Hey guys, Gelo here! Remember, in my last post, when I said I would change things up? Well, this is it! I would like to introduce you to my new partner-in-crime! Say Hi to LANCE!
Lance: Hey guys! Looks like I’ll be handling previews and feature articles. It’s a real pleasure to work with you here, writing about movies with fellow film lovers. So Gelo, how are we gonna start things? The Oscars finished up earlier this week, and I was thinking of discussing the event. You know, like the winners, snubs and all that… No Red Carpet fashion please!
Gelo: Hahaha, nah, we won’t do the fashion bit. Let’s just go over some of the awards, our own picks, and how we felt about the winners.
Lance: Alright then. Let’s gets started with the more obvious award winners.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
Gelo: Anne Hathaway was brilliant in Les Mis. I mean, with just a short role, she was able to make a chilling performance acting out the pain she was going through. Acting chops, undeniable. Singing voice though…. debatable.
Lance: I can’t agree more. Well, there’s nothing more I can add since every awards show has said the same thing. Although she put on a great performance acting civil in her interview with PhilSTAR’s Ricky Lo.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
Gelo: Where the hell do I begin? The man made the performance of the DECADE as Col. Hanz Landa of the SS in Inglorious Basterds. Tarantino once said that that role was almost impossible to play. So hard in fact, he thought that only Leonardo DiCaprio had the acting chops to do it. But he found Christoph and from there, cinematic magic was made. I was not surprised at all when I saw their next collaboration and I saw how brilliantly he performed. No question. Waltz earned this one.
Lance: Well, here’s Christoph Waltz winning another award for a supporting role in a Quentin Tarantino movie. I could have just stopped there but an acquaintance of mine quipped that he’s just using the same acting techniques but in a reverse role. True, there’s that case that Christoph isn’t really bringing something terrifyingly new, but he’s forgetting that Christoph plays the good guy with the same intensity as he did when he played the bad guy in Inglorious Basterds. You’ll root and cheer for him here just as how much you wanted to carve a swastika on his forehead as Col. Hanz Landa.
BEST WRITING, SCREENPLAY WRITTEN DIRECTLY FOR THE SCREEN: Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
Gelo: I’ve heard people tell me that Tarantino movies are all about gore and violence. I call bullshit. Think back to the most memorable moments in Tarantino films. Barring Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2, it’s always been the dialogue. Who can forget the “Royale with Cheese”, or the “That’s a Bingo!” line from Inglorious Basterds, or one of my favorites from Death Proof.
Gelo: My point is, Tarantino is an amazing writer. More than the guns, the violence, this is what has made his films stand out, and it is about high-damned time that he got recognized for it. Spot on, Academy. Good Pick.
Lance: There was some talk that Tarantino was being way too egotistic with his acceptance speech. If you haven’t seen Django Unchained, you’ll probably call him a d-bag but to those who have learned that the ‘D’ in Django is silent, you’d agree with me that he deserved to pat himself at the back.
BEST ACTOR: Daniel-Day Lewis (Lincoln)
Lance: I just think it’s unfair for all the other actors who are nominated in the same category as Daniel-Day Lewis because of the fact that they are all actors competing with the character.
Gelo: Competing with the character? What’s that supposed to mean, man?
Lance: You know how Daniel-Day Lewis famously takes method acting to the next level? It’s like Hugh Jackman or Denzel Washington versus President Lincoln himself.
Gelo: Ahhhh… Yeah. I agree with you there. Daniel Day-Lewis is basically the male Meryl Streep. He’s gonna be nominated for these things well into his old age. This guy is just insanely great… or greatly insane, depending on how you look at it.
Lance: Yup, although Daniel has a much better Win-Loss ratio compared to Streep.
