Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012 Saturn Award Nominations

As always there are some weird or interesting choices. But it is nice to see Super 8, HP72, Melancholia, and Take Shelter get some recognition. The winners will be announced on June 20th.

"The Adjustment Bureau"
"Captain America: The First Avenger"
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
"Super 8"
"X-Men: First Class"

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
"Midnight in Paris"
"The Muppets"

"The Devil's Double"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"The Grey"
"Take Shelter"
"The Thing"

"Fast Five"
"The Lincoln Lawyer"
"Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol"
"Red Tails"
"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"
"War Horse"

Antonio Banderas, "The Skin I Live In"
Dominic Cooper, "The Devil's Double"
Tom Cruise, "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol"
Chris Evans, "Captain America: The First Avenger"
Ben Kingsley, "Hugo"
Michael Shannon, "Take Shelter"

Jessica Chastain, "Take Shelter"
Kirsten Dunst, "Melancholia"
Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Brit Marling, "Another Earth"
Keira Knightley, "A Dangerous Method"
Elizabeth Olson, "Martha Marcy May Marlene"

Ralph Fiennes, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Harrison Ford, "Cowboys and Aliens"
Tom Hiddleston, "Thor"
Alan Rickman, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Andy Serkis, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Stanley Tucci, "Captain America: The First Avenger"

Elena Anaya, "The Skin I Live In"
Emily Blunt, "The Adjustment Bureau"
Charlotte Gainsbourg, "Melancholia"
Paula Patton, "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol"
Lin Shaye, "Insidious"
Emma Watson, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"

Asa Butterfield, "Hugo"
Joel Courtney, "Super 8"
Elle Fanning, "Super 8"
Dakota Goyo, "Real Steel"
Chloe Grace Moretz, "Hugo"
 Saoirse Ronan, "Hanna"

J.J. Abrams, "Super 8"
Brad Bird, "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"
Steven Spielberg, "The Adventures of Tintin"
Rupert Wyatt, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
David Yates, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"

J.J. Abrams, "Super 8
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
Mike Cahill, Brit Marling, "Another Earth"
Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
John Logan, "Hugo"
Jeff Nichols, "Take Shelter"

Michael Giacchino, "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol"
Michael Giacchino, "Super 8"
Howard Shore, "Hugo"
Alan Silvestri, "Captain America: The First Avenger"
John Williams, "The Adventures of Tintin"
John Williams, "War Horse"

Stuart Craig, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Dante Ferretti, "Hugo"
Tom Foden, "Immortals"
Rick Heinrichs, "Captain America: The First Avenger"
Kim Sinclair, "The Adventures of Tintin"
Bo Welch, "Thor"

Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey, "Super 8"
Mark Day, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Paul Hirsch, "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol"
Michael Kahn, "The Adventures of Tintin"
Kelly Matsumoto, Fred Raskin, Christian Watner, "Fast Five"
Thelma Schoonmaker, "Hugo"

Jenny Beavan, "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"
Alexandra Byrne, "Thor"
Lisy Christl, "Anonymous"
Sandy Powell, "Hugo"
Anna B. Sheppard, "Captain America: The First Avenger"
Jany Temime, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"

Shaun Smith, Scott Wheeler, "Conan the Barbarian"
Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Annick Chartier, Adrien Morot, Nikoletta Skarlatos, "Immortals"
Tamar Aviv, "The Skin I Live In"
Tom Woodruff Jr., Alec Gillis, "The Thing"
Dave Elsey, Fran Needham, Conor O'Sullivan, "X-Men: First Class"

Scott E. Anderson, Matt Aitken, Joe Letteri, Matthias Menz, Keith Miller, "The Adventures of Tintin"
Tim Burke, Greg Butler, John Richardson, David Vickery, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Dan Lemmon, Joe Letteri, R. Christopher White, Daniel Barrett, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Steven Riley, Russell Earl, Kim Libreri, Dennis Muren, "Super 8"
Scott Benza, John Frazier, Matthew Butler, Scott Farar, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

"Attack the Block"
"The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch"
"Point Blank"
"The Skin I Live In"
"Troll Hunter"

"The Adventures of Tintin"
"Cars 2"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"

Best of the Academy Awards: Introduction and Rules

So my first series in the post-Oscar lull, is compiling my Best of Oscar Winners. Compiling all the winners of the Academy Awards from the various categories from the first ceremony up until this year's winners, I will then pick which one I think is best in a head to head category for each category. I will first present all the possiblities in each category, then narrow down to 10 to 15 finalists depending on the category (for example, there are only 11 Animated Feature winners, so 15 is not possible). Here are some of the groud rules:

1) It must be an Oscar winner, not a nominee.
2) It will feature the current categories, but will include all previous names of categories, as well as Special Achievement winners in older ceremonies.
3) If categories were once separated (Like Art Direction and Original Score), they are now combined.
4) Will most likely not do Doc. Feature, Foreign Language Film, or the Shorts, unless I get on a movie watching spree, as I simply do not know enough of them to make it a fair competition.
5) These are my personal preferences, so it is obviously subjective.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Struck By Lightning Trailer and Cannes 2012 Poster

Two news items. First, this is not a new trailer, but the young talent Chris Colfer has written this screenplay, and is its star. It has a lot of big talent, and looks like it could be one of the smarter teen comedies ala Easy A.

The other news item is the new poster for Cannes 2012. Featuring Marilyn Monroe, it is sexy and makes me excited (not like that you perverts, simply excited about a new Oscar season). Last year, two Best Picture nominees came out of Cannes, so this year's festival will be an interesting bellweather.

New Projects for 2012-2013

Here is a list of projects I am considering in between Oscar and Emmy seasons:

1) The Best of the Best Oscar Winners. Using all the winners in each category for all the Oscars, decide on who were my favorite throughout the years.
2) 100 Greatest Comedy Films of All Time. I love comedies, and have always wanted to compile a list of my favorites.
3) In Depth Tony Award Coverage
4) Retro Reviews: Going Back and watching/reviewing old favorites.

Thank you to all of the readers who followed the Oscar coverage, and although we have a slow couple of months ahead of us, I hope that you will continue to read and enjoy, if I promise to keep writing. I really cannot thank you enough.

Monday, February 27, 2012

State of the Race: The End

The Winners
The Oscars were clicking along, a few surprises here and there, but most predictable. Then came the big moment in the night, Best Actress. As soon as Colin Firth announced Meryl as the winner my heart sunk in my chest. I love Meryl Streep more than anyone. She is, quite simply, the greatest living actress. And I have no doubt that she deserved a third Oscar. But I had been waiting all year to see Viola Davis win that Oscar, and when she didn't, I was distraught. But I have picked myself up and have recovered, because I can't be mad that Meryl Streep won, she deserves every honor she gets. But that doesn't mean that my heart wasn't slightly broken last night. That being said, the winners were mostly predicted. Some of the closer races, like Costume Design, ended up going a different way than I thought, but I wasn't surprised. I was once again sadded that Emanuel Lubezki was snubbed for The Tree of Life, but if someting else was going to win, I'm glad it was Hugo and not The Artist. I also think it is important to mention that, to date, the two best used of 3-D technology are Hugo and Avatar. Both of them won Cinematography. It appears that the Academy is embracing 3-D but only if it is done well, and done to serve a greater visual purpose in a great film. Back to The Artist and Hugo. I find it interesting that the last two years, two (or in last year's case, three) films splitting the awards pretty evenly. It is interesting, considering that the Oscars are known for some of their sweeps. The other major surprise was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo winning Editing. They clearly liked the film (although couldn't get enough passionate support to get it into Best Picture), and it is the first film since the 1960's to win this award without a Best Picture nomination. A shock to say the least, but at least it provided some color to the night. And honestly, I wasn't too thrilled about either The Artist or Hugo or The Descendants taking home that particular award. There were of course some other snubs, including Rise of the Planet of the Apes or HP72 in favor of Hugo, but we all should have looked more closely as films that are nominated for Best Picture do not lose in that category. There were also some incredible wins, Plummer finally getting recognition, Spencer's emotional speech, Jean Dujardin's excitement, and even Meryl, who seemed genuinely surprised and gave one of her trademark speeches. I am so happy that I was wrong about In Darkness, as the message that radiated from the creators of A Separation was poignant and well-said, plus it was the best film of the bunch. Undefeated's win was also really nice and well deserved, and honors young filmmaking talent. So all in all, despite one truly huge disappointment, I wasn't too mad or too happy with the results. I was content. In my own predictions, I went 17/24, and if I hadn't switched my Live Action Short, I would have been 18. This is pretty good considering the surprises and the categories that were tough to predict, particularly some of the technical ones. However, 71% is not good enough for me, and so I hope to continue to get better at this as I analyze more Oscar seasons, and hopefully will provide you with better analysis and predictions in the future.

