Most of the things I’m going to talk about here are not original ideas (meaning that though they are my opinions, I’m not the first and only person to voice these comments).  I try my best to be original, but alas, others might not be more original, but they are QUICKER with getting their opinions out there.  I’m digressing…here are my thoughts on the 84th Oscar nominations announced on Tuesday, January 24th and to be presented on Sunday, February 26th
I was ECSTATIC about Demian Bichir in A Better Life getting a Best Actor nomination and even though a lot of people wanted poor Leonardo DiCaprio to get a nod for J. Edgar, watch both A Better Life and J. Edgar and I dare you to tell me that Leo was robbed! (Be prepared with your pillow for J. Edgar!)
No Young Adult nominations, especially none for potential Best Actress Charlize Theron.  This one, I disagree with…I think Charlize deserved a nod here for this tough, honest performance about life after high school. 
I also disagree with no David Fincher nomination for Best Director for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Instead, Terrance Mallick for The Tree of Life gets the nomination.  Really?  Has the Academy seen The Tree of Life?  Can they explain it to me?  Yes, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is not a perfect film, but it is highly stylized and exceptionally shot.  The Tree of Life is just exceptionally dull, confusing and BLAH. 
No Best Supporting Actress nomination for Shailene Woodley from The Descendents…rather Janet McTeer got a nod for Albert Nobbs.  Haven’t see Nobbs yet, but I think Shailene Woodley doesn’t have much to be upset about.  She’s young and has a full career as an exceptional actress ahead of her.  She’ll get a nomination one day. 
No Drive nominations, including nothing for much-talked-about Best Supporting Actor candidate Albert Brooks.  Instead, in this category, the Academy honored Jonah Hill from Moneyball and Max von Sydow from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  I haven’t seen Drive or Extremely Loud so I cannot speak about those, but I did see Moneyball and I fail to see what is the big deal about Jonah Hill’s performance.  Brad Pitt, I understand, but Hill is just so-so.  Any actor could have played this part.  There is nothing exceptional in that performance. 
Lastly, I have a MAJOR bone to pick with only ONE nomination for The Ides of March for Adapted Screenplay — notably missing is a Best Picture nod.  The BRILLIANT (sarcasm) Academy decided to give Best Picture nods to instead to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and My FAV (sarcasm) The Tree of LifeThe Ides of March is a strong film.  It is a thriller, a drama, a political statement, a moral dilemma, and a statement of the current political situation in this country.  It is not dull and confusing and mind-boggling, ala The Tree of Life.  Again, I have yet to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close so I cannot speak of that one, but NO IDES OF MARCH is a travesty.  The Academy was very proud of themselves when they announced in 2011 that there would not be a set number of Best Picture nominations…that the amount of Best Picture noms would be based on percentage of votes.  Well, there must be a VERY LARGE percentage of the Academy sniffing glue! 

OK – enough of me complaining.  Here are the MAJOR categories with who I think is going to win IN BOLD and who I would love to see win IN RED.  Where there is a just a RED pick, that means what I want to win and what I think will win are one in the same!

‘The Artist’
‘The Descendants’
‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’
‘The Help’
‘Midnight in Paris’
‘The Tree of Life’
‘War Horse’

Woody Allen, ‘Midnight in Paris’
Michel Hazanavicius, ‘The Artist’
Terrence Malick, ‘The Tree of Life’
Alexander Payne, ‘The Descendants’
Martin Scorsese, ‘Hugo’

Demian Bichir, ‘A Better Life’
George Clooney, ‘The Descendants’
Jean Dujardin, ‘The Artist’
Gary Oldman, ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’
Brad Pitt, ‘Moneyball’

Glenn Close, ‘Albert Nobbs’
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Rooney Mara, ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’
Meryl Streep, ‘The Iron Lady’
Michelle Williams, ‘My Week With Marilyn’

Kenneth Branagh, ‘My Week With Marilyn’
Jonah Hill, ‘Moneyball’
Nick Nolte, ‘Warrior’
Christopher Plummer, ‘Beginners’
Max Von Sydow, ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’

Berenice Bejo, ‘The Artist’
Jessica Chastain, ‘The Help’
Melissa McCarthy, ‘Bridesmaids’
Janet McTeer, ‘Albert Nobbs’
Octavia Spencer, ‘The Help’

‘Midnight in Paris’
‘Margin Call’
‘A Separation’
‘The Artist’

‘The Descendants’
‘The Ides of March’
‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’

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Blacksmithing Scene (1893) (part of the Treasures From American Film Archives)
Great Train Robbery, The (1903)
From The Manger to the Cross (1912)
In the Land of the War Canoes (1914)
Birth of a Nation, The (1915)
The Cheat (1915)
Regeneration (1915)
Hell’s Hinges (1916) (part of the Treasures From American Film Archives)
Intolerance (1916)
The Immigrant (1917) (part of the Chaplin Mutuals)
Broken Blossoms (1919)
The Last of the Mohicans (1920)
The Kid (1921)
Tol’Able David (1921)
Foolish Wives (1922)
Nanook of the North (1922)
Salome (1922)
Safety Last (1923) (part of the Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection)
The Chechahcos (1924) (part of the Treasures From American Film Archives)
The Iron Horse (1924)
Peter Pan (1924)
Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
Clash of the Wolves (1925) (part of the More Treasures From American Film Archives)
The Freshman (part of the Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection)
The Gold Rush (1925)
Lady Windermere’s Fan (1925) (part of the More Treasures From American Film Archives)
The Lost World (1925)
Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Black Pirate, The (1926)
Mighty Like a Moose (1926) (part of the Charley Chase Collection)
Son of the Sheik, The (1926)
The Strong Man (1926) (part of the Harry Langdon Forgotten Clown collection) 
Flesh and the Devil (1927)
General, The (1927)
It (1927)
Jazz Singer, The (1927)
Sunrise (1927)
The Cameraman (1928) (part of the Buster Keaton Collection)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) (part of the Treasures From American Film Archives)
There it is (1928) (part of the More Treasures From American Film Archives)
Applause (1929)
Big Business (1929) (Laurel and Hardy)
Hallelujah (1929)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
The Big Trail (1930)
Little Caesar (1930)
City Lights (1931)
Dracula (1931)
Frankenstein (1931)
Front Page, The (1931)
Tabu (1931)
Freaks (1932)
Grand Hotel (1932)
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
Love Me Tonight (1932)
The Music Box (1932) (Laurel and Hardy)
Scarface (1932)
Trouble In Paradise (1932)
42nd Street (1933)
Baby Face (1933) (part of the Forbidden Hollywood Collection 1 set)
Duck Soup (1933)
The Emperor Jones (1933)
Footlight Parade (1933)
Gold Diggers Of 1933 (1933)
Invisible Man, The (1933)
King Kong (1933)
She Done Him Wrong (1933)
Imitation of Life (1934)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Punch Drunks (1934) (Three Stooges)
Tarzan and His Mate (1934)
The Thin Man (1934)
Twentieth Century (1934)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
A Night at the Opera (1935)
Top Hat (1935)
Dodsworth (1936)
Flash Gordon serial (1936)
Fury (1936)
Modern Times (1936)
My Man Godfrey (1936)
Swing Time (1936)
The Awful Truth (1937)
The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Jezebel (1938)
Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
Destry Rides Again (1939)
Gone With the Wind (1939)
Gunga Din (1939)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Ninotchka (1939)
Stagecoach (1939)
The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
The Women (1939)
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
Mark of Zorro, The (1940)
The Bank Dick (1940)
Dance Girl Dance (1940)
Fantasia (1940)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
The Great Dictator (1940)
His Girl Friday (1940)
Melody Ranch (Gene Autry) (1940)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Pinocchio (1940)
The Shop Around The Corner (1940)
The Blood of Jesus (1941)
Citizen Kane (1941)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
The Lady Eve (1941) 
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Sergeant York (1941)
Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
Casablanca (1942)
Cat People (1942)
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Now, Voyager (1942)
Road to Morocco (1942)
To Be or Not To Be (1942)
Woman of the Year (1942)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Lassie Come Home (1943)
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Stormy Weather (1943)
Why We Fight (Series Of Films) (1943)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Going My Way (1944)
Laura (1944)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944)
National Velvet (1944)
The Lost Weekend (1945)
Mildred Pierce (1945)
Story of G.I. Joe, The (1945)
Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A (1945)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Detour (1946)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Killers, The (1946)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
Notorious (1946)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Out of the Past (1947)
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Force of Evil (1948)
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Louisiana Story (1948)
The Naked City (1948)
Red River (1948)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Adam’s Rib (1949)
All the King’s Men (1949)
Gun Crazy (1949)
The Heiress (1949)
Twelve O’clock High (1949)
White Heat (1949)
All About Eve (1950)
Asphalt Jungle, The (1950)
D.O.A. (1950)
