Friday, February 25, 2011

What Would It Mean If _____ Won Best Picture?

At this point the race has really come down to The King's Speech vs The Social Network to walk away with Best Picture come Oscar night. Or if you like to believe almost every prognosticator ever, just The King's Speech. But I refuse. REFUSE. Because at the end of the day, we don't really know what the Academy is going to do. Sure, they more often than not follow a particular formula, but they've also gone completely out of the box from time to time (Marcia Gay Harden, anyone?) so we decided to take a look at what it would mean should something more unexpected take the win Sunday night. A breakdown of what would it mean if each nominated picture won, in order of most likely to least likely.

The King's Speech - Same old same old. Traditional wins out over exciting or new. What I think this practically means is Academy members saw The Social Network months ago and saw The King's Speech most recently out of the nominated 10, as The Weinstein Company sent it well after every other screener had arrived. It warmed members' hearts, so they marked it on their ballot and sent it on its way. Timing is often everything when it comes to the Oscars. Also possible that The Social Network simply didn't hit them the way The King's Speech did and with the academy members' ages generally skewing older, it could be that TSN just didn't read to them, though I'm kind of offended by the idea that "age" = "unable to understand anything new," Andy Rooney. Mostly, should this happen, it means everyone sucks.

The Social Network - Ten nominees is working out! It means the riskier, more passionate choices actually have a shot winning over more old fashioned options. This may mean members took the time to re-watch The Social Network, re-fall in love with in and re-appreciate everything that's brilliant about it. Could also mean many voters decided to go with the objectively better film over the one that may have given them stomach fuzzies, but would be forgotten in years to come.  Most likely, this means anyone who *didn't* vote for The King's Speech or The Social Network for #1, ranked The Social Network higher than The King's Speech in their preferential ballot. Also, this means everyone rules.

The Fighter - Ah the beauty of low expectations! Here we have a movie very much marketed as one thing while it was in fact another. The anti-schmaltz sports story, it was dark, funny, brilliantly acted. It could have been such a delightful surprise to Academy members, that it ended up staying in the highest of regard come ballot time.

True Grit - Ah the beauty of beauty! Plus the Coen Brothers! The most gorgeously shot of the bunch, True Grit was quite the feat in that it was a classic Western in every way while simultaneously being distinctively Coen Brothers. And it is a legitimate star maker, introducing us to Hailee Steinfeld. A nice combination of beauty, heartfeltness, great filmmaking and humor, if True Grit wins, it means Academy members ignored what they were being told was the "old school favorite" and *actually* voted with their hearts. Because if we ARE taking age into consideration here, wouldn't members more likely be fans of the WESTERN, a classic AMERICAN genre, over a period piece like The King's Speech, when 3 Westerns have won Best Picture but a film centered around a British monarch never has? So if we're talking nostalgia/old fashioned, shouldn't that lie with the Western for the American voter?

Black Swan - Don't underestimate the power of the cray-cray . Only one horror film has ever won Best Picture, but it has happened. When executed well enough, it stands a chance, and Black Swan certainly fits that bill. If it wins, it means members decided to go with the movie that stuck with them the most, that got under their skin and affected them beyond the experience of just sitting & watching a movie. Or they just want to support lurid fantastical lesbian sex scenes. Which is just as valid a reason.

Inception - Similar to Black Swan in motivation, it would mean Inception stuck with members, changed the way they dreamed, was a source of discussion for weeks, and when it came time to mark the ballot, was the film that jumped out as having most transcended the common movie going experience. Inception winning over Black Swan means that science fiction has become a truly legitimate genre when it comes to Oscar films, it's what Silence of the Lambs did for Horror and Return of the King did for Fantasy. Will be really nice when this finally happens for Sci-Fi. Which, by the way, will not be this year. Just. You know. FYI. Sigh.

The Kids Are All Right - Everyone finally realized their political fallacy by choosing Crash over Brokeback Mountain in 2005 and decided to make up for it by selecting The Kids Are All Right for the win, which happens to be a much superior film to Brokeback anyway. Said it. Or, the real reason, since, believe it or not, personal beliefs actually *don't* play a role when selecting the best movie of the year, members think fondly on the warmth, originality, careful direction and stellar performances that came from such a small film that really says something about the here and now, and ultimately thought to let a true underdog upset.

Winter's Bone - There just aren't enough movies about backwoods meth addicts. Academy members want more. MOAR SQUIRREL GUTTING PLZ. OH AND METH, MOAR METH TOO K THX. Or members ended up going for the quiet, underdog nature of the truest indie of the bunch. Note: They didn't.

Toy Story 3 - Disney called in all of their favors and had too much hanging over too many people's heads for anyone to say no.

127 Hours - We've entered into an alternate universe where Fincher's Benjamin Button swept two years ago for and now it's Danny Boyle's "turn". Because that is the only possible explanation for 127 Hours winning Best Picture.

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The Second Annual Fangirl Award Winners!

