2011 Oscar Predictions

 

Whoops, wrong Oscar.

I’m not as interested in the Oscars this year as in previous years, mostly because Halle Berry’s breasts don’t seem to be nominated for anything. But I’m still going to watch, so I thought I’d put together my picks.  I would say that most people don’t give a Bieber about who wins the Oscars, and I’m about as good as this as Charlie Sheen is at showing up to work, but here goes. Oh, and I left out the categories where I haven’t watched enough of the films nominated to have a valid opinion.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Who should win? I’ll go with The Kids Are All Right for this one, though I don’t think the nominees are that strong this year.

Who will Win? King’s Speech probably will, because british accents make words sound better.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

What should win? This one’s a tough pick for me. It’s probably a toss-up between True Grit and Social Network, though I wouldn’t be sad if Winter’s Bone won either. I love Aaron Sorkin’s work, but I think that the Cohen’s script for True Grit is one of their strongest yet. Let’s go with Social Network.

What will win? Social Network. Aaron Sorkin’s fluid script is what makes this movie work, and is easily the biggest star of the film.

Visual Effects

What should win? Inception, primarily for Joseph Gordon Leavitt’s fight scenes.

What will win? I’d say Inception, but that might just be because it’s the only film nominated in this category that was actually watchable. I’m not sure why Hollywood seems to think that “special effect” movies can’t be great too.

Sound Mixing

What should win? Black Swan, even though it wasn’t nominated.

What will win? Inception. Probably the best chance that Inception has to win an Oscar this year.

Sound Editing

What should win? Again, Black Swan, even though it wasn’t nominated. Easily the best sounding movie this year.

What will win? Toy Story 3.

Music (Original Song)

What should win? Either Mother Knows Best, or I’ve Got A Dream, from Tangled, though neither was nominated.

What will win? We Belong Together, from Toy Story. Why? Because it’s Randy Newman. And watching an Oscars show without Randy Newman is like getting lung cancer without having smoked a cigarette.

Music (Original Score)

What should win? Black Swan, by Clint Mansell, even though it wasn’t nominated due the Academy’s dumb rules as to what constitutes an “original” score. My runner-up would be True Grit, which was also disqualified for the same reason.

What will win? The King’s Speech, by Alexandre Desplat. It’s a decent enough score, and does the job a score is supposed to do, which is to support the movie it’s in.

Best Foreign Language Film

What Should win? Incendies. It’s a Quebec film about rape, war, and incest.

What will win? Biutiful. It’s a Spanish film about looking into Javier Barden’s big, beautiful eyes for two hours. Which film do YOU think will win?

Film Editing

What Should Win? 127 Hours. Nobody knows how tell a story like Danny Boyle, and while people didn’t seem to respond to 127 Hours the way they did to his previous film, the editing was definitely the strongest part of the film, and deserves to be recognized.

What Will Win? Social Network.

Documentary Feature

This telephone booth may be accepting the award for best documentary.

What should win? Exit Through The Gift Shop. I would give Van Gogh’s ear to see this happen, JUST to see if Banksy will show up to accept the award.

What will win? Inside Job, unfortunately. It wasn’t a particularly well-made or interesting take on the financial crisis, but for some reason seemed to have quite a high-profile year.

Directing

Who should win? Darren Aronofsky, for Black Swan. I don’t think we have another director that is daring, as focused, and as talented as Darren Aranofsky right now. Another disappointment of this year’s Oscars is that Christopher Nolan didn’t get nominated for Inception.

Who will win? David Fincher, for Social Network.

Costume Design

Who should win? Mary Zophres, for True Grit.

Who will win? Jenny Beavan, for The King’s Speech. When in doubt, always go with the British period piece. It’s the costume design equivalent of going full retard.

Cinematography

Who should win? Danny Cohen, for the King’s Speech. Never has wallpaper looked so good.

Who will win? Danny Cohen, for the King’s Speech, though I think this is probably the category that has the strongest nominees. There are literally no losers here.

Art Direction

Who should win? King’s Speech.

Who will win? King’s Speech. You’re probably sensing a trend here. If this movie’s script was half as good as it looked, this would have been the best film of the year.

Animated Feature Film

Who Should Win? Toy Story 3, though I wouldn’t be sad if L’Illusioniste won. One of the misses of this year’s Oscars was that Tangled wasn’t nominated, in favour of the noxious How To Train Your Dragon.

Who Will Win? Toy Story 3. Pixar owns this category like Gaddafi owns crazy.

Supporting Actress

Two talented actresses. One reaaaaaally bad movie.

Who should win? Lesley Manville, for her sad, and desperately lonely performance in Another Year. Oh wait, she wasn’t nominated. Ok, so let’s go with Hailee Steinfeld. She was fantastic in True Grit, though the script she had to work with was a big part of that.

Who will win? Probably Amy Adams or Melissa Leo for The Fighter. They both had the misfortune of being in the same terrible movie, though they weren’t able to rise above it the way the Christian Bale did.

Best Actress

Natalie Portman, about 2 minutes after she realizes that she'll never be in a movie as good as Black Swan again.

Who should win? Natalie Portman. Hands down. There isn’t another category that I’m as convinced as to who should win as this one. Portman turned in the peformance of her career in Black Swan. That being said, I wouldn’t be sad if Jennifer Lawrence won this either.

Who will win? Not Natalie Portman or Jennifer Lawrence. Annette Bening seems to have this one locked up. Don’t get me wrong, I liked her in The Kids Are alright, but I think Portman took more risks with her performance.

Best Supporting Actor

Who should win? Christian Bale.

Who will win? Christian Bale. However, what he should actually win for is for “Best Supporting Actor In An Otherwise Awful Movie”. The Fighter was REALLY bad,  but someone forgot to tell Christian Bale, and so he put in the performance of his career, for a movie that really didn’t deserve it.  Also, being the best actor in a movie that stars Mark Wahlberg is a little like being the straightest man at a Cher concert: It’s not a contest if you’re the only one competing.

Best Actor

Who should win? Jeff Bridges. I think this isn’t likely, due to the fact that he won it last year for the thoroughly forgettable Crazy Heart.

Who will win? Colin Firth. I’m not sure what it is about the acting categories lately. The awards seem to be given for great performances in films that are otherwise just ok. That’s not to take anything away from Firth’s performance in King’s Speech. He helped make a decent film even better, and that’s his job. He really should have won for last year’s Single Man, so I’m ok if he finally gets his due here.

Best Picture

 

The best movie based on a book about a website ever.

Who should win? It’s no secret that I wasn’t blown away by a lot of films in 2010. Black Swan was one of very few exceptions, and it’s the movie that I most responded to, both emotionally and from a technical standpoint. In a time where Hollywood is getting safer and safer, Black Swan was a film that took risks. Risks that paid off big time.

Who will win? Social Network. Actually, I think this is a two-horse race, between Social Network and King’s Speech. Social Network is the better film, and it’s also one of three films that had both big box office as well as serious critical acclaim (Inception and Toy Story being the other two). It’s a movie that very much captures the zeitgeist of our time, and while I don’t think it was the best movie of the year, it’s probably the most important. It’s also my favourite movie based on a website since http://www.hothornyhousewives.com 2.

Enjoy the show!

The Best Movies of 2010: Disagree With Me At Your Peril

Ok, first of all, this isn’t the “best” movies list, this is “Tim’s favourite movies out of the movies he’s seen” list. Second of all….actually that’s it. This has been a very weak year for movies for me, and judging by the box office, for the rest of you as well.  For some reason, I haven’t seemed to have kept up on my international films much this year, and most of these are North American films. That being said, there’s been some rare but fine gems:

10 (TIE). Social Network. Directed by David Fincher, and 127 Hours. Directed by Danny Boyle

Although there is a lot to admire about both of these films from a technical standpoint, both left me a little cold emotionally. I put these together as I felt exactly the same way when I left the theater after both of them: Impressed, but empty. Don’t get me wrong, these are both excellent dramas. Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay for Social Network deserves the Oscar, and Jon Harris’ editing work made Danny Boyle look as brilliant as ever in 127 Hours. But they both seemed to suffer from an excess of style, and from a lack of substance.  

9.  L’Illusionniste. Directed by Sylvain Chomet.

A worthy, yet unassuming followup to Chomet’s Triplets of Belleville, L’Illusionniste is the story of a down-on-his-luck magician, and his groupie. A stunning animated film, short on plot, but long on emotion.

8. Cell 211. Directed by Daniel Monzón.

A Spanish political prison thriller that got very little buzz over here, but one that I would recommend highly to those that like their dramas tense and well-crafted.

7. Inception. Directed by Christopher Nolan.

Although I didn’t love this as much a lot of people did, it was nice to see people turn out in droves for a good action movie for a change. Probably the best thing to come out of this movie was that it was proof that people are STARVING for original genre material, and that not every big budget action movie has to be based on a comic, TV show, video game, or other franchise. Although not Nolan’s best (or even second best. Or even third best) film, it’s still a highly entertaining, thought provoking action movie, in a world where those seem to be few and far between.

6. Toy Story 3. Directed by Lee Unkrich.

Pixar does it again, by saying goodbye to the girl who brought them to the dance in the first place. Praising Pixar movies is a little like complimenting your mother’s cooking: Eventually you run out of nice things to say, but that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t taste great. I wish I was excited about Cars 2 as I was about this film, but it looks like I’ll have to wait until 2012 to see another great Pixar film.

5. Exit Through The Gift Shop. Directed by Banksy. Maybe. And possibly Shephard Fairey. Maybe.

A documentary that people will be talking about for years, mostly because no one knows if it was actually a documentary or not. It’s essentially a snapshot of the guerrilla art movement of the last decade or so, as seen through the eyes of someone who is either a complete and utter fraud, or one of the most different talents the art world has seen in this decade. Or both. Or neither. I have no idea really, but this is the best faux-documentary since Orson Welles’ F Is For Fake.

 4. Another Year. Directed by Mike Leigh.

This is the best plotless movie of the year. Well, it does have a plot, but it’s not one that would motivate you to watch the movie:  An English couple has friends and family, and occasionally they come over for tea. That’s it. That’s the whole movie.  So why do I love this so much? Because it’s an incredibly realistic “slice-of-life” film, the likes of which are rarely seen anymore in mainstream film. Although it might not be the most action-packed two hours you’ll spend at the theatre this year, it will definitely be two of the most entertaining.     

 3. Winter’s Bone. Directed by Debra Granick

The best pure independent movie I’ve seen this year. While this still hasn’t gotten much mainstream attention, it’s starting to rack up the critical love, and is a lock for some serious Oscar attention, especially with 10 movies now being allowed in the best picture category. It’s the story of an 18-year-old Ozark girl who has had to become the de facto head of household for her younger brother and sister. When she finds out that her crystal meth selling father has jumped bail, she takes it upon herself to track him down, or risk losing the house that her family lives in. Not only is this a benchmark in “small c” crime fiction, it also introduces us to probably the most inspirational, yet realistic character we’ve seen in the movies this year.  

 2. True Grit. Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.

This movie is a rare example of when commercial viability and artistic integrity can mix, and mix well. The Coens have long been among the most creative film makers in the world, but this might be their most accessible film yet. This is the film that Jeff Bridges SHOULD win an Oscar for, and costar Hailee Steinfeld is a strong contender for one as well. This is the best American western in almost 2 decades.

  1. Black Swan. Directed by Darren Aronofsky

A challenging mind-frak, the likes of which we rarely get to see in North American theatres anymore. To say that Aronofsky is at the top of his game would be an understatement.  Although there were a lot of pretty films this year, very few of them engaged me emotionally the way this one did. The fact that the man who made this masterpiece is going to be tackling Wolverine next should have all geeks quivering with excitement.

Honourable Mentions:  Shutter Island directed by Martin Scorcese;  Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World directed  by Edgar Wright; Tangled directed by Byron Howard and Nathan Greno; Let Me In directed by Matt Reeves. Disagree with me? Let me know.

Originally posted at: http://www.futureshopforums.ca/t5/Tech-Blog/The-Best-Movies-of-2010-Disagree-with-me-at-your-peril/ba-p/262580

Best Movie Of The Year? I Review Black Swan

 Black Swan. Directed by Darren Aronofsky.

 Remember that scene in Empire Strikes Back where Luke goes into the cave on Dagobah and finds Darth Vader? He fights Vader, cuts off his head, and then discovers that he was fighting himself the whole time?

 Black Swan is like a two hour version of that scene, but with more tutus and less lightsabers.

This has been a tough year for film. At the box office, sure, but most importantly in terms of quality, at xenozoic.jpgleast in my opinion. Although there have been films that impressed me on a technical level (127 Hours, Social Network, Inception), there have been very few movies that have moved me on a personal or emotional level, and isn’t that what movies are supposed to do? So I went into my Black Swan screening with some hope, but mostly with trepidation. This year has been full of films that overpromised and under delivered, and while I LOVE Darren Aronofsky’s films, I’m extremely wary of hype.

I’m happy to report that my fears were unjustified. Although this is a bold statement to make about the guy that made Requiem For A Dream, I believe that this may be Aronofsky’s best film to date

 Here’s the skinny: Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, an up and coming ballerina  finally on the verge of success after years of hard work. However, as she gets close to achieving her goals, she finds that the price for achieving artistic perfection might be too high. An overbearing mother, an overly strict director, and new, younger competition in Mila Kunis all contribute to the melodrama.

 This is a stunning film. I can’t think of a single level that this film doesn’t excel in; from Aronofsky’s extremely tight but fluid direction, to Portman’s career-best performance, to Clint Mansell’s exquisite score, this movie outdoes itself at every level. Even the sound design is amazing.  I want to use the word groundbreaking for this film, but that’s not quite accurate; we’ve seen similar work from directors like Polanski and Malle, and even Aronofsky himself. It’s just that we haven’t seen anything quite like it in so very long. This movie sets the bar high as to what film can achieve, and it’s a master class in how to create tension for film. I just hope there are other directors and movies willing to step up to the plate.

Although it’s still early in the season, this will probably end up being my pick for best film of 2010, which also means that it will probably get shut out at the Oscars, leaving me to curse wildly at my television this spring.  

Rating: A+

Posted originally at http://www.futureshopforums.ca/t5/Tech-Blog/The-Best-Movie-of-the-year-I-review-Black-Swan/ba-p/246228