Sunday, February 29, 2004

Oscar, Bloody Oscar!

So I decided to slack off and not do a column until Oscar day was upon us. Predictions time baby, I'm feeling crazy so there's a bunch of no guts, no glory picks, I'm expecting to get a few wrong. Here they are:

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best motion picture of the year

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line) A Wingnut Films Production Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, Producers

"Lost in Translation" (Focus Features)
An American Zoetrope/Elemental Films Production Ross Katz and Sofia Coppola, Producers

"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (20th Century Fox) A 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures and Miramax Films Production Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., Peter Weir and Duncan Henderson, Producers

"Mystic River" (Warner Bros.)
A Warner Bros. Pictures Production
Robert Lorenz, Judie G. Hoyt and Clint Eastwood, Producers

"Seabiscuit" (Universal/DreamWorks/Spyglass) A Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Pictures Production Nominees to be determined

Achievement in directing

"City of God" (Miramax)
Fernando Meirelles

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line) Peter Jackson

"Lost in Translation" (Focus Features)
Sofia Coppola

"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (20th Century Fox) Peter Weir

"Mystic River" (Warner Bros.)
Clint Eastwood

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" (Buena Vista)

Ben Kingsley in "House of Fog and Sand" (DreamWorks in association with Cobalt Media Group)

Jude Law in "Cold Mountain" (Miramax)

Bill Murray in "Lost in Translation" (Focus Features)

Sean Penn in "Mystic River" (Warner Bros.)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Alec Baldwin in "The Cooler" (Lions Gate)

Benicio Del Toro in "21 Grams" (Focus Features)

Djimon Hounsou in "In America" (Fox Searchlight/20th Century Fox)

Tim Robbins in "Mystic River" (Warner Bros.)

Ken Watanabe in "The Last Samurai" (Warner Bros.)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Keisha Castle-Hughes in "Whale Rider" (Miramax)

Diane Keaton in "Something's Gotta Give" (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Samantha Morton in "In America" (Fox Searchlight/20th Century Fox)

Charlize Theron in "Monster" (Newmarket Films)

Naomi Watts in "21 Grams" (Focus Features)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role ==============================

Shohreh Aghdashloo in "House of Sand and Fog" (DreamWorks in association with Cobalt Media Group)

Patricia Clarkson in "Pieces of April" (United Artists through MGM)

Marcia Gay Harden in "Mystic River" (Warner Bros.)

Holly Hunter in "Thirteen" (Fox Searchlight/20th Century Fox)

Renée Zellweger in "Cold Mountain" (Miramax)

Best animated feature film of the year

"Brother Bear" (Buena Vista)

"Finding Nemo" (Buena Vista)

"The Triplets of Belleville" (Sony Pictures Classics)

Achievement in art direction

"Girl with a Pearl Earring" (Lions Gate) Art Direction: Ben Van Os Set Decoration: Cecile Heideman

"The Last Samurai" (Warner Bros.)
Art Direction: Lilly Kilvert
Set Decoration: Gretchen Rau

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line) Art Direction: Grant Major Set Decoration: Dan Hennah and Alan Lee

"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (20th Century Fox) Art Direction: William Sandell Set Decoration: Robert Gould

"Seabiscuit" (Universal/DreamWorks/Spyglass) Art Direction: Jeannine Oppewall Set Decoration: Leslie Pope

Achievement in cinematography

"City of God" (Miramax) Cesar Charlone

"Cold Mountain" (Miramax) John Seale

"Girl with a Pearl Earring" (Lions Gate) Eduardo Serra

"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (20th Century Fox) Russell Boyd

"Seabiscuit" (Universal/DreamWorks/Spyglass) John Schwartzman

Achievement in costume design

"Girl with a Pearl Earring" (Lions Gate) Dien van Straalen

"The Last Samurai" (Warner Bros.) Ngila Dickson

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line) Ngila Dickson and Richard Taylor

"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (20th Century Fox) Wendy Stites

