Sunday, January 13, 2013

Live-Blogging the 2012 Golden Globes

As events played out, the most recent entries appeared on the top of the page, so readers could simply hit Reload and see the newest stuff. This is also the easiest way for me to write and publish. Now, for clarity, I've switched the order, so that you can follow the whole transcript from chronological beginning to end.

4:00pm: What if you were a hostage in post-Shah Iran, and even though the Canadian ambassador had provided you with a 70s-model television in the semi-plush living room where you had been sequestered, you were failing in every effort to get a reliable transmission of the Golden Globes? What you would do, I think, is ask your bearded friend Ben Affleck to sneak you some circuit boards and vacuum tubes to make a homemade computer, then ask his bearded friend Al Gore to invent the internet, and then log on right here at Nick's Flick Picks for our fifth annual(ish) Live-Blog of Hollywood's most sozzled, celebrity-packed awards ceremony! Everything would work out terrifically for you!

I'll be here as of 5:30pm CST————that's 6:30pm if you're attending a Khaki Scout camp in New England, and 3:30pm if you're scheduling around a Bay Area sex-surrogate appointment with Helen Hunt, and 4:30am if you're salmon fishing in the Yemen. We'll start, as usual, by listening to this year's nominated Original Songs. Which will determine in turn how early we need to drink. In the meantime, feel free to revisit one of my previous live-blogs from the 2011, 2010, or 2008 ceremonies, or even the nightmarish, Billy & Nancy non-ceremony from 2007.  Toodle-oo, see you in a few, etc.

The Red Carpet...

5:05: Okay, this is earlier than I said I'd be around, but already: Amy Adams seems to be wearing the nude, form-fitting scaffold that would go under a dress, but possibly not an actual dress. Tiny tulle frou-fra at the bottom. Claire Danes in bedroom hair and scarlet va-voom, Mayim Bialik in Grandma Couture, and Nicole Richie taking her annual opportunity to compliment the red-carpet interviews on whatever they're wearing. And I do mean whatever.

5:19: Emily Mortimer is here in some spun, draped form of chainmail, not totally selling me on its high comfort factor.  "I think it's rare for a new show to get nominated," Emily enthuses.  Remarkable chutzpah on her part, or just Globes naïveté?

5:24: Shawn What's-Her-Name just did a whole featurette about picking her favorite of three dresses from a "legendary" Hollywood dress warehouse.  She ooh'd and ah'd over all three of their bests, and then finessed the fact that she showed up in none of them.

5:28: There's Uggie from last year! Remember him? Think he'll be back this year? Think he's still living?

5:32: Okay, let's start learning something about the Best Original Song nominees. We'll start with Keith Urban's song from Act of Valor, which I gather was like Zero Dark Thirty without the budget, the controversy, or the artistic chops.  Let's hear it, Keith!

5:33: (Not that I don't absolutely apologize to Debra Messing for muting her so that I can hear this...)

5:35: This movie is definitely about soldiers or surfers. Possibly both?  Lots of sandstorm action, but even they cannot suppress the power of the lens flare. 

5:38: I like Keith Urban, but I'm guessing that, once he's safely ensconced in his famous-person front-row seat, the HFPA will decide they're eager for a song about something other than Americans taking bullets abroad.  Let's hear Taylor Swift's song from The Hunger Games, a tune I only remember disliking in the abstract.  (Jodie Foster, meanwhile, manages to twist the knife at the NBC Lady who somehow missed the memo that she always wears Armani. "Well, when I want to look beautiful I do.  When I want to be ugly, I wear something else.")

5:41: I don't know—sounds a little breathy and delicate for an intemperate ass-kicker like Katniss? Taylor in the video is dressed like a blonde spin on your standard J-horror dead-girl with unfinished business on the mortal coil. You know, one of those J-horror movies that's set in an Appalachian forest.

5:43: This song has an "Ain True Love" vibe I could get behind if it actually seemed to suit The Hunger Games.  Meanwhile, there's a Microwavable Hot Fudge Brownie ad on my muted television, and that doesn't suit The Hunger Games that well, either.  So, it's contagious.

5:45: Glenn Close: "I would do another television series, but it would have to be something really unexpected."  What I hear in that is, "I would prefer to not play anoooother psychotic ball-breaker, thanks."

5:47: Let's be misérable together! Again! Because once was certainly not enough.

5:49: I have to say, I can understand the composers' temptation to speak nearly continuously over the song.

5:50: The song is not as irritating as it is in the context of its visually stultifying presentation in the film, trapped inside a moving coach. Still, the one thing the song is meant to accomplish, to add to the nomination tally to reinforce the bond between Jean Valjean and young Cosette, still felt totally abstract to me by the end of the film, so it's hard to credit the song with accomplishing much. And with that: Bon Jovi.

5:55: (For those of you keeping up at home, this Jon Bon Jovi song is from Stand Up Guys, the Pacino-Walken-Arkin vehicle that opened the Chicago Film Festival this year and also opened ... somewhere else? Maybe? No? Hadn't heard a peep since.)

