January 02, 2015

Tag Archives: David Fincher

A Mid-October Oscar Predictions Update

Ladies and gentlemen, as I’ve been saying over the past few months…oscar predictions are a rather funny thing. Sometimes you have to just update them all wholesale in order to not be way off the mark/behind the times, while sometimes they only require a relatively small bit of tinkering as to be on the right track and not out on crazy limbs. That’s simply the nature of the beast, one where a single new contender on the horizon can upend the race, one way or another. With only a small amount of Oscar hopefuls still to be seen, we’re again waiting for a new contender to potentially change the landscape (I’m looking at you, American Sniper), now that we’re in a world where Inherent Vice has already unveiled itself and not particularly changed things at all. In any event, it’s time for a new predictions update!
If you look at what I have in this particular update, you’ll see that I’ve made some changes, but not a complete overall. Once again though, a special thing I have for you all is the addition of who I have next in line in the major categories. This will give you a better idea of what the larger landscape looks like. I’ll obviously need to update these all again in a few weeks, particularly after I hopefully see things like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, but that’s one step ahead of the game for me. Until then (as well as when the other unseen contenders reveal themselves), the educated guesswork will just have to continue on a little bit longer.
In terms of my winners, I just want to say that I think just about every race is still wide open (give or take Best Supporting Actor) and I refuse to predict a split between Best Picture and Best Director this early in the game, so when I switch one, I have to change the other. As such, you’ll see a handful of new winners throughout the big eight categories. They could just be temporary, but time will tell in that regard. For now, that’s just how I see the race…
Well, enough talk though folks. I know you all just want to see how the predictions have changed, even if only a little bit, so let me oblige you. Here now are my most up to date Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Boyhood
2. The Imitation Game
3. Birdman or […]

How this year’s New York Film Festival shaped the Oscar race

Over the weekend, the 52nd New York Film Festival came to a close and with that brought us into the final stretch of the festival season. As such, I wanted to discuss the fest a little bit and see what we can ascertain about how the Oscar race was shaped, if it was at all. As usual, the awards season is still taking shape, so whatever went down at NYFF could only have a temporary effect on the Oscars, but it’s certainly worth talking about a bit, so let’s do that now…
Here are five things in particular to take away from NYFF in terms of the awards season:
1. Inherent Vice debuted and puzzled audiences – Yes, the World Premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest was a big deal, and rightly so. That being said, it was an odd and triply film that defies easy description, which rarely translates into Oscar success. That being said, both supporting players Josh Brolin and Katherine Waterston could be factors in their respective fields, while Joaquin Phoenix has a shot to still pop up in Best Actor. I wouldn’t count on Best Picture, Best Director (for Anderson), or Best Adapted Screenplay (also for PTA), though stranger things have happened in the past. Inherent Vice will need to rock the precursors in order to make a real dent with Academy members that likely just won’t “get” it.
2. Gone Girl premiered too, mostly to strong reviews – Despite some early screenings that somewhat spoiled the World Premiere of the new David Fincher film, the NYFF audience mostly erupted once this one unspooled before our eyes. It more or less locked in its status as a Best Picture nominee and Best Actress contender for Rosamund Pike, while also solidifying Gillian Flynn in the Best Adapted Screenplay field. Fincher remains in play for Best Director and plenty of technical nominations are likely to come about for this one. While few are talking about it as a winner, Gone Girl pretty much did as well as we expected it to at the fest.
3. Birdman, Foxcatcher, and Whiplash continued to amass fans – Despite having made their bones earlier on in the festival season, both Alejandro González Iñárritu’s dramedy and Bennett Miller’s passion project built on positive word of mouth, while Damien Chazelle’s musical drama/thriller proceeded to boost its underdog candidacy. Iñárritu blew most away with Birdman, while Miller continued to […]

