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The 84th Oscars: Aftermath and Postgame Coverage

March 1, 2012 2 comments

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

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My FINAL 2012 Oscar Predictions

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s time, folks. The time is come. No more second-guessing. No more procrastinating. This is it. I think I’ve provided enough commentary over the last few months (and I’ve got to start helping my girlfriend get our place ready for our Oscar party), so I’ll just let my predictions speak for themselves.

Here goes nothing:

BEST PICTURE
WINNER: “The Artist”
(runner-up: “Hugo”)

BEST DIRECTOR
WINNER: Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist
(runner-up: “Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”)

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE
WINNER: George Clooney – “The Descendants”
(runner-up: Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”)

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE
WINNER: Viola Davis – “The Help”
(runner-up: Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”)

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE
WINNER: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
(runner-up: Max von Sydow – “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”)

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE
WINNER: Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
(runner-up: Berenice Bejo – “The Artist”)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
WINNER: “The Descendants”
(runner-up: “Moneyball”)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
WINNER: “Midnight in Paris”
(runner-up: “The Artist”)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
WINNER: “Rango”
(runner-up: “Puss in Boots”)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
WINNER: “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”
(runner-up: “Undefeated”)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
WINNER: “A Separation”
(runner-up: “In Darkness”)

BEST ART DIRECTION
WINNER: “Hugo”
(runner-up: “The Artist”)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
WINNER: “The Tree of Life”
(runner-up: “The Artist”)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
WINNER: “The Artist”
(runner-up: “Hugo”)

BEST EDITING
WINNER: “The Artist”
(runner-up: “Hugo”)

BEST SOUND MIXING
WINNER: “Hugo”
(runner-up: “War Horse”)

BEST SOUND EDITING
WINNER: “War Horse”
runner-up: “Hugo”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
WINNER: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
(runner-up: “Hugo”)

BEST MAKEUP
WINNER: “The Iron Lady”
(runner-up: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2”)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
WINNER: “The Artist”
(runner-up: “Hugo”)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
WINNER: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”
(runner-up: “Real in Rio” from “Rio”)

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
WINNER: “Tuba Atlantic”
(runner-up: “The Shore”)

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
WINNER: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
(runner-up: “A Morning Stroll”)

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
WINNER: “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”
(runner-up: “Saving Face”)

Well there you have it. I’m gonna go make some dip. I’ll try not to get my hair in it, since pulling it out will be all I do for the next two hours.

Have fun everyone, and remember that there will be live updates on The Edge of the Frame for each win. Also, follow me on Twitter (@edgeoftheframe) for some good old snarkyness.

2012 Independent Spirit Award Winners

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Happy Oscar morning, everyone! It’s obviously a pretty busy day. I’ve got to finalize my predictions, prepare for my night of live-blogging and tweeting, and help my girlfriend get our place ready for our Oscar party. Therefore, I’ll keep this brief. Needless to say, anyone not predicting “The Artist” for a Best Picture win, tonight…you know what, I’m not even going to go there. It may be just another one of the Academy’s heart-warming, middle-of-the-road, de facto winners. However, after a nearly unprecedented sweep of the Indy Sprits, last night, following victories in almost everything else, there’s no reason not to bet everything you have on tonight to follow suit.

Interestingly enough, as much as both last night’s and tonight’s victories have been expected, “The Artist” will break a long-standing curse. In the twenty-six year existence of the Indy Spirits, it’s been twenty-five since the last time their Best Picture choice lined up with Oscar (“Platoon”). The last films to come close were “Pulp Fiction,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Little Miss Sunshine.” Yet, alas, “The Artist” will be the one to finally bust down that barrier.

The highlights of the night? “Margin Call” picking up two awards for Best First Feature and the Robert Altman Award was a nice touch. Meanwhile, I am thrilled to see Steve James’ “The Interrupters” win Best Documentary. The Academy not even adding that film to its shortlist was a grievous mistake. Thank you to the Spirits for helping to rectify that wrong.

On one more note, following Jean Dujardin’s victory last night, it’s become too difficult to continue predicting George Clooney for the Best Actor win. I’d always hoped that if someone were to upset the longtime frontrunner, it would have been Brad Pitt. But with three straight victories with the SAG, the BAFTA and now the Spirit, Dujardin has ultimately transformed himself into the frontrunner. Granted these were some weird awards, with both Clooney and Michael Shannon failing to pick up nominations, despite their films getting Best Picture noms. Boy, I tell ya, if Clooney still wins after I’ve waited this long to change my mind, I will not be a happy camper. But, as Aaron Sorkin would say, that’s life in the NFL…

Here are the winners of the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards:

BEST PICTURE: “The Artist”

BEST DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”

BEST MALE LEAD: Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”

BEST FEMALE LEAD: Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”

BEST SUPPORTING MALE: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE: Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

BEST SCREENPLAY: “The Descendants”

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY: “50/50”

BEST FIRST FEATURE: “Margin Call”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “The Artist”

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Interrupters”

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD: “Margin Call”

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD: “Pariah”

Stay tuned for my last minute Oscar predictions sometime this evening. It should be an interesting night…

The 2nd Annual Edgy Award Nominations

February 21, 2012 2 comments

One of the primary focuses of this site is to analyze and report on each year’s film awards race, and many of you know this to be my true passion in life. However, if there’s one thing I enjoy more than following the Oscars, it’s making my own. Therefore, it has become a tradition of mine to gather up all my favorite aspects of the year’s filmmaking, break them down into nominations and then award what I believe to be the best of the year. And while I’ve been doing this for a long time, The Edge of the Frame gave me a chance to name them. Therefore, I present to you fine readers the 2nd Annual Edgy Award Nominations.

This year has certainly delivered a mixed bag of finalists. A total of 39 films received nominations, although 19 of those only garnered a single nomination apiece. While some categories may have some resemblance to the Academy’s choices (sometimes, they do actually make wise decisions), there are some striking differences. Thank goodness for that, for as a film critic, if my picks matched up with the Oscars, I wouldn’t be able to respect myself in the morning. Many of you have already seen my choices for Best Picture, what with my Top Ten List being released earlier in the week, and you’ll have noticed that only three films also find themselves in Oscar’s top nine ballot. Also, for the first time in my long history of doing this, not a single one of my Best Director nominees overlaps with the Academy’s.

A few notes to cover before we get started. I’ve used a similar format as last year’s nominations, listing out each nominee by name, instead of just the films themselves. Now, some of you will be bound to wonder how, if these are only the 2ND Annual Edgy Nominations, some individuals will have more than 2 mentions under their belts. The answer is because I have a slate of personal awards for each year going back over seven decades. I’ve got endless spreadsheets cataloging my choices for film winners from long before I was even born, I just don’t have the means (yet) to make those available to the public. The annotations refer to the amount of past nominations each individual has had in their respective category, except for performers who’s mentions overlap with all the other acting categories.

Now, for any readers who need more info, don’t understand or just think I’m full of it, I’ve provided a link to a separate document which holds a complete list of every single one of this year’s nominees, coupled with a complete record of their Edgy nominations and wins. Have I gone overboard with these things? Absolutely, but I have an anal retentive need to be comprehensive, not to mention that I have a devotion to all things statistical. Hope at least one person gives it a look.

One other thing to point out is that, this year, I have refrained from creating categories for both Best Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Film. To be honest, I just haven’t seen enough foreign fare to make up an accurate barometer of the year’s best. As far as animation goes, I honestly just avoided this year, practically, all together. Just a weak field that I didn’t bother focusing my income towards. I did, however, add a full category for Best Ensemble Cast. I do believe that when a film pulls off an effective ensemble performance, it’s worth taking note of because it help’s define the film and its quality. If only the Oscars shared this opinion.

So, without further ado, here are the 2011 nominations:

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“The Living Proof”
featured in “The Help”
Music and Lyrics by Mary J. Blige (2nd Nom)

“Marcy’s Song”
featured in “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Music and Lyrics by Jackson C. Frank (1st nom)

“Never Be Daunted”
featured in “Happythankyoumoreplease”
Music and Lyrics by Jaymay (1st nom)

“Shelter”
featured in “Take Shelter”
Music and Lyrics by Ben Nichols (1 nom)

“Think You Can Wait”
featured in “Win Win”
Music and Lyrics by The National (1st nom)

Read more…

Writers Guild and MPSE Announce Winners

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Well, the weekend has wrapped and all but a few precursors remain. Yesterday’s winners continued to shed a bit of light on how things will go this Sunday, and, in some ways, made things a little more confusing.

