Tag Archives: Oscars

La La Land Was Bad

31 Dec
LLL d 41-42_6689.NEF

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone looking very bored in La La Land.

Wow, people really seem to love La La Land.  People love this movie so much that it was actually difficult to find a decent seat in a theater in LA the last few weekends to see it.  What’s going on here?  Why do people love La La Land? What am I missing?

Here’s the thing with me – I often find myself unable to find the suspension of disbelief necessary to properly enjoy a musical.  I am a bit of a misanthrope and I simply find it difficult to believe that humans would jump into song and dance at any moment.  This is for good reason, as I have never seen anyone jump into song and dance in my entire short life.  I have never seen song and dance routines taking place in the post office, restaurants, or on the freeway in traffic.  However, if a song and dance routine played out upon a Los Angeles freeway sounds intriguing, La La Land is the film for you.

Damien Chazelle’s brightly colored film centers on the story of Mia Dolan (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress who works as a barista in a Warner Brothers lot cafe, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a brooding aspiring jazz musician who pays the bills by playing corny piano tunes in restaurants.  The opening scene of the movie is a song and dance routine enacted  by the bored motorists of Los Angeles.  Not only was the song forgettable and useless, but the scene bothered me for another reason.  Apparently the only freeway that Chazelle was able to shut down was the 105, which runs east to west and is located several miles south of Pico Boulevard, running west toward LAX.  Pico Boulevard is relevant here because the people in the film most likely would balk at the idea of traveling south of that street.  They are that lame and self-protective.  To see a collection of people singing and dancing atop the 105 freeway, which runs atop one of the most dangerous and deadly neighborhoods in all of Los Angeles (Westmont), is truly disturbing.  The routine ends when Mia fails to realize that traffic is moving ahead, and Sebastian, perhaps in the only realistic moment of the film, cuts her off and unwittingly gives his future lover a dirty look.

One of the themes of this film is of course love, but I think what is most important about the twist in La La Land is that it does have some cynicism within it.  If anything, this movie would have been better with even more cynicism.  There was something so boring about both Mia and Sebastian, and when you put them together, it’s like watching two pieces of toast fall in love with each other just because the other one is there.  Mia wants to be an actress (duh) and Sebastian wants to be a jazz musician (okay so why isn’t he in New York), but they both are boring and flat characters with no real motivations for doing anything.

Perhaps the most pointless scene in the film comes when Mia gets angry with Sebastian for having to tour with a band nearly nonstop.  She asks him if he likes the music that he’s playing.  Sebastian isn’t sure.  The scene then escalates over this nothingness of a conflict.  Mia is mad that Sebastian will have to keep going out of town while making a living playing music.  Who cares if he doesn’t love what he’s playing?  Who is paying the bills in this relationship?  Is Mia’s job as a barista supporting them?  It makes no sense as to why this scene would serve as the rising action of the film.  Mia is mad at Sebastian for being a responsible adult.  Horrifying.  It then gets even worse, but I will leave the rest of the details a mystery.

There are some redeeming, enjoyable scenes.  The dance scene that took place in Griffith Observatory is perhaps the most memorable.  Most others are forgettable and lacking imagination.  Throughout the film, Chazelle appears to be paying homage to the film musicals of the past, but never quite as strongly as the actual musicals originally did it.

boring-la-la-land

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling look very bored here.  Appropriate!!!

La La Land also appears to have been slapped together in a short amount of time.  The choreography is very basic and both Gosling and Stone seem stiff.  The ending of the film is perhaps the only redeeming sequence and the only part that gave me some inkling of emotion.  However, I do not think many people will be satisfied with the ending.  In fact, the woman next to me let out a big shrug and exhaled deeply, like she was glad to be done with something taxing.

It did not feel as anyone in the audience was moved throughout this film.  There is a very strange disconnect between the audience and the characters of Mia and Sebastian.  Let’s face it – Mia and Sebastian are carbon copies of stereotypes of stereotypes of what women and men in LA are like.  They are self-absorbed, boring, vapid, and singularly focused on their alleged careers.  This stereotype is true for the most part – people in LA are self-obsessed.  And the ending to this film, in a way, confirms this.  This is perhaps the only redeeming moment of the film – the ending.

Overall, I give La La Land a 4.5 out of 10.  Would not watch again unless it was on TBS ten years from now and nothing else was on.

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.

