Tag Archives: BAFTA

In light of projected greed

This is an odd phrase, projected greed is not the same as greed, it is not. Projected greed is about speculated revenue, but greed tends to be a driving motive here, no matter how you stage your response. The salesman states words like ‘pipeline’ because it gives him a handle on quarterly bonus, he’ll tell you that it is about the continuity of sales, but it is not, it really is not. The CEO uses all kinds of terms for the ‘saleslife of his quarter’, but the stage of the quarter and their extra monetary incomes are linked to it. So how do we see this in movies? For producers it tends to be about the above break even point, even as it tends to be disrupted by visibility, but good visibility is movie momentum that a producer can push onto his next project. 

As I made mention before in ‘What is unintended discrimination?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/02/07/what-is-unintended-discrimination/) we need to see that recognition of revenue and the missing of unadulterated vision and attention which drives down movie revenue, the stage of projected greed gets bitten by being the biter.

In the last few days we have seen all kinds of people critics, movie stars, directors and producers give voice to diversifying the Oscars and Baftas. 

Bafta

This is actually the simple one, the ‘mission’ of the Bafta is stated as “The stated charitable purpose of BAFTA is to “support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners, and benefiting the public”“, all whilst the supported part is “Films must have been available to the UK public for the first time in the UK between 1 January 2019 & 31 January 2020. There is an exception for Films Not In The English Language (FNIEL) which are eligible if they have been made available to the UK public for the first time between 1 January 2019 & 28 February 2020” which we see at https://awards.bafta.org/sites/default/files/images/ee_british_academy_film_awards_1920_-_rules_and_guidelines_-_feature_categories_october_2019.pdf

As such a movie is eligible when it was available for watching in England, seems all very correct, does it not?

In 2019, a total of 786 movies were released in the United States and Canada, which implies that when we consider Bollywood and Nollywood that number goes up by a decent amount. At which stage can you diversify when we see that there are around 775 cinemas in the United Kingdom? Now we need to consider that some movies are in a cinema for weeks and that some movies are almost in every city for example, in 2019 Avengers: Endgame played in 682 cinema’s in the UK alone, as such when you see that there are 775 cinema’s, we see that ONE TITLE takes up a lot of space in the display area. As such there is no way that these 786 movies can be shown. And the British people want sensational movies (as do people in most nations), so tell me where does that leave a title like Lionheart?

 

Abacus

This was simple stuff that could have been figured out by a 5 year old on an abacus, it was not that hard and I like putting this out there as some critics requested the dismissal of HRH Prince Harry (or was that Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale?), ah well that person (the critic) will optionally fall over his on words of misinterpreted denial soon enough.

And I forgot about one part that was actually obvious and clearly out there, but just for jollies “Films are not eligible when they have been previously entered into the British Academy Film, Television, or Television Craft Awards“.

So in all this in 2019 when we consider Avenger: Endgame (Robert Downey Junior, Chris Hemsworth), 1917, Once Upon a time in Hollywood (Brad Pitt), Joker (Joaquin Phoenix),  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (John Boyega, Daisy Ridley), Bombshell (Charlize Theron), Jumanji: The Next Level (Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan), Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson) all movies in multiple cinemas for multiple weeks, it makes the remaining space not spacious, it is the drawback of more and more film releases. I left the Marvel movies and Cats alone for obvious and opposite reasons. I also have not even taken movies with Will Smith and Angelina Jolie into consideration. As such, when we see Steve McQueen (the director, not the actor) give us “BAFTAs risk becoming irrelevant“, we see an optional valid argument, but the stage to diversification is stale and now almost obsolete, the need for greed took care of that part. His view of “After a while you get a bit fed up with it. Because if the BAFTAs are not supporting British talent, if you’re not supporting the people who are making headway in the industry, then I don’t understand what you are there for. If (film-makers) are not recognised visually in our culture, well what’s the bloody point? It becomes irrelevant, redundant and of no interest or importance. End of“, when we consider the rules, we see that the deck is warped through the need for greed (producers call it getting their investment back), we can push to change the rules, yet the environment of being able to watch a movie is not in sync with the needs of those good enough to win. Lionhart was merely one example, there are plenty more and whilst the filling of cinemas is set around the release of Marvel movies (not a bad thing) we need to consider that time is also a factor, income is a factor. I went to the movies at least once a week when I was young, bills and payments have set this back to once a month and from there to 2-3 times a year, Also limits factors in movie revenue because each trip to the cinema is $25 at least and that is when I bring my own bottle of soda and a pack of lollies. As such can you deny that Netflix had become a gift from heaven to millions of people?

