Tuesday, March 9, 2010


This should just about cover it for me for the Oscars this year. Here is the Best Animated Short film -- Logorama.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Results Are In

Well, I guess it was inevitable that after last year's 21/24 success rate, I would drop off a bit this year.

Final Tally: 15 correct 9 wrong for a 63% success rate.

Where did I go wrong?

Original and Adapted Screenplay: I just didn't think The Hurt Locker or Precious had the momentum to carry them to wins.

Foreign Language Film: I'd heard that El Secreto de Sus Ojos was the safe choice for the subset of the academy that votes for this category. Next time I'll listen.

Cinematography, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing: Who knew? If I voted for Avatar, The Hurt Locker won; if I voted for The Hurt Locker, Avatar won.

Documentary Short: I have no clue who this Prudence person is.

Animated Short: Truthfully, the best film won here. Logorama really is something to behold, I just didn't think it could beat Nick Park.

Live Action Short: Ugh, The New Tenants really was not a very good short. I think it won because it has some minor star power in it: Vincent D'Onofrio and Kevin Corrigan

The Correct Categories:

Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress
Animated Picture
Original Score
Original Song
Art Direction
Costume Design
Documentary Picture
Visual Effects

Now go see Logorama!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oscar Time

Or at least I think it is, as Cablevision no longer carries ABC as of midnight this morning. Activate contingency plan A! Until then however, here are my predictions for who will take home to golden statue tonight. I'm going to go in the order that the Oscar website lists the categories.

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges

His momentum hasn't stopped, and while some people decry this as a lifetime achievement award, those people haven't seen the movie. He is that good.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz

The man's been racking up the awards all season, and it is the best performance of the five.

Best Actress: Sandra Bullock

I think this award is due to two reasons. While Meryl Streep was wonderful, some people see it as half a performance since Amy Adams handled the other half of Julie and Julia. Add in Sandra Bullock playing Erin Brockovich, and the award goes to her.

Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique

She was announced as the Oscar winner last March, I see no reason to bet against her this March.

Best Animated Feature: Up

While I personally prefer Mr. Fox, the fact that Up is nominated for Best Picture but won't win there practically guarantees its win here.

Best Art Direction: Avatar

Even though Avatar's art direction is mostly computer realized, voters will look past that since Pandora is such an amazing creation and award the Oscar

Best Cinematography: The Hurt Locker

I think Avatar's CGI will hurt it here, plus The Hurt Locker has picked up most of the pre-Oscar awards. So I'll go with The Hurt Locker. If I'm wrong, Avatar.

Best Costumes: The Young Victoria

Past history has told me to go with the film that features royalty (Elizabeth: The Golden Age). The Young Victoria is the sole movie about royalty here, so it wins.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Since James Cameron has already won this award, and Hollywood is itching to bestow the honor to a woman, I see Ms. Bigelow taking the honor. Truthfully, I think she deserves it more than Cameron, I found The Hurt Locker to be the better movie than Avatar.

Best Documentary: The Cove

It's about the senseless slaughter of dolphins. Sentimentality points alone should give it the award. The spoiler here would be Food, Inc.

Best Documentary Short: China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province

In addition to being the better of the two films I saw from this category, the short deals with an earthquake, fresh in everybody's mind from Haiti. Not only that, but the focus point is the loss of children in that earthquake. It sounds callous, but that will do the trick.

Best Film Editing: The Hurt Locker

The bomb defusing scenes were some of the best editing I saw all year. Avatar had great battle scenes, but I think people expect that from James Cameron and won't necessarily vote the award to Avatar for that.

Best Foreign Language Film: The White Ribbon

This one's a real tossup, as you have to be part of a special group who's watched all 5 nominees. Therefore, you have to guess what a small subset of the academy is thinking. Given that The White Ribbon was a great film, didn't contain too much over-the-top violence and that Michael Haneke is a well known name, I think that should do it.

