February 05, 2017

Articles By: Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

“Hidden Figures” surges: Updated Oscar predictions

It’s an odd period in the awards season. The Academy Award nominations have been announced but voting hasn’t quite begun yet. The next noteworthy event is the Directors Guild of America prize, which is given out tomorrow evening and will be tackled on Monday. We sort of have the status quo, with La La Land in the pole position mostly across the board. That being said, Hidden Figures recently hit big and is surging, while Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight seem to have been dealt blows. It’s all reflected in the new predictions I’m presenting to you today. Things still are subject to change between now and Oscar night, so just keep that in mind. This isn’t a done deal quite yet, ladies and gentlemen.
Below you will see some tinkering with my predictions, mostly in terms of placement, especially with how high to move up Hidden Figures. The main question to figure out is just how many awards La La Land will win on the big night. At a certain point I might go all in on a record breaking evening, but for now I have it just flirting with double digit wins. Look for that to change soon in a future update, depending on how the rest of the precursors go. Plus, I have a whole article planned, so sit tight there. Of course, there’s also the Casey Affleck vs Denzel Washington battle in Best Actor, but more on that soon too.
Here now is an updated set of Oscar predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. La La Land
2. Moonlight
3. Hidden Figures
4. Manchester by the Sea
5. Arrival
6. Hacksaw Ridge
7. Fences
8. Hell or High Water
9. Lion
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Damien Chazelle – La La Land
2. Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
3. Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
4. Denis Villenueve – Arrival
5. Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
BEST ACTOR
1. Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
2. Denzel Washington – Fences
3. Ryan Gosling – La La Land
4. Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
5. Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
BEST ACTRESS
1. Emma Stone – La La Land
2. Natalie Portman – Jackie
3. Isabelle Huppert – Elle
4. Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
5. Ruth Negga – Loving
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
2. Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
3. Dev Patel – Lion
4. Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
5. Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Viola Davis – Fences
2. Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
3. Naomi Harris – Moonlight
4. Nicole Kidman […]

“Get Out”, “The LEGO Batman Movie”, and “A United Kingdom”: Ten Movies to see in February

Ahoy folks! With the Academy Awards still a couple of weeks away, we can momentarily take a breather and look at something else for the day. What is that, you might ask? Well, today is a look at what else theaters will have playing throughout this month, besides the obvious Oscar hopefuls and leftover prestige movies. I do this every single month, as you all must know by now, so of course I won’t exclude February. Much like with January, this month gets a bad reputation as one of the worst for new releases, and while that’s often been well founded, if you look closely enough this month you can find some very solid cinematic options. Consider this list another public service for those of you who have seen all of the Oscar contenders and nominees already. You might even find a gem or two amongst the junk…
Here now are what I think the ten best bets for movies are during the month of February:
10. Fifty Shades Darker – This inevitable sequel to the pop culture sensation, hopefully this time around the leads bother to have an ounce of chemistry. Dakota Johnson is the reason to see this one, as she managed to escape the last one mostly unscathed. There’s nowhere to go but up for the franchise, so consider this one a bit of a curiosity for me at least.
9. Youth in Oregon – A film I saw back last year at the Tribeca Film Festival, this dramedy is an odd duck. Dealing with euthanasia, it follows Frank Langella as a doctor looking to end his life. His family tries to talk him out of it, with a road trip ensuing. Billy Crudup is one of the co-stars, and it’s a very well acted film. It just won’t be for everyone, tonally.
8. A Cure for Wellness – I see this horror movie tonight, so I might report back next week if it’s anything particularly special. This could be an X factor once it hits theaters, provided it doesn’t disappoint. Dane DeHaan getting his own star vehicle of sorts is certainly something to be happy about. The trailers have been stellar, so fingers crossed here…
7. Lovesong – A small scale indie starring Riley Keough and Jena Malone, I’m curious mainly because of the cast. Keough has been raising her profile over the past few years, while Malone is one of […]

Did any Oscar contenders emerge from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival?

