Archive | January, 2011

The Road to the Oscars

31 Jan

This weekend, two more guilds gave out their yearly awards. No awards have been given out by my favorite guild, as seen at the right.

On Saturday, we had the Directors Guild of America’s highest honors. And who should’ve won 2010’s best feature film director, but Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech! This was considered something of a shocker, as most critics were sure that this award would go to David Fincher, director of The Social Network.

Then last night, the Screen Actors Guild gave out its set of awards. The biggest award to watch here is Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, which is SAG’s equivalent of Best Picture. The King’s Speech beat out Black Swan, The Fighter, The Social Network and The Kids are All Right to take home this prize.

For the individual acting awards, there were no surprises; both supporting awards went to The Fighter, to Melissa Leo and Christian Bale, and best male and female actors went to Colin Firth and Natalie Portman, respectively.

So, what does this mean for the Oscars? It’s very obvious that this is now a two-horse race, between The King’s Speech and The Social Network, whereas even a few weeks ago, The Social Network had seemed to be a Best Picture lock, having won almost all of the major awards, including the Golden Globes, Critics Choice, National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association (according to Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil in this post). With TKS having won its first major award with the Producers Guild’s Best Picture award just a few weeks ago, there has been a serious shift in momentum here. Now with big wins from the Directors Guild and SAG AND receiving the most nominations for the Oscars (with 12), The King’s Speech has shown that it has what it takes to take home the big prize.

Another interesting note: with the support The King’s Speech has received from SAG, it’s important to remember that the actor’s branch of the Academy is the largest of all the branches. So it’s likely this support from both the actors and directors will translate over to the Oscars.

With just under a month until the big show, there are still a few awards to be given out of note; mainly, the Writers Guild Awards on 2/5 and the BAFTA Film Awards, on 2/13.

Do you think The King’s Speech will overthrow The Social Network? Or does The Social Network still have what it takes to reclaim its title? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

2011 Oscar Nominees are Revealed!

25 Jan

Presented by the president of the Academy, Tom Sherak and last year’s best supporting actress winner, Mo’Nique, there were some surprises from this morning’s announcement of the 2011 Academy Award nominees!

The King’s Speech leads the pack with 12 nominations, including nods for best picture, actor, director, supporting actress and supporting actor. True Grit is next, with 10 nominations, and Inception and The Social Network come in next with 8 each.

Some exclusions of note:

  • The Town was edged out by Winter’s Bone for best picture
  • Christopher Nolan didn’t receive a nod for direction
  • Mila Kunis, Julianne Moore and Mark Whalberg were all shut out for acting nominations
  • No best supporting actor nominations for any of The Social Network’s cast. Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer and Justin Timberlake were all mentioned as possible contenders

Other noatable fun facts:

  • Javier Bardem’s nomination marks the first time an actor was nominated for an entirely Spanish-speaking role
  • Out of the 5 best actress nominees, only Nicole Kidman has taken home the Oscar before (in 2002, for The Hours)
  • With Toy Story 3’s nomination, this marks only the third time an animated movie has been nominated for best picture (Beauty and the Beast and Up)

Best Picture:

  • The Social Network
  • The King’s Speech
  • Black Swan
  • 127 Hours
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • True Grit
  • The Kids are All Right
  • Winter’s Bone
  • Toy Story 3

Best Director:

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

Best Actor:

  • James Franco, 127 Hours
  • Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
  • Javier Bardem, Beautiful
  • Jeff Bridges, True Grit
  • Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

Best Actress:

  • Anette Benning, The Kids are All Right
  • Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  • Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
  • Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Christian Bale, The Fighter
  • Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
  • Jeremy Renner, The Town
  • John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
  • Mark Ruffalo, The Kids are All Right

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Melissa Leo, The Fighter
  • Amy Adams, The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
  • Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
  • Jackie Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Best Screenplay (original):

  • Another Year
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids are All Right
  • The King’s Speech

Best Screenplay (adapted):

  • 127 Hours
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

Best Animated Feature:

  • Toy Story 3
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The Illusionist

You can see the full list of nominees are the Oscar website. Now, only 33 days until the winners are announced! Who do you think will be taking home the big prizes come February 27th? Will The Social Network continue its roll, or will we have an upset by The King’s Speech? Or might there be an actual dark horse (The Fighter, perhaps?) that comes in and steals the show? Only time will tell, but leave your predictions in the comments!

