First, an Oscars analysis in light of Thursday’s nominations: The Golden Globes seem to indicate that Argo still has an edge over Lincoln but that Daniel Day-Lewis and Jessica Chastain are still frontrunners in the acting category. In the Comedy/Musical category, the competition was solely between Silver Linings Playbook and Les Misérables. Anne Hathaway is closer to a lock for Best Supporting Actress, but I think the momentum for the film itself and for Hugh Jackman, ends here. The real battle seems to be developing between Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence…and I think Daniel Day-Lewis and Bradley Cooper.
Ben Affleck may win every directing nomination he’s received, and rightly so, which makes the Oscar snob all the more confusing. I get Oscar snubs are a necessary component of the process, and that this was a great year, but this is a head-scratcher. Nevertheless, he deserves the accolades. Go Ben! And Argo!
Not quite sure who was favored for Supporting Actor (perhaps Alan Arkin or Tommy Lee Jones?) but I adore Christoph Waltz, so *I* favored him. Then again, he has to contend with Robert De Niro for the Oscar, and that’s a tough race. Great performances in both. If Christoph Waltz was a surprise, Quentin Tarantino for Best Screenplay was shocking. I also think he was most deserving; I mean this is an original screenplay in a mixed category of both original and adapted. Weird category that makes much more sense separated, like at the Oscars.
Glad that pan over the audience showed I wasn’t the only one crying as her speech kept hitting different emotional beats (here’s the transcript). I was just so unprepared! Most of these achievement awards are, lets be honest, super boring. From the way she addressed her ailing mother and hints about “retirement”…it was like breaking the wall that glittery award shows put up. We like to see stars schmoozing with other stars and seeing them as “real” people. But it’s all so fake. Leave it to a notoriously private actor to shatter those expectations. We don’t know Jodie, but because of her celebrity…we do. And this swan song of sorts is affecting because of that familiarity. Fascinating, moving stuff.
The Competition for Most Distinguished Introduction to a Film
Bill Clinton for Lincoln, Jeremy Renner for Zero Dark Thirty, Christian Bale for Silver Linings Playbook, Catherine Zeta-Jones for Les Misérables, Tony Mendez and John Goodman for Argo, Jamie Foxx for Django Unchained…
Women on Television
Claire Danes: “very proud to be working in this medium, in this moment, in this company”
Lena Dunham: “This award is for every woman who felt like there wasn’t a space for her” and Girls “made me feel so much less alone in the world”
I don’t actively dislike Robert Pattinson, (he is Cedric Diggory after all) but I never give him much thought. However, I have to admit that this little GIF showing how momentarily shy and awkward he appeared to be meeting Quentin Tarantino has endeared him to me a bit:
SKYFALL and Adele win—she high-fives Daniel Craig (such delight!) and pisses off Taylor Swift
The Usual Favorites
How awesome is Jessica Chastain, seriously? So sincere. On the E! Red Carpet she stopped to tell Naomi Watts how great she is in The Impossible and how much she loved it (before being shooed away by Ryan Seacrest).
Can someone PLEASE mass publish the fact that Jennifer Lawrence was quoting The First Wives Club when she said “What does this say…I beat Meryl!” I love her more and more every time she speaks. I know how it feels to diffuse awkwardness with a movie quote only to have it sort of fall flat when no one realizes it’s a quote…
Benedict Cumberbatch (his second time at the Globes) lost to Kevin Costner. Kevin Costner winning also led to the most boring speech of the night. And Ben looked sad! Oh well…
Ewan McGregor not-so-shockingly did not win for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, but did get to have a chat with George Clooney (that I spied) and plenty of others, probably. I just wish he was there to support The Impossible.
Eddie Redmayne looked quite dapper, of course.
If we are all being honest, a Golden Globe nomination is little more than a chance for the real Oscar contenders to continue their campaign, and for some of the kookier nominees to enjoy in the randomness of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The SAG awards can be telling of Oscar contenders as well but it’s really all about “actors celebrating actors” and a really nice party, I’d imagine (and more campaigning). But things are looking good for some deserving folks, and I feel way more committed to this awards season than last year (ugh). Also, I can’t help but be excited for the Amy Poehler/Tina Fey power hour.
To recap, I LOVED Argo and despised The Master. Ben Affleck got a very deserving nod for a Golden Globe in the Best Director category. Alan Arkin was the only actor nominated, in a supporting role. The movie as a whole was nominated for both Best Drama and Best Screenplay, as well as Best Score. Argo is also nominated for Best Ensemble Cast at the SAGs, and I gotta say, it is tough to beat. On the other hand, while voters seem to be in agreement that The Master is not great, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Philip Seymour Hoffman are still getting acting nominations. Which is okay, I guess. They did good work.
