Monday, January 30, 2006

Oscar Nomination Predictions & my scores/reactions

OK, I will get right to it.

My preditions that did not pay off are in asterisks next to the actual nominee in italics.

Brokeback Mountain
Goodnight, and Good Luck.
Capote *Walk the Line*

4/5 (but I got Munich!)
I am rather shocked that Walk the Line was left out, as it was the only real box office hit in contention (though Brokeback will get there soon). I think they were trying to be explictly political this year in their choices... Walk the Line was just too "safe." And I'm still surprised that Capote was nominated here.

George Clooney (GNaGL)
Paul Haggis (Crash) *David Cronenberg (aHoV)*
Ang Lee (BBM)
Bennett Miller (Capote)
Steven Spielberg (Munich)

Wow. No lone director. This is kind of a bummer, since I really thought Cronenberg would make it.

PS Hoffman (Capote)
Terrence Howard (H&F)
Heath Ledger (BBM)
Joaquin Phoenix (WtL)
David Strathairn (GNaGL)

5/5 (yay!)
Nice choices here. Good category.

Charlize Theron (North Country) *Joan Allen (Upside of Anger)*
Judi Dench (Mrs. Henderson)
Felicity Huffman (TransAmerica)
Keira Knightley (P&P) *Naomi Watts (King Kong)*
Reese Witherspoon (WtL)

OK, whatever. I took some chances due to the "preferential ballot" factor. I really thought Allen would make it, since those who love her perf REALLY love it. But alas.

George Clooney (Syriana)
Matt Dillon (Crash)
Paul Giammati (Cinderella Man)
Jake Gyllenhaal (BBM)
William Hurt (aHoV) *Frank Langella (GNaGL)*

I ditched Hurt after Ed Harris won the NSFC award cause I thought it would confuse people... and I'd been feeling Langella lately. Oops.

Amy Adams (Junebug)
Frances McDormand (North Country) *Maria Bello (aHoV)*
Catherine Keener (Capote)
Rachel Weisz (Constant Gardener)
Michelle Williams (BBM)

Oh well. Sucks for Bello. But sometimes you just have to stick to the precursors, even if they don't make much sense.

Match Point
Squid and Whale

People were saying the Syriana switch happened too late for people to have actually voted for it, but that always sounded like a load of bull to me. Plus, what else would've been nommed in its place?

Constant Gardener

The screenplay categories were made easy when Syriana's category was switched. This one only had 5 other viable candidates left.

Harry Potter *BBM*
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha

DIdn't see Harry Potter coming, but I think I did better than most here, cause I did see P&P making the cut.

Charlie & Chocolate Factory *GNaGL*
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Memoirs of a Geisha

Man, I hated Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is maybe why I wasn't taking it seriously here. Oh well. Still got everything else right.

Batman Begins *Constant Gardener*
Memoirs of a Geisha
The New World *Munich*

Eh. Whatever. I guess it's nice that Batman Begins got in somewhere. But the Constant Gardener snub is odd.

Cinderella Man *BBM*

Cinderella Man over Brokeback Mountain!? Bizarre. Especially since BBM's editor died recently.

Chronicles of Narnia
Cinderella Man
ROTS *The New World*

I totally almost predicted Star Wars: ROTS here, but I chickened out. Wierd that this is its only nomination... definitely not what we all expected.

King Kong
Chronicles of Narnia *ROTS*
War of Worlds

Really insane that they went for Narnia here instead of Star Wars, since ROTS was the #1 box office success of the year, and the Narnia effects were just not that good (too much does not equal good). Whatever.

Chronicles of Narnia *Crash*
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha *ROTS*
War of Worlds

Narnia and Memoirs were kind of random choices... all these Memoirs tech/sound nods remind me of when Road to Perdition was nommed for sound, sound editing and other tech awards and I got seriously annoyed. Ugh.

King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha *ROTS*
War of Worlds

Memoirs again, over Star Wars. Weird.

Constant Gardener *Cinderella Man*
P&P *King Kong*
Memoirs of a Geisha

3/5 (but I did get both Williams nods!)
I did see the Munich nod coming, but I am rather shocked at the Constant Gardener here. Also didn't think Pride & Prejudice had a chance in this category, but I'm happy to be proven wrong - great music in that film. Sad about King Kong, though. I thought it was in.

Crash - "In the Deep"
*Elizabethtown - "Same in Any Language"*
"It's Hard Out There For a Pimp" *Hustle & Flow - "Hustle & Flow"*
*The Producers - "There's Nothing Like a Show on Broadway"*
TransAmerica - "Travelin' Thru"

Weird condensing of the category, but yeah, the eligible songs were totally weak. They should've have disqualified the Brokeback song. It was beautiful and might've won here otherwise.

Howl's Moving Castle
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Wallace & Gromit


Overall prediction rate: 70.6%
Eh. Not terrible, I guess. But I could've done better... maybe this is a sign that I'm obsessing less about oscars and more about useful things? That would be nice. That's the theory I'm going with.

So here's what I thought the tallies would be before the nominations were revealed:

BBM: 10 noms (really 8... what's with the editing snub?)
GNaGL: 9 noms (really 6... what's with the editing snub?)
Crash: 6 noms (right on the money... but I thought the 6th would be sound, not directing)
WtL: 6 noms (really 5... but other than picture, I got all it's noms right)
Munich: 6 noms (really 5... overestimated it slightly, but not by much... I was right that it was still alive)
King Kong: 6 noms (really 4... I was reaching with my Watts prediction)
Capote: 4 noms (really 5... it DID get in for best picture... and I'm surprised)
Memoirs: 4 noms (really 6... what's with those sound nods?)
aHoV: 3 noms (really 2... no Cronenberg... and Hurt made it over Bello... weird)
Constant Gardener: 3 noms (really 4... good showing)
Cinderella Man: 3 noms (right on... but one off)
Pride & Prejudice: 2 noms (really 4... and I'm SO happy!)

And more:

I might be underestimating Capote, Crash and Constant Gardener a bit, or overestimating GNaGL or Munich, but whatever. Not feeling Capote for best pic for some reason... maybe it's the Keener factor making it seem like Being John Malkovich, which also missed? I dunno. Also taking a chance on Watts making it for King Kong... I'm being stubborn and predicting snubs for both Theron and Zhang (along with McDormand and Crowe) cause no one truly loves their performances... and Watts, to me, seems like the most likely surprise nominee for best actress, even if King Kong as a whole is dead. Anyway, we'll see. Can't wait for the noms to finally be out, and for this preseason guessing to be OVER. Phew.

And what I say now:

Well, I was right about underestimating Capote, Crash, and Constant Gardener, and about overestimating GNaGL and Munich (though I'm happy I got the Munich nod right). I'm NOT happy that best actress turned out so predictable (but go Keira!). Still surprised that Capote got nommed for best picture. Still surprised that the weath was spread so wide. I'm wondering what BBM will end up winning, other than pic/director/screenplay... one or two more wins seem in order... I still think Williams could take it, and will probably predict her for the win... probably Santaolla will win score... and cinematography will be either GNaGL or this, I'd think. Hmmm... interesting. Anyway, I'm very happy for Focus Features, who really got their due this year with 16 total nominations and, finally, a best picture frontrunner. Good for them. They're the best studio out there.

More later. Now, back to real life.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

no more posts for awhile

Just warning anyone reading that I will not be posting for a while (well I might, but don't hold your breath), since I am back at school now and must devote the bulk of my energy to that. I hope this won't cause me to lose my small readership forever, but I must prioritize here. Too much blogging = bad for my life. So I will be taking a break.

But in other news, I saw Narnia last night and it annoyed me (too much CGI and excessive music, very "paint by numbers" filmmaking), but Tilda Swinton was totally badass and made her segments pretty enjoyable.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

King Kong

Wow. This was really, really good. I sort of get now why people were touting it as a possible best picture winner or nominee (and in some cases still are). The beginning was slow and sort of annoying, but it found its groove on the island and in retrospect the beginning was fine, though it could've used another pass through the editing room. The effects were truly mindboggling and I kept wondering how they possibly did all those things, what with Watts being thrown around by the ape, etc. And the score added serious soul and gravitas.

And this convinces me now more than ever that Watts' true gift as an actress is playing actresses. She has such an archetyal actress-looking beauty. I almost can't buy her as "just some person." And she seems to have some trouble not being overdramatic. Lightness is not her thing. But she was perfect here. As many pretty blondes as there are in Hollywood, I actually can't imagine anyone else in this role. And she managed to sell being a vaudevillian, which I didn't think she could. It may not have been the most demanding role in traditional terms, but the physical demands must've been extreme, and all that acting opposite nothing was impressive (or was she opposite Andy Serkis? I don't know). She sold it all. Now I may not be Watts' biggest fan overall, but if there is a movie where she plays another actress in an extreme situation, I'm there. And given the weak best actress year, I would not object to her being nominated (not that she will be).

So a little long and a little cheesy, yes, but the emotional payoff was well worth it. And something about the combo of depression-era-NY and the treacherous skull island had me thinking a lot about the chaos of nature and man's inherent drive toward violence and competition, and it got me feeling so lucky to have the life I have, and to have movies, where desperate situations, hard times, and horrifying action can be expertly dramatized for a great emotional punch with no danger.

Really, I am kind of surprised an saddened by the disappointing awards traction and box office (given the expectations) for this film. I think it deserved better. It seemed at first like the kind of good movie/blockbuster spectacle that could never be a real oscar movie, but by the end, it was something more. Despite the cheesy and fantastical nature of it all, there was real mythology and emotion here. And a real reverence of cinema.

Yay for movies. Yay for King Kong.

Grade: B+/A-

Friday, January 20, 2006

Werner Herzog and Grizzly Man

I watched this twice when I rented it just recently (I returned it a few days ago). And let me just say, I cannot get over the amazingness of this film. It's really one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. Not that I've seen very many. But I still mean that as very high praise. Some truly great documentaries make me almost prefer the documentary genre to fictional narrative films, which always weirds me out, but really, docs can do something so magical with the chaos of real life that fiction really can't do. Particularly, the kind of humor that springs from the clever editing and interpretation of real life and real human behavior just blows most fictional comedies out of the water. Truth really is stranger than fiction much of the time.

Sure there are times when I wish I could be watching polished actors instead of random people who seemed totally unaware of their own bizarre behavioral patterns, but that unawareness, that obliviousness, can be very endearing. It's just so... honest, I guess. And sort of voyeuristic, too... but I like that about it. As long as the director has a good eye for these people, and makes some sense of the madness that is real life.

It's just all so fascinating - "real" life.

It makes me wish I paid more attention to the nonfiction genre. But I don't. I'm sure there must be tons of mediocre documentaries made all the time, so I don't feel that bad - it's just that I generally only see the highly buzzed, arguably genius documentaries that come around only once or twice a year, and that deludes me into thinking all docs are that good. But they can't be. Can they?

The three nonfiction features I've seen that I've thought to be pretty brilliant are Bowling for Columbine, Spellbound, and Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man. I've seen some of the other notables (and missed several) but these three are riding high in my memory, Grizzly Man in particular. The way Herzog mines such pure comic gold from the deep and disturbing themes here is astonishingly impressive. The film has moments that are just absolutely priceless. It's probably the most laugh-out-loud hilarious thing I've seen all year (not just this new year, but last year, too). And while Timothy Treadwell, the manic-depressive, Grizzly-loving subject of the piece, is a hoot and a half and then some, the behind-the-scenes antics of Herzog himself are what make this the comic gold nugget that it is. His clever cutting, astute observations, and comically composed narration all add to the brilliance herein.

But all that aside, I'm convinced that what truly lifts this film into greatness is - and I'm totally serious here - Herzog's German accent and stiff vocal cadence. I don't know if he was playing it up to make it more comical, or if he just always speaks like that, or indeed if he was even aware of the effect his unique voice would have when he gave the film his narration... but my god, that narration MADE this movie. Between his Freud-esque German accent and the stilted way he speaks, Werzog sounds like a parody of every pretentious European academic who ever opened his mouth to talk. It's absolutely brilliant. It sets the absolutely perfect tone for this film, allowing us to laugh at the absurdity of the whole endeavor even as we revel in the razor-sharp incisiveness of the filmmaker. The juxtaposition of Herzog's calm disconnectedness with Treadwell's manic asides to himself and naive frolicking with the bears finds a whole new level of brilliance, as the differences in demeanor between spectator and subject are in even sharper contrast than their diametrically opposed worldviews. The moment-to-moment dynamics fit the meaning of the film perfectly; form fits function to a tee.

Brilliance. Sheer brilliance, I say.

Also... as revealed in a documentary on the DVD, all the music to this film was improvized. How cool is that? And again, it fits the film like a glove. Amazing.

Werner Zerzog is my hero. I love this man.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Heath Ledger will not be the youngest man nominated for a Best Actor oscar

I was just doing some fact-checking, since I think some fuss has been made over the fact that Ledger will be the youngest Best Actor nominee ever this year (though maybe no one is saying that... I know there's fuss over his possibly being the youngest winner, but I thought people were talking "youngest nominee" also).

Anyway, technically, I believe he will become the youngest living best actor nominee ever, besting Marlon Brando, who received his first nod at the age of 27 (Ledger is still 26). The youngest nominee ever, though, would be none other than James Dean, who received a posthumous Best Actor nomination when he would've been just 25 (for East of Eden), followed by another posthumous nod when he would've been 26 (for Giant). Sentiment ultimately did not win him an actual post-humous statue (he lost to Ernest Borgnine for Marty and Yul Brynner for The King and I); this would've made him the youngest winner by far. At the time, the youngest winner was Marlon Brando, who had just won for On the Waterfront on his fourth consecutive nomination at age 30 in 1955, the same year James Dean died (and one year before Dean earned his first academy nod... and also, coincidentally, the same year the clock tower was struck in the Back to the Future trilogy... clearly a year of great cosmic significance in the space-time continuum). Brando was dethroned, however, as the youngest Best Actor winner, by Adrien Brody in 2003, when he won for The Pianist at the age of 29.


Anyway, Ledger will only really set a record (unless you consider youngest living nominee to be a record, and I guess it is) if he somehow manages to beat P. S. Hoffman to the oscar this year. If he did that, he'd blow Brody's record out of the water and become the youngest Best Actor winner EVER, at the age of 26.

But even if he doesn't, Ledger is still in mighty good company... being sandwiched between 25-year-old James Dean and 27-year-old Marlon Brando is quite a desirable situation.

Actually... yeah... wow... I totally woudn't mind being the meat in that sandwich ; ) Mmmm...

Monday, January 16, 2006

my globe score

So, I got 8 of 12 right. Not bad. I missed screenplay, song, actor (drama), and supporting actress. Oh well.

Tricky ones I got: George Clooney for supporting actor, John Williams for score... and that's about it. The rest were pretty predictable.

Category I should've gotten right: Best Actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman. But I totally thought Heath had it. Sigh...

That's it for tonight. I'm awarded out. No more.

Golden Globe live-blogging

er... at least I think so. I'm just going to write until I feel like finishing the post, and then start another one, and continue on until the globes are over. Actually no, I'm just gonna do it all in one post. It's easier.

Ooh, best supporting actor... I think Clooney but maybe Dillon... or of course it could be Giamatti... let's see, here goes:
Ah, I was correct: Clooney. Nice. Now hopefully he won't win director. Also, Adrian's hair is really long... weird.

Ooh, a Jack Abramoff jab. Hah. Kind of a lame speech though, overall. I don't really like George's voice. It's not really all that. I don't get the massive appeal of this guy... he kind of strikes me as your usual attractive, "cool" guy from high school who everyone wanted to be like, but who also seems insecure in his coolness. I'm not really that big a fan. He is mighty cute, though.

