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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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Cinema Audio Society Announces Nominees

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

A new guild nomination, today. The Cinema Audio Society have released their annual short list of the five best audio mixes in film from 2010. Some strange choices here, or at least unexpected ones. This year, nearly every single nominee is a surefire contender for a Best Picture nomination at the Oscar. One has to wonder where films like “TRON: Legacy” or “Iron Man 2” are, or for that matter, certain animated films such as “How to Train Your Dragon” or “Toy Story 3.”

Here are the nominees:

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing
“Black Swan” (Ken Ishii; Dominick Tavella, Craig Henighan)
“Inception” (Ed Novick; Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo)
“Shutter Island” (Petur Hliddal; Tom Fleishman)
“The Social Network” (Mark Weingarten; Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick)
“True Grit” (Peter F. Kurland; Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff)

For sure, the most pleasant surprises are “Shutter Island” and “The Social Network.” While the sound design in “The Social Network” is phenomenal (especially in in opening bar scene with Rooney Mara and the later club scene with Justin Timberlake), I am mostly just glad that it has hit every guild thus far, showing that it has a lot of support headed into the Oscars. For sure, the most disappointing nomination here, in my opinion is “True Grit.” The action scenes just didn’t pop well enough for me and the music  became highly distracting. While I haven’t seen “TRON Legacy,” yet, I have heard nothing but raves over its sound design and is surely far more deserving than the Coen Brothers’ film.

While “Inception” is definitely the likely favorite here for the win (deservedly), I would not be surprised if “Black Swan” swooped in and stole this one away.

Art Directors Guild Announces Nominees

January 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Tis the season for the guilds. After two of the biggest guns announced their slates yesterday (we’re still waiting on the biggest gun of them all, the DGA), it’s now time for the tech guilds to start rolling out their picks. The first is the ADG, or Art Directors Guild. After years of not being able to settle on a short list, the ADG expanded to three categories a few years back, bringing their amount of nominees up to fifteen. I’m all for it, and why not. It’s the Art Directors’ union. They should have their day in the sun for bringing out a different array of talents.

Here are the nominees:

Period Film
“Get Low”
“The King’s Speech”
“Robin Hood”
“Shutter Island”
“True Grit”

Fantasy Film
“Alice in Wonderland”
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I”
“Inception”
“TRON Legacy”

Contemporary Film
“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“127 Hours”
“The Social Network”
“The Town”

Unlike most years, there should actually be some pretty good competition in all of these ranks. Period Film is stocked full of potential Oscar nominees, as is Fantasy (the eventual nominees for the Best Art Direction Oscar is usually prone to choices from these two fields, and for an obvious reason: they’re much showier). I’d say that Period Film is going to be a battle between “The King’s Speech” and “True Grit,” with “Shutter Island” putting up some resistance. Personally, I would love for “Shutter Island” to take this down. The different sets, including the lavish rooms that doctors spend their leisure (featured above) and the dank and gritty halls housing the most horrid prisoners, are all a real treat.

I would call nearly every film in the Fantasy Category a fairly strong contender, except for “The Chronicles of Narnia.” The final duel will probably be between “Alice in Wonderland” and “Inception.” I pray that the guild will look beyond the indulgent free-for-all that is “Alice” and award the gorgeous, subtle and masterfully inventive sets of Christopher Nolan’s film, a prime contender for my own award for Best Art Direction.

“The Town” is a filler nominee in Contemporary. It’s possible some might vote for “127 Hours” if they’re able to look beyond the fact that it’s just one cramped set the whole time. I’d say that “Black Swan” definitely has an edge to win here, and it’s deserving enough. However, I hope that some voters give credence to the phenomenal work done in both “The Fighter” and “The Social Network.”

My big question? Where in the world is “Winter’s Bone” in contemporary? Some very meticulously crafted sets in that film that deserve a spot much more than “The Town.”

Next up on the guild line-up is the CAS (Cinema Audio Society) and the ACE (American Cinema Editors). The latter of the two pull some heavy weight in the industry, and therefore, the Oscars, so we shall wait with anticipation.

 

15 Visual Effects Finalists

December 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Much like the award for Best Documentary, the AMPAS Best Visual Effects committee always whittles down the selection of possible nominees to a box-sized fifteen. The Academy just released the list to the public. It is as follows:

“Alice in Wonderland”
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”
“Clash of the Titans”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1″
“Hereafter”
“Inception”
“Iron Man 2″
“The Last Airbender”
“Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”
“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”
“Scott Pilgrim vs the World”
“Shutter Island”
“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”
“TRON Legacy”
“Unstoppable”

This doesn’t really change my predictions much at all. From the looks of it, I’m not sure anything will be able to take down “TRON Legacy.” Much like last year’s winner, “Avatar,” it appears to be an absolute visual feast, and added to that, the effects actually look quite stellar and authentic. Perhaps the only thing that might have a fighting chance is “Alice in Wonderland” or “Inception.” However, “Alice”‘s effects are a bit too cartoonish and over-the-top and “Inception,”‘s while incredible and realistic, are short-lived and really kind of secondary to the story (and yet that did not hurt “Gladiator” on winning this particular award).

My predictions for this category remain:

“Alice in Wonderland”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part I”
“Inception”
“Iron Man 2”
“TRON: Legacy”

Perhaps the only thing that bugs me in this category is the quiet snub of…wait for it…”The Social Network.” I know that it’s an award that this film really doesn’t need to sweep and “Social”‘s effects are easy to overlook. And yet, that’s just the point. The impeccable work on creating the Winklevi out of one actor is at least worth some recognition for it’s good enough for some viewers to really believe that the part is played by twin actors, rather than Armie Hammer. However, I’m humble enough to let this one past…..as long as the film still takes all the rest.