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: bradley cooper

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 […]

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 […]

“American Sniper”: Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood enter the Oscar race

Yesterday it was announced that Clint Eastwood will have a second 2014 release hoping to sway Academy voters, and this one is a far more appealing fit for Oscar. It’s his adaptation of American Sniper, which Bradley Cooper stars in and has championed to the big screen. Cooper in fact initially had Steven Spielberg lined up to direct, but when he had to step away, Eastwood came on board and seemingly has utilized his efficient filmmaking techniques and gotten the project ready for release this year. Instead of coming out in 2015, American Sniper now is prepping for an Oscar qualifying release at the end of December.
For those of you unaware what American Sniper is about, it’s an adaptation of the novel by Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who recorded over 150 kills as a sniper before tragically dying on home turf in a shooting accident. Cooper will play Kyle, while the supporting cast includes the likes of Kyle Gallner, Lucas Grimes, Sam Jaeger, Sienna Miller, and more. The screenplay is by Jason Dean Hall and of course Eastwood is behind the camera. There’s certainly some potential here for awards attention, no doubt about that.
Back when Eastwood made Million Dollar Baby, this same release strategy was used to great effect. That was another film that initially wasn’t on the calendar, but then snuck up on folks. I remember the late Roger Ebert being one of the first to talk about it, saying it was going to win Best Picture, and go figure…it did. It also won Best Actress for Hilary Swank and Best Director for Eastwood, so I’m sure the powers that be are hoping that the same thing can happen here, just substituting Cooper into the Best Actor field instead.
If this film is good, one can certainly see it contending in the Best Picture, Best Director (for Eastwood), Best Actor (for Cooper), Best Supporting Actor (for Grimes perhaps), Best Supporting Actress (for Miller), Best Adapted Screenplay, and various technical Oscar categories. My guess is that Best Picture and Best Actor will be the major plays, as Cooper could look to turn his potential third nomination into his first Academy Award win. That’s just a hunch, but it’s not a total shot in the dark either.
Now, Eastwood hasn’t had the best track record with his movies of late. I’d in fact argue that you have to go back to the […]

The 86th Academy Awards: If I had been a voter

I’m possibly going to be trying out a new series here. Essentially, today I’ll be going back and looking at the most recent Oscars and explaining what my vote would have been in each of the big eight categories. Potentially, I could do this once a week with previous Academy Award ceremonies, so there’s a chance that this could turn into a long running thing. There are 86 of these to sift through after all…and counting. If nothing else, this gives you an interesting look into my cinematic tastes. Over the course of he year you can sort of get a feel for what my current favorites are, but now we can look to the past a bit.
Alright, here goes nothing:
Best Picture – Her
The nominees here were 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Considering that it was my favorite film of 2013, a vote for Her would be pretty clear and decisive here. The Wolf of Wall Street would be my runner up, but it wouldn’t be a close race. Spike Jonze’s meditation on love is an absolute masterpiece, so that’d be my pick.
Best Director – Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity
I’d have voted for Jonze here, but he wasn’t nominated. The actual nominees were Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity, Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave, Alexander Payne for Nebraska, David O. Russell for American Hustle, and Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street. I very nearly went with Scorsese here, but it’s fairly hard to deny Cuarón’s work here on Gravity. The aforementioned Jonze is my personal pick overall, but Cuarón is my choice of the actual nominees.
Best Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street
In a perfect world, I’d have seen Oscar Isaac in the lineup for Inside Llewyn Davis and subsequently he’d be my vote. The actual nominees here though were Christian Bale for American Hustle, Bruce Dern for Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street, Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave, and Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club. Everyone is worthy here and I really came close to selecting Dern, but DiCaprio showed an incredible aptitude for comedy and that would be enough for me to give him his first Oscar.
Best Actress – Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine
Without the ability to cite the snubbed Adele Exarchopolous for […]

“Guardians of the Galaxy”: What’s Up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: James Gunn
Written by: James Gunn and Nicole Perlman
Main Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel (voice), Bradley Cooper (voice), Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Josh Brolin (voice), and more…
Past Oscar relations: Benecio del Toro won Best Supporting Actor for Traffic and the quintet of Josh Brolin, Glenn Close, Bradley Cooper, Djimon Hounsou, and John C. Reilly are all past Academy Award nominees
Folks, here now is a brand spanking new article in this particular ongoing series of mine on 2014 releases hoping to compete for some kind of notable Oscar attention as awards contenders at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for us here in the series is the Marvel science fiction/superhero epic Guardians of the Galaxy, which is the latest gamble on the part of the studio. If it manages to have crossover appeal between audiences and critics (which so far it has), then there’s some mild potential for it to appeal to the Academy in one way or another.
Obviously, superhero films have a tough time with Oscar, and this is in some ways the hardest sell yet. It’s a humorous sci-fi blockbuster that feels almost more like a joke than a true Marvel outing. At the same time though, it’s just so different that it could appeal to younger voters in a bigger way than usual. James Gunn has certainly made a love letter to Star Wars in a way, and Chris Pratt is cementing himself as an A-list star here. Factor in Bradley Cooper’s scene stealing voice work, and this is the type of movie that stands out from the pack.
What this flick has going in its favor is just how enjoyable it is and how it’s a throwback to the days of Star Wars. It’s almost impossible not to get lost in the sheer summer movie pleasure of this one. Guardians of the Galaxy is so much fun, you barely stop to realize just how well crafted it is. Gunn’s script that he co-wrote with Nicole Pearlman has a ton of heart and the special effects are absolutely top notch. There’s very little not to like here, so if voters give it a fair chance, at least in the technical categories, it deserves a ton of consideration, namely with Best Visual Effects.
Working against Guardians of the Galaxy is that it’s still a […]

12 Films still to look forward to this summer

With the second half of the year underway, it’s tempting to also declare the summer movie season all but over as well. While we may only have a few big blockbusters still to go, the independent films still to be released offer some interesting options, with at least one excellent option that I can vouch for (though I’ve actually seen all but four of the titles on the impending list). As such, I figured I’d take this moment to give you all 12 flicks that you can still look forward to between now and the end of August. There’s plenty out now to see, between Boyhood, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Life Itself, just to name three excellent new releases, but now I’ll give you some other things to anticipate.
Below you’ll see a dozen films that you should still have marked down on your calendars as must sees…
12. I Origins – Even though I’m not a huge fan of this science fiction tinged indie drama, it’s certainly interesting and worth seeing. Filmmaker Mike Cahill impressed me last time around with Another Earth, so anyone who liked that one should check out this new one, which also features Brit Marling once again, though Michael Pitt is the star this time around. It begins its rollout next week.
11. Love Is Strange – Back at the Tribeca Film Festival I saw and very much enjoyed this small scale love story. Both John Lithgow and Alfred Molina are excellent here as an older couple trying to make it in New York City. It’s well worth seeing, trust me there. It hits at the end of August.
10. A Most Wanted Man – One of the final performances we’ll ever see from the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman is in this thriller. At one point this was thought of as a potential awards player, but its reception at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year was rather muted. Still, it opens at the beginning of next month and should be worth checking out.
9. The One I Love – An offbeat dramedy with a number of plot twists I won’t spoil, it captured my interest at Tribeca. Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss are strong as just about the only folks in the movie. It’s out in the middle of August and is a nice change of pace option for audiences.
8. Calvary – The previous […]

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 […]

Oscars: 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture at the 86th Academy Awards

After months and months of lead up and speculation (not to mention an endless string of precursor awards), the Academy Awards were finally given out, and the results were almost as unpredictable as we’d all been saying. 12 Years a Slave took home Best Picture despite only winning two other Oscars and losing in the Best Director and Best Film Editing categories (both of which Gravity took), normally categories that go to the Best Picture winner. Gravity was the biggest winner of the night in terms of numbers though, taking seven prizes, including the aforementioned Director (for Alfonso Cuaron) and Editing fields.
In terms of the other prizes, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were once again awarded for their performances in Dallas Buyers Club (McConaughey in Best Actor and Leto in Best Supporting Actor), while Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for Blue Jasmine and Lupita Nyong’o edged out Jennifer Lawrence in the Best Supporting Actress category. Best Original Screenplay went to Spike Jonze for Her (my personal favorite award of the evening) and John Ridley won Best Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave. Other winners included Frozen (Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song), 20 Feet from Stardom (Best Documentary Feature), and The Great Beauty (Best Foreign Language Feature).
Here now are all of the results from the 86th Academy Awards:
BEST PICTURE
“12 Years a Slave” – WINNER
“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“Gravity”
“Her”
“Nebraska”
“Philomena”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”
BEST DIRECTOR
David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity” – WINNER
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
BEST ACTOR
Christian Bale, “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”
Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club” – WINNER
BEST ACTRESS
Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine” – WINNER
Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
Judi Dench, “Philomena”
Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“American Hustle” – Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
“Blue Jasmine” – Written by Woody Allen
“Her” – Written by Spike Jonze – WINNER
“Nebraska” – Written by Bob Nelson
“Dallas Buyers Club” – Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“Before Midnight” – Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
“Captain Phillips” – Screenplay by Billy Ray
“Philomena” – Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
“12 Years a Slave” – Screenplay by John Ridley – WINNER
“The Wolf of Wall Street” – Screenplay by Terence Winter
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave” – WINNER
Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
Sally […]

