Join web comic celebrities Tom Brazelton, Joe Dunn and Brandon J Carr as we live blog the 84th Annual Academy Awards in real time! Follow along or feel free to join the conversation!
Posts Tagged ‘Oscars’
I knew about five minutes into James Franco and Anne Hathaway's opening monologue at the Oscars last night that we were in for a long evening. Scripted within an inch of it's life, their words hung in the air momentarily before dropping like lead weights at their feet. The monologue became symptomatic of what would be an odd and listless ceremony. One that commanded the bare minimum of my attention.
Franco has done a good job of cultivating a very relaxed, go-with-the-flow vibe in the last year and a half. But he was practically sleepwalking through his hosting duties. That is, when he could be bothered to show up at all. From where I was sitting, it looked like Anne Hathaway was doing all the heavy lifting.
As a matter of fact, she may have been over-exerting herself. Yelling with unrestrained glee in a desperate pitch to compensate for Franco's lazy-eyed delivery. Hathaway literally yelled "WOOOOO!" like a sorority girl after almost every presenter she introduced. When she was giving high fives to the kids from P.S. 22 in Staten Island after their performance of "Over The Rainbow" at the end of the show, I was convinced the force of the blow was going to knock some of them off the stage. Franco may have been on auto-pilot, but at least he was being authentic. Not that I blame her for trying, but Hathaway was trying way, way to hard to inject energy into the ceremony where it didn't need it and it came off as unnatural.
On several occasions, Hathaway referred to her hosting alongside with Franco as an effort by the Academy to make the show "young" and "hip," but she was undone at nearly every turn. Bringing back 8-time host Billy Crystal to introduce a package showcasing the first Oscar telecast in 1953? Nothing screams "young" and "hip" like projecting footage of Bob Hope behind a podium for 10 minutes.
As far as the awards themselves, there weren't too many surprises for me. I scored 18 out of 24 on my Oscar scorecard, which I think is the best I've done in a few years. I missed the boat on Cinematography, Best Foreign Language Film, Documentary Short, Documentary Feature, Visual Effects and Supporting Actress.
I'm kicking myself for thinking Alice in Wonderland would win Best Visual Effects and not Inception. That rotating hallway fight sequence was legendary. I guess I assumed since every last frame of Alice had be manipulated in the computer in some way that it would be film the Academy would recognize.
I also should have known better regarding Supporting Actress. I picked Helena Bonham Carter for her work in The King's Speech even though I knew Melissa Leo had the inside track for The Fighter.
Typically, Best Supporting Actress seems to go to a Brit while the Academy saves Best Actress for an American. I mean, is there really any other reason Sandra Bullock has an Oscar? I was also certain that Leo's unprecedented individualized campaign would torpedo her chances. Actors NEVER campaign for themselves by taking out ads in the trades. They let the studios do that on her behalf.
Proactively battling against what Leo identified as ageism in the industry, she submitted two ads to industry publications asking them to "CONSIDER... Melissa Leo." It was an odd (if somewhat narcissistic move) that immediately turned me off to Leo as a contender.
I think that knee jerk reaction was somewhat justified when Leo went on stage to collect her Oscar from presenter Kirk Douglas. I found her feigned shock completely contrived and was amazed she was being awarded for acting, considering how badly she was hamming it up on stage. Even dropping the f-bomb felt like a calculated move to me. Cynically, I can imagine Leo thinking of ways to draw attention to herself that would guarantee prominence in post-Oscar analysis. She came off like a classless outsider trying way to hard to act genuine.
If these observations sound like sour grapes, I apologize. I caught myself at the end of the night being excessively negative about the evening on Twitter. But it looks like those criticisms have become justified in the morning light. Several reviewers are calling this year's telecast one of the worst in recent memory. In the words of Roger Ebert, "This was the worst Oscarcast I've ever endured. It's time for the Board of Governors to have a long, sad talk with itself."
What were your take-aways from this year's ceremony? Am I being unfairly harsh? Leave your comments below!
I think everyone was left scratching their heads when The Hollywood Foreign Press nominated The Tourist, Burlesque and Red for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical. But, for me, it was the final revelation that the Emperor TRULY wears no clothes.
I mean, the Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical category has always been a bit off a goof. Especially considering that the two genres have very little (if anything) to do with each other. And besides, how many musicals does Hollywood produce a year? One? Maybe two?
When you look at the nominees in this category, you begin to understand why comedic actors are rarely nominated for Oscars. Because, apparently, what counts as "comedy" in that town is REALLY friggin' subjective.
I missed the first hour of the Golden Globes because I was busy being a parent (or some such nonsense) and was reading Henry stories before putting him to bed. I kind of wish I had caught the first hour because I heard Trent Reznor won Best Score for his work in The Social Network, went on stage to collect his award and that would have been very surreal to see.
But I started watching in the second hour and after about :30 minutes, thought to myself, "I'd really rather be playing video games right now."
I managed to stick it out for the rest of the show. Chalk it up to exhaustion and not wanting to get up off the couch. But as I laid there, I asked myself "How do I get sucked into this every year? How does The Hollywood Foreign Press manage to convince me that this is important? That they're not plying all of these celebrities with booze so the can take pictures with them later? Why does this matter?"
I still haven't come up with a good answer for you on that one, but I'll be sure to get back to you when I do.
More than the nominees or the winners, it seems like people are talking about Ricky Gervais as the event's host. I guess his opening monologue was pretty incendiary and Robert Downey Jr. shot back at one point. I missed that stuff.
The stuff I did manage to see I thought was a little mean-spirited. Not that I'm against knocking celebrities off their high horses (obviously), but I've always kind of found Gervais to be insufferable. It's that snarky, know-it-all tone and ridiculous grin, I think.
No doubt that Gervais is devastatingly smart, but Gervais's put downs are never about getting the target to laugh at themselves. It's straight up insults - "You're a drunk! You can't get work! You're stupid!" - and it's not entertaining to watch.
As I pointed out on the Theater Hopper Facebook page, I was left with the distinct impression that Gervais was doing everything in his power NOT to be asked back as host next year. Mission accomplished, bro.
If you're curious, I've posted all of the Golden Globe winners in the new Theater Hopper blog - Bonus Materials. Be sure to check that out. I float a lot of odds and ends in there, so be sure to check back often. Or, feel free to subscribe to the Theater Hopper RSS feed. The blog posts show up there as well.
In the meantime, did you watch the Golden Globes last night? Were you as flummoxed as I was? What is your reaction to the nominees and the winners? Leave your comments below!
According to All Headline News, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are boycotting the Oscars this year because they were offended by co-host Anne Hathaway's impersonation of Holmes when she hosted Saturday Night Live in November.
Quote All Headline News:
A source told the Daily mail, “Tom and Katie don’t want to cross paths with Anne. They used to be friends and took Anne to a Tina Turner concert in 2008 when Anne split up from her boyfriend Raffaello Follieri.”
“Katie feels they were really supportive at a difficult time so she feels let down that Anne took to national TV to make fun of her.”
“Anne didn’t even warn her it was going to be on TV.”
If you missed the sketch in question, Hulu still has it up on their site:
Personally, I thought the impersonation was fairly accurate and I remember it being well-received when reviews of Hathaway's turn as host came in.
This leaves me to wonder, "Exactly how thin-skinned are Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes?" Considering the rest of the world now thinks of Katie Holmes as some kind of brainwashed Stepford Wife, Hathaway's impersonation of her was fairly tame. To me, it came of as much more playful - almost affectionate.
If nothing else, this raises Hathaway's cool-quotient in my book by, like, a million points. Pissing off Tom Cruise for fun and profit? WIN!
What's your take?
I don't know how you guys were raised, but when you have a television telling you things you don't want to hear, you toss it out the window.
When you have a friend telling you things you don't want to hear, well, same goes...
I really wish I could have talked about the new Iron Man 2 trailer sooner. I think after my extended run of Iron Man comics in 2008, people have come to associate me with the franchise very closely. People expect that I will have something to say about it. And, well, I do.
But first, here's the trailer in all it's glory (in the unlikely event that you haven't seen it yet.)
Okay, first thoughts? SUITCASE ARMOR?!?!? YESSSSSS!!!
Seriously, folks, if you're not a fan of Iron Man, you don't know what a big deal that is. For years, Tony Stark was known to travel with a briefcase that contained the boots, gauntlets and helmet of his armor. He wore a chest piece under his clothes and his arms and legs would then be covered by a pliable mesh that would then harden when the armor was sealed.
It was totally impractical and goofy considering A.) You'd never be able to fit a helmet, two gauntlet and two boots into a standard-sized briefcase and B.) Wouldn't people see the ridges of the chest piece sticking out through Stark's shirt? But you went with it because, you know, it was a comic book.
The producers of the movie took a somewhat silly concept and made it alarmingly practical. Instead of the armor being inside the briefcase (or, in this instance, suitcase) they made the SUITCASE ITSELF the armor?! Friggin' brilliant. Why someone at Marvel didn't figure that one out years ago is beyond me. You gotta think there are some old school Iron Man scribes slapping their foreheads over that one! I can't wait to see this new armor in action.
I know that geeking out over the suitcase armor seems like a very specific thing to concentrate on. But to me, it's indicative of the care and affection the producers have for the character. They didn't need to throw in the suitcase armor. If they wanted to throw a shout-out to the geeks, they could have thrown in the Stealth Armor or maybe the torso of a Hulkbuster Stark is working on in his garage. Whatever.
But to include the suitcase armor, give it prominence in an action sequence AND make it practical? That's special. And, giving it the red and silver color scheme of the Silver Centurion armor was a nice touch, too.
As for the rest of the trailer, I think it's expertly cut together and certainly generates a lot of excitement. But I'm concerned that it establishes too much of a narrative flow. Watching it, I kind of got the sense I knew how the story was going to shake out. I hope they can squeeze in a few more surprises, but I'm starting to become concerned that I might have to enter "lock-down mode" a little early. Iron Man 2 doesn't come out until May 7. That's going to be a long time to wait!
Of course, I have all of the new Iron Man 2 merchandise to keep me company until then. I have a problem, people. How bad is it? I saw a circular for Toys R' Us in the newspaper on Sunday that said new Iron Man 2 toys were on sale and I went over my lunch hour on Tuesday to pick up a bunch of new figures. I'll have to take a picture. They're pretty sweet. In fact, I should take a picture of my office sometime. It's littered with Iron Man figures. Probably 50 or more. It's sick.
I KNOW you guys have an opinion about the new trailer. So let's open up the conversation in the comments area below. Tell me what you think of the Iron Man 2 trailer. Fire away!
Tom and Cami probably should have thrown that television out the window a decade ago. 2010 and they're still using rabbit ears? Get with the program!
I will admit that today's comic would have had more impact if it were paired with the Oscar recap that I penned on Monday. But you guys know the circumstances of why THAT didn't happen.
That said, I couldn't let the idea of this comic go. I still wanted to go forward with it rather than not leave a record within the comic's continuity that the 82nd Annual Academy Awards had happened.
Although, looking at the media landscape 3 days later, it almost feels like it didn't. I continue to be amazed by how fast the media and our culture synthesize and process these events. By now, Sunday night's broadcast is old, old, OLD news. I'm not seeing anyone talk about them now.
Maybe it's the media. Maybe it's the culture. Maybe it's just that there wasn't anything that memorable about the broadcast. Except that's not true when you consider that crazy lady with the bozo haircut that interrupted Best Documentary Short winner Roger Ross Williams.
People had their fun with it, I guess. The late night hosts ran a couple parodies that I saw. But they're not talking about it any more. I don't know. How could you expect them too and have them still be relevant?
Certainly something no one is talking about 3 days later is Katheryn Bigelow's win for Best Director. Considering she's the first woman to be recognized with the honor, you'd think it would be a bigger deal.
Remember when Denzel Washington and Halle Berry won Best Actor and Best Actress? It seems like we were talking about that for a while before the sturm and drang subsided. Maybe Bigelow doesn't want to make as big a deal about it. Maybe she's limiting her accessibility. Or maybe it's just not that big of a deal. It probably shouldn't be. More women should be nominated. More women should win. Heck, more women should be out there directing! Calling attention to the "First Female Director To Win An Oscar" probably makes the idea of the honor less commonplace than it should be.
All I know is that being sidelined with a migraine this week has thrown me off-pace from what I REALLY want to talk about - The new Iron Man 2 trailer.
Believe me - Come Friday, I will have A LOT to say about it. Be sure to be here for that!
Until then, danke schoen.
Yesterday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it would be widening the field of nominees for Best Picture from 5 to 10.
When I first heard the news I though, "Hmm, that's interesting." But the more I think about it, the more upset I become.
This isn't the first time the Academy has nominated 10 films for Best Picture. In fact, it was par for the course when the awards show was created back in the 1930s and was a practice they continued well into the 1940s.
But the big difference these days is that there are FAR fewer studios producing movies and a much smaller number of films being released each year. Also, the Oscar's weren't broadcast until 1953. So what's the real reason behind widening the field to 10?
Follow the money.
If you ask me, this is all one huge money-making scheme. 10 films get nominated and now 10 films are "must see" in the theater. If you don't catch them in the theater, now studios can slap the "Oscar nominated" title on the DVD and claim their film is an avatar of quality. If you don't catch it on DVD, maybe you'll watch the Oscar broadcast because - hey - something is new and different! Nevermind all of the entertainment media that will now be forced to write about, speculate, categorize, rank and rate 10 Best Picture nominees.
Remember the Oscars last year when they didn't have a host and instead had actors come up and give little speeches to the nominees about how great they are. Remember that Zac Efron was one of those presenters?
Yeah... this 10 nominations thing is just another gimmick, but on a much larger scale.
My question is, if they're going to nominate 10 films for Best Picture, then why not 10 nominees for Best Director? How many films have won Best Picture without their directors winning in their categories? Why not 10 Best Actors, Best Actresses?
Some of you probably think that 10 Best Picture nominations is a good thing. Would Wall-E or The Dark Night have been nominated last year under this structure? Will this open the door to more independent movies being recognized by the Academy and a larger audience? Perhaps.
But if they're going to widen the field this far, then the Academy needs to get ride of "ghettoized" categories like "Best Foreign Language Film," "Best Animated Feature Film" and "Best Documentary Feature." All of them are ridiculous categories to begin with and treats their genre's like second class citizens. Any of the films nominated in those categories can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with films from other genres.
Well, except Bolt. Seriously, what were they thinking nominating that last year?
What the Academy fails to realize - especially when they attempt these naked gimmicks to boost their ratings - is that movie goers haven't lost interest in because they've become bored with the tradition. If anything, that's THE REASON they huddle around their television each year.
No. People have become disenfranchised from the Oscar's because their choices reflect no sincerity, originality or taste. That, coupled with the fact that a Best Picture nomination has become a political campaign among the studios to jockey for a position at the end of the year that will increase their odds of the Academy (and their narrow memories) to nominate their films.
The Reader, for example, was sent to theaters in limited release on December 10 to meet the Oscar deadline but wasn't released wide until January 9. By then, reviews were ancient, no one was talking about it and demand for the film was nil. It barely reached middle America except in a few art houses. How are we supposed to get excited for a film like this when there is no opportunity to see it?
If this change results in sincere diversity among the Best Picture nominees, then I will happily eat crow. If Up is nominated alongside The Hurt Locker, no one will be more pleased than me.
But I see no reason for the Academy's decision to remotely change how Hollywood does business. The studios have a formula and they're sticking to it. The rest of us are just along for the ride.
What is your reaction to the Academy's announcement? Are you excited for the change of pace or do you thing the Academy has an ulterior motivation. Do 10 Best Picture nominations dilute the value of the Oscars or is the trophy bragging rights and not an indicator of true quality?
Leave your comments below! Let's get a dialogue going!
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Yeah! Ha, ha, ha! Take THAT People's Choice Awards! I hope you packed a lunch because I just took you to school!
Okay, so... maybe The People's Choice Awards really isn't that big of a deal. Still, it beats having to talk about another Saw movie for the fifth year in a row!
This strip is a continuation of Tom's insistence of a Best Actor nod for Robert Downey Jr.'s performance in Iron Man from Wednesday's comic. I didn't really envision more than one strip when I wrote the first one until my friend Joe asked me if there was going to be a longer storyline.
I mean, I guess I could see where the punchline for Wednesday's comic kind of set things, but I'm seriously just flying by the seat of my pants, here. I could probably do another strip on Monday. It depends what you guys think. Do you guys want to see where this goes or do you want me to do a strip about Zach and Miri Make A Porno? Halloween is next week. Should I do a Halloween strip instead? Send me an e-mail and tell me what you think!
Nothing much to talk about this weekend, movie-wise. Saw V is going dominate and that's that. *YAWN* Personally, I'm kind of interested in seeing Pride and Glory. I know I shouldn't be, though. It looks like such typical tough guy police corruption boilerplate. Like Joe said during The Triple Feature on Monday, it looks like We Own The Night: Part 2. Nevermind this movie has been on the shelf for 8 months after being completed. That's typical a bad sign.
But still, I'm almost always interested in what either Ed Norton or Colin Farrell do and I think a pairing of the two actors is long overdue. Farrell experienced some over-exposure a few years back and I guess it led him to treatment for his alcoholism. I'm interested to see how that has affected his acting and intensity. Plus, it's directed by Gavin O'Connor, which I'm sure means nothing to you. But he also directed the Kurt Russell Olympic hockey movie Miracle a few years back and I thought he did a really great job with that movie. It's one of those films I quietly appreciate because I'm not typically interested in sports movies. What can I say? That one got to me.
At any rate, I might try to sneak out and see it this weekend if I've got nothing else going on.
That's all for today. Thanks for checking the site and I hope you have a great weekend! See you here on Monday!
For the record, Julie Christie is a total G.I.L.F.
Then again, maybe some thoughts are better kept to yourself.
I don't know how today's comic became a commentary on the overabundance of opinions in the digital age, but I don't think the observation is any less true.
You can't swing a USB mouse online without being confronted by someone else's opinion about something. Truthfully, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We seek it out. When we buy a new camera, we want to learn about someone else's experience with it. When we hear about the latest celebrity scandal, we check our favorite blogs to have our disgust validated by someone with a more erudite sense of humor.
The downside to all of this is that it creates a Critic Culture. Just like I pointed out in the comic, everyone has an opinion and no one can be wrong.
It may be a moot point when it comes to something like the Oscars since winners have always been chosen by industry people - members of the Academy or Motion Arts and Sciences.
Still with the annual cottage industry set up around the Oscars, all of the articles written, the handicapping, the predictions, the red carpet coverage, the dissection of fashion - it's become more than recognizing achievement in film. And between the internet and cable television, there are a lot of hours to fill with opinions about all of it. Audiences asorb it and become part of the process. They start spouting off their own opinions. Is anyone an expert on anything anymore? Would you trust them if they claimed they were? Probably not. It won't be long until every awards ceremony basically becomes a blown up version of the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards.
Maybe that's not such a bad thing? Certainly no one is taking them seriously now. I mean, the lowest rated telecast in Oscar history? Yikes. Either people are starting to see through the charade the Oscars have become (do we really need so many montages during the show?) or true movie fans are a dying breed.
The Academy made some interesting choices this year. A lot of indie fare that most people didn't get to see. So blame the Academy or blame the audience. Me - I blame the Critic Culture.
The one I proudly represent.
I kind of painted myself into a corner with today's comic because, originally, the set up required there to be some kind of massive upset at last night's Academy Awards ceremony. The only problem, there were no real upsets! Pretty much everyone who was supposed to win, did. There weren't really any awards handed out that I was upset with. I didn't finish watching the show thinking anyone was snubbed or robbed. So I had to reconfigure the point I was making a little bit, but I think it comes off well.
Discussing today's comic with Cami, I actually hit up a little mini-arc that addresses some of the politics behind the Oscar voting as well as attempt reveal some truth about persona biases.
That sounds pretty lofty. It's not high-concept, or anything. I'm just trying to give you the head's up that there will be a mini-arc this week. So if that gives you an excuse to come back to the site on Wednesday and Friday, feel free to use it.
Thinking back on last night's show, the only real upset I can recall is French actress Marion Cotillard winng her first Academy Award for her portrayal of singer Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose. Then again, Best Actress is always a crap shoot anyway. And - not to be xenophobic - the award hardly ever goes to an American actress, so I just kind of ignore it.
I was pleased beyond reason that "Falling Slowly" from Once won Best Original Song. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's performance made me want to stop what I was doing and watch Once all over again - easily my favorite movie last year.
Beyond that, nothing much to get excited about. Certainly it was obvious that there weren't any huge blockbusters or A-level celebritires like Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts being celebrated. I'll be curious to read about the ratings sometime today.
But when your Best Picture nominees include downers like There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men, it's likely to ostrisize the casual movie goer. Maybe that's a good thing? More left over for the die-hard fans?
We discussed these issues and more on a special Sunday night recording of The Triple Feature over at TalkShoe. Gordon, Joe and I hopped on the line immediately after the Oscar telecast wrapped up and we shared our immediate impressions. You should really think about downloading a copy of the show. We kept it brief - 30 minutes since we recorded on a day we don't typically record. It's a good introduction to what we do. If you have a chance, give us a listen!
That said, we still have ANOTHER broadcast going on this evening. The three of us will be talking about NEW movies tonight including Be Kind, Rewind, Vantage Point and the recent multiple cast announcements for the upcoming Wolverine: Origins.
So be sure to tune in tonight at 9:00 PM CST for another episode of The Triple Feature! See you there!
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