Archive for February, 2011

Pic of the Day: “If you don’t get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what’s gonna happen to you? … You’re gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.”

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb - 107

Pic of the Day: “That would have been a good joke … if it was funny.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture & Best Director – 2009

Our last one. Our most recent one. Also our most contentious one because it is the most recent one. So, I’m not going to spend too much time on this one. I’m just gonna say my thoughts on each movie as briefly as I can, and elaborate in a few years.

Best Picture – 2009

And the nominees were…

Avatar (20th Century Fox)

The Blind Side (Warner Bros.)

District 9 (TriStar Pictures)

An Education (Sony Pictures Classics)

The Hurt Locker (Summit Entertainment)

Inglourious Basterds (The Weinstein Company, Universal Studios)

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire (Lions Gate Entertainment)

A Serious Man (Focus Features)

Up (Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios)

Up in the Air (Paramount Pictures) (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor & Best Actress – 2009

The best way to describe these two categories is by referring to Goodfellas. Why? Because that’s what came to mind when I thought about them. It’s the moment right after they shoot Joe Pesci in the head, at the end of “Layla,” when De Niro and Ray Liotta think he’s gonna get made. And De Niro’s on the pay phone with the other guy, who is actually Martin Scorsese’s father, and he’s expecting them to be like, “Ceremony went well, it’s official,” when instead he says, “We had a problem, and we tried to do everything we could.” And De Niro’s like, “What, what do you mean, problem?” And the guy says, “I mean he’s gone. And we couldn’t do nothing about it.” That’s what best describes these races. They won, and we couldn’t do nothing about it.

There wasn’t anything that could be done about either person winning these races, even though one was a bit undeserving for the performance alone, but was hugely deserving as an actor, and the other shouldn’t have even been attending the ceremony as a guest. Quite simply one of the worst Best Actress choices of all time. And I say that because, had they given her an Oscar in a year that didn’t feature an amazing performance, like say, 2005, when the exact same thing happened, or 2006, one of those years, where you really couldn’t definitively single out one performance to vote for, then an Oscar like this is okay. This year, it counts as one of the worst decisions of all time (right up there with 1970, and oh boy, wait until we get to 1970). And there wasn’t nothing that could be done. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Don’t worry. Some of the best movies are made by people working together who hate each other’s guts.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress – 2009

These were fun, weren’t they? Probably the easiest categories to guess (next to Supporting Actor 2008) of all the Supporting categories of the 2000s. These things were locked from nominations day. But, still, we get to have fun talking about them. Plus I get to praise some of the other people in these categories that might get overlooked in the future.

Best Supporting Actor – 2009

And the nominees were…

Matt Damon, Invictus

Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Christopher Plummer, The Last Station

Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones

Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds (more…)

Pic of the Day: “I’m the guy you yelled at this morning.” “I need more.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture & Best Director – 2008

It’s weird to think I actually agreed with the Academy. But don’t worry, it’s only to a point. I only agree with them based on what they chose from the nominees. I’d have nominated a totally different set of films. But isn’t that how it always is?

This counts as a landmark year in terms of Best Picture history. This is the year that changed everything. Who’d have thought that all because of a comic book movie the Academy would change a system that had served them fairly well for 66 years. Granted, it was a long time coming. The Academy was mired in a boring Baby Boomer-lead set of years, where the boring, conservative fucks that were dominating the mindset of the country were essentially the major voices in the Academy. Don’t get me wrong, Hollywood is more liberal than the rest of the country, but you can see the lack of creativity in the choices as the years went on. The older people get the more they revert to “tradition” and just lost touch will the younger group of films.

Overall, I can’t totally fault the decision-making in the 90s, since, a lot of the Best Picture nominees were actually pretty good. But in the 2000s, there are a lot of boring, typical “Academy” choices that really give you the sense that the majority of the members were clearly over 50 and were losing touch with things. Things came to a head in 2005, when the younger generation really were like, “Okay, this is too much,” and sort of took over. Then you had that run of nice films from The Departed to No Country for Old Men and then here to Slumdog Millionaire. However, through it all, you still saw Old Hollywood rearing its ugly head. None more obviously then when The Reader, a film almost nobody thought was a worthy Best Picture nominee, beat out the likes of The Dark Knight and Wall-E to take that final spot. I didn’t feel as strongly about Dark Knight as a Best Picture nominee as everyone else did (mostly because I liked Wall-E more, but it’s still a brilliant film), but in terms of this list, I’d definitely have included it instead of The Reader. But, its exclusion from the nominees was a big letdown — you could actually see the President of the Academy’s dismay when they went they announced Frost/Nixon as the second nominee. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Boy, for a gunman, you’re one hell of a pessimist.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor & Best Actress – 2008

There’s really not much to say here. One was a tight race between two very deserving performances, and the other was a career achievement award to a very deserving actress — for the complete wrong film.

Best Actor – 2008

And the nominees were…

Richard Jenkins, The Visitor

Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon

Sean Penn, Milk

Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Jenkins — Jenkins finally got a chance to have a lead role of his own, after years of amazing character work in such films as (so that way you can be like, “He was in that? Who was he? Oh yeah!”): The Indian in the Cupboard, There’s Something About Mary, Me, Myself & Irene, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Changing Lanes, Stealing Harvard, Intolerable Cruelty, I Heart Huckabees, Six Feet Under (TV show, but, kind of well-known), North Country, The Kingdom, Step Brothers, Burn After Reading, Let Me In … the list goes on. Not really and on. Just on. I hit all the relevant ones. This film is by the guy who made The Station Agent, that little indie that everyone seemed to love. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “How you feelin’, Jimmy?” “Like a mean motherfucker, sir!”

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress – 2008

I remember 2008. I did amazingly well in my picks this year. Mostly because I knew the Academy was going to ignore The Dark Knight minus the one obvious nomination and the other random one it got. I think I only missed like 4 of all the categories. Which is good, since I had a competition where I was going to buy dinner for whoever outguessed me and I think like ten people did. Go me. Anyway, these categories weren’t hopelessly competitive. One was the biggest landslide I think ever and the other was pretty locked even though I can’t see why. I guess all’s well that ends well.

Best Supporting Actor – 2008

And the nominees were…

Josh Brolin, Milk

Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road (more…)

Pic of the Day: “I’m just not the hero type. Clearly. With this laundry list of character defects, all the mistakes I’ve made, largely public.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture & Best Director – 2007

This was a tough year. One where, even though I’d have voted a different way on Best Picture, you really can’t fault their decision too much (or can you?). I thought these five were a really strong set of nominees. Personally I’d have gone another way with the fifth nominee, but, the Academy is the Academy. Still, these five are all good films. Good job, Academy, for picking well. And good job, Hollywood, for giving us the best year probably in all the 2000s.

Best Picture – 2007

And the nominees were…

Atonement (Focus Features)

Juno (Fox Searchlight)

Michael Clayton (Warner Bros.)

No Country for Old Men (Miramax, Paramount Vantage)

There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage, Miramax) (more…)

Pic of the Day: “That is one big pile of shit.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor & Best Actress – 2007

Dare I say it? Did they actually get both of these right? Yeah, they did. Frighteningly so. Best Actor was a no-decision. This was perhaps the best male lead performance of the decade. Best Actress was between two very, very good performances, and in my mind, they picked the correct one, though I’d have been happy with either. Hooray, good decisions.

Best Actor – 2007

And the nominees were…

George Clooney, Michael Clayton

Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah

Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

George Clooney — In my mind, without Daniel Day Lewis going all ape shit on this category, Clooney wins this hands down. He gave an amazing performance in this film, and it’s a shame he didn’t win. But really, with Mr. Plainview in the category, he’s a distant second choice. But still, he’s great in this film. He’s a lawyer who is his firm’s “fixer” — think the Winston Wolf of the legal world. He makes problems go away. And when he finds out his mentor, Tom Wilkinson, went crazy in a deposition room, he starts dealing with that. Slowly he figures out a conspiracy, and, when bad shit starts to happen, his loyalties begin to sway. It’s a very good performance, and I hate that I can’t vote for it. But… (more…)

Pic of the Day: (No quote, the picture just whistles its theme song.)

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress – 2007

Oh, this year. One mostly no-brainer and the other — well, what happened there? This year was actually a very good year for movies. I went back and looked — there are at least twenty legitimate good to great films that came out that year. It’s actually kind of incredible. But, in these races, well…

Best Supporting Actor – 2007

And the nominees were…

Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson’s War

Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild

Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

Casey Affleck — This is sort of a quasi-lead performance, but, it’s more of an ensemble film. I’d have loved if Pitt got a Best Actor nom for this, because he deserved it. Actually, the film deserved a Best Picture nomination too, but, we’ll let that go. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “I hope you die!” “That’ll be the day.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture & Best Director – 2006

The year justice was served. Though the dish is best served warm, this one felt more reheated. They kind of just went through the motions here. They were like, “Fine, we’ll give Marty the fucking Oscar.” I’m not complaining, though. He’s deserved it like ten times over already. I think they felt the need to give him Best Picture to so they can be like, “If we give him Best Director for a Best Picture, then its like we set a benchmark and we have an excuse for not giving it to him all those other times.” But, whatever, this, to me, were actually perfect decisions. They voted for the best picture on this list. I’d have nominated some other films, but, you know, take what you can get.

Best Picture – 2006

And the nominees were…

Babel (Paramount Vantage)

The Departed (Warner Bros.)

Letters from Iwo Jima (Warner Bros.)

Little Miss Sunshine (Fox Searchlight)

The Queen (Miramax) (more…)

Pic of the Day: “You sure the cop’s okay?” “He’d better be, he’s my cousin.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor & Best Actress – 2006

More blandness. Weak, weak categories. To the point where the people I’m voting for are purely for the people and absolutely not for the performances. There’s almost nothing to say about these. They’re just — not interesting.

Best Actor – 2006

And the nominees were…

Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond

Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson

Peter O’Toole, Venus

Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness

Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

DiCaprio — Why — and I mean this from the bottom, top and center of my heart — would they nominate Leo for Blood Diamond and not for The Departed? I mean, seriously. All he does in this is put on a South African accent, run around a bit, and die. I’m pretty sure that’s it. The Departed was seriously a hell of a performance. I know he refused to campaign for it, but, when has that stopped anyone? You missed the boat, Academy. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Howard, you really think they’re gonna let you put out a whole movie just about tits?” “Sure. Who doesn’t like tits?”

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress – 2006

This year was a weak year for acting. A weak, weak year. They either picked bad choices or unworthy ones. It was weird. They were voting on the person and not on the performance. Seriously, looking at these lists, how bland can you get?

Best Supporting Actor – 2006

And the nominees were…

Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine

Jackie Earl Haley, Little Children

Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond

Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls

Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

Arkin — A lot of factors went into this one. First, it is a very entertaining performance. I mean, he didn’t actually do all that much, but, it was a veteran nomination. He’s been putting in solid work for years. It was only a matter of time. Also, they really, really didn’t want Eddie Murphy to win. That was for two reasons. One, because the performance wasn’t really all that great. Two, Eddie Murphy is liked and a fine actor and all, but, he makes such shit movies. That one wasn’t a dealbreaker though. Though maybe it was. But then again, how do you explain Sandra Bullock? I think the real dealbreaker was Eddie Murphy’s behavior in the business. He’s not exactly the Clooney type. But, I can see why they voted Arkin based on this list. This is actually a perfect time to reward a veteran. Plus, Arkin is hysterical as the heroin addict grandfather. So, that works. (more…)