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My Final 83rd Oscar Predictions

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, folks, it’s all come to an end. These will be my final predictions for this year’s Academy Awards. It has been a long year and a tough year, one with one of the biggest tide-turnings in the history of film. It’s hard to see the best, as well as my favorite, movie go from being on top of the world to fighting for its life. I still believe that it will come out victorious in the end, but I will be hanging on to that prediction by my fingernails until the first ballot is called.

This year, some of the races are a foregone conclusion. Both lead acting categories were practically finalized months ago, and the supporting awards are pretty close to sewn up, as well. You can probably take both of the screenplay awards to the bank, as well, along with animated feature. I also feel pretty confident calling both sound categories and visual effects for a single film to capture.

Several awards are thoroughly nagging on me and will be to the very end. One will be the very first ballot called, so we won’t have to wait long. Art Direction is in a very close. “The King’s Speech” is definitely the front runner with both “Inception” and “Alice in Wonderland” biting at its heals. It’s interesting to note that in all the times that a Tim Burton film has been nominated for this particular award, it has never lost. That statistic goes hand in hand with another, in that every time one such movie has been nominated for Best Costume Design, it has never won. I plan to go against that logic tonight, even as it faces a very strong contender in “The King’s Speech.”

Along with Design, both of the music categories have been severely nagging at me, as well. In Original Score, there is a showdown between the two Best Picture frontrunners, the stylish and innovative music in “The Social Network” vs. the quiet, beautiful, but really quite boring tones of “The King’s Speech.” Meanwhile, “Inception” and “How to Train Your Dragon” both have potential as spoilers. In Best Original Song, Randy Newman is looking for his second Oscar with the song “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3,” while A.R. Rahman seeks his third (he won two for “Slumdog Millionaire). Either has potential.

Finally, we come to the big one. It’s funny how after everything else, Best Picture ends up being the closest race of all. In one corner, there’s “The King’s Speech,” the heart-warming, generally-appealing historical epic. In its pocket are the PGA, the DGA and the SAG Ensemble. It’s opposition: “The Social Network,” is the original, stylized, cold-shouldered work of art. Behind it is the Golden Globe, the BFCA, the WGA, the ACE and basically every critics award for Best Picture that exists. It will be a fight to the finish. The one question the Academy has to ask themselves now.

Do they want to be smart or do they want to be saps? I still have faith.

My final predictions:

BEST PICTURE
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST DIRECTOR
Winner: David Fincher – “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: Tom Hooper – “The King’s Speech”

BEST ACTOR
Winner: Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
Runner-Up: Jesse Eisenberg – “The Social Network”

BEST ACTRESS
Winner: Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”
Runner-Up: Annette Bening – “The Kids Are All Right”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Winner: Christian Bale – “The Fighter”
Runner-Up: Geoffrey Rush – “The King’s Speech”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Winner: Melissa Leo – “The Fighter”
Runner-Up: Hailee Steinfeld – “True Grit”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Winner: “The King’s Speech”
Runner-Up: “Inception”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “Toy Story 3”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Winner: “In a Better World”
Runner-Up: “Incendies”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Winner: “Toy Story 3”
Runner-Up: “How to Train Your Dragon”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Winner: “Inside Job”
Runner-Up: “Exit Through the Gift Shop”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Winner: “True Grit”
Runner-Up: “Inception”

BEST EDITING
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST ART DIRECTION
Winner: “The King’s Speech”
Runner-Up: “Inception”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Winner: “Alice in Wonderland”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST SOUND MIXING
Winner: “Inception”
Runner-Up: “The Social Network”

BEST SOUND EDITING
Winner: “Inception”
Runner-Up: “TRON: Legacy”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Winner: “Inception”
Runner-Up: “Alice in Wonderland”

BEST MAKEUP
Winner: “The Wolfman”
Runner-Up: “Barney’s Version”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Winner: “The Social Network”
Runner-Up: “The King’s Speech”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Winner: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”
Runner-Up: “If I Rise” from “127 Hours”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Winner: “The Gruffalo”
Runner-Up: “Day and Night”

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
Winner: “Strangers No More”
Runner-Up: “Poster Girl”

BEST LIVE-ACTION FILM
Winner: “Na Wewe”
Runner-Up: “The Confession”

Enjoy the Oscars folks!

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The 1st Annual Edgy Award Winners

February 24, 2011 2 comments

Well, Hollywood’s biggest night is this Sunday. However, the biggest night for this particular blog is right here and now. I announced the nominees for this year’s Edgy Awards last week and it’s now time to bestow said honors upon the winners. As the results will show, several films have proven their excellence by taking a high number of awards. However, much of the love has been equally spread out. Interestingly, four films out of my Top Ten List went home empty handed, while a film that I would consider quite a disappointment still propelled itself to a win in one category.

Overall, these awards are a very accurate depiction of my opinion on films this year. Now, if only the Oscars had this type of taste. However, if the Oscars always matched exactly what one person thought the best, where’s the fun in that? That kind of reality would eliminate the fun of having an opinion in the first place. It would do away with genuine discussion and healthy argument over film. And, most importantly, it would take away from making this site it’s own unique vision.

NOTE: I have been awesome enough to include a video selection for each award chosen, either a short documentary describing the category or a clip from the film that best exhibits what it has been awarded. However, I can not guarantee that any of the clips selected do or do not contain spoilers. Therefore, if you haven’t yet seen the chosen film, do not watch the clip. Simple.

Also, a number of the clips do not allow embedment. But don’t give up, so easily. Just click the link and it will take you directly to the video’s Youtube link where you can view it. Once again, simple.

Without further adieu, here are the winners of the 2011 Edgy Awards!

 

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

 

“If I Rise” featured in “127 Hours”

Music by A.R. Rahman and Lyrics by Dido and Rollo Armstrong

Runner-Up: “Bred and Buttered” featured in “Winter’s Bone”

Read more…

“King’s Speech” and “Social Network” Win at BAFTAs

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment

It kind of went without saying that “The King’s Speech” was destined to rape the living hell out of these awards since September when the film debuted at the Venice Film Festival. Apparently, it’s the most widely popular and acclaimed British film since, I don’t know….”Lawrence of Arabia,” though I surely don’t understand it. This is a big moment for our English brethren across the Atlantic to pat themselves on the back. A pretty strong example of this is how the British Academy Awards actually have two awards for Best Picture: Best Film and Best British Film. For years they have made it so that no film wins both awards, but rather spread the wealth. Guess what’s the first film ever to take home every Best Picture award on the market?

“The King’s Speech” ended up taking home seven awards, total. Aside from being the first film to achieve the accolade above, the film also became the first film in BAFTA history to take home three awards for acting. Colin Firth, of course, nailed the Best Actor win (not even the real King George risen from the dead could stop Firth from sweeping straight to Oscar glory). However, the film also won supporting awards for both Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter. While Geoffrey Rush is definitely picking up a bit of steam, don’t expect a repeat in the American Academy Awards. If anyone can unseat Melissa Leo, it will be Hailee Steinfeld (sadly).

Despite all of the above, “The King’s Speech” was not the only big winner of the night. Many believed that “The Social Network” was TKOed, not just for these awards, but for year, as well. Some of this ideology was attributed to the film only garnering six nominations (compared to “The King’s Speech”‘s fourteen) or perhaps the heavy American sentiment laden in the work. However, all of this was rendered false, last night, when “The Social Network” won three very substantial awards: Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director for David Fincher. If the Brits won’t even give their award to newcomer Tom Hooper, I can’t see any reason why the American awards circuit would stoop that low.

