2011 Oscar Predictions


WILL WIN are in bold

DID WIN are  big

MY SCORE: 18/24

despite anne hathaway's efforts and enthusiasm, the 2011 academy awards will go down as one of the worst i have ever seen. not because of who won or lost, but i'm talking the show itself.

besides the funny put-the-hosts-in-the-movies opening, there was barely a laugh or moment of excitement to be found (except when i won the pool i was in of course). the remixed songs was fun and the bob hope part was nice (although, seeing billy crystal out there to introduce it just made it more obvious what a great host he was and how anne and james just couldn't match up). but other than that the show was pretty dull.

as for my predictions: i did ok this year. 18/24 isn't bad and i did get 2/3 in the shorts categories which is where many pools are often won or lost. however, there were a few categories that, looking back, i'm not sure what i was thinking. i think i got a little too into the idea that The King's Speech wave would sweep up other categories that i missed, the now-obvious, Alice In Wonderland in art direction and costume design. and those of you who listened to the prediction episode of the podcast know how close i was to going with the winners in editing, documentary feature and foreign film (but, alas i didn't). so 18/24 it is. one better than last year and my second best showing since i started doing the podcast. how did you all do?


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

127 Hours , Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network , Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 , Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich
True Grit , Joel and Ethan Coen
Winter's Bone , Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini

In a Better World
Outside the Law

How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
The King's Speech
True Grit

Black Swan
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Alice in Wonderland
I Am Love
The King's Speech
The Tempest
True Grit

Exit Through the Gift Shop
Inside Job
Waste Land

Killing in the Name
Poster Girl
Strangers No More
Sun Come Up
The Warriors of Qiugang

Andrew Weisblum, Black Swan
Pamela Martin, The Fighter
Tariq Anwar, The King's Speech
Jon Harris, 127 Hours
Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, The Social Network

Adrien Morot, Barney's Version
Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng, The Way Back
Rick Baker and Dave Elsey, The Wolfman

John Powell, How to Train Your Dragon
Hans Zimmer, Inception
Alexandre Desplat, The King's Speech
A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network

“Coming Home” from Country Strong, Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
“I See the Light” from Tangled, Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
“If I Rise” from 127 Hours, Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
“We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3, Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Day & Night
The Gruffalo
Let's Pollute
The Lost Thing
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)

The Confession
The Crush
God of Love
Na Wewe
Wish 143

Toy Story 3
Tron: Legacy
True Grit

The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Iron Man 2

No Direction Home

YEAR: 2005

DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese

BUDGET: $2 million (estimated)

for my birthday last year my friend chrystina (some of you might know her as my co-host on the great Watch It television podcast) gave me the No Direction Home dvd. i was very happy when i got it and i added it to my dvd collection right away. however, as anyone with a large dvd collection can tell you, it is very easy for movies to get lost in there. and that is what happened with this one. recently, however, it popped its head out from the crowded shelf and caught my eye and so it was time to finally watch it.

No Direction Home is a martin scorsese directed documentary about the life and career of bob dylan. and i can say that after having watched the film i feel like i know a whole lot more about dylan and i might know him better. but i still don't know him. and i think that is the point.

in the book The Tipping Point, author malcolm gladwell at one point talks about how we define people. how it is a common tendency for us to always define people in simple and singular ways: "jack is a liar", "jane is kind", "bill is shy", "betty is stuck-up", etc... but, jack, jane, bill, betty and all of us are more than just one simple definition/characteristic. and that is where this documentary succeeds so brilliantly.

throughout his life bob dylan has been claimed by so many. the folk music scene, the anti-war movement, they have all tried to define him as one of them (just look at how angry people got when he "went electric"). but he has never wanted to be defined or felt comfortable in that role. in one clip from a press conference he is asked the question of whether he sees himself as primarily a singer or a poet and he responds by saying that he actually sees himself "more as a song and dance man." this gets a big laugh, but it is also very indicative of his real, almost animosity, towards any kind of type-casting.

to be honest, i don't know if he could even define himself. there are many moments throughout the film where dylan seems to contradict something he had said previously about his music, his lyrics, his life, the meaning behind things he has said and done, etc... at times it felt like he was just making stuff up and being contradictory on purpose.

genius, poet, shy, singer, rebel, song writer, voice of a generation, song and dance man... bob dylan is all that and more and No Direction Home is an excellent exploration of the man that will both answer questions and bring up many more - just as it should.


