June 25, 2016

Tag Archives: kristen stewart

“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” enlists a top notch Trailer

Late last week, we got a hell of a Trailer for what could be a major Oscar player this year. The film in question? Well, it’s none other than Ang Lee’s upcoming take on Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. I’ve read this book and can vouch for it as a quality drama, though not one that I’d initially have pegged as a Lee project. Still, in some ways that only makes this transition from book to film even more interesting. Lee has an incredible visual eye and can elevate the prose to something even more cinematic. The potential here for the movie is rather endless, with the Trailer in question doing nothing to not make me assume this is a huge contender. You can see it below, but first…some discussion is in order.
The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Ben Fountain. Set mostly during Thanksgiving Day, it follows the title character Billy Lynn (newcomer Joe Alwyn) and his platoon as they’re honored during the halftime show of a Dallas Cowboys football game for their heroism. As Billy and his fellow soldiers are feted, he flashes back on what really happened back in Iraq, which has shaken him to his core. There’s also time spent with his protective sister Kathryn (Kristen Stewart), who wants him to stay home and not go back to war. For the most part, Billy and his crew just deal with the dichotomy of being labeled a hero back home and the actions that got them there while abroad. It’s really a character study, though I suspect the war flashbacks will be pretty visceral. Lee obviously directs, with the adaptation penned by Jean-Christophe Castelli. Besides Alwyn and Stewart, the cast includes Steve Martin, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund, Chris Tucker, Tim Blake Nelson, Makenzie Leigh, Beau Knapp, and many more. Cinematography is by John Toll.

From the looks of this first Trailer, Lee and company have really nailed the spectacle as well as the emotion. Lee is once again utilizing state of the art technology and visuals to make this flick appear like nothing else in history. He succeeded with that in a big way last time out with Life of Pi, so you have to imagine he’s more than up to the task here. He’s tackled a good book, so if the screenplay is up to snuff and Alwyn makes a strong […]

Oscar Isaac and Scarlett Johansson: Who’s most overdue for an Oscar nomination now?

Continuing to feed off of last week’s Academy Award nomination announcement (as well as yesterday’s piece on the snubs found within those nominations, in one or two cases), today I want to look at who happens to be most due a nod at this point. An Oscar nom is certainly no easy achievement, but you can usually look around at the actors and actresses who have never been nominated and find at least one missed opportunity on the part of the Academy. As such, today I’m again putting out a list of who deserves a nomination the most, updated since certain contenders like Jennifer Jason Leigh finally have their citation…

Here now are ten actors or actresses overdue for an Oscar nomination:
10. Zoe Kazan – Anyone who doesn’t consider Kazan to be overdue for a citation just isn’t paying attention. Look at The Exploding Girl or Ruby Sparks and you’ll see performances that were among the very best of their years. Kazan is as talented a writer as she is an actress though, so it seems only like a matter of time before Oscar finally takes notice of her.
9. Michael B. Jordan – Twice now Jordan has come close to getting voted in by the Academy. Fruitvale Station introduced him to them and this past year’s Creed almost won them over. Jordan is on a speeding train towards Oscar glory though, so I don’t think he has much to worry about. It’s just a shame it wasn’t this year, as I wrote about yesterday.
8. Kristen Stewart – Some might laugh at this notion, but Stewart has done some excellent work outside of the Twilight franchise. Simply pop in Adventureland, Clouds of Sils Maria, or On the Road and you’ll see what I mean. Stewart is a talented young actress, so while it should have happened for her already, it will at some point in the future…
7. Paul Dano – Another contender who was absolutely snubbed this year (again, he features in my article yesterday), Dano has come “this” close to nominations both for Love & Mercy as well as for There Will Be Blood. Factor in his work in Little Miss Sunshine and Ruby Sparks, and well…there’s just no excuse. He’s going to no doubt win an award one day, so the nomination is just the first step. His wait likely won’t be much longer.
6. Emily Blunt – Blunt is a […]

“Carol” scores big with the New York Film Critics Circle

It seems like every single day now there’s a new major precursor announcement, doesn’t it? Yesterday, the New York Film Critics Circle announced their awards for 2015, and Carol was the biggest winner of them all. It managed to take a large number of awards from the NYFCC, perhaps to the surprise of some. Personally, I wasn’t shocked, but I do think that they did manage to throw some curveballs our way. There’s been an infusion of younger critics into the group of late, so some may say that the potentially bolder choices are a credit to them. I’m not sure that’s the case this year, but it could certainly be the case in the future. However you slice it though, this was a good precursor for Carol. Todd Haynes’ film got a definite boost, no question there.

