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Furious Movie News 01.27.11: The Oscar Odds Edition
Posted by Arnold Furious on 01.27.2011



Furious Movie News 01.27.11: The Oscar Odds Edition

Oscar odds, the latest from Sundance, Emile Hirsh, McG back in TV, trailers, charts, awards and more!

Furious on Film 214

NEWS!

Where's Your Money?



With the Oscar nominations announced on Tuesday (I have the full list with comment under the awards section) the bookies have been quickly at work establishing favourites. I use Bet365 so I'll be using their odds. Here's a quick rundown on the major awards…

Best Picture.

Favourite: The Social Network 2/1 ON. Potential Spoiler: The King's Speech 6/4. Outsider: Black Swan 50/1.

Best Director.

Favourite: David Fincher 14/1 ON. Potential Spoiler: Tom Hooper 8/1. Outsider: Darren Aronofsky 20/1.

Best Actor.

Favourite: Colin Firth 20/1 ON! Potential Spoiler: James Franco 12/1. Outsider: Jesse Eisenberg 14/1.

Best Actress.

Favourite: Natalie Portman 10/1 ON. Potential Spoiler: Annette Bening 11/2. Outsider: Michelle Williams 50/1.

Best Supporting Actor.

Favourite: Christian Bale 11/1 ON. Potential Spoiler: Geoffrey Rush 5/1. Outsider: Mark Ruffalo 40/1.

Best Supporting Actress.

Favourite: Melissa Leo 7/4 ON. Potential Spoiler: Hailee Steinfeld 5/1. Outsider: Helena Bonham Carter 6/1.

Of all the major awards supporting actress is the only one that is wide open. Odds may change so get your dollar down on Hailee at 5/1. Those odds will not improve any.

Among the lesser nominations Toy Story 3 is a whopping 33/1 ON as the bookies learn from previous Pixar wins. That makes it an even firmer favourite than Colin Firth. The Social Network and Inception are currently favourites for technical awards. About a 50-50 split. Inception is good odds at 15/8 for screenplay but it has to contend with The King's Speech on that one.

The potential money is to be made in the shorts and documentaries. Exit Through the Gift Shop is an intriguingly priced 7/2 and one of the outside shots for documentary glory. If you fancy In A Better World to reprise its conquest of Biutiful (unlikely) from the Globes that's 5/2. There are two awards that don't have a firm favourite where money could be grabbed up. Best song is something the bookies don't have a good grasp on. I personally think Dido & AR Rahman should get that for 127 Hours at 11/4 but that category is pretty open. Costume design meanwhile is a dead heat between The King's Speech and Alice in Wonderland. That could go either way and both are 6/5. Its tough to make money this year with the bookies pounding the favourites into odds on territory and if you believe them there won't be many upsets this year. But then if you believe the bookies Tilda Swinton wouldn't have won an Oscar. Or Crash. It does happen. Early days yet.

Demi hits Sundance, Kevin Smith hits out at protestors



Its been a while since Sundance was a low key festival outside of the Hollywood world. That's proven almost every year when pictures with big stars routinely debut there. This year is no exception with Demi Moore heading out into the mountains to prove she can still go in Margin Call. It's a political thriller about the banking crisis. It seems to have a rather Democratic lean (hey, this is Hollywood) but boasts a strong cast including Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci and of course Demi Moore.

Demi is eager to get back into major roles seeing as she's not really been a big Hollywood player since 1997's GI Jane. She's been reduced to supporting parts and ensembles. She's getting to that age where she might start getting offers to play older and richer characters. After all she's nearly 50. Even in Hollywood where you're forever young you can't hide aging behind makeup so much these days. Not with HD! So I'm pleased she's moving into this sort of cinema. It's a good move for her. Plus that's one hell of a cast. I'm sure Margin Call will deliver.



Elsewhere in Sundance Kevin Smith found himself in headline news after organising a counter protest to the fundamentalist Christians who decided to protest his film Red State, which pokes fun at fundamentalism. Smith is no stranger to protests once joining protestors of his own movie Dogma to show how ridiculous it all was. Red State is Kevin's first film outside the studio system since Clerks way back in 1994. But the contents have enraged the Westboro Baptist Church (what doesn't?) who protested the premier with signs reading "You're Going to Hell" and so on and so forth. Smith retaliated with his own rather comical sign holding campaign across the street. Showbizz411.com was on hand to record some footage. Here it is…



Also at Sundance there were deals struck. The Weinstein's swooped for The Details. Starring Tobey Maguire its about a successful doctor whose raccoon problem leads to an affair. Sony have also signed up a movie from Sundance paying $1M for buddy cop movie The Guard. Starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle its said to be an action comedy.

Where in the world is Emile Hirsch?



Remember Emile Hirsch? He had a breakout role in Into the Wild along with a solid turn in Milk and was tipped to be going straight to the top of the Hollywood A-List. He then bumbled somewhat and selected his first major Hollywood picture; Speed Racer. The film was a series of flashing lights where action sequences got boring and Hirsch wasn't exactly praised for his role. The film bombed in the US and he seemed to take it quite hard disappearing off the big screen. Three years later it seems that he's just been busy preparing new roles. His 2011 slate is looking decidedly busy.

First up is Killer Joe, a Matthew McConaughey picture, where he's billed second and it co-stars Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church and Juno Temple. That's already in post production. As is The Darkest Hour from Chris Gorak, the director of straight to TV terrorism movie Right At Your Door. Hirsch co-stars with Olivia Thirlby and Rachael Taylor in a movie about kids surviving an alien invasion in Russia. That's a bigger budget film ($44M) and is set to drop in August. He's also set to star in Catherine Hardwicke's Hamlet although we're not sure if he's playing Hamlet or not. The latest announcement is that Hirsch will also star in The Motel Room. An Indy flick it's produced by Bad Lieutenant Port of Call: New Orleans producers Alan and Gabriel Polsky although they don't have a finished script or a director attached. Looks like Emile is back in the rotation though. About time!

McG to direct Wonder Woman pilot



Or so says the rumour mill. Wonder Woman was originally a hit TV show in the late 70s when Lynda Carter played the DC heroine on the small screen for three seasons from 1975-1979. 58 episodes in all. The intended re-boot of the TV show was dreamt up by Warners who hired David E. Kelley to write a pilot. If the name sounds familiar its probably because its been plastered all over TV since he was a writer on LA Law. He went on to co-create Doogie Howser MD. Then went solo creating Picket Fences and Chicago Hope. After that it was Ally McBeal, The Practice and Boston Legal. He has quite the TV pedigree and yet his finished Wonder Woman pilot was shopped around practically every TV channel and came back rejected. A surprise for Warners who aren't used to failure.

But then NBC decided to change their minds and commissioned a pilot to be shot. That's where we're at now and if McG does go ahead and shoot it that could give it a bit of a boost. I know, I know, you're probably thinking that McG sucks and nothing he does is any good. Yadda, yadda, yadda. That's unless you count his surprising successes in television. As a producer he's helped shape a few of TV's current success stories. The most noticeable though is Chuck and back in 2007 when the series started guess who shot the pilot? That's right…McG. He created an exciting and funny world in that first episode and helped launched one of the best comedy action TV shows there is. So I'm pleased to hear he'll be working on Wonder Woman. If he can replicate that Chuck gold then the show is off to a flyer. That's IF they can locate a replacement for Lynda Carter. It was her presence that made the original show such a good show. If they find their star this could work. Consider me onboard.

Deals

We'll get your people to call our people



A few weeks back it looked like Charlize Theron was onboard for J. Edgar but she's opted instead to make Snow White and the Huntsman instead leaving the role for Naomi Watts to take over. Naomi has been in demand of late and it was only a matter of time before she signed to a big project.



TRAILERS

Griff the Invisible. "Love is the greatest superpower of all"? Please. This feels like Kick Ass for girls.



Insidious. From the makers of Saw and Paranormal Activity, which means it won't be very good but lots of people will watch it.



Son of No One.



Scream 4. This is the second trailer. First one was ok but I really have my doubts about Wes Craven's abilities. Not based on recent actions but on his career body of work. Outside of Elm Street and the first Scream I can't say I'm a fan. But this does look like a good trailer. Like they've actually gone out of their way to make something worthwhile. It helps that none of the actors have anything else to do and adding the cheerleader from Heroes meets with my approval.





CHART WATCH

New Releases



We've not had a big hit rom-com in quite some time. I guess Life as We Know It starring rom-com queen Katherine Heigl is about as close to a hit as we've seen in a year. Well, we can correct that now with No Strings Attached. It opened to a strong $20M weekend. $6M more than Life as We Know It managed. What's more is No Strings Attached has a dramatically smaller budget of $25M and should start seeing a profit as early as right now…as you read this. Getting bad reviews doesn't alter performance in the world of the rom-com so all those negatives don't mean a thing. You need an example? Fool's Gold, which was slated on a release managed a similar $22M opening and went on to gross more than $70M. If No Strings Attached pulls down that kind of cheddar Paramount will be fucking thrilled. There's no doubting where the love is coming from. Certainly Ivan Reitman and Ashton Kutcher haven't pulled in audiences recently. It'd be Natalie Portman, fresh off the success of Black Swan, whose drawing in a fanbase. Thanks to a career best turn in Black Swan she can now start thinking about getting projects bankrolled because she's an A-lister. Even more so now than coming off the Star Wars prequels. Especially if the Academy look favourably on Black Swan and hand her the Oscar like the Globes did last week.

The Way Back opened to 678 screens over the weekend to a haul of $1.4M. Its perhaps less than distributor Newmarket would have been hoping for what with other critically acclaimed movies pulling in large audiences in small venues over the past month (like all the awards films). It averaged just over $2k a screen. Peter Weir is used to his films opening small as he's only released two wide films, his last two, Master and Commander and The Truman Show. But he's still managed hits and well known movies during his career including Witness and Dead Poet's Society. Despite positive reviews here the lack of awards hype has seen it open quietly.

Awards Pictures



Still keeping tabs on these because there's a lot of them and they're performing well. In particular The King's Speech as it arrived last out of the major awards films. Another $9M weekend means it hardly even slips from last week and has posted $58M overall. I doubt the Weinstein's expected to recoup all that cash this quickly. They sank $15M into the project and have seen huge returns. Its now their third highest grossing film on cinematic release behind Inglourious Basterds and Scary Movie 4. The previous third highest was Hoodwinked with $51M. As a solo lead Colin Firth has never seen this kind of money. Even as an ensemble it'll be pushing his highest ranked pictures like Bridget Jones Diary, which finished with $71M at the box office. The only other films that have done better are Mamma Mia and A Christmas Carol where he wasn't exactly the draw. This time its practically all on him and should he come away with the Oscar next month it'll be sunshine all the way for Mr Firth. He can expect some very serious financial offers in the coming weeks and months.



True Grit had an $8M weekend and of the major pictures involved in the Oscar race this one looks to be pulling down the most money. That's unless you think Inception has a shot. True Grit has $138M so far. I really didn't see that coming despite the Xmas release date. That's a popular time of the year but normally Westerns get short thrift regardless of release date. If it continues to hang around it runs the risk of becoming the highest grossing Western of all time gunning for Dances With Wolves and the $184M that picture made back in 1990.



Black Swan continues to rake in cash as well. This picture is now seriously pushing some of the biggest films about dance ever made. Its now outgrossed Footloose. It needs another $11M to become the highest grossing dance film of all time besting previous record holder; Saturday Night Fever. That's how much money this film has made. Unexpected! As for Darren Aronofsky this film has now made double the total of all his other films put together. This is a pretty good haul for him and helps get the Wolverine film he's signed on to made his way rather than Marvel's way. I see that as being a plus point. Also if the Wolverine film is on the same sort of level of his previous few movies it'll be one of the best superhero films ever made.

The Fighter is up to $73M bolstered by two of its actors walking away with Golden Globes. Its now surpassed the gross of Rocky Balboa and should also go past Rocky II shortly. That's some pretty serious money for an Indy boxing flick with awards season in mind. Its not in the heavyweight territory of the other Rocky films but should it do well at the Academy Awards it could see attendances boosted again in a month.

Rest of the Ten



Its perhaps unfair to place Green Hornet in with the rest of the pack when it did a healthy $18M weekend. Its seen its overall total up to $63M although performance overseas has been underwhelming so far. It was beaten to the UK number one by The King's Speech. You could argue that's down to UK people wanting to see Colin Firth but hey, everyone loves a blockbuster and getting an action effects picture in January is usually going to guarantee attendance. Not so here. I caught it myself this week and I thought it was pretty poor. Most of the blame has to go with Seth Rogen. I'll go into details later but this was definitely a play by him to be taken seriously as a leading man. The weight loss, the action movie and the step away from the coarse language that litters every other performance of his. Given the step up in budget he needed to see a step up in footfall and at the moment that's not happening. Whether people don't buy him as an A-lister or perhaps they think a toned down Seth Rogen just won't be as funny is irreverent. The response has been muted. Although it held pretty well second weekend. 54% retention is not something that action comedies are used to getting. So word of mouth can't be that bad. Although if I'm anything to go by its heading downhill.



The Dilemma also held quite well second weekend pulling in $9M. The opening weekend wasn't a total disaster but it was far from the success that Vince Vaughn, Ron Howard and Kevin James would have been hoping for. Its done better second weekend as it was contending with rom-com No Strings Attached and didn't see as much steal as you see from some duelling comedies with romantic elements. Another major difference is that The Dilemma was far more costly with a $70M budget. It might be some time before Universal gets into the black on that deal.



Sad to say Little Fockers has become quite a substantial hit. The overseas numbers are coming in and they're as big as the United States. That'll give Little Fockers a number approaching $300M. Considering the $100M budget is well recouped you'd think they'd sign off on this as a success. Even if it didn't reach the heights of the first two films commercially. Meet the Fockers cleared $500M worldwide.

Yogi Bear has benefitted from a lack of new releases and a lack of competition in the children's market to increase its take to a healthy $88M. Normally this shit would have been bounced off the charts in 3 weeks but Xmas season tends to have a lack of competitive edge to it. Like all the movie studios are too lazy to market a picture for Xmas AND the awards season so just opens awards pictures at Xmas and then takes a few weeks off to do blow and hookers. Yogi Bear has ended up doing comparable numbers to Cats and Dogs and Beverly Hills Chihuahua in the ‘talking animals-live action' field.

Tron Legacy might just make its money back in the US market too! $170M budget looked impossible but the movie has hung around and is up to $163M so far. If it plays itself out accordingly it might just about scrape in that $170M. It made the same money overseas so the Mouse has doubled his money on this one. And there's a sequel already on the way. Motherfuckers.

Going, going…gone



Only one new release cracked the top ten so we're only saying goodbye to one film; Season of the Witch. People just didn't care for this one. Aside from the casting; Nic Cage & Ron Perlman have a good track record in the last couple of years, there was nothing to draw the crowds in. Swords and sorcery isn't the hit that the movie studios were hoping for. People went in for Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter because of the love for the books they were based on and how good the characters were. Setting it medieval times just makes it a harder sell. Medieval movies are rarely a hit. Even with a big budget. The Last Legion, Tristan and Isolde, that Joan of Arc movie and fuckin' Timeline were all medieval flops. It doesn't help that Relativity are new at this marketing game and weren't sure how to get their movie over (same story as Warrior's Way).


Next Week



Two big wide releases; The Mechanic and The Rite. The latter is a supernatural thriller starring Anthony Hopkins. The Mechanic is a vehicle for The Stath. Director Simon West was responsible for Tomb Raider and Con Air. Frankly either one could end up top with around $15M. January continues to be a bit of a dumping ground.


AWARDS WATCH

The biggest news was the Academy Award nominations so I'm running through those. This may take a while…

Actor in a Leading Role
* Javier Bardem in "Biutiful"
* Jeff Bridges in "True Grit"
* Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network"
* Colin Firth in "The King's Speech"
* James Franco in "127 Hours"

The three everyone expected are all there with Bardem getting late support and Bridges getting predictable love as last year's winner. Nice to have him back with another quality performance. For me this is Colin Firth's award. He carries far more of the film than any of the others and that includes Franco. Despite him being onscreen for most of 127 Hours. The King's Speech needed an epic performance from its leading man to even work as a film. Firth is at the head of an excellent acting ensemble and has some terrific performances to play off. Eisenberg may be the spoiler but Firth should win.



Actor in a Supporting Role
* Christian Bale in "The Fighter"
* John Hawkes in "Winter's Bone"
* Jeremy Renner in "The Town"
* Mark Ruffalo in "The Kids Are All Right"
* Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech"

This is a lot tighter than the lead-in awards would have you believe. Bale looks like a shoe-in having won almost every award handed out in the past 2 months and yet Geoffrey Rush must be very close and Mark Ruffalo turned in a grand performance in The Kids Are All Right. I still think Bale edges this but I wouldn't be shocked if Rush steals it at the last.



Actress in a Leading Role
* Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right"
* Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole"
* Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone"
* Natalie Portman in "Black Swan"
* Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine"

A fine year for actresses! I wouldn't complain if any of these ladies won. Jennifer Lawrence is perhaps a surprise as Winter's Bone has been out there for so long. People do tend to forget films from earlier in the year. My pick has to be Natalie Portman although there are so many good performances! Michelle Williams is incredible in Blue Valentine and she's up there with Black Swan for career making turns. In any other year Annette Bening would win. She's terrific. But I think this is Natalie's year and I'd be surprised, perhaps pleasantly, if it went to anyone else. I have Michelle Williams as a shock upset so if that happens I called it first. But I'm still picking Portman.

Actress in a Supporting Role
* Amy Adams in "The Fighter"
* Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech"
* Melissa Leo in "The Fighter"
* Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit"
* Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom"

I actually picked Melissa Leo before the Golden Globes but now I'm left to question whether her performance is good enough to beat Hailee Steinfeld. It'll be close. Of all the acting awards this is the hardest one to call. Especially with Helena Bonham Carter in the running too and The King's Speech getting a lot of love. Helena has never won an Oscar but this is only her second nomination. She's been outstanding in a lot of films without getting attention from awards ceremonies. I think she has a genuine shot at winning and The Fighter may well divide opinion. I think three girls have a legitimate shot at taking home the statuette.

Animated Feature Film
* "How to Train Your Dragon" Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
* "The Illusionist" Sylvain Chomet
* "Toy Story 3" Lee Unkrich

Colour me pleased that Despicable Me isn't nominated. I thought it was pretty weak. Toy Story 3 should win as this is usually Pixar's award to lose. I've not seen either of the other two.

Art Direction
* "Alice in Wonderland"
Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara
* "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1"
Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
* "Inception"
Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
* "The King's Speech"
Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr
* "True Grit"
Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

Seeing as its been overlooked in major categories I think Inception should fare well in the technical awards. That said the Academy is awfully fond of period pieces when it comes to art and costume. Which could leave The King's Speech battling Alice in Wonderland. I'll be making my decision on this at a later date.

Cinematography
* "Black Swan" Matthew Libatique
* "Inception" Wally Pfister
* "The King's Speech" Danny Cohen
* "The Social Network" Jeff Cronenweth
* "True Grit" Roger Deakins

For me Roger Deakins should win. This is his 9th nomination and he keeps getting screwed over by films that didn't look as good as his. I think Inception looked good because lots of money was spent on it. Also I didn't rate The Social Network as highly for its visuals. The direction, yes, but not so much the shots. True Grit was just a beautiful looking film.

Costume Design
* "Alice in Wonderland" Colleen Atwood
* "I Am Love" Antonella Cannarozzi
* "The King's Speech" Jenny Beavan
* "The Tempest" Sandy Powell
* "True Grit" Mary Zophres

Colleen Atwood has won twice before and I wouldn't be surprised if she won again. The best part of Alice in Wonderland was how good the costumes looked. Which is quite sad, really.

Directing
* "Black Swan" Darren Aronofsky
* "The Fighter" David O. Russell
* "The King's Speech" Tom Hooper
* "The Social Network" David Fincher
* "True Grit" Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

This surprised me. David O. Russell over Chris Nolan? I can understand Tom Hooper making the cut because The King's Speech looks good and has a lot of excellent directorial decisions to keep it going along at the right pace. The Fighter, for me anyway, was good because of the acting rather than the raw direction. I particularly felt his coverage of the fights felt distanced and bored. Outside of the ring is where the energy is, which is good in a way but the fights should feel more entertaining. So for me I thought Nolan had done excellent work and deserved a nomination. The others are as expected and Fincher will most likely win having won every other award. Tom Hooper is potentially the spoiler as his film has so much support but I feel Fincher's previous record of excellence will get him the Oscar.

Documentary (Feature)
* "Exit through the Gift Shop" Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz
* "Gasland" Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
* "Inside Job" Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
* "Restrepo" Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
* "Waste Land" Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

No Waiting For Superman? That's surprising. Exit Through the Gift Shop has the hype going in and there are few other doc's that really have that. I've yet to see any of these nominated doc's but I'll get on that ahead of making my call.

Documentary (Short Subject)
* "Killing in the Name" Nominees to be determined
* "Poster Girl" Nominees to be determined
* "Strangers No More" Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
* "Sun Come Up" Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
* "The Warriors of Qiugang" Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

With the shorts this is usually the first anyone's heard of them. I'm sure someone will bung them all on YouTube way before the big night so we can all get a taste. No early favourite as yet.

