Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscars 2013

The 2013 Oscars

I'm often so disappointed with how the Academy distributes their awards, so I decided to dole out accolades according to my own preference.  Now, I'm not doing every single category since I haven't seen any of the documentary shorts or animated films, etc.  Here goes!

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Tommy Lee Jones plays Thaddeus Stevens with passion and vigor, and he makes you fall in love with this grumpy, opinionated character. While the film as a whole had many flaws, his performance was perfect.

Best Cinematography:  Roger Deakins, Skyfall” The opening shot where Bond is approaching the camera is really clever and unique, and throughout the film he plays with lights and darks beautifully. Plus, it's Roger Deakins. The man should have won about 5 academy awards by now.

Best Visual Effects: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
As a Tolkien fan I am probably biased in this category, but I really do think the visual effects were spectacular and innovative.

Best Costume Design: “Anna Karenina”
While I didn't really like the film, the costumes in "Anna Karenina" were undoubtedly gorgeous.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
Watching some of the production blogs for "The Hobbit" will give you a good idea of just how extensive and elaborate the costumes and makeup were for this film.  Also, some of the before and after pictures of the dwarves are just unbelievable.

Best Foreign Language Film: “A Royal Affair”  (Denmark)
I happen to quite like period dramas, and "A Royal Affair" is one of the best ones I've ever seen.  Visually stunning, with excellent performances and an intriguing story, I highly recommend the film.
Best Sound Mixing: "Silver Linings Playbook"
Many scenes in this movie involved simultaneous conversations  that were layered together very well.

Best Sound Editing: "Zero Dark Thirty"
The raid must have involved quite extensive sound editing, and it turns out beautifully.  

Actress in a Supporting Role: Ann Dowd, “Compliance”
Ann Dowd wasn't even nominated, which is a demonstration of just how star-driven and political the oscars have become.  Her performance was chilling and simply outstanding.  If you haven't seen "Compliance", see it! It'll make you feel uncomfortable, but it will make you think.

Best Film Editing: “Argo” 
Much of the tension and intrigue of the film comes from the editing, especially the sequence at the airport.  Tell me you weren't on the edge of your seat, even though we all know how it ends.

Best Art Direction: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
The Hobbit takes place in an entirely fantastic world, and while much of it was CGI, a large part of the magical surroundings were designed by the art department and they are stunning.

Best Original Score: “Lincoln”
The music was haunting and beautiful, and of course John Williams is the man.

Best Original Song: "Skyfall"
I think this one is pretty obvious...

Best Adapted Screenplay: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Here is another deserving film that didn't even get a nomination.  I think the film was excellent overall, but did a spectacular job adapting a difficult book into a seamless movie.

Best Original Screenplay: “Moonrise Kingdom”
The key word here for me is "original".  "Moonrise Kingdom" was not a perfect movie, or even my favorite Wes Anderson film, but it was wonderfully original.

Best Directing: Michael Haneke, “Amour”
Michael Haneke has deserved an Oscar for directing for years.  This film is largely performance based (Emmanuelle Riva was spectacular), but there is tremendous skill is directing actors as well as larger productions.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
Emmanuelle Riva, for those of you who don't know, starred in the iconic"Hiroshima, Mon Amour" back in 1959.  She has deserved many awards for her lifetime of wonderful work, but her performance in "Amour" is possibly her best.  She is truly heartbreaking and she is extraordinary.

Best Actor in a Leading Role: John Hawkes, “The Sessions”
John Hawkes was robbed of a nomination this year, truly.  It's not that I don't think Daniel Day-Lewis wasn't amazing, but I think it's time that someone recognized talent in hollywood other than his.  John Hawkes has a role in "Lincoln" as well which demonstrates how truly versatile and talented he is.  he was outstanding in "The Sessions", but it seems that no one else saw the film, so his work will go unrecognized.

Best Picture: "Silver Linings Playbook"
I was debating wether to give the award to "Argo" or "Silver Linings Playbook" until I started writing this post.  Both were exceptional films, as was "Zero Dark Thirty", but I picked "Silver Linings Playbook" because the film takes a "small" story and makes it big.  "Argo" is a dramatic, exciting story that Ben Affleck did a great job with (and should have been nominated for best director), but "Silver Linings Playbook" makes a masterful movie out of personal story that doesn't have the excitement and draw that "Argo" does.  Also, the lead performances by Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were really excellent (they were runners-up for best acting in my opinion), and the film really brought great performances out of them.

So, that concludes the movies I thought should win for this years Oscars. Obviously I'm going to be disappointed and wrong about at least half of these, but oh well.  Now it's off to the store to buy fixings for fondue, because if I'm going to be upset about the oscars I at least want to comfort of gooey cheese and chocolate covered strawberries.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fantasy Brunch

I love brunch.  It’s the perfect meal, in my opinion.  

Sometimes people talk about the top five (or however-many) people they would like to have dinner with, but I always imagine mine would be brunch. And there would be way more than five people there (18 actually). And some of them might be fictional characters…

Here are the 18 people I would most like to have brunch with.

Dead people:

1. Alexander Hamilton
First secretary of the Treasury and a generally brilliant man.

2. Thaddeus Stevens
Groundbreaking egalitarian and congressman.

3. Thomas Cromwell
Minister to Henry VIII who was really crafty but came to a bad end anyway.

Fictional Characters:

4. Buffy
The Chosen One. Look it up. Slayer, The.

5. Arya Stark
Totally badass and independent girl.

6. Luna Lovegood
Whimsical free-spirited witch.

Real, living people:

7. Joss Whedon
Creator of so many wonderful nerdy shows and fantastic characters.

8. David Cronenberg
Director of such gems as The Fly, Dead Ringers, and A History of Violence

9. Ze Frank
Collaborative creator and video maker extraordinaire.

10. Stephen Fry
Actor, author, and comedian. Sometimes I like to pretend we are related.

11. David Mitchell
Very dry-witted British comedian and overall nerd.

12. Geena Davis
Actress, activist, athlete, and awesome lady.

13. John Sayles
Quietly brilliant director of Passion Fish, Brother From Another Planet, and Lone Star.

14. Lena Dunham
Writer/ star/ producer of Girls and the voice of our generation (or at least a voice of a generation)

15. Felicia Day
Creator of the Guild and general nerd enthusiast.

16. Tom Stoppard
Genius playwright behind Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Shakespeare in Love

17. Hillary Clinton
Future president of the United States (fingers crossed)

18. Richard Dawkins
Evolutionary biologist and author of The God Delusion.

Now to sort out the seating chart…

Who would be at your fantasy brunch?