Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Oscar Predictions

OK, this is a very exciting Oscar race. A few of the big categories are still with no clear front runner, Avatar vs Hurt Locker, Bigelow vs Cameron and Bullock vs Streep. Mo'Nique and Christoph Waltz look like sure fire winners, but at least one spot is up for grabs in each of their categories. Here's who I think will be nominated Tuesday morning in the 8 big categories:

Best Picture
Invictus should make it although it baffles me why. I'm thinking The Messenger and A Serious Man will just miss out and District 9 and Star Trek make it as they did at the PGA. The other 7 are shoo-ins.

An Education
District 9
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
Star Trek
Up in the Air

Best Director:
Love this category. Love these movies. Love these 5. So different yet each one a game changer.

Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
James Cameron - Avatar
Lee Daniels - Precious
Jason Reitman - Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino - Inglorious Basterds

Best Actress:
Easiest category to guess. The SAG 5 will repeat. Only spoiler could be Emily Blunt instead of Mirren.

Sandra Bullock - The Blind Side
Helen Mirren - The Last Station
Carey Mulligan - An Education
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious
Meryl Streep - Julie and Julia

Best Actor:
Another easy one, the SAG 5 should repeat here too. Although Viggo Mortensen or Ben Foster might surprise. Remember Tommy Lee Jones nom out of left field 2 years ago with no precursors? Even Sharlto Copley could get in. Freeman looking vulnerable but will slide in.

Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
George Clooney - Up in the Air
Colin Firth - A Single Man
Morgan Freeman - Invictus
Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker

Best Supporting Actress:
Does it matter who the other four are? Mo'Nique is deservedly going to win this. The ladies of Nine will be completely shut out and I'm betting that those who voted Inglorious for best ensemble at the SAG awards are going to reward Laurent with a nom in place of Julianne Moore.

Vera Farmiga - Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick - Up in the Air
Melanie Laurent - Inglorious Basterds
Samantha Morton - The Messenger
Mo'Nique - Precious

Best Supporting Actor:
All those folks who have been discovering and falling in love with The Hurt Locker are going to vote for Mackie. Sorry Matt, you should've been nominated for The Informant! anyway.

Woody Harrelson - The Messenger
Anthony Mackie - The Hurt Locker
Christopher Plummer - The Last Station
Stanley Tucci - The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz - Inglorious Basterds

Best Adapted Screenplay
Crazy Heart will prove more than just the Bridges show in this category. The other 4 will be best pic nominees.

An Education - Nick Hornby
Crazy Heart - Scott Cooper
Disctrict 9 - Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
Precious - Geoffrey Fletcher
Up in the Air - Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Best Original Screenplay
This is where those passionate lovers of (500) Days will reward it. The Hangover could surprise big time in this category but I'm betting no.

(500) Days of Summer - Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Webber
The Hurt Locker - Mark Boal
Inglorious Basterds - Quentin Tarantino
A Serious Man - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Up - Pete Docter and Bob Peterson

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Oscar ballot......

.... or the ME_Says Awards. These are the movies and artists I responded to the most in 2009.

2009 was not a very good year for movies. There were a few movies that were entertaining but in general movies sucked this year. It was hard to come up with a top 10 list. So anyway here's my attempt at that. A la the Academy they are in order of preference.

Future Classics

I think 2 movies stood head and shoulders above the rest this year. These two will probably stand the test of time and remain beloved and admired for years to come.

1. The Hurt Locker. (review).
2. (500) Days of Summer. (review).

And the rest: you'll notice that I responded to a couple of documentaries this year. Both had a fascinating narrative. The rest are full of nuanced performances; in particular An Education, and Inglorious Basterds. I admit I was slow to get on the love wagon for Basterds, only a second viewing cemented it in my top 10. Avatar is here because it's unlike any other movie, a true experience. Precious is the one movie that stayed with me long after I saw it. The performances of Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique are still vivid in my memory.

3. Precious. (review).
4. Valentino: The Last Emperor.
5. An Education.
6. Up in the Air. (review).
7. Inglorious Basterds.
8. District 9.
9. Avatar.
10. Every Little Step. (review).

The rest are in alphabetical order. I will announce the "winners" before the Oscars.

Best Director: Very close to the Oscar list. I think they mostly got it right. Bloomkamp is in instead of Reitman for me.
1. Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker.
2. Neil Bloomkamp - District 9.
3. James Cameron - Avatar.
4. Lee Daniels - Precious.
5.Quentin Tarantino - Inglorious Basterds.

Best Actor; I think Damon was nominated for the wrong performance. Go see The Infor
mant! today. It doesn't always work but he's pretty great in it.
1. George Clooney - Up in the Air.
2. Sharlto Copley - District 9.
3. Matt Damon - The Informant
4. Joseph Gordon Levitt - (500) Days of Summer.
5. Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker.

Best Actress: Who would've thought SNL alum Rudoloph had this in her? Fantastic. And Deschanel turned a cipher into a flesh and blood character.
1. Zoey Deschanel - (500) Days of Summer.
2. Carey Mulligan - An Education.
3. Maya Rudolph - Away We Go.
4. Gabourey Sidibe - Precious.
5. Meryl Streep - Julie and Julia.

Best Supporting Actor: The Hurt guys are so good, all of them. Sarsgaard made what could have easily become a creep into someone relatable. And Tucci so nominated for the wrong performance, Mr Charming to Ms Joy.
1. Brian Gerety - The Hurt Locker.
2. Anthony Mackie - The Hurt Locker.
3. Peter Sarsgaard - An Education.
4. Stanley Tucci - Julie and Julia.
5. Christoph Waltz - Inglorious Basterds

Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique is the performance of the year. So powerful, so emotional, so moving. Pike is fantastic at playing dumb and makes her character so indelible and memorable. Almodovar stalwart Portillo was the best thing about his latest. Farmiga and Laurent were the heart of their movies, what I responded to the most.
1. Vera Farmiga - Up in the Air
2. Melanie Laurent - Inglorious Basterds.
3. Mo'Nique - Precious.
4. Rosamund Pike - An Education.
5. Blanca Portillo - Broken Embraces.

Best Original Screenplay:Only 3 in this category. Told you it wasn't a good year.
1.(500) days of Summer. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Webber
2.Inglorious Basters. Quentin Tarantino.
3.The Hurt Locker. Mark Boal.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Could barely come up with four here.
1.An Education - Nick Hornby.
2.Julie and Julia - Nora Ephron.
3.Precious - Geoffrey Fletcher.
4.Up in the Air - Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sandra Bullock : Oscar Winner?????

WTF. I guess we'll all have to get used to that now. She may actually win the Oscar. Just won another precursor, the SAG. And worse I might have to see The Blind side now.

I have nothing else to say.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Brief Holiday Movie Review

During the break I spent time with friends and explored the city a little. But I also saw a bunch of movies. This was a rather disappointing Christmas movie season. Almost nothing popped out. There were a couple of very good movies, but that's it.

Avatar - the winner of this season according to the whole world who went out in droves to see, talk about it, blog about it, argue about it and then see it again. To quote a friend it was "spectacular". Uninspired narrative though. Like everybody said the it was a weak story and screenplay, a mash-up of "Pocahontas" and "Dances with Wolves". But doesn't matter, it was the cinematic experience of the year. I bow to Cameron and the world he created.

It's Complicated. Lots of fun, exactly what I expected to see, no surprises but immensely enjoyable. What a joy watching Meryl is.

Sherlock Holmes
. Why was this movie so long? It's a popcorn movie, so why does it take two and half hours? Robert Downey Jr was charming and his banter with Jude Law was coy and cute. However the plot was convoluted and made no sense. My head hurt from following all the twists and turns.

Crazy Heart
. Predictable, predictable, predictable. "The Wrestler" as a country western song. But it also a lot better than I expected. Both Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal were fantastic. And the story and how it was told was moving and poignant in so many ways.

The Messenger
. Very good, full of emotional scenes. While there were so many great scenes and an a very contemporary story that is truly moving, something was missing. It didn't completely grip me. Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster & particularly Samantha Morton though, are in fine form.

Fantastic Mr Fox. Meh, oh well. Why was this movie made? It had fun scenes but was not very interesting. Maybe I just don't like animation.

Another disappointment in a year full of them. It just didn't work. It had no plot and made no sense. Daniel Day Lewis was completely miscast. He was humourless, I kept wondering why all these women were in love with him. We needed someone charming, maybe Clooney or Hugh Jackman. Nicole Kidman's role oh so brief and Kate Hudson was terrible and as my friend said "extraneous". Even Judi Dench could not pull off her big number. And while Marion Cotillard and Penelope Cruz were very good, they couldn't save this stinker.

The Lovely Bones.
Terrible. I was bored. Even Stanley Tucci, who is getting a lot of accolades, was way over the top. Skip this one.

Broken Embraces
. Quintessential Almodovar. Lesser Almodovar. Very recognizable story, style and images. Could not be mistaken for any other auteur. I enjoyed it a lot. Penelope Cruz was very good but I loved Blanca Portillo, wow what a performance. If you love Almodovar, see it immediately.