The final rule for Bafta that matters is “An entry can be made either to the Film Awards or to the Television and/or Television Craft Awards, not both“, as such how did the Irishman get in? It is a superb movie, yet which category did it get mixed in with? In addition when we see ‘Andy Serkis to receive top honour at BAFTA for ‘revolutionary’ contribution to cinema‘ and we see him getting all that well earned credit, yet we saw no mention of him being a cut throat mercenary in two Marvel movies, odd is it not? 😉

Oscar

Here we almost get a repetition of the Baftas, although what I did not know (never looked it up before “to be eligible for awards consideration, a film must have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater, with at least three screenings per day for paid admission“, as such we see a small bewilderment, he idea that the voice of America is based on ‘a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater‘, in light of this we see a larger issue, from what I am speculating (I could not get the numbers) we see that the Oscars are likely based on a much smaller sample size than the Baftas, with the previous arguments in sight, as well as “Voting on all achievements shall be restricted to active and life Academy members“, which we accept makes sense, yet as the movie industry goes on, as it intertwines with HBO, Netflix, Apple and Stan. How much time will a voter get? The rules could be found at https://www.oscars.org/sites/oscars/files/92aa_rules.pdf and even as it looks a little more ‘lawyeree’ than the Bafta rules, it is not unreadable. Yet in light of voters, how much time did they get (as well as interest) to watch 786 movies? Consider the personal diary of Adam Driver (or Tessa Thompson for that matter), how much time did they have to sit down and watch a movie they liked and a movie they thought had to checked out because the critics were raving about it? When we consider that, we see a shifting image and the movie list given earlier (we might think that Adam was biased seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), we need to consider a much larger stage. Oh and cutting down on Oscars and time on TV would not be a bad thing to consider either.

Yet how will that go over with the people cut from consideration? When we look back to the first Oscar, where the presentation ceremony lasted 15 minutes and had 12 winners, in this the most notable part is that Charles Chaplin lost out on three nominations, it is a big difference from the 92nd Oscars, is it not?

I do optionally not disagree with the ‘So White’ part of the outcry, but as I see it, there is a limiting factor in place that makes it hard to get distinguished here and in the 2020 Oscars we get to see Parasite, a South Korean movie (the distinction of South is important here) ending up with 4 wins and two nominations is pretty amazing. How excellent must this movie be to get that many awards (I did not see it yet), it is also amazing that it is the first non-English picture to ever win best picture. 

So until we change the premise of who is allowed to win, we will get a grey collection of movies that are in the running. In all this Parasite and Joker are already a larger step towards exceptional movies that are less mainstream than what mostly takes the slices of the cakes. And in light of all this, there is still the factor of projected greed; it is not the continuation of getting your money back. Avengers: endgame, cost 365 million, revenue 2,800 million. Then there is the real life Lion King with a cost of 260 million and a revenue of 1,700 million, two movies that took up exactly how many theatre rooms in Los Angeles County? That is part of the premise as well, because as they run, other excellent movies could not be set to the rules of being a nominee. Now I am not blaming these two movies, yet the premise of the Oscars is most easily seen when you consider that part of the equation. Projected greed might be the most dangerous part in all this, first of all because it is not actual greed, but it is closely related to its awful brother, and movies have become too much about projected revenues, in this, which studio exactly used to rely on ‘Ars gratia artis‘ (Art for art’s sake) before they (and all others) seem to have transferred it into ‘Ars pro reditus‘ (art for the sake of revenue)? It seems unfair on the directors, actors and actresses, yet they too are linked to their careers and they need to be the person who grows the income of the producer if they want to stay employed, in this I reckon both the Bafta and Oscar get to draw the short straw.

 

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What is unintended discrimination?

It is a question that came to mind when I saw a piece by David Cox on the Baftas. I missed this year’s Baftas, so I watched some of it on YouTube, we all have these days, 35 things to do and we cannot change the rotating speed of this planet, so I remained in a setting where I had 24 hours to get things done. As such I missed the speech by Prince William (and the rest of the show).

I do not believe that I would ask for any resignation, especially a royal, that is how I am wired, but I was still curious. When I read that part I wondered if there is an actual issue. I understand the position that David Cox gives, but let’s not forget that this is about excellence. Diversity will be hard to achieve in excellence (for a few reasons).

