Posts Tagged ‘Christian Bale

14
Feb
14

Oscar Watch 2014: Actor in a Leading Role

Oscar Watch looks to break down the different categories for the 2014 Academy Awards. We'll do our best to give you the inside track for your Oscar pools. Above: Chest thumping McConaughey from The Wolf of Wall Street.

Oscar Watch looks to break down the different categories for the 2014 Academy Awards. We’ll do our best to give you the inside track for your Oscar pools. Above: Chest thumping McConaughey from The Wolf of Wall Street.


Who Should Win
: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

McChonaughey from Dallas Buyers Club, Ejiofor, Bale, and Dern.

McConaughey from Dallas Buyers Club, Ejiofor, Bale, and Dern.

AIDS victim fighting to obtain medication for himself and eventually the whole country. Yes it’s total Oscar bait, but Mr. McConaughey brings a genuine character along with his 47 pound weight loss. (Ironically this year Christian Bale gained weight.)

His Ron Woodroof his a homophobic, drug addicted, alcoholic hick and by film’s end, he isn’t necessarily a different person, but Mr. McConaughey shows us a subtle flicker of generosity trying to break through the surface.

There’s also a relaxed, charming scene in a fine dining restaurant where he compliments a waiter on bringing the right bottle of “grape juice.” It’s a small moment as the emaciated-looking character is having one of his better nights and it just shows how natural Woodroof has become to the actor.

Factor in Mud and The Wolf of Wall Street and boom—this dude had a pretty good year. And on top of all that, Mr. McConaughey has never won an Oscar.

On Everyone Else…

  • Chiwetel Ejiofor: As the free slave who finds himself back in captivity in 12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor is actually my second favorite performance of the year. It was a close one for me (between Mr. McConaughey), but I just have a feeling Mr. Ejiofor will get a few more chances to show off his talents. Still, that long shot of him hanging from a noose is one of the most haunting, frightening, and yet, beautiful scenes of the year.

  • Christian Bale: My third favorite performance this year. For any other actor, being an overweight 70s hustler under a bad hair weave would be a challenge, but this is Christian Bale we’re talking about. We’re almost to the point of taking his physical transformations for granted, but somehow, it just feels Mr. Bale barely broke a sweat hamming it up as this epic larger-than-life (literally) character in American Hustle. In some ways, maybe the hardest part Mr. Bale ever had to play was actually Bruce Wayne. As that orphaned hero, without the mask, he had nowhere to hide.

  • Bruce Dern: Umm… No. Just no. (But watch, the voters are gonna pull some Lifetime Achievement thing and I’ll just be screaming at the TV. Nebraska and Philomena would have been network TV movies of the week in the 80s.)

Let’s instead remember some other more worthy male performances from 2013.

Michael B. Jordan as the ambitious but doomed train passenger in Fruitvale Station. Robert Redford as a practically wordless boatsman in All is Lost. Oscar Isaac as the jerkish and melancholy folk musician in Inside Llewyn Davis. Jaden Smith as the young, knee-taking jungle warrior in After Earth.

Okay, just kidding about one of those, but still… You get my point. All were arguably more memorable performances than Bruce Dern. #sorrynotsorry

Who Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

0214_03-WinnerLeo

Unfortunately, Leonardo DiCaprio has never won an Oscar either.

The biggest problem with this performance is that you get the feeling you are watching Mr. DiCaprio just simply having a good time being Mr. DiCaprio. Throwing money around, dropping f-bombs, oof-ing models, and snorting copious amounts of coke? Frankly, that’s what we always thought of him before The Bieber came around to take all the illicit attention away. It just doesn’t feel that much of a stretch and there’s a bunch of young actors out there who could probably have pulled off the same performance.

If anything, Mr. DiCaprio should have gotten the nomination for The Great Gatsby, a movie that cannily took the notion of being Leo and turned it on his slicked back head.

But with his three previous nominations and his fifth collaboration with Martin Scorsese, Academy voters might feel it’s time to give in.

What are your thoughts on our predictions? Give us your thoughts on the Best Actor category in the comments.

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07
Mar
11

OW 2011: The Awards and Everything Else

So that happened. After weeks and weeks of talk, hype, waiting, and prognosticating the 83rd Academy Awards were handed out last weekend. For the awards themselves, there were no surprises. To steal a sports metaphor from March Madness, it was chalk all the way (the expected winners winning). On the whole though, the show was all right and I was entertained well enough. Here’s a few of my thoughts on the show, starting with the Best Supporting categories since I didn’t get around to posting those before the show . . .

Best Supporting Actor & Actress

Melissa Leo and Christian Bale struck Oscar gold for their roles in The Fighter.

