Tag Archive: milk


Best Picture

 

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Here are the nominees for Best Picture of the Year…

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • The Reader
  • Slumdog Millionaire

What could happen:  Somebody could look at me with a straight face and tell me how The Dark Knight wasn’t one of the five best films to come out in the past 12 months!  OK, now that I got that off my chest, let’s look at what else could happen.  The Reader and Frost/Nixon; anchored by Academy Award nominated performances, but no real chance of winning the Big One.  Milk?  I loved Penn’s performance and thought the movie was well made overall.  Does the Academy still have guilt over picking Crash over Brokeback Mountain a few years back?  Wait, let me rephrase that, does the Academy have guilt for picking Crash over Brokeback Mountain a few years back?  Honestly don’t know the answer to that one.  Benjamin Button?  I’m not the first one to mention this, but from behind the scenes credits to character archetypes to love/hate relationship, this movie shares a lot in common with Forrest Gump.  But unless I’m mistaken, Forrest Gump kicked Pulp Fiction to the curb, so it wouldn’t be the first time this type of movie won out.  The counter to that argument though, is that an even bigger crowd pleaser has been the front runner throughout awards season, Slumdog Millionaire.

What should happen:  If I had a vote, it’d be going to either Milk or Slumdog.  Film geek that I am, my first question is always, ‘Which picture will still be as watchable in five years, if not longer?’  Since The Dark Knight isn’t nominated (OK, OK, I’m sorry about that.  I’m really done this time) that knocked out the other three films nominated for me personally. The (very good) problem is, I think I could make case for either of the two films left.  For an ‘outsider’ like myself, Milk was both an entertaining and informative introduction to the life of Harvey Milk and a snapshot of the fight for gay rights in California in the 70s (which also turned out to be extremely timely for those of us who watch this play out in the Golden State today).  At the time I saw Slumdog, it was one of those ‘word of mouth’ films that I heard so many good things about I was positive it couldn’t be that good.  When I came out of the theater, the first film that I thought it reminded me of was Singin In the Rain.   Like my favorite musical, it was just one of those simple stories told so well that I was aware almost from frame one how much I was just enjoying myself watching the story play out.  I have no idea how many thousands of movies I’ve watched at this point, but that is beyond rare for me personally.

Who I’m cheering for:  This has been a little bit of a weird season watching who wins what award from what group, but it will be a mild surprise if Slumdog doesn’t complete its frontrunner status and take home Best Picture. 

Well, I guess you know what I’ll be watching Sunday night…

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Best Actor

 

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Here are the nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture:

  • Richard Jenkins in ‘The Visitor’
  • Frank Langella in ‘Frost/Nixon’
  • Sean Penn in ‘Milk’
  • Brad Pitt in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
  • Mickey Rourke in ‘The Wrestler’

What Could Happen:  This is probably, probably a two man race.  Sean Penn has won quite a few awards for his performance as Harvey Milk, and he’s won an Oscar in recent memory (Mystic River, probably my favorite Clint Eastwood film).  In the other corner is Mickey Rourke, this year’s ‘feel good/comeback’ story, for his performance in The Wrestler.  Another performance I enjoyed immensely by the way.  The irony in this category though…

What Should Happen:  is my favorite Lead Actor performance listed here is the one put in by Frank Langella playing Richard Nixon.  Frost/Nixon wasn’t a film I was dying to see, but once I got into it, I was immediately drawn in by Langella’s performance.  He’s already won a Tony for playing the same role, but that shouldn’t take away from how well he transitioned his performance from stage to screen. 

Who I’m Cheering For:  I’m sure I’m one of many who wouldn’t mind seeing a win from Penn, Langella, or Rourke.  Penn proved (again) how he can disappear into a character and make it his own; Langella took one of the most unpopular Presidents in American history, and made him a sympathetic flawed human being; and Rourke famously drew from his own career missteps to portray a past his glory days legend trying to stay relevant in a young man’s game.  If I have to choose among the three, I’ll roll with Penn.  From the outside looking in, the character he played seems the least like ‘Sean Penn’ or the characters I normally associate with him (i.e. super machismo man’s man).

