Tag Archives: Inglourious Basterds

Random Oscar Observations

The Red Carpet

Diane Kruger looked absolutely stunning last night. I could see how her dress might divide some people, but I thought it was one of the few bold, memorable dresses on the red carpet. The only other ladies who I thought really hit the mark were Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, and Rachel McAdams.

I still can’t decide if I like Vera Farmiga’s anemone dress or not. And Demi Moore looked nice in a scary, skinny, never-aging kind of way.

The honour of worst dressed goes to the top half of Miley Cyrus (weird fit in the bodice, and for God’s sake, stand up straight!), the bottom half of Zoe Saldana, and J-Lo for her crazy quilt blob of a dress.

  • All of the guys start to look the same in a sea of tuxes, but some of the especially dashing men of the night included Ryan Reynolds, Colin Firth, Jeremy Renner, and Tom Ford.

 

The Show

  • Why hasn’t Ben Stiller hosted yet? Between last year’s hilarious (though slightly tasteless) Joaquin Phoenix impression and last night’s Avatar spoof, I think he’s provided the top two moments of the past two Oscars. Stiller ’11!

  • I was expecting rimshots to accompany half of Baldwin and Martin’s jokes. They were passable (especially Martin), but not a single joke in their entire monologue felt fresh. Though I did like the Paranormal Activity spoof, and the shot of the two of them backstage in a Snuggie built for two.
  • I loved the John Hughes tribute until they marched out a bunch of where-are-they-now Hughes alums to awkwardly talk about their experiences working with him. That part of the tribute was more notable for making me ask “Is that Anthony Michael Hall?” and “What happened to Judd Nelson?” than anything else.
  • Since when is Twilight a horror movie?
  • James Cameron was clearly trying very hard to not look like a douchebag, and only marginally succeeding. Elizabeth Banks better watch her back after that Cameron crack.
  • Boredom set in around the two-hour mark, and that didn’t change until the major awards started getting handed out. And I was already getting sick of the Best Picture presentations by the time the second one came along.
  • I loved the way that they handed out the Best Actor and Best Actress awards. Having people that the actors actually KNOW was so much better than randomly assigning awkward past winners, like they did last year. I loved seeing Michael Sheen and Peter Sarsgaard up on the Oscar stage (now they need to finally get some recognition for their own acting!) Stanley Tucci’s presentation to Meryl Streep was hilarious, as was Colin Farrell’s typically wily Jeremy Renner tribute. I also thought that Julianne Moore gave a lovely speech to Colin Firth, which only cements his status as the one of the most likeable guys in Hollywood (in my eyes, at least)
  • Though their wins were anticlimactic, Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges both gave great speeches. The each had the perfect mix of sincerity, humour, self-deprecation, and humbleness.
  • The three Hurt Locker guys (Renner, Anthony Mackie, and Brian Geraghty) were too cute excitedly swaying on the platform behind Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker producers on stage after the film won Best Picture.

Oscar Predictions 2010

It’s kind of pathetic how excited I am for this year’s Oscars, considering that a lot of my favourite movies and performances aren’t even nominated. But alas, I am a pop culture junkie, and Oscar night is the Holy Grail for that kind of thing. With the big show less than a week away, here are my picks for each category with commentary, when necessary.

Best Picture

Avatar

The Blind Side

District 9

An Education

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

A Serious Man

Up

Up in the Air

I’m incredibly torn with this category. Most seem to be predicting a win for The Hurt Locker, but I think that Avatar could ultimately win. It’s the highest-grossing movie of all time, and whether or not you see this as sufficient reason for winning, it was a movie that a lot of people loved. The Hurt Locker would be one of the least successful (in terms of box office) films to win, and the Iraq war seems to be cinematic kryptonite when it comes to rallying support for a film.

While I can certainly appreciate the merits of Avatar and The Hurt Locker (and I wouldn’t mind if either of them one) the two films in this category that I really loved were Up in the Air and Inglourious Basterds. I’d love to see either of them win, but it seems highly unlikely.

Actor in a Leading Role

Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”

George Clooney in “Up in the Air”

Colin Firth in “A Single Man”

Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”

Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

It’s looking as though Jeff Bridges will finally win his first Oscar. With the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Award, and the Critics Choice Award to his name, it would definitely be considered an upset if he didn’t win. Colin Firth recently won the BAFTA for his work in A Single Man, but the Brits often take the BAFTAs as an opportunity to reward their own. George Clooney was considered a threat, but has lost significant momentum throughout the awards season.

Bridges is actually the only person in this category whose performance I’m yet to see. I loved all four of the other performances, so it’s a bit disheartening to know that none of them have much of a chance of stealing the Oscar away from Bridges. I had never been much of a fan of George Clooney, but his work in Up in the Air was fantastic, and it made me reconsider my opinion of him. Firth is the one that I’m rooting for, though, because his subtle performance in A Single Man blew me away.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Matt Damon in “Invictus”

Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”

Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”

Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”

Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

There is no way that Waltz isn’t going to win this category. He’s won every single precursor award. It will be considered a HUGE upset if he doesn’t get the Oscar. It’s nice to see four first-time nominees in this category, and to see Damon nominated for his first Oscar since Good Will Hunting. But everyone else will just have to wait for a year when scene-stealing Christoph Waltz isn’t in a movie.

I really enjoyed his performance, but I’m a little bit confused as why Waltz is considered such a “shoe-in” (perhaps it was a weak year for this category?)

Actress in a Leading Role

Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”

Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”

Carey Mulligan in “An Education”

Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Despite Carey Mulligan’s win at the BAFTAs, I still think that this is a race between Bullock and Streep. After her most successful year ever, and the box office sensation that The Blind Side became, I think that Bullock will stop Streep from winning her third Oscar.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Penélope Cruz in “Nine”

Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”

Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”

Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”

Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

Another no-brainer. The Up in the Air women will split the votes that are given to their film. Maggie Gyllenhaal might be considered a minor threat because some voters will see her as being “overdue” for an Oscar after unrecognized performances in films like SherryBaby and Secretary. But her late-season momentum won’t be enough to beat Mo’Nique’s acclaimed performance.

Directing

“Avatar” James Cameron

“The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow

“Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels

“Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

James Cameron could win, but I think that with the Director’s Guild Award under her belt, Kathryn Bigelow will be victorious. While I don’t think that it’s the deciding factor in the race, the fact that Bigelow would be the first female director winner certainly won’t hurt her chances.

I would personally choose Tarantino to win this category, but since the race is between Cameron and Bigelow, I agree that Bigelow is the deserving winner.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

“The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal

“Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino

“The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman

“A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

“Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

It’s possible that The Hurt Locker could win this category in a flurry of awards for the film, but I think that Basterds will take this one.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell

“An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby

“In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher

“Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Sadly, it might be the only award that it wins, but Up in the Air is the favourite to win this category.

Animated Feature Film

“Coraline” Henry Selick

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson

“The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements

“The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore

“Up” Pete Docter

I don’t know what A.O. Scott is thinking (he’s predicting a Princess and the Frog win), but there is no way that Up is losing this category (come on, it got a Best Picture nomination!)

Even though it won’t happen, I’d actually much prefer The Princess and the Frog to beat Up. I’ve loved a lot of the Pixar films, but Up just didn’t do it for me.

Art Direction

“Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith

“Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim

“Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

“The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Cinematography

“Avatar” Mauro Fiore

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel

“The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd

“Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson

“The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design

“Bright Star” Janet Patterson

“Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme

“Nine” Colleen Atwood

“The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell

Documentary (Feature)

“Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller

“The Cove” Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens

“Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein

“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith

“Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)

“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

“The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher

“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

“Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett

“Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing

“Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron

“District 9” Julian Clarke

“The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis

“Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film

“Ajami” Israel

“The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada)” Peru

“A Prophet (Un Prophète)” France

“The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)” Argentina

“The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band)” Germany

Makeup

“Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano

“Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow

“The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)

“Avatar” James Horner

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat

“The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders

“Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer

“Up” Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)

“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas

“Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston

“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Tough call, with Oscar favourite Randy Newman holding two of the nomination spots, but I think that Ryan Bingham’s lovely, soulful song from Crazy Heart will take it. Too bad we won’t get to see him (or any of the other nominees) perform at the ceremony.

Short Film (Animated)

“French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert

“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell

“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia

“Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin

“A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)

“The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn

“Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström

“Kavi” Gregg Helvey

“Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey

“The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing

“Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle

“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson

“Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman

“Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin

“Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing

“Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson

“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett

“Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano

“Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects

“Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones

“District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken

“Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

What to Expect from Next Week’s Oscar Nominations

With the 2010 Oscar nominations coming February 2 (same day as Lost starts!), I’ve decided to compile a guide with my predictions for the nominees. It’ll be interesting to see how they stack up to the final results. The contenders that I list as “locks” are the ones that I would be highly surprised the see snubbed. “Good bets” are those who have a good shot at being nominated, but could miss out. And the “best of the rest” are those who I feel could either fill the rest of the category, or bump one of the good bets.

 

Best Picture


The big buzz with the Best Picture category this year (aside from its complicated new voting procedure) is the fact that there will be ten nominees, as opposed to the usual five. This leaves a lot of room for films that wouldn’t normally get recognized to be nominated, yet there are really just a handful of films competing for the win.

The Locks: There’s virtually no chance that Avatar will miss out on a nomination, especially after its Golden Globe win. The blockbuster definitely has a good shot at winning the whole thing. Right now, it seems like the only other two movies that have a shot at winning are The Hurt Locker and Up in the Air. And while it has the disadvantage of not being in theatres during awards season, Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is also pretty much guaranteed one of the ten spots, as is Precious, despite its slight loss of momentum since its big win at TIFF.

Good Bets: A lot of people thought that Wall-E should have received a Best Picture nomination last year, so with ten slots available this year, the beloved Up is bound to get Pixar its first Best Picture nomination. Invictus may have gotten snubbed at the Globes for Best Drama, but I think the Academy will make room for Eastwood’s latest project.

Best of the Rest: The last three slots are really hard to call. There are nearly a dozen films that could fill those spots, but none of them have much of a shot at snagging the win. I think An Education and A Serious Man have a pretty decent shot at receiving a nomination based on strong critical reception and acclaimed performances. The last spot is even harder to call, but if I had to guess, I’d say The Messenger might sneak in. But there are plenty of other options. Crazy Heart has the benefit of a powerhouse performance from Jeff Bridges to help propel it into the mind of Academy voters, as does A Single Man, with Colin Firth’s acclaimed performance. The Lovely Bones and Nine were once considered to be major contenders, and though they’ve both received poor reviews from critics, there’s a slim chance one of them (more likely Nine) might still make it on the strength of their directors and casts. Star Trek and District 9 were acclaimed sci-fi blockbusters, but with Avatar already fitting that description, their chances are slimmer. And speaking of blockbusters, don’t be too shocked if The Hangover gets one of the spots.

Wishful Thinking: I’d love to see (500) Days of Summer get some recognition, but with its loss at the Golden Globes, it’s chances are not good. Even less likely to receive a nomination is Spike Jonze’s wonderful Where the Wild Things Are.

 

Best Actor


The Locks: It’s currently a race between George Clooney for Up in the Air and Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart. And with his win at the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, it seems like Bridges has all but secured his spot at the podium Oscar night. Colin Firth is also bound to pick up a nomination for his work in A Single Man, but unless there’s some kind of upset, he’s unlikely to win.

Good Bets: Despite Morgan Freeman‘s snub at the BAFTAs, and Invictus‘ exclusion from Best Picture at the Globes, I still don’t think the Academy will ignore Freeman for his turn as Nelson Mandela. That’s the kind of role that the Oscars live for. As for the fifth spot, the previously underappreciated Jeremy Renner has a good shot at rounding out the category for his work in The Hurt Locker.

Best of the Rest: I think that the five men listed above will be the five to get nominated. It’s hard to get a sense of other actors’ buzz, since everyone seems so sure of the five nominees. But if there were to be an upset, it could be from The Road‘s Viggo Mortensen. Ben Foster and Sam Rockwell have also gotten loads of praise for The Messenger and Moon, but I don’t think that either of them will have the momentum to steal Renner or Freeman’s spot.

Wishful Thinking: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I loved Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days of Summer. With the Globe nomination, he has a tiny shot at getting a nomination, but it’s highly unlikely that the Academy would recognize such a young actor for a comedic role. And Max Records gave one of the best performances from a child that I’ve ever seen in Where the Wild Things Are.

 

Best Actress


The Locks: As bizarre as this may sound, it’s likely that either Julie & Julia or The Blind Side will have given us an Oscar winning performance. Meryl Streep was considered a frontrunner since J&J‘s release, and now Sandra Bullock has unexpectedly become a major contender in the Best Actress race. They won their respective categories at the Globes and tied at the Critics Choice Awards, and now it looks like they’ll be facing off for Oscar gold. Poor Carey Mulligan.
In the wake of all of the Sandra Bullock excitement (who knew such a thing existed?), it seems like she’s been pushed aside a bit. With a slew of critics’ awards for her performance in An Education (including a win from the National Board of Review), Mulligan will almost certainly be nominated, but I’m doubtful that she’ll be able to beat the two heavyweights in this category.

Good Bets: Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe is likely to get recognition for her emotional performance in Precious, but the fact that this is her first film could hurt her chances slightly, as might all of the focus being put on Mo’Nique’s performance.

Best of the Rest: For those keeping track, that leaves one spot available in this category. Helen Mirren seems like the most likely choice for her work in The Last Station. She would be my guess to round out the category, but it’s possible that the Academy will want to recognize someone new (since Mirren won just back in 2006 for The Queen). Emily Blunt has been getting rave reviews (and a Golden Globe nomination) for The Young Victoria. She’s a respected young actress, and she might be rewarded for her work in the period piece. And perhaps one of the youngest, most respected actresses in Hollywood is Saoirse Ronan, who received a supporting nod for her work in Atonement two years back. But the fact that the lead Actor and Actress categories rarely recognize child actors (not to mention the critical ravaging of The Lovely Bones) won’t help her chances any. Abbie Cornish (Bright Star) and Michelle Monaghan (Trucker) also got great reviews for their performances, but they and their films have been largely overlooked this awards season.

Wishful Thinking:
Zoe Saldana may never have appeared in non-blue form during Avatar, but she gave a raw, fearless performance.

 

Best Supporting Actor


The Locks: Having won just about every precursor award in existence, there is no way that Christoph Waltz won’t be nominated for Inglourious Basterds. And while he’ll likely be adding one more award to his collection on Oscar night, the excitement in this category is surrounding who the other four nominees will be (yes, they’re still going to bother). There are about seven men fighting for four spots in the line-up. Woody Harrelson is probably the only one of them who’s more or less guaranteed one of those spaces.

Good Bets: Veteran actor Christopher Plummer has a good shot at being recognized for his work in The Last Station, as does double Globe nominee Matt Damon for Invictus, despite the fact that both of them recently missed on a BAFTA nomination, and that Plummer was snubbed at the Critics Choice Awards. And while critics haven’t liked The Lovely Bones, most of them have been raving about Stanley Tucci‘s turn as a killer. The only thing that might hurt him is that he may lose a few votes for those who wish to nominate him for his charming work in Julie & Julia instead.

Best of the Rest: It’s definitely possible that Alfred Molina could sneak in to this category thanks to early raves for his performance in An Education. And while he doesn’t seem to have much of a campaign going, many critics latched on to newcomer Christian McKay for his performance as a young Orson Welles in none other than Me and Orson Welles. It would probably be considered far more surprising if Alec Baldwin got a nomination for It’s Complicated, or if The Hurt Locker‘s Anthony Mackie managed to snag a spot, but I wouldn’t count either of them out yet.

Wishful Thinking: I know it’s an odd choice, but I think that Zach Galifianakis gave one of the funniest, most memorable performances in a long time in The Hangover.

 

Best Supporting Actress


The Locks:
Mo’Nique‘s win for her monstrous turn in Precious has been locked up for a while now. Her only possible competition is from Up in the Air‘s Anna Kendrick, but at this point, it’s Mo’Nique’s award to lose.

Good Bets: Kendrick’s co-star Vera Farmiga has a very good shot at picking up her first nomination and rounding out a trio of acting noms for Up in the Air. If the wonderful Julianne Moore gets a spot in the line-up for her apparently brief role in A Single Man, she’ll have to settle for her fifth consecutive loss come Oscar night.

Best of the Rest: Once again, we’re left with one spot, and several candidates. Marion Cotillard (who I believe has now had her campaign switched to the supporting category) and Penelope Cruz have won praise for their work in Nine, but a after being shut out for all five Golden Globe awards, and all ten Critic’s Choice Awards that it was nominated for, the film’s chance at any Oscar nominations seems to be sinking fast. Meanwhile, Inglourious Basterds seems to be gaining strength as the awards season progresses, so either Melanie Laurent or Diane Kruger could steal the last spot. The other contender is Samantha Morton, who is not only receiving accolades for The Messenger, but is also coming off of a decade full of acclaimed performances. Forced to make a prediction, I’m guessing that Cotillard might still be the fifth nominee.

Wishful Thinking:
Emily Blunt was fantastic in the criminally underrated Sunshine Cleaning. She balanced humour and depth with a subtlety similar to that which Anna Kendrick is being praised for.

 

Best Director

The Locks: Despite what he claims in this Rolling Stone article, James Cameron clearly learned nothing from his “I’m king of the world!” debacle at the 1998 Oscars, judging his Na’vi-tinged Golden Globe acceptance speech in any indication. But douchebaggery aside, Cameron has a good shot at adding another Oscar to his mantle for Avatar. His main competition is in Kathryn Bigelow who is being praised for her gritty direction in The Hurt Locker. Just to keep things interesting, it so happens that Cameron and Bigelow are ex-husband and wife (Bigelow was his third of five wives). If Bigelow gets nominated (which she surely will) she’ll be only the fourth female director to get recognized by the Academy. This could be the year that a woman finally wins Best Director.

Good Bets: With his third film, Up in the Air, Jason Reitman gave his most mature work yet, and he’ll likely be rewarded for it with his second Oscar nomination. Also in contention is the always interesting Quentin Tarantino, whose Inglourious Basterds struck a chord with viewers and critics alike.

Best of the Rest: At this point it seems to be a toss-up between Lee Daniels (Precious) and Clint Eastwood (Invictus) for the fifth spot. Neither will win, but it depends on whether the Academy wants to recognize a promising new director, or a reliable vet. My guess is that Daniels will take it.

Wishful Thinking:
Spike Jonze, as always.