Category Archives: Oscars

Cold justice

I was lucky enough to catch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on HBO over dinner tonight.

eternal sunshine

Such a wonderfully inventive story, and perhaps Jim Carrey’s most powerful and controlled performance.

As I watched, I questioned yet again why he didn’t win an Oscar…or even get nominated.  So I used the Google machine to remind me — who did take the prize in 2005?

The Oscar nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role were:

  • Don Cheadle in “Hotel Rwanda”
  • Johnny Depp in “Finding Neverland”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Aviator”
  • Clint Eastwood in “Million Dollar Baby”
  • Jamie Foxx in “Ray”

Foxx took home the prize; it was no shock.  His portrayal of the musical legend was spot-on. He sang and played the piano, too.  I wasn’t a fan of the film, but of him, yes.

I concede defeat.

But I would argue that Carrey’s performance deserves to be on that list as much if not more than Leo.  Or Johnny.  In fact, the list would be stronger for it.

Isn’t it funny how quickly you can become bitter about something that happened 10 years ago?

(Imagine how Jim must feel.)

No surprise

I watched the entire Oscars telecast last night, so I am sleepy today, but not because I was up late –

Because it was so BORING.

Where were the surprise winners? The endearing, incomprehensible speeches from dumbfounded winners? And no, I don’t count the garbled speech of presenters — like John Travolta and Harrison Ford — who can’t read a teleprompter.

I don’t watch awards shows to see actors deliver their lines. (That’s why I go to the movies.) I want some spontaneity. Some mistakes. Some signs of life and humanity.

Thank goodness Benedict Cumberbatch and I had some fun on the red carpet before the big snoozefest began.

benedict-cumberbatch-u2-lg

For the boys

Today’s blog is dedicated to guys — actors all — who deserve a little extra love today.

Tom HanksOscar Isaacrobert redford2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tom Hanks. Oscar Isaac. Robert Redford — all denied Best Actor Oscar nods by the Academy.

Now, I could be talked down on Isaac if the Academy didn’t pretty much ignore Inside Llewyn Davis, save a couple of technical awards.  I mean, it didn’t even get nominated for its musical score.

And while Captain Phillips did get six other nods, how can you justify not nominating Hanks?

Did they watch the final scene??

And Redford?  He was the entire movie All Is Lost. Period. What more do you want?

Apparently anything by Martin Scorsese…and I do mean, anything.

On a more somber note, I want to pay tribute to Russell Johnson — the original and best nerd crush of my generation, who left the world today…

The Professor
We’ll miss you, Professor.

Do I look older?

Director Alexander Payne and I have never seen eye to eye.

Since his movie Election (which I did like), the rest of his filmsSideways, Cedar Rapids, The Descendants – just don’t speak to me.

I doubt he’s losing sleep over it.

NEBRASKAThat didn’t stop me from getting excited to see his latest awards magnet Nebraska, starring Bruce Dern and Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte.

It seemed to have it all.

The two leading men, of course.  The black-and-white look, which seemed perfect for this road trip film.  Great trailers, too.

Tragically, Alex has led me astray yet again.

In the film, the car trip takes three or four days.  I would swear the movie — advertised as 1 hour 54 minutes — is actually that long.  It is slow…so very slow.

The driving sequences are slow.  The conversations are slow.  There’s a couple of fights scenes, and their fists look like they are in slow motion even though they’re not.

I really enjoyed three scenes in the movie. And the performances are wonderful — especially June Squibb, who plays Bruce Dern’s kick of a wife.   But there are long stretches of your life…

..that you will never get back.

This is all FOX’s fault

I have not read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy — pretty proud of that.

Not that I’m judging a book by its cover it…but it’s nice for a change to not be in a group that is being judged.

(Twilight scars — you understand.)

Although that doesn’t stop me from being interested in the recent casting announcement for the Fifty Shades movie — Dakota Johnson as Anastasia (whoever that is) and Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey.

Dakota Johnson…in an S&M movie?

She was the quirky, funny, girl-next-door single mom who we loved and lost last season on Ben and Kate.  Well, I loved that show anyhoo.  FOX went and canceled it.

Oh, look how sad they all are.

ben and kate2Of course, Nat Faxon (far right) reached out and got an Oscar for writing The Descendants…and directed, wrote and co-starred in the very funny The Way, Way Back with Steve Carell, so he’s doing alright.  And Dakota gets…whips and chains?

Look what you did, FOX.

Call back

If you’ve auditioned for anything in New York City — and I have — you’ve met your fair share of casting directors. Their personalities and policies vary, but their power is undeniable.

Or it is today.

casting byThe 2012 HBO documentary Casting By, which I caught OnDemand earlier this week, was an eye-opener on the history of the director/casting director relationship in Hollywood.

The credits for casting directors that you have probably grown used to seeing on movies were extremely hard earned, and were greatly debated on films past.

And have you noticed there is no Oscar for Best Casting…although the Academy gives awards for other director-approved elements like Editing and Cinematography?

Whichever side you land on in the debate, the film will get you thinking…and no doubt respect even more the work casting directors do.

Matinee

One of the many advantages of a) working from home and b) having HBO is being able to watch Oscar-nominated documentaries during lunch.

Today’s featured selection:  The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossoms.

tsumani and cherry blossom posterI’ll admit that I had not heard of this film before I saw it listed on HBO OnDemand.  If perchance you haven’t either, I strongly encourage you to invest the short 40 minutes required.

Director Lucy Walker chronicles the tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11, 2011.  Survivors share their stories of loss, and work together to rebuild their communities — already making progress a mere month after the storm hit.

And what are the ‘cherry blossoms’ in the title, you ask? I’ll let you watch the film and find out. 

It is a vital part of their history and culture, and one reason a tsunami could never break the Japanese people.