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Entries in Oscars (12) (290)

Thursday
Nov082012

Hedlund Owns The Road

Michael C. here.  Walter Salles’s big-screen adaptation of Kerouac’s On the Road is set for limited release December 21, but I fear that if people aren't buzzing about this one before Christmas then there's a real risk that one of the year’s best performances will be lost amid talk of Hobbits and show tunes sung live on set. So to prevent that happening I’m going to get the ball rolling right now: Garrett Hedlund deserves to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

Sam Riley may be the lead as Kerouac stand-in Sal Paradise, but the character is something of a cipher, passive and observant and taking notes the whole time. As Dean Moriarty, based on beat generation figure Neal Cassady, Hedlund has the star part. He drives the action. He is the guy who everyone talks about when he’s off-screen and is the unquestioned center of attention when on-screen. It's a daunting role. Hedlund needs to make Moriarty a solipsistic, libido-driven egomaniac that makes a wreck of all his relationships while at the same time have him be so irresistibly brilliant and charming that we believe it when all the other characters are attracted to him despite this behavior. It’s not for nothing that Kerouac originally wanted Marlon Brando for the role. 

Hedlund delivers big on all these counts and makes it all seem effortless. In one electric scene he lets fly with an impromptu monologue about a party that evolved into a bizarre orgy, and you can feel the whole story skipping right off the surface of Dean's Benzedrine-addled mind. 

Any film of On the Road is going to rise or fall based on the character of Dean. The character embodies all the novels romantic deals about the excitement of the open highway as well as the story's tragic grace notes when the road trip ends. That this adaptation works as well as it does suggests that voters need to find room among all the beloved veterans for one of 2012's breakout stars. 

The Best Supporting Actor Race

Monday
Nov052012

Review: "Flight"

This review was originally published in my column at Towleroad

Captain Whip

No one can fly a plane like Captain Whip (Denzel Washington). Unfortunately no one can drink like him either. Within the first fifteen or so minutes of Flight, the new drama from Robert Zemeckis, Whip has already downed multiple vodkas, beers, and at least one line of coke. He's high before lift-off; this bender is all on the morning he's piloting 104 souls on a commercial aircraft to Atlanta.

Whip gives drunk driving a whole new vertical meaning.

Captain Whip's flight is, unfortunately, doomed. The unusual crash is very well shot and edited -- a real armrest grabber and apparently it is possible to fly a plane inverted! In the aftermath Whip, his co-workers, multiple lawyers and moneyed executives are engaged in the very tense and very high-stakes legal battle as to the why the plane went down.

"Why?" is an open ended question so let's ask a more specific one...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov052012

Free Association: "Sandy" & The Impossible

You may have noticed that The Impossible has been fading on my Oscar charts these past couple of months. I always thought it a chancy Oscar prospect. Though it's undeniably technically impressive -- I'm not sure I want to know what Naomi Watts had to go through to film the tsunami scenes -- and emotionally compelling if you can get past its blonde privileged whiteness in a Thailand-set disaster epic. But its profile also seems quite low for a potentially major player. Summit is either planning a mega-blitz at the tail end of the year (a risky strategy with several giants opening at Christmas) or they're too busy rubbing their hands together gleefully whilst awaiting those Breaking Dawn Part 2 dollars to remember that they have an inspirational drama to push!

But lately I've been wondering if Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath might turn people off of The Impossible. More... 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov042012

November Oscar Updates!

With only 66 days to go before Oscar nominations, it was time to overhaul the charts. We're but one month away from the mad flush of precursors but so many questions are still unanswered.

TIER 1. FRONTRUNNERS

What We Know: Argo is all locked up for Picture and Director having won applause from both critics and general audiences and I've always said that Oscar voter tastes are, roughly, a fusion of those two things; Silver Linings Playbook is a safe bet in the major categories but contemporary films always struggle with nomination counts since the craft branches largely ignore them; Though Les Misérables is as yet unseen it's certain to rack up a handful of nods however it goes -- worst case scenario consider that Nine (2009) won 4 nominations despite scathing reviews -- and two handfuls if it's as good as people are hoping.
What We Don't Know: Can Les Misérables manage two supporting actress nominations or will Anne Hathaway's likely coronation suck the oxygen out of the room for other players; Will Hugh Jackman be able to part the great sea of biographical performances in order to compete for Best Actor -- I'm guessing yes but by a hair; Can Argo manage two supporting actor nominations for Bryan Cranston and Alan Arkin? Arkin has the "fun" role but Cranston has undeniably become a major actor's actor over the past handful of years. Though double nods are common in Supporting Actress that hasn't happened in Supporting Actor since Bugsy (1991)

TIER 2. MAJOR PLAYERS?

more...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov032012

EFA Noms Honor Plenty of Foreign Film Oscar Contenders

The European Film Awards will be held in Malta this year on December 1st, and as per usual they are honoring plenty of possible nominees in Oscar's Foreign Language Film category as well as films that are a little too outre for Oscar (last year Melancholia, completely ignored by Oscar, did well and this year that honor goes to Steve McQueen's Shame)

BEST EUROPEAN FILM

 

  • Amour (Austria's Oscar Submission)
  • Barbara (Germany's Oscar Submission)
  • Caesar Must Die (Italy's Oscar Submission)
  • The Hunt (Denmark)
  • The Intouchables (France's Oscar Submission)
  • Shame (UK)

Amour appears to be the likely frontrunner here as it leads in nominations but the EFAs are far less predictable than Oscar so anything might happen. Acting nominations, a very handsome director, and more after the jump.

Click to read more ...