Sandra Bullock's Best Actress domination should have been a sign 'The Blind Side' would make Oscar's ten.

Sandra Bullock's Best Actress domination was a clear sign 'The Blind Side' would make Oscar's ten.

Credit: AP Photo

'The Blind Side' and Maggie Gyllenhaal make Oscar's Biggest Surprises List

Plus: Did Clint Eastwood really just get rejected by the Academy for the second year in a row?

As always, the announcement of the 82nd Academy Award nominations brought a slew of surprises to even those pundits who follow the awards season race on a year-round basis.  Thanks to the 10 nominee change this year didn't have as many glaring oversights, besides Juliann Moore being skipped over, but it still provided good water cooler fodder for the 310-213 area codes.  Let's review shall we?

"The Blind Side" lands a Best Picture nomination
I'd actually called this one around Christmas, but changed my predictions after it seemed as though the film was experiencing something of a backlash.  Sandra Bullock's ascension to Best Actress frontrunner should have been a sign it would sneak into the 10.  Still, even peeps at Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. are no doubt as stunned as everyone else that it made it.

Read Full Post
Ali Larter and Beyonce Knowles at the Obsessed premiere.

Ali Larter and Beyonce Knowles both received worst actress or worst supporting actress Razzie nominations, but their film "Obsessed" was spared the shame of the Golden Raspberry honor.

Credit: AP Photo

2009 Razzies take shots at Beyonce, 'New Moon,' 'Transformers 2' and 'Land of the Lost'

Plus: 'Gigli,' 'Freddy Got Fingered' or 'Battlefield Earth' for worst film of the decade?

In anticipation of the 2010 Oscar Nominations tomorrow morning, John Wilson and the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation announced their 2009 Razzie honorees today.  Yes, it's that time again.  To celebrate only the worst that Hollywood has to offer. Unfortunately, what sucks -- for lack of a better word -- about the Razzies is that it isn't really about the "worst" the movie industry offers.  Instead it's about the easiest and most publicity friendly targets to mock.  Sure, some of those performances may not be pretty weak, but recurring targets such as Ben Affleck, Eddie Murphy, Madonna and John Travolta clue anyone in that there is another agenda at work here.  But, hey, they can be fun to snicker at.  Especially during an awards season we all take way too seriously.  So, with that in mind...your nominees are...

Read Full Post
<p>Jeremy Renner, Sandra Bullock and the forces behind &quot;Avatar&quot;&nbsp;should all be smiling after the 82nd Academy Awards nominees are announced on&nbsp;Tuesday morning.</p>

Jeremy Renner, Sandra Bullock and the forces behind "Avatar" should all be smiling after the 82nd Academy Awards nominees are announced on Tuesday morning.

2010 Oscar Nominations Predictions begin with 'Avatar,' 'Hurt Locker' and Sandra Bullock

Which three films will make the final Best Picture slots?

Just as you'd expect with a fundamental change to the Best Picture race, this Oscar season has been full of surprises.  Films that were expected to be major players such as "Amelia," "A Serious Man," "A Single Man," "Brothers" and, most notably, "Nine," have fallen by the wayside and surprise candidates such as "Avatar," "District 9," "Crazy Heart" and "The Messenger" are primed to make some noise when nominations are announced early Tuesday morning.

However, while the new ten nominee system has made it more difficult than ever to predict the process, but that doesn't mean there aren't any guarantees.  In fact, this pundit is willing to guarantee seven of the 10 Best Picture contenders, but beyond that?  It's - for lack of a better phrase - up in the air.

As for the remaining "major" categories -- acting, directing and screenwriting -- there is still room for some unexpected honorees, especially in the scripted realm.  That being said, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress are pretty much set.  The Supporting nods?  Well, let's just predict the fifth member of each pool may lead to some feigns of surprise from the assembled press and publicity core at the Academy Theater for the announcements.  Taking all of this into account, I've prepared my final nomination predictions with a few wildcards for each category thrown in for good measure.  Any candiate that is starred is pretty much a stone cold lock.  We'll find out for sure very early on Tuesday morning. 