5:58: Not half bad! I mean, not great. But JBJ at least sounds in character with the movie (i.e., a lot older and more grizzled than he actually is), and the song tells enough of the story it needs to.  I mean, I have already forgotten three quarters of it. But the bar to clear in Best Original Song has often been lower than that.

6:01: There's Bradley Cooper, with his perfect hair and his own personal lens-flare in the sky. On playing Pat in Silver Linings: "I learned a lot from the character in a way I had never done before." Well, what if he'd dug a little deeper in Case 39? A missed opportunity, surely. But now it's all water under the bridge.

6:03: Did you guys know Adele recorded a song for Skyfall?

6:05: (Adele is currently drowning out Jack Black, whom I found surface-bound, silly, and wholly inadequate in Bernie. So, fine by me.)

6:07: (Adele is currently on pause for Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, because I'm not an idiot. I'm pretty sure they win Hollywood Couple I'd Most Love To Get Burgers With, so respect is due.  She looks fantastic in black-and-gold Marchesa. Look it up. Camera pans down to their ankles, and though I'm not 100% positive, I see strong evidence of high-ish heels in Keith's dress shoes.)

6:11: So my thing with "Skyfall" is that I think the lyric of the chorus is so insipid that I'm frankly not that big a fan.  I'm not sure the lyric as a whole does a lot for the movie.  You can imagine Adele and Paul writing it without having even read a script.  But as idiomatic homage to the Bond songbook, I can admit now, after months of resisting, that it's pretty grand.  Don't get me wrong: at this particular point in the planet's history, I'm pretty sure Adele could have just covered Cathy Dennis's "Too Many Walls," submitted it to the Broccoli people, and still have scored a Globe, an Oscar, and a Top 10 hit. But "Skyfall"'s a bit more deserving than I had felt up till now.

6:15: Jimmy Fallon on the red carpet, who'd be a great host.  Remember his hilarious 10 seconds of Mick Jaggering last year?  But we're already anticipating two great hosts tonight, so we do not complain.

6:16: Al Roker to Zooey Deschanel: "Are you surprised at the way the show has taken off?"  I love this perennial question.  Isn't it amazing that no one has ever said, "Yeah, I sort of thought it was bullcrap, but boy are people swallowing it!"  I mean, not even Jessica Lange has come out and actually said that.

6:17: Amy Poehler in a blouse-less tuxedo and Vertigo-certified Carlotta Valdes hair. She and Tina are going to be great.  They're recommending a drink if: anyone cries, or "if a boob falls out of a dress" (Tina), or "if, you know, you've just had a hard week" (Amy).

6:18: Oh, you guys.  A blonde-ish Emily Blunt is this year's victim of the unflattering cutouts.  She seems to be going for a Princess Jasmine thing.  Please tell me this is not some kind of misguided homage to some horribly distorted idea of Yemen.  I'm ...surprised by all this, but Emily, by all means keep yourself entertained.

6:20: Jennifer Lawrence on being Tiffany in Silver Linings: "She's just a beautiful character, and it was an honor to play her." Has J-Law taken one of Drew Barrymore's How To Be An Innocuous Sunflower classes? It was an honor to play Tiffany?  I mean, by all —

6:21: WAIT. Lauer/Hathaway rematch. I hope she has a shiv in her little clutch.

6:22: The long, slender clutch is actually the exact right shape to hold a shiv, but Anne the Magnanimous lets Lauer live.  Thanks a lot, Anne.  But not before telling us that her mom, after watching Les Mis, said "Yours is my favorite Fantine."  And Anne thought that was "amazing" because "hers is mine."

I mean, I know. I am, in general, pro-Anne. But you guys? This is all getting to be too, too much.

6:25: A procedural note during this ad for  (I swear I am not kidding.) As we enter the ceremony, I'll be posting predictions and personal preferences for each movie category as it comes up. I have seen none of the TV, so for those races, I'll only post predictions. And bitchy comments that don't matter a damn, but here I'll be, making them. Any questions, class?

6:27: Lauer is trying for an Aeschylus joke. It's as bleak as you think.

6:28: Daniel Day-Lewis is here in Silver Fox mode. Lauer hands him a photo of Day-Lewis himself alone in the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House. Rebecca Miller looks as though she's thinking of something else. They look to me like they've just had that "Why are you always so late??" / "Well, why are you always so early??" fight, which is a personal favorite of my household.  Of the two, do you think Daniel is the late-runner or the early bird?

6:29: Julianne! Sort of a square-shouldered dress, mostly black with a large, diagonal white detail across the waist. Tom Ford, as ever.  Her hair is not completely un-Palin-like.

6:32: Lovely to see Richard Gere here—which is not always my precise feeling, but he's quite good in Arbitrage.  He, of course, was "in India, and in a fairly remote area of India" when the nominations were announced. Of course he was.

6:33: Adele on writing a Bond song: "A lot of people have succeeded with this, and a lot of people have fallen, too." She is like a nuclear power-plant of charm and charisma.  She fanks everyone, profusely.