Best Makeup: Star Trek


Best Score: Up

No one remembers the music from the other four, but the wordless sequence toward the beginning of Up was carried by the music, so I think that will translate into an award here.

Best Song: The Weary Kind

The Weary Kind of the only song of the five whose melody still floats through my mind. Plus, T Bone Burnett is well regarded in Hollywood, so I believe people will take the opportunity to reward him here.

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker

Given the new voting system for Best Picture this year, any of the ten films could probably take it. It all comes down to whether people want to award James Cameron again for another box office behemoth. I think most will say he already has one, so they'll vote The Hurt Locker.

Best Animated Short: Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death

Nick Park has never lost when nominated and while this is not the best Wallace and Gromit short, history should repeat itself. If the votes want to give the finger to the academy, they'll vote Logorama.

Best Live Action Short: Instead of Abracadabra

Past ceremonies have shown that the award here tends to go to the most entertaining of the five shorts, meaning the funniest. As Instead of Abracadabra is the only comedy of the bunch, that should do it.

Best Sound Editing: Avatar

Most people still don't really know what this award is about, so they'll give it to the even bigger action film this year.

Best Sound Mixing: Avatar

Most people still don't really know what this award is about, so they'll give ti to the even bigger action film this year.

Best Visual Effects: Avatar

If Avatar doesn't win, something has gone seriously wrong.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air

While I would much prefer to see the award go to In The Loop (my #1 film of last year), Up in the Air has captured a moment in time, and Hollywood always wants to look as if it cares, so here is their chance.

Best Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds

I believe that the audacious reworking of WWII history and Tarantino's ear for great dialogue will help propel Basterds to the award over The Hurt Locker.

And there you have it, I'll mark later tonight or tomorrow how well I did. If any of you are in an Oscar pool, Good Luck!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Independent Spirit Awards Ballot

A few weeks ago, I sat down to cast my votes for this year's Independent Spirit Awards. Now that the votes have been tallied and the awards are to be distributed tonight, I'll reveal who I voted for in the individual categories. Hopefully, some of my choices will even win. Tomorrow or Sunday, I'll post my educated Oscar picks.

Best Actor (Best Male Lead)

Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
Colin Firth – A Single Man
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – (500) Days of Summer
Souleymane Sy Savane – Goodbye Solo
Adam Scott – The Vicious Kind

Easy choice here, Jeff Bridges. Just a solid performance from beginning to end. When a performance in a film comes off as effortless, you know it's a good one.

Best Supporting Actor (Best Supporting Male)

Jemaine Clement – Gentlemen Broncos
Woody Harrelson – The Messenger
Christian McKay – Me and Orson Welles
Ray McKinnon – That Evening Sun
Christopher Plummer – The Last Station

A close call between Woody Harrelson and Christopher Plummer. I went with Plummer as his performance had more of a twinkle in the eye, whereas Harrelson's left me more depressed.

Best Actress (Best Female Lead)

Maria Bello – Downloading Nancy
Nisreen Faour – Amreeka
Helen Mirren – The Last Station
Gwyneth Paltrow – Two Lovers
Gabourey Sidibe – Precious

With the specters of Josh and Enrico hanging over my head, I had no choice but to vote for Gabourey Sidibe. Otherwise they would have hunted me down and maimed me, and quite possibly not even in that order.

Best Supporting Actress (Best Supporting Female)

Dina Korzun – Cold Souls
Mo'Nique – Precious
Samantha Morton – The Messenger
Natalie Press – Fifty Dead Men Walking
Mia Wasikowska – That Evening Sun

Mo'Nique, not even a question. No one else came close to her in any other film during 2009.

Best Cinematography

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans – Peter Zeitlinger
Cold Souls – Andrij Parekh
A Serious Man – Roger Deakins
Treeless Mountain – Anne Misawa
Without Name (Sin nombre) – Adriano Goldman

A difficult category to vote for, I went with Anne Misawa here. Treeless Mountain was a wonderful discovery this past year, and the cinematography really got you into the children's point of view. Worth checking out.

