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2012 Academy Awards Luncheon

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

The annual Oscar nominees luncheon is a longstanding tradition. The awards body extends an invitation to every single recipient of a nomination of this year’s event and awards them…well, there is no award. It’s kind of a pat on the back, honor to be nominated type of thing with some free food and a photo-op. All in all, this event really serves no purpose other than placating tradition.

However, as meaningless as this luncheon is, I always get a kick out of this annual photograph. There’s something kind of nostalgic and eye-catching about seeing all of the nominees lined up, middle school yearbook-style. It also gives you the chance to brush up on your “who’s who?” of Hollywood power, including the ones that you don’t regularly see on the screen. There also exists little moments in these things that make me smile. There’s old friends Marty and Spielberg standing side-by-side on the top right. Seventeen-time legend Meryl Streep alongside the up-and-comer Rooney Mara (apparently she doesn’t smile when someone says cheese, and I love her for it) at the top left. Nick Nolte looking like a sunburned Santa Clause and that the guy doing the Gollum impression in the second row.

Enjoy this year’s edition of the “Where’s Waldo?” Oscar spread.

Click the image to resize:

The 83rd Academy Awards – Postgame Coverage

March 2, 2011 1 comment

Well, not that I’ve gotten all of that out of my system, I think it’s fitting to move on to the rest of the awards presented Sunday night. As usual, they included some good, some bad, and some just downright ugly.

As far as the the show, itself, was concerned, I’d rate it about a four out of ten. Even in the face of enormous support for them, I remember stating a long time ago that selecting Hathaway and Franco as a hosting pair was just a bad idea. Finally, my convictions have been exonerated. I’m not sure what exactly was going on here, but it didn’t work. I know that Franco is not an idiot, so he was either bored, stage-frought or stoned out of his mind. Whichever path he took, he just was not there in any form of personality. Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway went way over the top in an attempt to overcompensate for Franco’s absence. A few funny lines, but overall, it was a mess.

Yes. On to the awards. I’ve already made my thoughts clear on the results of Best Picture and they are quite strong. However, if there were a race that I would have to object to, equally, if not moreso, it would have to be Best Director. The idea of Tom Hooper winning the award amongst this crop of nominees is more than absurd, it’s hilarious. Hooper’s effort in “The King’s Speech” did not merit him an Oscar and his career is substantially insufficient for such an honor. The Oscar, hands-down, should have gone to David Fincher. The man knew exactly what he wanted and got it to an extent of perfection that you don’t often see in films.

It’s true that David Fincher does not need an Oscar to make it in this industry. He’s widely considered one of the finest directors working in Hollywood and will go on to make extraordinary films. However, there is the notion of awarding in the moment. It’s quite possible that Fincher may never reach the level of perfection that he achieved here. If there’s one thing that history should have taught the Academy, it’s that Martin Scorsese should never have had to wait until “The Departed” to win an Oscar. While being in the company of “Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas” isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s sad to imagine that no matter what Fincher eventually wins for, it will be considered a “re-ward.” The Oscars should understand a man’s masterpiece when it’s put in front of their faces.

The only other moments of true disgust occurred in the design categories, which were monopolized by the showy monstrosity that was Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” While I predicted Colleen Atwood to take home yet another Oscar for her work on the costumes, I was really kind of hoping that it wouldn’t happen. And seeing the ridiculously gaudy, and really quite ugly, production design conquer some beautiful works of art was a horrible sight. This is an award that I actually would have preferred go to “The King’s Speech,” at least over this. However, it was “Inception”‘s intricately inventive world that was snubbed. Tim Burton’s latest is a film that really shouldn’t be able to hold the title “Academy Award Winner,” especially when none of the design was even built. I mean it’s an entire movie filmed on a green screen.