"Seabiscuit" (Universal/DreamWorks/Spyglass) Judianna Makovsky

Best documentary feature

"Balseros" (Seventh Art Releasing)
A Bausan Films S.L. Production
Carlos Bosch and Marcos Loris Omedes

"Capturing the Friedmans" (Magnolia Pictures) A Hit The Ground Running Production Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling

"The Fog of War" (Sony Pictures Classics) A Globe Department Store Production Errol Morris and Michael Williams

"My Architect" (New Yorker)
A Louis Kahn Project, Inc. Production
Nathaniel Kahn and Susan R. Behr

"The Weather Underground" (Shadow Distribution) A Free History Project Production Sam Green and Bill Siegel

Best documentary short subject

A Constant Communication & Make-do Production Sandy McLeod and Gini Reticker

"Chernobyl Heart"
A Downtown TV Documentaries Production
Maryann DeLeo

"Ferry Tales"
A Penelope Pictures Production
Katja Esson

Achievement in film editing

"City of God" (Miramax)
Daniel Rezende

"Cold Mountain" (Miramax)
Walter Murch

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line) Jamie Selkirk

"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (20th Century Fox) Lee Smith

"Seabiscuit" (Universal/DreamWorks/Spyglass) William Goldenberg

Best foreign language film of the year

"The Barbarian Invasions"
A Cinémaginaire Inc. Production

A Moviola Film & Television Production

"The Twilight Samurai"
A Shochiku/Nippon Television Network/Sumitomo/Hakuhodo/Nippon Shuppan Hanbai/Eisei Gekijo Production Japan

"Twin Sisters"
An IdtV Film Production
The Netherlands

A Total HelpArt T.H.A./Barrandov Studio Production Czech Republic

Achievement in makeup

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line) Richard Taylor and Peter King

"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (20th Century Fox) Edouard Henriques III and Yolanda Toussieng

"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" (Buena Vista) Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score) ==============================

"Big Fish" (Sony Pictures Releasing) Danny Elfman

"Cold Mountain" (Miramax)
Gabriel Yared

"Finding Nemo" (Buena Vista)
Thomas Newman

"House of Sand and Fog" (DreamWorks in association with Cobalt Media Group) James Horner

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line) Howard Shore

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song) ==============================

"Into the West" from "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line) Music and Lyric by Fran Walsh and Howard Shore and Annie Lennox

"A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" from "A Mighty Wind" (Warner Bros.) Music and Lyric by Michael McKean and Annette O'Toole

"Scarlet Tide" from "Cold Mountain" (Miramax) Music and Lyric by T Bone Burnett and Elvis Costello

"The Triplets of Belleville" from "The Triplets of Belleville" (Sony Pictures Classics) Music by Benoit Charest Lyric by Sylvain Chomet

"You Will Be My Ain True Love" from "Cold Mountain" (Miramax) Music and Lyric by Sting

Best animated short film

A Pixar Animation Studios Production
Bud Luckey

"Destino" (Buena Vista)
A Walt Disney Pictures Production
Dominique Monfery and Roy Edward Disney

"Gone Nutty" (20th Century Fox)
A Blue Sky Studios Production
Carlos Saldanha and John C. Donkin

"Harvie Krumpet"
A Melodrama Pictures Production
Adam Elliot

An Acme Filmworks Production
Chris Hinton

Best live action short film

"Die Rote Jacke (The Red Jacket)"
A Hamburger Filmwerkstatt Production
Florian Baxmeyer

"Most (The Bridge)"
An Eastwind Films Production
Bobby Garabedian and William Zabka

A Tetramedia Production
Lionel Bailliu

"(A) Torzija [(A) Torsion]"
A Studio Arkadena Production
Stefan Arsenijevic

"Two Soldiers"
A Shoe Clerk Picture Company Production
Aaron Schneider and Andrew J. Sacks

Achievement in sound editing

"Finding Nemo" (Buena Vista)
Gary Rydstrom and Michael Silvers

"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (20th Century Fox)
Richard King

"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" (Buena Vista)
Christopher Boyes and George Watters II

Achievement in sound mixing

"The Last Samurai" (Warner Bros.)
Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer and Jeff Wexler

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line)
Christopher Boyes, Michael Semanick, Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek

"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (20th Century Fox)
Paul Massey, D.M. Hemphill and Arthur Rochester

"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl " (Buena Vista)
Christopher Boyes, David Parker, David Campbell and Lee Orloff

"Seabiscuit" (Universal/DreamWorks/Spyglass)
Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer and Tod A. Maitland

Achievement in visual effects

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line)
Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook and Alex Funke

"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (20th Century Fox)
Dan Sudick, Stefen Fangmeier, Nathan McGuinness and Robert Stromberg

"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" (Buena Vista)
John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and Terry Frazee

Adapted screenplay

"American Splendor" (HBO Films in association with Fine Line Features)
Written by Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Berman

"City of God" (Miramax)
Screenplay by Braulio Mantovani

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line)
Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson

"Mystic River" (Warner Bros.)
Screenplay by Brian Helgeland

"Seabiscuit" (Universal/DreamWorks/Spyglass)
Written for the Screen by Gary Ross

Original screenplay

"The Barbarian Invasions" (Miramax)
Written by Denys Arcand

"Dirty Pretty Things" (Miramax and BBC Films)
Written by Steven Knight

"Finding Nemo" (Buena Vista)
Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson and David Reynolds
Original Story by Andrew Stanton

"In America" (Fox Searchlight/20th Century Fox)
Written by Jim Sheridan & Naomi Sheridan & Kirsten Sheridan

"Lost in Translation" (Focus Features)
Written by Sofia Coppola

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Found Some More Trailers!

A spankin' new trailer for Hellboy, and spots for Evil, Saved, Mean Girls, Blueberry and a ton of French movies including Immortel ad vitam, L'Incruste, Feux Rouges, Luna Rossa, Retour à Kotelnitch, Khamosh Pani, Confidences Trop Intimes, and La Route de Memphis. Plus, we have a few new clips from Girl Next Door (which, in spite of hearing it's a ripoff of Risky Business, I'm kinda itching to see...).

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Finally! More Oodles of Trailery Goodness!!!

New spots for The Punisher (If you need trailers 1 or 2, we got that, too), Shade, Raising Helen, some movie with monkeys called New York Minute, and Man on Fire (Here's the first one for that, too, in case you missed it)...

Monday, February 23, 2004

One New Trailer...

Yeah, I know...I suck.
I can't bring you oodles of trailery goodness...just one one from Israel, Broken Wings.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

A Minor Cinematic Miracle

The 70s were a dark time for the US. The economy was in shambles. Gas was scarce. We didn't trust our politicians. We had no heroes.
Then, in 1980, something fantastic happened. A bunch of kids no one knew beat the best hockey team on earth on their way to winning Olympic Gold. The victory was a watershed moment for American culture. It meant we could believe again. I remember being nine and watching those games and just being amazed each time the US team came from behind to pull out a victory. I remember being on the edge of my seat during the USA/USSR match...transfixed by a sporting event that not only transcended the sport, but also transcended international relations.

Miracle tells the story of how coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) brought a disparate group of college players together and forged them into a team that managed to beat the best in the world when it counted. In spite of being a "rah-rah" patriotic spite of it being a Walt Disney Studios spite of the fact that it sounds like every sports cliche ever put to spite of works.

In less capable hands...this movie would have been crummy TV Movie of the Week material. Gavin O'Connor might not be up for an Oscar next year, but a steady workman director is better than a clumsy wannabe auteur any day. His technique shines when the games get going and the camera gets right into the action.

Russell, of course, is fantastic. Most people only think of him as an action star, but he's been one of the most reliable actors in Hollywood since the early 70s. Noah Emmerich shines in the role of Brooks' able assistant coach, Craig Patrick. But, the real standouts are the handful of unknowns who portray the team. Aside from Eddie Cahill, the team is made up of hockey players, not professional actors.

This works for two reasons. One, the hockey looks believable. They didn't have to train the actors to play hockey. They had the simpler task of making hockey players act. Admittedly, this ain't Shakespeare, but these guys put some decent performances in for being essentially untrained. Patrick O'Brien Demsey as Mike Eruzione and Michael Mantenuto as Jack O'Callahan anchor the cast without prior film credits. Eddie Cahill's Jim Craig is likewise excellent, though it's too early to say that any of them will have a future in the acting profession.
Two, the cameraderie of a team sport isn't something new to these guys. They've been on hockey teams and knew what it was like. They have experience in the sporting world, which is a hell of a lot better than an actor following a hockey team around for two weeks. They have all the tools necessary to portray hockey players, because they are hockey players.

Production-wise, the movie is at its best on the ice, whether it be practice or an actual game. Mark Isham's score ratchets up, sounding more like an action movie than a sporting event. Even though I knew the outcome, even though I watched the games 24 years ago, I was still on the edge of my seat during the game scenes, and I think the music had a good bit to do with that. The cinematography by Dan Stoloff and editing by John Gilroy manage to follow the action of a high-speed sport without looking like TV coverage, and then balance the quiet moments with a less frenetic style.

Miracle isn't earth-shattering. Hell, I'd bet it's not the feel good movie of the year. But, it's a damn fine movie about hockey, and it's a damn fine movie about an event that was important to me when I was but a wee film fan. If you haven't seen it yet, go. If you have, go again. Miracle's a winner.

Official Site
Super Bowl Spot
Making Of
Behind the Scenes
First Look
Premiere Footage

I went on a Belleville Rendez-vous!

All I can say is wow.
The Triplets of Belleville is one of the most fiercely imaginitive, wonderfully executed movies I've seen in a long time.

Sure, it's in French. No, they're aren't any subtitles. Guess what? You don't need 'em. There's so little dialogue, it doesn't matter, anyway.
The story is simple. A grandmother can't connect with her grandson after the implied death of his parents. She finally finds that he loves bicycling and begins a lifelong obsession with the sport.
When next we see them, the boy is a grown man training for the Tour de France. Grandma helps train him, using all the meager tools at her disposal to help mold him into a Champion.

During the race, Champion gets kidnapped by mobsters and Grandma gives chase. She follows them halfway across the planet to Belleville, a huge metropolis, where Champion and other kidnapped racers are forced to compete for mob bosses.

Thing is, I've just described the entire plot of the movie to you, and you still have no idea what you're in for. The movie is unique and funny and beautiful. Nothing is designed quite how you'd expect it to look, and the weirdness of the design and story plays into the way things pan out. All the mobster henchmen are identical, square-shouldered goons. Grandma has one huge clubfoot. Champion's dog barks at every train that passes by because of a childhood encounter with a model train.
The titular Triplets are a faded cabaret act from a bygone era who now live in a tenement and hunt frogs with hand grenades. None of it makes sense...but in doing so, it all makes sense.
I know this sounds like awful gobbledygook, but you have to SEE this movie to understand it. It defies description.

The film has a bizarre rhythm to it, sometimes articulated by the metronone of a whistle or the percussive songs of the Triplets. It moves the story forward and makes the 78 minute move seem to go by in 20. Most animated films use music as a substitute for the story. This one uses music as a substitute for dialogue.
I feel bad that Triplets of Belleville is in limited release. Not only do more people need to see it, so that they can see exactly what's wrong with the House of Mouse, but the Academy voters need to know that this was definitely the best animated movie of last year. Well, if Finding Nemo wins, I won't feel TOO sad...

Official Site
American Site

Friday, February 20, 2004

New Troy Trailer...

Even though they JUST posted the Troy teaser this weekend in Japan, there's already a new trailer up!
Plus, as a wee bonus...trailers 1 and 2 for The Whole Ten Yards...

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Trailery Goodness!

The 4th trailer for Hidalgo, a second trailer for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (you can find the first here), Young Adam, Bon Voyage and The Cookout. All but the last two are download links...just right click and Save As...

Japanese Trailers!

GeGe (Apparently a love story from Toho), The Day After Tomorrow, Legend of Mexico, Divorce Show, Return of the King and Troy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The TRUTH About Hidalgo

I don't know the truth about "facts" behind Hidalgo. Nor do I think it matters to a hill of beans what the real facts are.
See, I'm a romantic. Most movie geeks are. Passion and imagination are the stuff that I live for. I don't necessarily live in a fantasy world...I just enjoy the fact that our brains are wired for fancy as well as fact.
I don't give a shit what the truth of Frank Hopkins life is. I just wanted to be entertained by Hidalgo. It's a pleasant enough movie, and entertaining to be sure... It's just not something that challenges you at all or leaves any doubt about the outcome.
The movie's overly PC message that Blood Doesn't Matter is noble enough, and definitely stamps it as bland Disney product. Can we not just be entertained by the film instead of edumacated?
Viggo Mortensen is charming enough in the lead, carrying the movie with effortless grace. He's backed up by Omar Sharif as the Sheik of Sheiks and a whole lotta nobodies (though Malcolm McDowell and C. Thomas Howell have cameo roles). It's a delight to see Sharif onscreen, meaning I will likely have to seek out Monsieur Ibrahim when it hits Ohio. The horse is good, too, but doesn't get many good lines.

There is no question that Hopkins and his mustang stallion will triumph over adversity. Even when it's supposed to be hopeless, you know Frank will find a way. Perhaps if all of his opponents weren't such two dimensional stereotypes or such base villains, you'd think one of them might have a chance.
If the movie weren't PG13, you'd be able to forgive it a lot of its faults, as it's Disney and obviously pandering to families and children. However, since they kept the "edgy" testicle humor and slutty Englishwoman, you'd hope that they added some depth to a character or two aside from our hero.
Hidalgo's not an awful movie. The truth's just a rental

A bit ago, I posted a trailer I thought was for a Japanse war movie. Nope. I was wrong.
It's a Korean movie, and it's gotten quite a lot of online ink lately. It's called Taegukgi, and it's about two brothers who are drawn into the Korean war. It's the most expensive Korean film ever made, and it looks fantastic.

Incidentally, taegeugki it the name of the Korean national flag.
Here's the official site (Good luck getting it to open)
Here's the trailer...
Here's a review from a Korean site...
Here's a review from Ain't It Cool News...
Here's a short blurb from the Hollywood Reporter about it...
Here's the poster...

Looks good. I'm kinda interested in seeing it.

New Lord of the Rings Featurette

Just in case you haven't overdosed yet...

Monday, February 16, 2004

You Know It's a Slow Trailer Week When..

You post a link for the second trailer to Laws Of Attraction. Is it me, or could that movie look any less interesting?
To wash that out of your mind, try out the new trailer for Shrek 2 or this pseudo-trailerish commerical for I Heart Huckabee's (featuring the scrumptious Naomi Watts).

Friday, February 13, 2004

A Highly Suggested Wave by a Highly Intelligent Royal Highness
So I kept seeing this beautiful vocalisty music video on mtv buzzworthy..well the end of it, and I am surprised to see that the video is MAPS by the best band ever I could harldy hold in my pee. I have loved YYY for long time. Karen O.'s screechy vocals make me 'super duper' happy. Her ability to go from a childish whimper to a full blow barbarian YAWP gives me goose bumps. THEREFORE, I decided to go forth and conquer the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ new-ish cd ‘Fever to Tell’. This CD is simply amazing. Put Karen, Nick, and Brian into a blender, set puree and what do you get? They craziest blend of gooey ‘New York’ rock that I have ever heard. A couple of songs that really caught my attention were Tick, Maps, Rich, Cold Light, Modern Romance and the hidden track about 2 or 3 minutes behind Modern Romance. The whole cd is pretty stunning. This is my totally biased view on YYY, because I love them. If you like them, try the EP shit, like the song ART STAR. So there you have it, a rave on a cd full of razzamatazz.

