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The 84th Oscars: Aftermath and Postgame Coverage

March 1, 2012 2 comments

As I watched the telecast of Sunday’s awards, going over the mixture of predictably safe choices, three words kept circling through my head, like scrolling text on the side of a blimp: BUSINESS AS USUAL. It’s been known for a while that the French silent film “The Artist” was scheduled to take home many of the top awards including Best Picture and Best Director. However, what was not expected was that the sweep would be split between it and Martin Scorsese’s family film (I feel like my hatred towards it spawns mostly from having to join those four words together), “Hugo,” which matched “The Artist’s” total of five wins. In simplest terms, I’d describe these wins as safe, mundane and boring, but honestly, what else is new? Read more…

The 84th Academy Award Winners

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Nothing left to say. Here are the winners as they are announced:

BEST PICTURE: “The Artist”

BEST DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE: Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE: Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE: Octavia Spencer – “The Help”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “The Descendants”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Midnight in Paris”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “Rango”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “Undefeated”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “A Separation”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Hugo”

BEST EDITING: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

BEST ART DIRECTION: “Hugo”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “The Artist”

BEST SOUND MIXING: “Hugo”

BEST SOUND EDITING: “Hugo”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “Hugo”

BEST MAKEUP: “The Iron Lady”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “The Artist”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM: “Saving Face”

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: “The Shore”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”

Categories: News, Oscars Tags: , , ,

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:

2012 Oscars Winner Predictions – Round One

January 29, 2012 2 comments

Well, there’s no turning back now. There’s no more debating to be done on the Academy Award nominees. No more discussion of who’s too young or too old, too white or too black, too new or two powerful, and no more weighing out each person’s clout within their particular groups of peers. The nominations are in, and it’s a whole new ballgame. Some frontrunners have fallen and others still sit at the top. Yet, I fully believe that barely a single category is the same as it was three days ago.

Instead of just highlighting a few select categories and offering my thoughts, I’m going to go through each award, one by one, and discuss how things have shaped up.

See the full list after the jump:

BEST PICTURE

Despite a couple shifts in the power balance a few days ago, this is an award whose frontrunner hasn’t shifted at all. “Hugo” may have beat it out by one to become the nomination leader (and thus the only competition for the award), but “The Artist” has a massive lead. It will take a whole lot to knock it from the top of the ladder. “The Help,” once considered a possible underdog upset, showed up little support, including a lack of the crucial Best Editing nomination. Meanwhile, “The Descendants” has lost this battle in the guilds. “Hugo” is the only film that really holds any kind of chance, but only in theory.
MY PREDICTION: “The Artist”
SPOILER: “Hugo” Read more…

Academy Narrows Foreign Language Finalists to 9

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment

The good news is that “A Separation” has advanced to the next round. I guess that it’s a little strange that I’m saying that since I won’t have a chance to see it for another week. Yet, when a film receives the kind of unanimous praise that Asghar Farhadi’s feature has, it’s difficult to not just jump the gun and onto the bandwagon.

Yet, even if the AMPAS’ Foreign Language Film branch does one thing right, they always find a way to piss a lot of other people off in doing something wrong. Left off of the Academy’s shortlist are some of the more acclaimed films of the year. “Le Havre” managed to take the FIPRESCI prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, but does not manage a spot here. Nor does France’s domestic drama of young love “Declaration of War,” which has been stirring the minds of critics on both sides of the Atlantic. I’m also not sure any foreign film aside from “A Separation” has garnered more buzz than Mexico’s “Miss Bala,” a tale of beauty pageants and organized crime. All of these films I was predicting among the nominees next week, but no more.

So what does that leave us with. Well, “A Separation,” should go without saying, yet, I wouldn’t doubt for a moment the Academy’s likeliness of screwing that one up. Poland’s entry “In Darkness” has also been turning a lot of heads. I would definitely expect “Footnote,” from Israel to get mentioned, having taken the Best Screenplay prize at Cannes. Wim Wenders certainly profits from name recognition when it comes to his dance documentary “Pina.” I have a feeling it will show up either here or in Best Documentary, but not both, as happened with “Waltz with Bashir, a few years back. Which category…I’m not yet certain.

