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Oscars

Here come the Oscars

 

 Oscar

If you are a movie fan then this coming Sunday is the night of all nights, the super bowl of talent, the parade of fashion, the Academy Awards!

There were many good movies this year but unfortunately most of them came at the end of the year. Those nominated for best picture are: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty.

Although any of the nominated movies are good enough to win, I think Argo will win the prize. I think the Academy voters will award Argo to make up for the snub by the Academy of not nominating Ben Affleck for best director. In addition it has already won many of the other awards leading up to the Oscars.

For Best Actor I think Daniel Day-Lewis will win for Lincoln.  He doesn’t just portray Lincoln, he is Lincoln.  He is one of the most remarkable actors of our time and his portrayal of Lincoln is a jewel in his crown of achievements.

Jennifer Lawrence of Silver Linings Playbook seems to have the edge in the Best Actress category but I think Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty also has a very good chance. Also, Quvenzhane Wallis in The Beasts of the Southern Wild is the youngest actress to be nominated. She was six when she did the role and is very mature for her young years. I don’t think she will win but the movie is worth seeing just to witness her performance. However, I think Jennifer Lawrence will win for her great on-screen chemistry with Bradley Cooper and for her funny, quirky, touching, and sad portrayal of a young widowed psychiatric patient. She captures a range of emotions.

In the Supporting Actor category it is a toss-up between five excellent actors. Alan Arkin is snappy and funny in Argo, Robert DeNiro is tough and a little touched in the head struggling with his OCD son in Silver Linings Playbook, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is fiery and dynamic in The Master. I think DeNiro will win for the sensitive and vulnerable side he shows in Silver Linings Playbook.

We also have four outstanding actresses vying for Best Supporting Actress. Amy Adams is a steadying force in The Master and Sally Field holds her own against Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln; however, I think Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables will walk away with the honors. She gives a heart-wrenching portrayal of Fantine, a single mother working hard to provide for her daughter.

For Best Director I think it is between: Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) who coaxed amazing performances from two novices—a six year old girl and a baker; David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) who told a touching story about a taboo subject (mental illness) with dignity, pathos and humor; and Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) who managed to keep the audience intrigued with a subject that is not only controversial but also one that could be stuffy and academic and one which everyone already knows the outcome. My vote is for Spielberg because his attention to detail made the viewer feel as if he is sitting in Washington watching the events unfold in current time.

 

The Nominees Are:

 

Best Picture:
  • Amour,
  • Argo,
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild,
  • Django Unchained,
  •  Les Misérables,
  • Life of Pi,
  • Lincoln,
  • Silver Linings Playbook,
  • Zero Dark Thirty
Best Actor in a Leading Role:
  • Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
  • Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
  • Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
  • Denzel Washington, Flight
Best Actress in a Leading Role:
  • Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
  • Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Best Director:
  • Michael Haneke, Amour
  • Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Ang Lee, Life of Pi
  • David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Actor in a Supporting Role

 

Actress in a Supporting Role

 

A STUTTERING KING, A PSYCHO BALLERINA, AND A FIGHTER’S FAMILY TOP OSCARS

It is now the morning after the night before and most of Hollywood is probably waking up with a hangover. The gowns are hanging in the closet or hung over a chair, the jewels are tucked away, the upswept hair-dos brushed out, and newly crowned stars are staring in disbelief at a little golden man.

I was pretty accurate in my predictions. I successfully predicted that Colin Firth and Natalie Portman would win Best Actor and Actress. I also called the Best Supporting Actor race with Christian Bale winning. Also, my favorite movie topped the list with The Kings Speech winning the honor of Best Movie. The only category I missed was for Best Supporting Actress. I should have gone with the majority of the critics who said Melissa Leo had the lead in that category.  

The hosts, Anne Hathaway and James Franco, were young and hip, as they pointed out in their introductory remarks, and designed to appeal to a younger demographic—also expressed in their dialogue. Anne was beautiful, energetic, and enthusiastic and kept the evening moving with her youthful exuberance. Sorry I can’t say the same about James Franco. Just standing there looking gorgeous isn’t enough. He could have been more animated to match Hathaway’s energy level. Their promo spots looked promising but nerves must have gotten the better of Franco (or the fact he lost in the Best Actor category).

A bit of old Hollywood was represented by Kirk Douglas who relished the spotlight and the audience loved it. Also, more in the traditional vein was the appearance of Billy Crystal. The audience broke out in a spontaneous applause showing their respect for the eight-time Oscar host.

Everyone was beautifully and appropriately attired for the evening. There weren’t any real disasters. Even Helena Bonham Carter was, in her own way, elegant but funky. You have to hand it to her for being true to her style. Russell Brand was the only one on the edge of good taste wearing a plaid (subtle but still plaid) shirt with his tux and very tight pants. There were so many beautiful dresses it is hard to pick a favorite. As Whoopie pointed out today on The View, no one wants to be raked over the coals for their choice so more are going with a stylist.

In my opinion, what stole the show was the stage. It was decked out with crystals and the back drop was capable of showing scenes and special effects in a multi-dimensional way. I miss the large production numbers for best song and soundtrack nominations. That was always a highlight to me.

However, I loved this year’s ending with the YouTube sensation kids from New York PS22 singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with all the evening’s winners coming back on stage for an encore bow. Hollywood is a town of dreams and make-believe and for one night once a year a very special few get to have their dreams come true.

AND THE OSCAR GOES TO………

Sunday is the 83rd Annual Academy Awards presentation. This, according to my husband, is the super bowl of awards shows. We will cozy up next to the TV and eagerly wait to see our favorite movie stars in all their glam and bling.

I am married to a movie junkie and thus we have seen most, but not all, the nominated movies. This was a dry as desert year for good movies until November and December with the flood of good movies held back until the end so they would be fresh in the minds of the Oscar committees. The movies nominated for best picture are:

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

The movies I did not see were: Inception (although my husband did), 127 Hours (sorry, just couldn’t sit through a couple of suffocating hours watching someone cut off his own arm), Toy Story 3 (just missed it—don’t know how), and Winter’s Bone (must not have received much play here—don’t know much about it). However, two movies stand way above the others to the point that I don’t see how the ones I missed could come close to competing. Black Swan and The King’s Speech were outstanding. The Fighter, The Social Network, and True Grit were also excellent movies and would be strong contenders in any other year. All three were well-directed with excellent performances from the actors and above all very entertaining; all hallmarks of an award-winning movie. I must say that even though The Kids Are All Right was an entertaining movie with a touching story line, I just don’t get all the hype. I don’t feel it belongs in this year’s lineup.

The Black Swan and The Kings Speech are both riveting movies. There are scenes from the Black Swan that are so vivid and dramatic that they will stay with me forever. It is a very powerful movie and gives an excellent view into the competitive world of dancing. However, my vote for best movie is The Kings Speech. It also has some very touching and compelling scenes. I can’t explain why but I came away from the movie with a good feeling. Perhaps it was watching a world leader overcome a personal handicap, or the fragile but growing relationship between King George and his therapist, or the fascination with the British royals, or maybe it was the fly-on-the-wall view of major events prior to World War II. Whatever the reason, I just loved The Kings Speech.

The nominees for best actor are:

            Javier Bardem, Jeff Bridges, Jesse Eisenberg, Colin Firth, James Franco

My vote goes to Colin Firth not just because I so loved The Kings Speech but his acting and charisma is what makes the movie come alive.

The nominees for best actress are:

            Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams

Natalie Portman is my favorite here. Her descent into madness is so convincing I don’t see how she was able to keep her sanity during the filming of this movie.

The nominees for best supporting role are:

Christian Bale, The Fighter; John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone; Jeremy Renner, The Town; Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right, and Geoffrey Rush, The Kings Speech.

Although I would like to go with Geoffrey Rush, I think Christian Bale will win it for his complete transformation in this role.

Finally, the nominees for best supporting actress are:

Amy Adams, The Fighter; Helena Bonham Carter, The Kings Speech; Melissa Leo, The Fighter; Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit; and Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom.

Most critics are saying it will be a fight between Melissa Leo and Amy Adams both from The Fighter but I think these two will cancel each other out. Helena Bonham Carter might get caught up in the wave if The Kings Speech sweeps much of the awards. However, my favorite is Hailee Steinfeld. At fourteen, this is her first movie but she holds her own with last year’s best actor winner Jeff Bridges. She was a delight to watch portraying innocence and grit at the same time. If she doesn’t win, I nominate her as girlfriend for my 13 year old grandson. She is tall (5ft.7in.), beautiful, intelligent, and athletic; all a perfect match for my grandson who is tall, good looking, intelligent, and athletic.

So pop a big bowl of popcorn and grab a favorite drink and join me beside the TV to watch the Academy Awards on Sunday, February, 27th at 8 EST. Check back next week to see if I got any of these right.

NOTE—A bit of trivia:

Q.        Who won the most Oscars for best actor?

A.         Nine men have won twice:

  • Spencer Tracy (1937,1938)
  • Fredric March (1932, 1946)
  • Gary Cooper (1941, 1952)
  • Marlon Brando (1954, 1972)
  • Dustin Hoffman (1979, 1988)
  • Tom Hanks (1993, 1994)
  • Jack Nicholson (1975, 1997)
  • Daniel Day-Lewis (1989, 2007)
  • Sean Penn (2003, 2008)

 

Q.        Who won the most Oscars for best actress?

A.         Katharine Hepburn won four Oscars.