Film Editing
* "Black Swan" Andrew Weisblum
* "The Fighter" Pamela Martin
* "The King's Speech" Tariq Anwar
* "127 Hours" Jon Harris
* "The Social Network" Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

A lot of excellent choices here. Again, Inception is a surprise omission. I could easily have lost The Fighter in exchange for that. King's Speech is nominated because its nominated for everything. I personally feel 127 Hours had some excellent editing but a more likely winner is The Social Network. A combination of direction and editing made that slick. I think it'll win.

Foreign Language Film

* "Biutiful" Mexico
* "Dogtooth" Greece
* "In a Better World" Denmark
* "Incendies" Canada
* "Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)" Algeria

In a Better World upset Biutiful at the Globes. I would hope Biutiful had rather more support in the Academy but we'll have to wait and see.

Makeup
* "Barney's Version" Adrien Morot
* "The Way Back" Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
* "The Wolfman" Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Rick Baker is a great makeup guy. He's won a load of Oscars already but I can see him winning again here. The movie not being great counts against him but he's won plenty of Oscars for movies that weren't that good. How the Grinch Stole Christmas springs to mind. Fuck, he was nominated for Norbit! If they're going straight up makeup he wins.

Music (Original Score)
* "How to Train Your Dragon" John Powell
* "Inception" Hans Zimmer
* "The King's Speech" Alexandre Desplat
* "127 Hours" A.R. Rahman
* "The Social Network" Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Where the fuck is Clint Mansell for Black Swan? I had that down as the best score of the year. I don't even remember how good the score was on The Social Network but I guess Trent Reznor is a pretty cool guy to win. Inception would be nice.

Music (Original Song)
* "Coming Home" from "Country Strong" Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
* "I See the Light" from "Tangled" Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
* "If I Rise" from "127 Hours" Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
* "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3" Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Don't care. Never usually do…unless we're talking Once. I love that movie. I personally think 127 Hours wins because its Dido and she doesn't suck. But that would give AR Rahman another fucking Oscar.

Best Picture
* "Black Swan" Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
* "The Fighter" David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
* "Inception" Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
* "The Kids Are All Right" Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
* "The King's Speech" Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
* "127 Hours" Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
* "The Social Network" Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
* "Toy Story 3" Darla K. Anderson, Producer
* "True Grit" Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
* "Winter's Bone" Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Winter's Bone is a surprise and Blue Valentine, which is a better depressing movie, lost out because of it. I don't know why they're bothering to continue with the farce of nominating 10 movies when only 3 of them can realistically win. Obviously so no one can complain about Toy Story 3 not being nominated for best picture even though it blatantly isn't that great. For me they should just stick with the five and have Social Network, King's Speech, Black Swan, True Grit and Inception up for best picture. But that's just me.

Short Film (Animated)
* "Day & Night" Teddy Newton
* "The Gruffalo" Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
* "Let's Pollute" Geefwee Boedoe
* "The Lost Thing" Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
* "Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)" Bastien Dubois

Short Film (Live Action)
* "The Confession" Tanel Toom
* "The Crush" Michael Creagh
* "God of Love" Luke Matheny
* "Na Wewe" Ivan Goldschmidt
* "Wish 143" Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

I'll have to wait on the shorts but I do intend to actually watch them ahead of the ceremony this year. Unlike every other year…when I don't watch them at all.

Sound Editing
* "Inception" Richard King
* "Toy Story 3" Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
* "Tron: Legacy" Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
* "True Grit" Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
* "Unstoppable" Mark P. Stoeckinger

Inception had killer sound but the spoiler here could be Unstoppable. I'm thinking that might actually take it and in these categories Oscar Roundtable predictions can be won or lost.

Sound Mixing
* "Inception" Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
* "The King's Speech" Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
* "Salt" Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
* "The Social Network" Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
* "True Grit" Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

However a critical pointer is that Unstoppable isn't nominated for mixing at all. Inception is. The other double up is True Grit. So maybe either one of those could be a good bet. I personally would go Inception but I thought it was the best picture of the year and I know the Academy don't agree with me on that.

Visual Effects
* "Alice in Wonderland" Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
* "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
* "Hereafter" Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
* "Inception" Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
* "Iron Man 2" Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

This has to be Inception. Has to be. If they give it to any other film I'll be very surprised.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
* "127 Hours" Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
* "The Social Network" Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
* "Toy Story 3" Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
* "True Grit" Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
* "Winter's Bone" Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

It's hard on the Coen's that their screenplay is adapted seeing as Aaron Sorkin is bound to win here. If anyone else wins I'll be surprised. True Grit had the best dialogue of any film this year and for me having the best dialogue has got to put you pretty fucking close to best screenplay. Seeing as dialogue is the hardest thing to write.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
* "Another Year" Written by Mike Leigh
* "The Fighter" Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson;
Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
* "Inception" Written by Christopher Nolan
* "The Kids Are All Right" Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
* "The King's Speech" Screenplay by David Seidler

I think Nolan is shit out of luck on this one too. Although the Inception screenplay is amazing The King's Speech is up for best picture and a whole bunch of top awards. I'd love Mike Leigh to win, incidentally, but it'll never happen.

Producers Guild of America



This is usually a pretty good guide as to how the Oscars will play out. Its been a while since they disagreed on the best picture of the year. However the Producer's Guild this year went with…drumroll please…The King's Speech. Now that bucks a trend that's been going on since the very start of awards season where The Social Network has been cleaning house. However PGA also went with Brokeback Mountain, Little Miss Sunshine and The Aviator. So there ya go. It is a sign of increasing support for The King's Speech, which should make the night itself an interesting cross-Atlantic throw down in most of the major awards. The British are coming?

Elsewhere Waiting for Superman won best documentary, which again makes me wonder why it wasn't nominated for an Oscar. Although Inside Job is the only doc to be nominated here and at the Oscars so that shows the vast difference of opinion. Toy Story 3 won best animated film. No surprises there.

Next week: Director's Guild, Screen Actor's Guild make their selections in their respective areas.



English Premier League: Player of the Week


WEEK 22

Really hard week to just stick to five players. Lots of big wins for big teams with top players performing. Here's what I whittled it down to…



1. Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd). Really hard to go for anyone else. Utd stamped their authority on the league this past weekend. While the Gunners & Chelski also picked up big wins you have to look at the league leaders for quality. Berbatov has his knockers. People suspect he can't smash big teams the same way he does minnows (like Blues) but the goals he scored on Saturday he'd have scored against any team. Utd were class. Rooney & Giggs were excellent and Berbatov bagged his third hat trick of the season. I don't care who you're playing in the Premier League scoring three hat tricks in one season is awesome stuff. Some of Utd's other players have been a little quiet about reclaiming their best form but Berbatov has shouted his excellence from the rooftops.

2. James Collins (Aston Villa). An absolute rock in defence against Man City. Title chasing City saw their threat knocked back in a game that Villa had to perform in. And perform they did. Collins has been inconsistent this season but when he plays well he's everywhere in that back line. Blocking everything. Like a poor man's John Terry. At this rate he might see himself as more of an equal by season's end providing Darren Bent continues to knock them in.

3. Kieran Richardson (Sunderland). Another hard call. I felt an Arsenal player should have gone here given their superior footballing performance against Wigan. And yet Richardson was a revelation for his team. Playing a new position and scoring twice he looked like a player reborn. He's spent most of this season looking like a shadow of his former self so this weekend is easily the biggest of his season. Plus it gives Steve Bruce another option in replacing Bent. If Kieran starting finding form in that ‘van der Vaart' role then he could play off Gyan leaving Welbeck to play elsewhere. Could see Sunderland add a little more cosmopolitan play to their already impressive points tally.

4. Robin Van Persie (Arsenal)
5. Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)

So how's that change the top ten? Berbatov climbs back level with Tevez. Carlos having an off day along with his City colleagues. Bale picked up an injury and Carroll is still out injured too. Nasri was outshone by two teammates. Fabregas now moves to just a point behind Nasri. Both players have been excellent recently. 3 of the top 5 hadn't got points previously so they join the race lower down the chart. For those counting 65 Premier League players have now scored points during the course of the season so far.


1. Carlos Tevez 34
2. Dimitar Berbatov 34
3. Gareth Bale 26
4. Samir Nasri 22
5. Cesc Fabregas 21
6. Darren Bent 20
7. Andy Carroll 19
8. Rafael van der Vaart 17
9. Scott Parker 17
10. Tim Cahill 14




