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Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Oscar Nomination Predictions

Here are my final 2014 Oscar Nomination Predictions. Enjoy!

Best Picture 
American Hustle
12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips 
Wolf of Wall Street
Dallas Buyers Club
Inside Llewyn Davis

Best Actor
Chiwetel Ejiofor,12 Years a Slave
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Robert Redford, All is Lost 
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks 
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Amy Adams, American Hustle

Monday, September 30, 2013

Before Midnight (2013)

courtesy of
It's amazing how differently various cultures and even personalities view marriage. In truth, marriage is just a legal recognition of a relationship - some fight hard to get that certification; some feel it's more of a restrictive burden. Furthermore, religious doctrines define marriage in very different ways. In the end, the commitment, trust, and partnership between two people is the more important part. But, man can it be hard Marriage is a walk in the park when you are as in love as I am!! Right honey!!??

Monday, September 9, 2013

Stories We Tell (2013)

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In 8th grade, I sang to a girl I liked in the cafeteria for five dollars. The way I remember it, I had my head in my arms the whole time, embarrassed at the insane act I was committing in front of half my class. But, then others told the story. One friend in particular said I "got down on one knee and got really into it." She was wrong. Or maybe I was wrong. Or maybe reality is how we view it and our stories will always vary from the stories of our friends; even if it's the same story.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dissecting the Nominees: 1992

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Continuing my look at random years and the Oscar nominees that defined them, we backtrack to the early 90's with a strange movie year: 1992. Why 1992? Well, as an avid baseball fan from Western Pennsylvania, that was the last year the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning record and made the playoffs. That is, until 2013 when the dry streak has finally ended. With their 81st win, they have guaranteed to be at least .500 for the year and, with a 1.5 game lead, have the opportunity to not just make the playoffs, but win the NL Central. It's been a good year. Let's look back at the Oscar nominees of the last "good year" Pirate fans like myself had.

Upstream Color (2013)

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"If you have to ask what it symbolizes, it didn't."
- Roger Ebert

What is a movie supposed to be? It can be an escape from reality. It can be an expression of the filmmaker's political beliefs. It can be an artistic reaction to an experience the director went through. Or, it can just be a shallow way to earn quick bucks. Or it's a combination of more than one. Regardless, for as little as we think of some actors and directors, making a movie is really hard work. Even the Twilight movies took a ton of people and a ton of planning and technical steps to ensure they would meet the vision of all involved.

In 2004, Shane Carruth wrote, directed, and starred in his debut film Primer, an independent sci-if film told from a more scientific perceptive. The language wasn't dumbed down at all and Carruth expected his audience to keep up or put blinders on and enjoy the ride. For his 2013 follow up film he took a similar approach, but from a much more emotional and personal perspective.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ranking the Nominees: 2010

scene from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
courtesy of
To continue my new feature, I'm looking at all (not true..."most") of the Oscar nominees from a given year. This time, I'm tackling a much more recent year: 2010, the year my oldest son was born. I would have to say this was also the year I became incredibly dedicated to the Oscar race. I began closely following bloggers and critics during the race, began predicting awards, and began championing certain films over others. This may be the year I also came closest to seeing every best picture nominee before the Oscars. I think I only missed one - and I still haven't seen all of True Grit.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ranking the Nominees: 1983

scene from Return of the Jedi,
courtesy of
A new feature in preparation for the Oscar season, I'm looking back at random Oscar years.

If a film was nominated for picture, director, any acting awards, or either screenplay award, it will be included in this list and ranked alongside the others by Tomatometer score. Yes, I realize the inherent difficulty in this...the older I go, the less likely there is a large sample size of critics to pull from, so some films are unreasonably high-rated because next to no one has really reviewed it.

I'll add some insight for some of the films and pick which of the film I personally think is best of the year, but mostly just want to look back at the films that the Academy deemed "Oscar worthy," what they missed, and why some films get nominated for some awards, but not others. Or why some miss out altogether.