Posts Tagged ‘James Franco’

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

2011 Summer Movies

May 5, 2011

Yippee, it’s May. Not only does it mean that winter is over, spring is in full bloom and summer is just around the corner, it also means that Hollywood will be churning out my favorite kind of movie—the SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER!!  Since I love summer blockbusters sooooo much, I will use this blog entry to highlight a few of the many movies that will be coming out this summer.

May
Thor

Based on the characters from Marvel Comics, Thor is more than just a big lug with a hammer.  After all he gets his powers from the Norse gods, so he can’t just be some rock’em sock’em super hero. In fact, Stan Lee admitted that he occasionally had his characters, like Thor and Silver Surfer put forth his own philosophy of life. The film was directed by none other than Kenneth Branagh, of Hamlet fame and stars Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman.

Pirates of the Caribbean—On Stranger Tides
Love’em or hate’em, you have to hand it to Disney, when something works for them, they keep using it. Case in point, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The last one made $300 million, so the powers that be decided to make another one. This one features Penelope Cruz, as well as Johnny Depp and is in 3D. I’m sure this will make a pretty penny this time around, as well. After all, the mouse doesn’t live on cheese alone.

Hangover 2
The crew from Hangover, which is the highest grossing R-rated comedy, is back. Need I say more?

June
X-Men First Class

Another one of Marvel and Stan Lee’s properties is getting the blockbuster treatment this summer. This one is a prequel of how Charles Xavier and Magneto came to be who they are. While some of the teaser posters weren’t so great, this film looks interesting to me. This film stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and January Jones.

Cars 2
I guess the folks at Pixar thought since sequels worked so well for Toy Story, might as well try them for Cars. This time Lighting McQueen gets involved with spies during an international road race. I’ve seen the previews and they look good, so I’m actually looking forward to this film. Features the voices of Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy.

Rise of the Apes
Look at what Star Wars has wrought, sequels and prequels everywhere. This is a prequel for the original 1968 film Planet of the Apes with the dude who played Moses in The Ten Commandments. Hmmm, what was his name?* Well, senior moments not withstanding, this film deals with genetic engineering and what can happen when tinkering in the lab goes astray. Stars James Franco, Tom Felton and John Lithgow

July
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2

The long awaited end of the Harry Potter series will come this summer. Will Voldermore be defeated? Will Hermonine choose Harry or Ron? What will become of Harry? Oh wait, these questions were answered in the books. Maybe I should hurry up and read them all. Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

Captain America: The First Avenger
Yet another Marvel property is getting the movie treatment. This time the story deals with a someone who volunteers to take part in an experiment during World War II to become a super soldier, only to end up with super human strength. Stan Lee must be very happy to see his creations on the big screen. I hope he is getting some money out of this, as well.  Stars Chris Evans and Samuel L. Jackson.

Cowboys and Aliens
Talk about your genre mashups. It wasn’t enough to make a western or a sci-fi film, director Jon Favreau of Iron Man fame, decided to take the graphic novel (comic book to those over the age of 40) by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and turn it into a movie. Of course the next question is, who will win? The cowboys or aliens? I have a feeling it will be the cowboys. Stars Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.

August
The Smurfs

Yes, those little blue creatures who got their start in a comic strip in 1958 by Belgian artist Pierre Culliford, also known as Peyo, and then ended up as a Saturday morning cartoon on NBC in the 1980’s, are now coming to a multiplex near you—in 3D no less. Again the powers that be are into recycling and there is no end to this trend in sight. To quote, a famous Smurf line: “La, la, lala, la. La, lala, la.” Features the voices of Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria and Katy Perry.

Conan
Speaking of recycling, weren’t the first two with the Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger enough? Stars Jason Momoa. Would you believe that Momoa got his start in Baywatch Hawaii? Talk about fail safe casting.

Final Destination 5
Will this be the final Final Destination or will there be a 6, 7, 8….

Well, those are my thoughts on select 2011 summer movies. Tune in again next week for another thrilling blog entry. (Okay, so my blog entries aren’t exactly thrilling, but they are good reads.)

*It was Charlton Heston and I knew it along. I just did that to be funny.

Sources:
http://www.reelzchannel.com/article/1082/summer-2011-preview-20-movies-well-be-talking-about-next-year/

Cantu, Hector, Heritage Magazine “Stan the Creator” Fall 2008, pg. 51

http://bluebuddies.com/help/smurfs_peyo_biography.htm

2011 Oscars in Four Moments

March 3, 2011

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards took place on February 27 and here is the list of  winners:

Best Picture
The King’s Speech

Best Director
Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech

Best Actor
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

Best Actress
Natalie Portman – Black Swan

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale – The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress
Melissa Leo – The Fighter

Best Original Screenplay
The King’s Speech

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Social Network

Best Animated Feature
Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Language Film
In a Better World

Best Documentary Feature
Inside Job

Best Animated Short
The Lost Thing

Best Documentary Short
Stranger No More

Best Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland

Best Cinematography
Inception

Best Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland

Best Film Editing
The Social Network

Best Live Action Short
God of Love

Best Original Score
The Social Network

Best Original Song
We Belong Together
Toy Story 3

Best Makeup
The Wolfman

Best Visual Effects
Inception

Best Sound Editing
Inception

Best Sound Mixing
Inception

Of course a lot goes on in an Oscar broadcast, too much for me to write about, still there are four moments that I would like to present for your consideration.

Hosts Moment or Moments
In an effort to attract a younger demographic, the Academy picked Anne Hathaway and James Franco. I thought Hathaway was good as a host. She really put the effort to be engaging with the audience in the hall and with the television audience. As for Franco, he was just there, even dressed up as Marilyn Monroe. Since I’m a recent MBA graduate, the only reason I can think of for Franco’s not engaging performance was that he was very concerned about his studies and that got in the way of his host duties.

Can’t Take That Away From Me Moment
In the celebrity world of plastic surgery, botox and all around shallowness, it was great to see how Kirk Douglas handled himself. Yes, he doesn’t walk as well as he used to and he doesn’t talk as well as he used to, still for someone who is 94 years old and still dealing with the aftereffects of his stroke he showed the world two things:

1.     His mind is still as sharp as ever.

2.     While a stroke can make it difficult to walk and talk, it doesn’t take away the fact that you have class and Kirk Douglas has it.

By the way, the person who fought over Douglas’ cane was none other than Omar Sharif, Jr. Yes, he’s the son of that Omar Sharif. He has appeared in Egyptian television shows and films and now he wants to try his luck in Hollywood.

This Broadcast Has Been Brought To You By…
The American Broadcasting Company (ABC), at least until the year 2020. While some didn’t like it the network promoted itself during the Oscar broadcast, I didn’t mind. The Oscars has a worldwide audience of at least one billion, so I can’t fault the network for getting the word out about itself. After all with the Internet and satellite television providers, ABC doesn’t have to content itself with North America anymore. There are opportunities to get the network’s programming out all over the world. So, when opportunity to do some promotion came up, ABC grabbed it.

Bravo Bravo Natalie Moment
Yes, I was rooting for Natalie Portman to get the Oscar for Black Swan. Not only did she work hard in preparing for the role, she worked hard and smart throughout her career. She choose roles that weren’t just “girl next door” or love interest. They ran the gamut from Queen Amidala in the Star Wars prequels to Evey in V for Vendetta and it paid off on Oscar night for her. Also, she was gracious enough to thank her parents, her fiancé Benjamin Millipied and the many, many people who were involved in Black Swan. It costs nothing to say thank you, but it means a lot to those who hear it.

Well there you have it, the Oscars in four moments. What will happen with next year’s Oscars? We’ll find out next year.

Sources:
http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/nominees;_ylt=AgaPEOKqWkPbaM8JKL5jrzhIPKJ4

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/41817860/ns/today-entertainment/

http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/movie-guide/When+Kirk+Omar+Hollywood+story/4370595/story.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfzmj5yYI4Y

My Musings on the 2011 Oscar Nominations

February 4, 2011

The 2011 Oscar Nominations were announced on January 25, 2011 and here are the nominees for Best Picture:

Best Picture

Black Swan

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

Again, the Academy has 10 pictures up for Best Picture, it seemed to work well last year, so the powers that be decided to repeat it. If you want to see the entire list, go to: http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/nominees.

Now for my musings on topics related to the Academy Awards

Those Who Weren’t Nominated

Hereafter
I saw this film and I thought it would score some nominations, such as Best Director, Best Actor or Best Screenplay. After all, Clint Eastwood was the director and unlike a lot of people in Hollywood, he is not a one trick pony. He’s gone from Spaghetti Westerns to Action films to directing and sometimes starring in films as varied as The Bridges of Madison County, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino and others. While he won Best Director for Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven, it wouldn’t hurt to honor him again.  Also, let’s not forget the multi-talented Matt Damon. His performance was good enough to merit a nomination. Don’t you think Damon’s Best Screenplay Award is a little lonely?

Conviction
I saw this film and I thought it would score some nominations, as well. It dealt with the important topics of wrongful conviction, loyalty, fighting for the truth and the Academy often rewards films like Conviction with a nomination or two. Shoot me, but I thought Hillary Swank’s performance was good enough to get a nomination, as well.

Michael Douglas
Here’s someone else who did not get nominated. Not to sound morbid, but considering that he had cancer, I thought he would be nominated for Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps, not so much as a pity award but more as a lifetime achievement award. Here is someone who didn’t just cash in on the fact that he is the son of Kirk Douglas. He worked his way up from doing episodic television (he got his start in The Streets of San Francisco) to starring and sometimes producing films (he got the rights for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and produced that film). Not that he didn’t have his demons to deal with, but considering how he could have ended up (i.e. Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan), Douglas ended up more than okay.

Bravo Natalie
Congratulations to Natalie Portman for her Best Actress Nomination for Black Swan. Here is someone who could have be forever known as Luke and Leia’s mom, instead she went to college (university for those living outside of the U.S.), picked roles that weren’t “Girl Next Door” or “The Love Interest” (check her out in V and you’ll know what I mean) and now it is paying off for her.

The Co-Host Might Get An Award
James Franco, who will be the co-host with Anne Hathaway of this year’s Academy Award’s ceremony, is up for a Best Actor Oscar for his work in 127 Hours. The last time a host or co-host was nominated was in 1958 when David Niven was nominated and won for the film Separate Tables. It would be interesting to see if this happens again. As for the film 127 Hours, I must admit that I didn’t see it. The story of a mountain climber who has to cut his own arm off in order to free himself from a boulder, didn’t appeal to me.

The 83rd Annual Academy Award ceremony will take place on February 27, 2011.

Sources:

http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/nominees.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000140/#Director

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000142/awards
http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2010/11/29/entertainment/doc4cf3fa0a0753e470574252.txt