Archive for February, 2013

POGO (Post Oscar Geek Outs) 2013

February 27, 2013

POGO (Post Oscar Geek Outs) 2013

Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway starred in two of the biggest geek-friendly movies of 2013 (The Hunger Games and The Dark Knight Rises)…and won acting Oscars.

While it wasn’t for those movies (the Academy isn’t quite there yet), the perceived line between being a “serious actor” and appearing in science fiction/fantasy movies is getting blurrier.

Of course, an actor’s roles are often decided well in advance…the movies in which this year’s Oscar-winners appear will often have been contracted before their new exalted status was known.

Let’s take a look at some of the future geek credits for people who won Oscars for movies released in 2012:

George Clooney (winner as a producer of Argo)

Geek history*: solid, including Return of the Killer Tomatoes!; From Dusk Till Dawn; Batman & Robin (as Batman); South Park; Spy Kids, Solaris; The Men Who Stare at Goats; and the Fantastic Mr. Fox

POGO: Gravity (October 14, 2013) as a stranded astronaut for Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Harry Potter); Tomorrowland (December 19, 2014) for Brad Bird, with a screenplay cowritten by Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus, Star Trek Into Darkness)

Jennifer Lawrence (Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook)

Geek history: X-Men: First Class; The Hunger Games

POGO: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (November 22, 2013); X-Men: Days of Future Past (July 18, 2014)

Christoph Waltz (Supporting Actor for Django Unchained)

Geek history: The Green Hornet

POGO: Epic (May 24, 2013): all-star animated movie in which Pitbull plays a character named Bufo…no relation 😉 ; The Zero Theorem (no US release date yet) for Terry Gilliam

Anne Hathaway (Best Supporting Actress for Les Misérables)

Geek history: The Dark Knight Rises, Ella Enchanted, Rio, Get Smart, The Simpsons

POGO: Rio 2 (April 11, 2014)

Claudio Miranda (Cinematography for Life of Pi)

Geek history: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; TRON: Legacy

POGO: Oblivion (April 19, 2013): Tom Cruise stars in Joseph Kosinski’s post-Apocalyptic tale

Jacqueline Durran (Costume Design for Anna Karenina)

Geek history: Nanny McPhee Returns

POGO: The Double (no USA release date set): comedy about a man and his doppelganger

Mychael Danna (Best Score for Life of Pi)

Geek history: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; The Time Traveler’s Wife; Dollhouse (TV series); Medium (TV series)

POGO: Devil’s Knot for Atom Egoyan about possible Satanism, with Reese Witherspoon, Bruce Greenwood, Dane DeHaan

Simon Hayes (Sound Mixing for Les Misérables)

Geek history: Shaun of the Dead; Nanny McPhee; 28 Weeks Later; Star Dust; Prometheus; Kick-*ss; X-Men: First Class

POGO: Trance (April 5, 2013 limited) for Danny Boyle, Kick-*ss 2 (June 28, 2013)

Paul N.J. Ottosson (Sound Editing for Zero Dark Thirty)

Geek history: lots of it, from The Secret World of Alex Mack (TV series) to Battle Los Angeles and Men in Black 3

POGO: 7500 (no USA release date set): supernatural happenings on a commercial jet

Guillaume Rocheron (Visual Effects for Life of Pi)

Geek history: Batman Begins; The Matrix Reloaded; Harry Potter; Narnia; X-Men: The Last Stand; Sucker Punch

POGO: Man of Steel (June 14, 2013)

*Not all geek credits and listed in all instances for the winners. Some winners mentioned here shared their prizes with other people

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

2013 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) results

February 25, 2013

2013 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) results

How did we do predicting this year’s Oscars?

As a group, we got 85%* of the possible score on the Big Six categories (the acting awards, Best Picture, Best Director), and called four out of six of them.

While we didn’t call Ang Lee (we went for Lincoln), it wasn’t a shock…he was our second choice (as a group), with a 71% probability to Spielberg’s 80%.

Christoph Waltz did surprise us (and, I think, a lot of people)…we had Tommy Lee Jones as a strong favorite (86%), and both Alan Arkin and Robert De Niro ahead of Waltz at 63% versus 49% for Waltz (we didn’t think this was Philip Seymour Hoffman’s year).

Scott Calvin is the winner on the Big Six…with 100%! Congratulations to Scott, who got those all correct.

When we get to the rest of the categories (which we call The Incredibly Difficult Maven section), we had a group score 72%. We called twelve out of the 18 categories, missing on the documentary categories, live action short, Production Design, and the screenwriting categories.

That’s not a great year for us, and there may have been some factors.

For one thing, I think it was a great movie year, perhaps the best since 1939. More high quality choices make it harder to pick.