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)

2009 Oscar Predictions

 here i go again...

Will Win: Bold

Did Win: Big




MY SCORE: 19/24


"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Reader"
"Slumdog Millionaire"


Gus Van Sant ("Milk")
Ron Howard ("Frost/Nixon")
David Fincher ('Benjamin Button')
Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire")
Stephen Daldry ("The Reader")

Kate Winslet ("The Reader")
Angelina Jolie ("Changeling")
Melissa Leo "(Frozen River")
Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married"
Meryl Streep ("Doubt")

Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler")
Brad Pitt ("The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button")
Sean Penn ("Milk")
Frank Langella ("Frost/Nixon")
Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor")

Amy Adams ("Doubt")
Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona")
Viola Davis ("Doubt")
Marisa Tomei ("The Wrestler")
Taraji P Henson ('Benjamin Button')

Phillip Seymour Hoffman ("Doubt")
Michael Shannon ("Revolutionary Road"
Robert Downey Jr. ("Tropic Thunder")
Josh Brolin ("Milk")
Heath Ledger "(The Dark Knight")

"Waltz With Bashir" (Israel)
"Revanche" (Austria)
"The Class" (France)
"Der Baader Meinhof Komplex" (Germany)
"Departures" (Japan)

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
“Doubt” (Miramax), Written by John Patrick Shanley
“Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Screenplay by Peter Morgan
“The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

“Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Courtney Hunt
“Happy-Go-Lucky” (Miramax), Written by Mike Leigh
“In Bruges” (Focus Features), Written by Martin McDonagh
“Milk” (Focus Features), Written by Dustin Lance Black
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

“Changeling” (Universal), Tom Stern
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Claudio Miranda
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Wally Pfister
“The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Anthony Dod Mantle

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lee Smith
“Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
“Milk” (Focus Features), Elliot Graham
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Chris Dickens

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.),Alexandre Desplat
“Defiance” (Paramount Vantage), James Newton Howard
“Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Elfman
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A.R. Rahman
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Thomas Newman 

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Duchess"
"Revolutionary Road"
"The Dark Knight"

“Australia” (20th Century Fox), Catherine Martin
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Jacqueline West
“The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Michael O’Connor
“Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
“Revolutionary Road”

“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
“Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
“O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman andMaya Arulpragasam

"Kung Fu Panda"

“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)” (Cinema Guild), A Pandinlao Films Production, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
“Encounters at the End of the World” (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment), A Creative Differences Production, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
“The Garden” A Black Valley Films Production, Scott Hamilton Kennedy
“Man on Wire” (Magnolia Pictures), A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn
“Trouble the Water” (Zeitgeist Films), An Elsewhere Films Production, Tia Lessin and Carl

"The Conscience of Nhem En"
      A Farallon Films Production    Steven Okazaki
"The Final Inch"
      A Vermilion Films Production    Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant
"Smile Pinki"
      A Principe Production    Megan Mylan

"The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306"
      A Rock Paper Scissors Production    Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg Cannom
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (Universal), Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

“La Maison en Petits Cubes” A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato
“Lavatory - Lovestory” A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production, Konstantin Bronzit
“Oktapodi” (Talantis Films) A Gobelins, L’école de l’image Production, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand

“Presto” (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug Sweetland

“This Way Up”, A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)” (Hamburg Shortfilmagency), An Academy of Media Arts Cologne Production, Reto Caffi
“Manon on the Asphalt” (La Luna Productions), A La Luna Production, Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont
“New Boy” (Network Ireland Television), A Zanzibar Films Production, Steph Green and Tamara Anghie
“The Pig” An M & M Production, Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh

“Spielzeugland (Toyland)” A Mephisto Film Production, Jochen Alexander Freydank


“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Richard King
“Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Tom Sayers
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
“Wanted” (Universal),Wylie Stateman


“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick

“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney),Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
“Wanted” (Universal), Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
“Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan

Hamlet 2

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Year: 2008

Writer: Pam Brady & Andrew Fleming

Director: Andrew Fleming

Budget: $9 million (estimated)

Gross: $4 784 111 (as of September 14th, 2008)

with Hamlet 2, we have the second appearance on fbnf of director andrew fleming.  you might be asking yourself how the director of Nancy Drew made it on the list previously?  well, it was with a little film, and one of my favorites, Dick.

