Friday, December 30, 2005

SAG award predictions

So... I think it is time to throw out some SAG predictions. I was just thinking about them, so I thought I'd put my thoughts out on the blog:

BEST ACTOR: Hmm... I still think four men are all but locked in for oscar (Hoffman, Ledger, Phoenix, and Straithairn, in that order). And I think those four will all place here as well. The real question mark is the 5th spot. It could go any number of ways. In fact, I think it will go a different way with SAG than with oscar. Bana seems unlikely, but he is possible. Crowe, I think, won't make this list, just as he missed for M&C (though if they go for Cinderella Man in ensemble, he could place). Howard, Feinnes, and Daniels are the best bets for the nod. I'd put them all on an even keel at this point. Total stab in the dark. For now, let's say Howard (I could see him then being replaced by Feinnes in the oscar race). So, alphabetically, that would be...
HEATH LEDGER, Brokeback Mountain
DAVID STRAITHAIRN, Good Night, and Good Luck.
alt. Ralph Feinnes

BEST ACTRESS: Well. Reese, Judi and Felicity will obviously be here. But the last two spots are tricky. I personally think Joan Allen will make it here. They like her much more than the globes do (she got a lead SAG nod for Nixon due to one of those infamous category screw ups), and I just don't see them passing her up. For the last spot, I'm going to go with Kilcher, because... well... I said she'd make it here weeks ago, and I still think it's possible. Not oscar, really, but this, SAG, yes. They like youngsters. Obviously Theron, or more likely, Knightley, could bump Kilcher, but I'm going out on a limb here. Whatever.
JOAN ALLEN, The Upside of Anger
JUDI DENCH, Mrs. Henderson Presents
alt. Keira Knightley

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Okay. I think it's all down to six, for SAG and oscar: Clooney, Giamatti, Gyllenhaal, Dillon, Hoskins, and Hurt, with an outside shot for Terrence Howard (but since he will be nommed for ensemble anyway, he's even less likely here). So who will get left out? Not Clooney. Not Giammati. And not Gyllenhall either, I don't think, since they can only vote for him in the category he's submitted in: supporting. They didn't buy Scarlett's category fraud, but they did buy Keisha's, so I'm betting that they'll buy Jake's (although I don't consider this case fraud, really, I actually think it's borderline fair). I think that either Dillon, Hoskins or Hurt will get the snub. I want to say it will be Dillon, since they sometimes give the boot to people when they're nominated in ensemble, in favor of more random choices. BUT, I have a theory that perhaps A History of Violence will be nominated in ensemble, in which case I don't expect Hurt to place here. Don't ask me why. But that's what I think. So...
PAUL GIAMATTI, Cinderella Man
JAKE GYLLENHAAL, Brokeback Mountain
BOB HOSKINS, Mrs. Henderson Presents
alt. William Hurt

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Now this one's REALLY hard. Any number of combinations could pop up. There are, however, a few good bets. I expect Bello too make it, since they've nominated her before, and since category confusion won't be an issue. And Williams looks good to keep riding the Brokeback Mountain train. Wiesz, I think, is also likely, since she's been strong all through the season so far. And of course, ScarJo should make the cut, since she seems to be the frontrunner in the globe race and a good bet for an oscar nomination (though I wouldn't be shocked to see her miss). That leaves one spot remaining. I don't pretend to know where it'll go... Keener? Maybe. Adams? Possible. Hathaway? It could happen. And Gong, Collette, MacLaine and McDormand can't be counted out either. But I'm gonna say the last spot goes to Diane Keaton, who I now doubt will get an oscar nomination with the film faltering, but who I think will score here a la Cloris Leachman for Spanglish - well-loved veteran with the good performance in the mediocre film.
MARIA BELLO, A History of Violence
DIANE KEATON, The Family Stone
RACHEL WEISZ, The Constant Gardener
MICHELLE WILLIAMS, Brokeback Mountain
alt. Frances McDormand

And finally, BEST ENSEMBLE: Cutting to the chase... Brokeback, Crash, and GNaGL will make it. But beyond that, who knows. Cinderella Man is a possibility, but I'm not feeling it. I'm think they pull a Cold Mountain again and exclude everyone but Giamatti. I guess King Kong is possible, but I'm thinking no. Match Point? Again, possible, but I say no... it feels too much like the "Jonathan and Scarlett steam up the screen" show. Munich is a strong possibility, but I dunno... tough call. Pride & Prejudice is another big question mark... it certainly deserves to make the cut, but will it? It does seem to have the buzz going for it. I did say before that I have a hunch about aHoV placing here, and I'm sticking with that. I think I'm going to be really bizarre and predict Pride & Prejudice to get an ensemble nod without Knightley getting an individual nod... cause, well, that's what should happen. So...
Brokeback Mountain
Goodnight, and Good Luck.
A History of Violence
Pride & Prejudice
alt. Cinderella Man

That's it. Share. Discuss. Call me stupid. Whatever works.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Geena Davis has come a long way

I watched both Tootsie and "Commander in Chief" today (Tootsie is still brilliant, and CiC is still hugely addictive in that TV serial pulp way), and it struck me just how odd a career path Geena Davis has traversed.

I mean, really... who would've thought that that skinny 6' model girl from Tootsie would be playing the President in 23 years? It boggles the mind. Especially considering that Geena has this hugely comic vibe about her that I still haven't seen her shake. Whenever I see her, I just wanna laugh for some reason - she's just funny. And I mean that in the best way. I just totally couldn't see her as the Commander in Chief when the ads first started airing. But to her credit, she really does a great job. She's very subtle in the role. Humanized, yet commanding. And only very rarely do I feel like laughing at her. The height helps; she's still 6', so she can mix it up with the big boys, but she's filled out over the years from stick-skinny to merely trim. The only thing that doesn't work about her other than that "je ne sais crois" comic quality is her lips - they're way too big. I can't tell if it's collagen or just too much lipstick, but it's really distracting, especially on the first female President.

But anyway, the few flaws aside, CiC is quite excellent as TV shows go, and she's quite fine on it. I kind of hope Geena wins the gloden globe (she probably will; she's never won one). We will see, won't we?

But for the record, as good and iconic as she is on CiC, to me, Thelma Dickenson will always be the definitive Geena Davis role. She's just perfect in Thelma & Louise... and of course, I do love that film to truly scary lengths. I have yet to see The Accidental Tourist, but I don't think ANYTHING Geena has ever done or ever will do can top the divine T&L.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


OK, so I was in fact wrong about The Family Stone. I think I was just inordinately happy that day or something. And the small bit I missed due to dozing was probably the worst part of the film, and it set the tone for the rest. I think I must've been giving it the benefit of the doubt after having missed a bit. It's weird how one can have totally different reactions to the same movie... this time, Bezucha's thick layers of sap managed to block all the good stuff from view. I remember being all moved and mushy-eyed at stuff that now makes me go "oh, please."

This time, the sentiment seemed cheaper, the music seemed louder and more inappropriate, the comedy seemed more sitcomish, SJP's arc seemed more sudden and forced, the initial meanness of the characters seemed more implausible, and the movie as a whole just had a much thicker air of mediocrity.