Second, the mismatch in the number of Best Picture nominees and other category nominees can confuse things. This isn’t the first year that’s happened, but I think when a movie is up for Best Picture, you tend to weight it higher in other categories as well. You can see that impact in the screenwriting categories. This year, every adapted screenplay nominee was also up for Best Picture (as were three of the original screenplay nominees).  Last year, only three of the Adapted Screenplay nominees were also Best Picture nominees…I think that muddies the water.

Congratulations to Mike Weston, who had an 89% on the Maven section, and was our winner there! Mike also got 91% on the Big Six, and was the overall winner, with 90%!

You can play next year! Watch this space…

* Numbers are tentative: we’ll double-check this later

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Geekspun: Planet of the Apes biopic wins Best Picture

February 25, 2013

Geekspun: Planet of the Apes biopic wins Best Picture

This one is for fun. 🙂 I’m reporting the Oscars last night through the prism of geek-colored glasses, hyperbolically focusing on the geek-friendly elements (referring to actors by their fantasy/science fiction characters, for example). A lot of “mundanes” 😉 think that geeks never see anything outside their own areas of interest. That one doesn’t go just for “fen”, though:

“Bobby Fisher is a man obsessed with the game of chess.  When someone talks to him about another subject, he will listen impatiently and then demand, ‘But what has that got do to with chess?’”
–John A. Keel
writing in The Eighth Tower
collected in The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations

Daredevil accepted the award for Best Picture for Argo, the biopic of legendary Hollywood makeup artist (and alleged Bigfoot faker), John Chambers. Similarly to Lincoln, the movie had focused on a small part of the historic figure’s life, to make it more comprehensible. Bringing Chambers’ story to the big screen in an accessible manner for mainstream audiences won screenwriter Chris Terrio an Oscar as well. William Goldenberg (The Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Puppet Masters) was also honored for editing the movie.

It was a good night for felines, with best acting honors going to Kat(niss) Everdeen, Catwoman, and the tiger Richard Parker (who beat out The Hulk and Gollum in the Visual Effects category, now part of the five acting awards).

Wolverine ironically lost to John Proctor, a victim of a literal witch hunt in The Crucible (as opposed to the metaphorical one against the mutants…who actually have what amounts to magical powers, so a witch hunt for them kinda makes sense).

Dinosaurs were no match for crouching dragons, as Ang Lee took best directing honors over Steven Spielberg.

While there were some rough moments (Susan Tyrell wasn’t broadcast in the In Memoriam segment, although did appear offscreen in the supplement), all was forgiven when William Shatner was given a special lifetime achievement Oscar for Unmatchable Shatness. At least, we think that’s what happened…we were watching The Dark Knight Rises on a handheld during that part.

😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

2013 BOPMadness Oscar Predictions (updated with Oscar winners)

February 24, 2013

2013 BOPMadness Oscar Predictions (updated with Oscar winners)

This is being published before the start of the 2012 Oscar broadcast. (It has been updated since then with Oscar results)

It’s based on aggregate analysis of the ballots submitted in the 2013 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) contest.

Thanks to everyone who played! I’ll give individual results to the winners in the next few days. We announce a winner in the Big Six (the acting categories, director, and picture), the incredibly difficult Maven section (everything else), and overall.

Note: these have been updated since first published, but still before the announcements.

First, to keep it simple, here are our predictions:

THE BIG SIX

  • Best Picture: Argo  | Winner: Argo
  • Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln  | Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis
  • Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook  | Winner: Jennifer Lawrence
  • Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln  | Winner: Christoph Waltz
  • Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables  | Winner: Anne Hathaway
  • Best Director: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln  | Winner: Ang Lee

THE INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT MAVEN SECTION

  • Foreign Language: Amour (Austria)  | Winner: Amour
  • Adapted Screenplay:  Tony Kushner for Lincoln  | Winner: Argo
  • Original Screenplay: Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty  | Winner: Django Unchained
  • Production Design: Les Misérables  | Winner: Lincoln
  • Cinematography: Life of Pi  | Winner: Life of Pi
  • Editing: William Goldenberg for Argo Winner: Argo
  • Sound Mixing: Les Misérables  | Winner: Les Misérables
  • Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty*  | Winner: tie between Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty (those were our first and second picks)
  • Score: Life of Pi  | Winner: Life of Pi
  • Song: Skyfall from Skyfall  | Winner; Skyfall
  • Costume: Anna Karenina  | Winner: Anna Karenina
  • Documentary Feature: How to Survive a Plague  | Winner: Searching for Sugar Man
  • Documentary Short: Mondays at Racine  | Winner: Inocente
  • Makeup & Hair Styling: Les Misérables  | Winner: Les Misérables
  • Animated Short: Paperman  | Winner: Paperman
  • Animated Feature: Brave  | Winner: Brave
  • Live Action Short: Asad  | Winner: Curfew
  • Visual Effects: Life of Pi  | Winner: Life of Pi

Now, here are our group predictions ranked in order of what we think is most probable (Amour for Foreign Language) to the least (Django Unchained for Best Picture):

Category Movie Nominee Probability
Best Actor Lincoln Daniel Day-Lewis 97%
Best Actress Silver Linings Playbook Jennifer Lawrence 97%
Best Picture Argo Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney 97%
Foreign Language  Film Amour Austria 94%
Animated Feature Brave Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman 91%
Best Picture Lincoln Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy 90%
Supporting Actress Les Misérables Anne Hathaway 89%
Costume Anna Karenina Jacqueline Durran 89%
Supporting Actor Lincoln Tommy Lee Jones 86%
Costume Les Misérables Paco Delgado 86%
Makeup & Hair Styling Les Misérables Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell 86%
Animated Short Paperman John Kahrs 86%
Supporting Actress Lincoln Sally Field 83%
Score Life of Pi Mychael Danna 83%
Song Skyfall Skyfall by Adele, Paul Epworth 83%
Visual Effects Life of Pi Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, Donald Elliott 83%
Sound Editing Zero Dark Thirty Paul N.J. Ottosson 83%
Director Lincoln Steven Spielberg 80%
Original Screenplay Zero Dark Thirty Mark Boal 80%
Editing Argo William Goldenberg 80%
Cinematography Life of Pi Claudio Miranda 77%
Sound Editing Skyfall Per Hallberg, Karen M. Baker 77%
Song Les Misérables Suddenly by Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer 77%
Live Action Short Asad Bryan Buckley, Mino Jarjoura 77%
Documentary Feature How to Survive a Plague David France, Howard Gertler 74%
Visual Effects The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White 74%
Best Picture Silver Linings Playbook Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon 71%
Best Actress Zero Dark Thirty Jessica Chastain 71%
Director Life of Pi Ang Lee 71%
Adapted Screenplay Lincoln Tony Kushner 71%
Production Design Les Misérables Eve Stewart, Anna-Lynch Robinson 71%
Documentary Feature The Invisible War Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering 71%
Documentary Short Mondays at Racine Cynthia Wade, Robin Honan 71%
Makeup & Hair Styling The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Peter King, Rick Findlater, Tami Lane 71%
Visual Effects The Avengers Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Daniel Sudick 71%
Cinematography Lincoln Janusz Kaminski 69%
Animated Short Adam and Dog Minkyu Lee 69%
Live Action Short Buzkashi Boys Sam French, Ariel Nasr 69%
Live Action Short Death of a Shadow Tom Van Avermaet, Ellen De Waele 69%
Adapted Screenplay Argo Chris Terrio 66%
Adapted Screenplay Life of Pi David Magee 66%
Adapted Screenplay Silver Linings Playbook David O. Russell 66%
Original Screenplay Amour Michael Haneke 66%
Original Screenplay Moonrise Kingdom Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola 66%
Production Design Lincoln Rick Carter, Jim Erickson 66%
Sound Mixing Les Misérables Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes 66%
Score Argo Alexandre Desplat 66%
Costume Lincoln Joanna Johnston 66%
Editing Zero Dark Thirty William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor 66%
Animated Feature Frankenweenie Tim Burton 66%
Best Actor Silver Linings Playbook Bradley Cooper 63%
Supporting Actor Argo Alan Arkin 63%
Supporting Actor Silver Linings Playbook Robert De Niro 63%
Cinematography Skyfall Roger Deakins 63%
Sound Mixing Life of Pi Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Drew Kunin 63%
Sound Mixing Lincoln Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Ron Judkins 63%
Documentary Short Inocente Sean Fine, Andrea Nix 63%
Editing Lincoln Michael Kahn 63%
Sound Editing Argo Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn 60%
Score Skyfall Thomas Newman 60%
Song Ted Everybody Needs a Best Friend by Walter Murphy, Seth MacFarlane 60%
Documentary Feature The Gatekeepers Dror Moreh, Philippa Korwarsky, Estelle Fialon 60%
Documentary Short Open Heart Kief Davidson, Cori Shepherd Stern 60%
Animated Feature Wreck-It Ralph Rich Moore 60%
Best Picture Life of Pi Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark 57%
Best Actor Les Misérables Hugh Jackman 57%
Best Actress Amour Emmanuelle Riva 57%
Director Silver Linings Playbook David O. Russell 57%
Foreign Language  Film War Witch Canada 57%
Foreign Language  Film A Royal Affair Denmark 57%
Production Design Anna Karenina Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer 57%
Production Design Life of Pi David Gropman, Anna Pinnock 57%
Cinematography Anna Karenina Seamus McGarvey 57%
Sound Mixing Argo John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, José Antonio García 57%
Documentary Feature Searching for Sugar Man Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn 57%
Documentary Short Redemption Jon Alpert, Matthew O’Neill 57%
Animated Short Fresh Guacamole PES 54%
Animated Short Head Over Heels Timothy Reckart, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly 54%
Animated Feature ParaNorman Sam Fell, Chris Butler 54%
Original Screenplay Django Unchained Quentin Tarantino 51%
Sound Mixing Skyfall Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, Stuart Wilson 51%
Score Lincoln John Williams 51%
Editing Life of Pi Tim Squyres 51%
Best Picture Zero Dark Thirty Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison 51%
Supporting Actor Django Unchained Christoph Waltz 49%
Supporting Actress The Sessions Helen Hunt 49%
Production Design The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, Simon Bright 49%
Song Life of Pi Pi’s Lullaby by Mychael Danna, Bombay Jayshree 49%
Documentary Short Kings Point Sari Gilman, Jedd Wider 49%
Live Action Short Curfew Shawn Christensen 49%
Best Picture Amour Margaret Ménégoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz 46%
Supporting Actress Silver Linings Playbook Jacki Weaver 46%
Director Amour Michael Haneke 46%
Director Beasts of the Southern Wild Benh Zeitlin 46%
Foreign Language  Film No Chile 46%
Foreign Language  Film Kon-Tiki Norway 46%
Sound Editing Life of Pi Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton 46%
Best Actor The Master Joaquin Phoenix 43%
Makeup & Hair Styling Hitchcock Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, Martin Samual 43%
Best Actor Flight Denzel Washington 40%
Supporting Actor The Master Philip Seymour Hoffman 40%
Score Anna Karenina Dario Marianelli 40%
Editing Silver Linings Playbook Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers 40%
Best Picture Les Misérables Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh 40%
Best Actress Beasts of the Southern Wild Quvenzhané Wallis 37%
Best Actress The Impossible Naomi Watts 37%
Original Screenplay Flight John Gatins 37%
Documentary Feature 5 Broken Cameras Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi 37%
Animated Short The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare David Silverman 37%
Live Action Short Henry Yan England 37%
Visual Effects Snow White and the Huntsman Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Phil Brennan, Neil Corbould, Michael Dawson 37%
Supporting Actress The Master Amy Adams 34%
Cinematography Django Unchained Robert Richardson 34%
Sound Editing Django Unchained Wylie Stateman 34%
Visual Effects Prometheus Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill 34%
Adapted Screenplay Beasts of the Southern Wild Lucy Alibar, Behn Zeitlin 31%
Song Chasing Ice Before My Time by J. Ralph 31%
Costume Mirror Mirror Eiko Ishioka 31%
Best Picture Beasts of the Southern Wild Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald 30%
Costume Snow White and the Huntsman Colleen Atwood 29%
Animated Feature The Pirates! Band of Misfits Peter Lord 29%
Best Picture Django Unchained Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone 17%