The results are in! Our Fangirl Academy, now 87 members strong, both nominated, then voted for their favorites from 2010. You can find all of the nominees, honorable mentions and winners below.

If you like a little suspense with your awards, watch the videos below! Note: We only have 9 categories to offer you in "suspense" form. A few videos were having trouble uploading, but should be up for your viewing pleasure later today.

After the videos, you'll find all the winners typed out, once again, following Nathaniel R's method of highlighting first place in gold, 2nd in silver and in some cases, 3rd place in bronze. Thanks to the fangirls who participated in voting and in presenting! I hope next year we have an even bigger academy and even more fangirls presenting :). Sign up to be a voting member for next year's awards, by clicking here.

Best Picture

Black Swan
Blue Valentine
Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part One
The Kid's Are All Right
The King's Speech
Scott Pilgrim V. The World
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit

Honorable Mentions: The Fighter, Shutter Island, Easy A

Best Actor

Colin Firth - The King's Speech
Leonardo DiCaprio - Inception/Shutter Island
Jeff Bridges - True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
Ryan Gosling - Blue Valentine

Honorable Mentions: James Franco - 127 Hours

Best Actress

- Show quoted text -

Julianne Moore - The Kids Are All Right
Natalie Portman - Black Swan
Haliee Steinfeld - True Grit
Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone
Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine
Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right*

Honorable Mentions: Emma Stone - Easy A

Best Supporting Actor

Geoffrey Rush - The King's Speech
Joseph Gordon Levitt - Inception
Christian Bale - The Fighter
Andrew Garfield - The Social Network
Mark Ruffalo - The Kids Are All Right/Shutter Island

Honorable Mentions: Jeremy Renner - The Town, Matt Damon - True Grit, Keiran Culkin - Scott Pilgrim

Best Supporting Actress

Helena Bohnam Carter - The King's Speech
Melissa Leo - The Fighter
Amy Adams - The Fighter
Barbara Hershey - Black Swan
Mila Kunis - Black Swan

Honorable Mentions: Marion Cotillard - Inception, Olivia Williams - The Ghost Writer

Best Director

Christopher Nolan - Inception
Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan
David Fincher - The Social Network
Edgar Wright - Scott Pilgrim V. The World
The Coen Brothers - True Grit

Honorable Mentions: David Yates - Harry Potter GHP1, Danny Boyle - 127 Hours, Debra Granik - Winter's Bone

Best Adapted Screenplay

Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy -127 Hours
Aaron Sorkin - The Social Network
Joel & Ethan Coen - True Grit
Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall - Scott Pilgrim v. The World
Michael Arndt - Toy Story 3

Honorable Mentions: Harry Potter DHP1, Winter's Bone, The Town

Best Original Screenplay

Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz & John McLaughlin - Black Swan
Christopher Nolan - Inception
Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg - The Kids Are All Right
Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson - The Fighter
David Seidler - The King's Speech

Honorable Mentions: Blue Valentine, Please Give

Best Score

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network
Daft Punk - Tron: Legacy
Hans Zimmer - Inception
Alexandre Desplat - Harry Potter: DHP1
Clint Mansell - Black Swan

Honorable Mentions: Danny Elfman - Alice in Wonderland, A.R. Rahman - 127 hours

World I Most Want To Visit

The Wizarding World - Harry Potter: DHP1
The Grid - Tron Legacy
Underland - Alice in Wonderland
The Dreamscape - Inception
Stylized Toronto - Scott Pilgrim V. The World

Honorable Mentions: Berk (How to Train Your Dragon), Narnia (Dawn Treader)

Best On Screen Animal

Pascal - Tangled
Maximus - Tangled
Toothless - How To Train Your Dragon
Little Blackie - True Grit
Hedwig - Harry Potter

Honorable Mentions: Cheshire Cat, Secretariat, Reepicheep

Best Chemistry - Romantic - Film

Amy Adams & Mark Wahlberg - The Fighter
Drew Barrymore & Justin Long - Going The Distance
Carey Mulligan & Andrew Garfield - Never Let Me Go
Rupert Grint & Emma Watson - Harry Potter DHP1
Natalie Portman & Mila Kunis - Black Swan
Anne Hathaway & Jake Gyllenhaal - Love & Other Drugs
Michelle Williams & Ryan Gosling - Blue Valentine
Annette Bening & Julianne Moore - The Kids Are All Right
Mark Ruffalo & Julianne Moore - The Kids Are All Right
Michael Cera & Mary Elizabeth Weinsted - Scott Pilgrim V. The World

Honorable Mention: Ben Affleck & Rebecca Hall - The Town, Gwenyth Paltrow & Robert Downey Jr - Iron Man 2, Steve Carrell & Tina Fey - Date Night

Best Chemistry (or is it?) (Mostly, yes) - Platonic - Film - TIE for Bronze

Colin Firth & Geoffrey Rush - The King's Speech
Daniel Radcliffe & Emma Watson - Harry Potter DHP1
Tom Hardy & Joseph Gordon Levitt - Inception
Michael Cera & Keiran Culkin - Scott Pilgrim V The World
Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges & Matt Damon - True Grit
Andrew Garfield & Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
Will Farrell & Mark Wahlberg - The Other Guys
The Mad Hatter & Alice - Alice in Wonderland
Nicholas Cage & Chloe Moretz - Kick Ass
Emma Stone, Stanley Tucci & Patricia Clarkson - Easy A

Voiceover Performance

Steve Carrell as Gru - Despicable Me
Tom Hanks as Woody - Toy Story 3
Zachary Levi as Flynn Rider - Tangled
Mandy Moore as Rapunzel - Tangled
Jay Baruchnel as Hiccup - How To Train Your Dragon

Honorable Mentions: Tim Allen - Toy Story 3, Kristin Schaal - Toy Story 3, Craig Ferguson - How To Train Your Dragon

Epic Fail Movie - Genre

Clash of the Titans
Jonah Hex
The Last Airbender
Twilight: Eclipse
Nightmare on Elm Street

Epic Fail Movie - Non-Genre

Sex and the City 2
The Bounty Hunter
Grown Ups
Yogi Bear
How Do You Know?

Best Characterization of an Established Figure

King George VI - The King's Speech
Scott Pilgrim - Scott Pilgrim V. The World
The Mad Hatter - Alice in Wonderland
Tony Stark - Iron Man 2
Mark Zuckerberg - The Social Network

Honorable Mentions: Sherlock & Watson - BBC's Sherlock, Rapunzel - Tangled, Al Capone - Boardwalk Empire, Dicky Euckland - The Fighter

Best Fight/Battle Sequence

Scott/Ramona/Knives/Gideon (Final Battle) - Scott Pilgrim
Arthur's No Gravity Hallway Fight - Inception
Hit Girl Infiltrates Mob Building (Final Battle) - Kick Ass
Scott Pilgrim v. Exil Ex #1 - Scott Pilgrim v. The World
Scott Pilgrim v. Exil Ex #3 (Vegan) - Scott Pilgrim v. The World
Black Widow Hallway Takedown - Iron Man 2*

Honorable Mentions: Scott Pilgrim v. Exil Ex #4, Final Fight - The Fighter, Final Fight - Red, Rooster & Mattie v. Ned - True Grit, Snow Fortress Attack - Inception, Light Cycle Race - Tron: Legacy

Guiltiest Pleasure - Film

Twilight: Eclipse
Tron: Legacy

Honorable Mentions: The Losers, Step Up 3D, When In Rome, Red, Morning Glory

Best Animated Film

Despicable Me
How To Train Your Dragon
Toy Story 3
The Illusionist*

Best TV Show - Drama

Mad Men
Dr. Who
The Walking Dead

Honorable Mentions: Boardwalk Empire, Caprica

Best TV Show - Comedy

Modern Family
30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory

Honorable Mentions: How I Met Your Mother, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Best Actor - Drama TV

Jon Hamm - Mad Men
Steve Bushemi - Boardwalk Empire
Andrew Lincoln - The Walking Dead
John Noble - Fringe
Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad

Honorable Mentions: Hugh Laurie - House, Michael C. Hall, Dexter, Matthew Fox - Lost, John Slattery - Mad Men, Terry O'Quinn - Lost

Best Actor - Comedy TV

Don Glover - Community
Chris Colfer - Glee
Jim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory
Ty Burrell - Modern Family
Joel McHale - Community

Honorable Mentions: Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock, Steve Carrell - The Office, Eric Stonestreet - Modern Family, NPH - How I Met Your Mother

Best Actress - Drama TV

Christina Hendricks - Mad Men
Elisabeth Moss - Mad Men
Katey Sagal - Sons of Anarchy
Anna Torv - Fringe
Kelly McDonald - Boardwalk Empire

Honorable Mentions: Juliana Margulies - The Good Wife, Connie Britton - Friday Night Lights, Polly Walker - Caprica

Best Actress - Comedy TV

Alison Brie - Community
Sofia Vergara - Modern Family
Julie Bowen - Modern Family
Jane Lynch - Glee
Tina Fey - 30 Rock

Honorable Mentions: Amy Poehler - Parks & Rec, Heather Morris - Glee, Alyson Hannigan, HIMYM, Kaley Cuoco - The Big Bang Theory

Best Chemistry - Romantic TV - TIE for Bronze

Eric/Sookie - True Blood
Chuck/Blair - Gossip Girl
Chuck/Sarah - Chuck
Marshall/Lily - How I Met Your Mother
Pam/Jim - The Office
Beckett/Castle - Castle
Boones/Booth - Bones
Roger/Joan - Mad Men
Olivia/Peter - Fringe
Dexter/Lumen - Dexter

Best Chemistry - Platonic TV

Abed/Troy - Community
Jack Donaghy/Liz Lemon - 30 Rock
Neal/Peter - White Collar
Don Draper/Peggy Olsen - Mad Men
Amy/The Doctor - Dr. Who
Peter/Walter - Fringe
Al Capone/Jimmy Dormety - Boardwalk Empire
Casey/Morgan - Chuck
Pam/Eric - True Blood
"The Gang" - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Guiltiest Pleasure - TV

