2014 Oscar Predictions

Posted in Movies on February 25th, 2014 by Nick

81st Academy Awards¨ Press Kit ImagesHoly hell, the Oscars came up fast! This Sunday, March 2, the 86th annual Academy Awards will air on ABC and you know the deal – red carpet at 7, ceremony at 8, yada yada yada. Semi-funny-woman Ellen DeGenerous will host (who is likable, but oftentimes, safe). Winners will be declared, and losers will get drunk…it should be a glorious, super-fun night (which reminds me – I need to buy a shitton of wine).

I found this Oscar ballot thingie and made some predictions as to who I think is going to win. It’ll be super embarassing come Monday when I’m entirely wrong about almost every single category, but it was fun to fill out. For a few categories, I chose who I desperately want to win even though it might be considered a longshot (Come on, Linklater, Hawke and Delpy!)

Anyways – here are my predictions. You can click on the image to maximize it. Sorry it’s not a better scan. You can blame my office copier’s scanner. (I know I do!) Oh, and I skipped some categories because there were a few that I just couldn’t predict because apparently I don’t watch enough shorts, foreign films or documentaries. Whoops.

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Want to fill out your own ballot? Here’s a blank copy – Tweet me your predictions @LittlestWinslow (or comment below)! Whoever kicks my ass in this will win…all my love and respect. (Again – click to maximize, right-click, save to computer.)

I’ll also be Live Tweeting Sunday’s action, so check me out on Twitter and watch my tweeting get drunker and sloppier by the minute – see you there!

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‘On the Waterfront’: Brando at His Most Brando-iest

Posted in Epic Film Quest! on February 11th, 2014 by Nick

brando_waterfront_shop_dvdThe 1954 Best Picture winner was the crime drama On the Waterfront starring Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb (12 Angry Men), and Rod Steiger (In the Heat of the Night). And damn did Brando bring out his major Brando-ness.

I mean, Holy Brando! The dude can just stand there being all Brando-y and it’s like 99.975 percent certain that he can kick my ass without even uttering a single word or raising one measly finger. And this is way before his turn as Vito Corleone.

In this movie, however, Brando plays Terry Malloy, an up-and-coming boxer who had it all until his brother Charley instructs him to deliberately lose a fight he could have won at the will of Johnny Friendly – a crimester, mob-boss baddie who has a lot of money on the fight and ends up controlling both of the brothers from there on out. Terry then unbeknowingly (not a word) coaxes a popular dockworker Joey Doyle out to an ambush and Friendly and his crew end up whacking the guy so he can’t testify against the boss who’s trying to control the waterfront and all of its dockworker peoples.

Doyle’s sister (Saint) comes out of the woodwork to try to find out who killed her brother and why, and then we have the makings of the best movie 1954 had to offer.

Did I mention it had Marlon Brando in it?

Cobb was great, too, and also nominated despite losing the honor of Best Supporting Actor to Edmond O’Brien for The Barefoot Contessa. I haven’t seen that movie, but Cobb losing is stupid. (I’m a super-serious film critic in the making, you guys!) Steiger was also nominated for Supporting and lost out. Bummer.

In full, Waterfront was nominated for 12 Oscars and it swept 8 of those categories, including trophies for Brando (OBVI) and Saint.

The 50’s was such a great era for film. Everything starts to come together in this decade – directing, acting, writing. Not to discredit anything before this, but this movie was in the zone. The perfect trifecta of classic cinema. With on point pacing and a nice twist before its climax (which wasn’t so surprising thanks to the stupid box art), On the Waterfront is worthy for any crime film fan or Brando aficionado.

Completely useless and irrelevant fun fact: Listening to Rage Against the Machine while trying to do anything productive is extremely distracting.

I mean, oh, the grade. This one’s an A-, kids.

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‘Tom Jones’: Banging Chicks and Being a Douchebag, 1700s Style

Posted in Epic Film Quest! on October 3rd, 2013 by Nick

51CEFQZVKZLThe Best Picture winner of 1963 was this British Adventure Comedy set in the 1700s called Tom Jones. It follows the life of the title character, a bastard in both the literal and slang sense. He’s a rambunctious little bugger who runs around getting laid, causing a raucous, and embarrassing his foster-father, Squire Allworthy.

