Tag Archives: 2010 movies

Oscar Nominees 2011: Time to Whine

Alright, I think it’s high time for some good old-fashioned whining about who did and did not get nominated.

Best Picture

127 Hours

Black Swan

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

This was pretty easy to predict (I’ve been predicting those ten films since November). I’ve seen seven of them (yet to see The Fighter, 127 Hours, or Winter’s Bone), and I’m fine with all of them being nominated. I would’ve loved to see The Town sneak in (perhaps instead of True Grit), but I really can’t complain here.

Best Actor

Javier Bardem (Biutiful)

Jeff Bridges (True Grit)

Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)

Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)

James Franco (127 Hours)

So so SO happy for Jesse Eisenberg and Colin Firth! Both were amazing, and it’s great to see them recognized. Bardem is a bit of a surprise (though a lot of people were predicting him…). I haven’t seen his performance or Franco’s, but I hear they’re both wonderful, and I like them both a lot as actors. I’m kind of bummed that Ryan Gosling didn’t get it (though I haven’t seen his film, so who am I to judge?), and that Bridges did. Bridges was good, but to me, it was kind of a one-dimensional character. Since he just won last year it might have been nice to spread it around, rather than just nominating him because he’s Jeff Bridges. I like the Dude, but it seems like a throwaway nomination. (Am I still a bit sore over the fact that he beat Firth last year? Possibly.)

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)

This is the line-up that I expected (but am I allowed to pat myself on the back for predicting the yes for Williams, no for Gosling nomination split?). Only seen Bening and Portman, but Portman DEFINITELY should (and will) win.

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale (The Fighter)

John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)

Jeremy Renner (The Town)

Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right)

Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)

First of all: YAY Mark Ruffalo! And while I didn’t go as absolutely nutty over Andrew Garfield’s performance as some people (despite the fact that I love him), I would have much rather seen him nominated than Renner. Renner is a great actor, and he was good in The Town, but I just don’t see it as a character/performance worthy of an Oscar nomination. I was a slightly doubtful of Garfield’s chances (though not enough to stop predicting him), so it wasn’t a complete shock, but I would’ve liked to see him nominated.

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)

Arghhh…WHY did I change my prediction to Mila Kunis at the last second?? That said, I would’ve much preferred to see her get nominated over Carter or Steinfeld. C’est la vie.

Best Director

Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (True Grit)

David Fincher (The Social Network)

Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)

David O. Russell (The Fighter)

I had to read this list over a couple of times, because I kept thinking, “I feel like someone is missing”. Then I realised who it was, and I nearly had an aneurysm. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN, anyone? WTF. How does that man still not have a Best Director nomination? The Dark Knight snub hurt, and now this? You nominate TOM HOOPER over him? But ANYWAYS, YAY DARREN ARONOFSKY!!! It’s about time he gets nominated.

(Who would’ve thought I’d have the strongest reaction to Best Director out of all the categories?)

Oh, and how did Black Swan get snubbed for Make-Up and Costume? Just wondering.

Top 10 Movies of 2010

What would this blog be without a few year-end lists? My laptop is getting repaired right now, so some of the lists that I’d been working on are M.I.A., but I figured that I’d at least post a couple of basic ones, which I might elaborate on later. Here are my 10 favourite movies of the past year, keeping in mind that there are a LOT that I still haven’t seen.

Honorable Mention: True Grit

10. The Runaways

It may be a by-the-numbers rock biopic, but Floria Sigismondi’s story of Joan Jett’s teenage band has enough style, spirit, and heart to make it an unusually enjoyable watch. Though Dakota Fanning (playing petulant jailbait Cherie Currie) and Michael Shannon (as the band’s abusive manager) give the flashier performances, it is Kristen Stewart’s slow-boil performance as Jett that provides the most compelling human drama. She conveys the many facets of the introverted but driven Jett with sincerity, and sceptics of her work in the Twilight movies may be pleasantly surprised.