Read Full Post
James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow at the 15th Annual Critics Choice Awards

Kathryn Bigelow defeated her ex-husband, but good friend James Cameron to win the 2010 DGA Award for best Film Direction.

Credit: AP Photo

Kathryn Bigelow defeats James Cameron and 'Avatar' to win Director's Guild Award

'The Hurt Locker' has now won both PGA and DGA awards

History was made Saturday night as Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Director's Guild of America Outstanding Direction of a feature film award for "The Hurt Locker."

Bigelow defeated a number of strong nominees including her ex-husband, but now good friend James Cameron ("Avatar"), Quentin Tarantino ("Inglourious Basterds"), Lee Daniels ("Precious") and Jason Reitman ("Up in the Air").  Only twice in the past ten years has a DGA winner not gone on to win the equivalent Academy Award.  Those exceptions occurred in 2001 when Ang Lee won for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (Steven Soderbergh won the Oscar for "Traffic") and in 2002 when Rob Marshall won for "Chicago" (Roman Polanski won the Oscar that year for "The Pianist").  In that time span, it should be noted the last six DGA winners went on to win Oscar.

Read Full Post
John C. Reilly, Catherine Keener, the Duplass Brothers, Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei at the world premiere of "Cyrus"

Jonah Hill, kneeling at left, a cast member in "Cyrus," joins hands with fellow cast member John C. Reilly at the premiere of the film during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010. Standing from left to right are cast members Matt Walsh, Katie Aselton, Catherine Keener and Marisa Tomei, and co-writers and co-directors Jay and Mark Duplass.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Oscar 2011 begins at Sundance with 'Kids Are All Right' and 'Cyrus'

Guess where 'Precious,' 'An Education' and 'The Cove' debuted

It's less than a week until the nominations for the 2010 Academy Awards are announced, but with this year's Sundance Film Festival almost in the books candidates for 2011's Oscars are already making some noise. And no, don't laugh, it's not to early to recognize the festival's influence on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Over the past decade alone, Sundance has become a key contributor to awards season with Best Picture nominees such as "Little Miss Sunshine," "In the Bedroom," and Best Documentary winners such as "March of the Penguins," "Man on Wire" and "An Inconvenient Truth." The festival has also provided a slew of acting nominees including Ryan Gosling for "Half Nelson," Melissa Leo for "Frozen River," Amy Adams for "Junebug," Laura Linney for "You Can Count On Me," Terrence Howard in "Hustle & Flow," Catalina Sandino Moreno in "Maria full of Grace" as well as numerous nominations for films such as "Once," "Super Size Me," "The Squid and the Whale" and "Murderball."

Read Full Post
Ashley Greene in "Skateland"

Ashley Greene and Shiloh Fernandez in "Skateland"

Quick Hits: Ashley Greene in 'Skateland,' 'Imperialists Are Still Alive,' 'Killer Inside Me'

Plus: 'Night Catches Us,' 'Sympathy For Delicious,' 'I Am Love'

The 2010 Sundance Film Festival is almost over and the whirlwind of screenings sometimes make it difficult to get all a critic's reactions to a film up as timely as possible.  With that in mind, here is some quick commentary on a number of prominent titles that have debuted at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Lowdown: Sharing too much similarity to Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused" as well as a bit of a faux John Hughes vibe, "Skateland" centers on 19-year-old Ritchie (Shiloh Fernandez) a roller skating rink manager who is at a crossroads in his life.  Does he stay in his small town and just go from one lame job to another or does he use his writing skills to get into a good university?  Complicating matters is his relationship with "best friend" Michelle (a pretty good Ashley Greene) and the return of her older brother Brent (Heath Freeman who also wrote and produced the flick).  Unfortunately, there is little original in this familiar scenario or how its executed.  More disappointing, Fernandez has little on screen charisma  which doesn't help. And when it all comes down to it, the film is just a big bore.
Acquisition Chances: Probably a DVD deal to showcase the "Twilight"-friendly Greene, but that's it.

