Archive for January, 2011

In Honor of John Barry


Apparently you only live once — or so it seems.


Oscar Breakdown by Category: Best Original Song & Best Original Score

These are the categories that are most open to subjectiveness. Maybe this is my film bias, but I feel it’s easier for people to agree on music than it is for people to agree on the nuances of editing and performance. (Also, people are stupid, and when it comes to music, I’m just another one of the idiots.)

Best Song is one of my favorite categories. It’s one I can just pull up with people and we can just listen to the music and be like, “Oh, That won? That’s awesome!” It’s nice, because you don’t really ever know what wins Best Original Song, and then you go look and are like, “Oh shit, Shaft won!” And you can understand why.

So, instead of going through everything, I’ll just put the winners this time. But be warned, there’s a long discourse to come in this category. There’s too much good shit on here to not talk about.

I’m including on these lists, in specific cases, what the winner beat, so that way maybe sometime we can have the discussion of “How the fuck did “Gonna Fly Now” lose?”

I’m also going to highlight the ones I think are perfect decisions. Sometimes things are hit so squarely on the head you have to give respect where respect is due. (Some of them are just for the songs themselves, since nobody remembers the movies they were from. Also, I even highlighted the ones where they beat a song I like better, even though the won that won is also great. Like 1986.) (more…)

So much for that Social Network…

Well, that was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it?

Remember when we all thought Oscar was gonna get cool and give The Social Network Best Picture? Yeah, turns out they don’t like it so much. How do I know this?

Because The Social Network didn’t really win anything. Just critics awards and the Golden Globes. And if there’s anything the Academy can care less about, it’s the critics.

In case you didn’t know, Tom Hooper won the DGA award on Saturday. What that means is, he’s all but assured to win the Oscar in that category. And if that’s not all but assurance that The King’s Speech will take Best Picture, I don’t know what is. Even the biggest expert would have said that even if King’s Speech won, David Fincher would certainly win Best Director. But now, with King’s Speech winning that too, a Best Picture win is all but in the bag. (more…)

Oscar Breakdown by Category: Best Editing & Best Cinmatography

There are two definitions to Best Editing. The Academy usually fluctuates between one or the other.

The official definition is the editing of scenes into a motion picture. This can be interpreted several ways. the two most pertinent to the Academy are — unique or original editing, or specifically editing to make for a thrilling set of scenes or iconic moments that people remember — a starfighter race that leads to a big ass space station blowing up — a dude being chased by a giant fucking boulder — the systematic murder of a dude’s enemies during a baptism — Nicolas Cage staring at iguanas angrily — these are all examples of iconic moments. Editing makes them happen.

However, the more simple definition (that phrasing is appropriate when we’re discussing Hollywood) to this is — the editing is what makes a picture, so the Best Editing is what produces the Best Picture. It can go either way. You can pretty much tell by what wins which way they went. EIther way, a Best Editing nomination is essential to a film having any sort of chance to even think about winning Best Picture. (more…)

Oscar Breakdown by Category: Best Original Screenplay & Best Adapted Screenplay

The trick with screenplay categories is to not think literally. Obviously, with Best Original and Best Adapted, you get that one is for a script not based on any preexisting material and the other is. It’s pretty clear in the description. Like, “Do not keep within reach of children. This will fucking kill them.”

However, you have to understand that the Academy are a lazy bunch when it comes to voting. You’d think that, in order to properly judge what the best screenplay is, they’d actually sit and read all the scripts. What are you, out of your fucking mind? Do you really think they’re gonna read all those scripts? They don’t even read the scripts of the pictures they’re shooting! Hell, half the pictures go into production without a finished script. Iron Man was written between takes. Transformers 2 was written by the director during a writer’s strike and began shooting as soon as said strike was finished. Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t. (more…)

Oscar Breakdown by Category: Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress

These are two deceptively simple categories. What exactly is a “supporting” performance?

The official names for the categories are Best Actor/Actress “in a supporting role.” What actually constitutes a supporting role is a little dubious.

Take Timothy Hutton, for example. He won Best Supporting Actor in 1980 for Ordinary People. The film is about him dealing with the death of his brother. He attempts suicide, and his well-to-do Illinois family is concerned about what it will look like in front of the neighbors. Sort of. Dad is very supportive and wants to see his son get better. Mom has completely shut herself off from the world and now despises her son because she loved the dead one more. So now she’s cold to everyone and everything, except when she’s in public, where the facade of the happy family is kept up. Meanwhile, Timothy Hutton is seeing a shrink to help get out whatever anger and such he’s feeling. The movie is about him. So why did he go supporting? Because he was 20 at the time and his parents were played by top-billed Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore. By the rationale of the studio, they felt that all actors who are not the top-billed “stars” of the picture, are there merely in support of the stars. That’s bullshit. But, it’s what we put up with.

You have to take the good with the bad here. Take this year. Hailee Steinfeld is nominated supporting for True Grit. She’s the lead of the film. So is Jeff Bridges. This is apparent to anyone watching the film. But, the Academy wasn’t going to vote her Best Actress, because she’s 13. They vote her supporting, because that’s where she’s most likely to get on, and because in star terms, she’s technically there in “support” of Jeff Bridges. So is Matt Damon. But that’s apparent. It doesn’t really make much sense. (more…)

The Box Office Report – January 28-30

Last week in Box Office…

Well, would you look at that? How close was this motherfucker? (Meaning me, not the box office.)

No Strings Attached wins the weekend with $19.7 million. I believe (“believe” in this case means, “I fucking know. I’m about to quote myself”) my exact words were, “I say this movie barely hits $20 million this weekend….$20 million is my number.” The industry had it tracked a bit higher than I did. They all said $20 million, a million or two higher, thereabouts. I said, fuck that, $20 million is your crux, “this movie barely hits $20 million this weekend. It could, but I say high teens.” Hmm…

I also said, “Expect to see on Saturday this movie pulled in a modest $6.7-$7.1 million on Friday”…

“No Strings Attached easily topped the Friday, Jan. 21, box office in North America, taking in $7.31m…”

Hmm. (more…)