 

 

Best Supporting Actor

 

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The nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role are:

  • Josh Brolin in “Milk”
  • Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder”
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt”
  • Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”
  • Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road”

What might happen: (chuckling to myself…)

Who will probably win: Hee hee hee…

Who I’m cheering for: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

 

My Golden Globe Pics

 

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Alright gang, the Globes is this weekend, and as you can probably guess, I’ve seen almost every nominated film and performance.  Here are my picks for the film categories:

Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy or Musical

I could make a case for Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia (the biggest hit) or Emma Thompson in Last Chance Harvey  (solid as always), but I’m going with Frances McDormand in Burn After Reading.  With Clooney, Pitt, and Malkovich all hamming it up, McDormand brought the comedy more through mannerisms and behavior than over the top theatrics.  Well played.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical

Not even his best work this year in my opinion, but I’m going with James Franco in Pineapple Express.  I’ve said this before, but at a pretty young age he’s shown a) range, b) he takes his craft seriously, and c) no real love affair with being a ‘celebrity.’  My kind of actor.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

If this were the People’s Choice Awards I’d easily choose Mamma Mia, but instead I’m taking Burn After Reading.  A tightly written genre piece by the Coen brothers, that’s pedigree enough without the all star cast. 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

At this point, we know Penelope Cruz can be more than a pretty face.  Doubt is a good movie, but I keep hearing it’s better on the stage where it originated.  Call me biased, but I say Kate Winslet for the Reader.  With all due respect to the other four actresses in this category (and I admire and respect all of them, they were great), I feel with some rewriting Kate Winslet could play the characters that they’re nominated for.  But watch the Reader, no one else on this list could play that role but Winslet.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

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I think you and I are destined to do this forever.  (sigh…)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Jolie, Streep, Winslet…there are some heavyweights in this category.  I’d cast my vote for Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married.  She’s been around so I don’t want to use the word ‘breakthrough’, but she definitely wasn’t playing the glamour girl in this role.  The Globes are more of the ‘feel good’ awards, and the timing would be perfect.  Speaking of feel good…

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Frank Langella is my dark horse here for Frost/Nixon, and in my opinion, Sean Penn as Harvey Milk was the best performance of the year.  But this is a ‘who I think will win’ column, and all signs point to Mickey Rourke for the Wrestler.  I didn’t bring as much of his past into the theatre with me as most people, but I still thought it was a great performance.  Now I’m hearing he’ll co-star in Iron Man 2.  Got to love Hollywood…

Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture – Drama

If you want to see a fun, politics free, well crafted movie, Slumdog Millionaire is the way to go.  Written by Simon Beaufoy and directed by Danny Boyle, Slumdog is way, WAY lighter than its competition (Frost/Nixon, Benjamin Button, Reader, Revolutionary Road).  And the way things are in the real world right now, that lightness is the perfect tonic.

 

 

 

 

Milk

 

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Full disclosure: Until the trailers started coming out, I had never heard of Harvey Milk.  Not even once.  Now that I think about it, I haven’t made my way to San Fran yet.  Maybe that will be my 2009 road trip.  Anyway, I can’t speak to how close this movie stayed to the real life events or how closely the actors resembled the real people they were playing.  So I’ll focus on two of the major performances.

First James Franco.  I knew he takes his craft seriously, I knew he wasn’t just another pretty boy.  But I thought his performance grounded the movie; he was the character who I felt like I was watching the life of Harvey Milk through.  Spiderman 1 and 2, City by the Sea, Pineapple Express, and now Milk.  I’m comparing Franco to the all the guys and girls who get shoved down our throats as ‘the next big thing,’ and I’m quickly coming to the opinion he’s the best young actor in the game.  Now as far as the best old-school actor…

Sean Penn’s pedigree speaks for itself.  His Oscar winning turn in Mystic River is one of my favorite performances of recent memory.  Now compare that character to Harvey Milk.  Exactly.  I won’t argue with anyone who says Sean Penn is the king of the scenery chewing bunch; I’m just saying the man’s dedication to becoming the characters he’s playing is top notch.

PROPS from me for Milk.  If you have an open mind and want to learn more about a particular moment in American history, I think the film is a good introduction.