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The 1st Annual Edgy Award Nominations

February 17, 2011 1 comment

I have now been watching the Oscars, consecutively, for the last fourteen years. I love it. Even when I end up screaming at the television and throwing chairs around the room, I love the experience. Oscar night is like the Super Bowl, the World Series and Christmas all rolled into one night. However, if there’s one thing I enjoy more than watching the biggest awards of the year, it’s choosing my own.

I’ve been picking my own personal nominees and winners since before I can remember. Obviously, these particular honors don’t get as much attention as the actual Academy Awards, but they’ve always been amusing to me. Now, my awards not only get a home, but a name, as well. Welcome to the 1st Annual Edgy Award Nominations. They include all of the usual categories that the AMPAS offer. The final presentation will also contain a few other awards that tickle my fancy. Below, the nominees are listed in alphabetical order, not preferential. Expect my decision on the final winners some time next week. Hope that everyone enjoys them.

NOTE: Even though these are the first “published” Edgy Awards, I do have a solid, written record of them going back to 1940. Therefore, I’ve included a feature of noting how many nominations and wins that each individual has received from me in the past. This gives some extra input as to my own tastes in the nominees, how they’ve surprised me or continue to impress me. The connotations refer, however to how many mentions each person has had in each individual category, aside from all the acting categories included together. Once again, enjoy!

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“Bred and Buttered”
featured in “Winter’s Bone”
Music and Lyrics by John Hawkes (1st Nom)

“If I Rise”
featured in “127 Hours”
Music by A.R. Rahman (3rd Nom)
Lyrics by Dido and Rollo Armstrong (1st Nom)

“Shine”
featured in “Waiting for Superman”
Music and Lyrics by John Legend (1st Nom)

“We Belong Together”
featured in “Toy Story 3”
Music and Lyrics by Randy Newman (3rd Nom)

 

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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.

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Golden Globes – Postgame

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Okay. I will admit that the HFPA really did do all right by me, last night. Overall they made some pretty good decisions, especially in officially solidifying “The Social Network” as the frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar. If “The King’s Speech” can’t win here, I really can’t imagine it winning anywhere.

However, even if the Golden Globes released a list of their Top 100 favorite films, and their list happened to match mine movie per movie, I would still not take up with them. An organization that will accept bribery and star-fucking as good reasons to nominate “Burlesque” or “Alice in Wonderland” as Best Picture of the Year is no friend of mine.

Here is the full list of winners from last night:

BEST PICTURE, DRAMA
“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“Inception”
“The King’s Speech”
“The Social Network”

Best Picture (Musical/Comedy)
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Burlesque”
“The Kids Are All Right”
“Red”
“The Tourist”

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

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”
Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”

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

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

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

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
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”
Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”

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

Best Animated Feature
“Despicable Me”
“How to Train Your Dragon”
“The Illusionist”
“Tangled”
“Toy Story 3”

Best Original Score
Danny Elfman, “Alice in Wonderland”
Hans Zimmer, “Inception”
Alexandre Desplat, “The King’s Speech”
A.R. Rahman, “127 Hours”
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “The Social Network”

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

Cecil B. De Mille Award
Robert De Niro

As far as my predictions go, I had a very good night. Some of these weren’t the most difficult awards to predict, but I still amassed a record of 12 out of 14, or 85 percent. That might be the best record that I’ve ever had on this particular award show. If it hadn’t have been Johnny Depp getting screwed by two nomination vote-splitting or an absolute upset like no other in Best Foreign Language Film, I would have had a perfect score.

If you had been within one hundred feet of my apartment at one o’clock in the morning (I had to DVR the show since I was working on set during the airtime), you would have heard a chorus of whoops and hollers at every “Social Network” victory. I was particularly ecstatic upon hearing Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ names being called, for not only was that one of the film’s most difficult nominations to win, but that moment pretty much sealed its Best Picture victory.

The acting victories were literally identical to the BFCA wins, with Firth, Portman, Bale and Leo all going home with awards. In the Musical/Comedy section, Annette Bening made her last stand at putting up a fight against Natalie for the Oscar, but I really don’t think it will be enough (despite Bening getting a full ovation and Portman only a few random stands). Paul Giamatti pulled out a not-so-surprising but really cool win over Johnny Depp and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Obviously, the talk of the night was Ricky Gervais’ absolutely no-holds-barred hosting job which bordered on a Comedy Central Roast. I’ve heard things such as network executives swearing that it will be the end of the comic’s career, but for me, the best part of the show was waiting for what he was going to say next. I mean, come on. When you’re that rich and that famous, there is absolutely no reason not to verbally macerated on national television. I haven’t laughed as hard in a long time as when Ricky referred to Bruce Willis as Ashton Kutcher’s dad.

