Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscars - Final Cut

So here it is, the last of the Oscar predictions. Enjoy!
(As a side note, i am aware of the fact that the links on the previous post - as well as this one - come from Wikipedia. They are accurate, I'm sorry if this does not suit referencing standards or whatever, I was looking for quick and easy!)

Best Animated Feature:

One of my FAVOURITE categories! I haven't yet seen Frankenweenie... OR ParaNorman, so that's sad... Anyway the category is really filled with meaty dishes this year and so for a change there isn't really a distinct (Pixar) winner. As much as i loved the animation in Brave, I didn't enjoy the story half as much. Pirates! is fantastic in its humour, animation and story, but just doesn't have enough momentum to win. Then i saw Ralph and it totally blew me away. It has everything a great animated film requires: appeal for adults and kids alike, gamers and non gamers too. It's funny, it's beautifully animated, it plucks the heart strings and comes together in a solid clump of awesomeness! In case you haven't realised it, I want Ralph to win this.

Best Film Editing:

I have a feeling Argo's taking this along with best picture. The others are all good, but Argo is possibly a few centimeters ahead (yes, we use centimeters here).

Best Cinematography:

I loved Life of Pi! But part of me feels its cheating to use so much green screen (you're left with a kind of "is it cinematography or special effects" kind of dilemmas). Because of this I'm gonna want Skyfall to win, even though I think it's going to go to Pi.

Best Original Screenplay:
Because Flight and Moonrise have few nominations, they are sort of at the back of the pack. Either one of the remaining three could take it. As of today i have still only seen Django, so i think this category is out for me in terms of who should win. Who i think will win? Django, with Amour and ZDT in tie for second - but it is STILL anyone's to take really...

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Argo – Chris Terrio from The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez & The Great Escape by Joshuah Bearman
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin from Juicy and Delicious by Lucy Alibar
  • Life of Pi – David Magee from Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • Lincoln – Tony Kushner from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Silver Linings Playbook – David O. Russell from The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Whoever takes Best Picture should take this one too, whether its Argo, Licoln, Silver Linings Playbook or even Life of Pi. Beasts still has a chance, but unfortunately they don't have the bulk support of the academy behind it. Lincoln's screenplay is AMAZING, and Tony Kushner should be the one making a speech tonight, but i have a feeling that its gonna be now front-runner, Argo instead. Silver Linings could come from behind and produce an upset too though.

Best Supporting Actor:
  • Alan Arkin – Argo as Lester Seigel
  • Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook as Pat Solitano Sr.
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master as Lancaster Dodd
  • Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln as Thaddeus Stevens
  • Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained as Dr. King Schultz
On Awardsdaily, this category was voted the most unpredictable category of the evening. I'm rooting for Waltz, just because I enjoyed his performance so thouroughly. But it's really anyone's game. If Lincoln manages to pull off this win for Lee Jones, then they have a shoe in for their other categories too. If Arkin wins, its all over, and you could probably call it for Argo right at the start of things, before the event even gets going. Hoffman and De Niro are also brilliant (leaning towards Hoffman out of the two of them, but then again Hoffman reminded me very much of the mysterious Father Flynn in Doubt...). This will definitely be an interesting one!

Best Supporting Actress:
  • Amy Adams – The Master as Peggy Dodd
  • Sally Field – Lincoln as Mary Todd Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables as Fantine
  • Helen Hunt – The Sessions as Cheryl Cohen-Greene
  • Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook as Dolores Solitano
This category is Hatheway's to lose. She's won countless precursors and is set to win the gold in a couple of hours. The only possible upset is Fields (who's performance was absolutely phenominal). That said, it would be awesome for Silver Linings to take all of the Acting awards, but as you're about to see, that is kind of a longshot.

Best Actor:
  • Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook as Pat Solitano Jr.
  • Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln as Abraham Lincoln
  • Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables as Jean Valjean
  • Joaquin Phoenix – The Master as Freddie Quell
  • Denzel Washington – Flight as William "Whip" Whitaker
Danile Day-Lewis. That is all.
okay, as much as i'd love to leave it there, i have so say something about the other performances I've seen: Cooper certainally surprised a few people with his ability to balance the dramatic and the comic, Jackman was also amazing, but perhaps a little too melodramatic for some voters. Pheonix is also incredible, and if Day-Lewis doesn't get it, I'd possibly vote for him. Haven't seen Flight yet.

