Steve McQueen and a phenomenal ensemble cast help make "Widows" look effortless                "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" offers something for every type of Coen Brothers fan                Updated Academy Award predictions for early November                Review Round-Up: "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch", "El Angel" "The Long Dumb Road", and "Outlaw King"                Taking a look at potential Best Documentary Feature contenders                "The Front Runner" is a terrific and timely film for right around Election Day                Hollywood Film Awards Marked the Launch of Awards Season                Taking a first crack at Golden Globe predictions                “The Favourite” and “The Front Runner”: Films to see in November                Awkwafina to Host 22nd Hollywood Film Awards                Review Round-Up: "Bodied", "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms", and "The Other Side of the Wind"                Rosamund Pike is a force to be reckoned with in "A Private War"                Black Panther, Incredibles 2 to Receive Hollywood Film Awards                "Boy Erased" has Joel Edgerton stretching himself as a prestige filmmaker                Rami Malek does his best to elevate "Bohemian Rhapsody" from being a standard biopic        

Thoughts on the 2013 Oscar nominations…

Despite all of the pre-awards chatter and what-not, there were still a few surprises in this morning’s Oscar nominations – Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook , Zero Dark Thirty.

The biggest shock, for me anyway, was the inclusion of Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor in Django Unchained and the unfortunate exclusion of Leonardo DiCaprio (who I frankly expected to win) and Samuel L. Jackson (who gave the film’s best performance) for same. Waltz is fine, although it’s interesting in that A) he’s basically the film’s lead character and B) he’s playing a riff on the work he did in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, but this time on the side of the angels (it’s possible that voters simply voted for the most morally righteous white character in a film full of racists, ala Tommy Lee Jones’s expected nom for Lincoln).

Django Unchained scored a best picture nomination (one of nine films nominated) but Tarantino was denied a Best Director nod.

The other massive snub was the exclusion of Ben Affleck for Best Director for Argo, despite the film being up for Best Picture and Alan Arkin snagging a Best Supporting Actor nomination. I honestly can’t figure that one out, as pretty much everyone who loved Argo gave Affleck full and complete credit for the film. It’s disheartening in that Affleck has made a real effort to use his star power to direct the kind of mainstream big-studio grown up genre fare that has been neglected over the last decade, and a snub can surely be read as ‘Don’t bother, just go direct Justice League’.

The Best Director category also provided the other mega-shock this morning, snubbing the proverbial front runner Kathryn Bigelow. I’d hate to think the stupid ‘torture debate’ had an effect, but I think the stupid torture debate had an effect.

to read more go to Mendelson’s Memos

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