January 2011

The Social Network

Movie: The Social Network
What it’s up for: Best picture, actor (leading), cinematography,  directing, film editing, music (score), sound mixing, writing (adapted screenplay)

A movie about Facebook. It’s like two of my most favorite things coming together. Too bad it really wasn’t about Facebook. Which I’m happy about.

This movie was beautiful visually. Cinematography was outstanding. Direction was fantastic. Editing was pretty good, although the beginning was a little awkward, I felt. Sound mixing was…questionable. There were a lot of times when it seemed like the wrong noises were overpowering the scenes. That might be more of an editing problem. I’m not entirely sure. I thought the writing was only ok. I thought the characters had some clever lines, but there was a lot of back and forth between different time periods that could’ve been smoothed over with better writing. And I KNOW it’s based on a true story and true stories can only end in a certain number of ways, but ending with “this person ended up here doing this” coming on the screen is a cop-out.

Acting. I thought they majority of the actors were great. (Although I didn’t understand the purpose of having Rashida Jones’ character.) Jesse Eisenberg was good, but if they’re going to nominate him, they should be nominating Andrew Garfield (Eduardo) for supporting actor. I think Jesse did a great job being a person who’s brain works differently than everyone else’s. His method acting was the best (his physical responses/movements/actions). But when he spoke I didn’t think he seemed that much different than other characters he’s played. Andrew Garfield, on the other hand, I LOVED. I hope to see him a lot more.

The movie as a whole, I liked. But I didn’t automatically get the metaphor or depth that the director claims he was going for. Even though there was some backstabbing and whatnot, I was inspired by and rooting for Mark Zuckerberg throughout the movie. It could just be that FB has brainwashed me…I like seeing underdogs do something great. But I feel like there was supposed to be something more to this movie than what there was. A lot of people said they shut down their FB pages after seeing this movie, but I don’t understand why. I thought it just further affirmed FB’s existence. I don’t know. I did like it. I felt like it had a relatable quality to it somehow. But it wasn’t best picture worthy, I think.

Predictions: (DISCLAIMER: As of 1/31, I still haven’t seen all the movies it’s up against)
Best picture: Really doubt it. Really really. I know it won the Golden Globe…but still.
Actor (leading): Reaaaaaaaaaaaallly doubt it.
Cinematography: Quite possible. It was super artistic.
Directing: Possibly…but I think it’s unlikely
Film editing: No. I’d be surprised.
Music (score): Definitely. It was really unique and worked perfectly to set the tone and narrate the movie.
Sound mixing: Please, Lord, no.
Adapted screenplay: Eh…possibly.


Toy Story 3

Movie: Toy Story 3
What it’s up for: Best picture, best animated feature film, music (song),  sound editing, writing (adapted screenplay)

If you have known me for more than 5 seconds, you know that I am an above average Disney fanatic. That being said, I’m almost as excited about TS3 being nominated for best picture this year as  I was for “Up” being nominated last year. However, I do realize that this is just because of the Academy’s attempt at increasing ratings by expanding the number of best picture noms to 10. I don’t really care. At least it’s up there.

For a sequel, this was far beyond any reasonable expectations. For an animated feature, it had the depth of a live-action movie. It had a well-developed plot and was written superbly. Honestly, I think it’s better than the first Toy Story. I cried. A lot.

I’m not surprised Randy Newman’s song got nominated. As for sound editing…I feel like I only notice sound editing when it’s bad. But I can see why sound editing was important in TS3, what with all the different toys and background noises and whatnot.

Best picture: Of course it’s not going to win best picture. The day an animated film wins best pictures is the day pigs fly (which I’m not happy about).
Animated feature: Yes. Yes, it will win. Duh.
Song: I doubt it…Randy Newman vs Alan Menken? That’s tough, but I think Tangled‘s song will win out.
Sound editing: Again, doubt it. I would be really surprised.
Adapted screenplay: It’s a miracle it’s even up for this category. But it’ll lose out to a live-action film.


Movie: Inception
What it’s up for: Best picture, art direction, cinematography, music (score),  sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects, writing (original screenplay)

I love Inception. I’ve seen it like 4 times since it came out. It’s one of those movies that gets better everytime you see it. And you learn more about it everytime you see it.

It’s obvious why it’s up for best picture. It’s probably in the top 5 for the BP category. It was a well-rounded movie that wasn’t obviously reliant on special effects (even though it was). Art direction was fantastic. Cinematography was as well. I love the intensity of the score. Sound editing and mixing were a must for this movie (being in the different levels of the dream state and whatnot) and they pulled it off well. The writing was well done too, although it didn’t seem like anything too special to me.

I think people were so distracted by the twisting plot and spectacular visual effects that they forgot about the acting. I thought everybody in the movie did a great job. I was especially impressed by Ellen Page and how she avoided being forever type-cast in Juno-esque roles by pulling off a great performance as an adult character. Leo did great too. He’s a great actor. And he didn’t look 12 in this movie, which is helpful. lol

Predictions: (DISCLAIMER: as of 1/31, I still haven’t seen all the movies it’s up against)
Best picture: doubt it
Art direction: Possible…but I honestly think Alice has all of them beat in this category.
Cinematography: DEFINITELY a strong contender
Music (score): I think it’ll lose out to The Social Network
Sound editing: Possibly
Sound mixing: Possibly
Visual effects: Probably
Writing (OS): Can’t say…not until I’ve seen the others

How to Train Your Dragon

Movie: How to Train Your Dragon
What it’s up for: Best animated feature film, music (score)

I saw this over Christmas and I LOVED it. But then again, I am a huge advocate for animated films in general. I thought it was funny without pandering. It stirred emotion while maintaining an entertaining quality. The animation was FANTASTIC, particularly with the dragons. I enjoyed the plot immensely, but I didn’t think the relationship between Hiccup and Astrid was developed very well. But I did like the fact that that relationship wasn’t a huge focus of the film anyway.

I wasn’t surprised that it’s up for AFF. There’s always a token Dreamworks movie in there with the Disney slash Disney/Pixar movies. I was surprised that it was up for best score. I vaguely remember the score being good…but it didn’t stand out to me as the greatest ever. There must not have been many good scores this year…

HOWEVER, I do always enjoy seeing any animated film nominated for any “real” category.

Predictions: There’s no way it’s winning either category. Not against Toy Story 3 for AFF or against Inception/The Social Network for score.

Alice in Wonderland

What better movie to start with than the one that inspired my blog title?

Movie: Alice in Wonderland
What it’s up for: Art direction, costume design, visual effects

I watched Disney’s Alice in Wonderland over this past summer, so it’s been awhile. I liked it, for the most part. I enjoy any re-interpretation of a classic. Especially when Tim Burton does it.

It’s no surprise that it’s up for 3 of the visual awards. The costumes were fantastic (in the very literal sense of the word – it is Tim Burton afterall). The visual effects didn’t blow my mind, but that could just be because I’m desensitized to computer animated effects. They were great and very creative. I do remember all the animals looking really realistic, which is always impressive. But nothing blew my mind. I wish I’d gotten to see it in 3D. Art direction was FANTASTIC. Everything went together smoothly and beautifully.

I thought the acting wasn’t terrible. Johnny Depp was great as the Mad Hatter. I really really liked his interpretation of the character. Helena Bonham Carter was typical – which is good, but not great. I do remember thinking that some of the secondary characters were a little odd. And I didn’t fully understand the casting of Anne Hatheway as the White Queen.

I enjoyed the back and forth plot twisting. I felt like I WAS Alice, trying to figure out if I was THE Alice or not.

Predictions: I haven’t seen all the other films it’s up against yet, but I feel like it’s probably a strong contender for art direction and costume design, but could easily lose out to Inception for visual effects.

2011 Nominations

Yes, I know the title’s corny. Whatever.

Hopefully, this will be the start of a yearly tradition. Once the Oscar noms are announced, I will attempt to watch all the feature-length, domestic films before Oscar night. (And the documentaries/short films if I have the opportunity.)

And so it begins!



Actor in a Leading Role

Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech”
James Franco in “127 Hours”

Actor in a Supporting Role

Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone”
Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”
Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech”

Actress in a Leading Role

Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone”
Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”

Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech”
Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

Animated Feature Film

“How to Train Your Dragon” Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
“The Illusionist” Sylvain Chomet
“Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich

Art Direction

“Alice in Wonderland” Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
“Inception” Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
“The King’s Speech” Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr
“True Grit” Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh


“Black Swan” Matthew Libatique
“Inception” Wally Pfister
“The King’s Speech” Danny Cohen
“The Social Network” Jeff Cronenweth
“True Grit” Roger Deakins

Costume Design

“Alice in Wonderland” Colleen Atwood
“I Am Love” Antonella Cannarozzi
“The King’s Speech” Jenny Beavan
“The Tempest” Sandy Powell
“True Grit” Mary Zophres


“Black Swan” Darren Aronofsky
“The Fighter” David O. Russell
“The King’s Speech” Tom Hooper
“The Social Network” David Fincher
“True Grit” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Film Editing

“Black Swan” Andrew Weisblum
“The Fighter” Pamela Martin
“The King’s Speech” Tariq Anwar
“127 Hours” Jon Harris
“The Social Network” Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter


“Barney’s Version” Adrien Morot
“The Way Back” Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
“The Wolfman” Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Music (Original Score)

“How to Train Your Dragon” John Powell
“Inception” Hans Zimmer
“The King’s Speech” Alexandre Desplat
“127 Hours” A.R. Rahman
“The Social Network” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Music (Original Song)

“Coming Home” from “Country Strong” Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
“I See the Light” from “Tangled” Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
“If I Rise” from “127 Hours” Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3″ Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Best Picture

“Black Swan” Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
“The Fighter” David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
“Inception” Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
“The Kids Are All Right” Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
“The King’s Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
“127 Hours” Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
“The Social Network” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
“Toy Story 3” Darla K. Anderson, Producer
“True Grit” Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
“Winter’s Bone” Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Sound Editing

“Inception” Richard King
“Toy Story 3” Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
“Tron: Legacy” Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
“True Grit” Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
“Unstoppable” Mark P. Stoeckinger

Sound Mixing

“Inception” Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
“The King’s Speech” Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
“Salt” Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
“The Social Network” Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
“True Grit” Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

Visual Effects

“Alice in Wonderland” Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
“Hereafter” Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky and Joe Farrell
“Inception” Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
“Iron Man 2” Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“127 Hours” Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
“The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
“Toy Story 3” Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
“True Grit” Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“Winter’s Bone” Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

Writing (Original Screenplay)

“Another Year” Written by Mike Leigh
“The Fighter” Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson;Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
“Inception” Written by Christopher Nolan
“The Kids Are All Right” Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
“The King’s Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler

(and the ones I’m not going to kill myself trying to find)
Documentary (Feature)

“Exit through the Gift Shop” Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz
“Gasland” Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
“Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
“Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
“Waste Land” Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Documentary (Short Subject)

“Killing in the Name” Nominees to be determined
“Poster Girl” Nominees to be determined
“Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
“Sun Come Up” Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
“The Warriors of Qiugang” Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

Foreign Language Film

“Biutiful” Mexico
“Dogtooth” Greece
“In a Better World” Denmark
“Incendies” Canada
“Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)” Algeria

Short Film (Animated)

“Day & Night” Teddy Newton
“The Gruffalo” Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
“Let’s Pollute” Geefwee Boedoe
“The Lost Thing” Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
“Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)” Bastien Dubois

Short Film (Live Action)

“The Confession” Tanel Toom
“The Crush” Michael Creagh
“God of Love” Luke Matheny
“Na Wewe” Ivan Goldschmidt
“Wish 143” Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

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