9. Cyrus

Directing team Jay and Mark Duplass have earned a reputation for creating high-concept films on a shoestring budget (their 2008 riff on horror movies, Baghead, is a prime example). So when they teamed up with a studio and hired big-name actors (John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, and Marisa Tomei), some fans were understandably wary. But while the star-studded cast does distract a bit from the stark realism that they’re known for, there is still plenty of their documentary-style camera work and heavily improvised dialogue in Cyrus. Funny, and with more than a hint of melancholy, Cyrus is  a low-key, fun ride.

8. The Ghost Writer

With help from a solid cast, Roman Polanski created a moody, subtly stylish noir drama with The Ghost Writer. The film is slow, but that patience earns the film its whirlwind of an ending (no pun intended). Thanks to Polanski’s steady eye, even the film’s low-key action (for example, a low-speed car “chase” home) feels utterly exhilerating.

7. Toy Story 3

Viewers who grew up with the franchise (such as myself) may get swept up in the nostalgia, but the fact remains that Toy Story 3 is an incredibly well-constructed film for all ages. As cliche as it sounds, it is a film that will probably make you laugh and cry. And even if it may not be the best of the trilogy, Toy Story 3 has the biggest laughs, and a very, very well-deserved heartwrencher of an ending.

6. Inception

The long-brewing hype around Inception reached a fever pitch just before its release. And though it failed to meet some people’s unrealistic expectations, it also became something of a pop culture touchstone, which has to count for something. It was one of the few highlights in a grim summer movie season, and Inception brought whimsy and creativity to a genre that often seems catatonic. The cast is top notch (Cillian Murphy is the unsung MVP, if you ask me), and director Christopher Nolan brought his vision to life in a way that would only be possible with a summer blockbuster budget.

5. The Kids Are All Right

The “quirky indie comedy”  has been an annual staple of cinema for a while now (thanks, Little Miss Sunshine!), and this year was no exception. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore give bouyant performances as a middle-aged lesbian couple whose two children contact their charming but highly flawed sperm donor dad (played by the always fantastic Mark Ruffalo). It gets surprisingly dramatic as the film goes on, but The Kids Are All Right works because it avoids maudlin Important Moments and instead opts for realistic human drama.

4. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

I will never understand how films like this can tank at the box office. It has a great cast, a sharp script, some of the funniest moments I’ve seen all year, and a lightening-quick pace that would suit the ADD mentality of today. And those who did see Scott Pilgrim were treated to Edgar Wright’s inventive direction (chocked full of video game sights and sounds), delightfully bizarre pop culture references (including a Seinfeld-inspired segment), endlessly quotable dialogue (“Bread makes you fat?”), and a tour-de-force comedic performance from Kieran Culkin, of all people.

3. Fish Tank

I could probably write a thousand words about how much I love Michael Fassbender’s performance in Fish Tank. The physicality alone is remarkable; even the smallest gesture seems loaded with ambiguity and menace. Yet the great charm that Fassbender brings to the role makes the viewer want to have the same optimism towards him that the young protagonist, Mia, has. However, that risky, unspecified relationship between Mia and Fassbender’s Connor (her mom’s boyfriend) inevitably begins to unspool. And even though you kind of know where the film is going, that doesn’t stop the ride from being utterly compelling, in a vaguely horrifying way. Fish Tank blurs the line between ugly and beautiful (exemplified by director Andrea Arnold’s breathtaking ability to create stunning images out of England’s housing projects), good and bad, and optimism and hopelessness. I can’t get this film out of my mind.

2. The Town

And now, my award for the most enjoyable movie-going experience of the year (yes, even more so than Scott Pilgrim!). Considering that The Town is a film about bank robbers, there is surprisingly little action (though what is there is done impeccably). But everything in between is so equally compelling and exciting that is hardly matters. Between this and 2007’s Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck is proving to be a tremendous directing talent. Here, he accomplished the difficult task of creating an edge-of-you-seat thriller that pleased crowds but also satisfied moviegoers with a desire for quality and depth. The Town is what movies are all about.

