Monday, January 31, 2005

That's Incredible

The Incredibles won 10 prizes at this year's Annie Awards, further cementing the notion that the Animated Oscar will be Pixar's again this year. Its chief Oscar competition, Shrek 2, lost in every category at this year's ceremony.

In other animated news, despite a weak year in 2004 for toons, 2005 could provide nail biting suspense as to which films will make the Best Animated Feature lineup. The following films are all expected to debut within the 2005 eligibility period:

CARS -the latest from Pixar
MADAGASCAR -four animals from the Central Park Zoo
CURIOUS GEORGE -Universal (traditional 2D animation)
HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE the latest from Studio Ghibli (who brought us Spirited Away)

and the two I'm most excited about:

Should be quite a contest for those 3 slots (although possibly there will be 5 next year given the amount of stuff that will probably open in addition to these, the high-profile films) and quite a year for toon lovers.

Things I've Been Watching...

I promised to continue both my Screening Log and my Oscar Diary herein (as I haven't had a lot of time at home to update the site... always away and blogs are convenient like that) so here are a few notes on things I've seen recently.

I continue to really groove on Topher Grace. He seems to exude some sort of "I'm loving acting" vibe. It reminds me somewhat of the magical Kirsten Dunst breakthrough years of 2000-2002. The movie is surprisingly watchable given it's odd plot and extremely naive finale.

I watch more television this time of year since I get burned out on movies and this is definitely the best reality show going --it's actually about something, imagine that!?. The contestants have talent to spare... they're not chosen for their obnoxious personalities or willingness to spill all to the camera in "confessional" sequences. The show does have the basic reality show format (someone is ousted each week, there are confessional direct to camera moments, etc...) but it manages to be unpredictable all the same. Part of the thrill I guess is watching creativity at work. One could argue that shows like American Idol are also superior to the average reality show because they're also talent contests rather than contests for who can be the most obnoxious and therefore get the most screentime. But they're not created anything on that popular show, they're just aping other performers and performance styles. They have to choose well known songs. They get dinged if they're true originals. They must choose a 'type' to play and stay with it. It's like a glorified cover band competition. Very watchable yes. But not half as interesting as Project Runway.

If Huff were an HBO series, it'd be an instant hit and would have gotten several Golden Globe nominations and SAG nominations (only one nomination at each show this year the lead Hank Azaris got a SAG nod, Oliver Platt, supporting player, got an GG nomination). But because it's on Showtime, it will take more work to get people to notice how good it is. This is the reputation problem working against it. Showtime isn't known for having quality TV. It's not like Queer as Folk and The L Word and the others are actually "good" --they're just fighting for an underserved audience. Like a lot of first seasons of any series, Huff seems to be still finding it's footing (i.e. it's kind of uneven)... but when it hits it's highs it's really something. I hope it catches on because there's nothing really like it on television. And the acting is superb. Swoosie Kurtz and Blythe Danner are both miraculous actors given juicy characters to play and everyone else is doing nifty work too.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Clint & Marty and the Lifetime Achievement Problem

So, Clint Eastwood won the DGA for Million Dollar Baby and that's a result of three things 1) Love for the movie and his accomplishments there 2) Timing --the movie hasn't peaked yet...and 3) Clint's 'legend' status and honoring his whole life in the movies. That this lifetime achievement comes at the expense of Martin Scorsese is the central problem of the upcoming Oscar race as well.

You'll hear in any given awards year these two arguments about any particular heated race...
Pro "Due" / also known as Career Longevity
Yeah, so maybe it's not his/her best work. It's still better than most people can or will ever do and he/she still hasn't ever won an Oscar and this is getting ridiculous! Tons of people win for this reason, why not him/her?
Con "Due" also known as Career Longevity
Yes, he/she has a great body of work. And yes, it's not fair that he/she may never win. But the award is for the best of the year not the best of all time or the best of these careers of the nominees!

Now, where you stand on the issue is usually based on how you feel about the person that the question is about. The problem is that it needs to be one or the other. The problem and the anger that crops up is that the Academy and other awards giving entities are always flipflopping about their answer to this 'honors' problem. And, here's the other problem... given that sometimes two achievements are pretty much on the same level of accomplishments, why not give it to the more overdue person?

To some degree Clint already had his "due" year with Unforgiven so if he's up for the prize again --against someone who is widely considered to be among the greats of all time (that'd be Scorsese) should he really win again if he's the best of this one particular year? It's just a hypothetical question when it comes from me because I don't feel like Clint deserves it this year but it's an interesting quandry. If Clint can win several Oscars in honor of good movies and his longevity why can't Marty? This question is also particularly hard to deal with when it comes to the Best Actress race. Inexplicably many people have decided that the least of the five performances (Swank's) is the best the argument rises up there too: It doesn't matter if she previously won, she deserves it! But do you really award a non-interesting non-accomplished career Two freaking Oscars when you can never figure out a way to give one of America's greatest living filmmakers his first? Or two of the screen's best actresses ever (Julianne Moore and Kate Winslet) their first prize?

This question "career or year?" is a good one to ask. But nobody seems to ever answer it the same way twice.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Three Readers

David points out that last year at this time when writing about my most anticipated movies of 2004, I said:

"HERO by Zhang Yimou is not on this list because I don't believe Miramax will ever release it in theaters. SPIDER-MAN 2 is not on this list because I don't see how it could measure up to the magic of the first film. HARRY POTTER is not on the list because I hated the first two and, really, how much difference can a director make on this series? In all of these cases: I'm not THAT gullible."

At first I laughed with some embarassment rereading that -Boy was I wrong. But then I felt really good. Here's hoping the cinema happenings of 2005 surprise me as well.

Björn points out that there are weird similarities brewing between the 1996 & 2004 Oscars, besides the much discussed lack of box office power. Among them...
DIR. The favorite film (English Patient/The Aviator) lost the Director trophy at the Golden Globes.
ACTOR. The star of the most nominated movie (Fiennes/DiCaprio) is up against a legend (Cruise/Eastwood) but both lose to a newer lesser-known talent playing a musician (Rush/Foxx)
SUPPORTING ACTOR. African American actor (Gooding/Freeman) beats the critical comedic darling (Macy/Church) and a fresh talent who wins the Globe (Norton/Owen)
Hmmm... to make these comparisons even scarier Björn reveals his trump card ... Both years features Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals in the running for technical awards!

And finally Joshua asks why the technical nods didn't follow the traditional "we're going to nominate the five movies that got the Best Picture nods" format this year. And goes on to say:
On this last point, I wrote to you this past fall about The Village - which, I believe, I was the only person in the US that actually liked the movie.  I particularly liked Bryce Dallas Howard's turn and its fantastic score - a score which actually supported the film, wasn't overly showy or distracting, and set a great mood for the picture.  Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather when it actually got an Oscar nod.  I read somewhere that this may have only happened because the Academy's music branch is too close-knit a group, and is only interested in nominating the same people over and over again . . . but on this point, I prefer to live in my little fantasy-world where a well-written score was actually honored for its merits

As far as the technical guilds not following the Best Picture format ...Well, even though many in the individual branches threw me for a loop you can always count on the editors for a lack of imagination (they're nearly always 4/5 or 5/5 and they were again this year, avoiding obviously worthy stuff like The Bourne Supremacy and Eternal Sunshine because, hey, they aren't best picture nominees!) Gone are the days when they have their own opinion... There were once years here and there that didn't line up well at all. As far as the Best Score goes... you go on living that fantasy! I wish I could join you. But if it were really about a well-written score (I'm not saying The Village isn't) than Birth would have been in hands down. Because every score nominated is lesser than. The egregious snub of the never nominated Alexandre Desplat is now onto its second year. He did Girl with the Pearl Earring last year as well --He's proof positive that these composers believe in the "keep it in the family" style of nominating above all else. I love the Harry Potter John Williams music far more than I've liked anything by him in years but when you have someone who gets nominated nearly every year??? Incredibly, he's on his 42nd nomination since 1968... in the past 36 years he has only been absent from the list in 9 separate years and in 3 of those he wasn't even eligible. They have a problem in their voting pool. They just don't want to welcome the new composers. It must be a back slapping society.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

"In a gay-oriented way"

I found this just too strange to pass up. (Linked through Oscarwatch Forums) It's something about Hayden Christensen and some other actor named Trevor Blumas, whom I've never heard of (which is weird for me being a film freak and all) being ex-boyfriends. And if I didn't know that I was born and raised as an English speaking person, I would think this was in a different language so strange are the turns of phrase. It's also hilariously Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys-like in it's obsession with secret codes, timelines, and what not...

"Trevor wears jewelry ...that is exactly and totally consistent with current gay/bisexual jewelry codes !!!!!!!!!!!" [The exclamation points are my own but I couldn't help it. They needed to be there.]

And how's this for totally accurate sleuthing:

In reference to a posting board message about a star spotting with Hayden Christensen with some guy: "By the timing, the boy could only have been Trevor Blumas, and if it somehow was not, then not only am I mad at Hayden for dumping Trevor, I am mad at Hayden for cheating on Trevor also, although I still do love Hayden because he is gay. Unless when the poster says "Last year," he means sometime after October 2003 and after Hayden and Trevor had broken up."

Wait --did Douglas J. Feith write this? Cuz that's some bad-ass investigative journalism goin' on there!

Hearts and Minds

Just wondering what the feeling is out there on this Aviator Vs. Million Dollar Baby thing. Jeff Wells over at Hollywood Elsewhere seems to think The Aviator can't win because people only respect it but don't love it. (Plus he's biased against it). But I don't really think this is the case personally. How did the film do better over at's compilation of top ten lists if people don't love The Aviator? Are all of these critics who put it in their top ten lists, merely wishing for Marty to have his Oscar? 500+ people are voting on sympathy? The PGA is voting on sympathy? The Globes?

I'm not sure I buy that people don't love The Aviator. Partially because I almost did and definitely prefer it to Million Dollar Baby, which is quite affecting but also sort of facile. It has the Finding Neverland problem of having very easy emotional hooks that any lesser filmmaker could also make effective. (Although MDB is miles better executed than Neverland)

And people do sometimes vote with their minds over their hearts. Maybe I'm remembering poorly but didn't The Last Emperor sweep? That, like the Aviator, was largely somewhat cold but technically marvelous spectacle. And people really loved Moonstruck that year. But they didn't vote with their hearts for that Cher-fest romantic comedy...

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Lucky Me

For those who care about such things: I scored 85% correct in my big eight Oscar predictions. The technicals escaped my every attempt to capture them --those bastards pulled my overall score down to 67% for all categories! My beloved costume designers especially threw me for a loop. How on earth did I only score 1/5?

What's even weirder is that my costume design predictions one-year-in-advance were a 1/5. Ha. The jokes on me... pay attention all year, still only get one right! ~The same one! Speaking of the April Fools Predictions: I scored a 25% in the major categories before almost any of the films arrived (which is about my usual, maybe a little better) and in all categories overall, whaddya know, a %25 percent as well. Pretty good. Look for my 2005 Predictions year-in-advance predictions (I will attempt to boost that 25%) on March 2nd, 2005.

New Documentary Rules

In response to frequent criticisms, documentaries which had a theatrical run --characterized as "a minimum of 25 commercial exhibitions for paid admission in motion picture theaters in 15 states, each exhibition to be at least two consecutive days" --are now mostly exempt from their respective rules about television broadcast dropping the films from contention.

To further even out their rules they really should drop this television exemption altogether -features are not subject to these disqualifications if they're on cable four months after their theatrical run, so why should documentaries be? And while they're at it if they would make the features have to meet this exhibition rule (the 15 states part --I like that!) than we wouldn't have so many stupid one week only showings in LA to subvert the year's natural chronology.

I realize this post may sound like gobbledegook butI can't help it. I hate all these special rules. Features should have to exhibit in more than just LA & NY just like the documentaries do. This would also help weed out that awful December release glut each year. Basically if features had to follow these documentary rules, things like Million Dollar Baby would be in danger of not qualifying... which is a good thing. You shouldn't be able to be called the best of a year in which no one was able to see you (except for those blessed souls in LA and NYC like myself). There's no reason why Marty should undergo public scrutiny but Clint should be spared, you know?

The Year of the Biopic -A recap

So, early on we heard THE YEAR OF THE BIOPIC over and over again. And it did turn out to be that way with 3/5 best picture nominees being just that. But how well did the year of the biopic turn out overall. Did they do well only because there were so many of them that it would be impossible to ignore or because Oscar really just can't get enough.

A chronological rundown of the year's 11 BioPics (did I miss anything?) and how they fared w/ Oscar:
-Non traditional format. One short period in subject's life. Critically divisive. Huge box office. No Oscar campaign =3 tech nominations.
DE-LOVELY -Semi traditional format. Adult Fame Years. Death. Critics not that interested. Poor box office. Surprising pre-cursor showings. Minor campaign = 0 nominations.
THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES -Non traditional format. One short period in subject's life. Critically respected, sometimes adored. Very strong box office for a foreign language film. Major Oscar campaign = 2 nominations.
RAY -Traditional format. Youth. Adult Fame Years. Death. Critically respected if not adored widely. Good box office. Great FYC campaign =6 nominations
KINSEY -Traditional format. Youth. Adult Fame Years. Near Death. Critically respected. Poor box office. Good FYC campaign = 1 nomination.
FINDING NEVERLAND -Non-Traditional format. One short period of subject's life. Critically respected if not widely adored. Decent box office (in relation to cost) = 7 nominations.
ALEXANDER -Traditional format. Youth. Adulthood. Death. Critically reviled. Horrid box office (in relation to cost). Aborted FYC campaign = Not one nomination.
THE AVIATOR -Semi-Traditional format. Little youth. 20'ish years of Adult Fame Years. Critically respected if not widely adored. Good box office. Good FYC campaign =11 nominations
HOTEL RWANDA -Non-traditional format. Short period of subject's life. Critically adored. Late release and late starting FYC campaign = 3 nominations.
BEYOND THE SEA -Don't know about the format. Didn't see. Critics not interested. Poor box office. Late release and late starting FYC campaign =0 nominations
THE SEA INSIDE -Semi-Traditional format. Adult fame years. Death. Critically respected if not widely adored. Poor box office. Late release and late starting FYC campaign = 2 nominations.

