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 ANIMATED FILM Winner: Rango

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:

BEST PICTURE
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

BEST ACTOR
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

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
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?

BEST ACTRESS
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

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
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

BEST ANIMATED FILM
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…

BEST DIRECTOR
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

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
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

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
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

BEST FOREIGN FILM
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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list: my favourite film posters of the 21st century

Sorry for the lack of recent updates – I’m afraid that college comes first! But I’m back with a few of my favourite movie posters of this decade. I know there’s that cliche saying, ‘never judge a book by it’s cover’ – and it’s clear one shouldn’t judge a film by it’s poster – but it’s hard not to! So here’s my list, in no particular order:

Lord of War, 2005

This was one of those posters that stopped me in my tracks, and not only forced me to applaud the great design, but also to think about the film’s theme. If you have seen Lord of War I’m sure you’ll agree that this poster beautifully sums up a character who’s entire life is the weapons industry. A terrifying yet genius design.

Hard Candy, 2005

Hard Candy, an incredibly dark film about a fourteen-year-old girl (that’s supposed to be Juno’s Ellen Page in the bear trap) who attempts to expose a pedophile, would be quite difficult to express in a single image. Yet this poster does this perfectly, presenting an (innocent?), red-riding hood figure as bait for the big, bad wolf.

The Social Network, 2010

While the use of text obscuring an actor’s face isn’t new to film posters (check out the posters for Michael Clayton, I’m Still Here, I Am Love, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), the effect works wonders here. I remember seeing this poster for the first time outside a local cinema and I literally stopped in my tracks. Jesse Eisenberg’s blank stare is enough to invoke both terror and wonder, but the message imposed on his haunting face takes it to a whole other level.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin, 2005

Sure, it’s a simple design, but it’s damn memorable! The absurdity of the title and Steve Carell’s puppy-dog smile combine for a hilarious effect. Admit it, you chuckled when you saw this poster for the first time.

Lost in Translation, 2003

While there were numerous posters released for Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, this one struck me the most. A simple presentation of a lonely, vulnerable man, naked except for a robe and silly hotel slippers. Yet Bill Murray’s character looks out at us, searching for something, perhaps suggesting that he hasn’t given up just yet.

The Tree of Life, 2011

There is something about this poster for Terrence Malick’s new filme The Tree of Life that is so breathtaking – the beautiful texture of an adult hand and a baby’s foot, or the surreal glow that illuminates the skin. The idea of birth and roots is perfectly conveyed in the thin wrinkle’s on the baby’s foot.  I’m not too sure what this film is about, all I know is that it’s about a man seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life, but this breathtaking poster gives me the impression that generations, nature and spirituality will be a part of it.

What do you think? What are some of your favourite film posters?

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from king to creep?

The film world always readily anticipates a recent Oscar winner’s next mov(i)e.  In most cases, actors tend not to make the best decisions: Remember Halle Berry’s stellar choice to play Catwoman after her win for Monster’s Ball? How about Reese Witherspoon’s not-so-great flick Rendition?  Yet something tells me that we have nothing to worry about with recent Oscar winner Colin Firth.

This week, the short film Steve, actor Rupert Friend’s directorial debut opens at Aspen Shortfest, one of the world’s top short film festivals. The short stars (ex-girlfriend) Keira Knightley and Tom Mison as a couple who begin to receive frequent and strange visits from their next-door neighbour played by Firth. From what I can tell from the brief trailer, Mr. Firth is still at the top of his game. Check out the trailer below.

Creepy, no?

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list: 6 great musical moments in film from the 2000s.

Here’s a list of my top 6 musical moments in film between 2000-2009 (or at least the scenes that were available on youtube – there were some great ones from Slumdog Millionaire, Hustle & Flow, and Love Actually that I would have liked to have included…) So take a listen and look, and enjoy!

6. Ellen Page and Michael Cera, “Anyone Else But You”  (Juno, 2007)

Page and Cera serenade each other with a lovely Moldy Peaches cover at the end of the film. Just two kids in love.

5. Hall & Oates, “You Make My Dreams” ((500) Days of Summer, 2009)

This genius little musical interlude lightens up this not-a-love-story, capturing Tom’s momentary happiness after sleeping with Summer for the first time. If this scene doesn’t get your foot tapping or a smile on your face, well… then you’re just heartless.

4. Elliot Smith, “Needle in the Hay” (The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001)

A haunting choice to accompany Richie’s suicide attempt. Even more haunting considering Elliot Smith’s own death.

3. Elton John, “Tiny Dancer” (Almost Famous, 2000)

After a rough and strange night, the Stillwater gang sing Elton John’s classic, and you really believe that you are “home” with them. I’d even say  that this magical moment can sum up the feeling of the entire film.

2. The Dropkick Murphys, “Shipping Up to Boston” (The Departed, 2004)

When this Irish-American Celtic punk song blasted through the cinema, you knew this movie was about to get epic.

1.  The Shins, “New Slang” (Garden State, 2004)

One can’t think about Garden State without thinking about it’s perfect soundtrack. There are countless great musical moments to choose from in this film, from the epic scream into the ‘infinite abyss’ in the rain while Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” sweeps in, to Large’s ecstasy-trip accompanied by Zero 7’s “In the Waiting Line”. Yet it’s one of the simplest scenes that tugs at your heart the most, and as Sam says, The Shins will change your life.

So there are my picks. What are yours? Feel free to leave a comment!

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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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