1. The Social Network

It may be at the top of everyone’s list this year, but that is for good reason. The Social Network is a smart, timely, fresh take on themes that have been explored since the dawn of story-telling (pride, friendship, betrayal, jelousy, etc.). This is to the credit of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, whose witty, twisty dialogue set against a Harvard backdrop somehow comes across as perfectly relatable and grounded. David Fincher also does an amazing job of taking a very contained story (which mostly consists of people talking in a room) and making it utterly cinematic. And let’s not forget Jesse Eisenberg, who is amazing as the seemingly inpenetrable but ultimately sympathetic Mark Zuckerberg. Throw in an unorthodox, rumbling score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and great supporting turns by Andrew Garfield and Armie Hammer (and even Justin Timberlake is pretty good), and you’ve got a film that is both timely and timeless.

SAG Nominations: Surprise, Surprise

The SAG nominations came out today. Here’s a rundown of the film categories:

Best Ensemble Cast

Black Swan

The Fighter

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

The Social Network

Nothing too surprising. I would’ve thought True Grit make have made it in over Black Swan, but Aronofsky’s flick is turning out to be more of an awards season heavy-hitter than I’d expected.

 

Best Leading Actor

Jeff Bridges (True Grit)

Robert Duvall (Get Low)

Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)

Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)

James Franco (127 Hours)

This is my current predicted line-up for the Oscars. I think that Eisenberg is now right up there with Firth and Franco as a virtual lock for an Oscar nomination (yay!). Could he even be a dark horse for the win? He seems to be surpassing Franco in terms of buzz and recognition (NBR, Boston, Toronto have all given Eisenberg the win).

 

Best Leading Actress

Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)

Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)

Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone)

Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

Hilary Swank (Conviction)

Poor Leslie Manville. She wins the NBR award, and then gets snubbed completely by The Critics Choice Awards, The Globes, and now SAG. It is also rather strange to see Swank here, considering she’s been ignored by virtually every other awards group. But I think the core four ladies (Bening, Portman, Kidman, Lawrence) are all solidifying their Oscar noms. Now it’s just a fight for the fifth spot, and there are about five women who could potentially take it (Manville, Williams, Berry, Moore, Swank)

 

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale (The Fighter)

John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)

Jeremy Renner (The Town)

Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right)

Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)

This category is still really up in the air. This shows that Garfield is not the lock that many think that he is (I wouldn’t be that surprised if he misses out on an Oscar nom), and that Bale and Rush are still the only two solid picks. Ruffalo has been up and down, and Renner and Hawkes are starting to build momentum. I think that Hawkes will be more of a critical darling, and probably miss out on an Oscar nom, though.

 

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams (The Fighter)

Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech)

Mila Kunis (Black Swan)

Melissa Leo (The Fighter)

Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)

Another Mila Kunis nomination! I really didn’t expect her to be such a contender. The other four names here are fairly expected, but it’s interesting that Weaver missed out, given her multiple critics wins this season. She, Manville, and Garfield are definitely the biggest snubs in these nominations. Don’t count out the dark horses (Berry/Williams, Renner/Hawkes, Kunis) yet.

Golden Globe 2011 Nominations – Quick Reactions

Well, my predictions for next year’s Golden Globes turned out to be kind of shit. But I don’t think that they were more shit than anyone else’s. Tough year to predict, but some interesting surprises.

YAY

  • James Franco, Jesse Eisenberg, and Ryan Gosling all got noms in the Best Drama Actor category! Is there room at the Oscars for all three? (I have a sneaking suspicion that Gosling may get left out. But if Blue Valentine is big enough for the Globes, surely Oscar will like it?)
  • Golden Globe Nominee Andrew Garfield!
  • And though I haven’t seen Easy A yet, it’s great to see another talented young actress, Emma Stone, get some recognition.
  • Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine? Yes, please. (One of my most anticipated for the year)
  • I like the curveballs nominations for Mila Kunis, Jeremy Renner, Mark Wahlberg (I predicted him!), Halle Berry, and Paul Giamatti. Could they pose a threat in the Oscar race? I’d argue that Renner is having a resurgence of support at just the right time. And Mila Kunis is a name that has been floating around for a while as a possible darkhorse. As for the latter three names, I think the leading categories are a bit more locked up. But you never know.
  • Hooray for the snubbing of superstars like Timberlake (although I did think that he was quite good in The Social Network) and Cher. Some people predicted them to get nominated, but that would be going overboard, even for the Globes.
  • Can we finally agree that DiCaprio is not getting an Oscar nomination? Please?
  • I really love a lot of the names floating around the TV categories!
    • Favourite nominated actors whose shows I watch: Chris Colfer, Jim Parsons, Elizabeth Moss, Jon Hamm, Tina Fey (always!), Jane Lynch
    • Interesting names that popped up, but whose shows/TV movies I haven’t seen: Steve Buscemi, Kelly McDonald, Dennis Quaid, Claire Danes, Ramola Garai, Laura Linney, Bryan Cranston, Michael C. Hall, Katy Sagal, Julia Stiles

