2008: A Cinematic Odyssey

Film Reviews and Other Pop Culture Happenings

Posts Tagged ‘Oscars’

Oscar Predictions – 8 December 2008

Posted by Jesse on December 8, 2008

Okay, let’s get right into this. My predictions for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design and Best Animated Film will be posted here today.

Best Animated Feature Film

  • Kung Fu Panda
  • WALL-E
  • Waltz with Bashir

Best Costume Design

  • Catherine Martin / Australia
  • Jacqueline West / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Jenny Beavan / Defiance
  • Michael O’Connor / The Duchess
  • Albert Wolsky / Revolutionary Road

Best Art Direction

  • Catherine Martin / Australia
  • Donald Graham Burt / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Nathan Crowley / The Dark Knight
  • Briggite Broch / The Reader
  • Kristi Zea / Revolutionary Road

Best Cinematography

  • Mandy Walker / Australia
  • Claudio Miranda / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Wally Pfister / The Dark Knight
  • Chris Menges / The Reader
  • Roger Deakins / Revolutionary Road

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Eric Roth / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • John Patrick Shanley / Doubt
  • Peter Morgan / Frost/Nixon
  • Justin Haythe / Revolutionary Road
  • Simon Beaufoy / Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Screenplay

  • Dustin Lance Black / Milk
  • Jenny Lumet / Rachel Getting Married
  • Woody Allen / Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Andrew Stanton / WALL-E
  • Robert D. Siegel / The Wrestler

Best Supporting Actress

  • Taraji P. Henson / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Viola Davis / Doubt
  • Rosemarie DeWitt / Rachel Getting Married
  • Kate Winslet / The Reader
  • Penélope Cruz / Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Supporting Actor

  • Heath Ledger / The Dark Knight
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman / Doubt
  • Josh Brolin / Milk
  • James Franco / Milk
  • Michael Shannon / Revolutionary Road

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Meryl Streep / Doubt
  • Sally Hawkins / Happy-Go-Lucky
  • Anne Hathaway / Rachel Getting Married
  • Kate Winslet / Revolutionary Road

Best Actor

  • Frank Langella / Frost/Nixon
  • Clint Eastwood / Gran Torino
  • Sean Penn / Milk
  • Leonardo DiCaprio / Revolutionary Road
  • Mickey Rourke / The Wrestler

Best Director

  • David Fincher / The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Christopher Nolan / The Dark Knight
  • Ron Howard / Frost/Nixon
  • Gus Van Sant / Milk
  • Danny Boyle / Slumdog Millionaire

Best Picture

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • The Dark Knight
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • Slumdog Millionaire

Well, that’s what I have to say for now. My next predictions will come after the Golden Globe Awards are announced on Thursday, December 11th. I will review these and post updated ones in a week.

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Female Liberation + Serial Killers = Modern Horror Masterpiece

Posted by Jesse on July 20, 2008

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
director: Jonathan Demme
starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Brooke Smith, Kasi Lemmons

Foster and Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Foster and Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Horror films have forever been popular in movie-going society, but not until The Silence of the Lambs was released did the genre take a drastic turn. Not only does this film excel at frightening its viewers and giving them nightmares about cannibalistic serial killers, more importantly, it breaks the the old horror film stereotypes and introduces fresh and very brave new film conventions. Horror films have almost always portrayed women as weak and helpless characters. They’re always either the damsel in distress, being rescued one way or another by a man or the promiscuous teenager who is naked for half of the film. The Silence of the Lambs takes the weak female character stereotype and completely reverses it. In this film, the main character, Clarice Starling, is a strong, independent woman who holds her own in a male-dominated workplace and solves the mystery without any help from men. This may sound like a feminist rant, but this is a groundbreaking film in terms of female liberation and deserves high recognition.

This film is hardly geared toward women, but it does directly deal with the role of a strong woman in a male-dominated society. This political statement propels the main character into the history books as one of the most important heroines of all-time. However, Clarice Starling isn’t the first female heroine in a horror film (even though she may be the most popular). Ellen Ripley from the Alien films made her debut in 1979 in the horror franchise and not only kicked alien ass, but film stereotype’s ass into the history books as a strong female heroine in a horror film. Starling is played flawlessly by Jodie Foster, a role she was born to play. Foster shines in all of the scenes, but most evidently in the scenes with Anthony Hopkins. She is brilliant and their eerie chemistry is almost pleasing to watch. Foster was lucky enough to take home the Oscar for her portrayal of Clarice Starling which is, undoubtedly, one of the most deserved Oscars in recent memory.

Aside from the feminism, this film has other groundbreaking elements to it as well. The film’s main male character is Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter. Dr. Lecter was once a psychiatrist, but was arrested for murder and found to be a serial killing cannibal, hence the nickname he acquired. What’s shocking about Lecter is his tone and diction. He’s a very intelligent man, but uses his wisdom and serenity in a way that draws you in as he fools with your mind. What’s groundbreaking about this character is that he is a villain, but he isn’t the villain the protagonist is looking for. He actually aids the Clarice into finding the “bad guy” from behind his bars. Lecter is portrayed by the fantastic Anthony Hopkins, who also took home an Oscar for his 17-minute performance. Hopkins’ performance is the shortest to win an Oscar for Best Actor, but it is far from small in power. Although given such a short amount of screen time, Hopkins steals the film as Hannibal Lecter and creates what has become one of the most popular and recognizable film characters of all time. He is frighteningly chilling and evokes such evil in his eyes that he becomes the character.

In the scene where Starling visits Lecter in prison for the first time and for most of the thrilling conclusion, the cinematography stood out as brilliant and I could not get it out of my mind. Cinematographer Tak Fujimoto has worked on many films (Badlands, Philadelphia and The Sixth Sense to name a few) and has been recognized by many critics and film institutions to be one of the best cinematographers out there. Fujimoto worked with director Jonathan Demme on The Silence of the Lambs so wonderfully and produced some of the most frightening scenes in film history. Fujimoto utilizes so many different camera angles in this film that intensify the scenes and generate such great suspense. He is a master of his craft and he proves this to us through his excellent work in this film.

Recognized as one of the greatest films of all-time by many sources, The Silence of the Lambs was a huge success when it was released in 1991 and has endured time and is still a huge success now. Creating two legendary film characters, one who is one of the most recognized villains of all time and the other who is one of the greatest heroines of all time, staying true to the novel which the film was based on and winning five Oscars in the major categories is only a few of this films’ achievements. It’s an iconic thriller and has gone down as one of the best. If you have been living under a rock and haven’t seen this film, I cannot recommend it more. See it, you won’t regret it.

Theatrical trailer for the film:

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