The Ceremony
Let's be honest, last year's ceremony was a long, messy disaster. So even though Billy Crystal did his same old schtick (which he acknowledged), I welcomed it with open arms. One of my fellow film bloggers was commenting the whole night sarcastically and rudely about Crystal, but I think that sometimes it is okay to play it safe. He was funny, classy, and showed his prowless for hosting by keeping the show clicking along at a reasonable pace. The ceremony as a whole had some eye-rolling moments, but some of the new additions, such as the clips of people talking about movies were a welcomed change to the five-thousand movie montages (which they still couldn't get rid of that opening one). The presenters mostly did a good job, noticeably Emma Stone, Will Ferrell, and Zach Galifianakis. There were no truly terrible show-related glitches, and I also liked some of the bits including Melissa McCarthy, The Muppets, and the Christopher Guest sequence. So while it wasn't the most exciting ceremony ever, I will take comforting and quick versus messy, long, and controversial.

The Season
As with every season, there were ups and downs, and this season in particular had its moments of high joy, and head-scratching omissions. My two favorite films of the year, Drive and HP72 didn't make much of a dent on the awards circuit, but did so in the American conscious. But unlike some of those pundits who will spend, and have spent, weeks on end ranting and raving, I will not turn to negativity. If you don't like the results, you have an easy escape route: leave, don't pay attention to them, and turn off the TV. For those of us who still enjoy the magic of Oscar Sunday, who throw their heart and soul into these awards and watch movies as religiously as those who go to church, we will still be here. I was dissappointed that Viola didn't win. But in many ways she won so much this year,  an Oscar wuld have simply been icing on an already delicious cake. But instead of dwelling on it, I am moving on, and continuing to do as Viola herself instructed us to do when she won her SAG award, "Dream Big and Dream Fierce." So for now I am going to toast the winners, whether deserving or not, and continue to dream big and dream fierce here at The Awards Psychic. I will turn my attention to new projects, a new Emmy and Tony Season, and of course, a new Oscar season already in the making. And I think George said in best in the last scene of The Artist: "Sounds Good!"

Sunday, February 26, 2012

84th Annual Academy Award Winners

Best Picture - The Artist
Best Actress - Meryl Streep "The Iron Lady"
Best Actor - Jean Dujardin "The Artist"
Best Director - Michel Hazanavicius "The Artist"
Best Supporting Actor - Christopher Plummer "Beginners"
Best Supporting Actress - Octavia Spencer "The Help"!!
Best Adapted Screenplay - Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, & Jim Rash "The Descendants"
Best Original Screenplay - Woody Allen "Midnight in Paris"
Best Animated Feature - Rango
Best Documentary Feature - Undefeated
Best Foreign Language Film - A Separation (Iran)
Best Film Editing - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?!
Best Original Score - Ludovic Bource "The Artist"
Best Original Song - Bret McKenzie "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets"
Best Art Direction - Hugo
Best Cinematography - Robert Richardson "Hugo"
Best Costume Design - Mark Bridges "The Artist"
Best Makeup - The Iron Lady
Best Sound Mixing - Hugo
Best Sound Editing - Hugo
Best Visual Effects - Hugo
Best Live Action Short - The Shore
Best Documentary Short - Saving Face
Best Animated Short - The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Final Oscar Prediction List

These are my final, final, final predictions, and there have been some changes since my earlier posts. These are set in stone, and cannot be changed before tonight's big show. I will be live blogging the winners here at The Awards Psychic, and tomorrow I will post a breakdown of the ceremony, the winners and losers, and the season as a whole. For the Record, I changed Costume Design to Hugo, Doc Feature to Undefeated, and Live Action Short to Tuba Atlantic.

Best Picture - The Artist
Best Director - Michel Hazanavicius "The Artist"
Best Actor - Jean Dujardin "The Artist"
Best Actress - Viola Davis "The Help"
Best Supporting Actor - Christopher Plummer "Beginners"
Best Supporting Actress - Octavia Spencer "The Help"
Best Original Screenplay - Woody Allen "Midnight in Paris"
Best Adapted Screenplay - Alexander Payne, Jim Rash, and Nat Faxon "The Descendants"
Best Animated Feature - Rango
Best Documentary Feature - Undefeated
Best Art Direction - Hugo
Best Cinematography - The Artist
Best Costume Design - Hugo
Best Film Editing - The Artist
Best Makeup - The Iron Lady
Best Original Score - The Artist
Best Original Song - Man or Muppet from The Muppets
Best Sound Mixing - Hugo
Best Sound Editing - Hugo
Best Visual Effects - Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Best Live Action Short - Tuba Atlantic
Best Documentary Short - Saving Face
Best Animated Short - The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2012 Golden Raspberry Razzie Nominees

My favorite awards ceremony might just be in fact the Razzies. They are cruel, yet fun, and I appreciate those actors and filmmakers who take it with a grain of slat and have fun with it.

Worst Picture
- Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star
- Jack & Jill
- New Year's Eve
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon
- Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

Worst Actor

- Russell Brand, Arthur
- Nicolas Cage, Drive Angry 3-D, Season Of The Witch, and Trespass
- Taylor Lautner, Abduction and Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I
- Adam Sandler, Jack & Jill and Just Go With It
- Nick Swardson, Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star

Worst Actress

- Martin Lawrence (As "Momma"), Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
- Sarah Palin (As "Herself"), Sarah Palin: The Undefeated
- Sarah Jessica Parker, I Don't Know How She Does It and New Year's Eve
- Adam Sandler (As "Jill"), Jack & Jill
- Kristen Stewart, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I

Worst Supporting Actress

- Katie Holmes, Jack & Jill
- Brandon T. Jackson (As "Charmaine"), Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
- Nicole Kidman, Just Go With It
- David Spade (As "Monica"), Jack & Jill
- The Underwear Model (Aka Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

Worst Supporting Actor

- Patrick Dempsey, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
- James Franco, Your Highness
- Ken Jeong, Big Momma's #3, Hangover Part 2, Transformers #3 and Zookeeper
- Al Pacino (As "Al Pacino"), Jack & Jill
- Nick Swardson, Jack & Jill and Just Go With It

Worst Screen Ensemble

- The Entire Cast of Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star
- The Entire Cast of Jack & Jill
- The Entire Cast of New Year's Eve
- The Entire Cast of Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
- The Entire Cast of Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I

Worst Director

- Michael Bay, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
- Tom Brady, Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star
- Bill Condon, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I
- Dennis Dugan, Jack & Jill and Just Go With It
- Garry Marshall, New Year's Eve

Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel

- Arthur
- Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star (Rip-Off of Boogie Nights and A Star Is Born)
- The Hangover Part 2 (Both a sequel and a remake!)
- Jack & Jill (Remake/Rip-Off of Ed Woods' Glen or Glenda)
- Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I

Worst Screen Couple

- Nicolas Cage & Anyone Sharing the Screen with Him in Any of His Three 2011 Movie
- Shia Lebeouf & The Underwear Model (Aka Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), Transformers #3
- Adam Sandler & EITHER Jennifer Aniston OR Brooklyn Decker, Just Go With It
- Adam Sandler & EITHER Katies Holmes, Al Pacino OR Adam Sandler, Jack & Jill
- Kristen Stewart & EITHER Taylor Lautner OR Robert Pattinson, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I
Worst Screenplay

- Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star, Written by Adam Sandler, Allen Covert and Nick Swardson
- Jack & Jill, Screenplay by Steve Koren & Adam Sandler, Story by Ben Zook
- New Year's Eve, Written by Katherine Fugate
- Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, Written by Ehren Kruger
- Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I, Screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, from the novel by Stephenie Meyer

2012 Independent Spirit Awards

Best Feature - The Artist
Best Director - Michel Hazanavicius "The Artist"
Best Actor - Jean Dujardin "The Artist"
Best Actress - Michelle Williams "My Week With Marilyn"
John Cassavettes Award - Pariah
Best First Feature - Margin Call
Best Supporting Actor - Christopher Plummer "Beginners"
Best Supporting Actress - Shailene Woodley "The Descendants"
Best Screenplay - Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash "The Descendants"
Best First Screenplay - Will Reiser "50/50"
Best Documentary - The Interrupters
Best Foreign Language Film - A Separation
Best Cinematography - The Artist
Piaget Producers Award - Sophia Linn "Take Shelter"
Someone to Watch Award - Mark Jackson "Without"
Truer Than Fiction Award - Heather Courtney "Where Soldiers Come From"
Robert Altman Award - Margin Call

Final Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

Will Win - The Artist
Could Win - Hugo, The Descendants, The Help
Should Win - Moneyball or The Help

Commentary - I have decided how I know that The Artist is so far ahead in this race: there is no defined number two. Hugo was the early favorite, and considering all the technical awards it will get, it definitely could be a contender. But it lost the Eddie, which to me is a huge blow. The Descendants has come on strong with the Eddie win, as wells a WGA victory, but I think it lacks across the board support. Scott Feinberg says that a lot more people than expected are voting for The Help with won the SAG ensemble, but without any technical or writing nominations I don't see if overcoming the tides of history. So that leaves one. The Artist has run the circuit from the beginning of the critical season, and has remained an underdog in the face of bigger competition. It is a wonderful little movie that celebrates the craft, and this weekend it will go from underdog to top dog.

Friday, February 24, 2012

France's Cesar Awards

Interestingly enough, Jean Dujardin was snubbed despite The Artist winning 6 awards. Does that make Jean Dujardin vulnerable?

Best Picture

"The Artist"

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"

Best Actress
Bérénice Bejo, "The Artist"

Best Actor
Omar Sy, "Untouchable"

Best Supporting Actress

Carmen Maura, "Les Femmes Du 6e Etage"

Best Supporting Actor

Michel Blanc, "L’Exercice De L’Etat"

Best Original Screenplay
Pierre Schoeller, "L’Exercice De L’Etat"

Best Adapted Screenplay

Yasmina Reza, Roman Polanski, "Carnage"

Best Newcomer (Female)

Naidra Ayadi, "Polisse"
Clotilde Hesme, "Angèle Et Tony"

Best Newcomer (Male)

Grégory Gadebois, "Angèle Et Tony"

Best Original Score
Ludovic Bource, "The Artist"

Best Sound

Olivier Hespel, Julie Brenta, Jean-Pierre Laforce, "L’Exercice De L’Etat"

Best Cinematography

Guillaume Schiffman, "The Artist"

Best Editing

Laure Gardette, Yann Dedet, "Polisse"

Best Costumes
Anaïs Romand, "House Of Tolerance"

Best Art Direction
Laurence Bennett, "The Artist"

Best First Film
Le Cochon De Gaza," director: Sylvain Estibal

Best Foreign Film

"A Separation," director: Asghar Farhadi

Best Animated Film
Le Chat Du Rabbin," directors: Joann Sfar, Antoine Delesvaux

Best Documentary

"Tous Au Larzac," director: Christian Rouaud

Short Film
L’Accordeur," director: Olivier Treiner

Final Oscar Predictions: Director

Will Win - Michel Hazanavicius "The Artist"
Should Win/Could Win - Martin Scorsese "Hugo"

Commentary - The reason that Hugo has so many nominations and is so beloved is solely because of the passion and vision of Martin Scorsese. And while he definitely could take the award, if they won't give it to him for Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, and The Aviator, then they will not be giving it to him for Hugo. So it goes to the DGA winner who has swept the awards this season, newcome Michel Hazanavicius. I just hope he follows up The Artist with more strong films, so that this award is not wasted on a one-hit wonder (I know he had some hits in France, but you get my point).

Final Oscar Predictions: Actor

Will Win - Jean Dujardin "The Artist"
Should Win - Brad Pitt "Moneyball" or Gary Oldman "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Could Win - George Clooney "The Descendants"

Commentary - I still maintain that Brad Pitt's effervescent performance in Moneyball is the best of the year, and a win for Gary Oldman would be a nice toast to his wonderful, yet unrewarded career. But most likely this comes down to two. George Clooney ran the critical circuit, and while he missed the SAG and BAFTA, we cannot forget that he won an Oscar in 2005 without winning either as well. He is Hollywood's Golden Boy, and The Descendants has been doing well as of lately. But Jean Dujardin did win the SAG and the BAFTA and he is in the Best Picture frontrunner. Plus, he has to express all of his emotion while only speaking two words in the entire film. I think it is close, but Dujardin takes the prize.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Final Oscar Predictions: Actress

Will Win/Should Win - Viola Davis
Could Win - Meryl Streep "The Iron Lady"

Commetnary - This really is a tough call, with Davis and Streep splitting the main precursors. But Streep always has something going against her. First, she has already won two Oscars. Two, there always seems to be another actress nominated who people feel deserves recognition, ahead of Streep winning number three. Finally, she seems to always be the best thing about her movies, with everything else in them simply not being up to par. I think Davis wins on the power of her performance, both on screen, and on the circuit this awards season, and for the fact that people love The Help, particularly the actors, who are the biggest branch. It has the Best Picture nod, and I think that, while close, Viola Davis will take home the prize.

Final Oscar Predictions: Supporting Actor

Will Win/Should Win - Christopher Plummer "Beginners"
Could Win - Max von Sydow "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"

Commentary - Ever since Oscar morning when Max Von Sydow's name was announced as a nominee, I wondered if he had the power to swoop in and steal the award from the apparent frontrunner Christopher Plummer. After all, he too was a legend who had been sadly overlooked throughout his stellar career, and his film got the Best Picture nomination. That being said, I think it is too little too late. Plummer has been tearing up the circuit, winning all major precursors, and delighting audiences and peers with his witty and meaningful speeches. While I still think an upset is possible, Plummer will still win this one, a well-deserved, and long-awaited honor.

Final Oscar Predictions: Supporting Actress

Will Win - Octavia Spencer "The Help"
Could Win - Jessica Chastain "The Help" or Berenice Bejo "The Artist"
Should Win - Spencer, Chastain, or Melissa McCarthy "Bridesmaids"

Commentary - The supporting actress category this year lacks the mystery of last years, where there was a split among BAFTA/SAG. This year, Octavia Spencer has dominated the critical circuit, and swept the major awards. If anyone other than her wins, I will be floored. It is my hope that for a little fun, she walks up to the podium and tells her fellow nominees to eat her shit. But alas, she is one classy and wonderful lady, and will be only humble and appreciative when she wins her first Academy Award.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Final Oscar Predictions: Costume Design

Will Win - Jane Eyre
Should Win - Anonymous
Could Win - W.E. Hugo, or The Artist

Commentary - W.E. winning the CDG last night is huge, and once again, this is one that could get a big switch before my final list. But the movie has had no other real recognition, and is just now really hitting theaters. I think that hurts it in the long run. I also know that Best Pictures don't do well in this category, especially recently, which hurts Hugo and The Artist. Although Sandy Powell is a three-time winner, so she could easily take it. So the question is, who wins? And the answer, I am sorry to say is, I have no freaking idea. So I am going out on a limb, might as well, and going with the more elaborate costumes of Jane Eyre. Wisdom may kick in, and I end up changing my mind, but for now, this is my gut prediction.

Final Oscar Predictions: Cinematography

Will Win - The Artist
Should Win - The Tree of Life, Hugo, War Horse, or The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Could Win - The Tree of Life or Hugo

Commentary - Of all the nominees, The Artist, in my opinion, has the worst cinematography, and honestly should not have a shot at hell of winning. That being said, it is the Best Picture frontrunner, and its next biggest competition, The Tree of Life, which did take the ASC award, has not other below the belt technical nominations, and it has been a long time since a film has won this award without at least one other tech nod. I think that because it is black and white, The Artist will seem distinct, and manage to create nice images without any color. This is that I could see changing before Sunday, but for right now I am going with the power and buzz of The Artist.

