Golden Globe Predictions 2017

golden globes, awards, awards shows, predictions, S. A. Young

I’m blowing the dust off of this blog with a quickie Golden Globes prediction post.

Here are my (semi-eductated) guesses, which will probably change by the time the Academy Awards roll around, especially since nominations haven’t even been announced yet, and the Golden Globes are not necessarily Oscar harbingers. The one thing that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association does oh so right, is divide the Best Picture and Best Actor/Actress categories into Drama and Musical/Comedy. This just makes sense to me. Why wouldn’t you compare apples to apples, oranges to oranges, etc?

But then, quizzically, they lump all of the directors, writers and supporting actors/actresses in their respective fields together. So essentially that’s just as head scratching as the Oscars. There are ten “Best Picture” nominees with only five nominated directors and five nominated writers. If there is logic to this, I have not been able to find any evidence of it. The internet, so chock full of experts and theorists, has let me down on the subject. If I live to be a thousand, I may, someday, be able to puzzle it out.

Oh well, as usual, I digress. I did say this was to be a “quickie” post, after all. Here are my picks, with categories in no particular order:

manchester by the sea, casey affleck, michelle williams, golden globes, S. A. Young

Best Picture-Drama

Manchester By the Sea

La La Land, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Golden Globes, predictions, S. A. Young

Best Picture – Comedy or Musical

La La Land

Best Actor – Drama

Casey Affleck – Manchester By the Sea

Best Actor – Miusical or Comedy

Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool ( It’s the battle of the Ryans. I’m going with Reynolds by hair. call me crazy but Deadpool did HUGE money overseas)

Best Actress – Drama

Natalie Portman – Jackie (because Natalie Portman)

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy

Emma Stone – La La Land

Moonlight, golden globes, mahershala ali, predictions, S. A. Young

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis – Fences

Best Director

Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester By the Sea (this is a race between Lonergan and Damian Chazelle and I think HFPA will want to reward an older, first time {directing} nominee. It’s a tough category and any one of the nominees – Lonergan, Chazelle, Gibson, Jenkins, or Ford could pull off a win)

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Barry Jenkins – Moonlight (This will be the category where the amazing Moonlight is rewarded)

Zootopia, golden globes, predictions, S. A. Young

Best Animated Feature

Zootopia (though I adored Sing)

Best Foreign Language Film

Elle (Isabelle Huppert won’t win for her performance so I think the HFPA will reward her film)

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

La La Land

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

“City of Stars” from La La Land (Everyone I saw this movie with left the theater either humming or singing this catchy tune – although this is tricky. Justin Timberlake could steal for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls. It was a radio hit worldwide.)

The Crown, golden globes, predictions, S. A. Young

Best Television Series – Drama

“The Crown”

atlanta, donald glover, predictions, S. A. Young

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

“Atlanta”

Best Actor – Television – Drama

Billy Bob Thornton – “Goliath”

Best Actress – Television – Drama

Caitriona Balfe – “Outlander” (if anyone beats her it will be Claire Foy for “The Crown”, but I live in hope)

the people vs oj simpson, american crime story, golden globes, predictions, S. A. Young

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Sarah Paulson – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Courtney B. Vance – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (another tough category but I think the OJ:Crime Juggernaut will win out)

insecure, issa rae, golden globes, predictions, S. A. young

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Issa Rae – “Insecure”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Donald Glover – “Atlanta”

Westworld, Thandie newton, golden globes, awards, awards shows, predictions, S. A. Young

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Thandie Newton – “Westworld”

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture MBest ade for Television

John Lithgow – “The Crown”

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My Thoughts on the Beauty and Brutality of 12 Years a Slave

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

poster via imdb

The first time I saw Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave was during a press screening that was also attended by students from local colleges, as well as hoi polloi like me who got passes through a screening service. At the end of the film was a Q & A with the director of the Boston Museum of African American History, Beverly Morgan-Welch, and the presenter of “City Line”, a local television show that focuses on urban issues, Karen Holmes Ward. Even as my popcorn was forgotten, as my heart was in my mouth, my hands trying to stifle the sobs, I was still very aware of the audience around me, wondering what they were thinking and feeling. That viewing was all about the historical context, despite the fact that I was an emotional wreck afterward.

