Monday, December 26, 2011

2011-2012 Oscar Predictions

Accurately guessed: 66 of 106

All movie categories, listed from most likely to least likely for nomination, as I see them. These are NOT my personal opinions on what should be nominated in each category, just the movies I feel are most likely to earn nominations in the coming Oscars. Just to warn you, I do believe there are several acclaimed movies that will be largely ignored: Melancholia, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Ides Of March being a few examples.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Jeff S.C. Acting Awards - 2011

Though I have never officially posted online any sort of award winners of my own, every year for the past several years I have compiled my own personal lists of incredible performances that I felt deserved recognition. This year, I have decided that though I have not yet seen all potential candidates for these awards, I would post my own critical awards. No nominees here, just five awards going out to the single strongest performances in each of the following categories:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top 50 Directors: Part V (#10-1)

10. Francis Ford Coppola

The greatest director of the '70s. Period. He only directed four movies during that decade, and can you guess which ones they are? The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now. An easy argument could be made that they are the four greatest movies of the '70s, and all of which could easily find their way near the top of an all-time greatest movies list. In short, he only needed those four to make it onto this list, and his position here is richly deserved.

Favorite movies:
- The Godfather
- The Godfather Part II
- The Conversation
- Apocalypse Now

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top 50 Directors: Part IV (#20-11)

20. Robert Altman

The king of ensemble comedy-dramas, Altman's ability to seamlessly blend multitudes of intricate story-lines into one cohesive whole is parallel to none. Sometimes multiple viewings are necessary to completely grasp the depth of his movies, so don't write them off if you didn't find them appealing at first look.

Favorite movies:
- Gosford Park
- Nashville
- M*A*S*H

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Separation

A Separation

Directed by Asghar Farhadi

Contrary to my preconceived notion that the focal point would be solely based on the separation/divorce of its main characters, A Separation surprised me as it strayed from this generic caste and plunged itself into a deep, stirring portrait of humility, desperation, and moral dilemma.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Top 50 Directors: Part III (#30-21)

30. Danny Boyle

One of the most diverse of any active director, Danny Boyle has tackled sci-fi, horror, comedy, and drama, never faltering. Coming off of several critical success, including Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours (which ranks among my favorite movies of the past decade), he shows no sign of slowing down, and I'll be anxious to see what he can do next.

Favorite movies:
- 127 Hours
- Slumdog Millionaire
- Trainspotting

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Top 50 Directors: Part II (#40-31)

40. Guillermo Del Toro

Another stylistic director, Guillermo Del Toro's flair and his incredible use of vibrant colors and contrast always make for a spectacular viewing experience. Definitely one of my favorite "fantasy" directors (even more than Peter Jackson, so don't hold your breath waiting for him to show up on this list).

Favorite movies:
- Pan's Labyrinth
- Cronos
- The Devil's Backbone

Monday, December 12, 2011

Top 50 Directors: Part I (#50-41)

Unlike actors, directors need to do much less to impress me. For an actor, their part in a movie could be as little as showing up at scheduled times and repeating lines that they've memorized off of a piece of paper. But for directors (especially great directors) the entire film, from the lighting and imagery to capturing the exact desired emotion put forth by their actors -- every detail must be scrutinized.

Because of this, I'm casting aside my usual "must have seen five of their movies" rule, and replacing it with three:

1. To show their talent/potential.
2. To show their range.
3. To show their consistency.

I had hoped that I could include more unconventional directors on this list (e.g. Alejandro Jodorowsky and Sergei Parajanov), but I found myself only admiring 1 or maybe 2 of their films, so many directors like this have been discarded -- though I do plan on releasing an honorable mentions list at some point in the future which would theoretically contain more goofball directors like that.

And now, the list:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Five reasons why Albert Brooks should (and probably will) get an Oscar nomination for 'Drive'

Because I truly, madly, deeply have nothing better to do with my time than to make 600-word blog posts about Oscars, here are my top 5 reasons why Albert Brooks should/would/could/might/will/possibly get an Oscar nomination for 'Drive'.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Descendants

The Descendants

Directed by Alexander Payne

Brimming with sappy melodrama that never hits home, The Descendants features great performances and enough laughs to keep you thoroughly entertained, despite that lack of emotional attachment.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Top 5 Most Disappointing Movies of 2011

I tend to set the bar a little too high when I go into movies that I have been anticipating. I admit that. But considering how much I love watching movies, I can't really be to blame for expecting more out of them than what I sometimes get. This is a tendency I will try to remedy. However, that doesn't mean I'm going to automatically like everything I see. If I did that, what has this all been about? What have I been working towards?

What did that opening paragraph have to do with anything, you might ask? I really don't know, so here is my list:

5. The Beaver

I've always been a fan of Mel Gibson. Not even his recent antics have turned me off from his past charm, and his considerable talent both in front and behind the camera. So, naturally, I had high hopes for his comeback movie 'Edge Of Darkness', which was ultimately an upset. So when I first heard about The Beaver I was slightly intrigued and perplexed at the strange plot, but expecting something great from Gibson in the very least. In the end, that is all that movie had in store for me. Mel Gibson did a great job, but the rest of the cast (and story-lines) were dull and uninteresting to me. It wasn't serious enough to be a drama, but it wasn't funny enough to be a comedy. Oh, and way to make fun of attempted suicide, Jodie Foster. You sicken me.

Expectations - 3/4

Reality - 2/4

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2012 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

And finally I reach the biggest category of them all... Without any ado whatsoever, I present my Best Picture predictions:

1. The Artist
Directed by Michel Hazanavicius

Unknown director, largely unknown leading actors, filmed in black & white... Why does this appear to be a frontrunner? Being an authentic-looking throwback to the silent era, from everything I've read about it, The Artist's refreshingly original presentation in its time (genuine silent movies not really having been made much over the past 80 years) has won over everyone who's seen it, and definitely ranks as one of my most anticipated movies of the year. If it's even half as good as it looks like it could be, we'll be in for a serious treat, and quite possibly the most unique Best Picture winner for a long, long time.

- 95% chance

Saturday, October 22, 2011

2012 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

Almost by default the category that will be filled with the highest-profile Oscar frontrunners. As always, these aren't the movies I think "should" be nominated, but the ones I think will. Here it goes:

1. Michel Hazanavicius
The Artist

Despite the fact that it's not really what I would call typical Oscar material, I feel that it is easily the Best Director frontrunner.

- 95% chance

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2012 Oscar Predictions: Best Adapted Screenplay

Though not as much fun as the Original Screenplay category, Best Adapted Screenplay is always packed, and the competition is usually much stronger than the Original Screenplay category. For predictions, it is usually considerably harder narrowing it down to only 5 nominees, but here is what I've got so far:

1. The Descendants
By Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, & Jim Rash

Though the Payne/Taylor writing duo that brought us every previous Payne-directed motion picture is not writing this drama-comedy, The Descendants is still almost guaranteed a nomination in this category. Unlike many directors, Alexander Payne's character based dramedies are always heavily reliant on great writing, and from everything I've heard, The Descendants is no different.

- 95% chance

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2012 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Screenplay

Best Original/Adapted Screenplay are another of my favored categories, as I think that writing is the most important element of making great movies. On the other hand, it does provide just another category for the Academy to make political and social statements, so it's a mixed bag for me... Anyway, here are my current predictions:

1. The Artist
By Michel Hazanavicius

A new silent movie. The idea alone I find very intriguing. I think that this idea will be very appealing to Oscar voters as well, because even if the story isn't very creative (which, according to everything I've read, it's really not), the mode of presentation will be fresh enough to earn a multitude of screenplay votes.

- 90% chance

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2012 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

While Best Supporting Actor is what I would consider my favorite acting category, Best Supporting Actress is my least favorite. This personal bias, however, will play no part in how I view and rate the category, as I will continue to update them all as new movies are released and attention shifts from one movie to another.

1. Shailene Woodley - The Descendants

Alexander Payne's newest project The Descendants has had excellent reviews right out of the gate from its release in the Toronto Film Festival, with even the negative reviews praising both Clooney and Woodley's strong performances. With Hailee Steinfeld's nomination in the same category last year, Woodley's young age should not be detrimental to her chances of nomination (the Oscars have historically favored older, more experienced actors), but time will tell if her seemingly guaranteed nomination will continue earning praise as voting approaches.

