Day Sixty-Five – Oscar Predictions: Acting

6 03 2010

Acting is a weird category. Much like the big categories, Best Director and Best Picture, the awards can often go to people who are “owed” the Oscar rather than to the best performance. There are certain things you can look for to guarantee a win as well. Play a living person. Wear a ton of make-up. Be a drunk or drug addicted person. For the supporting categories specifically, play a villain.

Given that, you can guess pretty safely who is going to win:

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Jeff Bridges hasn’t won an Oscar, but he’s been around for a while. This is his fifth time nominated without a win, so it seems like it’ll probably go to him. Plus, he played a drunk and he actually sang in his movie. I want to say George Clooney or Colin Firth should win, but Jeff Bridges was great as Bad Blake, plus the odds are in his favor.

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Meryl Streep has been here before. Sixteen times before. Yet she hasn’t won since 1982 when she won for Sophie’s Choice. Now, she’s playing a celebrity and does a dead-on impersonation. The person herself, Julia Child, is very much like a cartoon, so someone who doesn’t know of her may not understand how close Streep is to Julia herself. I’d rather see Carey Mulligan take it home for An Education, but it’s very hard to bet against Streep. Still, it could always go to Sandra Bullock.

Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Last year, Heath Ledger won this category for recreating a villain that’ll go down in movie history as one of the creepiest and best ever. In Inglourious Basterds, Waltz creates the happiest and scariest multi-lingual Nazi ever. He was easily the best part of Basterds and the movie was pretty strong all around anyway. I’ve heard Stanley Tucci played an excellent villain in The Lovely Bones as well, and I haven’t seen it myself, but it would be a tragedy not to honor Waltz for this performance.

Best Supporting Actress
Penélope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mo’Nique, Precious

I was not crazy about Mo’Nique in Precious. She screams and yells. A lot. That seems to be enough to be considered great performance, but she’s also the only one that seems to follow the rules to predict this type of thing. Not to mention that every prediction out there seems to have Mo’Nique as a lock. I’d rather see it go to either of the ladies from Up in the Air, but it almost definitely won’t go to them.

Next and finally: Best Director and Best Picture.


Day Sixty-Two – Oscar Predictions: Music

3 03 2010

Music is a category that everyone can make a reasonable guess for. The problem with the category is it’s probably the most subjective of them all. There are agreed upon qualities that make a film a good film, but for music, there are so many different tastes and attributes that it’s hard to determine what the Academy will look for when thinking about the Best Score and Best Original Song.

My criteria is the most “hum-able” song and score.

Not that it has to be catchy or even “hum-able” in a literal sense, but what do I find myself humming when I’m doing menial tasks. Last year, I found myself humming the theme from The Dark Knight more often than not.

Though there isn’t a score that I find myself humming quite as much as that one, there is one clear winner…

Best Score
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Hurt Locker
Sherlock Holmes

I don’t even remember the Score from the other nominees. Avatar‘s was a little over-bearing at times, trying to fill in the gaps for character-development that the script didn’t provide. I didn’t even realize there was a score for The Hurt Locker, which is probably a good thing for the tone of the movie.

Up easily takes it as it conveys every emotion it needs to without ever trying to be the star of the show.

Download or sample the score to Up here.

Best Song
“Almost There,” The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman
“Down in New Orleans,” The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman
“Loin de Paname,” Paris 36, Reinhardt Wagner & Frank Thomas
“Take It All,” Nine, Maury Yeston
“The Weary Kind,” Crazy Heart, T-Bone Burnett & Ryan Bingham

Crazy Heart‘s “The Weary Kind” made the film. Aside from how important it is to the plot, it’s the song that got people into the theatre to watch the movie. The music was good all around, but “The Weary Kind” carries most of the weight and does so very well. Though I believe the producers of the Oscars made a good decision in dropping the five seperate performances for each nominated song, this is one I would have enjoyed seeing on the telecast.

Listen to a sample or download the single for Crazy Heart here.

This was one of the easier categories to predict and I’m pretty confident in my choices. Anything other than this would be a shock.

Tomorrow, we guess the Genre categories – Documentary, Animated and Foreign.

Day Thirty-Four – Even More Movie Reviews

3 02 2010

Being the day after the nominees for the Oscars have come out, I feel it’s fitting to post a couple reviews of contenders I’ve seen recently; along with a film that was in the running in 1993.

It just happens to be by chance that they go best to worst.

Crazy Heart

One thing about ‘Crazy Heart’ that makes it different from other movies like it is that Bad Blake is actually a nice guy. He doesn’t blame anyone but himself for where he has ended up and takes what he’s given. There will be comparisons to ‘The Wrestler’ for the same reasons, but I feel that’s a movie about someone who can’t let go. Bad Blake can let go and is forced to at every turn. Yet, the only reason that bad things happen to Bad is because he doesn’t have the respect he should for himself.

Rating: 95 (4.5 Stars)

Julie & Julia

If there is any flaw to ‘Julie & Julia’, it’s that Amy Adams is too damn likeable. She is a self-absorbed person who has been empowered with a blog, but with only a smile, her abrasiveness melts away like butter. Streep does an accurate Julia Child, but that doesn’t make it any less silly. Especially when Julie Powell imitates her. Still, I found myself interested in how their stories match up. Some mistake this as a movie about cooking, but really it’s a movie about finding your muse.

Rating: 75 (3.5 Stars)

The Firm

The key to a good thriller is to have your characters in constant peril. ‘The Firm’ fails to maintain any of the eerie tension created in the opening scenes. The beginning makes the flick seem like ‘The Firm’ is some kind of cult that grows its employees into evil lawyers. Mitch tries to uncover something sinister, but takes his time doing so. Outside of it being morally wrong, they never really give Mitch a reason to act on his impulses. In the end, things are too happy-go-lucky to be credible.

Rating: 60 (3 Stars)

That’s all I have for now. Still have a bunch of reviews to write though. With luck, I’ll have at least 3 more done for tomorrow.

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