I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Oscar nominations


The Oscar nominations are announced Thursday morning at ridiculously early o’clock a.m. This will be a good place to discuss nominations, snubs, how much you don’t care about the Oscars, etc.

Most of the contenders are obvious, but I really don’t have a feel for what’s gonna end up winning. AMERICAN HUSTLE seems like a possibility for best picture but a poor choice. 12 YEARS A SLAVE might get it but I still have a hard time imagining a majority of the old white voters being okay with such a non-uplifting look at slavery. WOLF OF WALL STREET would be deserving but seems to have upset and confused alot of normal people. Interest in GRAVITY feels like it’s peaked. But then again I saw ARGO on opening day thinking it was the one to beat for the Oscars and then when it was over thought well, obviously that’s not gonna happen. So I’m not good at this.

Anyway, there are two long shots that would make me very happy if they happen tomorrow morning: 1) James Franco, supporting actor for SPRING BREAKERS, 2) THE GRANDMASTER, best foreign language. (It is Hong Kong’s official entry, and since it’s released by the Weinstein Company it is possible.)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 16th, 2014 at 1:51 am and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

85 Responses to “Oscar nominations”

  1. No nod for Ben Kingsley’s work in IRON MAN 3? The Oscars are worth NOTHING!

  2. Your award for Keanu made my day. I am extremely happy now after seeing that.

  3. Ok, so I guess the Academy didn’t think Man of Tai Chi was worth a nomination, and that isn’t surprising, but fuck them, am I right? Also, Prisoners got snubbed hardcore, and that blows considering how awesome that movie was. Also, Out of the Furnace? That movie seemed to take a rocket sled to nowhere (already out of dollar theaters here in beautiful OKC), but I was really taken with it. Place Beyond the Pines? Only God Forgives didn’t have a chance in hell, but I think we all know it deserved a cinematography nom, anyway. Springbreakers, too. Fuck it, man. A semi-wise man once sang/spoke, “I dooon’t need a minister to call me a groom.” Another semi-wise, this time fictionalized version, man once said in a movie, “If you don’t like Hustler magazine, don’t read it”. In other words, fuck that show, I will definitely forget its on the night its on. Man of Tai Chi or any of those other movies aren’t worse because they weren’t recognized. In a way, set out on their own to fend for themselves, they may grow up to be better movies. Who knows

  4. I actually might watch the whole thing this year, mostly because Ellen isn’t as grating when it comes to these gigs as some recent hosts. I’m pulling for GRAVITY (ha ha) to win it all, and it looks now like it’s tied for nominations with AMERICAN HUSTLE, so looks like there’s a chance it’ll get some significant wins. Feels like a no-brainer for Best Actress and VFX. I’ll be as happy if Alfonso wins Best Director then as if it won Best Picture.

  5. Really dissapointed that The Past and Blue is the warmest color were not nominated for foreign film.
    What about the Coens getting snubbed?
    There were 9 nominated films, couldn´t they give the 10th spot to Lewyn Davis?

  6. The cat in LEWYN DAVIS got robbed.

  7. I’m all for Cuaron as the best director.

    The fangirl in me wants DiCaprio to get it.

    And wouldn’t it be hillarious if Merly Streep wins again? I’m rooting for her since she is easily the best actor among the nominees.

    The Grandmaster is nominated for cinematography. WKW is such an amazing director who makes a star out of every cinematographer he uses.


  9. Redford should have gotten nominated for “All Is Lost”. “Only God Forgives” got snubbed for soundtrack and cinematography. Javier Bardem should get a livetime achievement award for best hair style.

  10. I don’t know how to tell you what you said was hilarious, Mr. Majestik, by being funny in return, but lets just say I laughed quite hard

  11. In my opinion, Her and Gravity are the most deserving nominees on the list by a wide margin. Both of those movies made me say “Holy shit, I’ve never seen something like this before” (each in a very different way).

    Krautsalat, I agree with you about Only God Forgives. I don’t know if “snubbed” is the word, because I think Refn is operating in a sphere of filmmaking that the Oscars don’t really overlap with, but it’d be nice to see something as thoughtfully composed as OGF get recognized. Kristen Scott Thomas is just as deserving as some of this year’s other acting nominees, too.

    Also, it’s weird that Thelma Schoonmaker didn’t get an editing nom for Wolf of Wall Street.

  12. No cinematography and costume design noms for THE LONE RANGER? I know the film was universally disliked (I loved it), but come on, the craftsmanship on that thing was impeccable!

  13. Cate Blachett will win Best Actress. I’ve been hearing nothing but “oh my god” levels of praise for her work in Blue Jasmine.

    Inside Llewyn Davis getting absolutely no love whatsoever just makes me cringe. Even A Serious Man got nominated for best picture, and ILD is one of the Coens’ best. Ree-diculous.

    Oh well, awards for art is whack anyway, been saying so for years.

    Also it is about this time each year that I dig up Vern’s awesome screed against the Razzies.

    Ahh, here it is: http://www.outlawvern.com/2007/03/05/holding-the-razzies-accountable-vern-on-the-other-great-awards-injustice/

  14. Glad to see “Her” get a nomination; that’s my choice for Best Picture (that said, I haven’t seen “12 Years a Slave” yet.) Of course it won’t win, but at least it wasn’t completely ignored; that’s something, at least.

  15. Usually I would have been mad, about PACIFIC RIM not being nominated for a VFX Oscar, but we all know that they should have left the category out this year anyway and instead mailed the Oscar to the GRAVITY people right away.

  16. This may be the first year that I managed to miss every film nominated for Best Picture. Wow. What the hell have I been watching?