Check out the full list of winners, below:

BEST FILM: “The King’s Speech”
BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher – “The Social Network”
BEST LEADING ACTOR: Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
BEST LEADING ACTRESS: Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Geoffrey Rush – “The King’s Speech”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Helena Bonham Carter – “The King’s Speech”
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “The Social Network”
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “The King’s Speech”
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “True Grit”
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM: “The King’s Speech”
OUTSTANDING BRITISH DEBUT: “Four Lions”
BEST EDITING: “The Social Network”
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “The King’s Speech”
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: “Inception”
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “Alice in Wonderland”
BEST SOUND: “Inception”
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “Inception”
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR: “Alice in Wonderland”
BEST SHORT FILM: “Until the River Runs Red”
BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATION: “The Eagleman Stag”
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Toy Story 3”
RISING STAR AWARD: Tom Hardy

First Oscar Winner Predictions

February 2, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s time for phase 2, ladies and gentleman. Things aren’t going as well as I would have liked, but they almost never do. As Sasha Stone at Awardsdaily quotes “All the President’s Men,” in regards to the Oscar race, “The trick is not minding.” You’ve got to roll with the punches and accept that even if the deserving film doesn’t win, hopefully your predictions are still right. Therefore, at least your pride is still intact.

I have “The King’s Speech” down for the big win, sadly. Maybe later on, if there’s a potential change in vibe, I might make an alteration back. But for now, one has to put the money where the money’s gonna win. I have, meanwhile, kept David Fincher in the frontrunner position for Best Director. I simply cannot imagine a world in which Tom Hooper wins that trophy from him. It’s simply unnatural that the Academy could be that ridiculous.

You can pretty much take all of the acting wins to the bank. Melissa Leo is the only one who’s kind of flimsy, at this point, but I have a feeling her age and fantastic personality will help her beat out the unworthy newcomer.

Going over this, it still boggles me that Lee Smith missed an editing nomination for “Inception.” It really makes no sense. I have the “The Social Network” down, and my God, it deserves it. Yet, the nomination feels flimsy, and yet I can’t figure out what could possibly take it down.

With that, here are my first winner predictions for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, complete with all of the nominees ranked in order of their chances. I will keep them posted and, hopefully, updated in the “PREDICTIONS” tab at the top of the homepage.

Click “Read More” to see the full list and tally.

BEST PICTURE
1. “The King’s Speech”
2. “The Social Network”
3. “The Fighter”
4. “True Grit”
5. “Black Swan”
6. “Toy Story 3”
7. “Inception”
8. “127 Hours”
9. “Winter’s Bone”
10. “The Kids Are All Right”

Read more…

FYC Roger Deakins – “True Grit”

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

So, I’m not the biggest fan of this film. I’m not even sure if Roger Deakins will top my list of Best Cinematography of 2010. One thing’s for sure, however. Roger Deakins is probably one of the top five greatest cinematographers of all time and easily the best DP to never win an Oscar. His career first took off after shooting the independent feature “Sid and Nancy” which also launched Gary Oldman’s career. After taking the role of the Coen Brothers’ official DP, his talents went straight to the top of the list.

On top of his NINE Oscar nominations, including “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Fargo,” “O Brother Where Art Thou,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (the first three of which earned him wins from my personal awards), Deakins also did phenomenal work on “Revolutionary Road” “Dead Man Walking” and the visually astounding “Jarhead.” His work has had a truly lasting impact on the contemporary world of cinema, and from a film student’s perspective, there are not many people in today’s film industry who are more admired and revered.

When asked how he felt about receiving the American Society of Cinematographers’ Lifetime Achievement Award this month, he said he was slightly disappointed. He states that he likes to think of his career only halfway over and hopes to still do better work in the future. One can only hope that Roger keeps creating incredible visuals until the day he dies. But in the meantime, can we please just give the man an Oscar, already?

Check out this short video showing Roger Deakins work on the film “True Grit,” for which, if there’s any justice in the world, he will finally bring home a statue for:

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.

Read more…