September 17, 2015
        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                59th BFI London Film Festival Announces 2015 Lineup        

Tag Archives: Amy Ryan

Rooney Mara: Looking at potential Best Supporting Actress contenders

As you fine ladies and gentlemen must all know by now (since I’ve pretty much hammered it into your heads), 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 my yearly ritual of 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 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 on with another of the big acting categories…you guessed it, it’s Best Supporting Actress time.
Here are the ten particular women that I have currently in play for Best Supporting Actress, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:
1. Rooney Mara (Carol) *Could go Lead – I wrote a bit about Mara earlier this week when I got into the awards possibilities for Carol, but Mara is sitting in the lead here due to her Cannes Actress win. She could easily go Lead, but I have a feeling she’ll wind up going Supporting so Cate Blanchett can contend in Lead. The silver lining? That will easily make her the early odds on favorite here, at least in my book. A lot can and will change, but right now, I have her in the pole position.
2. Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) – I’ve spent some time writing about the gentlemen of Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming flick, but what about the notable lady of the cast? Just like Bruce Dern and Kurt Russell seem like they’ll be in play for The Hateful Eight, so too will be Leigh, so is the favorite here to some. I obviously have her as the main runner up, but it’s hard not to see her as a likely nominee at this point. Especially with the potentially light competition, she might have a surprisingly easy time scoring her first ever nomination.
3. Ellen Page (Freeheld) […]

Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies” gets a compelling Trailer

It’s been a pretty good week for Trailers, I must say that. We’ve already gotten looks at a number of potential Academy Award players, including Everest and The Walk, but now Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks throw their hat into the ring with Bridge of Spies. This dramatic Cold War thriller, which got a Poster just yesterday, is considered by many to be the Oscar frontrunner in a number of categories, including Best Picture. As such, this was looked at with much anticipation, to say the least. You’ll be able to see the Trailer below, but take it from me…this looks like a contender to reckon with folks.
The story here has an American attorney (Hanks) being recruited by the CIA during the height of the Cold War to help rescue a downed pilot detained in the Soviet Union, while also negotiating the swap of a Soviet prison held by the United States. Hanks leads the charge, with Alan Alda, Domenick Lombardozzi, Billy Magnussen, Amy Ryan, Mark Rylance, and Austin Stowell also in the cast. Spielberg obviously directs, with Matt Charman having written the script that was then polished up by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (yes, the Coen Brothers along with Hanks and Spielberg). Janusz Kaminski is the cinematographer here and Thomas Newman composes the score, making for a truly A-list crop of talent involved in this one.
From the Trailer, it appears that Spielberg is working well within his comfort zone, albeit with a superb master’s touch. Hanks looks great, while the thriller nature of it will surely be a box office draw. They may not be reinventing the wheel here, but it appears to be smart adult cinema that will more than satisfy in the fall. There’s no doubt that this is poised to be something pitched directly at members of the Academy. You can’t possibly know if voters will respond just yet, but there’s no reason to amend any predictions after this first look. Everything suggests an Oscar contender from the word go.
Awards wise, the possibilities are basically limitless here. Best Picture obviously comes to mind, including pseudo frontrunner status, but that’s not all. There’s also Best Director (for Spielberg), Best Actor (for Hanks) Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress (for Ryan), Best Supporting Actor (for Alda, Magnussen, or Rylance), Best Original Screenplay (for Charman and the Coens), Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, […]

Oscar Predictions for the month of May, 2015

Almost five full months into the 2015 movie season and I’m happy to report that we know zilch about the Oscar race. Why happy? Well, it means there’s plenty of fun guesswork to be done, and I’m all about that. The Cannes Film Festival has gotten underway and that can be used for a hint or two, but right now, it’s only eliminated one film (The Sea of Trees, which seems to be out of it entirely, outside of perhaps Matthew McConaughey) and made another a question mark (Woody Allen’s Irrational Man), with some other contenders like Carol still to screen. As such, your guess is as good as mine, which is part of the early year fun, at least in my book.
The one thing of note that I want to make mention of for this latest Oscar prediction update is that I expanded the fields a bit. The Best Picture lineup I’ve bumped up to 30, actually, with 15 for the other seven remaining categories that make up the “Big Eight”. As a bonus, I even went with ten for Best Animated Feature, just to have things as open as possible, which is what things are like right now, no question about it. My winners are still largely the same, including Steven Spielberg and his film Bridge of Spies, while something like Brooklyn or Carol is making its way up my rankings, slowly but surely. It’ll be a few months still until we have some semblance of an idea about the Oscar race, but right now, it’s a ton of fun to speculate…

Here now are my newest set of Academy Award predictions:
1. Bridge of Spies
2. Our Brand is Crisis
3. Carol
4. The Light Between Oceans
5. Joy
6. The Martian
7. The Hateful Eight
8. Steve Jobs
9. The Revenant
10. Brooklyn
Next in line: 11. The End of the Tour 12. Ricki and the Flash 13. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 14. Lion 15. MacBeth 16. Black Mass 17. By the Sea 18. Demolition 19. Freehold 20. Trainwreck 21. The Danish Girl 22. The Walk 23. Southpaw 24. In the Heart of the Sea 25. Star Wars: The Force Awakens 26. Bleed for This 27. Sicario 28. Irrational Man 29. Suffragette 30. Ex Machina
1. Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies
2. David Gordon Green – Our Brand is Crisis
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Todd Haynes – Carol
5. Derek Cianfrance – The […]

“Birdman”: What’s Up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Written by: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Armando Bo, and Alexander Dinelaris
Main Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, Andrea Riseborough, and more…
Past Oscar relations: Iñárritu was nominated for directing and co-producing Babel, Norton has been nominated twice (Best Supporting Actor for Primal Fear and Best Actor for American History X), Ryan has been nominated once (Best Supporting Actress for Gone Baby Bone), and Watts has been nominated twice (Best Actress for 21 Grams and The Impossible)
Today we have another article in this particular series of mine concerning certain 2014 releases hoping to compete for some sort of actual Oscar attention as a contender at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for here for us is a festival favorite in Birdman that’s looking to take its sensational festival screenings and use that buzz in order to appeal to the Academy. Can it actually do it in the face of myriad competition? Let us discuss that possibility a little bit now below…
This dramedy is a real change of pace for the normally super serious Iñárritu. It surrounds an actor who used to play a superhero and is trying to stage a comeback through a broadway production of a Raymond Carver story. Michael Keaton stars as the actor, with the supporting cast including Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, Andrea Riseborough, Damian Young, and others. All of whom are fantastic from top to bottom, with special praise so far being given to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and his work. Now, it hopes to become an Oscar nominee.
What this film has going in its favor is how technically proficient and well acted it is. It’s also perhaps the most overtly funny Academy Award contender of the year, which never hurts either. Keaton, Norton, and Stone are almost surefire acting nominees (Best Actor for Keaton, Best Supporting Actor for Norton, and Best Supporting Actress for Stone), while Iñárritu is locked into Best Director and likely Best Original Screenplay as well. Lubezki could very well win Best Cinematography and Antonio Sanchez is likewise in play for Best Original Score. Across the board, Birdman is looking like a really heavy player. A winner? Well, that could be a harder sell, but a nominee seems like a pretty sure thing in a number of categories.
Working against Birdman is that it’s not exactly a traditionally […]

The Best of the First Quarter of 2014

Believe it or not, we’re now three full months into the 2014 movie calendar, which means we’re a quarter of the way through. That got me thinking about what the best of the bunch so far this year has been. Since now is the time when the film slate begins to transition into summer flicks and counter programming independent fare, I thought it was the perfect time to praise the best of 2014 so far. Basically, anything that hit screens between January 1st and March 31st will be up for grabs here for my personal honors. There are some April and May releases that are wonderful too and would have otherwise cracked my top ten to date, but I’m excluding them here since they’re not first quarter releases.
Below you’ll find my top ten of the year so far, along with my awards for the the first quarter of 2014. Here you go:
10. Bad Words – Jason Bateman’s directorial debut is one of the funnier movies of the year so far. Hardly a masterpiece, but thoroughly enjoyable, it shows that he has a future as a comedic filmmaker. Crude and intentionally lowbrow at times, this is still a very fun flick.
9. Like Father, Like Son – A fascinating look at Japanese fatherhood, this was at one time considered a potential Best Foreign Language Feature contender at the Oscars last year. That never came to pass, but this is still one of the better things to hit theaters this year.
8. Noah – I’ve yet to dislike a Darren Aronofsky flick, and this alternate take on the biblical story continues that perfect record for him. Incredibly ambitious and visionary, the good far outweighs the bad here. Though far from perfect, it’s the first must see epic of 2014 in my mind and a great conversation starter as well.
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel – I’m not usually a big Wes Anderson fan, but something about this latest film of his really clicked for me and I fully embrace it. Ralph Fiennes is really terrific here, while the scope of the work really managed to catch my eye and appreciation. His quirkiness finally found a proper outlet, at least according to my tastes.
6. Breathe In – Drake Doremus is one of the more interesting young filmmakers in the business, and he continues to show why with this domestic drama. With a strong visual palate and […]

