September 02, 2015

Tag Archives: Michael Fassbender

Johnny Depp, Leo DiCaprio – Which acting contenders this year are most due for their first win?

Of the many storylines that begin during awards season, few are usually as compelling as the ones centered around who’s most due for an Academy Award. I think that it’s usually pretty satisfying to see a former bridesmaid finally become a bride, as it were. As such, below I’ve made up a list of ten actors or actresses who’ve previously been nominated for Oscars but have yet to win one who are in contention this year. I’ve more or less ranked them by how due they are, and just to be fair, I’ve excluded anyone who has already won a prize elsewhere (sorry Matt Damon, for example), or any of the myriad contenders who are seeking their first ever nomination by the Academy. Take a look below and I hope you enjoy!
Here now are the ten actors and actresses most due for their first Oscar win:
10. Bradley Cooper – With three acting nominations already under his belt, Cooper has now officially gotten the “due” label. A previous Best Actor nominee for American Sniper and Silver Linings Playbook, as well as a Best Supporting Actor nominee for American Hustle, he has two opportunities for a win this year. He’ll be in the Actor hunt with Burnt and the Supporting Actor hunt with Joy. It may not happen this year for Cooper, but it will eventually, you can count on that.

9. Carey Mulligan – I’m sure it surprises a lot of people that Mulligan only has one nomination, which was in Best Actress for An Education. She just missed in Supporting Actress when her strong work in both Drive and Shame essentially canceled each other out. This year she’ll hope that her performances in Far From the Maddening Crowd and Suffragette don’t do the same to her. Regardless, despite the solo citation previously, she’s due to take home the gold one day.
8. Will Smith – Here’s a case of someone who can not only remind the Academy of his existence, but cement his status as one of the all time great A-listers with a win. Previously nominated in Best Actor for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, that elusive victory has escaped him so far. This year he has Concussion, which is a pretty baity premise. Taking the Actor prize would certainly put him up there as one of our best movie stars ever, but either way…he’s due.
7. Jessica Chastain – Few […]

“The Martian”: Oscar predictions for August

It’s almost crunch time folks! Yes, this is the last set of predictions before we start to get into fall festival season (pay close attention to the New York Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, and Toronto Film Festival), which in turn launches the Oscar race. As such, you won’t see a ton of changes here this time around, but be prepared for a lot of contenders to move around during the next update or two. I might be going to twice a month for predictions come September, so it’s going to be interesting seeing how these potential players do or do not shape up in the race. As such, this update represents a definite demarcation in the year. From here on out, it’s truly awards season for all of us…
The latest Trailer for The Martian (which you can see below) keeps it at the tip top for me right now, and that’s I suppose the most noteworthy aspect here. I’ve been tempted to try something else up at the top, but I’m going to wait until I see otherwise from Ridley Scott’s film or something else truly blows me away. When that day comes (possibly during NYFF or TIFF), I’ll amend as necessary, but for now, it remains. You’ll see everything below, and obviously sit tight, as more predictions will be coming in just a few weeks!
First off, here’s that new Trailer for The Martian:

Here now are my latest Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. The Martian
2. The Revenant
3. Bridge of Spies
4. Our Brand is Crisis
5. Carol
6. The Hateful Eight
7. Brooklyn
8. Steve Jobs
9. Inside Out
10. Joy
Next in line: 11. The Light Between Oceans (possible 2016 release) 12. By the Sea 13. Miles Ahead 14. The Walk 15. MacBeth 16. The End of the Tour 17. Freeheld 18. Trainwreck 19. The Danish Girl 20. Lion 21. Spotlight 22. In the Heart of the Sea 23. Southpaw 24. Sicario 25. Black Mass 26. Suffragette 27. Mad Max: Fury Road 28. I Saw The Light 29. Straight Outta Compton 30. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Ridley Scott – The Martian
2. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
3. Todd Haynes – Carol
4. Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies
5. David Gordon Green – Our Brand is Crisis
Next in line: 6. Derek Cianfrance – The Light Between Oceans (possible 2016 release) 7. David O. Russell – Joy 8. Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight 9. John Crowley […]

Leonardo DiCaprio: Looking at potential Best Actor contenders

Folks, as you all know from last year as well as my articles again so far 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 another 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 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 for us…the Best Actor category.

Here are the ten gentlemen that I have in play for Best Actor, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point:
1. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) – Everyone pretty much agrees that DiCaprio will win an Oscar one day, it’s just a matter of when. Could it be this year? He’s the odds on favorite for many, and while I’m not sure it will happen, I can’t argue that he seems to be the most likely contender right now. The Trailer we saw suggests a physical and intense role, so if he can impress as much as we think he potentially can here, it might just be his time.
2. Michael Fassbender (The Light Between Oceans or Macbeth or Steve Jobs) – A lot will depend on which film asserts itself as Fassbender’s prime vehicle. Steve Jobs seems like it’ll be the one most likely to work for him, but that remains to be seen. I can’t shake the feeling that Fassbender isn’t going to win for that role, so perhaps The Light Between Oceans or Macbeth will wind up making a late charge? His candidacy is one of the more interesting subplots in this year’s Best Actor race, if you ask me…
3. Matt Damon (The Martian) – Perhaps a bit of wishful thinking on my part, […]

“Steve Jobs” takes the Centerpiece slot at the New York Film Festival this year

Hot on the heels of the New York Film Festival announcing Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead as its Closing Night Selection (to go along with Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk as its Opening Night pick), we now know what the Centerpiece will be, and it’s a big one. Despite some buzz about a few other titles, it’s the hotly anticipated biopic Steve Jobs, which is directed by Danny Boyle, written by Aaron Sorkin, and stars Michael Fassbender. Talk about A-list star power, right? Since it was announced, this has been pegged as a big time Oscar hopeful, so landing one of the coveted three big spots at NYFF has done nothing to dissuade me of that notion.
If you somehow don’t know who Steve Jobs is, this biopic should give you a sense of how important to the current technological culture he is. This look at the Apple innovator is as much about his legacy as his life, with the focus being on various important moments in time for the man. It’s based on the bestselling book on Jobs, with Oscar winners Boyle at the helm and Sorkin having done the adaptation. After a long search, Fassbender wound up in the title role and appears to be excellent, judging by the trailer from about a month or so ago. The A-list cast also features Jeff Daniels, John Ortiz, Seth Rogen, Sarah Snook, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, and Kate Winslet. As such, it’s pretty much Oscar bait from the word go, perhaps rightly so too.
Much like I said a few days ago: getting to be one of the top three at NYFF is a big deal for any flick. The Centerpiece slot is usually a bit more of a wild card, but it’s had a solid relationship with the Academy. Over the past 15 years, there have been both hits and misses, but by and large it’s usually things Oscar would look kindly upon. Just look at what last year’s pick for the middle of the fest was…Inherent Vice. Enough said on the wild card part, though it did wind up with some nominations. Below you can see what the past 15 years (including this one) have looked like with this particular slot at NYFF:
2015 – Steve Jobs
2014 – Inherent Vice
2013 – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
2012 – Not Fade Away
2011 – My Week with Marilyn
2010 – The Tempest
2009 – Precious: Based on […]

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 […]

The Best of the First Half of 2015 so far

Wow folks, can you believe that it’s the second half of the year already? Seriously, it’s July now, so we’re officially into part two of 2015 right now. With the fourth of July on tap for tomorrow, what better time than now to kick back and look at what the best of the first half of the year was? That’s what I thought too, so go figure…that’s what I’m doing now. Much like I’ve done in the past, I’ll highlight the ten best films of the first half as well as give out some personal awards to boot. As a note, I’m only including things that have come out between January 1st and June 30th. That eliminates a ton of great flicks, like The End of the Tour, Grandma, Irrational Man, Magic Mike XXL (which just missed), Sleeping with Other People, The Stanford Prison Experiment, Time Out of Mind, and others. It was tempting to open it up, but I opted to keep it pretty strict this time out, if only to mix it up. Those other titles will have their moment in the sun potentially when I discuss the first two thirds the year come the fall, but that’s another story…
Now, here’s what I have to say on Part One of 2015!
The Top Ten Films of the Year So Far:
10. ’71 – The highlight is Jack O’Connell’s performance, but this gritty war drama has an on the ground and up close look to it that’s hard to match. O’Connell missed out on awards attention last year, but he’s way more deserving this year. He’ll likely be left out in the cold, but this performance is worthy of some nominations. He’s the best part of this intense and effective film.
9. The Hunting Ground – For my money the best documentary of the year so far looks at sexual assault on college campuses. It’s basically a companion piece/follow up to The Invisible War, with filmmaker Kirby Dick continuing to inspire outrage. It’s powerful and sure to make you angry (as well as be in play for Best Documentary Feature), even if there’s a small silver lining to be found.
8. Love & Mercy – With two powerhouse performances from John Cusack and Paul Dano, this represents one of the first half of 2015’s few chances at Oscar attention when awards season comes around. Dano will likely be a fringe player in a […]

“The Martian”: Looking at potential Best Picture contenders

Welcome to July folks. Much like I said last year, it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions to see what folks like myself think will happen at the end of the year, but it’s another thing entirely to actually know which films will be in contention. To that end, once a week (or maybe twice a week) for the next month or so I’ll be running down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category. 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. Consider this a sort of pre awards season cheat sheet for you all.
Today I’m beginning with the big one, of course…Best Picture.
Here are the ten films that I have right now cracking the Best Picture lineup:
1. The Martian – A total hunch, I concede, but this is something with almost limitless potential. The Trailer was fantastic, the talent involved is top notch, and the book is a modern classic in my eyes. It’ll all depend on the execution on the part of Ridley Scott, but if he’s on his game and Matt Damon is his reliable self in the title role, there’s a chance we could see science fiction contend for a Best Picture win. Could this do what Gravity and Interstellar couldn’t? Stay tuned to find out…
2. Bridge of Spies – The safe bet right now, this latest collaboration between Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg has all the trappings of an easy pick to win. The thing is, that film almost never wins anymore, so I feel like having it in the number two spot makes total sense at the moment. Things can and likely will change, but while my top pick is a bold shot in the dark, this one’s high ranking is almost the de facto vote if you sit down and think about it. That takes nothing from its potential, as it looks very good, but Hanks and Spielberg are trafficking in Oscar bait here, plain and simple.
3. Our Brand is Crisis – Something you’ll notice in a few places here is that I’m taking chances. This is another case of that, since there’s no assurances that David Gordon Green’s political dramedy/satire will even be ready this year. It could be a […]

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 […]

“5 to 7″: The Best of the First Third of 2015

Ahoy! With it now being May, we’ve officially finished up with the first third of the year. As such, I wanted to highlight the best of the year so far, consisting of my top ten and various awards for 2015 to date. Much like last time, when I did the first quarter of the year, I’m mostly limiting it to things that have already hit theaters. My only exception is that I’m including titles from the recently concluded Tribeca Film Festival. There are some others from last year that I’m fond of and might have otherwise included, but I didn’t want to cheat too badly, so they’re on hold. Anyway, let’s get to the fun stuff…
Below you’ll find my top ten of the year so far, along with my awards for the first quarter of 2015. Here you go, and enjoy:
10. Amira & Sam – Much like I said last time out, this is one of the bigger surprises this year for me so far. I really did fall hard for this romantic dramedy. Not only does it give Martin Starr his best and most dramatic role to date, it also crafts one of the better movies about New York that I’ve seen in the past few years. It was cruelly under-seen earlier this year, but I hope this recommendation does its part to fix that when it hits home video next week.
9. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief – Without question, this documentary is taking aim at a slightly easy target in the Church of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard, but tons of incredible claims come out of it all the same, as I said the last time I spoke about it. Director Alex Gibney isn’t doing his best work ever, but it’s still an angry and passionate bit of work. The ratings when it played on HBO were through the roof, so it definitely caught on.
8. ’71 – To reiterate, this was a title that I first saw at NYFF 2014 but had it stick with me well into 2015. This war drama is the best tale of survival starring Jack O’Connell yet, and yes, I know that Unbroken exists too (that only furthers my argument). This is a small scale and gritty flick that manages to really captivate you. Another barely seen title that I want to shine a light on. Go seek it out […]

Michael Fassbender and “Slow West”: Films to look forward to at the Tribeca Film Festival

As you read this, the Tribeca Film Festival will be getting fully underway with Press and Industry Screenings of all their titles. Each year, they offer up something very unique in the world of independent cinema. I’ll be taking in some films at the fest and have seen a handful already, so the choices below are sometimes more than just educated guesses. Tribeca is a unique environment, offering up smaller flicks of all ilk, so there’s the possibility of discovering something new and exciting at all times. Still, what you’ll see below are some of the most interesting higher profile titles that are screening.
Here are ten films playing at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival to keep an eye on…
10. Good Kill – A new Ethan Hawke collaboration with filmmaker Andrew Niccol, this is a look at the toll that working a drone can take on a man. It played at the Sundance Film Festival a few months ago to a muted response, but I’m always down for Hawke working with Niccol. I’ll definitely have more to say about this one once I see it.
9. Anesthesia – An ensemble piece from actor/filmmaker Tim Blake Nelson, there’s a great cast for this tale of the effect a crime has on all those who were around for it. The premise doesn’t instill a ton of enthusiasm, I know, but Nelson is an interesting triple threat and this could overcome the “indie ensemble drama about crime” trappings.
8. Misery Loves Comedy – I’ve seen this comedic documentary by Kevin Pollak about if stand ups need to be downers in order to be funny, and it’s very solid. To be fair, it’s not going to cure cancer or really make a difference in the world, but it’s an amusing doc that goes down easy. Especially if you’re a fan of stand up comedy, this is a look inside their world and 100% worth seeing.
7. Dirty Weekend – By and large, Neil LaBute is a filmmaker whose work always demands your attention. His latest dark comedy stars Matthew Broderick and seems like a slighter than usual plot, but that might be deceiving. LaBute is enough to hook me, and if you’re into his particular cinematic voice, this will be one to really look forward to.
6. Mojave – Anything with Oscar Isaac is worth seeing, but this one seems to really give him a strong showcase. Oscar winning […]

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