Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Power Rankings: Telling off Your Boss and/or Quitting Your Job

The idea for this list spawned from a recent rewatching of Fight Club, which got me thinking about other great ways that people have told off their bosses. That led to the job-quitting part because, well, it basically is quitting. Now, this is list is really sketchy. It was fairly thrown together, so I am going to need some input in the end. I know that I have to be missing some huge ones. I came across a blog that had the end of The Truman Show on there, which I never would have thought of, so I will not include that one. Here it goes:

Others receiving votes:

“I’m mad as hell…” from Network (not exactly quitting, but close enough to be an honorable mention)

“I Quit! Hahaha I Quit!...I QUIT.” from That Thing You Do!

“I’ve always had an odd preference for very, very young girls…” from Reality Bites

10. “You better lawyer up, asshole.” from The Social Network

Now, I know Eduardo wouldn’t like to consider Mark his boss, but he was. This climactic scene in the best film of 2010 got the entire audience’s blood flowing when Eduardo found out that he was getting screwed out of his ownership of the business. He proceeds to tell the Mark that he better lawyer up because he isn’t coming back for 30%, but for everything. It was a brilliantly-acted scene and a fantastic way of telling off your boss.

9. “So don’t pay me, now leave me alone.” from American Beauty

In the first of two American Beauty scenes on this list, Ricky Fitts, a waiter (and drug dealer) is out smoking pot during his shift when his boss walks out on him and says that he isn’t paying him to do whatever it is he is doing. So, in the most nonchalant way, he says, “Fine, so don’t pay me…. I quit. So now you don’t have to pay me, now leave me alone.” Lester basically goes from 6 to midnight after hearing this and proclaims that he is now his personal hero. It is just about the greatest “I honestly do not care” middle finger ever given to a boss. I love it.

8. “Get your own fucking cheese!” from The Wrestler

This is a painful way to quit…literally. Randy is finally fed up with his degrading boss and the whiny customers at the deli, so he punches the meat cutter right on the blades and bleeds out profusely. He smears the blood all over his face, tells off the customers, and he storms out of the store, knocking over everything in sight and yells, “I’m outta here!” That is one way to go, terrorizing everything on the way out the door. It is a tough scene to watch, but one of the many great ones in the best film of 2008. (bad video quality on the clip below, sorry)

7. “The old payola won’t work anymore.” from The Apartment

This is a great, subtle quitting sequence. Baxter, who made a career out of letting executives use his apartment for their own business, decided one day to not have it anymore. When he was asked for the key, he gave up the key to the executive washroom. He stated that he wanted to become a human again, and that there was basically nothing that his boss could do to stop him from quitting. It was a great scene in an otherwise overrated Best Picture winner.

6. “I hate this job…and I don’t need it!” from Office Space

This is a hilarious scene. This movie has so many great, relatable workplace rebellion scenes. This is one of the best scenes. Joanna works for a tool of a boss at a restaurant who makes his employees wear a bunch of pins on their clothes to “express themselves”. She gets fed up with it one day, flips off her boss and the customers, saying that was her way of expressing herself, then quits on the spot. If only we all could be so bold and spontaneous in quitting our jobs…

5. “Someday, you’re gonna be sorry...” from Major League

This is a great scene in a classic sports comedy. Ricky Vaughn was getting cut by the team in his manager’s office, and in classic Wild Thing stature, he flips out. He starts yelling at his boss in a rage about how he is going to get another chance and take it out on the Indians when he plays them with his new team. He then throws a fastball at the locker, only to find out that the team was just pulling a prank on him. (could not find a clip for this one, so I will post the quotes)

Rick Vaughn: I got news for you Mr. Brown, you haven't heard the last of me. You may think I'm shit now, but someday you're gonna be sorry you cut me. I'm gonna catch on somewhere else and every time that I pitch against you I'm gonna stick it up you're fuckin' ass!
[Throws baseball against locker]
Lou Brown: Good, I like that kind of spirit in a player. The only problem is I didn't cut you.
Rick Vaughn: What?
Lou Brown: I think someone's been having some fun with you.

4. “Go fuck yourself, you fucking child!” from Charlie Wilson’s War

This is an amazing scene. Gust gets passed up for a promotion, and he lets his boss know of his displeasure. It is so awesome. It is a scene that only someone like Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Slattery could have pulled off with that brilliant Aaron Sorkin writing. It is definitely the best case of telling off your boss that I could think of. It goes on for three minutes of amazingly-written banter and concluded with a brilliant couple lines and another broken window. And if you look in the background, you see the entire office staring at them, so you know it’s good. I love it.

3. “If you weren’t such a bitch, we’d feel sorry for you.” from Wanted

This is one of those great instances when the main character finally snaps and lets it out on his boss. His constantly nagging boss was at it again, and after telling her not so politely to shut up, he lets her know that everyone in the office knows all of her little secrets, breaks her beloved red stapler, and tells her off, leaving her absolutely speechless, along with the rest of the office. Then he takes his keyboard and breaks his annoying coworker’s face. Awesome!

2. -TIE- “I’m just an ordinary guy with nothing to lose.” from American Beauty

Now, this scene is about as cool of a way to quit a job as possible. If only Fight Club hadn’t had a very similar scene the same year… Anyway, Lester decides to blackmail his boss, convincing him to pay him his salary and benefits and threatens to make up an untraceable sexual harassment lawsuit against his boss. It is one of the many brilliant scenes in that nearly flawless movie of our time.

2. -TIE- “I am Jack’s smirking revenge.” from Fight Club

This is such a good scene. Not only is it a great blackmail scene, but he also beats himself up and rubs all the blood on his boss seemingly accidentally, so when security shows up, it looked like he just got beaten by his boss. He had no choice but to oblige. It is a lot like the American Beauty scene, and while this one is less believable, it is just as awesome.

Jack's Smirking Revenge by movieclips

1. “Who’s coming with me?!” from Jerry Maguire

After Jerry accidentally sends out a scandalous memo, he is forced to quit. On his way out, he takes his skills, his fish, and anyone else who will follow. DOROTHY BOYD! THANK YOU! She is the only one who will go with him (not even his secretary), but he made his point. He starts his own firm. He went out like a rockstar, and became somewhat of a legend. I love that movie. Only Cameron Crowe can make a scene with such feeling and awkwardness like this one.

So, what did I miss? Other blogs have mentioned Joe Versus the Volcano, but I haven’t seen that so I shouldn’t use it. Terry mentioned Click, but I haven’t watched that either. Let me know what you come up with.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Power Rankings: Harry Potter

It has been almost a month since the final Harry Potter film was released. The chaos and pandemonium are starting to settle as the "Decade of Potter" has come to an end, and I thought it was time for some perspective. I have viewed all eight of the Harry Potter (properly pronounced "Pah-uh" according to every cast member) films in the last year for the first time. Having never read the books, I can provide an unbiased opinion on the quality of the films alone without comparing them, unfairly as always, to the source material.

8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
The first thing you need to know about this list is that I didn't not like any of the eight Harry Potter films. They are all incredible. However, if I were to pick a least favorite, this would have to be it. That doesn't mean this third installment in the series didn't have some things going for it. It was the only Potter flick directed by Alfonso Cuaron, which brought a darker, edgier feel to Hogwarts. It also brought about the first appearance of Gary Oldman as the title character (not Harry Potter, the other one). What made this one a little lower than the others has to do more with circumstance than anything else. First, Azkaban brought us a new Dumbledore in Michael Gambon after the passing of the great Richard Harris. Although Gambon filled the shoes admirably, it was hard to fully appreciate his performance with Harris's brilliant interpretation of the Hogwarts headmaster still fresh in the mind. Another drawback to Azkaban was the age of the three main characters. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were starting to grow up, the film felt a little darker, but it also felt like they were acting more like children than the rest of the film deserved. It was a transition film in many ways.

7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Just like Prisoner of Azkaban, this was a transition film as it started to set up all the madness that would come in the final three parts. In Order of the Phoenix, we see Helena Bonham Carter and Imelda Staunton join the Harry Potter ranks for the first time on the evil side, as well as the unforgettable Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) on the good side. All three characters end up playing major roles in the finale of the saga. In this plot, Staunton's Delores Umbridge tries to take over Hogwarts while not teaching the children what they need. This brings about secret training sessions with Harry as the guest teacher. The training sessions are a lot of fun as you see Harry start to show some confidence in his superior skills as a wizard. However, like I said, the primary purpose of this film is to set the stage for the final three. This leaves us with a solid story, but not quite as exciting as the others higher on the list.

6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
One thing I love about Harry Potter is how every film is connected. They aren't completely disconnected stories that just happen to involve the same characters like many other franchises. In Harry Potter, each film builds on the last almost as if it is one story just split into 8 parts. However, out of all the Harry Potter installments, Goblet of Fire is the one that stands the best on its own. If someone were to pick a Potter film to watch with no background to the plot line (other than the first one), this would be the film. It's primary story line has the least to do with the films that came before, however it has a LOT to do with the films that come after. In this story, we see Harry competing in what can best be described as a wizard decathlon with the champion gaining the Goblet of Fire. One of his competitors is fellow student Cedric Diggory, played by a young, not so blood thirsty (or pale), Robert Pattinson. The competition brings a lot of fun throughout the movie, but some other important events happen as well. It is the first time Harry and his friends start to notice the opposite sex. The kids are starting to grow up. The most important event of Goblet of Fire is the arriving of Lord Voldemort, played to perfection by the great Ralph Fiennes. For a film that focuses so much on a game, it turns out containing one of the main turning points of the whole series.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
The numbers don't really mean much from here on out. The first three films were a definite 8, 7, and 6. The last five films on the list might as well be 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, and 1E. They are that close in quality. However, they are ranked the way they are for a reason. At number five, we have the penultimate installment to the series. As Voldemort's army starts to attack, the Harry Triumvirate go into hiding and regroup. Out of all the Harry Potter installments, this is the first that is allowed to breathe. For the first time in the series, we get extended periods of time where the characters sit and talk. This was obviously a result of splitting the last book into two movies which really benefited both installments. Although this also is a transition film, setting up the grand finale, this film is so great because of these rare moments of stillness that occur throughout the movie. It allows for characterization of the Big Three, and also gives a chance for Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson to show how talented they have become. Also, I love a good cliffhanger that perfectly sets up a dramatic conclusion.

