Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sarah's Reveal of New Avengers Trailer

Hello everyone! Sarah here. This is going to be a quick little post to talk about the new "The Avengers" trailer that was just released today. While it is not necessary to see all of the movies leading up to this one (Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America), they're fun movies to check out and they do give a great back story. Ok, so without further ado, check out the new trailer!     
So? What did you think? Let us know! We are going to be checking out some movies this weekend; either "The Lorax" or "Project X." Of course we'll be reviewing this weekend's upcoming movies, so be on the lookout for that post coming up next!

Video Courtesy of: YouTube

TwoTicketsFor's Top Ten Favorite Films From 2011!

Sarah: Alright, dear readers, we had to take a couple days to recover from our AWFUL scores from the Oscars! But we still stand behind most of our nomination picks, even if they didn't win.

Now that award season has officially come to an end, we are going to give you OUR Top Ten movies from 2011 that you need to see on DVD or Blu-Ray, if you haven't already.

So, Andrew, why don't you go first?

Andrew: Well here's how we're going to do it - we're going to alternate giving the names of films we each think you, the reader, should see if you haven't already. These aren't all going to be Oscar movies necessarily, either. Just the ones we enjoyed the most this year and recommend seeing before any others.

I'll kick things off with a film I know we both had a blast at this year, and that's "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol." Now, it doesn't come out on DVD/Blu-Ray until April 17th, but that's a date we'll be marking down because that movie was AWESOME. This entry into the Mission: Impossible franchise, directed by Brad Bird, who until now has best been known for directing Pixar's "The Incredibles," is the best action/spy movie since Daniel Craig's first turn as James Bond in "Casino Royale."

S: Another one that I know we both liked would be "Thor," the third installment to The Avengers series. Starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, it was a fun action movie that is part of the perfect set-up for "The Avengers" which opens this summer!

A: I will say I was pleasantly surprised by "Thor" and it held up the second time I saw it. Whole-heartedly endorse that as one of our picks.

My second pick WAS an Oscar contender and it was one that, while it didn't win any of the awards it was nominated for (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapated Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing), it held up incredibly well the second time we watched it when your dad visited - and that's "Moneyball."

It's just a solid all-around film with great performances by Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, and it did a great job explaining all the statistics that the plot is based on. It’s definitely one of my personal Top 5 films of the year.

S: That is a good one! My next pick also falls into the superhero category with "X-Men: First Class." It was everything it should have been and more. It re-vamped the series and took it in a great new direction. The actors they picked to play young versions of the X-Men characters we have all come to love were perfect.

I love me a good action flick and this one didn't disappoint even with Kevin Bacon as the bad guy. I am very much looking forward to the next installment in this part of the franchise.

A: Great choice. Fun performances by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. I'd put "X-Men" on this list solely because of Fassbender's breakout year (along with "Shame" and "A Dangerous Method").

My next pick is one that I know Sarah won't agree with, but if we're talking about breakout years for actors, then I have to recommend "Drive" starring Ryan Gosling. He just burns on the screen with intensity reminiscent of a young Marlon Brando or Al Pacino. It's also just an awesome gangster movie and one that I think will be remembered in the future more than some of this year's Best Picture nominees. But see this one for Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks' fantastic performances.

S: While I won't say that it was one of my favorites of the year, it was an amazing performance by Gosling.

Ok, the next one on my list leans toward the childish, but still a great movie to see, especially in the theatres! "Happy Feet Two" was one of the cutest movies I have seen in a long time, and it was one of the most beautiful movies that I have seen on the big screen since "Finding Nemo." The voice actors were so much fun to listen to in this family-friendly movie!

A: Holy crap, great choice! Loved this movie, and yes a lot of that had to do with my love for penguins, it was also just a fun movie. Brad Pitt’s part was totally never mentioned when people talked about his big year in 2011. Well played, dear.

Because I know that we both share the same top 2 films, I'll save one of them for my last pick, and instead go with one I believe didn't get enough attention and should have been seen by more people - and that's "50/50" starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen.

It was incredibly well-acted by it's cast (JGL, Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston), it was funny, it was touching.....just a good, solid overall movie that I think a lot of people had no interest in seeing for whatever reason. I know we really liked it and I recommend it to our readers for sure.
S: Yes. People, you need to see this movie. Puts a whole new look on cancer patients and the people around them that are affected by the disease as well. Just a good movie.

My next one was an Oscar nominee but didn’t get as many noms as it should have. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was an amazing film that just didn't get enough recognition. Now, this is might be a tough story for some people to watch, but it was so good! It should have been a Best Picture nominee as well as a Best Original Score nominee. The music literally put you in the exact mood you need to be in to see this movie. Rooney Mara definitely deserved her nomination and she will go on to do great things in movies.

I will say that while I couldn't finish the book (a little too disturbing for me) the movie really captured the book beautifully.

A: Couldn't have said it better. Definitely one of my favorite films of the year, and it continues to show that David Fincher is one of the top five directors in film right now.

Ok! So that brings us to our undisputed top two favorite films of 2011 and the ones we recommend the most seeing if you haven't already. The first of those two is "Crazy, Stupid, Love" starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone. This film is hands-down the best romantic-comedy since "Love, Actually" and maybe longer than that. It's funny, it has an incredible amount of heart, and the chemistry between all the lead actors is top-notch. Carell and Gosling kill it in this one.

S: Another one where I want to say "People! See this movie! It is the perfect date movie, comedy, and romance rolled into one!" I know that rom-coms don't usually get nominations for awards, but this one should have.

OK, now, this last one we have definitely talked about before. It DID NOT get enough love while it was in the theatres and still hasn't gotten much love since, but "Warrior" is our number one FAVORITE movie from 2011. If you have not seen this movie because you think MMA is stupid or that it looks like a knockoff of "The Fighter,” shame on you. This movie is so much more than just another fight movie. It has heart and shows such a struggle between father and sons, husband and wife and brother against brother. This movie will make you cry, make you cringe with each punch both physically and verbally, and will bring you to your feet at the end (I know, corny. But it’s so true!).

A: Again, I couldn’t have said it any better than that. Go rent “Warrior” and thank us later.

S: Alrighty everyone! Here is the full list of our Top Ten Movies from 2011 You Should See ASAP! We should mention, other than #1 and #2, this list isn’t in a particular order:

1.) “Warrior”
2.) “Crazy, Stupid, Love”
3.) “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
4.) “50/50”
5.) “Happy Feet Two”
6.) “Drive”
7.) “X-Men: First Class”
8.) “Moneyball”
9.) “Thor”
10.) “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”

These were our top 10 favorite movies of 2011. But, we know they aren't everyone's, so tell us about your favorites! We are very excited for 2012's movies. Some of the big ones were looking forward to are: "The Dark Knight Rises," "The Avengers," and "The Hobbit." We're excited to share all of our upcoming reviews with you guys!

A: And odds are you can be on the lookout for a preview we’ll do of our Most Anticipated Films of 2012. (Hint: all three of the ones Sarah just mentioned will be on the list.)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

TwoTicketsFor Live-Blogs the 84th Academy Awards!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Our Analysis/Predictions for the 84th Academy Awards (Part III)!

Andrew: Good evening, readers! We brought you our review of "Wanderlust" earlier today and now we bring you the third and final installment of our Oscars analysis and predictions. Tonight we're going to tackle Best Original/Adapted Screenplay, Best Directing and Best Picture.

Sarah, let's go in that order and start with Best Original Screenplay. The nominees for that category are:

 - Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
 - Annie Mumolo and Kirsten Wiig, "Bridesmaids"
 - J.C. Chandor, "Margin Call"
 - Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
 - Asghar Fahadi, "A Separation"

Who ya got, and why?

Sarah: Well, I would have to go with Michel Hazanavicius. "The Artist" is just going to take the cake this year. While it's not technically an “original” thought to have a silent film, it is new to this generation. 

A: The award isn't for "original thoughts" though, babe, it's for original stories. And I'd actually argue that making a silent film in the 21st Century certainly qualifies as an original thought anyways - you just don't see that anymore. Hence why it's been getting so much love. But I digress.

I agree with you that Hazanavicius will win Best Original Screenplay. I know a lot of people will support Woody Allen's most successful film in years with "Midnight in Paris" and everyone except you basically loved “Bridesmaids”, but "The Artist" is a beast, and again - it's a silent film. That's a totally different kind of script.

