Tag Archives: Academy Awards

90th Annual Academy Awards – My Predictions

4 Mar

Wow, I have not been on this blog in a LONG TIME.  But, I’m here to do something I’ve always loved to do – predict the winners of the Academy Awards.  Airing tonight (March 4th) on ABC, the list of nominees has a lot of good films, but also some bad ones (Ahem, Three Billboards).  I think we will see a bit of an upset tonight that will not align with the Golden Globe winners, and this will be true with the winner of Best Picture.  Three Billboards won at the Globes, but I do believe that Get Out will eke out the win this year.  My predictions are shown below in BOLD.

Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Lead Actor:

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Lead Actress:

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

Supporting Actor:

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Supporting Actress:

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Director:

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro

Animated Feature:

“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

Animated Short:

“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

Adapted Screenplay:

“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Original Screenplay:

“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh

Cinematography:

“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

Best Documentary Feature:

Best Documentary Short Subject:

“Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon
“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon
“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner

Best Live Action Short Film:

“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen

Best Foreign Language Film:

“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“Loveless” (Russia)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)

Film Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory

Sound Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood

Sound Mixing:

“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick

Production Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau

Original Score:

“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell

Original Song:

“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Makeup and Hair:

“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten

Costume Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges
“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle

Visual Effects:

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88th Annual Academy Award Predictions

28 Feb

Wow, it’s that time of year again.  Another year that neither you nor I will not be winning a gold statue and the recognition of our peers.  Another year that Hollywood will praise each other for making it into a small circle of elitism.  Another year of dresses and jewelry more expensive than what most Americans could ever own or dream of.  Another year of gift bags worth hundreds of thousands of dollars!!!

2015 was a strange year for film, one that Bret Easton Ellis calls “the worst year for American film ever”.  Tell us how you really feel!  Did you see the films?  I saw most of this year’s films, and the only Best Picture nominee I skipped is Bridge of Spies.  Quite honestly, it looked like a snoozefest and we get it, Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg are important entities.

Here are my predictions of winners, along with who I believe SHOULD WIN!!!

Best Picture

  • “The Big Short”
  • “Bridge of Spies”
  • “Brooklyn”
  • “Mad Max: Fury Road”
  • “The Martian”
  • “The Revenant”
  • “Room”
  • “Spotlight”

WILL WIN:

Spotlight.jpg

“Spotlight”.  The Best Picture category seems to swing away from the films that win for acting and directing.  For some reason, I feel like this will win Best Picture.  However, I have some criticisms of this film.  I think they were trying to make a contemporary “All the President’s Men,” and the subject matter and era simply do not fit.  How many times did we see Mark Ruffalo frantically running?  Did we need that? Why was Liev Schreiber’s character so boring?  Why was he there?

SHOULD WIN:

“The Revenant”.  This was the best film of the year.  I was captivated.  Linda Holmes of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast called it a “theater of pain”.  Honestly, if that’s what this film is, I love theaters of pain.

Best Actor

  • Bryan Cranston for “Trumbo”
  • Matt Damon for “The Martian”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant”
  • Michael Fassbender for “Steve Jobs”
  • Eddie Redmayne for “The Danish Girl”

WILL WIN:

Leonardo DiCaprio The Revenant.jpg

Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant”.  What a performance.  Leo has been nominated many times and he’s never won.  He’s played many roles and nailed all of them.  He is, quite honestly, the greatest living actor of his generation.  This was a simple performance, but it highlighted his strengths.

SHOULD WIN:

Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant”.  There is no other choice for me.

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett for “Carol”
  • Brie Larson for “Room”
  • Jennifer Lawrence for “Joy”
  • Charlotte Rampling for “45 Years”
  • Saoirse Ronan for “Brooklyn”

WILL WIN:

Brie Larson Room.jpg

Brie Larson for “Room”.  Larson’s performance was simply astonishing.  This film had me captivated the entire time.  Larson was calm and complex in this role.  She deserves this.

SHOULD WIN:

Brie Larson for “Room”.  See Above.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Christian Bale for “The Big Short”
  • Tom Hardy for “The Revenant”
  • Mark Ruffalo for “Spotlight”
  • Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies”
  • Sylvester Stallone for “Creed”

WILL WIN:

Creed.jpg

Sylvester Stallone for “Creed”.  I think Stallone will get this award as a default achievement award.  They tend to give Best Supporting Actor to older guys.  He also won the Golden Globe.

SHOULD WIN:

Tom Hardy Revenant

Tom Hardy for “The Revenant”.  Tom Hardy is a superior actor and he impresses me very time he is onscreen.  Did you see Locke?  What about Legend, where he played two very different twin brothers?  This guy is a powerhouse who deserves an award soon.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh for “The Hateful Eight”
  • Rooney Mara for “Carol”
  • Rachel McAdams for “Spotlight”
  • Alicia Vikander for “The Danish Girl”
  • Kate Winslet for “Steve Jobs”

WILL WIN:

Alicia Vikander The Danish Girl

Alicia Vikander for “The Danish Girl.”  Alicia has a lot of heat in her career right now, and I see her picking up this award.  She won the SAG Award as well.  I actually think her performance in Ex Machina is more worthy, but The Danish Girl was an obvious prestige film that was released during awards season on purpose.

SHOULD WIN:

Jennifer Jason Leigh for “The Hateful Eight.” If you haven’t seen her in this film, just get ready to be shocked by the transformation.  She is a little powerhouse.

Best Director

  • Adam McKay for “The Big Short”
  • George Miller for “Mad Max: Fury Road”
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu for “The Revenant”
  • Lenny Abrahamson for “Room”
  • Tom McCarthy for “Spotlight”

WILL WIN:

Alejandro G. Iñárritu for “The Revenant”.  I have a feeling that the single shot that opens this film is Best Director-worthy.  I also feel somehow that The Revenant might not win Best Picture, which means they will give Best Director to Inarrritu.

SHOULD WIN:

Adam McKay for “The Big Short.”  This was an amazing film from someone who normally does lowbrow comedy.  I was truly impressed.  I cannot wait to see more heavy subject matter from McKay.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen for “Bridge of Spies”
  • Alex Garland for “Ex Machina”
  • Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley for “Inside Out”
  • Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy for “Spotlight”
  • Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff for “Straight Outta Compton”

WILL WIN:

Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy for “Spotlight”.  This is a tough call for me since the Golden Globe winner, Aaron Sorkin, was not nominated for Jobs.  Was that a snub from the Academy?  I suppose Spotlight will win here.

SHOULD WIN:

Alex Garland for “Ex Machina”.  The fact that Ex Machina was an original story blows my mind.  Ex Machina is not being talked about enough at all.  Oscar Isaac deserves a nomination for his role, and I see this film as worthy of being a Best Picture nominee.  I think it’s early 2015 release date hurt those chances.

Best Adapted Sceenplay

  • Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for “The Big Short”
  • Nick Hornby for “Brooklyn”
  • Phyllis Nagy for “Carol”
  • Drew Goddard for “The Martian”
  • Emma Donoghue for “Room”

WILL WIN:

Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for “The Big Short”.  I loved this film and since McKay won the BAFTA for Best Adapted, he’s my pick.  The script did a good job of explaining a complicated problem to normal people.

SHOULD WIN:

Drew Goddard for “The Martian”.  This film was hilarious, dramatic, gripping, and honestly, one of the most entertaining of the year.  Goddard should win for making a story about getting abandoned on Mars actually quite hilarious.

Best Animated Feature Film

  • “Anomalisa”
  • “Boy & the World”
  • “Inside Out”
  • “Shaun the Sheep Movie”
  • “When Marnie Was There”

WILL WIN:

Inside Out

“Inside Out.”  This is the clearly superior film of the year as far as animation.  There was something about Anomalisa that I kind of hated, even though I love Charlie Kaufman and consider him to be a god.

SHOULD WIN:

“Inside Out.”

I’m mostly looking forward to Chris Rock.  Enjoy tonight!