4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
In the second installment of the franchise, we see some of the first developments of the primary conflict of the series between Harry and Voldemort. We also see Kenneth Branagh make his appearance in the world of Harry Potter as Professor Gilderoy Lockhart, a famous hero of the wizard world that turns out to be more phony than not. We also see the emergence of one of my favorite characters, Dobby the House Elf. The first few films, this being one of those, I found so fun and amazing. At the beginning, when the main characters were younger, so much of the story is filled with wonder and magic. They are kid stories with a little edge to them, which appeals to me. They also featured the more laid back Richard Harris as opposed to the serious Michael Gambon in the role of Dumbledore. This was a great example of the early years of Potter as they searched for the Chamber of Secrets.

3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Who is the Half-Blood Prince? Harry tries to figure this out as he also starts to learn more about Voldemort. What makes this simple plot line stand out among the rest is the development of the relationship between Harry and Dumbledore. Michael Gambon really shines as Dumbledore in this film as he and Harry travel together. Their travels culminate in the outstanding and shocking ending as the characters are forced to pick their sides for the final battle.

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
If a franchise is a success, then it is usually pretty hard to get better than the film that started it all. Sorcerer's Stone sets the stage so well for everything else that happens in the series. What can make or break a series like this is how well the first film draws you into the world it creates. That is actually the strength of this film. Being someone who never read a Harry Potter book and knew nothing about the plot other than a few characters names, I never felt confused or out of the loop to what was going on. It sets the magical world in motion with many memorable characters that are with you from start to finish. We get to know and love Richard Harris's Dumbledore, as well as start to crack the wonderful mystery that is Alan Rickman's Severus Snape. It's hard to argue with the beginning, unless . . .

1. Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
. . . you are talking about the end. The only thing that could top such an outstanding start to this landmark series is its unforgettable finish. There were so many unanswered questions going into the final installment that I had serious doubts to how well it would be able to tie up all the loose ends it created in the previous 7 films. Not only did it tie up all these loose ends, but it threw some curveballs and plot twists into the mix that really enhanced the finish instead of draw away from it, which it easily could have done and very often does. Unlike Part 1, this film moves very fast as it races to finish off the remarkable story. Although this film seemed to be the first time the story felt rushed, it did not seem to matter much due to the fact that everything was being thrown into the chaos of the final battle and ending. It fit the tone of the film, and brought about a finale that was pretty much . . . perfect.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Power Rankings: Sports Scenes in Non-Sports Movies

I recently watched the 1938 gangster picture Angels with Dirty Faces, in which about halfway through the tough guy main character sort of referees a teenage basketball game. It is a really random scene considering the genre, but it is a really good and pivotal scene for character development. That got me thinking about what other great non-sports films have memorable sports-related scenes. Some scenes on this list are for their intelligent way of portraying the sports, and others are more for humorous effect. The list has a total of 4 football scenes, 2 for basketball, and 1 each for bowling, racing, baseball, and tennis. It is a fairly well-rounded list, but I know that I probably overlooked a bunch of scenes. It is a difficult list to just make up. Check it out:

Others receiving votes:

Rowing Crew in The Social Network

Alabama Football in Forrest Gump

Rooftop Hockey in Clerks

Golfing in Sideways

10. Gas Mask Football in Jarhead

This is a brilliant scene that is a perfect example of the dark humor in this highly underrated war film. The company staff sergeant (Jamie Foxx) is being interviewed by a reporter, talking about the gas suits and how they work while two soldiers are playing catch in the background. The staff sergeant decides to get everyone in full gas suit gear in 100+ degree heat to play a full game of football. It is a really good scene that shows what the soldiers were going through and showing how they cope with the external factors of their seemingly boring mission. The scene after, in which the soldiers all strip down to embarrass the staff sergeant in front of the reporter, also makes this scene even more memorable.

9. Jesus Bowling in The Big Lebowski

There are a ton of classic scenes in this Coen Brothers ridiculous comedy, but the scenes centered on bowling are the some of the funniest. The scene that most stands out to me is when Jesus (John Turturro) does his dirty little routine before bowling a strike, then proceeds to do a little dance when he turns around. The looks on The Dude, Donnie, and Walter’s faces are priceless. The three of them then talk about Jesus and how he is a pedophile. Then the two teams exchange a few words. It is just one of the many classic scenes in that movie and maybe the most memorable bowling scene in any movie. I honestly cannot even think more than a handful of them, though. Either way, this is a great scene and one of the many that gives this movie its cult status.

8. Tennis Match in Strangers on a Train

This scene is all about the level of suspense that Hitchcock is able to bring. It just happens to take place at a tennis match. The tennis pro who has yet to hold up his end of the murderous deal is playing his big match, with his stalker in the audience. The entire crowd is watching the ball go back and forth, with the exception of the stalker, who has his eyes forever locked on the player. The match is where the big climax of the movie takes place, and the shot of the crowd is one of the most brilliant shots Hitchcock ever did. This movie is perhaps his most underrated thriller, and it is scenes like this one that make it so intense.

7. Football Game in Little Children

This is a personal favorite of mine. Brad (Patrick Wilson) invites Sarah (Kate Winslet) to a football game with a bunch of off-duty cops that he got reeled into playing. The scene sets up to just be a continuation bit, but the scene is a few minutes of legitimate football with the narrator’s voice reminiscent of the guy from NFL Films. It is the most random sports scene I have ever seen, yet it is one that handles itself more seriously than almost any other. It is a lightly humorous few minutes, and yet it is completely vital to the movie, since it is there that Brad asks Sarah to run away with him. I cannot think of a more oddball, brilliant football scene than this one. It could have just as easily not even been shown and cut to after the game, but Todd Fields decided to let his characters breathe in all facets of their lives. I appreciate that in a writer.

6. The Game in MASH

This is probably one of the most recognizable sports scenes in non-sports films. It is a piece of classic Robert Altman filmmaking in which ringer Spearchucker Jones (Fred Williamson) teaches the 4077th a thing or two about football in attempt to stand a chance against the General’s team of legitimate former semi-pro players. The rag-tag group of surgeons make a bunch of low-brow, semi-illegal plays, until the final Longest Yard-type play that wins the game for the MASH unit. It is a hilarious scene that serves as the climax for the best film of Altman’s career and one of the funniest movies ever.

5. Chariot Race in Ben-Hur

This was one of the more obvious choices for this countdown. It is almost too obvious since the chariot race is such a vital part of the movie that it may almost seem like a sports movie. That is to say that it is not a random scene in a movie about something completely different. But either way, this is one of the most exhilarating sequences in all of film. The special effects and editing in the scene are possibly the best of any movie of that era, and it just might rank as the best racing sequence in the history of film. It could be put out in a movie now and be completely relevant.

4. White Guys vs. Black Guys in American History X

This is a scene that immediately came to mind when thinking about possibilities for this list. It is a scene that, although unrealistic at times, is actually a pretty decent representation of a streetball game. Obviously the scene is more about the tension between the characters than about basketball, but what better way to illustrate those racist feelings than a good old game of b-ball? The scene’s dynamics are interesting, considering the anti-hero protagonists are the ones the audience is probably rooting for, yet it makes it very clear that they are not worthy of it. The basketball shots themselves are cleverly cut and are fairly seamless, with the exception of the final dunk which it is clear that Ed Norton was going up for a layup and not a reverse, two-handed jam, but that is beside the point. The scene works on almost every level, and is one of the strongest scenes in the amazing movie.

3. Chief Playing Basketball in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

This is actually a compilation of two scenes, but they are equally brilliant. The first is a scene with McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is teaching the monster Indian patient called Chief to play basketball, hopping on the shoulders of another guy and telling him to dunk the ball. It is a great showcase for Nicholson’s charisma and a flawless representation of the character dynamics in the movie. Then, the actual game against the guards is a great, brilliantly constructed scene in which Chief gets into the game and looks like a natural (sort of). These scenes explain exactly what the patients in the institution care about, knowing that little pickup games like this are likely the closest that they can get to feeling normal.

2. TIE: Baseball Play-By-Play in Good Will Hunting & One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

These two scenes seemed like obvious choices to me to be included since they might be the best scenes in their respective movies. The only problem is that no sports are actually shown in them…but it is close enough. In Good Will Hunting, Sean (Robin Williams) is describing when he knew that his wife was the one, and he does it through a play-by-play of Carlton Fisk’s world-famous home run in a game that he had tickets to, but was actually “seeing about a girl”. It may very well be the scene that won Williams the Oscar. It is absolute brilliance.

The similar scene in Cuckoo’s Nest is Nicholson, upset with the recent ruling that the patients cannot listen to the World Series during down time, proceeding to make up his own baseball scene to cope. He runs around the ward getting everyone excited (including himself) acting as if the game were happening before their eyes. It is a fantastic scene in that movie and one that many people would probably remember as being one of the best.

