On the whole, I thought last night’s Oscars were a great time and Seth Macfarlane proved a good, deprecating host. Sure, some jokes laid flat but when they did, he had the presence to comment on it. Plus, he didn’t go in for all that Bruce Villanch-style humor, which really aided the festivities.
However, it’s worth noting that my view of the ceremony is skewed because it was DVR-aided. See, I had an indoor-soccer game that ran over the first hour or so of the ceremony so by the time I got home, I had a good buffer to get me through the musical numbers, which were many. However, when my buffer ran out, just about the time the Les Mis musical number was going on, I got up and wandered off and emptied the dishwasher and reloaded it.
Still, all in all it was a good ceremony and at just about 3 1/2 hours, it wasn’t the longest ever. Continue reading
So, since I’ve already shared my thoughts on the Best Picture race , I see no reason not to share my thoughts on the other big races as well, and, having seen most of them, I suppose I have a somewhat valid soapbox upon which to stand. So, here goes:
Best Picture - Argo
See here for the explanation as to why. Continue reading
(NOTE: This post has been slightly modified to serve as the Best Picture Project entry for 2012)
Since I started the Best Picture Project – so many years ago now it’s becoming somewhat pathetic how long it’s taking me to complete it – I’ve posted every year at Oscar time about the Best Picture race and my preferences for the films in the race. In some ways, the post behaves very much as a true Best Picture Project post behaves and in that it tends to evaluate all the films and stands as my take on all the films. Since that’s the usual plan, I’ll do my best to make sure that this one can be seen that way.
So here it is, the Best Picture Race 2012, as seen through the eyes of the Best Picture Project. Continue reading
Directed by Mel Gibson
Screenplay by Randall Wallace
Starring Mel Gibson, Brendan Gleeson, Patrick McGoohan and Sophie Marceau
Most of you know by now – at least my few, regular, cherished readers do – that I’ve been doing the Best Picture Project on and off for an ungodly number of years. To fill the space between those posts I’ve put in lists, product placements, and anything else I could think of. If I didn’t, months might pass between some of the posts in that series. Well, to be more regular with the posting, I started up a series called Terse Book Reviews. Obviously, these are what they are called – Terse Book Reviews. Continue reading
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by David Webb Peoples
Starring Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, Richard Harris, Saul Rubinek and Frances Fisher
Clint Eastwood’s career behind the camera had always been something of a grab bag prior to Unforgiven in that, when you stuck your hand in, you never quite knew what you were gonna get. Sometimes, you’d put your hand in and pull out High Plains Drifter or The Outlaw Josey Wales – both of which could make for a very good movie-night. Other times you’d stick your hand in and get bit by crud like Sudden Impact or The Rookie. Continue reading
Directed by Ron Howard
Written by Akiva Goldsman, based on the Sylvia Nasar book
Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Josh Lucas and Paul Bettany
Not all that long ago I covered the awful 2000 film Gladiator for the Best Picture Project and mentioned I thought Russell Crowe won an Oscar for the wrong film. Usually the Academy gets it wrong and honors an actor (or director) for some lesser work later in the career, usually to make up for overlooking them earlier in their career. Think about Al Pacino winning for Scent of a Woman but going empty-handed for everything he did in the 70s; Martin Scorcese taking gold for The Departed and not Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or Goodfellas; or Kate Winslet winning for The Reader despite previously being overlooked for Little Children and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. These are but three, but the list goes on. Continue reading
Directed by Sam Mendes
Written by Alan Ball
Starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper, Mena Suvari, Allison Janney, Peter Gallagher and Scott Bakula
I love American Beauty and couldn’t be more pleased it was chosen as Best Picture, especially since it represents the one time in the last fifteen years where the Academy was really tempted to hang it’s hat on another picture – one that was less abrasive, less divisive, had less murder, drugs, Lolita storylines, and infidelity – and chose instead to honor the more challenging film. Continue reading
Directed by Ridley Scott
Screenplay by David Franzoni, John Logan and William Nicholson
Starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris and Connie Nielsen
I am not a fan of Gladiator and never have been – there’s no point in burying the lead so there it is, right up front. Ever since I first saw the movie in theaters, after it was already on its way to being a massive box office success, I’ve been nothing but disappointed in it and it shouldn’t surprise anybody I’ve only seen it three total times in my life. The first was in the theater, where my opinion was formed. The second, when it first came out on video, when I watched it again to see if maybe I’d gotten it wrong – I hadn’t. The third was for this project. Continue reading
Directed and Written by Michel Hazanavicius
Starring Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo
Unlike my wife and daughter, I am no movie snob. For my wife, she refuses to see anything that requires subtitles – so no Truffaut and Herzog for her. For my daughter, anything in black and white is out the window, which means just about any movie made before 1960 is out. It makes me sad to think of the great films her snobbery will deprive her of.
Anyway, though I’m not snob, and though I love silent films as much as anybody – my particular favorite is The General, though I’m also partial to Harold Lloyd – I’ve got to acknowledge that watching a silent film is exhausting. Unlike a ‘talkie’, where the story is told in sounds and images, silent films require so much more attention and fidelity to the image on screen that it can literally where you out.
This, ultimately, is my problem with The Artist. Continue reading
Some months ago I wrote a post about the longest surviving Oscar winners, one of who was Ernest Borgnine. Obviously, with his recent death, that post will have to be changed to reflect his passing.
As of this writing, the longest surviving Oscar winner in the Best Actor category is Maximillian Schell, for Judgment at Nuremberg, 1961.