SAG Awards Predictions Post

Tonight is the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony, essentially a big, televised dinner party for actors to congratulate themselves. While I love watching and wouldn’t miss it except in the case of famine, flood, biblical plague or nuclear disaster, ( This show is only 17 years old. I haven’t missed one yet) I do wish the other Guilds got equal face time.

The best part of the SAG telecast, for me, is the opening where the camera pans around the room and stops on seemingly random actors who tell us how and when they got their SAG card and then proclaim proudly,  "I…am an actor!"  (Bit of trivia: This tradition was started when Tom Hanks came onstage and took his worn and battered SAG card from his pocket and told the story of how he’d gotten it, and that the card in his hand was the original. The following year, he told the story of how his wife, Rita Wilson, had gotten hers for an episode of "The Brady Bunch.")

At this awards show, the "winners" take home an attractive bronze statue called "The Actor" and since it is peer recognition, the recipients can get very emotional. Makes for great tv. One thing this guild does right is the category called "Best Ensemble Cast."  It is wonderful that a handful of actors are singled out for what should be singular performances, but all actors deliver their dialogue not to blank walls or in a vacuum, but to other flesh and blood actors (unless they’re working with Muppets, animals, green screens or Megan Fox) whose reactions affect the performance. In other words, they need to work together and as a whole in order for the movie, television show etc etc to be considered a success. JMHO, but this is the most important award of the night since it is the only one of its kind.

They also recently added an award for ensemble STUNT acting which is very, very cool.

The nominees for

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:

The Black Swan
The Fighter*
The King’s Speech*
The Social Network
The Kid’s Are Alright

I’ve been rooting for The Fighter to win this award since I saw it, simply because I want to see the actresses who played the seven Ward/Eklund sisters on that stage. And while only the principals are named in the nomination,

  • Amy Adams – Charlene Fleming
  • Christian Bale  – Dicky Eklund
  • Melissa Leo –  Alice Ward
  • Jack McGee –  George Ward
  • Mark Wahlberg – Micky Ward

if "the sisters" were invited to come out to support the film, they will make it up onto that stage.  Failing that, I’m rooting for The King’s Speech, because just like The Fighter, the Best Supporting and Best Actor nominees could not have existed one without the other. This award would be a way to show that “they” get that.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role:

Jeff Bridges – Rooster Cogburn, True Grit
Robert Duvall – Felix Bush, Get Low
Jesse Eisenberg – Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth – King George VI, The King’s Speech*
James Franco – Aron Ralston, 127 Hours

Robert Duvall was a surprise, although if more people had seen the film, Get Low, it might not have been. The film was a quirky little hidden gem about a cantankerous, curmudgeonly hermit who plans his own funeral party, while he’s still alive and Duvall IS the movie.  I don’t however, think Colin Firth will be beaten.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:

Annette Bening – Nic, The Kids Are Alright
Nicole Kidman – Becca, The Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence – Ree Dolly, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman – Nina Sayers, The Black Swan*
Hilary Swank – Betty Ann Waters, Conviction

I fear Annette Bening will go home a bridesmaid yet again since Natalie Portman seems to have this one sewn up. (Both won a Golden Globe, but since the HFPA is the only award giving body that differentiates between Comedy and Drama, Drama almost always trumps Comedy.) 

On the other hand, Bening could spoil the pregnant ballerina’s night. The Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival honored her this past week with the American Riviera Award. Last year they honored Sandra Bullock with the same award and the year before that, Kate Winslet. Do you see the pattern? Both of those women went on to win SAGs and then Oscars for their respective years. It could be complete coincidence…could be…. (JMHO) (2008 they honored Julie Christie who won the SAG for Away From Her, but lost the Oscar to Marion Cotillard for La Vie en Rose so maybe it’s only the SAGs they’re in league with.)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role:

Christian Bale – Dicky Eklund, The Fighter*
John Hawkes – Teardrop, Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner – James Coughlan, The Town
Mark Ruffalo – Paul, The Kid’s Are Alright
Geoffrey Rush – Lionel Logue, The King’s Speech

Geoffrey Rush is a SAG favorite; an Actor’s Actor. I wish he and Christian Bale could share this award, but then they’d have to give a leg to Jeremy Renner.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role:

Amy Adams – Charlene Fleming, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter – Queen Elizabeth, The King’s Speech
Mila Kunis – Lily, The Black Swan
Melissa Leo – Alice Ward, The Fighter*
Hailee Steinfeld – Mattie Ross, True Grit

Just as the tide seems to have turned for The Social Network, the awards buzz seems to have cooled for Melissa Leo and is now circling Hailee Steinfeld. I’m sticking with my original choice.

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture:

Green Zone
Inception*
Robin Hood

Okay, I’ve seen all three of these films and I can certainly see why the stunt actors division of the Screen Actors Guild would nominate them. Just watch the credits and you’ll see there are seemingly hundreds of names listed for each.  Think about the climactic battle on the beach in Robin Hood, any number of scenes in Inception. Green Zone was a war zone. Incredible stunts in all three. I’m going with Inception. Again, I have to cite the fight in the hallway that was done without CGI , but with a room that turned and the hotel scenes in zero gravity.

I’m not talking about television here, although since this is actors honoring actors, if Edgar Ramirez does not win for Carlos…well, I don’t know what I’ll do…but I’ll do something! *shakes fist* (Seriously, we all know Al Pacino is a great actor. He’s an All-Star. If they had an Actors Hall of Fame, he’d definitely be in on the first ballot.  In the immortal words of Marty Feldman, "What are you doin’ in there! Give someone else a chance!")

Thanks for reading.

My daily moment of Zen…

old school…for my homies…

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Obligatory Oscar Nominations Post…with Gloating

It’s NOMINATIONS DAY!!!

My own personal advent has begun. The nominations for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards were announced this morning. As I’ve said before, Oscar Night has always been my High Holy Day and I’m more excited than I’ve been in years.

Ask me if I feel vindicated (go ahead, ask me) about John Powell’s nomination for Best Original Score for How to Train Your Dragon, not to mention the film’s nomination as Best Animated Feature. I’m not above blowing my own trumpet and saying, once again, that I called this back in April!!  I let out an audible YES! when HTTYD was the first of the three films announced in their category. (Good thing the boss wasn’t in yet.)

Okay, having gotten all of that out, without further ado, here is the complete list of nominations:

Supporting Actor:
Christian Bale – The Fighter

John Hawkes – Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner – The Town
Mark Ruffalo – The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech

Geoffrey Rush would still be my ultimate pick if I were doing the choosing. Without Rush, (or at least an actor of his caliber) Colin Firth’s performance would not only have existed in a vacuum, but would NOT have had the impact that it did, but I know better than to bet against Bale this time around. That’s not to say he’s undeserving of the honor and I do believe the category is his to lose.  I am very happy Jeremy Renner made the cut, hell I’m happy Mark Ruffalo did, too. John Hawkes was a surprise but not an unwelcome one. While I still maintain that Winter’s Bone rests almost entirely on the shoulders of Jennifer Lawrence, the key word is ‘almost.’ Hawkes’ Teardrop was a menacing scene-stealer and it’s always exciting when journeymen actors (eg: Jacki Weaver) are recognized, especially in little seen films.

Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams – The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo – The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit
Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom

Hailee Steinfeld ( and regardless of one’s opinion on the film itself this little girl gave one hell of a performance,) should have been nominated in the Best Actress category. As I’ve already stated, she has more screen time than Jeff Bridges, but obviously the Academy didn’t see it that way and her spot belonged to Julianne Moore for The Kid’s Are Alright. (JMHO, but) I am beyond thrilled Jacki Weaver was recognized by the Academy for a film ( Animal Kingdom) probably seen less than Winter’s Bone. (Maybe they did watch those screeners after all!) Helena Bonham Carter has long been a favorite of mine and I think she’s simply stunning in The King’s Speech, but I do still think that the category belongs to Melissa Leo, and so far only BAFTA disagrees.

ACTOR:
Javier Bardem – Biutiful
Jeff Bridges – True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
James Franco – 127 Hours

I’ve already talked about my perceptions of Jesse Eisenberg’s performance in The Social Network. JMHO, but if the Academy just couldn’t bring themselves to nominate Marky Mark (for a performance that was the flip side of Christian Bale’s) then what about Paul Giamatti? Kevin Spacey? Leonardo DiCaprio (for either Inception or Shutter Island, both of which were better, more powerful and more nuanced performances than Eisenberg’s.)  I suppose one could make the argument that it’s a moot point since this is Colin Firth’s year. While I wholeheartedly agree with the latter, the former precludes the notion that it’s the nomination that counts. Again, JMHO, but nominating Eisenberg is a product of the hive mind that anointed The Social Network as the film to beat at this year’s awards.

ACTRESS:
Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman – Black Swan
Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine

I’m happy that Michelle Williams was recognized for Blue Valentine. (I can even understand the omission of Ryan Gosling-her’s was the ‘showier’ role.) The rest of the list offers no real surprises, although it would have been nice if they hadn’t played it safe by giving Kidman the nod and instead made the bolder choice of Lesley Manville for Another Year,  but this night will belong to Natalie Portman.

PICTURE:
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone


A few words about the Producer’s Guild Award and its impact on the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture:
The Guild’s award is generally considered to be a pretty good indicator of strength in the Oscar race because so many of its members are also voting members of the Academy. Last year’s PGA winner, The Hurt Locker, went on to win the Oscar when until then Avatar had been considered a lock.

This year’s "Avatar" is The Social Network, which appeared to be on course for a Best Picture win, and generally considered to be the front-runner, after garnering more than 90 guild and critics association honors, including the Golden Globe.  The PGA win for The King’s Speech, however, has breathed new life into the race and solidified it as a real contender for the Oscar.

Also of note is the fact that the Academy membership skews a little older than the youth driven host picks and other nominated films would seem to indicate. It is in no way out of the realm of possibility that they would go for a ‘feel-good triumph over adversity’ with attractive leads and pretty costumes and sets, over the "Facebook movie."

For these reasons, and because it deserves it, I’m going with The King’s Speech for the win.
 

DIRECTOR:
Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan
David Fincher – The Social Network
Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech
Joel & Ethan Coen – True Grit
David O. Russell – The Fighter

I am as upset as the rest of the bloggisphere about the omission of Christopher Nolan (for Inception) from this list. I will, however, ask the question that I’ve been asking everyone else I’ve talked to about it: Who would you have dropped and why?  The five names on this list are all directors of films with a Best Picture nomination, which is exactly why this category needs to be expanded to ten names, to better correspond with the list of Best Picture nominees.  As I’ve said before, those ten films didn’t direct themselves. If they are worthy of recognition, shouldn’t  those at the helm of those films be worthy of recognition as well? There is also a school of thought that says Inception will spoil as Best Picture to right this wrong. It could happen. Actors vote for actors, directors vote for directors etc, but the entire voting body votes for Best Picture. We’ll see how mad those with a vote really are.

