Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Oscar Morning First Thoughts

Okay okay, I knew Q'Orianka was not going to get a nomination, but I just couldn't go the safe route with my predictions - although doing that I still would have missed Keira Knightly's nomination. I suppose the only real surprises were Keira for Best Actress and Munich for BP - but considering almost everyone had those listed as strong possibilities anyway, the surprise is still lacking. How boring - just like last year - with no Keisha Castle Hughes-esque shocker.

First impressions?? Nice to see Terrence Howard get some love and nice to see William Hurt among the Oscar names once again - even if it was for a performance just five minutes long. And it was sad to see no Maria Bello up there (although I had predicted that), but nice to see Amy Adams get a nod. And what was with that annoying guy on E! this morning!?? He was talking about Terrence Howard's role being so small in Crash, but he still managed a Best Actor nomination??? It was for a different film you fucking moron!!! Anyway...

I was just checking the complete nominee list and for some strange reason there are only three nominees for Best Song. Neither The Producers nor Corpse Bride were nominated there ?? Anyway, I'll be back later with a Hell of a lot more comments on the whole shabang - as well as a complete run down on my site. But for now, here is a list of all nominees:

Philip Seymour Hoffman - CAPOTE
Terrence Howard - HUSTLE & FLOW
Joaquin Phoenix - WALK THE LINE
David Strathairn - GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.

George Clooney - SYRIANA
Matt Dillon - CRASH
Paul Giamatti - CINDERELLA MAN

Felicity Huffman - TRANSAMERICA
Keira Knightley - PRIDE & PREJUDICE
Charlize Theron - NORTH COUNTRY
Reese Witherspoon - WALK THE LINE

Amy Adams - JUNEBUG
Catherine Keener - CAPOTE
Frances McDormand - NORTH COUNTRY
Michelle Williams - BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN












"In the Deep" - CRASH
"It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" - HUSTLE & FLOW
"Travelin' Thru" - TRANSAMERICA









...and those are the nominees for the 78th Annual Academy Awards (although put together by AMPAS in a rather strange order, w/ BP two-thirds of the way down the list??).

Two more Hours...

It feels like Christmas morning here as I anxiously await the nomination announcements. I get this way each and every year, like a kid on Christmas morn, repleat with sugar plum fairies dancing in my head. Ya know, I could have gone for the easy Brokeback Mountain joke there, but decided to take the high road (okay, just the middle road since I actually mentioned its probability as a joke). Just two more hours and we will all find out. Be back then...

Monday, January 30, 2006

My Oscar Predictions are Final !!!

Finally, my Oscar Predictions are complete. The categories with the most trouble were Original Screenplay and Director. My though process, you ask?

Best Director:
Ang Lee and George Clooney are locks - no doubt, but who else? Common knowledge says that BP and BD rarely go 5/5, so who to drop out? I suppose James Mangold is the most likely non-nominee. That leaves Miller for Capote and Haggis for Crash. Both first time directors, but it is Haggis who has more "street cred" with his Oscar nominated screenplay last year for Million Dollar Baby, so it looks like he'll be in and Miller is out. Which means a 3/5 split. The last time that happened was 2001, so it's not out of the question, but we still have one nagging question. If Miller and Mangold are out, who the Hell is going to replace them? Spielberg is the most likely candidate, since he has gotten a lot of precurser buzz and his film, Munich, is the most probable sixth place spoiler candidate - plus Hollywood does love Spielberg. The other candidate would be David Cronenberg - another precursor buzzmeister and someone long overdue for recognition, although there is the distinct possibility that HoV will get completly snubbed tomorrow morning. But I'm going with Cronenberg as slot #5 anyway. Other possibles include Meirelles for Gardener (he did surprise in 2003 with City of God) or even Woody Allen for Match Point, but that is very doubtful.

Then we have Best Original Screenplay:

Squid, Crash and GN&GL are locked in position, leaving two empty spaces and four films to fill them. The safe bets would be Match Point (if it gets anything it will be here) and Cinderella Man (for some unknown reason people liked this script), while the dangerous bets would be Syriana (whose last minute move from Adapted to the big O could kill its chances) and The 40 Year Old Virgin (Ghost World, My Big Fat Greek Wedding & About A Boy all got nominated). What can I do? In the end I went both the safe route AND the dangerous one, picking Match Point and Syriana for the final two spots, but never count out those other two.

Anyway, that's it for tonight, for I must rest in anticipation of tomorrow morning. God, this is worst than Christmas Eve as a kid - I'm all giddy inside. I'll see you all in the morning.

Seven more Final Predix are Posted

I've posted a bunch of categories in my FINAL Oscar Predictions. Best Score, Best Song, Best Sound, Best Sound F/x, Best Viz F/x and Best Costumes and Make-up. Soon up will be the remainder categories, including the two I am most dreading - Original Screenplay & Director. But not to worry, they are all coming tonight - for obvious reasons.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Welcome to the Suck!!

As far as my predictive powers go, well, they seem to be waning as of late. Here is the lowdown:

First off, the Critics Awards.

NYFCC: 0/12 (went 7/12 last year)
LAFCA: 3/13 (went 7/14 last year)
NBR: 5/17 (went 3/15 last year)

Overall (even though I did better w/ the NBR) I went from a total of 17/41 to 8/42. That is a drop of 22% (from 41% to 19%). So far, so sucky.

We now move on to the BFCA's:

This year: 12/18 last year: 14/18

This is a drop of 11% (from 78% to 67%)

Then we have the Golden Globes:

Nomination Predix: 41/65 (last year 46/65)
Winner Predix: 6/13 (8/13 last year round)

This is a drop of 8% in the nomination pix (from 71% to 63%) and a drop of 16% on Globe Night (from 62% to 46%) or a total drop of 9% (from 69% to 60%).

And finally, we have the SAGS:

I went 4/5 both this year and last (going 7/25 in nomination predix this year - I din't predict the nominees last year).

So I suppose I kept at an even 80% on this one.

Even though my prediction rate overall last year (pre-Oscar that is) was less than steller, it is scarcely utterable this year. Once the Oscars came about, I went 68/97 (70%) in predicting the nominees and 18/24 (75%) in picking the winners (for which I took my title back as reigning Oscar Champ, after five years of losing at our annual Oscar Party). On the brighter side of things, I am steadily getting better. Down 22% with the Critics Awards in mid December. Down 11% at the BFCA's in early January. Down 9% at the Globes in mid January. And even at tonight's SAG Awards. Which means my Oscar nomination predictions should be a better average than last year (although I am predicting those unknown short subjects this time around, and I know nothing about them really). My predictions on my predictions (which I listed last night) stand at 75% victory on Tuesday Morning and 83% victory on Oscar Night (which means picking 20 out of 24 correctly - which I have never done before).

Overall prediction pecentages for last year compared to this year (excluding - obviously - the upcoming Oscar Predix) and factoring in that last year I predicted the NSOFC as well and this year I predicted the PGA, WGA & DGA and the SAG noms, without doing so last year:

Last year: 91/152 [or 60%] -- 177/273 [or 65%] if you include Oscar pix too. This year: 92/188 [or 48%]

Down 12% from last year. After the Oscars are over and done with, I'll update this OCD mess and come up with a total overall prediction rate. Calculations right now make it seem as though I would have to get at least an 86% success rate between the Oscar noms on Tuesday and the actual ceremony on March 5th - which means that if I go about my predicting rate of 75% Tuesday Morning, I will have to pull off a 23/24 Oscar Night (???) just to stay at the 65% success rate from last year. Of course the Independent Spirit Awards are coming up before the Oscars, so maybe those will push me over the edge (or just bring me crashing down).

Anyway, that's enough of that crazy shit. Remember, more Final Oscar Predix coming tonight and tomorrow. Then all the buzzy fun of Oscar Nomination Morning, repleat with an array of mind-numbing obsessive factoids and percentages. After that dies down, my own Cinematheque Award Nominations will be announced on Saturday the 4th and following that buzz I will finally get around to posting those long-awaited reviews I have been promising for so long (Match Point, Caché, L'Intrus, as well as some newer films that I'll be seeing at Walter Reade Thetre during the Film Comment Selects Festival). Until my next blog, check out things on my site, and good night, and good luck.

The SAGS are now History

Went 4 for 5 in my Filmic predictions - missing only Supporting Actress. If you toss in the TV categories, then I was only 5 for 13 - ugghhh!? But we're all about the cinema here at the appriopiately titled "Cinematheque", so my record stands at 4 for 5.

Most Interesting tidbit of the night???

Crash taking home Best Ensemble (and it is much more a real ensemble than BBM) is significant in the fact that it could very well be the one film that could theoretically take down BBM at the Oscars - a la Shakespeare in Love's "surprising" victory over the all-about-the-precursers Saving Pvt. Ryan back in '98 (something I predicted by the way). Will this happen? Who knows, we haven't even gotten the nominations yet - we'll have five weeks to obsess over who and/or what will win the little golden guy.

Other fun moments of the night:

S. Epatha Merkerson thanking her divorce lawyer (which garnered the biggest laugh of the night). Great moment indeed.

Heath Ledger's (coked up or drunk?) fidgety introduction to BBM clips.

And back to my 4 for 5 prediction rate. Amy (the lovely missus) went 3 for 5 (missing both supporting actors), but we ended up tying overall with our 5 for 13 rankings. More on my overall prediction rates so far this awards season a little later.

SAG Predictions

Here are my predictions for the Screen Actors Guild tonight:

Best Ensemble: Crash
Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon
Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Best Supp Actress: Amy Adams
Best Supporting Actor: Paul Giamatti

and TV too (why not):

Best Dramatic Ensemble: The West Wing
Best Comedic Ensemble: Arrested Development
Best Actress in a Drama: Patricia Arquette
Best Actor in a Drama: Alan Alda
Best Actress in a Comedy: Megan Mullally
Best Actor in a Comedy: Jason Lee
Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie: S. Epatha Merkerson
Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie: Ed Harris

I have noticed that I went without giving anything to the Oscar frontrunner, so they might end up winning Best Ensemble, although I would oh so love to see Heath take down PSH, but it's doubtful. Anyway, there you go. I'll be back later with post-show commentary.

Oscar Predix: Three more Categories...

Three more categories are up on my Oscar Prediction Pages. Best Cinematography, Art Direction & Editing have all been given the final touch. Later tonight I will post my final predix for the rest of the technical categories (Score, Sound, Sound f/x, Visual f/x, Song, Costumes, Make-up) as well as my final pix for Adapted Screenplay and Lead Actor. Hopefully I'll finish my Foreign Language page tonight as well (so many have been disqualified, and I have a lot of jumbling to do). As for the other categories not yet done - namely Best Director and Best Original Screenplay - I am going crazy coming up with my final pix on those. I'm saving them for last, so I can stress out about them some more. They will probably be posted tomorrow evening, along with Best Picture, which is an obvious five choices but dramatically it needs to come at the end. And then Tuesday Morning at 8:30am EST (5:30 PT) we will see how well we all did at our predictions. Last year I went 68 for 97 [or 70%] overall and 25 for 30 [or 83%] in the "Big Six". This year, since I have added all three short subjects to my predictions (making total nominees anywhere between 108 and 112 - depending on if the short subjects are awarded three or five nominees each), I may end up not doing quite as well overall (+ I made some rather dangerous choices in a few categories), but let me predict my predictions (God am I ever obsessed) by saying I will go 75% overall (living dangerously!!) and at least 80% in the "Big Six". Anyway, I'll be back in a few hours with my SAG predictions, and later with commentary on the show and more Oscar Predix.

Taking a Stab at some Categories I'v Never Tried Before...

