2010 Oscar Predictions

WILL WIN are in bold 

SHOULD WIN (where i have an opinion) is underlined 

 Did Win are BIG 




MY SCORE: 17/24

well, the oscars have come and gone and i had an average go with my predictions this year. it wasn't my most impressive performance, but it wasn't awful either. where i messed up this year was with the shorts (animation, live action, documentary). normally i get at least one of those right and this time nothing. and then, missing both screenplay winners is just awful. but, i went  17/19 for the rest of the awards and a perfect on the top 6 categories which isn't bad.... so, how did you all do?

Best motion picture of the year
  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up In the Air
Performance by an actress in a leading role
  • Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
  • Helen Mirren (The Last Station)
  • Carey Mulligan (An Education)
  • Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
  • Meryl Streep (Julie and Julia)
Performance by an actor in a leading role
  • Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
  • George Clooney (Up In the Air)
  • Colin Firth (A Single Man)
  • Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
  • Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
  • Matt Damon (Invictus)
  • Woody Harrellson (The Messenger)
  • Christopher Plummer (The Last Station)
  • Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
  • Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
  • Penelope Cruz (Nine)
  • Vera Farmiga (Up In the Air)
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart)
  • Anna Kendrick (Up In the Air)
  • Mo'Nique (Precious)
Best animated feature film of the year
  • Coraline
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • The Secret of Kells
  • Up
Best Documentary Short Subject
  • China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province
  • The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner
  • The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”
  • Music by Prudence
  • Rabbit à la Berlin
Best Short Film (Animated)
  • French Roast
  • Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
  • The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)
  • Logorama
  • A Matter of Loaf and Death
Best Short Film (Live Action)
  • The Door
  • Instead of Abracadabra
  • Kavi
  • Miracle Fish
  • The New Tenants
Achievement in art direction
  • Avatar
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Nine
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • The Young Victoria
Achievement in cinematography
  • Avatar, Mauro Fiore
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Bruno Delbonnel
  • The Hurt Locker, Barry Ackroyd
  • Inglourious Basterds, Robert Richardson
  • The White Ribbon, Christian Berger
Achievement in costume design
  • Bright Star, Janet Patterson
  • Coco before Chanel, Catherine Leterrier
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Monique Prudhomme
  • Nine, Colleen Atwood
  • The Young Victoria, Sandy Powell
Achievement in directing
  • James Cameron (Avatar)
  • Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Lee Daniels (Precious)
  • Jason Reitman (Up In the Air)
Best documentary feature
  • Burma VJ
  • The Cove
  • Food, Inc.
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
  • Which Way Home
  • Il Divo, Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
  • Star Trek, Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
  • The Young Victoria, Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore
Achievement in film editing
  • Avatar, Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
  • District 9, Julian Clarke
  • The Hurt Locker, Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
  • Inglourious Basterds, Sally Menke
  • Precious, Joe Klotz
Best foreign language film of the year
  • Ajami
  • El Secreto De Sus Ojos
  • The Milk of Sorrow
  • A Prophet
  • The White Ribbon
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
  • Avatar, James Horner
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox, Alexandre Desplat
  • The Hurt Locker, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
  • Sherlock Holmes, Hans Zimmer
  • Up, Michael Giacchino
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
  • "Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
  • "Down in New Orleans" from The Princess and the Frog Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
  • "Loin de Paname" from Paris 36 Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
  • "Take It All" from Nine Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
  • "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from Crazy Heart Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
Achievement in sound editing
  • Avatar, Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
  • The Hurt Locker, Paul N.J. Ottosson
  • Inglourious Basterds, Wylie Stateman
  • Star Trek, Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
  • Up, Michael Silvers and Tom Myers
Achievement in sound mixing
  • Avatar, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
  • The Hurt Locker, Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
  • Inglourious Basterds, Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
  • Star Trek, Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson
Achievement in visual effects
  • Avatar, Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
  • District 9, Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
  • Star Trek, Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton
Adapted screenplay
  • Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (District 9)
  • Nick Hornby (An Education)
  • Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche (In the Loop)
  • Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious)
  • Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner (Up In the Air)
Original screenplay
  • Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman (The Messenger)
  • Joel and Ethan Coen (A Serious Man)
  • Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy (Up)