  17. Someone please explain to me why Before Midnight has a nomination for Best ADAPTED Screenplay.

    Does it being a sequel make the voters think that it’s somehow adapted from… what exactly? The movies that came before it? I don’t get it. It’s still an original story.

  18. 100% with you, Mouth. I watched TWIXT over Halloween this year and it was probably my happiest surprise of the year. Wonderfully funny and strange. I hope it’s a setup for a series of Hall Baltimore adventures in getting drunk and having classic American authors come to him in dreams and solve mysteries.

    (my review, for the curious)

  19. Nick, if it makes you feel better, I haven’t seven seen all nominees from last year yet! In fact I only recorded LIFE OF PI a few hours ago and who knows when I’m gonna watch it?

  20. Mr S – cool review of TWIXT. I’d never heard of this till now. Amazing that a Coppola film can fly so low under the radar these days.

    I think you’re right about APOCALYPSE breaking his mind all those years ago. Interesting that he went from the fevered insane out-of-control genius of AN to the ambitious but studio-controlled commercial failure ONE FROM THE HEART. Almost everything he made after that has been some kind of experiment in style or genre(RUMBLE FISH, TETRO come to mind). Like he was deliberately treading lightly but still being creative in his choice of projects. I doubt he will peak again any time soon.

    Still, my favourite Coppola film is actually the one his wife made HEARTS OF DARKNESS. Now that’s a movie about movies.

  21. Jared Leto is this year’s Anne Hathaway. He’s basically already won the award in my opinion.

    But holy shit, it’s not that good of a movie. In fact it’s rather mediocre in my opinion.

    Most of my favorite movies of the year didn’t get nominated but it’s not like I thought Magic Magic or Byzantium was going to sweep the Oscars or anything (let alone Spring Breakers). Gravity is indeed the best movie of the decade so far and I hope it wins everything.

  22. I’m on board with either 12 Years a Slave or Wolf of Wallstreet winning the whole shebang, but I kinda doubt it happens. Similarly, I want my man Chiwetal or Leo to get the statue.

  23. Knox, wasn’t Before Midnight a comic book first? That’s the only way movie ideas happen these days.

    Gravity is my pick because it’s the only one I’ll remember of the ones that got nominated.

  24. Man, can’t believe INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS got so completely overlooked. One of the Coen’s best films IMHO, and the only nomination it gets is for best cinematography? wow. Surprising lack of love for BLUE JASMINE, too. And I guess everyone already forgot about PLACE BEYOND THE PINES?

    No surprise that ONLY GOD FORGIVES got robbed of the cinematography award it should have walked away with, I guess. Or that no one seems to understand the obvious greatness of STOKER. But I thought I could at least count on the man to give some love to the Coens, Woody, and PINES. And huh, no nom for THE PAST either. Weird choices this year.

  25. I don’t think people appreciate how great the Coen Brothers are. This recent stretch of great movies has been really reliable that I think people just kind of forget about them. My vote for best living directors, at least.

    I think The Past didn’t get nominated because A Separation already won, which is a shame because The Past is better. Or at least it was more affecting.

    I wish The Act of Killing got a Best Picture nomination because it probably was the best movie this year. Or Furious 6. Maybe Springbreakers.

  26. You really think 12 YEARS A SLAVE being a huge bummer is going to turn off old, white Oscar voters? It seems like the perfect opportunity for them to do their very favourite thing: pat themselves on the back by recognising a Very Important Film about a Very Serious topic. Which is fine in this case because by most accounts it’s also a great film (not out here yet).

  27. Casey — i think ACT OF KILLING is the movie of the decade. There’s nothing I’ve seen in years which even comes close to that level of power and brilliance. But can Documentaries even get best picture nominations?

  28. Best Picture: MAN OF TAI CHI (It’s not even close. The whole world owes this movie a life.)

    runner-up: SPRING BREAKERS


    Best Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour (WADJDA)
    (Again, not even close in this category, except this is technically a 2012 release.)

    r/u: Don Coscarelli (JOHN DIES AT THE END)


    Best Actress: Waad Mohammed (WADJDA)

    r/u: Ashley Benson (SPRING BREAKERS)

    r/u: Chelsea Kane (LOVESTRUCK: THE MUSICAL)
    (This sexy musical sequence aired on ABC Family Channel, somehow.)


    Best Actor: Ranveer Singh (RAM-LEELA)


    Best Supporting: Gwyneth Paltrow (IRON MAN 3)

    r/u: Bill Nighy (ABOUT TIME)


    Best Foreign Film: I still hate this fucking category. I’ll say TWIXT, since it’s from a foreign year.


    Best Documentary: ??? I enjoyed that Ricky Jay documentary, but I can’t recall being blown away by a nonfiction film recently. That LEAGUE OF DENIAL business on PBS was compelling. CNN’s GIRL RISING was worth a watch.

    -As long as DIRTY WARS doesn’t win (Love Scahill and love that he brought attention to certain victims overseas, but he fucked up on this project.)


    Best Animated: WOLF CHILDREN

    (GRAVITY belongs in this category, by the way.)


    Best Cinematography: TRANCE

    r/u: Does TO THE WONDER count as a 2013 release? Yay Lubezki, but fuck GRAVITY.


    Best Editing: SPRING BREAKERS

    r/u: SIX BY SONDHEIM (gorgeous transitions between talking head moments & fanciful dream/stage scenarios)
    r/u: THE WORLD’S END


    Best Visual F/X: TRANCE
    (There’s some things involving a partly-decapitated dream figure in this movie that horrified & amused me like nothing else in 2013. There’s all sorts of weird weaponry & suffocations & orgasms & overt artsiness & inverted identities & memories in this thing — the movie never slows down enough to let your stimulation wane or to itself be embarrassed by its own concepts. And the climax, holy shit! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy underrated stupid movie from one of my least favorite filmmakers. Paul is wrong; everyone here would love TRANCE, I bet.)

    r/u: THE WORLD’S END


    Best Costume Design: SPRING BREAKERS (less is more; less is better)

    r/u: Amy Adams’s décolletage
    (That double-sided tape sure had to “hustle” to keep her Ameri”cans” from being seen by… sorry I’ll kill myself now.)


    Best Production Design: 12 YEARS A SLAVE


    Best Make-Up & Hair Styling: SELF-TITLED (THE VISUAL ALBUM) by Beyoncé


    Best Sound Editing: MAN OF TAI CHI


    Best Screenplay: LONE SURVIVOR
    (Not because it’s a great movie or script but because I love that Marcus Luttrell and only Marcus motherfucking Luttrell has any right to say that part of his life is a movie and he can write it any way he wants. He [co-]wrote the book on it and now it’s a movie for real even though it was already a movie. Who the fuck is gonna tell him this version of his story isn’t award-worthy? You? Maybe with some anonymous keyboard courage, you might, but you’d be wrong. Were there 10 Taliban on that ridge? 20? 200? Myth versus truth? Go fuck yourself, the true legend has already been printed.)


    Special Hal Needham Award for Excellence in Stunts & Vehicular Carnage: FURIOUS 6


    Best Foreign Vern Review of 2013: NIGHT OF THE WARRIOR

  29. Glad to be aligned with you on TWIXT, Mr. S. I recall reports that Coppola would re-edit & remix his movie during its initial festival/tour run, so that you might not see the same film twice. The fact that his movie & movie format would be malleable in this way would partly explain [and further obscure?] the delightful semi-randomness of certain parts. The mystery concerning the whole somehow becomes more unattainable, unsolvable, even as its muddled existence is further explicated. Fractured personal memories, fractured cultural myth memories, color vs. black&white, drunkenness, zombieism, hallucination, forgetfulness, & the past’s refusal to be forgotten — somehow none of this is chaotic, yet none of it is comprehensible. (Reminds me of a more modest, less grating SOUTHLAND TALES)

    And also parts of TWIXT were in 3D. Imagine all the CAPTAIN EO reminiscing Vern could do.

  30. One Guy from Andromeda

    January 16th, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Shakespeare in Love, Crash, Chicago, The King’s Speech, Argo… Joke as much as you want, but even though some of these films are like ten years old or something they are still on people’s minds when they think “greatest movies”. The Oscars are NOT worthless.

  31. Good one, Andromeda.

  32. Mouth — I will eternally and unto my death regret that I never had the chance to see TWIXT in partly 3-D. I don’t even know what parts of the film it would have been, so I can’t even imagine. But also and more importantly, you need to do whatever it takes to see THE ACT OF KILLING before you close your 2013 contenders for “best anything, ever.” Not only is it the best documentary this year by about a hundred miles, it’s one of the most powerful films I’ve ever seen. The Ricky Jay doc is good, but you owe it to yourself to see the best. GATEKEEPERS is pretty fucking great too, if you haven’t seen that.

  33. Pretty excited for Lone Survivor because of Berg loyalty.

  34. Best Picture – Upstream Color

    Best Director – Keanu Reeves (Man of Tai Chi)

    Best Actress – Amy Seimetz (Upstream Color)

    Best Actor – Peter Capaldi, Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt, Christopher Eccleston, Paul McGann
    Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Tom Muthaphukkin’ Baker, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton,
    William Hartnell – The Day of the Doctor

    Best Supporting Actor – Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)

    Best Cinematography – Phillipe Le Sourd (The Grandmaster)

    Best Critical Beatdown of Cung Le – Tony Leung (The Grandmaster)

    Best voice acting – Ned Luke as Michael De Santa (Grand Theft Auto 5) / Brandon Routh as David “Hesh” Walker (Call of Duty: Ghosts)

    Best music re-issue of 2013 – Vangelis – Blade Runner

    Personal awards for best shit I’ve seen recently that I haven’t seen in forever – Lethal Weapons 1, 2 and 4, Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai

  35. PLACE BEYOND THE PINES pissed me off. The whole conceit of the kids fates being tied so specifically to the shortcomings of their fathers was too hamfisted and literal for my tastes. The compound effect of two kids making the exact same mistakes as their fathers was utterly comic.

    And the role of the mothers – one of which was depicted as very caring and involved in the upbringing of her child – was completely marginalized, to say nothing of the larger environmental factors that influence the development of personality. Eva Mendes even had a supportive new dude to help raise the kid. But nope, the sperm donor who helped produce her kid left a gaping hole inside him that could only be filled by Real Dad’s presence in his life, without which the kid was doomed to be exactly like the halfwit he met only twice. Gimmie a break.

  36. The Original... Paul

    January 17th, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Mouth – I for one think appreciate your selflessness in giving that runner-up “best actress” award to Benson instead of Hudgens.

    Also gotta give Michael props for this one, since I didn’t know of it: “Best music re-issue of 2013 – Vangelis – Blade Runner.”

    “Blade Runner” was one of the first soundtracks I ever bought on CD. It’s still a personal favorite of mine. I have to check this out.

    Honestly I don’t give a shit about who gets nominated for these awards, half of the films don’t even come out in the UK until late January / early February anyway. (“Wolf of Wall Street”, “12 years a Slave”, “Her”, “Llewyn Davis”, etc…) As usual, the comments are WAY more entertaining than the actual noms.

    I hardly need to say my opinions here – I practically used up all the forum space – but briefly, here’s how I’d rate the films I saw last year if deciding these things was my job… which it absolutely should be.

    Best Actress: Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”. This might be one of those few occasions on which Oscar and I agree. Well they did give “Argo” best picture last year anyway…
    Best Supporting Actress: Michaela Watkins, “In A World”.
    Best Actor: Matthew Goode, “Stoker”.
    Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained” (and I don’t freaking care if it came out the year before in the US, I’m on UK time here.)
    Best Director: Alfonse Cuaran, “Gravity”.
    Best Film: Linklater / Hawke / Delpy, “Before Midnight”.

  37. The Original... Paul

    January 17th, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    And seriously, if anybody can find a single category (even one of the minor technical ones) that “Movie 43” could convincingly win this year, they will get my undying love and respect for all time. And maybe some cold hard cash. Maybe.

  38. Jareth — While you’re right that it seems a bit overly simplistic for the kids’s lives to be so directly tied to their dads, I’d contend that the intent here is to evoke a deeper meaning about the way the past affects the present. PINES is trying to do that in a sort of mythic way, I think and asks you to accept some pretty heavy coincidence in order to make that point and make it personal. PINES is more interested in emotional truth than literal truth, so I accept that in order to experience something movies don’t usually try to often, which is to talk about direct links of meaning that span backwards into history.

    As for Dane DeHaan’s daddy issues… I think the movie is well aware how unfair it is to the new guy that this kid seems more interested in some asshole who only ever saw him once or twice than this nice man who raised him from a baby as his own son. It’s part of what makes the whole thing so sad, if I may say so, and it unfortunately rings pretty true. That’s exactly what an angry, alienated young teenage dude would do. I think once he gets a little older and figures himself out, he’ll come to appreciate his dad a lot more, and have a better perspective on who the important person in his life really was. Still, some people have a real insatiable desire to know where they came from, and I suspect that’s particularly true in young people who don’t yet know themselves very well. So even though its totally fuckin unfair, that seems truthful and believable to me.

  39. What’s up with this whole “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa was nominated for an Oscar! The world really IS becoming like Idiocracy!” meme that’s been plaguing my Facebook. Maybe i’m just friends with giant assholes who are so quick to say “smdh” at everything to feel superior to it all. Anyone with half a brain would automatically know it was up for Best Makeup, and considering the makeup job FOOLED DOZENS AND DOZENS OF REAL PEOPLE IN REAL LIFE, I’d say it was pretty good (still haven’t seen the movie so who knows).

    I never would have thought twice about TWIXT but you guys have me convinced to check it out. And I back up Mouth’s good words on Trance – it’s not perfect but it’s audacious and crazy and fun, and more importantly has nudity like I haven’t seen in a real movie in a very long time. Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars, 127 Hours was nominated for 6. The fact that Boyle followed that up by making a pulpy, violent schlockfest that essentially went DTV and was most likely guaranteed not to get one nomination is incredible to me.

  40. I haven’t seen complaints about the BAD GRANDPA nomination, but I was excited to see it. Old man makeup has been nominated many times in the past (I think CLICK was one people made fun of) but this is the first one where, as you pointed out, people had to actually be fooled by it in person. Also it had to be able to apply it under less than ideal conditions and have it durable enough to shoot for hours in public without touch-ups.

    I’m curious about the LONE RANGER nomination. You immediately jump to Tonto’s face paint, but also there’s a wraparound scene with super-old Tonto in it. My question is, how much of that is makeup and how much is digital? It’s either enhanced to make him skinnier or some kind of mocap type deal. Or at least that’s what I thought, because he looks so convincingly frail.

  41. Neal and Mouth – I put “Trance” down as the second worst experience I’d had at the movies last year. I know some people liked it – heck, the friend I went to the cinema with disagreed with me on this one. (Of course this is the same guy who hated “The World’s End” – well, one of them.) But a lot of people didn’t, so in the interests of saving people who might agree with me more than you guys some money and a couple of hours of their life, here’s the counter-argument.

    “Trance” was, to me, a movie that someone might make if they’d seen “Martha Marcy May Marlene” but didn’t quite understand why the reality-blending stuff worked so well in that movie. “Trance” has a LOT of scenes where what’s “real” and what isn’t is kept purposefully ambiguous. The trouble is that I never thought this was done for the sake of the story. Hell, the final twist is given away so early on that you’ll know exactly where the movie is going. Which doesn’t stop it trying to “keep you guessing” with lots of really really annoying “is it real?” moments that, unless you’ve never seen a film like this before ever, you’ll be fully aware have no relevance to the main plot.

    It certainly looks good. The cinematography is great. The scoring irritated me, but the acting is fine – even James McAvoy is passable here – but the script is an absolute mess. The story’s predictable from start to finish, but what really killed it for me was that everybody in it is so completely unlikeable. And yet again the one potentially likeable character is ruined by having their primary motivation not be revealed until the last act. (Yes, “Trance” shares more than a few similarities with “Young Adult” as well. If you liked that film – well, you might like “Trance”. If you shared my opinion of “Young Adult” then avoid “Trance” like the plague, because all of “Young Adult”‘s flaws are in “Trance” as well, and they’re just as bad.)

    “Trance” is a mystery thriller with no mystery or thrills. It also lacks any interesting characters. I didn’t give a crap about what happened to any of these awful people. There’s some pretty stunning flaws in logic too (what the heck happened to the police for most of the movie?) but these wouldn’t bother me if the story or characters were engaging. Unfortunately the people who made “Trance” were more interested in fooling their audience than they were about telling a good story about interesting people – so they succeeded in doing neither.

