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All Roads Lead to Oscar: 2013 Award Tallies

19 Feb

Here we are 5 days from Oscar night. All of the major awards leading up to Oscar Sunday have been handed out, which means we should be in pretty good shape to evaluate the trends and (hopefully!) see who is most likely to win.

OscarThis is definitely an interesting year for the awards. I feel confident in predicting that the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards are locked up (by Daniel Day-Lewis and Anne Hathaway, respectively), but what about the other acting awards? And REALLY, what about best picture? Argo had been the clear front runner all awards season, but the snub of Ben Affleck in the Directing category throws a wrench in things. After all, the Best Picture winner and Best Director winner usually (but certainly not always) go hand in hand. In the last 10 years, the awards have been uncoupled twice, with Crash and Chicago (both had directors who were at least nominated for the top prize there).

I’ve tallied up the acting, directing and picture category from the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, and the various Guilds (Producer’s, Actor’s and Director’s). Do you think all of the eventual Oscar winners are represented below? See any chance for an upset, or is this race un-upsetable? Leave a comment below!

Best Picture:

  • Argo: Golden Globe (Best Picture, Drama), BAFTA, Producer’s Guild, SAG
  • Les Miserables: Golden Globe (Best Picture, Musical or Drama)

Best Director:

  • Ben Affleck: Golden Globe, Director’s Guild

Best Actor:

  • Daniel Day Lewis: Golden Globe (Best Actor, Drama), SAG, BAFTA
  • Hugh Jackman: Golden Globe (Best Actor, Comedy or Musical)

Best Actress:

  • Jennifer Lawrence: Golden Globe (Best Actress, Comedy or Musical), SAG
  • Jessica Chastain: Golden Globe (Best Actress, Drama)
  • Emmanuelle Riva: BAFTA

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Anne Hathaway: Globes, SAG, BAFTA

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Christoph Walz: Golden Globe, BAFTA
  • Tommy Lee Jones: SAG

A Man for All Seasons (Winner, 1966/39th Annual Academy Awards

19 Aug

When I saw this movie, I immediately thought maybe it has inspired one of my favorite Grease 2 numbers, Girl for all Seasons. Alas, I believe I was mistaken. Actually, A Man for All Seasons, which won the Oscar back in 1966, is decidedly not a light hearted, if somewhat terrible sequel; it’s more like the big brother to this year’s best Picture winner, The King’s Speech, but without a core friendship (actually replaced by some core hatred) and without being anywhere near as fun to watch. So…maybe all they have in common is an Oscar, some British thespians and a King. Close enough!

The man for all seasons in the title is Sir Thomas Moore, the Chancellor of England under the delightful and kill-happy King Henry VIII (or eighth, for you non-roman numeral readers). Why is Sir Thomas, played by Best Actor Oscar winner Paul Scofield, a “man for all seasons,” you may ask? No, he is not a four season athlete, but rather, according to the man who wrote the play the film is based on (also called A Man for All Seasons), that Moore is “the ultimate man of conscience and as remaining true to his principles and religion under all circumstances and at all times.”

In this movie, Moore’s man of all seasons-ness is put to the test. As apparently the only dude with any kind of sense of right and wrong, he tells Henry that it’s a bad idea to divorce his wife, Queen Catherine of Aragon, for his mistress, Anne Boleyn, without the approval of the Pope. It’s pretty clear (as history will show), that the Pope is never going to have this, which leads to Henry’s break with the church and the establishment of the Church of England, which Henry conveniently names himself head of and can do whatever he wants. Must be nice to be king.

This raises the question: who cares? If Henry wants to toss out the old lady and get a new wife, why does he care what Sir Thomas thinks? As the chancellor and a member of the Privy Council, More is the only one to refuse to sign a letter to the Pope urging him to dissolve the marriage (that conscience thing coming into play again). Then, when Henry takes it upon himself to form a new church, everyone in England must swear loyalty and recognize the king’s new marriage. Again, Sir Thomas refuses.

If you know anything about Henry VIII, you can likely piece together how this played out for good ol’ Sir Thomas. Spoiler alert: not well. King Henry is played by Robert Shaw, and is a delightful bi-polaresque mixture of batshit crazy and over the top ecstatic. Exactly what one would want in a King and total ruler of their country.

Crazy King Henry, before he killed a bunch of his wives

There are a bunch of other miscellaneous subplots around More’s daughter and her heretic boyfriend, all the other Privy Council members that hate Sir Thomas for being such a righteous jerk and not signing the King’s letter and various monologues about how moral Sir Thomas is, by Sir Thomas himself. I’m not going to call this my favorite Oscar winner to date, but it wasn’t half bad. It was definitely no Amadeus, so that’s something, I guess?

Fun facts (courtesy of IMDB and Wikipedia)

  • One of only 4 productions to win both the Best Play Tony (1962) and the Best Picture Oscar (1966). The other 3 are My Fair Lady (1957/1964), The Sound of Music (1960/1965) and Amadeus (1981/1984)
  • Paul Scofield won the 1962 Tony Award (New York City) for Actor in a Drama for “A Man for All Seasons” and recreated his role in the filmed production
  • Budget: $3.9 Million (estimate) gross revenue: $25 million worldwide

The Hurt Locker (Winner, 2009/82nd Annual Academy Awards)

4 Jul

OK, I’ll come out and say it: war movies are not my favorite. They’re usually big and brassy and full of explosions.They glorify war and are usually panned by veterans and our service men and women as being unrealistic and ridiculous. Which is why I actually liked The Hurt Locker a lot. It is subtle and as understated a war movie I’ve ever seen.  When it won Best Picture back in March, it’s safe to say it hadn’t been seen by nearly as many people as Avatar or Up, and is in fact the lowest grossing Best Picture winner, as I mentioned in my last post.

The movie follows a three-man U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit in Iraq in 2004.  Starring Jeremy Renner (who was also nominated for Best Actor and was phenom), Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty, the plot centers around this team in Bravo company as their tour of duty comes to an end.  Renner’s character Sergeant James is a replacement for the former team leader and primary bomb diffuser, having diffused 873 bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s something of a wild card and tensions rise among his team mates when he repeatedly puts them at risk.

As this is still a fairly new movie, I won’t spoil the whole thing here…but having watched it, I would absolutely recommend seeing it. Don’t expect a light hearted film that you can watch and forget minutes after, because it would be hard to. Check out the trailer here (which I hadn’t seen until just before I watched it!)

I know a lot of people were upset that The Hurt Locker beat out Avatar for Best Picture. But, it’s important to remember the category is BEST picture, not BIGGEST picture. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Avatar as much as the next person, but I don’t know that a reasonable argument can be made for calling it the best picture of the year. Avatar did well in the technical awards (Best Art Direction, Visual Effects and Cinematography) as expected, but no film has EVER won Best Picture without a nomination in one of the four acting categories or Best (adapted or original) screenplay. Avatar didn’t have any nominations in these categories, which is likely telling.

Also of note: the 2010 Oscars were the first since 1943 that had 10 nominees for best picture (with every event in between having 5), which certainly adds to the drama of the show and leads to higher ratings.

OK, got a little off track there, but back to my point: The Hurt Locker is not a big blockbuster,and doesn’t have serious star power, but was, I think, a good choice for best Picture. The performances are really good, and the way it was shot (on location and the camera work) really added to the authenticity.

Fun facts (courtesy of IMDB and Wikipedia)

  • The Hurt Locker became the first modern-war film since Platoon (1986) to win Best Picture.
  • The film was shot on location in Jordan.
  • With director Kathryn Bigelow’s Best Director win, The Hurt Locker became the first film to win Best Picture that was directed by a woman.
  • The expression “the hurt locker” is a preexisting slang term for a situation involving trouble or pain, which can be traced back to the Vietnam War. According to the movie’s website, it is soldier vernacular in Iraq to speak of explosions as sending you to “the hurt locker”. (Thanks IMDB!)
  • Budget: $15 Million, gross revenue: $40 million+

A big fourth of July thanks to those who are serving and have served our serve and protect country!  Hope everyone had a safe and fun day!

It Happened One Night (Winner, 1934/7th Annual Academy Awards)

8 Jun

OK, so three random factoids about this 76 (!) year old movie (besides the fact that it was the first film to win the Big 5 of the Academy Awards):

1) In 1934, the 7th Academy Awards were held at the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel (now the Millennium Biltmore). The Biltmore was constructed in 1923, and at the time, was the largest hotel west of the Mississippi. Besides hosting the Oscars 8 times in the 1930’s and 40’s, the Biltmore also hosted me and my friend Alyssa overnight in January! What a storied place =)

2) I just saw Sex and the City 2 this past weekend, and It Happened One Night is the black and white movie that Big and Carrie watch after Anthony and Stanford’s wedding! What are the chances of that?!?

3) In spite of the title, the movie takes place over several nights, which I thought odd.

So, I succeeded in finding a non-depressing winner, horray! Though I had my reservations about watching this, I was more than pleasantly surprised. It didn’t hurt that an actor I was familiar with (Clark Gable, from Gone with the Wind), but I really enjoyed It Happened One Night. An early precursor to today’s romanic comedies, It Happened One Night follows a spoiled rich girl Ellie Andrews, played by Claudette Colbert, who runs away from her rich father to meet up with her new husband, who her dad hates. As she’s on the run, she comes across a recently fired journalist (Gable, as Peter Wayne) who recognizes her from the papers (as she’s been all over them since her father lost here) and offers to help her in exchange for her story.

