June 26, 2016

Tag Archives: oscar

Hollywood Contenders – An Early Oscar Predictions Update for April

I know, it’s only April, and not even the end of the month either. The Academy Awards are way off in the distance, but as you all know by now, I make it a point to always keep it up with early predictions. That’s the case even now, so while it may be a ways away from precursor season, we press on anyway with advance predix. Today will be my second update for the upcoming race, so it’s still a situation that’s very much in its infancy. Things will start to form in some way during the end of the summer, but that’s still months off, so take all of this with a big grain of salt.
What you’ll see below, in terms of my new set of predictions, is very much more of the same. To a small degree, I’ve made room for some of the things that have hit early on this year, like Everybody Wants Some, but we’re still basically feeling around in the dark. Again, that’ll change, but without any reason to go in another direction, I’m backing Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea as a major Academy player. Perhaps I’m nuts, but I have a feeling that this one will stick around right up until the end. Time will tell, obviously, but I have a hunch that it’s one of the big ones for 2016…
Here now are my current early Oscar predictions, at least for the moment:
1. Manchester by the Sea
2. Silence
3. La La Land
4. The Birth of a Nation
5. Loving
6. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
7. Lion
8. The Light Between Oceans
9. The Founder
10. Passengers
Next in line: 11. War Machine 12. Sully 13. Collateral Beauty 14. Story of Your Life 15. A United Kingdom 16. The Zookeeper’s Wife 17. Snowden 18. Nocturnal Animals 19. Everybody Wants Some 20. Allied 21. The Lost City of Z 22. The Nice Guys 23. LBJ 24. The Circle 25. Café Society
1. Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
2. Martin Scorsese – Silence
3. Damien Chazelle – La La Land
4. Nate Parker – The Birth of a Nation
5. Jeff Nichols – Loving
Next in line: 6. Ang Lee – Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk 7. Derek Cianfrance – The Light Between Oceans 8. Clint Eastwood – Sully 9. John Lee Hancock – The Founder 10. Morten Tyldum – Passengers
1. Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
2. Ryan Gosling – La La […]

The best moments from the 88th Academy Awards

Now that a little bit of time has been removed from the actual ceremony, I think it’s only right to look back on the 88th Academy Awards for a moment. Yes, I’m going to be looking at the positives of the event, as opposed to the negatives. We can always pick out what we don’t like about something, but today is a day for positivity. We follow the awards season, all the way up to Oscar night, because we enjoy it, so it’s prudent to focus on that. There will never be a perfect Academy Award telecast, but each and every single year we see things that make us laugh, smile, or just feel good about film. Below you will see the five things that I took away from the show in the most positive light. Your choices might be different, obviously, but these are mine. I suspect you’ll all agree with some, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, enjoy…
Here are the five best moments from the Oscar ceremony:
5. Chris Rock’s opening monologue – All eyes were on Rock as he opened the show. We knew he would address the racial controversy about the acting lineups, and while he touched on that pretty directly, he also just came up with an effective and entertaining monologue. Rock is a very solid host and I hope we see him do this again soon. He wasn’t the comedy highlight of the evening, but he wasn’t far off, that’s for sure. Rock knew what he needed to do and did it quite well.
4. Ex Machina winning Best Visual Effects – One of the biggest upsets I’ve ever seen, the presumed least likely winner in the Visual Effects category wound up taking the prize. It wouldn’t have been my personal choice, but I loved seeing this sort of shock happen. Moreover, Ex Machina is, without question, one of the most unique winners to date here, so that’s a real plus as well. I’m not sure what it means for the future of the category, but in general I’m all for surprise upsets.
3. Leonardo DiCaprio’s speech after winning Best Actor – At long last, folks got to see DiCaprio win an Oscar. Not only that, but they got to see him give a powerful speech at the Academy Awards, centered around climate change. Politics and the Oscars can be an odd mix, but DiCaprio made […]

A final set of Oscar predictions

This is it, ladies and gentlemen, the moment of truth for a prognosticator. Almost a full year of musing on the Academy Award race has led here. We’re now just a few days out from the Oscars being held, with a new slate of winners set to enter the record books. As such, this is the last chance to solidify predictions, in advance of Sunday night. After that, it’ll be time to look ahead to the 2016 releases and which of them could be contenders. For now though, I have my final thoughts on the race, before all is revealed, of course. Take a gander now…
What you’ll notice below is that, frankly, not much has changed. Basically, the frontrunners are all set to take the big prizes. Best Picture seems locked up for The Revenant, though there’s still that outside chance of The Big Short swooping in. If you’re looking for races to keep an eye on, it’s obviously Best Supporting Actress as well as the technical ones. The techs are where we’ll see if The Revenant is truly a force with the Academy. You’ll see some last minute tinkering in my predictions, but by and large, it’s what we’ve figured out over the last few updates. Make of that what you will. For me, it just is what it is.
Here you go folks. My final set of Oscar predictions:

1. The Revenant
2. The Big Short
3. Spotlight
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
5. Bridge of Spies
6. The Martian
7. Room
8. Brooklyn
1. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
2. Adam McKay – The Big Short
3. George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
4. Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
5. Lenny Abrahamson – Room
1. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
2. Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
3. Matt Damon – The Martian
4. Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
5. Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
1. Brie Larson – Room
2. Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
3. Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
4. Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
5. Cate Blanchett – Carol
1. Sylvester Stallone – Creed
2. Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
3. Tom Hardy – The Revenant
4. Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
5. Christian Bale – The Big Short
1. Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
2. Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs
3. Rooney Mara – Carol
4. Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
5. Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
1. Spotlight
2. Straight Outta Compton
3. Inside Out
4. Ex Machina
5. Bridge of Spies
1. The Big Short
2. Room
3. The Martian
4. […]

Oscar Isaac and Scarlett Johansson: Who’s most overdue for an Oscar nomination now?