The movie is, quite simply, a masterpiece. Unlike James Franco, however, who seems to want to set himself up as a learned and worldly carbuncle on the butt of 21st century popular culture, I was not, am not, “beguiled” by this movie. I certainly don’t understand how anyone could see it two nights in a row. I needed a large span of time between viewings in order to thoroughly and properly process what I’d seen.

The second time, I wasn’t watching the film in anticipation of seeing one of the most talked about movies of the year, one I had been waiting for since filming began. I went back again to find out if I’d have the same visceral reaction to the brutality or whether the fact that I knew when and how it would be meted out had in any way inured my senses to it.

No, it did not. In some ways, I was even more affected by it.

There are not words to adequately describe how utterly despicable the practice of human beings purchasing, possessing, owning other human beings as if they were ‘things’, truly is. We haven’t coined the words because our minds won’t let us consciously descend far enough into darkness to fully comprehend it. In much the same way that mere words cannot convey the true horror of the Holocaust, or the genocides still being perpetrated in various parts of the world as I type this, because man’s inhumanity to man is, ultimately, incomprehensible.

It is for this reason that watching 12 Years a Slave, only Steve McQueen’s third feature film,  is an  emotional experience akin to watching Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, made all the more authentic and terrible because it is told not from the perspective of the benevolent white savior, but from that of the enslaved.

It is fact that McQueen has never made a film that was easy to sit through. You’ll probably never see his name on the poster of a film with the tag line “The Feel Good Movie of the Year!”, but unlike Shame, or even Hunger (which was also based on a true story, but one with a very different outcome), 12 Years a Slave manages to rise above the unrelenting misery it depicts to become a testimonial to the ability of a single unyielding man, not only to “survive”, but to “live”.

12 Years a Slave is the second film in two years about that American abomination that was slavery, a subject that has been largely ignored by cinema. Like Quentin Tarantino’s nearly as brilliant Django Unchained, it is agonizing and heart­breaking; a gut-twisting experience to watch. But unlike Django, the brutality is realistic, not exaggerated to, at times, comic levels. There is no intentional humor in 12 Years…. If there is any laughter at all, it is the scattered, nervous, incredulous tittering of those who don’t yet know how to believe, let alone process, what they’re seeing in front of them.

The story certainly sounds like something that sprang from a writer’s fevered imagination. Despite what we know about American History, how can it be true that a free man was kidnapped, forced into slavery and kept in captivity for twelve years without anyone believing his tale or doing all that they could to help?  This is not the time, nor place, for a political discussion of the state of race relations in this country, but your experience of this film is no doubt tinted by your experience of the world as you know it now. (Isn’t what happened to Solomon Northup really only a few steps removed from what happened to Oscar Grant III in 2008, as depicted in  Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station?)

That these things described above did happen, is the singular experience at the heart of McQueen’s film. What makes the film particularly impressive is not that it provides historical parameters for a dimension of slavery that most of us were unaware of, but that it does so by the weaving together of the smallest of details that made up Northup’s life in captivity. Each scene feels frighteningly immediate, as though it weren’t filtered through time, but exists in the present moment. This film is not only one of the best of the year, certainly, in my humble opinion, the most important, but it is  probably one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. For all of the harshness, the brutality, and the violence, it is also beautifully made.

McQueen comes from the art world and has a painter’s eye for staging and the framing of images, without resorting to flashy visual tricks. Thinking about the opening scene, we are thrust into the lush cane fields of Louisiana. We can see the thick, humid air as a group of black men, slaves, labor in the stifling heat. We don’t know any of them but we get an immediate feel for time, place and circumstance. We next see Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) attempting to use crushed berries for ink. It’s out of context and yet gives context to things we’ve only read about in history books.  McQueen then moves back in time to Northup’s nearly idyllic life pre-ordeal. How can this be the same man?

What follows is two hours chronicling nearly unimaginable suffering. Along the way, Solomon Northup, now called by the slave name, Platt, encounters nearly every facet of the experience of slaves in the pre-Civil War South. We learned from our history classes that families were torn apart, sold separately with no regard for mothers and their children. McQueen shows us what that would have felt like. I learned that it was possible for a former slave to live as the wife of her former owner. Alfre Woodard is brilliant as one such woman, existing in her own delusional bubble, blissfully ignoring the plight of those still in bondage.

Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) represents the extreme in his sadistic cruelty, nearly matched by his equally cruel wife, played by a truly scary Sarah Paulson. But there are degrees of racism. Benedict Cumberbatch as Platt’s first owner, the benevolent William Ford, gives him a violin and allows him to keep the money he earns from playing it. Does his relative kindness alleviate complicity? Ford knows and Platt knows he knows, that Platt is not just any slave, yet he does nothing to help him, for fear of losing his financial investment.

The philosophical depiction of slavery aside, what really sets McQueen’s film apart is that he refuses to flinch when it comes to depicting the violence. We cannot be kept at arms length when he pulls us in so close, whether it’s the sight of flesh and blood literally flying off of a back during an excrutiating and protracted whipping scene or watching Platt struggle to stay on his toes for hours trying to relieve some of the tension of the noose around his neck as plantation life carries on all around him.

When Solomon finally does return to his family, every day of those twelve years is worn into his face. The pain haunts his eyes. All he can think to say to them is to apologize for his long absence.   (What is amazing to me is that he is somehow able to articulate not only to them but to the rest of the world, with his book, what happened during those years.)

I have not yet seen All is Lost or even The Wolf of Wall Street, but I am, of course aware that Robert Redford has given another singular performance and of course there is talk that Leonardo DiCaprio will inevitably be nominated for yet another role in a Martin Scorsese film. I have seen Captain Phillips and I have given my opinion on Tom Hanks’ performance. I have seen the magnificent Dallas Buyers Club and oh, how I wish it had been released in another year so that Matthew McConaughey could be recognized for his towering performance.  (My thoughts on McConaughey’s talents are known to readers of this blog, but that is for another discussion.)  I adore Idris Elba and his Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is mesmerizing, but the movie itself is not entirely worthy of his efforts (nor Madiba’s legacy). I have seen Fruitvale Station and as good as I think Michael B. Jordan is, as deserving I believe him to be of a nomination, no performance has or could possibly come close to the one given by Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave.

When was the last time an actor reduced you to near-wracking sobs by doing nothing? There is a scene with no sound but the wind rustling lightly through the trees and the tall grass. Ejiofor stands still, his eyes barely moving, the camera close on his face, as the last shreds of any hopefulness seep away, replaced by the despair he’d fought for so long to keep at bay. My heart breaks again thinking about it weeks later.

Lupita Nyong’o, who played Patsey, has described 12 Years A Slave as an “emotionally taxing” acting experience. If I can say that I imagine it would be, I would also say that hers is an understatement.

Nyong’o, who made her feature debut with this film (!) has been earning across the board accolades and making the chat show rounds. (At this point she’s considered one of the few virtual locks for an Academy Award nomination.)  She told “The View”, that going to “that emotional place was so hard it was really important for me to continually remind myself that I was not Patsey after all”.

Patsey suffers abuse of every possible kind at the hands of Michael Fassbender’s plantation owner Edwin Epps.  Fassbender’s character embodies such bred-in-the-bone evil, so institutional, so palatine, as to let Epps be sanguine about his monstrosity. He treats Patsey as he does not only because she is his property, but because he loves her. And yet his other slaves might as well be furniture. Witness the casual way he leans on their heads, as if they were not living, breathing human beings.

Fassbender does something that very few actors can— he makes us believe at all times while he is on screen that anything could happen (the first time and yes, even the second time I saw the film). Every scene in which Epps appears is fraught with so much tension that we do not trust that Patsey or Northup will live through it; this despite the fact that we know that this is a true story, with a known conclusion. Fassbender has said that Epps took a physical toll on him. He even reportedly passed out after a particularly brutal scene. We may assume that an actor leaves it all on screen, but I don’t see how any thinking, feeling individual could not be affected by what was required of them, at least in this case.

