Tag Archives: Academy Awards

Oscar Nominees 2012

Alright, I admit it, I’m too lazy to cut and paste the blog post I just wrote about this year’s Oscar Nominations on my other blog here. Sorry, I’m just too tired, and until WordPress re-instates the blog-sharing feature, I’m gonna have to just leave you with a link. So, if you wanna read what I think about this morning’s Oscar nominations (Yay, Gary Oldman! Boo, “The Ides of March” and “Margin Call”!) you’re gonna have to click here now.

See ya on the other side, amigos…

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Christopher Nolan wins WGA award for “Inception”

On Saturday night, Oscar nominee Christopher Nolan came one step closer to winning an Academy Award when he took home the WGA’s prestigious Best Original Screenplay award for “Inception”. Whoo-hoo! Finally someone that I actually voted for wins the top prize. So cool!

Of course, Nolan will have a tougher fight at the Oscars, where he’ll square off in the Best Original Screenplay category with Academy-favorite Mike Leigh’s “Another Year” and David Seidler’s amazing script for “The King’s Speech”, which wasn’t eligible for WGA consideration. So, here’s hoping the sci-fi geeks in the Academy follow the WGA’s lead and give Nolan his due.

In fact, maybe I should hire someone cool like this to plant the idea in their heads right now. Hmmm…

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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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Anne Hathaway & James Franco to co-host the Oscars?!

Wow…what a strange and kinda shockingly-cool pick. We’ve always loved Anne Hathaway and she has been game for anything on a number of award shows recently.  And James Franco is just plain cool in anything. Seriously, he even managed to make a guest-starring gig on “General Hospital” cool.

Yep, he was on a soap opera, like, all last summer. I’m just saying, the dude is cool, not to mention totally versatile. He writes short stories too!

So, yay for both of them. Who knows, maybe their combined newbie host energy will make the Academy Awards a lot more fun? The only weird thing would be if Franco snags a Best Actor nomination for his rocking turn in “127Hours”. What does he do, like, excuse himself and hurry out into the audience to hear his name read? And better yet, what if he actually wins? Does he hold the award next to him the rest of the night? Weirdness.

Either way, kudos to the Oscar producers for thinking completely outside the box with this year’s Academy Awards host picks. Too cool!

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“Inception”

OK…I know we’ve only seen like three of this year’s big award-season contenders (“Toy Story 3”, “Hereafter” and “The Social Network”, which were all awesome, by the way) and therefore, we probably shouldn’t be making any broad, sweeping predictions yet, but, mark my words, amigos, Christopher Nolan will win an Oscar for “Inception”.

Whether it’s for writing, directing or producing is still to be determined, but, the mad genius behind “Memento”, “The Prestige” and the Christian Bale “Batman” movies has really outdone himself with “Inception”, and for that reason alone, I see many gold statues in Nolan’s future. And boy does he deserve them!

Taut, suspenseful, positively gorgeous to look at, and populated by the coolest indie cast this side of Sundance, “Inception” is the best movie we’ve seen this year. Yep, I said it, the best. Of course, most of you probably already know this since you saw the movie when it came out, you know, last summer.

But, babysitters being increasingly hard to come by, Christine and I didn’t get to see “Inception” on the big screen until last week at Warner Brothers and lemme tell ya, it blew us away. To say that our heads were swimming (in the best way!) for days afterwards is a serious understatement.

This was no mere movie, amigos, it was total immersion in a completely original and boldly realized new world. And we loved every crazy second of it!

I know I geek out over things a lot, and tend to overhype stuff that I really love, but, I kid you not, I haven’t felt this way about a sci-fi movie since we saw the first “Matrix” or “Terminator” flick way back when.

The dazzling technical elements aside, “Inception” is that rare breed of totally game-changing screen stories that will inspire whole generations of nerdy kids to wanna make movies. For me, it was “Star Wars”, for Generation Whatever, it’ll be Christopher Nolan’s “Inception”. Again, mark my words.

Anyway, I don’t wanna give anything away by going too much into the plot or anything, but, trust me, you don’t have to love sci-fi or even Leo DiCaprio to love this mind-bending little jewel of a movie. Simply put, if you like movies, “Inception” will knock you flat on your movie-loving ass. You have never seen anything like it. EVER.

So, you best get busy on that acceptance speech, Mr. Nolan. The clock is ticking…

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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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Baldwin and Martin to host Oscars!

OMG, I know I’m more than a few days late on this one, but, what an inspired idea for Oscar hosts! Sure, Wolverine was fun last year, but the idea of a comic — not to mention musical! — genius like Steve Martin hosting this year’s Academy Awards with his “enemy”, Alec Baldwin is kinda awesome.

This way, even if that lame 10 Best Picture nominees idea falls flat, the rest of the show will still rock. And, who knows, if the guys are any good in Nancy Meyers’ upcoming romantic comedy, “It’s Complicated”, they might just snag a nomination or two of their own. I mean, come on, they are starring opposite perennial-nominee Meryl Streep in this one, so, that kinda increases the odds.

