Do’s and Don’t of the Oscars: 2012 Edition


You won’t find a list of winners here. Just check ever other entertainment blog on the face of the earth. Here we just have the Do’s and Don’ts of the Oscars: 2012 Edition.

Do’s and Don’ts: 2012

  1. Do check your sound. My television couldn’t been the only one with weird audio feedback and sound.
  2. Do let Billy Crystal host every year. Maybe he can switch it on and off with Hugh. Billy does it simple, classic. It might seem boring or safe, but overall he carried the show well. The audience seemed to agree.
  3. Don’t do fun facts before commercial breaks. I don’t care. I don’t like it when you do it during the Emmys so I’m definitely not going to like it during the Oscars.
  4. Do let Emma Stone come on stage more often. She will be my best friend. She was so funny and charming. Not in an obnoxious way either. I thought she and Ben Stiller played very nicely.
  5. Don’t let RDJ do that documentary thing again. I love him, but it was very awkward. Let me say it again, I love him, but don’t let him do that again.
  6. Do switch up your presentation such as Cameron Diaz. She does present like every year. Let her have a little fun. Same for Sandra Bullock. She was Ms. Congeniality, let her speak that German Chinese! Find the right balance. Yes to the ladies. Just let RDJ stand there and be handsome.
  7. Don’t do little jokes that aren’t that funny. Do a test audience on the test audience skit. You can save time. Speaking about time… look to the next one.
  8. Don’t say you’ll end at 11:30. Be honest with yourselves… you always end at 11:40.
  9. Do allow Colin Firth to present all awards. You can’t say no to that face or that voice.
  10. Don’t let there only be two Best Song nominees. Also Do let them perform. It’s more entertaining.
Bonus:
  1. Do play a side game on tumblr or twitter with other fans of an actor.  Benedict Cumberwatch ’12 on tumblr. It was highly entertaining for myself since I’ve just become a fan.
  2. Do make a twitter for Angelina Jolie’s leg. Pretty funny when going through your feed and you see that.

 

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“Drive”: A very 1980’s feel


Everyone told me I had to watch this movie. That might have had to do with “everyone” being women who were in love with Ryan Gosling. However, I’m sure car fanatics would say the same thing.

Gosling played the main lead in “Drive”. The character has no name, he’s just the “The Driver” and that’s pretty much all he does, he drives.  He’s a stunt driver part time, works as a mechanic with Shannon played by the very talented Bryan Cranston. He is also a getaway driver for thieves. It’s a good thing that “the Driver” works on or drives beautiful classic cars and the chases scenes are crafted old-fashioned with a confident driver.  He’s “the Driver” and he should know his material best.

The movie becomes complicated with the generic plot of mob bosses from different sides. Gosling is concerned with helping his next door neighbor Irene played by Carey Mulligan and her son to remain safe. Her husband owes money.

Critics loved “Drive” because it reminded them of the gritty 80’s L.A. movies and that’s what it was. This film had a predominant 80’s soundtrack and gave it’s location gave off this 1980’s vibe. I’ve not seen many 80’s heist movies, but I would have to agree that it must seem like “Drive”.

The beginning sequence of the film sets up the type of character that Gosling is: quiet, cunning, agile like a fox. I wish the rest of the film carried this vibe throughout. His character however changed slightly when Gosling got involved with Irene. He got too attached, but maybe that was the point. He actually cared about someone. He would put up a fight. I guess I have to look no farther than the elevator scene that switches from romance and than abruptly violence to protect her.

One surprising thing about this movie was the reappearance of Tren Reznor’s “Hand Covers Bruise” from the “Social Network”, such a defining piece. I’m surprised he let “Drive” use it.

This film is nominated for best sound editing. Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis, the two sound editors definitely did an excellent job of being able to weave great moments of sound.  I especially loved the combination that came from the radio, the police radio, car tires and dialogue in the opening sequence.

Oscar Nominations:

  1. Best Sound Editing

 

“Midnight in Paris”: Nostalgia all the way


“Midnight in Paris” is an interesting take on nostalgia thanks to the director and writer, Woody Allen.

