Archive for February, 2011

February 27, 2011

Live Oscar Thoughts!

8:51 PM EST (2:51 AM Paris Time)

I love that after that how after the whole Art Direction/Cinematography/Best Picutre tribute (which I actually liked) came a win for Alice in Wonderland and ruined the ideas. The two winners (names to be added) seem so humble and legitmately thankful. This makes it the 4th Tim Burton film to win Art Direction… and none nominated have ever missed.

After for the cinematography award, I was correct that Wally Pfister would take it. Even though Roger Deakins had such a large applause. He gave a good speech and he called the usual Emma Roberts “Emma Nolan”… interesting…

I’m 2 for 2 by the way.

9:01 PM/3:01AM Kirk Douglas is ancient but was charming enough and gave some good classic hollywood. And I love his dragging out of the award.

Melissa Leo did it!! Yay self campaigning! But what a weird curtsy. She does seem to be truly shocked and humbled. I was hoping for a little bit of a call to arms for older roles.

I’m 3 for 3. On a roll.

9:07/3:07 Justin Timberlake rocked it. The Lost Thing won and it’s my first incorrect one. Albeit in a difficult category to predict. I’m not too hurt, but now I’ll have to try extra hard to see it.

Toy Story 3 pulled out the entirely overwhelmingly possible and won Animated Feature. Even their clip made me laugh. Lee Unkrich has obviously been attending the Pixar speech acceptance school. He’s so poised.

I’m no 4 for 5. Still pretty good.

9:11/3:11 Just found out I missed Melissa Leo’s F-Bomb due to an internet glitch! Will I even be able to watch it tomorrow?

P.S. Roger Ebert is 2 for 5. I’m doing well.

9:21/3:21 I love the white suits on Brolin and Bardem. Aaron Sorkin is also giving a great speech. I’m so glad he wasn’t shafted like the Up in the Air guys (Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner) last year. I liked the Armie Hammer and Armie Hammer again. I also love the Oscar play out music.

Phew. My feed cut out, but came back in time to hear Seidler’s speech. His daughter is gorgeous and his speech is pitch-perfect. His little stuttering bit was super sincere.

For those of you playing at home, I’m 6 for 7. Let’s keep it up!

9:34/3:34 My current viewing is one girl filming her camera talking about how she has viewers and are making awful jokes. This is the lowest circle of hell… Susanna Bier looks great and I’m 7 for 8.

I like that they showed the real Dickey Eklund. His speech was good, but not great. 8 for 9.

9:99/3:99 This ABC thing is weird, but I’ll run with it. People need to promote what they need to. I get how the score feature fit in with the presentation’s narrative, but I didn’t like it as much as the others. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won for The Social Network. It was the odds on favorite but I expected it to fail. It wasn’t my favorite but I liked it a lo. Maybe The Social Network has a little more umph than I thought. 8 for 10.

The show keeps moving along with the Sound Mixing and Editing. Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson make a good pair. Have they ever worked together? I might watch that movie. Inception takes both of the awards and the Academy doesn’t bother making any distnguishing difference between Sound Editing and Mixing. Alas. 10 for 12. Ebert: 6 for 12.

10:11/4:11 After another brief flail, a realization I missed Russel Brand and Helen Mirren, and a brief spanish live feed. Rick Baker doesn’t need ot be so happy. He’s got 4 oscars! Maybe I’ll get around to seeing The Wolfman. My in the dark prediction was Barney’s Version. I’m now stalling at 10 for 13.

Cate Blanchett is so poised. Alice in Wonderland scores again. Now The King’s Speech has officially lost 5 awards tonight. Good for her for reading off of a paper! That’s not seen enough. But it makes sure her speech is elegant. Good for you Colleen Atwood. I feel it doesn’t happen enough. 10 for 14 now. And I’ve still got some rough categories to get through.

HEY THERE BARACK OBAMA! That was a surprise. Kevin Spacey is so fucking classy. I would much rather watch 30 minutes of him doing anything than sit through this painful 3 minutes of Randy Newman. I really can’t stand his voice, but he did a decent job scoring Toy Story 3 so I’ll forgive him.

The songs keep coming with I See the Light. Mandy Moore looks gorgeous. She matches the new background perfectly. Zachary Levi is giving a great subtle performer’s performance. And he can actually sing. That was such a good little performance.

10:23/4:23 I loved the Short Film spiel. A perfect mix of comedy, history, importance, and brevity. Jake Gyllenhaal was right that it would ruin my numbers. This is another loss for me. But like Jake said, I haven’t seen any of them!

A great shout out for documentaries right out front. Woohoo! I saw 5 documentaries this year, 3 of them great (Exit, Joan, and Restrepo).

God of Love brings me up to 11 for 16. This guy is so charming. I loved the audible “AWWW” after he gave a shout out to his girlfriend.