Tom falls in love with Sophie and she’s a proper lady who has a dad who’s all stuffy and junk, so he tries his best to make sure a more suitable companion marries his daughter instead. That suitor is Squire Allworthy’s sister’s son, Blifil, who then tries (and succeeds) in getting his competition, Tom, expelled from their town or village or whatever. But there’s a secret to Tom’s heritage that only Blifil knows after intercepting a letter written by his dying mother to Allworthy, and this secret could change Tom’s life forever.

DUN DUN DUN!

This all sounds so dramatic in text, but Tom Jones was enjoyable, lighthearted and fun, especially for its time. Albert Finney rocked the lead role, coyly breaking the fourth wall to wink at the audience from time to time. I mean…who did that in 1963!? No one, my friends. Props.

The movie even started with a silent film sequence setting up Tom’s abandonment and adoption by Squire Allworthy in a classic British-silent-picture sort of way. A lot of the comedy and style of this Best Pic were totally ahead of its time and that’s something to appreciate as a modern-day viewer. (Shoutout to director Tony Richardson – well done, I say! I’m sure he really needs my validation. Oh bummer, he died in 1991. This shoutout just turned into an homage. This is a really long aside.)

In sum, man-whores existed even way back in the 1700s. And even though I claim ol’ Tommy was a douchebag, he was a loveable douchebag…kind of like a modern day Hank Moody from Californication. Is that show on yet? Doesn’t it start soon? Someone remind me.

Tom Jones brought my Epic Film Quest tally down to 31…but wait a sec…it’s actually 30! Because I watched another one before I even wrote this post! Almost under 30, kids.. I really liked this one and give it a solid B+…and there’s another great, great flick to follow!

I should write more and be more speedy.

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The Academy Awards: Jennifer Lawrence, That ‘Les Mis’ Musical Number, and the History of Ties at the Oscars. Oh, and maybe that Affleck guy, too.

Posted in Check It Out!, Movies, TV on February 25th, 2013 by Nick

movies-oscars-2013-acting-winners_1The 85th Academy Awards ceremony aired last night and if you aren’t dead, you’re probably just about overloaded on Oscar mania, thanks to Twitter and Facebook alone. But still, shit’s worth mentioning, yo.

Seth MacFarlane was way better than anticipated. Sure, there were racy, borderline-sexist jokes, but compared to his usually douchebag self (this coming from a pretty big Family Guy/Ted fan, so settle down, Beavis), he didn’t go overboard. He had lots of hilarious jokes and jabs, and let’s face it: Dude can sing. The opening was great, the collaborations and music followed through – this blogger was pleased!

Jennifer Lawrence won for Best Actress and tripped on the way up. But no one cares, because Jennifer Lawrence can pretty much kill a baby koala on stage and everyone would still love her. Her candor is so, so refreshing for an up-and-coming Hollywood-type to be and as long as she continues being herself (and acting the shit out of everything she’s in), she’s going to have a long, healthy, and entertaining career to follow.

Now, I’m not too huge of a Musical guy, but I do have my guilty pleasures. Admittedly, Les Misérables isn’t one of them. However, that musical number by the Les Mis cast? Holy shit. Guess I need to see it? Even that 10-second clip during Hathaway’s win was very powerful. Even though insert-Russell-Crowe-joke-here, I still have to get on it. Because WOW.

Which now brings me to that tie! (You can tie!?) The editors from Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall shared Oscars for Best Sound Editing last night which made the entire world wonder if that shiz had ever happened before. It has. Last night was the sixth time in Oscar history. I thought I’d have to do some serious investigating on this one, but it turns out the Internet was all over it this morning. Here’s the skinny:

According to the AMPAs database, the first happened in 1931-32, when Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde’s Frederic March and The Champ’s Wallace Beery each won the Best Actor award. However, the vote count wasn’t an actual tie — Beery received one more than March, but the rules at the time stated two winners would be honored if the count was within three votes. The rule subsequently changed.

In 1949, A Chance to Live and So Much for So Little both won the Best Documentary Short award. Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand tied for the Best Actress statuette in 1968, for their respective roles in The Lion in Winter and Funny Girl. The fourth tie occurred in 1986, when Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got and Down and Out in America were honored for Best Documentary. Finally, Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life and Trevor both won the Best Short Film (Live Action) award in 1995.

So there you have it! Six ties. Count ‘em.