The best part of the night, and ironic for me, since I really don’t care much about the television portion of the awards, was Chris Colfer’s win for “Glee.” Sometimes you see a performer put on their phony “I never would have imagined” face. You could tell that this kid had expected hell to freeze over and then thaw again before he would win this award. The shock, awe and pure joy in his face was just a memorable sight. And while I really don’t enjoy “Glee” so much, both Colfer and Jane Lynch’s performances are far and away the only things that keep it afloat in my attention span. Congrats to both of them.

Well, the critics have officially had their say. All that’s left are those in the industry, and I can only hope that they greet “The Social Network” with as much warmth and gratitude as their judges have. And since it has now received nominations, at least, from every single Hollywood guild, the horizon is looking pretty damned bright.

Golden Globe Predictions

January 15, 2011 2 comments

Well, it’s that time of the year, and that time happens to be my least favorite. As much as I love and anticipate the Oscars, I absolutely loathe the Golden Globes. I feel that they are kind of a travesty to cinema and the entire awards tradition. If there was ever a group that completely sold out to bribery, star-fucking and just straight-up bad taste, it would be the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. That being said, they are still the second most publicized awards presentation of the year and I must give them some kind of credence.

If “The Social Network”‘s never-ending streak of victories was to falter at all during the season, I would hope it to be here. That way, I can chalk it up with the rest of the Globes’ terrible decisions over the years. If it wins, all the better for it. To be honest, I would almost feel more comfortable with it losing the HFPA’s Best Picture. In the last six years, the award for Best Picture has only criss-crossed between Oscar and Globe once, and that was for “Slumdog Millionaire.” Here’s a rough breakdown of the HFPA’s comparison to the Academy:

AMPAS
2009: “The Hurt Locker”
2008: “Slumdog Millionaire”
2007: “No Country for Old Men”
2006: “The Departed”
2005: “Crash”
2004: “Million Dollar Baby”

HFPA
2009: “Avatar”
2008: “Slumdog Millionaire”
2007: “Atonement”
2006: “Babel”
2005: “Brokeback Mountain”
2004: “The Aviator”

Outside of “Brokeback Mountain” and “The Aviator,” I think the Academy has picked the better film every year since then. Therefore, I almost take “The Social Network” losing Best Picture tomorrow night to be a compliment, as long as it goes on to win the Oscar.

If there was a film that could curry enough favor to take down “The Social Network,” it will probably be “The King’s Speech.” Aside from having not that great taste, the Globes also have a penchant for picking films with a little more international flair. At least, they seem to not go for films with thoroughly American themes, in the case of “The Departed,” “No Country for Old Men” and “The Hurt Locker.” I would definitely put “The Social Network” into this category.

However, I will not lose faith. Maybe, for once, the Globes will shock me with brilliance and “The Social Network” will edge out a victory. For sure, I cannot imagine any other film winning for Director or Screenplay, and if it can take down those two, why not the big one?

Here are my predictions:

BEST PICTURE, DRAMA
“The Social Network”
r/u: “The King’s Speech”

BEST PICTURE, MUSICAL/COMEDY
“The Kids Are All Right”
r/u: “Alice in Wonderland”

BEST DIRECTOR
David Fincher – “The Social Network”
r/u: Darren Aronofsky – “Black Swan”

BEST ACTOR, DRAMA
Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
r/u: James Franco – “127 Hours”

BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA
Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”
r/u: Nicole Kidman – “Rabbit Hole”

BEST ACTOR, MUSICAL/COMEDY (the most wide-open category; could really be anyone)
Johnny Depp – “Alice in Wonderland”
r/u: Paul Giamatti – “Barney’s Version”

BEST ACTRESS, MUSICAL/COMEDY
Annette Bening – “The Kids Are All Right”
r/u: Anne Hathaway – “Love and Other Drugs”

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

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

BEST SCREENPLAY
“The Social Network”
r/u: “The King’s Speech”

BEST ANIMATED FILM
“Toy Story 3”
r/u: “How to Train Your Dragon”

BEST FOREIGN FILM
“Biutiful”
r/u: “I Am Love”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
“The Social Network”
r/u: “Inception”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” – “Burlesque”
r/u: “I See the Light” – “Tangled”

Directors Guild Announces Nominees

January 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Finally, the big daddy of the guilds has announced its nominees. This is one of the most prestigious awards in the film industry. Some directors actually see it as a better form of recognition than the Oscar. It is also a very accurate predictor of who will win the eventual Best Director Oscar. The DGA and the Oscar have lined up in this category 54 of the last 62 years since the award’s beginning. It’s also worth noting that all of these films are pretty much guaranteed a Best Picture nomination. Back when there were five nominees, the DGA used to match Best Picture better than they matched the Best Director contenders.

Here is the list of nominees:

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
Darren Aronofsky – “Black Swan”
David O. Russell – “The Fighter”
Christopher Nolan – “Inception”
Tom Hooper – “The King’s Speech”
David Fincher – “The Social Network”

It’s worth noting that even though I did not publish them, these were my exact predictions. Fincher, Aronofsky and Nolan were all pretty much locks for this nomination. Some expected Tom Hooper to miss here based on his lack of experience and the film being not so much a director’s piece, but rather a writing and acting showcase. But when a film chugs along as well as “The King’s Speech,” there was no reason to believe that he would be absent.

The individual most profiting from this nomination is definitely David O’Russell. Once considered a loose cannon, or even a lunatic in some circles, O’Russell is now DGA nominee and his film locked for a Best Picture nomination, perhaps even a contender for the win. Who did O’Russell oust? The answer is the Coen Brothers, who many were expected to come away with their third nomination (or at least Joel’s third and Ethan’s second, though anyone who’s anyone knows that these two have always been a team even both their names aren’t on the credit).

So will this be the Best Director line-up at the Oscars? It’s hard to say, but I would say: yes. The Coens may continue to gain traction. Their film was released near the end of the DGA balloting so it’s possible some voters did not see it. It’s also very possible that the Academy might try and continue last year’s legacy and nominate one of this year’s talented female directors like Lisa Cholodenko of “The Kids Are All Right” or Debra Granik of “Winter’s Bone” (Granik being the much more deserving).

Perhaps the most hurt by these nominations is Danny Boyle. Like the Coen Brothers, Boyle just won an Oscar within the last 3 years and isn’t considered as due as others. However, “127 Hours” is hanging onto its Best Picture nomination by a thread. and many are already starting to bump it for movies like “The Town,” “Winter’s Bone” or both. Boyle still has a long shot chance of a Best Director nomination, but his chances are becoming quite slim.

Oh, and David Fincher has this award IN THE BAG. He’s had it in the bag for a long time now and he really couldn’t be more deserving. A coronation is more accurate than an awarding.

The winners will be announced on January 29th. Stay tuned.

Writers Guild of America Announces Nominees

January 4, 2011 2 comments

And the hits just keep on coming. No more than three hours after the producers have their say in the awards season, the writers fire back. It is once again important to emphasize that the WGA had a list of ineligible, and yet highly contending, films that are very likely to oust some of these from the Oscar nominations. Yet, for now, all I want to do is bask in the glory of what will be, perhaps, “I Love You Phillip Morris”‘ only decent mention for the rest of the year…and it’s not even in recognition of Jim Carrey. I’ll take what I can get.

Here is the full list of nominees, with the ineligible titles for each category that might have put a fly in the ointment:

Adapted Screenplay
“127 Hours”
“I Love You Phillip Morris”
“The Social Network”
“The Town”
“True Grit”

INELIGIBLE: “Toy Story 3,” “Winter’s Bone,” “The Ghost Writer,” “Never Let Me Go,” “Love and Other Drugs,” “The Way Back”

Original Screenplay
“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“Inception”
“The Kids Are All Right”
“Please Give”

INELIGIBLE: “The King’s Speech,” “Another Year,” “Blue Valentine,” “Biutiful,” “Made in Dagenham”

Documentary Screenplay
“Enemies of the People”
“Freedom Riders”
“Gasland”
“Inside Job”
“The Two Escobars”
“Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?

One almost wonders if the WGA deliberately leaves those films off of the market to help liven up the race a little bit, because, for sure these are some interesting choices. The winners, in my mind, are pretty obvious. “The Social Network” will absolutely sweep the vote for Best Adapted Screenplay and pretty much go on to sweep the Oscar, as well. Nothing else has even a hair of a chance.

Best Original Screenplay will most likely go to “The Kids Are All Right.” It’s the only truly writing-driven piece in the whole lot. Perhaps “Inception,” may give it a run for its money if they really want a chance to honor Christopher Nolan, but I doubt it. Once the Oscars come around, however, it will be a real shoot-out between the above mentioned winner and “The King’s Speech.” Oscar, on the other hand, seems to have a true penchant for quirk when it comes to their Original Screenplay award so it would seem difficult to ignore Lisa Cholodenko’s film.