OK, here goes, best supporting actress... Scarlett got lots of applause... ooh, so did Michelle... here goes:
Oh my. Rachel Weisz! Should've seen that coming. Well, she was my third choice. I'd predicted Michelle, and then Scarlett. I haven't seen Constant Gardener, but I like her. Nice shout-out to Feinnes. Classy. Go, Rachel, go! I like that now the supporting actress race has been thrown for an even bigger loop. I wanted to hear Michelle speak, though. Oh well.

Blah, TV awards... Paul Newman... ooh, Sanda Oh! I love her. Wow, she's so hyper. Yay, Sandra.

OK, commercials...

Back. Wow, Emmy Rossum scares me. Her face still doesn't move.

Hmm, the Goodnight and Good Luck clip is on. I need to see this movie ASAP. Whoa, David Strathairn out in the audience looks very different from Edward Murrow in the movie. Actually, he looks pretty hot. Is that weird of me to say? He's so old... and yet so hot... whoa.

Best TV actress - drama... come on, Geena, you deserve this. You are getting lots of applause, that's a good sign. Yay! Geena Davis wins! Oh, yay! She looks fabulous for her age. Jesus. She is like 50 years old. And wow, she is so funny. I love how she just made up that story about the little girl. Geena, you're fabulous. I heart you to death. I'm so glad you've finally won a golden globe! Awesome.

Best TV actor - drama... I don't really care about this one. I just wanted to see Geena win. OK, let's see who wins... who? what? I missed that. Who is this actor? Why are they playing Massive Attack's "Teardrop"? Hugh Laurie. Hm. Yeah, I saw him on Ellen once. He seems like a nice guy. I wonder if he's a little tipsy. So far, no one has been, but it's getting to be about that time. Whatever, regardless, this little stunt of his, pulling names out of his pocket, is great. Very original. Nice. The show is livening up.

OK, more commercials...

Back. OMG. Melanie Griffith. She is acting so vacant. Wow, she needs help. Oh, that's right, Miss Golden Globe is her daughter! And wow, her daughter looks kind of uncomfortable. I feel for her. I wouldn't want to be Melanie Griffith's daughter either. Wow, how totally awkward. This Miss Golden Globe thing is hilarious. I don't recall them doing it in recent years. Whatever.

Why did they not mention Uma Thurman when introducing The Producers? They mentioned all the other actors. Weird. It's like the HFPA have totally forsaken her. They don't even mention her this year, let alone nominate her. How unfair.

Best TV movie/miniseries... okay. Yadda yadda yadda. Empire Falls. I don't watch TV (other than Commander in Chief), so I don't care.

Best TV actor - comedy... come on, give it to Steve Carrell to make up for not nominating him for 40-year-old virgin... ooh, they did! Yeah. Go, Steve, go! Now, did his wife REALLY write this speech? I'm thinking this is all a cute stunt of his own. It is funny, though.

OK, more commercials... back soon.

Back. Yay, Tim Robbins! What's he presenting? The Constant Gardener. Fitting. Whoa, look at his hair. Is that for a film or something? Wow, Rachel Weisz really is remeniscent of Kate Winslet, in a major way. Crazy.

Best actress - comedy. Get ready to roll, Reese, this is your moment. Laura Linnelly? Nice, Jamie, Nice. Ooh, lots of applause for Reese. It's hers. Yay! It is! Hm, you can still here hints of the southernness in her voice. I'd never noticed that before. Aw. She and Ryan are so cute. Ryan is so sweet, adoring her from his seat. Cuteness. So much cuteness.

Best TV actress - comedy. Wow, Chris Rock is funny. So who will win this one? Felicity? Marcia? Mary-Louise? Hm. Tough call. Oop. Mary-Louise Parker gets it. Vote-splitting will do that, I guess. I guess this means Huffman's got the film globe for sure.

Why don't I really like Mary-Louise Parker very much? I still think she was weak in Angels and America, and I'm bitter at her for that. Weird, her voice sounds like my aunt's. Creepy. It's kind of nasal. I just really don't enjoy much her at all. I find her grating.

OK, commercials again... back soon.

Back. Yay, Emma Thompson! I miss you. Do a good movie again, please. Yay, Pride & Prejudice! Good to have her present it. Ha. She's funny.

Best TV actor - miniseries/movie. Whatever. I don't care. Ooh, Ed Harris. Nice. JRM. Nice. Ooh, Donald Sutherland. Maybe he'll win this one. Let's see... JRM! Awesome. He's so pretty. And so Irish... wow... I've never heard him speak before out of character. He doesn't look like Elvis at all, though. Hm. He seemed uncomfortable. Oh well. NEXT.

Best TV actress - miniseries/movie - Halle Berry. Eh. Whatever. Kelly MacDonald. I love her. S. Epatha Merckerson. Who are you? Cynthia Nixon as Eleanor Roosevelt... hm. Mira Sorvino. Nice. Who gets it? Ah. Merckerson. I've heard she'd get it. Though I've never seen her in anything ever. First lead in a film? Wow. Oh, the hot flash joke... I love her.


OK. Screenplay. Oh my. Brokeback won. Looks like it will be winning a lot tonight. But now that it's won screenplay, maybe Ang won't actually win director? We'll see. Hm.

More commercials.

Best TV Series - Comedy. Hm. Maybe Desperate Housewives will lose? Maybe not. Whatever. I don't really care. Desperate Housewives. Woo-hoo. Big surprise. Speech time... maybe they'll be interesting. They are taking their sweet time, though. Here goes. Blah blah blah. Oh, whatever.

