“Never Let Me Go” Poll Results

4 10 2010

Oh, how time can change things.

A month ago, “Never Let Me Go” looked like the perfect awards candidate.  I even went down a bulleted list of all the things it had in its favor in my Oscar Moment.  To summarize …

  1. Based on a best-selling novel
  2. British
  3. Oscar-friendly British actors
  4. “Love, loss, hidden truths”

You all bought it just like me.  The vote was 80% in favor of the movie’s Oscar chances and 20% against it.  But with a mid-60s average on Rotten Tomatoes, pretty middling box office numbers, and no critical champions, this looks like a lost cause.  Maybe I shouldn’t have bought the book…

Oscar Moment: “Never Let Me Go”

4 09 2010

“Never Let Me Go” seems like a perfect awards candidate on paper.  Let me run you down a bulleted list of why this is an ideal candidate for the Academy Awards.

It is based on a best-selling novel. Popular novels have what many consider to be a carved-out niche at the Oscars.  In 2008, it was “The Reader.”  In 2007, it was “Atonement.”  In 2004, it was “Sideways.”  It also helps that Time called “Never Let Me Go” the best novel of the decade.  The writer of the book, Kazuo Ishiguro, also wrote another novel adapted into a movie, “The Remains of the Day.”  In 1993, it received 8 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

It has British people. More and more attention has been shone on the growing influence of our friends across the pond on the Academy Awards.  Their tastes have become more closely aligned with the BAFTAs in recent years.  Plus, there has been a British movie in the Best Picture race quite consistently in the last decade.  In 2009, it was “An Education.”  In 2008, it was “The Reader.”  In 2007, it was “Atonement.”  In 2006, it was “The Queen.”  The British are coming, the British are coming!!

It has Oscar friendly British people.  Although they didn’t give her the golden statue last year, the Oscars certainly like 24-year-old Carey Mulligan, and she looks to be in prime position to make a run for the prize again.  There’s also Keira Knightley, an unexpected addition to the 2005 Best Actress slate for her work on “Pride and Prejudice.”  She looks to compete in the Best Supporting Actress race here, generally pretty friendly to younger actresses.  In addition, there’s Andrew Garfield, who will probably rack up plenty of Best Breakout Performer awards for his work on this and “The Social Network.”

It is a story of “love, loss, and hidden truths.” Now think of that vague description of the thematic content of the movie, and name some Best Picture nominees that phrase could describe.  2008’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” perhaps?  “The Reader” that same year?  “Atonement?”  You get the picture.  It’s only an added bonus that the movie takes place in a dystopian society, which the pessimistic Academy will eat up.  They have certainly loved movies that take a bleaker, honest look at our nature – a trend of winners I’d say started with “Crash” back in 2005.  Some have linked it to a general sense of American disillusionment that the liberal Hollywood has decided to make the zeitgeist sentiment of the nation.

Doesn’t this sound like a winning equation?  It’s hard to believe that this is just now emerging as a big player and wasn’t a favorite from the very beginning.  (Relevant side comment: why didn’t 2010 have an early favorite to win it all?)  But the Oscars haven’t exactly chomped at the bait recently.  They chose to include different tastes like “District 9” and “The Blind Side” that aren’t usually represented, snubbing early favorites like the dismally reviewed “Nine” and the coolly received “Invictus.”

So is “Never Let Me Go” going to continue the glorious British literary adaptation streak?  Or have those movies been represented so much recently that the Academy will say enough?

BEST BETS FOR NOMINATIONS: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress (Knightley), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Score

OTHER POSSIBLE NOMINATIONS: Best Supporting Actor (Garfield), Best Production Design

What To Look Forward To in … September 2010

15 08 2010

Weird to think that the circle is complete and I’m back doing my second September preview post!  All strangeness aside, we have emerged from a summer that many people loathed.  Now it’s up to fall, which begins in September, to redeem the year.  With the big film festivals beginning, it’s time for the Oscar hopefuls to hit the stage and make it or break it.

September 1/3

Getting a head start on the weekend is Anton Corbjin’s “The American,” starring George Clooney.  The director has only one other film under his belt, “Control,” which received enough raves that it’s sitting comfortably on my DVR.  Nevertheless, it’s George Clooney’s only movie of awards season 2010, so that makes it worth seeing.  Added bonus is the trailer gives very little of the plot away.

Apparently Robert Rodriguez didn’t get the memo that more is more when it comes to having old people in action movies, as August’s “The Expendables” bloated cast translated into cash.  But “Machete,” with Danny Trejo as the titular swordslinger along with Steven Seagal (tragically overlooked by Sly), Cheech Marin, and Robert DeNiro, still looks pretty fun.  Plus, there’s Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, and America’s favorite jail bait, Lindsay Lohan!

Going the Distance” finds a home in September for Labor Day weekend after August just seemed a little too crowded.

Americans remake foreign movies all the time, but “A Woman A Gun and A Noodle Shop” switches it up on us and remakes an American movie.  The source: The Coen Brothers’ “Blood Simple.”  Should be interesting…

September 10

Haven’t we seen enough “Resident Evil” in the last 8 years?  In case we haven’t, “Resident Evil: Afterlife” is here.  I will give the marketing executives credit for the trailer: they get that people can tell phony 3D from real 3D, and they are selling the fact that this is real 3D.

The prospects don’t look much better off the beaten path, either.  “The Virginity Hit” just looks like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” for the YouTube era.

September 15/17

Emma Stone’s “Easy A” looks to make “The Scarlet Letter” much more enjoyable for the juniors at my school who have to read it (I was not among those).  Hopefully this can make a star out of Stone, best known as Jules from “Superbad.”

I have absolutely no idea what to make of the trailer for “The Town” or “Never Let Me Go.”  But with a cast including the likes of Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, and Ben Affleck for the former, which opens in wide release this weekend, I’m definitely in.  Ditto for the latter which opens in limited release on Wednesday and stars Oscar nominees Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley.

“Devil” looks kind of freaky … but I’m wondering how many viewers Universal lost for this movie after “The Last Airbender” was so poorly received.  Maybe selling the movie based on M. Night Shyamalan wasn’t the best idea…

The weekend also brings Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut, “Jack Goes Boating,” starring he and Oscar nominee Amy Ryan.  It’s a very quirky, melancholy-looking romance.  Hoffman would.

Hey, look, another talking animal movie!  I’ll give “Alpha and Omega” the fact that it has the slight distinction of being Dennis Hopper’s last movie.  Don’t cry; he wouldn’t want us to.

September 22/24

I’m interested in “You Again” because it’s a different kind of high school movie – one where all the students are out of school.  Forced to be around each other, old high school rivals duke it out.  And Betty White watches.  What could be better?

Is “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” a zeitgeist-tapping look at our economy?  Or just Oliver Stone trying to reclaim his glory days?  Carey Mulligan is in it … good reason for me to see it.

Ryan Reynolds inside a coffin for an entire movie?  Will it work?  I want to see “Buried” if for no other reason than to see how they pull it off.

Wednesday sees the latest film from prolific director Woody Allen, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.”  It has a great ensemble cast, but it didn’t get the greatest reviews at Cannes.  We’ll see how this goes.

I lost so much respect for “Legend of the Guardians” when the filmmakers attempted to convince me that their movie about talking owls was comparable to “The Lord of the Rings.”  Talk about a stretch…

What are YOU looking forward to in September?  Planning on going to the movies at all?  Or just clearing out your DVR…