Gelo: Shut up. I love Meryl Streep. Next Award.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT FOR MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES, ORIGINAL SONG:
Skyfall – Adele, Paul Epworth (Skyfall)
Gelo: What can’t Adele sing? She took the Bond theme back. Back to classics like Diamonds Are Forever, and Goldfinger. She made a theme that sent chills down my spine, one that signalled the return-to-form of Bond. Whereas the last few Bond Themes, Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name”, or Alicia Keyes’ and Jack White’s “Another Way to Die”, or that god-awful “Die Another Day” that Madonna made, seemed to have a modern flavor, this brought back the class to the whole damned movie. Granted, I’m a Bond fan, so this may be a bit biased. But this song is easily one of my top 3 favorite Bond themes of all time. So it definitely deserved this win.
Lance: Adele was outstanding! But really, anything’s better than “Another Way to Die”. What the hell was that…
Lance: Now, I want to discuss the awards that yielded unpredictable results. The good thing about this year’s Oscars is that no film monopolized the awards. There was more or less an equal amount of wins per film unlike the year of the third Lord of the Rings installment.
Gelo: Yeah… But that was kind of deserved. No bashing Lord of the Rings. EVER. Man… I’m starting to regret bringing you in on this.
Lance: *sipping noisily and nervously on the remaining crushed ice from an empty Mocha-Latte*…. Let’s just go straight to the next topic, yeah?
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi)
Lance: I thought Deakins should have won the award for Skyfall. I mean, the guy totally upstaged the Bond film’s own director. Seriously, Michael Bay could be the director and it would still look the same… plus some excessive explosions… What do you think? Did Life of Pi deserve the award?
Gelo: Hell yeah it did. No disrespect to Skyfall, that Shanghai fight scene in the sky scraper was fantastic, and the Train bursting through the tunnel was beautiful, but Life of Pi looked like a string of paintings put together. It was one of the few times, I think, when the visuals were so over-powering that the story kind of lost power. The narrative of it could have been better, but the shooting was superb.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Brave
Gelo: Normally, I’d put Pixar head-and-shoulders above the rest, (well, aside from Cars 2… *shivers*) but Wreck-It-Ralph made a great case for itself this year. You can really see John Lasseter’s handy work get into this thing. See, for those reading, John Lasseter was the head of Pixar studios from the days of Toy Story, to Finding Nemo, to Wall-E and Up. Recently, Disney got him from Pixar and put him in charge of Disney Animation, and the result was Wreck-It-Ralph, a movie that I thought was a game-cash in, but turned out to have some legitimate heart in the story. So yeah, it’s a toss-up.
Lance: For me, it should have been Paranorman. I found Brave very mediocre and although I could say that Wreck-It Ralph is best film about video games, Paranorman was different kind of gem because of the way it tackled dark and mature themes. With such grace and tact, it turned elements of violence, death and loss to a heart-warming and endearing movie without foregoing what would classify it as a children’s film. When Up came out, it was groundbreaking not only for the imagery but for its take on sad and very serious themes; very different from Disney’s usual “Be yourself” or “Love conquers all” theme. I mean, can you picture something with zombies, gay characters, dead loved ones and child execution aimed at children?
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Amour
Gelo: Uh… Didn’t see any of these…
Lance: … Me neither… Wanna go to the next-
Gelo: Yep, definitely.
BEST WRITING, SCREENPLAY BASED ON MATERIAL PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED OR PRODUCED: Chris Terio (Argo)
Gelo: Argo was pretty well written, but so was Silver Linings Playbook. This is one of those times when we have a legitimate toss-up, and really, it depends on what you like more. Which one would the Academy of MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES like more? A film about a guy who gets people out of Iran as a FILM CREW, or a romance/drama/comedy between to generally unstable people? I mean, you’d think they’d go with what they experience more often in Hollywood. But no, they went with the film crew thing.
Lance: I think it should have been Silver Linings Playbook. Really good dialogue and story and it presented bi-polar life so earnestly well.
BEST ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Lance: Jessica Chastain for me. She was able to portray a naive agent so realistically and then grow-up to be a stern, confident and almost heartless woman with believability. And that scene in the end where she cries after the whole operation was just the icing on the cake.
