The 83rd Academy Awards show will be broadcast live Sunday at 5 p.m. on ABC. For your own official Oscar ballot, click here.
By Chauncey Telese
Hello, long time no post. Allow myself to reintroduce myself, my name is Chauncey Telese and if you don’t remember I used to review movies and pretend like I knew what I was talking about. I also made feeble attempts to make fun of sports and other goings on in pop culture.
I’ve been away because not only have I had midterms but also there has basically been a black hole in movies that I felt the need to cover (though I do plan on covering “Cedar Rapids” because I’ve heard nothing but good things and it seems to be the big hit coming out of Sundance).
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To sort of do some make up work I thought my first piece back would be to do Oscar predictions because it cleanses the movie palate, so to speak, but before I do, allow me to do some quick hits on what I’ve missed so far in 2011.
“Parks and Recreation” and “Community” will wrestle for Best Comedy on TV for the rest of the season and for some time to come.
Rob Lowe is an early nominee for my comeback player of the year award with his double header as Chris on “Parks and Recreation” and Eddie Nero on “Californication.” Come hell or high water he deserves an Emmy!
Wisconsin has had the most bizarre February for any state so far. The Packers win the Super Bowl and exorcises the ghost of Favre, but then the governor goes after the unions and it now looks like a colder, slightly less hostile Libya. On that note, I’m glad Egypt got their issues settled because now my spring break to Cairo is back on and Anderson Cooper can stop proving to us that he looks handsome even under duress. Seriously, those eyes are a national treasure!
Justin Bieber managed to ruin five things I love in the span of two weeks. He bombed during the “SNL” Church Lady sketch which he didn’t deserve to be on in the first place, he was the focal point of “Glee,” which I should’ve seen coming, but still. He got to be with Ozzy in a Super Bowl commercial which again he had to earn, and finished his arc on “CSI” as the domestic terrorist. That one bothered me until he took two in the lungs so I guess it balances itself out.
Also he was given the MVP at the Celebrity All Star game despite going 3 for 11 and being schooled by Scottie Pippen AND he was on the cover of Rolling Stone, my favorite magazine and, what a shocker, in his article he comes of as a typical 16-year-old kid furthering my case that he is not Canadian Jesus. I realize that as a 22-year-old guy, I shouldn’t let Bieber’s existence bother me, but come on, he is not that talented and if girls think he’s the best musician to come out of Canada recently I suggest you listen to Arcade Fire!
The Lakers may be in dire straits after losing to Cleveland but after seeing Kobe at the All Star game, I sense a slight “Forget You” mode in the making.
After Thursday, Carmelo Anthony will be traded to the Knicks and we can all get on with our lives. Next year though we’ll have to live with Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum trade rumors, though that one would make me very happy if it happened so I guess bring it on. Wait, as I’m typing this, Melo is now a Knick. Okay, the national nightmare is over and we can now get on with our lives! I hope he and Amare enjoy playing without a bench or a supporting cast.
I have a new man crush and his name is Blake Griffin! While he didn’t necessarily deserve to win the dunk contest (I say that because Jevelle McGee, DeMar DeRozan, and Serge Ibaka were all wonderful) he dunked over a KIA Optima and has been the most exciting player to watch in the NBA.
I’ve finally gotten over my hatred of hipster music fans ruining certain artists for me and have now embraced Radiohead. I can’t believe I held out this long.
Jim Carrey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cee Lo Green, Jesse Eisenberg, Linkin Park, The Black Keys, Pee Wee Herman, the return of Wayne’s World, and Nikki Minaj has made early 2011 SNL fantastic.
IFC’s Comedy Death Ray Lineup of “Freaks and Geeks,”, “The Ben Stiller Show,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Mr. Show,” “Undeclared” and “Arrested Development” is my new addiction.
The White Stripes have broken up and while Jack White still has a million more bands, they’ll be missed.
As impressive as Watson was on Jeopardy I still don’t think we’ve hit Skynet/Matrix territory. Once Watson it starts shooting through questions like Raylan Givens on “Justified,” then I’ll start preparing for Judgment Day.
Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, and Michelle Bachman are close to replacing Holly, The Kardashians, and Fashion Police as my favorite people to read in closed captions when I’m running at the gym.
If you see Charlie Sheen with a briefcase don’t be shocked when it’s not filled with scripts or clothes. Honestly how can you call it a meltdown when it’s no different then the Charlie Sheen we’ve been given for 20 years now. Seriously, that’s like being shocked when Ricky Gervais makes fun of anyone or steps over the line at an awards show.