We’ll have to more to say after the winners announced. 🙂 The deadline hasn’t actually been reached for submissions yet, and if we get any more, we’ll update this before the first winner is announced.

* This prediction was revised to correct an error in the submissions after the announcements.

Tentative results: we were 85% on the Big Six, 72% on the Incredibly Difficult Maven Section, and 75% overall.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

You’re showing your age when you say, “You’re showing your age”

February 22, 2013

You’re showing your age when you say, “You’re showing your age”

I’m always amused when I reference, say, a 1960s TV show* on an online forum, and somebody says, “You’re showing your age.”

Sure…I was showing that I was young enough to use Netflix, or Hulu, or for that matter, cable TV. 😉

For my adult kid’s generation, they are as likely to be listening to Nina Simone as they are to Adele, and may do one right after the other.

They don’t have this huge divide of decades, and in today’s on demand world, that makes perfect sense.

If you go to a high school campus today, you will likely see students wearing shirts promoting the Ramones or the Beatles.

The Beatles became popular close to fifty years ago.

Somehow, I wouldn’t guess that the same number of kids in a 1970s high school were wearing Eddie Cantor shirts. 🙂

Television popularized nostalgia when it began showing older movies…The Three Stooges, The Little Rascals, the Universal horror movies.

In the 1960s, you could see posters of W.C. Fields and Humphrey Bogart, and the “Monster kids” had model kits and Famous Monsters of Filmland.

However, part of the sense of that then was acknowledging that those were from another time.

Now, when you can get a song at a time, or use Pandora to hear music which is similar to something you choose or Songza to hear somebody else’s playlists, I don’t think people care as much about the background of a song.

The New  Millennial  generation doesn’t divide pop culture into decades as much, because all the (recorded) decades are available to them.

