Six days of Oscar. Day five.

In this year’s Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories, there is some seriously stiff competition. My mind is pulling me in one direction and my heart is pulling me in the other. For Best Supporting Actor I feel that if Christian Bale doesn’t win it, then Geoffrey Rush will. This doesn’t mean that I want Christian Bale to win. Don’t get me wrong, Bale was phenomenal in The Fighter. He was the best I’ve ever seen him. However, Geoffrey Rush totally blew me away in The King’s Speech. A performance so wonderful that it’ll bring a tear to your eye. And maybe even another tear to your other eye.

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Geoffrey Rush in a role that I didn’t like him in. His role in The King’s Speech as Lionel Logue was all heart. He played a man who you want to be friends with. He was endearing, charismatic, kind, and loyal. To see him ascend the stairs and accept his Oscar on Sunday night would warm my heart. Here’s to you, Geoffrey. My pick for Best Supporting Actor and a man who I wish I could be friends with in real life.

The Best Supporting Actress category gets a little complex for me. I have a pretty good feeling that Melissa Leo will win. She is quite worthy. However, the young Hailee Steinfeld was outstanding in True Grit. The 14-year-old held her own on-screen with greats Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. Oh, and then we have Amy Adams. Adams talked for a while before The Fighter came out about wanting to shed her goody two-shoes persona and step into a darker role. She succeeded with flying colors. The only problem is that her role was a bit understated. She acted the hell out of it, but it was a less prominent role nonetheless.

This is where Melissa Leo comes in. In The Fighter, Leo plays a chain-smoking, potty-mouthed, overbearing mother. She’s pushy and outspoken and quite often a bit crazy. But she does all of those things so well. Her bad attitude paired with her bleach blonde hair make her the character we love to hate. To be honest, when the credits rolled and I saw that it was Melissa Leo in that role I was totally stunned. The transformation was a drastic one. But the Academy loves when attractive actresses turn into unattractive characters, don’t they? As much as I loved Hailee Steinfeld and Amy Adams, I believe this one goes to Melissa Leo.

Six days of Oscar. Day six.

With all of the tall, dark, and handsome men in Hollywood, it is kind of funny that the most sought after is just over a foot tall and gold. This year, our king and queen are quite predictable. For best actor, I have decided that Colin Firth is the obvious choice.

The brilliant and charming Mr. Firth gave a performance so deserving of Oscar gold in The King’s Speech that one is likely to hear “I’m just happy to be nominated” from the other four Best Actor nominees as they walk the red carpet. With a body of work that could make even the most accomplished actor stand up and take notice, it is Colin’s turn this year. I am not very fond of that notion. That it is someone’s “turn” to win an Oscar, but it just is in this case. I can’t wait to see him grace the stage this Sunday night. Good on you, old boy.

As far as our queen goes – our Swan Queen, that is – the winner of the Best Actress award is painfully obvious as well. Of course there have been upsets in the past and I love a good surprise on Oscar night, but Ms. Natalie Portman has a special place in my heart and I am truly excited for her.

This gorgeous gal with the most perfect eyebrows in all of Hollywood may look like she is glowing just as brightly as Oscar is on the big night. Don’t adjust your television, the stunning and talented actress is pregnant. In about a year’s time, she became engaged, learned she is pregnant with her first child, and got on the fast track to going home with that gorgeous golden man. This woman has been working since she was 13-years-old. I would liken her to the magnificent Audrey Hepburn in her grace, sophistication, and beauty. A woman who is destined to have what could be the best year of her life, cheers to Natalie Portman!

Ten big movies. One big night.

I set a goal for myself two months ago that I was going to see and review all ten of the Best Picture nominees before the Oscars air. I am proud to say that exactly one week before the big night, I have reached that goal.

Well, dear readers, which picture is destined to take home that coveted gold man, hm? Here’s a look at the ten nominees. Click on the text below the photos for my thoughts on each film, and click on Oscar at the bottom for a full list of my picks for the 83rd Academy Awards.

 

 

 

 

The King’s Speech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Swan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

127 Hours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inception

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kids Are All Right


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Social Network

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fighter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toy Story 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Grit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter’s Bone


 

127 Hours

Ladies and gentlemen, as it was so illustrated just moments before I began typing this, I am a sufferer of frequent nosebleeds. I can tell you how difficult it is to get dressed, brush teeth, write, clean, and do just about anything with the use of only one arm while the other supports the hand that is pinching the bleeding nose. The simplicity of this notion was put into rather harsh perspective when I saw 127 Hours.

The story of Aron Ralston is an emotional one and it is nearly impossible to fathom how he not only kept himself alive, but did so with only one hand. If the movie speaks the truth about the actual event, it was no painless feat. An experienced hiker ventures out into the great wide open with a skip in his step and a smile on his face.Read More »

Winter’s Bone

The feel good film of the year. An uplifting cinematic romp. Happy-go-lucky to boot! This is not that film. I was not expecting it to be when I sat down to watch it, either. However, director Debra Granik really worked the sad factor. The syuzhet of Winter’s Bone is a serious one and can not be taken lightly. This stands especially true for anyone who feels that this film hits close to home. See, this kind of thing actually happens in real life.

Ree, played by the new and fantastic Jennifer Lawrence, is a mother though she has no children of her own. Her own mother is essentially catatonic, her young siblings rely on her for everything, and her father… well, her father isn’t around.

See, Ree has herself a problem, I reckon. Seein’ as her pa done took off and her mama’s got the personality of a big ol’ rock, Ree’s fixin’ to find her pa so’s her family can keep their land. With the law sniffin’ around the property, the heat is on and things ain’t lookin’ too good.

Ahem… so Ree sets her sights on her father who, according to lots of folks, is dead. Unless she can prove to the police that he has, in fact, passed on then she is in a whole heap of trouble. More than what she’s got now. She must resort to doing things that no girl her age should have to do. It doesn’t help things much that her uncle, Teardrop (John Hawkes), carries around a sandwich baggy of cocaine and doesn’t seem like the most positive adult supervision. Unfortunately, he’s all she’s got.

On the bright side, she has a good friend, her siblings are remarkably well-behaved, and she has a neighbor that looks out for her.

Her search leaves her beaten to a pulp mentally and physically. One dead end after another forces her to beg her mother for help to no avail.

It is unspeakably rude to spoil the ending of a movie. I will simply tell you that in the end, 127 Hours isn’t the only best picture nominee this year that contains a limb being cut off.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

*Spoiler alert: This review contains many spoilers.*

Thierry Guetta, a French shop keeper, used to have one passion in life: filming anything and everything. He was never caught without a camera in hand and would keep rolling no matter what. This was an aimless passion, but a passion nonetheless. A husband and father, Guetta spent all of his time filming his family, himself, people on the street… whatever crossed his path was captured on film.

What seemed as though it would be a part of his life forever with no real purpose suddenly took direction. His cousin was working on his most recent project. He was making mosaic Space Invader pieces just to place them around the city for people to see and question. This is street art. thought-provoking works of art. Some were there just because and some were there for an obvious purpose.

Thierry loved this idea and followed his cousin, Space Invader, as he made his mark. Shortly thereafter, Guetta was introduced to street artist Shepard Fairey, the likable chap behind the Obama “hope” campaign. He and Fairey became fast friends as Guetta followed him and filmed him. He loved the danger, the adventure, and the adrenaline rush of possibly being caught. Thierry took his hand-held passion to new heights in daring feats to capture the genius of Fairey from new angles.

All the while, Thierry is introduced to more street artists like Swoon, Borf, Monsieur André, Sweet Toof, and many more. This trend became a huge part of his life. An obsession, if you will. With camera in hand, he followed the tight-knit world of street art closely. He had filmed the works of so many well-known street artist, but he hadn’t gotten them all. He needed Banksy. There was one tiny little hiccup… how would he find Banksy? The unidentified graffiti artist had no phone. The only people who knew him knew they knew him, but no one else did.

In an act of divine intervention, he finds Banksy. Guetta worked day and night to win the trust of Banksy, and amazingly enough, they became friends.

From the beginning, Guetta had said that he was making a street art documentary. He decided it was time to do just that. He took his cases of tapes and put together a documentary he called Barely Legal and took it to Banksy.

It was a mess, says Exit Through the Gift Shop director Banksy. He encouraged Guetta to leave him with the tapes and go back home. He told Thierry to work on his own street art and that’s just what he did. Guetta arrived him to his family who had already spent so much time without him only to lose him again to a new passion: street art.

Under the alias Mr. Brainwash, Guetta took to street art like a duck to water. He had watched for so long and now it was his turn.

In a wicked turn of events, Guetta was injured. Under the influence of painkillers, Guetta spent all of his time trying to create his first show. The man we saw in the beginning of the film was gone. The story changed drastically from beginning to end and what a story it was. It may be legit, but it may also be a farce. One thing is for sure… this film sheds light on a world that has previously eluded the watchful eye of a camera.

This documentary is my pick for Best Documentary (Feature) for this year’s Oscar awards. Intriguing, funny, and the first film I’ve ever seen about street art. It is an unusual story and incredibly winning with lots of character. Will we meet Banksy if it wins? I almost hope we don’t. His mystery is part of his allure. I suppose only time will tell.

My Oscar frustrations…

Readers, I have always loved the Academy Awards. The Oscar time of year is my bread and butter. It is the time when the best of the best in cinema is recognized and honored. In recent years, however, I find myself becoming frustrated with the changes the Academy has made to the show.

For reasons beyond my grasp of knowledge, the Oscars apparently haven’t been pulling in good ratings in the recent past. Who doesn’t watch the Oscars? For real…

One of the changes that I dislike the most is ten best picture nominees. I get it. This opens things up for more people to tune in because their favorite movie that doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell at winning on the big night is nominated. More viewers. Great.

But! This category is arguably the most prestigious. Opening it to movies that are simply sub par is almost criminal.

Second! I can not stress this enough, animated movies DO NOT belong in the best picture category. They have a category made special. Just for them! My 4-year-old self would fight me on this, but an animated feature will never win in this category. Ever. If this happens someday, I will eat my hat. And I will never watch the Oscars again.

Okay, that’s a lie.

Also, I’m not a fan of two hosts. Bob hope, Billy Crystal… the greats. They did just fine all by themselves. Is our talented young Hollywood unable to carry the show solo? I like James Franco and I like Anne Hathaway, but couldn’t one of them host?

Maybe I’m a party pooper, but I am a super fan and can not stand by silently while shenanigans soil the good name of the Oscars. Just sayin’.