Decided to go all out this year and predict EVERY category. This - of course - must include the three short subject categories (Animated, Live-Action & Documentary). I'm not really sure what I'm doing with these, although there are a few seeming sure things, such as the Pixar short "One Man Band" and the Tom & Jerry cartoon "Karate Guard" (actually directed by the 94 year old Joseph Barbera), both most likely candidates to fight it out for the eventual Animated Short Film Oscar. "A Message from Fallujah" is the strongest candidate for Best Live-Action Short and "God Sleeps in Rwanda" is the surest thing in the Best Documentary Short Subject category. Other than these - and a few others (like "9", a short animated film soon to become a feature length Hollywood project, complete with the same director at the helm) - I am pretty much lost here, so if I don't do well here, perhaps I won't count them toward my overall prediction percentage total. Okay, that's cheating, so I'll probably stick with it - we'll see how moral I'm feeling on Tuesday Morning.

Lee Wins DGA !!

Ang Lee takes yet another step toward Oscar Gold, with his victory at the Directors Guild tonight. The vast majority of DGA winners will eventually go on to win the Oscar as well. 21 out of the last 25 DGA winners have gone on to win the Oscar. The ones who did not? Steven Spielberg lost to Sydney Pollack in 1985. Ron Howard lost to Mel Gibson in 1995. Ang Lee lost to Steven Soderbergh in 2000. And Rob Marshall lost to Roman Polanski in 2002. I suppose this is Lee's chance to rectify his loss for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. A little sidenote on the four DGA-winners-turned-Oscar-losers. Two of them (Spielberg in '85 and Howard in '95) ended up not even getting nominated for an Oscar in those years - although both would go on to win Oscars later on (Spielberg twice now).

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Oscar Predictions are Rolling in...

Here we go...that annual countdown to Oscar Nomination Morning (another grand holiday in my household) - and with said countdown (just three more days ya know) also comes my annual Oscar Nomination Predictions, and that is what is going on over at The Cinematheque as we speak.

Ya know, I was expecting this to be a relatively easy time predicting things. I was going to go the safe route and pick all the "expected" choices, but then I was looking at the SAGS (which I will too have predix up for sometime to-morrow, before the show), and I suddenly realized that every single one of my acting predictions matched up with their nominees, yet NEVER have the two organisations been exactly the same - sometimes they're even way off. So, I went back and pulled some switcheroos - including a very surprising Best Actress pick - Q'Orianka Kilcher from The New World (in place of charlize Theron for Christ's sake). This would be the third year in a row that an under-eighteen non-white/non-black actress would be among the top 5 (Keisha Castle Hughes in 2003 and Catalina Sandino Moreno last year). This will also mark the first time an Asian Actress will be among the Best Actress noms (Ziyi Zhang, which is more likely than Kilcher). Anyway, this gut-feeling pick may just be wishful thinking (she is a strong candidate for my own awards - nominations announced next saturday), and it may cause me to go 4 for 5 - although I DID predict Catalina last year, when most did not. I suppose we will see come Tuesday Morn.

So far, I have listed final Predictions for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor. The rest will be completed later tonight and/or tomorrow. All predictions will definately be final no later than 5pm tomorrow afternoon - in order for me to concentrate on my SAG predix (which will be listed here tomorrow night before the show).

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Just TEN more Days until The 2005 Cinematheque award Nominations are Announced !!!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am working furiously away at this year's Cinematheque Awards and the second annual Cinematheque Award Nominations will be announced on Saturday February 4th, 2006 - with due fanfare of course. I'm sure I will be competing with those "other" awards coming on the 31st, but it shouldn't be a problem - all the hoopla of those awards should be over by then. Hahahaha, yeah right - everyone (including yrs truly here) will still be obsessing over those damned Oscars long after that. So remember to stay tuned to The Cinematheque for the upcoming Cinematheque award Nominations.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A question of Taglines (sort of)

I am currently working on my Cinematheque Awards - nominations shall be announced on January 27th and winners on March 1st - and am busily pouring away at tag lines from all the 2005 films, in order to hand out the six nominations for that particular category (yes, I hand out awards for Best Tagline, ya got a problem wit dat? - just see what other categories there are by checking out last year's inaugural awards) - anyway, I was looking at all the possibilities in order to narrow it down to just six, when I came across one of the better ones (and almost certainly one of the final six). It is the tagline for Jarhead - I already knew about it, but had forgotten. The tagline is "Welcome to the Suck". My only question is, was this the right Jake Gyllenhaal film for this to be the tagline for? Or should it have been that other Jake film? Hmmmmm???

Just thought I'd ask. Anyway, am about to go see Match Point - FINALLY - so, judging by my recent talent at getting reviews up and posted in a timely fashion, you should be able to read my review for Match Point sometime within April or May. Okay, okay, I know - I still haven't aired my Caché, L'Intrus or The New World reviews!! I'm getting to them - I promise (maybe). Seriously, they all should be up soon (I hope). Good Night, and welcome to the Suck Jake!!!

Is Brokeback getting Backlash ??

This is an interesting story (found at Nathaniel's site), and when you combine it with the studio's FYC ads (99% of which show only Heath and Jake with their respective wives - not each other) - is there a hidden (or not so hidden) agenda of covering up what Brokeback Mountain is all about? I am probably just being paranoid, but we all know how the powers-that-be work, don't we?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Golden Globe Highlights (and lowlights)

Awards for the awards Show:

Best Dressed: Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman & Keira Knightly
Best Dressed, but Most made Fun of: Reese Witherspoon
Best Dressed, but lay off the make-up (you're beautiful without it): Rachel Weisz
Best Dressed, but people scoffed some: Ziyi Zhang & Anne Hathaway

Worst Dressed: Drew Barrymore, c'mon now, even you should know better

Best Dressed Man: Terrence Howard & Heath Ledger

Best (aka Funniest) Speech: Sandra Oh, Geena Davis & Steve Carrell (co-written by wife and SNL alum Nancy Walls)

Most Sincere Speech: Felicity Huffman & Philip Seymour Hoffman

Best Speech that I forgot to mention above: Hugh Laurie (funny stuff)

Best at being Aloof Cool Guy: George Clooney

Hottest Couple: Reese & Ryan just beating out Michelle & Heath

Cute-as-button-est: Michelle Williams

Those who should stop trying to be funny: Chris Rock

Most Surprising Moment: Mary Louise Parker taking down ALL those Desperate Housewives nominees (loved it, although I did get that one wrong on my ballot)

Biggest Oscar Hopeful push toward the Gold: Philip Seymour Hoffman (seals Haeth's fate I believe) and John Williams (who has never lost an Oscar after winning a Globe first)

Worst Outlook for Gold in March: Heath Ledger and Paul Giamatti

That's about it for now, coming tomorrow - 2006 Movie Preview & the Most Anticipated Films of the Year.

