January 02, 2015

Tag Archives: Jennifer Lawrence

Will the Academy ever warm to “The Hunger Games” franchise?

Usually, a blockbuster science fiction series with an appeal across the board and strong critical reviews will show up at least somewhere at the Academy Awards. So far though, the two films in The Hunger Games franchise (with the third/next to last one out this weekend) have yet to receive a single Oscar nomination. That’s including Best Original Song, where they always have A list talent contributing music, and all of the technical categories. That’s insane to me. With The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 hoping to reverse that trend, but probably unlikely, I got to thinking about the possibility that voters could be waiting for the franchise to end before they honor it…
What I mean by that above statement is that it’s possible they pull a version of what they did with The Lord of the Rings franchise. Essentially, instead of nominating the movies a bunch and just giving it all the wins, they could shut out all the prior versions and then go all in with some citations when things wrap up. It’s not an incredibly likely scenario, but if have closure does anything for them, it’ll help give that last installment a leg up on the other films in the series. At the very least, it’s an interesting theory to consider a bit.
If, for example, the voters decided to finally embrace one of these movies, they’d have a ton of places to consider it in. Best Picture obviously is a long shot, though I could make the case that Jennifer Lawrence usually deserves Best Actress consideration to go along with Elizabeth Banks in Best Supporting Actress. The techs though are where it could shine. Best Production Design, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Song, and Best Visual Effects are all places where it deserves consideration.
That being said, it’s very likely that the entire franchise could wind up shut out completely. For some reason, this gets lumped in for the most part with every other YA or Young Adult production. It’s the same affliction that could prevent Shailene Woodley from being cited for The Fault in Our Stars (or that script from truly competing for a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination). Voters don’t feel the need to go out of their way for this sci-fi blockbuster when there are multiple superhero films (mainly from Marvel), period war epics, and other […]

Spotlight on the Stars: Jennifer Lawrence

For this week’s new spotlight piece, I wanted to again take a look at one of the biggest A listers in the industry…Jennifer Lawrence. I’ve written about her once or twice before, but as a legitimate megastar who’s also still a bit of an up and comer, I figured she was perfect for this piece once again. She’s someone who’s powerful in Hollywood, grounded in a way that most young stars aren’t, and above all else…one of the best actresses in the business, bar none, with an Oscar on her mantle to prove it. Lawrence consistently does interesting work and is more than worth checking in on here and there. As such, she’s perfect for the spotlight today, so let us dive in.
Lawrence first got her start, like many young up and comers, on television. Guest spots on Cold Case, Medium, and Monk began her career, though I first noticed her when she landed one of the main roles on The Bill Engvall Show. It hardly gave her a strong outlet for her talents, but she was compelling to watch even then. There were also supporting parts in films like The Burning Plain and Garden Party, but Lawrence was still clearly someone you didn’t pay too much attention to. That was about to change though, and in a really big way too.
She became a star on the rise with Winter’s Bone, a small indie that wound up being nominated for a quartet of Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Lawrence. Her personality and newcomer on the scene vibe made her an instant A-lister in the making, which doesn’t even take into account how great she is in the movie. She was not only well deserving of that Actress nomination, she also wasn’t far off from being deserving of the win. Her Oscar glory wouldn’t be too far away, but it was a great launch to her leading actress career.
Lawrence then shined in key supporting parts in would be awards contenders The Beaver and Like Crazy before breaking through to the masses with her scene stealing turn in X-Men: First Class. That put her in her first blockbuster, though that next year would really be the one to make her the Jennifer Lawrence we know today. She ably led the horror flick House at the End of the Street, but it was a pair of other roles that […]

The 85th Academy Awards: If I had been a voter

Today I’ll be going back once again and looking at a recent Oscar lineup and explaining what my vote would have been in each of the big eight categories. I mentioned that potentially I could do this once a week with previous Academy Award ceremonies, and while I’m going to be doing that here and there, there’s a chance that this could turn into a long running thing. Again, if nothing else, this gives you an interesting look into my cinematic tastes. Over the course of the year you can sort of get a feel for what my current favorites are, but now we can look to the past a bit more.
Alright, here goes nothing:
Best Picture – Argo
The nominees here for this ceremony were Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. When you factor in that it was my favorite film of 2012, a vote for Best Picture winner Argo would be a pretty clear and decisive choice here (the rare occasion when my favorite movie of the year actually wins the Oscar). I wouldn’t argue with a vote for Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook, or Zero Dark Thirty, but Ben Affleck’s flick was far and away my number one.
Best Director – David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
I’d have voted for Affleck here, but shockingly (and insanely) he wasn’t nominated. The actual nominees were Ang Lee for Life of Pi, Michael Haneke for Amour, David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln, and Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Without Affleck, I very nearly went with Spielberg here, but in the end I just like Russell’s movie better. The aforementioned Affleck is easily my personal pick overall, but Russell is my choice of the actual nominees.
Best Actor – Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
In an absolutely perfect world, I’d have seen Denis Lavant in the lineup for Holy Motors and subsequently he’d have been my vote, but that was always a super long shot. The actual nominees here though were Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook, Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln, Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables, Joaquin Phoenix for The Master, and Denzel Washington for Flight. Everyone is very worthy here and I actually really came close to selecting eventual winner Day-Lewis, but Phoenix was just so incredible and showed me […]

The 86th Academy Awards: If I had been a voter

I’m possibly going to be trying out a new series here. Essentially, today I’ll be going back and looking at the most recent Oscars and explaining what my vote would have been in each of the big eight categories. Potentially, I could do this once a week with previous Academy Award ceremonies, so there’s a chance that this could turn into a long running thing. There are 86 of these to sift through after all…and counting. If nothing else, this gives you an interesting look into my cinematic tastes. Over the course of he year you can sort of get a feel for what my current favorites are, but now we can look to the past a bit.
Alright, here goes nothing:
Best Picture – Her
The nominees here were 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Considering that it was my favorite film of 2013, a vote for Her would be pretty clear and decisive here. The Wolf of Wall Street would be my runner up, but it wouldn’t be a close race. Spike Jonze’s meditation on love is an absolute masterpiece, so that’d be my pick.
Best Director – Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity
I’d have voted for Jonze here, but he wasn’t nominated. The actual nominees were Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity, Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave, Alexander Payne for Nebraska, David O. Russell for American Hustle, and Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street. I very nearly went with Scorsese here, but it’s fairly hard to deny Cuarón’s work here on Gravity. The aforementioned Jonze is my personal pick overall, but Cuarón is my choice of the actual nominees.
Best Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street
In a perfect world, I’d have seen Oscar Isaac in the lineup for Inside Llewyn Davis and subsequently he’d be my vote. The actual nominees here though were Christian Bale for American Hustle, Bruce Dern for Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street, Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave, and Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club. Everyone is worthy here and I really came close to selecting Dern, but DiCaprio showed an incredible aptitude for comedy and that would be enough for me to give him his first Oscar.
Best Actress – Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine
Without the ability to cite the snubbed Adele Exarchopolous for […]

Amy Adams: 2015 Best Actress contenders

As you folks all know full well by now, it’s one thing to read my Academy Award predictions at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen, but it’s another thing entirely to actually know something about who and what will be in contention for nominations. To help out in that regard, at least somewhat, I’m 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.
Today I’m continuing with another of the biggest categories of them all…this time it’s Best Actress.
Here are the ten lovely ladies that I have in play for Best Actress, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point:
1. Amy Adams (Big Eyes) – I don’t know that there’s an actress who more clearly seems to be next in line for an Oscar win than Adams. She probably came the closest in her career so far last year with American Hustle, so she’s basically the de facto number one right now. The material is right up the Academy’s alley, early word is strong, and the timing is right. Everything is set up for Adams to almost steamroll through the season, so stay tuned to see if she actually does!
2. Jessica Chastain (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them) – In a rather short span of time, Chastain has become basically an awards mainstay. Just about every project she joins is labeled a contender and she’s got a pretty solid batting average so far, in terms of nominations at least. She’s beginning to seem due for a win, and it’ll likely happen sooner rather than later. This project is very ambitious and could wind up staying under the Academy’s radar, but if they see it, she most likely will get nominated once again.
3. Michelle Williams (Suite française) – Another overdue actress, Williams always seems to be close to an Academy Award win before someone else winds up becoming the flavor of the season. That could again […]

Some positivity about Jennifer Lawrence for a change

Maybe I’m nuts, but it seems to me that everyone is out to get Jennifer Lawrence these days, and I’m not sure why. She’s an incredibly talented young actress, reportedly a nice person, and has good taste in the projects she chooses to work on, so what gives? Especially this past year with her Supporting Actress candidacy for American Hustle, it became the sort of situation where it appeared that the world would end if she won a second Oscar. It makes no sense to me, but I figured I’d take this opportunity to praise her a bit and turn the tide back towards respect for the Academy Award winning thespian.
It was only a few short years ago that Lawrence was being heralded for her breakthrough work in Winter’s Bone. That first Academy Award nomination she received for that film led to her winning two years ago for Silver Linings Playbook, and suddenly she was an “it” girl, combined of course with the success of The Hunger Games franchise. That led to celebrity, but remember, it all started with her talent, even in supporting roles in independent films like The Beaver and Like Crazy. Many seem to forget, but she established herself as one of the top young actresses in the business well before she seemed to conquer Hollywood.
American Hustle seemed to turn the tide for some reason. Maybe it was because the flick itself didn’t turn people on in the same way that her prior movie with David O. Russell did, but she went from a beloved superstar to a superstar that many seemed to love to bash. It boggles my mind. Am I missing something here? To me, she’s not overexposed or wearing out her welcome. On the flip side, she’s only first getting into a groove, so the best should still be yet to come from Lawrence.
Going forward, people are already licking their chops about her upcoming performance in Serena and a potential new collaboration with Russell, but I just don’t get it. More than once I’ve come across criticism of her that has nothing to do with her talent as an actress. Isn’t that what counts? Maybe I’m nuts, but that’s what I like to focus on. That’s just me though.
In summation, I think Lawrence is a fine young woman and deserves some more respect than she’s been getting. I try to keep a positive outlook […]

Oscars: Why ‘American Hustle’ went home empty handed

One of the more interesting and unlikely developments from this past weekend’s Academy Awards telecast was David O. Russell’s film American Hustle managing to lose in each of the ten categories it was nominated in. Historically, 0-fors almost never happen. Recent examples include Gangs of New York and True Grit, but by and large, if your movie is among the most nominated of the year, it winds up going home with at least a token win. So, how did American Hustle wind up being shut out, and why exactly did it happen?
In short, it was mainly due to the competition. The flick wasn’t nominated in any one particular category where it had an easy road to a win. Maybe if you took away The Great Gatsby from contention, maybe Best Costume Design would have been the place? American Hustle was the runner up in a lot of places, likely including Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay, but there wasn’t an obvious place to reward it, so a concerted effort was never made to just honor it in one particular place. The closest things to that was the Supporting Actress race, where Jennifer Lawrence nearly upset Lupita Nyong’o, but that was always going to be a toss up category.
American Hustle probably also suffered to some degree because of the Olympics. That stretched out the season and gave members of the Academy extra time to get around to 12 Years a Slave and to revisit films like Gravity, The Great Gatsby, and Her. With a shorter decision time, Oscar voters who were flirting with Russell’s movie might have just up and committed to it, instead of holding back and ultimately going in a different direction. You never can be sure about something like this, but I have a feeling that over the last week or two, the flick really had its momentum come to a screeching halt.
Personally, I liked the film more than a lot of my colleagues did, so I take no enjoyment in seeing it go home empty handed. That’s just the nature of the business though. There are only so many awards to be given out, and in a super competitive year like this one, something had to give. In a very literal way, the nominations turned out to be the reward for American Hustle.
You have to give the film a great deal of credit though for going […]

Oscars: 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture at the 86th Academy Awards

After months and months of lead up and speculation (not to mention an endless string of precursor awards), the Academy Awards were finally given out, and the results were almost as unpredictable as we’d all been saying. 12 Years a Slave took home Best Picture despite only winning two other Oscars and losing in the Best Director and Best Film Editing categories (both of which Gravity took), normally categories that go to the Best Picture winner. Gravity was the biggest winner of the night in terms of numbers though, taking seven prizes, including the aforementioned Director (for Alfonso Cuaron) and Editing fields.
In terms of the other prizes, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were once again awarded for their performances in Dallas Buyers Club (McConaughey in Best Actor and Leto in Best Supporting Actor), while Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for Blue Jasmine and Lupita Nyong’o edged out Jennifer Lawrence in the Best Supporting Actress category. Best Original Screenplay went to Spike Jonze for Her (my personal favorite award of the evening) and John Ridley won Best Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave. Other winners included Frozen (Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song), 20 Feet from Stardom (Best Documentary Feature), and The Great Beauty (Best Foreign Language Feature).
Here now are all of the results from the 86th Academy Awards:
BEST PICTURE
“12 Years a Slave” – WINNER
“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“Gravity”
“Her”
“Nebraska”
“Philomena”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”
BEST DIRECTOR
David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity” – WINNER
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
BEST ACTOR
Christian Bale, “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”
Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club” – WINNER
BEST ACTRESS
Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine” – WINNER
Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
Judi Dench, “Philomena”
Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“American Hustle” – Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
“Blue Jasmine” – Written by Woody Allen
“Her” – Written by Spike Jonze – WINNER
“Nebraska” – Written by Bob Nelson
“Dallas Buyers Club” – Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“Before Midnight” – Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
“Captain Phillips” – Screenplay by Billy Ray
“Philomena” – Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
“12 Years a Slave” – Screenplay by John Ridley – WINNER
“The Wolf of Wall Street” – Screenplay by Terence Winter
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave” – WINNER
Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
Sally […]

Oscars: Get to know the Best Supporting Actress race

Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine, Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle, Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave, Julia Roberts for August: Osage County, and June Squibb for Nebraska
Notable precursor wins: Lawrence wins BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards, while Nyong’o wins Broadcast Film Critics and Screen Actors Guild Awards
Current frontrunner: Jennifer Lawrence (by a hair)
Next in line: Lupita Nyong’o (super close behind)
Dark horse: June Squibb (way behind)
Wrapping up my “Get to know” series, we now have the final piece of the puzzle as we focus today on the Best Supporting Actress race. As you can see in the vital statistics above, the gentlemen making up this category are Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine, Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle, Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave, Julia Roberts for August: Osage County, and June Squibb for Nebraska. Two of these ladies are way out in front, with predictions split between them. One’s got to emerge victorious though, so which one will it be?
From the very first of the precursors, it’s been a back and forth between Lawrence and Nyong’o. They’ve split the important precursors evenly, while both also picked up critics group attention in a big way. They’re all but tied, which means that something’s gotta give. Will Academy voters go full steam ahead in making Lawrence their new Oscar darling or will they crown Nyong’o instead, embracing a new face? It could go either way folks, though the late momentum has ever so slightly favored Lawrence.
Now then, one of them has to win, right? By a slim majority, my colleagues seem to be predicting Nyong’o, but my gut feeling is that Lawrence pulls it out in the end. An absolute shock would have Squibb sneaking in at the last minute, but I wouldn’t count on that. A Nyong’o win wouldn’t surprise me in the least, but I’m seeing a Lawrence victory at this current juncture. We’ll know for a sure in just a few days though…
That’s it for these categories, so stay tuned for the Academy Awards on Sunday night to see what actually happens!

Jennifer Lawrence to Present at the Oscars®

Oscar® winner Jennifer Lawrence will return to present at this year’s Oscars, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will air on Sunday, March 2, live on ABC.
Lawrence took home the Oscar for her lead performance in “Silver Linings Playbook.” She is nominated this year for her supporting role in “American Hustle.” Previously Lawrence was nominated for her leading role in “Winter’s Bone.” Her other credits include “X-Men: First Class” and “The Hunger Games” series.
Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscars, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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