That it has taken me this long to get this post finished is the reason I will never be able to do this for a living, although if the ability to crank these things out was all that stood between me and sleeping on the sidewalk, I suppose I could learn. This post was started, with thoughts rambling around my head after the first viewing, continued after the second, and has been ruminated upon ever since.   It has taken me so long that while it was widely assumed that this movie would be a major player come awards season, now that that special time of year is actually upon us, we’re beginning to get confirmation.

The entire film is packed with so much talent in even the smallest of roles, it’s obvious that they just wanted to be a part of this movie. They certainly didn’t do it for the money. I’d go so far as to say anyone could have played Bass, the role played by Brad Pitt (looking like he escaped from Amish Country), but Pitt’s name helped to get the movie made, both as a producer and on the marquee. All of that aside, the three actors mentioned here, are by far the soul of the movie and deserving of the attention they are getting.

If no one involved made the movie for the money, they didn’t do it for awards either. That said, awards speculation has been so rampant, since the film’s first festival screenings, that if I were Steve McQueen or any actor, producer or even an executive in any way associated with this film, I’d have been waiting for the other shoe to drop and the inevitable backlash to begin.  It was recently announced that 12 Years a Slave led all films with seven nominations for the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards, including best feature, director and actors Ejiofor (lead), Nyong’o (supporting) and Fassbender (supporting). As I said, when I first starting working on this post I would have assumed that there could be no doubt that these nominations would be only the beginning. After the odd choices made by the crazy quilt of critics association awards that were announced this past weekend, some of which seemed to be going out of their way to praise anything other than this film, I’m no longer sure of anything.

While we have yet to hear from The Producers, Directors and Writers Guilds, the Screen Actor’s Guild (noms for Actor, Supporting Actor & Actress and Best Ensemble Cast – their equivalent of Best Picture) and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the same 3 actor nominations as well as director, adapted screenplay, score and Best Picture – Drama – basically everything it was eligible for) have restored a bit of my faith that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will do the right thing..

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

Immortality, Baby!

“Marky Mark” Wahlberg has been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor-Drama. I can’t even believe I just typed that sentence. (Actually, I was going to wait to do this post until next month when the Academy Award nominations are announced. At this point, I predict he’ll be nominated for one of those, too. Recent developments, however, have led me to believe the time is right.)

While I am very happy for this former Calvin Klein Underwear model and erstwhile rapper, and I actually believe that his role as Micky Ward is the role of a life-time and he did a fantastic job, my first thought was not about him at all. My first thought was:

Gerard Butler, you’d better get your shit together.

There is absolutely no reason that an actor of Gerard Butler’s caliber, name recognition and popularity, should not be offered the same types of roles that I see other actors, with less of those things, getting all the time.

I don’t mean to take anything away from Mr. Walhberg, that’s not my point. I say again that I loved The Fighter and he was fantastic in it. My point is that he fought for that role. He knew what it could do for him and what he could bring to it. He believed in his abilities as an actor and as a producer he worked for many years to get the movie made. He watched the lead yo-yo away from and back to him several times, but he wanted it and in the end he made sure he got it. And with that performance, Mark Wahlberg has finally gotten what he’s said he really wanted, respect as an actor.

This is what I expect from Gerard Butler. This is what I want for Gerard Butler.

He’s on the right track. He’s acquired a production company with his longtime manager, Alan Siegel, and he’s acted as producer on two films so far, 2009’s Law Abiding Citizen, and 2011’s Machine Gun Preacher.

I’m on the record as having enjoyed LAC and any reader of this blog knows just how biased I am about Mr. Butler, but I have to say that however the film was received by critics, it was an important step in his education. I’m sure the learning experience G had while making that movie was both immeasurable and priceless. (Although, it must be said that the movie did make some money.)

I am of the opinion that his next foray into production, Machine Gun Preacher, would not have gotten made if he hadn’t been attached as an actor, and also if his production company hadn’t gotten involved as well. Now, I have not seen this film yet, but by all accounts it has a great deal more gravitas than most of his other post-300 projects combined. And frankly, that’s what he needs: Gravitas. Or at least he needs to be perceived as someone who possesses this quality.