Remembered Directors Forgotten Films: John Frankenheimer

 REMEMBERED DIRECTORS FORGOTTEN FILMS: in this segment i will be spending time with various well-known directors and some of their lesser-known films. some may be hidden gems and others might be obvious why they are lesser-known, but either way it will help us in a discussion of the directors work and style beyond the movies that we all know about... for this go around we are gonna check out John Frankenheimer




- personal academy award nominations: 0

- other personal awards and nominations: 35 nominations & 13 wins

- complete filmography


REMEMBERED MOVIES: these are the ones that usually come up when frankenheimer is mentioned: The Manchurian Candidate is probably his best film and the one he is best known for. many of us will also remember French Conection II because it is a sequal to a great movie, although it is pretty mediocre at best. then, for the younger generation, Ronin might be the only film that you recognize (even if you haven't seen it) from all the ones i am gonna talk about. if you haven't seen it you should, it is really good. also, let us not forget Birdman Of Alcatraz which is a really good movie as well.


THE FORGOTTEN FILMS: with about 25-30 films to his name there was a lot to choose from among the non-remembered films. some i had never heard of, while others i had always wanted to see and these were the ones i went with:

Seven Days In May (1964): this one appealed to me because it was a political thriller (which he obviously has a knack for given The Manchurian Candidate) and it was written by rod "Twilight Zone" serling (his only film script) among other reasons. however, this one didn't completely work for me. i wanted to like it, and i was with it for a while, but the problem for me was that the film seems to just linger. the tension should be building as the 7th day approaches and the plot to overthrow the president gets closer and closer to fruition, but by setting the whole film from the POV of the president and those on his side trying to discover and than stop the coup we never get to spend anytime watching the plotters build their plan and/or carry out the steps with a sense that things are one-step closer to "success".

The Train (1964): as the final days of the german occupation of france play out one nazi colonel tried to get a train full of great works of art out of france and into germany and a few resistance fighters try to stop him. while it is a solid action movie, The Train goes beyond that. among the resistance plotting and the great set pieces filmed with real trains, there is a discussion about art and human life and the value of things that elevate the film beyond my two-line synopses.

Grand Prix (1966): Grand Prix is all about the racing. of its three hours length, i would guess that close to one-third of that is spent on various racing sequences (the opening one is a good 20-minutes at least). not that i cam complaining though. the races are great. the split screen editing sometimes gets a bit out of hand - kind of like the editor learned a new trick and just wanted to use it as much as he could - but overall its use is well done and adds to the racing sequences. the story that they came up with is fairly unoriginal and could have been transported to almost any movie about any sport/activity (the older competitor who is getting tired of the game. the young upstart partying, womanizer. the rival loose-canon who is great, but hard to control, etc....). i do have to say though, that while i could recognize the average-quality of the script and the story, i did find myself interested in the characters and really interested in watching the beautifully filmed races.

Seconds (1966): although rod serling wrote Seven Days In May, Seconds is a film that feels like a long Twilight Zone episode. a man is lured to the offices of a company specializing in giving people a second chance at a new life by faking their death and then providing them with a completely new face, body and identity. the film is looks great and frankenheimer and his dp, james wong howe (who was nominated for an academy award) use angles and deep focus and close-ups beautifully.

Black Sunday (1977): unlike Seven Days In May, Black Sunday shows us both sides of the terrorist plot - those planning to carry it out and those trying to stop it. looking at all five films, i would say that this one is my favorite. you got good action, a thrilling cat and mouse chase as the authorities try to figure out, and stop the plot, and the last 30-40 minutes filmed at the actual 1976 super bowl which is very cool (and must have been a logistical nightmare). except for two of the worst special effects explosions i have ever seen in a movie, Black Sunday is a forgotten thriller that is worth checking out.