S: Well then, that's that. Ok so then next is Best Adapted Screenplay:

 - Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, & Jim Rash for "The Descendants"
 - John Logan for "Hugo"
 - George Clooney, Grant Heslov & Beau Willimon for "The Ides of March"
 - Steven Zaillian & Aaron Sorkin; story by Stan Chervin for "Moneyball"
 - Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan for " Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

A: Like most years, the screenplay categories are pretty competitive and I think Adapted Screenplay is way tougher to pick than Original Screenplay this year. I could go with any one of them for various reasons but I'll pick "Moneyball" because Zaillian and Sorkin were able to turn a book about baseball statistics and a professional baseball team not many people really care about into one of the best movies/stories of the year.

S: Hmmm well that is interesting. You and I disagree on this one. I think it will go to "The Descendants" for the amazing way it brings this heartbreaking and somehow redeeming story to the big screen. While I do think that "Moneyball" was a great film and after learning that it went though some rough times financially before they could get it off the ground, I give them even more credit. 

A: If it’s not "Moneyball" that wins it, my second choice would have been "The Descendants" for sure. We'll see who ends up being right tomorrow night ;)

Ok! Now we move on to the two biggest awards of the night! First we'll start with Best Directing (and no, I didn't use the wrong word there - I've learned in my reading that the voters' ballots say "Best Directing" not "Director"):

 - Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
 - Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
 - Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"
 - Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life"
 - Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"

Tell me who ya got, and why?

S: Oh I got Michel Hazanavicius for this one. While I don't think "The Artist" will win ALL the awards it's up for, this one and Best Actor they got in the bag for sure. He took a risk with this movie and it was a homerunner. 

What do you think?

A: It sounds boring but I have to agree with you. Silent film...yada yada yada and so forth...

I'm sure a fair number of voters voted for Woody Allen, and I'm sure Malick got a bunch of votes from the passionate fan base he has in the Academy, but it's the thousands of others who think "The Artist" is the greatest thing since sliced bread that will get him the win. Also, he wrote it, edited it, it's all his.

Alright, let's jump to the biggest award - Best Picture. Their are 9 nominees this year:

 - "The Artist"
 - "Midnight in Paris"
 - "The Descendants"
 - "Moneyball"
 - "War Horse"
 - "Hugo"
 - "The Help"
 - "The Tree of Life"
 - "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

Some candidates have a real shot, others are just happy to be here. Who do you have taking the big one?

S: Well it will come to no surprise to any of you that I will have to go with "The Artist!" If it wasn't for this film, I think that the others would have had a much better chance. "The Descendants" and "The Help" will be a close second and third, though. It was a tough year for the movies, some years they all have a fighting chance and other years one stands out amidst all the others.

A: I, too, think "The Artist" walks away as the Best Picture winner. It's rocked all the pre-Oscars award show awards in this area. There's no way it loses. (Though I will say I disagree with you that "The Help" comes in 3rd place in this category, I'd put "Hugo" there, but again I digress.) Do we think "The Artist" IS the best movie of the year? No. But that's for another post to come next week!

Ok, readers! There ya have it! We're going to look into trying to live-blog the Oscars tomorrow night, so if you have an internet connection and want to chat about the Oscars while they're going on, check us out at TwoTicketsFor...! For all of our respective Oscar picks, we've listed them below. Enjoy the show tomorrow, we definitely will!


Best Picture: THE ARTIST
Leading Actor: Jean Dujardin, THE ARTIST
Leading Actress: Viola Davis, THE HELP
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, THE ARTIST
Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, BEGINNERS
Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, THE HELP
Best Original Screenplay: Michel Hazanavicius, THE ARTIST
Best Adapted Screenplay: Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne and Jim Rash, THE DESCENDANTS
Best Art Direction: THE ARTIST
Best Cinematography: THE TREE OF LIFE
Best Foreign Film: A SEPARATION
Best Original Score: THE ARTIST
Best Animated Film: RANGO
Best Costume Design: HUGO
Best Original Song: "Man or Muppet," THE MUPPETS
Best Film Editing: THE ARTIST
Best Sound Editing: WAR HORSE
Best Sound Mixing: WAR HORSE
Best Documentary Feature: PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY
Best Documentary Short: "Saving Face"
Best Short Film Animated: "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"
Best Short Film Live Action: "Raju"


Best Picture: THE ARTIST
Leading Actor: Jean Dujardin, THE ARTIST
Leading Actress: Viola Davis, THE HELP
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, THE ARTIST
Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, BEGINNERS
Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, THE HELP
Best Original Screenplay: Michel Hazanavicius, THE ARTIST
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, MONEYBALL
Best Art Direction: HUGO
Best Cinematography: THE TREE OF LIFE
Best Foreign Film: A SEPARATION
Best Original Score: THE ARTIST
Best Animated Film: RANGO
Best Costume Design: HUGO
Best Original Song: "Man or Muppet," THE MUPPETS
Best Film Editing: THE ARTIST
Best Sound Editing: WAR HORSE
Best Sound Mixing: WAR HORSE
Best Documentary Feature: PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY
Best Documentary Short: "Saving Face"
Best Short Film Animated: "A Morning Stroll"
Best Short Film Live Action: "Raju"

So We Wandered Into a Theatre Today: Our Review of "Wanderlust" (2012)

Directed By: David Wain ("Role Models")

Starring: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux, Alan Alda

Rated: R for sexual content, graphic nudity, language and drug use

Synopsis: George and Linda (Rudd and Aniston) love their life on NYC's Upper West Side until they lose everything in one day. While driving to Atlanta to move in with George's brother, they stumble across a commune called Elysium and decide to stay a while. Hijinks ensue.


Andrew: Hello readers! Now that I'm almost 100% over my flu bout, Sarah and I were able to get back to the theatres to check out a film and bring you a new review. With yesterday bringing some new releases, we decided to hit up the new Paul Rudd/Jennifer Aniston comedy "Wanderlust."

Sarah, what are your first thoughts on it?

Sarah: It was so funny! The second week in a row that we have had laugh-out-loud moments in the theatre! "Wanderlust" really was a fun movie. A classic Paul Rudd flick that really makes you enjoy the fact that most of the film is ad-libbed. Even Jennifer Aniston did a good job in this nudity-filled movie (mostly male nudity, and none of Jen), and I'm not a huge fan of hers to begin with.

What about you?

A: "Wanderlust" was definitely a funny movie. Rudd was hilarious in particular, and Aniston did a fair job considering she actually didn't have a whole lot to do in the film. I was particularly impressed with how funny Justin Theroux was as the de facto leader of the community, Seth. I'm not saying I'm surprised how funny he is, as he co-wrote "Tropic Thunder" with Ben Stiller, and I found him funny in "Your Highness," but am I'm saying I'd like to see him in more stuff like this.
That said, I did find "Wanderlust" to be an uneven film. There are parts that are literally laugh-out-loud funny and had my struggling to breath, and then there are times that just flat miss the mark or go on a little too long that it overstays it's welcome. Did you get that at all?

S: I did, and the 'conflict' part of the movie was lacking a little. But I will say that one shouldn't go into this movie thinking that it is going to be the next "Crazy, Stupid, Love" or that it was even as funny as some of Rudd's other movies, but it was entertaining. I wished that it had some more funny parts, as I recall there were only two times when we were literally laughing for like a whole minute. There were some other small giggles but now that you mention it, I do wish it were more evenly funny throughout.

A: I think that's a good way of putting it. It's relatively raunchy, so that's where a lot of the humor comes from and I think that's why it's hit or miss. It's not always done right, like the bits with George's brother - just not funny.

I'd like to point out that "Wanderlust" is a good ensemble pic, it's not just Rudd, Aniston and Theroux. Alan Alda as the patriarch of the community is particularly funny and I thought his casting was a nice touch. Joe Lo Truglio ("Superbad") as the nudist of the colony is pretty funny, Kathryn Hahn ("How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days") has funny bits, as does Kerri Kenney ("Reno 911"). Malin Akerman is pretty much eye-candy, but she does a good job in that role I suppose.
S: It really was a team effort and shouldn't be sold short of that I suppose. I was actually surprised that they showed as much male nudity as they did. It seems to be the hot new thing for some comedy movies, just throw in some penis shots! 

So, to wrap it up (Editor’s note: no pun intended…I think), what would you give this a rating of?

A: Yeah...I tried blocking that stuff out, particularly the one towards the end...

My grading might be a little bit different than yours - I give "Wanderlust" a Netflix It, unless you really enjoy Judd Apatow produced comedies and don't mind paying to see them in theatres.

