Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saving Mr Banks

The story of how Walt Disney Studios acquired the film rights to Mary Poppins is told in parallel to the story of its author PL Travers' difficult childhood in Saving Mr Banks. Walt Disney tried to convince Travers to sign over the rights for twenty years. The movie depicts a two week period in which Travers was in Los Angeles to approve the script. She was very demanding, to say the least. As with all films based on true events, the movie has met with its fair share of criticism. Some say the movie depicts Walt Disney in too positive a light, some that the film is too hard on Travers, others that it is rather forgiving of Travers. The original screenwriter, Sue Smith, focused on the development of Mary Poppins and Travers' unique path to motherhood. At age 40 Travers agreed to adopt twins and then changed her mind, only adopting one of the babies. Kelly Marcel took over the script and dropped the motherhood aspect, adding the dual story of Travers' childhood and the making of the movie. The two share writing credits. The script is also based on the book Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of PL Travers by Valerie Lawson. Interestingly enough, both Smith and Marcel worked on the project prior to the involvement of Disney Studios. Marcel was concerned that when Disney obtained the movie that Walt Disney would be sanitized, not shown drinking or smoking. Disney does drink in one scene and is seen putting out a cigarette. It does seem that the images and musical rights from the 1964 Mary Poppins that are in Saving Mr Banks would have been difficult for a studio other than Disney to obtain. The film is not a bio pic of Disney or Travers, it is based on accounts of how the movie rights to Mary Poppins were procured. Disney's 1940s labor issues nor Travers' romantic relationships with both men and women are the subject of the film. Those are much more tantalizing topics that would be obvious omissions from their individual life stories.
Tom Hanks makes an enchanting Walt Disney. Emma Thompson adds warmth and sympathy to a  difficult character. The movie is very well cast with strong supporting appearances by Colin Farrell as Travers' father, Ruth Wilson as her mother, and Rachel Griffiths as Travers' aunt who was the inspiration for Mary Poppins. Working most closely with Travers in the film were Bradley Whitford as screenwriter Don DaGradi and the composer brothers Robert and Richard Sherman as portrayed by BJ Novak and Jason Schwartzman. Paul Giamatti is Travers' Disney Studios driver while in LA. His character is actually a fictitious addition to the script. He was added with the intent to show a softer side of Travers and make her more accessible. The set pieces and costuming of 1961 are impeccable. The score composed by Thomas Newman is excellent.

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this picture. All the elements of story telling and movie magic are complete. Thompson has been nominated for her acting by both the Golden Globes and the SAG. The likelihood of her receiving an Oscar nomination is solid. Hanks received nominations for his work in Captain Phillips and not Saving Mr Banks. Hanks makes it look easy being Disney. He is perfectly cast. It is understandable why the other aspects of the movie may not receive nominations despite its quality. The Academy often tends towards the more dark and less feel-good. Of course there are the sentimental favorites every year but the acting may be the only area where Saving Mr Banks is acknowledged. I admit, I was predisposed to like this movie. I love Disneyland, Tom Hanks and Mary Poppins. The movie is so well executed and acted that it is both a bittersweet story and a tearjerker. I also had the pleasure of watching the movie with the benefit of a Groupon, in an arm chair, in a movie parlor theater at Cinetopia. I have had the songs of Mary Poppins in my head since I saw the film and have since rewatched the now classic movie.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Christmas Carol

In film, radio, television, and stage, A Christmas Carol is one of the most adapted, interpreted and parodied original stories, with new versions every year. There are at least three different live plays of A Christmas Carol being performed this year in Portland alone (Second City's Twist of Dickens at Portland Center Stage; Portland Playhouse Presents A Christmas Carol; and Sherlock Holmes and The Case Of The Christmas Carol at Artists Repertory Theatre).
While I have certainly done my homework and viewed many forms of A Christmas Carol, there are still many more adaptations, animations, and musicals. Any cartoon you can name from Dora the Explorer to the Flintstones has A Christmas Carol episode or special edition. The versions that exist vary from children's films, modern made-for-tv and traditional vs nontraditional.

The story was originally published in 1843. I read the Puffin Classics 2008 edition of the Dickens' novella. The introduction and additional material on Dickens' preceding and following the original text are simple yet informative. The 2009 performance capture Robert Zemeckis completed for Disney, starring Jim Carrey, is very true to the source material. The Muppets are very true to the novella as well with dialogue and imagery of the three ghosts straight from the book. Mickey's Christmas Carol has held a special place in my heart since my mom recorded it on a VHS tape of Christmas specials for me and my sisters in the 80s. One piece of trivia, the old man in Home Alone is named Marley as a nod to A Christmas Carol. It was Chris Columbus' intention for Home Alone to feel timeless. The greatest bit about the Smurfs is that when the Ghost of Christmas Past shows up for Grouchy, the animation goes from the sacrilegious digital animation to the classic cartoon style. George Lopez does great Grouchy voice over work. Hank Azaria makes an excellent Gargamel.
Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009), Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol (2011)
The Hallmark and made for television versions truly need to be considered as their own genre. It would be unfair to compare Tori Spelling and William Shatner in A Carol Christmas to Patrick Stewart's 1999 portrayal of Scrooge. I know there is a devoted audience to the holiday and Hallmark tv movie and I will not speak ill of the demo. These movies often involve a twist to the story, Ebenezer as a woman, or take place in modern times. Carrie Fisher in It's Christmas, Carol! as the Marley character is fairly humorous and she looks great. It's Christmas, Carol! is fairly well done for this genre. Suprisingly, A Carol Christmas is pretty decent too. Karroll's Christmas has the twist that the ghosts show up to the neighbor of the Scrooge character by mistake and then both neighbor and Scrooge characters see their past, present and future Christmases in order to improve their lives. Even the charm of Tom Everett Scott and the quirk of Wallace Shawn do not make this particular version shine. Ebbie is for the diehard Susan Lucci fan, of which I am not. In a similar vein, Vanessa Williams stars in A Diva's Christmas Carol (2000).
Diva's Christmas Carol (2000), Scrooge (1970), A Carol Christmas (2003)
The first film with sound, the 1938 version, opens not with Ebenezer Scrooge's walk to work but with his nephew interacting with Tiny Tim and his brother Peter. This version adds several scenes of the Cratchit family and additional scenes with Scrooge's nephew Fred. It is a very entertaining and pleasing edition. The themes of the original story and much of the dialogue are from the novella. The 1951 British version is considered by many critics, and by Turner Classic Movies, to be the best. It spends more time on Ebenezer's past, with particular attention to the death of Scrooge's sister Fan. The depiction of the poor in the present is also given more time and is true to Dickens' original message. The visual effects are quite impressive in both the 1938 and 1951 versions. The 1999 movie starring Patrick Stewart also includes the more grim images of the poor that are in keeping with the book's themes.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009), A Christmas Carol (1951), A Christmas Carol (1938) A Christmas Carol (1999), Scrooged (1988)
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is a typical, silly, romantic comedy, taking place not on Christmas Eve but the night before a wedding. It is included because it is an example of how the story and plot are entrenched in our culture and just how vast the adaptations can be. Scrooged is a known Christmas favorite of many and I think it's telling that it predates Groundhog Day. It establishes Bill Murray as a grump who will find redemption and it a very edition. A Carol for Another Christmas (1964) is a made for television movie in which Daniel Grudge (the Scrooge character) is visited by the familiar ghosts of the classic story. There is an element of science fiction during its apocalyptic portrayal of the future. Until December 2012 when TCM began airing it, the movie was only telecast one time, without commercial interruption, and was presented by the United Nations and sponsored by Xerox. The movie is dark, dated, and heavy handed with its messages about war and the disenfranchised. It exemplifies some of the unique interpretations of the source material and is a very solitary picture in film history.
The element in all of the traditional adaptations that shares a universality is the imagery of the ghosts. Brief but memorable, the bandaged face of Jacob Marley on the door knocker (whether it be Goofy as Marley in Mickey's or the face on the knocker using who-knows-what prehistoric special effects in 1938 and 1951) is consistent. The most variations in interpretations are in the look of the Ghost of Christmas Past. Dickens describes the Ghost of Christmas Past as child like and at the same time like an old man. Perhaps it is this juxtaposition that creates the most room for interpretation. Joel Grey's embodiment of the Ghost of Christmas Past in the 1999 version is the one that most captures the description in the book. The ethereal qualities displayed in Disney's and the Muppets are also very captivating. The Ghost of Christmas Present always appears as a feasting giant of a man, resembling Father Christmas and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is equally persistent as a dark, hooded, faceless spirit. 
The story gave us the phrases 'Scrooge' and 'Bah Humbug' and even popularized the use of 'Merry Christmas.' Originally criticizing 19th Century industrial capitalism and offering a return to traditional English celebrations of Christmas, A Christmas Carol remains a popular story of goodwill just as it was upon its first publication. The theme of generosity of spirit is a lasting message of the true Christmas Spirit.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

2014 Golden Globe and SAG Award Nominations

Today on behalf of the Hollywood Foreign Press, Olivia Wilde, Aziz Ansari and Zoe Saldana announced the nominations for the 2014 Golden Globes. Yesterday, December 11th, the Screen Actors Guild nominees were read by Clark Gregg and Sasha Alexander. 
Alexander, Gregg
Wilde, Ansari, Saldana












It looks as though the movies leading the way to the Oscars are 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, The Butler, Dallas Buyers Club, Captain Phillips, American Hustle and August: Osage County. Award show mainstays and A-listers Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Meryl Strep, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah Winfrey and Sandra Bullock joined newcomers Daniel Brühl, Lupita Nyong'o, Barkhad Abdi and Chiwetel Ejiofor in the acting categories.

An element of both the SAG and Globes, while not Oscar related, is the inclusion of the television categories. I must say that I love that Taylor Schilling was nominated for a Globe for Orange Is The New Black. Though her nomination in the drama category as opposed to comedy is inaccurate. The laid back nature of both shows makes for a more convivial experience. The actors are seated together by project and drink at the Golden Globes. A similar atmosphere is cultivated at the SAG Awards. Because television and movies are honored, the celeb watching and red carpet possibilities are a bit more limitless.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are once again hosting the 71st Annual Golden Globes Sunday, January 12th  at 8pm Eastern and 5pm Pacific on NBC. The pair signed on for two more years after hosting fabulously last year. They're ours for 2014 and 2015. Sosie Bacon has been named Miss Golden Globe 2014. The tradition is that the child of acting parents is selected and as Miss Golden Globe assists the presenters with the handing out of the awards during the ceremony. The 20th Annual SAG Awards will air live on TNT and TBS on Saturday, January 18th at 8pm Eastern and 5pm Pacific. Below the Tina and Amy promo clip for the Golden Globes are the full lists of the Golden Globe and SAG nominations.

