Archive | February, 2012

The Awards Rundown: Last Minute Predictions

26 Feb

With just a few  hours to go until the 84th Annual Academy Awards are given out, it’s time for a look at the winners! That is, who HAS won already this award season and who WILL win come Oscar night! So, let’s get down to business!

It seems clear that the supporting roles are locked up. Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer are riding huge waves, having basically swept their categories across the board so far. Plummer has taken home the  supporting actor award from BAFTA, LA Critics, SAG, the HFPA (Golden Globes) and Spencer snagged supporting actress awards from BAFTA, HFPA and SAG.

The two lead acting categories are a little tricker. Lead actor is likely between Jean Dujardin and G. Cloons, with the edge probably going to Dujardin. Lead actress is even more of an uncertainty, with Meryl and Viola Davis duking it out for the statuette here. Meryl hasn’t won since 1982 with Sophie’s Choice, despite having been nominated 12 times since then (excluding this year’s, the 13th), but the Iron Lady hasn’t gotten the best reception. Viola’s performance in The Help was awesome , but this is her first nomination. So, I’d say it’s up in the air for this one!

One race it”s definitely not up in the air for is best picture. I think The Artist has it the bag, based on the momentum it has coming into the show, and the nostalgia factor. If The Artist wins, it will be the first silent film to pick up the top prize since the first academy awards (Wings, 1927/1928).

Only a few hours until these races are decided! Time to get our red carpet on!

Check back tomorrow for the full Oscar recap!


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23 Feb

Check out this post from Time Magazine today; these short and sweet soundbites will definitely make you sound like you’ve seen every movie nominated this year!

Entertainment

For many casual moviegoers, watching the Oscars is akin to being a baseball nut who shows up to a Super Bowl party. There are often so many unfamiliar faces, names and films that Hollywood’s biggest night essentially becomes an exercise in patience: When will we finally get to the one category where I have a good sense of who deserves to win?

It’s likely why the halftime show and the advertisements have taken on a major role in the Super Bowl broadcast. No matter what you know about the two teams — or the basic rules of the game — everyone feels comfortable chirping in on what was the funniest ad, or the most embarrassing moment of the over the top halftime production. When it comes to the Oscars, though, there’s nothing of the sort: Apart from a monologue, it’s a long, hard, three-hour slog through technical categories and art…

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Debunking the Categories, Part 2

22 Feb

With only 4 days to go until the Academy Awards, it’s time for part 2 of Debunking the Academy Awards Categories! Part 1 looked at the awards and jobs that create the look and feel of a film. This week, it’s a breakdown of some of the big names on a film, what they do, and which awards they get! Moving on:

First, there’s Best Screenplay (Adapted or Original): the Academy gives out two best Screenplay awards; one for the best original screenplay (one not based on any other material) and one for the best screenplay that was based on someone else’s material (be it a book, a short story or another film that might have been in a different language). In its current form, the award honors a film’s screenwriters, the person or people responsible for actually (you guessed it), writing the story. This includes everything from the script, to screen direction and offscreen cues to descriptions of the action taking place during a particular scene.  This year’s nominees for best original screenplay are  Bridesmaids: Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumolo; The Artist: Michel Hazanavicius; Margin Call:  J.C. Chandor; A Separation: Asghar Farhadi; and Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen. Nominees from best adapted screenplay include: The Descendants: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Hugo: John Logan; The Ides of March: George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon); Moneyball (Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, and Stan Chervin; and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan.

Next we have Best Director: this award is usually the second to last award given out at the telecast. Directors are responsible for overseeing creative aspects of a film under the overall control of the film producer. This entails guiding and overseeing all creative aspects of the film; after all, they are the ones that get to yell “Action!” and “Cut!” This year’s nominees for best director are: Martin Scorsee, Hugo; Alexander Payne, The Descendants; Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris; Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist; and Terrance Malik, The Tree of Life.

Finally, the Academy Award for Best Picture. This award is (obviously) the biggest award given out…which is why the last award of the evening! Best Picture is awarded to the film’s producers, who are generally people most of the audience has never seen! According to our good friends at Wikipedia, “A film’s producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant hosts while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film.” A producer can take multiple roles on a film, be it its director, writer or another part (See: Kathryn Bigelow, who directed The Hurt Locker and also served as one of its producers, or Brad Pitt, who starred in and produced Moneyball this year, scoring him best picture and best actor nods.)

This year’s nominees for best picture are:

  • The Tree of Life: Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Dede Gardner and Grant Hill
  • The Artist: Thomas Langmann;
  • The Descendants: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor
  • The Help: Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan
  • Hugo: Graham King and Martin Scorsese
  • Midnight in Paris: Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum
  • Moneyball: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt
  • War Horse: Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: Scott Rudin

So there you have it! Hopefully this gives a better understanding of who the winners of these categories are and what they’ve done as writers, directors and producers!

This is Why The Social Network Would Never Win Best Picture

21 Feb

The Los Angeles Times recently conducted a study on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, or more specifically, who makes up the Academy. Shocker: the awards winners are voted on by…old white guys.

