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My Reaction: The Good, the Meh, and the Ugly, Part 3

January 25, 2012 1 comment

And now, the final segment of my three part thought piece on yesterday’s announcement of the 2012 Oscar nominations. After I’ve had a day to contemplate everything that has transpired, there’s still more than a handful of things that just aren’t sitting well with me. Like a bad case of food poisoning, they just aren’t letting me get any sleep.

Expect this segment to be longer than the others…

THE UGLY

 

Let’s start with the elephant in the room, the nomination that was so phenomenally bogus, you could count on one hand the amount of pundits who were predicting it. And if they were, they did it through gritted teeth. Announced at the end of the linup, like Sharek and Lawrence were in on some kind of sick, inside joke, the ninth Best Picture nomination was “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Despite not receiving nominations from the Producers, Directors, Writers or Screen Actors Guild, and being nearly universally panned by critics, the Academy somehow decided that this film was one of the nine best on the year. Granted, I will not be seeing it until sometime this weekend and therefore won’t be able to vent the movie through my own opinion until then. However, a film with a negative score from both Metacritic (46) and Rotten Tomatoes (48) has no business in any collective BEST Picture of the Year lineup.

Now, that we’ve gotten through with what shouldn’t be there, let’s get started on the long and sad list of the nominations that weren’t. Here come the snubs, and of them, one definitely reigns supreme. Steve McQueen’s unnerving and enlightening “Shame,” despite being one of the year’s greatest examples of direction, editing, writing, and all the other things that make up a damn good movie, failed to receive a single nomination. Even worse over was the exclusion of the film’s fine acting. Both Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan both delivered performances that all but topped their respective categories and are nowhere to be seen. While Demien Bechir’s nomination is an inspiring and heartwarming surprise, Fassbender should have shown up here based solely on merit. A fine waste of phenomenal acting.

There were a few other above-the-line snubs that really bothered me. For one, Bennett Miller should not only should have been among the Best Director nominees, but a part of the conversation this whole time. Who do people think directed this phenomenal film? It received some of the best critical reviews of the year and earned itself six Oscar nominations, and yet Miller has not received even a single mention from any awards body or film critics society this year? I suppose that the film’s script is so good that critics and industry-types thought that the film simply ran on autopilot, but I disagree. There’s a very visible sense of style, mood and pacing in the film that only a skilled director’s touch could have brought. I really wish this man made more films, but he picks his battles, very wisely.

Even though I didn’t come close to predicting her, for I knew that this would be in far too good of taste for the Oscars to stomach, Olivia Colman was the most unappreciated individual of the day. Her astounding work in “Tyrannosaur” is good enough to stand by some of the best of Meryl Streep and Jane Fonda. Poor U.S. distribution and a lousy campaign really stinted her chances, but I’d like to believe that, in a perfect world, this is the type of work that could take home the gold. Yet, as yesterday’s nominations showed, we do not live in a perfect world.

While it still managed to earn a Best Picture nomination, I was disappointed by the underwhelming overall showing for “The Help.” Aside from its three acting nominations, the film was overlooked in a lot of areas. I think that Tate Taylor’s lively and entertaining screenplay deserved a mention. Also, the colorful and authentic costume design, which brilliantly accented the setting and vibe of the film, was overlooked. I can only hope that what little support it has is still enough to push Viola Davis through to a well-deserved victory in the Best Actress category.

Another film that was highly unappreciated was Joe Wright’s livewire action-fest, “Hanna.” Despite receiving a nod from the Cinema Audio Society, the film’s outstanding sound mix somehow missed the cut. On top of that, I had hoped that in the wake of honoring a fresh new style of scoring with last year’s “The Social Network,” the Academy would see the fantastic electronic rhythms of The Chemical Brothers score. Instead, the music branch opted to go back to traditional themes, not even giving mention to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ fantastic follow-up work in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Speaking of the music branch, we come to probably the most appalling announcement of the morning. I am, of course, speaking of this year’s slate of nominees (or lack, thereof) for Best Original Song. There was a lot of fine work done by a wide range of artists this year, including “Lay Your Head Down” from Albert Nobbs,” “The Living Proof” in “The Help,” or the fantastic track “Think You Can Wait” from “Win Win.” And yet all they can conjure up is two nominations: “Man or Muppet,” one of the more underwhelming numbers from that title and “Real in Rio,” a song that most people who have actually seen the film cannot even remember.