6:35: No one on the Today staff has conceived a single question for a single partner/spouse beyond "What are you wearing?" I hope every nominee's partner/spouse gets full control of the remote for at least a week after gigs like this.  For Denzel's daughter, they expand only slightly to "Who are you excited to meet?" And not even "Whom are you excited to meet?", so i>that's tragic.

6:36: Denzel says he researched his role in Flight by entering "Drunks" as a search-term on YouTube. a) That sounds like an instant roadway to madness, and also to paralyzing boredom, and b) Really? You can tell us, Denzel. Is that really what you did?

6:38: THE TRADITION LIVES! The possibly life-threatening anti-depressant Abilify, which isn't even an anti-depressant but something you take with an anti-depressant, is once again sponsoring the Globes.  This year in an animated form.  After five years of this, you have to ask whether the tables inside the Globes ballroom are stocked with huge bowls of Abilify, candy-coated like Jordan almonds.

6:41: Lauer and Guthrie, caught without anyone to talk to, just start vamping by naming the people they've previously talked to. Which is sort of what I'm doing.  I'm live-blogging their own live-blog of an experience they're actually having.

6:42: Ewan McGregor is being a great sport talking about his ...let's say his gratuitous nomination for Yemen. But then Al Roker just interrupts him and sends him off.

6:43: Hugh Jackman compares singing live for a camera to filming a nude scene, in its high embarrassment factor and total lack of protection. That's an interesting way to think about it. I just said something nice about Les Mis, or at least about a Les Mis participant. Don't let anyone tell you therwise. Deborra-Lee Furness stands there smiling, totally unaddressed by either interviewer.

6:47: Jessica Chastain—in great, unmoving waves of hair swept straight backward, and a pale-aqua dress that I wouldn't describe as fitting her perfectly—says Zero Dark Thirty's huge box office this weekend might "be a sign that people want to participate in the conversation [about the film's use of torture] and be allowed to make up their own minds about it.  And I'm glad the film is starting these kinds of discussions, because to me that's what art does."  She does say that Maya, in her mind, is an example of one of the "unsung heroes" of the bin Laden operation, which may not square with viewers who like to think of Maya in more ambiguous terms than that.  But the red carpet is, after all, a precisely engineered device for neutralizing nuance or ambiguity.  Or conversation of any kind, actually, so it's impressive that she's even gotten this far.

6:51: Sofia Vergara is hawking her Twitter account and her Instagram account, so you can find out "what's really going on, inside the Globes." If anyone is or is not being tortured at the Globes, Sofia will crack the case wide open.

6:53: Dustin Hoffman, word for word, on his own directorial debut, Quartet: "I know it sounds like a 'Wait for video...,' but it's not. Go see it. It's #1 in England." Sell it, Dustin! (Can anyone from England confirm? Is Quartet sweeping the country?  I know Les Mis opened there on Friday, but did Quartet absolutely clobber its ticket sales?)

6:58: Some NBC operatives counting down to the telecast, drowning out the patter of the hosts.

The Ceremony...

7:00: Tina (emerald) and Amy (blood red, plunging neckline) have already changed clothes from 20 minutes ago! Tina: "Tonight we celebrate the TV shows that have entertained us all year, and the movies that have only been in theaters for two days."

7:01: Tina: "Ricky Gervais could not be here tonight, because he is technically no longer in show business."

7:02: Huge crowd cheers for Lena Dunham and Girls, but I'm way more excited to see Jodie Foster and Robert Downery, Jr., still hanging out all these years after the unimprovable Home for the Holidays.

7:03: Whoa! Amy! "I haven't been following the controversy about Zero Dark Thirty, but when it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron." Crowd freaks out. Jessica Chastain aghast. Julianne Moore agog, but loving it. Bigelow smiling but trying to hide her face.

7:04: Ohhhhhhh, Jodie ruined everything by having Mel Gibson on her other flank!

7:04: Tina: "Quentin Tarantino is here, the star of all my sexual nightmares."

7:05: Amy: "Meryl Streep is not here tonight.  She has the flu, and I hear she's amaaaazing in it."

7:05: Oh, here comes the inevitable Somebody Else Played Sarah Palin joke. Prevoiusly from Tina: "Anne, you were so fantastic in Les Misérables. I haven't seen anyone look so lonely and abandoned since you were stuck there onstage at the Oscars with James Franco." Hathaway, like Bigelow, both amused and horrified.

My Vote: Tommy Lee Jones in a squeaker over Philip Seymour Hoffman. PSH has more interesting challenges to face, but the role as written and as performed still doesn't totally jell with me. Tommy Lee creates a full person, with even more subtlety on second viewing than on first. Plus, he gets huge Hope Springs-related bonus points from me.
Prediction: Tommy Lee Jones, I think? I think? This damn category. Only Hoffman declined to show up.
Winner: Christoph Waltz?? What is happening?  Did everyone else see a full character here, where I observed only about two-thirds of one?  If even?  Is actorly range just not an issue for people anymore? Hmmm.

7:10: Tarantino and Weinstein are sitting together, so that frees someone up from having to sit between them.

