Thursday, February 2, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I was concerned that this movie would be an all out cry fest. The main character is a quirky boy dealing with the aftermath of his father's death on 9/11. Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are predictably solid as boy's parents. It was a tearjerker but had more to it than that. There is a sort of quest-mystery element to the story.

The young boy Oskar is the main character of the film and Thomas Horn does an amazing job carrying the film. The role is Horn's very first acting job, he was discovered for the movie after winning Kid's Week on Jeopardy. I was surprised to find that he was 14 years old during the filming of the movie because the character seemed younger. Regardless, he did a great job. Max von Sydow is nominated for Best Supporting Actor as the silent and enigmatic man known only as the Renter. Christopher Plummer is the strong frontrunner for the statue in this category but it is clear from von Sydow's performance why he was nominated.

Eric Roth wrote the screenplay adaptation of Jonathan S Foer's 2005 book. I am a big Roth fan as he wrote the Forrest Gump and the Curious Case of Benjamin Button script. The film is nominated for Best Picture and much like its acting nod, the movie is deserving but does not seem likely to win. I am surprised that it was not nominated for the best cast in a motion picture award at the SAGs because the entire cast is so strong. Best Actress nominee Viola Davis and Jeffrey Wright both give wonderful performances in their brief scenes.
This coming Monday, the sixth of February is the Oscar nominee luncheon. This an event where all of the nominees gather, photos are taken of various categories and of all the nominees together. It is a very fun event to read about and is one I was just made aware of last year. With that, here is a whole slew of fun Oscar facts about this year's nominees:
  • Two out of the nine Best Picture nominees this year are comedies: The Artist and Midnight in Paris. But Oscar hasn’t been kind to comedies — the last time a film in the genre has won the trophy was in 1998, with Shakespeare in Love. And before that, in 1989, with Driving Miss Daisy (which, let’s face it, isn’t too much of a comedy as it is). Perhaps Oscar is just overdue on their once-a-decade recognition of the genre?
  • Mon dieu! What a good year 2012 is for the French at the Oscars! Two out of the nine Best Picture nominees are set in France (Hugo and Midnight in Paris), Best Animated Feature nominee A Cat in Paris is from the City of Lights, and The Artist – a film with a heavily French cast and crew — is nominated for nine awards. Strangely enough, one category that doesn’t boast a French twist? Best Foreign Language Film.
  • The Artist is the first (mostly) silent film in 83 years to be nominated for an Oscar. The last time a silent film has won was way back in 1927/1928, when Wings picked up the first Best Picture statue ever awarded.
  • However, we’ve seen a black-and-white film like The Artist nominated far more recently — George Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck scored a nod back in 2005.
  • Since 2008, The Weinstein Company has seen at least one film nominated for Best Picture every year: The Reader in 2008, Inglourious Basterds in 2009, The King’s Speech in 2010, and The Artist in 2011. While still with Miramax, prior to cofounding The Weinstein Company in 2005, Bob and Harvey Weinstein saw films nominated almost every year, starting with 1992: The Crying Game (1992), The Piano (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), Il Postino (1995), Good Will Hunting (1997), Life Is Beautiful (1998), Cider House Rules (1999), Chocolat (2000), In the Bedroom (2001), Chicago (2002), Gangs of New York (2002), The Hours (2002), Finding Neverland (2004), and The Aviator (2004).
  • Three out of the five Best Actor nominees starred in Best Picture-nominated films (George Clooney for The Descendants, Jean Dujardin for The Artist, and Brad Pitt for Moneyball), whereas only one Best Actress nominee starred in a Best Picture-nominated film (Viola Davis for The Help.)
  • There are nine first-time nominees in the acting categories. The Best Supporting Actress category is populated with the most newbies (Bérénice Bejo, Jessica Chastain, Melissa McCarthy, and Octavia Spencer), while the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor categories are filled with vets, with only one new nominee each (Rooney Mara and Jonah Hill).
  • Including this year’s nod for The Iron Lady, Meryl Streep has been nominated a record 17 times over the course of her career, and has won two statues. The actress, however, hasn’t won in 29 years, bagging her last Oscar in 1983 for Sophie’s Choice. Glenn Close, up for Albert Nobbs this year, has been nominated six times and has picked up zero statues. Will either find luck this year? History says the odds aren’t in their favor: The two actresses have competed against each other in the Best Actress category twice before (in 1988 and 1989) — and both have walked home empty-handed.
  • This year’s Best Director race is full of vets: Only one, Michel Hazanavicius, is a first-time nominee. Compare that to 2011, which boasted three first-time nominees in the category (Darren Aronofsky, David O Russell, and winner Tom Hooper).
  • Cars 2 is the first Pixar film to not be nominated for an Oscar since the Best Animated Feature category was introduced in 2001. Quite a hit to the studio’s track record, especially when you consider six out of the eight Pixar films nominated in the past 11 years have won the Oscar.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 is the third sequel to be nominated in the Best Animated Feature category. Shrek 2 scored a nod in 2004, while Toy Story 3 bagged the win last year. Puss in Boots is the first spin-off nominee.
  • Three Best Screenplay nominees have appeared in their own films this year: George Clooney in The Ides of March (Best Adapted Screenplay) and Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids (Best Original Screenplay).
  • Eat your heart out, Meryl Streep. Including his two nominations this year for The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse, John Williams has been nominated for a whopping 47 Academy Awards over his long career. And though two nominations in one year might seem like a lot, Williams was nominated for three Oscars in 1974 and 1996.
The EW article I snagged these from in its entirety.

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