January, 2013

Oscar Needs A Serious Redo!

I think is this one of the worst Oscar session I’ve yet to see.

After the Golden Globes where given tonight, I think the Academy should do a complete overhaul. The fact that the 2 films that took the highest honors tonight where actual shockers is why the Academy is in serious need of a change.

First off was Ben Affleck’s surprise when for Best Director. That he managed to beat out such experienced directors like Spielberg and Lee, both Oscar winners themselves, is nothing short of amazement. Not to mention that this is Afflect’s 3rd directoral effort to date, speaks so much about hes credibily. The film itself won Best Picture – Drama beating out the sure winner Lincoln.

And second (which is not surprising but I’ll explain why it is a shocker) is Les Miserable winning Best Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Now, the reason why I say that the Academy needs a complete redo from here on out is because the winners of tonight’s big awards, Affleck and Les Mes’ Tom Hooper, have no chance of winning the award that really matters the most: the Oscar. Why? Because they’re not nominated!

It must be a sad feeling for Spielberg to know that his only chance of winning an Oscar, too which he already has two, is because of the misfortune of an up-and-coming direct like Affleck. And while the Oscar’s did manage to diversify the nominees this year, it still missed the ball for the ones who did deserve it the most.

I believe that the nominations for the Academy Awards should 1) be decided upon in conjunction with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. It’s the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that control the Oscars. Or 2) only be decided upon after the winners of the Golden Globes have been announced.

Or 3) out with the old voters and in with the new!

2013 Oscar Race

YAY! IT’S OSCAR SEASON AGAIN! And I will admit, I am somewhat happy with this year’s nominees. It was a nice mix of old school talent and up-and-coming actors trying to make a name for themselves. Big stars like Denzel Washington and Robert De Niro picked up their sixth and seventh nomination, respectively, while Bradley Cooper landed his first nomination to date and Anne Hathaway is on tracked to gain her first Oscar win for Supporting Actress for Les Miserables.

But, as with every year, there are a handful of snubs and surprise enough to make me happy!

So let’s get to a few of them . . .

First off, WHERE IS LEO!? I swear, Leonardo DiCaprio has probably the worst luck when it comes to the Academy. Nominated eight times, EIGHT TIMES!, for a Golden Globe he only managed to ride the award season wave to 2 Academy Award nominations. That’s it. When J. Edgar came out last year, critics where calling it his big break. The pairing of him with Clint Eastwood, plus the historical context of the film which is always the favorable genre of the Academy seemed too good to be true. But so-so reviews of the film only help DiCaprio land Golden Globe and SAG nominations. No wins, by the way. I will admit his performance was stellar, as is all this performances, but not his absolute best. He did deserve the Oscar nom though.

So many people thought that was this year. And to that, I say “No. This is his year!” Playing the diabolical and charismatic slave owner Calvin J. Candie in Quentin Tarantino’s new film Django Unchained (the ‘D’ is silent) he portrayed an out-and-out villain for the first time in his career. As I said before, actually, I said it around this time 2 years ago when Mila Kunis lost out her Best Supporting Actress nomination for Black Swan to . . . I can’t even remember the girls name, a role like DiCaprio’s in Django Unchained is what I consider acting. Taking an actor out of there comfort zone and showcasing them in a completely different light and having it work. DiCaprio put so much heart and soul and commitment into his role. His disturbing, yet brutally amazing monologue towards the end of the film in which he uses a human skull as a prop was the highlight of the film. At one point he got so into the role that he actually smashed the skull with his own hand and then whipped his own blood on Kerry Washington’s face. The scene worked out so good that Tarantino used it as the final cut. If that doesn’t show power I don’t know what does.

Hang in there, Leo. Trust me, your day is coming. I hope some good will come from either The Great Gatsby or The Wolf of Wall Street.

A nice surprise this year was the foreign film Amour. Michael Haneke’s nomination for Best Director and the film itself getting a Best Picture nod show that the Academy likes to spread its wealth around. This wasn’t a film that has had much press all season long. I haven’t heard of it until . . . today. But, nevertheless, the film managed to pick up five nominations in comparison to is one Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. This shows that the Academy really does have an eye out for talent, regardless of culture. The fact that a foreign film can get five nominations with very limited press as opposed to an American film like Flight that has been talked about since its release in November only getting two nominations.

The supporting categories are sometimes the hardest ones to call, more so with Best Supporting Actor. The Best Supporting Actress category has been on point for the past few years now ( Mo’Nique, Melissa Leo, and Octavia Spencer) and this year all eyes are on Anne Hathaway who has had critics calling her the frontrunner since they heard her singing in the trailer! But there is always that one that slips in at the last minute. This year it is Jackie Weaver, a previous nominee for Best Supporting Actress. Weaver’s last minute nomination most likely resulted in Nicole Kidman losing the spot having already been nominated for the Golden Globe and SAG Award for her role in The Paperboy.

The technical and sound categories are always toss ups and places where the big budget summer blockbusters can final get a very brief and shiny minute at the Oscars. Marvel’s The Avengers and Prometheus managed to pick up Best Visual Effects nods.

And while on the topic of big budget summer blockbusters . . . NOT ONE SINGLE NOMIANTION FOR THE DARK KNIGHT RISES!? My disgust and outrage will be showcased in another post pretty soon because I just cannot fathom why Nolan doesn’t get any Oscar love whatsoever.

Everything else seems customary by now if you’ve been following the awards season. Lincoln picked up 12 nominations, the most this year, including Best Picture, Direct (Spielberg), Actor (Day-Lewis), and Actress (Fields). Silver Linings Playbook picked up eight nominations and, along with Lincoln, could be the first film since The Silence of the Lambs to win The Big 5 (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay). Les Miserables also picked up eight. And other big name films this year like Django Unchained, Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty got five nominations.

Newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis made history by become the youngest actress ever to receive a nomination for Best Actress. She also goes up against Naomi Watts for The Impossible and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Lingings Playbook who was the second youngest nominee at the time of her first nomination in 2010.

And Adele continues her quest for world domination by picking up her first Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for ‘Skyfall,’ the theme song to this year’s James Bond film of the same name.

It was nice to see the Academy spread the love this year. Actor’s young and old, films foreign and domestic, all getting their own chance to shine. Whether or not the Academy will keep up there end is a completely different story. Remember, these are only nominations. But I guess it’s true when they say that it’s an honor just to be nominated.

The 85th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 24th.

My predictions:
Best Picture: Lincoln
Best Direction: Spielberg for Lincoln
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook OR Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty
Best Supporting Actor: Phillip Seymour Hoffman for The Master
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables
Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty
Best Adapted Screenplay: Tony Kushner for Lincoln

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