Sunday, 24 February 2013

Oscar Oscar

Oscar night is a great night to be a cinemaphile, and this year was no exception. Kudos to Seth MacFarlane for doing a great job of hosting and bringing a little irreverence (without being disrespectful) to the proceedings.

My predictions below were OK. I actually did better when looking at my 'full' ballot where I nailed most of the lesser categories. I missed a few of the big ones, including Picture, Original Screenplay, Actor and Supporting Actor. On the plus side, though, I called the upset in the Director category (way to go ANG LEE!!!). I was very glad to be wrong in the Supporting categories, as my two "should wins" came through. Very pleased for Christoph Waltz who was more than deserving of winning his second Oscar. He was brilliant.

I would have been ecstatic if Les Miserables took home the big prize, as it was my favourite film of the year, but having Argo win was a pretty good consolation prize.

Seriously, isn't Quvenzhan√© Wallis freaking adorable?

Sunday, 17 February 2013

2012, the year in Cinema

As we sit here one week before Hollywood's biggest night, I'm comfortable publishing my Top 10 films of 2012. I have seen eight of the nine nominees for Best Picture (sorry, Amour, I would have seen you if you played anywhere near my home!!) and most of the other critically acclaimed films. I've missed a few - notably The Impossible, Anna Karenina, The Sessions, Skyfall and Moonrise Kingdom - so this list may change once I get to see everything, but it's a pretty damn good list as it is.

The first thing I notice when I look at this list is that 2012 was a FANTASTIC year for movies. There are some truly wonderful films that can't crack my Top 10 this year.

 10. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  9. Marvel's The Avengers
  8. Zero Dark Thirty
  7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  6. Lincoln
  5. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  4. The Dark Knight Rises
  3. Life of Pi
  2. Argo
  1. LES MISERABLES

Honourable mention (in alphabetical order):

The Amazing Spider-Man, Brave, Django Unchained, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hunger Games, The Master, Silver Linings Playbook, To Rome with Love

Now, let's see how many of the major Oscar categories I can successfully prognosticate:

BEST PICTURE

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

What will win: Lincoln

What SHOULD win: Les Miserables. Simply the best experience I had at the movies this past year, and one of the best of the past decade. The animus towards this film from many critics, including some I really respect (looking at you, Mr. Ebert), is stunning to me.

There is lots of speculation that Argo will win as the Academy does a mea culpa over the crazy omission of Ben Affleck in the Best Director category and that could happen, but I'm sticking with the early favourite Lincoln to take home the big prize.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

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

Who will win: Day-Lewis
Who SHOULD win: Day-Lewis. Jackman was fabulous but his timing is off, being up against one of the great performances in the past decade. Anything other than DDL winning here would be a MAJOR upset.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
Naomi Watts (The Impossible)

Who will win: Riva
Who SHOULD win: Lawrence.

Yup, I'm calling for the big upset here, as the Academy loves a great story and handing an Oscar to an 85-year old French actress in a movie that hardly anyone saw is a great story. Oh, and to be fair, by all accounts she really did put in a terrific performance. Of the 3 performances I saw in this category, I'm picking Lawrence, although the other two were also fabulous. Wouldn't it be great to see them give it to Wallis (and trying to pronounce her first name)? She really carried a tiny indie movie to big heights and it wouldn't be a travesty to hear her name called.


ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-it-Ralph

Who will win: Brave
Who SHOULD win: Brave

Ok so I only saw two of these, but it's the only two with a chance, Brave and Wreck-it-Ralph. I keep seeing predictions that WIR is going to win here but I'd be stunned. It was good, but Brave was a MUCH better film and it's the first Pixar film with a female heroine (see above point about the Academy loving a good story).

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE


Alan Arkin (Argo)
Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)

Who will win: De Niro
Who SHOULD win: Waltz

This is a tough one for me as either Waltz or Hoffman would be deserving winners, but I'll go with Waltz in a photo finish. This is the closest race, I believe, as all 5 could conceivably win on Sunday.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Amy Adams (The Master)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
Helen Hunt (the Sessions)
Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)

Who will win: Hathaway
Who SHOULD win: Hathaway

No-brainer. If anyone else wins I may have a heart attack and die right on my couch. I actually thought that Field was the weak link in an otherwise solid cast in Lincoln.

DIRECTING

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

Who will win: Lee
Who SHOULD win: Lee

I'm calling for another mild upset here as the Academy will reward Ang Lee for the brilliant job in putting together a movie that everyone, including Lee, thought was unfilmable. If not Lee, then certainly Spielberg.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook

What will win: Argo
What SHOULD win: Argo

I wouldn't be completely stunned to see the Academy award their indie darling, Beasts of the Southern Wild, with this one, but I think Argo takes it.


ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Amour
Django Unchained
Flight
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

What will win: Zero Dark Thirty
What SHOULD win: Zero Dark Thirty

This seems like an easy one to call. With all the controversy surrounding the use of the N word in Django, it would be strange to give the screenplay an Oscar.

If the highly overrated Flight wins here, I'm never watching another movie. Ever.


A couple other slam dunks:

Life of Pi wins for Visual Effects
Amour (duh) wins Best Foreign Film