Archive for Oscars Wild

2008 Oscar Nominations announced today + my reactions

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , on January 22, 2009 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

Well, the inauguration is over, people are coming down off of that historic event. Now it’s time to gear up for the Oscars (at least for me it is). The Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, that is) today announced the nominees for this year’s Oscars.  They also released the 80th anniversary Best Pictures poster.

If you click the poster you can go to the Oscar website to see all of the nominees for 2009.  It’s perfect timing that they announced the nominees today because I just told you guys what I think the best and worst movies of 2008 were.  You didn’t see that?  Shame on you.

Check out my favorite movies of 2008 here

Check out my worst movies of 2008 here

You can see where I discuss last year’s nominations here

For the last two years or so, when the Academy announces the nominees, I take a look at the biggest categories (you know, the ones we actually care about) and see how I think the academy did with its choices.  It’s only my opinion mind you, but I like to see how my own sensibilities compare to the Academy (FYI…we aren’t even close).  Each year when I look at the nominees, I notice that either I didn’t see enough movies (4+ a month isn’t enough?) or I just don’t like the same movies as the Academy because they pick things I’ve never seen a trailer or ad for.  I mean, a movie that opens in October for 2 weeks in 4 cities seems like an odd choice to go up for Best Picture of the Year because most of the nation will not see it.  It seems these movies are mostly seen by critics.  I guess that’s what the People’s Choice Awards are for, to give us a say.  But then, the People’s Choice Awards are looked at with the same respect as the Nickelodeon awards shows.  But, that’s neither here nor there.  It’s time to check out this year’s Oscar nominees.

So let’s start with

Leading Actor:
Richard Jenkins – The Visitor – Here we go. A movie I’ve never even heard of. Yahoo! Movies says it’s about 62 year old Walter Vale. He’s sleepwalking through life. Having lost his passion for teaching and writing, he fills the void by unsuccessfully trying to learn to play classical pian—zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Frost/Nixon
Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon – Ahhh, nice. This is a good choice. Langella was phenomenal in this.
Sean Penn – Milk – I know it’s the guy’s name, but Milk seems like such an odd name for the movie. Milk. M-m-m-m-i-i-i-l-l-k. See, weird. If you can’t tell, I haven’t seen it.
Brad Pitt – Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Looks weird. Heard it’s good from a few people, but I’m cautiously pessimistic about it.
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler – I’m intrigued. It looks dirty, grungy and harsh. I’ll probably watch it at some point.

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Second Guessing the Academy: Worst. Oscar Wins. Ever.

Posted in 80s, Academy Awards, movies, Oscars, pop culture with tags , , , , on February 20, 2008 by Paxton

Oscar 2007 posterOne of my friends, Kathy, a regular reader of this blog, emailed me and asked me to write about what I think the worst Oscar wins of all time were. I thought it was a very good subject for me to tackle and since the Oscars are telecast live this Sunday at 8pm EST, there’s no time like the present to call the Academy out on the carpet (the RED carpet…so to speak). So I sat down to do the research.

I was originally just going to start in the mid-’80s but started moving backwards to my birth year, 1974. Then I moved even further back to 1970. Obviously, I didn’t start seriously watching the Oscars until the mid-’80s but 1970 is about where I start to recognize movies and have opinions on what happened that year. If you want to check out year by year results of the Oscars head on over to Oscars.com to their Academy Awards Database. You can search by year, award or actor. It helped me a lot in piecing this whole article together.

I started by looking back at the nominations and winners for the 8 main award categories (Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay). Like I said, I went back to the 1970 Awards and started my research there. I looked at the nominees and winners for the year and picked the times that I thought the Academy got it wrong. I tried to only pick out completely egregious errors. Ones that offended my delicate sensibilities. I mean, the oversight had to leap off the page at me screaming, “WTF WAS THE ACADEMY THINKING?!” If a movie I liked didn’t win, but I thought the movie that won was worthy, I didn’t bother mentioning it. Keep in mind, this is my own opinion, however right I am, it’s just an opinion.

Let’s begin.

1972 – This year, the Best Supporting Actor was filled with 3 actors from The Godfather; Al Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall. How do you choose? If you are the Academy, you pick Joel Grey for his work in Cabaret. Wait, wha-?! That’s right, neither Michael, Sonny nor Tom Hagen won an Oscar for their efforts. But looking back on it, we all can see Mr. Grey’s performance was one for the ages. To throw salt in the wound, Cabaret wins Best Director over Godfather. Tell me that is not a tragedy. At least Brando won Best Actor this year (but he refused the award because Indians were not being treated fairly or something. What a weirdo).

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Here come the Oscar Nominations for 2007

Posted in Academy Awards, humor, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , , on January 22, 2008 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

Well, today the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the list of Academy Award Nominees for the 2007 movie season. Honestly, I’m a little appalled at how many of these movies I haven’t seen. The nominees for the “big 4″ (actor, actress, director, movie) are a little “out of the box” for my tastes. I don’t know if this whole writer’s strike is having a strange effect on the whole of Hollywood or what, but these nominees are a little strange. As you recall from my favorites article a few weeks ago, I saw almost 5 movies a month this past year however I have not seen the majority of movies that were nominated. That’s how whacked out these nominees are.

Well, like I did last year, I thought I would take a look at a few of the Academy’s selections and maybe give a critique. I won’t go over all of the selections, just some of the more visible categories. You can click the image at the top of this article to go to the Oscar website to see a full listing of nominees. Let’s take a look at a few of the Academy’s decisions this year.


Best Leading Actor:
George Clooney – Michael Clayton – This is a good movie, however I don’t think I would watch it again. Great performances, but the movie dragged a little bit in the middle. This is a good choice however as Clooney was fascinating to watch.
Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood – Daniel Day-Lewis is a phenomenal actor. That’s a given. I’m iffy on this movie, however. I don’t normally like the subtext laden movies that feature a metaphor of our own world so we can learn about the mistakes we are making. I don’t need a millionaire director to tell me that oil corporations are bad and the quest for money is evil. I get that. I will, however, probably see this movie on DVD just to see Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of the main character.
Johnny Depp – Sweeney Todd – Haven’t seen this, but I really want to. Depp follows up his Oscar nominated character Jack Sparrow with another Oscar nominated character. My wife’s aunt and grandmother saw this movie recently and were less than impressed. However, I’m going to assume that they are not the target audience. I think it looks good, and Depp is probably his usual awesome self.
Tommy Lee Jones – In The Valley of Elah – Wha-huh?! I’ve never heard of this movie. A quick check of Yahoo! Movies tells me it was released last September and also stars Charlize Theron…really? Holy crap, where was I?
Viggo Mortensen – Eastern Promises – Saw this and didn’t really like it. Viggo is good, he is completely into his character and the twist at the end is shocking, but the movie is just too dark and somewhat hard to watch. Not one of my favorites, but Viggo, I think, deserves this nom.

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Enough Academy Awards Trivia to Choke a Donkey

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars with tags , , , , on February 21, 2007 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

The time is nigh, my friends, the Academy Awards are here. Well, almost here. They’ll officially be here on Sunday at 8pm EST. I. Can’t. Wait. The wife and I, being rabid, movie whores, are throwing a huge (read “small”) shindig to celebrate the occasion. No expense will be spared. Our guests will drink out of the finest gold color paper cups and eat off the most delicate black and gold paper plates that Wal-Mart can provide. We’ll dine on the most succulent tiny quiches and taquitos a microwave oven can cook. Extravagant doesn’t even begin to describe it. Our guests will feel like Gary Coleman at the Soul Train Awards. ROYALTY.

At the party, we pass out ballots and you have to choose who you think is going to win each category. Points are weighted towards the major Awards like Best Picture and Best Actor. It makes things fun when you start wagering on categories. Before we started the ballots, we’d be falling asleep by the time Best Documentary Short was presented. Now, the group is arguing whether No Time For Nuts or The Little Matchgirl is gonna win Best Short Film (Animated). And NONE of us have seen either one. AWESOME.

Anywho, while surfing through some move websites preparing for this weekend’s festivities, I came across a treasure trove of Oscar trivia that I thought was pretty cool. Read on, sir, for some unbelievable, face rockin’ tidbits about the Academy Awards and those who win them.

# The first Academy Awards ceremony was in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and was hosted by Douglas Fairbanks and William deMille. Tickets cost $5 and the attendance was 270 people.
# In the beginning, the winners list was sold to the newspapers prior to the ceremony for publication. In 1940, guests could buy the 8pm LA Times edition and read who won each award. This lead to the sealed envelopes system in 1941.
# NBC first televised the ceremony in 1953 (25th Academy Awards)
# Longest Award Ceremony was the 2001 Academy Awards hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. It lasted 4 hours and 16 minutes but, thanks to Whoopi, felt like 36 hours.
Oscars 2004# Walt Disney holds the record for having the most Academy Awards: 22 won, and 4 honorary.
# Jessica Tandy at age 80 is the oldest person to ever win (for Driving Miss Daisy) an Academy Award.
# Tatum O’Neal at age 10 is the youngest person to ever win (for Paper Moon) an Academy Award.
# Katharine Hepburn is the only person to win more than 3 major Awards (four times for Leading Actress) (1933 Morning Glory, 1967 Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, 1968 The Lion in Winter and in 1981 On Golden Pond .)
# James Dean is the only actor to receive a nomination after death. Dean was killed in a traffic accident in 1955, but was nominated in 1956 for East of Eden and 1957 for Giant.
# Only three movies have swept the top 5 awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay): It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Silence of the Lambs.
# Only three movies have been nominated for the top 5 awards and missed by one win: American Beauty (didn’t win Best Actress), Annie Hall (didn’t win Best Actor), Gone With the Wind (didn’t win Best Actor)
# Only three Best Picture winners have achieved a ‘clean sweep’ at the Oscars, winning every award for which they were nominated: Gigi (nine nominations and awards), The Last Emperor (nine), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (eleven).
# John Cazale, the man who played Fredo Corleone, holds the distinction of being the only actor whose every film was nominated for best picture (The Godfather, The Conversation, Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, The Deer Hunter). After his death, Cazale appeared in archive footage in Godfather Part III, which was also nominated for Best Picture. Fredo no longer brings shame to the family.
Oscar Statue
# The film with the most nominations without a best picture nomination: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They with 9 nominations.
# Actress Bess Flowers has appeared in the most Best Picture winners: 5. Number I actually saw: 1.

Hope you enjoyed the trivia. Have a good week and weekend everyone and we’ll talk on the other side.

Peace.

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Oscars Wild: Oscar nominations for 2006

Posted in Academy Awards, humor, movies, Oscars with tags , , , , on January 25, 2007 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

Well, it’s mid-January and everyone should be girding their loins for two of my favorite beginning-of-the-year events. First is the SuperBowl on Feb 4. My boy Peyton Manning takes on the phenomenal defense of the Chicago Bears. Should be a good matchup. After the SuperBowl is the Academy Awards.

Being movie buffs, the wife and I love the Oscars. For several years we threw Oscars parties and everyone would contribute 5 bucks to the betting pool. We printed out ballots and had everyone select who they thought the winners were going to be and the one with the most points wins the whole she-bang. As a tie breaker you had to pick the running time of the show without going over. It’s a lot of fun and makes categories like Best Foreign Language Film or Documentary Feature a little more exciting. We didn’t throw the party last year but we are thinking about doing it this year.

Well, the Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday. As usual, there are some oversights and a few, “They nominated wha?!”. Since I obviously know better than the Academy, I thought I’d take a stroll through some of the academy’s decisions this year. You may disagree with many or all of my comments, but these are only my opinions. We may very well have wildly differing tastes in movies. I just ask that you take this list in jest. Moving on to some nominees…..


