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The 4th Annual Edgy Award Nominations

January 28, 2015 Leave a comment

4th Edgy Collage Final

That’s right, I’ve returned again from the ashes to shower all of you with my cinematic opinions. For what reason? I suppose that’s ultimately up for you all to decide. For me, the cinematic process exists on three levels: people make films, people watch films and, finally, people discuss films. I’m here to plant my flag in the discussion, for that’s the only way that a film  lives beyond the first two steps.

With the announcement of this year’s Academy Award nominations, I am compelled to throw my hat in the ring and let you all know of where they went wrong and, occasionally, strike gold. But most of all, I can’t help but get a metaphysical high from this; taking all of my cinematic conquests that I’ve spent my hard-earned money seeing, and lining them up in neat, organized columns. Maybe as a child, I spent too much time organizing my action figures and baseball cards, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And given that I made my first “Top 100 Films” list when I was 11, I don’t think it could have turned out differently.

Now, as much as I can’t wait to dig into 2014, and all of its brightest points, I’ve still got a lot to see in the next 4 weeks. Meanwhile, due to a few too many unfortunate stints by my wife’s side in the hospital last winter (she’s fine, now, don’t worry), the 4th Annual Edgy Awards never had a chance to come to pass. Since you can’t have a 5th without the 4th, I’ll spend a bit more time covering my bases for this year and will offer a up a little blast from the past. We’ll get back to 2014 by the time the Oscars roll through, but for now, the year that was lost can now be found.

To remind everyone, while these are the “4th” Edgy Awards, I keep records going back to the 1940s. So while nominees’ records might not be published, they exist, nonetheless. Meanwhile, their nomination and win counts are restricted to the category they are nominated in (with the exception of all acting and music awards).

Here are the 2013 Nominations for the 4th Annual Edgy Awards:

 __________

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Amen
featured in “All is Lost”
Music and Lyrics by Alex Ebert (1st nom)

The Moon Song
featured in “Her”
Music and Lyrics by Karen O (1st nom)

Please Please Mr. Kennedy
featured in “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Music and Lyrics by T Bone Burnett (3rd nom, 1 win – “The Weary Kind” in “Crazy Heart”), George Cromarty (1st nom), Ed Rush (1st nom) and Justin Timberlake (1st nom)

Silhouettes
featured in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
Music and Lyrics by Of Monsters and Men (1st nom)

Young and Beautiful
featured in “The Great Gatsby”
Music and Lana Del Ray (1st nom)

__________

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

12 Years a Slave
Hans Zimmer (8th nom, 3 wins – “Gladiator,” “The Thin Red Line” and “Rain Man”)

Gravity
Steven Price (1st nom)

Her
Arcade Fire (2nd nom)

The Place Beyond the Pines
Mike Patton (1st nom)

Stoker
Clint Mansell (3rd nom, 1 win – “Moon)

__________

BEST MAKEUP and HAIRSTYLING

12 Years a Slave
Nikki I. Brown (2nd nom) and Nick London (1st nom)

American Hustle
Lori McCoy-Bell (1st nom) and Evelyn Noraz (1st nom)

Dallas Buyers Club
Melanie Deforrest (1st nom) and Robin Mathews (2nd nom)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Ve Neill (10th nom, 3 wins – “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Batman Returns” and “Beetlejuice”)

Prisoners
Donald Mowat (1st nom)

__________

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

All is Lost
Colin Davies (1st nom) and Bob Munroe (2nd nom)

Gravity
Neil Corbould (5th nom, 1 win – “Inception”), Chris Lawrence (1st nom) David Shirk (1st nom) and Timothy Webber (4th nom)

Oblivion
Eric Barba (4th nom, 1 win – “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Bjorn Mayer (1st nom)

Pacific Rim
Lindy DeQuattro (1st nom), Hal T. Hickell (4th nom, 1 win – “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”), John Knoll (8th nom, 2 wins – “Avatar” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”)

 Star Trek: Into Darkness
Burt Dalton (4th nom, 1 win – “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), Ben Grossman (3rd nom), Robert Guyett (6th nom), Paul Tubach (1st nom)

__________

BEST SOUND EFFECTS EDITING

Captain Phillips
Oliver Tarney (2nd nom, 1 win – “United 93”)

Gravity
Glenn Freemantle (1st nom)

Oblivion
Al Nelson (1st nom)

Star Trek: Into Darkness
Ben Burtt (11th nom, 6 wins – “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” and “Star Wars: A New Hope”) and Matthew Wood (6th nom)

World War Z
Nigel Stone (1st nom) and Ethan van der Ryn (7th nom, 2 wins – “LOTR: The Two Towers” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”)

__________

BEST SOUND MIXING

Captain Phillips
Chris Burdon (3rd nom), Chris Munro (5th nom, 1 win – “Black Hawk Down”), Mike Prestwood Smith (3rd nom) and Mark Taylor (1st nom)

Gravity
Niv Adiri (1st nom), Christopher Benstead (1st nom), Skip Lievsay (3rd nom) and Chris Munro (5th nom, 1 win – “Black Hawk Down”)

Inside Llewyn Davis
Peter F. Kurland (3rd nom), Skip Lievsay (3rd nom) Greg Orloff (3rd nom)

 Star Trek: Into Darkness
Peter J. Devlin (5th nom), Will Files (3rd nom, 1 win – “Cloverfield”) and Andy Nelson (22nd nom, 5 wins – “Les Miserables,” “Cloverfield,” “Munich,” “Saving Private Ryan” and L.A. Confidential”)

Stoker
James Bolt (1st nom), Chuck Michael (1st nom) and John Morris (1st nom)

 __________

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

12 Years a Slave
Patricia Norris (6th nom, 3 wins – “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” “The Elephant Man” and “Days of Heaven”)

42
Caroline Harris (1st nom)

American Hustle
Michael Wilkinson (1st nom)

The Great Gatsby
Catherine Martin (2nd nom, 1 win – “Moulin Rouge”)

Oz: The Great and Powerful
Gary Jones (2nd nom)

 __________

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

12 Years a Slave
Alice Baker (1st nom) and Adam Stockhausen (2nd nom)

The Conjuring
Julie Berghoff (1st nom) and Sophie Neudorfer (1st nom)

Gravity
Andy Nicholson (1st nom), Rosie Goodwin (2nd nom) and Joanne Woollard (2nd nom)

The Great Gatsby
Catherine Martin (3rd nom, 2 wins – “Moulin Rouge” and “Romeo and Juliet”) and Beverley Dunn (1st nom)

Her
K.K. Barrett (2nd Nom) and Gene Serdana (1st nom)

 __________

BEST EDITING

12 Years a Slave
Joe Walker (2nd nom)

Captain Phillips
Christopher Rouse (3rd nom, 1 win – “United 93”)

Gravity
Alfonso Cuaron (2nd nom) and Mark Sanger (1st nom)

Inside Llewyn Davis
Joel and Ethan Coen (3rd nom, 1 win – “Fargo”)

The Place Beyond the Pines
Jim Helton (1st nom) and Ron Patane (1st nom)

 __________

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

12 Years a Slave
Sean Bobbitt (3rd nom)

Gravity
Emmanuel Lubezki
 (4th nom, 2 wins – “The Tree of Life” and “Children of Men”)

Inside Llewyn Davis
Bruno Delbonnel (4th nom, 1 win – “A Very Long Engagement”)

The Place Beyond the Pines
Sean Bobbitt 
(3rd nom)

Prisoners
Roger Deakins (13th nom, 4 wins – “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “Fargo,” “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Barton Fink”)

___________

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

20 Feet from Stardom
Gil Friesen (1st nom), Morgan Neville (1st nom), Caitrin Rogers (1st nom)

The Act of Killing
Joshua Oppenheimer (1st nom)

Blackfish
Gabriela Cowperthwaite (1st nom)

Room 237
Rodney Ascher (1st nom)

Stories We Tell
Sarah Polley (1st nom)

__________

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

12 Years a Slave
John Ridley (2nd nom)

Before Midnight
Julie Delpy (1st nom), Ethan Hawke (1st nom) and Richard Linklater (4th nom)

Captain Phillips
Billy Ray (1st nom)

Philomena
Steve Coogan (1st nom) and Jeff Pope (1st nom)

The Wolf of Wall Street
Terrence Winter  (1st nom)

__________

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Her
Spike Jonze (1st nom)

Inside Llewyn Davis
Joel and Ethan Coen (8th nom, 3 wins – “No Country for Old Men,” “Fargo” and “Barton Fink”)

Mud
Jeff Nichols (1st nom)

The Place Beyond the Pines
Derek Cianfrance (2nd nom) Ben Coccio (1st nom) and Darius Marder (1st nom)

Short Term 12
Destin Daniel Cretton (1st nom)

__________

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST

12 Years a Slave
Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Chiwetel Ejiofer, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Alfre Woodard

American Hustle”
Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Louis C.K., Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, Alessandro Nivola, Michael Pena, Jeremy Renner, Said Taghmaoui, Shea Whigham

August: Osage County
Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholoson, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard, Meryl Streep, Misty Upham

The Place Beyond the Pines
Rose Byrne, Emory Cohen, Bradley Cooper, Dane DeHaan, Ryan Gosling, Bruce Greenwood, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes,

Prisoners
Maria Bello, Paul Dano, David Dastmalchian, Viola Davis, Wayne Duvall, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Hugh Jackman, Melissa Leo, Dylan Minette

__________

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE

sally hawkins edgy

Sally Hawkins – “Blue Jasmine”
(2nd nom, 1 win – “Happy-Go-Lucky”)

jennifer lawrence edgy

Jennifer Lawrence – “American Hustle”
(3rd nom)

lupita nyongo edgy

Lupita Nyong’0 – “12 Years a Slave”
(1st nom)

julia roberts edgy

Julia Roberts – “August: Osage County”
(3rd nom)

june squibb edgy

June Squibb – “Nebraska”
(1st nom)

__________

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE

Barkhad Adbi in Columbia Pictures' "Captain Phillips," starring Tom Hanks.

Barkhad Abdi – “Captain Phillips”
(1st nom)

bradley cooper edgy

Bradley Cooper – “American Hustle”
(1st nom)

michael fassbender edgy

Michael Fassbender – “12 Years a Slave”
(2nd nom)

james franco edgy

James Franco – “Spring Breakers”
(2nd nom)

jared leto edgy

Jared Leto – “Dallas Buyers Club”
(1st nom)

__________

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE

cate blanchett blue jasmine

Cate Blanchett – “Blue Jasmine”
(5th nom, 2 win – “I’m Not There” and “Elizabeth”)

sandra bullock edgy

Sandra Bullock – “Gravity”
(1st nom)

julie delpy edgy

Julie Delpy – “Before Midnight”
(3rd nom)

brie larson edgy

Brie Larson – “Short Term 12”
(1st nom)

meryl streep edgy

Meryl Streep – “August: Osage County”
(14th nom – 6 wins – “Adaptation,” “A Cry in the Dark,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “The French Lieutenant’s Woman,” “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “The Deer Hunter”)

__________

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE

leonardo dicaprio edgy

Leonardo DiCaprio – “The Wolf of Wall Street”
(7th nom, 1 win – “The Aviator”)

chiwetel ejiofer edgy

Chiwetel Ejiofer – “12 Years a Slave”
(1st nom)

tom hanks edgy

Tom Hanks – “Captain Phillips”
(8th nom – 1 win – “Cast Away”)

oscar isaac edgy

Oscar Isaac – “Inside Llewyn Davis”
(1st nom)

michael shannon edgy

Michael Shannon – “The Iceman”
(3rd nom)

__________

BEST DIRECTOR

coen brothers edgy

Joel and Ethan Coen – “Inside Llewyn Davis”
(6th nom, 1 win – “Fargo”)

alfonso cuaron edgy

Alfonso Cuaron – “Gravity”
(3rd nom)

paul greengrass edgy

Paul Greengrass – “Captain Phillips”
(3rd nom, 1 win – “United 93”)

steve mcqueen edgy

Steve McQueen – “12 Years a Slave”
(2nd nom)

 denis villeneuve edgy

Denis Villeneuve – “Prisoners”
(1st nom)

__________

 BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR

12 Years a Slave
Dede Gardner (2nd nomination), Jeremy Kleiner (1st nom), Steve McQueen (1st nom) and Brad Pitt (4th nom, 1 win – “Moneyball”)

The Act of Killing
Jeremy Oppenheimer (1st nom) and Signe Byrne Sorenson (1st nom)

Captain Phillips
Dana Brunetti (2nd nom, 1 win – “The Social Network”), Michael De Luca (3rd nom, 2nd win – “Moneyball” and “The Social Network”) and Scott Rudin (11th nom, 1 win – “The Social Network”)

Gravity
Alfonso Cuaron (3rd nom) and David Heyman (2nd nom)

Her
Megan Ellison (3rd nom), Spike Jonze (1st nom) and Vincent Landay (2nd nom, 1 win – “Adaptation”)

 Inside Llewyn Davis
Joel and Ethan Coen (3rd nom) and Scott Rudin (11th nom, 1 win – “The Social Network”)

The Place Beyond the Pines
Lynette Howell (3rd nom), Sidney Kimmel (1st nom), Alex Orlovsky (3rd nom) and James Patricof (3rd nom)

Prisoners
Kira Davis (1st nom), Broderick Johnson (1st nom) and Andrew Kosove (1st nom)

Short Term 12
Joshua Astrachan (1st nom), Ron Najor (1st nom) and Maren Olson (1st nom)

The Wolf of Wall Street
Leonardo DiCaprio (1st nom), Emma Tillinger Koskoff (1st nom), Joey McFarland (1st nom) and Martin Scorsese (1st nom)

__________

NOMINATION LEADERS

“12 Years a Slave” – 13 nominations
“Gravity” – 10 nominations
“Captain Phillips” – 8 nominations
“Inside Llewyn Davis” – 8 nominations
“The Place Beyond the Pines” – 6 nominations
“American Hustle” – 5 nominations
“Her” – 5 nominations
“Prisoners” – 5 nominations
“August: Osage County” – 3 nominations
“The Great Gatsby” – 3 nominations
“Short Term 12” – 3 nominations
“Star Trek: Into Darkness” – 3 nominations
“The Wolf of Wall Street” – 3 nominations

Read more…

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” Trailer

April 14, 2011 Leave a comment

A half and hour ago, this film was not even close to being on my radar screen. Since 2001, how can anyone look at anything with “Planet of the Apes” in the title and look forward to it? It just doesn’t have a high probability of greatness. However, I took the time to scope out the new teaser at Apple after seeing an effects shot that looked pretty decent.

I wouldn’t say that the trailer looks anything along the lines of incredible. Yet, there seem to be some pretty looking elements at play here. For one, much of the imagery looks incredible. The shot of a chimp standing over a sleeping couple was truly chilling. Also, the slow motion storm of branches and leaves falling from the sky as dozens of apes leap from tree to tree. One would hope that the presence of James Franco might mean something good, since he seems to be choosing his projects with a little more care, lately (with the exception of “Your Highness”). Plus, the added incentive of Andy Serkis reprisin his monkey-movement skills that he perfected in “King Kong” is very promising. I mean the man lived with mountain gorillas for the better part of a year just to make sure that he got their mannerisms correct.

Or maybe this will simply be another version of “Deep Blue Sea” only with apes instead of sharks.

Whatever the outcome, I think we can assuredly expect some dazzling visual effects here. The chimpanzee motion capture work from several shots (including that final one) look even more impressive than “Avatar.” Therefore, I will keep my expectations for this film above the minimum amount. Enjoy the trailer. I definitely recommend taking the extra time to download the Apple version below the embed.

Apple HD Version

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!

The Nominations – My Thoughts and Reactions

January 25, 2011 Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My FINAL Oscar Predictions – 1/22

January 23, 2011 6 comments

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

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

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

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

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

Click READ MORE to see the rest.

Read more…

“The Social Network” Takes Dallas, Detroit and Las Vegas

December 17, 2010 Leave a comment

In more awards news, “The Social Network” can add three more critical accolades to its repertoire. Recently, the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, the Detroit Film Critics Society and the Las Vegas Film Critics Society have all named David Fincher’s film as the best of the year.

Both Las Vegas and Dallas also honored the film with awards for Best Director (Fincher) and Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin). In other news, James Franco picked up a bit of steam by winning Best Actor awards from both Dallas and Las Vegas, as well. Colin Firth took the honors from Detroit. Natalie Portman of “Black Swan,” meanwhile took Best Actress awards from both Dallas and Las Vegas, while Jennifer Lawrence won Detroit’s equivalent honor from Detroit for her performance in “Black Swan”

Once again, folks, and I’m not just tooting my horn for the “The Social Network,” an critical awards sweep of this magnitude has never been documented before. The only thing I’ve seen come close was “Brokeback Mountain”‘s thunderous reign in 2005. However, at this point, not even that film was doing as well as the Fincher/Sorkin juggernaut.

