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Saturday, January 8, 2011

The State of the Race: Best Animated Feature - A Look Back, and Forward

Thanks for playing, everyone else!

It's thanks to Pixar, really, that the modern animated film is something to talk about in terms of the Academy Awards. Well, Pixar, Disney, and Dreamworks. And, of course, Hayao Miyazaki. The four major players in the category since its conception in 2001. Pixar has five of the nine available trophies, losing only two nominations. They are, undoubtedly, the kings of the mountain. This year, with Toy Story 3, they'll get their sixth Oscar and maintain their title. Of course, we should look at this objectively and talk about the other nominees. But, let's face it - if Toy Story 3 isn't winning this, no one is. 

The State of the Race - Our Screenplays

In part three of our discussion on how things might shape up on Oscar nomination morning, we're brought to this - the Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay categories. Several new faces will be nominated alongside a handful of Academy veterans, each deserving of their place. But only two will take home the above naked gold man. 

So. Let's get down to brass tacks. Or, gold tacks, if you will.

Friday, January 7, 2011

127 Hours

Directed by Danny Boyle

Fifteen minutes of sunlight every day. At 8:30am, a lone raven flies overhead. Almost out of water. No more food. God knows how long is left to go. 

The Importance of Jackass 3D

So important, in fact, that I stopped what I was currently writing to share this with all of you - this is, without a doubt, the best awards moment of the year. Not since the "Not since [...]" campaign for Toy Story 3, nor the audacious "why the hell not" campaign for Zack Snyder's Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, has one advertisement taken me so far aback and made me think "You know what? Okay. Yes."

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my favorite thing of the season -

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The State of the Race - Part Deux

With a concentration of the Supporting acting categories, and our confusing Best Director contenders.

Don't stop. Get it, get it.

Yesterday, we focused on the Best Picture, Actor, and Actress categories, and got a great response. Hopefully, this will prove just as interesting. 

First thing's first -

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The State of the Race

The days are narrowing. Soon, we, in the film community, will be flooded with endless talk of The King's Speech vs The Social Network, James Franco vs Colin Firth, and Natalie Portman vs... well, no one, really. That Oscar is hers. That's right - it's getting close to Oscar nomination day. Might as well be a holiday.

You're damn right.

Nearly 250 eligible films, and far more than that, have been released this season (2010, though we're in 2011), and while I've only seen about a middling 1/4 of the films released, what a season it was. An entry into my top20, Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island, sort of redefined how I saw filmmaking, Toy Story 3 shattered box office records, and Black Swan and True Grit showed us that the general movie going audience isn't really in the mood for, say... Tooth Fairy, anymore. Together, we're growing and film is growing. And that, I think, is the most impressive feat achieved last year. As a medium, film -- for over 130 years -- has bonded the world in a way that so few other art forms have. From the time when we first saw traffic crossing over the Leeds Bridge, to a Fenway Park shootout in The Town, we've come a long way. Advances in technology, many tragic deaths, and the births of some of the world's greatest minds. Film is, and will always be, terribly, terribly important.

But, it's 2010 we're rewarding. And out of the eligible films, let's consider what our nominees will most likely be in Picture, Actor, and Actress -

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pete Postlethwaite, thanks for my childhood.

Pete Postlethwaite, 1946-2011

British actor, rightly knighted, has passed away. After a long battle with cancer, we're now afforded the chance to look back on his remarkable career.

Roger Ebert and the late, still great Gene Siskel talk about criticism.

Ebert on Ebert, as such. Why it is we do what we do, and how we should do it. Sound advice, from the men who revolutionized film criticism.

I totally took notes.

And, for those of us who wish to do this professionally, these are the notes to take. Both Ebert and Siskel make incredible points, almost prophetic points, on the dangers of political correctness and how disabling it can be for a new writer to find his or her voice.

Rest in peace, Mr. Siskel. And keep on keepin' on, Roger.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

True Grit and The Fighter


In this, we find two films, in common yet remarkably different - two films: one, a project so epic in vision that it becomes distressingly standard, and another so simple in execution that it can't help but remain three cuts above the rest. The former, another entry from David O'Russell. The latter, the latest from our revered Coen Brothers. The Fighter, and True Grit.