Friday, January 28, 2011

Considering this blog is, among other things, an ode to my undying love for all things pop culture (I mean, hello, I'm watching Sex and the City as I write this), I thought I'd start with my thoughts on this week's Oscar nominations...

Seeing that the 'The King's Speech' garnered more nominational love than 'The Social Network' my prediction is that Speech will win picture, while Fincher will take home director honors, akin to the year 'Crash' beat out 'Brokeback Mountain' (which still stings), but Ang Lee took Director.

Speech is a lovely film with stellar performances, a story of triumph, and a friendship of such beauty it could only be fictional, only it's not. I knew I was going to cry at least once going into the film, but was surprised by how truly moved I was. Okay, to be honest, I haven't actually seen Speech yet, but I feel like I have and that's why it will probably win. It's a period drama, British to boot, and safe. Unlike Network which may not be about serial killers, but really is as dark and moody as any other Fincher film you're likely to see. Network is truly about something shaping our present and our future and we know those movies never get the Academy's love. Why deal with the unknown of the future when the past is so pretty and...past?

Colin Firth pretty much has a lock on best actor, which is just fine with me, especially since it'll be like he's winning for last year's A Single Man, as well, a quiet, haunting performance that was literally heartbreaking. For me, he will always be Mr. Darcy emerging from the water in wet shirt and scowl.

And while I love me some Annette Bening I'm afraid not even she can beat the media juggernaut that is Natalie Portman. Don't get me wrong, I won't be disappointed if Natalie takes Best Actress for Black Swan. I thought she was quite exceptional actually; fragile, feral, and frightening (this sentence has been brought to you by the letter 'F').

I just kind of love Bening's complete oeuvre (oh yeah, breakin' out the francais). She's never been afraid to play characters who are unlikable, but who also somehow elicit our sympathy in the end (see American Beauty, Mother and Child, and even The Kids Are Alright). I love her for not being all botox-y. I love her for her short, spiky hair, her bookish glasses, and for her marriage to Warren Beatty. I know that last one might seem like a strange reason, but I think it takes one awesome woman to marry such a notorious ladies man and then have four kids with him. That standing ovation she got at the Golden Globes...I bet you all those folks are thinking the same thing.

While Portman gets my love not only because she is a fellow Jewess and my birthday twin, but because she chooses roles in challenging films like 'V For Vendetta,' 'Closer,' and 'Black Swan,' and up until now, has kept her private life private. Which is why I'm concerned for her. Hugely successful and acclaimed film, multiple awards, cute dancer fiance, baby-on-the-way, $20 million opening in January. She's having a run similar to Sandra Bullock's last year and we all know what happened there....

Celebrity is a twisted deal with a greedy devil. Is an Academy Award and your pick of any script for the next ten years really worth being unable to go outside unaccompanied or take your dog for a walk without having your picture snapped a bazillion times? I'm not claiming celebrities don't get what they ask for or that working a couple of months a year, having all your needs tended to, plus all that money is some hardship. I'm just saying that often when someone has been famous for years, but then suddenly their fame reaches a new level whereby their visage is splashed across countless magazine covers and they have paparazzi hiding in their backyard foliage, their career can take on the makings of a prison, albeit a swanky one with fancy clothes and nice shoes. Just ask the kids from the 'Twilight' about the fame monster taking over.

Christian Bale appears to be another lock for 'The Fighter.' By playing a real-life person with a drug problem that he lost serious weight to play he achieved the acting trifecta. The only way I see him losing is if the Academy punishes him for being a surly bad boy who upon occasion smacks his mom and sister around. If he does lose it will most definitely be to Geoffrey Rush. Personally, I would love to see Mark Ruffalo get the statue for portraying the mellow and carelessly sexy Alice Waters-esque restauranteur/sperm donor in 'The Kids Are Alright.' He just makes being irresponsible look so damn inviting. Of course, if I had a friend and they were dating him I'd surely say, "Run!" But that's why I like the movies.

Supporting Actress...I'm all about Melissa Leo, a journey-woman who was so fine for all those years on 'Homicide: Life on the Street' and in a little seen, but devastating indie called 'Frozen River.' Amy Adams has plenty of time to win her own and Helena Bonham Carter...well, no one really wants to see Ms. Mismatched shoes and crazy bird's nest hair get up there, do they?

For once, I am invested in the musical categories. Would love to see Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross win for soundtrack for Social Network. Following the pitch-perfect, dialogue rich opening scene between Jesse Eisenberg and Rooney Mara, we see Eisenberg angrily trudging back to his dorm and the eerie, but beckoning music so sets the film's tone it instantly becomes its own character.

Rollo and Dido, the brother and sister duo of Faithless, a favorite group of mine, are nominated for best song for '127 Hours.' Them winning would just be too cool to actually happen, but here's hoping. Incidentally, the song that begins the movie, 'Never Hear Surf Music Again' by Free Blood, is fantastic, pure Danny Boyle drop-kicking you right into the story.

Well, until February 27th...