in my book - did everything exactly right. It certainly made my end-of-year list. Also on that list was Mean Creek, but I think that got released in America the year before, right? But if it was elligible, it should have been nominated as well.

As for Serenity, I do feel it's a good enough movie for 'best picture', but I also know that was never, ever, going to happen. As it is, the nominations this year are of a very high quality (which is funny, given all the reports that 2005 was a bad movie year) and I wouldn't know which one to do away with to make room for Serenity.

Now, as a screenplay, Serenity should very much have made it. I have not seen all the movies in the 'original screenplay' category (where I think Serenity should go - it's an original story, after all) yet, but I think I could certainly have found a place for it. I, for instance, don't think it's stronger or weaker than the screenplay for 'Crash'. I'd rate them both about equally, I'd say.

In the end though, the nominations list is pretty decent, and since Serenity is not an Oscar type movie (being genre and all) and did not have an Oscar campaign (which seems to be a prerequisite these days), I don't think we should either be surprised or at all miffed that it didn't get any nominations.
and did not have an Oscar campaign (which seems to be a prerequisite these days)


That's the key right there. If the studio doesn't put it up for an Oscar, it doesn't get in the running.

Mind you, I cannot in all honesty say that Serenity deserved any of the above nominations. I'd back Firefly for TV awards, sure, but the movie just didn't hit the marks, especially given the competition this year.
After reading the imdb entries of the movies nominated for best motion picture I can honestly say that I have absolutely no interest in seeing them. I'm exposed to enough of these topics in current events to want to see movies about them. They don't sound bad, but as a romantic escapist (is that redundant?) they don't appeal to me.

Wow - you are missing some really great movies, then.

Pretty obviously, I don't think Serenity had been designed to be an Oscar flick. I mean, it has zombies in it essentially. That said, if it had ballooned to be hugely successful, I bet there would have been a nomination for something - Best Face Ripped Off Special Effects.

Personally, I found Serenity both hugely enjoyable and with some really great political and/or humanistic messages. It's actually one of the most meaningful films of 2005 for me. It is a shame so many people seemingly didn't 'get' the messages, but at least they enjoyed the film.
My view on awards are pretty apathetic. Sure, it would be nice to see Joss win something so he could put in on a shelf or perhaps give him (and fans) an extra legitimatised feeling, but is it necessary?

While some of these film makers and critics are stroking each otherís ego, in the end it is the publicís opinion that really matters. How many people went to see Serenity because of BtVS? I know I did. Each season the show got better and better. When Once More With Feelings was completely snubbed I refused to ever watch any awards show again.

Serenity was not a box office, critic hit? I can deal with that. But every person I know that has seen the move has really enjoyed it. At Christmas I put Firefly on my group list and nobody ever heard of it. Same thing happened when I asked for Serenity for my birthday. Yet after sharing them with friends and family they all borrow my DVDs and tell their friends about them. In the end, who needs a bunch of dusty awards when you can have real fans?
In the end, who needs a bunch of dusty awards when you can have real fans?

From a career point of view, awards can do wonders. An oscar on Summer's shelf, for example, would mean Summer's next project won't be Mammoth 2. Ultimately, it's about main stream acceptance - in my ideal world, Serenity would have blown up massive, more people would have seen it, it would have won 42 oscars and there would be 4 and a half sequels in the works. And, of course, everything in my flat would be edible.
Personally, I found Serenity both hugely enjoyable and with some really great political and/or humanistic messages. It's actually one of the most meaningful films of 2005 for me. It is a shame so many people seemingly didn't 'get' the messages, but at least they enjoyed the film.


I'm with you, gossi. I think a lot of this has to do with the genre. It's not hard to spot the message in, say, 'Good Night, and Good Luck' or 'Crash', mostly because those movies are pretty much about the message. Now I'm not saying that's a bad thing, because these are great movies (I'm actually very excited that there seems to be a rise in politically engaged movie making), but in a movie like Serenity, which seems to primarily be about spaceships, big fights and zombie-a-likes, not everyone's going to even be aware that there's a message to be had at all.

The things I get from Serenity are not that difficult to spot and are certainly not hidden beneath layers of subtext, so I think that most people should be able to 'get' what the movie is about. It's just that no one's looking for anything other than a fun ride from a sci-fi movie, so that's what they end up seeing.

Serenity was not a box office, critic hit?


Well, it wasn't a box-office hit, to be sure. It was, however, a critical succes in that it got pretty good reviews. Of course, despite those reviews, it managed to be oddly absent from the end-of-the-year lists of many a critic, which I found odd at best. And, ofcourse, Serenity also isn't having a great track-record in awards thus far either.

In the end, who needs a bunch of dusty awards when you can have real fans?


Again I have to agree with gossi. Awards can do wonders for a career. What's more, even though there are plenty of people who don't put much stock in awards, there are probably even more people who do. So it certainly wouldn't hurt money-wise, if Serenity raked in a big award or two.

But again, I don't think anyone actually expected Serenity to be nominated for an Oscar at all, it's just that on the movie alone, I think Serenity was strong enough to deserve nominations, even though it was never, ever, going to happen.
As fas as I know, even if the characters have existed before it's the story, the plot, that counts. Had Joss remade an episode of Firefly then it would have been adapted, since the plot of Serenity is new and not adapted from a previous work then it comes under best screenplay.

Well, as it was explained last time around, anyway, one exampel would be sequels, which apparently can't get a nom for "original" because they are a follow-up to a previous film. Serenity would be in a similar position, as a follow-up to a television series.

Again, I simply *shrug* at this point, because I can never seem to find a definitive list of definitions on any of the various awards sites.
Again, I simply *shrug* at this point, because I can never seem to find a definitive list of definitions on any of the various awards sites.

I think that's because they're pretty arbitrary. There are guidelines, but as with the difference between best actor and best supporting actor, my guess is that it's partly anyone's guess.
Take Syriana, which was nominated for best original this year, but was based on the book "See No Evil," by Robert Baer. The Writers Guild considered it "adapted," but apparently the Academy disagreed, and decided it differed so much from its source material that it should be in the "original" category. Apparently the Academy's writers branch committee makes the determination. In another year, "Clueless" was switched to "adapted" because it was loosely inspired by the plot of Jane Austen' "Emma."

For my money, Serenity should be considered an Original Screenplay, since it's not based on any previous plot, and the writer (Joss) created all the characters and the story. But I'm pretty sure that it would labeled "adapted" because of the preexistence of the Firefly 'verse, no matter that that was also Joss's creation.
All of which I suppose is moot anyhow, since it wasn't nominated.... :-(
And acp's Oscar discussion thread on whedonesque.org can be found here. But, as usual, I'm too far behind the curve to participate in the discussion of the nominations this year. I'll catch up with you all in April or May, no doubt.
I actually think this year's Oscar nominations are some of the best in years (and, to put it gently, I am no fan of the Academy). I actually loved all five nominees, though my ideal list of Best Picture noms would look a little something like this:

Serenity, Grizzly Man, Munich, Murderball, and Broken Flowers.

I honestly believe Serenity was the best and smartest film of the year, even though it wasn't a particularly great year. (Woah, how weird is that? 2005 was a lackluster year for cinema, but I loved all the Oscar noms; 2004 was a great year and I was mixed on most of the noms. Hm.)

I would give Serenity awards for Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actress (Summer), and Costume Design. But that's just me.

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