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Posts Tagged ‘winter’s bone’

Oscar Voting: Revamped and Reconfigured

Two years ago, the film awards community was rocked when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced its plan to increase the number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten. This takes us back to the Academy’s roots, nearly seventy years ago, before the Academy cut its nominee count in half. Many people were appalled by the shift in policy, but I was one of the few on the supportive side of things.

This wasn’t just because of the “Dark Knight” snub debacle or that a top ten list is more rounded and proper than a top five, though both of those are good reasons. The truth is, there have been far too many snubs for a shot at the grand prize over the years and two many great films overlooked. I still have nightmares over the fact that brilliant work like “United 93,” “Children of Men,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Mulholland Dr.” never appeared on a Best Picture ballot. Overall, ten was just a more efficient number to catalogue the best films of the year.

Well, as of this year, the debate over whether it be five nominees, ten nominees or six and three quarters no longer exists, because no one will have any idea until the morning of. Sources report that, this winter, the Academy will have a to-be-determined number of nominees, and that amount will be subject to change on a yearly basis pending on how many votes each film receives. According to Academy executive director Bruce Davis, all films garnering at least five percent of the vote will be nominated. Based on former numbers, that would include somewhere between five to nine selections.

While, I will miss the uniformity and satisfaction of having an Oscar top ten list, this could be a much more efficient way of honoring the films. It’s not entirely logical that if seven films receive upwards of five to ten percent of voting and three more films get about one to two percent a piece, that they should be mandated for inclusion.

However, this policy is a bit of a double-edged sword. Just like the expansion to ten nominees was meant to allow for blockbuster films to make the cut, vote percentage regulations may hinder the chances of smaller indy films from making the cut. Sadly, this is not due to disdain for the films or bad marketing. It’s simply because voters don’t get around to seeing them. Using hypothetical numbers, let’s look at the case of a small film like “Winter’s Bone.” Fifty percent of voters who see the film might choose to nominate it. However, the amount of people who see the film may only be a small fraction compared to those who went to see something like “Avatar.” So even if only five percent of “Avatar” viewers choose to nominate it (compared to “Winter’s Bone”‘s fifty) that number may still dominate over the tiny indy. “Bone”‘s percentage might have been enough to gain its place in a top ten, but five percent of the vote is unlikely.

Meanwhile, on top of percentages, the Academy has chosen to revolutionize Oscar voting by taking steps to providing online ballots. This would be the first time that an awards show with as much history and prestige has made such a shift (the Emmys refuse to commit). Online balloting may help reduce the possibility of error and could help expedite the process, bumping the broadcast up to January. However, it raises the very real concern of computer hacking.

The Oscar results are one of the best kept secrets in the world up until the names are read out on live television. And while the services of PricewaterhousCooper is are beyond reproach, there is always an “if” factor. With hacking groups such as “Anonymous” breaking into everything from Sony to the CIA, the possibility exists. What self-repecting, however disrespecting to the public they may be, hacker wouldn’t want the opportunity to crack the Academy’s database and announce to the world Hollywood’s best kept secret.

Will it happen? Someone like me worries about a situation like that with the same fear of nuclear terrorism. I suppose only time will tell. In closing, I leave you with one of my favorite Oscar speeches.

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”

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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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My Top Ten List – 2010

February 15, 2011 1 comment

Last year, I can remember the huge uproar against the AMPAS extending the amount of Best Picture nominees to ten. I can also remember, that through it all, I was one of this notion’s strongest supporters. I recognize the faults in the logic. It allows for lesser films that have no business being considered one of the year’s best to fight their way in due to endless campaigning and the votes of stupid people. This flaw took shape last year in the form of “The Blind Side” getting nominated for Best Picture.

However, the upsides of the expansion are far greater. It gives the field a more diverse look, for one. It’s nice to see films from a wide range of directors and collaborators. If allows also a mix of both intelligent box office hits and scrappy indy favorites. More than anything else, however, is that five films is just two few to sum up a year in cinema. Had the Academy enacted this ruling ten years ago, one would look back on certain films and think it a crime had they not been nominated, which they haven’t. Imagine a world if films like “The Wrestler,” “The Dark Knight,” “WALL-E,” “Into the Wild,” “Once,” “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “United 93,” “Little Children,” “Children of Men” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” could have been Best Picture nominees, and that’s only the last five years.

It must be for that reason that critics, for over fifty years, have been issuing top ten lists of their favorite films, rather than top five lists. It’s about that time, therefore, for The Edge of the Frame to release its own list for the 2010 year. I have now seen sixty films from 2010, which is low for me and not quite an respectable amount. Over the years, I’m sure that this list will change a spot or two as I see more, but for now, I believe that I’ve seen an acceptable sum to create an adequate list.

This has been a good year for film, but not really a great one. Out of sixty films, I gave only two films “A” grades. The year has had its high points and low points. For instance, it has been a great year for lead acting performances, but a rotten year for cinematography. For sure, I will always remember 2010 as the year that the Oscars snubbed its nose at great film and went home to their comfort zones. More than anything else, however, 2010 has been the year of the documentary. Never have I seen a year in cinema in which so many documentaries have captured my interest, let alone made it into my top ten.

As always there are a few stragglers that, even though they don’t qualify for my top ten, they still deserve an honorable mention. Therefore, this next selection of films are all very good, but just not good enough. They may be packed with amazing moments, but there’s also one too many flaws that have kept them down. So without further adieu, here are the films that just didn’t quite make it:

THE RUNNERS-UP


“127 Hours”

Directed by Danny Boyle
Written by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy

Click HERE to see the rest of the list

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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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Critics Choice Awards – My Predictions

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

So this weekend is chock-full of awards shows, with the Critics Choice Awards (voted on by the BFCA) premiering Friday night and the Golden Globes on Sunday. I’ll be bringing my predictions for the HFPA (which are always quite a question mark, even in a race like this one) at some point this weekend, but I thought I’d give a little preview of the Critics Choice tonight.

Ultimately, this is a no-brainer. Nearly every critic in the country and their mothers…hell their whole damn extended families have unanimously praised “The Social Network” as the best film of the year. The Golden Globes may pull a rabbit out of their ass and award either “The King’s Speech” or “Black Swan,” but that won’t pull much weight with the Oscars. Since the HFPA and the Academy have only made the same decision once in the last six years, it’s almost bad luck for a film to win at Golden Globes.

Here are my predictions for the Critics Choice Awards:

Best Picture
R/U: “Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“Inception”
“The King’s Speech”
“127 Hours”
WINNER: “The Social Network”
“The Town”
“Toy Story 3″
“True Grit”
“Winter’s Bone”

Best Director
R/U: Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
Danny Boyle, “127 Hours”
WINNER: David Fincher, “The Social Network”
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, “True Grit”

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges, “True Grit”
Robert Duvall, “Get Low”
R/U: Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”
WINNER: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
James Franco, “127 Hours”
Ryan Gosling, “Blue Valentine”

Best Actress
R/U: Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman, “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
WINNER: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Noomi Rapace, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”

Best Supporting Actor
WINNER: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
Andrew Garfield, “The Social Network”
Jeremy Renner, “The Town”
Sam Rockwell, “Conviction”
Mark Ruffalo, “The Kids Are All Right”
R/U: Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech”
Mila Kunis, “Black Swan”
WINNER: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
R/U: Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”
Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”

Best Young Actor/Actress
Elle Fanning, “Somewhere”
WINNER: Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
Chloe Grace Moretz, “Let Me In”
Chloe Grace Moretz, “Kick-Ass”
Kodi Smit-McPhee, “Let Me In”
R/U: Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”

Best Acting Ensemble
WINNER: “The Fighter”
“The Kids Are All Right”
“The King’s Speech”
R/U: “The Social Network”
“The Town”

Best Original Screenplay
“Another Year”
“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“Inception”
R/U: “The Kids Are All Right”
WINNER: “The King’s Speech”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“127 Hours”
WINNER: “The Social Network”
“The Town”
R/U: “Toy Story 3″
“True Grit”
“Winter’s Bone”

Best Art Direction
R/U: “Alice in Wonderland”
“Black Swan”
WINNER: “Inception”
“The King’s Speech”
“True Grit”

Best Cinematography
R/U: “Black Swan”
“Inception”
“The King’s Speech”
“127 Hours”
WINNER: “True Grit”

Best Costume Design
WINNER: “Alice in Wonderland”
“Black Swan”
R/U: “The King’s Speech”
“True Grit”

Best Film Editing
“Black Swan”
R/U: “Inception”
“127 Hours”
WINNER: “The Social Network”

Best Makeup
R/U: “Alice in Wonderland”
WINNER: “Black Swan”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I”
“True Grit”

Best Score
“Black Swan”
R/U: “Inception”
“The King’s Speech”
WINNER: “The Social Network”
“True Grit”

Best Song
“You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from “Burlesque”
“If I Rise” from “127 Hours”
R/U: “I See the Light” from “Tangled”
“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3″
WINNER: “Shine” from “Waiting for Superman”

Best Sound
“Black Swan”
WINNER: “Inception”
“127 Hours”
R/U: “The Social Network”
“Toy Story 3″

Best Visual Effects
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I”
WINNER: “Inception”
R/U: “TRON Legacy”

Best Animated Feature
“Despicable Me”
R/U: “How to Train Your Dragon”
“The Illusionist”
“Tangled”
WINNER: “Toy Story 3″

Best Action Movie
WINNER: “Inception”
“Kick-Ass”
“Red”
R/U: “The Town”
“Unstoppable”

Best Comedy
“Cyrus”
“Date Night”
WINNER: “Easy A”
“Get Him to the Greek”
R/U: “I Love You Phillip Morris”
“The Other Guys”

Best Foreign Language Film
R/U: “Biutiful”
“I Am Love”
WINNER: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Best Documentary Feature
R/U: “Exit Through the Gift Shop”
WINNER: “Inside Job”
“Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work”
“Restrepo”
“The Tillman Story”
“Waiting for Superman”

Best Picture Made for Television
R/U: “The Pacific”
WINNER: “Temple Grandin”
“You Don’t Know Jack”