Thursday, November 29, 2012

And then there were five...

Animated films there is!  Yes, breaking the trend of three, this year the bar will be raised.  With 21 Animated Films released this year, we will see five Oscar nominees in the category.  This is pretty awesome, but I just wish that it had come in a different year.  I mean, how amazing would it have been to have this happen in 2010?  The Oscar lineup was nice, with Toy Story 3, The Illusionist and How to Train Your Dragon all deserving...but how cool would it have been to see Tangled and Despicable Me on the ballot too!
 
Anyways, this year we've had some decent releases, not the least of which would be Wreck-It Ralph, which I think stands a pretty good chance at winning.  The reviews have been very kind and it is certainly a crowd pleaser.  I thought, at year's beginning, that Frankenweenie had this in the bag, but the reviews were very mixed and the negative ink was at times brutal.  Still, the nomination should be really easy.
 
I'm thinking...
 
 
Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
Le Tableau
Wreck-It Ralph
 
I'm also kind of shocked that Secret of the Wings is on there.  I was under the impression that was a direct to video release.  I had no idea it was Oscar eligible.
 
Personally, I don't have an Animated Film category at the Fistis, but at the moment Wreck-It Ralph is in my top five of the year, so I hope it wins!

A visual Top Ten (from AMPAS)

So AMPAS has released their top ten finalists in the Visual Effects department today.  Those are as follows:
 
“The Amazing Spider-Man”
“Cloud Atlas”
“The Dark Knight Rises”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“John Carter”
“Life of Pi”
“Marvel’s The Avengers”
“Prometheus”
“Skyfall”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”
 
So this makes things a little easier to widdle down.  I am FLOORED that The Impossible missed here, as did Flight.  This spells a little trouble for The Impossible, a film I expected to rack up quite the nomination tally.  This should have been an easy nomination, considering that the tsunami scene has been talked up quite a bit.  I had ruled out The Hobbit, sight unseen, since it looked ridiculous and just didn't feel like an Oscar movie, but those effects are pretty undeniable and I'm starting to think that it'll get in, even though I don't see a shot at winning.  I also see Life of Pi as a lock and our potential winner at this point.  After that, I'm at a loss for a solid contender. 
 
I can't see Spider-Man making it, when a large complaint about the film was that the special effects were too cartoonish and didn't hold up against other contenders.  The Dark Knight Rises has a shot, since it is from a more respected trilogy and DC films usually fare better with Oscar than Marvel; but Avengers is a visual wet dream and they did nominate both Iron Man films.  I'm thinking that Cloud Atlas could actually score here.  I had mentioned in a previous post that it was fading from memory, but the inclusion here could make it more visible.

And then I really wonder if Prometheus can pull off a nomination here, despite weaker reviews and a really early release date.  It is an effects heavy summer film with a respected director at the helm.
 
Right now, I'm thinking:
 
Personally, I haven't seen a ton of effects heavy films yet this year.  Of these ten, I've seen five of them (Life of Pi, The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, Snow White and the Huntsman & The Avengers).  They also happen to be my complete ballot at the moment.  Life of Pi, while my least favorite film of the five, is the easy winner.  Those visuals were outstanding.
 
AWARDS TALLY:
 
The Avengers] Hollywood Film Award

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fisti Updates and some Oscar thoughts...


So I finally got back into the swing of things with the Fisti Awards and picked up where I left off last month.  So, if you check the 90’s, 00’s and 10’s page you’ll see my Costume Design ballots up.  Check out my picks and let me know what you think!

 

Speaking of Costume Design, I’ll go ahead and make some adjustments to my predictions.  I’m losing almost all faith in ‘Cloud Atlas’, since it’s practically being ignored by everyone.  I am standing by ‘Django Unchained’ base firmly in the few stills and trailers released since it looks lavish and fun an totally something the Academy should and will embrace.  I’m starting to think that ‘Lincoln’ has a shot here, since it is very well liked and it has that prestige factor that could very well factor in.  They like their period pieces, and this seems truly authentic with flashes of flare needed to key your attention.

 

I want to predict ‘Moonrise Kingdom’.  It really deserves it, but I’m not sure the Academy is ready to be that cool yet.  If they nominate it here, why not with Art Direction, where it really deserves to be?

 

Les Miserables and Anna Karenina are sure bets here.  They are going strong and show no signs of faltering.  One of them will win.  The Master could factor in, since it had some nice work, but the faltering status it has on the raise causes me to question it.  I also think Atwood is going to get in yet again, and she looks more promising for something like ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ than for ‘Dark Shadows’.  Poor ‘Mirror, Mirror’, but I think that’s all but a faded memory at this point.