Read Full Post
Katie Holmes and Adam Brody in "The Romantics"

Rebecca Lawrence, Adam Brody and Katie Holmes in "The Romantics."

Katie Holmes rekindles her talent in mixed bag 'The Romantics'

Director calls new drama with Anna Paquin and Josh Duhamel 'work in progress'

Does anyone remember when Katie Holmes was considered a good actress?  Anyone remember when she was  among the most promising actresses of her generation?  While "Dawson's Creek" brought Holmes celebrity fame, it was her performances in films such as "The Ice Storm," "Go," "Wonder Boys," "The Gift" and "Pieces of April" which brought her artistic credibility.  That was all washed away during the seemingly bizarre courtship and quickie marriage to Tom Cruise around the release of "Batman Begins."  Now, five years later, Holmes has proved she hasn't lost her chops after the 2010 Sundance Film Festival premiere of "The Romantics."

Read Full Post
Chace Crawford in 'Twelve'

Chace Crawford takes a moment out from measuring his pot for sale in "Twelve."

Chace Crawford is the victim of Joel Schumacher's bad campfest "Twelve"

It's close to "Showgirls" meets "Gossip Girl" but that would be a compliment

Every year there is a movie or two that appears at the Sundance Film Festival that leaves industry professionals, audience members and critics alike thinking "Why is that movie even here?"  This year's candidate was obvious even before the festival began and boy, it sure did deliver.  "Twelve," starring Chace Crawford and Emma Roberts and directed by none other than Joel "he keeps escaping from movie jail" Schumacher, is by far the most unintentionally campy piece of moviemaking to hit Park City in years.  If only it was as entertaining as that description may lead you to believe.

Read Full Post
Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Julianne Moore, Josh Huterson and Mia Wasikowska in The Kids Are Alright

Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Julianne Moore, Josh Huterson and Mia Wasikowska in "The Kids Are Alright" which premiered to a strong reaction Monday night at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Julianne Moore and Annette Bening are more than 'All Right'

Superb new dramedy is one of the best of the fest

The 2010 Sundance Film Festival started off a bit slower than expected, but the weekend finally showcased excellent new films and one that will gain a tremendous amount of attention after its debut Monday night is Lisa Cholodenko's "The Kids Are All Right."  Featuring awards-worthy performances by Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska ("Alice in Wonderland") and Josh Hutcherson ("Bridge to Terabithia"), "All Right" is hands down one of the best films of the festival.

Read Full Post
Eddie Izzard is the new host of the 25th Independent Spirit Awards.

Eddie Izzard will make his debut as Independent Spirit Awards host on March 5.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Eddie Izzard to dress up the Independent Spirit Awards

Brit comedian makes his U.S. award show hosting debut

The 25th Independent Spirit Awards are celebrating half a century of recognizing independent cinema with a brand new host, none other than Eddie Izzard.

The Brit comedian is best known for is sophisticated and smart stand up act -- that he usually performs in drag -- but Izzard has numerous film credits including "Valkyrie," "Ocean's Thirteen," "Across the Universe" and "Romance and Cigarettes" just to name a few.  He also starred in the FX television series "The Riches" and is currently finishing his "Stripped Too" tour across the U.S. and U.K.

After Steve Coogan's solid, but not really memorable run as host last year, Izzard is a very inspired choice.  He's incredibly comfortable on stage and should bring some whit to the proceedings without insulting the audience like Gervais did in his disappointing Golden Globes run last week (sigh).  To say we're looking forward to Izzard taking the podium is an understatement.

The Independent Spirit Awards will take place on Friday, March 5 and air live and uncut on IFC at 8:00 PM PST/ 11:00 PM EST.

Read Full Post