There's no better excuse to resurrect the blog after... (how long it was?!) to talk about the biggest night of cinema: Oscar Night!
Billy Crystal returns!! To me, the best host the Oscars can have. Can't wait to see him back. Been told Cirque du Soleil will perform after their performance post-9/11 Oscars ceremony. Really looking forward to see my boys (even two are presenters and the other is just a wonderful to support his movies noms) and which is the most elegant woman/man of the night. I enjoy fashion, what can I say? LOL
As every year, I tried to watch all the movies nominated and once again, I accomplished this great challenge. YAY! I think it's the best thing you can do if then you wanna actually voice your opinion and ponder if the final winners are the ones deserving it or not.
So, here are my bets in the main categories and little bit of analysis:
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
Prediction: The Artist.
I believe The Artist will be the main winner of the night because the movie won the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Plus, the big almighty producer Harvey Weinstein is behind this production. Everybody knows in Hollywood how powerful this man. A very high profile marketing & promotional campaign behind. The Artist is the most original choice of the night. A black & white and mute movie in the 21st Century. Considering that half of the members of the Academy are +60, they would really appreciate this trip back in time. Still, the movie is well constructed, consistant score and Berenice Bejo and Jean Dujardin do a great job in transmitting emotions and keep us interested in the plot.
The Descendants presents a familiar drama, helmed by wonderful George Clooney who has to take care of a dying unfaithful wife and two daughters with whom he didn't really had a very deep paternal connection. The movie accomplishes the taste of moral instilled in all Alexander Payne's movies: Live life intensely, learn to cope with death, learn to love what you have.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a nice movie. A stellar cast there with Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Max Von Sydow. A movie with barely Oscarwatch promotion but with much ado about nothing won 2 noms at the awards. It's a touching story, a boy who loses his father at the 9/11 NYC terrorist attack and afterwards, goes around the city trying to find a lock that matches the key his dad gave him before dying.
The Help happens to be one of my favorite movies of the Awards Season. The cast is just marvellous, all the actresses shine and the dialogues are funny, witty and sparkling. It really makes laugh a lot at some points, specially when nominee Octavia Spencer is around. Nothing funny about the theme touched (The Civil Rights movement of the 60's) in this movie though.
Hugo is a fairytale, in my opinion. I enjoyed it. It's a different Scorsese we're used to see. An homage to the history of cinema. Melies. Paris. A bit slow path, though.
Midnight in Paris is an enjoyable movie. I enjoyed it more than Vicky Cristina Barcelona. (Sorry!) Being able to meet Hewingway, Dali or any other personality from the Golden Age in Paris by a touch of magic is quite appealing to me. Allen's portrait of love relationships are always material to discuss. Paris looks super lovely, as always!
Moneyball is one of the movies I didn't quite enjoy. Sorry for the people who loved it to bits. To me, it's Jerry Maguire in beisbol. It didn't touch my heart, although I must say Brad Pitt's performance is good.
The Tree of Life, that's one some loved and other's hated to death. I'm in between. Really long movie.
War Horse is not the best Spielberg but it's Spielberg and it's a must-see. Based on a West End production, the movie centers in the strong bond of a boy and his horse Joey, which takes a big part at war. One of the things I loved about the movie is that it's a war movie but there's not a bloodshed, which is something to be appreciated. If you want blood, go see Saving Private Ryan. The photography is just so beautiful, just mindblowing: That wheat field and all the soldiers getting ready to assault. Please, let me just mention the biggest scene-stealer of the movie, a certain outstanding Brit you all know I love and respect. 15 minutes on screen and got the best speech of the movie. Bravo Major Stewart!
Missing Movies: Shame, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Drive.
Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist
Alexander Payne - The Descendants
Martin Scorsese - Hugo
Woody Allen - Midnight In Paris
Terrence Malick - The Tree of Life
Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius.
Missing Directors: Steven Spielberg (War Horse), Roman Polanski (Carnage)
Best Actor in A Leading Role
Damián Bichir - A Better Life
George Clooney - The Descendants
Jean Dujardin - The Artist
Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt - Moneyball
Prediction: Jean Dujardin
I can't comment of Damián Bichir's performance because I haven't seen his movie but I think I'm not the only one who got surprised by his nomination, considering other more powerful names where sounding.
George Clooney is just so great in The Descendants. Fragile, lovable, worried and with the biggest mission of trying to decipher his daughters. Personally, Clooney is my third winner's choice the winner but Dujardin has better options.
Jean Dujardin's performance is great. Brings back to old Hollywood Gold era and because with no dialogue connects with the audience.
Gary Oldman, the veteran of the list. He's my personal choice. I love Oldman since God was a child. Long overdue at the Oscars, this will be a wonderful time to award him. His performance as George Smiley is powerful, outstanding and elegant. A portrait of a spy pre-James Bond. If I was the one to choose, I'd nominee each one of the actors of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. You can't really tell who's better because all are stellar.
Brad Pitt is ok in Moneyball but as I said before, the movie didn't touched my heart.
Missing actors: Michael Fassbender (Shame), Ryan Gosling (Drive)
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
Prediction: Meryl Streep
Glenn Close tries her best in Albert Nobbs but she doesn't convince me. Starts strong but at the end, it's so weak. It's a pity because Close is such a magnificent actress.
Viola Davis is simply fantastic in The Help. Strong performance, friendly to the audience and to me, it's the other winner if Streep doesn't win.
I'm in the group who really liked Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. Strong, totally believable and cool, at times. Impossible not to point out the great chemistry with fantastic Daniel Craig. The loss of weight, accent, body piercing and compromising scenes in the movie are reason enough to appreciate her job. Not Oscar worthy but you gotta say it was a great job.
Meryl Streep or The Perfect Actress. We all love Streep at home. Give her a drama, a musical, a comedy and she's always superb. Her performance as Margaret Thatcher is impecable. The best rendition the politician could have. Academy is about time, you give the statuette after a decade of many nominations and no wins. Golden Globes, Baftas, Screen Actors Guild show her love, now it's your time. It'll be a standing ovation if that happens, guaranteed!
Michelle Williams is becoming a recurrent in these leads. Last year, she was nominated for her super job in Blue Valentine and this year, resurrects that blonde bombshell called Marilyn Monroe. I really enjoyed her performance but her competition is stronger.
Missing actresses: Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin), Jodie Foster & Kate Winslet (Carnage)
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
Prediction: Christopher Plummer
I would love Kenneth Branagh to win. He's just a fantastic actor, good at everything he does. He's the perfect encarnation of Sir Laurence Olivier in the movie and every interaction with Marilyn Monroe is just priceless. Moreover, he happens to be another actor he didn't not have Oscar love and I think it's about time.
I don't have to say much about Jonah Hill. His nomination surprised me because I think there are actors who deserved his spot more than him, but that's just me. Guess this nomination proves that he can also do drama after so much comedy in his career.
Nick Nolte or how to show how my past was in a movie. An ex-alcoholic boxing trainer tries to reconnect with his two boxer sons. There are tears, arguments, breakdowns. Nolte is a veteran for the Academy and he deserved to be nominated in his comeback.
A word to define Christopher Plummer in Beginners is sensational. You instantly fall in love with his character once you meet him. A gay man in his 70's who confesses his son, Ewan McGregor, his sexual orientation once he discovers he's dying of cancer.
And another veteran in this category is Max Von Sydow. When silences speak more than words.
Missing actors: Christoph Waltz (Carnage)
Best Actress in A Supporting Role
Bérénice Bejo - The Artist
Jessica Chastain - The Help
Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer - The Help
Prediction: Octavia Spencer
Bérénice Bejo is just adorable in The Artist. She's articulate with her body and as well as his partner, Dujardin, connects with the audience instantly. We all wanna be Peppy!
Jessica Chastain is one of the busiest actress in Hollywood, that's not a doubt! Playing the naive Celia, she's one of the scene-stealers of the movie. A vulnerable and humble woman trying her best to pursue the American dream.
Melissa McCarthy is the soul of Bridesmaids. Simply hilarious! Nice to see a comedy actress being nominated at the Oscars, where drama envolves it all.
Knockout performance of Janet McTeer but a bad year to be nominated.
There's nothing not to love of Octavia Spencer in The Help. Outstanding, witty, funny and a woman who fights for hers and her community. Never a pie full of shit had such an hilarious response.
Missing actresses: Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help), Carey Mulligan (Shame)
Let's see how many of my predix come true! My gut says it'll be a very French night! Oh, la la! Enjoy!