Hamlet 2 is about a failed actor, now high school drama teacher (steve coogan) who, when he finds out the are canceling the drama program, writes an original work to put on with the class in an attempt to save the program.  he writes Hamlet 2.  however, as we all know, everyone dies at the end of Hamlet, so he needs a device to make the sequel work.  that device is a, and how can it really be anything else, time machine.

the film is very funny and much of that has to do with steve coogan, who is just great (as usual).  i saw him in the same vain as christopher guest's character in Waiting For Guffman, in that they are both 'theatre directors' who don't realize that they aren't that good.  however, unlike in Waiting For Guffman, i think that the world around coogan's character is a little more realistic.  i should also say that the Hamlet 2 play actually looked not bad, as compared to the Waiting For Guffmann play.

watching the film, there was something about it that felt a little different.  and for me the comparison to it as a high school musical production as opposed to a broadway play seemed apt.

the film doesn't feel slick or as smooth as a big hollywood movie.  something about the editing and the way it is put together felt a little off.  i know this all sounds a vague, but i can't really put my finger on it, other then to say 'off'.  thinking about it afterward is when it seemed to make sense in comparing it to the vibe of a high school production that is good and has a lot of work put into it, but still doesn't flow as perfectly as a big broadway show.

i don't mean this to be a criticism, cause i did really like the film, but it was more of a way to discuss a visceral reaction i had that i couldn't put my finger on right away.

also, given that 'anything is possible' i guess they could have screwed up a movie that has a song called 'rock me sexy jesus' in it, but they sure didn't.


Oscar 2008 Predictions

sing it with me... oscar, oscar oscar, who will win?  well here is my answer to that question:

MY SCORE: 13/24 (my worst showing ever. embarrassing)

Performance by an actor in a leading role
George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah" (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.)
Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal)
Julie Christie in "Away from Her" (Lionsgate)
Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse)
Laura Linney in "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight)
Ellen Page in "Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There" (The Weinstein Company)
Ruby Dee in "American Gangster" (Universal)
Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement" (Focus Features)
Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone" (Miramax)
Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

Best animated feature film of the year
"Persepolis" (Sony Pictures Classics): Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Brad Bird
"Surf's Up" (Sony Pictures Releasing): Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

Achievement in art direction
"American Gangster" (Universal): Art Direction: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
"Atonement" (Focus Features): Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
"The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Art Direction: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount): Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Art Direction: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Achievement in cinematography
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.): Roger Deakins
"Atonement" (Focus Features): Seamus McGarvey
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Janusz Kaminski
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Roger Deakins
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Robert Elswit

Achievement in costume design
"Across the Universe" (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky
"Atonement" (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
"La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Marit Allen
"Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Colleen Atwood

Achievement in directing
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Julian Schnabel
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Jason Reitman
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Tony Gilroy
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Paul Thomas Anderson

Best documentary feature
"No End in Sight" (Magnolia Pictures) A Representational Pictures Production: Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
"Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience" (The Documentary Group) A Documentary Group Production: Richard E. Robbins
"Sicko" (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) A Dog Eat Dog Films Production: Michael Moore and Meghan O'Hara
"Taxi to the Dark Side" (THINKFilm) An X-Ray Production: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
"War/Dance" (THINKFilm) A Shine Global and Fine Films Production: Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

Best documentary short subject
"Freeheld" A Lieutenant Films Production: Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
"La Corona (The Crown)" A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production: Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
"Salim Baba" A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production: Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
"Sari's Mother" (Cinema Guild) A Daylight Factory Production: James LongleyS

Achievement in film editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal): Christopher Rouse
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Juliette Welfling
"Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment): Jay Cassidy
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Dylan Tichenor

Best foreign language film of the year
"Beaufort" Israel
"The Counterfeiters" Austria
"Katyn" Poland
"Mongol" Kazakhstan
"12" Russia

Achievement in makeup
"La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
"Norbit" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount): Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (Walt Disney): Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
"Atonement" (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
"The Kite Runner" (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics): Alberto Iglesias
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino
"3:10 to Yuma" (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
"Falling Slowly" from "Once" (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and: Marketa Irglova
"Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
"Raise It Up" from "August Rush" (Warner Bros.): Music and Lyric by Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas 
"So Close" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
"That's How You Know" from "Enchanted" (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Best motion picture of the year
"Atonement" (Focus Features) A Working Title Production: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production) A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production: Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.) A Clayton Productions, LLC Production: Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production: Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production: JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