Red Carpet Highlights !!

Who was the hottest on the red carpet?

Everyone is making fun of poor Reese Witherspoon's look, but I liked it. Somewhat silly, but still beautiful + her and Ryan are neck and neck for best looking couple of the night. Their closest rivals are - of course - Michelle & Heath. Although they went away empty handed, they looked just cute as anything together, but let's face it, Reese is the new Queen of Hollywood (and I've been saying that for weeks now) and the Queen looks damn good!!

Other than Queen Reese's great look (and I stand by that call), and that of Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams (who may be the cutest thing this side of anywhere), there was also the classic Hollywood look of Heath & Michelle's Brokeback costar, Anne Hathaway (the youngest of the cast btw) who, with bright-as-anything red lipstick and classic - almost playfully hedonistic - gown, looked as if it were 1947 and the Golden Age of Hollywood were still upon us.

Others that looked great last night were Natalie Portman and Keira Knightly, both in basic classy gowns and Ziyi Zhang, the ultra beautiful star of 2046 (I choose that film over the lesser US made Memoirs of A Geisha, which by the way stars two Chinese and one Malaysian born Actress as three Japanese Geishas - but that is another diatribe for another day, for I'm talking about how lovely Ziyi looked at the Globes).

Of course, we can't go anywhere - style wise - without mentioning ole Jack Sparrow himself. Johnny Depp looked like some sort of disheveled yet dapper demon last night, upon the arm of his stunning wife, French actress Vanessa Paradis. And, of course there is my current "girlfriend of the Cinema", Rachel Weisz, who was gorgeous in her golden gown - as she accepted her Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.

I am sure there are others that I am forgetting (I'll have to watch E! tonight - and yes, I do watch E! - shhh, don't tell anyone) but before I go, I just wanted to share the photograph below with you - for obvious reasons. Go HERE for more Globe photos.

Goodbye Doll Doll

As I prepare for bed, I say goodbye to my Grandmother now, who left this Earth earlier today for a far better place, where she can be with my Grandfather (after nearly a thirty year seperation). She was the one member of my family that loved me unconditionally. No matter how many times I screwed up - and it was a lot back in my younger days - she was there for me. I'll miss you Doll Doll, but I know you are in a much greater place than here. Goodbye Doll Doll. I'll love you forever. Rest in Peace. And say hello to Pa Pa for me.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Globes are History

What a night at The Golden Globes !! Although my predictive powers seemed to have waned since last year. I went just 6 for 13 (as opposed to 8 for 13 last year) while my wife (who beat me at Oscar pix in 1999, 2000, 2002 & 2003 - tying me in 2001 and losing to me in 1998 & 2004) went 8 for 13.

As a side note (although I never listed the TV side of things on my site or here) my prediction rate for the entire night was just 10 for 24 (while Amy's was 11 for 24). Aaarghhhh!!!!!

Of course I went out on a limb and picked Heath over Philip and Maria over Felicity, so I suppose I deserved to lose just for my faux chutzpah. Another one I got wrong was picking Clooney over Lee for Director, although BP and Director usually don't mesh at the Globes - they did this year though.

Winners are as follows:

Pic-drama: Brokeback Mountain
Pic-com/mus: Walk the Line
Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mt.
Actress-drama: Huffman, Transamerica
Actress-com/mus: Queen Reese of Hollywoodland
Actor-drama: Hoffman, Capote
Actor-com/mus: Phoenix, Walk the Line
Supp Actress: Rachel weisz, Constant Gardener
Supp Actor: Clooney, Syriana
Screenplay: McMurtrey & Ossana, Brokeback Mountain
Score: John Williams, Memoirs of a Geisha
Song: Emmy Lou/Taupin etc, Brokeback Mt.
Foreign: Paradise Now

Some notes on the show: I knew Clooney had to win something, so I guess Supporting Actor was his consolation prize. I was so hardpressed to pick between Michelle & Rachel for Supporting Actress, I would have been happy either way. Reese Witherspoon is indeed the new Queen of the Red Carpet (sorry Julia) - and she looked fantastical, didn't she!? There were some nice speeches on the TV side of things, with both Steve Carrell and Geena Davis being right on!! No real surprises though - except it was great to see Mary-Louise Parker win out over four Desperate Housewives. Good to see Munich fail to grab either of the awards it was up for, so maybe this seals Walk the Line's chances for that fifth Oscar spot - especially after winning the three top awards in its comedy/musical categories.

Overall, Brokeback won four, Walk the Line three and The Constant Gardener, Memoirs of A Geisha, Capote, Transamerica, Paradise Now & Syriana each won one. Nothing for A History of Violence, Match Point, Pride & Prejudice, Squid & the Whale, King Kong.

And in case you missed it at the beginning, here is a link to my Golden Globes page where you can read up on how poorly I did at predicting them this year. And since Amy did so well at her guesses (well, not that well, just less sucky than I did), when Oscar Night comes and we have our annual party, I'll list her predix on my site next to mine - as well as those of Cinematheque corrospondant (and nafarious Oscar grubber) Albert H. Muth (our record is 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 & 2003 for him and 1998 & 2004 for me) and possibly others such as Harrisburg Film Festival coordinator and Filmspeak.com founder, Todd Shill and Harrisburg Patriot-News Film Critic Li Wang (if they're go for it that is). We'll see who the real Oscar Champion is (hint hint, pick me, ooh ooh pick me!!).