Costumer Designers Guild (CDG) Winners

Period - W.E.
Fantasy Film - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part
Contemporary Film - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Contemporary TV - Glee
Period Fantasy TV - Boardwalk Empire
Miniseries/TV Movie - Downton Abbey

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Final Oscar Predictions: Original Screenplay

Will Win - Woody Allen "Midnight in Paris"
Could Win - Michel Hazanavicius "The Artist"
Should Win - Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo "Bridesmaids"

Commentary - This one is tough, as in most years The Artist would be an easy winner. But it has two things going against it. One, it is a silent movie. Even those infatuated with the film may have a hard time giving a screenplay award to a film with no dialogue. The other obstacle is the great Woody Allen. This is the first of his films in a long time to get a Best Picture nomination, and since its premeire in the summer people, particularly Academy members have not been able to shut up about it. So my guess is that it gets something, and what a better place than to honor Woody one more time. For the record, if I had a vote, it would go to incredibly hilarious, yet heartfelt script of Bridesmaids.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Final Oscar Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

Will Win - Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash "The Descendants"
Could Win - Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin "Moneyball"
Should Win - Either one of those or Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughn "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"

Commentary - There are some great scripts here, and lots of interesting choices, but all season it has come down to two scripts, both of which feature veteran, Oscar-winning writers churing out well-adapted, well-written scripts. I thought that Moneyball could surprise and win this, and I still think there is a good chance. However, with the WGA and Scripter wins this weekend, along with a surprise Eddie win, it seems that The Descendants will walk away with at least something this week, and its best bet is Adapted Screenplay.

Final Oscar Predictions: Foreign-Language Film

Will Win - In Darkness (Poland)
Should Win - A Separation (Iran)
Could Win - A Separation or Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)

Commentary - This one is tough, because all precursors point to A Separation, and it is the only one of the five to get a nomination outside of this particular category. An if the odds are correct, then come Oscar night it will win the Foreign-Language Film prize. So then why, as many of you are probably asking at this moment, am I going a different way? Well, first, despite such consensus among precursors, the group that votes on this category seems to always go a different way from the popular consensus. Sometimes it is expected, like 2009's Los Secreto de Sus Ojos over Un Prophet and The White Ribbon, and sometimes it is a complete shock like Departures over, well over any of the other four. So the Academy tends to go its own way in this cateogry. Secondly, they love the Holocaust, and films that are good and talk about that subject matter tend to do well, especially in this category. So while the consensus is A Separation, as it should be, and while there is a good chance I retreat before my final list on Sunday, I am going out on a limb and predicting a huge upset with In Darkness, this year's Holocaust film from Poland.

Final Oscar Predictions: Sound Mixing and Sound Editing

Best Sound Mixing
Will Win - Hugo
Should Win/Could Win - War Horse
Commentary - These categories tend to reward the same film, and only seem to split when the nominations don't match up as well. For me, this means that two Best Picture contenders: War Horse and Hugo. However, a film has not won the Sound Mixing award without at least a CAS nomination, and Hugo just won the CAS, so it is probably the safest bet. Although Academy members may think that War Horse, as a war film, is more applicable.

Best Sound Editing
Will Win - Hugo
Should Win/Could Win - War Horse
Commentary - So War Horse won what is probably the best equivalent to the Oscars at the MPSE last night. However, Hugo also won an award as well though showing that it is well liked, and it has the most steam and buzz going into it, whereas War Horse kind of limped into the nominations, only getting technical nods. If there is a split (which would be nice), then it benefits War Horse, but it is not wise to vote for the split, so I am playing it safe.

Writers Guild of America (WGA) Winners

  • Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics
  • Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings; Fox Searchlight
  • Documentary Screenplay: Better This World, Written by Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega; Loteria Films
  • Paul Selvin Award*: The Help, Written by Tate Taylor
  • Drama Series: Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC
  • Comedy Series: Modern Family, Written by Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Carol Leifer, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Brad Walsh, Ilana Wernick, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker; ABC
  • New Series: Homeland, Written by Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Gideon Raff, Meredith Stiehm; Showtime
  • Long Form – Original: Cinema Verite, Written by David Seltzer; HBO
  • Long Form – Adapted: Too Big to Fail, Written by Peter Gould, Based on the book written by Andrew Ross Sorkin; HBO
  • Comedy/Variety: The Colbert Report, Writers: Michael Brumm, Stephen Colbert, Rich Dahm, Paul Dinello, Eric Drysdale, Rob Dubbin, Glenn Eichler, Dan Guterman, Peter Gwinn, Jay Katsir, Barry Julien, Frank Lesser, Opus Moreschi, Tom Purcell, Meredith Scardino, Scott Sherman, Max Werner; Comedy Centra

MPSE Winners

Well War Horse and Hugo do well, could there be a split in the Sound Categories this year? My guess is that either of them takes both. Here are the MPSE Winners:

BEST SOUND EDITING IN A FEATURE DOCUMENTARY: George Harrison: Living in the Material World

Best Sound & Music Editing for Long Form Documentary in Television: Gettysburg
Best Sound Editing for Animation in Television: The Penguins of Madagascar: The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole
Best Sound & Music Editing: Short Form Documentary in Television: Man Made, Bugatti Super Car
Best Sound Editing for Long Form Dialogue/ADR in Television: Homeland, “Marine One”
Best Sound Editing: Short Form Musical in TV: Grey’s Anatomy “The Song Beneath the Song”
Best Sound Editing: Short Form Music in Television: Raising Hope “Prodigy”
Best Sound Editing: Short Form Dialogue & ADR in TV: Game of Thrones “Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things”
Best Sound Editing for Short Form Sound FX/Foley in Television: Game of Thrones, “Winter is Coming”
Verna Fields Award in Sound Editing for Student Filmmakers: The Pride of Wade Ellison
Best Sound & Music Editing: Computer Episodic Entertainment: Aim High
Best Sound Editing: Computer Interactive Entertainment: Need for Speed ‘The Run’
Best Sound Editing: Direct to Video – Animation: Megamind: The Button of Doom
Best Sound Editing: Special Venue: Rocky Mountain Express

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Final Oscar Predictions: Film Editing

Will Win - The Artist
Should Win - Moneyball
Could Win - The Descendants or Hugo

Commentary - The Eddies threw a curveball with the selection of The Descendants for Editing of a Drama film. Many expected it to be Hugo. What this means is that, while you can't count out the great Thelma Schoonmaker, most likely The Artist will win the prize. I just don't see something as subtle and untechnical as The Descendants taking home the prize, although the Eddie win boosts its Best Picture surprise chances, and more importantly, its chances in Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor. With Hugo looking weak in editing, and The Descendants being untechnical, I think The Artist will benefit and take the prize.

USC Scripter Award

The USC Scripter Award this year went for The Descendants. It honors both the screenwriters and the original source material. If it wins here and the WGA tomorrow night I think it is locked and loaded for the Best Adapted Screenplay win. I also think that this strong showing (Including Eddie) helps George Clooney in his race for Best Actor, although I still think he has a lot to overcome in terms of beating Dujardin.

Cinema Audio Society (CAS) Awards

Sound Mixing for Motion Picture - Hugo
Sound Mixing for TV Movie/Miniseries - Too Big to Fail
Sound Mixing for Television Series - Boardwalk Empire
Sound Mixing for Non-Fiction Variety Show - Deadliest Catch
2012 Filmmaker Award - Rob Marshall

ACE Eddie Winners

I honestly don't see The Descendants winning the Editing Oscar, so my guess is that unless the power of Thelma Schoonmaker's name is too much, that The Artist takes the prize.

