Archive for February 25, 2012

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:


My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture Nominees: The Descendants

Our second Best Picture nominee is The Descendants. A simple story of a man caring for his daughters in the wake of a tragedy. This is a film that I have the biggest split opinion on of all the nominees. It’s the one I’d want to win Best Picture perhaps least among the major contenders, yet, outside of the Oscars, it’s one of the films I liked the most. And I still can’t believe they didn’t nominate one of the best performances of the year from it.

Here are my five favorite moments from The Descendants:


My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture Nominees: The Artist

Every hour, for the next 9 hours, I’m going to post my five favorite moments from each of the Best Picture nominees. It’s a nice way to take a break from all the Oscar stuff to remind myself (and all of us) that once you take away all the competition and the awards, what we’re left with is great cinema. That’s what it’s about.

We’ll start with The Artist


Best & Worst Overall Years in Academy History

I felt like this would be a good way to lead into the big night tomorrow. Going over all the great (and terrible) years that have gone by.

I’m not going to provide too much editorial on the years, since just listing 10-15 good and bad ones will take enough space as it is. I’m just going to weigh everything, and then assign each of the 83 years a score (not official, mind you), which will inform how I rank them. More than anything, I’m curious to see how it turns out.

One thing I will say, however, is that I’m going to give all “double” years (everything between 1927 and 1933) a break. They were just getting things going, not all categories were there, and it wasn’t really until 1934 that any kind of standards were in place. So I’m gonna go easy on those early years. (Though, anything post-1936 is completely fair game.) The other quick notes to make are that it’ll only cover the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor & Supporting Actress), and will be overall years. So even if an individual category is one of the strongest of all time, if the rest of them suck, it’s still going on.

So here are my choices for Strongest and Weakest Academy years: (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”