Monday, March 03, 2014

My Oscar picks for 2013 (13 of 24)


My success rate for Oscar picks has been 15 out of 24 in 2005, 10 in 2006, 15 in 2007, 13 in 2008, 10 in 2009, 11 in 2010, 15 in 2011, and 9 (or 8.5, given the tie in Sound Editing) in 2012. This year, after seeing a record low (just 3) of all the films nominated, my success rate was 13 out of 24. (Note: The Oscars tag the awards in the year in which the awards are given, while I date them by the year in which the films were released.)

(Underlining denotes my posted pick of deserving nominee; boldface denotes the actual winner. As in one other year, I made and posted my picks in ten minutes; however, during the red carpet ceremonies, I recalled the picks I made mentally when the nominees were announced and changed my vote on paper before the awards. In those cases, italics denote my "final answer.")

BEST PICTURE
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
The Wolf of Wall Street

BEST DIRECTOR
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave.
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

BEST ACTOR
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

BEST ACTRESS
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Sandra Bullock, Gravity

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Frozen
The Wind Rises

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Grandmaster, Philippe Le Sourd
Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis, Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska, Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners, Roger A. Deakins

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
American Hustle, Michael Wilkinson
The Grandmaster, William Chang Suk Ping
The Great Gatsby, Catherine Martin
The Invisible Woman, Michael O'Connor
12 Years a Slave, Patricia Norris

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
CaveDigger
Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

BEST FILM EDITING
American Hustle, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
Captain Phillips, Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club, John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
Gravity, Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger
12 Years a Slave, Joe Walker

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium
The Great Beauty, Italy
The Hunt, Denmark
The Missing Picture, Cambodia
Omar, Palestine

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Dallas Buyers Club, Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Stephen Prouty
The Lone Ranger, Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Book Thief, John Williams
Gravity, Steven Price
Her, William Butler and Owen Pallett
Philomena, Alexandre Desplat
Saving Mr. Banks, Thomas Newman

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Happy from Despicable Me 2
Let It Go from Frozen
The Moon Song from Her
Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
American Hustle, Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler
Gravity, Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
The Great Gatsby, Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn
Her, Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena
12 Years a Slave, Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Feral
Get a Horse!
Mr. Hublot
Possessions
Room on the Broom

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)
Helium
Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem

BEST SOUND EDITING
All Is Lost, Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
Captain Phillips, Oliver Tarney
Gravity, Glenn Freemantle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Brent Burge
Lone Survivor, Wylie Stateman

BEST SOUND MIXING
Captain Phillips, Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
Gravity, Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
Inside Llewyn Davis, Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
Lone Survivor, Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Gravity, Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3, Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
The Lone Ranger, Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
Star Trek Into Darkness, Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Before Midnight, written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips, screenplay by Billy Ray
Philomena, screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
12 Years a Slave, screenplay by John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street, screenplay by Terence Winter

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
American Hustle, written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine, written by Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club, written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
Her, written by Spike Jonze
Nebraska, written by Bob Nelson

Sunday, March 02, 2014

My Oscar picks for 2013



Last year, I saw a record 9 out of all nominated feature-length movies (and none of the shorts). This year has been more intense than usual and I have seen a record low of 3 among all nominees (Gravity, Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and Star Trek Into Darkness). Clearly, my picks are based on gut feel (and luck) not on actual viewing. My success rate for Oscar picks has been 15 out of 24 in 2005, 10 in 2006, 15 in 2007, 13 in 2008, 10 in 2009, 11 in 2010, 15 in 2011, and 9 (or 8.5, discounting for the tie in Sound Editing) in 2012. (Note: The Oscars tag the awards in the year in which the awards are given, while I date them by the year in which the films were released. Underlining denotes my pick of deserving nominee; boldface will later denote the actual winner.)

BEST PICTURE
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
The Wolf of Wall Street

BEST DIRECTOR
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave.
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

BEST ACTOR
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

BEST ACTRESS
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Sandra Bullock, Gravity

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Frozen
The Wind Rises

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Grandmaster, Philippe Le Sourd
Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis, Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska, Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners, Roger A. Deakins

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
American Hustle, Michael Wilkinson
The Grandmaster, William Chang Suk Ping
The Great Gatsby, Catherine Martin
The Invisible Woman, Michael O'Connor
12 Years a Slave, Patricia Norris

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
CaveDigger
Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

BEST FILM EDITING
American Hustle, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
Captain Phillips, Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club, John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
Gravity, Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger
12 Years a Slave, Joe Walker

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium
The Great Beauty, Italy
The Hunt, Denmark
The Missing Picture, Cambodia
Omar, Palestine

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Dallas Buyers Club, Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Stephen Prouty
The Lone Ranger, Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Book Thief, John Williams
Gravity, Steven Price
Her, William Butler and Owen Pallett
Philomena, Alexandre Desplat
Saving Mr. Banks, Thomas Newman

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Happy from Despicable Me 2
Let It Go from Frozen
The Moon Song from Her
Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
American Hustle, Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler
Gravity, Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
The Great Gatsby, Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn
Her, Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena
12 Years a Slave, Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Feral
Get a Horse!
Mr. Hublot
Possessions
Room on the Broom

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)
Helium
Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem

BEST SOUND EDITING
All Is Lost, Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
Captain Phillips, Oliver Tarney
Gravity, Glenn Freemantle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Brent Burge
Lone Survivor, Wylie Stateman

BEST SOUND MIXING
Captain Phillips, Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
Gravity, Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
Inside Llewyn Davis, Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
Lone Survivor, Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Gravity, Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3, Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
The Lone Ranger, Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
Star Trek Into Darkness, Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Before Midnight, written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips, screenplay by Billy Ray
Philomena, screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
12 Years a Slave, screenplay by John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street, screenplay by Terence Winter

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
American Hustle, written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine, written by Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club, written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
Her, written by Spike Jonze
Nebraska, written by Bob Nelson

My Oscar picks for 2012 (9 of 24)

I have got to get some free time. Here is the followup to my Oscar awards picks for last year -- right before I post my picks for this year.

My success rate for Oscar picks has been 15 out of 24 in 2005, 10 in 2006, 15 in 2007, 13 in 2008, 10 in 2009, 11 in 2010, 15 in 2011, and 9 (or 8.5, discounting for the tie in Sound Editing) in 2012. I saw a record 9 out of all nominated feature-length movies (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Brave, Frankenweenie, Hitchcock, Moonrise Kingdom, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Zero Dark Thirty), but it is not even about needing to get out more (or I would have seen those titles that went to DVD before the Oscar telecast). Basically, all but one of my picks for Lincoln (Best Actor) missed, and one time I did not select Lincoln (Production Design), it won. (Underline denotes my pick of deserving nominee. Bold denotes the actual winner.)

Best Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Lincoln
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Amour
Django Unchained
Argo

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Alan Arkin, Argo
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Amy Adams, The Master

Best Director
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Michael Haneke, Amour
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Actor
Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
Denzel Washington, Flight
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Best Actress
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Original Screenplay
Zero Dark Thirty
Django Unchained
Moonrise Kingdom
Amour
Flight

Best Adapted Screenplay
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Argo
Life of Pi
Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Animated Feature
Frankenweenie
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph
Paranorman
Brave

Best Foreign Feature
Amour
A Royal Affair
Kon-Tiki
No
War Witch

Best Visual Effects
Life of Pi
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Avengers
Prometheus
Snow White and the Huntsman

Best Cinematography
Skyfall
Anna Karenina
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Lincoln

Best Costume Design
Anna Karenina
Les Miserables
Lincoln
Mirror Mirror
Snow White and the Huntsman

Best Documentary Feature
Searching for Sugar Man
How to Survive a Plague
The Gatekeepers
5 Broken Cameras
The Invisible War

Best Documentary Short
Open Heart
Inocente
Redemption
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine

Best Film Editing
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Life of Pi
Argo
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Hitchcock
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables

Best Music (Original Score)
Anna Karenina
Argo
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall

Best Music (Original Song)
Before My Time from Chasing Ice
Everybody Needs A Best Friend from Ted
Pi's Lullaby from Life of Pi
Skyfall from Skyfall
Suddenly from Les Misérables

Best Production Design
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln

Best Short Film, Animated
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head over Heels
Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'
Paperman

Best Short Film, Live Action
Asad
Buzkashi Boys
Curfew
Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)
Henry

Best Sound Editing
Argo
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Sound Mixing
Argo
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Movies: My Oscar picks for 2012

My success rate for Oscar picks has been 15 out of 24 in 2005, 10 in 2006, 15 in 2007, 13 in 2008, 10 in 2009, 11 in 2010, and 15 in 2011, so hats off to blind intuition. Although I've seen a record 9 out of all nominated feature-length movies (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Brave, Frankenweenie, Hitchcock, Moonrise Kingdom, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Zero Dark Thirty), frankly I'll be surprised if I draw a bead on anything this year. (Underline denotes my pick of deserving nominee. Bold will denote the actual winner.)

Best Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Lincoln
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Amour
Django Unchained
Argo

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Alan Arkin, Argo
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Amy Adams, The Master

Best Director
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Michael Haneke, Amour
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Actor
Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
Denzel Washington, Flight
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Best Actress
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Original Screenplay
Zero Dark Thirty
Django Unchained
Moonrise Kingdom
Amour
Flight

Best Adapted Screenplay
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Argo
Life of Pi
Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Animated Feature
Frankenweenie
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph
Paranorman
Brave

Best Foreign Feature
Amour
A Royal Affair
Kon-Tiki
No
War Witch

Best Visual Effects
Life of Pi
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Avengers
Prometheus
Snow White and the Huntsman

Best Cinematography
Skyfall
Anna Karenina
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Lincoln

Best Costume Design
Anna Karenina
Les Miserables
Lincoln
Mirror Mirror
Snow White and the Huntsman

Best Documentary Feature
Searching for Sugar Man
How to Survive a Plague
The Gatekeepers
5 Broken Cameras
The Invisible War

Best Documentary Short
Open Heart
Inocente
Redemption
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine

Best Film Editing
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Life of Pi
Argo
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Hitchcock
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables

Best Music (Original Score)
Anna Karenina
Argo
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall

Best Music (Original Song)
Before My Time from Chasing Ice
Everybody Needs A Best Friend from Ted
Pi's Lullaby from Life of Pi
Skyfall from Skyfall
Suddenly from Les Misérables

Best Production Design
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln

Best Short Film, Animated
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head over Heels
Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'
Paperman

Best Short Film, Live Action
Asad
Buzkashi Boys
Curfew
Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)
Henry

Best Sound Editing
Argo
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Sound Mixing
Argo
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Movies: My 2011 Oscar picks (15 out of 24)

This year, I accurately picked 15 out of 24 nominees for the Academy Awards, matching my best counts for 2005 and 2007.
(Underline denotes my pick of deserving nominee though italic is a secondary pick for the likely winner if different. Bold denotes the actual winner.)

