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)


Frostnixon Year: 2008

Writer: Peter Morgan (based on his play)

Director: Ron Howard

Budget: $35 million (estimated)

Gross: $873 836 (as of December 14th 2008)

you might be thinking how could a movie about an interview be that interesting. well, for both men involved in the Frost/Nixon interview, pretty much everything was riding on it.  frost was trying to prove he was more then just a comedy host and he sunk loads of his own money into getting this done.  and for nixon he was trying to rehabilitate his tattered reputation only a few years after having to retire the presidency in disgrace over watergate.  ron howard shows us the two men, shows us what is at stake and builds the tension throughout.  in its own way, the film is kind of a thriller.

the film is done partly in a faux-documentary style and partly in regular narrative.  meaning the story plays out with short documentary-style interviews from the supporting characters edited in throughout.  when the film first started like this i had my doubts that it would work (especially since the supporting character interviews are with actors playing the parts and not the actual participants - which i think could have been interesting), but it really does work.  the talking heads provide lots of exposition and setting of the time and place that might have felt forced or awkward had they had to do it through character dialogue or some such way.

i felt at times that Frost/Nixon didn't even feel like a movie. that documentary style, combined with just how good it was and how howard was able to raise the tension of the interview to such a level that when it came down to the moments of just the two men siting in chairs a few feet apart 'dueling' each other i was completely drawn in.  there were literally a couple times when for a moment i would be in a zone where i felt like i was watching the actual frost-nixon interviews (i really want to watch them now).  after a few seconds i would snap back to reality.

from the supporting cast to michael sheen (david frost) and frank langella (richard nixon) the acting is great.  the two leads are the same actors that played the characters on the stage and i wondered if they would translate to film, since theater acting and film acting are very different.  but, they have both done lots of movie work and it obviously was no problem given how good they were.

now, there has been a little controversy over the historical accuracy of some aspects of the film and, to be honest, that is where a history/politics nerd like myself has to take a few points off.  there is one very important scene that i was pretty sure was a piece of fiction, and i was right, that still has me a little bothered.  the scene involves a late night phone call between nixon and frost.  now, while the scene is important in getting to the heart of nixons paranoia and feelings of persecution that he had always had, it also leads to a major dramatic turning point that leads to frost getting nixon to 'confess' in the interview, and this is the problem. it is more then just evolving the characters, but it is 'the moment' when things turned, and in reality it never happened...

also, the 'confession' that frost gets from nixon didn't happen either in the way it did in the movie.  this bugs me because we have the actual interviews on tape.  i mean, there is a full transcript and video of the interviews, so to get that dialogue wrong, or to switch it up to create a moment that didn't happen, really irks me.  there were of course some other artistic licenses taken - which is fine, but those two are the ones that bother me.

Now, maybe those creative licenses had to be taken to make a story about an interview interesting to the general public.  and, i will say that i really liked the movie and, as i stated above, was completely engaged throughout. but thinking about it post-viewing in the context of a film and of historical accuracy does drop it a few places on my list of 'best films of the year' - although it will still definitely make it onto said list and is well worth seeing. - just understand the film is more concerned with the grand themes of the two men fighting for their reputations rather then being a record of history.

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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.


best and worst of 2006

everyone does one, so here are my top 10 best and worst films of 2006 - remember that the list is obviously only based on the films i have seen up to this point - (some of the films that i have not yet seen as i put this list together include: Pan's Labyrinth, Volver, Apocalypto, The Last King Of Scotland, Flags Of Our Fathers, Letters From Iwo Jima, Half Nelson, The Science Of Sleep, The Queen) - feel free to comment and post your lists

Don't Forget (best)                                            Forget  (worst)

1) Brick                                                              1) Black Dahlia
2) The Departed                                                2) All The Kings Men
3) Little Miss Sunshine                                       3) Ultraviolet
4) The Prestige                                                  4) Alpha Dog
5) Little Children                                                5) Art School Confidential
6) Borat                                                             6) Oh In Ohio
7) The Lives Of Others                                       7) V For Vendetta
8) Dave Chappell's Block Party                           8) Bobby
9) United 93                                                       9) Mission Impossible 3
10) Perfume: the story of a murderer               10) Miami Vice

11)Lady In The Water

don't forget (honorable mention): Hard Candy, Tristam Shandy, Thank You For Smoking, Nacho Libre, Children Of Men, The Road To Guantanamo, An  Inconvenient Truth, 13 Tzameti