Me and My Nine Iron

February 28, 2012

Academy Awards recap

Filed under: On the 6 o'clock news — BJ @ 12:46 am
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The 2011 awards season all in one post:

69th Golden Globes:

Ricky Gervais hosts the Golden Globes and can’t win. After a conservative hosting job contrary to pre-show jabs and previous years’ shows, he gets panned for pulling punches this time in what he said would be his last time hosting the Golden Globes.

More than one Golden Globe win for motion pictures: The Artist (3), The Descendants (2).

Oscar nominations:

Best Picture: The Artist (Best Picture – Comedy – The Artist), The Descendants (Best Picture – Drama – Golden Globe), Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse
Actor in a Leading Role: Demian Bichir, George Clooney (Best Actor – Drama – Golden Globe), Jean Dujardin (Best Actor – Comedy – Golden Globe), Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt
Actress in a Leading Role: Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Rooney Mara, Meryl Streep (Best Actress – Drama – Golden Globe), Michelle Williams (Best Actress – Comedy – Golden Globe)
Directing: The Artist, The Descendants, Hugo (Best Director – Golden Globe), Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life

More than three Oscar nominations: Hugo (11), The Artist (10), Moneyball (6), War Horse (6), The Descendants (5), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (5), The Help (4), Midnight in Paris (4).

Razzie nominations: Adam Sandler (11, record), Jack and Jill (12), Transformers: Dark of the Moon (9), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (8).

Sandler will be laughing all the way to the bank, though. Those two movies he racked up the noms for grossed over $357 million.

Awards to be announced on April Fool’s Day.

84th Academy Awards:

I decided to forgo my annual picks this year because of a combination of my not watching enough this past year and the massive amount of obscure movies nominated. Last year was a relatively weak movie year, and the Best Picture noms reflect that. I’ve only seen two of the nine best picture nominees and don’t have a single majority watch in any of the relevant categories. But it’s not all me, only one of the nine nominees has grossed over $100 million (The Help), the average is $57.5 million and three movies grossed under $15 million. The Artist is 8th at $12.1 million.

As expected, The Artist won top billing and tied Hugo with five Oscars for most on the night. It was just the second silent film to win Best Picture, with the first at the 1st Academy Awards in 1929, and the first black-and-white film since Schindler’s List in 1993. With Meryl Streep‘s win, she’s now 3 (T-2nd) for 17 (1st).

Here’s the complete list of winners.

Best Picture: The Artist
Actor in a Leading Role: Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Actress in a Leading Role: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Directing: The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius)



February 28, 2011

Academy Awards recap

Filed under: On the 6 o'clock news — BJ @ 12:56 am
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The most prestigious night in film was swept by The King’s Speech, which rolled into the Oscars with momentum and took all of the major categories including Best Picture, Best Actor and surprisingly, Best Director. It also took Best Original Screenplay, further cementing the Academy blackballing Christopher Nolan. It’s almost like the Academy colluded to vote for everything Inception that didn’t have Nolan’s name on it as if to rub it in, as his movie still managed to tie The King’s Speech for most awards for the night (4). It’s okay, he can cry his way to the bank. His $71.5 million earned in 2010 is second only to Steven Spielberg‘s $80 million in all of Hollywood.

My picks went 5 for 9, with three of the losses coming at the hands of The King’s Speech. Here are the categories and final comments for those I was at odds with the Academy.

Writing (Original Screenplay): My condolences to Nolan, who probably deserved this one, but a great story in 73-year-old David Seidler. A childhood stammerer himself, Seidler’s own troubled uncle received help from the real-life Lionel Logue.

I have a copy of the screenplay, and I don’t know at what point the writing gets judged for this distinction, but it’s got to be before production begins. What I have is the 90-page version, before they found copies of Logue’s work and incorporated his training and words into the script. The movie has a running time of 118 minutes. Seidler showed us his humorous side in last Sunday’s L.A. Times article.

Short Film (Animated): We were all blown away by Pixar yet again when we watched Day & Night as a prelude to Toy Story 3, but I felt like it was missing the secret 7X flavor. It runs a short six minutes and despite excellent execution, you’ll always be more satisfied with longer running times, which the winner runs, what I think to be, a perfect length of 15 minutes. I wanted to catch the other three nominees, including The Lost Thing, which looks intriguing, but I haven’t been able to get my hands on any of them.

Directing: Who would’ve guessed Tom Hooper would’ve swooped over Darren Aronofsky and David Fincher as Kathryn Bigelow‘s successor? I don’t believe Hooper did. After 16 years on the small screen save one project, Hooper’s third movie won him Oscar gold. All three have favorable reviews and at just 38, I look forward to his future on the big screen.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Melissa Leo was the favorite, I know, and she was second in my book. I’ve had friends tell me they truly hated her character, which is always a compliment, and she wasn’t even done being her white trash character, dropping F bombs in her acceptance speech. Is there any other movie in history that had three supporting actor/actress nominations with a sweep of both supporting categories?

Best Picture: Like a player’s stock before the upcoming draft, Black Swan‘s and The Social Network‘s stocks were dropping while The King’s Speech became the projected No. 1 pick after the night’s big directing win. It’s unfortunate that there is such thing as momentum in film voting, as you have a very clear-cut product that ended months ago getting swayed by chatter. As much as I liked The King’s Speech, I can’t even say that it was a top 5 movie for me, and I’m talking strictly in ranking the best of the year.

Just in case you missed it, here are the winners for the 83rd Academy Awards.

Best Picture: The King’s Speech (Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin)
Actor in a Leading Role: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Actress in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Directing: The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper)


February 27, 2011

My Oscar picks

It’s always great to mention the Golden Raspberry Awards recognize the year’s worst in film, as the 31st Razzie Awards bestowed top worst honors to The Last Airbender (4.5 IMDb) and Sex and the City 2 (4.0). M. Night Shyamalan took Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay and Worst Supporting Actor (Jackson Rathbone), and it’s a far drop-off from when Disney made him the highest-paid screenwriter to write Signs for $5 million in 2002.

Sarah Jessica Parker, who was generously paid $15 million as producer and star of SATC2, took Worst Actress of a Worst Screen Ensemble for the Worst Sequel. Now, onto the actual news.

As I mentioned last year, there’s no competitive need to expand the Best Picture category to ten films. Wouldn’t the field be just as strong with just Black Swan, Inception, The King’s Speech, The Social Network and True Grit?

Without further ado, my select Oscar picks for 2010’s year in film:

Writing (Original Screenplay) – Christopher Nolan, Inception (In my Writing decisions, I’m going strictly off of the movie’s story as I’m not going to waste my time reading every nominated screenplay. The categorization between an original and an adapted screenplay is nebulous. Isn’t anything based on a true story unoriginal? Then, why are The Fighter and The King’s Speech considered original while 127 Hours isn’t? And is a sequel truly unoriginal (Toy Story 3)? They say developing the characters is the hardest part, which you already have laid out for you in a sequel, but then every true story has this luxury as well. Nolan will get snubbed in every major category–he didn’t even get nominated for Best Director–but he definitely deserves to be rewarded for this 10-year idea for his first Oscar win and second Oscar writing nomination (Memento).)

Have not watched: Another Year

Writing (Adapted Screenplay) – Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network (To continue with my previous debate, this movie was “adapted” from a book that hadn’t even been written yet. There were only 14 pages of notes for Sorkin to look at of what would become a 260-page book. Technicalities aside, I actually read Sorkin’s screenplay, a fast-paced, 163-page piece of work that is nothing short of impressive. A lot of screenplays are butchered with the addition and deletion of a large number of scenes once shooting begins (e.g. The Hangover), but I couldn’t even catch one word that wasn’t shot to a t. In a spec screenplay however, if you write over 120 pages, no one will even read it, no matter how good it is. And the amount of shot directions Sorkin notes is almost annoying, not to mention not allowed in specs but of course, you get away with things when you’re big time.)

Directing – Darren AronofskyBlack Swan (I wavered on going with David Fincher, who made the best movie out of his story, but I have what some doctors might consider a mild heart attack while watching the last half hour of Black Swan, and that credit belongs entirely to the director, not the movie.)

