The countdown to Oscar Night is now a matter of days rather than weeks. At long last, awards season is coming to an end. The title of Eric Drooker's cover for this week's New Yorker is "#OscarsNotSoWhite" and, inside, Michael Schulman goes long in his report on Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs's decision to fast-track "an initiative called A2020, which had the goal of making the Academy twice as diverse by the end of the decade." The plan entails not only "aggressively recruiting new members" but also, let's say, retiring members who haven't been active in the industry for the past ten years.

"Like Hollywood’s best sagas—Star Wars, The Godfather—the Oscars often play out as a drama of generational conflict," writes Schulman. "Daniel Smith-Rowsey, a film historian, has referred to the latest shakeup as 'the third purge,' following two previous industry-wide talent overhauls. The first occurred in the 20s, as the rise of talkies swept scores of mugging mustache-twirlers and big-eyed ingénues to the sidelines…. The second purge came in the late 60s, as the studio system was grappling with its own decline and the rise of a youth culture with which it seemed hopelessly out of touch."

The New York Times has posted a breezy chat between columnists Gail Collins and Frank Bruni that the paper's cheekily titled "#OscarsSoOrange." "I’d suggest that the drinking game for this year’s Oscars is a quaff every time there’s a reference, explicit or oblique, to our 45th president, but I fear I’d be blamed—rightly—for a national cirrhosis epidemic," says Bruni. "I await the morning-after tweets. And for a reality check, may I say that I never imagined a day when I’d be expecting angry post-Oscar tweets from the president of the United States? Someday this will be a movie. I cannot wait, because it will mean that we’re finally past this fearful present."


The clear front-runner this year is La La Land, playing Adele to Moonlight's Beyoncé, as Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham note in the latest episode of their excellent podcast, Still Processing. "Awards and critical debates continue to swirl around the surprising success of this neo-musical," David Bordwell noted several days ago now. "Two entries on this blog have already considered what the film owes to 1940s innovations in Hollywood storytelling (here) and to more basic norms of movie plot construction and the classic Broadway 'song plot' (here). But there’s plenty more to say."

And so, he's turned to guest bloggers Kelley Conway, who "situates Damien Chazelle’s film within a trend toward 'unprofessional' musical performance," Eric Dienstfrey, who "traces how film’s recording methods shape the auditory texture of the numbers," and Amanda McQueen, who "considers how La La Land is designed to overcome audiences’ current resistance to 'integrated' musicals."

Yesterday, another guest post went up at Observations on film art. Jeff Smith, who's collaborated with Bordwell and Kristin Thompson on Film Art: An Introduction, takes a good hard look at this year's nominees in the Best Original Song and Best Original Score categories.


Meantime, the last of the guilds and critics groups are announcing their picks. This year's Writers Guild Award-winners:

  • Original Screenplay: Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney (story) for Moonlight.

  • Adapted Screenplay: Eric Heisserer for Arrival.

  • Documentary Screenplay: Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser and Brian Pearle and Kim Roberts (story) for Command and Control.

  • Television Drama Series: Peter Ackerman, Tanya Barfield, Joshua Brand, Joel Fields, Stephen Schiff, Joe Weisberg and Tracey Scott Wilson for The Americans.

  • Comedy Series: Donald Glover, Stephen Glover, Jamal Olori, Stefani Robinson and Paul Simms for Atlanta.

  • New Series: Atlanta again, same team.


And the list goes on. But let's note that John Waters received the 2017 WGA Ian McLellan Hunter Award for Career Achievement and none other than "fellow Baltimorean" David Simon, creator of The Wire, presented it. Simon's posted his introductory remarks.

"Krisha was the big winner at the inaugural American Independent Film Awards," reports Michael Nordine at IndieWire. "Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits was the Best Film runner-up and was nominated in 12 different categories, while Robert Greene won two different awards for Kate Plays Christine." As Kevin Jagernauth points out at the Playlist, the focus here is "on feature films with a budget of $1 million or less."

"La La Land and Game of Thrones walked away with top film and television honors at the 53rd Cinema Audio Society Awards Saturday night." And Kristopher Tapley has the full list of winners at Variety.

Bill Desowitz for IndieWire: "Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge earned the top two sound editing awards Sunday night at the 64th [Motion Picture Sound Editors'] Golden Reel Awards, while Damien Chazelle’s La La Land and Disney’s Moana took musical and animation honors."

Also, "La La Land continued its awards momentum, taking best contemporary hairstyling Sunday night at the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards. However, in terms of the Oscar race, makeup and hairstyling nominees Suicide Squad and Star Trek Beyond were both big winners, grabbing period/character make-up and special make-up effects, respectively."


"Moonlight shined bright at the 8th annual African-American Film Critics Association Awards," reports Mannie Holmes for Variety. "Barry Jenkins took the stage three times, accepting awards for best director, best independent film, and best picture for the Oscar-nominated drama."

"Black-ish and Hidden Figures were the big winners at [the] 48th annual NAACP Image Awards," reports Deadline's Patrick Hipes.

Back to Variety: "Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann won five awards from the International Cinephile Society Sunday, including best picture, best director, best actor, best original screenplay, and best foreign film."

Toni Erdmann's also scored with the Union of German Film Critics. Scroll down for the list of winners.

And finally for now, Brian Darr has rolled out his tenth edition of I Only Have Two Eyes, in which Bay Area filmmakers, artists, programmers and dedicated cinephiles look back on their favorite moments of the past year.

For the full 2017-Oscars-on-Fandor experience, go here.