Posts tagged “oscars

War Horse (2011)

Film #21: War Horse (2011)

For the past half-decade, Steven Spielberg has been much busier producing films than directing them. Since 2005’s Munich, the only film he directed before 2011 was the regrettable Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. Perhaps to make up for that dearth of direction, last year saw the release of two Spielberg-directed films: The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse. While the former was released to much acclaim – even taking home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature – the latter had more of Spielberg’s ‘epic blockbuster’ feel to it. War Horse received plenty of accolades itself, nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, but its sentimental tale set during World War I didn’t quite win over everyone. After watching it myself, I’m not surprised.


The Descendants (2011)

Film #20: The Descendants (2011)

George Clooney starred in two films last year: The Ides of March and The Descendants. While the former has a special place in my heart since it was filmed in Ann Arbor while I was at school there, the latter received far more critical attention. In director Alexander Payne’s film, Clooney plays Matt King, a lawyer in Honolulu who is the sole trustee of a large plot of land on the island of Kaua’i. He and his huge network of cousins are on the verge of selling the land to a native Hawaiian for development, but his life becomes complicated when his wife Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie) has a boating accident that puts her in a coma. All of a sudden, “the back-up parent”, as he calls himself, is in charge of their two daughters, 10-year-old Scottie (Amara Miller) and 17-year-old Alex (Shailene Woodley). As if things weren’t complicated enough, Alex tells Matt that Elizabeth had been cheating on him.


Midnight in Paris (2011)

Film #19: Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris is, impressively enough, Woody Allen’s 41st film. A three-and-a-half minute opening montage of Paris leads the viewer to believe that this will be a heartfelt dedication to the City of Love, similar to how Allen’s 1979 classic Manhatten was a love letter to New York. Although the film does make a point that Paris is a magical place, and protagonist Gil (played by Owen Wilson as Woody Allen’s proxy) is, indeed, infatuated with the city, Midnight‘s sentimental story has more commentary about nostalgia than anything else, along with Allen’s ever-present self-awareness of art and the artist.


Live Blogging the 2012 Oscars

Final tallies:

  • The Artist: 10 nominations, 5 wins (Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Actor [Jean Dujardin], Best Director [Michel Hazanavicius], and Best Picture)
  • Hugo: 11 nominations, 5 wins (Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing)
  • The Iron Lady: 2 nominations and 2 wins (Best Makeup and Best Actress [Meryl Streep])
  • Nobody else won more than one award! Egalitarianism ftw!

Thanks for joining my buzzed ass for these awards! Tons of fun was had, hope to be back next year!!

11:36pm: The Artist takes best picture, folks. And Uggie’s there to celebrate, decked out in a bowtie and everything.

11:33pm: TIME FOR THE BIG ONE! LET’S GO…. uh… I actually don’t feel too strongly about any one movie in this category, but The Artist is probably going to win?

11:29pm: And the best actress (period) gets the Best Actress Oscar. Meryl Streep wins for The Iron Lady, because it always pays to play a historical figure… and it always pays to be fucking Meryl Streep.

11:25pm: Best Actress might be the closest competition out of all the awards. I’m rooting for Rooney just because I have a biased love affair with GWTDT, but all of them are amazing.

11:22pm: Haha, that latest Roman-era J.C. Penney’s commercial with Ellen is the best one yet! Fuck off, One Million Moms!

11:20pm: I’m doubling down on my happiness for Jean Duhardin after that fucking acceptance speech. Just so much happiness!

11:14pm: Natalie Portman presents the Best Actor award this year. I love all the nominees, but I’m happy with Jean Dujardin winning. Gary Oldman, you still deserve one soon, man.

10:59pm: Aw, only three awards left – Best Picture and the two Best Acting awards. Thought this was supposed to go until midnight. Kinda glad it’s not.

10:57pm: That footage of James Earl Jones recording Mustafa’s voice is some awesome shit.

10:53pm: Michel Hazanavicius wins Best Director for The Artist, and makes me want to learn the French language. Also, Uggie reference! Drink!

10:48pm: All the little guy awards have been handed out. Time for the big wigs. The fat cats. The Charleston Chews.

10:44pm: Did Ellie Kemper (Erin from The Office) just present an award? I think she did. It was Best Animated Short, which went to Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

10:42pm: Best Documentary Short goes to Saving Face.

10:41pm: Yeah! They’re playing too!

10:40pm: Best Live Action Short goes to The Shore.

10:39pm: I haven’t seen ANY shorts, so I shall report on the winnings without comment.

10:38pm: Man, The Tree of Life isn’t going to win Best Director or Best Picture, so it’s not going to win anything tonight. That angers me. HOW DID IT NOT WIN BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY?! THAT MOVIE WAS CINEMATOGRAPHY!

10:36pm: How’s everyone doing? With the drinking? 5 beers in? Cause that’s where I’m at.

10:30pm: Woody Allen wins for Best Original Screenplay for Midnight in Paris. Allen wasn’t present at the ceremony – despite all of his nominations, he’s only been present once, in 2002, to tell Hollywood to keep making movies after 9/11.

10:29pm: Dude, what’s wrong with Angelina Jolie’s arms?! WHERE ARE THE REST OF THEM?!

10:27pm: YES! DEAN PELTON HAS AN OSCAR UP IN THIS BITCH! (The Descendants wins for “Best Adapted Screenplay”)

10:24pm: Billy Crystal is like “we’re all rich as hell.”

10:18pm: Yes!! Bret! I’m so happy for you! A little awkward that the camera cut to Jason Segel and Bret didn’t thank him, but whatever! Flight of the Conchords!

10:16pm: I can dig on Ludovic Bource. He has a lot of love to give.

10:13pm: I’ve heard a LOT of great scores this year. I loved Hugo‘s, but I’m hoping The Artist takes it… but, full disclosure, I’ve yet to see Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy or Tin Tin. OH BUT THE ARTIST takes it!!!

10:10pm: First bit of Uggie. I’m surprised he hasn’t been running around all over the god damn stage tonight.

10:06pm: Only 5 little guy awards left to present, and I just learned that one of them (Best Original Song) could go to Bret from Flight of the Conchords! Yeah! Get it, Bret!

10:03pm: Plummer’s speech went on for a while, but are you going to play Christopher Plummer off the stage? No, you’re god damn not.

10:01pm: And at 82 years old, Christopher Plummer becomes the oldest actor ever to win an Oscar for his role in Beginners, which I’ve yet to see. And apparently he’s only 2 years younger than the Oscars themselves. Glad he could get this recognition, very classy acceptance speech.

9:58pm: Haha, the two people I’m with tonight were both at my Oscarfest last year, and one of them is reminiscing about how Melissa Leo’s drink put her over the edge.

9:56pm: I was expecting Rise of the Planet of the Apes to get Best Visual Effects, but I should have known: Hugo takes home its fifth Oscar tonight.

9:53pm: That’s another pair of presenters where the woman is taller than the man (Emma Stone/Ben Stiller right now, Gwyneth Paltrow/RDJ earlier). No like… comment to make about that. Just an observation.

9:50pm: Hey this live blogging this is going all right, right? Right! Also there’s a ton of drinking ahead still.

9:47pm: Chris Rock was hilarious presenting the Best Animated Feature award, which ends up going to Rango. Some Johnny Depp love up in hur.

9:43pm: Undefeated wins Best Documentary. Any uh… any idea what that is? Awww, and first use of the “play these people off” music. Full on lights dimmed and everything.

9:39pm: Has anyone seen my balls? Because they just got blown to pieces by Cirque Du Soleil.

9:34pm: Muppets! Drink twice! Even if Kermit is sounding ehhhh.

9:31pm: I’m down with all these Ellen commercials. Also, just remembered that Jim Rash (Dean Pelton from Community) is nominated for a writing Oscar for The Descendants, and that makes me so excited.

9:28pm: And another one! Hugo with its fourth win tonight, for Sound Mixing… which I totally don’t remember how is different than Sound Editing right now. Also that sentence isn’t good. Also, drink! They said “Scorsese”! (of course)

9:26pm: Hugo picks up its third Oscar, this time for Sound Editing. The recipient just dropped “indefatigable”, also, which is one of the coolest words ever.

9:23pm: And now it’s time for Best Film Editing, the award that gets the least amount of the credit that it deserves. And it goes to Girl With the Dragon Tattoo! Excellent! Loved that movie, and it’s cool that these chaps won two years in a row (winning last year for The Social Network)

9:20pm: Eugene Levy and Fred Willard are exactly the type of people who would be in an Oscars video segment. But this Wizard of Oz focus group segment’s pretty funny. Probably because of them. Also one of the people I’m with thought Fred Willard was Red Forman (or whoever the actor is who plays Red).

9:12pm: Props to Miz Spencer, her performance in The Help definitely deserved the Best Supporting Actress award, no matter how smitten I was with Bérénice Bejo and Jessica Chastain. I’d also say she has the best acceptance speech so far, though Asghar Farhadi’s was heartfelt as well.

9:08pm: Iran just won Best Foreign Picture for A Separation. It’s Hollywood’s way of trying to smooth over this whole nuclear research thing.

8:58pm: The Iron Lady wins Best Make-Up. I’m gonna take that to mean that the Academy thinks Glenn Close already looka like a man.

8:56pm: Just call The Artist the trust-buster. It takes Best Costume Design.

8:49pm: First commercial break, giving my beer hand a rest. All these Hugo wins are really milking that “Scorsese” rule. Also I’ve abandoned making that line between each update.

8:45pm: Wanted Midnight in Paris to win for Production Design for its time traveling set design, but Hugo’s 2/2 now.

8:44pm: Nooo! Pissed that Tree of Life lost the cinematography , even if Gandalf Jesus did a great job with Hugo

8:42pm: Hanks is talking about the old guy that I mistook for Mickey Rooney earlier.

8:36pm: Aw, I felt like that opening segment was pretty weak. Let’s hope Crystal ups his game.

 8:30pm: Oh shit here we go!

8:15pm: But for real. Why are we giving a damn about the clothes these people are wearing?

7:36pm: All right, what’s up? I’ve never done this live-blogging stuff before. But we’re gonna do it tonight. Hoo rah.

For the record, I’ve seen all 9 Best Picture nominees and only a few other movies. I don’t yet have reviews for those nine movies up on this site, but I do have reviews of six of them:

So you can go read what I thought of those movies there. Or just wait for me to talk about them as they come up tonight.

Hope you’ve got your alcoholic drink of choice so that you can participate in the drinking game I created for the show. As you can see, I have mine. As you can also see, I’m dead effing tired. So we’ll see how well my body manages the alcohol as the night progresses.

This JAJ is a tired JAJ.

Just an hour until show time! I’m probably going to avoid the red carpet stuff. Because I really don’t care. Cheers!

Dude, what’s wrong with Angelina Jolie’s arms?! WHERE ARE THE REST OF THEM?!

Hugo (2011)

Film #18: Hugo (2011)

Hugo is unusual fare for director Martin Scorsese, whose films usually revolve around violent crimes or troubled psyches (or, in the case of Cape Fear, both). Instead, Scorsese’s latest work is an about-face, a family mystery film following its 12 year-old title character in 1931 Paris. Hugo lives within the walls of a large railway station, a drab existence resulting from an accident that killed his father (Jude Law) and the negligence of his drunken uncle (Ray Winstone). Before his father, a clockmaker, died, he infected Hugo with the wonders of machinery, especially in the case of an old broken automaton. Hoping to find some sort of message from his late father, Hugo sets to work fixing the machine with the help of Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), the goddaughter of an angry shopkeeper (Ben Kingsley) who resents Hugo for his thievery.


The Artist (2011)

Film #17: The Artist (2011)

When was the last time a silent movie came out? I certainly couldn’t tell you, and I have a degree in film studies – but after this year, any casual film fan will be able to tell you. The Artist, a French film directed by Michel Hazanavicius, is a silent film emulative of the earliest popular Hollywood era, even choosing the classic 4:3 aspect ratio instead of modern-day widescreen. It’s also set during that time period, between 1927 and 1932, and in a very Singin’ in the Rain-esque story, examines the impact that talking pictures had on the industry’s original silent stars. The Artist made a huge splash when it came out late last year, and it’s nominated for no less than ten Academy Awards at this year’s Oscars. Is it possible that all this acclaim stems from the film’s harkening back to a glamorized past of the industry? Probably a bit, but that doesn’t mean The Artist isn’t a great movie in and of itself – it most certainly is.


The Tree of Life (2011)

Film #16: The Tree of Life (2011)

The Tree of Life is probably the most controversial film nominated for an Oscar this year. It’s not controversial because of any graphic violence. It’s not controversial because of any sexual imagery. Rather, it’s controversial because some people have complained that it’s too “artsy”. Too “experimental”. People have literally walked out of theaters during the film. They’ve even demanded refunds, apparently because they didn’t “get it”. I’ve gone through the IMDb message boards for this movie, and it’s riddled with posts asking “what’s the point?”. I knew all of this before sitting down for Terrence Malick’s latest endeavor (his first since 2005’s The New World), and, as such, I was prepared for some real Stan Brakhage-type craziness.

Instead, I got a quiet, philosophical, and admittedly ambitious film that is among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.


2012 Oscars Drinking Game (infographic!)


2012 Oscar Plans and Drinking Game

EDIT: For a quick infographic with the Official JAJ 2012 Oscars Drinking Game, go here.

I’ve never posted anything besides a review on this blog, but I’m more than just an amateur film critic, dear reader – I’m a human being, too. I have dreams and desires. And plans. Plans for the Academy Awards this Sunday!

Although I’m not an indiscriminate fan of the film industry – I’ve got problems with the MPAA and the current trend for films to be painfully unoriginal, to name a few – I do make it a habit to watch the Oscars every year. It’s kind of my Super Bowl, not being into sports and all.

I usually have a few people over and we play an Oscars drinking game. Every year since I started doing this (2008), I’ve managed to catch at least all of the Best Picture nominees prior to the awards show (the exception being last year when I missed three of them – The Kids Are All Right, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone).

This year, all of those traditions were in jeopardy. I no longer live at my own place, I’ve yet to see four of the Best Picture noms, and, much to my surprise, Google couldn’t provide me with a single Oscars drinking game for the show this year.

But James A. Janisse, Analytic Critic, is no quitter. No siree.

I made accommodations as far as my living arrangements go so that I can still have some peeps over, I’m devoting the next four days to catching up on Oscar fare, and I’ve decided that I’m experienced enough in this whole “Oscar Drinking Game”  situation that I can make my own.

So come here on Sunday and join me as I live-blog the Oscars. The live-blogging will get progressively more awesome as I continuously succumb to the first-ever Official JAJ Oscars Drinking Game (2012). I’m posting my unGodly creation below so that you can join me in this inebriating affair. See you on Sunday!

The Official JAJ Oscars Drinking Game (2012)

  • Take 1 drink any time…
    • …someone mentions Uggy the dog.
    • …someone makes a (liberal) political statement.
    • …someone mentions Whitney Houston.
    • …someone says “Wow” during their acceptance speech (1 drink per “wow”)
    • …the camera cuts to Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie
  • Take 2 drinks any time…
    • …someone thanks God in their acceptance speech.
    • …someone says “Scorsese”.
    • …someone says something that gets censored.
    • …a muppet appears onscreen.
    • …Billy Crystal makes reference to his hosting experiences in the past.
  • Take 3 drinks any time…
    • …someone’s acceptance speech gets interrupted by the orchestra playing them off.
    • …someone makes a (conservative) political statement.
    • …someone makes a reference to The Tree of Life being weird, experimental, pretentious, etc.
    • …there’s a mention of Michael Fassbender getting screwed over in these awards.
    • …there’s a reference to Twilight.

And the part of the game that will really test your resilience:
For every award being given, before the winner is announced, say:
1.) Which nominee you want to win
2.) Which nominee you expect to win

  • If the winner is the nominee you want to win, congratulations! Take 1 drink!
  • If the winner is the nominee you expect to win, you’re so smart! Take 2 drinks!
  • If the winner is a nominee you neither wanted or expected to win, learn from your mistakes! Take 3 drinks!
  • If the winner is the nominee that you both wanted and expected to win, nice job! GIVE 3 drinks out to someone else! (suggestion by Reddit user ajcfood)

Good luck on Sunday to all the Oscar nominees, and good luck to all of our livers!

–James A. Janisse