Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Post Oscar Bliss

Another Oscar ceremony, another Post Oscar Bliss blog.

For the first time since 1993, my favorite movie of a given year won Best Picture. If you haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire, you are missing out on what could be one of the best films of the decade. And after you see that, go check out Danny Boyle's other films, especially Millions, 28 Days Later and Sunshine. He's on quite a roll.

I agreed with most every one of the winner's so I won't break down each category. Even the ones I didn't necessarily agree with (Best Actor), I'm cool with the pick.

The show itself was okay. The last musical number was totally pointless. Just an excuse to have Zac Efron on the show, I suppose. Hugh Jackman was a decent host. The presenters were good for the most part except for the pinhead from Twilight and bimbo from Mamma Mia, who gave the evening the most boring and excruciating moment.

SO....on to next year.....

Your 2009 Best Picture nominees are (or will be)......

1. Nine

Yes, even with Fergie in the cast. Director Rob Marshall (Chicago) is making the film version of the Tony-winning musical based on the Oscar winning film 8 1/2. The script is by the late Anthony Minghella and Michael Tolkin (The Player). And the cast includes six, count 'em, SIX Academy Award winners. Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Sophia Loren and Marion Cotillard. Not to mention a director who made a Best Picture winner and an Oscar-winning cinematographer (Yes, that's important), Art Director and probably Marshall's usual Oscar-winning film editor too. There's so much pedigree behind this film, it's tough to imagine this not being right up Oscar's alley.

2. The Informant

The Academy LOVES movies about whistle blowers and people who fight big business. This one is a Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Erin Brockovich) film with Matt Damon as the VP of an agriculture giant who rats his company out to feds for price fixing. AND it's a comedy, albeit, a dark one a la the Coen brothers. Just playing a hunch on this one.

3. The Lovely Bones

Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings, King Kong) is filming the popular novel about a girl watching over her family from heaven. Two Oscar winners (Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon), two nominees (Mark Wahlberg and Atonement's Saoirse Ronan) and "how hasn't he been nominated" Stanley Tucci are your starts. Plus, it's got a December time slot.

4. Untitled Clint Eastwood

Well, if Gandhi is Best Picture material, why not Mandela? Clint Eastwood is on such an incredible roll right now. I suggested before, go look at his imdb and check out what a decade he's having. And why not Morgan Freeman as Mandela. And Matt Damon as the South Africa rugby captain! Yes, you read that right. That's not a joke. The film is about the newly elected Mandela trying to unify the country through South Africa's run at 1995 rugby World Cup. A political sports movie? Why the hell not?

5. The Boat That Rocked

Okay. A couple of years ago, I was dead wrong when I predicted Richard Curtis would strike Oscar gold with Love Actually. After all, he'd defined himself as the master of the English romantic comedy. He wrote Four Weddings..., Notting Hill and both Bridget Jones movies. This time, he's still doing the romance, placing it in a historical context, focusing on a tidbit of English music history. The boat in the title was, quite literally, a pirate radio station that was estimated to have as many as 25 million listeners, more than half the population of England. If nothing else, the soundtrack is going to be incredible.

Honorable Mention:

1. Inglorious Basterds - Here's to hoping Quentin Tarantino has escaped from genre hell. I liked Kill Bill and Death Proof, but enough is enough. It's getting an August release, so I wouldn't hold my breath. But if it is good, expect it to carry over to Oscar season.

2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Stephen Daldry. The dude seems to get nominated for breathing. 3 movies, 3 nominations. With so much focus on movies based on comic books, how about a movie ABOUT comic books. Kavalier and Clay created a superhero called The Escapist and "ushered in the golden age of comics." This might have been higher, but there's rumors of budget problems.

3. The Road - The Academy doesn't usually go for many post-apocalyptic thrillers, but this one does have Viggo Mortenson, Robert Duvall and Charlize Theron and it's a Pulitzer prize winning novel. We'll see.

4. Shutter Island - Dennis LeHane novels have been doing well at the Oscars. As has Martin Scorsese. But has it been too many trips to the well?

5. Away We Go - This one looks to be a lighter comedy which is a little shocking given that it's directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty) and written by Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius). Plus it's got a summer release. I'm kind of scraping the barrel here. There just aren't that many standout movies announced for this year. We will see.

Until next year.....

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