Wow, Penelope Cruz has a very, very thick Spanish accent. Mrs. Henderson Presents. OK, fine. I guess I should see this movie.

Foreign film. Aw. SJP and Matthew what's-his-name are cute together. But wait, they're not an item, nevermind. That's the other Matthew. Paradise Now. As expected. I should see that one, too. Aw. Nice speech.

Commercials again. Sigh.

Man, commericals suck. Blah.

Yay, Catherine Deneuve! Weird dress, though. I'm not a fan. Why is she presenting A History of Violence? How random.

Anyway, moving on.

Best original score... this is will be interesting. I am predicting Geisha, but I really have no idea. Here goes: John Williams for Geisha! Ha. I was right. I guess I did have an idea then. Wow, he hasn't won in a while. Will he win the oscar? Hm. Nice speech. Short n' sweet.

Mariah Carey. Wow, she is orange. That can't be her natual color. But it's not like she's that white anyway, so why is she using fake tan? Weird. Winner? Ooh... Brokeback. Didn't see this coming either, but yay! Glad it gets recognition here, since it'll be out of the oscar race. Damn.


So in the interem, let's think... Brokeback has won two and lost two. It has three categories to go: Actor, Director, Picture. I had predicted it to win all three of these, but I'd expected neither screenplay nor song to happen. Will it still win all three of the big ones? I hope so.

(update: I saw Brokeback again and loved it this time. Don't know why I didn't connect with it before. Expectations, I guess. Whatever. I am now totally onboard the Brokeback train and want to see it win everything.)

Yay, Gwinnie! You're cute. Wow. I didn't know Hopkins had done 100 films. Yowza. I always sort of thought of his career has having begun with The Silence of the Lambs, even though I knew that wasn't the case. How nice for him to have such great success in his later years. Aw, Gwinnie, how cute are you? I love it. Ooh, Hannibal... so great. I love Anthony Hopkins. He rocks. And Gwyneth is still super-cute. She just keeps smiling! Must be the pregnancy.

Here's Tony. Looking very regal. Very, very nice. And quite painless for a long tribute thing.


Yay, Squid and the Whale! Good film.

Aaahhh, The Clint. Presenting best director. Please let it be Ang Lee. Both he and Clooney got lots of applause. Come on, here goes: Ang Lee. Awesome. The oscar's his now. Period. Aww... Ang, you're so cute and awkward. I love you. And very classy to comment on how great all the other films are. Especially since you're clearly not TRYING to be classy, cause you're just so cute and genuine and awkward. Yay! ...but it is about time to wrap it up now, Ang. Good. Thank you.

Side note: I love how Tom O'Neill was trying to make all this drama about how Brokeback would get upset in director and/or screenplay and now he's been proven wrong. Sweet. He's so arrogant and obnoxious.

John Travolta. Aw. And the globe for best actor - comedy/musical goes to: Joaquin Phoenix. Obviously. But yay! He was great. And wow, he's very sexy, isn't he? He is reminding me of his brother River right now. Growl. You go, Joaquin. You go.

Commercials. Sigh.......

OK, more Brokeback speculation... it now has Song, Screenplay, and Director. If Heath wins, then it has 5 globes total. That's amazing. When's the last time a feature film won that many? A long time. But I speak too soon. Heath could still lose, easily. But I say he doesn't. If any group is giving it up for Heath, it's this one.

Ooh, they're back. And Renée is presenting Best Musical/Comedy. I'm hoping for a Pride & Prejudice upset here, but I'd be fine with Walk the Line. And there it is: Walk the Line. It's getting nominated for the oscar. Totally.

Whoa, oops, I think I missed some stuff. Whatever. I spaced out. Lost just won best TV drama series. The intro by the cast of Will & Grace was funny.

OK, best actress - drama now... goes to: Felicity Huffman. No surprise here. Don't think she'll be winning the oscar, though. She looked a little oscar. Definitely not the traditional deglam kind of goddess. I think Reese has the oscar all the way. Nice speech, though. She's pretty cool.

Ooh boy, here goes... Nat must be freaking out right now. Swank might be giving the statue to Hoffman any moment now. But I still think it's going to Heath. Sooo... best actor - drama goes to: NO!!! Hoffman got it. Damn. I really did not see that coming... I really thought Heath would get it! Capote had no other nominations! Gaaaahhhh!!! Oh well. The Brokeback love was spread elsewhere. Nice speech, though. I don't resent Hoffman for this (I haven't even seen Capote yet... maybe I'll go tomorrow), but I wanted the race shaken up. Sigh. Oh well. I don't think Heath has a chance now. Booo.


And now here we are: Brokeback Mountain for best picture. Sweet. Four globe wins. The oscar will follow, clearly.

You know, I was just thinking... not only is Ang Lee overdue for best director, but Focus Features is overdue for a best picture win as well. They've had a nominee every year except last year... ever since Traffic in 2000 (Gosford Park in '01, The Pianist in '02, Lost in Translation in '03... and they deserved best picture nom for Eternal Sunshine '04 as well). They are THE hot new studio right now. And thid makes even more certain that they'll win. For Brokeback. Awesome.

And that's it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Golden Globe predictions

Best Picture (Drama): Brokeback Mountain (alt. GNaGL)
Best Actor (Drama): Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain (alt. PS Hoffman)
Best Actress (Drama): Felicity Huffman, TransAmerica (alt. Maria Bello)
Best Picture (M/C): Walk the Line (alt. P&P)
Best Actor (M/C): Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line (alt. Jeff Daniels)
Best Actress (M/C): Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line (alt. Judi Dench)
Best Supporting Actor: George Clooney, Syriana (alt. Matt Dillon)
Best Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain (alt. ScarJo)
Best Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain (alt. George Clooney)
Best Screenplay: George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck (alt. Woody Allen)
Best Score: John Williams, Memoirs of a Geisha (Santaolla, BBM)
Best Song: "There's Nothing Like a Show on Broadway" by Mel Brooks, The Producers (alt. Dolly Parton, "Travelin' Thru", TransAmerica)

BBM will win a lot, though director and screenplay could easily go to Clooney and/or Allen. I think Clooney will end up winning supporting actor and screenplay but not director. I previously thought ScarJo had her category nailed down, but now no one seems to care about her anymore, so I'm going with Williams. I think Ledger will beat Hoffman here, if nowhere else. Reese and Joaquin are locks, though WtL might be upset in the picture category. I'm thinking Memoirs wins in score, since it's been winning there in other races, but BBM might carry that category, too. And I think Mel Brooks will win song simply because I don't think TransAmerica will win both it's categories... Parton is more likely to win at the oscars, where Huffman will lose and The Producers won't be a major player across the board.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. We'll see how I do.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Best Supporting Actress

I think the rankings now probably are:

1) Michelle Williams (lock)
2) Rachel Weisz (lock)
3) Catherine Keener (likely)
4) Amy Adams (rising)
5) Maria Bello (iffy)
6) Frances McDormand (seems in, but I am doubting it)
7) ScarJo (seemed in before, but now I'm REALLY doubting it)

I expect the top three to make it, since they've basically been everywhere (Keener missed at the globes, but they clearly just didn't like Capote overall, while other groups did)... and a globe snub is not bad if you recover at SAG). I really didn't think Adams would make it before, and I still have my doubts, since it's such a small film with no oscar chaces anywhere else, and she's still basically unknown, and also there's Nat's theory about actresses choking the chicken... but with the triple whammy of the SAG nom, the NSFC win, and now the BFCA win, one has to sit up and take notice; the support is definitely there. But will it be enough? Hard to say. The preferential voting system bodes well for her, however. And speaking of preferential voting, Bello should benefit from it also, since I'm sure she has many rabid fans... but the combination of AMPAS category confusion and SAG snubbing her when there was no category confusion is worrying. Still, I think she has a better chance than Frances McDormand, who I just sense will be snubbed despite her continued presence in precursors (I think both North Country stars will be snubbed, since the film itself is blah and neither is owed anything by the academy). And that leaves ScarJo, who I still think has a lot of goodwill from her previous snub, but no one seems to care at all about the performance other than the HFPA.

I really think that Adams, Bello, Frances, and Scarlett are pretty even... no two of those four would surprise me... it's tough to see. I think everyone else it kinda out of it, however.

As for the win, I'm thinking Williams... back when ScarJo and Keaton looked like the frontrunners, I thought it would be Scarlett for the globe, Keaton for the SAG, and someone else surprising for the oscar... probably Williams. And now it's looking like still Scarlett for the globe, maybe someone else for the SAG, and then who knows for the oscar? Maybe ScarJo/Weisz/Williams? Or ScarJo/Williams/Williams? Or maybe even Williams/Williams/Williams (doubtful)? I still think it's going to be one of those unpredictable years in this category where the precursors are all over the map, but if anyone emerges as a real frontrunner, it will be Williams. She has the whole "longsuffering wife in best picture frontrunner" thing that JConn had, and there is no clear critical favorite to get in her way (Adams comes closest, but she is hardly a steamroller, and she's still fighting to even get a nomination).

So my "right now" prediction for oscar's Best Supporting Actress:

Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I weep for you, Joan Allen.

This is a particularly low point in the oscar bid for Joan Allen's performance in The Upside of Anger, and I felt the need to take a moment and mourn her likely snubbing. Now I'm not sure her performance is my very favorite this year (I was truly entranced by Witherspoon - she made me smile every moment she was onscreen - and I have yet to see Dench or Huffman or Theron), but how on earth is she on the verge of being snubbed for this? It is really New Line's fault, I think, for how they handled the release/campaign, but really it's starting to seem like there's some kind of conspiracy in Hollywood to keep Allen from being nominated.

If New Line had just released this last year like they'd planned, she would've been nominated last year. That Catalina Sandino Moreno spot would totally have gone to her. Or, if they'd just waited and released it this fall, she also would've been nominated this year, easily. OR, even with the March release, if they'd just given her a good campaign, she STILL would've grabbed a spot easily. And even without a real campaign, if the NBR had just cited her for her 3 films (instead of Huffman), since they like multi-film years, she would've gotten on solid footing. Or even without that, if the HFPA had just put her in comedy like they were expected to and given her a nod (or, god forbid, actually nominated her in drama), she would've gained some much-needed visibility and still been in a much better position. Or even then, if SAG had just picked up the slack like they often do and reintroduced her (instead of propping up Zhang Ziyi), I would have felt pretty confident in her chances. But now here we are, all the major precursors out, and the only major group that's thrown her any kind of a bone is the goddamn BFCA, and she probably would've missed there, too, had they not had six slots.

