About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscars 2012

11:47 PM Maybe a recap post to come, but for now, the live blog is shutting down. See you at the movies.

11:43 PM No real surprise in the Best Picture category. I wasn't a fan of The Artist, but I do want to give some respect out to Harvey Weinstein. A kind of kindred soul in this way. I have an eye for spotting talent for writing good books, and I'm always willing to stick in my two cents on how to make the good books better and hopefully into great. And that's Harvey. He knows how to find movies that can participate in the Oscar parade. His reputation as Harvey Scissorhands is not undeserved, I think here he may be a little more forceful and a little better able to have his way, in part because he actually cuts the checks while I can only promise a good effort to get people to cut them. And when it comes to Oscar campaigning, he knows what he's doing. He's got the kind of Oscar marketing machine that I try in a smaller way to apply to the foreign marketing for the JABberwocky list. He saw The Artist. He sensed it. He even sensed that he could keep his Scissorhands off of it. And he got it. Deserved? Didn't deserve? You know, I have to respect that he can go out and make these things happen.

11:40 PM My disappointment in the Best Actor category is balanced by the pleasant surprise of Meryl Streep winning for Best Actress. Woo hoo! I can't say enough how good her performance was in The Iron Lady. And what a wonderful speech, that one if you are watching at home or in the audience, please try. Real seeming emotion, thanks limited to just a few special people instead of a long laundry list. Joy, graciousness, modesty, all in one. Well, that was just a happy-making victory.

11:21 PM Overall the show is reminding me of watching a movie on commercial TV, where they have a good 15 or 20 minutes without commercials at the beginning so you get into it, and then as you get along you've got commercials for 4 mnutes out of every 12 and it's baffling why anyone actually watches the move. The commercial load the first hour wasn't bad, but for the past 45 minutes it's been one block, whether it's the actor award or the memorial, followed by multiple minutes of commercials. Explains why I shoudln't have worried the show would run short when we had just a few awards left to present a half hour ago. The Penneys commercials are excellent, though I thought maybe that last one was for Miracle Whip. Diet Coke also re-ran a commercial joining Sprint in that ignominy, but at least it's a really good fresh ad seen tonight for the first time.

11:18 PM I am not happy with Jeana Dujardin winning Best Actor for The Artist. There are only four other performances I think I liked more in this category. Even Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I wasn't a big fan of the movie, but what a performance. Well, it was a nice acceptance speech at least, but I really really really would have liked seeing George Clooney coming out with this one. Humbug.

10:58 PM Couldn't they have cut to the commercial break giving more of a glimpse of the honorary Oscar recipients in their box, instead of yet another view of the musicians playing in the other boxes, which we've seen only 12 times already over the course of the evening?

10;55 PM Best DIrector goes to Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist. No surprise, but very disappointing to me. Perhaps the only thing more disappointing than seeing a repeat of the same Sprint ad from earlier during the preceding commercial break. If they were going to run a Sprint ad twice, it should have been the one that was filmed near JABberwocky Central, with the CEO at Gantry State Park on the Long Island City waterfront just a couple miles away.

10:30 PM Happily the Original Screenplay award did NOT go to The Artist. I liked Midnight in Paris, happy here.

10:28 PM And the winners for Adapted Screenplay do thank the author of the book on which the screenplay was based. Very important!!!

10:27 PM. Since I liked The Descendants very much, my pick for Best Picture, having it take home at least the one Oscar makes me happy.

10:23 PM The chocolate chip bar from Buttercup was OK, my next dessert course is a cream cheese brownie from Crumbs. Another good Penney's ad, interesting Tide ad, better AT&T ad than what Sprint is showing.

10:19 PM Very glad to see Man or Muppet win over its one competitor for Best Song. If you watch the old Muppet Show, you'll see how important music was to the show, having fun with music, doing unexpected things with music. "A true honor to work in the shadow of such legends" does about sum up how one should feel about writing music for the Muppets, and last year's addition to the Muppet cannon did a good job of living up to that legacy. A pleasing win.

