Quickie Oscar review: Glad Life of Pi got as much love as it got. If you only have time for one Oscar film you haven’t seen yet, I highly suggest that one.
Moving on, last week was an aberration: I had something new to write about everyday. Which comes naturally to me as a film geek of course, but still, it felt off.
So since this is my space (my name is all up in your browser), I’m moving one of my other interweb routines here so you’ll always have something to look at.
Since this is the first ‘Song of the Day’ here, I had ‘intro’ on my mind. Not the 90s R&B group, but the actual meaning of the word.
The song (which I learned years later) is Sirius by the Alan Parsons Project. And I was never the biggest Bulls fan, but I always felt like this was one of the best, most epic intros in… anything:
And now the biggie. Here are the nominees for Best Picture…
- Beasts of the Southern Wild
- Django Unchained
- Les Miserables
- Life of Pi
- Silver Linings Playbook
- Zero Dark Thirty
Who Should Win: Life of Pi is the most ambitious film and I think the one that will be looked back upon the most out of the crop. Not really an actor’s film though, which does it no favors voting wise.
Who I Want to Win: Hm. I thought it was a strong year overall. I don’t really have a strong rooting interest this year for one film over another. I don’t think Zero is going to win, so let’s put them here.
Who Will Win: Argo. I’m predicting a good night for Ben and my guy Clooney.
Some other quick predictions:
Best Adapted Screenplay: Life of Pi. Though again, it might be a long shot in a strong year for adaptations.
Best Original Screenplay: Django Unchained. Give the devil his due, it was an amazing read on the page.
Best Direction: Lincoln. Never bet against Spielberg. Just don’t do it.
Will Seth MacFarlane be a good host? He’s a genuine song and dance man, I think he can win over the people in the audience who don’t know him (and probably lose them with a dirty joke). So it will be like a good episode of Family Guy basically.
Enjoy the show!
Rough day personally, so apologies in advance if the comedy is sucked out of today’s post.
Here are the nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role…
- Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
- Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
- Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables
- Joaquin Phoenix in the Master
- Denzel Washington in Flight
Who Should Win: In a weaker year, 4 out of these 5 performances would be locks to win. But this year, I have to give Day-Lewis his due. I’ve always respected his method more than I loved his work (Gangs of New York the exception), but seeing him as the polar opposite of one of his trademark psychopaths (brilliant career move as well) has me respecting AND loving his work again.
Who I’m Cheering For: Denzel’s performance was great, but I really do have a little more love for Day-Lewis this year.
Who Will Win: This is probably the biggest Oscar lock since Titanic. Have to give Daniel Day his due this go round.
Tomorrow we’ll quickly go through the rest of the awards…
Toughest major category to call this year. Let’s get to it.
The nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role are…
- Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
- Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
- Emmanuelle Riva in Amour
- Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
- Naomi Watts in the Impossible
Who Should Win: Ahhhhhhhhhh. Mannnnnnnnnn. It may be the only major win for this film, and it was a genuine lead role in a genuine solid film, so I’ll pick Chastain here.
Who I Want to Win: As in ‘Who I’ll be cheering for?’ If you have to ask…
Who Will Win: My gut tells me that this is the official Hollywood coronation of young Miss Lawrence. Right face, playing the Game to perfection right now, can be setting herself up for a real run at Meryl’s career (which she’s implied she might want to do). We shall see.
Back to the Ac-Tors tomorrow…
Today let’s look at the performances up for top Wingman this year. The nominees for Best Actor in a Supporting Role are…
- Alan Arkin in Argo
- Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook
- Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
- Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln
- Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained
Who Should Win: Only one of the nominees in this category actually plays the title character in the film they’re nominated for. So why is Hoffman not in the Lead category? Much better chance of winning (we’ll come back to that later this week).
Who I Want to Win: At this point in the game, there’s maybe…5 people left in the Game who I ‘might’ get starstruck by meeting. And Bobby is one of them. And to be fair in the context of his career, the most pleasant part of DeNiro’s performance was seeing him have something to do and not just show up to collect a check.
Who Will Win: Let’s keep the wide open theme of this year’s awards going and say this is where Lincoln gets some love. Not the only major award it will win I imagine…
Tomorrow, back to the ladies…
Let’s play our part in the hype machine and use this week to give predictions for the Oscars, shall we? Let’s start with Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
And the nominees are:
- Amy Adams in ‘The Master’
- Sally Field in ‘Lincoln’
- Anne Hathaway in ‘Les Miserables’
- Helen Hunt in ‘The Sessions’
- Jacki Weaver in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’
Who Should Win: Hmmm. I don’t know if there’s really a wrong choice here by the definition of the category. Let’s throw Helen Hunt out here.
Who I Want to Win: Again, hmmm. I don’t have a terribly strong love for any of these women (over the other four, in this specific context). I guess I’ll cheer for Sally Field.
Who Will Win: Anne Hathaway. It’s been preordained it seems. Just get ready for the speech.
Tomorrow we move to the fellas…
It won’t win Best Picture, but politics aside, if the Oscar is supposed to go to the film that is most likely to leave the longest legacy or make the best overall impression (acting be damned, said by an actor no less!) than Life of Pi is that film this year. And as ‘wrong’ as it was for Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow to not even get nominated for Best Director, truth be told, now I’m thinking Ang Lee deserves that trophy this year over everybody else anyway.
The ‘unfilmmable’ film is based on a hugely popular book (writer’s note: haven’t read the book yet) about a boy lost at sea with a Bengal tiger. The story is fantastic (clearly), and there’s a nice ‘And the moral to the story is…’ moment at the end of the film that says A LOT about ‘religion’ without being condescending. But more than anything else, this is one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen in a long time. Visually speaking, this was film geek porn. Can’t put it any better than that.
Only a few more Best Picture nominees to get to…
Frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar now? Well, definitely not for Best Director (argument for another day). Anyway, Ben Affleck’s latest (and best) effort has all the ingredients: ‘based on a true story’, top notch supporting cast, a little bit of Hollywood making fun of itself…all the pieces are there.
The story itself is one of those ‘too good to be true/sounds made up’ deals: a CIA operative sneaks a group of Americans out of Iran under the guise of being in preproduction for a big budget ‘Star Wars’ rip off. In a lot of ways, Argo is the grandchild of a lot of 70s classics: All the President’s Men, Serpico, Three Days of the Condor. Even before I did the research, my gut told me Clooney had to have his hands on this somehow. Wasn’t remotely surprised to learn he was one of the producers.
Connections aside though, Argo is a good film. My personal ‘test’ for any movie based on something that really happened comes down to one question: do I still feel the dramatic tension even if I know how the story ends? In my opinion, this is where Affleck the director made the film. The third act (the escape) is paced really well; the threat of the protagonists getting caught is there for as long as humanly possible.
So at this point it looks like this film or Lincoln gets the big piece of chicken this year. I’ll have my prediction when we get a little closer to the actual ceremony…
I doubt this will win Best Picture, but the case can be made Beasts of the Southern Wild is symbolic of what this year’s field of nominees represents: quirky, personal, ‘small’ films, with at least one great performance.
Set deep in the Bayou, Beasts is a parable/fable narrated to us by ‘Hushpuppy’ (Best Actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis), a six year old wise beyond her years. It’s not as surreal as Life of Pi, not as eccentric as Moonrise Kingdom, but it occupies that sweet spot in the middle.
Now the big question: do I think ‘Hushpuppy’ has an outside chance to steal the Oscar. Well…my gut says no. Sure there’s an outside chance she’ll pick up the pieces of a split vote between the two Golden Globe winners (Chastain and Lawrence), but I think this year one of those two young ladies gets ‘made’ so to speak career wise.
On the other hand, am I rooting for little Q? Hell, she’s from Houma, for all I know, she’s a second cousin to me. What do you think?
Usually it’s hype to say things are wide open, based off of the nominations though, it might be more true this year.
Let’s start with who the Gold Guy sent on the Walk of Shame this morning: DiCaprio (Django), Affleck (Argo), and Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) were all considered locks. No disrespect to those who were nominated, but frankly I’m as shocked as everyone else they didn’t get invited to the dance for Best Supporting Actor and Best Director respectively. Their films are all recognized but damn; so that was the inspiration for this post’s title. We do have a serious film geek collection of movies this year. I hope the Academy isn’t putting all the pressure for ratings on Seth McFarlane…
That said, when I look at the ‘major’ awards, I see a ton of familiar names: Denzel, Spielberg, Hoffman, DeNiro and Day-Lewis. Only one of those names I thought gave possibly their best career performance, but we’ll have that argument another day (reward for this year’s work vs. ‘lifetime achievement’).
Back to the film geek point, nine Best Picture nominees this year. Again, speaks to this being a year without a ‘Titanic’; it also means things can get real interesting real fast when (theoretically) the vote can be split nine ways. Not a math major obviously, but it seems like you could win Best Picture this year with a very small percentage of the overall vote. So, could be looking at another ‘Crash’ type year when that last envelope is opened, just putting it out there…
Alright, as far as we’re concerned in this space…I’ve given you 3 reviews, 2 more for sure coming Sunday and Monday, so I owe you 4 more before the show. That’s doable. Don’t know yet if I’ll be doing previews with Mr. Thomas like we’ve done in the past, but we shall see.
Have a good weekend. Mamba out.