Review: Earnest & Celestine

Ernest & Celestine poster.jpgCelestine is an orphaned mouse, living underground with all the other mice and working for the dentistry as a tooth collector, taking teeth from bears so they can be used by mice for replacements. However she feels quite alone underground as she only has interests in drawing. Earnest is a bear, living above ground just outside of town as a failing entertainer. While he loves his music, he doesn’t get much respect or money from the other bears he interacts with, getting into trouble. One day, after both of them fail miserably at their jobs, their paths meet and they agree to help each other. However, their help only leads them into more trouble, and they end up hiding together. Through their talents, they develop a strong friendship, a friendship which neither society approves, and believe they should hate each other. What will become of their friendship, as well as their future, is up to their strength and how these two societies will judge each other. Continue reading

Oscar Prediction Game 2013

Hey there! It’s that time again to play the Oscar Prediction Game, the game to test how well you know how the Oscars work. For those who don’t understand how this works, I refer you to last year’s game. So here are my predictions:

Best Picture
6 Amour
4 Argo
7 Beasts of the Southern Wild
5 Django Unchained
3 Les Miserables
2 Life of Pi
1 Lincoln
8 Silver Linings Playbook
9 Zero Dark Thirty

Best Actor
3 Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
1 Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
4 Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
5 Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
2 Denzel Washington, Flight

Best Actress
5 Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
4 Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
3 Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
1 Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
2 Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Best Supporting Actor
1 Alan Arkin, Argo
2 Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
5 Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
3 Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
4 Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress
5 Amy Adams, The Master
1 Sally Field, Lincoln
2 Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
3 Helen Hunt, The Sessions
4 Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Best Director
5 Michael Haneke, Amour
3 Ang Lee, Life of Pi
2 David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
1 Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
4 Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Original Screenplay
2 Amour, Michael Haneke
1 Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
5 Flight, John Gatins
3 Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
4 Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal

Best Adapted Screenplay
2 Argo, Chris Terrio
5 Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin,
3 Life of Pi, David Magee
1 Lincoln, Tony Kushner
4 Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell

Best Animated Feature:
5 Brave
4 Frankenweenie
2 ParaNorman
3 The Pirates! Band of Misfits
1 Wreck-It Ralph

Best Cinematography
5 Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey
4 Django Unchained, Robert Richardson
1 Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
2 Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski
3 Skyfall, Roger Deakins

Best Costume Design
5 Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
1 Les Misérables, Paco Delgado
2 Lincoln, Joanna Johnston
2 Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka
4 Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood

Best Documentary Feature
5 5 Broken Cameras
3 The Gatekeepers
2 How to Survive a Plague
1 The Invisible War
4 Searching for Sugar Man

Best Documentary Short
5 Inocente
4 Kings Point
2 Mondays at Racine
3 Open Heart
1 Redemption

Best Film Editing
1 Argo, William Goldenberg
2 Life of Pi, Tim Squyres
3 Lincoln, Michael Kahn
4 Silver Linings Playbook, Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
5 Zero Dark Thirty, Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

Best Foreign Language Film
1 Amour, Austria
3 Kon-Tiki, Norway
2 No, Chile
4 A Royal Affair, Denmark
5 War Witch, Canada

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
2 Hitchcock, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
1 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane
3 Les Misérables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

Best Original Score
5 Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
4 Argo, Alexandre Desplat
3 Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
1 Lincoln, John Williams
2 Skyfall, Thomas Newman

Best Original Song
5 “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice, music and lyric by J. Ralph
3 “Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted, music by Walter Murphy; lyric by Seth MacFarlane
2 “Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi, music by Mychael Danna; lyric by Bombay Jayashri
1 “Skyfall” from Skyfall, music and lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
4 “Suddenly” from Les Misérables, music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Best Production Design
5 Anna Karenina, Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
1 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
2 Les Misérables, Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson
4 Life of Pi, Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
3 Lincoln, Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Best Animated Short
3 Adam and Dog
4 Fresh Guacamole
2 Head over Heels
1 Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
5 Paperman

Best Live Action Short
1 Asad
2 Buzkashi Boys
3 Curfew
4 Death of a Shadow
5 Henry

Best Sound Editing
4 Argo, Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
2 Django Unchained, Wylie Stateman
3 Life of Pi, Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
1 Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
5 Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson

Best Sound Mixing
5 Argo, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
3 Les Misérables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
4 Life of Pi, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin
1 Lincoln, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
2 Skyfall, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson

Best Visual Effects
2 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White
3 Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
1 The Avengers, Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
4 Prometheus, Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
5 Snow White and the Huntsman, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

Since this time, I ordered my most likely winner with the lowest number, the amount of points given will be reverse (i.e. if the actual winner of an award was placed 2nd out of 5 nominees, I will get 4 points). Now it’s time to wait till the ceremony on 24th February 2013!

Oscar Prediction Game 2012 – The Results

So the winners were announced on Sunday, broadcasting at after midnight here in the UK so now I’ve got a page with the winners and I’m gonna tally my score and compare it with my previous year’s average.

Continue reading

Oscar Prediction Game 2012

The Nominations have been announced, so this means it’s time for the film critics favourite past time, The Oscar Prediction Game!!

Most years it’s been fairly predictable which titles would win their Oscars but this time there is something different. The main one being Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, a children’s book adaptation by a legendary film maker, and The Artist, a back-to-form Black & White silent movie, both having the most nominations with 11 and 10 nominations each. The rules have also changed, mainly to strictly define that the Best Picture award should be nominated to films which are considered to be the Best Picture, and the Best Animated Feature award is finally being taken seriously.

So the rules are simple, for each award you list the nominees in the order of you probability of it winning, the top being the most likely and the bottom the least. Then when the ceremony announces the winners, you score yourself based on those results. You can score yourself in one of two ways: you can try and aim for the lowest score, meaning 1 point for every nominee you accurately predicted will win, and then it will go higher the lower you put it. Or you can aim for the highest score and the points will be reverse (e.g for an award with 10 nominees, the top would be 10 and the bottom would be one). You add up your score and compare it with the lowest/highest possible score. Any award you missed will automatically get you the lowest/highest score from that award.

Since I’m following from last year, I’m doing it for highest possible score. So now onto my predictions!

Continue reading

My Prediction of the Academy Awards: Results

Well yesterday the Academy Awards Ceremony commenced and the winners were announced. Over a month ago I posted my predictions on the Studycove forums, which you can find here. I like to play a game called the Oscar Prediction Game, which is a score based game where you have to predict the Oscar Winners to get the lowest score. To get the full rules, Rocketboom made this video for the 2009 Oscars:

So now here I’ll tally up my scores, I’ll give my prediction, the actual winner and maybe a few comments on what I thought of the winner.

Best Picture:

Prediction: The King’s Speech

Winner: The King’s Speech (Score: 1 Point)

The film is actually brilliant, I don’t see why some people think it’s an OK film that has Oscar Bait.

Best Director:

Prediction: David Fincher (The Social Network)

Winner: Tom Hooper (Score: 3 points)

While I liked The King’s Speech over The Social Network, I felt that The Social Network was really well created, and since Fincher won a Golden Globe for directing he deserved an Oscar.

Best Actor:

Prediction: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)

Winner: Colin Firth (Score: 1 point)

I didn’t really know much about Colin Firth outside Bridget Jones’ Diary, although seeing him in the King’s Speech reminded me that he kicked a dog into a Lawnmower in St Trinian’s, I hope he didn’t have that role on his CV during casting.

Best Actress:

Prediction: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

Winner: Natalie Portman (Score: 1 point)

My god that was the most predictable winner in this whole award.

Best Supporting Actor:

Prediction: Christian Bale (The Fighter)

Winner: Christian Bale (Score: 1 point)

Best Supporting Actress:

Prediction: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)

Winner: Melissa Leo (The Fighter) (Score: 3 points)

While this was a predictable award to some, I still wish Steinfeld won this award, she did a good job.

Best Original Screenplay:

Prediction: The King’s Speech

Winner: The King’s Speech (Score: 1 point)

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Prediction: The Social Network

Winner: The Social Network (Score: 1 point)

Best Animated Feature:

Prediction: Toy Story 3

Winner: Toy Story 3 (Score: 1 point)

Bring the nomination count up to five PERMANENTLY NEXT YEAR!

Best Foreign Film:

Prediction: Biutiful

Winner: In a Better World (Score: 2 points)

I’m surprised with this one, I heard so much about how good Biutiful was and it didn’t win.

Best Documentary Feature:

Prediction: Inside Job

Winner: Inside Job (Score: 1 point)

This was entirely a guess, even Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop was my least likeliest choice.

Best Documentary Short:

Prediction: Poster Girl

Winner: Strangers No More (Score: 4 points)

Best Live Action Short:

Prediction: The Crush

Winner: God of Love (Score: 2 points)

Best Animated Short:

Prediction: Day & Night

Winner: The Lost Thing (Score: 3 points)

I really wanted Day & Night to win, I loved watching it when at the cinema for Toy Story 3.

