Monday, February 25, 2008


Tilda Swinton - great performance, did not see the win coming
Marion Coltilard - the least deserving of the nominees
The Golden Compass (f/x) - where did this come from?
The Bourne Ultimatum gave me three misses
The Counterfeiters took the foreign award which I had no idea about
There Will be Blood - Roger Deakins split his vote and didn't win for his two suppieror films
Taxi to the Dark Side beat out Sicko in an excellent year for documentaries

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Top 10 Oscar Winners/Losers

Winners - Considered: How much I liked film, sentimentality

1. The Godfather
2. Casablanca
3. The Godfather pt. II
4. The Departed
5. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
6. Unforgiven
7. American Beauty
8. Schindler's List
9. Terms of Endearment
10. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Losers - Considered: How much I like film and rip off factor

1. Saving Private Ryan
2. Fargo
3. The Shawshank Redemption
4. Munich
5. Goodfellas
6. Raging Bull
7. Network
8. Dr. Strangelove
9. Nashville
10. Bonnie and Clyde/The Color Purple

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oscar Forecast - Who Will/Who Should Win

I figured that since every Oscar site got their say that I would take my turn...

Best Picture:

Who Will Win/Should Win - No Country for Old Men
The film has been the beast of the season, and not since Lord of the Rings: Return of the King has a film one the DGA, WGA, PGA and SAG in the same year...let's remember what Return of the King did on Oscar night.

Who Should of Been Nominated:
I am extremely happy with this category this year, the strongest its been in my time of paying attention. There are some films that I would like to see up there, but they generally are not the kind of films Oscar goes for anyway.

Best Actor:

Who Will Win - Daniel Day-Lewis
Day-Lewis gives one of the all time over-the-top performances as Daniel Plainview in Paul Thomas Anderson's epic There will be Blood. It is as close to hystarical as a serious role can get without crossing into parody.

Who Should Win - Daniel Day-Lewis/George Clooney tie
I am perfectly happy with the fact that DDL will win this award, but I felt that George Clooney gave the best performance of his carrer in Michael Clayton. It was strong and subtle and he made Clayton everything Plainview wasn't: human

Who Should have been Nominated - Philip Seymor Hoffman
In a year with three great performances they give him the supporting actor nod for the weakest of the three, instead of his turn in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead or The Savages.

Best Actress:

Who Will Win - Julie Christie
Playing a woman suffering from alzheimers Julie Christie is stunning: in a supporting role. People seem to forget that the film was about her husband and not her. Beautiful none the less.

Who Should Win - Ellen Page
Well, the Best Actress in a Leading Role this year was Ms. Ellen Page for her turn as the title character in Juno. She carried this heartwarming film on her back and that is not easy to do playing a pregnent 16 year old in a comedy.

Who Should have been Nominated - N/A

Best Supporting Actor:

Who Will/Should Win - Javier Bardem
This character will go down in the history books. He was and is and will always be evil incarnate, and his name is Anton Chigurh.

Who Should have been Nominated - Tommy Lee Jones
Yes, just like Philip Seymor Hoffman, they placed him in the wrong category.

Best Supporting Actress:

Who Will/Should Win - Cate Blanchett
There has not been a more...interesting performance in my time seriously watching film. She found every nook and cranny of Bob Dylan and exploited it. And, as Peter Travers said: She would be the only person to win Oscars for playing Katherine Hepburn AND Bob Dylan.

Who Should have been Nominated -This category I am perfectly all right with

Best Original Screenplay:

Who Will/Should Win - Juno by Diablo Cody
This is the most bitingly original work of the year and it is just waiting for its name to be called on Sunday. This has been the only sureshot through the entire season and its time has almost come

Who Should have been Nominated - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
From the moment the opening quote comes up on the screen "May you be in Heaven half an hour: Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" this crime malodrama is one of the most strikingly wonderful crime films by a true master of cinema. The overlook on the Academy's part to not only skip the screenplay but the entire film in every category is criminal

