Monday, January 23, 2012

Oscar Predictions

They're tomorrow! I like to be right! (listed in order of likelihood)

BEST PICTURE
The Artist
The Descendants
Hugo
The Help
Midnight in Paris
Girl with Dragon Tattoo
Moneyball

[Next most likely: The Tree of Life, War Horse]

BEST DIRECTOR
Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist
Martin Scorsese - Hugo
Alexander Payne - The Descendants
Terrence Malick - The Tree of Life
Tate Taylor - The Help

[Next most likely: David Fincher (Dragon Tattoo), Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), Steven Spielberg (War Horse)]

BEST ACTRESS
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady
Viola Davis - The Help
Michelle Williams - My Week With Marilyn
Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs
Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

[Next most likely: Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Charlize Theron (Young Adult), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)]

BEST ACTOR
George Clooney - The Descendants
Jean Dujardin - The Artist
Brad Pitt - Moneyball
Michael Fassbender - Shame
Leonardo DiCaprio - J. Edgar

[Next most likely: Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March), Michael Shannon (Take Shelter), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)]

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Octavia Spencer - The Help
Shailene Woodley - The Descendants
Jessica Chastain - The Help
Bérénice Bejo - The Artist
Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs

[Next most likely: Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)]

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Christopher Plummer - Beginners
Albert Brooks - Drive
Kenneth Branagh - My Week with Marilyn
Brad Pitt - The Tree of Life
Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Moneyball

[Next most likely: Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Armie Hammer (J. Edgar), Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris), Nick Nolte (Warrior), Viggo Mortenson (A Dangerous Method)]

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Artist
Bridesmaids
Midnight in Paris
A Separation
50/50

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Descendants
Moneyball
The Help
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The Ides of March

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Hugo
The Tree of Life
The Artist
Girl with Dragon Tattoo
Drive

BEST COSTUMES
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The Artist
Hugo
My Week with Marilyn
Albert Nobbs

BEST ART DIRECTION
Hugo
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The Artist
War Horse
Girl with Dragon Tattoo

BEST FOREIGN FILM
A Separation
Pina
Footnote
In Darkness
Monsieur Lazhar

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Adventures of Tintin
Rango
Puss in Boots
Rio
Happy Feet 2

BEST EDITING
The Artist
The Descendants
Hugo
Moneyball
Drive

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Artist
Girl with Dragon Tattoo
War Horse
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Jane Eyre

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Hugo
Rise of Planet of Apes
Harry Potter
Mission: Impossible - GP
Captain America

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Project Nim
Bill Cunningham NY
Paradise Lost 3
Semper Fi
We Were Here

BEST SOUND MIXING
Harry Potter
Mission: Impossible
Super 8
Hugo
Hanna

BEST SOUND EFFECTS EDITING
Mission: Impossible - GP
Super 8
Rise of Planet of Apes
Hugo
Drive

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"The Living Proof" - The Help
"Man or Muppet" - The Muppets
"Lay Your Head Down" - Albert Nobbs
"Life's a Happy Song" - The Muppets
"Gathering Stories" - We Bought a Zoo

BEST MAKEUP
Harry Potter
The Iron Lady
The Artist
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Carnage Cast Power Rankings


It was pretty much impossible for me to come away from Carnage with a clean opinion, since I was so constantly preoccupied with comparing the performances in the film to the cast of the play. This isn't the movie's fault exactly (though I still don't see why at least Marcia Gay Harden and Jeff Daniels couldn't reprise their roles -- it's not like you're selling tickets on the star power of your cast, mostly because you're not selling tickets, this is playing in like three cities!), but regardless of blame, I just couldn't lose myself in the movie, as funny (and frustrating) as it is. [Also distracting? Trying to figure out where in Brooklyn this is taking place by the view outside the windows -- but they filmed this in Paris, right?]

So the best I can do is judge the four main cast members of Carnage based on how well they pulled off their characters, both on their own and relative to the original Broadway cast that I saw.

1. Kate Winslet: Can't remember which of my friends to credit this observation to, but it's so true: Kate Winslet plays a great drunk. She's so entertaining! She gets exactly the right comedic tone and nails her character's shift from meek to vicious.I thought Hope Davis was great on Broadway, but Winslet manages to be the film's only performer to solidly best her predecessor.

2. Christoph Waltz: He plays this part almost exactly the same as the Nazi he played in Inglorious Basterds, only with more disdain and less giggling. Which is deeply weird but makes for some fun moments. I also don't know WHAT he's supposed to be doing with that accent of his -- is it supposed to be gone? Because it's not. And as a result, it sounds like he's taking the time to thoroughly chew his words until they're mashed up enough to escape his mouth. He's funny, but he comes across like a total alien, and more often than not, I really wanted to see Jeff Daniels back in the role.

3. John C. Reilly: Here's the thing about God of Carnage, at least in its original Broadway incarnation: James Gandolfini was kind of not great. Don't get me wrong, he really had his moments. But the one thing Reilly's performance shows is that Michael is supposed to come off as a realistically shlubby Dad type before he goes all macho-rage-monster. Gandolfini really nailed the latter part, obvs. Reilly manages to nail the former part, equally obvs, but I don't for a second buy him as an angry caveman type. Casting an actor who could hit both those notes within the same performance would have been great.

4. Jodie Foster: Oh, girl. Look, I like Jodie Foster a lot, even if that like is running on Clarice Starling fumes. And to be honest, she was behind the 8-ball from the moment she was cast, because I absolutely adored Marcia Gay Harden in this role, and I'm really mad she's not up there on the big screen nailing it again. But even giving Jodie the benefit of the doubt ... she's not good. Harden played her as a self-righteous lunatic, sure, but she had modulation. Heart. A realistic sense of personhood. Jodie plays her as a punchline from start to end. Bummed me out.

5. "Alexander": He's not in the play, but damned if that kid can't swing a stick like he means business.
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Sunday, January 08, 2012

We Need to Talk About Annie

So apparently it took me until 2012 to realize that there is some kind of soul-twin, spirit-animal, cosmic connection between Tilda Swinton and Annie Lennox. I mean, the androgyny, the continental weirdness -- Tilda basically played her angel Gabriel in Constantine AS Annie Lennox, for Pete's sake. But, whatever, better late than never. (This was also the weekend for me to discover that Annie wrote and recorded the Whitney Houston song "Step By Step." Yes, from The Preacher's Wife. I've never felt like more of a failure.)

But as I was walking around the other day, listening to my iPod, it dawned on me that "Why" is secretly a 20-year premonition of Tilda's character in We Need to Talk About Kevin! Well, it COULD happen! She's looking back, interpreting everything as darkly as possible, "this is the fear / this is the dread / these are the contents of my head," I mean COME ON.

Anyway, I was discussing this connection with Nick, and it was late, and my brain was squishy and open to suggestion, and I had PhotoShop and Spotify open at the same time, and so what resulted was this series of images marrying Tilda's various roles with Annie's various hit songs, and it was really entertaining to me when I was doing this at two in the morning so I hope you like it.

(Click to view full-size images -- Blogger is crap for image space.)





(above courtesy Nick Davis)

(above courtesy Nick Davis)

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