June 29, 2016

Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

Bradley Cooper: the next A-list actor turned director

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

The 83rd Academy Awards: If I had been a voter

After a brief delay, this series has returned. Yes, once again I’m going to be taking a look back at a recent Oscar lineup and explaining what my vote would have been in each of the big eight categories we all follow so intently each season. I previously mentioned that potentially I could do this once a week with previous Academy Award ceremonies, and while I’m going to be truing to do that, time will still tell. 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 then, here goes nothing folks…behold my picks:
Best Picture – The Social Network
The nominees here for this ceremony were 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone. My personal pick Blue Valentine wasn’t nominated, of course, so my number two pick is an easy one…The Social Network. Such a shame that it fell short here to The King’s Speech in real life.
Best Director – David Fincher for The Social Network
This category featured Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit), David Fincher (The Social Network), Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), and David O. Russell (The Fighter), and yet the three most interesting choices in Aronofsky, Fincher, and Russell were passed over for Hooper. I’d change that though, and go with Fincher. Had I been given the power to vote for anyone though, I’d probably have gone with Derek Cianfrance for Blue Valentine.
Best Actor – Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
I didn’t intend to vote down the line for The Social Network, but so far it just has worked out that way. My personal pick Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine got snubbed, so I had to go to my second choice. The nominees here were Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), James Franco (127 Hours), and Colin Firth (The King’s Speech). It’s hard to argue with Firth’s win, but I think Eisenberg was slightly more deserving overall.
Best Actress – Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine
Honestly, I might prefer Natalie Portman for Black Swan, but I can’t resist the chance to give Blue Valentine an Oscar win […]

Will we have a split between Best Picture and Best Director?

As Oscar voting ends later on today, one of the big questions that remains in my mind is…will there be a Best Picture/Best Director split? Aside from trying to figure out whether Birdman or Boyhood takes the top prize, there’s also the possibility that they each go home with one of them. That leads us to the issue of how likely this is, and which film/director would go home with which statue. Will Alejandro González Iñárritu turn his Directors Guild of America win into a Best Director victory while Boyhood takes Best Picture? Will Richard Linklater wind up winning Director while Birdman transitions its Producers Guild of America win into Picture at the Oscars? It’s all up in the air, but Academy Award voters are finalizing their decisions today, so it’s getting sorted out, basically as you read this.
First of all, there’s the matter of if we’ll get a split at all. I think we have the likeliest situation perhaps in history in terms of this, at least where both major contenders are up for both categories. It was different, for example, when Ben Affleck was snubbed for Argo but the film itself was almost a lock for Best Picture. Voters here could easily pick either Iñárritu or Linklater as well as their films for both prizes (or even Best Original Screenplay too, though that seems more likely to go to The Grand Budapest Hotel now). Historically, I almost never predict splits, since they don’t often happen and you run the risk of picking the wrong combination, etc. Last year that caused me to pick Gravity to win Picture even though I knew 12 Years a Slave was ultimately going to go home with it. This year though…I’m actually contemplating the split. Regardless of that, I think it’s at least a 50/50 shot that one happens.
Now, if there’s a split, what does it look like? There’s one camp that sees Boyhood winding up with the Picture win while Iñárritu gets Director as a consolation prize. I actually think that the more likely scenario has that flipped, with Linklater getting Director and Birdman taking home Picture, but either is definitely possible. The thing is, Academy members don’t engage in group think, as it were. They vote as individuals, so you can’t quite plot a scenario where everyone goes home happy. For example, a split, along with The Grand Budapest Hotel winning […]

Ben Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Kevin Hart, Shirley Maclaine, Chris Pine, Miles Teller and Naomi Watts to present at 87th Oscars®

