Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm Mad at the Academy

The Oscar Nominations are so paint-by-numbers this year. I guess this year the academy decided to forgo actually watching the movies that came out in 2008 and listen instead to the hype that was out before the movies.

I could have predicted six months ago that a paint-by-numbers Oscar year would be giving major nominations to:

Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Ron Howard for Best Director? The guy who thinks the main job of the director is to choose where to point the camera? Were the pickin's really that slim this year? Was there no one with vision?

Oh wait? Didn't visionary Christopher Nolan have a movie out this year?

What about PIXAR's Andrew Stanton? I heard he's had something on the back burner for a while.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by now. The Academy has a poor track record when it comes to recognizing films of merit and artistry.


Things I'm happy about:

Performance by an actor in a leading role:
Frank Langella in "Frost/Nixon" (Universal)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role:
Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.)

Achievement in art direction:
"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.)

Achievement in cinematography:
"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) [WALL-E should also have received a nod here. The painstaking detail the filmmaker's went to to create bring a "filmic" quality to this animated feature is astounding.]

Achievement in film editing
"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) [Think of the briskness of the opening sequence. It would have been very easy to lose us during this or any of the other (numerous) action sequences in this film. Christopher Nolan and his editor Lee Smith don't let that happen. Bravo.]

Achievement in makeup:
"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) [Heath Ledger's makeup is almost a main character in this piece.]
"Hellboy II: The Golden Army" (Universal) [Del Toro deserves any recognition he receives in this area. He is visionary.]

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) [A lovely score from Andy Newman! Glad to see it recognized here.]

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
"Down to Earth" from "WALL-E" (Walt Disney)

Best animated short film
"Presto" (Walt Disney)
A Pixar Animation Studios Production [I haven't seen the other shorts from this year, but the storytelling and technical execution on this one were top-notch.]

Achievement in sound editing:
"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) [Ben Burt! The inventor of the light-saber's hum! Of Darth Vadar's breathing! Yes! Yes! Please please give this man an award! (Not to mention that this film's decision to reject dialog as the main form of communication made EXCELLENT sound design a must, and Ben Burt achieves that in spades. WALL-E essentially says one word over and over again [Evvv-a!], and vast the panorama of emotion that is displayed is a tribute to excellent sound design. Well done.).]

Achievement in visual effects
"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) [One more push for this film here. Christopher Nolan's decision to take the hard road and go with as little computer-generated special effects as possible is praise-worthy.]

Original screenplay
"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) [Yes! Yes! This would almost make up for your earlier snubbings! Please do honor this bold, non-dialog driven screenplay!]

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I've decided that I'd like to do a little Christmas report.

Andy Whitman got to blog about Tolstoy and Bullwinkle. I want to share about my Christmas too. (Even though I'm pretty late.)

Okay, first, I'll tell you what I tell everyone when they ask if I had a good Christmas.

We got to see our family. Which, if know anything about the crazy Winter we've been having here in the land of salmon and Trail Blazers.

It was harder to see our cousins/aunt & uncle/grandma on my Dad's side than usual (we had to chain up 100 yards from their driveway; they live on a hill). But we got to see them, and I always like hanging out with them (and my aunt makes a good Christmas dinner).

After opening presents and playing some games, we headed over to do Christmas with my mom's side of the family. And that went great too. We tried a new seating arrangement for dinner (pushing the normally separate tables [i.e. "Kid's Table," "Grown-Up's Table"] together), and it felt more like a great big family dinner which I loved. (In fact, it's surprising that I noticed anything at all, because normally Christmas Dinner is just something to get through so we can start opening presents. This year was not like that. Congratulations, Aunt Lori!)

Okay: Favorite Presents:

My All-Time Favorite Present This Year (and maybe just in general over the past couple of years) was a black, tuxedo vest from my Mom and Dad.

Oooh man. I loved this thing. I cried when I opened it. I'm so glad I have it; I've wanted a vest for a long, long time.

Other great presents:

Don’t Do Anything, Sam Phillips
The Ringing Bell, Derek Webb (via swell gift cards)
There Will Be Blood
The Iron Giant
The Dick Van Dyke Show: Season One!
a pair of nike flip-flops like the old ones I had/have that broke.
my own external hard-drive (for movie editing).
Nice shampoo and conditioner. (For curly hair. )
a new backpack (with working zippers).
a nice-sized sketch pad (the bigger the better; 8 by 10 at the least.)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

"Monday" is an adverb.

Put that in your hat and chew on it.