Thursday, January 22, 2009

Initial thoughts on Oscars, Razzies

NOTE CORRECTION BELOW.

While I'm mad "WALL-E" got left out of the big prize -- at least it got the technical nods, best animated feature, best original screenplay, and best short for the curtain-raiser "Presto" -- there are a few things about the nominations that pique my interest.
  • Of course, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is a big moment for Louisiana. Shot in New Orleans, it was the state's most ambitious project to date. Kudos to all the crew and cast who worked on it. Incidentally, if you are cast or especially crew from "Button," I want to hear from you stat. Send me a note at akent@gannett.com.
  • And though "Benjamin Button" is a big deal for New Orleans and Louisiana, there was some horribly funny news yesterday. "Disaster Movie," made in The Shreve, nearly led the Razzies nominations with six. Six! ("Love Guru" got seven.) For those of you who like to view the state's industry as a competition between cities, don't worry. "Meet the Spartans," made in LaPlace and New Orleans, got five Razzie nominations. Five! Ouch. Gotta love the yin and yang!
  • Amy Adams for "Doubt." She's brilliant and remains one of my faves. For local theater geeks, I have to also note that local actress Charity Schubert did the same role for a local River City Rep stage production and deserves a frickin' Tony! (Somebody get us a time machine!) Brilliant stuff, and I actually liked this stage production better than the movie.
  • Josh Brolin finally got a long-deserved nomination with "Milk." (He got robbed last year for "No Country.") Wouldn't it have been interesting if he had gotten a nod for "W?" Too bad it wasn't a better film. I would have been ecstatic, and the potential interview would have been interesting indeed. Dude's a brilliant actor (and a good kisser, apparently).
  • Marisa Tomei is back with a nomination for "The Wrestler," which means my wife has to go see a movie about combat. All right!
  • Absolutely pissed that "Happy-Go-Lucky's" Sally Hawkins missed a nomination. That's as bad as Paul Giamatti missing for "Sideways." Both absolutely defined their movies, and both were robbed!
  • The most competitive category? Best actress, to my mind, no question. Meryl vs. Kate is going to be Oscar night's biggest moment. Those are two major, major performances. Flip a coin. Perhaps the best screen performances of the year (beside WALL-E, Eve and the cockroach).
Enough of me. What did you think?

NOTE: Corrected at 4:35 p.m.: Argh. "Disaster Movie" wasn't the year's worst, as previously noted. It earned six Razzie nominations, whereas "The Love Guru" earned seven. My bad.

11 comments:

ChrisBrad said...

While "Benjamin Button" really has a lot going for it, it just feels like the night will belong to "Slumdog Millionaire." The only thing I see causing a problem for "Slumdog" would be too much publicity from Danny Boyle. He is suddenly everywhere and we have seen instances where the Academy gets tired of the push from studios.

"Disater Movie" was exactly that. Who are we kidding? I'd rather sit through "Whales of August" again.

Yes, Sally Hawkins was robbed. We both predicted her getting a nod. Maybe that was her downfall.

Tomei rocked her role. I doubt, though, she will be victorious. I'll hold judgement until the week before. That is when the "feel" of everything gels. Speaking of, very brave Chris Lyon....Posting all the picks so early in the running. I salute you, my man!

One last thing: I think the biggest showdown will not be Streep VS Winslet. I am betting it will be the actor category with the biggest competition. Think about it... Rourke has all the buzz now. But can his comeback story get him through the next four weeks? Especially when you consider fan and critic favorite Pitt is sitting there as well. And who is in the next row? Look, it's Sean Penn starring in the Hollywood statement flick of the year. Then you have Langella who did an amazing job in "Frost/Nixon." If the first three split enough votes he (Langella) could be walking to the stage that night. That means a four-way race in my eyes. I doubt Jenkins has much of a chance. He was good, but I think his nomination was his award.

Just thinking out loud. More to come, I am sure!

Alexandyr Kent said...

Chris Lyon is jockeying his way into the contest? This early? I agree. Kudos, but I'm holding you to the picks, CL!

Alexandyr Kent said...

And best actor? It's competitive, no doubt, but are the roles the best we've seen from each?

I think there's more at stake in the best actress, just because of the caliber of those two performances. They are career-defining roles -- even for Streep -- and I can't imagine a more difficult decision in casting a ballot.

ChrisBrad said...

Very good point about the nature of the actors roles versus those of Streep and Winslet. BUT, that will likely be a split between old and new in Hollywood. The actors, though, will be splitting votes in all kinds of manners. I could be wrong, but Rourke has more competition than Winslet.

Did I say I could be wrong?!?

Alexandyr Kent said...

How can you vote against a broken down piece of meat?

ChrisBrad said...

Easy... "The Wrestler" will not be a film a lot of the actor-voters will enjoy. It isn't their cup of tea, so to say. Good film, but not great.

A smaller award group (like the HFPA) tends to reward films that are not necessarily in the taste of the general Academy. And there were no nominations for Aronofsky (sorry for the spelling). This leads me to believe the nomination was more of a word of mouth thing from critics and the Golden Globes rather than a landslide of support.

I just think this is going to be the more competitive category. Then again, and like I've said, I could be wrong!

Versha said...

1 - It didn't even cross my mind to be excited for LA because of Button! Oops. But yes, so exciting!

2 - Soooooooooo happy for Brolin. It's a shame he's up against Heath, though, because I do want Heath to win.

3 - What about Leo??

4 - To be fair, I haven't seen 'Doubt,' and I do love Meryl Streep, but Kate Winslet just blew me away in 'The Reader.' I'm glad she was nominated. Poor Leo.

Alexandyr Kent said...

Good point.

There's such a comeback feeling about the guy, though. Haven't seen it, but am looking forward. I love a good "piece of meat" Oscar speech.

I think sooner or later, Aronofsky will make a project that cleans up Oscar-wise. He's kind of in the early stages of a Danny Boyle-style career: on the verge of the commercial but resisting, resisting, resisting. ...

Now that I think of it, my comparison sucks, but it's a thought. They've both got artsy-fartsy-me-likesy tendencies, dagnabbit!

Alexandyr Kent said...

It's a comment smorgasbord! Obviously, my previous was meant for chris-brad.

Now for Versha: Totally agree on points one, two and three. As for Leo, though, I can't imagine the guy not getting three or four during his career. He's on his game almost every single time (besides "Titanic" and "The Beach"). To think he hasn't won an award yet is pretty shocking. Gilbert Grape? Aviator? Wasn't even nominated for Departed? Hello???

As for "Doubt," you have to see Meryl. Like everybody, I've seen a lot of her best work -- who can forget "Death Becomes Her" and "She-Devil?" -- but her turn in "Doubt" is wickedly, wickedly brilliant.

Kate, though, is just so damn her equal in "The Reader." Tough choice!

If Sally Hawkins would have gotten a nomination, there would be no way I could have voted. No way, I tell you!

ChrisBrad said...

So many comments, so little time...

I think the odds Aronofsky could explode into the mainstream are 50/50. I mean, "Reqiuem For A Dream" remains a favorite of mine. But, I worry he may end up more like David Fincher: Respected, celebrated and misunderstood. Fincher, despite being a directorial genius, cannot get past the small things. We have both commented on this before and I have a hunch that is what is in store for Aronofsky. I wish him the best, but I fear he may be the perennial also-ran.

Chris Lyon said...

I won't change my thoughts on who will win. It's a mixture of who should and who probably will (due to other influences) win. I don't agree with every choice I made, but then again, I never agree with all the awards given.

May the best guess win!