Monday, February 25, 2013

Complete Oscar Winners list!

From ABC.

1. Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz

2. Animated Short Film: "Paperman"

3. Animated Feature Film: "Brave"

4. Cinematography: Claudio Miranda for "Life of Pi"

5. Visual Effects: "Life of Pi"

6. Costume Design: "Anna Karenina"

7. Makeup and Hairstyling: "Les Miserables"

8. Live Action Short Film: "Curfew"

9. Documentary Short Subject: "Innocente"

10. Documentary Feature: "Searching for Sugar Man"

11. Foreign Language Film: "Amour"

12. Sound Mixing: "Les Miserables

13. Sound Editing: "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Skyfall" (A tie)

14. Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway

15. Film Editing: "Argo"

16. Production Design: "Lincoln"

17. Original Score: "Life of Pi"

18. Original Song: "Skyfall"

19. Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio for "Argo"

20. Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantion for "Django Unchained"

21. Directing: Ang Lee

22. Actress: Jennifer Lawrence

23. Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis

24. Best Picture: "Argo"

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Oscar Opinions: Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

One of the best war films ever made. Yeah, I went there.

Zero Dark Thirty is a flawless film that never bored for a second, and never ceased from being the lest bit exciting. Jessica Chastain cut the nice Ms. O'brien out of herself and dominated this film. Boal wrote Maya as one of the most interesting and best characters on the screen in a long time, maybe a character to define the decade (like Aaron Sorkin's Mark Zuckerberg.). Bigelow seemed in control of the entire film, and she and her time blew every expectation of the film out of the water.

Jessica Chastain's Maya was my favorite performance of the year, so that one is obviously getting to be #1 here. Props to up-and-comer Jason Clarke for holding his own in the first half, a human being that understands the stress of war, despite the man on the outside. (Think Anthony Mackie in The Hurt Locker). Another great performance in a great film.

30 minutes into the film, when a certain scene involving a bus comes to pass, the film just sucked me in. I can't put a finger on my favorite scene. It's all great. I'll stop singing my praises and ask you (the readers) to see this before (or after) Oscar Sunday. Just see it.

Even if you don't like it, it is definitely thought-provoking.


A third year of prognostication comes to a close, and its another year where the true best picture of the year DOES NOT WIN! (You can view all my picks here.)

Best Picture:

Best Director:

Best Actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis, LINCOLN

Best Actress:

Best Supporting Actor:
Tommy Lee Jones, LINCOLN

Best Supporting Actress:

Best Original Screenplay:

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Chris Terrio, ARGO

Oscar Opinions: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

People go to see movies to have fun. Silver Lining Playbook is the fun film of the year, a real feel-good film, and one of the best. Bradley Cooper brought out his best work in the film, and so did Jennifer Lawrence. I appreciated the script by David O'Russell, and his deftness in making the film. Two years ago brought another crowdpleaser, The Fighter, and two year from now, O'Russell will bring out his CIA film. I am excited for anyone involved in Silver Linings, for what they will do in the years to come.

Jennifer Lawrence is the most popular one, but Bradley Cooper carried the film's first 25 minutes and the 90 minutes that followed. He really brought out a performance I did not expect, and my opinion of him as an actor has changed due to his performance. Yeah, that must define a performance as a great one when it changes my opinion of an actor.

There are many heartfelt ones, but the dinner at the cafe is funny and the most heartfelt. It is a sweet scene, and I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it.

Oscar Opinions: Lincoln (2012)

This was one of the weirdest movies that had me with a goofy grin on my face.

I initially gave the picture 3 Stars, but this was out of impatience. The last 10 minutes went on for a good bit too long, and as previously stated, I gave the film 3 Stars just due to a sore bottom. Yes, 10 minutes could have been excised, but upon second thought, the film was incredibly dense and entertaining. Day-Lewis was a wise, well-written, and overall very likable as the titular Lincoln. I do think Sally Field's work in the film has been overestimated, but it is fine work, nonetheless. Major props to Kushner's eloquent screenplay, which had me (mentally) cheering, laughing, and the script also did an incredible job handling all of the subplots.

No-brainer, but Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th president. He carried every scene he had, and was in a 7/8 of all the movie.

Easily all the scenes when Lincoln was telling his stories. All of them were slightly off topic, but they were the main reasons I held a goofy grin for 140 of the 150 minute runtime.

Oscar Opinions: Life of Pi (2012)

A great scene in a good movie.
A good movie, but an even greater book.