Prediction: With Bowen at home, I have to admit I'd love to see Sofia Vergara finally get a podium moment after perpetually clapping from the audience for absolutely everyone else. Failing any strong hunch here, I'll go with my own preference. (This, incidentally, officially makes me the first prognosticator ever to be swept up by personal biases.)
Winner: Silly rabbit. "Maggie Smith could not be here this evening." By which presenters Kerry Washington and Dennis Quaid mean, "Raise your hand if you thought even for one moment that Maggie Smith entertained coming to this."

7:13: Joking aside, that crack in Waltz's voice and the phrasing of his comments sounded like he was thanking – doctors, maybe? Has he been sick? Does anyone/everyone know about this?  I'm paid to over-read, so it's an occupational hazard.  But still...

7:14: Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway: still friends, still hanging out. See, some good things do last.

Prediction: Game Change, since at least as I recall, they went pretty big for Recount.
Winner: Game Change! That's right people, bring Julianne onto the stage every chance you get. This movie was made by Julianne, Sarah Paulson, and half a dozen white guys.

7:17: Eva Longoria is here in funereal chic. Mr. and Miss Golden Globes are the son of Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan (looks just like Dad) and the daughter of Frances Fisher and a man she now openly detests on Twitter, Clint Eastwood (looks just like Mom).

Prediction: Julianne Moore, amidst a Survival of the Fittest Movie Star derby.
Winner: Julianne! But not without besting unannounced competition from "Darcy St. Judge," a woman with terrible teeth who starred in Dog President as "a psychic who solved her own murder." And by that I mean, Amy Poehler, acting up in the audience.  Julianne gives "a shout-out to two women who I think made a huge difference in the 2008 election, Tina Fey and Katie Couric." Wow.

7:22: Her High Holiness the Empress of Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, swans out to introduce, in her smokiest voice, a clip from the trailer from Les Misérables.  She unintentionally gives a perfect demonstration of the perils of live singing.

7:24: So is this going to happen all night? Amy and Tina are going to wear fright make-up and weird wigs and play "sixth nominees" in the audience?  I'm all for it.  Hell, I'd have voted for them in Best Supporting Actor.

7:27: President of the HFPA either didn't hear Tina and Amy's hilarious Hunger Games-themed introduction of her, or she doesn't get it. Or, you only become president of the HFPA by developing an incredibly thick immunity to what is happening around you.  She says something about "retreating into the Delta twilight" but then offers a self-deprecating joke about how "I know Jeffrey Katzenberg will never forget my name, because he never knew it."  And then she asks Bradley Cooper to come up and see her sometime.

7:29: Rosario Dawson is exactly who I predicted would be assigned as our docent to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel clip. I could have won a fortune on that bet.

7:30: Salma Hayek and Paul Rudd, presenting together, and sharing the same cocktail of virgin's blood.  How else to explain the eternal youth?

Prediction: Damian Lewis, since they missed him last year, at the outset of the Homeland tsunami.Winner: Damian indeed. Like Salma and Paul, he looks even better than usual, which is a feat in all three cases.  Is it the much-commented-upon freezing weather outside?  Is it acting as a fabulous preservative for everybody? Whoa, Kate Hudson is shooting Damian Lewis a look of pure, carnivorous Want.  Damian dedicates his award to his late mum.

Prediction: Homeland, despite the world's Downton obsession.
Winner: Homeland, although I find it hilarious that the voice-over person keeps having to say "Downtown Abbey, Season Two," to explain why it's no longer a Miniseries or TV Movie.  I hope later the same voice-over guy says, like, "30 Rock, Season Nine" and "Damages, Only Sort of a Season." For consistency's sake.

7:36: Uh-oh. Producers' speech features Homeland spoilers of the Who Gets Killed variety. Those of us with no paid cable will try to forget that.

7:37: Commercial break starting as Robert Downey, Jr., visibly kisses and then licks the side of Mel Gibson's face. Those of us of absolutely any persuasion whatsoever will try to forget that, too.

7:38: Commercial break allows me to pick up a great Poehler joke I missed from earlier: "If not treated properly, the HFPA can lead to cervical cancer." But not, surely, if treated with Abilify!* (*Except in cases where Abilify itself causes cervical cancer. Beware!)

7:41: John Goodman is here with Tony Mendez, the guy played by Ben Affleck in Argo, to introduce the movie. Failing any Jolie-Pitt in the grand ballroom, Clooney has attached himself to Affleck and Garner at their table.  Let's assume the waitstaff is calling this "Table #1."

My Vote: I'm about equally split among all of the nominees save for Argo, but I guess I'd give the narrow edge to Cloud Atlas
Prediction: Life of Pi seems closest to the register of vaguely "world" music that the HFPA often prefers.

Am I right that this category officially marks Jason Statham's debut as a major awards-show presenter? They've paired him with Jennifer Lopez, so she can show 'im the ropes.  And show him everything else she's showing in that dress.

Winner: Life of Pi it is! Mychael Danna's kind of an up-and-down composer for me, but I remember how moved and intrigued I was by his music in The Sweet Hereafter, so I've always had a soft spot.