Motion Picture: Drama - The Descendants
Motion Picture: Comedy/Musical - The Artist
Animated Feature - Rango
Documentary - Freedom Riders
One Hour Series for Non-Commercial TV - Homeland
One Hour Series for Commercial TV - Breaking Bad
Half Hour TV Series - Curb Your Enthusiasm
Reality Series - No Reservations
Mini-Series/TV Movie - Cinema Verite

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Final Oscar Predictions: Animated Feature

Should Win/Will Win - Rango
Could Win - Puss in Boots

Commentary - I am still surprised that Tintin didn't make the cut, but I applaud the Academy for giving us a nice mix of popular, well-reviewed studio films, and small, quirky indie films. This makes the category seem whole even with the huge elephant in the room missing from the lineup. That being said, I really think that this one is easy to predict. Chico and Rita and A Cat in Paris will not have enough support across the board, and if the original coudn't win I don't think Kung Fu Panda 2 will either. Puss in Boots may have a lot of supporters, but I think that Rango, Gore Verbinski's quirky western, backed by the voices of Johnny Depp, and a team of stellar actors, will be tough to beat.

Final Oscar Predictions: Documentary Feature

Will Win - Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Could Win - Undefeated, Hell and Back Again, Pina
Should Win - About three or four who didn't make the cut.

Commentary - Without Project Nim or The Interrupters, this category is simply defunct. It also means that in many ways it is wide open. I could honestly see any of them making the cut and taking home gold. Pina is a visually stunning film, but might be a little too out there for the Academy. Undefeated is an uplifting tale about a high school football team, but may not tackle a serious enough of an issue for the politically correct Academy. That is why I think it comes down to two. I might change this one before my final list on Sunday, because the story of a solider facing psychological damage after coming home for war, Hell and Back Again, sounds like a film right up the Academy's alley. But according to the buzz, Paradise Lost 3 about the West Memphis 3 seems to be the film to beat. The subject matter has been highly publicized, and it has stellar reviews.

Friday, February 17, 2012

NAACP Image Award Winners

For the rest of the the winners go to

Best Picture - The Help
Best Independent Motion Picture - Pariah
Best Actor - Laz Alonso "Juming the Broom"
Best Actress in a Film - Viola Davis "The Help"
Best Supporting Actor in a Film - Mike Epps "Jumping the Broom"
Best Supporting Actress in a Film - Octavia Spencer "The Help"
Best Foreign Language Film - In the Land of Blood and Honey
Best Documentary - Sing Your Song
Best Comedy Series - Tyler Perry's House of Payne
Best Actor in a Comedy Series - Malcolm-Jamal Warner "Reed Between the Lines"
Best Actress in a Comedy Series - Tracee Ellis Ross "Reed Between the Lines"
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Nick Cannon "Up All Night"
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series - Keisha Knight Pullman "House of Payne"
Best Drama Series - Law & Order: SVU
Best Actor in a Drama Series - LL Cool J "NCIS: Los Angeles"
Best Actress in a Drama Series - Regina King "Southland"
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - James Pickens Jr. "Grey's Anatomy"
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Archie Panjabi "The Good Wife"
Best TV Movie/Mini - Luther
Best Actor TV Movie/Miniseries - Laurence Fishburne "Thurgood"
Best Actress TV Movie/Miniseries - Taraji P. Henson "Taken From Me"

Final Oscar Predictions: Makeup

Should Win/Will Win - The Iron Lady
Could Win - Albert Nobbs or HP72

Commentary - While I found parts of The Iron Lady excrucitating, there were two elements of the film that were really top notch. One was of course the marvelous Meryl Streep. The other was its makeup design of the different ages of Margaret Thatcher. I firmly believe that in terms of technical nominations/wins, the quality of the film should not count as much as the quality of the craft itself. So while both Albert Nobbs and HP72 could win this, I think the Academy will go with the more obvious makeup transformation and reward The Iron Lady.

Final Oscar Predictions: Shorts

Best Animated Short
Will Win - The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Should Win/Could Win - La Luna
Commentary - This one is tough, as La Luna has a lot of positive buzz, but it looks like Fantastic Flying Brooks

Best Live Action Short
Will Win - The Shore
Could Win - Tuba Atlantic
Commentary - I honestly don't know, but Terry George's name attached to The Shore may help it cross the finish line.

Best Documentary Short
Will Win - Saving Face
Could Win - The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
Commentary - Both tackle real issues, and it seems to be split pretty evenly as to which one will take the prize. Something about acid-burned women in Pakistan seems like right down the Academy's alley.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Final Oscar Predictions: Original Score

Will Win - Ludovic Bource "The Artist"
Could Win - Howard Shore "Hugo"
Should Win - John Williams "War Horse"

Commentary - This one is probably the least mysterious of the bunch, although with heavyweights like John Williams and Howard Shore you can't count anything out. In my opinion, John Williams delived his most inventive score in years in War Horse, and his Tintin nod proves he is beloved in the Academy. But when a film has no dialogue, then its score must carry the emotion of the story. In the case of The Artist, the score was the story. So while there are plenty of options, I honestly don't see any other film taking the prize.

Final Oscar Predictions: Best Original Song

Will Win/Should Win - The Muppets "Man or Muppet"Could Win - Rio
Should Have Been Nominated - Any other Song from The Muppets, The Living Proof from The Help, Hello Hello from Gnomeo and Juliet, and countless others.

Commentary - I guess I can now use this time to discuss by disgust with the Academy over this award. Original Songs can be incredibly useful tools and incredibly well done. Over the years some of the greatest songs of all time have gone on to win this category. But the Academy keeps changing the rules about it, and now we have two nominations, and neither of them are the best songs from their own movie. If the Academy is going to scrap the award, they need to go ahead and do it. But I think it would be a shame to do so. They need to restructure back to a normal way of nominating. That being said, obviously there is a 50/50 chance that I get this one right. I don't think the Rio song has enough buzz, and the song from The Muppets features prominently in the film. So my bet is that Muppets takes this, although it could go either way.

Last Oscar Polls of the Season in Sidebar

I got my timing off a little, so there are four final Oscar polls in the sidebar for Best Actor, Actress, Director, and Picture. Be sure to vote in all of them, and stay tuned this week for my final Oscar predictions, and the many Guild awards as we rapidly approach the end of this wild and fascinating season.

Final Oscar Predictions: Art Direction

Will Win - Hugo
Could Win - The Artist or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Should Win - Hugo or HP72

Commentary - In a sweep of the awards, there is always a possibility that The Artist takes along with it a bunch of technical awards, like this one. However, neither the Art Director's Guild nor the BAFTA (both of which had overlapping members with the Academy) went with The Artist. The Art Director's Guild did go with Harry Potter for one of it's categories, and while the series has been a staple in this category since the beginning, I don't think it has enough push to make it into the winner's circle. Instead I am going with BAFTA and ADG winner Hugo. The magnificent train station is a feat, and the film is beloved. I think it has this one in the bag.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Final Oscar Predictions: Visual Effects

Will Win - Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Should Win - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Could Win - Hugo or Transformers 3

Commentary - This one is actually competitive, whereas in recent years winners such as Inception, Avatar, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button seemed like forgone conclusions. If I had a vote, it would go to the finale of the Harry Potter series, simply as a tip and a nod to this wonderful film series, which is so far missed any Academy recognition. But my guess is that it doesn't get the win here, Art Direction probably being a better bet (And that won't happen either). This leaves three, as Real Steel should just be happy to be here. Transformers, while dumb movies, do have great special effects. But if the first couldn't beat the Golden Compass, I don't think it will happen this time around. In my mind, with the VES wins, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, looks like the film to beat here. It doesn't hurt that it had the best visual effects of any film this year. The only one I can see truly upsetting it is Hugo, as it had the most nominations and the Best Picture nod, but I'm hoping that the Academy recognizes the highest quality when they see it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Winners

So Emmauel Lubezki wins another ASC for The Tree of Life. Last year the ASC correctly predicted Inception, but they have not always been the best predictors for winners. I think the BP/BD nomination helps TOL but watch out for Hugo and The Artist.

