February 05, 2017

Tag Archives: Cate Blanchett

“Knight of Cups” gives audiences another Terrence Malick film to ponder

There are very few filmmakers with a more singular style out there than the one and only Terrence Malick. This week, he offers up another unique cinematic experience with Knight of Cups, sure to be a divisive little movie. This is part of his new, slightly grittier fare, and it’s certainly going to get a response out of you. I’ve had a hit or miss relationship with Malick flicks previously, though I can say without question that this is unlike anything he has ever done before, at least in terms of what he’s trying to accomplish. I’ll share my personal thoughts below, but Malick fans will have reason to anticipate this release, that’s for sure.
The film follows a successful writer named Rick (Christian Bale) as he indulges in Hollywood excess and wanders around, pontificating about his life to himself, as well as the audience, in voiceover monologue after voiceover monologue. There are glimpses at his relationship with his father (Brian Dennehy), brother (Wes Bentley), as well as the various women in his life (including Cate Blanchett, Teresa Palmer, Frieda Pinto, Imogen Poots, and Natalie Portman), but often his just Rick, wandering about a party or the streets of Los Angeles. Malick writes and directs, as you’d obviously believe while watching this, with cinematography from the great Emmanuel Lubezki, production design by longtime collaborator Jack Fisk, and music from Harlan Townshend. Other cast members include Antonio Banderas, Jason Clarke, Clifton Collins Jr., Kevin Corrigan, Dane DeHaan, Cherry Jones, Nick Kroll, Thomas Lennon, Joe Lo Truglio, Isabel Lucas, Joe Manganiello, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Nick Offerman, and Fabio. Yes, Fabio.
Simply put, I really didn’t care for this flick. All of the issues I’ve been having with Malick over his past few works are here in full force, amped up with a story about a spoiled man whining about his life but doing nothing about it. The cast is wasted, the gorgeous visuals are as well, and it all seems too quickly thrown together. The care he showed in Badlands, Days of Heaven, and The Thin Red Line appear to be gone, in favor of a loose DIY style that just is a bad fit for the director. Maybe I’m alone in thinking this way, but I found it to be a big misfire, carrying his bad habits from To the Wonder and expanding on them. Alas. They can’t all be winners, right?
As a bonus/comparison, […]

Hollywood Contenders – Where does “Carol” fit into the awards season now?

It’s been a very interesting year so far for Todd Haynes’ film Carol. Beginning at the Cannes Film Festival, it was feted as one of 2015’s biggest Oscar contenders, and throughout the festival season (including the New York Film Festival), that has more or less continued. The thing is, slowly the buzz has died down as more Academy Award hopefuls have been released, creating a more competitive market and perhaps making this movie a bit late to the party. It’s still a major player, but is it still a sure thing in the race across the board? Well, let’s talk about that a bit right now…
The film is a high profile adaptation a Patricia Highsmith novel called The Price of Salt and concerns the taboo relationship between two women in 1950’s New York City. One is young department store clerk Therese Belivet (played by Mara), while the other is an older married woman named Carol Aird (Blanchett). What starts as a friendship of sorts (though Carol seems to clearly be interested in more, with Therese more than just along for the ride) slowly blooms into something more, even if they can’t explicitly speak it out loud. From there, it’s a choice of whether or not to risk everything for love in a time where this was not acceptable behavior. The decisions that follow are not what you’d expect, and that’s putting it mildly. Haynes directs from a Phyllis Nagy screenplay, with the cast in addition to Blanchett and Mara including Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy, John Magaro, and Sarah Paulson, among others. The score is by Carter Burwell, while the cinematography comes from Edward Lachman.
What works here, without question, are the aesthetics put forward by Haynes and the performances from the cast, in particular Blanchett and especially Mara, who is best in show. The script is a bit on the nose at times and the pacing is a bit lax, but Mara more than makes up for that. She will break your heart in two. Haynes definitely puts forward another authentically period film, both in terms of the look and the feel, but it’s the acting that sets this one apart. Carol is the success that it is because of the way Blanchett and Mara interact with each other. It’s a dance that works in a big way.
I do wonder if this would have been better served by hitting earlier in […]

Hollywood Contenders – Which films could have multiple nominees in the same category?