Of course, funniness ensues, and like every romcom we’re used to seeing in 2010, the two leads fall in love after some serious chance happenings threaten to keep them apart. I’ll let you see the details for yourself, but I definitely thought this was cute and funny.  My favorite part about watching it was definitely seeing the differences between movies then and now. For example, the only kiss in the movie is between Ellie and her at-the-time husband, and it’s very brief. The difference between the strict moral and social conduct back in the 30’s is so different from movies now! Seeing the conduct and dress was also a trip; men in suits and hats and women in buttoned up dresses. The scene from this movie that’s mimicked in Sex and the City occurs when Ellie is trying to flag down a car for a ride, and in doing so, hikes her dress and shows a little leg (which is how Carrie flags down a cab for the girls in Abu Dhabi!)

I thought this was a fun watch, light and fluffy fair from 1934. I was able to stream this one from Netflix, which was super convenient. It’s also out on DVD.

And as for Sex and the City 2 (which I saw with my friends Elisa and Ashley), I thought it was much better than all the reviews said! It was a little long in places, but it was a nice escape to a life most of us won’t ever have. Of course, the designer clothes and wonderful shoes might make me a little biased, but I still miss the show and will probably continue to turn out to see Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte as long as they keep making the movies. SatC2 also marked my first experience at Chunky’s Cinema Pub in the lovely city of Nashua NH, which was a lot of fun, as I’m sure you can tell!

Elisa and I enjoying Chunky's!

Up next—I’m on a mission to find the Hurt Locker at  Redbox and see what took down Avatar! Check back soon =)

Fun facts (courtesy of IMDB and Wikipedia)

  • In 1993, It Happened One Night was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
  • On December 15, 1996, Clark Gable’s Oscar was auctioned off to Steven Spielberg for $607,500
  • Neither star of the film was the first choice for their roles, and both were said to have thought the movie was a stinked during filming
  • Estimated budget: $325,000 (roughly the equivalent of $5,316,926.14 in 2010!)

The English Patient (Winner, 1996/69th Annual Academy Awards)

27 May

It really seems as though I’m watching nothing but movies with British actors lately! From Shakespeare in Love to Sherlock Holmes, which I saw this weekend on my newfound Robert Downey Jr. kick (more on that later!), and on to The English Patient, which is obviously no exception.

So, watching this after Shakespeare in Love is a capital D downer.  Don’t get me wrong—awesome movie, but no semblance of a happy ending.  Along with be pretty complicated to follow at first, I predict this will not end up as my favorite Oscar winner, but I am going to read the 1992 novel and see how it stacks up having seen the movie first.

So the movie skips back and forth between time; present time, which is the end and just following WWII, we have our main character, Ralph Fiennes (aka older brother of SiL’s Joseph Fiennes and Lord Voldemort) as  Count László de Almásy, a Hungarian map drawer guy (so we’re told, I don’t know how I’d ever identify him as Hungarian of all things). He’s been terribly burned and disfigured and is being cared for by Hana, a French-Canadian nurse.

The more impactful story line in seen in the flashbacks, where the Count recalls his affair with a colleague’s (Poor Colin Firth) wife, Katharine Clifton played by Kristin Scott Thomas. Now, when I say affair, I mean AFFAIR. They’re in the middle of the desert, and rules seem to longer apply in this place and during the war. It take a while for the love connection to be made; the Count seems to be pretty reclusive and strange at first, bordering on misanthropic. Of course, the husband finds out to disastrous consequences, which kind of disturbed me as much as last season’s finale of Private Practice.

So, while I do think this was an excellent movie and probably the most deserving out of the bunch it was nominated with (which apparently included Jerry Maguire, which, though an awesome movie, is hardly Oscar worthy in my opinion), I’m hoping to find a happy ending! Or is that maybe a criteria for winning, no happy resolutions allowed? Let’s hope not, or I’m in for a depressing summer!

Fun facts:

  • From first draft of the screenplay to final cut took four years.
  • Besides the Oscar for best picture, The English Patient won 8 other academy awards, including Best Actress in a Supporting Role for
    Juliette Binoche and best director for Anthony Minghella.
  • Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas were both nominated for best actor and actress (respectively)
  • Was the first digitally-edited film to win an Academy Award for Best Film Editing
  • Gross revenue (worldwide): $231,976,425

Side note on my new Robert Downey Jr. obsession: Ironman AND Ironman 2 were both phenom, and this is currently the background on my computer:

After seeing Ironman 2 this past weekend, I immediately redboxed Sherlock Holmes (with more eye candy in the form of Jude Law) and have plans to rent The Soloist this weekend. Don’t judge me =)

Next up for Oscar winners? Still up in the air, but hopefully something that isn’t super depressing—stay tuned to see if I succeed!