Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Alright. Fine.
I can't put this off anymore.  It's Wednesday aka. T-minus 4 days 'til the Oscars.
Again, these are my predictions with Lock/Lean point values assigned (2pts. for Lock/1pt. for Lean).  And, yes, I am voting a winner in every category (unlike Slate magazine and their weak ass "you don't have to pick a category if you don't want to" rule).  And yeah, I may crash and burn (there are some risky picks here)... but go hard or don't go at all.
Best Actor:  Colin Firth (2 pts.)

Best Actress:  Natalie Portman (1pt.) *Benning could surprise everyone. Also, she sits on the nominations board which means she's got a lot of friends in high places.
Supporting Actor:  Christian Bale (2 pts.)

Supporting Actress:  Helena Bonham-Carter (1 pt.) *This is so risky; I can not believe I'm putting her instead of Melissa Leo.
Original Screenplay:  The King's Speech (2 pts.)
Adapted Screenplay:  The Social Network  (2pts.)
Documentary:  Inside Job (1 pt.)
Documentary (Short):  Killing in the Name (1 pt.)
Animated Film:  Toy Story 3 (2 pts.)

Animated (Short): Day and Night (1 pt.)
Live Action (Short):  Na Wewe (1 pt.)
Foreign Language Film: Biutiful (1 pt.)
Cinematography:  True Grit (2 pts.)

Costume Design:  Alice in Wonderland (1 pt.)
Art Direction:  Inception (1 pt.)
Makeup:  Barney's Version (1 pt.)
Original Score: The Social Network (2 pts.)
Original Song:  Toy Story 3 (1 pt.)
Sound Mixing:  Inception (1 pt.) * True Grit may actually win this one. My gut tells me Inception won't take both of the Sound awards, but it's the "smart" bet.
Sound Editing:  Inception (1 pt.)
Visual Effects:  Inception (2 pts.)

Film Editing:  The Social Network (2 pts.)
Director:  Tom Hooper (1 pt.)  *This was literally the hardest one to choose. So, if Fincher wins, you are not allowed to crawl up my ass.
Best Picture:  The King's Speech (2 pts.)
Total Number of "Locks": 10
Total Number of "Leans": 14
Total Points Possible: 34
Total Points: TBD (Remember, points are DEDUCTED if the category is "lost").
Good luck on your brackets! (Red Carpet rundown will happen next week).

As a parting gift, I'm ending today with a movie that will certainly NOT be up for any awards next year.  But, I have a feeling that "Bad Teacher" may be one of my favorites of 2011.  Because it's relatable to those of us women who are sarcastic, vulgar, and un-idealistic.  I mean, I swear, there are days when I think that if my students were any dumber, I'd have to water them.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


They are in a week!

Are you ready?

Full disclosure: I don't know if I am.  Because this year was TOUGH.  There were a lot of good movies.  And the performances were even better.

Right now, the heavy competition seems to be between The King's Speech and The Social Network (ehh hemm...both of which I lauded and praised on this very blog long before nominations or post Thanksgiving buzz..gloat, gloat, gloat).

Don't worry.  My pride may be totally destroyed next Sunday.  Because this is one of the first years in recent memory where I am petrified to make my picks.  Here's the situation.  At first, everyone was all about The Social Network.  And then The King's Speech took over.  As of about two weeks ago, I would have bet everything that The King's Speech would take everything.  But then, Egypt happened.

No, seriously.  It is silly and stupid that something so serious could effect something so trivial, but Hollywood experts are saying it very well may have.  The presence of Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media/networking were a central component throughout the protests.  I mean, the government issued an internet blackout for a reason.  And then, when the ban was lifted, the internet blew up with Egyptian youth and protesters communicating their experiences with each other and the world.

So, all of a sudden, this movie about how a couple of Harvard computer geeks changed everything seems a little less grandiose and a little more realistic and significant.  Maybe more so than a movie about a dead English monarch learning to overcome a speech impediment.  (Of course, you could make the argument that he gave hope to a nation during the worst war the world has even seen.  But that was the past. Egypt is the present. And people have short memories).

Here's the other rub with the whole King's Speech vs. Social Network debacle.  More often than not, whatever film wins Best Picture also wins Best Director and Best Film Editing.  Problem is...a ton of people are saying King's Speech will win Best Picture.  But The Social Network will win Film Editing.  And the decision over director is almost split down the middle. This is because Tom Hooper (King's Speech) won the Directors Guild (the winner of which wins the Oscar 9 out of 10 times).  But then David Fincher (Social Network) still has a teeny tiny edge in the critics polls and...he's due for a win having been snubbed for Se7en, Fight Club, etc.

See?   It's all muddled.  And the voters don't like it to be muddled.  They like for there to be a clear "BEST."  They like for one film to sweep everything.  The "big" awards rarely get split between big films. Literally, the thinking is...we've got to make sure that we vote a stand out.  

And Colin Firth WILL win Best Actor for King's Speech.  Bet it.  But, Aaron Sorkin WILL win for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Social Network. (you can bet that one too).

Ugh!! This year is soooo tricky.

Thankfully, I have come across a much better, more interesting, and more fun way of doing Oscar balloting.  If you have an office pool to set up or are hosting a party, you may want to consider doing this.

Step One: Print out Oscar ballots for your guests/office mates.

Now here's where things change.  Instead of just circling the winner in sharpie, writing your name at the top, and then "counting" to see who got the most categories right, do a "lean" vs. "lock" points system.

Here's how "lean" vs. "lock" works.

For every category, you have two options.  After you circle who you think will win, you designate it a "Lean" which means "Eh, I think they'll win" aka. "I'm leaning towards them" or a "Lock" meaning "I feel confident that they will win" aka. "They are a lock."

For every "Lean" that you get right, you get 1 point.  For every "Lock" that you get right, you get 2 points.
However, for every "Lean" that you get wrong, you lose 1 point. For every "Lock" that you get wrong, you lose 2 points.

The person with the highest points total wins.

Now, here's where the debate comes in. I have seen Lean/Locks that require voters to choose a winner in every category.  I have seen Lean/Locks that allow you to not make a prediction for every category.  For me, the latter way feels like cheating or at the very least is a pussy move.  So, I won't be playing that way.  But, I'll leave it up to you to decide. Cowards.

Oscars are Sunday, Feb 27 at 8:00.  But, the Red Carpet goes live at 7:00.  Which... I could you NOT watch the carpet?  Scoff and please.

And, finally, my Oscar prediction picks will be up on the blog by Wednesday (with Lock/Leans assigned).  Want to play me?  The prize can be bragging rights.  Or beer.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Oscars are coming, and we'll get to them soon enough.

But, first things first, because my Geek needs to address the new X Men: First Class trailer that dropped last week.

Like most people, I like action movies, especially in the summer.  Iron Man, The Nolan Batman reboots, and the recent Star Trek were all excellent translations of stories that are, let’s face it, held sacred by nerds.
And, if you don’t pay any attention at all, the insanely large crowds at Comic Con each year should be proof enough that Comic Books are a mainstay.
Here’s the thing you may not know, however.
Everyone has “One.”  Each little nerd, geek, techie in the country has “the one” comic/hero/story/mythos that he/she reveres above all others.  They have read every comic incarnation, seen the cartoon tv adaptations or manga movies, and they will line up around the block for the Hollywood Movie version of their favorite creation.

Batman is most people’s favorite.  I’ve always theorized it’s because Bruce is the “self” made super hero with endless capital and status in both his cloaked and un-cloaked personas.  In other words, he is the American Ideal: self made, wealthy, completely average (he doesn’t actually have any super powers), and un-flexibly narcissistic (the “bat signal” anyone? not to mention the sense of self righteousness that must preceed vigilante justice?).  
Spiderman cuts a close second. He’s the “unlikely” hero. The skinny, science nerd, pacifist who is forced into a life he didn’t choose, emotionally unequipped to handle anything (and therefore both “fantastical” but also “relatable”).
But, for me, it has never been Bruce or Peter.  Or Tony Stark or Clark Kent or any of the other stand alone “heroes.”

For me, it has been, and always will be X-Men.  I started by watching the cartoon. Then, I spent my allowance and bought the "initial" run of X-Men comics (yes, David, this was also around the same time I bought the Donkey Kong Cheat Book.)  And, I have seen all the terrible movie adaptations.  Even so, my love for X-Men remains intact.
The reasons are numerous.  I like that they are a tribe.  I love Professor X, Jean Grey, Hank (aka. Beast), and Rogue (and apologies to Anna Paquin, but you RUINED her).  Perhaps most of all, I like how the politics of Charles vs. Erik constantly determine the X-Men universe.
Which is why I hate what Hollywood has done to them.  There has NEVER been a good X Men movie.  Ever.
Hopefully, this June, that will all change.
Because Matthew Vaugh, who made Kick Ass (WHICH WAS AMAZING RENT IT IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT!) is making X Men: First Class.

As expected, X-Men: First Class is the story of how the X-Men became THE X-Men.  But, what gives me hope, besides the director who is awesome, is the cast!

Have you seen the cast?!!!

Nicholas Hoult (from Skins and About a Boy) is Hank
Our girl Jennifer Lawrence is Mystique
January Jones is Emma Frost
Rose Byrne (Damages) is Moira MacTaggart
And....lastly...most greatly...James McAvoy is Charles (Shelby! Bitch! You need to rent Atonement now so that your James McAvoy hard-on can be at its biggest for this movie!)

For those of you not in the know...that's A LOT of Emmy and Oscar nominees.

Please, please please please let this be good.  Let this be great.

The trailer is below. Don't worry, it's only a teaser.  A full length one will come later.  And knowing Matthew Vaughn and his penchant for enormous on-line, video campaigns, there will be many more teasers as well.

Coming Soon....My Oscar predictions.  And!  A new system for Oscar balloting that is waaaayyyy better and will make your office/Oscar party betting pool much more fair.