Oscars: Get to know the Best Supporting Actor race

Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips, Bradley Cooper for American Hustle, Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave, Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street, and Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club
Notable precursor wins: Abdi wins BAFTA Award, while Leto wins Broadcast Film Critics, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Awards
Current frontrunner: Jared Leto
Next in line: Bradley Cooper
Dark horse: Barkhad Abdi
Continuing on with my “Get to know” series, we now have our penultimate piece as we turn our attention today to the Best Supporting Actor race. As you can see in the vital statistics above, the gentlemen making up this category are Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips, Bradley Cooper for American Hustle, Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave, Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street, and Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club. More or less the whole season, it’s been Leto’s Oscar to lose, and as he’s picked up win after win, that line of thinking has only gotten more common. At this point, he’s potentially the biggest lock of them all.
From the start of the precursors, Leto has all but swept the ceremonies, with the one exception being Abdi emerging victorious from BAFTA, where Leto wasn’t eligible/nominated. Especially with Matthew McConaughey likely to win Best Actor, that only increases the likelihood of Leto taking Supporting Actor. If you’re expecting anyone else to win, you’re quite frankly a bit on the delusional side.
Now, unless there’s an absolute shocker of an upset, Leto is going to be an Oscar winner on Sunday evening. Abdi and possibly even Bradley Cooper are the next in line contenders, but they’re runners up in the strongest sense of the word. The Leto train is pretty much unstoppable, so look for it to pull into the Oscar station in a few days time and pick up an Academy Award for Leto. You can all but mark it down in ink.
Stay tuned for the conclusion of the acting categories tomorrow, with Best Supporting Actress up next to wrap things up!

Oscars: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “American Hustle”

“American Hustle”
Directed by: David O. Russell
Written by: David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer
Main cast members: Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K., Robert De Niro, Michael Pena, Jack Huston, Elisabeth Röhm, and Alessandro Nivola
Number of Oscar nominations in total: 10
Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Director (Russell), Best Actor (Bale), Best Actress (Adams), Best Supporting Actor (Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Lawrence), Best Original Screenplay (Russell and Singer), Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing
Notable precursor wins: Won Best Ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Best Comedy/Best Actress in a Comedy/Supporting Actress at the Golden Globe Awards, and Best Film/Supporting Actress/Best Screenplay at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards
Chances at winning Best Picture: One of the top three contenders for the award and a definite co-frontrunner
Chances at other Academy Award wins: Locked in close races for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay, with Best Actress, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing still in play
ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and HER.
American Hustle is the second film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s another one of the main contenders in the category. Though no film among the nominees has seen the sort of backlash that American Hustle has, the numbers simply don’t lie. It’s a blockbuster hit financially, has some major precursor wins under its belt, is one of the rare films to be able to score a nomination in each acting category, and tied for the most nominations overall this year. That didn’t happen out of thin air. This is a much loved movie, even if the supporters aren’t as vocal about it. A silent majority could still turn out to be a majority though, so this is a top tier Best Picture player for sure.
Working in American Hustle’s favor is just how much it was embraced by the Academy. Last year David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook got all four acting nominations as well (plus a Lawrence win in Best Actress), making him the first director ever to achieve this in consecutive years. It’s obvious that Oscar voters like what he’s doing, considering the ten nominations they gave him. It’d be one of the biggest losses in history if the film went home empty handed, so I just don’t […]

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