The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Feb2Filed under: Film, George Clooney, Oscars; Tagged as: Anna Kendrick, Avatar, Crazy Heart, District 9, George Clooney, Golden Globes, James Cameron, Jason Reitman, Jeff Bridges, Kathryn Bigelow, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Oscar, Scott Cooper, Screen Actors Guild Award, Seabiscuit, Sheldon Turner, Simpatico, Star Trek, Syriana, The Blind Side, The Dark Night, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hangover, The Hurt Locker, Up, Up in the Air, Vera Farmiga
Lexington native George Clooney is once again an Oscar nominee, this year for Up in the Air, a movie that got a lot of love from the Academy when nominations were announced on Tuesday morning.
The film, about a man who has untethered himself from any personal commitments, also got nods for best picture, best supporting actress for Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, best director for Jason Reitman, and best adapted screenplay for Reitman and Sheldon Turner. It is the third acting nomination for Clooney, who won best supporting actor in 2005 for “Syriana” and was also nominated for best actor in 2007 for “Michael Clayton.” He was also nominated for best director and screenplay in 2005 for “Good Night, and Good Luck.”
In addition to “Up in the Air,” Clooney’s “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” was nominated for best animated feature.
If precedent-setting awards are any indicator though, Clooney will probably end up applauding Jeff Bridges on Oscar night, March 7. The veteran actor, who filmed two movies in the Lexington area in the last several years, “Simpatico” (1999) and “Seabiscuit” (2003), has already picked up the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award among several other honors for his performance as an aging country musican in “Crazy Heart.” The movie, which is scheduled to open Friday in Lexington, also has Kentucky ties in writer and director Scott Cooper, who grew up in Somerset. Maggie Gyllenhaal, who plays a reporter who interviews Bridges’ character, also earned a nomination for best supporting actor.
That’s the local interest in Oscar, though the world will be buzzing about the Academy’s new 10-feature slate of best picture nominees, and which blockbusters made it in along with the art-house fare that has dominated the category the past decade.
Among the surprises was “The Blind Side,” Sandra Bullock’s based-on-a-true-story film about a man who rises from poverty to become a professional football player. The hit joined “District 9″ and “Up,” also nominated for best animated feature, as films the Academy hopes will draw more viewers to Oscars, which have suffered declining ratings in recent years.
The best picture contest though seems to come down to a David-and-Goliath race between James Cameron’s “Avatar,” now the all-time box office champ, and his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow’s low-budget “The Hurt Locker.” If Bigelow beats her ex in the best director race, it will be the first time a woman has won the Oscar for best director.
Despite 10 nominees for best picture, there are some notable snubs, primarily “The Hangover,” which was a surprise winner of the Golden Globe for best picture comedy or musical. It also would have brought some populist interest to Oscar as “Hangover” is the highest grossing R-rated comedy in history. Of course the whole 10-picture, let’s-get-more-blockbusters-in-the-race thing started when critically acclaimed Batman film “The Dark Knight” was shut out last year. This year’s well-received “Star Trek” reboot was expected to be the best shot at a franchise film making it into the race, but it was left out of the running.
The Three Days Grace-Breaking Benjamin tour that came to Rupp Arena Monday night was billed as a double headliner show, but Flyleaf almost made it feel like a triple.
Flyleaf fans have to thank the headliners for allowing the Texas quintet around 40 minutes to put together a 11-song set that showed numerous sides of the dramatic band. Playing with sound that was not as well shaped as the main attractions, the group was still able to add nuance to songs like “All Around Me” and “Missing.”
Much of the opening few numbers, including “Beautiful Bride” and “Again,” was marked by rapidly flashing lights that matched the frenetic pace of the band.
Diminutive yet commanding at centerstage, Lacey Mosley was reminiscent of a Natalie Merchant, albeit in a group that could live up to the name 10,000 Maniacs. The set was a showcase for her numerous vocal styles from a soaring soprano to, on “I’m So Sick,” a sort of unearthly growl that we didn’t hear too much of on Flyleaf’s critically acclaimed sophomore effort, “Memento Mori.”
Despite flying around the stage, bassist Pat Seals and guitarists Sameer Bhattacharya and Jared Hartmann kept a firm groove together so tight, it impressively and effectively stopped on a dime several times.
A lot of people in Flyleaf’s Christian fan base will wonder how they did on a straight up secular rock ‘n’ roll show.
Well, they did not seem like just another opening band, in large part because of their excellence and ability to craft a coherent set in their limited time.
But it was also due to Mosley, who was clearly finding her inspiration in a different place for most of the set, even if you didn’t catch the spiritual lyrics. Introducing the second to last song, “Arise,” Mosley said that the band thanked God for the its success, to a healthy cheer from the crowd, and she left the stage saying, “We love you, God bless you,” to another cheer. No there was no verbal “message.” But Flyleaf wasn’t hiding anything either, and if anyone in the crowd didn’t like that, they held their tongues.
And overall, Flyleaf’s musical and emotional pitch complimented the headliners, while giving the evening a little variety.
Going out on a mainstream rock ‘n’ roll tour may not be the right thing for every Christian that wants to rock, but clearly it works for Flyleaf, who seemed to satisfy the whole crowd.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich