September 03, 2015

Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

The best films and performances of 2014

We’ve come to the end of the line, ladies and gentlemen. 2014 is about to be put into the books, with 2015 upon us in mere few hours. To close out the year, I wanted to pile on to the seemingly never ending group of articles filled with Top Ten lists and the like. I don’t want it to just be my list though, so below you’ll see that, but also my thoughts on the year as a whole, along with my picks for the best performances of the year as well a few specific category awards. Basically, this would reflect sort of what my Oscar ballot would look like in the major categories, though I’ll perhaps save that full look at a personal ballot for a more specific piece when voting comes to an end in a few weeks. We’ll see. Anyway, time to get this show on the road!
The cinematic year that was 2014 has been considered by some to be a real high water mark of late, while others felt that it was a severe let down. Me? I’m stuck in the middle. I had less films that I feel completely in love with than usual, but at the same time I had more films overall that I liked than in many of the prior years. As such, the movies sort of feel on par with the last few years to me. The very best of 2014 was incredible to me, featuring a few modern classics, so I can hardly call it a down year. Perhaps it was just that a handful of the most praised titles were ones that I didn’t go as nuts over, so that contributes to an odd feeling about 2014? Whatever the case, there were plenty of flicks that I adored, despised, and just plain scratched my head over. That makes for a full meal of a film year, so I can’t complain. That’s the year in a nutshell to me though…more of the same.
Obviously, there are a ton of things to look forward to in 2015, so perhaps at this time next year we’ll all be remarking about how much better of a cinematic slate it was, but at the same time, there’s always the chance of a big let down. In that case, we’d be reminiscing about the halcyon days of now. It’s all a shot in the dark when […]

Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Jonah Hill, Keira Knightley and Kristen Stewart to appear on the Hollywood Film Awards November 14th on CBS

Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Jonah Hill, Keira Knightley and Kristen Stewart to appear on the Hollywood Film Awards November 14th on CBS.
Special Musical Performance by Janelle Monáe
The 2014 Awards Show will be Hosted by Queen Latifah and
Broadcast Live from the Hollywood Palladium
The Hollywood Film Awards today announced additional stars scheduled to appear at the inaugural broadcast of The Hollywood Film Awards live from the Hollywood Palladium, Friday, November 14, 2014 (8:00-10:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. Host Queen Latifah will welcome Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Jonah Hill, Keira Knightley and Kristen Stewart. Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Janelle Monáe will also take to the stage for a special musical performance. They join previously announced guests Gerard Butler, Robert Duvall, Michael Keaton, Julianne Moore, Jack O’Connell, Chris Pratt, Channing Tatum, Jean-Marc Vallée, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley. The Hollywood Film Awards, the official launch of the awards season™, has recognized excellence in the art of cinema and filmmaking for 17 years, honoring some of the world’s biggest stars.
Historically, the Hollywood Film Awards has celebrated some of the biggest names in film. Previous honorees include: Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Glenn Close, Russell Crowe, Penelope Cruz, Robert DeNiro, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kirk Douglas, Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood, Jodie Foster, Morgan Freeman, Richard Gere, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Diane Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, Jack Lemon, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Sean Penn, Joaquin Phoenix, Julia Roberts, Geoffrey Rush, Susan Sarandon, Hilary Swank, John Travolta, Christoph Waltz, Naomi Watts, Forest Whitaker, Michelle Williams and Robin Williams, among others.
The Hollywood Film Awards kicks off at 7:30 PM live ET/delayed PT on CBS with a special half-hour red carpet show featuring fashion and interviews with the stars as they arrive. Following the Hollywood Film Awards broadcast, the festivities will continue with a live one-hour show that will feature interviews with honorees and look back at the evening’s highlights. “CBS This Morning” anchors Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King will host, (10:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT).
The Hollywood Film Awards, founded in 1997 by Carlos de Abreu, who also executive produces, is produced by dick clark productions. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, Mark Bracco and R. A. Clark are executive producers along with de Abreu.
CBS Extended Primetime Schedule for Friday, Nov. […]