In any case, although it’s rare that a director win without his film winning Best Picture and vice versa, I think David Fincher will win for Best Director.  My heart is obviously with Tom Hooper and The King’s Speech.

**In light of  his DGA win, I’m amending this and unequivocally going with Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech.  edited 1/31/11

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY 
Mike Leigh – Another Year
Scott Silver & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson – The Fighter
Christopher Nolan – Inception
Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg – The Kids Are All Right
David Seidler – The King’s Speech

I’m pleased to see Mike Leigh’s Another Year recognized for something and I predicted that it would be in this category. I don’t think anyone can beat Christopher Nolan. Inception was as high-concept as they come and that concept was conceived by Nolan and driven by his multi-layered mind bender of a script and he managed to wrap it around compelling, well fleshed-out characters and made it understandable to the masses with witty dialogue that managed to explain it all without dumbing it down.
 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy – 127 Hours
Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network
Michael Arndt – Toy Story 3
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen – True Grit
Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini – Winter’s Bone

I’m disappointed for Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard. Having read "The Prince of Thieves," I can appreciate their adapted screenplay for The Town that much more.  I think Winter’s Bone got their spot, but there were more than ten movies made last year and a lot of them had great scripts. I can’t take too much issue with this list, and I still believe, for the same reasons I believe he won the Golden Globe, that Aaron Sorkin has this one.

ANIMATED FEATURE:
How to Train Your Dragon**
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Again, I’m already on record with my feelings on this category.  While the fact that TS3 has been nominated in the Best Picture category as well as this one might give HTTYD a slight edge, I don’t, unfortunately, think it will be enough to overcome the category’s ‘300 LB Gorilla’. This is one occasion when I’m just happy that my favorite got an invitation to the big dance. (And unlike at the Golden Globes, I hope it has a big show of support walking the red carpet. He’ll probably be asked to present, but it is my hope that when a microphone is stuck in his face, Gerard Butler will be able to talk about his Academy Award nominated film and not just "who he’s wearing." Again, I repeat myself lol.)
 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
Biutiful (Mexico)
Dogtooth (Greece)
In a Better World (Denmark)
Incendies (Canada)
Outside the Law (Algeria)

One of the toughest categories to call, especially after Denmark’s Golden Globe win. Politically speaking, I think Biutiful will win because Javier Bardem won’t. I’m probably wrong. Don’t worry, I’m used to it.

ART DIRECTION:
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Inception
The King’s Speech
True Grit

Tough category.  I’m gonna go with Alice in Wonderland. Harry Potter will probably get it next year for DH pt 2 since it will be the last of the series (much like LOTR:Return of the King cleaned up).

CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Black Swan
Inception
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Another tough one. The list of nominees matches that of the American Society of Cinematographers. They offer no clues,however, since they don’t give out their awards until February 13. Roger Deakins, nominated for True Grit, and who consulted on the visuals for How to Train Your Dragon, will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Does that preclude him from winning an ASC award for True Grit?   I only mention it because a lot of the voting members of the cinematographers wing of the Academy are also ASC members, but Roger Deakins is a favorite. Wally Pfister has been nominated three other times for an Academy Award, all for films with Christopher Nolan in the director’s chair. I think I have to go with Inception, although I feel like I’m throwing darts.


DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:

Exit Through the Gift Shop
Gasland
Inside Job
Restrepo
Waste Land

I live in Boston where documentaries often have long theatrical runs and it’s sometimes hard for me to remember that the rest of the country doesn’t have the same opportunities to see them. I’ve seen Restrepo (as well as Inside Job, which is still playing here) and in the absence of The Tillman Story, a big disappointment, JMHO, I have to go with that one. No one’s going to see The Company Men (although I did and I liked it, it’s just too soon) and no one’s going to vote for Inside Job.

DOCUMENTARY SHORT:
Killing in the Name
Poster Girl
Strangers No More
Sun Come Up
The Warriors of Qiugang

ANIMATED SHORT:
Day & Night
The Gruffalo
Let’s Pollute
The Lost Thing
Madagascar, carnet de voyage

LIVE-ACTION SHORT:
The Confession
The Crush
God of Love
Na Wewe
Wish 143

All three of the shorts categories are impossible (for me) to call. I’ve never even heard of any of them. I hope to do something about that because they are being released to theaters. Hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to see all of the animated, live-action and documentary shorts when they come to your town in three programs with all of the films in their category for 90 minutes. Pretty good deal. I recommend it if you’re trying to win an office pool. Knowing or guessing the shorts is usually the difference between winning and losing. JMHO

VISUAL EFFECTS:
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Hereafter
Inception
Iron Man 2

For the most part, I am terrible when it comes to handicapping the technical awards. This category would seem to be a no-brainer for Inception, but the other four films wouldn’t be nominated if they weren’t equally as visually stunning. My mind keeps going back, however, to the image of Paris being folded like an Escher staircase and the fight in the collapsing hotel hallway. Inception it is.

COSTUME DESIGN:
Alice in Wonderland
I Am Love
The King’s Speech
The Tempest
True Grit

Do we go with period realism like True Grit or The King’s Speech, or out and out fantasy like Alice in Wonderland or The Tempest? I’m going for The King’s Speech because I really went for Colin Firth in a kilt. (Hey, these are my picks!)

MAKEUP:
Barney’s Version
The Way Back
The Wolfman

I’d love for The Way Back to win just because I want Peter Weir’s beautiful, if bleak, film to be recognized in some way. I wish it had been for cinematography or with a nod to Ed Harris in the Best Supporting Actor category, but I’d take Make-up Design. It’s hard to beat a film where the make-up is almost another character, so I grudgingly have to go with The Wolfman.

