Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011 Oscars Live Blog

4:55- These comments are going to be very occasional for a while, then pick up when the red carpet picks up in an hour or two. But we've gone to Giuliana on E! which means we're getting closer to the actual red carpet show, rather than the pre-red carpet show. But WTF is Giuliana wearing?

5:00- I don't care all that much about what dresses people are wearing, but Kelly Osbourne correctly predicted what Florence of Florence + the Machine would wear at the Grammys, so it'll be interesting if she could predict something. But nobody should try to predict what Helena Bonham Carter will wear. Ever.

5:03- Sorry, Giuliana, I don't think Natalie Portman is watching right now and asking for the dress you like.

5:07- Natalie Portman will probably win tonight, so let's have a fun look back at one of my favorite moments in the career of a fellow Long Island Jew:

5:23- I think E! is going through a long history of the careers of both Anne Hathaway and James Franco to show us that they both appeared in mediocre Steve Carell comedies.

5:25- Nope, it was to make Giuliana look like a fool when she forgot James Franco's name. So worth it.

5:42- Just thought I'd try something. Of the 20 Acting nominees, when was the last time none of them were nominated?
2009- Jeff Bridges, Colin Firth and Jeremy Renner
2008- Melissa Leo and Amy Adams
2007- Javier Bardem
2006- NONE. Just for fun, let's keep going.
2005- Amy Adams and Michelle Williams
2004- Natalie Portman
2003- NONE
2002- Nicole Kidman
2001- Nicole Kidman
2000- Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, and Jeff Bridges
1999- Annette Bening
1998- Geoffrey Rush
1997- Helena Bonham Carter
1996- Geoffrey Rush
1995- NONE
That's quite a stretch for tonight's nominated actors and actresses.

5:50- By the way, if there is one quote I'll remember from any 2010 movie, it will be "Release the Kraken!" and I didn't see Clash of the Titans.

6:00- The pre-preshow is over. Let the preshow begin. Seacrest in!

6:03- I could definitely see myself spending the rest of my life with Jennifer Lawrence. Let's see how many others I say that about tonight.

6:08- I genuinely would not have recognized the boy from The Kids are All Right if I had seen him walking down the street.

6:13- You'd almost think it was Giuliana doing this interview with Melissa Leo with how bad it's going. C'mon Seacrest.

6:16- Armie Hammer reveals that originally they wanted to cast twins as the Winkelvoss twins, but they couldn't find a good set, so he got both roles. This is like the 4th red carpet interview I've seen with Armie Hammer the past 8 weeks, how have we never heard this before?

6:24- It is completely absurd that Hailee Steinfeld is nominated for best supporting actress instead of best actress, but it might give her a better chance to win.

6:26- E! Red Carpet hosts have an odd obsession with the previous nights SNL (see Eisenberg at the SAGs and Brand at the Grammys). Florence minus the Machine not best dressed tonight.

6:27- Mila Kunis is #2 on the Jennifer Lawrence list of people I want to marry. Also she apparently got her role in Black Swan based on her performance in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Awesome.

6:32- Mandy Moore, Vincent Chase's ex, looks good, as always. Put her on the list. 3.

6:34- Giuliana can't do math. Not even math, just figuring out which is the bigger number.

6:36- Michelle Williams has opened up her drastic lead in career success for Dawson's Creek alum. Your move, Van Der Beek.

6:37- ABC's people are kinda creepy. It changes to a different Red Carpet show at 7, so we'll check back in there then.

6:40- Amy Adams, of Enchanted fame and at one point a recurring guest on The Office, seems very nervous and anxious despite this being her third nomination. It might be her best chance to win.

6:43- Mark Ruffalo just arrived. He's nominated for either his role in The Kids are All Right or being the inspiration for the animated short The Gruffalo. You decide.

6:50- Okay, I thought Mandy Moore looked good, but Giuliana and Kelly are going over the top. Also she looks kinda eerily like Anne Hathaway, no?

6:54- Apparently The King's Speech was going to be a play until Geoffrey Rush got involved. So way to go, Geoffrey Rush. You just screwed Colin Firth out of a Tony.