2014 Golden Globe Nominations:
MOVIES:
BEST MOTION PICTURE - DRAMA
12 Years A Slave
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Philomena
Redford, Ejiofor, McConaughey, Whitaker, Hanks 
Rush

BEST MOTION PICTURE - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
American Hustle
Her
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
The Wolf of Wall Street

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE - DRAMA
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All is Lost

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE - DRAMA
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks
Kate Winslet, Labor Day

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Greta Gerwig, Francis Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Joaquin Phoenix, Her

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years A Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Brühl, Rush
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

BEST DIRECTOR - MOTION PICTURE
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O Russell, American Hustle

BEST SCREENPLAY - MOTION PICTURE
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
12 Years A Slave
American Hustle

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Frozen

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Blue is the Warmest Color
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Past
The Wind Rises

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE - MOTION PICTURE
All is Lost
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Gravity
The Book Thief
12 Years A Slave

BEST ORIGINAL SONG - MOTION PICTURE
Atlas - Coldplay, Catching Fire
Let It Go - Idina Menzel, Frozen
Ordinary Love - U2, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Please Mr Kennedy - Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver, Inside Llewyn Davis
Sweeter Than Fiction - Taylor Swift, Once Chance

CECIL B DeMILLE AWARD
Woody Allen. It will be interesting to see if Allen participates in receiving the Cecil B DeMille in the traditional ways. Before giving a speech, another delightful aspect of the tradition is that the recipient is announced by a close colleague or a frequent collaborator, and is often very humorous. My best guess for presenting Allen is Penelope Cruz or Alec Baldwin. Last year for example Robert Downey Jr announced Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson was often cut to in the audience. Allen is famously a non-member of the Academy Awards. The Oscar organization has invited Allen to be a member of the Academy multiple times and has awarded him with four Oscars. Allen declines membership. Given this context, Allen's participation in receiving the Cecil B DeMille will be very telling.
Ejiofor, Blanchett, Spacey, Louis-Dreyfus, DiCaprio
GOLDEN GLOBE TELEVISION:
BEST TELEVISION SERIES - DRAMA
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
The Good Wife
House of Cards
Masters of Sex

BEST TELEVISION SERIES - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
The Big Bang Theory
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Girls
Modern Family
Parks and Rec

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TV SERIES - DRAMA
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Michael Sheen, Masters of Sex
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
James Spader, The Blacklist

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TV SERIES - DRAMA
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is The New Black
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kerry Washington, Scandal

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TV SERIES - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TV SERIES - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Michael J Fox, The Michael J Fox Show
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

BEST MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
American Horror Story: Coven
Behind the Candelabra
Dancing on the Edge
Top of the Lake
White Queen

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor
Rebecca Ferguson, White Queen
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra
Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Idris Elba, Luther
Al Pacino, Phil Spector

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Jacqueline Bisset, Dancing on the Edge
Janet McTeer, White Queen
Hayden Panettiere, Nashville
Monica Potter, Parenthood
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Rob Lowe, Behind the Candelabra
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Corey Stoll, House of Cards
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

2014 SAG Award Nominations:
MOVIES:
MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels' The Butler

FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks
Lawrence, Ejiofor, Blanchett 


MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Brühl, Rush
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years A Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels' The Butler

CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE
12 Years A Slave
American Hustle
August: Osage County
Dallas Buyers Club
Lee Daniels' The Butler

SAG TELEVISION:
MALE ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra
Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Jeremy Irons, The Hollow Crown
Rob Lowe, Killing Kennedy
Al Pacino, Phil Spector

MALE ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES
Angela Bassett, Betty and Coretta
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor
Holly Hunter Top of the Lake
Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake

MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Claire Danes, Homeland
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Kerry Washington, Scandal

MALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

FEMALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland

ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES
30 Rock
Arrested Development
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Veep

SAG LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Rita Moreno

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Understanding the Oscars

As Oscar Season revs up, I wanted to take stock of what I have learned in the time I devoted to following the Oscars in years past.

It has taken me years to gain a certain level of understanding of the inner workings of the Academy. Part of the esteem of the Academy is in its ability to maintain a shroud of mystery, even with today's environment of media transparency and the 24 hour news cycle of social media.

Some practices to contemplate:
Best Picture. This category has a history of having ten nominated films, scaling down to five and then back to ten in 2010 and 2011. It is often said that The Dark Knight's exclusion from the list of 2009's Best Picture nominees is why the category was increased back to ten. The 84th Annual Academy Awards introduced the new system that nominated nine films in 2012 and 2013. The number of films nominated for Best Picture is based on the weighted votes received during the nomination process. There can be anywhere from five to ten films nominated for Best Picture this year (the March, 2nd 2014 Awards show will honor the movies of 2013).

Best Documentary Feature. For award year 2013 for example, there were 126 qualified films for the documentary feature category. The movies must be released in theaters that allow for review by the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times. 15 films are shortlisted and then the members of Documentary Branch of the Academy voted for the five eventual nominees.

Governors of each branch meet and vote to change the rules on an annual basis. There is a reason the Academy is an institution, they are organized and they have the history to back it up.

More info than you might think is available on the official Oscar website, Oscars.org. Updates on the Academy's rules and branches and a complete history the winners and nominees are available there.
Some folks attempt to uncover the information that the Academy does not publicize. The author of one of my favorite blogs, Never Too Early Movie Predictions, took on a huge undertaking in the time following the 2012 Oscar season to attempt to identify the 6,608 members of the Academy and the research is ongoing. See the Academy Members Project. Over half of the Academy was identified as of July 2013. The Academy has been releasing the names of each year's invitees since 2004 making the current info relatively easy to collect. It's the search for all members, in all branches, covering the entire span of history of the Academy that poses the immense challenge. This info is a rabbit hole for me, I can get all caught up in it so I will move on.

