Category Archives: Oscars

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.

No zombies for the zombies

The 2013 Oscar nominations for Best Director had just been announced — the words were still hanging in the air in a cartoon word balloon — when Steven Spielberg announced his plans to suspend production on Robopocalypse.

Surprised?  Not me.
Robopocalypse-Movie-570x805I’ll bet Anne Hathaway, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and slated to star in the long awaited sci-fi extravaganza, seconded the notion.

No doubt she and Spielberg — both frontrunners for their work in Les Miserables and Lincoln respectively — remember what happened to Eddie Murphy a few years back.

He was considered a sure thing for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in the movie Dreamgirls…and then Norbert happened.

And the Academy said, “No way, no how.”

The nominations this year have shown what a old group of fuddy duddies the Oscar voters can be.  (No Best Director nod for Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow — are you serious??)

Steven Spielberg is just playing it safe.

Prince charming

Colin Firth has been called a prince on several occasions.

Last night, he got a chance to showcase his skills.

As last year’s BAFTRA Best Actor Award winner for The King’s Speech, he was called upon to present the 2012 Best Actress BAFTRA Award at last night’s ceremony.  (I watched the festivities on DVR this morning during breakfast.)

Meryl Streep won for The Iron Lady, but the events that followed prove that winning ain’t always easy.

As Streep started walking toward the stage, she realized she had brought her purse, so she quickly shoved it into the hands of a woman on the aisle.  Then — in a Cinderella moment that couldn’t have been scripted — Streep left a shoe on the stage steps.

Thinking on his feet, Firth rescued her pump, knelt before the newly crowned Best Actress, and put it back on.

He was rewarded with a kiss.

Streep was thoughtful and gracious in her remarks, but I wasn’t really paying attention. We had just witnessed this spontaneous, movie-like moment.

Her speech was simply the credits.

Who, moi?

Finally — a reason to watch an awards show red carpet!

The BAFTA Awards — the Brits’ Oscars, if you will — announced that Miss Piggy will be their official red carpet host for this Sunday’s awards ceremony.

Oui!

Now there’s a red carpet interviewer who’s bound to ask something more interesting than ‘Who are you wearing?’  Heck, I bet Miss Piggy will proposition a celebrity or two (George Clooney) and throw a punch if said celebrity’s leggy girlfriend (Stacey Keibler) gets in the way.

Plus, it’s nice to see a television host who hasn’t starved herself to death to get the job…or filled her face with Botox or other fillers to maintain a youthful appearance.

(I’m pretty sure she’ll just put on a new head for the broadcast.)

Muppets rule.  Congrats, Piggy!

Knee jerk

I was in a meeting this morning when the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were announced.

It’s like having to work on Christmas Day.

Since I missed the entertainment editors’ reactions immediately following the event, I feel compelled to add my own.  As always, it’s a mixed bag of relief and regret.

(Feel free to add your own.)

I’M SO HAPPY TO SEE…

  • All the Oscar love for Moneyball (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing).  It’s one of the year’s best.  Understated.  Over-delivers.
  • Bridesmaids’ recognition come in the two categories where it is deserved — Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay.  It was a funny comedy, but I think we all got a bit overly excited about just how good it was.
  • The head-to-head competition between Brad Pitt and George Clooney, both in the Best Actor category and in other categories where their films are nominated together.  No two friends enjoy going at each other so much or do it as well.  Bodes well for the ceremony itself.

I’M SAD TO SEE…

  • Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was not given a Best Picture nod.  If you’re going to nominate 10 films, why not the most successful franchise in motion picture history — and its most critically acclaimed final installment?  Nods for Art Direction, Makeup and Visual Effects don’t seem near enough.
  • Michael Fassbender was robbed of the Best Actor nomination for Shame. I should also complain about Ryan Gosling’s omission from the list, but Fassbender alone is a crime.  A crime.
  • And, on the flip side, should a movie have to have a certain life in the theatre to earn a Best Picture nod?  The Tree of Life was barely there.  Try to see it now.  Try to remember it if you did.

Okay.  That’s all I have right now.

What do you think?