Feature Film - Emmauel Lubezki "The Tree of Life"
Television Movie/Mini - Martin Ruhe "Page Eight"
Half-Hour Episodic Series - Michael Weaver "Californication"
One-Hour Episodic Series - Jonathan Freeman "Boardwalk Empire

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012 Grammy Award Winners

Album of the Year - Adele "21"
Record of the Year - Adele "Rolling in the Deep"
Song of the Year - Adele "Rolling in the Deep"
Best New Artist - Bon Iver
Best Country Album - Lady Antebellum "Own the Night"
Best R&B Album - Chris Brown "F.A.M.E."
Best Rock Performance - Foo Fighters "Walk"
Best Pop Solo Performance - Adele "Someone Like You"
Best Rap Solo Performance - Jay-Z and Kanye West "Otis"
Best Alternative Music Album - Bon Iver "Bon Iver"
Best Rock Album - Foo Fighters "Wasting Light"
Best Rock Song - Foo Fighters "Walk"
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance - Foo Fighters "White Limo"
Best Dance Recording - Skrillex "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites"
Best Dance/Electronica Album - Skrillex "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites"
Best Folk Album - The Civil Wars "Barton Hollow"
Best Country Solo Performance - Taylor Swift "Mean"
Best Country Song - Taylor Swift "Mean"
Best Country Duo/Group Performance - The Civil Wars "Barton Hollow"
Best Pop Vocal Album - Adele "21"
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album - Tony Bennett "Duets II"
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance - Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse "Body and Soul"
Best R&B Song - Fool For You (Cee-Lo)
Best Traditional R&B Performance - Cee Lo Green and Melanie Fiona "Fool For You"
Best R&B Performance - Corinne Bailey Rae "Is This Love"
Best Rap Album - Kanye West "My Beautiful Dark and Twisted Fantasy"
Best Rap Song - All of the Lights
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration - Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi, & Fergie "All of the Lights"
Best Short Form Music Video - Adele "Rolling in the Deep"
Best Long Form Music Video - Foo Fighters "Foo Fighters: Back and Forth"
Best Bluegrass Album- Alison Krauss and Union State "Paper Airplane"
Best Muscial Show Album - The Book of Mormon
Best Spoken Word Album - Betty White "If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Want)"
Best Comedy Album - Louis C.K. "Hilarious"
Best Soundtrack for Visual Media - Boardwalk Empire Vol. 1
Best Score Sountrack for Visual Media - Alexandre Desplat "The King's Speech"
Best Song Written for Visual Media - Tangled - I See the Light

2012 BAFTA Winners

No real surprises here. Despite Meryl winning here (she was playing Margaret Thatcher for God's sake), I still think Viola wins the Oscar.

Best Film: "The Artist"
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Best Animated Film: "Rango"
Best Adapted Screenplay: Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
Best Documentary: "Senna"
Rising Star Award: Adam Deacon
Best Original Screenplay: Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, "The Help"
Best British Film: "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Best Production Design: Dante Ferretti, "Hugo"
Best British Debut: Paddy Considine, "Tyrannosaur"
Best Foreign Language Film: "The Skin I Live In"
Best Makeup: "The Iron Lady"
Best Costume Design: Mark Bridges, "The Artist"
Best Cinematography: Guillaume Schiffman, "The Artist"
Best Film Editing: Gregers Sall and Chris King, "Senna"
Best Sound: "Hugo"
Best Music: Ludovic Bource, "The Artist"
Best Visual Effects: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
Best Live Action Short: "Pitch Black Heist"
Best Animated Short: "A Morning Stroll"

Saturday, February 11, 2012

RIP Whitney Houston

I know that Whitney had struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, but this is still shocking to hear. At age 48, one of the greatest, most talented and incredible musical talents of all time, the great Whitney Houston, has passed away. We don't know any details yet as to the cause, but I'm sure there will be more information soon. This is a devasting loss to the musical industry, and is truly saddening news. We will never forget her talent and her incredible music. We will never forget you and will always love you Whitney. Rest in peace.

2012 BAFTA Predictions

Best Picture - The Artist
Best Director - Michel Hazanavicius "The Artist"
Best British Film - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Best British Artist Debut - Ralph Fiennes "Coriolanus"
Best Actor - Jean Dujardin "The Artist"
Best Actress - Meryl Streep "The Iron Lady"
Best Supporting Actor - Christopher Plummer "Beginners"
Best Supporting Actress - Octavia Spencer "The Help"
Best Original Screenplay - Michel Hazanavicius "The Artist"
Best Adapted Screenplay - Bridget O Connor and Peter Straughn "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Best Foreign Language Film - A Separation
Best Animated Feature - The Advetures of Tintin
Best Production Design - Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy
Best Cinematography - The Artist
Best Costume Design - Jane Eyre
Best Film Editing - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Best Makeup and Hair Design - The Iron Lady
Best Sound  - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Best Visual Effects - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Grammy Winner Predictions: Album of the Year

Will Win/Should Win - Adele "21"
Could Win - Foo Fighters "Wasting Light"
Commentary - This category this year makes a mockery of music, with four pop albums (half of which should have been left off), and one of the lesser Foo Fighter records. My hope is that Rihanna and Bruno Mars have no shot in hell, as neither deserved nominations. Born This Way was a big hit, but not as good as her previous two outings, and if one pop album is going to take the prize it is going to be 21. Adele's second effort was the biggest album of the year and got rave reviews. The only other album I think is a possibility is Foo Fighters if all those pop records split the votes too much and the one rock record takes the prize.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Review: Chronicle

In the last decade plus, we have been saturated with superhero comic book fan movies as well as hand-held Blair Witch-esque mockumentary films. So when the trailer hit for Chronicle, I had no option but to roll my eyes, as it was the two combined together in what looked like an amateur, effects-only film. Well, I am not afraid to admit when I am wrong, and boy was I wrong about Chronicle.
Chroncile follows the story of Andrew, a bullied high school kid who uses a film camera as a means of escape from his abusive alcoholic father, and the slow death of his beloved mother. When he and his cousin Matt, along with their friend Steve stumble upon a mysterious tunnel with radioactive material, they soon are able to move things through telekinesis. However, as Andrew's life gets more complicated, with his mom getting worse, he soon begins to use his ever growing strength to try to save his mother's life, and eventually, in a fit of rage, his powers simply become too much.

Chronicle is highly original, and never overplays either of its combining elements. It is actually refreshing to see how especially the mockumentary style, can be used effectively. More importantly, unlike so many superhero origin stories, this is not a happy story, this does necessarily beg the need for an incessant sequel, and simply tells the story of power in the hands of someone with anger can lead to disastrous consequences. Furthermore unlike so many visual-effects driven film, the effects in this film are actually pretty basic, and never cloud the emotion and fear of the story itself.

And it is truly the story that makes it work, along with the talent of its three young stars, who will hopefully see their stocks rise after people see this film. Beyond the idea of cool powers, this is truly a story of a kid reacting to his environment, and the relationships that develop between friends and family during trying times. Each of the actors embraces his or her character, and exudes passion, humor, and layers of emotion that many actors who have much more experience have yet to accomplish.

Chronicle is not a perfect film, and at its core it heavily borrows from other origin films, as well as films such as Carrie that deal with teenage revenge. But as our world becomes ever more saturated with Paranormal Activities and the like, it is nice to see a film that is simple, emotional, and utilizes technology subtly and effectively.

Grade - B+

Grammy Winner Predictions: Record of the Year

Will Win/Should Win - Adele "Rolling in the Deep"
Could Win - Katy Perry "Firework", Bon Iver "Holocene", Mumford & Sons "The Cave"
Commentary - The Recording Academy has usually gone for things such as Bon Iver or Mumford & Sons as safe rock choices. And Katy Perry had a huge hit. But the biggest hit of the year, which has the perfect combination of old school sensibililty and new school popularity is Rolling in the Deep. If anything else wins, I will be shocked.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Grammy Winner Predictions - Song of the Year

Will Win - Adele "Rolling in the Deep"
Should Win - All of the Lights
Could Win - Mumford & Sons "The Cave"

Commentary - In my opinion, All of the Lights is one of the best songs of the year, and I am thrilled to see it get some general category love. That being said, I don't think it has a shot at winning here. Rock bands have done well in these categories, as they are usually the safest choices, so watch out for a surprise win from either Bon Iver, or more likely from Mumford & Sons, whose The Cave was one of the best rock songs of the year. But I think that no matter what happens, this is the year of Adele. She is safe, as older voters will like her old-school style, yet still trendy enough, as Rolling in the Deep was the biggest damn song of the year, that it just seems too much like a consensus to bet against her.