Gossip Girl
Pretty Little Liars
Vampire Diaries
True Blood

Actor I Most Want To Marry 2010

Joseph Gordon Levitt
Tom Hardy
Andrew Garfield
Ryan Gosling
Jon Hamm
Nathan Fillion
Ryan Reynolds
Robert Downey Jr.
Mark Ruffalo
Matt Damon

Honorable Mentions: James Franco, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rupert Grint, Jesse Eisenberg

Woman I Most Want To Marry 2010

Emma Stone
Christina Hendricks
Natalie Portman
Mila Kunis
Michelle Williams
Olivia Wilde
Carey Mulligan
Julianne Moore
Scarlett Johansson
Keira Knightly

Most Overrated

Twilight: Eclipse
Toy Story 3
Anne Hathaway

Honorable Mentions: Olivia Munn, The Black Eyed Peas

Most Underrated - TIE for Silver

Friday Night Lights
Shutter Island

Honorable Mentions: Flipped, Raising Hope, Going The Distance, The Town

Best Graphic Novel

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour
Xed Out
Batwoman: Elegy
Richard Stark's Parker: The Outfit
The Shepherd's Tale

Honorable Mentions: Return of the Dapper Men

Best Comic Series

Buffy Season 8
The Unwritten
The Walking Dead
American Vampire
Batman & Robin

Honorable Mentions: Chew, Daytripper, Uncanny X-Men, Invincible Iron Man

Best Video Game

Halo: Reach
Red Dead Redemption
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Mass Effect 2
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Honorable Mentions: Fable 3

Best Villain - TIE for Bronze

Sue Sylvester - Glee
Voldemort - Harry Potter DHP1
Gideon Graves - Scott Pilgrim v The World
Clu - Tron
Ivan Vanko - Iron Man 2
The Man In Black - Lost
Lotso - Toy Story 3
Bellatrix LeStrange - Harry Potter DHP1
Subconscious Mal - Inception
Russel Edgington - True Blood

Honorable Mentions: Cheney - True Grit, The Rock - 127 Hours, Cooper - Red, Van Alden - Boardwalk Empire

Best Musician/Band

Arcade Fire
Mumford & Sons
Daft Punk
Vampire Weekend
Girl Talk

Honorable Mentions: Katy Perry, Eminem, Amanda Palmer, Broken Bells, She & Him

Best Book

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Just Kids by Patti Smith
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Extra Lives by Tom Bissell*

Honorable Mentions: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King, Room by Emma Donohuge

Most Romantic Line EVAR 2010 - TIE For Bronze

"You were my new dream." "And you were mine" - Tangled

"You were the only thing that got me through. If it wasn't for you I would never have made it back. You saved my life" - Fringe

"Kiss me, James" "You got it, Blondie" - Lost

"I'm in lesbians with you" - Scott Pilgrim v. The World

"The deluminator. It doesn't just turn off lights. I don't know how it work but Christmas morning, I was sleeping in this little pub, keeping away from some Snatchers, and I heard it. A voice. Your voice, Hermione. You said my name. Just my name. Like a whisper. So I took it, clicked it and this tiny ball of light appeared. And I knew. It flew towards me, the ball of light, right through my chest and straight through me. Right here. And I knew it was going to take me where I needed to go." - Harry Potter: DHP1

"You're waiting for a train. A train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you can't be sure. But, it doesn't matter. Because we'll be together." - Inception

"In my experience, the prettier a girl is, the more nuts she is... which makes you insane. You're probably nutty coo-coo crazy." - Blue Valentine

"If I meet the true death without at least kissing you, Sookie Stackhouse, that will be my biggest regret." - True Blood

"You're my home, Chuck. You always have been." - Chuck

"When I'm around you, I kind of feel like I'm on drugs. Not that I do drugs. Unless you do drugs, in which case I do them all the time. All of them." - Scott Pilgrim v. The World

Best Fan Outreach

 Scott Pilgrim v. Comic-Con
Networks/Studios Using Twitter In Q&As (Syfy Fridays, Community DVD, etc)
Firefly References on Castle
ElecTRONica at Disneyland
Tron at Comic-Con (Flynn's Arcade/End of the Line Club/Panel)
Marvel at Comic-Con (Avengers Assemble! Panel, Dealer's Room Booth)
Walking Dead Campaign - Comic-Con, NYCC, Win a Walk on role, etc.
Mad Men Yourself Twitter Icons
@ThatKevinSmith's Twitter Account
Machete Taco Truck
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Interview with an Academy Member - 2011

Every year, numerous publications, including the LA Times & Entertainment Weekly, reveal how anonymous Academy members voted, in the hopes of shedding some light on the way this years Oscars go down. Last year we were lucky enough to chat with a member who most often votes off the beaten path and he agreed to talk to us again this year, this time going even more in depth.

How do you think 2010 fared in general?

Overall, I actually think it's been a very impressive year. It may not have been very deep in terms of quantity of good films, but the top 10-12 were pretty exceptional. As a matter of fact this is the first time since I've been in the academy in which all the films I nominated actually made it on to the final ballot. I have heard some murmuring about this year's films lacking in some way and just last week on Show Business!, Peter Guber complained it was not a particularly great year because he didn't see any "Godfathers" out there. Truth of the matter is that I don't see any "Godfathers" in many of the recent Best Pic winners, so I'm really not quite sure what he was talking about. It certainly wasn't The Departed or No Country for Old Men. In terms of cinematic scope, I'd have to look back to Return of the King, and in terms of perfection, I think you'd have to go all the way back to Shakespeare in Love, but still neither of those touch The Godfather. So, I guess what I'm saying is sure, we'd all like to see more "Godfathers" being made, but in the mean time, this year's crop is a pretty damn good one.

What is your philosophy when it comes to filling out your ballot?

Well by the time I get the ballot I have tried very consciously to have already seen all of the major contenders and beyond, and then if I've seen all five nominees in a given category, I'll fill out the ballot IMMEDIATELY. This way it reflects my true gut feelings about the work itself. It is after all an Academy of motion picture arts and sciences, it's not about commercial success or "pimping" yourself to win (as one actress has infamously described her campaign). I can understand a studio campaigning for a film just to be sure that it's seen by as many members as possible, but it's hard for me to accept that one actor wants to have an Oscar more than any of the other nominees. So taking out an ad that essentially says "pick me because I want it more" seems counter intuitive to awarding the Oscar based on the performance alone. One of the major benefits of filling it out as soon as possible is to avoid being influenced in any way by all of the ensuing typical Oscar campaigns.

Was Supporting Actress a category you filled out before all the controversy, or did the ad end up affecting your choice?

I had seen all five nominees and in all honestly it was a no brainer for me to pick Hailee Steinfeld, who basically stole the entire picture and on whose shoulders the story rested. I thought Melissa Leo's performance in The Fighter was terrific, I could also name half a dozen other actresses who could have hit it out of the park as well. However it took looking at something like 14,000 girls to find Hailee Steinfeld and she was uniquely spot on. All of this being said however, if Julianne Moore had been nominated in this category, I very probably would have voted for her because she was the heart and soul of The Kids Are All Right and although that film is as close to an ensemble piece as the Best Picture nominees go, she truly supported every other performance in the movie. Her performance also took me by surprise in that it's the warmest, earthiest, most sensual, most vulnerable, most lovable that I've ever seen her in a film. She made the pivotal scenes with Mark Ruffalo believable and organic, when they so easily could have been cliched or come across as a stereotypical male fantasy.

Clearly Moore was a snub you weren't happy with, was there anything else you disappointed to see not receive a nomination?

First I have to reiterate that we Academy Members never get together and decide to snub someone. And for all I know, Julianne Moore pulled herself out of this category because her not getting nominated is incomprehensible to me. The only other film I wish had been nominated was Tangled for Best Animated Film as it came closest to giving me as an animation lover everything I enjoy about classic animated films. I didn't think the animation itself was as beautiful as it could have been, but the voice performances, the screenplay, the humor and the music were wonderful, as well as the twist of changing Rapunzel's rescuer from a prince to a thief, which worked extremely well. Everything about it seemed genuine, especially the lead performances and so your emotional responses to the story were more authentic than they were to Toy Story 3, which to me seemed to be working overtime to manipulate your emotions. The Illusionist was beautifully animated, but I can't say the story was all that engaging and while I really enjoyed the story, music and flight sequences of How To Train Your Dragon, the character design and particularly the lead voice acting and the dragons themselves just weren't very appealing. If Toy Story 3 had recused itself, as I think any animated film nominated for Best Picture should, that third slot would have most likely gone to Tangled. And just to clarify, I'd feel the same way about a Best Foreign Language film. If it should be nominated for Best Picture, it should not also be nominated for Best Foreign. I don't think there should be a built-in consolation prize.

Which were your top 5 and in which order were they nominated?

1. The Social Network

2. True Grit

3. Black Swan

4. Inception

5. The Kids Are All Right

So The King's Speech, the front runner, didn't even make your top five?

When I saw the movie, my first reaction was Colin Firth just gave the best performance of his career, deeply nuanced from the inside out... and is going to win an Oscar, but I honestly did not think I just saw one of the best movies of the year. It's that simple. I don't mean to diminish it in any way whatsoever by saying it would have worked as well on television, because I think some of the best television ever made is being produced now, but ultimately, it's was just not as outright cinematic as the films I did nominate.

What was your pick for Best Director?

I hope it's Fincher's year. There's not much else to say other than The Social Network was brilliantly directed. I've seen it 3 times now and it impressed me more with every viewing.

What was your pick for Best Actress?

I thought all 5 leading performances were absolutely wonderful this year, but I put the check next to Natalie Portman as soon as I opened my ballot. Jennifer Lawrence and Michelle Williams gave beautiful, subtle performances and I loved Annette Bening, but simply did not see that role as either the lead character or her best work. Natalie Portman's immersion in that character is what made Black Swan as stunning as it is and she was breathtaking in it.

What was your pick for Best Original Screenplay?

The King's Speech kind of carved its story out of historical tidbits and existing works whereas the Kids Are All Right was a wholly original, authentic, genuine portrayal of truly complex relationships thats is also very relevant to what's going on in our society today. It reflected the way that real people really speak and interact and it actually felt original, like something you hadn't seen before, which I don't think was accomplished by The King's Speech's screenplay, as well written as it might be.

Anything else you'd like to say?

On a side note, I wish there was someway to acknowledge the animated sequence in Harry Potter, which is probably among the finest animation I've seen this year in any context or format. I can only hope that if Deathly Hallows wins either of the categories it's nominated in (Art Direction, Special Effects), that the animator gets a well deserved piece of that award.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Radiohead Day!

I hope you've all had a fabulous Radiohead day! Waking up to find The King of Limbs released a day early was a spectacular surprise. I need more time to process the album before I can write a proper post but it's certainly GOOD. I think Radiohead actually has a rule where (after Pablo Honey) they refuse to make bad albums. I like this rule.

I also like their video for "Lotus Flower"...Thom Yorke is so oddly sexy in it.

See full post

The Bottom Line: Melissa Leo's Personal Oscar Campaign

Crossposted on and commissioned by

In true industry fashion, for the first couple days following the publication of Melissa Leo's controversial "For Your Consideration" ads, the Internet was ablaze with talk of how inappropriate and awkward they were, asking what she was thinking and pondering whether it was going to hurt her chances. But in ever truer industry fashion, a couple days after that, the backlash to the backlash had begun, the Internet then ablaze with people being offended by the notion that these ads would affect her potential Oscar win, defending Leo, saying, *if* you're going to judge her at least try to get a sense of who she really is first.

I've actually been struggling with all of this myself. When I initially saw the ads, my reaction was one of pure and unbridled "WTF." Why on EARTH would the front-runner for the Academy Award find it necessary to take an ad out for herself, let alone an ad that is nothing more than a glamor shot. If this is about the performance? Why isn't the ad ... about the performance?

Then a few days later, after reading multiple defenses, I changed my tune. Everyone else has studios or publicists taking out ads for them; she had to take matters into her own hands. She isn't desperate, just excited -- who cares how she campaigns, plus, fun fact! She actually seems like a pretty amazing person.

Well now that the initial fervor has somewhat died down, I've finally settled on how I truly feel about the matter and whether or not it will affect her predicted win.

Academy members *should* only vote based on performance, this is true. It's what we all hope for. But if we are going to believe in this principle, we need to really believe it. All of us. Which would mean no ads based on anything other than touting the performance. How can we ignore the ads and claim awards are about the performance, when that doesn't even seem to be what Leo believes? I love her, but it does sort of seem like she wants us to think that this is about *her*, not the character of Alice Ward, that she's been in this industry for years, that she's an old pro, that she's due -- nothing about her campaign or previous speeches have implied otherwise. So the whole argument seems very uneven. I'm all for focusing only on the performance, but it needs to apply all around. This would also mean, as much as I've loved the pieces I've read on the matter, that there shouldn't be articles explaining why she is a good person. It shouldn't matter.

To further complicate the situation, Hailee Steinfeld was being primed to upset Leo before all this ruckus started. Her momentum had definitely begun. If anything, this mini controversy may have simply brought up the conversation slightly sooner. But in terms of predictions I've been reading and industry insiders I've been talking to, the win was starting to swing in Steinfeld's direction BEFORE the ads came out. And the reason is the performance. Many people simply appreciate Steinfeld's performance more. It's been explained to me that Maddie does more to support Cogburn's journey than Alice did for Mickey's, and that Alice is more of a fun character role than an Oscar-worthy one. The biggest argument I've heard against Steinfield is that this is her first movie (...and?), the second biggest being that she is so vital to the film because she is actually the lead and therefore shouldn't win supporting. But the mere fact that whether she is lead or supporting is debatable; add to that the fact that kids have traditionally always ended up in the supporting categories, and that should squash this argument once and for all. Her placement is what it is, don't blame Steinfeld for it. (For what it's worth, I think her monologue at the end proves that Cogburn is in fact the "lead" -- it might have been her story, but it was her story about *his* redemption. He is the one that changes. She supports that change.)

Ultimately it comes down to this: I don't think Leo should have taken out those ads, but I do hope the Academy ignores them. And for that matter, any other ads. Performance should always be considered first, then role, then movie, then sentiment/history, then politics. While those last two factors are unfortunately inevitable, they should *at least* be considered after what really matters.