Here are the nine shortlisted films:

“Bullhead” – Belgium
“Footnote” – Israel
“In Darkness” – Poland
“Monsieur Lazhar” – Canada
“Omar Killed Me” – Morocco
“Pina” – Germany
“A Separation” – Iran
“Superclasico” – Denmark
“Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale” – Taiwan

The nominees will be announced alongside the rest of them in 6 days.

Updated Oscar Predictions – 1/6

January 6, 2012 Leave a comment

These might be my final set of predictions before last call on January 23rd. There’s still a mess-load of guilds on their way and a box office that could still declare certain films winners (or losers), but I still feel pretty confident about these choices. Feel free to comment whether you agree or think I’m crazy.

One note: I have spent the entire year not predicting “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” while everyone else was jumping on the bandwagon. Now that the film has all but completely fallen off the radar (thanks to the utter panning of critics), I can’t help but feel a sense of unadulterated joy. Maybe I’ll be eating my words, later on, but for now…huzzah.

One more note: The Academy’s new method of having and indiscriminate amount of Best Picture nominees has made predicting that category nearly impossible. Therefore, I will still guess on the full ten and you can go ahead and judge by the numbers I provide as to what will make it if there are nine or eight, etc…

BEST PICTURE

1. “The Artist”
2. “Hugo”
3. “The Descendants”
4. “The Help”
5. “War Horse”
6. “Midnight in Paris”
7. “Moneyball”
8. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
9. “Bridesmaids”
10. “The Tree of Life”

Alt 1: “Drive”
Alt 2: “My Week with Marilyn”

Read more…

Back Into the Fray…

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Alright, it’s certainly no secret that I’ve been on quite a hiatus from The Edge of the Frame over the last two weeks. I’m sorry to say that I don’t even have a good excuse, aside from just having a lot going on. Obviously Christmas, New Year’s Eve and both of their aftermaths have taken their toll on my schedule. As some of you know, my birthday also happened to fall in the last few weeks (congratulations to me for making it to a quarter of a century) which also brought about it’s own string of festivities. Perhaps the most time-consuming and unfortunately debilitating event of recent times was my grueling bout with food poisoning, that kept me all but bed-ridden for nearly a week. Allow me to thank Peking Chinese Kitchen on Belmont for that. You definitely lost a return customer with that one.

Anyway, now that my schedule is relatively clear and my digestive system is back to normal, I think it’s about time to get back down to business. The last post I made was to close out the biggest week in the awards season with the Golden Globe nominations. And while not many more hugely substantial announcements have occurred since, the shape of this year’s race has shifted a little bit. Let’s dive in.

Well, while other things have changed here and there, the overall frontrunner has not moved much. “The Artist” positioned itself in the lead about a month ago and it really hasn’t lost any ground. “The Tree of Life” has certainly picked up a lot of steam on the critics circuit, but no film has come close to matching the strong silent type in terms of genuine devotion, from critics and audiences alike. It also has a fresh taste spinning for it that virtually no other film made this year can lay claim to.

So what film this year still has the potential to upset the current trajectory? The answer, unfortunately is nothing. Several films have earned themselves a late surge with some unexpected critical love, such as the above-mentioned “The Tree of Life,” as well as “Drive,” yet both films are still just fighting for nominations. As far as the other juggernauts go, “War Horse” just hasn’t been able to break past its own sappiness to overcome it’s largely mediocre status. “The Descendants,” meanwhile, seemingly peaked too early and lost a lot of its buzz by the time awards started rolling in. It will still likely pick up an Oscar or two, but its original status as a Best Picture hopeful is fading.

Perhaps the only two films that stand anywhere near a fighting chance are “Hugo” and “The Help.” While just about no one (aside from myself) can stop drooling their praise all over Martin Scorsese and what he has done with this 3D endeavor, the film does suffer greatly from completely missing out in the SAG nominations. Say what you want, but the performers contingent of the Academy nearly doubles any other and their opinion weighs in greatly, here. And one film’s bane is another’s best friend, for “The Help” has the SAG deep in it’s pocket. This unlikely little film-that-could has surprisingly become “The Artist”‘s biggest competition, provided it keeps up a solid guild run (which certainly seems probable with it’s PGA nomination). Perhaps its biggest detractor is the lack of a well-known director. Yet, if Tate Taylor is able to surprise us all with a DGA nomination next week, it’s star will just keep rising.