According to the study (which is very thorough and can be seen in detail here):

  • Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male
  •  Blacks are about 2% of the academy, and Latinos are less than 2%
  • Voters have a median age of 62, the study showed
  • People younger than 50 constitute just 14% of the membership
So when you hear someone say that a movie is or is not likely to win based on “what the academy like,” it’s actually very likely to be the case. Just look at last year’s Best Picture race: it had been between The King’s Speech and The Social Network leading up to the telecast, but the edge was always given to TKS for being more of an Academy picture that was appealing to older generations. Is it really any surprise that a movie about the early days of Facebook might have been outside this voting body’s realm of understanding?
This study comes at a great time too: just before the awards are handed out, while everyone is outlining their predictions! Check back this week for my predictions and more stuff leading up to the big show!

A Tour of the Kodak!

21 Feb

When I was in California recently (and by recently, I mean 10 months ago), I knew a tour of the Kodak Theatre was a must. And since recent news made it clear that the theater will likely not be named the Kodak Theater anymore, this seemed a good time to finally get this post up!

Since 2002, the Kodak has been the permanent home of the Oscars. With a seating capacity of 3,401 and one of the largest stages in the U.S., it’s a great place for produces to stage movie’s big show.

The tour was pretty short, only about half hour. But, I definitely found it to be worth the $15. Though there are no photos allowed inside (boo) you do get to see the very ornate stair case that the celebs use, the George Eastman VIP Room (complete with an Oscar statue!) and a table setup from last year’s Governors ball (the after party thrown by the Academy) which, as you might expect, was colorful, elaborate and above all else, expensive looking.

You also get to sit in the theater, and our guide pointed out where some of the award winners sat at last year’s event. We also walked down the back hallway that the winners are escorted through after they leave the stage–pretty cool!

The best part about the tour is seeing how the theater actually looks 99% of the time, compared to what you see during the Oscars’ red carpet pre-shows. The theater definitely gets the royal treatment during the Oscars; with Hollywood Boulevard shut down, the red carpet becomes more than the 30 feet or so in front of the entrance. Case in point:

Versus:

If you’re going to be in the Hollywood area, I definitely recommend touring the Kodak! As the theater is basically part of a huge mall complex, parking is plentiful and fairly cheap for the area too!

Tours of the Kodak at offered Monday to Sunday from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. Tours depart every half hour from Level 2 entrance and last approximately 30 minutes. Tickets are $15 for adults (less for seniors and children), and can be purchased up to 7 days in advance from the websiteNote: Guided Tours will be suspended beginning February 5th due to the Academy Awards. Guided Tours resume regular schedule dates and time beginning Sunday, March 4th, 2012.

Got Oscar Nominees?

7 Feb

With less than 3 weeks left until the big night, you may be panicking that you haven’t seen enough (or any!) of the 9 best picture nominees.

You can definitely try to get to theaters to see War Horse, The Decendents, The Artist, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Hugo and try a combo of Redbox, Netflix and On-Demand to catch Moneyball, The Help, Midnight in Paris and The Tree of Life…or you can see all of these in one fell swoop (or weekend)!

For the fifth year, AMC is hosting a Best Picture showcase. On the weekend of 2/18-2/19, participating theaters are showing all the best picture nominees, 4 on Saturday and 5 on Sunday. Or, in select cities (including San Francisco, LA and New York) AMC is hosting a true movie marathon and screening all the nominees in a row, from 11am on Saturday 2/25 to around 8am on Sunday the 26th.

For my Boston peeps, there are 5 participating theaters in the area hosting the 2 day showcase, but no marathons locally. For everyone else, check here to see a BPS is happening near you!

*Note: I wasn’t perked or paid for this post, but wanted to share this efficient way to see the best picture nominees!*

Debunking the Categories, Part 1

3 Feb

In a little over 3 weeks, the Oscar statues will be handed out in 24 different categories. When it comes to the various categories, some are self explanatory, while some require a bit more information than the award name might give.

Over the next few weeks, this series will get down into the nitty-gritty of the Academy Award categories! First up, we have three awards that all deal with how a film looks, from the sets and scenery to the lighting and actual shooting of a film to the amazing special effects that make the impossible come to life on the screen!

First up, Art Direction: awarded for achievement in art direction. Well, that helps clarify things! Really, the recipients of this award come from two branches: production design and set decoration. Combined, these two are basically responsible for the entire creative process of a film, from the look and feel of the whole film, including the sets and locations used and how they are styled. This year’s nominees include The Artist, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Hugo, Midnight in Paris and Warhorse.

Next, we have Cinematography: to boil down the award of achievement in Cinematography, it’s helpful to know what exactly cinematography is. According to Wikipedia, that most reliable of sources, cinematography is the “making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for cinema.” In essence, a cinematographer is responsible for “achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image.”  Art direction and cinematography are closely linked and it’s common to see films nominated for both of these categories. Nominees this year are The Artist, The Tree of Life, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo and War Horse.

Finally, Visual Effects: these can be sometimes be thought of as a movie’s special effects, but the category encompasses a little more than that. Technically, a film’s visual effects encompasses all the different ways that “imagery is created and/or manipulated outside the context of a live action shoot. Visual effects involve integrating live-action footage and generated imagery to create environments which look realistic, but would be dangerous, costly, or simply impossible to capture on film.” (Source: Wikipedia) To imagine awesome visual effects, think of any awesome chase or shoot em up scene (James Bond, Batman) or any scene in which the impossible happens, like when Harry Potter and his crew bust a huge, fire-breathing dragon out of a magical bank. The nominees in this category are Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2, Hugo, Reel Steal, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Hopefully, this breakdown gives you a better idea of who will be winning which Oscar and what exactly they’ve done to win them! Any predictions for these categories? Leave em in the comments!