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Golden Globe Nominees: Here Comes the Award Season

Posted by goldwriting on December 14, 2008

56005361PR001_globeWould it be possible to get mine in something a little more lighthearted? Possibly periwinkle or neon?

Although numerous critics around the country have already had their own awards ceremonies and passed out a handful of gold plated statuettes, there are only two awards which really catch the eye of the mass populace: the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Most people feel a Golden Globe win for a particular movie is a safe bet for the Oscar, but since the categories are surprisingly different between the two shows, there is not always a direct overlap. Some of the nominees listed below are surprising and some are exactly what we expected to see, but let’s scroll through and I’ll let you in on where I think things might go (and also where I think they deserve to go, which can be completely at odds with each other). I won’t go through the TV nominations because I only watch a handful of shows, but I think we will see the usual suspects on stage that night: 30 Rock, The Office, House M.D. and anything HBO decided to make this year.

[The * denotes which movies I have actually seen]


· The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

· Frost/Nixon *

· The Reader *

· Revolutionary Road (Most Likely Winner)

· Slumdog Millionaire * (Deserves to Win) WINNER

So far I have seen three of these movies (Benjamin Button and Revolutionary Road still to come), but Slumdog Millionaire is starting to look like the dark horse rearing up from behind. It has already won a couple of Best Picture Awards, which gives it a nice momentum, but in the Hollywood circles, Benjamin Button and Frost/Nixon seem to be the ones to beat. The surprise here is Milk and The Dark Knight being stepped over. I would credit Slumdog for knocking one of them out, but to see both without a Best Picture nod here doesn’t bode well for Oscar season. Personally, I think The Dark Knight still has a good chance, but Milk I believe will fall by the wayside in lieu of better films this year. Back to the Globes, from the ones I have seen, Slumdog deserves the win.


· Burn After Reading *

· Happy-go-lucky

· In Bruges * (Deserves to Win)

· Mamma Mia * (Most Likely Winner)

· Vicky Cristina Barcelona * WINNER

Now this has always been a little bit of a sticking point for the Golden Globes. Do we really need the separation of Drama and Comedy/Musical? Couldn’t they follow along with the Oscars and just crown one movie Best Picture of the Year? I know the argument against is the Oscars don’t reward comedies nearly enough, and that part is true. The Academy should learn to step down from their weepy, heartwrecnhing high horse and celebrate films that make us laugh, even if it’s from a well-timed fart joke. But in the end, I think it is still worthwhile to be able to group and contrast all movies together and crown one a victor for the year. Anyway, onto the category at hand, the happy surprise here is In Bruges, which didn’t pull in major box office, but was widely lauded by the critics. I saw a screening of it early on and was blown away by how funny, irreverent and tight the script was, along with being impressed with the performances across the board from Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes. So, kudos to them and the team from In Bruges for a well-deserved nomination. Now cut that celebratory emotion out when we come to Burn After Reading, which is far from being the best we’ve seen from the Coen brothers. This was a quirky character piece, enjoyable in particular sections, but nowhere near awards potential. This nomination alone helps to prove the case for not separating the genres, because films like this slip onto the ballot. Woody Allen can be happy to get a nod once again, but I foresee him going home empty-handed that night. I haven’t seen Happy-Go-Lucky, but never take your eyes off the British when it comes to heartwarming comedies, they’ll sneak up on you. The real front runner here is Mamma Mia, which sparked a worldwide phenomenon and single-handedly helped Universal Pictures weather the current economic strain. At last count, it brought in an incredible $570 million dollars worldwide. People love their Abba evidently. I would love to see In Bruges take the crown, but I think Mamma Mia will be the one dancing on stage that night.


· Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire * (Deserves to Win) WINNER

· Stephen Daldry, The Reader *

· David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

· Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon *

· Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road (Most Likely Winner)

I always find it hard to differentiate between Best Picture and Best Director. If you have the Best Picture of the Year, most of the time that should indicate you’ve done the best job in Directing. It’s no surprise that we see the exact same movies here as we do in the Best Picture – Drama category. So for the moment, until I see the last two of these movies, I’m sticking with Danny Boyle and Slumdog for most deserving. As for who will actually take it, Mendes could split up the pack, but Howard and Fincher are the front runners.


· Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road

· Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon *

· Sean Penn, Milk *

· Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

· Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler (Most Likely Winner, possibly most deserving as well) WINNER

Sean Penn was the best thing going in Milk, so this is well deserved for him, but the critical buzz and momentum behind Mickey Rourke could make this the year of the grizzled warrior. I’ve yet to see The Wrestler, but his performance is said to be a career topper. Brad Pitt hasn’t been able to clinch a victory since his Best Supporting Golden Globe for 12 Monkeys. That’s not saying he hasn’t done good work since then, since he’s almost always in the race, but someone always sneaks by and pulls the golden statues from his grasp. Frank Langella won heaps of praise for his role in Frost/Nixon on stage as well as on screen, but it won’t be enough to overcome the rawness and sheer intensity of Penn or Rourke. That leaves DiCaprio, who may very well be amazing in the role, but I have caught it yet and I can’t tell whether this will be a disappointing or deserved loss for him.


· Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married * (Deserves to Win)

· Angelina Jolie, Changeling * (Most Likely Winner)

· Meryl Streep, Doubt

· Kristin Scott Thomas, I’ve Loved You So Long

· Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road WINNER

Anyone who knows me is well aware of my affinity for Anne Hathaway, but that aside, she does deserve all the accolades being heaped on her for her turn in Rachel Getting Married. It was a serious departure for her from her normal fare and served to prove once again the range and power she can handle. The closest behind her is Kate Winslet, who supposedly got this role pushed up for Best Actress instead of her performance in The Reader because the studio believes she has a better chance with this film. As you’ll read further down, this might work against her. Now Angelina found time in her efforts to become a living saint to churn out another nominated performance, but honestly this feels a little like “starf*#king”. She is an incredibly talented actress, but Changeling was really only one emotion for her the whole way through and felt a little draining by the time it was done. As for Meryl, Doubt is still to come on my list of things to see, but hopefully I’ll be able to separate my appreciation for her acting away from my deep-seeded loathing of religious zealotry. She’s going to have to fight hard to make that happen. Lastly, Kristen is a strong actress, so she could slip in with this small indie film, but it’s slipped past me as well, so they’ll have to make a strong push to the voters to make sure they’ve caught it and remembered it in the big ole’ mix.


· Rebecca Hall, Vicky Cristina Barcelona * (Deserves to Win)

· Sally Hawkins, Happy-go-lucky WINNER

· Frances McDormand, Burn After Reading *

· Meryl Streep, Mamma Mia *

· Emma Thompson, Last Chance Harvey

It’s hard to say who will win this. It’s a category filled with highly talented people, but out of the three performances I have witnessed, I’m putting my vote towards Rebecca Hall. She was able to overcome the sheer fact of being the main character in a Woody Allen film that barely got any billing on the posters because she was surrounded by A-List names, two of which were also nominated, and still managed to steal almost every scene she was in. There was an honesty in her which eclipsed the supporting players and truly made her stand out. Meryl deserves her share of credit for lending her voice and her talent to such an unlikely phenomenon, but it looked like it was more sheer fun than talent which brought this movie to the list. As for Frances McDormand, once again I can only say I don’t feel Burn After Reading deserves to be on the list at all. She was funny at moments, but this was not an award-winning role for her and barely seems to qualify as a lead actress piece. To Emma and Sally, I have heard good things on both fronts, but they are tougher movies to track down showtimes for.


· Javier Bardem, Vicky Cristina Barcelona * (Most Likely Winner)

