July 11, 2015

Tag Archives: Cate Blanchett

“The Martian”: Looking at potential Best Picture contenders

Welcome to July folks. Much like I said last year, it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions to see what folks like myself think will happen at the end of the year, but it’s another thing entirely to actually know which films will be in contention. To that end, once a week (or maybe twice a week) for the next month or so I’ll be running down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category. 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. Consider this a sort of pre awards season cheat sheet for you all.
Today I’m beginning with the big one, of course…Best Picture.
Here are the ten films that I have right now cracking the Best Picture lineup:
1. The Martian – A total hunch, I concede, but this is something with almost limitless potential. The Trailer was fantastic, the talent involved is top notch, and the book is a modern classic in my eyes. It’ll all depend on the execution on the part of Ridley Scott, but if he’s on his game and Matt Damon is his reliable self in the title role, there’s a chance we could see science fiction contend for a Best Picture win. Could this do what Gravity and Interstellar couldn’t? Stay tuned to find out…
2. Bridge of Spies – The safe bet right now, this latest collaboration between Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg has all the trappings of an easy pick to win. The thing is, that film almost never wins anymore, so I feel like having it in the number two spot makes total sense at the moment. Things can and likely will change, but while my top pick is a bold shot in the dark, this one’s high ranking is almost the de facto vote if you sit down and think about it. That takes nothing from its potential, as it looks very good, but Hanks and Spielberg are trafficking in Oscar bait here, plain and simple.
3. Our Brand is Crisis – Something you’ll notice in a few places here is that I’m taking chances. This is another case of that, since there’s no assurances that David Gordon Green’s political dramedy/satire will even be ready this year. It could be a […]

Rooney Mara: Oscar possibilities for the Cannes 2015 winners

Yesterday, the Cannes Film Festival awarded their prizes for 2015, so as always, immediate attention has turned to Academy Award possibilities. Some years, there’s a dearth of contenders, while others have no shortage of them to sift through. It’s very much an American thing, as if a fest always needs to have an Oscar correlation to matter, but hey…who am I to argue? Luckily, this year we have a number of potential players worthy of discussion among the winners. There are some titles that went home empty handed that could easily hit with the Academy, including Sicario and Out of Competition entries like Inside Out, Irrational Man, and Mad Max: Fury Road, but for now I’ll limit it to only those that wound up In Competition and with a prize…
Obviously, we have to start with the Palme d’Or winning Dheepan, which likely will be a Best Foreign Language Feature contender or bust. The same can be said of Grand Prix (second place, basically) winner Son of Saul and The Assassin, which gave Hou Hsiao-Hsie a Best Director win. Those are harder to figure out right now since it winds up being one film per country in terms of Oscar submissions and we don’t know what else each nation will be choosing between, but these certainly go on the long list. Other longer shots include co-Best Actress winner (more on that shortly) Emmanuelle Bercot for Mon roi, Best Actor winner Stéphane Brize for The Measure of a Man, and Chronic, the Best Screenplay victor.
Then, we have the singular X factor that is The Lobster, winner of the Jury Prize (third place, essentially). Filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos got his very unique film Dogtooth into Best Foreign Language Feature a few years back, so his English language debut was on everyone’s radar. It apparently lived up to the hype too, so while this probably is too weird for Best Picture, there’s an outside shot that the Best Original Screenplay could be livened up by The Lobster’s presence. It was widely expected to win that prize at Cannes, so perhaps the Academy can choose to go where the fest did not this weekend?
Finally, the most likely contender out of this year’s festival crop is clearly Carol. Perhaps disappointing some by only leaving the fest with a tie in Best Actress, Todd Haynes’ movie is still the odds on favorite to translate to Oscar. An interesting […]

