Category Archives: Awards Season

oscar predictions 2013


Here are my predictions for the major categories. I’ll be posting my predictions for the other categories on the liveblog!

Will win: “Argo”
Possible upset: “Lincoln”
Dark Horse: “Silver Linings Playbook”


This category is still pretty much up in the air. For a while it seemed like a J-Law J-Cha race, but don’t be surprised if Riva, the oldest nominee (ever!) for Best Actress sneaks in and takes the award.

Will win: Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook”
Possible upset: Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty”
Dark Horse: Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour”

Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis for “Lincoln”
Possible upset: Daniel Day-Lewis for “Lincoln” (If anyone had a glimmer of a chance it would be Hugh Jackman)
Dark Horse: Daniel Day-Lewis for “Lincoln”

Will win: Anne Hathaway for “Les Miserables”
Possible upset: Sally Field for “Lincoln”
Dark Horse: Helen Hunt for “The Sessions”


This category is the biggest unknown this year. I’d say all nominees except Arkin have a serious shot at winning.

Will win: Robert De Niro for “Silver Linings Playbook”
Possible upset: Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln”
Dark Horse: Christoph Waltz for “Django Unchained”


While Argo has the most momentum going for Best Picture, it’s director Ben Affleck was not nominated for Best Director which leaves this category up in the air. Ang Lee might win his second Oscar for his beautiful adaptation of Life of Pi, a book many thought would struggle to translate on film. Spielberg could also be applauded for his restrained directing for Lincoln.

Will win: Ang Lee for “Life of Pi”
Possible upset: Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln”
Dark Horse: Michael Haneke for “Amour”

Will win: “Argo”
Possible upset: “Lincoln”
Dark Horse: “Silver Linings Playbook”

Will win: “Amour”
Possible upset: “Zero Dark Thirty”
Dark Horse: “Django Unchained”

Will win: “Wreck-It Ralph”
Possible upset: “Brave”
Dark Horse: “Frankenweenie”


This one is a no brainer.

Will win: “Amour”
Possible upset: “Amour”
Dark Horse: “Amour”


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review: les misérables

Anne Hathaway as Fantine (AP Photo/Universal Pictures)

Anne Hathaway as Fantine (AP Photo/Universal Pictures)

Let me start by warning you that Les Misérables is one of my favourite musicals of all time — in fact, perhaps my favourite musical, period. Thus, my perception of Director Tom Hooper’s film adaptation is viewed through the tinted glasses of a die-hard fan:

Adapting the stage show based on the lengthy novel by Victor Hugo is no easy feat, and while this film is not perfect, Hooper has captured the original show’s immense impact and its powerful themes of sacrifice, redemption, love and compassion. From the sweeping shots of a decrepit 19th century Paris to the intimate close-ups on a tragic prostitute reflecting on her life, Hooper shows a true understanding of what makes this musical so powerful: one minute it fills you with revolutionary fervour, and the next, with tears. Les Mis needed a gutsy filmmaker to bring the musical from stage to screen, and Hooper’s brave choices – including the daring decision to have his performers sing live on set – really pay off. The live singing, a novel technique, allows each vocal performance to resonate much more deeply. These raw vocal performances combined with Tom Hooper’s often critiqued extreme closeups truly allows you to connect with each character.

Hugh Jackman is an absolute wonder as the convict Jean Valjean. He truly is the heart and soul of the film and delivers a masterful and Oscar-worthy performance. Jackman will definitely be giving Daniel Day-Lewis’s Lincoln a run for his money.  Anne Hathaway’s role as the factory worker turned prostitute Fantine is very small but her performance is absolutely mighty, and is sure to garner her an Oscar nomination (and a likely win). Hathaway’s “I Dreamed a Dream” is a total showstopper – she brutally slays the song with immense force and pain and made this die-hard fan feel like I was experiencing the song  for the first time. Russell Crowe is surprisingly sympathetic as Javert, the relentless policeman chasing Valjean across the years. At first Crowe seems slightly out of place in the company of powerful performers such as Jackman, Hathaway, and Aaron Tveit (who delivers a very strong performance as the revolutionary Enjorlas). However, while Crowe lacks the vocal power of the Javerts of the West End and Broadway, his voice has a calculated control to it which I believe actually suits Javert’s dutiful nature and desire for order.  Eddie Redmayne, as Marius, a young student torn between newfound love and his revolutionary cause, is surprisingly talented. While many have been aware of this Cambridge-educated actor’s strong acting chops for the past few years, Redmayne’s vocal performance cements him as a breakthrough star. Redmayne’s solo, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” is heartbreaking. Samantha Barks is a revelation as Eponine. Her part seemed smaller than I remembered it from the show, which was a shame because Barks is incredibly powerful and relatable. Amanda Seyfried’s soprano voice is light and pretty, yet her performance as Cosette is the weakest of the cast (however she isn’t helped by her underdeveloped character who tends to be problematic in the stage musical as well). Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter succeed in providing much needed comic relief, although Bonham Carter’s Madame Thenardier seems to have stepped off of a Tim Burton set. And while Baron Cohen’s skill for crafting quirky characters is well used, his accent flip-flops between a strange French and Cockney brogue, and is very distracting.

As you can probably tell, the cast’s performances are the film’s strongest assets. Ultimately Les Misérables, running just under 2 hours and 40 minutes, is quite lengthy. For those who do not know the show or novel’s plot, this film adaptation can be quite an exhausting experience. The film is bombastic and unrelenting, and could have occasionally been more subtle with its themes and imagery here and there (we get it, Valjean is a Christ-like figure!). The editing is at times sloppy and jarring. However, the courageous and talented performances given by the film’s terrific cast outweigh these directorial imperfections.

P.S. Look out for a brief yet terrific performance by Colm “The Voice of God” Wilkinson as the Bishop. Wilkinson originated the role of Valjean on both Broadway and the West End.


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the oscars: who won?

BEST PICTURE Winner: The Artist

BEST ACTOR Winner: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Winner: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

BEST ACTRESS Winner: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Winner: Octavia Spencer, The Help


BEST DIRECTOR Winner: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Winner: Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Winner: The Descendants — Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash

BEST FOREIGN FILM Winner: A Separation

I predicted 9/10 of the big awards and 19/24 over all correctly. Not too shabby (I also may have won Vassar’s Oscar pool…)!  The only major prediction I got wrong was Meryl Streep’s win – I predicted, as most people probably did, that Viola Davis  would win for The Help, while I did note that Meryl was the possible upset. Thanks again to those who tuned into my LiveBlog –  it means the world to me. I hope you enjoyed Oscar night!

Here’s a link to a list of all of the winners

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here we go: liveblogging take two!

Click the link below to follow along with my liveblog of the Oscars. I have a concert tonight until 8:30 (I’ll miss the red carpet) so I actually wasn’t planning on doing the liveblog this year but I’ve had a lot of requests!

The liveblog is up!!

Click here to go to the liveblog!

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oscar predictions 2012

After 9 months of laziness, I’m back and super excited for the Oscars! Only two more days! While the Best Picture, Director and the Supporting Actor and Actress categories are practically set in stone, there is still some heavy competition in the other catagories. For example if you had asked me a month ago who I thought would win Best Actor, I would have said George Clooney – no question. But after the SAGs and Golden Globes, The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin is a serious contender.

Here are my predictions for the 10 biggest awards:

Nominees: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse

What will win: The Artist
Possible Upset: The Help

Nominees: Demián Bichir for A Better Life, George Clooney for The Descendants, Jean Dujardin for The Artist, Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Brad Pitt for Moneyball

Who will win: Jean Dujardin 
(Very) Possible Upset: George Clooney

Nominees: Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn, Jonah Hill for Moneyball, Nick Nolte for Warrior, Christopher Plummer for Beginners, Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Who will win: Christopher Plummer
Possible Upset: Are you kidding me?

Nominees: Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis for The Help, Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon TattooMeryl Streep for The Iron Lady, Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn

Who will win: Viola Davis
Possible Upset: Meryl Streep

Nominees: Bérénice Bejo for The Artist, Jessica Chastain for The Help, Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids, Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs, Octavia Spencer for The Help

Who will win: Octavia Spencer
Possible Upsets: Melissa McCarthy

Nominees: A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, Rango

Who will win: Rango
Possible Upset: Tin Tin? Oh wait…

Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist, Alexander Payne for The Descendants, Martin Scorsese for Hugo, Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris, Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life

Who will win: Michel Hazanavicius
Possible Upset: Martin Scorsese

Nominees: The Artist written by Michel Hazanavicius, Bridesmaids written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig, Margin Call written by J.C. Chandor, Midnight in Paris written by Woody Allen, A Separation written by Asghar Farhadi

Who will win: Midnight in Paris
Possible Upset: The Artist

Nominees: The Descendants Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, Hugo Screenplay by John Logan, The Ides of March Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslove and Beau Willimon, Moneyball Screenplay by Steven Zailian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Who will win: The Descendants – Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Possible Upset: Hugo – John Logan

Nominees: Bullhead (Belgium), Monsieur Lazhar (Canada), A Separation (Iran), Footnote (Israel), In Darkness (Poland)

Who will win: A Separation
Possible Upset: Monsieur Lazhar 

Who do you think will win? Who do you want to win? Check out the rest of my predictions after the jump.

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great actor, bad reputation

In the past 24 hours I’ve finally completed my goal of watching all 10 of this years Academy Award nominees for Best Picture (I had yet to watch The Fighter and embarrassingly, The King’s Speech). During this awards season, I began to root less and less for Melissa Leo –  the more awards she racked up, the more awkward and sometime inappropriate acceptance speeches she gave. Then she made matters worse after she released her own controversial “For Your Consideration” ads using strange, posed photos of her in a glittery evening gown and a fur coat. To me she seemed incredibly self centered, tasteless, and just plain obnoxious. Luckily the ads didn’t hurt her chances at the Oscars (she nabbed the award for Best Supporting Actress). But Leo’s biggest slip up occurred when she dropped an F-bomb in the middle of her speech – the first time any winner had done so when accepting an Oscar. I could not have disliked her less and did not feel that great about her win.

Then I watched The Fighter. Leo is nothing short of brilliant in her role as manager mum to the underdog welterweight boxer Micky Ward (played by underrated Mark Wahlberg). She is a force to be reckoned with, as an overbearing woman who’s hard as nails attitude and love for her sons makes her blind to their own sufferings. I loved her performance and now think she totally deserves her Oscar. But it’s still amazing how much I dislike her in real life! Anyway, I wonder how other people feel about great actors who have pretty bad reputations (Russel Crowe, Alec Baldwin and heck, even Leo’s fantastic co-star and Oscar winner Christian Bale come to mind). Does it bother you that people with such obnoxious personalities still achieve acclaim? How easy is it to ignore their rocky personal lives when they’re on film – especially when attempting to portray a likable character?

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so, now what?

And so The Oscars bring another awards season to a close. Overall the awards were quite predictable — in fact all but one big winner had won the award in their respective guild – Screen Actors, Writers and Directors. I personally wasn’t as disappointed with the Oscar telecast as a lot of film critics are (See Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman’s bash here, and Roger Ebert’s rant here.) I thought Anne Hathaway was great, Morgan Freeman and Alec Baldwin’s cameos in the opening sketch were hilarious; Kirk Douglas and James Franco’s Grandmother stole the show; and some fantastic acceptance speeches, particularly from screenplay winners Aaron Sorkin and David Seidler.

So what do we do now that award season is over? Cannes doesn’t start until May! Get creative!

Take a look at the trailer for Some Boys Don’t Leave a short film from 2009 Starring The Social Network‘s Jesse Eisenberg and newcomer Eloise Mumford. The film is about when a couple breaks up but the actual breaking up doesn’t happen. The film was selected for 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and is available for download on iTunes. I truly recommend this short but heartfelt film.

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