2012 Oscar Nominees Announced!

24 01 2012

The 84th Annual Academy Awards Nominations go to:

Actor in a Leading Role
Demián Bichir in “A Better Life”
George Clooney in “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin in “The Artist”
Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt in “Moneyball”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh in “My Week with Marilyn”
Jonah Hill in “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte in “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer in “Beginners”
Max von Sydow in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis in “The Help”
Rooney Mara in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain in “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy in “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer in “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer in “The Help”

Directing
“The Artist” Michel Hazanavicius
“The Descendants” Alexander Payne
“Hugo” Martin Scorsese
“Midnight in Paris” Woody Allen
“The Tree of Life” Terrence Malick

Best Picture
“The Artist” Thomas Langmann, Producer
“The Descendants” Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” Scott Rudin, Producer
“The Help” Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
“Hugo” Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
“Midnight in Paris” Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
“Moneyball” Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
“The Tree of Life” Nominees to be determined
“War Horse” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

Animated Feature Film
“A Cat in Paris” Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
“Chico & Rita” Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
“Kung Fu Panda 2” Jennifer Yuh Nelson
“Puss in Boots” Chris Miller
“Rango” Gore Verbinski

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
“The Descendants” Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
“Hugo” Screenplay by John Logan
“The Ides of March” Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
“Moneyball” Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin Story by Stan Chervin
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Writing (Original Screenplay)
“The Artist” Written by Michel Hazanavicius
“Bridesmaids” Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
“Margin Call” Written by J.C. Chandor
“Midnight in Paris” Written by Woody Allen
“A Separation” Written by Asghar Farhadi

Art Direction
“The Artist”
Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”

Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan

“Hugo”
Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

“Midnight in Paris”
Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil

“War Horse”
Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

Cinematography
“The Artist” Guillaume Schiffman
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Jeff Cronenweth
“Hugo” Robert Richardson
“The Tree of Life” Emmanuel Lubezki
“War Horse” Janusz Kaminski

Costume Design
“Anonymous” Lisy Christl
“The Artist” Mark Bridges
“Hugo” Sandy Powell
“Jane Eyre” Michael O’Connor
“W.E.” Arianne Phillips

Documentary (Feature)
“Hell and Back Again”
Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner

“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman

“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”
Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

“Pina”
Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel

“Undefeated”
TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

Documentary (Short Subject)
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement”
Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin

“God Is the Bigger Elvis”
Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson

“Incident in New Baghdad”
James Spione

“Saving Face”
Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”
Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Film Editing
“The Artist” Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
“The Descendants” Kevin Tent
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“Hugo” Thelma Schoonmaker
“Moneyball” Christopher Tellefsen

Foreign Language Film
“Bullhead” Belgium
“Footnote” Israel
“In Darkness” Poland
“Monsieur Lazhar” Canada
“A Separation” Iran

Makeup
“Albert Nobbs”
Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng

“The Iron Lady”
Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Music (Original Score)
“The Adventures of Tintin” John Williams
“The Artist” Ludovic Bource
“Hugo” Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse” John Williams

Music (Original Song)
“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from “Rio” Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Short Film (Animated)
“Dimanche/Sunday” Patrick Doyon
“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
“La Luna” Enrico Casarosa
“A Morning Stroll” Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
“Wild Life” Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Short Film (Live Action)
“Pentecost” Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
“Raju” Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
“The Shore” Terry George and Oorlagh George
“Time Freak” Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
“Tuba Atlantic” Hallvar Witzø

Sound Editing
“Drive” Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Ren Klyce
“Hugo” Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
“War Horse” Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Sound Mixing
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson

“Hugo”
Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

“Moneyball”
Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin

“War Horse”
Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson

“Hugo”
Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning

“Real Steel”
Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier



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A Man for All Seasons (1966) Review

11 04 2011

* I saw three films over the weekend, so as not to get backlogged, I am going to post two of my reviews today.  Also, I wanted to take a moment to address my review factors as I’m sure some of you might be wondering why I don’t have any one and two star reviews as of yet.  I try to avoid films that I think could or will be disasters.  With as many movies as I have seen and the many more that I want to see, I find that there is no reason to waste time on watching what I consider a bad film.  Of course, every so often, I do run into one and there will be a bad review for it.  However, for the most part, I try to avoid such films at all costs.

Copyright 1966 Columbia Pictures

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Anyway, let’s get on with the actual review for this film.  My girlfriend is going to kill me for what I rate this movie, as we had very differing opinions.  To be fair, however, I will say that this is definitely the type of movie that you have to be in the mood for to enjoy.  Not every day is a day for a strict drama set in the 1500s, just as not every day is right for a romantic comedy or intense thriller, etc.

A Man for All Seasons swept the 1966 Academy Awards.  In addition to its Best Picture win, it won awards for Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role for Paul Scofield, Best Cinematography (Color), Best Costume Design (Color) and Best Adapted Screenplay, among receiving nominations for Best Supporting Actor for Robert Shaw and Best Supporting Actress for Wendy Hiller.  The film was directed by Fred Zinnemann (High Noon, From Here to Eternity, Day of the Jackal, Sophie’s Choice) and was adapted from his stage play of the same name by Robert Bolt.

The story revolves around Sir Thomas More, played by Scofield, who stands up to King Henry VIII (Shaw) on moral grounds regarding the king’s decision to renounce the Royal Catholic Church.  Henry VIII was originally married to Catherine of Aragon; however, she was barren and unable to have children.  So, the King began an affair with Anne Boleyn.  Yet, at this time it was unlawful to get a divorce in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church.  Despite many efforts to lobby against the church, the king finally decides to renounce the church and start the Church of England, so as to be granted his divorce from Catherine of Aragon.  In doing so, he makes it parliamentary law to take an oath recognizing his decisions that he is head of the Church of England and that his marriage to Catherine was annulled.

More, a lawyer, is a man of devout judicial and religious beliefs.  In his heart he cannot accept that what the king has done to be right.  For this betrayal of state, he is locked away in prison and eventually beheaded.  This is a story of a man standing up for what he beliefs to be right, no matter the consequence.  The epic stature of the film with England during the 1500s as a backdrop, creates an interesting contrast to the deeply personal story of More.

Everything about this film works.  The story is excellent, the direction is perfect, the cinematography is beautiful and, first and foremost, the acting is exemplary.  Scofield, as More, is amazing.  Every scene he is in, he is able to command a presence; it is a very deserving win for Best Actor.  The supporting cast which includes Wendy Hiller, Orson Welles, Robert Shaw and a very young John Hurt, are also a joy to watch.

Like I said, this is a movie you have to be in the mood for.  If, however, you feel like an amazingly moving story of one man’s beliefs and convictions against the heads of state set against an epic, sprawling backdrop – then they don’t get much better than this.





A Soldier’s Story (1984) Review

28 03 2011

Copyright 1984 Columbia Pictures

★ ★ ★ ★

A Soldier’s Story is a 1984 film directed by Norman Jewison.  It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Off-Broadway play A Soldier’s Play by Charles Fuller.

The film centers around the murder investigation concerning an African-American sergeant on a military barracks in Louisiana near the end of World War II.  The victim, Sergeant Waters, is played by Adolph Caesar in an Academy Award nominated role.  He is a found on the side of the road with two .45 caliber bullets in his chest and there is a lot of turmoil over the case due to concern over a race war if it’s found that a white officer had murdered Waters.  To investigate, the army sends a Captain Davenport (Howard E. Rollins) from Washington, D.C.  Davenport, who is a trained lawyer and the first black officer many people at the barracks have ever encountered, presses through racism, deceit and conflicting stories to try to get to the bottom of what happened to Waters.  It is found through multiple interviews that Waters was not that good of a person in general and one who seemed to have many issues concerning his feelings towards both white and black people.  The story unfolds to find a much deeper than originally expected motive in the case concerning Waters’s murder.

Jewison, as a director, is well suited for a script of this nature.  Prior to this film, he had directed films such as In the Heat of the Night and …And Justice for All, both of which make strong statements towards equality and justice.  His handling of delicate issues is always done with a certain air of dignity which really works well for this type of film.  The script is obviously based on a stage play, as the structure is very much limited to certain locations and the majority of the narrative is based around the series of interviews that Davenport conducts.  However, though the structure of the story is confined somewhat to its stage beginnings, the execution of the film helps show more than tell some of the interview sequences and keep the viewer interested in what is happening.

The majority of the film’s actors are African-American and all of them do wonderful jobs in their respective roles.  Early appearances of celebrities such as Denzel Washington and David Alan Grier are made throughout the film.  Caesar, who plays Waters, as earlier mentioned was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for this film for which I guess I found deserving.  There was nothing spectacular to me about his performance aside from a few select scenes, but all in all it was a solid portrayal of the character.  In my opinion, however, if anyone from the film deserved a nomination, it would be Denzel Washington as Private First Class Peterson.  I felt like every second of his time on screen was entrancing and it’s no wonder from this early role that he developed into such a wonderful, well-respected actor.

I would definitely recommend this film to anyone.  It’s one of those films from the 1980s that seems to kind of evaporated a bit over time as far as public knowledge, but who’s story and performances make it a definite must see for anyone who enjoys films with justice and equality as a strong thematic motivator.








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