Tuesday, February 25, 2014


A stodgy old man with a questionable state of mind believes that he has won a million dollars by way of junk mail and insists that he collect it in person. The old man, Woody Grant, is played by Bruce Dern and he is nominated for Best Actor for the role. Will Forte portrays his son David. It would be obvious to say that the role is a surprising dramatic turn for Forte. It is true, however, statements like that seem to say more about the lack of respect granted to comedic acting than to standout performances. Acting mainstay with all the buzz of newcomer, June Squibb is the mother of David and wife of Woody. Squibb will appear on the next episode of Girls, ironically airing during the Oscar telecast. Bob Odenkirk, or Saul for the Breaking Bad fans, has a similar dramatic turn as Ross, the other son and brother in the Grant family. It was nice seeing Odenkirk as a realistic character. Buzz from Home Alone has a small role in the film. David decides to drive his father from Montana to Nebraska to collect the million dollars. The film is directed by Alexander Payne (the Descendants, Sideways, Election and About Schmidt). The black and white cinematography never seemed to be for an artistic or symbolic reason to me. Payne has said that he made that choice because the modest story seemed to lend itself well to the austere characters and that the artistic decision to not film in black and white is often driven by commercial reasons, not artistic. The movie is categorized as a drama and certainly has a sad tone but it is full of quirky humor.
Seeing Bruce Dern on Inside the Actors Studio as well as his posture at the Oscar Nominee Luncheon, his demeanor was a little off putting. Maybe he is too old to care but it seems he had an overconfident attitude that is nothing new. Reading that Dern liked Forte so much that he wanted him to date his daughter Laura Dern was pretty cute though. Nebraska is nominated for six Oscars and six Spirit Awards. The film was also nominated for three BAFTAs and five Golden Globes. The film received nominations from the Academy for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. It is not anticipated that it will win any Oscars. Regardless, 84 year old Best Supporting Actress nominee June Squibb has been making the talk show rounds and done hilarious bits on Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen about her nomination. The movie's Spirit Award nominations are similar for Best Feature, Best Director, Best First Screenplay for Bob Nelson, Best Male Lead, Best Supporting Female and Best Supporting Male for Forte. Nelson is expected to win Best First Screenplay (though I had really hoped that Lake Bell would win for the In a World... script). Nebraska is available for home viewing.

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I had not intended to see Frozen but the thought that I had not seen a movie expected to win two Oscars got me to the theater, as did seeing the animated short Get a Horse!, another expected winner. Frozen is the highest grossing animated Disney film of all time. It has been playing in theaters since November and is still in the top ten at the box office, nearing one billion globally. Frozen is the likely winner of Best Animated Feature and Best Song for "Let It Go." The animation is very good and it is deserving of the feature win. The plot of Frozen was your typical fairy tale, though it was based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, as lesser known story. The little snowman guy is pretty cool. The effort to be sure to see Get a Horse! was unwarranted, the other Best Animated Short nominees are much more deserving. Now I know.

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