Tag Archive: reader


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 Actress

 

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

  • Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married”
  • Angelina Jolie in “Changeling”
  • Melissa Leo in “Frozen River”
  • Meryl Streep in “Doubt”
  • Kate Winslet in “The Reader”

What might happen:  Anything.  I’m not kidding.  Anne Hathaway is clearly establishing herself as the ‘Next Girl’ and her dramatic breakthrough could pull off the upset.  Angelina Jolie, love her or hate her, has one Academy Award already under her belt, so it’s not like it would be her first time on the stage.  Meryl Streep is…Meryl Streep.  This looks like it’s finally Kate Winslet’s year to walk away with the gold man after being nominated so many times.  Or…the four powerhouse names could split the vote four ways, opening the door for Melissa Leo to pull off the shocker.

What should happen:  From a pure performance point of view, I’d say Anne Hathaway was the most impressive.  But more than ever the momentum seems to be swinging the way of Kate Winslet, so look for a repeat of the teary eyed ‘preview’ we got at the Golden Globes.

Who I’m cheering for: I’ve never hidden my ‘mixtape-level’ crush on Kate Winslet.  Anybody who could take Wesley Snipes old “I have to have at least one sex scene in this movie” contract, and add in a “I have to get naked” clause, well hey.  In all seriousness though, her acting chops keep improving (kind of scary), and even though this feels like a Pacino-esque “Lifetime Achievement” Oscar for an inferior performance, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. 

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.

 

 

 

 

The Reader

 

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The Reader is nominated for four Globes: Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress – Drama and Best Motion Picture – Drama.    The film is about a German lawyer (played as an adult by Ralph Fiennes), and the evolution of his relationship with an older woman (played by Kate Winslet).  Starting with a chance meeting that occurs when he was 15, their relationship is physical, poltical, emotional, and professional as they pass through different stages of their lives.

Before I continue, let me say I’m a Kate Winslet fan.  It didn’t start with Titantic or any of her serious roles though.  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is still one of my favorite films of the past five years, and she was a big part of that.  In this film, her character is revealed to be a former Nazi concentration camp guard, who is eventually ‘outed’ and made to answer for her past.  There’s a scene during her trial where two characters debate: are we meant to sympathize with her or demonize her?  I’m not sure if the film takes a strong enough stand one way or the other.  Playing a role that almost begs to be overplayed, Winslet keeps it human, rarely yelling or even raising her voice.  Add another notch to her ‘best actress of her generation’ belt.

The Reader is definitely not a film for everybody.  I don’t even know yet if this is Kate Winslet’s best performance of this awards season (Revolutionary Road).  But it has a chance to make a little noise, so if that interests you, check it out.