The film that could give him this in spades, if it is successful, looks to be the next one out of the gate. There had been reports that Ralph Fiennes directorial debut, Coriolanus, will open in some European cities as early as February of 2011. There have already been screenings in London and the word that is leaking out about G is very positive. (In a bit of theatrical serendipity, both Fiennes and Butler have appeared on stage in the play. In fact, it was G’s first professional gig as an actor.) Indeed, just this morning it was announced that Coriolanus will screen at the prestigious Berlinale in early February. (There is some discrepancy as to whether it will show in or out of competition. I’ve seen conflicting reports on this point.) Regardless, this is a very good thing. The Berlin fest is among the world’s top four, in my opinion, (along with Cannes, Toronto and Venice) and it means the world is eagerly awaiting Fiennes’ first directorial effort.

Fiennes is an actor who has gravitas coming out of his ears. Even his years playing a Harry Potter villain have somehow only managed to increase it and one would never associate Ralph Fiennes with a bad rom-com with a high powered co-star desperate for a hit…errr…okay, make that SHOULD never. At least he learned his lesson and stopped at one. Besides, The End of the Affair excuses a multitude of sins. As usual, I digress. The point is that Ralph Fiennes hand-picked Gerard Butler (whose name incidentally helped get the film financed) to play Coriolanus’ antagonist Tullus Aufidius, opposite him.

It will not matter what the general public thinks about this film, especially since most will probably have a hard time finding a movie like this and will have to make the concerted effort to seek it out via “On Demand” and dvd. If critics and industry insiders like and admire this movie, it will go a long way to reshaping Butler’s career path.

The point of this post is that I still see great potential in this man. He doesn’t need to coast on being, for example, ‘the poor man’s Russell Crowe.’ Russell Crowe is a great actor and no matter what else anyone thinks of him with reference to matters not film related, he has achieved a certain status for it. He gets the good scripts and works with the best directors and has projects lined up for at least the next five years. Physically, he may not be in Gladiator form and probably won’t be again, but it doesn’t seem to be important to him (or his career.) He’s still acting and turning in fantastic performances. He’s certainly not resting on the laurels that he earned in that film.

While the gossip rags may taunt him forever about not maintaining his Leonidas physique, it’s time for G to stop resting on the kudos he got for “300.” More importantly, he needs to stop coasting on Dear Frankie, the movie that most of Hollywood thinks of as the one that proved he could actually act, even though very little of the ticket buying public has seen it.

He needs to decide whether he wants to be an actor or a movie star. (I’m sure the latter is much more fun.) I may have gotten this totally wrong, but when I first discovered this guy, I was under the impression that the work mattered to him. Listen to him talk about a role he’s passionate about and you’ll probably feel the same way. Watch “Wrath of Gods,” a documentary about the making of 2005’s Beowulf & Grendel (bit of trivia: WOG is actually the 1st film on which he’s listed as producer, but not with his shingle, Evil Twins) and listen to him talk about that film, including characterization and the movie-making process. Has that artistic fire burned out completely in the intervening five years? (We won’t discuss where the accent has gone.)

Personally, I don’t think so. I don’t believe he likes being more well known for the parties he attends and the models he’s allegedly keeping company with. He’s just living his life, grabbing all the gusto he can. Hell, if I woke up every morning and looked at that face in the mirror and had the readies he has access to, I’d be doing the same thing. (He’s also, in my humble opinion, trying to stave off the march of time, probably for a lot of reasons.)

As an avowed fan of Gerard Butler, I realize my credibility when discussing this subject is already in question. All I can do is assure you, gentle reader, that I do not view this man through any variation of rose-tinted glasses, (although I’d like to view him through those Marc Jacobs shades he frequently sports. For some reason I really like those.) He is not on a pedestal of my making and I am not of the opinion he can do no wrong.

It drives me absolutely batshit when I read the delusional ramblings of women who see him as perfect, simply because he is beautiful, and verbally spew their virtual wailing and keening and rending of clothes across the internet because of the bad rap his acting and his antics have gotten lately. He’s a grown man, he can and will do what he wants regardless of what I think and I’m pretty sure his ‘soul’ will survive if the self-appointed guardians stopped guarding it. (He is not now, nor has he ever really been “Erik.”) That sort of behavior diminishes all of us who consider ourselves fans (with an ‘F’ not a ‘PH.’)

I say all that by way of disclaimer. The hopes I have for G are inspired by the potential I have seen and still see in him. The movie business is capricious at best. It can all change in an instant. I have touted the talents in previous posts of two of Butler’s recent co-stars, Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender. While I grant you they are younger than G, like him they have both been toiling away at their craft for many years, and yet suddenly they are two of Hollywood’s hottest “It Boys.” Despite amazing performances in several critically acclaimed indies like “Hunger” and “Fish Tank,” it took a small role in a film like Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” to catapult Fassbender into the mainstream. For Hardy, it was Christopher Nolan’s “Inception.” Wahlberg had quietly been accumulating an impressive list of credits over the course of the last fifteen years, but I believe his big moment started with “The Departed,” directed by one Martin Scorsese and continues with the words “…Award nominee.”

I’d just really like it if one of these days someone sat down and wrote the line: Gerard Butler has been nominated for a Golden Globe…or an Academy Award.

Now, that’s immortality baby!

thanks for reading…

*Click Click*

Doing the Demented Poodle Dance!!

How to Train Your Dragon has been nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Animated Feature category!!

I won’t even say it was almost a given at this point, especially since there were FIVE slots to fill. Nope, not gonna say that, just gonna bask in the warm glow of being right…

LMAO!

Seriously, I don’t want this to sound like sour grapes, but I’m more than a little disappointed that the score was once again overlooked. I’m trying to wrap my head around it, but I’m having a difficult time. I really haven’t been this passionate about the music for a film in quite awhile. I know I’m not alone in this, but it does point up yet again that popular opinion often matters very little when it comes to awards recognition.

On another note, some of the actors I was rooting for have been nominated as well:

Jeremy Renner – Best Supporting Actor for The Town
Christian Bale – Best Supporting Actor for The Fighter
Amy Adams – Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter
Melissa Leo – Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter
Jacki Weaver – Best Supporting Actress for Animal Kingdom*
Natalie Portman – Best Actress for Black Swan
Mark Wahlberg – Best Actor for The Fighter

Complete list of nominations here:

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie

Hope Davis – The Special Relationship
Jane Lynch – Glee
Kelly McDonald – Boardwalk Empire
Julia Stiles – Dexter
Sofia Vergara – Modern Family

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy

Toni Collette – Unites States of Tara
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey – 30 Rock
Laura Linney – The Bic C
Lea Michele – Glee

Best TV Movie or Mini-Series

Carlos
The Pacific
Pillars of the Earth
Temple Grandin
You Don’t Know Jack

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

Bound to You – Burlesque
Coming Home – Country Strong
I See the Light – Tangled
There’s a Place for Us – Chronicles of Narnia: The Dawn Treader
You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me – Burlesque

Best Actor, TV Series Comedy

Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock
Steve Carrell – The Office
Thomas Jane – Hung
Matthew Morrison – Glee
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama

Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
Elizabeth Moss – Mad Men
Piper Perabo – Covert Affairs
Katey Sagal – Sons of Anarchy##
Kyra Sedgwick – The Closer

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Alexander Desplat – The King’s Speech
Danny Elfman – Alice in Wonderalnd
A.R. Robin – 127 Hours
Trent Reznor – The Social Network
Hans Zimmer – Inception

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Danny Boyle – 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Hart – The Kids are All Right
Christopher Nolan – Inception
David Seidler – Kings Speech
Aaron Sorkin – Social Netowrk

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie

Scott Caan – Hawaii 5-0
Chris Colfer – Glee
Chris Noth – The Good Wife
Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family
David Strathairn – Temple Grandin

Best TV Series, Comedy

30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory
The Big C
Glee
Modern Family
Nurse Jackie

Best Foreign Language Film

Biutiful – Mexico, Spain
The Concert – France
The Edge – Russia
I Am Love – Italy
In a Better World – Denmark

Best Animated Feature Film

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

Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie

Idris Elba – Luther**
Ian McShane – Pillars of the Earth
Al Pacino – You Don’t Know Jack
Dennis Quaid – The Special Relationship###
Edgar Ramirez – Carlos**

Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie

Hayley Atwell – Pillars of the Earth
Claire Danes – Temple Grandin
Judi Dench – Return to Cranford
Romola Garai – Emma
Jennifer Love Hewitt – The Client List

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right
Anne Hathaway – Love and Other Drugs
Angelina Jolie – The Tourist
Julianne Moore – The Kids Are All Right
Emma Stone Easy A

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

Johnny Depp – Alice in Wonderland
Johnny Depp – The Tourist***
Paul Giamatti- Barney’s Version
Jake Gyllenhaal – Love and Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey – Casino Jack

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Andrew Garfield – The Social Network
Christian Bale – The Fighter
Michael Douglas – Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps
Jeremy Renner – The Town
Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Amy Adams – The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech
Mila Kunis – Black Swan
Melissa Leo – The Fighter
Jackie Weaver – Animal Kingdom

Best Actor in a TV series, Drama

Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall – Dexter
John Hamm – Mad Men
Hugh Laurie – House

Best Director – Motion Picture

Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan
David Fincher – Social Network
Tom Hooper – King’s Speech
Christopher Nolan – Inception
David – The Fighter

Best motion picture, Musical or Comedy

Alice in Wonderland
Burlesque
The Kids Are All Right
Red
The Tourist

Best TV series, Drama

Boardwalk Empire
Dexter
The Good Wife
Mad Men
The Walking Dead

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama

Halle Berry – Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman – Black Swan
Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine

Best Actor in a motion picture, Drama

Jesse Eisenberg – Social Network
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
James Franco – 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling – Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg – The Fighter

Best motion picture, Drama

Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The King’s Speech
The Social Network

(via the Hollywood Reporter although I spell better than they do)

*When this comes out on dvd and I can see it again, I’ll do a post. I need to talk about this one!
**Holy Crap! Love that Idris Elba and Edgar Ramirez have been recognized! Long time fan of both actors
## It’s about fucking time! That is all
### No Michael Sheen?!?! WTF?!?!
***Mark Ruffalo was overlooked for The Kids Are Alright so that Johnny Depp could be nominated twice? And the 2nd for a movie that’s been trashed by critics? Hmmm…

Another post dissecting these nominations and with my picks will surely follow (because I can’t keep quiet about this stuff.)

Today’s reward: a flashback to January 2010…


*clicky clicky

The Fightah is a Winnah

Peter Keogh, writing in The Boston Phoenix, compiled a list of the year’s best "Boston" accents on film. thephoenix.com/Boston/movies/112435-six-boston-accents-worthy-of-oscar/

Prior to having seen The Fighter, I would have agreed with him that Jeremy Renner’s accent in The Town should be at the top of the heap. It was spot on perfect and yes, even better than "native" Ben Affleck’s.  (Renner deserves a nomination for the role in any case.)

I would also agree that Boston/Dorchester native Mark Wahlberg’s is not as good as Christian Bale’s, but for different reasons.  For one thing, Bale is British (they seem to have an easier time with regional American accents like those in the Northeast and the deep South, probably because they all drop their ‘R’s) and a talented mimic of accents. (Bit of trivia: he has used a different accent for every single role.) For another, he seems to be the only one who gets that Lowell is not Dorchester (or Charlestown or Boston.)  Just as you wouldn’t mistake a Geordie accent for one from Manchester, Liverpool or southeast London, not all Massachusetts accents are the same either, even if they all seem equally hard for actors to master. (Mel Gibson, or anyone else, in Edge of Darkness? Please.)

(In fact there isn’t really any such thing as a "Boston" accent anymore, in my opinion. Like any cosmopolitan city and especially one with 92 colleges and universities in a 50 mile radius, its inhabitants come from all over.  However, if you’re dealing with a movie about Massachusetts natives in a specific town or neighborhood, then you’re talking about a specific accent with its own attendant colloquialisms.)

So having said all that, I vote for Christian Bale’s accent in The Fighter as the best of the year. I also have to say that while I don’t get all of the comparisons the television ads are making, ("It’s Rocky, The Blindside and The Departed rolled into one…") the movie itself is one of the best films of the year. 

