October 23, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

“J. Edgar,” “Carnage” and a Director’s Choice – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Busy, busy couple of days at Awards Alley headquarters. Thursday, I’ll be able to catch up with two films harboring serious Oscar consideration (one way ahead of schedule and another slightly behind schedule). Then Friday, we have a Director’s Choice screening at the Savannah Film Festival, and on that programming note, I have a few guesses.

But first, this morning, I’m running to an early screening of Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar,” which opens the AFI Fest in Los Angeles this evening ahead of next week’s theatrical release. Will Leonardo DiCaprio catapult himself into the awards race with a stellar performance as the former head of the FBI? Can co-stars Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts or Dame Judi Dench rise up? And where will Eastwood land in the director’s race?

Later tonight, I’m looking forward to finally catching up with Roman Polanski’s “Carnage,” which has been receiving mixed notes since world premiering at the Venice Film Festival in September. But the humor on display in every promotional clip is right up my alley, and that cast! That cast! Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet and John C. Reilly. How can “Carnage” be bad?

Looking ahead to Friday, I’m wondering what will screen in Savannah at the anticipated annual Director’s Choice … always a fun event. Given the fact that the Weinstein Company has a fingerprint on this year’s Savannah fest, which opened with “The Artist” and also screened “Coriolanus,” I’m leaning toward a Weinstein title that has some festival experience and a November release date. Could we be seeing “My Week With Marilyn” Friday night in Trustees? Will the fest unveil Madonna’s “W.E.” instead? Or will it be Alexander Payne’s “The Decendants,” an Oscar favorite with a mesmerizing performance by George Clooney.

So much happening. I’ll post when I can. Busy times, but we wouldn’t have it any other way, right?

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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