So, if you think someone is showing their age because they reference something created decades ago…you’re showing your age. 😉

* I like to say that I like 19th Century literature and 1960s TV, and I don’t understand why many people think one is good and the other is bad…gee, I wonder if when I reference Dostoevsky, people think I must be a vampire to be old enough to have read that… 😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness 2013

February 16, 2013

Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness 2013

For more than twenty years, I’ve been doing an Oscar prediction contest.  If you are interested in playing, comment this post and I’ll send you the spreadsheet and the instructions.  I’ll keep your post private: I will get your e-mail address, but I won’t publish it on the blog.

If you actually played last year, I’ll send you an e-mail as well.

The more people we get, the more accurate we tend to be.  I’ll put out the group’s predictions before the Oscars are announced on February 24th.

Important note: there is no fee to play the real game, and we only play for that most valuable of human possessions…bragging rights. 

As I did last year, I’m going to publicly put out my own predictions before I get any from anybody playing the game. I’m not overly confident in some categories…we’ll see.

Here is a bit more about how it is done, so that my guesses will make more sense to you:

The basic idea is this: try to predict who will win the Oscars!  I’ve given you a list of all the nominees and all the categories.  The way to get the most points is to rank every nominee, with the one you think is LEAST  likely to be picked by the Academy getting a one.  You get the number of points that you assigned to the winner.  If it’s a five-nominee category (like Best Actor), and you assigned five points to the winner, you get those five points!  If you were “oh so close” and assigned it four points, you get that.  If you were totally off, you might have only given it a one.
Note that this year there are nine Best Picture nominees.  The one you think the Academy is most likely to pick gets a 9…and on down from there.
By contrast, there are only three Makeup & Hair Styling nominees, so the most you can get there is three points.
We play for that most prized of all human possessions: braggin’ rights.  🙂   We recognize winners in the Big Six category (which is Best Picture, Director, and the acting categories), the Maven category, and Overall.
category Movie Nominee ranking
Best Picture Amour Margaret Ménégoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz 2
Best Picture Argo Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney 8
Best Picture Beasts of the Southern Wild Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald 4
Best Picture Django Unchained Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone 1
Best Picture Les Misérables Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh 5
Best Picture Life of Pi Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark 3
Best Picture Lincoln Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy 9
Best Picture Silver Linings Playbook Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon 7
Best Picture Zero Dark Thirty Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison 6
Best Actor Silver Linings Playbook Bradley Cooper 3
Best Actor Lincoln Daniel Day-Lewis 5
Best Actor Les Misérables Hugh Jackman 4
Best Actor The Master Joaquin Phoenix 1
Best Actor Flight Denzel Washington 2
Best Actress Zero Dark Thirty Jessica Chastain 4
Best Actress Silver Linings Playbook Jennifer Lawrence 5
Best Actress Amour Emmanuelle Riva 2
Best Actress Beasts of the Southern Wild Quvenzhané Wallis 3
Best Actress The Impossible Naomi Watts 1
Supporting Actor Argo Alan Arkin 4
Supporting Actor Silver Linings Playbook Robert De Niro 1
Supporting Actor The Master Philip Seymour Hoffman 2
Supporting Actor Lincoln Tommy Lee Jones 5
Supporting Actor Django Unchained Christoph Waltz 3
Supporting Actress The Master Amy Adams 1
Supporting Actress Lincoln Sally Field 4
Supporting Actress Les Misérables Anne Hathaway 5
Supporting Actress The Sessions Helen Hunt 2
Supporting Actress Silver Linings Playbook Jacki Weaver 3
Director Amour Michael Haneke 1
Director Life of Pi Ang Lee 3
Director Silver Linings Playbook David O. Russell 4
Director Lincoln Steven Spielberg 5
Director Beasts of the Southern Wild Benh Zeitlin 2
Foreign Language  Film Amour Austria 5
Foreign Language  Film War Witch Canada 3
Foreign Language  Film No Chile 4
Foreign Language  Film A Royal Affair Denmark 1
Foreign Language  Film Kon-Tiki Norway 2
Adapted Screenplay Argo Chris Terrio 2
Adapted Screenplay Beasts of the Southern Wild Lucy Alibar, Behn Zeitlin 1
Adapted Screenplay Life of Pi David Magee 3
Adapted Screenplay Lincoln Tony Kushner 5
Adapted Screenplay Silver Linings Playbook David O. Russell 4
Original Screenplay Amour Michael Haneke 2
Original Screenplay Django Unchained Quentin Tarantino 1
Original Screenplay Flight John Gatins 3
Original Screenplay Moonrise Kingdom Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola 5
Original Screenplay Zero Dark Thirty Mark Boal 4
