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Ah, yes, so it arrived with much fanfare, and some choices have left me puzzled, other delightfully surprised. More on that later. But first, the list.

BEST PICTURE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

BEST DIRECTOR
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Gus Van Sant, Milk

BEST ACTOR
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

BEST ACTRESS
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin, Milk
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Frozen River , Courtney Hunt
Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh
In Bruges, Martin McDonagh
Milk, Dustin Lance Black
WALL-E, Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Pete Docter

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Eric Roth
Doubt, John Patrick Shanley
Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan
The Reader, David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
WALL-E

BEST ART DIRECTION
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Australia
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess
Milk
Revolutionary Road

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki
The Witness — From the Balcony of Room 306

BEST EDITING
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
The Class (France)
Departures (Japan)
Revanche (Austria)
Waltz with Bashir (Israel)

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Auf der Strecke (On the Line)
Manon on the Asphalt
New Boy
The Pig
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

BEST MAKEUP
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Alexandre Desplat
Defiance, James Newton Howard
Milk, Danny Elfman
Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman
WALL-E, Thomas Newman

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
”Down to Earth,” (WALL-E)
”Jai Ho,” (Slumdog Millionaire)
”O Saya,” (Slumdog Millionaire)

BEST SOUND EDITING
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
Wanted

BEST SOUND MIXING
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
Wanted

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

Notes on the nominees:

1) Pleasant surprises: Richard Jenkins and Melissa Leo’s nominations for two very small indie flicks that were much revered ( Frozen River was a Sundance 2008 fave and award winner). They were also early 2008 releases and i was afraid they’d both be lost to later, showier parts. Leo you may remember from Homicide: Life On the Street. Jenkins is one of those ” That guy” actors ( I remember him as the psychiatrist Ben Stiller talks to at the beginning of There’s Something About Mary).

2) Stunned- STUNNED- but overjoyed by Michael Shannon’s nomination for Revolutionary Road. He had little buzz due to the Heath Ledger noise. He also has no shot, nor do Robert Downey Jr., Phillip Seymour Hoffman, or Josh Brolin, although Brolin has an outside shot ( he has actually won some critics awards). But if he was noticed by the Academy, Shannon’s odds might be better than we realize.

3) Expect Wall-E to win Animated. The other two flicks don’t stand a chance.

4) Dance With Bashir will win the Foreign Language award, even though Italy’s Gommorra was by far the best foreign film of the year ( it wasn’t nominated. What up?)

5) Peter Gabriel will be an Oscar winner for best song.

6) Best Doc Feature is a toss up between the stunning and engrossing Man On Wire, which has dominated pre Oscar shows. But do not count out the moving Trouble The Water. It’s about Katrina and the aftermath.

7) Robert Downey Jr’s nomination is only his second. Seriously.

8) Kate Winslet was nominated for the wrong movie. Therefore she will lose to Anne Hathaway unless they give it to Meryl, who gave what is possibly my least favorite performance of these nominees, but it’s MERYL.

9) Expect Mickey Rourke, Penelope Cruz to win for their categories. Cruz is a supporting actress nominee in a Woody Allen film. It worked for Mira Sorvino and Dianne Weist ( twice).

10) Benjamin Button leads with thirteen, Slumdog has ten, Frost/Nixon five, Milk eight, The Reader five, Doubt five, The Dark Knight  eight ( mostly in lesser tech categories), and Wall-E five.

11) Movie that gets to call itself an Oscar nominee despite being crap- Hellboy II.

12) Viola Davis is onscreen in Doubt for about five minutes.

13) Apparently the Academy preferred the turgid, lumbering The Reader to the astonishingly acted, but cutting and depressing Revolutionary Road, which is clearly the superior film. Kate was resplendent in the latter, and as much as I love her, her performance in the former left me cold. RR picked up a few nods in lesser categories.

14) All the best directors have their pictures nominated as well. Remember, the Academy has a tendency to have a best picture nominee that apparently directed itself in the mix.

15) If Slumdog does indeed prevail, it will have done so without a single acting nomination. I can’t recall the last time that happened off the top of my head.

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”It’s very simple. Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and, as it always has, rock crushes scissors.”
—Sheldon (Jim Parsons), explaining his new game of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock, on The Big Bang Theory

” I never have any normal fans.”

Dr. Spencer Reid ( Matthew Gray Gubler), lamenting the fact yet another serial killer is a fan of his work, on Criminal Minds

“I hate New York! I’m sorry, but it’s true! Today, I was walking around PriceCo. Have you been there? It’s huge! All the stores in New York are so cramped! Every time I turn around I knock something over. I’m like some huge monster that came out of the oceans to destroy bodegas! …I’m too big for New York, okay! I’m always trying to fit into cramped little subway seats, or duck under doorways that were built a hundred and fifty years ago. “Hey, people are bigger now! Build bigger doorways! What the hell is wrong with you?” …And it’s so loud. All the time. Yes, I know it’s the city that never sleeps, but guess what? I like to sleep! I’ve been tired for eight years! Tired and scared, with black and blue marks on my elbows from trying to fit into all these tiny elf doorways! New Jersey’s great! It’s got huge stores, and lawns, and you never have to carry a cup again! For the rest of your life! I’m not afraid to say it: I love New Jersey! ”

– Marshall ( Jason Segel), ranting after spending time at Stella’s New Jersey home, on How I Met Your Mother

” I can see Russia from my house.”

-Sarah Palin ( Tina Fey), giving a press conference with Hillary Clinton ( Amy Poehler), on  SNL

”I am Shiva the destroyer and your harbinger of doom for this evening.”—Kym (Anne Hathaway) in Rachel Getting Married

Penny: Sheldon, it’s me.
Sheldon: You’re in my bedroom.
Penny: I need your help.
Sheldon: People aren’t suppose to be in my bedroom.
Penny: Well, can we talk in the living room?
Sheldon: I’m not wearing any pajama bottoms.
Penny: Why?
Sheldon: I spilled grape juice.
Penny: Well, can’t you put on other pajamas?
Sheldon: I can’t put on other pajamas, these are my Monday  pajamas! Penny, people really aren’t supposed to be in my bedroom!

– Penny ( Kaley Cuoco) and Sheldon ( Jim Parsons), after she enter’s his room in the middle of the night for game playing advise, on The Big Bang Theory

Penny: I know this is none of my business, but I just… I have to ask — what’s Sheldon’s deal?
Leonard: What do you mean, “deal”?
Penny: You know, like, what’s his deal? Is it girls…? Guys…? Sock puppets…?

– Penny ( Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard ( Johnny Galecki), after witnessing a girl fawning over an oblivious Sheldon ( Jim Parsons), on The Big Bang Theory

Penny: Sorry the napkin’s dirty, he wiped his mouth with it.
Sheldon: I possess the DNA of Leonard Nimoy?!
Penny: Well…yeah, I guess. But look, he signed it!
Sheldon: Do you realize what this means?!?! All I need is a healthy ovum and I can grow my own Leonard Nimoy!
Penny: Okay, all I’m giving you is the napkin, Sheldon.

– Sheldon ( Jim Parsons) and Penny ( Kaley Cuoco), after Sheldon opens his Christmas gift, on The Big Bang Theory. This is followed by Sheldon giving her a half dozen gift baskets and the funniest hug in the history of television.

” I kissed a girl and I liked it/ the taste of her cherry chapstick.”

– Katy Perry ” I Kissed A Girl”

 “Denny is my best friend. I love him with all my heart. If I could yank that horrible disease out of his body, I would fight it and I would win. I would use every ounce of my strength and I would win, if I could — but I can’t.” 

– Alan Shore ( James Spader), in front of the Supreme Court, on Boston Legal

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Amy Poehler

Let’s face it. Amy was the best thing on SNL for years, but this year, her Hilary Clinton was as spot on as Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin- but in some ways, funnier, because Hilary appears to be totally humorless while Palin- well, she didn’t seem to mind the joke so much. ( I have not crossed over to the dark side, I’m making an observation- Dems forever…) But Add to that the fact Amy made Baby Mama really hilarious and that Palin rap ( above) was a gem in a lackluster SNL season… and she did that mere hours before going into labor, I swear. Plus,  as my friend Rose pointed out, she and husband Will Arnett ( forever Gob…) get massive cool points for naming their son Archibald. Archie. We’re living in Riverdale, too? Awesomeness!!!!!

( President-elect) Barack Obama

We Liberal types hoped it never had to be said, but we knew it would have to come. And when Obama stood on a stage and gave his speech on race in America, he gave the speech of the election cycle. You would have to be hard hearted and possibly the worlds greatest cynic if there were not moments in that speech that moved you. Racism isn’t over, but there was a huge victory in the desire to see it diminish even more.

Ari Graynor

When you have Michael Cera and Kat Dennings in a movie, you already have a good start. But Ari Graynor’s role as the lost drunk best friend- that was priceless. And the scene with the gum- I never laughed so hard while trying not to throw up before. There’s even award buzz.

Robert Sean Leonard

What does he have to do to get some Emmy love? House is an easy role- it’s loud and obnoxious, and easy to see. Leonard’s Wilson is the more difficult role- you put up with such insanity, you are a martyr. But when he gets the story he deserves, he delivers, and breaks your heart in the process. His performance in ” Wilson’s Heart” was devastating.

Hugh Dillon

To us Canucks, Hugh Dillon is a legend- front man to the Headstones, awesome mohawk, and the lead in the cult classic Hard Core Logo. But in Flashpoint and Durham County, he proved himself more than capable as an actor- he was the heart of the former, the indisputable star. Astonishingly understated and moving.

Anne Hathaway and Bill Irwin

She plays against type as a destructive, self absorbed, vicious creature who comes home from rehab for her sister’s wedding. He’s a loving, placating, nurturing, heartbroken father. She’ll get an Oscar nod, he’ll be overlooked ( shame, Academy, shame!) But they are both absolutely luminous.

Tom Bergeron

The man makes DWTS bearable. Quick on his feet funny always wins.

Jane Lynch And Matthew Gray Gubler

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Matthew Gray Gubler just gets better and better as Dr. Spencer Reid, and the popularity of Spencer-centric episodes among CM fans means we can’t get enough of him ( many fan fave lists include Spencer-centric episodes). But the occasional appearance by Jane Lynch as Diana Reid lifts the show up even further. Emmy chances for Gubler in a crowded drama field seems unlikely but that’s a shame, as his performances in ” Elephant’s Memory”, ” Minimal Loss”, ” The Instincts”, and ” Memorium” ( above, top) were astonishing. Lynch, though, deserves an Emmy award for underplaying ( and there by, giving a true performance as opposed to award bait) the schizophrenic Diana, and if she doesn’t get one, CM enters my list as shows that Emmy voters will never get ( with Gilmore Girls and Buffy- seriously.)

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