And the Academy Award nominees are…

Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey are amazing in 'Dallas Buyers Club'
Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey were both nominated in acting categories for their work in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

Once again, Hollywood was up early to listen to the Academy Award nominations for 2013 films.  Between now and March 2nd, the campaigning, debate, discussion and wagering on who will receive Oscar gold will dominate the motion picture industry.  Ellen DeGeneres will reprise her role as host of the Oscar telecast.  Here is a list of the nominees in the major categories:

Read moreAnd the Academy Award nominees are…

The 85th Oscars are in the books and there were a few surprises

Seth MacFarlane points the way as host of the 85th Oscars
Seth MacFarlane points the way as host of the 85th Oscars

There were a few surprises at the 85th Oscars (we aren’t supposed to call them the Academy Awards anymore, that’s apparently too ‘stuffy’) but one was Life of Pi which garnered four awards, including a Best Director Oscar for Ang Lee.  Argo won Best Picture and two other awards.  Its Best Picture win might have been helped by the snubbing of director Ben Affleck in the Best Director category.

Read moreThe 85th Oscars are in the books and there were a few surprises

And the snubs are…

Omari Hardwick (left) and Emayatzy Corinealdi are lovers separated by bars in 'Middle of Nowhere'
Omari Hardwick (left) and Emayatzy Corinealdi in ‘Middle of Nowhere’ completely snubbed by the Academy

Now that the nominees have been announced for the 85th annual Academy Awards, the subject always becomes who was ‘snubbed’?  It’s a long list this year, even though there are as many as ten slots for Best Picture now, rather than five as it was up until a few years ago.

Read moreAnd the snubs are…

And the (full list of) nominees are…

Navy SEALS raid Osama bin Laden's compound in 'Zero Dark Thirty'
Navy SEALS raid Osama bin Laden’s compound in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Steven Spielberg’s  Lincoln leads the Oscar nomination race with 12 followed closely by the visually amazing Life of Pi with 11.  The Best Actress in a lead role features the oldest and youngest nominees in that category’s history.  So the race is on, as studios campaign to garner awards for their films.    It all culminates on February 24th when presenters will say “the nominees are” in the following categories:

Read moreAnd the (full list of) nominees are…

And the Oscar goes to…

Who won the Oscar, and who missed out, at the 84th Academy Awards
Who won the Oscar, and who missed out, at the 84th Academy Awards

The Red Carpet was crowded with nominees and non-nominees alike, all making their way into the auditorium in what was the Kodak Theater until Kodak entered insolvency.

Host Billy Crystal owes Kodak a debt of gratitude for giving him so much extra material to work his humor with.  By the appointed hour of 5:30 p.m. local time, everyone was in place and the show was launched.

Crystal’s opening was brilliantly and wittily written as it has been each of the 8 prior times he hosted Oscar’s biggest evening.  There was even a kiss from George Clooney as Crystal stood in for the character of Clooney’s comatose wife from The Descendants, one of the films nominated for Best Picture.

Read moreAnd the Oscar goes to…

Academy Award Prognostication: Who’ll win at this years Oscars

Who’ll take home the Oscar?
Who’ll take home the Oscar?

One of the things people can wager on at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, which begins at 8:30 ET on Sunday, February 26th, is whether or not there will be any slip-ups by camera operators that show the name “Kodak Theater” on the side of the building.

For those who don’t know yet, Kodak’s financial woes have caused the company to stop paying to have its name on the theater where the golden Oscar statutettes are handed out.

While Las Vegas oddsmakers post “odds” on who will win what, you can’t legally wager on who will win an Oscar.  But there are office pools, contests and the like across the nation, so here is Tail Slate’s take on the awards.

Read moreAcademy Award Prognostication: Who’ll win at this years Oscars

Going for the Gold: This Year’s Major Oscar Picks

It’s a given that every year Hollywood will roll out its red carpet and pat itself on the back. But don’t expect anyone to come onstage at the Kodak Theatre on Sunday night’s Academy Awards telecast covering Sinatra’s “It Was A Very Good Year;” it wasn’t.

Remember 1972, when Francis Ford Coppola redefined cinematic storytelling with the haunting family saga The Godfather, only to face off against one of the great movie musicals in Bob Fosse’s Cabaret? That was a good year. Remember 1993, when Oscar also-ran Steven Spielberg finally took home gold? All he had to do was release the highest-grossing film of all time (Jurassic Park) and the year’s most acclaimed picture (Schindler’s List). That was a good year. 2004 had some high points, but they still left Oscar voters to come up with lots of filler.

And bloat those ballots they did.

Read moreGoing for the Gold: This Year’s Major Oscar Picks

Ranting at the Oscars

Before I get into Morgan Spurlock’s doc Super Size Me, I feel I should backtrack a moment to my last review. If you’re following this, I’d previously mentioned a series of reviews focusing on films the Academy was likely to nominate for this year’s Oscar-fest. I’d gone out to the multi-plex to check out The Aviator and Ray. I’d just bought Collateral on DVD. I finally caught Million-Dollar Baby. I knew intrinsically that the old Academy voters would likely overlook the best film of the year, I just wasn’t sure how grossly. The distain I harbor for those myopic voters is palpable. I mean when the best film of the year gets LESS Academy recognition than the schlock that was The Phantom of the Opera and A Series of Unfortunate Events, what does that say for our society as a whole?

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Oscar Buzz

This is a tough year to call for the Oscars. Not so much that there really isn’t one particular film that naturally stands out as a winner, but I personally have only seen a handful of the nominated movies. It’s a rare thing for me, but a natural result of having a 20-month-old son who eats up a lot of my free time.

Thankfully, I will most likely get the opportunity to see most if not all of the films before the awards are dished out. But right now I thought I’d go over some of my initial reactions, and invite anyone to post their own thoughts below about who they think will take away the famed naked statuettes.

Read moreOscar Buzz