Production Design Anna Karenina Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer 3
Production Design The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, Simon Bright 1
Production Design Les Misérables Eve Stewart, Anna-Lynch Robinson 4
Production Design Life of Pi David Gropman, Anna Pinnock 2
Production Design Lincoln Rick Carter, Jim Erickson 5
Cinematography Anna Karenina Seamus McGarvey 2
Cinematography Django Unchained Robert Richardson 1
Cinematography Life of Pi Claudio Miranda 3
Cinematography Lincoln Janusz Kaminski 5
Cinematography Skyfall Roger Deakins 4
Sound Mixing Argo John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, José Antonio García 3
Sound Mixing Les Misérables Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes 4
Sound Mixing Life of Pi Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Drew Kunin 2
Sound Mixing Lincoln Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Ron Judkins 5
Sound Mixing Skyfall Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, Stuart Wilson 1
Sound Editing Argo Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn 4
Sound Editing Django Unchained Wylie Stateman 1
Sound Editing Life of Pi Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton 2
Sound Editing Skyfall Per Hallberg, Karen M. Baker 3
Sound Editing Zero Dark Thirty Paul N.J. Ottosson 5
Score Anna Karenina Dario Marianelli 1
Score Argo Alexandre Desplat 3
Score Life of Pi Mychael Danna 4
Score Lincoln John Williams 5
Score Skyfall Thomas Newman 2
Song Chasing Ice Before My Time by J. Ralph 1
Song Les Misérables Suddenly by Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer 4
Song Life of Pi Pi’s Lullaby by Mychael Danna, Bombay Jayshree 2
Song Skyfall Skyfall by Adele, Paul Epworth 5
Song Ted Everybody Needs a Best Friend by Walter Murphy, Seth MacFarlane 3
Costume Anna Karenina Jacqueline Durran 3
Costume Les Misérables Paco Delgado 4
Costume Lincoln Joanna Johnston 5
Costume Mirror Mirror Eiko Ishioka 1
Costume Snow White and the Huntsman Colleen Atwood 2
Documentary Feature 5 Broken Cameras Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi 1
Documentary Feature The Gatekeepers Dror Moreh, Philippa Korwarsky, Estelle Fialon 4
Documentary Feature How to Survive a Plague David France, Howard Gertler 5
Documentary Feature The Invisible War Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering 2
Documentary Feature Searching for Sugar Man Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn 3
Documentary Short Inocente Sean Fine, Andrea Nix 1
Documentary Short Kings Point Sari Gilman, Jedd Wider 2
Documentary Short Mondays at Racine Cynthia Wade, Robin Honan 4
Documentary Short Open Heart Kief Davidson, Cori Shepherd Stern 3
Documentary Short Redemption Jon Alpert, Matthew O’Neill 5
Editing Argo William Goldenberg 3
Editing Life of Pi Tim Squyres 2
Editing Lincoln Michael Kahn 5
Editing Silver Linings Playbook Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers 1
Editing Zero Dark Thirty William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor 4
Makeup & Hair Styling Hitchcock Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, Martin Samual 2
Makeup & Hair Styling The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Peter King, Rick Findlater, Tami Lane 1
Makeup & Hair Styling Les Misérables Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell 3
Animated Short Adam and Dog Minkyu Lee 4
Animated Short Fresh Guacamole PES 1
Animated Short Head Over Heels Timothy Reckart, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly 2
Animated Short Paperman John Kahrs 5
Animated Short The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare David Silverman 3
Live Action Short Asad Bryan Buckley, Mino Jarjoura 5
Live Action Short Buzkashi Boys Sam French, Ariel Nasr 3
Live Action Short Curfew Shawn Christensen 2
Live Action Short Death of a Shadow Tom Van Avermaet, Ellen De Waele 4
Live Action Short Henry Yan England 1
Visual Effects The Avengers Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Daniel Sudick 4
Visual Effects The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White 3
Visual Effects Life of Pi Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, Donald Elliott 5
Visual Effects Prometheus Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill 2
Visual Effects Snow White and the Huntsman Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Phil Brennan, Neil Corbould, Michael Dawson 1
Animated Feature Brave Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman 5
Animated Feature Frankenweenie Tim Burton 2
Animated Feature ParaNorman Sam Fell, Chris Butler 3
Animated Feature The Pirates! Band of Misfits Peter Lord 1
Animated Feature Wreck-It Ralph Rich Moore 4

There you go!  Now you’ll be able to see later how I did.

Remember, if you’d like to play the traditional Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness, and help our group accuracy, just comment this post and let me know, and I’ll send you the entry form.  Group entries are fine.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

My take on…Side Effects

February 11, 2013

My take on…Side Effects

Official Site
Side Effects at IMDb.com
Side Effects at MRQE.com

Side Effects is a well-acted movie.

Perhaps too well-acted.

How is that possible?

Well, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it was more of an adventure movie, if I wasn’t being asked to actually believe in the characters.

If these are supposed to be real people doing real things to other real people, the movie becomes so unpleasant for me, it doesn’t work.

If the movie had a tone of unreality to it initially, then I could have had more fun with it.

For example, replace Jude Law with Robert Downey, Jr. (who can be dramatic, of course, but knows how to bring a twinkle in the eye to a role). Ro0ney Mara does turn in a great performance…again, too good.

The decision to play it this way has to lie at the feet of Steven Soderbergh, who has rounded up some familiar people with whom to work here: Jude Law from Contagion; Channing Tatum from Magic Mike; and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (also from Contagion).

In order to discuss this better, I’m going to go into

===The Spoiler Zone===

This is a SPOILER ALERT!

I love being surprised by my entertainment, and I’m careful not to discuss details with someone who hasn’t seen a movie yet (unless they tell me it is okay). In this case, I’m going to say something that could lead you to figure things out, although I’m not going to into plot details.

The moral of this story seemed pretty simple to me: evil will always win, because good can only defeat evil by doing evil things.

I think I was supposed to be happy with the ending, but I was appalled. A character, who had tried to do things in a moral fashion, only succeeded by abandoning all that and doing what would have been, if one doesn’t use the context to excuse it, absolutely horrifying. Not only that, it’s a clear contradiction to how the character had wanted to behave earlier.

Once this evil is done, the character is richly rewarded for the action, and in ways that seemed very unlikely.

END SPOILER ALERT

===Now Leaving The Spoiler Zone===

It has been interesting to me that so many people seem impressed with the twists and turns in this movie. Yes, those are interesting…and again, if this had the tone more of, say, Soderbergh’s Ocean’s 11, I actually think it would have been a much more enjoyable movie.

Just to be clear, I do like movies that are serious (in addition to ones that are lighter in tone). The issue for me here is that I don’t think the tone served the material well.

What do you think? Am I taking the movie too seriously…or not seriously enough? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Stuart Freeborn reported dead

February 7, 2013

Stuart Freeborn reported dead

When we had to re-do a bathroom due to damage years ago, we went into a store with many possible tiles for the floor. We ended up with a coloring and patterning (which we still very much like) that we both agreed “looked like Yoda”.

That shows you (even if we aren’t typical) how much the look of something can have an impact.

In the case of Yoda, the designer of the appearance was Stuart Freeborn.

When I hear that name, my first thought is of the “apemen” in the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey. There was an amazing naturalness to the special effects in that movie (still missing in many of today’s extravaganzas), and this key scene was no exception. If we’d spent the scene thinking how fake it looked, it would have compromised the rest of the movie…Freeborn made sure that didn’t happen.

No question, though, most people will associate Stuart Freeborn with the Star Wars series. While Rick Baker rightfully gets a lot of credit for the mix of aliens in the Cantina, Freeborn designed Yoda and Chewbacca (the latter of whom, it is worth noting, looks different from the Space Odyssey designs).

Freeborn also had a long association with Peter Sellers. Sellers often appeared in multiple roles, which of course, required different looks…which is where Freeborn would come into it.

Never nominated for an Oscar, Freeborn shared two Saturn Awards (one with Phil Tippett and one with Rick Baker), and was nominated for a BAFTA.

Geek friendly credits include:

  • The 1940 version of The Thief of Bagdad with Sabu
  • The Mouse that Roared (working with Peter Sellers)
  • The Christopher Lee version of The Hands of Orlac
  • Tarzan Goes to India (with Jock Mahoney)
  • Dr. Strangelove (Sellers again)
  • Seance on a Quiet Afternoon (which got star Kim Stanley an Oscar nom)
  • After the Fox (which I consider an  under appreciated  Peter Sellers movie)
  • Toomorrow (Val Guest (!) directs Olivia Newton-John in a rock movie…with aliens)
  • See No Evil (Mia Farrow)
  • Beware My Brethren
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1972) with Fiona Fullerton and Michael Crawford (the eventual Phantom of the Opera) as the White Rabbit
  • Murder on the Orient Express (with Albert Finney)
  • The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (with Gene Wilder)
  • The Omen
  • Spectre (Gene Roddenberry writes for Robert Culp)
  • The first three Star Wars movies
  • The Christopher Reeve Superman movies
  • The Great Muppet Caper (working with Frank Oz again)
  • Top Secret! (Val Kilmer)
  • Santa Claus (Dudley Moore)
  • Haunted Honeymoon (Gene Wilder again)

Good-bye, Stuart Freeborn…our reality has fewer alternatives without you in it.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

My take on…2012 Best Picture nominees

February 3, 2013

My take on…2012 Best Picture nominees

I’ve written before about how I think 2012 may have been the best movie year since 1939, and the nine nominees for Best Picture Oscars demonstrate that.

