Day Sixty-Seven – 82nd Academy Award Results: I’m 13 of 24

8 03 2010

Well, I guess this is old news now that I’ve taken a bit of a break from putting up a post a day. I’m going to give myself a pass based on a technicality and say it’s a post “representing” every day.

Given that poorly formed excuse, let’s see how I did with my predictions for the Oscars.

Best Picture

The seating arrangement was so cruel, forcing Cameron watch Bigelow get up and pick up an Oscar he, and I, thought would be his.

My Guess: Avatar
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
WINNER: The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious
A Serious Man
Up
Up in the Air

I truly believed that Avatar would win this category. Given that it’s the highest grossing film ever and the Oscars wants to seem like it’s “in touch”, I thought they had to go this way. I’m glad they didn’t. I was happy to see The Hurt Locker take this category, but I still think Up in the Air or An Education deserved it more so.

Best Actor
My Guess and WINNER: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

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

Best Actress
WINNER: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
My Guess: Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

I took a risk guessing Streep and I know that. I felt like it would be her and clearly my feeling were wrong. I haven’t seen Bullock’s performance so I can’t argue whether it was worthy or not. What I can say is she did have the best speech of the night, by far.

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

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

Mo’Nique upsets me. The first thing she says is that she’s happy that the Academy can focus on the work rather than the politics then immediately thanks Oprah and Tyler Perry for helping “get the word out”. It’s so beyond hypocritical it drove me nuts and I fast-forwarded through the rest of her acceptance speech in anger.

Best Director
My Guess and WINNER: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

No surprise here at all, but Barbara Streisand’s “the time has come” was much too corny for my tastes.

Best Original Screenplay
WINNER: Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker

Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman, The Messenger
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson & Tom McCarthy, Up
My Guess: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

This was shocking, but I guess The Hurt Locker has to win in order to get the Best Picture.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche, In the Loop
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9
WINNER: Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious
Nick Hornby, An Education
My Guess: Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

This upset me for a couple of reasons. Up in the Air truly deserved to win. If not that, An Education. The shock of the loss for those screenplays was enough, but the fact that a writer, whose job it is to put words in peoples’ mouths had the worst speech of the night. Even Steve Martin had to take a jab at it.

Best Animated Film
Coraline
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells
My Guess and WINNER: Up

The streak continues.

Best Foreign Language Film
WINNER: El Secreto do Sus Ojos (Argentina)

My Guess: Un Prophete (France)
The White Ribbon (Germany)
Ajami (Israel)
The Milk of Sorrow (Peru)

Best Art Direction
WINNER: Avatar
My Guess: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Nine
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria

Best Cinematography
WINNER:
Avatar
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
My Guess: Inglourious Basterds
The White Ribbon

The cinematography in Avatar reminds me of a scene from Entourage where Billy Walsh is upset that the colors look washed out. “It looks like somebody came on the lens!”

Best Costume Design
Bright Star
Coco Before Chanel
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Nine
My Guess and WINNER: The Young Victoria

Best Documentary
Burma VJ
My Guess and WINNER: The Cove
Food, Inc.
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
Which Way Home

Best Editing
Avatar
District 9
My Guess and WINNER: The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious

Best Makeup
Il Divo
My Guess and WINNER: Star Trek
The Young Victoria

Best Score
Avatar
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Hurt Locker
Sherlock Holmes
My Guess and WINNER: Up

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
My Guess and WINNER: “The Weary Kind,” Crazy Heart, T-Bone Burnett & Ryan Bingham

I love this song.

Best Sound Editing
My Guess: Avatar
WINNER: The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek
Up

Best Sound Mixing
Avatar
My Guess and WINNER: The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Best Visual Effects
My Guess and WINNER: Avatar
District 9
Star Trek

Best Documentary Short
China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province
The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner
My Guess: The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
WINNER: Music by Prudence
Rabbit à la Berlin

What’s been dubbed “the Kanye moment” wasn’t as interesting while watching it as it was finding out the back story to it all. Career suicide for her – one would hope.

Best Animated Short
My Guess:
French Roast
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)
WINNER: Logorama
A Matter of Loaf and Death

I am so disappointed by this win. Logorama has no good qualities to it and completely drops the ball in regards to its gimmick. Why is Ronald McDonald a robber? Why not the Hamburglar? Not to mention how annoying the swearing is in this short. It’s clumsy and sounds much too forced. Not a fan of the flick and not a fan of its win.

Best Live-Action Short
My Guess: The Door
Instead of Abracadabra
Kavi
Miracle Fish
WINNER: The New Tenants

I wasn’t a fan of The New Tenants. I thought all the films were great except for Tenants, so I wasn’t so happy to see it win. It’s aching to be a Tarantino movie, but it isn’t. It feels like what Tarantino may write had he suffered a stroke. Really not very clever or entertaining, but not nearly as unenjoyable as Logorama.

That was the Oscars. I think I’ll relax on the movie talk for a little bit now.





Day Sixty-Six – Oscar Predictions: Best Picture and Director

7 03 2010

It’s the big night. The Oscars are mere hours away and it’s time for the Best Picture and Best Director to be decided.

This year has been interesting. They included an extra 5 nominees for Best Picture to make sure that a snub, like The Dark Knight from last year, wouldn’t happen again. Instead, even with all the extra nominations, it has become a three picture race. I think the Best Director category is a good signal of what would have made the cut had the extra five slots not been introduced.

Without stalling any further, here are my predictions for Best Director and Best Picture:

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Jim Cameron said it himself that the Academy wouldn’t be able to resist giving the Best Director to a woman for the very first time in the Oscars’ 82 year history. Though the fact that she’s a woman had very little to do with the influence on the movie, which is as macho a film as you can get, it will have something to do with the voting. Sadly, the Oscars isn’t always about the merits of the films, but what voting for certain films can symbolize. In this case, it’s a sign of “equality”, which is kind of a joke when the purpose of an award is setting something above all others. Much like a member’s Facebook page, they put a lot of thought into the image they’ll have as much as, if not more than, the actual films themselves. Given that, Bigelow is a safe bet to win.

Best Picture
Avatar
The Blind Side

District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious
A Serious Man
Up
Up in the Air

Although I wasn’t its biggest fan, Avatar will likely win Best Picture. This year, particularly, is trying to get a mainstream audience to watch the Oscars get handed out. You don’t get much more mainstream than Avatar. Many have said it “changed the way films are made”. I don’t believe that statement to be true, but I think the Academy will. Also, if you win the box office, you’ll likely win Best Picture. That is, unless you’re Star Wars.

Those are my picks. I’ll post all my picks and the Academy’s picks tomorrow and tally them up. Any predictions of your own? Feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Enjoy the show and see you tomorrow.





Day Sixty-Four – Oscar Predictions: Screenplays

5 03 2010

The Screenplay category doesn’t get nearly enough respect come Oscar time. It’s the glue that holds the picture together or the wrecking ball that completely tears it apart. Realistically, if you don’t win the Screenplay Oscar, you shouldn’t even qualify to win Best Picture. Avatar has a chance to break this unwritten rule, as Titanic did with its win, since it’s not even nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category.

I didn’t get through all the screenplays quite yet, but I have seen majority of the movies nominated so I’m making my predictions that way.

Here are the pictures that are:

Best Original Screenplay
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman, The Messenger
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson & Tom McCarthy, Up
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

When I was in film school, I remember reading  that Tarantino was finally going to move forward with his long awaited Inglourious Basterds. Many years later, it’s finally out and it was definitely worth the wait. No one else is able to create as much tension as Tarantino with only two people sitting in a room, chatting over a glass of milk. I’m not a Tarantino die-hard at all. I haven’t really liked much of his work since Pulp Fiction, but this film, and screenplay, made me a fan once again. Such skill and craft in the writing that can’t be duplicated.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche, In the Loop
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious
Nick Hornby, An Education
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

Jason Reitman is easily becoming one of my favorite film-makers ever. When he writes a screenplay, they are so perfectly crafted. There isn’t a wasted word in Up in the Air or his prior screenplay Thank You for Smoking. Every word of dialogue is either there for plot or to shed light on the main character. Regardless of what they are saying or who is saying it, every single word and every single action serves a purpose. It would be horrible if anything but Up in the Air took the win for this category.

I thought I’d have more to say about this category, but I’m getting it up here pretty late. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about these films in the future. Those are my predictions for now.

Next: Acting.