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The Righteous Prick 2012 Oscar Breakdown

The 2012 Oscar Nominations were announced for what I believe was the worst year in movies since 2005 (Crash beat Brokeback Mountain while Munich, my favorite movie of that year, never had a shot despite being nominated).  Well this year has been the movie of the overrated and the boring.  I have some positive things to say about some of this year’s nominees, but that wouldn’t be as much fun so I will try to keep the positivity to a minimum.  For reference here is my recap of 2011 films (before I saw the excellent We Need To Talk About Kevin):

https://jlcauvin.com/?p=3180

BEST PICTURE

In my movie wrap up of 2011 I rated Hugo as the most overrated film of the year and The Tree of Life in the top 5 most overrated films of the year, as well as the most pretentious film of all time.  Both nominated for best picture.  Awful.  And Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is nominated.  It is the only film of the ten nominated that I have not seen.  And I have no intention of seeing it.  Not because of any 9/11 movie fear or discomfort (United 93 is one of the greatest movies I have ever seen, but the academy only had the courage to nominate it for Best Director back in 2006, not best picture), but because I find the child actor so irritating in the commercials and previews that I am glad he lost his fictional father.  That is how annoying I find him.

Wake me up when this horsesh*t is over.

I have no problem with the other nominees and generally found the films to range from adequate to enjoyable.  However here are the movies I think are clear snubs: The Ides of March, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, 50/50, We Need To Talk About Kevin and my long shot, but personal favorite Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  The fact that WNTTAK and 50/50 were completely shut out is a travesty.

We Need To Talk About Kevin was original, thought provoking and incredibly creepy. And snubbed.

But thank goodness Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Drive were not nominated for Best Picture.

BEST ACTOR

When is Joseph Gordon-Levitt going to get some goddamn respect?!  500 Days of Summer shut out in 2009 and then 50/50 shut out this year.  It makes me like JGL more to think that he is being stiffed by the industry because he does not play politics.

The nominees are fine I guess with that one omission.  And I am surprised Michael Fassbender did not get nominated for Shame. Or that his penis was not nominated for best supporting actor.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Jonah Hill gets nominated for playing a fat quiet guy.  The fu*k out of here!

Kenneth Branagh should win this, but Christopher Plummer has earned it (and his performance as Mike Wallace in The Insider was not nominated at all in 1999 – my top snub I can remember)

BEST ACTRESS

To quote Bill Burr, “Rooney Mara had to be fu*king Daniel Craig and if she wasn’t she deserves an award for best pantomiming of fu*king a guy.”  Agreed.  She looked great, she was great. I think she should win.  Normally I bet Meryl Streep against the field because she is better than everyone, but The Iron Lady was not good.  Like not good enough to tear her chances down.

She should win. Sorry Meryl, I have rooted for you in every other race.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Jessica Chastain was in 147 movies this year so she deserves this. And she was great in The Help. And I think it would be funny if the only award for the The Help went to a white woman.

BEST ANIMATED FILM

They all sucked this year.  Seriously, every animated movie I saw this year sucked. What a disappointment. Shame on you Pixar and shame on you Kung Fu Panda 2. I expect better from you guys.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Rise of the Planet of The Apes – it needs to win something dammit!

Caesar is home and his ass should get an effects Oscar.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Really good category except Tinker Tailor is nominated.  Really – a good adaptation? Was the book long, boring and dreary also or was that the gift of the screenwriter?  Hugo can go fu*k itself.  I think Moneyball wins simply because it was a great book about statistics that was made into a solid (but not great in my opinion) film.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Bridesmaids got nominated for best original screenplay?  So I guess making a slightly less funny Old School/Hangover (I, not the lazy II) is now original!  I’d like to see The Artist win because it would be weird to have a film with 10 words of dialogue win a screenwriting award.

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Oscar Breakdown & Predictions

If you read this blog regularly you should know that the first thing I hope (and certainly expect) from the 2010 Oscars is a prominent role for the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling ” in the pre-show hype fueled montage. 

When can we stop having a feeling? Sometime after the Oscars is my guess.

My biggest hope is that during the Oscars someone comes out and says, “By the way, The Blind Side is actually not nominated for Best Picture.  That was a big joke.  And also, An Education was extremely boring and we apologize for nominating that so congratulations 500 Days of Summer and The Messenger – you are actually nominated for Best Picture.”  Not going to happen, but here are my predictions for the major awards and what should occur (within the realm of possibility):

BEST PICTURE

I would be OK withany of the following winning in descending order of preference: District 9, Up In The Air, Inglourious Basterds, Up, Precious, Avatar, The Hurt Locker. 

