Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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The Gold Rush: An Oscar Discussion - Part I

My friend The March King and I have been going to the movies together since middle school. We were together in 2005, when we actually made an effort to see everything nominated (I failed miserably, he succeeded, but also miserably). He's one of the few people I know that can see five movies in a row, which I think is crazy. The two of us worked hard to see the nominees this year, so there are gaps. When we figured we were prepared enough, we sat down and had a chat.

We began with the usual greetings friends share, before going through the films we were finally caught up on. Unfortunately, we had to start with...

The March King (MK): ...The Wolfman, which sucked.

Silver Screener (SS): Oh, God, The Wolfman is terrible.

Of course, this was what I saw of it...
MK: (laughs) Yeah, if I could go back and unwatch it, I would. The makeup wasn't even good enough for a least not to me, but I could be confusing it with CG.

SS: I'm fine with the makeup nom, but I would have chosen several others. The mix of practical and CG made it difficult to discern what was doing what.

More awards talk, less The Wolfman talk, after the jump!

MK: Agreed. The other makeup noms were Barney's Version and The Way Back.

SS: Neither of which I saw, but which deal with (1) aging and (2) dehydration and sores.

MK: I missed Barney's Version but caught The Way Back. It seems the nominees here are pretty...boring. Technical categories are a little less than stellar this year. I think Blue Valentine shoulda got a makeup nomination...that's just a missed opportunity. And no love for Black Swan? That ballet makeup was beautiful!

SS: Black Swan, yes. Blue Valentine, ehhh.

MK: Really? Receding hairlines and all? The simplicity of slowly aging?

SS: That wasn't makeup, that was Ryan Gosling with a razor.

MK: (laughs) Maybe, I dunno.

SS: No, definitely. I met the director. Gosling shaved his hairline.

MK: Oh...okay. Well then, nice fun fact.

"Na, na, na-na-na hey hey/Carry me away!"

SS: But Black Swan definitely should have made it in. The stage makeup, the Bird Demon, the scratches.

MK: Yeah, all beautiful. Black Swan should be up for everything.

SS: Oh my god, yes! And Scott Pilgrim, if just for the stage makeup and the wigs.

MK: (laughs) Scott Pilgrim. The academy's biggest miss in years.

SS: VFX? Hello? Story-driven and expertly executed!

MK: Yeah, it should have at least made technical categories...over Alice in Wonderland???

SS: Scott Pilgrim's visuals were all of a piece. Alice's were all over the place. Visually ugly with appalling pacing. I hate that movie.

MK: Highly agreed...and I'm sorry, but I don't think the visual effects of Iron Man 2 warrant a nod, either. They pretty much underwhelmed me.

SS: That I'm more okay with. I think that just surprised me because, Rockwell and Rourke aside, that was a forgettable movie.

I feel like I'm forgetting something....

SS: I liked it in the theater, but...

MK: Yeah, it felt closer to a miss than a win.

SS: I don't think it was closer one way or the other. And that was the problem.

MK: Sadly.

SS: I'd watch it again, but I wouldn't buy it. Like Robin Hood, or Animal Kingdom.

MK: I'd buy Animal Kingdom...but definitely not Robin Hood.

SS: Well, the score is just out of this world.

MK: Eh, I forget Robin Hood. But Animal Kingdom really surprised me. I wish it was up for more. I think the writing was surprisingly interesting and calculated, and the pacing just really worked for me. Good movie.

SS: The first scene was fantastic, and I liked Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton and Sullivan Stapleton, but overall, I thought it was very okay.

MK: I dunno, by the time it got to the end and that big thing happened in the bedroom...I was just like, "what is this movie?!" (laughs)

SS: See, I thought it wasn't predictable, but not surprising, either. Even the whole Monster Mother thing, I thought, "Ehhh." I don't think it's any different from most other films in the genre.

MK: But the movie itself was so different from the genre, just in terms of pacing I thought. We weren't suddenly in the middle of a heist when they should have been in hiding...they were actually in hiding.

SS: Right, I thought that was an interesting point to pick up the story, but overall...

MK: And I'm cool with Jacki Weaver's nom but I was a little wowed by James Frecheville's performance.

SS: Frecheville was okay. He and Ben Mendelsohn irritated me because I felt like it was a contest to see who could express the least.


MK: I thought he managed to emote a great deal without any force, but then again I could have just been reading into the movie more than I should have.

SS: And that's the thing about performances like Frecheville's. The audience can project whatever they want onto it. I think the same thing about Holly Hunter in The Piano. I admire it, I think it's well-done, but it's not my cuppa.

MK: Well it's up for one award, so let's move on.

SS: You also saw I Am Love?

MK: I "saw" I Am Love. I mostly ignored I Am Love. Sadly, it didn't draw me in.

SS: Complete opposites.

MK: (laughing) Hilarious. I Am Love is nominated for costume design. Other noms being Alice in Wonderland, The King's Speech, The Tempest (which sucked), and True Grit.

SS: Again, the absence of Black Swan is the puzzler (as is The Runaways).

MK: Yeah. Why all the Black Swan hating...? Aside from being nominated for five great awards: Best Actress, Best Picture, Cinematography, Editing and Directing. 

Yeah, Black Swan is really suffering

SS: I'd say, of the nominees, it deserves all of those.

MK: Agreed. But it will probably only win one or two. Favorite film of the year by far for me. And I like a lot of the noms this year, so that's saying something.

SS: Yeah, of the ten Best Pic nominees, nine of them were in my year-end 25.

MK: I do very much like the Best Picture nominees. Though Scott Pilgrim was snubbed.

SS: And even though I want Black Swan to win and hope The Social Network gets it, I would still applaud loudly if The King's Speech won.

MK: I would love for The King's Speech to win. That movie was kind of perfect.

SS: Absolutely. If Geoffrey Rush wins, I would fist pump so hard.

MK: If Colin Firth wins I will jump up and the coyote sense. Not out of pain.

SS: Oh, he will win.

MK: Colin Firth continues to surprise and amaze.

SS: He's better now than he ever was. Starting with Then She Found Me, he's been giving one four-star performance after another. I constantly switch back and forth between Firth and Eisenberg.

MK: I guess for me he's winning for all those films that wowed me over the years; A Single Man and Easy Virtue, specifically.

Darling, we wuz robbed!

SS: Oh my God those two performance are incredible! He should have won last year. Though I'm sure if that had happened, Bridges would win this year, and I'm not down with that.

MK: I still need to see Crazy Heart, which is sitting on my DVR, collecting dust. But yeah, Firth as George beats Bridges as Rooster, though I am fond of Bridges...if only for the Dude, but definitely for much more than that. Franco was amazing as well.

SS: Bridges is amazing, but there are times (True Grit, The Contender) where I feel he's getting the praise because he's Jeff bridges.

MK: I love The Contender, but I see what you mean.

SS: That should have been Gary Oldman. Who I hope knocks it out of the park with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

MK: Me too! Most anticipated film of 2011!

SS: Oldman. Hardy. FIRTH. It's another The Constant Gardener.

MK: Another missed opportunity for the academy. Favorite of, what was that, 2005? I hope it's as good as that.

SS: And the one thing it won was meh.

MK: Yes, but I still love her.

SS: Weisz as Best Supporting Actress? She's a lead! Like Hailee Steinfeld!

MK: That's true I guess...though it makes more sense than Hailee since The Constant Gardener was basically a Ralph movie through and through.

SS: I see that. More sense than Hailee. Who stars in a movie that's about her and her journey, who begins and ends the movie.

MK: Exactly. But the awards are political and there's no amount of complaining at this time that'll get them to fix these simple Casey Affleck.

SS: They knew for Winslet in The Reader, though I guess since there was literally no other star in the movie, that was more obvious.

MK: And it's Kate Winslet. They'll eat off her corney foot if she asked them to...not saying she has corns, but if she did...

SS: God, that...that is vile.

MK: (laughs) Sorry. Went a little overboard.

When it comes to Kate, who doesn't?

SS: Anyway, Steinfeld is just below Weaver for me.

MK: I suppose, but I want Amy. I always want Amy. And hwne she's filling a movie with so many nasty curse words, it just makes me want her more. It's a really good category. Helena could even take it and Melissa Leo has a shot, too. Though I think they nominated two just to show love for The Fighter and not so much for individual performances.

SS: But those are two grand individual performances. Three, actually, and I wish they'd nominated Wahlberg.

MK: I'm okay without a Wahlberg nom. Mark needs to learn more, I think.


SS: Mayhaps, but if ever there was a beautiful marriage of role and actor...

MK: Mark did a good job, yes. Was he favorite of the year? Hells no. 

I'm the one getting snubbed here, not you, not you, and not you!

MK: Supporting Actor is a pretty interesting category as well.

SS: Finally, a perfect field of great supporting performances.

MK: Yup, though I basically hated The Town.

SS: Awww, The Town's okay...and just okay. Pretty solid, better than Gone Baby Gone, watchable, enjoyable, terrible ending.

MK: Ugh. Christian, Geoffrey or John for me.

SS: Is that Hawkes nom the best thing this year?

Guess this is gonna be our time!

MK: He was brilliant, and that's such a lovely surprise...maybe the only surprise of the season. But he's in a very tough category and I think it'll probably just be a career boost more than anything. "'Twas just an honor to be nominated."

SS: Oh yeah, he's not getting it, but it's nice to get such a vote of confidence from his peers.

MK: For sure. I want Natalie for lead, but that's a scary list as well: full of talent.

SS: I kind of think Bening's going to win.

MK: Eh, she was great, but I hope not honestly. How did the acting categories get so crammed with awesome this year??

SS: I don't know. This year started out so BLAHHH but then Oscar noms came and they're...they're perfect.

MK: And it's cause we only had this many good movies and they all came for the season and it's awkward that we had to sit through so much trash before that. But I guess they had an idea of what they were doing for one out of four seasons in 2010...if only for one...because Summer was awful.

SS: Well, Inception.

MK: Just Inception. Name another.

SS: Toy Story 3.

BOTH: How to Train Your Dragon.


MK: Name another.


Will we be able to name another? Will we ever discuss the other categories? What do you think about Animal Kingdom, Colin Firth, and the supporting categories? Part Two tomorrow on MK's blog, Who Is The March King?

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