To clear my mind I went back to an event I always wondered about. It was 1986 and a legendary book got made into a movie by no one else than Steven Spielberg namely the Color Purple, then I got a small shock, I had forgotten that Kathleen Kennedy was part of that too, the recipient of the Fellowship Award. And there we see the first part, excellence is about perfection and even as I see the Color Purple as sheer perfection, those who are in the field and judge perfection did not see it my way, and in addition to that, 1986 also produced Ran, Out of Africa, Prizzi’s honor, Jagged Edge, Brazil (a personal favourite), the original French movie that would result in the making of Three Men and a baby, Witness and Kiss of the Spider Woman. A year full of greats and only a few make it to become winners, the Color Purple did not make it, they did get 11 nominations, no wins. In that same light we see Kathleen Kennedy, as a producer she has a massive list of achievements, most people are revered when they only deliver on 50% of what Kathleen delivered, and I have seen most of her work. Yet I see that a lot of them would never be best movie material. Is that bad? No, it was not on her plate as producer and she was part of flawless gems too. Raiders of the lost Ark, the Color Purple, Jurassic Park, A.I., Munich are a few extracts of a list that is well over 10 times larger and this year she got the Fellowship Award. So when I see ‘Prince William’s Baftas tirade was insultingly misdirected – he should resign as its president‘, I merely wonder what the angle of David Cox is. 

Does he have a point?

From where I am sitting we see that 871 movies were released in 2018, and in 2019 786 movies were made, as such I wonder how many were seen? I am certain that the account of best feature-length film and documentaries of any nationality that were screened at British cinemas in 2019. will give the sitting that not all have been seen, and the limitation that I am merely looking at the movies, I have not even gone into the documentary setting. 

Then there is ‘that were screened at British cinemas‘, a limitation from the get go, as such is the call for scrutiny that bad a thing to ask for? 

As such when we get to ‘Is the Duke of Cambridge sabotaging the voting system? Or simply saving face by attacking an acceptable – if innocent – party?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/feb/06/prince-williams-baftas-tirade-insultingly-misdirected-should-resign-as-president) I am not sure if the stage is warranted. Consider the Nollywood movie ‘Lionheart‘, it was not regarded in a few places, just like the Irishman, oh wait! It was not released in the cinema, it went to Netflix. he Irishman did go to cinema’s as well, as such we see the first level of discrimination, discrimination through the paticipation rules. So was Lionheart ‘screened at British cinemas‘? I actually do not know the answer to that, as such we see a larger stage, do we allow for a larger group or is the stage ‘screened at British cinemas‘ a final point?

So as I see “What can he have meant?” as a asking rule in the article, I wonder if that was considered in the right stage? When we see the limiting factor right there in red. Yet then we also see a larger point that I reflected on “when compared with the competition, I don’t think any of these constitutes the year’s “best film”. Many of these titles were well-directed, but they tended not to require the outstanding directing skill required to snag the director award” this is how I see it, there is a larger stage and I would not have elected some titles and elected others, yet I am not a movie expert. I would have elected the Color Purple over Out of Africa, but that is my personal view, and it has nothing to do with winner Sydney Pollack, it is a great picture, but i prefered the other one and I believe that I am not alone, as 5 movies were elected as nominees and all 5 were worthy to become best picture, which is unlike 1982 where I merely liked Raiders of the lost ark. It is no reflection on the other nominees either.

Was the speech of the Duke of Cambridge wrong?

I personally do not think so, the stage where all factors are under scrutiny is a good thing, especially these days, and lets not forget that most of these are awards based on votes, and the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-51345085) gives us ““There’s definitely a problem,” said actor Daniel Kaluuya referring to the diversity row engulfing this year’s Bafta nominations (all shortlisted actors are white, all shortlisted directors are male)“, in this I have a slightly different view. If we look at the graduated directors list by gender over the last 20 years, how many women made it? No one debates that Kathryn Bigelow is a GREAT director (Hurt locker and Zero Dark Thirty being excellent examples), yet how many female directors are that good? I am not posing a point, it is an actual question as I do not have an answer. 

