“Country Strong” Poll Results

13 01 2011

Gwyneth Paltrow gets to host “SNL” this weekend, and once that’s over, talk around “Country Strong” will die forever.  It has put up lackluster numbers at the box office, only grossing $7.5 million in its opening weekend.  Surprisingly, Screen Gems chose to open it in less than 1,500 theaters, something that drove down numbers.

The reviews have been pretty poor, too, and I’m no exception.  Last week, I wrote:

“Unintentionally hilarious … it’s ridiculously melodramatic and populated with four stock characters who go through alarmingly little growth throughout the movie.  [There's] no reason to care …”

It seemed like a good idea for Paltrow to be in contention for Best Actress given that rehabbed characters often make for flashy performances.  You all seemed to think bite the bait as well judging by the poll results.  3 voters thought Paltrow could get nominated, while only one detractor thought she wouldn’t.  If the I‘s have it, I’ll eat my hat in two weeks.

“How Do You Know” Poll Results

4 01 2011

We all make dumb predictions; it happens to everyone.  I called picking “How Do You Know” as one of my 10 predicted Best Picture nominees back in November one of my 10 dumbest of the year in my “10 for ’10” series.

Here’s how I stacked up the movie in my Oscar Moment back in November:

“I think comedy has some unfinished business with the Academy, and ‘How Do You Know’ could provide that perfect mixture of comedy and drama to score big with the voters.”

Well, the 36% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes didn’t do much for it, nor did the box office, which will struggle to top $30 million.  For a movie that cost over $100 million to make, this is not good.  The domestic grosses will be able to cover salaries for Reese Witherspoon ($15 million), Jack Nicholson ($12 million), and Paul Rudd ($3 million).

People didn’t think this could take a road worse than “Spanglish,” which made modest box office returns (about $55 million adjusted) in the same timeframe but no awards headway.  With less money in the bank and not even a Golden Globe nomination to its name, it appears that the only recognition “How Do You Know” will receive is going to

“Love & Other Drugs” Poll Results

3 01 2011

If these two without clothes on can’t sell, do you need any more proof that the Internet has oversaturated the market?

Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, two young and attractive starlets, couldn’t power “Love & Other Drugs” to box office success.  The movie will cap off its run in a week or so here with a little over $31 million in the bank.  It cost $30 million to make.  Phew.  Fox can breathe.  (They had “Avatar” to save them last year.)

But the real number to talk about is 49%, its approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  The number was even lower from the top critics, who only deemed it fresh 34% of the time.  Obviously, for a movie to get nominated for Best Picture even in this era, that’s really not going to cut it.  Heck, it didn’t even cut it for the HFPA, who gave Golden Globe nominations to “The Tourist” (10% approval from top critics) and “Burlesque” (27% approval from top critics).  But clearly quality wasn’t very important to them this year.

Gyllenhaal and Hathaway were both nominated for Globes for their performances, and I’d say it wouldn’t be too far-fetched for Gyllenhaal to win.  As for Hathaway, there’s some nobody named Annette Bening who she’s up against that I heard might win.

Back in my Oscar Moment when it was still an outside chance for Best Picture, I asked if “Love & Other Drugs” would go beyond the Golden Globes.  The only voter said no, and kudos to them for having obvious foresight.  But hey, it’s always worth a shot for me with the Oscar Moment column.  God forbid I were to miss a Best Picture nominee in my first full year of forecasting…

“Somewhere” Poll Results

2 01 2011

I still haven’t the slightest clue as to when I’ll be able to see “Somewhere” as no date has been announced for its Houston release.  But I’m not in any rush to see it as it is a Sofia Coppola movie (and I wasn’t exactly fond of her Academy Award-winning “Lost in Translation“) and it appears to have fizzled on the awards scene.  Heck, it didn’t even make Quentin Tarantino’s top 20 – and he voted it the best film at the Venice Film Festival.

I was skeptical from the beginning as I stated in my Oscar Moment way back in September (when “Never Let Me Go” still looked like a contender and critics were two months away from seeing “True Grit“).  And now it appears that the one person who voted this wouldn’t have a shot at Best Picture is going to be right.

As if you need someone to tell you that.

“True Grit” Poll Results

22 12 2010

“True Grit” opens today in theaters nationwide to what looks like strong box office prospects and a strong critical support, clocking in at an impressive 97% fresh over at Rotten Tomatoes.  But the Oscars are an entirely different game; how will it fare there?

If you read my latest set of predictions that I issued on Friday (which you probably didn’t, so GO READ THEM NOW PLEASE), you would have seen that the movie occupies the ninth slot on my ten Best Picture nominees.  I wrote about it and “127 Hours” this:

Slipping this week are “True Grit” and “127 Hours,” neither of which found much love from the Golden Globes.  The former was completely shut out while the latter received three nominations but not for Best Picture or Director.  The one-man show was unlikely to score a SAG nomination apart from Franco, but “True Grit” missed big by not receiving a Best Ensemble nomination given its star-studded cast.  They did manage to score with the BFCA, both receiving a nomination for Best Picture.  ”True Grit” received 11 total nominations from the group while “127 Hours” scored an impressive 8.  Neither look very strong at this stage, and if there are going to be any surprises on nomination morning, it could come at the expense of these two movies.

Nonetheless, that didn’t dismay any of the voters in my poll on the Oscar chances of “True Grit” that I attached to my Oscar Moment featuring the film.  When asked whether the movie would be nominated for Bet Picture, very single voter replied “Yes, this will make a big run at Best Picture.”  Other options included “Yes, but just because it’s the Coen Brothers,” “No, it might squeak out a couple of nominations,” and “No, this will be a nonentity.”

My pick at the moment would be “Yes, but just because it’s the Coen Brothers.”  While there is some love out there for the movie, it just doesn’t have the buzz for a big run at Best Picture.  Thanks to the 10, it seems safe.  But that’s the funny thing about the Oscars – as soon as we think something is safe, often the biggest surprises come.

“Alice in Wonderland” Poll Results

21 12 2010

Best Picture nominee “Alice in Wonderland.” Only at the Golden Globes, right?  But could it happen at the Oscars?

As a major dark horse, it could happen. I think the nomination for “The Blind Side” last year was just a perfect storm of events - the money, the publicity, the truth, and the heart. But what if it was just the money after all? What if Academy voters slipped in “The Blind Side” just to balance out a movie like “An Education” which hadn’t made $10 million?

It’s likely that “127 Hours” will barely clear that same mark, and what better than the second-highest grossing movie of the year to cancel it out? (I’m only playing devil’s advocate, of course).

I don’t think this will actually happen, and judging by the poll, you don’t either. 3 out of the 4 voters in the poll said they didn’t think “Alice in Wonderland” had a shot at a Best Picture nomination.  One brave voter dared to say it would. Good luck with that prediction, and I pray to a high power that you are wrong at the sake of the Academy’s credibility as a voting organization.

“The Fighter” Poll Results

20 12 2010

“The Fighter” opened nationwide this past weekend to a pretty nice $12 million from 2,500 theaters, even ousting the per-theater average of “Yogi Bear.”  It’s also been receiving some very nice reviews, compiling a very nice 87% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  The awards attention has also shone bright on the movie, particularly on Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, but also on the picture as a whole; it received recognition in the Best Picture category from the Golden Globes and the BFCA this past week.

But can it get a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards?  I’ve had a poll running since November on this very topic, and it appears that my readers predicted wrong.

All three voters said that they did NOT think “The Fighter” would be nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture.  At the moment, these folks are looking very wrong indeed as the movie has made a surge at the perfect time.  My review is coming on Wednesday, so check out my raves for the movie.

“For Colored Girls” Poll Results

14 12 2010

My goodness, that was one heck of a turnout!

My poll asking which “For Colored Girls” actress had the best chance at scoring a nomination for Best Supporting Actress had an outstanding 29 votes, my highest total for a poll yet!  Thanks to everyone who voted … although I wish it was on a topic with a little more relevance.  With the critical panning and lackluster box office showing for the movie, it’s not looking like much of a contender.

But I should still assess the results to see if we are looking at a long shot.  The clear favorite is Kimberly Elise, who received 11 votes.  I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I can’t really critique a performance or give any perspective.

Second was Janet Jackson with 7 votes.  There was a tie for third place between Thandie Newton and Macy Gray, who is not even being campaigned by Lionsgate for the movie.  Anika Noni Rose received two votes, and Kerry Washington received one vote.

Receiving no votes were Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, and Whoopi Goldberg.  Not that it matters at this point though.

“Fair Game” Poll Results

13 12 2010

“Fair Game” has all but disappeared from discussion in the awards race, which really is a shame.  In my review last month, I raved:

“What makes ‘Fair Game’ one of the best movies I’ve seen this year is the fact that it is a politically conscious movie but not necessarily politically charged.  It’s a movie that reminds us that the truth has no political affiliation, and it reaffirms the very American responsibility to stand up and voice our discontent when we see the government failing in its duties.  Naomi Watt’s Valerie Plame Wilson does this in spite of one of the worst political climates for dissent in our history, and it’s a rousing profile in courage that will reinforce your sense of patriotic duty.”

Back in the Oscar Moment before I saw the movie, I was optimistically cynical about the movie’s chances, writing:

“For the movie to have a shot at Best Picture, there needs to be some big buzz building around the opening to carry it through the season.  It received mostly positive marks from its Cannes debut, but no one was jumping out of their seat in excitement.  Emerging from the Bush era, ‘Fair Game’ takes a look at how far we were willing to let the government take our freedom in exchange for security – and the victims of such policies.  It’s not a sympathetic look at America, and neither was last year’s Best Picture winner ‘The Hurt Locker.’  Are the politics of Oscar entering an era of confronting harsh realities?”

Over a month after the movie’s release, we haven’t seen any fireworks.  It was certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but its score in the 70s wasn’t exactly a game changer.  It didn’t exactly get a large platform release, but it scored fairly modestly even in just over 400 theaters with $8 million and counting.

So, does it still have a chance?  Back in October and November, you seemed to think so.  2 voters said yes, and 1 voter said no.  I’d have to say that unless some massive late surge comes for the movie, we are looking at an also-ran.  A very good also-ran, though.

“Inside Job” Poll Results

3 12 2010

I’ve weighed in twice on “Inside Job.”  First was back in October when I looked at its awards chances in an Oscar Moment.  I wrote:

“The movie makes the argument that Wall Street has been heading for collapse ever since the 1980s when institutions were allowed to trade on their own behalf.  The idea that banks and firms are betting against the customers is frightening, and the marketing campaign behind the movie seeks to make it look like an ‘economic horror movie.’  It’s an interesting notion, and given some of the movie’s revelations, Sony Pictures Classics may be on to something.”

And then I saw it for myself last month and went nuts.  In my review, I said among other things:

“No matter if you choose to agree with [writer/director] Ferguson’s assessment or not, it’s impossible to walk away from ‘Inside Job’ without feeling a little bit more knowledgable on the subject.  In my opinion, the more you know about the events leading up to the financial crisis, the more upsetting the whole debacle is.  There are certain facts you cannot slant, and Ferguson provides plenty of them that will have your jaw on the floor.  You can’t dismiss the movie as just an editorial piece because Ferguson researched it so comprehensively that he can back up any claim with statistics and the words of experts.”

But aside from my speculation, “Inside Job” is getting noticed by big names.  A few weeks ago, it got Forbes‘ Oscar vote.  But will it get the Academy’s vote?  That was the question I posed almost two months ago.

The poll only drew two disagreeing votes, one saying “yes” and the other “no.”  The low voter turnout was probably due to lack of knowledge of the movie and the category, but based on what I know, I think this is a safe bet for at least a nomination given its financial and critical success.  It made the shortlist of 15 nominees for Best Documentary, so now it has to prove itself superior to at least 9 of them.   We’ll see if politics get in the way or not.

Officially in Print!

28 11 2010

This post is coming about two months too late thanks to difficulties with my household scanner, but back in September, my reviews were put into print for the first time!  I submitted two of my reviews to the editor of my school newspaper, and sure enough, they ran them!

So here are my reviews of “Easy A” and “The American” on paper!  Perhaps this is only the beginning…

“The King’s Speech” Poll Results

26 11 2010

Remember back in September when I called “The King’s Speech” one of the Oscar frontrunners, suggesting it could even win Best Picture?  Most of the “Gurus o’ Gold” have it pegged to win today, the day of its United States release.

But clearly no one in the blogosphere was too excited about it back in September.  To be honest, I’m only tepidly excited now as I think this looks like typical Oscar bait with nothing very new on the table.

In September, I wrote about Tom Hooper’s movie:

After the win at Toronto, it’s riding a sort of front-runner status (although “The Social Network” managed to steal some thunder after many rave reviews popped up).  The People’s Choice Award certainly correlates more to the Oscars than the Venetian Golden Lion.  They have picked three Best Picture winners – “Slumdog Millionaire,” “American Beauty,” and “Chariots of Fire” – and plenty more nominees including “Precious,” “Life is Beautiful,” and “Shine.”  The award hasn’t been entirely effective in predicting Academy tastes, but it’s been very close in recent years.  ”The King’s Speech” has to be considered a big contender, though, by virtue of winning.

… there’s a chance that “The King’s Speech” has had its moment in the sun.  But there’s certainly nothing wrong with being at the top of the list for the moment, and many have speculated that Best Picture may come down to “old school Academy play versus a Gen-Y instant classic.”  I’d say given the fact that it’s a light drama with an acceptable amount of bait, it’s a pretty good bet for Best Picture and thus Best Director.

Two months later, not much has changed in the race, and not much will unless “True Grit” arrives in a blaze of thunder.  The poll I placed at the end of the post asked if “The King’s Speech” would win Best Picture, and it only received one vote saying “no.”  Until the critics chime in with their take in December, I’m remaining on the side of “The Social Network” simply because it seems like the Oscars are going more “movie of the moment” with Best Picture than “movie of a moment” like they traditionally did.

For an interesting take on this development, I recommend you check out Nathaniel Rogers’ full post at The Film Experience elaborating on the trend.  Here’s an excerpt:

” … even if a shift has occurred daring voters could still go for ‘The King’s Speech’ simply because it is a fine piece of filmmaking. Let’s not forget that Oscar bait and quality often coincide (see: ‘Quiz Show,’ ‘Milk’ and many more). Still current trends favor a ‘Social Network’ or - gasp – ‘Inception’ grabbing the top prize. It could happen. Even if a good chunk of the Academy digs in their heels and votes the safe choice, with the nominee pool expanded to ten the need for consensus has been drastically reduced. If ‘King’s Speech’ ends up checking every box on the Oscar wish list and still loses then this will go from being a trend to being a new reality.”

“Waiting for Superman” Poll Results

22 11 2010

I’m fuming that I didn’t get a chance to catch “Waiting for Superman” before it left Houston theaters, but c’est la vie sometimes.  We can’t see everything.

But nonetheless, it’s still something to talk about.  It sure got people talking, just like a good documentary should do.  But will it be an Oscar victor?  That’s the question I posed in my Oscar Moment on Davis Guggenheim’s latest social issue documentary.  Remember, this is the man that brought us “An Inconvenient Truth,” no matter what Al Gore tries to tell us.

The I‘s have it.  3 voters said they thought it would take the path to Oscar gold, as opposed to 2 voters who thought it wouldn’t.  The movie hasn’t quite had a box office like that of Guggenheim’s last movie, so it doesn’t exactly have runaway success in its favor.  But when the President pays attention, you had better bet on the fact that Oscar voters are paying attention.

“Hereafter” Poll Results

15 11 2010

Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter” fell out of the top 10 at the box office this Sunday after spending only three weeks among Hollywood’s top earners.  With only $31 million in the bank and running out of steam quickly, what does this mean for the movie’s Oscar chances?

After the 49% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes spelled doom, the movie needed some box office support if it was going to have a clear shot at Best Picture – support that didn’t really materialize.  Before these developments came about, I asked in my Oscar Moment on “Hereafter” if we were looking at a Best Picture nominee.

The results were split right down the middle.  50% said yes, and 50% said no out of a voter yield of 4.  If I had the splitting vote, I’d probably say no given how the movie really has nothing going for it other than the fact that it’s directed by Clint Eastwood.  However, according to a report from The Odds, “Hereafter” may not be dead in the water:

“…from what I hear, Eastwood’s drama – three interlocking tales of people around the world affected by death or near-death experiences, with Cecile de France and Matt Damon – was very well-received by an AMPAS crowd that I’m told filled as much as 85 percent of the 1,000-seat Goldwyn.  One Academy member who was at the screening said the reaction to the film was ‘terrific,’ with sustained applause at the end of the film. Others concurred, but thought the attendance might have been a bit overstated.”

So we’ll just have to see what lies ahead for “Hereafter’ in the Oscar season.  It surely has an uphill battle ahead.

“Nowhere Boy” Poll Results

10 11 2010

In Houston, “Nowhere Boy” came and went in two weeks, and I missed my small window to see it.  I wasn’t dying to catch it, but it would have been nice.  Whatever, it will make a nice rental.

The path it took in Houston – in and out – echoes how it was received in general stateside.  The British movie, nominated at last year’s BAFTAs, has had pretty lackluster returns after a promising start in 4 theaters.  Per theater averages have been pretty pathetic, and it’s clear that Americans just didn’t want to see this movie.

But even if “Nowhere Boy” just barely breaks $1 million in box office revenue, it doesn’t entirely disqualify it from Academy Awards contention.  Last year, Woody Harrelson was nominated for “The Messenger,” which made less than “Nowhere Boy.”  Before we knew of the movie’s middling reception, I asked if we were looking at an Oscar contender or a Globes contender.

In a very high voter turnout, 5 people said it wouldn’t make it farther than the Golden Globes and 4 said it would make it all the way to the Oscars.  For now, I have to side with the 55% majority.  Unless this picks up buzz from critics groups in a month, I think this fish is dead in the water.


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