Ben Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Kevin Hart, Shirley MacLaine, Chris Pine, Miles Teller and Naomi Watts will be presenters at this year’s Oscars, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air on Sunday, February 22, live on ABC.
Affleck, a two-time Academy Award® winner, received an Original Screenplay Oscar® for “Good Will Hunting” (1997) and a Best Picture Oscar for “Argo” (2012), on which he served as a producer, director and star. His most recent role was opposite Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl” (2014). He will play Batman in the upcoming feature “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “The Accountant.”
Chastain has received two Oscar nominations, one for Actress in a Leading Role for “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012) and one for Actress in a Supporting Role for “The Help” (2011). Her most recent films include 2014’s “Interstellar,” “A Most Violent Year” and “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.” She will next be seen in “Crimson Peak” and “The Martian.”
Davis has been nominated for two Oscars, one for her supporting role in the 2008 film “Doubt” and one for her leading role in 2011’s “The Help.” She currently stars in the ABC primetime hit “How to Get Away with Murder.” Davis’s film credits include “Get on Up,” “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them,” “Ender’s Game” and “Prisoners.” She will next been seen in “Lila and Eve,” due out this year.
Hart, who currently stars in the feature comedy “The Wedding Ringer,” appeared in last year’s “Ride Along,” “About Last Night,” “Think Like a Man Too” and “Top Five.” His previous credits include “Think Like a Man” (2012) and “The Five-Year Engagement” (2012). He will star opposite Will Ferrell in “Get Hard” later this year.
MacLaine won an Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role for 1983’s “Terms of Endearment.” She also received nominations for her leading roles in “The Turning Point” (1983), “Irma La Douce” (1963) “The Apartment” (1960) and “Some Came Running” (1958), as well for the documentary feature “The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir” (1975), which she produced. Her next role is in “Wild Oats.”
Pine most recently appeared as Cinderella’s Prince in “Into the Woods” (2014). He also has starred in such features as “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” (2014), “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013), “People
Like Us” (2012), “Unstoppable” (2010), “Star Trek” (2009) and “Bottle Shock” (2008). […]

Oscar missed the boat with all of the “Gone Girl” snubs

The more I think about it, the more it frustrates me that Academy members didn’t go particularly far beyond their comfort zones this year. Sure, things like Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Whiplash seem like unusual Best Picture nominees, but they still have plenty in common with past Oscar favorites. I won’t even get started on how they snubbed Selma everywhere but in Picture and Best Original Song, but I will take them to task for something else…snubbing Gone Girl everywhere but in Best Actress. Not only was David Fincher’s film deserving of more in the way of citations, it would have shown some evolution on the part of the Oscar voter.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle during the rightful uproar over Ava DuVernay missing out in Best Director for Selma was that Gillian Flynn was snubbed in Best Adapted Screenplay, a category many had predicted her to win, myself included. Snubbing the most honored female writer of the year while at the same time snubbing the most honored female filmmaker of the year just looks bad. Beyond that, Flynn just delivered a knockout adaptation of her own novel with Gone Girl. It’s hard to see how anyone can say with a straight face (outside of maybe Harvey Weinstein) that Graham Moore’s script for The Imitation Game, which now likely will win, is superior to Flynn’s.
On a slightly smaller scale, Fincher missing in Director isn’t an overt travesty, but when you look at the uninspired choice of Morten Tyldum, you do shake your head. I don’t mean to be picking on The Imitation Game, but it’s exactly the sort of prepackaged Academy Award contender that’s built to get a lot of nominations and then go home empty handed. That’s just a waste to me. If you’re going to give something a handful of nods and then not see those noms turn into wins, make the cited work more interesting. Fincher springs to mind, though obviously DuVernay as well, or Damien Chazelle for Whiplash here in Director, for that matter.
Of course, there’s the Best Picture field. Having only eight nominees raises the question of which film or films missed the cut, something I always try to study. The number nine spot almost assuredly was Foxcatcher’s, so that tenth place slot was between Gone Girl and Nightcrawler. This furthers the argument I’ve made for a few years now that we should […]

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 […]

Page 2 of 1812345...10...Last »