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“The Conspirator” Trailer

January 27, 2011 2 comments

Well, I guess it’s never too early to start planning ahead for next year’s Oscar race, even if we haven’t gotten done with the previous one, yet. I might be a little bit more psyched for this film had it not been Robert Redford’s last directorial misstep, “Lions for Lambs,” a film that was also, at one point, considered an Oscar contender.

To be honest, there’s really not a lot that doesn’t look compelling about this movie. It’s an important and tragic historical tale about one of the most pivotal points in the country’s history. It’s a courtroom drama, with potential for a lot of fiery dialogue and tension. Plus you’ve got a cast of James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, Colm Meaney, Kevin Kline, Norman Reedus, Justin Long, Danny Huston, Alexis Bledel, and the legendary Tom Wilkinson.

Whether or not it measures up we won’t know until its arrival. Personally, I’m kind of looking forward to that date.

Check out the trailer, below:

Listen to the Best Original Score Nominees

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

One of the better categories among this year’s Oscar nominees has to be that of Best Original Score. Sometimes, the composers are a bit finicky with their nominations, usually going the safer route and not expanding out of their comfort zones. However, there’s some truly astounding work on display in this particular crop.

If I was to do any voting in this category, I would definitely have to go with “The Social Network.” Reznor and Finch’s score is truly sublime, incorporating experimental electronic elements with traditional themes and modern beats. The music is innovative, pleasing and ultimately game-changing, much like the movie itself.

After that, my runners-up would be a close call between “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Inception.”  Both films contain music that open your eyes and raise your heartbeat. I actually don’t think that there is an element of “HTTYD” that comes close to staying with me as strongly as the score. “Inception” gets a lot of bad word-of-mouth that Hans Zimmer simply recycled music from “The Dark Knight,” but I never thought of it that way. Zimmer’s music always follows similar tones and rhythms, but his work on “Inception” has the ability to stand on its own as a work of power and beauty.

As far as the Oscar goes, this is how I would rank the films’ chances of winning this particular award:

1. “The Social Network” – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
2. “The King’s Speech” – Alexandre Desplat
3. “Inception” – Hans Zimmer
4. “127 Hours” – A.R. Rahman
5. “How to Train Your Dragon” – John Powell

Ryan Adams at Awardsdaily has dug up this showcase of all five nominees. Check it out below and see for yourself.

The Nominations – My Thoughts and Reactions

January 25, 2011 Leave a comment

The nail-biting is over, at least for a few weeks. The Oscar nominations are here, and I believe that for the first time in years, my joy outweighs my sorrow. I suppose its appropriate to get into the bad news, first.

One thing’s official. As much as the Academy seems to have the most outrageous hard-on for Stephen Daldry (3 films made, 3 Best Director nods), they seem to have an everlasting grudge against Christopher Nolan as a director (3 DGA noms, no Oscar nods for Director). I just don’t understand what the man has to do to get their recognition. You can’t feel completely bad for him, pulling down two nominations for producer and writer, but are those the types of roles that any great director wants to be remembered for? I’m sure it wasn’t good enough for Stanley Kubrick. Honestly, Christopher Nolan is one of the most talented directors in Hollywood. Who else can take a film with such originality, intelligence, grandeur and finesse and bring in 300 million dollars with it or more. And on top of that, do it twice in three years. Nobody since Steven Spielberg, I’ll tell you that much.

The second-most disturbing snub has got be the exclusion of Andrew Garfield in the Supporting Actor category. Ridiculous. Definitely one of the best performances of the year, Garfield’s portrayal of innocence-lost is the soul of “The Social Network.” Though, while I bemoan the lack of Eduardo Savrin, I simply could not be more thrilled about the inclusion of John Hawkes for his turn in “Winter’s Bone.” People who’ve visited this site often must be aware of my penchant for this particular acting job, and this morning’s news of his inclusion is the crowning jewel of almost a year’s worth of supporting him on my part.

Since I’m ever so thrilled about Hawkes, I can’t blame him for the Garfield snub. Therefore, I’m gonna have to just go ahead and blame Jeremy Renner. I never thought that in one year, I could turn so much on this performer. In “The Hurt Locker” he was phenomenal, truly deserving of a lead actor nomination. Here, he is an average performance in an average film. I don’t think I ever considered him a candidate for my supporting actor picks, not even back in October. I was genuinely shocked and confused when accolades and Oscar talk began surfacing a few months ago. It baffled me then and it truly baffles me now.

At least its consolation that Renner was “The Town”‘s only nomination, missing out on that Best Picture nod that everyone was predicting….well almost everyone ;). The fact that “Winter’s Bone” took its place could not be more gratifying, as well. What a glorious film that more than deserves all of its bestowed nominations.

Let’s look at how some films made out on the whole. “127 Hours” defied pundits with a huge 6 nomination comeback, including yet another double category nomination for A.R. Rahman (Best Original Song, Best Original Score). Meanwhile, maybe the biggest shocker of the day, was “Black Swan” achieving only 5 nominations. For a while now, many people have been projecting Aronofsky’s film to be the potential nomination frontrunner, amassing perhaps ten or twelve. Instead, the film missed out on Supporting Actress (for both of its contenders), Original Screenplay, Art Direction, Costume Design and both Sound categories. I didn’t have it predicted in all of those, but it certainly had potential. Perhaps the biggest crime here is its Sound Effects exclusion. The work done on the sound of pattering feet and flapping feathers was phenomenal.

The worst overall snub of a film had to be Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island.” Not an amazing film, by any standards, but certainly one in which at least its technical achievements deserved some recognition. It should have easily made the grade for both Cinematography and Art Direction. Some of the best work of the year. I’m also depressed that Ryan Gosling missed out on a more than deserving nomination for Best Actor in “Blue Valentine.” It’s very nice to see Michelle Williams nominated, but not enough of a consolation. I’m sure that when I see “Biutiful” this weekend, however, Javier Bardem will wow the living shit out of me and I will be able to praise his surprise inclusion.

Let’s move on to some of the brighter aspects of day. The big story in the news is “The King’s Speech” being the nomination leader, but “The Social Network” really did have a pretty damned good day. 8 nominations, tied for the third highest, including four technical nominations, not an easy feat for a contemporary comedy/drama. It’s true that we definitely have ourselves a race now. Yet in terms of the race, “The King’s Speech” may have gained ground, but “The Social Network” hasn’t lost any of its.

One thing that’s really got me happy is the semi-snub of “Alice in Wonderland.” True, it did receive three nominations, yet I call it a snub for the one award it had almost always been not only a lock, but a frontrunner: Best Makeup. It appears that this branch of the Academy really does know the difference between makeup and CGI. Some very interesting choices replaced it, including “Barney’s Version” and “The Way Back.”

Without a doubt, the biggest joy for me, this morning, was seeing the results that the Doc branch rolled out. This has been one of the best years I’ve ever seen for documentary films. Lately, it’s seemed as though the lackluster “Waiting for Superman” was lined up to sweep the Oscar after wins at the BFCA and PGA. However, that belief was certainly swayed when the movie did not even show up among the nominees. The Academy also chose to avoid “The Tillman Story,” a pretentious and jumbled look at the soldier’s tragic story. Instead, among the nominations, are my three favorite documentaries of the year: “Restrepo,” “Inside Job” and the glorious “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” Well done, guys.

My predictions were some of the best of my time doing this gig. out of 109 nominations, I correctly predicted 82. Not bad at all. If you were to ask my girlfriend, I was inches away from predicting Bardem at about 2 o’clock this morning. Oh well. Got to stick to your guns.

This race has gone from being a one trick pony to a cutthroat race to the finish. It is going to be “The Social Network” vs. “The King’s Speech” right to the last note. While, for sure, I have a favorite, it’s refreshing to have a very close race. While last year was a nice David and Goliath battle, looking back, it was always “The Hurt Locker”‘s for the taking. And before that, it was two years of no competition. Now we have a race the likes of “The Departed” vs. “Little Miss Sunshine” or “Million Dollar Baby” vs. “The Aviator.” However, in reality, I don’t think we’ve ever had a race quite like this one before. Should be a good time. Stay tuned.

The 83rd Annual Academy Award Nominations!!!

January 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Here we go.

BEST PICTURE

  • Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) A Protozoa and Phoenix Pictures Production
    Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
  • The Fighter (Paramount) A Relativity Media Production
    David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
  • Inception (Warner Bros.) A Warner Bros. UK Services Production
    Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers)
  • The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features) An Antidote Films, Mandalay Vision and Gilbert Films Production
    Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
  • The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) A See-Saw Films and Bedlam Production
    Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
  • 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) An Hours Production
    Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
  • The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) A Columbia Pictures Production
    Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
  • Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) A Pixar Production
    Darla K. Anderson, Producer
  • True Grit (Paramount) A Paramount Pictures Production
    Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
  • Winter’s Bone (Roadside Attractions) A Winter’s Bone Production
    Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Black Swan (Fox Searchlight), Darren Aronofsky
  • The Fighter (Paramount), David O. Russell
  • The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company), Tom Hooper
  • The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), David Fincher
  • True Grit (Paramount), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE

  • Javier Bardem in “Biutiful” (Roadside Attractions)
  • Jeff Bridges in “True Grit” (Paramount)
  • Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
  • Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company)
  • James Franco in “127 Hours” (Fox Searchlight)

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE

  • Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right” (Focus Features)
  • Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole” (Lionsgate)
  • Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone” (Roadside Attractions)
  • Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” (Fox Searchlight)
  • Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine” (The Weinstein Company)

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Christian Bale in “The Fighter” (Paramount)
  • John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone” (Roadside Attractions)
  • Jeremy Renner in “The Town” (Warner Bros.)
  • Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right” (Focus Features)
  • Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company)

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Amy Adams in “The Fighter” (Paramount)
  • Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company)
  • Melissa Leo in “The Fighter” (Paramount)
  • Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit” (Paramount)
  • Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom” (Sony Pictures Classics)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Another Year (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Mike Leigh
  • The Fighter (Paramount), Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
  • Inception (Warner Bros.), Written by Christopher Nolan
  • The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features), Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
  • The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Seidler

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
  • The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
  • Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
  • True Grit (Paramount), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
  • Winter’s Bone (Roadside Attractions), Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

BEST ANIMATED FILM

  • How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
  • The Illusionist (Sony Pictures Classics) Sylvain Chomet
  • Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Lee Unkrich

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

  • Exit through the Gift Shop (Producers Distribution Agency) Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz A Paranoid Pictures Production
  • Gasland Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic A Gasland Production
  • Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics) Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs A Representational Pictures Production
  • Restrepo (National Geographic Entertainment) Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger An Outpost Films Production
  • Waste Land Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley (Arthouse Films) An Almega Projects Production

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Biutiful Mexico
  • Dogtooth Greece
  • In a Better World Denmark
  • Incendies Canada
  • Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) Algeria

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Matthew Libatique
  • Inception (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister
  • The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Danny Cohen
  • The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeff Cronenweth
  • True Grit (Paramount) Roger Deakins

BEST EDITING

  • Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Andrew Weisblum
  • The Fighter Paramount Pamela Martin
  • The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Tariq Anwar
  • 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Jon Harris
  • The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

BEST ART DIRECTION

  • Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney), Robert Stromberg (Production Design), Karen O’Hara (Set Decoration)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.), Stuart Craig (Production Design), Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
  • Inception (Warner Bros.), Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design), Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Set Decoration)
  • The King’s Speech (Paramount), Eve Stewart (Production Design), Judy Farr (Set Decoration)
  • True Grit (Paramount), Jess Gonchor (Production Design), Nancy Haigh (Set Decoration)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Colleen Atwood
  • I Am Love (Magnolia Pictures) Antonella Cannarozzi
  • The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Jenny Beavan
  • The Tempest (Miramax) Sandy Powell
  • True Grit (Paramount) Mary Zophres

BEST SOUND MIXING

  • Inception (Warner Bros.) Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
  • The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
  • Salt (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
  • The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
  • True Grit (Paramount) Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Inception (Warner Bros.) Richard King
  • Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
  • Tron: Legacy (Walt Disney) Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
  • True Grit (Paramount) Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
  • Unstoppable (20th Century Fox) Mark P. Stoeckinger

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.) Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
  • Hereafter (Warner Bros.) Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
  • Inception (Warner Bros.) Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
  • Iron Man 2 (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment, Distributed by Paramount) Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

BEST MAKEUP EFFECTS

  • Barney’s Version (Sony Pictures Classics) Adrien Morot
  • The Way Back (Newmarket Films in association with Wrekin Hill Entertainment and Image Entertainment) Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
  • The Wolfman (Universal) Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) John Powell
  • Inception (Warner Bros.) Hans Zimmer
  • The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Alexandre Desplat
  • 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) A.R. Rahman
  • The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • Coming Home from Country Strong (Sony Pictures Releasing (Screen Gems)) Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
  • I See the Light from Tangled (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
  • If I Rise from 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
  • We Belong Together from Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

My thoughts, and there will be many, will be coming soon. All in all, except for a few epically dumb decisions, these are some of the best Oscar nominations EVER.

 

 

Categories: News, Oscars

Trailer for “Rubber”

January 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Okay. Well, this has got to be the most absurd, ridiculous and laughable ideas for a movie that I have ever seen in my life…….and goddamn it, I can’t wait to see it. This film is pretty much what it looks like. A spontaneously alive tire puts itself on some kind of a journey. But this is no ordinary tire, go figure. This particular wheel has some mean telepathic powers, enabling him to explode birds, individuals’ heads and everything in the like. I’d call that a pretty good deal, especially when you’re a tire.

God knows what to really expect from this movie. For sure it is one of the most original and daring narrative plotlines to ever make their way on the screen. But in this case, you really have to wonder if that’s a really good thing. Somebody had to have been standing over the director’s shoulder saying, “Are we really making a movie about this?” God, tell me there was one soul on the fence.

Regardless, this seems like a movie see. It’s nothing if not wholly intriguing. Check out the outlandish and really quite hilarious trailer below:

My FINAL Oscar Predictions – 1/22

January 23, 2011 6 comments

This is it. Last call before closing. Nominations for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards will be announced this Tuesday, January 25th, at 7:30am CST (and you can bet I’ll be up hours before then, pumping myself up). For sure, there is a science behind the whole prediction game. A combination of elements, including what’s been happening with the critics groups awards, the different guild nominations and, in some cases, the film’s box office success. Along with that, there’s likability in each contender, how many times they’ve previously been nominated and won, a pseudo-mathematic question of their overall “due” status. Dozens of factors take shape in hugely methodic process, and this is all before anyone even takes into effect how good each contender is. Crazy, huh?

Well, a year-long process has now come to a close, and it’s time for me to nut up and offer my final predictions. The Best Picture line-up is basically down to 11 contenders, with two films vying for the final slot. It’s possible that either “Shutter Island” or “The Ghost Writer” could stage a massive coup and fight their way in their, but I doubt it. Some predictions that I’m sticking my neck out on? I’m still holding on to my convictions (and hopes) that the incredible John Hawkes can beat out Jeremy Renner in the Best Supporting Actor category. I’m also holding out hope that both of “Blue Valentine”‘s stars will outdo their older competition for leading notices. I’m also really hoping that “Exit Through the Gift Shop” can actually tickle the documentary branch’s funny bone (a feat not easily accomplished). Finally, here’s to “Winter’s Bone” edging out “The Town” for Best Picture. In fact, I’m predicting an across-the-board snub of the film. It’s only a slightly above action feature that has no business in the top ten. I have a strong feeling, though, that it will be this year’s “Blind Side.”

Without further adieu, here are the nominees (and once again, these are ranked in order of their chance of getting nominated, not winning):

BEST PICTURE
1. “The Social Network”
2. “The King’s Speech”
3. “The Fighter”
4. “Black Swan”
5. “Inception”
6. “Toy Story 3”
7. “True Grit”
8. “The Kids Are All Right”
9. “127 Hours”
10. “Winter’s Bone”

Alt 1: “The Town”
Alt 2: “Shutter Island”

Click READ MORE to see the rest.

Read more…

The Producers Guild or “At least we’ve got a race, now.”

January 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, there you have it folks. The Producers Guild of America chosen “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network” loses its first major Best Picture award this year. This is a major coup in the race for this year’s Oscars, easily the biggest (if not the only one that’s occurred this season). So I guess the question on everyone’s mind is, how upset am I?

Not really. I mean, let’s face it. Even I think that an Oscar race with absolutely no suspense whatsoever really is kind of boring. As exciting as it is to see your favorite film drive a clear path to big night, winning every award in sight, the Academy Awards are a bit more exciting when you’re biting your nails when the envelope is opened. I wish the award could have gone to a little bit more worthy of a film, like “Toy Story 3,” “The Fighter” or “Inception,” but c’est la vie. The only thing that I do have to worry about is that my biggest fears of only the critics, and not the industry itself, embracing the film.

Well, a bit of history. While the PGA has managed to line-up with Oscar the last three years, before that it wasn’t always such a lock. “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “The Aviator” and “Moulin Rouge” all won the award without going on to win the Oscar. Also, the last three films to win the award also swept at least two of the other three major guilds, which “The King’s Speech” will certainly not be able to do.

It’s interesting that after all the critics awards, after all of the propaganda and the pundits, it comes right back down to what do many said it would be back in October: “The Social Network” vs. “The King’s Speech.” It’s the generation-defining landmark film vs. the Oscar-pedigree heartstring puller. It’s Rudin vs. Weinstein. Even though “The Fighter” is definitely poised to take down the Screen Actors Guild ensemble, it doesn’t have the same type of steam that either of the two frontrunners have. I’m even using the same picture that I concocted almost 4 months ago when I posted this blog’s very first Oscar predictions of the year. Bottom line is that even though “The Social Network” is still the favorite, it’s not over yet.

In closing, on a completely different note, GO BEARS!!! Gave it a hell of a run. Especially you, Forte. And I would be delighted to see Caleb Hanie at the helm next season.