If Lisa Marie Determined The Oscar Nominees…


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced this week, now seems like a good time to indulge in something I like to call “If Lisa Marie Had All The Power.”  Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations.  Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated.  The fact of the matter is that the majority of them will not.  Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year.  Winners are listed in bold.

Best Picture

Animal Kingdom

Black Swan

Exit Through The Gift Shop

Fish Tank

Inception

The King’s Speech

Never Let Me Go

127 Hours

Somewhere

Winter’s Bone

Best Actor

Patrick Fabian in The Last Exorcism

Colin Firth in The King’s Speech

James Franco in 127 Hours

Andy Garcia in City Island

Ben Stiller in Greenberg

Best Actress

Katie Jarvis in Fish Tank

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman in Black Swan

Noomi Rapace in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Emma Stone in Easy A

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale in The Fighter

Aaron Eckhardt in Rabbit Hole

Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go

John Hawkes in Winter’s Bone

Ben Mendelsohn in Animal Kingdom



Best Supporting Actress

Elle Fanning in Somewhere

Rebecca Hall in Please Give

Chloe Grace Moretz in Kick-Ass

Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit

Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom

(That’s right, everyone.  It’s a tie between the youngest nominee and the oldest nominee.  Don’t you just love the Oscars?)

Best Director

Andrea Arnold for Fish Tank

Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan

Danny Boyle for 127 Hours

Sofia Coppola for Somewhere

Christopher Nolan for Inception

Best Original Screenplay

Animal Kingdom

Black Swan

Fish Tank

Inception

The King’s Speech

Best Adapted Screenplay

Never Let Me Go

127 Hours

Rabbit Hole

Toy Story 3

Winter’s Bone

Best Editing

Black Swan

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Inception

127 Hours

Somewhere

Best Cinematography

Black Swan

Somewhere

True Grit

Twelve

Winter’s Bone

Best Art Direction

Black Swan

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Inception

The King’s Speech

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Best Sound Mixing

Black Swan

Inception

Secretariat

Stone

Toy Story 3

Best Sound Editing

The Expendables

Inception

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Secretariat

Toy Story 3

Best Costume Design

Black Swan

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Robin Hood

The Wolf Man

Best Original Score

Black Swan

Inception

Machete

127 Hours

Tron: Legacy

(Yes, I know that the Academy has ruled that the original score for Black Swan is not eligible to be nominated.  However, these are my nominations and I make the rules.)

Best Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Inception

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Splice

Tron: Legacy

Best Makeup

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Let Me In

127 Hours

Splice

The Wolf Man

Best Song 

“Better Days” from Eat Pray Love

“Bound Together” from Burlesque

“Dear Laughing Doubters” from Dinner For Schmucks

“Sticks and Stones” from How To Train Your Dragon

“You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me” from Burlesque

Best Documentary Feature

Best Worst Movie

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Restrepo

Winnebago Man

Best Animated Feature

How To Train Your Dragon

A Town Called Panic

Toy Story 3

(Again, I am aware that the Academy ruled that A Town Called Panic isn’t eligible and again, I don’t care.)

Best Foreign Language Film

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Sweden)

Mother (South Korea)

OSS 117 – Lost in Rio (France)

Police, Adjective (Romania)

A Prophet (France)

(While the Academy considers one submission per country for this award, I’m simply using it to recognize the best foreign language film released in the U.S. last year.  Or, at least, the best one that I got a chance to see.)

So, since I love lists, here’s a final tally of films by nominations:

10 Nominations — Black Swan

9 Nominations — Inception

7 Nominations — 127 Hours

5 Nominations — Somewhere, Winter’s Bone

4 Nominations — Animal Kingdom, Fish Tank, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The King’s Speech, Toy Story 3

3 Nominations — Exit Through The Gift Shop, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Never Let Me Go, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

2 Nominations — Burlesque, How To Train Your Dragon, Rabbit Hole, Secretariat, Splice, Tron: Legacy, True Grit, The Wolf Man