Fixed Air’s 86th Annual Academy Award Predictions

26 Feb

It’s that time of year again – the time in which rich, privileged actors reward each other for being privileged.  The Oscars are the ultimate pat on the back, and I will not lie, i would love a pat on the back.  In the meantime, I am no one and these oscar predictions will serve as my personal foray into the self-congratulatory Hollywood we all know and love.  I will name my predicted winner and if I think someone else should win instead, they will get a shout-out.  Only the major categories will be covered here.  Here we go…

American Hustle

BEST PICTURE
“12 Years a Slave”
“American Hustle” – Will Win
“Captain Phillips”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“Gravity”
“Her”
“Nebraska”
“Philomena”
“The Wolf of Wall Street” – Should Win

American Hustle will likely take Best PIcture tonight, although there is some speculation that the win by “12 Years a Slave” at the Independent Spirit Awards yesterday will cause an upset.  My favorite film of the year was “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which was widely misunderstood by audiences as a carefree jaunt about drugs, money, and sex, although it was so much more than that.

BEST DIRECTOR
Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity” – Will Win
Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave.”
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska” – Should Win
David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Cauron won the Golden Globe for Best Director, so he is likely a lock for the Oscar.  If I had to choose, Alexander Payne deserves for the subtle and comedic performances he was able to bring out in “Nebraska”.

Dallas Buyers Club

BEST ACTOR
Christian Bale, “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”
Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club” – Will Win & Should Win
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Matthew McConaughey will win the Oscar tonight.  Let’s take a moment to contemplate how far the guy who got his start as David Wooderson in “Dazed and Confused” has come.  McConaughey’s performance had everything that an Oscar-worthy performance should have – drastic weight loss (or gain, in some cases), a tragic story, and a meaningful message about perseverance  and the human spirit.

BEST ACTRESS
Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine” – Will Win & Should Win
Judi Dench, “Philomena”
Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”
Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”

Cate Blanchett will win her second Oscar tonight for her turn in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine”.  Her performance as the delusional and unraveling Jasmine French, who cannot admit to being broke after her late husband’s business unraveled.  Killer performance and much deserved.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street” – Should Win
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club” – Will Win

Jared Leto was amazing in Dallas Buyers Club, certainly, but I was more impressed with Jonah Hill’s performance as Donnie in martin Scorcese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street”.  His choice of wearing a fake toothy smile and displaying every cadence to a man who became sleazier and less trustworthy as his money grew are all indicators that Hill is here to stay as a strong character actor.

June Squibb - Nebraska

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave” – Will Win
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
June Squibb, “Nebraska” – Should Win

Lupita Nyong’o is the new Hollywood It Girl, and she will take home the Oscar on Sunday. However, if I were to choose my favorite best supporting actress turn, it would be June Squibb as the ever-dissatisfied wife of Bruce Dern’s curmudgeon in “Nebraska”.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2”
“Ernest & Celestine”
“Frozen” – Will Win
“The Wind Rises”

I have not seen any of these films but all I have heard about is “Frozen” and how good it is.  That will be my choice by default.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”
“Let It Go” from “Frozen”
“The Moon Song” from “Her”
“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” – Will Win

Yikes.  The Best Original Song category usually has a fair share of lame songs that do their best to pull on heart strings, but this year’s choices are especially blah.  I keep hearing about this “Let It Go” song from Frozen (performed by Idina Menzel), but if I had to choose the winner, it will probably go to U2 for “Ordinary Love”.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“Before Midnight,” written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
“Captain Phillips,” screenplay by Billy Ray
“Philomena,” screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
“12 Years a Slave,” screenplay by John Ridley – Will Win
“The Wolf of Wall Street,” screenplay by Terence Winter – Should Win

“12 Years a Slave” will likely win for Best Adapted Screenplay, although Terence Winter’s adaptation of “The Wolf of Wall Street” was a writing tour de force.  The screenplay for “The Wolf of Wall Street” was inspiring, but “12 Years a Slave” will win ultimately for the heaviness of the message of the film.

Her

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“American Hustle,” written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell – Will Win
“Blue Jasmine,” written by Woody Allen
“Dallas Buyers Club,” written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
“Her,” written by Spike Jonze – Should Win
“Nebraska,” written by Bob Nelson

Even though Spike Jonze won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay, I do not think he will have a chance with Academy voters, who are a bit more conservative than the Hollywood Foreign Press.  Although his screenplay for “Her” was beyond relevant to our contemporary culture and displayed the very things that are going wrong as I type this, Jonze will not win the Oscar.  I predict that Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell will win for their screenplay, which was quite good as well, but less culturally relevant.

