The Oscar Nominations where announced today with Martin Scorsese’s Hugo leading the way with 11 nominations and Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist coming in second with 10 nominations.
Two big potential stories that could emerge from the 84th Academy Awards on February 26th is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo could become the first ever 3D film to win best picture or the French film, The Artist could be become the first silent movie to win best picture since Wings in 1928.
In a previous blog entry (The Oscars: Niminations Predictions) I predicted the nominations for the Oscars, and to be modest I wasn’t that far off. I tried to second guess the Academy, but like they always do, the Academy threw in a few curve balls no one was expecting.
Firstly, this year saw the Academy announce that the Best Picture category could be anywhere between 5 to 10 nominees long. I predicted 8, they announced 9. The one I wasn’t expecting to be announced was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I think this caught a few people off guard. I personally haven’t seen the film, but I am aware it did receive mixed reviews. With that being said, Sandra Bullock does star in it and its common knowledge she has a lot of persuasive power in Hollywood. I can’t see it being a potential winner but it’s a shame such films like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or The Ides Of March where snubbed in favour of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
It should be quite a tight race for the Best Picture gong this year. The favourites will be Hugo and The Artist (above), but if pushed right in the media leading up to February 26th, The Descendants might be a dark horse. I don’t personally think it is the best film of the year but stranger things have happened at the Oscars.
Terrence Malick deservingly got a nomination for Best Director for his surreal film, The Tree Of Life. I had a feeling Spielberg was going to get the nod for his first world war film, War Horse. I thought the temptation of having three of the biggest named directors (Scorsese, Allen and Spielberg) all nominated would of be too much for the Academy to resist, but I believe they went in the right direction with Malick. This is a close category, but you’d have to be a brave person to bet against Scorsese picking up his second Oscar. I’m a firm believer they are trying to make it up to Scorsese for the years they snubbed him the honour for his truly great films Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and GoodFellas.
The best actor category is wide open this year. George Clooney (The Descendants, above) is the early favourite with bookmakers but will have some stiff opposition with Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and Demian Bichir (A Better Life) all up for Best Actor. The latter was a curve ball. Didn’t see it coming, nor have I watched the film, so again am in the dark on that one. But am sure this will be a close one to call, but I would personally like to see Jean Dujardin win, although Moneyball has to be one of Brad Pitt’s best performances.
I was a little disappointed to not see Tilda Swinton be nominated for Best Actress, but the Best Actress nominees where predictable. Meryl Streep and Viola Davis will be favourites going in, with Michelle Williams as an outsider. I’ve got a sneaky feeling Glenn Close may have a good chance. The Academy have a history of having a soft spot for the period drama.
In other categories, I was made up to see Jonah Hill (above, right) receive a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in Moneyball. Definitely deserved and looking at the other nominees, may well have a chance. Although people might well be cheering for Nick Nolte in this category as he earned a nomination for his performance in Warrior completing a full rehabilitated return to Hollywood after his arrest for DUI in 2002. Another one I thought was thoroughly deserved was Melissa McCarthy’s nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category for her portrayal of Megan in Bridesmaids. Without doubt the best comedy of the year, but McCarthy does face strong competition. It’s another small victory for the comedy genre at the Oscars. Hopefully one day they will honour comedy the way it deserves to be honoured.
The Best Documentary category was the big surprise for me. Couldn’t believe Senna didn’t get a nomination, nor did The Interrupters or Project Nim. Have a feeling that Senna failed to receive a nomination because it was a documentary about a sportsman unknown to the American people who was huge in a sport America don’t follow. Paradise Lost 3 was nominated and may well be the favourite and eventual winner.
All in all, the majority of the nominations where expected with a few curve balls thrown in to keep people guessing and keep people from claiming the Academy is too safe. I believe there are only three ways its going to go. One, Hugo will pick up everything. Two, The Artist will pick up everything or three, and probably most likely, they will spread the awards across a few films keeping everyone happy. I hate it when they do that.
For a full list of all the nominations, go to the Academy Awards official website;
Tomorrow morning (24th January 2012) the nominations for the 84th Academy Awards are announced. Here are my predictions for the four main categories, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.
