Posts Tagged ‘The Hurt Locker’
It’s that time of year again – time to predict who will win the ultimate Hollywood prize at the grandest award show in the world. The 85th Academy Awards are going to be a place where young careers get made, long careers get rewarded, and viewers get incensed that their favorites didn’t win. We’ll get ready to hear, “I’ve never even heard of that movie,” “How could she win, she didn’t even deserve to be nominated,” and of course the old favorite, “Of course that would win. The Academy doesn’t know what people actually like.”
We must keep in mind two very important things: 1) “The Academy” is not some shadowy panel of a dozen or so anonymous judges, but hundreds of well-known industry participants. 2) The winners are not meant to represent what American culutre’s favorites are. If only box office favorites were ever nominated, we’d have The Avengers going up against The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games – none of which objectively deserve to be called Best Picture.
Figuring out who will win for which category takes a special sense of reasoning. So special, in fact, that all three of our writers – Dan Supanik, Marisa Carpico, and Cliff Bugle – claim to be the only one to have that sense. And yet, they disagree about who will in the six most important categories. Read on to see what the chances are of your favorites winning, and which of them will be left sitting in their seats giving disappointed claps of congratulations.
Let us not waste time by going over all ten nominees for Best Picture. In all seriousness, not each film has an equal chance of winning this coveted Oscar. In any given year one can usually narrow the competition down to about three, and the fact that the Academy has expanded the number of nominees to ten has not changed this. This year we have narrowed the number of truly possible winners down to two. Both are equally likely to win for reasons you can read below. Because of this adequation we refrained from picking a likely winner, but regardless of our indecision whichever film does win will most surely deserve to.
The Social Network
Directed by David Fincher
When the film was released in October it earned a lot of buzz for being the “frontrunner to win Best Picture.” That its director, leading actor, writer, cinematographer, and sound editors have been nominated for Academy Awards for their respective categories we can see there is palpable substantiation for such hype. Based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, the film boldly places a critical gaze upon what I shall reluctantly call the Facebook generation. The character of Mark Zuckerberg appears to create Facebook as an effort to produce cyber relationships and validate them by equating them with interpersonal ones, and in the process he destroys what real interpersonal relationships he has. In the end, Zuckerberg has all the power and influence he could want except for the kind that would allow him to rebuild meaningful relationships with the people who grew to hate him, who are the same people he most wishes to be close to. Such a story could potentially be successfully told in a variety of ways, but David Fincher’s patient and astute direction, the exceptional acting, and Jeff Cronenweth’s effectual cinematography, which often oscillates between delusive warmth and numb, cold sterility, make The Social Network a film that will be studied for years and watched for generations. It is not a film that will be swiftly forgotten.
The King’s Speech
Directed by Tom Hooper
The King’s Speech is the critical darling of the year. Released only two months ago on Christmas Eve its Oscar buzz didn’t have much time to gain momentum, however nearly every critic worth listening to has had it in his or her top five list of best films of the year. Its reputation soared quickly and has been able to stay high thanks in no small part to enthusiastic acclaim from audiences. Director Tom Hooper’s visual style for the film is admittedly not very impressive – that is, in comparison to the other nominees – but his management of the film’s performances by its actors, which include Oscar nominees Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter, certainly is. Hooper’s command of detail and judgment of timing is impeccable in areas outside of the actors’ performances, but such mastery obviously translates to that arena as well. Unlike The Social Network, this film is unquestionably more uplifting. Both are based on true stories, but while the former is about a young man falling victim to his own flaws the other is about a man overcoming them. Critics are sometimes called ineffectual, but just over the past several years we can see that the Academy voters’ consensus is usually in alignment with theirs. Best Picture winners Million Dollar Baby, Crash, Slumdog Millionaire, No Country for Old Men, and The Hurt Locker can all justifiably be labeled the “critical darlings” of their years, which should strongly encourage those pulling for The King’s Speech.
Every few months or so, I get into this strange mood where I think the film industry has become all hype and no substance and I feel nostalgic for the movies I used to love. Typically during these periods, every film I see only seems to confirm that sense and I grow increasingly disappointed until something finally snaps me out of it.
This time last year, I found myself in the midst of one of my film industry doldrums and I walked into Greg Mottola’s coming-of-age film Adventureland expecting yet another gross-out teen comedy like his previous film Superbad. However, what I encountered was a film that restored my faith in the medium.
I remember the moment exactly. Kristen Stewart’s character Em and Jesse Eisenberg’s character James are simply driving in a car as the Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes” plays on the radio. They have just left a bar after Em’s secret lover and his wife walk in and the couples share an awkward and loaded exchange. Em is clearly thrown by the encounter and the scene that follows basically shows her reaction to it. As she drives, Em’s face goes from sad to angry to disappointed to confused in a matter of seconds, displaying all of the complicated emotions she feels. And it was during that scene that I remembered how much I love film and how powerful film could be. It wasn’t just Stewart’s incredible performance or the music choice or the way Mottola filmed it, it was the combination of all those things. It was the realization that I was seeing a truly extraordinary moment of creation happening on the screen and I had suddenly regained that passion for movies I had experienced as a child.
I’ve recently felt myself moving toward another bout of movie despondency so I popped in my Adventureland DVD and prepared to have my faith restored. On a whim, I watched the previews before the film and one of them happened to be a roundup of Miramax films, the same company that distributed Adventureland.
As the preview rolled, I realized how many Miramax films I’ve enjoyed throughout the years. I mean, this is the production/distribution company that first sparked my love for movies all the way back in 1996 with the release of Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient. I may not have fully understood all the film’s themes at eight years old, but I certainly appreciated the beauty. The passionate yet tragic love story of the central characters and the gorgeous cinematography are the reasons the film remains one of my favorites even today. Miramax was the company that sparked my love of musicals too. Sitting in a half-empty theater in the middle of the day watching Chicago was a positively transformative experience. The sex appeal and the combination of stage performance and cinema that only film could supply was positively incredible. Miramax was even the company that taught me about post-modernist referencing: I delighted in the way Wes Craven’s Scream deconstructed the horror genre and was positively astounded by the endless layers of pop culture reference Quentin Tarantino used in the Kill Bill films. So I began to wonder, what happened to Miramax?
Miramax began some thirty years ago in New York as an independent production and distribution company founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein. The goal of the company—named for the Weinsteins’ parents Miriam and Max—was to produce and distribute independent films which were often more notable for their artistic value than their potential box office earnings. Between their opening in 1979 and 1993, Miramax distributed such films as Sex, Lies and Videotape and Reservoir Dogs. However, it really began to flourish after the Walt Disney Company bought it in 1993. After the sale, with more financial backing at their disposal, the Weinsteins were able to run the company fairly independently of the rest of the Disney family.
The Weinsteins had always been fairly aggressive in their business practices, from acquiring films to acquiring promising filmmaking talent, and that same style carried over in their Disney period. Nowhere was this aggressive business style more apparent than the company’s Oscar campaigns. Perhaps the best example of a successful Miramax campaign came in 1998 when Shakespeare in Love beat Saving Private Ryan for a Best Picture Oscar. According to a New York Magazine article from 1995, Miramax spent an estimated $5 million campaigning for the film and its arguable whether it would have been so fortunate without such significant backing. Miramax carried on in this manner with one successful Oscar-winning film after another. And then 2005 rolled around.
The Weinsteins had a tenuous relationship with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner over issues like financing and creative matters and when it came time to renew the brothers’ contracts in 2005, the negotiations went so poorly they ultimately decided to leave to create The Weinstein Company. Miramax continued relatively unchanged under the direction of Daniel Battsek until this past January when Disney closed the its New York and Los Angeles offices and made it a part of the larger Disney infrastructure, thereby reducing the production output to only a handful of films per year. Though companies like Summit Entertainment and even The Weinstein Company have showed interest in purchasing Miramax from Disney, it’s likely the $700 million asking price, as reported by The Deal Magazine, will mean the company will stay in Disney’s possession for years to come. However, the real question in all this madness is what company can audiences expect to take up the creative slack?
Miramax’s most obvious heir is The Weinstein Company. In it’s few short years, it has already made some impressive films like quite a few of this year’s Oscar nominees including Inglourious Basterds, Nine and A Single Man. And it has quite a few promising films in the pipeline including two Sundance Favorites, The Company Men starring Ben Affleck and Chris Cooper and Blue Valentine starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. However, another independent company that might give the Weinsteins a run for their money is Summit Entertainment. Former Paramount Vice Chairman Robert G. Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger established Summit in April 2007, but it’s already shown some promise. It produced and distributed this year’s Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker and with the cash cow that is The Twilight Saga as one of its properties, Summit shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon.
Regardless of what the future may hold, I’m sure there will always be films to help remind me why I fell in love with the medium in the firs place. And if not, I can always pick something from the Miramax library for a little reminder.
Well the Oscars are now over, so it’s time to recap how we did in predicting the winners. All in all we didn’t do too bad. But who out there guessed all of them correctly? Did you? Tell us about how you picked the winners to win, and we might seek you out for your opinions next year!
Here is how things shaped up.
Best Picture: Avatar or The Hurt Locker
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker
Best Original Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen for A Serious Man
Best Leading Actor: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
Best Leading Actress: Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer for The Last Station
Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique for Precious
Best Picture – The Hurt Locker
Best Director – Kathryn BigelowÂ Â (*she is the first woman to receive this award)
Best Original Screenplay – Mark Boal for The Hurt Locker
Best Leading Actor – Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
Best Leading Actress – Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side
Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress – Mo’Nique for Precious
View all of the winners here.
It’s been a fun Oscar season for sure, but it’s almost sad to see it all over and done with. Here at Movie-Thoughts we’ll soon switch gears to get you all ready for the upcoming summer blockbuster season, which is shaping up to be a good one. Be sure to stay tuned with all the news, reviews, and various articles we’ll be posting to keep you informed and thinking. See you around!
Continuing our breakdown of the major categories for this year’s 82nd annual Academy Awards, here is our analysis of the nominees eligible to receive the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Best Original Screenplay
The Golden Globes are often a useful bellwether, but since the Hollywood Foreign Press doesn’t separate Original and Adapted Screenplays, Up in the Air’s win there only suggests the outcome of the Adapted Screenplay category at the Oscars. Quentin Tarantino won the Critic’s Choice for his Inglourious Basterds screenplay so he has a good chance of winning. However, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, who have two previous screenplay Oscars for No Country for Old Men and Fargo, have just as strong a chance for A Serious Man. Moreover, they won with the National Board of Review and the National Society of Film Critics so they may edge out Tarantino for the win. Mark Boal’s powerful screenplay for The Hurt Locker could pull a surprise win since it beat the Coens at the Writers Guild and the winners there typically win the Oscar as well. Less likely would be a win for Up which, though emotionally touching, may not be able to compete with the more serious fare offered by the other screenplays. The least likely winner would be Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon’s screenplay for The Messenger, which, though powerful, is the nominee that has received the least nominations from other prestigious bodies.
Read the rest of this entry »
Continuing our analyses of the top categories for the upcoming Academy Awards, here is an in-depth look at the nominees up for Best Actor in a Leading Role by our own Marisa Carpico. Tell us what you think!
Also see Best Supporting Actress
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges already won the Screen Actor’s Guild Award and the Golden Globe for his role in Crazy Heart, so he’s expected to win the Oscar as well. However, he faces some strong competition from Jeremy Renner, who won an award from the National Board of Review, for his role in The Hurt Locker. If Bridges and Renner don’t win, the next most likely candidate is George Clooney for his charismatic performance in Up in the Air. Surprisingly, Colin Firth’s powerful performance in A Single Man gives him an advantage over Oscar-veteran Morgan Freeman, whose portrayal as Nelson Mandela is impressive, but his nomination wasn’t exactly a considered a sure thing so he is the least likely to win.
Read the rest of this entry »
In looking closer at some of the movies released this past year, another connection has revealed itself between two films that on the surface could not be more different. Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Hurt Locker might appear to have nothing in common, with one being an animated feature involving social relationships and animals and the other involving bomb disarming in the Iraq War, but a connection exists between the two films’ main male characters: Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and SFC William James (Jeremy Renner).
Both characters reveal that their personalities revel in danger, needing it’s presence to withhold a sense of fulfillment in their occupations (for Mr. Fox it’s stealing chickens and cider, for William it’s disarming bombs during wartime). Perhaps this need for danger is a modification of the Male Ideal offered by Charles Reich, about which he explains that a man’s value is “derived from the function he performs for society, and whose satisfaction lies in how well he performs his job. Men dominated by technique and training [take] seriously the meritocracy of ability and accomplishment, dedicated to work [towards] goals beyond the individual.” However, I would argue that both characters do not share the same sense of social pressure that Reich’s definition of the Male Ideal implies. So, the “need” for danger must be spawned internally – perhaps within the psyche? Read the rest of this entry »
We here at Movie-Thoughts find it very interesting to keep tabs on actors throughout their careers, especially from the time when they make their big break to when they become a full-fledged star. Below is a list of 7 actors and actresses from movies and/or television shows that our writer Marisa Carpico contests are worth keeping a close eye on, because you’re bound to see more of them in the future. Some names you might recognize, as they’ve been in the professional acting arena for several years, but they might not have thus far had the kind of notoriety that propels the gifted few into the “A” Class of Hollywood.
Lea Michele: Glee fans will know her as the borderline-obnoxious overachiever, Rachel from Fox’s hit show, but before she lusted over the cute quarterback, she lusted over the cute rebel in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Spring Awakening. As a successful Broadway actress with plays like Awakening, for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, and Les Misérables on her résumé, Michele clearly has talent. Her abilities are on display in every episode of Glee where she lends her incredible vocals to tracks like “Don’t Stop Believing” and “My Life Would Suck Without You,” both of which had strong performances on the Billboard Top 100 Chart. However, though her singing is certainly excellent, her acting is just as interesting. During her show-stopping performance of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl during the “Sectionals” episode, Michele lent the song an energy and abandon that made her character’s desperate need for fame evident. Michele’s skill at bringing Rachel to the point of unbearable, but always making her vulnerable and talented enough to keep viewers from hating her is likely what garnered her a Golden Globe nomination. The big challenge for Michele in 2010 will be to find roles that show off more than just her vocal talents. Read the rest of this entry »
With Oscar season now officially upon us, it is time to take a look back and see which films have made Movie-Thoughtsâ€™ Top 10 of the year. Granted weâ€™ve only been around since last August, so our list isnâ€™t as well crafted as it might be if we were around for a whole year. However, such lists are just meant to be fun anyways, right? So letâ€™s get to it.
Our list is based solely on how writers Clifford Bugle and Marisa Carpico rated all the movies they reviewed on a scale of 1.0 to 10.0. There were lots of ties, but they were sorted out according to the suggestions of the writers.
- Avatar -Â 9.0
- A Single Man -Â 9.0
- Inglourious Basterds -Â 8.5
- An Education -Â 8.5
- The Hurt Locker -Â 8.5
- District 9 -Â 8.5
- 500 Days of Summer -Â 8.5
- The Book of Eli -Â 8.5
- Precious -Â 8.0
- The Merry Gentleman -Â 8.0
How does our list compare with yours? Weâ€™re excited to know, so send us your list of the Top 10 movies of the year via our Contact page or this postâ€™s comments section.
Oscar nominations were released today! See which of your favorite movies/people were nominated, and tell us if you disagree with any of them. Are there any snubs?
We here at Movie-Thoughts are soon going to be starting a continuing piece dissecting these nominations one category at a time, so be sure to check back regularly!
The 82nd Academy Awards will be aired on March 7th, and will be hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.
“The Blind Side”
“The Hurt Locker”
“A Serious Man”
“Up in the Air”
Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney, “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth, “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman, “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker”
Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren, “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan, “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious”
Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”
Best supporting actor
Matt Damon, “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer, “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci, “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”
Best supporting actress
Penelope Cruz, “Nine”
Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal, “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique, “Precious ”
James Cameron, “Avatar”
Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”
Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds”
Lee Daniels, “Precious”
Jason Reitman, “Up in the Air”
Best foreign-language film
“El Secreto de Sus Ojos” Argentina
“The Milk of Sorrow” Peru
“Un Prophete” France
“The White Ribbon” Germany
Best adapted screenplay
Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, “District 9″
Nick Hornby, “An Education”
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, “In the Loop”
Geoffrey Fletcher, “Precious”
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, “Up in the Air”
Best original screenplay
Mark Boal, “The Hurt Locker”
Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds”
Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman, “The Messenger”
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, “A Serious Man”
Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Tom McCarthy, “Up”
Best animated feature film
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”
“The Princess and the Frog”
“The Secret of Kells”
Best art direction
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”
“Nine” “Sherlock Holmes”
“The Young Victoria”
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
“The Hurt Locker”
“The White Ribbon”
Best sound mixing
“The Hurt Locker”
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”
Best sound editing
“The Hurt Locker”
Best original score
“Avatar,” James Horner
“Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Alexandre Desplat
“The Hurt Locker,” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
“Sherlock Holmes,” Hans Zimmer
“Up,” Michael Giacchino
Best original song
“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog,” Randy Newman
“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog,” Randy Newman
“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36,” Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas
“Take It All” from “Nine,” Maury Yeston
“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart,” Ryan Bingham and T BoneÂ Â Â Â Â Â Burnett
Best costume design
“Coco Before Chanel”
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”
“The Young Victoria”
Best documentary feature
“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”
“Which Way Home”
Best documentary short
“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province”
“The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner”
“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”
“Music by Prudence”
“Rabbit a la Berlin”
Best film editing
“The Hurt Locker”
“The Young Victoria”
Best animated short film
“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty”
“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)”
“A Matter of Loaf and Death”
Best live-action short film
“Instead of Abracadabra”
“The New Tenants”
Best visual effects