So, OK. I see no revelatory patterns here other than that they like them (considering some did OK despite no box office or short campaigns) but maybe there were two many of them for some to make it through the clutter? 27.2% of all biopics released this year got a Best Picture nomination (ha ha. Don't you love useless statistics? The accounted for 35 nominations. Which, OK, Oscar does love them even though I hate them. Maybe Oscar just hates me? ;)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

"all in good time, my pretty, all in good time"

To the loyal readers out there. I know that I'm really slow on the draw these days. But I will eventually finish the Oscar pages and the FiLM BiTCH Awards. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Eligible But Completely Snubbed...

There's a thread on this over at the Oscarwatch forum. For my money the strangest omissions --not necessarily by race or aesthetic quality but knowing they were American made, reasonably high profile, well appointed technically, but just weren't there at all anywhere, are...

Kill Bill, Volume 2 (coulda been screenplay, actress, sound, etc...)
I Heart Huckabees (coulda been screenplay, supp actors, etc...)
The Bourne Supremacy (coulda been technical prizes, supp actress, etc...)
The Manchurian Candidate (coulda been supp actress, technicals, etc...)
and very nearly
Kinsey which was a shocking near-complete snub going from one of the NBR tops to precursor noms here and there to a grand total of 1 nomination... and for the film's least impressive performance (both Sarsgaard and Neeson were more deserving in my eyes though there is a lot to love about Linney as an actress)

"Mo Cuisla" vs. Julia Lambert ! vs. Vera Drake ?

I know that the media was itching for and got it's prime Bening vs. Swank throwdown part two. But, frankly, I'd be more excited about it if the actresses in question were both a little more rambunctious when it comes to their celebrity swag --i.e. Oscar nods, photo ops, etc... I mean could you imagine if this were like Angelina Jolie vs. Nicole Kidman or something? --but as it stands Bening and Swank are both as low profile as major actors get. Really they are if you stop to consider it.

So, it's round two. Or is it? Seems to me with three nominations (2 of which were somewhat or very unexpected) Vera Drake's Imelda Staunton may be posing more of a threat than anyone realizes at this point. What say ye?

Dirty Harry Vs. Ray Charles

So does Clint's semi-surprise acting nod make him the main challenger to Jamie Foxx's wide frontrunner margin. Or is that still LEO the 'King of the World'? Curious minds wonder how the larger media will react to this new development.


Here lies...

PAUL GIAMATTI, with whom no Best Actor list is complete this year. And, alas, his snub makes my best actor list and Oscars in 0% agreement (down from 100% last year -what a sudden divergence of opinion). I was thisclose to predicting this snub. I felt it would be Depp or Giamatti that was the "snub story" but I got it wrong. Should have gone with the one I'd be most upset about. Than I would have predicted 5/5 for Best Actor which was really hard to do this year. Instead I got 4/5 correct.

UMA THURMAN, the Bride from Kill Bill (Volumes 1 & 2) will go down in movie history just like iconic heroine/divas such as Scarlett O Hara, Princess Leia, Ripley, Holly Golightly, etc... but no Oscar attention will reflect Uma's towering creation, the best of her uneven career (just nudging out her other two sensational performances; June Miller in Henry and June and Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction.)I predicted she'd be snubbed but the next time I see an Academy voter the camera is going to zoom in on my eyes and you're going to hear that funny/scary furious sound cue that happens when the Bride sees her various nemesis for the first time in each Volume of Tarantino's bloody opus.

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND. This Best Picture shouldabeen is what the Academy will be most shamed about in future history as not a one of the middlebrow-grand Best Picture nominees can match this movie in tenderness, imagination, structural profundity, resonance, romantic fireworks, creativity, intelligence, or cinematic wonder. Ah well, Singin' in the Rain didn't get a Best Picture nomination and Citizen Kane didn't win and [insert your own Oscar shame here].

So, what do they know anyway?

But congratulations to the nominees who survived the brutal five-per-category cut.

the countdown is progressing

Things running through my mind as I have my coffee...
Paul Giamatti is going to get the snub instead of Johnny Depp in the volatile actor race. Damn
The old timers: Eastwood, Leachman, Garner, Rowlands, Carradine. Is it gonna go their way?
Surprise lurking in the only race that seems sewn up completely 5/5 -Best Actress. Is it Zhang Ziyi? It could be if Zhang Yimou for Director and the techs are there for House of Flying Daggers.
I don't know why I was so sure that Ray would make it. History is against the bio-pics on black celebrities...even the arguably good ones; Ali, What's Love Got to Do With It, The Hurricane.

...agh. so many possibilities. Let's up my anxiety with yet another cup a joe. Good plan.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Is It Just Me...

...or should Oscar nomination morning be a national holiday?

I think it's TOTALLY rude that I don't get the day off work, don't you? Look for immediate reaction on the blog and more on the site late on Tuesday and from then on...

The Razzies are Here. The Razzies are Here.

OK. so sometimes the Razzies are worthy of one themselves always going after the easy targets (this year that's Catwoman and Alexander of course with 7 and 6 nominations respectively) but you have to love the nominations for Fahrenheit 9/11 in the following categories:

George W. Bush / FAHRENHEIT 9/11
Colin Farrell / ALEXANDER

Ben Affleck & EITHER Jennifer Lopez OR Liv Tyler / JERSEY GIRL
Halle Berry & EITHER Benjamin Bratt OR Sharon Stone / CATWOMAN
George W. Bush & EITHER Condoleeza Rice OR His Pet Goat / FAHRENHEIT 9/11Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen / NEW YORK MINUTE
The Wayans Brothers (In or Out of Drag) WHITE CHICKS

Carmen Electra / STARKSY & HUTCH
Jennifer Lopez / JERSEY GIRL
Condoleeza Rice / FAHRENHEIT 9/11
Britney Spears / FAHRENHEIT 9/11
Sharon Stone / CATWOMAN

Val Kilmer / ALEXANDER
Ah-Nuld Schwarzenegger / AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAZE
Donald Rumsfeld / FAHRENHEIT 9/11
Lambert Wilson / CATWOMAN

Paul, Jamie, Annette, Hilary, Leo & Kate

Great roundtable linked above with six Oscar hopefuls ~ The kind of thing that makes you warm to all of them a little more. So...good PR.


This week I finished watching the first and only season of Joss Whedon's Firefly on DVD. I should've known to give this one a chance when it was on. I watched one episode and was like "huh?" but like many of the best television series, more than one episode is required to 'get' and fall in love with a series.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, possibly the greatest TV series of all time, is like that. Watch one or two episodes and you're like "OK, what's the fuss?" Watch 6 or 7 and you're apt to become a total disciple/crazed fan. What's the secret? The secret is that Whedon is a master of the multiple arc -both narrative and characterwise. No matter how disconnected or one-shot individual episodes may seem, the cumulative wallop they pack is really something.

So, there's a movie coming out this fall called Serenity which is Firefly continued or Firefly retold. Not sure exactly. But I am so there when it appears.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Unfinished Business

I fear that I may go in an tinker with my final predictions. They're up at the site. But I don't really want to tinker with them... but I do that sometimes. Post the final ones and then a day later make one change. Kind of like Cher's farewell tour lasting for how many years now?

