Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oscar Commentary

Best Motion Picture of the Year
127 Hours (2010): Christian Colson, Danny Boyle, John Smithson
Black Swan (2010): Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin
The Fighter (2010): David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Mark Wahlberg
Inception (2010): Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas
The Kids Are All Right (2010): Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray
The King's Speech (2010): Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin
The Social Network (2010): Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Ceán Chaffin
Toy Story 3 (2010): Darla K. Anderson
True Grit (2010): Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin
Winter's Bone (2010): Anne Rosellini, Alix Madigan

*Schmoo's Notes: I'm always going to find something to complain about in almost any category, but I can honestly say that I'm, on the overall, satisfied with the Best Picture field of movies. These are pretty much the films I expected to be nominated. Sure, I think there were much better films than TRUE GRIT and THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (and I still haven't seen TOY STORY 3), but neither of those were bad movies. There were no joke nominees like THE BLIND SIDE this year and for that I'm glad. I'm very pleased to see WINTER'S BONE getting the respect it deserves as it was truly a phenomenal film.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem for Biutiful (2010)
Jeff Bridges for True Grit (2010)
Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network (2010)
Colin Firth for The King's Speech (2010)
James Franco for 127 Hours (2010)

Schmoo's notes: Having not seen BLUE VALENTINE, I can't say for certain that Ryan Gosling got snubbed (though I will likely see it this weekend), but all reviews indicate that he should have gotten a nomination. The Oscar people are obviously very high on the Coens and TRUE GRIT for it to have received so many nominations, but I still feel like Bridges was phoning in his Rooster Cogburn and shouldn't even come near Best Actor this year. Very pleased with the other noms though.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole (2010)
Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone (2010)
Natalie Portman for Black Swan (2010)
Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine (2010)

Schmoo's notes: Not bad. This was actually a pretty tough category to fill this year, but it looks like they did alright.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale for The Fighter (2010)
John Hawkes for Winter's Bone (2010)
Jeremy Renner for The Town (2010)
Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech (2010)

Schmoo's notes: A very competitive category this year. All these are good choices. Though Bale will undoubtedly win (and rightly so), I'm so glad to see Hawkes recognized for his amazing performance as Teardrop in WINTER'S BONE. Other great supporting actors this year: Ben Mendelson (ANIMAL KINGDOM), Armie Hammer/Andrew Garfield (THE SOCIAL NETWORK), Vincent Cassel (BLACK SWAN), Barry Pepper (TRUE GRIT) and Rhys Ifans (GREENBERG).

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams for The Fighter (2010)
Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech (2010)
Melissa Leo for The Fighter (2010)
Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit (2010)
Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom (2010)

Schmoo's notes: Another competitive category. All are good choices, though I feel Steinfeld's impression of Kim Darby really should not have made the cut. Personally, I would have included Mila Kunis (Black Swan) over her. Very pleased to see Weaver come through and grab ANIMAL KINGDOM's (sadly) only nomination.

Best Achievement in Directing
Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan (2010)
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen for True Grit (2010)
David Fincher for The Social Network (2010)
Tom Hooper for The King's Speech (2010)
David O. Russell for The Fighter (2010)

Schmoo's notes: The Coens are getting a gimme here based on universal adoration of them in the film community, even though TRUE GRIT is their weakest in years. O. Russell did a good job with THE FIGHTER, but I think others were more deserving, including Debra Granik (WINTER'S BONE)and newcomer David Michod (ANIMAL KINGDOM). Nolan's Best Director nomination still eludes him, better luck next time.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Another Year (2010): Mike Leigh
The Fighter (2010): Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington
Inception (2010): Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right (2010): Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
The King's Speech (2010): David Seidler

Schmoo's notes: How does BLACK SWAN not make this category? There are all pretty "meh" nominations here. ANIMAL KINGDOM was beautifully written and belongs here as well. ANOTHER YEAR gets a nom likley over Academy guilt about not nominating elsewhere (not meant as a dig at ANOTHER YEAR, just a likely scenario)

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
127 Hours (2010): Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network (2010): Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 (2010): Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
True Grit (2010): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Winter's Bone (2010): Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini

Schmoo's notes: This seems about right.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
How to Train Your Dragon (2010): Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
The Illusionist (2010): Sylvain Chomet
Toy Story 3 (2010): Lee Unkrich

Schmoo's notes: This category is a joke. Lots of people are calling for it to be cut. TOY STORY 3 made the Best Picture category, is there any doubt that it won't win here. Same thing happened with UP last year. Also, I know that this year wasn't as great for animation as last year, but you could still fill out the category if you're going to insist on including it. I didn't see TANGLED, but it got good reviews and even appeared on Tarantino's Top-Ten of 2010 list, why not give them a nod?

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Biutiful (2010): Alejandro González Iñárritu(Mexico)
Dogtooth (2009): Giorgos Lanthimos(Greece)
In a Better World (2010): Susanne Bier(Denmark)
Incendies (2010): Denis Villeneuve(Canada)
Outside the Law (2010): Rachid Bouchareb(Algeria)

Schmoo's notes: Actually haven't seen a single one of these, though I'll catch DOGTOOTH on Instant Queue shortly and Biutiful in theaters next month. I wish these films were made more available before Oscar night.

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Black Swan (2010): Matthew Libatique
Inception (2010): Wally Pfister
The King's Speech (2010): Danny Cohen
The Social Network (2010): Jeff Cronenweth
True Grit (2010): Roger Deakins

Schmoo's notes: This is fine. Cinematography was one of the things TRUE GRIT did have going for it, though I think WINTER'S BONE is more deserving.

Best Achievement in Editing
127 Hours (2010): Jon Harris
Black Swan (2010): Andrew Weisblum
The Fighter (2010): Pamela Martin
The King's Speech (2010): Tariq Anwar
The Social Network (2010): Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall

Schmoo's notes: THE KING'S SPEECH, really? The film was fantastic, but I can't say I was blown away by the editing. INCEPTION, HARRY POTTER 7, HOWL and even THE TOWN were better choices. The rest are pretty good.

Best Achievement in Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland (2010): Robert Stromberg, Karen O'Hara
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010): Stuart Craig
Inception (2010): Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Douglas A. Mowat
The King's Speech (2010): Eve Stewart, Judy Farr
True Grit (2010): Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh

Schmoo's notes: Even though I hated ALICE IN WONDERLAND, I get its inclusion here.

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland (2010): Colleen Atwood
I Am Love (2009): Antonella Cannarozzi
The King's Speech (2010): Jenny Beavan
The Tempest (2010/II): Sandy Powell
True Grit (2010): Mary Zophres

Schmoo's notes: Fine. WOLFMAN and HARRY POTTER could have been involved though.

Best Achievement in Makeup
Barney's Version (2010): Adrien Morot
The Way Back (2010): Edouard F. Henriques, Greg Funk, Yolanda Toussieng
The Wolfman (2010): Rick Baker, Dave Elsey

Schmoo's notes: Baker likely to take home award here, which is nice. Still, this is another category that they should just fill out. Did no other films use makeup in 2010? What about BLACK SWAN? What about SPLICE?

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
127 Hours (2010): A.R. Rahman
How to Train Your Dragon (2010): John Powell
Inception (2010): Hans Zimmer
The King's Speech (2010): Alexandre Desplat
The Social Network (2010): Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Schmoo's notes: Good choices, I suppose, though some of the best scores were disqualified for one reason or another. I still think Clint Mansell' s BLACK SWAN score was enough his own to merit a nomination, so was Carter Burwell's TRUE GRIT soundtrack. Also, how does TRON LEGACY not make the cut? That was probably one of the best/most popular scores in years.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
127 Hours (2010): A.R. Rahman, Rollo Armstrong, Dido("If I Rise")
Country Strong (2010): Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges("Coming Home")
Tangled (2010): Alan Menken, Glenn Slater("I See the Light")
Toy Story 3 (2010): Randy Newman("We Belong Together")

Schmoo's notes: Can't say as though I remember any of these. Randy Newman singin' about what he sees will probably win.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Inception (2010): Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick
The King's Speech (2010): Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen, John Midgley
Salt (2010): Jeffrey J. Haboush, William Sarokin, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell
The Social Network (2010): Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick
True Grit (2010): Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland

Schmoo's notes: It's when we get down to these more technical awards that we start to see what a farce some of the Academy's nominations can be. Last year, THE HURT LOCKER cleaned house, winning a ton of awards that it really had no right winning, simply on the merit of being the year's hot movie. Admittedly, I don't pay THAT much attention to "sound mixing", but I can tell you that I found nothing particularly remarkable about THE SOCIAL NETWORK or THE KING SPEECH's sound. Just because they are the two top prospects this year for best Pic, doesn't mean they automatically deserve these spots. More appropriate choices might be: SCOTT PILGRIM, HARRY POTTER 7, THE FIGHTER, IRON MAN 2, TRON LEGACY or even BLACK SWAN.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Inception (2010): Richard King
Toy Story 3 (2010): Tom Myers, Michael Silvers
TRON: Legacy (2010): Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Addison Teague
True Grit (2010): Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey
Unstoppable (2010): Mark P. Stoeckinger

Schmoo's notes: This is a more appropriate field of films for this type of category than the previous category.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland (2010): Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas, Sean Phillips
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010): Tim Burke, John Richardson
Hereafter (2010): Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky, Joe Farrell
Inception (2010): Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Pete Bebb, Paul J. Franklin
Iron Man 2 (2010): Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright, Daniel Sudick

Schmoo's notes: This might be the most ridiculous category of all this year. How does TRON LEGACY not make this list? It had some of the most advanced, stunning effects ever on film. HEREAFTER makes the cut though? I didn't see the film, but what for? Some tsunami/flood effects? ALICE IN WONDERLAND should be cut as well. I didn't see it in 3D, so maybe I'm missing something, but the effects in it looked cheap, especially the rabbit hole sequences. TRON, SCOTT PILGRIM, WOLFMAN and SPLICE are all better choices.

Best Documentary, Features
Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010): Banksy, Jaimie D'Cruz
GasLand (2010): Josh Fox, Trish Adlesic
Inside Job (2010): Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs
Restrepo (2010): Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger
Waste Land (2010): Lucy Walker, Angus Aynsley

Schmoo's notes: Haven't seen a lot of these, but EXIT and RESTREPO were good, especially EXIT.

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