Kermit and the rest of the gang are back at work to bring us the sequel to the highly successful return of the Muppets – now officially titled The Muppets… Again! Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, and Ray Liotta are all on board to star, and James Bobin – who directed The Muppets – returns to helm the sequel. Have a look at the official release after the jump, which includes some words from our favorite little green guy.
It’s Friday. Oscars are on Sunday. I’ve rattled my brain for hours, days, weeks. It hurts. I can’t. I am fully ready to be wrong in many categories. I also chickened out in several categories.
I wanted to put Max Von Sydow instead of Christopher Plummer. Not happening. Can I get some type of credit if it happens? No? I thought so. I wanted to place “The Artist” winning Original Screenplay over Woody Allen and “Midnight in Paris.” Terrible. I’m usually good at taking the big stabs. I chose Amy Adams when everyone said it was Rachel Weisz. I acknowledged I was wrong but I still went for it. It happens. But I have called great things like “The Hurt Locker” in May or Alan Arkin over Eddie Murphy and when I was in high school and had no idea what I was talking about I said Marcia Gay Harden for “Pollock.” Maybe it’ll be a safe year, maybe it’ll be a complete mind-trip, but at least it’ll be over. And then we can start this painful process again on Monday morning with the Year-In-Advance predictions.
You can check out each category through the Oscar Prediction pages with commentary for each category and my Who Will Win/Should Win. If you read the Davis Awards 2011, then you know my dream nominations and winners. Collectively, they are after the jump.
Much like Kris Tapley over at In Contention does his list of the 10 best shots of each year, I like to do something similar as well here at The Awards Circuit. The wrinkle for me is that I go with the best/most memorable scenes of the year. It’s also kind of a tie in/companion piece with my article on what films from 2011 will stand the test of time. I couldn’t limit it to just 10, so I included 5 of the 15 runners-up and came up with 15 different scenes that were my personal favorites. 8 of my 10 favorite films of 2011 are on the final cut of the list (all wound up in the piece though when you factor in the honorable mentions), but overall I think these are going to be widely considered some of the best scenes of the year. Of course, I’m eager to read what you all have to say/view as the best of the year as well, so we’ll get to that at the end. For now, let’s get on with it and talk about the best scenes from 2011!
There is clearly something wrong with is category this year. There have always been five songs nominated and now we have two songs. How odd.
And the Nominees Are
• “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets
Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
• “Real in Rio” from Rio
Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown; Lyric by Siedah Garrett
Let’s be honest here, this category is the weakest category of the bunch this year. I say that not only because of the two songs nominated but because of the songs chosen to be nominated. I’ve had this debate with quite a few people but I never thought much of the song “Man or Muppet”. It is not my favorite song in the movie and it is certainly not the best, “Life’s a Happy Song” is and in my opinion the better one. And as far as Rio goes, out of two nominees, I can’t believe it was the song chosen from a list of so many better songs.
According to Deadline, neither of the nominees this year in the Best Original Song category will see their tunes performed during the Oscar telecast. Here’s the story:
It was bad enough that just about every eligible tune in the Best Original Song category was omitted from this year’s Academy Awards nominations. Or that, due to their complicated voting system, the music branch of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences saw fit to nominate only two songs: Rio’s “Real In Rio” and The Muppets’ ”Man or Muppet” when well-known artists like Elton John, Mary J. Blige, and Sinead O’Connor also had terrific songs in the mix. But now Deadline has learned that neither nominated song will be performed during the Oscar telecast as things stand now. We understand that both studios — Rio‘s Fox and The Muppets‘ Disney — formally protested the decision to skip but received turn-downs. ”It seems like a huge missed opportunity to me, and we certainly tried,” one song insider just told us. Said another song insider: “It doesn’t make sense. They could have so much fun with Muppets and Rio staging.”
Last week I got on Skype with musician/actor Bret McKenzie to discuss his work on the music for ‘The Muppets’. One of these days I’ll be able to share the actual audio with you of my interviews (I have a chat with Mike Mills and one with Jeremy Irvine caught in limbo for that exact reason), but for now, a transcription will have to do. Bret was a lot of fun to talk to, and I hope it comes off in the interview. We spent about 5 minutes making small talk about the wonders of Skype when he called me, so the transcription starts off a few minutes in after that back and forth (don’t think anyone cares about Bret being impressed that I can record the conversation and me betraying my lack of knowledge about my macbook/garage band as well as a recent failing with my iPad), but hopefully it still comes off naturally. Anyway, let’s get to my chat with Bret McKenzie. Enjoy everyone!
As the year stands behind us and we gear up for the upcoming award shows including the Critics Choice Awards which will be broadcast on VH1, Thursday, January 12th @ 8pm ET. Make sure you tune in.
As for our own critics here at the Awards Circuit, I am pleased to present the Staff Writers choices for the Top 10 Best Films of 2011. Having a hand in hiring most of these writers that are on board, I am also eager to see the eclectic tastes as we try to form a non-consensus here at the site. We fully embrace how we are all different and look at film in a different way from our next critic or reader. We respect and we view with curiosity. I sincerely hope the readership of the Awards Circuit will share your Top Ten films in the comment section because I’m eager to hear what you guys and gals loved in 2011 as well.
The Year-In-Review continues with some non-traditional citations on certain films and performances that did or did not make head way in 2011. What are your choices for “Limited Performance” of the year? or Most Underrated Film? or share what you thought about the Year-in-TV as I dish out my favorites in Television Drama and Comedies. Read more after jump. Read more on Year-In-Review: Editor’s Specialty Awards…
2011 presented a nice eclectic view of cinema we haven’t seen throughout the years. If we summed it up to a ‘theme’ for the year, “silence” or “origins of cinema” would come to mind. Films like Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” and Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” would fall in line with those thoughts.
When creating my ballots for the Best of the Year, the are obvious categories that are stacked to the brim which would be inevitable for some omissions that in other years would either make the shortlist or be the clear front winner. I’ll address all of these as the week’s ‘Year-In-Review’ winds down but I’ll be curious to hear the thoughts of our readership.
Listed below is the Honorable Mention films ranking my #20 through #11 along with the unranked citations of certain films from the year.
I love the Muppets. That much everyone should know up front. Even their worst outing has still managed to entertain me. I was delighted by their new film which opened just recently a few weeks ago (my Early Review of which you can read here), and I think audiences will continue flocking to it. I wanted to write something up to honor them the week it opened, but Thanksgiving got in the way (I was on vacation with my girlfriend to meet her family down in Baltimore, which could have been a movie in and of itself), and I didn’t exactly know how to go about doing it. My recent Interview with Kermit the Frog (found here) makes for a good companion piece with this, but I wound up deciding to sort of give a Cliff Notes style overview to the history of the Muppets, starting with Jim Henson’s creation of them in 1954, through their acquisition by the Walt Disney Company in 2004, until this week’s new flick, but focusing mainly on what they meant to me. Anyone can read a history of the Muppets, but perhaps tying that in to what they mean to me will provide an interesting twist. Along the way there will be high points, a few valleys to go along with the peaks, and a lot of love. A whole lot of love. You can count on that…
Yes, you read that headline right ladies and gents. I recently got to correspond with Kermit, the star of ‘The Muppets’, and all around childhood icon of mine. It’s a surreal moment to be sure, and I may have freaked out just a bit to my girlfriend, former AC writer and current close friend Myles Hughes, and just about every member of my family when I got the email asking if I was interested in this opportunity, but I did my best not to embarrass myself while composing these questions. It’s a pretty quick back and forth as Kermit is understandably a busy frog, so it’s hardly as long as I would have liked, but I think I would have had 100 questions to ask if given the chance. Anyway, enough stumbling over myself. Here’s my chat with Kermit the Frog..I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!
Oh, I talked it up. I showed everyone the brilliant parody trailers numerous times. I told anyone who would listen that The Muppets was my most anticipated film of 2011 (not completely a lie, but perhaps a slight fib of sorts…). And in an honest moment, I did think that Jason Segel, as lead actor and co-screenwriter of this reintroduction of the beloved Muppets characters of days gone past, would likely deliver a film that would be some kind of a success. Truth be told, I have memories of the Muppets, but they did not define my childhood all that much. I have my favorite characters, moments archived in my mental Rolodex. Moreover, I just always like seeing these Muppets pop in and out from time to time and I have often chuckled over YouTube clips, one-off appearances, and even enjoyed Sesame Street’s Muppets with both of my daughters through the years. Yes, I have laughed out loud watching Elmo. Don’t judge.
Film reviewers and writers are rightfully mocked for dropping quotable absurdities such as “_________ is the Best Film of the Year!” for a film coming out in March or May. I also love the constant hyperbole which accompanies declarations that we, as critics, make when we declare a male or female actor’s work as “the greatest ever!” or they have given “a performance to define their career!” Ugh. Lastly, I cringe when reviewers use the loathsome, “If you see one movie…see this!” line, ignoring one of the first rules in the “Please Don’t Say or Write These Words Ever!” chapter of the movie reviewer’s handbook.
My point with all of this is that when I talked up The Muppets to people, I championed these same types of cliches because it felt alright to tell people that this will be the best film ever and the Muppets are the greatest and there will be no movie better ever than this one. I was kidding. But, you know what. The joke is on me. So…(ahem)…let me memorialize these words in print.
If you see one film to share with the entire family, which features characters you have come to know and love appearing better than ever before, and you want to experience one of the year’s best films, see “The Muppets.”
With all the sincerity I can muster, I mean every last word.
For the first time ever, I’ll be starting off my preview of the week’s new films with the limited releases. Not because there’s anything lacking about the wide releases. Far from it, this Thanksgiving weekend is yielding several amazing-looking films both mainstream and indie. No, I’m only switching things around to keep up the theme of David Cronenberg Week. So y’all can guess by now that I’ll first be analyzing…
A Dangerous Method, based on Christopher Hampton’s play The Talking Cure, centers on the professional relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud as well as the complicating presence of the beautiful, intelligent but deeply troubled Sabina Spielrein. The film has been enjoying mostly positive reviews, with its performances, dialogue and production values being singled out for particular praise. Nevertheless, it’s clear that there is a hint of disappointment in its critical evaluations, as many (including yours truly) had initially pegged it as “the” film; the one that would finally catapult the legendary David Cronenberg to an Academy Award nomination for Best Director after a long, distinguished career ignored by the staid organization. While it’s still possible, competition from the likes of The Descendants, The Artist and War Horse required A Dangerous Method to garner more effusive “best of the year!” acclaim to stand a fighting chance considering its subject matter. Even if he personally doesn’t make it, one should still look for it in other categories. Keira Knightley, despite giving a divisive performance with a questionable accent, is showy enough and has been gushed over by quite a few critics, so she is at least on the radar. Viggo Mortensen has been cited as one of the most purely entertaining parts of the film, and Michael Fassbender could get a consolation nomination if his more acclaimed work in Shame proves too transgressive for the Academy to embrace (think Dennis Hopper). It could also get possible nods for its screenplay, art direction and costumes. Read more on Holiday Openings (November 23-27)…
Anyone who is or was a fan of what Jim Henson used to do with Kermit the Frog and company will be pleased with what ‘The Muppets’, the most purely nostalgic film of the year (perhaps aside from ‘Midnight in Paris’), has to offer. This is the best the Muppets have been since Henson’s untimely death, and while it’s not quite on the level of the original film ‘The Muppet Movie’, this is probably their second best outing to date on screen. By completely rejecting cynacism, writers Jason Segel (who also co-stars) and Nicholas Stoller embrace what made these characters special. One can perhaps argue that at times this new film is a bit more childish than the of the Muppets canon, but by and large this is a rousing success. Director James Bobin opens up the adventure in a visual way that most previous Muppet flicks didn’t, making for a nice looking movie as well. By the time the third act comes around and all but perfectly re-creates an episode of ‘The Muppet Show’, this crew will have won you over, if they haven’t already. For me, the whole lot of it worked and made for one of the most consistently entertaining films of the year.