6:56- If Jennifer Hudson had shown that much cleavage on Idol, she wouldn't be considered the most robbed contestant in the show's history.

6:57- Good news guys. Giuliana could figure out that the 81% of viewers who voted for Natalie Portman was more than the 7% for Michelle Williams.

7:00- Kelly says Cate Blanchett pushes the envelope without going too far. Looking at this dress, I'm a little afraid at what too far would be.

7:01- Apparently Marissa Tomei wants to be more like Helena Bonham Carter.

7:04- Who thought it was a good idea to give Kelly Osbourne a telestrator? ABC now has Robin Roberts and Tim Gunn. Awesome.

7:06- I'm not a Maria Menounos fan, but her interview with Hailee Steinfeld was more interesting than any interview Seacrest has had all night.

7:07- Jesse Eisenberg doesn't own a tv, but he "loves watching [Robin Roberts] in person."

7:15- Jennifer Lawrence's nickname is Jeff Bridges. I'm gunna go with it's because she's an awesome bowler.

7:17- Random question- Why is Russell Brand at the Oscars?

7:19- PS22 is performing at the Oscars? Awesome. That's fantastic.

7:25- You're never going to believe this, but Helena Bonham Carter is in black.

7:28- Random thought- Javier Bardem kinda reminds me of my Rabbi.

7:34- Gwyneth Paltrow seems legitimately nervous about performing tonight. Guess that means she's not being joined by puppets?

7:37- It's hard for ScarJo to look bad, but I'm not crazy about her today.

7:41- Why is Matthew McConaughey here? When was he last relevent?

7:50- I'm pretty sure Mark Wahlberg just insulted costar Amy Adams.

7:54- This is a whole lot of red carpetting, so I apologize if my posts slow down over the next half hour.

7:57- Since it's the single most anticipated dress of the night, I'll put my two sense in- I think Natalie Portman looks fantastic.

8:00- Apparently the final half hour is ABC's exclusive domain.

8:02- In non-Oscars fashion, Clyde Frazier may have topped himself with a powder purple suit tonight.

8:07- There's a 10% chance that Anne Hathaway will be the sole host of the Oscars by 11pm. James Franco seems high as a kite.

8:14- Gwyneth Paltrow's dress may not be my favorite, but she seems more genuinely happy than I remember ever seeing her.

8:27- Tom Hanks will be presenting the first award tonight, which is traditionally Supporting Actress. The more you know.

8:30- And we're off. Rumor is we're starting with a Billy Crystal style montague with Hathaway and Franco inserted into movies from 2010. Right now it's just a montage of the nominated best pictures.

8:32- Ah here's the Crystal style montage. Starting with Incetion, where they decide they will enter Alec Baldwin's dreams for hosting secrets. Franco starts spinning a dreidel to see if it's still a dream. Social Network. The Fighter. True Grit. Now being narrated by Morgan Freeman. The King's Speech. Back to the Future? And we're off the screen and onto the stage.

8:41- This has been a great year for lesbians in films. It was funnier when Joel McHale talked about it last night. And now, Gone with the Wind.

8:43- And that is an awful transition into introducing Tom Hanks introducing Titanic...wait what?

8:45- Our first award is for Art Direction. Alice in Wonderland, HP7, Inception, King's Speech, True Grit. And the Oscar goes to Alice in Wonderland.

8:47- Cinematography- Black Swan, Inception, King's Speech, Social Network, True Grit (aka if the best picture nominees were still just 5). And the winner is Inception.

8:51- Kirk Douglas, who I believe is in his early-90s and may well be healthier than his son, is now on stage. He says James looks much better out of a cape, while Anne is gorgeous, and asks her where she was when he was making pictures. He's absolutely a legend, but this is tough to watch. Supporting Actress. The nominees- Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (King's Speech), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit). I picked Adams as my pick and Leo to win, and the Oscar goes to...wait first Douglas has to point out that Hugh Jackman is laughing. And the Oscar now goes to Melissa Leo.

9:00- Before Douglas can present her with the Oscar, he tells her that he thinks she's much pretties than she was in the movie. And we have our first bleep of the night.

9:05- Hathaway is cracking herself up now. Here to present, Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake. JT reveals that he is Banksy, which Kunis denies. Animated Short. Day and Night, The Gruffalo, Let's Polute, The Lost Thing, Madagascar: A Journey Diary. This is the first time I've ever seen an animated short nominee, as Day and Night was shown before TS3 in theaters. But the winner is The Lost Thing.

9:08- Now for animated feature. The nominees How to Train Your Dragon, The Illusionist, Toy Story 3. I picked TS3 as my pick and to win. And the Oscar goes to Toy Story 3. A very sweet end to a series, winning an award that was not around for the first two films.

9:13- It appears we already have gotten rid of James Franco, as Anne Hathaway reminisces about the 1st Oscars. And now, Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem, in matching white dinner jackets. Adapted Screenplay. 127 Hours, Social Network, TS3, True Grit, Winter's Bone. I picked Sorkin (Social Network) as my pick and to win, and the Oscar goes to Aaron Sorkin. May the West Wing rejoice.

9:16- Okay Sorkin goes as long as you would expect Sorkin to go. But thanking Armie Hammer twice is funny. Original Screenplay- Another Year, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids are Alright, The King's Speech. I picked Seidler (King's Speech) as my pick and to win, and the Oscar goes to David Seidler. I don't want to rub it in, but I'm 4/4 tonight.

9:20- Seidler is quite amusing and charming, isn't he? Quite a nice speech.

9:23- Hathway was going to do a duet. But whoever she was going to sing with quit on her. So she's singing Les Mis' On My Own, about Hugh Jackman, who had brought her on stage to sing with him when he hosted 2 years ago. And here's James Franco in drag, with our first Charlie Sheen joke. And here are Russell Brand and Helen Mirren. I hope to present The King's Speech. No, it's for Foreign Language Film. Biutiful, Dogtooth, In a Better World, Incendies, and Outside the Law. And the Oscar goes to In a Better World.

9:31- Academy Award Winning Actress Reese Witherspoon here to present supporting actor. Christian Bale (The Fighter), John Hawks (Winter's Bone), Jeremy Renner (The Town), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are All Right), and Geoffrey Rush (King's Speech). I picked Rush as my pick and Bale to win, and the Oscar goes to Christian Bale. It was a truly terrific performance. On to The Dark Knight Rises. Bale doesn't drop the F-bomb like Leo because he's done that before, citing his on-set rant from a few years back.

9:40- Everyone's favorite part of the ceremony, the president of the academy, and someone from ABC/Disney. Brief.

9:42- Aussies Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman on stage to present a history of sound with film. And now the orchestra will play some of your favorite film themes. Nominees for original score- How to Train Your Dragon, The King's Speech, Social Network, 127 Hours, Inception. The Oscar goes to The Social Network.

9:48- ScarJo and Matt McConaughey presenting sound mixing, or just saying sound over and over. The nominees- Inception, King's Speech, Salt, Social Network, and True Grit. And the Oscar goes to Inception.

9:50- ScarJo and MattMac (idk) for sound editing- Inception, TS3, TRON: Legacy, True Grit, and Unstoppable. And the Oscar goes to Inception.

9:55- Our next presenter is Marissa Tomei, the person everyone always forgets won an Oscar (for My Cousin Vinnie). She's telling us about the Scientific and Technology Awards. I'm going to let you read up on the winners of this if you so desire.

9:57- Now presenting, Oscar Winning Actress Cate Blanchett, for makeup. Nominees- Barney's Version, The Way Back, and The Wolfman. And the winner is The Wolfman. I bet if you saw that in theaters, you left saying "now that was an Academy Award winning film."

10:00- Blanchett will stick with us and present best costumes. The nominees are Alice in Wonderland, I Am Love, The King's Speech, The Tempest, and True Grit. And the Oscar goes to  Alice in Wonderland.

10:01- A look back at some of the classic Best Original Songs, including Obama's favorite "As Time Goes By," "Beauty and the Beast," and "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." And Kevin Spacey is presenting our nominees. First, Randy Newman and his song from TS3.

10:04- From Tangled, Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi. And a commercial break before the next two. 