“The Chicago Code” so far is the best network cop show since “NYPD Blue” but won’t be better then “The Shield” or “The Wire,” though I give it credit for getting Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins to do the theme song.
Okay, now that business is out of the way, let’s get to L.A.’s third party in a row (week one was The Grammy’s featuring Lady Gaga’s egg and subsequent Madonna rip-off, week two was the NBA All Star Game featuring Blake Griffin, Kobe, and LeBron’s triple double) with the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.
This year we have 10 nominees again and unlike last year there is not a dud in the bunch. All 10 movies have a valid case to be Best Picture and once again, it has come down to a philosophical argument. Last year was mega budget vs. low budget and this year it’s new school voters and old school voters.
The two front runners are “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech.” They both have won a lot of guild awards, both are on every top 10 list that matters, and are both mortal locks in other categories. Vegas odds have “The King’s Speech” at 2/9 and “The Social Network” is 7/2 so they are both heavy favorites. This year is one of the most competitive ceremonies in awhile and for the most part everyone nominated has a legit case to win. I will only do the major categories because no one cares about Sound Mixing or anything like that (plus I can’t articulate sound mixing, sound editing, art direction, make up, costumes, or original song. My schooling has taught me kind of how to do editing and cinematography so those will be in there).
(Editor’s note: When Mr. Telese approaches the podium to accept his future Oscar award, don’t be surprised when the sound goes out, his tuxedo clashes with the set and the music starts 3 seconds into his speech. Respect the tech!)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY (very near and dear to my heart)
- Christopher Nolan-“Inception”
- Tom Hooper-“The King’s Speech”
- Mike Leigh-“Another Year”
- Lisa Cholondenko and Stuart Blumberg-“The Kids Are All Right”
- Scott Silver, Paul Tamsay, Eric Johnson and Keith Dorington-“The Fighter”
Who Will Win: Tom Hooper because yeah, the script is good and voters will pile on “The King’s Speech.” This happened with “The Hurt Locker,” which I don’t think was a better script then “Inglorious Basterds” but it didn’t matter because once the perception is that a certain movie is a heavy favorite, people will pile on.
Who Should Win: Christopher Nolan because no other movie was more original then “Inception”.
Are You Kidding Me?: There weren’t really any snubs here.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY (again near and dear to my heart)
- Aaron Sorkin-“The Social Network”
- Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich-“Toy Story 3”
- Joel and Ethan Coen-“True Grit”
- Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy-“127 Hours”
- Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini-“Winter’s Bone”
Will and Should Win: Aaron Sorkin. There was not a better written movie all year then “The Social Network”. The dialogue is crisp, witty, and comes off so rapid fire that the movie is more exciting then one would think considering that it is about guy inventing a website. Sorkin is one of the best writers in town and completely found the story within the story and made a movie about betrayal, greed, and friendship for the digital age. The characters are all flawed and the audience is basically left to decide how they feel about Zuckerberg, Eduardo, The Winklevi, and Sean Parker.
Are You Kidding Me?: Again, not a loser in the bunch.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
- Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross-“The Social Network”
- Hans Zimmer-“Inception”
- John Powell-“How to Train Your Dragon”
- A.R. Rahman-“127 Hours”
- Alexandre Desplat-“The King’s Speech”
Who Will & Should Win: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Reznor is having an amazing second half to his career. He was Nine Inch Nails for so long (he really was the only one in the band and, while they were an acquired taste, I think he’s a good musician), and now he and Ross have designed one of the most innovative scores in a while. It fits the tone of the movie perfectly and is a good combo of digital and classical style of composing. Zimmer’s score was awesome and booming, and Desplat’s is a great traditional score.
Are You Kidding Me?: I think the Academy really laid the hammer down on “Tron: Legacy” for not being the innovative movie they thought it would, but c’mon how could they burn Daft Punk? They hated “Tron” so much they even ignored it for Best Visual Effects. “The Black Swan” also got smacked in the Best Make Up and visual effects category. Ditto “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” Beck and Nigel Godrich deserved some love for their score but I guess the Academy hasn’t gotten that hip. Oh well.
BEST FILM EDITING
I withdraw my selection for this and instead turn this category over to my buddy Grant who is an editing major. Take it away Grant!
- Andrew Weisblum-“The Black Swan”
- Pamela Martin-“The Fighter”
- Jon Harris-“127 Hours”
- Angus Waller and Kirk Baxter-“The Social Network”
- Tariq Anwar-“The King’s Speech”
Who Will and Should Win: That’s tough. I would say “The Black Swan” because the pattern of the cuts reminded me of a modern day horror/suspense movie and they were fast-paced and made for a fast-paced story. “127 Hours” was creative because the cuts were so fast you didn’t know what was fantasy or reality. In my book, I’d say “The Black Swan.” When you think about editing, think about the drums in a song, it helps move the story and accentuates the score and twists in the movie itself.
Are You Kidding Me?: “Inception” because the constant switching between worlds and the action scenes were awesome and well put together.” Thank you. Grant Creitz everyone take a bow.
- Roger Deakins-“True Grit”
- Wally Pfister-“Inception”
- Danny Cohen-“The King’s Speech”
- Jeff Cronenweth-“The Social Network”
- Mattew Libatique-“The Black Swan”
Who Will and Should Win: Roger Deakins, because not only was “True Grit” a gorgeous looking movie but Deakins’ resume includes “The Shawshank Redemption,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Fargo,” “O Brother Where Art Thou?” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and has NEVER WON! Can you believe that? Well, this is his year.
Are You Kidding Me?: Anthony Don Mantle for “127 Hours” another gorgeously shot movie and brilliantly used digital camera and traditional camera footage to make a compelling movie about a guy trapped by a rock for days.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
- Hailee Steinfeld-“True Grit”
- Jacki Weaver-“Animal Kingdom”
- Amy Adams-“The Fighter”
- Melissa Leo-“The Fighter”
- Helena Bonham Carter-“The King’s Speech”
Who Will Win: Man, this is tough because everyone here has a case. Amy Adams was the counter balance to all of the viciousness in “The Fighter,” Jacki Weaver was evil, Melissa Leo was amazing, Helena Bonham Carter was the woman behind the man, and Hailee Steinfeld, embodied the title of “True Grit;” having said that, she should be competing in the lead category because the movie was about her and she was in 98% of the movie. She went toe-to-toe with Bridges, Damon, and Brolin. I think that the Academy will ultimately go with Melissa Leo, despite her ads praising herself, but if not her, then Hailee could upset, as we haven’t had a kid actor win since Anna Paquin in “The Piano”.
Who Should Win: Melissa Leo but she wins no matter what because she has season two of “Treme” coming up and HBO will get a ratings boost just from her work in “The Fighter” Oscar or no Oscar. Honestly, this category is totally open so either way I’m okay with wins.
Are You Kidding Me?: Well, given that Hailee should be in the Best Actress category I think they should’ve put Mila Kunis in for “The Black Swan” but the Academy turned on that movie big time which means that Barbra Hershey wouldn’t be allowed either. Julianne Moore also got screwed out of a nomination because she was amazing in “The Kids Are All Right”.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Christian Bale-“The Fighter”
- Geoffrey Rush-“The King’s Speech”
- John Hawkes-“Winter’s Bone”
- Jeremy Renner-“The Town”
- Mark Ruffalo-“The Kids Are All Right”
Who Will Win: This is tough because both Rush and Bale played out of their minds and basically overshadowed their lead actors. Some are suggesting that they should both get it because it’s been done before, but I doubt they’ll do it again. If pressed, I’m guessing they’ll give it to Bale because Rush has been there before. As far as the other nominees, John Hawkes was a pleasant surprise, he was creepy as opposed to how I usually see him as Kenny Power’s brother where he is hysterical. Jeremy Renner will win an Oscar one day but not tonight, and Mark Ruffalo (who, like Renner, is in “The Avengers”) proved that he is the real deal as an actor.
Who Should Win: Bale is a chameleon. Not only did he become Dickey Eckland and make people in Lowell mistake him for Dickey, he also showed us how devastated he was when he watched his documentary in prison. The biggest thing that made his performance better was that he did something that we haven’t seen Bale do. He was hilarious! I never knew Bale could be funny, but he pulled it off. His range is growing and that’s saying a lot because he already has incredible range. Batman will be an Oscar winner when all is said and done.
Are You Kidding Me?: Well, Andrew Garfield is the biggest one because he was the emotional center for “The Social Network,” and it is so heartbreaking when he realizes that not only did he cut himself out of Facebook but Mark didn’t protect him. Garfield was also great in “Never Let Me Go” so anything he does from here on out will be noticed. Timberlake also got screwed but then again, he didn’t really blend into the role enough, but that’s okay he’s still Justin Timberlake.