The worst part of this? If someone does upset Leo, guess what people are going to point to for the reason? Not the performance. Not the role. Perhaps not even the movie. They will point purely to this controversy. And this is reason enough alone not to have taken the ad out. It makes the Supporting Actress race unnecessarily focused on politics and outside factors, pure and simple. If anything is to come from the ad, perhaps it is Academy members being forced to "think about the performance," as people jumping to Leo's defense have urged them to do, that will end up hurting her come Oscar night -- maybe such a suggestion will make members second guess going with a supposed lock and really take another look at the other nominated performances.

I'd like to think voters will forget about this entire situation before sending in their ballots, especially because Melissa Leo was an absolute genius in The Fighter, and I'd be thrilled to see her take the win with no controversy. Unfortunately, in true industry fashion, no one forgets anything. Expect mention of these ads in every Oscar wrap-up article on the Internet should Leo win OR lose. Sigh. See full post

Casting The Runaways

Crossposted on

At first glance, Marvel's Runaways being delayed for another year or two may seem like horrible news. But I have a much different perspective. When W released this photo a couple weeks ago, I started thinking about the large amount of teen talent out there right now. But specifically in the ages 11-16, as in, *just* too young to be cast in Runaways, had it begun shooting last month like originally intended, but the perfect age to begin shooting in 2012 or 2013. I mean, there's always been Disney and Nick kids, sure, but the list of consistently working teenagers who've never appeared on an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place is quite staggering, at least as far as girls are concerned. Consider: Chloe Moretz (13), Madeline Carrol (14), Georgie Henley (15), Dakotah & Elle Fanning (16 & 12), Nicola Peltz (16), Kiernan Shipka (11), and that's to name just a few.

Featuring the actual released breakdowns, I present to you, my casting for Runaways, mostly aimed to be just the right age in 1-2 years. Message boards dally in casting the property every year, but the actors in question quickly grow out of the roles. This fantasy casting is attempting to safe guard against that. Enjoy and feel free to offer up your ideas in the comments!


Breakdown: Uniquely beautiful, nurturing but guarded

(Note: Original breakdown didn't specify race, but after some controversy, "Asian-American" was added to the description of the character)

Suggestion: We get a time machine, go back to 1998, steal 16 year old Kristin Kreuk, and bring her back to play Nico. Oh, time travel doesn't exist? Cool. In that case, I'm going with the perhaps questionable choice of part Filipino Hailee Steinfeld. Nico is supposed to be Japanese American, but as most actresses fitting that bill, or at least fitting closer than Hailee is, (Sophie Oda, Malese Jow, Ellen Wong) are well beyond the appropriate age, I'm going with Hailee for fun. We know she can exude confidence on command, and it would be fun to see her take the journey from rebellious girl to woman in charge over the course of a few movies. Though ultimately I do hope that the casting office elects to go with an unknown here rather than cast too old or too white washed, while Hailee rocks the part of Katniss in the Hunger Games. Fingers crossed.


Breakdown: Chubby oddball, smart and verbal

Suggestion: The popular choice on the interwebs for Gert is the more or less on the money Mae Whitman. Unfortunately, Whitman is pushing 23, and no longer an actual teenager. I'd go more for either 16 year old Allie Grant (Weeds) or 14 year old Abigail Breslin. Both can do verbal, both can do sass and both are at least circling the correct age range. Another suggestion I've heard is 17 year old Jennifer Stone, mostly known from Disney/ABC Family ventures, and she actually fits the bill quite well, but since I'd like to avoid Disney kids, and we're skewing younger here, I'm sticking with Breslin. Can you imagine her with purple hair and glasses? Please yes please!


Breakdown: Conventionally beautiful, with an unchecked ego

Suggestion: Taylor Momsen and Dakotah Fanning seem to be popular choices on various message boards, but as Karolina is both unusually poised and an alien, I'm going with the suddenly jaw droppingly stunning 16 year old Saoirse Ronan. She simuntaneously rocks an alien quality whilst remaining incredibly gorgeous. Girl is growing up well. And hell, I wouldn't object to making Karolina's famous actor "parents" happen to be Irish so Ronan can keep her accent.


Breakdown: An innocent, wide-eyed and overprotected

Suggestion: My pick for Molly isn't as well known as the others, but could definitely rock this part. Morgan Lily, best known by me for playing the 10 year old version of Juli in Flipped, soon to be best known by you as young Mystique in X-Men: First Class, has the right look and tenacity for the adorable, but resourceful Molly. I'm confident that in a couple years she will still be young and wide-eyed enough to pull off this role. 


Breakdown: Very smart, natural leader, in need of a father figure. African American.

Suggestion: So while we are in 1998, stealing 16 year old Kristin Kreuk, can we also steal 16 year old Percy Daggs III, of Veronica Mars fame? He is such a spitting image of Alex, it makes my brain hurt. If that doesn't work out, I have a strange, but perhaps intriguing idea. Connor Cruise has decided to go into the family business, having recently shot Red Dawn, for which he lost all of his baby fat. I can't help but imagine glasses and longer hair on the 16 year old and seeing flashes of Alex. Though I'm beginning to warm to a particular actor who keeps popping up on Runaways casting boards across the internet - 17 year old Marcus Carl Franklin, best known for being the Woody incarnation of Bob Dylan in 2007's I'm Not There, for which he was nominated for a Spirit Award, and for his role in Broadway's Caroline or Change. Boy has chops and a striking resemblance to Alex.


Breakdown: A rebel, ignores rules and authority, wounded inside

Suggestion: If Chase weren't specifically the oldest in the group, I'd love to recommend 14 year old Charlie Rowe (Never Let Me Go), but even two years from now, he'd be a tad too young. If filming were beginning now, I'd suggest 18 year old Josh Hutcherson. We certainly got a feel for his anti-establishment side in The Kids Are All Right, and he has a young enough face that a romance with the slightly younger Gert wouldn't seem entirely out of place. But going with the conceit of beginning production in two years, I'm selecting 16 year old Callan McAuliffe (I Am Number Four) who I think would actually make quite the nice match with Breslin.

So there you have it. Since the announcement a couple months ago regarding pushing production back and allowing Peter Sollet to make a different movie first, there has been some worry that the film will be shelved indefinitely. Here's hoping we still get our Runaways movie within the next couple years and that some of the kids on this list are considered? Maybe? Saoirse Ronan at least?

If it were up to you, who would you cast?

Special Thanks: Cakes See full post

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Warning Signs: How To Tell You Are Becoming A Movie Blogger

Crossposted on and commissioned by

Things used to be so different. If you wanted to be a journalist, you majored in journalism. Or if you didn’t have that kind of foresight, you’d write a couple samples, submit to small publications or free magazines, building your portfolio so you could one day make it to the big leagues. My dad always tells me about how he started writing music reviews in the ’70s just to get free records and it led to his entire career being possible, but how he had to work really hard to get his pieces published.

These days, a lot of people start their own blogs with a similar idea, thinking, maybe I can get free stuff, maybe I can make a career! But there are almost as many un-updated blogs out there as there are non-working actors. Sure, in theory, anyone can be a blogger, but to really be considered one, you have to crossover into a very specific and sometimes strange area. So we decided to provide you with a guide, a way of figuring out when you’ve finally made the transition from wanna-be-blogger to wanna-be-journalist *actual* blogger. Some snarky, some serious, but all true. And as I consider myself nothing more than a blogger, please take these with a self-deprecating grain of salt. Warning signs, in chronological order, below!

You start carrying a tiny notebook with you at all times, for movies, for events, for post ideas, for future tweets.

You find yourself taking notes in your tiny notebook during movies more than you’re actually watching the movies, much to the chagrin of anyone you ever see movies with ever.

You filled up your tiny notebook. And your next tiny notebook. And your next. You now have A LOT of tiny notebooks.

You download a recording app for your iPhone/iPad because you were buying too many tiny notebooks.

You start turning down hanging out with friends so you can stay home and write recaps. For shows you don’t like. For your own website. That no one is paying you for. Great idea!

Your stomach hurts with jealousy when you read other, snarkier recaps of said TV shows.

Any time you disagree with something, anything, anywhere, you think “This will make a great post!” … It doesn’t always work out so well.

You understand the importance of Twitter and can explain it to someone with zero irony.

You start thinking exclusively in 140-character blocks.

You start getting into tweet wars with Devin Faraci … that he never knows exist.

Your blog has at least 300 posts/year and you consider that to be not good enough.

Your movie rating system quickly dissolves into “the most awesome,” “really awesome,” “awesome,” “pretty awesome,” or “not that awesome, but still awesome enough.”

Your “Real Life Friends” Twitter list is starting to closely resemble your “Favorite Movie Blogger” Twitter list.

You quote movie bloggers to your friends, without explaining who they are, who they write for, or the fact that they are even writers to begin with.

You’ve won at least three Twitter/blog contests.

You’ve held at least three Twitter/blog contests.

You now feel no guilt when you write off movie tickets, DVDs, video games, comic books, your cable bill, and more on your taxes.

You’ve been linked to by Slashfilm‘s Page Two, The Film Experience, or any other number of successful blogs’ link posts.

Your blog now has its own link post each week.

You start beginning conversations at events, screenings, and conventions with “What’s your Twitter handle?” And surprise! More often than not, turns out you know the person already.

You begin getting bizarre, unsolicited packages in the mail that range from flip cams to candy to screeners to books to packets of fake blood. And you accept this as perfectly normal.

You feel a kinship with Scott Weinberg because you both tweet way too much and you both love your cat. Sometimes this turns into both of you tweeting way too much ABOUT your cat. Note: This one could also just apply to me.

You start being called names, belonging to cliques and having haters. It’s like high school all over again, only now you’re the cool kid. VICTORY!

And finally, the true sign that you have become a movie blogger — someone starts paying you to write about movies. That one’s pretty cut and dry. See full post

Monday, February 14, 2011

Need A Last Minute Geeky Valentine?

 Check out these, from Beavotron

These remind me of Eruditechick :)

For more geeky valentines, ranging from Lost to Left for Dead to The Office, follow the link! See full post