Oscar Preview – by Peno Noir

Yesterday, you may have read Vagabond Joe’s Oscar predictions. He gave a pretty good rundown of what we expect to see on Sunday, including something hot messy from Helena Bonham Carter, so I’ll just cut straight to my picks.

Best Picture: The Social Network. I’ll admit it, I really liked it. I may have liked other films more, but this movie was well written, well acted, and is about the biggest phenomenon since the start of the internet. 

Actor: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) He’s won all of them up to now, right?

Actress: Natalie Portman (Black Swan) Weight loss: check. Physically demanding: check. Emotional performance: check. Previous wins: check. 

Supporting Actor: Christian Bale (The Fighter) Christian Bale is one of the best actors around. He makes smart decisions when picking movies, and does amazing work. Plus, a member of The Newsies winning an Oscar? Yes, please.

Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) This would be a big upset over Melissa Leo, but Hailee Steinfeld was amazing. She held her own on screen with Matt Damon and last years Best Actor winner Jeff Bridges.

Director: Darren Aranofsky (Black Swan) This is not going to happen, I know this and it goes against the “predictions” part of this and moves it into “wish list” but I’d really like to see Aranofsky win this, not just for the end result of the film, but for the way he works with actors. 

Animated Picture: Toy Story 3 I’ll admit it. I cried in the theater, and if you say you didn’t at least tear up, you’re a liar.

Art Direction: Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh (True Grit) Inception, Alice and Harry Potter seemed too computerized, in my opinion. 

Cinematography: Matthew Libatique (Black Swan) The filming of Black Swan was beautiful, plain and simple, especially the ballet scene.

Costume Design: Colleen Atwood (Alice In Wonderland) There are some people that take an animated feature and when they redo it they make it nearly unrecognizable….. Tim Burton and Colleen Atwood did not do that. From the Tweedles to the Queen, spot on.

Documentary Feature: Exit Through the Gift Shop VJ got it spot on, Banksy is big right now. There’s a lot of talk about his art and now this documentary.

Documentary Short: Poster Girl PTSD in returning soldiers and military mental health care is huge right now. A film that brings that to light should get some praise.

Film Editing: Andrew Weisblum (Black Swan) Editing is about more than just putting pictures together, it’s about timing and keeping a pace. Well done.

Foreign Language Film: Biutiful I haven’t seen it, but I probably will, it has Javier Bardem in it. Enough said.

Makeup: Rick Baker, David Elsey (The Wolfman) This came down to people who need to look windburnt*, making people look old, and monsters. I pick monsters.

Animated Short: Let’s Pollute I love satire.

Live Action Short: Na Wewe I just read a book about the genocide in Rwanda between the Hutus and the Tutsis, so I’m going with what I know.

Original Score: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross (The Social Network) Big name rock star up for an Oscar? The Academy loves that.

Original Song: “We Belong Together” Randy Newman (Toy Story 3) Randy Newman is a well known songwriter, put that together with Toy Story 3 and you have a winner.

Sound Editing: Richard King (Inception) Big movie, BIG BIG sound

Sound Mixing: Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick (Inception) Lots of big noises in this movie.

Visual Effects: Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Pete Bebb, Paul J. Franklin (Inception)  I don’t think I have to explain this one.

Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) It’s snappy, it’s witty at times, it’s the guy that gave us The West Wing.

Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan (Inception) Layers, and layers, and layers, and layers.

2011 Oscar Predictions – Vagabond Joe

It’s Oscar time.

Time for Hollywood to slap itself on the back and pretend that its self-importance isn’t laughable.  Time for the elite of the acting world to sit in black-tie judgment (and mock humility) of their peers.  It’s the most over-the-top night in entertainment.

And we couldn’t be more excited.

This year’s Oscars are relatively straight-forward.  The general absence of megalomaniacal directors and politically charged films leave room for an array of interesting subplots.

There are few certainties going into this year’s telecast.  (Christian Bale is as close to a lock as you can get in the Supporting Actor category and The King’s Speech will undoubtedly win a number of undeserving technical Oscars because of, well, the Academy just being too predictable sometimes.)  But, a couple of things are for certain.  Natalie Portman will cry.  And Helena Bonham Carter will look like hot death.

My only regret about this year’s Oscars is that we have to wait until next year to pick Big Mommas for anything.

But, I’ve rambled on enough.   To the picks:

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Movie Review: Black Swan

You may have heard or been a part of the Snowpocolypse a week and a half ago, I was. Luckily, movie theaters stayed open and thanks to that magical thing called “4-Wheel Drive” I was able to get out and be productive…depending on your definition of  “productive.”

I had the same make up for my senior prom.

Anyway, I went and saw Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Vincent Cassel. The basic premise it that Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis are in the ballet, Vincent Cassel is the director and is getting ready to put on his new version of Swan Lake. Portman gets the lead, Kunis is her understudy, and then all hell breaks loose. It was surprising how trailers and commercials for the film make it seem like a whole other movie. I’m not going to give anything away, because that’s not my thing, and I hate people who give away plot twists in movies, but let’s just say it’s what you think, but it’s not what you think. Cryptic, I know.

Black Swan was very well directed, and actually pretty beautiful to watch even with all the nail trimming going on. Seriously, who trims their nails with scissors?! The actors were spot on, I’m shocked Mila Kunis didn’t get a supporting actress nomination.

I actually liked Black Swan more than I liked Inception, which I’ll have a review of that up soon, although it’ll be a lot like this one where I can’t give anything away. Frustrating.

Final thought: Ballerinas are self-mutilating, Natalie Portman could have used a prescription of Xanax.

One Sentence Review: Oscars 2011

Once again, Joe attempts to (completely distract himself from thinking about the Kansas/Kansas St. game from last night and) capture the basic feel for television shows, movies or music in one, brief and often-grammatically-disastrous sentence.   Next up:  the 10 films up for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars.

Inception – I was dreaming when I wrote this so forgive me if it goes astray…..or was I?

The King’s Speech – How Judy Dench was not nominated for (or, on further reflection, wasn’t even in) this movie is just beyond me.

Winter’s Bone – Hey, that meth looks like a good time, am I right?

The Social Network – Witty, artful and occasionally morose…just like any, random day on my Facebook news feed.

Black Swan – Apart from Natalie Portman and the stunning use of mirrors, I was self-hatingly un-wowed.

The Fighter - An altogether average story bolstered by dynamite performances from all fronts.

The Kids Are All Right – Lesbians are just like us…who knew?

127 Hours - James Franco delivers a powerful performance as a trapped hiker who cut his….wait…wasn’t he on General Hospital for a good chunk of last year?

True Grit – The Dude dons an eye patch and hunts down Streisand’s kid with the help of a little girl through a seemingly booze-stanked but stunning wilderness.

Toy Story 3 – The kid in me would have loved this if he hadn’t grown up and abandoned me…when I…needed….forget it, this review is over.

Oscar Nominations Are Out!

The nominees for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards were announced early yesterday morning, and as usual there are some surprises and some snubs. Here’s a quick run through of the major categories.

Best Picture:

The Social Network, Black Swan, True Grit, The King’s Speech, Inception…. pretty much all you need to know. The rest were just filler because the academy decided last year to expand the category from 5 films to 10 films.

Best Actor:

Javier Bardem, Jeff Bridges, Colin Firth, Jesse Eisenberg, James Franco.

Where’s Leonardo DiCaprio? Why does the Academy hate him so much? And where’s Marky Mark?

Best Actress:

Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams

The Academy took out Halle Berry and placed in Golden Globe Best Actress in a Comedy/musical nominee Annette Bening. Other than that, it’s the nominees for Best Actress- Drama for the Golden Globes.

Best Director:

Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan, The Coen Brothers – True Grit, David Fincher – The Social Network, Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech, David O. Russell –  The Fighter

Are you kidding me? No Christopher Nolan? Seriously?!

There’s your quick and dirty rundown of the main 4 categories for the 2011 Oscars. Check back for movie reviews of some of the Best Picture nominees, and see who the Jerks’ pick for the awards. Don’t forget to mark your calendars: Sunday February  27, 8/7 central, the awards will be handed out.

Natalie Portman To Be Stripped Of Golden Globe?

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has found itself in a difficult position.

Natalie Portman enjoys the highest point of her career...a mere 6 days before the lowest kicked in.

Less than a week after Natalie Portman, 29, snagged the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama award, the non-profit organization’stop brass are now faced with a unprecedented decision to possibly take the award away from Portman.

“It was not something that we premeditated,” an unnamed spokesperson revealed yesterday. “We just want to make sure that the award went to an actress that was truly deserving of it.”

When asked what aspect of her critically lauded performance in Darren Aronofsky’s dark-thriller Black Swan caused the concern, the spokesperson balked.  “Oh, no.  No, it has nothing to do with Black Swan.  We loved her in that.  It’s just that we…we screened No Strings Attached last night and, well, it just made us rethink some things.”

The HFPA has said that they won’t make a decision until they’ve had a chance to look at all of the data.  But, that early signs were not good.

“It was awful.  Certainly not Golden Globe caliber. I’m not sure we’ll be able to forget this one for a while.” The spokesperson said.  “Not, at least, until Friends With Benefits comes out this summer.”

More as this story develops.