Friday, March 5, 2010

Handicapping the Oscars

ROBERTA: The Academy Awards are coming this weekend! I don't pretend to be a movie expert--I haven't even seen all the nominees. But I won't let that stop me from having opinions... Here they are:

Best actor: I did like George Clooney in UP IN THE AIR, but in the end he couldn't hold a candle to the dissipated country music star played by Jeff Bridges in CRAZY HEART. I'll be disappointed if Bridges doesn't get it.

Best actress: As with Clooney, I admired Sandra Bullock in THE BLIND SIDE--and I haven't liked much of what she's done lately. But she was overshadowed by Meryl Streep in JULIE AND JULIA and Gabourey Sidibe in PRECIOUS (astonishing movie!) I have to go with Streep for her chameleon-like performance as Julia Child.

Best supporting actress: this has to go to Mo'Nique in PRECIOUS. Was she not one of the most terrifying mothers ever played on film?

Best picture: PRECIOUS

I had the chance to see both the animated and the live action shorts. The word this year is DARK. My goodness, is anything wrong with a nice romance? Anyway, I'd vote for THE NEW TENANTS in the live action division--dark as all get-out, but a measure of black humor thrown in.

JAN: Live action division??? There's a live action division?? That shows you how long its been since I've sat down and watched the Oscars. You can't trust any nomination from me because I just nominate the actors from the movies I've happened to have seen. But given, that, I'll vote for Meryl Streep as Julia Child.

HANK: Um, well, um. I'm usually the big movie person, but this year I'm pitifully out of the loop. (Can we talk about, maybe, Lawrence of Arabia? Okay, not that bad. But..) Anyway, we did see Up in the Air, I think it was the movie we saw last year--and I loved it. I think the actress who played the young trainee was terrific (she's nominated, right?), and Vera Farmiga was wonderfull too. And whoever wrote the screenplay. And the director.

And I can't imagine how Geroge Clooney must feel--I mean, wasn't he a shoo-in until Jeff Bridges?

HALLIE: I've been hanging out under the same rock as Hank. Did see Julie and Julia and thought La Streep was amazing. Saw AVATAR (just this past weekend) which I thoroughly enjoyed but would so NOT award it best picture. Its "Transformers go to war" ending was predictable and loud and endless. I also saw SERIOUS MAN which I hated. Hated. HATED. Sigh. I'm still catching up on last year's (loved The Wrestler - Mickey Rourke was astonishing; also Sean Penn's Milk).

RHYS: I've just realized how out of the loop I am. I saw Julie and Julia, and adored it. Meryl Streep is the person I most want as my friend. She seems funny and witty and brilliant and I know I'd never be bored with her. Whats' more she's my age and she looks fantastic! I thought I was going to have to suffer through Avatar, but avoided it. And why do movies always have to be so loud. I have super sensitive hearing and can't endure most action movies.
Apart from those the only movies I saw this year were feel-good, or kids, or foreign with my friends movie-group. I liked Coco before Chanel.
This year I promise to be a better movie-goer. And one exciting side bar. My son gets to sing at an Oscar Party in LA. He's hoping it will lead to wonderful things.

RO: I like to watch. No...I'm not channeling Peter Sellers in Being There. I'm talking Oscars! I always watch. And I stay up until the bitter end, because after all if you've slogged through the boring bits you want to stick around for the payoff, right?

This year I haven't seen many of the nominated of this writing..An Education, Hurt Locker and Crazy Heart. I just don't get out much anymore (!) That won't stop me from plunking down my twenty bucks and entering the Oscar pool at a party I've been going to for the last fifteen years. (I never would have guessed it's been that long but remarkably I still have the $25 Gift Book from City Cinemas Theatres that I won at the party in 1997. I haven't won since. I guess it's like most awards...there are the people you think should win and the people you think WILL win.

Here are my picks for the majors...
James Cameron
Jeff Bridges
Sandra Bullock
and this is my longshot..Stanley Tucci. This is borne out of pure fan geekdom. I adore Stanley Tucci.

ROBERTA: Okay so for JRW, Meryl Streep is a shoo-in. How about you JRreaders? Do you like to watch? Have a favorite?


  1. I have seen more of the nominated movies this year than I probably ever have (and I still think they're cheating with expanding the Best Picture category to 10).

    Has anyone noticed that both Bridges and Clooney give performances that are notable for their restraint? Actually Jeremy what's-his-name in Hurt Locker fits there too. No over-acting, but powerful.

    I have to say I was blown away by Crazy Heart. Nothing you haven't seen before, but all of it done right. Jeff Bridges' character stays with you. (Yes, like Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler.)

    I think Avatar needs an entirely new category. Sure, the plot is trite and predictable. But the whole movie is so bleeping gorgeous! What should we call the new category? Technical Vision? Maniacal Obsession? Or do we just create a special James Cameron award?

  2. AH, the Times says it'll be Sandra Bullock. So interesting!

    And I can't wait to see the clothes. I wonder if Alec Baldwin will be good?

    Are we just--competitive?

    (I'm still going back and forch about gonig to Avatar. I think--for the media experience--it's a
    must-see. But EVERYONE says it's too loud.)

    Rhys--your son? singing? Where? HOw? What?

    SHeila!COngrautulations on your pub day for Red Delicious Death!! Hurray!! (And that's my allotment of exalamtion marks for the week...)

  3. Hank, my son is a jazz singer--think Harry Connick/Frank Sinatra. He has a gig singing at one of the parties. Not sure which but it's cool anyway.

  4. Wonderful, Rhys! Does he have videos we can see? Maybe have jazz day at Jungle Red?

  5. I'm not sure if I will watch this year. The sheer number of nominees seems overpowering (I get confused enough with just five in each category). How will they ever end the thing by midnight?

    I love Meryl Streep, too--and I love that she's never had plastic surgery. Her face actually moves!

  6. The Times thinks it will be Sandra Bullock? Wow, she was good but no where near the level of Streep. And yes, Meredith, she a lovely, natural-looking woman.

    Rhys that is so cool! I wish we all had invitations. Aren't YOU going at least?

  7. I saw Avatar and didn't think it was excessively loud.

    And as far as the plot being predictable -- in that kind of big metaphorical futuristic movie, you've only got so many choices with the plot. You really can't go for subtlety in character when you are saving the entire planet.

    The only thing that annoyed me was that in Hollywood, even the freaking aliens have to be anorexic.

    But other than that, I say give James Cameron some kind of award!

  8. I like the pre-Oscar stuff as much as the show itself...the outfits, the over the top dresses, but prefer E to Barbara...not sure what's up with this cablevision thing though...hope I get to watch!

  9. Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
    Best Director: Katherine Bigelor, The Hurt Locker
    Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
    Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, An Education
    Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Bastards
    Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious
    I'll be watching the awards but I always change the channel during the acceptance speeches. I wouldn't mind a show just announcing the nominees then boom, the winner and on to the next. :)

  10. Yay Jan! What the news about your essay???

    tell all!