So I found out this year in school that I’ve seen very few Woody Allen films. I think my totally is up to a grand total of four thanks to “Midnight in Paris”. Allen always has an interesting take on his films and you can always tell that they are his films. He also always picks very beautiful locations.

Paris is beautiful in the opening credits. It seems like a time lapse to show the world of Paris changing from day to night. “Midnight in Paris” is all about Gil Pender who is a would be writer with a past in Hollywood scripting. Gil played by Owen Wilson is engaged to the very spoiled Inez played by Rachel McAdams. While Inez goes out ever night to dance with friends including an ex-boyfriend who she still likes, Gil goes out walking the streets at Paris.

This is where the fun starts. Everynight when the clock chimes midnight, an old car comes to pick him up and transports him back to the time he wished he was born into… the 1920’s. In the 1920’s he runs into may greats including Cole Porter and the Fitzgeralds, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald. I love at one point when Gil offers Zelda, a valium when she freaks out.  He also meets Ernest Hemingway.  Gil promises to bring his manuscript back to Hemingway tomorrow.

When he wakes up, he is back in his hotel room, telling Inez about his crazy night. She thinks he has a brain tumor. He keeps trying to surprise her to take her back to this time, but she gives up before the car arrives. Maybe nostalgia doesn’t make her happy, her present life is happy when she is hanging out with an old boyfriend.

With his first trip back to the 1920’s, I thought Gil was just very drunk. However when he returns a second time, I think not. Gil goes back farther with is Adrianna, mistress to Picasso played by the lovely Marion Cotillard. Side note: Anything this woman does is perfect. Love her! Gil and Adriana goes back to la Belle Epoque. Allen never really describes how it happens, it just does.

I think a quote that Gil speaks tells the reason behind these time shifts,

“Adriana, if you stay here though, and this becomes your present then pretty soon you’ll start imagining another time was really your… You know, was really the golden time. Yeah, that’s what the present is. It’s a little unsatisfying because life’s a little unsatisfying.”

It’s a sad realization because Gil is upset with his life and the situation it is in. Allen creates a nice  spin on nostalgia and why so many people look back or can’t move forward with their lives.

If I had to pick a theme for the 9 Best Pictures nominations, I am slowly beginning to realize what is. This movie along with other 8 Best Picture nominations have a great tie to the past and present. They all share a sense of nostalgia and a time that was.

Oscar Nominations: 

  • Best Picture
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Directing: Woody Allen
  • Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

 

“The Descendants”: A Hawaiian Tribute


Imagine this is George Clooney as a family man… finally. Albeit, a little dysfunctional.

Clooney plays Matt King, a prominent lawyer with three big problems happening in his middle age life. 1) His wife is in a coma and he has to take care of his two daughters which he has not done, ever. 2) He is currently in charge of a trust that contains the last natural part of Hawaii. His cousins are currently trying to decided what to do with it, but Matt is the last deciding factor. 3) He learns his wife was cheating on him.

Now those are some pretty big problems and it’s a good thing that you only have to get a quick flight to get to the different islands of Hawaii. Clooney does a pretty good job of towing his daughters around with their one friend to tell people about his wife’s condition and find the person his wife cheated on him with from island to island.

People were upset that Shailene Woodley who plays Alexandra King, the eldest daughter, didn’t nab a nomination. I thought she was good, but I thought she just played a very unstable teenager. I don’t know if that’s very hard to play. I did however grow quite an affection for Scottie played by Amara Miller, the youngest fiery daughter who has quite a mouth on her.

The same could be said for Clooney. Everyone is loving George Clooney in his role, but I think he showed a deeper character in “Up in the Air”. I didn’t dislike George Clooney. He definitely played a great awkward father with his different hairstyle. However, I thought if I had to say where he really deserved his nomination, it would be at the end of the film when he says goodbye to wife. It shows the full circle of everything he goes through. People could just say, “Yeah, he was crying. How hard is that to do in front of camera?”  I thought the cry still showed what his wife meant to him. He still loved his wife even after all the frustration she caused.

In result to the land development, there’s a couple different ways that it could have gone. That I thought was a better part of the movie when King announces his decision.

The ending I had to think about for a while. I think in the end, the director Alexander Payne was trying to show a family just trying to pull themselves together and to be a family again.