Oscars®: Breathe In – What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: Drake Doremus
Written by: Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones
Main Cast: Felicity Jones, Guy Pearce, Mackenzie Davis, Amy Ryan, Matthew Daddario, Ben Shenkman, Kyle MacLachlan, and others
Past Oscar relations: Amy Ryan was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Gone Baby Gone
Here now is the next article in this new series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention. Next up is Drake Doremus’ Breathe In, which hopes to build on his previous indie contender Like Crazy. That film ultimately fell short, so armed with some goodwill from that movie, can this one do better? Doremus once again has Felicity Jones in a main role, this time with Guy Pearce, Amy Ryan, and newcomer Mackenzie Davis among her costars. It’s a romantic drama with strains of the dysfunctional family genre thrown in, but it’s the way that this admittedly well worn story is told that sets it apart, particularly in what it allows its cast to do.
What this flick has going in its favor are the performances, particular the one from Jones. She’s phenomenal, perhaps even better than she was in Like Crazy. Veteran actor Pearce is very good too, while newcomer Davis makes an impression as well. Ryan is again a useful supporting player too, but Jones is the one you really remember when all is said and done. If anyone where to come out of this movie in terms of awards hopefuls, it’s her.
Working against Breathe In is that the movie has an almost total lack of buzz. It debuted a year ago at the Sundance Film Festival, so all that time waiting to come out didn’t do it any favors. It literally took over a year to begin screening for critics, playing a few other festivals, but mostly sitting on the shelf, and that creates the perception of something that’s not exactly top notch. The quality is there for this film, but I have my doubts that most voters will wind up even seeing it later on in 2014 when they begin thinking about awards and nominations.
So, can this be a player at all? Simply put, the odds aren’t at all in its favor. I’d be shocked if it held on until the end of awards season, but crazier things have happened, I suppose. The flick will really have an uphill battle, but Breathe In deserves to be seen regardless of that, so hopefully people find […]

Ben Affleck’s “Argo” earns raves after debut Telluride screening – AWARDS

By Sean O’Connell Ben Affleck’s “Argo” has been building a steady stream of buzz behind the scenes from people in the know claiming that the seasoned actor and full-fledged filmmaker had a third consecutive hit on his hands. This afternoon, the political thriller held a not-so-secret debut screening at the Telluride Film Festival, and the response was off-the-charts positive.
“Terrific,” “outstanding,” “amazing,” “smart” and “absorbing” were the adjectives tossed around Twitter by scribes from sites like Variety, HitFix and The Playlist. Best Picture and Director nods seems very possible at this early stage of the game, as Affleck earned Academy cred with “The Town” (a Best Supporting nod for co-star Jeremy Renner) and “Gone Baby Gone” (a win for the great Amy Ryan).
By all accounts, Affleck has hit another home run with this true-but-strange story of a CIA operative cooking up a bizarre scheme to help extradite U.S. hostages from a compromised embassy in Iran. Affleck stars, and surrounds himself with an awards-worthy ensemble that includes John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, Kyle Chandler and Victor Garber.
The Telluride screening was a warm up for Affleck’s Gala screening in Toronto. That’s when I plan to get my first look at what sounds like a winner. We hope to cover “Argo” through the bulk of the awards season. Could this be the one that earn Affleck his well-deserved seat at the Best Director’s table? We shall see.

Read more of our exclusive Awards interviews:
Producer Harvey Weinstein
“Lawless” director John Hillcoat
“Writers” director Josh Boone
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Philip Seymour Hoffman and Andrew Garfield in “Death of a Salesman”

By Roger Friedman The greatest American play? Quite possibly Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” set in 1949 and revived last night on Broadway in a production that is outstanding. Mike Nichols directed and reinvented Miller’s classic, with Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman, Andrew Garfield (the new movie Spider Man) as Biff, Linda Emonds as Willy’s wife Linda, and Finn Wittrock as Happy. This is a historic production, quite possibly the best ever (and there have been many great ones starring Dustin Hoffman, Brian Dennehy, Lee J. Cobb, George C. Scott). Thursday night’s star studded opening was the second time I’ve seen this production, and it’s only gotten more devastating, deep, emotional, and overwhelming. Philip Seymour Hoffman is our generation’s Jason Robards. He is perfection as Willy Loman in all aspects–from Willy’s wrestling with his past (the father and brother who left him) to his denial about more current events, and his increasing mental in capacities. PSH has an Oscar for “Capote” but this is his Tony Award. He cannot be missed.
The whole cast is spot on. Considering it’s a play about fathers and sons, I was particularly moved by Andrew Garfield’s father’s reaction to seeing his son as the angry ne’er do well, Biff. At the party following the opening night at Bryant Park Grill, Mr. Garfield and Andrew just kept hugging and crying. The cast is extremely worn out emotionally after each performance. Even last night Mike Nichols, who’s sat through every preview to give “notes,” told me he was overwhelmed. Arthur Miller’s famous actress sister, Joan Copeland, t0ld me it was the best production she’d seen since the original. Martin Short told me that Tom Hanks had seen it a few days ago and declared it “the best thing he’s ever seen, period.” Columbia Pictures’ Amy Pascal came to congratulate her upcoming Spider Man.
Scott Rudin produced this extravaganza, and it made for quite a glittering night. In the audience were Nichols and Diane Sawyer, Paul Simon, Barbara Walters (who came with David Geffen), Julianna Margulies, Julianne Moore and Bart Freundlich, Catherine Keener, Amy Ryan, Spike Lee, Anjelica Huston, Meryl Streep and Don Gummer, and Garfield’s actress gf Emma Stone, Julia Roberts, plus “Saturday Night Live” star Bill Hader, who said he almost fainted when Nichols complimented his “SNL” work. It was kind of funny at one point seeing Streep, Gummer, Nichols, Sawyer and Huston all dining […]