Obviously, the biggest surprise of the last month has been the emergence of “Bridesmaids” as a contender for a Best Picture nomination. I’d wager any money that, back in May, you could count on both hands how many people thought that this was a plausible scenario for a film that features one woman going number two in a bathroom sink, while another squats in the middle of the street. Albeit, that is arguably the funniest scene of any film this year and I would not be at all disappointed if the film ended up on the shortlist. Yet, it’s bordering on mystifying that the Academy has reached that point. If “Bridesmaids” scores a nomination with the WGA, tomorrow, it will have one from all four guilds, and you can count on only one hand the amount of films that have done that this year.

I won’t go into the acting categories just yet, but will hopefully address those individually at a later date. However, I will be following this up with a new complete set of predictions by tomorrow. Stay tuned.

15 Finalists for Best Visual Effects Category

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Just as it did with Best Documentary, and likely will do for Best Makeup, the Academy has shortlisted a selection of 15 finalists that will go on to compete for nominations in the Best Visual Effects category. Unlike last year, in which this category was gift-wrapped for “Inception” from the moment the flick appeared in theaters, 2011 features an assortment of talent that will likely produce some actual competition for the gold.

The following films are on the VFX shortlist:

“Captain America: The First Avenger”
“Cowboys & Aliens”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“Hugo”
“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”
“Real Steel”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”
“Sucker Punch”
“Super 8″
“Thor”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“The Tree of Life”
“X-Men: First Class”

While the field is more competitive this year, it’s difficult not to give frontrunner status to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Not only did the quality of the film itself utterly drive over everyone’s expectations, but the visual effects are quite astounding. While most buzz around this film is directed towards Andy Serkis’ fine performance, folks can’t forget that he was only half responsible for the character of Ceasar. If the VFX hadn’t been spot on, the film never would have been held in such high esteem.

Perhaps “Apes” biggest competition comes from a duo of films that I have chosen to call the attack of the “H”s, if only for my own amusement. The Harry Potter franchise has already been nominated in this category twice before (while many probably believe that number should be greater). There might be a bit of overdue status surrounding “Deathly Hollows: Part 2” and many voters may find this the best place to honor it. Mostly because the film’s other competitive category of Art Direction will likely get taken down by the other “H” that is Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo.” The 3D effect-ridden world of said film may sway voters towards a win, but people may see through the CGI and remember only the design of it all.

 

One film that I finally viewed recently and really hope makes a splash here is “X-Men: First Class” only the mutant effects, but practically everything featured in the film’s final thirty minutes is more than deserving of a nomination. It will have a tough time outing any of the category’s big guns, though.

From this list, I’d say that the field will probably look something like this:

1. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
2. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2”
3. “Hugo”
4. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
5. “Super 8”

Alt 1: “X-Men:  First Class”
Alt 2: “Real Steel”

Updated Oscar Predictions – 12/5

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Thought I’d throw these up real quick before anything has the chance to further throw things off track. With so much going on, it’s almost impossible to do this without live prediction updates with every new announcement. Yet, it’s important to remember that many of the announcements, while notable, are not intensively significant in terms of the Oscar season. When predicting at this point, you almost have to just stick your finger up and see where the wind is blowing.

There are two films that have certainly positioned themselves at the head of the field, and it’s not like we weren’t already aware. “The Descendants” and “The Artist” have dominated the majority of awards announcements thus far and are not likely to stop.”Moneyball” and “The Tree of Life” have definitely shown their still in the game, while “Hugo” has emerged as a candidate and potential frontrunner.

While the guilds will largely decide its fate, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” has yet to receive any notice at all. Neither, to some extent, has “War Horse,” yet Mr. Spielberg’s film is far from leaving contention. Meanwhile, “The Girl with Dragon Tattoo” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” remain shrouded in a fair amount of mystery.

Remember, that while I hope that these predictions are a bit more relevant than my last, things are going to get blown wide open in about ten days when we have the results of the BFCA, the SAG and the Golden Globe nominations. Therefore, enjoy these while they last. Things are about to get messy.

Check out my full list of predictions after the cut:

BEST PICTURE

1. “The Artist”
2. “The Descendants”
3. “War Horse”
4. “Hugo”
5. “Moneyball”
6. “The Help”
7. “Midnight in Paris”
8. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
9. “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
10. “The Tree of Life”

Alt 1: “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
Alt 2: “Shame”

Read more…

15 Documentaries Make Oscar’s Short List

November 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Sorry that I’m a bit late on this, but I’ve been a little preoccupied over the last week with my sister’s wedding. The Academy has released its next round of finalists in a branch that I’ve grown to love and hate equally. They always seem to make a few poor selection decisions and omissions and this year is really no different.