While I am championing Argo, I am full-on obsessed with Silver Linings Playbook (Golden Globe Best Comedy/Musical, SAG Best Ensemble). Bradley Cooper: best role I have ever seen him in (GG Best Actor Comedy/Musical, SAG Best Actor). Jennifer Lawrence is as fantastic as she is crazy and fragile (GG Best Actress Comedy/Musical, SAG Best Actress). And as the cleverest sort-of rom-com I’ve seen in years, it is very deserving of its GG Best Screenplay nod. However, it is shocking that the Golden Globes bypassed Robert De Niro, who gave his best performance in years; he was nominated for a SAG award, which hopefully keeps his Oscar nomination chances afloat.
The early praise for Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty is being supported by multiple nominations for both films. Where they fit in with Argo and Silver Linings Playbook, in my opinion, is yet to be determined but I am excited to check them out. Both are nominated in the Best Drama category for the Golden Globes and both directors, Kathryn Bigelow and Quentin Tarantino, are nominated. They also both received noms for Best Screenplay. For Django, one of my favorite people in the world, Christoph Waltz, is nominated alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. Meanwhile, another one of my favorite people, Jessica Chastain is nominated for Zero Dark Thirty, at the Golden Globes and the SAGs.
SURPRISE: For some reason, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association really felt the need to recognize Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, with a nod for Best Comedy/Musical, and acting nominations for Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor. I don’t have anything against the film, I actually own it. (I am contractually obligated by myself to own every Ewan McGregor movie so this hardly counts either). It is just one of those bizarre instances when a little talked about film from months ago pops for a run at gold. But I would much rather have Ewan nominated for his work in The Impossible at the Oscars.
- I have not seen The Sessions but I will never not be ecstatic over recognizing John Hawkes, which the HFPA and SAG both do. People claim that The Sessions is pure Oscar bait and I see where they are coming from, but John Hawkes has so many more unrecognized performances that this makes sense to me.
- Not wholly unexpected, but still surprising: Rachel Weisz snags a Best Drama Actress nod for The Deep Blue Sea. It is always nice to see her recognized (I love her) and I did like the performance (and the presence of Tom Hiddleston, naturally).
- My poor beloved Cloud Atlas is nominated for Best Score. As well it should!
- The Hour is nominated for Best Miniseries (?), hooray!! Sherlock is not; but Benedict Cumberbatch is nominated for Best Actor in a miniseries. Weird.
The years since Trainspotting have seen the primary cast flirting with both film and television roles. But has there ever been a time before now when you could see so many of them in one episodic week?
Jonny Lee Miller — First appeared on network television as the star of Eli Stone. He guested on Dexter before landing Sherlock Holmes in CBS’ Elementary (which just got a full season pick-up).
Kevin McKidd — On television, he first found success with HBO’s Rome. He led the cast of the short-lived Journeyman, before finding permanent residency (and the top gig of Chief) at Seattle Grace on Grey’s Anatomy as Owen Hunt.
Robert Carlyle — Also acting steadily, his previous television job was on SyFy’s Stargate Universe (SGU). He quickly followed that up with his role as Rumpelstiltskin on Once Upon a Time.
Kelly Macdonald — Kelly Macdonald breaks the mold of network television by appearing on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, along with numerous films this year alone.
Of course, had HBO picked up The Corrections, we would’ve also had Ewan McGregor on television for the first time (in a permanent role).
Ewen Bremner, you ask?
Rotten Tomatoes asked Ewan to choose 5 of his favorite movies. Granted, I thought I was clicking on the website’s list of their favorite Ewan McGregor films, but Ewan’s list was by far more interesting. Never has anything truer been uttered by a human being: “But you should make sure that it’s five of my favorite films,” he qualifies, “and not my top five films. It’s definitely not my all-time favorite films, ’cause then I would have to sit down and think about it more clearly.” YES. How can anyone ask this question? Especially if one is a movie buff? Being asked for your favorite film must always come with some sort of qualifier.
In solidarity, I decided to make a quick list of some of my favorite Ewan McGregor movies. Rotten Tomatoes set the rules at 5 so I will stick with that. Before deciding, I can guarantee they won’t all be the most award-worthy candidates and I can certainly confirm that these aren’t my only favorites. After spending over half my life dedicated to following this guy’s career (I mean, Episode I came out when I was in 5th grade), I have seen a lot of his films and most of them occupy the bit of my heart dedicated to my love for movies.
If Episode I was the equivalent of my gateway drug to Ewan McGregor, then Moulin Rouge led to my full-blown addiction. Being, like I said, a 5th grader when I was introduced to the padawan version of Obi-Wan, I was not very well-versed in the idea of seeking out further Ewan films. (Probably a good thing that got tabled until a few years later…). I was obsessed with young Obi-Wan but for the next few years my Ewan interaction was contained to me exclaiming his name whenever I saw the preview for Night Watch on my Scream VHS. But then Moulin Rouge was released to rent and I saw Ewan McGregor staring back at me on the cover at Blockbuster. That set it off. I was ready to fully acknowledge the potential Ewan fan within myself. And what can I really say about Moulin Rouge? Great soundtrack, funny, and very watchable years later.
A Life Less Ordinary
My continued interest in Ewan was furthered by my discovery of this gem in the $5 VHS section in Suncoast. I think it’s great. Sometimes you just want a movie to surprise you, ya know? The plot of this one is actually insane, in the kind of way that you have never seen anything like it before. And the whole plot stems from angels that need to ensure at all costs that Ewan’s character and Cameron Diaz’s character find true love. And the means by which this is achieved makes everyone go off the deep end. As I tended to do in middle school, I watched and quoted this movie ad nauseum. Luckily I found a fellow Ewan fan in 7th grade to join me on the journey that is Ewan’s filmography…which we were very unprepared for. However deep down the rabbit hole we ended up going, A Life Less Ordinary was a main stay of my get-togethers.
As I have gotten older, this movie continues to increase in its emotional impact. Not only was it an education in heroin, it was a great showcase for some of Scotland’s best exports to date. Kevin McKidd, Ewen Bremner, Robert Carlyle, and (okay non-Scot) Jonny Lee Miller all join Ewan in spiraling down into addiction. Deeply depressing yet oddly joyful, I find something new to take away every time I watch (because this isn’t exactly the kind of movie I sit down and watch a lot). And man, what a soundtrack! (Just realized I have 4 out of 5 soundtracks on this list). Bitter memory: in junior year of high school in my English class, somehow Trainspotting was brought up (not sure if I did or someone else) and the teacher was absolutely shocked that some of us had seen it. Like, almost outraged (and he was a fairly young guy). Now I don’t know what kind of world this guy grew up in or what his feelings are about the film but at that point I had been watching it since 7th grade. Odd to remember; I am still annoyed at that guy.
This movie has everything: Ewan’s version of Iggy Pop, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers’ take on David Bowie, Christian Bale living the dream of every fanboy, and a brilliant soundtrack. This is the Stefon of movies. It also features a performance by Ewan early in the movie that…”glitters” in one’s memory, especially at an impressionable age. It also involves faked death, aliens, and shock therapy so…there’s that.
The only recent Ewan movie to make the list, Beginners affected me on multiple levels. Whereas my older choices clearly hold a special place in my heart, Beginners is a movie that wouldn’t have resonated with me when I was twelve. Luckily it came out during a time in my life where I can relate to the themes, especially in places so nuanced, and yet I saw pieces of my own life depicted on the screen. Christopher Plummer got the credit, and the Oscar, but Ewan is also at his best here.
List takeaway? If I like the movie, I own the soundtrack (maybe later, Beginners). Also, I can’t stay away from Ewan’s (usually) dulcet voice: Moulin Rouge, A Life Less Ordinary, Trainspotting, Velvet Goldmine.
This year, Ricky Gervais did not go for the jugular like he has in the past; that is a shame. If anything, the stars were prepared for it. Since he planned on this being his last time as host, why not take as many celebrities out as possible? And no, I don’t think Colin Firth even batted an eye at Ricky’s remarks about his evilness. George Clooney actually wins the award for comment of the night, remarking on Michael Fassbender’s…physical gifts, which elicited this wonderful reaction:
Some other thoughts:
People I feel should have been recognized: Amy Poehler, Bryan Cranston, Kelly Macdonald.
Salutes to those that I feel earned it:
Downton Abbey–Should Downton be in the mini-series category, no. But, this is the Globes. (And just for fun, this Tumblr mashes DA and Beyoncé lyrics and is awesome).
Homeland–Breaking Bad was the best drama but I think Homeland needed this extra push for public recognition; also Breaking Bad wasn’t nominated…um…okay? Claire Danes absolutely deserved that award for her amazing performance as Carrie Mathison.
Christopher Plummer for Beginners!
Best Screenply for Midnight in Paris (I feel out of the options Woody Allen should have gotten Best Director as well).
The award for interview slyness (who I didn’t even know was there, sneaky monkey) goes to:
The actual interview is available here–in written and video form.
The person that needs some awards love too (and not just as a presenter for 50/50…am I missing his connection to that? or from Christopher Plummer, although that was very nice):
The GGs are always sure to handsomely reward past favorites as well: Laura Dern, Jessica Lange, Kelsey Grammer, Kate Winslet…
- What the hell is Hugo about? I get absolutely nothing from trailers or from the clips shown at the awards. I refuse to actually look up the synopsis.
- I officially need to go back to watching Luther, find a way to get my hands on Appropriate Adult (after missing it twice on television) and give Enlightened a watch on HBO GO.
- The Hugo thing may not be the film’s fault. Who compiled these reels? The one for Midnight in Paris is completely misleading and spoilery—it gave away what happens to the private detective!
Oliver: Go and have your own experiences with your own people. I’ll be right here. I’m a human, I’m not a dog. And you’re a Jack Russell and that’s a breed. Your personality was created by this guy John Russell who was a hunting enthusiast in the 1800s. He bred your ancestors for their stamina and their courage for the hunt. You think you’re you and you wanna chase the foxes…but other people planted that in you years ago. And now somewhat arbitrarily you are considered very cute by us humans. And we keep breeding you not to chase foxes but to be cute and we put you television shows and movies…and you’re chasing tennis balls because they’re as close to a fox as you’re gonna get.
By complete happenstance I watched both of these films this weekend; while dealing with completely different subject matter, by using a similar narrative structure, it was easy to draw some parallels between the two stories. My overall takeaway: see these movies! Both offer a compelling look into what shapes us and how it affects us down the road, whether for better or worse.
In Beginners, Oliver (Ewan) is dealing with the recent death of his father. The movie flows back and forth between moments Oliver shared with his mother as a child, moments he shared with his father after he comes out to Oliver, and Oliver’s present. Throughout the film we get to see how Oliver’s parents shaped him as a person (and perhaps, how it negatively affected him emotionally) and how later in life he could also use lessons from his parents to fix himself.
The film shows this in its overall theme, and also discreetly. I particularly liked seeing Oliver doing seemingly innocuous things like introducing the house to Arthur the dog or Anna, giving voice to inanimate objects, or saying “You point; I’ll drive,” but realizing later on that these are phrases he picked up from his parents.
Full disclosure: I am an avid Ewan McGregor fan; I am not exactly sure how to convey over a decade’s worth of love for him and his work but it’s there, through thick and thin. So I find it easy now to watch his movies, take in his characters, and discern the bits that are pure Ewan. This movie counts as the first time I felt a connection to Oliver rather than Ewan, and a feeling akin to catharsis while watching the movie. I am not underscoring Ewan as an actor in his other films, I am trying to emphasize the emotional impact I felt while watching this particular film. All in all, a beautiful story, beautifully illustrated and acted; it is a film I definitely want to add to my permanent repertoire.
With all the hype that this movie has been generating, plus my inability to ignore the enigmatic John Hawkes, I was pleased to check this movie out and at the same time scope out the local AMC indie theater. I found one of the biggest criticisms of this movie to be true: if you need things to be spelled out and questions answered, you might want to skip this film and avoid the frustration. For the most part, I found it easy to reason out many of the questions myself or find suitable explanations, and everything that is left can lead to a lively debate with friends afterwards.
Just like Beginners, in MMMM we see Martha’s two years in a cult and the aftermath of her escape from it at her sister’s Connecticut lake house. Watching Beginners taught me a valuable lesson: pay attention to what seems like throwaway lines because you may discover why that is important later on. And utilizing that idea definitely paid off heaps in MMMM. Why can’t Martha sleep because she hears something falling on the roof? The cult throws things on the roof to distract homeowners before executing a home invasion. Why does she seem to still espouse the ideals of the cult if she took the risk to run away? She didn’t sign up for murder. Although I found it strange that two years in the cult did such severe damage to societal norms in the real world, I just chalk that up the brainwashing power of Patrick and having no external influence to combat those teachings for that period of time. MMMM also gets credit for its seamless transitions; situations in Martha’s current frame of mind led to her replaying the events of the past two years in her head, more so than we were actually cutting back and forth between settings.
It seems that this narrative structure is en vogue right now: although I have yet to see it, J. Edgar employs the same method of bouncing back and forth between Edgar’s earlier years and later years as FBI Director. Nor am I claiming that this is a new method of storytelling; seeing these two films in the same weekend just gave me a new appreciation for the structure and how it can deepen the audience’s understanding of character motivation.