In a Lonely Place (1950)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
The African Queen (1951)
An American in Paris (1951)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
A Place in the Sun (1951)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
The Thing from Another World (1951)
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
Bambi (1952)
High Noon (1952)
Singin’ In the Rain (1952) 
The Band Wagon (1953)
The Big Heat (1953)
Duck Amuck (1953) (Looney Tunes cartoon)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
The Little Fugitive (1953)
The Naked Spur (1953)
Roman Holiday (1953)
Shane (1953)
War of the Worlds (1953)
Carmen Jones (1954)
Johnny Guitar (1954)
On The Waterfront (1954)
Rear Window (1954)
Sabrina (1954)
Salt of the Earth (1954)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
A Star Is Born (1954)
All That Heaven Allows (1955)
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
Marty (1955)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Oklahoma (1955)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
The Court Jester (1956)
Giant (1956)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
The Searchers (1956)
The Ten Commandments (1956)
12 Angry Men (1957)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Face in the Crowd, A (1957)
Incredible Shrinking Man, The (1957)
Jailhouse Rock (1957)
Paths of Glory (1957)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
7th Voyage of Sinbad, The (1958)
Gigi (1958)
Touch Of Evil (1958)
Vertigo (1958)
Ben-Hur (1959)
Jazz On a Summer’s Day (1959)
North by Northwest (1959)
Pillow Talk (1959)
Shadows (1959)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
The Apartment (1960)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1960)
Primary (1960)
Psycho (1960)
Dog Star Man (1961-1964) (By Brakhage collection)
Exiles, The (1961)
Flower Drum Song (1961)
The Hustler (1961)
A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
West Side Story (1961)
How the West Was Won (1962)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
The Music Man (1962)
Ride the High Country (1962)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
The Nutty Professor (1963)
Shock Corridor (1963)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Nothing but a Man (1964)
Point Of Order (1964)
Pink Panther, The (1964)
The Sound Of Music (1964)
Pawnbroker, The (1965)
The Endless Summer (1966)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Don’t Look Back (1967)
The Graduate (1967)
In Cold Blood (1967)
In The Heat of the Night (1967)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Bullitt (1968)
Faces (1968)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
The Producers (1968)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Easy Rider (1969)
Medium Cool (1969)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Salesman (1969)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
M*A*S*H (1970)
Patton (1970)
The French Connection (1971)
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)
The Hospital (1971)
Shaft (1971)
Cabaret (1972)
Deliverance (1972)
The Godfather (1972)
Harold and Maude (1972)
Exorcist, The (1973)
The Last Picture Show (1972)
American Graffiti (1973)
Badlands (1973)
Enter the Dragon (1973)
Mean Streets (1973)
The Sting (1973)
Antonia: A Portrait Of The Woman (1974)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Chinatown (1974)
The Conversation (1974)
The Godfather, Part II (1974)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Hester Street (1975)
Jaws (1975)
Nashville (1975)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
All the President’s Men (1976)
Grey Gardens (NF) (1976)
Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976) (NF)
Network (1976)
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
Rocky (1976)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Annie Hall (1977)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Star Wars (1977)
Animal House (1978)
Days of Heaven (1978)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Eraserhead (1978)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
All That Jazz (1979)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
The Black Stallion (1979)
Manhattan (1979)
Norma Rae (1979)
Airplane (1980)
Atlantic City (1980)
Empire Strikes Back, The (1980)
Raging Bull (1980)
Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Blade Runner (1982)
Chan is Missing (1982)
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Tootsie (1982)
Koyaanisqatsi (1983)
Stranger Than Paradise (1984)
Terminator, The (1984)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Back to the Future (1985)
Hoosiers (1986)
Sherman’s March (1986)
The Thin Blue Line (1988)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989)
Dances with Wolves (1990)
Goodfellas (1990)
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Boyz N the Hood (1991)
Daughters of the Dust (1991)
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
El Mariachi  (1992)
Malcolm X (1992)
Unforgiven (1992)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Schindler’s List (1993)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Hoop Dreams (1994) (NF)
Toy Story (1995)
Fargo (1996)

