September 17, 2015
        "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette                “Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September                Will Smith crusades for Best Actor in the "Concussion" Trailer        

Tag Archives: Actor

Johnny Depp, Leo DiCaprio – Which acting contenders this year are most due for their first win?

Of the many storylines that begin during awards season, few are usually as compelling as the ones centered around who’s most due for an Academy Award. I think that it’s usually pretty satisfying to see a former bridesmaid finally become a bride, as it were. As such, below I’ve made up a list of ten actors or actresses who’ve previously been nominated for Oscars but have yet to win one who are in contention this year. I’ve more or less ranked them by how due they are, and just to be fair, I’ve excluded anyone who has already won a prize elsewhere (sorry Matt Damon, for example), or any of the myriad contenders who are seeking their first ever nomination by the Academy. Take a look below and I hope you enjoy!
Here now are the ten actors and actresses most due for their first Oscar win:
10. Bradley Cooper – With three acting nominations already under his belt, Cooper has now officially gotten the “due” label. A previous Best Actor nominee for American Sniper and Silver Linings Playbook, as well as a Best Supporting Actor nominee for American Hustle, he has two opportunities for a win this year. He’ll be in the Actor hunt with Burnt and the Supporting Actor hunt with Joy. It may not happen this year for Cooper, but it will eventually, you can count on that.

9. Carey Mulligan – I’m sure it surprises a lot of people that Mulligan only has one nomination, which was in Best Actress for An Education. She just missed in Supporting Actress when her strong work in both Drive and Shame essentially canceled each other out. This year she’ll hope that her performances in Far From the Maddening Crowd and Suffragette don’t do the same to her. Regardless, despite the solo citation previously, she’s due to take home the gold one day.
8. Will Smith – Here’s a case of someone who can not only remind the Academy of his existence, but cement his status as one of the all time great A-listers with a win. Previously nominated in Best Actor for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, that elusive victory has escaped him so far. This year he has Concussion, which is a pretty baity premise. Taking the Actor prize would certainly put him up there as one of our best movie stars ever, but either way…he’s due.
7. Jessica Chastain – Few […]

“Creed”: An under the radar Oscar contender?

Ladies and gentlemen, I know it sounds silly, but a sequel/spinoff from Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky films might be in awards contention this year. Yes, the upcoming movie Creed is another installment in the franchise centered around fighter Rocky Balboa, but this one takes a U-turn. Instead of being about Stallone’s pugilist, it’s about former rival turned friend Apollo Creed’s son. Rocky is more the trainer than the protagonist, essentially re-launching this series with a grittier and younger bent to it. A Trailer hit last week and really impressed me (which you’ll see below), leading me to wonder if the Academy might once again be interested in this franchise?
For those who don’t know, the first Rocky with a big time Oscar contender, nominated for ten Academy Awards and winning three (Best Picture, Best Director for John G. Avildsen, and Best Film Editing). Stallone himself was cited two times, for Best Actor as well as Best Original Screenplay. The franchise became a bit sillier each time out, as Stallone stepped behind the camera (except for Rocky V, which had Avildsen direct again) and made his hero a superhero, essentially negating the interest voters had in it. The most recent sequel, entitled Rocky Balboa, brought a measure of respect back to the series, so now Creed hopes to capitalize on that.
This film centers around Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan, best known for Fruitvale Station), the son of former champion Apollo Creed. Fans of the franchise know that Apollo has passed on, so it’s fellow former champ Rocky Balboa who steps in as a trainer to help Adonis follow in his father’s footsteps. Essentially, this looks to be more of the first Rocky than any other in the franchise so far, while also functioning as basically a reboot of sorts. Ryan Coogler (of Fruitvale Station fame as well) co-writes with Aaron Covington and directs, while aside from Jordan and Stallone, the cast includes Graham McTavish, Phylicia Rashad, and Tessa Thompson. Taking the series back to its roots might be just what the doctor ordered.
The main reason to be excited for this one is seeing Coogler and Jordan work together again. They both broke through in a big way with Fruitvale Station, a film that was majorly snubbed by the Academy. This time around, they’re getting to tell a similarly gritty (if fictional this time out) story, just couched around an established franchise. Especially if […]