This year will see a major shakeup in the Best Picture category. The Academy have announced that depending on how number one votes a film receives on the voters ballot paper, anywhere from five to ten films can be nominated. Which obviously makes it’s very hard to predict, but in my opinion I think they will at least nominate eight films.
Anyway, here’s my predictions…
- The Artist
- The Descendants
- Midnight In Paris
- The Help
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- The Ides Of March
Other Possible Nominees; The Tree Of Life, Drive, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, War Horse and Bridesmaids
- Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
- Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
- Alexander Payne (The Descendants)
- Woody Allen (Midnight In Paris)
- Steven Spielberg (War Horse)
- George Clooney (The Descendants)
- Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
- Michael Fassbender (Shame)
- Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
- Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
- Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
- Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin)
- Viola Davis (The Help)
- Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)
- Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs)
Here are 4 films I personally believe to be overrated. I’m not saying they are bad films, or suggesting you should in anyway stay away from these films, am just personally saying I just don’t think they are as good as they are made out to be. By the way, I haven’t put them in an order.
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Firstly, I like this film a lot. It’s a brilliant film. But in my opinion, it isn’t Scorsese’s best film, a tag it is often given. It doesn’t hold a candle to the intensity of Taxi Driver or the beautiful imagery of Raging Bull. Scorsese has this reputation, a false one, of being a “gangster film” director. Out of the 22 feature films Scorsese has directed, 3 of them are gangster films (Goodfellas, Casino and Mean Streets). For me Goodfellas is a little predictable, and standard when it comes to the gangster genre, and that isn’t a bad thing. It just doesn’t measure up to Scorsese’s other real, gritty, in your face slices of gangster life. Goodfellas is too polished, too perfect. With Mean Streets, Scorsese made a big noise in cinema. His style was a breathe of fresh air, it gave us the arrival of Robert DeNiro as Johnny Boy and for me Harvey Kietel’s best performance. With Casino, its brash, its big, it loud and it’s violent. But most of all it feels very real. A geniune snippet of mob run casino life. Casino also has great performances from DeNiro and Pesci, but Sharon Stone steals the show. Watch Goodfellas, but if you have the choice watch Mean Streets or Casino first, then you’ll see what I mean.
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF
Directed by John Hughes
It’s one of them films you always see the DVD of in any shop you go into. (American Gangster is also the same) So the fact that I always see it put me off ever buying it. I’d heard loads about it being cult classic comedy, blah blah, then one night I noticed it was on TV. I decided I’d give it a go. Even if it was rubbish, I wouldn’t turn over. So, I watched the whole movie. Didn’t think it was great, but at the same time didn’t think it was awful. Just average. The problem I have with it is, it’s not funny. For a comedy thats bad. The Ferrari bit is suppose to be the funniest/shocking bit and it wasn’t either really. Maybe am being harsh, it probably was shocking when it first came out, but its definitely not funny. You see it coming 5 minutes before it happens. Also the scene when he sings in the parade, bad.
THE DARK KNIGHT
Directed by Christopher Nolan
I know people who went to watch this film four or five times at the cinema. I couldn’t even make it through one viewing because I feel asleep. The middle part of the film is boring. The opening scene is one of the best opening scenes to a film I’ve seen in years, potentially ever. It sets you up expecting more of the same throughout. But it doesn’t deliver. Christian Bale as Batman is laughable. His Batman voice is bad, very bad. The only shining light is Heath Ledger. It is a career defining performance, and he did deserve his posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
STAND BY ME
Directed by Rob Reiner
I only recently watched this film. I had wanted to watch it for years, but never got round to watching or never saw it to buy. When I did finally get round to watching it I felt a little robbed. “Was that it?” I found myself asking. I don’t know whether I was expecting too much or what, but it didn’t feel like a classic. It felt pretty mundane to be honest. The performances where fine, the overall look of the film is fine, I just think the script lacked a bit of substance. There are odd funny quotes here and there and bits where you chuckle to yourself a bit, I don’t know this film just kind of passed me by.
Just like my Top 10 Favourite films post, this my favourite documentaries that I have watched over and over. They have inspired me and given me a passion for this medium. I love documentaries, sometimes I love documentaries more than a good film. The documentaries I love are the ones that reveal a story, whether it’s shocking or not, these are stories that we wouldn’t have any chance of hearing. Stories that may of simply passed us by or we where too young to remember them, I do believe a lot the films in my list fall into that category.
Directed by Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
“Catfish” treads the line between real life drama and exploitation, which may sit uneasy for some viewers, but it’s timing fits perfectly with todays’s digital revolution. It’s authenticity has always been questioned since it’s release, whether you believe its fraud or genuine, you can’t escape it’s mysterious and gripping subject matter.
Directed by Andrew Jarecki
What I took away from this documentary was that first impressions can’t always best trusted and the truth rests with each person telling their story. Director Andrew Jarecki certainly does that with this film. You hear every member of the families opinion. The film leaves you to decide who is guilty and who isn’t. To put it polity, the Freidmans are quite a bizarre family.
Directed by Seth Gordon
I have always had an opinion of gamers that has been made cemented into place with this film. This film stands as a piece of evidence to me. I have no problem with gamers, let me just clear that up. I just find it fascinating how people can be so transfixed and obsessed with what is simply a computer generated image, I just don’t get it. But then again they could say the same for me being obsessed with films, fair point. It’s a totally different world, universe even, but it so interesting to see adults do battle over an arcade Donkey Kong game, and make it put to be life or death. Brilliant.
Directed by Henry Alex Rubin & Dana Adam Shapiro
An entertaining and gripping documentary that shows being confined to a wheelchair doesn’t mean the fun has to end. These guys are brutal. Follows the USA Rugby wheelchair team on their quest to beat their biggest rivals, Canada, to Olympic gold.
Directed Asif Kapadia
Film featured at number 1 in my Top 10 Documentary Films of 2011 and it throughly deserves its place in this list. It truly is a moving story of one of the most dominating drivers in Formula One. A true inspiration and sporting icon who’s life was sadly taken in a tragic accident in May 1994.
Directed by Kevin MacDonald
Frightening. Viscous. Cold. You feel every single fall, stumbled and bone crack. If Tarantino was to make a documentary, this would be it. How he made it back? I’ll never know. Sheer determination and a stubbornness not to die alone was probably his main motivation.
Directed by Errol Morris
One of the best movies of the 80’s. The film concerns the November 28th 1976 murder of Police officer Robert W. Wood. This documentary does what is widely considered a big “no no” in this film medium, reconstructions. Morris reenacted every single second of the murder of the police officer in great detail. Brilliantly executed film.
Directed by Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky
HBO produced, this film isn’t for the faint hearted. I wasn’t quite expecting the images at the beginning of the film, quite disturbing. In my honest opinion, I don’t think the three teenagers done the crime, a lot of evidence seems to be missing and the evidence they present is very speculative. Don’t take my word, be your own judge.
Directed by Michael Moore
I get that Michael Moore isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I bet you those people have watched his films, and where completely engaged in them, if that’s the case, Moore has done his job hasn’t he? In this film he deals with the Columbine school massacre and America’s gun culture. It’s a must see just for the ending. It was my favourite documentary until 2008.
Directed by James Marsh
This film is why “Bowling For Columbine” isn’t number 1. The Oscar winning “Man On Wire,’ follows the story of tight rope walker, Philippe Petit, who on August 4th 1974 walked a tight rope between the north and south towers of the World Trade Center. The film details how Petit and his team of followers painstakingly organised and snuck up all 110 floors of the towers without anyone batting an eyelid. The images of him walking across are phenomenal yet gut wrenching. Philippe Petit is a character filmmakers dream of, compelling, funny, charming, yet completely mad.
Other documentaries that didn’t quite make my list, but I highly recommend; Roger & Me • Bus 174 • Fahrenheit 9/11 • Exit Through The Gift Shop • Inside Job • Biggie & Tupac • Kurt & Courtney • Sicko • Jesus Camp • Gasland • March Of The Penguins • Dogtown and Z-Boys • Food, Inc. • Super Size Me • Hoop Dreams • Grizzly Man
Now am not trying to claim that these are the greatest 10 films ever made, because who can really do such a thing!? But these are the 10 films I have loved ever since I first saw them and have watched over and over and have hugely influenced my own films. Don’t get me wrong some of these would be considered some of the greatest films ever made, but that’s not what I am doing, hence “favourite” in the title.
