Roll out the red carpet, it's almost Oscar time! Check out geeksugar's selection of the gadgets that played best supporting roles in this year's Oscar-nominated films. And when you're done, make sure you fill out Buzz's Oscar ballot for the chance to win big!
Concluding this year's Oscar Worthy Gadgets series is a movie up for three Academy Award nominations, including best costume design, art direction, and Michael Shannon's nomination for his performance in a supporting role. Starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road takes us inside the lives of a couple who struggle with the mundane realities of living in a Connecticut suburb.
Because the movie is set during the mid-1950s, there were many vintage tech shots. We not only see the classic dial telephones in Frank's office (where he works on computer manuals), but when Frank and his female co-worker are out at a high-end restaurant, Frank is handed a retro phone to make a call — right from his table.
And who can forget the emotional scene near the end of the movie when Kate's character, April, uses the hanging wall phone to call her babysitter? It was simple yet powerful gadget placements like these that made me feel a part of this time period.
Photo courtesy of Paramount Vantage
The main themes of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button involve love, life, and death, but behind the scenes, it was all about the technology. From the first scene, Benjamin Button was shot digitally, going from camera's hard drive, to director David Fincher's Mac Pro, and uploaded straight to Final Cut Pro for editing.
Using a Thompson Viper Digital camera, nearly all of Button was captured digitally, with only a few scenes filmed with traditional film. Fincher found that using digital technology was the way to go for getting lifelike effects, but still maintaining realism:
It’s not a special effects movie, but spanning that kind of time, there were a lot of difficulties. First, aesthetically, will you believe it’s Brad? Because he has to start out old, the audience has to see him as wizened and grizzled as we could make him and still be able to recognize him and see his performance in it.
How great is it that you have access to the same tools that an Oscar-nominated director does? This is exactly why I love being a geek!
I love that Robert Downey Jr. was nominated for his role in Tropic Thunder — next to all these very serious roles, there's a "dude playing a dude disguised as another dude." Classic. So besides the hilarious performances by the cast (Hello, Tom Cruise!), technology took some very nice supporting roles throughout the film.
Not only did Matthew McConaughey's character have a Blackberry attached to his hip, but he played virtual Wii golf in his office on a very sleek flatscreen TV. And who could forget his quest to get Tugg Speedman a TiVo in his trailer? But Les Grossman's office is where the bling really lies. A pimpin' stereo system (perfect for dancing to, of course), his laptop, and multiple cell phones keep him connected and grooving to the pulse of the industry.
One of my favorite films of last year, The Dark Knight unquestionably shines with the performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker, nominated for Best Supporting Actor. The film's up for a slew of other nominations that I'm really interested in because of their technical slants, like Best Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects.
That's not just why the Batman sequel was a geek's dream; it featured the Nokia Tube as Lucius Fox's cell, and a couple pivotal scenes centered around cell phone communication as a plot device.
A cell phone being inside one of the thugs was particularity gruesome, while the scene with Rachel Dawes' and Harvey Dent's last cell conversation was heartbreaking. But not even their intensity can beat the staggering image of the city's 3D view of the cell phone network that would finally lead Bruce Wayne to his mark.
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Set in Spain and starring breathtakingly gorgeous actors like Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem, and the Oscar-nominated Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is memorable for its amazing scenery — in the humans and the geography.
A subplot of the film centers around the scenery and visuals when Cristina, played by Johansson, discovers that she's a talented photographer. Her shots frame the other characters and amazing backdrops, but what could I not take my eyes off? The cameras.
Way back in July of '07, I noticed that Scarlett was carrying around a Leica for her role, but that wasn't the only camera she had in the movie. As you can see here, she had a Panasonic Lumix camera. Variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to gadgets.
Nominated for an Oscar for his brilliant performance as Randy "The Ram" Robinson in The Wrestler, Mickey Rourke is certainly deserving of his new "comeback king" title. His costar in the film, Marisa Tomei, is also nominated for an Oscar for her role as Cassidy, an exotic dancer who Randy ends up developing feelings for. This poignant film is definitely a "must see" as we watch Randy endure all of the trials and tribulations associated with being a professional wrestler.
Some memorable tech moments include the afternoon bar scene when Cassidy "Pam" tells Randy about her son and then shows a picture of him on her cell phone. The second time was when Randy dusted off his old Nintendo console and asked the neighborhood boy Adam to come in and play a Wrestling video game that actually featured him. Adam was excited to tell Randy about his new favorite game, Call of Duty 4, and explained to Randy how you can switch off between a marine and an S and S British special operative — making it that much better than any other Call of Duty games.
Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight
It's only fitting that I'm reviewing Wall-E's Oscar worthy gadgets during the week before Valentine's Day, since enduring love is one of the film's main themes. And naturally, Wall-E was one of my top rated movies of last year, since a few of his costars are some of my favorite things: gadgets and robots. Nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Screenplay at this year's Oscars, Wall-E takes animation to new heights, and keeps the geeks happy at the same time.
From Bic lighters to light bulbs and VHS tapes, Wall-E finds tons of items on the toxic wasteland called Earth that are unknown to him, but are totally low-tech to us now. The song and dance routine he learns from his VHS and tube TV give him endless hours of fun, while his collection of calculators and kitchen whisks keep him entertained after his long, trash collecting days alone. Although Wall-E eventually ends up on a futuristic space ship (hello sci-fi!), and finds himself among gobs of new robots and humans that are living lives driven by computers, all he wants to do is find Eve and make a home with her back on Earth. Aww, my heart.
Nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor for Sean Penn in the title role, Milk is the moving story of San Francisco's first openly gay city supervisor Harvey Milk. After moving to the Bay Area, Harvey Milk opens up a camera repair shop — the real life Castro Camera.
Of course, the shop wasn't used as just a repair shop for long; it would become the heart of Milk's political career — first as a gathering place, then his campaign headquarters. It did keep operating, and as we see in the movie, provided comical fodder in the form of peeking at customers' developed film.
The real Castro Camera is now a gift shop, and fun fact — I watched the movie at the legendary Castro theater, on the same block as the old shop; though it's no longer the camera shop, what was once a tiny epicenter of a community has spread out from it, into a neighborhood, a city, and continues on, as part of Harvey's legacy.
Photo Courtesy of Focus Features
This past week, we kicked off our second annual Oscar Worthy Gadgets feature to showcase the tech from this year's Best Picture Nominees. Not only that, but we highlighted some of our favorite movies from the past year (and an oldie or two), that had some awesome gadget cameos worth mentioning. In case you missed a post or two, check out our slideshow, which is guaranteed to bring you up to speed, just in time for tonight's festivities!
Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight