Thursday, January 27, 2011

My 2010 Oscar predictions

The Oscars are here, that ancient wheezing granddaddy big cheese of Hollywood’s self-congratulatory back-patting season. It’s the big time, kids. The Red Carpet of Red Carpets. A gaudy, glitzy, overblown “night of magic” and carefully scripted PR, helmed by a veritable cornucopia of who’s-who, their sparkly plumage spread for full display, and all for that little statue, the winner having been determined by a group that is largely comprised of out-of-touch Centenarians.

But shallow spectacle and lack of relevance makes them no less of an event. When they choose a movie we like, we mention it with full weight and gravitas. And when they choose the crappy movie with a swelling score delivered with work-like efficiency by Ron Howard… we poo-poo them. “Bah… Oscars,” we say, with a sneer on our lips, “meaningless. It’s all political and has absolutely nothing to do with quality or art!” Meanwhile, the ticket sales for all of the nominated films rise and rise, sometimes climbing upwards of 40%, depending upon your source… which in this particular percentage’s case is from deep within my own buttocks.

Regardless.

This is a time when we are annually reminded just how truly helpless we all are before the full on, engorged and throbbing display of Hollywood’s unleashed finery, as moths to the flame, we flutter in and fall to our knees, salivating before its luminescent luminaries. We gaze enraptured as the glamorous glitterati bask in their own golden glow, to prance, to preen and to laud one another for doing a job they already pay themselves ridiculous mountains of cash to do.

But I doth mock the meat I feed upon…

So gather, my friends, gather here in the smoke of my fire, let us roll the bones and portend…

JON’S OSCAR NOMINATION PREDICTIONS!
(minus the categories which belong at the untelevised portion of the show…)

An admission: Many of these films I have not yet seen, and as such, they are a complete mystery to me. This fact forces me to make shallow, snap judgments based upon my generally uninformed, extremely slanted and deeply held pre-conceived notions as to their quality regardless of any evidence to the contrary. If this bothers you, fuck off.

And so…

Actor in a Leading Role
• Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
• Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
• Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network"
• Colin Firth in “The King's Speech”
• James Franco in “127 Hours”

Jeff Bridges won last year; Javier Bardem won the year previous. Eisenberg and Franco are cocky young Turks, plus Eisenberg said he didn’t watch the nomination announcement because he “doesn’t own a TV” which makes he and I enemies forever due to his extreme douchiness, but most importantly, the King’s Speech concerns something English, therefore it is automatically the artiest film of this already arty bunch and by extension, so is Colin Firth.

Who I think should win: Bridges

Who will win: Firth

My reaction: TTTTTTTThhhhhhhhhhhhhhhpppppppppppppppbbbbbbbbbbbbbttttttttttttt!

Actor in a Supporting Role
• Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
• John Hawkes in “Winter's Bone”
• Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
• Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”
• Geoffrey Rush in “The King's Speech”

Apparently Christian Bale lost a bunch of weight for this role so he could look all cracky. That’s some serious acting, yo. Mark Ruffalo has been circling the Indie-darling Oscar nod for a while now, but if it wasn’t his for his role in Zodiac, it won’t be his for a role that could easily be described as simply as: “a dude”. Jeremy Renner was the best thing in The Town, without a doubt, but otherwise that movie was just not good enough for him to be granted a win. Then there’s Geoffrey Rush, former Oscar winner and nominated for a role in the film that has been officially designated by the Oscar voters as the one possessing the most quality-ness this year. The best hope the other nominees have is that often times ,when it comes to Sweepers (and with around a dozen or so nominations, The King’s Speech looks to be poised as The One this year), the Supporting Actor category is usually the one that splits different from the trend, so maybe, just maybe John Hawkes has a chance… maybe…

Who I think should win: Hawkes

Who will win: Bale

My reaction: TTTTTTTThhhhhhhhhhhhhhhpppppppppppppppbbbbbbbbbbbbbttttttttttttt!