10:15- Here are Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal refers to short films as the hardest part to pick on your Oscar prediction pool. We're doing documentary shorts, and the Oscar goes to Strangers No More.

10:17- And now live action short, and the Oscar goes to God of Love.

10:18- Franco informs us this is the year of the movie musical, showing us auto-tuned scenes from random films. Quite amusing.

10:20- And here's our next presenter, an up-and-coming television personality named Oprah Winfrey, presenting outstanding documentary. The nominees are Exit Through the Gift Shop, GasLand, Inside Job, Restrepo, and Waste Land. And the Oscar goes to Inside Job. Damn, now we'll never know who Banksy is.

10:26- And here is legendary Oscar host Billy Crystal. Not holding an envelope, so this could be time waster. Talking about Bob Hope.

10:32- We now have Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr, with the nominees for visual effects. Alice in Wonderland, HP7, Hereafter, Inception, Iron Man 2. And the Oscar goes to Inception. They certainly are winning a lot tonight.

10:35- Sorry, I missed the nominees for film editing, due to the Knicks game, but the Oscar goes to The Social Network.

10:41- Well at least James Franco is cracking Anne Hathaway up. Academy Award Winner, and American Idol 7th Place Finisher (that might be wrong) Jennifer Hudson introducing the last two nominated songs. Florence of Florence + the Machine filling in for Dido in a song from 127 Hours.


10:45- And Gwyneth Paltrow concludes our musical portion of the show with a nominated song from Country Strong. Her Grammy performance was more entertaining.

10:47- And Hudson presents the Original Song Oscar to We Belong Together by Randy Newman from Toy Story 3. He's been nominated a lot. But he's only won twice now. An amusing speech.

10:48- The In Memoriam tribute is coming up. Who do you have as the hammer? I'm taking Dennis Hopper.

10:51- That Modern Family promo was funnier than any episode this season.

10:55- And here's Celine Dion singing the classic "Smile" as we look back at those we lost this year, ending with Lena Horne, who I knew was going to be the hammer and then bet against it. And now Halle Berry does a tribute for Horne.

11:02- There are only four awards left, and they're the big four. Here's Hillary Swank to welcome Catherine Bigelow to present best direct. Darren Aronofsky, David O. Russell, Tom Hooper, David Fincher, Coen Bros. I have Fincher as my pick and to win, but the Oscar goes to Tom Hooper for The King's Speech. That's an upset, and it should mean there is no question that The King's Speech will win best picture.

11:07- Here's Annette Bening, talking about lifetime achievement award winners.

11:12- And here's the defending Best Actor, Jeff Bridges, presenting Best Actress. Bridges is talking to them each personally. Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), and Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine). I picked Portman as my choice and to win, and the Oscar goes to Natalie Portman. Hooray Long Island Jews!

11:25- Anne Hathaway gives a shoutout to Oscar drinking games! And here's last year's Best Actress, Sandra Bullock, presenting Best Actor. Geez has her life changed since she won. Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Colin Firth (The King's Speech, and James Franco (127 Hours). Does Franco go like Hugh Jackman at the Tony's and host and win (The Boy from Oz) or NPH at the Emmy's and host and lose (HIMYM)? I have Firth as my choice and to win, and the Oscar goes to Colin Firth.

11:36- And now, Best Picture, presented by Hollywood Legend, Steven Speilberg. The nominees: 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids are All Right, The King's Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter's Bone. This was an awesome way to introduce the nominees, but it's obviously King's Speech-centric. My favorite was The King's Speech, and it is my pick to win. And the 2011 Academy Award for Best Picture goes to The King's Speech.

11:40- But we're not done yet, here's a closing song from the famous PS22 chorus, with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," joined on stage by all of tonight's winners. It is at this point where I must remind you that The Wizard of Oz lost in the Best Picture category, although it is hard to argue with Gone with the Wind. Thanks for following the live blog. Have a good night.

2011 Oscars Predictions

The 83rd Academy Awards are tonight. We will have a live blog tonight starting at some point during the Red Carpet coverage. Here are some award predictions:

127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone

Who I Think Should Win:
I've seen six of the ten (Fighter, Inception, Kids are All Right, King's Speech, Social Network, and TS3) and two films stood out well above the rest- King's Speech and Social Network. To me, King's Speech was just a step above the rest.

Who I Think Will Win:
The King's Speech

Picks by Others:
Guestblogger Brett Alazraki- The King's Speech
Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert- The King's Speech
Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper- The Social Network
Movieline's Elvis Mitchell- The King's Speech
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers- The Social Network
New York Times' Melena Ryzik- The King's Speech
Village Voice's Michael Musto- The King's Speech
Deadline's Pete Hammond- The King's Speech
Hitfix's Gregory Ellwood- The King's Speech
E!'s Ben Lyons- The King's Speech
FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver- The King's Speech
Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch- 127 Hours

Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
Jeff Bridges (True Grit)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
James Franco (127 Hours)

Who I Think Should Win:
Colin Firth, and it isn't close.

Who I Think Will Win:
Colin Firth.

Picks by Others:
Guestblogger Brett Alazraki- Colin Firth
Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert- Colin Firth
Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper- Colin Firth
Movieline's Elvis Mitchell- Colin Firth
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers- Colin Firth
New York Times' Melena Ryzik- Colin Firth
Village Voice's Michael Musto- Colin Firth
Deadline's Pete Hammond- Colin Firth
Hitfix's Gregory Ellwood- Colin Firth
E!'s Ben Lyons- Colin Firth
FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver- Colin Firth
Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch- Colin "Filth"

Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right)
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Who I Think Should Win:
I don't get why Bening is nominated and co-star Julianne Moore isn't. To me, Moore was better. I didn't see Black Swan, but from what I've heard, Portman owns it. I'll go with her.

Who I Think Will Win:
Natalie Portman.

Picks by Others:
Guestblogger Brett Alazraki- Natalie Portman
Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert- Natalie Portman
Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper- Natalie Portman
Movieline's Elvis Mitchell- Natalie Portman
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers- Annette Bening
New York Times' Melena Ryzik- Natalie Portman
Village Voice's Michael Musto- Natalie Portman
Deadline's Pete Hammond- Annette Bening
Hitfix's Gregory Ellwood- Natalie Portman
E!'s Ben Lyons- Natalie Portman
FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver- Natalie Portman
Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch- Nicole Kidman

Christian Bale (The Fighter)
John Hawkes (Winter's Bone)
Jeremy Renner (The Town)
Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are All Right)
Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech)

Who I Think Should Win:
I've gone back and forth on this since watching The Fighter last night. My initial thought had been Geoffrey Rush, who I thought was fantastic in The King's Speech. But Christian Bale was just as astounding in The Fighter. But at the end of the day, I'm going with Rush.

Who I Think Will Win:
Christian Bale.

Picks by Others:
Guestblogger Brett Alazraki- Christian Bale
Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert- Geoffrey Rush
Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper- Christian Bale
Movieline's Elvis Mitchell- Christian Bale
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers- Christian Bale
New York Times' Melena Ryzik- Christian Bale
Village Voice's Michael Musto- Christian Bale
Deadline's Pete Hammond- Christian Bale
Hitfix's Gregory Ellwood- Christian Bale
E!'s Ben Lyons- Christian Bale
FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver- Geoffrey Rush
Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch- Christian Bale

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

Who I Think Should Win:
Like with Bening and Moore in The Kids are All Right, I don't fully understand why Melissa Leo's performance is considered much stronger than Amy Adams. I preferred Adams. Steinfeld should be a leading actress. Carter was superb, but it was a minimal part. I'd like to see Adams get the upset.

Who I Think Will Win:
Melissa Leo.

Picks by Others:
Guestblogger Brett Alazraki- Helena Bonham Carter
Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert- Hailee Steinfeld
Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper- Melissa Leo
Movieline's Elvis Mitchell- Melissa Leo
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers- Melissa Leo
New York Times' Melena Ryzik- Melissa Leo
Village Voice's Michael Musto- Melissa Leo
Deadline's Pete Hammond- Melissa Leo
Hitfix's Gregory Ellwood- Hailee Steinfeld
E!'s Ben Lyons- Melissa Leo
FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver- Melissa Leo

Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
Ethan and Joel Coen (True Grit)
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)
David O. Russell (The Fighter)

Who I Think Should Win:
I have to imagine directing an Aaron Sorkin script is rather difficult. David Fincher did a phenominal job.

Who I Think Will Win:
David Fincher.

Picks by Others:
Guestblogger Brett Alazraki- David Fincher
Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert- Tom Hooper
Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper- David Fincher
Movieline's Elvis Mitchell- Tom Hooper
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers- David Fincher
New York Times' Melena Ryzik- David Fincher
Village Voice's Michael Musto- Tom Hooper
Deadline's Pete Hammond- David Fincher
Hitfix's Gregory Ellwood- David Fincher
E!'s Ben Lyons- Tom Hooper
FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver- David Fincher
Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch- The Coen Brothers

Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours)
Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)
Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3)
Ethan and Joel Coen (True Grit)
Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini (Winter's Bone)

Who I Think Should Win:
This might be the single easiest category to pick. Aaron Sorkin.

Who I Think Will Win:
Aaron Sorkin.

Picks by Others:
Guestblogger Brett Alazraki- Aaron Sorkin
Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert- Aaron Sorkin
Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper- Aaron Sorkin
Movieline's Elvis Mitchell- Aaron Sorkin
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers- Aaron Sorkin
New York Times' Melena Ryzik- Aaron Sorkin
Village Voice's Michael Musto- Aaron Sorkin
Deadline's Pete Hammond- Aaron Sorkin
Hitfix's Gregory Ellwood- Aaron Sorkin

Mike Leigh (Another Year)
Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, and Eric Johnson (The Fighter)
Christopher Nolan (Inception)
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg (The Kids are All Right)
David Seidler (The King's Speech)

Who I Think Should Win:
Christopher Nolan should have been nominated for director. The screenplay is brilliant, but the directing is what puts it over the top. Lisa Cholodenko also wrote a great script, but this one is going to David Seidler.

Who I Think Will Win:
David Seidler.

Picks by Others:
Guestblogger Brett Alazraki- David Seidler
Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert- David Seidler
Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper- David Seidler
Movieline's Elvis Mitchell- Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers- David Seidler
New York Times' Melena Ryzik- David Seidler
Village Voice's Michael Musto- David Seidler
Deadline's Pete Hammond- David Seidler
Hitfix's Gregory Ellwood- David Seidler

How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Who I Think Should Win:
Toy Story 3 is nominated for Best Picture. This one is a lock.

Who I Think Will Win:
Toy Story 3.

Picks by Others:
Guestblogger Brett Alazraki- Toy Story 3
Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert- Toy Story 3
Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper- Toy Story 3
Movieline's Elvis Mitchell- Toy Story 3
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers- Toy Story 3
New York Times' Melena Ryzik- Toy Story 3
Village Voice's Michael Musto- Toy Story 3
Deadline's Pete Hammond- Toy Story 3
Hitfix's Gregory Ellwood- Toy Story 3

Friday, February 25, 2011

The February Network, Primetime, Half-Hour, Live-Action Sitcom Rankings

Here are the February sitcom rankings. This goes through all episodes that have aired to date. Ratings and viewership numbers are considered, but it is mostly opinion based.

% of Next Seas.
The Big Bang Theory
How I Met Your Mot…
Parks and Recreation
Modern Family
The Office
30 Rock
Cougar Town
Two and a Half Men
Mike and Molly
Raising Hope
Better with You
The Middle
Mr. Sunshine
Perfect Couples
Rules of Engagement
Mad Love
Traffic Light
Running Wilde
$#*! My Dad Says

-Community maintained its position in the 1 spot with what I considered one of the top 10 episodes last night. Of course, I am a political junkie.

-Big Bang Theory has continued its run of just-above-average, and with its large audience, positive history, and moderate improvements the past few weeks, it keeps the 2 spot.

-HIMYM finished the month with a mediocre episode, but has been relatively strong since charting new territory with Marshall's father's death.

-Parks and Rec continues its inevitable climb upwards after a full month of episodes.

-The Michael Scott Farewell Tour has clearly commenced, and The Office has gone on an upswing by closing out some lingering storylines, which I'm sure will continue for the last few episodes before Carrell leaves.

-Oh Two and a Half Men. The drop has almost nothing to do with what aired on screen. The show has already been renewed, but with Charlie Sheen's latest antics, a 9th season is in jeopardy. In fact, giving it 50% odds of continuing is probably too high.

-We had 3 debuts this month- Mr. Sunshine, Mad Love, and Traffic Light. All 3 had shaky pilots. I think the casts are strong enough to right the ship on Mr. Sunshine(Matthew Perry, Allison Janney, Andrea Anders), which has shown signs of improvement  and Mad Love (Sarah Chalke, Jason Biggs, Judy Greer), which has not.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You Say Goodbye, and I Say Melo

Yesterday, after months of discussion, the Knicks finally completed a trade for All Star small forward Carmelo Anthony. The traded ended up being a megadeal, with 12 players moving (and oddly, despite the deal being a 3-team trade, all 12 are either going to or coming from the Knicks).
The Knicks ended up trading:
-Danilo Gallinari (to Den)
-Wilson Chandler (to Den)
-Raymond Felton (to Den)
-Timofey Mozgov (to Den)
-Anthony Randolph (to Min)
-Eddy Curry (to Min)
-Knicks' 2014 1st round draft pick (to Den)
-Warriors' 2012 and 2013 2nd round draft picks (to Den)

And receiving:
-Carmelo Anthony (from Den)
-Chauncey Billups (from Den)
-Shelden Williams (from Den)
-Anthony Carter (from Den)
-Renaldo Balkman (from Den)
-Corey Brewer (from Min)

Reaction has been mixed. Some people say the Knicks gave up too much to bring in Melo.

I'm not one of those people.

Carmelo Anthony is one of the top ten players in the NBA today. And he's 26, so he should be one of the top ten players for the next five-to-ten years. He has the talent to be one of the top five. (Bergeronially, LeBron, Wade, Kobe, and Durant are the clera top 4, with a roving #5 that is filled by Melo, Dirk, Dwight, CP3, or Rose depending on the day).

It's not every day you have a chance to get one of the top 10 players in the NBA.

Danilo Gallinari is not a top 10 player, and likely never will be. He's not a top 20 player, and likely never will be. He's not a top 30 player. He's maybe a top 50 player.

Wilson Chandler isn't a top 50 player. Raymond Felton isn't a top 50 player. Timofey Mozgov isn't a top 100 player. Anthony Randolph never plays. Eddy Curry cannot play.

In what universe do you not make that trade?

Billups is an improvement at PG over Felton. Felton has had, by far, the best season of his career, and he has faltered a bit of late. Billups is on the downside of his career, and he is still having a better season than Felton!

Melo is better than Gallo. There isn't any question there. I like Gallo a lot, but he's no Melo and he never will be.

Wilson Chandler was leaving the Knicks after this season no matter what. It just happened earlier.

Mozgov has looked good the past few weeks, but who knows what he will become? Randolph and Curry were just sitting on the bench (or in the case of Curry, not even there).

Which of these pieces should have been a deal breaker in a trade for one of the top 10 players in the league?

Ronny Turiaf-Amare Stoudemire-Melo-Landry Fields-Billups is an excellent starting lineup. I'm not saying it's better than Miami or Boston or a healthy Chicago, but it is excellent.

D'Antoni uses a short rotation of 8-9 players. That means only three or four bench players really get used. Toney Douglas and Shawn Williams have already been filling 2 of those spots. Out of Shelden Williams, Carter, Balkman, Brewer, Andy Rautins, Roger Mason Jr, Bill Walker, and the likely-to-be-signed big man (probably Earl Barron), they can't find one or two contributors? Come on.

The Knicks are much better this season than they were last season, or at any point over the past decade. But they're also much better today than they were yesterday. And that's why you trade for Melo.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Guest Post: The How I Met Your Mother Consistency Conundrum

Like many people, I have friends who enjoy similar things as I do, and therefore similar topics as the ones I sometimes talk about on this blog. Sometimes, they have things to say, and so I will let them write guest posts here. This post is by Brett Alazraki. If you like it, feel free to follow him on Twitter.

