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My Final 83rd Oscar Predictions

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, folks, it’s all come to an end. These will be my final predictions for this year’s Academy Awards. It has been a long year and a tough year, one with one of the biggest tide-turnings in the history of film. It’s hard to see the best, as well as my favorite, movie go from being on top of the world to fighting for its life. I still believe that it will come out victorious in the end, but I will be hanging on to that prediction by my fingernails until the first ballot is called.

This year, some of the races are a foregone conclusion. Both lead acting categories were practically finalized months ago, and the supporting awards are pretty close to sewn up, as well. You can probably take both of the screenplay awards to the bank, as well, along with animated feature. I also feel pretty confident calling both sound categories and visual effects for a single film to capture.

Several awards are thoroughly nagging on me and will be to the very end. One will be the very first ballot called, so we won’t have to wait long. Art Direction is in a very close. “The King’s Speech” is definitely the front runner with both “Inception” and “Alice in Wonderland” biting at its heals. It’s interesting to note that in all the times that a Tim Burton film has been nominated for this particular award, it has never lost. That statistic goes hand in hand with another, in that every time one such movie has been nominated for Best Costume Design, it has never won. I plan to go against that logic tonight, even as it faces a very strong contender in “The King’s Speech.”

Along with Design, both of the music categories have been severely nagging at me, as well. In Original Score, there is a showdown between the two Best Picture frontrunners, the stylish and innovative music in “The Social Network” vs. the quiet, beautiful, but really quite boring tones of “The King’s Speech.” Meanwhile, “Inception” and “How to Train Your Dragon” both have potential as spoilers. In Best Original Song, Randy Newman is looking for his second Oscar with the song “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3,” while A.R. Rahman seeks his third (he won two for “Slumdog Millionaire). Either has potential.

Finally, we come to the big one. It’s funny how after everything else, Best Picture ends up being the closest race of all. In one corner, there’s “The King’s Speech,” the heart-warming, generally-appealing historical epic. In its pocket are the PGA, the DGA and the SAG Ensemble. It’s opposition: “The Social Network,” is the original, stylized, cold-shouldered work of art. Behind it is the Golden Globe, the BFCA, the WGA, the ACE and basically every critics award for Best Picture that exists. It will be a fight to the finish. The one question the Academy has to ask themselves now.

Do they want to be smart or do they want to be saps? I still have faith.

My final predictions:

BEST PICTURE
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST DIRECTOR
Winner: David Fincher – “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: Tom Hooper – “The King’s Speech”

BEST ACTOR
Winner: Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
Runner-Up: Jesse Eisenberg – “The Social Network”

BEST ACTRESS
Winner: Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”
Runner-Up: Annette Bening – “The Kids Are All Right”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Winner: Christian Bale – “The Fighter”
Runner-Up: Geoffrey Rush – “The King’s Speech”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Winner: Melissa Leo – “The Fighter”
Runner-Up: Hailee Steinfeld – “True Grit”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Winner: “The King’s Speech”
Runner-Up: “Inception”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “Toy Story 3”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Winner: “In a Better World”
Runner-Up: “Incendies”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Winner: “Toy Story 3”
Runner-Up: “How to Train Your Dragon”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Winner: “Inside Job”
Runner-Up: “Exit Through the Gift Shop”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Winner: “True Grit”
Runner-Up: “Inception”

BEST EDITING
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST ART DIRECTION
Winner: “The King’s Speech”
Runner-Up: “Inception”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Winner: “Alice in Wonderland”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST SOUND MIXING
Winner: “Inception”
Runner-Up: “The Social Network”

BEST SOUND EDITING
Winner: “Inception”
Runner-Up: “TRON: Legacy”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Winner: “Inception”
Runner-Up: “Alice in Wonderland”

BEST MAKEUP
Winner: “The Wolfman”
Runner-Up: “Barney’s Version”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Winner: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”
Runner-Up: “If I Rise” from “127 Hours”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Winner: “The Gruffalo”
Runner-Up: “Day and Night”

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
Winner: “Strangers No More”
Runner-Up: “Poster Girl”

BEST LIVE-ACTION FILM
Winner: “Na Wewe”
Runner-Up: “The Confession”

Enjoy the Oscars folks!

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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…

First Oscar Winner Predictions

February 2, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s time for phase 2, ladies and gentleman. Things aren’t going as well as I would have liked, but they almost never do. As Sasha Stone at Awardsdaily quotes “All the President’s Men,” in regards to the Oscar race, “The trick is not minding.” You’ve got to roll with the punches and accept that even if the deserving film doesn’t win, hopefully your predictions are still right. Therefore, at least your pride is still intact.