    That’s my argument, guys. Obviously people did enjoy “Trance”, so it’s up to you whether you think you’re more likely to agree with me or Neal / Mouth, and make up your mind on the basis of that. Personally I’d repeat what I said about “Young Adult” last year – and what I can’t even say about “Movie 43” this year, which was at least horrifyingly fascinating in a hide-behind-the-sofa kind of way – which is that I just took nothing positive from it. It’s not even that it’s “objectively” bad, the movie just never gave me a reason to care about anything that was happening in it. As a result I wasted two hours of my life on it. If you think you might agree with me then avoid, avoid, avoid.

  42. Glad we’re in agreement on the gorgeous, challenging, purposeful TRANCE cinematography.

    But your 1st act foreknowledge of movies’ 3rd act twists has always bewildered & impressed me, Paul.

    “Hell, the final twist is given away so early on that you’ll know exactly where the movie is going.”
    There is no way that this statement is accurate. Even if you somehow guess correctly all the players & their motivations & their involvement in the crime[s], you can’t know (unless you’re a co-writer of the film itself) how it’s gonna end up, with all the dreams & fake dreams & hypnotizations & fake hypnotizations & voice recordings & fake voice recordings & mismatched identities & amnesiac identities & faux-amnesiac identities, etc..

    Part of the exhilarating charm of the film is the fact that the viewer doesn’t even believe the writer[s] know what the fuck they’re doing. We & Danny Boyle are just along for the ride, asking questions, shooting people, wondering about art & memory & greed, fucking people, and handcuffing people along the way.

    It must be sad to watch films through Paul’s senses, whereby predetermined conclusions & expectations preclude the sensation of any fun or surprise.

  43. Yeah i remember reading someone (I’m guessing it had to be Paul) saying he guessed the big twist of Trance a few minutes in, and after I watched the movie I was like “wait, that guy must be really good”. I’m incredibly slow at catching twists, so I’m not one to talk. (Shit, I downloaded the sex scene from this movie a few months before seeing it which gave away a HUGE plot turn, and I STILL didn’t figure out the movie). Again, it’s not perfect, I can understand why people hate it. It’s sound and fury signifying nothing and all about the ride; like a trashy DePalma film that has no shame and no purpose other than to entertain.

    Speaking of makeup, I’m disappointed to see Lone Survivor didn’t make the cut. (I wonder if it really got nominated and someone made a typo, hence the Lone Ranger). I remember when the opening credits said “Special Makeup Effects by Greg Nicotero” I was like “oh great”. (I wasn’t in the mood for zombie-style gore that day and that’s not really a credit you see in serious, Oscar-type movies). I’m sure alot of the impact had to do with Berg filming all the wounds with careful (or loving, depending on who you ask) attention to detail, but the makeup work was pretty incredible to me.

  44. LONE SURVIVOR’s greatest trick was convincing my eyes that the #2 Taliban guy was played by Oscar Isaac.

  45. So this is kinda off topic but since you guys are all up on this Coppola thing, did you see Youth Without Youth? Another totally ignored Coppola film from last decade. Lightning bolt strikes an old man, turning him into Tim Roth and imbuing him with superpowers that he uses to fight the Nazis. Well, that and a lot of philosophy. It’s crazy stuff you guys should check it out.

  46. renfield, haven’t seen YWY. Another one under the radar for FFC. I’m eager to see TWIXT first but it hasn’t been released here.

    I swear Aussie dvd distributors don’t believe that there are enough broad minded film lovers here to justify releasing some movies. You would think Warner Brothers would have put out MEAN STREETS and POINT BLANK by now but nope, had to go to Amazon USA for those. ROLLING THUNDER I had to get through amazon uk.

    Sorry, random whinge, I’ll stop now.

  47. One Guy from Andromeda

    January 18th, 2014 at 7:53 am

    It just occurred to me that Saving Mister Banks is not nominated for 10 oscars. Something’s weird.

  48. I guess Meryl Streep is more powerful than we ever thought.

  49. Mr. Subtlety: I get the whole “past effecting the present” thing in PINES. I really like that kind of story (CARNIVALE, for example). My objection is that an interesting premise (and some lovely cinematography) is couched in phallocentric hysteria. Whatever the intention of the writer of the film, the “emotional truth” that shines through the painfully simple scheme amounts to: the potential heirs of the patriarchy are doomed by the failure of their male forbearers to embody the most conservative possible idea of responsible fatherhood. It’s the kind of ironclad politics that I expect from Freddie Phelps and his Church of Dunderheads.

    Speaking from experience, I’ve known any number of “alienated, angry” young dudes who weren’t bothered at all by the absence of their biological fathers when their mothers were half as competent and caring as Mendes’ character was. But maybe it works different in white families.

    It’s interesting to compare and contrast the film to CLOUD ATLAS, which is more ambitious and subtle in its schematics, far more progressive in its politics, but equally simple in its overall message.

    But hey, I didn’t want to punch Bradley Cooper, so that has to count as some kind of filmtastic accomplishment. Maybe in the sequel they’ll give Gosling more than three lines of dialogue. I’m getting really tired of his slowboy routine.

  50. Mouth and Neal – and this post contains HUGE SPOILERS for “Trance” –

    – So you don’t think that the bit where he’s sitting with his iPad or whatever “choosing” the hypnotherapist – in which he’s fixated on her but can’t remember why – is a huge giveaway? My friend liked the film, as I mentioned, and even he saw that one coming. Once you “get” that he’s obviously known her before, but doesn’t remember it, then pretty much all the stuff that happens two thirds of the way or so through the film becomes irrelevant.

    And regarding her motivations – I’d like to see an absolute wholesale ban on the whole “leave a main character’s primary motivation as a last-minute twist” thing. The absolute worst example of this was “Young Adult” of course (if your protagonist has only one redeeming quality, the last thing you want to do is use it as a “gotcha” moment at the end) but “Trance” manages a variation on this thing that works just as badly for me. This stupid device doesn’t work. It has never worked. Can we PLEASE see an end to it?!

  51. I watched 12 Years A Slave today. I must say, of all the films nominated for Best Picture, 12 Years A Slave is the one that I would call an undisputed masterpiece. The filmmaking and performances on display are simply brilliant. I think McQueen should win Best Director. His control of form is incredible.

    Granted, I haven’t seen American Hustle, Her or Nebraska yet, but I doubt that anything is going to impress me more than this. My favourite films of the year were Only God Forgives and Spring Breakers. Now I have another one to add to the top spot.

  52. Yeah, but, as Paul will tell you, anyone with a brain could see 12 YEARS A SLAVE’s final twist the instant you read the title.

  53. Mouth – lay off, will you? I haven’t said a damn thing about “Twelve years a slave”. I won’t either, I have no plans to see it.

    Look, I took absolutely nothing from “Trance”. As a movie it never gave me any reason to give a shit, so I didn’t. I’ve seen the same reality-bending stuff done many times before, and mostly better than this. I found it utterly boring and a complete waste of my time. That’s my damn opinion, and I think it’s fair to say that I’ve tried to state it in a way that gives others a chance to make up their own mind whether they’d agree with me or not.

    If you disagree, fine. I’m not saying yours or Neal’s opinions are invalid, I’m just stating my own here. There’s plenty of people on the interwebs who agree with my position, and plenty of others who agree with yours. I know full well that there are people here who don’t agree with me on what makes a movie a worthwhile experience. They’re quite free to disregard my opinion on the basis of that.

  54. Paul – *SPOILERS* – yeah I think the “he knew her before he lost his memory” thing was one thing and fairly easy to guess, but the actual main twist (who the ultimate villain is) was entirely another. Either way, I respect your opinion, Lord knows we all have hated movies others have liked and vice versa. And don’t get mad, but I gotta ask again – are you the same as the Original Paul who also posted up above? Or the Rehydrated/dehydrated Paul? Not that it really matters since I think i’ve agreed and disagreed with you passionately many times, just as i have with everyone else on this board.

    Back to the Oscars – I’m really sad to see no love for Will Forte in Nebraska. I knew a Best Actor nomination would obviously be out of his reach (and go to Bruce Dern), but I was still holding out hope for a Supporting Actor nom for him, even though he’s clearly in it more than Dern, a la Ethan Hawke in Training Day. Dern and Squibb are both good in it and were nomination locks before the movie even came out, but Forte is the glue that holds the movie together. He’s believable and subtle and unlike a lot of comedians making their big dramatic debut, he knows when and how to reign himself in. (I just checked IMDB and he’s won a few awards for his work which makes me happy)

    Btw, Nebraska is probably my favorite movie of the year (with Upstream Color, Dead Man Down, and uh….After Earth). I won free passes to it and was not looking forward to it because it seemed like a downer, plus I felt every Alexander Payne movie after Election was kind of overrated and Oscar-baity. But this is *SPOILER* crowd-pleasing, feel-good fare – my audience ate it up like it was a summer blockbuster.

  55. Question: what Best Picture winner would any of you qualify as one of your personal all-time favorites? For me it’s UNFORGIVEN, NO COUNTRY and possibly GODFATHER II.

  56. Braveheart, Silence of the Lambs (it’s on TV all the time and I can always watch it, that and Shawshank), Rocky, and Casablanca. I haven’t seen any of the best pic winners from before 1959 except for Casablanca, is anyone else really familiar with that cinema territory?

  57. Hopefully Mouth doesn’t read this but of the last two decades or so, The Hurt Locker is the best movie to win best picture. One of the most suspenseful movies ever made. You know how we complain about the freneticism and chaos and shakey camera bullshit? This is the ultimate antidote to it. Any “action” during the set pieces might be a sign of imminent shit erupting. The only other movie I can think of that does this is my personal favorite film, The Wages of Fear (again, things literally will explode if anything “happens” and you forget to breathe for the entire film).

    Scanning over the list of films that have won the award I see that Tom Jones was one such. That’s one fucked up movie. Good job Academy.

    I also like Silence of the Lambs, The Departed, Return of the King, No Country, and The Godfather. In general fuck these oscar people.

  58. Neal – yep, same guy. I think there was another Paul about at one point maybe, but not for long. (Like there was ever room for two of us!)

  59. Neal – I’ll answer your point regarding the “twist”. The thing about the “main villain” is that I thought that character was a complete arsehole from beginning to end – his first act in the movie is one of betrayal and motivated by pure greed, or so it seems then. So the fact that this character then turns out to be an arsehole in a different way made no impact upon me.

    It’s not like, for example, “The Disappearance of Alice Creed”, where throughout the film the apparently “nicer” kidnapper seems to have a chance of redeeming himself. So when it turns out that it’s the apparently more sociopathic kidnapper who gets a moment of redemption, and the more personable guy proves to be a complete bastard, it has some weight to it. The same was true for me of “Hostel 2” and the two “clients”. I wasn’t a huge fan of either of those two films but I thought they did that particular character twist just right.

    I think the best comparison for me was “Martha Marcy May Marlene”. That’s a film that also has a lot of reality-bending stuff, specifically confusing the past and present, yet in that film there was a very specific reason for doing this. You can root for the girl, especially near the beginning, to shake the bonds of her past; later on you can root for her sister and brother-in-law to somehow sort this situation out. In “Trance” there was nobody I could root for, nobody I cared about.

  60. My favourite Best Picture winner is On The Waterfront. It’s the film that turned me into a cinephile for life. Everyone should see it.

  61. Knox – great pick mate. Brando’s Terry Malloy is one of the great screen underdog characters of all time. I love how DeNiro references him as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull.

    OTW and THE MISSOURI BREAKS(as critically savaged as it was at the time) were the ones that sold me on Brando. TMB in particular is a reason I also fell in love with 70’s cinema. To see Brando, Nicholson, Harry Dean Stanton, John P Ryan(the warden from the awesome RUNAWAY TRAIN), Frederic Forrest and Randy Quiaid in an Arthur Penn western was a treat.

  62. One Guy from Andromeda

    January 19th, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    There have been really great best picture winners: On The Waterfront of course, Marty, Lost Weekend, Casa-fucking-blanca, The Apartment, Laurence of Arabia, Annie Hall, The Godfathers and so on, awesome movies that people still watch today. Every once in a while they picked a piece of shit, but most of the time you could bet on a best picture winner to be a really good film. Something happened in the system sometime in the eighties in my opinion, when suddenly there was almost exclusively shit like Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Shakespeare in Love or Chicago winning. What happened? They throw a Departed or No Country in there just to fuck with you, but mostly it’s movies that cater to the squarest audience possible. That’s why i was surprised Saving Mister Banks wasn’t nominated for 15 of the silly things.

  63. Just gotta say Arthur Penn made some great movies in my opinion. NIGHT MOVES is seriously under-appreciated, quite possibly undiscovered by many. Great 70’s detective noir with Gene Hackman and a young James Woods and an even younger(possibly 16?) Melanie Griffith, mostly naked.

  64. Darren – I’ve been trying to remember the name of that Melanie Griffiths film for AGES but couldn’t. Thanks for that.

  65. No worries Paul, I have a photographic memory for the really ‘important’ parts of a film. Let me know if you get stuck on a Bridget Fonda title.

  66. Andromeda – never got around to seeing CASABLANCA. I know it’s an essential film for filmophiles and all that. Humphry Bogart just never drew me in with his tough guy talk, long tan coats and chain-smoking. I must be missing something, so I’ll make an effort some day. Shit, that reminds me, I haven’t seen CITIZEN KANE either!

  67. Darren – CASABLANCA is definately worth seeing. Perhaps not to scratch technically, but there’s something about that story that just sucks you in as melodramatic as it is that people on some level can relate to. Its really really good. It won the Oscar back in the day, but it didn’t really get considered a classic into the 60s if I remember correctly and at one point was the most-screened movie on America TV.

    Also for Bogart, MALTESE FALCON is a goddamn must-see. Bogart’s a badass in that movie.

    I’ll add another Best Picture winner that’s worth seeing also: THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES.

  68. Ok RRA, you got me to thinking about it some more. I remember Paul saying a while ago on the WOLF OF WS thread he needed a bit of a push to check out older films that have a good reputation. He was referring to TAXI DRIVER which is a 70’s film, and I feel the same about films from before the late 60’s. I know it’s narrow minded but I just find it a chore if I’m not geared up for it.

    The exceptions have been ON THE WATERFRONT, STREETCAR and most Brando ones, as well as THE KILLING, THE ASPHALT JUNGLE and NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, SUNSET BOULEVARD(great noir film about fame and delusion…and murder), PSYCHO, SOME LIKE IT HOT, a couple John Waynes. Most of them were in the crime or thriller genre and seemed timeless.

    The thing that turns me off a lot of older films is the studio look and the melodramatic acting which, and I’m not trying to be sexist, seems to come from the female actors, mostly. I read that Martin Scores-Easy had a real hard-on for the Nicolas Ray film JOHNNY GUITAR, saying it was a significant film for its time for reasons I can’t fully remember. Something to do with anti-McCarthy propaganda or something. So I tried to watch it and it was a slog. Just couldn’t do it.

    Having said that, CASABLANCA has Ingrid Bergman going for it, and I have seen her in a few of the older Ingmar(not Ingrid) Bergmans films, and she is the opposite of the studio melodramatic acting I dislike so much. Hey, I might be doing a 180 here, this is good.

  69. I feel the same, but it’s more from before the mid-60’s for me. The only films I can say I’ve enjoyed before the 60’s were 12 ANGRY MEN and THE WIZARD OF OZ. I watched THE SEARCHERS several years ago, and thought some of it was pretty hokey, not to mention racist in retrospect.

    However, I am certainly open to anything that has at least some resonance today. I think Vern gave BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK a very good review here and so I have it now on my DVR and am quite enjoying it. It’s interesting seeing those early widescreen films, in contrast to today where everything on TV is 16X9. You can see the experimentation and excitement at the new technology going on.

  70. I like to watch older films. Film noirs as THE MALTESE FALCON and a lot of Bogey, Cagney and Edward G Robinson gangster flicks. They are pretty badass and as film history studies goes they are must sees but I can also understand if someone have a hard time watching them. You just have to distance yourself and look at when they were made and in the correct context. I find it hard myself to judge past history. It is better to try to understand it.

  71. My one beef with Bogart, despite the fact that I like both THE BIG SLEEP and THE MALTESE FALCON, is that you can’t have one guy play both Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe. That’s like having Affleck as Batman AND Superman.

  72. I think my favorite movie to have won the Best Picture Oscar would probably be WEST SIDE STORY, but I don’t expect that to be a popular pick in this crowd. I also loved ON THE WATERFRONT, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, THE DEPARTED, UNFORGIVEN.

    Some older movies that weren’t Best Picture winners, but are worth checking out would be TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT. It’s a great Howard Hawks/Bogart/Bacall movie and Darren, I would recommend Bacall as one actress you could enjoy. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of my all time favorite movies. And to go even further back, the old Buster Keaton movies are badass! His stunts blow my mind. I can’t believe what he did and the conditions he must have done them in.

  73. I tend to agree with Darren, in that the old (pre-late 60s is my personal cutoff for “old”) movies I usually enjoy are crime/noir/suspense stuff, where the mannered acting and black and white photography create a sense of atmosphere and theatricality that add to the feel of the movies. Films like NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, THE SET-UP, THE KILLING, A STUDY IN TERROR, BLAST OF SILENCE, SUDDENLY, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, M, THE LADY VANISHES, NIGHT TIDE… There’s something eerie and claustrophobic about this style of film, as different as they all are, that I don’t think would be improved by using modern methods. I’m less interested in the big Hollywood dramas of their day, as I’m not all that into drama as a genre in the first place and the schmaltz tends to get laid on pretty thick. I hear the swirling violins and see all the white people in their nice suits and I tune out.

    That said, probably my favorite old black-and-white picture is THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR, which I have unaccountably seen like five times now. Victorian supernatural romances without a hint of sex or violence are hardly my cup of tea, yet I never tire of listening to Rex Harrison use squeaky-clean 1940s approximations of salty seaman swears. Blast! Bilge! Russell Crowe still hopes he grows up to be Rex Harrison.

  74. I don´t think I have a cutoff date. I can enjoy silent movies like NOSFERATU and THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI ( a pretty creepy one in my opinion) and the Lon Cheney ones and even Meliés A TRIP TO THE MOON. That is pretty impressive work by its time.
    But I think WORKERS LEAVING THE FACTORY has lost its appeal over time.

  75. Man I gotta see “On the Waterfront”.

    My personal favorite “Best Picture” winners – allowing for the fact that I’ve not seen too many of them, especially the older ones – would be “The Sting”, “Platoon”, “The Silence of the Lambs”, “Unforgiven”, “Argo”, “American Beauty”, “Schindler’s List” and “No Country for Old Men”.

    I will always have a place in my heart for “Titanic” and “Shakespeare in Love” also.

    Of all of those – if I had to pick an overall “favorite” – it would be “The Silence of the Lambs”. I’ve watched that film many, many times and it still “gets” me.

    I like “In the Heat of the Night” but it’s a letdown as a whodunnit. I know the whodunnit isn’t the point of the exercise, but it’s still supposed to be a source of tension.

    “West Side Story” is a film I don’t think I’ve ever watched all the way through, even though I’ve seen bits of it time and time again. I gotta remedy that as well.

  76. And I love the old movies too, but with a caveat: the pre-Herrmann music often puts me off. I’ve talked before about my frustration with “The Big Sleep” (the Bogart version). Such a great film, such an overdone score – this was at a time when orchestras were expected to be as “dramatic” as possible at every point.

  77. You know which old movie is really fucking eerie? The Devil and Daniel Webster.

    Walter Huston is as great in that film as he was in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but in a completely different direction. I’m still convinced that Daniel Day-Lewis based his Daniel Plainview performance on that role more than anything from John Huston.

  78. Ah, TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE. That is a goddamn good movie. Bogart gets to play his more villainous persona from the thirties in this which is always a delight to watch.

  79. I’m a third generation obsessive-compulsive film lover and I have to acknowledge my Gran who used to love all these old films.

    She had the biggest VHS collection in the neighbourhood. Her weekly Saturday outing was going to the movies on her own and she would watch ANYTHING that came out.

    This would occasionally work against her if she didn’t do her homework first. She came home from Tinto Brass’s CALIGULA looking like she’d been hit by a bus. Poor Gran. Should have checked the rating.

    I remember she took me and my cousin to see FIRST BLOOD. I was 10. And damn it was good. Afterwards she had to explain to us what Stallone was talking about in his last monologue, partly because we knew nothing about the Vietnam war and partly because I couldn’t understand what he was saying.

    I’m glad she loved movies and passed it on.

  80. Guys seriously, hesitant about old movies? Watch THE WAGES OF MOTHAFUCKIN FEAR. It’s about hauling trucks filled with nitroglycerin through treacherous terrain. It’s has some of the most incredible set pieces ever put to screen. Fuck all that Casablanca shit, this is the film you need to see.

  81. Or FAIL SAFE. That shit scared the living daylights out of me. I have an occuring nightmare concerning nuclear bombs and judgment days and I was deadsure I was gonna have nightmares from that. Shit, I got some Twilight Zone vibes from that and Twilight Zone has fucked with me in the past. That episode when the earth was spiraling out of control and was getting close to the sun? Hell, I had a fever watching that and it was no pleasure.

  82. renfield: So was that you going on about WAGES OF FEAR in the comments a while back? I saw it based on your recommendation and holy shit, that was a great movie. So thanks for that.

  83. Probably was me! My work here is done.

  84. Finally got my “Best of” list up, just in time for no one to care anymore! Short version (no particular order):

    and especially, THE ACT OF KILLING.


    long version: http://wearecursedtoliveininterestingtimes.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-subtlety-guide-to-shit-you-should.html

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>