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Woody’s winning streak…

While several of the key categories are still up in the air, there is one sure bet at the Academy Awards this Sunday, and that is that Woody Allen — the most nominated writer in Oscar history with a whopping 15 writing nominations alone! — will collect his fourth career Oscar for writing Midnight in Paris. That’s right, amigos, the Woodman is back!

And if there was any doubt about it, I’d say Allen’s Best Original Screenplay win at Sunday night’s WGA Awards pretty much sealed the deal. Beating out such worth contenders as Diablo Cody’s wicked-good script for Young Adult and Tom McCarthy and Joe Tiboni’s amazing work on Win Win, Allen took home his fifth WGA Award for Midnight this past weekend.

As you know, I’m a HUGE Woody Allen fan, so, I’m very excited for him, even though Midnight was not my favorite of his movies (I voted for Young Adult), it was cute and fun and fluffy, but, at the end of the day, he’s done magical realism better in The Purple Rose of Cairo, Alice and even Broadway Danny Rose. That said, as a lifelong fan, it is really cool to see a Woody Allen movie nominated for writing, directing, and best picture again.

So, good on you, Woody. I look forward to seeing who picks up your Oscar for you this year! Kudos also to Alexander Payne and his co-writers Nat Faxon and Jim Nash for winning the WGA’s Best Adapted Screenplay award for their stellar work on The Descendants. That one I did vote for!

To see a list of all this year’s WGA Award Winners, click here.

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2012 Screen Actor’s Guild Award Nominees

I don’t normally stay up to watch the live broadcast of the SAG Award Nominations, but, was up anyway wrapping Christmas presents and dealing with a sick baby, so…I watched. And, well, it was kind of a snooze. No real big surprises. No gasping from the audience (or me, for that matter), just kind of the usual suspects at this point.

I’m not saying the nominees aren’t deserving, because they totally are — especially the cast nominations for “The Descendents”, “Bridesmaids” and “Midnight In Paris” — but I was a bit disappointed to see Charlize Theron overlooked for her stellar work in “Young Adult” and the same goes for Maria Bello’s incendiary performance on NBC’s recently-shelved “Prime Suspect”. Those are two of the best performances of the year in my book, and I was bummed to see them both overlooked by SAG.

But, hey, there’s always the Golden Globe nominations on Thursday. And you know those crazy foreign press guys love hot blonde chicks, so…I’m betting they both get a lot more love then. At least they’d better!

To see the full list of SAG Award Nominees, click here.

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2011 Golden Globes wrap-up

OK, after reading several, far better and far more in-depth accounts of all that went down at the Golden Globe Awards last night, I just have two things to add.

One, I thought host Ricky Gervais, though a bit crass at times, was even better as a host this time than he was last year. Yes, he pushed some buttons, but, man alive, some of his shit was hilarious. The bottom line is that he kept the crowd on their toes and I haven’t heard any of the Gervais-haters say they were bored by the show. So, kudos to you for keeping it real, Ricky!

The second thing is that I was really pleased, if not entirely surprised, by most of the winners. Everyone who won seemed really excited and honored to be there and that always makes for a good show.

And though I cheered out loud for several of the winners, I gotta say, seeing a dyed-in-the-flannel, 90’s alt-rocker like Trent Reznor collect a Golden Globe for his brilliant work on “The Social Network” soundtrack…wow…that was the highlight of the night as far as I’m concerned.

I downloaded Reznor and Atticus Ross’ soundtrack last week on Amazon and have been listening to it non-stop. The movie itself is collecting a little too many awards for my taste — if I have to see that smug-ass Aaron Sorkin pick up another award for his hugely-overrated screenplay, I might puke. Urgh! — but “The Social Network” soundtrack deserves every award it wins. So, rock on, guys!

And finally, if there was any doubt about who will not only be nominated, but also win Oscars this year in the major acting categories, it was wiped away last night. With the exception of a surprise Best Supporting Actress nod for the amazing Hailee Steinfeld for “True Grit” — which might give Melissa “The Fighter” Leo a real run for her money — I think everyone pictured here will repeat at the Oscars.

Yeah, Annette Bening is overdue for some Oscar gold, but her ham-fisted work in “The Kids Are All Right” is so not her finest hour on film. She’ll get another shot someday and if it makes her feel any better, she won’t lose an Oscar to Hilary Swank this time out. So, there’s always that!

Which means, we’ll have two royals in the Best Actor and Best Actress categories at this year’s Academy Awards: The extremely-deserving Colin Firth for “The Kings Speech” and Queen Amidala of Naboo herself for “Black Swan”. Yee-haw!

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WGA Screenplay Nominees (2011)

Most years, I have a hell of a time narrowing the nominated films on my awards ballot down to ten, but, this year…well…let’s just say it was a struggle to find ten worthy films to nominate.

