Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stealing From My Livejournal Part XII

As I use my livejournal for little else except for movie rants and decided to switch over here, I thought I'd recruit some older posts so as to show a history. I'll bother with new ones as they come to me.

From December 6, 2008:

"Okay, so, back to my favourite topic which has been gone from recent livejournal posts: film and, specifically, the coming Oscars.

So, yeah, this is going to be WAY long. But if you like films, like me, it might be worth perusing.

Right. So, I haven't seen that many Oscar-buzz films yet, being devoid of easy transportation and multiplexes at college, but there are quite a few I'm keen on seeing and a few I have already seen. And there are others that might not actually end up with any noms but are, at least in my opinion, deserving. So here's a run down of the films I've seen, want to see, and opinions.

~ Wall-E: If this doesn't win Best Animated Feature (aka The Pixar Award >.>) I will be beyond shocked. I hear Kung Fu Panda and Bolt were also good, but I'm betting neither could really top Wall-E. I'd expect at least Kung Fu Panda to snag one of the other two nomination slots though. I haven't seen it yet, but I plan on renting it over break. I also think Wall-E should grab some Sound nominations if not awards, and maybe even a slot in the Original Screenplay department (Ratatouille got a nom there last year and although I really liked Ratatouille, Wall-E wipes it off the map).
~ The Dark Knight: Two words: Heath Ledger. He will definitely get nominated but I really think he's the strongest candidate in the Supporting Actor category at the moment. And after reading Entertainment Weekly's disappointments in early favourites for Best Picture Doubt and Australia, I'm hoping there's a slot for The Dark Knight to nab a nom (although I'm not sure it should win, but I haven't seen most of the other Best Picture contenders yet, especially since a bunch aren't even released yet). And I wonder to myself if TDK would be considered an Original Screenplay or an Adapted Screenplay. I think it's strong enough to be nominated there. And maybe even Christopher Nolan for directing, but he's got some stiff competition so who knows? Of course, a lot of technical noms for TDK are on the horizon as well, but I think that a lot of films this year have technical glory to them, so TDK may have quality rivals, perhaps even in summer superhero blockbuster special Iron Man. And speaking of that...
~ Iron Man: Unlikely to get any noms except some technical ones, although I'm hoping that in the more wide Golden Globe world, Robert Downey, Jr. might get a Best Actor nomination (would Iron Man count as a comedy or a drama? Drama would be much tougher...).
~ The Visitor: Will this bittersweet indie flick get some love? Specifically, will Richard Jenkins get some love? If only the Best Actor race wasn't so tight this year...
~ Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day: I was talking with my friend Carley earlier about this film actually and how it was probably the sweetest and most adorable film this year. But released in the off season and as more of a surprise treat than an award-winning machine, it's unlikely to garner much attention. This makes me sad, however. Amy Adams is a wonderful actress that is so charming in this movie that even Frances McDormand's presence can't overrules this woman's performance. And the costumes and set design! It was all such great eye candy while staying true to the times. I really hope that it gets some attention in the visuals department; it's just such an underappreciated film.
~ Rachel Getting Married: Well, Anne Hathaway is a dead giveaway for Best Actress. She may have some quality competition, but she's definitely a shoo-in for a nom. She was wonderful in it. The whole film was such a sad-but-wonderful indie flick. Seriously, I want my wedding to be like the wedding in that film; it was the most beautiful wedding on film I've ever seen. It'd be nice to sneak into the writing awards, but I don't know how much competition it might garner there.
~ Wendy and Lucy: I'm slightly favourable to this film but that's because I have a streak of pride that the director is a film professor here at Bard. I saw it at Woodstock and although I thought it was good, I don't think it'll have a chance in the Oscar race, but in case some of the future prospects for Best Actress fall flat, Michelle Williams has been talked up a lot in the film as a potential surprise nom.
~ In Bruges: going to be totally ignored, but I wanted to mention it anyway because it was an excellent film nonetheless. x)
~ The Incredible Hulk: Might snag a technical nom or two; it takes some skill to make gigantic fighting green monsteresque things.
~ Tropic Thunder: Some people have been pulling for a Robert Downey, Jr. Supporting Actor nod, but I really don't think that's going to happen. The movie was hilarious, don't get me wrong, and definitely good, but the only thing that stood out to me as really extraordinary was seeing Tom Cruise being so fucking amazingly hilarious as the studio exec. Come on, that dance at the end? PRICELESS. I actually stopped caring that he's batshit insane for a few minutes! That is impressive.

~ Australia: Despite mixed reviews from critics which have thrashed any leading chances at major categories at the Oscars, I still would like to see this film. I think it still has a shot at visual categories, for sure, and I think it'd be enjoyable for anyone who can sit through a long movie (which I can totally do) and deal with Baz Luhrmann's style (which I also can totally do).
~ Milk: Sean Penn with JAMES FRANCO as his gay lover? omgomgomgomgomg. I love James Franco. Seriously. Even if this movie wasn't as critically strong as it is, I would still want to see it just for that (James Franco in Pineapple Express was LOVE). But the fact that Sean Penn is supposedly amazing in it and that the film itself is great (and likely guaranteed a coveted spot in The Five) and the screenplay's certainly getting attention makes it even more appealing to the Oscar nut in me.
~ Doubt: Although if other critics echo Entertainment Weekly's thrashing of it, I might end up passing on this one. I am a fan of the cast presented to me (I've already expressed my love for Amy Adams and I definitely enjoy Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Viola Davis is supposed to be good), and maybe EW is just a fluke. This film has been Oscar bait since I first heard about it a few months ago, so it may still end up grabbing something.
~ Kung Fu Panda: Probably the second best animated film of 2008 (although I haven't heard anything negative about Bolt yet), although I think Wall-E is bound to kick this film's ass in the Animated Film Category, I like to see all the nominees. Plus, it looks beyond adorable.
~ Bolt: I was a bit surprised to see this film doing so critically well. I was originally planning to write it off, maybe see it, but now I'd really like to see it. It looks adorable and as long as I don't actually see Miley Cyrus, I think I can deal with her being a part of it (especially with John Travolta in the lead).
~ Frost/Nixon: Definite Oscar bait, and it sounds genuinely interesting. Potentially one of The Five, with pretty good chances.
~ Revolutionary Road: I'm as excited as anyone else to see Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio reunited on screen and in an interesting assessment of The American Dream, as it appears. Oscar bait for sure, but like most of the Oscar bait films I haven't seen, it's not just the buzz but also the story that makes me interested. Kate Winslet is a great actress so I think she has a great chance of stealing a slot in the Best Actress category for this. Leo, not so much with all the stiff competition for Best Actor. Sam Mendes for Best Director? I think it's a definite possibility.
~ The Reader: And speaking of Kate Winslet, here's her Supporting Actress nom to take over Cate Blanchett's position of last year (one nom in each acting category). I don't remember exactly what I read about the content of the film but I know it interested me. x)
~ The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Who ISN'T excited for this movie? Seriously? Is anyone who likes movies not looking forward to this one? Almost definitely guaranteed a spot in The Five, starring Brad Pitt who I believe to be an underappreciated excellent actor (often given roles that don't stretch his acting ability; as much as I love the Ocean's films they don't exactly show off amazing acting ability, but just take a look at Fight Club and acknowledge how amazing Brad is as Tyler Durden). Although the Best Actor race is tight, I hope that Brad Pitt steals one of the noms there (although I personally think Sean Penn might have it locked; it seems like biopics are a favourite for Best Acting categories (i.e. Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland, Jamie Foxx for Ray, Marion Cottilard for La Vie En Rose, and Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood - which is really much more of a character film than anything else, etc.)). And Cate Blanchett is wonderful and likely to steal one of the Best Actress nods. And, of course, the film overall just looks so wonderful. I'm excited. And if you aren't, get excited.
~ Slumdog Millionaire: There was an article in this week's Entertainment Weekly about how the attacks in Mumbai suddenly changed the mood of this film. As opposed to those who have already seen it, I'm sure when I see it it'll be so much different from this side of the calendar. As the Choice Indie for The Five this year, Slumdog is practically a shoo-in, but mostly it just looks like the sweetest rags to riches tale I've ever not-yet-seen. I'm hoping it shows up in my theatres because it's definitely on my to-see list.
~ The Wrestler: All I've heard about is Mickey Rourke's comeback role that's close to the chest and that he is destined to get a Best Actor nom. Sounds like enough to convince me to catch it if I can.
~ I've Loved You So Long: I finally saw an actual preview for this movie and it looked enticing. A strong support for a Best Actress nom for Kristin Scott Thomas also draws my Oscar-love attention for sure.
~ Pride and Glory: Unlikely to snag any noms, Colin Farrell and Edward Norton as brothers in a The Departed-esque film? I'm definitely renting this when it comes out on DVD.
~ Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: Also almost definitely not getting any noms, I think it just looks adorable. I missed it in theatres but I'll catch it on DVD.
~ The Brothers Bloom: Although like the two above it almost definitely not getting any noms (not getting a single bit of notice from anyone aside from me it seems), it is sneaking into limited release just before the new year. As I am a HUGE fan of Rian Johnson's first film, Brick, I am beyond psyched to see his second film coming out and looking so great. And starring Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo and, well, the whole cast seems great. I'm excited. It comes into wide release in January, and I'm definitely planning on catching it when it does and I suggest you do too. I have high hopes for Rian Johnson's future.
~ The Duchess: I am really kinda sick of Keira Knightley, but Ralph Fiennes is amazing and might be worth renting this.