10. RAGING BULL
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Phenomenal directing by Scorsese and an even better performance from De Niro. De Niro won an Oscar for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta but we all know Scorsese should of picked himself up an Oscar too. When I first watched it I actually didn’t even notice it was in black and white, which at the time (1980) was a huge gamble by Scorsese.
“You punch like you take it up the ass.” - Jake LaMotta
9. DO THE RIGHT THING
Directed by Spike Lee
I’ve been a fan of Spike Lee’s films for quite a while, I love his unique style and use of blues music intertwined with the rap music of the day. This is without doubt his masterpiece. Not only is Lee a great director but he isn’t a bad actor either as he plays the lead role, Mookie.
“Whoa. Y’all take a chill. You got to cool that shit off. And that’s the double-truth, Ruth.” - Mister Senor Love Daddy
Directed by Richard Linklater
I knew nothing about this film when I first watched it, and it took me about half hour into it to realise that there wasn’t really a story to the film. The film follows numerous teenage twenty something’s around all day, it’s that simple. Completely original and even though there is really any plot, its very engaging. One of the true great independent films.
“Uh, I don’t do much really, I just read, and work here, and, uh, sleep and eat, and, uh, watch movies” - Anti-Artist
7. DOUBLE INDEMNITY
Directed by Billy Wilder
In my opinion the best film noir film ever made. True film making. Would stand tall against any modern day film. Gripping story, fantastic acting and brilliant directing. What more can you say?
“Do I laugh now, or wait ‘til it gets funny?” - Walter Neff
6. BREATHLESS (A BOUT DE SOUFFLE)
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
The film that started a revolution. Jean-Luc Godard’s new wave masterpiece. This film is cool, at the end of it you want to be Michel Poiccard. Godard made a big noise with this film and help changed cinema in the 1960’s.
“Don’t use the brakes. Cars are made to go, not to stop!” - Michel Poiccard
5. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Visually amazing, with dramatic use of metaphors. Brilliantly acted, River Pheonix’s best performance and in my opinion one the best scripts ever written. Gus Van Sant has a big influence on my own work.
“This is a nice home. Do you live here?… I don’t blame you.” - Mike Waters
4. RESERVOIR DOGS
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
The greatest independant film ever made, ever! From a video store assistant to one of the biggest film director’s in the world, its safe to say Reservoir Dogs turned Tarantino’s life upside down, and the film industry. If you haven’t seen this film then what have you been watching?
Mr. Pink: “Hey, why am I Mr. Pink?”
Joe: “Because you’re a faggot!”
3. BLOOD SIMPLE
Directed by The Coen Brother’s
The debut film from the Coen Brother’s. I know people will argue it isn’t their best, which to some degree I can agree with, but this is by far there most grittiest film. The music is amazing, (the Coen’s would prove in later films that they have a knack for picking great scores), an amazing performance by M. Emmett Walsh and brilliant camera work from Barry Sonnenfeld. A must watch film.
“You know, a friend of mine a while back broke his hand and put it in a cast. Very next day, he falls, protects his bad hand, and he breaks his good one. So he breaks it too, you know. So, now he’s got two busted flippers. So, I says to him: “Creighton,” I says. “I hope your wife really loves you, because for the next five weeks, you can’t even wipe your own god damn ass.” - Visser
2. DEAD MAN’S SHOES
Directed by Shane Meadows
What do you get if you mix the best British director around and one of the best British actors around? Magic. Ok, it’s a bit gruesome, all essential to the story, but it does tug at the heart strings come the films finale. Toby Kebbell plays Anthony and for me steals the show. Can’t recommend this film enough.
“You were supposed to be a monster, now I’m the fucking beast. There’s blood on my hands, from what you made me do.” - Richard
1. TAXI DRIVER
Directed by Martin Scorsese
My opinion, the perfect movie. Genius directing. Amazing script. The greatest performance ever. I could talk all day about this film, but I won’t. I’ll keep if short and simple, if you haven’t seen it, forget the other nine and watch this one. This film made me want to be a filmmaker.
Other films that didn’t quite make the list; Pulp Fiction • Coffee and Cigarettes • Pi (π) • Fargo • Mala Noche • A Woman Is A Woman • Passion Of Anna • Raising Arizona • Mean Streets • Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead • True Romance •