Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar fashions 2011

Before I start with the dresses and the jewelry trends, let's take a quick look at the men. I thought it was very cute that to present together Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin wore matching white tuxes. You'll see below, when walking the red carpet, and later in the audience, Bardem wore a more traditional black tux, white shirt and black tie.
The red trend, looked great. Jennifer Lawrence looked amazing, love the hair, the dress, all of it. I've liked all her red carpet looks this award season. As her part in Winter's Bone is not glamorous, she definitely shines. I liked the hair down, Anne Hathaway red dress, pictured here second from the left, better on television than photo; pictures are not true to the color and don't do justice to when she was on stage with it and after. I like Jennifer Hudson's tangerine-red number. Love Hathaway's red carpet red. Sandra Bullock looked great, the dress and accessories (her hair was a little over processed but you can't tell in pictures only on television when she presented).
Penelope Cruz also wore a lovely fiery red number:
Two of my favorites were the ladies from Black Swan, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunas. Love the purple plum dress with the matching earrings. Really like the lavender-soft dress, accessorized well. Halle always looks hot and did a wonderful job with the Lena Horn tribute. 
A photo does not really capture all the elements of this dress. It was lavender with lavender and yellow beading. I liked it alright though it seems everyone has a different take on the dress. 
Second trend, all the green jewelry. I'm such an Amy Adams fan and we have seen countless successful red carpet looks for her before. Mainly, I don't think the dress needed the necklace. 

 Hailee Steinfeld's age appropriate glamour. I did not like it at first on the red carpet but now I think it was a wise choice and very pretty.
I think I may be the only one but I really liked Nicole Kidman's dress and loved the pairing of the red shoes with it. I think its basic, classy but she's taking some risk with the architecture of the dress and the color of her shoes.
Have to include Oprah. I don't think the photos do it justice but she actually matched the set and the gradation change of color was great.  James Franco tweeted a pic of he and Anne Hathaway with Oprah back stage. Click here for Franco's pic
Reese Witherspoon rocked a 60's inspired vintage look. Loved the hair and make-up. It even looked great seated when she was interviewed before the show. Katy pointed out that it brings to mind the dress Julia Roberts wore when she won for Erin Brockovich at the 2001 Academy Awards.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The 83rd Academy Awards

Sipping champagne and still eating my piece of Laura's Black Swan cake, I am reflecting on this year's Oscar ceremony. I'm sorry to say, the show itself, was disappointing. The movies, were the best group I have been delighted to be entertained by in many years. Things started off well and then early on, with the Best Supporting Actress category, things went downhill. Legendary actor Kirk Douglas presented the award. I mean no disrespect, but it was a very bad idea to have him present. The poor man suffered a stroke in 1995 and despite speech therapy, speaking is still a struggle. When painstakingly Melissa Leo was announced as the winner, she dropped an F-Bomb in her speech!

On the positive side, the opening sequences were delightful. I loved how the 10 Best Picture nominee montage was put together with the Oscar winning score from the Social Network over the film clips, excellent. The sketch of co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway incepting Alec Baldwin's dreams for hosting tips, hilarious and fantastic. Other highlights -- Russell Brand is always funny and presenting Best Foreign Film with Helen Mirren delivered. During Jake Gyllenhaal's presentation of the Best Documentary Short and Best Live Action Short Film categories with Amy Adams, he talked about how these awards can make or break your ballot of predictions. WORD Jake Gyllenhaal, word.

Several surprises. Tom Hooper, the director of the King's Speech won Best Director (not David Fincher for the Social Network as widely anticipated). Inception also took home Best Cinematography, not True Grit.

Inception and Best Picture winner The King's Speech, each took home four statues. Social Network received three. Laura and I tied with 17 correct predictions. Dave Karger at Entertainment Weekly correctly estimated 16. I did not improve from my past two years of predicting 19 correctly. I did however best my mentor, so that's something.

Surprisingly, early reviews of the show online and on tv, are positive for the show. EW's Ken Tucker was glowing and even questioned Billy Crystal's standing ovation saying, "was the audience missing him in that role that much this evening?" Well in my home we were! It seemed as though Laura summoned him when she said, "where's Billy Crystal?" I think we mostly fall into that "younger demo" that they were going for too, so go figure.

Much like the opening, I really enjoyed the presentation of the Best Picture category. Steven Spielberg presented brilliantly and the montage of clips narrated by the actual speech in the King's Speech, excellent.
Complete winner's list for all 24 categories:
The King’s Speech

Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech

WINNER: “We Belong Together,” Toy Story 3, Randy Newman

The Social Network, Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Inception, Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb

Inside Job, Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

God of Love, Luke Matheny

Strangers No More, Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon

Alice in Wonderland, Colleen Atwood

The Wolfman, Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Inception, Richard King

Inception, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, and Ed Novick

The Social Network, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Christian Bale, The Fighter

In a Better World (Denmark)

The King’s Speech, Screenplay by David Seidler

The Social Network, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

Toy Story 3

The Lost Thing, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann

Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Inception, Wally Pfister

Alice in Wonderland, Robert Stromberg, Karen O’Hara

The Independent Spirit Awards 2011

This was my first year watching the indy awards show on IFC. I have long known that the event precedes the Oscars on the Saturday evening before (or Oscar Eve as Laura put it). The host was Joel McHale and he made hilarious jokes, many of which require seeing the movies to get. Oh, and you can use profanity to boot! F-Bomb in the opening (even f-bombs featured in clips). McHale had his hand stuck under a bolder a la 127 Hours in said opening. At one point Banksy came to rescue him (one of the producers of the Oscar nominated documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, whose identity is unknown) and was revealed to be Alex Trebek (and he made off with McHale's potent potables, a bottle of Jameson). McHale also asked James Franco in his monologue if he wanted to "hang out tomorrow night." The ceremony was on a beach under an enormous tent, which I would not have known if it was not pointed out, and the temperature was very cold.
Ewan McGregor was there for no apparent reason (he presented), but he looked good even with his emo haircut and scarf. True Blood's Joe Manganiello was there looking fine (and he didn't even present). There were actually lots of cool movie and tv people in attendance not associated directly with nominated movies (various Office cast members, Jon Hamm, Nia Vardalos). Many of the movies featured also have plenty of Oscar love/nominations -- The Kids Are Alright, Winter's Bone, 127 Hours, and Black Swan. Believe it or not, there were even some movies I had not heard of (gasp). All the big stars show up (something I was familiar with before) and with how much I am anticipating the big show, it was such a delight. Plus, the "independent spirit" of it all, creates such a light hearted, fun atmosphere, it is without a doubt the fun flip-side of Oscar weekend. The overall theme of the event was overwhelmingly celebratory and clearly a supportive force for creative film-making.
My personal highlight, my man James Franco won Best Actor. Since he won't be winning at the Oscars, I am so tickled that he won the award. Aron Ralston was seated beside him (the real life man he portrayed) and was the first person he thanked. Another great win for an Oscar nominated role, John Hawkes for Winter's Bone. His imdb comment was cute and he seems like a genuinely sweet man. It is really great to see people win, who are not going to get the Oscar in their category. Seeing Darren Aronofsky win Best Director and the Kids Are Alright for screenplay were among those. In the somewhat predictability of the Oscars (much as I love them) and in a year with such quality films in all the nominations, it was cool to spread the love and be surprised.

One thing I did find odd was all the sponsors. It did not seem very independent (sort of like the Cheetos ads during Portlandia) but it did taper off as the show progressed. Also, I love Natalie Portman, but she had her coat off before her win was announced and the presumption was off-putting. Her dazzling, delightful acceptance speech, of course made it a passing thought. She's so great! And the cutest pregnant person ever.

Best Supporting Female -- Dale Dickey, Winter's Bone
Best First Feature -- Get Low
Best Male Lead -- James Franco, 127 Hours
Best Documentary -- Exit Through the Gift Shop
Best Foreign Film -- The King's Speech (UK -- I would LOVE to know the rules of these awards).
Robert Altman Award -- Please Give (for which the director, casting director and cast all receive awards).
Someone to Watch Award -- Mike Ott for Littlerock
Best Supporting Male -- John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
John Cassavetes Award -- Daddy Long Legs
Best Cinematography -- Black Swan
Best First Screenplay -- Lena Dunham, Tiny Furnature
Best Screenplay -- The Kids Are Alright
Best Director -- Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Best Female Lead -- Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Feature -- Black Swan

Friday, February 25, 2011

My official Oscar predictions 2011

I feel all nervous, all aflutter. But I have inked my final, official predictions. Dave Karger at EW and my selections, overlap in 21 of the 24 categories. My house rules are, you have until the first envelope is opened to turn in your ballot.

Today Entertainment Weekly published online the results of the reader's Best Picture voting. The Social Network won, which given the demographic of readers, did not at all surprise me. I was happy to see that my personal preference for Best Picture of the year, 127 Hours, made it to the fifth round. The most interesting tidbit was that as of last night, the accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers, had determined all of the winners. The ballots of 5,775 Academy members were due this past Tuesday.

By my estimations and long deliberations, The King's Speech will be the big winner. Unless there is a sweep and the King's Speech picks up wins in categories that it is not expected to, the monarch's tale will go home with four statues. The Social Network and Inception will each earn three a piece.
This year's new envelope design.

Without further ado...

Barney's Version

This film has one nomination, for Make-Up. Hey, I've seen all the biggies, it's getting down to the less known and nominated. The make-up in the film is due to the aging of several characters through several different eras. The Oscar will most likely go to The Wolfman (which briefly resided in my Netflix queue, but even my love of the Oscars could not keep it there) as the make-up in the movie that is the "showier" style usually dominates the category.

The movie is really touching and told with flashbacks and great story telling. Scott Speedman is Boogie, Barney's best friend, and he is as attractive as he was back on Felicity. The movie is based on the Canadian novel. I mistakenly thought before seeing the movie, that it was based on a true story. Clearly I misunderstood Giamatti's comments in interviews for the movie. He explained that Barney is beloved in Canada. I took that to mean that he was a real person, not the beloved character of the 1997 book that he actually is.
Paul Giamatti won the Golden Globe for Best Actor -- Musical or Comedy. While the movie is very funny at times, I'm not sure that it belongs in the comedy category. An award belongs with Giamatti, so why quibble. Also, the actor who plays Barney's son, Jake Hoffman, is Dustin Hoffman's son (Barney's dad in the movie).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The other side of the coin

Given that last night's blog dealt with my obsession with being able to predict the Oscars better than I have before and even better than my mentor, I thought it might be a good idea to consider the other side. Where's the fun in knowing? Shouldn't we wait for the show and have the fun of the surprise. I'm not going to lie. I didn't just decide to point out the other way to approach the Oscars. I was back at what has become an evening ritual, Googling Oscar predictions. The following article is fantastic,,0,3143479.story give it a read.

My only criticism is there is a bit of a cynical tone. My interest in predicting, has more do with improving my knowledge and understanding of the Oscars --  it's all in good fun and based in a love of movies. Of course it is sweet to think back to my earliest Oscar memories. Neither of my parents watched regularly, sometimes it was on, sometimes not. I remember first being really invested in 1995. I had seen Forrest Gump twice in theaters the summer of 1994 and wanted it to win in every category (it won six of its 13 nominations). I knew then, if Tom Hanks won, he would only be the second actor to win back-to-back Best Actor Oscars (and he did, the year before winning for Philadelphia, at the same ages that Spencer Tracy won his, the only other actor to win two in a row). I remember being so bummed that he was not nominated again the following year for Apollo 13. I wanted him to be the only actor to win three in a row. Oh boy I had a lot to learn about the Academy and the politics of what wins.

I love screen writer Eric Roth, because he adapted the novel Forrest Gump for the film. The book was a big disappointment to me (though I did get a kick out of the sequel when Forrest meets Tom Hanks; see also in the second Bridget Jones book when she interviews Colin Firth, who of course, plays Mark Darcy, her boyfriend in the movies). I understand the criticisms that have come up over time about Forrest Gump. It still is a really well done movie. Yes, it's nostalgia. What's wrong with that?! Here's a fun video from two years ago when the 2008 film the Curious Case of Benjamin Button was nominated (also for 13, and received three Oscars in 2009). When I saw Button, I knew Eric Roth was the screenwriter, I just knew it. I knew it because I appreciated his writing style, not because I thought it was the same movie.

The cynicism and criticism that are often aimed at Forrest and Button -- that's what I'm not into. To me that's the sort of thing to avoid. That's the part of Oscar predicting that I don't want and have no part it. I am all about the love of movies. 

This talk of Benjamin Button, has made me think of all the wonderful cakes that Laura has made the last three years for the Oscars. There Will Be Blood was the cake that started it all in 2008. In 2009, the clock from Button showed the time as seen in the movie. Last year, Laura made two cakes. I can hardly wait to see this year's Oscar cake on Sunday. Marla's getting into the baking action as well with themed cupcakes.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oscar build-up

The forecast I'm most interested in, has nothing to do with snow and everything to do with movies. In particular, short films.

In the last few days I have been scouring the internet for as many Oscar predictions as I can scan my eyes upon. Complete Oscar predictions, we're talking all 24 categories, not the five or ten most popular; those are the easy ones. After much deliberation, I have landed on my choices for Foreign Film (In A Better World), Documentary Short (Strangers No More) and Original Score (The King's Speech). The three categories I'm having the most difficulty with, Short Film Animated, Short Film Live Action and Original Song. That's right. I am ringing my hands in deliberation over which box to check for Short Film Live Action. The reason, I really want to get more than 19 of the 24 categories correct on the 27th. I will publish my official predictions on Friday (or maybe Saturday). I like having a little more time, just in case I change my mind or read one more prediction that helps.

All this research, has led me to pause and question my choices for Art Direction and Costume Design. I'm going with Alice in Wonderland for both, but I'm finding that given a King's Speech sweep, these two may go by way of the King not Alice. They are the first two awards to be announced on Sunday and will be presented by Tom Hanks.

When I start to question, I need to rely on my faith in Dave Karger at Entertainment Weekly. Last year (like me) he correctly predicted 19/24. I did not make identical predictions, where's the fun or independence in that. He is definitely my Yoda. I pulled out my Oscar stuff and checked how I've done the previous seven years, and how Dave has done:
2010: 19/24 both KG; DK
2009: 19/24 KG; 21/24 DK
2008: 14/24 KG; 15/24
2007: no record saved KG; 12/24 DK
2006: 15/24 KG; 17/24 DK
2005: 15/24 KG; 17/24
2004: the year of my first party, didn't save any ballots; 21/24 DK

In 2006 EW, as part of their prediction coverage that year, they included a scorecard of how accurately they had predicted in the last five years. Interestingly enough they said that in 2005 they correctly predicted 18 (not the 17 I count in the print magazine). I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that it was a last minute change online that bumped them up to 18. 2003: 16/24; 2002: 15/24; 2001: 13/23. 2011 is only the 10th year that the Best Animated Feature category has existed.
I fully realize, those numbers mean more to me than probably any one else. I get a big kick out of it. Reviewing all those ballots, my selections, EW predictions, all that data through the last decade did offer some help for this year. First off, don't necessarily trust EW in the short film categories. That's where their weakness lies. Second, in Foreign Film, they are correct sometimes but nowhere near as accurate as they are in the major categories. For the acting, writing, directing, best picture and best animated feature categories, EW is the Oscar guru. I've learned from the best. I think part of my goal to get more than 19 correct this year is also to get more than Karger correct. Sunday, we shall see.    

Karger is also working directly with the Academy this year. He is featured prominently on the website. Both in a daily series called The Road to the Oscars with abc's Chris Harrison and he also analyzed the announcement of the nominations with Harrison. Karger will also be the Academy's official red carpet greeter.

Speaking of the red carpet, today the red carpet for Sunday was rolled out on Hollywood Blvd in front of the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, CA. Included are pictures of the red carpet being setup and a photo of the green room.

James Franco joined twitter this week and has posted a link to an interesting video on YouTube. Apparently he and Anne Hathaway are doing some sort of tribute to Grease for the show. It has been suggested that it will be included in the opening sequence. Would they really reveal something that's going to be on the show beforehand? It's a cool, short video.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ranking the 10 Best Picture nominees

I must be in tune with the Oscar gods. Well, at least Entertainment Weekly. Last night I filled out an entire ballot of what I thought deserved to win, not my predictions of what will win. Then today, EW online posted a link to rank the 10 Best Picture nominees in the order in which they deserve to win. It was such a treat for me to rank the 10 films by what I think (and feel too, let's not underestimate the emotional component to voting, ranking and critiquing movies) were the best.

In my ever increasing efforts to understand and learn precisely how the Academy operates, EW is a very important resource. I have previously included the link to the results of their nomination process for Best Picture. I did not participate in the nomination for Best Picture; I missed what I am guessing was a small window of opportunity to do so. I just checked, and the story and link to vote, is no longer very visible on the EW website (the link still works, see below, after my choices). The most interesting part of today's article, is that in the actual voting for Best Picture, not the nomination ballots, the ranking method is actually how all the Academy members vote (its not as simple as marking a box). I can not help but make political comparisons. Nominations are the primaries and voting on the nominees is the general election. The whole ranking thing, reminds me of the electoral college. Not in method, but in that it is not simple or particularly straight forward. Neither are as free of complexities as, this many people voted for this, it has the most votes, it is the winner. Lastly in my political system analogy, they are flat out called Oscar campaigns (complete with ads aimed at the movie industry -- "For your consideration..."). It was putting out her own ads that has dethroned Melissa Leo as the shoe in for Best Supporting Actress. The Academy has rules about campaigning. Remember last year when a producer of the Hurt Locker emailed the entire Academy and much brouhaha resulted? The Hurt Locker of course went on to win Best Picture and the incident did not keep Kathryn Bigelow from making history and becoming the first woman to win Best Director.

I completed my ranking pretty quickly because I wanted to be one of the first 1,000 to complete it, so that I would be counted by EW. As far as I can tell, I was (the story now closes with the update: the poll is now closed...). It was a secret ballot, no email or other information was required. If the follow-up article does not clarify, I am going to ask the question, are the actual Oscar ballots anonymous as well. I am also curious if all categories use the ranking system to determine who receives a statue.

Here's how I voted, to the best of my ability (I should have done a screen print, but I was in such a hurry to be counted, the thought did not occur to me in the moment). I know 1-3 and 7-10 are definitely how I voted, but 4-6, True Grit, Black Swan and The King's Speech, were trickier for me to rank.

1) 127 hours
2) Inception
3) The Fighter
4) True Grit 
5) Black Swan
6) The King's Speech
7) The Kids Are Alright 
8) Winter's Bone
9) Toy Story 3
10) The Social Network

I will post the results and discuss the accompanying article when EW publishes it.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How I would vote 2011

I absolutely delight in any Oscar tidbit, and it is SO fun to hear about the preparation for the February 27th ceremony. I have heard that there are going to be moments in movie history that are captured on stage. That is a tricky thing to visualize. If done well, it could be like watching Dorothy open the door from black and white and into the color of Oz. In fact, maybe that will be one of the moments that they are going for. I'm so excited to find out!
The article elaborates on the details and includes interviews with the show's producer, Bruce Cohen, and longtime Oscar writer, Bruce Vilanch. Cohen was a producer on American Beauty, Big Fish, Milk and the show Pushing Daisies.
Also, must applaud the Oscar website ( is for your nominations and all things this year). has great archives of all past winners and nominees. The feature I have been having the most fun with this evening, is Do you ever wonder what art direction or other technical awards really are? Well Academy members in various categories explain each nominee in their field. They're really cool!

Encouraged by the Academy member videos, tonight I filled out a ballot of how I would vote. Now keep in mind, these are not my predictions, these are the films I would vote for in each category. Also keep in mind, no one in the Academy votes for all categories. An actor would vote for the acting categories, director for Best Director, etc and everyone votes for Best Picture (over 6,000 members). Ballots are due at 5pm on the Tuesday before the ceremony, February 22nd. 
I also read Roger Ebert's predictions today. I feel like such an expert, I disagree with him on several categories!! I think when I finalize my predictions, I just may enter his contest. Beat him in accuracy come 2/27 and win $100,000!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The envelope please...

I am always searching for more info on the Oscar process. These year I have already learned about the tradition of the Oscar luncheon and how the nomination lists are counted (I have previous blog about each of those topics and my main source of info on the nomination process is Entertainment Weekly, both the Oscar Viewer issue and online).
The following article has great facts and info on PricewaterhouseCoopers handling of the ballots and counting process. The article looks rather unofficial, but the Academy has endorsed the article, its on their official facebook page. Ballots are due in on Tuesday, February 22nd -- a mere four days before the Oscar ceremony. There has never been a security breach in the 77 years that PWC has been handling the ballots.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

BAFTAs 2011

The British Academy of Film Awards were today in London. I watched the ceremony and found it interesting that with less categories included in the telecast than the Oscars, the actual awards show was 2 1/2 hours of the three hour telecast (the first half hour was red carpet coverage). From what I can make out, the BAFTAs also have 23 categories. The Harry Potter film franchise was honored and JK Rowling was present. There was one montage for the dearly departed and no one was rushed in their acceptance speech. Maybe the event was not live like the Oscars, so it only appeared to be so succinct. The thing is, it wasn't as much fun. I enjoyed it, I love movies. There was a host and presenters, but those song and dance numbers or other sketches that lengthen our show, the Oscars, are what make it fun and create memorable moments. I suppose its the fun that makes us American. I have read that the producers of this year's Oscar ceremony have encourage all nominees to be prepared to speak for 45 seconds, to not have anything written, if they win and were even provided with DVDs to practice with.
The King's Speech began the night with 14 nominations (it also leads the Oscars with 12 noms). It won seven. As of this moment, I think it will win four Oscars, a tie with Social Network of four wins each. Inception will win three Oscars. My official predictions for all 24 categories and how I would vote, what I think deserves the Oscar, will be posted Oscar weekend.

After you check out the winners below, read Dave Kager's article about how historically the BAFTAs have been an accurate predictor of the Oscars and to what degree. It looks like at least 10 of the categories will repeat winners at the February 27th Oscar telecast.

The BAFTA winners (what does the T stand for?!):
BEST FILM: The King’s Speech
DIRECTOR: The Social Network, David Fincher
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The King’s Speech, David Seidler
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin
FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
LEADING ACTOR: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
LEADING ACTRESS: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
ORIGINAL MUSIC: The King’s Speech, Alexandre Desplat
CINEMATOGRAPHY: True Grit, Roger Deakins
EDITING: The Social Network, Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Alice in Wonderland, Robert Stromberg and Karen O’Hara
COSTUME DESIGN: Alice in Wonderland, Colleen Atwood
SOUND: Inception, Richard King, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, and Ed Novick
SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS: Inception, Chris Corbould, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, and Peter Bebb
MAKE UP AND HAIR: Alice in Wonderland
SHORT ANIMATION: The Eagleman Stag
SHORT FILM: Until the River Runs Red

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Just Go With It

Well, I had high hopes for this movie. Happy Madison Productions was apparently hellbent on cramming as many stupid sight-gags as they could into what was actually a very funny movie with a lot of heart. Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston were hilarious together and had great give and take in their scenes together. The stupid stuff, just ruined it. What could have been a Wedding Singer or a 50 First Dates, was two competing movies. One good and one bad. Now I can look the other way at a few items of humor that are not my thing and still appreciate or even love a movie despite those things (eg the androgynous aquarium worker in 50 First Dates). I would like to own the Non-Stupid-St8t edition of the DVD (or the Non-Devlin edition to use a phrase/joke from the movie). Not my Valentine's pick...stay home and watch a double feature of Wedding Singer and Object of My Affection for some quality Sandler and Aniston. Though I do hope they work together again, they are great together.

The music throughout the movie was excellent. Lots of Sting and mash-ups of Sting songs, as well as less commonly used Beach Boy songs. And there were several excellent cameos in the movie. I won't ruin the surprise (though, I don't recommend seeing this one in theaters, wait for DVD) but one typically serious actress is wonderfully wicked and funny in the film. In a way, I think it shows she has a sense of humor about herself (one hint, she is nominated for an Oscar this year). As the fabulous Miss Katy Hagert observed, Adam Sandler's wife Jackie Sandler, is in the opening scene of the movie. After a little research to confirm, the two were introduced by Rob Schneider after she appeared in Deuce Bigalow, and she has been in several other Adam Sandler movies.

One interesting thing I noticed in the credits, was that the movie was based on Cactus Flower. Cactus Flower is the 1969 movie with Goldie Hawn (she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her film debut in it), Walter Matthau and Ingrid Bergman (and that movie, was first a play).

Also, amid the eight or so trailers before the movie, I really laughed out loud at the preview for the Arthur remake starring Russell Brand (who is hosting SNL tonight). I would like to state for the record that long before Brand was with Katy Perry, before he was in Forgetting Sarah Marshall or hosted the MTV Video Awards, I knew who he was. I am a loyal viewer of the Graham Norton Show on BBC America and Brand was a frequent guest before making his hop across the pond and into Hollywood movies. Looks good. Hope its not just the trailer.

Anyone else hate the creepy music in the Battle: LA trailer?! Blah, not seeing that.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Exit through the Gift Shop and Dave's List for the week

I just watched Exit through the Gift Shop, one of the Best Documentary Feature nominees. Its fantastic! Initially I did not think the subject matter would be of much interest to me, street art. Stick with it, its great. How often is an artist known only as Banksy, nominated for an Oscar?
Also, a very important development in Dave at ew's weekly Oscar list blog, Hailee Steinfeld looks to upset Melissa Leo in the Best Supporting Actress category. Whoa! Did not see that coming. This Oscar race just got a lot more interesting. I thought Leo was a lock before the nominations even came out!

Here's Dave's full article:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Am Love

I Am Love is a beautiful Italian movie. The movie centers on the lives of the wealthy Recchi family and opens with the patriarch's birthday party. Tilda Swinton is fashionable and gorgeous as the mother of three children who followed their father's proposal from Russia and became "Italian" once she lived in Milan.
The film is as beautiful as it is tragic. It has one Oscar nomination, for Costume Design. The clothes are amazing and it is nice that there is a movie nominated in the category that is not a period piece or fantasy. The music is a bit over the top, but hey, its Italian.

Oscar nominee luncheon

There really isn't much to report for this event, but I loved the quotes from the nominees at the event yesterday, February 7th. They are featured in the article below. I also love the idea of all the nominees hanging out together. The luncheon is a significant part of the Oscar experience that I was not previously aware of. It seems to be part of what generates the genuine modesty people speak of when they say, "It's an honor just to be nominated." And you get a certificate that you were nominated. How fun is that?!

Also intriguing to me, how the nomination ballots are counted. If you read the article in Entertainment Weekly's last issue, the link's article is longer and provided more detail.

The Oscars are 19 days away! Ballots are due Tues Feb 22nd.
Here's Dave at ew's 2/3/11 list:

Best Actress nominees:

Best Actor nominees: 

Best Supporting Actress nominees:

Apparently no Best Supporting Actor picture has been released. I don't see Christian Bale in the big photo of all the 151 (of 190) nominees that attended: 
UPDATE: Was watching video on I have such a crush on Dave Karger now! Not only is he the Oscar expert, he is much younger than I would have thought. Very nice.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Best Picture Showcase

I've heard about this for the last couple of years. It is a very intriguing idea. I have watched two movies in theaters in one day (in fact I saw 127 Hours and Rabbit Hole back to back in downtown Portland at Fox Tower), but never more. In more than 115 cities in the US, AMC Theaters has a Best Picture Showcase. Over the course of the two Saturdays before the Oscars (Feb 19th and 26th) you see five movies each day. Its a dang good deal too. At $60 for a two day pass, you see all 10 Best Picture nominees, received a lanyard and poster, and a $20 gift card for snacks. Even more extreme, can you imagine watching all 10 movies in one 24 hour period?! The option is only available in 12 markets, but that is one crazy idea! Even for this movie lover. I do love the sound of it though. Its only $50 for the 24 hour bash (that's only $5 a movie and in markets like New York where tickets cost more than PDX, that's a really good deal).

Of course, this is all moot for me. I have seen all 10 (I would still love this event!).

The official theater info link is below. Seattle is the closest location for me.

This is a pretty cool article about the AMC event:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Oscar Show itself

The producers of the Oscars have been trying new things for the last few years to make the show even better. And of course, attract and keep more viewers. The 10 nominees for Best Picture and having two hosts are both significant changes from last year that will continue this year. They are also going young and non-comedian with James Franco and Anne Hathaway as hosts. I like them both (Franco in particular) and am excited to see what they will do.

I'm a "forever" viewer (on Monday's show Oprah shared that she has watched every Oscar ceremony since 1964; she is presenting at this year's Oscars). I will always watch and care about just about every category. The efforts to invigorate the show mostly improve the overall viewing experience, and that I'm all for.

Here's an interesting article about the ad campaign and production of this year's show.

I've played with the iPhone app (thank you Cup for downloading it for me, as I do not have an iPhone). The platform goes well with the website, which I am loving this year. It's very interactive, you can log in and save your picks for each of the 24 categories. I mentioned it in my nominations blog, but the View Nominee Info feature is fantastic.

Now I'm probably the only one that cares, but last night I reviewed the previous years ballots. I'm not a pack-rat but I do have a small stack of magazines and papers that I have been saving. As the artifacts prove, I have been doing this since 2004. The last two years I have successfully predicted 19 of 24 awards. I really hope this year I can get 20 or more. I've probably just jinxed myself into doing worse, but it won't be for lack of research. Last night I watch Best Documentary Feature nominee Gasland. It's about the water contamination that results in acquiring natural gas, in 34 states. Check out the website and their facebook page. Here's the trailer:

Foreign Language and Documentary Feature are the most difficult categories to complete -- two of the foreign films are not released in theaters until April! Many are in the void between theaters and DVD. I'd also like to give a shout out to Laura who two years ago shared the way to see many of the shorts (there are three categories: documentary, live action and animated short). YouTube! Some can be seen on iTunes and previews when no other media are available helps for the trickier categories.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Best Picture race

I'm hoping for The King's Speech to beat The Social Network. If I was a voting member of the Academy, I would re-watch The Fighter and 127 Hours, and pick from those two. They are my favorites of the 10 nominated. All 10 are so strong and so good this year. It's a very good year... What movies have you seen? Which one is your favorite? What film deserves to win vs which movie will win?

Here is Dave Karger at ew's take this week: