January 02, 2015

Tag Archives: Entertainment/Culture

An April Oscar Predictions Update

As promised last week, here I am again with some more up to date Oscar predictions. They’re not amazingly different from what I debuted with, but they do already show a change in focus, at least in terms of some of the second tier contenders. We’ve still got a long way to go and these new predictions will likely be completely wrong anyway, but I feel ever so slightly more confident in backing these sorts of horses as opposed to other ones. If nothing else, this sort of shows where I’m going from as the months pass and the race begins to evolve into something actually competitive…
The big difference that you’ll notice besides the changes that I made in each category is that I’m also listing predicted winners now. As such, you can see that films like Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar are the ones that I’ve pegged to be the big winners, with Unbroken dominating at this early point in the season. A lot can and likely will change, but if you’re looking for an early horse to bet on, that’s the one.
I’ve also included the tech categories as well, so you’re really getting a full look at how I see things going at this moment. It also shows more of the contenders in play that might not have a shot at Best Picture, but at the very least can hope for some sort of technical citation if nothing else. For example, the new Godzilla fits perfectly into that category.
Here now is how I see the Academy Awards shaping up at this early juncture:
BEST PICTURE
1. Unbroken
2. Foxcatcher
3. Men, Women, & Children
4. Gone Girl
5. Big Eyes
6. Rosewater
7. Boyhood
8. The Homesman
9. Interstellar
10. Fury
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Angelina Jolie- Unbroken
2. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
3. Jason Reitman – Men, Women, & Children
4. David Fincher – Gone Girl
5. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
BEST ACTOR
1. Jack O’Connell – Unbroken
2. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
3. Joaquin Phoenix – Inherent Vice
4. Michael Keaton – Birdman
5. Ben Affleck – Gone Girl
BEST ACTRESS
1. Amy Adams – Big Eyes
2. Jessica Chastain – The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
3. Michelle Williams – Suite française
4. Shailene Woodley – The Fault in Our Stars
5. Hilary Swank – The Homesman
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
2. J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
3. Christoph Waltz – Big Eyes
4. Robert Duvall – The Judge
5. Takamasa Ishihara – Unbroken
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
2. Jena Malone – […]

Oscars®: Draft Day – What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Written by: Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman
Main Cast: Kevin Costner, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella, Denis Leary, Tom Welling, and many others
Past Oscar relations: Ivan Reitman was nominated for co-producing Up in the Air and Kevin Costner won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for Dances with Wolves
Here now we have the next article in this series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention at the 2015 ceremony. Next up is Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day, which hopes to essentially be the next Moneyball, just with the NFL Draft as its focus. That film was a bit of an aberration, but this one has a bit in common with it, so perhaps the Academy is more open to sports movies than they have been in the past? Reitman has sports film icon Kevin Costner in the lead role, so that’s certainly a plus, along with a strong ensemble that includes Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella, and Denis Leary, to name a few. They’re in the service of a fine film, one of the better ones to come out this year so far, in my humble opinion. Being a quality bit of cinema is the first step towards becoming a contender.
What this flick has going in its favor is a crowd pleasing plot and a top notch script, not to mention a great role for Costner to sink his teeth into. Costner always is great in sports films, and this is no exception. Reitman also shows an able hand at drama, something he’s rarely attempted during his illustrious career. As for the screenplay, Black List winning scribes Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman have crafted something that both hardcore football fans like myself and newbies can enjoy equally. Moneyball was able to do this, and that screenplay damn near won an Oscar, so especially in the writing field, this movie should have a chance to contend for a nomination.
Working against Draft Day is that it is a sports movie without an awards centric pedigree. Yes, it has a Black List winning script, but that doesn’t always make a huge difference. Costner also has never been nominated for one of his sports outings, so it’s likely that he won’t break that trend here. That makes it Best Original Screenplay or nada in all likelihood, and having that narrow a focus makes it a dicey proposition. Draft Day […]

Spotlight on the Stars: Kevin Costner

Here we go with another installment of my Spotlight on the Stars series. Each week, I’ll look at an actor/actress/filmmaker that I’d like to celebrate in some kind of a way. It could be due to something of theirs coming out that weekend (like last week and this week, for example) or just because I feel they deserve to have a moment in the sun, but each time it’ll be a bit of positivity about someone who I’d like to pay tribute to.
For this week’s piece (number three overall so far), I wanted to take a look at our first male actor…Kevin Costner. Some see him as a bit of a has been, but I disagree and not only still see a movie star, but an underrated actor as well. Costner is a throwback to an older generation of actor. Very much a man’s man and a real movie star, but one with a softness to him as well. His best performances have perfectly highlighted that. He can be an excellent action hero, that’s for sure, but I’ve always preferred him as a bit more of a working man, be it as a baseball player or just a middle class Joe like he was in The Company Men.

Yes, his best films often involve sports (particularly baseball), but how is that a knock against him? Especially with the very good Draft Day hitting theaters this weekend, it’s just evidence of him knowing where he really fits and playing to that. From Bull Durham to Field of Dreams to For Love of the Game and Tin Cup (and also The Upside of Anger, where he plays a retired player), the sports genre really seems to serve him well. That being said, he’s hardly out of his element when removed from athletics.
Costner has usually challenged himself more than he’s been given credit for, especially considering his directorial career. He won Best Director and Best Picture for Dances with Wolves, and even his projects that were deemed unsuccessful weren’t for a lack of ambition. He can be a risk taker behind the camera, even as he’s a calming and grounded presence in front of it. That’s particularly on display with Draft Day, even when his character is far from calm.
Overall, Costner is am underrated actor with an undeniable screen presence, like I mentioned above. As he begins to enter somewhat of a Hollywood elder […]

‘Captain America’ commands the top spot at the Box Office this weekend

Happy Sunday everyone. Here I am once again with the weekly box office report. Leading the way this weekend in a huge way was Marvel’s latest, Captain America: The Winter Soldier which debuted with a fantastic $96.2 million at the box office. Far behind at number two we had the second week of Noah, which had quite the drop and only pulled in an estimated $17 million more into its pockets. Number three happened to be Divergent, which had a better hold and took in another $13 million from audience members. No other new release besides the Marvel sequel cracked the top ten. Among the independent/limited releases, we had a really strong debut for Under the Skin, while Dom Hemingway, Franke & Alice, and The Unknown Known did decently enough. Jinn however, pretty much flopped. Only three movies in the top ten managed eight figure weekends, so most of the audiences were just seeing a certain superhero and his latest adventure…
Building off of some incredible buzz and top notch reviews, Captain America: The Winter Soldier managed to come close to breaking the $100 million mark opening weekend. I found the movie to be one of the better superhero flicks of late, so going forward this one could be a smash hit. On the flip side, I don’t know how well any of the platform releases will do. Jinn clearly was a B horror movie looking to make a quick buck, and that just didn’t happen. I was impressed by Under the Skin’s very solid per theater average though, so perhaps that one will manage to be an unlikely crossover success.
Among the notable holdovers in theaters, the aforementioned Noah saw much of its audience erode, while both God’s Not Dead and The Grand Budapest Hotel continue to perform above expectations. Sabotage continued to flop, on the other side of the coin, not even managing to make $2 million this weekend. We also had Mr. Peabody & Sherman crack the $100 million mark, so congrats there. Overall, it was just a very summer-ish weekend, if that makes sense. Essentially, everyone just went to see Captain America…
Here now is what the top ten looked like at the box office for this weekend:
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $96,200,000
2. Noah – $17,000,000
3. Divergent – $13,000,000
4. God’s Not Dead – $7,726,000
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel – $6,300,000
6. Muppets Most Wanted – $6,285,000
7. Mr. Peabody […]

“Oculus” Stars Hit the Red Carpet

“Oculus” didn’t scare away the crowds as fans lined Hollywood Boulevard outside of the TCL Chinese Theatre Thursday night to get a glimpse of the stars attending the Los Angeles premiere of the much buzzed about horror film opening next Friday.
The red carpet showcased the film’s up-and-coming young cast: Karen Gillan, sporting short hair and head-to-toe sequins, along with costars Annalise Basso and Garrett Ryan.

Relativity Media is banking on a fright-induced comeback to spark the box office.
A carefully strategized ad campaign and social media marketing targeted toward a young, edgy demographic have given this film steam as it heads into it’s opening weekend.
The film, directed by Mike Flanagan, tells the story of a woman who tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon.
Photos by John Baxter

Oscars®: Under the Skin – Scarlett Johansson – What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: Jonathan Glazer
Written by: Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer, based on the novel by Michael Faber
Main Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Paul Brannigan, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, and others
Past Oscar relations: None, though Scarlett Johansson has received four Golden Globe nominations and twice came very close to Academy Award nominations
Here now is the newest article in this series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention. Next up today is Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, which hopes to be the sort of heady indie contender that voters every so often can fall under the spell of. Glazer’s acclaimed Sexy Beast wasn’t able to attract enough votes, but can this one do better? Armed with an amazing performance by Scarlett Johansson and some incredible visuals/sound design, Glazer has a magnificent movie, though one that could prove to be a hard sell.
What this flick really has going in its favor is Johansson’s acting and Glazer’s ambition. She’s absolutely phenomenal here, possibly even giving the best performance of her career. It’s a brilliant turn by the talented actress, showing a brand new side to her. Glazer coaxed this out of her and it really turns heads. The film is presented in such a way that Johansson is front and center the whole time, so her success is very much the movie’s as well. She blew me away, quite frankly. In a fair world, she’d be a lock for a Best Actress nomination.
Working against Under the Skin is that the movie is very challenging and will leave some scratching their heads. Nothing is spelled out for you and a lot of the film is presented in a rather obtuse way. At times, it even comes close to pretentiousness, though it never reaches that point. Still, when you make voters work for it, sometimes they opt to just move on to something easier, and I expect that to be the case here with this one. It’s a shame too, since Johansson deserves to win an Oscar for this, but even a nomination will be hard to come by.
So, can this one be a player at all? Simply put, the odds are against it, though the independent precursors will likely love it. Basically, I’d be pretty surprised if it held on until the end of awards season in any substantial way, but stranger things have certainly happened. The flick will really have an uphill battle, but Under […]

Spotlight on the Stars: Scarlett Johansson

After last week’s look at Jennifer Lawrence, I think this is now going to become another weekly series for me, tentatively called “Spotlight on the Stars”. Each week, I’ll look at an actor/actress/filmmaker that I’d like to celebrate in some way. It could be due to something of theirs coming out that weekend or just because I feel they deserve a moment in the sun, but each time it’ll be a bit of positivity about someone who I’d like to pay tribute to.
For this week’s piece (which is technically the second one in the series, though I didn’t have a snappy name for the inaugural Lawrence one), I wanted to take a look at Scarlett Johansson. To some, she’s merely a pretty face, but when I look at her, not only do I see a beautiful woman, I also see a criminally underrated actress. From her early days as a child star of sorts to this very weekend when she has a wonderfully complex leading role in an independent film called Under the Skin coming out, Johansson has way more to offer than some realize. Folks also don’t always catch on to why she’s chosen some of the projects that she has, but one look at the filmmakers that she’s acted for will give you some clue as to her decisions.
Johansson has worked with directors like Woody Allen, Sofia Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Brian De Palma, Jon Favreau, Spike Jonze, Christopher Nolan, and Joss Whedon. You can argue that one or two of the movies she did with these auteurs aren’t particularly great, but she’s certainly got an eye for working with talented people. That’s usually the mark of a strong actress with a good head on her shoulders. No one makes perfect decisions all the time, but even when the project might be misguided, usually there’s an A-list director that’s been a part of the decision to sign on.
Just as an actress, she’s got more range than a lot of people give her credit for. Compare her performances in Her, Lost in Translation, Match Point, and now with Under the Skin, and it’s as if there’s a different actress on display each time. Those four Golden Globe nominations didn’t happen by accident, even if sadly it never translated into an Oscar nod. The Academy in particular missed the boat on a nom for either Lost in Translation or Match […]

‘Noah’ floods the Box Office this weekend

Happy Sunday once more to you all. Here I am again with the weekly box office report I know you crave so deeply. Leading the way this weekend and leaving the competitors all wet (sorry, I couldn’t resist) was Darren Aronofsky’s take on Noah, which debuted with a pretty solid $44 million at the box office. At number two we had the second week of Divergent, which pulled in $26.5 million more. Number three was Muppets Most Wanted, which had a decent hold and took in another $11.3 million from you fine audience members. The only other new release in the top ten besides Noah was the Arnold Schwarzenegger flick Sabotage, which basically flopped with only $5.3 million. Among the independent/limited releases, we had a mediocre debut for the biopic Cesar Chavez, while The Raid 2 was one film that actually opened well in a platform release. Overall, the movies that are doing well are veering more towards the blockbusters again, so you know that spring and summer must be on their way…
Despite some controversy and less than universal praise for the film, Noah managed to be by far the biggest opening of Darren Aronofsky’s career. Personally, I found the movie pretty interesting, and I’m perhaps the least religious person out there, so that says something about the filmmaker’s talent for telling a unique story. Going forward, a lot will depend on if audiences come back for seconds, but regardless, the opening will probably help Aronofsky with whatever he decides to make next. On the flip side, I’m not sure who’s going to want to have Schwarzenegger in their flick anymore, as Sabotage basically bombed, despite being the new film from the director of the well regarded End of Watch. Much like the middling debut for Cesar Chavez, audiences just didn’t seem to be interested at all.
Among the notable holdovers in theaters, we once again have to begin by discussing Wes Anderson’s latest film. The Grand Budapest Hotel expanded to just under 1000 theaters and moved up again, this time to number six this week, taking in $8.8 million. It’s likely going to become the biggest success of Anderson’s career. Also worth mentioning besides the ones mentioned above, 300: Rise of an Empire managed to break the $100 million mark with a $4.3 million weekend, while Mr. Peabody & Sherman is next in line for that mark as they added […]

Websites Offer Exclusive Hollywood Access

By ROBERT W. WELKOS
“Don’t Miss this Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity to Meet Miley Cyrus.”
That’s just one of the “celebrities for hire” listed on a website called Millionaire’s Concierge out of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., that also dangles the opportunity for its presumably rich clientele exclusive entre to major movie premieres, awards shows, walk-on roles “in the Hottest TV Shows or Films,” and many other luxury experiences.
“The World’s Biggest Stars Come to You!” the website exults.
“Hiring a celebrity for your next party won’t just provide you with the opportunity to meet a beloved star—it produces enormous entertainment value for you and your guests. Whether you’re planning a sweet-sixteen birthday party, celebrating a recent accomplishment, or simply painting the town red for the sake of it, a celebrity performance will turn your special occasion into an unforgettable experience.” Celebrities can also help “get your message across” at corporate events, the website notes.
It then lists such “celebrities for hire” as the Beach Boys, Blink 182, Jethro Tull, Julio Iglesias, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone, Jim Carrey, Sylvester Stalone (sic), Oscar De La Hoya, Jenny McCarthy, Donald Trump, Patrick Stewart “and many many more.”
It’s all about the public’s insatiable desire to be close to celebrities and big events, if you’ve got the money.
“It never goes out of style,” Doug Turner, owner of Millionaire’s Concierge, told HollywoodNews in a brief phone interview.
“I serve rich people all over the world,” he added, noting that he started his company 17 years ago.
The website includes a video segment that appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show which detailed how his company caters to its wealthy clients, like the time Turner said they dropped 50 dozen roses into a swimming pool from a helicopter for a client’s anniversary. The Oprah segment does not mention celebrities for hire.
A spokeswoman for Trump said that while the famed billionaire businessman may have met the owner of Millionaire’s Concierge years back in Florida, in any case, she has asked that Trump’s name be removed from the website.
“(Trump) has no affiliation with Millionaire’s Concierge and he does not do these kind of things,” she said. “He works with speaking engagement bureaus. Mr. Trump is one of the highest paid speakers in the world. These are legitimate organizations. He would never do this.”
HollywoodNews reached out to representatives of DiCaprio, Cyrus, Stone, Stallone and Carrey and have yet to hear back.
Millionaire’s Concierge also offers access to special Hollywood […]

Leonardo DiCaprio: Who’s the most overdue for an Academy Award?

A lot of times during the months directly following the Academy Awards telecast, people talk about who’s overdue for an Oscar nomination, but I think the more interesting conversation is to discuss who’s already been nominated repeatedly by the Academy but has yet to win an Oscar. It’s one thing to fight for that first nod, or to have a nom to your credit but nothing else, but what of the people who’ve been cited with nominations multiple times by Oscar voters but never seem to make it to the finish line? Recently, I was thinking about just that, and actually came up with a list of some of the folks in the industry that are most overdue for a win.
Below you’ll find a group of ten previously nominated by the Academy that I think should have won by now. They consist of actors, actresses, filmmakers, and technical craftsmen, all of whom define the word “overdue” to me. There are many others, like Ridley Scott for example, but I limited it to ten. Take a look:
10. David O. Russell- With five nominations to his credit now, Russell is undoubtedly on a hot streak right now, and it’s firmly entrenched him as someone due for a win. The Academy clearly is enamored with him, so it really seems to only be a matter of time now. Not everyone is thrilled with that prospect, but I’m not among them. He’s more than deserving at this point in his career.
9. Julianne Moore – A quartet of nods later, Moore is very high up on many lists of the actresses who desperately need an Oscar. I obviously don’t have her quite as high up on this list, but she’s clearly only one great role away from being on that stage accepting the statue. My guess is that it’ll be for a supporting performance, but time will ultimately tell there.
8. Christopher Nolan – Despite often snubbing Nolan in some key categories, the Academy has still cited him a trio of times, though without any sign of a win yet. They’ve notably kept him far away from the Best Director field, so when his first win comes, I suspect that it’ll be for a Screenplay category…that’s just a guess though. Perhaps Interstellar this year can do it for him?
7. Tom Cruise – There was a time when it was inconceivable to think that Cruise wouldn’t have […]

Page 20 of 2,301« First...10...1819202122...304050...Last »