July 11, 2015

Tag Archives: bradley cooper

OSCARS 2015 : Final Predictions for the Academy Awards

It’s time folks. I can’t delay it any longer, even if I’d like to. I must put out my final Oscar predictions. There’s no more time to go back and forth on if Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or Richard Linklater’s Boyhood will win Best Picture, as well as if Iñárritu or Linklater will take Best Director. It’s just down to this. As such, I’m not going to be giving any more analysis or reasoning for my picks, except to say that I ultimately couldn’t bring myself to predict a split. Does that mean I went all in on Birdman or went back to Boyhood? You’ll see below, but I’ll be saving the discussion points for Monday when I look at what the Academy choose to do, and why. Oscar voters have made their choices, so I’ve made mine as well. The Academy Awards are on Sunday night, so all we have to do is wait. I know I’m super excited and nervous, and I’d imagine you all are as well. Suffice to say, this was a unique season. Anyway, here’s to the Oscars!
Without any further delay at all, here now are my up to date and very last set of Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. Boyhood
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. The Imitation Game
5. Whiplash
6. American Sniper
7. Selma
8. The Theory of Everything
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
3. Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game
5. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
BEST ACTOR
1. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
2. Michael Keaton – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
4. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
5. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
BEST ACTRESS
1. Julianne Moore – Still Alice
2. Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
3. Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
4. Reese Witherspoon – Wild
5. Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
2. Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
3. Edward Norton – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
4. Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
5. Robert Duvall – The Judge
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
2. Laura Dern – Wild
3. Emma Stone – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
4. Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
5. Meryl Streep – Into the Woods
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
2. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Boyhood
4. Foxcatcher
5. Nightcrawler
BEST ADAPTED […]

A Mid February Oscar predictions update

We’ve come to the penultimate update to my predictions folks. With Academy Award voting going on hot and heavy, it’s really time to buckle down and try to work out some last minute Oscar hunches before final predictions next week, right? Much like I said last week, it’s pretty serious crunch time here, so once again aside from a guild announcement tomorrow (the Writers Guild of America awards) there won’t be any new information at all to go on, and there might not even be much this weekend, depending on what the folks at the WGA wind up doing with their two prizes. Essentially, at the end of the road. I’ve tried out some small changes and a few big ones, but the feel of the show remains pretty similar. The big question is still how Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay will go, and if Birdman or Boyhood will sweep those…plus the potential for Original Screenplay to wind up in the hands of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Geez, I’m sweating already.
As you can see below, I’ve once again opted to go with Birdman in the big three spots, giving it Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay wins. I definitely feel like Boyhood will win at least one of those, with The Grand Budapest Hotel even being a threat in the Screenplay category. The other notable changes I’ve made surround Whiplash, which I have doing way better than I think most expect it to, including pulling off a Best Adapted Screenplay upset win and a Best Film Editing surprise victory as well. That would give it four wins, second only to Birdman, which I have taking home five statues right now. This all can and likely will change more before Oscar night, so take it as still a work in progress. That being said, it’s the second to last crack that I have at it, so I’m making my speculating count…
Without any further delay, here now are my up to date Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. Boyhood
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. The Imitation Game
5. Whiplash
6. American Sniper
7. The Theory of Everything
8. Selma
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
3. Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game
5. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
BEST ACTOR
1. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
2. […]

A February Oscar Prediction Update

With voting for the Academy Awards getting underway today as well as just over two weeks to go before the actual Oscar telecast, what better time than now for some updated predictions, right? It’s pretty serious crunch time here, so aside from tomorrow’s Director’s Guild of America announcement, there really won’t be much new information to go on, unless the Writers Guild of America winds up doing something unusual. Basically, we’re right where we were last week, which will be reflected in my predictions. The changes are small, but some of them are rather meaningful, I can assure you of that much.
As you can see, aside from Best Picture, only in a few of the technical categories have I switched out for new winners, but in more than half of the categories overall I’ve tinkered with the placement of the nominees. That’s just the nature of the beast at this point. Aside from the aforementioned DGA and WGA winners still to be announced, we’re working off of the same information as previously when trying to figure out what’s going on in a voter’s head. It’s clearly an imperfect science, so while I’m obviously going back and forth between Birdman and Boyhood for the top prizes (today’s thought process is just to avoid a Best Picture/Best Director split for the time being), it’s just going to come down to what an Academy member is thinking/feeling over the next week or so. Trust me, I wish it was a more complicated process than that, but this is just how it is. Oscar voters will have their say soon enough, so it’s pretty much a waiting game now. Luckily, it won’t be a long wait…
Here now are my up to date Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Boyhood
2. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. The Imitation Game
4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
5. American Sniper
6. The Theory of Everything
7. Whiplash
8. Selma
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game
4. Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
5. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
BEST ACTOR
1. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
2. Michael Keaton – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
4. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
5. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
BEST ACTRESS
1. Julianne Moore – Still Alice
2. Reese Witherspoon – Wild
3. Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
4. Rosamund Pike […]

