January 01, 2015

Tag Archives: oscar

The late breaking major Oscar contenders of 2014

As the final days of 2014 tick away and we get set to begin anew with 2015, I’ve been thinking about how the precursor season, especially in the past few weeks, has changed the Oscar race slightly. Notably, a few contenders that weren’t on everyone’s mind for one reason or another have doubled back as the year comes to a close. Some were long shots that became contenders, while others were already viable Academy Award players that have seen their stock shoot up. There are a half dozen that I’m going to cite below, but they’re hardly the only ones. It goes both ways too…perhaps later this week or next (which is technically next year) I’ll do the inverse of this and look at a few of the contenders that have stumbled during this same time period.
Here now are the six best examples among the 2014 releases vying for Oscar attention:
1. Jake Gyleenhaal in Best Actor for Nightcrawler – Up until the most recent precursors began citing him, Gyllehnaal was thought to be a too cool for school long shot for Nightcrawler. Now, he’s clearly in the top seven for Best Actor, if not the top six or arguably already in the nominated group of five. That category is clearly going to be a bloodbath, so Gyllenhaal has only made things harder. The performance is top notch though, so it just makes for an embarrassment of riches for the Academy to sort through. Don’t sleep on Gyllenhaal, as he could certainly pop up in Best Actor.
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel in Best Picture – Even though I’m citing this film as a late breaking major player in Best Picture, it could easily be mentioned for Wes Anderson in Best Director and Best Original Screenplay as well (the two categories I’m missing here from having the big eight all represented). The Grand Budapest Hotel now is looking like a top seven contender in each of those categories, something I wouldn’t have believed going into the precursor season. I’m not sure it ultimately makes the Director lineup, but Picture and Original Screenplay nominations seem locked in with Oscar.
3. Jennifer Aniston in Best Actress for Cake – I’ve said it a few times already, but there are folks who need to eat some crow on this one. A nomination for Cake on the part of Aniston was almost a joke during the fall, […]

‘Birdman’, ‘Boyhood’, and ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ rack up the Critics Choice nominations

Earlier today, the Broadcast Film Critics Association (or BFCA) let loose the nominations for their 20th annual Critics Choice Movie Awards. As has been the case most of the precursor season, Birdman led the field, with Boyhood also enjoying a fine haul. The most interesting thing to me though about the nods today is that The Grand Budapest Hotel also really racked up the noms. That film is climbing the charts quickly and almost assuredly will be in my Best Picture field when I again update my Oscar predictions at the end of the week. What movie it’s going to knock out is a question I’ll try to answer then, but it’s becoming clear that The Grand Budapest Hotel is a force to be reckoned with. Not on the level of Birdman or Boyhood of course (or even The Imitation Game or Selma), but it’s something to really pay attention to now. I never use the Critics Choice nominations as a huge barometer, but as part of the larger precursor stew, if you will, it brings some things to light.
Among the most interesting inclusions here by the BFCA, we had of course the continued success of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which now has Anderson potentially a Best Director contender of real note. Both Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel as well as Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman definitely benefitted from the ability to double nominate by citing it in the strictly Comedy fields as well as the general ones. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood did well enough not to be hurt at all, though this continues to only help Birdman in its quest to unseat Selma as the primary Best Picture competition.
On the other hand, there were more than a few glaring omissions, beginning with Interstellar in Best Picture. That film is just playing like a blockbuster popcorn movie with stunning technical achievements, as opposed to truly a prestige picture, and that’s a shame. Also missing was Christopher Nolan in Best Director/Best Original Screenplay, Steve Carell in Best Actor for Foxcatcher, Joaquin Phoenix (also missing out in Best Actor in a Comedy), and Shailene Woodley in Best Actress for The Fault in Our Stars, continuing to put a nail in her Oscar coffin. Those were just some of the snubs, though they were hardly all of them…
Here now, without further delay, are the full nominations for the 20th annual Critics Choice Movie […]

