Wednesday, January 25, 2012

If only I was an Academy member

As I set my alarm Monday night for 7:30 a.m., so I could wake up and watch the announcement of Oscar nominations, I was not expecting so many surprises. I suppose this was wrong of me since this has been such an unexpected year so far, but man, the Academy sure like to pull weird (and sometimes rightfully deserved) surprises. So, when I was lying in bed watching Jennifer Lawrence (my soon to be hero in the Hunger Games films) read off the nominations, I became surprisingly wide awake with the amount of snubs that were happening. Before you read, you may want to see this link for the 84th annual Academy Award nominations.

So, what are these out of the park surprises I've been talking about? Well, first off, I was not expecting nine Best Picture films. With the new rule this year of a nominated film required to receive 5 percent of the first place votes, I was sure it would be between five and seven films. So much for that assumption, instead we get nine interesting films. The biggest surprise is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and then probably the Tree of Life. It just so happens those are the two movies I have yet to see in that category, so I will be sure to keep you all updated if I think they should be in this category.

As for the other major surprises, here is the quick list of what I was not expecting. Terrence Malick to receive a Best Director nod (he was not nominated for a DGA, which is very rare if you are up for an Oscar). Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Fassbender were left off, when I thought at least one of them would have been nominated (although hooray for Gary Oldman! One of the best actors of our time finally received his first Oscar nod). Another big one was leaving out Tilda Swinton for her role in We Need to Talk About Kevin, as Rooney Mara took the final spot in the competitive Best Actress category for her role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Personally, it doesn't really matter who is nominated because it is really only between Meryl Streep and Viola Davis.

With all those surprises, I have to say I'm pretty indifferent about a lot of them. One I am very passionate about, though, is the fact The Help was not nominated for Adapted Screenplay. Instead, Ides of March, a lackluster script, gets a very unexpected nod. I was also pretty upset to see that Shailene Woodley was not nominated for The Descendants; it would have been great to see her nominated for such a scene stealing performance. For me, however, there was one category I was super happy about, even though I read several blogs that totally disagree with me. And that is the dual nomination for John Williams for his two Steven Spielberg scored films, which was quite surprising to most. For me, I am very biased toward anything Williams does, so I was ecstatic. For most people, however, they were extremely upset Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were not nominated for GWTDT. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of their music, and was kind of upset they won last year for Social Network. But I can understand their unique appeal for many music goers.

Some things I was also happy to see were: Harry Potter getting three nominations, even if it wasn't Best Picture. Although, I was also expecting them to get nominated in both sound categories. All my hope is they win at least one. I don't really care which one, and they all have real tough competition (Art Direction, Makeup and Visual Effects). The fact that the franchise has never won an Oscar for those eight films is preposterous, hence why I just need it to win one. Also, happy to see Melissa McCarthy in the Supporting category after she was snubbed from the Golden Globes for her role in Bridesmaids.

The most thing I think I am happy about is the fact Hugo leads all films with 11 nominations. I absolutely enjoyed this film above all the others I've seen (except maybe War Horse, but I'm a sucker for Spielberg). I think Scorsese has a very good chance of grabbing the director cateogry and I will say right here, it is my "want to win pick" for Best Picture. (I have yet to decide if I am going to actually choose it for my ballot competition, but it wins for the film that I want to win). I still have a few more movies to see, but overall, I have very much enjoyed the unpredictability of this years award shows. Although, I do wonder, what would of happened if I was in the Academy and what films I would have nominated. (Well actually I know what would of happened, I would have nominated Harry Potter for every award, including Foreign Language Film).

Now, here is some lovely movie side notes, Oscar style.
1. Meryl Streep just continues to beat her own record and now has the most nominations ever with 17. However, she hasn't won since she won for Sophie's Choice in 1983. I would love to see her win, but like I've said before, I think Viola Davis deserves it the most.
2. Almost all the Best Supporting Actress nominations are all first-time nominees. With the exception of Albert Norris' Janet McTeer, the four other ladies are attending the big show for the first time. I'm pretty sure, though, Octavia Spencer is a shoe-in for the win.
3. Uh, why are there only two songs nominated? I thought it was the strangest thing to see only TWO songs nominated. Not to mention, they were weird choices. Madonna's Golden Globe-winning song wasn't even one of them. It's like when "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" won in 2006. Like I said, the Academy does some very odd things sometimes.

P.S. Don't forget to watch the SAG awards at 7 p.m., this Sunday on TNT or TBS (and no, this is not a paid advertisement, as much as I wish it was).

With that I say... Live long and prosper.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

They're all just like us

Why do I love people in Hollywood? They make an obscene amount of money, they have an unnecessary amount of stuff (clothes, cars, houses) and they get to act like someone else for the enjoyment of other people (plus half of the aren't even that talented). But, it is moments like when Meryl Streep wins her eighth Golden Globe and she says a swear word on live television because she forgot her glasses. It is when George Clooney walks on stage with a cane to mock his good friend Brad Pitt. Or it is times when the Hollywood Foreign Press gets it right and awards a low paid actress like Octavia Spencer, who totally deserves the win while her best friend Melissa McCarthy stands up and begins to cry as her friend accepts the award. It is moments like those at this year's Golden Globes that make me think, movie and television stars are not much different than us "normal" people. They forget things and swear, they have fun by making fun of their friends and they cry when something truly wonderful has happened their friends.

The 2012 Golden Globes were as enjoyable as like many others in the past, while making me laugh at moments like when Tina Fey creeps behind Amy Poehler as her name is read out (just like I do in so many of my friends photos). Or like when Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson puts a funny sign saying "whatever" behind his nominated coworker Eric Stonestreet while his name is being called because he was not nominated. That is what makes the Globes so much fun, because as magnificent as the Oscars are, it is still a more serious show. Of course there are funny moments (for some reason Ben Stiller coming out all "Avatar-ed" out in blue makeup comes to mind, or the opening of Hugh Jackman's hosting gig), but the Globes are a different bred. You get to see the actors actually interact that makes it just so fun to watch.

Although, I have to say there was some strange winners given out last night that I, personally, do not think will translate when the Academy Awards roll around on February 26. The main one is The Descendants winning best picture Sunday night. I will say it here, right now, I highly doubt it will win the Oscar for that same award. There is no doubt George Clooney deserved his best actor Globe for that movie but I'm not convinced the movie itself should win. I was very, very surprised it won (we'll see how it does throughout the other awards before the Oscars).

Another major category I was surprised about was Meryl Streep winning for best actress. As much as I love her and know she is a brilliant actress, I truly think the Oscar will go to Viola Davis (or the other three fantastic actresses that are going to be nominated because it is such a tough category. Nominations come out a week from this Tuesday). I'm not sure what it is about the Hollywood Foreign Press and Meryl, but they sure do love her. If you could tell when she won, she didn't think she should get it (although she tends to do this all the time lately). My favorite part of her speech last night was not her swearing, as much fun as that was but instead was at the end when she said "And I love you Viola, you're my girl." I took that line as, "Viola I'm so sorry I won, you totally deserve this award more than I do." Now I am not one to say who should have one, since I have not seen the Iron Lady yet but many people were projected Davis to win, as did I. Now, depending on how the SAG awards go next week, I'll let you know who I think will win the Oscar, but I'm not convinced it should be Meryl yet. It should be a fun next couple weeks though.

As far as the television side of the awards goes, all I can say is YAY! for Homeland. I was ecstatic when the show won, not to mention when Claire Danes won best actress for her role in the Showtime drama (it was tied for my favorite new show of 2011, along with Revenge). No surprise about Modern Family, but really surprised with Laura Dern winning best actress comedy (personally I was rooting for Amy Poehler, but I of course would have taken Tina as well). I was also surprised about Matt LeBlanc and Kelsey Grammar, although I do hear both of those awards were pretty deserving since I don't watch either show. What I found interesting though, is most of the shows that won Sunday night were all on cable or premium cable. Modern Family was the only victor out of the network channels, which is really shocking. The Globes always seemed to favor the new, successful shows from the past fall. The 2012 Emmy show should be a real good one this year then.

Overall, I have to say I had a lot of fun watching the show, although I always do. Take note, I also won my family pool for our ballots, something that should of happened considering I have seen the most movies and shows of all four of them combined. The coolest thing though, is I heard that Octavia Spencer was the one to organize her ballots between her friends last year. You know what that means? I have something in common with a Golden Globe winner. See, we are all "normal" people.

Now I'm going to give you three side notes of my favorite dresses of the evening (Note: I'm kind of biased and actually know nothing about fashion).
3. My third best dressed probably has to be Claire Danes, who wore this classy dress with an awesome back. I couldn't find a picture that shows the back but the front is pretty cool too. Pic here.
2. My second best dressed has to go to Emma Stone, who wore this really different dress that sports two different colors. I think they also go pretty well with her color hair and it was certainly pretty different from the other dresses I saw. Pic here.
1. Can you guess who my No. 1 person is? Yeah, I figured you couldn't. It's Tina of course! She went totally what I thought she was going to wear and looks super good in this tighter fit dress, with a fancy bottom. Usually she doesn't do the fancy bottom, but i personally think she can pull it off. Way to go Tina who looks amazing after about only six months of having her second child. Pic here (although I don't think this picture shows it off that much, but still awesome).

With that I say... Live long and prosper.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A day of films

First to start this blog I wanted to make a new disclaimer with all my readers (which is probably like two people but hey, thanks mom and dad!). Anyways, I have decided I do not want to be on a strict schedule now that I am going back to school next week, so now, when I feel inspired to write about something I will be doing it on whatever day I feel. I'm hoping by doing this, I will in fact actually blog more. I always feel like when you're not on a schedule you actually tend to do things more frequently. Anywho, this blog is not just me talking logistics but actually a day in which is in its fourth year.