 

I’m going with:

 

Anna Karenina

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Lincoln

Snow White and the Huntsman

 

I could be missing something vital at this point, but right now this looks about right.

 

Now, for my Fisti’s at the moment, I’ve seen two in contention (and they both make my ballot).  Here is my list ATM.

The Directors Roundtable!

Here it is, and it is far more interesting than the Actress Roundtable I posted a week ago.  The group is very conversational, with Affleck and O. Russell kind of owning this and Tarantino giving some great insight.  Lee and Van Sant hang back a bit, and Hooper comes off a tad pretentious, but overall this is pretty great and kept me engaged the whole time.

With this in mind, I'm giving a quick rundown on my current thoughts on the Director race.

It is time that I accept Spielberg as a threat to the win.  'Lincoln' is completely taking over as a real force.  I don't think it's going to pick up as many awards as people think it will, but the nomination tally will be insane.  Spielberg is in.  Affleck is in.  They are locked and loaded.  I'm not really sure either of them is winning at this point, but they are the safest bets for nominations at this point.


Sight unseen, Tarantino, Van Sant, Hooper (it has been partially seen by now) and Bigelow are all vying for a spot, but they have some stiff competition.

Lee has recieved great ink, as has O. Russell.  I hope Lee doesn't get in, and right now I think he's going to miss.  His film is too light, and while it's going to get some nominations, and maybe even a Best Picture nomination, I just don't see it really going to whole distance.  P.T. Anderson is a questionmark because he makes total sense as a lone director nomination but I don't think those really exist anymore and I don't think The Master is going to happen in Best Picture.  Still, I think he has an outside shot at a nomination.

So, for now, I'm hedging my bets on Affleck, Bigelow, Hooper, O. Russell, Spielberg.

This sounds about right to me.  We have a newbie and then three returning winners and that cool indie guy who got his big break and is coming back with a commercial film that is getting great ink.  O. Russell could be weak link, and if Django Unchained is a blast then Tarantino could make a dent, but my mind keeps telling me that this isn't going to happen.

Personally, here is my lineup at the moment.

 
Awards Tally:
 
David O. Russel] Hollywood Film Award
 
Behn Zeitlin] Gotham Award

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Lead Actor Race: November Thoughts


This category is hilarious because it hasn’t changed since the beginning of the year, outside of one or two actors.  I mean, let’s take a look at this for a minute.  Back in April everyone and their mother was predicting five names:  Daniel Day-Lewis, John Hawkes, Hugh Jackman, Bill Murray and Joaquin Phoenix.  Yes, Hyde Park on Hudson blanked out and Murray exited from the lineup pretty quickly.  Then he was replaced by Denzel Washington.  Guess what?  Our lineup hasn’t changed since then.  Other than a few people doubting Hawkes and thinking that Cooper is going to get in instead, you have the same five (or I should say the same six) being talking about by everybody.  There was a brief moment when people thought that ‘Hitchcock’ being released was going to mean something for Anthony Hopkins, but that deflated almost as soon as it blew up.  Seriously, there really are no other options at this point.


So this is rather easy.
 


Cooper:  This is a shock to me, but his reviews are insanely good and this field is so small that getting that Oscar nomination is far from out of reach.  I actually see it happening at this point.  I don’t see him hitting everything.  I think he’ll miss the BAFTA and maybe even the SAG, but Globe, BFCA and Oscar could be calling him.


Day-Lewis:  He’s a lock.  He’s going to hit everywhere and is probably going to win a slew, including the Drama Globe and the BFCA.  I don’t think he’s taking the Oscar and I think he’ll lose some of the more important awards to a certain Tony winning Aussie.


Hawkes:  He’s on shaky ground at this point.  His film isn’t getting the buzz and attention that so many assumed it would, and while his character is baity, his performance is said to be less baity than expected.  I say he gets nominations from SAG, Globe and BFCA, but I’m thinking he misses out on Oscar and BAFTA at this point.


Jackman:  My money is on Jackman for the Oscar.  I also think he’s taking home the SAG, Comedy Globe and the BAFTA.  Seriously, I think he has this on lock down at this point.  He’ll hit all the precursors.


Phoenix:  His antics have hurt him a tad, and then again this field is so small that his reviews are going to carry him in.  I don’t think he misses this, but I also don’t think he has a shot at the win.  I could see him missing the BAFTA at this point, and maybe even the SAG, but BFCA, Globe and Oscar are in his sights.