Most of the great awards of the night, sadly, were the ones that were quite expected. “Toy Story 3” was a lock for the win since the day it opened in theaters. “The Social Network” won for Best Editing because there was really no competition anywhere near in the same ballpark. If a single person didn’t vote for Aaron Sorkin’s absolutely flawless script, I might consider them clinically insane. “Inception”‘s three tech wins were all well-deserved, but it was difficult not to see that sweep occurring, much in the same style as such special-effect wonders as “King Kong,” “The Matrix” and “Jurassic Park.”

It’s hard to argue with the acting wins, even if not a single one of them has differed once, going back from the SAG, to the Golden Globes and the BFCA. The only performer who’s Oscar went hand in hand with an Edgy was Natalie Portman. A truly astonishing performance, the one aspect of “Black Swan” in which recognition is absolutely essential. Firth is definitely not my first choice for Best Actor. However, it’s the type of role that’s difficult not to respect and an actor difficult not to adore. Leo and Bale were both phenomenal and also get props for having the most out-of-control acceptance speeches of the year.

I won’t lie that I have to fly in the face of popular opinion on one issue. I’m very happy that the Academy went back to showing clips for each of the acting nominees rather than just having a bunch of people on stage talking about them. While, it must be nice for the performer to hear their peers praise their work, it’s just another gratuitous way of celebrities patting each other on the back and toasting to their own successes. It’s really kind of grotesque, in a way. Besides, I always looked forward in suspense as to which clip the producers would choose to represent each actor. It’s also a way to present an example of each person’s work for those viewers who haven’t seen all of the performances and in a way that words just can’t substitute.

Perhaps the most bittersweet moment of the night was seeing Wally Pfister receive the award for Best Cinematography. If I was to pick a handful of cinematographers whose work has truly left a mark on the last decade of cinema, Pfister would be at the head of the pack. He is a true master of camera movement and has a perfect eye for lighting a shot. “Inception” is a great exhibition of both these magnificent talents and I couldn’t be happier for him. Yet, one has to wonder, at this point, if the Academy will ever be willing to finally bestow Roger Deakins with his first Oscar. He is one of the most respected directors of photography in the industry, living or dead, and his record with Oscar is now zero for nine. One year, they are really going to have to stop passing him over.

There was one moment of the night that will always live in my memory as a true favorite and that was Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross taking the stage. Even if the Academy isn’t ready to come out of their comfort zone in Best Picture, one really has to give them props for awarding one of the most unorthodox and creative soundtracks ever scored for a substantial film. Reznor and Ross engineered a combination of both traditional rhythms with radical themes of electronic rock tracks. Now that all is said and done, it’s hard to imagine any other type of music narrating “The Social Network.” In a field of fantastic nominees, this year, this is a score that truly stands out. Well done, Academy. One of your better decisions.

Well, that’s my take on the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. While it’s hard to let go of, I believe it’s about time to move on. I believe we have at least a few days time before the race for next year’s Oscars begins, and I’ve got a lot of good stuff in store. Stay tuned.

The 1st Annual Edgy Award Winners

February 24, 2011 2 comments

Well, Hollywood’s biggest night is this Sunday. However, the biggest night for this particular blog is right here and now. I announced the nominees for this year’s Edgy Awards last week and it’s now time to bestow said honors upon the winners. As the results will show, several films have proven their excellence by taking a high number of awards. However, much of the love has been equally spread out. Interestingly, four films out of my Top Ten List went home empty handed, while a film that I would consider quite a disappointment still propelled itself to a win in one category.

Overall, these awards are a very accurate depiction of my opinion on films this year. Now, if only the Oscars had this type of taste. However, if the Oscars always matched exactly what one person thought the best, where’s the fun in that? That kind of reality would eliminate the fun of having an opinion in the first place. It would do away with genuine discussion and healthy argument over film. And, most importantly, it would take away from making this site it’s own unique vision.

NOTE: I have been awesome enough to include a video selection for each award chosen, either a short documentary describing the category or a clip from the film that best exhibits what it has been awarded. However, I can not guarantee that any of the clips selected do or do not contain spoilers. Therefore, if you haven’t yet seen the chosen film, do not watch the clip. Simple.