- 95% chance

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2012 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

Probably my favorite category in all awards, I think Best Supporting Actor often has the most diversity in what nominees will be picked (would a performance like Robert Downey Jr in Tropic Thunder *really* have a chance of getting a nomination in the Best Actor category?), so it's also the most fun to predict. Here is what I have so far:

1. Christopher Plummer - Beginners

Ever since it's release this summer, I have heard nothing but great things about Plummer's performance. Though I'm sure part of that is due to the nature of his role (he's dying of cancer, and just came out of the closet: Grade-A Oscar material), I'm sure that the veteran actor (who only just recently earned his first Oscar nomination, also in the Supporting Actor category) is deserving of his praise. With its strategically placed Blu-ray/DVD release, Beginners should still be fresh to Academy voters, and I would say Plummer has a very good chance for another nomination -- perhaps even a win.

- 90% chance

Monday, October 3, 2011

2012 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

Though it's probably an easier category to predict than Best Actor, I find the Best Actress category is often much less amusing. Right now, however, 6 potential candidates seem to be vying for a top 5 position in my predictions, so it will be fun seeing how it develops over the coming months. As it stands, here are my predictions for Best Actress:

1. Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady

Two-time Oscar winner, and without a win for 30 years, Meryl Streep has accumulated more nominations than any other actor in history, with a total of 16 since the year 1978. It's practically tradition by now to nominate Streep for everything she's in (you won't hear me complain, she's an amazing actress, and has earned every bit of praise that's come her way) and I doubt this year will be an exception. The real question I'm asking myself is will this be the one to break her win-less streak of 12 nominations and give her a 3rd Oscar win?

- 100% chance

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2012 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

Continual shifting is to be expected over the coming months, but one thing is set in stone: I am going to chronicle it. I've been addicted to Oscar predictions since the Academy threw me for a loop in 2008 and gave Best Actor to Sean Penn over Mickey Rourke (a travesty!) and I realized just how fun it was to get them right - or to be proven wrong. Every month I will post changes in my predictions, and I can see how the odds change on my predictions as the year progresses. I hope you enjoy.

1. Leonardo DiCaprio - J. Edgar

Leonardo DiCaprio, three-time Oscar nominee (never won) in a biopic directed by Clint Eastwood (whose films over the past 8 years have earned a total of 9 acting nominations -- 4 of which won) about controversial FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and his life as a closeted homosexual. What about this doesn't sound like Oscar material? I will go on the record saying that there is absolutely no chance that DiCaprio doesn't receive a nomination for his performance here, and I believe it would be safe to bet that he could very well win it in the long run: Without having even seen it.

- 100% chance

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top 100 Actors: Part X (#10-1)

And it all comes down to this... It's going to be a relief not having any more of these to do, but it was fun for me, and I hope the same could be said for you. Thank you everyone for sticking with me this far, and I hope my finale won't be too great a letdown for all of you.

10. Peter O'Toole

Top 5 Performances:
1. The Lion In Winter [1968]
2. The Stunt Man [1980]
3. Becket [1964]
4. The Ruling Class [1972]
5. Lawrence Of Arabia [1962]
6. Venus [2006]
7. My Favorite Year [1982]
8. Goodbye, Mr. Chips [1969]
9. Ratatouille [2007]
10. Murphy's War [1971]

Monday, September 26, 2011

Top 100 Actors: Part IX (#20-11)

The first part of the series to use "Top 10 Performances" lists instead of Top 5. Enjoy!

20. John Hurt

Top 5 Performances:
1. The Elephant Man [1980]
2. Midnight Express [1978]
3. Love And Death On Long Island [1997]
4. 10 Rillington Place [1971]
5. Scandal [1989]
6. Owning Mahowny [2003]
7. Nineteen Eighty-Four [1984]
8. A Man For All Seasons [1966]
9. Alien [1979]
10. Beyond The Gates [2006]

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Top 100 Actors: Part VIII (#30-21)

After these ten, the "Top 5 Performances" lists will be extended to top 10.

30. Robert Duvall

Top 5 Performances:
1. Tender Mercies [1983]
2. The Apostle [1997]
3. Apocalypse Now [1979]
4. Network [1976]
5. The Godfather [1972]

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Top 100 Actors: Part VII (#40-31)

And here's where they really start to get fantastic.

40. Alan Arkin

Top 5 Performances:
1. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter [1968]
2. Little Miss Sunshine [2006]
3. The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming [1966]
4. Thirteen Conversations About One Thing [2001]
5. Wait Until Dark [1967]

Friday, September 23, 2011

Top 100 Actors: Part VI (#50-41)

And we've officially reached the second half!

50. Tom Hanks

Top 5 Performances:
1. Forrest Gump [1994]
2. Saving Private Ryan [1998]
3. Road To Perdition [2002]
4. Cast Away [2000]
5. Philadelphia [1993]

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Top 100 Actors: Part V (#60-51)

50 down, 50 to go. Remember, this is just my opinion, so don't get too worked up if this list doesn't match yours. But I would love to hear any comments/complaints you might have!

60. Mel Gibson

Top 5 Performances:
1. The Patriot [2000]
2. Braveheart [1995]
3. Gallipoli [1981]
4. Ransom [1996]
5. The Beaver [2011]

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Top 100 Actors: Part IV (#70-61)

For the previous lists:
Part I
Part II
Part III

70. Robert Downey, Jr.

Top 5 Performances:
1. Tropic Thunder [2008]
2. Chaplin [1992]
3. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang [2005]
4. Iron Man [2008]
5. Less Than Zero [1987]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top 100 Actors: Part III (#80-71)

Part III of the gripping saga that captured the nation... and demanded ransom for its release.

80. George Clooney

Top 5 Performances:
1. Up In The Air [2009]
2. O Brother, Where Art Thou? [2000]
3. Michael Clayton [2007]
4. The American [2010]
5. Syriana [2005]

Monday, September 19, 2011

Top 100 Actors: Part II (#90-81)

Part 2 of my soon-to-be exhausting list of my top 100 actors: 2011 edition.

90. Stephen McHattie

Top 5 Performances:
1. The Rocket [2005]
2. Pontypool [2009]
3. Salvation! [1987]
4. Summer's Blood [2009]
5. A History Of Violence [2005]

Friday, September 16, 2011

Top 100 Actors: Part I (#100-91)

The exact placing will change with the passing time, but at the current moment (meaning, as of yesterday) this is my list of my top 100 favorite/most talented actors. I like some more than others, but their talent and experience might place them higher or lower. It's difficult to rate them, but here is what I've got:

100. Donald Sutherland

Top 5 Performances:
1. Ordinary People [1980]
2. M*A*S*H [1970]
3. Don't Look Now [1973]
4. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers [1978]
5. Klute [1971]

Saturday, September 10, 2011



Directed by Michael Greenspan

A completely forgettable Adrien Brody vehicle, that's just good enough to keep you watching, but not enough to make the time spent worthwhile.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Source Code

Source Code

Directed by Duncan Jones

Director Duncan Jones' debut "Moon" displayed his skill in subtlelty and detailed plot construction most characteristic of an experienced filmmaker, but here he ventures into more standard fare. However, utilizing his talents, he manages to create a distinctly superior sci-fi action adventure.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Tree Of Life

The Tree Of Life

Directed By Terrence Malick

Slow, metaphorical, and symbolic, The Tree Of Life is a decidedly difficult film to rate -- being one of only a handful of movies presented in such a manner. Much like The Thin Red Line or The New World, there seems to be a split somewhere between story and presentation, almost as if two separate movies had been made, but due to their dependent nature, found themselves glued together in post-production.

Midnight In Paris

Midnight In Paris

Directed by Woody Allen

Nostalgic, hilarious, and wonderfully unique, Midnight In Paris already ranks as one of my all-time favorite Woody Allen movies.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Beaver

The Beaver

Directed by Jodie Foster

Despite his greatest efforts, not even Mel Gibson (who delivers a powerful, emotional performance) can save this picture from it's strange and silly premise.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy

Directed by Shawn Ku

This is a simple story, told in a simple way. With it's two standout performances (Sheen and Gallner), 'Beautiful Boy' doesn't pack the emotional punch you would hope for, introducing conflict in only the most obvious ways.