Archive for February, 2012

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1967

1967. The landmark year. Hollywood breaks from classical tradition. But not so you’d really notice it, the Oscars seemingly try to mask that change by picking the most watered down version of it. Of the five Best Picture choices, here’s the order in which they’d have been good choices for the year that was 1967: Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, Doctor DolittleDolittle of course would have been a complete rejection of the situation, and that wasn’t gonna happen. And some people might put In the Heat of the Night third (but I don’t). But still — it was not an ideal choice.

I think that’s evident in the fact that Mike Nichols won Best Director for The Graduate (talked about here). Even bad Best Picture choices also won Best Director (King’s Speech, anyone?). Though they did do a good job of spreading the wealth. Best Actor was Rod Steiger for In the Heat of the Night. I wouldn’t have voted for it, but it’s an acceptable decision, since he’d earned one of these from ’65 for The Pawnbroker. Best Actress was Katharine Hepburn for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (talked about here), which, while I wouldn’t have voted for it, isn’t that bad, since all the other potential winners had, or later won, Oscars. Best Supporting Actor was George Kennedy for Cool Hand Luke (talked about here), which I love dearly.

Then there’s this category. Holy shit, was this a great decision. This is also one of the strongest Best Supporting Actress categories of all time.


And the nominees were…

Carol Channing, Thoroughly Modern Millie

Mildred Natwick, Barefoot in the Park

Estelle Parsons, Bonnie and Clyde

Beah Richards, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Katharine Ross, The Graudate (more…)

Pic of the Day: “What is your name?” “My name is for my friends. None of my friends is a murderer!”

Lawrence of Arabia - 60

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1945

1945. Very strong year, in context. The Lost Weekend wins Best Picture, Best Director for Billy Wilder, and Best Actor for Ray Milland (talked about here). All fantastic decisions.

Best Actress this year was Joan Crawford for Mildred Pierce, and since I haven’t written the category up yet, I haven’t decided who I’m voting for, but regardless, it was a good decision. And Best Supporting Actress this year was Anne Revere for National Velvet, which is another perfect decision (talked about here).

So that leaves us with this category. And actually, along with Best Supporting Actress, this is my favorite category of the year. Rare for a Supporting Actor category to be tops.


And the nominees were…

Michael Chekhov, Spellbound

John Dall, The Corn is Green

James Dunn, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Robert Mitchum, The Story of G.I. Joe

J. Carrol Naish, A Medal for Benny (more…)

Pic of the Day: “What’s the meaning of goodness if there isn’t a little badness to overcome?”

Blog Update

It’s about time to update. The Oscar season is over. Back to business as usual. However — our business here is actually coming to a close soon.

It’s been all Oscars all the time here since nominations were announced. I mean — it’s pretty much always all Oscars all the time here, but it’s been this year‘s Oscars since Oscars were announced. Now that the season’s officially in the books, we go back to what was originally going on here at the blog — the Oscar Quest. I have about two months worth of Quest articles left to go up. (The scary part is that they’ve all been written since like, November. So I don’t even remember anything about them.) Then, after those are done, we get into the Best Picture portion of the Quest. 72 Best Pictures left to write up. (Pretty sure I only wrote up like six of them so far.) Those will take us to the 4th of July. And once those are done — the Oscar Quest is done. Which is pretty crazy. I’ll give more of an update on that when we get closer.

So that’s basically what’s going on over here for the next two months. Back to the Oscar Quest (plus another Top Tens article going up in the middle of March). The other exciting thing is that, by the end of the month, I will (after writing one more post that’s not currently scheduled to go up) have posted on this blog exactly 1,000 times. (This also means I posted 200 times between January 1st and February 29th. But whatever.) That’s pretty crazy. In 13 months, 1,000 posts went up on this blog. And in 13 months, I also completed the Oscar Quest. I guess that’s my new standard for measuring getting stuff done. Anyway — that’s the update. I’m off to go see what to do with that 1,000th post…

2011 Oscars Recap

Well, another year is in the books, and I have to say — this was a damn good Oscar year. I don’t think they truly made that many mistakes. And in all, I actually agreed with just about every major category. Sure, I could quibble about some of the minor ones, but overall, I think they did a terrific job with this one.

I’ve also went and updated all my other articles, like the Rankings, the Viewer’s Guide, the Facts and Trivia, and all the little odds and ends articles (Ranking the Best Pictures, etc.) with the new results we now have.

That aside, let’s get into the recap of the big night: (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”

84th Academy Awards Results

The winners for the Oscars tonight were:

Best Picture: The Artist

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help (more…)

Oscars 2011: The Quick Picks

For those who don’t want the bells and whistles, and all the explanations, here is an abbreviated list of all my picks for the show (which is set to get underway in just under an hour). I’m telling you what I’m picking, what I told you to pick (for your office pool. Since I’m not competing. I’m just having fun with it), and alternates for each one (just to show that I’ll be within the ballpark on at least 22 of them). I’m also going to do it in the order they’ve announced that the awards will be going out:

Best Cinematography

What I Told You to Pick: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
What I’m Picking: Robert Richardson, Hugo
(alt: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life. If The Artist wins this, expect a sweep.)

Best Art Direction

What I Told You to Pick: Hugo
What I’m Picking: Hugo
(alt: The Artist) (more…)

Oscars 2011: Picks, Votes, Analysis, Rankings

It’s that time again. Oscar night. My favorite night of the year. This is the first year I’m really out in the deep end. Before, I was the only one amongst my circles who knew anything about the Oscars. And last year, no one read this blog, so it didn’t matter. No one still reads the blog (relatively), but the drastic increase in views (what I had in total blog views last Oscars is what I get in less than a week now. In fact, the views from yesterday total more than 60% of what I had that entire month) means that my opinion will at least be out there slightly more.

I used to treat the Oscars as a game (as they should mostly be treated the night of the ceremony, since everything’s decided by then anyway). I told all my friends that if they could outguess me, I’d give them some sort of reward, just to get them somewhat as interested in the awards as I was (plus I knew they’d never be able to do it). Now that’s over with (and my picks are on the internet), I’m much more lax about stuff. I don’t try to guess everything like I used to. I’d still love to get as close to 24/24 as I can, but I’m willing to take more chances now, rather than going with the safe stuff just to “win.” Though generally I do like to hit at least 16. To me, that’s a passing grade. (Last year, I got 17/24, and that after trying to will it to happen and taking Social Network all the way through. Had I picked to win, I’d never have done that.) This year, I might take some wild bets (i.e. disregard the possibility of a sweep) just to make it interesting. I’d like to beat last year’s 17, but I’m very prepared to do horrible. (It’s how I treat everything: assume abject failure and everything turns out okay.) (more…)

Oscars 2011: Box Office Figures

I was looking back over last year’s articles and saw that I wrote one about how the Academy likes voting for a film that’s made money. Which is generally true. Though The Hurt Locker being one of (or maybe it’s the lowest, I forget) the lowest-grossing Best Picture winners of all time shows that it’s not always the case. But generally, I think I found (and you can read that article here) that most of the time, the film that won Best Picture was in the top half (or top 3, when there were 5 nominees) of the nominees in terms of gross. I didn’t actually read through that entire article, but I’m pretty sure that was the gist of it.

I mostly wanted to use that as an excuse to check in with how this year’s nominees are doing, box office-wise. I haven’t really done that in a while. I’m curious to see how they’re doing. So, according to Box Office Mojo (which has it plastered on the front page), here are the grosses of all the Best Picture nominees as of right this second: (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Rhett, Rhett… Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?” “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Guessing the 2011 Oscar Clips

This is always a fun thing to do. Guessing what clips they’re gonna show for each of the acting nominees. Seems pretty obvious. I’m very familiar with most of the performances, so I should be able to guess specifically for all but like, two of them:

Best Actor

Demián Bichir — almost definitely that speech he has at the end to his kid. Or one of the scenes with the kid in the truck, telling him how he works hard so he can have (insert title here).

George Clooney — him talking to his wife at the end and crying, right? Or do they want to mix it up and not have all tears?

Jean Dujardin — you’d think the clip of him on the stage, goofing around, but I’m really hoping one of their clips is the dance-off behind the screen. Or maybe it’ll be him quitting the studio. But honestly probably his first scene. (more…)

Oscar Predictions Update

Because I’m selfish and I’d like to get as many views as possible (since, after all, what better day to handicap my chances than Oscar day?), I’m going to, at midnight Pacific Time, put up my predictions for tomorrow’s Oscars. I’m going to put a sticky on it so it stays at the top of the page. It’s tomorrows major post, so it’ll be at the top until the normal time for it to be up, which is 2 pm Pacific Time.

Keep in mind, that until then, the article will not be locked. I am still deciding on a couple of categories, going against the grain on a few of them, so until 2 pm, Pacific Time, I am reserving the right to change my mind. After 2 pm, the sticky will disappear, and the article will be locked. Those will be my absolute final predictions for the awards. Just warning you now, in case you read the article tonight and then go back tomorrow and see that something has changed.

And I’ll even tell you now, the categories that are most likely to see changes are Original Screenplay, Cinematography, and Costume Design. “Maybes” for a change (but overall doubtful) are Art Direction, Sound Editing, Documentary Feature, Doc. Short, Live-Action Short and Animated Short. I doubt I’d change them (Sound Editing might be most likely, but honestly, at this point, I’m willing to take a loss there.) Just keeping you updated on that. Otherwise, picks are going up soon. I’m satisfied with them.

Next Year’s Oscar Nominees

One thing I’ve steadfastly refused to do, that everyone seems to love doing, is, as soon as the Oscars are over, rush to look at what the contenders are for next year’s Oscars. I don’t like it. There are too many variables, too many surprises, and almost always are at least half the films nominated for Best Picture ones that you either don’t know about until Cannes or wouldn’t expect to get the kind of traction they did.

This year, I bet most people would have said, in March, that this year’s Oscars would include The Descendants, Ides of March, J. Edgar, Iron Lady, War Horse, maybe Hugo based on Scorsese alone, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo… I honestly don’t even know. This is all after the fact. There are a few like Moneyball I could say, “Oh yeah,” but we didn’t really know that would catch the traction it got. My point is, we don’t know what’s gonna be good. No one would have said The Artist this time last year. No one would have guaranteed a Best Picture spot for Midnight in Paris. The Help? Yeah, right.

We can only guess based on what seems like classy material. Which is just stupid, because the whole point of the race is to be surprised and discover stuff. How boring would the Best Picture race have been with J. Edgar and The Iron Lady in it? And who would find it fun and interesting to rigidly keep track of everything, all year? It takes all the surprise out of it! So I’ve generally avoided even talking about such things. My attitude is always just to wait, see what materializes, and then come like, December, I then start to guess which ones will make the final tally. Doing it before then is just stupid to me. (You’ll also notice that I’m deliberately writing this before the Oscars. Screw conformity!) (more…)

The 2011 Razzie Awards Nominees

The 2011 Razzie Awards nominees were announced today. I won’t waste any time. Let’s just get into them. This is the first I’m seeing of them, as I type them, so I’m really excited to see how close they match with my Unforgivables:

Worst Picture

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

Jack and Jill

New Year’s Eve

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

I don’t understand the Transformers hatred, but I’ve come to expect it. Otherwise, I understand most of those. Why New Year’s Eve instead of Just Go With It, I don’t know, but I think we all know which film is gonna… twin this award.

Oh, I’m fucking hilarious. (more…)

Oscars 2011 Update: The Independent Spirit Awards

Today, the Independent Spirit Awards were announced. I didn’t post it immediately for two reasons: one, I was in the middle of my Best Picture articles (which I really enjoyed and didn’t want to break the flow of), and two, they don’t really matter so much for tomorrow. Though, in this case, we did get a big arrow.

My major problem with the Independent Spirit Awards is how they’re basically like the Oscars “Lite.” Most of the stuff that wins are the films that are nominated at the Oscars. Sure, they’re technically independent, but it almost feels unfair to the nominees that are actually independents. That is — The Artist stopped being independent once the Weinstein’s picked it up. Did you really think Take Shelter stood a chance against it in the Best Feature race?

Either way, here are the winners from the Independent Spirit Awards: (more…)

My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture nominees: War Horse

And our final Best Picture nominee, War Horse. An unfairly maligned film by most people (because it’s a film that seems like an obvious Oscar winner), it’s a film whose reputation, I feel, will grow in the coming years because it is actually quite good. It seems like Spielberg doing Spielberg while trying to do John Ford, and I say — what’s so wrong with that?

Here are my favorite moments from War Horse:


My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture nominees: The Tree of Life

Our next Best Picture nominee is The Tree of Life. More visual poetry from the mind of Terrence Malick.

I don’t really have five moments for this film in the way the other films had moments. So I’m more going to post my favorite images from the film. Because this is a film you need to experience as a whole. It’s just beautiful from beginning to end. And there’s not really a set story, so I won’t structure this the way I structured the others. I’ll just link to my five favorite images from the film. Which is a hard enough task in itself.

Here are my five favorite images from The Tree of Life:


My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture nominees: Moneyball

Our seventh Best Picture nominee is Moneyball. Here’s a film that not many people thought would be quite as good as it was. I think we all knew the talent involved would make it a good picture, but I don’t think we ever thought we’d get this. This is a top five or ten movie of the year. It took a subject most people wouldn’t think could be adapted for the screen and made a compelling sports movie out of it. And, it stayed almost completely off of the field! That’s a testament to the strength of this film.

Here are my favorite moments from Moneyball:


My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture nominees: Midnight in Paris

Our next Best Picture nominee is Midnight in Paris. A delightful film. One of my favorite of Woody Allen’s films. It’s a delightful little fantasy, and definitely one of Allen’s best films in recent years.

Here are my favorite moments from Midnight in Paris:


My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture nominees: Hugo

It’s so hard to pick just five of my favorite moments in our next Best Picture nominee. Every moment of this film felt so magical that I had to include it. Even the tiniest moments — a shot here, a line there — they were all so wonderful. But, I did my best, and managed to whittle my list down to just five. And I’ll tell you — the more I see this film, the more I see just how perfect it is, and just how much this should go down in history as one of the greatest love letters to cinema ever made.

Here are my favorite moments from Hugo:


My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture nominees: The Help

And now we get to The Help. This is a film that, when I saw it in August, I didn’t like it very much. Hurt Locker-syndrome. I saw it, thought it was okay, and then everyone said it was amazing. A lot. Which made me want to not like it. But fortunately, I managed to see this film later in a purely objective state, and I saw just how good it really is. This film deserves to be a Best Picture nominee. It’s a terrific film, and one I feel bad for disliking purely because of other people.

Here are my five favorite moments from The Help:


My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture Nominees: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

We’ve reached our third Best Picture nominee: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Definitely the most divisive of the nominees this year. The one thing I learned from rewatching it was — no matter what your opinion may be in regards to the Oscars — a good film is a good film. And you can’t take that away no matter what anyone says.

Here are my five favorite moments from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: