Notes from the Kraken: February 21st

In All, Notes by Kyu

Welcome again to We Have Always Lived in the Kraken, a pop culture blog transmitted directly to you from the belly of the beast. Here in the Notes we’ll show you this week’s posting schedule, but first, a little Seafood for Thought.

What will happen? I don’t even know if I care at this point. Just make it end.

The Oscars are almost here, and man, am I glad to almost be done with this. The Hollywood awards season is a slog that goes on way too long, especially once the awards generally start agreeing with one other. Part of what has made this season so fascinating is that the Best Picture race, at least, has been about as wide open as any ever before it. But many other categories have found consensus this season, draining most of the tension out of the proceedings. The Oscars want to be the definitive statement on every film year, so it makes sense that it needs to be at the end, but I have really begun to wonder if there is a way to start combining the previous award shows in order to move the Oscars up and give the Academy less of a chance to fall in line with a herd mentality. If the Academy wants to be the definitive word on cinema, it should be more often willing to make a different statement from the awards that go before them. Part of this has to do with the membership being so large that not enough voters have time to catch up with all of the nominees, leaving many to vote the broad consensus–and fixing that problem is difficult, especially if you don’t want to be like the Best Foreign Film category, where the only voters are those old enough to not be working, and, well, judging by that category’s results, that’s not the right way to go either. Also supporting the current system: in the drawn out schedule, each guild award show gets their own weekend in which to shine.

Still, there has to be some way to make this all faster and more efficient, or at least help Oscar voters stand on their own two feet without others telling them what to vote for. Say what you will about the Golden Globes, but at least the Hollywood Foreign Press is willing to make a statement. even if it blows up in their faces. This happens with the Oscars as well (hello, Crash. Everyone probably hates you a bit too much now), but often that’s because the Academy decides it wants to make a statement, but doesn’t have the conviction to pick the right movie, instead choosing a consolation contender–Crash over Brokeback Mountain, for instance. All I can conclude at this point is that the system is broken. That, or maybe this season has just turned me into a bitter, bitter human being. We’ll find out which as the week goes on.

David Robertson

It’s finally Oscar week! From the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you in this stupendous final week of Oscarathon 2016 content.


  • Today we bring you another episode of the Life in the Kraken podcast, fresh off the presses! In Episode 002: Imperator Furiosa Will Deliver Us, your humble ‘casters discuss three Best Picture nominees: The RevenantSpotlight, and Mad Max: Fury Road. We also take an overview of some shows to look out for in the current anime season, and Kyu nominates FX’s The Americans as the best show currently on television. Enjoy!


  • Nothing new today. The Kraken was going to start a Twitter account to protest the Academy’s refusal to nominate giant monsters with an #OscarsSoTiny campaign, but then he accidentally crushed his computer. #rainonyourweddingday


  • David’s Oscar Predictions continue with the Technical Awards, including Best Editing, Cinematography, and Score. Watch and be amazed as David skillfully ducks out of explaining the difference between Sound Mixing and Sound Editing.


  • Feel free to peruse our archives while we take a portal to Vegas to lay odds on Sunday’s awards. 2:1 The Revenant wins at least three awards. 100:1 Chris Rock burns a cross on stage mid-monologue. 300:1 Brooklyn takes the top prize (a long shot, but still undervalued).


  • Oscarathon continues with a brand new feature, In the Ring. These special head to head events feature a full debate between two of our writers on a contentious pop culture issue. This week, Atomika and Kyu discuss Oscar nominee The Big Short and the question of whether its main characters are intentionally awful or not. Check it out and decide for yourself who wins the argument.


  • This week in The Screening Room, a special Oscarathon treat: Kyu pits all of the Best Picture nominees against each other in the Thunderdome. You know the law: eight movies enter, one movie leaves! (And then the other seven movies leave with less of Kyu’s critical praise.)

Also, be on the look out for the final few Awards Predictions for Oscarathon 2016.

Finally, be sure to tune in Sunday as David and Kyu live-blog and live-social-media the Oscarcast itself!

Catch of the Week:

Each and every week the residents here in the Kraken will offer one recommendation for the week that we think you all would enjoy. It might be a movie. It might be a book. Who knows? This is your… Catch of the Week.

David: Brooklyn has less than a shot of winning the Oscar next Sunday, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a lovely movie. It is beautiful and emotionally resonates with anyone who has moved away from home. Saoirse Ronan gives a star-making performance in this exquisitely designed film. A simple movie done exceptionally well, Brooklyn uses its simple structure to tell a deeply personal story with enough substance to really make the whole thing pop. Nick Hornby’s excellent (and nominated) screenplay especially makes this movie well worth a watch, especially if you just want to fill the homesickness in your heart with a little bit of Irish charm and a moving love story.

KyuI’d like to recommend a film from last year. It’s the gentle story of an immigrant who comes to America, a charming movie about homesickness and family, featuring a star-making lead performance, exquisite visual design, and a simple structure that tells a deeply personal story. I’m talking, of course, about Paddington. Released in America in January of last year, this wonderful movie is all but forgotten in this year’s Oscar race, but that’s probably just due to prejudice against bears. (Think about it. The only actors nominated from The Revenant? Both human.) Kidding aside, Paddington is actually really good, a sweet, warmhearted kid’s film that’s also a surprisingly perceptive metaphor for the African immigrant experience, as told through a very Wes Anderson style, from the careful (and colorful) production design and cinematography to the film’s wry sense of humor. A surprisingly deep cast of well-trained British actors give pitch perfect performances, particularly Ben Wishaw (whom most people know as the new Q in the James Bond movies, but whom I’ve loved since seeing him in the excellent TV show The Hour), who is somehow the perfect voice for a polite, child-like bear. And the VFX are honestly pretty stunning. It’s not a perfect movie–there is an antagonist, and the tone for her scenes is a bit of a miscalculation–but for the most part this is a really nifty movie, of the sort they should make more often.

Keskel: This week I recommend Deadpool. The Deadpool movie has been released: Deadpool. Deadpool. Deadpool!

That’s it for this week. We hope you continue to find the Kraken to your liking. All employees are on vacation, so for the time being the only thing stopping you from wandering into the restricted areas are your own good sense and the distant screaming of the fools who came before you. Heed their warning and stick to the tour path.