Friday, July 22, 2011

What I Saw: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011-2012 Awards Season)

EDITORS NOTE: These predictions were made in July 2011 and reflect what my thinking was at that time.  I have updated my predictions since then, but leave these on the blog for a historical record. For the most updated list of predictions, go to the Tracker Pages in the upper right hand corner of this blog.

What I Saw: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2

Oscar Chances:

The blogosphere is buzzing with arguments for and against including HP7B in the best picture race. On the one hand, you have fans of the series who are desperate for some recognition. On the other hand, you have people arguing that the Academy thinks it is kid’s stuff and will never go for it. (Which is often a clever way of saying that those particular bloggers think it’s kids stuff, but don’t want to upset their readers, so they blame it on the Academy).

I fall somewhere in the middle. I enjoyed the series, but am what you might call a casual fan. I’ve only seen 4 of the movies in theaters, and only caught the other 4 on television over the past month as they have been gearing up for the finale. I have not read any of the books, and most of the supporting characters I only know as “good guys” or “bad guys”.

Still, I have it listed as Number 7 in my rankings, and ABOVE the 5% cut off.  Why?

While I don’t think that the Lord Of The Rings analogy automatically guarantees Potter a shot, it is clear from several almost all the scenes in the movie that they want us to think of the series as a whole. (Without giving away spoilers, I’ll simply say: returning to important places, reminders of past characters, repeating themes and spells, Snape, and the epilogue).

Box Office: Money speaks. The Harry Potter series is the top grossing franchise in history, and the final installment is well on its way to being the highest grossing movie of the year. While that distinction alone doesn’t guarantee a spot, it does help.

Rule Changes: I believe that Harry Potter will become the talking point that people use in deciding whether the new 5% rule is a “success” or not. When the Academy moved to a field of ten nominees, the public rationale was that they wanted to honor blockbuster type movies (think The Dark Knight). And when they changed the rules again to include only those with 5% of first place votes, they (or Price Waterhouse Coopers) presumably kept this goal in mind.  Harry Potter is arguably the summer movie event of the year, and as such could be thought of as taking the Inception/Avatar/Dark Knight “slot”.  If it somehow misses the 5% cutoff, but people believe (rightly or wrongly) that it would have made the top 10, then this will be taken as proof in many quarters that the new system doesn’t work.

So where will they get these 5% of first place votes? (roughly 250 or 300 of them)

First, Warner Brothers is likely to do a big push for the film.  Campaigns matter, and the collective cast of the movie is large and diverse enough to show up everywhere, and Rowling is a bit of a star also and could do the rounds.

Second, the tech branches might rally here. They know that Transformers doesn’t really have a chance at best picture, but the Harry Potter finale allows their work to be showcased in the big category.

Third, the British block. BAFTA awarded the film recently for “defining a decade of British filmmaking”. Surely they are going to want their American cousins in the Academy to take notice.

Fourth, the Critics and the Guilds. While critics don’t get to vote at the Oscars, their high ratings for this film keep it in the conversation. And it is certain to get nominations from most of the major guilds, including the tech guilds, the PGA’s still-expanded 10 nominees, and the SAG ensemble award (and possibly others). So there is little chance that the film will simply be “forgotten” at the end of the year.

Finally, no matter how “old” you may think the Oscar voting demographic is, there are bound to be some fans of the series. Fans who believe in magic, and who know that this is their last chance. Maybe Hermione has a spell for that?

Still, it is a risky bet, which is why I have it as the last film to make the 5% cutoff, not a guarantee.

As of today, here are the current rankings:

Visual Effects (currently ranked 1)
Art Direction: Stuart Craig and Stephanie McMillan (currently ranked 2)
Cinematography: Eduardo Serra (currently ranked 3)
Film Editing: Mark Day (currently ranked 4)
Score: Alexandre Desplat (currently ranked 5)
Best Picture (currently ranked 7, above the 5%)

Makeup (currently ranked 4 in a field with only 3 nominations)
Sound Mixing (currently ranked 11, but will move up with next predictions)
Best Director: David Yates (currently ranked 13)
Sound Editing (currently ranked 17, but will move up with next predictions)
Costume Design: Jany Temine (currently ranked 19)
Adapted Screenplay: Steven Kloves (currently ranked 21)
Song (currently ranked 38)

Currently unranked, but will be considered for the long list in the next set of predictions: Alan Rickman and Ralph Feinnes (Supporting Actor). Maggie Smith and Helena Bonham Carter (Supporting Actress).  

Despite their importance, I think that the academy is going to make Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint wait this one out. Their roles don’t scream “bait”, and they aren’t old enough to fit into the “career win” equation. But if the academy has any sense at all, they will have already lined up these three to be presenters, as simply having them on the red carpet is bound to help the show’s ratings.
My Lamb Score: 5 out of 5 Lambs

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Read more of my reviews HERE.


  1. P.S. This is my first time including pictures in my post. So let me know if they show up ok in your browser.

  2. Pictures worked, great post!

  3. Thanks Kent! Glad the pictures worked!