Oscar History

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X-Men Apocalypse

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Entries in No Strings Attached (3)


20:11 Season of the Hornet's "No Stings" Dilemma

Year in Review Fun... Much more to come! 

Herewith the 20th minute and 11th second of the movies of 2011 in chronological order of US release dateIt's like flipping channels for snapshots of the film year! For those who like a mnemonic challenge, I've written the film titles in invisible ink below each screencap (you can highlight to see them). Would any of these tiny glimpses make you want to stop channel surfing and watch?

january | february | march | april


Our ranks have been decimated. You must deliver her."


Holy....! Kato, are you a pervert?


We are trying to relax! Everything is going to be fine."


["Did i have sex with anyone...?" and other awkward January moments more after the jump.]

Click to read more ...


10 Word Reviews: Hanna, Like Crazy, Puss in Boots, Coriolanus

Though I'm happy to have finally banged out a few thoughts on J Edgar, I'm never going catch up without engaging in some quickies. So herewith some miniature takes on things I've recently seen that I haven't written up. (And at the end of the post, a bit more on J. Edgar because you were asking... )

For Fiennes directorial debut he adapts one of Shakespeare's lesser tragedies
10WR: Swings with brutish fists, occasionally landing blows. Impactful locale choices. B 
Oscar? Supporting Actress. It will be all about beastly mama Redgrave chewing determinedly on her own anger. (Fiennes does the spitting for their amusingly Oedipal bond).

Crazy College Kids Cuddling Cross-Atlantic 
10WR: Intermittently endearing / annoying, sensitively made. Starter kit for promising careers. B-
Oscar? Unlikely despite early buzz to the contrary. Best Actress is too crowded and romantic dramas don't win kudos for their male leads. On that note, I feel it's worth trumpeting that Anton Yelchin is every bit as strong as Felicity Jones in detailing the first crushing moments of love and the romantic confusion that often follows. Bonus points for giving us the most authentic "drunk but horny, trying to stay awake" face the movies have ever seen.

Crazy Post-Collegiate Kids' "NO CUDDLING!" Coitus
10 WR: 100% predictable but funny. Authentically acted despite proud sitcom leanings. C+
Oscar? LOL. But no embarrassment for Portman as post-Oscar performances go -- which it could have been. She's far better here than in The Other Woman. No really.

Puss invades another fairy tale (Jack and the Beanstalk) for treasure and personal redemption.
10WR: Indulgent backstories / setpieces bore. Charms with character and recurring gags.  
Oscar? Seems likely for animated feature but then they did ignore the last two Shrek movies. 

in which a teen killing machine is on the run from...  because of... with only .....
10 WR: Carnage-filled collision of fairytales/Catholocism. Ridiculous. Unique. Very watchable B
Oscar? Stylized teen driven genre pieces are not their thing so "No". But how about that Chemical Bros score, eh? Cinematography was compelling, too.

Already reviewed and interviewed but y'all kept asking about Oscar. I only have it predicted for two nominations right now, Best Makeup and Best Actor. The makeup is getting mostly bad reviews but bad reviews have rarely stopped them from honoring "Most Makeup" in the past. As for the Best Actor nomination for Leonardo DiCaprio, I agree with Mark who says in the review comments.

I don't want to live in a world where Leo is given out of some sense of obligation but Fassbender is snubbed for his miraculous turn in Shame.

... but we do live in that kind of world, even if this year happens to pan out differently.

Otherwise, I don't see a way the film can find much Oscar traction. The costumes and art direction aren't particularly showy (and it's a crowded year). The cinematography seems to be one of the more divisive elements and historically the cinematography branch isn't as enamored with Eastwood's filmography as other branches tend to be. Even when his films are Best Picture nominated they don't often show up. Unforgiven (Jack N. Green) is the only one of his four Best Picture nominees to receive a cinematography nomination and Changeling (Tom Stern) is the only other one of his pictures so honored.

What's next review wise?
More substantial takes coming on Melancholia and the Scandinavian Oscar submissions...


Will Natalie Portman be this year's Eddie Murphy?

No strings, NorbitKurt here from Your Movie Buddy, not happy to have found a link between two otherwise un-linkable actors. The more promo material I see for Natalie Portman's considerable 2011 output – trailers for Your Highness and Thor, posters for The Other Woman, constant TV spots for No Strings Attached (not to be confused with fellow ballerina Mila Kunis's Friends with Benefits) – the more my heart sinks. It takes you back to 2006, when Eddie Murphy all but had the Supporting Actor Oscar on his mantle for his work in Dreamgirls, then saw his dreams shattered by the inescapable marketing campaign for Norbit.

 Some may argue that Little Miss Sunshine's Alan Arkin, with his endearing character and veteran status, had the upset in the bag, but comeback kid Murphy was the frontrunner. I'm of the firm belief that he did himself in by putting the awful taste of Norbit in voter's mouths. Portman's upcoming offerings can't rival the, shall we say, uncouthness of Murphy in a scantily-clad female fat suit, but none of them look too promising, either, least of all No Strings Attached. Is it such a stretch to think the Best Actress hopeful may become the victim of her own Norbit effect?

After all, Portman finds herself in a much more precarious position than Murphy did...

Her category's field of contenders (and eventual nominees) is leagues stronger than Murphy's was, and she also faces a far more formidable and voter-friendly vet than he did. Unless I'm mistaken, and have misread the mood in the air, Portman's precursor lead – and additional off-screen attractors like pregnancy – have done little to change the fact that she's in a head-to-head with Annette Bening. Despite the awesome power of her Swan performance, an unappealing 2011 slate could be just the thing to sway voters to select her long-overdue rival.

one of many Swan premieres

Or, maybe not.

Maybe Portman's 2011 ubiquity is instead just another thing to give her yet more of an edge. As an educated, gifted and especially comely actress whom Hollywood has loved since childhood, she may only benefit from flashing her pretty face all over the place. Rather than recoiling, voters may just smile and say, “ah, yes, there she is again...sweet girl.”

What, if anything, do you make of this? Could Portman have clipped her own wings?