January 03, 2015
        A January Oscar Predictions Update                American Cinema Editors (ACE) Announces Nominees                2015 releases to look forward to                The best films and performances of 2014                A look at the second spot in each of the main Oscar categories                The late breaking major Oscar contenders of 2014                Golden Globe post nomination predictions for December                Cinematic gifts from 2014                Spotlight on the Stars: Bradley Cooper                Which film will lead the nomination totals for Oscar this year?                A look at some potential first time Academy Award nominees this year                A Mid-December Oscar Predictions Update                Oscars: 9 Foreign Language Films Advance in Oscar® Race                Audiences are missing out on a funny film in Seth Rogen's "The Interview"                Spotlight on the Stars: Christian Bale        

Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

The 85th Academy Awards: If I had been a voter

Today I’ll be going back once again and looking at a recent Oscar lineup and explaining what my vote would have been in each of the big eight categories. I mentioned that potentially I could do this once a week with previous Academy Award ceremonies, and while I’m going to be doing that here and there, there’s a chance that this could turn into a long running thing. Again, if nothing else, this gives you an interesting look into my cinematic tastes. Over the course of the year you can sort of get a feel for what my current favorites are, but now we can look to the past a bit more.
Alright, here goes nothing:
Best Picture – Argo
The nominees here for this ceremony were Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. When you factor in that it was my favorite film of 2012, a vote for Best Picture winner Argo would be a pretty clear and decisive choice here (the rare occasion when my favorite movie of the year actually wins the Oscar). I wouldn’t argue with a vote for Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook, or Zero Dark Thirty, but Ben Affleck’s flick was far and away my number one.
Best Director – David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
I’d have voted for Affleck here, but shockingly (and insanely) he wasn’t nominated. The actual nominees were Ang Lee for Life of Pi, Michael Haneke for Amour, David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln, and Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Without Affleck, I very nearly went with Spielberg here, but in the end I just like Russell’s movie better. The aforementioned Affleck is easily my personal pick overall, but Russell is my choice of the actual nominees.
Best Actor – Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
In an absolutely perfect world, I’d have seen Denis Lavant in the lineup for Holy Motors and subsequently he’d have been my vote, but that was always a super long shot. The actual nominees here though were Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook, Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln, Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables, Joaquin Phoenix for The Master, and Denzel Washington for Flight. Everyone is very worthy here and I actually really came close to selecting eventual winner Day-Lewis, but Phoenix was just so incredible and showed me […]

A Mid-August Oscar Predictions Update

Here we are again. Since we’re now in the middle of August folks, you must know what time it is. Yup, it’s time for me to come to you all once again with some new and (hopefully) even more up to date Oscar predictions, my second one this month. As usual, I hope they’ll represent another bit of a change from speculation on towards educated guesswork now that awards season is fast approaching us. We still have a long way to go in the season overall, and these new predictions will likely be mostly wrong in the end anyway, but with each passing update (two a month now) I’m trying to figure it all out and get more and more confident in backing particular horses. 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 earlier this month), you can see films like David Fincher’s Gone Girl, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar 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, since last time out I totally swapped out all my winners. I’m mixing and matching here now, trying to find the right match. It might not wind up particularly accurate yet, but until the festival season begins next month 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 obviously know that I could go on and on about all of the changes I’ve made or considered making, but I know at this point you mostly just want to see actual predictions, so here now is just how I see the Academy Awards shaping up to look like at this midway juncture in the year:
BEST PICTURE
1. Gone Girl
2. Unbroken
3. Foxcatcher
4. Boyhood
5. Birdman or The Unexpected […]

“Gone Girl” by David Fincher: An August Oscar Predictions Update

Welcome to August folks. Now that we’re well into the second half of 2014 and reaching the end of the summer, it’s time for me to come to you again with some new and (hopefully) even more up to date Oscar predictions. I sincerely hope that they’ll represent another bit of a change from speculation on towards educated guesswork now that awards season is fast approaching us. We still have a long way to go in the season overall, don’t me wrong, and these new predictions will likely be wrong more than right in the end anyway, but with each passing update I’m getting attempting to figure it all out and get more and more confident in backing particular horses as opposed to other ones that I’ve mentioned previously. If that sounds a bit repetitive to you, well…that’s still kind of the nature of the beast for this. 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 later on in 2014.
Continuing the trend I’ve had all year so far, you can see that films like Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar are the ones that I have pegged to be among the most nominated at this year’s ceremony, though it’s now joined by Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman as well and David Fincher’s Gone Girl. Overall, my predictions are a bit different this time, in a purposefully experimental way. I’m predicting new winners in each of the major categories (and all of the technical ones as well, so it’s brand new winners all around), seeing how they look as compared to what I’ve been saying so far this year. It might not wind up particularly accurate, but until the festival season begins next month and more of these movies actually screen, 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.
Obviously, you al know that I could go on about all of the major changes that I’ve made (basically all over the place, which translates to everywhere, at least in terms of winners) this time around, particularly with titles like MacBeth and Suite française opting to delay until next awards season, but […]