It's funny, Bezucha seems to be attempting something really ambitious here with the tragicomic feel he has... in fact, the structure of the film feels a lot like that of Moulin Rouge!: a zany, high comedy beginning that melts into a softer, moving love story (or in this case, two), punctuated by frequent reminders of imminent tragedy, with a very zany, high comedy ending, punctuated finally by the realization of said tragedy. But unfortunately, Bezucha is no Baz Lurhmann. In Family Stone, there is constant "wink wink" type exposition that tells the audience what it should be thinking, but there is no winking at the high theatricality and rather artificial feel of the piece. In fact, there is little narrative perspective to speak of. The film just seems unplanned and confused.

And this makes me sad, because there was so much to work with here. The cast is phenomenal. I continue to give them major props for doing all they possibly could with this script. All the real comedy and drama that comes through is pushed through by the actors; you can each one of them is working super hard here to exhibit his or her natural charm, and as a result, they're giving the script new layers that it never deserved. When someone comes upon a moment they can really milk, it's like a gift from heaven. Example: the dinner scene. It continues to be the highlight f the film... I felt palpable discomfort for all involved, not because they were working with a bad script, but because they were caught in a bad situation. Diane Keaton was aces here, and her extended line reading/acting of "Hey you! You are more normal than any asshole at this table. OK? OK... I need a fork." is brilliant, and almost worth the price of admission on its own.

The other actors are wonderful, too. SJP is great fun, even if she is saddled with an implausible character. Luke Wilson exhibits an easygoing, natural charm. Rachel McAdams is terrific as the bitchy sister. Durmot Mulroney has some great scenes (including a moving cry-a-thon with Keaton). Craig T. Nelson is gently moving as the patriarch. And of course Keaton is the glue of the family as the loopy mother, even if she must work with a bizarre and sitcomish script. Sigh.

There really are two movies here, one by Bezucha and one by the cast, and the tension in the material is kind of fascinating frustrating. Bezucha seems to be trying to be covering for his loads of sap by at times making his characters unnaturally mean, so as to avoid charges of sentimentality. One can almost see him there with his script, brushing on a layer of sap, then scratching it off with a fork, only to brush it on again even thicker, and then scratch it off again. He just can't decide what he's doing... and it makes his characters' actions seem pretty implausible. Still, the cast makes his schizoid script marvelously fun, and like vultures hovering over the sap, whenever they find great bit, they pounce - get ready to be inexplicably moved at times, and to laugh quite a bit at the absurdity of it all (I still think this ensemble is award-worthy; they at least get a big A+ for effort).

So anyway, yeah...
Grade I gave the film last time: B+ (way too generous)
Grade I still give the cast: A+ (hey, working with a bad script is hard)
Grade I now want to give the film: C+ (the + is for the acting)
Grade the film really deserves: C (because Nathaniel is always right)

But the upside is, if I was wrong about this film on first viewing, maybe I was also wrong about Brokeback. Nathaniel is always right; we all know this. So maybe I'll love it more next time...

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a goodnight.

...or something like that.

Wishing very happy holidays to all my readers, few and far between as they may be. My day was quite nice, considering. I got some great stuff, and the family gathering was fun. My aunt Jill, who picked my name out of a hat for the Keller extended family gift exchange, truly went all-out and spent way more than the alloted $30. I'm so happy she chose me, since she is without a doubt my favorite relative on that side, and knew exactly what I'd want. She got me Kiss of the Spider Woman (the book), Tootsie (the movie - yay!), AND a huge, hardcover script book of the british sketch comedy show "Little Britain"... and oh man, is that show terrible (as in, offensive)... and, coincidentally, very funny. I think my actor friends from school and I will be staging a bunch of scenes from that show now (and what fun that will be), or else I don't know what I'd do with it, but what an amazing gift, regardless. The three combined must have cost her about double the gift-giving price limit, but it seems like she just got really into it. That, and she just LOVES me (I blush).

I also got, as requested, the story-to-screenplay Brokeback Mountain book (which I'm slightly less enthused by, having finally seen the film), a used Italian sport coat, a metronome, some iTunes money, some Bloomingdales money, some Blockbuster money, some cash money, an electronic boggle game (so unnecessary), and pencil-and-paper Sudoku (SO unnecessary! I've never even played Sudoku! And now I'll probably end up hooked. What was my mother thinking?)

So anyway, yeah, pretty great haul. I was pretty spoiled this year. I feel kind of bad. But not really. I doubt it'll be happening again.

I also must mention that I downloaded the pilot of "Commander in Chief" with some iTunes money, and am now totally hooked. I've since downloaded five episodes in total, and will soon be getting the other four (I spent most of my Christmas watching that show). It's really good. I'm so happy for Geena Davis and her TV comeback. I do love her so.

Anyway... probably seeing The Family Stone again tomorrow, with the family. I expect to remain quite positive on it, but we'll see.

And with that, I am calling it a night.


Friday, December 23, 2005

sad news

We must now interrupt your regularly scheduled film talk to deliver a special message:

My dog died tonight. Just a few minutes ago. She ran out in front of a car. Crazy little bitch.

She really is crazy. She's been totally hyperactive her whole life. She was particularly hyperactive tonight, I think, because she'd just gotten her conehead contraption off. She'd had surgery a couple of weeks ago and had to wear one of those little cone/funnel type things around her head, so she wouldn't mess with her stitches. She got the stitches out just yesterday - my sister and I took her to the vet together to get them taken out - so she got to have the conehead thing taken off, too. So, we all assume, she was feeling particularly feisty and ready to rumble tonight. So much so that she found a way out of the yard and onto our busy street (made extra busy by all that holiday traffic), so she could run around like crazy.

And she could run really fast - faster than a speeding bullet. She would always run in these little circles, out in the yard, not to go anywhere, really... just to run. Maybe even to see how fast she could go. She was a feisty little bugger, that one.

In retrospect, I feel like I could almost see it in her eyes... all that plotting, planning, waiting to get out and let loose, safety be damned. Little bitch.

She was so loving, though, too... most of the time. She was moody. She served all of our different needs, when she felt like it. One minute, she'd be roughhousing with Dad or me - she liked to play tug of war with little toys - the next, she'd be lying like a baby on my sister's lap, all still and angelic... and then the next, she'd growl at us if we even tried to touch her (sometimes, she just wanted her space).

She was a good little dog, though. The perfect dog. Her name was Hershey. It was partially a nod to her being the color of chocolate (or close to it, sort of a chestnut brown), and partially a riff on how she was a girl dog (the name being phonetically pronounced "her-she"). Anyway, we liked the name. It suited her.

I guess this makes sense, in a way. Only the good ones die young. I could never really see Hershey getting old. She was just too damn feisty, god bless her. Wouldn't settle for anything less than freedom.

Little bitch.

My friend Weldon has a phrase to describe situations like these. She would say that Hershey has been "liberated from bondage". This is the euphamism Weldon used for her less-than-moral decision to steal a shopping cart from outside a frat house, at a time when she was very troubled. "I didn't steal it," she'd say, grinning cookily. "I liberated it from bondage."

Hershey didn't die. She was liberated from bondage. As my mom reassured us, she didn't suffer. She was just doing what she loved to do. She loved to run. And she could run fast. She probably never even knew what hit her.

I do have a way to relate this to film, though... actually, the first thing I thought (after "ohmygod, what I was the one who left the gate open?") was how Hershey's final minutes reminded me of the ending in Thelma & Louise. Like them, she was liberated from bondage. Completely. Like the girls, liberated from the bondage of their dead-end lives, Hershey was liberated from the bondage not only of her conehead, but of her whole life. She was running in the wind, like a bird in flight. But there is a price to be paid for such freedom... a big price.

Rest in peace, Hershey. We'll miss you.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Brokeback Mountain

Okay. Well... okay.