**Update** The first promo photo of Oscar co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway has been released! Image courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter


The Wait is (Almost) Over

24 Jan

…and the nominees are almost here! Tomorrow is the day that the nominees for the 2011 Academy Awards are announced, and I couldn’t be more excited!  Though there aren’t likely to be MANY surprises as far as nominations go, we’re still likely to see at least a few snubs and surprise additions to the award fields.

With 10 films receiving the nod for best picture (same as last year), the race right now seems to be neck and neck between The Social Network and The King’s Speech. TSN was seen as a lock, having taken multiple best picture/picture of the year awards already.  But this past weekend, the Producer’s Guild broke ranks and awarded its highest honor to TKS. As Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil points out on the LA Times’ Envelope, “Over the last 20 years, the Producers Guild of America has correctly forecast the Oscar champ 13 times. Now we must wonder: Can “The King’s Speech” reign over the Academy Awards by seizing the best picture crown?”

There’s no doubt (at all, even a little bit) in anyone’s mind that both films will be nominated.  Before the Oscars are handing out, we still have two major bodies giving out their awards; The Screen Actors Guild winners will be announced next Sunday on 1/30, and the Writer’s Guild awards will be handed out the following weekend, on 2/5.

On the one hand, I loved The King’s Speech (probably better than The Social Network), and I think it is more deserving of the win for best picture. On the other hand, I’m not convinced that the steamroller that is The Social Network (despite the bump from the Producer’s Guild) can be stopped at this point.

Which is your favorite to take home the statue?

You can catch the announcement of the nominees tomorrow (Tuesday, 1/25) at 5:30am PT/8:30am ET, on a number of channels: the Academy’s Livestream channel, Facebook page or the webcast on  LiveStream also has a mobile app where the announcement can be watched.

I’ll have a full rundown and recap of the nominees following the announcement, so check back tomorrow!

From Here to Eternity (Winner, 1953/26th Annual Academy Awards)

20 Jan

This Oscar winner was a lot of things for me: my first winner from the 1950’s, my first movie with an iconic scene (even though I didn’t know it from this movie) and my first winner which had a surprise (to me) Frank Sinatra appearance!

What From Here to Eternity was not: my first black and white movie (that would be It Happened One Night), my first winner based on a novel (The English Patient) or, unfortunately, my favorite Oscar winner I’ve watched so far, or anything even close.  And unlike some movies that I dislike or think are so-so, I can pinpoint my exact problem with From Here to Eternity…which shall be revealed further on (I can’t just blow my entire verdict in the second paragraph!)

So this movie follows Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt (played by Montgomery Clift) after he transfers to an Army unit stationed in Hawaii several weeks before the attack Pearl Harbor. He used to box for his unit, but after almost killing a man, decides to stop boxing (which doesn’t seem illogical to me). But his Lieutenant really wants him to help the unit win the boxing championship, and is determined to make his life a living hell until he’s convinced to join the team. I guess he’s never heard that saying about catching more flies with honey, but I digress.

Here’s my biggest issue with From Here to Eternity: there’s a whole parallel storyline, that barely intersects with the one described above! It’s like watching two separate movies that intercut occasionally.  The other main story is the love affair by Burt Lancaster Sergeant Warden and the unit captain’s wife Karen, played by Deborah Kerr (these two are the one rolling around in the surf in this iconic scene:

From Here to Eternity won best picture, director, supporting actor and supporting actress, AND was also nominated for best actor and actress.  Clearly, they saw something I’m not seeing, because I really was not into this movie.  I thought the plot dragged a little bit and was a little convoluted, bouncing back and forth between the competing story lines. I might have to give From Here to Eternity another shot in a different mind set, but we’ll have to see.  From Here to Eternity is currently streaming on Netflix.  Have you seen it?  Do you have any wise words to illuminate the plot for me?  Please share if so =)