Best Actress:
  • Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty as Maya
  • Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook as Tiffany Maxwell
  • Emmanuelle Riva – Amour as Anne
  • Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild as Hushpuppy
  • Naomi Watts – The Impossible as Maria Bennett
Two weeks ago Lawrence was 9 tenths of the way to a lock, then Riva won the BAFTA which totally messed with the heads of voters (not to mention my head too). As much as Jennifer Lawrence and I have a scret love affrair (whoops!) and as much as I loved her in the film, I'd rather Riva gets it as a "life Time Achievement Award" kind of thing. Castain (so I've hear) is also phenominal, but I think she'd take home the bronze if this were an Olympic event.

and finally...

Best Director:
  • Michael Haneke – Amour
  • Ang Lee – Life of Pi
  • David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
  • Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild
With Ben Afflck's snub (the most talked about travesty this awards season), and his momentum in the BP category, who on earth wins this!? I believe most would call it for Spielberg, but lately I've been reading that some would'nt want him to win it because, well, you don't hand a 'god' a prize for being a god. If it's not him, it could be Silver Linings or Pi. But then again either of the other two could shock the way they did at the nominee announcement. My vote would be for Spielberg, with Zeitlin in second, just because Beast's was unlike anything I've seen before on cinema. It was this year's "Tree of Life" on creative steroids! The script was incredible, solid performances and score to boot. It's my film of the year...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Okay! So with less than a week to go before the world (for a very small percentage of us) will revert back to normal and we'll hang up our Oscars thinking caps after our celebration (of post mortem) reports are written. With best Picture covered already, i move on to those "lower categories" before we have a look at the remaining "big ones:

Best Documentary Short:

Can't comment on, haven't seen or heard about any of them

Best Live Action Short:

  • Asad – Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura
  • Buzkashi Boys – Sam French and Ariel Nasr
  • Curfew – Shawn Christensen
  • Death of a Shadow (Dood Van Een Schaduw) – Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele
  • Henry – Yan England
Ditto, South Africa needs to jack up plans to bring these to deep, dark Africa.

Best Animated Short:

I've only seen one of them, twice actually, and it was so beautiful! Paperman is able to take you on such a relatable journey, adding their dose of magic to a love story. The animation is unique and making most of the film in black and white helped The Artist win an award last year (you know, a few little trinkets), which i think helps Paperman stand out amongst the competition. I'm planning to view Head over Heals today though, so i'll let you know if that alters my opinion...

Best Documentary Feature:

Although i haven't seen any of them, several people i have spoken to regard Searching for Sugarman as the best of this lot. However, South African's do have a slight bias seeing as though our country is featured in the film. There's also a large amount of internet buzz for this film, not to mention it has already won a few of the major precursors (BAFTA, Critics Choice, Special Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance last year). How to Survive a Plague is also incredibly compelling (again, so I've heard), but Sugarman should take this.

Best Original Song:

Okay, so with Skyfall winning the Golden Globe for its title song, many would think that this is in the bag for Adele. yet, i can't seem to shake the feeling that the Academy is going to do something incredibly stupid this year (like they did last year with Man or Muppet - but that's a whole 'nother post all on its own), i feel like Ted could get this, and maybe even Suddenly. I'm rooting for Skyfall, but don't feel comfortable betting on it to win.

Best Sound Mixing:

Both Sound categories are tricky (heck, i have know idea what was intended to be heard and and blotted out, mixed together and balanced properly), however, I do think that Les Mis and Skyfall are stand outs here, along with possibly Argo. In the end I think if Argo gets Best Picture, its gonna need other awards to provide backing as to what makes it the Best Picture. if not, I'm backing Les Mis.

Best Sound Editing:
Argo, Skyfall and Pi, feature in both categories which I think gives them a leg up. In the end I'm going with Skyfall (because I'd really hate to see them walk home with nothing if Ted wins song).

Best Visual Effects:
If the Academy is looking for a film which best integrates the real with the unreal, then they'd go with Prometheus or The Hobbit. If they're looking for a special-effects-driven commercial film, then they'd go with Snow White or The Avengers, but The Academy is the Academy, and i feel as though Pi is a few strokes ahead of its competitors. Although some of the visuals are quite noticeably unreal, they way the film was able to tell an incredible story utilising the many advances of visual effects in recent years the way Martin Scorsese and David Fincher used them for Hugo and Benny Button, tells me that Pi is almost certain to win (a Best Picture nomination, solid usage of 3D and over 500 million at the box office don't hurt its chances either).

Best Make up and Hairstyling:
Let's ask ourselves an important question here: why is Hitchcock even here? Last time i checked anyone could put on a prosthetic nose and a fat suit and it wouldn't be considered marvelous film-making, but then again i haven't managed to see the film yet (it's due out in SA within the month). The Hobbit (like Benny Button) is able to blurr the boundaries between what is make up and what is special effects, which actually may work as a disadvantage. In terms of realistic make up, Les Mis wins, if its pushing the boundaries of what could be done with a brush, please voters, give it to The Hobbit!

Best Costume Design:
I'm just discarding Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman straight off the bat because, if I'm honest, i really did not like either of them enough to give them ANY award (sorry costumers, but great job anyway). I'd like to say Les Mis, or Lincoln because of the sheer mass of costumes and detailing that went into producing them - heck, Mary Todd's ball gown was replicated from scratch - beads, buttons and ugly frilly things in between. But i have a feeling Anna Karenina will sneak in here and walk away out the back door with an award in hand.

Best Production Design:
This is one impressive category, which could really go 20/20/20/20/20. In the end i feel like whoever gets costume design will get Production design as well. however, I'm hoping for The Hobbit to come out from the back row of the theatre and collect.

Best Foreign Language Film:
Do we even need to debate this one? Amour is nominated for four other awards including Best Picture... (BUUUUUT The Academy does some stupid things, and many people could say that Amour's many nominations, award them automatically? - Stranger things have happened)

The other awards to be posted by the end of the week (I say this with great hope and  faith in my horrid time management skills)
Peace, Love and Other Things

Friday, February 15, 2013

Golden Globe Predix Part 1

Best Picture – Drama
Django Unchained
Zero Dark Thirty
Life of Pi
Who should win: This is an impressive set of nominees, with each one being different from the one before. I’ve only seen Argo and Pi, (gave both 9/10), but the buzz for Argo and Lincoln is very strong. Bottom line, I’m cool with anyone of them taking home the gold.
Who will win: Heck! I have no clue. On a Global HFPA level, 4 out of the 5 are films about American history, which tells us something (what, I’m not quite sure yet). Lincoln has Spielberg going for it, and Argo has Affleck, the journalists also may feel that they did Katherine Bigelow out of a win for both picture and director in 2008 with The Hurt Locker. So its pretty much anyone’s for the taking.

 Best Picture – Musical or Comedy
Silver Linings Playbook
Les Miserables
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Moonrise Kingdom
Salomon Fishing in the Yemen
Who should win: The category says it all. Do we go for musical or a comedy? Its down to either SLP or Les Mis. The reviews for the former are much stronger than the latter, but that won’t necessarily translate into a win (if the HFPA could nominate Burlesque two years ago, they could hand a trophy to a more likeable musical). Having seen SLP the other day, I was not as blown away as I thought I would be (perhaps a second viewing will remedy that). Les Mis only comes out in SA on the 18th, so I can’t really say who should win this one.
Who will win: Tough call… Les Mis
*sidenote: Although I didn’t entirely enjoy The Best Exotic, I must say I’m glad to see it in there, along with the surprise Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (which I actually enjoyed more than Best Exotic. It was charming, and it never pushed to be anything that it wasn’t.
Best Actor – Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
John Hawkes – The Sessions
Joaquin Pheonix – The Master
Denzel Washinton – Flight
Richard Gere – Arbitrage
Who should win: Daniel Day-Lewis Who will win: Daniel Day-Lewis. I haven’t seen any of these films, but his reputation and buzz precede him. Of his previous Oscar wins, he one only for There Will be Blood in 2008. He’s now playing an iconic president for heaven’s sake! I hope they have no problem giving it to him again – the man is brilliant and should definitely take home the globe.
Best Actress – Drama
Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Naomi Watts – The Impossible
Rachel Weisz – The Deep Blue Sea
Marion Cotillard – Rust and Bone
Helen Mirren – Hitchcock
Who should win: Jessica Chastain
Who will win: Even though there is definitely a solid group of women in this category, it almost seems like a done deal for Chastain. She’s won numerous awards since we first found out that she was the lead in ZDT. Her closest competition is probably Watts, but that’s just going on internet buzz.

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy
Bradley Cooper – Sliver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables
Jack Black – Bernie
Ewan McGregor – Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Bill Murray – Hide Park on Hudson
Who should win: Hugh Jackman has been going at it for a few years now, and I feel that maybe this one could be it. The role is meaty and the little that I have seen of the movie captured my attention immediately.
Who will win: I feel like its between Cooper and Jackman. Cooper seems to give something new and interesting in his role as Pat, its borderline bad, yet never seems to tip the scale into OTT disaster. Maybe journo’s think he did a better job.
Best Actress – Musical or Comedy
Judi Dench – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
Emily Blunt – Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Maggie Smith – Quartet
Meryl Streep – Hope Springs
Who should win: For the work that she does for the age that she is, Lawrence’s performance as Tiffany is completely engaging for the mere fact that you have no idea what this woman is going to do next (invite you to bed, slap you, kiss you, use your shoulder to cry on, or all of the above).
Who will win: Following her win for Iron Lady last year sort of excludes Streep (although she was once again absolutely brilliant in Hope Springs). Judi Dench is brilliant, as is Maggie Smith, but I can’t help but think that all these women (including the ‘surprise’ nomination for Blunt), were just fillers so that Jennifer Lawrence had competition on paper.

Best Picture (maybe should've saved this for last)

So, 10 days to go till the big night, and what a race its shaping out to be (in some categories). While critics and Oscarologists are pretty much handing Argo a statue for Best Picture, other categories are wide oopen. Let's have a looksee:
Best Picture (with their total nominations attacted):
Lincoln (12)
Life of Pi (11)
Les Miserables (8)
Silver Linings Playbook(8)
Argo (7)
Django Unchained (5)
Zero Dark Thirty (5)
Amour (5)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (4)
First off, its great to see such a rich category of BP nominees. The last two years we've had the outliers of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Blind Side with only two nominations (one being BP). This year, even those on the low end of nominations have huge pluses with screenplay and directing nods to back them up, which tells, no, screams at the public that if there was ever a time to be watching films, its now!
Also, there is such a variety of films, everything from musicals to Tarantino and History to modern History, there truly is something for everyone here.
I still haven't managed to see Les Mis or Amour, and Zero Dark Thirty was only released in SA this morning. Out of those that i have seen, my favourite are in this order: Pi, Beasts, Argo, Django, Lincoln (which may move up to first after a second viewing), Silver Linings.
All stand out because of varying attributes, Pi for its visuals blending so beautifully with its story, Silver Linings for its actors, Lincoln for its sheer epic nature and attention to detail, Beasts for its ability to capture poetry on film, and Argo for being able to capture both the critics and the worldwide audience (having a well-known actor behind the camera and another beloved actor producing seriously doesn't hurt its appeal either!).
From what I've heard from the other three, Les Mis was incredible in its capturing the essence of musical theatre for the screen, Zero Dark Thirty is another Bigelow masterpiece and Amour not only pulls at the heart strings, but yanks at them with a chainsaw, which we as art house lovers consume with the guilty pleasure of a chocolate sundae! So who wins?
If you were to randomly select a date from Mid October to now, you would notice the front-runner has changed several times, with Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Mis, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook each getting their chance to test out the top spot (even Beasts got a chance when it won at Sundance a year ago). I honestly don't think I'd mind ANY of these wining the top prize... except for the now front-runner, Argo! I saw it again last week, and having LOVED it the first time, I find myself still thinking its a great film, but not THE Best Picture of 2012. That belongs to a film with greater craft, appeal, story, visuals, greater... SOMETHING, other than the fact that your producers are famous and know all over the world.
There's bound to be an upset in one category this year, because of all the talent. Here's hoping that one shows up in the big category, and instead of people going "OMG!, that sucks!!! *cough cough, Crash* people around the world will be cheering! The Oscar race will have returned to some reasonable sense of honour and reality...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Oscars Analysis to follow

Okay, so after correctly predicting all four best acting awards and the best director/picture combo, its time for a look at the final stages of the oscar race. Blogging has been min this year (in what year isn't it) but hopefully things will change soon. Look out for an Oscar analysis over the weekend. Peac, and other things...