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Just a reminder of the movies that are nominated for Best Picture for this year’s Oscars:

The Artist

The Descendants

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

The Help

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball

The Tree of Life

War Horse

 

As of this weekend, I have seen 6 of the 9. The last 3 I need to watch are The Artist, Extremely Loud & incredibly Close and The Tree of Life. So far, my thoughts on the chosen nominees are varied.

War Horse is a great film that tells the story of a horse as he moves from owner to owner from birth and throughout the war. Although it was a great story and interesting film, I couldn’t help but make comparisons between the last great horse film (Secretariat) and found that War Horse was lacking a certain element of excitement. That being said, Joey (the horse in War Horse) wasn’t a race horse and I’m probably making an unfair comparison. It was still a very good film and I understand why it was nominated.

The Descendants is a very human film – it’s the story of a father and husband (George Clooney) whose wife is in a coma after suffering a terrible boating accident. As truths come out, the father and his eldest teenage daughter embark on a mission to get to the bottom of things. Great characters, relationships and storytelling. It’s a subdued film but entirely engrossing.

The Help – great story, great performances. It was one of the few films I’ve seen that depicted the fear to speak and/or act against white people so authentically. I truly enjoyed this movie. The characters were fantastic, at times funny, at other times heartbreaking, and often riveting.

Hugo. I don’t know what it was about this film but I think those in the movie industry will enjoy this more than your average movie-goer and have a feeling that’s why it’s nominated. I wasn’t particularly interested in the story or characters or the turn it took about 3/4 of the way through once we found out who the toy shop owner really was. It was a tepid reaction for me.

Midnight in Paris – I’m not usually a Woody Allen fan, I’m not usually an Owen Wilson fan. But I really enjoyed this movie and the concept of 1920s Paris come to life. I loved meeting the “real” F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Dali, Picasso, and many more. Wilson did a pretty good job as the star struck struggling novelist; it was fun to watch Rachel McAdams as the mean girlfriend after so many roles as the beloved sweetie. Great film all around.

Moneyball. Great sports movie about a true story – some solid performances, some inspirational moments, the big game-changing move that altered the face of baseball forever. Not quite sure it’s Oscar-worthy, but I enjoyed it throughout.

If I had to pick a winner out of the ones I’ve seen to date, for me it’s a toss up between The Help and Midnight in Paris (believe it or not). The Help for the sum of its performances and Midnight in Paris for the complete escape the film allowed the viewer to partake in – it was magical.

I’ve heard great things about The Artist so I’ll be watching that one as well soon enough and my predictions may change. ūüôā

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I was very pleased about the list of nominees for this year’s Emmys. I was happy to see lots of nominations for Game of Thrones and Big Bang Theory. Below is the list of popular categories as well as a link to the complete list.

Of particular note and deserving of some serious wootage were:

  • 13 nominations for Game of Thrones
  • 12¬† for Glee
  • 10 for American Idol
  • 8 for SYTYCD
  • 7 for Pillars of the Earth
  • 5 for The Big Bang Theory (which includes Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki¬†battling it our for best actor in a comedy series). Disappointed that Kaley¬†Cuoco didn’t get a nom – she’s awesome.
  • 4 for Top Chef
  • 1 for Grey’s Anatomy (surprising that it was just one – this one is for guest actress in a drama series Loretta Devine who plays Adele)

OUTSTANDING DRAMA
Boardwalk Empire
Dexter
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Mad Men

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Timothy Olyphant, Justified

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Walton Goggins, Justified
John Slattery, Mad Men
Andrew Braugher, Men of a Certain Age

OUTSTANDING COMEDY
The Big Bang Theory
Glee
Modern Family
The Office
Parks and Recreation
30 Rock

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Laura Linney, The Big C
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Louis C.K., Louie
Steve Carell, The Office
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Chris Colfer, Glee
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Jane Lynch, Glee
Betty White, Hot In Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock

OUTSTANDING REALITY SHOW HOST (I couldn’t pick just one – they’re all great!)
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Jeff Probst, Survivor

OUTSTANDING REALITY SHOW COMPETITION (same here – couldn’t pick just one)
The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef

 

Full list here: http://www.emmys.com/sites/emmys.com/files/PressReleaseNoms2011emmys.pdf

See this article for the full breakdown by the numbers for networks and shows. HBO is the leader with 104 nominations.

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I’m on a mission to watch as many of the movies nominated for an Oscar this year as possible. I’ve already watched the King’s Speech, Inception and the Social Network. All very good but I have a soft spot for the King’s Speech and Colin Firth, even though I enjoyed the other two immensely.

Next up to watch are (storylines from imdb.com):

True Grit (I wanted to see this in the theater, but missed it for some reason)

Following the murder of her father by hired hand Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross (Hailee¬†Steinfeld) sets out to capture the killer. To aid her, she hires the toughest U.S. marshal she can find, a man with “true grit,” Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn¬†(Jeff Bridges). Mattie insists on accompanying Cogburn, whose drinking, sloth, and generally reprobate character do not augment her faith in him. Against his wishes, she joins him in his trek into the Indian Nations in search of Chaney. They are joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf¬†(Matt Damon), who wants Chaney for his own purposes. The unlikely trio find danger and surprises on the journey, and each has his or her “grit” tested.

Black Swan (Note to Michelle, I’m finally going to watch this after reading your comment!)

Nina (Natalie Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side – a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.

The Kids Are All Right (Lots of talk about this at the Globes, want to see what’s it all about)

Nic (Annette Benning) and Jules (Julianne Moore) are in a long term, committed, loving but by no means perfect relationship. Nic, a physician, needs to wield what she believes is control, whereas Jules, under that control, is less self-assured. During their relationship, Jules has floundered in her “nine to five” life, sometimes trying to start a business – always unsuccessfully – or being the stay at home mom. She is currently trying to start a landscape design business. They have two teen-aged children, Joni and Laser, Nic who is Joni’s biological mother, and Jules who is Laser’s biological mother. Although not exact replicas, each offspring does more closely resemble his/her biological mother in temperament. Joni and Laser are also half-siblings, having the same unknown sperm donor father. Shortly after Joni’s eighteenth birthday and shortly before she plans to leave the house and head off to college, Laser, only fifteen and underage to do so, pleads with her to try and¬†contact their sperm donor father. Somewhat reluctantly, she does. He is late thirty-something Paul (Mark Ruffalo), a co-op farmer and restaurateur. Despite his seemingly successful businesses, Paul has always shirked responsibility, most specifically in his personal life. After Joni and Laser meet with Paul, Nic and Jules learn what their children have done, and although they don’t want Paul infiltrating their lives, they want to meet him especially as Joni and Laser seem to want to maintain some sort of relationship with him. As Paul’s relationship with the entire family grows, which also includes him hiring Jules to design and construct his back yard, they have an effect on what he wants in life, and he in turn affects the family dynamic as well as each person’s relationships outside of the family.

The Town (again, lots of talk, curious about it)

The Charlestown neighborhood of Boston is renowned for churning out a high number of armed robbers, generation after generation. These robbers never leave their Charlestown life on their own volition, the neighborhood where there is an unwritten code to protect that lifestyle. Such robbers include friends Doug MacRay¬†(Ben Affleck), James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), Albert ‘Gloansy’ Magloan¬†(Slaine) and Desmond Elden¬†(Owen Burke). Doug and James in particular treat each other like family, as the Coughlins¬†have realistically been as such to Doug since Doug’s mother ran off and Doug’s father, Stephen MacRay¬†(Chris Cooper), was sent to prison. James’ single mother sister, the drugged out Krista Coughlin (Blake Lively), and Doug have a casual sexual relationship. The foursome carry out a mostly successful bank robbery, but due to circumstances take the bank manager, Claire Keesey¬†(Rebecca Hall), hostage for a short period before releasing her physically unharmed. They find out that Claire lives in Charlestown, so they want to ensure that she did not see anything that could incriminate them if they were to ever run into her. As such, Doug begins a personal relationship with her to find out what she knows and what she’s told the police and the FBI, who have taken charge of the investigation. He learns that she has kept some information from the authorities for her own protection but information that could identify James in particular. But Doug slowly falls for her, as she does for him. Ultimately, Doug dreams about leaving his Charlestown life to be with Claire anywhere but there. But Doug has to try and¬†keep his true identity from her, and keep the fact that he is seeing her from his colleagues. But leaving is not as easy as he would like as he and the gang are tasked with a big job by a local gangster named Fergie¬†whether Doug likes it or not. And Adam Frawley, the FBI’s lead investigator, comes into evidence that links the foursome to the bank robbery and a subsequent armored car heist, so is on their tail for evidence that will send them away dead or alive.

127 Hours (Didnt’ even know this had been released – thinking it should be a fascinating viewing)

127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston’s (James Franco) remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary, scale a 65 foot wall and hike over eight miles before he is finally rescued. Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers, family, and the two hikers he met before his accident. Will they be the last two people he ever had the chance to meet?

Stay tuned for the reviews!

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