Tag Archives: Academy Awards

Fantastic Mr. Anderson

My love affair with Mr. Wes Anderson began when, in a fit of insomnia that plagued my early high school, I watched The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. As far as I can see, Anderson is best watched in a dream-like state because if you aren’t there already, he will slowly nudge you until his oddly juxtaposed orchestration of a sixties pop song and denouement in the film finally lulls you completely in the fantasy worlds that he creates.

And creates he does in his new film Fantastic Mr. Fox. This movie is basically Life Aquatic, Tenenbaums, Ocean’s 11 and Old Mother West Wind stories put together.
Once again Anderson focuses on what he does best and doesn’t stray too much. At the center, a dysfunctional, albeit loving, family with a disillusioned patriarch who has seen better days. But in animation maybe Anderson had found the entry point to the mainstream that big name stars haven’t been to give him.
In Fox, Anderson still has the wit and subversiveness that 20-somethings and up love, but the story of a child being misunderstood by his father would resonate with anyone one 12 and under.
Still even the patriarch is slightly more lovable than the abusive Royal Tenenbaum or distant Steve Zissou. That may be, of course, because Mr. Fox, is a fox. And fact: furry animals are just more lovable.
So the acid tongued wife and sassy adolescent get away with unlikeable nature that would be off putting in a children’s movie, but perfect in an Anderson movie, simply because their red fur and awkwardly gangly legs that remind the viewer of Anderson’s skinny chicken legs, are so darn cute.

With everyone Anderson archetype filled by his regulars of over-the-top actors, Fantastic Mr. Fox may be his first non live-action film, but I believe Mr. Anderson could find a long career in children’s movies. For the past decade he’s been making movies for adults for the neglected child within. I wish he would continue to work with Roald Dahl books because this is by far the best adaptation I’ve seen.


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Oscar Buzz

K, so I know it is November, but I am so excited about award season! Golden Globes are less than two months away. and I’m so ready.
I get really competitive with Oscar Pools, so I’ve already started my research. Here my picks for nominees.

Best Picture
1. Inglourious Bastards-As much as I hate Tarentino and what he stands for [annoying loud, plot driven, but not really, movies] with 10 nominations this year, I don’t think there is a way around this being nominated.
2. Precious-I’ve heard this film being called “this year’s Slumdog.” I’d like to remind everyone that Slumdog almost didn’t get theatrical release. It almost went to straight to DVD. While not a huge star vehicle, Precious is still more mainstream then Slumdog. Nevertheless, it will no doubt garner a nomination, but may fall into the trap of indie movies winning Best Screenplay in lieu of Best Picture, i.e. American Beauty, Almost Famous, Gosford Park, Lost in Translation, Eternal Sunshine, Crash, Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, Milk.
3. Up-Possibly my favorite movie this year. I’m biased. My experience seeing it was right around my graduation, and my entire family came to it with us. So we had a row a Kearneys looking up in headache inducing 3-d glasses and fogging them up as we cried our eyes out.
4. Nine-Star-studded cast. Let me rephrase that. Star-Studded cast of people who can actually act. Literally everyone is in this movie. It is like a modern day, coed, musical A Bridge Too Far. While musicals don’t always fair well, Rob Marshall’s name will probably prick the ears of voters.
5. Up in the Air-George Clooney and Jason Reitman team up. I adore both of them. Any time George Clooney falls in love is a good one.
6. The Lovely Bones. I’m pretty sure I’m the only girl my age who hasn’t read this book. But Peter Jackson’s project has piqued my interest.

7. A Serious Man-Coen Brothers always have something for us to watch. I don’t usually get it. or know what I’m watching. But it is interesting.
8. It’s Complicated-My favorite for a comedic live-action nod. Though I would still say Up is a drama. Blubbered like a baby. Meryl, Alec and Steve? Mention Meryl during Oscar season and swoons should occur. Alec has been getting more and more rave reviews about 30 Rock and Steve seems to have found his way out of campy, broad comedy [Why did you make Cheaper by the Dozen?]
9. Invictus-Nelson Mandela story with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Political, but not really? It’s Academy gravy. Plus it is directed by Clint Eastwood, another recent Academy favorite.
10. In lieu of a tenth nomination, I am going to explain why I think 10 nominations is about as ridiculous as instant replay in baseball.

