Like a Dog with a Bone…

I realize that I’ve already blogged about the score for How to Train Your Dragon (probably ad nauseum for some of you,) as well as my outrage at John Powell’s (perceived) slight by the voting bodies of most of the major film awards. I’ve also previously written about Powell’s IFMCA win. This morning, however, I received this email and I felt the subject deserved to be revisited just once more. (Okay, I can’t promise this is the last time. I’ve been accused of being a dog with a bone more than once.)  Call it sour grapes if you will, but seriously…Trent Reznor? Okay, enough.

I have no idea whether or not Mr. Powell has been asked to score HTTYD2 (if they’re even at that point yet,) but if he is, I personally can’t wait to hear it.


                                                                                                          

John Powell receives IFMCA Awards for How to Train Your Dragon

Composer John Powell has been presented with the International Film Music Critics Association Awards for Score of the Year and Best Score for an Animated Feature in 2010, for his Oscar-nominated work on How to Train Your Dragon, by IFMCA members Jon Broxton and Oscar Flores.

Powell overcame strong opposition from Hans Zimmer (Inception), Daft Punk (Tron: Legacy) and two scores by Alexandre Desplat (The King’s Speech and The Ghost Writer) to win Score of the Year, and was up against Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist, David Hirschfelder’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, Alan Menken’s Tangled, and Randy Newman’s Toy Story 3 in the Animation category. Including this year, Powell is an 18-time IFMCA Award nominee, and previously won for Best Score for an Animated Film for Happy Feet in 2006 and Best Action/Adventure score for The Bourne Ultimatum in 2007.

Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon, directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, is an animated action-adventure following the adventures of a young Viking named Hiccup, the son of the Viking chief Stoick the Vast, who lives on an island where fighting dragons is a way of life. Hiccup is a brainy outsider with a smart mouth who would rather not grow up to fight dragons; however, in an attempt to impress his father, he seeks out the most dangerous dragon of all: the Night Fury, intending to capture and kill it. However, rather than becoming the fearsome warrior his father intended, Hiccup inadvertently saves the life of and befriends the dragon he was supposed to slay… The film stars the voice talent of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrara, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jonah Hill.

John Powell was born in London, and studied at London’s Trinity College of Music, before becoming an assistant to fellow composer Patrick Doyle in the early 1990s. Powell relocated to the United States in 1997, and worked extensively with composer Hans Zimmer at Media Ventures on scores such as The Thin Red Line and The Prince of Egypt, before emerging as a talent in his own right following the releases of Face/Off and Antz in 1997 and 1998. Since then Powell has become one of Hollywood’s major composers, with box office successes such as Shrek, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Robots, X-Men: The Last Stand, Happy Feet, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Hancock, Kung-Fu Panda, Horton Hears a Who, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and the Jason Bourne trilogy to his name.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images…

  

http://filmmusiccritics.org/2011/03/john-powell-receives-ifmca-awards-for-how-to-train-your-dragon/

My Daily Moment of Zen! Now with More Gloating!

Okay, I’m suffering from my annual post Oscar Night let down, BUT the fact that I "outguessed" a lot of the so-called professionals has eased the pain a bit.

I improved my average from the BAFTAS from 65% to 67%, which means I got 16 of 24 categories right. I didn’t even hazard a guess for the three "shorts" categories, so if I delete them, my average improves further to greater than 76% (16 of 21)  – Sorry my OCD is showing.  I realize this matters to no one else but me, but one takes one’s little victories where one may.

So, I’ve decided it would be easier to discuss where I went wrong (even though I’m very happy to say that I got Tom Hooper right!)

I was absolutely gutted, but not altogether surprised, that John Powell and How to Train Your Dragon did not win for Best Original Score. I was thrilled that it was nominated, and it was, of course, my favorite score, as I’ve loudly proclaimed from this blog and elsewhere for nearly a year now. I’ve also made clear that I could have lived with Alexandre Desplat’s score for The King’s Speech beating HTTYD. I cannot, however, understand the love for the music from The Social Network. I should have seen its Golden Globe win as a portent of things to come, but I naively believed that quality would win over the Academy’s newfound desire to be perceived as "hip".  Perhaps there is a contingent of completist Nine Inch Nails fans that will download Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ neo-emo soundtrack, but I don’t believe they’ll still be listening to it a month from now, let alone long enough for it to deserve to go into the annals of AMPAS.  It remains to be seen whether or not either Reznor or Ross continues to supply the world with beautiful movie music. I think it is a given that Powell, Desplat, Zimmer and even Rahman will do so.

