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: emily blunt

Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in “Sicario”

There’s so much talent behind the film Sicario it’s almost scary. You have a cast that includes Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio del Toro, along with the supremely talented director Denis Villeneuve at the helm and the legendary DP Roger Deakins handling the cinematography. I’ve seen this movie twice in advance of its limited release this weekend and can vouch for it being excellent. In fact, it’s currently one of the ten best things that I’ve seen so far this year. 2015 still has a long way to go, but this is a memorable flick, to say the least, in no small part to the always excellent work from the legend that is Deakins. He’s yet to win an Oscar and folks, that’s a crime. Working again with Villeneuve after Prisoners, he’s got another shot to be in the running.
The film is a thriller about the efforts to win the war against drugs on the border that separates the U.S. and Mexico from each other. Blunt is an idealistic FBI agent in Arizona who is recruited by Brolin’s government agent to take part in a task force to stop one of the more brutal cartels. Along for the ride is del Toro’s shady character, who might have ulterior motives for taking down these dangerous men. As Blunt’s character is told, initially nothing will make sense, but in the end, it all will, and that’s the case for the audience as well. Villeneuve directs the script from Taylor Sheridan and in addition to the aforementioned Blunt, Brolin, and del Toro, the cast includes Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Donovan, Victor Garber, Maximiliano Hernández, Daniel Kaluuya, and more. As previously mentioned, Deakins is the DP, with a score by another Prisoners veteran in Jóhann Jóhannsson. They all do excellent work here.
This is a bleak movie at times, one that happens to have a dark sense of humor running through it as well. Still, this isn’t a feel good flick, as it features sudden and shocking violence, a sense of nihilism about the fight at hand, and a determination not to go the Hollywood route. It won’t be for everyone, but Sheridan and Villeneuve are sure handed in how they put the material forward. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the main trio of Blunt, Brolin, and del Toro are so watchable and Deakins’ cinematography is to die for. It really helps in making Sicario […]

“Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September

Can you believe it’s September folks? It’s actually now the fall festival season, which means that it’s also officially awards season. I think this month is one of the better ones of the year so far, in terms of new release, though that sort of goes without saying as we move into the fall. For the first time all year, a multitude of Academy Award possibilities are hitting theaters, so that alone is a major boost. Of course, there’s no assurance of Oscar attention, but I’m of the opinion that whenever we have a bunch of contenders circling the wagons, as it were, it’s a good thing. As such, this could be a very good month indeed. Take a look below and I’ll be more than happy to show you what September has to offer up…
Here now are the ten best bets for movies in September:
10. The Green Inferno – I’m of the mindset that Eli Roth is a supremely talented filmmaker who has a great flick in him. Early word is that this horror movie isn’t that one, but that it’s solid and very enjoyable for gore hounds. Since I enjoy Roth, I know I’ll be checking it out (actually, my screening is probably going on while you’re reading this, oddly enough), but fellow fans of the genre should keep it on their radar as well.
9. A Walk in the Woods – Once pegged as a potential Academy player, the reviews at the Sundance Festival were complimentary, but in a very light way. As such, this mostly two hander with Nick Nolte and Robert Redford is strictly going to hope to succeed as a crowd pleaser. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you’re like me and intrigued by it, keep your expectations in check.
8. Pawn Sacrifice – This Ed Zwick drama has been waiting to come out for a long time, so I’m very curious to finally see it tomorrow. Tobey Maguire is apparently great as chess champion Bobby Fischer, so perhaps he’s an under the radar awards player in Best Actor? Time will tell in that regard, but I’ll be sure to report in to you all if he happens to be a notable contender…
7. 99 Homes – Another title that’s been making the festival rounds forever is this Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon drama. Most reviews so far have been favorable, but this film, while timely, […]

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 […]

“SICARIO” starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro

In Mexico, SICARIO means hitman.
In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent [Emily Blunt] is enlisted by an elite government task force official [Josh Brolin] to aid in the escalating war against drugs.
Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past [Benicio Del Toro], the team sets out on a clandestine journey forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive.

A Lionsgate presentation, a Black Label Media presentation, a Thunder Road production, a Denis Villeneuve film.

Cast: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Victor Garber, Jon Bernthal
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Written by: Taylor Sheridan
Produced by: Basil Iwanyk, Edward L. McDonnell, Molly Smith, Thad Luckinbill, Trent Luckinbill

SICARIO Official Socials

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 […]

In Mexico, “SICARIO” means hitman – Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin

SICARIO’s Emily Blunt [Kate Macer], Benicio del Toro [Alejandro], Josh Brolin [Matt Graver], and Director Denis Villeneuve, walked the Palais des Festivals Red Carpet tonight before the In Competition Screening of SICARIO at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France.
In Mexico, SICARIO means hitman.
In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent [Emily Blunt] is enlisted by an elite government task force official [Josh Brolin] to aid in the escalating war against drugs.
Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past [Benicio Del Toro], the team sets out on a clandestine journey forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive.
A Lionsgate presentation, a Black Label Media presentation, a Thunder Road production, a Denis Villeneuve film.
SICARIO opens in the US in limited release on September 18, 2015, and opens wide on September 25, 2015.
Photo courtesy Lionsgate, by Paul Le

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 […]