Best First Screenplay
Sophie Barthes - Cold Souls
Scott Cooper - Crazy Heart
Cherien Dabis - Amreeka
Geoffrey Fletcher - Precious
Tom Ford and David Scearce - A Single Man

Continuing with the Joshrico fear factor, Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious. Of course, Precious deserves it simply for being one of the most powerful and moving films last year.

Best Screenplay

(500) Days of Summer – Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Adventureland – Greg Mottola
The Last Station – Michael Hoffman
The Messenger – Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman
The Vicious Kind – Lee Toland Krieger

There are many supporters of (500) Days of Summer and while I enjoyed the film, I thought it was a bit boring at points. My vote here is for Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman's The Messenger, a film that looks at the soldiers who have to notify families of their loved one's death during wartime. Strong stuff, and it shows there's no easy way to do the job.

Best Foreign Film

A Prophet (Un prophète) – Jacques Audiard • France
An Education – Lone Scherfig • France/UK
Everlasting Moments (Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick) – Jan Troell • Sweden
Mother (Madeo) – Bong Joon-ho • South Korea
The Maid (La nana) – Sebastián Silva • Chile

Hands down, A Prophet. Strong, strong film. A Scarface set in prison. Keeps you riveted for it's 150 minute running time.

Best Documentary


The best documentaries enlighten me about a topic I was unaware of and care about. Food, Inc. taught me that while I might still stuff my face with whatever, I really should think twice sometimes.

John Cassavetes Award (Best film made for under $500,000)


As stated before, Treeless Mountain was my favorite unheard of discovery of the past year.

Best First Film

A Single Man
Crazy Heart
Easier With Practice
Paranormal Activity
The Messenger

It won't win, but I voted for Paranormal Activity. I really got into it's kicky little grove and thought I'd toss a vote it's way.

Best Director

Ethan and Joel Coen – A Serious Man
Lee Daniels – Precious
Cary Joji Fukunaga – Without Name (Sin nombre)
James Gray – Two Lovers
Michael Hoffman – The Last Station

Again with the fear of Josh and Enrico. Really though, Lee Daniels deserves this award. Precious directed by anybody else, would have been a completely different film, most likely one with an absolutely upbeat ending.

Best Film (Best Feature)

(500) Days of Summer
The Last Station
Without Name (Sin nombre)

Must it be said? Precious. And now Josh and Enrico can go out and celebrate.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oscar Shorts

Collected for your enjoyment, here are some of the short films up for the Oscars this year.

First, from the Live Action category:

Miracle Fish (17:44): A young boy hides out after being bullied at school, only upon waking to discover that everyone has disappeared. A decent film, with a twist that is relatively foreseeable. Doubtful it's going to win.

Three of the other Live Action films (The Door, The New Tenants, Instead of Abracadabra) are available on iTunes for $1.99 each. The fifth (Kavi), appears to be unavailable on the web.

As to the Animated films...

First: French Roast (8:18)-- A Frenchman has misplaced his wallet, leading to him ordering more and more coffee until he can find a way out. Cute and silly, but too slight to win the Oscar.

Second: Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty (6:01): An elderly woman frightens the bejeezus out of her grandchild as she tells her version of Sleeping Beauty. Funny, but also too one-note to win.

Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty from Darragh O'Connell on Vimeo.

Also, Granny reacts to her nomination:

Third: The Lady and the Reaper (8:21): An elderly woman is caught in a tug of war between Death and a Doctor. Another funny one and rather inventive, this could pull out a win, but I'm doubting it has enough pull to do so.

The remaining two films (Logorama and Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death) are available on iTunes for $1.99 each. Wallace and Gromit will almost certainly take the prize, but I would highly suggest spending the $1.99 to watch Logorama. It' a 17 minute short, populated entirely by corporate logos. Ronald McDonald has committed a crime, and it's up to the Michelen Men to stop him. Violent and profane, the little short goes balls out in critiquing today's corporate culture.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

R.I.P. Grandpa

97 and 1/2 years though. That's not too shabby.