1. Football Quiz in Diner

Coming up with a top scene was really hard. I labored over my list of contenders for a while trying to choose one. I could have made it the two tied for second, but that would have been anti-climactic. Instead, I chose another without any visual representation of sports. Sorry. This scene in Diner is one of the many that gives the movie its status as one of the most believable coming-of-age movies. Eddie (Steve Guttenberg) decides to give his fiancée Elyse an impossible 140 question quiz on his favorite team, the Baltimore Colts, of which she must score a 65 to retain him as her fiancée. The scene is shown from the perspective of Eddie’s friends in the other room, listening in and answering the questions that they can. You really only hear six questions that he asks, none of which are close to common knowledge. She scores a 63, a figure that Eddie “checked very thoroughly”. He then walks out of the room to his friends, and “The wedding is off.” This is a perfect scene, one that the makers of The League probably wish they could have come up with. It shows the struggle that the friends have with the barrier between immaturity and maturity. Giving your fiancée a quiz on a football team to show if she is committed or not…brilliant. It seems far-fetched, but I wouldn’t put it past a college-age guy. It is a scene that is flawlessly written, like the rest of the movie, and one of the very best scenes in that film.

So, that is my list. I am sure that I missed some big ones. So, let me hear about it in the comments.

More Top 10s of 2010

Since Terry and Zach have been posting their top lists of 2010, I decided to post a link to a couple of my own lists that I wrote a while back on our base site. Here they are:Link

Top 10 Performances of 2010:

Top 10 Ensemble Casts of 2010:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

2012 Oscar Predictions: August

This is going to be an interesting year for the Oscars. So far, it is shaping up to be a really strong awards season. Most of the buzzed films have yet to be released, and a ton of major directors have a film coming out this fall/winter. A few of the favorites, including We Bought a Zoo, J. Edgar, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close have yet to even release trailers. At this point, initial reviews have not even been speculated on, but there do seem to be some indications of early leaders in the clubhouse. Best Picture will be difficult because we don’t know how many movies will be nominated (somewhere between 5 and 10), so I will just go with 10, ranked of course. Here are my first predictions of 2011…


The Predicted Five

1. The Ides of March – It is another political movie by George Clooney and Grant Heslov. This one looks to be a major player.

2. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – Best trailer of the year? Maybe. Looks like a brilliant screenplay. This should be a hit.

3. War Horse – The Spielberg movie that everyone has proclaimed the frontrunner. Based on a beloved book. Even if it isn’t outstanding, it is Spielberg…it will be nominated several times.

4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – It is a Stephen Daldry film, so it will be nominated here. Written by winner Eric Roth. This should be a monster Oscar contender.

5. The Descendents – Alexander Payne’s first film since Sideways had an underwhelming trailer, but he has never taken a misstep. This will be great.

Others in contention

6. We Bought a Zoo – Cameron Crowe’s first movie in forever promises to be a hit. The cast looks incredible, and the story seems like Oscar-material.

7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I wish I had more faith in the Academy’s taste, but I can see this getting almost completely shutout, no matter how good it is.

8. A Dangerous Method – Cronenberg movies are always a tough sell at the Oscars, but this movie seems a bit more their speed.

9. Moneyball – Aaron Sorkin, fresh off his Oscar, has another brilliant screenplay here. Baseball is never that popular with awards, but this looks different, especially with the amazing second trailer.

10. Hugo – Honestly, who knows how this movie will do? Up until Shutter Island, Scorsese couldn’t miss with the Oscars. This looks extremely weird and different. His next The Age of Innocence?

11. Carnage – I would have more faith in Polanski and his extraordinary cast, but it is based on a play (not always good for screenplay noms), and it has been reported to be like 75 minutes long. Weird.

12. We Need to Talk About Kevin – This has been hyped for its actors, and it seems like it could be the little movie that gets some screenplay love.

13. Coriolanus – Directed by Ralph Fiennes, this will surely get some viewers. Based on a Shakespeare play, it will certainly be well-written. Worth keeping an eye on.

14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – Who knows how this will be treated? They could give the series some love in its last installment.


The Predicted Five

1. The Artist – This movie had massive buzz coming out of Cannes, and by the look of it, the Academy will eat it up.

2. J. Edgar – Eastwood movies haven’t gotten in as much recently, but this is written by Dustin Lance Black. It will be more their thing for sure.

3. Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen’s best film in 17 years. Its buzz will last until the winter…I hope.

4. Young Adult – Jason Reitman-Diablo Cody reunion. It will be in this category.

5. The Tree of Life – The buzz might seem to have died down now, but that is what happened with Inception too. People haven’t forgotten, I assure you.

Others in contention

6. The Iron Lady – The Meryl Streep-starring political movie. It seems like a WGA film, maybe not Oscar, though.

7. Martha Marcy May Marlene – Looks incredibly eerie, and has a really good indie drama cast. This could be one of those little movies that make a splash.

8. Violet & Daisy – Maybe the coolest-sounding movie of the year, written and directed by recent Oscar-winner Geoffrey Fletcher. Awesome cast too.

9. Shame – Steve McQueen’s next movie after the indie hit Hunger. Sounds like really strong stuff.

10. Bridesmaids – Got some of the year’s most glowing reviews, and it has strong female characters. Might slip in.

11. Like Crazy – Has a great young cast and a sweet atmosphere, from the trailer at least. It could be the relationship movie that makes noise.

12. My Week with Marilyn – It is about classic movie stars. The Academy voters should adore this, but I am not sure about the screenplay category.

13. Take This Waltz – Sarah Polley’s sophomore film sounds like a winner. She was nominated last time, so maybe 2 for 2?

14. Beginners – One of the more beloved early year releases. It may be too small, but it seems like Academy material.

15. This Must Be the Place – Totally weird-sounding, but Sean Penn is in it, so it has a chance.

16. Contagion – Looks strange, but Soderbergh and that cast are beyond appealing. It could be terrific.


The Predicted Five

1. Elizabeth Reaser – Young Adult – Sort of taking a stab with this, since I have no clue about the role, but she seems like the Reitman supporting female that could shine. Cody will write her a good part.

2. Judi Dench – J. Edgar – Just because she is always there, and Eastwood’s actors are as well.

3. Sandra Bullock – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Seems like the justification nomination that the Academy always likes to give. Plus it is Daldry, so it will be a good role and well-directed.

4. Sarah Silverman – Take This Waltz – May sound ridiculous (and it might turn out to be), but this movie seems like Oscar stuff. And she is third-billed and supposed going full frontal in the movie. And it is drama. It could happen…right?

5. Viola Davis – The Help – The movie looks very light, but she appears to have a character that could make it 2 noms in 4 years.

Others in contention

6. Vanessa Redgrave – Coriolanus – I just have a feeling that this movie will be popular. She is always close to getting in.

7. Kate Winslet – Carnage – She is Winslet, so she will be in contention. Polanski movies don’t always click, but this one will most likely (at least for its actors).

8. Marisa Tomei – The Ides of March – She appears to have a meaty role and very well could make it if the film is indeed as good as it promises to be.

9. Keira Knightley – A Dangerous Method – Being directed by Cronenberg will assure that her character will be like nothing she has done before. That is sometimes rewarded.

10. Naomi Watts – J. Edgar – Until we get a trailer, all of the cast members are legitimate contenders.

11. Jennifer Lawrence – Like Crazy – Her part might be small, but coming off a brilliant breakout performance, they might want to continue to capitalize on her undeniable young talent.

12. Emma Watson – My Week with Marilyn – With the Potter movies finally over, they could easily validate the highest paid actress in the world in basically her first non-Potter role.


The Predicted Five

1. Albert Brooks – Drive – This incredible-looking film seems to have an insane role for the veteran actor. Would be a sweet comeback.

2. Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn – Playing Laurence Olivier will certainly give him his scenes. He could win this thing if he gets the Olivier quirks down.

3. Christoph Waltz – Carnage – This would be a cool out-of-nowhere nomination. Polanski will certainly push him, and he could walk away with the movie, as he did in his Oscar role.

4. Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Ides of March – He has a great-looking role, and he is always invited. This would be a cool, safe, harmless nomination for the Academy.

5. Niels Arestrup – War Horse – The always reliable actor is in what many consider to be the can’t-miss frontrunner film, and it is as the grandfather role. He will probably have a few heartbreaking Oscar scenes.

Others in contention

6. Christopher Plummer – Beginners – I wouldn’t bet against him, but I just have a feeling that this will go unnoticed during awards season.

7. Viggo Mortensen – A Dangerous Method – Playing a real person, and Cronenberg has directed him to a nom in the past.

8. Tom Hardy – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – He is always awesome, and this could be a great supporting role for him. He is surrounded by actors who will get the best out of him.

9. Brad Pitt – The Tree of Life – At one point, he appeared to be a shoo-in. He deserves the nom for sure, but I sort of doubt it now. Maybe lead for Moneyball?

10. Jim Broadbent – The Iron Lady – Playing the husband role to Streep can bring greatness. Tucci in Julia & Julia got some buzz, even.

11. Tom Hanks – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Talking about Hanks in a supporting role seems odd, but I really do not think he is lead in this.

12. Brian Cox – Coriolanus – He is always superb, and this Shakespeare adaptation will give him his time to shine. It is about time he gets a nom, don’t you think?

13. Philip Seymour Hoffman – Moneyball – I just can’t ignore the fact that he looks perfect in this movie and it is the director who he won for.


The Predicted Five

1. Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady – They have to give her another win at some point, right? They can’t just keep nominating her every year.

2. Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn – Biopic role of an industry icon is certain to give her a ton of great scenes. She also has a couple more great roles this year to staple her nomination.

3. Tilda Swinton – We Need to Talk About Kevin – Her performance was one of the main buzzed ones out of the early year festivals, and many pundits are calling her a lock for a nomination.

4. Elizabeth Olsen – Martha Marcy May Marlene – Mary-Kate and Ashley’s younger sister has garnered incredible buzz for this role. She can get a nomination with basically her first acting role, playing opposite John Hawkes and a few other indie stars.

5. Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – She will have the most difficult role that anyone will play this year, and she is sure to nail it with Fincher at the helm. If she garners some precursors, watch out. She could win this.

Others in contention

6. Charlize Theron – Young Adult – Two-time nominee being directed by an Academy favorite. She is always in the running.

7. Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs – Written and starring Close, this period piece is certain to get her some attention. She is also known as one of the best actors without an Oscar, so they might want to reward her while they still can.

8. Berenice Bejo – The Artist – One of the Oscar frontrunners. There is always a newcomer it seems, and she could be that person.

9. Carey Mulligan – Shame – A recent nominee, and playing with that superb cast, she will definitely be challenged. She is one of the most talented young actresses in the industry as well.

10. Felicity Jones – Like Crazy – At the center of that love story that won Sundance is Jones and Anton Yelchin. Since Best Actress is a bit weaker, I am not counting her out yet. Yelchin’s climb will definitely be uphill, though.

11. Anne Hathaway – One Day – Looks really slight, but her accent appears to be spot-on, and it is directed by An Education director Lone Sherfig.

12. Michelle Williams – Meek’s Cutoff – A very highly praised early year release might have enough indie fans to make the steam last until Oscar time.

13. Michelle Williams – Take This Waltz – Opposite the likes of Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen, we know that she is going to be doing something different. She has three great roles this year, only one of which can be rewarded, unfortunately. Let’s hope she gets one in.


The Predicted Five

1. Jean Dujardin – The Artist – Won the Cannes Best Actor award. Could he be this year’s Adrien Brody? I think so.

2. Leonardo DiCaprio – J. Edgar – I can’t see him not getting in being directed by Eastwood and getting snubbed for two roles last year.

3. Gary Oldman – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – Appears to finally be Oldman’s time to get a nomination after every movie buff in the world saying that his lack of noms is one of the biggest crimes ever.

4. Ryan Gosling – The Ides of March – I am not sure how showy his role is, but he always understates his characters. I am holding out hope that he can finally get his second nomination.

5. Michael Fassbender – Shame – Appears to be a fantastic role for the breakout star, but the word on the film is very quiet as of right now. We will see where this goes.

Others in contention

6. George Clooney – The Descendents­ – He always gets nominated, but I just have a feeling that they will take a break from him this year and give him his director dues instead.

7. Ryan Gosling – Drive – The movie looks astonishing, and he always has to in the discussion.

8. Sean Penn – This Must Be the Place – Penn playing against type will certainly raise some eyebrows, but is the movie big enough? I am not so sure.

9. Brad Pitt – Moneyball – Maybe the coolest underdog movie of the year. If it really is as good as it could be, then Pitt will be swept in for sure.

10. Jeremy Irvine – War Horse – Debut performance in one of the Best Picture hopefuls. He will need to blow everyone away to get in.

11. Michael Fassbender – A Dangerous Method – Directed by Cronenberg is intriguing, and the film being about real people will help his cause, but can he steal the show from Mortensen, a favorite in Cronenberg pictures? Could be.

12. Matt Damon – We Bought a Zoo – The word on this movie is just so quiet that I cannot really warrant predicting mass love for it yet. The movie still hasn’t completely wrapped yet, either.

13. Owen Wilson – Midnight in Paris – If the movie is beloved by the Academy, he will be the token acting nomination for the film. He was spot-on in that role.

14. Johnny Depp – The Rum Diary – This one has been delayed a few times, but Depp is so popular that he could streak to yet another nomination.

15. Mel Gibson – The Beaver – This could be the WTF nomination of the year. Some people adored it, and basically everyone else did not see it. If they want a great comeback story, this will be it. It won’t happen, though. It will need a monster DVD run, but people are just so turned off to Gibson that there is almost no shot of that.


The Predicted Five

1. George Clooney – The Ides of March – Seems like an Oscar movie, and it has a cast to die for. This promises to be Clooney’s best movie to date.

2. Steven Daldry – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Never underestimate his fans. He is 3 for 3 with Best Director nominations for his films.

3. Michel Haznavicius – The Artist – Maybe I am expecting a bit too much with this, but I can see this being the throwback gem that the Academy adores.

4. Steven Spielberg – War Horse – He is going to get nominated, it is just a matter of whether he will win or not. This looks like his next big, epic masterpiece.

5. Clint Eastwood – J. Edgar – It is time that he ends his drought. This movie will be totally the Academy’s speed, unlike Invictus, Hereafter, Changeling, and Gran Torino.

Others in contention

6. Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life – Everything I have read makes it seem like they are just dying to give this guy an Oscar. He deserves it, but the movie needed to be more unanimous.

7. Martin Scorsese – Hugo – I hope that the Academy doesn’t just neglect his work now that he has won, but this movie just looks too weird, but it is Marty…it will be great.

8. Alexander Payne – The Descendents – I hope the movie is better than I am expecting. If it is as popular as Sideways, Payne will certainly get nominated here.

9. Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris – The Academy cannot resist a good Allen movie. This is a great one.

10. Bennett Miller – Moneyball – Past nominee making his second first feature since his nomination in 2005. He needs to be mentioned.

11. Nicolas Winding Refn – Drive – Won the Cannes Best Director. Could this be this generation’s The French Connection, the action movie that transcends genre? I suppose it is possible. The trailer is awesome.

12. Cameron Crowe – We Bought a Zoo – Never been nominated in this category before, but this movie seems most like an Academy movie. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him here.

13. Tomas Alfredson – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – The director is still young and has plenty of time to get in, but if the movie is really as good as it appears, he will slide in for sure.

14. David Fincher – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Should have won last year. If the Academy doesn’t love it, they might still want to recognize him for the atrocious snub.

15. Jason Reitman – Young Adult – Has two straight nominations, but I can’t see him getting in for a third. He is way too young to have that kind of run.

16. Simon Curtis – My Week with Marilyn – I think the movie will be a big hit, but this is his first movie.

17. Drake Doremus – Like Crazy – The Sundance darling will need to have a great box office to get this kind of love, but with its cool young cast, it might.

18. Sarah Polley – Take This Waltz – She has gotten a screenplay nomination in the past, so this is not out of the question.


The Predicted Ten (I predict 7 will get in)

1. The Ides of March – This has so much going for it that I cannot help but put it number one. The cast, director, and premise all promise greatness.

2. The Artist – There are so many old Oscar voters (only explanation for how The King’s Speech wins Best Picture), and this seems like the perfect throwback to the Golden Age of movies. It will be a smash hit.

3. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Stephen Daldry makes the movie instantly a contender, and the cast of Bullock, Hanks, Goodman, von Sydow ensure its popularity. This could be right up there all awards season.

4. J. Edgar – It is strange to think that we can call it a comeback, but Eastwood has not gotten a nomination in four films. That is a ridiculous stat considering the films. This appears to be the one that will force the Academy to embrace him again.

5. War Horse – Everything with this film points to Oscar sweep, but those films have not been doing that recently. It will be nominated everywhere, but the wins might not come showering in the way everyone seems to think they will.

6. Midnight in Paris – One of the best earlier releases of the year and a legendary filmmaker at the helm. He has not exactly raked in Best Picture nominations in his career, but the bigger number of nominees ensures he will be there.

7. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – This thriller by the director of Let the Right One In looks to be the real deal. If it can get the British vote, then it will be a lock.

8. The Tree of Life – This will get a fair amount of number one votes, but the people who do not love it tend to think it is trash. I do not think there will be 8 nominees, so this might get left out, unfortunately.

9. Young Adult – This appears to be a bit too conventional to get the love of Juno or Up in the Air, but the talent involved should give it a chance.

10. The Descendents – Alexander Payne’s film looks good, but it will need to be outstanding to get the necessary 5% of votes to get in.

Others in contention

11. Hugo – Scorsese’s film just doesn’t look like the Oscar thing, but it is Scorsese, so he is always in the hunt.

12. Like Crazy – The Sundance winner will definitely find an audience, but will it be unanimous the way Winter’s Bone and Precious were? That remains to be seen, but the buzz is not close to as strong as it was for those two.

13. We Bought a Zoo – Cameron Crowe cannot make a bad movie, and this cast looks tremendous. We need a trailer, though. We do not know anything about its Oscar potential.

14. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Fincher will hopefully get his Oscar someday after last year’s travesty snub. This just isn’t it. It will need to be The Silence of the Lambs-level appeal, box office, acting, tone, and originality to have a shot. I wouldn’t put it against Fincher, though, who is always looking to push the envelope.

15. Drive – The trailer is astonishing. Movies like this do not win awards at Cannes, but this one did. That is what my hopes are lying on. Plus, Gosling chooses his projects very wisely.

16. My Week with Marilyn – It will certainly have its fans, but that group might be a bit too small. Acting awards could come aplenty, as long as they do not caricature those classic actors.

17. A Dangerous Method – The most serious movie that Cronenberg has made in a long time, but I just do not see this being a massive hit. It will need a strong box office number to stand a chance.

18. Moneyball – Movies about baseball do not do well, but this movie is written by two Oscar winners and directed by a filmmaker whose first film they adored. And the Brad Pitt factor helps. It will need to be either the best written movie of the year or one of the highest grossing. I cannot see that happening, but it is possible.

19. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – Will they want to give this movie the awards that they held from the previous ones? I cannot see it getting the necessary number one votes from the Academy.

20. Carnage – Polanski films are always in the mix, but this one appears to be one of those small one-room, four-actor talky movies. Those do not get Best Picture awards.

21. Take This Waltz – It is going to be difficult for this to get in if we do not hear something about it soon. The buzz is very quiet, and my anticipation/predictions are all on potential for this film.

So, what do you think? Did I miss anything? Let me know with your comments.