Washington:  His reviews have been stellar, despite the poor showing for the film itself.  I think he’s going to hit all the marks, much like Day-Lewis and Jackman.  I’m not sure of him winning anything, although some think he could take the SAG.  I just don’t see that happening with Jackman in the mix.


Now, I’ve seen none of these performances, so my ballot is bound to change, but at the moment this is what I’m leaning towards in this particular category.

 

AWARDS TALLY:

Bradley Cooper] Hollywood Film Award

Spirit Nominations are in!!!


So, the Independent Spirit Awards have announced their nominees!  This is a pretty eclectic set of names and I’ve actually seen a handful of these, so I’m happy about that.  Since I haven’t seen a whole lot, I’ll just stick to a few notes here and there and what I think this means for the actual Oscar race.  For the most part, the Spirits don’t always mean a whole lot, at least not at this stage.  They don’t really mean anything to be honest, since when it comes time to actually award someone they tend to just go with the populace and award whatever is getting Oscar attention.  So, despite a strong showing for something like ‘Keep the Lights On’, you can rest assured that it isn’t going to pick up ANYTHING when the ceremony is held.  Nope, it’ll all boil down to ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ and ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ for the big wins, unless the beloved status of ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ can etch out some decent wins.


So, here are the nominees, with an asterisk next to the one I think will win (a very early guestimate):

 

Best Feature:

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Bernie

Keep the Lights On

Moonrise Kingdom

Silver Linings Playbook*

 

I’ve actually seen three of these (Moonrise, Beasts and Bernie) and of them I think that Bernie is mediocre good time and the other two are near masterpieces, with Moonrise being Anderson’s finest film to date and so I really hope that it wins!

 

Best Director:

Wes Anderson/Moonrise Kingdom*

Julia Loktev/The Loneliest Planet

David O. Russell/Silver Linings Playbook

Ira Sachs/Keep the Lights On

Behn Zeitlin/Beasts of the Southern Wild

 

I give Zeitlin the edge, of the two I’ve seen, since the way he manipulated the scenes to say what they needed to say was astonishing.  It was a visual marvel, and his ability to construct and pace out each frame was beautiful to watch.

 

Best Screenplay:                

Keep the Lights On

Moonrise Kingdom*

Ruby Sparks

Seven Psychopaths

Silver Linings Playbook

 

Best First Feature:

Fill the Void

Gimme the Loot

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Safety Not Guaranteed*

Sound of My Voice

 

Best First Screenplay:

Celeste and Jesse Forever

Fill the Void

Gayby

Robot & Frank

Safety Not Guaranteed*

 

John Cassavetes Award:

Breakfast with Curtis

Middle of Nowhere*

Mosquita y Mari

Starlet

The Color Wheel

 

Best Female Lead:

Linda Cardellini/Return

Emayatzy Cornealdi/Middle of Nowhere

Jennifer Lawrence/Silver Linings Playbook*

Quvenzhane Wallis/Beasts of the Southern Wild

Mary Elizabeth Winstead/Smashed

 

This should be an easy win for Lawrence, since she’s the only one in the batch guaranteed an Oscar nomination.  Wallis could surprise if Beasts becomes a force here, but I’m thinking that they will actually skew safe here and give Lawrence yet another trophy.  I’m intrigued more and more by Cornealdi (who won the Gotham Award last night).  I must see this movie.

 

Best Male Lead:

Jack Black/Bernie

Bradley Cooper/Silver Linings Playbook

John Hawkes/The Sessions*

Thure Lindhardt/Keep the Lights On

Matthew McConaughey/Killer Joe

Wendell Pierce/Four

 

Despite ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ being a serious contender, this just seems like a place where Hawkes will win rather easily.

 

Best Supporting Female:

Rosemarie DeWitt/Your Sister’s Sister

Ann Dowd/Compliance

Helen Hunt/The Sessions*

Brit Marling/Sound of My Voice

Lorraine Toussaint/Middle of Nowhere

 

Best Supporting Male:

Matthew McConaughey/Magic Mike*

David Oyelowo/Middle of Nowhere

Michael Pena/End of Watch

Sam Rockwell/Seven Psychopaths

Bruce Willis/Moonrise Kingdom

 

So, this showing for McConaughey here (double nominations) has me thinking that he is getting in with Oscar this year.  Sure, it is early yet and his star could fade, but he is making a really good early impression, and his year has been huge.  If he picks up some critics’ awards (which I’m thinking he will, especially NBR) then I see him squeezing into the top five.  I really wish I could say the same for Willis (my favorite nomination here) since he deserves the Oscar nom for what he did in Moonrise.  Maybe he could win here, if Moonrise does well and they want to give it another award.

 

Best Cinematography:

Beasts of the Southern Wild*

End of Watch

Here

Moonrise Kingdom

Valley of Saints

 

Best Documentary:

The Central Park Five

How to Survive a Plague*

The Invisible War

Marina Abramoviae: The Artist is Present

The Waiting Room

 

Best International Movie:

Amour*

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Rust + Bone

Sister

War Witch

 

I think Amour may sweep everything that isn’t the Oscar (since Harvey bought that for Intouchables) but I’m really stoked to see ‘Once Upon a Time in Anatolia’ here since I absolutely loved that movie!

 

So that’s it.  What does this mean for Oscar exactly?  I’m not sure.  It could mean that Matthew McConaughey his on his way to his first Oscar nomination.  It could mean that Moonrise Kingdom has a fighting chance for more than a mere Screenplay nomination.  OR, if could simply mean that Harvey wants Silver Linings Playbook to win everything.  That being said, I get a serious case of Descendants from Silver Linings Playbook, which causes me to believe that come Oscar night it is getting ONE thing, and that one thing looks like it is going to be Jennifer Lawrence.

I will say that Dwight Henry missing here, where he should have been a slam dunk, is telling.  I think he's out completely at this point, especially since he can't get a SAG nom and the Globes would never nominate him.  De Niro missing, even when the film was so well accepted here, is also a tad telling.  I mean, he's a big star and if he was such a sure thing (as some are suggesting) then how in the hell did he miss here? 

Gotham Independent Film Awards Winners!


So, last night awards season kicked off by awarding a bunch of independent films that won’t really factor into the Oscar race whatsoever, and yet they may so it’s interesting to ponder over what these awards might mean.

 

Moonrise Kingdom took top honors, even beating out The Master, which seemed like it could  have been a tough win.  I haven’t seen The Master yet, but I absolutely LOVED Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson’s best possibly) and so I fully endorse this win and what it may mean for the film and its Oscar chances (please be more than a mere Original Screenplay nomination).  Ensemble went to Your Sister’s Sister, which shocked me since I was pretty confident in Moonrise Kingdom winning there (since I expect it to garner a SAG nomination), or Silver Linings Playbook pulling a Descendants.  Again, I haven’t seen the winner, so I can’t judge (and there are some people thrilled about this win, so I’m thinking it was deserved).

Winner Zeitlin & Loser Wallis
 
As expected, Zeitlin won best Breakthrough Director.  I’ve since seen Beasts of the Southern Wild and this was completely deserved.  He was astonishingly good at pacing and constructing this independent epic.  Surprisingly, Wallis did not win Breakthrough Actror/Actress.  Instead, Emayatzy Corinealdi took top honors there for her performance in Middle of Nowhere (although she won't really factor, I added her to the Awards Tally on the Lead Actress page).  This doesn’t mean much for Wallis, since she’s still the only one listed in the Oscar race and it’s not like Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner won in their respective Oscar years, and yet they were still nominated.
Winner Corinealdi

How to Survive a Plague won Best Documentary and I’m wondering if this means I should be watching this one.  Documentary is one of the categories I always have the most trouble predicting all season, so maybe I should keep my eye on this one; although it is very common for the critics to be extremely divided on this category and go kind of all over the place.


The rest of the winners included An Oversimplification of Her Beauty winning ‘Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You’ and Artifact winning ‘Audience Award’.
Tribute winner Cotillard

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Lead Actress Race: November Thoughts

So it’s about that time again that we start examining the Oscar races, and I’m going to start with everyone’s favorite category; Lead Actress.  In a strange twist, this category has been probably the most wide open and difficult to predict all year long.  The contender list is short and the reviews are mixed and the reactions to the performances in contention are varied and the frontrunner is a relative newbie at the ripe old age of 22 in a…COMEDY!!! 
 
Seriously, this category is bizarre this year.
 
So, this is the last updates I’ll be making before the season really kicks off.  In just a few weeks we’ll be getting the NYFCA and the NBR and after that the season will be in full swing!  I’ll be making my predictions for those awards soon.  So, with this installment of the updates I’m going to try and dissect the race and its candidates a little better and I’m going to have a running tally at the bottom of the post with any wins and nominations racked up by the actresses and I’ll even post my personal ballot (ATM) since now that we are approaching Oscar season it is getting all the more fun to predict and whine about certain actresses NOT getting the attention they deserve.
 
So, let’s dive right in.
 
As we all know, there is really only one lock in this category.  Jennifer Lawrence.  Outside of her inevitable win (well, almost inevitable) there is a wide open race for the last four slots.  In fact, any of the other candidates could miss rather easily.  That’s what makes this race so bizarre and honestly so much run.  When you consider the actual possibilities for those last four slots, the fun factor amps up because they are really so diverse and so seemingly UN-Oscary in tone.  You have an 8-year-old in an indie, you have two French actresses in FRENCH films, you have a bunch of old ladies doing a rom-coms, you have Noami Watts, who is practically anti-Oscar at this point. 
 
I mean, this race is ridiculous. 
 
Right now I think we have three actresses on the outside looking in.  You have Helen Mirren, who was quickly snatched up by the world as the pre-ordained runner-up due to the weakness of the field and once it was announced that ‘Hitchcock’ was coming out this year she was placed on nearly every prognosticators ballot as Lawrence’s only real competition.  Well, I left for Europe in the wake of that madness and came home to lackluster reviews and the collective agreement that Mirren would be in fifth place at best at this point.  So, I’m thinking she’ll miss.  Then you have Dench, who has miraculously held onto buzz since early this spring when ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ was released.  She’s a shoo-in for the Comedy Globe nomination and possibly a BAFTA nom, especially now that ‘Skyfall’ has been released to critical praise and her performance within has been singled out, but I don’t have much faith that she’ll be on Oscar’s ballot.  Then there is Meryl Streep.  She was initially written off at year’s beginning because of the nature of the role, but then the reviews for her performance and the weakness of the race caused a lot of people to begin to question her place in the race this year.  She was put on a lot of prediction ballots and was toted as a near lock by some, but the race has started to crowd her out and she’s been all but forgotten in recent months.  She’ll get her Globe nomination, and possibly show up elsewhere, like BFCA or even SAG, but at the end of the day I think she’ll come up short of an Oscar mention.
 
So that leaves six names to ponder.  Chastain, Cotillard, Lawrence, Riva, Wallis, Watts.  Outside of these six, I don’t see much action happening. 
 
 
Smith has faded into nothing but a possible, but unlikely, BAFTA nom and a filler Globe nomination.  Knightley could resurface if her film becomes some sort of freak technical juggernaut and something like the Globes completely embrace the film, but at this point it just looks like she’s yet again going to get the shaft, which is sad because she has more talent than many want to admit.  I'd also LOVE to see Weisz factor in, since she gives my favorite performance of the year so far, but even I know that outside of a critics mention here or there she is DOA. 
 
Now, all of these six contenders have been seen, minus Chastain who is still a giant questionmark.  Many think she’s going to come out with a bang and be the one to unsettle Lawrence from the winners circle.  I’m not entirely convinced yet, although I think it’s a major possibility that she walks away with a nomination.  The role is apparently baity and she has the buzz and talent to back a campaign, and the buildup surrounding this film is intense (not to mention the look on her face in every still released).
 
At the current moment, this is how I see the race.
 
Chastain:  She has the current ‘it’ status that rivals Lawrence, and the goodwill from last year.  Besides, she is one of the only chances the Academy has to invite a returning nominee from last year, and the film is baity.  If the reviews back up the buzz, I see her landing almost everywhere.  I’d say she gets in with BFCA, SAG, Globes and Oscar, missing the BAFTA.
Cotillard:  She has etched out quite a name for herself in Hollywood and has made good on her Oscar.  She is more than due for her second nomination and so I think this year, with this field, she could get it.  She has an incredibly baity role and she is campaigning HARD.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she landed EVERYWHERE.  I’d say, at the moment, she gets in with BFCA, SAG, Globes, BAFTA and Oscar.
Lawrence:  Lawrence is another one that could land everywhere.  She has the buzz and the reviews to back it all up.  She is also in the biggest movie of the year, spearheading a franchise that garnered excellent notices.  She’s in it to win it.  BFCA, SAG, Globes, BAFTA and Oscar are all calling her name.
Riva:  Riva is an interesting case because she is the only one in contention with reviews to rival Lawrence, even dethrone her, and yet she really poses no threat for an actual win and is probably fighting the hardest to get a nomination (despite the fact that she probably won’t fight at all).  That being said, the film has astonishingly good reviews and many have said that if the Academy watches she’ll be undeniable.  I also expect her to be the biggest point getter with the critics, which will work in her favor.  I think she’ll snag a BFCA, BAFTA and Oscar mention, leaving the SAG and Globes to more starry stars.
Wallis:  Wallis is also quite interesting because she is so young and her film is so NOT Oscary and yet the reviews for both are pushing it towards nominations it wouldn’t normally be considered for.  That being said, she’s ineligible for SAG, which could hurt her a little, and her youth is a certain detractor.  She has to have people on her side for a win, and I know she’ll have some (Oprah, Rosie) but will she have enough?  Right now, I’m betting on her snagging a slew of Breakthrough Awards and adding nominations from BFCA and Globes to her resume, but I think it’ll stop there.
Watts:  Watts, with the current surge in her film and the recent announcement of her Desert Palm win, is on the major upswing.  She’s more than overdue for a second nomination (for a win even) and the film is so Oscary it’s ridiculous.  I actually think that next to Lawrence, she’s our surest thing for a nomination and the closest thing to a darkhorse for the win.  I imagine she’ll hit everywhere, BFCA, SAG, Globe, BAFTA and Oscar…and I even thing she’ll win one or two.
So there you have it.  Those are my current thoughts on the race.  Now, of all the contenders mentioned (Chastain, Cotillard, Dench, Knightley, Lawrence, Mirren, Riva, Smith, Streep, Wallis, Watts), I’ve only seen Wallis so my personal ballot will change drastically I’m sure, but for the time being, this is what I’m leaning towards.
 
This is truly a bizarre year in this particular field.  I’ve seen roughly 35 films and I only have about seven names floating around as potential nominees whereas I have at least twelve in every other category.  I admit, I haven’t seen a lot of female driven films (I’ll be changing that soon with a few films coming up in my Netflix queue) but even at that, there really just hasn’t been a lot of excitement here.  Even Wallis, who makes my personal ballot now, is more a testament to the strength of her director than to her actual acting ability (beautiful performance that was OBVIOUSLY pieced together perfectly).
 
AWARDS TALLY*:
Emayatzy Corinealdi] Gotham Award

Marion Cotillard] Hollywood Film Award, Gotham Award Honoree
Naomi Watts] Desert Palm Achievement Award
 
*this running tally is going to stay attached to the bottom of each prediction update.  If you click on the header on the predictions on the right of the site it will bring you to the most recent prediction post on that particular category and you’ll see the most updated tally at the bottom.  If awards are doled out before I actually make an updated page, I will be adding those awards to the most recent page, so you can check back occasionally.  If I’m missing something, let me know and I’ll add it immediately!

Nicole Kidman: A Top Ten

 
OK, so I noticed this 'acting school' today thanks to Josh over at The Cinematic Spectacle and so I decided to participate.  Nicole Kidman is one of those actresses I like more than I think I do.  I certainly don't count her in my top tier of actresses working today (reserved for the likes of Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts and the like) but as I scan over her filmography I'm taken aback by how much I actually enjoy a lot of her work.  In fact, my #1 choice would probably land in my Top Ten Female Performance of ALL TIME list (seriously, despite the fact that she loses the Fisti that year).  Anyways, while I often tease Kidman's lack of facial movement nowadays (WHY?!?!?!) I do have to admit that she was one of my first actress obsessions as a boy.  Seeing her in Batman Forever instantly stuck with me and caused me to adore and lust over her.  Yes, I thought she was hot.  Kidman does have her fair share of stinkers, more than most actresses of her caliber (I mean, seriously, why is she always chasing a paycheck?) and yet she also stretches herself more than a lot of actresses of her cailber (she loves a good indie, and she works with challenging directors quite often) so she gets extra points for that.
 
Without further ado, here is my top ten:
 
#10~Far and Away

#9~Batman Forever

#8~Dogville

#7~Portrait of a Lady

#6~The Others

#5~Rabbit Hole

#4~Moulin Rouge!

#3~To Die For

#2~Eyes Wide Shut

#1~Birth
Kidman has a total of four Fist Award nominations, for her work in Birth, Eyes Wide Shut, To Die For and Portrait of a Lady.  She has lost all four awards (for Winslet, Sevigney, Shue and Watson respectively).  Still, they are all very worthy nominations and she comes close (as in, she makes my top twelve) for Moulin Rouge!, The Others, Rabbit Hole, Dogville and Batman Forever.  I haven't seen some of her work, like Margot at the Wedding (the whole project looked unappealing to me, and it was during a stage where I thought I didn't like Nicole Kidman as an actress) but I have seen about 90% of her films. 
 
