Posts Tagged ‘George Clooney’

My Thoughts Regarding the 2012 Oscars

March 1, 2012

The 84th Annual Academy Awards took place on February 26 and here is the list of winners:

Best Picture: The Artist, Thomas Langmann, producer

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Cinematography: Hugo, Robert Richardson

Best Art Direction: Hugo, Dante Ferretti (production design) and Francesca Lo Schiavo (set decoration)

Best Costume Design: The Artist, Mark Bridges;

Best Makeup: The Iron Lady Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation, Iran

Best Film Editing: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

Best Sound Editing: Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

Best Sound Mixing: Hugo, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

Best Documentary Feature: Undefeated, TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay, and Richard Middlemas

Best Animated Feature: Rango, Gore Verbinski

Best Visual Effects: Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman, and Alex Henning

Best Score: The Artist, Ludovic Bource

Best Song: “Man or Muppet” (The Muppets), music and lyrics by Bret McKenzie

Best Screenplay (adapted): The Descendants, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash

Best Screenplay (original): Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen

Best Short Film (Live Action): The Shore, Terry George and Oorlagh George

Best Documentary Short Subject: Saving Face, Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Best Animated Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg

Now for my thoughts.

I’m Right (75 Percent of the Time)
I predicted in my blog entry of February 2 that Meryl Streep would win Best Actress for Iron Lady, The Artist would win Best Film or Best Director and George Clooney would win Best Actor for The Descendents. Well, Meryl Streep won Best Actress, The Artist won both Best Film and Best Director, and Jean Dujardin won Best Actor. That means, I got three out of four right. I’m better than the lottery. As for George Clooney, I’m thinking the Academy is waiting to see if he can pull off the kind of performance he gave in The Descendants again before they give him an Oscar.

The Host
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Academy for having Billy Crystal host the Oscars. He was funny, engaging and moved things along. As I said in my Twitter post of February 27, “Hire him next year, & the year after that & the year after that…”  Of course, if Crystal can’t do next year’s Oscars, how about having Anne Hathaway as host. She was great last year, good enough to host the ceremony without James Franco. Here’s an idea, Billy Crystal can do even numbered years and Anne Hathaway can do odd numbered years and in years ending in 5 or 0, they can do it together. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Finally!
Bravo to Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer. Spencer won Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Help and Plummer won Best Supporting Actor for  Beginners. Spencer, like a lot of actors, toiled in bit roles in television and movies, before being cast in The Help. Plummer had roles ranging from Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music to bank president Arthur Case in Inside Man, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he got his first Oscar nomination. It was at the 84th Academy Awards where they both finally won. Just goes to show you that hard work and class pay off.

Let’s Not Forget…
The Cirque Du Soleil tribute to the magic of movies was great. Though, I must say that I didn’t like some of the camera shots. It would have been better if they didn’t show the performance at different angles, rather just keep a straight ahead shot. Then there was Kermit and Miss Piggy. Their little skit/presentation was funny. I especially liked Miss Piggy’s comment about not being nominated, “It’s about time Spielberg left some for the rest of us.” She said. “How many Oscars does he need anyway?” Well, Spielberg was snubbed more times than he won, so he understands why Miss Piggy would be frustrated with the Academy.

Well, that’s my two cents on the 2012 Academy Awards. Will George Clooney (not to mention Miss Piggy) finally get that Oscar? Will Billy Crystal return as host? Will the Kodak Theatre get a name that will stick for more than 11 years? These and other questions will be answered next year.

Sources:
http://articles.philly.com/2012-02-27/news/31104758_1_academy-awards-winners-hugo-film-editing

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001626/

http://oscar.go.com/video/PL55173797

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My Thoughts on the 2012 Oscar Nominations

February 2, 2012

The Academy Awards nominations were announced on January 24, 2012 and here are the nominees for Best Picture:

The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse

If you want to see the entire list of nominees, you can read them here: http://www.movieweb.com/news/84th-annual-academy-awards-nominations

Now for my thoughts on the subject:

Then There Were Nine
This is the third year in a row that more than five films are up for Best Picture and I’ve grown to be not so crazy about the idea. If the Academy is going to expand one category, then it should expand the other categories, like Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, etc. Especially for an award like Best Picture, which is an icing-on-the-cake type of award. I feel that if your film has been nominated for Best Picture, it should have a few other awards, too. While films on the list are up for other awards, only two on the list are up for both Best Director and Best Actor (The Artist and The Descendants). This year none of the films in the Best Picture nominees have the quadruple nods of Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress. Getting all those nominations gives a film a cache of respectability, as well as, bragging rights of “Look how great we are.” So, I say either expand all the categories or shrink the Best Film category back to five.

“The winner is…”
I predict that Meryl Streep will win for Best Actress, The Artist will either win for Best Film or Best Director and George Clooney will squeak by with Best Actor. What makes me say those things? Simple:

1.)   Meryl Streep is due for a win. While she has been nominated 17 times, she only won twice (1980 for Kramer vs. Kramer and in 1983 for Sophie’s Choice). So, how about giving her an award for portraying a powerful woman like Margaret Thatcher.

2.)   The Artist is an artsy and nostalgia piece and the Academy loves to award art and nostalgia films as if to say, “See, things were great back then. People cared about art and so do we.” Never mind the fact that the same tension between art and commerce existed “back then” as it does now.

3.)   George Clooney’s character in The Descendants isn’t some “I’m so handsome/smart/cool” type of character. Rather he plays a widowed dad who is trying to raise his kids and keep the ancestral home from being bought by real estate developers. Maybe the Academy will reward him with an Oscar. Yet, he is up against Jean Dujardin from The Artist. So it’s an actor in an art and nostalgia film versus an actor who’s known for playing “I’m so handsome/smart/cool” types, this time not playing such a type and getting an Oscar nomination for it. Hmmm, it will be close.

And Now A Word About The Host
When I learned that Eddie Murphy would be the host of the Academy Awards, I was so happy. Finally, a host who knows how to play for laughs. While Anne Hathaway was great at last year’s show, James Franco was just there. Then came the news that Murphy left when the telecast’s producer, Brett Ratner, left. I thought, “Oh no, the show’s going to suck.” When I heard that Billy Crystal would be the host, I breathed a sigh of relief. I’ve seen him host the show before and he knows what he is doing. He’s funny and moves the telecast along. So, my fears of a host who just shows up and nothing more were, thankfully, unfounded.

The 84th Annual Academy Awards will be broadcast on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) on February 26, 2012. To learn more about the Academy Awards go to: http://oscar.go.com/

Sources:
http://www.movieweb.com/news/84th-annual-academy-awards-nominations
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000658/awards

Movie Stars Go to the Small Screen

October 27, 2011

Lately, major film stars have turned up on television shows and I’m not talking about guest appearances. Christina Ricci is on the ABC drama Pan Am. Zooey Deschanel is in the FOX sitcom New Girl. Believe it or not, back in the 1950’s and 1960’s it was verboten for movie actors to do anything on television. When the studio system dissolved, television evolved into a training ground for many, many actors. Take Sally Field, she got her start in television shows such as Gidget and The Flying Nun, then she went to movies such as Norma Rae, Places in the Heart and, yes, all those Smokey and the Bandit films. George Clooney took a similar path to film, since he learned the craft on various sitcoms before hitting the jackpot with the NBC drama ER. He then did some back and forth between film and television, before settling on film. Now, there seems to be going back and forth between television and film. In fact Sally Field went back on television, since she was on the ABC drama Brothers and Sisters. Anyway, this is interesting enough to get me thinking. (Oh geez! There you go again. You must be saying now.) So, here’s my take on this development.

It’s the Recession
While Ricci was in the Adams Family films and Deschanel was in Elf, these aren’t actress known for working in blockbusters. So, while the studios are spitting out remakes and retreads, since they are sure bets in these economic times, actresses like Ricci and Deschanel are left scrambling for work. Where can they find work? Independent films? Maybe. Yet, if they want a more regular paycheck, there’s television and that’s where they went. After all, there’s nothing wrong with following the money.

Willingness to Try Something Different
Ricci and Deschanel are both young enough to try something new without their career’s taking a big hit. If they want to grow as actresses, they should be on the lookout for roles that aren’t just “girl next door” or types they’ve done before. If these roles are found on television, then what’s the harm in signing up with a television program? Lucille Ball worked in film for 20 years before she went to television and no one faults her for making the switch.

Demographics
This applies to more to Sally Field, than to Ricci and Deschanel. The audience for film skews towards the 18 to 35 demographic. So, it can be difficult for actresses over 40 to find roles in film that aren’t just the killjoy or shrewish mom. If an actress over 40 wants to keep working and have roles that are more than just “types”, series television is a viable option.

So, if actors and actresses like Field, Deschanel and Ricci find a role that helps them to grow as artists or even if it just helps to pay their bills, more power to them. Opportunities aren’t always found where one would expect them. If doing something different helps them out, good for them. They are taking responsibility for their lives. No matter who you are or what stage of live you are in, that’s always a good thing.

Sources:
http://popwatch.ew.com/2011/09/21/new-girl-zooey-deschanel-terrible/

http://screenrant.com/pan-am-series-premiere-review-mcrid-133372/

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000398/

Successful Movie Franchises Part 2

July 28, 2011

In last week’s entry the reader was treated to tales of spies, villains and redemption. That’s right, the blog entry dealt with successful movie franchises. This week’s installment continues the story. Will good prevail? Will the hero get the girl? Read on and find out.

Batman/Superman
I combined them because they both started as comic books, then went to movie serials, then television and finally back to movies. They are also complex characters. They both lost their parents. They both are compelled to fight the good fight. Superman does it because his foster parents, the Kents instilled in him that his gifts must be used for the betterment of humanity. Batman does it because of survivor’s guilt. He saw his parents killed in a botched robbery and that spurred him to fight for justice.

While a lot could be said about the differences and similarities between the two, for now I’ll just focus on the films. As for Superman, there have been five movies about the Man of Steel, four starring the late Christopher Reeve in the title role (Superman films from 1978 to 1987) and one with actor Brandon Routh (Superman Returns). The films are:

Superman: The Movie 
1978
Superman II

1980
Superman III
1983
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
“1987
Superman Returns
2006

Since Superman Returns was such a disappointment critically and commercially, I hope there will not be another Superman movie. It had a good run, give it a rest and think of something new.

Moving along to Batman, there have been six films. Where did I get that number from? Simple I included the very campy Batman film from 1966 starring Adam West and Burt Ward (yes, the television show did spawn a movie) As for the role call of actors, Adam West, Val Kilmer and George Clooney each portrayed the Dark Knight in one film, Michael Keaton portrayed the Caped Crusader twice and with the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises Christian Bale will have portrayed Batman in three films. If you want to know  the filmography, here it is:

Batman 1966 Adam West in the title role and Burt Ward as Robin
Batman
1989 Michael Keaton in the title role and Jack Nicholson as The Joker
Batman Returns
1992 Michael Keaton in the title role, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as the Penguin
Batman Forever
1995 Val Kilmer in the title role and Chris O’Donnell as Robin
Batman + Robin
1997 George Clooney in the title role and Chris O’Donnell as Robin
Batman Begins
2005 Christian Bale in the title role
The Dark Knight
2008 Christian Bale in the title role and Heath Ledger as The Joker
The Dark Knight Rises
2012 expected release Christian Bale in the title role and Anne Hathaway as the Catwoman.

I hope The Dark Knight Rises is the last Batman movie—ever!  Director Christopher Nolan did a great job rebooting Batman and Christian Bale, like Michael Keaton, got the darkness of Batman/Bruce Wayne just right. After all, he’s not some rich guy with nothing better to do than fight bad guys. For all his wealth and for all the good that he does as Batman, Bruce Wayne cannot bring his parents back and therein lies his darkness. Still, like Superman, it had a good run. End it. Please!

Shrek
The thumb nosing tale to every Disneyesque motif out there spawned four films. Each of the films featured the voices of Mike Myers as the title character, as well as Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy. The films collectively have made over $1 billion in the U.S. Not bad for an orge, his wife and his donkey pal. In case you want to put these films in your Netflix queue, they are:

Shrek 2001
Shrek 2
2004
Shrek the Third
2007
Shrek Forever After
2010

This franchise looks like it is done. Yet, the careers of the three principal stars have stalled recently, so there just might be another one coming down the pike. Still, let’s hope the folks at Dreamworks decide not to greenlight Shrek 5: Insert Clever Subhead Here.

Spider-man
This franchise took a while to get off the ground. The motion picture rights were first purchased in 1985 but a combination of the story not being right to limits of technology delayed the movie from being made until 2000. It was finally released in 2002 with Sam Raimi as the director and Tobey Maguire as the title character. Three films where made with Raimi as the director and Maguire as Spidey and these three films made $1.1 billion dollars in the U.S. Yet Spider-man 3 got mixed reviews. So, there were plans to make a Spider-man 4, yet Sam Rami couldn’t meet the deadline of 2011. So, Sony Pictures cancelled Spider-man 4 and announced that the franchise would be rebootted with a new director and new cast. The rebootted Spider-man is expected to be released in 2012. Personally, I think it would have been better just to end the franchise with Spider-man 3. Spidey/Peter Parker battled his demons, got the bad guys and married Mary Jane Watson. There are loads of superheros in the Marvel universe, so there would be no lack of material for filmmakers to draw from. Again the list:

Spider-man 2002
Spider-man 2
2004
Spider-man 3
2007

Pirates of the Carribean
This movie franchise wasn’t based on a comic book or book or came from anyone’s imagination. This successful movie franchise is based on a ride of the same name at both Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The series stars Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush. The idea of a pirate movie based on the ride was in development at Disney since the early 1990’s. When director Gore Verbinski came on board in 2002, he wanted to marry the fun of the ride with its supernatural aspects.  Well, it came as a great surprise that the film did well, because a pirate movie had not been successful for a very long time. To date the films have made over $1.2 billion in the U.S. That’s a lot of yo, ho, ho-ing and it won’t end because Johnny Depp has signed on for a fifth Pirates movie.

You know what is below:

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
2006
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
2007 (Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End were filmed simultantiously.)
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 2011

Thus ends the tale of the movie franchise. Tune in next time for another exciting tale from the world of movies, collecting and pop culture, brought to you by a Generation X’er with many writing credits and not to mention many movie posters for sale.

Sources:
http://www.supermanhomepage.com/other/other.php?topic=bizarro-files

http://gothamknightsonline.forumotion.com/t106-how-many-batman-movies-are-there-and-what-are-their-names

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=shrek.htm

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=spiderman.htm

http://spiderman.wikia.com/wiki/Spider-Man_(film_series)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirates_of_the_Caribbean_(film_series)