It doesn’t often happen, but every so often a category in the Oscar race will have multiple contenders from the same feel competing for nominations. Ironically, this year seems to have an abundance of them, making for a potentially interesting Academy Awards race when all is said and done. In fact, a number of these players actually have realistic chances as well, with Carol, The Hateful Eight, and Spotlight chief among them. I figured that today was a good time to take a look at these contenders and see just who could potentially go ump against each other in the various acting categories…
Right now, the one to place a bet on for this particular situation is Spotlight. It seems that both Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo are sitting in excellent spots to be not only nominated in Best Supporting Actor, but the main players to win the Oscar there as well. That doesn’t even take into consideration the rest of their male cast, which is all going Supporting as well. It’s likely that Keaton and Ruffalo are it in Supporting Actor, but you could at least make the claim that Billy Crudup, Liev Schreiber, and Stanley Tucci are somewhat in the mix as well. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches for Spotlight, and rightly so. If there’s one close to sure thing in regard to this situation,it’s this film getting two nominees in Supporting Actor. Right now, I’d all but bank on it happening.

The other potential big chance for this to happen is if Carol does indeed end up seeing Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara go Lead for their performances. Right now, that’s only happening at the Golden Globes, but the Oscar could wind up following. Currently, Blanchett is in Best Actress and Mara is in Best Supporting Actress, where both are all but locked in, though if both ultimately are in Actress, anything could happen. Conventional wisdom centers on Blanchett getting in alone or both of them sneaking in, but I have a sneaky suspicion that we could see a situation much like the Cannes Film Festival where only Mara winds up getting in. It’s just a hunch at the current moment, but don’t sleep on Mara if this somehow comes to pass. It would be a close call though, I’ll concede that. They’re in different categories right now anyway, so keep that in mind as well here. Plus, […]

Which categories will be the most competitive this year?

Of the many things that you can consider when thinking about the Oscar race, one that I like to ponder from time to time is which categories will be the most competitive. I hinted at this in another piece this week, but certain categories are shaping up to be stronger than other ones. That being said, instead of looking at strengths and weaknesses, I figured today I’d see which ones seem like they’ll be the most competitive. That opens things up to more combine quality and quantity, as it were. This is a wide open year in general, so it’s only fitting that so many categories seem to be that way as well…
Below are the half dozen most competitive categories, as it stands right now:
6. Best Actress – After a bit of a drought, we have a group of Actress contenders that we can be quite proud of. Of course, who will win is wide open, but it’s not a situation where there’s only six or seven legitimate contenders for a nod. Vying for a nom here are the likes of Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt, Blythe Danner, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, Carey Mulligan, Charlotte Rampling, Saorise Ronan, Maggie Smith, Lily Tomlin, and more. That’s ten right there. Nothing to sneeze at, right? It’s a tight race, and one that’s certainly among the most competitive that the Academy will have to offer us this year.
5. Best Visual Effects – Here’s a category that will really be an embarrassment of riches. Basically, there’s a bunch of different styles on display that voters will have to choose from. Contenders like Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, In the Heart of the Sea, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Walk, and more will be up for a nomination. Usually, this category has one or two frontrunners and then some also rans, but that’s not the case this year. I can see it going any number of different ways, and that’s a delight.
4. Best Supporting Actor – As jam packed as any category this year, Supporting Actor could be a photo finish. Among the large number of contenders, there are the likes of Paul Dano, Benicio del Toro, Bruce Dern, Joel Edgerton, Idris Elba, Sam Elliot, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy, Michael Keaton, Harvey Keitel, Seth Rogen, Mark Ruffalo, Kurt Russell, Mark Rylance, and Jason Segel. That’s […]

