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Argo Get Yourself Some Oscars

22 Feb

oscar-statuesTo quote the great Billy Crystal, Sunday night is going to be a wonderful night for Oscar.

Oscar, Oscar … Who will win?

The easier question to answer may be who will lose, because with so many good movies in 2012, a few categories that are actually competitive, Family Guy and Ted creator Seth MacFarlane sure to crush it as host, and the prospect of seeing Jennifer Garner and Reese Witherspoon looking fantastic again, I’d say we’ll all be winners Sunday night.

But all kidding aside, who will win? Allow me to make a few predictions and share some commentary … Continue reading

Will Oscar Voters Get Social?

26 Feb

A little more than a month ago, this year’s Oscar ceremony was looking like it’d be a big snooze. Again. Not including the unpredictability of hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco, we knew what was going to happen awards-wise: The Social Network had taken all the major critics prizes and the Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture (Drama). It, along with director David Fincher, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, and composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, seemed assured of cruising to the Oscars knowing they’d be winners that night too. Same goes for Colin Firth and Natalie Portman, and David Seidler, screenwriter of The King’s Speech.

But then The King’s Speech received 12 Oscar nominations and started winning major guild prizes — including the SAG and DGA — and the tide was turned. But when Social Network won the editors’ guild award, that may have turned the tide back; the editors are a reliable predictor of industry leanings for Best Picture. Now there are fewer sure things, even though pundits everywhere are predicting King’s Speech to win Best Picture. Other races have gotten much closer as well, including Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. That’s going to make for what I hope is a fun and exciting ceremony.

If you still haven’t cast votes in your own Oscar pool, Firth, Portman, Sorkin, Seidler, Toy Story 3 for Best Animated Feature, and Inception for Best Visual Effects are all good, smart bets. My money’s still on Social Network (my favorite movie of 2010) to win Best Picture, and I’m still pulling for Fincher, Reznor, and Ross to win their categories too. Want to know what else I’m picking? Here’s my ballot:

Yes, I’m really excited about this year’s Oscar show. I saw 60 movies last year. My hopes are high. I wrote a blog post about the Oscars for work. I’m planning to sit in front of the TV starting at around 6 p.m. for all the pre-show coverage, and I’ll likely stay up to catch some post-show action too. (Yes, I’m expecting to be tired on Monday.) Want to know my reactions to what’s happening? I’ll probably be tweeting my thoughts during the show. Oscar night is my Super Bowl, my Election Night, and I’m looking forward to a real prize fight — hoping that The Social Network comes out on top, of course.

Who are you rooting for?

War Is a Drug

14 Mar

If you really want to know what kind of movie The Hurt Locker is, all you need to watch is one scene about a third of the way in, when Army Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) discovers a trunk full of explosives.

Knowing his life could end any minute from now if he doesn’t succeed in his mission to defuse the bombs, he takes off all his protective gear and says to a member of his team, without flinching, “If I’m gonna die, I want to die comfortable.”

That brazen, no-holds-barred attitude permeates Kathryn Bigelow’s award-winning film. Continue reading

I’m Rooting for an Upset

5 Mar

I’m really hoping Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are funny on Sunday night, because if they’re not, then this year’s Oscar ceremony will be one giant snoozer.

After another long awards season when so many other trophies have already been handed out (the Golden Globes, SAG, Directors’ Guild, Critics’ Choice, etc.), there’s not a whole lot of suspense left about who’s going to win the Oscars. The top eight major categories (and at least three or four other awards) are already pretty well set.

However, while some may say that means there’s not much incentive to stay up until 12 to see the whole thing, I will definitely be watching until the bitter end — and maybe some post-show coverage too. I’m just not expecting to enjoy it much. Continue reading

I’m Already Yawning

22 Jan

So the Oscar nominations were announced today. Wanna watch the announcement? Here you go:

What’re my thoughts? Well, I’m not excited. For one thing, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is waaaaaay overrated. Some categories are largely as expected, based on previous awards nominees. Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, for example. But others had their share of surprises, and not good ones. The Reader, which I still have yet to see, got a slot for Best Picture instead of the very worthy The Dark Knight, which I was really pulling for and which had a legit shot at a nomination based on nominations by the Producers, Writers, and Directors Guilds. I’m also really really surprised by the omission of Bruce Springsteen and Jamie Cullum from the Best Song category for their contributions to The Wrestler and Gran Tornio, respectively. I was really looking forward to both performances on the telecast. And what’s with two of the only three Best Song nominations going to Slumdog Millionaire? I also think that not nominating Dark Knight for Best Score was a huge omission. And does Angelina Jolie deserve her Best Actress nomination (for Changeling)? No.

Truth be told, there’s nothing about the nominations that really gets me excited for the ceremony this year. At this point, it’s pretty safe to say Slumdog Millionaire will win Best Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay, and that Mickey Rourke and Heath Ledger will win too. Otherwise, I could really care less about Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress this year, and many of the other categories. I really hope Benjamin Button doesn’t win many of the 13 categories it’s nominated in. And more importantly, I hope host Hugh Jackman is good, because otherwise it could be a very, very, very long night for me when the awards are handed out on February 22.

Seriously Dark

3 Dec

I love this video and this site, and totally agree: The Dark Knight has been the best movie to be released so far this year. This well-made clip certainly backs up that claim. And on a related note, this is bull crap. And on another related note, the movie comes out on DVD this coming Tuesday. I can’t wait to watch it again.

Good Show!

25 Feb

What can I say about this year’s Oscars? It was the best, most enjoyable show in quite some time. The winners were spread out across a few films (even The Bourne Ultimatum won three), and most of the winners spoke very well. Of course, I was very happy about Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova winning Best Song for “Falling Slowly,” the song from Once (and I loved what Glen and Marketa had to say — and that Marketa got a second chance to speak), and I liked that There Will Be Blood won not only for Best Actor but also for Best Cinematography. I liked the “surprise” of Tilda Swinton winning Best Supporting Actress for Michael Clayton too; that category could have gone any one of four ways, with all four deserving of the award. But really, my favorite part of the show was not Jennifer Garner (surprise!) or even Keri Russell but Jon Stewart, who simply rocked as the host. He had so many great lines, he had a lot of confidence, he was hip and cool, and he just did a really nice job. I loved when he came back from a commercial break and was playing Wii Tennis. (Here’s a link to the text of his very funny monologue.) The show felt like it moved very quickly, even if it did last about 3:17, and I just had a great time watching. I even enjoyed the montages — especially the Bee one (me! me! me!). Props to Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen for their presenting. And on the subject of Jen Garner, no one knows what was up with that Gary Busey ambush, but here’s how he defended himself. So, another year over. Now onto a new year of movies.

Whoa … Pretty Woman

24 Feb

People, look at this photo and tell me now you understand why I’m just a little obsessed with Jennifer Garner. Wow. She looks amazing. Click on the photo for a much bigger version. (Thanks to

See and Be Seen

28 Jan

Two PSAs for y’all …

See them: People always complain that they’re not interested in the Oscars because they haven’t seen many of the nominated films. Well, the AMC theater chain is hosting an all-day marathon showing of the nominees for Best Picture on February 23, the day before the Oscars are handed out, at theaters all over the country. That’s right: you can see Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood, and No Country for Old Men all in one day, one after another, and then you’ll be ready for the big show. It’ll cost you only $30, and when you buy your ticket, you’ll also get a large popcorn with unlimited refills. Score! (Thanks to Dan for the heads up.)

See him: I’d tell you that Love Is a Mix Tape was my favorite book of 2007, but considering I only read three, that’s probably not saying much. Still, Love was the first book I read start-to-finish in many years (too many, really), so that’s saying something significant about how good it is. And this Wednesday, the book’s author, Rob Sheffield, is going to be at Brookline Booksmith reading from and signing copies of his book. I’ll be there. If you’re looking for a great memoir about love, loss, and music, then come on down and meet Rob with me. The book is now out in paperback too, so you can buy your own copy.

There Will Be Oscars

22 Jan

Oscar nominations this morning were basically as expected (for me, at least), but four things in particular are worth mentioning:

1. Tommy Lee Jones’ nomination for In the Valley of Elah was an awesome surprise. I liked the movie, and Jones’ performance in it is one of the best of the year. I said it when I saw the movie and I’m saying it now. Jones totally deserves his spot on the list. Even if he had to take the spot from Ryan Gosling or Denzel Washington.

2. That there is no nomination for Jonny Greenwood’s score for There Will Be Blood is just a crime. Music is as integral a part of that movie as Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance, and it too deserved to be recognized. Blood would still be great without the score, but it’s even better with it. [Update: Apparently, the score was not eligible. Who knew?]

3. Overjoyed that Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova got a nomination for “Falling Slowly,” the song from Once. But jeez, the rest of that category is just embarrassing. Nothing from Hairspray or Into the Wild?? Hopefully “Falling Slowly” will be a lock to win now. As it should be anyway. (And in a perfect world, Once would also have been nominated for Best Picture.)

4. Norbit: 1, Hairspray: 0. That’s just wrong on so many levels, even if Norbit‘s nom is for makeup (no surprise, I guess).

You know, some people make a big deal about how “no one’s seen (or heard of) the nominated films.” Well, whose problem is that? The films nominated are very good. Go see them! Especially There Will Be Blood. I may actually go see it for a second time this weekend. And I guess I’m going to have to go see Atonement now after all, even though I really don’t have much interest.

But in the meantime, I’m rooting for most anything Blood-related. And so should you.

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