Anyway... it could be a conspiracy... or it could just be a chain reaction of really unfortunate decisions. You decide. I am still holding out hope, but I must admit, I am saddened and doubtful. Not just for Allen, but for the relevance of awards in general when sheeplike groupthink, bad campaigns, and bad release dates continue to doom worthy candidates.

Oh well... at least likely winner Witherspoon is truly deserving, which is more than one can say for arguably ANY other best actress winner this decade. That's a plus. Now, Felicity, PLEASE don't ruin it.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Wow, Walk the Line is really good.

Finally saw Walk the Line... and I was expecting to like it, but WOW. It was not a perfect film, really, but it's one of those movies that makes you not really care that it's not perfect. It did what it did damn well. I left that theater happy.

In fact, maybe it is a perfect film... just not the most ambitious film ever made. But really, I have no complaints.

btw, this thing IS getting nominated for best picture. It has the most visceral movie "punch" of any film I've seen this year, including Brokeback Mountain. And the lead performances are sublime. In fact, I could even see it winning... but only if Brokeback hits a backlash and WtL gets nominated for director and/or screenplay and lots of other things, which I don't think it will do. I'm thinking picture, actor, actress, sound, and editing will happen, though (and deservedly so). But not much else. For instance, when I was watching this movie, I was NOT thinking about the costumes. Nothing too special, there. And the writing, direction, cinematography, etc. were solid but not spectacular.

What I WAS thinking about, and what WERE expectional, were the two lead performances. WOW. Truly a pairing for the ages. Chemistry/charisma to spare. The film set itself up very well in terms of the first 30 minutes or so being just about Cash and the novelty of seeing Phoenix "do" him so well. And then Phoenix starts singing, and we're like "wow, how good" etc. But the mimicry starts to wear thin, as mimicry often does, and the movie starts to get boring. Not much here, really.

And then BAM!, Witherspoon/Carter is introduced, and the film picks right up. It is nothing before her entrance, and that's as it should be, because this is a love story, not a run-of-the-mill biopic. It's more from Cash's point of view, but it's really about the two of them. And how nice that since it's REESE, Hollywood superstar, the category maneuvering will reflect that. No supporting kudos for her. And really, she is extraordinary here. What's so great about it, really, is that she's finally funnelling all her spunk, sass, and sharp-as-nails comic timing into a full, deep, dramatic role. Plus, she sings. Better than June Carter. Really, this is the first time I've seen Reese do something that didn't feel, at the end of the day, like nothing more than a caricature. Which is not to say that she hasn't been good. She was VERY good in Legally Blonde and Election, and elsewhere. She's always had the chops. But here, she finally puts them to full use. Brava.

And assuming WtL gets the picture nom and keeps up its momentum as the only big hit in the lineup, Reese will win the oscar. I'm sure of it. She's just so strong, loveable, and all-over-the-map emotionally (and of course, so popular in Hollywood) that I just can't see Huffman trumping her. Won't happen. UNLESS WtL suddenly isn't as well-loved across the board; then there could be trouble. But I think it speaks volumes that Reese has won the lion's share of critics' awards when this doesn't seem like the kind of performance the critics would get behind. Plus, WtL needs a win somewhere, and she is its only hope, since Phoenix is unfortunately being met with underwhelming response, due, I think, to Cash's similarities with Ray Charles - it feels too much like a retread, at least in terms of awardage. But with critical and popular sentiment behind her, Reese Witherspoon can't lose.

But speaking of Phoenix, he is stellar also. His singing, mimicry, and drug-addicted freakouts are wonderful and highly affecting. He is terrific in the role, and deserves the golden globe he will win as much as Witherspoon deserves hers.

But really, what's great is the chemistry. Great love story. Watching them together made me want to laugh and cry. And the prison concert made me want to stomp and cheer. Seriously. Despite all the clichés it employs, this is a REALLY good movie. See it, if you haven't already.

Grade: Man, I don't even know. Whatever. Something good. A "B" feels too low to me. But an "A" would be kind of undeserved. It's tricky, because it's not the actual filmmaking so much as the performances and the strength of the love story that gives you that feeling of "aaaah... great movie". But the end result is kind of the same. I dunno. B+.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

OK, I really need to see Capote.

I do. Where is all this love coming from? I didn't realize it was this well-regarded in the industry. The trailer always looked kind of "blah" to me, and I'm not really a big PS Hoffman fan, so I was never overly excited about it. But now I'm thinking it's probably really good and interesting. I'm very happy Catherine Keener's getting all this attention, cause I love her, but I guess I should see the film before resolving to he happy for all involved. Though I now expect to like it a lot. Movies about writers and gay people (or gay writers) are usually pretty great. But yeah - BFCA, SAG, PGA, DGA, WGA noms, NSFC win, lots of assorted critics awards for acting and writing, likely a very nontraditional best picture nominee - I'm so there. I almost saw it last night, but I pooped out. Maybe tomorrow?

Friday, January 06, 2006

guild reactions/thoughts

OK, so I went 4/5 on PGA (didn't see Capote coming, saw Munich instead, like most), 3/5 on DGA (again didn't see Capote coming, but my alternate, Paul Haggis, made it), and 3/5 and 4/5 on WGA (though my aHoV hunch was correct).

As for SAG, 3/5 with ensemble (again, didn't see Capote coming, or the totally out-of-left-field, still-reeling-my-head-over-it Hustle & Flow), 4/5 on best actor (Crowe somehow keeps popping up, and how weird is it that Howard scored in ensemble, but not here, 3/5 on actress (I went against the grain with Kilcher and Allen, but I had a feeling Charlize would be here), 4/5 on supp. actor (missing the random Cheadle nod; boy, does SAG like him), and a dismal 2/5 on supp. actress (though my alternate made it... I should've gone with my gut and chucked ScarJo and/or Keaton for McDormand... though I must confess I did not think Keener or Adams would place here... good for them.)

I was running a pretty decent 70% until my really bad calls for supporting actress. Anyway, thoughts on the oscar race:

-I think best pic will be Brokeback, Crash, GNaGL, Munich, and Walk the Line... just like Nat has been predicting for awhile now... I don't think the DGA snub for WtL means much at all; it is still safe... I do think Munich will be nominated (unless something unexpected happens) and I don't think Capote will be, despite the guild love... I just don't see it happening at all.

-I think Brokeback will lead the pack with 9 or 10 noms, and probably win... GnaGL, Munich, and WtL will each get 6 or 7, probably, and Crash will trail with about 5 (picture, screenplay, Dillon, editing, and song, perhaps? I don't really see it getting best director).

-I think the 5th slot for best actor is down to Crowe and Howard, and I think it will go to Howard, but given that Crowe now has BFCA, GG, and SAG noms, a nom for him could hardly be called surprising.

-I think actress is very up-in-the-air... conventional wisdom says the SAG list transfers right over, but I really don't see Zhang making it, nor do I believe in Theron, really... I still want to say it will be Allen and some random person... or perhaps Allen and Theron... I am losing faith in Knightley.

-I think supporting actor will be Clooney, Dillon, Giamatti, Gyllenhaal, and Hurt... but Hurt is still very iffy... I'll have more faith if he wins NSFC, which I think he will

-I now think Keener will be making the cut in supporting actress... I have less faith in Adams, cause her film is so small and she's so unknown... I wanna say Bello, ScarJo, Keener, Weisz, Williams... but clearly McDormand is a major threat.

-Capote will get nommed for actor, supporting actress, screenplay, and maybe something else somewhere, but no director or picture, I don't think.

-I think Allen and Cronenberg are still big threats for best director.

So, tallies:
Brokeback -9 or 10 (depending on art direction)
GNaGL - 7 (pic, director, screenplay, actor, cinematography, art direction, editing)
Munich - 6 or 7 (pic, director, screenplay, cinematography, editing, sound, maybe art direction)
Walk The Line - 5 or 6 (pic, actor, actress, editing, sound, maybe costumes)
Crash - 5 (pic, screenplay, supporting, editing, either director or song)
Capote - 3 or 4 (actor, supporting actress, screenplay, maybe director or something else)
Kong and Geisha - 5 or 6, all techs

Phew. Very tough to read this year. I think the love with be spread all around. Fun, fun.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

quick guild predictions

OK. So. The PGA, DGA, and WGA are all announcing in the next few days, so I thought I'd offer up some predix.

Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck.
Walk the Line
alt. King Kong

I once thought that Kong would be a gimme in this race, but the underwhelming box office has dulled its power considerably, so I'm leaving it out. Same with Cinderella Man. Brokeback and WtL are gimmes. Crash and GNaGL also seems highly likely. I'm not entirely confident in Munich, but I think it stands as good a chance as any... it still seems very up-in-the-air in just about every race. Of course, many others could pop up, of course, but these really seem like the best bets.

Woody Allen
George Clooney
Ang Lee
James Mangold
Steven Spielberg
alt. Paul Haggis

I wanna say Cronenberg has a shot, but he's the type of guy likely to bump someone from here come oscar time, probably Mangold. I also wanna say Paul Haggis will make it, since they sometimes give spots to people they know will only get writing nominations (e.g. Chris Nolan for Memento) but I think he comes in 6th here (maybe a tie?). They like Allen, so I think he's in. Same with Spielberg. Clooney and Lee, obviously. And I think Mangold will get in here, but miss the oscar nom, just like Hackford did for Ray. I do have this feeling that I'm underestimating Ron Howard, but I'm going to ignore it, I think. (they sure do like him, though...)

WGA (as far as I know, no major contenders are ineligible)

Woody Allen (Match Point)
Noah Baumback (Squid and Whale)
George Clooney, etc. (GNaGL)
Paul Haggis (Crash)
Miranda July (Me, You, and Everyone We Know)
alt. the committee who wrote Cinderella Man

First four are easy. Fifth spot is tough. July just seems to me like the type they'd go for... but then all five would be writer directors, right? Whoa. Not unheard of, but weird. Cinderella Man, Mrs. Henderson, Wallace & Gromit, and Junebug all seem possible. Who knows.

Jeffrey Caine (Constant Gardener)
Dan Futterman (Capote)
Stephen Gaghan (Syriana)
Tony Kushner (Munich)
McMurtry and Ossana (Brokeback Mountain)
alt. Deborah Moggach (Pride & Prejudice)

I really wanna predict A History of Violence here, but I can't quite do it. Eh. I also really wanna say Pride & Prejudice will make it here, but it doesn't seem to be factoring into anybody's screenplay predictions whatsoever, since it's pretty well accepted that it was a great adaptation of a tricky book. I decided to go with P&P as the alternate. But really, I don't have much faith in either of them. Oh well.