Oscars 2012: One Big Yawn of Agreement

The Oscars are clearly, and arbitrarily, the most important of all the award ceremonies yet coming as they do after a dozen of similar awards are given out to the same winners, by the time the Oscars finally arrive we are suffering from award season fatigue. This is where the desire for surprising winners comes in, despite The Artist, Meryl Streep, Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer all being worthy winners writing about them winning the awards they were tipped to win isn’t all that exciting.

But is that the point? The Artist really was the best film of the past year and deserves to win all the awards it won, the list of winners is not surprising but for the first time in years it is hard to disagree with any of the choices. Let’s not gripe about predictability and just be happy that worthy winners won awards and that Eddie Murphy wasn’t the host.

I am happy that The Artist won five Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Costume Design and Best Score) leaving Hugo to pick up all the technical awards. I am happy that A Separation won Best Foreign Language Film for being an amazing drama and that Rango won Best Animated Film despite being semi-grown-up. I’m happy that Woody Allen won an Oscar for the screenplay for Midnight in Paris and showed that he remains a relevant film-maker. I’m happy that Jim Rash co-won an award for co-writing The Descendants leaving amazing-but-almost-cancelled-sitcom Community with an Oscar winner amongst its cast. I’m happy that The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore won Best Animated Short Film because, as we all know, it is damned adorable.

What I am most happy about is Bret McKenzie won the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Man or Muppet”. There has never been a more obvious (there was only one other nominee for a start) yet deserving win.

So there you have it, the 2012 Oscar awards have made me happy but weren’t very exciting. It was the award ceremony equivalent of eating a trifle (for me at least).

Out Now – 27th January 2011

The Descendants
With an overly confusing subplot about land ownership, Alexander Payne’s latest was in severe danger of losing me in its opening minutes. Luckily the main plot, in which a father reconnects with his two daughters as he hunts down the man who has been sleeping with his comatose wife (the affair was pre-coma, this isn’t Talk to Her), has enough humour and charm to save the film. From my review last October, “after the muddle at the start and a few awkward metaphors The Descendants comes together as a touching and hilarious family dramedy.”

Like Crazy
With a beautiful aesthetic, great cast, and improvised dialogue, Like Crazy is a naturalistic portrayal of a long distance relationship falling apart in spite of the deluded efforts of those involved. Sadly the realism of Like Crazy is almost too much, and I found myself as frustrated by the on-screen couple as I would be by any couple who are excessively in love and making a hash of it. My personal issues aside, this is not a terrible film and worth a look to see the moment that Felicity Jones truly arrives as an actress. Read the full review for more words, sentences, etc.

The Grey
Two hours of Liam Neeson fighting off wolves in Alaska. I had to choose between seeing this and going to a pub quiz, I think I made the right choice. SPOILER ALERT: Sarah Palin saves the day in the end, shooting down the wolves in her helicopter before throwing Neeson over her shoulder and carrying him away.

A Monster in Paris
French animated film about a monster (or giant flea) who falls in love with a cabaret singer and develops his musical abilities.

Intruders (limited release)
I think this is a horror movie starring Clive Owen in which a monster from his childhood starts to harass his young daughter. I can’t be quite sure though as the synopses on IMDb and Wikipedia are vague and confusing. HANG ON! Thanks to the BBFC I can now confirm that Intruders, “is a contemporary horror film about a monster that steals children’s faces.” As someone whose worst phobia is people with no faces I don’t think I could take this film.

House of Tolerance (limited release)
Your sexy film quota is filled this week by a French film focussing on the dynamics between women working in a Parisian brothel in the early 20th century. Expect sex, subtitles and presumably some more sex.

Acts of Godfrey (special release)
Who cares about the plot when this is the first film to be written entirely in rhyming couplets? Sadly only showing at the Vue in Shepherds Bush, you’ll need to make a special trip to see this unique British film.

Patience (After Sebald) (limited release)
Patience (After Sebald) is a multi-layered film essay on landscape, art, history, life and loss by the acclaimed documentary film-maker Grant Gee. It is an exploration of the work and influence of German writer WG Sebald, told via a long walk through coastal East Anglia tracking his most famous book The Rings of Saturn.”

Mercenaries (limited release)
“Andy Marlow, an ex British S.A.S serviceman turned mercenary, is sent into the Balkans after a military coup has arisen to rescue a U.S ambassador and his aide.”

2012 Golden Globe Awards or: Hey Look a Dog in a Bow Tie

When a dog is wearing a bow tie you know it’s a special occasion. The reason Uggie from The Artist is all dressed us is that it was the Golden Globes last night, and as they are the first award ceremony of the year we have to pretend that they matter. At least the Golden Globes has Ricky Gervais on hand to entertain and offend everyone.

My predictions were hit and miss as usual but overall I’d say the awards went to the right people. The Artist, everyone’s favourite film right now (I did a small poll last night), received Best Comedy/Musical, Best Actor (Comedy/Musical) and Best Original Score (sorry Kim Novak) and should have won every other award going.

The Descendants, a film I enjoyed but for some reason don’t want to win any awards (I’m complicated), did very well for itself taking home Best Drama and Best Actor (Drama), leaving the Oscar battle as a dead heat between The Descendants‘ George Clooney and The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin.

Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams both won Best Actress awards, seemingly proving that a great performance in a mediocre not-quite-biopic beats any other effort this year. It still remains to be explained to me just how My Week With Marilyn fits into the Comedy/Musical category. Williams and Streep should have gone head to head in the drama category, and then lost to Tilda Swinton, in my achingly pompous opinion.

A quick shout out for Christopher Plummer winning Best Supporting Actor, Woody Allen winning Best Screenplay and A Separation winning Best Foreign Language Film; three worthy but unexpected wins. Also worth mentioning Madonna’s allegedly awful film W.E. picking up the award for Best Original Song In A Motion Picture which is a token award for a film that may never win anything again, unless another awards body wants to be able to invite Madonna along to their parties.

On the TV front all is well with Best Drama, Comedy/Musical and Miniseries going to deserving series Homeland, Modern Family and Downton Abbey respectively. The fact that I have actually seen all three is almost too much excitement for me this early on a Monday.

On the acting side it’s not too surprising to see Kate Winslet taking home an award, though she may have done better work in the film catagory this year (see Carnage). Peter Dinklage and Clare Danes rightly won in their categories and Matt Le Blanc picked up Best Actor In A TV Comedy/Musical as if to show how weak that category was this year. All that remains to be said is that Damien Lewis was robbed of his rightful award by Kelsey Grammer and Zooey Deschanel by Laura Dern.

For a full list of winners click here, and for a picture of Uggie with his very own Golden Globe look no further:

He thinks he’s people!

The Best is Yet to Come: 2012

As much as we are obliged to look back over the year just gone, we are obliged to look ahead at the year just beginning. It’s always exciting to look at the next twelve months and all the exciting treats that are coming to our screens. Below are my personal picks of the films worth seeing in 2012, and I’m hoping there will be many more besides, a few gems I haven’t even heard of yet. Continue reading

2012 Golden Globes Nominations

With awards season truly hotting up we are treated with the nominations for the 2012 Golden Globe Awards. They’re an interesting bunch, a lot of the more challenging and/or smaller films have been passed by. The Los Angles Times has it spot on when they say that the nominations seem to recognise those works featuring the A-list actors, more accessible films and less dark dramas. No Tyrannosaur or Like Crazy to be found below.

What you will find is my gut reaction and my opinions for each category (apart from Best Original Song and Best Original Score as that is not my strong suit) whether you want it or not. Continue reading