84th Academy Award Nominations Announced

They are here! Been waiting patiently to hear what films are lucky enough to garner nomination for the 84th annual Academy Awards. Nothing too shocking here, I’m a bit surprised ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ was completely shut out of the Animation Category, though ‘Puss in Boots’ was nominated? Andy Serkis is sadly missing a nomination for ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes,’ and despite my reservations for the film, Charlize Theron didn’t get anything for ‘Young Adult.’

I am however happy to see that ‘Hugo,’ my favorite film of last year, got quite a few nominations!

The Academy Awards are Sunday, February 26th, and are hosted by Billy Crystal.

Best Picture

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

Best Director

  • Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Alexdander Payne, The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo
  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
  • Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

Best Actor In a Supporting Role

  • Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill, Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte, Warrior
  • Christopher Plummer, Beginners
  • Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Mellisa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
  • Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Actor in a Leading Role

  • Demian Bichir, A Better Life
  • George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Animated Feature Film

  • A Cat in Paris, Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
  • Chico & Rita, Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
  • Kung Fu Panda 2, Jennifer Yuh Nelson
  • Puss in Boots, Chris Miller
  • Rango, Gore Verbinski


  • The Artist, Guillaume Schiffman
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Jeff Cronenweth
  • Hugo, Robert Richardson
  • The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki
  • War Horse, Janusz Kaminski

Foreign Language Film

  • Belgium, “Bullhead”, Michael R. Roskam, director
  • Canada, “Monsieur Lazhar”, Philippe Falardeau, director
  • Iran, “A Separation”, Asghar Farhadi, director
  • Israel, “Footnote”, Joseph Cedar, director
  • Poland, “In Darkness”, Agnieszka Holland, director

Music (Original Song)

  • “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets, Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
  • “Real in Rio” from Rio, Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
  • Hugo, Screenplay by John Logan
  • The Ides of March, Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
  • Moneyball, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin.  Story by Stan Chervin
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • The Artist, Written by Michel Hazanavicius
  • Bridesmaids, Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
  • Margin Call, Written by J.C. Chandor
  • Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen
  • A Separation, Written by Asghar Farhadi

Art Direction

  • The Artist: Laurence Bennett (Production Design); Robert Gould (Set Decoration)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Stuart Craig (Production Design); Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
  • Hugo: Dante Ferretti (Production Design); Francesca Lo Schiavo (Set Decoration)
  • War Horse: Rick Carter (Production Design); Lee Sandales (Set Decoration)

Costume Design

  • Anonymous, Lisy Christl
  • The Artist, Mark Bridges
  • Hugo, Sandy Powell
  • Jane Eyre, Michael O’Connor
  • W.E., Arianne Phillips

Documentary Feature

  • Hell and Back Again
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
  • Pina
  • Undefeated

Documentary Short

  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
  • God is the Bigger Elvis, Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
  • Incident in New Baghdad, James Spione
  • Saving Face, Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Film Editing

  • The Artist, Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
  • The Descendants, Kevin Tent
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • Hugo, Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Moneyball, Christopher Tellefsen


  • Albert Nobbs, Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin
  • The Iron Lady, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Music (Original Score)

  • The Adventures of Tintin, John Williams
  • The Artist, Ludovic Bource
  • Hugo, Howard Shore
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alberto Iglesias
  • War Horse, John Williams

Short Film (Animated)

  • Dimanche/Sunday, Patrick Doyon
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
  • La Luna, Enrico Casarosa
  • A Morning Stroll, Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
  • Wild Life, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Short Film (Live Action)

  • Pentecost, Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
  • Raju, Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
  • The Shore, Terry George and Oorlagh George
  • Time Freak, Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
  • Tuba Atlantic, Hallvar Witzø

Sound Editing

  • Drive, Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ren Klyce
  • Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
  • War Horse, Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Sound Mixing

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
  • Hugo, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
  • Moneyball, Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
  • War Horse, Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
  • Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
  • Real Steel, Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Dan Glass, Brad Friedman, Douglas Trumbull and Michael Fink

Ben’s 2012 Oscar Predictions

Editors Note: Ben has compiled a list of his Oscar predictions, both who he thinks will be nominated, and who will ultimately win. The announcements will be next Tuesday, January 24th. Check out Ben’s list, where do you think he’s right, where do you think he’s completely wrong?