Never Too Early also has a wonderful explanation on the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.

I predicted 18 of 2012's 24 categories correctly and my best years were 2009, 2010 and 2013, when I went 19/24. My goal is to get 20 or more category predictions correct and have a new best year. It's been a goal since 2011 that will continue into 2014.

For posterity, my stats are below. These are more for my own edification than anything else.
2013: 19/24 KG; 17/24 EW print & 21/24 EW online *all three selected Skyfall for Sound Editing which tied with Zero Dark Thirty.
2012: 18/24 KG; 19/24 DK
2011: 17/24 KG; 16/24 DK
2010: 19/24 KG; 19/24 DK -- tie
2009: 19/24 KG; 21/24 DK
2008: 14/24 KG; 15/24 EW
2007: no record saved KG; 12/24 DK
2006: 15/24 KG; 17/24 DK
2005: 15/24 KG; 17/24 EW
2004: the year of my first party, didn't save any ballots; 21/24 DK
--the DK years are times that Dave Karger predicted the major categories and other writers of Entertainment Weekly reported on/predicted the remaining categories. In 2012, Karger was no longer with EW. He did not predict beyond the main categories so my so-to-so speak scorecard is now strictly against EW. Though EW has the added trick of having print and online predictions. Online they can update for last minute info and get pretty near to perfect predictions.

Please note the latest addition to my shout outs for fellow bloggers. New to the list, Beer Borough NW, a great beer blogger in Portland whom I had the pleasure of meeting at this past week's Holiday Ale Fest in Pioneer Square.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The 85th Academy Awards

Seth MacFarlane danced the line of biting humor and respect for the institution of the Oscars perfectly as host. One of his best jokes from the opening monologue was "Ben, it's not your fault" in a Robin Williams-esque Good Will Hunting voice about Affleck not being nominated for Best Director. The many jokes about Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting were a great homage to how well they hosted the Golden Globes earlier this year. Seth tempting Sally Field with wine and Boniva was delightfully hilarious. Later his joke, "It's Sunday. Everybody is dressed up. This is like church only with more people praying," was priceless.

I was incorrect right out of the gates on the first award, Best Supporting Actor. I had thought that DeNiro had it but I could not have been more pleased that Christoph Waltz took home the statue. His speech was genuine and heartfelt. It has become quite fashionable for actors to thank and name their fellow nominees in their acceptance speeches. Waltz seemed very sincere when he named each of his cohorts. Tommy Lee Jones actually smiled after the clip of his nominated performance in Lincoln.
MacFarlane's jabs at Clooney and Affleck throughout the ceremony were fantastic. The six men of the Avengers amusingly bantered as they presented Cinematography and Visual Effects. The much promoted tribute to 50 years of Bond was disappointing in that it was simply a montage (and they showed T Dalt twice). Having Shirley Bassey sing Goldfinger was pretty cool. The Forrest Gump score popped up multiple times over transitions -- upon rewatching the show I realized this was because of the theme of the awards, music in movies. In this honoring of movie music my only complaint was that the sound team did not disable Russell Crowe's microphone during the Les Miserables performance.
I can not even talk about Anne Hathaway winning Best Supporting Actress or about how awful her dress was. Jennifer Lawrence fell on her way to the stage but she instantly regained her composure. She gave a simple and sweet speech. Daniel Day Lewis was also humbling and sweet in his acceptance speech and then in the next breath hilarious. Michelle Obama presenting Best Picture via satellite was a truly new idea kept a surprise by Jack Nicholson appearing on stage as if to present. I loved it when he asked, "Obama, do you have your envelope" and without missing a beat she replied, "not yet Jack, I'm about to." I was so pleased that Argo won. I loved Ben Affleck's speech. He had the seem frenetic energy that he had when he won for the screenplay for Good Will Hunting.



Saturday, February 23, 2013

My 2013 Ballots

This year I have seen more of the nominees than I have ever before. The only categories that I did not complete were the documentary feature, documentary short and foreign film categories. I made sure to watch all of the trailers of those and have seen 21/24 of the categories nominees.

What follows are three ballots. The first is how I would vote if I were a member of the Academy. This is a fun exercise, particularly when I have seen all the movies. After all the effort and movie watching it is quite gratifying. Next is a ballot of my official predictions. The best I have predicted in the past is 19/24 categories and I have a goal to get 20 or more correct tomorrow. The third image is my "viewing ballot" as I have become accustom to calling it. It is the copy I printed the day the nominations were announced and have checked off as I watch the Oscar movies.

I am very excited that Argo has made its way to being the front runner and likely winner for Best Picture. Silver Linings Playbook is my favorite of this year's crop of Oscar movies and even though I have seen it twice, I would watch it again in a heartbeat. Happy Oscar Sunday all!



Monday, February 4, 2013

2013 Oscar Nominee Luncheon

Today was the annual event where all of the year's Oscar nominees gather for lunch and a class photo. The event seems to be one of the coolest parts of being a nominee and everyone is acknowledged.

Press is limited to three questions per nominee. Ben Affleck seemed genuinely modest, mentioning how much he wanted to work with the fellow Best Picture filmmakers as an actor and that years of watching from home in the 80s and 90s has made him impervious to the prognosticating. "I leave those sorts of calculations to the folks in the press and the pundits and the Oscarologists.... I don't get into worrying about who got what or didn't get what. I've had many, many, many, many, many years watching from home." This weekend the Director's Guild presented Affleck with Best Director for Argo. The rest of the awards seem bound to prove that Affleck deserved not only to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar for Argo but that he should also win. I suspect there will be a consolation Oscar in Affleck's future.

The pictures are an extremely fun outcome of the event.



Thursday, January 31, 2013

Safe Haven

While the changes made in adapting the movie from the book were to the benefit of the film, there are still elements of the story in which it is difficult to suspend ones disbelief.

As far as how Safe Haven fits into the Nicholas Sparks film log, it's no Notebook, it is not even as strong as Nights at Rodanthe, but it is better than the worst Sparks' movies, Message in a Bottle and A Walk to Remember. SH is on par with Lucky One. Hot and pretty actors with a mediocre story involving similar plot points make them companion pieces. Not as good as Dear John or the Last Song. Somewhere in the middle of the Sparks Spectrum.
Overall, not a new favorite flick, not even a great movie of this genre. But it was not terrible. It is always a sweet deal to see a movie before its release, and free of charge no less. I am not betraying my demographic of young women, I just don't scoop up this stuff like it's golden honey. It has to have the goods! And not every outing is going to be the Notebook. The Vow was not even a Sparks Production but it marketed the actors (Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams) that had appeared in previously successful Sparks movies (Dear John and the Notebook) and delivered to the genre.

By the by, I submitted what was basically the first two paragraphs posted here to the website that requested my review of the movie. The following message displayed: "Your submission has triggered the spam filter and will not be accepted." Ponder that.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Impossible

As a birthday treat for myself, I attended a showing of The Impossible at Cinetopia in one of their unique parlor room theaters. I enjoyed an oatmeal stout, a turkey club sandwich on ciabatta bread with fries and a diet coke, in the comfort of an armchair next to a fireplace. It was heavenly. The comforts of the experience were in stark contrast to the events of the movie I was there to see. The real story of a family during the 2004 tsunami is emotionally wrought and beautifully told. I cried through most of the movie. It was a rewarding viewing, not one of those views that drains you and you feel as though you have merely endured, not enjoyed. In watching an interview with Ewan McGregor with Dave Karger, I recent found out that in one of McGregor's most emotional scenes, he was acting with actual survivors of the tsunami.
Naomi Watts is nominated for Best Actress in the movie and Ewan McGregor would have been equally deserving. The effects for the recreation of the event of the movie are not over the top and evoke emotions not usually felt when watching computer generated scenes. It could be knowing it actually happened but I think much is owed to the technical merits of the film.

In one brief scene, I recognized an actress as the same woman who played Aunt Glady in one of my all time favorite movies, Home for the Holidays (1995). Confirming this detail also led to the realization that the actress, Geraldine Chaplin, is indeed the daughter of Charlie Chaplin. Robert Downey Jr portrayed Chaplin in 1992 and Geraldine appeared in the film before working with Downey again in Home for the Holidays.

2013 SAG Awards

The 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were presented tonight at the Shrine Exposition Center in LA. The show opened with actors speaking about their starts in acting and then by saying, "and I'm an actor." As it did last year, the cold open seems a little forced, but the salmon visible on their dinner plates looked delicious.

After seven seasons of 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin won Best Supporting Actor each year for his portrayal of Jack Donaghy. Tina Fey also won for 30 Rock and Julianne Moore presented her with the award (the Sarah Palin connection again that popped up at the Golden Globes). Fey thanked Amy Poehler and called back jokes from their stint hosting the Globes. I am sure I mentioned it last year but it continues to amuse me that the president of the SAG, Ken Howard, plays the president of Kabletown on 30 Rock. I noticed in the end credits that Scott Bakula is a producer of the awards show, maybe that is why he was in attendance last year.

The surefire wins come February 24th and Oscar night seem to be Daniel Day Lewis for Lincoln and Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables. Hathaway says the right things in her acceptance speeches but she needs to work on her delivery if she's going to win an Oscar. Argo continued to receive recognition that it is likely not to receive at the Oscars.

The fashions were fantastic tonight, much more exciting than at the Globes. The list of winners follows after the dresses.



FILM
Best Ensemble: Argo
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
TELEVISION
Comedy Series Ensemble: Modern Family
Actor in a Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Actress in a Comedy Series: Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Drama Series Ensemble: Downton Abbey
Actor in a Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Actress in a Drama Series: Claire Danes, Homeland
Actress in a Movie or Miniseries: Julianne Moore, Game Change
Actor in a Movie or Miniseries: Kevin Costner, Hatfields and McCoys
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Dick Van Dyke

Saturday, January 26, 2013

2013 SAG Nominations

The Screen Actors Guild Awards are another favorite of mine in the build-up towards the Oscars. The speeches are routinely excellent and it is fun to see the actors honoring their peers. Like the Golden Globes, the awards are for television and movies.

You can catch the SAG Awards Sunday at 5pm Pacific time on tbs and tnt.