10:12 PM Original score is a really strong category. The Artist had a score that was absolutely integral to it, as did Hugo. The music for War Horse plays and I see War Horse. It's even hard to argue the excellent score for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was overlooked, because I don't know which of the nominees I'd boot in favor of it. No real surprise, and really hard to object, to having it to go The Artist.

10:04 PM for those watching at a home Christopher Plummer game a wonderful acceptance speech, but this was by a professional driver on a closed course, do not attempt because the music will cut you off, and then your microphone will cut out. The last time I watched a chunk of The Sound of Music a couple years ago, it amazed me to see how youthful Christopher Plummer looked, it shouldn't, it was 45 or 50 years ago, but still. He probably looks better at 82 than I do a bit shy of 50 still, which gives me something to look forward to. I still don't like the movie, but this is one of those career achievement awards you just can't argue with. My pick for Plummer, go and take a look at his performance as a customs agent in Atom Egoyan's film Ararat.

10:00 PM Kenneth Branaagh -- is he a vision of Jeremy Renner in 25 years? There's an uncanniy resemblance to me.

9:56 PM. 5 wins for Hugo. I would have loved seeing Harry Potter or Rise of the Planet of the Apes winning for visual effects.

9:55 PM racing through the show so they have time for the Ben Stiller - Emma Stone train wreck.

9:45 PM Kind of a dull show, the acceptance speech in the documentary cataegory is actually lively, so they bleep some and cut it off.

9:34 PM Diet Coke ad was good, Sprint ad is another same old same old that isn't impressing me, if you're going to come to the Oscars you really should put on a new outfit.

9:28 PM And with another win for Sound Effects I think we can safely give Hugo the crown for most, if not the most important.

9:26 PM Sound editing to Hugo, its 3rd win, it may end the evening at least tied for the most Oscars.

9:25 PM Today's paper has a coupon for Doritos, maybe I will buy some!

9:24 PM Even more baffling, how can it win?

9:22 PM, how can the overlong Dragon Tattoo have a nomination for film editing?

9:17 PM I thought the Miracle Whip ad was another JC Penney ad. Not a fan of The Help, hard not to like the outpouring of affection for Octavia Spencer's win for supporting actresss.

9:08 PM Footnote is the only nominee for Foreign Language Film that I've seen. I might want to see Bullhead. No interest at all in the winner, A Separation.

8:59 PM And Iron Lady wins. Excellent!

8:58 PM I would go with Iron Lady for makeup.

8:55 PM I only saw two of the Costume nominees, so it can't bd a surprise that it goes to a film, The Artist, that was actually seen and is in the award mix overall. I wish I'd seen Anonymouse.

8:53 PM This opening film montage -- pointless. Gave me a chance to crack open a Mike's Hard Lemonade and get the Buttercup Bakery chocolate chip bar out of its bag. I'm hungry!

8:50 PM After the great JC Penney ad, disappointing to see Spring with the same unlimited data for iPhone ad that I've seen 142 times before.

8:49 PM For as long as I can remember, the first award out the door was one of the Supporting Acting awards, I don't know how to deal with this thing with giving out two technical awards first.

8:48 PM The JC Penney add about coupons was funnier than the Billy Crystal opening.

8:46 PM With these first two technical awards going to Hugo, it's clear that there isn't gong to be some big sweep for The Artist even if it wins for Best Picture. I don't think these two wins are a harbinger of a surprise sweep for Hugo. I might have opted for Midnight in Paris in this category.

8:44 PM Of the films nominated for cinematography, I think War Horse had the photography I enjoyed most. I can't complain too much on having Robert RIchardson win, he's done a lot of good word and I think first and foremost of Born on the 4th of July, one of multiple films he did for Oliver Stone.

8:40 PM The Chapter 11 Theatre. Used to the Kodak Theatre, maybe even still is, but Kodak is in bankruptcy and got the OK to back out of its naming deal for the venue.

8:40 PM The opening montage was more of a chuckle than a belly laugh, but OK, it'll do kid, it'll do.

