Posts Tagged ‘Oscar’

Memorable Summer Movies

May 10, 2012

Not too long ago, I wanted to purchase some tickets online for my nephew and I to see Pirates! Band of Misfits. After I bought the tickets, I noticed a short blog entry on the movie ticket website about the summer movie season of 1982 being the best summer movie season ever. That was the summer the following films were released:

The Road Warrior
Blade Runner

John Carpenter’s The Thing

Tron

An Officer and a Gentlemen

Conan the Barbarian

Poltergeist

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

E.T.

(By the way, I saw E.T., Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Tron in the summer of 1982 and I liked E.T. and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan the best out of the three.)

It is risky to say that a year or a season of a year was the best movie year ever because tastes change. Case in point, when Citizen Kane came out in 1941, it was a box office dud. Now it is considered a gem of American cinema.

Duds that turn into classics, not withstanding, I thought it would be fun to write about memorable summer movies. What makes them so memorable? Read on and you’ll find out.

Summer of 1983

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably suspect that I liked Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi the best out of the original Star Wars trilogy. Well, you would be wrong. I loved Return of the Jedi. I saw the film on its opening weekend and what an event it was. The theater was packed and everyone was eager to see how George Lucas ended the trilogy. As far as I’m concerned, he did a great job wrapping everything up. (FYI: My favorite scene in the movie and all time favorite movie scene is when Han Solo is freed from the carbonite.)

Jaws 3D
The only thing memorable about this film was that it was shown in 3D. In late 1982, 3D films made a comeback, sort of. A few films were released in 3D but the technology was not as advanced as it is today, so 3D films fizzled out by late 1983.

Summer of 1993

Jurassic Park
A film about the return of dinosaurs and it was directed by none other than Steven Spielberg! What’s there not to like? I went to see the film expecting to get a summer blockbuster and I got more than just the run-of-the-mill summer movie. I got film that was a reflection on technology and how it isn’t always the savior it is made out to be. I can remember thinking while I was watching the film, “Why does this remind me of the film Westworld?” I later learned that the book, in which the film was based on, was written by none other than Michael Crichton, the man who wrote and directed Westworld.

Summer of 2001

Pearl Harbor
I took my dad to see this film for Father’s Day. He grew up during World War II, so any documentary, television show or film that is about or took place during that time, Dad is all over it. I liked this film. The special effects were good and the stars were good in their roles. Yet, the most memorable thing was that during the film, I was thinking, “The Japanese military had guts to do the attack at Pearl Harbor.” Not to take anything away from those in the military who were at Pearl Harbor during the time of the attack, yet I must say that an attack like that was very bold. Little did I or anyone else know that as this movie was making it theatrical run, the 9/11 hijackers were training to carry out the worst attack on U.S. soil, since Pearl Harbor.

Spider-Man Trailer
Normally, I wouldn’t write about a trailer but this one is extra special. It featured a vignette about a group of bad guys who make their getaway in a helicopter. Just as they are about to make a great escape, they get caught in a web spun by Spider-Man. Where did he spin the web? Between the towers of the World Trade Center. When I saw this trailer in the movie theater, (one week before 9/11 if you must know) I was amazed. Yes, I knew it was a computer-generated image, but it was so impressive that it looked like a real helicopter was suspended in a web between the Twin Towers. Of course, when the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon happened, the trailer was pulled from theaters.

Summer of 2008

The Dark Knight
While Christian Bale was great as Batman, Heath Ledger stole the show as The Joker. Ledger’s Joker was EVIL. He didn’t force the humor or nastiness. Ledger played the role as if he were really that bad. Basically, I wouldn’t want to run into Ledger’s Joker in a well-lit alley. Yes, he deserved the Oscar and it was a shame that he died before he had a chance to do more work.

Summer of 2010

Toy Story 3
Wow. The folks at Pixar know how to wrap up a trilogy. The series started with Andy at eight and ended with him going off to college. Along the way, the toys had many adventures and misadventures, yet they stick together, like good friends do. The most poignant and best scene in Toy Story 3 was when Andy dropped off the toys at Bonnie’s house, an 8 year-old whose mom knows Andy’s mom. After telling her about each toy, Andy and Bonnie play with the toys. When they are done, Andy goes off to college and the toys remain with Bonnie.

Well, those are my memorable summer movie memories. Tune in next week for another thrilling blog entry from the chick who loooooves summer movies (among other things related to the movies).

Sources:

http://www.fandango.com/movieblog/weekend-chatter-was-1982-greatest-summer-movies-season-of-all-time-714464.html

Heritage Magazine Fall 2008 “Remember When…1941” Pg. 8

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107290/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0425061/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133152/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0213149/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468569/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435761/

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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 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