Also, a number of the clips do not allow embedment. But don’t give up, so easily. Just click the link and it will take you directly to the video’s Youtube link where you can view it. Once again, simple.

Without further adieu, here are the winners of the 2011 Edgy Awards!

 

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

 

“If I Rise” featured in “127 Hours”

Music by A.R. Rahman and Lyrics by Dido and Rollo Armstrong

Runner-Up: “Bred and Buttered” featured in “Winter’s Bone”

Read more…

My Top Ten List – 2010

February 15, 2011 1 comment

Last year, I can remember the huge uproar against the AMPAS extending the amount of Best Picture nominees to ten. I can also remember, that through it all, I was one of this notion’s strongest supporters. I recognize the faults in the logic. It allows for lesser films that have no business being considered one of the year’s best to fight their way in due to endless campaigning and the votes of stupid people. This flaw took shape last year in the form of “The Blind Side” getting nominated for Best Picture.

However, the upsides of the expansion are far greater. It gives the field a more diverse look, for one. It’s nice to see films from a wide range of directors and collaborators. If allows also a mix of both intelligent box office hits and scrappy indy favorites. More than anything else, however, is that five films is just two few to sum up a year in cinema. Had the Academy enacted this ruling ten years ago, one would look back on certain films and think it a crime had they not been nominated, which they haven’t. Imagine a world if films like “The Wrestler,” “The Dark Knight,” “WALL-E,” “Into the Wild,” “Once,” “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “United 93,” “Little Children,” “Children of Men” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” could have been Best Picture nominees, and that’s only the last five years.

It must be for that reason that critics, for over fifty years, have been issuing top ten lists of their favorite films, rather than top five lists. It’s about that time, therefore, for The Edge of the Frame to release its own list for the 2010 year. I have now seen sixty films from 2010, which is low for me and not quite an respectable amount. Over the years, I’m sure that this list will change a spot or two as I see more, but for now, I believe that I’ve seen an acceptable sum to create an adequate list.

This has been a good year for film, but not really a great one. Out of sixty films, I gave only two films “A” grades. The year has had its high points and low points. For instance, it has been a great year for lead acting performances, but a rotten year for cinematography. For sure, I will always remember 2010 as the year that the Oscars snubbed its nose at great film and went home to their comfort zones. More than anything else, however, 2010 has been the year of the documentary. Never have I seen a year in cinema in which so many documentaries have captured my interest, let alone made it into my top ten.

As always there are a few stragglers that, even though they don’t qualify for my top ten, they still deserve an honorable mention. Therefore, this next selection of films are all very good, but just not good enough. They may be packed with amazing moments, but there’s also one too many flaws that have kept them down. So without further adieu, here are the films that just didn’t quite make it:

THE RUNNERS-UP


“127 Hours”

Directed by Danny Boyle
Written by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy

Click HERE to see the rest of the list

Read more…

“King’s Speech” and “Social Network” Win at BAFTAs

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment

It kind of went without saying that “The King’s Speech” was destined to rape the living hell out of these awards since September when the film debuted at the Venice Film Festival. Apparently, it’s the most widely popular and acclaimed British film since, I don’t know….”Lawrence of Arabia,” though I surely don’t understand it. This is a big moment for our English brethren across the Atlantic to pat themselves on the back. A pretty strong example of this is how the British Academy Awards actually have two awards for Best Picture: Best Film and Best British Film. For years they have made it so that no film wins both awards, but rather spread the wealth. Guess what’s the first film ever to take home every Best Picture award on the market?

“The King’s Speech” ended up taking home seven awards, total. Aside from being the first film to achieve the accolade above, the film also became the first film in BAFTA history to take home three awards for acting. Colin Firth, of course, nailed the Best Actor win (not even the real King George risen from the dead could stop Firth from sweeping straight to Oscar glory). However, the film also won supporting awards for both Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter. While Geoffrey Rush is definitely picking up a bit of steam, don’t expect a repeat in the American Academy Awards. If anyone can unseat Melissa Leo, it will be Hailee Steinfeld (sadly).

