Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Bet I Can Pick More 2011 Oscar Winners Than You

The nominees for the 2011 Academy Awards have been announced, and my first reaction is, “Can someone please explain the widespread love for Winter’s Bone to me?” I saw Winter’s Bone. I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t find it to be all that, either. It was interesting to see a primarily overlooked section of America being portrayed, and the acting was pretty good, but in the end it just didn’t move me and it didn’t stick with me.

The nominees are a nice mixed bag of the expected (Black Swan and The King’s Speech both got a healthy dose of nods), surprises (Javier Bardem for Biutiful, the aforementioned Winter’s Bone nominations), and outrages (Christopher Nolan didn’t get a Directing nom?! No Mila Kunis for Supporting Actress?!). And on a personal note, if Time Warner Cable would get its act together and offer The Social Network On Demand, I’d totally watch it before the awards on February 27.

With limited knowledge and no expertise whatsoever, here are my winner predictions:

Best Picture
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone

So we’re still doing the 10 nominees thing, eh? Well, I’m going to go ahead and whittle the race down to Black Swan, The King’s Speech, and The Social Network. I know The Social Network is considered the frontrunner, especially after its big Golden Globe win, but I’m guess The King’s Speech gets the Oscar. Oscar LOVES historical dramas. And this one is British! We Americans sure do love us some Brits!

Best Actor
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jessie Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

OK, I know that out of this list The King’s Speech is the only one I saw, and I’m always a bit clouded by my undying love for Colin Firth, but can’t we all agree that this is his race to lose?

Best Actress
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Well screw you, Julianne Moore! No, not really. I mean, I still like you, but somebody apparently decided you were the weak cog in The Kids Are All Right machine. This category is probably a race between Bening and Portman, and while Oscar tends to love seasoned actors who have been routinely overlooked (like Bening), the statue is more than likely going home with Portman.

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffery Rush, The King's Speech

I haven’t even seen The Fighter, but Bale will probably win, and I pray that he still looks like coked-up Jesus when he goes onstage to accept.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

I really liked Helena Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech because it was nice to see that she still has the acting chops to take on sedate, understated roles (we all know by now that she can tackle any number of kooky misfits in the various Tim Burton carnivals she appears in). But Melissa Leo is apparently great in The Fighter, and a lot of people seem to still be rooting for her from Frozen River a couple of years ago. But Hailee Steinfeld was apparently phenomenal in True Grit, and the Academy does like to honor remarkable child actors. But the five people who saw Animal Kingdom can’t shut up about Jacki Weaver. I’d put my money on Leo winning.

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
David Fincher, The Social Network
Joel Coen/Ethan Coen, True Grit

This is probably between Aronofsky and Fincher. Fincher will probably win for being able to create a compelling story about a bunch of computer nerds. Though in my opinion, getting the masses to go see a movie about ballet is no small feat, either.

Best Screenplay — Adapted
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Michael Arndt, Toy Story 3
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit
Debra Granik and Anne Roselini, Winter's Bone
Wouldn’t it be neat if Toy Story 3 won? It won’t, but it would be neat. Aaron Sorkin basically has this locked for both being a long-time beloved screenwriter and for, like Fincher, creating a compelling story about a bunch of computer nerds.

Best Screenplay — Original
Mike Leigh, Another Year
Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, The Fighter
Christopher Nolan, Inception
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right
David Seidler, The King's Speech

I have a feeling this is the one category The Kids Are All Right could actually win. Or The King’s Speech will win, which is probably more likely.

Best Animated Feature
How to Train your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

If you haven’t learned by now that you never bet against Pixar, you never will.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shenanigans: Happy 2011!

Years ago, when I was younger, starrier-eyed, and didn’t have to work full time, I would occasionally create these stupid, poorly illustrated stories in MS Paint depicting some ridiculous and/or inane event in my life that would really only be funny to me and maybe two other people. And I called this series of crudely depicted tales ‘Shenanigans.’ So seeing how this is a new year and this is my blog (ergo, I can do what I want with it), I’m tentatively reviving Shenanigans and, well, we’ll see how it goes.

