Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscars 2013: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

It's easy to be cynical about an awards show that's basically an over long, overly expensive way for Hollywood to congratulate itself. But no matter what, I look forward to the Oscars every year. It's like my Super Bowl. So instead of complaining and mocking, I will instead present some of my favorite things about this year's ceremony (After the Jump):

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Oscars: Who Will Win

Best Picture

Who knew that Ben Affleck's Oscar snub would be the best possible thing for him? Ever since his name was not included on the Best Director list, Hollywood has rallied around "Argo." Lately, I have been rooting for Affleck, because I love a good redemption story. However, the fact that Affleck still doesn't have an Oscar isn't as bad, considering Scorsese just won his first one less than a decade ago. Affleck is still young and he has a long career of Oscar nominations ahead of him. But that won't stop the Academy. "Argo" is a good, old-fashioned thriller about Hollywood. And if Hollywood loves anything, it's congratulating themselves. Expect "Argo" to be the first film since "Driving Miss Daisy" to win Best Picture without a nominated director to accompany it.

Best Director

"Life of Pi" was lauded nearly across the board for its visuals. "Amour" is a critical favorite and Haneke could score a surprise win from that. But I doubt it. Spielberg certainly doesn't need any more praise heaped his way. However, that won't stop Spielberg from winning this year for bringing an era to life with precise detail. This will be Steven Spielberg's third win for Best Director. I don't think it will be long until he gets a fourth and ties John Ford's record.

Best Actor

There are some fine performances in this category. Any other year, Bradley Cooper would have walked away with the award. But when Daniel Day-Lewis is nominated, no one can compete.

Best Actress

This race started off as a duel between Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence. For a while, I thought Chastain had it in the bag for her challenging and commanding performance in Zero Dark Thirty. There is a slight chance that veteran Emmanuelle Riva could score a late-in-life sympathy vote. This race though seems like a clear victory for Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence may only be 22, but she is one of the most likable stars working today and her performance in "Silver Linings Playbook" was so good that she even took Robert De Niro to school.

Best Supporting Actor: 

Tommy Lee Jones held his own against Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln," which is no easy task. Alan Arkin was a joy to watch in "Argo" as always, but he just won a few years ago. Seeing Christoph Waltz win again would be great, not only because he's a terrific actor but also because that guy can rock any stage he steps on. This is the toughest race to call, but I think I'm going to have to settle with Robert De Niro in "Silver Linings Playbook." There's nothing wrong with honoring a good, heartfelt comeback.

Best Supporting Actress

No analysis needed. Anne Hathaway (for "Les Mis," not "The Dark Knight Rises," in case you were confused) has this one in the bag.

And the rest:

Best Original Screenplay: Zero Dark Thirty
Best Adapted Screenplay: Argo
Best Animated Feature: Wreck-It Ralph
Best Documentary: Searching for Sugar Man
Best Foreign Film: Amour
Best Editing: Argo
Best Cinematography: Life of Pi
Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi
Best Costume Design: Les Miserables
Best Production Design: Les Miserables
Best Makeup: Les Miserables
Best Original Score: Lincoln
Best Original Song: Skyfall
Best Sound Mixing: Les Miserables
Best Sound Editing: Argo
Best Documentary Short: Open Heart
Best Animated Short: The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare
Best Live Action Short: Asad

Monday, February 18, 2013

Oscars 2013: Who Should Win

Best Picture: Django Unchained

I probably don't need to bring this one up again. But this is my blog so back off! Anyway, Quentin Tarantino continues to push the form forward more and more as others try to resist change. More than anything, "Django" was the most interesting, and often the funniest, film of the year. By embracing inaccuracy, it provided a more accurate satire of backwards southern nobility than any serious historical film could ever dream up. The fact that "Django" both balanced a somber condemnation of slavery with farce on the level of "Blazing Saddles" is still a marvel to me. As the Academy voters grow younger and younger, one day they will embrace Tarantino for the master he is, and his films for the masterpieces they almost always are.

Best Director: Michael Haneke (Amour)

Maybe "Amour" went on a little too long for my taste, but I cannot overlook Haneke's haunting work. Sometimes, the emotions behind "Amour" are too overwhelming for me to even think about. Haneke presented aging and old age in such a removed way that it actually draws us closer to the characters. By stepping back, all of the small details and actions are allowed to unfold.