Here goes.

I was disappointed... mildly.

Now, I suppose this was inevitable, considering the massive obsession with this movie that has recently taken over my life. But disappointed I was, and that is sad.

First, the good things: Heath Ledger was amazing. The Heath hype is justified, I think. It was really a stunning performance. When he first spoke (well into the film), the accent was rather jarring, but soon it seemed totally natural, and Ennis Del Mar he was. Some have called him "overly affected" or hard to understand, or something, but I disagree... this performance was all it was made out to be, for me. In fact, all the acting was very good. This was a very well-acted movie. Michelle Williams was also great, even though she only had one scene in which to really let loose. Jake and Anne Hathaway were also quite good. And the music was great, as I knew it would be (since I have been listening to it for weeks).

Also terrific was the whole first half hour or so on the mountain. The whole time when Jack and Ennis were warming up to each other seemed marvelously natural, nuanced, and intimate, and the first love scenes were appropriately jarring (first) and tender (later). One scene in particular just had me nearly in tears, it was so beautifully intimate and well-done.

But the film, later on, seemed rather spotty and sterile much of the time. I don't know... I don't really feel like putting it into words right now. But it just wasn't "great cinema" I feel... it certainly was not a masterpiece... it just wasn't visceral and engaging... it was actually very "classical Hollywood" in that the scenes often felt rather staged and sterile, with no particular narrative point of view other than "shoot straight and make pretty pictures". The cinematography, though beautiful, sometimes felt overly composed and too still and faux-respectful, in the vein of Road to Perdition, etc. Sometimes I wanted to laugh a little at how seriously the film seemed to take itself, and that is not a feeling I enjoy. Basically, this is not a film I will continue to obsess over, see repeatedly, buy on DVD, and so on. It is not one of my all-time favorite films. A good film, sure... but not "all-time" worthy, in my eyes.

Here's the thing... I think this film may very well win the Best Picture oscar... but I don't really mean that as a compliment. In general tone (or lack thereof) it reminded me more of, say, Million Dollar Baby, American Beauty, and The Hours (i.e. things that win oscars but feel overly important, overly composed, overly respectful) than, say, Thelma & Louise, Heavenly Creatures, or Safe (films never given their due because they're just so damn good that it looks easy). I don't know. I just feel let down. It's a lot like when I saw The Hours after becoming obsessed with the book, trailer, music, etc... I just felt let down, even though it was a good movie. Maybe it's my fault for becoming so obsessed with things, sight unseen. Oh well.

I still may watch the trailer often (it's a great trailer... makes the rest of the movie seem like mere fat in need of trimming), I still love the music, I still love the story. And I will still see it again, because I want to be sure of my opinion. But I will not be buying the DVD or getting supremely pissed if Brokeback doesn't clean up at the oscars. The deep obsession stops here.

I'll write more about specifics later... as for a grade... man, at times like these, grades seem so reductionist... I dunno... B? A-? B+? Somewhere around there (i.e. not "A"). The disappointment factor is surely throwing me off. No final grade as of yet. And no more Brokeback talk tonight... I'm tired.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

T minus 1 hour until Brokeback Mountain

Yup. Tonight is the night. In a few minutes, I will be off to South Beach (by far the gayest place in Florida... well, OK, maybe Key West is in the running, too) with my friend Lizzy to see Brokeback at the South Beach Regal. SO pumped, I am. Awesome.

I will report back later tonight.

Glenn and my other fans, be here!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Squid and the Whale

I don't feel like writing anything resembling an actual review right now, but some quick thoughts:

Good movie. Nice editing. Refreshingly written and acted. But bizarrely short. It's apparently under 90 minutes long, but it felt much much longer to me. I got out of the theater tonight at 6:15 from a show beginning at 4:50, and I honestly thought my watch must be wrong, or reset for daylight savings time or something. Weird.

Also, there was some material in here regarding little kids and alcohol (and other things) that was just... well... disturbing. That's all I'll say. Bad, bad parents, the squid and whale are.

I can see Jeff Daniels getting nominated for this (but maybe he should try and go supporting?). It's quite a unique performance, and so un-Jeff Daniels. He was very good. As was everyone. This is another one with some terrific ensemble acting.

Anyway... yeah, I'm thinking B+. Again.

Friday, December 16, 2005

finals being over = awesome. The Family Stone also = awesome.

Well, I thought so, anyway. After my last final this morning, I caught a matinee of The Family Stone at the mall, and quite enjoyed it. It's really a rare breed of film. I wasn't liking it at first; it seemed to be trying a bit too hard - too much music over the action, a little too over-directed and cliché - but then a few minutes in, it suddenly came alive for me (I must admit that I was dozing off a bit at the beginning due to my not having slept last night before my final, and that may have clouded my initual judgment).

The actors really knew what to do with this script; the whole ensemble is terrific. I think this is the kind of script that could've gone either way, and needed a talented cast to make it shine... and they all deliver. Unbeknownst to those who've only seen the ads and the trailer, there are actually two more siblings in the Stone family (i.e. major characters) that do not get their names on the ads or their pictures on the poster, both played by non-stars, and they keep up with the big names just fine (though it's true that their roles aren't as critical or as showy). It's true that Keaton and Parker are the standouts. I see why SJP is being touted as lead; she gets all the true "laugh out loud" moments, and her character also undergoes the most change. And she's very good here, totally deserving of the globe nom (though I still weep for Meryl Streep in Prime... not that she needs more awards). And Keaton's role really is the centerpiece... and is also, shall we way, "baity." I didn't know this going into the film, and if I had, I would've been more solidly confident in her awards chances... I'm now kind of perplexed that she's not making a wave. I think she may indeed turn up at SAG time, even without any earlier precursors.

It's funny, it seemed like there were two little movies inside this film fighting for control - one a sappy, formulaic holiday film, and the other a deeply incisive dramedy about a unique but accessible family - and the tension in the material is kind of fascinating. It's not a perfect film by any means, but there were some moments and scenes where I just thought "my god, this is the best family dramedy I've seen in a LONG time". It just seemed frighteningly good at times, especially when contrasted to the times it was less good... I think credit for this goes mainly to the cast, who really inhabited this family and interacted wonderfully together. Due largely to the actors, The Family Stone ended up, at least for me, a very warm, funny, and insightful film. I really want to see it again (maybe with my family, and hopefully while fully awake) but for now I'm thinking it's about a B+.

And it really should've been released in November like originally planned... I think it would've done quite well.

Anyway, that's all for now, dear readers... (sigh) who am I kidding? That's it for now, Glenn.

I may post more reviews in the future.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I'm still obsessed with Brokeback

Gah! It will never end.

Now I am wondering how many total nominations it'll get. It's looking like a winner regardless, but I want it to hit double digits.

It's already looking lockish in 9 categories (Pic, Director, Screenplay, Heath & Michelle, Cinematography, Editing, Score & Song), but I want it to have at least one more. I still have doubts about Jake pulling off a supporting run (and I'm not really sure if I even approve of it), but it may still happen. If not, then the film needs something else. Does it have a chance in art direction? Sound, maybe? Makeup? Probably not. I think it's Jake or nothing.

Anyway, enough.

I NEED to see this movie NOW.