The short list is as follows:

“Battle for Brooklyn” (RUMER Inc.)
“Bill Cunningham New York” (First Thought Films)
“Buck” (Cedar Creek Productions)
“Hell and Back Again” (Roast Beef Productions Limited)
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” (Marshall Curry Productions, LLC)
“Jane’s Journey” (NEOS Film GmbH & Co. KG)
“The Loving Story” (Augusta Films)
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” (@radical.media)
“Pina” (Neue Road Movies GmbH)
“Project Nim” (Red Box Films)
“Semper Fi: Always Faithful” (Tied to the Tracks Films, Inc.)
“Sing Your Song” (S2BN Belafonte Productions, LLC)
“Undefeated” (Spitfire Pictures)
“Under Fire: Journalists in Combat” (JUF Pictures, Inc.)
“We Were Here” (Weissman Projects, LLC)

Let’s start with a few things that I am quite happy with. It is nice to see the Academy considering “We Were Here” a little-known documentary about the emergence of the AIDS crisis and the banding together of the gay community that followed. Also, I’m very happy to see “If a Tree Falls” hanging onto contention. In a time of such social unrest and protest, the film is a strong examination of human futility, police brutality and the concept of justifiable crime. It truly brings into light the concept of one man’s terrorist being another man’s freedom fighter and illustrates how that man could very well be your neighbor.

Now, we’ll take a moment to note what was expected. “Project Nim,” the chimpanzee-education film by the makers of “Man on Wire” was bound to find a slot in here. The film does look exceptional, but it wouldn’t really matter considering the list of accolades that the helmers’ last effort brought in. Two other films that are also unsurprisingly here are “Buck,” the true-life horse whisperer that the Robert Redford film was based on, and “Hell and Back Again,” the personal journey of a soldier reflected both in and coming home from Afghanistan. While I’m kind of annoyed that some truly original work has been snubbed by yet ANOTHER war documentary, I still can’t believe the brilliant cinematography on display in the film. Remarkable.

There were some truly shocking omissions in this category, as usual. The most prominent is the absence of “Senna,” the story of Formula 1 racer Aryton Senna who won three championships and was later killed in a fiery crash. I don’t think there was a single pundit who wasn’t considering this a major contender, while the majority already had it pegged to win. Also snubbed were two documentaries about journalism, itself. “Page One: Inside the New York Times,” a story detailing the fight between old school reporting and social media, and “Tabloid,” the latest film by the man who changed the way documentaries were made, Errol Morris. “Tabloid,” however, is in the midst of a lawsuit with its subject, Joyce McKinney, which might account for its absence.

Finally, there’s the category of straight-up disappointments. The first, though not wholly unexpected, was the snub of Werner Herzog’s powerful new discussion of the death penalty, “Into the Abyss.” The film is extraordinary and one would think that the Academy might try to lift the shame it brought on itself after penalizing and snubbing perhaps one of the greatest documentaries ever made, “Grizzly Man.” But, alas, it appears they still have it out for Herzog and his quest for cinematic truth.

Yet, without a doubt, the most painful snub of the list was of Steve James’ unrelentingly emotional film “The Interrupters.” James made a huge splash in the documentary world with his epic story of a high school basketball team, “Hoop Dreams” (which Roger Ebert still calls one of the 100 greatest films of all time). Here, he examines a group of unlikely heroes: a crime prevention group in Chicago that pulls out all the stops in their attempt to end gang violence. The group goes door to door and sometimes throws itself into the fray for the sole purpose of saving lives. In a time that is overrun with films about big issues such as the economy and the war, it was refreshing to see a film about an problem just as dire, that exists in our own backyard and is completely solvable when some would choose to simply turn their backs on it. Shame on the Academy for overlooking such a powerful and cathartic film that really inspires people to make a difference.

The way things stand now, I would put the documentary category looking something like this:

1. “Project Nim”
2. “Hell and Back Again”
3. “We Were Here”
4. “Pina”
5. “Buck”

Alt 1: “If a Tree Falls: The Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
Alt 2: “Bill Cunningham: New York”

We shall see. Stay tuned to The Edge of the Frame when I add this to my next list of updated predictions, hopefully some time in the next week.