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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.

The Shape of Things and Those to Come

January 22, 2011 8 comments

We’re now down to just over a month left until cinema’s biggest night, the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, and only three days left till the nominations are released. It’s a very exciting time for movies and an equally exciting time for The Edge of the Frame. I’ve got a lot of great stuff planned for the coming weeks.

First off, now that all of the guild nominations are complete, I will try to be as prompt as possible at announcing the winners as they are awarded. First off will be the Producers Guild which is holding its ceremony tonight. Many believe that, with the DGA and WGA all but locked up, the Producers are the last big hurdle that “The Social Network” needs to vanquish before it can be considered a virtual lock for the Best Picture Oscar. Or, put another way, if “The King’s Speech,” “Black Swan,” “The Fighter,” “Inception,” or even “Toy Story 3” wants to put up any kind of a fight, this should be their last stand. I mean these are producers we’re talking about, so massive box office success may be taken into account here. And all of the above-mentioned films have much more exciting box office turn-ins than the frontrunner (not that “TSN” fared badly, bringing in just shy of $100 million off of a $40 million dollar budget). As far as money goes, my own is still squarely behind David Fincher’s masterpiece. It doesn’t help having one of Hollywood’s most loved and successful producers behind the curtain, in the form of Scott Rudin.

On top of the guilds, I’m going to attempt to not wait until the last possible moment to announce my predictions for this year’s Academy Awards. I’m hoping that by tomorrow evening, I will be ready for my final guess. While, it’s true, there’s virtually nothing between today and Tuesday morning that could change what’s in the envelopes (especially since the AMPAS’ polls closed over a week ago). However, it’s all about the vibe, and for that, I have to take my time.

Along with continuing awards coverage, I am also drafting a few feature articles. I’m currently in progress on my next addition to The Lists series, focusing on the greatest addicts in movie history. Meanwhile, I’m also planning two articles in support of “The Social Network.” One, countering arguments that the film is overrated due to its historic inaccuracies and possibly another that defends Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as one of the year’s best, if not the best of the best.

You know, I take a lot of guff from people who say that I have a huge bias for the Facebook film; that this site is simply all “Social Network” all day long. Well, let’s face it folks. This awards season, let alone the year in cinema has been all “Social Network” all day. As the tagline states, “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.” Well, you don’t get to win 30 out of 33 awards for Best Picture of the Year without being a pretty goddamn good movie, so I really don’t think I’m alone on this one.

Finally, as the 2010 film season comes to a close, it’s about time I conclude my critical coverage of the season. Soon, I will be rolling out my “Best of the Year” series. There are still four more films that I absolutely must see before I feel comfortable posting a valid list. David Michod’s “Animal Kingdom” is in my Blu ray player waiting for me when I get home from work, today. I’ve scheduled a screening of Mike Leigh’s “Another Year” tomorrow afternoon. I should have some time to check out Peter Weir’s “The Way Back later this week, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Biutiful” opens in Chicago on the 28th. On that time table, I should be able to assemble my Top Ten List by February 1st. I may just have time to sneak “Repo Men,” “Mother and Child,” “The Virginity Hit” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” into consideration, pending on how fast I can work my way through my Netflix DVD queue.

Shortly after I post my Top Ten of the Year, I will begin preparing the nominations for the Conroy Film Awards, or “The Connies” for a certain few who have chosen to refer to them that way. These are my own personal Academy Awards. I believe I have a set of them for every year going back to 1940. They’re tailored with the same nominees as the AMPAS, along with a few other fun categories, including Best Ensemble Cast, Best Heros/Villains, and Best Ending (with no spoilers included, of course).

All in all, it should be a good time. So keep reading, folks, cause the fun is about to begin.

Academy Narrows Make-Up Branch to 7

January 11, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve been waiting for this announcement and really couldn’t be more disappointed. Like several other categories, the Make-Up branch of the Oscars creates a shortlist of contenders before the actual nominees are decided. That list is made up of seven films.

Here’s the selection of films:

“Alice in Wonderland”
“Barney’s Version”
“The Fighter”
“Jonah Hex”
“True Grit”
“The Way Back”
“The Wolfman”

In all honesty, these are a joke. “Alice and Wonderland” and “The Wolfman” were expected, “The Fighter” well deserving a spot for it’s wounds, hairstyles and tattoo cover-up. Yet, the sheer absence of “Black Swan” from the shortlist is a true tragedy. Whether you look at the realistic gore make-up or the exquisite work done for the actual ballet scenes, this is a straight-up snub. Even worse is the exclusion of “127 Hours.”

The Academy make-up branch is either biased against or completely blind to effective gore make-up. They go absolutely apeshit for prosthetics and aging. I mean films like “The Wolfman” and “Alice in Wonderland” obviously require an immense amount of work. However, creating a scenario in which a man cuts off his own arm and actually make that completely believable is fully worthy of equal recognition. Always, gore make-up is overlooked. “No Country for Old Men,” “Moon,” “District 9″ and “A History of Violence” all have incredible wound make-up and none of them even received nominations.

My girlfriend is a special effects make-up artist and every year she is infuriated by these nominations and I’m beginning to understand why.

 

Oscar Predictions 11/27!

November 27, 2010 8 comments

So it’s now only a little more than 2 months until the 2011 Academy Award nominations are officially announced. And now that Thanksgiving has passed, this blog will soon be buzzing with critics groups awards, top ten lists and guild nominations. Therefore, I figure it’s about time to update my predictions.

Some things are falling apart, and some stars are rising. Some things are, well, staying pretty much the same. I’m starting to lose faith that “The Way Back” will be able to gain enough momentum going into January, even if it does live up to being one of Peter Weir’s best. Same thing for the women’s rights film, “Made in Dagenham.”

However, it seems that the planets are finally aligning for Darren Arronofsky, really for the first time, as “Black Swan” is riding one of the best publicity waves of the year. It doesn’t help that the film might actually be the best of the young auteur’s career. I don’t see “127 Hours” disappearing from the list any time soon, either. Also, it appears that “Toy Story 3” is becoming a nearly unstoppable force (deservingly so) and could actually become the third member of a 3-way race for the win. Who would have thought?

As of now though, it’s still between the same two horses: “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network.” It kind of seems as though it will remain that way, too. I imagine that “The Social Network” will garner a lot of the critics awards. A dream come true would be a sweep of the LAFCA, the NYFCC and the National Society of Film Critics, just as “The Hurt Locker” did. However, with “Toy Story 3″‘s reviews being nearly as good, it will have competition. I could further go into my guild hopes, as well, but we’ll try to keep the cart behind the horse and take this thing one step at a time.

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Trailer for “The Way Back”

October 11, 2010 Leave a comment

So, not so long after Peter Weir’s “The Way Back” kicked off its Oscar campaign, the UK Guardian released the trailer for this epic film. I think that after viewing this, despite the  minimal amount of buzz accumulated in the U.S., I will have to update a few of my predictions. I already had it down for Supporting Actor and Cinematography. From the look of it, it may definitely be in line for Best Picture, Best Director and Editing. If it rides a good wave, perhaps Adapted Screenplay and Score, as well.

Surprisingly, the trailer doesn’t seem to showcase Ed Harris much at all. Perhaps, his part is not as meaty as one would hope. I guess we shall have to wait and see which direction the wind blows. Those who don’t know much about this film should definitely give this a look-see because it’s about to become a major player.

Sorry about the low quality, but the trailer is not very widely available, yet. Enjoy.

A New Oscar Contender on the Horizon

October 5, 2010 3 comments

I’m hearing word from a couple of sources that a film that has been on the fence for the 2010 season for a long time has now been confirmed for a release that puts it in competition for this year’s Oscars. I could not be more thrilled.

That film is “The Way Back” directed by Peter Weir. Weir is the mastermind behind such brilliant films as “Witness,” “The Truman Show,” and “Master and Commander,” and this film is said to be a great addition to that list of prestige.

The film tells the story of a group of escapees from a Siberian gulag (or prison) during World War II making their way back through harsh climates and enemy territory back to their home country. The film boasts a great cast with Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, Mark Strong, Saoirse Ronan and Ed Harris. Also a strong technical pedigree with an Oscar Winning cinematographer (Russell Boyd) and editor (Lee Smith). The film was a huge hit at the Telluride Film Festival and will surely build up a great campaign leading up to January.

It might be a little late in the game for this relatively unheard of film to stage a coup against such awards monsters as “The Social Network” or “The King’s Speech.” However, this release is phenomenal news for one person in particular, one of my absolute favorite actors of all time: Ed Harris.

It would be a crime to call this year’s supporting actor race weak, for there are so many phenomenal actors with great roles already in the running. However, Ed Harris entering at this point is a game-changer. Right now, the category is filled with a lot of young actors who are just now looking for their first nomination, and one veteran who already has an Oscar under his belt. Yet, the Best Supporting Actor Oscar has been a long-used tool for awarding older actors in return for snubbing them in the past (Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins, James Coburn, Robin Williams, Martin Landau, Jack Palance, Sean Connery, the list goes on and on…..) and not many individuals meet that pedigree more than Ed Harris.

He has been nominated four times, and at least two of those times, he was kind of a snub (Apollo 13 and The Truman Show). This is a great opportunity for the Academy to correct the mistakes of the past and award he who is widely considered the most overdue man in Hollywood before its too late. My predictions have been updated accordingly.