Archive for February, 2012

February 29, 2012

Final Thoughts on Oscars 2012

So the year is over. In just a few days I will start my first ever Screenday Awards, and I’ll name the Best of 2011. I would’ve done it sooner, but there were some technical problems and the like so whenever it happens it happens. The important thing is that it does. Not for the reader, but for myself. I think it will be fun to curate a list of bests, and maybe see who, over 10 years appears multiple times. I don’t know.

But alas. The Oscars have come and gone and I can’t help but feeling empty. Meryl won which was bittersweet. The Artist triumphed which I am all too happy about, as it was a charming film amongst a sea of other boring snooze fests, oh, and The Tree of Life. That was good too.

Here is my final write up of The Oscars courtesy of The Stanford Daily. Enjoy, and I look forward to 2012! Vive La Cinéma!

 

“Officially, the highlight of the film year has passed. After months of period dramas and auteur directed high-falutin’movies, and not to mention the never ending parade of meaningless award shows, the big one has come and gone. This year, like always, the Academy Awards wrapped up the year rather predictably, but with a class and panache reserved only for the Oscars.

If you tune in to the Oscars to see who gets which award, there weren’t too many surprises. Martin Scorsese’s children’s movie “Hugo” received 5 technical awards, while the big winner was a black-and-white, silent, French film called “The Artist”. It took home many of the biggest prizes of the evening, including Best Picture, Best Director for Frenchman Michel Haznavicius, Best Actor for the endlessly charming Jean Dujardin, and two other technical awards. With those two juggernauts hogging the majority of the awards, the others were well spread out, with no film receiving more than 2 awards.

Predictably but deservingly, Christopher Plummer walked away with a Best Supporting Actor statue for his portrayal of an out of the closet gay father in the movie “Beginners”, while Octavia Spencer ended her long awards circuit with the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “The Help”. The only real surprise, and boy was it a surprise, was Meryl Streep conquering the favorite to win, Viola Davis, for the Best Actress Oscar. While the public opinion is that Meryl Streep is constantly winning things, it just simply isn’t true. This is her first Academy Award win since 1983 for “Sophie’s Choice” and she sealed her win with one of the most graceful and reverent speeches of the evening. However, it is a tragic upset that the bold and brilliant performance from Davis, one of the finest African-American actresses working today went unsung.

If the awards bore you and you only watch the Oscars for the spectacle, it would seem that you were out of luck. After attempting to manufacture spectacle for the past couple of years with flat-lining hosting duos, the Academy responded to the incendiary comments of Brett Ratner with the safest, most conservative show they could put on. Cue Billy Crystal. It was certainly a welcome sight to see him back on stage with light one-liners and he treated us to his famous videos of inserting himself into the best picture nominated films. Yet that’s where the fun really ended. The only moments really worth YouTubing were Jim Rash’s mockery of Angelina Jolie’s infamous right leg and a few of the more touching acceptance speeches from Spencer, Plummer, Streep and Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Iranian Best Foreign Language Winner “A Separation”. Much beyond that, it was a classy night that was certainly an improvement over previous failures, but a failure is at least fun to watch – this year was just simple and safe. “

February 25, 2012

And (I think) the Oscar goes to…

Source: The Weinstein Company

The Oscars are finally here. And since I need to spend tomorrow getting ready for my first annual Oscar party, I’m putting my predictions up today! Now this is something we all have been thinking about since well before even all of the movies get released, so it feels almost boring to put some finality to it (especially since I am a little too proud in calling The Artist’s victory earlyish). Fortunately, there are a few categories here and there that are up for debate and we can always expect one or two fun surprises. If a category needs explanation, I’ll give it, but you don’t need to hear any other random bloggers talk about Hugo’a Art Direction or Ludovic Bource’s score.

Picture:

Winner: The Artist

Runner-Up: Um… Hugo?

My Personal Vote: The Tree of Life

 

Director:

Winner: Michel Hazanavicius

Runner-Up: Martin Scorsese

My Vote: Terrence Malick (I do think there is more of a chance he will win then Woody Allen or Alexander Payne. I feel he has a lot of respect in the Academy and this movie is direction on display. However, The Artist is too and is not the least deserving winner.)

 

Actor:

Winner: Jean Dujardin – The momentum is there.

Runner-Up: George Clooney

My Vote: Jean Dujardin

 

Actress:

Winner: Viola Davis – This is her year! The narrative is just so much stronger than anything else. She’s a hardworking black woman representing the black film and she gives an amazing performance. If not now, then when?

Runner-Up: Meryl Streep – Always a bridesmaid, only a bride twice about 30 years ago.

My Vote: Michelle Williams – Yup.

 

Supporting Actor:

Winner: Christopher Plummer

Runner-Up: Max von Sydow?

My Vote: Christopher Plummer

 

Supporting Actress:

Winner: Octavia Spencer

Runner-Up: Melissa McCarthy – She could be the Helen Hunt of this year. And I think people just like rewarding her. Is that weird?

My Vote: This is tough. I would want to vote for Jessica Chastain, but for her body of work. I wonder if there are others who do this? If I had to vote for the single performance, it would be Berenice Bejo.

 

Original Screenplay:

Winner: Midnight in Paris

Runner-Up: The Artist

My Vote: Margin Call?

 

Adapted Screenplay:

Winner: The Descendants

Runner-Up: Moneyball

My Vote: Hugo (begrudgingly)

 

Art Direction

Winner: Hugo

Runner-Up: The Artist

My Vote: Hugo

 

Cinematography:

Winner: The Tree of Life

Runner-Up: The Artist – While I’m The Tree of Life’s number one fan, whenever someone asks me what my predictions are, I make a slip up and I always say The Artist for Cinematography because it just seems like where people want to aim the black and white movie that looks like a square. I seem to forget that The Tree of Life is even in the Oscar race. This makes me concerned…

My Vote: The Tree of Life

 

Costume Design:

Winner: Hugo

Runner-Up: Jane Eyre

My Vote: W.E. (even though I haven’t seen the movie, I saw the W magazine spread)

So obviously it seems like any of the five could win, which is crazy. I’ve decided that W.E. and Anonymous were both poorly reviewed and royalty extravaganzas so the people who vote for poorly reviewed royalty extravaganzas will cancel each other out. I hesitate to think that people will vote for the black and white costumes of The Artist, especially when they were probably designed in color. I’m giving the edge to Hugo just because of the large nomination count and I think if the academy liked Jane Eyre more, it would’ve been nominated in 1 or 2 other places (Dario Marianelli for Score, for example).

 

Film Editing:

Winner: The Artist

Runner-Up: Hugo

My Vote: Hugo

 

Makeup:

Winner: The Iron Lady

Runner-Up: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

My Vote: The Iron Lady

 

Original Score:

Winner: The Artist

Runner-Up: Hugo

My Vote: The Artist

 

Original Song:

Winner: Man or Muppet

Runner-Up: Real in Rio (obviously)

My Vote: Man or Muppet.

 

Sound Editing:

Winner: War Horse

Runner-Up: Transformers: Dark of the Moon – I was determined to predict this as the winner, but when I did some research, the war movies dominate this category. Whenever a war movie hasn’t won, it’s because no war movie was nominated.

My Vote: Hugo

 

Sound Mixing:

Winner: Hugo – I don’t know why I’m predicting a split… mostly to hedge my bets, but splits are the kind of thing that only happen with a war movie and an artsier best picture frontrunner so this doesn’t seem impossible. Think Letters from Iwo Jima and Dreamgirls winning trophies.

Runner-Up: War Horse

My Vote: Hugo

 

Visual Effects:

Winner: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Runner-Up: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

My Vote: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

 

Animated Feature:

Winner: Rango

Runner-Up: Chico and Rita?

My Vote: Puss in Boots? – This is my least favorite category of nominees this year by a long shot. Adapted Screenplay is a close second.

 

Foreign Film:

Winner: A Separation – I don’t think it will get snubbed because it seems so much more accessible than something like Un Prophete. But what if it was one of those movies saved by that executive committee…

Runner-Up: In Darkness

My Vote: Abstain.

 

Documentary Feature:

Winner: Pina

Runner-Up: Hell and Back Again

 

Live Action Short Film:

Winner: Raju – I never see these, but a friend went to the Live Action shorts program at our local theater and this was her favorite.

Runner Up:  Tuba Atlantic

 

Animated Short Film:

Winner: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Runner-Up: La Luna

 

Documentary Short:

Winner: Saving Face

Runner-Up: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

 

Wish me luck on Sunday!