Over the weekend, the Sundance Film Festival wrapped up for 2017 with its annual awards ceremony. Now, you can’t really look at their award choice and assume anything, in terms of Academy crossover, but it never hurts to check in. The premiere independent festival usually has some kind of Oscar representation in a given year, so while we’re still looking at the 2016 releases on the Academy Award circuit, these potential 2017 releases are essentially launching a campaign right now. It’s just a longer one. So, let us peek in on what Sundance this year might end up offering the precursor season down the line. Oh well, here goes nothing…
Last year, we notably had The Birth of a Nation initially emerge as a presumed Oscar lock, though it ultimately was Manchester by the Sea that became an Academy Award favorite. Other alums from last year included Camerperson, Captain Fantastic, Christine, Gleason, Life, Animated, Love and Friendship, Sing Street, and Weiner, some of which were also able to score citations from the Academy. That’s about par for the course, though had The Birth of a Nation not run into its Nate Parker related controversies, things could have been different. Instead, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea picked up the Sundance darling mantle and ran with it.
This year, there aren’t any truly can’t miss awards contenders, Manchester by the Sea style, though a few possibilities do stand out. Potential players like The Big Sick, Call Me By Your Name, Chasing Coral, The Hero, An Inconvenient Sequel, Mudbound, Wind River, and possibly The Yellow Birds present options in the months to come, if any catch on. One of the most praised films at Sundance this year was A Ghost Story, but that feels far too indie to really contend with Oscar. A lot will depend on how some of these movies do once they move beyond Park City. Look for which end up going to the Cannes Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and so on. That will be our first hint for which Sundance players have bigger hopes.
My best guess is that nothing really catches on like Manchester by the Sea did, though that remains to be seen. Mudbound appears like the easiest awards play of the lot, but watch out for The Big Sick and Call Me By Your Name as well. It’s all guesswork right now. Below you can […]

An “Alternate” look at what the Academy Award nominations could have been

Time for something fun. As we wait for ballots to go out to Academy members and final Oscar voting to get underway, why not play around with a hypothetical situation? Now is the time to do it, after all. This is something I’ve done from time to time in the past, which is to look at what the Oscar nominations could have looked like if you remove all of the actual nominees. Weird, I know, but hey, it’s fun. Plus, it’s certainly more apt than ever to do this in our new era of “alternative facts”, right? This isn’t a political post, but I couldn’t resist the dig at Donald Trump and company.
Below you will see what these alternate Academy Award nominations could have been. In some categories, it’s easy to speculate, like with Best Picture and how films like 20th Century Women, Captain Fantastic, Deadpool, and Jackie were likely next in line. Or, you can look at Best Director and be reasonably confident that Garth Davis was next in line for Lion, Acting wise, Amy Adams for Arrival and Joel Edgerton for Loving were near misses, with the same going for Hugh Grant, snubbed for Florence Foster Jenkins. These are just guesses though, so keep that in mind. Now, on to the fun…
Here now is an “alternate” look at how the Oscar nominations could have gone:
(Note, these are presented in alphabetical order, not ranked order)
BEST PICTURE
1. 20th Century Women
2. Captain Fantastic
3. Deadpool
4. Florence Foster Jenkins
5. Jackie
6. The Lobster
7. Loving
8. Nocturnal Animals
9. Silence
10. Sully
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Garth Davis – Lion
2. Pablo Larrain – Jackie
3. David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water
4. Theodore Melfi – Hidden Figures
5. Denzel Washington – Fences
BEST ACTOR
1. Joel Edgerton – Loving
2. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nocturnal Animals
3. Tom Hanks – Sully
4. Chris Pine – Hell or High Wate
5. Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool
BEST ACTRESS
1. Amy Adams – Arrival
2. Annette Bening – 20th Century Women
3. Emily Blunt – The Girl on the Train
4. Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane
5. Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Kevin Costner – Hidden Figures
2. Ben Foster – Hell or High Water
3. Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins
4. Jeremy Renner – Arrival
5. Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Greta Gerwig – 20th Century Women
2. Lily Gladstone – Certain Women
3. Helen Mirren – Eye in the Sky
4. Janelle Monae – Hidden Figures
5. Molly Shannon – Other People
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. Captain Fantastic
2. Florence Foster […]