Obviously Best Actor & Best Original Score are total crapshoots so I don't really care how wrong I am there but the two supporting actor categories I feel I'm quite off on and keep second guessing myself.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Placing your order

Dear Academy,

I feel as if I know you intimately. I know all your habits, all the the things you hold dear. And yet, you remain a mystery. Oh, sure I know you'll have 5 of this, and 3 of that. Some habits are set in stone. But when you have your favorites and you can reach for one more, who do you choose? Why?

I must admit that sometimes your predictability bores me. But thankfully you get to have five of nearly everything, and sometimes it's really hard to know about that last choice. The main course is obvious, your favorite appetizers will be there, but what the hell are you ordering for dessert?

Love your fan/critic/enemy/disciple/lover/and constant uninvited companion,

p.s. I'm ordering your dessert later tonight. I hope I read your mind. If you don't like it I'm sure you'll let me know on Tuesday morning when you actually sit down to eat.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Too Late For the Big Show?

Sasha Stone, the champion editor of Oscarwatch has an article up linked above where she again bemoans last year's date change. She feels that it's not fair to the films to not have that time to gestate a little and be screened, etc... for the voters and that the date change essentially "broke" the system. (Read it for a more reasoned explanation than my paraphrasal)

While I agree that the system is to some extent broke, I think the date change could, given time, actually fix it. I've been called an elitist and a snob from time to time for my taste in film. But the truth is, I'm actually pretty populist in my thinking about the Oscars. I WANT them to be for everyone. So, to me the date change is very postitive because it is more inclusive. It allows moviegoers to play along with their imaginary ballots (I have noticed that people who have seen movies and have definite favorites are FAR more interested in awards shows than those who have not) and in the old system when you had a lot of movies getting wide releases in mid february and being considered the best of the previous year -- Well, it wasn't just a faulty calendar at work. It was also exclusionary. The masses could only see the movie if the Academy bestowed it's blessing. If Hotel Rwanda did not have enough "time" to rally the troops, perhaps MGM/UA could have released it following its Toronto buzz? It could have been all the rage for as long as Sideways has been for example.

Just as I have no sympathy for latecomers to movies who arrive after the film has begun and can't find a good seat, I have no sympathy for films that are released the last weekend of the year hoping to be considered for that year's Oscars and miss out. Seems to me to be a greedy way to do the Oscar thing and a sure way to assure that we get a lot of nominees that might not age well. Some of the worst movies ever nominated have been Christmas releases. They might be cute or fun but a few months later the bloom is off the rose. Chocolat anyone? Working Girl?

So I think it would -in a strange way -do regular moviegoers a great disservice if all three of these The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby, and Hotel Rwanda were nominated. Because it would convince studios to keep doing the 20 releases in the last week of the year to qualify thing that is so exclusionary to the average moviegoer. If the studios had enough Oscar years where their last second golden child was banned from the big five (like Cold Mountain) they might actually start letting people SEE the movies.

Let people SEE the films! That's my rallying cry. If I had my way you'd have to be in release by November to qualify. Give the films time to be viewed and time to be considered and THEN and only then can they be considered the best of something. If Hotel Rwanda and Million Dollar Baby are considered best of 2004, I just have to wonder what happened to the other 358 days of the year...

Been Around the World...

The Foreign Pages have been updated. Damn that's a chore. Click away...
Looks like it's going to be some combo of the following dozen pictures

(no particular order)
France -Les Choristes
Spain -The Sea Inside
China -House of Flying Daggers
Greece -A Touch of Spice
Iran -Turtles Can Fly
Italy -The Keys to the House
Mexico -Innocent Voices
South Africa -Yesterday
Brazil -Olga
Sweden -As in Heaven
Chile -Machuca
Germany -Downfall

but with this category... you never really know. There's several others that have a longshot chance. But these seem to be the most enthusiastically received in one way or another

Some really good pictures won't make it as usual like probably Nobody Knows from Japan (a cinephile favorite) Whisky from Uruguay (a festival favorite) and Cronicas from Ecuador (Sundance buzz but probably too harsh) The Welts from Poland (too harsh) etc...

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Original Scoring (The Plot Thickens)

Seems The Aviator isn't the only score disqualified from Oscar consideration. According to an article in Variety by Jon Burlingame posted on Oscarwatch:

Howard Shore's music for "The Aviator," ...[edited for length]... is one of several that have been disqualified by the Academy's music branch executive committee under Oscar rules, which are more restrictive than those of the other organizations.

Also failing to make the Oscar cut are Craig Armstrong's score for "Ray," Harry Gregson-Williams' music for "Shrek 2," James Newton Howard's score for "Collateral" and director Clint Eastwood's music for his "Million Dollar Baby." None was among the 81 films on a reminder list sent to the approximately 240 branch members for voting.

The Snubs Cometh...

Reader Nick (no, not this Nick) brings up an interesting point. In most years something that looks like a sure bet in the picture category crumbles on nomination morning --he writes:

"Cold Mountain last year. Black Hawk Down in 2001. Almost Famous in 2000. Malkovich in 99. Truman Show in 98, Amistad in 97, etc.... [edited for length] of the "sure bets" goes down and inevitably headlines the snubs discussion of all the bewildered daytime talk show hosts. It's an absurd logic, I know, but it's airtight.

It has to be one of the racehorses. No one'll be talking about Hotel Rwanda getting "snubbed" after all since it's an underdog anyway. And Ray, I think, is riding the coattails of Foxx anyway, so its omission also won't really be an attention-getter. So keep Ray and Rwanda on the list and look at the rest."

So, Nick's contention is actually that Sideways and Finding Neverland are the vulnerable ones. Sideways because Payne's films have not been embraced by the Academy even when expected to be (see: About Schmidt) and Neverland because of well, because...

In Nick's case this is not wishful thinking, though it is in mine. I would love for it to be Neverland that takes the plunge.

Nick goes on to say:

"Neverland wasn't that bad. It's just less cynical than 90% of the work of the more "serious" directors. Back in the old days there were a lot of great directors who made great, if borderline saccharine, films. Frank Capra, Norman Jewison, Stanley Kramer. These and Marc Forster are all far better filmmakers than Lasse Hallstrom as your comparison suggests."

I really don't have anything against sentimental films (though many readers think I do). I think Babe deserved its nomination in 1995. I love some of Capra's films (not all). Etc... I just need them to be good, potent, and memorable and I don't think Neverland accomplishes any of those tasks. And neither do I think that Hallstrom is an irredeemable director. I thought Gilbert Grape was good, for example. It's just his Oscar stuff that has made me cringe.

I don't think Neverland will see a snub on Tuesday morning. The snubs I most fear for those who seem locked up are:
Annette Bening -Being Julia
Paul Giamatti -Sideways
Clive Owen -Closer

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

What is "Relevant"?

I've been noticing a weird meme sweeping around the media both in major outlets and in websites about what is "relevant" when it comes to awardage. If you diss any one of the perceived frontrunners for Oscar's "best picture" Sideways, The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby you are considered "irrelevant." So, the OFCS is irrelevant. Cinemarati is irrelevant. The BAFTAs are irrelevant. DC critics are irrelevant. If you don't champion one or all of those three you are irrelevant. Never mind that this is all subjective, matters of aesthetic taste, etc...If you aren't predictive of the Oscars. You are UNIMPORTANT. The funny thing is this: If there is a surprise snub on Oscar nomination morning of one of the perceived frontrunners are the Oscars themselves than irrelevant?

The attacks on the Golden Globe (who nominated all three) have been going on since time immemorial but it seems to me that influential people in the BFCA (not just David Poland) would really like to see them falter significantly so that they could be replaced by other 'precursors' that are more 'relevant'. The issue of course always hinges on how "predictive" any awards group is. That's the true meaning of the world "relevant" in all of these discussions. Since the Globes now take place after Oscar balloting has closed, they are currently perceived as having lost their influence.

This is an absurd notion of course. The truth of the matter is that all of the "major" precursors (Globes, NBR, BAFTA, etc...) are relevant in that they continually narrow the field and they cast some films as winners and some as losers. By the time Oscar nominations arrive there are only six or seven choices that are "relevant" (popular) for any group of five nominees. It's really irritating that there's so much homogeny... but people tend to move towards where the buzz is. As I said on Poland's blog:

"--what's relevant and what's not--at some point the conversation really SHOULD shift to matters of aesthetic taste rather than predictive power.

So there is definitely some discussion to be had in that we'd all be better off (in terms of seeing "quality" films nominated) if all the precursors awards (BAFTA, critics, Guilds, GLOBES, etc...) would stop trying to predict and really start focusing on what they perceive to be the best."

The Hardest Category to Predict Is...

Best Original Score

Seriously it's difficult this year. Howard Shore's The Aviator has been declared ineligible. The always nominated John Williams has two scores to choose from this year --so will it be Harry Potter or The Terminal (which miraculously despite not being well loved may end up being the pre-fall film with the most nominations aside from The Collateral)?

So you figure John Williams gets once spot... but where do the others go?
The scores receiving the most pre-Oscar attention seem to be Sideways, Finding Neverland, and The Incredibles but ALL of those scores are from composers who've never been nominated and that particular branch of the Academy isn't known for being particularly 'welcoming' in terms of lots of fresh faces. They're kind of clique-ish. If you doubt me just consider John Williams 41 nominations. They don't really search outside their favorites much.

So, who will it be? I'm stumped.


So, finally done with my traditional awards at the 5th Annual awards year of my site. For comparisons sake you can add one nomination to House of Flying Daggers and The Incredibles tally (given that I don't have the animated category or the foreign language one but I'm sure I'd nominate both if I did)

Eternal Sunshine leads with 9 nominations, The Aviator is close behind with 8 (mostly tech) and Vera Drake is in third with 6 nominations. I expect Eternal Sunshine to get at least two Oscar nods (screenplay/actress). Maybe three (editing). I'm hoping for a surprise 4 (Gondry for director -cross your fingers). So it will at least be remembered. Vera Drake, in my opinion, is the film that is really getting the shaft in this awards year. It's a period drama by a former Oscar nominee that features an amazing lead performance... so what gives with all these awards groups ignoring the film? It's not some experimental abstraction like Primer? And ignoring it for what? Don't get me started on the homogeny of the awards groups again.

ah well. At least BAFTA embraced it. And the most important awards of all (in my little universe) --my own...

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

What Is Up With...

...that tattoo on the back of Jamie Foxx's head. Anyone know what it is? means? I couldn't help but notice it over and over again at the Golden Globes

Bening Human

The classy Annette Bening has been getting lots of flack for her odd acceptance speech at the Globes and a lot of people are saying that Hilary Swank who trounced Bening at the 99 Oscars will perform a similar knockout this time, since she's in a lauded possibly about-to-be popular film.

History does repeat itself from time to time but let's hope this rematch goes to the better actor. (For those who need help with this one the better actor would be Annette Bening.) Just have a mini-festival of The Grifters, Valmost, The American President, American Beauty, and Being Julia if you don't believe me.

I'll have much more to say about the race once the nominations are announced but there's no point in dissecting completely now before we know what the eventual field will be like.

Monday, January 17, 2005


Still thinking about the Globes (well, duh... it's only 9:30 the next morning) and wondering how they will or will not affect the Oscars. Obviously the awards have no affect on the nominations which will be announced in 8 days but they could definitely have effect the overall mood. On that count I would have to say the following:

BIG boost: Mike Nichols. Natalie Portman. Clive Owen. In truth, I don't expect either actor to carry over to an Oscar win but after the SAG shutout it probably felt pretty sweet to the Closer team. Both actors gave riveting performances and gracious or charming acceptance speeches -so should they be nominated, perhaps they'll be a spoiler dark horse candidates instead of the 'it's just an honor to be nominated' types.

Tiny Boost: The Aviator. It's nice to win Best Drama. It'll look nice on their newspaper and TV ads etc... but it didn't feel like a full endorsement. Mostly because Scorsese didn't also win. No doubt the perceived desperation is part of the problem. It may be only perception but everyone believes he desperately wants it. And they say that desperation is a huge turnoff in Hollywood (as it is everywhere actually)

Million Dollar Baby and Sideways strike me as having had exactly the type of night one could reasonably expect neither hurting nor helping.

I can't even go into Best Actress because I'm too upset about it... Note to Scorsese: Don't be desperate to win that damn statue. If they give Hilary Swank two you know it don't mean much.

Let it go...

And on the Jamie Foxx front. I have to say that it is amusing if you don't care one way or another (which I don't) to watch this happen for the 23rd time. Someone receiving huge outpourings of love for no particular reason other than for the role that they're playing (i.e. their career hasn't been stellar or long enough to warrant repeated standing ovations): see also Ben Kingsley in Gandhi, etc... Sometimes, as an actor, you just have to pick a beloved figure and do it well and you're in for the gold. People vote with their hearts (voter: "I LOVE Ray Charles [check mark by Jamie Foxx's name]) rather than with their heads (voter: Jamie Foxx does a good Ray imitation but what about these other actors... who gave the best performance? Let me see..." [considers ballot])

you know?

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Potty Break

OK. I'm having a great time with a bunch of friends over watching the Globes (the Globes are always the funnest) but I hate these tributes and I always take a breather during them.

Impressions so far...
1. Sad that M$B looks good for major Oscar play. Because I think Sideways and The Aviator are much better films. But oh, well. What are you gonna do...
2. Annette Bening unfortunately didn't do herself any favors with that weird robotic acceptance speech. I can finally see Swank winning the Oscar which I am. NOT. happy about at all. Ick. She's good in M$B but her role is hardly as challenging as her major competitors. Ugh. Bening, Winslet, Staunton, Thurman all have more multidimensional and trickier roles to play but Swank has the benefit of a likeable character and likeable goes a long way for the majority of voters who don't think a lot about the actor's technique, difficulty of role, etc...
3. Happy for Clive Owen and Natalie Portman both of whom were really fine in Closer. I think I predicted one of them but I can't remember which, Clive?
4. Blue is the color of the dresses this season.
5. Jamie Foxx is as much of a lock to win the Oscar as Julia Roberts was for Erin Brockovich.

My friends are in the other room screaming about how bad a lot of the Robin Williams movies were. Gotta go back now that that part is thankfully ending.

Star Jones-Reynolds on E!