Best animated short film
"I Met the Walrus" A Kids & Explosions Production: Josh Raskin
"Madame Tutli-Putli" (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
"Même les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)" (Premium Films) A BUF Compagnie Production Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse
"My Love (Moya Lyubov)" (Channel One Russia) A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production Alexander Petrov
"Peter & the Wolf" (BreakThru Films) A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

Best live action short film
"At Night" A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production: Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
"Il Supplente (The Substitute)" (Sky Cinema Italia) A Frame by Frame Italia Production: Andrea Jublin
"Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)" (Premium Films) A Karé Production: Philippe Pollet-Villard
"Tanghi Argentini" (Premium Films) An Another Dimension of an Idea Production: Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
"The Tonto Woman" A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production: Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

Achievement in sound editing
"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal): Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Skip Lievsay
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Christopher Scarabosio and Matthew Wood
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

Achievement in sound mixing
"The Bourne Ultimatum" (Universal) Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
"3:10 to Yuma" (Lionsgate): Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

Achievement in visual effects
"The Golden Compass" (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (Walt Disney): John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier 
"Transformers" (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

Adapted screenplay
"Atonement" (Focus Features), Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
"Away from Her" (Lionsgate), Written by Sarah Polley
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
"No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
"There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

Original screenplay
"Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Written by Diablo Cody
"Lars and the Real Girl" (MGM), Written by Nancy Oliver
"Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Written by Tony Gilroy
"Ratatouille" (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Brad Bird; Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
"The Savages" (Fox Searchlight), Written by Tamara Jenkins

FBNF Awards

well, awards season is winding down.  the lists have all been made and most of the awards have been given out.  however, an official year of movies is not complete until the FBNF Awards have been handed out, so here they are, the 2007 FBNFs...


best film:
- No Country For Old Men
      - i have said plenty about this masterpiece already

best male performance:
- daniel day-lewis
      - his performance in There Will Be Blood was brilliant.  a towering, powerful performance for the ages.

best female performance:
- ellen page
     - on the surface it might seem like a simple thing to play a sarcastic teen, but the way she gave us this character who young but thrust (no pun intended) in to such an adult situation was really something great.

film that most frustratingly didn't live up to its potential:
- I Am Legend

      - i think i've said and written enough about how i feel about this one

best soundtrack:
- Once
      - great songs that work beautifully in the movie and on their own

worst movie title:
- The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
      - i know it's the name of the book, but the title is so artsy that i'm sure it probably alienated some people from seeing this great movie (not that those it alienated would have appreciated it anyways, but you never know)

best movie title:
- I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With
      - come on, that's a great title.  and the fact that it also breaks down the truth and simplicity of what we really are all looking for in a mate (someone that we just get and gets us and someone that we would be completely happy just sitting and 'eating cheese' with) makes it even better.

best director (tie):
- the coen brothers & p.t. anderson
    - more then just good films, No country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood are masterpieces that go beyond what we expect, take chances and buck conventions with an incredibly sure hand.

best actor who played the same character in two different movies:
- michael cera
      - they had different names, but his character in Juno and Superbad were pretty identical. he played them really well though.

best special effects:
- The Transformers
    - nope, i didn't like the movie, but those special effects were something spectacular and seamless.

most overlooked actor:
- irfan khan
     - he was excellent in both The Namesake and A Mighty Heart (he got an independent spirit nomination, but he deserved much more)... followed a close second by josh brolin: javier bardem is getting all the attention (and he deserves it all), but brolin was great as well in a less 'flashy' but just as important role.

most overlooked actress:
- Tabu
     - she is the heart and soul of The Namesake.

most overpraised film of the year:
- Micheal Clayton
     -sure, it was pretty good, but not best-director-and-best-film good.  that's just taking up places that could have gone to much better movies

biggest drop-off by a director based on his previous film:
- joe carnahan
     -his film this year:Smoking Aces (kind of fun for a bit, but not even a good mindless shoot 'em up) - his previous film: Narc (this is a great movie)

movie that made me laugh more then it probably should have:
- Reno 911: Miami!
     - the tv show makes me laugh and so did the movie, like the award says, probably more then it should have