Cannes 2015 Palme d’Or predictions

Over the course of the next few days, the jury at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival will be deliberating and deciding on the newest group of award winners for the classy fest. Led by the incredibly prestigious Palme d’Or prize (their version of Best Picture), Cannes could just as easily launch something into the Oscar race as opposed to merely highlighting a smaller title. Historically, the festival has given us a bit of both, which makes it hard to accurately predict what a new jury will do each year. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen head up this one, so perhaps that favors English language contenders? But, perhaps that doesn’t matter? Predictions here are an even more inexact science than awards shows that have precursors of sorts. I’m still going to try, of course. Just know that these are basically shots in the dark. Regardless, enjoy them!
In short, there’s no guaranteed winners, but I think the main contenders to keep an eye on across the board are Todd Haynes’ Carol, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin, László Nemes’ Son of Saul, Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, and Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario. Those five, along with perhaps Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster are the likeliest ones to contend for the Palme d’Or as well as possibly some acting prizes as well. The most buzz seems to surround Carol, Son of Saul, and Youth, but Sicario represents an interesting X factor. It would be a slightly mainstream pick, but with the sort of reviews out of the fest for it, anything is possible. One thing is for sure though…Cannes could very well hold a surprise or two, so all eyes are on the Coen Brothers and company on the jury. It’ll be interesting to compare this to the ultimate winners, which is what I’ll likely do early next week.
Here now are my Cannes award predictions, with brief commentary:
Palme d’Or
I’ve narrowed this down to Carol, The Lobster, and Son of Saul. Haynes’ romantic melodrama is the favorite right now, so I’m not going to go against my fellow pundits, but both The Lobster and Son of Saul would represent family unique choices. Nothing would surprise me here, but those three seem the most likely right now, though don’t count out Youth as well. I’m picking Carol, but I really kind of want to go on a limb with The Lobster. If only I were a bit bolder, I’d […]

Cate Blanchett in “Carol”: Our first big Oscar contender from Cannes 2015

Over the past week or so, the 2015 Cannes Film Festival has slowly unveiled some big time releases. Some, like Woody Allen’s Irrational Man and Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees, have turned out to be longer shots for any Academy Award attention. On the other hand, Cannes has seen Todd Haynes’ Carol launch towards the top of quite a few Oscar contention lists. Yes, while the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey, and Emma Stone saw their chances fade, Cate Blanchett, Kyle Chandler, Rooney Mara, and Sarah Paulson certainly had their stock rise. Carol is the cream of the Cannes crop so far…
As a primer, the film is an adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt (later retitled Carol). In it, Blanchett plays a married older woman who begins a flirtation and then an affair with a younger woman, played by Mara. Chandler plays Blanchett’s possessive husband, while the cast also includes the aforementioned Paulson in a vital role, alongside the likes of Carrie Brownstein, Jake Lacy, John Magaro, and more. Haynes directs, obviously, while the adaptation of Highsmith’s book has been penned by Phyllis Nagy. In some ways, this sounds like similar material to Far From Heaven, but if that is the case, that doesn’t mean that Oscar won’t be very interested, regardless.

I think that this one has some huge awards potential, both at Cannes and beyond as we move towards Oscar season. For starters, it’s certainly a contender now for the Palme d’Or prize as well as citations for Haynes and Blanchett at the fest. At the end of the year, when The Weinstein Company puts it out, it’ll likely be one of the bigger Academy Award players as well. This is one that you really can’t ignore, especially after the glowing reviews from the festival. Before that, it was still a strong possibility given its pedigree, but now…well, things are all that much better for Harvey Weinstein’s likely big shot at Oscar gold.
How good could this one do? Well, I don’t think Carol will wind up leading the field, but Best Picture, Best Director (for Haynes), Best Actress (for Blanchett and/or Mara), Best Supporting Actor (for Chandler), Best Supporting Actress (for Mara and/or Paulson), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score represent potential nominations. Yes, a double digit total is something that […]