You know. I don't ask for much. I put up with the extremely annoying Joan and Melissa Rivers for YEARS because I love pre-show arrival coverage and that was the only real game in town (those half hour official pre-shows suck because you get maybe 5 stars. Joan and Melissa got truckloads of stars.) And...well, the point I'm getting to is maybe my imagination is not big enough. Because I NEVER thought I would be desperate to have them back. I never thought they'd be able to find a MORE annoying host.

I'm using a lot of EXCLAMATORY all caps because I'm upset right now. The idea of sitting through two hours of STAR JONES-REYNOLDS is almost enough to turn me off watching the pre-show. Almost...

Hate her.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Future Delight

We temporarily interrupt awards season to bring you a peak at what we're exciting about in 2005. How about you?

Friday, January 14, 2005

Promises Promises (Plus Guild Stuff)

I promise to have lots of updates this weekend (just trying to rewatch a few movies last night, tonight, and over the weekend) before finalizing some categories. Still arguing with myself about Closer too. Can a movie have four leads? etc...

Aviator / Finding Neverland / The Incredibles / Lemony Snicket / Phantom of the Opera
I'm super happy they included The Incredibles which is a reminder to everyone that production design is not only how they decorate the sets (so many people think it is)
Collateral / Eternal Sunshine / The Life Aquatic / Million Dollar Baby / The Terminal /
strong choices here too. Whaddya know?

Collateral / The Passion of the Christ / A Very Long Engagement / Ray / The Aviator

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Writers Guild Nominees

109 films were eligible here. They chose
THE AVIATOR, Written by John Logan, Miramax Films
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, Story by Charlie Kaufman & Michel Gondry & Pierre Bismuth
GARDEN STATE, Written by Zach Braff
HOTEL RWANDA, Written by Keir Pearson & Terry George
KINSEY, Written by Bill Condon

84 films were eligible here. They chose

BEFORE SUNSET, Screenplay by Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke, Story by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan, Based on Characters Created by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan
MEAN GIRLS, Screenplay by Tina Fey, Based on the Book "Queen Bees and Wannabes) by Rosalind Wiseman
MILLION DOLLAR BABY, Screenplay by Paul Haggis, Based upon Stories from "Rope Burns" by F.X. Toole
THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, Screenplay by Jose Rivera, Based on the Books "Notas de Viaje" by Ernesto Guevara and "Con el Che por America Latina" by Alberto Granado
SIDEWAYS, Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Based on the Novel by Rex Pickett

Huffman. Kidman. Thurman. CHENOWITH !?!

I realize that the makers of The Producers are trying to hedge their "no movie stars" bet on The Producers with the supporting blonde bombshell role "Ulla" but watching Candide last night on PBS's Great Performances series one has to wonder why the larger media world has yet to discover Kristin Chenowith. Sure she's now a 'name' due to WICKED... but really, the movie roles should start coming.

I know she isn't "statuesque" the way that Ulla is often described/thought of. But she's got every other part: the comic timing. the blondeness. the huge thrilling voice. I love Uma Thurman but can she sing? And (again loving Thurman) she certainly doesn't have Chenowith's glorious comic(aze) spirit.

If you've never seen Kristin Chenowith perform. DO NOT HESITATE once you get a chance. PBS has a clip of her "Glitter and Be Gag" aria up at their site (linked above) and Kristin performed that at her Carnegie Hall debut this past fall too as her encore --it was just thrilling.

Kristin has a country music album coming out. Opera? Broadway? TV sitcom? Broadway? Carnegie Hall? Country? Sure she's a little bit schizo when it comes to trying to build her career but she's awesome! There's no other word.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

SAG Nominations

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Don Cheadle / HOTEL RWANDA - Paul Rusesabagina - United Artists
Johnny Depp / FINDING NEVERLAND - Sir James Matthew Barrie - Miramax Films
Leonardo DiCaprio / THE AVIATOR - Howard Hughes - Miramax Films
Jamie Foxx / RAY - Ray Charles - Universal Pictures
Paul Giamatti / SIDEWAYS - Miles - Fox Searchlight Pictures

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Annette Bening / BEING JULIA - Julia Lambert - Sony Pictures Classics
Catalina Sandino Moreno / MARIA FULL OF GRACE - Maria - Fine Line Features
Imelda Staunton / VERA DRAKE - Vera - Fine Line Features
Hilary Swank / MILLION DOLLAR BABY - Maggie - Warner Bros.
Kate Winslet / ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND - Clementine Kruczynski - Focus Features

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Thomas Haden Church / SIDEWAYS - Jack - Fox Searchlight Pictures
Jamie Foxx / COLLATERAL - Max - DreamWorks SKG
Morgan Freeman / MILLION DOLLAR BABY - Scrap - Warner Bros.
James Garner / THE NOTEBOOK - Duke - New Line Cinema
Freddie Highmore / FINDING NEVERLAND - Peter Llewelyn Davies - Miramax Films

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting RoleCate Blanchett / THE AVIATOR - Katharine Hepburn - Miramax Films
Cloris Leachman / SPANGLISH - Evelyn - Columbia Pictures
Laura Linney / KINSEY - Clara McMillen - Fox Searchlight Pictures
Virginia Madsen / SIDEWAYS - Maya - Fox Searchlight Pictures
Sophie Okonedo / HOTEL RWANDA - Tatiana Rusesabagina - United Artists

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

THE AVIATOR - Miramax Films
Alan Alda - Senator Ralph Owen Brewster
Alec Baldwin - Julian Trippe
Kate Beckinsale - Ava Gardner
Cate Blanchett - Katharine Hepburn
Leonardo DiCaprio - Howard Hughes
Ian Holm - Professor Fitz
Danny Huston - Jack Frye
Jude Law - Errol Flynn
John C. Reilly - Noah Dietrich
Gwen Stefani - Jean Harlow

Julie Christie - Mrs. Emma Du Maurier
Johnny Depp - Sir James Matthew Barrie
Freddie Highmore - Peter Llewelyn Davies
Dustin Hoffman - Charles Frohman
Radha Mitchell - Mary Ansell Barrie
Joe Prospero - Jack Llewelyn Davies
Nick Roud - George Llewelyn Davies
Luke Spill - Michael Llewelyn Davies
Kate Winslet - Sylvia Llewelyn Davies

HOTEL RWANDA - United Artists
Don Cheadle - Paul Rusesabagina
Nick Nolte - Colonel Oliver
Sophie Okonedo - Tatiana Rusesabagina
Joaquin Phoenix - Jack Daglish

Clint Eastwood - Frankie
Morgan Freeman - Scrap
Hilary Swank - Maggie

RAY - Universal Pictures
Aunjanue Ellis - Mary Ann Fisher
Jamie Foxx - Ray Charles
Terrence Dashon Howard - Gossie McGee
Regina King - Margie Hendricks
Harry Lennix - Joe Adams
Clifton Powell - Jeff Brown
Larenz Tate - Quincy Jones
Kerry Washington - Della Bea Robinson

SIDEWAYS - Fox Searchlight Pictures
Thomas Haden Church - Jack
Paul Giamatti - Miles
Virginia Madsen - Maya
Sandra Oh - Stephanie

commentary tonight at the as well as complete Oscar update-a-thon since we're past the point of no return... most of the ballots if not all of them are in now and, well, etc... what a surprisingly boring and homogenous year when you'd think without clear frontrunners in some categories that it would have gotten a little wilder.

ah well...