I'm listening to the Santaolla score now. It's so beautiful...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Globe nomination run-down

OK, in response to the golden globe frenzy, I am going through each category with nominees, reactions, who was snubbed, who got lucky, who'll be duking it out for the win, and who's likely to repeat with oscar... and, of course, how I did with my predictions. Here we go:

Brokeback Mountain
The Constant Gardener
Good Night, and Good Luck
A History of Violence
Match Point

My score: 3/5 (Munich and Crash seemed so solid...)

WOW. No Munich. And such good choices otherwise... I haven't seen Constant Gardener, but it seems to stick out a bit here, maybe cause Nathaniel didn't like it... still, no surprise really that the HFPA did, since they nommed the last Feinnes/Weisz vehicle, Sunshine, out of nowhere. So happy for Brokeback, Match Point, ansd aHoV. Nice choices.

most surprising omission: Munich
most surprising inclusion: Constant Gardener (well, I think so anyway)
for the win: Brokeback vs GNaGL (big edge to Brokeback)
likely to see an oscar nom: Brokeback is locked in, and GNaGL is right behind it... but those are the only two of these that I see making it to the final five, really... I don't think CG and aHoV have a chance in hell, and Match Point seems like a director/screenplay thing only.

Woody Allen
George Clooney
Peter Jackson
Ang Lee
Fernando Mereilles
Steven Spielberg

My score: 4/6 (should've gone with Jackson)

Interesting that they chose both Jackson and Spielberg, but neither of their films. Could one of these two end up the lone director nominee? Probably not, but it's possible. The King Kong support here and at the BFCA is probably enough to justify predicting it for best picture. Anyway, nice choices overall.

MSO: Cronenberg (since they did after all go for his film)
MSI: Mereilles (my opinion... especially over Cronenberg)
FTW: Lee vs Clooney (edge to Lee... but you never know with Clooney)
likely for oscar: Lee and Clooney for sure. After that, it gets dicey. Probably Jackson will be there. I believe Allen and Spielberg will be, too, but there's really no telling at this point.

Russell Crowe
P.S. Hoffman
Terrence Howard
Heath Ledger
David Strathairn

My score: 3/5 (oops)

MSO: Feinnes (since they clearly liked CG)
MSI: Howard (some may say Crowe, but I really didn't think Howard would do this well...)
FTW: Hoffman vs Ledger (really tough call, since Capote got no love, and Heath got no double nom... but I wanna say Heath will win this... they do love the young stars after all)
likely for oscar: Hoffman, Ledger, and Straithairn are all looking good to go... jury's still out on Crowe and Howard.

Maria Bello
Felicity Huffman
Gwyneth Paltrow
Charlize Theron
Ziyi Zhang

My score: 3/5 (sigh... I had such faith in Joan Allen)

This really sucks for Allen. She clearly deserved the Zhang spot, but really I don't understand why they chose Paltrow or Theron over her either. And as for Bello... LEAD!?

MSO: Allen (DAMN.)
MSI: Bello (again... LEAD!? and without Viggo? whoa... somebody's a new HFPA favorite, and it's not even Scarlett J...)
FTW: Huffman vs Bello (yes, I think Bello could actually win this... but yes, it will probably go to Huffman)
likely for oscar: Um... just Huffman. She seems like a lock at this point. Theron I suppose could get in, but I doubt it, and Bello could get in... to some category or another... with a little luck.

Mrs. Henderson Presents
Pride & Prejudice
The Producers
The Squid and the Whale
Walk the Line

My score: 3/5 (grrr...)

Fair enough list. I'd heard a rumor over at that the HFPA "hated" The Producers, though apparently that rumor was unfounded. I'm sad for Rent and The Family Stone, but I guess I'm not all that surprised.

MSO: tie: Rent/Family Stone (both could've made it, but just... didn't)
MSI: Squid and Whale (this seemed like the kind of thing that'd hit acting categories only, but good on the HFPA)
FTW: Walk The Line vs everything (it seems like any of them could conceivably take it, but WtL has the edge for being a biopic/musical drama, and for being a hit... it be surprised to see it lose here, really)
likely for oscar: Walk the Line (though Mrs. Henderson and P&P do have outside shots still)

Pierce Brosnan
Jeff Daniels
Johnny Depp
Nathan Lane
Cillian Murphy
Joaquin Phoenix

My score: 3/6 (ouch.)

What the...? What!? Insanity.

MSO: Heath Ledger for Casanova (he'd been talked up a lot for this... but I never thought that movie looked very good)
MSI: Pierce Brosnan (by far... though the Depp and Daniels noms kinda flipped my shit, too)
FTW: Phoenix vs Daniels (but Daniels will lose pretty bad)
likely for oscar: Phoenix... but I suppose Daniels has a bit of a chance, too (career sentiment type thing).

Judi Dench
Keira Knightley
Laura Linney
Sarah Jessica Parker
Reese Witherspoon

My score: 4/5 (not bad)

Nice list. Not one stupid rom-com perf in the bunch.

MSO: Meryl Streep (I really thought she'd place here... they do love her, after all)
MSI: Laura Linney (but YAY! if someone had to knock out Streep, I'm glad it was her)
FTW: Dench vs Witherspoon (Dench is definitely in the running, but Reese has the edge with both the critics and the public; she will win)
likely for oscar: Dench, Witherspoon, and possibly Knightley... though I continue to doubt her chances now that she's been put in comedy, and can't win... I just feel like they'll go with someone else when the time comes.

George Clooney
Matt Dillon
Will Ferrell
Paul Giamatti
Bob Hoskins

My score: 3/5 (I went with Gyllenhaal)

Nothing surprising here except Will Ferrell. I really don't get why he's here. He just... he needs to go back to SNL. Stat.

MSO: Jake Gyllenhaal (I'm assuming this is because they thought him a lead... also, the William Hurt snub is odd, given their love for his film, but I guess he hadn't yet won his critics' awards, so...)
MSI: Ferrell (give me a break.)
FTW: George Clooney (I don't see anyone else taking this... I'm thinking they give him this one to make up for his loss to Lee in the director race)
likely for oscar: Clooney, Giamatti and Hoskins (in that order) are looking solid... Dillon is looking pretty good, too. Will Ferrell, on the other hand? No.

Scarlett Johannson
Shirley MacLaine
Frances McDormand
Rachel Weisz
Michelle Williams

My score: 3/5 (but I got Shirley!)

Interesting... Scarlett is finally back on track, as I knew she would be, but Keaton is not... will she be ignored entirely? Wiesz continues to look stronger for the oscar nom, and Williams continues to looks solid. McDormand is as good a choice as any, I guess, and as for MacLaine... well, most were probably surprised at this, but I saw it coming a mile away.

MSO: Diane Keaton (though the Thurman snub is also very strange... she seems like the best of the cast, so you'd think she'd make it if they even nominated Will Ferrell... and I suppose Keener and Adams were looking like they might place here, too)
MSI: MacLaine, I guess (but I was not surprised... really there were so many viable candidates here that no one would've been surprising)
FTW: Scarlett Johannson vs. everyone (one could make a case for any one these ladies winning, and any one of them might... but my money's on Scarlett, since they clearly want her babies and seem to really love Match Point in general)
likely for oscar: Scarlett and Michelle Williams both look solid to me. Weisz is looking strong, too. And while I don't expect Shirley and Frances to last, it's certainly possible... still quite an open category, says me.

Brokeback Mountain
Goodnight, and Good Luck
Match Point

My score: 4/5 (not bad at all... but why didn't I predict GNaGL?)

Generally as expected, but without the two critical darlings of the year (The Squid and the Whale and Capote). But no matter; all seven will see oscar nods when the time comes.