Hollywood Contenders – “Steve Jobs”: Oscar predictions for November

Maybe I was just distracted by watching the New York Mets in the playoffs this fall, but I think the time is flying folks. It’s already November, which is getting to be late in the game. A couple of precursors have already announced their nominees, we only really have four unseen major contenders left (The Big Short, The Hateful Eight, Joy, and The Revenant), and some presumed frontrunners in a couple of categories have emerged. At the same time though, we’re almost done with the year and no category is locked up yet (yes, not even Best Animated Feature…the closest one would be Best Foreign Language Feature). Simply put, it’s an exciting time and a perfect moment to update my Academy Award predictions yet again.
The big thing people have been debating (besides if The Martian can actually win in the big categories, but I’ll be tackling that in an article early next week) is how much Steve Jobs is hurt by the lack of a strong box office. Some think it’s barely been affected, some think it’s dead in the water. Me? I think the truth is somewhere in between. I’m of the opinion that wins might be a struggle now without the public interest that was expected, and even a few down the line nominations might be tougher to get, but the majority of its campaign should remain the same. Voters don’t consider box office like analysts do, so this is more perception than actual reality. Steve Jobs was hurt by bombing financially, but it’s still very much in the race. It’s certainly something to keep in mind though, moving forward…
Here now is how I see the Oscar nominations, as of the beginning of November:
1. Spotlight
2. The Martian
3. Room
4. The Revenant
5. Joy
6. The Hateful Eight
7. Steve Jobs
8. Brooklyn
9. The Big Short
10. Carol
Next in line: 11. The Danish Girl 12. Bridge of Spies 13. Inside Out 14. Son of Saul 15. Sicario 16. In the Heart of the Sea 17. Concussion 18. Miles Ahead (possible 2016 release) 19. Beasts of No Nation 20. Macbeth 21. Mad Max: Fury Road 22. Black Mass 23. 45 Years 24. 45 By the Sea 25. Suffragette 26. Truth 27. Straight Outta Compton 28. Our Brand is Crisis 29. Anomalisa 30. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
1. Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
2. Ridley Scott – The Martian
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Quentin Tarantino – […]

A second October Oscar predictions update

With only a week or so to go until Halloween, we’re really racing to the end of the 2015 awards season. As such, I think it’s more than prudent to take another look at my Oscar predictions today, something I’ll be doing more and more often going forward. Obviously, a number of X factors make predicting the Academy Awards in October little more than educated guesswork, but that’s how you slowly move towards answers. I’ve got a few big question marks still, but this represents one of my more fact based takes on what the race could ultimately shape up to be like. That’s something, right?
What I really tried to focus on this time was nailing down a potentially weak Best Actor race as well as where to put those pesky unseen contenders like The Big Short, Concussion, The Hateful Eight, Joy, The Revenant, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Currently, I have them all scoring nominations, with all but one getting cited in multiple categories. You obviously can’t quite know what to do with them, but with some awards hopefuls like Carol, Spotlight, and Steve Jobs being known entities, it pays to be a bit bullish. I’m playing it a little bit conservatively with Joy right now, but in the next update I might be going close to all in on that one. Sit tight for more on that hunch, but take a gander at what I currently think Oscar will do below…
Here now are my most up to date Academy Award predictions:
1. Spotlight
2. Steve Jobs
3. The Revenant
4. The Martian
5. Room
6. The Hateful Eight
7. Brooklyn
8. Joy
9. The Big Short
10. Carol
Next in line: 11. The Danish Girl 12. Bridge of Spies 13. Inside Out 14. Son of Saul 15. Beasts of No Nation 16. Sicario 17. Concussion 18. Miles Ahead (possible 2016 release) 19. By the Sea 20. Our Brand is Crisis 21. In the Heart of the Sea 22. Macbeth 23. Black Mass 24. 45 Years 25. Suffragette 26. Truth 27. Straight Outta Compton 28. Mad Max: Fury Road 29. Anomalisa 30. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
1. Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
2. Danny Boyle – Steve Jobs
3. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
4. Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
5. Ridley Scott – The Martian
Next in line: 6. John Crowley – Brooklyn 7. David O. Russell – Joy 8. Todd Haynes – Carol 9. Steven Spielberg – Bridge of […]

“Carol”, “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”, “Spotlight”, and “Tangerine” lead the Gotham nominations

The 2015 precursor season has officially begun folks. Yes, nominations have been announced for the 25th Annual IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards. By and large, the Gotham Awards and their nominations start off the precursors, with this year being no exception. As always, some curveballs were thrown, as well as some likely Oscar winners seeing their first citations. If you love independent film and potential smaller Academy Award nominees, it’s hard not to dig what the Independent Filmmaker Project (or IFP) has come up with here once again. I’ll discuss their nominations a bit below, with the full list available to read as well, but just know that they’ve gotten the precursors off to a very nice start…

Leading the charge at Gotham this year was The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which received four nominations, the most of any title. The movie was cited in Best Feature, Best Screenplay (Marielle Heller), Best Actress (Bel Powley), and Breakthrough Director (Heller), certainly helping to keep it in play going forward and not be forgotten. The same goes for Tangerine, which was nominated in Best Feature and twice in Breakthrough Actor (for both Kitana Kiki and May Taylor). Carol also had a nice morning, scoring nods in Best Feature, Best Screenplay (Phyllis Nagy), and Best Actress (Cate Blanchett), while Spotlight maintained its early frontrunner status by receiving noms in Best Feature and Best Screenplay (Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer), as well as a Special Jury Award for Ensemble Performance.
Joining those nominees will be others like Grandma (Best Actress for Lily Tomlin), Heaven Knows What (Best Feature and Breakthrough Actor for Arielle Holmes), I’ll See You in My Dreams (Best Actress for Blythe Danner), Love & Mercy (Best Actor for Paul Dano and Best Screenplay), and Room (Best Actress for Brie Larson), just to name a few. It’s an eclectic group for sure, one that will have both big time Academy Award players as well as ones who will see their moment in the sun only be here with Gotham. It’s a nice mix, with the Oscar contenders almost being like a bonus. We’ll see who emerges victorious later on in the season, but for now, I dug these nominations…
Here’s the full press release:
New York, NY (October 22, 2015) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s premier member organization of independent storytellers, announced today the nominees for the 25th Annual IFP Gotham Independent […]

A first crack at Golden Globe predictions

Now that we’re well into the fall months and about to enter the tail end of the 2015 movie release season, I wanted to take my first crack at some Golden Globe predictions. I’ll be mixing these in with Oscar predictions going forward, but early Globe picks are always interesting to me, especially since sometimes you’re still guessing category placement and just what the tastes of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will look like at the time. They’re almost impossible to accurately guess off the bat the first time around, but that little factoid has yet to stop me from trying all the same. Here goes nothing!
What you’ll notice below is that things more or less reflect how I see the Academy Awards going, but with some slight changes. Obviously, the Comedy or Musical categories open things up to some other contenders, though we won’t know for a bit still how certain contenders will decide to compete. We know that Joy is likely to go Drama, but The Big Short and The Martian, for example, are two that could go the Comedy route. I have pretty much the same winners here as with Oscar, with the exception of Ridley Scott winning Best Director, on the potential strength of The Martian going Comedy and winning Best Picture in that area and getting Matt Damon that Best Actor win as well. The Drama category at the Globes still is where the Best Picture winner for Oscar likely will come from, with Spotlight and Steve Jobs facing off for now, though The Revenant is an X factor spoiler here. We’ll have more HFPA analysis coming soon, but these predictions should suffice for now…
Here you go folks, my initial look at how the Golden Globe awards could shape up:
Best Picture (Drama)
1. Spotlight
2. The Revenant
3. Steve Jobs
4. The Hateful Eight
5. Joy
If there’s a sixth: Brooklyn
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
1. The Martian
2. Trainwreck
3. The Big Short
4. Love & Mercy
5. Our Brand is Crisis
If there’s a sixth: Grandma
Best Actor (Drama)
1. Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
2. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
3. Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
4. Johnny Depp – Black Mass
5. Jake Gyllenhaal – Southpaw
If there’s a sixth: Tom Hanks – Bridge of Spies
Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)
1. Matt Damon – The Martian
2. Paul Dano – Love & Mercy
3. Bill Murray – Rock the Kasbah
4. John Cusack – Love & Mercy
5. Bill Hader – Trainwreck
If there’s a […]

“Truth” seeks to be a second Oscar vehicle for Cate Blanchett

In some ways, the film Truth is the “other” film in this year’s awards race, which can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on the situation. It’s the “other” Cate Blanchett Oscar player besides Carol, and the “other” journalism tale this season besides Spotlight. I’ll have plenty more on both Carol and Spotlight in the weeks to come, trust me there (especially in the latter’s case), but today I want to look at James Vanderbilt’s Truth, which opens in limited release this week and is not just a vehicle for Blanchett, but for Robert Redford as well. Is it up to snuff for the Academy? Well, I’ll tell you a bit more below…
The movie is an adaptation of the book by Mary Mapes and a look at the controversy surrounding those who worked at the news magazine show 60 Minutes and the CBS evening news. Blanchett plays Mapes, a producer, while Redford plays famous anchor Dan Rather, both of whom would get caught in a scandal after putting together a report on then President George W. Bush and his military service. They initially think they’ve done a solid journalistic piece, but a firestorm of criticism erupts in the aftermath, leading both to eventually lose their jobs. This is a look at the dangers of reporting on those in power and how one wrong move can cost you your career. Vanderbilt writes and directs, while the cast in addition to Blanchett and Redford includes Topher Grace, Bruce Greenwood, Stacy Keach, Elisabeth Moss, Dermot Mulroney, and Dennis Quaid. The cast is solid, trust me there, no pun intended.
Truth does suffer in comparison to both of the aforementioned titles, whether you’re comparing it as a Blanchett vehicle or a journalism story. Taken on its own though, away from Carol and Spotlight, it’s a solid, if overly dramatic look at a moment in time when no one wound up looking good on either side of the debate. Blanchett and Redford are quite good, while scribe Vanderbilt makes a mostly successful directing debut. In some ways, it treads similar ground to a plot line on the show The Newsroom, but this is far more based on reality, having come from Mapes’ own book. It might be too small for Oscar attention, but Blanchett’s presence on the precursor circuit will give it a fighting chance.
Speaking of awards, what kind of a campaign might this […]

Hollywood Film Awards – Ridley Scott to be Honored For “The Martian”

Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated director and producer Ridley Scott will be honored with the “Hollywood Producer Award” for the film The Martian. The “19th Annual Hollywood Film Awards” will take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, on November 1, 2015. The Hollywood Film Awards, the official launch of the awards season®, has recognized excellence in the art of cinema and filmmaking for 18 years, honoring some of the world’s biggest stars. More than one hundred honorees have gone on to garner Oscar nominations and wins.
This year, the multi-nominated Ridley Scott shows once again he is the master of all film genres as he produces and directs the story of astronaut Mark Watney, who is presumed dead after a firestorm and left behind by his crew. The film stars Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels and Kate Mara.
“Ridley Scott is one of the most prolific, talented and respected members of the film community,” said Allen Shapiro, CEO of dick clark productions. “We are honored to have him as part of this year’s show.”

Previously announced honorees for this year’s show include:
• Robert De Niro – “Hollywood Career Achievement Award”
• Furious 7 – “Hollywood Blockbuster Award”
• Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth – “Hollywood Song Award” for their hit “See You Again” from the Furious 7 soundtrack
• Asif Kapadia – “Hollywood Documentary Award” for Amy
• Tom Hooper – “Hollywood Director Award” for The Danish Girl
• Carey Mulligan – “Hollywood Actress Award” for Suffragette
• Benicio Del Toro – “Hollywood Supporting Actor Award” for Sicario
• Saoirse Ronan – “New Hollywood Award” for Brooklyn
• Alicia Vikander – “Hollywood Breakout Actress Award” for The Danish Girl
• Cast of Straight Outta Compton: Corey Hawkins, O’Shea Jackson Jr. & Jason Mitchell – “Hollywood Breakout Ensemble Award”
• Amy Schumer – ““Hollywood Comedy Award” for Trainwreck
• Joel Edgerton – “Hollywood Breakout Actor Award” for Black Mass
• Adam McKay – “Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award” for The Big Short
• Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer – “Hollywood Screenwriter Award” for Spotlight
• “Inside Out” directed by Pete Docter – “Hollywood Animation Award”
• Janusz Kaminski – “Hollywood Cinematography Award,” for Bridge of Spies
• Alexandre Desplat – “Hollywood Film Composer Award” for The Danish Girl and Suffragette
• David Rosenbloom – “Hollywood Editor Award” for Black Mass
• Tim Alexander – “Hollywood Visual Effects Award” for Jurassic World
• Gary Rydstrom – “Hollywood Sound Award” for Bridge of Spies
• Sandy Powell – “Hollywood Costume Design Award” for Cinderella
• Lesley Vanderwalt – “Hollywood Make-Up & Hair Styling Award” for Mad Max: Fury Road
• Colin Gibson – “Hollywood Production […]

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