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Best motion picture – Drama
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March
War Horse

Best performance by an actress in a motion picture – Drama
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best performance by an actor in a motion picture – Drama
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Best animated feature film
The Adventures of Tintin
Arthur Christmas
Cars 2
Puss in Boots

Best foreign language film
The Flowers of War (China)
In the Land of Blood and Honey (USA)
The Kid with a Bike (Belgium)
A Separation (Iran)
The Skin I like In (Spain)

Best Director– Motion Picture
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
George Clooney, The Ides of March
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best original song – Motion Picture
“Hello Hello” – Gnomeo & Juliet
“The Keeper” – Machine Gun Preacher
“Lay Your Head Down” – Albert Nobbs
“The Living Proof”- The Help
“Masterpiece” – W.E.

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
The Artist
Midnight in Paris
My Week with Marilyn

Best performance by an actress in a motion picture – Comedy or Musical
Jodie Foster, Carnage
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Kate Winslet, Carnage

Best performance by an actor in a motion picture – Comedy or Musical
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brendan Gleeson, The Guard
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris

Best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive 
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best screenplay – Motion Picture
Midnight in Paris
The Ides of March
The Artist
The Descendents

Best original score – Motion Picture
The Artist
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
War Horse


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While I was on vacation recently, I attended the first days of the Bradford International Film Festival (BIFF) in Bradford, UK in the Yorkshire region of England.  The festival is sponsored by and held at the National Media Museum…which is one of the most visited museums in England outside of London.  Bradford itself has always been known for film…causing UNESCO to give Bradford the firstUNESCO City of Film” designation.  How did I find out about this relatively small festival?  Well, one of my favorite travelogue books is Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson, where Bryson tours his adopted homeland of Great Britain one more time before he moves back to America.  In Notes, Bryson talks of stopping in Bradford and checking out the only Cinerama screen in all of Europe.  Being both an Anglophile and a film lover, I just had to do more research on this place!  Cinerama, for all of those who are not film obsessed, was the three-camera mega-widescreen process developed in the 1950s to compete with the television market.  In the early 1950s, movie producers were losing millions and millions to television…meaning why should people go to the movies anymore since they had this great new medium of TV right in their homes?  So, Hollywood answered by giving the public something TV could never provide (today’s widescreen TVs try but are still not even close)… MAMMOTH SCREENS and the widest pictures ever imaginable.  Now, I know we have IMAX and even Omnimax now but still, Cinerama was superior.  Wikipedia describes this MUCH better than I ever could.
Ok, I digress…basically what all of that means is that I HAD to check Bradford out.  When I found out they had an annual film festival, I knew one year I would have to go.  So, I did.
Held in March since 1994, the BIFF is not “international” in the same sense as Cannes or Venice or Toronto.  I mean they show foreign films like the big festivals do, but there is little media coverage, very few people from abroad (I felt like the token American…not counting the few American filmmakers and dignitaries that were there), and the big celebrity names are limited to the award recipients, instead of the attendees (this year, Claire Bloom and Terry Gilliam were honored).  But, regardless of that, it was still an excellent festival.  I saw foreign films, documentaries, Canadian films, and many British films.  Most of the films were independents that might not make it to the Chicagoland area.
I would estimate that about only 20% of the new releases I saw will have a snowball’s chance of making it to the Chicagoland area…even on DVD.  The others are VERY, very small films with limited budgets and limited releases.  And this is why film festivals are key: at festivals, small films have a chance to been seen and noticed and even to thrive.
Would I go again?  YES…in a heartbeat.  Mostly because during my five days in Bradford, I never did get a chance to see a Cinerama film, which was my initial reason for wanting to come here.  Oh well, I will just have to go back!


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Now through March 31, teens can vote in our annual choice awards.

Visit the Reference or A/V desks to pick up a ballot.  Write in your favorite movie, song, music video, TV show and video game and drop it in the box.

Get a small prize when you vote and you’ll also be entered in our grab bag drawing in April.

Check out the winners from last year.

Will someone beat out Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber this year?


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Well, the show was OK — not great, but not awful. All in all, I would say that James Franco will NEVER be asked back — though Anne Hathaway might, since she seemed excited to be there. Franco seemed to be back in NYC in school rather than on one of the greatest stages in the world. I have been to the Kodak Theater in Hollywood myself and even took a tour. We were able, on the tour, to stand on the stage and look out to the seats like Franco and Hathaway did on Sunday night. No, the Kodak was not all glitzed and glammed up like it was Sunday, but I still felt that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Also, I have held an Oscar — not at the Kodak but at the Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue. The lavish mall, where the Nordstroms is, holds an annual venue where people can come and get their picture taken with an actual Oscar statue. They also ha

ve photos from some of the previous ceremonies and other information on the awards. It’s like a mini-Academy Awards museum for filmies around the Chicagoland area! It was a blast. So, even though I probably will never hold an Oscar up on the stage of the Kodak Theater, I can at least say I have been there, done that…though in two different cities and two different years!


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