Feb 12, 2012

Franky's 2012 Oscar Picks Part 1

(Check out Franky's Intro Article) And the 2012 FRANKY'S go to...

Best Actor in a Leading Role:
  • Demian Bichir – A Better Life
  • George Clooney – The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin – The Artist
  • Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt – Moneyball
Photo: Merrick Morton. © 2010 Summit Entertainment LLC. All rights reserved.

Who SHOULD Win: Demian Bichir - No person who’s been a cast member of Ocean’s 11 deserves to win this year, sorry. Their performances were solid, but when does George Clooney not simply act like GEORGE CLOONEY in a film? As for Brad, he had a better performance in a better film (The Tree of Life). Also, no disrespect to Jean Dujardin who actually did a fantastic job in The Artist and had the SECOND best performance of the year, but my absolute favorite performance of 2011 has to go to Demian Bichir’s in A Better Life. I’m not just praising him because we share the same ethnic background (arriba la raza) or cause he uncannily resembles my dad in his work clothes (luv ya pops) but Mr…uhm, Senor Bichir did an AMAZING job in this film, and I strongly urge fans of ANY type of movies to watch him in it. No performance evoked half as much emotion from me as his and aside from being an authentic portrayal of a Mexican illegal immigrant, he nails his role as a hardworking dad/general good person, who anyone in our area can attest actually makes up the majority of these people that society calls “illegal’s”. Honest, heartbreaking, even physically demanding… I’ve been saying this is the best performance of the year since May and it still is. As for Gary Oldman's performance, I'm trying my best not to bring it up for fear of zzZzzZzzzzzZZzzzzzZzzz..... A lot of experts talk about how "understated" it was, but all I saw were the back of my eyelids by the time his "brilliant" performance was set and done.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:
  • Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill – MoneyBall
  • Nick Nolte – Warrior
  • Christopher Plummer – Beginners
  • Max Von Sydow – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close      
 Nick Nolte stars as 'Paddy' in WARRIOR. Photo credit: Chuck Zlotnick

Who SHOULD Win: Nick Nolte - I think aside from Jonah Hill, who I love as a comedian but couldn’t find anything spectacular in his performance in Moneyball, everyone nominated in this category would be more than deserving of the award. Christopher Plummer is the odds-on favorite for this category and in truth I have no qualms with Christopher Plummer getting his “due” this year, meaning “let’s give it to the old guy before he dies and we feel bad for never honoring him before” but the problem with that logic is that the same could be said for Max Von Sydow who I actually think did a better job than Plummer in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. That being said, all Oscar politics aside, Nick Nolte, without a doubt deserves this award, which is saying a lot considering the talent he’s nominated against. I know we’re only two categories into my “picks” but Double N (as we call him when he comes over to our barbecues) is part of yet another performance that caused me to pull my glasses off for some slight wiping right there in the middle of the theater. In other words; I cried. Nick Nolte playing a vulnerable father with an unforgivable past will do that to you. For the sake of not spoiling anything, watch Warrior (aka the most underrated movie of the year) and after about the 5th “wow” moment from Nolte, you’ll know why I’m so enthusiastic about his performance. And yes, why I cried (like a MAN, mind you)

Best Actress in a Leading Role:
  • Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis – The Help
  • Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn
 Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in the film 
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. Photo by: The Weinstein Company

Who SHOULD Win: Michelle Williams Viola Davis knocks it out in EVERY role she’s ever done and her role in The Help is no exception. However, I wasn’t a fan of the film as a whole and my main problem with it (African American maids being reduced to a supporting role… in their OWN movie) is why I think she doesn’t necessarily deserve to win the Oscar THIS time. A lot of people seem to be rooting for Meryl Streep, but while playing a historical figure is never an easy task, I found the mediocre and confusing nature of the films screenplay to be quite distracting of what could’ve been a truly great performance. Rooney Mara was a surprise candidate, her edgy role was immersive and definitely the bravest of the lot, but in the end it could be argued that she had the perfect prototype to mimic, as her role was part of a remade film. My pick would have to go to Michelle Williams since she had to portray the hottest girl in history, in all her psychological laden turmoil and charismatic charm. Just recreating the screen presence Marilyn Monroe demanded on a film set or film screen in real life, is nothing of an easy task, let alone being equally convincing when she depicted the negative aspects of the pop icon’s life. No one can ever be Marilyn Monroe ever again, but Michelle Williams comes close.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:
  • Berenice Bejo – The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain – The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
  • Octavia Spencer – The Help
Berenice Bejo as Peppy Miller in Michel Hazanavicius's film 
THE ARTIST. Photo by: The Weinstein Company.

Who SHOULD Win: Berenice BejoJessica Chastain had more good roles in 2011 alone than most actresses have in a lifetime. Had she been nominated for The Tree of Life, I’d be more than happy to be supporting her (zing!), but unfortunately her nod was earned for her least interesting role this year. Big props (zing…) to Melissa McCarthy’s nod; she was equal parts hilarious and heartfelt in one of my favorite movies of the year and didn’t have to be a tired archetype character, written by a White person, of a race that deserves better FOR a race that deserves better… and I guess she’s fatter than Octavia Spencer too, now that we’re discussing which large and in charge momma was the better one. Anyway, in the end no one stole my heart like newcomer Berenice Bejo did in The Artist. Not only was she actually more of a LEAD role, she tap danced into our hearts and made us fall in love without as much as saying a single word. I foresee good things for my BB in the future of this industry. Hopefully an Oscar statue can jumpstart her career the right way.

Best Original Score:
  • The Adventures of Tin Tin
  • The Artist
  • Hugo
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • War Horse
Jean Dujardin as George Valentin and Missi Pyle as Constance in 
Michel Hazanavicius's film THE ARTIST. Photo by The Weinstein Company.

Who SHOULD Win: The ArtistFor anyone completely out of the loop, we’re not referring to the kind of points you “score” in a game here. Nor for your daily fix of heroine. That wouldn’t even make sense. Original Score (in the Film world) refers to the original music that accompanies a scene in a film and usually without us even noticing, determines exactly what those images make us feel. Chances are, if you’ve ever cried in a movie, it was partially due to the emotional scene besetting you and partially to the music in the background telling you to “cry” (in my case, I blame it on the tear duct deficiency I keep telling myself I was born with.) Anywho, this year was interesting because composer Howard Shore was nominated for both Spielburg movies and deservingly so. Still, can I really choose a score over The Artist’s score this year? The Artist was a SILENT FILM, meaning there wasn’t ANY DIALOGUE in it. No talking, nada. If what I mentioned earlier about how music contributes to your lasting impression of a sad scene is true, then the music in The Artist is responsible for half of EVERYTHING it made you feel. I just can’t pick anything over The Artist this year; the music was an appropriate ode to the classic silent film scores of yesteryear and quite simply put, told more of a films story than any other Original Score this year.

Best Makeup
  • Albert Nobbs
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2
  • The Iron Lady
What SHOULD Win: Harry Potter and the Best Movie of All Time - I’m a guy, so I wouldn’t know as much about makeup as say… an intern for Covergirl magazine. Now having said that, can an intern for Covergirl magazine tell me how you can take actor Ralph Fiennes, a decent looking Brit, and make him look like this…
 RALPH FIENNES as Lord Voldemort in Warner Bros. Pictures' fantasy adventure
a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Can anyone? I mean the makeup crew for Albert Nobbs transformed Glen Close into a man (something that exists) while the guys for The Iron Lady transformed Meryl Streep into an old person (something that contrary to popular belief, also exists). To hell with using lipstick and eye shadow (presumably…) to transform actors into things that already exist! Make me a VOLDEMORT and then we’ll talk.

Best Costume Design
  • Anonymous
  • The Artist
  • Hugo
  • Jane Eyre
  • W.E.
 A scene from Paramount Pictures' Hugo.

What SHOULD Win: Hugo - As with the previous category, I’m probably the person least qualified to be deducing anything about fashion or clothing. Yesterday I went grocery shopping in tube socks with sandals, wearing a 4 year old Hard Rock café t-shirt I didn’t even realize I was wearing inside out. That being said, what I do have an eye for, is a film’s setting. Hugo did a tremendous job of utilizing the characters wardrobe choices to place you in its 1930’s Paris setting… not to mention the portions of the film dedicated to Georges Méliès film productions, which included a wide array of eccentric getups spanning the multitude of genres depicted on set in the film. Since Hugo and The Artist are the only two films nominated for this that are ALSO nominated for something else, you’d think it’s a tossup between those two, but one thing about the Costume branch for the academy, is that they can be quite unpredictable. I’m secretly rooting for W.E., just because critics hated that movie. You go Madonna movie.