I was a little surprised, although I can’t say I was disappointed, that David Seidler’s original screenplay for The King’s Speech won out over Christopher Nolan’s for Inception. Seidler had the momentum going into last night’s ceremony and there is no doubt that it was a great piece of writing, but I really did think that the Academy would give it to Nolan because 1. His script was original in every sense of the word and 2. to atone for his egregious snub in the Director’s category.  No one thought Inception, despite its merits, would win Best Picture.  Despite the fact that the film won other, richly deserved awards, The Best Original Screenplay category would have been a great way to recognize Nolan. 

For Best Costume Design, I went with The King’s Speech, but was not shocked nor particularly disappointed that the Academy went for all-out fantasy and Alice in Wonderland took the award. That film was all about the visuals, particularly the costumes, which were spectacular, even if the rest of the film was not. It made sense.

I flat out guessed on my pick for Best Foreign Language Film. I went with Biutiful because both the director, Alejandro Gonzales-Inarritu and its star, Javier Bardem, are known to the Academy and its voters. Bardem was even nominated for Best Actor for this film.  Again, I should have paid more attention to the bellwethers of the Hollywood Foreign Press and expected Denmark’s win for In a Better World.

I really thought it was "too soon" for Inside Job to win for Best Documentary Feature.  I was wrong. Its win will ensure that more people see it, which is not a bad thing, although I would have liked for Restrepo to have gotten that kick.

So, those are the five that I got wrong.  My other misses, as I said, were for the three "shorts" – Documentary,  Animated and Live Action- which I didn’t even guess at. (Although if I had, I would have gotten Animated wrong because I’d have gone with Day & Night, but I’d have gotten Live-Action right because I’d have picked God of Love -honest!)

So it’s all over for another 10 months when the madness begins anew. It was a good night for Harvey and The Weinstein Company, and I fully expect to see him back in his seat at the Kodak this time next year in support of another ‘little-film-that-could’…

As always, thanks for reading. Oh and I’ve got TREATS!!


And the bromance continues…


*clicky clicky*

 

edit: (and I stated this elsewhere but felt the need to amend this post) Adding to my surprise (and disappointment) that Gerard Butler wasn’t at the Academy Awards, was my disappointment in the lack of support for How to Train Your Dragon. Is it every day he’s involved with an Academy Award nominated film of any kind?? I realize it was just about a foregone conclusion that Toy Story 3 would win the category, but I don’t think that excuses the complete lack of a showing for HTTYD, (by anyone involved – they ARE doing a sequel- would it have been that difficult for say G and Craig Ferguson, possibly even Jay Baruchel, to show their faces?) especially when it swept the Annies and John Powell’s score had just been named Score of the Year. The appearance of hope would have been nice. The 9 other films nominated for Best Picture, who had to have been at least 75% sure that The King’s Speech would win, still had strong turnouts.

Rant over.

HTTYD IS NAMED IFMC 2010 FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR!!


JOHN POWELL’S SCORE FOR HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON IS NAMED
INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS’ 2010 FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR

From their website:

"The International Film Music Critics Association announces the winners of its seventh annual awards for excellence in musical scoring in 2010 with John Powell’s score for the animated film HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON topping the list, winning both Film Score of the Year and Best Score for an Animated Film. Alexandre Desplat receives three awards: Best Score for a Drama Film (THE KING’S SPEECH), Best Score for an Action/Adventure/Thriller Film (THE GHOST WRITER) and Composer of the Year."

 I’m doing the demented poodle dance right now!

I couldn’t be happier or more excited that Powell and HTTYD have been recognized in this way. I love the fact that this organization differentiates between types of scores. I am a little confused, however, how they can decide that HTTYD has the Best Score of the Year and yet Alexandre Desplat is the Composer of the Year.

The seeming disparity actually it reminds me of the Oscar races for Best Director and Best Picture. Many pundits and critics are still predicting David Fincher will take Best Director for The Social Network while also guessing The King’s Speech will win Best Picture. I guess that means that scores can compose themselves just like films can direct themselves.

So what does this win mean for John Powell and HTTYD‘s chances on Sunday night?

Desplat’s last win in which he went head to head with Powell was at the BAFTAs. Not at all surprising given the rout that the ‘veddy British’ The King’s Speech perpetrated on its competitors. The question remains how will either one of them do Sunday night against Golden Globe winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network. I realize there are two other films also nominated and Hans Zimmer can never be counted out, particularly when support for Inception seems to be gaining ground. A.R. Rahmin, who won in 2009 for both score and song for Slumdog Millionaire should probably just be happy to be nominated.

IF Powell has to lose, I’d much rather it be to Desplat, who has been nominated four times for some truly beautiful music, including the score for The Queen, but has never won, than to Reznor and Ross for a score that I don’t think anyone will be listening to nor even remember next year. 

That being said, I really really really want Powell to win.

As always, thanks for reading. Since I can’t give you pics of music…


*click*

Obsessive BAFTA results post w/PICTURES!!

I did pretty well. 13 out of 20 which is 65%.

I stumbled where I have been stumbling this entire awards season. In the Supporting Actor category, if I go with Bale then Rush wins, if I go with Rush, Bale wins. I’m sticking with Bale for the Academy Awards though. (Get your acceptance speech ready Mr. Rush.)

In the Supporting Actress category, my reasoning was sound but I picked the wrong Englishwoman! What was I thinking lol.

And in the directing category, the one time I figured I’d be right about Tom Hooper, David Fincher wins! Who’d a thunk that one, especially after the rout enjoyed by The King’s Speech overall? I think it was a stab at not appearing to be biased. I know the Oscar ballots aren’t due until Friday, but I’m sticking with Hooper after his DGA win. I also have to stick with Christopher Nolan for Original Screenplay despite his BAFTA loss to David Seidler for The King’s Speech.

Can I just say how very disappointed I am that HTTYD did not win in the Music category? I’ve said from the beginning how much I enjoyed Alexandre Desplat’s score for The King’s Speech, but JMHO, there was not another score last year that made me feel like John Powell’s gorgeous, sweeping, transporting score for How to Train Your Dragon.

Oh and just to make myself feel better, even though I called Roger Deakins right at the BAFTAs (because he’s British,) Wally Pfister beat him for the ASC award and I want to reiterate that I am choosing Pfister over Deakins for the Oscar.

Here are the nominees and the results (my predictions are in red, the winner in italics):

BEST FILM

BLACK SWAN – Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin
INCEPTION – Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan
THE KING’S SPEECH – Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin
THE SOCIAL NETWORK – Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Cean Chaffin
TRUE GRIT – Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM

127 HOURS – Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, Christian Colson, John Smithson
ANOTHER YEAR – Mike Leigh, Georgina Lowe
FOUR LIONS – Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain, Mark Herbert, Derrin Schlesinger
THE KING’S SPEECH – Tom Hooper, David Seidler, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin
MADE IN DAGENHAM – Nigel Cole, William Ivory, Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER

THE ARBOR – Director, Producer – Clio Barnard, Tracy O’Riordan
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP – Director, Producer – Banksy, Jaimie D’Cruz
FOUR LIONS – Director/Writer – Chris Morris
MONSTERS – Director/Writer – Gareth Edwards
SKELETONS – Director/Writer – Nick Whitfield

DIRECTOR

127 HOURS – Danny Boyle
BLACK SWAN – Darren Aronofsky
INCEPTION – Christopher Nolan
THE KING’S SPEECH – Tom Hooper
THE SOCIAL NETWORK – David Fincher

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

BLACK SWAN – Mark Heyman, Andreas Heinz, John McLaughlin
THE FIGHTER – Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
INCEPTION – Christopher Nolan
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT – Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
THE KING’S SPEECH – David Seidler

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

127 HOURS – Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO – Rasmus Heisterberg, Nikolaj Arcel
THE SOCIAL NETWORK – Aaron Sorkin
TOY STORY 3 – Michael Arndt
TRUE GRIT – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

BIUTIFUL – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Jon Kilik, Fernando Bovaira
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO – Soren Stærmose, Niels Arden Oplev
I AM LOVE – Luca Guadagnino, Francesco Melzi D’Eril, Marco Morabito, Massimiliano Violante
OF GODS AND MEN – Xavier Beauvois
THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES – Mariela Besuievsky, Juan José Campanella

ANIMATED FILM

DESPICABLE ME – Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON – Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois * although we know this is where my heart lies
TOY STORY 3 – Lee Unkrich

LEADING ACTOR

JAVIER BARDEM – Biutiful
JEFF BRIDGES – True Grit
JESSE EISENBERG – The Social Network
COLIN FIRTH – The King’s Speech
JAMES FRANCO – 127 Hours

LEADING ACTRESS

ANNETTE BENING – The Kids Are All Right
JULIANNE MOORE – The Kids Are All Right
NATALIE PORTMAN – Black Swan
NOOMI RAPACE – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
HAILEE STEINFELD – True Grit

SUPPORTING ACTOR

CHRISTIAN BALE – The Fighter
ANDREW GARFIELD – The Social Network
PETE POSTLETHWAITE – The Town
MARK RUFFALO – The Kids Are All Right
GEOFFREY RUSH – The King’s Speech

