Top Award Predictor Pundit Sasha Stone: 'I Know Nothing'
Omniscient, passionate blogger Sasha Stone made other, more mainstream pundits look blind by predicting SAG and DGA wins. Yet she confesses the five King's Speech mistakes that prove "I learned absolutely nothing." But she's wrong! Because she's right!
On her addictive Awards Daily site plus prolific tweets, Stone spritzes expertise like Tony Montana sprays bullets. Practically alone, she foresaw Tom Hooper's Directors Guild Award, and marshaled mind-bogglingly elaborate historical charts and arguments explicating why the unthinkable would happen. This despite her passionate wish that odds-on favorite David Fincher should win, with a cogent argument that Fincher's the true auteur of The Social Network, not Oscar-favored Aaron Sorkin. "Every frame exhibits his elegant, graceful grunge," she says, a signature not seen in "a single other work by Sorkin."
I'd give Sorkin equal auteur points myself; Social Network producer Michael De Luca tells me they're like genius songbirds in instinctive sync: "The Lennon/McCartney analogy is astute, because they complement one another. David's movies have been so visually astounding people forget he's an actor's director, and because Aaron writes the kind of dialog he writes -- it's built for speed -- and puts so much time into his characters in the way they navigate the story, it plays beautiully into David's ability to get great performances out of people. They connect on so many storytelling levels."
But when De Luca compares the real Mark Zuckerberg to "Copernicus or Galileo," he lost me, and perhaps helped land Zuckerberg next to Jesse Eisenberg on SNL.
This week, Stone stomped all rivals by predicting 13 out of 15 SAG awards. (Second was Paul Sheehan with 12; third were me, Bob Tourtellotte and Michael Musto with 11. We beat 14 other pundits.)
Ever analytical, Stone broke down the five biggest bad calls that made her predict Fincher's film would beat The King's Speech. Here are excerpts:
1."I was lulled into thinking that since 2005 Oscar voters were paying closer attention to the critics choices. WRONG. They only align with the critics if they watch 'their movie' and like it. Too many people watched The Social Network and thought, 'I don’t get why it’s such a great movie.' Great films reveal themselves slowly over time."
2. "In a year of great visionary American productions and filmmakers, the industry couldn’t possibly reward a British story by a British director made by a British production company. What about Obama’s State of the Union? What about keeping our industry here alive and thriving? WRONG. The King’s Speech is a movie you feel whether you are an American, a European, a dog or a cat."
3. "The director is not well known enough: DOESN”T MATTER. If they love the movie, they love movie."
4. "The unprecedented sweep of the critics awards DID mean something. This is the first film in Oscar history to win that many awards and not win best picture. Surely the voters would see that? WRONG. The heart wants what it wants. The King’s Speech is plenty good enough to be their choice for Best Film of 2010."
5. "2010 will be a split year because there were so many exceptional films in the race! WRONG. It will be a sweeps year and The King’s Speech will clean up. That means, Geoffrey Rush will win supporting actor, and the film will win picture, director, screenplay, actor, supporting actor, cinematography, art direction, score, costume. And it will do so without blinking. Oscar 2010 is over and they went across the pond to find their best picture of the year."
"I apologize to you Oscar watchers whom I might have misled in either my podcasts or my site."
No need to apologize. We salute you.
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Lead Awards Blogger & Analyst
Scott, whose THR coverage appears both in print and online, is one of the film industry's most experienced and trusted awards analysts, and possesses one of the strongest track records at forecasting the Oscars. His best showings came in 2006 (when he called 21 of 24 winners) and 2004 (when he called 20 of 24 winners); he was also the only pundit to project long-shot best picture nominations for The Reader (2008), The Blind Side (2009) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011). An alumnus of Brandeis University, he previously ran "The Feinberg Files" blog for the Los Angeles Times. He is now a voting member of both the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, and is writing a book about film history for young people for which he has interviewed more than 350 high-profile Hollywood figures.
Gregg contributes awards news, features online, and "The Race" column in print.
Tim contributes awards news and features, both in print and online.