And the Winner Is… (2015)

wes anderson tweet

Yes, I stayed up for the Oscars (and am regretting the decision after five hours of sleep). There were some high points, like Graham Moore’s acceptance speech, and low points. I’m sure Neil Patrick Harris just had an off-night; happens to everyone. Winner: (my pick)

Best Picture: Birdman (Birdman)

Best Director: Birdman (Boyhood)

Best Actor – Leading: Eddie Redmayne: The Theory of Everything (Michael Keaton: Birdman)

Best Actress – Leading: Julianne Moore: Still Alice (Felicity Jones: The Theory of Everything)

Best Actor – Supporting: J.K. Simmons: Whiplash (Ethan Hawke: Boyhood)

Best Actress – Supporting: Patricia Arquette: Boyhood (Kiera Knightly: The Imitation Game)

Best Foreign Language Film: Ida (Ida)

Best Animated Feature Film: Big Hero 6 (Song of the Sea/HTTYD2)

Best Documentary Feature: CitizenFour (Finding Vivian Maier)

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki: Birdman (Robert Yeoma: The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Best Costume Design: Milena Canonero: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Colleen Atwood: Into the Woods)

Best Film Editing: Tom Cross: Whiplash (Sandra Adair: Boyhood)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier: The Grand Budapest Hotel (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Best Music – Original Score: Alexandre Desplat: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Hans Zimmer: Interstellar)

Best Music – Original Song: “Glory” from Selma (“Everything is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie)

Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Best Sound Editing: American Sniper (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies)

Best Sound Mixing: Whiplash (American Sniper)

Best Visual Effects: Interstellar (Interstellar)

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game (Inherent Vice)

Best Writing – Original Screenplay: Birdman (Foxcatcher)

Best Documentary Short Subject: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (The Reaper (La Parka))

Best Animated Short: Feast (Feast or The Dam Keeper)

Best Live Action Short: The Phone Call (Aya)

Final tally: 6/24

I’m astonished how much I missed. I forgot to look before the ceremony and I thought I had made more correct picks. Maybe I’ll wait a bit after the nominees are announced before I make my picks. There’s always next year.

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My 2015 Oscar Picks

The nominees are out and I’m ready to pick again. Last year’s accuracy rate was 58%; not bad for my first time. Again, I haven’t been out to see all of the films (you’d think a guy who saw over 430 films in one year would have time for the theater) so I’m going to just make my picks. I did catch up on the nominees and winners from last year and will probably do so again after the ceremony.

Best Picture: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). It’d be cool if The Grand Budapest Hotel got it since it’s time Wes Anderson got a Best Picture win.

Best Actor: Michael Keaton (Birdman)

Best Actress: Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)

Best Supporting Actor: Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Kiera Knightley (The Imitation Game)

Best Animated Film: Song of the Sea. I’m surprised The LEGO Movie got shortlisted for this category. I haven’t seen this one but if it’s anything like it’s predecessor, The Secret of Kells, then it’s a treat and deserves to win. My mainstream pick would be How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Best Cinematography: The Grand Budapest Hotel. I don’t think I have to say any more than that.

Best Costume Design: Into the Woods.

Best Directing: Boyhood.

Best Documentary (Feature): Finding Vivian Maier.

Best Documentary (Short Subject): The Reaper (La Parka)

Best Film Editing: Boyhood

Best Foreign Language Film: Ida

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Music (Original Score): Interstellar

Best Music (Original Song): “Everything is Awesome” (The LEGO Movie)

Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Short Film (Animated): Feast or The Dam Keeper

Best Short Film (Live Action): Aya

Best Sound Editing: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Best Sound Mixing: American Sniper

Best Visual Effects: Interstellar

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Inherent Vice

Best Writing (Original Screenplay): Foxcatcher

I’m hoping to at least match my rate or improve this year. But enough about me, what about your picks?

My Picks for the 2014 “1001 MYMSBYD” Book

It’s that time of year again, where there are only a few months left before the release of the new edition of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Just going through what has been included in previous editions, some will obviously make it, others won’t. Then there are the “Are you serious?!?”, the “It’s about time!”, and “Never heard of it,” all with various reactions. Here are my picks for what will be in the new edition.

The Obvious

  • 12 Years A Slave. Because Best Picture winners usually get you a free pass for inclusion. Whether or not they deserved the win is still up for debate as I’ve found with previous winners.
  • Gravity. Odds are it will be the front cover.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s Scorcese and it has the whole profanity record thing going for it.
  • Dallas Buyers Club. Mainly for the story and makeup.
  • Her. Technology and romance, plus Best Original Screenplay.

The Long Deserving

  • Safety Last! Harold Lloyd has yet to appear on the list. It’s about time this film is included.
  • The Kid. Yes, it’s another Charlie Chaplin film but it wouldn’t hurt to include it.
  • Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood. Before Errol Flynn, we had this silent. When you have a line like “I’ll knop your scop!”, how can you go wrong?
  • Applause. I’ve seen several film and sound essays and texts cite this as one of the early films with some sound innovation. While the plot is thin, it’s more about the technology used to capture the sound within the space. I’m surprised it hasn’t been featured.
  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The most famous film I know of with a LOT of cameos. Plus, you have the Saul Bass title sequence.

The Curious Ones

  • The Qatsi Trilogy. While Koyaanisqatsi is already included, I feel like it will be expanded to include Powaaqatsi and Naqoyqatsi. After all, the last edition included Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 so I feel like it will happen here.
  • Decasia. From what I’ve read, it’s like an anti-Koyaanisqatsi as the film degrades with an atonal soundtrack. It was recently included for the National Film Registry. I’ve had my eyes on it since then but haven’t had the chance to see it in the original form.
  • This is Cinerama. One of the films that started the large screen trend in the 1950’s.
  • Room 237. I don’t think it should be on the list but since it’s about a Kubrick film and it sparked renewed interest in the film, I suppose that’s why it will be on there.

If I Had My Way (the ones that may never make it but should)

  • The Wizard of Speed and Time.Yes, it’s obscure but it’s about moviemaking, a motif that shows up from time to time on the list. It’s by no means the greatest but it’s a comedy for film people.
  • Pink Floyd – The Wall. Because personal bias.
  • Ed Wood. It’s one of Tim Burton’s better films.
  • Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One. When you have a documentary about a documentary about a film, one wonders why this underground film isn’t on the list.

Shine On: Episode 4: Staircases to Nowhere Documentary

Billed as an officially endorsed documentary (as opposed to Room 237), we get interviews from actual crew members who worked on The Shining.

The use of any secondary footage from the movie or anything else is surprisingly minimal. Once in a while there is something but the best footage comes toward the end as one person discusses the lost ending; a few set pictures are included, giving a glimpse into what had been. At the same time, we are given the story behind the ending’s change.

The documentary’s title does not refer to the mysterious staircases in the film, but rather those outside the studio. I thought the former would be discussed when I watched it. Nope.

If you’re looking for something more grounded in reality related to the film, it’s worth a watch.

And the Winner Is…(2014)

I didn’t watch the Oscars. I planned to stream it but somehow it wasn’t available in my location. I ended up hitting the refresh button on IMDB every few minutes just to see who won (up to maybe 350 times over the ceremony if you want a conservative guess). I didn’t expect to do too well for my first year of actually picking the winners but I don’t think I did too badly at . This is in the order as given by IMDB as updated by Category: Winner (my pick).

Best Actor – Supporting: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club (Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips)

Best Costume Design: The Great Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)

Best Makeup: Dallas Buyers Club (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Short Film – Animated: Mr. Hublot (Feral/Get a Horse!)

Best Animated Film: Frozen (The Wind Rises/Frozen)

Best Visual Effects: Gravity (Gravity)

Best Short – Live-Action: Helium (Helium)

Best Documentary – Short Subject: The Lady in Number 6 (Facing Fear)

Best Documentary – Feature: Twenty Feet From Stardom (The Square)

Best Foreign Film: The Great Beauty (The Hunt)

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity (Gravity)

Best Sound Editing: Gravity (Gravity)

Best Actress – Supporting: Lupita Nyongo’o, 12 Years a Slave (Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave)

Best Cinematography: Gravity (Gravity)

Best Editing: Gravity (Gravity)

Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby (12 Years a Slave)

Best Music – Original Score: Gravity (Saving Mr. Banks)

Best Music – Original Song: Let it Go, Frozen (Let it Go, Frozen)

Best Screenplay – Adapted: 12 Years a Slave (12 Years a Slave)

Best Screenplay – Original: Her (Her)

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity (Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave)

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (Sandra Bullock, Gravity)

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club (Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street)

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave (12 Years a Slave)

Final tally: 14/24

Can’t wait to try it next year. Maybe this time I’ll see more of the nominees.