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

AMY ADAMS – The Fighter
HELENA BONHAM CARTER – The King’s Speech
BARBARA HERSHEY – Black Swan
LESLEY MANVILLE – Another Year (because she’s British and they gave her Melissa Leo’s spot)
MIRANDA RICHARDSON – Made in Dagenham

ORIGINAL MUSIC

127 HOURS – AR Rahman
ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Danny Elfman
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON – John Powell COME ON!
INCEPTION – Hans Zimmer
THE KING’S SPEECH – Alexandre Desplat

CINEMATOGRAPHY

127 HOURS – Anthony Dod Mantle, Enrique Chediak
BLACK SWAN – Matthew Libatique
INCEPTION – Wally Pfister
THE KING’S SPEECH – Danny Cohen
TRUE GRIT – Roger Deakins

EDITING

127 HOURS – Jon Harris
BLACK SWAN – Andrew Weisblum
INCEPTION – Lee Smith
THE KING’S SPEECH – Tariq Anwar
THE SOCIAL NETWORK – Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter

PRODUCTION DESIGN

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Robert Stromberg, Karen O’Hara
BLACK SWAN – Therese DePrez, Tora Peterson
INCEPTION – Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Doug Mowat
THE KING’S SPEECH – Eve Stewart, Judy Farr
TRUE GRIT – Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh

COSTUME DESIGN

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Colleen Atwood
BLACK SWAN – Amy Westcott
THE KING’S SPEECH – Jenny Beavan
MADE IN DAGENHAM – Louise Stjernsward
TRUE GRIT – Mary Zophres

SOUND

127 HOURS – Glenn Freemantle, Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Steven C Laneri, Douglas Cameron
BLACK SWAN – Ken Ishii, Craig Henighan, Dominick Tavella
INCEPTION – Richard King, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A Rizzo, Ed Novick
THE KING’S SPEECH – John Midgley, Lee Walpole, Paul Hamblin
TRUE GRIT – Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, Peter F Kurland, Douglas Axtell

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Nominees TBD
BLACK SWAN – Dan Schrecker
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1 – Tim Burke, John Richardson, Nicolas Ait’Hadi, Christian Manz
INCEPTION – Chris Corbould, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Peter Bebb
TOY STORY 3 – Nominees TBC

MAKE UP & HAIR

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Valli O’Reilly, Paul Gooch
BLACK SWAN – Judy Chin, Geordie Sheffer
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1 – Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin
THE KING’S SPEECH – Frances Hannon
MADE IN DAGENHAM – Lizzie Yianni Georgiou

ORANGE WEDNESDAYS RISING AWARD

GEMMA ARTERTON
ANDREW GARFIELD
TOM HARDY (WOOHOO!)
AARON JOHNSON
EMMA STONE

A pretty good night for The Weinstein Company. Harvey got nearly as many shout-outs as Tom Hooper and Colin Firth.

Okay so now that that’s over, I did promise you some pictures. How about some pics from last night of one of Harvey’s 2012 awards season class*?


*for Coriolanus of course!

‘How to Train Your Dragon’ Swept the ‘Annies’!!

…and I do mean SWEPT!

Disney/Pixar chose to leave the sponsoring organization, the International Animated Film Association and not participate in this year’s awards so consequently Toy Story 3 was only nominated in three categories. The argument could, therefore, be made that HTTYD‘s performance at last night’s awards ceremony was almost a foregone conclusion, given the absence of the latest (last?) entry in D/P’s powerhouse franchise. Looking at a list of all of the nominees, DreamWorks Animation clearly dominates, in a way that Disney/Pixar had in recent years. (That story was covered in this- weetiger3.livejournal.com/20657.html -post.)

JMHO, but that argument would do a disservice to the other nominees. For example, The Illusionist is the third feature nominated for an Academy Award (along with TS3 and HTTYD.)  The films nominated in the other  ‘Annie’ categories had also been mentioned as serious contenders for that nomination (with the exception of Summer Wars from Japan, which I had never heard of and whose only US release was limited to short runs in NY and LA.)

The fact that TS3 did not beat out HTTYD in those three categories in which it appeared does probably come down to the rift between D/P and the IAFA, but that in no way connotes that HTTYD was not worthy of the awards. These two films have been spoken of in the same breath for the entire awards season. They were the only two animated films released last year that had a lock on Academy nominations. Of course, it is always assumed that TS3 is the BMOC and HTTYD is the 2nd string. 

I would love to think that last night’s results would have some influence on Academy voters. Many of the voting members of the IAFA are voting members of the animation wing of AMPAS as well. The AMPAS membership as a whole obviously thinks well enough of TS3 to nominate it for Best Picture, but it remains to be seen if the chasm between D/P and the IAFA is wide enough to cause a surge in support for HTTYD.  (A lot of perceptions have changed about a lot of films since the nominations were announced so anything is possible!)

Here is a rundown of the film related categories with their winners in bold:

Best Animated Feature
Despicable Me – Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures
How to Train Your Dragon – DreamWorks Animation
Tangled – Disney
The Illusionist – Django Films
Toy Story 3 – Disney/Pixar

Best Animated Short Subject
Coyote Falls – Warner Bros. Animation
Day & Night – Pixar
Enrique Wrecks the World – House of Chai
The Cow Who Wanted To Be A Hamburger – Plymptoons Studio
The Renter – Jason Carpenter

Animated Effects in an Animated Production
Andrew Young Kim “Shrek Forever After” – DreamWorks Animation
Jason Mayer “How To Train Your Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation
Brett Miller “How To Train Your Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation
Sebastian Quessy “Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” – Warner Bros. Pictures
Krzysztof Rost “Megamind” – DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Feature Production
Mark Donald “Megamind” – DreamWorks Animation
Anthony Hodgson “Megamind” – DreamWorks Animation
Gabe Hordos “How To Train Your Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation
Jakob Hjort Jensen "How To Train Your Dragon" – DreamWorks Animation
David Torres "How To Train Your Dragon" – DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Live Action Production
Quentin Miles – Clash of the Titans
Ryan Page – Alice in Wonderland

Character Design in a Feature Production
Sylvain Chomet “The Illusionist” – Django Films
Carter Goodrich “Despicable Me” – Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures
Timothy Lamb “Megamind” – DreamWorks Animation
Nico Marlet “How To Train Your Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation

Directing in a Feature Production
Sylvain Chomet “The Illusionist” – Django Films
Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud “Despicable Me” – Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures
Mamoru Hosoda “Summer Wars” – Madhouse/Funimation
Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois “How To Train Your Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation
Lee Unkrich “Toy Story 3” – Disney/Pixar

Music in a Feature Production
Sylvain Chomet “The Illusionist” – Django Films
David Hirschfelder “Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” – Warner Bros. Pictures
John Powell “How To Train Your Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation  !!!!
Harry Gregson Williams “Shrek Forever After” – DreamWorks Animation
Pharrell Williams, Heitor Pereira “Despicable Me” – Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures

Production Design in a Feature Production
Yarrow Cheney “Despicable Me” – Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures
Eric Guillon “Despicable Me” – Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures
Dan Hee Ryu “Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” – Warner Bros. Pictures
Pierre Olivier Vincent “How To Train Your Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation
Peter Zaslav “Shrek Forever After” – DreamWorks Animation

Storyboarding in a Feature Production
Alessandro Carloni “How To Train Your Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation
Paul Fisher “Shrek Forever After” – DreamWorks Animation
Tom Owens “How To Train Your Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation
Catherine Yuh Rader “Megamind” – DreamWorks Animation

Voice Acting in a Feature Production
Jay Baruchel as Hiccup “How To Train Your Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation
Gerard Butler as Stoick “How To Train Your Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation
Steve Carrell as Gru “Despicable Me” – Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures
Cameron Diaz as Fiona “Shrek Forever After” – DreamWorks Animation
Geoffrey Rush as Ezylryb “Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” – Warner Bros. Pictures

Writing in a Feature Production
Michael Arndt “Toy Story 3” – Disney/Pixar
Sylvain Chomet “The Illusionist” – Django Films
William Davies, Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders “How to Train Your Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation
Dan Fogelman “Tangled” – Disney
Alan J. Schoolcraft, Brent Simons “Megamind” – DreamWorks Animation

The award I am most thrilled with is, of course, John Powell’s win for his score. I won’t gush or go into, yet again, how much I loved it or how deserving of awards and accolades I think it is. I will say that I hope this win, and the possibility of a win at next weekend’s BAFTAs, will translate into some Academy votes. The ballots are still out there. Vote early and often Academy members!

Again, I humbly offer my sincere congratulations to DreamWorks Animation and How to Train Your Dragon on their wins last night. My digits are still crossed for an upset on February 27th!

*******************
Unrelated note:  At yet another awards ceremony held last night,  Aaron Sorkin and The Social Network along with Christopher Nolan and Inception won WGA awards for Adapted and Original Screenplays respectively.  The odds are certainly in their favor that these wins will carry over to Oscar night. (This tells me that I’ve backed the right two horses, so to speak. lol)


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