ALL THE FRANKENHEIMER FILMS I HAVE SEEN: The Manchurian Candidate, Birdman Of Alcatraz, The Train, Seconds, Seven Days In May, Black Sunday, Grand Prix, French Connection II, The Island Of Dr. Moreau, Ronin, Reindeer Games


LOOKIN' AT FRANKENHEIMER: even with the five films i just watched, i have still only seen about a third of frankenheimers oeuvre (and that doesn't include the HBO and cable tv films he made in the 90s and early 2000s). when someone used to mention frankenheimer my first reaction was how great The Manchurian Candidate is, how awesome the car chases in Ronin are and how disappointing French Connection II was (i have tried to forget about The Island Of Dr. Moreau). now, however i can throw in Black Sunday and The Train with the better action/thriller films i have seen and appreciate the technical expertise that is the Grand Prix car races.

does seeing these five films place frankenheimer on a higher level than i had him previously? i have to say yes. however, although it goes to show that he is more than just the guy who directed The Manchurian Candidate, that film is still his only real masterwork (with Birdman Of Alcatraz, Ronin, The Train, Seconds and Black Sunday pulling up second place).


- this post will of course be updated over time if i see other frankenheimer films -




In The Valley Of Elah

Year: 2007

Writer: Paul Haggis (story and screenplay), Mark Boal (story)

Director: Paul Haggis

Budget: ?

Gross: $6 777 589

after seeing the junk that was the new james bond movie: Quantum Of Solace (check out Not Good Movies for my take on that disappointing mess) i needed to confirm my appreciation for Paul Haggis.  i know he was only one of the three writers of the bond film, but his name in that trio was one of the things that had excited me the most about seeing the film (besides it being bond and having some pretty cool trailers and the like)...

haggis, for those of you wondering why i am such a fan, is the academy award winning writer/director of Crash from a few years back and before that the creator of one of my favorite television shows of all time, EZ Streets - it didn't even last half a season (i think they aired 9 episodes) before cbs canceled it, but it was so damn good (he was also the man behind The Black Donnelleys - another great tv show canceled way to soon).  lucky for me, haggis' last directing effort In The Valley Of Elah was playing on my movie network this past week and i had tivo'd it, so it was there waiting for me when i got home from work the next day, and let me just say, confirmation complete!!

In The Valley Of Elah was released in september of last year and pretty much bombed.  i don't know what the budget was, but only grossing just under $7 million is probably not what they were hoping for. the film was one of many war-themed films released in 2007 with high-profile actors and high aspirations that went nowhere at the box office - remember Rendition and Lions For Lambs anyone?

now, i haven't seen those other two, but i can tell you that In The Valley Of Elah had a right to hope for bigger things.  this is a good film.

the movie is about, to quote imdb: A career officer (tommy lee jones) and his wife work with a police detective to uncover the truth behind their son's disappearance following his return from a tour of duty in Iraq.

what really struck we about the film was how simple it was.  the opening scene has tommy lee jones getting a phone call asking if he knows where his son is and from there his search begins.  there is no big preamble or anything like that.  the movie starts and there we go, but this isn't some grand melodrama as one might expect from such a premise. 

tommy lee jones' character is a retired army officer and so he often keeps his emotions close to his chest, and the film seems to follow suite.  i didn't find myself on an emotional roller-coaster, but rather a more steady ride in which the moments of melodrama felt almost more real and less hollywoodized because of it.

i think however, this had much to do with the story itself.  things don't go as expected.  i am not sure how to talk about this without giving too much of the story away, but just to say that haggis doesn't gloss over characters that you might expect the film to.  some discoveries made reveal aspects of people that aren't always delved into in hollywood films in order to provide the audience with a strong emotional attachment that can be manipulated.  but few people are all good and by allowing for some 'bad' to be discovered i felt really strengthened the film and even made some of the overhanded moments less cringe-worthy and personally gave them more of an impact.