I am for the most (unlike the past) more into watching blockbusters, not because it is what I want, but like many others our budgets have shrunk, and as such I have limited choice. there is another part, it is shown in the BBC article “Berry said she thought it was because the film wasn’t very high-profile when it came out in the UK, and that a lot of her members didn’t know about it and hadn’t seen it.” the quote comes in response of “Amanda Berry, Bafta’s chief executive, appears to be aware that her members are not seeing all the films, which obviously affects the nominations” there is the crux, because 786 movies were made, I reckon that 500 made it into the UK (a mere guess) as such how many were seen? If the stage is ‘screened at British cinemas‘, how many were not seen and as thus not considered? Did David Cox consider that? 

Perhaps he did and perhaps he did not, as such we see a different stage, there is only so much that a person can watch and there is the discrimination, only those we see get considered, it is not based on colour or faith, it is for many merely the limitation of time to the equation. And that gets us to the BBC gem “The assumption should be that Bafta voters are knowledgeable and curious and above being swayed by the big movies with the big stars and the big marketing budgets. The implication from Berry suggests otherwise.” I believe that this is the issue that we currently face. 

It was still good to read the point of view that David Cox gave us, but I do not believe it to be correct, or at least it is inaccurate. The BBC gives us the goods that have the impact we need to consider and I got there even before I read the BBC article. Even as people like Steve McQueen states that there is a risk if talent is not recognised, we need to consider that the amount of movies made largely outstips the ability to see them, to see all the movies of 2019 I would have to watch 2 movies on most days and remember them all in the end, I wonder how many are up to that task, as such the stage that the Duke of Cambridge brings has a larger footing and becomes a truth by itself “In 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more about diversity in the sector and in the awards process. That simply cannot be right in this day and age.” In this the Duke was correct and David Cox was wrong, the mere acceptance of one element and the direct impact of simple metrics brought this to the surface and I am a little surprised that David overlooked this, I wonder how many movies he watched for the 2019 election and which ones they were.

Perhaps he saw them all, perhaps not, I cannot tell and when we look at that part especially in light of what was ‘screened at British cinemas‘, will we see a dissenting voice of titles that were overlooked or forgotten about?

 

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A report from the messenger

I am happy to say, I am happy to report that I am not an expert, nothing of the sort, an expert I am in fields that are different, but in this I am not. I have watched a thousand or more movies, all shapes, all sizes and in many playhouses, in some that were called fleapits, then there were some nickelodeons, there were movie houses, playhouses and there were a Cineplex or two, often holding on the cinefex when going. Yes, I visited cinema’s from large to small, from Lantaren to Venster, from the original Cinerama where I saw the Cinerama edition of 2001, I have seen many places, yet I am not an expert, perhaps as close as one can get, yet I too was befuddled when Afua Hirsch (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/06/oscard-ban-nollywood-film-lionheart-oscarssowhite-nigerian-film) alerted me to a wicked situation. In Nollywood, where the Holly and Bolly are not found a movie was released. The movie Lionheart is using English; you know the version of American that was heard before July 4th, 1776. These American are sore winners are they not? she used the headline ‘An Oscars ban for a Nigerian film shows the Academy still doesn’t get it on race‘ to alert us to the situation.

Afua got me with one little part of her article: “Directed by and starring the Nollywood titan Genevieve Nnaji, it is a captivating look at family, class, sexism, politics and the texture of life in the Niger delta. It’s both very Nigerian and very relatable for audiences who know nothing about Nigeria” it was not the only part, but that part made me curious of the movie, Nigeria, a place famous for princes and princesses that have access to millions, and they are willing to share it if you can just hand over your bank details. However there is plenty of goods coming from Nigeria, movies was new to me (as far as I know), So when I was informed that “Yet Lionheart has just been disqualified because there is too much English in it” I woke up fast. Now we do know that the US is not really that literate, so for them The Queen’s English might be as far from Yankie Doodle Dandy as Spanish is and they have to make such waves to understand that, that the movie Lionheart “does feature the Igbo language, which millions of people in eastern Nigeria speak“, OK that was new to me, Well I knew that people in Nigeria had their own speak, i just (until now) did not know it was called Igbo. So it has two foreign languages for Americans. So when we see “And this legacy of empire, even though they were once part of it, is what some American institutions don’t seem able to comprehend” we get part of the fix, which is alarming for the movie maker of Lionheart, well, at least it will have a bigger chance at the Bafta this year, so it seems that Lionheart will “the American Academy expects films competing in its “international feature film” category to emphatically not be in English” no matter how much Queens English is in the movie. It does define the term #OscarsSoWhite in a bitter new definition; will the people like Helen Mirren and Simon Pegg unite making that concept into a comedy? Perhaps with Tom Cruise as the director trying to skate on both sides of the fence?

