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If you feel as passionately about film and the Oscars as I do, join me (Cecilia, Adult Services Librarian) as I review and discuss the best and the worst of Hollywood on Thursday, February 25, 2014 at 7:30pm.

I will talk about the major films of 2013, what the critics thought, and even have some good tips on predicting Oscar winners. I will guess who I think will walk away with the Oscars come Sunday, March 2, 2014 or better yet…what long-shots I would love to see carry awards home.

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So, what did we think of the show?  Well, even though Billy (Crystal) was back, the show still lacked some of its verve and vibrance from previous years.  True, it was better than last year –but 2011 wasn’t exactly a good year to compare things with, right?  I mean at least Billy Crystal wasn’t stoned (or at least didn’t appear stoned) and he genuinely seemed like he was excited about hosting and being there.  One good thing I can say for sure — it was SHORT.  I cannot remember a year when the Oscars doesn’t hit the 3.5 hour mark.  VERY GOOD in the length dept.  In my own opinion, I could have done without the Cirque du Soleil and the overly self-serving montages of actors sharing why they love the movies.  We get it…they are IN movies, so naturally they will LOVE movies.  Move on!  
Aside from all of that, I thought Billy Crystal did a good job of keeping the show moving forward at a good pace.  Of course, there are always going to be draggy speeches and long, drawn-out parts (it is the Oscars after-all — this is the pinnacle for Hollywood’s ego).  Over-all, though, I thought the show was pretty entertaining. 
Now, for the winners (and losers).  I am still a little sore that I was deprived of another George Clooney acceptance speech.  And though Jean Dujardin was good in The Artist, Clooney was uncharacteristicly excellent in The Descendants…which is saying a lot considering that he’s usually gives strong performances (Solaris, anyone???).  And I though I love Meryl Streep like most other movie fans, I really, really wanted to see the double hit of Octavia Spencer (who won) and Viola Davis (who lost to Streep) from The Help.  Davis got a lot of flack from being in a movie where she plays a Southern maid and I thought she really knocked it out of the park, regardless of controversy.  Streep acted the heck out of Maggie Thatcher in The Iron Lady (just as Helen Mirren did several years ago with Queen Elizabeth II in her Oscar-winning performance in The Queen) but Meryl has won twice before and doesn’t need another Oscar to prove her worth.  An Oscar for Viola would have confirmed what moviegoers have known for a while: she’s a powerhouse actress who’s finally getting the acclaim she deserves. 
Just my two cents from someone who loves the Oscars, loves the movies and loves talking about both!

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Best Picture
War Horse
The Artist
*WINNER
Moneyball
The Descendants
The Tree of Life
Midnight in Paris
The Help
Hugo
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Best Actress
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Viola Davis, The Help
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady *WINNER
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist *WINNER
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist *WINNER
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

Short Film (Animated)
Dimanche/Sunday
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore *
WINNER
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life
 

Documentary Short Subject
The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
God Is the Bigger Elvis
Incident in New Baghdad
Saving Face
*WINNER
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Short Film (Live Action)
Pentecost
Raju
The Shore
*WINNER
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic

Best Original Screenplay
Michel Hazanivicius, The Artist
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris *WINNER
J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Asghar Farhadi, A Separation

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants *WINNER
John Logan, Hugo
George Clooney, Beau Willimon and Grant Heslov, The Ides of March
Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chervin, Moneyball
Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy


Music (Original Song)
“Man or Muppet” from The Muppets, Bret McKenzie *WINNER
“Real in Rio” from Rio, Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett

Music (Original Score)
John Williams, The Adventures of Tintin
Ludovic Bource, The Artist *WINNER
Howard Shore, Hugo
Alberto Iglesias, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
John Williams, War Horse

Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners *WINNER
Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
*WINNER
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon



Best Animated Feature
A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rango
*WINNER

Documentary Feature
Hell and Back Again
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Pina
Undefeated
*WINNER

Sound Mixing
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
*WINNER
Moneyball
Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon
War Horse



Sound Editing
Drive
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
*WINNER
Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon
War Horse

Film Editing
Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Kevin Tent, The Descendants
Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo *WINNER
Thelma Schoonmaker, Hugo
Christopher Tellefsen, Moneyball

Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help *WINNER

Best Foreign Feature
Bullhead
Footnote
In Darkness
Monsieur Lazhar
A Separation
*WINNER


Makeup
Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle, Albert Nobbs
Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland, The Iron Lady *WINNER

Costume Design
Anonymous
The Artist
*WINNER
Hugo
Jane Eyre
W.E.

Art Direction
The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo *
WINNER
Midnight in Paris
War Horse

Cinematography
The Artist
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
*WINNER
The Tree of Life
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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December

*Sat., Dec. 5, 2pm—Angels and Demons, PG-13, 138 min
*Thurs., Dec. 17, 2pm—Four Christmases, PG-13, 88 min
*Sat., Dec.19, 2pm—Josh Groban in Concert, NR, 60 min

January

*Sat., Jan. 2, 2pm—My Sister’s Keeper, PG-13, 109 min
*Mon., Jan. 4—WATCH TO WIN OSCAR CONTEST begins —
see the AV Desk for details.
*Sat., Jan.16, 2pm—Gypsy Caravan: When the Road Bends, NR, 60m.
*Thurs., Jan. 21, 2pm—Julie and Julia, PG-13, 123 min
*Tues., Jan. 26, 2pm—Rebecca, NR, 130 min
*Thurs., Jan. 28, 2pm—Classical Composers in Hollywood