This Week In Movies – ‘The Town,’ ‘Jack Goes Boating,’ ‘Easy A,’ ‘Devil’

By Pete Hammond Ben Affleck has had a career of ups and downs but to his credit he hasn’t let critical brickbats or tabloid fodder derail him from living up to the promising talent he showed as an actor and writer in 1997’s Good Will Hunting which won Ben and buddy, Matt Damon a Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Since then Ben has mixed success in big Hollywood projects like Armageddon (1998) , Pearl Harbor ( 2001) and The Sum Of All Fears (2002) with genuinely interesting acting turns in meatier material like the highly underrated Changing Lanes (2002) and Hollywoodland (2006). Unfortunately there was also his “Bennifer” phase when he and then -fiancée Jennifer Lopez were the talk of the tabs and their joint co-starring venture, Gigli (2003) crashed and burned. By that point most pundits had written off the early promise of Good Will Hunting and dismissed him until his feature directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone (2007) showed that initial talent was just hitting it’s stride. This weekend’s critical acclaim and number one box office ranking for his latest writing/directing/acting achievement, The Town has quieted the doubters and clearly set Ben off on a new career path that buddy Matt Damon says will turn him into “the new Clint Eastwood”, meaning a triple threat talent that is one to watch. The common denominator between Good Will, Gone Baby Gone and The Town is the general location, Ben’s hometown of Boston. When I talked to him a couple of weeks ago he mentioned it was a concern that he get pidgeonholed as the “Boston” guy but that this material was just too tempting to pass up. With its estimated $23.8 million haul, The Town proved that decision to be the right one, beating pre-release predictions, drawing a solid B+ Cinemascore rating and an absolutely stellar 94% fresh score on the Rotten Tomatoes critics meter. What’s particularly heartening about all of this is that The Town falls into that endangered species known as ADULT DRAMA. It’s a time-honored genre that the big studios were thought to be abandoning. Warner Bros. is to be congratulated for a smart marketing and distribution strategy and Ben Affleck is back on top of the movie world with the first significant release of the more serious Fall season.

Speaking of actors-turned-directors, another Oscar winner Philip […]

TIFF ’10: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s “Jack Goes Boating”

By Sean O’Connell We’re officially one week away from the 35th Toronto International Film Festival, and we still have so much left to discuss in our “Road to Toronto” feature.
The fest kicks off on Sept. 9, and will be on the ground bringing you reviews, interviews, and a clearer glimpse at the ever-shifting Oscar race.
To read our previous preview columns, punch “TIFF” into our search window. Today, we’re on a boat — and in a handful of difficult New York relationships — as Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his anticipated directorial debut.
Jack Goes Boating

The Plot: A lonely guy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) learns to swim when the girl he starts dating (Amy Ryan) asks to go boating. As their relationship improves, the marriage of Jack’s closest friends falls apart.
The Director: Philip Seymour Hoffman
The Cast: John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Amy Ryan and Philip Seymour Hoffman
The Scoop: After years spent dazzling audiences with his work in front of the camera, Hoffman climbs behind the lens and into the director’s chair to adapt Bob Glaudini’s Off-Broadway play. The film played Sundance earlier this year and received good reviews, with Variety and The Hollywood Reporter singing its praises. It’s easy to see why. Hoffman convinced Glaudini to write his own screenplay, then surrounded himself with talent like Ryan, Ortiz and Rubin-Vega. I can’t wait to see if “Jack” sinks or swims, but with Hoffman at the helm, I think the latter is a safe bet.
Awards Potential: Oscar veterans Hoffman (won for “Capote”) and Ryan (nominated for “Gone Baby Gone”) could attract the Academy’s eye. And while it’s unlikely Hoffman will work his way into the Best Director race, Glaudini certainly could make some noise in the Screenplay category if “Boating” sails away from TIFF on waves of positive buzz.
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