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Oscars 2012: The Day After

Posted on 27 February 2012 by William Gatevackes

The 2012 Oscars were a vast improvement over the 2011 Oscars for one reason. No, not because there were more surprises–they were just as predictable. Not because of star power either–the stars were out both years. The reason why this year’s Oscar telecast was the best it’s been in years–Billy Crystal.

Crystal might not be the Oscar host the Academy wants, but he is the host they need. You might think him to be too “old school” or too “borscht belt” but you need a Master of Ceremonies that has experience running an event with this much glitz and glamour. You need someone at ease in his role and not afraid to seem foolish. You need someone who rolls with the punches a live show throws at them, joking all the way. And you need someone who can make a three and a half hour show fly by in such a way that the audience says “They’re at Best Picture already?” instead of “When are they ever going to get to Best Picture”. You need someone who can make the ceremony fun and exciting, not seem like the Bataan Death March of awards shows.

You get all this and more with Crystal. Granted, his night wasn’t perfect (His “you’re in his eye sight” line when Christian Bale came out would have been funnier if his Terminator: Salvation set dust-up wasn’t four years and five movies ago) and he relied on old gags like “What are the celebrities thinking.” (because, well, they worked), but for the first time in years you had the sense that the Oscar host actually wanted to be there and was having fun while on stage. And this sense of joy translated to the presenters and winners as well.

There weren’t many surprises this year. Meryl Streep might have seemed like one, but her Oscar win was not unforseen. Woody Allen winning Best Original Screenplay came close to being a true upset, but even still it was widely acclaimed as Allen’s best work in years and not a complete surprise.

Now what stands out in my memory as the Best and Worst moments from last night’s telecast:

The Best:

  • The acceptance speeches from the acting winners: All showed genuine emotion and seemed natural and heartfelt. Touching.
  • Christopher Guest & Company mocking the focus group: A little bit of insider editorial comment on the value of test screenings and a reminder why these people’s movies even at their worst are entertaining.
  •  The way Zack Galifianakis introduced himself: As someone with a long, hard to pronounce last name, I could truly appreciate this bit, even if no one else could.
  • Jim Rash’s instantaneous mocking of Angelina Jolie: If you’re going to pose awkwardly to show off your gams to the world, leave it to the Community cast member and ex-Groundling to call you on it.

The Worst:

  • Cutting off Octavia Spencer’s speech: Spencer’s speech was heartfelt and emotional. I was captivated and rapt. It was a great Oscar moment. And they rush her off the stage. The powers-that-be should know that while they do need to keep the proceedings moving, they should allow great moments like this one to just happen.
  • “Hugo!” “No, Hugo!”: Why don’t you both go so we can get to the next award. Academy? This is the one you should have cut off.
  • Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph’s introduction to Best Live Action Short: I hope this doesn’t sound prudish or misogynistic, and my anti-Kristen Wiig bias might be showing, but a penis joke? Really? Stay classy ladies.

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OSCARS 2012: Know Your Nominees:Best Supporting Actress

Posted on 21 February 2012 by William Gatevackes


In the days leading up to the 84th Academy Awards, FilmBuffOnline will be offering profiles on all the nominees in the major categories. Some may be well know, others might be new to you, but if you need a refresher on these talented nominees, here it is.

Bérénice Bejo

Nominated for: playing young ingenue whose career as an actress skyrockets with the introduction of sound in The Artist.

Other honors for this role:

Nominated, Best Supporting Actress, Washington DC Film Critics Association.

Nominated, Best Supporting Actress, 2012 Critics’ Choice Awards.

Nominated, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Nominated, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role , 2012 Screen Actors Guild Award.

Nominated, Best Actress, 2012 BAFTA Awards.

Where you might know her from:

She has primarily acted only in Europe, but American audiences may remember her as Christiana in A Knight’s Tale.

History with Oscar:

This is Bérénice Bejo’s first Oscar nomination.

Jessica Chastain

Nominated for: Playing Celia Foote, a naive Southern housewife in The Help.

Other honors for this role:

Won, Best Supporting Actress, New York Film Critics Circle Award (Awarded for her roles in The Tree of Life and Take Shelter as well).

Won, Best Supporting Actor, 37th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards  (Awarded for her roles in Coriolanus, The Debt, Texas Killing Fields, The Tree of Life and Take Shelter as well).

Nominated, Best Supporting Actress, 2012 Critics’ Choice Awards.

Nominated, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Nominated, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role , 2012 Screen Actors Guild Award.

Nominated, Best Supporting Actress, 2012 BAFTA Awards.

Where you might know her from:

If you haven’t seen the numerous other films she put out last year, perhaps you remember her from her recurring role as Assistant District Attorney Sigrun Borg on the TV series Law and Order: Trial By Jury.

History with Oscar:

This is Jessica Chastain’s first Oscar nomination.

Melissa McCarthy

Nominated for: Playing Megan, a gruff and raunchy sister-in-law-to-be in Bridesmaids.

Other honors for this role:

Nominated, Best Supporting Actress, Washington DC Film Critics Association.

Won, Best Supporting Actress, Boston Society of Film Critics.

Nominated, Best Supporting Actress, 2012 Critics’ Choice Awards.

Nominated, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role , 2012 Screen Actors Guild Award.

Nominated, Best Supporting Actress, 2012 BAFTA Awards.

Where you might know her from:

She is on TV every week, playing Molly in Mike & Molly, a role for which she won an Emmy.  

History with Oscar:

This is Melissa McCarthy’s first Oscar nomination.

Janet McTeer

Nominated for: playing Hubert, an energetic, cross-dressing artist in Albert Nobbs .

Other honors for this role:

Nominated, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role , 2012 Screen Actors Guild Award.

Nominated, Best Supporting Female, 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Where you might know her from:

Fans of BBC America might recognize her from her many roles in various British TV series. Fans of the live stage might know her from extensive stage work, most recently on Broadway taking over the role of Veronica in God of Carnage. And those of you with good ears might recognize her voice as the narrator of Velvet Goldmine.

History with Oscar:

Janet McTeer has one previous Oscar nomination.

2000: Best Actress in a Leading Role, Tumbleweeds (Lost to Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry).

Octavia Spencer

Nominated for: playing Minny Jackson, an outspoken and combative maid in The Help.

Other honors for this role:

Won, Best Supporting Actress, Washington DC Film Critics Association

Won, Best Supporting Actress, 2012 Critics’ Choice Awards.

Won, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Won, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role , 2012 Screen Actors Guild Award.

Won, Best Supporting Actress, 2012 BAFTA Awards.

Where you might know her from:

She has played numerous roles on television. including Constance Grady on Ugly Betty, Serenity Johnson on Halfway Home, and Arvina Watkins on Raising the Bar.

History with Oscar:

This is Octavia Spencer’s first Oscar nomination.

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Oscar 2012: BAFTAs Reaffirm The Favorites—With One Big Exception

Posted on 13 February 2012 by William Gatevackes

Last night, The British Academy of Television and Films Arts gave out their awards. Oscar favorite The Artist took home seven awards, including Picture, Director (Michel Hazanavicius) and Actor (Jean Dujardin). And Oscar favorites Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer took home awards for the Supporting categories for their work The Help and Beginners respectively.

These awards aren’t much of a surprise. However, the woman who won Best Actress might throw a spanner in the works of many an Oscar office pool–Meryl Streep took home the award for her role as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Viola Davis? Watch out!

It might be easy to write this win off (and her Golden Globe win as well) as the British (and, in the Golden Globe’s case, the international media) honoring Streep for her sterling portrayal of a person who was an iconic figure in European and British history. However, there are a lot of British members in the Academy and Streep holds a lot of respect within the organization. I think that makes it fair to say that the Best Actress Oscar has become a two person race.

Below is a list of the rest of the winners from last night:

Picture

The Artist

Actor

Jean Dujardin – The Artist

Actress

Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

Director

Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

Supporting actress

Octavia Spencer – The Help

Supporting actor

Christopher Plummer – Beginners

Animated film

Rango

Documentary

Senna

Outstanding British film

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Film not in the English language

The Skin I Live In

Outstanding debut

Tyrannosaur

Adapted screenplay

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan

Original screenplay

The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius

Production design

Hugo – Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo

Cinematography

The Artist – Guillaume Schiffman

Makeup and hair

The Iron Lady – Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland, Marese Langan

Costume design

The Artist – Mark Bridges

Editing

Senna – Gregers Sall and Chris King

Sound

Hugo – Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty, Tom Fleischman, John Midgley

Original score

The Artist – Ludovic Bource

Rising star award

Adam Deacon

Academy fellowship

Martin Scorsese

Outstanding contribution to British cinema

John Hurt

Special visual effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – Tim Burke, John Richardson, Greg Butler and David Vickery

Short animation

A Morning Stroll – Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe

Short film

Pitch Black Heist – John Maclean and Geraldine O’Flynn

Via: Guardian

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OSCARS 2012: The Screen Actors Guild Awards Reaffirms The Oscar Frontrunners

Posted on 30 January 2012 by William Gatevackes

Convential wisdom states that whoever wins at the Screen Actors Guild Awards has the best chance to take home an Oscar. If so, three “sure things” have gotten a little more sure and one toss-up category has become just a little more clearer.

The “sure things” are Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for The Help and Christopher Plummer for Beginnings, all who were odds on favorites for an Oscar before the SAGs, each won in their respective categories. Their SAG wins are pretty much confirming what everyone already expected.

However, Jean Dujardin winning the prize for Best Actor does tell us something new. He has been an award year favorite, yet behind Academy favorite George Clooney in the odds to win an Oscar.  His win here throws that paradigm out the window and slingshots Dujardin into being the odds on favorite to take home a statue on February 26th.

The Help taking home the big award for the night has cause the Internet to ask “Did The Help Sink The Artist‘s Oscar Chances……?” and “Did “The Help” Change The Oscar Game?,” meaning that the Best Picture race has just got a little bit more interesting. It hasn’t. These writers just failed to notice that The Help won for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, not Best Picture. With Davis, Spencer and Jessica Chastain’s names appearing on many an awards ballot this year and with a cast that also features actresses the caliber of Sissy Spacey, Allison Janney, Cicely Tyson and Mary Steenburgen–just to name a few–the film NOT winning for best ensemble would be a shock. But the SAG’s don’t have a Best Picture and great ensembles do not necessarily equate to great pictures. So, the film’s win here does nothing to help its chances on Oscar night.

Here are a list of the nominees for the awards, with the winners in bold.

Films

Ensemble

The Artist

Bridesmaids

The Descendants

WINNER: The Help

Midnight in Paris

Lead actress

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs

WINNER: Viola Davis, The Help

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Lead actor

Demián Bichir, A Better Life

George Clooney, The Descendants

Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar

WINNER: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Supporting actor

Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn

Armie Hammer, J. Edgar

Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Nick Nolte, Warrior

WINNER: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Supporting actress

Bérénice Bejo, The Artist

Jessica Chastain, The Help

Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

WINNER: Octavia Spencer, The Help

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Oscar Nominations: Who Will Make The Cut?

Posted on 23 January 2012 by William Gatevackes

It’s that time of year again. Tomorrow, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the nominees for the 84st Annual Academy Awards.

Every year there are snubs and surprises, thrills and controversies. There is no way of knowing who will be nominated, especially in a year when the Best Picture nominees could be 5 films, or ten films, or any number in between.  We here at FilmBuffOnLine, who believe the day nominations are announced should be a National holiday, are going to try and handicap the process for you.

We will try to tell you, in the most non-committal way possible, who we think are Almost Certain to get a nomination, who Definite May Be nominated, and whose nomination is a Outside Shot in the major categories (the four acting categories, Best Director, and Best Picture). We are trying to cover all bases, but don’t come to us if you lose money on your Oscar Nomination pool.

Best Actor:

Almost Certain:

George Clooney, The Descendants; Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Definite Maybe:

Michael Fassbender, Jane Eyre, X-Men: First Class, A Dangerous Method or Shame; Leonardo DiCaprio, J Edgar; Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Outside Shot:

Demián Bichir, A Better Life; Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid Love, Drive, or The Ides of March; Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Clooney and Dujardin have won the most hardware this year, which not only make them a lock to be nominated, but also likely one of them will be taking home the award.

Fassbender has been great in a lot of films (listing X-Men: First Class was a bit of a joke, he’ll most likely get the nod for Shame, but I think he gave an Oscar worthy performance in that film) so he is practically a lock for a nomination. The next two are about 50/50 of getting in. The Academy seems to have something against DiCaprio, and his performance as J. Edgar Hoover while not horrible (he got a lot of nods for other awards for it), was not amazing enough to overcome that film’s lackluster performance critically or financially. Brad Pitt eked out a couple of wins along the way (most notably, the New York and Boston critics), and while Moneyball was well received, I don’t see it as 100% Oscar material.

If DiCaprio and Pitt don’t get nominated, there are worthy choices waiting to take a spot. Bichir was great in a small film with a limited release that opened over the summer. These all work against him, but he is deserving of a nod. Gosling, like Fassbender, was great in a lot of films this year, and has been nominated before, but none of the films he was in seem to pass Oscar muster. Oldman was flat out amazing in Tinker Tailor, but his subtle performance might be lost on Oscar voters.