87th Annual Academy Award Predictions

22 Feb

Like sands through the hourglass, another year has passed and it’s time for Hollywood to bestow upon one another the most important awards in the world.  Make no mistake – the Academy Award, known colloquially as the “Oscar” is more important that any award ever given from one man to another.  More important that the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, or the Nobel Peace Prize, the Oscar remains the most coveted little gold man on earth.

Tonight we reflect on those who will win Oscars tonight, and those who should win Oscars (but will not because the world is unfair).

We will look at the most critical categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay.  As for the other awards, meh.

Best Picture:

American Sniper
Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole

Boyhood
Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson

The Imitation Game
Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman

Selma
Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner

The Theory of Everything
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten

Whiplash
Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster

WILL WIN:  BIRDMAN

SHOULD WIN: BIRDMAN

I have seen all of the best picture candidates save for The Theory of Everything and Selma.  I just re-watched Birdman last night, and the film is much more nuanced and complicated than any of the other nominees.  Although I thoroughly enjoyed American Sniper, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, and Whiplash, none of those films feel like the Best Picture of the year.  I also must say that I am in the minority of people who loathed Boyhood.

ACTOR – in a Leading Role

Steve Carell
Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper
American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch
The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Eddie Redmayne
The Theory of Everything

WILL WIN: MICHAEL KEATON

SHOULD WIN: MICHAEL KEATON

Michael Keaton Birdman

Michael Keaton’s performance in Birdman is amazing and multilayered.  Keaton has a history of great performances, including my personal favorites – Beetlejuice and Multiplicity.  It’s his time after putting in those dues!

ACTRESS – in a Leading Role

Marion Cotillard
Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones
The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore
Still Alice

Rosamund Pike
Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon
Wild

WILL WIN: JULIANNE MOORE

SHOULD WIN: JULIANNE MOORE

Julianne Moore - Still Alice

Another actor who deserves the Oscar for her body of work is Julianne Moore.  Her performance in Still Alice is heartbreaking, honest, and necessary.  Julianne Moore is a treasure we are lucky to have.

ACTOR – in a Supporting Role

Robert Duvall
The Judge

Ethan Hawke
Boyhood

Edward Norton
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Mark Ruffalo
Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons
Whiplash

WILL WIN: J.K. SIMMONS

SHOULD WIN: J.K. SIMMONS

J.K. Simmons was terrifying in Whiplash.  Simmons’ turn as a music teacher at a Julliard-level music school shows the terrifying stakes faced by his students on a daily basis.  Simmons’ abusive treatment of Miles Teller’s character is not meant to be taken lightly; this is a character whose rage will live on in film for decades to come.

WHIPLASH_03.jpg

ACTRESS – in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette
Boyhood

Laura Dern
Wild

Keira Knightley
The Imitation Game

Emma Stone
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Meryl Streep
Into the Woods

WILL WIN: PATRICIA ARQUETTE

SHOULD WIN: PATRICIA ARQUETTE

Patricia Arquette Boyhood

Although I was not partial to Boyhood, I can easily say that Patricia Arquette will win this award.  She deserves the Oscar not only for her body of work, but also for the effort of filming the same film for a period of twelve years.  Ms. Arquette also delivered the most critical line of the film: “I was just expecting more”.

DIRECTING

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Boyhood
Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher
Bennett Miller

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson

The Imitation Game
Morten Tyldum

WILL WIN: RICHARD LINKLATER

SHOULD WIN: ALEJANDRO G. INARRITU

I believe that Linklater will win for Boyhood due to the achievement of the film being shot over the course of twelve years.  I think Inarritu should win for the amazing performances he culled from his actors in Birdman, not to mention the multilayered aspects of the film.

WRITING – Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper
Written by Jason Hall

The Imitation Game
Written by Graham Moore

Inherent Vice
Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

The Theory of Everything
Screenplay by Anthony McCarten

Whiplash
Written by Damien Chazelle

 WILL WIN: PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON FOR INHERENT VICE

SHOULD WIN: PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON FOR INHERENT VICE

P.T. Anderson is a god who walks among men.  There is no one like him working in film today, nor will there ever be again.  All hail P.T. Anderson.

