August 30, 2015
        "Carol": Looking at potential Best Adapted Screenplay Hollywood Contender                What were the Ten Best summer releases of 2015?                Eddie Redmayne: The Danish Girl / Official US Poster                Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep: SUFFRAGETTE New Poster                Spike Lee, Debbie Reynolds, Gena Rowland to Receive Academy's 2015 Governors Awards                Johnny Depp, Leo DiCaprio - Which acting contenders this year are most due for their first win?                "Joy" is the latest Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell project in the Oscar hunt                "Straight Outta Compton" is making the case for Oscar consideration                "The Martian": Oscar predictions for August                Rooney Mara: Looking at potential Best Supporting Actress contenders                Bradley Cooper will heat up the Oscar race in "Burnt"                "Carol" gets a Teaser that firmly puts Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in the Oscar race                Carey Mulligan is an Oscar contender                Hollywood Contenders for 2015 Best Actor: Leo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Eddie Redmayne, Michael Fassbender                Hollywood Contenders: 2015 Best Movie Blockbusters: Jurassic World, Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, Fast & Furious 7...        

Tag Archives: Mark Ruffalo

The tenuous nature of being an early Academy Award frontrunner

It’s hardly a brand new sentiment to express, but you really can never script Oscar season. No matter how you think the awards race is going to go, at least to some degree it always turns out different. This year is obviously no exception, so today I wanted to take a look at how the various frontrunner have changed throughout the season. In some cases, we’ve seen top tier contenders hold strong all year, but the frontrunners have shifted for sure. In a few instances, the early favorites didn’t wind up nominated at all. That’s just how the season goes. We’re deep into phase two now, so it’s a perfect time to look back at what things were like at the start of 2014.
Obviously, you never truly know what’s going to happen during an Oscar race, especially when you start out in the early days of the season basically just going on log line or pedigree. Every so often you can hit on one fairly early on (like Argo in my case, which was the rare occasion when I was out front on something), or at least suspect that it could turn into a winner (with 12 Years a Slave), but most of the time the ones you think will be nominees don’t even come close. It’s the uniqueness of trying to predict what a voting body will like a year in advance. As you’ll see below, some of the main Academy Award categories this year could have had a very different look to them than we ultimately had.

Take a look:
Best Picture – There was a time when Unbroken was thought to be almost unbeatable in the Best Picture category. Other non nominees heavily spoken of early on were Big Eyes, Fury, Gone Girl, Interstellar, Into the Woods, Jersey Boys, and so on. Of course, once Cannes hit we all thought Foxcatcher was a surefire nominee, and we all saw what happened then. Boyhood was something I and many others figured would get in, but the frontrunner? Never in a million years would that have been a smart bet. Go figure.
Best Director – It’s pretty much the same her with Best Director. Names like David Ayer (Fury), Tim Burton (Big Eyes), Clint Eastwood (Jersey Boys), David Fincher (Gone Girl), Rob Marshall (Into the Woods), and Christopher Nolan (Interstellar) were bandied about, but this appeared to be Angelina Jolie’s to lose […]

Screen Actors Guild predictions

On Sunday night, the Screen Actors Guild will hand out their prizes, beginning the portion of phase two for the awards season where the guilds chime in. SAG is a particularly noteworthy one due to how they don’t just attempt to clear up the acting categories…they also can be a Best Picture harbinger as well. Their Best Ensemble category is basically their Best Picture, so sometimes they opt to try and crown a frontrunner there as opposed to solely focusing on the best cast of the year. This year, there’s the potential for SAG to really crown the person to beat in Best Actor, so between that and Picture, there’s plenty to look at here.
For comparison’s sake, here’s what they did last year. There was heavy and almost total crossover between SAG and Oscar, as Matthew McConaughey won both Best Actor prizes for Dallas Buyers Club, Cate Blanchett won both Best Actress prizes for Blue Jasmine, Jared Leto won both Best Supporting Actor prizes for Dallas Buyers Club, and Lupita Nyong’o won both Best Supporting Actress prizes for 12 Years a Slave. The only difference was that Best Ensemble saw American Hustle upend eventual Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave. I expect something similar to happen this time around, with the acting winners lining up and perhaps the Ensemble/Picture situation not being the same.
This year, the Best Actor category is one of the most competitive for SAG. One can probably assume that Jake Gyllenhaal is out of the running for Nightcrawler, but aside from that, there’s potential for everyone else. Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) and Benedict Cumberbatch (for The Imitation Game) will likely come up short, so it’s a dead heat essentially between Michael Keaton for Birdman and Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything. It’s almost a coin flip, but right now I think Keaton is ever so slightly in the lead. The winner here becomes our frontrunner for Oscar.
Best Actress is a slam dunk. Julianne Moore is winning this one for Still Alice, plain and simple. One can argue about if Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) or Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) is the main runner up, but they’ll be surely joining fellow nominees Jennifer Aniston (Cake) and Reese Witherspoon (Wild) in applauding as Moore hits the stage to pick up her statue, on her way to doing the same at the Academy Awards.
In Best Supporting Actor, […]

A Post Oscar Nomination Prediction Update

A full day later, it’s still hard to completely make sense of the Academy Award nominations that went down yesterday morning. Oscar voters nominated who and what they wanted to, seemingly without much of the traditional rhyme and reason that they utilize. As such, one might be tempted to say that the field is wide open for wins all over the place. However, it seems like almost all of the frontrunners still stand in their pole positions, so it’s more a matter of figuring out where we have categories with upward mobility. As such, this updated set of predictions as well as the ones still to come, might not change too much, but the instances of change that they feature will be all the more important. I’ll keep my commentary short, but below I do have some thoughts to share on the big eight categories.
Right now, I have Boyhood way out in front in the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress categories. I also have it winning Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing, though those are less surefire wins. Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay will see some competition from Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel, so it’s possible that in the Screenplay category one of those players could sneak by Richard Linklater’s film. Acting wise, it’s probably a two horse race in Best Actor between Michael Keaton (Birdman) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), but watch out for Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), who will look to surge in this second phase. Best Actress is a lock for Julianne Moore (Still Alice), while Best Supporting Actor is as well for J.K. Simmons (Whiplash). The other category up in the air is Best Adapted Screenplay, since presumed frontrunner Gone Girl got snubbed. My brain defaults to The Imitation Game, but watch out for Whiplash here. Voters are clearly very fond of that one.
Anyway, there will be plenty more talk still to come for me. Here now is my first crack at predicting the winners of this year’s Academy Awards:
BEST PICTURE
1. Boyhood
2. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. The Imitation Game
5. American Sniper
6. The Theory of Everything
7. Selma
8. Whiplash
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game
5. Bennett Miller – Foxcatcher
BEST ACTOR
1. Michael […]

Making sense of the Academy Award nominations

Wow. After all that build up, including months of analysis, the Academy still managed to surprise us. I knew that we were going to get a shocker or two, but early this morning the Oscar nominations threw everyone, myself included, for a bit of a loop. I’m sure you all have seen the nominees by now, but what is there to take from all of this? I’ll be updating predictions tomorrow to reflect who’s in better or worse position for wins now, but today I’m going to just give some quick reactions and try to make sense of it all. Wish me luck…
First of all, here’s who did the best. The nominations were led by Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel, which each received nine citations. Next in line with eight was The Imitation Game, while both American Sniper and Boyhood scored six each. Foxcatcher, Interstellar, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash claimed five, while Mr. Turner took four. Finally, Into the Woods and Unbroken scored three, leaving every other contender with two (like Inherent Vive, Selma, and Wild) or fewer. Suffice to say, this wasn’t necessarily the combination that pundits like myself expected. We knew Birdman would do well, for example, but American Sniper, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Imitation Game all exceeded expectations. On the flip side, Gone Girl (one nomination) and Selma were snubbed all over the place.
Of course, the big category was Best Picture, where for the first time we had eight nominees, not the presumed nine due to the sliding scale (side note…can we just go back to ten?). The nominees here were American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash. That left Foxcatcher and Nightcrawler just shy as probably the numbers nine and ten contenders, and as such out in the cold. I managed to get these picks right, but it’s just an odd looking lineup to me. It more or less locks in Boyhood for the win too, but more on that in the coming days and weeks.
Best Director blew me away by having the return of the Lone Director. For those of you who don’t know the reference, it means a filmmaker nominated for Best Director without their movie getting into Best Picture. When there were only five spots in Picture, it happened here and there, but when it went to […]

Final Oscar Predictions

It’s all come down to this, ladies and gentlemen. All of my analysis and hypotheticals, my opinion pieces and shots in the dark, they’re all just dust in the wind now. Yes, tomorrow morning the Academy will finally unveil their Oscar nominations. I’ve been trying to accurately predict these nominations for almost a full year now, so one would think it should be a piece of cake, right? Alas, this season has been as hard to read in certain categories as ever, so the Academy Award nomination announcement has as much suspense as ever, going into the big event in the morning. That being said, I’ve settled on my final picks, which you can see below.
There’s a couple of things that I’ll say before the predictions. One is that I stuck with ten nominees in Best Picture, knowing full well that there’s probably only going to be nine. Why? Well, it seems like there’s 11 films in contention, so that allowed me to hedge my bets, if you will. Also, you’ll see that I’ve back away from a few contenders here and there (like Interstellar), while going almost all in on a couple of others (like American Sniper and Nightcrawler). One other note is that I’m just including one next in line pick, just to let you know what was close in my head. In any event, it’s all just foreplay. The real fun is still to come in the morning…
Here it is, the moment of truth. My final Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Boyhood
2. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. The Imitation Game
4. Selma
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
6. The Theory of Everything
7. American Sniper
8. Whiplash
9. Gone Girl
10. Nightcrawler
Next in line/just missed the cut: Foxcatcher
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Ava DuVernay – Selma
4. Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game
5. Clint Eastwood – American Sniper
Next in line/just missed the cut: Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
BEST ACTOR
1. Michael Keaton – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
3. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
4. David Oyelowo – Selma
5. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
Next in line/just missed the cut: Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
BEST ACTRESS
1. Julianne Moore – Still Alice
2. Jennifer Aniston – Cake
3. Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
4. Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
5. Reese Witherspoon – Wild
Next in line/just missed the cut: […]

Final Golden Globe Awards Predictions

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

A January Oscar Predictions Update

Can you believe that Oscar nominations are less than two weeks away? Yes, on January 15th the first phase of the awards season ends with the Academy Award nominations. Wow. Time flies once the precursors start. As such, this is the second to last set of Oscar predictions that I’ll be sharing with you before the announcement. So, I better figure this all out in a hurry! The Academy has sent out ballots, members are getting ready to finalize their choices, and precursors are going on all around them. It’s truly the busy season, with all the contenders in release and no excuses left to be made. Time to put up or shut up for the Oscar hopefuls, while voters hopefully do their due diligence with all of the potential players.
Earlier today the ACE Eddie announcement was made, which could give some insight into both the Best Picture and Best Film Editing races, while as we all know, this is another year where Oscar will have to vote without the help of the Directors Guild of America nominations. That lack of DGA info led to some big snubs the last time out in Best Director (Ben Affleck notably missing for Argo when he might otherwise have walked to a victory, along with the likes of Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty, Tom Hooper for Les Miserables, and Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained), so it’s worth considering if the Director lineup will skew away from some of the bigger names in favor of this year’s versions of Michael Haneke (who was nominated for Amour) and Benh Zeitlin (nominated for Beasts of the Southern Wild). That could favor someone like Damien Chazelle for Whiplash, but we’ll see.
Worth noting quickly is the recent rise of American Sniper to some degree, which could see a surprise nomination or two on the big morning. Currently suffering a bit is Foxcatcher (due to some unforeseen controversy, though I’m not sure if it’ll do much) and Interstellar, which didn’t get an Editing citation from the Eddie announcement today. They’re not out of it yet, but the road might be harder, so consider that. There’s still plenty of unanswered questions, that’s for sure.
Enough talk. Here you go…my up to date Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Boyhood
2. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Selma
4. The Imitation Game
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
6. The Theory of Everything
7. Whiplash
8. Gone Girl
9. […]

Golden Globe post nomination predictions for December

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

A Mid-December Oscar Predictions Update

We’re almost at the point where it’s time for weekly Oscar prediction updates folks. It’s not quite that time, but before long it’ll be bi-weekly at least, with some precursor winner predictions thrown in for good measure. Anyway, since it’s the middle of the month, it’s time for new Academy Award predictions. With the precursors in full swing, there’s no shortage of things to consider, so expect a bit of a change in how a number of my categories look. There’s only a matter of weeks left to nail down who the nominees will wind up being, so the final time to play games is now. Once we hit January, things are far more serious. There’s no way to get things 100% accurate, but I certainly aim to come as close as I can.
What you’ll mainly see here in this latest update is a real swing in the favor of Wes Anderson’s film The Grand Budapest Hotel. What I once had all but getting shut out could now be in line for perhaps a half a dozen nominations. I highly doubt that a total as high as that will actually occur, but the possibility is officially there. If the precursors did one thing (aside from solidifying Richard Linklater’s Boyhood as the current frontrunner/one to beat), it was to give Anderson and his movie a second life. We’ll see if it lasts, but it’s certainly been something that I took notice of. Other new things reflected here include slightly tinkered with Best Original Score and Best Original Song predictions, with the latter showing the actual song now, since the long list has now come out (along with the bake off titles for Best Hairstyling and Makeup having been announced as well). There’s still the Best Foreign Language Feature long list that we need to see, but that could be basically at any moment now, so if it hits soon I’ll just update here and make a notation. (It came out, so that’s reflected here too)
Here now, without any further delay, are my brand spanking new/up to date Academy Award predictions. Behold:
BEST PICTURE
1. Boyhood
2. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Selma
4. The Imitation Game
5. The Theory of Everything
6. Whiplash
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel
8. Gone Girl
9. Foxcatcher
10. Interstellar
Next in line: 11. A Most Violent Year 12. Into the Woods 13. Unbroken 14. Wild 15. American Sniper 16. Nightcrawler 17. Mr. Turner 18. […]

Updated Oscar predictions after the Golden Globe and SAG announcements

Happy Friday everyone! With the nominations for the Golden Globe awards and the Screen Actors Guild awards really giving a bit more shape to the Academy Award race, I thought it was time to break in a bit early with some new predictions. Yes, consider this a bonus Oscar prediction update. Enough has changed that I really think it’s apt to begin putting these up a little more often. I’m not sure I’ll do it every week just yet, but we’re closing in on that sort of time period. Obviously we’ve seen certain titles/performances really come on strong this week, while others have really faded. As such, there’s a fair amount of movement in this update.
Most notably, I’ve boosted Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Nightcrawler, while backing away from The Imitation Game, Interstellar, and Selma, to one degree or another, not to mention almost completely abandoning Unbroken. The Imitation Game and Selma are still viable Best Picture winners, but Birdman has jumped past them for now. Obviously, everything is in the shadow of Boyhood until further notice, but the jockeying below it is going on hot and heavy. Lots can and still will happen between now and the Oscar nominations being announced, so it’s hardly a set field by any stretch of the imagination.
Here now are my most up to date Academy Award predictions, reflecting the Globe and SAG nomination results (including a quick additional update to reflect the scores and songs deemed eligible by the Academy):
BEST PICTURE
1. Boyhood
2. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Selma
4. The Imitation Game
5. Whiplash
6. Gone Girl
7. Foxcatcher
8. The Theory of Everything
9. A Most Violent Year
10. Interstellar
Next in line: 11. Unbroken 12. The Grand Budapest Hotel 13. Into the Woods 14. American Sniper 15. Fury 16. Wild 17. Mr. Turner 18. Inherent Vice 19. Nightcrawler 20. Rosewater
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Ava DuVernay – Selma
4. David Fincher – Gone Girl
5. Damien Chazelle – Whiplash
Next in line: 6. Morten Tyldum – The Imitation Game 7. J.C. Chandor – A Most Violent Year 8. Clint Eastwood – American Sniper 9. Christopher Nolan – Interstellar 10. Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
BEST ACTOR
1. Michael Keaton – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
2. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
3. David Oyelowo – Selma
4. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
5. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
Next […]

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