Gelo: I had a conversation with a filmy friend of mine recently:
Friend: Ew, how did X-men Hunger Games girl get nominated for best actress?!
Me: You do remember she was in Winter’s Bone, right?
Friend: Oh yeah…. she was pretty good there… wasn’t she…
The thing is though, this is a hard award to pick, they were all great performances, and no one really stood out to me as a clear, decisive winner. I liked Jennifer Lawrence here too. But in the end, I’m gonna say that I agree with you there, Lance. Chastain was more interesting a character for me, but I can see why they’d go for Lawrence. She nailed her performance, and is slowly but surely becoming Hollywood’s “It Girl”, and this won’t hurt the Academy’s standing with the young viewers either. (Just sayin’… *whistle whistle*)
BEST DIRECTOR: Ang Lee (Life of Pie)
Gelo: See, this is the kind of movie Ang Lee should be directing, not The Hulk (*uncontrollable spasm of sadness and disgust). The man has an amazing ability to capture emotion, and he did so here. Among the nominees, it was between him and Spielberg, and I think that Lee just hit the perfect film at the perfect time. With regard to the choice of nominees however…
Lance: I hated this category. Both Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were snubbed for a nomination even though both were in the Top 5 best films on everybody’s list. But anyway, given the nominations, it’s an easy win for Ang. I haven’t seen Amour but I think the storm sequence at the start required insane directing skills compared as to let’s say, two old people talking. Man is Austria gonna hate me…
BEST PICTURE: Argo
Lance: So here we are with our last award. The only Top 10 Films list in the world that doesn’t include The Avengers.
Gelo: There goes our readership.
Lance: Yup, it’s skyrocketing. (Gelo: *facepalm*) Let’s start. Did I want Argo to win? No. I think the film that deserved the Oscar was Zero Dark Thirty. Being the only two nominated “based on a true story” Best Picture films this year set in the middle east, Zero Dark Thirty and Argo were just begging to be compared. Argo was a great film and a thrilling one at that but it had to obscure the facts just to make the end more exciting. Although to be fair, that scene in the airport was very entertaining and heart-pounding at the same time. Zero Dark Thirty on the other hand didn’t need to alter the real events just to make it more entertaining. Kathryn Bigelow stuck to the facts. We all know Bin Laden died in the end and it took quite a number of soldiers to kill him but the directing was just so good that it still retained the suspense and thrill associated with the hunt. Not only that, but the film was still able to insert a very compelling coming-of-age story along the way.
Argo ended with ben Affleck hugging his wife and son with a backdrop of a waving American flag. A terrible ending to an otherwise excellent film. Zero Dark Thirty ends perfectly with a crying Jessica Chastain not knowing if Bin Laden’s assassination would make the world a better place.
Whew, that was a lot. That said, The Avengers still should’ve won.
Gelo: I honestly thought Life of Pi or Lincoln would take the crown, if only because they seemed like the typical industry choices. I’d say Les Mis, but it was a whole friggin’ musical. I think the Academy used their “Long Drawn Out Overblown Tragic Romantic Drama” card on Titanic, at least that had dialogue.
Django isn’t gonna win, it’s too Avant-Garde for the Academy, I can’t remember when the Best Foreign Film took Best Picture either. Zero Dark Thirty and Beasts of Southern Wild were barely nominated for ANYTHING (for Zero Dark Thirty, that was a bit of a travesty) so I didn’t think they’d be in.
So ultimately, the choice was between the three films, Argo, Life of Pi, and Lincoln. And honestly, between the three, I’m happy that Argo took it. It is showing us signs that the Academy’s getting younger, or at least more open to the less novel ways of filmmaking. It almost makes up for Ben not being nominated for Best Director… Almost. You saved yourself from shooting yourself in the foot this time, Academy, but I’ll be watching you, and so will the millions of cinephiles around the world.