 

WRITING – Original Screenplay

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo

Boyhood
Written by Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher
Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness

Nightcrawler
Written by Dan Gilroy

WILL WIN: WES ANDERSON FOR THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

SHOULD WIN: ALEJANDRO INARITTU, ET AL for BIRDMAN

I think that Wes Anderson will win for best original screenplay because he doe snot have a chance at winning for Best Picture or Directing.  If I had to choose a screenplay based purely on craft, I would choose Birdman.

Oscar Predictions 2012: A Very Boring Show, Indeed

26 Feb

Just in case you didn’t see any of those things they deemed “movies” last year, you probably had no idea how boring the film season was in 2011.  Tonight’s Oscar telecast is likely to be one of the most boring of ALL TIME! OF ALL TIME! (Kanye West emphasis added.) Billy Crystal is hosting AGAIN, which means there will be numerous corny jokes about Brad Pitt and George Clooney’s “relationship,” and the comic gold that was City Slickers 2: Curly’s Gold. Everything about this year’s ceremony screams of boredom, including this awful poster advertising the awards. Why does Forest Gump look so confused? Does the inclusion of Driving Miss Daisy hint at the Academy’s wish to give awards to (gasp!) black people playing servants this year?

Here are my predictions of winners for the major categories of the night, along with who I think should win:

BEST PICTURE:

The Artist

The Descendants

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

The Help

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball

The Tree of Life

War Horse

Will Win: The Artist. Should Win: Midnight in Paris.

Academy voters like The Artist because it brought back the form of film most of them watched as children: silent films.  Midnight in Paris was the best film I saw last year but it will not win because films made by creepy perverts do not get trophies, unless they are made by Roman Polanski.

BEST ACTOR:

Demián Bichir

George Clooney

Jean Dujardin

Gary Oldman

Brad Pitt

Will Win: Jean Dujardin, The Artist  Should Win: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Apologies to Brad Pitt, but Moneyball was terribly boring and deserves a Razzie instead. Also, get over yourself, George Clooney. We get that your life is fabulous and that you have opinions. No hard feelings.

BEST ACTRESS:

Glenn Close

Viola Davis

Rooney Mara

Meryl Streep

Michelle Williams

Will Win: Viola Davis Should Win: Rooney Mara

The Academy is due to give an award to a “person of color” this year. Every so often the Academy voters pat themselves on the back by awarding a minority actor. And who better to awards than a black actress who dared to play a maid!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Kenneth Branagh

Jonah Hill

Nick Nolte

Christopher Plummer

Max von Sydow

Will Win: Who Fucking Knows Should Win: Nick Nolte?

Jonah Hill might win an Oscar. This sentence blows my mind.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Bérénice Bejo

Jessica Chastain

Melissa McCarthy

Janet McTeer

Octavia Spencer

Will Win: Octavia Spencer or Berenice Bejo Should Win: Berenice Bejo

The fact that Melissa McCarthy is nominated for playing a crude fart machine in Bridesmaids shows exactly what is wrong with the Oscars this year. Is nothing sacred anymore?

BEST DIRECTING:

The Artist

The Descendants

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

The Tree of Life

Will Win: Whoever directed The Artist. Should Win: Whoever directed The Artist.

Once again, Woody Allen is not Roman Polanski.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

The Artist

Bridesmaids

Margin Call

Midnight in Paris

A Separation

Will Win: Midnight in Paris Should Win: Midnight in Paris

This is hands down my favorite film of 2011, and it deserves all of the recognition possible.  One of Woody Allen’s finest films since Annie Hall.

Live Blog: E! Live from the Red Carpet

7 Mar

The Seacrest is in!

Come back soon for my live-blogging of E!’s “Live from the Red Carpet.” Seacrest, in!

6:00 PM EST: Seacrest, in! And it begins. Seacrest describes the “impossible dream” of winning an Oscar. In my mind, nothing is impossible! The Oscar will be mine one way or another.

6:02 PM: “We are the first stop for every movie star arriving now.” “I wonder if there will be a Busey moment.” I hope there will be a Busey moment.

6:03 PM: Sam Worthington and….Zac Efron. This is how you know that the integrity of the Academy Awards is slipping. Zac Efron.

6:43 PM: Okay, I’m back. Seacrest is with Elizabeth Banks. He asks her “Do you know this designer?” while pointing to Tom Ford. She looks perplexed. Elizabeth Banks cannot recognize Tom Ford. A cold day in Hollywood.

6:45 PM: Jay Manuel and Giuliana “I Have Obvious Issues” Rancic are discussing a poll for Best Supporting Actress. 72% of those polled think Mo’Nique will win. Duh. Who are the other nominees again?

6:51 PM: Tina fey is being forced to interact with The Seacrest. He’s asking her about Alec Baldwin.

6:57 PM: Jay Manuel thinks that Sandra Bullock’s dress is a tribute to figure skating. What….ever.

6:58 PM: Diane Kruger said that “Tarantino’s dialogue is poetry.” I would agree. Maybe he’ll win Best Original Screenplay.

6:59 PM: Ryan Seacrest just referred to Sandra Bullock as “Sandy.” Blurgh.

7:13 PM: Miley Cyrus is apparently presenting tonight. Again. Something is wrong in the world. And she’s showing off her mother’s angel wing tattoos. Very classy.

7:17 PM: The combination of a very tall woman (Kathryn Bigelow) and a very short man (Ryan Seacrest) makes the Seacrest look emasculated. Typical for him.

7:26 PM: Matt Damon! My absolute favorite! Not only because I got to meet him, but also because he is simply awesome. Too bad he won’t win tonight. Better luck next time. He’s going to play Liberace’s longtime companion. Sexxxy.

7:31 PM: Meryl Streep looks amazing in that white dress! Uh-oh. Ryan just called her “the matriarch.”

7:32 PM: …and Giuliana makes another George Clooney comment. Someone help this woman. Or George Clooney. They should help Clooney first.

7:33 PM: Jennifer Lopez, Hollywood’s least self-aware and most self-absorbed actress. Oh wait, I see gray hair in her roots!!! Is it just me, or did J.Lo’s colorist wreak some revenge?

7:38 PM: Keanu Reeves has a very patchy beard.

7:39 PM: Okay, I cannot blame Woody Harrelson for avoiding Seacrest, but I wanted to see him. He’s hot and I am not afraid to admit it.

7:41 PM: “Why can’t he be alone?” – Giuliana Rancic’s continued craziness involving innocent victim George Clooney.

7:42 PM: Robert Downey Jr., the most self-important actor of his time, is here! Thank god he’s there. Love him!

7:50 PM: Gerard Butler, forced to interact with Ryan Seacrest. I wonder if they both know that they both play for the same team.

7:52 PM: Jeff Bridges, the man of the night, has arrived. I abide.

7:58 PM: Cameron Diaz has a great dress. However, the lack of an up-do will be noted by the Fashion Police. Sorry, Cammie.

7:59 PM: Seacrest, out!!!

Some of my best-dressed picks:

Meryl Streep looking glam as eva.

Cammie D for the win.

Demi Moore. Wow.

In A Perfect World: My Oscar Winners

7 Mar

Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin host the 2010 Oscars.

Last month I posted a piece of Oscar predictions. That post was a very straightforward analysis of who will win at the Oscars this Sunday. Now that I have seen most the films nominated, it’s time to create a fantasy world in which those who actually deserve Oscars will win them. Here’s how I would vote:

Best Supporting Actress:

Should Win: Mo’Nique for Precious

Will Win: Mo’Nique for Precious

Of course the only things the press can talk about are Mo’Nique’s unshaved legs and open marriage, but she deserves the Oscar. If she doesn’t win, the Academy voters will be “Sicilian dead to me,” as Kelly Cutrone would say.

Best Supporting Actor:

Should Win: Christoph Walt for Inglourious Basterds

Will Win: Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds

Waltz delivered the best performance of the year. Out of every film I saw (and I see movies all the time), Waltz was the standout. Although I had not heard of him because he works mostly in European films, I feel that he could become a staple of American film within the next few years.

Best Actress:

Should Win: Gabourey Sidibe for Precious

Will Win: Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side

The Best Actress Oscar typically functions as a symbol of popularity and consistent Hollywood domination. Sandra Bullock movies are typically cute and enjoyable, and they make money. If this award were given for acting (as it should be), Sidibe would take it.

Best Actor:

Should Win: Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker

Will Win: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart

The Dude abides. Jeff Bridges, known very well for being completely underrated, will get two minutes to thank…well, there’s probably too many people he could thank, but I’m assuming that Lloyd and Beau will be the center of his speech. Who deserves the Oscar? Jeremy Renner was amazing in The Hurt Locker. He pulled off badass, hardass, and sweetass as an Army Ranger with a very impressive bomb deactivation record. The Best Actor Oscar typically goes to an older man as a symbol of achieving a varied body of work. This is why Bridges will win, and Renner will have to wait.

Best Animated Film:

Should Win: Coraline

Will Win: Up

Academy voters will likely pick cute over creepy, which means that Coraline could be left out of the race. Up was a cute movie with sad adult themes, but it still had talking dogs. Talking dogs = animated film gold.

Best Director:

Should Win: Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds

Will Win: James Cameron for Avatar

James Cameron has Hollywood so far up his ass now that a win for Avatar is inevitable. However, some think Cameron’s ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, could win for her direction of The Hurt Locker. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible. Hollywood is more sexist than anything, and awards are given to men by men. Who do I wish would win? Quentin Tarantino. Some friends of mine feel I have a Tarantino bias, but Inglourious Basterds is his best film since Pulp Fiction. If only he wasn’t so odd. Then he’d be a shoo-in.

Best Picture:

Should Win: Inglourious Basterds

Will Win: Avatar or The Hurt Locker

The horror of there being ten Best Picture nominees is a total insult to the integrity of the Oscar. The air of exclusivity that goes along with winning an Oscar is slowly disappearing, and the presence of District 9 on the long list simply makes my head hurt. Five nominees for Best Picture are quite enough. A few of the nominees in this category are very much out-of-place – Up was a very cute movie, but is it worthy to stand along the annals of films like Citizen Kane? Not at all. Up in the Air is another film that I did not find to be Best Picture-worthy. It had above-average acting and the story was original, but I simply did not see it as a great movie.

IMHO, the best film of the year was Inglourious Basterds.  The Hurt Locker is a close second. Will either of these films win? Not likely, as long as James Cameron keeps his death grip on Hollywood.

82nd Annual Academy Award Predictions

26 Jan

My life goals involve sustaining an acting and writing career – I will write more on this when I move to Los Angeles later this year, but for now I would  like to touch on the 2010 award show season.

I am an open award show-junkie. I find winning awards to be very satisfying, and what could possibly feel better than being handed a heavy 24 carat gold statuette with your name engraved on it? Not every actor will be lucky enough to win an Oscar – the Oscar is perhaps the most recognized award in the world. I famously told a friend that I would rather win an Oscar over a Nobel Peace Prize. He scoffed and said I was shallow, I was just being realistic and considering my talents. (But perhaps I am a little shallow.)

2009 was very strange for actors and films. Hollywood is currently caught in a transition in which agencies are consolidating and celebrity is becoming increasingly democratized. It has become impossible to read a celebrity gossip rag or watch a celebrity news show without scratching your head at least a few times and thinking, “Who the hell is that?”  The golden age of Hollywood is tarnished by reality television and famewhoring (see: Heidi and Spencer Pratt).

There appears to be a lack of one great film to stand as the biggest achievement of  2009. In my opinion, that film could potentially be Inglourious Basterds, but its reception so far at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards do not lend to my hopes that Quentin Tarantino will win either Best Director or Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars. Instead, it seems that Avatar, a film that I have avoided entirely, will take top awards.

Here are my predictions for the top Oscar prizes:

Best Picture: Avatar

Best Director: James “Asshat” Cameron for Avatar

Best Actress: This is a tough call. I do not consider Sandra Bullock Oscar-worthy, but I will say it’s between Bullock for The Blind Side and Meryl Streep for Julie and Julia

Best Actor: Jeff “The Dude” Bridges, Crazy Heart

Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique, Precious (I will complement her on campaigning for an Oscar on her own talk show. Slick.)

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds (I will forgive him for his nonsensical acceptance speech at the Golden Globes. He had said something about how the Hollywood Foreign Press had taken his dream and “transformed it into a golden orb”. He’s not American, so it’s an automatic forgiven misstep. He delivered the best performance I saw all last year.)

I’ll add on more predictions if I feel like it, damnit.

Precious: Once Will Be Enough for Me

20 Nov

I went to see Precious with a close friend of mine.  When we got the chance to discuss what we had just seen, we agreed on a key point: we never want to see this movie again. The story of Clarice Precious Jones, an obese, black sixteen-year-old living in 1987 Harlem, is peppered with fetishisms of poverty.  Precious, though hopeful at its conclusion, often panders to those who like to gawk at abuse and impoverishment.

The film introduces us to Precious as a daydreaming 8th-grader with dreams of getting out of Harlem. Unfortunately for Precious, she has a horribly abusive mother (Mo’nique, who may very well receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress) and is pregnant with her second child by a disgusting rapist of a man, her own father.  When her school principal learns that she is pregnant, Precious is expelled and referred to an “alternative school.” There she meets kind Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), who seems as though she will stop at nothing to help Precious.

At first it was a bit difficult for me to feel any empathy for Precious. However, I did quickly realize that my life is beyond ideal when compared with that of Precious’. There are numerous scenes in which Precious does mean, horrible, stupid things: she steals a 10-piece bucket of chicken, she kicks a frying pan at her mother, only receiving more wrath in return, and refers to her first child as a mongoloid (the little girl has Down Syndrome).

The climactic scene in which Precious reveals a secret to her teacher and classmates oozed with sickly treacle; Ms. Rain continues to urge Precious to write, but realistically, who would ever want to write at such a low point? The forced histrionics of the scene made me cringe.

There are constant reminders of Precious’ poverty everywhere in the film. The food Precious is forced to cook for her mother is dripping in grease (in one scene Precious’ mother forces her to eat pig’s feet that she deems “too hairy”). Perhaps, most importantly, Precious is virtually illiterate. Intermittent fantasies Precious plays out in her mind show Gabby Sidibe dolled up in makeup and elegant gowns, a far cry from the uniform of a sweatshirt and Adidas that Precious dons. The escapism that Precious finds within her mind is the only reward she can conjure.  By the end of the film, Precious is living in a half-way house, reading at an 8th grade level, and trying to raise her children on her own. This may not seem an ideal situation, but for Precious, hope has finally surfaced in the doldrums of Harlem.

I am unsure of whether this film made an impact on my worldview; it did make me momentarily more conscious of the perils of physical and sexual abuse, but as soon as we exited the theater, my friend and I exchanged the same words: “Our lives are great compared to Precious.” If one can take something away from this film, it may as well be that the awareness that someone has it worse than you (no matter how bad things seem to get).

Other than granting me with a moment of selfless mental clarity, Precious is full of lively performances that are in definite need of recognition.  All of the hype over Mo’nique’s performance is well-warranted – she plays hateful, manipulative, and predatory all in one shot.  Gabby Sidibe was also great (in her film debut), and even Mariah Carey turned in some hard work as a plain Jane social worker. All that was Glitter may be soon forgotten.

If you are contemplating whether you should see this movie and you are lucky enough to live in a city with a theater playing it, do it already.  Everyone is talking about it anyway and at Oscar time you will have a better grasp on the nominees.

Grade: B+