ACE Eddie, PGA, and SAG awards chime in to support “Hidden Figures” and “La La Land”

Over the weekend, the guilds really chimed in with their awards, potentially shaping the Oscar race in a big way. We saw the ACE Eddie, the Producers Guild of America, and the Screen Actors Guild hold their ceremonies, each of which impacted things, to one degree or another. As always, ACE, PGA, and SAG have some of the most direct crossover with Academy members, so what they think does hold water. Are any one of them the be all, end all? No, but they cumulatively represent a lot of what potential Oscar voters are thinking at the moment. So, you must give them credence.
The big winner of the weekend was La La Land, though Hidden Figures has now created some interesting new dynamics to the race. That film took advantage of La La Land not being in SAG’s Best Ensemble lineup, beating out Moonlight for the prize. La La Land did see Emma Stone win there for Best Actress, while it also took the PGA award as well as the ACE in Comedy (Arrival won in Drama). You can see all of the guild results below, and sit tight for some broader analysis on what the state of the race now is, post ACE, PGA, and SAG…

Here are the Producers Guild of America winners:
The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures: “La La Land”
Producers: Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures: “Zootopia”
Producer: Clark Spencer
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures: “O.J.: Made in America”
Producers: Ezra Edelman, Caroline Waterlow
The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama: “Stranger Things” (Season 1)
Producers: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen, Iain Paterson
The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy: “Atlanta” (Season 1)
Producers: Donald Glover, Dianne McGunigle, Paul Simms, Hiro Murai, Alex Orr
The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television: “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (Season 1)
Producers: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, D.V. DeVincentis, Anthony Hemingway, Alexis Martin Woodall, John Travolta, Chip Vucelich
The Award for Outstanding Sports Program:
(TIE)
“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (Season 22)
“VICE World of Sports” (Season 1)
The Award for Outstanding Digital Series: “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” (Season 7, Season 8)
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television: “Making a Murderer” (Season 1)
Producers: Laura Ricciardi, Moira Demos
The Award […]

A first set of post nomination Oscar predictions

Phase Two is officially upon us folks. The Academy Awards are now only a month away, with nominations having been announced earlier this week. Now, we move into the abbreviated period where the guild awards come hot and heavy, more or less wrapping up what Oscar voters will likely do in February. As such, right before the final precursors begin chiming in, it seems only appropriate to do some new predictions. These won’t be evolving too much over the weeks to come, but it’s important to keep the flow going, to show you what changes come about, should they come about. Only some of the mystery has been solved, with more to be figured out.
Below you will see my initial crack at trying to figure out what the Academy might do now that they have finished with Phase One and nominations. Basically, I’ve kept the status quo for now, with La La Land very much in the pole position across the board. Both Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight manage wins, while everything else more or less goes as expected. That can change over the weekend once the Producers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild chime in with their awards, but for now, at this brief juncture, this is where things stand. Stick around and see what happens next…
Here now are my newest Oscar predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. La La Land
2. Moonlight
3. Manchester by the Sea
4. Lion
5. Arrival
6. Hell or High Water
7. Hacksaw Ridge
8. Fences
9. Hidden Figures
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Damien Chazelle – La La Land
2. Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
3. Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
4. Denis Villenueve – Arrival
5. Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
BEST ACTOR
1. Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
2. Denzel Washington – Fences
3. Ryan Gosling – La La Land
4. Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
5. Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
BEST ACTRESS
1. Emma Stone – La La Land
2. Natalie Portman – Jackie
3. Isabelle Huppert – Elle
4. Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
5. Ruth Negga – Loving
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
2. Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
3. Dev Patel – Lion
4. Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
5. Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Viola Davis – Fences
2. Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
3. Naomi Harris – Moonlight
4. Nicole Kidman – Lion
5. Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. Manchester by the Sea
2. La La Land
3. Hell or High Water
4. The Lobster
5. 20th Century […]

How will this weekend’s PGA and SAG awards shape the race?

