Tag Archives: Best Picture Oscar

Director’s cut

I love Jason Reitman.

Or, more specifically, the movies he directs.

He first caught my attention in 2005 with Thank You for Not Smoking.  Then along came Juno, its oh-so-unique voice the brainchild of writer Diablo Cody.  And in 2009, Reitman brought us the brilliant George Clooney vehicle Up in the Air, my choice for Best Picture Oscar.

Sadly, the Academy was more impressed by tales of the war abroad than at home.  Whatever.

Reitman and Cody have teamed up once again to bring us Young Adult, starring Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt.

This film has none of Juno’s quirky teen speak; Theron’s character is way past that. This golden girl blew out of her one-horse town years ago and is living large in the big city, a successful writer of youth literature.

Or that’s what it looks like from back home.  Her reality — and the lives of the people she left behind —  are very different than they appear on the surface.

I love this film.  I love the performances that Reitman pulled out of his actors.  I love that he didn’t feel the need to ‘nicen up’ Theron’s character as she continues her path of destruction.

And I especially love the possibility that Oswalt — Patton Oswalt, the chubby standup comedian — might get an Oscar nomination.

Jason Reitman did that.

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Where’s the love?

There’s a whole lotta hatin’ going on Facebook and Twitter about tomorrow’s Royal Wedding.

True, the news media is filled to bursting with coverage — all the minutiae on Kate and Wills, their families, the wedding parties, the route, the ceremony, the receptions, the ridiculous souvenirs.

It’s almost as annoying as NBC’s promotion of The Voice.

But how can Americans spew such bitterness upon these nuptials, when we typically lavish such love on all things British?

Don’t we get all excited each summer come Wimbledon… even though its finals fall on or around our nation’s Independence Day?  Sure, we have the US Open in September, but their tennis tournament has the Duke and Duchess of Kent, strawberries and cream, and spiffy tennis whites.

It’s so proper.  It’s soooo not us.

And don’t we love the actors and actresses who hail from the British isle, with their superior dramatic training and — most importantly — their glorious British accentsDidn’t we just bestow the Best Actor Oscar on the very worthy Colin Firth for his performance in The King’s Speech?  We love him ‘exactly as he is’ — for his Mr. Darcy-ness — a quality that could not be achieved if he were not British.

You know it’s true.

So, America, try to recapture some of the love for the British that was in your heart when you gave The King’s Speech the Best Picture Oscar…when the very prickly, very American The Social Network clearly deserved to win.

It’s there.  You’ve just forgotten.

(Ad campaigns will do that to you.)

Rocked

I saw a movie yesterday in the theater and didn’t have snacks.

Blasphemy, I know.

But 127 Hours didn’t seem like a nachos kinda film.  So much has been written about the gross-out factor of Danny Boyle’s latest effort.  It may have been nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, but much of the media attention has focused on the audience reaction.

People passing out in their seats.  Vomiting in the aisles.  Staggering out of the cineplex, mentally scarred for life.

Popcorn didn’t seem prudent.

Nevertheless, I bravely walked into the theater, a super-sized Diet Coke my only comfort, and watched the film.  When it was over, I wished I could take off a few arms myself — of the folks who wrote those misleading, alarmist statements!

The bloodshed in 127 Hours is no worse than what you’ve seen in any number of Hollywood action films, and it lasts about 90 seconds.  Tarentino fans no doubt will find it lame.  It was harder for me to watch James Franco’s face as he made the agonizing decision to cut off his own arm as his only means of survival.

Sure, it’s a bit gutty, but you can always turn away if need be.  But that one scene does not set the tone for the entire film.

127 Hours is spiritual and inspiring — the soul searching exploration of a man wrestling between the acceptance of a certain death and his will to survive.

I almost didn’t see 127 Hours because I thought it would make me sick.  If someone else misses it for the same reason, I would feel even worse.

Oscars fixed?

No, they weren’t fixed.  They were quite broken.

That’s why the ceremony lasted until past midnight ET, had not even one surprise winner and was a big ol’ fat yawn.

The only surprise of the evening was the appearance of Neil Patrick Harris in the opening number.  Martin Short was scheduled to do the honors, but had to pull out just days before the show due to ‘personal reasons.’  So, Harris was the unannounced fill-in.  My hopes soared.

And then were slowly suffocated by the standard awards show jokes and parade of predicted winners.

BO-RING.

So I propose the following fixes for the next decade of Academy Award broadcasts.

  1. Go back to five Best Picture nominees.  You upped it to 10, and there were still less than five legitimate contenders for the award.  You simply made the show longer, not more competitive.
  2. Hire new writers for the broadcast. We have all these great sitcoms doing really creative television.  Can’t we find a new way to be funny in a televised awards show other than to put the nominees in the audience on the spot?  I hate that.  They hate that.  And nine times out of 10, it’s just not that funny.
  3. Skip the long tributes to the nominated actors/actresses. Some of them were quite good.  Most of them sucked.  Show a longer clip of the nominated role instead.  You might actually get people to go to the movies.
  4. Hire permanent hosts. Have Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman alternate years.  Guaranteed charm, talent, good looks and triple threats.  I’m happy.
  5. Guarantee interesting shows. If all predicted winners win after the votes have been tabulated, randomize a minimum of five categories for the shock value alone.  The audience will stay tuned if they know that might be coming.

Now that sounds like an award winner.