· Colin Farrell, In Bruges * (Deserves to Win) WINNER

· James Franco, Pineapple Express *

· Brendan Gleeseon, In Bruges *

· Dustin Hoffman, Last Chance Harvey

Javier is still riding the wave of love from the Academy last year and the praise for No Country for Old Men, so some of that will surely bleed over into this year. I’m not saying he wasn’t good in this film, but I think this will give him the little edge he needs to separate himself from the pack. Colin, on the other hand, has not had the best relationship with the award audiences or the Hollywood scene in total, but he really let himself dive into In Bruges and it really showed. Whether you like him or not as a person, you just can’t help laugh with/at him in this hilarious movie. Appearing all over the place in the last few years, James Franco scored a nomination for playing an incredibly realistic pot dealer and stoner extraordinaire, but once again I am surprised that the committees felt this was a truly worthy performance, especially with his role in Milk being overshadowed. Brendon Gleesn is equally good in In Bruges, but Colin just happens to be playing the more important and charged role, so he steals a touch more of the focus from the audience. If you follow Hollywood at all, you can never count out Dustin Hoffman in a race like this. He could do a five minute cameo as a salesman for Japanese tea and you could guarantee a Independent Spirit Award would be engraved and waiting for him.


· Amy Adams, Doubt

· Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barecelona *

· Viola Davis, Doubt

· Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

· Kate Winslet, The Reader * (Deseves to Win, also Most Likely Winner) WINNER

This is a sparse category for me right now, with only two movies actually seen, but I think Kate will take this one home. Splitting the voters can sometimes work against you if you are going for both Best Actress and Best Supporting in the same year. Unless the Best Actress category is weak, the voters will most of the time give the conciliation gift of Best Supporting and pass the Best Actress onto someone else, which will benefit Anne and Angelina. I’ve heard good things about Marisa and her role in The Wrestler, but that could also be her getting swept up in the hype over Mickey Rourke. Doubt truly looks to be a heavy movie in terms of performances, so I’m sure both Viola and Amy are worthy nominations, but I’ll know more once I get a chance to view them.


· Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder *

· Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder *

· Ralph Fiennes, The Duchess

· Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt

· Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight * (Deserves to Win and Most Likely Winner) WINNER

This should be a fairly obvious category. Heath was entrancing as The Joker in The Dark Knight and his tragic demise only makes the story more poetic. Right now the only real question is who the studio will send up on stage to accept the award on his behalf (I think it should be Bale or Nolan). Even though the hype machine has built this up to epic proportions, Heath really does deserve the accolades. Robert Downey Jr. bit off more than anyone else could chew by doing modern day blackface in Tropic Thunder, but he pulled it off brilliantly and I’m thrilled he got the nomination. The same goes for Tom Cruise, who basically relaunched his career in the public’s heart with a hilarious turn as a meglomaniacal studio exec. As for Hoffman and Fiennes, both are extremely talented actors and I’m sure they do great jobs in their respective films, but this year belongs to Heath. No joke.


· The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)

· Everlasting Moments (Sweden/Denmark)

· Gomorrah (Italy)

· I’ve Loved You So Long (France)

· Waltz With Bashir (Israel) (Total guess, just so I have a choice noted) WINNER

Unfortunately I haven’t seen any of these, but the ones getting the most buzz are I’ve Loved You So Long and Waltz With Bashir. Bashir is also a crazy animated film, which could work against it in terms of voters thinking it is represented in the wrong category, or it could help differentiate itself from the pack and grab some swing votes. For me, this is totally up in the air.


· Bolt *

· Kung Fu Panda *

· Wall-E * (Deserves to Win and Most Likely Winner) WINNER

Wall-E is a lock here and if something else goes down the Hollywood Foreign Press will never mean a damn thing to me again. The little story of “the robot who could” has already been winning awards, but not for Best Animated Feature, it’s been taking the top prize as Best Picture of the Year in a handful of critics associations. Kung-Fu Panda was very well done and worthy of nomination, but I can’t say I felt the same about Bolt. Bolt was cute, but didn’t give me the impression of a stand-out animated film. I still don’t understand why there are only three chosen for this category, since The Tale of Despereaux (still to be released) and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa both garnered some critical acclaim. Nevertheless, Pixar has dominated once again and Wall-E will safely be able to store this award away with all his other trinkets.


· Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire * (Deserves to Win) WINNER

· David Hare, The Reader *

· Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon *

· Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Most Likely Winner)

· John Patrick Shanley, Doubt

This could actually go to anyone. Out of the three I have seen, I might lean towards Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire, but the momentum of the movie could work against him if the voters decide they don’t want to create a “sweep” type of situation. Peter Morgan and David Hare both did excellent jobs bringing history to the masses and making it intriguing. Critics are already saying great things on both fronts for Doubt and Benjamin Button, so they certainly cannot be counted out. I’d truly be happy anywhere the ball drops in this one.


· Alexandre Desplat, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

· Clint Eastwood, Changeling *

· James Newton Howard, Defiance

· A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire * WINNER

· Hans Zimmer, Frost/Nixon * (Deserves to Win and Most Likely Winner)

Here you have three of the most cherished in the musical score business: Zimmer, Howard and Eastwood (who just has to prove he can do everything better than the rest of us 😉 ). I’m leaning towards Zimmer because his score did such a beautiful job of intensifying a story of two men in chairs sitting across from each other, but once again, I think this category is a toss up. In reality, they are all just lucky John Williams only worked on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, since no one really liked a damn thing about that travesty.

Best Original Song

– “Down To Earth” – Wall-E (Music By: Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyrics By: Peter Gabriel)

– “Gran Torino” – Gran Torino (Music By: Clint Eastwood, Jamie Cullum, Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens, Lyrics By: Jamie Cullum)

– “I Thought I Lost You” – Bolt (Music & Lyrics By: Miley Cyrus and Jeffrey Steele)

– “Once In A Lifetime” – Cadillac Records (Music & Lyrics By: Beyoncé Knowles, Amanda Ghost, Scott McFarmon, Ian Dench, James Dring and Jody Street)

– “The Wrestler” – The Wrestler (Music & Lyrics By: Bruce Springsteen) (Total Guess, but I’ll say Most Likely to Win) WINNER

It was pointed out to me while finishing up this post that I had left out the Best Original Song category. Since it still falls under the film umbrella, I’ll take a stab at an opinion. Clint Eastwood shows off again by gaining a nomination in yet another category not familiar to most actors, but in here he’s going toe-to-toe with the pros of the trade. Wall-E brings Peter Gabriel to the table, while Bolt totes along tween megastar, Miley Cyrus. Both are big hitters, but Cadillac Records sticks out with Beyonce, who just got awarded with “#1 Single of the Year” by Rolling Stone Magazine for her insanely catchy track, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”. Yet, when it comes to truly moving an audience, few people can do it better than all-American music legend Bruce Springsteen. I’m feeling he could pull this out the same way he did with “Streets of Philadelphia” from the movie Philadelphia. It goes to show, don’t mess with The Boss.

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Burn After Reading: Coen’s Bring Imperfect Wackiness

Posted by goldwriting on September 24, 2008

You mean I can only be nominated for one Oscar at a time? But whyyyyyy???

As September crosses into the present, film critics and aficionados everywhere begin grinning and twitching in excitement. Oscar movies are officially on their way to the nearest silver screen. With the ribbon of quality content being cut, the first expected contender came from the brotherly duo not unfamiliar with the Oscar machine, the Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan. Fresh off the heels of their Best Directing, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars last year for No Country for Old Men, the cinematic brothers brought us a new chapter in their visual memoirs, Burn After Reading, a throwback to the darkly humorous days of Fargo, which also won them a Best Original Screenplay statue. Into the mix of directorial style and writing finesse we gained the acting skills of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, John Malkovich and Tilda Swinton. Frances McDormand is also along for the ride, but she’s a Coen staple (and also married to half the duo, Joel Coen). This movie had Oscar potential written all over it, so the only question going in was would it live up to the expectations?

Swing…the ball connects…it’s going deep…almost there…awww. Ground rule double.

This is not an Academy award winning film and certainly not one of their best, but still a nice way to slide into the season of quality content over box office boffo. Burn After Reading is a quirky, silly tale following a disc of information thought to contain CIA secrets from a disgraced and angry analyst (Malkovich), which is found in a local gym and tightly grasped by the hands of a woman (McDormand) desperate for money to cover her plastic surgeries. Mostly what the Coen brothers are known for is the depth and creativity of their characters and this film does well to cover the bases on that point. Frances McDormand plays Linda, a terribly pathetic woman so deathly afraid of aging and the current state of her body that she has blinders on to the rest of the world and the happiness it can offer. She brings the solid level of commitment and shine we’ve come to know her for. Brad Pitt joins in with what has to be his silliest and least intelligent character to date, Chad, a constantly hyper-active, exercise fanatic who works with Linda at a gym called Hardbodies. I have to imagine this was a fun role for him to play since he hardly gets to let loose like this anymore, not since 12 Monkeys. He provided a lot of the early humor in the film, but also drops one of the biggest plot twists halfway through. Clooney brings to life Harry, a ex-personal bodygaurd with a penchant for compulsive lying and an addiction to sex. George only gets to be this wacky under the tutelage of the Coen brothers, so even while it’s not his best work by any means, it’s a fun reminder that he can indeed get goofy with the rest of the gang. Tilda plays the ice queen wife of Malkovich, while also having an affair with Clooney. Watching her in this role, along with some others, I wonder when her picture will be included in the dictionary next to “emasculating”. Not to be left out of any discussion about over-the-top characters, Malkovich plays his part to the hilt, but I honestly feel his best moments are in the opening scene. There’s not much of an arc for him, so only seeing him come to life early on really provides any surprise and unseen moments.

Burn plays inside the footprints of Fargo, but never quite catches up to it. The Coens obviously know their craft and continue to put material out there with their own voice and character stamp, but this film felt a little like a step back for them. Maybe it was just a way to resettle into the dark comedy they are known for after their detour into heavy drama with No Country. Also running parallel to this is the question of the marketing campaign. Again the trailer was cut in a fashion to show one type of movie, but once you were in the theater it became something different, not wildly so, but still there is a distinct shift in tone from wacky comedy to dark comedy, and sometimes those audiences don’t mix well. It’s like seeing a trailer for Police Academy and getting Rushmore. Two great tastes that taste awful together.

Recommendation: If you’re a devout fan, you’ve already seen it anyway. If you’re on the fence, wait until video. If you’re completely on the other side of the fence, you still read this far anyway? I’ll take that as a compliment. Thanks. 🙂

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Axel Foely to At-At Families: A day in the life of…(6/3)

Posted by goldwriting on June 3, 2008

1 – In the massive upswing of sequels, it was only a matter of time until they hit something I really hold dear. Beverly Hills Cop is one of my favorite comedies and it holds so many great peaks for R-rated laughers along with being the beginning of a possibly legendary career for Eddie Murphy. It’s not really a big surprise that Eddie would want to jump back into the role of Axel Foley, but take my word, the only way this will work is if they get the old Eddie back. No PG-13 rating here. We need swearing, cocky, abrasive Axel Foley once again. If they follow through on that, I might just start playing the theme song once again as my alarm clock. [via Perez]

2 – Turning from sequels, we go to the only logical place, prequels. J.K. Rowling said she would not continue any more books in the Harry Potter series, but she never said anything about going backwards. She wrote a prequel novel for the Potter-verse, but this is only going to sold for charity in an auction, no mass publication will be done. As gracious as this is, and I am sure it will pull in a healthy amount of Euros, I feel bad for the house that will inevitably get broken into by a mob of crazed quidditch players in search of the mythical tome. [via Starpulse]

3 – I’ve heard rumblings through my group of friends that I should start paying attention to the Fox TV starlet show, The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I usually would have been glued to this already by the casting choice of Summer Glau, but something kept me from feeling totally committed to it. Now they sweetened the pot by dropping in Shirley Manson, the lead singer of Garbage, for next season. Hello TiVo, goodbye productivity. [via ComingSoon]

4 – Is it possible the Coen Brothers will ever make a normal movie? I doubt it sincerely. Here’s a link to the Red-Band trailer for their next ecclectic collection of actors in Burn After Reading. [via WWTDD]

5 – This might actually crack a smile on the faces of all those dark, black nailed little girls in the world. Their heroine, Emily the Strange, is on her sad and angry way to the screen. Something tells me a PG rating for this is not forthcoming. [via ComingSoon]

6 – So a couple of teenage girls blatantly stole $150 from a 9-year-old girl scout who was selling those painfully addicting cookies. Two things are wrong with the video here; first, these girls have no concept of morality and a frightening absence of realization of their own effect on the world around them, secondly, these girls are obviously not right in the head because they stole the money and not the cookies. Seriously, they are like crack cookies! [via Today’s Big Thing]

7 – Hopefully you haven’t tossed your computer out the window after watching that last scarred piece of humanity, but if you are lucky enough to keep your revulsion in check, here is your reward. You see, there are still some decent people in this place. [via YouTube via Diablo Cody’s Blog]

8 – Sometimes, just sometimes, they get something so painfully right. I have no idea if the movie is going to be any good at all, but I hope they keep making these videos, because they are certainly worth the entire movie’s budget. [via The Superficial]

9 – Oh yeah, nothing says lovin’ like a good monkey suit. [via Garfield Minus Garfield]

10 – This is pure genius. Prints available here. [via TCritic]

P.S. There soon will be some changes to this blog. You will see more pointed posts about particular topics alongside those about random happenings on the web or in the entertainment world. Also, I just added two more links on the Charities page, so please take a look in there. I will be adding to that list more often now. Thanks for any support you can lend to these deserving causes. 🙂

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The Yiddish Policeman’s Union: Chasing the curly locks of the end.

Posted by goldwriting on April 7, 2008

If you stare closely at this cover and relax your eyes, you’ll see a schooner.

Only on rare occasions can you walk out of a movie and say, “You know what, that was just as good as the book. I’m shocked.” For that to happen two things need to come together, a superb writer with a cinematic mind and a visionary director who appreciates and respects the original literary work. I can only think of a twinkling of titles that fall under that elusive ray of sunlight:

American Psycho (book written by Bret Easton Ellis, film directed by Mary Harron)

The Basketball Diaries (book written by Jim Carroll, film directed by Scott Kalvert)

The Crow (graphic novel written by James O’Barr, film directed by Alex Proyas)

Fight Club (book written by Chuck Palanhuik, film directed by David Fincher)

The Princess Bride (book written by William Goldman, film directed by Rob Reiner)

The Outsiders (book written by S.E. Hinton, film directed by Francis Ford Coppola)

You might be wondering what this list has to do with this book review, if anything at all, but here it is. The most important entry to this list:

Wonder Boys (book written by Michael Chabon, film directed by Curtis Hanson)

I actually did see the movie before reading that book, but I was amazed by how well it had been translated to film. Going back and watching the movie again I was able to fully appreciate both mediums the story was presented in and I felt they really complimented each other. So my excitement was instantly peaked when the Coen Brothers announced that they acquired the rights to adapt Michael Chabon’s latest book, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. People were already sending me giddy whispers about how good this book was, so it already had a place on my reading list, but the Coen Brothers helped escort it up the red carpet to the top.

The story surrounds a rugged policeman on the end of a social and lifelong bender. What seems like an innocuous suicide in the room below him sends him spiraling down a road lined with Yiddish mafias, ghosts of relationships past, familial bonds kept and broken, topped off nicely with a dollop of worldwide religious revolution. Our dogged protagonist, Detective Meyer Landsman, didn’t see this all coming when he woke up that morning, but his lockjaw determination won’t let him be swayed from finding the truth behind the black hats and black badges placed in front of him. Landsman is the classic take-it-on-the-chin hero, treading the shoes of Jake from Chinatown and Rick from Casablanca. Once the problem is unleashed in his brain, it itches and itches until he breaks each and every rule to find the calm inside his mental storm.

Growing up in a Jewish family I figured I would be able to follow along with the lingo and traditions mentioned in the book, but the level of detail is intense and intimidating. Admittedly it took me a few chapters to finally wrap my head around what each term meant, as examples: “sholem” for “gun” and “shoyfer” for “cell phone”. Chabon paints the town of Stika, Alaska and its Yiddish contingent wonderfully, their traditions, their struggles and their dedication to the cause, whatever that cause might be since each faction inside the group was different. Each upturned stone shows a deeper hole to crawl down and the ropes and strings begin to pull the fragmented pieces of the story together into one amazing and meticulous tale.

Still reeling from the brilliance of “No Country for Old Men” I can only imagine how the Coen Brothers will bring this to life. I’m sure it will be a sight to see and like sprinkles on a warm, red velvet cupcake, Chabon’s words will be a delight to hear. Supposedly there are a couple of other films in line for the dynamic duo of directors, so you all have time to run out, pick up this book and let it live with you, as it now lives with me.

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Oscar Wrap-Up 2008

Posted by goldwriting on February 24, 2008

no_country.jpg Go ahead, say one more thing about the haircut. Just get it out of your system already.

Another year has passed and another year of watching Jon Stewart polish off the Oscars like it was just another episode of The Daily Show. I swear the man cannot be fazed. As for the winners, I made predictions a while back, so let’s see how I matched up: (I’ll mark the ones I got right with a “*”)

* Best Picture: No Country For Old Men – Flocks of people left this movie confused about the ending, but I stand as one of the minority that enjoyed it, understood it (at least I think so), and was glad they didn’t try to wrap it up nicely in a Hollywood colored bow. A well deserved win for the Coen Brothers and I anxiously await their next picture, the adaptation of The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood – Was there anyone who didn’t see this one coming? I wasn’t a huge fan of the film, but his performance was the one thing that kept me interested. I still hold that this role felt a lot like a continuation of his character from Gangs of New York, but since he lost that year I consider it a dual win for him this time around. You might notice the star missing, because even though it was all going his way, I actually wanted Viggo Mortensen a little more for his role in Eastern Promises. I’m happy either way.

* Best Actress: Marion Cotillard for Mome La (or The Rose or La Vien Rose or whatever else they called it) – If she hadn’t won this I might have punched the nearest puppy. This was a monumental performance and when I saw her at a screening of the film there was a five minute standing ovation for her. Never before have I witnessed such an outpouring in person and I felt it could have gone on for even longer and been worthwhile. She was truly brilliant.

* Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men – Another shoe in for the award, even though his field was well stacked. In the end I think he just scared the living crap out of people who might vote against him.

Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton for Michael Clayton – This was the biggest upset of the night. Most people had Cate Blanchett walking away for her Bob Dylan interpretation in I’m Not There, but again I was in the minority of people who liked Michael Clayton and I congratulate Tilda on her award. If you happen to see her winning it, you can tell she was also honestly shocked. She probably bet against herself in her own Oscar pool.

* Best Director: Joel and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men – I was thrilled by this. All the other movies were well deserving of nominations, but this film was a true work of art. Well paced, well acted and well shot. Overall fantastic work by these two geniuses.

Best Editing: Christopher Rouse for The Bourne Ultimatum – This is one of three awards the film took in surprising fashion tonight. I would be incredibly remiss to disagree with the choice though because the movie was thoughtfully and skillfully paced. Editing action is an amazing balance of quick cutting and specific holding and if you watch the Brazilian fight scene in this film, you will know why he won. Best use of a book in a fight ever!

Best Cinematography: Robert Elswit for There Will Be Blood – Another well deserved win for this film. I might not have been one of the die hard devotees to it, but it was beautifully shot. The landscapes were picturesque and the intimate moments were kept close and meaningful.

* Best Art Direction: Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – Any Tim Burton film is automatically a wonderland for an Art Director. The worlds are dark, ornate and yet lovely in their eccentricities. The morose canvas they had to play with was helped to create the playground for Tim Burton and his man-muse Johnny Depp to complete yet another in their list of superb collaborations.

Best Song: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for “Falling Slowly” in Once – The main reason I didn’t vote for this, when everyone in the world who saw it told me to, was because I honestly never heard the song or saw the film. It had a limited run here and I never made it out to see it, but it moved a nation of people and after hearing it played on the show I can see why it walked away the winner. I also want to give a hearty thanks to the amazing Jon Stewart for bringing Marketa back out on stage since she got cut off on her way to the microphone to deliver her thanks. Very classy.

Best Visual Effects: Michael L. Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood for The Golden Compass – The world of cyber-geeks was stunned by the passing over of Transformers and so was I. I saw The Golden Compass and I’ll give them credit for the amazing effects, but the movie itself lacked in so many other areas it was hard to come out appreciating anything about it. If I were them, I would make sure to hide those awards in something bomb proof because Michael Bay is comin’ for them.

* Best Score: Dario Marianelli for Atonement – I went for this no only because it is a truly wonderful collection of music, but it is also the best use of a typewriter in movie history. Clickity clack indeed.

* Best Sound Editing: Karen M. Baker and Per Hallberg for The Bourne Ultimatum – You could hear every piece of breaking glass when he jumped through the window and every bone that got bruised by being bashed with a book (YAY!) or a table leg or an entire cabinet. Amazing work done here.

Best Documentary: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner for Taxi to the Dark Side – A definite shock since Sicko by Michael Moore made a ton more money along with the fact there were two other Iraq war documentaries nominated so the thought was the votes would be split, but I have read that this was extremely well done and hopefully more people, like myself, will see it now. In fact, I’m issuing a challenge to everyone out there to watch at least one documentary a month, just one. So much is out there to learn about. It’s not all people being beat up with books (Can I mention that fight scene some more? It was awesome!)

Best Foreign Film: Austria with Falscher, Die (The Counterfiters) – I actually didn’t even cast a prediction in this category, along with the short film nominations, because I know nothing about them, but congrats to them all the same. I’ll try to see if I can find this on Netflix or somewhere and give it a spin in the ole’ DVD player.

Best Live Action Short Film: Phillippe Pollet-Villard for Mozart des pickpockets, Le (The Mozart of Pickpockets) -They showed a clip of a little kid hiding himself in a duffle bag so he could steal someone’s wallet. I give him the award just for the sheer ingenuity.

Best Animated Short Film: Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman for Peter and the Wolf – Again, I didn’t see it, but the animation looked cool. Kid hung upside down from a tree branch and caught a wolf in a rope net. Sweet move.

* Best Animated Feature: Brad Bird for Ratatouille – This was one where I actually felt bad for the other nominated films. I’m sure they were good, but Pixar is a beast and cannot be stopped by ordinary means. They will continue to dominate the Animated Feature world until someone comes up with a whole new form of CGI. Until then, I’m perfectly fine sitting back and laughing like a little kid in front of their cartoon worlds.

* Best Costume Design: Alexandra Byrne for Elizabeth: The Golden Age – Put Cate Blanchett in that role and those clothes, sign yourself up for the post-Oscar party and save a chair for your statue.

* Best Makeup: Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald for Mome La (or all those other names) – They took a gorgeous actress and made her look not only plain, but aged her nearly forty years. The transformation throughout the film was staggering and I was convinced that three different actresses were playing the part. Stunning work done here. Absolutely stunning.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men – What can you say about these two. This was their year. I was pulling for Sarah Polley for Away From Her, which is one of the most tender films of the year, only second to Lars and the Real Girl (almost completely passed over in my opinion by the Academy), but I can’t be sad about the Coen’s winning anything this year. Tremendous work and they deserve it all.

Best Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody for Juno – Yes, I loved Juno. Yes, I didn’t vote for it. This goes back to my absolute infatuation with Lars and the Real Girl and this was the only category it was nominated in, so I hoped beyond hope that it would get something. But Juno was another steamroller in the hearts of the voting public and I agree (just take out the uber-cutesy first scene and the movie is scripted flawlessly). Also, kudos to Diablo for a touching acceptance speech.

Best Sound Mixing: Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis for The Bourne Ultimatum – Yet another blow by Jason Bourne and his third film in the franchise against those big spiky, nasty robots.

Best Documentary Short Subject: Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth for Freeheld – According to her speech the film is about the discrimination of same sex couples. Most likely she was on the “give them equality side” of the argument, so I’m happy she won then. Like her, I don’t have that discrimination against myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t support those who have to deal with it on a daily basis. Were all human, so we should only fear one thing and that’s big spiky, nasty robots. And if you give them a book to fight with, oh hell no, I’m leaving this place right quick.

In the end I got 10/24 right, which isn’t too bad considering there were a handful I didn’t even try for. All the movies this year were outstanding and I can only hope that we keep having Oscar shows where I don’t care who wins what award because they are all so damn good. Those are good days for a movie fanatic such as myself.

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