Check out tomorrow's nominees:
MOVIES:
Male Actor, Lead
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Denzel Washington, Flight
Male Actor, Supporting
Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Female Actor, LeadJessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Female Actor, Supporting
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Cast in a Motion Picture
Argo

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Misérables
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
TV:
Male Actor, TV Movie or Miniseries
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Ed Harris, Game Change
Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Bill Paxton, Hatfields & McCoys
Female Actor, TV Movie or Miniseries
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Charlotte Rampling, Restless
Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals
Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias
Male Actor, Drama Series
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Female Actor, Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Male Actor, Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Louis CK, Louis
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Female Actor, Comedy Series
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Ensemble, Comedy
30 Rock

The Big Bang Theory
Glee
Modern Family
Nurse Jackie
The Office
Ensemble, Drama
Boardwalk Empire

Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Homeland
Mad Men
Life Achievement Award
Dick Van Dyke

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

I have been somewhat slow in posting my reaction to this amazing flick because I did not know what to say. It is fantastic. I suspect it will be my favorite Oscar movie of the season. The films that pair great comedy with real life drama, and do it right, in a well written way, are always my favorites. The Descendants was a favorite last year for this reason. It won Best Adapted Screenplay. There were many other movies I loved in the 2012 Oscar season (The Help, Beginners) and there will be others I love this year (Argo). Each year there are films that feel like homework (Warhorse, Les Misérables) and there are surprise gems (Albert Nobbs).

Silver Linings Playbook will always be a memorable movie going experience. Emily and I first attempted a sold out showing at one theater but ended up making the next showtime at another theater (the same thing happened on the way to seeing Zero Dark Thirty; apparently the Oscar nominated movies are making bank this year, or I am off my game).
The acting is strong to say the least -- four of the leads in the movie have been nominated for Oscars, Bradley Cooper for Best Actor, Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress, Robert DeNiro for Best Supporting Actor and Jacki Weaver for Best Supporting Actress, not to mention Chris Tucker's delightful role. J La has a good shot at winning (just check out her monologue from this week's SNL) and both she and Cooper are incredible as emotionally off-kilter people trying to move past recent events in their lives. If Daniel Day Lewis was not a complete shoe-in for Best Actor as Lincoln, Cooper might have had a chance at the statue as well.

The film is also up for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Film Editing. And there's football, gambling and dancing.  David O Russell wrote and directed the picture, he also directed the Fighter and I Heart Huckabees. I am a fan of Russell's movies and if you have seen his previous pictures, you can see how Silver Linings Playbook incorporates the comedy of Huckabees and the family drama of the Fighter. I loved this movie and am tempted to see it again before Oscar season is over.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013 Golden Globes

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler started the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards with a witty bang. Poehler said that Kathryn Bigelow, director of Zero Dark Thirty, would know about torture because she was married to James Cameron for three years. Then Tina said that when watching Anne Hathaway's nominated performance in Les Miserables, Fey had not seen someone so alone and abandoned since Hathaway was on stage with James Franco at the Oscars. Amy mentioned Julianne Moore's nomination for portraying Sarah Palin in HBO's Game Change. Tina chimed in with, "me too, I used to win prizes for that too" and found that she had lost her ability to impersonate Sarah Palin's voice.
The first award was presented to Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor in Django Unchained. I was thrilled because I loved his performance as an 1850's bounty hunter. It will be interesting to see if this is an Oscar indicator as four of the five nominees are the same for both awards. Julianne Moore won the Globe for Game Change and the movie won Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television.

In an effort to revise the awards show drinking game for 2013, since Martin Scorsese is not nominated, I think the go-to drink will be for when anyone over-pronounces Les Misérables. Tina Fey was the first to and Catherine Zeta Jones was the second.

Damian Lewis won Best Actor in a Drama Series for Homeland and then Homeland won Best Drama. The real life CIA agent Ben Affleck played in Argo presented Argo as a Best Movie Drama nominee with John Goodman. It was delightful to continue to see George Clooney and Ben Affleck seated together throughout the show. Poehler's Boston accent jokes directed towards Affleck were great.

Adele won a Globe for Original Song for "Skyfall." Hope this one is an Oscar indicator as well. Taylor Swift lost and could not seem to put a graceful-loser look on her face when Adele accepted the award. Yeah, that's right Taylor, you are not as talented as Adele, get used to it.

Bill Clinton randomly presented Lincoln's nomination for Best Movie Drama and received a standing ovation. He even did a thumbs up. It was very cool. Immediately after, Amy Poehler appeared to resume her hosting duties in character as Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec and said, "that was Hilary Clinton's husband!"

Kristen Wiig and Will Farrell by far were the funniest presenters. The bit was that they were beyond excited to be there, had watched all the movies the five actresses nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical were in, yet clearly had not watched. They called Jennifer Lawrence, J La, which is fantastic, and she won. Megan Fox and Jonah Hill were also pretty funny as presenters.

One would anticipate Quentin Tarantino to be full on crazy when he accepted the Best Screenplay Globe. He was just standard Tarantino crazy. He thanked his actors and the people he reads his scripts to as he writes, but did not name them.

Another random presenter was Sacha Baron Cohen (third to over-pronounce Les Mis) in the Best Animated Feature Category. Brave's win and also Amour's win for Best Foreign Language Film may be additional Oscar predictors.

I loved Amy Poehler drinking champagne with George Clooney for her nomination shot. After the hosts lost to Lena Dunham for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, they pretended to be drunk and Tina told Taylor Swift, "you stay away from Michael J Fox's son!" 

Robert Downey Jr presented Jodie Foster with the Cecil B DeMille Award. Foster gave a big build-up so as if to come out, then she said she was single. Then she pretty much came out but never said it outright. She was strong and unique in her acceptance of the award and received a standing ovation from her peers.

Ben Affleck seemed genuinely shocked that he won Best Director for Argo. The audience was floored and he received a standing ovation. It would seem that all were pleased that he received the recognition the Academy withheld from him this week. Jennifer Gardner presented Best Actor in a Comedy and thanked two people he forgot, including Argo producer George Clooney. Then Clooney congratulated Affleck on his win when he presented Best Actress in a Drama to Jessica Chastain.

