@ January 31, 2011

[Each year, Jesse and Jim offer our expert Oscar predictions leading up to the Annual ObscureCraft Oscar Prognisticate-Off. Email your picks in each category to to enter. Keep track of everybody's picks here. Part 1, in which you can see for yourself that Jesse correctly predicted 10/10 Best Picture nominees, is here.]

Film Editing

The nominees: "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "The King's Speech," "127 Hours," "The Social Network."

Jesse's pick

Jim, you and I both consider this a major category, so let's start here with what I consider to be the second biggest snub of the night - and both, by the way, involve Inception. You've already stated your ambivalence towards the film, which leaves me to play the role of fanboy against the critical backlash. Although critical backlash may be a strong phrase, because it implies there was a critical acceptance in the first place, and just about every critic was falling over themselves to be the first to declare that Inception wasn't all that great, actually. I just don't get it. I'll agree with you that Inception worked on a higher level as a technical achievement than as an emotionally gripping tale of a man struggling to get back home to his children, but as a technical achievement I found it to be thrilling. Whether or not it was the "best" movie I saw this year, it was certainly the most entertaining and was, in the words of South Park, awesome and trippy and cool. Or maybe the Academy doesn't like Leonardo DiCaprio's furrowed brow? After all, Shutter Island was completely shut out as well.

Which leaves us to pick a winner. I haven't seen 127 Hours, but I hear that the movie does a masterful job of handling the scene where James Franco cuts his arm off (which, to bring us full circle, is why I didn't see 127 Hours - gah!) But my bet is that The Social Network, with its juggling multiple time frames as we jump from deposition to deposition, brings it home. Movies that deftly thread together multiple stories and time frames in a cohesive and propulsive manner tend to win this award. Unless they are Inception, in which case they don't get nominated.

The winner: The Social Network

Jim's pick

Despite my lack of love for Inception, I do believe that it most certainly deserved an editing nod. Seriously, it was an extremely well constructed film -- which is what you expect from Christopher Nolan -- and the climactic sequence that took part along several different layers of dream, each with a different time scale, really drove that point home. But the Academy did not agree, so Inception has go to wee wee wee all the way home.

I'm going to go with The Social Network for this one. The film is masterfully structured and constructed -- who would have thought flashbacks structured around a deposition could be so gripping?


The Nominees: Black Swan (Matthew Libatique), Inception (Wally Pfister), The King's Speech (Danny Cohen), The Social Network (Jeff Cronenweth), True Grit (Roger Deakins)

Jim's pick

This may be my favorite category. I've often loved a film more than I should due to great lenswork, and have lambasted a project that may have merits if it is lit or shot poorly. This is also the category where I've already seen four of the five nominees. So by that logic, I should very easily be able to pick a winner here. My heart says Black Swan -- visually, it was my favorite of the lot by a slim margin. My head says Roger Deakins always wins, but True Grit was not as visually striking as No Country for Old Men or The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Inception was a technical tour de force, and was pretty visually striking. But it got shut out of editing, and directing, so you have to ponder if voters are going to stay away from it in other categories.

You have to wonder if the halo effect is going to come into play here. Is this going to be an all "The King's Speech" night or an all "The Social Network" night? If one of the two films starts rolling on technical and other miscellaneous categories, it could take those all the way to the best picture/director bank. (Although, as we'll see later, my early feeling is that this may be a year where picture and director are split -- but that's another blog post).

So, I'm going to go with The Social Network here. Maybe I should listen to my heart with Black Swan, but I just think that MovieBookFaceFaceMovie is going to pick up some trophies. It doesn't hurt that it was my second favorite film of the year from a purely visual standpoint. The crew race sequence was simply breathtaking what with its tilt-shiftness and crazy editing and random shots of people who are dressed like they should be living in the 19th century.

Jesse's pick

Set aside the crew race sequence for a moment. The Social Network looked and felt like every other David Fincher film. The same black-green color palette that dominated Zodiac, Fight Club, and AlienAlienAlien (that's Alien^3, if you were wondering). I'd forgive the Academy voters for finding it off-putting.

I mean, weren't you stunned at all the nominations and love for True Grit? 10 nominations? That's a huge number that basically came out of nowhere. I think there is alot more love for this film than you are giving it credit for, and, also, your head was correct: ROGER DEAKINS ALWAYS WINS.

