Wednesday, January 26, 2011

AAN: My thoughts on the Oscar nominations (w/ Leo, Zuck and Steve)

I may have said that the awards season was becoming quite boring. Yeah, I wanted them to shake it up for the Oscars. But I didn't mean shake it up that much. *deep breath* Here I go with another post for Annual Awards Nerdism.

BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR: 127 Hours / Black Swan / The Fighter / Inception / The Kids Are All Right / The King's Speech / The Social Network / Toy Story 3 / True Grit / Winter's Bone
Predictions right: 10 out of 10

I was really happy when I saw this lineup. I mean, thank God there were 10 spots available, because movies like Winter's Bone and Toy Story 3 probably wouldn't have gotten a look in. Speaking of the latter, I am pretty sure we are going to see a trend of one animated movie getting nominated in this category every year. I'm so glad Toy Story 3 got is truly the best animated feature I have ever seen. I don't know why everyone was thinking 127 Hours wouldn't get nominated. It looks like it is made particularly for awards season, and it would have been a bloody (no pun intended) shock if it didn't get nominated. Obviously, The Social Network will win, but there could be a Crash upset in the form of The King's Speech or, hopefully, Inception. Especially since The King's Speech leads the field with 12 nominations (and rightfully so, such a great movie).
The snubees: The Town, How to Train Your Dragon, Animal Kingdom, Blue Valentine.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Javier Bardem in Biutiful / Jeff Bridges for True Grit / Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network / Colin Firth for The King's Speech / James Franco for 127 Hours
Predictions right: 3 out of 5: Eisenberg, Firth, Franco. No Duvall or Gosling.

Really, there are only three actors in this race: Jesse Eisenberg, Colin Firth and James Franco. While I hear that Javier Bardem is good in Biutiful, and that Jeff Bridges deserves the Oscar more for True Grit then he did for last years Crazy Heart, I'm not completely convinced by their nominations. Javier only turned up in the BAFTA nominations (along with a Satelite award nomination), and is possibly the rank outsider in this race. Jeff Bridges has turned up in several categories, but isn't really considered as a 'lock' like the other three nominees. The great thing about Bridges being nominated, though, is the fact that Colin Firth will be able to beat him, just as he should have last year with A Single Man. Among these much experienced contestants is 27 year old Jesse Eisenberg and 32 year old James Franco. Given that Jesse's claim to fame is Zombieland (and Juno, apparently) and James's claim to fame is Pineapple Express, these two have done remarkably well, seeing as they have been nominated at every awards show for this category. I would love for them to upset, but if Firth doesn't win, someone is going to die.
The snubees: Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine, Robert Duvall for Get Low, Leonardo DiCaprio for Shutter Island, Mark Wahlberg for The Fighter, Paul Giamatti for Barney's Version.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right / Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole / Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone / Natalie Portman for Black Swan / Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine
Predictions right: 5 out of 5

This, I guess, is the perfect lineup of actresses. The only thing it's missing is Julianne Moore. Out of the five performances, I have only seen Natalie Portman's, and its fair to say, she deserves the award. The fifth spot, which has gone to Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine, has always been undecided. In the SAG nominations, it was taken by two time winner Hilary Swank for her turn in Conviction, and at the BAFTAs, it was taken Noomi Rapace for her turn in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. However, I believe they picked the right person, as Williams is always fantastic in her movies, and this award should also cover her snub for Wendy and Lucy. Everyone in this category has been nominated at least once, apart from newcomer Jennifer Lawrence. I haven't heard amazing things about Winter's Bone, but I've heard that she is really good, so it's great that such a young actress has made it this far. Nicole Kidman has already won an Oscar, so it's difficult to see her coming through and winning, but it is possible. Annette Bening, the biggest threat to Natalie Portman, gets her fourth Oscar nomination for her work in The Kids Are All Right, ahead of the oft-snubbed Julianne Moore. It's a shame to see that Moore is continuously forgotten for her role in this movie (or just plain forgotten).
The snubees: Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right, Noomi Rapace for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Halle Berry for Frankie and Alice, Hilary Swank for Conviction.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Christian Bale for The Fighter / John Hawkes for Winter's Bone / Jeremy Renner for The Town / Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right / Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech
Predictions right: 4 out of 5: Bale, Renner, Ruffalo, Rush. No Garfield.

