Tag Archives: Academy Awards

84th Annual Academy Award Nominations & Analysis

The 84th annual Academy Award nominations were announced today. Here is the complete list of nominees and my analysis along the way. Stay tuned for the Oscars on Sunday, February 26.

Best Picture

The Artist – Following its PGA win, this film is primed to win the big prize on February 26.

The Descendants – I’m not surprised by this nomination, though I don’t think the film is deserving of it. It’s a flawed film, but AMPAS likes Alexander Payne.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – This is one of two surprise nominees in this category and the only one I have not yet seen.

The Help

Hugo – If it were up to me, this would win Best Picture. In my opinion, it’s the strongest and best-composed of the nine nominated films.

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball – Overall, a terrific film and deserving of this honor.

The Tree of Life – This is the second surprise nominee in this category. Arguably the most polarizing film of the year, don’t expect Tree to win here.

War Horse – Spielberg gets a Best Picture nomination, but is snubbed for Best Director. This doesn’t bode well for War Horse‘s chances.

Continue reading 84th Annual Academy Award Nominations & Analysis

2012: The Year of the “Best Picture”

After completing the eight-year odyssey that was my 170 list, I’ve turned my sights to a new list: the Oscar Best Picture winners. To date, I’ve seen 65 of the 83 winners (and I’ve seen all Best Picture nominees since 1998).

As the 84th Academy Award nominations are to be announced later today (8:30am EST/5:30am PST), I’m turning my focus to these immortalized films and I’m giving myself until the 2013 Oscars to complete the list. That said, I’m declaring 2012 “The Year of the ‘Best Picture’.”

Here are the remaining 18 Best Picture winners I have left to watch:

     

     

     

Official Oscar Poster Unveiled

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(Re-posted from The Hollywood Reporter)

by Michael O’Connell
December 28, 2011

For the 84th annual awards, the one-sheet pairs the Oscar statuette with images of eight winning films from eight decades.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the poster for the 2012 Academy Awards on Wednesday morning. And it promises the 84th annual Oscars will celebrate — as one might expect — movies.

Under the banner “Life. Camera. Action,” the poster features eight Oscar-winning films from eight decades of the show. Gone with the Wind (1939), Casablanca (1943), Giant (1956), The Sound of Music (1965), The Godfather (1972), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Forrest Gump (1994) and Gladiator (2000) make up the films highlighted. Only one of them, however, did not win best picture. That distinction goes to Giant, which won George Stevens an Oscar for directing.

Academy President Tom Sherak addressed the chosen tagline, “Celebrate the movies in all of us,” in an accompanying release. “Whether it’s a first date or a holiday gathering with friends or family, movies are a big part of our memory,” said Sherak. “The Academy Awards not only honor the excellence of these movies, but also celebrate what they mean to us as a culture and to each of us individually.”

The poster is available for public download on the Oscar website.

My “Official” Oscar Nomination Predictions

Awards season is upon us and several critics circles, SAG, and the Hollywood Foreign Press (Golden Globes) have listed their best films lists, awards, and nominations in a variety of categories. There’s no reason for me to sit back silently and not get my two cents in. Overall, there haven’t been many surprises, though a few notable snubs immediately come to mind upon reading some of these lists and nominations.

Based on my years of following such lists and awards shows, I’ve put together my “official” Oscar nomination predictions for the four acting categories and Best Picture. I follow each prediction with a “preliminary” winner. These are not my “official” winner predictions, as those will come closer to the Oscars.

The nominations for the 84th annual Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 24.

Best Actor

Demián Bichir – A Better Life

George Clooney – The Descendants

Leonardo DiCaprio – J. Edgar

Jean Dujardin – The Artist

Brad Pitt – Moneyball

Alternates:

Michael Fassbender – Shame

Ryan Gosling – The Ides of March

Preliminary Winner:

Jean Dujardin

Continue reading My “Official” Oscar Nomination Predictions

This Fall’s Awards Contenders

Being originally from New England, fall has always been my favorite season. You’ve got the cool, crisp air and the bright-colored leaves. Then there’s the holidays and my birthday. But chief among it all … the movies! We’re ramping up for awards season, so now’s the time for the studios—big and small—to put out some of the best cinematic fare of the year. I spend all year keeping my eye on awards contenders, but the fall is when the best films are released. It’s a simple principle: the last thing you see is the first thing you remember. And that’s why studios wait until the end of the year to put out their big guns. These are the films that voters are most likely to remember (and consider) for the year’s top awards. Here are just some of the remaining films to be released this year that are primed for awards consideration, as well as some of the categories for which they stand to potentially receive nominations. (Note: This is not an exhaustive list, as several earlier releases are worthy of consideration in various categories.)