After Daniel Day Lewis won for Best Actor in a Drama for Lincoln, out of the blue Julia Roberts presented Best Picture Drama to Argo. The last line of the show was Poehler saying that she and Fey were going home with Jodie Foster.

A complete list of the winners follows my fashion coverage.
All in all there were a lot of misses on the red carpet at the Globes. Too many high neck lines, too many white or baby blue blah dresses. Kerry Washington who is gorgeous, looked terrible. On another actress the dress Jennifer Lopez wore may have been daring but for her it was run-of-the-mill. Jennifer Lawrence, Claire Danes and Jennifer Gardner looked great in reds and the hosts' red carpet looks and on stage ensembles were wins.

MOVIES
Best Motion Picture, Drama: "Argo"
Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical: "Les Misérables"
Best Actress, Drama: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Best Actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
Best Actress, Comedy or Musical: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Best Actor, Comedy or Musical: Hugh Jackman, "Les Misérables"
Best Director: Ben Affleck, "Argo"
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, "Les Misérables"
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained"
Best Foreign Language Film: "Amour"
Best Animated Film: "Brave"
Best Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained"
Best Original Score: Mychael Danna, "Life of Pi"
Best Original Song: "Skyfall" (music and lyrics by Adele and Paul Epworth), "Skyfall"

TELEVISION
Best Series, Drama: "Homeland," Showtime
Best Series, Musical or Comedy: "Girls," HBO
Best Actress, Drama: Claire Danes, "Homeland"
Best Actor, Drama: Damian Lewis, "Homeland"
Best Actress, Comedy or Musical: Lena Dunham, "Girls"
Best Actor, Comedy or Musical: Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"
Best Miniseries or Movie: "Game Change"
Best Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Julianne Moore, "Game Change"
Best Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Kevin Costner, "Hatfields and McCoys"
Best Supporting Actress: Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey"
Best Supporting Actor: Ed Harris, "Game Change"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Skyfall

The latest installment in the Bond franchise is excellent and measures up to the standard set by the previous two Daniel Craig outings as 007. Skyfall is just what a James Bond movie should be -- fun, and exciting. What makes it a good Bond flick is that it is well plotted and paced, includes that trademark sense of humor, without going into cheesy territory, and it has a modern edge and style.
Skyfall received five Oscar nominations for Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Score and Adelle's original song "Skyfall." The last Oscar nomination a Bond movie received was for Best Original Song in "For Your Eyes Only" in 1982. Bond has won two Oscars, Goldfinger for Best Sound Effects and Thunderball for Special Visual Effects. Both categories have since been reframed by the Academy. The Oscars will also honor 50 years of Bond in film during this year's telecast.

For the Bond traditionalists out there, you will truly enjoy the nods to the classic 007 references in the 23rd movie in the series. Skyfall is a perfect blend of the Daniel Craig, Bond for the 21st Century, with all the fun touches of old school Bond. I did a little research and the filmmakers even included character details about Bond that date back to Ian Flemings' novels. I won't spoil them for you here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Oscar Nominations

There were nine films announced in the Best Picture category by Emma Stone and Seth MacFarlane this morning in Hollywood. Early front runner Lincoln received the most nominations with twelve. Life of Pi follows in close second with eleven nods. Both Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook scored eight nominations each. Silver Linings Playbook is also the first film in 31 years to receive acting nominations in all four of the acting categories (the last was 1981's Reds). Skyfall is the first Bond film to be nominated in 30 years and it received five total nominations. Amour, Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty were also given five nods each.

While many were suprised that Ben Affleck was not nominated for Best Director, Argo did receive seven nominations. The Best Actress category features the eldest and youngest nominees ever in its category with Amour's Emmanuelle Riva, 85 and Beasts of the Southern Wild's Quvenzhané Wallis, 9. The Oscar host himself is a nominee; Seth MacFarlane wrote the lyrics to Best Original Song nominee "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from Ted. 
I have a lot of work to do. I have currently only seen two of the Best Picture nominees and am excited to get to it. I am most eager to check out Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook. It also looks like a majority of the films are readily available in theaters right now. When it comes to categories like Best Documentary Feature and when I really get down to the movies that only have one nomination each, it can get tricky. I am continuing with my annual goal to see all the films nominated for Best Picture, movies featuring all the acting nominees, and as many nominated films that I can consume after that. Oh and ps, Emma Stone really needs to eat something.

Check out all the nominees on the official Oscar website -- every year they make improvements and provide a more interactive experience. The 'View by Film' option on the Oscar site shows the movie poster and lists total nominations for each film and in what category. The classic one page ballot is missing for the second year in a row. I found an excellent one page ballot in minimal time here. This year the Oscar app is available for iPod, iPad and Android, for free.

