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Is AFI Missing Their Opportunities?

As everyone knows, each year for nearly four decades, the American Film Institute has awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award to a single individual. The honor is meant to reflect that person’s “lifetime contribution to enriching American culture through motion pictures and television.” When looking at the list of recipients over the years, it’s enough to fill the Kodak Theater several times over. Some of my personal favorites include Orson Welles in ’75, William Wyler in ’76, James Stewart in ’80, Steven Spielberg in ’95 and Al Pacino in ’07.

This year, the Institute has chosen to honor Morgan Freeman for his body of work as an actor. For sure, not an unusual choice for such an award. He received his first Oscar nomination in 1988 for “Street Smart” and has been captivating audiences, multiple times a year, ever since. For me, performances simply don’t get much better than his work in “The Shawshank Redemption.” The speech in his final parole hearing is the stuff that legends are made out of.

All in all, though, aside from a few great decisions, the AFI award seems kind of tainted and lazy, as of late. The whole picture seemed to change around the time that Tom Hanks won what many called his “mid-life” achievement award ten years ago. It seems that the award is being given more on account of how popular the recipient has been in recent years instead of, say thirty years ago. There are many, MANY performers, directors and producers who are much more deserving of the award than recent fare.

I’d much rather have seen men the likes of Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, David Lynch, Francis Ford Coppola or, for crying out loud, Woody Allen receive distinction above the likes of George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, Sean Connery or Morgan Freeman. The talent ratio is nearly incomparable. I mean, in terms of weight in Academy Award recognition is 49 nominations to 13 (Douglas, Ford and Connery only sharing 4 nominations between them).

What’s even more disturbing is the complete disregard to female contributions to cinema. In the last two decades, three women have received this award. Meryl Streep is completely understandable. Elizabeth Taylor cannot be argued with. Barbara Streisand…really? Meanwhile, the following women are still living and more than deserving of this award: Faye Dunaway, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Julie Christie, Sissy Spacek, Diane Keaton, Glenn Close, and Jessica Lange. Perhaps the most ridiculously passed over women are Ellen Burstyn and Jane Fonda who have delivered some of the most phenomenal performances Hollywood has ever seen and have been doing so for upwards of forty years.

The greats are passing away left and right. Paul Newman, Robert Altman, Marlon Brando and, of course, Sidney Lumet are the most recent to leave this world without receiving this prestigious honor. AFI needs to keep its eyes on the prize and award some of these more-deserving folk before it’s too late.

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The Golden Globes: My Thoughts

December 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, my first reaction to the Golden Globes was, of course, uproarious laughter. HFPA, you crazy bastards, you. Every year, when I make my predictions out, I actually imagine that they will make rational decisions, decisions actually catered to how good a film is rather than how many celebrities they can kiss ass to and cram onto a red carpet. Then, every year, I have to give a little giggle and remember who I’m dealing with.

Let’s actually go through the good, first, because believe it or not, there is some. The HFPA actually showed more love for “The Social Network” than I thought that they would. 6 nominations, tying the second largest amount for the year, including what I believe to be an Oscar nomination-sealing nod to Jesse Eisenberg, as well as much deserved recognition to Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch for their unorthodox and compelling score. I do believe that “The King’s Speech” will take down this particular Best Picture award, due to the HFPA’s penchant for grandiose over edgy (“The Aviator” over “Million Dollar Baby,” which I was actually happy about, “Atonement” over “No Country for Old Men,” “Avatar” over “The Hurt Locker”). However, “Social”‘s strong showing proves that it is definitely in it for the longterm win.

Some other things that I liked: “Inception” pulling in such a great reception. After the HFPA’s proverbial snub of “The Dark Knight,” I expecting the Christopher Nolan hate to filter into this film’s chances, as well. I was pleasantly surprised. The film pulled in 4 nominations. Also, it was very nice to see noms for both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. I have not yet seen the film so I can’t say that I’m pleased because they impressed me, but just that the Globes had enough hootspa to nominated such a dark and gritty film, especially with all of its MPAA controversey. Plus, Ryan Gosling is one of the most impressive young performers working in the game, today.

All right, let’s move on to the laughable. The Drama section was fine, if not predictable. The Musical/Comedy section is a travesty. I will refrain from completely ripping apart their nominations for “Burlesque” and “The Tourist” for I have not seen them. However, when a film receives a Metacritic score of 48 as in “Burlesque,” or much less a 37 that “The Tourist” received, there is something to say about the finickiness of nominating said films for the distinction of Best Picture of the Year. Even the Globes would stoop that low for a chance to get Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie and Cher all at their swanky party. I think that I’m actually going to see at least one of those films just to relish in my ridicule of them.

Here’s a few more things grinding my gears: Michael Douglas’ last ditch nomination for “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” I know that the man is inching close to death, but couldn’t they have at least given him a goodbye nom for something like “Solitary Man,” something he might be proud to be remembered for? The snub of Sally Hawkins, to make room for Angelina Jolie, no less, is an insult. I’m sure it was also necessary to make sure Johnny Depp had two nominations instead of recognizing some of the amazing work done by Jim Carrey in “I Love You Phillip Morris?” And the big finale…..not a single nomination for “True Grit.” Tell me that they just didn’t see it and not that they would literally hand a complete snub to it on purpose.

Some day, I hope that the Golden Globes are fully recognized for the sham that they are, or maybe they’ll just shape up. Who knows? Until then, I will try to forget that these ever happened.

68th Annual Golden Globe Nominations

December 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, here they are. Some good things and bad things. It appears that “The King’s Speech” leads with 7, while “The Social Network” and “The Fighter” in a close second with 6.

More later, but I leave you with this. Leave it to the HFPA to nominate one of the worst-reviewed and worst received films of the year for 3 awards including Best Picture for the sole reason that it has Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in it. I don’t know if it’s better to use that excuse, or to just say they have bad taste. Starfuckers, we salute you.

Best Picture, Drama
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The King’s Speech
The Social Network

Best Picture, Comedy/Musical
Alice in Wonderland
Burlesque
The Kids Are All Right
Red
The Tourist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Original Score
Alexander Desplot – The King’s Speech
Danny Elfman – Alice in Wonderalnd
A.R. Robin – 127 Hours
Trent Reznor – The Social Network
Hans Zimmer – Inception

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

Best Animated Film
Tangled
Toy Story 3
How To Train Your Dragon
Despicable Me
The Illusionist

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

Golden Globe Predictions 2010

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

So, as many of you know, I hate the Golden Globes. They’re a joke. The HFPA is a group of about 90 foreign film journalists who reside in Hollywood, almost none of them have anyone ever heard of. They make some of the most pedestrian choices that can be made for awards presentation. Once in a while, they have a good idea, but for the most part, they either go with the grain or go the blandest route. More than anything else, however, they are STARFUCKERS, excuse my language. But it’s true. These awards are meant to cater to movie stars and their own popularity with said persons. They’re a joke.

That being said, they are still one of the most influential and popular awards shows of the year, and therefore I will pay them credence.

Here are my predictions for the 68th Golden Globe Nominations, announced tomorrow morning. The full list after the jump.

BEST PICTURE, DRAMA
“The King’s Speech”
“The Social Network”
“The Fighter”
“Black Swan”
“The Ghost Writer”
“Inception”
Alt: “Another Year”

BEST PICTURE, MUSICAL or COMEDY
“The Kids Are All Right”
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Made in Dagenham”
“Burlesque”
“Love and Other Drugs”
Alt: “Nowhere Boy”

Read more…