erik lundegaard

Movies - The Oscars posts

Wednesday October 15, 2014

Neil Patrick Harris to Host 2015 Oscars

Because he's not just for gays anymore.

Seriously, this is great news for the Oscars and for my Oscar party. Although I might actually want fewer people there so I can hear more.

A few days ago, I was watching the clip below for the umpteenth time and marveling at the talent. If he brings a fraction of this to the Oscar telecast, it'll only be a massive improvement.

Posted at 01:48 PM on Oct 15, 2014 in category Movies - The Oscars
Tags: ,
3 Comments   |   Permalink  
Sunday March 02, 2014

SLIDESHOW: My Oscar Picks

  • SLIDESHOW: This is who I want to win, not who I think will win. I have no inside information, being in Seattle, but I'll bring up some of the favorites. I'll also mention who's missing from among the nominees, if anyone. Overall, I have to admit, it's been a good year for Hollywood movies and the Academy did a good job picking its nominees. Its big blind spot was not giving any love to “Inside Llewyn Davis,” but then, as my friend Jim Walsh writes, that's the nature of Llewyn Davis. Nothing would be more incongruous than Llewyn Davis winning anything. If you want him during awards time, he'll be in the back alley getting his ass kicked. But onward.

  • BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “HAPPY”: What's missing, of course, is any song from “Inside Llewyn Davis,” or at least the original songs (“Please, Mr. Kennedy,” etc.), but even if that were nominated I'd probably still go with this songand not just because Patricia's obsessed with it. It's because Pharrell's voice is great, the song grooves, and it does what it sets out to do. It makes us happy.

  • BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: GRAVITY“: Sure, great effects and whiz-bang in ”Star Trek Into Darkness“ ”The Hobbit 2,“ and ”Iron Man 3.“ But c'mon. This movie was an experience. It was a spectacle. It pushed the bounds. It went where no film had gone before.

  • BEST FILM EDITING: ”AMERICAN HUSTLE“: How do you choose this category unless you know what the editor was working with? But I'd go ”Hustle“ based on how quickly it moved through the movie's many different storylines in a way that felt left almost nothing extraneous on the screen. It's a quick, fun, fat-free movie. The only extra weight was what Christian Bale put on.

  • BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: BRUNO DELBONNEL, ”INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS“: I wouldn't be surprised if the black-and-white movie wins (”Nebraska“) but ”Llewyn Davis“ felt black and white to me. This is Delbonnel's fourth nomination, after ”Amélie, “Un long dimanche de fiançailles,” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Roger Deakins, who often photographs the Coens' movies, is also up, for “Prisoners.” It's his 11th nomination with no wins. Could be interesting. Would love to see someone from this movie up there.

  • BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “THE GREAT BEAUTY”: It won the Globe and the BAFTA, and its strongest competition isn't here: “The Past,” from Iran, and “Blue is the Warmest Color” from France. Plus it was No. 3 in my top movies of 2013. Although does that count against it ulimtately? Either way, Jep (above) gave us the best Oscar-night advice: “We're all on the brink of despiar. All we can do is look each other in the face, keep each other company, joke a little. Don’t you agree?”

  • BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “THE ACT OF KILLING”: Every year this category gets tougher. Think of all the great 2013 docs that didn't even get nominated. But “Killing” is in a league of its own. It's horrifying, bizarre but ultimately redemptive. If we think what we see in the first 9/10 can be redeemed.

  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: JENNIFER LAWRENCE, “AMERICAN HUSTLE”: There's been pushback lately that Lawrence's is a showy performance. Maybe, but it's my kind of showy performance. But it appears Lupita Nyong'o will win for “Slave.” If enough members of the Academy can bother to see it. 

  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: MICHAEL FASSBENDER, “12 YEARS A SLAVE”: I'd be happy with Jared Leto, who seems a lock. But Fassbender's was one of the most amazing performances of the year. Not because, as a slaveowner, he could act cruel but because he could also act righteous. There's not a trace of guilt in him. The opposite. Look how wronged he felt in the end.

  • BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: SPIKE JONZE, “HER”: This category is usually stacked but not this year. To be honest, any of these could win and I'd just shrug. The best movie of the bunch is “American Hustle” but I heard a lot of that was improvised. So I'd go Jonze.

  • BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: STEVE COOGAN, JEFF POPE, “PHILOMENA”: I still think this is a very underrated movie. There's a purity, a cleanness to it. I'd be happy with either “12 Years” or “Wolf,” too. What would make me most unhappy? “Before Midnight,” one of the most overrated movies I've seen in years. 