Hot on the heels of the Academy Award nominations, this coming Saturday and Sunday will see a pair of guild awards give out their big prizes. Yes, the Producers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild will have their ceremonies, with both acting as huge Oscar precursors. It’s no exaggeration to say that what PGA and SAG does will heavily shape what the Academy does next month. Will they make a La La Land romp into a foregone conclusion? Will they really open the door for a Moonlight upset? What about Manchester by the Sea? Read on to see the possibilities…
Below you will see my takes on both precursors, including predictions for what will go down this weekend with each guild. Tomorrow I will have a first set of post nomination Academy Award predictions, though just note that PGA and/or SAG could make those predictions that immediately need to be amended. That’s something to keep in mind for later. For now though, it’s Guild prediction time!

First up is the Producers Guild, which for me really does seem like the one to watch in the Best Picture race. The nominees here are Arrival, Deadpool, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight. That’s the Oscar nine, plus Deadpool, which you can count out. This is essentially a three horse race between La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight. La La Land seems like the heavy favorite, though if there’s an upset, it’s probably Moonlight. If that happens, this race officially becomes bonkers. If not, La La Land is closing in on locking up Best Picture at the Oscars. The PGA voters will certainly have an important choice on their hands this Saturday night.
PGA prediction
Predicted Winner: La La Land
Alternate: Moonlight
Dark Horse: Manchester by the Sea

Next we have the Screen Actors Guild, which is very notable for its La La Land exclusion in Best Ensemble. That category consists of Captain Fantastic, Fences, Hidden Figures, Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight. In all likelihood, this is between Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight. A win by the former would upend things a bit, as well as help out La La Land. A win by the latter keeps it as the number two option for Academy members. Just how much SAG likes La La Land will be seen in the Lead […]

The biggest surprises from yesterday’s Oscar morning

Yesterday, the Academy Award nominations let loose a few surprises, along with more or less the expected lineup. That’s always the case, as previously mentioned, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t run them them down, since a few still seem kind of strange. Honestly, only one or two really blew my mind, but that’s something, regardless. Below you will see ten of the most surprising things from the Oscar nominations, be they inclusions or snubs, since there were certainly both. Give it a look now and sit tight for more analysis tomorrow as well, since I’ve only just started to break down what the Academy did…
Here now are ten surprises from yesterday morning:
La La Land ties the all time nominations record – Many of us (yours truly included) saw it coming and predicted it, but history is history. 14 nominations for La La Land ties the all time record and sets it up to potentially make history again on Oscar night. I’ll have more to say about that soon, but just know that another record making showing could be in the cards for the beloved musical from Damien Chazelle.
Amy Adams is snubbed in Best Actress – This was, by far, the biggest surprise of the morning. Adams had seemed like a solid number three in Best Actress for her work in Arrival. Then, just like so many other previous contenders in years past, the category was announced and she just was not there. Pretty undeniably the number six, she was simply a victims of surprisingly tight voting.
Nine nominees in Best Picture – For some reason, eight seemed like the safe bet this year. We’ll likely never get five or ten again, so it’s just a matter of whether the category turns out to be six, seven, eight, or nine. This is more a curiosity to me than anything else, but I wonder if we’ll ever get six or even in the years to come? We shall see, I guess.
Michael Shannon is the Nocturnal Animals representative in Best Supporting Actor – For a while earlier in the season, it seemed like Shannon was a lock. Then he slipped off, making it seem like Nocturnal Animals could be shut out. That is, until Aaron Taylor-Johnson started popping up at the last minute. Go figure, Shannon still ended up the nominee in the end.
Ruth Negga scores in Best Actress – Initially a […]