How is the Academy going to pick 10 films?!?
My mind has been trained to pare down any given year of films into five best, most deserving. I don’t care what people say, The Dark Knight, while awesome, was not the best film of the year in 2009 for the Academy. It wasn’t. While the Academy has prestige, and the seemingly definite answer on what was the “Best Picture” of the year, remember these are the people who pickedShakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan or even Life is Beautiful.
I understand the Academy wants more people to watch the show or whatever. But I think what is going to happen is that more indie, obscure films will be nominated. I mean, of the five or so top box office hits this year, Up has the best change of getting a nod for Best Picture.Transformers? Here’s hoping for a nod in Sound Editing. But with a Rob Marshall music out and Terminator? A win is still up for grabs]

Best Actress
1. Gabourey Sidibe-I haven’t seen Precious yet, but I will. Maybe this weekend. And Gabourey is so sweet and personable in all of her interviews. Oscar voters will lap this up, and possibly make up for the snub of underdog movie stars of Slumdog last year.
2. Carey Mulligan-
An Education, again, haven’t seen it yet. But she’s young and an ingenue, with acting chops.

3. Meryl Streep-Julie & Julia, first off. it is an amazing movie. And while it may have been the vehicle to remind everyone that Amy Adams is more than Princess Giselle, [did you see Junebug? she was awesome and earned her first Oscar nod], Meryl makes a movie, you nominate her. She is fabulous and wonderful and sassy and feisty.
4. Penelope Cruz-Broken Embraces, Almodovar helped her be nominated for Volver in 2006, so she’ll definitely be considered again
5. I don’t know. I can’t decide between so many previous, recent winners who seem to be pulling out stellar performances again. As much as I wish Zooey Deschanel would get nominated, I think she’ll have to settle for a Globe nomination. Maybe previous Oscar winner Marion Cotillard for musical Nine.

Best Actor
1. Matt Damon-The Informant!-the mustache should win him at least a nomination.
2. Daniel Day-Lewis-Nine. Could this man be any more fabulous? He sings, he dances, he makes his own shoes. Plus being a two-time Oscar winner, just recently enough, helps.
3. Morgan Freeman-Invictus.
4. George Clooney-Up in the Air. He is beloved by the Academy. And I don’t think his turn from dramatics to dramedy will hurt him.
5. Could Colin Firth pull it off? I know quite a few high school English teachers who would rejoice in his first nomination. I’d say his role in A Single Man or Jeff Bridges’ in Crazy Heart, which is generating the right amount of buzz, at the right time. Still even Johnny Depp from Public Enemies might have a chance.
Other nominations I’d bet on;
Best Supporting Actress: Julianne Moore-this year’s Kate Winslet. How has she not won? She split her own vote in 2002 with The Hours and Far From Heaven. I would say she’ll be at least nominated, but with Mo’Nique’s out of nowhere performance in Precious, Julianne might have to wait a few more year for the win.
Original Score-Where the Wild Things Are-How cool would it be for Karen O in all over her blunt banged glory be nominated for an Oscar? Remember Three 6 Mafia won an Oscar BEFORE Martin Scorsese did.
Cinematography-Public Enemies-A combo of gun fights and costume drama plus weird lighting to contrast New York and Miami? This movie has got Cinematography in the bag as far as I’m concerned. Nine will probably get nominated because it is a musical and they tend to do well here.

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Short Films/Oscars’ Prep

I’m a sucker for disenfranchised art forms. [I know art forms have no right to vote, but if feature length films did, you bet short films would have to fight for their own enfranchisement, and I am suffering for a lack of a better word]

It is probably genetic. My mom loves short films, and my dad likes cartoon a lot, especially the Droopy ones.

Also I probably enjoy them so much because short films tend to be poignant, sweet, and well, tear-jerking. and I love a good catharsis.

Last January/February, sometime between the Oscar Nominations were released and the Oscar’s happened [HUGH JACKMAN!] I had the opportunity to see the five nominated animated short films, as well as other celebrated short animated films from that year.

This wasn’t an entirely noble plan. I am very competitive when it comes to Oscar Pools. When I was little, my dad usually won, as he works on a newspaper and read a lot more about the movies [plus saw more of them] but ever since I was all of 15, I’ve done extensive research is all categories. So the ones we usually just guess at,[Best Sound Mixing anyone?] I could get. So right now I have a threepeat going.

Another one of my goals is to see every best nominated picture before the awards show, and then the more complicated goal of seeing every picture in theaters during its original release. I haven’t achieved the first one yet, so I’ll get there first, though it will be hard this year considering there are going to be 10 nominated films!

I am slowly improving my stats, in 2007 I saw Juno in theaters, and in 2008 I saw Slumdog [winner!] and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
I also saw Chicago in theaters in 2002, but that was pure chance because I never miss musicals. I wasn’t going to see it because of the competitive edge.

Back to the origin of the post. I love short films.
I thought I would post some of my favorites.
The Dot and the Line-A Romance in Lower Mathematics
John and Karen
Lavatory Lovestory

The 1st is a classic, the 2nd I saw when I saw all the short films from 2008, but it wasn’t nominated, and the 3rd, I wanted to win, but I didn’t pick it because I knew the one that did win was better.

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