Comments, tips, mash notes and queries to karen [at] cinecultist DOT com, or AIM us [at] elysecritic.

Entries from Cinecultist tagged with 'Oscar race'

Unlikely Oscar Winners and Poll Results

For the first time in a couple of years, the Cinecultist did not spend the Oscars at home, by ourselves, live blogging. This plan had its pros and cons. Attending an Oscar party means extra tasty treats for the commercial breaks and more people to potentially throw out witty quips about the celebrities' fashion choices but also more distracting chit chat over good acceptance speeches. CC is embarrassed to admit, we even shushed one of our friends—not a proud moment. All in all it was a fun night and we're certainly glad the writer's strike was resolved in enough time to have a pretty normal telecast. Although, jeez, did there need to be that many montages? It was montagalicious up in there. We almost expected to see a montage of the montages over the final credits, it was so self-congratulatory.

Favorite moments from the three plus hour show for Cinecultist included Tilda Swinton's crack about George Clooney wearing the nippled bat suit on the set of Michael Clayton, Jon Stewart's reintroduction of Marketa Irglova so she could give her acceptance speech for best song, and James McAvoy subtle flirting with Josh Brolin during one of the scripted introductions. We saw that look between them! A new bro-mance is born!

As for the official Cinecultist Oscar Pool, our winner is Martin X, who got 15 our of the 24 categories correct. Well done, Martin! Please email CC your info and whether you'd like a drink or some random DVDs from the Cinecultist vault as your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered, we all got a few at least. More than half of us predicted best picture, and there were lots of accurate best actor, best director(s) and best supporting actor votes. Yet only two people thought Marion Cotillard would take home best actress and one lone voice was rooting for Tilda. Also no one accurately chose the Best Documentary Feature, Taxi to the Dark Side. It's currently in theaters now, so as penance we should all go see it. The best foreign language winner The Counterfeiters is also playing now in New York and Los Angeles. It looks intriguing, as does that entry from Kazakhstan Mongol. Cinecultist totally didn't know Kazakhstan had a national cinema, that's awesome. Mongol comes out in June and stars the wonderful Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano as Genghis, so it's definitely on our To See list.

Montage Homage

Cinecultist has said it for a long time, Josh Horowitz is like the coolest person we've ever met. And he doesn't even have to try. Now thanks to the magic of editing in the above clip, little pregnant Juno tells him so too. Though, Josh on Ellen Page is a little harsh: "She's like Abigail Breslin with the mouth of Dennis Miller." Ha.

Man, we miss working with this guy. He puts the fun back into movie fanaticism.

Chatting with NYT's Break Through Amy Ryan

Amy Ryan, flanked by John Ashton and Ed Harris, as Helene in Gone Baby Gone.

On Friday night the New York Times magazine hosted a conversation between editor Lynn Hirschberg and two of their featured subjects (and Oscar nominees) in this week's story on Breaking Through actresses Ellen Page and Amy Ryan, as well as Juno director Jason Reitman. After the fascinating hour and a half conversation, which featured discussions of their work in Juno and Gone Baby Gone as well as a cameo from portfolio photographer Ryan McGinley, Cinecultist had the opportunity to speak one on one with Amy in the green room. The critically lauded (she was nominated for two Tonys and now the best supporting Oscar nod) down-to-earth stage and screen actor couldn't have been nicer—she even complimented CC on our favorite earrings.

It’s so great to meet you because I’ve been talking about your performance ever since I saw it.
Oh, gosh. Thank you.

Something I thought that was interesting that you brought up in the talk tonight was that in your theater career, and then again in your movie career, you’ve had these breakthroughs and I wondered if there was anything that you thought was similar about these two moments?
It is similar to what Ellen was saying about when you read a script and it’s somewhat inexplicable, but your body is just propelling you forward [to do the project]. I think the common thread is that when I first read Uncle Vanya and actually Streetcar, these two plays, I thought 'I have to play these parts.' And when I read Capote, I knew this was a role I had to play, Marie Dewey. I just had to. It was the complexity of her being star struck in tandem with her neighbors just being murdered. What does that feel like, to be this person? I wanted to figure that out. And then with Helene [in Gone Baby Gone], how do you play a drug addict who is considering the fame and also wondering if her daughter is alive or dead, just trying to survive?

So it’s more about the chance to play a certain role rather than, 'Now the world will know me and I’ll have a chance to be famous?'
No, never had that. I remember when I was a kid seeing a play with a famous actress in it and I remember saying to my mom, ‘I hope I’m good before I’m famous.’ Because when you’re famous people will tell you you’re good.

Continue reading "Chatting with NYT's Break Through Amy Ryan"

Best Picture Quint Feature, Marjane Satrapi comic-terview and some music news

* No more complaining about not being able to see all the top films of the year. At AMC movie theaters around the country on Feb. 23, watch all five of the best picture Academy Award nominees back to back for only $30. Your pass allows you to come and go, plus you get free popcorn all day. It's time for a movie binge, baby.

* Reading alert: Mike Russell from CulturePulp interviewed graphic novelist/filmmaker Marjane Satrapi and then drew it. The medium and the subject, both super cool.

* Last night, Cinecultist caught the pre-backlash-to-the-backlash, record release performance of Vampire Weekend at Bowery Ballroom. We trotted out our snarkiest remarks and our most cutting observations about the super enthusiastic 16+ crowd, but the fact of the matter is this young foursome plays a catchy, danceable tune. The nostalgia for Paul Simon's Graceland pulled strong on our heart strings and their earnest rocking made us want to cut class and lay out on the grass on the Quad. Expect to see VW freakin' everywhere really soon.

Dudes, Oscar Pool!

Matthew Baldwin over at the excellent blog Defective Yeti has created an Academy Awards ballot function and we've set up an official Cinecultist Oscar Pool. Log in*, pick your favorites (at random if you like, sometimes these awards are total crap shoots) and then they'll be emailed to CC. After the awards are announced, we'll tabulate the winner. It'll be fun! Yay, betting! And as a further incentive the top dog will get a mailing of random DVDs from the Cinecultist's collection or a congratulatory drink, whichever you prefer. Plus bragging rights, of course.

The Oscars will air, in some form or another, on February 24 at 5 pm PST. If you need some more professional handicapping, you can check out EW's coverage.

If the above DY link doesn't work, you can search for our pool under #4042.

Academy Award Predictions for '07

With only an hour and a half to go until the 79th annual Academy Awards get under way, (be sure to check out our liveblogging with fellows Gothamists Jen Chung and Margaret Harper) the Cinecultist looked over the nominees and offers up our predictions in the major categories. How cloudy is the crystal ball this year? Only time and the envelopes will tell but CC has a good feeling about our ability to peer into the minds of the tried and true Oscar voters.

Supporting Actress:
Could it be anyone besides Jennifer Hudson?
No, it couldn't. And she lost it at the podium thanking her grandmother and God.

Supporting Actor:
Two months ago CC would've said Eddie Murphy was the shoo-in but now with the Norbet factor, we're going to go Mark Wahlberg.
And it goes to the old guy, Alan Arkin.

Foreign Language Film:
Pan's Labyrinth seems to have the traction.
Wow, totally suprised that the Academy liked The Lives of Others best, though CC thought it was great too.

Animated Feature:
We loved Monster House but we bet Oscar will prefer Cars.
Totally wrong on this one, they loved Happy Feet.

Writing (Adapted):
How we wish it could be Children of Men but we're going to go with The Departed.
The Departed it is.

Writing (Original):
Could it be anything besides The Queen?
Oy, it's Little Miss Sunshine written by Matthew Broderick's former assistant.

Documentary Feature:
Here's the moment where Al Gore announces his candidacy in '08 as he clutches the statue for An Inconvenient Truth in his hot little hand.
No surprise "my fellow Americans," it's Truth for the win.

Gawd, CC loves Helen Mirren, as will Oscar, even though she's won every other award she's been nominated for this season.
Right again and lovely Helen brings her purse up to the stage to accept her statue.

Forest Whitaker because he's too scary not to get it.
Hooray for Forest, he really deserves it.

Best Director:
Everyone agrees that this will be Marty's year for The Departed.
And it is. Who's cuter than Martin Scorsese? Nobody.

Best Picture:
It's all about Babel baby.
Wow, at this point [12:15 freakin' a.m.!] we're almost too tired to care that it went to The Departed instead.

Whew, swami Cinecultist is tired now. We're popping out now to stock up on some extra diet Coke and conciliatory/celebratory frozen yogurt for after the telecast. We'll be updating this post as the results come in.

Anticipation, Internet-Style

Some things to look forward to while Cinecultist still tries to cope with the frigid New York winter weather. Oh April, where are you dear spring-time friend?

* David Fincher's new movie Zodiac. Love that Gyllenhaal and love that grey/green palate. The New York Times reports.

* One week to go until the Oscars. Web coverage has really increased this year, as per this NYT trend article. CC's looking forward to continuing with our liveblogging tradition with fellow Gothamist and Oscar telecast junkie Jen Chung.

* CC has already read it, but you should be looking forward to getting your hot little hands on Lisa Graff's very excellent kids book, The Thing About Georgie. We interviewed Lis (aka our favorite Mandy Moore movie going partner) as part of her blog tour on Gothamist.

To Be Good, But Not Great


Over the weekend, Cinecultist finally got around to seeing the Oscar-nominated Martin Scorsese movie, The Departed. It'd been on the list for quite awhile now, especially because we enjoyed the source material Infernal Affairs, but just hadn't made the time for a screening. Now with the end of the year nominations out, CC was certain it would end up a front runner, particularly for best director, and then we'd be unable to really weigh in confidently on its merits. Will this be Marty's year? That's the question on everyone's mind, or at least everyone who has such obsessive Oscar conversations as the Cinecultist or Dave Karger.

While eating dinner at a totally old school "red sauce" Italian joint afterwards (in other words the perfect food to digest Scorsese with), CC came to the following conclusions. The Departed is not a great Scorsese picture, like Goodfellas or Raging Bull, but it's good. More importantly, it's better than some of the very sub-par product he's been giving us in the last few years (yes, Gangs of New York, we're looking at you). Since Oscar likes to reward whole careers rather than a single film (except for in the best supporting actress category, that is), 2006 could be a respectable and reasonable year to reward Scorsese for services rendered. He's made an entertaining thriller which touches upon his signature themes of class and ethnicity, as well as elicited some excellent performances from a rich band of actors. It may not be a truly lasting movie that will be considered cinema art, but CC is fine with that. Good but not great is okay for someone like Marty.

Further side notes: Is there anything Alec Baldwin can do lately that isn't completely wonderful? Okay, maybe Mini's First Time, but that movie was just plain BAD. Most everything is better when he's on screen. Also, the costume designer who could put Vera Farmiga in both those amazing little panties for her make-out with Leo scene and the worst three piece suit ever in two other sequences is both brilliant and a fool.