Wednesday, February 20, 2013

First Look At Saturn Award Nominations

While the Oscars will be remembered for the Best Director that didn't get nominated, the Saturn Awards may get some attention between April and June over who will be up for awards.

Unlike the Oscars, the Saturn Awards, run by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films gives genre films their due. In fact, they even let some unexpected movies into the mix. That's due to giving out four different "Best Pictures" for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Action/Adventure and Horror/Thriller. While some films that the Oscars usually ignore get their due in these awards, other nominees may puzzle some people. A musical? Anne Hathway gets two nominations? What's Robot and Frank or Compliance? (Netflix will answer that question). This is my take on the major movie nominations...


The Avengers is nominated along with Cloud Atlas, Chronicle, Hunger Games, Looper and Prometheus. While The Avengers may have the edge because it earned a lot of cash, there may be support for Looper, the first Time Travel Noir film. I'll pick Avengers.


The Hobbit will compete with The Amazing Spider-Man, Life of Pi, Snow White and the Huntsman, Ted and Ruby Sparks. The big support for Hobbit will lead to a big win.


People are wondering why Les Miserables is nominated. Musicals are not action-packed, although there was some here. However, it'll be a battle between The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall and Django Unchained, while 007 just coming out on top. Taken 2 and The Bourne Legacy fills out the list


The Cabin in the Woods was the ultimate sleeper film because it was on the shelf for years while MGM tried to get its financial house in order. Lionsgate wound up releasing the film and did well. It looks like the favorite here,  but the other nominees are surprises: Argo, Zero Dark 30 and The Impossible. Also on the list are Seven Psychopaths and The Woman in Black.

There's also a category for independent films. That is going to be tough, because Compliance (which could be called a thriller and horror film) is up against Killer Joe, Hitchcock, Seeking a Friend at the End of the World, Robot and Frank (which puts new meaning to the term "computer crime"). The Paperboy and Safety Not Guaranteed. Netflix should help me catch up, but Compliance may have an edge because of the subject matter.

Now to acting:


Daniel Craig has the edge for Skyfall, the most successful Bond movie ever, and one that marks a big change in the franchise, too. He'll be challenged by Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Looper and Matthew McConaughey for Killer Joe. The other nominees are Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises), Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) and Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables).


It'll be Katniss vs. Maya this time, but they'll face some interesting competition. Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain are the front runners, with Lawrence in the race for Hunger Games. However, look out for Ann Dowd in Compliance. She may win this award. Also on the list are Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks), Helen Mirren (Hitchcock) and Naomi Watts (The Impossible).


This could be very interesting: Christoph Waltz will still have Oscar momentum thanks to Django Unchained, but Javier Bardem may have a better chance for his role in Skyfall. There's also Gordon-Levitt in Dark Knight Rises, Clark Gregg in The Avengers, Ian McKellen for The Hobbit, and Michael Fassbinder in Prometheus. It'll be Bardem by a handful of voters over Waltz.


Anne Hathaway has a good claim here, but not as Fantine. She stole The Dark Knight Rises, but the fact she's also nominated for Les Miserables may hurt her chances. A sleeper choice may be Judi Dench in Skyfall or Gina Gershon for Killer Joe. Also nominated are Charlize Theron for Snow White and the Huntsman and Nicole Kidman for The Paperboy.

Best screenplay will be interesting. Joss Whedon has two nominations, The Avengers and Cabin in the Woods (with Drew Goddard). Quentin Tarantino is also in there for Django Unchained, Tracy Letts for Killer Joe, Martin McDonagh for Seven Psychopaths and David Magee for Life of Pi. Whedon may be able to survive the vote split and win with Drew for Cabin.

Then there's Best Director. Some may wonder why Tarantino isn't in the race, but the choices make sense: Joss for Avengers, Christopher Nolan for Dark Knight Rises, Ang Lee for Life of Pi, Rian Johnson for Looper, Peter Jackson for The Hobbit and William Friedkin for Killer Joe. My preferences are Whedon, Lee and Johnson, but I am not sure. Good thing I have some time before the ballot arrives.

You can look at the entire list of nominees here, and join the Academy to have a say on who should win. Just visit Voting starts in April, and the winners will be announced in June.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Joss Whedon Dominates the Oscars...Sort Of

Since I am at a loss of how to pass the time this afternoon while I am waiting for The Walking Dead, BAFTA Awards and the Grammys, I will write a really cheesy column about how the inventor of Slaying, Vampires with Soul and Big Damn Heroes actually has a big connection with the Academy Awards in two weeks.

Joss Whedon won't be at the Academy Awards next weekend. He'll will be busy in Glasgow and Dublin showing Much Ado About Nothing to the film festivals there.  He would belong at the Oscars though, aside from his nomination for a screenplay award for Toy Story in 1995. It's actually because of his connection with what could be the favorite for Best Picture

Joss' biggest connection is Argo, the movie with the Best Director of 2012 (sorry, whoever wins the Oscar). The most obvious one Clea DuVall, who played Cora Lijek, one of the workers from the US Embassy who hid in the Canadian Embassy in Iran in 1979. She also played Marcie Ross, the invisible girl who was gunning for Cordelia  in  Buffy's first season ("Invisible Girl" or "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"). It would have been great to see what happened to Marcie after the FBI grabbed her. My guess is her invisibility wore off after being away from Sunnydale, but she figured out how to work undercover in other ways. DuVall was an FBI agent in Heroes, so it's plausible.

It doesn't stop there. Keith Szarabajka, who was Angel's nemesis Daniel Holtz, played Adam Engell one of the CIA officials discussing how to get the six Americans out of Iran.

Oh, and Ben Affleck was one of the basketball players in the original Buffy movie. It was when one the players suddenly became a vampire.

Oops, I almost forgot Tom Lenk, who plays a reporter for Variety when they have the table read for the fake movie.  He'll be more prominent when Much Ado About Nothing reaches American theaters this summer (aside from SXSW in March).

Yes, Browncoats, Alan Tydyk should be included, too. He is the voice of the Candy King in Wreck-It Ralph, a likely favorite for Best Animated Film

AHHH! I know, Tara fans. Amy Adams was also in the Buffy episode "Family", five years before she earned her first of four Oscar nominations for Junebug. She's in the Supprorting Actress race for The Master (no, not the one who was clobbered a formerly dead Slayer). Sorry about that.

Of course, the Oscars announced the cast of The Avengers will be presenting, while the film is up for the award for Best Visual Effects. You can't ignore a comic book movie that earns as much as the gross national product of a couple of small island nations.

I just wonder if Much Ado About Nothing, which was made at Joss' house in 12 days for the cost of a really long limousine, could get some awards, too. Maybe Joss may find himself in the Independent Spirit Awards in 2014. Wouldn't that be interesting?