My Vote: I'm tempted to say Bon Jovi's tune, since it exceeded my expectations and actually had to do some work for the film's plot. But in a surprise to myself, "Skyfall" has actually grown on me.
Prediction: I don't know, do you think "Skyfall" might get it? I know everyone reviles Adele.
Winner: "Skyfall," of all things. Everyone is delighted except Taylor Swift, who has just plunged visibly into subzero temperatures.

7:49: "My friend Ida and I have just been over there pissing ourselves laughing!" Adele. You guys, people love her so much that DANIEL CRAIG SMILED when she won.

7:52: "The miraculous is everywhere! In our homes! In our minds!" Weirdly Joel Osteen-ish cellphone ad.

7:53: Okay, fine, Smash is packing Jennifer Hudson, but add to that Bernadette Peters and Liza Minnelli and Jesse! L.! Martin!  They're tryna rope me in, for sure...

Prediction: Toby Jones would be fun to see, but I'm expecting the world's inexplicable enthusiasm for Benedict Cumberbatch might continue unabated. Meanwhile, presenters Jessica Alba and Kiefer Sutherland and nominee Kevin Costner are in a race to the bottom for Least Excited By What Is Happening.
Winner: Kevin Costner, whose acceptance spee—hey, there's Mark Harris!!!!—whose acceptance speeches for Dances with Wolves only finally ended sometime last week.

7:56: Toby Jones has crossed his arms and is giving Kevin Costner a platinum-plated SwiftFace.  Costner's is the kind of speech that, if you were just cutting in now, you would think somebody had just died.

7:57: Bill Clinton, of the ever-shrinking frame, advances to the microphone, and no one is more excited than Lena Dunham.  Lincoln intro, I'm guessing? (Yep.)

7:58: Still, it's sad to see the Globes sliding into such hard times. Years ago, in their full glory, they could have afforded Hillary.

7:59: Amy Poehler just stole my joke!

8:00: Kristen Wiig is doing her Taylor Swift impression right in front of Taylor Swift!  I'm going to donate to her!  Because, as you know, the next major fundraising deadline for her party is tonight!

My Vote: Meryl Streep, who leaves all nine of the other nominated lead-actress performances in the dust, if you ask me.
Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence, who seems pretty woozy tonight, so we'll have to hope for the best out of the speech.

Wiig and Ferrell together are incredible. "Judi Dench! I mean, where did she come from? A former police officer, and here, in her first movie, she's just terrific." Inventing a routine in which "Mariel Streep" is the sheriff of a town called Hope Springs. Tommy Lee Jones, with his surgically removed funnybone, is not amused.

Winner: Lawrence. Taylor Swift is excited enough to stand up and clap for her, taking a brief break from penning the new breakup song she's writing about Adele, right there on the tablecloth.  Jennifer: "What does it say? I beat Mer-yl!"  And also, "Harvey, thank you for killing whoever you had to kill to get me up here today."

8:06: Jodie Foster, who directed Lawrence in The Beaver, smiles happily at her throughout her speech. Gibson appears to be picking his teeth at her with his pinky nail. Basically, Mel is failing to even get a 200 on his SAT in Hollywood Etiquette. Don't pick your teeth with your pinky, Mel! The thing aimed at you is a camera.

Prediction: Mandy Patinkin will finally get a knick-knack for his most understated performance in a long time. Would I say his first-ever understated performance? Who knows what I would say?
Winner: Ed Harris, who isn't here. Presenters always act so embarrassed when the victor in their category isn't in the house.

8:12: Jamie Foxx intro'ing Django Unchained as though some Abilify wouldn't go unappreciated.

8:13: Jonah Hill presenting with Megan Fox, proving that Judd Apatow has been a perfect wingman.

My Vote: Nicole Kidman, who's working even more fearlessly without a safety net than Hathaway is, and is key to what a maddening, arresting, and bizarre experience Paperboy manages to be, whatever its manifest limitations.
Prediction: Anne Hathaway, because I am fearless about predicting underdogs.
Winner: Hathaway, which only I saw coming. Why do you even read other sites?  Seriously, Nathaniel predicted Amy Adams to win this!  Go back and look.

8:18: Thinking on her feet, Anne snatches back an ill-considered attempt at an "I just can't believe I won" type of speech with a lovely tribute to Sally Field as a heroic conqueror of typecasting. Straight from the two-time Princess of Genovia to the long-ago Flying Nun!  Well done, and a great way to flatter the only other nominee who can taste the gold-plating in her mouth she wants it so bad. (Sally seems quite touched.)

My Vote: Lincoln, for managing to convey a convoluted, ethically ambiguous political process in ways that entertain without cheating or simplifying as much as most other scripts surely would have.
Prediction: Silver Linings Playbook, I'm guessing, though Argo or Lincoln wouldn't surprise me.
Winner: Quentin Tarantino, who at least took some exciting chances in a script that I still don't think really works. Not my favorite win, but not as big a disaster as, say, Amanda Seyfried's inability to read from a TelePrompter.

8:24: Robert Pattinson finds all of this appropriately silly. Amanda Seyfried seems to be contemplating polar ice-cap melting, very seriously, in the corner. Or else is impersonating a polar ice-cap, except not melting.

