With about a month until the Academy Awards ceremony in early March, the movies nominated for Best Picture are getting a second life at the box office and on home video. Spike Jonze’s Her has now opened wide and has become an Internet darling. With people making new Internet memes based on the science fiction romance, there are a few that are clever, while others fall flat. One of the better memes re-teams Joaquin Phoenix with Philip Seymour Hoffman from their days working on Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.
Spike Jonze’s futuristic love story Her was one of my favorite movies of 2013. Admittedly though, the quirky love story of a man falling in love with an artificially intelligent operating system voiced by Scarlett Johansson is rife for parody, and there have been a bunch. A couple attempts, both called Him, missed the mark, but NBC’s long-running sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live came close to getting right last night, with Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill (I never fail to giggle when I write that phrase) in a clever short called Me.
In this iteration, Hill takes the Theodore role, the part played by Joachim Phoenix and his sweet, sweet future mustache. Like the source, he’s sad and lonely and bonds with his new OS. Here’s the big change, instead of a sultry female voice that laughs at all his jokes and likes to watch him play the ukulele, this version is also voiced by Hill. You know, because before we can learn to love someone else, we first have to love ourselves, or something like that.
Of all the films currently making rounds on the awards circuit, 12 Years a Slave seems the least likely to get a dumbed-down parody, given its subject matter. But a divorced white guy with a mustache falling in love with his operating system? You barely even have to think of any actual jokes to come up with a way to spoof that. Now we get to share two videos sending up Spike Jonze’s Her that both seem like they were written in the first five minutes after walking out of the theater.
Fortunately, the video above manages to draw a few grim smiles with its stereotypical version of what a guy would sound like as an operating system. He belches. If he had hands he’d probably scratch himself, you know, down there. Created by That’s What’s Up Comedy, this Him trailer stars Laura Eichorn as the somewhat antisocial lead who gets Bert as her personal OS. It seems like Bert is much more interested in remaining non-sentient and honest about his state of being rather than making his owner happy. He also likes to hang out with the guys and not draw attention to himself in public. He also might not like Mumford and Sons. Sounds like an okay guy to me.
Now that Spike Jonze’s Her was recently nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. While audiences are falling in love with the OS Samantha, Apple’s iOS 7 Siri had some unkind things to say about Her, and the A.I. at its core. Of course, Sam isn’t real, so we can’t get a comment from her, but what about the actress who voices her?
In an interview with Vanity Fair, actress Scarlett Johansson addresses the sly digs from Apple’s Siri. It seems that Johansson is totally cool with Siri’s criticisms, so long as the iOS 7 feature doesn’t pick on ScarJo personally. Johansson told Vanity Fair, “As long as it’s not about me personally, I can take the criticism. But if it was about me personally I would have to seriously fight back.”
Siri’s knocks on Spike Jonze’s Her and Scarlett Johansson are all in good fun. If you ask Siri, “Are You Her?” Siri will give responses ranging from “No, you know that’s just a movie, right?” to “No. In my opinion, she gives artificial intelligence a bad name.” Of course, Siri doesn’t have thoughts, feelings, or emotions, so what does she know?
Good news, everyone! The end of awards season is in sight. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the nominations for the 86th Academy Awards. In the past, there were only five slots available for the Best Picture Oscar, but now there could be up to 10 in total. This year there are nine, and two of them fit within the science fiction genre: Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity and Spike Jonze’s Her.
Gravity was at the top of the Best Picture race even before the film was released. The amount of time director Alfonso Cuarón worked on the space drama led to the idea that he was working on something epic. He had even enlisted the services of James Cameron to help him bring his vision to the big screen. Along with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who was also nominated for an Academy Award, the trio created new filmmaking technology to make Gravity a reality. The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in total, including Best Picture, Best Director for Cuarón, Best Female Actor in a Leading Role for Sandra Bullock, and a whole bunch of technical awards. However, Gravity was not nominated for Best Original Screenplay or Best Live-Action Short Film (for Jonás Cuarón’s tie-in short Aningaaq).
As science fiction fans, we’re a lot that is used to seeing awards shows come and go without much attention given to the most imaginative of all film genres. This year’s Golden Globe awards ceremony was a nice change of pace in some ways, while remaining horrendously stubborn in others. For one, Tina Fey didn’t even get to make a string of Star Wars jokes, and that’s all we really watched this show for, wasn’t it? But let’s start off with the good news, since it’s always more fun to fall than climb.
Director Alfonso Cuarón took home the trophy for his extraordinary work in the space thriller Gravity, which was by far the most effective 3D film I’ve ever seen. While that in and of itself isn’t grounds for an awards victory, it’s a definite mark in the “check column” to me. Cuarón deserves as much trophy-form praise as he can get for the years he put into creating the seamless special effects that hurtle stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney around in space. It’s the first time Cuarón was nominated at the Globes, which somehow didn’t recognize the genius Children of Men back when it was released. Unfortunately, Gravity‘s story was nowhere near as deep or complicated as his previous works, so it lost out in the Best Picture category to the stellar historical drama 12 Years a Slave.