Archive for February, 2011

Thoughts and Prognostications on the upcoming (and soon to be in the past) 83rd Academy Awards . . .Or, What I did at Work Today.

Posted in Surveys and opinions with tags , on February 26, 2011 by JonH

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards are coming up tomorrow (Sunday, February 27th), and while I don’t make it a point to watch them I’m always interested to know who takes home the big prize for best picture.

Last year, despite it being a good movie, I was a bit surprised when “The Hurt Locker” won. I thought “Inglourious Basterds” was the better movie, but that’s because I thought it was more imaginative in its conception and cleverer in its execution. The former was a reimagining of history; the latter more historically accurate, but one doesn’t necessarily trump the other. I go to movies for entertainment. I read books for information. Alas, this is not what lurks in the minds of those whose votes count when making such important decisions as what’s to be the best picture of the year. There always seems to be a bit of disparity between what the audience thinks, what the critics think, and what the academy thinks.

This year the nominees are Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception (two part review: here and here), The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone.

Having only seen four of these movies I’m not really in a position to provide any critical insight into which one should win. I’m merely going to offer some guesses based on what Rotten Tomatoes has to say on the matter. For interest’s sake, prior to divulging my choice for best picture, I’m also including a list of the previous 80 some-odd winners over the past eight decades, and what percentage of critics and audience members have provided positive reviews of each.

Here’s the list, complete with who hosted and where the event took place, as pilfered from Oscar.org. As you’ll see, there were a few stinkers.

1st Awards
Thursday, May 16, 1929, in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (banquet)
Hosts: Academy President Douglas Fairbanks, William C. deMille
Critics: 96%
Audience: 75%
Best Picture of 1927/1928: “Wings”

2nd Awards
Thursday, April 3, 1930, at the Cocoanut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel (banquet)
Host: William C. deMille, Academy President
Critics: 38%
Audience: 30%
Best Picture of 1928/29: “The Broadway Melody”

3rd Awards
Wednesday, November 5, 1930, in the Fiesta Room of the Ambassador Hotel (banquet)
Host: Conrad Nagel
Critics: 97%
Audience: 85%
Best Picture of 1929/1930: “All Quiet on the Western Front”

4th Awards
Tuesday, November 10, 1931, in the Sala D’Oro of the Biltmore Hotel (banquet)
Host: Lawrence Grant
Critics: 50%
Audience: 30%
Best Picture of 1930/1931: “Cimarron”

5th Awards
Friday, November 18, 1932, in the Fiesta Room of the Ambassador Hotel (banquet)
Host: Conrad Nagel, Academy President
Critics: 86%
Audience: 77%
Best Picture of 1931/1932: “Grand Hotel”

6th Awards
Friday, March 16, 1934, in the Fiesta Room of the Ambassador Hotel (banquet)
Host: Will Rogers
Critics: 64%
Audience: 32%
Best Picture of 1932/1933: “Cavalcade”

7th Awards
Wednesday, February 27, 1935, at the Biltmore Bowl of the Biltmore Hotel (banquet)
Hosts: Irvin S. Cobb
Critics: 97%
Audience: 92%
Best Picture of 1934: “It Happened One Night”

8th Awards
Thursday, March 5, 1936, at the Biltmore Bowl of the Biltmore Hotel (banquet)
Host: Frank Capra, Academy President
Critics: 93%
Audience: 79%
Best Picture of 1935: “Mutiny on the Bounty”

9th Awards
Thursday, March 4, 1937, at the Biltmore Bowl of the Biltmore Hotel (banquet)
Host: George Jessel
Critics: 59%
Audience: 59%
Best Picture of 1936: “The Great Ziegfeld”

10th Awards
Thursday, March 10, 1938 (postponed from March 3), at the Biltmore Bowl of the Biltmore Hotel (banquet)
Host: Bob Burns
Critics: 70%
Audience: 71%
Best Picture of 1937: “The Life of Emile Zola”

11th Awards
Thursday, February 23, 1939, at the Biltmore Bowl of the Biltmore Hotel (banquet)
Host: Frank Capra, Academy President
Critics: 96%
Audience: 87%
Best Picture of 1938: “You Can’t Take It with You”

12th Awards
Thursday, February 29, 1940, at the Cocoanut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel (banquet)
Host: Bob Hope (for last half only)
Critics: 95%
Audience: 91%
Best Picture of 1939: “Gone with the Wind”

13th Awards
Thursday, February 27, 1941, at the Biltmore Bowl of the Biltmore Hotel (banquet addressed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt via direct-line radio from Washington D.C.)
Host: Walter Wanger, Academy President
Critics: 100%
Audience: 91%
Best Picture of 1940: “Rebecca”

14th Awards
Thursday, February 26, 1942, at the Biltmore Bowl of the Biltmore Hotel (dinner)
Host: Bob Hope
Critics: 88%
Audience: 83%
Best Picture of 1941: “How Green Was My Valley”

15th Awards
Thursday, March 4, 1943, at the Cocoanut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel (banquet)
Host: Bob Hope
Critics: 86%
Audience: 85%
Best Picture of 1942: “Mrs. Miniver”

16th Awards
Thursday, March 2, 1944, at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
Host: Jack Benny (for overseas broadcast)
Critics: 97%
Audience: 94%
Best Picture of 1943: “Casablanca”

17th Awards
Thursday, March 15, 1945, at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
Hosts: John Cromwell (for first half), Bob Hope (for last half)
Critics: 75%
Audience: 80%
Best Picture of 1944: “Going My Way”

18th Awards
Thursday, March 7, 1946, at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
Host: Bob Hope, James Stewart
Critics: 100%
Audience: 86%
Best Picture of 1945: “The Lost Weekend”

19th Awards
Thursday, March 13, 1947, at the Shrine Auditorium
Host: Jack Benny
Critics: 97%
Audience: 91%
Best Picture of 1946: “The Best Years of Our Lives”

20th Awards
Saturday, March 20, 1948, at the Shrine Auditorium
Host: None
Critics: 83%
Audience: 79%
Best Picture of 1947: “Gentleman’s Agreement”

21st Awards
Thursday, March 24, 1949, at the Academy Award Theater
Host: Robert Mongomery
Critics: 92%
Audience: 80%
Best Picture of 1948: “Hamlet”

22nd Awards
Thursday, March 23, 1950, at the RKO Pantages Theatre
Host: Paul Douglas
Critics: 96%
Audience: 75%
Best Picture of 1949: “All the King’s Men”

23rd Awards
Thursday, March 29, 1951, at the RKO Pantages Theatre
Host: Fred Astaire
Critics: 100%
Audience: 94%
Best Picture of 1950: “All about Eve”

24th Awards
Thursday, March 20, 1952, at the RKO Pantages Theatre
Host: Danny Kaye
Critics: 98%
Audience: 76%
Best Picture of 1951: “An American in Paris”

25th Awards
Thursday, March 19, 1953, at the RKO Pantages Theatre (first telecast)
Host: Bob Hope
Critics: 41%
Audience: 62%
Best Picture of 1952: “The Greatest Show on Earth”

26th Awards
Thursday, March 25, 1954, at the RKO Pantages Theatre
Host: Donald O’Connor
Critics: 88%
Audience: 83%
Best Picture of 1953: “From Here to Eternity”

27th Awards
Wednesday, March 30, 1955, at the RKO Pantages Theatre
Host: Bob Hope
Critics: 100%
Audience: 94%
Best Picture of 1954: “On the Waterfront”

28th Awards
Wednesday, March 21, 1956, at the RKO Pantages Theatre
Host: Jerry Lewis
Critics: 100%
Audience: 86%
Best Picture of 1955: “Marty”

29th Awards
Wednesday, March 27, 1957, at the RKO Pantages Theatre
Host: Jerry Lewis
Critics: 73%
Audience: 52%
Best Picture of 1956: “Around the World in 80 Days”

30th Awards
Wednesday, March 26, 1958, at the RKO Pantages Theatre
Hosts: Bob Hope, Jack Lemmon, David Niven, Rosalind Russell, James Stewart and Donald Duck (on film)
Critics: 95%
Audience: 90%
Best Picture of 1957: “The Bridge on the River Kwai”

31st Awards
Monday, April 6, 1959, at the RKO Pantages Theatre
Hosts: Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, David Niven, Sir Laurence Olivier, Tony Randall, Mort Sahl
Critics: 74%
Audience: 75%
Best Picture of 1958: “Gigi”

32nd Awards
Monday, April 4, 1960, at the RKO Pantages Theatre
Host: Bob Hope
Critics: 91%
Audience: 80%
Best Picture of 1959: “Ben-Hur”

33rd Awards
Monday, April 17, 1961, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
Host: Bob Hope
Critics: 91%
Audience: 93%
Best Picture of 1960: “The Apartment”

34th Awards
Monday, April 9, 1962, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
Host: Bob Hope
Critics: 91%
Audience: 82%
Best Picture of 1961: “West Side Story”

35th Awards
Monday, April 8, 1963, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
Host: Frank Sinatra
Critics: 98%
Audience: 91%
Best Picture of 1962: “Lawrence of Arabia”

36th Awards
Monday, April 13, 1964, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
Host: Jack Lemmon
Critics: 81%
Audience: 60%
Best Picture of 1963: “Tom Jones”

37th Awards
Monday, April 5, 1965, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
Host: Bob Hope
Critics: 94%
Audience: 87%
Best Picture of 1964: “My Fair Lady”

38th Awards
Monday, April 18, 1966, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (first telecast in color)
Host: Bob Hope
Critics: 82%
Audience: 86%
Best Picture of 1965: “The Sound of Music”

39th Awards
Monday, April 10, 1967, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
Host: Bob Hope
Critics: 86%
Audience: 86%
Best Picture of 1966: “A Man for All Seasons”

40th Awards
Wednesday, April 10, 1968 (postponed from April 8), at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
Host: Bob Hope
Critics: 96%
Audience: 90%
Best Picture of 1967: “In the Heat of the Night”

41st Awards
Monday, April 14, 1969, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: None
Critics: 85%
Audience: 72%
Best Picture of 1968: “Oliver!”

42nd Awards
Tuesday, April 7, 1970, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: None
Critics: 90%
Audience: 87%
Best Picture of 1969: “Midnight Cowboy”

43rd Awards
Thursday, April 15, 1971, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: None
Critics: 97%
Audience: 93%
Best Picture of 1970: “Patton”

44th Awards
Monday, April 10, 1972, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Hosts: Helen Hayes, Alan King, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jack Lemmon
Critics: 98%
Audience: 85%
Best Picture of 1971: “The French Connection”

45th Awards
Tuesday, March 27, 1973, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Hosts: Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson
Critics: 100%
Audience: 97%
Best Picture of 1972: “The Godfather”

46th Awards
Tuesday, April 2, 1974, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Hosts: John Huston, Diana Ross, Burt Reynolds, David Niven
Critics: 91%
Audience: 93%
Best Picture of 1973: “The Sting”

47th Awards
Tuesday, April 8, 1975, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Hosts: Sammy Davis, Jr., Bob Hope, Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra
Critics: 98%
Audience: 96%
Best Picture of 1974: “The Godfather Part II”

48th Awards
Monday, March 29, 1976, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Hosts: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, George Segal, Goldie Hawn, Gene Kelly
Critics: 96%
Audience: 95%
Best Picture of 1975: “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

49th Awards
Monday, March 28, 1977, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Hosts: Richard Pryor, Jane Fonda, Ellen Burstyn, Warren Beatty
Critics: 93%
Audience: 65%
Best Picture of 1976: “Rocky”

50th Awards
Monday, April 3, 1978, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Bob Hope
Critics: 98%
Audience: 92%
Best Picture of 1977: “Annie Hall”

51st Awards
Monday, April 9, 1979, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Johnny Carson
Critics: 91%
Audience: 91%
Best Picture of 1978: “The Deer Hunter”

52nd Awards
Monday, April 14, 1980, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Johnny Carson
Critics: 88%
Audience: 85%
Best Picture of 1979: “Kramer vs. Kramer”

53rd Awards
Tuesday, March 31, 1981 (postponed from March 30), at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Johnny Carson
Critics: 91%
Audience: 85%
Best Picture of 1980: “Ordinary People”

54th Awards
Monday, March 29, 1982, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Johnny Carson
Critics: 86%
Audience: 77%
Best Picture of 1981: “Chariots of Fire”

55th Awards
Monday, April 11, 1983, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Hosts: Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore, Richard Pryor, Walter Matthau
Critics: 85%
Audience: 91%
Best Picture of 1982: “Gandhi”

56th Awards
Monday, April 9, 1984, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Johnny Carson
Critics: 89%
Audience: 82%
Best Picture of 1983: “Terms of Endearment”

57th Awards
Monday, March 25, 1985, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Jack Lemmon
Critics: 96%
Audience: 94%
Best Picture of 1984: “Amadeus”

58th Awards
Monday, March 24, 1986, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Hosts: Alan Alda, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams
Critics: 63%
Audience: 84%
Best Picture of 1985: “Out of Africa”

59th Awards
Monday, March 30, 1987, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Hosts: Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, Paul Hogan
Critics: 86%
Audience: 91%
Best Picture of 1986: “Platoon”

60th Awards
Monday, April 11, 1988, at the Shrine Auditorium
Host: Chevy Chase
Critics: 91%
Audience: 86%
Best Picture of 1987: “The Last Emperor”

61st Awards
Wednesday, March 29, 1989, at the Shrine Auditorium
Host: None
Critics: 87%
Audience: 88%
Best Picture of 1988: “Rain Man”

62nd Awards
Monday, March 26, 1990, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Billy Crystal
Critics: 79%
Audience: 78%
Best Picture of 1989: “Driving Miss Daisy”

63rd Awards
Monday, March 25, 1991, at the Shrine Auditorium
Host: Billy Crystal
Critics: 78%
Audience: 84%
Best Picture of 1990: “Dances with Wolves”

64th Awards
Monday, March 30, 1992, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Billy Crystal
Critics: 96%
Audience: 93%
Best Picture of 1991: “The Silence of the Lambs”

65th Awards
Monday, March 29, 1993, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Billy Crystal
Critics: 96%
Audience: 91%
Best Picture of 1992: “Unforgiven”

66th Awards
Monday, March 21, 1994, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Whoopi Goldberg
Critics: 97%
Audience: 96%
Best Picture of 1993: “Schindler’s List”

67th Awards
Monday, March 27, 1995, at the Shrine Auditorium
Host: David Letterman
Critics: 70%
Audience: 93%
Best Picture of 1994: “Forrest Gump”

68th Awards
Monday, March 25, 1996, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Whoopi Goldberg
Critics: 79%
Audience: 83%
Best Picture of 1995: “Braveheart”

69th Awards
Monday, March 24, 1997, at the Shrine Auditorium
Host: Billy Crystal
Critics: 83%
Audience: 82%
Best Picture of 1996: “The English Patient”

70th Awards
Monday, March 23, 1998, at the Shrine Auditorium
Host: Billy Crystal
Critics: 83%
Audience: 68%
Best Picture of 1997: “Titanic”

71st Awards
Sunday, March 21, 1999, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Host: Whoopi Goldberg
Critics: 93%
Audience: 76%
Best Picture of 1998: “Shakespeare in Love”

72nd Awards
Sunday, March 26, 2000, at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center
Host: Billy Crystal
Critics: 89%
Audience: 90%
Best Picture of 1999: “American Beauty”

73rd Awards
Sunday, March 25, 2001, at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center
Host: Steve Martin
Critics: 78%
Audience: 85%
Best Picture of 2000: “Gladiator”

74th Awards
Sunday, March 24, 2002, at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland
Host: Whoopi Goldberg
Critics: 78%
Audience: 91%
Best Picture of 2001: “A Beautiful Mind”

75th Awards
Sunday, March 23, 2003, at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland
Host: Steve Martin
Critics: 88%
Audience: 80%
Best Picture of 2002: “Chicago”

76th Awards
Sunday, February 29, 2004, at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland
Host: Billy Crystal
Critics: 94%
Audience: 83%
Best Picture of 2003: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

77th Awards
Sunday, February 27, 2005, at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland
Host: Chris Rock
Critics: 92%
Audience: 87%
Best Picture of 2004: “Million Dollar Baby”

78th Awards
Sunday, March 5, 2006, at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland
Host: Jon Stewart
Critics: 76%
Audience: 89%
Best Picture of 2005: “Crash”

79th Awards
Sunday, February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland
Host: Ellen DeGeneres
Critics: 93%
Audience: 92%
Best Picture of 2006: “The Departed”

80th Awards
Sunday, February 24, 2008, at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland
Host: Jon Stewart
Critics: 95%
Audience: 84%
Best Picture of 2007: “No Country for Old Men”

81st Awards
Sunday, February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland
Host: Hugh Jackman
Critics: 94%
Audience: 90%
Best Picture of 2008: “Slumdog Millionaire”

82nd Awards
Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland
Host: Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin
Critics: 97%
Audience: 83%
Best Picture of 2009: “Hurt Locker”
Interestingly, on Rotten Tomatoes, “Up” had a better response from both critics (98%) and audience (86%) alike.

This year’s nominations with their corresponding percentages from RT are as follows:

Black Swan
Critics: 88%
Audience: 86%

The Fighter
Critics: 90%
Audience: 90%

Inception
Critics: 86%
Audience: 93%

The Kids Are All Right
Critics: 94%
Audience: 73%

The King’s Speech
Critics: 94%
Audience: 95%

127 Hours
Critics: 93%
Audience: 88%

The Social Network
Critics: 96%
Audience: 89%

Toy Story 3
Critics: 99%
Audience: 91%

True Grit
Critics: 95%
Audience: 87%

Winter’s Bone
Critics: 95%
Audience: 74%

For this year, if one were basing the outcome solely on the numbers generated by what the critics aggregated by Rotten Tomatoes indicate the winner would be “Toy Story 3”.

However, as in the case of “Up”, there seems to be an issue on behalf of the academy to select animated films for the top honour, so if you were to pick the movie most closely agreed upon by critics and audience members alike, the winner would be “The Fighter”.

In the end, though, despite what the numbers may indicate, I’m willing to wager a firm handshake that “The King’s Speech” takes the Oscar for Best Picture of 2010.

What do you think?

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Fundraising for Cancer Research on June 25 and 26

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 10, 2011 by JonH

For those of you following the blog hopefully you’ve had the chance to read about my experiences with long distance bike rides.

Well, this June I thought I’d ramp things up considerably and take part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. This two day ride leaves from Calgary on June 25 and meanders the highways and biways of Alberta’s foothills, and into the Rocky Mountains. Day one ends with camping and entertainment, and, if good fortune smiles upon my partner and me, a shower. After what I think will be a relaxing evening under the stars we’ll be back on our bikes for day two. The ride is around 200 kilometres. This will easily be the longest ride I’ve ever taken part in. I’m feeling pretty good about it.

I have to admit I don’t know much else about the ride. I’ve glossed over important things like where the ride ends, whether or not we need to pack tents, and what we’ll need in terms of support (i.e. what happens if I pop a tire, that sort of thing), but all of that pales in comparison to the excitement I’m feeling over the prospects of undertaking this ride. It’s a personal challenge, but more importantly I feel it’s a small gesture as a means to remember the people in my life and the lives of friends and family that have lost loved ones to cancer.

If you would like to help me and my riding partner, Matt Jaffray reach our fundraising goals, or if you just want more information, please visit my Ride to Conquer Cancer web page.

Thanks and peas out!