Ooodles of Movie Goodness!

Once again, these have been up for a while...but I've had a bear of a time getting proper linkage for them...
Four trailers for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence...

1, 2, 3, 4

And, a music video for the Korean film Oldboy

Dishonest Dubya!

Buy the Action Figure HERE!

Now, I just need to find a good clip of the Dean Scream, and we'll be fair and balanced again...
Does John Kerry ever do anything funny?

Thursday, February 12, 2004


PEEP THIS. And be afraid...

Neat Viddies!

These are old links, but really deserve revisiting...

Wednesday, February 11, 2004


Fuck WalMart!

Fun Game for the Girls...

Yeah, I'm stealing hotlinks from CollegeHumor. Fucking sue me.

Doesn't make me want to eat their shitty snack bars...

But THIS is too much like what I envision a day at the NeurOTrasH office to be (that is, if we had an office...).

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The Most Important Movie of Our Times...

Thanks to Tim for pointing this staggering work of genius out to me.



(I've seen the site before...but utterly forgotten about it. Now that I've seen the trailer, I know in my heart that I MUST see the movie. mwhahahahaha!)

Monday, February 09, 2004

Welcome to Our Newest Recruit...

Byron's here. Nail down the keg...

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Be a Punk Rocker in 3 Easy Steps!

Click HERE and rawk out, doood!

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Prowling out of the mountains, carrying a vorpal blade, cometh Adam! And he gives a booming cry:

"I'm going to flog you into a fine spicy powder, and hit you with a steamroller!!!"

Find out!
Enter username:
Are you a girl, or a guy ?

created by beatings : powered by monkeys

In Case You Haven't Seen It....Another Trailer!

Around the World in 80 Days with Jackie Chan and Steve Coogan

It's Getting Hot in Here...

This ain't no Nelly video...

Thanks to our buddy Stan...

Saturday, February 07, 2004

While We're On the Subject of Japanese Movies...

Shirow Masumune's Appleseed

Casshern, a weird sci-fi thing...

And, for those of you who like to collect trailers...a bunch of Japanese trailers for US movies: Return of the King, Paycheck, New Orleans (aka Runaway Jury), Spider-Man 2.


OFFICIAL SITE (Bookmark This!)


AND...just because I love you all...trailers for the last G movie, Tokyo SOS...

1 & 2

Peep This!


Thursday, February 05, 2004

High Kicks Review! -- No, wait...don't get excited about it...

I have seen the pinnacle of crap.
I have seen the lowest film can sink.
And it is High Kicks.
With less production value than an Andy Sidaris film, High Kicks looks and even sounds like cheap porno. Except, there's no nudity. The closest you get is a couple nipple shots in the opening credits.
A perky, horse-faced aerobics instructor gets raped by a gang who learned all their street cred from Michael Jackson's "Beat It" video. Sam, the new janitor at work (a man with possibly the worst hair ever put to film) befriends her and introduces her to all his martial ats buddies. Yup. The hero is a fucking janitor.
Turns out, the dorkish hero...who lives on a raped when he was sailing around somewhere, and that's what got him to learn karate. Really. So, apparently, he has something against rapists and cheapass gang members
The two of them, and his asshole friends, start beating up the gang members one by one to get even with them. Then, they devolop karate aerobics. Really.
Honestly, Billy Blanks should sue their Tae Bo-faking asses.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Oscar, Bloody Oscar!
Vol 3. Column 3
Part I

A few tidbits to start today's OBO...first up is an exclusive list of screeners and other materials that an AMPAS member has received:

CITY OF GOD VHS 11/24/03
21 GRAMS VHS 12/5/03
MONSTER DVD 12/11/03
RADIO VHS 12/12/03
BIG FISH VHS 12/12/03
X2: X-MEN UNITED VHS 12/18/03
KILL BILL VOL.1 VHS 12/19/03
MYSTIC RIVER Script 1/29/04
BIG FISH CD (score) 2/3/04

Interesting to note how late it was before he received Cold Mountain, only 17 days before ballots were due for nominations, and of course the absence of a Lord of the Rings: Return of the King screener (New Line didn't bother sending out screeners for nomination purposes).

AMPAS members final voting ballots are in the mail today and must be turned in no later than Tuesday, February 24th at 5PM. We are now in the final 3 weeks of the campaign season!

Variety reported today that ABC is apparently trying to push a 5-second delay for the telecast on AMPAS, here are some bits from that article:
"Not even the traditionally well-behaved Academy Awards ceremony is immune to the storm over indecency that is lashing the broadcast biz. For the first time ever, ABC wants to impose a delay on its telecast of the Oscars, so that inappropriate material can be edited out.

ABC approached the Academy of Motion Pictures & Sciences about using a five-second delay. On Tuesday night, the AMPAS board voted not to change its plans for the show, but will not fight the web execs: "It's up to them," said an Acad spokesman.

Unlike other live telecasts, the Oscars have never been subject to a delay -- a point of pride for the org. While board members understand the web's concerns, they decided to make no changes to their Oscarcast strategy."

The networks use a five-second delay on most live events, which allows them to edit for audio.

"The network has made it clear they're feeling enormous pressure to institute a delay," AMPAS exec director Bruce Davis said. "ABC may factor in the board's decision, but has indicated that it will not necessarily feel obligated to follow it."

Thankfully, this was in today's Guardian Unlimited, AMPAS isn't going to back down:
"The Academy is, however, concerned that a similar approach to the Oscars could represent the thin end of the wedge.

"We would be very concerned about a delay that would raise possibility of a network representative deciding that remarks like Michael Moore's last year [in which the maker of Bowling For Columbine publicly questioned the integrity of the Iraq war] would be inappropriate," Davis said. "We don't want that kind of censorship."

ABC won't be able to stronghand AMPAS in this situation, we'll get our live, uncensored telecast.

Coming up later...
Speculation on the Costume Design race (reader request! haha)

This is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO not right...


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Oscar, Bloody Oscar!

So I decided to bring back my old column title, "Oscar, Bloody Oscar!" What do you think? :) Today's column will be a little sloppy, as I'll just call it as it comes to my head, I don't feel like editing it tonight. So here we go:

Anyway, following the campaign trail, I've compiled a little list of upcoming TV appearances by a number of the nominees, lots of Mystic River press, check it out:

Jay Leno:
2/6: Naomi Watts for 21 Grams
2/10: Marcia Gay Harden for Mystic River
2/12: Clint Eastwood for Mystic River
2/13: Diane Keaton for Something's Gotta Give

David Letterman:
Tonight, 2/3: Sean Astin for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
2/12: Jude Law for Cold Mountain

Conan O'Brien:
2/9: Russell Crowe for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Craig Kilborn:
2/10: Sir Ian McKellan for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Ellen Degeneres:
2/5: Charlize Theron for Monster
2/9: Naomi Watts for 21 Grams
2/11: Keisha Castle-Hughes for Whale Rider
2/16: Sean Astin for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

The View:
2/4: Marcia Gay Harden for Mystic River
2/6: Patricia Clarkson for Pieces of April

Seems the TV talk show campaigning is a lot lighter this year, not as many appearances going on as expected. Most of these people appearing don't need to be, the people that really need to get their face on TV are the following nominees...
Patricia Clarkson, who did on Monday, I forget on which show

Keisha Castle-Hughes, the Whale Rider sensation chick needs to start making the public fall for her, right now, she's a cute girl and would get a huge boost from an appearance or two