Kidman has a lot of passion behind her.  She deserves it.  Polarizing is the best thing any actor or actress can be because it means that you aren't too 'likable' to lack edge but it also means that you aren't too edgy to be unlikable.  Kidman balances out the commercial with the edgy to create a body of work that any actress would be pleased to have.

Gobble gobble bitches…



I hate holiday weekends.  I mean, I love them because they are long and I’m usually drunk through most of it, but I hate them because Monday morning always comes too early and it basically throws off my whole week.  Seriously, it should be Wednesday by now, right?

 

I hope everyone had a great weekend; gorged themselves and drank a lot of eggnog or beer or whiskey or whatever it is you prefer to drink this time of year.  I had a very long honey-do list that never wanted to end and that I still didn’t finish, but I managed to tear myself away from the paint cans and the power tools long enough to make it to the theater three times!  Yup, winter is officially here and I am officially in awards season mode!  Honestly, I won’t be seeing most of the big Oscar movies until they are released on DVD because I have two kids (three if you count the one in the wife’s belly) and so I have no free time anymore.  I mean, two of the movies I saw this weekend (‘Wreck-It Ralph’ and ‘Life of Pi’) I took my kids to.

 

I wasn’t taking them to see James Bond though.

 

Anyways, I have more to say about those films, obviously, but I’m debating on creating separate posts for them.  I mean, this month has sucked for me and this blog.  Coming back from Europe has depleted my time and energy and motivation to pump stuff out.  I need to come up with something to propel me into blogging mode! 

 

Help me people!!!                


 

Oh, and if Russell Crowe gets snubbed of an Oscar nomination on the back of some negative tweets I’m going to raise hell!  Damn you early reviewers not praising god and his tremendous acting talent.  For the record, I don’t hold much stock in their tweets.  I still think he’s very much IN at the moment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More Impossible news...

This time regarding Naomi Watts!


Watts is to be honored at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.  She'll recieve the Desert Palm Achievment Award, which has gone to some serious Oscar candidates over the years.  In fact, since 2003 (when Watts herself was honored for her work in 21 Grams), seven of the nine winners have gone on to Oscar nominations.  Granted, only one of them has actually won the Oscar (Portman) but this is a good sign for Watts.  I've been on the Watts wagon for months now, and I'm pretty sure she's in this year and poses a threat to the actual win (despite the reviews Lawrence has been able to pull in).  The Impossible is gaining serious momentum right now, which will only bode well for Watts come Oscar time.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Is a Ewan nomination impossible?

I’ve been a fan of McGregor for years.  Since seeing him in ‘Trainspotting’, I’ve been hooked and have patiently waited for his star to rise in a way that meant total respect and admiration because, well, he deserves it.  He is approaching this moment in his career where he is really starting to be taking seriously as a talent and not just a ruggedly handsome actor who likes to bare his crotch.  The sex has faded and a true star has emerged.  Between his hilariously naïve turn in ‘I Love You, Philip Morris’ to his devastatingly sincere portrayal of Oliver in last years ‘Beginners’, McGregor is actually turning in the best work of his career as of late, and that leads me to his bid for Oscar attention this year; ‘The Impossible’.  The Supporting Actor category looks incredibly stacked this year, but much buzz has been circling around McGregor and his tear-jerking performance in the film.  I haven’t seen it, but from what I hear he is incredibly moving.  I’ve been predicting him for a while now, and it looks like his friends in Hollywood are vying for him as well.  In fact, Angelina Joliehosted a private screening of the film in support of McGregor.  So my question is this; could it finally happen?  Like I said, I’ve been hedging my bets on it for a while, but recently I’ve been losing a bit of faith.  That being said; do we remember how well Roberts’ campaigning for Bardem worked in 2010?  Yeah, it worked a lot, so maybe this could be the start of something really, really good for McGregor!
 
UGH, try watching this and NOT bawling your eyes out.  I haven't even seen the movie yet and this clip makes me cry like a baby.  Oscar clip to the extreme.
 
 

The Actress Roundtable!

 
So, this year is all about Adams, Cotillard, Field, Hathaway, Hunt, Watts and Weisz.  I'm actually really shocked that Lawrence wasn't up here, since the buzz is ALL ABOUT HER right now, and honestly she has a far better shot at a nomination than Adams, Cotillard, Watts and Weisz.  Still, this is an interesting group.  Now, I don't watch these each year like everyone else, but I think I may start (bad Oscar prognosticator!). 
 