Despite all of the above, “The King’s Speech” was not the only big winner of the night. Many believed that “The Social Network” was TKOed, not just for these awards, but for year, as well. Some of this ideology was attributed to the film only garnering six nominations (compared to “The King’s Speech”‘s fourteen) or perhaps the heavy American sentiment laden in the work. However, all of this was rendered false, last night, when “The Social Network” won three very substantial awards: Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director for David Fincher. If the Brits won’t even give their award to newcomer Tom Hooper, I can’t see any reason why the American awards circuit would stoop that low.

Check out the full list of winners, below:

BEST FILM: “The King’s Speech”
BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher – “The Social Network”
BEST LEADING ACTOR: Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
BEST LEADING ACTRESS: Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Geoffrey Rush – “The King’s Speech”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Helena Bonham Carter – “The King’s Speech”
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “The Social Network”
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “The King’s Speech”
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “True Grit”
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM: “The King’s Speech”
OUTSTANDING BRITISH DEBUT: “Four Lions”
BEST EDITING: “The Social Network”
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “The King’s Speech”
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: “Inception”
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “Alice in Wonderland”
BEST SOUND: “Inception”
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “Inception”
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR: “Alice in Wonderland”
BEST SHORT FILM: “Until the River Runs Red”
BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATION: “The Eagleman Stag”
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Toy Story 3”
RISING STAR AWARD: Tom Hardy

Does “The Social Network” Still Have a Chance?

February 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I recently read an article written by Steve Pond over at The Wrap, who is in the same boat as 95% of awards pundits in believing that this race is pretty much called for “The King’s Speech.” However, he outlines that there still are some outs left for “The Social Network,” particularly if it changes and ups its campaign in these last few weeks.

The film is having a great weekend, having won the USC Scripter Award last night and all but locked to win the WGA award for Best Adapted Screenplay tonight. What’s better for it is that since “The King’s Speech” wasn’t eligible for the WGA awards (even though its the best bet to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay), it will be a weekend in which “The King’s Speech” will actually be out of the news.

Pond’s article makes some good points. I’ve highlighted a small section of it below where he discusses how “The Social Network” might have a shot in the balloting:

“The question that’ll face “The Social Network” on Sunday morning is whether it can capitalize on the small shot of momentum that comes from a pair of expected victories – and if so, how.

Columnists have been offering scenarios in recent days, ranging from S.T. Van Airsdale’s suggestion that David Fincher show that he actually wants the award to John Lopez’s theorythat the preferential system of ballot-counting – in which a film can win if it picks up enough number two and three votes from movies that are eliminated from contention – will help a critical favorite like “TSN.”

In fact, I’d guess that the preferential count will help “TKS” or even “The Fighter” or “Toy Story 3” more than “TSN.” The question to ask: among voters whose first choices are “Winter’s Bone,” “127 Hours,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “Inception” and “True Grit,” which film is likely to be ranked second? If the majority of those voters go for “Social Network,” it can pull off an upset; if they split their votes or rally behind something else, the Facebook flick is in trouble.”

You can read the full article here. And here’s to holding out hope:

Golden Globes – Postgame

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Okay. I will admit that the HFPA really did do all right by me, last night. Overall they made some pretty good decisions, especially in officially solidifying “The Social Network” as the frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar. If “The King’s Speech” can’t win here, I really can’t imagine it winning anywhere.

However, even if the Golden Globes released a list of their Top 100 favorite films, and their list happened to match mine movie per movie, I would still not take up with them. An organization that will accept bribery and star-fucking as good reasons to nominate “Burlesque” or “Alice in Wonderland” as Best Picture of the Year is no friend of mine.