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Who Will/Should Win - No Country for Old Men by Joel and Ethan Coen
This is the cleanest adaptation I've ever had the pleasure to see and read. It is the most literary of almost all films and the Coen's masterpiece: which is a mouthful

Who Should have been Nominated - Gone Baby Gone by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard
In a category he has already won in, Affleck gets snubbed for writing is directorial debut, a stunning adaptation of Denis Lehane's remember him, the guy that wrote Mystic River

Best Director:

Who Will/Should Win - Joel and Ethan Coen
There has never been a work by them so clean, so moving and so stark. Their masterpiece has come and the Academy owes them one. With the DGA on their side it is the safest statistical bet as well

Who Should have been Nominated - Sidney Lumet
The man is 83 years old and still at the top of his game. He should have won in 1976, but was snubbed and he was snubbed for a nomination here

Suggested Watching List Part I

Lost in Translation by Sofia Coppola
12 Angry Men by Sidney Lumet
Network by Sidney Lumet
Stroszek by Werner Herzog
Strangers on a Train by Alfred Hitchcock
2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick
The Shining by Stanley Kubrick
3 Women by Robert Altman
McCabe & Mrs. Miller by Robert Altman
Letters from Iwo Jima by Clint Eastwood
Million Dollar Baby by Clint Eastwood
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by Michael Gondry
The Science of Sleep by Michael Gondry
Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock
Secret Honor by Robert Altman
The Thin Red Line by Terrence Mallick
Days of Heaven by Terrence Mallick
Alien by Ridley Scott
Bonnie and Clyde by Arthur Penn
Bringing Out the Dead by Martin Scorsese

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Post Guild Predictions - Big Dance with Fate coming for Coens?

These are my final predictions, with commentary on a few of them. I have left off the short film categories because I have not seen any of them and they are impossible to predict

Best Actor
George Clooney - Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will be Blood*
Johnny Depp - Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tommy Lee Jones - In the Valley of Ellah
Viggo Mottenson - Eastern Promises
*There Will be Blood*

Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men*
Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Charlie Wilson's War
Hal Holbrook - Into the Wild
Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton
*There is all but no chance for anyone but Bardem*

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie - Away from Her*
Marion Cotillard - La Vie en Rose
Laura Linney - The Savages
Ellen Page - Juno
*If Juno is more loved or viewed that Julie Christie has already won, Ellen Page could take this, but it is unlikely: she is my beat actress though*

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There*
Ruby Dee - American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan - Atonement
Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton
*Ruby Dee won the SAG, but there's usually a descreption between the SAG and the Oscar and this is the one I pick this year*

Best Animated Feature
Surf's Up

Art Direction
American Gangster
The Golden Compass
Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street*
There Will be Blood

Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford*
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
No Country for Old Men
There Will be Blood
*If Roger Deakons splits his vote watch There Will be Blood win this, but it is also possible No Country for Old Men just rolls through the awards this year, so Deakons could beat himself here too*

Costume Design
Across the Universe
Elizabeth: The Golden Age*
La Vie en Rose
Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men*
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
Jason Reitman - Juno
Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Documentary
No End in Sight
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Expirience
Taxi to the Darkside
*Everyone is very in this race, Sicko just happened to win the PGA*

Best Editing
Bourne Ultimatum
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Into the Wild
No Country for Old Men*
There Will be Blood

Foregin Language Picture
Beaufort - Israel
The Counterfeiters - Austria
Katyn - Poland
Mongol - Kazakhstan*
12 - Russia
*I admitedly know nothing about this category this year*

Best Makeup
La Vie en Rose*
Pirates of the Carribean: At the World's End
*La Vie en Rose is the only film with good reception this year*

Original Score
The Kite Runner
Michael Clayton
3:10 to Yuma

Original Song
Falling Slowly - Once*
Happy Working Song - Enchanted
Raise it Up - August Rush
So Close - Enchanted
That's How you Know - Enchanted

Best Picture
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men*
There Will be Blood
*It won all four major guilds, something else has a shot until it is announced, but don't hold your breath*

Sound Editing
Bourne Ultimatum
No Country for Old Men
There Will be Blood
*If the Academy really loves No Country for Old Men it could take this award, and the mixing award as well*

Sound Mixing
Bourne Ultimatum
No Country for Old Men
3:10 to Yuma

Best Visual Effects
The Golden Compass
Pirates of the Carribean: At the World's End

Best Adapted Screenplay
Away from Her
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
No Country for Old Men*
There Will be Blood
*There Will be Blood could win this if the Coen's sweep other categories, but don't count on it*

Best Original Screenplay
Lars and the Real Girl
Michael Clayton
The Savages

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Top 10, Final Talley

1. No Country for Old Men
2. Juno
3. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
4. Gone Baby Gone
5. There Will be Blood
6. Lars and the Real Girl
7. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
8. Zodiac
9. I'm Not There
10. The Darjeeling Limited

Monday, February 4, 2008

Top 10 Favorite Directors (no order)

Director Best Film

Martin Scorsese Raging Bull (1980)
Ingmar Bergman Cries and Whispers (1973)
Robert Altman McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Alfred Hitchcock Rear Window (1954)
Stanley Kubrick 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Jean-Luc Godard Breathless (1960)
Akira Kurosawa Rashomon (1950)
Terrence Mallick Days of Heaven (1978)
Francis Ford Coppla The Godfather (1972)
Krzystof Kieslowski Three Colors: Red (1994)

More on the directors coming soon

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola

There are two things that people may try to tell you about film, neither of which you are to ever believe. The first: that they know exactly what makes a movie great, this is something that just happens there is no single element that can be pointed to that makes a great film. The second is even more simple. If someone tells you that The Godfather isn't a great film you can walk away on the spot because they are an idiot. Yes, I realize art is subjective but somethings transcend likes and dislikes into the realm of greatness whether or not you like them and along with Orson Welle's Citizen Kane this is one of those undeniably great films.

The Shawshank Redemption by Frank Darabont

I feel that I am excited, I am so excited I can hardly sit still or keep a thought in my head. I think its the kind of excitment only a free man can feel; a free man at the beginning of a long journey. I hope I can make it to the boarder...I hope I can find my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it is in my dreams: I hope.

Morgan Freeman's final monolouge sparks every feeling I have everytime I watch this film. I am going to keep this short because if I don't I wouldn't keep it even close. So, plain and simple: most beautiful film ever made. If we can find hope in the grey, bleak world of prison we can find it anywhere, and I pray that we do!

Saving Private Ryan by Steven Speilberg

In 1998 my father and I went to the cinema where I recieved a violent dose of Historical reality and the single most powerful expirience I've ever had in a theatre. The film was Steven Speilberg's Saving Private Ryan and at 11 years old the film granted me three gifts that I will never be able to show my full appriciation for: A love for film. A love and respect for history. And, the greatness of Tom Hanks. For these reasons and sheer beauty, brutality, poignency, overt messages and subtle ways of telling them I will never forget walking out of theatre 1 at the Jack Loakes theatre at Alpine, North Grand Rapids. If it were not for these powerful memories connected to the film (aforementioned things and other memories I need not mention) the sheer brilliance of Speilberg's film and the looks on the veteran's in the cinema with me would place it near the top of any Great Film list I would ever make...and here it is.

Pan's Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro

The newest film on this list comes to us from Spain by way of one of the new Three Amigos of Mexico (Guillermo del Toro, Alfoso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu). Pan's Labyrinth transcends films and hits us at the level of a dream, or nightmare thick with imagery from our favorite and most feared fairytales. del Toro writes and directs this film with the ease and skill of a legend though only 43 years old. The film is the undeniable masterpiece of the new century cinema and I am looking forward from hearing more from Guillermo del Toro.

No Country for Any One Else?

Last night The Coen Brothers' masterpiece won the Producers Guild for Best Feature film. After winning the Directors Guild and the Screen Actor's Guild for Best Ensemble one must beg the question: Will there be room for anyone not named Coen on Oscar night?