Animated Feature Film – Toy Story 3 (Funny how this category only gets three nominees, including a French animation over an American film like Tangled. But this category, unlike last year, is a pretty weak and obvious one, as TS3 is just the third animated film and second in a row to be nominated for Best Picture. It’s your absolutely rare sequel where the latter is just as good if not better than an already amazing movie. I call it the Pixar exception, and I expect a lot from Cars 2 coming out in June.)

Actress in a Supporting Role – Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit (Everyone loved the two actresses from The Fighter, but I wasn’t sold on their performance being spectacular–not to be confused with them giving a spectacular performance–let alone, Oscar-worthy. But maybe, I’m as mixed up as a recent L.A. Times article claims – that the awards should really say Most, not Best, as in this case, Most On-Screen. I thought Steinfeld was the main character, but if she’s not, she’s definitely the driving force of the movie, and the 14-year-old blew me away in her first real movie, unlike the others.)

Have not watched: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Actress in a Leading Role – Natalie Portman, Black Swan (Anyone who says Annette Bening has a shot against Portman should be just that – shot. It’s hard for me to think of a time where a comedy actor can beat a drama actor, and this easily isn’t one of them. The amount of training Portman put in to becoming her character is unmatchable.)

Have not watched: Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole

Actor in a Supporting Role – Christian Bale, The Fighter (I really liked Jeremy Renner in The Town, but this category goes to the English actor and first-time nominee. From his massive weight loss to his spot-on mannerisms of a drug addict, he steals the show from Mark Wahlberg in the movie.)

Actor in a Leading Role – Colin Firth, The King’s Speech (This was one of the tougher categories to choose from, as I liked all the nominees, but it looks like a male sweep for the English. This is Firth’s second year in a row being nominated for Best Actor after coming up short with A Single Man. For a non-stammerer to have all the mannerisms of a stammerer was impressive.)

Have not watched: Javier Bardem, Biutiful

Best Picture – The Social Network (To me, this came down to a struggle between Black Swan and TSN, and what I was looking for in a Best Picture was more than just a great story and a great movie. I’m looking for an iconic movie, a movie for our ages, and that’s probably the only thing that gave TSN the upper edge here. Is it a coincidence that the best movie also had the best script? Nope.)


February 25, 2011

Academy Awards preview

Filed under: On the 6 o'clock news — BJ @ 2:55 pm
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Unlike the recent Grammy Awards, where a ridiculous 95 Grammy Awards are given out, the film equivalent boasts just 24 adequate categories to be given awards for. As you know, and everyone who has to drive through Hollywood Boulevard everyday this week, the 83rd Academy Awards are this Sunday.

To refresh your memory, here are the nominees (and Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award winners) for the top four categories.

Best Picture: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right (Best Picture – Comedy – Golden Globe), The King’s Speech (Best Cast – SAG), 127 Hours, The Social Network (Best Picture – Drama – Golden Globe), Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone
Actor in a Leading Role: Javier Bardem, Jeff Bridges, Jesse Eisenberg, Colin Firth (Best Actor – Drama – Golden Globe, Best Actor – SAG), James Franco
Actress in a Leading Role: Annette Bening (Best Actress – Comedy – Golden Globe), Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman (Best Actress – Drama – Golden Globe, Best Actress – SAG), Michelle Williams
Directing: Black Swan, The Fighter, The King’s Speech, The Social Network (Best Director – Golden Globe), True Grit

The total number of awards won from the first two events for the top 10 pictures of the year: Black Swan (1 Golden Globe, 1 SAG Award), The Fighter (2 Golden Globes, 2 SAG Awards), The Kids Are All Right (2 Golden Globes), The King’s Speech (1 Golden Globe, 2 SAG Awards), The Social Network (4 Golden Globes), Toy Story 3 (1 Golden Globe).

The total number of Oscar nominations for the top 10 pictures of the year: Black Swan (5), The Fighter (7), Inception (8), The Kids Are All Right (4), The King’s Speech (12), 127 Hours (6), The Social Network (8), Toy Story 3 (5), True Grit (10), The Winter’s Bone (4).

In the hours leading up to the big event, I’ll post my picks on who I think should win each of the awards.


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