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Tom Tom Club

9:53 -OK. So Tom was really good in Minority Report. I'll give him that. He'll win the Oscar when he is old and gray and he'll get a standing ovation like this one. But can we move on? He just doesn't seem sincere to me. Ever. Like everything is an act. ewwwww. It's even a smarmy act tonight. Notice they really ignored the three Nicole Kidman co-starring movies in that montage.

9:57 -WOW. Sideways. That is really a shocker given that the BFCA only cares about predicting the Oscars. They actually went with their hearts it seems. Innnnnteeeeerrreeeesssting. I'm happy for Sideways. I know there's a backlash but the truth is movies as good as Sideways rarely end up doing this well, so it's something to celebrate even if it's not THE best movie of the year. But it's one of the best so it is fine.

We're Almost Done (I Hope)

9:33 -I watch Wil & Grace irregularly so there's no reason for me to hate Eric McCormack but as a host I just do.
9:34 -I have an irrational hatred of Finding Neverland. It's true. I know it. I think they've pointed the camera at Kate Winslet more than any other celebrity tonight -even Mr. Cruise.

9:35 -BEST ACTRESS. I would be excited about this except that I know Hilary Swank is going to win and that just bores me silly. Yep. Kate looked sad --as well she should since she is one of the finest actors on the planet and she never wins anything. it's so freaking frustrating. This actually was not an embarrassing category but to my mind Swanks performance was the least of them. Not that she's bad. It's a good performance but Thurman, Winslet, Staunton, Bening --those are all Oscar calibre performances. Moreno is no slouch for a beginner either. WRAP. IT. UP. SWANK. my god...
9:39 -Marcia Gay Harden is such a cutie. Javier Bardem; great actor. But I'm not into that performance. Too easy. Be a quad, get an Oscar nom zzzz. Don Cheadle; great actor. But I'm not totally into that performance. Good but I'm not thinking it's one of the 5 best. Johnny Depp; great actor. But I'm not into that performance... are we sensing a theme here? Leonardo DiCaprio is really good in The Aviator and Jamie Foxx is really good in Ray and will win everything. Bo-ring. Paul Giamatti. And he's going to hug everyone. oh, just get to the stage. Hello. you're going to have a million chances to do this.

9:46 -Totally off topic. This commercial of Megan Mullaly with the M & Ms. silly but I gotta tell you. I have her CD "Big as a Berry" and it is freaking awesome. Her voice is superb and able to cover an enormous variety of styles. I highly. no make that HIGHLY recommend giving it a listen. Her rendition of "Take It With You" ahhhhhhhhh. love it.

9:47 -The career of Nicole's ex! These things are boring. I'm outtie.

Weepy Feel Good

9:10 - Directors. Kate Winslet has worked with how many of these men--Only Forster right? weird choice to present I think. But it's always good to see my Kate. Martin Scorsese. And oh my god...doesn't Kate have the most amazing speaking voice. Just so lovely.

9:12 -Treat and Christine; TV stars. There's a lot of TV people on this BFCA thing. Which is weird because there's only one award that's even remotely connected to television. Fahrenheit 9/11. will they go political or stay safe? drumroll... Fahrenheit 9/11. Nice to honor the other documentaries in that way. I haven't seen Control Room but i should see more documentaries. The one I most wanted to see was The Corporation which just won the Cinemarati Documentary prize (I abstained from voting in that category because I had only seen a couple of the films)

9:19 -Phantom of the Opera. yeeesh that movie is bad. Commercials commercials commercials... (yawn)

9:22 -wow that ballroom is VERY noisy. Maybe they don't know they're on television. Very professional. Composer went to The Aviator --good sign for its Oscar chances since there's nothing particularly great about that score (at least to my ears)

9:27 -The Sea Inside. the BFCA journalists are feeling a little sentimental tonight aren't they: Finding Neverland, Phantom, The Sea Inside. my goodness. Such a weepy/feelgood thing.

My Dakota Fanning Confession.

8:58 - OK. I'm about to say something really really really unpopular; I like Dakota Fanning. i know she's supposed to freak us out (just ask Ed Gonzalez) but she's just cute as a button. Maybe she is a demon seed but I kinda like her. Well, let's not get crazy... it's not like I love her enough to see the films she's in. But anyway... moving on while I still have my dignity. So, family film: Finding Neverland. OK. whatever. You know I've been dissing Marc Forster for awhile now as a director nominee (only because I don't think he deserves it) but he is an attractive bald man, I must say and anyone Kate Winslet loves is fine by me.

9:03 -OK, Virginia was really excited about The Incredibles winning best animated film.

9:05 -nobody reads this blog. I know. But I just can't let it go yet. The site gets enough readers to keep me happy. But the blog is a stillborn. Still, I felt like watching TV vegging and making embarassing confessions about enjoying Dakota Fanning's performance. Or, maybe I just convinced myself that I thought she was a good little actress because I read some big profile on her once and the reporter said something was bugging him the whole time that he was interviewing and he finally realized what it was; she was either very much like or was mimicking Michelle Pfeiffer in her body language, phrasing, etc... (this was right after I am Sam.

So, perhaps it's a freaky Pfeiffer-as-a-7-year-old thing. Is that how old Dakota is? Why am I still talking about Dakota? Oh yeah because the BFCA is a stupid stupid show and i'm bored out of my mind

Chad, Maria, Tara, Jon, David Spade -welcome to my nightmare

8:32 -Chad Michael Murray and Maria Bello. Scraping the barrell are we BFCA? Oh, it's the young actor and young actress thing. Freddie Highmore is so easily going to win this. I bet when they release the vote totals it will be a total landslide. Which I still don't really get. (both Highmore and releasing the totals) He cries and it's touching and all of that (I sound like a dick I know but I just don't think it's anything special. Most actors can cry) but Cameron Bright had a more difficult role and is better. Daniel Radcliffe also deserves points for getting so much better. But maybe that's the Alfonse Cuaron influence more than Radcliffe.

LINDSAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOHAN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

oh, god what a bad clip. Here's her real competition, Emmy Rossum. Maria knows her as "Emily" -heee. "All I Ask of You" is definitely the best song in Phantom. Though I had to use "Music of the Night" for my quiz at the Film Experience because the lyrics are just unbearabily cheesy. Emmy is GOR-GEOUS tonight. She'll get a lot of photo-play for this in the media I'm sure. Beautiful color dress, etc...

8:39 -Tara Reid and Jon Lovitz? God... I thought Murray and Bello were odd choices. I actually liked Tara Reid in that one Altman movie (Dr. T...) but I hope Lohan takes a good look at her and thinks; maybe I should stop partying. Please Lindsay please. Pull it together.

8:45 -That speedy clip thing doesn't really work on Million Dollar Baby. It's rhythms are inappropriate for the quick montage. Too bad. I don't love the movie but it deserves a better edited clip reel.