Actress in a Leading Role
• Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
• Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
• Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter's Bone”
• Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
• Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”

Annette Benning’s role, like Ruffalo’s, wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t a stand-out. However, there’s always the threat of the dreaded Career Oscar nod, and while I’m not against the Career Oscar nod in theory, it’s usually given at the expense of someone better deserving that particular year, which almost guarantees someone else will be robbed at some later point, in order to pay back this time. The good news is, I think Portman is too much a steamroller this year. This is award is her’s. Not only was she phenomenal in a total Oscar role, but nobody else has any real buzz, which is really the ultimate Oscar currency, you know. The voters love a good story. Princess Paltrow, Matt and Ben, Diablo Cody used to strip. That’s Oscar gas in your tank, baby. And Portman is preggars, people. She’s on a billion magazine covers for being pregnant, for Black Swan, and for her new movie about being Fuck-buddies with Ashton Kutcher. That’s: deserving ability, love and family, and a little bit of sexy-time raunch all rolled together and that equals win. Nicole Kidman and Michelle Williams are just also-rans; they might as well be barely drawn parodies of actresses briefly shown in the background. I mean, I’d really like to see Jennifer Lawrence get the nod, but she’s too new and Winter’s Bone was way too long ago, so even though this will ultimately end up being a win for her, as she’ll get a leg up into some more quality projects out of it, she’s dead last as far as this race is concerned. Portman’s put in her time and she deserves it. It should be her.

Who I think should win: Portman

Who will win: Portman

My reaction: I think she was so cute with a Mohawk.

Actress in a Supporting Role
• Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
• Helena Bonham Carter in “The King's Speech”
• Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
• Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
• Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

I think the King’s Speech’s official mandate could loom pretty large here. Plus Crazy-ass Helena Bonham Carter has got a pretty strong track record for a possible Career nod. However, that Golden Globes dress could hurt her. It was so hideous, I was staggered before I even saw a picture. I was like that little blind girl in the moments directly after Oppenheimer’s first Atomic bomb was set off: “What was that?” And like Bainbridge said, when we support fashion as bad as that: “...we’re all sons of bitches...” I love Amy Adams, so I’d support her winning without even seeing the film, because come on… do any of us really NEED to see the Fighter? As for Melissa Leo, if there are two of them nominated for the Fighter and it’s going to go to one of them, it won’t be her. Animal Kingdom is one my “need to see” list and I’ve heard really good things about Jacki Weaver’s performance, plus she’s foreign (well… Australian…) and so very, very Indie at the moment and that all works in her favor, but Australia is no England and Animal Kingdom isn’t quite the right type of grimy art to overcome an English Royalty period piece, no way. Now, for my money, I’m backing Hailee Steinfeld, yes, yes, she is a brand new newbie and very young, but she was fantastic in her first role against two very big, very well known acting personalities and she acquitted herself with seeming ease. What I don’t get is the Supporting nod. Wasn’t she the main character?

Who I think should win: Steinfeld

Who will win: Carter

My reaction: Well... her speech ought to be interesting. And by interesting I mean stupid.

Animated Feature Film
• “How to Train Your Dragon” Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
• “The Illusionist” Sylvain Chomet
• “Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich

Admission time: I am not a fan of the Triplets of Bellville. I am not a fan of light French slapstick, or any French slapstick now that you mention it. To be honest really, I’m not a fan of any French comedy, like: at all. AT ALL! I also hate that water color style of animation, so I basically wish cinematic syphilis on the Illusionist and its saccharine sweet uber-bullshit. It sets my teeth on end just seeing the sweet sweet innocence of the trailer, oh so innocent and fluffy. Ugh! It’s so bad; I’m tempted to switch to Freedom Fries. So suck it, Illusionist! As for How to Train your Dragon, it’s great fun. Great fun. Little Ms. Super-cute Wife and I really enjoyed it and if you know Little Ms. Super-cute Wife, that’s really saying something about how much fun it is. But in the end, it lacks the emotional core that Toy Story 3 displayed so easily and honestly, as good as it was, it’s no Pixar film, not by a long stretch.

Who I think should win: Toy Story 3

Who will win: Toy Story 3

My reaction: shhhhhhhhhocker.

Documentary (Feature)
• “Exit through the Gift Shop” Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz
• “Gasland” Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
• “Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
• “Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
• “Waste Land” Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Exit through the Gift Shop is great AND it’s about cutting edge Art with an upper-case A. Voting for it means you like cutting edge Art with an upper case A, which means you are cutting edge. The other films, of which I’ve only seen the also great Restrepo, only serve to remind us of sad things: excessive drilling, the energy crisis, the economic crisis, the endless garbage dumps, and the endless quagmires of war, yadda, yadda, yadda, so all that and with no holocaust related movie in the bunch, I’m going to throw my not-inconsiderable weight (but I’m working on it!) behind Exit through the Gift Shop

Who I think should win: Exit through the Gift Shop

Who will win: Exit through the Gift Shop

My reaction: Thumbs up.

Visual Effects
• “Alice in Wonderland” Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
• “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
• “Hereafter” Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky and Joe Farrell
• “Inception” Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
• “Iron Man 2” Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

Remember when Phantom Menace lost to the Matrix? That was so awesome. Anyway, Alice in Wonderland is one of the ugliest things ever, however, it made a ga-zillion dollars and sometimes that’s all you need. I hope not, though, I really, really hope not, because that horrendous piece of shit deserves nothing but scorn and loogies. Harry Potter and Iron Man 2, on the other hand, were both great, but the effects were of the expected quality. My skirt was not blown up by anything special. Hereafter? Huh? Yeah, I totally forgot about this film too. Remember the trailer with the tsunami wave and Matt Damon is a psychic? No, of course you wouldn’t. This film is Oscar bait so obvious even the Academy ignored it, so this nomination is both a thrown bone and a middle finger, which is good. Do better, Mr. Eastwood. And then there’s Inception. I think I’d say yes to Inception, even if it wasn’t my favorite of the bunch, if only for the awesome practical effect (as in: Non-CGI) that was the spinning hallway fight. Although, I do think it’s ridiculous that Black Swan didn’t get a nomination here. Yeah, I know it’s not all sci-fi, Academy voters, but sometimes the best CGI is the CGI you don’t notice… What a bunch of out-of-touch assholes.

Who I think should win: Inception

Who will win: Inception

My reaction: as it should be.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
• “127 Hours” Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
• “The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
• “Toy Story 3” Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
• “True Grit” Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
• “Winter's Bone” Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

The only one I haven’t seen here is 127 hours and I’ve heard nothing but good about it, despite its subject matter and general knowledge of the ending before you even walk in. It’s also Danny Boyle. But he won recently, so… probably not. Toy Story 3, while brilliant, is a cartoon and while that’s not an automatic no, when a cartoon does win, it’s usually despite the fact, get me? I haven’t read Winter’s Bone, but the screenplay is fantastic, it’s just been so long since this film was out, man. I mean, there’s a reason most of these are released in December… old people can’t remember shit for very long... I have read True Grit, so I can attest to what a wonderful job the Coen Brothers did, but… they did the basic same thing just a couple of years ago, right? So, I think the Social Network will get the award and it will get it because A. It won’t get Best Picture, so this is its consolation prize. And B. because no one expected a movie about Facebook to be even remotely good, let alone fantastic.

Who I think should win: True Grit

Who will win: The Social Network

My reaction: eh… I’ll allow it.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
• “Another Year” Written by Mike Leigh
• “The Fighter” Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson;
Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
• “Inception” Written by Christopher Nolan
• “The Kids Are All Right” Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
• “The King's Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler

The Academy loves Mike Leigh, he’s Indie quality, you know? But a one shot nomination winner in a traditionally “part of the package” category? Doubt it. Wow, the Fighter, huh? God damn, look how many monkeys it took to tap out the rags to riches story of a boxer whose trials and tribulations within the ring pale in comparison to the trials and tribulations he must overcome outside of the ring… fuck… Anyway, the Kids are alright is a good film, a strong film, but not enough of a “wow” film. So it comes down to the King’s Speech and Inception. By all accounts, as far as I’ve heard, the King’s Speech is good. I know Inception is definitely good. But Inception is also a silly little sci-fi film and populist to boot, while the King’s Speech is, as I’ve stated earlier, arty like a motherfucker. But it doesn’t really matter because, Director, Picture, Screenplay? Those are three great tastes that usually taste great… together.

Who I think should win: Inception

Who will win: The King’s Speech

My reaction: (rolls eyes)

Directing
• “Black Swan” Darren Aronofsky
• “The Fighter” David O. Russell
• “The King's Speech” Tom Hooper
• “The Social Network” David Fincher
• “True Grit” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Ok, so yes, there have been times when the Director and Picture awards split, but it’s been much less often then when the two of them stay together. I mean, a big part of the reason a Director can ever even make a Best Picture is their Producers, so the two awards staying together means everybody gets an award for the good job they did together. And that’s what I expect to happen here, so right away, you want to dump off half of the Best Picture nominations, because it’s not going to happen. So, this is our field. Right off the bat, I’m backing the Coen Brothers, but honestly, No Country for Old Man is from a similar vein and tone and it won just two years ago, so a repeat so soon is unlikely. Not undeserved, mind you, but unlikely. The Fighter is Oscar pap, this year’s Invictus. Not quite undeserved of its accolades, but definitely not in the same category as the others. It’s predictable been there, done that crap. Aronofsky is still too left of center for the Academy’s tastes, I think. And honestly, the film was more Natalie’s show than it was his, although the dance scenes were intense. So once again, we’re down to the King’s Speech and The Social Network. As you’ve probably guessed by now, I expect The King’s Speech to receive the award, mostly because it’s all high-falutin’ and shit, but more so because Facebook scares the unholy catheter out of most of the Academy voters. Those liver-spotted bastards barely even know how to operate their DVD players, you go and mention Facebook to some of them and they’re gonna be scrambling for their Blunderbusses, you know what I’m saying?

Who I think should win: True Grit

Who will win: The King’s Speech

My reaction: Down the British! Up the Rebels!

Best Picture
• “Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
• “The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
• “Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
• “The Kids Are All Right” Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
• “The King's Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
• “127 Hours” Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
• “The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ce├ín Chaffin, Producers
• “Toy Story 3” Darla K. Anderson, Producer
• “True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
• “Winter's Bone" Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Ah, the vaunted Ten nominees. So inclusive. So now. So embracing of change. Whatta loada, right? The kids are alright? Winter’s Bone? Toy Story 3? 127 hours? Inception? All good films, but I know the Oscars, you know the Oscars, we all know the Oscars, so let’s be honest, none of those films are Oscar material… at least as far as those stodgy old farts think. It’s like when they nominated Eminem for best song whenever that crappy film of his was nominated, the year Elton John turned his back on the gay community and not in the friendly Fire Island kind of way either. You just know the producers of the awards show had visions of hordes of hip, young teens flocking to the nearest TV. Oh, the Oscars! Oh, so hip, so inclusive of the younger generations! Fart. Come on. You know what 10 fucking nominees means? Like, at least another hour tacked onto the program, that’s what that means. It’ll be sixty-seven years long this time. Ok, sure, on the Brightside, yeah, at least the brain-numbing stupidity of the opening interpretive dance performance is about to shoot for the fucking stars of stupid when it’s Inception’s turn, that’s something to look forward to. And speaking of, what the hell is the interpretive dance for the Kids are Alright going to look like? Personally, I’m praying for scissoring. Lots and lots of scissoring. Ok, admittedly, there’s more good films nominated this year than pap, so you know… that’s good, but that doesn’t mean that I expect any sudden twists here at the end. This is a Director/Picture pairing year, so hello King’s Speech… which means I’m going to have to go see it now… sons of bitches…

Who I think should win: True Grit

Who will win: The King’s Speech

My reaction: scorn

The Oscars… sigh… here we come, you rotten bastards.


So there you have it, kids.

Thoughts?

Jon

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