Field and Hathaway are obviously the most comfortable being there.  Field opens the conversation with a bang, but Hathaway uses every chance she can to get your attention and convince you that she deserves your support for her eventual Oscar.
 
Cotillard is nervous and struggles to put her thoughts in English and so, sadly, she comes across a little awkward.  Watts and Weisz have such sexy voices and I could listen to them talk all day long.  Hunt's face is awkward.  Hathaway's teeth are bigger now that she doesn't have hair, but god bless, I love the bitch and can't wait for her to win that Oscar! 
 
Amy Adams bores me.
 
Anyways, we all know that at least two of these actresses is getting cut from the Oscar lineup.  Weisz is the obvious one, but I'm so glad that she's even being considered at this point since her performance is still my absolute favorite of the year, regardless of category.  She was outstanding in 'The Deep Blue Sea' and really deserves the Oscar nomination.  I still think that Watts is in, and possibly Cotillard (I'm predicting it now) so I'm thinking that Amy Adams is getting the shaft come Oscar nomination morning.  'The Master' is losing a lot of steam, and she could very well suffer from that.
 
This runs a tad long, and they get on talking about things that are just dull, but whatever.

Daniel's Day?


So, I’m confused.  Or maybe I’m just dense.  Is it weird that I refuse to corral behind Daniel Day-Lewis for the Oscar this year?  Everyone seems pretty convinced that he is winning his third Leading Actor Oscar this year for his praised portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’.  I have to admit, I’ve had him locked up for the nomination since year’s beginning, and I haven’t wavered from that thought all year.  He was bound to get the nomination of prestige value alone.  But a win?  Seriously?  The man already has TWO Lead Oscars, one as recent as 2007.  I just can’t imagine that he is really going to pull off a third win so soon. 
The Oscar is supposed to be the pinnacle of someone’s career.  This is the award they all strive to attain.  Winning TWO Oscars is an even greater triumph.  Winning two LEAD Oscars, well, that’s a true stamp of a terrific actor (or at least it should be).  It isn’t entirely rare though.  In fact, it’s happened to nine actors (we’re just talking the men at this point).
 
Marlon Brando] On the Waterfront & The Godfather
Gary Cooper] Sergeant York & High Noon
Daniel Day-Lewis] My Left Foot & There Will be Blood
Tom  Hanks] Philadelphia & Forrest Gump
Dustin Hoffman] Kramer vs. Kramer & Rain Man
Fredric March] Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & The Best Years of Our Lives
Jack Nicholson] One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest & As Good As it Gets
Sean Penn] Mystic River & Milk
Spencer Tracy] Captains Courageous & Boys Town
Now, I’ve seen all of these works minus the films starring Gary Cooper.  I never got into him as an actor and I never got around to seeing his films.  I plan on doing it soon and then dissecting this list a little better, so we’ll avoid breaking into this too much for the time being.  Still, as surprisingly wide as this list is (seriously, two Lead Acting Oscars is a big deal), I’m just not entirely sold on the idea of someone breaking all records and winning a third here.  Katherine Hepburn holds the record for wins in the Lead Acting category with FOUR, and it is a record that I don’t see being broken anytime soon, by anyone, in any category.
My question is…why Daniel Day-Lewis?  I understand that he is respected, but really?  Is he THAT good?  As a whole, I don’t particularly find him that impressive.  He has a tendency to ham things up unnecessarily, going too far to create a ‘character’, and on the other hand he can come off almost stagey and stuffy when he’s not careful.  He overthinks things.  I understand that this is a mere personal opinion, but I know I’m not alone in my thinking.
Of course, my opinion has no bearing on whether or not the Academy (who does love them some DDL) is going to give him the Oscar.  BUT, with the other viable options (Phoenix, Washington, Jackman) I just feel like in the end they will award someone else.  The Academy isn’t always quick to hand out ‘another’ Oscar so freely, and if there is an actor considered overdue in your way, they tend to take precedence, regardless of whether or not your performance was ‘better’.  The Oscars may also be a political thing (which could work in DDL’s favor depending on which way you spin it) but they also vote with passion, and I can’t see DDL garnering much of that as the season weighs on.  I’m still hedging my bets on Jackman, who I think will burst on the scene with the passion vote and the win thanks to a star turn in my predicted Best Picture winner.
But only time will tell.
 
Another interesting tidbit is that 'Lincoln' could mark a THIRD for two other people, Spielberg and Field, both of which would have three Oscars if they win on this outing.