“La La Land” leads the 89th Academy Award nominations

Moments ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 89th Academy Awards. It was the culmination of literally a year’s worth of campaigning, prognostication, and speculation. Oh, and a year’s worth of quality films as well! As is always the case, voters managed to throw some surprises in with the expected results. Members of the Academy are a tough bunch to figure out, even when you think you’ve gotten them figured out. Regardless, we have the Oscar nominations now and that’s what counts. Phase One is officially over, with Phase Two about to kick off in all of its glory. Exciting times, for sure…
I’ll save the full analysis for later in the week, but La La Land led the field with a total of 14 nominations, tying the all time record. Following along behind it was Arrival and Moonlight, both with eight nominations, then Manchester by the Sea with seven nominations. A notable surprise inclusion in the field happened to be Michael Shannon getting into Best Supporting Actor for Nocturnal Animals, along with Passengers showing up in the technical categories, while one of the most unexpected snubs was Amy Adams missing Best Actress for Arrival. That’s the nature of the Oscar beast though, so have to expect that sort of thing when it comes to the Academy Award nominations, no matter what year it is. Again, the rest of the week will have plenty of commentary on what went down, but in the interest of not burying the lead, let us now get to the nominations themselves, since that’s what matters today, right?
Here now, at long last, is the full list of 2017 Oscar nominations:
Best Picture
“Arrival”
“Fences”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figures”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Lion”
“Moonlight”
Best Director
Denis Villeneuve – “Arrival”
Mel Gibson – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Damien Chazelle – “La La Land”
Kenneth Lonergan – “Manchester by the Sea”
Barry Jenkins – “Moonlight
Best Lead Actor
Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea”
Andrew Garfield – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling – “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen – “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington – “Fences”
Best Lead Actress
Isabelle Huppert – “Elle”
Ruth Negga – “Loving”
Natalie Portman – “Jackie”
Emma Stone – “La La Land”
Meryl Streep – “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges – “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges – “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel – “Lion”
Michael Shannon – “Nocturnal Animals”
Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis – “Fences”
Naomie Harris – “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman – “Lion”
Octavia Spencer – “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams […]

Final (pre nomination) Oscar predictions – Can “La La Land” tie the all time record?

Playtime is over. In less than 24 hours, the Academy Award nominations are going to be revealed. It’s exciting, right? It all comes down to this. I finalized my predictions last night and resisted the urge to go over them again this morning, since at this point I probably can only do harm. At a certain juncture, you just begin overthinking things. It’s been out of the voters’ hands for well over a week now, and there’s no more information to be ascertained. It’s simply a matter of waiting for the announcement in less than a day. Tomorrow folks! I know I can’t wait, and I’m sure you feel the same way.
Below are my best guesses for how the nominations will go down. For those wondering, I’m actually out on a limb predicting La La Land to tie the all time record with 14 nominations. Bold, I know. I’m also nearly predicting Deadpool to upend things in a number of key spots, though I held off for the most part. We’ll see if I regret it. Obviously, it’s still the big three of La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight having the potential last laugh, though look for Arrival, Hell or High Water, and Lion to possibly do better than expected as well. Anyway, enough talk!

Here now are my final Oscar predictions before the nominations are announced:
BEST PICTURE
1. La La Land
2. Moonlight
3. Manchester by the Sea
4. Lion
5. Arrival
6. Hell or High Water
7. Hidden Figures
8. Hacksaw Ridge
9. Fences
10. Captain Fantastic
Next in line: 11. Deadpool 12. Nocturnal Animals 13. Silence 14. Jackie 15. 20th Century Women 16. Sully 17. Loving 18. The Lobster 19. Patriots Day 20. Miss Sloane 21. The Edge of Seventeen 22. Rules Don’t Apply 23. The Founder 24. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 25. Florence Foster Jenkins 26. A Monster Calls 27. Live by Night 28. Toni Erdmann 29. The Jungle Book 30. Bleed for This
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Damien Chazelle – La La Land
2. Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
3. Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
4. Denis Villenueve – Arrival
5. David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water
Next in line: 6. Garth Davis – Lion 7. Martin Scorsese – Silence 8. Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge 9. Denzel Washington – Fences 10. Pablo Larraín – Jackie 11. Clint Eastwood – Sully 12. Mike Mills – 20th Century Women 13. Theodore Melfi – Hidden Figures 14. Jeff Nichols – […]

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