Marvel/Sony picks a Spider-Man actor in Tom Holland and a director in Jon Watts

After what seems like one of the longest casting processes in a while, Marvel and Sony have settled on the next actor to play Peter Parker and his superhero alter ego Spider-Man. The search literally took months, involved names both expected and unexpected, but finally concluded yesterday. Putting on the costume will be young Tom Holland, while stepping behind the camera will be Jon Watts. Not familiar with either of those names that Marvel Cinematic Universe godfather Kevin Feige saw fit to hire? Fear not, as I’ll give you the rundown on who they are below, along with who they beat out for their plum new gigs in each case.
First up, I should remind you where the character has gone before. We’re getting our third incarnation of Spidey, with Tobey Maguire as Peter in the first three films that Sony put out (Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3), all of which were directed by Sam Raimi. Money and a sapping of creative energy led to a scrapping of Spider-Man 4 for what was expected to be a younger reboot, this time led by Andrew Garfield in the tights and Marc Webb at the helm. That only lasted for two movies (The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2) before they went back to the drawing board again. Instead of pursuing The Amazing Spider-Man 3, Sony reached an agreement with Marvel to let the character join their cinematic universe in a partnership between both corporate giants. That got us to where we are now.
Alright, so let’s talk about Holland a bit. He’s an up and coming actor, mainly known for an excellent supporting turn a few years ago in The Impossible. He even got some awards buzz for that role, so he’s clearly got acting chops. Who did he beat out to play the web head? The main contender seemed to be Asa Butterfield, though along with Butterfield and Holland, the actual finalists were Judah Lewis, Matthew Lintz, Charlie Plummer, and Charlie Rowe. At one point Nat Wolff seemed to be in the running as well. Rumors had it down to just Holland and Rowe in the last few days, so Holland obviously managed to put himself over the top. Now, he’ll be high school student Peter Parker, but more importantly, he’ll also be teenaged superhero and future Avenger Spider-Man.
As for Watts, he’s an initially surprising pick by Marvel and Sony, […]

And the Cannes Film Festival 2015 winners are…

The 68th annual Cannes Film Festival came to a close Sunday night with an awards ceremony at the Palais des Festivals.
This year’s Grand Prix was awarded to the Holocaust drama “Son of Saul,” the debut film by Hungarian director László Nemes. The festival’s Jury Prize went to “The Lobster,” directed by Yorgos Lanthimos.
And the winners are…
Palme d’Or
DHEEPAN Directed by Jacques AUDIARD
Grand Prix
SAUL FIA (SON OF SAUL) Directed by László NEMES
Award for Best Director
Award for Best Screenplay
Award for Best Actress Ex-aequo
Emmanuelle BERCOT, Rooney MARA in MON ROI Directed by MAÏWENN
Rooney MARA, Emmanuelle BERCOT in CAROL Directed by Todd HAYNES
Award for Best Actor
Stéphane BRIZÉ in LA LOI DU MARCHÉ (THE MEASURE OF A MAN) Directed by Stéphane BRIZÉ
Jury Prize
Palme d’Or – Short Film
WAVES ’98 Directed by Ely DAGHER

Prize of Un Certain Regard
Jury Prize – Un Certain Regard
Directing Prize of Un Certain Regard
Un Certain Talent Prize
Promizing Future Prize Ex-aequo
MASAAN Directed by Neeraj GHAYWAN
1st Prize Cinéfondation
SHARE Directed by Pippa BIANCO
2nd Prize Cinéfondation
3rd Prize Cinéfondation Ex-aequo
Caméra d’or
LA TIERRA Y LA SOMBRA Directed by César Augusto ACEVEDO

Will Ferrell: His Ten Best Films

Consider this a bit of an experiment today. Instead of doing something like what I used to do with the Spotlight on the Stars series, I’m going to try honoring an actor or a filmmaker with a personalized top ten list. We’ll start off with none other than Will Ferrell, who happens to have the new comedy Get Hard hitting theaters this weekend. This initial piece will look at the ten best movies he’s been in, as opposed to just his best performances, but those will be contained within this list too, of course, so fear not. Anyway, let’s give this a shot and see how it goes!
Here now, without any delay, are the ten best films that Ferrell has found himself a cast member in…
10. The Producers – Though a pale comparison to the original Mel Brooks movie (or the Broadway production), this remake of sorts does happen to be decently entertaining as well as feature Ferrell as one of its highlights. He scored his first Golden Globe nomination for this role in Best Supporting Actor, beating out some dramatic heavies for the nod too, so that’s something.
9. Melinda and Melinda – It’s lesser Woody Allen for sure, but an underrated title of his with Ferrell mostly doing a more serious than average version of an Allen impression. Ferrell happens to be one of the better parts of the flick, so that gives it a definite boost, helping it crack this list.
8. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back – I’m not as wild about this one as most Kevin Smith fans are (it’s second tier Smith to me), but when it’s funny…it’s hilarious. Ferrell might not be the highlight, but he’s a solid part of a really game to play ensemble. That’s something that he’s better at than a lot of people realize. He’s a showy comedian, but he also can blend pretty well too.
7. Everything Must Go – One of Ferrell’s best performances to date comes in this effectively low key dramedy. With none of his usual mannerisms, he’s really just inhabiting a character. The reason this movie works is his performance, plain and simple. He raises it up.
6. Elf – Easily one of the most likable roles for Ferrell is found within this charming little family comedy. There are times when it’s a little too cute for its own good, but there’s such warmth radiating from this […]

Bradley Cooper: the next A-list actor turned director

One of the things I really enjoy seeing in the film industry is when actors get to the point in their careers where they have the ability to move behind the camera and choose their ideal debut projects. Sometimes, you even get a Ben Affleck situation, where the actor turns out to be an even better filmmaker and winds up winning some awards. That’s the ideal situation, though most of the time actors and actresses turn out to be at least competent filmmakers, if not better. Well, we have another top tier actor wanting to direct, and it’s a real A-lister too. The gentleman in question? None other than Bradley Cooper, and wait until you see what he wants his directorial debut to be…
In case you haven’t heard, Cooper is hoping to direct the remake of A Star is Born that his American Sniper director Clint Eastwood had been pursuing for years. Not only that, but Cooper wants to hopefully star alongside Eastwood’s choice of leading lady: Beyonce. Yup, this is truly an interesting pick on Cooper’s part, especially when he’s recently become such a big part of awards vehicles. At the same time though, it will undoubtedly be a chance to show some extra range and only further his career both in front of and behind the camera. If nothing else, you can’t accuse Cooper of making a boring pick.
It’s not hard to imagine Cooper truly following in Affleck’s footsteps, or even Eastwood’s, as they definitely seemed to have a rapport on American Sniper, particularly during the Oscar campaign that followed. This isn’t to suggest that Cooper is a surefire Academy Award winner to come (though I’m pretty sure he’s going to win for Acting one of these days), but just to remark that he’s got the feel of someone who can go far behind the camera. Having the pull as an A-lister that he currently has won’t hurt either, as he can get some things done that might otherwise have roadblocks for someone without the box office and industry clout he now has.
Cooper certainly also has the influences of David O. Russell to utilize as well (among others), which is another interesting factor to consider. Frankly, he’s acted with so many top notch talents and been directed by some of the industry’s best, you have to assume he’s got a treasure trove of advice to cull from. I’ll […]

Where do the new Oscar winners stack up with previous winners?

Today, in an effort to combine the past and the present, I wanted to take a look at how the winners in the big eight categories of this most recent Academy Awards ceremony compare to the all time best. To try and figure this out, I’m actually going with the lists of the top 25 in each category that I put out last year. It’s an interesting exercise, since it’s impossible to know which will and which won’t stand the test of time, but there’s a few educated guesses that can be made. For my money, a few of the performances will certainly be remembered for years to come.
I don’t think it’s impossible for you to have forgotten already, but here are the big eight winners: Best Picture went to Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Best Director went to Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Best Actor went to Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything, Best Actress went to Julianne Moore for Still Alice, Best Supporting Actor went to J.K. Simmons for Whiplash, Best Supporting Actress went to Patricia Arquette for Boyhood, Best Adapted Screenplay went to The Imitation Game, and Best Original Screenplay went to Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance. Those are the victors in the major categories, but do any of them rank with the all time greats?
For my money, three of the four acting performances are definitely worthy of inclusion on my “greatest” lists, along with potentially Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance in Best Picture. Honestly, the only performance not worthy in my mind is Moore’s, as she’s been far better in the past. Iñárritu’s direction is borderline, but I’ll keep it off the list for now. Anyway, as a reminder, here’s how I ranked Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress:
25. Rain Man
24. Shakespeare in Love
23. The Godfather
22. Marty
21. The Godfather Part II
20. Ordinary People
19. Kramer vs Kramer
18. Forrest Gump
17. The Departed
16. Midnight Cowboy
15. The Deer Hunter
14. On the Waterfront
13. The French Connection
12. Casablanca
11. Platoon
10. Million Dollar Baby
9. Argo
8. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
7. Rocky
6. The Hurt Locker
5. American Beauty
4. The Apartment
3. Schindler’s List
2. The Silence of the Lambs
1. Annie Hall
25. Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
24. Jack Nicholson – As Good As It Gets
23. Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland
22. Dustin Hoffman – Rain Man
21. Cliff Robertson – Charly
20. Ben […]

Oscar Presenters: Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey and Lupita Nyong’o

Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey and Lupita Nyong’o, last year’s Oscar winners in the leading actress, supporting actor and supporting actress categories, will return to present at this year’s Oscars, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air on Sunday, February 22, live on ABC.
“The great tradition of having the previous year’s Oscar-winning best actors and actresses in all 4 categories happily continues this year with the amazing quartet of Cate, Jared, Matthew and Lupita. We’re thrilled to have them back,” says Zadan and Meron.
Blanchett has been nominated for six Oscars and has won two, including last year’s award for “Blue Jasmine.” Her previous win was for Actress in a Supporting Role for the 2004 film “The Aviator.” Blanchett also received leading actress nominations for “Elizabeth” (1998) and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (2007), and supporting actress nominations for “Notes on a Scandal” (2006) and “I’m Not There” (2007).
Last year, Leto won the Oscar for Actor in a Supporting Role and McConaughey for Actor in a Leading Role, both for “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” Nyong’o took home the Oscar for Actress in a Supporting Role for “12 Years a Slave.”
The 87th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscars, produced by Zadan and Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
# # #
87th Oscars Social Media Guide
Follow the Academy, Oscars producers and host Neil Patrick Harris for the latest updates throughout Oscar season.
Neil Patrick Harris:
Oscars Producers
Neil Meron:
Craig Zadan:
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards—in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners — the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, […]

Kevin Costner shines in “Black or White”

One of the interesting things about the month of January is that we not only see the expansion of Academy Award nominated films, but also the release of many would be contenders that simply weren’t recognized by Oscar. One such movie this month is Mike Binder’s Black or White, which happens to feature a tremendously good turn from Kevin Costner. When I saw the film a few months ago, I thought Costner had a chance to impact the Best Actor field…now, that obviously didn’t happen, but at this point others can finally see what I was talking about. Costner and Binder have something here with Black or White, which opens on Friday.

The movie, which got a small qualifying run last month, is a drama centered around a custody fight over a little girl. Costner stars as an attorney caring for his mixed race granddaughter after his wife passes away. They had been caring for the girl after the death of their daughter, with her biological father out of the picture, dealing with drug problems. Costner’s character has a prickly relationship with his granddaughter’s paternal grandmother, played by Octavia Spencer. The grandmother begins to push to see the girl more, eventually looking to sue for custody. A court battle then ensues. Binder writes and directs, with the cast also including Bill Burr, Jennifer Ehle, Jillian Estell, Andre Holland, Gillian Jacobs, Anthony Mackie, and more.
In a perfect world, Costner would have been a far bigger Best Actor contender for this role. It’s not only one of his best performances in some time, it might very well be one of his best ever. At the very least, it’s top five, that much is almost inarguable. Costner has turned in a similarly strong performance before in a Binder flick (The Upside of Anger), so it’s no surprise that this pairing is producing quality. Costner also gets to show his age in a new way, playing a grandfather for the first time, I believe. It might be the start of the next act of his career, so even though it didn’t manage to crack the Actor lineup (though I think he got a handful of votes), it could lead to a lot of good things in the next few years for Costner. Just watch a particular speech that Costner gives on the witness stand. It might be one of his finest moments ever.
Going forward, as […]

Final Golden Globe Awards Predictions

This weekend, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will announce the winners of their Golden Globe Awards in a big televised event. As you’ve all seen over much of the past year, I’ve been attempting to nail down what the group (HFPA for short) will do on Sunday. Frankly, the nature of the films in competition have me not certain at all what’s going to happen. Still, this is the last chance to get Globe predictions on the record, so I’ve settled on my picks and have them for you below. First, I’ll explain myself, but I’ll keep it short, since you’re here for the good stuff, I know.
Certain categories seem pretty obvious to me, like the Supporting categories. J.K. Simmons seems very likely to win Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash, while Patricia Arquette is the clear favorite in Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood. Similarly, I feel good about The Lego Movie winning Best Animated Feature and Ida winning Best Foreign Language Feature. After that, however…it gets dicey. Sure, Michael Keaton seems set to win Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy for Birdman, while the film itself should take home Best Picture (Musical/Comedy), but I could see upsets occurring. Best Actress in that same Musical/Comedy field is wide open, with Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, and Julianne Moore close together. I have Adams winning for Big Eyes, but Blunt could easily win too for Into the Woods, with Moore’s work in Maps to the Stars a potential spoiler. Best Director and Best Screenplay are both super hard to predict too, with each contender a possibility (Screenplay has my only true upset pick of the night, with Gone Girl winning that category).
Then we have the drama categories. Best Picture (Drama) and Best Actor (Drama) are as tight as can be. I’m leaning towards Boyhood to continue its run to Oscar with some big wins here, but any of the Picture nominees could win, while actor will potentially show us who the prime competition to Keaton at the Academy Awards might be. My hunch is that Picture is between Boyhood and The Imitation Game, but it’s just that…a hunch. Anything can happen this weekend with the Globes. The HFPA have some tough choices to make.
Here now are my final Golden Globe predictions:
Best Picture (Drama)
1. Boyhood
2. The Imitation Game
3. Selma
4. The Theory of Everything
5. Foxcatcher
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
1. Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. […]

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