OSCAR NOMINATIONS 2012

The Oscar nominations have just been announced today (January the 24th). The awards will be given on February the 26th

BEST FEATURE FILM:

This year it seems that the Artist might just win it. I didn’t unexpected to see Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, which hasn’t really been making many lists for favourite movie this year. War Horse had to be in the list, however it’s interesting to see that Spielberg didn’t really gets any nod (nor for directing, nor for Animation)

Actor In a Leading Role

Unexpected but quite a well deserved nomination for Gary Oldman, however my vote goes to Clooney (he’s also the front runner on the list). Most newspapers obivously picked up on the fact that it’s a battle of the “hot” as Clooney and Pitt are both nominated.

Actress In a Leading Role

Is there any chance for anybody else but Meryl Streep? Don’t think so. I did like Michelle Williams too though.

Actor In a Supporting Role

Good to see Christopher Plummer nominated (I did say in my review at the time he might  get it). However I am quite pleased to see Kenneth Branagh on the list too. The surprise is Jonah Hill, who probably can’t believe his luck!

Actress In a Supporting Role

The Oscars voter might for for Octavia Spencer (just like the Golden Globes voters). I thought the move to put Bérénice Bejo forward for supporting actrtess was actually quite clever (thus avoiding to compete against Meryl Streep or Michelle Williams)

Directing

Mallick is unexpected, but it’s a battle between Michel Hazanavicius and Alexander Payne. Woody Allen seems to be the only person alive who is allowed to get nominated for an Oscar when directing (or writing) a comedy.

Cinematography

All very well deserved nominations. The Artist might get it, but the photography on both the Tree of life and War horse was quite astonishing. It’s great to see Jeff Cronenweth nominated for his cold touch in the girl with the Dragon tattoo.

Animated Feature Film

I find shocking that Tintin is not in the list for best Animated Film, however it’s good to see some brave choices, like Chico and Rita… But was Puss in boots better than Tintin? And Kung Fu Panda 2?!?! Are we kidding?

Art Direction

All well deserved nominations and even though Harry Potter should finally be recognised for something

Costume Design

Documentary Feature

Documentary Short

Film Editing

Some people say that the best editing is also the most invisible one… Which is probably why usually very flashy editings seem to win awards left and right (JFK style just to mention one glaring example), in which case Moneyball should really win… However it will once again be the Artist, even though the film was a bit too slow and definitely 20 minutes too long.

Foreign Language Film

Makeup

Music (Original Score)

Music (Original Song)

Short Film (Animated)

Short Film (Live Action)

Sound Editing

Sound Mixing

Visual Effects

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Writing (Original Screenplay)

In the end, not too may surprises of course. The Artis is obviously coming through as the main contended in the big categories, the Descendants is going to be the one to beat.

On the acting front, Meryl Streep is the frontrunner as we all know… and I do also feel this is George’s year (yes, he did win, but as supporting actor).

What do you think? Leave us a message  and share your thoughts

The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards

Here are the results for the 69th Golden Globes, which is usually a pretty good indicator for the Oscars (and yes, just as predictable). No big surprises aside from Martin Scorsese getting an award for his directing in HUGO…

The Artist got away with its award for best comedy, Meryl Streep and Clooney won for their performances in a drama (both very well deserved) and Steven Spielberg went home with an award for Tintin.

Aside from that, the evening was pretty restrained: no big tears, no big shocks… and sadly no big insults from Ricky Gervais (this time it felt he was really holding back). However funnily enough the best moment had nothing to with any of nominees below, but was the pleasure of seeing a montage of films with Morgan Freeman for the Cecil B DeMille Award.

Underneath you can read all the nominees, the winners and some of my (silly) comments too.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

WINNER: The Descendants (2011)  

The Help (2011)

Hugo (2011/II)

Moneyball (2011)

War Horse (2011)

I am really happy to see this little film getting this award. I’ve always liked it since I first saw it .

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

WINNER: The Artist (2011)

Bridesmaids (2011)

50/50 (2011)

My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Well of course… It had to win. Everybody loves it even though there are a lot of better films out there.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

WINNER: George Clooney for The Descendants (2011)

Leonardo DiCaprio for J. Edgar (2011)

Michael Fassbender for Shame (2011)

Brad Pitt for Moneyball (2011)

Clooney truly deserved this award. His performance in the Descendants is possibly his best performance ever.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs (2011)

Viola Davis for The Help (2011)

WINNER: Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady (2011)

Tilda Swinton for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

She had to win. She’s still the best living actress around. A legend! She’s got class to sell (in her speech she thanked all actresses who have not been nominated!). I just wondered: how dare they play music over her to push her off the stage?