Which are the most competitive Oscar categories this year?

We’re less than three weeks away from the Awards Awards, ladies and gentlemen. Doesn’t time just fly? It seems like only yesterday we were still speculating on so many of the contenders. Now, it’s the home stretch for awards campaigns. Interestingly, a few of the categories are as competitive as I’ve ever seen them. Usually, give or take the technical fields, there’s only one or two really down to the wire races, but this year, if we include the techs, I can easily come up with ten categories that are far from wrapped up. As such, I’ve got a tailor made list to run down now, don’t I?
Here now are the ten most competitive Oscar categories during the final two and a half weeks of campaigning:
10. Best Adapted Screenplay – The smart money seems to be with Graham Moore taking this one for The Imitation Game, but it feels to many like a somewhat lackluster win, so there’s heavy speculation that this category is far from wrapped up. Could Jason Hall get American Sniper its big surprise win here? Is this the other place where Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash could be honored? Stay tuned to find out if either can upset Moore.
9. Best Costume Design – Seen as a slightly lackluster group this year, most seem to be deferring to popular nominee/winner Colleen Atwood here, though that might not be the case. She could easily win for Into the Woods, but that contender will get a run for its money from The Grand Budapest Hotel. If the latter is in for multiple Oscar wins…watch out.
8. Best Makeup & Hairstyling – The tech categories often have some degree of uncertainty surrounding them, and this year is no exception. Depending on who you ask, each of the three nominees in Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Guardians of the Galaxy can be seen as the frontrunner. The two more nominated contenders seem to have a leg up, but it could really go in any direction.
7. Best Animated Feature – When the nominees were announced and The Lego Movie was left off the final list, it set off a wide open race for this Oscar statue. It likely is between Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon 2 for the prize, but some see The Boxtrolls as a spoiler as well. It’s going to go down to the wire, that’s for […]

Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper”: the highest grossing war film of all time

Right before last weekend began, something truly unexpected happened. Yes, Clint Eastwood’s controversial but hugely popular and profitable war film American Sniper passed Steven Spielberg’s classic Saving Private Ryan to become the number one movie of its ilk of all time at the box office. In short, not only is it the top grossing film about the post 9/11 terrorism related wars, which have been iffy at the box office to date, it’s surpassed all the films about World War II and every other conflict as well, taking in an estimated $249 million, as of today (it also just had the second biggest Super Bowl weekend take ever). Just a month or so ago, no one would have ever dreamed about this. If you’re looking for the main reason why American Sniper is a dark horse in all of its Oscar categories, this is why. Money can talk.
For comparison, I wanted to show a few box office related lists to you all, to properly show the sorts of films that Eastwood and Bradley Cooper’s movie has now left in the dust. It’s basically a who’s who of the genre, that much is true. In terms of all war films, Spielberg’s aforementioned epic is at the top (also obviously at the forefront of the WWII box office) with $216 million, while the modern conflict record was previously held by last year’s surprise hit Lone Survivor (directed by Peter Berg), which came in at $125 million. This year though, American Sniper took that heartland popularity, ran with it, put it on steroids, and blew the competition away. It’ll wind up not only doubling Lone Survivor at the box office, but potentially beating Saving Private Ryan by a minimum of $50 million.
Here’s what the previous top ten war film box offices of all time looked like, prior to American Sniper:
1. Saving Private Ryan – $216 million
2. Pearl Harbor – $198 million
3. Captain America: The First Avenger – $176 million
4. Inglourious Basterds – $120 million
5. Unbroken – $113 million (and counting)
6. Schindler’s List – $96 million
7. Fury – $85 million (and counting)
8. Valkyrie – $83 million
9. War Horse – $79 million
10. The Monuments Men – $78 million
And here’s what the top ten at the box office for the modern conflict movies looked like, prior to American Sniper:
1. Lone Survivor – $125 million
2. Zero Dark Thirty – $95 million
3. Act of Valor – $70 million
4. […]

Updated Oscar Predictions going into February

After all of the guild excitement last week, I figured it was high time to take a new look at the Academy Award race and update my Oscar predictions. The Producers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild both cited Birdman over Boyhood with their top prizes, while the latter precursor opted for Eddie Redmayne over Michael Keaton in the Best Actor race. With the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America still to announce, nothing is set in stone, but right now we’re looking at some extremely close races in Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Adapted Screenplay. In fact, they could go down to the wire, and likely will. Quite a change of pace from where we were just a few weeks ago, right?
The major changes to look for in my updated Oscar predictions are highlighted by my first real switch in Best Picture since the fall. I’ve put Birdman into the top spot, ever so slightly over Boyhood. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with that pick, especially since I have Boyhood’s Richard Linklater winning Best Director still, over Birdman’s Alejandro González Iñárritu. I hate predicting a split between Picture and Director, but we very well might have another one of those this year. The other main change is that I’ve given the aforementioned Redmayne the top spot in Best Actor for The Theory of Everything, over Keaton in Birdman. They’re super close together, but that SAG win for the former could put him over the top. Birdman also beats Boyhood in Best Original Screenplay here, but again…a super tight race. There are some other small picks that I’ve tinkered with below, but those are the main ones to really look out for…
Anyway, enough talk. Here now are my latest Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. Boyhood
3. The Imitation Game
4. American Sniper
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
6. The Theory of Everything
7. Whiplash
8. Selma
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game
4. Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
5. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
BEST ACTOR
1. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
2. Michael Keaton – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
4. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
5. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
BEST ACTRESS
1. Julianne Moore – […]

The biggest surprises from Oscar nomination morning

A few days ago, I posted a list of the biggest snubs from the Oscar nomination announcement. Now, I want to take a look at the flip side of that, running down some of the biggest surprises from that morning. There were plenty of both, to be sure, but with the snubs already hit, the surprise nominations are getting their due. It’s hard sometimes not to focus on the Oscar exclusions solely, but the inclusions are worthy of some discussions as well, being as they’re perhaps a bit more positive. As such, that’s what I’ll be doing right now, taking a look at the surprises from that morning…
Here are the ten biggest surprise nominations this year:
1. Eight nominees in Best Picture – We’ve gotten so used to nine being the new default number in the Best Picture field, seeing the reduction of one nominee was a huge surprise for sure. Especially when you consider how close Foxcatcher apparently came to cracking the lineup (or something like Nightcrawler, perhaps), there seemed to have been a tailor made nine again. Nope, eight it is, this year at least. Next year? Who knows.
2. Bennett Miller in Best Director – Similarly, the new way of voting on Best Picture was assumed to have eliminated the Lone Director type of nomination. Obviously that isn’t the case, as Miller slipped in for Foxcatcher, despite the film being snubbed in Picture. It was a well deserved nod for sure, but a surprising one, without question. A director getting in without his film is a rare occurrence, to say the least.
3. Bradley Cooper in Best Actor – For a little bit, Cooper seemed a threat to win for American Sniper, but then he faded from the Best Actor race. Then, nominations were announced and there he was again. Considering the fondness that the Academy had for American Sniper, it’s not a huge shock, but going into the big morning he wasn’t expected to have his name called out.
4. Laura Dern in Best Supporting Actress – Dern’s supporting turn in Wild was always on the cusp of getting in, but it was assumed that Best Supporting Actress would wind up featuring someone else in the final slot. Then, she turned up, surprising a number of folks. Her campaign wasn’t flashy, but it sure worked.
5. Ida in Best Cinematography – We know that the Academy loves their black and […]

How “American Sniper” became Clint Eastwood’s biggest hit to date

Over the past few weeks, Clint Eastwood’s second 2014 release (after the mostly ignored musical Jersey Boys) American Sniper has gone from an also ran in the awards race to a Best Picture nominee and a huge financial success. What started with an incredibly profitable limited opening has morphed now into a wide release that has set all the records for the box office in the month of January. How did this happen? This was once thought of as a second tier film through and through, so what makes it the blockbuster among the Academy’s Best Picture lineup. Let’s look at the movie now and try to find out.
First of all, if you know nothing about the movie, here’s a quick primer. It’s a biopic/war film about decorated sniper Chris Kyle, known as perhaps the United States’ best ever in that field. During the Iraq War, he had more confirmed kills than anyone, leading to some calling him a hero. Back home, he struggled with being away from the field, which put a strain on his marriage. His story ultimately ends in tragedy, which is best left for viewers unaware of Kyle’s life to discover. Eastwood directs a cast led by Bradley Cooper a Kyle, with Sienna Miller as his wife. The script is by Jason Hall, which at one point was going to be directed by Steven Spielberg (and then actually David O. Russell, due to his relationship with Cooper). Eastwood came on board and utilized his quick filmmaking skills, leading to a last minute 2014 release. The rest now is literally history, both in terms of the box office and potentially also the Oscars.
Secondly, it’s important to realize just how strong this box office opening actually is for American Sniper. It played like a superhero movie, frankly, opening to a three day total of $89.5 million and including today, it’ll make for a four day weekend gross of $105.3 million. Honestly, that’s insane. It’s easily the biggest January opening of all time, an all time great opening for an R rated film, and almost unheard of for a biopic. It certainly wasn’t the plan. This weekend was initially thought to be Selma’s time, due obviously in part to it being MLK weekend, but still…these numbers are above and beyond any one single factor. It’s definitely a combination of things.
So what are the factors fueling all of this? On […]

George Lucas slams Oscars for snubbing David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay – “Selma”

“The thing about the Academy is it’s a political campaign. It has nothing to do with artistic endeavor at all,” said George Lucas on “CBS This Morning” after the highly publicized Oscar snubs of “Selma” director Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo.
BELOW LISTEN TO GEORGE LUCAS INTERVIEW:

Nominations for the 87th Academy Awards

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Robert Duvall in “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood”
Edward Norton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon in “Wild”
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”
Laura Dern in “Wild”
Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods”
Best animated feature film of the year
“Big Hero 6” Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
“The Boxtrolls” Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
“Song of the Sea” Tomm Moore and Paul Young
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura
Achievement in cinematography
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman
“Ida” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
“Mr. Turner” Dick Pope
“Unbroken” Roger Deakins
Achievement in costume design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Milena Canonero
“Inherent Vice” Mark Bridges
“Into the Woods” Colleen Atwood
[…]

A Post Oscar Nomination Prediction Update

A full day later, it’s still hard to completely make sense of the Academy Award nominations that went down yesterday morning. Oscar voters nominated who and what they wanted to, seemingly without much of the traditional rhyme and reason that they utilize. As such, one might be tempted to say that the field is wide open for wins all over the place. However, it seems like almost all of the frontrunners still stand in their pole positions, so it’s more a matter of figuring out where we have categories with upward mobility. As such, this updated set of predictions as well as the ones still to come, might not change too much, but the instances of change that they feature will be all the more important. I’ll keep my commentary short, but below I do have some thoughts to share on the big eight categories.
Right now, I have Boyhood way out in front in the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress categories. I also have it winning Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing, though those are less surefire wins. Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay will see some competition from Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel, so it’s possible that in the Screenplay category one of those players could sneak by Richard Linklater’s film. Acting wise, it’s probably a two horse race in Best Actor between Michael Keaton (Birdman) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), but watch out for Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), who will look to surge in this second phase. Best Actress is a lock for Julianne Moore (Still Alice), while Best Supporting Actor is as well for J.K. Simmons (Whiplash). The other category up in the air is Best Adapted Screenplay, since presumed frontrunner Gone Girl got snubbed. My brain defaults to The Imitation Game, but watch out for Whiplash here. Voters are clearly very fond of that one.
Anyway, there will be plenty more talk still to come for me. Here now is my first crack at predicting the winners of this year’s Academy Awards:
BEST PICTURE
1. Boyhood
2. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. The Imitation Game
5. American Sniper
6. The Theory of Everything
7. Selma
8. Whiplash
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game
5. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
BEST ACTOR
1. Michael […]

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