Best Actress

Almost Certain:

Viola Davis, The Help;  Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady; Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin; Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

Definite Maybe:

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs

Outside Shot:

Bérénice Bejo, The Artist; Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene; Charlize Theron, Young Adult

On paper, this seems to be the category that seems to have the least wiggle room. Davis, Streep, Close, Swinton and Williams are all in the type of roles that Oscar voters seem to trip over giving nominations to. But in every round of nominations, there are bound to be surprises, and this category is ripe for one.

Bejo and Olsen have the best chance of breaking in, in my opinion. But Bejo is getting pushed for Best Supporting Actress instead of Lead, even though she essentially had a lead role. Olsen got good notices in her role, but suffers from the same “too early/too small handicap” that Bichir has. Theron has received nods for Best Actress in the Golden Globes (where there are nominations for comedy and drama) and the Critic’ Choice Awards (where there are six nominees). She has an Oscar pedigree, but Young Adult could very well be seen as less than Oscar worthy.

Best Supporting Actor:

Almost Certain:

Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn; Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Definite Maybe:

Albert Brooks, Drive; Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Outside Shot:

Nick Nolte, Warrior; Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method; Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes or The Adventures of Tintin; Armie Hammer, J Edgar; Tom Hardy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Plummer has won the Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice award Supporting Actor, making him a lock for an  Oscar nomination, if not the actual award. Branagh has been consistently nominated for his apt portrayal of Laurence Olivier, so he could get the nod as well. Slightly less certain but highly possible are nomination of two actors best known for comedy, Brooks and Hill, for playing against type. After that, place your bets. Will Nolte’s “sports mentor” role make the grade? Will Mortensen’s change of pace role as Sigmund Freud catch the Academy’s attention? Will the Academy make a statement and move towards the future by giving Serkis the nod for his superior motion-capture work? Does the Academy like J Edgar more than the critics and the general public do, thereby swing the nod to Hammer? Will Hardy represent Tinker Tailor‘s stellar cast with a nomination? Will it be another cast member? Or will the film be ignored?

Best Supporting Actress

Almost Certain:

Octavia Spencer, The Help; Bérénice Bejo, The Artist

Definite Maybe:

Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Outside Shot:

Jessica Chastain, The Help or Take Shelter; Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs; Carey Mulligan, Shame; Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

What I said for Christopher Plummer above also applies to Spencer. The only chance Bejo doesn’t get nominated here is if she gets nominated for Best Actress. But that race is crowded so I think she’ll land here. She is deserving.

The only thing keeping me from making McCarthy almost certain is the Academy’s apparent hatred of the comedy. They do not like to give nominations from comedies, no matter how good the role or film is. This time, though, I think they’ll make an exception.

After that, pick two. Chastain and Woodley might have a slight advantage, but McTeer has a good chance and Mulligan could sneak in.

Best Director:

Almost Certain:

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist; Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Definite Maybe:

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris;  Alexander Payne, The Descendants

Outside Shot:

David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life; Bennett Miller, Moneyball; Steven Spielberg, War Horse or The Adventures of Tintin; Tate Taylor, The Help

Hazanavicius is definitely most deserving and Scorsese won the Golden Globe, so they should both be nominated. After that, Payne is almost a lock, as is Allen, due to the number of nominations they received. After that, well, ot depends. Fincher got a Directors Guild nomination, Malick has been on a lot of west coast critics awards list, which might be a barometer of how the Academy will go. Miller might ride the surprising accolades Moneyball is getting this award season with a nomination. And months ago, it looked like it wouldn’t be a question if Spielberg would be nominated, but for which film. Now, here he is, a long shot for any nomination at all. Weird. And Taylor has to be consider taking into account the number of great performance that came from that film.

Best Picture:

Almost Certain:

The Artist; The Descendants

Definite Maybe:

Hugo; The Help ; Midnight in Paris

Outside Chance:

The Tree of Life; War Horse; Moneyball; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; The Adventures of Tintin; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or just about any other film out there that has a miniscule amount of buzz.

Not having a definite number of nominees beforehand really plays havoc with the prognosticating business. I tried to pick out the five most likely films to get nominated, but with the possibility of five more, well, it could be any film of a certain stature.

So, what do you think? Am I on to something, or totally wrong? I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

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