The ONLY Oscar Blogger, who lives in walking distance to the Kodak Theater!

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: A Retrospect

Where have you gone 2010? This is the fourth year I've written a retrospect on the year and it has become a tradition to write that sentence. Why? It is amazing to think that another year is over. I swear time goes faster and faster as you get older. Anyway, looking back on a year right when it is about to end gives me a unique perspective. I enjoy doing it and honestly, for the most part I've enjoyed this year.

I was re-reading my previous three retrospectives and they were filled with a lot of anger and regret. I feel different about 2010. There has definitely been some frustrations and disappointments, but let's be realistic. That is bound to happen every year. It's almost unavoidable. No one lives in complete harmony for an entire year. There's always going to be bumps in the road. It's a question of whether you can get back up and keep going. I would like to think I did that in 2010 more than any previous year since probably 2004.

I made a bold decision in the last few months that I would drop my PPS credential in my master's program. Really it's a career altering decision. Some people probably think I'm stupid to do it. I know my advisor at LMU tried to convince me it was a mistake. I did it for the same reason I quit Industry Entertainment two years ago. I don't want to live in a life that I don't think is right for me. Why not just cut out the bullshit and focus on your passion in life? That is one thing I realized this past year. Every person on this planet needs to ask themselves one question, "What are you passionate about?" Whatever that answer is should be what you spend as much time as possible trying to do. Life is too damn short to waste it doing something you don't care about.

I'll get back to grad school later, but this quest to find my passion really started to make a lot more sense this year. It really started in March when I started helping out Venice Arts. It was a chance meeting at a LMU nonprofit job fair. Maybe a meeting of fate, but my vision started to become more clear. I'm not sure what my future holds with that nonprofit in 2011, but in 2010 it was a fun ride. I mentored for three different semesters. Each one was unique in its own way. The most impressive part of mentoring is not being able to teach kids how to make films, but rather the relationships that you develop with them and how they teach you to appreciate the little things in life. Nothing beats watching their completed films. They are creative and more talented than you think. They have inspired me to start seriously thinking about making another film in the near future.

Event 17 was also a big deal for me. A great opportunity that I really did not expect. Being asked to do so much after only being a volunteer with an organization for a little over six months was incredible. It was a great challenge for myself, but one that I welcomed. That coupled with my nonprofit development certificate program I took at the LMU Extension showed me that maybe this is the right path for me. I may not make a lot of money, but I have potential to make an impact. At the end of the day, I think that is really exciting and much more fulfilling.

I saw Paul McCartney for a fifth time in March at the Hollywood Bowl. I literally can't believe I have been so fortunate to see him that many times. Many years from now, I will truly cherish these McCartney concerts even more. This past year I have actually seen a few concerts that were awesome. Roger Waters' The Wall tour was unlike any show I have ever seen. The production value was unbelievable. It was also the first concert I even smoked a joint at, so for that reason alone it holds a special place in my heart. I saw Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band, which was very emotional and I actually enjoyed the show. To see her bring back a concept that her and John Lennon came up over 40 years ago was unreal. I don't always agree with everything Yoko does, but I do respect the hell out of her for being such a strong woman throughout her life. Also saw Sean Lennon and his new project, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, a few weeks before Yoko and managed to sit in the front row. Then, saw an incredible tribute show to John Lennon by my favorite Beatles' tribute band, The Fab Four. It was definitely a memorable year for concerts.

It was also a big year for Yoko's other half, John Lennon. Yes, he has been gone for 30 years, but this year would have been his 70th birthday. It was really a special year for Beatle and John fans. On his birthday, I helped organize the Hollywood celebration and it was a lot of fun. The chalk art event went over really well. It was a very positive event and everyone there seemed to have a great time. We tried to keep that positive theme in December as well. While remembering his death is never easy, I thought that event also went over well.

It's funny when three out of four Boston sports team make the playoffs that it would be considered a down year. It was. Every team failed to live up to their full potential. The Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead and 3-0 game 7 lead in the second round of the playoffs. The Celtics lost in the NBA finals in 7 games against the Lakers after blowing a 3-2 series lead and 3rd quarter lead in game 7. That one was tough to swallow living in LA. The Patriots lost in the divisional round of the playoffs in a blowout. The Red Sox were the only team not to make the playoffs after having an injury plagued season. The good news is every Boston team looks ready to go in 2011. The Bruins look like a playoff team again. The Celtics should be a favorite for the NBA title again. The Patriots are heading to the playoffs again as the top seed in the AFC. The Red Sox signed two big free agents, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, which should make an exciting upcoming season. Optimism is around and it continues to be an exciting time to be a Boston sports fan.

I even showed off some of my athletic skills by playing softball. Not only did I play, but I also managed the Future Secret Presidents. Both the summer and fall seasons were full of struggles and tough losses, but it did contain some highs. Particularly, the last game we played this year. We rallied from six runs down to win the game in the bottom of the 7th. I even scored the winning run after drawing a walk with 2 outs. For a guy that is not much of an athlete, it was a moment I don't think I'll forget anytime soon. Getting mobbed by your teammates at home plate is simply unforgettable.

It could be argued that my days as an Oscar blogger have come and gone, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the Oscars anymore. I don't host many parties throughout the year, but my Oscar party in March was surprisingly a lot of fun and exceeded expectations. It was so much fun that I'm trying to figure out ways to top it in next year.

In my personal life, I had an interesting year. Some parts will be excluded here, but I did date a girl for a short time who admired Sarah Palin and the tea party movement. That was a mistake, but it happens. I can only laugh about it now. Besides the Palin girl, I can't really complain. There's been highs and lows, but compared to recent years it has been one of the better years.

I tried salvia (it's legal) earlier this year. I only bring it up since it really was a mind altering experience. If used under the right circumstances, I think Timothy Leary was right. Psychedelics can have a positive influence on your life. It changed my perspective on life. I still remember the feeling coming back to reality and being simply blown away at what happened. It was a total different experience than smoking weed. It was also one of the main reasons why I became an atheist this past year. I was never much of a religious person, but I decided enough was enough. Believing in the existence of God is a waste of time. He didn't create the universe. He doesn't control our destinies. It's perfectly fine if you believe in God, but it's not for me.

That leads to why I dropped the credential in my master's program. I don't regret going back to school, but I don't want to waste time doing something I can't see myself doing. Why extend my program longer and spend more money in school? Doesn't make too much sense. I have met some incredible people at LMU. Many who I consider my friends. My educational philosophy is just different from many of my classmates. I don't take my academics as serious as my peers. I try to stress the big picture rather than worry about the small details. This resulted in me at times not giving 100 percent, yet I still have managed to maintain a 3.97 GPA. I have no idea how I have done this, but I find it funny. I also have no idea how for one of my group projects, we used an article from The Onion and my professor never found it. Sometimes you got to love LMU professors.

I wrote in my graduate school journal a couple weeks ago that I planted a lot of "seeds" in this past year in all these different areas of my life from academics to career to even my love life. I'm ready for all these seeds to come out of the ground in 2011. Part of me has no idea what is going to come out of the ground, but that's what is exciting. I'm ready for grad school to end. I'm ready to start getting even more involved in the nonprofit world. I'm ready to get my creative juices flowing again. I'm ready to start the next chapter in my life. As John Lennon said shortly before his death, “I am going into an unknown future, but I’m still all here, and still while there’s life, there’s hope.”

A couple conversations that stuck in my head I've had this past year make me feel ready. A family friend described life being like a pinball machine. Life can take you in all these different directions and you have to be ready because you never know where the ball is going to go. The other is my nonprofit leadership professor giving each person in my class an imperfect map. Why? No one's journey is perfect and we all get to our destination a different way. The goal is overcoming the obstacles and getting there.

I'm going to end this with a line from Risky Business (1983) that is going to be my motto for 2011. "Sometimes you gotta say, what the fuck. Make your move... Every now and then say, what the fuck. What the fuck gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future."

What the fuck.

"If you can't say it. You can't do it."

Happy New Year,

Mikey Filmmaker


Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

Now, on a more serious note, there is this Christmas song. Much different feel than Paul's Christmas song. I love this song as it is able to combine both a Christmas spirit as well as a political message. No one has been able to do it better. John Lennon was so damn good at that. He always knew how to get his message across.

There's actually an updated video of this song with clips from around the world of people being affected by war. It's on YouTube, but the embedding is turned off. Not sure why, but check that version out as I'm sure you'll be shocked after you watch it.

This is my last post until after Christmas. Hope everyone gets what they want for Christmas. More importantly, I hope it's a day filled with peace and love.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lennon and Me: 30 Years Later

I don't think I've ever told anyone this, but my first memory of The Beatles is telling some family friends I didn't think they were any good. I thought The Monkees were better. I was probably somewhere between 7-9 years old. In my defense, my Mom was a Monkees fan. I don't know why I remember this. Yet, somehow that exchange was stored in my long term memory. I can't help, but smile and laugh at that. Who would have known that a little over 15 years later I am paying tribute to a man that is considered my idol. And he was a Beatle!

While I remember The Monkees' story. I also remember simply sitting in my basement as early as 12 years old listening to Beatles' records especially the Red Album and the Blue Album. Sitting down there for hours being mesmerized by their music and having a horrible habit of not being able to sit through an entire side of a record. I would always skip a song or simply want to re-listen to "I Want to Hold Your Hand" or "Strawberry Fields Forever". I used to drive my Dad crazy, who was more of The Beates fan out of my parents. Still, he let me put on their records on my own terms. He never forced or rammed The Beatles down my throat. In retrospect, I respect him for doing that. I actually attribute that for making me The Beatles fan I am today.

I would be lying if I said I haven't been thinking of what I would write about John Lennon. He has been gone for 30 years. I was not even alive the same time as him. Yet, he is such an important part of my life. Everyone from my family to friends often ask me why I love The Beatles such much. What makes John Lennon so special to me? I don't really have an easy answer to that question. I don't think I will ever have an easy answer to that question.

I have often said that John Lennon lived one of the most fascinating lives of the 20th century. He lived only 40 years, but his life was full of so much happiness, sadness, excitement, disappointment, success, and even failure. Every year of his life was full of ups and downs. Even his life before he was famous is worthy of a film. Oh wait a second, Nowhere Boy just was released a couple months ago. Seriously though, there was so much pain and loss that he had to overcome. It is really an admirable part of his life that some people forget. His Father abandoned him when he was 5. His Mother was killed by an off duty drunken police officer when he was 17. His Uncle George died when he was 14 years old. Even his best friend Stuart Sutcliffe died at the age of 21 of a brain hemorrhage in 1962. The only constant in his upbringing was his Aunt Mimi. He dealt with all this loss and change and somehow managed to turn it into something.

His first creative outlet was art, but it was music that really gave him a voice. After meeting Paul McCartney in 1957, the two of them formed the most successful partnership in the history of rock 'n' roll. Then, George Harrison came along. Then, of course Ringo Starr joined them in 1962. The rest was history. I don't need to write about what happened, but by 1970 it was over. Although, The Beatles were over. John Lennon still had plenty to say. His 10 years after The Beatles is just as fascinating as his time with the band. He became one of the leading peace activists in the world. He also still recorded some damn good music. Ever listen to Plastic Ono Band? I've never listened to a more honest and emotional album.

His death was one of those "where were you moments" of the 20th century. Many people (including my Dad) were watching Monday Night Football and listened in total shock to Howard Cosell's announcement. Total shock is probably the best way to describe it. 30 years later there is still total shock. Why did someone do such a unnecessary act? I am not going to name John's killer in this piece for obvious reasons. He does not deserve my recognition. His name is already all over the net, so google it if you must. Discussing his motivation or actions is not what today is all about.

Today is about thanking a man who touched my life. I am 25 years old. I missed him by five years. I feel like John has taught me a lot about myself through the years. He made me more self aware of myself and my actions. He showed me a lot through his 40 years. You don't have to be a model student in school to succeed in life. You don't have to be a perfect husband or father. You have to have a sense of humor. You have to be passionate about what you believe in whether it is peace, love, positive thinking, etc. And maybe most importantly to me, you can leave the industry you love and return years later with a renewed faith and interest. Sometimes you need to just step away. As John said shortly before his death, "I am going into an unknown future, but I'm still all here, and still while there's life, there's hope."

At the end of the day, we are human. Humans are not perfect. They are flawed. As John proved, you may experiment with drugs. You may abuse alcohol. You may have affairs. You may say things people might not like even if they take it out of context ("The Beatles are more popular than Jesus."). You may even get yourself almost kicked out of the country after being considered a threat by the President of the United States. You just have to be able to rise above it all to inspire and live a fulfilling life. That's what John Lennon did for me. That's why I love him.

He was really just a regular guy, who was so aware of his talent and had a vision. One that he made global and universal. One that still resonates to us today. "All You Need is Love". "Give Peace a Chance". "Imagine". Pure genius. That is why 30 years later we continue to talk about John Lennon. That is why people of all ages and backgrounds are fans of The Beatles and fans of John Lennon. People will sing and listen to those songs (and countless more) for another 30 years and beyond. John Lennon touched so many people while he was alive and continues to touch people.

Today, people will gather around the world to remember John Lennon. I will gather in Los Angeles at Capitol Records for what will be an emotional ceremony being run by my good friend Jerry Rubin. And I will admit, I will probably cry a little. As Paul McCartney said during his concert at Amoeba Records in 2007 when he finished "Here Today", "It's okay to cry." Today those words are very true. Yet I remind myself of something in Ray Coleman's biography. After Stu's death, John told Astrid Kirchherr, "You either die with him or you go on living your life". It is acceptable to reflect and remember, but I really try to make today a positive one as a day with filled hope for the future and my future specifically. John would have wanted that. That is why I never consider John Lennon to be a god. He is more like a friend. I just never got to meet him. Yoko said it best, "He was one of us". Unfortunately, 30 years ago tonight, one of us was shot and killed.

Mike Cersosimo

December 8, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Running Into The Wall

Jim Ladd said, "It will be by any measure the most colossal event in the history of rock 'n' roll... The stage housed in the center of the wall will measure 90' long. The wall itself 240' wide by 35' high is so enormous it will cross one side of an arena to the other."

Going to see Roger Waters perform his magnum opus, The Wall tonight at the Staples Center. Trying to not get too excited. I'm hoping by the end of the night this will go down as my favorite non-Beatles related concert ever. Pink Floyd is my second favorite band, so seeing Roger is going to be unreal.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Aim Above Morality

“Vice. Virtue. It’s best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you’re bound to live life fully.” - Maude (Ruth Gordon)

Last night I watched Harold and Maude for the first time. I've been meaning to watch it, but just kept forgetting. I was looking at the Netflix instant watch on my Wii and what do you know? There's the film.

Part of the reason I've been meaning to watch it, is that I'm currently trying to write a film with what I was hoping would not be a too similar plot. Unfortunately, the film has a lot of similarities. I don't know what I'm going to do yet. Part of me thinks this script I'm writing is the most honest work I've done. The funny part is that I came up with the idea long before I ever watched this film. My plan was to finish the script by early Spring, then possibly shoot it in the summer.

Harold and Maude was a great film, so if you haven't watched it yet. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lennon NYC

Finally watched Lennon NYC last night on PBS. Taped it earlier in the week, but was unable to watch it when it premiered since I was in class. Overall, I thought it was well done. At times reminded me of The U.S. vs. John Lennon, but that was not a bad thing. It there is one "down side" of knowing too much about The Beatles, it's that stuff starts to repeat. When you watch or read something, there is rarely new information in it. I mostly watch these pieces for their storytelling and point of view. It did contain some good interviews from people who knew John well during the ten years of his life after The Beatles. It's definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cold Turkey

No I'm not trying to quit heroin. This was the only song I could think of that contained the word "turkey". Going to be a quiet day for me today. Not going anywhere and my family is across the country. Probably just going to do what I always do and buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Got to try to make the best of the day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

(Just Like) Starting Over

The title of this post is from the John Lennon song of the same name from his final album (while he was alive), Double Fantasy. I think the title is rather fitting. Why? Because I really want to make an effort to start blogging again. My old blog over on blogspot was fun. I actually developed a okay following and it was a positive experience. Unfortunately, I starting working in the film industry and I just stopped. Then, I quit that job and started again. Then, I started grad school and stopped again.

So you may be asking yourself, why should I start again? I'll probably just stop. You may be right, but I'm trying to be optimistic that I can keep this going. I actually am more intrigued by the tumblr template and I think it encourages easy and quick posts. I also need an outlet to write and post stuff. I still keep my private journal and still am trying to write my memoir (yes I'm writing a memoir), but why not have another public forum? I think it's worth it. Especially to post my Oscar and Beatle thoughts.

Most importantly, I feel like this is a great time to start again. I just finished my nonprofit development and leadership class yesterday, which amazingly was more inspiring than any class I ever took in grad school. People were actually trying to do things and take chances. We had discussions that were actually engaging and challenging. It made me think about the direction of my life. There was this excitement at the end that I haven't felt in a while. You only live once, so you got to spend it being passionate about something. Otherwise, what is the point of living?

To quote a lyric from the John Lennon song that takes the name of this post, "Let's take a chance and fly away somewhere".

I'm finally ready to start over and start blogging again. Hope you'll join me for the magical mystery tour...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3rd Annual Oscar Contest Results

My apologies for the delay. We had 157 people enter the 3rd Annual Oscar Contest. I had hoped to get 100 people and we did much better than that. It took me longer than anticipated to add up the ballots. 

I can happily say that no one had 23 picks, so there will be no $100 Fandango Bucks given (Maybe next year?). I also want to thank Fletch from Blog Cabins and LAMB for helping make this contest a great success.

As promised, we are giving prizes to the top two finishers. Those prize details will be emailed to the winners, but they include an Oscar poster and iTunes gift card for the winner. Second place is taking home a AMC gift card and a t-shirt. Both scored 19 picks, so congratulations to them. The winner was decided on a category tiebreaker. If you have any questions, then click HERE.

Here's some interesting quick facts:
87/157 picked The Hurt Locker for Best Picture
27/157 picked Precious for Best Adapted Screenplay
28/157 picked The Hurt Locker for Best Sound Editing
29/157 picked The Secret in Their Eyes for Best Foreign Language Film
16/157 picked Music by Prudence for Best Documentary - Short Subject
11/157 picked Logorama for Best Animated Short

Husband/Wife, Boyfriend/Girlfriend (we had no boyfriend/boyfriend or girlfriend/girlfriend battles this year) Results:
Dylan Fields "Fletch" (16) beats Mrs. Fletch (14)
Allison Keeler (13) edges out Kyle Dickinson (12)
Trisha Tamashiro (15) handily beats Julian Gray (12)
Dres Fischer-Centeno (16, he copied my ballot, so don't feel bad Stacia) wins in a landslide over Stacia Stolzenberg (10)
Mike Tufo (9) edges out Lori Cersosimo (7)
Melissa Cersosimo (9) takes out Lou Cersosimo (4) - I obviously didn't get my Oscar predicting skills from my parents.

As for the scores, here are all people with score 17 and higher...
19 Picks
1. Gordon Purcell
2. Chelsea

18 Picks
Brian Bedard
Paul Jarnagin
Chris Miller
Nick Bragg
Kelly Conlin
Kirby Holt
Will Byrnes
Stephanie Perkins

17 Picks
Chris Pritzlaff
Fei Meng
Rick Doctrow
Davey Morrison
Buddy Haardt
Mom Fields
Edwin Drood
Elizabeth Strong
Xavi Morcillo
Matthew Russo
Michael Colin
Patricia Mistric
Roy Geiger
David Humphrey
Paul Kim

If you think there may have been a mistake, I will happily look over your ballot again. I did do everything by hand, but I'm very confident that the top scores are accurate. Please contact me within the next three days if you think there is a problem. After that, all scores are final.

Thanks everyone for participating. I'll hopefully see everyone for the 4th Annual Oscar Contest!

Corey Haim Welcomed Me to Hollywood

Click HERE to read an old post I did on my encounter with Corey Haim back in 2008.

I got to write something small about Corey Haim and his death at the age of 38. Was he the biggest child star? No. He didn't even make that many classic films. I think more of his appeal was the "Two Corey's" gimmick. Still, how can someone not like The Lost Boys?

As written in that previous post, I met Corey Haim randomly when I was working in the film industry only a few weeks after I started a job at a management company. A casting director rented office space from us and she was casting Crank 2. Corey had a small role in it and stopped by to read some lines. The reason this encounter is so memorable is the fact that as he was heading back to the casting director's office, he shook my hand, and said, "Welcome to Hollywood." That became somewhat of a running joke in the office that Corey Haim welcomed me to Hollywood.

During my brief conversation with him, he was a rather eccentric guy. You could tell he had been through a lot. He looked washed up, but his personality was great. He talked to me while I was covering the reception desk. He even took off his shirt and showed me his bat tattoo on his shoulder, which he got after doing The Lost Boys. He also talked about the excitement over the new film, which was a direct to video called The Lost Tribe. He had a cameo at the end of that film and told me there were plans to make another. I'm unsure if that was ever filmed.

Corey is not the only former child actor I've met in Hollywood. I also got extremely drunk with the kid from Free Willy (Jason James Richter) one night at a bar in Hollywood. Both guys were nice in their own ways, but you can see that being a child actor put a toll on them. So many of them struggle with substance abuse and have tough careers as an adult. That's what makes it even more sad when you hear news like this. Being a child actor is not as easy as it looks.

I guess the point of this whole thing is how you just never know. I'm just sad about the news. It's just odd to think that almost two years after that encounter, he's gone and I'm out of the industry (in a sense). Makes me kind of realize how things can change so sudden and you can't take anything for granted. His death just triggered something in me and I really need to make a better effort to get back into Hollywood. I'm too out of the loop right now. I need to write more and get another movie off the ground. It will always be my number one passion and I sometimes I do really miss it.

So thanks Corey for the welcome, the hospitality, and the reminder.


Notice the five H's? That's a little tribute to Nomar Garciaparra, who retired today as a member of the Boston Red Sox. I have to write something about Nomar for the simple reason that he was one of a kind. It's hard to really understand how big he was unless you were in Boston especially during his golden age of 1997-2000. He unanimous won Rookie of the Year. He won two batting titles. He had a 30 game hit streak. He almost won the MVP in 1998 (finished second). The guy was heading to the hall of fame. Maybe even more important at the time, the guy was a legend and the biggest athlete in Boston. He made Sox fans forget about Mo Vaughn and Roger Clemens leaving. He quickly became a fan favorite with his unorthodox throwing style, unusual name, and unique batting approach. Remember that routine? His name was perfect for Boston. Nomah was the second coming of Ted Williams. Even Ted Williams himself loved him.

Garciaparra infamously rejected a 4 year, 60 million deal, which in hindsight was probably the dumbest thing he ever did. The days of everyone loving Nomar were ending. Sox fans were getting impatient too. Remember this is before the World Series win when life was different.

I have to say that him leaving Boston in 2004 really was a sad day for me. I thought he was a Sox player for life. He was a rare breed of a guy that came up from the minors and developed into a star. Everything fell apart though after 2001 with injuries and bad relationships with the media.

He was dealt on July 31, 2004 to the Chicago Cubs and was never the same player. Injuries continued to plague him and it was kind of sad. I always talk to my friend about how he had such a sad career in a sense. It started with so much hope and promise, but it ended the exact opposite. He watched his former team win the World Series months after he was traded. His play declined so much that he ended up switching positions to first base and eventually third. He was playing for one and two year deals since that was the best he could do. The hall of fame talk was now a joke. His career was somewhat of a joke as well considering how great he was in his early years.

When he came back to Boston in 2009, wounds had healed and it was pretty special to see him get a standing ovation. It was somewhat fitting, but you have to wonder what could have been? What if he never got hurt? What if he could have handled Boston and stayed there for his whole career? Would have the Sox ever won the World Series with him on the roster? I don't know, but part of me wishes we could have found out.

Nomah was special and I'm glad that I got to see him play at Fenway. Thanks for the memories...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oscar Contest Results Coming Very Soon

I've counted all 157 ballots and I'm fairly confident we have a winner. We actually had two people who scored 19, but the tie was broken with the category tiebreaker. I'm going to withhold the names until I talk to Fletch over at Blog Cabins and LAMB and we decide the prize distribution. I hope to have that figured out by tomorrow night at the latest. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thoughts on the Oscars

Here we are a day after the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Thinking about the show as a whole, I still think it was average. Felt way too long and I drank a little over a bottle of wine. I can only imagine how it felt to someone sober. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were okay. They had a few good laughs, but they were definitely no Hugh Jackman. In general, the whole show was almost as good as last's year, but never felt like it got to that level.

The Neil Patrick Harris song and dance was a failure in my opinion. Watching the Best Acting categories was too drawn out. Last year with the five nominees was a brilliant idea. This year with a nominee's friend introducing them just lacked the same punch. I feel like Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic had good intentions, but it just didn't deliver as well as hoped.

Still, I had a fun time last night. Had roughly ten people over and we drank some wine and ate some popcorn. Predictions wise I didn't do as well as I had hoped. I only got 16/24, which for me is considered bad. I still haven't finished correcting all the Oscar contest ballots, but as of right now there's a four way tie with 18 picks a piece. It definitely looks like my 22 picks is safe and the Fandango Bucks will not be given. Maybe next year?

Here are a few thoughts on the actual award...

Avatar losing both sound categories reminds me of when Transformers lost both sound categories to The Bourne Ultimatum. Everyone had Transformers and it lost both. I didn't think that would happen to Avatar simply because it was a much better film. Yet, the Academy chose to go more realistic and that was a huge surprise to me. Once it lost both, I knew the chances of it winning Picture were pretty much done. Before the show, it seemed like a conservative strategy to go Avatar on both sound categories just to ensure at least one win. It backfired completely.

Then, oddly enough Avatar comes back and wins cinematography. The Academy didn't make a lot of sense last night. If anything, I figured The Hurt Locker would edge Avatar in Cinematography and get swept in the sound categories. It happened the other way and I have no idea why. Maybe, all three categories were really close and they just fell that way.

The short categories just screwed everyone last night. Everyone that covers the awards knows those categories can be toss ups, but even the films that won no one talked about. For example, in Best Doc - Short Subject it was either going to be Last Truck or China. It was Music for Prudence. I heard a little about this film, but it definitely seemed like it was firmly the third choice. I had a feeling Nick Park may lose Best Short - Animated, but I had to stick with him. I mean the guy has a great track record with the Academy. The New Tenants winning Best Short - Live Action was also a surprise as the two most talked about films were The Door and Kavi. This is the first year where I have completely been shut out of the shorts and that definitely hurt my score.

The biggest surprise of the night though had to be Precious winning Best Adapted Screenplay. Everyone had Up in the Air winning. I mean it was winning all the screenplay awards and I was shocked it lost. At least some people said The Hurt Locker could win the sound categories. Few people thought Precious had a chance to win this. After that win, I thought there was an outside chance that Gabourey Sidibe could upset in Best Actress. It didn't happen, but it was still a good night for Precious.

As much as people didn't want Sandra Bullock to win Best Actress I have to say she gave one of the best speeches of the night. She also pulled off the rare feat of winning an Oscar and Razzie in the same year.

The Hurt Locker winning Best Picture just seemed rushed. Tom Hanks tweeted after that it was planned that way, but I find that hard to believe. No one in my apartment even knew they announced the winner. It happened so fast. I still think it was the wrong choice, but it wasn't a horrible one. It is a damn good film and I think it's the best film about Iraq so far. I just felt like Avatar was a more important film and should have been recognized.

I'm sure I'll have more thoughts later. I just wanted to post something before I head to class. Hopefully the Oscar contest results will be up by tomorrow night.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Live Blogging: The Oscars!

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the 3rd Annual Oscar live blog! Yes, we are here again. E! is now live and I'm going live with them. Tonight is a big night. It's where heroes become legends. It's when dreams become realities. It's always a special day for movie lovers.

Unlike last year, I'm not right outside the Kodak. I'm rather a little less than 10 miles from the Kodak, but don't expect me to go down there. I'm be here in Culver City, but I promise to do a good job until I drink so much wine that I don't know what is going on anymore. That may be accelerate depending how quickly my ballot falls apart.

Like last year, I'm wearing my official Academy Awards t-shirt that I got last year. I'm also sitting in the same chair as last year. I'm hoping these are lucky charms. Let's see if it works.

Here we go...


9:04 p.m. I got 16/24. Very disappointing. What can you do? Some years you do really well. Others you don't. That's the Oscars. What the hell can you do? There's always next year. At least I think my 22 wins is safe and no Fandango bucks will be given.

9:01 p.m. This is the second straight year when a very low budget film has won Best Picture. It's inspiring, but I still feel like Avatar was the more important picture to award. Oh well...

9:00 p.m. The Hurt Locker wins Best Picture. Way too quick and really awkward. No one knew they were even presenting Best Picture at my place. Not sure how I feel about that, but whatever.

8:56 p.m. Kathryn Bigelow wins it. Not a huge surprise, but still a big deal. Congrats to her.

8:53 p.m. Best Director is next. This should be a lock.

8:49 p.m. The Blind Side wins it for Sandra Bullock. My apartment is going crazy.

8:46 p.m. This is a long ass show. Damn.

8:41 p.m. Best Actress is coming up. This should be interesting. Will it be Bullock?

8:33 p.m. I liked how they had five friends introduce the nominees, then had the previous Actress winner announce the winner. Jeff Bridges wins it.

8:25 p.m. Best Actor next. This should be Bridges.

8:18 p.m. I just punched my friend in my head. Secret In Their Eyes has won! Hell yes!

8:15p.m. Foreign Language Film is next. This is huge.

8:09 p.m. The Cove wins Best Doc and The Hurt Locker wins Best Editing. Add two more wins for me regardless of how bad I'm doing tonight.

7:55 p.m. Avatar wins it. This was expected. Yay again. I feel like I'm doing much better than I am.

7:54 p.m. Up wins Best Score. Yay!

7:51 p.m. My sister just reminded me that they used a Beatles song. Props to Lori.

7:44 p.m. Honestly don't care how bad these Oscars are. My friends are here and I'm having fun.

7:39 p.m. In Memorian...

7:38 p.m. Avatar wins Best Cinematography. This Oscars makes no sense to me.

7:34 p.m. What a messed up Oscars. Nothing makes sense this year. Oh well...

7:28 p.m. Hurt Locker sweeps sound categories. Literally I just have to say, "Wow." Honestly, that's bullshit.

7:24 p.m. Anna Kendrick is part of Best Sound Editing. I think.

7:20 p.m. Julian is molesting me. Horror movie montage is going on. Not too bad.

7:11 p.m. Costume goes to Young Victoria. I'm redeeming myself.

7:09 p.m. Avatar wins it. I'll take it.

7:06 p.m. Art direction is coming up. This should be Avatar.

7:00 p.m. Mo'Nique wins it. Well deserved. Precious is doing much better than I anticipated.

6:58 p.m. Come on Anna Kendrick!

6:52 p.m. Star Trek wins Makeup. Yay! Precious wins with a huge upset in Adapted Screenplay. Literally a huge upset. Wow. I'm shocked.

6:38 p.m. Wow, this is really weird. Lots of upsets. My ballot is completely fucked.

6:35 p.m. Well, at least my record looks safe. Haha.

6:34 p.m. Wow I suck right now. Logorama wins.

6:31p.m. I take that back. Best animated short.

6:29 p.m. Docs categories next. Oh no!

6:19 p.m. There goes the perfect ballot. Fuck. Haha.

6:17 p.m. Hurt Locker wins. This could set the tone for the rest of the night. Not liking Avatar's chances anymore.

6:14 p.m. Hurt Locker or Inglourious Basterds? This is huge.

6:13 p.m. Looks like screenwriting is next. Adapted or original?

6:09 p.m. We're betting the next person to lose has to drink the olive juice. Gross!

6:07 p.m. Kyle is trying to caress me. We have many bottles of wine and many of us are not sober. It's like a free for all.

6:05 p.m. Weary Kind wins it. 3/3 folks. It feels good.

6:02 p.m. Original song up next. Early for Best Original Song. I guess they are not performing the songs tonight.

5:59 p.m. Up wins it. 2/2 so far. Two easy, predictable categories, but it's okay. It has eased my anxiety.

5:58 p.m. Animated feature up next.

5:54 p.m. Almost done with my first bottle of wine. This is not going to be good. At this point, who cares?

5:51 p.m. The perfect ballot stay intact. Haha.

5:50 p.m. Christoph Waltz wins! Very deserving and expected. He was so good in this film. No puns, but that's okay.

5:45 p.m. Best Supporting Actor opens the show.

5:40 p.m. I'm liking this so far. Props to Shankman and Mechanic.

5:38 p.m. The two host plan is going well so far. I mean Alec and Steve work well off each other. Both are very funny. Martin obviously has done this before and it's showing. Alec is just a funny guy as well.

5:36 p.m. Set design very nice. Very similar to last year. I like it. It has a combo of retro, but also very modern. Does that make any sense? Regardless I like it.

5:35 p.m. Here comes Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. I hope this work out well. I'm a bit nervous.

5:33 p.m. Neil Patrick Harris is wearing a very shiny suit. I feel like this is too much of a broadway show already.

5:32 p.m. Digging the setup. Like how they introduced the best acting nominees.

5:31 p.m. Here we go.

5:27 p.m. 157 Oscar contest ballots. Thank you everyone. This should be very interesting. I think my record could be in trouble. This is it. I'm fucking nervous.

5:17 p.m. Julian has just arrived and proceeded to take off his pants.

5:15 p.m. T minus 15 minutes to the Oscars.

5:07 p.m. Watching the Oscars with my friends make this a much more interesting Oscars. Shout outs to Brian, Dres, and Kyle. Also, shout outs in advance to Julian and Nolan whenever the hell they show up.

5:05 p.m. I just don't dig the ABC coverage. They seem to try too hard.

5:02 p.m. Anna Kendrick is on ABC now. I'm in love and I'm not afraid to admit it.

5:00 p.m. Seacrest is almost done. Coverage this year was okay. Then again, every year feels okay. Switching to ABC.

4:52 p.m. I have to say Sandra Bullock looks like she is dressed like a winner. This could very well be her night.

4:49 p.m. I think I'm just going to stick to E! until the show. I just have a man crush on Seacrest.

4:35 p.m. Less than 30 minutes away from ABC's coverage. I'm getting a little nervous. Not going to lie.

4:31 p.m. Clooney has some long hair today. That's interesting.

4:29 p.m. I've drank less wine this year than last. That's a good sign.

4:15 p.m. I'm not liking Sarah Jessica Parker right now. Her dress is a fail in my opinion.

4:14 p.m. Wow Miley Cyrus's Mom is hot. My friend would fuck the shit out of her.

4:05 p.m. Time is just flying. This red carpet show is going okay.

3:58 p.m. Carey Mulligan and Sandra Bullock both looking fine right now. Then again, I think everyone looks hot on the red carpet.

3:49 p.m. I've finally caught up with the Oscar contest entries. We got over 150 entries. My fingers hurt.

3:14 p.m. Anna Kendrick has made an appearance on the red carpet. My day is now complete.

3:04 p.m. Seacrest is live on E! and Sam Worthington is his first guest. Another IE connection, how ironic.

2:50 p.m. Jessica Lowndes is on E!. That is one of my old boss's clients. It's amazing how big she has gotten in the last couple years. She's not a household name, but she's making a name for herself on 90210.

2:45 p.m. E! looks like they are going live on the red carpet in 15 minutes.

2:36 p.m. Now we have a bra segment. Wow. The Oscar contest entries are just coming in like rapid fire. We are going to pass 150, which is amazing. I think my record could fall today. I really didn't want to give away those fandango bucks either. Haha.

12:59 p.m. Now E! is doing a swimsuit segment. Otherwise, the coverage for E! has been so-so. Then again, there's a lot of time to burn until Seacrest shows up.

12:03 p.m. Hell yes. E! is talking about boobs right now. I love this segment.

11:13 a.m. I'm going to work on putting these Oscar ballots in my excel sheet. If anything interesting happens on E! I'll post. Otherwise, I may be gone for a little.

11:07 a.m. E! has just gone live. Let's hope the coverage this year doesn't suck.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ode to the Big Stars 3

I've posted this the last two years the night before the Oscars. It has become a tradition on this blog. I feel like it sums up the feeling the night before the Oscars. Everyone is tense, sleep deprived, and possibly coked out.

So, here is my final post before the live blog tomorrow. All these months of hard work lead to this: The 82nd Annual Academy Awards!

I'll see you tomorrow at the Oscars...

2009 Top Ten List Update

I'm still going to post this, but I have a feeling it will be next weekend. I still want to see a couple films, so give me a couple more days. My apologies in advance.

Live Blog Tomorrow Update

E! goes live at 11:00 a.m. PST. I will probably also go live around the same time. I'll be watching the show with some friends this year. Not sure how the live blog will go, but only time tell.

Final Oscar Predictions

Best Picture
Who Will Win: Avatar
Who Should Win: Avatar
Who I Want to Win: Avatar
Thoughts: Between ten nominees and the preferential ballot, this has turned into a very interesting roller coaster this season. Come Sunday I honestly believe it will come down to only two films: Avatar and The Hurt Locker. It's nothing against Basterds, Up in the Air, Precious, etc., but these are the two films everyone is talking about. Harvey Weinstein says he is going to get Basterds over the top. He also said that about The Reader last year. He did it once with Shakespeare in Love, but I just don't see him doing it again this year. I love Quentin's film, but I just don't see it happening.

The Hurt Locker has received great support from the guilds, but the guilds aren't always right. If there is one thing I've learned about the Academy, it's they mostly don't give a damn about what else has happened. Ask Brokeback Mountain and they will tell you it sucks. For some reason, I don't see them embracing Hurt Locker at the end of the day for the top prize. It may very well receive the most 1st place votes, but I still think Avatar is in better position to capitalize on 2nd place votes.

I don't know why, but I just have a feeling the word "Avatar" is going to be said when they open the last envelope on Sunday night. I think the preferential ballot helps this film a lot. I think the $700 million helps a lot. I think the older members of the Academy are going to think it is an amazing film. Every so often, the Academy has an opportunity to award a film that is groundbreaking. Whether the film does it visually or socially, the Academy should try to embrace those rare opportunities. They failed four years ago with Brokeback Mountain. Will they fail again with Avatar? The story is not original, but it is an experience and a monumental achievement in filmmaking. It is breathtaking especially if you watch it in IMAX 3D. So what if Avatar doesn't have any acting nominations? Or a screenplay nod? Or struggled at the guilds? No one thought it would break the box office record. It did. If I'm going down on Sunday night, I'm going down with this film. Avatar for the win.

Best Director
Who Will Win: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Who Should Win: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Who I Want to Win: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Thoughts: It's amazing that a woman has never won a Best Directing Oscar. This should be the first. It is deserving too. This film is intense and suspenseful. It is gritty and real. Bigelow also has the DGA, so I feel like this is a safe pick.

Best Actor
Who Will Win: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Who Should Win: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Who I Want to Win: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Thoughts: First Morgan Freeman was the frontrunner over the summer. Then, it was George Clooney in the fall. Now, Jeff Bridges has been on a roll. He has been around for years and is from a great Hollywood family. Everyone is pulling for him and he will get rewarded for a great role in a film more people need to see. This is lock.

Best Actress
Who Will Win: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Who Should Win: Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Who I Want to Win: Carey Mulligan, An Education
Thoughts: I could easily see this being one of the shockers on Oscar night. Bullock has done well this season, but is the Academy going to give it to her? This just reminds me of 2006 with Eddie Murphy. Sidibe gave an amazing performance in Precious, but I just don't see her pulling votes from Sandra or Meryl. That was just an intense role. Still, I have to pull for my girl, Carey Mulligan who I fell in love with this year.

Best Supporting Actor
Who Will Win: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Who Should Win: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Who I Want to Win: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Thoughts: No one is beating Waltz. He was great in this film and role. Hopefully he prepared a good speech. Haha.

Best Supporting Actress
Who Will Win: Mo'Nique, Precious
Who Should Win: Mo'Nique, Precious
Who I Want to Win: Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Thoughts: Like the other supporting race, this one is all over. Mo'Nique has won everything and she should win the Oscar. I'm just glad that Anna Kendrick got some love this year. I knew she was going places as soon as I saw Rocket Science a few years ago. Her future is definitely bright.

Best Original Screenplay
Who Will Win: Inglourious Basterds
Who Should Win: Inglourious Basterds<
Who I Want to Win: Inglourious Basterds<
Thoughts: This is arguably Tarantino's best script. I just love the dialogue in it. He's an incredible writer. He will probably lose Best Picture, but I just feel like he can beat Mark Boal here. Let us also not forget that while Boal won the WGA, he didn't have to face Quentin. Why? He's not in the guild.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Who Will Win: Up in the Air
Who Should Win: Up in the Air
Who I Want to Win: Up in the Air
Thoughts: Like Basterds, I see this film winning something. This feels like the best shot for Jason Reitman.

Best Animated Feature
Who Will Win: Up
Who Should Win: Up
Who I Want to Win: Up
Thoughts: As much as I like Fantastic Mr. Fox, I can't deny how great Up is. I personally liked this better than WALL-E. Although, I always follow that with WALL-E is a better film. Pixar should have this one in the bag yet again.

Best Art Direction
Who Will Win: Avatar
Who Should Win: Avatar
Who I Want to Win: Avatar
Thoughts: This is one category Avatar should easily win. The world they create is unbelievable and I don't know how you don't award it.

Best Cinematography
Who Will Win: Avatar
Who Should Win: The White Ribbon
Who I Want to Win: The White Ribbon
Thoughts: This is a tough category to predict. I haven't even seen The White Ribbon, but I have seen a few clips. It's beautiful and it's black and white. It won the ASC, but I don't think enough members have seen it. The Hurt Locker and Avatar seem to be neck and neck. I just look at The Hurt Locker and think it's too gritty. Kind of reminds me of Children of Men, which lost to a more conventional and fantasy film, Pan's Labyrinth. I think this could very well happen this year and that should open the door for Avatar.

Best Costume Design
Who Will Win: The Young Victoria
Who Should Win: The Young Victoria
Who I Want to Win: The Young Victoria
Thoughts: It's all about period films in this category. Victoria won the CDG and seems to be the popular choice here.

Best Documentary - Feature
Who Will Win: The Cove
Who Should Win: N/A
Who I Want to Win: No Preference
Thoughts: The Cove has been the popular choice here for a while. Just remember only a small portion of the Academy votes on this, which explains upsets in this category. Though it seems like it should still pull through. I don't see a solid alternative.

Best Documentary - Short
Who Will Win: The Last Truck
Who Should Win: N/A
Who I Want to Win: No Preference
Thoughts: This is my least favorite category. Why? I always get it wrong, so don't pick the same film as me. I think it is between The Last Truck and China's Unnatural Disaster. I am leaning towards Last Truck since I hope it hits home with voters more. I could be completely wrong. I also think there's a chance it could go to Music by Prudence. This category is a crapshoot. Again it's another that requires members attend a special screening to vote.

Best Film Editing
Who Will Win: The Hurt Locker
Who Should Win: The Hurt Locker
Who I Want to Win: The Hurt Locker
Thoughts: The Hurt Locker should have this one wrapped up unless the Academy just goes crazy for Avatar.

Best Foreign Language Film
Who Will Win: The Secret in their Eyes
Who Should Win: N/A
Who I Want to Win: No Preference
Thoughts: I don't see The White Ribbon winning this. I see it either going to A Prophet or The Secret in their Eyes. I'm going with Secret since I heard it went over well within the Academy screening. Again, another category that requires you to attend special screenings to vote. This explains why films such as Amelie and Pan's Labyrinth have lost in the past.

Best Makeup
Who Will Win: Star Trek
Who Should Win: Star Trek
Who I Want to Win: Star Trek
Thoughts: Star Trek should easily win this. The makeup for some of the aliens is always cool and it's more popular than the other two nominees.

Best Original Score
Who Will Win: Up
Who Should Win: Up
Who I Want to Win: Up
Thoughts: The score in Up is really good and it sets the tone for the entire film. It should win.

Best Original Song
Who Will Win: "The Weary Kind", Crazy Heart
Who Should Win: "The Weary Kind", Crazy Heart
Who I Want to Win: "The Weary Kind", Crazy Heart
Thoughts: This song is kinda depressing, but it's damn good. The Disney songs should cancel each other out to give this to Crazy Heart.

Best Short - Animated
Who Will Win: A Matter of Loaf and Death
Who Should Win: N/A
Who I Want to Win: No Preference
Thoughts: This is a Wallace and Gromit film. Nick Park does extremely well at the Oscars, so it has to be the favorite. The only way it loses is if people want to spread the wealth and give it to another filmmaker.

Best Short - Live Action
Who Will Win: The Door
Who Should Win: N/A
Who I Want to Win: No Preference
Thoughts: This is a category I have no idea really, but I've been hearing good things about The Door. The spoiler here could be Kavi.

Best Sound Mixing
Who Will Win: Avatar
Who Should Win: Avatar
Who I Want to Win: Avatar
Thoughts: I'm going with Avatar, but I could see The Hurt Locker winning this. Last year, Slumdog won this category. Avatar just can't be overlooked in any of the tech categories.

Best Sound Editing
Who Will Win: Avatar
Who Should Win: Avatar
Who I Want to Win: Avatar
Thoughts: In regards to the sound categories, this is a much safer bet. I can't see Avatar losing this unless the Academy went Hurt Locker crazy, which is possible. The betting man has to go with Avatar.

Best Visual Effects
Who Will Win: Avatar
Who Should Win: Avatar
Who I Want to Win: Avatar
Thoughts: If Avatar is only going to win one Oscar, then this is it. I would be absolutely shocked if it lost here considering how groundbreaking the visual effects were.

*I do reserve the right to change any of these predictions. If that happens, I will notify you through this blog.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Death from Above: Minor Update

Between school and work, I'm just exhausted right now. Add on top of that, I am currently feeling under the weather and that would explain my lack of updates recently. This Oscar season has obviously been very difficult for me and I apologize for my horrible coverage this year. I hope to have two more updates before the big show, which is shockingly a week from today. I will say that the Oscar contest is making a run at 100 ballots. We just crossed 70, so it's possible. Only time will tell. For now, I'm just going to try to get better and write something in the next couple days.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Do You Wanna Get Laid Tomorrow?

You can thank me later. This was on the L Magzine site and edited by Matt Zoller Seitz. I have to say this video definitely makes you want to kiss someone.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oscar Update: 3 Weeks Away

We're less than a month away and it's amazing that many of the top races seem to be all, but over. I'm doing this update just because I partly feel like I have to. Though, I will say that Best Picture is still very much anyone's game. The preferential balloting makes this race very intriguing and complicated. Honestly, it's going to be very difficult to pick with great confidence.

Also, if the Oscar contest is up. Click HERE to enter. The number of entrants is quickly rising, so I think this is going to be real competitive. I'm really curious if anyone will break my record. I'm also curious if I can break my own record.

Best Picture
1. (-) Avatar
2. (-) The Hurt Locker
3. (-) Inglourious Basterds
4. (-) Up in the Air
5. (-) Precious
6. (-) Up
7. (-) The Blind Side
8. (-) An Education
9. (-) District 9
10. (-) A Serious Man

Like I said after nominations came out. Forget about A Serious Man, District 9, An Education, and The Blind Side right away. I've heard some rumors that Up could make some noise due to the preferential ballot. It very well could, but will it win? No way. Up in the Air and Precious are two films that have absolutely no buzz anymore. It's amazing too since these two films seemed like the frontrunners early in the season. The consensus seems to be a three race horse. I firmly believe this to be very accurate. And you wouldn't look like a fool if you ranked these three films in any order.

With Harvey Weinstein behind it, Inglourious has to be seriously considered. This film could benefit a lot from the preferential system by getting many number two votes. It could sneak out of nowhere and pull a big shocker. This film is definitely deserving, it's just that the awards season has been dominated by Avatar and The Hurt Locker.

I was reading the other day that The Hurt Locker won the PGA on a preferential voting system. I'm sure a lot of people don't know that, so I think it is definitely worth noting. Here's why I think Avatar may very well knock off Hurt Locker. There's 10 nominees. Even more than Basterds, Avatar seems to be a number one and number two film. I'll even admit I would put it no lower than number two. If there were only five nominees with the preferential system than I think the advantage shifts strongly to Hurt Locker.

I'm still a little weary about the Academy awarding an Iraq war film. It just doesn't seem right and right now I'm going with Avatar. With a month to go, I'm sure I will be going back and forth on this.

Best Director
1. (-) Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
2. (-) James Cameron, Avatar
3. (-) Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
4. (-) Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
5. (-) Lee Daniels, Precious

Bigelow won the DGA and that is the best Oscar precursor of all the guild awards. Yes, she is a woman and a woman has never won Best Director. Well, a woman has to win eventually. Cameron is her best competition, but he has already won. The Hurt Locker is a critically acclaimed film and I could easily see a Avatar/Hurt Locker Best Picture/Best Director split.

Best Actor
1. (-) Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
2. (-) George Clooney, Up in the Air
3. (-) Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
4. (-) Morgan Freeman, Invictus
5. (-) Colin Firth, A Single Man

Firth is just happy to be here. Freeman was the frontrunner over the summer, but as history tells us that means nothing. Clint's film didn't make any noise this year and Morgan already has an Oscar anyway. Renner has The Hurt Locker on his side, but I feel like he is simply too unknown. Unless the Academy has a serious unknown love for this film, then I can't see him winning. If Clooney didn't have to beat Bridges, then I would say this race is still wide open. Problem is that Bridges is a well respected actor from a family of well respected actors. Plus, it doesn't help that Clooney won an Oscar a few years back. Unlike Mickey Rourke last year, Jeff Bridges is someone the Academy has no problem embracing and I think he is well deserving for his role and career. This seems to be locked up.

Best Actress
1. (-) Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
2. (-) Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
3. (-) Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
4. (-) Carey Mulligan, An Education
5. (-) Helen Mirren, The Last Station

Mirren won too recently and no one has even seen The Last Station. Mulligan lost all her buzz. Sidibe did too. Everyone who is following this race knows it's Bullock vs. Streep. This race reminds me a lot of 2006 when Alan Arkin scored an upset over frontrunner Eddie Murphy. Murphy was winning everything, but lost to the veteran. This is obviously a little different. Besides Bullock not releasing Norbit weeks before the Oscars, she also is in a better position to win. The Blind Side obviously has support from the Academy due to the Best Pic nomination. She won the SAG and seems to be friends with everyone. Eddie Murphy had this asshole quality to him. Rourke suffered the same thing. Of course the question is how much does the Academy love Streep? Well, she does have the record for most nominations for an actor. Yes, she has two Oscars, but it's been so long. Do Academy members realize this and vote for her? I honestly question the intelligence of some Academy members, so I would say they have no idea it's been over 25 years since Meryl's last win. To me it comes down to Julie & Julia having no support from the Academy. That's the deal breaker for me. Though, this race is far from over.

Best Supporting Actor
1. (-) Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
2. (-) Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
3. (-) Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
4. (-) Matt Damon, Invictus
5. (-) Christopher Plummer, The Last Station

Like Heath Ledger's path to the Oscars last year, this one is very similar. Waltz has won everything and the competition is even weaker than the one that Ledger faced. I'm not even going to dissect this race anymore for the rest of the season. It's all over.

Best Supporting Actress
1. (-) Mo'Nique, Precious
2. (-) Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
3. (-) Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
4. (-) Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
5. (-) Penelope Cruz, Nine

Can I just write see Best Supporting Actor race? Seriously, both supporting races are all over. Mo'Nique should just get her acceptance speech ready. I wonder what it is like to know you're going to win an Oscar weeks before the show?

Best Original Screenplay
1. (-) Inglourious Basterds
2. (-) The Hurt Locker
3. (-) Up
4. (-) A Serious Man
5. (-) The Messenger

This is one of the most intriguing races this year. It pits Basterds vs. Hurt Locker in a race that could dictate how the show will go. I expect a win for Basterds since I think Tarantino has to go home with something. These screenplay races seem like consolation prizes so many times. Tarantino has also just written an amazing script. A win for Hurt Locker would obviously show how strong support this film has. It wouldn't be a huge upset, but it would send a message and possibly foreshadow a win for Best Picture. The WGA for this will be big for both films. Something that we all have to keep our eye on as it will shift this race.

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. (-) Up in the Air
2. (-) Precious
3. (-) An Education
4. (-) District 9
5. (-) In the Loop

Up in the Air will probably lose every major race, but this one. This is one category that it has been winning throughout the season. Precious could upset, but it seems unlikely. Up in the Air won the Globe, Scripter, and will probably win the WGA. A win at the guild should cement its status as the frontrunner and should give Up in the Air a consolation prize it deserves. We can also all be jealous of Jason Reitman for being an Oscar winner and making three really good movies all before turning 40.

Complete Oscar Predictions

Best Picture: Avatar
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious
Best Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds
Best Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air
Best Animated Feature: Up
Best Art Direction: Avatar
Best Cinematography: Avatar
Best Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Best Documentary - Feature: The Cove
Best Documentary - Short Subject: The Last Truck
Best Film Editing: The Hurt Locker
Best Foreign Language Film: The White Ribbon
Best Makeup: Star Trek
Best Original Score: Up
Best Original Song: "The Weary Kind", Crazy Heart
Best Short - Animated: A Matter of Loaf and Death
Best Short - Live Action: The Door
Best Sound Editing: Avatar
Best Sound Mixing: Avatar
Best Visual Effects: Avatar

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

3rd Annual Oscar Contest is Here

Part of me feels like it is too early, but with a little less than a month to go, it's time for the Oscar contest to begin. Click HERE. Prizes and all that jazz are still being determined. I'm actually running this contest on LAMB as well, so I'm hoping there are going to be a lot of submissions. I'm going to give away $100 Fandango bucks to anyone that can break my record of 22 correct picks. Can it be done? I highly doubt it, but never say never.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Oscar Poster

I honestly don't dig this poster at all. Especially if you compare it to last year's, which I think was really well done.

In somewhat related news, expect the Oscar contest to be launched tomorrow. We still have a month to go before the show, so there's no huge rush. I got no class tomorrow, so it leaves plenty of time to post the contest on this blog, LAMB, and facebook.