Wednesday, July 30, 2008
To get you started, here a few questions I'm currently pondering:
The Dark Knight for Best Picture: Yes or No? Discuss HERE.
The Road: How big will it hit?
Is it time to give up on...: Doubt? Milk? Revolutionary Road?
Is it time to add...: Changeling? Frost/Nixon?
What do you think? Will the switch back to tradition pay off or should Disney stick to computer animation?
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Year Snubbed: 2003
Precursor mentions: BAFTA nomination (Best Actress); Golden Globe nomination (Best Actress)
Keisha Castle-Hughes - Whale Rider as Paikea
Diane Keaton - Something's Gotta Give as Erica Barry
Samantha Morton - In America as Sarah
Charlize Theron - Monster as Aileen Wuornos
Naomi Watts - 21 Grams as Cristina Peck
It's hard to say whether Uma Thurman was close to a nomination because 2003 was such an oddball year. This was the year the Oscars were moved from March to February, and for a brief moment (nominations morning) everything we thought we knew was turned completely upside down. Films with passionate supporters led to a number of surprise nominations, two of which wound up in the Best Actress category (Keisha Castle-Hughes for "Whale Rider"; Samantha Morton for "In America").
We did, however, know a few things going into the nominations: Charlize Theron was a lock to win for "Monster" after Ebert's "one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema" review; Diane Keaton would come in second for her mini-comeback performance in "Something's Gotta Give"; and Naomi Watts would finally get a make up nomination after being snubbed in 2001 for "Mulholland Dr."
The last two spots had a few question marks, but if I remember correctly, the conensus was that Nicole Kidman might get in for "Cold Mountain," and Scarlett Johansson also had a distant shot for "Lost in Translation." Keisha Castle-Hughes felt like a possibility after her SAG nomination, but it was a Supporting nomination that threw a wrench into the system. And Morton, well, she seemed kind of like an after thought (though correct me if I'm wrong).
Thurman fell somewhere in the mix here, but looking back on it now, she was probably never going to get nominated. She had two major hurdles standing in her way: 1.) action bias. Yes, Sigourney Weaver made it in for "Aliens" in 1986, but "Kill Bill: Volume 1" had violence and action and gore that was probably too tough for the Academy to swallow. Plus, it was helmed by reason #2: Quentin Tarantino. Despite great reviews, the Tarantino cool factor had, for lack of a better word, cooled off by then, so much that I'm guessing his films will never get nominated again.
But again: this was a tricky year, so I'm hoping to hear thoughts on Uma's snub. What caused it? Do you think my reasons are sound, or were other factors at play?
I remember a lot of you guys had it pegged for Best Picture nomination when it opened a few weeks ago, but I shrugged it off because I thought the whole comic book genre thing would be an insurmountable hurdle.
But reading Nathaniel's piece now has me thinking otherwise, so I ask you: do you agree with Nathaniel? Is TDK a threat for a Best Picture nod, or will it be Heath all the way? Or, to include all you pessimists out there, will it just be snubbed altogether?
Friday, July 25, 2008
Question while I'm working on other updates: is anyone here actually going to see The X-Files Movie? I don't mean for that to sound bitchy. I'm actually kind of curious to see how well it does at the box office, mostly because the promotion has been minimal at best.
Plus: I don't want to hear about Step Brothers. Make it stop!!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
By Phil Rosenthal Tribune media columnist
12:07 AM CDT, July 21, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper said in a statement late Sunday that he will leave television's "At the Movies With Ebert & Roeper" next month after eight years, having failed to reach agreement with Disney-ABC Domestic Television on a new contract.
Spokespeople for Disney were unavailable for comment.
Also unavailable were Roeper and Chicago Tribune reviewer Michael Phillips, a regular fill-in lately for Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert, who has been sidelined the last two years because of health issues that have robbed him of his voice.
Industry sources say Disney is contemplating a reinvention of the nationally syndicated movie review program with more of a Hollywood focus, along the lines of CBS Television Distribution's "Entertainment Tonight."
But seriously: as bad as "Mamma Mia!" was, weren't there some parts that qualified as so-bad-its-good?
Pierce Brosnan? Colin Firth? The "Dancing Queen" number?
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Sean Astin as Samwise the Brave in "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
Year snubbed: 2003
Precursor awards/nominations: Chicago Film Critics Association nomination (Best Supporting Actor); Las Vegas Film Critics Society award (Best Supporting Actor); Phoenix Film Critics Society nomination (Best Supporting Actor); Seattle Film Critics award (Best Supporting Actor)
Alec Baldwin - The Cooler as Shelly Kaplow
Benicio del Toro - 21 Grams as Jack Jordan
Djimon Hounsou - In America as Mateo
Tim Robbins - Mystic River as Dave Boyle
Ken Watanabe - The Last Samurai as Katsumoto
As big as ROTK was in 2003, Sean Astin never really stood a chance at a nomination; precursor mentions be damned. He had too many obstacles ahead of him: 1.) the fact that he was in a genre picture and 2.) he was no Ian McKellen, at least as far as star quality went.
Still, Astin would have been an acceptable addition to this category, which will go down as one of the worst set of nominees of the decade. Tim Robbins' over the top performance has not held up in the 5 years since he won; Alec Baldwin was in only as a career honor of sorts; Djimon Hounsou was barely in "In America; and Ken Watanabe...I will never quite understand that nomination. Really: the only decent nominee was Benicio Del Toro, and I've since grown to hate "21 Grams" and all of its theatrics.
But maybe I'm wrong, so I open the floor to you: what did you think of Sean Astin's performance in ROTK? Was it worthy of a nomination, or was his snub justified?
Friday, July 18, 2008
I'm seeing it in about an hour myself. Exciting!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Year snubbed: 2005
Precursor awards/nominations: Best Actor nomination (BAFTA)
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Capote as Truman Capote
Terrence Howard - Hustle & Flow as Djay
Heath Ledger - Brokeback Mountain as Ennis Del Mar
Joaquin Phoenix - Walk the Line as Johnny Cash
David Strathairn - Good Night, and Good Luck. as Edward R. Murrow
Ralph Fiennes’ snub wasn’t surprising in the literal sense. I don’t think anybody really expected him to get the nomination, and he certainly didn’t do that much damage in the precursors.
But when you factor in the Rachel Weisz love fest, you have to wonder why Fiennes wasn’t swept along for the ride. He was, after all, an Academy fixture for a couple of years, and he arguably deserved to win both in ’93 for “Schindler’s List” (for sure) and in ’96 for “The English Patient” (probably).
I don’t know. “The Constant Gardener” has always been a tough nut to crack. It opened in August of 2005, which is not a prime time for Oscar releases at all. Yet somehow, someway the film survived long enough to see Weisz sweep the entire precursor season; something I’ve yet to understand to this day.
Of course, this isn’t a knock on her performance. She is the driving force of the movie, and if her performance hadn’t worked, the rest of the movie would have fallen to pieces. But Fiennes steals the show in the 2nd half of the film, and he becomes just as big of a driving force. So if they were going to nominate one force, why not the other?
I guess it came down to another impenetrable lineup, as we also saw with Maria Bello. Philip Seymour Hoffman was destined to win from the get go; Heath Ledger received the kind of raves you only see once every so often; Terrence Howard’s star was finally born; David Strathairn was at the peak of a longstanding career; and Joaquin Phoenix, a well-liked star, acted the hell out of “Walk the Line.” These five men made up the strongest lineup Best Actor has seen all decade, so in the end, I guess there wasn’t any room for Fiennes after all.
What did you think of Ralph Fiennes’ snub? Did he deserve a nomination, or did the Academy make the right decisions that year?
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Is Seyfried's star on the rise? Is she the new girl in town to watch? Or will Mamma Mia! come and go with a whimper?
Every Tuesday, I will post one Oscar-related poll for you to vote in and then discuss in the comments section below.
This week's poll: your choice for the best Original Score winner of the 2000s. And the Oscars went to...
In retrospect, that's OK because I really haven't seen enough to come up with a presentable ballot, let alone a top 10 list. As with every year, I missed out on a number of flicks during their theatrical releases, and I won't be able to see them until they're released on DVD sometime this fall. I really hate doing this, but with $12 movie prices, you have to pick and choose.
