Monday, February 27, 2012

Post Oscar Bliss

I must say it's a good thing I killed a half a bottle of Johnnie Walker Double Black during last night's show or else I would have felt how badly my ballot was doing. Though, in hindsight, most of the awards I missed went to films or people I wanted to win (Hugo for Effects, Cinematography, and Sound Editing; Midnight in Paris for Original Screenplay; Dragon Tattoo for Editing; Undefeated for Documentary). So, of the 9 I missed, 6 of them were choices I liked. The other three? Shameful.

(The irony should be noted that in my "Calling My Shot" post back in December, I correctly picked all THREE of these categories. And now I disagree. I'm a hypocrite. Shoot me. In my defense, however, I stated I did not care who won makeup and disagreed with Artist winning costume.)

Best Makeup Winner: The Iron Lady.

This was the Academy's chance and they blew it. Let's compare the Harry Potter franchise to how other big franchises fared at the Oscars.

Lord of the Rings 17 wins.
Star Wars 7 wins.
Terminator 4 wins.
Indiana Jones 4 wins.
Alien 3 wins.
Batman 3 wins.
Toy Story 2 wins.
Shrek 1 win.
Spider-Man 1 win.
Star Trek 1 win.
James Bond 1 win.
Pirates of the Caribbean 1 win.
The Muppets 1 win.

Harry Potter ZERO

Harry Potter was 8 solid-to-great films and earned the title of the biggest movie franchise of all time. No franchise matches it in length or consistency. Compare the WORST Harry Potter movie (Chamber of Secrets) to the worst of the others on the list. Outside of LOTR and Toy Story, it's no contest. How do you not give it SOMETHING? And certainly not to Iron Lady. Meryl Streep made up to look like Margaret Thatcher? Gee. Takes a whole lot of creativity there. I mean, it's not like there aren't decades of photos to work from. Making Ralph Fiennes look like he'spart-snake. That's a little tougher. The difference is: Ralph Fiennes looks like he's part-snake in Harry Potter. Meryl Streep still looks like Meryl Streep.

Best Costume Design Winner: The Artist

It just didn't deserve it. 

Best Actress Winner: Meryl Streep

Yes. I know this is what I predicted back in December and then changed my pick. This blew up many prognosticators' ballots. Davis gave the better performance and the Oscars got this one wrong.

Here's to hoping next year gives us a stronger slate of films to choose from, but don't hold your breath.

And now, for the most popular segment of my annual Post Oscar Bliss, your nominees for Best Picture at the 85th Annual Academy Awards.

Out of last year's 10 picks, 3 actually got nominated for Best Picture (Hugo, Tree of Life, War Horse). 3 got nominated elsewhere (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Anonymous, Harry Potter). And 4 didn't get squat (The Whistleblower, We Bought a Zoo, Larry Crowne, Water for Elephants). That's actually BETTER than I do most years. (self bro fist)

I will stick with choosing 10 since that's the maximum number still, although I suspect the Academy will change the rules once again. They shouldn't. As odd as it sounds to have 9 up for Best Picture, requiring a film to receive a certain number of votes makes sense.

For the 85th Academy Awards, in the category of Best Picture of the Year, your nominee will be.....

1. Lincoln - Spielberg directing Daniel Day Lewis as our greatest president. John Logan (nominated for Hugo) writing the script. Plus a HELL of cast: John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, Jackie Earle Haley, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon Levitt, James Spader, David can this miss?

2. The Life of Pi - Previous Oscar winner Ang Lee pulls a Scorsese and directs a children's movie. The major difference here is that people have heard of this book. Comes out around Christmas. Should prove to be Oscar bait.

3. Les Miserables - The mega-popular musical finally comes to the big screen with some serious pedigree behind it. Last year's Best Director winner, Tom Hooper (The King's Speech), with a cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfreid, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. If they pull it off, look out!

4. Brave -  Pixar. 'nuff said.

5. The Great Gatsby - I will lovingly call this the Annual So-Crazy-It-Just-Might-Work Pick. Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Australia) directing Leo, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire (?) in eye-popping 3-D!!! This is either going to be an instant classic or a cautionary tale. I don't see a middle ground here.

6. Gravity - The premise of this movie is simple. It's Open Water in space. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are on a space walk when their shuttle gets destroyed and they're left floating in space. And if it were written and directed by ANYONE else, I'd have written it off. But this is Alfonso Cuaron's follow-up to the utterly brilliant Children of Men, which was his follow-up to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (considered by many to be the best of the franchise), which followed-up Y Tu Mama Tambien. The dude is on a roll.

7. Django Unchained - Tarantino. Revenge flick. Ex-slave kills bad white people. Weinstein Company. 'nuff said.

8. Token Weinstein Company Nomination - While Django Unchained will be around, the Weinstein Company will be hedging their bets by pushing other, more audience friendly fare on Oscar voters. After winning Best Picture two years in a row (King's Speech, The Artist) over films considered superior, you know they will want to keep the streak alive. The question is: which films on their slate will be finished by then. Not all of these, however, are expected to be released this year. So, for the sake of fairness, if more than one gets a nomination, I'll only take credit for one. You've got:
  1. The Silver Linings Playbook - director David O. Russell (The Fighter) and starring Jennifer    Lawrence and Robert De Niro.
  2. Lay the Favorite - Director Stephen Frears (The Grifters, The Queen) starring Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta Jones.
  3. The Master - Paul Thomas Anderson's anti-Scientology movie starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.
  4. Wettest County - A period piece starring Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain and Shia LeBouf. From the director of The Road.
  5. Cogan's Trade - Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins and Ray Liotta in a mob movie directed by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James....)

9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - 4th film in a franchise that has pulled Best Picture nominations (and 1 win) for the previous 3 films. I'd be a moron not to have this on the list somewhere. But my gut says it will not live up to expectations.

10. World War Z - A zombie movie? For Best Picture? That's been the talk ever since the once-thought-unfilmable book got a script. Max Brooks, the author of the book, made the prediction when he first read it. Even he didn't think a good movie could be made. Marc Forster (Monsters Ball, Finding Neverland) directing and Brad Pitt starring? This is obviously not your father's zombie movie.

Until next year....

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