The Writers Guild of America announced their 64th annual slate of winners early in the evening. As was overwhelmingly expected, Woody Allen was awarded Best Original Screenplay for his comeback film “Midnight in Paris.” While some believe that this makes him a lock for the Oscar win, he is actually far from it. Due to the WGA’s wacky (and absurd, if you ask me) eligibility guidelines, many films did not even qualify for the nominations. One such film is Best Picture frontrunner “The Artist,” and to be quite honest, said film still has a tremendous chance of stealing that award away. I’d say the money is still on “Paris,” since it has managed to beat out its competition, thus far (except for the BAFTA). Yet, one should never underestimate the power of a film’s sweeping potential. Screenplay might just get caught up in the hurricane.

Adapted Screenplay was a bit of a depressing moment for me, last night. “The Descendants” expectantly won the award for writers Alexander Payne, Jim Rash and Nat Faxon. Put together with the Scripter, this easily makes it the leading contender for the Oscar equivalent. Truly sad, if you ask me. “Descendants” is a great script, hurt, mind you, by a uneven and largely expositional voiceover. However, the obvious and true winner of this award has been discarded. Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zallian, undoubtedly crafted the best screenplay of the year, and as of now, will probably not see their work awarded. I can only hope for a 2009-esque upset, when “Precious” defied all logic to beat “Up in the Air” (ironically also starring George Clooney). Don’t count on it, though.

The second and final awards ceremony of the night was the Motion Picture Sound Editors. Many of Oscar’s Sound Editing nominees had several mentions, here, making these awards a useful barometer. The winners went down as follows:

  • BEST SOUND EFFECTS AND FOLEY IN A FEATURE FILM: “War Horse”
  • BEST MUSIC IN A FEATURE FILM: “Hugo”
  • BEST SOUND EDITING IN AN ANIMATION FEATURE FILM: “The Adventures of Tintin”
  • BEST MUSIC IN A MUSICAL FEATURE FILM: “The Muppets”
  • BEST SOUND EDITING IN A FEATURE FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “The Flowers of War”
  • BEST SOUND EDITING IN A FEATURE DOCUMENTARY: “George Harrison: Living in the Material World”
  • BEST DIALOGUE AND ADR IN A FEATURE FILM: “Super 8″

Of the winners, two films also share an Oscar nomination: “Hugo” and “War Horse,” and we can pretty much bet that this category will go to one or the other. Since “Hugo” will probably take Sound Mixing (given its Cinema Audio Society victory, two nights ago), it is very possible it might take both categories in a sweep. Yet, I believe I’ll have to go with “War Horse” for a multitude of reasons.

First off, it took home the night’s big prize, Sound Effects and Foley, the award that most gravitates to the Oscar equivalent (“Inception,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “Letters from Iwo Jima” all films that won both the MPSE and Oscar). Also, it is impossible to deny the insane popularity of Gary Rydstrom and Richard Hymns, with a combined ten Oscars between them. The last time they collaborated with Spielberg on a straight-up war film (“Saving Private Ryan”) they definitely do too shabby, either.

Everything else aside, there’s one glaring ideology pointing towards a “War Horse” victory. If “Hugo” were to win Best Sound Editing, it would be the first live action film without any gunfire to do so since “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” in 2002. If you take swordplay out of the equation, it goes back a lot further than that. With all things considered, this award leans towards movie action, and virtually always has. All of these factors, combined, point to not only a possible, but likely “War Horse” victory.

The sand is running out of the hourglass and only a few precursors to go. Tomorrow night is the Costume Designers Guild, where “The Artist,” “Bridesmaids” and “Harry Potter” appear to be likely winners. Then, the season is capped off by the Independent Spirit Awards less than twenty-four hours before the red carpet roles out. I’ll keep you posted.

The ACE, CAS and Scripter…Oh, my!

February 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Seven days left, folks. It’s the deep breath before the plunge. The last of the ballots are being finalized and pundits are making their final predictions. And while most of the race seems like a done deal, sealed and locked, there’s always the chance of a few upsets around the bend.

Aside from what I already mentioned, another event occurring in this final week is the rush for precursors to get their awards out before last call of the year. This weekend is a hornets nest of accolades being dished out almost faster than I can report them. While the Writers Guild is set to announce tonight, the other major screenplay award declared its winner yesterday evening. The USC Library Scripter, awarded each year to the finest example of adapting a film from another medium, went to Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash and novelist Kaui Hart Hemmings for “The Descendants.” Not at all a surprise, given the quality of the work. Personally I was predicting “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” to take this down. Also, the Scripter has absolutely no affiliation with the Academy or any other guild, so aside from common taste, this win has no impact on the Oscar outcome.

While “The Descendants” winning the Scripter was fairly expected, what was not was it’s simultaneous win with the American Cinema Editors. Forgive me, but this has to be one of the more outrageous and, more or less, absurd victories of the year. Going up against “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “Hugo,” “War Horse” and, for god’s sake, “Moneyball,” the actual winner was the least deserving of any of the dramatic nominees. It’s the only film in which the editing really adds no level of complexity or character. I really have no idea what this group was thinking. In the musical/comedy category, “The Artist” very expectantly took home the prize. Originally, this award seemed like a tight race between said frontrunner and either “Hugo” or “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Yet, with this turn of events, it seems as though “The Artist” has a huge advantage next weekend. Add it to the pile.

The final award issued last night was the Cinema Audio Society, the guild equivalent of the Best Sound Mixing Oscar. As was largely expected, “Hugo” took this award home. This year presented a fairly odd situation, with the CAS and Oscar nominees only lining up 2/5 (only the second time in the CAS’ existence that their opinions differed so radically). However, going with statistics, NEVER since the formation of the CAS has a film won Best Sound Mixing without even being nominated by the guild. That would leave “Moneyball” and “Hugo.” With the latter winning the support from the guild, it has more than confirmed its frontrunner status. In fact a sweep of both sound categories is becoming more and more likely, but we’ll wait on the Motion Picture Sound Editors to announce, tonight.

With the WGA hours away, weighing extremely on the adapted screenplay field, I’ll make a prediction. However, my choice is definitely a lot more wishful thinking than common sense. If “Moneyball” takes this award down, it will reassert itself at the head of the pack (making me one happy pundit), although “The Descendants” is a steep wall to climb and the odds are definitely in its corner. I’ll stick with my favorite horse, though, but whatever wins here, will likely go on to Oscar gold.

Interestingly, while the adapted field will likely be decided tonight, the WGA’s Best Original Screenplay award will have little to no impact on the Oscar’s equivalent, barring any unforeseen upset. “Midnight in Paris” will likely take this award in a walk, but still move on to a dogfight next Sunday. That’s because the film’s stiffest opposition will not even be competing tonight. “The Artist,” which has basically become either the frontrunner or a threat in all of its categories, fell victim to the WGA’s strict eligibility rules. Therefore, even if Woody the Great is the winner tonight, “The Artist” just might be the odds-on favorite in seven days. It will be one of the night’s closest races for sure.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for updates from tonight’s awards, as well as the announcement of the 2nd Annual Edgy nominations. It’s about to get interesting.

My 2011 Top Ten List

February 16, 2012 2 comments

My favorite time of the year has finally come. It’s the time when I can finally take a break from reporting on other individuals and groups choices for best of the year and actually focus on my own. If any of you missed last year’s, here’s a link to last year’s big list. Over the next week, leading up to the Oscars, I’ll be writing a series of posts that will encompass my feelings on the 2011 year in films. I’ll start things out with my Top Ten List, featured here, followed by two posts chronicling the nominations and winners of the 2nd Annual Edgy Awards. Hopefully, I can maintain concentration and get all of this done before the entire awards season comes to a head.

To be quite honest, this is probably my least favored year of films in terms of quality in at least a decade. I’m not sure what exactly went wrong or rubbed me the wrong way, but there was something lacking in the overall caliber of releases. Disappointing to say the least. Perhaps, it’s not even the overall batch of films, but rather some favorites of the film critic and connoisseur community just did not register in my book. Yet, even with the diminished standard, I still feel compelled to give a shout out of recognition to the films that were more than respectable. The following seven films, listed alphabetically, are some examples of damn fine filmmaking, but had just a few too many flaws that kept them out the final ten.

Here we go. The runners-up are as follows:

“The Artist”

Written and Directed by
Michel Hazanavicius

A delightful and sometimes intriguing romp into the throwback world of silent filmmaking, highlighted by some great design qualities and a stellar lead performance by Jean Dujardin. Yet, the film really suffers from having…well…nothing really important to say or leave us with.

Read more…