Quentin Tarantino is the Anti-Disney. His hugely influential and popular films have featured some of the most intensely violent and twisted scenes in cinema history. Sure they were brutally hard to watch, sometimes offensive and VERY NSFW, but they go SO far over the line that you just have to sit back and watch with wonder, all the time thinking “Whoa, this guy ain’t like you and me!”
The nominations for the 2013 Oscars were announced bright and early this morning, and that brings with it another time-honored tradition: The Oscar betting pool! It’s the time of the year when suddenly everyone is a regular Siskel and Ebert, passionately weighing in on a bunch of films that we (probably) haven’t seen, guessing who’s going to take home the little gold bald dude. Normally we just bet on the thespian who has won the most accolades in the past, but this year it gets a little more tricky: ALL of the Best Supporting Actors have won Oscars before! The track record is fairly similar in the Best Leading Actor category too, with Academy honored legends like Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington and Joaquin Phoenix going head to head. Ahh, clash of the Titans! What are we going to do!?
Well, never fear, folks, because we’ve taken the time to handicap all of the actors for you, in basically the least-expert way possible. We went through their cinematic performances broken down into all the pros and cons that you need to make an informed decision for your Oscar night scorecard. Don’t worry, we’ve got one for the actresses too! Read on…
Daniel Day-Lewis: Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln
Why He Has A Good Shot: Not only did the master craftsman give the performance of his career by bringing back the controversial president, but he also grew his own beard, you guys.
What Might Hold Him Back: The Academy forgets that his last name has a hyphen, accidentally awards an Oscar to a “Daniel Day Lewis.”
Bradley Cooper: Pat Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook
Why He Has A Good Shot: Brad really showed that he was much more than a pretty face/funny guy in David O. Russell’s alt- dramedy.
First, the good news: 2012 was a really good year for movies. Now the bad: That means no matter who got an Oscar nomination this morning, there were bound to be a bunch of disappointed, but really deserving and talented, folks in Hollywood. Maybe they’ll take the relieved attitude this year’s host Seth MacFarlane suggested before making the announcements: “You can stop doing interviews where you pretend you had such a great time making the movie.”
The biggest snubs we saw were in the director category, where dark horse candidates Michael Haneke (Amour) and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) edged out favorites Ben Affleck (Argo), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) and Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) — all of which were also nominated for Best Picture.
Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announced the 85th Academy Awards nominations this morning, and absolutely no one should be surprised that a movie directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and based on the life of one of the most universally admired people on the planet garnered the most nods. Lincoln garnered 12 nominations, including Best Picture, directing, acting and supporting actors (Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones) — really they owe it all to the beard, don’t they? Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained followed in the nod count. We’ll get to the surprising snubs in a minute, but first, take a look at the full nominations list and marvel along with Emma that every single one of the supporting actor nominees has won an award before:
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Life Of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Actor In A Leading Role
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight
Actress In A Leading Role
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Forget the Golden Globes; put aside your hopes and wishes for tonight’s People’s Choice Awards; sleep in and skip tomorrow’s Oscar nominations announcement, because we here at VH1 Celebrity have a much more important title to hand out this awards season: Best Facial Hair Performance in a Motion Picture. You know we’re not alone in pointing out how important beards, mutton chops, mustaches and scruff have been to 2012′s most critically acclaimed films: Can you even imagine Lincoln, Django Unchained, Argo, Les Miserables, Bernie or (god forbid) The Hobbit with clean-shaven stars?
VH1 News polled the heavy hitters at the National Board of Review Awards on Tuesday night to see who the stars would nominate and the answers were predictably enthusiastic.
“I’m not worried about awards season, but I have been going for best beard,” Ben Affleck told us. “[Leonardo DiCaprio’s] got the best, probably, and Bradley [Cooper’s] got, like, the scruff, which doesn’t look like a beard-beard but you can’t discredit because it’s carefully calibrated.” Read more…
Yesterday was a sartorial heavyweight day thanks to three different premieres in three different cities with three different stars, each hitting it out of the fashion ball-park, so to speak. We’ll start with Jessica Chastain on the left who arrived at the New York screening of Mama at the 2012 New York Film Critics Circle Awards looking dreamy and romantic in a full-skirted, black lace overlay, embroidered Oscar de la Renta frock. She accessorized very smartly with Christian Louboutin black pumps, and Harry Winston collar diamond necklace that looked like it was worth it’s weight in … diamonds. In the middle, is Emma Stone who looked adorable and ever-so-slightly kitschy at the premiere of Gangster Squad in Hollywood. She wore a red Pre-Fall 2013 silk and brocade Lanvin dress adding the same brands ‘Babylon’ crystal necklace and Volubilis’ crystal flower brooch at the waist, with a Lanvin (again) ‘Passion’ clutch, all in red. The only non Lanvin piece on her were the Christian Louboutin ‘Pigalle’ red pumps. Lastly, to the right, we have Kerry Washington at the Paris premiere of Django Unchained wearing a gorgeous flowing, printed Rochas Spring 2013 strapless gown. She simply added a pair of ivory-and-diamond Monique Pean earrings which were clearly visible as her hair was up in a top-knot. Don’t make use choose between these three looks because we love them all. Although, to be honest, Kerry may have inched ahead for us, but that may change in a half hour. Who are you feeling the most here?
[Photos: Getty Images]
Today in totally random news that resulted in us doing the kinds of Internet searches that would get us fired at any other workplace: Don Johnson’s penis. As sheltered children of the ’80s and ’90s, we weren’t exactly aware before today that the Miami Vice star — ex-husband of Melanie Griffith and father of Ben and Kate’s Dakota Johnson — has long been rumored to be particularly well-endowed. He appears in all kinds of lists of anatomically gifted famous men. That super reliable source of info, Wiki Answers, even posits that the actor is the origin of the use of “Johnson” as a euphemism for the organ — which we’re pretty sure can’t be true but find endlessly amusing anyway.
For some reason, however, Johnson, who co-stars in Django Unchained, was quick to debunk this rumor in a chat with Rolling Stone. “Look, I’ve seen guys with a lot bigger [penises] than me,” he said. “One time, I was in the Celtics locker room talking to Larry Bird and Kevin McHale … and there’s Dennis Johnson coming out of the showers and, dude, that’s who put the Johnson in Johnson. I mean, it must have shown on my face, because when I turned back to Larry, he looked at me and said, ‘I know, huh?’ and I was like, ‘Dude, that’s a weapon.’ ”
Well, that gives another meaning to this eulogy of Dennis Johnson, who died in 2007 of a heart attack: “He always rose to the occasion.” Sorry!
[Photos: Getty Images, NBC Universal]
Quentin Tarantino’s idea of American slavery pictures Jamie Foxx riding horseback and spinning a pistol on his index finger while wearing a ridiculous blue getup with white ruffles, spewing corny-if-rebellious catch phrases like, “I like the way you die, boy.” Yes, the godfather of motion picture vengeance’s latest, Django Unchained, reverts to a significant era in history to swap victim with victor (much like 2009’s Holocaust-based Inglorious Basterds). Instead of a group of Jewish soldiers vengefully plotting against Nazi leaders, Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave turned bounty hunter, guns down any white man who impedes in the rescue of his enslaved wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). Despite Tarantino being an equal opportunity history books trivializer, the problem with Django Unchained is it’s being presented as the “hip-hop generation’s Roots” as opposed to the feel-good revisionist history it is.
Per usual, Tarantino wanted to make his audience uncomfortable. I cringed as I sat through an early December screening of Django amongst a predominantly white audience in New York City’s School of Visual Arts Theatre watching horrific, graphic scenes that included freshly welted black backs and canines eating an enslaved man alive. Even more unbearable, though, were the snickers heard during such a visually intense movie that makes light of centuries of injustice. Jonah Hill’s three-minute cameo scores cheap laughs off an amateur racist sect’s poorly constructed masks (“I can’t see sh*t!” one Klansman blurts). The word “nigger” is spat more than 100 times through the film’s two-hour-and-45-minute span.
To save you the $13 cost of admission, here’s a rundown of the plot: Two years before the Civil War in the antebellum south, German bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) purchases Django to identify three murdering thieves known as the Brittle brothers who have price tags on their heads. In exchange, Dr. Schultz mentors Django in the art of murder, playing Batman to Django’s Robin in the pursuit of his lady. They take off for Mississippi when they learn of Broomhilda’s whereabouts, at Calvin Candie’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) vast Candyland plantation deep in the racism-rich South. It’s like the King of Diamonds of plantations—female house slaves dress in fine bouffant dresses and his right-hand house slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), gives insight on business matters, and even sasses white visitors. Candie himself is a sarcastic, slick-talking overseer who indulges in violent Mandingo fights while his slave mistress watches, cocktail in hand. As the film nears its end, Tarantino’s signature twists lead to an expected bout of bloody, gory action.
All trigger-happy abolitionist fun, right? A good ol’ spaghetti western complete with Rick Ross and a James Brown/2pac mash-up on the soundtrack. You’ve got to wonder how many moviegoers will watch, munching on nachos and popcorn, and depart their seats thinking, “Slavery wasn’t too bad after all,” or worse, “Why didn’t all slaves just revolt?” Let’s get real. Django’s opportunity to shoot down slavemasters one-by-one would’ve never happened—he’d be hung after the first white man he killed, but most likely would’ve never sought revenge at all. The institution of slavery was deeper than whips and chains; it was a deep-rooted mental oppression that psychologically suppressed its sufferers.
Sure, Django Unchained is not a documentary intended to inform. But even though Tarantino has stated that he was “uncomfortable” presenting the slave experience, the whipping scenes and BS phrenologist comparisons of a slave’s skull to that of a free man don’t always play that way on screen. I wish that he would have put the same level of thought into developing Jackson’s well-acted role, which hardly surpasses the “house nigger” caricature. Or avoiding the Great White Hope meme (see: Glory, Dangerous Minds, Blind Side, The Help) that finds Foxx playing sidekick and Washington as a voiceless damsel. In reality, there was no nice German savior swooping in to emancipate the enslaved. Freedom was an impossible task seldom achieved by slaves making ultimate sacrifices.
Tarantino lauded himself for being familiar enough with the subject of slavery and black culture to critique Roots, Alex Haley’s thorough cinematic exploration of American slavery. “When you look at Roots, nothing about it rings true in the storytelling, and none of the performances ring true for me either,” he told The Daily Beast of the film adapted from literary fiction masterpiece Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The enslavement of Africans in the U.S. for more than 400 years was much worse than could ever be portrayed on screen, yet Roots is still the closest depiction of the often-closeted atrocity. Django Unchained is no Roots. The problem, however, is Tarantino’s packaging of his latest effort as some type of eye-opening, thought-provoking, progressive piece of art.
Slavery has long been America’s dirty little secret that’s often left untouched. Most Americans aren’t versed enough on the effects that unfortunately linger today. Any film, entertainment or not, has a responsibility to address the topic with a certain level of information—and acknowledgement of slavery’s lasting effects—presented.
Jamie Foxx told VIBE magazine that “Every two, three years there is a movie about the holocaust because they want you to remember and they want you to be reminded of what it was.” He argued African-Americans should recall slavery with the same urgency, and that’s why this film must be supported. Difference is, America doesn’t wish to forget the Holocaust. And Django Unchained may very well remind America of its dark twisted past, it does so by misinforming and making the masses feel good about it first.
The nominees for the 2013 Golden Globes were announced bright and early this morning, and the list didn’t feature a ton of surprises. Perhaps the most surprising part is that these men and women have all kept truckin’ with their acting careers despite having made some hilariously bad role choices in the past. Congrats guys, you’re an illustration of the enduring human spirit! Or maybe you all just got better agents…
To be fair, folks like Leonardo DiCaprio, Helen Hunt and Joaquin Phoenix when they made their turkeys, so they didn’t know any better. But not everyone in this list has that excuse! Ben Affleck might have a GG nod for best director with Argo, but it still doesn’t excuse the fact that he helped bring Gigli to life. And why have we all forgotten that The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies was in Snakes On A Plane, or that Alec Baldwin appeared as Mr. Conductor in the children’s train movie Thomas And The Magic Track? It’s pretty priceless!
Let’s dive deep into the IMDB page of these acclaimed thespians and pull out some truly amazing forgotten films. It’s like cinematic naked baby photos! And always remember: You too can still rise to the top, even if you’ve made a movie as bad as She-Devil.
[Photo: Getty Images]
With Jessica Alba, Ed Helms and Megan Fox announcing the nominees for the 2013 Golden Globe Awards, we thought maybe there would be a few more unconventional choices this year. But alas, there was not a single Magic Mike nomination in sight. Instead, historical fare like Lincoln, Argo and Django Unchained led the pack on the movie side, while Game Change and Homeland took over on TV. With Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook dominating the comedy/musical categories, we’re kind of leaving it up to the older ladies of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel — and Jack Black — to make this a less serious occasion. Also, apparently we need to check out Salmon Fishing in Yemen, since that little-seen Ewan McGregor/Emily Blunt flick nabbed a few nods (and we’re trying not to hold Beasts of the Southern Wild’s snub against it). But we are happy that New Girl, Girls, Downton Abbey and Nashville are bringing some awesome girl power to the event, which will be appropriately hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey on January 15. Check out the full list of nominees below.
Best Picture, Drama
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty
Best Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Salmon Fishing In The Yemen
Silver Linings Playbook
Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Best Actor, Musical or Comedy
Jack Black, Bernie
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Ewan MCGregor, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson
Best Actress, Musical or Comedy
Emily Blunt, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Judi Dench, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Maggie Smith, Quartet
Meryl Streep, Hope Springs