September 17, 2015
        "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette                “Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September                Will Smith crusades for Best Actor in the "Concussion" Trailer        

Tag Archives: Cate Blanchett

“Steve Jobs”: Oscar predictions for September

Now that we’re well into the month of September, it’s time to kick predictions into high gear. It’ll be twice a month now in terms of updates, especially now that we’re also knee deep in the fall festival season. I love this time of year so much, which makes this a pleasure, but still…it’s crunch time. You really want to start making these predictions as close to accurate as possible at this point, so while it’s still fun, it’s also work. As you’ll see below, I’ve made some changes in light of festivals like Telluride, Venice, and now the start of Toronto, with New York to come next week. Suffice to say, by the end of the month when I update these predictions, they’ll likely already be out of date.
The big thing to take note of here is that I’ve bumped down The Martian from winning in the major categories. Now, the film did just premiere at TIFF and the early word is rather terrific, so why did I do that? Well, some of the praise makes it seem more likely of a nominee than perhaps expected by others, but maybe less of a winner as well. We’ll see, but for now, I’m experimenting and backing off. I’m also doing it in favor of seeing how Our Brand is Crisis looks in the top spot. I’ll adjust if the word up north isn’t too favorable for that one, but right now, I’m trying that out. Time will tell how it looks, but I’ll change it up in a few weeks if it’s clear I’ve made a blunder…
Anyway, enough talk. Here now is my up date Academy Award predictions. Enjoy:
1. Our Brand is Crisis
2. The Revenant
3. Bridge of Spies
4. Steve Jobs
5. Carol
6. The Martian
7. Spotlight
8. Joy
9. The Hateful Eight
10. Brooklyn
Next in line: 11. The Light Between Oceans (possible 2016 release) 12. The Danish Girl 13. Miles Ahead (possible 2016 release) 14. Inside Out 15. Black Mass 16. By the Sea 17. Sicario 18. The End of the Tour 19. The Walk 20. Trainwreck 21. Beasts of No Nation 22. In the Heart of the Sea 23. Macbeth 24. Suffragette 25. Lion 26. Mad Max: Fury Road 27. Freeheld 28. I Saw The Light 29. Room 30. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
1. David Gordon Green – Our Brand is Crisis
2. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
3. Danny Boyle – Steve […]

Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup – Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette

The Telluride Film Festival has announced the 2015 lineup, which runs September 4 – 7.
In addition, Rooney Mara, who stars opposite Cate Blanchett in the Cannes-acclaimed “Carol,” will receive a tribute.
The full lineup of the 42nd Telluride Film Festival is listed below.
“Retour de Flame” (Cby Serge Bromberg)
“Steve Jobs” (Directed by Danny Boyle)
“Ixcanul” (Directed by Jayro Bustamante)
“Bitter Lake” (Directed by Adam Curtis)
“Black Mass” (Directed by Scott Cooper)
“Beasts of No Nation” (Directed by Cary Fukunaga)
“Room” (Directed by Lenny Abrahamsson)
“Spotlight” (Directed by Tom McCarthy)
“Suffragette” (Directed by Sara Gavron)
“Rams” (Directed by Grimur Hakonarson)

“The Martian”: Oscar predictions for August

It’s almost crunch time folks! Yes, this is the last set of predictions before we start to get into fall festival season (pay close attention to the New York Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, and Toronto Film Festival), which in turn launches the Oscar race. As such, you won’t see a ton of changes here this time around, but be prepared for a lot of contenders to move around during the next update or two. I might be going to twice a month for predictions come September, so it’s going to be interesting seeing how these potential players do or do not shape up in the race. As such, this update represents a definite demarcation in the year. From here on out, it’s truly awards season for all of us…
The latest Trailer for The Martian (which you can see below) keeps it at the tip top for me right now, and that’s I suppose the most noteworthy aspect here. I’ve been tempted to try something else up at the top, but I’m going to wait until I see otherwise from Ridley Scott’s film or something else truly blows me away. When that day comes (possibly during NYFF or TIFF), I’ll amend as necessary, but for now, it remains. You’ll see everything below, and obviously sit tight, as more predictions will be coming in just a few weeks!
First off, here’s that new Trailer for The Martian:

Here now are my latest Academy Award predictions:
1. The Martian
2. The Revenant
3. Bridge of Spies
4. Our Brand is Crisis
5. Carol
6. The Hateful Eight
7. Brooklyn
8. Steve Jobs
9. Inside Out
10. Joy
Next in line: 11. The Light Between Oceans (possible 2016 release) 12. By the Sea 13. Miles Ahead 14. The Walk 15. MacBeth 16. The End of the Tour 17. Freeheld 18. Trainwreck 19. The Danish Girl 20. Lion 21. Spotlight 22. In the Heart of the Sea 23. Southpaw 24. Sicario 25. Black Mass 26. Suffragette 27. Mad Max: Fury Road 28. I Saw The Light 29. Straight Outta Compton 30. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
1. Ridley Scott – The Martian
2. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
3. Todd Haynes – Carol
4. Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies
5. David Gordon Green – Our Brand is Crisis
Next in line: 6. Derek Cianfrance – The Light Between Oceans (possible 2016 release) 7. David O. Russell – Joy 8. Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight 9. John Crowley […]

“Carol” gets a Teaser that firmly puts Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in the Oscar race

Hollywood Contenders: Depending on who you ask, one of the very first contenders for Academy Awards mentioned this year was Carol, the latest film from Todd Haynes. With a cast led by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, under the direction of Haynes, this has been pegged pretty much from day one as an Oscar hopeful. The buzz at the Cannes Film Festival did nothing to dissuade anyone either, with Mara taking Best Actress at the fest. Now, with fall approaching and a winter awards season release pegged for Carol, The Weinstein Company has unveiled a Teaser Trailer (which you can see below) in order to get us even more excited for the flick. Spoiler alert: it worked.
The film is an adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel and concerns the 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 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. 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.

Ever since Cannes, it’s been pretty clear that Carol is going to be a contender. The question is just to what degree Harvey Weinstein and company can make it play. A period piece forbidden romance with zeitgeist type story elements could be catnip to Academy voters, but it will all depend on how it’s campaigned and what the competition is. Chief among the decisions will be how to go forward category wise with the Oscar hopes of Blanchett and Mara. Many (including myself) have speculated that Blanchett will go Lead while Mara will go Supporting, but it was the former who took the Best Actress prize at Cannes, so that clouds matters a bit. It’s a good problem to have though, believe me. The Weinstein Company could even be bold and campaign them both in Actress and hope for a double dip.
Speaking of awards, I think it’s fair to say that Carol should be a big time player across the board, especially if the precursors are as kind to it as I […]

Jennifer Lawrence: Looking at potential Best Actress contenders

HOLLYWOOD CONTENDERS: Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know from the last year or so as well as my handful of articles again during this year, it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen six or so months from now, but it’s a whole other thing entirely to actually know something about what will be in contention. To help out in that regard, I’m once again 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. It’s probably old hat to you by now, I’m sure, but hey…
Today I’m continuing with another of the bigger ones that’s out there…the Best Actress category.
Here are the ten lovely ladies that I have in play for Best Actress, with the top five of course cracking the presumed lineup at this point:
1. Jennifer Lawrence (Joy) – You can go in any number of directions with your top pick, but I think the obvious choice right now is Lawrence. She’s been nominated both times previously working with David O. Russell, with a Best Actress statue on her mantle already. She nearly won Best Supporting Actress two years ago as well, so the Academy clearly loves this combination. With as baity a part as ever, if she nails it there’s no reason not to think she could run away with a second Oscar.

2. Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) – For some reason, I feel like Ronan is almost a surefire nominee for this romantic drama period piece, and while I know she could certainly contend for the win, I just can’t put her up top yet. Maybe it’s the thought of how dominant a Lawrence steamroller could be, but I just need to see how this one does during the precursor season. Ronan has a great shot though, no one can deny that.

3. Cate Blanchett (Carol) *Could go Supporting – The safe pick of the group right […]

“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:
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
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 […]

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