The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight In Paris
The Tree Of Life
War Horse


George Clooney – The Descendants – WINNER
Jean DuJardin – The Artist
Michael Fassbinder – Shame
Gary Oldman – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Brad Pitt – Moneyball


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


Jim Broadbent – The Iron Lady
Albert Brooks – Drive – WINNER
Ben Kingsley – Hugo
Viggo Mortensen – A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer – Beginners


Berenice Bejo – The Artist
Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
Vanessa Redgrave – Coriolanus
Octavia Spencer – The Help
Shailene Woodley – The Descendants – WINNER


Michael Hazanavicius – The Artist
Terrence Malick – The Tree Of Life
Alexander Payne – The Descendants
Martin Scorsese – Hugo – WINNER
Steven Spielberg – War Horse

Video of the Week: 2012 Oscar Commercial

The Oscars are coming up! Hosted by the legendary host himself, Billy Crystal. Check out the promo below!

83rd Academy Award Winners & Recap

83rd Academy Award Winners & Recap

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards came and went, and overall it was business as usual. No real huge upsets, no real huge shockers. The main topic of conversation however was the actual program, and their hosts. Hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway, the Oscars certainly were going after a wider demographic. I’d say they would have had better luck with a pair that had better chemistry. James Franco is great, but I just kept getting the vibe that he had no desire to be there. His chill relaxed demeanor was not a compliment to Hathaway’s peppy excited cheerleader.

I think my favorite moment was Kirk Douglas presenting, he may have been difficult at times to understand, but charming none the less. Another thing being buzzed about was leaving out Corey Haim in the Memoriam section, not sure if it was intentional or not, but clearly folks are upset about it. My favorite part of the Oscars were also absent this year, I look forward to the great montages of film history they tend to have. Perhaps cutting this was also part of the effort to reach a wider demographic. For shame.

Here’s looking forward to next year!

83rd Academy Award Winners

  • Best Picture: “The King’s Speech”
  • Best Actor: Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
  • Best Actress: Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”
  • Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale – “The Fighter”
  • Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo – “The Fighter”
  • Best Director: Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
  • Best Foreign Language Film: “In a Better World” (Denmark)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin – “The Social Network”
  • Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler – “The King’s Speech”
  • Best Animated Feature Film: “Toy Story 3”
  • Best Art Direction: “Alice in Wonderland”
  • Best Cinematography: “Inception”
  • Best Sound Mixing: “Inception”
  • Best Sound Editing: “Inception”
  • Best Original Score: “The Social Network” (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)
  • Best Original Song: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3” (Randy Newman)
  • Best Costume Design: “Alice in Wonderland”
  • Best Documentary Feature: “Inside Job”
  • Best Documentary (short subject): “Strangers No More”
  • Best Film Editing: “The Social Network”
  • Best Makeup: “The Wolfman”
  • Best Animated Short Film: “The Lost Thing”
  • Best Live Action Short Film: “God of Love”
  • Best Visual Effects: “Inception”


Ben’s 2011 Oscar Picks

So it’s Oscar time again, and I guess the little experiment of having 10 Best Pictures worked from last year. Once again, they have taken a crappy year in general and milked 10 movies from it. I have mixed feelings on this 10 Best Picture thing. On one hand, I like it because it gives some great, great movies that probably wouldn’t have cracked the top 5 (i.e. True Grit) a chance at glory. On the other hand, however, 10 movies don’t seem to have the prestige that 5 movies had. You had to be really, really good to make the top 5 (with the exception of Juno). So I’m mixed, but all in all I don’t mind it too much.

Last year you could tell there was a lot of filler. The Blind Side, are you kidding me? That said, this year actually has 10 movies I really enjoyed! I would say all 10 of them had a legit shot at a Best Picture nomination even if there were only 5 this year. Some are stronger than others, of course, but all 10 really gave me something this year, and that is rare, trust me.

I’m betting on The Social Network to take the top prize. Even though when I first heard about it, I was like “wha-?” Who wants to see Facebook the Movie if you are over 22? But as soon as Fincher signed on, I knew this was going to be a little different, and, of course, it was. Excellent movie.

Now out of these 10, my favorite would have to be Black Swan. I was expecting a mind fuck, yes, but not THIS much of a mind fuck. It had all the classic elements that made old school David Cronenberg and David Lynch so terrifying. Meaning, you didn’t know what the fuck was going on. It captures the confused atmosphere so well, that I was on the edge of my seat. I love body horror, and this was body horror I have not seen since The Fly. Loved it! It won’t win, and to be honest, I’m glad. A movie like that shouldn’t be shared with any idiot who sees “BEST PICTURE WINNER” on the box. This is a special movie, and should only be viewed by people who will appreciate it.

However…it was not my favorite movie of the year. In fact, my favorite movie wasn’t even nominated. Now I am a self confessed Martin Scorsese whore, I know this. But we had our differences for a few years. In fact, I felt that The Departed, while good, was immensely over-rated and not even close to his best movie. One of his
bottom movies, I would have to say. It just felt like he wasn’t trying, and he pretty much admitted that in multiple interviews. But, I don’t want to get into a 10 page ramble of The Departed. I’m talking about the forgotten movie of 2010, Shutter Island. Even though this was his highest grossing movie to date, the February release destroyed it. What a stupid idea to release it in Feb. Yes, I understand that their strategy was to mimic Silence of the Lambs
success, but that was fucking 20 years ago!! (Holy shit, it was, wasn’t it??) I feel that Shutter Island would have been given a bit more Oscar love if it had stuck with its original release date of October 2009. People don’t like this movie. That’s fine. People say the “twist” was predictable. I say, the movie wasn’t about the “twist”. I say the movie was much much MUCH more than that. This isn’t going to be a Shutter Island review, but if anyone hates this movie because of the supposed “twist” ending, then please go back to enjoying The Mechanic, because this is simply not for you. The movie had style that I haven’t seen in a movie this century. It just had so much going on…the music being my favorite part. The musical buildup to them arriving at the island almost gave me a heart attack. I loved it!! Every bit of it!! And it has my vote as Best Picture of the Year!!!!! But watch…King’s Speech will take it all. Bummer.

My Predictions:

BEST PIC: The Social Network
BEST ACTOR: Colin Firth – King’s Speech
BEST ACTRESS: Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right
BEST S. ACTOR: Christian Bale – The Fighter
BEST S. ACTRESS: Melissa Leo – The Fighter
BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher – The Social Network

Sam’s 2011 Oscar Picks

Sam’s 2011 Oscar Picks

Looking over the names and movies nominated, it appears that 2010 was a pretty good year at the movies, critics be damned. Sure, audiences had to sit through “Sex and the City 2,” “The Last Airbender,” and “She’s Out of My League,” but people always
remember 1994 as the year of “Pulp Fiction,” and “Heavenly Creatures,” and not as the year of “Nell,” “Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein,” and “3 Ninjas Kick Back.”

So, here are my picks for who will be winning the Academy Award come February 27th.

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale- “The Fighter”

You could give Christian Bale this award for any role he’s played in the last 5 years, (okay, maybe not that Terminator movie,) and it’d be well deserved. As the screw-up older brother to Mark Wahlberg’s Mickey Ward, he’s wonderful. Also he does the Massachusetts accent without sounding like a moron- he at least deserves something for that.

Best Supporting Actress

Melissa Leo- “The Fighter”

Everything I said about Christian Bale goes doubly so for Melissa Leo. (Well, except the part about being in that Terminator movie.) She deserved the Oscar for “Frozen River,” and she deserves it here.

Best Actor

Colin Firth- “The King’s Speech”

Colin Firth is one of those actors who I love no matter what movie he’s in. (“What a Girl Wants,” not so much.) He’s wonderful as the King of England and the sympathy and empathy he evokes while not crossing over into pity is excellent.

Best Actress

Natalie Portman- “Black Swan”

Yet again, the award goes to someone who has deserved it for some time. Portman is excellent in “Black Swan,” and most people will probably say she deserves the award for going through the grueling ballet training and losing a lot of weight, but she really
deserves it for a schizophrenic performance… in the best possible way.

Best Director

David Fincher- “The Social Network”

Fincher is one of the best filmmakers working today, so it only makes sense that he’ll get this honor. “The Social Network” is a perfect balance of a movie, keeping the tension and drama in perfect balance. (Of course, Fincher deserved this honor for “Se7en,” and “Zodiac,” so, yet again, late is better than never.

Best Pictore (Who I want to win)

“Black Swan”

All of the best picture nominees are great movies and worth checking out if you haven’t seen them. When they were announced, there wasn’t a head-scratcher in the bunch. While “The King’s Speech,” and “The Social Network” seem to be the front-runners to win, I would love to see Daren Aronofsky’s latest take home the statue. “Black Swan” is a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock, Mario Bava and Dario Argento, but at the same time, is still very much in Aronofsky’s voice. It’s a tense and riveting ride of a movie and as the lights came up at the end, I let out a huge sigh… Turns out I’d been holding my breath for the final 30 minutes. All the performances are excellent, with Portman leading the cast. It’s also great to see Barbara Hershey back on the screen and delivering such a wonderful performance. While the big awards rarely go to a horror/suspense film, (you have to go back to 1991’s “Silence of the Lambs,”) but this is one movie that transcends the genre and stands on it’s own to legs… or flippers. If you haven’t seen “Black Swan” yet, you should see it in a theater. There’s nothing like being in a packed room and going on this ride together. Maybe the Oscar voters picking “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech,” will cancel each other out and “Black Swan” will walk away with the top honor. Much like “Black Swan,” itself, that fantasy is part dream/part nightmare…depending on who you ask.

Justin’s 2011 Oscar Picks

Justin’s 2011 Oscar Picks

I was excited at the prospect of dusting off my Lonely Reviewer cap and jumping into the fray again by discussing this year’s top Oscar nominees and my predictions and hopefuls. If you’re going to make a triumphant return, why not dive back in during one of film’s busiest, buzziest times? Then I got the list of nominees and realized that I’m really more qualified to discuss film during its other busiest, buzziest time, tent-pole season. Damn, I missed the boat on a lot of these films in the top categories. So unfortunately, my discussion may not be the most informed (really, more Oscar nominees need to star Spider-man), but here’s a popcorn flick perspective on this year’s frontrunners.

Best Picture – Actually, of the now-exploded-to-10 list of nominees, I’ve got a pretty good beat on the category, as I’ve seen 4 of the 10 flicks (sadly, this is the best record I’m going to have for this whole discussion). To-date, I have seen Inception, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, and Winter’s Bone. Of these films, my gut, my core, the nerdiest fiber of my being wishes, nay, demands that Inception take the statue home. Was it the best film of the category? Probably not, but Hollywood should be rewarded for putting out a film that was not only innovative, gripping, and interesting, but also had mass-appeal and cultural cache for a good amount of time. Almost everyone thought this movie was great and the whole world watched and celebrated it. Should that not be the best picture of the year? Well, stifling the nerd in me for a moment, no, it probably shouldn’t. Inception was a great movie, it was well acted, well directed, well written, well shot, a beautifully executed movie, but it lacked emotional depth. It hooked you with its premise, but its hook was the puzzle, not the characters. And for a film to be the best, I think it needs to have that human element as well. Which is why my pick for Best Picture is going to be The Social Network. Here, the point of the film was the main character’s lack of emotional depth. Fincher’s film was a looking glass into the making of one of our culture’s most prevalent trends: social networking, and for a film about the creation of a website, it was gripping from a character standpoint, and it was technically subtle and brilliant at the same time (the execution of creating the Winklevoss twins was such a technical marvel and most [including myself] didn’t even realize they were witnessing something beyond what they were seeing). The Social Network had mass appeal, interesting characters, emotional depth, excellent execution, and was just a great, great movie. Come on, Academy, give Fincher his due!

Best Director – I’ve only seen The Social Network in this list, but I can absolutely see an argument for Fincher to take home the Oscar here. He’s often accused of being a cold, calculated observer in this movies, but in the case of The Social Network, it actually works, given the story and the characters. Not so much a vote for nor prediction, but I wouldn’t be displeased if Fincher took home the gold. Also, random question: How does your film get nominated for Best Picture but you don’t get nominated for
Best Director? Does the film succeed despite you?

Best Actor in a Leading Role – Again, hobbled by the fact that I’ve only seen The Social Network, this category only leaves me with the opportunity to talk about Jesse Eisenberg. Eisenberg’s performance was stellar, his delivery of Sorkin’s script was great and fun to watch. That being said, it didn’t quite strike me as an Oscar performance. I don’t think he’ll win this one. Which is probably ok, as Eisenberg is growing more and more interesting to me as an actor. I don’t think I’m ready to see him laden with an Oscar just yet.

Best Actress in a Leading Role – Of the nominees, I have only seen Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone. However, I firmly believe that her performance is the reason that Winter’s Bone has landed in the Best Picture category. Lawrence was the weight of this film and she absolutely stole the show (amongst other great performances). I would not be at all surprised if the celebration of this film ultimately came down to Lawrence on Sunday night as she accepted this award.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Having only seen The Town, I can say that Jeremy Renner’s performance was good and certainly captivating, but I don’t think its captivation lingered beyond the film. He served his purpose in the film and did it well, but I have to admit that I was surprised to see his name listed here. My guess is that the award will come down to either Bale or Rush. Definitely not Renner, though.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role – I have seen none of these! So I’m going to go ahead and blindly pick Hailee Steinfeld because I haven’t picked a Coen brothers-related choice yet, and I love me some Coens.

83rd Annual Academy Award Nominees

So, is anyone really surprised by whose gotten nominated for what this year? Minus Christopher Nolan being missing a Direction nod, there weren’t too many surprises. I was really happy to see John Hawkes nominated for Winters Bone (though the category belongs to Christian Bale, Hawkes’ role in this film was outstanding), but very upset to not see Shutter Island up for one prize. Shutter Island is probably my favorite film of 2011, and I’m really bummed to see it ignored.

The ceremony is February 27th, make sure you check back for the results.

Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

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

Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawks, Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right

Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jackie Weaver, Animal Kingdom

127 Hours (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
True Grit (Paramount), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Winter’s Bone (Roadside Attractions), Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

Another Year (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Mike Leigh
The Fighter (Paramount), Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
Inception (Warner Bros.), Written by Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features), Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Seidler

In a Better World
Outside the Law

How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Matthew Libatique
Inception (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Danny Cohen
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeff Cronenweth
True Grit (Paramount) Roger Deakins

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Andrew Weisblum
The Fighter Paramount Pamela Martin
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Tariq Anwar
127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Jon Harris
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Exit through the Gift Shop (Producers Distribution Agency) Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz A Paranoid Pictures Production
Gasland Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic A Gasland Production
Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics) Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs A Representational Pictures Production
Restrepo (National Geographic Entertainment) Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger An Outpost Films Production
Waste Land Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley (Arthouse Films) An Almega Projects Production

Killing in the Name (dir: Jed Rothstein)
Poster Girl (dir: Sara Nesson)
Strangers No More (dir: Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon)
Sun Come Up (dor: Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger)
The Warriors of Qiugang (dir: Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon)

How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) John Powell
Inception (Warner Bros.) Hans Zimmer
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Alexandre Desplat
127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) A.R. Rahman
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Coming Home from Country Strong (Sony Pictures Releasing (Screen Gems)) Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
I See the Light from Tangled (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
If I Rise from 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
We Belong Together from Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.) Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
Hereafter (Warner Bros.) Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
Inception (Warner Bros.) Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
Iron Man 2 (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment, Distributed by Paramount) Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney), Robert Stromberg (Production Design), Karen O’Hara (Set Decoration)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.), Stuart Craig (Production Design), Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
Inception (Warner Bros.), Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design), Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Set Decoration)/span>
The King’s Speech (Paramount), Eve Stewart (Production Design), Judy Farr (Set Decoration)
True Grit (Paramount), Jess Gonchor (Production Design), Nancy Haigh (Set Decoration)

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Colleen Atwood
I Am Love (Magnolia Pictures) Antonella Cannarozzi
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Jenny Beavan
The Tempest (Miramax) Sandy Powell
True Grit (Paramount) Mary Zophres

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

Day & Night (dir: Teddy Newton)
The Gruffalo (dir: Jakob Schuh and Max Lang)
Let’s Pollute (dir: Geefwee Boedoe)
The Lost Thing (dir: Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann)
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)

The Confession (dir: Tanel Toom)
The Crush (dir: Michael Creagh)
God of Love (dir: Luke Matheny)
Na Wewe (dir: Ivan Goldschmidt)
Wish 143 (dir: Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite)

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, 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

DVD Review: Crazy Heart

‘Crazy Heart’ is one of those movies that sorta came out of nowhere. I feel like I hadn’t heard very much about it until nearing the Awards season (bad movie blogger!). When Bridges took the Best Actor Golden Globe, and the song ‘Weary Kind’ taking Best Song, I knew I’d better get myself to a theater to see this film. Thankfully I had, because as people predicted, the film took home those same two categories.

‘Crazy Heart’ was written and directed by Scott Cooper, a first time writer/director, and based on the 1987 novel by Thomas Cobb. It tells the story of Bad Blake, a country music singer and songwriter that never really broke through to the big time, and is trying to turn his life and late career around.

The film opens with Blake (Jeffrey Bridges) arriving at a gig at a Bowling Alley, we are quickly introduced to his clear problem with alcohol, and his one-night stands. His Agent (clearly often a thorn in Blake’s side), pushes him to write new material, and to reconcile with his protégé, the much more successful Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), to which Blake says to go screw.

His luck soon changes in Santa Fe, where he meets Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a young reporter looking to make a name for herself. The two hit it off, and just as they meet, Blake’s agent forces him to take be Tommy Sweet’s opening act.

The film is filled with great music from the likes of T-Bone Burnett, (the genius behind some of the music from O Brother Where Art Thou) Stephen Burton, and Ryan Bingham. While watching it, I remembered that the last film I saw whose soundtrack stood out to me was O Brother, I only realized the connection after the fact. Bridges and Farrell do an excellent job on vocals, if I didn’t know better, I’d take both as country stars.

We’re with Bad Blake the entire film, and Bridges carries the role all the way. You see his pain, you see his frustration, and you feel for his character. If it weren’t for Bridges, ‘Crazy Heart’ would be just another down on his luck, but turns it all around story that we’ve seen hundreds of times. But he’s just so damn good, that you’re sucked into it. You want to see what happens, where it goes, and if he does really turn it around.

Is it worth seeing? It’s worth it simply for the soundtrack. Will Crazy Heart be remembered forever? Probably not, but, its stuck with me long enough for me to recommend it to anyone whose even a little bit curious, and it’d be good to see this little movie go far. Throw this one on your Netflix queue!

DVD Review: Up in the Air


Ryan Bingham likes to keep things simple.  A constant traveler for work, he lives his life with his frequent flyer cards, his hotel reward programs, everywhere he goes, he is greeted with a chorus of, “it’s great to see you again, Mr. Bingham.”  Ryan Bingham is a professional down-sizer.When companies need to trim their staff down, they send in Bingham to be the hatchet man.  The work is not important to Bingham, it’s the lifestyle that the work allows him to live.  He spends as little time as he can in his apartment.  It’s too close to having a life.  He doesn’t seem to have friends, he has his job.  And his backpack of clothes.  As the movie opens, Ryan meets a fellow traveler, who lives by a similar ethos.  If they’re in the same city, or on the same layover, they’ll meet up.  Her name is Alex Goran and Ryan finds himself feeling something he usually doesn’t: he cares about her.

Meanwhile, things at work are getting complicated.  A young go-getter has come up with a way to virtually fire people on-line, thereby saving millions of dollars a year and thousands of miles in the air.  You sit down in front of your computer terminal, the firee sits in front of their terminal and they are told their services are no longer required.  Ryan thinks the concept is asinine.  You need to fire people face-to-face, you need to give them that respect.  To give the inventor a sense of what he does, he takes her with him on a trip, showing her that perhaps firing people isn’t as easy as she thinks it is.

This is Jason Reitman’s film and you can clearly see his imprint on the material.  Based on the book by Walter Kirn, it seems to have Reitman’s sensibilities throughout, much in the same way his first film, an adaptation of Christopher Buckley’s “Thank You For Smoking,” felt like a collaboration.

The cast is uniformly excellent.  George Clooney is outstanding, playing Bingham in a very subdued and carefully mannered performance.  Vera Farmiga, who usually disappears in her past films, (“The Departed,” “Running Scared,” amongst others,) is excellent here, playing Alex as the yang to Bingham’s ying.  Also impressive is Anna Kendrick, best known for her work in the “Twilight,” films, but turning an excellent performance as Natalie Keener, the inventor of the on-line executioner.  Reitman fills out his cast with some of his stock performers, veterans from his other movies, (Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliott,) who all work perfectly yet again.  The rest of the cast, mostly those facing firing are actual victims of downsizing, brought in by the filmmakers to re-count their initial reactions.  And it doesn’t feel like a gimmick.  It feels natural.

“Up in the Air,” is the kind of movie that sneaks up on you.  While you may not be expecting greatness, it sneaks up on you, introducing characters that may at first blush appear comic, but Reitman peels that away, quickly showing the vulnerabilities of each one in a way that draws you in.  By the end of the movie, there is a definite affinity and  caring for Bingham and his compatriots that I did not expect.  Much like “Juno,” “Up in the Air,” wins you over at first with charm, but quickly reveals a greater depth.  It is a movie that, upon walking into, you may not think you’re going to see a great movie, but by the end, you know you’ve seen something special.  It’s one of the year’s best.  -Sam