UPDATE: We will continue to give our original ratings on movies in our actual write-up of them, but we are also introducing a new, traditional-style rating systems based out of 5 "clapboards." Hope you like it!
Our Score: 

Next Post: Our third and final installment of our Oscars analysis and predictions later tonight!

Photo Courtesies: Washington PostHollywood Reporter

Friday, February 24, 2012

Our Analysis/Predictions for the 84th Academy Awards (Part II)!

Andrew: Hello readers! Today we're bringing you the second part of our official analysis and predictions for Sunday's 84th Academy Awards on ABC. Yesterday we gave our thoughts and picks on Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Original Score and Best Song. Today we'll be tackling Best Actor/Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.

Sarah, let's go bottom to top in order of important and start with Visual Effects. The candidates for this category are:

 - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
 - "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
 - "Hugo"
 - "Real Steel"
 - "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

Who ya got, and why?

Sarah: This could be a tough one, considering all the special effects kinda are the same for these movies. I will have to say that it will go to “Harry Potter 7.2.” I think it will go to them because it is the last one. It will be kind of a 'reward as a whole' Oscar. And out of all the eight “Potter” films, this one did have the best special effects, especially (*big spoiler for those of you living under a rock for the past decade*) when Voldemort dies.

What do you think?

A: At first glance I would lean towards agreeing with you, but there's a part of me that nagging away saying, "But NONE of the 'Harry Potter' films have won ANY Oscars before, will they really change that just to give a collective award for Visual Effects?" And to that end I say they won't, and I'm giving the edge to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" for their fantastic use of motion capture technology.

The new way they're doing motion capture for movies like "Apes" and "Avatar" is pretty impressive, and actually blows the motion capture they did for the "Lord of the Rings" films out of the water. And I think they win for that.

S: I think you're intentionally trying to pick a fight with me about the “Lord of the Rings” jab...but...I will let it go this time, because you just can't appreciated the awesomeness that is those movies (didn't win 11 Oscars for nuthin!) But anyway...

We move on to Best Cinematography:

 - "The Artist"
 - "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
 - "Hugo"
 - "The Tree of Life"
 - "War Horse"

Oooo this is a tough one!

A: Let me just say real quick that I'm not trying to pick a "LotR" fight, just that the technology is better now than it was a decade ago. ;)

As for cinematography, I do think this is a tough one. We've seen four of the five films and they all look great (obviously), and I'm tempted to go with "Hugo" because I've heard how great the 3D in it was and how that's a testament not to Martin Scorsese but to Robert Richardson for his cinematography job.

But I'm going to go with "The Tree of Life" because, while all the films are gorgeous, I thought "The Tree of Life" was the most unique and it just perfectly set me in the world that director Terrance Malick and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki were going for.

S: Hm, those weren't the two that I would go with. I do think that "The Tree of Life" will take this award home because, like "The Artist," it specializes in one main thing. For "The Artist," it's the music, for "The Tree of Life," it was all about the scenery. But I will have to say that I wish it would go to "War Horse." While that movie was not one of my favorites for the year, I will say that the shots in it were amazing! There are a couple of scenes in that movie that literally made me catch my breath. Cheesy, I know, but not since Joe Wright's "Pride and Prejudice" has a movie been that beautifully shot.

A: It's such a tough category this year that I would not be surprised if you're right. And I know which scenes you're talking about, so yeah, those could probably win it alone for "War Horse."

Ok, let's move on to Best Actress! We've talked before about how tough this category could be, and by looking at the nominees, it's not hard to see why:

 - Viola Davis, “The Help”
 - Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
 - Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”
 - Rooney Mara, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
 - Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”

Who ya got, and why?

S: It is and isn't a tough category. I really think that it is between Streep and Davis. And I really think, after seeing "The Help" for the second time, Viola will win. She just does such a good job! I know that doesn't sound very "movie educated" but it's the best way I can describe it. She truly embodies a woman of that era and brings to light something that still goes on today. 

While all of these women were amazing in their respective roles, I think Davis will walk away with the little man.

A: I completely agree with you. Davis' performance is so understated that it's like she's not even acting. And while sometimes that could be taken as a negative, like "Oh, that's Johnny Depp just playing Johnny Depp again," that isn't the case here. She's phenomenal, she’s effortless, it was like she was meant for the role, and absolutely deserves the award.