"It's Complicated" (2009)

Either way, kudos to newly-minted Oscar producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman for picking the right guys for the job. Now, just keep the rest of the show running smoothly and Bob’s your uncle!

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Wolverine at the Oscars…

OK, I know this mini-review of the big night is a couple of days too late, but I gotta say that, surprisingly, Hugh Jackman did not totally suck as host of the Oscars. The opening number was actually pretty funny and he tried his damnedest to keep a very bloated telecast light and lively, but, any way you look at it, that second big dance number was a total train wreck.

2009 Oscars #1

First off, Beyoncé needs to simmer. Seriously, she should go into hiding for the rest of the year, America has had enough of her. And if the bitch sings “At Last” one more time, I swear to God, Etta James is gonna have to get in line to beat her down. Enough with that already! Yikes…

The most annoying  thing about that colosally over-produced number — aside from the fact that it serves as further proof that Baz Luhrmann has just plain lost his mind — was that most of the songs they “celebrated” were never even nominated for Oscars. So, what was the whole thing about? The return of the musical? What, because there were three big musicals released last year? Please…that was such a stretch.

I was also really annoyed with the clips they played this year too, those comedy and action scenes were kinda cool, but, seriously, sometimes it felt like we were watching the freaking MTV Movie Awards: “And now, Will Smith will present the award for Best Kiss.” Y’all are the Oscars, OK? You do not need to pander to kids with a bunch of clips from movies that most of your craggy-old membership has never even seen. Aside from being a total time-filler, it’s just lame…

2009 Oscars #2

2009 Oscars #3

And though I am so down with most of the winners — especially all the Oscar gold for “Slumdog” and the “Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto” quoting Japanese dude! — I have to admit that those creepy induction ceremonies with the past acting winners were just plain scary. Yes, it was great to see some of the old timers out there onstage, but, wow…that whole circle of five shit was freaky.

We kept joking that they were gonna give the winner a chalice of blood to drink from at the end of it all: “Welcome to the club. Now drink from the blood of Oscar and live forever…” Ahh!

Of course, being the Oscar nerd that I am, I went back later and re-watched each of the acting award presentations to see if maybe I missed something. I mean, were we just overreacting when we laughed through most of them? And guess what, we weren’t. That shit was crazy. Well-intentioned and very sweet sometimes, but still straight-up crazy.

2009 Oscars #4

2009 Oscars #5

I’ll write another post soon about the super cool Oscar-themed food we had at our party, but for now, here’s hoping the Academy works out the major kinks from this year’s show in time for next year’s bash.

Oh yeah, and I HATED the Ben Stiller as Joaquin Phoenix bit. I think Stiller stopped being funny like, ten years ago, but when he kept on mugging for the cameras as the clips from the nominated films played behind him, seriously, I wanted to kill the dude. That is just plain rude, man. Even hot-ass co-presenter, Queen Amidala, looked embarrassed…

2009 Oscars #6

2009 Oscars #7

But like I said, overall, a pretty decent show. I was pleased. Dying to hear what you guys thought of the big night, so comment away…

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Oscar Nominees 2009

Came home from Slamdance with a wicked cold, so, forgive me ahead of time if I don’t over-analyze this year’s Oscar nominees. It’s not that I’m not excited about them — because there are some really cool movies in the running this year –but having slept on the couch last night to avoid getting Christine sick, I am definitely not at my finest.

That said, if I had to describe this year’s crop of nominees in two words, I would call 2009 the year of the working actor. And with longtime journeyman actors like Frank Langella (“Frost/Nixon”), Richard Jenkins (“The Visitor”), Melissa Leo (“Frozen River”), Tarija P. Henson (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), Viola Davis (“Doubt”) and even Josh Brolin (“Milk”) for that matter, all scoring first-time nominations, the acting categories have never been stronger.

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Oscar nominee #2

Sure, some big stars snuck in there as well — Sean Penn for “Milk”, Meryl Streep for “Doubt”, Robert Downey Jr. for “Tropic Thunder” and the Oscar “it” couple du jour, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt scoring nods for their work in “Changeling” and “Benjamin Button” respectively. But the big story today is all about the old-school character actors.

And how refreshing is that? I mean, shit, Richard Jenkins has wracked up a whopping 82 onscreen credits since 1974, Leo has 78, Langella has 77, and Josh Brolin has been in 42 movies since his memorable debut in “The Goonies”. So, congrats to the “old-timers” of all ages…you guys have served your time and are totally due for some major gold!

Also surprised to see Kate Winslet nominated in the Best Actress category for her searing performance in “The Reader”. Till now, her “Reader” role has been relegated to the Best Supporting Actress category, with her role in “Revolutionary Road” taking the higher honor. I have always thought she was much better in “The Reader”, so, glad to see her pick up a nod for that performance instead.

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Oh, and speaking of “Revolutionary Road” — which fared far worse in the nomination count than I think anyone expected — the biggest surprise for me was the Best Supporting Actor nomination for Michael Shannon. Playing the deeply-troubled grown son of Kathy Bates, Shannon ignites every scene he’s in. Seriously, “Road” would have been a hell of a lot more boring without him. Very, very happy to see him pick up his first Oscar nomination today. Yay!

And though I agree with most of the Adapted Screenplay nominations, I gotta tell ya, the Original Screenplay category is kind of crazy this year. I’m not saying any of these movies are bad, but, wow, even the most experienced Oscar prognosticator couldn’t have guessed that this bunch of scripts would pick up nods. I mean, we’ve only seen one of the nominated films in this category…and we see everything! Ha!

On the directing front, happy to see Danny Boyle pick up his first directing nomination for “Slumdog Millionaire” and even though I hated “Benjamin Button” — and hate even more the fact that it scored 13 nominations…yikes! — I do love me some David Fincher, so, kudos to him for finally making the cut!

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Oscar nominees #6

Also kind of shocked that the Academy bucked the award-season trend by not awarding “The Dark Knight” a nod for Best Picture — giving the “wild card” fifth slot to “The Reader” instead. I guess Christopher Nolan and company will have to settle for their raft of technical nominations to go with the expected posthumous Supporting Actor nomination for Heath Ledger.

And while I was sad to see “Rachel Getting Married” and “The Wrestler” fail to pick up nominations in the Original Screenplay and Best Original Song categories, I was very happy to see the actors from both films pick up some very deserving nominations. So, yay!

Below is a list of most of the nominees in most of the major categories, to see the full list of nominated films, click here. And, as always, love to hear what you guys think of this year’s nominees…so, comment away!

BEST PICTURE

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“Frost/Nixon”

“Milk”

“The Reader”

“Slumdog Millionaire”

BEST DIRECTOR

David Fincher – “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Ron Howard – “Frost/Nixon”

Gus Van Sant – “Milk”

Stephen Daldry – “The Reader”

Danny Boyle – “Slumdog Millionaire”

BEST ACTOR

Richard Jenkins – “The Visitor”

Frank Langella – “Frost/Nixon”

Sean Penn – “Milk”

Brad Pitt – “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Mickey Rourke – “The Wrestler”

BEST ACTRESS

Anne Hathaway – “Rachel Getting Married”

Angelina Jolie – “Changeling”

Melissa Leo – “Frozen River”

Meryl Streep – “Doubt”

Kate Winslet – “The Reader”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Josh Brolin – “Milk”

Robert Downey Jr. – “Tropic Thunder”

Philip Seymour Hoffman – “Doubt”

Heath Ledger – “The Dark Knight”

Michael Shannon – “Revolutionary Road”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams – “Doubt”

Penélope Cruz – “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

Viola Davis – “Doubt”

Taraji P. Henson – “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Marisa Tomei – “The Wrestler”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Courtney Hunt – “Frozen River”

Mike Leigh – “Happy-Go-Lucky”

Martin McDonagh – “In Bruges”

Dustin Lance Black – “Milk”

Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter – “WALL-E”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Eric Roth and Robin Swicord – “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

John Patrick Shanley – “Doubt”

Peter Morgan – “Frost/Nixon”

David Hare – “The Reader”

Simon Beaufoy – “Slumdog Millionaire”

BEST ANIMATED FILM

“Bolt”

“Kung Fu Panda”

“WALL-E”

BEST FOREIGN FILM

“The Baader Meinhof Complex” – Germany

“The Class” – France

“Departures” – Japan

“Revanche” – Austria

“Waltz with Bashir” – Israel

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” – Alexandre Desplat

“Defiance” – James Newton Howard

“Milk” – Danny Elfman

“Slumdog Millionaire” – A.R. Rahman

“WALL-E” – Thomas Newman

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“Down to Earth” – “WALL-E”

“Jai Ho” – “Slumdog Millionaire”

“O Saya” – “Slumdog Millionaire”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

“Changeling” – Tom Stern

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” – Claudio Miranda

“The Dark Knight” – Wally Pfister

“The Reader” – Chris Menges and Roger Deakins

“Slumdog Millionaire” – Anthony Dod Mantle

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

“Australia” – Catherine Martin

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” – Jacqueline West

“The Duchess” – Michael O’Connor

“Milk” – Danny Glicker

“Revolutionary Road” – Albert Wolsky

BEST ART DIRECTION

“Changeling”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“The Dark Knight”

“The Duchess”

“Revolutionary Road”

BEST MAKE-UP

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“The Dark Knight”

“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

BEST EDITING

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“The Dark Knight”

“Frost/Nixon”

“Milk”

“Slumdog Millionaire”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)”

“Encounters at the End of the World”

“The Garden”

“Man on Wire”

“Trouble the Water”

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