An October Oscar Predictions Update

Just as I said last month…oscar predictions are a funny thing. Sometimes you have to just update them wholesale in order to not be way off the mark, and sometimes they only require a relatively small bit of tinkering to be on the right track. That’s the nature of the beast, one where a single new contender can upend the race, one way or another. With only a day to go until Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice is finally seen (yours truly will be there at the New York Film Festival), we’re waiting for a new contender to change the landscape, what with Gone Girl last week turning out great, but not as a game changer. In any event, it’s time for a predictions update!
If you look at what I have in this particular update, you’ll see a lot of what I had a few weeks ago, with small changes here and there. The big new thing I have for you all is the addition of who I have next in line in the major categories. This will give you a better idea of what the larger landscape looks like. I’ll obviously need to update this in a few weeks, particularly after processing Inherent Vice, but that’s one step ahead of the game. Until then, the educated guesswork will just have to continue a little bit more.
Well, enough talk though. I know you all just want to see how the predictions have changed, even if only a little bit, so let me oblige you. Here now are my most up to date Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Gone Girl
2. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Foxcatcher
4. The Imitation Game
5. Boyhood
6. The Theory of Everything
7. Whiplash
8. Unbroken
9. American Sniper
10. Interstellar
Next in line: 11. Men, Women & Children 12. Inherent Vice 13. Into the Woods 14. Fury 15. Selma 16. Mr. Turner 17. Rosewater 18. A Most Violent Year 19. Wild 20. Nightcrawler
BEST DIRECTOR
1. David Fincher – Gone Girl
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
4. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
5. Clint Eastwood – American Sniper
Next in line: 6. Christopher Nolan – Interstellar 7. Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game 8. Damien Chazelle – Whiplash 9. James Marsh – The Theory of Everything 10. Angelina Jolie – Unbroken
BEST ACTOR
1. Michael Keaton – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
3. […]

“Gone Girl”: What’s Up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Gillian Flynn
Main Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, and more…
Past Oscar relations: Affleck is a two time Oscar winner (co-writing Good Will Hunting and co-producing his Best Picture winner Argo), while Fincher is a two time Best Director nominee, having been cited for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network
Today we have another article in this ongoing series of mine concerning certain 2014 releases hoping to compete for some sort of actual Oscar attention as a contender at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for us here is a major player in Gone Girl, which hopes to be the latest high profile book adaptation to appeal to the Academy. Can it actually do it after a raucous debut at the New York Film Festival? Let’s discuss that possibility a little bit below now…
This thriller is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay. The one and only David Fincher is in the director’s chair, while the cast is led by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, with Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Emily Ratajkowski, Sela Ward, and more in supporting roles. With a very positive NYFF reception last week (I was there and can tell you for a fact that it played like gangbusters), the folks behind Gone Girl have to be feeling pretty good about its chances in the Oscar race.
What this flick has going in its favor is how amazingly well made it is as well as how strong the performances are on top of the directing and writing. David Fincher and Gillian Flynn make a good team, with Fincher’s unmatched technical proficiency and eye for perfection matched up with Flynn’s twisty and page turning idea. You really can’t wait to see what happens next. Rosamund Pike does awards worthy work here, while Ben Affleck deserves a nomination in a career best turn. Affleck and Pike are best in show, but both Carrie Coon and Tyler Perry steal their scenes in supporting roles as well. Affleck, Fincher, Flynn, and Pike should see their work heavily in play for awards love, on top of the film itself, not to mention the technical aspects. Look for cinematographer Jeff Cronenwweth, editor Kirk Baxter, plus composers Trent Reznor and Atticus […]

The first Fall stab at Golden Globe predictions

It’s that time again…time to take a stab at Golden Globe predictions. As I previously mentioned in my last installment, I was originally planning on waiting to take a new look at Golden Globe predictions until the summer was over (so basically now), but I just couldn’t resist. Fast forward to today and I’m back now with what’s my fourth look at the Golden Globe Awards, with this time around, another new theory to try and drum up some different/more accurate predictions. Anyway, here goes nothing!
To reiterate one more time, the biggest difference that you’ll see here between the Academy and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is that they tend to go for the bigger names or the bigger productions, as well as more European fare. So yes, films like Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, David Fincher’s Gone Girl, and Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher are here, but they’re now joined by things like James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything and Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, potentially at the expense of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. You also still potentially lose certain indie players here, as you’ll see evidenced by much smaller nomination totals (or even shutouts) for Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, just as one example, though others could be movies like J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year. On the flip side though, the inclusion of comedies and musicals allows longer shot work like John Carney’s Begin Again, Theodore Melfi’s St. Vincent, Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys, Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods, and maybe even Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight or Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here to have a shot at not just contention for nods, but actual noms, as well as wins. Nominations that would have been wishful thinking with the Academy and AMPAS are very much in play with the categories that the HFPA deals in. That’s just the nature of the beast here folks.
Here now though, without any further delays on my part (since we all know that you’re really here just to see what I have below), are a brand spanking new set of Golden Globe predictions:
Best Picture (Drama)
1. The Imitation Game
2. Gone Girl
3. Foxcatcher
4. The Theory of Everything
5. Unbroken
If there’s a sixth: Mr. Turner
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
1. Into the Woods
2. Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Inherent Vice
4. St. Vincent
5. Begin Again
If there’s a sixth: Neighbors
Best Actor (Drama)
1. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
2. Eddie Redmayne – The […]

Re-ranking the contenders in Best Director

As I mentioned last week, with the festival season well underway and a good portion of the major contenders for the Academy Awards having screened or about to screen, now seems like as good a time as any to take a look at the big eight categories and see what’s what in an updated and more expanded fashion. I did this with the major categories a few months back, but that was when almost everything was still speculation. We have some facts to go on now, so while much of this is still just an educated guess, I’m not completely relying on overt hunches this time around. It’s more of an even mix, depending on the film/director in question, of course. Today I’m turning my attention once again to the Best Director field, which will certainly match up somewhat with Best Picture, but perhaps not necessarily in a total form. Read on to see what I mean…
Here are the ten filmmakers that I have in play for Best Director currently, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point and time:
1. David Fincher (Gone Girl) – Considering I have Gone Girl winning Best Picture right now, it makes sense that I have Fincher winning Best Director here. The very first reviews for the movie dropped last night and they heavily praise his work, even if some do wish he’d tackle less “pulpy” subject matter. That seems like a film critic’s complaint to me (even if I’ve made that same statement about other filmmakers), so that might not bother the Academy too much. I’ll know more once I see it at the New York Film Festival on Friday, but for now…it’s in the top spot. This could be in flux though.
2. Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher) – Despite the slight reduction in buzz for this one, I’m expecting a surge again once Miller’s film plays at NYFF in a few weeks time. He’s slowly becoming an overdue director as well, so it’s possible voters might just decide that now is the time. As long as he can build back up some buzz, you have to still consider him a major threat to win. Don’t sleep on Miller’s chances, as he’s always found a way in the past.
3. Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Some have Iñárritu as the one to beat right now, but I’m not sure […]

A Mid-September Oscar Predictions Update

Oscar predictions are a funny thing. Sometimes you have to just update them wholesale, and sometimes they only require a small bit of tinkering. That’s the nature of this beast, one where a single new contender can upend the race, one way or another. With a week to go until David Fincher’s Gone Girl is seen, we’re waiting for that new contender to change the landscape, but enough has happened since my last update that I wanted to make sure I brought this new one to you now. By the end of September, a lot more will be known. Exciting, right?
If you look at what I have in this particular update, you’ll mainly see some category placement confirmation and the inclusion of Julianne Moore for Still Alice. In regards to the former concept, especially in Best Actress/Best Supporting Actress, contenders like Felicity Jones are going to be campaigned Lead, not Supporting, so there’s some clarity there. Also, until the aforementioned Gone Girl screens, I’m keeping it as a major victor, though time will tell if I’m on to something or not. It’s getting a new press from the likes of The Imitation Game as well as The Theory of Everything, which have boosted themselves in the past week or so. Next week I’ll have seen Gone Girl as well as Whiplash, so that’ll evolve the race a bit more as well. Until then, the educated guesswork will just have to continue a bit more.
Well, enough talk. I know you just want to see how the predictions have changed, so let me oblige you. Here now are my most up to date Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Gone Girl
2. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Foxcatcher
4. The Imitation Game
5. Boyhood
6. The Theory of Everything
7. Whiplash
8. Unbroken
9. Men, Women & Children
10. Rosewater
BEST DIRECTOR
1. David Fincher – Gone Girl
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
4. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
5. James Marsh – The Theory of Everything
BEST ACTOR
1. Michael Keaton – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
3. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
4. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
5. Ben Affleck – Gone Girl
BEST ACTRESS
1. Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
2. Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
3. Julianne Moore – Still Alice
4. Amy Adams – Big Eyes
5. Reese Witherspoon – Wild
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
2. Edward Norton […]

Re-ranking the contenders in Best Picture

With the festival season well underway and a good portion of the contenders for Best Picture having screened or about to screen, now seems like as good a time as any to take a look at the category and see what’s what in an expanded fashion. I did this with the major categories a few months back, but that was when almost everything was still speculation. We have some facts to go on now, so while much of this is still just an educated guess, I’m not completely relying on hunches this time around. It’s more of an even mix, depending on the film in question, of course.
Here now are ten movies that are sitting the prettiest in my mind right now for Best Picture:
1. Gone Girl – The highest profile unseen player gets my number one spot at this point and time. If it hits during its upcoming Opening Night spot at the New York Film Festival, then we could have a real frontrunner on our hands. David Fincher is overdue to have an Oscar winner in my book, so with the right reception, this could go where The Social Network came so close to going. Until proven otherwise, I’m going to stick with this one as potentially the one to beat.
2. Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Even though the love fest for this one died down a bit between the start of the Venice Film Festival and the end of the Toronto Film Festival, it’s still sitting pretty. A Closing Night spot at New York will keep it in the conversation too. Especially with Michael Keaton potentially being the top dog in Best Actor, you really can’t bet against this one being a huge player all across the board.
3. Foxcatcher – The buzz has quieted down a bit, but slow and steady could still ultimately win the race. Bennett Miller’s tale was initially a frontrunner, but now has faded a bit due to newer players, but something tells me that this will move up again before all is said and done. Watch out for Steve Carell especially, regardless of whether he ends up in the Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor race.
4. The Imitation Game – The past week or two has seen this biopic/period piece become not just a major player, but also likely Harvey Weinstein’s horse to back. Benedict Cumberbatch appears likely to […]

Joaquin Phoenix: Oscar veterans hoping for another nomination this year

Each and every single awards season, there are tons of both newcomers and veterans to the Oscar game. Tomorrow I’ll be taking a bit of a look at those seeking their first nominations from the Academy, but today I’m going to be going ahead and listing some of the major players who’ve already been nominated before, and in some cases are already winners. It’s leading up to me re-ranking the contenders in the major categories next week, but right now it’s just going to be a preview of which old hands to the Oscar ranch are saddling up for another ride on the awards season pony.
In the Best Actor race, the highest profile former nominee is Joaquin Phoenix, who will look for his first win this year with Inherent Vice. He represents the most likely non first time nominee who could win the Oscar in this category, though one level down we have Bradley Cooper for American Sniper and Bill Murray for St. Vincent, with Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler and Brad Pitt for Fury as other possibilities, plus Ben Affleck, who I’m counting here since he’s an Oscar winner, even if he’s never received an acting citation to date. Longer shots for nominations who’ve been to the dance before include Christian Bale for Exodus: Gods and Kings, Ralph Fiennes for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Philip Seymour Hoffman for A Most Wanted Man, Matthew McConaughey for Interstellar, Al Pacino for Manglehorn, Jeremy Renner for Kill the Messenger, and Mark Walhberg for The Gambler. Those fellas will be fighting it out with a bunch of first timers in this category, and it’s going to be a bloodbath.
Over in Best Actress, we have perennial bridesmaid Amy Adams hoping that this year she’ll finally be the bride with her work in Big Eyes. She’s going to be getting a challenge from both Jessica Chastain (for either The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Miss Julie, or A Most Violent Year) and Reese Witherspoon for Wild though. One level down you have Julianne Moore for Still Alice and Meryl Streep for Into the Woods, with other former nominees/winner on the hunt including Marion Cotillard for The Immigrant or Two Days One Night, Keira Knightley for Begin Again, Hilary Swank for The Homesman, Kate Winslet for A Little Chaos, and Robin Wright for The Congress. The newbies could seriously vie for a win here, but the vets have […]

A September Oscar Predictions Update

It’s that time again folks. Since we’re now into September, it’s time for me to come to you all once again with some new and (hopefully) even more up to date than ever Oscar predictions. As usual ladies and gents, I hope they’ll represent another bit of a change from overt speculation onward towards educated guesswork now that awards season is basically upon us (Telluride and Venice are in the books, with Toronto currently going on). We still have a long way to go in the season overall, as you probably can guess, and these new predictions will likely still be mostly wrong in the end anyway, but with each passing update (at least two a month now) I’m trying to figure it all out and get more and more confident in backing particular horses as opposed to others. If that sounds a bit repetitive to you, well…it’s still kind of the nature of the beast for this thing. If nothing else, this endeavor continues to sort of show where I’m coming from as the months pass and the race begins to change and evolve into something truly competitive and quantifiable, especially when precursor season kicks into gear.
Continuing on with the trend that I’ve had all year so far (including last month), you can see certain films standing above the rest. This time around, you can see movies like David Fincher’s Gone Girl, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children are the ones that I have poised to be among the most nominated at this year’s ceremony. Overall, my predictions are only a little bit different this time around, but paying heed to some of the news I mentioned yesterday. I’m mixing and matching here now, trying to find the right match as buzz comes in on more and more contenders. It might not wind up particularly accurate yet, but until the festival season concludes and more of these movies actually screen for critics, we’re still guessing more often than not. It’s just a matter of trying to make the guesses more and more educated as the season progresses.
By now, you all must know that I could go on and on (and on and on…) about all of the changes I’ve made or considered making, but I know at this point […]

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