No, no, no, no, no. Where the hell is Andrew Garfield? I feel like him not being nominated is like saying Jesse Eisenberg's performance in The Social Network is the only one worthy of attention. Which it's not. Garfield was amazing in that movie, and probably came out of it with more promise then Eisenberg did. So why isn't he nominated? Must have something to do with his SAG snub. John Hawkes from Winter's Bone takes his place, which is great because I haven't really heard much about him, so that adds that 'mysterious new guy' factor to the category. Finally, Mark Ruffalo gets his well deserved Oscar nomination which has been a long time in coming.  Jeremy Renner gets nominated for the second year in a row for the much snubbed The Town, ahead of late co-star Pete Postlethwaite. I loved Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech, so it's great to see him nominated. But who could possibly beat Christian Bale? Finally, the guy gets the Oscar nomination he should have gotten years ago. Looks like his first nomination will get him his first win, too.
The snubees: Andrew Garfield for The Social Network, Justin Timberlake for The Social Network, Armie Hammer for The Social Network, Pete Postlethwaite for The Town, Guy Pearce for The King's Speech, Vincent Cassel for Black Swan, Sam Rockwell for Conviction, Michael Douglas for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Amy Adams for The Fighter / Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech / Melissa Leo for The Fighter / Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit / Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom
Predictions right: 4 out of 5: Adams, Carter, Leo, Weaver. No Kunis.

While I love the nominations they have here, I'm a little sad to see that both Barbara Hershey and Mila Kunis were snubbed for their performances in Black Swan, leaving Natalie Portman as the sole acting nominee for that film. Otherwise, this lineup is great. It's always wonderful to see a young actress get a nomination, and Hailee Steinfeld (who probably belonged in the Best Actress category), in her first feature film at the age of 14, becomes an Oscar nominee. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing the wrong thing. My favourite nomination in this is Jacki Weaver. She is so great in Animal Kingdom, and it's nice to see that she alone makes the movie an 'Academy Award nominee'. It deserved so many more nominations, but, alas, the Oscars are American and the movie is Australian. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo will be preparing for battle over this award, because they probably have the best chance of winning. As for Helena Bonham Carter...well, we know she'll be there to congratulate whoever wins with a bitchy eyeroll.
The snubees: Lesley Manville for Another Year, Mila Kunis for Black Swan, Barbara Hershey for Black Swan, Marion Cotillard for Inception, Rooney Mara for The Social Network

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING: Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan / Ethan Coen and Joel Coen for True Grit / David Fincher for The Social Network / Tom Hooper for The King's Speech / David O. Russell for The Fighter
Predictions right: 3 out of 5: Aronofsky, Fincher, Hooper. No Boyle or Nolan (sob)

When I came out from Inception for the first time, I remember telling my friend that "this movie better win Best Picture, Director and Screenplay). Well, it looks like that dream is fading further and further away. Of course, I've already had my rant about Christopher 'God' Nolan not being nominated, so I won't put you through that again. I'd just like to say that the nomination of David O. Russell is a bit of a shock, because he was the rank outsider at the Golden Globes. Oh well, it saves Nolan from being beaten up by him at the Oscars for the award. If anything, I am very pro-Darren Aronofsky for this award, because I thought his direction in Black Swan was amazing. David Fincher may win, but I definitely think Aronofsky is the best in this lineup. As for the Coens, who got a somewhat surprising nomination, well, they've already won four Oscars (one for directing No Country for Old Men), so they probably don't need another one for True Grit. I would have preferred to see Danny Boyle in here.
The snubees: Christopher Nolan for Inception (he was the most tweeted of anything Oscar this morning, too), Danny Boyle for 127 Hours, Edgar Wright for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Ben Affleck for The Town, Debra Granik for Winter's Bone

The rest of the nominees and Leo/Zuck/Steve's after the jump...
BEST WRITING, SCREENPLAY WRITTEN DIRECTLY FOR THE SCREEN: Mike Leigh for Another Year / Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson and Keith Dorrington for The Fighter / Christopher Nolan for Inception / Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg for The Kids Are All Right / David Seidler for The King's Speech
Predictions right: 4 out of 5: The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King's Speech. No Black Swan.

This category has no surprises in the nominations, but the real surprise will come when the winner is announced. The way I see it, it is a race between the Inception screenplay, which will always be highly praised for its 'originality', and The King's Speech, which has won many of the awards for this category. I still don't understand the latters placing in this category, as I'm presuming it comes from the story of a real person, but oh well, it's nominated, and that is a good thing. Another Year, Mike Leigh's little seen film gets the nomination over Black Swan. The Fighter and the highly praised comedic screenplay The Kids Are All Right round out the nominees of a well written (no pun intended) category.
The snubees: Black Swan, Please Give, Animal Kingdom

BEST WRITING, SCREENPLAY BASED ON MATERIAL PREVIOUSLY PRODUCED OR PUBLISHED: Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy for 127 Hours / Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network / Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich for Toy Story 3 / Joel and Ethan Coen for True Grit / Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini for Winter's Bone
Predictions right: 4 out of 5: 127 Hours, The Social Network, True Grit, Winter's Bone. No The Town.

