Thursday, February 26, 2009

The List: The Birth of a Nation
(dir. D. W. Griffith, 1915)

So. Hmmm. I really disliked this movie. In fact, it took me many, many tries (and a few months of having it sitting here, sucking up netflix charges) for me to finally get through it. Given the triple whammy of its being...

A) silent
B) 3 hours long
C) incredibly offensive

...I never really expected any better. In any case, I'm gonna say as little about it as possible.

But I will give it this: watching it was an experience. Just not in the good way. Yeah, it was a technical milestone. Yeah, it was the first blockbuster. And yes, it may have secured the future of feature films as we know them. But damn if it isn't a total slog to sit through. The Lincoln assassination scene is cool, though.


My oscar success rate...

...or lack thereof.

I got 18/24 in my blog predictions, which is better than the 16/24 I got with my (not updated with last-minute hunches) oscar pool predictions, but still not as well as many people did this year. I tripped up some on the small, obscure categories, and defied my earlier, more correct deduction that The Duchess would win best costume design (they really do ALWAYS just pick the most ornate period costumes year after year).

But what really killed me were the two sound categories. I refused to believe Slumdog would win either (though I was truly adamant that it wouldn't win sound editing, and was correct in that regard). I also REALLY thought they'd go on merit and give WALL•E sound editing, since they previously awarded The Incredibles there (d'oh!). I guess they just equate sound editing with action films and guns (animated or not). It was especially frustrating to correctly guess that Dark Knight would take one, but incorrectly guess which one (double d'oh!). Oh well.

I ended up tying for first in my pool - we're sharing the AMC gift certificate - and doing unremarkably here among the internet types... which is fine. Especially since there's probably no one still reading my blog anyway. : (

But let it be known, here and now: I have returned! (cue dramatic music)


Sunday, February 22, 2009

last minute oscar predictions

Yes, I do realize this is my first post in what seems like months.

Anyway, I'm changing these a bit from what I predicted in my oscar party contest. I think I slightly underestimated Slumdog and overestimated WALL•E, and I'm changing foreign film from Waltz with Bashir to Departures. There seems to be a last-minute collective feeling that Departures, the more traditional contender, will in fact emerge victorious. I'm also feeling the heat in actor and supporting actress, but I'm not changing them. So:

PICTURE: Slumdog
ADAPTED: Slumdog
(I'm bucking conventional wisdom here, but I'll probably be wrong)
ACTOR: Sean Penn, Milk
(its only statue of the night, denying Mickey Rourke his)
ACTRESS: Kate Winslet, The Reader
(she's safe; bumping her to lead and then denying her would just be cruel)
SUPPORTING: Ledger & Cruz
(I'm feeling a last-minute Davis hunch, but I'm not following it)
EDITING: Slumdog
SCORE: Slumdog
SONG: "Jaiho" (Slumdog)
(I'm changing this from "Down to Earth")
ART DIRECTION: Benjamin Button
COSTUME DESIGN: Benjamin Button
(I think it wins here because of those 13 nominations)
VISUAL EFFECTS: Benjamin Button
MAKEUP: Benjamin Button
FOREIGN FILM: Departures (Japan)
DOCUMENTARY SHORT: The Conscience of Nhem En

So, Button and Slumdog each take 4 techs, Slumdog sweeps the Big Three. I'm convinced WALL•E will win 3 of the 6 oscars it's nominated for, I'm just not sure which 3. I think Milk wins only for Sean Penn, The Wrestler goes home emptyhanded. WALL•E and Dark Knight split the sound awards, denying Slumdog a clean sweep. I'm not at all confident in Best Song, but I'm giving in to the conventional wisdom that the Slumdog music is unstoppable (plus, I just don't think WALL•E can win 4 oscars).

We'll see how I did in a bit.