The one nomination I thought was missing from the list was cinematography. Phedon Papamichael showed a beautiful landscape that is Hawaii. He just didn’t show what tourists see, he also showed where the families live which I think a lot of people forget. It’s not just a tropical location… it’s people’s homes.

Oscar Nominations:

  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Actor in a Leading Role: George Clooney
  3. Best Directing: Alexander Payne
  4. Best Film Editing
  5. Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“Hugo”: Surprisingly Enchanting


I first saw the trailer for “Hugo” with the rest of the Harry Potter fandom as we waited for the midnight premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”. I can tell you right now we were not amused nor enthralled by the boy, Hugo Cabret for obvious reasons. 1) It was a really long trailer 2) We didn’t really care. We needed to see Harry.

I felt the same when “Hugo” came out during Thanksgiving. I still did not go see it. I just wasn’t feeling it. The trailer told little about the story. Hugo, a boy lives in a Paris train station and clocks are involved. There is also a machine boy. That’s about all I knew. Side notes: It was based off “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”, a graphic novel by Brian Selznick. It was also directed by Martin Scorsese who did not receive a director’s nomination. I still don’t understand this.  How did a film such as “Hugo” become what it was without Scorsese behind the lens?

I was happy however that my feelings changed. A theater brought it back after the Oscar nominations and the theater was packed. I dragged myself out of curiosity to see why critics loved this movie. In the end, I could see why. I could also see why the trailers were very vague.

The story is so much more than a boy living in a train station. It actually reminds me very much of another Oscar nominated film for Best Picture, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”. They both tell a story about a boy, looking for a secret message from their deceased father (Jude Law in this film), but find something more. Both also involve a key, though in this story, it is a heart shaped key.

I will not divulge in what the secret was. It really makes the film. Honestly, you’re are dying to find out what it is and then how it evolves through the film. Sure, I guess you could say I’m a bad reviewer, but I don’t care. I won’t tell you.

Scorsese did a wonderful a job incorporating the train station into a  wonderful setting through the clock mechanisms, but also in the station itself with all the shop owners.  Casting includes Sacha Baron Cohen who plays the Inspector with his trusty doberman pinscher. They are  bent on trying to capture all the orphans in the train station even with a limp the Inspector received from the Great War. Ben Kingsley who plays Papa Georges and Hugo Cabret is played by Asa Butterfield.  I also enjoyed Rene Tabard, but that’s probably just reminds me of my old film professor.

Ben Kingsley is part of the secret that I won’t spoil. At first in the film, he is a miserable, mean shopkeeper, but as the movie progresses you learn more of his past. You feel for him.

Howard Shore, the composer of the film adds a great element to the film with his Parisian music. Music always makes the movies and his score definitely stood out for me.

I can see why Scorsese picked this film, partially for his daughter who wanted a film made for her and her friends. The other reason I can see is the influence of the film industry beginnings which Scorsese is such a big part of. He and his fellow filmmakers are trying to save to film from the early 1900’s that is severely being damaged to its lack of preservation.

The film regrettably was in 3D which I don’t think was necessary. Nothing popped out at you like in most cheesy 3D movies which I think we were all grateful for.  The 3D effect was used to add to the environment, but I think 3D or 2D, the film still would have had the same message that I fell in love with.

Oscar Nominations:

  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Art Direction
  3. Best Cinematography
  4. Best Costume Design
  5. Best Directing: Martin Scorsese
  6. Best Film Editing
  7. Best Original Score: Howard Shore
  8. Best Sound Editing
  9. Best Sound Mixing
  10. Best Visual Effects
  11. Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“Moneyball”: Brad Pitt does it again


Now I know most of you are going to think… she’s a girl… and he’s Brad Pitt. Of course, she is going to love the film no matter what.  Now, that’s partially true.  However, I also enjoyed the movie he produced. “Moneyball” is about the two things in it’s title… money and baseball.

Time and time again, people question how can we pay athletes such massive amounts of money to play a game? Billie Beane and Peter Brand worked out a system that worked to their pathetic budget for the Oakland Athletics. They didn’t have to pay the athletes stupid amounts of money because they couldn’t.  Let’s start with what I know:  I know a little baseball and I have heard of “Moneyball”, the book by Michael Lewis. No, I’ve never read it. Do I plan on reading it now? Yes, yes I do.