Oscar stock watch: 5 contenders up and 5 contenders down

With an almost daily influx of awards to make note of, this is the sort of time where things change for Oscar contenders quickly. As such, I wanted to try out a new segment, where I periodically take the temperature of the race and list some of the Academy Award hopefuls who have seen their stock rise or fall of late, relating to the precursor season. It’s the sort of thing I can check in with every week or every other week, depending on what’s appropriate. Anyway, I wanted to give it a shot now and see how it played for you all.
Below you’ll see ten different contenders, broken up into two separate groups. One group of films/performances have seen their stock trend upwards, while the other group has seen the exact opposite happen. It’s almost a quick snapshot of the major changes in the season, though by no means is it all encompassing. Anyway, I hope this is of interest to you all…
Here are five contenders who have seen their stock rise of late:
1. Boyhood – As mentioned yesterday, Richard Linklater’s film has solidified its frontrunner status in Best Picture for Linklater, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette, and Best Original Screenplay for Linklater as well. That sort of early precursor dominance only helps increase its Oscar stock. As long as the Golden Globes and Guilds don’t bring it back down to Earth, this is a blue chipper, to say the least.
2. Nightcrawler – One of the surprises of the early precursor season has been to see Dan Gilroy’s thriller slowly but surely establish itself as more than a fringe awards player. Star Jake Gyllenhaal has received (justly) some attention, but the film itself is popping up more than initially expected. I’m not ready to predict it for a Best Picture nomination, but I’m at least toying with the idea.
3. Jennifer Aniston/Cake – What was initially a real long shot/Hail Mary pass in the Best Actress race has become a viable contender. Jennifer Aniston’s vehicle Cake doesn’t have a ton of money to campaign with a huge distributor backing it, but it’s still managing to create a buzz. That easily affirms it as a player with its stock trending in an upward direction.
4. American Sniper – Despite some originally mixed reviews at its AFI Fest premiere, Clint Eastwood’s latest showed up on their Best of the […]

Richard Linklater and “Boyhood” continue to dominate the early precursors

We’ve only just begun with the first section of the precursor season, focusing in on the critics groups and their awards, but a trend is already emerging. The trend in question? A ton of love for Richard Linklater and his film Boyhood. Yes, the little film that could is quickly becoming a huge force to be reckoned with and solidifying its status as a frontrunner in a number of major Oscar categories. It’s way too early in the awards season to truly know how things will shake out, but if you’re playing the odds, Boyhood has to be in the number one spot all over the place. The Academy may or may not ultimately line up like that, but the early precursors are sure making that case right now.
Boyhood was always the most likely of the early year releases to make a notable splash with Oscar voters, so it’s no surprise that this initial beginning of the first phase of the precursor season is seeing it cited heavily. What’s more notable is that it’s really beating back a lot of its main late year release competition. Sure, Birdman has popped up here and there, along with A Most Violent Year once and Snowpiercer once as well, but we haven’t seen The Imitation Game or Selma win anything major yet, to name it’s two prime competitors in Best Picture.
Speaking of Best Picture, any ranking of the contenders at the moment has to begin with Boyhood. It’s at the top right now, with some combination of Birdman, The Imitation Game, Selma, and whatever other contender you prefer, be it A Most Violent Year or something else like Gone Girl, in the two through five spots. That top slot is all Boyhood though, as of today. I suspect it’ll more or less continue like this throughout the early stages of precursor season, leading up until the guilds have a chance to impact the race. With Best Picture, it’ll be the Producers Guild of America award that either crowns Boyhood or turns the tide towards something else (likely Selma, if I had to guess what the alternative will be). Until then, it should be, aside from perhaps the Golden Globes, nearly a clean sweep for Boyhood.
Looking a bit at Best Director, it’s a similar situation. Yes, a few more votes here will get picked off in favor of Birdman’s Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, but […]

“Unbroken” directed by Angelina Jolie and starring Jack O’Connell is on its way to Oscar gold – Hollywood Film Awards

“Unbroken” directed by Angelina Jolie and starring Jack O’Connell is on its way to Oscar gold.
Today, both in New York and Los Angeles, there were screenings for the press and the Screen Actors Guild members.
Jack O’Connell was honored at the Hollywood Film Awards last November 14th with

Shailene Woodley: On her way to an Oscar?

Is Shailene Woodley on her way to be nominated for a Oscar?
As you know Shailene received the “Hollywood Breakout Performance Award” last November 14, at the Hollywood Film Awards, the TV show that launches the awards season.
To read more about 2014 Hollywood Film Awards Winners.