I am so baffled by this category, I keep trying to search for explanations as to how they could have screwed up so bad. Perhaps it’s due to a flawed balloting system or maybe any sense of good taste really has been exhausted from said music branch. Some people think that the Academy just really wants to do away with the category all together, after emplacing more and more restrictions on it and even nixing last year’s nominated songs from even performing live during the telecast. If they a reserious about ditching the award, then they should just do it. Don’t insult songwriters and viewers of the Oscars by nominating songs that, quite simply, have no business being nominated at all, let alone ousting much more qualified work. This category is one of the biggest jokes in the history of the Academy Awards, plain and simple.

That about does it for my thoughts on the matter. Now starts the final leg of the race. My next order of business will be my first round of winner predictions for this year’s awards. To be quite honest, the image looked a lot clearer before the nominations were even announced. This is going to take a bit of effort. Stay tuned…

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2012 Academy Award Nominations!

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

And away we go…

BEST PICTURE
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
“The Help”
“Hugo”
“Midnight in Paris”
“Moneyball”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

BEST DIRECTOR
Woody Allen – “Midnight in Paris”
Michael Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Terrence Malick – “The Tree of Life”
Alexander Payne – “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE
Demien Bechir – “A Better Life”
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Gary Oldman – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE
Glenn Close – “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis – “The Help”
Rooney Mara – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE
Kenneth Branagh – “My Week with Marilyn”
Jonah Hill – “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte – “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
Max von Sydow – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE
Bérénice Bejo – “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer – “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“The Artist” by Michel Hazanavicius
“Bridesmaids” by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
“Margin Call” by J.C. Chandor
“Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen
“A Separation” by Asghar Farhadi

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Descendants” by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
“Hugo” by John Logan
“The Ides of March” by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
“Moneyball” by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin Story by Stan Chervin
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“A Cat in Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Kung Fu Panda 2”
“Puss in Boots”
“Rango”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Bullhead” Belgium
“Footnote” Israel
“In Darkness” Poland
“Monsieur Lazhar” Canada
“A Separation” Iran

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Hell and Back Again”
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”
“Pina”
“Undefeated”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“The Artist” – Guillaume Schiffman
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Jeff Cronenweth
“Hugo” – Robert Richardson
“The Tree of Life” – Emmanuel Lubezki
“War Horse” – Janusz Kaminski

BEST EDITING
“The Artist” – Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
“The Descendants” – Kevin Tent
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“Hugo” – Thelma Schoonmaker
“Moneyball” – Christopher Tellefsen

BEST ART DIRECTION
“The Artist” – Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
“Hugo” – Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“Midnight in Paris” – Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil
“War Horse” – Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“Anonymous” – Lisy Christl
“The Artist” – Mark Bridges
“Hugo” – Sandy Powell
“Jane Eyre” – Michael O’Connor
“W.E.” – Arianne Phillips

BEST SOUND MIXING
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
“Hugo” – Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
“Moneyball” – Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
“War Horse” – Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

BEST SOUND EDITING
“Drive” – Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Ren Klyce
“Hugo” – Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
“War Horse” – Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
“Hugo” – Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
“Real Steel” – Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

BEST MAKEUP
“Albert Nobbs” – Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
“The Iron Lady” – Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
“The Adventures of Tintin” – John Williams
“The Artist” – Ludovic Bource
“Hugo” – Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” – Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse” – John Williams

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” – Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from “Rio” – Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

BEST SHORT FILM, LIVE ACTION
“Pentecost” – Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
“Raju” – Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
“The Shore” – Terry George and Oorlagh George
“Time Freak” – Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
“Tuba Atlantic” – Hallvar Witzø

BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATION
“Dimanche/Sunday” – Patrick Doyon
“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” – William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
“La Luna” – Enrico Casarosa
“A Morning Stroll” – Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
“Wild Life” – Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

BEST DOCUMENTARY, SHORT SUBJECT
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement” – Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
“God Is the Bigger Elvis” – Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
“Incident in New Baghdad” – James Spione
“Saving Face” – Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” – Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

There you have it, folks. My fiery reactions to come shortly, after I blow off some steam.

My Golden Globe Predictions

December 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m not going to spend a lot of time justifying these. With the Golden Globes, you just never know what is going to happen, to be quite honest. One easy way to make predictions would be to track which studios sent the HFPA members the most gift baskets and free trips to Vegas, but I guess that’s out of the question.

For the record, I am going against my hopes and dreams by betting against “Moneyball” in most categories. I may regret it, but I just don’t see the Globes going hardcore for a baseball movie, no matter how incredible it is. I can only hope that I’ll be proven wrong.

Here’s my predictions:

BEST PICTURE: DRAMA

1. “The Descendants”
2. “Hugo”
3. “War Horse”
4. “The Help”
5. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

Alt 1: “Moneyball”
Alt 2: “Drive”

BEST PICTURE: MUSICAL/COMEDY
1. “The Artist”
2. “Midnight in Paris”
3. “Bridesmaids”
4. “50/50”
5. “My Week with Marilyn”

Alt 1: “Crazy Stupid Love”
Alt 2: “Carnage”

BEST ACTOR: DRAMA
1. George Clooney – “The Descendants”
2. Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”
3. Leonardo DiCaprio – “J. Edgar”
4. Michael Fassbender – “Shame”
5. Gary Oldman – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Alt 1: Ryan Gosling – “Drive”
Alt 2: Woody Harrelson – “Rampart”

BEST ACTOR: MUSICAL/COMEDY
1. Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
2. Joseph Gordon-Levitt – “50/50”
3. Paul Giamatti – “Win Win”
4. Johnny Depp – “The Rum Diary”
5. Owen Wilson – “Midnight in Paris”

Alt 1: Steve Carell – “Crazy Stupid Love”
Alt 2: Matt Damon – “We Bought a Zoo”

BEST ACTRESS: DRAMA
1. Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
2. Viola Davis – “The Help”
3. Glenn Close – “Albert Nobbs”
4. Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
5. Kirsten Dunst – “Melancholia”

Alt 1: Olivia Colman – “Tyrannosaur”
Alt 2: Elizabeth Olsen – “Martha Marcy May Marlene”

BEST ACTRESS: MUSICAL/COMEDY
1. Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”
2. Charlize Theron – “Young Adult”
3. Kristen Wiig – “Bridesmaids”
4. Emma Stone – “Crazy Stupid Love”
5. Jodie Foster – “Carnage”

Alt 1: Kate Winslet – “Carnage”
Alt 2: Cameron Diaz – “Bad Teacher”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
2. Kenneth Branagh – “My Week with Marilyn”
3. Albert Brooks – “Drive”
4. Nick Nolte – “Warrior”
5. Armie Hammer – “J. Edgar”

Alt 1: Max von Sydow – “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
Alt 2: Viggo Mortensen – “A Dangerous Method”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
2. Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
3. Berenice Bejo – “The Artist”
4. Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”
5. Vanessa Redgrave – “Coriolanus”

Alt 1: Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Alt 2: Carey Mulligan – “Shame”

BEST DIRECTOR
1. Michael Hazavanicius – “The Artist”
2. Steven Spielberg – “War Horse”
3. Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”
4. Woody Allen – “Midnight in Paris”
5. Stephen Daldry – “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

Alt 1: Alexander Payne – “The Descendants”
Alt 2: Nicholas Wending Refn – “Drive”

BEST SCREENPLAY
1. “Midnight in Paris”
2. “The Descendants”
3. “The Artist”
4. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
5. “Moneyball”

Alt 1: “War Horse”
Alt 2: “The Help”

BEST ANIMATED FILM
1. “Rango”
2. “The Adventures of Tintin”
3. “Puss in Boots”
4. “Arthur Christmas”
5. “Cars 2”

Alt 1: “Kung Fu Panda”
Alt 2: “Rio”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
1. “The Artist”
2. “War Horse”
3. “Hugo”
4. “The Adventures of Tintin”
5. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

Alt 1: “Drive”
Alt 2: “Rango”

I’m not even going to attempt to do Foreign Language Film or Original Song since its late and I will most certainly do pretty poorly on them. We’ll see what happens in a few hours and I’ll be sure to report whatever turns up.

Broadcast Film Critics Choice Awards Nominees

December 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Jeez. I’m not sure at what point and time I am going to have a chance to process everything that has happened as of late. In fact, with the Screen Actors Guild nominations coming tomorrow and the Golden Globe nods coming the day after that, I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to that point. Therefore, we’ll just continue to take this thing one step at a time. And this particular step may be the most defining moment in shaping the Oscar race (at least as far as critics are concerned).

For the past decade the BFCA has made itself into less of prestigious critics group that makes insightful choices concerning the best films of the year and more into the most highly televised group of Oscar prognosticators on the planet. Sure, they picked “The Social Network” over “The King’s Speech” and yes, they went with “Brokeback Mountain” over “Crash” so one could make the argument that they have some integrity. Or you could just look back and realize that at those points in time, those films were the absolute frontrunners to win the Oscar. And when you take a look at this list of nominees, there’s really nothing to hide. These are Oscar predictions to the core.