The stars are on the red carpet

The stars are preening and looking great on the red carpet. I'll be back after the show with a round-up. Isn't this exciting ?!! The second best holiday of the year. And in case you missed them earlier, here are my Golden Globe Predictions once again.

Final Globe Predictions are up!!!

Tomorrow night are the Golden Globes, so in keeping with tradition, here are My Golden Globe Predictions - be they what thay may. I went out on a limb with some of my guesses (Heath Ledger over P.S. Hoffman / Maria Bello over Felicity Huffman and so on) so who knows what will happen.

Also, my Oscar Predictions have FINALLY been updated. This will probably be the final update before the real final update on January 30th. Most categories have at least three (sometimes four) sure things, it's just those pesky fifth spots that are the real doozies to predict.

I'll be back with my Golden Globe round-up and highlights show, after the awards tomorrow night.

Friday, January 13, 2006

ASC Nominations

The American Society of Cinematographers have announced their nominations for 2005. The five nominees are:

Batman Begins
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck.
King Kong
Memoirs of A Geisha

The big surprise here has to be Batman. This is one of the aspects that I think this highly overrated film succeeds at, but c'mon. No New World? No Constant Gardener? No Pride & Prejudice? I din't expect 2046, but to put Batman Begins in front of it (and the others??).

Not that it has that much of a bering on the Oscars - they usually only match up 3 out of 5 - so other films still have a shot...at best shot (God that was an awful pun, wasn't it?).

Rachel Weisz - and she can act too

I finally saw The Constant Gardener today (not sure how I missed it originally) and was swept away. Beautiful & gripping. Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz are spectacular in it. It is currently being added into various spots upon my soon to be announced Cinematheque Awards pages. Also, after watching this film, I think I may be in love with Rachel Weisz. Now, of course it's not that real kind of love that you would have for a girlfriend/boyfriend, husband, or - in my case - wife, but it is one of those unrequited things one feels for celebrities. Past loves have included (but are not restricted to) Jennifer Connelly, Isabelle Huppert, Zooey Deschanel, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Winona Ryder (pre-Dracula days - what the hell has happened to that girl!?), Ally Sheedy (brat pack days AND now), Princess Di (yes, you read that correctly - back in the early days of Princessdom) and my first crush, at the age of six, Laurie Partridge (aka Susan Dey, and now I am really telling my age). I am sure there are others, but enough of that, I only have eyes for Rachel now...but don't tell my wife (who is probably reading this right now, but with her Johnny Depp/Sean Penn/Michael Douglas thing going, I think it will be alright). PS: Jon, you were right, for once.

FYC: The 2nd Annual Cinematheque Awards are soon upon us all

I keep saying that I am going to post my updated Oscar Predix on my site, but I have yet to do it. Why? Because every time I sit down at my comuter, I become distracted by some shiny object not so far away. All today it has been my own awards - The Second Annual Cinematheque Awards (much more prestigous than those nasty ole Oscars). I'll be announcing the nominations (in a total 0f 59 categories) on January 23rd, but for some reason I am obsessing over them right now.

And speaking of The Second Annual Cinematheque Awards, how 'bout some help? The studios take out FYC ads this time of the year and ask for your consideration's for certain actors, actresses, cinematographers, composers, films et cetera. I am asking this of you - my faithful readers. Tell me who you think I should nominate in whichever categories. I can't say I'll listen, but you may pull up something I have comepletely forgotten about. Oh, and case you want to know what these categories are, simply check out last year's awards. Hope to here from you soon, and yes, I'll try to get those Oscar Predix up and running asap.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Where are all the Surprises ??

I'm currently updating my Oscar Predix pages when the preoccupying thought of how stale everything has become wafts over me with a its stinging breath (how dramatic was that?). For the past few years it seems as if the same people would take all the precurser awards and come Oscar Nom Morning there would be no surprises, and it looks like that again this year. Sure, as wrapped up in the whole Oscar thing as I get (and YES, it is an important national holiday in my wife and my's household!!), it would be hard to surprise me. Even longshots and/or darkhorses such as Joan Allen, Frank Langella, Gong Li or Jeff Daniels would still not surprise, since I do think they are capable of sneaking in if lucky. What we need is a bonafide suprise come January 31st. Something like Keisha Castle Hughes in 2003 or Ethan Hawke in 2001. We need something shocking, so to perpetuate that, here are a couple of "For Your Considerations" for the Academy:

FYC #1: Q'Orianka Kilcher in The New World
FYC #2: Steve Coogan in Happy Endings
FYC #3: Wong Kar-wai for 2046

Okay, none of these are ever going to happen, but I must say that in order for them to stay a surprise come that fateful Tuesday Morning.

Oh, and also, I would like to mention a milestone. You see, this is my fiftieth blog entry (yayyy me!!). Which brings me to another related topic (celebration is over btw).

When I first built my blog, my friend and Cinematheque Correspondant, Albert H. Muth and my wife, renowned multi-published poet Jeanette Trout, both called me a sellout for going to a form as commonplace and pedestrian as the blog. But now, fifty entries later, I still stand by my decision to start a blog. Over on my site (which you should have bookmarked and should read regularly), I concentrate on film critiques, my unhealthy obsession with lists lists lists and more lists and (of course) The Oscars, but I never find room for all those other thoughts rambling ramshod through my brain. Thoughts that would have no other home if not for this here blog. Hell, I even have one entry talking about the similarities in the Gyllenhaal's sex scenes this year (and yes, I am talking about getting it from behind). This is a forum for my over;load of thoughts and a forum for that it will stay.

I suppose I should get back to my Oscar Predix updates and stop all this blathering, but when I finish my updates I will announce it right here. It will probably be entry number 51, unless of course I come up with some other aside to traggle on and on about; in that case it will be #52 or 53 or 54 or...okay okay, I'll go already!!

Best of 2005 and a takedown of the BFCA

Finally: The Best of 2005 has been posted on my site.

