24 posts categorized "JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE"
This is not about merit. Or rather, this is never only about merit, so don't take my observations as endorsements or write-offs.
The producers of this year's Oscars telecast may have gone way populist, hiring attractive young stars James Franco and Anne Hathaway as co-hosts, but the Academy voters have gone the opposite route, shunning a surprisingly large number of glamorous stars who actually merited consideration.
Full list of Oscar nominations is here.
It struck me immediately as I listened to the nominees being announced this morning, the unfun lack of household names except in cases where the performance was beyond locked (Natalie Portman, Annette Bening).
Off the top of my head, major surprise snubs include (in descending order of WTF?): Andrew Garfield for The Social Network (he was the heart of that movie, has acting cred from Boy A and is the next Spider-Man), Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine (a well-liked, extremely respected actor whose counterpart was honored), Mila Kunis for The Black Swan (she may be a newcomer to critical acclaim but she played two completely different roles, one of which was arguably the title character), Matt Damon for True Grit (an old favorite in one of the year's hardest-charging contenders to steal The Social Network's thunder), Mark Wahlberg for The Fighter (not considered a great thespian but he was responsible for the film existing and was the title character), Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right (she's been nominated and overlooked before, but this time was really exceptional).
Now that the Golden Globes are all over, and now that they had not one surprise among the winners in film, I really hope the fucking Oscars won't feel the need to be different and reward people other than the expected winners. It's fine when a surprise win happens, but increasingly, it feels like the Oscars—coming at the end of the season—reward surprise winners just for the sake of being different. That's disappointing, because if Natalie Portman and The Social Network are winning everything, maybe it's a little boring, but it's also probably because they deserve it...and how annoying to win everything EXCEPT the top prize, and then only because the top prize is handed out last. (Remembering poor Brokeback Mountain.)
I love awards season; I love it and I love to hate it. I used to prepare detailed lists of all my predictions with friends and then we'd score our psychotic psychic abilities. It was bad.
Today, the Golden Globes were announced. Full list here. It was funny to be watching Sofia Coppola's Somewhere last night knowing the Globes were coming—there's a scene involving foreign journalists that's as funny as it is false (more on this interesting movie Friday).
My thoughts (and please feel free to reply, telling me where I'm crazy):
Justin Timberlake says of Madonna:
"She's the most stubborn woman in the world. As a woman, she's the highest in stubbornness. But she's very smart and incredibly cerebral. And I think that's why she's been able to change her style and image so much. Her music pays attention to what people are thinking."
Interesting quote, though it almost reminds me of that fake "tip-top starlet" satirical interview by Garry Trudeau that eventually became wrongly attributed to Madonna thanks to his odd "she's the highest in stubbornness." Teen idols never went to school, so any who are as bright as Timberlake otherwise seems to be probably have genius-level IQs.
So...The Social Network lives up to the hype. In order, I was most impressed by the film's catch-a-zeitgeist-by-the-tail verisimilitude, Aaron Sorkin's believable and resonant dialogue and the performances by Andrew Garfield (as chump-chucked Eduardo Saverin), Jesse Eisenberg (as genius asshole wannabe Mark Zuckerberg) and also Justin Timberlake (as Napster hipster Sean Parker—a fun, assured supporting performance that might be Oscar nod-bound even if I'm not sure I personally would endorse that idea).
It's a perfect movie, truly—painlessly educational, aggressively entertaining.
Simon Curtis uploads on us
Simon Curtis's goal in life is to become a popstar. I think the 24-year-old dynamo has wanted this more than anything since at least the days when *NSYNC roamed the earth, and I'm certain he was most urgently spurred on by the rise and rise and fall and fall and rise of Britney Spears. Don't hold that against him; he's better than his #1 idol, even if he would be loath to admit it. But being better, being good, is no guarantee in the world of pop—the right look, luck, connections, hard work, timing and an unquantifiable X factor are at least as important as talent. Talent is almost an embarrassment of riches if you have several or all of the others.
An earlier model
I go way back with Simon Curtis, back to his original name, back to when he lived in Oklahoma (he's now "too left for Oklahoma, too right for L.A., just right"), back to when he was 18 and entered a contest in the magazine I was editing. The contest was called "Get Famous" and promised one male and one female winner a chance to be flown to Orlando to meet with and perform for pop mega-producer Johnny Wright. Not too many boys entered, maybe because at the time every male who could sing or dance was already in a boy band, but it didn't matter—Curtis's entry (which I still have) clearly revealed his was a winning package. It was a package sporting several of those aforementioned important traits for pop success plus the icing on the cake—talent.
The prize was fulfilled, though I question how beneficial it was for him. Maybe it gave him a taste of winning against long odds...but then he'd probably already learned that lesson by beating leukemia as a child after being given only a 50% chance of survival. But I think listening to Max Martin over and over had more to do with nurturing his creativity.
Over the years, I've stayed in touch with Curtis and both encouraged and critiqued him. My criticism of his early songs that he'll remember involved his using too many 25-cent words, which is a good problem to have because it means you're smarter than your chosen medium. Mostly I've assumed he would "make it" at some point, and while I've done my part, Simon's not someone to sit around and wait for things to be done for him. As much faith as I've always had in his talent, I've been as amazed as some of his doubters by just how successful he's been—he moved to L.A., persevered through some management issues, hooked up with a producer, released an EP (the purposely and purposefully titled Alter Boy), did some fairly high-profile acting and eventually, earlier this year, found himself spending 13 frantic days writing and recording his album 8Bit Heart "in a tiny basement in the hills of West Virginia."
The album is available for free download by clicking here and has already attracted high-profile attention, including a rave from Pop Reviews Now, a Larry Flick interview, a campaign by Lady GaGa's monsters to get her to listen to it and a Tweet by Adam Lambert proclaiming it to be "sick!" followed by an invitation for Curtis to write on his next CD.
I mention my history with Curtis by way of full disclosure. He is my friend and I do want him to do well. But I will just review his record as if I didn't know the guy. Or rather, as if I didn't know him personally but knew he'd be reading this—which is how I review everything anyway, come to think of it.
There's a unique electro "4 Minutes" remix by Lexxx that just popped up over at Hello From Lisbon that's calling you.