Shailene Woodley:
“For this week’s spotlight piece, I wanted to take a look at one of Hollywood’s best young women. Without question, there are few better out there than Shailene Woodley, a rising star who literally only has the sky as her sole limit. She’s impressed pretty much from the very start, moving quickly up the industry food chain from a young supporting player to a franchise lead. During that time, she’s also managed to become a bit of a lifestyle icon and a genuine person who stands out in the crowd. All those things and more make her a real A-lister and one well worth this sort of tribute today.
Woodley got her start on television with various guest starring roles. Programs like Crosing Jordan, The District, Everybody Loves Raymond, Jack & Bobby, The O.C., Without a Trace, and others gave her a beginning, which of course any young actor or actress needs. Luckily for her, she’d only need a few years before landing a starring role on the show The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Besides raising her profile, it also caught the attention of filmmaker Alexander Payne. The rest, as they say, is history.
Her introduction to film came in Payne’s movie The Descendants, where she announced her presence with quite a bit of authority. Playing George Clooney’s troubled teenage daughter, Woodley immediately received awards attention, leading to speculation that she’d receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. While that didn’t come to pass (which was considered a mild surprise and a snub), she did get a Golden Globe nomination, cementing her as someone to watch out for. She was officially on her way to the A-list with just one theatrical credit to her name. That’s really something…” by Joey Madgison
to read more about Shailene Woodley – Spotlight on the Stars.

Golden Globe predictions for November

It’s Black Friday, so I know you’re all mostly concerned with taking advantage of various sales, but since it’s also the end of November, I wanted to bring some new Golden Globe predictions to you as well. We’ve been doing these for a while now, but this represents likelythe final one I’ll be doing before the actual nominations are announced in about two weeks on December 11th (unless I preview the announcement with a final set of predictions…we’ll see). As such, I’m hoping to really nail them this time around, and try to figure out how the Hollywood Foreign Press Association might go with their nods. The HFPA can go in some odd directions too, so these noms might even be a little more Oscar friendly than they wind up being. We’ll see though.
The biggest addition this time around is accounting for Selma in the race. I still had it shut out last time around, and while I don’t necessarily think it’s going to dominate the Globes, I do think a shut out isn’t going to happen. I also had to try to figure out what to do with Unbroken, which I don’t see until Monday. As such, I left it alone for the most part. If I do indeed do one last update to these predictions, it’ll be due at least in part to a need to account for the film, one way or another. Perhaps I’ll need to predict it for some wins? Perhaps I’ll need to drop it completely? Somewhere in between? I’ll find out at the beginning of next week and report in on the film itself, but if I do update Globe predictions, reflections on that movie will be involved for sure.
Here now though, without any further delay on my part (since as always we know that you’re really here just to see what I have below in each of the categories), are a brand spanking new set of Golden Globe nomination predictions to pour over. Behold:
Best Picture (Drama)
1. The Imitation Game
2. Selma
3. Boyhood
4. Gone Girl
5. Unbroken
If there’s a sixth: Interstellar
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
1. Into the Woods
2. Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
3. Whiplash
4. Begin Again
5. St. Vincent
If there’s a sixth: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Actor (Drama)
1. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
2. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
3. David Oyelowo – Selma
4. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
5. Timothy Spall – Mr. Turner
If […]

Eddie Redmayne – Theory of Everything – another movie to see this weekend

Another great movie to see this weekend is “The Theory of Everything,” starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.
Eddie Redmayne was the recipient of this year’s “Hollywood Breakout Performance Award” at the Hollywood Film Awards.

Below write-up about Eddie Redmayne and his chances at Oscar:
“Today, the theatrical release is beginning for The Theory of Everything, a biopic about noted physicist Stephen Hawking. The role of Hawking is played to perfection by surefire Academy Award nominee Eddie Redmayne, while the role of his loving and supportive wife Jane is portrayed by almost certain fellow Oscar nominee Felicity Jones. With the film now out in limited release, it can attempt to win over audiences in the same that it won over critics on the festival circuit. From there on, it’s a matter of seeing if the movie can appeal to Oscar voters. Personally, I think it’ll do just fine, but I certainly hope that Academy members really do consider Jones and especially Redmayne for wins as well.
The biopic is of course a look at the life of Hawking, beginning with his time at University and continuing up until close to the modern day. We see Hawking go from an awkward young man to a sick but still mobile student to someone confined to a wheelchair, all the way to the distinctive images we have of the man now. Along the way, we spend just as much time with Jane as with Stephen, seeing how she interacts with her mate and staying strong in the face of adversity. She’s very much the co-lead of this story, with equal screen time and just as much of a character arc. Obviously Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne star, along with supporting players like Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, Christian McKay, David Thewlis, and Emily Watson. James Marsh is in the director’s chair, while Anthony McCarten wrote the adaptation of the book by Jane Hawking.
Without question, the highlight here is Eddie Redmayne, with Felicity Jones not far behind. Redmayne is the cream of the acting crop in 2014 according to my tastes, blowing me away in a manner that I just did not expect. He’s going to deserve the Best Actor nomination coming his way…hell, he deserves the win, but that all remains to be seen. Similarly, Jones gives one of the best performances by an actress so far this year, so when she’s nominated for Best Actress and fights […]