Fixed Air Live-Blogs the 85th Annual Academy Awards

24 Feb

It was a last-minute decision to live-blog this year’s Academy Awards…stay tuned for Oscars fun starting in less than ten minutes!!!

2013 Academy Awards

Seth Macfarlane is hosting this evening, and it appears that tonight’s show will be a musical mish-mash, which could either be awesome or absolutely terrifying!  Let us see what unfolds…

6:30 PM MST: And it begins…Seth macfarlane emerges amid applause…Robert Downey Jr. is not amused, natch. God, Seth Macfarlane has such an amazing voice. Why hasn’t he done this before?

Uh-oh….the Oscars have a theme this year…music in film. This could be bad.

Seth Macfarlane is not a stand up comedian, this was a very interesting choice.

6:33 PM MST: Ugh, the first moment of praise directed totally at Daniel Day-Lewis. Ha, a slavery joke. Blah.

6:34 PM MST: Ugh, a Chris Brown and Rihanna joke. They waited four years, so whatever.

6:36 PM MST: Jeebus.  Now we are seeing a meta version of a song about seeing different boobs in movies. I am already over it. “We saw your boobs!” How creative. Someone fire Bruce Villanch now.

6:39 PM MST: Ick, a musical number with Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron? I don’t understand.  They can both dance though, so I approve. Also, Seth can really sing! Look at him!

6:42 PM MST: Now Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe are singing and dancing onstage. I just don’t understand anymore.

6:48 PM MST: It’s time for Best Supporting Actor!!! It’s between Alan Arkin (Argo), Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)

6:50 PM MST: WOOO!!!! I love Christoph Waltz!!! You go, Christoph!

7:07 PM MST: A gaggle of handsome men onstage to present Best Cinematography: RDJ, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, one of the Hemsworth brothers? Can’t really tell.

Winner: Life of Pi

7:23 PM MST: James Bond montage. Yawn. Time for another glass of wine.

7:54 PM MST: Okay,so didn’t Catherine Zeta-Jones sing this at the Oscars ten years ago? I’m confused.

8:22 PM MST: Anne Hathaway wins Best Supporting Actress! Yawn. (Dave’s comment: “She looks like the kid from Stand By Me.”)

8:35 PM MST: Adele is so amazing!!! Love her! “Let the sky fallllll, and it crumbullllssss….”

8:57 PM MST: Finally, everyone’s favorite moment: the In Memoriam montage.

I got kind of distracted by the goings-on in my home at the tail end of this thing.  I am happy that Jennifer Lawrence won and a bit annoyed that Daniel Day-Lewis won for a role that appeared much less complicated than that of Bill the Butcher, for which he los the Oscar several years ago.

Argo was a pretty good film, although I thought Zero Dark Thirty could have swooped in and taken Best Picture.  Ben Affleck has come a long way since selling his dignity and a bit of his soul during those “Bennifer” years. Good for him!

Until next time…

Live Blog: The 82nd Annual Academy Awards

7 Mar

They’re almost here! Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin host the 82nd Annual Academy Awards! See you back in 25 minutes, at 8:30/7:30 EST/CST.

6:30 PM: They’ve chosen to line up the nominees for Best Actor and Actress like cars at a car show. Where are the girls in bikinis?

6:31 PM: Surprise! Neil Patrick Harris! He’s going to be at every award show for the next decade.

6:38 PM: So now the opening monologue consists of Alec and Steve going back and forth with pretty lame lines. This is actually boring me right now.

6:41 PM: George Clooney = not amused.

George Clooney's "Bitch, plz" look.

6:44 PM: Penelope Cruz is presenting Best Supporting Actor. They’re choosing to show clips this year. Last year they had 5 random actors who had previously won the award come on stage. I don’t know which method of presentation I prefer.

6:45 PM: Christoph Waltz FTW. He’s so amazing.

6:56 PM: A Barbara Walters Oscar Special spoof with Fantastic Mr. Fox and Coraline. Up wins for Best Animated Film.

7:00 PM: Miley Cyrus and Amanda Seyfried present the award for Best Original Song. The winner is predictable: ‘The Weary Kind” by T Bone Burnett. What a great name.

7:12 PM: Tina Fey and Robert Downey Jr. are presenting Best Original Screenplay. Robert Downey Jr.: “Actors look for script with beautiful shooting locations, a phone scene with that bitch of an actreess I hate, and long dense columns of uninterrupted monologues…”

“It’s a collaboration. Between beautiful talented people and little mole people!” – RDJ

The winner: Mark Boal for The Hurt Locker

7:17 PM: The John Hughes tribute – Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick. I forgot that John Hughes had written Home Alone. What an amazing writer.

“When you grow up, your heart dies.” – Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club. So true, and so sad.

I’m sorry, Judd Nelson, but you look terrible. Better luck next time.

7:34 PM: Wait, what just won? I’m already zoning out.

Best Documentary (Short Subject): Music by Prudence

Best Short Film (Animated): Logorama

Best Short Film 9Live Action): The New Tenants

7:38 PM: Okay Stiller. You’re funny. I get it. The crazy eyes are a little funny. Stop it, though. Seriously….hahaha! Stiller, you got me. Winner for Best Makeup: Star Trek.

7:48 PM: Presentation of the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Winner: Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious. He seems very genuine and grateful. Congrats.

7:56 PM: The presentation of Best Supporting Actress. Robin Williams steps onto the stage.

My Mom: “Where’s the guy who won last year?” Me: “Um…” Mom: “Oh, Heath Ledger!”

No surprise here: Mo’Nique for Precious

Mo'Nique accepting her Oscar

8:00 PM: Mo’Nique has such an intense speech. Dig it.

8:07 PM: Best Art Direction winner: Avatar.

8:09 PM: “Okay, but I don’t think the plural of whores is whores-es.” – Steve Martin

8:10 PM: The winner for Best Costume Design is The Young Victoria. That woman looks like she has an amazing wardrobe.

8:18 PM: A tribute to horror films? Why? Did someone die? Oh wait, everyone dies in horror films.

Hmmm….I’m not sure if I would include Edward Scissorhands, Interview with the Vampire, or Beetlejuice as “horror”.

8:23 PM: Morgan Freeman: everyone loves a pervert.

8:25 PM: Best Sound Editing: The Hurt Locker

8:27 PM: Best Sound Mixing: The Hurt Locker

8:30 PM: Presentation of Inglourious Basterds. That’s my shit! Quentin, I love you.

8:35 PM: Sandra Bullock presenting Best Cinematography. Winner: Avatar. Oh no. James Cameron is starting to get really excited. He gets handsy when he’s excited.

8:37 PM: My favorite: the In Memoriam tribute to those we’ve lost in film. Musical accompaniment by James Taylor.

8:49 PM: Um….this dance routine is going on forever….

8:54 PM: Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper (Cooper is the sexier of the two) present Best Visual Effects. Winner: Avatar.

9:04 PM: Matt Damon presents the award for Best Documentary: The Cove.

9:06 PM: Go away Tyler Perry. No one likes your movies or horrible TV shows.

Best Fim Editing: The Hurt Locker. The winners are very nerdy, just like my film editor friends. At least they seem appreciative. Congrats.

9:15 PM: Quentin and Pedro onstage together? My head might explode. Here’s what my mom said about Quentin: “He looks disheveled and crazy!” I must be Quentin’s next muse. I love he.

9:25 PM: Actor in a leading role. A menagerie of actors stands onstage: Michelle Pfeiffer, Vera Farmiga, Julianne Moore, Tim Robbins, and Colin Farrell. They’re telling stories about each of the nominees.

9:32 PM: Here it is…..Best Actor in a Leading Role: Surprise, it’s Jeff Bridges!

He’s talking about Lloyd Bridges now…just as I thought. Jeff Bridges seems as though he’s a major stoner. I love him, man!

9:40 PM: Okay, Forest Whitaker is talking about how “beautiful” and “layered” Sandra Bullock’s acting is. Since when is she such a great actress?

OPRAH!!! She’s over-pronouncing every word. Typical melodramatic Oprah.

9:47 PM: Sean Penn is onstage….here we go…..the winner of Best Actress in a Leading Role is….Sandra Bullock. No surprise.

Awww, that was a nice speech.

9:52 PM: Ooh! Best Director! Will my man Quentin pull off an upset? Eh, not likely.

WOW!!!!! Kathryn Bigelow for the win!!! In your face, Cameron! In your face!

9:58 PM: ‘Please welcome Academy governor Tom Hanks.” Academy Governor!!! What is that?

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker

What an upset, what a night! Thank goodness!

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.