Coming very very soon: Oscar updates in ALL categories (probably later tonight).
Coming very soon: The 25 Most Anticipated Films of 2006 (probably tomorrow or Thursday)
Coming soon: Reviews of Caché, L'Intrus, The New World (which I have been promising since before X-mas) and Memoirs of A Geisha (all by this coming week-end)

As for other news:

The BFCA's were on last night - which you should damn well know if you regularly read my blog - and here is a hilarious rundown on the show from Joe Reid. I couldn't have said it better.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Not a mainstream kinda guy

Nathaniel at The Film Experience had made mention of this in a recent blog entry. He talked of Engin's great filmsite (collecting all those critic's Top 10 Lists and compiling a master list - exhaustive and I am damn glad I don't have to do it, because if he hadn't, my OCD and list-making obsession would probably have forced me to attempt it, and in the meantime go comepletly insane). Nathaniel made mention of how often his own Top 10 has "matched up" with the overall Top 10. Engin has been doing the list since 2001 and here is my take on the whole thing (aka: how I matched up year for year):

2004: just 2 (Before Sunset & Kill Bill 2)
2003: 2 again (Lost in Translation & Kill Bill 1)
2002: 3 (Far From Heaven, Y Tu Mama & Spirited Away)
2001: 3 (Mulholland Dr., Memento & In the Mood for Love)

I suppose I'm not very "mainstream" eh?

Here are my match-ups on the annual Village Voice Poll (a much more selective group):

2005: five
2004: four
2003: three
2002: six
2001: five
2000: five
1999: five

Anyway, there you have it.

In other news, coming sometime tonight will be my Best of 2005 column on my site. Stay tuned.

BFCA Winners !!!

The BFCA Awards went off without many surprises (the biggest probably being Amy Adams co-winning Supporting Actress w/ Michelle Williams - which now puts the Oscar for Supporting Actress at a six way race - Scarlett is most likely out - but more on that later). Great to see Brokeback take BP and Ang Lee Director, and Clooney was also fun to watch accept his "Freedom" award (no matter how much we try, my wife and I cannot dislike Mr. Clooney). Following are the winners (astricks mean I predicted it right - and I did that 12 times btw).

Prediction rate: 12 for 18 [67%]

*Best Film - Brokeback Mountain
*Best Director - Ang Lee
*Best Actress - Reese Witherspoon
*Best Actor - Philip Seymour Hoffman
Best Writer - Crash
Supporting Actress - TIE - Michelle Williams and Amy Adams
*Best Supporting Actor - Paul Giamatti
*Best Ensemble - CRASH
*Best Family Film - The Chronicles Of Narnia
Best Documentary - March of the Penguins
Best Young Actor - Freddie Highmore
*Best Young Actress - Dakota Fanning
Best Foreign Film - Kung Fu Hustle
*Best Animated Feature - Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Best Movie for TV - Into the West
Best Score - John Williams, Memoirs of a Geisha
*Best Song - Hustle & Flow
*Best Comedy - the 40 Year-Old Virgin

Oscar predictions will be updated later tonight and/or tomorrow afternoon (probably a combination of both actually).

BFCA Predix

The Broadcast Film Critics Awards are on tonight, so I suppose I should do the obligatory prediction thing, right? I don't take the BFCA's all that seriously (they're not the Oscars after all), but I'll toss off a few guesses here on my blog (and leave the Oscar predicting to my actual site). So here goes...

Picture: Brokeback Mountain
Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
S. Actor: Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
S. Actress: Rachel Weisz, Constant Gardener
Ensemble: Crash
Screenplay: Squid & the Whale
Young Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, Squid & Whale
Young Actress: Dakota Fanning, War of the Worlds
Song: Hustle & Flow
Score/Composer: Brokeback Mountain
Soundtrack: Walk the Line
Animated: Wallace & Gromit
Family Film (live action): Chronicles of Narnia
Comedy Movie: 40 Year Old Virgin
Documentary: Grizzly Man
Foreign: 2046 (wishful thinking??)

Who the Hell knows - I would like to see Ledger beat out Hoffman, but I don't know. Anyway, there they are. Results (as well as how I did in predicting) will be posted both here and on my site, later tonight. Enjoy the show.

I thought I knew more about Woody

I got this link from Nathaniel R.'s Film Experience website.

Woody Allen Quiz

I got 8 out of 13 (Nathaniel scored 9). Here is what it said about me:

"You scored 8 out of a possible 13. Play it again, Sam. Room for improvement. To quote Mr Allen, "My brain is my second favourite organ" (Sleeper). Maybe you should concentrate a little more on number two."

Here (by the way) is what it says if you ace the quiz (which I did after finding out all the answers - just to see what would come up):

You scored 13 out of a possible 13. Stardust Memories. Well lah-di-dah. But does your intellect really bring you happiness? We think not. Alvy (to random couple): You look like a really happy couple? Are you? Woman: Yeah. Alvy: Yeah? So how do you account for it? Woman: I am very shallow and empty, and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say. Man: And I'm exactly the same way. Alvy: I see. That's very interesting. So you managed to work out something? Man: Right!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Brokeback Backlash ???

Sure, those of us in more enlightened circles may look at Brokeback Mountain as just another love story (and an incredibly emotional one at that), not as that "Gay cowboy thing" that most have been calling it. Larry David (creator of Seinfeld and the inspiration for George Castanza, as well as creator and star of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm) has boldly stated that he refuses to see Brokeback because he "doesn't want to become gay by osmosis". We all expected backlash from the right and I also expected a certain "ick" reaction from middle America, but now we are getting these reactions from a supposedly liberal voice like David's. Although it is the frontrunner in the Oscar Race (and don't forget that Sideways held the same position last year at this time and eventually lost all but a screenplay Oscar) and has been getting great reviews (it's ranked at 87 out of 100 on Metacritic right now), but all that was from the liberal sensibilities of critics and cinephiles from New York, LA and San Francisco - now the film goes wide and begins its run in places like Peoria, Topeka, Little Rock and Harrisburg Pa (my unfortunate hometown - although we do have a gay friendly art cinema at least). I don't mention Salt Lake City since - at the last moment - Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller pulled the film from his Megaplex at Jordan Commons in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City. No comment has been forthcoming (read the story here). Will middle America - a vast group capable of voting George W. Bush into office - twice (sort of) - welcome this film, or will they decry it as an abomination of nature, as they do with things such as Gay marriage and equal rights? I recently was listening to the radio (on a trip back from the center of the universe - aka New York City) and heard the deejay, while introducing Crocodile Rock, say how much he loved Elton John's music, but is sickened by the fact that he can now get married (as he did on December 23rd). You know, if this had been some remark against an African American celebrity - some derogatory comment against race - this deejay would have lost his job (and rightfully so I believe), but since it was "just" an anti-gay thing...well, that's okay - and this is the mentality of middle America. I just hope the film survives its wide release - it full well deserves to be seen.