Let’s face it, Simon Pegg can make Paul an American (someone whispered to me that Tom Cruise played Paul in the movie bearing his character name), in that case Nolly can be an American too.

Yet in all seriousness

The quote “The American film establishment is clearly struggling to grasp the basic idea that there are Africans who speak English. Viewers get this: Nollywood box office revenues increased by 36% last year” is a decently first milestone in recognising that American standards are nothing to talk home about, In a stage where American values are given to the Oscars, yet for most movies America is merely 25% to a third of the revenue for most American movies whilst the rest comes from the larger screens all outside of the USA, the overly (or is that overtly) standard is set outside of a beach of values we need to consider movies to be in? I believe that Hollywood needs to reconsider its values, before Nolly and Bolly take Holly for a ride in a convertible and show her exactly where things are at.

It sounds foreboding, but it is not, in this age where games are taking the front of where movies are, the idea that Holly takes a bow and takes the list of settings where the grey areas are addressed. The idea that Hollywood has grey areas is just beyond believe, I mean what would we call Alien? A British, Non-American documentary of Space Exploration? I mean, let’s get real here. The games industry is about to dwarf movies in a major way, it is time for the people en mass to get on board and let’s face it, there is no saying how this goes in the future, so Nollywood could be a presence in gaming soon enough.

So today I am happy that I learned something today, Afua Hirsch taught me that Oscars are not a measurement we should be proud of, perhaps it is the year where stars and viewers decide that Bafta is the way to go when it comes to Cinematographical awards, so to all the Nollies in Wood, Welcome to the Bafta’s (well at least Lionheart).

I look forward to learn more of the Nollywood movies, should be fun after a bland year of American cinematography.

 

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Rampling was the domino

It is a side I had not thought of for quite a while. I have my own views, movies I like, movies I go to see. When I do, there is no regard towards race or religion. I just want to see a good movie, for the mere reason that going to the cinema is expensive, so when I go there, it better be a good one. So when I initially read the article ‘Charlotte Rampling finds herself outnumbered in Oscars diversity row‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jan/22/charlotte-rampling-finds-herself-outnumbered-in-oscars-diversity-row), I was not entirely sure what to think. For me, I am still slightly upset on the Golden globes, because no matter how much I enjoyed the Martian, it is NOT a comedy. A light-hearted drama at best. So in my eyes, the foreign press desperately wanted to get the Martian elected even though EVERYONE knew that the titanic achievement ‘the Revenant’ could not be equalled. So, they were willing to screw over Paul Feig or Judd Apatow, depending on your view of comedy. In that same light Matt Damon should not have won, not because his achievement was bad, it was quite excellent and I will look forward to own this achievement on Blu-Ray in 17 days, 13 hours and 14 minutes (roughly, but who’s counting). Yet, I will see this as excellent drama, not as a comedy. All the movies I saw, had a Caucasian caste. I thought nothing of it, no bad thoughts; no directed thoughts. There was an African American in Star Wars and he played his part really well, just nothing I would nominate a Golden globe or Oscar to. The day is young and I will look forward to him rocking my world as an actor in a future movie hr does. I have seen my share of excellent acting in Sidney Poitier (Heat of the night), Morgan Freeman (loads of movies there), Eddie Murphy (Beverly Hills Cop/Harlem Nights), and Don Cheadle (Traitor). Here I pause for a moment, you see, this is a serious piece of work based on an idea by funny guy Steve Martin. The result is a spy thriller of unrivalled proportions and until the very end, you have no idea what will happen. As Spy stories goes, this is a killer! We tend to look at Freeman in the Shawshank Redemption, or one of my favourites ‘I, Robot’ with Will Smith, but in all this, we are limited by the exposure we tend to see through marketing (trailers). Because of that element I almost missed out on a gem called ‘Seven Pounds’, which is an amazing piece of work. Yes, it is sentimental, and there are truths in the view Todd McCarthy from Variety has, but it seems that his world is about one view, it is his view. I try to see multiple views, not always mine, one I can agree with or a comfortable one, but the fact remains that we all have our own skeletons, sometimes they are dark and leave no sunlight or a shadow. In this his last ‘view’ was “an endlessly sentimental fable about sacrifice and redemption that aims only at the heart at the expense of the head” (at http://variety.com/2008/film/awards/seven-pounds-2-1200472723/), but in all this Variety forgets that movies are made to appeal an audience and in a directly addressable audience of well over 3 billion, there is a need for everyone. It is for that reason I have a similar appreciation for Lars von Trier’s ‘Dancer in the Dark‘ (and ended up being depressed for well over a week).