8:25: Jeremy Irons, as rummed-up as usual at this ceremony, gives a boisterous pitch to Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

Prediction: Louis C.K., if the HFPA's zeitgeist antennae are working.
Winner: Don Cheadle, who's impossible to begrudge anything. Not that I'm even tempted to.

8:28: Another break for everyone to get another Manhattan, and for Andie MacDowell to hawk L'Oréal. Anyone out there? Anyone wondering whether Jessica Alba and Harvey Weinstein truly find each other hilarious?  Or is she just being affable so that he'll think about casting her in Tarantino's next movie, where César Chavez and a mute female sidekick fire bazookas and hurl ninja stars at the 1%?

8:32: Sylvester Stallone, who seems like probably a nice person, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who almost makes me pine for Mel Gibson.

My Vote: Amour, which somehow got no other nominations tonight but would seem to have an easy path to victory here.
Prediction: Amour, easily, even though the slate of nominees is gratifyingly strong.

So, yes: "Austria" made Seth MacFarlane think of Hitler, and makes the HFPA think of Schwarzenegger. We're doing super well on our cultural word-association, Hollywood!

Winner: Amour, directed by the remarkably bunny-like Michael Haneke. Even Marion Cotillard, star of fellow nominee Rust and Bone, is looking at him with awe.  She might be one of five people in the room who has seen another Haneke movie. (Mark, I know you're another.)

Prediction: After nearly a decade of losing everything she's ever been nominated for, I think Claire Danes might finally be able to decorate her studio apartment. But Connie Britton would be an interesting spoiler.
Winner: Claire Danes pulls off the biggest upset since Hathaway, and also tries momentarily to act surprised and humbled, neither of which sits perfectly easily on the shoulders of Claire Danes.

8:37: Danes remains Grand Mistress of the Humble Brag: "I have to thank the HFPA for being so generous to me - I was up here when I was 15!" And then, "I want to thank our writers for not buckling under the pressure of having written such a stunning first season." That last one is only slightly a paraphrase. Julianna Margulies drums up a solid smile for her, but Dockery, Close, and Britton don't quite get there. Give it up to Danes, though, for a typically well-phrased and passionately stated Hooray to superb television, and superb female roles therein.

8:43: Sacha Baron Cohen, who is just. So. Such a source of. Freshness. And joy.  I'm donating to Tommy Lee Jones as well, who is giving Pure Hatred to SBC.

My Vote: Frankenweenie, because even though the impression wasn't quite lasting, I did enjoy the tone, the jokes, the visuals, and the storyline while I was sitting there.
Prediction: Frankenweenie, because Tim Burton's last few features imply we may never have an opportunity to give him a prize again.
Winner: Brave, which is a genuine surprise. Also a surprise is that the woman standing next to winning director Mark Andrews is not co-director Brenda Chapman. Not that surprising, I guess, since Chapman got feyert.

8:48: Liev Schreiber, trading on barely-remembered Taking Woodstock associations, walks out to introduce Ang Lee's Life of Pi. Derek's here now, and so of course when Liev Schreiber walked out, he said, "Look! Liam Neeson!" Awww....

Prediction: Solid arguments for all five nominees, but maybe Amy Poehler, since she'll have the most fun lording it over her co-host.

Amy Poehler of course scores the biggest laugh by managing to be in Clooney's  lap, both of them sipping on Scotch, lips inches away from each other, when her nomination is read out.

Winner: Lena Dunham, who pulls a huge upset in being the first winner to burst into tears. And this is after Hathaway, so it was a genuine competition.

8:52: Dunham is inhabiting a zone of the Winner's Universe somewhere between Jennifer Connelly (reading melancholically from a dog-eared sheet of paper) and Diablo Cody (right on the knife-edge of full-on hot mess).

8:55: Tina, faux-drunkenly: "Congratulations, Lena. I'm glad we got you through middle school." Amy Poehler's Boob is the new Angelina Jolie's Leg.

8:56: Tina: "Our next presenter is so versatile, he played Iron Man in three different movies!" Here's Downey, kicking off JodieFest, i.e., the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

9:00: Downey thanks Jodie Foster for her philanthropy, and for two seconds, I literally thought he was referring to her ceaseless friendship with Mel Gibson.

9:02: Chickabay!!! Tay in the Wee-un!!

9:04: Jodie's montage is unexpectedly full of enormous fireballs and loud screaming, all scored to electric guitar.

9:08: Jodie's speech is too complicated to even get into here. The audience's response to it is also too complicated to get into here.

9:13: So, she sort of publicly came out, but sooort of didn't come out, but then she definitely did, but not before insisting on her right to privacy. Bordering on some self-congratulation for her indomitable keeping of her own counsel. The humor was a little spastic and hugely idiosyncratic, and the audience wasn't quite sure where to be with it. (I do not blame them.) But it was also a pretty extraordinary moment for Foster.  And then she ended the speech as something between "I'm eager to work less" and "I might be dead in two weeks."  It was a eulogy for her career, but ended with "Here's to the next fifty years." The audience, which looked fascinated but uncomfortable for long swatches of it, had rallied totally to her cause by the end. Particularly the actresses. That's what I would say, off the top of my head.