So... my take on the Oscars this season? Here's a summary with some redundancy from above. Well, without having seen a lot of these films, I have a few favourites from films I have seen and films I've heard a lot about and might change my mind after seeing. I'd LOVE for The Dark Knight to get a Best Picture nod (I'd totally understand if it didn't win, but a nom would be beautiful). I'd love for Amy Adams to get a nom (although I'm not sure Doubt will carry her as well as I might have hoped and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day has been forgotten by everyone which sucks because it's great). I would like Brad Pitt to get a nod for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and I'm pretty behind Kate Winslet's double nomination. I'm definitely all for Anne Hathaway's nom for Best Actress and I'd like to see Rosemarie DeWitt snag a Best Supporting Actress nod for Rachel Getting Married. I'm very enthusiastic about any rumour of James Franco getting a Best Supporting Actor nod for Milk, and I am totally and completely and utterly and beyond belief for Heath Ledger getting a posthumous nom for The Dark Knight (this could be bias for just loving The Joker character so much and being a superhero sucker, but oh my freaking god he better at least get nominated, even though I, unfortunately, understand that posthumous awards happen infrequently). Of course, I'm way behind Wall-E for Best Animated and for the Sound categories. I hope Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day snags at least one visual nod.

Oh and I'm totally WTFing over Clint Eastwood nomination talk. I'm a bit annoyed because I hadn't even heard like anything about Gran Torino until I heard that Clint Eastwood was angling for a Best Actor nod with it. He's a good actor and filmmaker and stuff, but with the tight race that is Best Actor, I have other favourites I'd rather see getting nominated. But he has a sense of prestige which might nudge other potentially more deserving candidates aside. But since I haven't seen a lot of the Best Actor buzz films yet, I haven't formed a full opinion yet.

Anyway, I've got a lot of films left to view to really round out my Oscar perspective and luckily I've got a month of winter break to see all that I'd like to see. Unfortunately, the nominees will be nominated at the very tail end of my break, but hopefully I'll be informed enough on the films involved that I can be either rightfully outraged or enthusiastic.

And, Academy, a small word. You know yourself that The Dark Knight has drawn way more viewers than any of the other films you nominate are likely to attract. Considering your dropping viewership in the past few years, a Heath Ledger nod or even a Best Picture nod could realllllllly help you get some ratings and make the night actually interesting, which it hasn't been since The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King swept the awards in 2004. So, please, nominate Heath Ledger, goddammit!"

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