Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cool Black's Oscar picks 2012

By Dankwa Brooks AKA Cool Black

Of the nine pictures nominated for "Best Picture" I have seen six of them and they are The Descendants, The Artist, Midnight in Paris, Hugo, Moneyball and The Help (All posters from those pictures in the graphic above). My picks for the Oscars will be from those pictures. (I will also bold in red the correlating nominations.)

My pick will be under “Cool Black’s Oscar Pick:” These are NOT who I think WILL win; it’s who I think SHOULD win based on my opinion and those who know me, know I am quite discerning.

As a screenwriter two of my favorite categories are the two screenwriting ones. 

For the record:
The Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay is the Academy Award for the best script not based upon previously published material and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay is awarded each year to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source (usually a novel, play, or short story but also sometimes another film). All sequels are automatically considered adaptations by this standard (since the sequel must be based on the original story).

(Original Screenplay)
The Artist
Written by Michel Hazanavicius

Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig

Margin Call
Written by J.C. Chandor

Midnight in Paris
Written by Woody Allen

A Separation
Written by Asghar Farhadi

Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris. While a lot of people joke that the screenplay for The Artist is about 45 pages because it has no dialogue (average screenplay about 120 pages) it DOES have a lot of stuff going on and is totally deserving as is the hilarious Bridesmaids a really great screenplay with humor and heart, but Woody Allen wrote a truly wonderful screenplay blending fantasy, humor and real life literary legends. 

(Adapted Screenplay)
The Descendants
Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon &
Jim Rash

Screenplay by John Logan

The Ides of March
Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and
Beau Willimon

Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin
Story by Stan Chervin

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin for Moneyball. Of the films I saw Moneyball and The Descendents were the only two worthy of even being considered winning an Oscar. The screenplay for The Descendents was great, but the equally great Moneyball made me care about baseball statistics and baseball trading. Both things I had no interest in.

The Artist
Guillaume Schiffman

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Jeff Cronenweth

Robert Richardson

The Tree of Life
Emmanuel Lubezki

War Horse
Janusz Kaminski

Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Robert Richardson for Hugo. Not a real hard choice. Of the three I’ve seen from the category Hugo’s cinematography clearly stands out.

The Artist
Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius

The Descendants
Kevin Tent

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

Thelma Schoonmaker

Christopher Tellefsen

Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Thelma Schoonmaker for Hugo. This was a really hard choice for me as I have seen all five nominated films and while all good films no editing REALLY stood out above the others, but if I had to pick it would be Schoonmaker.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh
My Week with Marilyn

Jonah Hill

Nick Nolte

Christopher Plummer

Max von Sydow
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Nick Nolte for Warrior. Having seen only two of these five performances it clearly goes to Nolte. I really like Jonah Hill’s performance in Moneyball, but it wasn’t Oscar worthy. Nolte as usual does an excellent job in the underrated Warrior.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Bérénice Bejo
The Artist

Jessica Chastain
The Help

Melissa McCarthy

Janet McTeer
Albert Nobbs

Octavia Spencer
The Help

Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Octavia Spencer for The Help. I REALLY liked the four performances I saw and all well deserved. Melissa McCarthy’s performance was hilarious in Bridesmaids. She had me laughing out loud from her FIRST lines. Jessica Chastain was really great in The Help and Bérénice Bejo wonderful and charming in The Artist, but Octavia Spencer really surprised me in The Help HERS was my favorite performance in the film.

Actor in a Leading Role
Demián Bichir
A Better Life

George Clooney
The Descendants

Jean Dujardin
The Artist

Gary Oldman
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Brad Pitt

Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Jean Dujardin for The Artist. This was another hard choice for me. Of the three I saw they were all great! I joke on Twitter that I’m #TeamClooney because I’m a huge George Clooney fan for I think he is one of Hollywood’s true Leading Men meaning screen presence AND acting ability. I also really liked Brad Pitt in Moneyball. His performance MADE that picture the great film it was. While I thought Clooney was FANTASTIC and did give the performance of his career Jean Dujardin was simply BRILLIANT in The Artist. His performance without dialogue was nothing short of remarkable.

Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close
Albert Nobbs

Viola Davis
The Help

Rooney Mara
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Meryl Streep
The Iron Lady

Michelle Williams
My Week with Marilyn

Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Viola Davis for The Help. Not a hard choice since I’ve only seen two of these performances and while I thought her performance was ok, there was nothing Oscar worthy about Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. To be clear Viola Davis does not get my pick by default, she did a truly great job.

The Artist
Michel Hazanavicius

The Descendants
Alexander Payne

Martin Scorsese

Midnight in Paris
Woody Allen

The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick

Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Truly hard choice having seen four of these directors work. Martin Scorsese’s direction was one of the ONLY things I liked about Hugo, the direction in The Descendents by Alexander Payne was really good as was the direction by Michel Hazanavicius in The Artist, but my PICK has to go to Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris, a truly wonderful film.

The Artist
Thomas Langmann, Producer

The Descendants
Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor,

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Scott Rudin, Producer

The Help
Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and
Michael Barnathan, Producers

Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers

Midnight in Paris
Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers

Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt,

The Tree of Life
Nominees to be determined

War Horse
Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy,

Cool Black’s Oscar Pick: Again a hard choice among the six of nine I’ve seen. Of those six at least five deserving of the Best Picture nomination. Since I’m sure you’re wondering which of those seven DID NOT deserve the nomination for Best Picture it is Hugo. Great cinematography and direction, but the film just was not good to me. The main character had nothing remarkable about him and the film was long and meandering.

The Help was a wonderful film. While I understand the underlying reserve about the film (from the black community I should add) THE FILM is great and deserves all of its acclaim (You can read my review here )

Moneyball was a really great film as I said above elevated by the great performance of Brad Pitt. I’m not a fan of “sports movies” or baseball like that, but this film made a great picture out of both.

Midnight in Paris is As I stated above is a truly wonderful film. I loved the writing, the acting and the direction. Major kudos to Woody Allen for creating a classic.

The Descendents again a wonderful film. As I stated above George Clooney was FANTASTIC and gave the performance of his career. Not recognized by the Academy was the EXCELLENT Shailene Woodley as Clooney’s oldest daughter in the film. The film was indeed great and deserving of all the acclaim.

I DID NOT want to see this film. What did I want to see some black & white silent film for? Really?! But a lot of my film friends I made on the @NotherBrother Twitter raved about the film and as I like to see ANY film I said let me see what all this talk is about and as one of those friends Rebecca (@FilmFatale_NYC) of Cinema In Noir  stated something to the effect of “I was the biggest cynic walking in, but afterwards I just can’t’ stop smiling” I totally agree with that. The Artist was charming, dashing, heart tugging, funny, EXCELLENT!

My PICK for BEST PICTURE has to go to The Artist.

So that’s it, my picks this year from all the major categories. If it's one travesty this year and I always seem to have one is that Shailene Woodley was not nominated for her role in The Descendants

To see my picks from last year CLICK the graphic below

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Beyoncé at Jay-Z Carnegie Hall After Party

Beyoncé rules at Jay-Z concert's after-party, staying out long after Blue Ivy Carter's bedtime
40/40 Club's bash after Carnegie Hall concert shows Jay and Nas have put feud behind them
Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 6:00 AM
Beyoncé Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Did baby worries cause Beyoncé to skip husband Jay-Z ’s Carnegie Hall concert?
An insider tells us the booty-licious mama skipped Hova’s historic show because their infant daughter, Blue Ivy Carter , wasn’t feeling well.
The baby must have made a quick recovery because Beyoncé kicked back at the after-party until about 4 a.m.
Shortly after the booty-licious mama arrived at her husband’s 40/40 Club for post-concert festivities Monday night, we asked her if she’d gone to the show.
“Yes,” she told us, calling her spouse’s concert “amazing.”
On Tuesday, however, the 40/40 club sent out an email stating, “Despite various reports, Beyoncé did not attend Jay-Z’s concert”
The couple’s reps did not respond to our questions seeking an explanation for Beyoncé’s absence from the show, but our source said it had to do with her concerns over Ivy.
“You know how first-time mothers are,” said the source.
The 40/40 club’s e-mail noted that the pop diva’s first public appearance since the birth of Blue Ivy Carter was at the club.
“She arrived with her mother, Tina Knowles ,” and her mother-in-law, Gloria Carter. After “sprinting through a side entrance” shortly before midnight, Beyoncé toured the club for the first time since its renovation,” the e-mail read.
Looking resplendent in a hip-hugging, cleavage-showcasing red dress and embroidered Christian Louboutin shoes, the platinum-selling performer stayed until the bitter end with Hova, rapper Nas , marketing guru Steve Stoute and a few other pals.
The group held court in a cordoned-off VIP area in the middle of the 40/40, and enjoyed flutes of Ace of Spades Champagne and executive chef Mike Shand ’s signature dishes. Later in the evening, Jay-Z and Nas tossed back shots.
Beyoncé mostly stuck to water, but around 3 a.m. we observed her sipping what appeared to be a glass of bubbly.
Although Jay and his wife socialized separately, they did share a hug when Beyoncé arrived in the VIP area.
At another point in the evening, Jay-Z reached for his wife’s hand to check on her, sweetly kissing it after she assured him everything was fine.
Security was tight around the power couple and and partygoers were strongly discouraged from snapping pics of Beyoncé.
Former rivals Jay-Z and Nas — who had a very public rap feud that ended in 2005 — looked like best buds at the party. On multiple occasions Jay-Z made Nas, who was a guest performer at Carnegie Hall, laugh so hard the Queens product was almost crying.
Jay-Z & Nas Tuesday, February 7, 2012
While the party crowd was less star-studded than the club’s grand reopening three weeks ago, it was definitely highbrow. Many in attendance wore formal attire and the club enforced a dress code at the door.
A source tells us Beyoncé was at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday night where she "never stopped dancing" to Jay-Z's performance and "cried when he sang 'Glory,' " his tribute to Ivy Blue.

Cool Black's Mad Commentary: If you think Beyoncé was faking her pregnancy take a look at these...I mean this.

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