MSO: The Squid and the Whale (since they clearly liked it in general... but Capote comes in a close second)
MSI: None, really... these all made sense... this category is always crowded at the globes.
FTW: Brokeback vs Match Point (tough call... I feel like they'll reward Woody here, but Brokeback could take this in a sweep)
likely for oscar: All of them... and the screenplay oscar winners are most likely here, too (see again: Brokeback and Match Point... or maybe Crash)

Brokeback Mountain
Chronicles of Narnia
King Kong

My score: ...oops, I didn't do the music categories.

Interesting... another nom for Desplat (Syriana) is nice... but I'm not sure what to make of these five, really.

MSO: Well, there were several... but none really stand out.
MSI: Chronicles of Narnia (wasn't expecting that one)
FTW: I'd say Syriana vs Brokeback, but who knows... they make crazy choices here, and I haven't heard most of these scores anyway.
likely for oscar: Williams' Memoirs sore, and Santaolla's Brokeback score seem very likely. The King Kong score is a good bet, too... as for Syriana and Narnia, who the hell knows. Hard to say.

Brokeback Mountain
Christmas in Love
Chronicles of Narnia
The Producers

I have no clue what to make of these. So totally random.

My score: N/A

MSO: Well, I thought one of those Elizabethtown songs would make it.
MSI: Christmas in Love (I have never heard of that film)
FTW: I feel like the Dolly Parton song from Transamerica would win, just cause she's Dolly Parton, but then Transamerica would win both it's categories, so maybe not... maybe Christmas in Love? I really have no idea.
Likely for oscar: Brokeback Mountain will probably carry this category... I think The Producers song is likely also, since it's a musical, and the Transamerica song, too, since it's Dolly... but really, who knows. Other than the Brokeback song missing, nothing would surprise me here.

Phew. That's it, then.

So. Brokeback didn't quite hit 8 nominations since Jake dropped the ball (what's up with that, Jake? all your fault, you bum), but with 7, it's still far and away the nominations leader and frontrunner. Good deal. I expect Brokeback to win picture and director, and possibly actor and/or screenplay, and/or score... hell, it might win a whole lot. But I'm thinking 3 or 4 globes will be all. Match Point, I think, will win supporting actress or screenplay or both (probably both). Walk the Line will probably win in all 3 of its categories. Clooney will probably win in supporting actor. Huffman will probably win for dramatic actress (and possibly over in her TV category, too). So really, I think most categories are pretty predictable. I'm most excited about Foffman vs Ledger, cause I bet it'll be a really close race. I'm pulling for Heath all the way on that one (though neither result would disappoint me). And though the Brokeback best picture win seems like a gimme, I think there's enough suspense there to at least make it interesting. A big win like that for Brokeback would just be TOO good... I really want to see it happen.

So that's it for now. Oy. Time to finish up with finals. Then all though break I can just obsess about movies. Nice.

Monday, December 12, 2005

BFCA, NBR and NYFCC all love Brokeback Mountain

Well, the newest results are in, and it's official: Brokeback Mountain is the frontrunner. Period. It will win the oscar in february. I am rather certain of this.

People are still saying "it's just the critics who love it!" but please. The BFCA are not really critics. They are talking heads who reward what they think will win oscars. And Brokeback is leading their nominations. At this rate, I would be rather shocked if Brokeback DIDN'T earn 8 golden globe nominations tomorrow. It's missing in any of the 8 categories it hit at the BFCA's would not be logical. I'd say the absolute worst case scenario for it would be 6, which would still make it the nomination leader. And then it will likely win the globe.

There is still the issue of box office, but so far, box office has been fine. And with all this attention, I'd be surprised if it didn't make at least $50 million fairly easily. A big epic romantic movie winning every industry award in sight, complete with two popular heartthrobs as male leads, just can't be ignored for long, even if it the romance is a gay one. Sooner or later, average Joes (or at least average Janes) will start to say "alright, I'd better go see this Brokeback Mountain movie... there must be something to all this hype" (hey, it happened with Sideways, and that had arguably even less wide appeal). And I think most moviegoers will find themselves liking it. Or at least reacting to it strongly in some way.

And this may sound wrong, but believe me, there will be MANY a teenage girl lining up for repeat viewings to see Jake and Heath kiss and fondle. Seriously. Some teenagers are stupid and bigoted, but many just like to see hotties make out. And I'm sure many a gay man will be seeing it MANY MANY times. And then there's the older woman contingent. And the film buff contingent. I mean, basically, this film WILL make money.

The only thing I could see beating it right now would be NBR winner Good Night, and Good Luck (also the only film I could see beating it to the globe), or maybe, MAYBE Walk the Line. But GNaGL didn't make much money either, and WtL just feels too specific to win best pic... it's the kind of film that wins acting awards only. I think Munich is out of the winning circle. It's just not making enough of a wave. Brokeback Mountain has the high ground now, and if it wins the BFCA (highly likely) and the drama globe (highly likely), then it's losing the oscar would make AMPAS look like a bunch of big homophobes.

Come on, AMPAS. Take the high ground here. Do the right thing. You know you want to.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Brokeback Mountain wins LA


Here's the complete list:

BEST PICTURE: Brokeback Mountain
BEST DIRECTOR: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
BEST ACTOR: Phillip Seymor Hoffman, Capote
BEST ACTRESS: Vera Farmiga, Down to the Bone
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Catherine Keener, several films
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: William Hurt, A History of Violence
BEST SCREENPLAY (tie): Dan Futterman, Capote
& Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Good Night, and Good Luck
MUSIC: Howl's Moving Castle
ANIMATED FILM: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
FOREIGN FILM: Michael Haneke's Caché

Congratulatons, Ang! First LA, and then the world!
And congratulations to me! I did a good job predicting these!
More later...

whither Winslet?

I love Kate Winslet.

And I just realized that Kate had once been attached to not one but TWO films that are now in the running for supporting actress nominations this year. It's common knowledge that she infamously dropped out of Match Point at the last minute in order to spend time with her family, but I remember reading that she was also once set to play Rachel Weisz's part in The Constant Gardener. And now both roles look likely to reap oscar nods.

Now, if Kate had been in one or both of these this year, especially coming right off of her Eternal Sunshine loss, she would've netted a trophy for sure. But since she wasn't, it looks like it'll be a long wait until she finally gets her first oscar. Ah well.

Friday, December 09, 2005

no more predictions.

OK, well I've finalized my NBR predictions and I was gonna do an HFPA/BFCA rundown, but... well, I really just don't have the energy today. And I probably won't at all before they're announced. I just auditioned for two shows, found out I didn't get called back to one because the only guy they called back was the head of the student org that's putting on the show (so I guess I don't feel so bad), and am still waiting on the cast list for the other one. And I just sang at our Cabaret Night (spottily... because really, how much can one whore oneself in one day?), so needless to say, I'm a bit drained.

Still totally looking forward to awards weekend, though.

I will say that I expect Brokeback to be the leader with 6-8 noms (probably 8), and for the globe comedy races to be weird and open, because apparently the HFPA hated The Producers. So Heath will probably get a double nom (and then maybe win in drama), Reese and Joaquin will likely win in comedy/musical (Walk the Line will probably win comedy/musical picture race also)... oh hell whatever, here are some predictions:

Match Point

Family Stone
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Walk the Line








Match Point

Oh, I don't know. That's it. I will see how I did in a few days.

That's all the predicting I can handle for a while.


OK, here goes:

I'm calling it now: Brokeback Mountain will win the oscar for Best Picture of 2005. I really believe this. I've insinuated as much many times, but now I'm making it my official stance. I am firmly behind this prediction.

Apparently, Munich is a tad disappointing (not to mention COLD and PESSIMISTIC, two adjectives not generally attached to best picture winners)... and, well... I just believe in Brokeback. The good reviews are more like stellar reviews, and the bad reviews are generally nonsensical. Everyone who sees it has a strong reaction. It is being called "landmark" from coast to coast. It is a classic romance with a unique edge. It is timely and timeless. There are no other movies this year that can stake these claims.

Also, the globes like Ang Lee and his movies a lot (S&S won best drama, CTHD won director and probably would have won picture if not for their rules exculding foreign films), so that will help. And I think it will nab Best Picture from at least one major critics' group (possibly several).

It could easily get oscar-nommed in all of these categories:

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Original Score
Best Original Song

That's 10 nominations - more than enough to be a frontrunner. Even Munich probably will not exceed this tally. Walk The Line definitely won't.

It seems like an uphill battle, but is it really?

Brokeback Mountain will win... and it'll deserve to.

Brokeback Mountain opens today!

...but only in a few theaters.

I really can't take it anymore. I've watched the trailer way too many times. I have it bookmarked. It's actually playing right now. I need to see this movie RIGHT NOW. The obsession is getting pretty sick.

I think I need to cut myself off from all things Brokeback until I actually go see it myself. I need my life back. And I need to not feel like I've seen it a thousand times before when I'm watching it for the first time.

But I already feel like I have. The story is that resonant.

You know, it took me a long time to figure out that that was actually Heath Ledger speaking in the trailer. When I first realized it, I was shocked. His voice is totally unrecognizable. Not that other actors haven't been similarly shocking - actors transform all the time - but I was just... even from the trailer, I was floored.

This really does seem like a landmark film. I need to see it. RIGHT. NOW.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

NY and LA announce this weekend

The New York Film Critics Circle, The New York Film Critics Online, and the LA Critics will announce this weekend right before/during the time when the NBR announces... and I'll have to be writing an autobiography for a class this week -yes, an autobiography, and it's massive - so I cannot be obsessing over film awards all weekend... just one big whirl of obsession on monday, and then a break... at least that's what I'm telling myself.

So anyway, I'm offering up predictions now for NY/LA (the NY Online Critics are a strange bunch and I have never discerned their voting habits, so I'm not even gonna go there, really).

Here they are, roughly:

Los Angeles Film Critics Society
Picture: Brokeback Mountain (alt. King Kong)
Actor: Heath Ledger (alt. PS Hoffman)
Actress: Felicity Huffman (alt. Reese Witherspoon)
Supp. Actor: William Hurt (alt. Clifton Collins Jr.)
Supp. Actress: Scarlett Johannson (alt. Michelle Williams)
Screenplay: Brokeback Mountain (alt. Munich)
Director: Ang Lee (alt. Spielberg)
Art Direction: King Kong (alt. Memoirs)
New Generation Award: Terrence Howard (alt. Heath Ledger)

New York Film Critics Circle
Picture: A History of Violence (alt. Brokeback Mountain)
Actor: PS Hoffman (alt. Viggo Mortensen)
Actress: Q'Orianka Kilcher (alt. Laura Linney)
Supp. Actor: Clifton Collins, Jr. (alt. William Hurt)
Supp. Actress: Maria Bello (alt. Catherine Keener)
Director: David Cronenberg (alt. Ang Lee)
Screenplay: Brokeback Mountain (alt. Match Point)
Cinematography: The New World (alt. Brokeback Mountain)

Alright, that's it. Threw in some interesting choices. Flipped Hoffman and Viggo just now, because I'm sure Hoffman will score with one of these groups... even if aHoV goes over big in NY. We'll see...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

man, I hate reviews like this

So I was browsing the Rotten Tomatoes page on Brokeback Mountain and I came upon this review:

Now, I know it's just a review, but reviewers like this piss me off. The snippet they chose to put on the page ("I love gay people and I love gay movies - just not this one") set me off immediately and I knew I had to read further. And yeah, the rest of the review confirms my suspisions that this guy just doesn't seem to understand gay people, romance, or really, life in general. OK, that's harsh. Put these things he says are just too rich.

First of all, what qualifies for him as a "gay movie?" Do the characters have to be queeny? Does it have to be bad and cheesy like most mainstream gay movies are? This film isn't promoting itself as a "gay movie"; it's promoting itself as a tragic romance.

So his little disclamor really just digs him further into the dirt, as far as I'm concerned.

Then there's this: "At least to me, the love story never came alive. Lord knows I'm an easy mark when it comes to films that go for the heart, but I was curiously unmoved by this so-called gay western."

Well, first of all, stop calling it a "gay western"... that's bound to keep you from being moved. That term has been tagged on by people who don't get it and want to pigoenhole it into something pat. It sounds like "films that go for the heart" for him mean crappy romantic comedies.

"They develop a friendship over that summer, even though Ennis doesn't talk much and Jack tends to act like a goofy bastard, and one night as they share a smallish tent, that friendship turns into something much deeper."

It sounds like he doesn't understand the concepts of opposites attracting... even in friendships.

But here's the real kicker:

"Alright, I've pushed this back enough, let's get into what I see as the film's real flaw. How can I put this delicately? I know it's politically incorrect to say that buttfucks are not particularly romantic to me, but I have to touch upon that as this is the main reason the film left me cold. Again, this has nothing to do with how it's two men who engage in it - what's frustrating to me is that the bond between the two characters seems mostly sexual. We're told over and over that Jack and Ennis desperately love each other, but almost all we see them do together is get drunk and have rough sex. Fun for them, no doubt, but as a movie romance, it's a little thin."

"Fun for them"!? How dense is he?
This just kills any credibility he thought he had as a reviewer. First of all, has he not heard of men at this time not being able to express their emotions? Particularly with other men? (see the dilemma here?) I mean, Jesus. It's called societal repression. It's what this movie is about. If he can't relate, lucky him.

The funny things is, others have criticized the sex scenes for being over-romanticized and not "rough" enough. I think it just goes to show that some have stronger stomachs than others.

I mean, if this guy really didn't have a problem with the man-on-man nature of the sex, he could've avoided the use of the word, "butt-fucking". I mean, really. If you're going to pan a film loved by the masses, that's also about a sensitive political topic, you should really do it with a little class, to avoid making yourself look like an idiot. One gets the feeling he wanted to say "butt-fucking" the whole time, but first had to actually write something resembling a real review.

Now, I know I appear rabidly pro-Brokeback here (and anti-Geisha for that matter) even sight unseen... all the indicators point to the former being great and the latter not so much. Perhaps I'm being too judgmental of this reviewer or just taking it way too seriously. Perhaps one reason I'm even writing this is to put my own strong emotions about this on display, and be judged accordingly... because I really feel strongly about some of the dumb reactions to this film. I mean, if he was paid to write this thing, then I'm angry, cause it's a stupid review. It has no substance and little to back up its conclusions, and the writer seems quite unaware of his own ignorance/bias.

Anyway, I really can't wait to see it and post some of own thoughts that are actually backed up by facts.