A Mid-October Oscar Predictions Update

Ladies and gentlemen, as I’ve been saying over the past few months…oscar predictions are a rather funny thing. Sometimes you have to just update them all wholesale in order to not be way off the mark/behind the times, while sometimes they only require a relatively small bit of tinkering as to be on the right track and not out on crazy limbs. That’s simply the nature of the beast, one where a single new contender on the horizon can upend the race, one way or another. With only a small amount of Oscar hopefuls still to be seen, we’re again waiting for a new contender to potentially change the landscape (I’m looking at you, American Sniper), now that we’re in a world where Inherent Vice has already unveiled itself and not particularly changed things at all. In any event, it’s time for a new predictions update!
If you look at what I have in this particular update, you’ll see that I’ve made some changes, but not a complete overall. Once again though, a special thing I have for you all is the addition of who I have next in line in the major categories. This will give you a better idea of what the larger landscape looks like. I’ll obviously need to update these all again in a few weeks, particularly after I hopefully see things like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, but that’s one step ahead of the game for me. Until then (as well as when the other unseen contenders reveal themselves), the educated guesswork will just have to continue on a little bit longer.
In terms of my winners, I just want to say that I think just about every race is still wide open (give or take Best Supporting Actor) and I refuse to predict a split between Best Picture and Best Director this early in the game, so when I switch one, I have to change the other. As such, you’ll see a handful of new winners throughout the big eight categories. They could just be temporary, but time will tell in that regard. For now, that’s just how I see the race…
Well, enough talk though folks. I know you all just want to see how the predictions have changed, even if only a little bit, so let me oblige you. Here now are my most up to date Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Boyhood
2. The Imitation Game
3. Birdman or […]

An October Oscar Predictions Update

Just as I said last month…oscar predictions are a funny thing. Sometimes you have to just update them wholesale in order to not be way off the mark, and sometimes they only require a relatively small bit of tinkering to be on the right track. That’s the nature of the beast, one where a single new contender can upend the race, one way or another. With only a day to go until Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice is finally seen (yours truly will be there at the New York Film Festival), we’re waiting for a new contender to change the landscape, what with Gone Girl last week turning out great, but not as a game changer. In any event, it’s time for a predictions update!
If you look at what I have in this particular update, you’ll see a lot of what I had a few weeks ago, with small changes here and there. The big new thing I have for you all is the addition of who I have next in line in the major categories. This will give you a better idea of what the larger landscape looks like. I’ll obviously need to update this in a few weeks, particularly after processing Inherent Vice, but that’s one step ahead of the game. Until then, the educated guesswork will just have to continue a little bit more.
Well, enough talk though. I know you all just want to see how the predictions have changed, even if only a little bit, so let me oblige you. Here now are my most up to date Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Gone Girl
2. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Foxcatcher
4. The Imitation Game
5. Boyhood
6. The Theory of Everything
7. Whiplash
8. Unbroken
9. American Sniper
10. Interstellar
Next in line: 11. Men, Women & Children 12. Inherent Vice 13. Into the Woods 14. Fury 15. Selma 16. Mr. Turner 17. Rosewater 18. A Most Violent Year 19. Wild 20. Nightcrawler
BEST DIRECTOR
1. David Fincher – Gone Girl
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
4. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
5. Clint Eastwood – American Sniper
Next in line: 6. Christopher Nolan – Interstellar 7. Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game 8. Damien Chazelle – Whiplash 9. James Marsh – The Theory of Everything 10. Angelina Jolie – Unbroken
BEST ACTOR
1. Michael Keaton – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
3. […]

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

Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Gillian Flynn
Main Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, and more…
Past Oscar relations: Affleck is a two time Oscar winner (co-writing Good Will Hunting and co-producing his Best Picture winner Argo), while Fincher is a two time Best Director nominee, having been cited for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network
Today we have another article in this ongoing 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 us here is a major player in Gone Girl, which hopes to be the latest high profile book adaptation to appeal to the Academy. Can it actually do it after a raucous debut at the New York Film Festival? Let’s discuss that possibility a little bit below now…
This thriller is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay. The one and only David Fincher is in the director’s chair, while the cast is led by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, with Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Emily Ratajkowski, Sela Ward, and more in supporting roles. With a very positive NYFF reception last week (I was there and can tell you for a fact that it played like gangbusters), the folks behind Gone Girl have to be feeling pretty good about its chances in the Oscar race.
What this flick has going in its favor is how amazingly well made it is as well as how strong the performances are on top of the directing and writing. David Fincher and Gillian Flynn make a good team, with Fincher’s unmatched technical proficiency and eye for perfection matched up with Flynn’s twisty and page turning idea. You really can’t wait to see what happens next. Rosamund Pike does awards worthy work here, while Ben Affleck deserves a nomination in a career best turn. Affleck and Pike are best in show, but both Carrie Coon and Tyler Perry steal their scenes in supporting roles as well. Affleck, Fincher, Flynn, and Pike should see their work heavily in play for awards love, on top of the film itself, not to mention the technical aspects. Look for cinematographer Jeff Cronenwweth, editor Kirk Baxter, plus composers Trent Reznor and Atticus […]

Re-ranking the contenders in Best Actor

As I mentioned last week and the week prior to that, with the festival season well underway and a good portion of the major contenders for the Academy Awards having screened or about to screen, now seems like as good a time as any to take a look at the big eight categories and see what’s what in an updated and 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 Actor field, which won’t necessarily match up with Best Picture in any major way, but perhaps won’t be too far off either. Read on to see what I mean…
One special note about Best Actor this year is that it’s as deep as I’ve ever seen it to be at this point in the season. Each of the ten men that I have cited as the ones with the best chance at a nomination could presumably even wind up winning, and I’d go so far as to say that extends to the next few as well. When have we been basically in October previously and had a dozen viable contenders to win an Oscar? Besides that, you can go nearly 20 deep in terms of who could legitimately wind up getting nominated. It’s going to be a bloodbath when we whittle this down to the ultimate lineup…
Here are the ten gentlemen that I have in play for Best Actor currently, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point and time:
1. Michael Keaton (Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – You really can’t write a better narrative for a comeback performance than this one. Not only is Keaton a former typecast superhero turned critical darling in this film, his character is an actor trying to emerge from the shadow of the hero that he played. It’s the perfect storm not just to get him nominated, which almost surely will happen now, but the right combination of things to result in a win. Right now, he makes the most sense for this […]

The first Fall stab at Golden Globe predictions

It’s that time again…time to take a stab at Golden Globe predictions. As I previously mentioned in my last installment, I was originally planning on waiting to take a new look at Golden Globe predictions until the summer was over (so basically now), but I just couldn’t resist. Fast forward to today and I’m back now with what’s my fourth look at the Golden Globe Awards, with this time around, another new theory to try and drum up some different/more accurate predictions. Anyway, here goes nothing!
To reiterate one more time, the biggest difference that you’ll see here between the Academy and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is that they tend to go for the bigger names or the bigger productions, as well as more European fare. So yes, films like Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, David Fincher’s Gone Girl, and Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher are here, but they’re now joined by things like James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything and Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, potentially at the expense of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. You also still potentially lose certain indie players here, as you’ll see evidenced by much smaller nomination totals (or even shutouts) for Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, just as one example, though others could be movies like J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year. On the flip side though, the inclusion of comedies and musicals allows longer shot work like John Carney’s Begin Again, Theodore Melfi’s St. Vincent, Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys, Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods, and maybe even Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight or Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here to have a shot at not just contention for nods, but actual noms, as well as wins. Nominations that would have been wishful thinking with the Academy and AMPAS are very much in play with the categories that the HFPA deals in. That’s just the nature of the beast here folks.
Here now though, without any further delays on my part (since we all know that you’re really here just to see what I have below), are a brand spanking new set of Golden Globe predictions:
Best Picture (Drama)
1. The Imitation Game
2. Gone Girl
3. Foxcatcher
4. The Theory of Everything
5. Unbroken
If there’s a sixth: Mr. Turner
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
1. Into the Woods
2. Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Inherent Vice
4. St. Vincent
5. Begin Again
If there’s a sixth: Neighbors
Best Actor (Drama)
1. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
2. Eddie Redmayne – The […]

A Mid-September Oscar Predictions Update

Oscar predictions are a funny thing. Sometimes you have to just update them wholesale, and sometimes they only require a small bit of tinkering. That’s the nature of this beast, one where a single new contender can upend the race, one way or another. With a week to go until David Fincher’s Gone Girl is seen, we’re waiting for that new contender to change the landscape, but enough has happened since my last update that I wanted to make sure I brought this new one to you now. By the end of September, a lot more will be known. Exciting, right?
If you look at what I have in this particular update, you’ll mainly see some category placement confirmation and the inclusion of Julianne Moore for Still Alice. In regards to the former concept, especially in Best Actress/Best Supporting Actress, contenders like Felicity Jones are going to be campaigned Lead, not Supporting, so there’s some clarity there. Also, until the aforementioned Gone Girl screens, I’m keeping it as a major victor, though time will tell if I’m on to something or not. It’s getting a new press from the likes of The Imitation Game as well as The Theory of Everything, which have boosted themselves in the past week or so. Next week I’ll have seen Gone Girl as well as Whiplash, so that’ll evolve the race a bit more as well. Until then, the educated guesswork will just have to continue a bit more.
Well, enough talk. I know you just want to see how the predictions have changed, so let me oblige you. Here now are my most up to date Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Gone Girl
2. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Foxcatcher
4. The Imitation Game
5. Boyhood
6. The Theory of Everything
7. Whiplash
8. Unbroken
9. Men, Women & Children
10. Rosewater
BEST DIRECTOR
1. David Fincher – Gone Girl
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
4. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
5. James Marsh – The Theory of Everything
BEST ACTOR
1. Michael Keaton – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
3. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
4. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
5. Ben Affleck – Gone Girl
BEST ACTRESS
1. Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
2. Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
3. Julianne Moore – Still Alice
4. Amy Adams – Big Eyes
5. Reese Witherspoon – Wild
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
2. Edward Norton […]

Joaquin Phoenix: Oscar veterans hoping for another nomination this year

Each and every single awards season, there are tons of both newcomers and veterans to the Oscar game. Tomorrow I’ll be taking a bit of a look at those seeking their first nominations from the Academy, but today I’m going to be going ahead and listing some of the major players who’ve already been nominated before, and in some cases are already winners. It’s leading up to me re-ranking the contenders in the major categories next week, but right now it’s just going to be a preview of which old hands to the Oscar ranch are saddling up for another ride on the awards season pony.
In the Best Actor race, the highest profile former nominee is Joaquin Phoenix, who will look for his first win this year with Inherent Vice. He represents the most likely non first time nominee who could win the Oscar in this category, though one level down we have Bradley Cooper for American Sniper and Bill Murray for St. Vincent, with Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler and Brad Pitt for Fury as other possibilities, plus Ben Affleck, who I’m counting here since he’s an Oscar winner, even if he’s never received an acting citation to date. Longer shots for nominations who’ve been to the dance before include Christian Bale for Exodus: Gods and Kings, Ralph Fiennes for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Philip Seymour Hoffman for A Most Wanted Man, Matthew McConaughey for Interstellar, Al Pacino for Manglehorn, Jeremy Renner for Kill the Messenger, and Mark Walhberg for The Gambler. Those fellas will be fighting it out with a bunch of first timers in this category, and it’s going to be a bloodbath.
Over in Best Actress, we have perennial bridesmaid Amy Adams hoping that this year she’ll finally be the bride with her work in Big Eyes. She’s going to be getting a challenge from both Jessica Chastain (for either The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Miss Julie, or A Most Violent Year) and Reese Witherspoon for Wild though. One level down you have Julianne Moore for Still Alice and Meryl Streep for Into the Woods, with other former nominees/winner on the hunt including Marion Cotillard for The Immigrant or Two Days One Night, Keira Knightley for Begin Again, Hilary Swank for The Homesman, Kate Winslet for A Little Chaos, and Robin Wright for The Congress. The newbies could seriously vie for a win here, but the vets have […]

A September Oscar Predictions Update

It’s that time again folks. Since we’re now into September, it’s time for me to come to you all once again with some new and (hopefully) even more up to date than ever Oscar predictions. As usual ladies and gents, I hope they’ll represent another bit of a change from overt speculation onward towards educated guesswork now that awards season is basically upon us (Telluride and Venice are in the books, with Toronto currently going on). We still have a long way to go in the season overall, as you probably can guess, and these new predictions will likely still be mostly wrong in the end anyway, but with each passing update (at least two a month now) I’m trying to figure it all out and get more and more confident in backing particular horses as opposed to others. If that sounds a bit repetitive to you, well…it’s still kind of the nature of the beast for this thing. If nothing else, this endeavor continues to sort of show where I’m coming from as the months pass and the race begins to change and evolve into something truly competitive and quantifiable, especially when precursor season kicks into gear.
Continuing on with the trend that I’ve had all year so far (including last month), you can see certain films standing above the rest. This time around, you can see movies like David Fincher’s Gone Girl, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children are the ones that I have poised to be among the most nominated at this year’s ceremony. Overall, my predictions are only a little bit different this time around, but paying heed to some of the news I mentioned yesterday. I’m mixing and matching here now, trying to find the right match as buzz comes in on more and more contenders. It might not wind up particularly accurate yet, but until the festival season concludes and more of these movies actually screen for critics, we’re still guessing more often than not. It’s just a matter of trying to make the guesses more and more educated as the season progresses.
By now, you all must know that I could go on and on (and on and on…) about all of the changes I’ve made or considered making, but I know at this point […]

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