January 17, 2017

Tag Archives: Michael Keaton

Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Actor contenders

Folks, as you all know so well 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 particular gentlemen that I have in play for Best Actor, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point:
1. Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) – I might be out on a limb here with Affleck in Kenneth Lonergan’s drama, but Manchester by the Sea was so highly praised at the Sundance Film Festival, I just think he’ll be in major contention. He’s an underrated actor with a nomination already under his belt, so it could very well set up nicely for him to really contend for the win. At least at this moment, Affleck is ever so slightly in the pole position for me.
2. Ryan Gosling (La La Land or The Nice Guys) – Considering how I have La La Land as the big winner so far, Gosling is a strong number two, with designs on the top spot. The Trailer just hit today (I’ll write something up on it soon) for Damien Chazelle’s latest, and it’s stunning stuff. I have no doubt that Gosling will be in contention, so if this is as big a player as I think it is, he’s almost assured of being high up here. If he gets in, he definitely could win.
3. Michael Keaton (The Founder) – Early on, many had Keaton as […]

Bruce Dern and Mark Ruffalo: Who’s most overdue for an Oscar now?

As you all know by now, plenty of folks in the industry can go a whole career without ever winning an Oscar. As such, that makes for a ton of heavyweights in Hollywood who are very overdue for wins. Much like I did last week with people who have never been nominated, I’m going to be citing today ten actors or actresses who have yet to win Oscars but deserve to already have one on their mantle. All of these previous nominees were in contention at some point this year, believe it or not, and many will hopefully be winners within the next few years. Keep in mind that this is just my humble opinion, but take a look below at who I think is most overdue a little gold man…

Here now are ten actors/actresses who are overdue for an Academy Award:
10. Carey Mulligan – It might surprise a lot of you to know that Mulligan only has one Oscar nomination, for her breakthrough performance in An Education. She seems like she’s been nominated more than that, right? Well, that hasn’t happened, and while Suffragette didn’t do it for her this year, it feels like many more nominations are in her future, and as such, a solid chance at a win. I’d be shocked if she doesn’t wind up with an Oscar one day.
9. Johnny Depp – For a bit, it seemed like Depp was going to finally win for his role this year in Black Mass. Mostly though, it served as a reminder that he’s out there and still without a victory. Depp has a pocket of supporters who always push him when he’s in an awards friendly vehicle, so while I might prefer his recent outings in Kevin Smith movies, he’s probably only one safe prestige project away from getting to that stage.
8. Ellen Page – Another talented actress with only one nomination, she potentially should have won for Juno, but since then has been shut out. Had Freeheld been more of a contender, I think Page not only would have gotten a Best Supporting Actress nomination, she’d have easily been the frontrunner. Her time is still to come, it seems, but never count her out…
7. Will Smith – Much like with Depp, but to a greater extent, it seemed at one point in 2015 like it was finally going to be Smith’s year. Concussion wound up getting […]

Can “Spotlight” win the Oscar for Best Picture without any acting nominees?

Folks, something kind of strange is going on with these early precursors. Well, maybe not strange, but noteworthy at the least. Basically, as Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight continues to establish itself as the Best Picture frontrunner at the Oscars, its grip on acting nominations is loosening more and more. What initially seemed like a slam dunk for at least one nomination in Best Supporting Actor (if not one in Best Supporting Actress as well), things have gotten much more complicated and fluid. Pundits like myself were trying at one point to figure out if either Michael Keaton or Mark Ruffalo would have a Supporting Actor statue on their mantle, but now we’re trying to figure out if both will get snubbed, leading to the following question…can the film still win Best Picture if it doesn’t have any acting nominees?
As a reminder, the movie is a dramatized look at the Boston Globe reporters who broke the story about the Catholic Church covering up the molestations committed by priests. At the paper, an investigative section called “Spotlight” begins looking into the rumors and uncovers a huge scandal. The plot mostly follows along as the small group does the nitty gritty work of gathering indisputable evidence for the story. McCarthy directs and co-writes with Josh Singer, while the cast is led by the aforementioned Keaton and Ruffalo, with the others in this top notch ensemble including Billy Crudup, Brian d’Arcy James, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, and a handful more. Everyone is doing brilliant work here, trust me, so it’ll be a shame if these snubs do continue.
Why is this happening? Basically, it seems like the popularity of Spotlight hasn’t coalesced around one actor, leading to a major case of vote splitting. Not only have Keaton and Ruffalo split votes with each other, but they both have also split with the likes of Schreiber an Tucci as well. Now, McAdams missing here and there is just as puzzling due to how weak Supporting Actress is, but the whole thing is very strange. It doesn’t seem to be hurting the film, but you do have to wonder if that can remain as such throughout the rest of the season…
If Spotlight were to still win Best Picture without anyone in the cast getting nominated (be it Keaton or Ruffalo in Supporting Actor or McAdams in Supporting Actress), it would be only the 12th […]

“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 […]

“Spotlight” sweeps the 25th Gotham Awards

Last night, the 25th annual Gotham Awards held their ceremony in New York City and made an early claim to setting the precursor tone. As often the first group to not only put out nominations but announce their winners, they more or less can establish very early frontrunners when the titles in contention are already Oscar hopefuls. That’s the case this year, as films like Carol, Grandma, I’ll See You in My Dreams, Love & Mercy, Room, and Spotlight were already Academy Award players. Spotlight turned out to be the main victor last night, winning in every category it was nominated in, so if you believe in momentum, the early momentum decidedly favors it, with other precursors still to come this week, and even later on today.
The big winner, of course, was Spotlight, as the movie took Best Feature, Best Screenplay for Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, as well as a special Jury Prize for the ensemble cast (announced as Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci and Brian D’Arcy James). Spotlight seems like the one to beat across the board, though again, it’s early. My hunch is that something else emerges as a main challenger, but the precursors will continue to heavily cite it as the year moves forward. McCarthy didn’t have a Director category to win here, though Feature more or less counts towards it, but bet on him doing very well when those do exist with other groups. If you want to take something else away from Gotham, it’s that Paul Dano is a looming threat in Best Supporting Actor for Love & Mercy. He won Best Actor here and I’ll be writing more about him soon, so just keep him in mind. Other winners here included Bel Powley pulling a surprise win in Best Actress for The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Mya Taylor winning Breakthrough Actor for Tangerine, and more. Overall, a very interesting night…
Here now is the full list of winners (as well as nominees) at the 25th annual Gotham Awards:
Best Feature
Todd Haynes, director; Elizabeth Karlsen, Tessa Ross, Christine Vachon, Stephen Woolley, producers (The Weinstein Company)
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Marielle Heller, director; Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit, Miranda Bailey, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)
Heaven Knows What
Josh and Benny Safdie, directors; Oscar Boyson, Sebastian Bear-McClard, producers (RADiUS)
*Spotlight* Winner
Tom McCarthy, director; Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Blye Pagan Faust, […]

Hollywood Contenders – Is “Spotlight” really the one to beat in Best Picture?

There isn’t a whole lot that pundits can agree up on in regards to the Oscar race right now, but one thing seems to be that Spotlight is the one to beat currently in Best Picture. Tom McCarthy’s film is in a great position right now, as you’ll see in my updated predictions this week (later on today, to be precise). If voting were to be held today, the movie would win Picture in a landslide, though obviously it’s still early goings. That being said, I think the more time passes this season, the more likely it is that this flick is going to become the inevitable winner.
The film is a dramatized look at the Boston Globe reporters who broke the story about the Catholic Church covering up the molestations committed by priests. At the paper, an investigative section called “Spotlight” begins looking into the rumors and uncovers a huge scandal. The plot mostly follows along as the small group does the nitty gritty work of gathering indisputable evidence for the story. McCarthy directs and co-writes with Josh Singer, while the cast is led by Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo, with the others in this top notch ensemble including Billy Crudup, Brian d’Arcy James, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, and more. Everyone is doing brilliant work here, trust me.
Full disclosure now ladies and gentlemen…Spotlight is my favorite movie of the year so far. It’s a perfectly crafted drama that will enrage, move, and thrill you. Seriously, it’s so well done that I wouldn’t change a frame of it. Keaton and Ruffalo especially are amazing here, with the former delivering one of my top five performances of 2015 to date, regardless of category or gender. He will break your heart, I swear. Ruffalo is the MVP to me, but your mileage may vary. That being said, it’s hard for anyone to see this and not be in love. It’s cinematic gold, plain and simple folks.
So what’s the competition here for Best Picture? If we remove the unseen three from the equation (The Hateful Eight, Joy, and The Revenant), the only legitimate challengers to the throne for Spotlight seem to be Brooklyn, The Martian, and Room, with the latter two the most realistic. Things might be more competitive in other categories, like Best Director or Best Original Screenplay, but there isn’t a main challenger in Picture right now. Some […]

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:
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
1. Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
2. Ridley Scott – The Martian
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Quentin Tarantino – […]

A second October Oscar predictions update

With only a week or so to go until Halloween, we’re really racing to the end of the 2015 awards season. As such, I think it’s more than prudent to take another look at my Oscar predictions today, something I’ll be doing more and more often going forward. Obviously, a number of X factors make predicting the Academy Awards in October little more than educated guesswork, but that’s how you slowly move towards answers. I’ve got a few big question marks still, but this represents one of my more fact based takes on what the race could ultimately shape up to be like. That’s something, right?
What I really tried to focus on this time was nailing down a potentially weak Best Actor race as well as where to put those pesky unseen contenders like The Big Short, Concussion, The Hateful Eight, Joy, The Revenant, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Currently, I have them all scoring nominations, with all but one getting cited in multiple categories. You obviously can’t quite know what to do with them, but with some awards hopefuls like Carol, Spotlight, and Steve Jobs being known entities, it pays to be a bit bullish. I’m playing it a little bit conservatively with Joy right now, but in the next update I might be going close to all in on that one. Sit tight for more on that hunch, but take a gander at what I currently think Oscar will do below…
Here now are my most up to date Academy Award predictions:
1. Spotlight
2. Steve Jobs
3. The Revenant
4. The Martian
5. Room
6. The Hateful Eight
7. Brooklyn
8. Joy
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. Beasts of No Nation 16. Sicario 17. Concussion 18. Miles Ahead (possible 2016 release) 19. By the Sea 20. Our Brand is Crisis 21. In the Heart of the Sea 22. Macbeth 23. Black Mass 24. 45 Years 25. Suffragette 26. Truth 27. Straight Outta Compton 28. Mad Max: Fury Road 29. Anomalisa 30. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
1. Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
2. Danny Boyle – Steve Jobs
3. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
4. Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
5. Ridley Scott – The Martian
Next in line: 6. John Crowley – Brooklyn 7. David O. Russell – Joy 8. Todd Haynes – Carol 9. Steven Spielberg – Bridge of […]

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