August 27, 2016
        The Birth of A Nation by Nate Parker: "People Need to See the Movie"                Hollywood Contenders - The State of The Race: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay contenders                Hollywood Odds: Matthew McConaughey: His best performances so far                "Southside with You" is a lovely date movie with just a bit more to offer                Hollywood Odds: "Arrival" Trailers suggest a serious science fiction contender                "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" will have a World Premiere at the 2016 New York Film Festival                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for August                Miles Teller: His best performances so far                Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Animated Feature contenders                Why are the blockbusters this summer not up to snuff?                Jonah Hill: His best performances so far                Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Adapted Screenplay contenders                Meryl Streep goes for the gold again in "Florence Foster Jenkins"                Seth Rogen's "Sausage Party" is a filthy good time                Hollywood Contenders: The fall film festival season is shaping up to be a very exciting one        

Tag Archives: Kurt Russell

Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” is his latest Oscar hopeful

As promised, I’m back writing again about filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s eighth cinematic outing this week. Whenever a new movie of his opens, it’s really an event, so this is no exception. Of late, Tarantino has been getting the attention of the Academy, so this is definitely a high profile release. Buzz had been steadily building for months now, with folks especially excited for the 70mm roadshow version being unveiled in select theaters. I’ve seen and dug the flick a great deal, so it’s a pleasure to be able to speak more about how good this film is. I praised Bruce Dern’s work in it a few days ago, but now I’m gushing over the whole thing, as well as speculating about its Oscar prospects.

Once again, this is Tarantino’s eight film, centering on a group of less than savory characters convening on a single location, namely Minnie’s Haberdashery. There’s John Ruth (Kurt Russell), Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern), Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), and Bob (Demian Bichir), all trapped by a blizzard. Distrust turns to suspicion when murder occurs, with the plot becoming somewhat of a whodunit, before exploding into even more violence. QT writes and directs, with the cast, in addition to the aforementioned Bichir, Dern, Goggins, Jackson, Leigh, Madsen, Roth, and Russell, includes Zoë Bell, Dana Gourrier, Lee Horsley, Keith Jefferson, Gene Jones, Belinda Owino, James Parks, Craig Stark, and Channing Tatum. Robert Richardson handles the cinematography while Ennio Morricone composed the score.
What really works here for me is the sense of play that Tarantino is showing off. Is it absurdly violent? Sure, but in a cartoonish way that never goes over the edge. The filmmaker is showing that he’s a master of tension, using three hours and a confined space to make something really special. It’s brutal, funny, energetic, and unforgettable. The cast all find interesting notes to play, while the writing and directing is up there with the best that Tarantino has ever done. While I think this isn’t quite on the level of his masterpiece Pulp Fiction or Inglourious Basterds, it’s still really great, trust me. Especially in 70mm, it’s beautiful to look at too, with the aforementioned score likely the best I’ll hear this year.
Awards wise, this one definitely has a shot at nominations across the board, […]

Hollywood Contenders – Which films could have multiple nominees in the same category?

It doesn’t often happen, but every so often a category in the Oscar race will have multiple contenders from the same feel competing for nominations. Ironically, this year seems to have an abundance of them, making for a potentially interesting Academy Awards race when all is said and done. In fact, a number of these players actually have realistic chances as well, with Carol, The Hateful Eight, and Spotlight chief among them. I figured that today was a good time to take a look at these contenders and see just who could potentially go ump against each other in the various acting categories…
Right now, the one to place a bet on for this particular situation is Spotlight. It seems that both Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo are sitting in excellent spots to be not only nominated in Best Supporting Actor, but the main players to win the Oscar there as well. That doesn’t even take into consideration the rest of their male cast, which is all going Supporting as well. It’s likely that Keaton and Ruffalo are it in Supporting Actor, but you could at least make the claim that Billy Crudup, Liev Schreiber, and Stanley Tucci are somewhat in the mix as well. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches for Spotlight, and rightly so. If there’s one close to sure thing in regard to this situation,it’s this film getting two nominees in Supporting Actor. Right now, I’d all but bank on it happening.

The other potential big chance for this to happen is if Carol does indeed end up seeing Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara go Lead for their performances. Right now, that’s only happening at the Golden Globes, but the Oscar could wind up following. Currently, Blanchett is in Best Actress and Mara is in Best Supporting Actress, where both are all but locked in, though if both ultimately are in Actress, anything could happen. Conventional wisdom centers on Blanchett getting in alone or both of them sneaking in, but I have a sneaky suspicion that we could see a situation much like the Cannes Film Festival where only Mara winds up getting in. It’s just a hunch at the current moment, but don’t sleep on Mara if this somehow comes to pass. It would be a close call though, I’ll concede that. They’re in different categories right now anyway, so keep that in mind as well here. Plus, […]

Which categories will be the most competitive this year?

Of the many things that you can consider when thinking about the Oscar race, one that I like to ponder from time to time is which categories will be the most competitive. I hinted at this in another piece this week, but certain categories are shaping up to be stronger than other ones. That being said, instead of looking at strengths and weaknesses, I figured today I’d see which ones seem like they’ll be the most competitive. That opens things up to more combine quality and quantity, as it were. This is a wide open year in general, so it’s only fitting that so many categories seem to be that way as well…
Below are the half dozen most competitive categories, as it stands right now:
6. Best Actress – After a bit of a drought, we have a group of Actress contenders that we can be quite proud of. Of course, who will win is wide open, but it’s not a situation where there’s only six or seven legitimate contenders for a nod. Vying for a nom here are the likes of Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt, Blythe Danner, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, Carey Mulligan, Charlotte Rampling, Saorise Ronan, Maggie Smith, Lily Tomlin, and more. That’s ten right there. Nothing to sneeze at, right? It’s a tight race, and one that’s certainly among the most competitive that the Academy will have to offer us this year.
5. Best Visual Effects – Here’s a category that will really be an embarrassment of riches. Basically, there’s a bunch of different styles on display that voters will have to choose from. Contenders like Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, In the Heart of the Sea, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Walk, and more will be up for a nomination. Usually, this category has one or two frontrunners and then some also rans, but that’s not the case this year. I can see it going any number of different ways, and that’s a delight.
4. Best Supporting Actor – As jam packed as any category this year, Supporting Actor could be a photo finish. Among the large number of contenders, there are the likes of Paul Dano, Benicio del Toro, Bruce Dern, Joel Edgerton, Idris Elba, Sam Elliot, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy, Michael Keaton, Harvey Keitel, Seth Rogen, Mark Ruffalo, Kurt Russell, Mark Rylance, and Jason Segel. That’s […]

Hollywood Contenders – “Steve Jobs”: Oscar predictions for November

Maybe I was just distracted by watching the New York Mets in the playoffs this fall, but I think the time is flying folks. It’s already November, which is getting to be late in the game. A couple of precursors have already announced their nominees, we only really have four unseen major contenders left (The Big Short, The Hateful Eight, Joy, and The Revenant), and some presumed frontrunners in a couple of categories have emerged. At the same time though, we’re almost done with the year and no category is locked up yet (yes, not even Best Animated Feature…the closest one would be Best Foreign Language Feature). Simply put, it’s an exciting time and a perfect moment to update my Academy Award predictions yet again.
The big thing people have been debating (besides if The Martian can actually win in the big categories, but I’ll be tackling that in an article early next week) is how much Steve Jobs is hurt by the lack of a strong box office. Some think it’s barely been affected, some think it’s dead in the water. Me? I think the truth is somewhere in between. I’m of the opinion that wins might be a struggle now without the public interest that was expected, and even a few down the line nominations might be tougher to get, but the majority of its campaign should remain the same. Voters don’t consider box office like analysts do, so this is more perception than actual reality. Steve Jobs was hurt by bombing financially, but it’s still very much in the race. It’s certainly something to keep in mind though, moving forward…
Here now is how I see the Oscar nominations, as of the beginning of November:
BEST PICTURE
1. Spotlight
2. The Martian
3. Room
4. The Revenant
5. Joy
6. The Hateful Eight
7. Steve Jobs
8. Brooklyn
9. The Big Short
10. Carol
Next in line: 11. The Danish Girl 12. Bridge of Spies 13. Inside Out 14. Son of Saul 15. Sicario 16. In the Heart of the Sea 17. Concussion 18. Miles Ahead (possible 2016 release) 19. Beasts of No Nation 20. Macbeth 21. Mad Max: Fury Road 22. Black Mass 23. 45 Years 24. 45 By the Sea 25. Suffragette 26. Truth 27. Straight Outta Compton 28. Our Brand is Crisis 29. Anomalisa 30. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
2. Ridley Scott – The Martian
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Quentin Tarantino – […]

Hollywood Film Awards: Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” to receive the Hollywood Ensemble Award

The 19th annual Hollywood Film Awards will be launching the awards campaigns of contenders both big and small, but few are bigger than Quentin Tarantino’s new movie The Hateful Eight. The film and its cast will be honored with the Hollywood Ensemble Award, which bodes well for its chances with Oscar. The ensemble consists of a group that includes Zoë Bell, Demian Bichir, Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, Dana Gourrier, Lee Horsley, Samuel L. Jackson, Keith Jefferson, Gene Jones, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Madsen, Belinda Owino, James Parks, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Craig Stark, and Channing Tatum, with some to compete for Academy Awards this year as well. It’s a heck of a cast, one that Tarantino seems to have had a blast playing with. The Hollywood Film Awards have recognized the ensemble with this honor, one that seems very appropriate to me…
Here’s part of the press release once again announcing this honor:
Quentin Tarantino’s film The Hateful Eight will be honored with the “Hollywood Ensemble Award” at the “19th Annual Hollywood Film Awards.” The Hateful Eight stars Zoë Bell, Demian Bichir, Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, Dana Gourrier, Lee Horsley, Samuel L. Jackson, Keith Jefferson, Gene Jones, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Madsen, Belinda Owino, James Parks, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Craig Stark and Channing Tatum among others. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight is produced by Richard N. Gladstein, Stacey Sher and Shannon McIntosh. Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein and Georgia Kacandes are executive producers, and Coco Francini and William Paul Clark are associate producers.
The ceremony will be hosted by critically and globally acclaimed actor, comedian and late night talk show host, James Corden and will take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, on November 1, 2015. The Hollywood Film Awards, the official launch of the awards season®, has recognized excellence in the art of cinema and filmmaking for 18 years, honoring some of the world’s biggest stars. More than one hundred honorees have gone on to garner Oscar nominations and wins.
“Once again Tarantino has assembled an incredible cast of characters,” said Allen Shapiro, CEO of dick clark productions.
About The Hateful Eight
Six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in these […]

Hollywood Film Awards: The Race Is On! The Hollywood Awards Launch the Push toward Oscar – Associated Press

Once again, Hollywood Stars will be going to the first awards event of the season — The Hollywood Film Awards®.
The ceremony will be hosted by critically and globally acclaimed actor, comedian and late night talk show host, James Corden and will take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, on November 1, 2015. The Hollywood Film Awards, the official launch of the awards season®, has recognized excellence in the art of cinema and filmmaking for 18 years, honoring some of the world’s biggest stars. More than one hundred honorees have gone on to garner Oscar nominations and wins.
Our confirmed presenters include: Steve Carell, Russell Crowe, Ice Cube, Johnny Depp, Laura Dern, Vin Diesel, Jamie Foxx, Selena Gomez, Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dakota Johnson, Armie Hammer, Amber Heard, Mark Ruffalo, David O. Russell, Kurt Russell, Amy Poehler, Quentin Tarantino, and Reese Witherspoon.
Our confirmed honorees include:Robert De Niro, Ridley Scott, Will Smith, Carey Mulligan, Jane Fonda, Benicio Del Toro, Amy Schumer, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Saoirse Ronan, Kurt Russell, Samuel L Jackson, Jessica Jason Leigh, Channing Tatum, Bruce Dern, Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth, O’Shea Jackson, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchel, Ludacris, Jordana Brewester and Michele Rodriguez, Tom Hooper, Adam McKay, Asif Capadia and Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer. The craft categories include, Tim Alexander, Janusz Kaminski, David Rosenbloom, Alexander Desplat, Colin Gibson, Sandy Powell, Gary Rydstrom, and Lesley Vanderwalt.
This year, two-time Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro will be honored with the “Hollywood Career Achievement Award.”
“Movie awards season kicks off with Hollywood Film Awards” – Reuters
““The first mandatory stop … in the awards season” – New York Times
“The Hollywood Film Awards has become a pre-Oscar showcase” – Los Angeles Times
“The Race Is On! The Hollywood Awards Launch the Push toward Oscar” – Associated Press
With participating Hollywood insiders, our Advisory Team identifies and selects the recipients of our honors. Our winners are pre-selected to receive our awards. Our selection is based on their outstanding achievement and contribution to the art of cinema. They are not “nominees.”
2014 honorees included some of the biggest names in Hollywood such as Keira Knightley, Michael Keaton, Steve Carell, Benedict Cumberbatch, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Shailene Woodley, Eddie Redmayne, Jean-Marc Vallée, Julianne Moore, Robert Duvall, Jack O’Connell, Mike Myers, Chris Rock and many more.
HFA co-chairs, advisory team and judges have included:
Ken Annakin,Simon Assaad, Alberto Barbera, Gilles Bianrosa, Irene Bignardi, Clare Binns, John Briley, Judith Bronowski, Elisabetta Brunella, […]

The Hollywood Film Awards Series: “The Hateful Eight” could be another Oscar success story for Quentin Tarantino

Yesterday, it was announced that the 19th annual Hollywood Film Awards would be the first to honor Quentin Tarantino’s last movie The Hateful Eight. The film is being cited with an honor for its entire ensemble cast, which is a compliment not just to Tarantino, but to a number of Academy Award hopefuls as well. The flick is still by and large unseen by all but a few, so its Oscar prospects are still a bit up in the air. That being said, citations like this one make me think that QT could have another award winner on his hands here in The Hateful Eight. In any event, it’s time now for another installment of the Hollywood Film Awards series!
Here’s the official honor being bestowed on the film…
“Hollywood Ensemble Award”
The Hateful Eight, by Quentin Tarantino
Who is in the cast that shares in this particular honor? Well, a sampling of the ensemble would be Zoë Bell, Demian Bichir, Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Madsen, James Parks, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, and Channing Tatum, just to name a few of the group involved in this one.
Just in case you aren’t aware, The Hateful Eight is the latest western from Tarantino. The aforementioned Bichir, Dern, Goggins, Jackson, Leigh, Madsen, Roth, and Russell are the eight ruffians depicted in the title. They all wind up at a saloon during a blizzard, forced to share a small space and potentially deal with murder. QT writes and directs, while the behind the scenes talent includes cinematography by Robert Richardson, music by Ennio Morricone, and more. We still don’t know too much about this one, but in some ways, that makes it something to anticipate even more. It’s Tarantino, so you know it’ll be an event regardless. He’s been a favorite of Oscar lately, so it’s hard to bet against this one as a big time player.
Though you can’t say for sure, this does bode well for the film overall. Especially when you consider how most of Tarantino’s movies have received awards attention, it’s folly to assume that this one will be shut out. Aside from his Grindhouse segment Death Proof, only his debut Reservoir Dogs and the one two punch of Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2 have gone unnoticed by the Academy. He’s won two Best Original Screenplay awards so far, while Oscar has also […]

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 […]

Bruce Dern: Looking at potential Best Supporting Actor contenders

HOLLYWOOD CONTENDERS:Here we go again folks. It’s time for another category to get a somewhat in depth look at what/who its top contenders might be. I’ve gone over what this is a number of times, but in case you’re new to it all, here it is in short: 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 that you can use as you see fit.
Today I’m continuing with another of the bigger acting categories…yes, it’s Best Supporting Actor. Hot on the heels of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight dropping a first Trailer that offers up tons of Supporting Actor possibilities, this seems like a perfect bit of timing. You can see the Trailer in question now, by the by, but there are plenty of other contenders on hand as well. You’ll see what I mean momentarily…
First up, the Teaser Trailer for The Hateful Eight:

Here now are the ten particular thespians that I have in play for Best Supporting Actor, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:
1. Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight) – After seeing that Trailer, you have to think that the whole ensemble could be in play, but I think the secret weapon for Tarantino might be Dern. He’s quiet and in the background, but within the film could really steal some scenes. Few others in this category fit the form of a winner more aptly than Dern, as he’s a veteran still looking for that elusive statue. He came close a few years ago with Nebraska, and if he’s half as good here as he was there, he can certainly contend for a win now. If you veer […]

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:
BEST PICTURE
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
BEST DIRECTOR
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 […]

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