Winning Time: Alex Rejoins the Oscar Discussion

So…this took a while. Andrew was kind enough to write an article to the Oscar nominations right after they were announced nearly a month ago and the expectation was that I would chime in with a reply quickly. Then, um, well. I’m writing now! So there’s that. The Oscars are about two weeks out, the voting period has begun, and all the major precursor awards have been handed out. So the time is right for me to jump back into the Oscar fray. I’ll take a look at the major categories, make my predictions, and then hear what Andrew has to say.

All the Technical Awards

The only question in the tech categories is exactly how many Oscars Gravity will win here. It will be quite a few. Cinematography, Editing, and Visual Effects seem assured. That first category should give Emmanuel Lubezki a long over-due Oscar, which I will find just thrilling. I think he and Roger Deakins are the best cinematographers working today and neither has an Oscar. Let’s see that fixed. An Editing win for Gravity will award an Oscar to Alfonso Cuarón, which is to be celebrated. He’s an incredible filmmaker, and the critical and popular success of Gravity is immensely gratifying as an endorsement of cinema as a visual medium. Beyond that I think Gravity will get two other tech Oscars for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, bringing its total haul to five before we get to the majors.

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An Uncool Icon: Our Brief Tribute to the Work of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Celebrity deaths rarely make an impact on me. It’s not that I’m heartless or unsympathetic to the family of the departed, but the passing of someone I never met is more often a curiosity or bit of information than a moment of reflection and mourning. There are exceptions, of course. I felt a profound sense of loss when Roger Ebert passed away last spring, and it seemed as though the whole world was filled was sad reminders of that fact for days and days. Similarly, I will spend this week being quietly reminded that Phillip Seymour Hoffman died of an apparent drug overdose on Sunday morning in New York City.

The news itself staggered me this afternoon. I was helping my wife make lunch when Travis texted me the news, and I ran to the computer to confirm. It seemed impossible that a man who was still so young, only 46 at his passing, with decades of more great performances waiting, should be gone so suddenly. The sad details of his struggles with drug addiction and the young family left behind will make for a lot of tabloid fodder. Personally, I didn’t know the man and can only be sympathetic about such things from a distance. What I wanted to write about for The Recorder is what I know Phillip Seymour Hoffman as: an actor of the highest order who improved every project he was in through his sheer talent.
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An Amateur Made a Bunch of Oscar Nomination Predictions; You’ll Never Believe How Wrong He Was…Or How Right.

Okay, so the Golden Globes ceremony is in the books and the Oscar nominations being announced on Thursday. Guess it’s time for my 2nd Annual “Alex Makes a Lot of Predictions About Oscar Nominations, Many of Which are Wrong!” column. Good title, that. Or, no, I want more hits. “An Amateur Made a Bunch of Oscar Nomination Predictions; You’ll Never Believe How Wrong He Was…Or How Right.” Perfect.

In the name of saving you a lot of wasted time when I am wildly wrong on a lot of things in a few days I will but down greatly on my bloviating in this year’s column. That way there’s less egg on my face and you have more time to drink coffee and watch videos on UpWorthy. So I’ll paste in my predictions and then write a few sentences on each of the big races. For reference to a lot of the acronym-loving awards bodies please see this.
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12 Years a Slave is Mandatory

Travis beat me to the punch a bit here, but I also have some brief thoughts about 12 Years a Slave. We will both expand upon this in the immediate future, I’m sure.

This is mandatory. Essential doesn’t come close to being right for this film, which is an instant classic to me. It is mandatory. As in, every person with even a passing interest in film as an art form has to see it.

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Alex’s Liveblog of the 2013 Battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy

*** 1:00

Welcome to The Addison Recorder’s Liveblog of the 2013 Battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy! The #21 Michigan Wolverines (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) and #22 Michigan State Spartans (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten) will be meeting on the gridiron for the 106th time this afternoon in East Lansing. The winner of this game will put themselves in the driver’s seat to win the Legends (ugh, so glad that name is going away) Division of the Big Ten and play for the Championship next month in Indianapolis.  So, as the Recorder’s resident Michigan(and college football) fanatic I’ll be setting up the game before kickoff and then providing commentary during the action. Except lots of swearing. Possibly a lot of despair as well. Back in a few moments with a rundown of Michigan’s season so far and what to expect from them on offense and defense today.
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Holy pants.


Dear Earth,

Please go see Gravity, the new film by Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men), starring Sandra Bullock (never ever even close to as good as she is here) and George Clooney (who is perfect in this role). It is undoubtedly one of the best films of the year and a cinematic experience unlike any other I have ever watched. It will win many (all of the?) Oscars.

An addendum: Please go see Gravity in IMAX 3D. I literally cannot imagine experiencing this unbelievable spectacle in any other way.

More to follow.

Thank you and good night.


Football is Back (For All of Us)

That’s what I call a community.

Forgive me if this sounds redundant, but football is great and it means an awful lot to me. I’ve said it before on here and you can expect it from me again.

That being said, it is also frustrating, boring, misguided, dangerous, and generally overplayed in our society. It can be terminally dull when a single play lasts only a few seconds, but downtime between plays is generally more than half a minute. Games can last 3 hours and never have a truly exciting thing happen . It can be among the least exciting entertainment this side of televised poker.

I have to admit, the only fall that I ever played organized football I just hated it. I hate the hitting, hated the running, hated most of my teammates, and hated how little interest the coaches gave to me because I had never really been coached before. I wanted to quit for most of the season and only stayed on the team because my parents and the athletic director convinced me that I had made a commitment and should see it through. I’m still not convinced that was worth another seven weeks of misery, but I’ll let that lie.

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Maebe Next Time: Some Thoughts on Season Four of Arrested Development

You’re welcome for the pun in the title, by the way.

There was a family reunion last weekend that I had been feeling pretty nervous about. The people gathering for this reunion were guaranteed to say and do outrageous things, act like children (or possibly animals), and make a mockery of moral concerns, good taste, and basic human decency. This wasn’t my own family’s reunion, of course, but the Bluth family, who made their much-hyped return when the fourth season of Arrested Development premiered this past Sunday on Netflix.

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