I would like feedback, though, from people letting me know if I'm maybe too sensitive or jumping to too many conclusions about this. I feel inappropriately angry here. I just feel like some critics are just not qualified.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

NBR video

In preparation for the NBR's kickoff of awards season, may I direct anyone interested to a little informational video they have on their website:

It's basically just self-promotional, self-aggrandizing fluff of theirs, but it's kind of cool to watch nonetheless. They're a REALLY old organization... wow.

more fun with Memoirs

I'm still sort of thinking about this casting issue, and about the movie as a whole. I went on an IMDB message board and found some interesting comments. The thread was started by someone arguing that the casting was not a big deal, but then someone had this to say:

You can't be serious! When I saw the previews to this film I was very excited because I recognised both female actors from the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", but then a bell went off inside of my mind telling me something wasn't right. Then I realised Geisha's are Japanese and these two actors are Chinese. The fact that they cast two Chinese actors as Japanese characters is saying that all asians look the same, which is RACIST. Secondly, since this movie is in English, I see no reason why they could not have cast American-Japanese actors.

Now I have skimmed through a few messages trying to rationalize the choice of actors by comparing it to white actors being cast in different European ethnic roles, but my dears you are comparing apples with oranges. In the end you can believe Russell Crow and Anthony Hopkins to be Italians because it is European white-ancient Roman descendants. The casting of Chinese actors as Japanese characters is the same as all those Hollywood Native American movies casting white people to play the aboriginal roles(major or minor). It is racism.

Yes, it is just a hollywood the end fluff, but if you let this slide, what else would you let slip...complacency is evil.

I kind of agree.

Then there was this exchange:

I totally agree with you. As a Chinese citizen of the USA, I think we should just stop complaining and be united in believing that this is a step forward for asian actors/actresses in Hollywood. This is moment that has been long delayed, and people who are complaining over this issue are only setting us back.

Exactly R! I'm Asian, and I was ecstatic to finally hear about a movie where the cast was Asian and that it was a big budget movie. I was amazed to finally see that America was making a movie with Asian leading roles. I don't see why everyone has to nag so much, just be happy that we (As Asians) are getting some recognation. Maybe after this movie, doors will be more open to Asian actors and possibly even an Asian will win an Oscar sooner or later. I hope this movie really changes the ways of hollywood, and damn all these people complaining, they're just making it so easy for other people to sterotype us.
I don't hate you because you're beautiful, I hate you because you're Asian.

Um... I'm Chinese and while I wouldn't normally be offended by actors of different ethnicity to play another, I am offended that this is an American production using Asian movie stars that are already well known in their own country to cast an American film. It's basically Hollywood copping out and doing a half-assed job because they know people will see the film anyway. Yes it is great that Asians are getting more screen time that I'm happy about too but these people are already famous in their own respective countries and there are far better actors who can do a better job but Hollywood is too lazy to look for them. You would also think that when Hollywood used international actors some of whom barely spoke english prior to the movie they would at the very least find one Japanese actress for the a main role.

While I understand the argument that it's just like when Americans play different ethnicities, or that it's the Chinese and Japanese who are racist (not the those who cast it) for being so offended that it was cast inauthentically, I really thinking that in this case, it was the wrong route to go. It's just such a culturally sensitive issue, and it makes the Americans in charge look culturally insensitive. Plus, early word indicates that it's hindered the movie. Ostensibly Japanese Geisha speaking English in stilted Chinese accents just doesn't work so much. I think a Japanese American actress would have worked fine and gotten just as many people into the theater.

What do others think?

I actually had to do a persuasive speech for a class and chose this topic to speak on, so now I'm still trying to rationalize my point of view on the matter (I could've argued both sides, which is why I chose the topic). But I really do think this call was a mistake that could've been avoided. They could've been more classy and made like Kevin Costner doing Dances with Wolves, insisting that the ethnic group in question be cast authentically since it was a central issue in the film.

The National Board of Review announces their winner (I think) tomorrow, so perhaps they'll anoint this film in order to give it a boost. I'd much rather see them champion Brokeback Mountain, though, which by all accounts is a far superior piece of work.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

OK, some oscar predictions now

I'm just gonna lay out my thoughts on the major categories before the awards season kicks off.

1) Brokeback Mountain
2) Walk The Line
3) Munich
4) Good Night, and Good Luck
5) The New World

This list might be wishful thinking, but I really think these five will do well. I'm thinking The New World will supplant Memoirs as the "epic love story" nominee (unless you count Brokeback as one already). And Good Night, and Good Luck seems as likely as anything. The top three seem quite safe. The only thing that worries me is that there's no comedic nominee in the bunch... but that just happens sometimes. Walk The Line will at least be categorized comedy/musical at the globes, so that makes me feel somewhat better.

1) Ang Lee
2) Steven Spielberg
3) George Clooney
4) Terrence Malick
5) Woody Allen

I think this particular race is really down to seven men, and the other two are Mangold and Cronenberg. Both could easily make it. No combo of the seven would surprise me. But these five seem most likely right now.

1) PS Hoffman
2) Joaquin Phoenix
3) Eric Bana
4) Heath Ledger
5) David Straithairn

I am keeping Feinnes out for now. I am losing faith in him... although he and a few others have good shots.

1) Reese WItherspoon
2) Judi Dench
3) Felicity Humman
4) Joan Allen
5) Q'Orianka Kilcher

See previous post about SAG. I have faith in these five for now.

1) Bob Hoskins
2) George Clooney
3) Paul Giamatti
4) Jake Gyllenhaal
5) Christopher Plummer

Whatever. The first four I chose out of name recognition/past snubs/best picture nominee affiliation... these names just jumped out at me as easy picks. And Plummer I think may get a career type nom if The New World really ignites.

1) Scarlett Johannson
2) Diane Keaton
3) Michelle Williams
4) Uma Thurman
5) Maria Bello

I don't see how Johannson can miss here... they owe her and it's a huge spotlight role... and Woody's actresses otfen win awards. Keaton is looking strong, although I think the fact that she's part of an equally weighted ensemble in a non-oscary film makes her vulnerable. She could miss. Williams looks like a good bet, but she of course could miss, too. I think Thurman and Bello might benefit from their recent snubs... but maybe not. We'll see.

OK, that's it for now. Back to real life.


iTunes music store goodness

OK, I now offer a brief diversion from the recent non-stop film awards geekdom.

Tonight I planned to go out and do something fun with my friend, maybe see a movie, maybe get a little drunk, but those plans kinda fell through, so now I'm here doing nothing. BUT whilst sitting here doing nothing, I decided to check all Rufus Wainwright's top downloads on the iTunes music store to make sure I had them all, and lo and behold, what I found just made my night.

Apparently the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack is now available on the iTunes music store (!!!), and Rufus has some songs on it. AWEsome. I am so tickled. I am downloading it right now. And I also found his cover of "Hallelujah" on the soundtrack to The L Word. At first I was pissed that it was only available to buy with the whole album, but then I thought, "fuck it", and decided to just download it all. I am THAT obsessed with Rufus, and particularly with this song. It's SO excellent. And hey, the rest of the songs seemed good anyway. I think that was $10 well spent.

So now I'm off to listen to some awesome music. I'm so excited.

Peace out.

Friday, December 02, 2005

SAG nominees for Best Actress

I suddenly have the feeling that the five SAG nominees will be:

Joan Allen, The Upside of Anger
Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Q'Orianka Kilcher, The New World
Reese Witherspoon, Walk The Line

Don't know why the sudden confidence. It's certainly premature. But I think I kinda know how the SAG committee thinks at this point. The last few years have revealed a lot.

Reese is a no-brainer, and will probably win this (based on the box office of the film and her general popularity, not to mention quality of performance).

Huffman, I think, will gain enough steam to at least be nominated, and could beat Reese if she really ignites. They already know her from Desperate Housewives and might admire her breakthrough into film. It's the kind of thing they like to recognize (even PS Hoffman in Flawless was SAG nommed when his chances with oscar weren't great).

Dench should be here because everyone loves her and she's the centerpiece of her film, though I don't think she has much chance of winning.

Allen might be wishful thinking, but with a likely globe drama nod (and perhaps a win), she should have enough momentum to place here, even if she's not their favorite performer. It's true that this category likes earlybirds.

And as for Kilcher... I just think they'll eat her up. The SAGs have shown no bias against youngsters (they nommed BOTH Keisha and Evan Rachel in their year, as well as Catalina Moreno), and they often choose candidates ignored by the globes. Her film will have to make waves, obviously, but if it does, I think Kilcher has a better shot here than, say, Knightley. I'm losing some faith in Knightley now that it's clear she'll be in the comedy field (and will probably not win that globe)... I think she'll look like "just nother comedy nominee" and people won't take her seriously because she's... well... Keira Knightley. Kilcher has that kind of exoticism and mystery that makes people want to vote for her; they'll feel like they're doing something cool.

And Paltrow, Theron, Richardson, etc. have done nothing to convince me that people will want to reward them come SAG time. For the former two, it's that issue of "you've already won, so now you'll have to REALLY impress me" and with Natasha, well, nothing's happening with that film. We'll see.

But for right now, I feel eerily confident in these five. Will that be the oscar lineup, too?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wow, the best actress race actually has contenders now

It's starting to look like the best actress category actually has more contenders than there are slots. Mee oh my. To break it down in globe terms, it seems that there are now 7 real hopefuls in drama:

Charlize Theron
Gwyneth Paltrow
Keira Knightley
Ziyi Zhang
Natasha Richardson
Q'Orianka Kilcher
and... (yes) Renee Zellweger.

(and possibly Huffman or Allen if they are for some reason placed here)

Granted, not all of these women have shots at oscar noms, and probably only two of those who do will make it, but it's nice that there's at least some competition now. I honestly don't know which two women they'd snub. I feel like Kilcher will either go over big, and possibly win this, or just be ignored. I really can't tell. I wanna say the two Zs will be snubbed, but that's totall just personal preference. My brain says it will probably be Richardson and Kilcher who are snubbed, but... I just don't know.

Over in comedy, we have another 7 hopefuls:

Joan Allen
Judi Dench
Meryl Streep
Reese Witherspoon
Felicity Huffman
Sarah Jessica Parker
and (it's possible...) Angelina Jolie.

Now, I don't really see them nominating Jolie for the Smith movie, but they've done weirder things before. I really want to say both she and SJP will be left out (the other 5 are much more "awardsy"), but they DO love SJP... she's won what, 4 globes for Sex and the City? That's a lot of statues. They clearly want her babies. But would they really bump Joan? Or Judi? Or Meryl? or Reese? No (unless someone is shuffled to drama). I suppose a Streep snub is possible, since her movie died quickly, but they've shown her love for similar films before, and she's SO deserving this year. Huffman may yet fail to ignite, but I'm feeling the firestorm starting... I think she'll see at least a globe nom, probably more.

So that's it for now... I think it's 7 women going for 5 spots in each category. We shall see who stands and who falls.

(my apologies to anyone reading this blog who doesn't care for this sort of thing... you know who you are.) ; )

(final) NBR predictions

OK. I'm going to put out National Board of Review predictions now. I don't know why I love predicting the NBR so much... I guess because it's the very first thing, so it could go literally any which way, even though they do show definite trends. So anyway:

#1: Brokeback Mountain
#2: Capote
#3: Munich
#4: Match Point
#5: Walk The Line
#6: Crash
#7: The White Countess
#8: Goodnight, and Good Luck
#9: Memoirs of a Geisha
#10: The Constant Gardener

Pride & Prejudice
The Family Stone
Cinderella Man

INDIVIDUAL CATEGORIES (one prediction and two alternates each)

Best Actor: Ralph Feinnes for The Constant Gardener and The White Countess
alternates: PS Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix

Best Actress: Joan Allen for The Upside of Anger, Off The Map, and Yes
alt: Felicity Huffman and Reese Witherspoon

Supporting Actor: George Clooney for GNaGL and Syriana
alt: Paul Giamatti and Bob Hoskins

Supporting Actress: Scarlett Johannson for Match Point
alt: Maria Bello and Michelle Williams

Best Director: James Mangold for Walk The Line
alt: James Ivory, Ang Lee

Original Screenplay: The Squid and the Whale
alt: Crash, Match Point

Adapted Screenplay: Munich
alt: Brokeback Mountain, Memoirs of a Geisha

(...or if these categories are joined into just "screenwriter of the year", then that would be Woody Allen for Melinda & Melinda and Match Point)

Production Design: Memoirs of a Geisha
alt: The New World, King Kong

Animated Feature: Wallace & Gromit
alt: Howl's Moving Castle, Corpse Bride

Ensemble Acting: Crash
alt. The Family Stone, Pride & Prejudice

Music Composition (if they do it, it'll definitely be): John Williams for (deep breath) Memoirs of a Geisha, Munich, Star Wars Episode IV: The Return of the Sith, and War of the Worlds (phew)

Special Achievement in Filmmaking: Woody Allen for Match Point
alt. Paul Haggis for Crash, George Clooney for GNaGL

Breakthrough Actor: Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
(just changed this... I believe in him more now, even though he's been famous for years and doesn't belong here)
alt: Cillian Murphy, Terrence Howard

Breakthrough Actress: Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
(changed my mind... this is technically a film breakthrough, since her only other claim to fame is on TV, plus it's been called a "breakthrough performance" many times in reviews, so I think they'd go for her here)
alt: Keira Knightley, Q'Orianka Kilcher

Directorial Debut: Bennett Miller, Capote
alt: Joe Wright, Pride & Prejudice

Career Achievement: James Ivory and Ishmael Merchant
alt: Shirley MacLaine

These are my final predictions. I am sticking to them.

More on these when the actual awards come to pass.

Joseph Wilson was at my college tonight

I hadn't planned to attend, but I was passing by the building hosting the talk, and then I remembered that I'd heard he was gonna be here, and so I decided to go see him rather than do homework.

He's very eloquent, not to mention very funny and charming. He joked about how instead of being thought of as "the last diplomat ever to deal with Saddam Hussein before the first Gulf War", he would now be thought of as "Mr. Valerie Plame" for the rest of his life. It's probably true.

In any case, Mr. Wilson really knows his stuff and is a great speaker. I'd love it if Bush were forced to debate this guy on live television over the Iraq/16 words/Plamegate fiasco. Bush would totally be hung out to dry. And why shouldn't Bush have to debate Wilson over this? Aren't we allowed, even obligated, as citizens, to know how our president cares to defend himself when directly confronted with truth, spoken by someone with some cred? I realize he has been confronted with facts in an abstract, media-at-large kind of way, but it's different when they're being spoken to your face by one of the people you've wronged (but then, he wouldn't see Cindy Sheehan either). I just really want to see what he would actually do in that situation. He really has no defense. It would be a massacre. And it would all be well deserved.

But alas, that would never happen.

I really miss living in a sane world. I mean, I know I am not totally sane, but it'd be nice if the world as a whole picked up some of the slack. Seriously.