8:46 -Jamie Foxx is NOT a supporting actor. This is so irritating. I predicted this was going to go with Morgan Freeman and I think it will. But Clive Owen is there and he is amazing in Closer so I'm pulling for him truth be told. Peter Sarsgaard is just hot in a really non-hot way. Good in Kinsey too. Wow, it's a Sideways sweeper thing... Ooh, that cutaway to Sarsgaard and Gyllenhaal. They did NOT look pleased, sort of "we're so over this..." Nice speech. Sincerity is cool.

8:49 -Bring out the dead. OK this is funny. No. David Spade again. Are they really trying to make me hate them EVEN MORE THAN I ALREADY DO (it's apparently possible though it surprises me as much as it does you.

More for Sideways

8:19 -Evan Rachel Wood is 'awesome.' Jude and Julia kiss with REALLY open mouths in Closer, don't they? Best Ensemble. Clive was hoping they would win I think. Sandra Oh is SO cute. And I'm SO glad that they let Sandra do the talking. Give her some face time. She's talking about her hubby...without mentioning it's her hubby. Classy.
8:22 -Michael Moore without a baseball cap. wow. Of course Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. I've never seen Jim Taylor before I don't think. Sandra Oh is very skinny, isn't she?
8:25 -Oh, Eternal Sunshine clips. Such a great great great great great great great movie. Oh well. At least it will live on for years and years even if it doesn't get any awards this year.

I think I'm already bored... though I am happy for the obviously happy and tight knit Sideways crew.

The "Critics" Choice Awards

8:01 AM -I still can't believe they re-hired Wil --er, excuse me Eric McCormack to host. He's just so not funny as such.
8:03 AM -Ooh. Pretty Kate Winslet.
8:05 AM -The BFCA as "spineless kiss asses" OK. That's a good joke. Mostly because I agree with it.
8:06 AM -Ooh, I love clips. Virginia Madsen and Cate Blanchett both rock my world I must say. Yay, Virginia... she's looking very busty tonight. Yay...
8:10 AM -This has to be the stupidest category ever. Best Popular Movie. Good choice, Spider-Man 2! It's cute that she was happy. What's not so cute is that Spider-Man 2 is better than most of the pictures... maybe even all of the pictures that will wind up nominated this year. sigh...
8:12 AM -A personal nightmare for me; David Spade returns. Ooh, I like The Aviator.

Movie Mixing

I've been having a lot of fun with the Movie Mixing quiz. We're on the third one at The Film Experience. This one is all about that bosomy bodice-ripping lust of Christine (from Phantom of the Opera)

She's past the point of no return when it comes to choosing paramours! But so far this race is way too up in the air (the other polls were decided by decisive margins by the readers. This one is still fairly open. Who will she fall for next? Go ahead and Vote!


Friday, January 07, 2005

Directors Guild

The nominees are...
EASTWOOD -Million Dollar Baby
FORSTER -Finding Neverland
PAYNE -Sideways
SCORSESE -The Aviator

Haven't you heard? In an uncharacteristic fit of restraint Hollywood only produced five movies this year so these are, naturally and by default, your five nominees.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

You Shoulda...But You Didn't

OK. so I'm only one third of the way through my end-of-the-year wrap up. But so far over at the film experience you can read about...

The Movies Folks Shoulda Seen and Loved
* there's that hated movie about that catatonic woman with severe romantic memory distortion issues
* that movie about the diva who's always acting --even with her own child.
* there's this movie thats... OK, I don't know what it's about. I admit.
* And finally there's this movie about two Nordic directors playing games with each other (get your mind out of the gutter)

And you can also read about
The Ones That Almost Made the Top Ten List (and would have in 2003)
* two movies from the same director that are really NOT interchangeable (despite frequent ties on top ten lists)
* one movie that I hope wins the best picture Oscar
* and another movie that only cool people love "...and you better be one of them beeyotch"

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Producers Guild of America Nominations

It's weird that they're not up at their site yet but here are the motion picture nominees:

SIDEWAYS Fox Searchlight
THE AVIATOR Miramax Films
THE INCREDIBLES Walt Disney Pictures

This is very good news for Sideways especially since the critical darling of the year isn't ever a 'sure thing' for PGA recognition. This is very bad news for the controversial blockbusters The Passion and 9/11 which would have had an easier time scoring here than elsewhere. And extremely bad news for Ray which seems like a frontrunner for an Oscar spot and has the best gross of all five of the top contenders and still, it, can't get a PGA nod?

How well does PGA match the eventual Oscar shortlist? Here is their entire history (as far as full nomination lists go)

2003 4 of 6
2002 3 of 6
2001 3 of 5
2000 3 of 5
1999 3 of 5
1998 3 of 5
1997 4 of 5
1996 3 of 5
1995 4 of 7
1994 - 1992 exact same lineup as Oscar all three times

So, they use to be perfectly predictive. Now, they call 3 or 4 of the nominees. Which is it this year?


(in whiniest/silliest voice I can muster)"Making Top Ten Lists is hard!"

Do you go with the movie you think will age better? The movie you are thrilled about right this second? The movie you admire a whole helluva lot but don't truly love?
I've narrowed it down to 14. Somebody give me a prize. No, seriously...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Gwen! She's Still a Super Hot Female!

Tick-tock, tick-tock
Tick-tock, tick-tock
Take a chance you stupid ho

It's probably not the best idea to be singing along with my ipod
"you're still a super hot female" on the subway --but hey

this song is definitely on repeat in my head. And I've decided it's my theme song for January. I've been in a rut and I need to move on so, what better song to light that fire under the ass right about now.

What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting for

Monday, January 03, 2005

Don't Forget

The ballots are with the voters so my FYC plea is up.

I wish all voting members of the Academy would seek my advice... it's a fantasy but a noble one. I just want the movies to be more evenly distributed throughout the year so I like good stuff from the whole year to be recognized.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Worst of the Year

This is an article on the worst films of the year according to 112 polled critics of which I was apparently one. It's a bit hard to read layout/content wise but its interesting nonetheless.

Grace, Laura, and Gene

So... I don't turn over my Netflix stuff quick enough. But in the past two days I've watched:

We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004)
Which I saw entirely because of Laura Dern's rave reviews. Good performance but the whole thing is so minor and so artistically dwarfed by the similar couple swapping drama of Closer that it's easy to ignore. And though it's unpopular to say... I grow less and less impressed with Naomi Watts the further away from Mulholland Drive that she gets.

The Conversation (1974)
Excellent. But you probably knew that... Francis Ford Coppola sure did have a great run in the mid 70s, didn't he? Everytime people argue that the Academy knows best because they're actually filmmakers...I'd like to point out that this film did not win Sound Editing.

The Country Girl (1954)
Speaking of Oscar blunders --this Histrionic but interesting psychological portrait of three people under enormous stress won Grace Kelly the Oscar at the expense of Judy Garland. Having now seen both films I can say that there really was no comparison. That Oscar shouldabeen Judy Garlands for one of the best performances in movie musical history. What she was doing could only have been done by her. What Grace is doing in The Country Girl could only have been done by every beautiful actress with a modicum of talent -it's really no contest.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy 2005

Happy New Year! Here's to hoping and planning for a great 2005.

I use to create enormous lengthy resolution lists. This year I narrowed it down to one major goal. And one micromanaged goal -i.e., to make very shortterm goals regularly and accomplish them. How about you?