- biggest oscar gyp (tie):
- The Diving Bell And The Butterfly not getting a best picture nod
      -personally i also think Micheal Clayton should be off the list and replaced with Easter Promises, but the fact that Diving Bell got a best director nod but was replaced in the best picture category by Atonement is just ridiculous.  i know every year there is one best film nomination that doesn't coennside with the best director nominations, and that is fine. however, if you are going to keep Diving Bell off the list then at least replace it with a better film then Atonement (it had a very good first half. however, it didn't provide any kind of background or justification for the huge emotions felt by the two main characters, and therefor i felt no real draw to their plight or desire for them to get back together, which is what the film relies on).

- Eastern Promises getting almost nothing

          - at least viggo got an acting nod, but come on people, the film itself deserved a lot more recognition then it got.  like i mentioned above, get rid of Micheal Clayton on both the 'best director' and 'best film' nomination list and you got room for cronenberg and Eastern Promises.

- There Will Be Blood score not nominated
         -  how did this modern, different and evocative score get left of the nomination list? i think i just answered my own question.

worst sequel:
- Spiderman 3
       - the first two were great, but this one wasn't even that much fun.  too many villains and a dark spiderman story line that wasn't developed to its full potential. (i didn't see Pirates Of The Caribbean 3 by the way)

Best Sequel:
- The Bourne Ultimatum
       - not only was it a really good action movie on its own, but the way it worked within the context of the trilogy it was a great finale to the series. (Harry Potter 5 and 28 Weeks Later are close behind)

most surprising remake:
- I Think I Love My Wife
       - the chris rock film which he directed, starred in and co-wrote is a 'remake/based on' the film Chloe In The Afternoon by eric rohmer


Best And Worst Of 2007

let's start with the best...

it's that time of year again.  ok, so it's a little past that time of year, but there were a bunch of movies i wanted to see before i put these lists together. even with that, there are still many that i haven't got to - i mean i am only one man and i do have to eat and sleep and work.  so, before you go asking where is (put title of movie you think deserves a place on the list here), let me just give you a rundown of some of the movies i just didn't get to at the time i am putting this list together that have been finding there way onto other top lists: Grindhouse, Lust Caution, Sweeny Todd, Ratatouille, Persepolis, The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, This Is England, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, 4 months 3 Weeks 2 Days, the Savages, La Vie En Rose, Lars And The Real Girl, The Waitress, In The Valley Of Elah and Into The Wild

with that being said here are my lists for the best and worst movies of 2007 - many of which you can read more in depth discussions of on the site.  let the listing begin...

don't forget (best)                                                         

1) No Country For Old Men
- brilliant.  two filmmakers at the top of their game taking chances with complete confidence                                 
2) Juno
- a great and very funny comedy that takes an after school special premise and makes it anything but. 

3) There Will Be Blood   
p.t. anderson has guts and talent beyond that of most filmmakers with many more years of experience

4) Eastern Promises 

- a great film and croenenbergs best work ever

5) Once
- a small and simple love story with great music, so much heart and a little off-hollywood ending which works to perfection.

6) The Diving Bell And The Butterfly

- a movie about a guy who is paralyzed and can only blink his left eye.  doesn't sound like great movie fodder, but shnabel makes a great movie

7) The Namesake

- this film is about so much more then the simple identity crisis played up in the previews.  in fact, the parents and their story are as much a part of this wonderful film as is that of kal penn's character, who gets most of the screen time in the trailer.

8) The Bourne Ultimatum
- the best action movie of the year and the perfect ending to a really good trilogy

9) A Mighty Heart
- even though you know how it ends winterbottom makes the story completely engaging and draws the audience in to the search and the mystery of what really happened with the documentary style, jump cuts and hand held camera.  jolie is great as mariane pearl as well.

