Magazine article Variety

Oscar's Golden Rules Are Made to Be Broken

Magazine article Variety

Oscar's Golden Rules Are Made to Be Broken

Article excerpt

WHEN YOU TALLY UP THE COUNTLESS RULES, ASSUMPTIONS AND CONVENTIONAL WISDOMS that accompany every year's Oscar selections, on its surface, 2015 appears to be the poster child for kudos consistency But looks can be deceiving.

Yes, as has happened 12 times since 1995, Roger Deakins is again nominated as cinematographer, this time for "Sicario."

And as has occurred seven times previously, a Pixar toon, this season "Inside Out," is contending for screenplay and animated film.

Also, if anyone can calculate the number of nominations for films that deal with the Holocaust, we welcome the input, but the tradition is so established that it's become part of the Oscar tapestry.

Foreign-language nominee "Son of Saul" ticks a dark, tragic box.

And as the #OscarsSoWhite boycott has powerfully demonstrated, once again, sadly, diversity turns out to be an also-ran and the gold appears to be the privileged domain of the Academy whites.

Which all leads to the question: Is there anything new under the Oscar sun? So glad you asked.

This year there is no Carter Burwell snub for score. After bequeathing great films with awards-worthy scores across four decades, it took "Carol" to get him a ticket to the show.

After 16 nominations without a win since his first nom in 1990, sound genius Greg P. Russell does not have to deal with the "Susan Lucci of sound" jokes this year, as he didn't get a nomination.

And unless someone can point to an example, this season there have been no mudslinging or dirty tricks campaigns as have occurred in the past with varying degrees of egregiousness.

Perhaps completely and totally coincidentally, it's been widely noted that for the first time since 2007 Oscar magic man Harvey Weinstein does not have a horse in the best picture race.

But if you're wondering why, with these changes and many others, a vague sense of the familiar still lingers, maybe it's because some of the hopefuls have been contending for their awards berths for nearly 18 months. …

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