The Gyllenhaals, shot from behind

Just saw Happy Endings on dvd. Not as funny as The Opposite of Sex, yet deeper in some of its aspects, but a critique of the films merits is for another day - and another page (more specifically, my 2005 reviews page) . I just wanted to note that, after seeing Maggie Gyllenhaal - who is fantastic as the misleading femme fatal-ish Jude in the film - take it from behind, from co-star Jason Ritter (yes, John's son), well...it must be a family thing, with brother Jake taking it all from Heath Ledger in that little pup tent on the mountain top earlier this year. There's probably no reason to mention this little '05 family trait, but I believe somebody had to mention it, so why not me.

As for The Best of 2005 - it's coming soon.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Worst of 2005

I've just posted my Worst of 2005 column on The Cinematheque. Actually more of a list with brief introduction, since I've decided not to dwell on the ugly this year, instead opting to take more time with my Best of 2005, which will be posted later tonight. As for right now, check out (but just briefly) the worst films of 2005 (at least the ones I didn't manage to avoid) - full of creepy children, wax-loving freaks, pretty TV witches, red-latexed super heroines, holy crusaders, a family of argumentative super heroes, static poltergeist-esque after-lifers, delusional teen prostitutes and a fast orange car with a big rebel flag on the top.

Best & Worst of 2005

Coming Saturday night: The Best & Worst of 2005.

Also coming soon: Reviews of The New World, Shopgirl, L'Intrus and Caché.

For now, I say a little prayer for my grandmother, Doll Doll, who lies in Holy Spirit Hospital tonight - where she has been since Christmas Eve. I love you Doll Doll.

Friday, January 06, 2006

I'm Mad As Hell and I'm Not Gonna Take it Anymore!!!

A short break from the rigors of Oscar clairvoyance, in order to gripe/bitch/kvetch about a recent "editing" job perpetrated by the editor/publisher of a local alt bi-monthly that I write for.

I wrote a review (as I am oft to do) for the film Brokeback Mountain. My intention was to have it published in a local alternative newspaper called Central Alternative (a publication that I regularly write dvd reviews for). So, as the story goes, I write the review, and it is one of the best reviews I have ever written; perhaps it is not great literature, but I liked it. I send the review to Mr. Frank Pizzoli, editor of the aforementioned Central Alternative and he publishes it in the January/february issue - just in time for its local premiere of January 6, 2006. And this is when the problem sets in. The man took a bloody hatchet to my review. Sure, that is what editors are supposed to do, "clean" things up for publication, but Mr. pizzoli took a rather lengthy piece, written in a somewhat Proustian style (although nowhere close to the elaborate poetics of M. Proust himself), with long languid sentances and page long comments, and turned it into a chop-sockey mess, that makes it appear as if I am a bad writer. Yes, he said I had spoilers in my review - and I suppose I did "allude" to the tragic thesis of Brokeback (as did Andrew Sarris and about every other critic who reviewed the film), and he wished to remove them, but in the process he chopped up sentances and "created" an ending that seems greatly truncated and far less powerful than my original final few words. I am so angered that I asked for the review to be taken off of the local Midtown Cinema website, where it had been co-published, and replaced with my original, intended piece.

If you think I am just belly-aching or that I just like the sound of my own voice (which may be true), see for yourself. I have created a Comparison Page on The Cinematheque, where you can see a side-by-side comparison of the two versions.

Anyway, more on this subject later (I fired off a rather bitter e-mail and am sure of a response soon), as well as more Oscar talk as well.

Capote joins the BP race

Just when you think Spielberg is dead...they pull him back in. The DGA nods are out and here they are:

George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck.)
Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain)
Paul Haggis (Crash)
Bennett Miller (Capote)
Steven Spielberg (Munich)

I only went 3 for 5 here, picking Woody and Cronenberg instead of Haggis and Miller. So now this - along with the SAG noms (which are listed at the end of this entry) - puts Munich right back in. The DGA is usually only 3 or 4 for 5 with Oscar Director nods, but they have been 5 for 5 with corresponding BP picks - for three straight years.

BP looks like (and I'll make this "official" on Sunday when I update my Oscar Page) Brokeback Mountain (duh), GN&GL (duh again), Crash (which I had predicted to make a year-end comeback), Capote (kind of a surprise, but it could be this year's Ray, instead of Walk the Line), and then that damned fifth spot, which looks as if it will be a fight between Munich and Walk the Line. Otherwise, all other films may be officially dead now, with the dark horse possibilty of The Constant Gardener.

As for Director - Clooney and Lee are the only two I am calling sure things, although Spielberg and Haggis probably should be too, but I am still thinking Cronenberg and Allen will sneak in (wishful thinking??), but I am hoping for Wong Kar-wai and Michael Haneke as well, but we know that ain't happening (except for my upcoming Cinematheque Awards).

I'll blather on about this tomorrow, but I am really tired right now (just got back from NY), so I'll put it to rest now. Oh yeah, the Sag noms !!?? Here they are:

Best Ensemble
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck
Hustle & Flow

Russell Crowe, Cinderella Man
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck

Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Charlize Theron, North Country
Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
Ziyi Zhang, Memoirs of a Geisha

Supporting Actor:
Don Cheadle, Crash
George Clooney, Syriana
Matt Dillon, Crash
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain

Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, Junebug
Catherine Keener, Capote
Frances McDromand, North Country
Rachel Weisz, Constant Gardener
Michelle Williams, Brokeback

I like surprises, and Cheadle and Hustle & Flow fulfilled that for me, but it is also a shock that Terrence Howard was snubbed from either actor category.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Cinematheque Oscar Poll !!!