The other reason I think she'll win it over Streep is because, looking back on the two films, I barely even remember Streep's performance. That's not an Oscar-winning turn if I can't remember it! And even when I can think of her job, I think "That's Meryl Streep playing Margaret Thatcher, not Margaret Thatcher as played by Meryl Streep." There's a difference and she's had much better roles than this one, so I think a lot of voters will vote for Davis because of that thinking.

S: Ok then, let's move on to Best Actor:

 - Damian Bichir, “A Better Life”
 - George Clooney, “The Descendents”
 - Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
 - Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”
 - Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

While I think that George Clooney should win for his heartfelt performance in our 50th state, I believe the award will go to Dujardin.. He really did have to do a lot of acting to make his character come to life on the screen.

A: Aw man, I was hoping you would go with Clooney because I wanted to be different than you again. Alas, I too think Jujardin will walk away with the statue for Best Actor. We said it before in our review for "The Artist" that he's phenomenal in his facial expressions, his body movements...he's just the perfect guy for a silent film star whose fame is fading. Voters will chew that stuff up.

I do like Clooney's performance, and in any other year he would have won, but in light of the study revealed by the Los Angeles Times this week about the demographics of the Academy voters, I think he's S.O.L. (The article can be found here, and states that of the 5,765 voters in the Academy, 94% are Caucasian, 77% male, and the median age of voters is 62. Methinks that feeds right in to the "nostalgia" talk "The Artist" has been getting.)

S: Oh yea, nostalgia will win over. And I'm sorry to disappoint you with not differing. Maybe with the Best Picture pick. But you will all have to wait for that until tomorrow!

A: I look forward to it!

Tomorrow's Post: We will have our third and final installment of our Oscar analysis and predictions. We'll breakdown Best Original/Adapted Screenplay, Best Directing and Best Picture. Then we'll include a list of ALL of our picks for reference on Sunday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our Analysis/Predictions for the 84th Academy Awards (Part I)!

Andrew: Hello readers! We're back from our brief hiatus this week. Our sincerest apologies that we went dark for a few days, especially leading right up to the Oscars(!), but I came down with the flu on Monday and am just now feeling up to it to write a coherent column. So thank you for being patient with us.

Today we begin our analysis and official predictions for the 84th Annual Academy Awards that will be presented on Sunday! In our first installment, we will be tackling the two supporting role awards, Best Original Score and Best Original Song. So, Sarah, which award should we talk about first?

Sarah: Let's start out with the category with the fewest nominees: Best Original Song! Here, I would have to say the award should go to "Man or Muppet" from…well…”The Muppets!” What do you think?

A: See this is the interesting part to me - this category only has TWO nominees! There were over 30 songs that were entered for consideration and the Academy only chose two to nominate, so it's literally a 50/50 coin-toss.

I haven't seen "Rio" so I can't tell you what I think about the song nominated from it, "Real in Rio," but I have seen "The Muppets" and I can firmly state that "Man or Muppet" is awesome and will win this award. (Readers, if you haven’t seen “The Muppets” but want to hear the song/see some clips from the movie, watch this music video!)
"Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets"
S: Ok, "Real in Rio" is a really great song. I have seen the movie and it is colorful and full of life and probably should have been nominated for Best Animated Film. But "Man or Muppet" has is heart and it's not just another animated movie song. (For comparison, here's the other nominee, too...)
"Real in Rio" from "Rio"
Since we are on the subject of music, what are your thoughts on the Best Score category?

A: My first thought is that I'm still kinda ticked that John Williams got two nominations this year and Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross didn't get a nom for their "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" score. Don't get me wrong - Williams' score for "War Horse" was probably the best thing about the film (in my opinion) and I've heard that his score for "The Adventures of Tin-Tin" is pretty solid (if not derivative of his Indiana Jones' scores), but leaving Reznor and Ross off is still the biggest snub this season.

We saw "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" but I don't remember the score too well. That doesn't bode well for it. We haven't seen "Hugo" yet, but I haven't heard too much chatter about Howard Shore's score for that film; so in the end I say Ludovic Bource's score for "The Artist" takes it. Especially because as a silent film, the score is literally the only thing you hear for 99% of the movie. If it weren’t a good score, the film would've failed miserably.