And Affleck. Man, if there isn’t a better example for a Champ-Turned-Underdog. Dude wins for Good Will Hunting and then is basically mocked for years, only to have a killer fuck you-comeback with Argo. Then, he accepts graciously to an Academy and public full of assholes that shunned him. Affleck had a moment and showed poise, all while making us feel like the jerks we are. Good on ya, Ben, despite whatever-the-hell he said to his wife, Jennifer Garner. What was that about? I don’t know. Who cares. Ben > Us.

Though last night’s event felt crazy long by its conclusion, the charisma, music, and titty jokes really made it all worthwhile.

I just wish Beasts of the Southern Wild had walked away with something.

For a complete winners list, click here.

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‘How Green Was My Valley’ Mysteries Revealed, Movie is Not a Porn

Posted in Epic Film Quest! on February 12th, 2013 by Nick

how-green-was-my-valley-8Before our viewing of the 1941 Best Picture winner How Green Was My Valley, my lady mentioned that it sounded like the title of a porno. Although the movie turned out to be your run-of-the-mill 1940′s film (bummer, man), I stopped to think about the many possibilities: In the movie’s bizarro porn version, would the miners get laid every time they returned home from work, covered in soot and ash? Would there be lots of shower scenes to make up for their gross grime? Or maybe some of their ladies met them below the surface for some underground lovin’. Did porn even exist in the 40′s!? A guy has to wonder.

I think we singlehandedly mocked and destroyed one of the most beloved movies of all time. And I’m talking, like, in the history of modern day cinema.

Oh, well.

I didn’t love this entry of the Quest, but I didn’t hate it either. This is one of those that sort of felt like a mere check off a list. It’s really fun to write about stuff I absolutely lose my mind over or things I loathe more than pickles, but when the result is somewhere in the middle I’m rather mum. I think my preconceptions got the best of me on this one – I was expecting more and wasn’t significantly moved with regard to the miners’ struggles, families, unions, etc. The socio-economic snapshot of poor coal miners wasn’t completely lost on me, I just didn’t fully connect with it. I don’t fault the film for this, though. It just didn’t happen. Can’t love everything.

From a modern day viewpoint, it’s unbelievable that this one beat out Citizen Kane for the title. But according to Wikipedia (it MUST be true if it’s on Wikipedia!), people were boycotting Kane. Since the film was based on William Randolph Hearst’s actions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, he naturally was a huge sissy about it and wanted people to claim libel against Orson Welles. He even tried to get the film banned. Trying to ban a future classic – way to go Hearst! There’s more to this story but I got super bored while reading about it.

What was this post about? Right. How Green Was My Valley is not about the sexual adventures of a bunch of Zoolander-esque coal miners. Instead, it’s about their struggles in society, both at work and at home, and about a little boy who gets beat up all the time and tells their stories and stuff. It was a good enough movie that didn’t really grab me the way I had hoped.

Grade: C+

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Oscar 2013: Nominations Have Landed

Posted in Movies on January 10th, 2013 by Nick

Nominations are in for the 2013 Academy Awards and like most years, there aren’t too many surprises…except for that Ben Affleck snub for Best Director, Argo (what WHAAAAT!?). Speaking of Best Director, Zero Dark Thirty’s Kathryn Bigelow is also egregiously missing from the list. Yikes.  Beasts of the Southern Wild fared way better than most probably predicted and…well, lets just get to it:

Best Picture
Amour
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Best Director
Michael Haneke, Amour
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Original Screenplay
Amour, Michael Hanake
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Flight, John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal

Best Adapted Screenplay
Argo, Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin,
Life of Pi, David Magee
Lincoln, Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell

Best Animated Feature:
Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph

Best Cinematography
Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained, Robert Richardson
Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall, Roger Deakins

Best Costume Design
Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables, Paco Delgado
Lincoln, Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood

Best Documentary Feature
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man

Best Documentary Short
Inocente
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart
Redemption

Best Film Editing
Argo, William Goldenberg
Life of Pi, Tim Squyres
Lincoln, Michael Kahn
Silver Linings Playbook, Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
Zero Dark Thirty, Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

Best Foreign Language Film
Amour, Austria
Kon-Tiki, Norway
No, Chile
A Royal Affair, Denmark
War Witch, Canada

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Hitchcock, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane
Les Misérables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

Best Original Score
Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
Argo, Alexandre Desplat
Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Lincoln, John Williams
Skyfall, Thomas Newman