Ken Watanabe needs to get on and get his name out there more

Shoreh Aghdashloo could easily charm her way into some more votes with a TV appearance

As far as the trades are concerned, there are City of God ads sprinkled all over the place, including the internet, which is great to see. TONS of Lord of the Rings in Variety, plenty of Seabiscuit to chase it. A fair number of Mystic River and Last Samurai ads in Variety as well, and a few Master and Commander to top it all off (and what a lovely set of ads Fox has for M&C). The Hollywood Reporter is overflowing with Seabiscuit ads, of course.
The dominate 3 in terms of press ads are definitely Seabiscuit, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and Mystic River, at least from what I've seen and have been told. Fox really needs to step it up and bump those box office numbers for Master and Commander.

Lost in Translation was released on DVD today and is the number one selling DVD on at the moment. If those numbers translate to retail sellers, good news for Lost in Translation.
Here's a bit from today's PageSix on Coppola:
"THAT some Academy members are voting for Sofia Coppola to win Best Director to disprove Barbra Streisand's constant complaint she was never nominated in that category because she is a woman. "We have nothing against women, we just don't like Streisand," said one voter"

The notion that voters are going to throw a vote to Miss Sofia to spite Streisand, if I may be the first to say so, is patently absurd. We're not just talking about general AMPAS members, by the way, only DIRECTORS can vote for Best Director, and virtually all of the directors branch of AMPAS are men. If Coppola were to win for political reasons, it's much more likely that it would be friends and admirers of daddy voting for the Coppola name. I'd bet my life on it that none of the 360-something voters could give two shits about Streisand...That said, I personally feel that if Sofia wins, it will be because of a love and respect of the work, I don't think politics are going to be a large issue in a decision to mark Coppola on the director ballot. A lot of people out there truly love her little movie, and Sofia transcends simple Coppola family labeling by doing what matters, producing good work.

The race is still wide open, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is still most likely to take Picture and Director, I still wouldn't call either a lock though. But even more wide open are the actor races. Penn/Theron/Robbins/Zellweger seems to be every pundit's prediction right now, which very well could happen...but I say, expect surprises, because it's more likely that will not be the lineup, not saying that 3 couldn't still do it, just don't count on all 4 in your predictions.

Going back to Lord of the Rings, the momentum has gone at a great pace so far and it seems like New Line is settling into a comfortable, straight-forward campaign to the finish line. Peter Jackson and company are showing up at all sorts of parties and are charming the crowds, as they are all very charming, classy people. It's looking good, very good. New Line just has to make sure they stay fairly laissez-faire for the rest of the ride, they are in a position of finally being accepted to take the big prizes and need only to avoid overkill and a resulting backlash with the voters. Just run the ads at a cool pace and everything should point to gold.

WB is appropriately getting more aggressive with Mystic River and is capitalizing on the re-release and tv appearances. A lot of older voters will probably be voting for Mystic River for Picture, and it still poses a huge threat.

Seabiscuit and Universal are hard to place, the aggressive campaigning has worked and is continuing, will the horse continue to trump people's expectations and possibly snag a few statues, maybe even Picture? Still doesn't feel very likely for Picture, but AMPAS members REALLY went wild for it in screenings, as I've said before, so don't count out the biscuit (something I said back in August and September and was laughed at for predicting it for picture, to those who doubted me, eat it, I told you so).

Fox needs to keep pushing Master and Commander hard, it has a chance, but it needs some more attention and a box office boost in this re-release wouldn't hurt either.

Focus is handling Lost in Translation pretty well, appropriately running TV spots for the DVD release listing its nomination success. Lost in Translation is definitely a threat in that it is the most alternative choice for voters in the Picture category.

After a very sloppy rundown, I'll hold off on the specifics of other categories until tomorrow (and yes, I intend to run a column tomorrow, no week-long hiatus again). It all lies in AMPAS' hands...