Pick: True Grit

Sound Editing

The Nominees: Inception, Toy Story 3, Tron: Legacy, True Grit, Unstoppable

Jesse's pick

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATED FILM UNSTOPPABLE, STARRING ACADEMY AWARD WINNER DENZEL WASHINGTON AND ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE THE UNSTOPPABLE TRAIN AKA A MISSILE THE SIZE OF THE CHRYSLER BUILDING!!!! God I love the technical categories. And Denzel. I keep coming across Inside Man on one of those HD movie channels, and I start watching it every time, because I know I'm never more than a few minutes from "Thank you, bank robber" or "This ain't no bank robbery!" Is Inside Man the most underrated movie ever made in the history of all-time? Is there any conversation I will not derail to talk about Inside Man?

There is an inviolable rule of the sound categories: you always pick the cartoon or the musical. Therefore, Toy Story 3 is the winner. I dare you to defy me Jim!

The pick: Toy Story 3

Jim's pick

Oh man, I feel really bad that I missed seeing Unstoppable. It's going to be at the top of my Netflix queue when it comes out, and I plan on getting a little drunk and enjoying the hell out of that Unstoppable train. Speaking of Unstoppable, did you see that the trailer for this new Nic Cage movie? It's called Drive Angry and it's shot in 3D. Boo-yay.

As for Inside Man, I agree with you ten hundred percent -- it's the most enjoyable of Spike Lee's films. Great cast, tight script -- and yeah, Denzel -- and the always-enjoyable Chiwetel Ejifor too.

Ok, sound editing. It's interesting that you say that the cartoon or musical always wins this award. The last cartoon to win was The Incredibles in 2004. No musical has ever won. Perhaps you are confusing your sound awards?

I'm giving this one to Inception. Though a win by "Unstoppable" would make me giddy. "Academy Award Winning film, Unstoppable!" That's up there with "Academy Award winning musicians, the Three-Six Mafia" in my book.

The pick: Inception

Sound Mixing

The Nominees: Inception, The King's Speech, Salt, The Social Network, True Grit

Jim's pick

This is the category that typically goes to musicals (Dreamgirls was the most recent winner in that genre, and the trophy did go to The Hurt Locker last year). There's no musical nominated this year, so that makes me think we're going elsewhere. I wouldn't be half surprised if The King's Speech -- which I saw this weekend, finally -- walks away a winner. The audio plays a very important role in the film.

But I'm thinking that Inception, just like The Hurt Locker last year, wins both sound awards.

An aside, since this is a good category for asides, have you seen the trailer for "The Company Men?" It's full of academy award winners -- and it lets us know. Academy Award Winner Chris Cooper, Academy Award Winner Tommy Lee Jones, Academy Award Winner Ben Affleck, and Academy Award Winner Kevin Costner team up for this one. One minor issue, though. Two of the four winners won for acting. Two of the four. Costner only holds trophies for directing and producing, and Baffleck's hardware is for writing. It would make total sense if Costner directed the movie and Affleck wrote it, but from what I gather that is impossible. The movie is, sadly, not about a super-smart janitor who wanders around delivering mail in post-apocalyptic Boston.

Which, might I add, is a hell of an idea for a movie. Hell of an idea.

The pick: Inception

Jesse's pick

Jim, how DARE you do research to debunk my lazily tossed out rules of thumb. Have you already forgotten my expertiseness has been made official by my correct prediction of all 10 Academy Award nominated films, a fact which shall heretofore shield me from all incorrect prognostications vis a vis these Oscars and which I will bring up at any opportunity? Besides, this is the Oscars, where facts have no relevance. "The Company Men" is a great example. An Academy Award winning cast! Jim, we're going to make your movie about a post apocolytic genius janitor delivering mail in Boston - Good Postman Hunting In The Town Baby Gone - except I want it to be starring Roger Deakins, written by Marisa Tomei, and directed by Nicholas Cage. Maybe we can get Three Six Mafia to do the cinematography. So much Academy Award winning-ness!

As for the award itself: Inception wins this award because there is no category for Best Oboe.

The pick: Inception

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Jesse's pick

I think we will both be shocked if the Academy doesn't fall over itself giving this award to Hailee Steinfeld, so let's instead talk about one of the few controversies in this year's field of predictability: what the fuck is Hailee Steinfeld doing in this category?

Or should we? I mean, isn't that what the Academy wants? Aren't they doing this to drive me crazy, just so we'll talk about it and therefore keep the Oscars relevant? She was in every scene, Jim! IN EVERY SCENE! EVERY!!! SCENE!!! GAAAAAAAAAAH THIS IS SO DUMB

Okay, I'm better.

Anthony Hopkins was in only 16 minutes of Silence of the Lambs and he not only was nominated for Bet Actor, but he won! 16 MINUTES!!!! Listen, this is simple. If you are in over half of the movie, you are a lead. Less, then you are supporting. Can you get behind these common sense reforms, Jim?

The winner: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)

Jim's pick

Look, I know research is evil. Global Warming is just a "theory" -- like evolution -- and blood libel is simply a compound word. But I'm evil, so I've got no problem doing research.

As for screen time, it's absurd that Steinfeld got a supporting nomination. Just as absurd as Hopkins, just as absurd as Brando's Best Actor nomination and win for The Godfather, just as absurd as Judi Dench's win for her eight minutes of screen time in Shakespeare in Love. If the acting categories have taught us anything, the category in which you are nominated is based simply on marketing. Silence of the Lambs is a film without a lead actor -- Foster is the only lead. Pacino is the lead in The Godfather, but Brando was the famous one at the time. And Steinfeld is simply not famous enough to qualify as a lead -- even though she is more of a lead than Bridges in The Big Gritowski.

I think this is Melissa Leo's award. She got some long-overdue recognition last year for Frozen River, and now she's got a good shot to win.

The pick: Melissa Leo

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Christian Bale (The Fighter), Geoffery Rush (The King's Speech), Jeremy Renner (The Town), John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right)

Jim's pick

Well, I've seen two out of the five in this category. Geoffrey Rush was his usual awesome self in The King's Speech, and Jeremy Renner was batshit crazy in The Town. John Hawkes was pretty good on Deadwood, even though I've only seen the first half of the first season, and I really loved Mark Ruffalo in Zodiac.

That said, Christian Bale is going to win this. If he doesn't get an Oscar soon he's going to die. I'm serious. If he doesn't win, I predict his being cast as Stephen Hawking in a biopic. The twist? He's actually going to figure out a way to give himself ALS. It's the only way he can really get into the role. And after giving himself a crippling disease, wasting away to 85 pounds, and being required to speak with a computer voice, he's going to start bulking up for the next Batman movie. Somewhere along the way, all of these dramatic changes in body weight and diet are just going to cause him to keel over. And it wouldn't surprise me if it happens at Mary Kate Olsen's house.

What, too soon?

The pick: Christian Bale

Jesse's pick

For the love of god, we have to keep Christian Bale away from the Olsens until we get the next Batman movie. Everybody's fake-growly Batman accent would seem like a pale comparison, and then it would just sound SILLY. Today's fun Batman rumor: they do a fourth one where the bad guy is played by Robin Williams, at which point we all agree to pretend it never happened.

We are in violent agreement about this: Christian Bale will be given the award so that the other attendees have a fighting chance of making it out alive before Bale tears the room apart with his intensity. Remember that season of 24 when Jack Bauer got addicted to heroin so he could fit in better with the Mexican terrorist drug cartel? I bet Christian Bale did that for this role. I bet he got addicted to drugs, Jack Bauer style, so that he could actually be a recovering drug addict to better portray the part. I haven't seen the movie, but everybody who wasn't a former teen idol pop sensation apparently got nominated for their performance in it just by virtue of being within his sphere of ACTING.

Christian Bale is humorously dedicated to his craft.

The pick: Christian Bale


I stopped buying cheese-its and goldfish crackers about a year ago, although, I have to admit every once in a while I have bought a box because my kids love cheese crackers. I made these tonight and I LOVE them.. I am going to have to wait till my kids get home so they can try them, but I am sure they will to. I just could wait to post to say how amazing these are!

I’m not a pharmacist, but my father in his 60s is an independent. He’s not typically a computer guy, but I think I’ve got him reading your blog. It’s great! How about a post on these manufactured “shortages” he keeps telling me about?

En t�rmino, cuando paso por las inversiones en librer�as por otra parte veo las inversiones en ofertas editoriales por otra parte lo que leen nuestro adolescentes, siento indiscutible

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