In my first Shenanigans story, I will detail how I spent New Year’s Eve.

For those who know me personally, it’s no secret that I can be a bit antisocial and lazy about making plans. But I was determined to ring in 2011 with some semblance of celebration after the previous year’s New Year’s Eve left a lot to be desired.

I belong to an online listing that offers severely discounted tickets to various events and performances in the city, and they had a listing for a New Year’s Eve party for singles. This seemed like a good idea for several reasons.

So I proposed attending this party to my best friend, who agreed.

Unfortunately, being the idiot I can be sometimes, I failed to see the one big major downside to attending a party specifically for singles: Scores of creepy and poorly socialized people assuming that everyone else there is as desperate as they are for companionship.

Upon entering the club, everyone got a card with the name of one half of a famous couple on it. As an ice breaker game (ugh) you were supposed to find your “mate” in the crowd and win a prize of some sort. My identity was…Barbie.

I wasn’t particularly interested in seeking out Ken in the crowd, but more focused on having a few drinks, eating a few pigs in a blanket, and hanging out with some cool chicks. But this was not the case with the other party guests, and the rest of the night progressed something like this:

Gaggle of creepy dudes aside, it was still an improvement over my welcome to 2010. And no, I never did seek out Ken. Because what am I supposed to do with a guy who can’t bend his joints and whose nether region is as smooth as pigs in a blanket are awesome?

Oh, and kitty still wishes everyone a happy new year. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2011 Golden Globe Awards Post-Mortem

So was it just me, or were the Golden Globes sort of ‘meh’ this year? There were plenty of good movies and TV shows being honored, but everyone from the host to the nominees to the guests just seemed to not really care this year. I know America is famous for its apathy towards nearly everything, but if we can’t at least get a little pomp and ostentatious ceremony from our overly-coiffed celebrities, the terrorists win!

Second-time host Ricky Gervais delivered on his promise to pull no punches with his zingers, but a lot of them fell flat (not that anyone seemed to care too much). It felt like he was trying too hard to make the most of the time he had on stage, which was precious little, which makes me wonder why the producers bother the get hosts for these award ceremonies. With different presenters for all the categories and a handful of pre-taped bits and montages, is a host even necessary to keep everything tied together?

I didn’t score too badly on my winner predictions, but that’s mainly because I stuck to the big categories only and didn’t even bother to delve into the TV categories. Apparently The Social Network is going to be the front runner at the Academy Awards, so I should really get around to seeing it (which I totally will if Time Warner On Demand would get its act together).

You can see the full list of Golden Globe winners here, and here are some random thoughts/observations from the ceremony:

* Gervais’ trademark mean-spirited comments were hit or miss, but my favorite was his comment about how Sex and the City 2 should have at least received a nomination for whoever airbrushed the movie poster. The best part was the reaction shot of Chris Noth (there for being nominated on The Good Wife) cracking up.

* I watched the first season of Boardwalk Empire and liked it well enough, but did it and star Steve Buscemi deserve to beat out Mad Men, Jon Hamm, and Bryan Cranston in their respective categories? That would be a ‘no.’

* Can anyone explain why The Tourist and The Kids Are All Right are considered comedies (or musicals)?

* Annette Bening totally deserved to win for The Kids Are All Right and looked great in her age-appropriate dress. Now if she could just do something about that crazy troll-doll hair…

* Robert Downey, Jr. has to be one of the most well-adjusted former drug addict sex fiends ever.

* I laughed at winner Natalie Portman’s comment about how good an actor her fiancĂ©e is because “he totally wants to sleep with me!” Maybe she can do comedy after all. (No, I still won’t pay to see No Strings Attached.)

* I would love to fault the Hollywood Foreign Press for being Glee fans, since it’s a guilty-pleasure show, not an award-winner show, but then they went and gave an award to Chris Colfer, who is far and away the best thing about the whole show. And his legitimate shock and awe at winning was adorable. So keep on believin’, Hollywood Foreign Press, and hold on to that feeling.