Sunday, February 27, 2011


So, I don't write too much about movies here, but since I've seen all ten films nominated for Best Picture, I thought I'd give this year's Oscars a post on No Expiration.  (Also, I'll be on SiriusXM OutQ's The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick talking with Larry and Keith Price about the Oscars tomorrow morning).

But I'll start with music. The one category where I really want someone to win is Best Score, which is a really tough category. I am definitely a fan of A.R. Rahman, who previously did really well at the Oscars with Slumdog Millionaire.  I love his score to 127 Hours. And Hans Zimmer is one of the greatest film scorers of all time, and the music in Inception was incredible. But my vote (if I were a voter) would go to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network. They already won the Golden Globe for it.  I love the classic Hans Zimmer type score, and actually yesterday I watched Inception and Social Network back to back: I just think Trent's score did a bit more for Social Network than Hans' did for Inception.

Best Song, I go with A.R. Rahman's "If I Rise" from 127 Hours, which he co-wrote with Dido and her brother/Faithless bandmate Rollo Armstrong. I always like Randy Newman's songs, and he did a nice one for Toy Story 3, but I'm with Rahman on this one.

Here's my rundown of Best Picture nominees:

Black Swan: I didn't know that I'd be that interested in a film about ballet, but it was incredible. Darren Aronofsky is a master director at the top of his game.  Lots of hype over how much Natalie Portman prepared for the role of a ballerina, but what impressed me more was how she portrayed a woman slipping into madness.

The Fighter: really gripping film based on a true story about a boxer who had to weigh his career against his (dysfunctional) family ties. David O. Russell is a great director, and I think it's Mark Wahlberg's best role ever (I think he's kind of one-note in many of his movies, he showed more depth here). Great use of Boston music in this Beantown-based film, by the way.

Inception: Loved it, but it's not for everyone. Director Chistopher Nolan is one of the best there is. A real head trip of a film.

The Kids Are Alright: Wonderful smaller film. Loved everything about it. Except one thing: how did they not use The Who's song?

The King's Speech: The kind of movie the old-guard loves. Yeah, we make millions of dollars a year on exploitative, cynical, pandering, dumb movies.  But hey, sometimes we can get our "masterpiece theater" on and be all high culture!  Uplifting message! Historical! True story!  Helena Bonham Carter! My cynicism aside, it was a very good movie, but not one I'd vote for against the rest of these.

127 Hours: Amazing movie, and I'll never watch it again! Danny Boyle is another unbelievable director, and James Franco, one of the best young actors out there. And A.R. Rahman's music is its own character.

The Social Network: some have said that it will age quickly and not well.  I don't know about that. David Fincher, another one of the greats, took what could have been a dull story, and made a thrilling movie. And Trent Reznor's music it its own character.  I think a lot of young voters may vote for this - but there's more older voters, so I bet King's Speech wins.

Toy Story 3: just a wonderful film.  Everything worked, and this is one people be watching as long as they are watching movies. It easily wins Best Animated Film, don't think it wins Best Picture.

True Grit: great western. The Coen Brothers are back in No Country For Old Men mode, after last year's really really boring Oscar nominated A Serious Man. A brutal, badass film. Jeff Bridges was incredible, and so was Hailee Steinfeld. Someone asked me how could possibly be in a western, but he did well.

Winter's Bone: has the least amount of hype, no stars, and I bet 75% of people watching the Oscars tonight haven't even heard of it.  Hopefully that changes.  It's a phenomenal film, and the star, Jennifer Lawrence was incredible.

If I were a voter, I'd probably be deciding between Winter's Bone, Social Network and The Kids Are Alright, but I think The King's Speech will probably win.

Best Actor: Javier Bardem from Bituful (which I've also seen), Jeff Bridges from True Grit, Jesse Eisenberg from Social Network, Colin Firth from King's Speech and Oscar co-host and 127 Hours co-star James Franco are nominated. I have no idea how I'd vote for this one, they were all incredible, but I bet Firth wins.

Best Actress: Annette Benning from The Kids Are Alright, Winter's Bone's Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman are nominated along with Nicole Kidman from Rabbit Hole and  Michelle Williams from Blue Valentine (I haven't seen the latter two). I predict Benning wins, and she would deserve it, although I also loved Portman and Lawrence.

Best Supporting Actor: The Fighter's Christian Bale, Winter's Bone's John Hawkes (who I'd never heard of), Mark Ruffalo from The Kids Are Alright, Geoffrey Rush from The King's Speech and Jeremy Renner from The Town. I really liked Ruffalo, but I'd probably eliminate him, but I don't know how I'd vote for the other four.  As for my prediction, I think Rush will win, but Bale could take it.

Best Supporting Actress: this is the only easy category for me, I'd go for Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit, other than the fact that she was really the star of the film and should be up for Best Lead Actress.  The Fighter's Melissa Leo and Amy Adams were both really intense. I like Helena Bonham Carter too - I haven't seen the other film, Animal Kingdom, whose Jacki Weaver was nominated.

Best Director: don't think I could even decide here, it's a bunch of my favorite directors all at the top of their respective games: Black Swan's Darren Aronofsky, The Fighter's David O. Russell, The Social Network's David Fincher and True Grit's Coen Brothers.  The King's Speech's Tom Hooper is also nominated. I have no idea who will win this one.

I've only seen two of the Best Documentary features.  I liked the well-hyped Exit Through The Gift shop, not least because it skewers "cool."  It shows how easily hipsters are duped. That said, I hope Restrepo wins, it is a doc about what American soldiers go through in the Middle East.

Adapted screenplay is 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit and Winter's Bone. And original screenplay: The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King's Speech and Another Year (which I want to see).  I think Social Network and King's Speech win, respectively. I'd probably vote for Social Network and The Kids Are All Right.

As I said, I'll be talking about the Oscars tomorrow on The Morning Jolt; I'll also be tweeting a bit tonight at @noexpiration.

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