If Oscar were watching the poll currently on The Cinematheque (that's my site you know - in case you only know my blog), then Brokeback Mountain would win by a veritable landslide. Current poll results have Brokeback at 42% (47 votes) followed (distantly) by Munich at 12% (13 votes). After that it is anyones game. The Constant Gardener at 6% and then Walk the Line, King Kong and GNaGL each at 5%. So, in case you haven't already voted, head on over there and vote dammit. The poll will be up until January 31st (the day the AMPAS announces there top five).

The Guilds weigh in...

And the guilds have spoken (at least two of them - the other two tomorrow) and what do we gleen from these nominations??? Capote and Crash get a late-in-the-game reprive and Munich's chances begin to slip. Here are the results (my predictions can be read in the blog entry just before this one):

Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck.
Walk the Line

I went 3 for 5 here (picking A History of Violence and Munich instead of Capote and Crash).


original screenplay
Cinderella Man
40 Year Old Virgin
Good Night, and Good Luck.
The Squid & the Whale

I went 4 for 5 (choosing Match Point over Cinderella Man)

adapted screenplay
Brokeback Mountain
A History of Violence
Constant Gardener

Here I went 4 for 5 also (missing Syriana for Munich)

Overall, I am very very glad that Munich did so poorly (just read my review), but I still think it is about to pull a Million Dollar Baby and drive right through to a fucking Oscar. This is about the time last year when the critical darling and 7 Golden Globe nommed Sideways started to fade and Million Dollar Baby came out of nowhere. Sure, Munich is not coming out of nowhere, but critical darling and 7 Golden Globe nommed Brokeback Mountain might be getting worried at this revelation - although Million Dollar Baby did get PGA and WGA nods, so perhaps Munich is out of it - I hope.

On the good side, both Capote and Crash got much needed pushes with their nominations today, which I suppose is a good thing - I liked both films but didn't love them the way I loved Brokeback Mountain, A History of Violence and The Squid & the Whale. Another film shot down ?? Match Point ?? But I'm pretty sure Woody will get his DGA nod tomorrow (and I'm hoping Cronenberg gets his too).

The PGA is far from a perfect forecaster for the Oscars - in fact they have never gone better than 4 for 5, and usually go 3 for 5. It is the Directors Guild (announcing tomorrow) that is the best predictor - going 5 for 5 when it comes to picking Best Picture, for three years running. I suppose we will see.

Also, once the dust settles, I will be updating my Oscar Predix on the ninth, for what will probably be the final time until the day before the nominations are announced. The Globes (airing on the sixteenth) should not be a factor in the Oscar noms, since most Oscar ballots - historically speaking - have already been filled out and sent back in.

Guild Predictions

Okay, I said I'd be gone til Friday Night, but here I am, and it's only early Wednesday Morn. My reason for coming back early is my incessent need to categorize, predict and list everything on Earth. This time it will be predictions. The major Guilds will be handing out their annual nominations either Jan 4 or 5. Here go my predictions:

Brokeback Mountain
A History of Violence
Good Night, and Good Luck.
Walk the Line

if there are six: Crash

Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Steven Spielberg, Munich
David Cronenberg, A History of Violence
George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck.
Woody Allen, Match Point

if there are six: Ron Howard, Cinderella Man

original screenplay
Match Point
Squid & the Whale
Good Night, and Good Luck.
40 Year Old Virgin

if there are six: Me and You and Everyone We Know

adapted screenplay
Brokeback Mountain
A History of Violence
Constant Gardener

if there are six: Pride & prejudice

Brokeback Mountain
Squid & the Whale
Good Night, and Good Luck.

if there are six: Pride & Prejudice

male actor lead
Philip S. Hoffman, Capote
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Jeff Daniels, Squid & Whale
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
David Strathairn, Good Night...

if there are six: Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow

female actor lead
Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice
Joan Allen, Upside of Anger

if there are six: Charlize Theron, North Country

male actor supporting
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
George Clooney, Syriana
Matt Dillon, Crash
Frank Langella, Good Night...
Terrence Howard, Crash

if there are six: William Hurt, A History of Violence

female actor supporting
Maria Bello, A History of Violence
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
Rachel Weisz, Constant Gardener
Amy Adams, Junebug
Catherine Keener, Capote

if there are six: Scarlett Johansson, Match Point

There you have it. Results (with how well/poorly I did) will be posted as soon as the results come in.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Short Break

Hello everyone,

In case anyone cares (and I know you secretly do) - I am going to be taking a few days off from my site (and in turn, this blog). The mini-sabaitical will only be a few days, and I will make my triumphant return on Friday Night, with The Best & Worst of 2005, and the start of the Countdown to the Cinematheque Awards. All that and more is coming in just five short days, but for now, I must take a few days off in oder to organize my Pez Collection - yes you heard me correctly - my Pez Collection. The missus and me just moved and I have yet to organize and put up our great collection of Pez Dispensers (and related items) - 986 dispensers strong and counting - so now I am going to finally do said task. This may seem like a rather strange thing to take off five days for, but it is what's happening, so deal with it. I'm still going to be watching movies - of course - Palindromes, Clean and The Wayward Cloud all sit next to my dvd player and I'll be going to Philadelphia on Tuesday evening to catch a press screening of Match Point. But I'll tell you all about it this coming week-end...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

2006 (+ 1 second)

HAPPY 2006 !!!!!!!

The new year is upon us and coming soon to The Cinematheque are new reviews of The New World and Shopgirl, as well as new reviews of "older" films (that I just saw on dvd for the first time), Mysterious Skin, Last Days and Kings & Queen. Also soon: Best and Worst of 2005, the countdown to The Second Annual Cinematheque Awards (with even more categories than last year -- 59 in total) and the Most Anticipated Films of 2006.