The youtube mashup thing was tedious and seemed forced. Anne Hathaway saved it by being delightful with her dress swooshing.

Here’s Oprah. She is so poised and eloquent. And she is truly giving the documentaries a sense of gravitas. A great, if not dry presentation.

Side note: I met Charles Ferguson of Inside Job. He wasn’t that interesting. I don’t think he deserves this win. One of my least favorite docs. He seems so… self-righteous. Blech. Alas, now I’m 11 for 17. I’ve really slipped.


I missed most of the Billy Crystal stuff due to another technical difficulty. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law had a great rapport. I loved Sherlock Holmes so maybe the sequel will be great. That montage shot of Inception was phenomenal! Thank god it won. I’m 12 for 18 and I finally have a passing grade again. The speech was unmemorable.

And now The Social Network won for editing. They’re doing well. I don’t want to say it, maybe cause it will ruin my predictions and please Sasha Stone too much. I’m now 13 for 19. Back on track. I think they are only 5 categories left. This telecast is moving along quickly. Good for them.

10:51/4:51 We’ve hit a slow part of the awards. Florence of Florence and the Machine was less than stellar. Gwyneth Paltrow is rocking the Country Strong song. I wonder if she’s going to put out an album?

GOD DAMNIT! Randy Newman won. I’m pissed. 13 for 20.

11:11/5:11 OOOOOH Another kind of shocker. Tom Hooper just won. The support for The King’s Speech was definitely lacking, but it’s back and with a vengeance. He does seem humbled. Which I think is the best thing to be feeling. This destroys my predictions at 13 for 21. But I hope to break above 65% and I think I will. just barely. I need the last three to hit 2/3.

And they bring out the queen herself, the lovely Annette Bening. Unfortunately, she’s presenting something lame. Let those Governor’s Awards back in the real thing. They’re getting closer this year.

11:32/5:32 This best Actress thing is way classier. Did Annette just whisper “Moore”? This is great. Annette looks just so pleased. Nicole Kidman looks great and her clip was the perfect choice, although it didn’t represent the movie. Jennifer Lawrence looks out of this world hot. Like illegally hot. They really could’ve picked a better clip, but wow! Natalie is positively glowing. Only Natalie and Nicole’s clips were really them. The others were more group showcases… no complaints.

Natalie Portman took it, and she looks VERY pregnant here. Her speech is heartfelt and perfect. I’m 14 for 22. Let’s keep it up.

And how freaking charming is Sandra Bullock. She’s doing great. She is stealing the spotlight from all of the actors. James Franco easily got the best clip. Fortunately, the world is just and Colin Firth won. He is so eloquent and I am only half convinced it’s the British accent that makes him sound eloquent.

11:99/5:99 The King’s Speech win was kind of a give away when they used the dialogue of it over the entire best picture montage.

In the end I got 16 out of 24. 2/3. 66.6% I PASSED! I did better than popular bloggers Anne Thompson, Nathaniel Rogers, and Roger Ebert. But I did worse than Guy Lodge and Kris Tapley.

Unlike most years, the Oscar Cast is continuing. The song actually is a really nice touch. I LOVED Melissa Leo singing along at the end.

That’s a wrap! My runtime guess of 3:23 was only 9 minutes long. They kept a pretty tight ship here. Overall I’d say it was a solid that wasn’t defined at all by its presenters. Sad for Anne and James. Now it’s late so I’m out.

February 27, 2011

My Final 2010 Oscar Predictions!

Wow has this year gone by. It seems like just a few seconds ago I was the only one actually cheering on Avatar in the face of The Hurt Locker. Alas, here we are another year later. This year I saw 50 movies! A record for me in one year. I hope this next year to do even better. I saw all 10 best picture nominees in theatres, I saw 19/20 acting nominees (damn you Javier Bardem!), I got to “discover” John Hawkes’ performance in Winter’s Bone before his buzz took off, and I started this blog.

Without further ado, here are my final predictions… mainly so I can cement them and look back after the race and kick myself.

Best Picture: The King’s Speech

Between all of the “The Queen loved it!” and the “Find Your Voice!” campaigns, this movie hit it’s stride just right.

Director: David Fincher – The Social Network

I can’t see people voting for such an unknown like Tom Hooper. David Fincher is the only Academy Veteran in the bunch and he’s certainly deserving this year.

Actor: Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

Actress: Natalie Portman – Black Swan

Supporting Actor: Christian Bale – The Fighter

Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo – The Fighter

This is probably the most difficult category to call. After Leo-gate (the laughable self advertisements), it seemed as if she had lost steam to Helena Bonham Carter or Hailee Steinfeld. I think it at least put her name in the mix more and people were talking about her. That’s never a bad thing. Plus she was in my dream last night.

Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network

Original Screenplay: David Seidler – The King’s Speech

Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland

Kris Tapley made the case that a Tim Burton film has never lost Art Direction. Nathaniel Rogers made the case that the film title suggests art direction (How does one create a wonder-land?). That’s enough for me.

Cinematography: Wally Pfister – Inception

When it comes down to it, the cinematographers aren’t on the ballot so Roger Deakins won’t be recognized for his overdue work, and the shots of Joseph Gordon Levitt in the gravity defying hotel are so iconic that I think people will remember this lensing the best. Plus, it’s a mildly higher profile way to honor Inception.

Costume Design: The King’s Speech

This is a shot in the dark. I think people like royalty to win here.

Film Editing: The Social Network

Makeup: Barney’s Version

Giamatti’s win at the Golden Globes gave this movie a slightly bigger push. I think people might remember it better than the Wolfman and actually saw it, as opposed to The Way Back.

Original Score: The King’s Speech

Alexandre Desplat is quickly overdue and the score is surprisingly unique and memorable. Maybe not the best, but it will get swept up in momentum.

Original Song: “If I Rise” – 127 Hours

The academy votes based on how the song is used in context of the film. This one is used pretty powerfully in 127 Hours and is beautiful on it’s own.

Sound Editing: Inception

Sound Mixing: Inception

Visual Effects: Inception

Documentary Feature: Exit Through the Gift Shop

It’s getting talked about so much, I don’t see how people can’t be watching. And after they watch it, they realize it’s the best.

Animated Film: Toy Story 3

Foreign Film: In A Better World

Safe choice, most buzz. It is committee voted, but I’ve heard it’s sappy.

Live Action Short Film: God of Love

I think the title is ironic, or meaningful or something.

Documentary Short Film: Killing in the Name

Chinese things never win, and the others seem more light hearted. I’ll give the edge to the title that carries the most gravitas.

Animated Short Film: The Gruffalo

My favorite of the 3 I saw and supposedly an instant British classic.

February 9, 2011

Movie Review: A “Blue Valentine” to Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling


Blue Valentine (****)

The hype surrounding Blue Valentine has come from many different points of view over the last few months. It’s NC-17 rating scandal certainly colored the release of the film, and I went in with a little more anxiety than usual. I wondered how graphic it would be.

The short answer is that the rating doesn’t matter (Does it ever?). No one should be hindered or hampered from seeing this movie. It is one of the most universal and sincere portrayals of love ever to make it to the screen.

The longer answer is that I think the power of the film relies on the more explicit nature of the scenes. It never glamorizes sex or makes it anything more than it needs to be. Director Derek Cianfrance creates a heart wrenching relationship of which sex is just one part. It’s always about the intentions and the emotions, as good filmmaking should be.

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February 8, 2011

Who here was “Thrilled” by Glee?

So the post Super Bowl Glee finally came. I think FOX advertised it as “the moment you’ve all been waiting for.” For me, an out and proud Glee Skeptic, I kind of was actually waiting for it. The last few episodes before the midseason hiatus were great. I’m talking “Duets”, “The Rocky Horror Glee Show”, “The Substiute“, “Furt”, “Special Education”, and “A Very Glee Christmas.” All super formidable episodes. So when Glee did end up securing the post Super Bowl spot, I was getting ready for another great episode.

Well, I might have gotten my hopes up a little too much. This episode, which might also be called “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle” focused around the big championship football game and big championship cheerleading championship. So the episode started out big… ish. After Sue correctly chides the Cheerios for a boring routine, she goes haywire and buys a cannon to launch a cheerleader out of. I’m gonna stop myself right here and say Sue was on fire this episode! I think I might have to expand my favorite quotes section just to include her from this one. Jane Lynch is pure genius.

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February 8, 2011

A Fast and Beautiful Year

As I was preparing to really kick this blog in high gear win the new Oscar season starts (i.e. February 27th at approximately 11:36 PM if my length of ceremony guess is correct), I started with a calendar reboot for the Short Stack Feature which I ran a couple of times to extremely great personal success. While poring through all of the eligible festivals and their winners, I discovered a gem of a short film.

“A Year Along the Abandoned Road”

Oof. Even the title is hauntingly beautiful. The concept? In the late ’80s, Norwegian filmmaker Morten Skallerud staked himself out in one fjord for an entire year and filmed the entire year. Each day, he would move the camera a few feet. This creates this eerily perfect sweeping effect across the mostly abandoned village. The years worth of footage is strung together and then sped up to 50,000 times real speed. This means the year clocks in under 12 minutes. The pace captures this elegiac and almost mythical place that is helped by the weird soundtrack (minus the Kenny G-esque soprano sax). Treat yourself to a quick watch and reflect on the last year of your life. Or just enjoy the visuals.