Daily Archives: February 21, 2011

Dr. H has made his picks — if you beat him you win!

We just posted Dr. H’s picks for the Oscars–what are yours? If you get more right than Dr. H–you will win dvd’s of your choice delivered right to your home. Put your picks in a comment and good luck!

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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Movie Reviews


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Dr. H Finally Gives Us His Take On The Oscars.

The Oscars:

Why there is less than meets the eye.

To call the Oscars a storm in a teacup is a travesty of sorts.  Sadly, to many lifelong Oscar aficionados it has lost its charisma.  Not only is it not the only game in town but it also appears contrived and hypocritical after a summer season of senseless mayhem in the sequels of grotesque superhuman creatures and the remorseless pursuit of the lowest common denominator.

The serious movie season starts after Halloween and ends around New Year’s, interrupted by family fare for Thanksgiving and cheesy romantic comedies for the holidays.  So you get about six weeks of serious cinema, most of which will be limited releases.  What, you may ask, is the point of this brouhaha—guilt in all likelihood. Once in a while the academy does honor the right movie and the right players but, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, only after it has exhausted all other options.

Welcome to Hollywood’s dark ages.

Why then, you may ask, are we bothering with the Oscars.  We are not.  We are celebrating the fact that good movies were made not because of Hollywood but in spite of its stranglehold on the movie business.

Now let’s get down to business shall we?

The Best Picture.

Who should win:         Social Network.

The dark horse:           True Grit

Who will win:             King’s Speech.

King’s Speech has some serious Oscar pedigrees and has won several awards for its soothing simple narrative style. The Academy can’t resist a British royalty story — especially when it has no relevance to modern day dynamics.

Social Network is an amazing story, especially in the wake of the democratic movement in the Mideast and the role in it played by Facebook and Twitter.  Sadly, there are not enough young Academy members to vote for it.

True Grit is good but not great.  Not a typical Cohen Brothers movie as it lacks their edgy crispy humor and the Academy doesn’t like westerns too much anyways.

127 Hours will lose for the same reason as Social Network:  the young votes will be divided between 127 Hours and Social Network.  It is a story of bravery and defying all odds of survival very well acted and directed but won’t make the cut.

The Black Swan.  This movie should be watched to impress an artsy girlfriend.  It is a hyper intellectual hybrid of French neo-noir with Hitchconian tradition but lacks Hitchcock’s dark humor and his feel for terror.

The Fighter is a good movie but lacks the knockout punch.  Very well acted but the supporting cast stole so many scenes that the fighter himself became secondary to the story.  A typical feel-good movie made for a recession.

Winter’s Bone is a great movie; a richly crafted, riveting story about a 17-year-old girl looking for her fugitive father in the wilderness of the Ozark Mountains in southern Missouri. It is full of meaning and metaphors that the average Academy member will overlook. If it wins, disregard all the negative remarks I have made about the Oscars.

Inception is a sci-fi thriller dealing with dreams, reality, quasi-reality, and whatever mumbo jumbo comes in between. It’s a visual spectacle but not Oscar-worthy.

And finally, The Kids Are All Right is the token indie film representative, more in the tradition of Little Miss Sunshine, about two lesbian foster parents and their problems. A good movie but again, not Oscar-worthy.  If The Kids Are All Right wins I’ll quit my day job and become a mascot for an NBA team.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Should win: James Franco, 127 Hours

Dark horse: Jeff Bridges, True Grit

Will win: Colin Firth, King’s Speech

James Franco is unlucky. His was a really plucky performance. Not earth-shattering, but with quiet dignity, he carried the movie all by himself with his character trapped in a canyon. Any other year he would be a shoe-in. Colin Firth will win, though, for his portrayal of King Edward VI, the stuttering monarch. Two years in a row. Wow! You can bet your 401(k) on this one.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Should win: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone

Dark horse: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right

Will win: Natalie Portman, The Black Swan

The conventional wisdom holds that Natalie Portman has delivered a strong performance in The Black Swan but one must remember that she had the advantage of a story that was built around her and was provided with all the right lines and the right ambiance to go with it. On the other hand, the 19-year-old Jennifer Lawrence had a much more complex role in Winter’s Bone – one that she excelled in. It is utterly compelling. Watch it. And lastly, Annette Bening is a long shot. Still could get a consolation award for being overlooked twice.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Should win: Christian Bale, The Fighter

Dark horse: Jeffrey Rush, King’s Speech

Will win: Christian Bale, The Fighter

Hands down Christian Bale. He completely overshadowed the movie and actually shifted the movie’s center of gravity from Mark Wahlberg to himself. Jeffrey Rush could sneak in if there is a stampede for King’s Speech.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Should win: Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Dark horse: Hailee Steinfield, True Grit

Will win: Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Melissa Leo is outstanding in her depiction of a domineering blue collar mother. Hailee Steinfield was overshadowed by two seasoned actors: Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. The Academy usually goes for the more seasoned performer.

Best Director

Should win: Social Network

Dark horse: The Fighter

Will win: King’s Speech

True Grit will lose since it does not have the Coen Brothers’ stamp of authority on it. It’s a toss-up between Social Network and King’s Speech, The Fighter staying a distant third. But, still, remember Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan lost to little-remembered Shakespeare in Love for the Best Movie, but he himself won. The Academy, sometimes, is like God: it acts in mysterious ways.

Best Original Screenplay

Should win: King’s Speech

Dark horse: Inception

Will win: King’s Speech

In this category, King’s Speech is peerless.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Should win: Winter’s Bone

Dark horse: 127 Hours

Will win: Social Network

Winter’s Bone has a poetic resonance and the words seem to travel with some poignant intensity. Social Network, will, however, win, as a consolation for being overlooked in higher categories. 127 Hours will again be unlucky.

Best Animated Feature

Should win: Toy Story 3

Dark horse: none

Will win: Toy Story 3

Period. End of story.

Best Foreign Language Film

Should win: Incendies (French-Canadian)

Dark horse: Biutiful (Mexico, Spain)

Will win: Incendies

Exotic mid-Eastern locales, strange accents, and lonely characters looking for redemption. Need we add more in favor of Incendies?


Should win: Inception

Dark horse: True Grit

Will win: Inception

Nothing even comes close. Inception is a mind-blowing visual experience.


Should win: Social Network

Dark horse: The Black Swan

Will win: King’s Speech

Mostly by tradition, the best picture always wins this category. The last one that didn’t was in 1980. Inception got robbed in this category.

Art Direction

Should win: Inception

Dark horse: King’s Speech

Will win: Alice in Wonderland


Should win: Alice in Wonderland

Dark horse: True Grit

Will win: King’s Speech

Original Score

Should win: 127 Hours

Dark horse: Inception

Will win: 127 Hours

Original Song

Should win: 127 Hours

Dark horse: Country Strong

Will win: 127 Hours

Sound Editing

Should win: Inception

Dark horse: Unstoppable

Will win: Inception

Visual Effects

Should win: Inception

Dark horse: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Will win: Inception

Best Documentary

Should win: Inside Job

Dark horse: Exit through the Gift Shop

Will win: Inside Job

The inside story of sub-prime mortgage and financial disaster. Who can let it pass?

Best Documentary: Short Subjects

Should win: Killing in the Name

Dark horse: Poster Girl

Will win: Killing in the Name

It’s a no-brainer. This documentary about Muslims and terrorism will win.


Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Movie Reviews

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