It’s still a bizarre concept to me because baseball statistics still bewilder me and that’s okay. I got the main idea of what Beane and Brand, both brilliant men, were trying to do.

“Moneyball” as the movie, and not what the Oakland Athletics overall strategic accomplishment, was well done starting with  the writing by Aaron Sorkin. Once again like “The Social Network”, Sorkin has a way with making the complicated, simplified.

Besides the writing, the acting was better than I thought it was going to be. I didn’t expect Jonah Hill, normally a comedian, to come off so well as Peter Brand, an economist from Yale. I also didn’t expect Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill to work so well as a team. Pitt and Hill had chemistry as Beane and Brand. I think that’s what made the movie work. If you didn’t have this combo, the movie might have fallen a little flat.  Even Phillip Seymour Hoffman who is not my favorite actor, always pulls through in who he was portraying. My Dad said he played a pretty good Art Howe.

So you have a well written script, good choice in casting and the last part that I thought made this movie an enjoyable movie was the editing of stock footage of the Oakland A’s real games with the movie shots. I even thought mixing all the statistic computer shots worked really well.

If you had to guess, what Oscar nominated movie did I enjoy more today, “Tinker Tailor Solder Spy” or “Moneyball”, you would assume it’s “Moneyball”. You are a correct, but once again… it’s not because of Brad Pitt. Well, okay a little bit… It was also because it was a good enjoyable movie where I even learned a couple things.

Any baseball fans, really love this movie? Do any of you guys, really hate it? Let me know!

Oscar Nominations:

  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Actor in a Leading Role: Brad Pitt
  3. Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jonah Hill
  4. Best Film Editing
  5. Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

By the numbers: The 9 Oscar movies and their nominations


Oscars

Oscars

This year’s Oscar nominees that came out this morning gave me a mixed reaction. Most of them didn’t surprise me, but I also was’t really enthused by them. On a sad note: I was sad to see that Ryan Gosling was not nominated for anything and that “Harry Potter” couldn’t get a best picture nod. Anyway, below are the nine best picture nominees with how many other nominations they got.The numbers may surprise you.

  1. Hugo: 11
  2. The Artist: 10
  3.  War Horse: 6
  4. The Descendants: 5
  5. Moneyball: 5
  6. The Help: 4
  7. Midnigh in Paris: 4
  8. The Tree of Life: 3
  9. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: 2

 

1.Hugo: The mistake I made. Clearly, I should’ve seen it. It just didn’t look that appealing at the time. Apparently the Academy feels differently.

  • Best Picture
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Directing: Martin Scorsese
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Original Score: Howard Shore
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

2. The Artist: The movie that everyone loves for its simplicity. No words required.

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role: Jean Dujardin
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role: Bérénice Bejo
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Directing: Michael Hazanavicius
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Original Score: Ludovic Bource
  • Best Original Screenplay

3. War Horse: The movie that I don’t really want to see because it’s gonna make me cry worse than “AirBud”

  • Best Picture
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Music (Original Score): John Williams
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Sound Mixing

4. The Descendants: The movie that I’m seeing this week. George Clooney and Hawaii, how can you go wrong?

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role: George Clooney
  • Best Directing: Alexander Payne
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

5. Moneyball: The movie I have on DVD and is patiently waiting to watch it with her father.

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role: Brad Pitt
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jonah Hill
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

6. The Help: A great movie based off a great book.

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role: Viola Davis
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Jessica Chastain
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Octavia Spencer

7. Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen plus Owen Wilson in Paris? That should be good fun, right?

  • Best Picture
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Directing: Woody Allen
  • Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

8. The Tree of Life: The weird Dinosaur movie with Brad Pitt in it.

  • Best Picture
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Directing: Terence Malick
9. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: The movie I’m split on… I don’t want to see because I’ll cry, but I do want to see how it was adapted from Jonathan Safran Foer’s book.
  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Max von Sydow

This is not the end the end of Oscar talk, but I thought this would be a good breakdown of the top nine movies. Not in the top nine movies, but nominated include “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “Tinker Tailer Solider Spy” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”.