Once again, a primer on Carol. The film is a high profile adaptation a Patricia Highsmith novel called The Price of Salt and concerns the taboo relationship between two women in 1950’s New York City. One is young department store clerk Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), while the other is an older married woman named Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett). What starts as a friendship of sorts (though Carol seems to clearly be interested in more, with Therese more than just along for the ride) 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. The decisions that follow are not what you’d expect, and that’s putting it mildly. 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, among others. The score is by Carter Burwell, while the cinematography comes from Edward Lachman, who was honored by NYFCC, as you’ll see below.
Carol took home Best Picture, Best Director (for Haynes), Best Screenplay (which is Nagy’s, even if not everyone has credited her), and Best Cinematography (for the aforementioned Lachman). The only title that the NYFCC gave multiple awards to (though ironically not to any of its cast members, as you’ll see below), it easily led the field, showing a clear case of this group loving the movie. This does also establish it as one of the films given a helping hand […]

A first crack at Golden Globe predictions

Now that we’re well into the fall months and about to enter the tail end of the 2015 movie release season, I wanted to take my first crack at some Golden Globe predictions. I’ll be mixing these in with Oscar predictions going forward, but early Globe picks are always interesting to me, especially since sometimes you’re still guessing category placement and just what the tastes of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will look like at the time. They’re almost impossible to accurately guess off the bat the first time around, but that little factoid has yet to stop me from trying all the same. Here goes nothing!
What you’ll notice below is that things more or less reflect how I see the Academy Awards going, but with some slight changes. Obviously, the Comedy or Musical categories open things up to some other contenders, though we won’t know for a bit still how certain contenders will decide to compete. We know that Joy is likely to go Drama, but The Big Short and The Martian, for example, are two that could go the Comedy route. I have pretty much the same winners here as with Oscar, with the exception of Ridley Scott winning Best Director, on the potential strength of The Martian going Comedy and winning Best Picture in that area and getting Matt Damon that Best Actor win as well. The Drama category at the Globes still is where the Best Picture winner for Oscar likely will come from, with Spotlight and Steve Jobs facing off for now, though The Revenant is an X factor spoiler here. We’ll have more HFPA analysis coming soon, but these predictions should suffice for now…
Here you go folks, my initial look at how the Golden Globe awards could shape up:
Best Picture (Drama)
1. Spotlight
2. The Revenant
3. Steve Jobs
4. The Hateful Eight
5. Joy
If there’s a sixth: Brooklyn
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
1. The Martian
2. Trainwreck
3. The Big Short
4. Love & Mercy
5. Our Brand is Crisis
If there’s a sixth: Grandma
Best Actor (Drama)
1. Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
2. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
3. Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
4. Johnny Depp – Black Mass
5. Jake Gyllenhaal – Southpaw
If there’s a sixth: Tom Hanks – Bridge of Spies
Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)
1. Matt Damon – The Martian
2. Paul Dano – Love & Mercy
3. Bill Murray – Rock the Kasbah
4. John Cusack – Love & Mercy
5. Bill Hader – Trainwreck
If there’s a […]

Brie Larson in “Room”: Ten potential first time acting nominees for Oscar in 2015

