September 19, 2015
        “Inside Out”: Looking at potential Best Animated Feature Contenders                "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        

Tag Archives: Actress

Spotlight on the Stars: Reese Witherspoon

For this week’s brand new spotlight piece, I wanted to cite an A-lister who is having one really good 2014, to say the least. It’s Reese Witherspoon, an Academy Award winning actress who only this year is finally solidifying her status not just as a star, but as a supremely talented actress as well. It’s high time too, as she’s given more top quality performances than a lot of people realize. From some of her early work to the performance that won her the Oscar, Witherspoon has become a deserving member of the A-list, though someone who doesn’t always get the credit that she truly deserves. As such, it’s only appropriate today to put the spotlight on her. Here we go…
Witherspoon got her start with a few head turning roles in smaller films, starting with The Man in the Moon, followed by A Far Off Place and Freeway, among others. Those parts began to get her noticed, something that would continue up until she broke through with the thriller Fear. Witherspoon was now a young up and coming actress that had the attention of the industry. That would lead to a role in Overnight Delivery as well as a really well regarded part in the film Pleasantville. Particularly with that last role, it set her up to have her first brush with prestige fare. With the black comedy Election, Witherspoon was fully on the cusp of stardom, along with being embraced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which bestowed her first Golden Globe nomination upon her. Between this highly praised independent film and the pop culture drama Cruel Intentions, a star was born.
She then appeared in films like American Psycho, Best Laid Plans, The Importance of Being Earnest, Legally Blonde (which got her a second Golden Globe nomination), Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Little Nicky, Sweet Home Alabama, and Vanity Fair. They cultivated her status as a growing romantic comedy star in Hollywood as well as an A-list actress, but they didn’t quite challenge her in the way that she was deserving of. Then, a biopic offer came in and changed all that.
Her greatest acclaim at the time would come when she took the role of June Carter Cash in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. Not only did it score her tons of terrific reviews, she would also go on to both receive her first Academy […]

“Boyhood” takes Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actress from the New York Film Critics Circle

It’s officially precursor season folks. As such, prepare to hear a lot about various critics groups chiming in with their picks for the best of 2014. This will go on until the major guilds more or less decide things early next year, but for now, it’s the critics stage of the precursors. As such, earlier today the New York Film Critics Circle (or NYFCC for short) announced their winners for the year, crowning Richard Linklater’s Boyhood as the big victor of the afternoon. They also brought a few contenders back to life, like The Immigrant for example, but it was mostly a triumphant precursor for Boyhood.
Linklater’s film was the big winner for sure, one of only two titles (along with the aforementioned The Immigrant) to have multiple citations. Boyhood led the awards with three wins, showing up in Best Picture, Best Director for Linklater, and Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette. As such, the fuel to the “Boyhood is the Best Picture frontrunner” fire can burn even brighter, particularly since its main competition in Birdman, The Imitation Game, and Selma all were shut out by the NYFCC voters. Score one for Linklater and company, without a doubt. It’s too early to say if this is the beginning of a sweep, but this is the start that the film needed this awards season.
As I’ve hinted, the other title that did the best was James Gray’s The Immigrant, which picked up a Best Cinematography win for Darius Khondji as well as being half of Marion Cotillard’s Best Actress win (the other half belonging to Two Days, One Night). I don’t think this suddenly makes The Immigrant a serious player again, but it’s a hint that we might see it show up here and there this season. If nothing else, it does help boost Cotillard’s chances in Actress for her other performance.
Among the other major categories, NYFCC bestowed their Best Actor prize upon Timothy Spall for Mr. Tuner (which was a bit of a surprise considering the top tier competition he had), J.K. Simmons took Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash (which wasn’t a surprise at all, at least to me), and The Grand Budapest Hotel pulled off an upset Best Screenplay win. Presumed frontrunners Citizenfour, Ida, and The Lego Movie also won in Best Documentary (or in this case Best Nonfiction) Film, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Animated Film, respectively.
Here now […]

Spotlight on the Stars: Jennifer Lawrence

For this week’s new spotlight piece, I wanted to again take a look at one of the biggest A listers in the industry…Jennifer Lawrence. I’ve written about her once or twice before, but as a legitimate megastar who’s also still a bit of an up and comer, I figured she was perfect for this piece once again. She’s someone who’s powerful in Hollywood, grounded in a way that most young stars aren’t, and above all else…one of the best actresses in the business, bar none, with an Oscar on her mantle to prove it. Lawrence consistently does interesting work and is more than worth checking in on here and there. As such, she’s perfect for the spotlight today, so let us dive in.
Lawrence first got her start, like many young up and comers, on television. Guest spots on Cold Case, Medium, and Monk began her career, though I first noticed her when she landed one of the main roles on The Bill Engvall Show. It hardly gave her a strong outlet for her talents, but she was compelling to watch even then. There were also supporting parts in films like The Burning Plain and Garden Party, but Lawrence was still clearly someone you didn’t pay too much attention to. That was about to change though, and in a really big way too.
She became a star on the rise with Winter’s Bone, a small indie that wound up being nominated for a quartet of Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Lawrence. Her personality and newcomer on the scene vibe made her an instant A-lister in the making, which doesn’t even take into account how great she is in the movie. She was not only well deserving of that Actress nomination, she also wasn’t far off from being deserving of the win. Her Oscar glory wouldn’t be too far away, but it was a great launch to her leading actress career.
Lawrence then shined in key supporting parts in would be awards contenders The Beaver and Like Crazy before breaking through to the masses with her scene stealing turn in X-Men: First Class. That put her in her first blockbuster, though that next year would really be the one to make her the Jennifer Lawrence we know today. She ably led the horror flick House at the End of the Street, but it was a pair of other roles that […]

Winners: Hollywood Film Awards 2014

Hollywood Film Awards: What Went Down and Why It Mattered
Host Queen Latifah, and Hollywood Career Achievement Award winner Michael Keaton, presented by Geena Davis; Hollywood Film Award winner “Gone Girl,” accepted by Ben Affleck, presented by Ron Howard; Hollywood Director Award winner Morten Tyldum for “The Imitation Game,” presented by Robert Pattinson; Hollywood Actor Award winner Benedict Cumberbatch for “The Imitation Game,” presented by Amy Adams; Hollywood Actress Award winner Julianne Moore for “Still Alice,” presented by Kristen Stewart; Hollywood Supporting Actor Award winner Robert Duvall for “The Judge,” presented by Robert Downey Jr.; Hollywood Supporting Actress Award winner Keira Knightley for “The Imitation Game,” presented by Christoph Waltz;

Hollywood Ensemble Award winner “Foxcatcher” cast (Steve Carell, Channing Tatum), presented by Jonah Hill; Hollywood Breakout Performance Actress Award winner Shailene Woodley for “The Fault in Our Stars,” presented by Laura Dern; Hollywood Breakout Performance Actor Award winner Eddie Redmayne for “The Theory of Everything,” presented by Jared Leto;

Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award winner Jean-Marc Vallée for “Wild,” presented by Reese Witherspoon; New Hollywood Award winner Jack O’Connell, presented by Angelina Jolie; Hollywood Screenwriter Award winner Gillian Flynn for “Gone Girl,” presented by Hilary Swank; Hollywood Song Award winner “What Is Love” from “Rio 2,” accepted and performed by Janelle Monáe, presented by Randy Jackson; Hollywood Animation Award winner “How To Train Your Dragon 2,” accepted by Gerard Butler, presented by Jennifer Lopez; Hollywood Blockbuster Award winner “Guardians of the Galaxy,” accepted by Chris Pratt and James Gunn, presented by Chadwick Boseman; Hollywood Documentary Award winner Mike Myers for “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” presented by Johnny Depp; Hollywood Comedy Film Award winner Chris Rock for “Top Five,” presented by Queen Latifah;

Hollywood International Award winner Jing Tian, presented by Simon Helberg; Hollywood Cinematography Award winner Emmanuel Lubezki for “Birdman”; Hollywood Visual Effects Award winner Scott Farrar for “Transformers: Age of Extinction”; Hollywood Film Composer Award winner Alexandre Desplat for “The Imitation Game”; Hollywood Costume Design Award winner Milena Canonero for “The Grand Budapest Hotel”; Hollywood Editing Award winner Jay Cassidy and Dody Dorn for “Fury”; Hollywood Production Design Award winner Dylan Cole and Gary Freeman for “Maleficent”; Hollywood Sound Award winner Ren Klyce for “Gone Girl”; Hollywood Make- Up and Hairstyling Award winner David White (Special Make-up Effects) and Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou (Hair Designer and Make-up Designer) for “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
Hollywood Film Awards: What Went Down and Why It Mattered

