When MGM Singing in the rain, Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s musical Valentine’s Day for Hollywood’s silent film era as it transitioned into the world of talk films, premiered in the spring of 1952, it immediately won hearts. of the audience. written in The New York Times, reviewer Bosley Crowther raves, “Gifted together the music, dance, colorful spectacle and boisterous richness of Gene Kelly, Jean Hagen, and Donald O’Connor on screen, all All elements of this rainbow show are carefully choreographed and guaranteed to lift the sorrows of winter and put you in a good mood.” The film went on to become a box office hit, ranking 10th among the highest-grossing films of the year in North America. The Writers Guild presented Betty Comden and Adolph Green with the award for best written American musical. The Directors Guild nominated Kelly and Donen for outstanding directing. And the Golden Globes nominated it as best comedy or musical.
But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wasn’t nearly as impressive, leaving the film with contempt. It awarded the film only two nominations — a supporting actress nomination for Hagen, who plays the petty and petty silent star with a pleasant voice, and a nomination for motion picture with excellent score. — neither of the nominations won. (For the record, that year’s best picture winner was that of Cecil B. DeMille The biggest show on earthIt is now widely regarded as one of the worst best picture winners ever, although it does appear in Steven Spielberg. Fabelman’s house was the first inspirational film for the fledgling filmmaker.)
The academy has certainly changed after 70 years, but, still, Singing in the rainFailure to impress the Old Academy does not bode well for Damien Chazelle Babylonopportunity with the new Academy, as the new film revisits around the same time, Hollywood’s frantic and arduous transition to audio and, at the same time, references Sing – both directly and indirectly.
From the very first screenings, the film was over three hours long Babylon received the description as “divisive”, which is just a polite way of saying that for all those who love the film, there are plenty of people who would love to see it. Critics have certainly been mixed, with Babylon average score of 55% on Rotten Tomatoes and 60 on Metacritic. New York Times‘ Manohla Dargis dismissed the film as “a bombastic madness,” while LA time‘ Justin Chang appreciates what he describes as “a wild and spirited cinematic bacchanal.” The audience was overwhelmed; it has received a C+ rating on CinemaScore.
If any additional punctuation is needed, Babylon opened to a resounding failure at the box office. Paramount’s $80 million film grossed just $4.9 million over the four-day Christmas weekend from 3,343 theaters.
That seems to be sealing Babylonits fate, sinking its prize hopes. Because while the Academy doesn’t penalize small-scale films for failing to sell tickets, they tend to look down on big-budget films that show no theaters. But luckily for BabylonBefore its box office epitaph was written, several critics and award teams weighed in and supported the film.
When the Golden Globe nominations were announced on December 12, Babylon received five definite nods. It tricked the system a bit by competing in the comedy or musical category — while the film has some bitter laughs and almost non-stop music, its closing moments are near. much more like tragic drama. But working on the humorous side of the ledger, it picked up nominations for best picture, actress Margot Robbie and actor Diego Calva, along with nominations for supporting actor Brad Pitt and a nomination. nominate another for the score.
Two days later, when the Critics’ Choice Awards nominations — which can be fairly predictable given Oscar nominations — were revealed, Babylonbound with Inisherin’s Banshees, collect nine noms. (Only Everything Anywhere All At Oncewith 14, and Fabelman’s house, with 11, did better.) In addition to best picture, director, and actress, it earned six crafting nominations. Its prowess in the crafting categories — which could help land it as a finalist for the Academy Award for Best Picture — was further emphasized when the Oscars shortlist was announced on December 21, and Babylon Win points for makeup and hairdo, scores and sounds.
And even Babylon can be forgotten box office, attention will be noticed. In fact, it’s becoming one of the most hotly debated awards of the season. “Babylon is really terrible. The most hated movie in years,” said Kim Jorgensen, founder of Landmark Theaters, disparaging the film in a Facebook post. But in another Facebook entry, film historian Joseph McBride wrote, “I saw Babylon last night and loved it. What a sad film about the decline and tragic fall of a great film industry and the art form it helped create.”
That kind of heated debate could mean the Oscars are out of reach Babylonbut that doesn’t rule out a flurry of nominations — perhaps more than both Singing in the rain achieved, which will lead to a certain irony.
This story first appeared in the January 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to sign up.