Monday, February 25, 2013

The 85th Academy Awards

Seth MacFarlane danced the line of biting humor and respect for the institution of the Oscars perfectly as host. One of his best jokes from the opening monologue was "Ben, it's not your fault" in a Robin Williams-esque Good Will Hunting voice about Affleck not being nominated for Best Director. The many jokes about Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting were a great homage to how well they hosted the Golden Globes earlier this year. Seth tempting Sally Field with wine and Boniva was delightfully hilarious. Later his joke, "It's Sunday. Everybody is dressed up. This is like church only with more people praying," was priceless.

I was incorrect right out of the gates on the first award, Best Supporting Actor. I had thought that DeNiro had it but I could not have been more pleased that Christoph Waltz took home the statue. His speech was genuine and heartfelt. It has become quite fashionable for actors to thank and name their fellow nominees in their acceptance speeches. Waltz seemed very sincere when he named each of his cohorts. Tommy Lee Jones actually smiled after the clip of his nominated performance in Lincoln.
MacFarlane's jabs at Clooney and Affleck throughout the ceremony were fantastic. The six men of the Avengers amusingly bantered as they presented Cinematography and Visual Effects. The much promoted tribute to 50 years of Bond was disappointing in that it was simply a montage (and they showed T Dalt twice). Having Shirley Bassey sing Goldfinger was pretty cool. The Forrest Gump score popped up multiple times over transitions -- upon rewatching the show I realized this was because of the theme of the awards, music in movies. In this honoring of movie music my only complaint was that the sound team did not disable Russell Crowe's microphone during the Les Miserables performance.
I can not even talk about Anne Hathaway winning Best Supporting Actress or about how awful her dress was. Jennifer Lawrence fell on her way to the stage but she instantly regained her composure. She gave a simple and sweet speech. Daniel Day Lewis was also humbling and sweet in his acceptance speech and then in the next breath hilarious. Michelle Obama presenting Best Picture via satellite was a truly new idea kept a surprise by Jack Nicholson appearing on stage as if to present. I loved it when he asked, "Obama, do you have your envelope" and without missing a beat she replied, "not yet Jack, I'm about to." I was so pleased that Argo won. I loved Ben Affleck's speech. He had the seem frenetic energy that he had when he won for the screenplay for Good Will Hunting.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My 2013 Ballots

This year I have seen more of the nominees than I have ever before. The only categories that I did not complete were the documentary feature, documentary short and foreign film categories. I made sure to watch all of the trailers of those and have seen 21/24 of the categories nominees.

What follows are three ballots. The first is how I would vote if I were a member of the Academy. This is a fun exercise, particularly when I have seen all the movies. After all the effort and movie watching it is quite gratifying. Next is a ballot of my official predictions. The best I have predicted in the past is 19/24 categories and I have a goal to get 20 or more correct tomorrow. The third image is my "viewing ballot" as I have become accustom to calling it. It is the copy I printed the day the nominations were announced and have checked off as I watch the Oscar movies.

I am very excited that Argo has made its way to being the front runner and likely winner for Best Picture. Silver Linings Playbook is my favorite of this year's crop of Oscar movies and even though I have seen it twice, I would watch it again in a heartbeat. Happy Oscar Sunday all!

Monday, February 4, 2013

2013 Oscar Nominee Luncheon

Today was the annual event where all of the year's Oscar nominees gather for lunch and a class photo. The event seems to be one of the coolest parts of being a nominee and everyone is acknowledged.

Press is limited to three questions per nominee. Ben Affleck seemed genuinely modest, mentioning how much he wanted to work with the fellow Best Picture filmmakers as an actor and that years of watching from home in the 80s and 90s has made him impervious to the prognosticating. "I leave those sorts of calculations to the folks in the press and the pundits and the Oscarologists.... I don't get into worrying about who got what or didn't get what. I've had many, many, many, many, many years watching from home." This weekend the Director's Guild presented Affleck with Best Director for Argo. The rest of the awards seem bound to prove that Affleck deserved not only to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar for Argo but that he should also win. I suspect there will be a consolation Oscar in Affleck's future.

The pictures are an extremely fun outcome of the event.