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2017

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April 28-30

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October 27-29

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Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Progress Report, in which I clear the decks

I think it’s time, kids.  Time to start another novel.

I’ve cleared the decks.  Database is updated.  Correspondence has been caught up.  Manuscripts have been sent back out.  It’s dark, and I’m wearing sunglasses.

Hit it.

Wish me luck.

(Oh, and one Write Club update:  Giving up on one novel query.  Six months is long enough.)

Current Music: "Forever"--Y & T

Progress Report, in which I make multiple Kevin Costner references

At the beginning of Dances with Wolves, Kevin Costner says, “The strangeness of this life cannot be measured.”  He might as well have been talking about mine.  To wit:

For the past few weeks, I’ve been poking and poking at “Just a Game,” trying to find some way to either rewrite it or reinvent it, with no success.  So last Saturday, I figured I would give it maybe one more day, and if nothing came, I would reluctantly set it aside for the nonce, write it off as a loss.

That, of course, was the day the muse dropped by, and showed me what I could do with the story.

Naturally.

So now I have a plan, though it still needs fleshing out.  It will be an almost entirely new story.  I’m keeping my protagonist and his father, and one of the settings . . . and that’s about it.  The rest I’ll be making up out of whole cloth–only simpler and better than the original conception, one hopes.

Meanwhile, I received a rather crushing rejection this week from an agent who had requested a full of Wet Work.  Crushing not because it was harsh–quite the contrary–but because my hopes had gone positively stratospheric.  Even a complimentary rejection is still a rejection.  I’m back at square one, just when I thought I might be getting somewhere.  You know that bit in Field of Dreams where Burt Lancaster talks about coming this close to your dreams?  Yeah.  Right or wrong, that’s how it felt.

And yet, after picking myself off the ground and dusting myself off, I realized that at the very least, the rejection had brought me a moment of clarity.  I had been kinda thinking that if this thing with the agent panned out, I would be diving into the sequel to Wet Work.  That won’t be happening now, but there’s another novel project I’ve been contemplating of late.  Thanks to that devastating rejection, I’m now free to pursue it.

The strangeness of this life.  Just as I’m about to give up on a story, I figure out how to salvage it.  And a tough rejection helps launch me in a new direction.

And that’s probably enough Kevin Costner movie references for one blog post.

Write Club update:

Two agent rejections this week.  In addition to the aforementioned bounce on a full of Wet Work, I also got a personalized “no, thanks” from a different agent on a couple of partials.  That one wasn’t as crushing, as I had been expecting it.

Right.  Got some work to do.

Current Music: "Voodoo Chile"--The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Rotundo’s Oscarology, 2012 Edition

Is it just me, or was 2011 a crap year for movies?  I know I sure didn’t get to the theater very much.  I actually had to look at a list of films released last year, just to remind myself of what came out.  That review only confirmed how profoundly uninterested I was in most of what Hollywood proffered–endless sequels, pointless remakes, paint-by-numbers superhero fare . . . yawn.

So it is that I come to Oscar night having seen a bare handful of the nominated films.  But I never let a little thing like total ignorance stop me from making my picks, so here we go:

Best Picture

All the momentum is with The Artist.  It won the DGA and the PGA, and looks to be a shoo-in for the Oscar, too.  Is it the best movie of the year?  In my humble estimation, not by a long shot.  It’s a fun homage to the silent film era, but it’s little more than a feel-good confection.  Others have commented that Singin’ in the Rain covered this ground 60 years ago, and did a better job of it, too.  I’m hard pressed to disagree.  If I had a vote among the nominated films, I would have picked Hugo.  But I don’t, and even if I did, my vote wouldn’t prevent The Artist from taking home the big prize.

Best Director

Michel Hazanavicius will take this one, for The Artist.  The DGA win clinched it.  And I suppose you have to give some props to a guy with the cojones to even conceive of making a throwback silent film.  Much as I would love to see Martin Scorsese get his second Oscar, it’s just not happening this year.

Best Actor

Jean Dujardin, for The Artist.  Naturally.  He won the SAG award in the same category.  As I remind everyone at this time of year, actors make up the largest voting bloc in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Disregard SAG at your own peril.

Best Actress

Viola Davis, for The Help.  As with Dujardin, Davis won the SAG award.  There’s some talk that Meryl Streep could be a spoiler here, but I don’t buy it.  People assume that she has a whole shelf full of Oscars, when in fact she only has two, for work early in her career–Kramer vs. Kramer and Sophie’s Choice.  You can pretty much count on her getting nominated every year . . . and getting snubbed.

Best Supporting Actor

The SAG went to Christopher Plummer, for Beginners, and that’s good enough for me.  And hey, it’s Christopher Plummer.  Dude rocks.

Best Supporting Actress

The Help picks up another Oscar here, as SAG award winner Octavia Spencer takes home the prize.

Best Original Screenplay

Love Woody Allen or hate him, but you have to consider him the favorite after winning the WGA award for Midnight in Paris.  And will someone please explain to me how The Artist got a nomination in this category?  I mean, the film had its charms, sure, but the cliche-riddled script was not one of them.

Best Adapted Screenplay

I’m picking Omaha native Alexander Payne, along with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, to get the statuette for their work on The Descendants.  It’s not my favorite Payne film, but it is affecting, and it did with the WGA award.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Moneyball win in this category, though.

Best Animated Feature

In the absence of a Pixar film in the category (somehow Cars 2 just didn’t make the cut), I have to go with Rango.  It was a fun film, and gorgeously animated.

Best Editing

Chalk up another win for The Artist, which won an American Cinema Editors award (the Eddie, natch).  Best Picture winners often snap up the Editing Oscar, too.

Best Cinematography

As you can tell from the preceding, I look to the various guild awards for clues as to how the Academy will vote.  Using this logic, I should pick The Tree of Life, which won the ASC award.  But while the creation sequence in that film was impeccable, I’m leaning toward the absolutely gorgeous 3D work in Hugo.  It may well be the best 3D I’ve ever seen, even better than Avatar.  And you know, Hugo did garner more nominations than any other film in 2011, with eleven.  I have to figure it’s going to, you know, actually win a few.  Of course, I thought the same thing about True Grit last year, which went 0-for-10 at the Oscars.  But even so, I’m going with Hugo.  You can laugh at me later.

Best Art Direction

Hugo won a well deserved Art Directors Guild award, and I think Dante Ferretti will get an Oscar, too.

Best Costume Design

Of the nominated films, only W.E. won a Costume Designers Guild award–but this category favors Victorian period pieces.  Jane Eyre fits the bill, so I’m going that way.

Best Makeup

The Iron Lady.  Gotta go with the obvious.  Turning Meryl Streep into Margaret Thatcher is exactly the kind of work the Academy loves to recognize.

Best Original Score

The Artist gets another win here.  In a silent film, the score is the only sound you hear.  OK, so The Artist isn’t completely silent.  So what?  You know what I mean.  Don’t be a pain in the ass.

Best Original Song

Only two nominees in this category this year–and even so, you won’t hear either one performed at this year’s ceremony.  Weird, but whatever.  “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets is favored here, so that’s my pick.

Best Sound Mixing

The awards for sound often go to the Best Picture winner–but that’s obviously not an option this year.  The Cinema Audio Society honored Hugo, so I’m picking it to win.  Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go to a louder film.

Best Sound Editing

I’ll go with Hugo here, too.  See above.

Best Visual Effects

Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I think.  Some truly magnificent work on Caesar.

Best Foreign Language Film

I have to say this every year:  this is a notoriously unpredictable category.  The favorite is Iran’s A Separation, which also garnered an Oscar nomination for its script.  You know what that means:  absolutely nothing.  I’ll go with A Separation, but you could just as well throw a dart and make your pick here.

Best Documentary

I’m seeing a lot of buzz for Undefeated, but for whatever reason, I’m thinking the 3D work in Pina will carry the day.

Best Documentary Short

Saving Face.  What the hell.  Smile Pinki, about doctors performing free cleft palate surgery on poor children in India, won this category in 2008.  So why not a documentary about a plastic surgeon who helps Pakistani women scarred by acid attacks?

Best Live Action Short Film

I made a point of seeing all the nominated live action and animated short films from 2010.  Didn’t help me at all.  I missed on both categories last year.  So this year, in blissful ignorance, I’ll go with The Shore.  Best guess.

Best Animated Short Film

Pixar has a nominee in this category–La Luna–but does not do particularly well on Oscar night with short films.  I’m going with The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.

OK, I think that’s everything.  Here’s hoping 2012 is a better year for movies.  A guy can dream, right?

Enjoy the show.  Billy Crystal’s hosting, so that’s something.