Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Oscars are Nearly Upon Us...

...and it's time to get ready!

(Come on--you know how long it takes those stars to primp!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Anyway, here are my picks for who brings home the hardware this year:

Best Picture - Avatar
Let's be honest--everybody is going to vote for this movie. That is all I want to say about it.

Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
This is certainly an upset, but if accomplished directors of animated movies get snubbed year after year, then so should Cameron. After all, his story is heavy-handed and trite, while Bigelow made a compelling, nuanced, pants-peeing-tense movie with a few characters out in the middle of a desert. I still think Jeremy Renner's trip home to his wife could have been more effective, but that's a small complaint when considered alongside the failings of Avatar. Besides, I feel like it's time a woman gets this award and what better time than when she deserves it?

Best Actor - Jeremy Renner
Jeff Bridges seems to be a lock for this award, sadly, since Crazy Heart was atrocious, but I think a lot of people who voted for him at the Golden Globes hadn't even seen the movie yet. I think they will have seen it by now and they will give the award to Jeremy Renner because he's better. If Bridges gets it, obviously it is for The Big Lebowski, and that just isn't fair...

Best Actress - Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
I wish I could give this award to Gabourey Sidibe, but I think a nomination is the rookie's reward here. She peaked too soon and Mo'Nique stole all her thunder. Meryl is just too good, too popular, and (I hear) too amazing as Julia Child--not to mention the fact that way more people saw her movie. Unfortunately, Sandra Bullock has a chance here, for her turn in Precious for the Suburbs, but I can't imagine her actually winning.

Best Supporting Actor - Cristoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds
This is an easy choice. Waltz was the best part of the movie (which, as others have pointed out, was actually a weakness of the movie, since he was a supporting villain). Overall, I liked the movie more than I thought I would, but it started to lose me as soon as the Basterds turned out to be totally incompetent, in order to put their mission in jeopardy and the audience on the edge of their collective seat, drowning in tension that wasn't really there. Despite the fact that I loved the revisionist ending, by that point I was watching from afar, no longer passionately entangled in the movie.

By the way, since Tarantino refuses to tell anybody why he spelled 'bastards' incorrectly, hoping we will wonder about it forever and think him brilliantly coy for not telling us, I will tell you. It's because, despite the fact that most of what he does is blatantly rip off other writers/directors and combine things in a new and interesting way, he wants to be known as a totally unique cultural force. Using the same title as another movie does not help his case, so he took advantage of the technicality of spelling it incorrectly, hoping you will think this was an intentional stylistic choice, refusing to explain it because his explanation would sound stupid and make him seem pretentious and hypocritical, and, most importantly, guaranteeing his movie its own imdb entry. When I searched imdb for 'Inglorious Bastards' not too long before the movie came out, the Italian movie came up first, under its English-language title; now, imdb only refers to that movie under its original Italian name and Tarantino's baby pops up first. know that ain't no accident...

Best Supporting Actress - Mo'Nique, Precious
She would also be a lock for Best Ill-Advised Body Hair, but that is sadly not a category yet. As Precious' derelict mother, Mo'Nique is pure coiled terror, filthy, revolting, self-loathing, violent, childish, authoritative, unpredictable...a complicated woman, to be sure. In terms of her unnecessary persecution of an innocent adversary, is she the peacetime version of Christoph Waltz's Hans Landa? Hmm...regardless, it's worth mentioning that the supporting statues both go to villains this year. How will this affect my stocks?

Best Adapted Screenplay - Up in the Air
The screenplays are the toughest categories this year. Of those that are nominated, I would probably choose Precious--even though it's hardly a screenwriting gem--but I think the people gotta give the populist Up in the Air something, despite the fact that the movie is supremely overrated and poorly, obtrusively directed by the spoiled-rotten, second-generation Jason Reitman. His nomination as Best Director is an embarrassment on par with the nomination of The Blind Side and An Education for Best Picture, but without the excuse of 'well, there are ten this year, so...'

Q: How would the same screenplay have fared in the hands of a more talented auteur (like P.T. Anderson or David Fincher)?

A: Probably a lot better, due to the deliciously dark themes running throughout, so perhaps this is a case of a good script (adapted from a book) being twisted around by a brat director (who also tried to deprive the original screenwriter of his credit)? Who knows. Luckily for Sheldon and Reitman, it was a weak year for screenplays and this is their award to lose.

Speaking of the Reitmans, the "long-awaited" Ghostbusters 3 is currently in development, so there should be enough money piling up for Jason to direct not-horrible-but-just-not-very-good-because-of-the-director movies for the rest of his life...

Best Original Screenplay - The Hurt Locker
I haven't seen The Messenger, but I don't know that anybody else has either; I liked A Serious Man more than I thought I would, but it's no sparkler and the Coens have enough hardware already; no animated movie has ever won best screenplay, so Up is probably up a creek; Basterds just wasn't good enough...gotta go with The Hurt Locker on this one, even though I would never in a million years have touted its writing...

Best Foreign Language Film - The White Ribbon
Yeah, it's black and white--but that's a good thing! I wasn't the biggest fan of Funny Games, but I did like what it was going for and I do love Naomi Watts' naked body. Where was I? Oh, yeah--Haneke is a pro and this movie deserves some recognition. More than the others? Who knows. Has anybody actually seen all of the nominated movies?

Best Animated Film - Up
Coraline was slow; Fantastic Mr. Fox was disappointingly pointless; Princess and the Frog is from another era and not in a good way; The Secret of Kells is probably great but nobody will be able to see it in time. Up wins, despite it not being up to snuff as far as Pixar releases go; that being said, my opinion of it did improve upon a second viewing...