NAY

  • All of the comedy categories, basically. They can be a really good opportunity to recognize films that don’t get a lot of awards attention, but it seems like they dropped the ball this year. Granted, it was a weak year, but surely Cyrus, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Greenberg, Please Give, or Kick-Ass would’ve been more worthy?:
    • I didn’t care for Alice in Wonderland, and even though I haven’t seen them, Red, Burlesque, and The Tourist hardly seem like they are worthy of any “Best Picture” nominations.
    • If they had to nominate one big, prestigious actor, I would’ve rather have seen Tom Cruise for Knight and Day than Depp for Alice in Wonderland.
  • The Globes never get sick of sucking up to stars, do they? Johnny Depp (times two!), Angelina Jolie, Michael Douglas and Kevin Spacey don’t have a hope for any legitimate awards. But maybe they’ll show up for the ceremony and look pretty!
  • Would’ve loved to see Paul Rudd get some love. Alas, it was not meant to be.
  • In terms of performances that I’ve actually seen, it would’ve been nice to see Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., and John C. Reilly get nominated. Even Zach Galifianakis and Russell Brand would’ve been fun additions to the Comedy Actor category. (I don’t know why, but Comedy Actor is the category that I’m always most interested in. This year, though I’ve only seen one of the performances, it is so boring. I would’ve been cool with [based solely on me liking the actors, in some cases] some kind of Downey/Reilly/Gyllenhaal/Stiller/Rudd line up. That would’ve been a bit epic, right?)
  • TV snubs for: January Jones and Parks and Recreation

2011 Golden Globe Predictions

Is it just me, or this year’s Golden Globes WAY harder to predict than last year’s? I did pretty well last year with my guessing, but I honestly have no idea who is going to fill up half the slots this time around. That unpredictability makes for a more exciting race, but it also deflates my ego. Sad times. But here we go.

Best Picture (Drama)

The Fighter

Inception

The King’s Speech

The Social Network

True Grit

Best Picture (Comedy/Musical)

Burlesque

Cyrus

How Do You Know

The Kids Are All Right

Love and Other Drugs

Best Director

Danny Boyle – 127 Hours

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen – True Grit

David Fincher – The Social Network

Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech

Christopher Nolan – Inception

Best Actor (Drama)

Jeff Bridges – True Grit

Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network

Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

James Franco – 127 Hours

Mark Wahlberg – The Fighter

Best Actor (Comedy/Musical)

Jim Carrey – I Love You, Philip Morris

Michael Douglas – Solitary Man

Robert Downey Jr. – Due Date

Jake Gyllenhaal – Love and Other Drugs

John C. Reilly – Cyrus

(I miss last year’s Levitt/Downey/Damon/Stuhlbarg/Day-Lewis grouping. I didn’t even like The Informant or Nine, and I was mixed on Sherlock Holmes and A Serious Man, but that was one epic combination of performances and actors.)

Best Actress (Drama)

Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole

Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone

Gwyneth Paltrow – Country Strong

Natalie Portman – Black Swan

Hilary Swank – Conviction

Best Actress (Comedy/Musical)

Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right

Anne Hathaway – Love and Other Drugs

Julianne Moore – The Kids Are All Right

Emma Stone – Easy A

Reece Witherspoon – How Do You Know

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale – The Fighter

Matt Damon – True Grit

Andrew Garfield – The Social Network

Mark Ruffalo – The Kids Are All Right

Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams – The Fighter

Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech

Melissa Leo – The Fighter

Winona Ryder – Black Swan

Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom