Friday, December 28, 2012

Goodbye December!

This will probably be my last post of the month (as a rule, I don’t blog on the weekends) and so I wanted to say so long to 2012.  It’s been a great year for film (and, well, I had a great year period).  Let’s make 2013 even better.  Oscar’s be coming, and then it’s back to the grind watching a slew of new films and piecing together yet another Oscar season. 

Such joy!!!


So, I figured the best way to close out the year was to speculate on what next year could bring us.  What are we most anticipating?  There is a pretty long list of film’s being released next year that look promising.  The Great Gatsby is very high on my list.  I love Baz and personally think that his vision could be something special.  August: Osage County is not something I’m familiar with, but the cast is incredible and supposedly the source material is top notch.  I’m in love with Ridley Scott, so The Counselor is something I’m looking forward to, and speaking of Fassbender, it’ll be pretty awesome to see him work with McQueen again on Twelve Years a Slave (they are such an exciting team).  I’m also stoked for Stoker, and seeing Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt on screen is always wonderful, so Don Jon’s Addiction should be some spicy fun (also, JGL’s first attempt at directing).  Only God Forgives (from Winding Refn) and The Place Beyond the Pines both star Ryan Gosling, which is always a bonus.

And then there is Labor Day, with my beloved Kate Winslet.

Seriously, next year looks incredibly stacked with some high profile and fun projects.  I mean, there is still the release of Gravity to get excited over, and Nightingale, Marion Cotillard’s collaboration with James Gray (both projects pushed back from this year).

This is going to be such a fun year!

Let's Review Something: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

So last night I watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.  It was kind of stupid and anticlimactic in a pretty large way (it just went nowhere) but it was fun and flew by despite the two hour running length (movies like this could easily edit to 90 minutes, but I honestly didn’t feel it drag). 

The film centers on a group of senior citizens at a crucial turning point in their lives and they all pick up and move to India.  They don’t know one another but all wind up living in the same hotel, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  You have a woman who lost her savings after her husband died.  You have a gay man in pursuit of his long lost lover.  You have a couple financially strapped due to a wayward daughter.  You have a grandmother fed up with being used by her daughter.  You have an elderly man trying desperately to regain his youth through some tantric sex and you have an old racist in need of a new hip.  Together they make an eclectic bunch.  Upon their arrival to India all is not as they expected, especially the hotel, which is nearly in ruins.  The hotel manager, the young and exuberant Sonny, is in way over his head, but he is determined to make this work.  Some of the group immediately start to embrace their newfound surroundings, while others are dead set on hating it.

Over the course of the next two hours, this group seeks for something (nothing we can really put our finger on) and then finds something else (again, I’m not sure what) and the end comes, which works out all right (because obviously when things were going bad they weren’t at the end yet).

My issues with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel stem from lackluster writing.  Dench’s voiceover is supposed to shed light on the group’s progressive nature and yet it just feels empty and void of any real substance.  Like I said, there doesn’t seem to be any resolve and even when the film draws to a close and they’re talking about not finding what you were looking for but finding something better I was scratching my head wondering just what it was that they actually found. 

I mean, India was pretty.

Still, this is a very easy film to watch and the entire cast shines in their respecative ways.  Dench turns out a true ‘Meryl Streep in a role Meryl Streep isn’t trying to get Oscar nominated for’ performance, you know, the roles that usually land Meryl a filler Oscar nomination anyways.  She’s great here and I actually think it may be one of her finest performances ever since she lightens up and has some fun.  She’s always so serious.  I’m glad that Nighy did not play Graham, the gay man, because it would have been far too obvious.  Thankfully, Tom Wilkinson gets it all sorts of right (more on that in a minute).

I am stumped on something though.  Why is Maggie Smith getting singled out here?  Sure, she’s funny, but like she’s played this character in nearly every other movie she’s been in.  Ha, I know that this is an argument that meets serious opposition by her devoted fans, and I am one of her fans so don’t take that wrong, but Smith has fallen back on stuffy old English woman for quite some time now.  In her prime she was all sorts of marvelous (‘California Suite’ is one of the greatest showcases for her talent) but I’m talking about the past decade.  Still, she’s been singled out and even received a SAG nomination and is considered in the running for an Oscar nomination for this.  Seriously?  I’m struggling to understand what it is that she does that is so special.  She plays a racist who has a change of heart and learns to walk again.  Problem is, it’s a rather underwritten part and she doesn’t have much to chew on other than a scene or two where she spouts a funny line.  Instead, I really wish that Tom Wilkinson were getting the awards attention.  The way he molds Graham with limited screen time and yet such backstory is sensational.  His confession scene with Dench is beautiful, and that hug is heartbreaking, and even though his lighthearted revelation comes off a bit underdeveloped (like, I’m not even sure he knows what he’s getting at) he delivers it with such warmth and adds a beautiful layer to his character.

I don’t think I’d nominate him myself, since so far this year has been a bounty of supporting performances, but it is truly best in show and deserves to be noted as such.

So, at the end of the day I have to say that I was pleased with the overall experience.  It is light and fun and has some emotional heft, but it lacks development and winds up being very forgettable because it essentially says absolutely nothing.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kate RocknRoll?

Holy shit!  I mean, I love this chick so, yay for her, but wow, I didn't see this coming.  Does this mean that she's bound to get a quicky divorce after she wins the Oscar next year for 'Labor Day'?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

So, I saw Les Miserables yesterday...

To say that I was walking into this film with bias eyes may be a correct assumption.  I’ll be honest here, for there is not another movie in the history of film that I have been more excited to see than ‘Les Miserables’.  That isn’t to say that I expected it to be the greatest movie I had ever seen, but in all my years of movie watching, I have never anticipated the release of a film with such rabid obsession as I have with ‘Les Miserables’.  It probably stems back to my childhood and the fact that by the age of twelve I had already seen the stage musical four times and was pretty much obsessed with it as a whole.  Living a hop, skip and a jump away from many of the finest theaters in New England, my family frequented the theater.  I still remember the first time I saw ‘Les Miserables’.  I was seven.  It changed me.

Musicals are, in my opinion, one of the greatest genres film has to offer.  They deliver to us such depth of storytelling in a way that is unique to its own.  You don’t see people running through the streets communicating in song and yet when it is done with such passion in front of the lens it all makes sense and feels so complete.

When the initial reviews for ‘Les Miserables’ started to flood in with largely negative notices, I was nervous.  How could this be a flop?  How could this material get butchered?  Not that it couldn’t, since we’ve all endured the mess that was 1998’s ‘Les Miserables’, but I still had faith that Hooper would do the source material proud.  In all honesty, most of the vicious attacks against the film felt so contrived and calculated that it was almost as if critics were anticipating a failure.  Nathanial Rogers over at The Film Experience noted this same thing.  Whether it be angst against Hooper for stealing Fincher’s Oscar (like it was his fault, but I get it sort of) or an aversion to the movie musical itself, it seemed since the start of the year that this particular film had a lot of naysayers before it was even finished being made.

Well, Christmas rolled around yesterday and I finally got to see it for myself.

I loved the hell out of this movie!

‘Les Miserables’ is not a film for everyone.  It’s funny to leave a theater and hear complaints from people behind me like “did they really have to sing everything” and I’m thinking to myself…IT’S A MUSICAL!  Seriously, if that is your complaint then why bother going to the movies.  I, for one, was thrilled when I heard that this was going to be completely sung throughout.  ‘Les Miserables’ has some of the most beautiful songs and composes music that it deserves a faithful adaptation.  Hooper’s triumph is about as close as you can come.  Of course, no film is perfect and I am not blind to certain imperfections, but overall I was extremely pleased with this film and consider it a marvelous representation of what a true movie musical should and could be.

What Hooper and company get right here is the tone of ‘Les Miserables’.  This film is about the depths of despair but also the rising power of hope that come blossom from redemption.  Jean Valjean, a man swallowed up by his past mistakes (and the looming oppression of injustice) is attempting to right his wrongs and turn his life around.  Being spared a life of slavery by the kind gesture of a Bishop, Valjean breaks his parole in pursuit of a life without chains and makes himself over as a wealthy mayor and business man.  There are two people in his life that cause unexpected friction and set his life spiraling into a different direction.  First is Fantine, a young woman trying to provide for her illegitimate child.  The second is Javert, the ruthless general who is in feverish pursuit of Jean Valjean.  As the years pass by Valjean’s guard is constantly up as he fights to evade Javert’s clutches, all the while taking on a new responsibility that opens his heart and teaches him the importance of love; something that has be choked out of his soul thanks to the heartless realities of life.

For the fan of the source, Hooper’s film is going to make you smile.  I wept.  My parents wept.  In fact, the majority of the theater wept, and this is only the third time in my life when the theater broke into applause during the credits.  ‘Les Miserables’ is an emotional wonderment and a film that will break you down.  The performances by the entire cast are wonderful, with Anne Hathaway delivering one of the finest supporting performance of the past several decades (her take on ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ may be one of the finest cinematic moments, ever) and Eddie Redmayne completely taking me by surprise with the amount of depth and heart he brought to what could have been an easily dismissive role (loverboy).

The pacing is also pretty spectacular.  The film just glides from one number to the next.  It certainly doesn't feel like a nearly three hour movie.  We are constantly drawn into each scene, not one feeling unnecessary.  This is a feat in itself, considering that this is a film consisting entirely of song and score and a lot of the score is redundant (and yet it is so beautifully composed that one never tires of hearing it).

Some have balked at the vocals of some of the cast, in particular Russell Crowe.  To them I say this; film and theater are two very different things.  When one goes to the theater, they expect to hear voices that cause their hair to stand on end.  You are watching actors who are trained to sing to the cheap seats so-to-speak.  It is part of the experience.  Film is a different animal.  If this film were spoken word, you would expect the actors to dig deep.  You’d expect to hear their voices crack and their breath give out; why would you expect any less from a song?  It is very obvious that Hooper was going for a more realistic approach, a more earthy and grounded take on the musical.  Instead of expecting vocal perfection from his cast, Hooper wanted to unearth their emotional response to the story.  I mean, Hathaway goes as far as to suck snot up her nose as she belts out her big number, and it works.  Crowe, while not capable of hitting the big notes, has a very pleasant tone to his voice and handles himself quite well here. 

Yes, there are faults.  Hooper’s obsession with closeups is a bit overwhelming.  The film is so beautiful, from the costumes to the set pieces, that it is such a shame that for the most part ‘Les Miserables’ basically shifts from one person’s face to another’s.  I understand it to a degree, since watching Hathaway crumble during ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ in one take with no cuts and no makeup and full on pain works wonderfully, but it does become somewhat claustrophobic after a while.  It’s baffling to me that Hooper wouldn’t want to expand his view a bit and let us take in the vastness of the cityscape, especially since he did so quite effectively in ‘The King’s Speech’. 

This, and ‘Bring Him Home’ is a terrible mess.

At the end of the day, I loved this.  My parents even noted to me that it was better than the stage musical.  I don’t agree to that degree.  There are few things that can rival the power of this story told on the stage, but I feel that Tom Hooper and company captured it to the best of their ability.  I feel pretty confident that if the cinematography weren’t so monotonous (the dutch angles at least added some flamboyance to otherwise boring camera work) this film would be the clear frontrunner for the Oscar.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Oscar's Foreign Language Finalists

Here you have it...

Austria, “Amour,” Michael Haneke, director;
Canada, “War Witch,” Kim Nguyen, director;
Chile, “No,” Pablo Larraín, director;
Denmark, “A Royal Affair,” Nikolaj Arcel, director;
France, “The Intouchables,” Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors;
Iceland, “The Deep,” Baltasar Kormákur, director;
Norway, “Kon-Tiki,” Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors;
Romania, “Beyond the Hills,” Cristian Mungiu, director;
Switzerland, “Sister,” Ursula Meier, director.

Our ballot will contain five of the above.  I'm actually thinking it'll be the first five.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fisti Update

Art Direction/Production Design ballots are up for 1991, 2009 and 2011.  Take a peek and let me know what you think :-D

Gatsby looks 'almost' great...

The second trailer is up and it looks lavish and breathtaking visually.  I'm a giant fan of Baz's visual style and the way he shapes his films and so I've been really anticipating this for a while.  I actually just read the novel earlier this month and I have to say, while Baz may not be the first director I'd think of when considering an adaptation, I actually think that he could take this extraordinary novel and make it pop on the big screen.  We all know what Coppola did with it in 1974.  We don't want a repeat of that mess.  What troubles me about this adaptation and this trailer is one thing; Leonardo DiCaprio.  He is just all sorts of wrong for this.  I knew when reading the novel that it wasn't going to work and then seeing the trailer confirmed it.  His accent work, his faux charm, his TRYING TOO DAMN HARD.  It made me kind of sick watching it.  I have no qualms with any of the other cast, even though I generally loath all things Maguire.  Carey Mulligan is the female Jesus and should be revered as such by all mortal humans.  She looks wonderful here.  I have high hopes for Edgerton (please break out in the biggest way next year) and I'm intrigued by what Elizabeth Debicki will do with the role of Jordan Baker (since Lois Chiles gives my favorite performance in the 1974 film).  Still, DiCaprio rubs me all sorts of wrong here.  I've never been his biggest fan, but I stand by the fact that his best work was in a Baz film (he should have won the Oscar for Romeo + Juliet, hands fucking down) so I'm reserve all my judgement until the film is actually released and I see it, but right now I'm really nervous about it.
I mean, that face says it all.

I see stars...

Haters can suck it, this isn't half bad at all!  I'm saddened that his Oscar chances are dead with the reception this has garnered, but I think that people are forgetting to separate the actual stage play with the theatrical version.  Tom Hooper wasn't directing a stage musical, he was directing a FILM, and there is a difference.  Javert is a rugged, earthy, gruff man.  The tone in Crowe's voice conveys that.  He doesn't need to have the same power that Jackman has.  I won't say that Crowe nails it, because that last note was strained and lacked the inflection I wanted it to, but I find no issues with Crowe's vocal register whatsoever!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

FYC: Carmen Ejogo

Earlier this year, a certain movie name ‘Sparkle’ was released.  It was one of those ‘Dreamgirls’ type films that looked marginally entertaining and cliché ridden and so I passed rather easily.  I had no desire to waste my time on the film.  The reviews weren’t very forgiving, and while it escaped with ‘decent’ notices, it never sounded like something that had to be seen.  But, amidst the sea of lukewarm reviews there was a bright spot; a sparkle if you will. 

Carmen Ejogo.

Ejogo received ‘star is born’ type notices, being singled out as a bright light in the cast and a performance that had to be seen.  For about a week buzz on the internet exploded and people started wondering if she could actually snag an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of troubled Sister.  That buzz died rather quickly, mostly because an Oscar nomination for a film like ‘Sparkle’ was, well, impossible.  Still, with the nominees released for both the Black Reel Entertainment Awards and the NAACP Image Awards I’m kind of baffled that Ejogo hasn’t landed on their Supporting Actress ballots.  I mean, Naomi Harris is a very talented actress, but what exactly does she do in ‘Skyfall’?  I’ve seen the film and she’s nothing but sexy.  Henson was great in ‘Think Like a Man’, but there is marginal character development at best.  Seriously, tell me what Stenberg does in ‘The Hunger Games’ that warrants a nomination?

Snubbing Ejogo is just ludicrous!

I guess you can probably guess that despite my initial disinterest, I actually saw ‘Sparkle’.

‘Sparkle’ is the film I expected.  It is marginally entertaining and cliché ridden.  Sadly, this very complaint trickles into each and every character depicted; except Sister.  The story tells that of young Sparkle, a goodie-two-shoes daughter of a hardnosed mother with a dark past who keeps a tight grip on her three daughters and demands they give up their dreams for a relationship with God.  Taking place in the 60’s, the world is bursting with the sound of Motown, and Sparkle has a knack for penning some catchy songs.  Her sister Sister has the presence to make those songs unforgettable and soon, with the help of an up and coming manager the two sisters and their younger sister Dolores form a girl group (Sister and her sisters) behind their mother’s back.  Of course, drama overtakes the group and their dreams are shattered due to a series of circumstances, but that’s to be expected.

‘Sparkle’ tries really hard to be ‘Dreamgirls’, but ‘Dreamgirls’ wasn’t even that great of a film so it isn’t really trying to be much of anything memorable.  It has some nice moments, some nice music and some nice sets but overall the film is pretty empty.  The skeletal character development is sad.  Sparkle is your blandly depicted straight laced innocent girl with dreams bigger than her town.  Dolores is nearly absent and is only there to serve as a third member to the group.  Emma, the mother, is nothing more than a stereotype.  She looks disapprovingly every time her daughter’s open their mouths and she plays the overprotective mother hen with no shades, even when the screenplay tries to give her some.  The immediate turnaround at the film’s end is bizarre and carries little weight.  Satin, Sister’s comedian husband, is a stereotypical brute with no depth and Stix is as blandly written as they come (what has happened to Derek Luke?) 

But then there is Ejogo and her portrayal of Sister.  I mean, it’s almost like she’s from a different movie entirely, and Ejogo tries desperately to save this sinking film.  She almost does, for every scene that she is in shines so brightly because of her presence.  The amazing thing is that she didn’t have to try so hard.  Sister is a character that actually has depth and there was a bounty of material here for her but instead of resting on the obvious, Ejogo digs so much deeper.  She could have relied on sexy, but instead of infused so much desperation and eventual pain into her sexy.  She nailed it, and the relationship with Satin and her refusal to accept the life she once had is marvelously lived in. 

She left me speechless.

So, while I can’t recommend the film itself too highly, I do insist that you see it.  Ejogo deserves that much.  I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t land on my Supporting Actress ballot this year, she’s that impressive here.  In a sea of ‘nothing characters’, Ejogo truly sparkles.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fisti Updates

Cinematography for 1991, 2009 and 2011 are up!  Take a peek and let me know what you think. 
Speaking of Cinematography, can we talk about Life of Pi raking through with critics' wins and what looks to be the eventual Oscar win.  Seriously, why is this happening?  I understand that the film was beautiful to look at, but are we confusing actual cinematography with CGI?  I mean, 90% of that movie is obviously altered through computer animation, so how can it really be considered true cinematography.  Wouldn't the obvious Visual Effects Oscar win be enough?  I mean, the Visual Effects team basically shot the film.  This reminds me of the Avatar win.  I mean, HOW IS THAT CINEMATOGRAPHY? 
What are your thoughts on this?

Awards Tally Updates

Winners are trickling in, and so the Awards Tally page has been updated.  The Satellites have announced their winners.  They really mean very little, but they fawned all over Silver Linings Playbook.  DDL is once again steamrolling through an awards season, and I fear that he may actually win a third Oscar.  I've yet to see Lincoln, but DDL is not an actor I feel deserves the honor of three Oscars.  BAH.  Whatever, at least Anne Hathaway is going to win on Oscar night; no doubt about it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Golden Globe Nominees!

Well, they’re in.  Let’s take a look at what this means for Oscar.



 Django Unchained

 Life of Pi


 Zero Dark Thirty

I correctly predicted four of these, mistakenly thinking that The Impossible would get a boost from the HFPA.  Instead, Life of Pi continues its march towards getting nominated for everything.  I’m so sick of this movie, and the thing is, I didn’t hate it THAT much when I saw it, I was merely disappointed, but all this undeserved attention is making me angry.  Alas, at the end of the day all that matters is the Fistis, so whatever.  Django Unchained may actually happen in a bigger way than I anticipated.


 Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

 Les Miserables

 Moonrise Kingdom

 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

 Silver Linings Playbook

I never expected Salmon Fishing in the Yemen to show up anywhere this season.  I haven’t seen the film yet (been in my Netflix queue for quite a while) but I haven’t heard anything about it and just assumed it was forgotten by all, but apparently the HFPA loved it.  Other than that, I got four correct.  I overestimated Bernie, but I’m glad that it missed since I find it horribly overrated.



 Bigelow/Zero Dark Thirty

 Li/Life of Pi


 Tarantino/Django Unchained

Again, I underestimated Life of Pi (I need to stop doing that) but I really didn’t see Hooper missing here.  I thought that the HFPA would eat Les Miserables up whole, and they didn’t!  I knew they’d nominate Tarantino here.  They love him (and Weistein) so it was a given.  I’m still not entirely sold on Tarantino making it in with Oscar, but it appears that Li is locked up now.




 Hawkes/The Sessions

 Phoenix/The Master


Again, I got four correct (that seems to be the name of the game here).  I predicted that Hopkins would get in over Gere, but I should have known that Gere’s reviews, being infinitely better, would have worked in his favor here.  The rest of the list is expected.  I’m still not certain as to who gets the shaft from Oscar, Phoenix, Washington, Cooper or Hawkes. 


 Chastain/Zero Dark Thirty

 Cotillard/Rust + Bone


 Watts/The Impossible

 Weisz/The Deep Blue Sea

Again, I got four correct here but OMG YAY I’M SO GLAD WEISZ IS IN!!!  I had her predicted after her NYFCC win, but then took her out in favor of the starrier Knightley.  STUPID!  Anyways, this category has a four-way lock up now.  Hitting everything so far, Cotillard, Chastain, Lawrence (nominated in Comedy/Musical) and Watts are all headed to the Kodak.  That fifth spot is open for grabs, and Mirren, Wallis, Weisz and Riva are running for it.  I wouldn’t count out Riva yet.  It isn’t surprising that she didn’t get in here or with SAG.  If she misses with BAFTA then I’d say she’s dead, but not until then.


 Blunt/Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

 Dench/The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

 Lawrence/Silver Linings Playbook


 Streep/Hope Springs

Well, I only got three right here.  I missed Blunt (who saw that love coming) and Smith (I really thought her movie was dead).  I wasn’t every confident in Streisand (that movie looks dreadful) but she’s a huge star and there didn’t seem to be any other options, and I had a feeling that Mann would show up here since she’s young and a rising star and has been noted for her comedic timing time and time again.  Lawrence will take this in a cakewalk, waltzing her way to the Kodak for what is probably going to be a good night for her.



 Cooper/Silver Linings Playbook

 Jackman/Les Miserables

 McGregor/Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

 Murray/Hyde Park on Hudson

Well, I only got three here too.  I kind of thought Murray was completely dead and, again, never saw Salmon Fishing in the Yemen happening.  I thought Jones’ great year would make him a double nominee and that Tatum’s great year would make him at least a nominee here, but whatever.  This SHOULD have been an easy win for Jackman, but the lack of Les Miserables love across the board has me worried he may lose this to Cooper.


 Adams/The Master


 Hathaway/Les Miserables

 Hunt/The Sessions

 Kidman/The Paperboy

I actually got 100% here!  Barks is probably dead now, unless BAFTA really loves Les Miserables (which I expect they will) but even then, will it be enough?  Kidman is making a real show here now, so maybe she could happen!  I have a feeling that this could actually be our Oscar lineup.  This has not been a good year for newcomers.



 DiCaprio/Django Unchained

 Hoffman/The Master


 Waltz/Django Unchained

I’m shocked to see Waltz here since I was under the impression he went Lead here, but it’s Weinstein so I guess he can do whatever he wants.  I only got three of these.  I thought this would be an EASY nomination for McConaughey and so now I’m thinking he’s going to miss with Oscar.  The SAG snub was telling, but this is even MORE telling.  De Niro missing doesn’t mean much, although I thought he was a sure bet as well.  I won’t even speak of Crowe missing.  He’s not happening with Oscar and it depresses the hell out of me.  I’m thinking that in the end, Waltz misses for De Niro and we have our Oscar lineup.



The Intouchables


A Royal Affair

Rust and Bone

I got four of these, missing Kon-Tiki (Weinstein, I should have known) for War Witch, which had marvelous reviews but hasn’t done shit so far this awards season.



Django Unchained


Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

Moonrise missing is sad, but I should have known that Zero Dark Thirty was getting in here.  So, I got four, and I expect all five of these to get nominations with Oscar.


 Anna Karenina


 Cloud Atlas

 Life of Pi


I don’t know what I was thinking with this category.  Like, how did I not predict Anna Karenina?  Argo has been doing really well in this category, so why didn’t I switch that?  Why the hell did I predict Brave?  I’m an idiot, apparently.  The Beasts of the Southern Wild snub is sad, but I should have known that wouldn’t happen.  I only got two right here!




 Hotel Transylvania

 Rise of the Guardians


I only got three, missing Rise and Hotel (forgot about that one) for Paranorman and Pirates.  Oh well, this category is confusing with a lot of passion for smaller films and only three locks (Brave, Frankenweenie and Wreck-It Ralph) landing everywhere.


 "For You"/Act of Valor

 "Not Running Anymore"/Stand-Up Guys            

 "Safe and Sound"/The Hunger Games


 "Suddenly"/Les Miserables

Yeah, I got two here.  I should have known Swift would be invited to the party.  Is Act of Valor happening? 

Globe Predictions...

LOL, I woke up later than I planned this morning and the nominees are in the process of being announced...but I swear I haven't seen them.  I'm just posting my predictions straight from the Awards Daily Forums, where I posted them a week ago.  Here they are.  I'll be posting the actual nominees in a few.

Best Motion Picture (Drama)

 01. Argo
02. Django Unchained
03. The Impossible
04. Lincoln
05. Zero Dark Thirty

Best Motion Picture (Comedy/Musical)

 01. Bernie
02. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
03. Les Miserables
04. Moonrise Kingdom
05. Silver Linings Playbook

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama)

 01. Day-Lewis/Lincoln
02. Hawkes/The Sessions
03. Hopkins/Hitchcock
04. Phoenix/The Master
05. Washington/Flight

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy/Musical)
01. Black/Bernie
02. Cooper/Silver Linings Playbook
03. Jackman/Les Miserables
04. Jones/Hope Springs
05. Tatum/21 Jump Street

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama)

 01. Chastain/Zero Dark Thirty
02. Cotillard/Rust + Bone
03. Knightley/Anna Karinina
04. Mirren/Hitchcock
05. Watts/The Impossible

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy/Musical)

 01. Dench/The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
02. Lawrence/Silver Linings Playbook
03. Mann/This is Forty
04. Streep/Hope Springs
05. Streisand/The Guilt Trip

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

 01. Crowe/Les Miserables
02. DiCaprio/Django Unchained
03. Hoffman/The Master
04. Jones/Lincoln
05. McConaughey/Magic Mike

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

 01. Adams/The Master
02. Field/Lincoln
03. Hathaway/Les Miserables
04. Hunt/The Sessions
05. Kidman/The Paperboy

Best Director

 01. Affleck/Argo
02. Bigelow/Zero Dark Thirty
03. Hooper/Les Miserables
04. Spielberg/Lincoln
05. Tarantino/Django Unchained

Best Screenplay

 01. Argo
02. Django Unchained
03. Lincoln
04. Moonrise Kingdom
05. Silver Linings Playbook

Best Animated Feature Film

 01. Brave
02. Frankenweenie
03. Paranorman
04. Pirates: Band of Misfits
05. Wreck-It Ralph

Best Foreign Language Film

 01. Amour
02. The Intouchables
03. A Royal Affair
04. Rust + Bone
05. War Witch

Best Original Score

 01. Beasts of the Southern Wild
02. Brave
03. Life of Pi
04. Lincoln
05. Moonrise Kingdom

Best Original Song

 01. Brave/Touch the Sky
02. Les Miserables/Suddenly
03. Sparkle/Celebrate
04. Skyfall/Skyfall
05. Snow White and the Huntsman/Breath of Life

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What about McGregor?!?!?!

I want to say first and foremost that I love Naomi Watts and am so happy she'll finally be getting a second Oscar nomination considering that, if it were up to me, she'd have five nominations and two wins by now.  That said, what the hell does Ewan McGregor have to do to get Oscar traction?  Seriously, he has great reviews, is said to be the most emotional performer in the film and even has Hollywood giants like Angelina Jolie hosting viewing parties for his movie just so people will see how amazing he is in it (granted, I have yet to see the film, but still) and he's getting passed over for the likes of Matthew McConaughey in a stripper movie.
Like I said, I love me some Watts (seriously one of the greatest working actresses today) but:

SAG Nominees!!!

LOL, no sooner did I hit 'Publish' on my predictions did I get a text that the nominees were announced!  So, here they are...and I did...kind of bad!!!
- Argo
- Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
- Les Miserables
- Lincoln
- Silver Linings Playbook
I got three out of five here, missing Silver Linings Playbook and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for Django and Moonrise.  I woke up feeling like my Django predictions were going to fail.  SAG members didn't get screeners and so I had a feeling they didn't get a chance to see the film.  Sadly, I went with my initial predictions and not my gut.  I thought that Silver Linings Playbook, being basically a three person show, would miss in favor of a true ensemble like Moonrise Kingdom, which I actually thought was doing well so far.  Sadly, it was snubbed entirely here.

- Cooper (Silver linings)
- Day Lewis (Lincoln)
- Hawkes (Sessions)
- Jackman (Miserables)
- Washington (Flight)
I got this one right.  I had a feeling that Phoenix would miss here.  I still think he'll get in with Oscar, with either Cooper or Hawkes missing. 

- Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
- Cotillard (R&B)
- Lawrence (Silver linings)
- Mirren (Hitchcock)
- Watts (Impossible)
I'm an idiot.  I woke up this morning, convinced that I needed to swap out Riva for Mirren and I just didn't do it.  I had a feeling that if Mirren was going to show up anywhere it would be here, but I WANTED Riva to get more traction and so I stuck with her.  The rest is as expected.  Wallis was not eligable, so she couldn't be here.  I'm wondering if she replaced Mirren at the Oscars, or if it will be Riva who does. 

S. Actor:
- Arkin (Argo)
- Bardem (Skyfall)
- De Niro (Silver linings)
- Hoffman (Master)
- Jones (Lincoln)
Well, McConaughey took a serious hit here.  He needed this to continue his traction this season.  He was doing really well, even winning NYFCC and landing on BFCA's ballot, but this hit is tragic.  Bardem was wonderful in Skyfall, but my bias towards him as an actor has me wanting him to miss with Oscar.  I know, I'm weird (considering that I may actually nominate him for a Fisti this year).  Hoffman was also a surprise for me, since I was banking on a complete Master shutout.

S. Actress:
- Field (Lincoln)
- Hathaway (Miserables)
- Hunt (Sessions)
- Kidman (The Paperboy)
- Smith (Marigold)
Well, I think this means that Barks is dead, unless she winds up being that surprise Oscar nominee that no one saw coming.  Instead, SAG went with NICOLE KIDMAN!!!  I haven't seen The Paperboy, but I hear it is polarizing.  Smith was expected from SAG, even though I don't think she's getting the Oscar nomination (at least not at this point).  Hathaway should win this in a cakewalk.  In fact, critics be damned, Hathaway should take all of the televised awards in a cakewalk.

Final SAG Predictions

SAG is going to announce VERY soon and so I wanted to throw out my final predictions, which I'm not entirely confident in but am just going with ATM.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

01. Argo
02. Django Unchained
03. Les Miserables
04. Lincoln
05. Moonrise Kingdom

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

01. Cooper/Silver Linings Playbook
02. Day-Lewis/Lincoln
03. Hawkes/The Sessions
04. Jackman/Les Miserables
05. Washington/Flight

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

01. Chastain/Zero Dark Thirty
02. Cotillard/Rust and Bone
03. Lawrence/Silver Linings Playbook
04. Riva/Amour
05. Watts/The Impossible

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

01. Arkin/Argo
02. De Niro/Silver Linings Playbook
03. DiCaprio/Django Unchained
04. Jones/Lincoln
05. McConaughey/Magic Mike

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

01. Barks/Les Miserables
02. Field/Lincoln
03. Hathaway/Les Miserables
04. Hunt/The Sessions
05. Smith/Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Making the Case for ‘Greta Gerwig in Damsels in Distress’!

Thanks to Josh over at TheCinematic Spectacle, I once again heard about an Blog-a-thon I wanted to be a part of.  Stevee over at CinematicParadox is hosting a Blog-a-thon inspired by films or performances that are not going to get the awards consideration they deserve.  When I saw this there was one name that instantly came to my mind and I knew what I had to do.

So, I present to you…

Seriously, can we make Greta Gerwig ‘a thing’?  I really want this to happen so badly.  Her Spirit snub was painful, considering that Stillman’s return to form was so exciting and her performance within it was astonishing to say the least, but I was overjoyed to see her nominated by the Detroit Film Critics, even though that means absolutely nothing.

I was introduced to Gerwig back in 2010, when she starred alongside Ben Stiller in Greenburg and landed a nomination from The Independent Spirit Awards and became the talk of the town for about a week and a half.  Everyone was smitten by her surprise performance, filled to the brim with sharp comedic timing and dramatic depth that grounded her character and made her feel so richly human.  When I got Damsels in Distress in the mail a few weeks back I was anxious to get it going.  It took me a minute (Stillman’s constructive style is very unique) but by the third scene I was sold entirely, and most of that was due to the way that Gerwig developed the character of Violet. 

As the somewhat abrasive and manipulatively judgmental ringleader of her ‘clique’, Violet is an easy girl to hate.  Gerwig colors her with such personality that one can’t help but LOVE to hate her.  Violet talks bad about everyone, has a serious opinion about everything and masks her personal insecurities with a seemingly faux desire to help others.  The thing is, Violet really isn’t all that evil, she just appears that way.  Her saccharine sweetness that is offset by her abrasive bark is genuine to the core, she just has a really hard time communicating it properly.  What is so remarkable about Gerwig’s performance is that she actually nails a deeper soul instead of merely presenting us with a skeletal observation of a loon.  Violet is so bizarre and almost idiotic in her reasoning and so one could have easily played her for cheap laughs, creating mere comic relief.  Instead, Gerwig took the opportunity to embellish Violet, giving her real depth.  You can feel her inner pain, even if it at times stems from a ridiculous place.  She never feels as fake as she appears; which is another feat in itself.  Gerwig beautifully balances out the outward appearance of Violet with the inner emotional growth. 