A second stab at Golden Globe predictions

I was originally planning on waiting to take another look at the Golden Globe awards and my predictions for that precursor until the summer was over, but with the festival announcements in full swing, it seems like a nice time to approach these again. Next week brings new Oscar predictions on my part (also informed by the New York and Toronto Film Festival announcements), so this is a good way to bide our time until then. There’s certainly a bit of a separation between the two, so it’s a far cry from the same sort of predictions, as you’ve probably already gathered by now. The Globes and the Oscars are very different animals, to say the least. You can argue about the actual impact that the former has on the latter, but at the very bare minimum, it influences perception, so it must be reckoned with to some degree.
Once again, the big difference you’ll see here between the Academy and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is that they sometimes tend to go for the bigger names or the bigger productions. As such, I’ve got Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and David Fincher’s Gone Girl ahead of Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher here, even though I won’t have the same sort of lineup when you see my Oscar predictions at the start of August (stay tuned for that, obviously). You also potentially lose certain indie players, 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, 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 delay on my part, are a brand spanking new set of Golden Globe predictions:
Best Picture (Drama)
1. Unbroken
2. Gone Girl
3. Foxcatcher
4. Interstellar
5. Rosewater
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
1. Inherent Vice
2. Into the Woods
3. Men, Women, & Children
4. Birdman […]

The New York Film Festival is upping its Oscar game this year

With only three announcements, the annual New York Film Festival has managed to make their 52nd fest probably the biggest one of the year. I’ve been going the past few years and it’s slowly transformed into an awards season destination, but 2014 seems primed to be the year they really start to challenge the Toronto Film Festival for Oscar launch pad supremacy. Their Opening, Centerpiece, and Closing selections are always top notch selections, but this year they really seem to have outdone themselves. NYFF may very well have their best slate ever, and they’re still announcing the rest of their lineup at some point in the next few days.
In the Opening spot, they’re debuting David Fincher’s Gone Girl. Fincher has been there before with The Social Network, so he certainly knows how bit a launching pad this can be. When that movie debuted, it almost ran away with the entire Oscar season, at least until The King’s Speech stole the show at the end of the precursor season. This time around, his mystery/thriller starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike will seek get him back into the Best Picture and Best Director lineup. From the early looks of it (as well as this big time slot), the odds of that seem pretty good for Fincher and Gone Girl.
In the normally more low-key Centerpiece spot, they’ve shocked a lot of folks by landing the premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice. This isn’t Anderson’s first NYFF rodeo either, as both Boogie Nights and Punch Drunk Love were shown at previous installments of the festival. PTA has made more difficult to embrace than normal flicks the last few times out, and while There Will Be Blood was nominated a ton by the Academy, they ignored everything but the performances in The Master. This time, my guess is that they split the difference, to some degree. A comedic mystery of sorts, Inherent Vice stars Joaquin Phoenix and will look to establish itself as a critical favorite once this NYFF bow occurs.
Finally, their Closing selection is the North American launch of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman (or as it’s apparently also called: Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). Iñárritu is an NYFF veteran, as this will also be his third time showing a film there. He previously brought Amores Perros as well as 21 Grams to the fest. A dramedy starring Michael Keaton, it’s a […]