10) Eagle Vs. Shark
- this little oddball film might seem to some like just another Napoleon Dynamite, but it is definitely its own film and a very good one at that.

this was a good year for movies. i went back and forth with a few of them and had a hard time narrowing the list down to just 10 films.  and while 10 is the traditional list number, it is also unfair to the quality movies that just missed the cut.  so here they are (in no particular order), a few of which were in and out of the top 10 during the weeding process so when i say 'just missed the cut' i mean exactly that...

don't forget (honorable mention): The Brave One, The Host, Knocked Up, 28 Weeks Later, Gone Baby Gone, the Simpsons Movie, Crazy Love, the Orphanage, Across The Universe, Interview, Breach, Zodiac



as for the worst.  i had a little harder time coming up with this list.  not because there weren't a lot of crappy movies released this year, but more so because i didn't see a lot of them. i avoided the Good Luck Chucks and the Daddy Daycares and The Number 23s (either because they didn't look good or were directed by joel shumacher).  but, i did see my share of not good movies, and here they are.  some are just bad and others are just not as good as they could have been.

forget (worst)

1) I Am Legend
- this isn't the worst movie of the year, but i put it at number one because it made me so angry in how it wasted its potential.  this movie had the potential to be on the best of the year list but it just gave in, went for the quick buck, treated the audience like impatient drones that just want mindless action and negated a very interesting premise that seemed to be developing for the first half of the movie.  for that reason it gets the number one spot (if you want to hear my rant you can check out episode #54 of the podcast)

2) American Venus
- not sure if it was trying to be funny, satire, entertaining or a combination of all three, but, it ended up being none of them.

3) Next
- great premise that is interesting for about 15 minutes and then we have to sit through the boring story and an ending that would have only worked if we had actually cared about the rest of the film up until that point.

4) The Invasion
- there have been four 'invasion of the body snatcher' movies made and two of them were good.  The Invasion wasn't one of those two.

5) The Transformers
- too long, uninteresting story and a big final battle that i couldn't care less about by the time we finally got to it.

6) Spiderman 3
- the worst of the three.  a mess with two many villians and not enough time spent on any of them or an interesting story

7) We Own The Night
- first third of the film works, then its all down hill from there

8) Disturbia
- a potentially good re-tellng of hitchock's Rear Window that falls completely apart as the last part of the film is rushed and ridiculous.

9) The Bucket List
- jack and morgan are always great, but this thing was totaly average.  it had some sweet moments, but it was predictable and regular.

10) The Lookout
- good performances but a very predictable heist movie

11) Black Snake Moan
- i was really looking forward to this one.  the problem was that the story didn't have a full movie in it, so that when the initial idea is played out the rest of the film doesn't quite know what to do with itself.  however, the music and the way he brewer uses it is really good.


Once Year: 2006

Writer: John Carney

Director: John Carney

Budget: 180 000 euros/$150 000 (estimated)

Gross (USA): $540 753 as of May 27th, 2007

he is a musician who busks on the street on his breaks from working with his dad repairing vacuum cleaners.  during the day he plays popular songs and at night when no one is really around he plays stuff he has written.  she is a girl who moved to ireland from eastern europe with her daughter and works cleaning homes and selling roses on the street.

they meet one night when she stops to ask him about the song he just played, and Once is the story of their relationship over the course of the next week or so as they get to know each other and work to record his songs.

i know, i know, it doesn't have a web slinging spider person or lots of pirates (it doesn't have any pirates actually), but it is also one of the best movies i have seen so far this year (maybe the best so far).

Once is referred to as a modern-day musical, but don't let that word 'musical' turn you off.  this isn't one of those musicals where people are breaking into song all over the place and using the words to tell the story.  rather, the musical aspects of the film involve the playing of the songs that he and she have written.  yes. they do tell us things about the characters, but in a much more real and genuine way then one is used to in the musical genre. 

for example:  one of the songs he sings was written about his ex-girlfriend and while the words and music give us insight into his emotions and feeling about her and their time together the song isn't a script or exposition piece. instead, the songs are just really good songs that provide a strong reaction and allow us into the heads of the characters from an emotional standpoint.  i also appreciated that while it is a 'love story' and a drama it always felt real and didn't fall into the hollywood melodrama trap that it could have so easily done.

the film is so simple and yet so full of life and truth and honesty of character and story.  the hand held camera and the wonderful songs all work together to draw you in.  also, the performances are really good, which is maybe a little surprising given that the actors are actual musicians and the ones that wrote pretty much all the music (irish films to have a good track record of picking great musicians who can also act for their films  - see The Commitments).

with summer blockbuster season in full swing and doing very well, smaller films need to fight to find an audience, so for the sake of great movies everywhere take the time to search out and enjoy Once.