Best Picture
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
"Hugo"
"Midnight in Paris"
"The Help"
"Moneyball"
"War Horse"
"The Tree of Life"

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, "A Better Life"
George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Gary Oldman, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"

Best Actress
Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis, "The Help"
Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
Michelle Williams, "My Week With Marilyn"

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, "My Week With Marilyn"
Jonah Hill, "Moneyball"
Nick Nolte, "Warrior"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Max Von Sydow, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"

Best Director
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
JC Chandor, "Margin Call"
Asghar Farhadi, "A Separation"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, "Bridesmaids"

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, "The Descendants"
John Logan, "Hugo"
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, "The Ides of March"
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, "Moneyball"
Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughn, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

Best Animated Feature
"A Cat In Paris"
"Chico & Rita"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"
"Rango"

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

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

Best Original Song
"Man or Muppet," The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
"Real in Rio," Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Achievement in Art Direction
"The Artist"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Midnight in Paris"
"War Horse"

Best Achievement in Cinematography
"The Artist"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"The Tree of Life"
"War Horse"

Best Achievement in Costume Design
"Anonymous"
"The Artist"
"Hugo"
"Jane Eyre"
"W.E."

Best Documentary Feature
"Hell and Back Again"
"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front"
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"
"Pina"
"Undefeated"

Best Documentary Short Subject
"The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?"
"God Is the Bigger Elvis"
"Incident in New Baghdad"
"Saving Face"
"The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom"

Best Achievement in Film Editing
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Moneyball"

Best Achievement in Makeup
"Albert Nobbs"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"The Iron Lady"

Best Animated Short Film
Dimanche/Sunday
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Best Live Action Short Film
"Pentecost"
"Raju"
"The Shore"
"Time Freak"
"Tuba Atlantic"

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
"Drive"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Moneyball"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Real Steel"
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Movies: My 2011 Oscar picks

Each year, my Oscar picks are more from intuition -- an editorial sense of quantitative buzz -- than actually seeing more than a handful of the nominees. The shorts esp. are always a total blind stab (except last year, when I got time to see two-thirds of the candidates after my picks but before the Awards). Each year I hope to actually see more nominees yet responsibilities conspire to prevent it. Still, 2012 could be the ticket.

This year, I've seen 6 of the feature nominees (Bridesmaids, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Ides of March, Midnight in Paris, Rango, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes). My success rate for Oscar picks has been 15 out of 24 in 2005, 10 in 2006, 15 in 2007, 13 in 2008, 10 in 2009, and 11 in 2010. So here's to an upswing.

(Underline denotes my pick of deserving nominee though italic is a secondary pick for the likely winner if different. Bold will denote the actual winner.)

Best Picture
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
"Hugo"
"Midnight in Paris"
"The Help"
"Moneyball"
"War Horse"
"The Tree of Life"

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, "A Better Life"
George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Gary Oldman, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"

Best Actress
Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis, "The Help"
Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
Michelle Williams, "My Week With Marilyn"

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, "My Week With Marilyn"
Jonah Hill, "Moneyball"
Nick Nolte, "Warrior"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Max Von Sydow, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"

Best Director
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
JC Chandor, "Margin Call"
Asghar Farhadi, "A Separation"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, "Bridesmaids"

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, "The Descendants"
John Logan, "Hugo"
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, "The Ides of March"
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, "Moneyball"
Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughn, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

Best Animated Feature
"A Cat In Paris"
"Chico & Rita"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"
"Rango"

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

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

Best Original Song
"Man or Muppet," The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
"Real in Rio," Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Achievement in Art Direction
"The Artist"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Midnight in Paris"
"War Horse"

Best Achievement in Cinematography
"The Artist"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"The Tree of Life"
"War Horse"

Best Achievement in Costume Design
"Anonymous"
"The Artist"
"Hugo"
"Jane Eyre"
"W.E."

Best Documentary Feature
"Hell and Back Again"
"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front"
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"
"Pina"
"Undefeated"

Best Documentary Short Subject
"The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?"
"God Is the Bigger Elvis"
"Incident in New Baghdad"
"Saving Face"
"The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom"

Best Achievement in Film Editing
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Moneyball"

Best Achievement in Makeup
"Albert Nobbs"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"The Iron Lady"

Best Animated Short Film
Dimanche/Sunday
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Best Live Action Short Film
"Pentecost"
"Raju"
"The Shore"
"Time Freak"
"Tuba Atlantic"

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
"Drive"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Moneyball"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Real Steel"
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Neologisms: mathetic

Pathetic at math.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Movies: My 2010 Oscar picks (11 of 24)

Each year, my Oscar picks are more from intuition -- an editorial sense of quantitative buzz -- than actually seeing more than a handful of the nominees (or half again more this year). The shorts esp. are always total blind stabs -- though this year I got to see two-thirds of them after my picks but before the Awards. While the animated and live action shorts that won Oscars were my actual favorites, I didn't change my picks for shorts on principle because they were powerful films in their own way. Nevertheless, next year I expect to see more nominees and adjust certain picks as necessary right up to the ceremony.

To recap, I've seen 9 of the feature nominees this year (Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, How to Train Your Dragon, Inception, Inside Job, The King's Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, Tron: Legacy) and 10 of the shorts Animation and Live Action). My success rate for Oscar picks has been 15 out of 24 in 2005, 10 in 2006, 15 in 2007, 13 in 2008, 10 in 2009 -- and 11 in 2010.

(Underline is my pick though italic is a secondary pick for the likely winner if different. Bold is the actual winner.)

1. Best Picture: "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "Inception," "The Kids Are All Right," "The King's Speech," "127 Hours," "The Social Network," "Toy Story 3," "True Grit," "Winter's Bone."

2. Actor: Javier Bardem, "Biutiful"; Jeff Bridges, "True Grit"; Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"; Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"; James Franco, "127 Hours."

3. Actress: Annette Bening, "The Kids Are All Right"; Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"; Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone"; Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"; Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine."

4. Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, "The Fighter"; John Hawkes, "Winter's Bone"; Jeremy Renner, "The Town"; Mark Ruffalo, "The Kids Are All Right"; Geoffrey Rush, "The King's Speech."

5. Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, "The Fighter"; Helena Bonham Carter, "The King's Speech"; Melissa Leo, "The Fighter"; Hailee Steinfeld, "True Grit"; Jacki Weaver, "Animal Kingdom."

6. Directing: Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"; David O. Russell, "The Fighter"; Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"; David Fincher, "The Social Network"; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "True Grit."

7. Foreign Language Film: "Biutiful," Mexico; "Dogtooth," Greece; "In a Better World," Denmark; "Incendies," Canada; "Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)," Algeria.

8. Adapted Screenplay: Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, "127 Hours"; Aaron Sorkin, "The Social Network"; Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, "Toy Story 3"; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "True Grit"; Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini, "Winter's Bone."

9. Original Screenplay: Mike Leigh, "Another Year"; Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson and Keith Dorrington, "The Fighter"; Christopher Nolan, "Inception"; Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, "The Kids Are All Right"; David Seidler, "The King's Speech."

10. Animated Feature Film: "How to Train Your Dragon," "The Illusionist," "Toy Story 3."

11. Art Direction: "Alice in Wonderland," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1," "Inception," "The King's Speech," "True Grit."

12. Cinematography: "Black Swan," "Inception," "The King's Speech," "The Social Network," "True Grit."

13. Sound Mixing: "Inception," "The King's Speech," "Salt," "The Social Network," "True Grit."

14. Sound Editing: "Inception," "Toy Story 3," "Tron: Legacy," "True Grit," "Unstoppable."

15. Original Score: "How to Train Your Dragon," John Powell; "Inception," Hans Zimmer; "The King's Speech," Alexandre Desplat; "127 Hours," A.R. Rahman; "The Social Network," Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

16. Original Song: "Coming Home" from "Country Strong," Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey; "I See the Light" from "Tangled," Alan Menken and Glenn Slater; "If I Rise" from "127 Hours," A.R. Rahman, Dido and Rollo Armstrong; "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3," Randy Newman.

17. Costume: "Alice in Wonderland," "I Am Love," "The King's Speech," "The Tempest," "True Grit."

18. Documentary Feature: "Exit through the Gift Shop," "Gasland," "Inside Job," "Restrepo," "Waste Land."

19. Documentary (short): "Killing in the Name," "Poster Girl," "Strangers No More," "Sun Come Up," "The Warriors of Qiugang."

20. Film Editing: "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "The King's Speech," "127 Hours," "The Social Network."

21. Makeup: "Barney's Version," "The Way Back," "The Wolfman."

22. Animated Short Film: "Day and Night," "The Gruffalo," "Let's Pollute," "The Lost Thing," "Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)."

23. Live Action Short Film: "The Confession," "The Crush," "God of Love," "Na Wewe," "Wish 143."

24. Visual Effects: "Alice in Wonderland," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1," "Hereafter," "Inception," "Iron Man 2."

Friday, February 25, 2011

Neologisms: Tamn! Tammit!

Expletive for contaminated, impure.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Movies: My 2010 Oscar picks

Every year, I envision seeing more movies in general and more Oscar nominees in particular -- and every year, more important things come first. Also every year, I generally know which films are my Oscar picks on the day of the nominations -- except for the ones that are a total stab in the dark -- yet I barely carve out time to post them before the Awards ceremony one month later. (Last year, I scrambled to post them during the five minutes right before the show began.) So this year, I'm taking time to post my 2010 season Oscar winner picks about two weeks early, posted as of now. (Underline is my pick though italic is the likely winner if different.) Despite having seen only eight of the nominees this year so far (Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, How to Train Your Dragon, Inception, Inside Job, The King's Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3), it's more than the usual five (mostly family films). This year, I hope my success rate for picking the correct nominee in 24 awards categories turns out to be more than the average of 13 (15 in 2005, 10 in 2006, 15 in 2007, 13 in 2008, 10 in 2009).

P.S. While conventional wisdom says the winners this year appear to be extremely predictable, here is the logic I would apply even if The King's Speech and The Social Network were in every other way neck-and-neck: Which is the nobler premise -- a reluctant king finds the courage and voice to lead England at the brink of world war against Hitler and Stalin ... or a taciturn savant outsnarks classmates and designs a network where students can polish their social cred and get laid?

[2-25-11: I have since seen Oscar Shorts: Animation, Oscar Shorts: Live Action, and Tron: Legacy. I won't change my picks for shorts (or any other category) though I will italicize a few more likely winners (when different than my picks). Go Oscars!]

1. Best Picture: "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "Inception," "The Kids Are All Right," "The King's Speech," "127 Hours," "The Social Network," "Toy Story 3," "True Grit," "Winter's Bone."

2. Actor: Javier Bardem, "Biutiful"; Jeff Bridges, "True Grit"; Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"; Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"; James Franco, "127 Hours."

3. Actress: Annette Bening, "The Kids Are All Right"; Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"; Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone"; Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"; Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine."

4. Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, "The Fighter"; John Hawkes, "Winter's Bone"; Jeremy Renner, "The Town"; Mark Ruffalo, "The Kids Are All Right"; Geoffrey Rush, "The King's Speech."

5. Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, "The Fighter"; Helena Bonham Carter, "The King's Speech"; Melissa Leo, "The Fighter"; Hailee Steinfeld, "True Grit"; Jacki Weaver, "Animal Kingdom."

6. Directing: Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"; David O. Russell, "The Fighter"; Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"; David Fincher, "The Social Network"; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "True Grit."

7. Foreign Language Film: "Biutiful," Mexico; "Dogtooth," Greece; "In a Better World," Denmark; "Incendies," Canada; "Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)," Algeria.

8. Adapted Screenplay: Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, "127 Hours"; Aaron Sorkin, "The Social Network"; Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, "Toy Story 3"; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "True Grit"; Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini, "Winter's Bone."

9. Original Screenplay: Mike Leigh, "Another Year"; Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson and Keith Dorrington, "The Fighter"; Christopher Nolan, "Inception"; Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, "The Kids Are All Right"; David Seidler, "The King's Speech."

10. Animated Feature Film: "How to Train Your Dragon," "The Illusionist," "Toy Story 3."

11. Art Direction: "Alice in Wonderland," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1," "Inception," "The King's Speech," "True Grit."

12. Cinematography: "Black Swan," "Inception," "The King's Speech," "The Social Network," "True Grit."

13. Sound Mixing: "Inception," "The King's Speech," "Salt," "The Social Network," "True Grit."

14. Sound Editing: "Inception," "Toy Story 3," "Tron: Legacy," "True Grit," "Unstoppable."

15. Original Score: "How to Train Your Dragon," John Powell; "Inception," Hans Zimmer; "The King's Speech," Alexandre Desplat; "127 Hours," A.R. Rahman; "The Social Network," Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

16. Original Song: "Coming Home" from "Country Strong," Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey; "I See the Light" from "Tangled," Alan Menken and Glenn Slater; "If I Rise" from "127 Hours," A.R. Rahman, Dido and Rollo Armstrong; "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3," Randy Newman.

17. Costume: "Alice in Wonderland," "I Am Love," "The King's Speech," "The Tempest," "True Grit."

18. Documentary Feature: "Exit through the Gift Shop," "Gasland," "Inside Job," "Restrepo," "Waste Land."

19. Documentary (short): "Killing in the Name," "Poster Girl," "Strangers No More," "Sun Come Up," "The Warriors of Qiugang."

20. Film Editing: "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "The King's Speech," "127 Hours," "The Social Network."

21. Makeup: "Barney's Version," "The Way Back," "The Wolfman."

22. Animated Short Film: "Day and Night," "The Gruffalo," "Let's Pollute," "The Lost Thing," "Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)."

23. Live Action Short Film: "The Confession," "The Crush," "God of Love," "Na Wewe," "Wish 143."

24. Visual Effects: "Alice in Wonderland," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1," "Hereafter," "Inception," "Iron Man 2."

Language: No-man's words

"Chick words" that no "manly man" would ever let near his vocabulary:

cuticle
loofah
pamper
exfoliate

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Netflix: Beyond the pale's pale

Robowriter here. I am apoplectic, speechless, aghast -- though I knew by Netflix's actions (contrary to its words) that you have been prejudiced against your most active and loyal (and evangelical) customers for years. We have appreciated some measure of community features -- better a brain-dead list-making capability at Netflix than a brainstem-dead service like Blockbuster -- yet you've threatened, attempted, and now accomplished a frontal lobotomy (and you seem fine with that). I'm not being reactionary with my metaphors, just vivid.

Admit it: You have never wanted to maintain the community features in the first place or you would have invested competent and even sufficient talent. (Who in the world offers a list-making system that can't be sorted or at least alphabetized, requires individual deletions or else 2n+1 list items are lost, and returns "Successfully saved" messages for list saves that fail? Who in the world ignores documented bug reports from its most active and dedicated user base for years and dedicates no personnel to addressing such issues?)

The only reason why Netflix grew to critical mass and then to dominate the market was these community features and the evangelism that its most dedicated members have provided for a decade now -- at virtually no cost to you (mainly because you were too cheap to spend enough). Don't think that Netflix is a "build it and they will come" story -- it has been a "build it with just-better-than-mediocre community features and they will come and build quonset huts from the cobblestones and clearly differentiate us from the surrounding wasteland" story. And now that you have your burgeoning town, you want to rip down the community center just to make room for a bigger Wal-Mart?

Here are my complaints: 1) You shouldn't give value for 10 years and then take it away. 2) You shouldn't insult then dump your most loyal (evangelical, viral) customer base TO WHOM YOU OWE YOUR EXISTENCE. 3) You shouldn't claim resources are the problem when you are front-loaded with cash and customers. 4) You shouldn't lie, dissemble, or fail to apologize for same and you shouldn't show a [documented] pattern of doing so. 5) You shouldn't claim a poor design was underused when you never worked to improve the design. 6) You shouldn't be arrogant and intellectually dishonest by cloaking what you've wanted to do for years with rationalizations that don't match with reality.

I'm seeing a growing swell of your most active members replacing hundreds of their reviews with protest messages -- and your response is to completely do away with all reviews and community features? With other active "citizen members," I devised workarounds this past week that allow me to keep using the community features with a minimum of hassle -- so I chose not to protest and to try to continue in my "citizen member" tradition. But now Netflix is beyond the pale. You've not only thrown your first and your best customers under the bus but you're backing up over them too.

Apple used to have 2% of the market too. It was called "the rest of us." Look what a loyal, dedicated, and evangelical fan base can do -- for a company that proves worthy of such a fanbase with innovation and "cool factor." If Netflix strips itself of its "cool factor" and chooses to become another commodity -- then frankly I predict that cable companies like Comcast will co-opt it in the marketplace. You know that the pipeline and media companies already have their writing on the wall.

Netflix: Be "cool." Reward loyalty. Be more than a cookie-cutter commodity company -- or those who own the pipelines and the media rights will ultimately bury you. You heard it here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Netflix: Delete our posts, will you?

I'll tell you what frosts me: Not only does Netflix take away its own most valuable features -- that most distinguish it from the swill pit that is Blockbuster -- and replace them with a vapid cosmetic redesign ... but they DELETED the first 150 comments here (including my two carefully worded treatises on what Netflix members are now missing)! So not only do they want to lobotomize the system and dumb down the user experience but they want to whitewash it over so others do not know the score! Well as I said they are clearly and systematically conducting a campaign against those members who have for years brought great depth and breadth to the Netflix user experience. Without the best-written member reviews and lists, what do you have? Roger Ebert reviews and Netflix's idiotic movies-of-interest algorithms (where Blue's Clues suggests Witch Trials of Salem and blanket-marking all wrestling films as Not Interested gets you multiple suggestions for wrestling titles). Go figure!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Movies: My 2009 Oscar picks are 10 of 24

Owing to a heavy schedule, I took just 5 minutes to make my rapid-fire gut calls for the 2009 season Oscar winners below (bold is my pick though bold italic is the likely winner), posted at 5 p.m. Despite having seen only 5 of the nominees (Avatar, Bright Star, Coraline, Star Trek, Up in the Air) so far, my success rate for picking the correct nominee (underlined is the actual winner) turned out to be 10 out of 24.

Best Picture: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air.
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart; George Clooney, Up in the Air; Colin Firth, A Single Man; Morgan Freeman, Invictus; Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker.
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side; Helen Mirren, The Last Station; Carey Mulligan, An Education; Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire; Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia.
Best Supporting Actor: Matt Damon, Invictus; Woody Harrelson, The Messenger; Christopher Plummer, The Last Station; Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones; Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Nine; Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air; Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart; Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air; Mo’Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.
Best Director: James Cameron, Avatar; Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker; Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds; Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire; Jason Reitman, Up in the Air.
Best Foreign Language Film: Ajami, Israel; El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Argentina; The Milk of Sorrow, Peru; Un Prophete, France; The White Ribbon, Germany.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, District 9; Nick Hornby, An Education; Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, In the Loop; Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire; Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air.
Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker; Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds; Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman, The Messenger; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man; Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Tom McCarthy, Up.
Best Animated Feature Film: Coraline; Fantastic Mr. Fox; The Princess and the Frog; The Secret of Kells; Up.
Best Art Direction: Avatar, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Nine, Sherlock Holmes, The Young Victoria.
Best Cinematography: Avatar, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, The White Ribbon.
Best Sound Mixing: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Best Sound Editing: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Up.
Best Original Score: Avatar, James Horner; Fantastic Mr. Fox, Alexandre Desplat; The Hurt Locker, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders; Sherlock Holmes, Hans Zimmer; Up, Michael Giacchino.
Best Original Song: Almost There from The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman; Down in New Orleans from The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman; Loin de Paname from Paris 36, Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas; Take It All from Nine, Maury Yeston; The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart) from Crazy Heart, Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett.
Best Costume: Bright Star, Coco Before Chanel, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Nine, The Young Victoria.
Best Documentary Feature: Burma VJ, The Cove, Food, Inc., The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Which Way Home.
Best Documentary Short: China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, Music by Prudence, Rabbit a la Berlin.
Best Film Editing: Avatar, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.
Best Makeup: Il Divo, Star Trek, The Young Victoria. [I forgot Star Trek had aliens besides Mr. Spock.]
Best Animated Short Film: French Roast, Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte), Logorama, A Matter of Loaf and Death.
Best Live Action Short Film: The Door, Instead of Abracadabra, Kavi, Miracle Fish, The New Tenants.
Best Visual Effects: Avatar, District 9, Star Trek.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Movies: My 2009 Oscar picks

I've been really pressed under project deadlines so here are my rapid-fire gut calls for this year's Oscar winners (bold is my pick, bold italic is the likely winner):

Best Picture: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel ’Push’ by Sapphire, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air.
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart; George Clooney, Up in the Air; Colin Firth, A Single Man; Morgan Freeman, Invictus; Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker.
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side; Helen Mirren, The Last Station; Carey Mulligan, An Education; Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire; Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia.
Best Supporting Actor: Matt Damon, Invictus; Woody Harrelson, The Messenger; Christopher Plummer, The Last Station; Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones; Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Nine; Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air; Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart; Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air; Mo’Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel ’Push’ by Sapphire.
Best Director: James Cameron, Avatar; Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker; Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds; Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel ’Push’ by Sapphire; Jason Reitman, Up in the Air.
Best Foreign Language Film: Ajami, Israel; El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Argentina; The Milk of Sorrow, Peru; Un Prophete, France; The White Ribbon, Germany.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, District 9; Nick Hornby, An Education; Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, In the Loop; Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious: Based on the Novel ’Push’ by Sapphire; Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air.
Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker; Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds; Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman, The Messenger; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man; Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Tom McCarthy, Up.
Best Animated Feature Film: Coraline; Fantastic Mr. Fox; The Princess and the Frog; The Secret of Kells; Up.
Best Art Direction: Avatar, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Nine, Sherlock Holmes, The Young Victoria.
Best Cinematography: Avatar, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, The White Ribbon.
Best Sound Mixing: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Best Sound Editing: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Up.
Best Original Score: Avatar, James Horner; Fantastic Mr. Fox, Alexandre Desplat; The Hurt Locker, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders; Sherlock Holmes, Hans Zimmer; Up, Michael Giacchino.
Best Original Song: Almost There from The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman; Down in New Orleans from The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman; Loin de Paname from Paris 36, Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas; Take It All from Nine, Maury Yeston; The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart) from Crazy Heart, Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett.
Best Costume: Bright Star, Coco Before Chanel, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Nine, The Young Victoria.
Best Documentary Feature: Burma VJ, The Cove, Food, Inc. The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Which Way Home.
Best Documentary (short subject): China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, Music by Prudence, Rabbit a la Berlin.
Best Film Editing: Avatar, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel ’Push’ by Sapphire.
Best Makeup: Il Divo, Star Trek, The Young Victoria.
Best Animated Short Film: French Roast, Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte), Logorama, A Matter of Loaf and Death.
Best Live Action Short Film: The Door, Instead of Abracadabra, Kavi, Miracle Fish, The New Tenants.
Best Visual Effects: Avatar, District 9, Star Trek.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Netflix: Correction, Netflix contravenes its most active members

I realize I frequently use verbal shorthand that conflates or implies a bunch of reasons beneath one word or phrase so let me explain why I said Netflix "hates" those who use the community features:

1) Netflix point-blank announced it would eliminate multiple profiles, limiting every account to one (thus requiring families and individuals who have 2-5 profiles to purchase that many separate accounts or do without) until users' hue and cry caused them to recant

2) Despite hundreds of millions in revenues, Netflix has failed to upgrade its infrastructure to support the use of community features, causing system performance to slow to a crawl or time out in system errors for a vast majority of the time (even on fast systems), wasting countless hours of time for its most active users

3) Netflix has again tried to do away with community features by eliminating list access on the movie pages, greatly handicapping facility and access to lists in general, and so hiding and handicapping access to Friends that it couldn't be worse unless Friends were completely eliminated, and (of course the biggie)

4) Netflix sees its most active users as a drain on its profits because we watch more movies (hence the court decision that affirmed the sin of throttling, which Netflix admitted and atoned for in part with a legal settlement) instead of a net gain in revenues because of the loyalty and goodwill engendered by the many hundreds of its most active members.

So is "hate" too strong a term? Let's see:

1) Netflix intended to lobotomize multiple profiles until members objected

2) Netflix is effectively starving members who use community features (or any features beyond viewing a movie page or queue or adding to a queue)

3) Netflix has performed cosmetic surgery so as to all but cut off use of the community features

4) Netflix has worked intentionally since its founding to dilute the movie-watching, reviewing, and community participation of its most active and creative members.

(In its defense, I'm sure it's been no picnic for Netflix to deal with the sniping and spoiler wars of its most negative members, the "haters.")

So sure, "hate" is too strong a term, esp. since Netflix doesn't sink to rampant profanity. Let's just say "strong negative orientation and active policy of disentitlement or, if possible, elimination." Better?

Netflix: Netflix hates its most active members

Robowriter here. Sure, under the new fluffy airhead design I can still get to Friends by the tiny link at the bottom of the page (hm, all but hidden away like New Releases under the tiny RSS link) but it requires many more steps and is so time-consuming as to be useless. (The system has already been so slow that my extremely fast machine has not been able to call up my Notebook page for 13 months now.) Sure, I can pound a nail in with my thumb -- but why would I?

What really fries me though is the loss of the Top 10 lists on the movie page plus the link to add a movie to my lists (and esp. to see what lists it's already on). I cannot tell you how convoluted listmaking has now become. It was a tedious labor of love before but now it's four times as much tedium. I'm pretty sure I cannot continue listmaking at this pace.

I've always told everyone "Netflix rocks!" Now I can no longer say that. Why? Netflix clearly hates its most active and supportive members who give their time and enthusiasm to promoting Netflix and its movies to others. Netflix clearly hates its community features, repeatedly tries to get rid of them, and therefore its most loyal customers.

I don't mind the airy design per se. Just don't take away useful features! Removing value only alienates your customers, Netflix. Bring back the Friends tab and the Top 10 lists!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Neologisms: nigglefroutz

Endless tweaking, niggling, fuzzing, and putzing with details.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Email: Five bucks per call [EH]

Sprint did this about 4 years ago so I defected to Tmobile. With Comcast's other offenses (like degrading its HD signal) I can't imagine why they'd choose to aggravate even more customers by charging $5 to talk to a customer rep. I have already decided to avoid Comcast like the swine flu and to favor ATT or Verizon.  

Sent from my iPhone
 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Language: onomatospreia

Never could a word be more onomatopoeically spoken by Sylvester "Say It and Spray It" Cat:

viscosity

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Press: Is Twitter evil? - msnbc.com

Is Twitter evil? - msnbc.com:

"Immordino-Yang put it another way: 'If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people's psychological states, and that would have implications for your morality.'"

Neologisms: golliwog‏

Astonished, impressed. (Golly, gee whillikers, agog)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Movies: My 2008 Oscar picks are 13 out of 24

In the past four years I have yet to see more than 7 films (features and shorts) from the field of nominees before the Oscar awards ceremony. Nevertheless in two previous years, including last year when I saw only 3 nominees, I've picked 15 out of 24 Oscar awards accurately. (A sweep by Departed threw me off by 5 picks in the remaining year for a count of 10 out of 24.) This year, my Oscar picks turned out to be accurate in 13 out of 24 award categories.

This year, I took the experimental step of making alternate picks, but only an additional 7 of my second guesses were accurate. I completely missed on Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress as well as Best Foreign Language and Best Documentary Short.

My system for picking Oscar winners relies purely on intuition (and luck, which goes both ways, in the short film and original song categories). I go on buzz filtered by gut instinct with no time to do more than the usual: read the Houston Chronicle and maybe the New York Times, listen to public radio, and pick up on chatter at Netflix. (Last year I had a 6-month subscription to EW for the low price of $2, but I tossed out half of the issues unskimmed.)

Here are my 2008 Oscar picks (made January 22, except for technical and short categories made February 21) in bold italic (and alternate picks in italic), with Oscar winners underlined:

Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Actor
Richard Jenkins in The Visitor
Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn in Milk
Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

Best Actress
Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie in Changeling
Melissa Leo in Frozen River
Meryl Streep in Doubt
Kate Winslet in The Reader

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin in Milk
Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams in Doubt
Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis in Doubt
Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler

Best Animated Feature
Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
WALL-E

Best Art Direction
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

Best Cinematography
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Costume Design
Australia
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess
Milk
Revolutionary Road

Best Director
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, David Fincher
Frost/Nixon, Ron Howard
Milk, Gus Van Sant
The Reader, Stephen Daldry
Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle

Best Documentary Feature
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

Best Documentary Short
The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki
The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306

Best Film Editing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Foreign Language Film
The Baader Meinhof Complex
The Class
Departures
Revanche
Waltz with Bashir

Best Makeup
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Best Original Score
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Defiance
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E

Best Original Song
Down to Earth from WALL-E
Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire
O Saya from Slumdog Millionaire

Best Animated Short
La Maison en Petits Cubes
Lavatory - Lovestory
Oktapodi
Presto
This Way Up

Best Live Action Short
Auf der Strecke (On the Line)
Manon on the Asphalt
New Boy
The Pig
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

Best Sound Editing
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
Wanted

Best Sound Mixing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
Wanted

Best Visual Effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Doubt
Frost/Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Screenplay
Frozen River
Happy-Go-Lucky
In Bruges
Milk
WALL-E