1 Nomination — Best Worst Movie, City Island, Dinner For Schmucks, Easy A, Eat Pray Love, The Expendables, The Fighter, Greenberg, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Kick-Ass, The Last Exorcism, Machete, Mother, OSS 117 — Lost in Rio, Please Give, Police, Adjective, A Prophet, Restrepo, Robin Hood, Stone, A Town Called Panic, Twelve, Winnebago Man

0 Nominations — The Social Network

And lastly, here’s a tally by imaginary Oscars won:

5 Oscars — Black Swan

2 Oscars — Toy Story 3

1 Oscar — Animal Kingdom, Burlesque, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Fish Tank, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Inception, Never Let Me Go, 127 Hours, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Somewhere, Tron: Legacy, Twelve, Winter’s Bone, The Wolf Man

0 Oscars — The Social Network

(One final note: A big thank you to my sister, Erin Nicole Bowman, who created the banners used in this post.)

The 2010 Oscars: Best Documentary: The Toadsuckers Are Narrowing It Down


Here’s some more news from the toadsuckers and dumbfugs who make up the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  These are the people who give out the Academy Awards and who continue to insist that Crash, Titanic, Gladiator, Braveheart, Gandhi, The Sound of Music, Rocky, American Beauty, The Greatest Show on Earth, and How Green Was My Valley were all great films.  Yes, those people.

Anyway, along with giving out Oscars for best picture, best director, and all the other awards that the general public actually cares about, the Academy also gives out an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.  Occasionally, this category does get some notice.  For instance, there’s always the chance that Michael Moore will win another Oscar and start foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog again and Al Gore might give another award-winning power point presentation in the near future.  But for the most part, most people just see Best Documentary as just another roadblock on the journey between Best Supporting Actress and Best Picture.

Which is a shame because Best Documentary is usually a pretty fun category to try to predict.  Since hardly anyone has seen (or heard) of the majority of the nominees, you can simply pick one at random, say something vaguely serious-sounding about it, and people will assume that you’re far smarter than you ever possibly could be.  For me, the best thing about the documentary category is that, since you’ll probably never actually see most of the films nominated, your final opinion on the winner is often based on the acceptance speech.  If the documentarian gives a funny or sentimental speech then suddenly you realize that Gabby: The Girl Who Could Have Been is the greatest freaking documentary ever made.  And if his speech is strident or angry or boring then you’ll spend the next week wondering how the Academy could ever honor a piece of trash like Pelosi: Amazon From The Bay.

Anyway, the Documentary Branch of the Academy announced the 15 finalists for the Oscar for Best Feature-Length Documentary of 2010.  From these 15, the final five nominees will be determined.

Here’s the list:

“Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer,” Alex Gibney, director (ES Productions LLC)
Enemies of the People,” Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath, directors (Old Street Films)
Exit through the Gift Shop,” Banksy, director (Paranoid Pictures)
Gasland,” Josh Fox, director (Gasland Productions, LLC)
Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould,” Michele Hozer and Peter Raymont, directors (White Pine Pictures)
Inside Job,” Charles Ferguson, director (Representational Pictures)
The Lottery,” Madeleine Sackler, director (Great Curve Films)
Precious Life,” Shlomi Eldar, director (Origami Productions)
Quest for Honor,” Mary Ann Smothers Bruni, director (Smothers Bruni Productions)
Restrepo,” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, directors (Outpost Films)
This Way of Life,” Thomas Burstyn, director (Cloud South Films)
The Tillman Story,” Amir Bar-Lev, director (Passion Pictures/Axis Films)
Waiting for ‘Superman’”, Davis Guggenheim, director (Electric Kinney Films)
Waste Land,” Lucy Walker, director (Almega Projects)
William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe,” Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, directors (Disturbing the Universe LLC)      

If Exit Through the Gift Shop (which is currently my choice for the best film of 2010) had failed to appear on this list, I would have thrown a fit.  Luckily, there it is.  Will it make the final five?  It better.

As for the other finalists, I’ve only seen Restrepo and Waiting for Superman and they’re both deserving of at least a nomination.  However, I’m hoping that the film about William Kunstler gets a nomination just because I’m hoping that whoever presents the award this year will mispronounce Kunstler and get the Academy broadcast fined by the FCA.

It’s also interesting to note that I’ve probably gone to more documentaries this year than any other.  And yet, I’ve only seen 3 of the 15 finalists.  Certainly, I guess I could go see Inside Job this weekend but do I really need a documentary to tell me that the economy is fucked up?  Seriously.  The trailer — featuring Matt Damon interrogating a bunch of Wall Street types — just comes across as being incredibly smug.  Client 9 should be opening up down here in Dallas pretty soon as well and I’ll probably see it but I’m not going to cry if I miss the opportunity to spend two hours with Eliot Spitzer.

To me, the best documentaries of 2010 include — along with Restrepo, Waiting for Superman, and Exit Through The Gift Shop (the best film of 2010, did I mention that?) — Winnebago Man, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, The Best Worst Movie, and (arguably) Catfish

The toadsuckers disagree.

Film Review: Winnebago Man (dir. by Ben Stienbauer)


Yesterday, me and my sister Erin saw the documentary Winnebago Man at the Dallas Angelika.  The Angelika is absolutely my favorite theater in the entire world.  It’s also just about the only place in Dallas that you can see offbeat, out-of-the-mainstream movies like Winnebago Man.  Add to that, the Angelika is located right next to the Mockingbird DART rail station and it’s right next to the Townhouse Irish Pub.  There’s also a Virgin Megastore, an Urban Outfitters, and a Victoria’s Secret (among other stores) right next to the theater.  So, for me, a taking the train to see a movie at the Dallas Angelika is like a scaled-down version of one of those “shopping spree” montages that always seem to turn up in romantic comedies.  It’s like catch the train, shop for lingerie, see an art film, get drunk on Guinness, and then take the train back home.  What could be better?

Well, there is one problem with the Dallas Angelika and that is that it is located right next to Southern Methodist University.  For those of you who aren’t natives of Dallas, SMU is where the rich kids go to major in Business, Rohypnol, and youthful fascism.  Going to the Angelika means you’re always going to have the risk of having more than a few SMU toadsuckers and dumbfugs in the audience with you.  You can always spot them because they’re the ones who make it a point to laugh the loudest at the most obvious of jokes.  I guess it’s their way of trying to convince the rest of us that they actually are capable of semi-intelligent thought.

Quite a few of them were in the audience for Winnebago Man.  Erin and I were unlucky enough to attract the attention of two of them.  They sat down in front of us and, as we waited for the movie to begin, they turned around in their seats and asked us if 1) we lived nearby and 2) if we wanted to “hang out sometime.”  And while I’m certainly not a stranger to occasionally lowering my standards for the sake of a good time, I do have a problem with people who ask me if I want to “hang out,” as if I should just be so flattered to have the opportunity to be a part of their social circle.  So, I smiled and said, “No, but my sister’s available.”  Erin still hasn’t forgiven me.

Now, you may be wondering why these two idiots would have any interest in seeing a documentary not entitled Jackass or Girls Gone Wild.  Well, once the film started, it quickly became obvious that they (and most of the other SMU blackshirts in the audience) were fans of the original Winnebago Man video that inspired this documentary.  That video consists of outtakes of a man named Jack Rebney attempting to film a promotional video for Winnebago.  In the outtakes, Rebney continually forgets his lines, angrily curses, complains about the heat, and continually fights with an intern who, at one point, literally throws a towel at him.  An excerpt from the video can be found below:

Now, I have to be honest.  Up until I first saw the trailer for this documentary, I had never heard of the “Winnebago Man,” (also known as the Angriest Man In The World) and I’m almost as addicted to searching YouTube as I am to divulging TMI details of my life on twitter.  However, apparently, the Winnebago Man is one of the most popular videos on Youtube.  As director and narrator Ben Stienbauer explains in this documentary, a large part of the appeal of the Winnebago Man outtakes is that you’re literally seeing the worst day of Jack Rebney’s life.  Not only is he making a video promoting the Winnebago (or as I call them, Murdermobiles, because it’s impossible for me to imagine anyone other than a serial killer owning one) but he’s apparently doing it in the worst heat possible and getting attacked by flies as he does so.  It’s hard for the viewer not to relate his bad day to her own bad days.  However, what  really makes the video memorable is that Rebney doesn’t just quietly accept the heat, the flies, and the frustration.  Instead, he fights back in the only way he can — with constant variations on the “F” word.  Just watching the excerpts included in the documentary, I found myself wishing that I had simply told the two guys sitting in front of us, “Do me a kindness and fuck off.”

The documentary Winnebago Man beings with Ben Stienbauer telling us how he first saw the footage in the early 90s (in those pre-youtube days, it was apparently passed around on VHS tapes) and how the sight of angry, dehydrated Jack Rebney came to obsess both him and several other filmmakers.  Eventually, Steinbauer decides to try to track down Rebney (though he initially believes that there’s a good chance that Rebney’s dead) to find out what happened the day that infamous Winnebago video was filmed and whether or not Jack Rebney is indeed the angriest man in the world.

The first half of Stienbauer’s film is taken up with the search and for me, this is the best part of Winnebago Man.  Stienbauer makes for a likable protagonist and the aspiring detective in me loved watching as he explained, step-by-step, how he went about finding the elusive Jack Rebney. 

Even better, Stienbauer devotes a good deal of Winnebago’s Man first half examining why and how people become internet celebrities.  As Stienbauer correctly points out, most Internet celebrities are not known for being succesful.  Instead, they — like Jack Rebney — often become famous as a result of having something humiliating and degrading happen to them while being filmed.  One example that Stienbauer makes effective use of is the infamous “Star Wars” kid who became the most popular video on YouTube and ended up having a nervous breakdown as a result.  In many ways, Internet fame is the cruelest fame because not only is it a fame based on failure but the failure is usually very personal.   Stienbauer himself admits that there’s a certain morbidity behind his desire to find Jack Rebney.  He wants to see is Rebney has survived being known as the “Winnebago Man.”

Well, Stienbauer does find Jack Rebney and it turns out that Rebney has survived.  In his 80s, Rebney is nearly blind and lives an isolated existence in a cabin on a mountain.  Stienbauer finally visits his idol and discovers just who exactly the angriest man in the world really is.

For me, Winnebago Man is far less effective once Stienbauer actually finds Jack Rebney because it turns out that, in real life as opposed to in outtakes from a 20 year-old promotional video, Rebney is kind of a pain.  While Rebney first attempts to present himself as being a calm, rather mild man (in an attempt to counter his angry reputation), he soon starts to make regular phone calls to Stienbauer (all of which were, of course, recorded by the filmmaker) and gradually, he reveals his true self.

What is that true self?

Well, he’s kind of an asshole, to be honest.  He’s essentially an angry, incredibly boring old man who still can’t get over the fact that it’s not 1955 anymore.  When Stienbauer asks him what he wants to do with his Internet fame, Rebney says he wants to deliver a political message to everyone younger than him.  That message, by the way, is that Dick Cheney’s a crook.  Well, no shit.  Thanks for sharing.  Rebney doesn’t seem to get that my generation figured that out way before his generation did.  In the end, Jack Rebney just comes across as an angry old crank who wants to complain about the world being fucked up when he’s a part of the group that fucked it up in the first place. 

I mean, thanks for trying to tell me how to live my life but I think I’ll survive quite nicely without the advice.  Quite frankly, I don’t have much use for the Jack Rebneys of the world.

Winnebago Man is an interesting documentary that examines just what exactly it means to be famous in today’s world.  Though Jack Rebney himself eventually proves to be unworthy of such interest, the story of how Ben Stienbauer tracked him down and the “relationship” (it’s never exactly a friendship) that is created as a result is fascinating and thought-provoking.  I remained interested in Jack Rebney’s story even as I found myself wanting to ask him to do me a kindness and shut the fuck up.