Archive for Oscars

22 Feb 2012

2012 Oscar Predictions

1 Comment Opinion, Oscars

At long last, here are my 2012 Oscar predictions for who will win, as well as my thoughts on who should actually win. If your gut is telling you otherwise or you are outraged that one of your favorite nominees might get shut-out this Sunday, post your thoughts in the comment section below!


Best Picture

Nominees: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life and War Horse
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22 Sep 2011

So the Oscars changed the Best Picture nomination rules again. Who cares?

No Comments Opinion, Oscars

Relevance is a fleeting term to the Academy

Most people are not comfortable with change. Consistency means reliability and assurance. If the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is one thing, it is not consistent. In fact, they are actually quite fickle.

This can be seen in their latest change to the Best Picture nomination process. Just two years after changing the rules to allow 10 movies to be nominated, the group has once again altered the process to allow anywhere from 5 to 10 nominees each year. Basically, instead of the top 10 vote getters receiving a nomination, a film has to have at least 5 percent of the first place votes to be recognized.
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05 Mar 2010

Who should win? Who will win? Insight's Oscar predictions

No Comments Opinion, Oscars, Published Work

Kathryn Bigelow's "Hurt Locker" is nominated for nine Oscars. The Academy Awards will be shown 5 p.m. Sunday on ABC.Best Picture
Nominees: Avatar, The Blind SideDistrict 9An EducationThe Hurt LockerInglourious BasterdsPreciousA Serious ManUp and Up in the Air

Will Win: The Hurt Locker

- “Avatar” has everything except the story. When it comes down to it, the Academy should award the most well rounded film instead of the most revolutionary.

Side Note: With all the scandals surrounding “The Hurt Locker” over the final week of voting and the general love for “Avatar,” I would not call an “Avatar” win an upset.

Should Win: The Hurt Locker or An Education

- While “The Hurt Locker” has everything a winner should, “An Education” packed a greater emotional punch, is more relatable and, let’s face it, it’s more enjoyable.

 

Best Director
Nominees: Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Lee Daniels, Jason Reitman and Quentin Tarantino

Will Win: Kathryn Bigelow

- With the chance to make history in becoming the first female to win the Best Director prize, as well as the fact she made one hell of a movie, voters won’t pass up the opportunity to award her.

Should Win: Kathryn Bigelow or James Cameron

- I’m not going to say that Bigelow doesn’t deserve the prize, because she does.  It’s hard to deny though that no director worked as long or as passionately on his or her movie than Cameron.

 

Best Actor

Nominees: Jeff Bridges “Crazy Heart,” George Clooney “Up in the Air,” Colin Firth “A Single Man,” Morgan Freeman “Invictus” and Jeremy Renner “The Hurt Locker”

Will Win: Jeff Bridges

- “Crazy Heart” is “The Wrestler” with country music replacing wrestling. Mickey Rourke lost last year. Jeff Bridges, whose role is arguably just as heartfelt and fascinating as Rourke’s, will get it this year because of weaker competition.

Should Win: Jeff Bridges

- Bridges is one cool Dude, who has deserved an Oscar for years now.
Side Note: I will always maintain that it is complete B.S. that Matt Damon didn’t get any recognition this awards season for his multi-layered and extremely quirky role in “The Informant.”

 

Best Actress

Nominees: Sandra Bullock “The Blind Side,” Helen Mirren “The Last Station,” Carey Mulligan “An Education,” Gabourey Sidibe “Precious” and Meryl Streep “Julie & Julia”

Will Win: Sandra Bullock

- There is a consensus among many who have spent years covering or working in the filmmaking industry that Bullock is one of the most fun and kind actors/actresses to work with. Even if she gave just a good, not great, performance, voters would love to see her win.

Should Win: Carey Mulligan

- A true victim of the Academy’s bias towards veterans. Mulligan gave one of the most inspiring and believable female performances of the last decade and it is a shame she has been left in the dust of Bullock and Streep.

 

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Matt Damon “Invictus,” Woody Harrelson “The Messenger,” Christopher Plummer “The Last Station,” Stanley Tucci “The Lovely Bones” and Christoph Waltz “Inglourious Basterds”

Will Win: Christoph Waltz

- Like Heath Ledger last year and Javier Bardem the year before, no performance was as commanding and engrossing. Many will agree this category was locked up when “Basterds” debuted at the Cannes Film Festival last May.

Should Win: Christoph Waltz

- To put it simply, his role was a BINGO!

 

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Penelope Cruz “Nine,” Vera Farmiga “Up in the Air,” Maggie Gyllenhaal “Crazy Heart,” Anna Kendrick “Up in the Air” and Mo’Nique “Precious”

Will Win: Mo’Nique

- Like Waltz, she has won nearly every award leading up to the Oscars. Anyone upsetting her in this field would be a bigger shock than “Crash’s” surprise win in 2005. Maybe…

Should Win: Mo’Nique

- Scary as hell and believably twisted, Mo’Nique’s performance highlighted the very grim “Precious.” Its one of those performances that will haunt your dreams.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, The Messenger, A Serious Man and Up

Will Win: Inglourious Basterds

- For a reason that I will never understand, people love Tarantino’s writing. According to those people, (and himself in the last scene of the film) this is his masterpiece. Like Bullock, he is pretty well loved in Hollywood, so if “The Hurt Locker” doesn’t sweep, Quentin is the Academy’s go-to guy.

Should Win: The Hurt Locker

- The movie starts out with a seemingly ridiculous quote, “War is a drug.” Crack Cocaine is a drug, not a process in which countless people are killed! But I’ll be damned, that quote makes sense when the credits role. Mission accomplished.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: District 9, An Education, In the Loop, Precious and Up in the Air

Will Win: Up in the Air

- Socially relevant and insightful, “Up in the Air,” is the right movie at the right time. It, like the other sure-fire bets, appears to be a lock due to its pre-Oscar success.

Should Win: An Education

- Nick Hornby’s thoughtful and heart-warming adaptation is one of those plots that allow viewers to experience the entire spectrum of human emotions during the film’s two-hour run-time.

Side Note: Like Damon in “The Informant”, it is absurd that “(500) Days of Summer’s” unique and intelligent take on modern relationships has not been recognized in its respective category.

 

The “Grow-a-Pair” upset pick of the night

Upset: “The Hurt Locker” winning Cinematography over “Avatar”

- So this is hardly a guarantee, but if there were 20/1 odds at the sports book on this, I would throw $20 down in a heartbeat. The obvious choice for this category is the revolutionary game-changer “Avatar,” that really does deserve any technical award Hollywood can give it. But… As seen in last year’s Oscar winning juggernaut “Slumdog Millionaire,” Academy voters can and will give their favorite nominee all the awards they can give it, even if the film isn’t generally considered the best in certain categories. That nominee could very well be “The Hurt Locker” this year, which has repeatedly been praised for its controlled and patient hand-held camerawork.

03 Feb 2010

A practical look at this year’s Best Picture race

No Comments Features, Oscars, Published Work

The movie awards season that started in early December has reached the final stretch with the announcement of the 2010 Oscar nominations Tuesday. Representing the wide and varying opinions of the the nearly 5,800 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members, this year’s nomination leaders are “Avatar,” directed by James Cameron, and “The Hurt Locker,” directed by Cameron’s ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow.
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24 Feb 2009

Reinvented Oscars bring no surprises

No Comments Opinion, Oscars, Published Work

And so it was written:  Danny Boyle and his intercinematical (half Bollywood, half Hollywood) baby “Slumdog Millionaire” won an outstanding eight Oscars, including the coveted Best Picture. Some interesting facts about its achievement:

  • Only 14 other movies have won eight or more Oscars in the show’s history
  • It is the first Best Picture winner since “The Return of the King” in 2004 to win more than four Oscars
  • It is also the first film since “The Return of the King” to win Best Picture without any acting nominations

Is its near sweep a huge surprise? Not really. About a week ago, I received the chance to talk with Jim Aicholtz, an Emmy-winning sound mixer and official Oscar voter.  Over his 44 years as a voter, he mentioned that when a crowd pleaser like “Slumdog” comes along, many voters will just go down the list and vote for anything it is nominated for. Since the entire Academy gets to vote for almost every prize, many who haven’t seen all the nominees will vote for the most popular movie. This can be very aggravating for the technical branches of the Academy, which are much smaller than say the actor’s branch, because voters are not necessarily voting for the candidate to win as much as the movie.

While I was expecting it to win six Oscars, it invalidated my “Upset of the Night” prediction by winning Best Song while also picking up one of the sound categories.  In fact, the only thing in its way of sweeping was ironically “The Dark Knight,” which was supposed to be one of its bigger opponents, that was, before the actual nominations anyways.

As for the big revamp of the show’s production, I thought producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark did a good job of changing the show’s tempo.  Their biggest accomplishment was grouping many of the awards into the different aspects of the filmmaking process and then having one presenter announce the winners back-to-back.  Another great addition was having Queen Latifah gracefully sing “I’ll be Seeing You” during the in memoriam tribute.

The worst change was easily the dreadful medley of nominated songs, which awkwardly sandwiched “Wall-E’s” beautiful and soft “Down to Earth” into two chaotic and upbeat “Slumdog” songs. It was obvious that R&B singer John Legend was uncomfortable performing Peter Gabriel’s song “Down to Earth.” Earlier in the week, Gabriel dropped out of the production after learning he would only receive 65 seconds to sing his longer than five-minute song.  Kudos to you Mr. Gabriel, I only wish you could have won to rub it in the producer’s faces.

Hugh Jackman, on the other hand was flawless.  His showmanship and graceful yet amusing musical numbers really livened up the show. By ushering in a new style of host Jackman proved that the show doesn’t have to rely on a comedian to lead the show.

By predicting all of the major awards correctly and going 17/21 (not included in the tally were the animated, live-action, and documentary short awards), it seems fair to say that using the prior awards to predict the winners is still the best method.

Now that Hollywood has awarded “Slumdog” nearly everything it possibly could, let’s look forward to what Oscar bait 2009 has to offer. In June, Michael Mann’s drama “Public Enemies” starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale looks to start the Oscar race early with a gritty look at some of America’s most notorious gangsters. Early October brings Martin Scorsese’s and Leonardo DiCaprio’s fourth pairing in “Shutter Island,” which is based on a U.S. marshall’s manhunt for an escaped criminally insane convict. Entering the into the busy December month is Peter Jackson’s highly anticipated adaptation of the critically praised book “The Lovely Bones.” Finally, “Titanic” director James Cameron returns with his first feature film in 12 years with “Avatar,” a story of survival on a distant planet.  With revolutionary special effects being created specifically for this film along with a $200 million-plus budget, Cameron looks to end the decade with a bang.