I think Inglorious Basterds is going to win in what I will call the “Norah Jones Strategy.”  In 2002, the Best Album Grammy went to Norah Jones despite The Rising by Bruce Springsteen and The Eminem Show being nominated.  I think voters split on Eminem and Sprinsgteen leaving a plurality to Norah Jones.

I like Basterds' chances.

The Hurt Locker has a lot of momentum and Avatar is the most financially successful film of all time.  But I think people who put The Hurt locker first would not have Avatar second and I do not think people that vote Avatar first would have The Hurt Locker second.  But those voters who put either of those first could very well put Basterds as their second choice.  And since Quentin Tarantino is a Hollywood favorite and an original I think he could pick up some small percentage that think it is time he won a big prize so I am putting my money on Inglorious Basterds to edge out Avatar and The Hurt Locker.

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges is going to win the Oscar that Mickey Rourke should have won last year.  Jeff Bridges is a really good actor and it will be nice for him to win. 

 I would vote for Clooney for Up In The Air.  It was his best acting job yet and finally fulfilled all the love that Hollywood had bestowed prematurely on his high brow films (which were generally sort of boring  -Michael Clayton, Good Night and Good Luck and Syriana were all overrated, relatively boring movies, but Hollywood loves the high school quarterback who also hangs out with the geeks and that has been Clooney for the past decade).  And the look that Clooney gives his lady friend when he meets her at her house was one of my favorite acting moments of the year.

Best Actress

This is a two horse race.  Meryl Streep was great in Julie and Julia and this is her 134th nomination. She has won twice, but I think it is time she get another win.  She is like the Michael Jordan of actresses – she should win the MVP every year, but doesn’t because some obscure actress did something obscure and artsy or some pretty actress got fat, or naked, or sassy. And with that let’s discuss the other best actress front runner – Sandra Bullock.

The Meryl Streep of basketball.

Sandra Bullock was a B+ in The Blind Side, which was good because the movie was a C/C-.  But other than a benign racism that is sweeping the country (“Hey, we voted for a black guy, we like movies where white people save black people – damn we are awesome white folk!”) I do not understand why Meryl Streep is not guaranteed a third Oscar.  If you need ant other reasons not to root for Sandra Bullock and/or The Blind Side please watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_oK6EPc6QA

So I am going to go with what is right and say Meryl Streep over Bullock.

Best Supporting Actor

Christopher Waltz from Inglourious Basterds might be an even bigger favorite than Heath Ledger last year.  What a great performance – he is the front runner and deserves to be.  He was so good that the Academy is considering granting him a Polanski (“a pass for a rape of a minor based on high quality work”).  I enjoyed Woody Harrelson in The Messenger and must admit I did not see The Last Station yet, but am glad to see Christopher Plummer nominated (in my mind his lack of a nomination for The Insider is still the biggest snub I can remember).

Best Supporting Actress

Mo’Nique in Precious. Also a no-brainer.  The most raw performance I think I have ever seen.  Her motivation may have come from the fact that Mo’Nique’s husband has a hairy leg fetish, which probably means he is on the down low.  That would make most women pretty angry, but Mo’Nique took it to another level. The only thing that may detract from this for Academy voters is that the film is very black in both mood and casting.  It is sort of the Anti-Blind Side.

She has an "open relationship" with her hairy leg-loving husband. Keep it on the down low and go win your Oscar Mo'Nique!

Best Director

Without ten nominees to thin the voting, this will be between James Cameron (Avatar) and Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker).  I enjoy the fact that they were married and that I think James Cameron bounced.  That will make it even more painful if she has to lose to him, which I think she will.  The breadth and technological advancements and sheer volume of time spent on Avatar should give it to Cameron.

I might go for Tarantino or Reitman (Up In The Air) with my vote. Which I don’t have.  But Avatar is pretty hard to deny.

Best Animated Feature

Up. 

The only thing that would make me madder than a Blind Side victory in any category would be Fantastic Mr. Fox winning here.  I think Wes Anderson films are incredibly irritating, though Mr. Fox was relatively enjoyable.  But Up’s first 15 minutes alone crush the competition.

A moment of silence for Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, which was ignored and not even nominated.

Best Adapted Screenplay

I think Precious should and will win here because form what I have heard the original text is written in the first person and might pose a challenge to make into a quality film, which they did.  However, the hilarious and extremely clever In The Loop, as well as the most original film of the year, District 9 would make me happy as well.  Fu-k An Education.

Best Original Screenplay

Inglourious Basters should win and almost definitely will win.  Part of me is rooting for Up though. It is about time Pixar got recognized for being the most consistently original and great film studio.

Best Score

I genuinely can’t remember any of the scores, so here is my list of my favorite scores of all time (shut up Star Wars fans):

1) The Last of The Mohicans

2) Brokeback Mountain (the score literally could have been called “sad and lonely cowboy”)

3) Chariots of Fire

4) Hoosiers

5) Rudy

Alright – there it is a comprehensive list of the categories you care about.  If you want incessant humorous commentary by me during the Oscars – check out www.twitter.com/JLCauvin

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Blind Sided By The Oscars & Some Early Predictions

When I looked at the Oscar nominations only a couple of things startled me. One was Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs not being nominated for Best Animated Feature.  Another was seeing Christopher Plummer getting nominated for Best Supporting Actor for The Last Station.  I have not seen the movie (one of the very few among nominees that I can say that about), but it just brings up angry thoughts of 10 years ago when he was snubbed for a nomination for his portrayal of Mike Wallace in The Insider.  And there was good news – District 9 was nominated for Best Picture.  However, besides the excruciatingly mundane An Education getting nominated, there is an egregious error among the best picture nominees.  The Blind Side.

There can be many debates about who should win what, but one thing is for sure: The Blind Side is the worst movie nominated for Best Picture in my lifetime. (But An Education was pretty lame as well.)

The Blind Side is an average movie. It has some good moments for sure, but it abounds in awful old and new Hollywood cliches.  It has the sassy southern white woman, which is now the female Oscar equivalent of a man playing a mentally handicapped person – automatic Oscar nomination.  She has a reticent daughter, but a spunky and fun son who says such cute and witty things for a little kid!  And most importantly it has a poor black person in dire need of white people’s help.  Now I know this is based on a true story, but even the subject of the film, Baltimore Ravens lineman Michael Oher said in a NYT article, “I wish they hadn’t made me look so dumb.”  His coaches also remarked on how bright he is and h did make the Dean’s List at Ole Miss.  But perhaps if Michael had been portrayed smarter at first it might have looked more like… gulp.. affirmative action – and that is not as feel good for America.

I have seen almost every best picture nominee in the last 30 years and unequivocally The Blind Side is the worst by a lot.  I am not saying it’s terrible.  Most movie critics already did that.  I am saying it is like seeing a C+ student make the Honor Roll.  I have received some comments about how opening up the Best Picture category to 10 nominees led to this.  I disagree.  Although I think they should have stayed at 5, there were better movies than The Blind Side.  That is like saying if there had been ten nominations a few years ago then Coach Carter would have been nominated (that was a trick- of course it would not have been.  not only was it a mediocre film, but that was a black man – Samuel L Jackson helping minority kids – not a white woman!). 

Perhaps this was the Academy’s concession for nominating Precious, a gritty, depressing book at the plight of inner city African Americans.  They watched Precious and were like, “Wow that was good, but sort of sad – quick nominate a feel-good, whites-helping-Negros-movie before we feel compelled to actually do something constructive.  Quick do we have anything?  The Blind Side? FINE!”

Predictions:

Mo’Nique and Christopher Waltz in the supporting actor categories.  No one else should even show up.

Best Actor – Jeff Bridges.   I would vote for Clooney if I had a vote (I thought his performance was finally the one that Hollywood has pretended for the last ten years that he has delivered.  In Up In The Air he actually delivered it – funny, subtle and awesome).  But Jeff Bridges has all the momentum and has had a quality and varied career.

Best Actress – I’d take Meryl Streep, Precious (she was really good) or even Helen Mirren because she’s very good looking for an old lady, but Sandra Bullock seems to be a lock. Yikes.  I think I’d pick Precious.

Adapted Screenplay – District 9 was the most original film of the year (barring technical originality of Avatar), but I will accept all (included In The Loop which is hysterical) except for An Education – what a fu-king bore, except when it seemed to inject bizarre out of place humor.

Original Screenplay – I think I’d go with The Hurt Locker or Inglorious Basterds, but I will guess that Basterds takes it.

Best Director – James Cameron or Quentin Tarantino – I think Cameron just for the scope and technical achievement of Avatar.

Best Picture – I’d pick District 9, but would be ok with Inglorious Basterds or Up In The Air.  However I feel that it will be between The Hurt Locker or Avatar.  Avatar in a close one.