One thing that these nominations have certainly proven is what we’ve already known all along: “The Artist” is the frontrunner for Best Picture. Even though it shares the title of nomination-leader (11) with “Hugo,” with all of its accolades, it’s hard not to put Hazavanicius’ film in the lead. Coming in second with a surprising 8 nominations is “Drive,” followed by “The Help,” “The Descendants” and “War Horse” each garnering 7. “The Tree of Life” came out with five nominations, including a Best Picture nod and yet, strangely, no love for Terrence Malick, himself. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” scored four nominations, including Picture and Director, while “Midnight in Paris” and “Moneyball” rounded it out with 3 apiece.

I simply don’t have the strength to go into a full analysis of all this right now. Plus, it all seems a bit of a mute point when everything will just get turned on its head tomorrow and then again on Thursday. Therefore, we’ll just let these stew for a while and I’ll get back to milling over “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” which I got a chance to screen last night.

Here’s the full list of nominations:

BEST PICTURE
The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse

BEST ACTOR
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Leonardo DiCaprio – “J. Edgar”
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Michael Fassbender – “Shame”
Ryan Gosling – “Drive”
Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

BEST ACTRESS
Viola Davis – “The Help”
Elizabeth Olsen – “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Charlize Theron – “Young Adult”
Michelle Williams – “My Week With Marilyn”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Kenneth Branagh – “My Week With Marilyn”
Albert Brooks – “Drive”
Nick Nolte – “Warrior”
Patton Oswalt – “Young Adult”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
Andrew Serkis – “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Berenice Bejo – “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
Carey Mulligan – “Shame”
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS
Asa Butterfield – “Hugo”
Elle Fanning – “Super 8”
Thomas Horn – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
Ezra Miller – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Saoirse Ronan – “Hanna”
Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE
The Artist
Bridesmaids
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March

BEST DIRECTOR
Stephen Daldry – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Alexander Payne – “The Descendants”
Nicolas Winding Refn – “Drive”
Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”
Steven Spielberg – “War Horse”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“The Artist” – Michel Hazanavicius
“50/50” – Will Reiser
“Midnight in Paris” – Woody Allen
“Win Win” – Screenplay by Tom McCarthy, Story by Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni
“Young Adult” – Diablo Cody

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Descendants” – Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” – Eric Roth
“The Help” – Tate Taylor
“Hugo” – John Logan
“Moneyball” – Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Story by Stan Chervin

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“The Artist” – Guillaume Schiffman
“Drive” – Newton Thomas Sigel
“Hugo” – Robert Richardson
“The Tree of Life” – Emmanuel Lubezki
“War Horse” – Janusz Kaminski

BEST ART DIRECTION
“The Artist” – Production Designer: Laurence Bennett, Art Director: Gregory S. Hooper
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Production Designer: Stuart Craig, Set Decorator: Stephenie McMillan
“Hugo” – Production Designer: Dante Ferretti, Set Decorator: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“The Tree of Life” – Production Designer: Jack Fisk, Art Director: David Crank
“War Horse” – Production Designer: Rick Carter, Set Decorator: Lee Sandales

BEST EDITING
“The Artist” – Michel Hazanavicius and Anne-Sophie Bion
“Drive” – Matthew Newman
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” – Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“Hugo” – Thelma Schoonmaker
“War Horse” – Michael Kahn

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“The Artist” – Mark Bridges
“The Help” – Sharen Davis
“Hugo” – Sandy Powell
“Jane Eyre” – Michael O’Connor
“My Week With Marilyn” – Jill Taylor

BEST MAKEUP
Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Iron Lady
J. Edgar
My Week With Marilyn

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Super 8
The Tree of Life

BEST SOUND
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Super 8
The Tree of Life
War Horse

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Adventures of Tintin
Arthur Christmas
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rango

BEST ACTION MOVIE
Drive
Fast Five
Hanna
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Super 8

BEST COMEDY
Bridesmaids
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Horrible Bosses
Midnight in Paris
The Muppets

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
In Darkness
Le Havre
A Separation
The Skin I Live In
Where Do We Go Now

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Buck
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Page One: Inside the New York Times
Project Nim
Undefeated

BEST SONG
“Hello Hello” – performed by Elton John and Lady Gaga/written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin – Gnomeo & Juliet
“Life’s a Happy Song” – performed by Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter/written by Bret McKenzie – The Muppets
“The Living Proof” – performed by Mary J. Blige/written by Mary J. Blige, Thomas Newman and Harvey Mason, Jr. – The Help
“Man or Muppet” – performed by Jason Segel and Walter/written by Bret McKenzie – The Muppets
“Pictures in My Head” – performed by Kermit and the Muppets/written by Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis and Chen Neeman – The Muppets

BEST SCORE
“The Artist” – Ludovic Bource
“Drive” – Cliff Martinez
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
“Hugo” – Howard Shore
“War Horse” – John Williams

Updated Oscar Predictions – 10/13

October 17, 2011 2 comments

Another month has passed, and many of the biggest potential candidates have yet to be released to the general public (or the people who actually vote on them). However, there have definitely been a few shifts in the state of the race. Several horses have solidified themselves while others have fallen from grace. Meanwhile, most still remain a mystery.