At the end of the day, she isn’t the villain we all thought she was and we’re pining for her happiness.
Besides, who can hate anyone intent on curing the world's problems through dance?

Poor Gerwig hasn’t a chance at an Oscar nomination, and she’ll most likely be shafted by the Globes as well, even though she delivers the best comedic performance I’ve seen this year, by anyone.  Still, Gerwig has earned an eternal place in my heart, and baring something massive*, a Fisti nomination to boot!

*that ‘something massive’ would have to come in the form of four performances I deem better than hers of what I have yet to see, considering that she is currently my runner-up to Rachel Wiesz

BFCA Nominees!

It’s official; the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association have announced their nominees.  I didn’t do too bad predicting these, although I was surprised that they didn’t fawn all over Zero Dark Thirty like everyone else has been.  It’s also disheartening to see that despite the apparent love for Les Miserables, my beloved Russell Crowe is looking out of the running for an Oscar nomination at this point.  I think he really needed a mention here, and sadly that didn’t happen.

Anyways, here are the nominees with some commentary below:


Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty


I predicted nine of the ten here, missing The Master in favor of The Impossible.  These are the films in contention for that elusive Oscar nomination at this point, with The Impossible hanging in the wings.  I don’t see anything else factoring in right now, but time will tell.

Bradley Cooper/Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis/Lincoln
John Hawkes/The Sessions
Hugh Jackman/Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix/The Master
Denzel Washington/Flight


I went six for six here, as I think most anybody predicting would have.  These are the only names in the mix, unless SAG and Globes resurrect someone like Anthony Hopkins, but the reviews for Hitchcock and the individual praise for Hopkins isn’t enough to catapult him to the final five.  Either Cooper or Hawkes will miss Oscar’s ballot, but I’m still on the fence as to which one. 

Jessica Chastain/Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard/Rust and Bone
Jennifer Lawrence/Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva/Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis/Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts/The Impossible


I also went six for six here, which was a tad harder.  Mirren was certainly a possibility and I was also leaning towards Weisz for a while after her NYFCC win.  Thankfully I took her out for Cotillard at the last minute.  I also think that these six are the only ones really in the Oscar mix, and I’m thinking it’ll come down to Cotillard or Wallis for that final spot.  Wallis hasn’t been appearing in many of the Critic’s nomination ballots, except for in Breakthrough Performance, but that does mean she’s being talked about, which could make her more of a threat than I’m giving her credit for.  For the record, I’ll be more than thrilled for her if she’s nomination since I am a big fan of her performance, but I’m skeptical of her actual chances.

Alan Arkin/Argo
Javier Bardem/Skyfall
Robert De Niro/Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman/The Master
Tommy Lee Jones/Lincoln
Matthew McConaughey/Magic Mike


I missed a few here, getting only three correct.  I didn’t bank on Arkin happening and I had kind of given up on Hoffman with the lack of buzz surrounding him at the moment.  Bardem was a surprise.  He got great mentioned when Skyfall opened, but I really didn’t think it would mean anything in the long run.  I may not be a huge fan of Bardem as a whole, but I really liked his performance in Skyfall so I’m happy for him.  Sadly, this was a major knife in the back of the Les Miserables supporting men.  Both Crowe and Redmayne missed here, which is shocking considering that the film was loved.  I’m also baffled with the DiCaprio snub.  I was really sure he’d make it here, and they even nominated Django Unchained in the Best Picture category.

Amy Adams/The Master
Judi Dench/Skyfall
Ann Dowd/Compliance
Sally Field/Lincoln
Anne Hathaway/Les Misérables
Helen Hunt/The Sessions


I was right about Dowd!  I think she’s getting the Oscar nomination, but she’ll have an uphill battle especially since the Globes will most likely snub her and SAG could be a hard sell, but she’s hardworking and probably respected with her peers (been at this for a while) and they like rewarding their own.  I’m sad for Barks, who was snubbed here in favor of Dench.  Dench was great in Skyfall, but I was banking on Barks getting a needed boost from BFCA, and the fact that they loved Les Miserables and still snubbed her may mean that Hathaway is SO far out in front here that there is no room for someone else from her movie to make it in here.

Elle Fanning/Ginger & Rosa
Kara Hayward/Moonrise Kingdom
Tom Holland/The Impossible
Logan Lerman/The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Suraj Sharma/Life of Pi
Quvenzhané Wallis/Beasts of the Southern Wild


Wallis has this in a cakewalk, which is great.  Still, I think I kind of prefer Hayward the more I think about it.  Fanning is always amazing, although I haven’t seen her movie yet.  Sharma was awful, but whatever.  I’ve yet to see Lerman or Holland, but I’ve heard great things about them both.  This will probably come down to Wallis and Holland with Wallis, being the only Oscar chance, coming out on top.  The only thing that makes me somewhat question that is Horn’s win from last year.


I didn’t predict these, but I should have.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Misérables
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook


I only guessed five here, and all five made it.  I wasn’t expecting The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to make it.  I’m wondering if it has a shot with SAG too.  I expect Les Miserables to take this rather easily, even if Lincoln ends up taking the SAG.  BFCA loved Les Miserables, and the cast is huge, which they like.

Ben Affleck/Argo
Kathryn Bigelow/Zero Dark Thirty
Tom Hooper/Les Misérables
Ang Lee/Life of Pi
David O. Russell/Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg/Lincoln


I went five for six here, hoping that they would respond to Hanake over Lee (what is it with Life of Pi this year?) but alas, this is pretty expected in the long run.  To all those counting Hooper out thanks to some poor reviews, critics mean shit to actual awards bodies with different tastes.  Critics also get personal, which can be a bad thing for prognosticators.  I still say Hooper is very much in at this point.

Django Unchained
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty


Flight and Looper, really?  With Flight’s reviews I really thought that was dead outside of Washington.  I got four of these right.  I only guessed five, so I guess that’s alright.  I really expected Amour to do better here.  I’m still hopeful for the Oscars, since I doubt Looper is something their relate to very well.

Life of Pi
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Silver Linings Playbook


So what’s up with six Original but only five Adapted?  I missed Life of Pi for Beasts of the Southern Wild.  Oh well, I should have known.  I was predicting Life of Pi for nearly everything all year and dropped it after I saw the film and was so disappointed.  BAD PROGNOSTICATING!!!  I’ll be more careful next time.  Perks is having quite the boost as of late, but I still don’t see Oscar biting here.

Les Misérables
Life of Pi
The Master


I’m so happy for Deakins, who pulled off such amazing work on Skyfall.  I really thought that Zero Dark Thirty was getting in here, missing The Master (can’t believe I dropped that) here.  Oh well.  I expect Oscar to nominate Zero Dark Thirty everywhere, so expect it to get in here with them.  I just hope Life of Pi doesn’t win here.  It is beautiful to look at, sure, but that is CGI and not the same thing as true cinematography. 

Anna Karenina
The Hobbit

Les Misérables
Life of Pi


I missed Life of Pi.  I just want to know, what the hell was so special about the set pieces?  I mean, he was on a fucking boat?  Wow.  Seriously, how does that deserve a nomination here?  I just don’t get it, at all.  Moonrise Kingdom should be here, and it’s a disgrace that they would give it a Best Picture nomination and then snub it in areas that make the most sense (more on that in a minute).

Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty


I predicted Silver Linings Playbook to get in here via The Descendants, but instead they went with…LIFE OF PI.  I can’t get this, even though I didn’t predict it.  Still, I have a feeling that movie is going to be a thorn in my side this season.  The rest were expected, and I think this could very easily be out Oscar set list as well, with Silver Linings Playbook an outside contender.

Anna Karenina
Cloud Atlas
The Hobbit
Les Misérables


I missed Cloud Atlas and The Hobbit, going with Mirror Mirror (which is dead) and Moonrise Kingdom (which should be WINNING here).  Seriously, these Moonrise snubs are pissing me off.  Anna will probably take this rather easily, unless Les Mis love is overwhelming and it takes this too.  

Cloud Atlas
The Hobbit
Les Misérables


I predicted all four of these.  I predicted six, but they only went with  four (snubbing Hitchcock). 

The Avengers
Cloud Atlas
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit
Life of Pi


I fucked this up.  I should have known that The Dark Knight Rises was getting in here, but I overestimated The Impossible and really thought Skyfall love would spill over.  This could very easily be Oscar’s set list as well.  Life of Pi will win this in a cakewalk, and it will be ridiculously deserved so YAY!

Madagascar 3
Rise of the Guardians
Wreck-It Ralph


I predicted five of these.  I only predicted five, so I count this as a win for me.  Rise of the Guardians has horrid reviews right now, so I’m shocked to see it land here.  Is it too late to hope and pray that Wreck-It Ralph starts to dominate here and take the win from Burton?

The Intouchables
A Royal Affair
Rust and Bone


I’m shocked that Holy Motors missed here.  A Royal Affair was on my first draft of predictions and then I dropped it for Oslo, August 31st (wishful thinking on my part) and it bit me in the ass.

The Central Park Five
The Imposter
The Queen of Versailles
Searching for Sugar Man
West of Memphis


I never understand this category.  It changes with every awards body.  I got three of these right.  Boo.

“For You”/Act of Valor
“Learn Me Right”/Brave
“Still Alive”/Paul Williams Still Alive
“Suddenly”/Les Misérables


I didn’t see the Act of Valor nomination coming, but I almost predicted that Still Alive song.  I got the other three right, overestimating Holy Motors and Snow White and the Huntsman.  This category is forever strange though.  I still think Suddenly is going to sweep awards season here.

Argo/Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi/Mychael Danna
Lincoln/John Williams
The Master/Jonny Greenwood
Moonrise Kingdom/Alexandre Desplat


I missed two of these, trading in Moonrise Kingdom (such a deserved nomination) and Argo for Beasts and Zero Dark Thirty.  Life of Pi should win out of this set, but I have a feeling that Lincoln will.  Whatever.



And then apparently they went all MTV Movie Awards this year…

The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises

Christian Bale/The Dark Knight Rises
Daniel Craig/Skyfall
Robert Downey Jr./The Avengers
Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Looper
Jake Gyllenhaal/End of Watch

Emily Blunt/Looper
Gina Carano/Haywire
Judi Dench/Skyfall
Anne Hathaway/The Dark Knight Rises
Jennifer Lawrence/The Hunger Games

Silver Linings Playbook
This Is 40
21 Jump Street

Jack Black/Bernie
Bradley Cooper/Silver Linings Playbook
Paul Rudd/This Is 40
Channing Tatum/21 Jump Street
Mark Wahlberg/Ted

Mila Kunis/Ted
Jennifer Lawrence/Silver Linings Playbook
Shirley MacLaine/Bernie
Leslie Mann/This Is 40
Rebel Wilson/Pitch Perfect

The Cabin in the Woods

It would be hilarious if Cooper and Lawrence both lost in the Comedy categories AND in the main acting categories.  I mean, it is possible.  If Jack Black (who has loud supporters) and Mann or Wilson surprise it would be great, not because I dislike the Silver Linings duo (I haven’t seen the film yet) but because the irony would be too much.  I mean, you know that these new categories are here so that they can give awards to more people and obviously Cooper and Lawrence were in mind when this was done, so their loss would be hilarious.


Anyways, here it is.  Make of it what you will.