How I Met Your Mother has easily been my favorite show since I started watching it at the beginning of season 3.  I rushed to get the first two seasons on DVDs and I have been hooked ever since.  But lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the continuity of the show.  For a long, long time the show was very good with continuity; it had to be, the show is an entire flashback, with plenty of flashbacks in each episode.  Or at least I, someone who has seen every episode of the show way too many times, hadn’t noticed any blatant errors.  And then over the past 6 months I’ve notice three continuity errors and I’m sure I will keep finding more. (And just for the record I am completely ignoring Lily’s hair for this post, I know they’re not perfect with that, but I just don’t care very much about it)

The first major problem that stood out in my mind, and I realized it the second it happened, was Marshall’s band, revealed in the third episode of season 6, “Unfinished.”  Marshall says that he was in an all lawyer band (the awesomely named “The Funk, the Whole Funk and Nothing but the Funk”) and Robin states that they had performed once four years ago.

Timewise, that would be in season 2, where Marshall was still in law school.  So it would not really be an all lawyer band.  A small error, just say “my law school band” or he was in an all lawyer band as a law student, fine.  But as it comes off, that’s a small continuity error.  Did it hurt my enjoyment of the episode? No, not really- actually “The Funk, the Whole Funk and Nothing but the Funk” was probably one of the funniest bits of the episode- but the point remains a show based on someone telling someone a story, messed up something. 

The next continuity error I realized was something much more serious.  In the season 5 ep, “Perfect Week,” Marshall and Lily’s story line is based on the fact that for years they have been sharing the same toothbrush, and at some point Ted and even Robin shared this toothbrush.  Ok, fine, didn’t think anything of it.  Then I happened to rewatch the first season episode “Zip, Zip, Zip,” in which Marshall and Lily are stuck in the bathroom while Ted and, his girlfriend at the time, Victoria are “talking.”  Very early on we see very clearly Marshall and Lily brushing their teeth at the same time.  Well there goes the whole one toothbrush thing.  Just like that, a major point in “Perfect Week” was undercut; Nick Swisher’s whole bit (outside of being a cameo) was pointless, because they hadn’t been sharing the same toothbrush for such a long time.  Another oversight by the writers.

The third and final continuity error I realized only within the past week.  It happened in the season 5 episode “Dual Citizenship.” Marshall and Ted reminisce about their road trips in the Fiero to a crappy Chicago pizza place.  “We ate nothing but jerky, drank nothing but Tantrum.”  That’s what Ted and Marshall did on those 22 hour road trips, and peed in soda bottles and had a bong made out of a cantaloupe.  We all, of course, know about the no food in the Fiero rule- the flashback in “Arrivederci, Fiero,” stated all the things, like water, that Marshall threw out- but apparently that doesn’t apply to jerky or Tantrum. This one for some reason bothered me more than the other two.  The no food in the Fiero rule is classic and to just blatantly break it like that; besides I think it would’ve been funnier to describe a 22hour road trip with no food or drink because of Marshall’s insane rule.

Those three errors, are the biggest ones I have noticed so far and it raises the question, how important is this continuity, or am I just nitpicking?  Well the show is based on a flashback so continuity is incredibly important. Sure these aren’t major plot points, and sure none of this involved the mother, but still.  In certain shows it doesn’t matter what happened three seasons ago, but here in a show based on telling the past, it’s incredibly important.  Now of course the writers could use the “unreliable narrator” idea, that future Ted can’t remember everything 20+ years ago and makes errors in telling the story, but that’s too easy an excuse for the writers to take to me.  Besides, shouldn’t the writers know the story of the show, shouldn’t they have seen every episode, so they can develop character and other things a show gets as it goes along for seasons.  I understand there are going to be errors, and some of them, like Marshall’s band are understandable, but the others, no matter how little they hurt the overall story, are inexcusable.  To me these mistakes really bother me, I will still love the show, but it irks me just enough to write this long rant about it. 

*This is leading me to want to start a campaign for HIMYM to hire me as continuity consultant.  They could send me scripts and I could just be responsible for making sure there are no errors like the one above.  Who’s with me? No one? Ok.  Just an idea.