Oscar Predictions for the month of May, 2015

Almost five full months into the 2015 movie season and I’m happy to report that we know zilch about the Oscar race. Why happy? Well, it means there’s plenty of fun guesswork to be done, and I’m all about that. The Cannes Film Festival has gotten underway and that can be used for a hint or two, but right now, it’s only eliminated one film (The Sea of Trees, which seems to be out of it entirely, outside of perhaps Matthew McConaughey) and made another a question mark (Woody Allen’s Irrational Man), with some other contenders like Carol still to screen. As such, your guess is as good as mine, which is part of the early year fun, at least in my book.
The one thing of note that I want to make mention of for this latest Oscar prediction update is that I expanded the fields a bit. The Best Picture lineup I’ve bumped up to 30, actually, with 15 for the other seven remaining categories that make up the “Big Eight”. As a bonus, I even went with ten for Best Animated Feature, just to have things as open as possible, which is what things are like right now, no question about it. My winners are still largely the same, including Steven Spielberg and his film Bridge of Spies, while something like Brooklyn or Carol is making its way up my rankings, slowly but surely. It’ll be a few months still until we have some semblance of an idea about the Oscar race, but right now, it’s a ton of fun to speculate…

Here now are my newest set of Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Bridge of Spies
2. Our Brand is Crisis
3. Carol
4. The Light Between Oceans
5. Joy
6. The Martian
7. The Hateful Eight
8. Steve Jobs
9. The Revenant
10. Brooklyn
Next in line: 11. The End of the Tour 12. Ricki and the Flash 13. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 14. Lion 15. MacBeth 16. Black Mass 17. By the Sea 18. Demolition 19. Freehold 20. Trainwreck 21. The Danish Girl 22. The Walk 23. Southpaw 24. In the Heart of the Sea 25. Star Wars: The Force Awakens 26. Bleed for This 27. Sicario 28. Irrational Man 29. Suffragette 30. Ex Machina
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies
2. David Gordon Green – Our Brand is Crisis
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Todd Haynes – Carol
5. Derek Cianfrance – The […]

Ridley Scott and “The Martian”: Early Oscar Predictions for April

After taking the month of March off in terms of Oscar predictions, I’m back taking a new look at what the Academy could do with this upcoming year in film. Again, it’s super early and probably silly to be focusing in on them like I am currently, but it’s also fun and gives us an idea of what movies to potentially look forward to. I’m keeping it mostly short and sweet today, just basically posting an update to the predictions (with a slight detour to discuss one contender), plus the next in line list that I know is popular as well. All of this can and likely will change in the near future, possibly even in the summer when things first begin to shape up, so stay tuned on that front. For now, enjoy these Academy Award predictions and cross your fingers that we have a good year for prestige films. I know that’s always my hope, so it should be yours as well.
Quickly though, before the predictions, let me just say that my big X factor that I’m looking forward to is Ridley Scott’s adaptation of The Martian. He hasn’t had an outright success in some time, but I love the source material so much, I’m hopeful that it sparked something inside him. Honestly, he’d have to go out of his way to ruin as good a novel as that one. Matt Damon will have a baity role and Scott should be plenty engaged, so my fingers are crossed!
Here now is my second crack at early Academy Award predictions…
BEST PICTURE
1. Bridge of Spies
2. Our Brand is Crisis
3. Joy
4. The Hateful Eight
5. The Martian
6. Carol
7. The Light Between Oceans
8. Steve Jobs
9. The Revenant
10. The End of the Tour
Next in line: 11. The Sea of Trees 12. Irrational Man 13. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 14. Black Mass 15. Demolition 16. Trainwreck 17. The Walk 18. Freeheld 19. Southpaw 20. Brooklyn 21. By the Sea 22. MacBeth 23. Bleed for This 24. Snowden 25. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies
2. David Gordon Green – Our Brand is Crisis
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
5. Derek Cianfrance – The Light Between Oceans
Next in line: 6. Todd Haynes – Carol 7. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant 8. Ridley Scott – The Martian 9. Woody Allen – Irrational Man 10. […]

Which films could play this year at the Cannes Film Festival?

When it comes to film festivals, there is arguably none more prestigious than the Cannes Film Festival. Each year, critics and the like descend on the south of France hoping to discover the classiest in cinema, which in turn can begin to fuel the impending Oscar speculation. 2015 likely will be no exception, as perhaps a few more Academy friendly projects than usual could wind up at Cannes. Sometime either this month or next, the fest will reveal the titles scheduled to play, so I wanted to get a head start and speculate a bit about what the festival could have in its lineup. Tribeca will be on my mind soon enough, but for now…Cannes gets my attention for the day.
Here now are ten films that could very well play at the Cannes Film Festival, in just a simple alphabetical order:
1. Carol – One of the most anticipated Oscar hopefuls of 2015 is the new movie from Todd Haynes. Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, it stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in a very unique love story. So yeah, this is a big player, provided the quality is there. Assuming it’s done, I’d be shocked if it didn’t debut at Cannes. Personally, I can’t wait to see it.
2. Erran – The new film from Jacques Audiard, the director of both A Prophet as well as Rust and Bone, makes perfect sense for Cannes. He’s been there before, garnering awards buzz, so this should wind up at the fest as well. The only question is if it’ll be ready in time or not. I’m definitely curious about this one, that’s for sure.
3. Lawless/Untitled Terrence Malick Project – There’s no doubt that the fest would love a new Terrence Malick film, so if it’s actually somewhere close to completion…count this one in for sure. With a cast led by Ryan Gosling and potentially some members of his Knight of Cups cast, there’s plenty of intrigue here. I’m not always wild about Malick, but I love Gosling, so consider me intrigued.
4. The Lobster – I’ve been fascinated with filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos ever since seeing Dogtooth a few years ago. His follow up Alps was solid, but this new one seems like it could very well be his masterpiece. An English language feature (one of a bunch from foreign directors coming out in 2015), the cast is eclectic, including John C. Reilly, the […]

“Cinderella” starring Cate Blanchett will be out soon

The story of ‘Cinderella’ follows the fortunes of young Ella (Lily James) whose merchant father remarries following the death of her mother. Eager to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new Stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her daughters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera) into the family home. But, when Ella’s father unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family.
Soon, she is forced to become their servant, disrespected, covered in ashes and spitefully renamed Cinderella. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella will not give in to despair nor despise those who mistreat her, and she continues to remain positive, determined to honor her mother?s dying words and to ?have courage and be kind.?
When Ella meets a dashing stranger in the woods, unaware that he is really the Prince (Richard Madden) and not merely Kit, an apprentice at the palace, she believes she has finally found a kindred soul. It appears her fortunes may be about to change when the King (Derek Jacobi) summons all maidens in the kingdom to attend a royal ball at the palace, raising Ella?s hopes of once again encountering the charming Kit. Alas, her Stepmother forbids her to attend and callously destroys her dress.
Meanwhile, the calculating Grand Duke (Stellan Skarsgård) devises a plan to thwart the Prince’s hopes of reuniting with Ella and enlists the support of the devious Stepmother. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand. Soon, a kindly beggar woman (Helena Bonham Carter) steps forward and, armed with a pumpkin, a few mice and a magic wand, changes Cinderella’s life forever.
‘Cinderella’ will be released through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures on March 13, 2015.

Year in advance Oscar Predictions

I know this seems nuts, but here I am with some Academy Award predictions for next season. We’re a long way out, yes…but for me, this is the absolute most fun time of the year, in terms of forming predictions. Why? Simply put, it’s because anything is possible. If you want to see how an odd nominee would look, you need only predict it. Right now, we’re just as likely to see Steven Spielberg’s latest St. James Place take Best Picture as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s kind of a brilliant thing, really. Even so, I’ve tried to be as logical as possible here, foregoing a number of quirkier picks in favor of the contenders I really feel good about, even if it really is only February still.
Which films are in contention? You’ll be able to see below, but the biggest contender right now seem to be the aforementioned St. James Place from Spielberg, David Gordon Green’s Our Brand is Crisis, David O. Russell’s Joy, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Alejandro G. Inarritu’s The Revenant, and Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs. Acting wise, all of those movies have contenders, while the big player right now seems to be Jake Gyllenhaal, who could score for either Demolition or Southpaw. An X factor to keep an eye on? Ridley Scott’s The Martian, which is based on an outstanding book and could either fall flat or be a huge player. Sit tight on that one…
Here now is my first set of Oscar predictions for awards season to come:
BEST PICTURE
1. St. James Place
2. Our Brand is Crisis
3. Joy
4. The Hateful Eight
5. The Revenant
6. Steve Jobs
7. Demolition
8. The Martian
9. The Sea of Trees
10. The End of the Tour
Next in line: 11. Carol 12. Irrational Man 13. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 14. Black Mass 15. Snowden 16. Money Monster 17. The Walk 18. Freeheld 19. Southpaw 20. Brooklyn 21. By the Sea 22. MacBeth 23. Bleed for This 24. Aloha 25. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Steven Spielberg – St. James Place
2. David Gordon Green – Our Brand is Crisis
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Alejandro G. Inarritu – The Revenant
5. Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
Next in line: 6. Danny Boyle – Steve Jobs 7. Gus Van Sant – The Sea of Trees 8. Ridley Scott – The Martian 9. Woody Allen – Irrational Man 10. Jean Marc Vallee – Demolition
BEST […]

“FROZEN FEVER”: New Trailer Now

The trailer for ‘FROZEN FEVER’ is now available. The highly-anticipated follow-up short to the global phenomenon FROZEN can be seen exclusively in theaters with Disney’s new live-action CINDERELLA, starring Lily James and Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchett, on March 13, 2015.

In ‘Frozen Fever,’ it’s Anna’s birthday and Elsa and Kristoff are determined to give her the best celebration ever, but when Elsa catches a cold, her powers may put more than just the party at risk.
· Walt Disney Animation Studios? 2013 feature film ‘Frozen’ won two Academy Awards® (best animated film and best original song with ‘Let It Go’) and a Golden Globe® (best animated feature film). It is the fifth highest grossing film of all time and the highest grossing animated film earning more than $1.27 billion globally. Released wide domestically on Nov. 27, 2013, ‘Frozen’ posted the No. 1 industry all-time Thanksgiving debut and Walt Disney Animation Studios biggest opening ever. The digital and Blu-ray/DVD release was one of the biggest home-entertainment successes of the last decade.
· Director Chris Buck (‘Frozen’) helmed the 1999 Disney classic ‘Tarzan’ (with Kevin Lima) as well as the 2007 Oscar®-nominated ‘Surf’s Up’ (with Ash Brannon). His animation credits also include 1989’s ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ (1990) and ‘Pocahontas’ (1995).
· Director Jennifer Lee (‘Frozen’) is one of the screenplay writers of 2012’s arcade-hopping comedy adventure ?Wreck-It Ralph.? Her screen adaptation of John Steinbeck’us ‘The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights’ is being produced by Troika Pictures. She has an original screenplay in development with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way, and her original script ‘Lucid Dreams’ was optioned by Wolfgang Peterson’s Radiant Productions.
· Producer Peter Del Vecho’s (‘Frozen?) credits as producer include 2011’s ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and 2009’s ‘The Princess and the Frog.’ He served as associate producer for ‘Chicken Little’ and ‘Treasure Planet.’
· Producer Aimee Scribner served as associate producer for Disney’s Oscar®-winning ‘Frozen’ and 2011’s ‘Tangled.’ She produced the 2012 short ‘Tangled Ever After.’
· Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez wrote the original songs for ‘Frozen,’ including the Oscar®-winning song ‘Let It Go.’ The ‘Frozen’ soundtrack is Billboard’s top-selling album of 2014 and spent 33 weeks in the top 5 on the Billboard 200 chart, including 13 weeks at No. 1. It is certified triple Platinum, selling more than 3.9 million units. The ‘Let It Go’ film clip from ?Frozen? has been viewed more than 370 million times on YouTube. […]

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