FILM EDITING:
Black Swan
The Fighter
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network

SOUND MIXING:
Inception
The King’s Speech
Salt
The Social Network
True Grit

SOUND EDITING:
Inception
Toy Story 3
Tron Legacy
True Grit
Unstoppable

ORIGINAL SCORE:
John Powell – How to Train Your Dragon
Hans Zimmer – Inception
Alexandre Desplat – The King’s Speech
A.R. Rahman – 127 Hours
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – The Social Network

I can’t call this one for Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (actually, I refuse) just because they won the Golden Globe (for so many reasons, but mostly) because the Oscar nomination ballots were due back before the Globes were announced. So just like with the other categories, the winners of the Globes had no bearing on what was nominated by the Academy.  And there is just no way in hell I can pick another score on this list.  I loved Desplat’s score for The King’s Speech. The Academy is already on record for appreciating A. R. Rahman, he won for his score for Slumdog Millionaire and Hans Zimmer always delivers, BUT, I’ve said all along that Powell’s score for HTTYD is the best I’ve heard all year and I stand by that.  If the Academy recognized it as worthy of a nomination, I am putting my faith in the voters to give it the award. JMHO

ORIGINAL SONG:
"Coming Home" from Country Strong
"I See the Light" from Tangled
"If I Rise" from 127 Hours
"We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3

I have no horse in this race and I don’t know if I should be surprised that (the by all accounts dreadful) Burlesque was completely overlooked. Since Jonsi didn’t make the cut, I’m going with perennial favorite Randy Newman.

** If my personal pick differs from what I think will actually win, I’ve highlighted that in pink.

So, we’ll all get the chance to see how much of a crackpot I am on February 27th. Thanks for reading. 

Here’s your treat:

Okay so it’s really my treat. At least I share.

*tip o’ the pin to my tireless editor, Connie, for keeping me on the good sides of Strunk and White

John Powell & the Score for HTTYD Nominated for a BAFTA!

I watched the taped BAFTA nominations this morning and because during the press conference, featuring the wonderfully clipped British tones of Academy Chairman Tim Corrie and the equally mellifluous and telegenic Dominic Cooper and Tallulah Riley, (found here: bcove.me/rf76m173) they only showed us the "major" awards such as those for acting, writing,  and directing, I very nearly missed this little tidbit:

JOHN POWELL HAS BEEN NOMINATED FOR A BAFTA FOR THE SCORE OF  HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON !!!!

Sorry for shouting. Can you tell I’m excited??  After both Mr. Powell and this wonderful music were ignored by the HFPA and The Golden Globes, I was beginning to despair that they would be recognized this award season. "Oh ye of little faith…"  Leave it up to the British to know quality when they hear it.

The film has also received one of the three nominations for Best Animated Film!!!

Now that I’m calmer, I can also say that I’m a little disappointed by their other nominations, specifically where’s Melissa Leo for The Fighter?? I’m on record has having enjoyed Amy Adams’ performance in that film, but if they were allowed to choose only one, it most certainly should have been Ms. Leo (and funnily enough, it does appear that most of the rest of the award-nominating world agrees with me. AMPAS has, of course, yet to weigh in on the matter.)

On the other hand, I love that they nominated Hailee Steinfeld as a lead actress and not a supporting one. It makes no difference that she won’t win, she’s only fourteen, she can wait, but it is a better fit, since if the yardstick is screen time, she has more than Jeff Bridges who is considered a leading actor.

Complete list of 2011 BAFTA nominees:

BEST FILM

BLACK SWANMike Medavoy, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin

INCEPTIONEmma Thomas, Christopher Nolan

THE KING’S SPEECHIain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin

THE SOCIAL NETWORKScott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Céan Chaffin

TRUE GRITScott Rudin, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM

127 HOURSDanny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, Christian Colson, John Smithson

ANOTHER YEARMike Leigh, Georgina Lowe

FOUR LIONSChris Morris, Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain, Mark Herbert, Derrin Schlesinger

THE KING’S SPEECHTom Hooper, David Seidler, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin

MADE IN DAGENHAMNigel Cole, William Ivory, Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley


OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER

THE ARBORDirector, Producer – Clio Barnard, Tracy O’Riordan

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOPDirector, Producer – Banksy, Jaimie D’Cruz

FOUR LIONSDirector/Writer – Chris Morris

MONSTERSDirector/Writer – Gareth Edwards

SKELETONSDirector/Writer – Nick Whitfield

DIRECTOR

127 HOURSDanny Boyle

BLACK SWANDarren Aronofsky

INCEPTIONChristopher Nolan

THE KING’S SPEECHTom Hooper

THE SOCIAL NETWORKDavid Fincher

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

BLACK SWANMark Heyman, Andrés Heinz, John McLaughlin

THE FIGHTERScott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson

INCEPTIONChristopher Nolan

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHTLisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg

THE KING’S SPEECHDavid Seidler

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

127 HOURSDanny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOORasmus Heisterberg, Nikolaj Arcel

THE SOCIAL NETWORKAaron Sorkin

TOY STORY 3Michael Arndt

TRUE GRITJoel Coen, Ethan Coen

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

BIUTIFULAlejandro González Iñárritu, Jon Kilik, Fernando Bovaira

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOOSøren Stærmose, Niels Arden Oplev

I AM LOVELuca Guadagnino, Francesco Melzi D’Eril, Marco Morabito, Massimiliano Violante

OF GODS AND MENXavier Beauvois

THE SECRET IN THEIR EYESMariela Besuievsky, Juan José Campanella

ANIMATED FILM

DESPICABLE MEChris Renaud, Pierre Coffin

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGONChris Sanders, Dean DeBlois * although we know this is where my heart lies