“Birdman” by Alejandro González Iñárritu: A July Oscar Predictions Update

Now that we’re into July and the second half of 2014, it’s high time that I’m coming to you again with some new and even more up to date Oscar predictions. Hopefully they’ll represent a bit of a change from speculation to educated guesswork now that awards season is not too far away. We still have a very long way to go in the season overall and these new predictions will likely be wrong more than right anyway, but with each passing update I’m getting more and more confident in backing particular horses as opposed to previous ones I’ve mentioned. If that sounds a bit repetitive, well…that’s still kind of the nature of the beast right now. If nothing else, this 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 later on in 2014.
Continuing the trend I’ve had all year, you can see that films like Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar are the ones that I have pegged to be the biggest winners at this year’s ceremony, though it’s now joined by Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman as well. Overall, my predictions still begin with Foxcatcher dominating at this early point in the season, though Unbroken still should do decently well too, at least in terms of nominations. Birdman is one of the year’s potential X factors though, so I wanted to make sure it got a bit of an extra mention here. A lot can and will still change, but if you’re looking for an early horse to bet on, it’s really either Foxcatcher or Unbroken right now in my mind, though evolutions are coming. There are some small changes elsewhere in most categories, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s still about those two contenders here for me.
I could go on about the more substantial changes that I’ve made (there’s again a noticeable change in a number of big categories) this time around, but I know at this point you mostly just want to see actual predictions, so here now is how I see the Academy Awards shaping up to look like at this midway juncture in the year:
BEST PICTURE
1. Foxcatcher
2. Unbroken
3. Men, Women, & Children
4. Gone Girl
5. Birdman
6. Rosewater
7. Big Eyes
8. Interstellar
9. Fury
10. Inherent Vice
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Bennett […]

Kevin Smith: As under appreciated a filmmaker as the industry has

For this week’s spotlight piece, I wanted to do something a little bit different than usual. Rather than simply look at someone who’s got a film coming out this week, I wanted to highlight someone who I feel is one of the most under appreciated filmmakers in the business. It’s Kevin Smith, a writer/director/editor/actor/podcaster who’s managed to forge one of the more unique careers that Hollywood has ever seen. Some may take issue with him being an A-lister or a star (or even under appreciated), and Smith would likely be the first to say so as well, but he sells himself short. Even beyond his work, he’s looked at as an expert on comic book cinema. For example, when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, what other filmmaker was literally sought out by the press for comment? His mere set visit to Star Wars: Episode VII is considered an event worth writing about. That’s rare folks. He’s never been someone the Academy looks to for nominations (though I’ve heard rumors that he was in the number six spot for Chasing Amy in Best Original Screenplay) and that’s a shame. A few years back, they didn’t even pretend to consider some of the performances he got out of John Goodman and Michael Parks in Red State, and that was their loss. Don’t even get me started on the Joey Lauren Adams snub either for Chasing Amy. Point is, no matter how you slice it, he’s under appreciated and underrated in Hollywood. As such, I feel he’s more than deserving of me giving him some appreciation in this piece today.
Smith has been a trailblazer in this business. From his independent film beginnings with Clerks to his embracement of the world of podcasting, he’s ahead of the curve. He was ahead of his time in selling himself as part of the movie experience, doing Q and A sessions before or after screenings of Clerks, sessions that became so popular he still sells out venues to this very day, two decades later. He helped launch the career of Affleck, Jason Lee, and others. Smith’s impact on Hollywood has been rather wide ranging, frankly.
If you take a closer look at his work than most do these days, he’s shown an ability to handle multiple genres and themes, more so than many realize. The aforementioned Chasing Amy melded LGBT issues into a raunchy romantic comedy. Dogma […]

A first stab at Golden Globe predictions

We’re still a week and change away from a new set of Oscar predictions, so I figured today I’d mix it up and give you all my first set of Golden Globe predictions. One of the most noteworthy (if not the most important) precursors in terms of testing out winners, the Globes are the second biggest show out there, so you have to take note of them. As such, they get this early treatment in a way that not ever other precursor does.
The big difference you’ll see here between the Academy and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is that they sometimes go for the bigger names or the bigger production. As such, I’ve moved Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken ahead of Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher here, even though I have the opposite for Oscar. You also lose certain indies, as you’ll see by smaller nomination totals for Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, for example. On the flip side though, the inclusion of comedies and musicals allows work like John Carney’s Begin Again, Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys, and Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods to have a shot at not just nominations, but wins.
Here now though, without further delay, are my initial Golden Globe predictions:
Best Picture (Drama)
1. Unbroken
2. Foxcatcher
3. Big Eyes
4. Rosewater
5. Interstellar
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
1. Inherent Vice
2. Into the Woods
3. Men, Women, & Children
4. Begin Again
5. Jersey Boys
Best Actor (Drama)
1. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
2. Timothy Spall – Mr. Turner
3. Gael Garcia Bernal – Rosewater
4. Ben Affleck – Gone Girl
5. Oscar Isaac – A Most Violent Year
Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)
1. Joaquin Phoenix – Inherent Vice
2. Adam Sandler – Men, Women, & Children
3. Mark Ruffalo – Begin Again
4. Seth Rogen – Neighbors
5. John Lloyd Young – Jersey Boys
Best Actress (Drama)
1. Amy Adams – Big Eyes
2. Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
3. Michelle Williams – Suite française
4. Reese Witherspoon – Wild
5. Shailene Woodley – The Fault in Our Stars
Best Actress (Comedy or Musical)
1. Keira Knightley – Begin Again
2. Meryl Streep – Into the Woods
3. Rosemarie DeWitt – Men, Women, & Children
4. Emily Blunt – Into the Woods
5. Rose Byrne – Neighbors
Best Supporting Actor
1. Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
2. Christoph Waltz – Big Eyes
3. Channing Tatum – Foxcatcher
4. J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
5. Takamasa Ishihara – Unbroken
Best Supporting Actress
1. Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
2. Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
3. Jennifer Garner – Men, Women, & Children
4. Laura Dern – The Fault in Our Stars
5. Jena Malone – Inherent […]