Fun facts (courtesy of IMDB and Wikipedia)

  • The now classic scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in the rushing water on the beach was not written to take place there. The idea to film with the waves hitting them was a last minute inspiration from the director.
  • Shot in a mere 41 days and for only $1 million.
  • The last Academy Award Best Picture winner to receive nominations in all of the four acting categories. (It also received nominations for best picture, director and adapted screenplay, all three of which it won.)
  • The film helped to popularize Aloha shirts. (Thanks a lot, From Here to Eternity)

On the Red Carpet at the Golden Globes

17 Jan

Since this is Oscartini’s first really big awards show, I’d be remiss in not pulling some of the evening’s best fashion statements!

First up, the lovely best actress, drama, winner Natalie Portman showing off her baby bump in thisViktor and Rolf number:

Next month’s Oscar co-host clad in Armani Privé, Anne Hathaway:

Amy Adams looking nothing like Chaaaalene in Marchesa:

Last year’s award season darling Sandra Bullock looking ravishing in Jenny Packham:

My new girl crush, Mila Kunis, in Vera Wang:

On to a few of my favorite gentlemen!  Ryan Gosling, looking very dapper:

My personal favorite, RDJ:

Johnny Depp opting for a tie-free look:

Though he’s not known for his big screen work (yet), I have to throw True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten in for his adorable burgundy velvet bowtie:

And an ever well-dressed Mark Whalberg and his honey Rhea Durham:

What did you think of last night’s fashions?  Any favorites?  Personally, I thought Mila Kunis looked amazing in a dress that’s not your typical awards show garb, and I’m really digging the one shoulder look for the ladies. Leave your loves and hates in the comments!

Images courtesy of and TMZ

And the Golden Globe goes to…

16 Jan

The first big awards show of the year has come and gone, with last night’s Golden Globe Awards.  I made some initial hopes/predictions in this post, and was excited to see the outcomes of some of the hotter categories!

The night’s first movie award was best supporting actor.  No surprise here, this went to Christian Bale for the Fighter. He’s a well deserving shoo-in for the Oscar.

Next, we has Best Animated feature: Toy Story 3. Small consolation for snubbing it in the best picture category!

Followed by,Best Actress, musical or comedy: Annette Bening for The Kids are All Right. Another non surprise here, Bening was the heavy favorite to win this category.

Next up: Best Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network. Another expected win

And then, Best Supporting Actress Melissa Leo, The Fighter. This was fairly competitive category, with Leo’s fellow costar Amy Adams, Black Swan’s Mila Kunis, Helena Bonaham Carter for The King’s Speech and Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingson (?), but I’m glad Melissa pulled it out she was really excellent in this film.

Followed by Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network. Another heavy favorite steps in here.  I expect to see Fincher take this award home next month at the Oscars.

Next, we had Best Performance by an Actor, Comedy/Musical: Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version. A weak category, with 2 showings by Johnny Depp, but I’ve always liked Paul, so I’m glad he pulled this one out.

And, Best Actress, Drama: Natalie Portman, Black Swan. YESSS, I am so very happy she won, and we got to hear her slightly crazy speech, in which everyone was wonderful. I think it will be between Natalie and Annette for best actress next month. Who will win?

On to one of the two best picture of the evening, Best Motion picture, Musical or Comedy: The Kids are All Right. Another YES, I loved this movie, and am so happy it’s received this kind of recognition and exposure.

On to Best Actor, Drama: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech. Good speech from Firth, who won a tough category; expect him to repeat at the Oscars.