Best Art Direction - Sherlock Holmes
This is a tough category this year, on par with the screenplays, if for a different reason (art direction is generally top-notch in every big release, since accountants and businessmen luckily fail to micromanage and fuck up props/sets/etc, which sadly cannot be said for screenplays). So, anyway, ummm...maybe Terry Gilliam will dark-horse it because he always focuses more on art direction than plot, character, or dialogue, and he has a great rep despite never impressing me post-Python? Otherwise, I see this going to either Avatar or Sherlock Holmes, which I hear had pretty great set design/set decoration (haven't seen it yet, waiting for DVD because we all should have). While I'm talking about it, I might as well say it: I'm disappointed that Holmes ignores Sherlock's addiction to opium, since this one occasionally-crippling weakness rounded out his otherwise-perfect character nicely. Why must we slave for a PG-13 rating at the expense of character depth and realism? Well, I say 'we' when I am not in the mix at, let me rephrase that--why must 'they' do this?

Best Cinematography - The Hurt Locker
I can't imagine Avatar will get this, although one can never count out the juggernaut. Never saw Harry Potter, but I don't think Bruno Delbonnel has a chance. The White Ribbon looks beautiful...but I have to give the nod to The Hurt Locker because it's a critical darling with a great visual style.

Best Costume Design - Who Cares
I didn't see any of the nominated movies and doubt I ever will. In case I need a tie-breaker in my office pool, I'll take a stab: Coco Before Chanel. Although Terry Gilliam's clusterfuck could be a dark horse here...

Best Documentary Feature - Whichever One is About the Holocaust
Or The Cove, because it's about a dolphin holocaust and it looks good.

Best Documentary Short - Don't Care
Is there even any way to see these movies? Would I even want to? Generally, no. My shot in the dark: Rabbit a la Berlin, because it has an interesting subject matter that also happens to be cute and fluffy and kind of relates to the Holocaust.

Best Editing - The Hurt Locker
What can I say? It was well-edited. So were most of the others, but, you know, whatever.

Best Make-Up - Star Trek
The entrants look weak this year. Il Divo has a man aging several decades; Star Trek has aliens; The Young Victoria is a British period piece that doesn't cover much of a time span. Hmmm...I'll vote with aliens in the most popular movie nominated.

Best Original Score - Up
Why not?

Best Original Song - "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart
The song isn't that good. Or maybe it is--but it doesn't really play any part in the movie. We see Jeff Bridges sing a few words and say "I just wrote a hit song!" but we don't really get to hear it. Then it comes in again toward the very end, but before it gets going they cut it off and go to the credits, over which they replay the song with a different singer. In other words, the song is hardly used as a powerful punctuation mark to whatever it was this movie was trying to say, so how can it really be called 'the theme to Crazy Heart?' Who will win.

Best Sound Editing - The Hurt Locker
The sound awards are always a bit suspicious. I know why they separate the two categories, but when the Legion of Bitter Nerdy Sound Guys decide to give the award to the same movie and when they split it up seems somewhat random. So I'm voting The Hurt Locker for editing, since they had to work in all the explosions and silence and dialogue and did it well.

Best Sound Mixing - Avatar
Avatar gets it because their soundscape was a lot more complicated and, I have to assume, well-mixed. If not, the sound guys should have to refund their salaries, since they had forever to do the job and as much money as they wanted.

Best Visual Effects - Avatar
Does anybody in the world have a different pick for this one?

What I Can't Believe - That A Single Man was not nominated for Best Picture, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, or Best Costume Design

One of the best-reviewed films of the year--a beautifully-shot, lush, period drama about life for a British ex-pat in 1960s LA, directed by a top fashion designer with an eye for detail--gets only one nomination (Colin Firth's hopeless Best Actor nod) in a lukewarm year? Something doesn't smell quite right here...

I can see snubbing him for Best Director, since that was a strong category this year and he's a rookie, but is Tom Ford really so universally loathed that they would snub the movie so severely?

Only one way to find out..."Go-Go-Gadget Microphone! Into every Hollywood heavyweight's house at once!"



LiteralDan said...

As I recall, while they don't specifically discuss his drug use, it is clear at numerous points that Sherlock is whacked off his gourd.

As long as you approach the movie as mindless escapism with good cast chemistry (which can make all the difference), you may enjoy it in a similar way to Hancock.

I was pleasantly surprised, myself, after having been outvoted 2-to-1 in going to see it in the first place.

Karl said...

Looks pretty accurate. The only other pic up for Best Foreign flick I've seen was "A Prophet," which is pretty great.

Also caught Best Doc nominee about the Pentagon Papers. stellar.

Goodtime Charlie said...

Well, I got 12 of them right, 10 of them wrong. Taking my cue from our education system, I'll give myself an A-.

I have to say I'm glad I got Best Pic wrong, glad Reitman didn't bring home any hardware, and glad Cameron never took to the podium.

I had "Hurt Locker" for 5 wins, they got 6; had "Avatar" for 3 wins, they got 3.

There were some interesting commercials (ie, the cancer spot masquerading as a perfume ad), some interesting moments (the arrogant costume bitch, the redhead who swooped in on the Doc.Short guy and the creepy "Hurt Locker" writer who couldn't remove his hand from Kathryn Bigelow's elbow during the Best Pic. award speech).

All in all, a good night for everybody I cared about, even though the event itself was chock-full of Guinness-Record cock-sucking and, as a result, took way too long.