Spotlight on the Stars: Jennifer Lawrence

For this week’s new spotlight piece, I wanted to again take a look at one of the biggest A listers in the industry…Jennifer Lawrence. I’ve written about her once or twice before, but as a legitimate megastar who’s also still a bit of an up and comer, I figured she was perfect for this piece once again. She’s someone who’s powerful in Hollywood, grounded in a way that most young stars aren’t, and above all else…one of the best actresses in the business, bar none, with an Oscar on her mantle to prove it. Lawrence consistently does interesting work and is more than worth checking in on here and there. As such, she’s perfect for the spotlight today, so let us dive in.
Lawrence first got her start, like many young up and comers, on television. Guest spots on Cold Case, Medium, and Monk began her career, though I first noticed her when she landed one of the main roles on The Bill Engvall Show. It hardly gave her a strong outlet for her talents, but she was compelling to watch even then. There were also supporting parts in films like The Burning Plain and Garden Party, but Lawrence was still clearly someone you didn’t pay too much attention to. That was about to change though, and in a really big way too.
She became a star on the rise with Winter’s Bone, a small indie that wound up being nominated for a quartet of Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Lawrence. Her personality and newcomer on the scene vibe made her an instant A-lister in the making, which doesn’t even take into account how great she is in the movie. She was not only well deserving of that Actress nomination, she also wasn’t far off from being deserving of the win. Her Oscar glory wouldn’t be too far away, but it was a great launch to her leading actress career.
Lawrence then shined in key supporting parts in would be awards contenders The Beaver and Like Crazy before breaking through to the masses with her scene stealing turn in X-Men: First Class. That put her in her first blockbuster, though that next year would really be the one to make her the Jennifer Lawrence we know today. She ably led the horror flick House at the End of the Street, but it was a pair of other roles that […]

David Oyelowo and “Selma” launch to the top of the Oscar race

Last night, I was in attendance for the first New York screening of Ava DuVernay’s film Selma. This on the heels of it having a World Premiere last week at AFI Fest, which shot it directly into the heart of the awards season. Always thought to be a potential Oscar contender, particularly for David Oyelowo’s lead performance as Martin Luther King Jr., the movie has instead had a rapturous reception so far that has pundits like myself amending Academy Award predictions left and right. Yes, Oyelowo is not just getting into Best Actor, but is almost assuredly winning it too. Furthermore, I now believe that Selma is one of the three most likely Best Picture winners as well.
In case the title itself doesn’t let you in on what the film is about, this is a look at the civil rights marches that took place in Selma, Alabama. The focus is on the folks on the ground who helped make change happen, along with Martin Luther King’s talks with President Lyndon Johnson about reforming the Voting Rights Act and eliminating the barriers to black citizens in America being able to vote. Oyelowo plays MLK, Tom Wilkinson plays LBJ, and the supporting cast is huge, including the likes of Carmen Ejogo, Giovanni Ribisi, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Common, Lorraine Toussaint, Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Sheen, and many more.
Technically, the version we were shown isn’t finished, so I can’t actually review it (though I’m hardly an outlier in terms of thoughts on its quality), but I can say that this is definitely going to be a bigger Oscar contender than I thought. Not only is it basically a lock for a Best Picture and Best Actor (Oyelowo) nomination, wins there are hardly out of the question. In the case of the former, I think the race is now down to Boyhood, The Imitation Game, and this one, as you’ll see in my new predictions on Friday. With the latter category, unless The Imitation Game goes on some sort of a sweep, I think Oyelowo has this one in the bag. Further nominations for Best Director (DuVernay), Best Supporting Actor (Tom Wilkinson), Best Supporting Actress (Carmen Ejogo), Best Original Screenplay (Paul Webb), Best Cinematography (Bradford Young), and Best Film Editing are all a possibility. Yes, this can score over a half dozen citations if things break the right way.
On the flip side, […]

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