And finally, Best Picture, Drama: The Social Network. Continuing its role of dominance, The Social Network adds yet another award to its repertoire.  Can it be stopped when it comes to taking home the Oscar next month? I’m leaning more and more towards no…

Some of my favorite highlights were:

  • Robert Downey Jr. making not veiled at all sexual references to best actress nominees; he’s hilarious and I love him.
  • Annette Bening calling out hubs Warren Beatty as the 1962 winner of most promising actor in her acceptance speech.
  • Melissa Leo’s emotional and touching acceptance speech
  • Natalie Portman going a bit off the rails with her acceptance speech and making reference to getting knocked up on the shoot…good to know
  • How much did I love seeing Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp chatting it up at the end of the night? It was like a very hot serendipitous moment in time, a nearly perfect way to end the night.
  • In TV wins, I love that Kurt Colfer and Jane Lynch continue their reign of dominance in the supporting actor categories, first at the Emmys and now at the Globes. And how about Glee winning best show, comedy or musical? Talk about combining the best of both worlds here!
  • I also thought Ricky Gervais was hilarious; I would’ve taken his funny and borderline offensive comments over some of the more rambling speeches any day! Fav line: “”Please welcome Ashton Kutcher’s dad, Bruce Willis!” Loves it!

For the full list of winners, you can visit the Golden Globes’ website here.

As for the Globes being a predictor of the Oscars, take this in to account: over the past 10 years (2009-2000), the winner of the best picture at the Globes (drama or comedy) won the best picture Oscar 5 times. I think this clearly tips the odds in favor of The Social Network this year, but we will see.

What did you think of the Golden Globes? Did you stay up to the bitter end? I’ll also post a red carpet fashion snapshot tomorrow; stay tuned!

In Theater: The Fighter

9 Jan

Call out time: I have a very good friend who has a thing for Mark Wahlberg. And by thing, I mean serious, unwavering obsession with him and everything he has ever done. Case in point: we had this hanging up in our apartment senior year.  Seriously though? Not complaining.

Anyways, when promos for The Fighter started, I knew I had to see it with her, to have the very best Mark Wahlberg experience possible.  So we dragged the boyfriends along (as this is  VERY boy-friendly movie), and off we were to see what Sports Illustrated is calling one of the best sports movies ever.

Set in Lowell, MA, The Fighter follows boxer Mickey Ward’s journey to the welterweight title, despite his dysfunctional family and many roadblocks along the way.

The Fighter has received very positive reviews, with some serious amount of buzz around the performances in the movie.  Christian Bale is the heavy favorite to take home the supporting actor Oscar, and after seeing the movie, I have to agree.  His portrayal of Mickey’s cracked up half brother Dickie is so convincing.  I think people (or me, whatever) forget what a serious actor Christian is.  I always go to Batman when I think of him, in which he’s obviously a smoking hot Bruce Wayne, but it’s not really the acting job of a lifetime.  However, Bale is known for his extensive bodily transformations and tendency to become his character in every way:

Created by Matt Ellerbrock

Along with Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo (as Ward’s girlfriend and mother, respectively) have also been on most critics’ list of likely nominees for best supporting actress. Mark Wahlberg’s performance, though not as dramatic as Bale’s, is so understated and enormously effective. His portrayal of Mickey is really one of a fighter, who’s been knocked down by life so many times, by so many things—literally, by fighting, his family, his coaches, everything in his life seemed to conspire to keep him down, until he rose to the top unexpectedly. As has been widely reported, this was sort of a pet project for Wahlberg—he’s been training for this role since 2005, and it’s taken that long for the film to get made.  I think it was this long road to even get the film made that really reflects Mickey’s struggles, and this shines through in Wahlberg’s portrayal.

Needless to say, I loved The Fighter (and so did Ashley and the boyfriends). I’ll be shocked if Christian Bale doesn’t walk away with the Oscar in his category, and I bet Wahlberg and Leo get at least nominated in their respective categories.

Anyone else think Bale’s got supporting actor on lock?  What are the chances Amy Adams squeezes into an already-crowded field of supporting actress nominees?  I think when push comes to shove, Melissa Leo gets it, but we’ll see.

In other news: we’ve cracked the 50 day mark until the awards ceremony (49 days, or 7 weeks exactly from tonight!) Next stop: the announcement of nominees, coming up on 1/25!