TOY STORY 3Lee Unkrich

LEADING ACTOR

JAVIER BARDEMBiutiful

JEFF BRIDGESTrue Grit

JESSE EISENBERGThe Social Network

COLIN FIRTHThe King’s Speech

JAMES FRANCO127 Hours

LEADING ACTRESS

ANNETTE BENINGThe Kids Are All Right

JULIANNE MOOREThe Kids Are All Right

NATALIE PORTMANBlack Swan

NOOMI RAPACEThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

HAILEE STEINFELDTrue Grit

SUPPORTING ACTOR

CHRISTIAN BALEThe Fighter

ANDREW GARFIELDThe Social Network

PETE POSTLETHWAITEThe Town

MARK RUFFALOThe Kids Are All Right

GEOFFREY RUSHThe King’s Speech

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

AMY ADAMSThe Fighter

HELENA BONHAM CARTERThe King’s Speech

BARBARA HERSHEYBlack Swan

LESLEY MANVILLEAnother Year  (because she’s British and they gave her Melissa Leo’s spot)

MIRANDA RICHARDSONMade in Dagenham

ORIGINAL MUSIC

127 HOURSAR Rahman

ALICE IN WONDERLANDDanny Elfman

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGONJohn Powell  COME ON!

INCEPTIONHans Zimmer

THE KING’S SPEECHAlexandre Desplat

CINEMATOGRAPHY

127 HOURSAnthony Dod Mantle, Enrique Chediak

BLACK SWANMatthew Libatique

INCEPTIONWally Pfister

THE KING’S SPEECHDanny Cohen

TRUE GRITRoger Deakins

EDITING

127 HOURSJon Harris

BLACK SWANAndrew Weisblum

INCEPTIONLee Smith

THE KING’S SPEECHTariq Anwar

THE SOCIAL NETWORKAngus Wall, Kirk Baxter

PRODUCTION DESIGN

ALICE IN WONDERLANDRobert Stromberg, Karen O’Hara

BLACK SWANThérèse DePrez, Tora Peterson

INCEPTIONGuy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Doug Mowat

THE KING’S SPEECHEve Stewart, Judy Farr

TRUE GRITJess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh

COSTUME DESIGN

ALICE IN WONDERLANDColleen Atwood

BLACK SWANAmy Westcott

THE KING’S SPEECHJenny Beavan

MADE IN DAGENHAMLouise Stjernsward

TRUE GRITMary Zophres

SOUND

127 HOURSGlenn Freemantle, Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Steven C Laneri, Douglas Cameron

BLACK SWANKen Ishii, Craig Henighan, Dominick Tavella

INCEPTIONRichard King, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A Rizzo, Ed Novick

THE KING’S SPEECHJohn Midgley, Lee Walpole, Paul Hamblin

TRUE GRITSkip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, Peter F Kurland, Douglas Axtell

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS

ALICE IN WONDERLANDNominees TBC

BLACK SWANDan Schrecker

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1Tim Burke, John Richardson, Nicolas Ait’Hadi, Christian Manz

INCEPTIONChris Corbould, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Peter Bebb

TOY STORY 3Nominees TBC

MAKE UP & HAIR

ALICE IN WONDERLANDNominees TBC

BLACK SWANJudy Chin, Geordie Sheffer

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin

THE KING’S SPEECHFrances Hannon

MADE IN DAGENHAMLizzie Yianni Georgiou

SHORT ANIMATION

THE EAGLEMAN STAGMichael Please

MATTER FISHERDavid Prosser

THURSDAYMatthias Hoegg

SHORT FILM

CONNECTSamuel Abrahams, Beau Gordon

LINPiers Thompson, Simon Hessel

RITEMichael Pearce, Ross McKenzie, Paul Welsh

TURNINGKarni Arieli, Saul Freed, Alison Sterling, Kat Armour-Brown

UNTIL THE RIVER RUNS REDPaul Wright, Poss Kondeatis

ORANGE WEDNESDAYS RISING AWARD

GEMMA ARTERTON

ANDREW GARFIELD

TOM HARDY  (WOO  HOO!)

AARON JOHNSON

EMMA STONE

The Orange British Academy Film Awards will be given out Sunday 13 February 2011, the ceremony again hosted by the wonderful Jonathan Ross and can be seen here in the States on BBCAmerica (8pm ET which is not live due to the 5 hr time difference.)

Superfluous Golden Globes Prediction Post-Edited w/Results

Before it’s too late, I figured I should probably get my predictions in for tonight’s Golden Globes, although whether I get any of them right or not matters to no one else but me, I am sure. (But we all know how much I like to be right, so if I am, I want it on record. )

Okay, so on to the nominations and my picks. First, I have to say how excited I am that I have actually seen all five of the films nominated in the Drama category. It represents not only a return to form, but a personal triumph for me since I can’t tell  you the last time that happened.

The nominees for Best Motion Picture – Drama
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The King’s Speech
The Social Network

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association are an odd bunch. There are only 82 members (plus 7 add’l Lifetime Members, which I can only assume is like "emeritus," but I don’t know whether that status includes voting rights, as well as 3 Affiliate Members. I have no idea what that means.) In any case that’s a pretty small group considering how much clout they wield. According to the mission statement on their website, aside from the big bash with the gold plated statuettes, their main raison d’etre is philanthropy. At a luncheon in July 2010, the HFPA "presented a record $1,541,000 in financial grants to 41 film schools and non-profit organizations."

So, with that as background and since this is the Golden Globes we’re discussing here, I suppose anything is possible in any of these categories, particularly BP-Drama. There are too many well-documented instances of the HFPA going off in a completely unexpected direction (more on that in the next category,) so I wouldn’t count any of them out. However, while all five of these films have enormous merit and I couldn’t be unhappy if any of them won, I believe it comes down to The Social Network and The King’s Speech. 

The Social Network
was anointed as the film to beat back in September, upon its release and it continues to clean up with various critics association awards and guild nominations. Its latest victory was the Critics Choice Award. I have seen it (finally) and while there is no question it is a finely crafted movie, borne along by talented wordsmith Aaron Sorkin’s  script, I stand by my initial impression. It belongs in a time capsule, but I’m not convinced it’s the "Best Picture" of the year.  What makes it truly special, and as always, this is JMHO, is that it is a behind the scenes look at the creation of the phenomenon which has come to define the age we live in. Otherwise it’s just the story of a hyper-intelligent computer geek with retarded social skills who wants desperately to be seen as "cool" and who manages to piss off and/or alienate everyone he comes into contact with. None of those things make it a classic or even a movie I want to watch more than once. That may change, but my point is I’ve already seen Inception, The King’s Speech and The Fighter twice and I know I want to see all of them again.

I have to go with The King’s Speech. First, because it is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association doing the voting and second because I still maintain it’s the best film of the year. JMHO

Got this one wrong, because I picked with my heart and not my head,  which doesn’t bode well for my favorite movie come Oscar night.

The Nominees for Best Motion Picture -Musical or Comedy
Alice in Wonderland
Burlesque
The Kids Are All Right
Red
The Tourist

This category is a classic example of HFPA lunacy. At first glance it would appear as if they threw the names of a bunch of movies that vaguely fit the category description into a hat after a kegger at  Phil Berk’s*  place. I wonder who got to draw them out? Johnny Depp or Cher? (The Tourist? Burlesque? Red?? Really???) But, upon closer inspection, and a little digging, it makes ( a little) more sense. The members of the HFPA delivered to their home countries essentially favorable reviews of all of these films. (The releasing studios of some of them are also said to have provided expensive perks to said members, a practice given tacit approval in the past by virtue of the fact that it was largely ignored. Partly because of the wacky choices in this category, however, this year there is controversy swirling around the selection process. There may be changes ahead. But I digress…)

MY pick is The Kids Are All Right. What I think the HFPA went for is Alice in Wonderland.

Okay so I hedged my bet here. See above lol.  I’m glad the one I wanted to win actually did.

 
The Nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
Colin Firth for The King’s Speech
James Franco for 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg for The Fighter

Back to The Social Network, I  have to say I don’t understand the kudos that Jesse Eisenberg has been garnering.  I didn’t find his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg to be that different from any other character that Jesse Eisenberg has ever played, he just did it with a straight face. A totally straight face. As in blank. His line delivery reminded me of Rain Man. I don’t think the real Mark Zuckerberg is autistic so why did Eisenberg play him that way? I’d always thought he was cast because he physically resembled the actual person.

I must confess that I am one of those that James Franco’s grandmother called a "pussy" because I didn’t see 127 Hours simply because I didn’t want to watch someone hack their own arm off. I understand there was more to the film and Franco’s performance than that and I’ll rent it some day I’m sure.

I’ve already discussed Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter. This very well may be the role of his career and he deserves the nomination. Ryan Gosling was phenomenal in Blue Valentine. This category is one reason I don’t understand how so many critics and bloggers can complain that 2010 was a crappy year for film.  I’m tired of reading it. If the choices are this tough then there were some truly amazing performances last year and we, as movie goers, win.

Having said that, I’m sticking with Colin Firth, again for reasons I’ve already given in another post. Even with bamboo being shoved under my fingernails, I’d still say his George VI was the best performance of the year. Flawless.

YAY!!!!

The Nominees for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Halle Berry for Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine

Okay, I have not seen Frankie and Alice nor Rabbit Hole. I can only assume that the former played somewhere prior December 31 of last year in order for Halle Berry to have qualified for this award, but I haven’t heard a thing about it since the pics of her running down the street in a huge Afro wig hit the internet last spring.  The latter I have avoided. I’ll see it when it makes it to dvd. I’m sure Nicole Kidman acts her ass off. 
The remaining three performances are all fantastic and all emotionally raw, none more so than Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine. She is amazing. The scene in the hotel room alone would have earned her a nomination. I’ve said before about Winter’s Bone that without Jennifer Lawrence’s fierce and fearless portrayal of Ree Dolly, there is no movie. These two will definitely be battling it out for the Independent Spirit Award, where Natalie Portman is anything but a lock.

Speaking of Ms. Portman, I do believe, since at this dance she has no competition from Ms. Bening, that the award is hers. The Golden Globes are the first big mainstream awards ceremony of the year and while the announcement of her pregnancy came too late to help her here (the way it is believed it probably will with the Academy,) she has already won once before as a supporting actress(Closer in 2005.) More to the point, her beautiful, fragile, terrified and terrifying ballerina is an exquisite performance.

YAY!

The Nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture -Musical or Comedy
Johnny Depp for The Tourist
Johnny Depp for Alice in Wonderland
Paul Giamatti for Barney’s Version
Jake Gyllenhaal for Love and Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey for Casino Jack

I really don’t feel strongly about any of these nominations. Don’t get me wrong, I looove Kevin Spacey but Casino Jack hasn’t made it to Beantown yet. Neither has Barney’s Version and I’m a huge Paul Giamatti fan. It’s either going to be Johnny Depp or Johnny Depp, so I’m going to flip a coin and say Johnny Depp.

I’m thrilled that I not only got it wrong but that Giamatti won! Huge, but pleasant surprise. Paul Giamatti beat Johnny Depp twice!

The Nominees for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture -Musical or Comedy
Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right
Anne Hathaway for Love and Other Drugs
Angelina Jolie for The Tourist
Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right
Emma Stone for Easy A

Unless something truly bizarre happens, Annette Bening should have this. She’s the tough but tender core of her movie and an industry favorite. I’m glad that there are two "Best Actresses" at the Golden Globes because in the almost certain event they are both nominated for an Oscar, Bening will have to go up against Portman, and frankly, I don’t like her chances.

YAY!

The Nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Christian Bale for The Fighter
Michael Douglas for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield for The Social Network
Jeremy Renner for The Town
Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech

I loved Christian Bale in The Fighter. I adored Geoffrey Rush in The King’s Speech. I’ve been in Jeremy Renner’s corner for a long time. Michael Douglas could take it because the tabloid press made it seem like he was at death’s door.  Andrew Garfield?  I’d like to say he should be happy to be here, but he has already walked away with some critics’ top honors and frankly, he did make me feel Eduardo Saverin’s pain, but if someone from The Social Network had to be nominated in this category, why no mention of Armie Hammer? He played two roles!

Bale took the Critics Choice award last night, but I’m going to go with Geoffrey Rush for basically the same reason I went with The King’s Speech.

This was basically a coin toss and I am in no way disapppointed that Christian Bale won (and now this is another category that is a virtual sure thing at the Oscars.)

The Nominees for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams for The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter for The King’s Speech
Mila Kunis for Black Swan
Melissa Leo for The Fighter
Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom

Amy Adams played against type which is always good for a nomination. I’ve already sung her praises as well as those of Helena Bonham Carter. Mila Kunis was very good, but The Black Swan belonged to Natalie Portman. I am so happy that Jacki Weaver is even nominated that I won’t be at all disappointed if she doesn’t win. In fact, I don’t believe that she will. I believe the award will go to Melissa Leo, for the performance I compared to Weaver’s when I first discussed The Fighter.  Leo is another actor who’s long been deserving and whose time has come.

YAY!!!!!

Best Director – Motion Picture
Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
David Fincher for The Social Network
Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech
Christopher Nolan for Inception
David O. Russell for The Fighter

Here’s what I don’t get: The HFPA has wisely chosen to make a distinction in the "Best Picture" category between Comedy (or Musical) and Drama, something a lot of people (myself included) wish that the AMPAS would adopt as well. How then do they lump the directors (and the writers) of these same films into just one category? This makes no sense to me. Now, having said that, apparently this year all of the nominated films in the Comedy category directed themselves. The five gentlemen honored with a nomination for Best Director (and yes, after a brief detour last year, we appear to have returned to the land of misogyny, sorry Lisa Cholodenko,) are all from the Drama category.

I don’t want to say David Fincher just because his movie’s cleaning up all over the place, but whichever film wins Best Picture-Drama, its director will win this category.
I think. In which case, since I’ve thrown my lot in with The King’s Speech, I’ll go with Tom Hooper. Although again, I have to say they are all deserving and I could not quibble about any of them walking away with the award.  Nolan may get it because they have to give the film something. I’m waffling I know. I may edit this post. LOL

Again, intellectually I knew that Fincher would most likely get it, I wanted Tom Hooper to get it (and his movie to take that prize,) but any one of them could have surprised and would have been deserving.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
127 Hours: Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
Inception: Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right : Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko
The King’s Speech : David Seidler
The Social Network : Aaron Sorkin

I have a similar gripe about this category as I do about the Directors category. At least the Oscars divide it up into Original and Adapted.

I’d love to say I think The King’s Speech will win, or even Inception, but I have to go with The Social Network. Aaron Sorkin managed to write a film in which nearly everyone and everything, including an educational institution with a 250 year history, was completely unlikeable, but was still riveting. I couldn’t turn away. It was like a well crafted train wreck.

But I had to wonder about this: "You’re not an asshole Mark, you’re just trying so hard to be."  WTF? Was that an afterthought by the producers so that they wouldn’t get sued? My first thought was "No! He IS an asshole!" but then Rashida Jones’ next line sums it all up: "Every creation myth needs a devil."

Mark Zuckerberg as written by Aaron Sorkin made me feel sorry for the Winklevoss twins. I’ll bet no one EVER feels sorry for the real Winklevoss twins.

YAY! 

Best Original Score -Motion Picture
127 Hours (2010): A.R. Rahman
Alice in Wonderland (2010): Danny Elfman
Inception (2010): Hans Zimmer
The King’s Speech (2010): Alexandre Desplat
The Social Network (2010): Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

I’m so disappointed that the score for How to Train Your Dragon is not among the nominees here that I’m tempted to just skip the category. I think Danny Elfman got John Powell’s spot just because he’s Danny Elfman. I really didn’t find anything special or memorable about the score for Alice in Wonderland.  Of the scores on this list, the only one I can really say that about is The King’s Speech (which is my pick although I have the sneaking suspicion Hans Zimmer could steal for Inception.)

So not impressed here.

