Saturday, February 26, 2011

Uncle Oscar...

I don't think Will and The gang are nominated this year

A little known fairy tale is that the Academy Awards of Mot... The Oscars are called "The Oscars" is because, when a worker at the Academy first saw the award she said that it looked like, "My uncle Oscar." I am sure that they are also called "The Oscars" because the original title of the awards show is too long. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The A.M.P.A.S.? The Amps? Nope. The Oscars!

I am looking forward to watching The Oscars sometime next week. It will air live on Monday morning for us. I'll have to wait until it's over, then wait until I can get it off of the Internet, so sometime next week it is!

I plan on trying to not know the winners, its more fun that way. As of last night, when I watched The Fighter, I have now seen all 10 nominations for Best Picture. And with all of the 'King's Speech sweep' talk that I keep hearing , I thought I'd take a stab at guessing who will win the 5 most popular awards. Actually, this might be more about who I want to win then who should actually win.

I often bring up the fact that Shakespeare in Love won Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan many years back. Actually, I feel like I bring it up all of the time. Sometimes, while waiting for a bus, and in Chinese, I will discuss it with old Muslim ladies. After giving the Paltrow movie a shot I concluded that this was some sort of joke that went way too far, all the way up to putting the wrong name in the envelope. I'll keep believing that to the grave. "To the grave, Joseph Fiennes!"

With that, I will hold out hope for another day or two and believe that there will be a few surprises and that though The King's Speech is a wonderful, fulfilling movie, it is not, to paraphrase Elaine Benes, "sweep worthy".

***I must also add that I am just a fan and anything that I say is purely my opinion and based mostly on my personal reactions to these movies. It is also worth noting that though I have seen all of the films nominated for best picture I have yet to see a few of the other films that actors are nominated for in the other categories.***

UPDATE: From the categories I cover, I have yet to see Biutiful and Animal Kingdom.

So here they are:

Best Actor:

Who will probably win - Colin Firth

Who I want to win - James Franco

I really liked 127 Hours. I thought that they did a lot with not a whole lot. And James Franco played the role really well. I don't think he will win but I want him to.

It seemed like only yesterday that I was complaining about how confused I was with his character in the Spider-man movies. I could never tell what the guy was thinking. Why his character swung so easily from trusting Peter to wanting to kill him to wanting his girlfriend and back to being buddies again. I guess I can't blame him there.

By the way, I did not purposely use the word "swung" in reference to a character from Spider-man. It just flowed naturally!

Anyways, my opinion on him has changed. I really like him in this movie and it would be cool if the young Oscar co-host could walk out of there with the award.

Best Actress:

Who will probably win - Natalie Portman

Who I want to win - Natalie Portman

Pretty easy for me with this one. This is a great and memorable performance. The ballet moves were really nice to watch, the tension with the coach and her stubbornness. Her timid dancing compared to her Black Swan in the end is a fulfilling transformation. She's come a long way as well, from the monotone Queen Amidala.

And well, the competition? Jennifer Lawerence was really great in *whisper* Winter's Bone. My other choice would be Michelle Williams. I really didn't get Annette Benning's nomination, let alone the talk that she is a lock to win. Did they give her the "lead actress" nod because she played the masculine role in her lesbian relationship? I think that this card was improperly played. Julianne Moore is by far the lead in that movie. It's all about her and her family. She dominates the movie; in most scenes, has the affair, changes in the end. Her character development and evolution is very evident. Annette Benning spent most of her time with a wine glass in her hand. That's really all I remember about her character. Oh, and she had a good cry scene. That was nice, but not enough for me.

Best Supporting Actor:

Who will definitely win - Christian Bale

Who I want to win - Christian Bale

This guy nailed it. I think that this award is in the bag. A guarantee from me to you. Losing a ton of weight for a role is already a popular/smart move for these awards shows. Playing a guy with brain damage and a drug addiction seals the deal. But don't let all of those "how could he screw it up" aspects fool you, he could have screwed it up. But in the end, he made the movie great. Some of the little things I liked were the way him and Wahlberg sparred together like brothers, how he bounced along to the music before they entered the arena. I just thought it was a great character. Very enjoyable to watch. And the movie had a nice ending as well.

Mark Ruffalo? He was a walking cliche. He was a likable character that fell in love with his son's mom and then shouldered all of the blame in the end. Well, I talk more about it here.

Other than that, I like every other performance in this category. John Hawkes is great. Jeremy Renner I liked a lot more this year than last year when he was nominated for Hurt Locker.

Best Supporting Actress:

Who will probably win - Melissa Leo

Who I want to win - Hailee Steinfeld

I like that kid in True Grit. She did a really great job. She wasn't annoying at all, played the part of a kid that needed to mature quicker than she should have. Similar to Jennifer Lawrence, but it very different ways, of course.

Melissa Leo and Amy Adams were great in The Fighter. Helena Bonham Carter was good, but I think that the other ones left more of an impression on me. The King's Speech is more about Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush to me.

Best Picture:

Who will win - The King's Speech

Who I want win - Black Swan

Of all of the nominees, Black Swan is the one that stays in my head. There were so many aspects of so many ideas thrown together in this one. It was dark, it had funny moments, it was scary, it was beautiful, it was offensive, it challenged me to think of what matters in life, what I want in life, and what is stopping me from getting it. Most of it I look at metaphorical, of course, but it was thought provoking none the less. The music is also great. I have since downloaded the soundtrack and some of the original Swan Lake pieces. They are very nice to listen to.

Bonus Round!

I will add my picks here as well. This week I finished the first draft of my first screenplay. I am a few tweaks away from sending it out to some selected/willing people to read it and give me their thoughts. It is called Spring Festival, the story of a Chinese boy who grows up under the rule of a strict father and the unexpected circumstances that lead to growth and freedom in his life. It is kind of a "coming of age". A drama, but funny in a lot of ways. I also try to capture some of the culture of this country in there as well, to give it a fresh look and unique background.

Anyways... I must also note that I have read 6 of the 10 nominated movies, so once again, I have not covered all of the ground.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Who will probably win - Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)

Who I want to win - Aaron Sorkin

I had to look it up again because I did not believe myself. But, it's true! The Social Network screenplay is 164 pages long! So, that would make the movie 2 hours and 44 minutes long, give or take, right? Well, it's only 2 hours, but even still, it reads very fast. I sat down one afternoon and started reading. I ended up reading it the whole way through, skipping supper and everything! And I'm usually a very slow reader. If Barbara and I are reading something on the Internet together, she will make the "Ahh, is that so?" and "Isn't that interesting" noises much earlier than me. It is actually quite frustrating at times to have her go "huh. that I did not know" and then walk away while I am reading the first paragraph.

So, for me to read this straight through is something. Actually, it is also significant to mention that I read it AFTER I watched the movie, so I already knew how it went.

I must also mention that 127 Hours is great to read. I read it before watching the movie and I liked the screenplay better than the movie. Just by a little, though. I read Winter's Bone in about an hour. Good stuff.

Best Original Screenplay:

Who will probably win - David Seidler (The King's Speech)

Who I want to win - Christopher Nolan (Inception)

Other scripts were probably written better, but its amazing how an idea like Inception could be written out to even make a small amount of sense. The rules of how the movie works were weaved into the story very well. It didn't seem like Leo ever had to turn to the camera and explain things with a white board.

It's weird that Inception was not even nominated for best editing. But what do I know?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quick Hits - "I'd like to fight the good fight for another couple of years".

*I write this part after reading through what I've already written below. Recently I convinced myself that coffee no longer held power over me. I decided that I could drink it whenever I wanted to. Well, that cup I had at 1030 this evening has done me in. Just a warning.


Watch out (punch, punch, punch). Right in the gut (Smack, smack smack). Knee to the groin (Gazoink!)

Are you ready for this? Comin' at ya!

1. Went to a Chinese New Year's party a few days ago and the drunk brother of our teacher decided that I was the one he was going to be friends with. He poured me Bai Jiu (strong alcohol), gave me a brief lecture on Chinese culture in hopes to convince me to drink it, promises that I only have to drink 1 cup, I drink it, he pours another and begins to talk about the meaning of "a pair" in Chinese culture and how important it is in an attempt to get me to drink another, he sits next to me, I drink tea, when he doesn't have any more reasons to make be feel guilty for not getting drunk with him he spends his time apologizing for it, then he grabbed my butt, leaned back on the couch, and dozed in and out of conciousness until the rest of the family dragged him to a bed in the back to sleep it off.

The rest of the party was great and I really love that family.

2. While walking through one of the main markets in town and I was startled to see a Muslim woman working in a Tibetan handicrafts and souvenir shop.

3. Still no school for another 2 weeks. What's it been now, a month and a half off? Too bad its cold and dry outside.

4. On page 50 of my first ever full length screenplay. Page 50 is also known as the desert in these here parts. I have a plan, though. Stick to the plan, man.

5. Sunset Rubdown's "Dragon's Lair", I just recently realized, has been my favorite song for the last 2 years.

6. At the beginning of the NFL playoffs I predicted that the Green Bay Packers would win it all. No lying allowed. Seriously. Ask Joel. Call him up!

7. I hereby declare that the winner of best picture at the Oscars, despite what I want to win, will be The King's Speech. Good movie, though.

8. ***Spoiler Alert***

"The Kids are Alright" was very confusing. I liked that the family stuck together, but I didn't understand why the gay woman would cheat on her wife with a man, multiple times, then get mad at the man, who is the technical father of her children, when he asked her to start a new life with him and the kids, because "She is gay", thus spoiling the whole bonding thing that the dad and the kids were sharing. Don't get me wrong, he's to blame too. But really... who wasn't he "banging" in that movie? Oh right, his daughter and one of the mother's of his daughter.

I mean, I guess if I was in that situation, and a gay woman, who is the mother of my children, was so attracted to me, despite me being a man (did I mention that I was a man?), that she would take breaks from work in the yard to "bang" me, and I was really wanting a family, I guess... breathe... I guess that one of the thoughts that would go through my head is that maybe this woman likes me. Maybe. I mean, was it really that stupid to ask her?

Not to mention the son's and daughter's "best friends". Those two teenagers have got to be the worse friends 2 cool teenagers could ever have. Unheard of. I mean, that 15 year old kid of the gay couple is a super cool kid. Does he really only have one friend and does that friend really think that peeing on a stray dog is cool and that if you don't pee on a stray dog then you are not cool?

9. I still think that Natalie Portman should win for "Black Swan".

10. I am going to go dark horse and say that James Franco wins for "127 Hours". Though, where is the Ryan Gosling nomination?!

11. Script fact #2... Since I am writing a story that takes place in China with real Chinese people, I've been careful to ask my teacher and local friends a lot of questions about Culture. Well, since I'm on page 50 and know where I'm going from there, I thought that I'd run the basics through my local friends again. I did that tonight and they both agreed that it made sense. Check Mark!

12. Still crossing my fingers that the guy who said that I might be able to get hockey equipment out here for free is still considering it a possibility. I will email until he acknowledges me.

13. Miles is 3. He looks like he's 5. So, when you see him acting like a 3 year old please remember that he's 3. I am writing this not only for everyone else but for myself.

14. Judging from the photos online, the Grammy's with the largest gathering of high class douchbaggery the world has seen in quite a long time. "For the love of the Lord! Just wear a normal dress or tuxedo."

Look up "Grandma Funk's Grammy dress". That red thing. I triple dog dare you.

Bam, Bam, Bam. Take that! Deal with it.