That’s not to say that other movies couldn’t have been nominated, and won’t be better remembered than some that were.

However, having completed my dance card today (seeing Life of Pi, the last one on the list), I thought I’d compare the nine.

I can’t help but approach this a bit from the perspective of which one will win, although I haven’t put out my own predictions yet.

Since I’m going to be doing some compare and contrast here, there may be spoilers…but I’m pretty careful about that.

Let me start with the least likely winners:

Amour produced a well-deserved Best Actress nomination for Emmanuelle Riva, but it really was the “feel bad movie of the year”.  It was unrelentlessly sad. There aren’t a lot of movies that I see where, despite it being well done, I walk out wishing I hadn’t seen it. That doesn’t mean it is unrealistic, but it certainly lowered my spirits. Still, there are some people who like that…and it is also nominated for Foreign Language, which might split what vote there is of that. I’d be surprised to see this win.

Life of Pi simply won’t get past the challenge of being in 3D. I enjoyed the movie, but it was hard to really engage with it. There was, by the way, some beautiful cinematography…this has been an amazing year for that (I really thought Roger Deakins’ work in Skyfall was extraordinary). I suspect there have been some technical breakthroughs in cinematography that have allowed the artists in that field to more exactly portray their visions, and to do so in more circumstances. More actors vote than any other single group, and while I thought Irrfan Khan was great, and Shravanthi Sainath a nuanced stand-out, actors may see this more as a special effects movie.

Django Unchained…I just can’t see this happening. I think Quentin Tarantino has made some great movies, and I think Samuel L. Jackson deserved a nomination for this, but it just doesn’t seem like Best Picture material. I wasn’t offended by it, but I also wasn’t particularly inspired. As a movie, it felt quite disjointed and episodic. There were scenes that didn’t seem to belong in the same movie with other scenes, and I don’t think it holds together. The movie will be remembered, and be seen ten years from now, but I don’t think the Academy will bestow its top honor on it.

Moving into the center of the pack…

Les Misérables is a great feat of moviemaking by a recently honored director…but it is a musical with uneven reviews. I don’t see how Anne Hathaway doesn’t get Supporting Actress (knock wood…I don’t want to jinx it), and it could take home some other awards (hair and makeup, for one…although Lincoln is a competitor there), but I think the competition is too steep this year.

Beasts of the Southern Wild was a fascinating, heartfelt movie. My guess is that it is too small and quirky for the Academy to have it join the pantheon of Best Picture winners. Some voters may feel that the Directing and Actress nominations are award enough (and it was nominated for adapted screenplay, but again, you have to beat Lincoln), and look for more things in the future from those involved.

Zero Dark Thirty will be challenged by the controversy around it. Not because they don’t want to reward the politics of the movie (and it’s been argued against from more than one political point), but that the existence of the controversy may be elevating its profile. I thought it was a good movie, but may have held back on drama to be true to life. It’s a rare artistic vision that isn’t restricted by other concerns, but I felt that too much here. There were some good performances, certainly, and a consistent look and feel, but I felt the script held back on emotional depth.

Silver Linings Playbook is one on which I’m torn on level…should it be in this middle group, or is it a frontrunner? I think it will be seen as an acting movie, more than anything else. For me, although I thought Jennifer Lawrence was brilliant, it was somewhat uneven and even…cutesy, perhaps. That gave it an immediacy, and a roughness appropriate to real life, but that may hurt the perception of it as a “capital M” Motion Picture.

The top two…

Argo was one of the best movies I’ve seen in years. It was masterfully directed…even though Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated here. The acting was strong (I thought John Goodman deserved a Best Supporting Actor nomination, and perhaps win, this year). It’s a historic movie, which is a plus…and has made a lot of money, which isn’t, typically. It won a Critics’ Choice, a Golden Globe (for Best Motion Picture-Drama), and a Screen Actors’ Guild award for cast. The one predictor* most people know in about the Oscars is that the Best Picture will also have Best Director nominated, although that doesn’t always happen. This would deserve to win…but does Affleck’s absence from the nominees hold people back from voting for it?

Lincoln is…well, what more do you want from a movie? 😉 It’s got social consciousness, history, scope, and an iconic acting performance at the heart of it. It has made, and is still making, a lot of money. It feels right for it to win Best Picture, but I wouldn’t count out Argo.

Those are some of my thoughts. I’ll make predictions in all of the categories later. I”m interested to hear what you think: feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

*For my humorous take on Oscar predictors, see

2013 Ridiculous Oscar Predictors: Best Actress

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.


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