If you’re anything like me and you determine which movies to watch based, at least partly, on awards viability, then set your calendars for these upcoming releases (release dates listed below).

Best Picture

       

Continue reading This Fall’s Awards Contenders

Short Film: “Oktapodi”

This 2008 Oscar-nominated animated French short film was directed by Emud Mokhberi, Thierry Marchand, Julien Bocabeille, François-Xavier Chanioux, Olivier Delabarre, and Quentin Marmier. It’s a quick watch, at just 2:26.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=badHUNl2HXU]

In Theatres: Moneyball

Based on the Michael Lewis-penned book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, the film version with the abbreviated title is backed by a slew of awards favorites, including screenwriters Steven Zaillian (Oscar winner for Schindler’s List, 1993) and Aaron Sorkin (Oscar winner for The Social Network, 2010); director Bennett Miller (Oscar nominee for Capote, 2006); and producers Michael De Luca (Oscar nominee for The Social Network), Rachael Horovitz (Emmy winner for HBO’s Grey Gardens, 2009), and Scott Rudin (Oscar winner for No Country for Old Men, 2007). And then, of course, there’s the acting talent, lead by Brad Pitt (Oscar nominee for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 2008) with a supporting performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman (Oscar winner for Capote).

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, “Oscar voters, pay attention.”

There are several things I love about the fall, my favorite season. Chief among them is that it’s the start of awards season—all of the year’s best movies are reserved until this time of year with the thought being that Academy Award voters are most likely to remember the last movies they see. (It’s not a surprise that films that open earlier in the year are largely ignored come February’s ceremony.) It’s all about strategy. And it works. Just ask Billy Beane (portrayed by Pitt in Moneyball), who leveraged an unconventional strategy to build a successful baseball team in 2002. (Excuse me while I pat myself on the back for this pretty awesome segue.)

Summary:

Billy Beane was once a would-be baseball superstar who, stung by the failure to live up to expectations on the field, turned his fiercely competitive nature to management. Heading into the 2002 season, Billy faces a dismal situation: his small-market Oakland A’s has lost its star players (again) to big-market clubs (and their enormous salaries) and is left to rebuild his team and compete with a third of its payroll. Driven to win, Billy takes on the system by challenging the fundamental tenants of the game. He looks outside of baseball, to the dismissed theories of Bill James, and hires Peter Brand, a brainy, number-crunching, Yale-educated economist. Together, they take on conventional wisdom with a willingness to re-examine everything and armed with computer-driven statistical analysis long ignored by the baseball establishment. They reach imagination-defying conclusions and go after players overlooked and dismissed by the rest of baseball for being too odd, too old, too injured, or too much trouble, but who all have key skills that are universally undervalued. As Billy and Peter forge forward, their new methods and roster of misfits rile the old guard, the media, the fans, and their own field manager, who refuses to cooperate. Ultimately, this experiment will lead not only to a change in the way the game is played, but to an outcome that would leave Billy with a new understanding that transcends the game and delivers him to a new place. (courtesy of Yahoo! Movies)

Director: Bennett Miller

Screenwriters: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin

Producers: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Scott Rudin

Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt

Genre: Drama, Sport

Distributor: Sony Pictures

Official Site: moneyball-movie.com

Runtime: 133 min.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiAHlZVgXjk]

New AMPAS Shake-ups Are Hits, Misses

This week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made a couple of announcements that will, perhaps, shape the future of the Oscars. A couple of years ago, the Academy decided to go back to its roots and expand the Best Picture category from five nominated films to 10. The idea was that this move would help improve the telecast’s ratings by allowing films with a wider viewership and fan-base have a better shot at grabbing a nomination. (There was a bit of an Internet uproar when high-grossing films like The Dark Knight and Wall-E were snubbed from the Best Picture race in 2009.)

During the 1998 ceremony, ratings were huge because most people had seen Titanic, the one film that stood a shot at scoring big that night—and it did. The film had such a large following that those fans were glued to their TV screens to watch Titanic‘s smooth sailing towards the Best Picture prize. Since then, arguably no nominated film has achieved the same level of interest (except for, maybe, Avatar), and the Oscars’ lagging ratings have reflected this. Now, the vast majority of nominated films are indie darlings that don’t have the same type of national or international distribution as their big-budget counterparts. So what does this mean? Fewer eyeballs. Fewer people watch the films that are nominated, and if they’re not familiar with the films that are nominated, there’s no good reason to tune into the Oscars. (And fashion is not a good reason.)

Titanic anchored the 1998 Oscar ceremony, drawing huge ratings for the telecast.

Continue reading New AMPAS Shake-ups Are Hits, Misses