Archive for April, 2011

Update on The Oscar Quest (~11 months in)

A month ago, I posted an article updating my status of my Oscar Quest. I began the year with somewhere between 515-530 films left to watch, and as of March 27th, had 360 left to go. I figured, “Three months seems like a logical time to update, so the next update will be three months from now. Not much should change between now and then.” Yeah — let’s call that one a mulligan. A lot’s changed since then.

The big thing that’s changed since last month is — I’m about to be finished with Netflix. That is, the way I mark down these updates is, all films not in red are films that either I have in my possession, via DVD or on hard drive, or are films that can be readily obtained, via Netflix DVD or Netflix Watch Instant. But in the past month — through various ways and means — I now only have 1 “Oscar” movie to go before I no longer need to rent DVDs from Netflix (and that one’s shipping on Monday). Everything else is either in my possession, can be watched instantly via Netflix, or is unavailable. I think that’s worth an update, don’t you?

Here’s a breakdown of what I have left to do. First off, I have only 6 Best Picture nominees left before I’ve seen them all. Ever. Every single nominee ever (that isn’t lost). How fucked up is that? I’ve seen every Best Picture nominee of the past 76 years. As for macro, I have 138 remaining films in my possession, 54 in my Instant Queue, and 81 that are, for all intensive purposes, unavailable (though, 11 of them are, last time I checked, available to watch on Youtube. Who knows if they’ll be there when I get around to watching them).

Which totals us at — 274 films to go. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1998

Oh, 1998. The year that lives in infamy. I think I can sum it all up with three words: Shakespeare in Love.

Personally, I don’t know why people hate on the decision so much. I mean, sure Saving Private Ryan is a film most people prefer, but as films, I think they rate about even. Private Ryan has that amazing opening sequence, but the film peters out by the end. That last battle is kind of meh. Shakespeare, however, is a great film. It’s funny, entertaining, and really well made. The problem is though it’s a bit too — I don’t know, on the nose, maybe. There’s something that keeps it from being a “perfect” film. Plus, even though Private Ryan didn’t win Best Picture, it won the award that really mattered for it — Best Director. The split is really what makes this year okay for me. I will say though, that the fact that this one was (aliteration) the way it was, was one of the reasons that 2010 was not okay for any reason. Fool me twice — fuck you two. It would have been a lot more palatable if there was a Picture/Director split. But there wasn’t. And that’s why 2010 will — probably — I hope — go down as a greater offense in Academy history than 1998 did.

Oh yeah, also, Best Actor was Roberto Benigni for Life is Beautiful (not gonna say a word), Best Actress and Supporting Actress were Gwyneth Paltrow and Judi Dench for Shake-a-spere, and Best Supporting Actor was James Coburn for Affliction.


And the nominees are…

Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful

John Madden, Shakespeare in Love

Terrence Malick, The Thin Red Line

Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan

Peter Weir, The Truman Show (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Have I ever had you before?…So you don’t call me by my Christian name.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1997

1997. Titanic. I think that about covers it.

Sure it’s not a perfect film, but, this isn’t Best Picture. This is Best Director. I don’t think many people would argue that Cameron didn’t direct the hell out of the movie. The only real issue with Cameron is his weak and/or contrived scripts. But he wasn’t nominated for that, was he?

Also in 1997, Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt won Best Actor and Best Actress for As Good As It Gets, Robin Williams won Best Supporting Actor for Good Will Hunting, and Kim Basinger won Best Supporting Actress for L.A. Confidential. All around good films there. And yet, Titanic. It sucks when such good films are up against a film that can’t lose. (Gee, how many times has that happened?)


And the nominees were…

James Cameron, Titanic

Peter Cattaneo, The Full Monty

Atom Egoyan, The Sweet Hereafter

Curtis Hanson, L.A. Confidential

Gus Van Sant, Good Will Hunting (more…)

Pic of the Day: “What is it with men and asking for directions?” “I don’t want to play the gender card right now. You want to play a card, let’s play the “let’s not die” card.”

The Box Office Report – April 29-May 1

Last week, in Box Office…

Rio wins the box office once again, doing exactly what it was supposed to do. $26.3 million. I said $25-27 million. I believe that’s pretty exact. The reason it didn’t do $27 million will be explained shortly. It was pretty harmless and not that bad (though the songs were terrible and it lacked that Disney/Pixar humanity that makes these films really work), so I’m cool with it. But really what this is is another reminder that kids films make bank all the time. I think this is the one that really got them to notice. I’m really curious to see what happens in two years.

Finishing second, doing exactly what it was supposed to do, was Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion, with $25.1 million. This is the standard Tyler Perry opening. I just figured that since the previous Madea entry was so crazy with the $34 million opening that audiences just went to see Madea more. I’m much happier with this opening. $25 million is fine. More than that is insanity. This film, as we’ve established with the Tyler Perry Box Office Chart last week, will do around $50-55 million when all is said and done. (They typically do a bit more than double their opening weekend.) Whatever. Dude’s earned it. On the other hand, I won’t go near these movies with a 39 1/2 foot pole. Definitely not for me. But, kudos to the dude. He works for this. Good for him.

Finishing third, with, about what it was expected to do, albeit slightly overperforming, was Water for Elephants, with $16.8 million. Most people expected around $14-15 million. Though most people — including me, figured the window was $12-17 million. And most would have guessed the upper 50% quadrant of that estimate, so, this was right in the wheelhouse. I’m really not that interested in seeing the leads here, but I hear Christoph Waltz is the only reason to watch. So I probably will see it soon. In fact, I’ll probably watch it when I’m done with this article (which, doesn’t really mean anything to you, since, you don’t know when I’m writing this article). So, by next week I’ll let you know how it was. Still, this movie had only a $38 million budget, so, I guess it’ll be a decent hit. I still have mixed feelings on it. Even if it’s worthwhile, I’m still not gonna want the leads to be that successful. I really just don’t like their movies. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1996

1996 was a good year punctuated by shitty decisions. So many good films came out, and yet  — does anyone even think The English Patient is a great movie? Good? Fine. The minimum allowable to be considered good. But better than Fargo, it is not. Hell, better than Jerry Maguire it is not. These are the kind of years that really upset me. Because it’s like the Academy is striving to meet the standard of what they think their reputation is, and yet, they’re perpetuating this reputation by picking such shitty films.

And don’t think this poor decision-making ends at Best Picture. Best Actor went to Geoffrey Rush for Shine, a performance that lasts for about, oh, fifteen minutes. The rest of the time the character is played by two different actors. This wouldn’t be a big deal except, here’s who he beat: Tom Cruise (Jerry Maguire), Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient), Woody Harrelson (The People vs. Larry Flynt) and Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade). Every single one of them would have been a better choice. I mean, have they seen Sling Blade?

Best Actress went to Frances McDormand for Fargo. They threw at least one bone. Best Supporting Actor was Cuba Gooding Jr. for Jerry Maguire, an okay decision, though some people would probably prefer William H. Macy for Fargo. Best Supporting Actress was Juliette Binoche for The English Patient. Most people, including herself, were not expecting her to win. That’s 1996 in a nutshell. Even the good decisions are questionable, and the bad ones are terrible.


And the nominees are…

Joel & Ethan Coen, Fargo

Miloš Forman, The People vs. Larry Flynt

Scott Hicks, Shine

Mike Leigh, Secrets & Lies

Anthony Minghella, The English Patient (more…)