THIS WEEK

The Green Hornet

Its hard to know where to begin. I guess with Seth Rogen as this is mainly his fault. He wrote a bad script with bad characters and then acted in the worst role. His performance as Britt Reid is a career low. His characters have been sliding slowly into obnoxious territory ever since his breakthrough with Knocked Up but when you take away his profanity crutches he's even worse. Losing the F word leaves Rogen clutching at straws. His Reid is ignorant, clueless, unable to interact with anyone, self-centred, egotistical and absolutely unlikeable. It got to the point where I was hoping he'd be shot in the head so I didn't have to watch him anymore. That said any laughs that do come from the script are from him like the fight with Kato, which has a couple of good gags in. But the action scenes, the ones that make this an action-comedy, don't work. There's no threat to the lead characters. I never feel like any of them are at risk. That removes any thrills and leaves only the jokes. Which are few and far between. Most of them reliant on physical humour. And as I mentioned before because Britt Reid is such an asshole, such a total prick its hard to enjoy anything he does. You can't rally behind him because he never bothers to redeem himself. Literally the first 90 minutes build to some kind of redemption where I'm thinking that they must have built the character up like this for his redemption. And that satisfying scene never arrives. The other characters hang around being abused by Reid and its impossible to see why. On My Name is Earl the Earl character was horrible to people and then had to make up for it in kind. Karma never seems to catch up to Britt Reid. Or Seth Rogen. He's on a slippery slope and unless he picks a sympathetic character he's going to start looking like a bully. A typecast one at that. *

Blue Valentine

Equal parts brutal and enchanting Blue Valentine dissects a relationship from either end. Falling in and out of love. Which makes it really hard to watch. The falling out of love part is messy, violent and so very depressing. It helps that both Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling are incredible. Gosling has been at a high level for some time now but Michelle has a real breakthrough here. Moving her game up to the next level. The only reason I don't rate the film higher is because I can't relate to the characters. I just don't understand why they feel forced into bad choices and can't compromise. But in between these moments of stupidity there are genuine emotions at play and when we get into the crux of the problems its heart-wrenching stuff. We go the full 12 rounds with these characters but in life and in marriages you don't get to win unless you're working together. And that simple truth eludes both characters, which is what makes it all the more depressing. ***1/2

Timecrimes

The less you know about this movie coming in, the better. As the plot expands past 'man with binoculars sees something odd' its best you don't know what's going on at all. Of course the title is a bit of a giveaway. Nacho Vigalondo has created a very different whodunnit/howdunnit time travel movie. Its a little bit like Back to the Future 2 only as a drama. I had a lot of fun trying to figure out where the movie was going and although I found a few elements a little disappointing (that the director basically went with "shit happens" as a basic plotline) its probably best when dealing with something complex to not make it needlessly complicated beyond that. My wife got lost about an hour in but I was mostly waiting to see how elaborately the gaps in the plot would get filled in as the film progressed. Another top film from Spain btw. They're quickly becoming one of the best movie producing countries in the world. Innovative in horror and mystery. ****

Sidenote: this is due a Hollywood remake, which will drop in 2012. Hope they get an interesting cast for it. The lead is especially important. It'll be something that an actor could really get stuck into. Paul Giamatti would be cool.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Its a documentary that asks a lot of questions. What can be considered art? Is everything we create art in a way? Is hype more important than talent? Is conning important people the easiest way to con everyone? If the lie is big enough will everyone believe it? Most importantly, can this even be considered a documentary? The sources are totally unreliable. Who is Thierry Guetta? Who is Banksy? You'd think a world famous artist would be instantly recognisable within the art community but he's just a name. Very few people know who he is. The more questions you ask about what's happening in Exit Through the Gift Shop the more vague the answers become, layered in with yet more questions.

The best films of 2010 were ones based on the idea that ambiguous endings, concepts and even set up's can lead to the best pay offs. It was seen in Inception, Black Swan and in Exit Through the Gift Shop. Whether you choose to believe the documentary is entirely up to you. But while you debate whether it should even be called a documentary you should probably consider that every documentary is slanted a certain way. It's only as real as the film maker makes it. While Joaquin Phoenix's I'm Still Here was clearly a set up (although hotly debated) from the Letterman appearance its hard to tell where Banksy gives up on trying to pull the wool over the audience's eyes here. After all; if the lie is big enough...****



Question, seeing as I've gotten positive feedback for including reviews in here, do you want me to stick my blog on the end of the column too? Its available by clicking on my name and reading the left side but maybe it'd be cool to stick in my weekly thoughts on whatever as a curtain call. Let me know.

One for the road. Do we need any oranges Gary Busey?



He sure loves Calvin & Hobbes.

Until next time I'm Arnold Furious and you're not.








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