Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Luise Rainer Has Died

For as many years as I can remember, Rainer was the reigning chronologically and longest-lived competitive Oscar-winner, having won Best Actress for the films of 1936 and again the next year for films 1937. I thought for sure Shirley Temple would be the last Oscar winner left from the 1930s, but Rainer outlasted her. Rainer was to be 105 in just two weeks, she died Dec. 30 (her birthday is January 12th). 98-year-old Olivia de Havilland remains the very last Oscar nominee of the 1930s— apt since Gone With the Wind is one of the most famous of all '30s movies. Below is Rainer's (staged-for-the-newsreels) acceptance of the '36 Oscar.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

National Film Registry Picks 2015

The National Film Registry picks this year featured quite a few popular/ cult films, even if, yet again, they failed to add a single Oscar-winning Best Picture. Most, but not all, of the Best Picture winners are American films, so if they added one a year they would at some point catch up. Let's face it they all eventually have to be on the list, so better sooner than later. And I say again, what exactly is the hold up on Titanic (1997; eligible since 2007), do we need more time to consider the fact that it was a worldwide phenomenon? The addition of Ruggles of Red Gap strengthens the overall picks of 1935, but where is the terrific Mutiny on the Bounty if you're gonna pick a Charles Laughton? (With the addition of Ruggles, going forward: Mutiny plus The Informer would pretty much sew up '35.)

Despite my Best Picture gripe, however, I think this year's list is among the strongest I've seen in recent years, and fills in quite a few gaps, particularly in the area of genre (western, musical, horror). As the western is the "American" movie genre, it should always be represented, and this year's choices of Little Big Man and, especially, Rio Bravo are a well-chosen duo.

A much-higher-than-usual amount of my picks made it this year—3 (it's usually 1!)— as follows: Rosemary's Baby, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (at LONG last), and The Big Lebowski.

The full list can be found here.

Curious one day to see two silent films that made the list this year: Lois Weber's Shoes (1916) and The Dragon Painter (1919). A couple of minutes of the opening of the later is on YouTube:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Picks for the National Film Registry 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

As is tradition, it's time for me to reveal my votes for this year's National Film Registry, due to be announced in about a month's time by the Library of Congress. We'll see how many of mine they pick! 

Last year's list spanned the years 1919-2002, and included: King of Jazz (1930), Forbidden Planet (1956), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Mary Poppins (1964), The Right Stuff (1983),  Roger & Me (1992), and Pulp Fiction (1994).   Also included were the usual selection of obscurer, but no-less-deserving picks such as Daughter of the Dawn (1920) featuring an all-Native-American cast.  A link to the Hollywood Reporter article from last year can be found here.

The National Film Registry started in 1989, and there are currently 625 films on the list.  Although there does seem to be less of a push for great films these days over those of "cultural" importance (Librarian of Congress James M. Billington has been quoted to say: "These films are not selected as the best American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring importance to American culture"), there is still at least an unconscious push for inclusion of those considered works of art.  If the selections were based entirely on cultural "endurance" over that of a quality assessment, why would such narrative films that made the list last year as Ella Cinders (1926), Midnight (1939), and Gilda (1946) [films hardly part of the contemporary zeitgeist] make it in over such perennial shut-outs as The Seven Year Itch (1955), The Birds (1963), and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)?

Below are my picks for what should be on this year's list (I only do well-known narrative feature films: I'll let the Library of Congress decide on the obscure works).  To me, the film that most needs to be added above all (my choice now FIVE years running!) is Blue Velvet.  Last year three of my picks made the list: The Quiet Man (1952), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), and Pulp Fiction (1994). 

My choices for this go-round, by year, are:

1920s-30s-40s (6 titles)
The Sheik (1921)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1934)
The Little Foxes (1941)
Lifeboat (1944)
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
The Lady From Shanghai (1948)

1950s (10 titles)
Father of the Bride (1950)
Harvey (1950)
The Red Badge of Courage (1951)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Limelight (1952)
Stalag 17 (1953)
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
The Killing (1956)
The King and I (1956)
Auntie Mame (1958)

1960s (10 titles)
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
101 Dalmatians (1961)
The Misfits (1961)
Lolita (1962)
The Birds (1963)
The Great Escape (1963)
Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
The Naked Kiss (1964)
Seconds (1966)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)

1970s (10 titles)
Love Story (1970)
Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
Carnal Knowledge (1971)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The Poseidon Adventure (1971)
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
The Sunshine Boys (1975)
The Front (1976)
Grease (1978)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

1980s (10 titles)
Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
Arthur (1981)
The World According to Garp (1982)
Terms of Endearment (1983)
Aliens (1986)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Wall Street (1987)
Die Hard (1988)

1990s (2 titles)
Titanic (1997)
The Big Lebowski (1998)

2000s (2 titles)
Bad Santa (2003)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Time to Vote for the Library of Congress' National Film Registry

The Library of Congress is accepting recommendations from the public for the National Film Registry. The National Film Registry started in 1989, and there are currently 625 films on the list.

For a description of the National Film Registry and how to vote, click here. The deadline is September 12, 2014.

I will reveal my personal picks, as is my tradition, on Thanksgiving Day. The Library of Congress reveals their new slate of 25 film additions each year sometime between mid-to-late December.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Best of the Year So Far: Mid-Year Top 5 2014

Time to post my top 5 of the year and I have just four contenders! Ha! And I thought last year was bad at this time. The only movie that might have had a good shot at my top 5 that got past me was Edge of Tomorrow, which despite good reviews, didn't make it a month in theaters near me. But I've thrown together a list anyhow for tradition's sake, as follows:

My top 5 2014 so far (listed alphabetically)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The LEGO Movie
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Monday, March 3, 2014

86th Annual Academy Awards: A Review

Ellen DeGeneres, in wrapping up her monologue suggested that if 12 Years A Slave didn’t win, “you’re all racists”— funny, cynical. Well Hollywood is off the hook and can breathe a sigh of relief: 12 Years a Slave won. In my annual defense of the Academy Awards, I always say: look at the whole. On the whole, I think they get it right. I loved Her: it didn’t get a lot of nominations, but it won for screenplay; same with Blue Jasmine: another fav of mine, got just one award, but the one it absolutely had to win: Best Actress. The bottom line is, the Oscars can only deviate so much from the acclaimed movies of the year, and if they weren’t exclusive what good would they be? It’s bad enough they expanded the Best Picture nominees, but it seems no one will be satisfied unless every single movie and performance gets a nomination.

Onto the 86th Annual Oscars. First, kudos to Ellen DeGeneres. The Oscars have become so prognosticated to death that EVERYONE knew what was going to win this year. Everyone I know got 21-22 right out of 24 on their Oscar ballot. The audience seemed downright bored through most of the ceremony. The only bright spot was Ellen’s little moments of mixing things up. She was gracious, she was funny, and she was polite to the stars and didn’t make jokes at their expense (OK, with two exceptions perhaps: June Squibb got the old person-gag; Liza got a good-natured jab). Ellen’s whole monologue was pretty good. Loved the line that people who don’t get the most important things in life: love, friendship, and family— get into show business. Also her gag to Bruce Dern, following a description of his stellar career background, “what went wrong?”

Ellen’s pizza bit was not terribly clever per se, but she pulled it off and made it seem much funnier than it was. The celebs all pitched in well. I liked Harrison Ford’s tapping her for a napkin. Then Ellen asks for a tip for the pizza guy, and later passes the hat around—hilarious (“Your stock just went up, you’ve got some money Lupita.”). Ellen’s most genius off-the-cuff moment was when she surprised Leonardo DiCaprio and Sandra Bullock, popping up between them to do a commercial break. Running out after the Wizard of Oz bit, dressed as Glinda was pretty good too. The Twitter picture, also with the help of some game celebs (especially Bradley Cooper) made for a funny moment (and a great picture). I liked Ellen’s call back to Lupita’s lip balm as well.

The speeches were all good, particularly by the four acting winners. Leto had the audience in the palm of his hand talking about his mother then went off on some weird pseudo-political tangent. Lupita wins the award for rattling off as many names as possible hitting all the right people and hitting all the right notes. I liked that they played that “True Imagination” song from Willy Wonka on her exit. Of the non-actors I liked best the whacky Best Song winners.

Many presenters did well— my favorites: Bill Murray (for his Harold Ramis ad lib and also his apology to the cinematography nominees) and his “Amy, tell ‘em whose up for best shooter”; Whoopi Goldberg’s ruby slippers; Jim Carrey’s very funny, spot-on Bruce Dern impression; Sally Field, for being radiant but not plastic-surgeried-out like a shocking number of older female presenters this year; Jamie Foxx, from his flub (“… your mind.”) to his back-up music for Jessica Biel; Robert DeNiro selling the funny writing award copy.

The set design was pretty spectacular: they outdid themselves this year. Should be an art direction win at the Emmys: everyone at my Oscar party oooed and ahhhed, especially at the typewriters in the background during the writing awards [UPDATE: Yep, it won.]. The death reel, normally a “favorite” part of the show for me (if you can call it that) was just not this year. It was dragged out (“Wind Beneath My Wings”— I like Bette, but it was pointless and she was over the top) and the reel itself featured no “sound-ups” of famous movie clips and the Academy trying to be all PC and giving in to the pressure of including just far too many people no one’s ever heard of, sorry. It was dull, and not much of a tribute to a lot of really, really talented people— Peter O’Toole for example, zips by in 2 seconds. You just need the sound-ups and you have to drop the second unit directors, OK.

The “heroes” theme, like all Oscar “themes” made no sense and fell on its face. The clip packages were entertaining, but let’s face it, they just showed a random bunch of clips that vaguely fit into the “heroes” theme.

All-in-all a “safe” Oscars, and a safe, but particularly entertaining, host in Ellen DeGeneres.

Odds and ends:

• Best song rant. These songs are just not particularly good. And then we have to sit through them being performed.

• Bradley Cooper’s Oscar clip was what I considered his weakest moment acting-wise in the entire film!

• Leonardo DiCaprio was pretty dour when Gatsy won awards; Kristen Bell was downright beaming when Frozen picked up it’s awards. (Although Leo might have been nervous as a nominee; Kristen was just there having fun.)

• Like Kirk Douglas a couple years back, Kim Novak was the risky, a little too elderly presenter. I gotta tell you, I think they should do this every year. You never get to see these former stars otherwise and these oldsters are the only ones willing to go off script. And it usually ends up OK. I loved Novak’s comment that she was so pleased to be there as it had been so long. Make an old-timer happy and risk perhaps a slightly awkward moment.

• I adore Goldie Hawn, but I hardly recognized her on stage. When they cut to her in the audience during Kate Hudson’s presentation though I did: so, a lighting thing? Kate Hudson looked pretty hot by the way.

• Giving out Best short and animated feature together should be an annual tradition.

• Will Smith has got to be the first Best Picture presenter to also be a current Razzie Award winner.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

One Line Review's Top Ten Movies and Noteworthy Achievements 2013

TOP TEN 2013 (alphabetical)
American Hustle (d. David O. Russell)
Before Midnight (d. Richard Linklater)
Blue Jasmine (d. Woody Allen)
Enough Said (d. Nicole Holofcener)
Fruitvale Station (d. Ryan Coogler)
Gravity (d. Alfonso Cuaron)
Her (d. Spike Jonze)
Hunger Games, The: Catching Fire (d. Francis Lawrence)
Hunt, The (d. Thomas Vinterberg)
This Is the End (d. Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen)


Best Film:

Best Actor:
Christian Bale in American Hustle

Best Actress:
Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine

Best Supporting Actress:
Scarlett Johansson in Her

Best Supporting Actor:
Alec Baldwin in Blue Jasmine

Best Original Screenplay:
Spike Jonze for Her

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, and Richard Linklater for Before Midnight

Best Director:
Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine

Honorable Mentions:

Best Film: American Hustle; Blue JasmineThe Hunt.

Best Actor: Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips (I consider him a "lead"); Pilou Asbaek in A Hijacking (as with Abdi, I consider him a lead); Bruce Dern in Nebraska; Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street; Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips; Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt; Hugh Jackman in Prisoners; Joaquin Phoenix in Her; Soren Malling in A Hijacking.

Best Actress: Amy Adams in American Hustle; Sandra Bullock in Gravity; Adele Exarchopoulos in Blue Is the Warmest Color; Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Enough Said.

Best Supporting Actor: George Clooney in Gravity; Joel Edgerton in The Great Gatsby; Harrison Ford in 42; James Gandolfini in Enough Said; Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street.

Best Supporting Actress: Elizabeth Banks in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; Nicole Beharie in 42; Octavia Spencer for Fruitvale Station.

Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine; Nicole Holofcener for Enough Said; Tobias Lindholm and Thomas Vinterberg for The Hunt.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Michael Ardnt (deBruyn) and Simon Beaufoy for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Best Director: Spike Jonze for Her; David O. Russell for American Hustle; Thomas Vinterberg for The Hunt.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2013 Movie Year-End Wrap-Up

It looks like my new schedule (announcing one week after the Oscar nominations) is working out; I've seen my quota of '13 movies.  There was really only one movie that slipped past me in my move to small town America— Philomena (it did play, but I was not settled yet to travel the distance to see it).  But I've got it down now.  They'll be a lot of driving far distances in my future to get to the smaller movies: but it's doable; and most of the big, commercial releases play in town.

30 films vie for my top ten of 2013, which I'll announce tomorrow. As I didn't have over ten films in my "must-sees" this constitutes a weak year, although my must-see/recommended total is much higher over-all then in most years.

As always, I've viewed 60 films this year; below are my one-line commentaries on each:

Must see [8]:

American Hustle. In a way something of a hustle on the audience too, but another dynamite cast and original script from David O. Russell makes it irresistibly entertaining.

Blue Jasmine. Great characterizations and performances, led by a stellar Blanchett.

Enough Said. Adult, funny; Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini lovely in understated performances.

Fruitvale Station. Effective and affective.

Gravity. An event film.

Her. Clever, contemporary; speaks volumes about the human condition.

Hunger Games, The: Catching Fire. Well adapted and produced sequel, only suffers from being a "middle entry."

Hunt, The. Dramatically solid, with some truly heartbreaking moments (if not an easy film to recommend due to subject matter).

Recommended [22]:

42. Not a home run, but a solid double; Harrison Ford scenery-chewing fun to watch.

Before Midnight. Content-wise everything this third installment should have been, admittedly though it comes off as a filmed stage play.

Blackfish. Makes you sad for the whales as much as the human victims.

Captain Phillips. Solid filmmaking with flawless casting.

Dallas Buyers Club. Interesting story is a series of small dramatic beats but no wallops; showy performances.

Despicable Me 2. Irresistibly cute, structurally loose.

Elysium. Good message, but requires quite a few "Independence Day"-like moments of suspension disbelief.

From Up On Poppy Hill. Attractive animation with a nice story— a good movie for a Sunday afternoon.

Frozen. Perfectly pleasant (and Broadway-ready), helped greatly by delightful snowman comic relief character Olaf.

Great Gatsy, The. Not wholly satisfying (Tobey Maguire as a narrator eventually grates), but employs modern filmmaking nicely; Conan look-a-like Joel Edgerton a standout as "Tom Buchanan."

Hijacking, A. Less action-oriented but no less potent than "Captain Phillips"; both films offer some of the best acting of the year.

Identity Thief. A fun mall movie.

Iron Man 3. Manages to update itself just enough to seem original; one of the (very) few franchises for which I would welcome a fourth installment.

Machete Kills. The inspired moments come mostly in the last third and in the promise of a hilarious final installment.

Man of Steel. Well-mounted reboot with great effects, that manages to keep interest despite the necessity of the umpteenth superhero-origin stroy retelling.

Oz The Great and Powerful. Modern backstory is probably as good as could have been hoped for, with a solid story of how Oz came to be.

Saving Mr. Banks. "Prestige picture" of the year gets better as it goes, if never reaching the depth to which it aspires.

Stories We Tell. Warmly told.

This is the End. A fun, crazy little movie, with some admittedly obvious black comedy, that's nonetheless outweighed by the sheer audacity of the plot.

Upstream Color. The narrative is obscure and it's definitely not for all tastes, but it's a film for the 21st century, a bizarre but modern filmic trip.

Warm Bodies. Didn't distinguish itself beyond the clever premise, but worked well within it.

Wolf of Wall Street, The. ... if best seen as a crazy goof, with some entertaining-to-watch performances.

Skippable [27]:

12 Years A Slave. Widely-praised film doesn't get deep enough into characterization and is mostly a series of meant-to-be shock scenes.

Blue Is the Warmest Color. A contemporary love story with a remarkable leading lady is too slight plot-wise for its length, with unnecessarily graphic sex scenes.

Conjuring, The. Good, if not terribly original, old-fashioned spookfest with a nice eye on time & place.

Gangster Squad. Choppy.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. More like Hansel & Gretel: Inept Witch Hunters; if, an OK time waster.

Kings of Summer. Nicely filmed, but underdeveloped.

Lee Daniel's The Butler.  Old-fashioned; lengthy.

Mud. Lengthy story keeps your interest and is buoyed by a young-love romantic subplot, but it fades in the memory.

Nebraska. A little too determined to be a "small" movie.

Olympus Has Fallen. Equally implausible but dramatically better of the two similar '13 releases, the trade off is it's less "popcorn" fun than "White House Down."

Pacific Rim. The conceit was cool, but it was clumsily put together and quite hokey.

Parkland. Inherently interesting story is realistically filmed, but lacking flair.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Pretty derivative this go-round; corny jokes don't help.

Place Beyond the Pines, The. Material that would have been better suited to a novel or miniseries; pay-off just wasn't there.

Prisoners. Somber, lengthy procedural with a bit of a Scooby-Doo ending.

Room 237. Hard to know if it's actually taking the interviewees' thin readings of "The Shining" seriously— but it does suggest that that's the actual point: we bring so much of ourselves into any movie experience.

Short Term 12. Never fully moves you, even if it comes close.

Side Effects. Not a bad little thriller, although I couldn't quite go along with the wrap up.

Spring Breakers. Messy.

Star Trek: Into Darkness. Hooey.

We're the Millers. Kinda inexplicable sleeper hit.

White House Down. Popcorn entertainment has forced plot points, but the set pieces are decent.

Wolverine, The. Bullet train action sequence is nearly enough in itself for a recommendation, but genre mixing is just too odd.

World War Z. Paint-by-numbers.

World's End, The. Original and energetic, but gets far too crazy to drive its meaning home.

Avoid [3]:

Good Day to Die Hard, A. Well, it used to be the perfect franchise.

Hangover, Part III, The. So good.

Instructions Not Included. I have to be honest: it's hopelessly sugary sweet, with a few oddly-timed "telenovela"-like moments.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oscar Nominations 2013: My Thoughts

Unlike last year, there were few surprises in the nominations this morning. It was a nice mix though.  When AMPAS (inevitably) allows more than 5 nominees in each of the acting categories, the Oscars will become garbage.  Until that time, it's still a big deal to be nominated. Which brings me to my yearly rant: we don't need to have more than 5 Best Picture nominees.  How much better (and exclusive) would the list be if it were just (using Best Director as a guide): American Hustle, Gravity, Nebraska, 12 Years A Slave, and The Wolf of Wall Street?  How is it better to add: Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Her and Philomena to the list— three of which are there because they showcased great acting (and received the appropriate nominations in those categories [save perhaps the slighted Hanks])? Ranting over. (Well until I get to Best Song.) UPDATE: Now that I've seen Her I'm a little less grouchy about the list!! Even still, I hold to my belief that less is more.

OK, the biggest surprise is surely the love of The Wolf of Wall Street. Coincidentally, I was discussing this movie yesterday with one friend who was contemplating seeing it and another who told me that Leo would get nominated.  I told my friend who was thinking of seeing it that, in all it's excess, it's certainly a memorable movie, entertaining for sure, and very Scorsese (an "auteur" movie if there ever was one— if his credit didn't appear you'd know it was his).  I toyed with putting it in my top ten, but will probably resist even with the Oscar attention (this is the "danger" of not posting a top ten before the Oscar nominations: I'm thinking about it anyway!). My other friend who predicted the Leo nomination, I told no way— he always gets overlooked and it's a controversial movie.  I was wrong!! He is deserving (as is now-two-time nominee Jonah Hill).  I'm happy that Hill has received a nomination so quickly after Moneyball, to offset the Marisa Tomei-like "how-did-that-happen?" of his nomination for Moneyball.  (Tomei had to wait nearly ten years for her next nomination to erase the flukeness of her My Cousin Vinny win.)

Leo clearly took Tom Hanks' nomination away from him. And likely Hill took Hanks' Saving Mr. Banks supporting nomination slot.

Inevitably, there is the generally-speaking lead actor that gets shoved into the supporting category so as to get a nomination vote.  This year it's Barkhad Abdi who got it.  Yes, the movie is called Captain Phillips. But to call Abdi a supporting player is nonsense.  There were two male leads in that movie: it was the story of both of those characters.

Blue Jasmine surely deserved more nominations, and is a better movie than at least 6 of the 9 nominees, but happy Woody Allen got a screenplay nomination and Sally Hawkins got a supporting nomination in addition to the inevitable nomination for Cate Blanchett as Best Actress.  Three nominations (in major categories) ain't bad I guess.

I would have liked to have seen Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini get nominated for Enough Said, but it didn't happen.  Admittedly, there wasn't much room for them in the crowded acting categories.

Happy this morning: Julia Roberts, in her first nomination since she won for Erin Brockovich a dozen years ago; not-too-happy: Oprah Winfrey not nominated for Lee Daniel's The Butler— which received 0 nominations! (It didn't deserve any, really.)

American Hustle's four acting nominations give it a boost for winning Best Picture. It will be an odd Best Picture win, if that happens (it's more likely Gravity will start to gain momentum IMO).  Pulling off the all-acting-categories-sweep feat is not an easy task, as I noted last year when Silver Linings Playbook did it (at that time, the first since 1981s Reds).  Pretty cool that David O. Russell did it again with virtually the same cast.

No nomination for Robert Redford.  Not too shocking: it's been buzzless for quite a while now.  Inside Llewlyn Davis also got little attention (2 noms): although also not too much of a surprise. I was a bit surprised that Fruitvale Station didn't get anything, but again, not terribly surprised.

I'm so glad Judi Dench was nominated (although I didn't get to see Philomena: my biggest "missed it" regret 2013).  She was overlooked for Skyfall, and I'm glad she has a post-Bond nomination to her credit.

By the way, not quite sure how Before Midnight is an "adapted" screenplay.

And now for my annual Best Song rant.  Why, why, WHY do we have this category? It made sense when-- you know-- musicals were a popular genre (from the 1930s to the 70s).  Now it's the usual excuse to nominate big-name people in the music industry for songs nobody knows with the inevitable forced animated movie song picks.

I forgot to do my what-will-get-the-most-nominations prediction blog entry, but I probably would have said 12 Years A Slave, and would have been wrong— American Hustle and Gravity lead with ten each (Slave got nine).

As for the reading of the nominations?  When will the Academy ever learn NEVER ever ever to have the Academy president be a part of the broadcast.  Love that reading of "you may know them better as U2"-- what feeling!

The clapping for Ernest & Celestine as animated feature film was interesting: were there friends and or/the actual filmmakers there? Or will this be the upset for what I considered a two-picture race between Frozen and The Wind Rises? (Gold Derby had it pegged as sixth for a nomination, so maybe that was it.)

All in all, I think the Academy got it right.  Everyone always busts on the nominations.  Why? Because THEIR movie didn't get this or that, usually. But it seems to me that the Academy has, through it's history, always been pretty close to the mark. Yes, Citizen Kane didn't win Best Picture and Hitchcock never won for Best Director, yada yada (note: after all, Hitch got 5 career nominations and Kane was nominated for Best Picture). On the whole, was there really anything that wasn't included this year? Not really. A good list.

Looking forward to the awards!