Grammy Winner Predictions: Best New Artist

Will Win - Bon Iver
Should Win - Nicki Minaj
Could Win - The Band Perry or Minaj

Commentary - Everyone thinks this is between Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver, and they are not far off, as both are definitely potentials to win. But Nicki has the disadvantage of being a hip hop artist, and only one has won this award, Lauryn Hill. Bon Iver is probably the safest pick, as he did well in other categories. Minaj also did well in her rap categories, so both can make a nice argument either way. In my opinion, the one to look out for is Band Perry, as country acts have done well. But it probably won't win its own genre categories, where as both Iver and Minaj could win in theres. The other thing to notice is that Bon Iver got Record and Song of the Year, whereas none of his other competitors got any other General nominations.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Grammy Winner Predictions - Pop/Dance

Best Pop Vocal Album
Will Win/Should Win - Adele "21"
Could Win - Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, or Rihanna
Commentary - I would love a Cee-Lo upset, but since he is the only one of the five that didn't get an Album of the Year nomination, I have to think that he is probably not going to win. This leaves the other four, but my money is on the strength of either Adele or Lady Gaga. This is Adele's year though and she had the biggest and arguably the best album of the bunch, and I would be shocked if she doesn't win here.

Best Pop Solo Vocal Performance
Will Win/Should Win - Adele "Someone Like You"
Could Win - Bruno Mars "Grenade" or Katy Perry "Firework"
Commentary - Pink's anthem to those who have been pushed around is awesome, but she really doesn't have a shot. Lady Gaga is probably also out as she chose to submit You and I instead of Born This Way. It comes down to the two Record of the Year nominees and Adele. Not being Rolling in the Deep could hurt, as Someone Like You is the smaller hit of the two, which could lead the way for Mars or Perry. But my guess is that Grammy voters love Adele so much they are not even paying attention to which song is nominated.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Will Win/Should Win - Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse "Body and Soul"
Could Win - Foster the People "Pumped Up Kicks"
Commentary - In another year, the infectious Pumped Up Kicks would have a great shot, as would Moves Like Jagger. But this is no ordinary year, as Amy Winehouse's death puts this category in perspective. Body and Soul is a wonderful record, and hopefully a Grammy win will be a lasting tribute to her short, but stunning musical career.

Best Traditional Pop Album
Will Win/Should Win - Tony Bennett "Duets II"
Could Win - Barbra Streisand "What Matters Most"
Commentary - Two musical legends go head to head in this category, but Bennett's was a huge hit, even on the mainstream Billboard, and all of the extra talent involved with the album should be enough to get it the gold trophy.

Best Electronica/Dance Album
Will Win/Should Win - Robyn "Body Talk Part 3"
Could Win - David Guetta "Nothing But the Beat" or Skrillex "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites"
Commentary - A three way battle between some tough choices means this category could go either way. Skrillex got the Best New Artist award, but members may not be ready to honor them yet. David Guetta is probably the more populist choice, as he has had some radio hits, and might be too much to beat. My bet though is that Robyn, who has gotten a string of nominations in this category recently, finally takes home the gold.

Best Dance Recording
Will Win - Robyn "Call Your Girlfriend"
Should Win - Duck Sauce "Barbra Streisand"
Could Win - Duck Sauce or David Guetta "Sunshine" or Skrillex or Deadmau5
Commentary - Without a radio hit in the bunch, it is hard to pick, although I am happy the Grammys finally honored actual dance recordings and not just techno-hyped pop hits. So I am sticking with Robyn, but could honestly see any of these take the prize.

Visual Effects Society (VES) Winners

What is confirmed is that Hugo and Rise are the two biggest contenders for Best Visual Effects, although I am still confident that HP72 is also in the running. My money would be on Rise, simply in the hopes that they actually reward the best effects of the year.

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture: "Hugo"
Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture: "Rango"
Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (Caesar)
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture: "Rango" (Rango)
Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (155 Wacker Drive)
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture: "Rango" (Main Street Dirt)
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture: "Hugo"
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature Motion Picture: "Rango"
Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (Driller)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Oscar Poll in Sidebar

Check out the new polls for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress in the sidebar!

Grammy Winner Predictions: Rap

Best Rap Album
Will Win - Kanye West "My Beautiful Dark and Twisted Fantasy"
Could Win - Kanye West and Jay-Z "Watch the Throne" or Nicki Minaj "Pink Friday"
Commentary - With such a strong set of nominees, particularly the three mentioned above, it is still shocking and ridiculous that none of them got into Album of the Year. This is a three way race that could honestly go any which way. If Nicki is the leader for Best New Artist, then her popularity and break-out year could get her this prize. Or they could decide that even though West's solo effort is much better, honoring both him and Jay-Z in one fail swoop might be more attractive. That being said, MBDATF is one of the best rap albums of all time and I think the Recording Academy will recognize it.

Best Rap Performance
Will Win/Should Win - Jay-Z and Kanye West feat. Otis Redding "Otis"
Could Win - Nicki Minaj and Drake "Moment 4 Life"
Commentary - I would have loved to have seen something like Monster get in, which would have gotten Nicki, Jay-Z and Kanye, but alas it comes down to two power duets. Moment 4 Life has a lot of support and if they want to spread the love around, this could be the place. Plus it was a huge radio hit. but my money is on the dynamic duo of Jay-Z and Kanye, with a little help from Otis Redding.

Best Rap Song
Will Win/Should Win - All of the Lights
Could Win - Otis
Commentary - Otis and All of the Lights both will most likely win their performance awards, but in this category the fact that All of the Lights got the Song of the Year general nomination helps push it ahead of its competitor.

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
Will Win/Should Win - Kanye West feat. Kid Cudi and Rihanna "All of the Lights"
Could Win - Rihanna "What's My Name?"
Commentary - My guess is that the Rap Song and Song of the Year nod, pushes All of the Lights ahead of its competitors.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2012 Evening Standard Award Winners

Best Film: "We Need to Talk About Kevin"Best Actor: Michael Fassbender, "Jane Eyre" and "Shame"
Best Actress: Olivia Colman, "Tyrannosaur"
Best Screenplay: Andrew Haigh, "Weekend"
Best Documentary: "Senna"
Technical Achievement Award: Robbie Ryan, "Wuthering Heights"
Peter Sellers Award for Comedy: "The Guard"
Most Promising Newcomer: Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe, "Black Pond"

Grammy Winner Predictions: Rock

Best Rock Album
Will Win - Foo Fighters "Wasting Light"
Should Win - Wilco "The Whole Love"
Could Win - Kings of Leon "Come Around Sundown"
Commentary - I'll be honest with you, I am kind of surprised the Foo Fighters keep getting into Album of the Year. Wasting Light was a good record, but not even close to their best, and if there were going to be a Rock representative, I would have much rather preferred Wilco's excellent The Whole Love. That being said, I honestly don't see anyone other than the Fighters winning this award, unless the Kings of Leon love is still hanging over, which I doubt it is.

Best Rock Performance
Will Win/Should Win - Mumford & Sons "The Cave"
Could Win - Foo Fighters "Walk"
Commentary - This is a tough one to pick, because even though The Cave got Record and Song of the year nominations, it still may not be enough to overcome Grammy favorite, Foo Fighters. Plus I know the Grammys and sometimes (not often) general nominations cannot translate into genre category wins. That being said, I am hoping that the General nomination will be enough and that Mumford & Sons take prize.