February

*Sat., Feb. 6, 2pm—The Proposal, PG-13, 108 min
*Mon., Feb. 8—PICK THE WINNERS OSCAR CONTEST begins —
see the AV Desk for details.
*Tues., Feb. 9, 2pm—The Lost Weekend, NR, 101 min
*Thurs., Feb. 11, 2pm—Amélie, R, 122 min
(in French with English subtitles)
*Sat., Feb. 13, 2pm—Patsy Cline: Sweet Dreams Still, NR, 60 min
*Wed., Feb. 17, 7:30pm—Road to the Oscars® w/Reid Schultz:
2009 in Film!
*Thurs., Feb. 18, 2pm—My Life in Ruins, PG-13, 95 min

March

*Tues., Mar. 2, 2pm & 6pm—My Fair Lady, G, 170 min — SINGALONG

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Interviews with Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand and Clint Eastwood, done with moderator James Lipton’s trademark blue question cards, do not get any better. Anyone who likes film, has an interest in the film business, or even just likes any one of these actors needs to see this. Lipton starts, as usual, with childhood question, but quickly moves into the acting process and breaking into the business. All four actors are candid and forthright…especially Streisand, who I expected to be more buttoned-up. Newman was Lipton’s first guest so you will also see the evolution of the show as well. Lipton focuses mostly on the acting process and getting to the core of how their individual method works. A great study on acting, actors and film in general!

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Being as big of a film fan as I am, you would think I’d seen this one long ago. But, I never did. It was not intentional…just an oversight. Recently, I made up for that by finally watching the extended edition on DVD. This is a fabulous movie that will be around forever as a testament to filmmaking and movies in general. Destined to be a timeless classic, Cinema Paradiso tells the story of a man, Salvatore, who finds out his childhood hero has passed away. We are taken into his memory and back in time to his childhood when he first meets his hero Alfredo, a movie projectionist in a small-town cinema. Then, we move into Salvatore’s adolescence where, though Alfredo is still part of his life, his romance with a lady becomes Salvatore’s consuming passion. The movie comes full circle, back where it started with Salvatore as an adult and returning home to the town he grew up in. Cinema Paradiso is a masterpiece about filmmaking, love, regret, and loss. Just when you think it’s as good as it’s going to get, it gets better. Put off seeing this one and you’ll be sorry (like I was).

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Every Tuesday after sunset in 2009 from July 14 to August 25, Chicago will show free movies on a 50-foot by 34-foot screen in Chicago’s downtown Grant Park at 100 S. Lake Shore Drive. (It’s south of Millennium Park, and north of the Art Institute). Butler Field, Grant Park — 100 S. Lake Shore Drive

July 14, 2009 @ 8:58 pm: Sunset Boulevard (1950)

July 21, 2009 @ 8:52 pm: Duck Soup (1933)
July 28, 2009 @ 8:45 pm: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1950)
August 4, 2009 @ 8:37 pm: Born Yesterday (1950)
August 11, 2009 @ 8:27 pm: Psycho (1960)
August 18, 2009 @ 8:17 pm: Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
August 25, 2009 @ 8:05 pm: Tootsie (1982)
People start staking out their spots early As soon you get off work at 5pm. GO! Expect about 9,000 people to show up.

What to bring:
Ø Blanket to lay on or chairs to sit upon.
Ø Blanket to wrap up in. It may get quite chilly at night!
Ø Munchies to delight the tastebuds
Ø Drinks, but no alcohol. No liquor in Chicago’s parks.

Ø Items to pass the time: card games, book.
Ø Napkins or Paper Towels
Ø Plates and Utensils
Ø Bug Spray (just in case!)
Ø Hand Sanitizer
Ø Trash Bag
Ø Jacket or Sweatshirt

Films will be shown in rainy weather as long as lightning, strong winds or other severe conditions are not present.

No Pets Allowed!

Umbrellas and grilling are prohibited in the festival area.

Where to sit:
Ø Just like a traditional theatre, don’t sit too close to the front
Ø Watch out for dog droppings!
Ø Sit behind people who have a blanket down and ask if they will be getting chairs later
Ø Don’t sit down with blank grass in front of you. People with chairs might arrive and block your view
Ø If you bring chairs with you, try to sit in front of people with chairs. It’s just common courtesy.
Price: Free.

Parking: http://millenniumgarages.com/garages/grant-park-south/

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Nominate your favorite movie  on the theme Outside In: Rebellion vs. Conformity for a YALSA Top Ten award!

The nomination form has been created with librarians in mind, but you don’t need to be a librarian to submit a movie.  Just fill in as many of the fields as you can, and include your contact information.

For information about producers, distributers, etc. check out IMDB.com or contact a librarian!

 

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Here are some of the 81st Annual Oscar nominations, announced on Thursday, January 22, 2009 — for the complete list, go to http://www.oscars.org/
Best motion picture of the year
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
Achievement in directing
David Fincher for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard for “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant for “Milk”
Stephen Daldry for “The Reader”
Danny Boyle for “Slumdog Millionaire”
Performance by an actor in a leading role
Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor”
Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn in “Milk”
Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler”
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Josh Brolin in “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt”
Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road”
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie in “Changeling”
Melissa Leo in “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep in “Doubt”
Kate Winslet in “The Reader”
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Amy Adams in “Doubt”
Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Viola Davis in “Doubt”
Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler”
Adapted screenplay
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, Screenplay by Eric Roth
“Doubt”, Written by John Patrick Shanley
“Frost/Nixon”, Screenplay by Peter Morgan
“The Reader”, Screenplay by David Hare
“Slumdog Millionaire”, Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy
Original screenplay
“Frozen River”, Written by Courtney Hunt
“Happy-Go-Lucky”, Written by Mike Leigh
“In Bruges”, Written by Martin McDonagh
“Milk”, Written by Dustin Lance Black
“WALL-E”, Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon

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