I will say that I am very sad I missed the opportunity to see "Reprise." I first heard word of it on Nathaniel's blog, and I was all set to see it this weekend, only to find out that it was no longer playing.
In any event, here's a quick run down of the few films I actually went to see:
:: "Iron Man"
I didn't think this was the best superhero movie ever, but it was a great start to what could be a very promising series. It has all the makings for one, with notably strong direction, writing and a killer lead performance by Robert Downey Jr. Isn't it great to have him back again? (that reminds me: I really ought to rent Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang).
I'm a little worried about the Samuel Jackson factor (the Snakes on a Plane hype machine kind of ruined him for me) but if they play their cards right, "Iron Man 2" could be the next "Spider-Man 2."
Liked It! With Reservations:
Just when I'm trying to get the hecklers to go away...
Look. I enjoyed the flick a lot, and I respect anyone who loved it. I can totally see why someone would, since of all the Pixar movies, it's probably the most touching. And yes: the first half of the flick is stunning, both in its storytelling and its visual effects.
Yet I'm still torn on everything that happened from while they were on the spaceship onward. I just didn't care much for the message, even if it was a good one to send to kids. I don't want to use the word simplistic, but it could have been handled differently, I felt.
In any event, I still liked it well enough, although I definitely don't think it's Pixar's best. That title still belongs to "The Incredibles."
:: "Sex and the City: The Movie"
I thought this was as good as a "Sex and the City" movie could ever be --- and that's a huge compliment considering how badly the show derailed in its series finale.
Two things I'm still torn on: 1.) the ending. I guess I knew it would happen, but I was kind of rooting for Carrie to stay single in the end. That was always my biggest problem with the series finale. Carrie represented so many positive things for the single woman that it was a shame to see her be rescued by Big in Paris, let alone get married. 2.) While Carrie and Big were "fighting" did anything REALLY happen? The movie was basically a set up, then a long filler, followed by a quick resolution, and that killed a small portion of my post-screening buzz.
Still, I look back on the SATC movie fondly, and at the end of the day, it was really nice to have the girls back. I wouldn't necesarily be opposed to a sequel, either, but don't quote me just yet.
Thanks, But No Thanks...
:: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
I just don't know what to say about this one. I went along with it, even though it was never all that exciting, but once the whole alien thing came into play I was ready to head for the door. This may wind up being the summer's biggest disappointment.
:: The Other Boleyn Girl
Trash with a capital T. What could have been an intriguing psychological drama was instead a ludicrous soap opera with a frighteningly bad performance by Natalie Portman. I've never been a huge fan, but geesh. The poor girl needed to pull the reins in on that performance. And as handsome as he is, Eric Bana looked silly dressing up as King Henry.
Still - and you won't hear me say this often - Scarlett Johansson gave a fine performance. She made the film worth watching, even when it spun out of control.
:: 27 Dresses
I get why Katherine Heigl wants to leave Grey's Anatomy, because the whole time I watched 27 Dresses I kept thinking what a star she was. But she'll need to pick better vehicles in the future, because this was a predictable mess that turned me slightly off James Marsden (emphasis on slightly).
Just Plain Awful
:: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Two hours of pure torture, and this is coming from someone who actually liked the first Narnia movie. So much of this was stop and go that by the 50th time I didn't think I was going to make it through the end. And what was with Prince Caspian? Could they have picked a more bland actor to play the part?
:: War, Inc.
There are no words.
But to defend my $12 rant earlier, I thankfully did not have to pay to see this movie.
So to sum it all up, it was a pretty "meh" 6 months at the movies. I don't recall 2007 being any better, but at least we had a few Oscar nominees in the mix (Marion Cotillard; Julie Chrsitie). I don't anticipate any from 2008.
What about you? What did you think of the first half of 2008? Do you agree with my comments, or are you ready to battle it out in the comments section?
Post any and all thoughts below.
Suffice to say August's poll will be a little more structured to a.) save on time, and b.) save on any foreseable headaches.
But for now, here is your top 10...
Maria Bello as in "A History of Violence"
Year Snubbed: 2005
Precursor Mentions: Golden Globe nomination (Lead Actress in a Drama); BFCA Nomination (Best Supporting Actress); Chicago Film Critics Award (Best Supporting Actress); Kansas City Film Critics Award (Best Supporting Actress); New York Film Critics Award (Best Supporting Actress); Satellite Award nomination (Best Supporting Actress)
Amy Adams - Junebug as Ashley Johnsten
Catherine Keener - Capote as Nelle Harper Lee
Frances McDormand - North Country as Glory
Rachel Weisz - The Constant Gardener as Tessa Quayle
Michelle Williams - Brokeback Mountain as Alma
When I typed up Maria Bello's precursor wins and nominations for "A History of Violence" I was surprised by how many mentions she actually receieved. I was surprised mostly because I remembered leaving her off my final predix, where I later went 5/5 (boo ya, bitches!)
It's hard to pinpoint an exact reason for the snub, but I think it came down to two major factors: 1.) the love for AHOV just wasn't there. Sure, my claim to fame prediction came true (William Hurt, love of my life) and it did also pick up a screenplay nomination, but Hurt was in the midst of a mini-comeback, and he's an Academy favorite dating back to the mid-80s. The screenplay nomination was also expected.
Reason #2 stems from an impenetrable lineup. Rachel Weisz was way out in front from the get go, and Michelle Williams was set for a nomintaion thanks to the general love for "Brokeback Mountain." Catherine Keener had an incredible year in 2005, and she, too, was in a well-received and well-liked film ("Capote").
Amy Adams had a higher hill to climb, but she did share a BFCA win with Williams. Plus: she was able to solidify her spot with a SAG nomination, something Bello ultimately failed to do.
And as for Frances McDormand, as much as I loathed "North Country" I suppose she was going to get in no matter what. I believe she hit all the major precursors, and she had the added bonus of being an Academy-favorite, having won in 1996 for "Fargo" and having been nominated again in 2000 for "Almost Famous" (not to mention her nomination in '88 for "Mississippi Burning.")
So at the end of the day, there wasn't too much hope for Maria Bello. Still, it did feel like a snub, not only because she was great in the film, but also because she had been snubbed two years prior for "The Cooler." This could have been a good chance for a makeup nomination, as the Academy did that same year with Paul Giamatti, but alas. It just wasn't meant to be.
What did YOU think of Maria Bello's snub? Did she deserve the nomination? Does she deserve a spot on our top 10 list? Will the Academy EVER nominate her? Discuss in the comments section below.
Mad Men - Best Drama Series, etc.
I know it’s silly to plug “Mad Men” because it’s been raved so many times already, but it really is a terrific show that deserves this kind of attention. I’m hoping its nomination count is huge Thursday morning, with nods for Jonn Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, and Christina Hendricks, to go along with a Best Drama Series nod.
The Wire for ANYTHING
Could this finally be the year that HBO’s critically acclaimed but perpetually snubbed drama gets its due? Probably not, but here’s hoping it does, anyway.
Teen dramas rarely get noticed by the TV Academy but it would be nice to see this cult hit their radar. A Best Drama nod would probably be asking for too much (yes, I’m aware it didn’t make the shortlist) but in a dream world, Ed Westwick would get in for his campy, yet loveable turn as bad ass Chuck Bass(yes, I'm aware that Westwick didn't make the shortlist, either)
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock - Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Though slightly underused, she brought some of the best laughs this season. Best moments: “Mystic Pizza: The Musical” and Jenna’s “Enorme” commercial. Observe the #1 fragrance for plus size women here:
Amy Ryan, The Office - Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
The Oscar-nominated Actress was a lot of fun in the season finale, and this would be a good way to reward a taste of what’s to come for next season.
What about you, bloggers? What would you like to see nominated this year?
Monday, July 14, 2008
It's one thing for critics to call TDK a great summer action flick. It's another to compare it to Scorsese and Mann. Post your box office/Oscar predix for TDK below.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Reader's choice (Mea culpa!) will be up on Sunday.
In the meantime: how the hell are ya!?