Best Original Song
“Before My Time” from Chasing Ice, music and lyric by J. Ralph
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted, music by Walter Murphy; lyric by Seth MacFarlane
“Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi, music by Mychael Danna; lyric by Bombay Jayashri
“Skyfall” from Skyfall, music and lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
“Suddenly” from Les Misérables, music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Achievement in production design
Anna Karenina, Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
Les Misérables, Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson
Life of Pi, Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
Lincoln, Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Best animated short film
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head over Heels
Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
Paperman

Best live action short film
Asad
Buzkashi Boys
Curfew
Death of a Shadow
Henry

Achievement in sound editing
Argo ,Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
Django Unchained, Wylie Stateman
Life of Pi, Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson

Achievement in sound mixing
Argo, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
Les Misérables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
Life of Pi, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin
Lincoln, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
Skyfall, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson

Achievement in visual effects
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White
Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
The Avengers, Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
Prometheus, Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
Snow White and the Huntsman, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

The ceremony and live broadcast will take place February 24 on ABC.

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My Apartment is Alive with ‘The Sound of Music!’

Posted in Epic Film Quest! on November 3rd, 2011 by Nick

Previously on The Littlest Winslow: Nick started an Epic Film Quest destroying the coolness and validity of all other movietime film quests. He laughed, he cried, he hurled.

It appears I broke another mini-rule. I’m supposed to be watching at least one film per week and then blogging about them almost immediately. Well, there has definitely been some lagtime in between viewings, and I watched this film over a week ago – so “Whoops!” and also “Fuck you”. I’m still dedicated to the quest, though I may have to adapt the rules based on real life, work and other writing requirements. Fear not, Music fans! I shall not bid adieu without glorifying this epic tale of…….singing, dancing and Austria (?).

My viewing of The Sound of Music was perhaps one of the most satisfying so far, to be honest. I felt like I was watching a classic – like I have somehow become a better film fan for having seen it. I thought I’d feel that way about Casablanca, but I didn’t really. In fact, I enjoyed the movie waaaaaay more than I thought I would, with all the singing and dancing and children, which are usually horrible things to me. Musicals tend to be wild cards for me – either I love them (Dr. Horrible, Nightmare Before Christmas) or I loathe them (Grease). I’m not so sure if I’d make a bold statement in saying that I “loved” this one – but dammit – I see the appeal and respect it as a classic!

I actually felt like I’d already seen the damn thing! Between Family Guy parodies, Gwen Stefani songs, and countless other pop culture references and samplings, The Sound of Music was basically already ingrained in my fucking brain. And ya gotta give some cred to Julie Andrews and Chrisopher Plummer (even if he did later admit he didn’t care for the role). Both performances were quality acts and it’s a shame Andrews couldn’t pull off a win for Best Actress at the 1965 edition of the Academy Awards (she lost to Julie Christie for her role in Darling).

I split up my viewing into two sittings. Why? Because this movie is three fucking hours long!? Here lies my only gripe. How is a movie about singing and dancing and scary looking children three hours long? Oh, then Nazis come. I didn’t expect that. Someone should do a tally of how many Best Picture winners and nominees include Nazis into their plot. Casablanca, Schindler’s List, The Sound of Music. This list goes on and on. Why are Nazis such a hot commodity? It’s almost as if the formula for a Best Picture nomination is equal parts Biopic, Drama, Tears, Intrigue…and oh, throw in just a pinch of Nazi at the end! What’s the deal with that, Oscar?

All in all, this is a great film and I encourage non-believers to turn an unsuspecting eye onto Julie Andrews and the Von Trapp family. Watch it on Blu-Ray too, while you’re at it. The film restoration was fantastic, making Austria’s hills really come alive visually. Must. Go. To. Austria. Soon.

On that note:  So long. Farewell. Insert-German-Words-Here and Goodnight!

Coming up: Midnight Cowboy, Rebecca, a Nazi-plot count and a Countdown Tally.

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Oscar Round-Up 2011: The good, the bad and the ugly

Posted in To care or not to care, TV on February 28th, 2011 by Nick

Awards season is finally over. The 83rd Annual Academy Awards ended with major victories for The King’s Speech, the renowned Dark Knight and everybody’s favorite (pregnant) ballerina. Major recaps will be available eveeeeeryyyywhereee, so here are just a few tidbits of Oscar goodness, courtesy of The Winz.

-Because I don’t care about the fashion, dresses and the word “fabulous”, I thought the red carpet was pretty lame. I always thought they added a superficial sense to the ceremony. Tim Gunn sounded like such a DOUCHER. A fake, faaaakeeee doucher. So, thank God for DVR, even though I probably should’ve just skipped the entire thing. The red carpet really reminds me of this clip:

-Ever since Rachel Getting Married and The Devil Wears Prada, Anne Hathaway has really won me over.  She did a fantastic job last night (especially hitting those high notes!), planting her firmly in the center of the Academy’s realm. I expect we’ll continue seeing big things from her in the very near future. Franco was (not as) good, but was he also high? Hell, more props to him if he was.

-Overall, with no real upsets the show was a little boring. It’s been a very predictable season this year, however, I’m glad Aaron Sorkin won for Best Adapted Screenplay, and I’m glad Natalie Portman won for Best Actress, obviously. And CHRISTIAN. BALE. It’s about time.

-Melissa Leo is a crack addict. Settle down, Beavis. The promo pics she released were borderline crazy, and dropping an F-bomb? I mean, OK. Despite her eccentricities, she 100% deserved it for her performance in The Fighter.

-My office smells like mold. Am I going to get cancer?

-I fast-forwarded through Billy Crystal. I felt bad about it, but I wasn’t amused really.The standing ‘O’ was nice, though. Props where props are due.

-Helen Mirren is the shit. Russell Brand is not as awesome. Sandra Bullock was pretty charming as well.

-The music performances were another aspect I could’ve done without.  Go home, Mandy Moore. And while Randy Newman was singing I could only think of was the Family Guy spoof where they have him singing the theme song for a show called The Littlest Bunny. (Oh, Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story. How I miss you.)

-Trent Reznor. Oscar Award Winner. Who knew?

And I still have zero desire to see The King’s Speech. It’s mostly because I hate Helena Bonham Carter’s face.

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2010 Oscar Winners

Posted in Movies on March 8th, 2010 by Nick

Here’s a list of the winners for those who didn’t watch. Avatar got BITCHSLAPPED by The Hurt Locker! Commentary to follow mañana…

Best Picture: “The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro, Producers
Actor in a Leading Role: Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”
Actress in a Leading Role: Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Actress in a Supporting Role: Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Animated Feature Film: “Up” Pete Docter
Art Direction: “Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
Cinematography: “Avatar” Mauro Fiore
Costume Design: “The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell
Best Director: “The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
Documentary (Feature): “The Cove” Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
Documentary (Short Subject): “Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
Film Editing: “The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
Foreign Language Film: “The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)” Argentina
Makeup: “Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
Music (Original Score): “Up” Michael Giacchino
Music (Original Song): “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
Short Film (Animated): “Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
Short Film (Live Action): “The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson
Sound Editing: “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
Sound Mixing: “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
Visual Effects: “Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
Writing (Adapted Screenplay): “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
Writing (Original Screenplay): “The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
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'Up in the Air': A rousing affair, but no Best Picture

Posted in Movies on January 7th, 2010 by Nick

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air”. But Best Picture? I think not.

(Spoiler free! Be at ease!)

Clooney stars as Ryan Bingham, a Career Transition Counselor who spends his time flying around the country firing people for other companies. His home life is nearly non-existent, and he likes it that way. His apartment is white, plain, and small and his relationships with his family and neighbors are quite strained. He lives his life in the skies, flying from place to place, while lecturing about living light. Things start to change for him when his company hires Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), a fresh out of school new co-worker who proposes a change for the company: Ground all the traveling employees, and conduct the firings via webcam. Mix in a fling with another frequent flyer, Alex (Vera Farmiga) and the wedding of his younger sister, and things start to get a little too complicated and unpredictable for Ryan.

George Clooney was great, as he’s always reliable for playing a role that viewers can get lost in. Ryan Bingham was a great character for Clooney to sink his teeth into: complex, mildly eccentric, yet also quite dynamic. Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick were quite stunning as well. If both were nominated for Best Supporting Actress, I think Farmiga would take it over Kendrick, but I also haven’t seen all of the other potentials yet. Oh, wait – I saw Precious. Farmiga and Kendrick are both losing (to Mo’Nique!)

Reitman’s light, yet meaningful approach and style does wonders for this film, as it did his other notables – Juno and Thank You For Smoking. As a huge fan of his former work, it’d be great to see him get another nod from the Academy. I definitely recommend this movie! It was funny, dramatic, light, and had a few good plot twists to keep the viewer vested.

But Best Picture…

Nominee – definitely. Winner? Not gonna happen.

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