The Fighter was definitely recognized as one of the best films of 2010 with both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo sweeping the Supporting category. I didn’t have a problem with either of these two awards. Melissa Leo was far and away best in that category (sorry, didn’t get a chance to see Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom–though I did hear her performance did rival Leo’s), even better than her co-star Amy Adams. Christian Bale on the other hand I thought had stiffer competition in the Best Supporting Actor category. Bale was still my pick going into the show, but I also thought Geoffrey Rush was right up there with him and was probably a close second. John Hawkes had an outside shot at winning it giving really strong performance as the terrifying uncle in Winter’s Bone and Mark Ruffalo was also generating some buzz as the ‘oh-so-cool’ sperm donor dad from The Kids Are All Right. As with most of the night, both these categories went pretty much as expected.

Oscar Shorts

This year was the first year that I saw the Oscar nominated shorts, both live-action and animated, and I was pretty entertained by all of them. I’m not sure what the criteria on time length for this section is, but each film did a good job of telling a complete story.

God of Love out sang the competition in the Live Action Shorts competition. Other nominees top to bottom: Na Wewe, The Confession, The Crush, Wish 143.

For the live action Oscar shorts, four of the five nominees were on the serious side with eventual winner, God of Love, being providing a lighter comedic fare. I think what surprised me was just how engrossing each of these shorts were. They really were mini-movies that told a complete story in a short amount of time. If I would have had to pick one, I guess it would have been Na Wewe; as it captivated me in the most. I can see why God of Love won though, it was definitely well shot, edited, and a fun film as well.

The Lost Thing hit paydirt in the Animated Short competition. Other nominees top to bottom: Day & Night, Let's Pollute, Madagascar, The Gruffalo.

For the animated shorts, what I liked best about this category was that each nominee had a different style of animation. On one side you had the high end and commercial entry from Pixar with their Day & Night short and on the opposite end you had impressionistic style of Madagascar. Again, as with the live action portion, it was hard for me pick a favorite, but Day & Night, The Gruffalo, or The Lost Thing were the three out of the five that I thought were the best. Day & Night is just Pixar hitting another home run so a win for them would have been fine. Thankfully however, the Academy spread the wealth around (as Pixar won for the feature length category with Toy Story 3) and awarded the Oscar to The Lost Thing. What I liked about The Lost Thing was the anime animation style and the sci-fi tinting of it’s story. I think it was the unexpectedness of this sci-fi type of short winning that made me happy that it did win.

 

Screen writer David Seidler and director Tom Hooper celebrate Best Picture winner, The King's Speech.

Best Picture

Ok, I’ll admit it. I was a little disappointed that my pick The Social Network didn’t snag either of the awards for Best Picture or Best Director. If it had gotten either of those awards, I would have been a little more ok with how things turned out. Don’t get me wrong, The King’s Speech is great (and probably my #2 movie for 2010), but I thought The Social Network was a better film and a better directed one as well. Oh well, nuff said.

 

 

 

The Rest of the Program

The Academy & ABC :: Was it just me, or did anyone else think having an ABC exec and someone from from the Academy coming on stage to announce that ABC had renewed it’s contract to carry The Academy Awards for the foreseeable future a little awkward and out of place? I know it was a short piece and didn’t take too long, but was it really necessary? What makes it ironic is that apparently after the Oscars it was determined that the ratings for this year were down 10% from last year and the drop in viewership from the 18-49 demo were even worse. Talk about bad timing, the Academy renewed it’s contract with ABC, when ABC just produced and televised the lowest rated academy awards in seven years. I hope this isn’t a foreshadowing of Academy Awards broadcasts to come.

The Hosts :: I thought Anne Hathaway and James Franco did a decent job of hosting the awards. I know that a lot of people thought that Franco looked ‘disinterested’ or ‘on something’ most of the time, but I didn’t really care about that. To me the hosts are just gravy and if you get good gravy great, if you get bad gravy–who cares. I mean, when you really think about it, they’re not on screen for much of the show anyway so to me, it’s not that big of a deal. One thing that Franco did that was cool though was to tweet and shoot behind the scenes video during the show. I didn’t know it was going on at the time, but checking on some of the stuff he posted was kind of interesting.

What I’m a little surprised by is that the producers, the powers that be, or whoever thought it was a good idea to have them host; thought so because they’re younger and would draw in younger eyeballs. I really don’t know how they came up with this correlation. Younger hosts do not equal younger viewers. If you look at Hathaway and Franco’s filmography you’d see that the films they make definitely cater to an over 30 audience.

The ‘Hipness’ of It All :: There were two bits during the show that I thought were genius that apparently a lot of other bloggers and movie media types didn’t like: the opening montage where Hathaway and Franco were inserted into some of the Best Picture nominees and the auto tune segment where a few films from 2010 got songified. I thought they were both funny and entertaining and lightened the mood of the show. What can I say, I’m a sucker for those MTV spoofs and the work of the The Gregory Brothers (the Auto Tune the News guys).

Franco and Hathaway dialed up Doc Brown, Marty McFly, Morgan Freeman, and Alec Baldwin in the Academy Awards opening montage.

 

And finally, to kind of put a bow on all of this Oscar talk, here are a few posts that I thought were worth a read:

 




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