The scariest movies ever nominated for an Academy Award

Since it’s Halloween (Happy Halloween everyone), I wanted to do something horror centric but also still relating to Oscar in some way. As such, I wanted to take a look at which scary movies, to one degree or another, were embraced by the Academy Awards. Ideally I’d have focused on Best Picture, but as I’m sure you all know, the pickings there will be mighty slim. Instead, I’ll bounce around, trying to stick to bigger categories whenever possible, but still looking for the most overt examples of genre fare ever cited. I might bend the rules once or twice, but hey…it’s Halloween. I hope you all enjoy.
Here’s the ten scariest movies to catch the attention of Oscar:
1. The Silence of the Lambs – Any list like this has to start with this one, since it almost swept the Oscars in its year. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay…it won five of the big eight categories, part of seven nominations in total. An iconic piece of cinema, it deserves a place at the top of any article of this nature. It’s a perfect representation of horror (though it’s hardly just that) that the Academy thankfully embraced.
2. The Sixth Sense – One of the Academy’s most overt embraces of horror, it received a whopping half dozen citations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay. It was a fleeting embrace as opposed to ushering in a more open minded line of voting by Oscar, but it’s still cool to remember nonetheless.
3. Black Swan – Psychological terror is still terror, so when this film that should be miles away from an Academy member’s tastes got five nods (including Best Picture and Best Director) and won Best Actress, it was an incredibly pleasant surprise. It does harken back to some other movies that they’ve been fond of in the past, so that was a plus, but still…can you believe this was a nominee alongside the likes of The King’s Speech and The Kids Are All Right?
4. The Exorcist – Let me blow your mind for a second…this horror film scored double digit Oscar nominations. Yes, it was nominated for ten Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress) and won a pair of them, for Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay. That’s horrifically […]

Re-ranking the contenders in Best Actress

As I’ve been mentioning over the last few weeks or so, with the festival season well underway and just about all of the major contenders for the Academy Awards having screened or about to screen, now seems like as good a time as any to move forward and take a look at the big eight categories to see what’s what in an updated/more expanded fashion. I did this with the major categories a couple of months back, but that was when almost everything was still speculation. We have some facts to go on now, so while much of this is still just an educated guess, I’m not completely relying on overt hunches this time around. It’s more of an even mix, depending on the film/director/performer in question, of course. Today I’m turning my attention once again to the Best Actress field, which is another category that won’t necessarily match up with Best Picture in any major way, but likely won’t be too far off either. Read on to see what I mean for this one…
One special note about Best Actress this year is that, on the flip side to best Actor, it’s a fairly barren race. Each of the ten women that I have cited as the ones with the best chance at a nomination have some chance at a nod, but only a few of them can realistically win. It’s going to be interesting to see if any surprise noms wind up shaking up this category when all is said and done…
Here are the ten ladies that I have in play for Best Actress currently, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point and time:
1. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) – If you ask a dozen pundits who the frontrunner is in Best Actress, you’ll probably get one of about five answers (hint, my top five), but if you ask me, I think this could turn into a walk for Jones. It’s just a hunch, but Oscar loves their supportive wives, something this performance apparently does incredibly well. Jones in the sweet spot of the age the Academy enjoys honoring, so that doesn’t hurt too. We have a long way to go before anyone in this category starts to separate themselves from the pack, but at this juncture, I’m backing Jones ever so slightly.
2. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) – Now that folks are able to see […]

Spotlight on the Stars: Emma Stone

For this week’s spotlight piece, I wanted to take a look at a younger A-lister, though one who’s been continually increasing her profile for a number of years now. It’s Emma Stone, one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars. She’s basically been on a rocket to the top, with no signs of slowing down. Stone not only has the goods as an actress, she’s got the charisma and personality to match. That’s the kind of combination that allows a star to go far. She’s an A-lister through and through, but one still very much on the upswing of her career. She’s still got plenty more to do, including I suspect…win an Oscar.
Stone is an actress who can shine in just about any role. She got her start with a clever supporting performance in Superbad, the type of performance she’d repeat a number of times from there, though always with enough of a new spin in something like The House Bunny so you weren’t bored with her. Zombieland gave her a chance to help an anchor a movie and she took the ball and ran with it. Her first starring role was Easy A and not only did she receive a Golden Globe nod for that performance, I think she deserved an Oscar nom as well. That was when she hit the A list (no pun intended), though co-starring in Best Picture nominee The Help or both of the newest Spider-Man flicks didn’t hurt either. With very few exceptions, Stone makes excellent choices with her career.
She has managed to charm in both light and heavy fare. Often, she combines the two. Easy A is a perfect example of that. Same with Crazy Stupid Love. She stands out in the crowd. Regardless of what you might think of The Amazing Spider-Man and/or The Amazing Spider-Man 2, her chemistry with co-star and real life co-star Andrew Garfield sparkles. You remember Stone when she’s on screen, even if the material isn’t always her best friend. She makes it work and elevates what’s on the page.
This weekend, Stone has her first collaboration with Woody Allen hitting theaters with Magic in the Moonlight. She gets to recite Allen dialogue and spar with Colin Firth in a really adorable way. Woody certainly agrees, as he’s already cast her in his next movie, where she’ll co-star with Joaquin Phoenix. That might very well be the film that gets her […]

Diane Keaton: The Top 25 (Best Actress)

It’s almost over folks. Yes, this penultimate time around I’ll be tackling one of the very biggest of the big eight categories, one of the only two left. This one is arguably the second or third biggest of them all…it’s the Best Actress field. This is really about as prestigious a category as there is ladies and gentlemen, give or take how you stack Picture/Director/Actor. I could go on and on in preparation right now, waxing poetic, but at this point I know how the game works here for everyone. You all mostly just want to see the lists that I do anyhow, so I have no problem obliging you good people there in that particular regard once again. All you have to do is just be patient over the next paragraph or two and you’ll get the goods front and center for your reading pleasure…
I’ll basically just skip burying the lead this time around and just discuss my top ten a bit here now. To me, the best winner of this category so far to date has been Diane Keaton in her iconic performance in Annie Hall. She creates an unforgettable character alongside Woody Allen and wins both your heart and your mind. It’s unquestionably the best winner in this category’s history, at least in my eyes. A classic performance in a classic film. Not far behind is Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry, which I think is not just one of the all time best bits of acting, but somehow an underrated one despite winning Swank her first Oscar. Swank actually has two performances in my top ten (and she’s not the only multiple honoree here, but I’ll get to that in a moment), but this is her crowning achievement. Rounding out the top five we have Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs (who has two performances on my list), Elizabeth Taylor for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Charlize Theron for Monster. They’re all tremendous performances, and they’re joined in an absolutely stacked top ten by the likes of Louise Fletcher for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind, Natalie Portman for Black Swan, Meryl Streep for Sophie’s Choice, and Swank again for Million Dollar Baby. Besides Swank’s two mentions, Foster also shows up again just outside the top ten for The Accused, while Leigh has one more in […]

Rosamund Pike: 2015 Best Supporting Actress contenders

As you fine ladies and gentlemen all know by now, it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions in order to see what folks like myself think will happen this winter, but it’s a whole separate thing to actually know something about who and what will be in contention. To help out in that particular regard, I’m continuing to run down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what or who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might potentially take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket.
Today I’m continuing with another of the big acting categories…yes, it’s Best Supporting Actress.
Here are the ten particular women that I have in play for Best Supporting Actress, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:
1. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) *could go Lead – I also have Pike as a contender in Best Actress, but if she goes Supporting, she very well could win the Oscar this year. David Fincher’s film seems like it could be an acting showcase, so unless you have her in Lead already, there’s absolutely no reason to not have her listed prominently in Best Supporting Actress. It could be her year.
2. Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year) – The other actress I think is highly in contention to win this category is Chastain. She’ll have some other Lead performances vying for Oscar’s attention, but this seems like the bait and flashy sort of supporting turn that the Academy loves to give a prize to. She’s getting to the point where a win makes a lot of sense, so keep a close eye on her ladies and gentlemen.
3. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) – If there’s one supporting role that will really have critics pulling for a nomination, it’s Arquette’s in Boyhood. I’ve seen the film and know how great she is, so I feel like a nod is very possible. Turning that nom into a win will be a challenge, but she could certainly contend, no doubt about that much.
4. Jena Malone (Inherent Vice) – One of my hunches […]

Amy Adams: 2015 Best Actress contenders

As you folks all know full well by now, it’s one thing to read my Academy Award predictions at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen, but it’s another thing entirely to actually know something about who and what will be in contention for nominations. To help out in that regard, at least somewhat, I’m running down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what/who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket.
Today I’m continuing with another of the biggest categories of them all…this time it’s Best Actress.
Here are the ten lovely ladies that I have in play for Best Actress, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point:
1. Amy Adams (Big Eyes) – I don’t know that there’s an actress who more clearly seems to be next in line for an Oscar win than Adams. She probably came the closest in her career so far last year with American Hustle, so she’s basically the de facto number one right now. The material is right up the Academy’s alley, early word is strong, and the timing is right. Everything is set up for Adams to almost steamroll through the season, so stay tuned to see if she actually does!
2. Jessica Chastain (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them) – In a rather short span of time, Chastain has become basically an awards mainstay. Just about every project she joins is labeled a contender and she’s got a pretty solid batting average so far, in terms of nominations at least. She’s beginning to seem due for a win, and it’ll likely happen sooner rather than later. This project is very ambitious and could wind up staying under the Academy’s radar, but if they see it, she most likely will get nominated once again.
3. Michelle Williams (Suite française) – Another overdue actress, Williams always seems to be close to an Academy Award win before someone else winds up becoming the flavor of the season. That could again […]

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