S: Yea, I really don't think that there should be a rule that the same guy doesn't get nominated more than once, but Williams is a dinosaur in the industry. While “War Horse” did have a great score, I agree that “The Artist” will take home the award, as well as many others. 

The fact that “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” didn't even get a nod is a shame. 

Now, let's move on to the Supporting Actress category. We have Bernice Bejo for “The Artist,” Jessica Chastain for “The Help,” Melissa McCarthy from “Bridesmaids,” Janet McTeer for “Albert Nobbs,” and Octavia Spencer for “The Help.”

So what do you think?

A: I think at first glance you could make a case for any one of these ladies to win the award, but after seeing "The Help" I think it's Spencer's to lose. Her performance was funny, touching, serious...just an all-around great job.

But let me say why I think two of the others could upset her: I think McCarthy could come away with the award because, while the Academy doesn't generally award comedic roles/films, it wouldn't be the first time a comedic actor upset the favorite - Marisa Tomei did it for "My Cousin Vinny."

And I could also see Bejo sneaking away with the statue because she was the embodiment of a 1920s silent film star. She nailed the expressions, the dancing, the humor, everything. But when all is said and done, after Spencer's racked up 18 awards for the role already, I do think she'll bring home the big one. You? 

S: Oh yea, Spencer's got it in the bag. I just don't think that McCarthy will win for this. And while “The Artist” will probably sweep the awards pretty soundly, I think Bejo's performance was lost in the other aspects of the movie. 

I actually think that if anyone else were to take it home, it would be Jessica Chastain, since she has been in two of the nominated Best Pictures this year (also in “The Tree of Life'”. We have seen her in two drastically different roles, and she has shined in both.

A: You're 100% right on Chastain, she was great in both films.

Ok, so let's move on to our last category for tonight's post: Best Supporting Actor. Who ya got and why?

S: Well, we got the following: Kenneth Branaugh for “My Week With Marilyn,” Jonah Hill for “Moneyball,” Nick Nolte for “Warrior,” Christopher Plummer for “Beginners,” and Max von Sydow for “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” 

I would have to give this one to Christopher Plummer. He is funny and has heart and definitely upstages his co-star, Ewan McGregor, in “Beginners.” His character also brings something a little newer to the table with an older man coming out of the closet to his son after his wife dies.

But I could be wrong, you never know. von Sydow does an amazing job in his role also, considering he is silent in the entire thing and could come out of nowhere and take the golden man.

A: I do think you have it pegged down to the two most likely candidates. While Jonah does a great job playing against type in "Moneyball," it's not award-worthy. Nolte was great in "Warrior" and I think in most years he'd have a real shot. Branaugh...haven't seen his performance, but it sounds like he deserved his nom and nothing more.

You saw "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and so I believe you when you say von Sydow does a fantastic job. Any acting gig where you don't speak a single line certainly must be done correctly otherwise it kills the role, and by all accounts he nailed it.

But I think Plummer wins it in a landslide. He performance was funny, charming, touching, sad...just a veritable acting lesson on the screen with how understated he was. He's won 14 awards already, and most of the non-Oscar awards he didn't win went to Albert Brooks for "Drive" and he didn't get an Oscar nom. So I think Plummer is safe.

Alright! So my head feels like it's going to explode, so I'll hand it off to you, Sarah, to do a brief run-down of the films that will be released in theatres on Friday that we're most likely to see! (Sorry again, readers, that we didn't have time to do a preview like normal.)

S: Ok, so while we probably won't be seeing anything this weekend besides the Oscars (because if the walking plague living in my house) we do want to put in the order that we would see them.

Our Weekend of 2/24 Movie List:

1. "Wanderlust"
2. "Act of Valor"
3. "The Forgiveness of Blood"
4. "Gone"
5. "Good Deeds"

Yeah, I think it's safe to say that we are not Tyler Perry fans. “Wanderlust” has gotten some fun reviews and you can't go wrong with some of Hollywood's funniest people. 

Alright readers, get ready for the next couple of days with our Oscar predictions! We know that there will be a ton of other blogs and articles on the topic, but here you will get our honest opinions based on what we know of the actor and how the Academy judges.

Tomorrow’s Post: We will make our predictions for Best Actor/Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Special Effects.