As pleasing as it can be to see an actor finally receive an Academy Award after a deserving career, it’s just as pleasing, if not more sometimes, to see an actor or actress get that first nomination. This year, there’s no shortage of potential first timers with Oscar in the acting categories, so today I have a nice list of them to share with you. I’ve ranked ten possible nominees, along with some extras in a bonus Honorable Mention segment, so be sure to use this as a bit of a cheat sheet as awards season gets underway. Enjoy as always, and again, remember that this is just how I would rank them, not how it’s definitely going to wind up…
Here now are the ten that I’ve chosen:
10. Kristen Stewart – That Cesar Award that Stewart won for her role in Clouds of Sils Maria will serve her well this season. Without it, she might have already faded away, though Stewart is still far from a sure thing in Best Supporting Actress. She’s not “due” per say, but her work outside of Twilight is stronger than many realize, so a chance in more baity material will not go unnoticed. She’ll be in contention all season long.
9. Emily Blunt – Had the role been slightly juicier, I think Blunt in Sicario would have been a lock for a Best Actress nomination. She’s getting to the point of being really due, especially considering how the Golden Globes seem to love her. Oscar will get to her, it’s a question of when, not if, but this year might be a long shot. Stay times though, particularly if Sicario turns into a major player during the precursors.
8. Jason Segel – I hope that Segel hasn’t already seen his moment come and go for his incredible work in The End of the Tour. He could either go Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor, so his category placement is still to be decided. Either way, this dramatic breakthrough makes him due for consideration. If Segel does get lost in the shuffle, this will at the very least put him on the path to bigger consideration, like some of his Apatow gang brethren, as you’ll see below…
7. Kurt Russell – Depending on how The Hateful Eight turns out, Russell could be a slam dunk Best Supporting Actor nominee or a fringe one. It’s crazy that he’s yet […]

“Spotlight”: Another September look at Oscar predictions

My oh my how things can change! Just a few weeks ago, I put up Oscar predictions for September that I thought I was pretty confident in. Alas, nothing stays the same, so now I’m back with an updated look at what the Academy Award nominations could look like. I’m going to two a month from now on, with potentially one a week by the end of the season, but right now, it’s time to get serious. You’ll notice a bunch of changes in the predictions, mostly spurred on by having seen some of the contenders, a few of which are now pretenders, quite honestly. That’s the name of the game though, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to either you or me. On my end, I’m just still trying to get a feel for the race. What you’ll see today reflects a more realistic look at the field than before, so there’s that as well. It’ll get updated again next month, obviously, but for now…this is it.
The main thing to notice below is my new winner. Having seen Spotlight, which is a masterpiece, I honestly think it could go all the way. The film will be among the most beloved this year, has important subject matter, sharp direction by Tom McCarthy, and incredibly acting, especially from Michael Keaton as well as Mark Ruffalo, the latter giving the performance of the year so far. I could easily see it winning Best Picture, as it is undeniably the frontrunner at this point. You’ll also notice me backing off of Our Brand is Crisis completely and settling in on a new middle ground for The Martian, as well as placing The Big Short in the running for things in a bunch of categories. Things have been tinkered with all around, but there will be more done soon enough, so stay tuned…
Here now is how I see the Academy Award nominations going down, as of today:
BEST PICTURE
1. Spotlight
2. Bridge of Spies
3. Steve Jobs
4. The Revenant
5. Carol
6. The Hateful Eight
7. Brooklyn
8. The Martian
9. Room
10. Joy
Next in line: 11. The Danish Girl 12. The Light Between Oceans (possible 2016 release) 13. Inside Out 14. The Big Short 15. Truth 16. Beasts of No Nation 17. Sicario 18. Miles Ahead (possible 2016 release) 19. Our Brand is Crisis 20. The Walk 21. By the Sea 22. Macbeth 23. Suffragette 24. The End of the […]

Rooney Mara: Looking at potential Best Supporting Actress contenders

As you fine ladies and gentlemen must all know by now (since I’ve pretty much hammered it into your heads), it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions in order to see what folks like myself think will happen this winter, but it’s a whole separate thing to actually know something about who and what will be in contention. To help out in that particular regard, I’m continuing my yearly ritual of 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 or 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 potentially 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 on with another of the big acting categories…you guessed it, it’s Best Supporting Actress time.
Here are the ten particular women that I have currently in play for Best Supporting Actress, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:
1. Rooney Mara (Carol) *Could go Lead – I wrote a bit about Mara earlier this week when I got into the awards possibilities for Carol, but Mara is sitting in the lead here due to her Cannes Actress win. She could easily go Lead, but I have a feeling she’ll wind up going Supporting so Cate Blanchett can contend in Lead. The silver lining? That will easily make her the early odds on favorite here, at least in my book. A lot can and will change, but right now, I have her in the pole position.
2. Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) – I’ve spent some time writing about the gentlemen of Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming flick, but what about the notable lady of the cast? Just like Bruce Dern and Kurt Russell seem like they’ll be in play for The Hateful Eight, so too will be Leigh, so is the favorite here to some. I obviously have her as the main runner up, but it’s hard not to see her as a likely nominee at this point. Especially with the potentially light competition, she might have a surprisingly easy time scoring her first ever nomination.
3. Ellen Page (Freeheld) […]

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 […]

“Grandma” and “Mistress America”: Ten Films to see in August

Welcome to August folks! As always, I like to take a look at the month in advance to see what cinematic offerings are coming our way. This time out, it’s obviously the August releases that I’m going to be prepping you for, and once again as an added bonus, I’ve seen a couple of them already. Despite the reputation that the month gets for being a summer dumping ground, there are reasons to be optimistic here. In fact, August is potentially shaping up to be a very solid month overall for cinema, so you’ll likely have multiple things to see starting later on this week. Take a look below and obviously stay tuned for more on many of these…
Here now are the ten best bets for movies in August:
10. Fantastic Four – The superhero reboot has my curiosity, despite the original outings being poor, at best. The cast is excellent (including Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Miles Teller), the behind the scenes talent is solid, and the Trailers so far have been strong. I see it in two days, so I’ll have a better idea then if this is an early August gem or not, but I have a hunch it’s going to be a well liked comic book film.
9. American Ultra – Last time we saw Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart share the screen, it was in the deeply underrated Adventureland, so I’m very hopeful that this will feature the same strong chemistry between them. This time it’s a stoner action comedy, not a coming of age dramedy, but my hope springs eternal. It’s definitely an X factor for now, but the potential is certainly there.
8. Ricki and the Flash – I see this one tonight, so I’ll know then if Meryl Streep is an Oscar lock again (look for an article before the week is out), but the combination of Streep with scribe Diablo Cody and director Jonathan Demme is more than enough to make me look forward to this evening. Throw in a potentially juicy supporting role for Kevin Kline and this could be right up the Academy’s alley. Stay tuned…
7. Shanghai – One of the surprises this month is that we’ll actually see this John Cusack period piece. A half decade ago I first started looking forward to this one, wondering if Cusack could score a Best Actor nod for it. That nom didn’t happen, […]

Which early year releases will remain Oscar players throughout 2015?

Now that we’ve got just a shade over six months of the year out of the way, you can start to figure out which films and performances from he first half of 2015 have the potential to sustain awards buzz and which won’t. Below you’ll see a rundown of the major categories, with some notes about who and what could contend for some attention when the precursors start in the winter. Now, there’s a chance that nothing will break through from January through the end of June, but there’s a chance that a few things could as well, so let’s run that down now!
Here we go…
Best Picture is first up, and really only applies to Inside Out, if we’re being realistic. There’s an outside chance for Love & Mercy as well as Ex Machina and Mad Max: Fury Road, but that’s about it. Trust me, I’d love for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl to be a player, but it won’t be one in this category. That’s just how it is. We won’t have a winner, but if you’re looking for a contender from the first half, Inside Out is the one to pin your hopes on.
Best Director is the least likely of the bunch to have an early year contender, though some will try to push George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road. Aside from him (and barely him), no one really has a shot worth speaking of, unless you think Pete Doctor and Ronaldo del Carmen are making history with Inside Out. I don’t though, so that eliminates them. Don’t expect anyone from the first part of 2015 to wind up truly in play when we reach the end of the precursor season.
Best Actor right now has a potential player in Paul Dano for Love & Mercy, but the category is shaping up to be another bloodbath, so he could struggle to get in. That being said, he has the best shot of a group that’s pretty slim, likely only including Mark Ruffalo as a long shot for Infinitely Polar Bear. Dano is certainly deserving, so he’ll hang around, but I don’t know that he can ultimately get in.
The best shot for an early year acting citation is probably Best Actress. Here we have Helen Mirren for Woman in Gold, Carey Mulligan for Far from the Maddening Crowd, and Alicia Vikander for Ex Machina. The first […]

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