Posts Tagged ‘Viola Davis

28
Feb
12

OW 2012: The 84th Academy Awards

On Sunday the 84th Academy Awards were handed out for everything ‘best of’ in cinema for last year. Sadly us here in Hawaii had to watch the ceremony on a tape delay basis while friends and media on the mainland were happily posting and tweeting away about awards news as it happened. In the end staying away from the Internet till after the local broadcast was over was a necessary evil, if only to preserve the “as it happens” feel of the show. After everything was said and done the Academy Awards didn’t disappoint and I found the broadcast entertaining.

The Awards

Nominated for 10 awards The Artist was the big winner on Sunday even though it only brought it 5 statues–having won victories in several of the major categories. Top nominee Hugo (which had 11) won five as well, but it wasn’t as big of a win since all five of its awards came in the more technical categories (Art Direction, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects). Here is a quick rundown of the top awards from the 84th Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture – The Artist
  • Actor in a Leading Role – Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Actress in a Leading Role – Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Actor in a Supporting Role – Christopher Plummer, Beginners
  • Actress in a Supporting Role – Octavia Spencer, The Help
  • Directing – Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Animated Feature Film – Rango
  • Foreign Language Film – A Separation
  • Documentary Feature – Undefeated

Probably the biggest surprise of the night had to have been Meryl Streep’s victory in the Best Actress category. Now don’t get me wrong, a win by Meryl Streep wasn’t something out of the realm of possibility, however throughout the entire awards season Viola Davis was the decided front runner to win the Actress category. Having not seen The Iron Lady it’s hard for me to say how good (or not that great) of her performance was in contrast to Davis’s performance in The Help. From everything I read though, it seem as if Davis gave the better performances. The LATimes has a theory about how Streep jumped Davis in voting, but in any case I’m a little disappointed that Davis didn’t win. I thought it would be great if two African American actresses took home statues on the same night (Octavia Spencer being the first of the night, Davis the favored second), especially after the big pieces the LATimes did on Academy demographics. I really hate to make this about race, but it does seem like those demos proved to be true.

One of the highlights of the show, and not just for me but for the state as well, was when Alexander Payne and his writing team won for best Adapted Screenplay, taking home The Descendants lone Oscar for the night. But beyond recognition of the writing of the film was when Payne recognized author Kaui Hart Hemmings for her great source material and even dubbed her “our Hawaiian flower” right there on stage during the ceremony. Very gracious and well deserved for the local author who’s book was turned into a film and has now been seen by many people worldwide.

The Show

I thought the ceremony as a whole was ok, nothing special, but nothing bad either (though movie bloggers/media all over the place are grousing about the ceremony). Call me old fashioned, but I liked Billy Crystal hosting. I grew up with the guy hosting so it was great seeing him again. Some of his jokes were funnier than other ones, but he was probably the best host in the last 2-3 years. He and producer Brian Grazer were called in late in the game to put on the show after the Brett Ratner fiasco so for what they accomplished I thought was a pretty good job.

The pacing of the show overall I thought was pretty good. I know that in the past the show has dragged on, but the way they grouped awards together combined with the performances made for a pretty steady flow. From Robert Downey Jr Tebowing to the Bridesmaids playing drinking games on stage to Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis playing the cymbals, I thought the presenters were all really great as well.

One of the best things I liked about the show happened at the very beginning where ABC somewhat copied MTV’s movie awards by putting host Billy Crystal into scenes from some of last year’s films. I thought it was hilarious. I’ve read that many critics of the show didn’t like the Justin Bieber bit in that sequence, to them I say that was one of the funniest parts. Many people have chided the Academy for trying to bring in younger viewers and thought this was a legitimate attempt at doing that. I think it was actually a satire of that–the producers are playing off of the attempts to bring in a younger audience and made a joke about it instead. In any case, I thought it was fun. Check it out for yourself here.

Many people bring up the fact that the Academy needs to change a bunch of things to bring in a wider audience and bigger numbers for the broadcast. The problem with that logic is that those people think that’s what the Academy wants. Like predicting the Oscars the same goes for the show–it doesn’t matter what you want, it’s what the Academy wants. Their mentality is that the Academy Awards is a ceremony first and a television show second. Yeah sure every year there’s a big deal about who produces the show but in the end, who really cares about that? Probably only film & movie media if I had to image (or they’re the most vocal critics anyway). The Academy gets money from ABC for having this thing on TV, if anything it’s ABC who should be worrying about how well the broadcast does and not the Academy.

Stay Tuned For Kimmel

To wrap things up, Jimmy Kimmel probably had the last laugh of the night with his trailer for Movie: The Movie. The only thing to really say is that you need to watch this. It’s jam packed with so many stars and makes fun of so many movie conventions that if you didn’t catch it after the Oscar broadcast you definitely missed out. Here it is again below. Oh, and be sure to carve out ten minutes to watch it.

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More Oscar Watch Reading . . .

On the heels of the Academy’s big night the nominations for the anti-Oscars, The Razzies (the worst in film), were dolled out on Sunday. Adam Sandler apparently leads the pack with 11 nominations. [The Razzies]

Speaking of awards, did you ever wonder who the Oscar statuette was modeled after? Well wonder no more, apparently it was modeled after a naked Mexican director. [In Contention]

More from the LATimes Academy demographics series, this time they talk with Alfre Woodard who is spearheading efforts to bring in more diversified membership in the Actor’s branch of the Academy. [LATimes]

Finally local reporter Mike Gordon has the local perspective on the lone win for The Descendants. And as always, subscription is required. [Star-Advertiser]

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21
Feb
12

OW 2012: Actresses in Leading & Supporting Roles

It’s pencils down time for Academy members as ballots for this year’s awards are due today and over the next several days the votes will be tallied for the big ceremony on Sunday. In today’s Oscar Watch we’re going to look at both of the actress categories for this year.

Actress in a Leading Role

Who I Think SHOULD Win: Viola DavisThe Help
I thought Davis’s turn as Aibileen Clark was pretty wonderful. In a film that focused those that were supposed to fade into the background, Davis’s performance definitely stood out–not easy considering two of her costars are nominated as well (more on that later). However, the things Aibileen struggles with, the way she handles herself, and the look on her face as she goes through it all; Davis definitely brought out the emotion of the character and you could feel that sitting in your seat. To top it all off, the sequence at the end really tugs at the heartstrings and while it’s really emotional, it’s something even the audience knows has to be done.

On everyone else . . .

  • Rooney Mara: While I thought Mara turned in a solid performance in Dragon Tattoo, I just don’t think she had enough to do in that film. Did I believe that she was as smart, rageful, and introverted that the book makes her out to be? Yes, I did. However, I just don’t think there were enough personal moments from her in the film to build a big enough resume for an Oscar.
  • Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, & Michelle Williams: What else can I say except that there are some huge blind spots for me in the Actress categories this year as I didn’t get a chance to see Albert Nobbs, The Iron Lady, or My Week With Marilyn.

Who WILL Win: Viola Davis
Though I haven’t seen three of this year’s performances, all the Oscar buzz points to Viola Davis taking home gold. Though Meryl Streep is probably one of the best actresses in film today The Iron Lady suffers from the same thing that is hindering Michelle Williams great performance in My Week With Marilyn; they’re both not so great films. It’s true what they say, not even a good performance can save a film. The same could be said of winning an Oscar. With Davis taking home a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award for her performance in The Help and just days after The Los Angeles Times piece about lack of diversity in The Academy, a Davis win is all but assured.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Who I Think SHOULD Win: Octavia SpencerThe Help
I always think the Supporting categories are easier to pick than the Leading categories. There always seems to be a clear front runner that stands head and shoulders above the rest. This year that performance comes from Spencer who gave a great performance as the very outspoken maid Minny Jackson. Minny always says what’s on her mind and I think that trait alone is something we can all identify with. I also always prefer comedy over drama and Spencer’s portrayal of Minny definitely provided a lot of laughs in The Help. However, she did have a few dramatic moments in the film that I think help give her a well rounded performance for her character.

On everyone else . . .

  • Jessica Chastain: If there ever were a person that I think should get an award this year, it’s Chastain. It’s not just that she was in a number of movies that were released last year (count em 6!), but it’s because she was great in most of them as well. Sometimes awarding an Oscar can be an achievement award for a body of work, in this case I don’t think that will happen. Her nomination is for her performance in The Help, and while it is really great performance, she does get out shown by her costar Octavia Spencer.
  • Bérénice Bejo: There’s a scene early on in The Artist that I think could have gotten Bejo this nomination, it involves Bejo’s character Peppy Miller faux performing with jacket hung on a coat rack. While it’s just Bejo in the scene it looks very much like there are two performers on screen. I give her a lot of credit for making that scene feel so real, as well as the many others where she conveys so much through her acting and facial expressions. However, the thing that makes The Artist so interesting–its silence; also makes it it’s biggest hinderance. As great as her performance is, to win an Oscar for acting, I need to hear you speak as well.
  • Melissa McCarthy & Janet McTeer: Did not view Bridesmaids or Albert Nobbs.

Who WILL Win: Octavia SpencerThe Help
This category is as much of a sure bet compared to any of the other categories. Spencer has already won a Golden Globe, SAG award, and a British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) award for her performance in The Help. With all these awards she’s pretty much a shoo-in.

I know, I know, why put who ‘should’ win and who ‘will’ win if they’re going to be the same? Well, for today’s post I really do think my picks line up with the Oscar talk that’ve I’ve read. That probably won’t be true tomorrow when I go over the Actors categories. Stay tuned for more Oscar Watch tomorrow!

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More Oscar reading from the Los Angeles Times coverage of Academy demographics:

Oscar voters: 99-year-old in academy ‘never wanted to be a star’ [link]

Oscars’ oldest voter, 101, offers link to Hollywood’s Golden Age [link]

Oscar voters: From Britain to Brazil, academy members span globe [link]




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