The day after the Oscars, the ceremony is poked, prodded and reconsidered ad nauseam. Was the telecast too long? (This year, no – although the show typically lasts around four hours, the 2011 version clocked in at an economical three-and-a-quarter.) Were there any shocking upsets? (Sadly, no.) Did the hosts live up to expectations?
And that, in an otherwise quiet year, seems to be the most hotly debated question. Or maybe not – the general consensus, among those who cared to weigh in, is that co-hosts Anne Hathaway and (Palo Alto’s own!) James Franco failed at that most daunting task, opening the show and keeping viewers amused between award presentations.
The last time Melissa Leo was nominated for an Academy Award, in 2009 for the blue-collar drama Frozen River, she was perhaps a sentimental favorite among critics but a decided longshot to beat out Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and eventual winner Kate Winslet.
Anything could happen between now and February’s Oscar telecast, but Leo, 50, is already earning accolades for her supporting role in The Fighter, David O. Russell’s biography of hard-knocks Lowell, Mass., brawler Micky Ward. (The San Francisco Film Critics Circle ranked her nuanced portrayal of a domineering mother as among the year’s best.)
Valentine’s Day is as much about director Garry Marshall’s love of Los Angeles as it is about the popular pagan-inspired holiday. And give the man credit — he’s nothing if not thorough in showing it. Here, he has gone out of his way to make room for a cattle call of Hollywood stars in a fairy tale that makes a passing pretense of cynicism before giving most of its luminous cast their happily-ever-afters.
The Oscars have arrived, and with them the inevitable slew of so-called expert predictions. And though I find myself naturally curious, I must admit that my anticipation of Sunday evening’s ceremony has been subdued by lingering disappointment with some of the nominations. Put simply, my heart’s not entirely in it.
WALL*E should have been earned a nomination for best picture, as should The Wrestler. (A win for either would have suited me just fine.) Woody Allen’s strongest contribution in years was largely overlooked. And Bruce Springsteen, in the midst of a creative surge as strong as any in his career, managed to write a song for a movie (again, The Wrestler) without so much as a hint of recognition. Go figure.
New Year’s Day has come and gone, and by now you’re already too familiar with the films hailed by critics as the cream of last year’s crop, to the extent that the official announcement of nominees for the 81st Academy Awards (due in the wee morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 22) may seem like something of a formality.