Best Original Score:

Prediction: The Social Network

Winner: The Social Network (Score: 1 point)

I will never in my life, forgive the Academy for this treachery, where the hell was Tron: Legacy in the nomination list? Wasn’t it considered the most original and creative soundtrack of the year or something?

Best Original Song:

Prediction: We Belong Together (Toy Story 3)

Winner: We Belong Together (Toy Story 3) (Score: 1 point)

Best Sound Editing:

Prediction: Tron Legacy

Winner: Inception (Score: 2 points)

Best Sound Mixing:

Prediction: Inception

Winner: Inception (Score: 2 points)

I know I predicted Social Network, Hans Zimmer should’ve deserved another Academy Award.

Best Art Direction:

Prediction: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Winner: Alice in Wonderland (Score: 3 points)

Why did I predict Harry Potter? I never saw that movie.

Best Cinematography:

Prediction: Black Swan

Winner: Inception (Score: 3 points)

Best Makeup:

Prediction: The Way Back

Winner: The Wolfman (Score: 2 points)

Was The Wolfman actual makeup? Not CGI like it looked?

Best Costume Design:

Prediction: True Grit

Winner: Alice in Wonderland (Score: 2 points)

Ah of course, why didn’t I predict the Tim Burton movie for Costume Design?

Best Visual Effects:

Prediction: Inception

Winner: Inception (Score: 1 point)

I know in the post that it says Best Film Editing, but the nominees I predicted were for Best Visual Effects and I forgot to put down a prediction for film editing and got mixed up, silly I know but I’ll give myself a 5 point penalty for missing a prediction.

Results: So the lowest possible score is 24 points. My score is…

42!

Not to mention 11 out of 24 winners predicted accurately!

Wow I didn’t expect to improve that much! I’m ready to play next year then!

My Problem with: Animation and the Awards

As many movie goers know, and those who’ve read my most recent reviews would tell, the 83rd Academy Awards is arriving and less than a week, the awards ceremony will begin and the awards will be announced and given to people who worked hard to create the best movies they can produce. I’ve mentioned before that despite it’s predictability and artistic views, I enjoy the Academy Awards, and being a fan of animation, one of my favourite awards is for Best Animated Feature.

For this year, there are three nominations: Toy Story 3 (2010’s highest grossing film and what is considered the greatest conclusion to an animated trilogy), How to Train Your Dragon (A Great Fantasy film about the relationship between humans and dragons and in my opinion, Dreamworks best movie since Shrek 2) and The Illusionist (a story about a struggling performer who decides to give her supporter a happy life). Some of you maybe asking “Wasn’t there five nominations last year? Why are there three?” or “How come there are three nominations and sometimes five?”

This is because there’s an upper and lower threshold of the amount of considered animated feature films that effects the amount of nominees. If there are 8 animated features that are accepted into consideration, then the Award is given, if there are 16 or more , then the amount of nominees is increased from three to five. For the 2009 Awards, the Academy accepted 20 films including the nominees as well as 9, Battle for Tera, Ponyo and others, so for the second time they increased the nominees to five. However this year, the amount of accepted animated features was 15, (Nominations + Alpha & Omega, Cats & Dogs 2, Despicible Me, The Dreams of Jinsha, Idiots and Angels, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, Megamind, My Dog Tulip, Shrek Forever After, Summer Wars, Tangled, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue).

As far as I’ve researched, no other Academy Award or Award Ceremony has this kind of threshold, and it is the most unfair rules the Academy has. My guess is that the threshold is there incase there aren’t enough animated films to be worthy of being nominated to deduct to five, but why is the threshold so high, why do they require 16 and not 10 films for instance? The main reason I hear from people is that basically, the Academy hates animated films, and while I can point the finger to what’s wrong with modern animated films, it still means they are missing out on some of the most artistic, visually stunning, story driven or even creative films of the year, and not give enought limelight to the ones that do. But despite that, animated features didn’t have much credit in the awards ceremony until recently.

Since the beginning of the Academy Awards, only animated shorts were given it’s own award treatment since 1932. While it’s true that some animated films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and An American Tail got at least one nomination, it was only for music related awards such as Best Original Song, Best Music or Sound Mixing/Editing, except when they give a special award. To be honest, I always thought especially in the early days they would’ve nominated animated films for Best Visual Effects, since it can be considered an artistic achievement but the closest films were Mary Poppins and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which intergrated with live-action. It wasn’t until 1991 when Beauty and the Beast got nomiated for four awards including Best Picture, and won two for its music, that animation was considered on par with live-action films. Even between that gap, the Academy missed out on some great animated features from Disney, Don Bluth, Paul Grimault, Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and others.

None of these were even nominated an Oscar

The Academy finally made the Best Animated Feature in 2002. Due to their popularity in 2001, the two obvious choices for nominees were Pixar’s Monster’s Inc and Dreamworks’ Shrek, and despite considerations towards Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Pokemon 3: The Movie (Yes even Pokemon was considered for the awards) and others, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius was given the third nomination. I guess they were chosen for their financial success more than whether they were artistic achievements or their great story, since the three nominations made loads of money at the box office while Vampire Hunter D had a limited release, Atlantis only broke even, Final Fantasy Bombed, Pokemon 3 didn’t make as money as the first two films and who actually remembers Monkeybone. Yet despite that, the Academy missed some of the foreign releases from France, Spain and Germany.

Later years had recognition for the foreign animated films for the award, 2003’s winner was the Japanese Spirited Away, 2004 had it’s first French nominee (Triplettes of Belleville), 2005 had it’s first British winner (Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit) and 2009 had it’s first Irish Nomination (The Secret of Kells). But there were still problems. In the 81st Academy Awards there was controversy regarding Wall-E, a critically acclaimed film that was considered the best film of 2008, recieved six nominations, yet no Best Picture. People believed that the Best Animated Feature award was an excuse not to nominate an animated feature for Best Picture, this isn’t true as the Academy Award treats Best Picture as the award for the best overall film, and that includes animation, both Toy Story 3 and Up have been nominated for both for example.

The Golden Globes on the other hand have a rule that states that no film nominated for Best Animated Feature can be nominated for any Best Picture Award, including Best Picture for Musical & Comedy, and vice-versa. I can see why because the Golden Globe separates there major awards into Genres, so more films have a chance to win a top award, but it does get people confused and annoyed since there have been animated films nominated for Best Picture, but aren’t allowed to be nominated for Best Animated Feature.

I wonder why I never hear much of the Annie Awards, it’s an entire award ceremony dedicated to the international achievements of animation in Films, TV and even Video Games. All voting is done by an international association of animation (ASIFA), a board which includes Professionals, students and even fans of the world of animation, I would join if I could afford the membership fee (it’s $100/year for non-US members). Yet I never hear it on the news and I never find out when the next ceremony or there nomination announcements.

EDIT: I’ve just found out from quite a few video discussions that the Annie Awards are accused of being rigged/biased towards Dreamworks and Nickolodean. This is because last year and for previous years, both companies were major sponsors of the awards, while other companies such as Disney and Pixar weren’t. Coincidentally, Dreamworks last year won half of the 24 categories and Nickolodean won a good amount too, while Disney only recieved 7 nominations and only won one award. Therefore its unreliability probably is the reason why they don’t recieve much attention. I’d like to refer to ElectricDragon505’s video below for the full info.

If people in the movie industry see how well the animation industry is doing, especially since Pixar made 2010’s highest grossing film, I don’t see why they can’t give their awards more recognition. I would want to see the nomination number increased to five permanently, and if not, decrease that stupidly high threshold. I would also want to see more animated films from other countries get submitted because I do believe there is real gold to find in places other than the US and Japan.

New Review Ready for Tomorrow

Hey everyone, I’ve just being rereading and checking on my newest review to make sure it’s good and greatly explains my points across. It’ll be submitted tomorrow for the third installment of my Oscar Nominees Month, “Persepolis”.

What’s Oscar Nominees Month?
Despite me having something to hate about it every year, especially because they always favour the films that I am not interested in, I love the Academy Awards. They are always so fun to predict, it’s a great topic for film discussion every year and I enjoy how they give an opportunity to lesser appreciated and indie films to show how good they are compared to the high budgeted, well cast and mind inducingly marketed blockbusters that we saw in the past year. Since being a fan of animation on a whole, it interests me to find animated films that I had previously never heard of, or barely remember, nominated along with the big features like the ones from Dreamworks and the future classics from Pixar. This is why every Tuesday from 25th January, when the nominees are announced, to the 15th February, I will review a barely remembered animated film that unfortunately failed to grab the Golden Statuette.

This is the line up:

  • 25th January – The Secret of Kells (2009)
  • 1st January – The Triplettes of Belleville (2003)
  • 8th February – Persepolis (2007)
  • 15th February – Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)

Currently, The Secret of Kells and the Triplettes of Belleville are up on Studycove.co.uk, so you can find them on the site or go to the Reviews Page on the Menu Bar and find it from there.