That’s not to say that there weren’t some really great movies released in 2010, but, the good ones (“The Social Network”, “Inception”, “The Fighter”, “Black Swan”) were so good that the rest of the nominees felt like total filler.

And when you couple that with the fact that several of the biggest Oscar-bait flicks this year (“The King’s Speech”, “Winter’s Bone”, “Toy Story 3″) were considered ineligible for WGA nominations, well, the list of nominatable films was pretty damn slim this year.

That said, this was the first year since I can remember that almost every single movie I voted for got nominated (rock on, “I Love You, Phillip Morris”!!) so, that’s kinda fun for a change.

In any case, congrats to all the nominated writers and here is this year’s freshly-minted list of WGA nominated films. Enjoy!

Original Screenplay

Black Swan (Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John McLaughlin)

The Fighter (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington)

Inception (Christopher Nolan)

The Kids Are All Right (Stuart Blumberg & Lisa Cholodenko)

Please Give (Nicole Holofcener)

Adapted Screenplay

127 Hours (Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy)

I Love You Phillip Morris (John Requa & Glenn Ficarra)

The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin)

The Town (Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, Aaron Stockard)

True Grit (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)

Documentary Screenplay

Enemies of the People (Rob Lemkin & Thet Sambath)

Freedom Riders (Stanley Nelson)

Gasland (Josh Fox)

Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, Chad Beck, Adam Bolt)

The Two Escobars (Michael Zimbalist, Jeff Zimbalist)

Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? (John Scheinfeld)

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2011 Golden Globe Nominations

Whoa, talk about an eclectic bunch of nominees. I mean, three nods for “The Tourist” would be shocking enough, but the fact that they came in the Comedy/Musical category? Crazy!

And Johnny Depp is cool and all, but, two nods for totally lame movies in the same category? Yikes, if the Hollywood Foreign Press wanted him to show up that badly they shoulda just cut out the middle man and  given him an honorary award already. Jeez! But other than that bit of typical Golden Globe-cheesiness, it was sort of business-as-usual this year at the HFPA.

After dominating the LA and NY Film Critics awards this season, David Fincher’s rocking “The Social Network” is looking like the one to beat with a very well-deserved six nominations. I know it came out a while ago, but “Social” is still one of the best things we’ve seen, and I’m happy to say that after taking a detour into straight-up Robert Zemekis hokumville with his last effort, the vastly-overrated “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, David Fincher is back with a vengeance, baby!

Also was thrilled to see “Inception” score several major nominations yesterday. Like I said before, this movie seriously rocked our world, so, here’s hoping it does the same with the Globe voters!

We haven’t seen “The King’s Speech” yet, but, it looks amazing and we love everyone involved with it, so, kudos to them as well. If there’s any justice in this world, two of our favorite actors of all time, Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter will finally win awards this year for their work. Go, Brits!

I was also glad to see David O. Russell finally score a nomination (for directing “The Fighter”) of any kind after years of creating crazy-cool, fantastically-quirky movies. I know a lot of people hate it, but, I still “Heart Huckabees” to death. So, even if you are a big old a-hole in real life, congrats on joining the ranks of the nominated, Mr. Russell!

The TV side of things was pretty cool too, with many of last year’s nominees returning for a second chance at the gold. My favorite nomination though has got to be “The Walking Dead” for best TV Drama. That show is insanely-good, so, really glad to see it represented here.

Oh, and finally, how cool is it that NIN’s Trent Reznor scored a Best Original Score nomination for his dreamy “Social Network” soundtrack? Reznor’s thumping, trance-like music made the movie, man. So cool!

To see the full list of this year’s Golden Globe nominees, click here. And don’t forget to watch the big show on Sunday, January 16th, 2011. Ricky Gervais is back as host, so, you know it’s gonna be fun!

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Cannes Nerd 2010

Judging from the lack of comments the last time I blogged about the Cannes Film Festival, I’m guessing nobody cares about the Festival de Cannes like I do. And that’s cool, I’ll geek out over every last little detail of the fest on my own…but, seeing as it starts today in Cannes, I did want to at least show you guys the poster for this year’s festival.

Featuring the ageless Juliette Binoche, this year’s poster isn’t nearly as cinematic as the David-Lynch-designed poster for the 2008 fest, but, it’s still kinda cool in its simplicity. And hello, it’s still Juliette Binoche!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Ridley Scott’s out of competition “Robin Hood” is opening the festival tonight followed by what I’m sure will be a pretty rocking party. And speaking of rocking, Tim Burton is heading the jury this year, so, hopefully that will yield some cool winners down the line.

Of course Kate Beckinsale (huh?) is also on the jury this year, so, who knows. I’m not saying she isn’t pretty and everything, but, really? Kate Beckinsale is judging serious films now? Hmmm…not sure what I think about that one yet. Hopefully her fellow actor/jury mate Benicio Del Toro will help balance the scales a bit…

In any case…whoo hoo, Cannes is up and running, amigos! Vive le cinema! Vive le Festival de Cannes!

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Oscar Nominees 2010

I know I am totally behind on my analysis of this year’s Oscar Nominations — my friend James calls me the king of day old new lately — but Greta is about midway through her first winter cold, and, wow, what an all-consuming adventure that has been. Seriously, I’ve never seen so much snot…

And, ironically enough, that kinda describes how I feel about this year’s crop of nominees. I mean, there were a few cool surprises (Maggie Gyllenhaal earning her first nod for “Crazy Heart” and the always-deserving Jeremy Renner pulling an upset Best Actor nod for “The Hurt Locker”) but overall, most of the big award-magnet movies this year left me pretty cold.

“Up in the Air” was a total snooze, I really dug the ladies in that movie — both of whom scored well-deserved Supporting Actress nods — but I kinda hated George Clooney’s character and the too-cool glibness of the script sealed my hatred of the film. Same thing with “Precious”. Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidibe were fantastic and deserve every award that comes their way, but the movie itself was a glorified (if R-rated) after-school special. Snooze…

The Coen Brother’s latest outing “A Serious Man” was another one of their crazy, impenetrable disappointments. Seriously, does anyone know what the hell that movie is about? I sure don’t, and I’ve watched parts of it twice! The fact that this shiny turd of a movie scored a Best Screenplay nod and a Best Picture nomination makes me think the Academy sees the brother’s names on the ballot every year and just checks them off out of habit. I mean, come on, guys, you don’t  have to nominate EVERY movie they make! Urgh…

Now, with my least favorite nominess out of the way, let me get to the movies I did love. “Inglorious Basterds” was freaking amazing. Not only did it look great, but the cast rocked — the insanely-good Christoph Waltz is a lock to win Best Supporting Actor and he totally deserves it! — and the script was incredible. Tense, dramatic and funny as hell, “Basterds” is probably Tarantino’s best movie so far, and being a QT fan from way back, that is really saying something.

Also loved Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side” and was thrilled to see the movie recognized in the Best Picture category as well. I told Christine after we saw it that if there was any justice in the world, “The Blind Side” would be nominated for Best Picture, and, well, I guess justice ruled supreme on Tuesday. I kid you not, amigos, this is one the best Hollywood movies in years, so, congrats to everyone involved.

Also very glad to see Jeff Bridges in the race again for “Crazy Heart”. Bridges has served his time, and unless Renner pulls a major Adrien Brody-style upset, he is totally gonna win Best Actor this year. Bridges didn’t just play that character, he WAS that character. Awesome, awesome work!

Scoring her 16th nomination this year, Meryl Streep positively soared as Julia Child in “Julie & Julia”, and is probably the only genuine competition Sandra Bullock has in the Best Actress race. I’m hoping for another tie, but, barring that…it’s gonna be a squeaker.

Glad to see the Academy finally giving sci-fi some respect this year as well. I haven’t seen “District 9″ yet, but the fact that a little indie geekfest like that scored so many nods — including those for Best Picture and Screenplay! — is very exciting for a sci-fi geek like me! Go, aliens!

And speaking of sci-fi, I gotta hand it to nutty old James Cameron, man, “Avatar” was incredible. Unlike the rest of the world, I hadn’t seen the movie until last night, and I was completely blown away.

I was so prepared to hate those freaky, blue bastards, but, wow, was I wrong. “Avatar” has more heart and soul in it’s weakest parts than several of the other nominees combined. And the effects? Gorgeous! Trust me, you have never seen anything like this movie before, and though it will face some stiff competition from “The Hurt Locker” in most of the major categories, I have a feeling “Avatar” will break the sci-fi curse by winning Best Picture. Yep, it’s that good.

Ooo…also very excited to see Stanley Tucci finally joining the Oscar Nominee club with his creepy turn as a murderous pedophile in “The Lovely Bones”. I really loved the movie and even though it was pretty much shut out everywhere else, was very glad to hear Tucci’s named called on Tuesday morning. Same thing with Tucci’s fellow first-time nominee, Christopher Plummer.

Yes, you read that correctly…Captain Von Trapp himself has never been nominated for an Oscar. Shocking, huh? And, even though I hear “The Last Station” is a total snoozefest, I gotta say, rock on Mr. Edelweiss!

And finally, though I have yet to see it, I was very pleased to see “An Education” score not only a Best Picture nomination, but also a Screenplay nod for Nick Hornby! Hornby is one of my favorite novelist, so, I’m guessing the script rocks. But either way, kudos to you, Señor Hornby!

To see the complete printable list of this year’s Oscar Nominees, click here. And, as always, dying to hear what you guys think of the nominated movies and such, so, fire away!

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