8:30 PM Best Original Screenplay is a tough category. There are three films here that I'd love to see winning, Bridesmaids, Margin Call and Midnight in Paris. I'll give some blog space to Margin Call,which is one of the movies from 2012 that I wish I'd found time to see twice. It has moments that I'm still seeing seveal months later, the really bland office space for the finanicial firm doesn't seem so bland in my mind's eye. There's Jeremy Irons chewing this boring scenery at the crucial board meeting that will decide the fate of his financial firm, Zachary Quinto staring at a computer screen. Debra Winger and Stanley Tucci being paid to sit in a room. These are moments that usually don't stock out because there's so bland, but somehow this movie takes the workaday life of high finance and makes it crackle. Excellent script and acted with passion all the way around.

8:25 PM The Supporting Actor category... well, it's hard to believe Christopher Plummer has never won an Oscar for all the excellent performances he's done over the years, I don't like that he's going to win it for a performance that's so brilliant in its subtely it didn't make much of aa impression on me at all in a film that made a rather negative impression on me, like I wish I hadn't forked over a Very Important Neighbor ticket to see it at the Clearview Chelsea. I might vote for Jonah Hill in this category. But Nick Nolte's nomination is a good occasion to talk belatedly in praise of Warrior. I wish I had more time to review movies on my blog because I feel guilty about not having given some warm words of praise to this movie when it came out. As to Nolte himself, his performance is a lot of old saws knit together, a modern update of Burgess Meredith's trainer character in Rocky, one might say. But it's an awfully good piece of work nonetheless. The movie is one of the best sports movies I've ever seen, a little surprisingly because it's about a sport, mixed martial arts, that doesn't particularly interest me. But it is the first film of it's the where I've ever gotten to the final bout and not really known which character I was supposed to root for. That never happens in sports movies, but this script is a gem and pulls it off. Doesn't hurt that Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton are also giving quite excellent performances, too bad my good memories of Tom Hardy's have been washed away by the recent drek known as This Means War. But trust me on this, consider putting Warrior on your Netflix queue.

8:23 PM LIked the backstage look at the winner's walk.

8:16 PM A quick shout out in Best Actor to Demian Bichir. Not too many people saw A Better Life. It's kind of depressing in the end. But it's excellent filmmaking, really absorbing, and Bichir's performance is an important part of that. One of those occasions when just getting the nomination is a win in and of itself.

8:07 PM Best actress is a category worht talking about ahead of time. The general consensus is that Viola Davis will win for The Help. I don't mind Viola, you can go see an incredible performance from her in the film version of Doubt, as one example. But for Meryl Streep not to win this year would be a darned shame. When I was young and Meryl was in movies like Sophie's Choice or Out of Africa, I didn't truck much with her, all of that "just doing accents" stuff. As I've aged, I've grown to appreciate her work more and more in the richness of variety and the invisibility of her technique. The Devil Wore Prada and Being Julia Child. I think her performance in The Iron Lady might be her very best performance ever. She is the movie, and you don't see her. You see Margaret Thatcher all the way. It isn't an actress wearing a nose, but an actress totally immersed in every aspect of the subject. The movie isn't great, I liked the first half quite a bit but thought it faltered in the later going as it had to deal with the Falklands in ten minutes and then the union strikes in ten minutes without very much to say about any of these things. But what a performance it is. Just incredible. She has my Oscar vote, but mine doesn't count. I didn't see Albert Nobbs, doubt I will. Michelle Williams was quite good in My Week with Marilyn. Don't get me started on Dragon Tattoo, nothing against Rooney Mara but the movie paled next to the original Swedish version. You can't take good pulp material like this and drown it in so much Hollywood acting and Hollywood production value and languor. Meryl is the best!

8:03 PM, settling in for the evening's excitement!

1 comment:

Bryce Moore said...

Always fun to read your take on things. Do you do official picks before hand, to see how you fare? If so, what was your record? I think you would have cleaned up at my Oscar Party this year.