I have “The King’s Speech” down for the big win, sadly. Maybe later on, if there’s a potential change in vibe, I might make an alteration back. But for now, one has to put the money where the money’s gonna win. I have, meanwhile, kept David Fincher in the frontrunner position for Best Director. I simply cannot imagine a world in which Tom Hooper wins that trophy from him. It’s simply unnatural that the Academy could be that ridiculous.

You can pretty much take all of the acting wins to the bank. Melissa Leo is the only one who’s kind of flimsy, at this point, but I have a feeling her age and fantastic personality will help her beat out the unworthy newcomer.

Going over this, it still boggles me that Lee Smith missed an editing nomination for “Inception.” It really makes no sense. I have the “The Social Network” down, and my God, it deserves it. Yet, the nomination feels flimsy, and yet I can’t figure out what could possibly take it down.

With that, here are my first winner predictions for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, complete with all of the nominees ranked in order of their chances. I will keep them posted and, hopefully, updated in the “PREDICTIONS” tab at the top of the homepage.

Click “Read More” to see the full list and tally.

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

Read more…

Critics Choice Awards – Postgame

January 15, 2011 1 comment

Damn it, David Fincher, why weren’t you at the Critics Choice Awards last night? I really want to know. If you tell me that you’re shooting “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” fine. Yet, if you tell me that it’s because you’re annoyed with the awards season coverage, grow up. The kind of awards sweep that you are experiencing right now, you probably won’t experience again for a long time, if ever again. You should appreciate it while you have it.

All right, I’m done with my personalized whine to “The Social Network”‘s director. Let’s move on to the awards themselves. The three films that definitely had the biggest nights were “The Social Network,” “The Fighter” and “Inception.” It was kind of a mute point that after winning 28 out of 31 (90 percent) of all of this year’s critics awards, it would have been kind of unlikely for “The Social Network” to lose the Critics Choice Award for Best Picture. The film also racked up awards for Director, Adapted Screenplay and Original Score.

“The Fighter” had the biggest night in regards to acting honors, as well it should have. Both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo took home their respective supporting awards, while the entire cast was given the Best Ensemble Cast Award. Meanwhile, “Inception” quite literally swept the technical categories. The film picked up awards for Best Action Film, Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction, Sound and Visual Effects. Certainly a good night for Christopher Nolan and his collaborative team.

The lead acting awards went to Colin Firth and Natalie Portman, who can now probably be considered locks for Oscar. Natalie Portman, I am thrilled about, being that she may even win my own personal award for Best Lead Actress. Yet, Colin Firth, I’m a bit disappointed about. The performance was great, but really nothing that I would consider sweep-worthy. I’d much rather have seen him win last year for “A Single Man,” which, in my opinion, was the best male performance of the year and a career-best for the actor.

Overall, there were more things about the awards that I liked then disliked. The highlights were obviously all of “The Social Network”‘s accolades. Let the train keep on chugging. I also could not be more thrilled about both Melissa Leo and Christian Bale. Phenomenal work that deserves recognition. Please let this also be a good sign that “Inception” might possibly be able to beat out “Alice in Wonderland” for Art Direction at the Oscars. That would make me ever so delighted.

Of all the things that I didn’t like, one was definitely a whopper. I simply cannot account for “Waiting for Superman”‘s victory in Best Documentary. I’ve heard the term “Year of the Doc” thrown around over the years, but I truly believe it to be a reality for the current annual. There is a wealth of incredible documentaries to choose from this awards season, and this is what they go with. “Superman” is a good film, but it is not a phenomenal film. There are too many holes in its argument and it just doesn’t have enough of an edge. With competition like “Inside Job,” “Restrepo” and “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” I have no idea how this film won, but I’m fairly sure that we can thank Oprah for it.

Here’s a full list of the BFCA winners:

Best Picture: “The Social Network”
Best Director: David Fincher – “The Social Network”
Best Actor: Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
Best Actress: Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”
Best Young Actress: Hailee Steinfeld – “True Grit”
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale – “The Fighter”
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo – “The Fighter”
Best Ensemble: “The Fighter”
Best Adapted Screenplay: “The Social Network”
Best Original Screenplay: “The King’s Speech”
Best Foreign Language Film: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Best Documentary Feature: “Waiting for Superman”
Best Animation: “Toy Story 3”
Best Comedy: “Easy A”
Best Picture Made for TV: “The Pacific”
Best Action Movie: “Inception”
Best Cinematography: “Inception”
Best Editing: “Inception”
Best Art Direction: “Inception”
Best Visual Effects: “Inception”
Best Sound: “Inception”
Best Makeup: “Alice in Wonderland”
Best Costume Design: “Alice in Wonderland”
Best Song: If I Rise – “127 Hours”
Best Score: “The Social Network”

As far as my predictions go, I was correct on 18 out of 25 categories. That’s about a 72 percent ratio, which I’ll take. I don’t think anyone could have predicted how well “Inception” was going to fare with the technical awards.

That’s it for the Critics Choice Awards. You can expect my predictions for the Golden Globes to come very shortly.

National Society of Film Critics Goes with “Social Network”

January 8, 2011 Leave a comment

As Darth Vader once famously said, “The circle is now complete.” Well, that saying now rings true for David Fincher’s “The Social Network,” at least as far as the critics go.

At long last, the National Society of Film Critics, one of the oldest and perhaps most prestigious (as well as my favorite) film journalism organizations, convened today to vote on cinema’s best of 2010. To my joy and elation, they have gone with “The Social Network,” not just with a win, but a sweep.

What a fitting end to “The Social Network”‘s history-making run. It began with a sweep of the National Board of Review, and ends the same way. What a magnificent year for a magnificent film. Regardless of what happens from here on out, whether “The Social Network” gets killed by politics or voter age. At least at this point, it is on top of the world.

Here is the full list of winners, which will eventually be updated with runners-up and hopefully voting tallies:

BEST PICTURE
***”The Social Network” – 61 votes***
“Carlos” – 28 Votes
“Winter’s Bone” – 18 Votes

BEST DIRECTOR
***David Fincher – “The Social Network” – 66 votes***
Oliver Assayas – “Carlos” – 36 votes
Roman Polanski – “The Ghost Writer” – 29 votes

BEST ACTOR
***Jesse Eisenberg – “The Social Network” – 30 votes***
Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech” – 29 votes
Edgar Martinez – “Carlos” – 29 votes

BEST ACTRESS
***Giovanna Mezzogiorno – “Vincere” – 33 votes***
Annette Bening – “The Kids Are All Right” – 28 votes
Lesley Manville – “Another Year” – 27 votes

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
***Geoffrey Rush – “The King’s Speech” – 33 votes***
Christian Bale – “The Fighter” – 32 votes
Jeremy Renner – “The Town” – 30 votes

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
***Olivia Williams – “The Ghost Writer” – 37 votes***
Amy Adams – “The Fighter” – 28 votes
Melissa Leo – “The Fighter” – 23 votes
Jacki Weaver – “Animal Kingdom” – 23 votes

BEST SCREENPLAY
***”The Social Network” – 73 votes***
“The King’s Speech” – 25 votes
“The Ghost Writer” – 19 votes

BEST DOCUMENTARY
***”Inside Job” – 25 votes***
“Exit Through the Gift Shop” – 21 votes
“Last Train Home” – 15 votes

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
***”Carlos” – 31 votes***
“A Prophet” – 22 votes
“White Material” – 16 votes

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
***”True Grit” – 31 votes***
“Black Swan” – 27 votes
“Somewhere” – 18 votes

Okay, so this year, my favorite critics group almost entirely lives up to that distinction. Why are they my favorite you might ask? Because in the last six years, their choice for Best Picture has at least been included in my Top five films of the year; three of those times, my favorite has matched theirs.

Aside from “The Social Network,” which deserved every award that it got, I am most pleased with their choice of Giovanna Mezzogiorno for Best Actress in “Vincere.” An absolutely stunning performance with such a high caliber of emotion, I was stunned when I watched it. The film, as a whole, is a standout. Yet her performance stands above it all and has not gotten any awards recognition thus far.

I can take or leave the Supporting Awards. Rush and Williams were both good, but neither deserving of serious awards recognition in my mind. Especially not Williams. I thought she was one of the more forgettable aspects of “The Ghost Writer.” Geoffrey Rush is one of my favorite actors, but I have to say that this is not one of his most exciting performances.

“Inside Job” got a big win, here. Hopefully, it can push through to February. I also really need to check out “Carlos” as soon as possible. It’s obviously a pretty phenomenal experience. I’m sure when the voting tallies come out, it will be the runner-up to “The Social Network.”

Cheers to “The Social Network.” It has been a phenomenal run with the critics. If hoping counts for anything it will continue that streak with the guilds and different broadcasted awards. I will soon re-post my article featuring a tally of all the accolades that the film has incurred. It’s kind of nice to see them listed out on the screen. I wonder what it must be like for Scott Rudin with them all out on his coffee table.

Producers Guild Announces….Exactly as Expected

January 4, 2011 1 comment

The PGA have announced their nominees for 2010. As I said, over the weekend, these awards are basically the Producers’ union’s equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar. And while I’m very happy to see certain nominees up there, this is really showing how boring the rest of the season will be. I was really hoping that “Winter’s Bone” was going to be able to beat out “The Town,” but c’est la vie. At least the actual nominees for Best Picture are balloted by the entire Academy and not just the producers, so it should fare a better chance in a few weeks.

Here’s the full list of nominees:

Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures
“Black Swan” (Scott Franklin, Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver)
“The Fighter” (David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Mark Wahlberg)
“Inception” (Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas)
“The Kids Are All Right” (Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray)
“The King’s Speech” (Iain Cunning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin)
“127 Hours” (Danny Boyle, Christian Colson)
“The Social Network” (Dana Brunetti, Ceán Chaffin, Michael De Luca, Scott Rudin)
“The Town” (Basil Iwanyk, Graham King)
“Toy Story 3″ (Darla K. Anderson)
“True Grit” (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin)

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
“Despicable Me” (John Cohen, Janet Healy, Christopher Meledandri)
“How to Train Your Dragon” (Bonnie Arnold)
“Toy Story 3″ (Darla K. Anderson)

Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
“Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer” (awaiting final credit determination)
“Earth Made of Glass” (Reid Carolin, Deborah Scranton)
“Inside Job” (Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs)
“Smash His Camera” (Linda Saffire, Adam Schlesinger)
“The Tillman Story” (John Battsek)
“Waiting for Superman” (Lesley Chilcott)

Milestone Award
James Cameron

David O. Selznick Award
Scott Rudin

Nice to see Scott Rudin getting the Lifetime award at the end, there. The guy has really done a lot for film in the last decade. And it looks like he might be getting a chance at a second Oscar under his belt should “The Social Network’s luck continue. Rudin won three years ago for “No Country for Old Men.”

Interesting also to see “Despicable Me” beating out both “The Illusionist” and “Tangled” for Best Animated, However, once again these are producers, so box office success is taken much more into account.

As far as my winner predictions go, I am both hoping and believing that “The Social Network” will take this down. Since it probably has both the DGA and the WGA in the bag, a win here would all but seal it for a Best Picture victory at the Oscars. If “The King’s Speech” doesn’t make a stand here, all the Golden Globes in the world aren’t going to be able to help it. I’d say that if anything were to upset “Network” it would be either “Black Swan” or “Inception.” Both films are riding huge waves, right now. They are also the two biggest box office successes in their respective areas, “Inception” being a towering Hollywood blockbuster and “Black Swan,” the independent film that just won’t stop breaking records.

Perhaps the biggest dark horse for the win is “Toy Story 3.” The film is a monster box office success, turning in mountains more than any other film this year. The PGA also has a penchant for honoring animated films. They were nominating Pixar before the Academy ever got around to it, and this was before there were ten nominees. They even gave the Zanuck award to “The Incredibles” in 2004. If “Toy Story 3” can pull off a win here, it will be a massive coup, and then every awards-related news story for the next month will be “Can an animated film win Best Picture?” and the dominos may begin to fall from there. We’ll see.

The film will for sure clean up in the Animated Feature Award. Sad, really. If it wasn’t for Pixar constantly bombarding us with amazing cinema, “How to Train Your Dragon” would have had a huge chance. Best Documentary should be a showdown between “Waiting for Superman” and “Inside Job,” but the latter definitely has the edge.

Stay tuned for the WGA nominations which should be out within the next few hours. I was reminded earlier that I completely forgot to consider “Animal Kingdom” in the Best Original Screenplay category, which has a lot of potential for showing up.

“The Social Network” Takes Top Honors at NYFCC

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, I think that nearly marks a clean sweep for “The Social Network.” It takes the Best Picture and Best Director awards. “The Kids Are All Right” actually had the biggest day at this particular junction though, gaining much needed traction for the rest of the season. I think this is the first time a film has, in fact, beaten out “Social” in a straight-up Best Screenplay fight. Kind of an overrated film, in my opinion. Funny and interesting at times, but it has the least amount of satisfying closure that I’ve seen in a film all year.

Colin Firth picks up another win, perhaps once again solidifying himself in the Best Actor race lead. Also, Melissa Leo wins yet another Supporting Actress honor. I think that she may have just become the frontrunner for the Oscar.

Here is the full list of winners:

BEST PICTURE
“The Social Network”

BEST DIRECTOR
David Fincher – “The Social Network”

BEST SCREENPLAY
“The Kids Are All Right”

BEST ACTOR
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

BEST ACTRESS
Annette Bening – “The Kids Are All Right”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mark Ruffalo – “The Kids Are All Right”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Melissa Leo – “The Fighter”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Black Swan”

BEST ANIMATED FILM
“The Illusionist”

BES DOCUMENTARY
“Inside Job”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Carlos

BEST FIRST FEATURE
“Animal Kingdom”