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

WINNER: Jean Dujardin for The Artist (2011)

Brendan Gleeson for The Guard (2011)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt for 50/50 (2011)

Owen Wilson for Midnight in Paris (2011)

I was really hoping for Ryan Gosling or Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but let’s face it, it was never going to happen. Jean Dujardin gave a lovely speech with a nice “silent” touch at the end.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Jodie Foster for Carnage (2011)

WINNER: Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Kate Winslet for Carnage (2011)

This was to be expected. It’s going to be between her and Meryl Streep at the Oscars (who probably deserves it more thought). Her speech was heartfelt and lovely.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Nominees:

Albert Brooks for Drive (2011)

Jonah Hill for Moneyball (2011)

WINNER : Christopher Plummer for Beginners (2010)

I did say it at the time. This one of the best performances of the year. TOTALLY deserved! I am so happy 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Bérénice Bejo for The Artist (2011)

Jessica Chastain for The Help (2011)

Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs (2011)

WINNER: Octavia Spencer for The Help (2011)

Shailene Woodley for The Descendants (2011)

She really deserved it… Though i must confess I did actually fall in love with Shailene in The Descendant. 

Best Director – Motion Picture

WINNER: Martin Scorsese for Hugo (2011/II)

A night where both Scorsese and Spielberg win a Golden Globe can only be a good night in my opinion, however if you asked me Alexander Payne deserved this.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

WINNER: Midnight in Paris (2011): Woody Allen

Moneyball (2011): Steven ZaillianAaron SorkinStan Chervin

Not so sure it deserved it, especially against Sorkin, Payne and Clooney… But maybe it got it because the voted split among all the others.

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

Albert Nobbs (2011): Brian ByrneGlenn Close(“Lay Your Head Down”)

Gnomeo & Juliet (2011): Elton JohnBernie Taupin(“Hello Hello”)

The Help (2011): Mary J. BligeThomas NewmanHarvey Mason Jr.Damon Thomas(“The Living Proof”)

Machine Gun Preacher (2011): Chris Cornell(“The Keeper”)

WINNER: W.E. (2011): Madonna, Julie Frost, Jimmy Harry(“Masterpiece”)

It was quite funny to hear her acceptance speech. It sounded as if she was expecting the award for her direction for the film… Madonna, it’s just the song. Get that statuette and go home!!

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

WINNER: The Artist (2011): Ludovic Bource

Hugo (2011/II): Howard Shore

W.E. (2011): Abel Korzeniowski

It was to be expected since the whole film relies on the soundtrack and nothing else… But I really thought John Williams’s score was beautiful.

Best Animated Film

Cars 2 (2011)

Puss in Boots (2011)

Rango (2011)

Isn’t great to see Spielberg accepting an award again… (and for a cartoon!!).

Best Foreign Language Film

The Flowers of War (2011)(China)

The Kid with a Bike (2011)(Belgium)

WINNER: A Separation (2011)(Iran)

The Skin I Live In (2011)(Spain)

Best Television Series – Drama

“Boss” (2011)

WINNER: “Homeland” (2011)

Everybody has been telling me for months to watch this series. It look like I am going to have to catch up soon

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

“Episodes” (2011)

“Glee” (2009)

WINNER: “Modern Family” (2009)

“New Girl” (2011)

I love this show and the acceptance speech was just as wild as the show itself.

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Cinema Verite (2011) (TV)

WINNER “Downton Abbey” (2010)

“The Hour” (2011)

Too Big to Fail (2011) (TV)

Mildred Pierce was fantastic, but everybody seems to love the Brits of Downton Abbey these days.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

WINNER: Claire Danes for “Homeland” (2011)

Callie Thorne for “Necessary Roughness” (2011)

Claire Danes is always a winner on TV. This is her 3rd win. And now I have another reason to watch Homeland.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

WINNER: Idris Elba for “Luther” (2010)

William Hurt for Too Big to Fail (2011) (TV)

Bill Nighy for Page Eight (2011) (TV)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

WINNER: Peter Dinklage for “Game of Thrones” (2011)

Paul Giamatti for Too Big to Fail (2011) (TV)

Tim Robbins for Cinema Verite (2011) (TV)

Eric Stonestreet for “Modern Family” (2009)

A mini-actor for a miniseries… hehehe… sorry, that was a bit cheap.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Evan Rachel Wood for “Mildred Pierce” (2011)

Pity for Maggie… She hasn’t got many award season left…

The Tree of Life – Review

The Tree of Life (2011) 

Directed by Terrence Malick. Starring Brad PittSean PennJessica Chastain.

What really makes me angry about this film is that behind the preposterous, pretentious, tediously slow, shockingly simplistic muddle of philosophical clichés, there was actually a good story waiting to be told by a potentially great director.

Those scenes with the kids for example (whose acting was particularly graceful and natural) were indeed nicely handled and gave you a little hint of how much better the film could have been if only director Terence Malick had been a little bit less full of himself.

Instead he decided to cram it all with heavy, pretentious, superfluous, confusing and rather conventional voice over, plastered all over the soundtrack, preventing his audience from any emotional response to the film.

All that was enhanced even more by the constant choral musical score (including requiem from Bach, Mozart, Gorecki, Respighi, Holst and God knows how many others) which gave the film the same monotone feel throughout.

It’s as if there was only one gear controlling the pace of this film.

The parallel with Kubrick’s 2001: A space Odyssey comes quite natural: in a way this film has the same ideals and touches most of the same grounds as Kubrick’s classic and because of that, dare-I-say, falls into the exact same faults: the sketchy narrative, overblown abstractions and the slow pace.

By while in Kubrick’s’ case, those “faults” were also counterbalanced by the gripping relationship between man and machine and a strong sense of wonder towards heaven and earth, in the case of Malick’s Tree of Life, there’s a certain pompousness which makes it really annoying. Also it is both too inaccessible and too obvious. Finally Malick’s detatched style makes it really hard for anyone to care: in my very humble view the film should have been much more focused on the central story.

There was absolutely no need to show us the beginning of the Universe, nor the end of the dinosaurs age (incidentally, the dinosaurs looked better back in 1993 when Spielberg made Jurassic Park!). In fact, there was probably not even need for Sean Penn to be there at all: everything the film wanted to tell us was right there within the central story of the American family in the 50s.

And there was definitely no need for that terribly smultzy and contrived final sequence which was supposed to show the end of the world and give us a vision of “heaven” but  actually ended up looking more like some outtakes from the actual film’s wrap party, with all the actors re-uniting again and congratulating each other on how good they all were. Or was it just Malick’s own version of the finale of the TV series LOST?

Everything in the film is heavily soaked in symbolism and religion. I read somewhere that Brad Pitt’s character was supposed to symbolise the “Old Testament” and his wife was the “New Testament”. I did noticed that the two of them were never shown talking to each other, and if they were it was always through a glass or from far away or  even off-camera, preventing us from hearing their dialogue or to see them interacting with each other.

But does all this stylish trickery and heavy subtext really make the film any better? Certainly not for me.

In fact it  is all too disappointingly literal and frustratingly patchy that in the end it just comes out  as cold and distant. So much so that I just couldn’t really care about anyone in this film… and for a film that’s about life and love that is a terrible fault.

All these attempts to elevate the small-scale, intimate family drama by intercutting cosmic sequences of the beginning of the universe in order to give a deeper meaning to the soul-searching of the characters are finally not enough to compensate for a lack of dramatic involvement and in the end, they just overwhelm the actual story.

Even the beautiful cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki (where everything seems to be filmed at magic hour) becomes self-indulgent, repetitive and tedious. There’s only a certain amount of trees, waterfalls and shots of glinting sun flaring at the lens you can take.

It’s hard to believe that this is only Terence Malick’s 5th feature film as a director since 1973. The Tree of Life has all his distinct signature trademarks (the beautifully photographed shots of nature, the use voice over and music and the themes of the film themselves), but are they just trademarks or is he  actually making the same sort of film over and over again?

Whatever the answer is, apparently all this was enough for the judges in Cannes to assign it the Palme d’or, back in May 2011.

Some people in Cannes said that Malick is more of an “artist” then a film-maker. But as somebody once also said “to make art is to fail” and he clearly does fail with this film, mainly because he just tries too hard. If only he hadn’t aimed so high, he would have certainly made a better film, but as it stand “The Tree of Life” is an epic failure…

5.5/10

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