My Vote: Steven Spielberg, who keeps Lincoln fleet, substantial, sober, and colorful throughout. Gets in his own way a few times, but compared to what he knocks out of the park, I'll happily take it.
Prediction: Ben Affleck, who will be greeted as though he has just lost both his parents and all his children, shortly before ending dysentery everywhere.
Winner: Ben Affleck, who gives a throaty, heartfelt endorsement to his fellow nominees and to non-nominees, mentioning Paul Thomas Anderson by name. He's so nervous and sped-up!

9:18: Still Affleck, thanking everyone, adorably. Ending on Jennifer Garner. Derek is in stitches and giggles. He's still not used to seeing his college friend on TV in full awards-show dress.

Prediction: Girls, so the HFPA can look as hip as possible?
Winner: Girls, which simultaneously wins a Globe and Robyn as musical accompaniment and a standing O from Julianne Moore.

9:23: Lena: "HBO, we are cultists! We're obsessed with you!" She's now somewhere between Jodie Foster (speaking her own intensely self-aware but slightly inscrutable language) and Sally Hawkins (paralyzed by all the attention).

9:26: Zero Dark Thirty is now being advertised on TV with a children's choir singing Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters," from their black album. That's – one way to go. The box office is already huge, but imagine what it would be if anyone had any idea how to tastefully but honestly market it.

9:28: Christian Bale, looking slightly like he swam here, introducing Silver Linings Playbook. A little Visine, hon.

9:29: Jennifer Garner, cleaning up after Ben's omissions, as only she can, in super-sequined carnelian.

My Vote: Bradley Cooper, because that is a daunting character to master in terms of both motivation and tone, and from my perspective, he nailed it.
Prediction: Hugh Jackman, but just barely over Cooper, because his particular form of suave celebrity seems impossible for the HFPA to resist.
Winner: Jackman. Everyone from Les Mis describing the incredible courage it would have taken the producers to make the film that way is telling the truth. Gutsy choices. Everyone who reads this site knows how I feel about the execution, but I am trying to say something nice. I don't love his performance, but there are strong moments in it, and he really went for it, too. That's two things.

9:35: An ad for that new TV show where Keri Russell is a member of the KGB. Obviously, typecasting, etc.

9:37: "Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner" has already become "Hansel and Gretel star Jeremy Renner." Bleak.

My Vote: Moonrise Kingdom, which surprises me, since I'm far from an Anderson disciple
Prediction: Silver Linings Playbook, because HFPA has not been as consistent lately about genuflecting before musicals, any musicals, as they were in the Evita > Fargo era. Which was a very dark era. But Les Mis is obvoiusly not impossible.
Winner: Les Misérables, or as Dustin Hoffman pronounces it, "Les Mizzerah-BUUH!" Anne Hathaway immediately undercuts her popularity rating, with everyone, by leaping to the microphone and offering five more seconds of personal thank-you's. It's a protocol thing. Her producer: "I haven't forgotten anyone, because I haven't started yet." Hyperventilate in the back, Anne, come on. Boublil and Schönberg are here. The producer gets cut off in less than a minute. Yikes.

9:45: NBC needs the time in order to plug its absolutely hopeless-looking show about a doctor with split personality.

My Vote: Marion Cotillard, less for how she fulfills the moments of big emotion than for how captivating she often is amid the character's surprising reticence.
Prediction: Jessica Chastain, who is surely missing, what, 80 of her Heiress performances for all this Zero Dark Thirty fanfare? I mean, I don't blame a girl. But if I'd paid $125 for a ticket... Wait, what was I talking about?
Winner: Chastain gives big thanks to her "dear friend Megan Ellison" (a producer of the film), and gives a nice tribute to Bigelow that I'll say more about in a second... and what I mean is, she gives a genuinely moving tribute to what it felt like to be a struggling actor for so long until just the last couple of years, and you can tell she means it.  It's concise, but it really lands, as do her remarks about Bigelow "breaking Hollywood's rules" about creating strong female characters and "doing more for women in Hollywood than you give yourself credit for."  The room looks impressed.  The Chastain/Lawrence decision was not made any easier for AMPAS voters tonight, given one's very touching speech and the other's very amusing one.

My Vote: Daniel Day-Lewis, because for once he got it together and was actually good in a movie.
Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis, which is a surprise to me, because I had expected him to be as dreadful as usual.
Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, who is only under-recognized in one way, and it's for being the biggest sweetheart in decades of awards shows. Seriously, go back and look at the tapes. Another impeccable, selfless speech tonight: "Tony Kushner, every day I am forced to live without the immeasurable richness of your language, I am forced to confront the impoverishment of my own." And he's practically choking back tears about this!  Gorgeous tributes to his wife and to Spielberg as well.  Describes how he hunts and scavenges all day for his characters, then comes back at home, drops his ideas before his wife like a cat presenting his mouse, and hopes she's proud of what he managed to find. Weird in the best way. Lovely.

My Vote: Lincoln, because it's edifying, economical, and entertaining. There are other movies I liked better this year, but this is a terrific one, and a way better-than-average winner.
Prediction: Lincoln, because even when the HFPA spreads things around, they still tend to skew a bit tony in the Best Picture field: see Atonement, The Hours, etc. Still, Argo took care to actually name drop the Golden Globes in its script, so...

Julia Robert is the surprise presenter! Delicious!

Winner: Argo, which plays very well in the room as a popular winner.Co-producer Grant Heslov thanks the troops in the field and "the folks in the clandestine services, who don't always get the credit they deserve, either." At least one other table of Best Picture nominees couldn't agree more.

9:59: Poehler gets the final line, on behalf of herself and Tina Fey, with a martini in hand: "Good night! We're going home with Jodie Foster!"

10:00: Thanks to everyone who came tonight!  Unlike every single person on screen, I didn't drink anything, but I had a great time.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

2012 Oscar Nomination Predictions (Updated, Again)

Not sure how much time I'll have to complete these before Five Dark Thirty PST tomorrow, but I'm at least going to scratch out my guesses in a few categories when I've got the time over the course of today.  I haven't read anybody else's pieces in this area, so I have only a little idea where I'm on or off prognosticators' consensus.  I have at least kept up with the critics' awards, the Globe and various Guild rosters, and the BAFTA announcement.  As of today, then, I'm inclining toward...

PICTURE: Amour, Argo, Life, Lincoln, Misérables, Moonrise, Silver, Zero
Runners Up: Beasts, Django, Master
I realize I'm being optimistic about Haneke and Anderson. Feeling shaky about Silver, but that may have a lot to do with my own befuddled response to the film, and to its absolutely bizarre release strategy, though I can't imagine that has prevented Academy voters from seeing it.

DIRECTOR: Affleck, Bigelow, Hooper, Lee, Spielberg
In other words, the DGA list
Runners up: Haneke, Russell, Anderson (Wes) ...and Zeitlin!

ACTRESS: Chastain, Lawrence, Riva, Wallis, Watts
Runners up: Mirren, Cotillard, Weisz, in that order, probably replacing Wallis, Watts in that order

ACTOR: Day-Lewis, Hawkes, Jackman, Phoenix, Washington
Runners up: Cooper, Trintignant
These are very different kinds of runners-up, one that lots of people expect to see (but I'm getting the "too soon" vibe on Cooper, and not enough traction) and one that nobody expects to see.  I think if SPC had brought Amour out sooner—which to my eyes would have made sense on a lot of levels—Trintignant could have landed that Fishburne-type nod where voters belatedly connecting with one ballyhooed performance discover two geniuses for the price of one.  Maybe it'll still happen?  Everyone here except for Day-Lewis feels like they peaked kind of early... one problem Trintignant doesn't have.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Dowd, Field, Hathaway, Hunt, Smith
Runners up: Adams, Kidman ...and Weaver!
I only half-heartedly consider Kidman a runner-up, though I hope she makes it. Conversely, I can't believe I'm not picking Adams, especially with reasons to feel shaky about Dowd, Hunt, and Smith, but this is where I am. Don't hate me if I change my mind before dawn.

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Arkin, Hoffman, Jones, McConaughey, Redmayne
Runners up: De Niro, DiCaprio, Bardem, Jackson, Waltz
Of the four candidates I have heard described as "locks," I find that designation hardest to reconcile with De Niro's performance or his standing in the precursors.  I'm probably being perverse in imagining that two of the possible sixth-spotters will both qualify, and that Django will totally wipe out, but there you are.  I'm perverse.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Amour, Django, Master, Moonrise, Zero
Runners up: Middle of Nowhere, which I'd absolutely love to see, or Intouchables or Looper ...or, uh, Flight!

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Argo, Bernie, Lincoln, The Sessions, Silver Linings Playbook
Runners up: Beasts, Life of Pi, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Les Misérables
I can feel my own shittiness at calling this race, but Bernie has such loyal, tickled admirers and feels very much like a Writers Branch movie, which Beasts, Pi, and Misérables don't, at least not to me. Perks would have an even stronger shot if it had received the wider platform I still think it could have merited. Still, any of these four could appear on the roster and I wouldn't be surprised at all.

FOREIGN FILM: Amour, Intouchables, Kon-Tiki, No, A Royal Affair
Runners Up: War Witch, Beyond the Hills, Sister, The Deep For once, a really rich semifinalist list. My favorites so far are Sister and War Witch, and I'd love to see one make the list. A Royal Affair is the only one of my predicted five I have seen, and it's a good one that actually improves as it goes. Not as big a fan of the Mungiu, but it'd be nice to see Romania finally included.

By the way, my absolute biggest cheer of the morning will happen if the brilliant Eagleman Stag gets nominated for Animated Short. I helped give a best-of-fest juried prize to that movie in Chicago last year, met the filmmaker, and had an amazing conversation with him about the work. Go go go, Mikey Please!

This might be it, but I'll add more if I can...

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