Best Leading Actor:
Leonardo DiCaprio – Blood Diamond – This is nice, but I would have put his performance in The Departed here instead. He’s good in Blood Diamond, but better in The Departed.
Ryan Gosling – Half Nelson – The dude from Notebook was in another movie? Who knew?
Peter O’Toole – Venus – This is a fabulous choice by the Academy, as O’Toole is a fine actor. It’s too bad I’ve never even HEARD of the movie Venus. Is it about the planet, or the goddess of love? And why should I care?
Will Smith – Pursuit of Happyness – Does it bother anyone else that they misspelled Happiness in the movie title? Anyone?
Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland – What’s with the wierd movie titles? Forest plays Idi Amin who, last I checked, was black and not from Scotland.

Best Leading Actress:
Penelope Cruz – Volver – Um. Okay. Did I go to bed and wake up in Spain? WTF?! Yahoo Movies says it’s a generational story of three women set in Spain. It might as well have said ‘Don’t Watch Me, I Suck’.
Judi Dench – Notes on a Scandal – I think Judi Dench puts in all of her contracts that she will be nominated for her performance. That’s just how she rolls.
Helen Mirren – The Queen – Excellent choice. Saw this last weekend. Phenomenal performance.
Meryl Streep – The Devil Wears Prada – The Devil Wears Prada is now an oscar nominated movie? I think Meryl Streep might also be on the must-nominate list. She could star in the auto-biography of Carrot-Top, playing Carrot-Top, and still be nominated.
Kate Winslet – Little Children – I love Kate Winslet. She’s gorgeous and a wonderful actress. However, despite being in roughly 20 movies since Titanic in 1997, off the top of my head I can remember only 2. Of those 2 I can remember, I’ve seen only 1. This isn’t either one of those.

Best Picture:
Babel - Even the trailers for this look bad. The plot description on Internet Movie Database begins ‘A poor Morrocan family acquires a rifle to protect their goats…’ Sounds like a winner, but I’ll be in Theater 2 watching Pirates of the Caribbean 3.
The Departed - This is what I’m talkin’ bout, Academy. More like this, please.
Letters from Iwo Jima - I can understand why this made it. I haven’t seen it, but I don’t like war movies, or war veteran movies, so I have no interest. You could also substitute United 93 or World Trade Center here. Same thing.
Little Miss Sunshine - I’m speechless that this little gem of a movie made it to Best Picture. Wonderful cast, funny dialogue, crazy situations. Something the Academy should recognize more. Nicely done.
The Queen - Another wonderfully acted movie. I’m happy that Mirren is recognized above, but I’m sad Michael Sheen who plays Tony Blair is not also recognized (as Supporting Actor, not Best Actress). He is just as good as Mirren.

Best Director:

Babel – Goat protecting gets a best director. Really?
The Departed – Scorsese. Represent, yo!
Letters from Iwo Jima – Sentimental. Patriotic. Yada yada.
The Queen – Good choice.
United 93 – Wha? So you are saying Little Miss Sunshine is a better movie but United 93 has a better director? Whatever, dude.

Some quick shots on other categories:

Mark Wahlberg in The Departed for Supporting Actor? Not that he was bad, but his character disappears halfway through the movie. A better choice would have been Jack Nicholson in The Departed. He was awesome (and I don’t really even like him). I’m a little sad that no other actor in The Departed is recognized for their performance. They were all spot on.

The movie An Inconvenient Truth got a nod for Best Original Song? It’s a documentary. About the weather. I guess Dreamgirls didn’t have a fourth song to nominate.

Borat got a nom for Best Adapted Screenplay? ADAPTED? From what? Is there a Borat novel out there I’m unaware of? Or a Broadway play, maybe?

I’m loving that American Idol alum Jennifer Hudson has a nomination for Best Supporting Actress and Beyonce “You Must Not Know ’bout Me” Knowles got nothing.

As usual the Academy nominated a bunch of stuff most of America will never get to see, so it keeps things interesting. Bottom line, like what you like, not what the Academy tells you to like. If Dreamgirls is your Best Picture, then so be it. If Borat was your Best Picture, then fine. No one can tell you what a better movie is. It’s all subjective.

Regardless, this year should be a good broadcast. Check it out on February 25, 2007 at 8pm EST.

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