Life of Pi was a great book because we could easily see the uses of perspective Yann Martel used, one from old Pi's view, Pi on the boat's view, and a writer's view. The movie scripted by David Magee employed all three, but not to the same effect. Ang Lee should be commended for his visual genius he applied to the film, but the book, in my eyes, will remain unadaptable. No film can capture the perspective Martel was able to convey. On its own, though, Pi is still very enjoyable.

Props to the visual team for creating a CGI beast that we (the audience) can feel attached to emotionally. I really liked that tiger, Richard Parker. Suraj Sharma is also very good as a performer, for he was able to carry one hour of the drama alone with a blue-screen tiger without me being bored or infuriated.

There are many wonderful scenes in the movie, but the one shot when Pi is on the boat and Richard Parker is on the boat, and roars, is a spine-tingling scene.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Oscar Opinions: Les Miserables (2012)

Every Oscar year, there is just one shoddy nominee.

Last year showed off Extremely Loud and Incredibly Gross Close, and somehow Les Mis was just such a clunker. Right from the get-go, something was off. The opening shot is a long shot, but not every long shot is not a good one. Hugh Jackman is prevalent throughout almost every scene, and I do have to admit his performance was good, but it was inconsistent. To be honest, the whole movie was inconsistent and messy. It nails a tone/mood, but since the songs are intercut throughout the story, diversions between the individual songs/scenes can lead to severe messiness. Forget it, the whole movie is a mess.

Easy: Anne Hathaway's emotive work was Fantine. The shot was a bit too tight, but she devastated everyone in the audience. Great stuff.

I Dreamed a Dream was pretty great.

Oscar Opinions: Django Unchained (2012)


What fun. Django Unchained is a supreme entertainment, brought to you by QT. I had this as my favorite film of the year, until the 1-2 punch of Zero Dark Thirty and The Master. Still, the film is great. The first half is the best thing Tarantino has done, by far. It was always funny, always witty, and left a big goofy grin on my face right when the 70's Columbia logo popped on screen. The second half, despite Leo DicCaprio's supreme sly performance, was oddly paced and a bit choppy compared to the first half. It had the same tone, but was somehow... different. The film got back on its feet in the last 10 minutes, and I feel good knowing that Tarantino ended one of his best films. I did feel bad ranking this as my favorite of 2012 at first because I KNEW there was a better (shorter) film in there.

Christoph Waltz was extremely awesome, and so likable as the dentist-turned-bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Despite being like Hans Landa from his Oscar winning Inglourious Basterds, it was just SO ENTERTAINING!

The KKK scene with Jonah Hill brought tears to my eyes. I mean, that guy's wife spent hours making those bags, and they neglected her work! He went home in frustration!

Next I will (forcibly) talk about the miserable Les Miserables.

Oscar Opinions: Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Beasts of the Southern Wild was a film that disappointed me on first release, but much thought has changed my opinion of the picture.

One thing that directly describes Beasts is that it is a bold film. It is something I've never seen before, and something I don't want to be redone again. With great talent, it introduced me to a fictional neighborhood and introduced me to a cast of colorful characters. The performance by Quevenzhane and Dwight Henry aren't really performance, but almost natural to the performers.

I would love to say Quevenzhane Wallis had the best performance in the film, but I would love to shed light on one of the best supporting performances of last year: the previously mentioned Dwight Henry. He reminded me of Brad Pitt's character from the perfect The Tree of Life. Dwight's character is an ant disguised as a bull. He's dying right from the get-go, but his presence and sense of dominance is also visible from the get-go. It's great stuff.

Almost like The Master, there is a face-to-face scene between the two leads. Quevenzhane's Hushpuppy and Dwight Henry's Wink are arm wrestling. Wink loses, and I'm not even sure if it was intentional. This is Hushpuppy's first exposure to the fact that Wink is truly dying. She knows from what he says, but this time she truly knows. She's the Man!

Oscar Opinions: Argo (2012)

Argo was once my favorite film of 2012. Now its not even on my top 10. I was overcome by hype. 96% on RottenTomatoes. I loved The Town, which I saw for the first time a day before Argo. I think about it more and more, and the more I realize how... dull it is. The script is fine, the performances aren't bad or anything, but it's just nothing special. Chris Terrio took too many liberties with the facts, and there was honestly no scene that blew me away. It's good, but it really is nothing special.

The opening when the US Embassy gets raided is a pretty cool scene.

I really can't explain any performance that was extraordinary, so I'll cheat a little: Ben Affleck... as the film's director. His work with the basic subtleties of each scene was deft, and his style for the three different locations sounds like the work of a true talent.

Check back soon for re-evaluated thoughts on Beasts of the Southern Wild

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oscar Opinons: Amour (2012)

So I was thinking, Oscars are coming up... and then I realized I've been slacking on my 'Oscar Opinions' segment I did last year. This year, again, I've seen all 9 nominees, and here are my thoughts.

Amour is a real heart-ripper. Everything about it is perfect, especially Trintignant and the screenplay by my favorite Twitter-er @Michael_Haneke. One thing that Haneke nailed is the characterization of Trintignant's Georges, a loving husband. The film has never a dull moment, and scene feel drawn out with good reason. The film is smart, engaging, and emotional. I would love to give it 4 stars now, but I realize the level of rewatchability is close to zero. I do feel Isabelle Huppert's character was a little underdeveloped, but this is just me now looking for qualms.

Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) is being spoon fed by Georges. Georges tries to feed her canned peaches, but she refuse by making the only noise she can- a grunt that hardly sounds like French. In frustration, Georges slaps her. It's gross, but it's heartwarming  when almost immediately Georges apologizes. Anne is equally devastated  and the viewer can see it in her eyes.

As previously stated, I believe Trintignant was the best performance. His skill displayed as loving-animalistic and back again is so deft. I might as well include Riva into this too, the couple seem perfect together throughout the two hours. In a perfect world, the pair would be winning 'Best Couple' awards everywhere.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The best original screenplay race.

Some say Amour. At this point, I don't think it is a contender. Just because Amour got a Best Director nomination DOES NOT mean it gets an extra boost. That's like saying 'Beasts' is ahead of 'Argo' just because of a directing nomination. Fortunately the Adapted race is locked up for Chris Terrio.

So it's a two-horse race between Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained. The bad thing is that both films have their fair share of controversy. 'Zero Dark' won the WGA, 'Django' won the BAFTA, and is the expression of voter overlap. I say 'Zero Dark' has the advantage due to the fact it's ahead of Django in the Best Picture race.

If the Globes expressed voter overlap, I would say 'Django' would be leading, but I also have to give 'Zero Dark' a boost due to impulsive voting with the WGA.

Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

WGA winners!

Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty

Chris Terrio, Argo

Sunday, February 17, 2013

WGA predix.

WGA tonight. Zero Dark Thirty will finally get its due.

Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty

Chris Terrio, Argo

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Berlin Film Festival Winners!

It's good to see David Gordon Green back in action.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Best film (Golden Bear)
"Child's Pose", directed by Calin Peter Netzer, Romania

Jury Grand Prix (Silver Bear)

"An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker", directed by Danis Tanovic, Bosnia

Best Director (Silver Bear)
U.S. director David Gordon Green for "Prince Avalanche"

Best Actress (Silver Bear)
Paulina Garcia for Chilean film "Gloria"

Best Actor (Silver Bear)
Nazif Mujic for Bosnian film "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker"

Best screenplay (Silver Bear)
Jafar Panahi and Kamboziya Partovi for Iranian film "Closed Curtain"

Outstanding artistic contribution (Silver Bear)
Kazakh cameraman Aziz Zhambakiyev for "Harmony Lessons"

Alfred Bauer Prize (honouring innovation)

- "Vic + Flo Saw a Bear", directed by Denis Cote, Canada.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

BAFTA Winners!

*BAM* JUSTICE *BAM*       BAFTA emitting too much intelligent voting. 
Django might now be the Original Screenplay frontrunner... unless one considers impulsive ballot filling for Zero Dark Thirty, since it is the only frontrunner contending for WGA. So happy for Christoph Waltz, I honestly hope he wins again.





DOCUMENTARY: Searching For Sugar Man


DIRECTOR: Argo - Ben Affleck

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Silver Linings Playbook - David O. Russell

LEADING ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln

LEADING ACTRESS: Emmanuelle Riva - Amour

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables

ORIGINAL MUSIC: Skyfall - Thomas Newman

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Life Of Pi - Claudio Miranda

EDITING: Argo - William Goldenberg

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Les Miserables - Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson

COSTUME DESIGN: Anna Karenina - Jacqueline Durran

MAKE UP & HAIR: Les Miserables - Lisa Westcott

SOUND: Les Miserables - Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Jonathan Allen, Lee Walpole, John Warhurst

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS: Life of Pi - Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer

SHORT ANIMATION: The Making of Longbird - Will Anderson, Ainslie Henderson

SHORT FILM: Swimmer - Lynne Ramsay, Peter Carlton, Diarmid Scrimshaw

THE EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public): Juno Temple



Sunday, February 10, 2013

An Interview with Academy-Award nominee Jessica Chastain! (sort of).

click the image for magnification.

So when you're busy churning out the year's best performance, you ain't got much time for anythin' else.

As a student who's second calling is film and blogging, I have very limited resources. In December, the ambition in me decided to ask for this interview, but across a video or something. Plans fell out, and the interview was held off for a month. I then decided to just throw my questions right on Facebook and get them answered this way.

I got a response, but a cryptic one. xxjess.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

BAFTA predictions.

BAFTA's are one thing I unfortunately have been undermining in my prognostication career. The BAFTA's this year could quite possibly be the turning point for three of the big categories this year- Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. As lazy as I am, I have decided not to predict in every category. Like most teens, I am simply too lazy.

The winners will be...

BEST BRITISH FILM- Les Miserables (boo boo! Skyfall 4 LYFE!)
BEST DIRECTION- Ben Affleck, Argo
BEST ACTOR- Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
BEST ACTRESS- Emmanuelle Riva, Amour (If Chastain wins, I will be happy because she did have the best performance of the year. If Riva wins, I'll be happy for a correct prediction. How cynical of me.)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR- Since BAFTA really liked Django, then it is Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS- Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY- Michael Haneke, Amour (In reality, I think Zero Dark Thirty will take either of Amour's two big prizes. This is about predicting, and I'm playing it safe with Amour winning both)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY- Chris Terrio, Argo (boo boo! Lincoln!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

a legitimate mess: The Best supporting Actor race.

I still have faith that Chastain will win BAFTA, so this year's Best Actress race is as messy as ever. Even messier is the Best Supporting Actor race, where everyone has legitimate reasons that they could win. Any name announced on the 24th (that is incorrectly predicted) would be a real slap to the head. "Oh, yeah, they were gonna win all along!"

Right now I would say Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert De Niro, Christoph Waltz, and Alan Arkin are the ones in order to win. The order I listed is in likelihood of winning. De Niro was supposed to win SAG, but didn't. Just because he is doing this random bout of press interviews doesn't mean he'll win. I think Hoffman was the strongest supporting performance this year. It has the distinct advantage of being a lead, which benefited Helen Hunt's nomination. Hoffman dominates the film, and he SINGS!

Jones was good in Lincoln, but I must be blind or something because nothing truly stuck out. Waltz could win, but something speaks to me about Django's controversial side toward violence. Seriously, action figures will NOT help your campaign. Arkin was good, but he could've easily been excised from the film and I wouldn't have noticed any difference. The film would lack its wit, but still, he wasn't a pivotal character or anything.


Hoffman, De Niro, and Waltz are all performances held under the Weinstein company. Weinstein is obviously campaigning for De Niro, which gives Waltz and Hoffman a distinct disadvantage. Still, I think Hoffman is going to win the BAFTA, and possibly win the Oscar.

I won't be surprised though if Jones wins the BAFTA, then the Oscar.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Director's Guild Winners.

Now who will win the Oscar?!

Ben Affleck, Argo

Searching for Sugar Man

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Master (2012)- On a slow boat to loneliness. (4 Stars)

The Master is film about two men who are two halves that complete one another. One man is Freddie Quell, a WWII vet who moonshines and lives off nomadic loneliness. The other is Lancaster Dodd, the leader of a new religion called The Cause. His philosophy is messy and is soft-spoken during his first meeting with Freddie.

Friday, February 1, 2013

When did the frontrunners fall?

2010. The Social Network is poised to win the PGA. But in a sudden upset, it loses to The King's Speech. Every year brings out the big upsets, and this year is no exception.

Argo- It fell right after the Oscar nominations were announced... and then something miraculous happened. Globes, SAG, PGA, and soon-to-be PGA and BAFTA. That was the second fall.
The first fall for Argo was the sudden buzz for Les Miserables. The Academy screening that garnered praise more overblown than Elizabeth Banks' Hunger Games hairdo.

Les Miserables- Mixed critical reception. 'nuff said.

Zero Dark Thirty- The film that should win Best Picture will not because of torture controversy that is fortunately falling apart right before the Oscars. Also, the lack of a SAG nomination was a bad sign right from the beginning.

Lincoln- The lack of a BAFTA best director nom was ignored because Lincoln nabbed the most total noms at the ceremony. It's getting the nominations, but not the wins.

The Master- PT Anderson's revenge, a film riddled with hype and attention all summer. I don't know how it fell so quickly. Bad box office, I guess.

Silver Linings Playbook- Fell out of the conversation a little bit due to the expansion-release-style. It was all part of Weinstein's plan, the film did nab four acting nominations, so the fall was almost intentional.

And when fall, one must rise. Ergo, Argo.