To view the full lists of these critics groups choices, click on each’s respective link above.

To see an updated list of “The Social Network”‘s big wins and nominations in major categories, click here.

Screen Actors Guild Nominations: My Thoughts

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

While trying not to put the cart before the horse, it is important to realize that the SAG is the real deal. What we have here is the most accurate precursor in regards to matching up to what the Oscar nominations will look like.

First of all, the actors make up, 3 times over, the largest contingent of the Academy, with producers and executives in 2nd, sound personnel in 3rd and writers in 4th. And while Best Ensemble does not always line up with Best Picture, the singular achievement nominations have lined up with Oscars, per say, about 80 to 90 percent of the time. Last year, was perhaps the most similar, with only 1 nominee in Best Supporting Actress not making it to Oscar (Diane Kruger). Best Actor, Actress and Supporting Actress lined up perfectly.

That being said, I’m mostly happy with these nominations, despite a few hiccups. Without a doubt, the most shocking and disturbing omission is Andrew Garfield in “The Social Network.” I thought that, if anything, he would be locked and Jesse Eisenberg would still have an uphill battle, despite all of the critical love. However, Garfield was the heart and soul of the film and anyone who can blaze through Sorkin dialogue, while still maintaining that level of emotion and integrity, deserves recognition.

The trouble is, who is to blame for this slight. If it is John Hawkes, then I cannot mourn for too long, because he is the one man that I want to appear in the eventual Oscar lineup ahead of Garfield. John Hawkes gives, quite simply, one of the best performances of the year and a true underdog story to boot. However, if it is Jeremy Renner who passed Andrew Garfield by, then I am appalled. Renner was absolutely stellar in “The Hurt Locker,” realistic, unique and all heart. In “The Town,” he is good, maybe the best performance in the film, but really nothing special at all. I still cannot believe the amount of buzz he’s receiving.

Another weird turn this morning was Hilary Swank getting in for her only slightly above average performance in “Conviction,” knocking out critical favorites Lesley Manville in “Another Year” and Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine.” What’s really weird about this is her inclusion, but not Sam Rockwell or Juliette Lewis, the individuals in the film that people have actually been talking about. A true out-of-the-blue nomination, and really kind of a hilarious one seeing that she is once again up against Annette Bening, who lost the Best Actress race to Swank twice in the last 11 years.

A little known fact, if Lesley Manville is not nominated for an Oscar, she will be the first woman to win the National Board of Review award for Best Actress and not go on to an Oscar nod since the year 1990 when Mia Farrow failed to secure a nomination for Woody Allen’s “Alice.” In superstitious terms, that’s a long streak to be broken.

Mila Kunis made a surprise appearance here. Kind of boggled by that, because as funny and peppy as she is, it’s really not that solid of a performance. Barbara Hershey was a standout, if ever anyone could stand out around Natalie Portman’s brilliance.

Now, the good things. I’ve already addressed my absolute elation for John Hawkes come-from-behind nomination, even if he has a long shot, even if hell does freeze over, of actually winning. I must also congratulate Jesse Eisenberg, who has now all but engraved his nomination in cement. Truly brilliant work. and while I haven’t seen “True Grit,” it’s nice to see Jeff Bridges show up here, especially after his snub at the Golden Globes.

While I wasn’t really expecting any kind of showing for it, it’s kind of sad to see yet another Christopher Nolan film snubbed from the Ensemble Cast category, let alone any other category in the case of “Inception.” True, the first thing the mind goes to when it comes to this film is the visuals, the story and the direction. Yet, it is an ensemble piece, through and through, with so many actors (Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joesph Gordon Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, and, of course, Tom Hardy) all pulling their weight more than needed. And while “Black Swan” does have decent performances all around, it’s really Natalie Portman’s show. One deserved this nomination more than the other, and it’s going home empty-handed.

My longshot predictions for the win would probably go like this:

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST
“The King’s Speech”
alt: “The Fighter”

BEST ACTOR
Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
alt: James Franco – “127 Hours”

BEST ACTRESS
Annette Bening “The Kids Are All Right”
alt: Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale – “The Fighter”
alt: Geoffrey Rush – “The King’s Speech

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Melissa Leo – “The Fighter”
alt: Helena Bonham Carter – “The King’s Speech

We shall see.