Best Rock Song
Will Win/Should Win - Mumford & Sons "The Cave"
Could Win - Foo Fighters "Walk"
Commentary - See Above Category

Best Alternative Music Album
Will Win - Bon Iver "Bon Iver"
Should Win - Radiohead "The Kings of Limbs"
Could Win - Radiohead or Foster the People "Torches"
Commentary - The huge General support for Bon Iver should be enough to push him through in this category although perennial favorites Radiohead and newcomers Foster the People will be giving him some competition.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2012 Annie Award Winners

Sometimes the Annie is a good predictor and sometimes they are not. My guess is that Rango still wins the Oscar with Kung Fu Panda 2 a close second. Television and other winners can be seen at:

Best Animated Feature: "Rango"
Best Animated Special Production: "Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters"
Best Animated Short Subject: "Adam and Dog"
Animated Effects in an Animated Production: "The Adventures of Tintin"
Animated Effects in a Live Action Production: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
Character Animation in a Feature Production: "Rio"
Character Animation in a Live Action Production: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Character Design in a Feature Production: "Rango"
Directing in a Feature Production: Jennifer Yuh Nelson, "Kung Fu Panda 2"
Music in a Feature Production: John Williams, "The Adventures of Tintin"
Production Design in a Feature Production: "Kung Fu Panda 2"
Storyboarding in a Feature Production: "Winnie the Pooh"
Voice Acting in a Feature Production: Bill Nighy, "Arthur Christmas"
Writing in a Feature Production: "Rango"
Editing in a Feature Production: "Rango"
Winsor McCay Award: Walt Peregoy, Borge Ring, Robert Searle
June Foray Award: Art Leonardi
Special Achievement Award: Depth Analysis

Art Directors Guild (ADG) Awards

It looks like it is between Hugo and Harry Potter for the prize, although an Artist sweep could knock both out.

Excellence in Production Design in a Period Film: "Hugo"
Excellence in Production Design in a Fantasy Film: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
Excellence in Production Design in a Contemporary Film: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Excellence in One-Hour Television - Boardwalk Empire
Excellence in Half Hour Television - Modern Family
Excellence in TV Movie/Mini - Mildred Pierce
Excellence in Variety/Musical - Saturday Night Live 
Excellence in Production Design in Awards, Music, or Game Shows: "The 83rd Annual Academy Awards"

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Grammy Winner Predictions: Misc.

Best Comedy Album
Will Win - Louis C.K. "Louis C.K.: Hilarious"
Could Win - The Lonely Island "Turtleneck and Chain"
Should Win - Kathy Griffin "50 & Not Pregnant"
Commentary - My money would go to Kathy Griffin, who is continuously funny with her stand up routines. But it really seems to be between Louis and Lonely Island. The Recording Academy liked Lonely Island enough to nominate it in the rap categories before, but this year, I think the new rising star of Louis C.K. may be too much to overcome.

Best Spoken Word Album
Will Win/Should Win - Tina Fey "Bossypants"
Could Win - Betty White "If You Ask Me and Of Course You Want"
Commentary - This one is a close call between of TV's funniest ladies. The overflowing love for Betty White as she enters her 9th decade may be enough to give her a boost. But my bet is that Tina Fey's hit book Bossypants, which is a joy to both read and listen too will take the prize.

Best Musical Theater Album
Will Win - The Book of Mormon
Could Win/Should Win - Anything Goes
Commentary - Sutton Foster has a place in my heart, but Book of Mormon is the biggest hit of the year, and may be hard to overcome.

Best Short Form Music Video
Will Win - Adele "Someone Like You"
Could Win - Radiohead "Lotus Flower" or OK Go "All is Not Lost"
Commentary - If they go with the flasier video, the Radiohead or OK Go will win. But if Adele is sweeping, and they appreciate her minimalist approach, then my guess is she takes the prize.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Grammy Winner Predictions - R&B

Best R&B Album
Will Win/Should Win - Ledisi "Pieces of Me"
Could Win - Chris Brown "F.A.M.E."
Commentary - It turns out that having separate traditional and contemporary categories in the R&B categories wasn't such a bad idea, as the Recording Academy completely missed many of the big contemporary efforts from the likes of Grammy winners Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, and Ne-Yo. Although R. Kelly and Chris Brown got in, so maybe it was just that the Grammy voters completely lost their grip on reality when nominating in these categories. Either way this comes down to two, Ledisi or Chris Brown. Brown is the more popular choice, but Ledisi is clearly the higher quality effort. In this weird year for R&B it could go either way, but my pick is Pieces of Me.

Best R&B Performance
Will Win/Should Win - Corrine Bailey Rae "Is This Love"
Could Win - Ledisi "Pieces of Me" or Marsha Ambrosius "Far Away"
Commentary - Once again a weird mix of nominees, this one could go a couple of ways. Ledisi could have a big sweeping year, but the inclusion of Grammy darling Rae complicates things. Why her album as a whole was left off is beyond me, but my guess is that Grammy voters still find a way to honor her. Watch out for Marsha Ambrosius as well for a surprise win.

Best R&B Song
Will Win/Should Win - Cee-Lo "Fool For You"
Could Win - Marsah Ambrosius "Far Away" or Ledisi "Pieces of Me"
Commentary - I don't know why I am so all over the map on these predictions, but it's probably because these nominations are the same way. Pieces of Me or Ambrosius could win, as they could in all the categories, and as I am currently typing, I'm starting to think that Ledisi could sweep. But for now, I am going for the goodwill hangover for Cee-Lo, and his awesome song Fool For You.

Best Traditional R&B Performance
Will Win/Should Win - Cee-Lo "Fool For You"
Could Win - Betty Wright "Surrender"
Commentary - Wright is certaintly a contender, but my guess is that Cee-Lo will easily win this one, without much competition.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Grammy Winner Predictions: Country

Best Country Album
Will Win - Taylor Swift "Speak Now"
Could Win - Jason Aldean "My Kinda Party" or Lady Antebellum "Own the Night"
Should Win - Aldean
Commentary - Jason Aldean probably is the best of the bunch, and while I think he has a shot at winning, he will face stiff competition from two previous Grammy darlins. Lady Antebellum's latest effort doesn't have half the quality or buzz as its last one, but the lingering love for them could help them out. That being said, Swift had the biggest album of the year in country music, and actually decent critical reception. I say she takes the prize.

Best Country Solo Performance
Will Win - Taylor Swift "Mean"
Could Win - Jason Aldean "Dirt Road Anthem"
Should Win - Blake Shelton "Honey Bee"
Commentary - These awards in the categories tend to have a sweeping effect, so once again it seems to come down between Swift and Aldean, although Shelton would be a nice choice. Unless they decide to spread the love around, my money is once again on Swift.

Best Country Song
Will Win - Taylor Swift "Mean"
Could Win - Blake Shelton "God Gave Me You"
Commentary - Even if Aldean gets the top two awards, my guess is that the supposed song-writing prowless of Swift (debatable) will be enough to win this one easily.

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
Will Win - Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson "Don't You Wanna Stay"
Should Win/Could Win - The Civil Wars "Barton Fink"
Commentary - Aldean will most likely not go home empty handed anyway, as he and Clarkson's duo is a huge country hit, and many thought it was in contention for general nominations. The Civil Wars could disrupt that, but the names alone of Aldean and Clarkson will most likely be too big to ignore.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Evening Standard Award Nominees

Best Film
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
"We Need to Talk About Kevin"

Best Actor
Kenneth Branagh, "My Week With Marilyn"
Michael Fassbender, "Shame" and "Jane Eyre"
Brendan Gleeson, "The Guard"
Tom Hiddleston, "Archipelago"
Peter Mullan, "Tyrannosaur"
Gary Oldman, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

Best Actress
Olivia Colman, "Tyrannosaur"
Samantha Morton, "The Messenger"
Carey Mulligan, "Shame"
Vanessa Redgrave, "Coriolanus"
Tilda Swinton, "We Need to Talk About Kevin"
Rachel Weisz, "The Deep Blue Sea"

Most Promising Newcomer
Richard Ayoade (writer-director), "Submarine"
John Boyega (actor), "Attack the Block"
Jessica Brown Findlay (actor), "Albatross"
Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe (writer-directors), "Black Pond"

Peter Sellers Award for Comedy
"Black Pond"
"The Inbetweeners Movie"
"The Guard"

Best Documentary
"Dreams of a Life"
"Fire in Babylon"
"Life in a Day"
"Project Nim"

Best Screenplay
Joanna Hogg, "Archipelago"
John Michael McDonagh, "The Guard"
Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump, "Kill List"
Paddy Considine, "Tyrannosaur"
Andrew Haigh, "Weekend"

Technical Achievement Award
Sean Bobbitt (cinematographer), "Shame"
Paul Davies (sound designer), "We Need to Talk About Kevin"
Maria Djurkovic (production designer), "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Michael O’Connor (costume designer), "Jane Eyre"
Robbie Ryan (cinematographer), "Wuthering Heights"