And here are the nominees...
Best Picture
Amour
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Best Actor
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight
Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Best Director
Michael Haneke, Amour
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Best Original Screenplay
Amour, Michael Haneke
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Flight, John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal
Best Adapted Screenplay
Argo, Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin,
Life of Pi, David Magee
Lincoln, Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell
Best Animated Feature:
Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph
Best Cinematography
Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained, Robert Richardson
Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall, Roger Deakins
Best Costume Design
Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables, Paco Delgado
Lincoln, Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood
Best Documentary Feature
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man
Best Documentary Short
Inocente
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart
Redemption
Best Film Editing
Argo, William Goldenberg
Life of Pi, Tim Squyres
Lincoln, Michael Kahn
Silver Linings Playbook, Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
Zero Dark Thirty, Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg
Best Foreign Language Film
Amour, Austria
Kon-Tiki, Norway
No, Chile
A Royal Affair, Denmark
War Witch, Canada
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Hitchcock, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane
Les Misérables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell
Best Original Score
Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
Argo, Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Lincoln, John Williams
Skyfall, Thomas Newman
Best Original Song
“Before My Time” from Chasing Ice, music and lyric by J. Ralph
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted, music by Walter Murphy; lyric by Seth MacFarlane
“Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi, music by Mychael Danna; lyric by Bombay Jayashri
“Skyfall” from Skyfall, music and lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
“Suddenly” from Les Misérables, music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil
Best Production Design
Anna Karenina, Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
Les Misérables, Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson
Life of Pi, Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
Lincoln, Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson
Best Animated Short
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head over Heels
Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
Paperman
Best Live Action Short
Asad
Buzkashi Boys
Curfew
Death of a Shadow
Henry
Best Sound Editing
Argo, Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
Django Unchained, Wylie Stateman
Life of Pi, Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson
Best Sound Mixing
Argo, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
Les Misérables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
Life of Pi, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin
Lincoln, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
Skyfall, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson
Best Visual Effects
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White
Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
The Avengers, Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
Prometheus, Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
Snow White and the Huntsman, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pre-Oscar Nomination musings

For me, nothing emulates the giddy joy of hopping out of bed early Christmas morning to see what Santa brought, like the morning the Oscar Nominations are announced at 5:30am Pacific time. The Academy announcement tomorrow January 10th will bring out similar squeals of delight and joy from me. Sometimes the nominations are even a birthday gift, nominations have been announced on my bday several times in the past few years. This year the Academy wanted to push the calendar up, beat award season fatigue and as a result the nominations are out before the Golden Globes air Sunday, January 13th at 5pm Pacific time/8pm Eastern on NBC.
Emma Stone and Seth MacFarlane will be announcing the nominations. This is the first time since 1972 that a host of the Oscar show has announced the nominees. 
Prior to the announcement, I couldn't help but wonder what the repercussions of the online Academy voting system might be. This is the first time voting has taken place online. The old Hollywood presence in the Academy often anchors the Oscars in honoring more traditional films. Older folks notoriously use less technology and it will be interesting to see how this change to the nomination process will affect the nominations.

There can be anywhere from 5-10 films nominated for Best Picture. I am predicting that 8 films will be nominated for Best Picture. Dave Karger, formerly of EW and my personal Oscar guru of many years, now found on Fandango, predicts 6 nominated films (Argo, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty). Check out his video for his full run down. Karger's EW replacement, Anthony Breznican, whom EW has dubbed their Prize Fighter (we'll see about that), is listing 10 Best Picture nominees and saying that just the first 6 are definite: 1. Lincoln 2. Zero Dark Thirty 3. Les Misérables 4. Argo 5. Life of Pi 6. Silver Linings Playbook 7. Amour 8. Beasts of the Southern Wild 9. Moonrise Kingdom 10. Skyfall.

Earlier this week on 1/8, the Director's Guild announced their nominees:
• Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Hooper, Les Miserables
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
• Steven Spielberg, Lincoln.

The Writer's Guild nominations were announced January 4th and are as follows. I did not include the Documentary Screenplay category because there is no equivalent in the Oscars and documentaries having screenplays seems odd, possibly even questionable.
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Flight Written by John Gatins
Looper Written by Rian Johnson
The Master Written by Paul Thomas Anderson
Moonrise Kingdom Written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty Written by Mark Boal
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Argo Screenplay by Chris Terrio; Based on a selection from The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez and the Wired Magazine article “The Great Escape” by Joshuah Bearman
Life of Pi Screenplay by David Magee; Based on the novel by Yann Martel
Lincoln Screenplay by Tony Kushner; Based in part on the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Perks of Being a Wallflower Screenplay by Stephen Chbosky; Based on his own novel
Silver Linings Playbook Screenplay by David O. Russell; Based on the novel by Matthew Quick

Here is an interesting link to an EW article that discusses winners and nominated films prior to the kickoff of the Oscar race.

As we get into Oscar month I will also share and discuss the Independent Spirit Award nominations and the BAFTAs.

For today, in an effort to provide you with well-rounded information, the Screen Actor's Guild nominations that have been out since December 12th are listed below. The SAG Awards will be broadcast on TBS and TNT on January 27th.
FILM
Male Actor, Lead
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Denzel Washington, Flight

Male Actor, Supporting
Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Female Actor, Lead
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Female Actor, Supporting
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Cast in a Motion Picture
Argo

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Misérables
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook

TV
Male Actor, TV Movie or Miniseries
Kevin Costner, Hatfields and McCoys
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Ed Harris, Game Change
Clive Owen, Hemingway and Gellhorn
Bill Paxton, Hatfields and McCoys

Female Actor, TV Movie or Miniseries
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway and Gellhorn
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Charlotte Rampling, Restless
Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals
Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias

Male Actor, Drama Series
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland

Female Actor, Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

Male Actor, Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Louis CK, Louis
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Female Actor, Comedy Series
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland 

Ensemble, Comedy
30 Rock

The Big Bang Theory
Glee
Modern Family
Nurse Jackie
The Office

Ensemble, Drama
Boardwalk Empire

Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Homeland
Mad Men

Life Achievement Award
Dick Van Dyke