Today, me and my good friend Danny had our annual seeing three movies in one day event. Clearly we need a good name for it but I seem to call it movie day. The object is to just see projected Oscar contender films and kind of compare them on the same day and also just knock some out early. If you're curious on what movies we did in the past they are as followed, Year One: Frost/Nixon, Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Doubt. Year Two: Invictus, Nine and Up in the Air. Year Three: The Fighter, 127 Hours and Black Swan (really heavy year). This year, however, might have been the best year as we ended up seeing War Horse, The Artist and The Descendants. So this blog will be dedicated to me reviewing these three fine films.

War Horse
First off let me say it's nice to see Steven Spielberg and John Williams together again in this epic film that totally grabbed my attention and never let go. Not only was the story fantastic but the movie was well paced, artfully acted and so far my favorite. I'm not much of a fan of horses, but this movie might have actually changed my mind. Everything about it was just wonderful, it was the most complete movie I have seen in a long time. When I say complete, I mean great acting, great technical stuff (like sound, art direction, cinematography, direction), a great story and a great score to encompass it all together. Surprisingly there have been a few critics who don't like it, and to be honest I don't have any clue what they don't like about it. It has missed some big nominations in certain awards (like the Director Guild and the Writers Guild) and I really don't know why. This movie might be a little fictional, clearly most of the things that happen probably wouldn't but that is not the point. This is one of the greatest movies set during World War I and it was nothing but Spieldberg expectations. A+ in my book.

The Artist
Hmm, where to begin. This movie was weird. Not in a Black Swan, this is a messed up movie, but in a I don't know what to make of this. After it, me and Danny couldn't decide if the film was being acclaimed because it was a silent film in the 21st Century or because it was a great movie. I guess I was very pleasantly surprised, I thought I was going to hate the no talking thing, but that actually didn't bother me too much. The fact that the movie was similar to a lot of movies done during the '20s is what makes me question it. There is no doubt the two main performances will be nominated, what those actors did to convey what was going on with just their body movements was very impressive. I'm just not sure if this movie is necessarily a Best Picture winning film. I felt the opposite of War Horse. Nonetheless, I think I came to the conclusion that I did in fact like this film. Especially the dog.

The Descendants
There is no doubt about it that this movie strives on the script and the performances, like most George Clooney movies. Like Danny said, this was a very contemporary film (wanna make sure I give him credit for that one). By far one of Clooney's best performance, and there is no doubt he will be nominated, but not sure if he will be able to beat The Artists Jean Dujardin, I do think he was better than Brad Pitt in Moneyball (another for sure nomination). I also thought that Shailene Woodley, or as I'm sure many of you know her as the star of The Secret Life of an American Teenager, was fantastic. There is no doubt she is a better actress then her little ABC Family show lets her to be. She has the Golden Globe nod, but not the SAG, but I am certainly crossing my fingers she gets an Oscar nod. Overall though, I thought the movie was adequate, though it dragged in some parts and will most likely be nominated for Best Picture but has little chance to win it. A quality film nonetheless.

All in all, my verdict is that War Horse was the best film out of the day, and actually my favorite film so far. Of all the films that have been talked about for the Oscars, I have seen those three, Hugo, Moneyball, My Week With Marilyn and Midnight in Paris. I think Hugo was a fantastic film, but I actually liked War Horse better. It is so tough to figure out if that is just because of the story or because of the overall film.

As far as the other categories go this year, the toughest is probably going to be Best Actress. Between Viola Davis killing it in The Help and biopic pieces by Michelle Williams (Marilyn Monroe) and Meryl Streep (Margaret Thatcher), not to mention Glenn Close playing a man who is actually a woman, I'm not confident who will win. Plus you have contenders like Rooney Mara for Dragon Tattoo and Tilda Swinton for a creepy movie, also in the running. Easily the best (meaning most competitive) category. I think Jean Dujardin has the best chance for the Best Actor win.

As of now though, I'm going to try my best to see a couple other films like The Tree of Life and Ides of March. I'm excited to see the Golden Globes on Sunday and then only a short week and two days till the Academy Award nominations come out. If I were you, I would absolutely see War Horse before the Globes presentation on Sunday, plus Hugo. I think those are my favorite of everything I've seen so far this year. Well, except for Harry Potter, but that is in a category on its own (let's not talk about how I don't think it will end up getting a nod).

With that, let's talk about some little side notes.
1. Seriously, what is up with all the movies going to a revamp of 3D. First its announced Titanic is being re-released in IMAX 3D on April 6, then Star Wars: Episode I Phantom Menance is coming out in February. And now, it was announced Finding Nemo will be following that trend. Wonder how much money those are going to make (no doubt Titanic will do fantastic).
2. So this isn't really that exciting, but I did just reread the ending of the second book and there is no doubt this is my next Harry Potter. There was a Hunger Games photo that was released the other day, and even though it doesn't show much, it still makes me very excited.
3. This seems a little bit ridiculous, but somehow does not surprise me. Somehow, The Dark Knight Rises tickets (a film that doesn't open for another six months) have gone on sale and have already sold out in some theaters. Keep in mind these are mostly IMAX theaters in large cities, but still very crazy.

With that I say... Live long and prosper.