The Blindside? Didn’t see it so I cannot comment on whether the comparison is apt. The Departed? The only thing The Fighter has in common with that film is that they both contain otherwise talented actors struggling with local accents. I’ve lived here for more than twenty years and I can’t do justice to all the variations. (Another Brit, Ray Winstone, probably does the best job. Oh and that one had Mark Wahlberg in it too!)

Does it have anything in common with Rocky? Of course it does. It’s about a down-on-his-luck boxer.  If Wahlberg is Rocky then Bale is a combination of Paulie and Mickey. It has its Rocky-esque moments to be sure. There wouldn’t be a movie if it didn’t.  This time they’re set to Whitesnake instead of Bill Conti. (More trivia: 2nd soundtrack from a Mark Wahlberg sports film that I must have. The first: Invincible)

Before I get to the main event, I have to say that the entire cast of this film deserves to be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. (Why there is still no Oscar nor Golden Globe in this category is a travesty.) Melissa Leo is a fierce harridan of a mother, even if she tries too hard with her accent,  in the same vein as Jacki Weaver’s in Animal Kingdom, only without the murder. Although if the situation arose…. 

Amy Adams must have been either pregnant or had just had her baby when she filmed this movie. Her body is soft and lushly curvacious in a fleshy non-Hollywood way and unabashedly flaunted in low cut tops and tiny skirts. Her accent might not be the best, but she plays a tough, working-class bar wench better than I ever thought she would and certainly better than Enchanted could have suggested.

The main reason I want the cast nominated for a SAG though? I HAVE to see the "actresses" who played Dicky and Micky’s seven sisters up on that stage to accept it. I have no idea where they found those beauties. I can only assume they’re as local as the real members of the Ward/Eklund clan that fill out the credits.

I have to marvel, (and I know I’m not the first,) at Marky Mark’s transformation into Mark Wahlberg, in-demand, Golden Globe Award nominated actor and producer. Take a look at his list of credits on imdb just as an actor. It’s pretty impressive, with very few missteps. His acting chops get better with every role and since 2007’s We Own the Night, he’s also a producer. In addition to Entourage, he’s a producer for HBO’s "Boardwalk Empire" alongside Martin Scorsese (among others.)  Is there anyone who could have predicted that those names would appear in the same sentence? 

A lot of actors seem lately to have discovered that the best way to get a good role is find it for yourself and have turned to producing their own films. (Gerard Butler, no dummy, has entered this arena and I fully expect the caliber of his acting choices to steadily improve because of it.) Wahlberg is listed among the producers for The Fighter, along with Darren Aronofsky and Ryan Kavanagh and many others. (Does Ryan Kavanagh OWN Hollywood yet? He’s everywhere. The soundtrack is even on Relativity Records. Relativity Media seems to be the only game with money to spend these days. I want to start a campaign for them to back the next Bond film so the damn thing will get made already!)

Much has been made about Christian Bale’s performance and his physical transformation for his role as Dicky Eklund and indeed the first 20 minutes of the film you can’t take your eyes off of him. Not to mention, he’s always good. Christian Bale hasn’t given a bad performance since his first in Empire of the Sun and yes, I’ve seen Newsies.

But the movie belongs in equal part to Wahlberg. He underwent an amazing physical transformation as well. (Girly moment: Damn he looked good! Not ‘Gerard Butler in 300’ good, but still…)  Like the brothers sparring in the ring, the movie seems to trade punches, jabs and heavy hits from both actors, shifting its focus accordingly. Dicky is all bluster and showboating. Micky is quiet perserverance. They are two sides of the same coin and i don’t see how one could be singled out over the other. One of the last thoughts I had as the credits rolled was that a more appropriate title should have been "The Fighters."

It occurs to me I need a rating system. Thumbs are obviously taken, as are tomatoes, popcorn tubs and now scally caps. Of course, I could always go with stars. Those seem to be exempt from trademark. They’re also ordinary. This is my blog, I don’t want to be ordinary if I can help it. I think, for now, I’ll go with wee tigers (or as we say in these parts…tie-gahs)

As my first rated film, I will not-so-arbitrarily give The Fighter    (out of 5) That felt tremendous!  Ahhh what power I wield! LMAO

Alright ya greedy bastids…here’s ya treat: