They Said, He Said

October 16, 2008

It’s time, more than time actually, to recap, the 80th Annual Academy Awards:

Who won? Who should have won? Who wore what? Who cares?

I care!

Here is my scorecard of who won, and who should have won, in the major categories this year. The biggest injustice: “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”, on merit alone, should have swept the major categories. I know this is a hard sell, given the movie is in French and subtitled. The biggest disappointment? The continued degradation of the Hollywood movie – the lack of character arc, development and story. Being shocking and repulsive does not a great movie make.

With that said, here are the movies of 2007:

2007 Best Motion Picture of the Year: the Academy selected “No Country for Old Men” (blech). I chose “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”. No contest.

Performance by an actor in a leading role: Daniel Day Lewis (“There Will Be Blood”) was the choice of the Academy. My choice: Mathieu Amalric in “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role: Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men”) won. My choice: Peter O’Toole in an animated performance in “Ratatouille”.

Performance by an actress in a leading role: the Academy chose Marion Cotillaid (“La Vie en Rose”). I can’t argue strongly with their choice, but my nod would have gone to Ellen Page for “Juno”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role: Tilda Swinton wins for her role in “Michael Clayton”. No complaints (but no strong feelings either) from me…

Best Animated Feature Film: the Academy and I enthusiastically agreed on “Ratatouille”

Achievement in Art Direction: “Sweeney Todd” wins; “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” was robbed.

Achievement in Cinematography: “There Will Be Blood” wins; “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” was robbed, again. Maybe the Academy isn’t ready to step up and properly reward a foreign language film?

Achievement in Costume Design: “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” was the obvious choice for the Academy. OK. Both “La Vie en Rose” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” were worthy of consideration.

Achievement in Directing: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (“No Country for Old Men”) win. Without doubt, Julian Schnabel (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”) deserved the nod for a complete, outstanding movie.

Achievement in Film Editing: “The Bourne Ultimatum” is the uninspired choice of the Academy. My choice – you guessed – “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” for putting together a tough yet completely compelling voyage into Jean Do’s world.

Achievement in Makeup: “La Vie en Rose” wins. OK by me; “Pirates of the Caribbean” would have been a reasonable choice as well.

Original Score: in a vote from a parallel, weird universe, “Atonement” wins. Michael Giacchino (“Ratatouille”) must still be in shock.

Original Song: a home-run for the Academy for getting it so right with “Falling Slowly” from “Once”. Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

Achievement in Sound Editing: “The Bourne Ultimatum” wins again. I am numb, but I guess I can live with that.

Achievement in Sound Mixing: this category makes “the Bourne Ultimatum” a, count ’em, three time Academy Award winner! Think about that for a minute. Does anyone (including myself) really understand what sound mixing means?

Achievement in Visual Effects: “The Golden Compass” wins a consolation prize. “Pirates of the Caribbean” was a no-brainer (which, perhaps, says something of the mental abilities of the members of the Academy?)

Adapted Screenplay: “No Country for Old Men” wins. You know my choice by now: “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”

Original Screenplay: “Juno” is chosen by both the Academy and me. Righteous.


February 22, 2008

New films reviewed:

Getting nervous about the weather! Looks like rain through the weekend. I have arranged for some outdoor pavilions and heaters during the ceremony…

“Here Comes the Sun?”

And Now We’re Ready for Round 2!

February 16, 2008

Just over one week to the Academy Awards!!!!

Coming later this week: Spacedcowboy’s synopsis of 2007: the year at the movies.

Now available, new reviews for:

Reviews still pending: Lars and the Real Girl (Let me say it again: see it!!!! It’s wonderful), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (ug) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (barf)…

Blog On

February 11, 2008

New reviews today:

And we saw Lars and the Real Girl (see it!!!! It’s wonderful), and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Plus we owe reviews for Elizabeth: The Golden Age (barf), and Transformers (yay).

Stand by!!!!

The Heat Is On

February 9, 2008

February 9, 2008 (UT) at time of writing. 16 days to showtime. Crunch time.

We’re seeing at least one nominated movie daily now, and still trying to find time to write the black-and-white reviews! New entries today include:

We’ve seen There Will Be Blood, Transformers, and 3:10 to Yuma, and reviews are all pending for those as well. Help!!!!

How It Should Be

January 25, 2008

“In many ways the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.

But, the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things… the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

But there are times when a critic truly risks something… and that is in the discovery and defence of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.

Last night I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement– they have rocked me to my core.

In the past I have made no secret of my distain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: “Anyone Can Cook”. But I realize only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.

It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest Chef in France.

I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.”

From Peter O’Toole’s Oscar-worthy performance in Ratatouille.

Will They, Or Won’t They?

January 18, 2008

80th Annual Academy Awards official poster