The question becomes, how correct is Charlotte Rampling. She is not wrong and I feel that the issue goes a lot further than is currently illustrated. That part is also shown in the Guardian article when you see the video on that page with Mark Ruffalo. But neither show the element I am aiming for. You see, it was not until the Golden Globes that I saw that Will Smith was nominated for a role in a movie I had absolutely ZERO awareness of. Wiki and the trailer of Concussion shows a drama that hits at the heart of America. It shows two sides, one, do not ever mess with their ‘sport’ and the second issue is that America remains in denial as long as it is convenient for their bottom dollar. In that Concussion seems to surpass several dramas. You see, this issue goes a lot further than what we see from either Charlotte Rampling or Mark Ruffalo state, although Mark reflects on the direction. You see it goes further than we see in the article. the quote “An analysis by the Los Angeles Times in 2014 found that the 6,000-plus members are 93% white and 76% male, with an average age of 63“, a system that is set around a nation where the median age is 39, state wise spread from Utah (29) to Maine (44). You see, the people looking at the entertainment industry are no longer representative of their age, which gives a new problem. It is their marketing and publication side. The fact that a gem like Concussion, a 2015 movie that only gets visibility after the nominations of the golden Globes is a bigger problem than many realise. Now we see in the Hollywood Reporter, the following quote by Charlotte Rampling “I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration“, which is true and part of the problem, because that is unlikely to be the case. Equally true is the quote we see from Michael Caine “You Can’t Vote for an Actor Because He’s Black“, which is equally true. The actors I mentioned earlier did the work, the hardship and ended up with the nominations, yet in opposition I offer that my view is in equal measure that there is an indication that votes are lost, or not duly received because of colour. In that light I offer ‘the Color Purple‘ which in 1986 rocked da house! The Academy awards had given it 11 nominations, ZERO wins. Whoopi Goldberg did get her Golden Globe, but they lost out on 4 other nominations. One out of 15, which is statistically a joke. Yet is it mere fate? You see Out of Africa was good, but not great (a personal view). I feel this because I enjoyed both movies, but I have since (1986) watched the Color Purple at least 8 times on DVD and Out of Africa? Nil times! In other lights, it had fierce competition from Prizzi’s Honor (Anjelica Huston) and Ran (Emi Wada), yet are the other 9 times deserved non-winners? I feel I cannot state this for certain, but with the exception of Best Original Screenplay I have a few too many question marks.

In all this we see that the Color Purple is more than a failing marketing and visibility campaign. Which is at the heart of non-recognition. In 2016 there is another side that we see in the Oscars. Concussion gets zero nominations. Here is it harder to oppose it, because the Revenant, Spotlight and Bridge of Spies are massive pieces of Work, which does allow for the situation to exist, yet in that same light, as we see the group that represents the Academy Awards, how many were clearly aware of Concussion and how many of them would see Concussion as the gem it is? In that same light, did the failure of marketing and publications now propagate the situation that Concussion is not making the BAFTA list? We have to accept that this is about American Football and as such, when we see that the BAFTA’s stated purpose is to “support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public“, we have to consider that American Football is an American interest and as such, Will Smith could miss out for the interest group, not because of his quality or the fact that he is an African American. But the issue remains, has marketing and publications cut themselves in their American fingers?

An issue that will remains for a longer time, because as the power players are growing away from the average younger audience, the selection could become a lot more disjointed, which might actually be a little too strong an expression.

The truth remains that we all have valid questions at times, yet in that same light we must accept (to some degree) that the bulk have an opinion, an impression and a preference. It is at times influenced by marketing as the people are given the royal tour by the promoters of the movies. We see at PRSA.ORG “Oscar campaigns are not cheap — campaign budgets can run $24 million per film. Mailing DVD screeners to the Academy’s 6,000-plus members, advertising in trade publications, attending festivals, hosting screening events and conducting media tours are only the beginning“, the Public Relations Society of America is decently outspoken here. Money rolls, which means that the name alone will not do it. Will Smith is a bankable name, but in the end, it is more than just the name, the DVD screeners and opportunity here. It is a business model, which now implies that art is not at the heart of the matter, product marketing is. The question that remains here is that if a movie needs that kind of marketing, how memorable was it?  Perhaps that is the wrong question too. Not everyone has time to see all the movies and the fact that some movies are not released on disc long after the Oscars is equally an issue, so is that approach wrong?

I cannot vote against it unless it is more than the actual book, the movie or the soundtrack. Optimising any product is far enough, but in that light, was Concussion properly optimised for exposure to the public and the audience at large? If not, who was behind that part? It is a Sony production, yet should this be about the awards? I wonder if the really good actors really take a role for that reason. In this I like to quote Tim Mincin In his UWA acceptance speech. There he states “Happiness is like an orgasm: if you think about it too much, it goes away. Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy, and you might find you get some as a side effect“, which seems to be (in my mind) how the great actors could think. Will Smith has had 85 nominations and 45 awards. None of them golden globes or Oscars. In the Golden globe section he lost out to Russell Crowe and Forest Whitaker who both delivered amazing performances that year, yet as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air he lost out to both John Goodman and Jerry Seinfeld, both series I was never a fan of, but they have their own following. In the Academy Awards he lost out to Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker. A much harder choice, because both The Pursuit of Happyness and The Last King of Scotland are amazing works of art. I found the call between Ali and Training Day much harder because of my admiration of Muhammad Ali. So I know that I have bias here, I feel valid bias as the arts are about moments and ideals, Will Smith has been on that fine line many times. It is CNN (at http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/18/sport/nfl-head-injuries-will-smith-movie-concussion/) that gives us “I probably won’t be getting my free Super Bowl tickets this year“, which is part of all this (apart from the fact that I never received ANY free tickets for any of the Ashes games), we see again that America will be in denial or in opposition as the NFL is the bottom dollar at least one day a week. I cannot oppose this. Yet reflecting on this, I feel a little uncertain when it comes to an outspoken #OscarsSoWhite. My issue in this case is that the opposition this year is massive, Spotlight, the Revenant, Bridge of Spies and the Martian are outstanding pieces of excellence. We can complain that these roles were too absent of African American roles, but that is based on different elements, in my view, not a #OscarsSoWhite view, or is it?

In all this we must see that we are not part of the actual world the actors and actresses live in. They would have a more realistic view, which makes the entire #OscarsSoWhite such an uneasy issue. You see, I feel that #OscarsSoWhite is almost a personal attack, I see the movies I like, and because of the reasons I see them. So, even as a written off product like ‘Seven Pounds’ is one I enjoyed, I enjoyed Gravity as well, and I enjoyed the Martian in near equal measure (the special effects in Gravity were just so awesome). In all this race was never a consideration. That is my personal view, I cannot answer for others, you must decide on your reasoning and your preference, which is as it should be with anything that comes from the arts.

This now gets me to the final part. As I saw it, from the first moment I saw the movie (not when it was released as I was 5 at that time), is that Virgil Tibbs made ‘In the Heat of the night’ the movie it was, the legend it became. Sir Sidney Poitier made the movie what it was (Rod Steiger was great too). So here we have our issue we want to feel that #OscarsSoWhite is valid, we do however want to base it on the now, not on 50 years ago. So can we question the issues, or is there a second layer that we are to some extent conveniently ignoring. One of marketing and PR, the other on the denial that the NFL (Americans with their idolisation of their sport in general) seems to bring. Two elements that seem to equally make the movie Concussion fall short. Those elements are not illustrated in equal measure here, which does not give any less value to Will Smith, it only impacted the topic Will Smith illustrated (as I personally see it).

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The virtual reality of it all

Well, I would have expected my gaming ideas to come from many places, the Guardian was not one of them to be honest, but there you have it, we find information in all kinds of places. reason here is the other BAFTA, not the one eloquently mentioned by Stephen Fry (aka Reaver to gamers), but by the Gaming BAFTA, which will be awarded on March 12th (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/10/alien-isolation-2015-bafta-video-game-award-nominations). There are many titles that will be mentioned, many will become non winners, and remain nominees none the less and one will stand out. Let’s take a look at those categories and some of the games mentioned.

Artistic Achievement

This is the only place where we see Ubisoft shine, to be more precise their graphical teams, no matter how I spoke out against Ubisoft and how they neglected Assassins Creed, their graphical teams did not. These graphical gurus did show a level of excellence that has been from out of this world. No matter how many bugs we see in Unity, the graphics were unreal, as were they for Black Flag; it is a well-deserved nomination and a possible winner, although they will compete with their own title Far Cry 4 here.

Audio achievement

There is one title that stands out, more important, the title itself is an achievement that many will have waited for, for a long time. It is Alien: Isolation and it puts the SEGA logo back on the screen in a most wonderful way. This alien game is not about blasting, it is about staying alive. This is the one perfect horror survival game that places the genre in a new light whilst remaining true to the atmosphere of the original Alien movie. The Evil Within scratches the surface of this genre, Alien: Isolation breaks through the skin and leaves you sweaty with possible heart problems, just like the original movie from 1979. The game truly takes you to the nerve wrecking ordeal of sharing a spaceship with an alien in the most unwanted way. The audio is every bit as important as the graphics and the audio team delivered like nothing you ever faced before.

Best Game

Is always a hard nut to crack, many games stand out in their own way, for various reasons, SEGA is the strongest nominee here, but a truly exceptional game delivers on many fronts, as such all titles deserve to be there, personally Destiny is as I see it, the least likely title to win, as it depends too much on multiplayer events, yet, this does not take it out of the race, I wonder how the silent title in the back (Monument Valley) will do. It is a silent gem, the use of the masterpieces of M. C. Escher are not to be ignored. There is a mesmerising element in this game that is as addictive as a game like Minecraft ever will be. As I mention addiction, I must warn you to stay away from nominee handheld game ‘Threes’. what seems like a simple game of addition, will turn from one second into the next into a game of addiction and your next set of threes is only one little swipe away. I reckon that in this category it will be a fight between Monument Valley and Threes and either should be seen as a worthy winner.

 

I can go on but you will have to take your own look and see what you think should be the right one to win. The important element here is that we see two parts of gaming that are now clearly impacting business. The first one is quality, yes, I started with the good side of Ubisoft as their graphical teams truly deserve it, but overall Ubisoft bungled the ball and an event like this, where they should be in domination, they are only attending in the most minimalistic of ways. The critique on several levels for Far Cry 4 and the massive failure Assassins Creed: Unity has shown to be, should be a clear indication that Yves Guillemot needs to clean up his divisions and he needs to do it no sooner than 5 minutes after the gaming BAFTA’s have ended.

The second part in all this is originality in gaming. SEGA is showing that in no small matter, in addition, we see Minecraft mentioned a few times, but the stellar part is that silent achievement Monument Valley, developer Ustwo under guidance of fearless leader Neil McFarland shows that independent developers are the future in more ways than one. The Creative Assembly (those behind Alien: Isolation and the old EA sports games) are not indie as such, but they are a far stretch from a massive developer like 2K and Ubisoft, which in addition show those larger developers that the true gems are in the mind of a person and not in the massive visibility of a division.

It will be interesting to see who is elected winner in these BAFTA’s for the mere reason that those who decide might not be the group that largely play these games, the one part that will be interesting to see is that the audience might see the real Ellie (Ashley Johnson), it is always nice to meet the person you kept safe in a digital world, even if she looks nothing like the digital character, an issue Jonathan Irons who will be portraying Kevin Spacey won’t face any day soon. I am eager to see Cliff Martinez on the stage, hopefully for winning the BAFTA for Far Cry 4, which was an excellent piece of work. I have been a fan of his work since Solaris and Contagion, two of his many created master works. As a debut game, Hitman Go definitely takes a shine. They changed a shooting assassin into a tough puzzle game with pawns shaped like Sebuteo figurines, but in the style of Hitman 47 and the goons he goes after. However, in that same category we see Shovel knight, a true retro game, based on the best of the best old style console games, whilst looking new fresh and fun to play. It is a fun achievement for both the new and the seasoned gamer.

So we will all be looking forward, or in some cases dreading this awarding evening. The only worry might be that the people who casted their votes and enjoying a horror survival stealth game is too low, which might impact SEGA to get a decent amount of the 6 nominations it received. We will see it all on March 12th and no matter who wins, I feel certain that the winning views will entice several players to take a look into nominated and winning games they had not considered playing before, that in itself will make the gaming BAFTA a great event for nominee, winner and gamer alike

The full nomination list can be found at http://www.bafta.org/sites/default/files/uploads/baftagamesawardsnominationslist.pdf

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