- Natalie Portman-“The Black Swan”
- Annette Bening-“The Kids Are All Right”
- Jennifer Lawrence-“Winter’s Bone”
- Nicole Kidman-“Rabbit Hole”
- Michelle Williams-“Blue Valentine”
Who Will and Should Win: Natalie Portman. She played out of her mind (literally) and I know people think that Bening deserves her long overdue Oscar, but c’mon. Natalie Portman really went above and beyond to play a character that was coming apart while at the same time being totally restrained. Bening was spectacular, but still. I think that once Portman wins, has her baby, and cashes in once “Thor” hits it big, she should host SNL again, and do a sequel to her digital short (look it up on YouTube it’s called “Natalie’s Rap” and be sure to watch the explict version).
Are You Kidding Me?: Aside from Hailee Steinfeld being put in the Supporting Actress category I think that this category is clean of any snubs.
- Javier Bardem-“Biutiful”
- Colin Firth-“The King’s Speech”
- Jesse Eisenberg-“The Social Network”
- James Franco-“127 Hours”
- Jeff Bridges-“True Grit”
Who Will Win: Colin Firth because not only is he on that list of people who haven’t won it yet and probably should’ve, but he also did a great job. His ability to make us feel his fear about having to speak and the look in his eyes when he delivers that final address is fantastic. Colin Firth also has won every other award imaginable so I don’t see why he doesn’t get the big one.
Who Should Win: Colin Firth should win but I’d also like to make a case for Eisenberg and for Franco. Franco carried the movie by himself (almost literally), kept us interested and made us laugh, cry, and care about Aron Ralston. Sure it’s kind of awkward if he gets it, considering he’s co-hosting the show, he still deserves it. For Eisenberg, he really went above and beyond to create a fictional version of Zuckerberg that comes off as a brilliant Vulcan who is trying so hard to be successful in order to spite/win back Erica. The end scene when he is refreshing his page to see if she adds him gives us a window to how human he really is and ultimately what fuels him. I can’t comment on Bardem, and Bridges won last year and no one since Tom Hanks has gone back to back. I’m curious to see if Hyundai does a Blake Griffin commercial with Jeff Bridges providing his usual narration that would be interesting.
Are You Kidding Me?: Ryan Gosling should’ve gotten in for “Blue Valentine” and I think Leo deserved consideration for pulling off “Shutter Island” and “Inception”.
BEST DIRECTOR (or the Head Coach award)
- David O. Russell-“The Fighter”
- Tom Hooper-“The King’s Speech”
- Darren Aronofsky-“The Black Swan”
- Joel and Ethan Coen-“True Grit”
- David Fincher-“The Social Network”
Who Will and Should Win: David Fincher because he took a very complex script and made it flow and make it all look effortless.
Are You Kidding Me?: Christopher Nolan was the biggest snub of the year. How in the world does “Inception” get nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay and the guy who produced and wrote it but not for directing it? He managed to make everything he put on the page translate onto the screen and he had the biggest task out of anyone else in the category. Who else had to translate what three stages of subconscious are?
BEST PICTURE (the granddaddy of them all)
- “The Social Network”
- “The King’s Speech”
- “127 Hours”
- “Toy Story 3”
- “Winter’s Bone”
- “The Black Swan”
- “The Kids Are All Right”
- “The Fighter”
- “True Grit”
Who Will and Should Win: “The Social Network,” because it perfectly captured us as a society. It nailed this generation. We are multitaskers who text or email columns while we watch a Blake Griffin dunk, burn through an entire season of “Dexter,” listen to Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” album, download Eminem’s “Recovery,” DVR “Law & Order: SVU” all while hanging out with friends (sadly I’ve sort of done that) and deliver emotionally devastating news by Facebook, or text instead of talking to anyone face to face. We want the world to know all of our thoughts in 141 characters or less.
We are the on-demand generation who want everything at our fingertips, whether it’s music, TV, news, sports, books or movies. Though the movie takes place in 2003, it is about us and how we got there. “The King’s Speech” may be inspiring and more of a traditional Oscar movie, but in 10 years it will be a good movie that will be on cable a lot. “The Social Network” will be the movie that defines the decade. I would try and make a case for “Toy Story 3” but it will win Best Animated Feature so the universe balances itself out.
Are You Kidding Me?: Not a loser among us. They all are wonderful and will all be able to pass the re-watchablility test. If I had to pick one movie that did get snubbed, it would be “The Town.”
Thank you for reading and regardless if I’m right or wrong, the show will be great because I know that Anne Hathaway and James Franco will be terrific hosts.
Stay tuned as next week I’m given a “Hall Pass” and I witness Johnny Depp prove just how much of a chameleon he really is in “Rango.”
Remember you can either rent or see these and other movies at your local Edwards.