Best Original Song -Motion Picture
Burlesque (2010/I): Samuel Dixon, Christina Aguilera, Sia Furler (“Bound to You”)
Burlesque (2010/I): Diane Warren (“You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me”)
Country Strong (2010): Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges (“Coming Home”)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010): Carrie Underwood, David Hodges, Hillary Lindsey (“There’s A Place For Us”)
Tangled (2010): Alan Menken, Glenn Slater (“I See the Light”)

Again, where is "Sticks and Bones" by Jonsi from HTTYD?? C’mon! People saw that movie! They heard that song! This is another category with questionable choices at best.  I’m going with the song from Tangled simply because the HFPA has shown Alan Mencken some love in the past and they would recognize his name. (Although whoever Hillary Lindsey is, she has a Johnny Depp of a chance to steal)

Should have known. Cher apparently really did a PR blitz on voters. I don’t care.

Best Animated Film
Despicable Me
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Tangled
Toy Story 3

I know what you’re thinking, "Gee, I wonder which one it will be??" she said facetiously. Okay my pick is OBVIOUSLY HTTYD, but unless the HFPA pulls a Marisa Tomei,  ("and the Golden Globe goes to The Illusionist") then the winner will be Toy Story 3.

YAY

It’s not sour grapes that I’m not happy  to be right here. No, I’m  more annoyed about Director Lee Unkrich’s pre-show remarks. He was apparently voicing his disappointment about the fact that his category was a foregone conclusion and how nice it would have been to have "some competition."  I really hope that story gets picked up and there is some TS3 back-lash come Oscar time.  (Okay so maybe THAT’S sour grapes.)

Best Foreign Language Film
Biutiful (Mexico/Spain)
The Concert (France)
The Edge (Russia)
I Am Love (Italy)
In a Better World (Denmark)

Now, this is really a tough category to call. For one thing, I  haven’t seen any of them. For another, I have to wonder how many HFPA members are from each of the submitting countries. I haven’t parsed it out, but if there are a predominant number of members from Spanish speaking countries are they more likely to vote for Biutiful? I’ve at least heard of that one and will see it eventually, although what I’ve  heard is that aside from Javier Bardem’s wonderful performance, the film is only  "meh."
 
The other film I’ve  heard of and have even seen a trailer for is I Am Love.  It looks gorgeous and interesting and I will probably see it. So on that completely subjective basis, I’ve already narrowed it down to two.  Using the names in a hat method of selection: Biutiful is my pick.

Well, I said I had no clue LOL but this was a surprise to most people I think.

Phew! Do I have the wherewithal to do this again in a month?

Now I hope no one seriously thought I was going to continue on to the television categories. If so, then I’m sorry to disappoint, however, I will say this:  I am seriously and strenuously rooting for Edgar Ramirez to win Best Actor in a miniseries for Carlos. I can’t make the case for this film too strongly. It is definitely worth the investment of your time. (FYI-The Sundance Channel is again running the whole thing on Thurs. 20 January 2011. This is what Tivo was invented for.) I’m also rooting for  him to show up on the red carpet, but that’s another story.

I would also be very happy if Idris Elba won for "Luther," a six part BBC series about a flawed, but gifted detective with a fucked up personal life and a temper. (For those who haven’t seen it, BBC America will probably rerun it again before the start of series #2)

Being a realist (most of the time,) I have already accepted that what I want counts for virtually nothing and Al Pacino will take this category anyway.

Okay, got this one right, but I’m not happy about it. Edgar Ramirez was robbed, especially given the very happy surprise of Carlos winning Best Miniseries.  See this movie people!

Final tally: 7 (and a half) right out of 15 picks on this page.   Batting .500 – I predict I’ll do better next month.

Hmm…whatever shall I do to console myself….

Oh I know!


*Don’t forget to click*

*Philip Berk-HFPA President

Dueling Centurions- pt 2

With the US release still scheduled for February 11, we are finally starting to get clips and pics from The Eagle (of the Ninth*)

Courtesy of Yahoo Movies comes a pretty good "Behind-the-Scenes" clip.

Despite the fact that I am ambivalent at best about the lead, I’d probably see this even without the prospect of watching Mark Strong play a "good guy." (And at least it sounds like Mark Strong in the above clip. For some reason (which I cannot figure out and have been able to find no reference to) he sounds like he’s been dubbed in the trailer.

Listen for yourself (trailer from Focus Features):

As I posted when discussing Centurion, it remains to be seen which of the two is a better take on the story of the lost 9th Legion of Rome. Centurion was not well received by critics, although I enjoyed it for what it was…plus you know, Fassbender. Hopefully, with the release of The Eagle, those who still haven’t seen it will be tempted to pick up Centurion on dvd.

My Daily Moment of Zen

Anyone who knows me, knew this was coming…









C’mon, was I really expected to stop at just one??? Oh and *clicky clicky*

And just like the groundhog, after a LOOOOOONG hibernation, look who decided to take a cautious peek outside to see if it was safe to come out to play…

*Clicky clicky*

That’s right…our first glimpse for 2011 (and I do mean glimpse-c’mon G, stop with the teasing and tormenting….okay, don’t)  of MR PINKY!!!

“Everyone has their own little story…”

…and this one might get sappy.

This is in no way a movie related post, but like a lot of people, I cannot get enough of this man and this story.

By now, if you haven’t in some way become aware of Ted Williams and his "golden voice" then either your internet has been out for the past 48 hours or you’ve been on an uncharted desert island.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I can’t imagine anyone watching this and not be being moved. I have a lump in my throat just typing this. I’m incredibly happy for the man himself, and I hope he makes the most of these new opportunities, but primarily it gives me hope with regard to my own dreams and aspirations.   Life really can change in an instant and as long as we manage to get out bed in the morning and put one foot in front of the other (whether literally or figuratively,) then we still have possibilities.

That’s all I wanted to say…

Thanks for reading. (In the words of Ira Gershwin, please "pardon my mush.")

Just a little sumpthin’ sumpthin’:

*click*