One film has certainly been securely planted into the Best Picture race after a decent showing in the box office and nearly unanimous praise from critics (including this one). That movie is “Moneyball.” Aaron Sorkin looks to make it two nominations in a row with his fantastic script shared with Stephen Zallian. For sure, Brad Pitt, Bennett Miller and even Jonah Hill also have chances for nominations as well. The film is far from a lock in terms of a Best Picture nomination, especially with the potentially smaller field. Yet, it has definitely sky-rocketed into contention.

While certain films are on the rise, others are falling fast. One of the season’s early hopefuls has hit a series of brick walls on the festival trail. David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” had a lot of potential, but is mostly coming across critics and audiences that simply like it or don’t. Rave reviews are an elusive find. While Keira Knightley is definitely getting the majority of the raves, keeping her in the game, the studio is attempting to campaign her in the leading category, which I personally see as a mistake. Maybe “Method” still has a shot at a few nominations, but overall, it seems to be fading fast into limbo.

One major question, awaiting a final judgment, is whether or not “The Adventures of Tin Tin” will be ruled as an animated film or as live action due to its motion capture. This will have a huge impact on at least Best Animated Feature, for if it is ruled a cartoon, expect it to win in a walk. If not, then “Rango” becomes the frontrunner. For now, I will keep it in the category and I hope it stays. God help us when the Academy and people as a whole start to lose track of what is animated and what isn’t. I mean, seriously.

Finally, one movie that was originally poised for a potential victory on the big night was “The Ides of March.” However, now that the film has come and nearly gone, it doesn’t seem to have made as big of a splash that it would have liked. box office was relatively poor and reviews are missing a positive consensus. It seems as though the idea of the film (a political thriller, very much in the moment with George Clooney in nearly every single credit) is keeping it afloat more so than the film itself. Since critics will most likely pass it over when their awards come along, the buzz will have to survive until the guilds for it to have any kind of chance.

As far as “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” I really don’t know what to do with it, yet. As much as everyone else sees it becoming THE frontrunner for pretty much everything, I could just as easily see it missing completely. For now, I’m leaving it out of most categories, but that may change if the buzz increases once critics actually start to see it.

Well, enough talk. I will let the rest of my predictions speak for themselves. Check out the full list after the jump or up in the predictions tab in the corner of the page. Enjoy!

BEST PICTURE

1. War Horse
2. The Descendants
3. J. Edgar
4. The Artist
5. The Ides of March
6. The Help
7. Moneyball
8. Midnight in Paris
9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
10. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Alt 1: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Alt 2: The Tree of Life

Read more…

My 25 Most Anticipated Films of the Season

September 21, 2011 1 comment

Tis the season. What season is that? It’s kind of hard to say. I suppose it’s a combination of fall and winter. I suppose it’s when the awards season really starts to heat up. More than that, however, it’s the time of year when good movies are released. That’s what it is, primarily. It’s the season of good movies, and I look forward to it all year long.

In honor of that, I thought I’d throw up a little list entailing the movies that you absolutely should not miss. Now, these are not necessarily films that you’re guaranteed to like. I’m not even guaranteed to approve. Neither is this an Oscarish type of list, for its guaranteed that nearly half of these movies will never even see a nomination at the Kodak.

What these films do have in common is that they have not yet been released to the general public and from trailers, stills, stories, festival performances and what some critics have already said about them, they look pretty good to me. These are the movies that I really cannot wait to see. With each title in the countdown, I’ve included a few words about why I find these films so promising. I’ve also posted each film’s trailer (except for the small few that have yet to release one). So without further adieu, enjoy, and remember this list if you plan on seeing at least twenty-five movies in the next few months.

NOTE: Two films most would expect to be on here, are not. “Moneyball” would have made a spot on the list, but I have already caught an advance screening of it (AND LOVED IT). “Drive” would also certainly find its place on here, since I have not yet gotten a chance to see it, but since it has already been released, it excludes itself from the rest of films featured.

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25. “Margaret”

September 30th (limited)

WHY IT’S  HERE: Pretty weird situation here. The film looks to have an interesting plot, a great cast. However, after being delayed release for six years, you’d think this film’s going to have some severe flaws and issues. The winning flip side is that after that much time of waiting and hoping, the amount of anticipation this film carries with it is more than enough reel me in.

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