Best Cinematography:
  • The Artist
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse
Joerg Widmer (steadicam operator), Laramie Eppler and 
Jessica Chastain The Tree of Life. PHOTO CREDITS: MERIE WALLACE.

What SHOULD Win: The Tree of Life These are some fantastic nominees. I’m sure the Academy members actually selected to choose a winner have their hands full right about now, because choosing just one of these films is about as easy as swallowing a mouthful of cinnamon (See: impossible). All these are substantial beauties in their own right. Back when I saw Hugo, I remember thinking no film this year had better photography than that one. I’m disqualifying it simply because I have a hard time deciding which parts of the film were CG and which were pure, old school, lighting and lens focus. The Artist quickly comes to mind, its black and white presentation is classy and nice to look at… and then War Horse included everything from the brightest of days to the darkest of nights all across lush landscapes and brooding war zones. There’s a brief shot of the Irish countryside in final moments of the film that actually looks FAKE. Rest assured it is not. Yes still… in the end, I choose The Tree of Life, not because it is my favorite film of 2011, but because say what you will about its unconventional narrative structure and the experimental nature of the film… one thing you cannot deny, is that it’s a visual experience. If anyone ever makes a film about the trivial and mystifying aspects of MY childhood, I hope it’s handled with the kind of finesse captured by the filmmakers in The Tree of Life.  Life is beautiful… but in The Tree of Life, it’s breathtaking.

Best Film Editing:
  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Moneyball
Brad Pitt stars in Columbia Pictures' drama 'Moneyball.' Photo by: Melinda Sue Gordon.  
© 2011 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What SHOULD Win: MoneyballThe Descendants was a decent film but I have no idea what it’s doing on the ballot. Particularly nothing about the films editing speaks to me… then again the same could be said about a few other aspects about that movie as well. Everything else on here appears worthy of a nomination. Personally, it’s between The Artist and Moneyball for me. I’m a sucker for editing in sports movies, as they’ll focus heavily on the atmosphere of a game or match, with ensuing exchanges of perspective among the onlookers and participants of a game. It’s something that goes unnoticed by the majority of the audience, but is almost essential in building up the tension in those heart stopping, emotionally involving scenes. Combine that with the fluid and emotionally engaging narrative involving mixtures of flashbacks and stock footage of real baseball games, and you got yourself a hell of an “invisible” achievement. Then again if The Artist takes this, I will have no complaints whatsoever, because it was exceptional in its own right as well.

Best Art Direction:
  • The Artist
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • War Horse
as Harry Potter in Warner Bros. Pictures' fantasy adventure
 Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

What SHOULD Win: Harry Potter and This is The Best Movie of All TimeArt Direction was limited to the “back in time” scenes in Midnight in Paris, and even then I feel like the most scenic parts were filmed on location and could be attributed to the beauty of the city of Paris itself, rather than having much to do with the set decoration or production design. The rest of these were outstanding all throughout in the Art Direction department, but this time I’m gonna have to go with the film that didn't do so much recreating, as much as it did in simply CREATING. If you notice, all of these films were commended in this area because they do a fine job of placing you in a lively and believable setting sometime in the early 1900’s. All of these, EXCEPT Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2. That film does a fine job placing you in a completely fictional and fantasy setting of an alternate reality. A reality where schools like Hogwarts and banks like Gringotts, in all their detailed and fascinating décor, exist. It’s hard enough adapting such a vision from something that previously existed in writing, but doing it as precise as the talented artists that worked on this aspect of the film, reminds us why film isn't just about the actors or the story. The world of Harry Potter would be less immersive without the geniuses manning the Art Direction boat.


Marisol said...

Good job on your picks Franky! Serious yet funny approach to what you chose. I agree with most of your picks, especially Demian Bichir, I hope he wins best actor too! The introduction is hilarious where you say "and the frankys go to". lol.

happy Apples said...

Wow.....very impressive! Loved your perspective. Very artistic. (Angie G)