Here is the full list of winners from last night:

BEST PICTURE, DRAMA
“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“Inception”
“The King’s Speech”
“The Social Network”

Best Picture (Musical/Comedy)
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Burlesque”
“The Kids Are All Right”
“Red”
“The Tourist”

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
David O. Russell, “The Fighter”
Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
David Fincher, “The Social Network”

Best Actor (Drama)
Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”
Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
James Franco, “127 Hours”
Ryan Gosling, “Blue Valentine”
Mark Wahlberg, “The Fighter”

Best Actress (Drama)
Halle Berry, “Frankie and Alice”
Nicole Kidman, “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)
Johnny Depp, “Alice in Wonderland”
Johnny Depp, “The Tourist”
Paul Giamatti, “Barney’s Version”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Love and Other Drugs”
Kevin Spacey, “Casino Jack”

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)
Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”
Anne Hathaway, “Love and Other Drugs”
Angelina Jolie, “The Tourist”
Julianne Moore, “The Kids Are All Right”
Emma Stone, “Easy A”

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
Michael Douglas, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”
Andrew Garfield, “The Social Network”
Jeremy Renner, “The Town”
Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech”
Mila Kunis, “Black Swan”
Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”

Best Screenplay
Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, “The Kids Are All Right”
David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, “127 Hours”
Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Biutiful”
“The Concert”
“The Edge”
“I Am Love”
“In a Better World”

Best Animated Feature
“Despicable Me”
“How to Train Your Dragon”
“The Illusionist”
“Tangled”
“Toy Story 3”

Best Original Score
Danny Elfman, “Alice in Wonderland”
Hans Zimmer, “Inception”
Alexandre Desplat, “The King’s Speech”
A.R. Rahman, “127 Hours”
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “The Social Network”

Best Original Song
“Bound to You” from “Burlesque”
“You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from “Burlesque”
“There’s a Place for Us” from “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”
“Coming Home” from “Country Strong”
“I See the Light” from “Tangled”

Cecil B. De Mille Award
Robert De Niro

As far as my predictions go, I had a very good night. Some of these weren’t the most difficult awards to predict, but I still amassed a record of 12 out of 14, or 85 percent. That might be the best record that I’ve ever had on this particular award show. If it hadn’t have been Johnny Depp getting screwed by two nomination vote-splitting or an absolute upset like no other in Best Foreign Language Film, I would have had a perfect score.

If you had been within one hundred feet of my apartment at one o’clock in the morning (I had to DVR the show since I was working on set during the airtime), you would have heard a chorus of whoops and hollers at every “Social Network” victory. I was particularly ecstatic upon hearing Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ names being called, for not only was that one of the film’s most difficult nominations to win, but that moment pretty much sealed its Best Picture victory.

The acting victories were literally identical to the BFCA wins, with Firth, Portman, Bale and Leo all going home with awards. In the Musical/Comedy section, Annette Bening made her last stand at putting up a fight against Natalie for the Oscar, but I really don’t think it will be enough (despite Bening getting a full ovation and Portman only a few random stands). Paul Giamatti pulled out a not-so-surprising but really cool win over Johnny Depp and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Obviously, the talk of the night was Ricky Gervais’ absolutely no-holds-barred hosting job which bordered on a Comedy Central Roast. I’ve heard things such as network executives swearing that it will be the end of the comic’s career, but for me, the best part of the show was waiting for what he was going to say next. I mean, come on. When you’re that rich and that famous, there is absolutely no reason not to verbally macerated on national television. I haven’t laughed as hard in a long time as when Ricky referred to Bruce Willis as Ashton Kutcher’s dad.

The best part of the night, and ironic for me, since I really don’t care much about the television portion of the awards, was Chris Colfer’s win for “Glee.” Sometimes you see a performer put on their phony “I never would have imagined” face. You could tell that this kid had expected hell to freeze over and then thaw again before he would win this award. The shock, awe and pure joy in his face was just a memorable sight. And while I really don’t enjoy “Glee” so much, both Colfer and Jane Lynch’s performances are far and away the only things that keep it afloat in my attention span. Congrats to both of them.

Well, the critics have officially had their say. All that’s left are those in the industry, and I can only hope that they greet “The Social Network” with as much warmth and gratitude as their judges have. And since it has now received nominations, at least, from every single Hollywood guild, the horizon is looking pretty damned bright.