  • BEST ACTOR: LEONARDO DICAPRIO, “THE WOLF OF WALL STREET”: This is the most stacked category we've got. It's so stacked that performances that might normally win, such as Robert Redford in “All Is Lost,” Tom Hanks in “Captain Phillips,” and Oscar Isaac in “Inside Llewyn Davis,” weren't even nominated. It's McConaughey's to lose, of course, and I'll cheer along with everyone else for the great year he had, including “Mud,” “Wolf” and HBO's “True Detective”; but Leo took it to another level here. It’s like he was channeling Jack Nicholson at his outré best. He was both contained and over-the-top. It was riveting.

  • BEST ACTRESS: JUDI DENCH, “PHILOMENA”: Again, why was there no buzz for this performance? Cate Blanchett was amazing in “Blue Jasmine,” and she'll deserve it, but Dench is so good she almost undercuts her film. We get several scenes from the 1950s to demonstrate what Philomena Lee lost, but these, to me, are almost superfluous. We know what Philomena Lee lost. You just need to watch Judi Dench act.

  • BEST DIRECTOR: MARTIN SCORSESE, “THE WOLF OF WALL STREET”: I know, he's got no shot. But the movies Marty will be remembered for are “Mean Streets” (no nomination), “Taxi Driver” (ditto), “Raging Bull (nominated, lost to Redford), ”Goodfellas“ (nominated, lost to Costner), and this. So who gets the honor instead? I'll take McQueen, even though, in some sense, ”12 Years“ is his least powerful movie. I'll take Cuaron for pushing the boundaries of space on film. But this is who I want. And finally ...

  • BEST PICTURE: ”THE WOLF OF WALL STREET“: It’s about the haves and have nots; about how to be a have and not fall back into have-not territory. Jordan Belfort keeps bringing up McDonald’s with his brokers in the wolf pit. He keeps bringing up dingy cars and plain wives and the energy-draining 9-to-5 existence: commuting between two places that don’t really appreciate what you do. The schnook life. Our life. And welcome to it. ”American Hustle“ might win, along with either ”12 Years“ or ”Gravity," but this movie is about the true American hustle.

  • EXIT MUSIC (FOR A SLIDESHOW): Gosh, where to start? I'd like to thank Patricia for always being there, and for taking like two dozen photos of me before we got a decent one. I'd like to thank the Academy for starting up to stave off unionization. I'd like to thank the talented people who made this year's movies, particularly Martin Scorsese, and all the people who came to my Oscar party. But mostly I'd like to thank Llewyn Davis. For reminding me of me. This one's for you, dude!
Posted at 02:11 PM on Mar 02, 2014 in category Movies - The Oscars
Tags: ,
2 Comments   |   Permalink  

For Red Carpet Watchers: That's a Bowling Alley Behind Angelina Jolie

“On the way back to our condo rental, we stopped at the Dolby Theatre, home to the Academy Awards. The theater is squeezed into a shopping mall on busy Hollywood Boulevard that has a Gap store, food court and bowling alley.

”'I don’t remember the red carpet taking place outside a mall,' I commented to the guide. Everything, he explained, is cloaked. Store signs are covered for the Oscars telecast.“

-- from my sister's Star-Tribune piece, ”In Los Angeles, studio tours are the real stars," about going on studio tours with the family earlier this year in Hollywood.

Posted at 09:25 AM on Mar 02, 2014 in category Movies - The Oscars
Tags: ,
No Comments yet   |   Permalink  
Saturday February 22, 2014

Revisiting the 2011 and 2012 Best Picture IMDb Rankings

Today's post, plus past conversations with Reed, made me look back at the 2011 and 2011 best picture nominees and their IMDb ratings to see how they've changed over time. Were these films more appreciated now? Or did they seem ordinary once the buzz died down?

First, 2011:

2011 Best Picture Nominee Feb. 2012
Jan. 2013
Feb. 2014
The Artist 8.4 8.1 8.0
Hugo 8.2 7.7 7.6
The Help 8.0 8.0 8.1
Midnight in Paris 7.8 7.7 7.7
Moneyball 7.7 7.6 7.6
The Descendants 7.7 7.4 7.4
War Horse 7.3 7.2 7.3
The Tree of Life 7.1 6.8 6.7
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close 6.4 6.8 6.9

 The basic rule with IMDb ratings is that gravity matters; the numbers tend to go down. But some have managed to go up year to year. Which movies? “The Help,” “War Horse” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” which also happen to be, to me, the three worst movies on the list. Two years ago we started with the best pic nominees in the order you see. Now, “The Help,” of all movies, is No. 1, while “The Tree of Life,” of all movies, is last.

So it goes.

As for last year's best pic noms? Gravity takes it toll, yes:

2012 Best Picture Nominees 2013 IMDb
2014 IMDb
Django Unchained 8.7 8.5 -.2
Life of Pi 8.3 8.1 -.2
Silver Linings Playbook 8.2 7.9 -.3
Amour 8.1 7.8 -.3
Argo 8.1 7.8 -.3
Les Misérables 8.0 7.7 -.3
Lincoln 8.0 7.5 -.5
Zero Dark Thirty 7.7 7.5 -.2
Beasts of the Southern Wild 7.5 7.3 -.2

They all went down, “Lincoln” in particular. Their order remains the same, though. And I do think 2012 was a bad year for best picture nominees, so it's probably deserved. Of course “The Dark Knight” doesn't deserve to be rated the fourth-greatest movie of all time, but that's another discussion.

2012 best picture nominees

All down. Lincoln down with a bullet.

Posted at 01:03 PM on Feb 22, 2014 in category Movies - The Oscars
Tags: , , , ,
No Comments yet   |   Permalink  

IMDb's Highest-Rated Best Picture Nominee is Rotten Tomatoes' Lowest: Any Guesses?

best picture contenders 2013

When you think of the 2013 best picture nominees, if you think of the 2013 best picture nominees, you might see it as a battle between the popular, technically innovative ones (“Gravity”) versus the quietly artistic ones (“12 Years a Slave”) versus the bombastic, artistic ones (“American Hustle,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”).

So you might think that a movie like “Gravity,” the seventh highest-grossing film of the year, would do well on a user-rating site like and less well on a critics site like Similarly, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Martin Scorsese's three-hour opus to chicanery and debauchery on Wall Street in the 1990s, would do well with the critics and leave plain folks cold.

But it's almost the opposite. These are the best picture nominees as ranked by IMDb score:

Movie IMDb rating
The Wolf of Wall Street 8.5
12 Years a Slave 8.4
her 8.3
Gravity 8.2
Captain Phillips 8.0
Dallas Buyers Club 8.0
Nebraska 7.9
Philomena 7.8
American Hustle 7.6

I assumed “Wolf of Wall Street” would be difficult for a general audience and would rank lower, while “American Hustle,” more accessible and fun, would rank higher. Instead this.

Meanwhile, over at Rotten Tomatoes, the critics hold up “Gravity” and bundle Scorsese in the trunk of a car and whack him:

Movie RT Rating
Gravity 97%
12 Years a Slave 96%
her 94%
Dallas Buyers Club 94%
Captain Phillips 93%
American Hustle 93%
Nebraska 92%
Philomena 92%
The Wolf of Wall Street 77%

77%? Veering toward rotten? So I doublechecked what “top critics,” as opposed to “all critics,” thought. Surely when you weed out the online fanboys, Marty's numbers would go higher. Nope. They actually drop: 70%.

As for IMDb, some part of me was still thinking, “Well, not enough people have seen 'The Wolf of Wall Street,' so folks easily offended, and Americans are nothing if not easily offended, haven't weighed in yet. Once they do, its number will drop.”

Except the domestic box office for Scorsese's movie is the third-highest among the nominees:

Movie Domestic Box Office
Gravity $268,428,128
American Hustle $142,383,074
The Wolf of Wall Street $111,518,691
Captain Phillips $106,892,780
12 Years a Slave $48,554,723
Philomena $31,523,936
Dallas Buyers Club $24,449,501
her $23,570,610
Nebraska $16,088,873

And its worldwide box office? Zoiks!

Movie Worldwide Box Office
Gravity $701,028,128
The Wolf of Wall Street $336,979,691
Captain Phillips $217,592,822
American Hustle $214,668,815
12 Years a Slave $118,310,402
Philomena $80,911,942
Dallas Buyers Club $30,449,501
her $27,663,751
Nebraska $16,088,873

I always think of Martin Scorsese as popular with critics and less so with moviegoers and at the box office. I know: Sex + Leo = $$$. Even so, if you'd asked me yesterday which best picture nominee had the lowest-rated Rotten Tomatoes score, the highest-rated IMDb score, and the second-highest worldwide box office, I would've guessed half the movies on the list before guessing “The Wolf of Wall Street” ... which was, of course, my favorite movie of 2013.

So kudos, people. You surprised a cynical man.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street

Here's to IMDb and worldwide box office. RT critics can get off the boat now.

Posted at 09:14 AM on Feb 22, 2014 in category Movies - The Oscars
Tags: , , , , , , ,
No Comments yet   |   Permalink  
All previous entries
 RSS    Facebook

Twitter: @ErikLundegaard


All previous entries