Final Golden Globe Awards Predictions

This weekend, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will announce the winners of their Golden Globe Awards in a big televised event. As you’ve all seen over much of the past year, I’ve been attempting to nail down what the group (HFPA for short) will do on Sunday. Frankly, the nature of the films in competition have me not certain at all what’s going to happen. Still, this is the last chance to get Globe predictions on the record, so I’ve settled on my picks and have them for you below. First, I’ll explain myself, but I’ll keep it short, since you’re here for the good stuff, I know.
Certain categories seem pretty obvious to me, like the Supporting categories. J.K. Simmons seems very likely to win Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash, while Patricia Arquette is the clear favorite in Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood. Similarly, I feel good about The Lego Movie winning Best Animated Feature and Ida winning Best Foreign Language Feature. After that, however…it gets dicey. Sure, Michael Keaton seems set to win Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy for Birdman, while the film itself should take home Best Picture (Musical/Comedy), but I could see upsets occurring. Best Actress in that same Musical/Comedy field is wide open, with Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, and Julianne Moore close together. I have Adams winning for Big Eyes, but Blunt could easily win too for Into the Woods, with Moore’s work in Maps to the Stars a potential spoiler. Best Director and Best Screenplay are both super hard to predict too, with each contender a possibility (Screenplay has my only true upset pick of the night, with Gone Girl winning that category).
Then we have the drama categories. Best Picture (Drama) and Best Actor (Drama) are as tight as can be. I’m leaning towards Boyhood to continue its run to Oscar with some big wins here, but any of the Picture nominees could win, while actor will potentially show us who the prime competition to Keaton at the Academy Awards might be. My hunch is that Picture is between Boyhood and The Imitation Game, but it’s just that…a hunch. Anything can happen this weekend with the Globes. The HFPA have some tough choices to make.
Here now are my final Golden Globe predictions:
Best Picture (Drama)
1. Boyhood
2. The Imitation Game
3. Selma
4. The Theory of Everything
5. Foxcatcher
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
1. Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. […]

Golden Globe post nomination predictions for December

As we move from Phase One to Phase Two of the awards season, things begin to take a new turn. Now, it’s not only predicting who and what is going to be nominated, but also now a focus on potential winners comes into play. In a few categories, the winner has more or less been clear as day, but in the majority of them it’s an open race still. As such, I’m going to take a shot today at attempting to predict the Golden Globe awards. The members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association made their nomination picks recently, so now I get to sort through them and try to figure out how the Globes will turn out…
Before I show you the predictions, I’ll quickly give you my train of thought. Essentially, I tried to split things between Birdman and Boyhood, since I’m not sure how the voters are going to deal with The Imitation Game, Into the Woods, and The Theory of Everything. I don’t think all three will get shut out of wins, but at least one likely will. There are a few safe bets here, with the Globes likely to cite Patricia Arquette in Best Supporting Actress for one of Boyhood’s wins, Julianne Moore in Best Actress (Drama) for Still Alice, and J.K. Simmons in Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash. Those are close to locks. The other categories, give or take Best Animated Feature for The Lego Movie, are certainly up for grabs. As such, for now I’m looking to Birdman to do very well in the Comedy/Musical fields while Boyhood leads the charge in Drama. A lot remains to be seen though, so sit tight. The race is far from over at this still early juncture. Technically it’s not even Phase Two yet! We have a long way to go.
Alright, enough talk. Time for the good stuff, right? Here now is how I currently see the Golden Globe awards going down:
Best Picture (Drama)
1. Boyhood
2. The Theory of Everything
3. The Imitation Game
4. Selma
5. Foxcatcher
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
1. Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
3. Into the Woods
4. St. Vincent
5. Pride
Best Actor (Drama)
1. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
2. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
3. David Oyelowo – Selma
4. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
5. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)
1. Michael Keaton – Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. Bill […]

A December Oscar Predictions Update

Well, the calendar has turned to December folks, so now we’re getting serious here in terms of Oscar predictions. Precursor awards are in full swing now, so expect the Academy Award picture to begin to clear itself up little by little. As I keep saying, that doesn’t mean that from now on we’ll suddenly know how the whole thing will go down, but we’re close to the point where things should make more sense. Without any unseen contenders left, all that’s left is figuring out how these various Oscar hopefuls will do. Well, that’s what I’m here for ladies and gentlemen, so let’s figure it out!
The big new piece of information here is that I’ve now seen and digested Angelina Jolie’s film Unbroken. Honestly, I’m skeptical that it’ll be a major player, which is why I now have it snubbed in the Best Picture category and not going home with a single win. I could be wrong, but I also think that Jolie will fall short in Best Director and Jack O’Connell won’t be able to break through in the Best Actor race. It’s not that I don’t think it’s a good movie, because it is, but it doesn’t feel like something that can stand up to the major players in this race. As such, voters might leave it behind.
This leaves us mostly with a race that’s going to come down to Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, and Ava DuVernay’s Selma in terms of Best Picture as well as Best Director. You can make the case that Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance is a potential dark horse, but aside from that, it’s those three. You’ll see what I think will happen below, but get used to seeing those titles a lot, because those are the names that will compete for Oscar glory.
Anyway, it’s time to get down to business, right? Without further delay, here is how I see the Academy Award nominations going at this current juncture, with once again my next in line picks listed for completion/as a bonus. Behold:
1. Boyhood
2. Selma
3. The Imitation Game
4. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
5. Interstellar
6. Gone Girl
7. Whiplash
8. The Theory of Everything
9. Foxcatcher
10. A Most Violent Year
Next in line: 11. Unbroken 12. American Sniper 13. Into the Woods 14. Fury 15. Rosewater 16. Wild 17. Mr. Turner 18. Inherent Vice 19. Nightcrawler […]

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