It doesn't matter who is nominated in this category, because we all know that The Social Network is going to win. It would have to be a real upset and a half if it didn't win, because, quite frankly, Aaron Sorkin's script is probably the best ever. Its still a little random how Toy Story 3 is classed as an 'adapted screenplay' based on the fact that it is a sequel. Either way, I'm glad to see a PIXAR screenplay among the nominees. Add in 127 Hours, remake True Grit and best selling book adaption Winter's Bone, and I'm pretty happy with the way this category has shaped up.
The snubees: Kick-Ass, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Town, I Love You Phillip Morris, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR: How to Train Your Dragon / The Illusionist / Toy Story 3
Predictions right: 3 out of 3 (I did add on Despicable Me and Tangled as I thought this would be a five movie category).

Side note: I am doing a feature for 'LAMB Devours the Oscars' on this category, so if anyone can help me find The Illusionist, that would be amazing. Anyway, this is a very short and sweet category, which could have been helped by the addition of Despicable Me and Tangled. Mind you, How to Train Your Dragon is very good, still being one of the highest rated movies of 2010 on Rotten Tomatoes. The Illusionist, a French animated piece, has been lurking around the awards circuit, so it was only a matter of time before it got nominated here. Just like last year with Up, it doesn't matter if Toy Story 3 doesn't win Best Picture. It's nominated here, and it is going to win here. Absoutely no doubt about it.
The snubees: Despicable Me, Tangled, Megamind.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY: Matthew Libatique for Black Swan / Wally Pfister for Inception / Danny Cohen for The King's Speech / Jeff Cronenweth for The Social Network / Roger Deakins for True Grit
Predictions right: 4 out of 5: Black Swan, Inception, The Social Network, True Grit. No 127 Hours.

To be honest, I'm pretty surprised that 127 Hours didn't get nominated here. I would have thought all the high exposure effects and being confined to a small space would have helped its case, but not to be. I'm bloody glad that Black Swan was nominated though, because the cinematography in that was beautiful. The way it captures the dancing and uses the mirrors to full effect is amazing. I always had an idea that The Social Network would get nominated here, for all that orangey tone/white tone it has to distinguish different parts of the story. Plus, there's the cinematography used during the rowing sequence, which deserves the award on its own. The King's Speech's inclusion surprises me a little, as I wouldn't say the cinematography is amazing, but it's adequate, which I guess is the main thing. However, I think Inception deserves the award. Particularly because Wally Pfister has been nominated four times, all for Christopher Nolan movies, and I think he outdone himself here. It would be a shock to see him not get it.
The snubees: 127 Hours

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN EDITING: Jon Harris for 127 Hours / Andrew Weisblum for Black Swan / Pamela Martin for The Fighter / Tariq Anwar for The King's Speech / Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall for The Social Network
Predictions right: 4 out of 5: 127 Hours, Black Swan, The King's Speech, The Social Network. No Inception.

It puzzles me as to why Inception is not nominated here. Of all films, that one has the best editing. I mean, hello? It has to keep cutting to different layers of dream. And then it has to make sure that the story still makes sense throughout all those layers. Oh well, as long as they keep snubbing Inception, then everyone is happy. Being a Danny Boyle movie, of course 127 Hours had to be nominated here, as his films always require great editing skills. Black Swan was probably a job and a half, since it has all those different shots throughtout dance sequences and those creepy mirrors popping up everywhere. I don't see how The King's Speech was amazingly edited, but mind you, it does have a lot of characters coming in and out of it, so that was probably a huge task. Haven't seen The Fighter, so I wouldn't be able to guess if it deserves Inception's place. My pick would be The Social Network, though, because having 50 takes for everything and haven't to cut between two extremely different time periods would be quite the task.
The snubees: Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION: Alice in Wonderland / Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I / Inception / The King's Speech / True Grit
Predictions right: 4 out of 5: Alice in Wonderland, Inception, The King's Speech, True Grit. No Black Swan.

I am particularly surprised that Black Swan wasn't included here. Especially with all its mirrors and scary sets it has. Of course Alice in Wonderland was going to be nominated, as it had to create 'underland', no matter how blindingly colourful it was. I think that was the same reason that Harry Potter got a nomination, as it had to create a whole fantasy realm as darkly as possible. The King's Speech and True Grit were obvious choices since they are both period pieces. The former would have been nominated just for the fact that it had to recreate historic buildings like Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. Again, my pick would be Inception, because every layer of dream works so bloody well. Obviously, the set is the stuff of dreams.
The snubees: Black Swan, I Am Love

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN: Alice in Wonderland / I Am Love / The King's Speech / The Tempest / True Grit
Predictions right: 3 out of 5: Alice in Wonderland, The King's Speech, True Grit. No Black Swan or The Social Network

I find it a little amusing that the much hated The Tempest will have the words 'Nominated for an Oscar' on its IMDb page, based purely on its nomination for Best Costume. From what I've seen of it, it looks pretty random, but then again, the costume nomination was well deserved. I never would have picked that I Am Love would hae ended up with a nomination. Even though I dislike the movie, I reckon its nomination here is well deserved. Again, The King's Speech and True Grit would have been nominated since they are period pieces. And hey, if you can put Helena Bohnam Carter in normal clothes, then you deserve an Oscar nomination. On the flipside, another Helena Bonham Carter film, Alice in Wonderland, lines up for it's costumes. I'm pretty sure it only got the nomination because of the amusing ensembles Johnny Depp wore. The sad thing is, I could see it winning.
The snubees: Black Swan, The Social Network

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP: Barney's Version / The Way Back / The Wolfman
Predictions right: 0 out of 3. No Alice in Wonderland, Black Swan or Harry Potter 7.

Well, I was useless at predicting this one. I must admit, this is a pretty random ensemble. I didn't even know that Barney's Version was that eligible for this award. I had heard that The Way Back should get a nomination here, but I'm more surprised that it didn't get any more nomination elsewhere. Like the costume section, there is a much hated film which will have the words 'Nominated for an Oscar' plastered on it: The Wolfman. Geez, I didn't even bother watching that movie, and I'm pretty sure that everyone has forgotten about it now. But I guess, since the guy turns into a wolf and what not, so that would get a nomination. The worst thing about this category, though, is that I can't pick a winner, or even a front runner!
The snubees: Alice in Wonderland, Black Swan, HP7PT1

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES, ORIGINAL SCORE: A.R. Rahman for 127 Hours / John Powell for How to Train Your Dragon / Hans Zimmer for Inception / Alexandre Desplat for The King's Speech / Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network
Predictions right: 4 out of 5: 127 Hours, Inception, The King's Speech, The Social Network. No Black Swan.

I never would have picked How to Train Your Dragon to be in here, but come to think of it, that movie deserves it. In the year of the Toy Story 3, its great that How to Train Your Dragon could get more than one nomination. As I suspected, it was the usual suspects which turned up to this party. I've always loved A.R. Rahman's work, so I love seeing 127 Hours nominated here. Ditto with Alexandre Desplat's The King's Speech score, which wasn't as great as the one he did for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but still worthy. But my little fight in this category is between The Social Network and Inception. I keep listening to these scores back to back, and I just can't decide. I'll just have to wait until it gets down to it.
The snubees: Black Swan, Toy Story 3

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES, ORIGINAL SONG: 'If I Rise' 127 Hours / 'Coming Home' Country Strong / 'I See the Light' Tangled / 'We Belong Together' Toy Story 3
Predictions right: 4 out of 4. (I did add on 'You Haven't Seen the Last of Me' from Burlesque as I thought there would be 5)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING: Inception / The King's Speech / Salt / The Social Network / True Grit
Predictions right: 3 out of 5. Inception, The Social Network, True Grit. No 127 Hours, Black Swan.
Salt. Oscar nominee. WTF?!

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING: Inception / Toy Story 3 / TRON: Legacy / True Grit / Unstoppable
Predictions right: 3 out 5: Inception, TRON: Legacy, True Grit. No 127 Hours, Black Swan.
Glad Unstoppable got a nomination. I must admit, TRON: Legacy deserves this, but maybe not the Oscar nomination as such.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS: Alice in Wonderland / Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I / Hereafter / Inception / Iron Man 2
Predictions right: 2 out of 3 (I only did 3 coz I thought that was all there). HP7PT1 and Inception. No TRON: Legacy.
Why is Hereafter there instead of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? And the Iron Man 2 nomination is a little random.

Sorry this post is a little lengthy. If you made it here, well done.

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