Steve Carell: 2015 Best Actor contenders

As you folks all know by now, it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions (including my own) at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen in six months, but it’s another thing entirely to actually know something about who and what will be in contention. To help out in that regard, 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 arguably the biggest of the acting categories…Best Actor.
Here are the ten thespians that I have in play for Best Actor, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point:
1. Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) – I tried to stay away from this obvious pick early on, but after the phenomenal reviews out of the Cannes Film Festival, it’s silly not to have Carell in your top spot. There’s a small chance he could go Supporting in order for Foxcatcher to maximize potential nominations/wins, but right now he’s the clear frontrunner here. It’d be folly to bet against him at this point.
2. Joaquin Phoenix (Inherent Vice) – I think we can all agree that Phoenix will win an Oscar one day, it’s just a matter of when. With his second collaboration with Paul Thomas Anderson, an opportunity is front and center, provided of course that the material isn’t too out there for the average Academy member. We shall see, but rightt now you have to at least be considering him heavily.
3. Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner) – The other leading man to really benefit from Cannes reviews, Spall seems more likely than not to score his first nomination for this biopic. Some have speculated that he could really challenge for the win too. I don’t quite see that happening, but hey…stranger things have certainly happened. Spall is probably the only person besides Carell that’s closing in a lock for a nomination this early.
4. Ben Affleck (Gone Girl) – Affleck is still without an acting […]

“Foxcatcher” by Bennett Miller: A June Oscar Predictions Update

Now that we’re well into the month of June, I’m coming to you again with some new and even more up to date Oscar predictions. They won’t be too different from what I put up last month, or obviously what I’ve written about in my articles on the Best Picture and Best Director fields, but honestly, that’s kind of the point. We still have a very long way to go in the season and these new predictions will likely be mostly wrong anyway, but with each passing update I’m getting a bit more confident in backing these particular horses as opposed to the previous ones I’ve mentioned. If that sounds repetitive, well…that’s the nature of the beast right now. If nothing else, this sort of shows where I’m coming from as the months pass and the race begins to change and evolve into something truly competitive, especially when precursor season kicks into gear in the fall/winter.
Continuing the trend I’ve had all year, you can see that films like Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar are the ones that I have pegged to be the biggest winners at this year’s ceremony, with Foxcatcher now dominating at this early point in the season, though with Unbroken still doing terrifically as well, at least in terms of nominations. A lot can and will still change, but if you’re looking for an early horse to bet on, it’s really either Foxcatcher or Unbroken right now. There are some small changes elsewhere in most categories, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s still about those two contenders here for me.
I could go on about the tinkering that I’ve done (there’s a noticeable change in Picture and Director, one of which goes against a recent article of mine, but I’m experimenting) this time around, but I know at this point you mostly just want to see actual predictions, so here now is how I see the Academy Awards shaping up to look like at this eearly juncture:
BEST PICTURE
1. Foxcatcher
2. Unbroken
3. Men, Women, & Children
4. Big Eyes
5. Rosewater
6. Gone Girl
7. Interstellar
8. Mr. Turner
9. Boyhood
10. A Most Violent Year
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
2. Angelina Jolie – Unbroken
3. David Fincher – Gone Girl
4. Jason Reitman – Men, Women, & Children
5. Tim Burton – Big Eyes
BEST ACTOR
1. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
2. Joaquin Phoenix – Inherent Vice
3. Timothy Spall – Mr. Turner
4. Oscar Isaac – […]

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