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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: 2011 MTV Movie Awards

The Oscar Senti-meter: Your Tweets on Meryl Streep vs. Michelle Williams

February 7, 2012 |  7:10 am


Welcome to the Oscar Senti-meter –- an interactive tool developed by the L.A. Times, IBM and the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab to analyze opinions about the Academy Awards race shared in millions of public messages on Twitter.

Focused on the best actor, best actress and best picture categories, the Senti-meter combs through a high volume of tweets daily and uses language-recognition technology, developed in collaboration with USC’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab, to gauge positive, negative and neutral opinions shared in the messages. It also tracks the number of tweets. Cataloging these tweets over time gives insight into the vox pop surrounding Hollywood’s award season and gives a voice to average fans who may endorse -– or abhor –- the selections made by Tinseltown’s elite.

Check out our interactive tool: For example, you can compare volume and tone of tweets about the best actress contest on two days, Saturday, Jan. 14, the day before the Golden Globes, and Sunday, Jan. 15, the day of the awards.

As you’d expect, the volume of tweets about the actresses shot up sharply on Golden Globes day. Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams, winners of the best actress statuettes for drama and musical/comedy, respectively, saw the most chatter.

On Saturday, Streep and her awards prospects were the subject of 3,774 tweets registered and rated by the Senti-meter. She saw her volume rise tenfold to 37,583 tweets on awards day, but the overall tone of those tweets was more negative than it had been on the eve of the Globes. The drop in sentiment seemed to be due to some displeasure about her awards speech, and catty comments about her dress. 

For instance, one tweet read: "Being ‘surprised’ at her Golden Globe win is probably the worst acting Meryl Streep has ever done. Come on! You're MERYL STREEP.” While another commenter said: “Does Meryl Streep get her outfits from Chico's or Talbots?”                      

Other comments included:

  •  “Meryl Streep won because she's Meryl Streep, yawn, boring. I heard that movie was unbearable too. Just saying.”  
  • “I hate meryl streep and her false humility.”
  • “Was Meryl Streep wearing a cow girl shirt that they just extended into a horrible dress?”

On Saturday, Williams’ awards prospects were the subject of just 115 tweets registered by the Senti-meter, but 4,394 messages about her were logged on awards night. And along with her volume rising 38-fold, the overall tone of the messages on Globes evening was more positive, driven by her speech and her choice of dress.

Among the messages about Williams that night:

  • “Nice speech by Michelle Williams, but strange category for #MyweekwithMarilyn” 
  •  “Loving Michelle Williams' dress and win for My Week With Marilyn. Toast her in style with a Norma Jean punch!!” 
  • "Best speech ever, Michelle Williams. She said she's a mother first, an actress 2nd. Thanked her daughter first."
  • “Michelle Williams wins for acceptance speech for my week with Marilyn!”

Have fun exploring the Senti-meter, and who knows, if you tweet about your favorite Oscar movie, actor or actress, your messages might just be highlighted in our sample tweets section.


Oscar Ballot: Play-at-home

Heatmeter: Who's hot this awards season?

Cheat Sheet: Your guide to the Oscar nominees

-- Julie Makinen, Emily Rome, Rebecca Keegan and Oliver Gettell

Image: Oscar Senti-meter on the day of the Golden Globes. Credit: L.A. Times, IBM and the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab

Palm Springs Film Festival gala is an Oscar night warmup

January 8, 2012 | 12:08 am

Michelle Williams collected an award for Marilyn Monroe 50 years late, Octavia Spencer thanked some "white, very white" knights and George Clooney entreated his precocious 20-year-old "Descendants" costar Shailene Woodley to, some day in the future, "give a retired two-time Sexiest Man Alive a job ... and then after you give Brad [Pitt] a job, maybe you'll give me one."

A week before the Golden Globes and seven weeks before the Oscars, Hollywood began polishing its acceptance speeches Saturday night at the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s 23rd annual awards gala. The desert city film festival gala is often a bellwether of Oscar nominations -- 15 of last year's attendees collected nominations for the 2011 Academy Awards.

Williams, who was on hand to accept the Desert Palm Achievement Actress Award, said her thoughts were on Marilyn Monroe, whom she plays in "My Week With Marilyn" and who, unlike Williams, struggled to be taken seriously as an actress.

PHOTOS: Palm Springs Film Festival awards gala

"My only wish is that Marilyn herself could have experienced in her lifetime what I am experiencing tonight," Williams said. "When she did stretch beyond her pin-up picture, she was pushed back into her place. I accept this award on both our behalf."

Though the Palm Springs gala is “black-tie optional,” according to the invitations, most of the celebrities are considerably more relaxed than at other awards events. The event isn’t televised and honorees already know that they’ve won, a fact that leads to some impromptu speeches.

Multiple attendees compared the crystal award they received to a bong — "I may smoke this later," said International Star Award recipient Gary Oldman — and obscenities flew fast and furious. "George Clooney closed the night with an f-bomb!" marveled the evening's emcee, “Entertainment Tonight’s” Mary Hart.

Mock serious speeches abounded -- Tom Hanks watched, bemused, as his 14-year-old "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" co-star Thomas Horn bested him in smooth teleprompter reading, and Jonah Hill took a crack at his "Moneyball" co-star Brad Pitt, who was on hand to accept the Desert Palm Acheivement Actor Award.

"Brad Pitt has constantly made choices that are risky," said Hill. "Look at the unconventional story lines of the two movies he's being honored for this evening. 'Moneyball' is about baseball statistics and 'The Tree of Life is about... I'm sorry, I've seen it three times and I still have no idea what 'The Tree of Life' is about. But it was beautiful."

Pitt, who was using a cane after, he said, tripping and falling while carrying one of his twins skiing, walked a 300-foot red carpet into the gala alongside partner Angelina Jolie. Other stars in attendance included Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, Glenn Close, Al Pacino, Olivia Wilde and Melissa McCarthy.

Spencer, who was on hand to accept the Breakthrough Performance Award for her work in "The Help," thanked her late parents who, she said, "sent me two white knights, very, very white in the form of [director] Tate Taylor and [producer] Brunson Green." After acknowledging a phalanx of studio personnel and fellow honorees, including Pitt and Clooney, Spencer said, "I would be remiss if I didn't say ... I'm single, gentlemen. I just had to throw that in there."

Later, "The Artist" director Michel Hazanavicius was presented with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award by his stars, Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo, who is also the mother of two of his children. "Octavia," Hazanavicius said, "I'm married, but I'm French, so ..."

Organizers said the event raised $1.6 million for the nonprofit Palm Springs Film Society.


Palm Springs Festivals tries to cover it all

National Society of Film Critics: Melancholia best of 2011

-- Rebecca Keegan


Photo: Octavia Spencer arrives at the 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center on Saturday. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Do any summer releases actually get a boost from the MTV Movie Awards?

June 6, 2011 |  9:10 pm

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. Click for more photos from the MTV Movie Awards
The MTV Movie Awards can sometimes seem like the film-publicity equivalent of tax cuts for the wealthy: It provides help to those that need it least.

At the awards show frequently known for setting the record for most mentions of "my fans" in a single telecast -- the latest installment of which of course aired Sunday night -- the upcoming releases of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II" were demonstrated, lest anyone doubt it, to be major events among the tween and teen sets. It's doubtful there's a single person who watched the telecast who wasn't going to see those movies anyway.

Pretty much everything else, on the other hand, faced a tougher road. In fact, when the summer winds down and the final tally is counted, it will be telling to look back and see whether a single movie can track its success to the June marketing-a-thon.

Photos: Best and Worst at the MTV Movie Awards

The telecast would seem like a perfect venue, for instance, to promote raunchy comedies. But it rarely works out that way. On Sunday night, the R-rated laugh-fest "Bad Teacher" offered an at times awkward stage bit involving Jason Segel butt-texting to costar and co-presenter Cameron Diaz. In the outside world, a star like Segel fits solidly with a young demographic. Compared with Taylor Lautner and Emma Watson, he seemed out of place.

Then again, Segel seemed downright in the demo in contrast to appearances from  Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams, who were among those who came to the podium to flog "Super 8."

Judged by sheer airtime, "Green Lantern" was a winner on Sunday night, with a long bit featuring stars Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, who traded jokes with audience plants sporting phallic green lasers. But the skit had more than its share of rocky moments, and other jokes about Lively's recent photo scandal got a lot more attention than anything she did to plump the superhero film.

Some of the stunts, meanwhile, seemed downright head-scratching. For "Mr. Popper's Penguins," Jim Carrey came out in a green-screen jacket that flashed an image of fornicating dogs, which seemed like an odd choice for a movie aimed at a family audience.

You know it's an uneven bunch when the sight of "Friends With Benefits" stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake fondling each other's genitals prove one of the more clever promotions of the night.

 "Crazy, Stupid, Love" -- a film riding wave of buzz ahead of its July release -- did fare marginally better with a bit that had stars Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Emma Stone in some byplay about interspecies copulation. But by the time the show ended, the moment was a distant  memory.

As a lower-profile release with a notable comedy ensemble, "30 Minutes or Less" would also seem like a prime candidate for a Movie Awards boost. But it was hurt by the absence of Jesse Eisenberg (he didn't come in from N.Y.), and the skit seemed to lose its way with a dreadlocked Aziz Ansari goofing on, of all things, Jaden Smith and "The Karate Kid." Then it was all quickly forgotten anyway when Justin Bieber made a surprise appearance.  A "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" promo with Shia LaBeouf might have also worked out. But one could barely hear stars' banter among the residual shrieks from a recently awarded "Twilight" prize.

That would all be disheartening enough. But then, even a good Movie Awards skit hardly translates into any sort of tangible success. Last year, one of the most clever sketches had Steve Carell and Paul Rudd spoofing in advance of  "Dinner for Schmucks." And we all know how that turned out for them.

You can understand why a film publicist's eyes widen at the thought of the MTV Movie Awards : millions of viewers, viral-video potential and the chance to position a movie in front of an audience that can't easily be reached in a fragmented world of Twitter and Facebook. But it often seems like the cable telecast has the opposite problem: It's too large a beast. And like creatures from a certain vampire franchise, it doesn't so much pull up smaller movies as it does devour them.


Photo Gallery: Best and Worst at the MTV Movie Awards

Awards Tracker: MTV Movie Awards: Some jaw-dropping awards results

The Envelope: MTV Movie Awards arrivals

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, stars of "Green Lantern," at the MTV Movie Awards. Credit: Matt Sayles/AP



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