Continuing to feed off of last week’s Academy Award nomination announcement (as well as yesterday’s piece on the snubs found within those nominations, in one or two cases), today I want to look at who happens to be most due a nod at this point. An Oscar nom is certainly no easy achievement, but you can usually look around at the actors and actresses who have never been nominated and find at least one missed opportunity on the part of the Academy. As such, today I’m again putting out a list of who deserves a nomination the most, updated since certain contenders like Jennifer Jason Leigh finally have their citation…

Here now are ten actors or actresses overdue for an Oscar nomination:
10. Zoe Kazan – Anyone who doesn’t consider Kazan to be overdue for a citation just isn’t paying attention. Look at The Exploding Girl or Ruby Sparks and you’ll see performances that were among the very best of their years. Kazan is as talented a writer as she is an actress though, so it seems only like a matter of time before Oscar finally takes notice of her.
9. Michael B. Jordan – Twice now Jordan has come close to getting voted in by the Academy. Fruitvale Station introduced him to them and this past year’s Creed almost won them over. Jordan is on a speeding train towards Oscar glory though, so I don’t think he has much to worry about. It’s just a shame it wasn’t this year, as I wrote about yesterday.
8. Kristen Stewart – Some might laugh at this notion, but Stewart has done some excellent work outside of the Twilight franchise. Simply pop in Adventureland, Clouds of Sils Maria, or On the Road and you’ll see what I mean. Stewart is a talented young actress, so while it should have happened for her already, it will at some point in the future…
7. Paul Dano – Another contender who was absolutely snubbed this year (again, he features in my article yesterday), Dano has come “this” close to nominations both for Love & Mercy as well as for There Will Be Blood. Factor in his work in Little Miss Sunshine and Ruby Sparks, and well…there’s just no excuse. He’s going to no doubt win an award one day, so the nomination is just the first step. His wait likely won’t be much longer.
6. Emily Blunt – Blunt is a […]

OSCARS: ‘The Revenant’ leads the 88th Academy Award Nominations

We finally know who and what has been nominated this year by Oscar. Ladies and gentlemen, just a few moments ago this morning the 88th Academy Award nominations were handed out, with The Revenant leading the way. 12 nominations went to that film, with Mad Max: Fury Road next in line with ten citations. Things like Spotlight managed to do as well or better than expected, while the only huge shockers to me were Ridley Scott missing in Best Director (essentially replaced by Lenny Abrahamson for Room) and Tom Hardy getting in for The Revenant. Straight Outta Compton missing in Best Picture was also surprising, but less so. I’ll have more to say in tomorrow’s piece on exactly what went down, along with updated predictions, but at the moment, let’s get straight to the actual nominations…

Analysis is coming tomorrow. For now, here are the nominees for the 88th Academy Awards:
Best Picture
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs“
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs“
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”
Best Director
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Alejandro G. Inarritu, “The Revenant”
Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Big Short”
“The Martian”
Best Original Screenplay
“Bridge of Spies”
“Ex Machina”
“Inside Out”
“Straight Outta Compton”
Best Film Editing
“The Big Short”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Best Cinematography
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Hateful Eight”
“The Revenant”
Best Visual Effects
“Ex Machina”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Best Documentary
“Cartel Land”
“The Look of Silence”
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”
Best Documentary Short Subject
“Body Team 12”
“Chau, Beyond the Lines”
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”
“Last Day of Freedom”
Best Production Design
“Bridge of Spies”
“The Danish Girl”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
Best Original Score
“Bridge of Spies”
“The Hateful Eight”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Best Foreign Language Film
“Embrace of the Serpent,” Colombia
“Mustang,” France
“Son of Saul,” Hungary
“Theeb,” Jordan
“A War,” Denmark
Best Original Song
“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”
“Simple Song No. 3” from “Youth”
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
“Writing’s on the Wall” […]

Final Oscar Predictions before the nominations

This is it. We’re now less than 24 hours away from the Academy Award nominations being announced. Yes, early tomorrow morning the Oscar nominations are going to be handed out live, either validating or (more likely) invalidating a number of hunches and suspicions that we’ve had all season long. Prognosticators like myself are finalizing their predictions today, so obviously I’m going to be doing the same thing. It’s more than crunch time ladies and gentlemen, it’s the final seconds before the buzzer sounds. Have I nailed these predictions? No. Do I feel confident? No. Is it the most logical outcome I can see? Yes, and that’s what matters. So, let’s discuss this a bit right now, as I resist the urge to just tinker and tinker until the end of the day.
There are small changes to be found all over my predictions, as you can see below. In terms of surprises to look out for, my main ones are Eddie Redmayne missing out in Best Actor for The Danish Girl, Helen Mirren getting into Best Actress for Woman in Gold, two actors from Spotlight (Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams) still getting Supporting Actor/Supporting Actress nominations, and The Walk managing a Best Visual Effects nomination. I also avoided category confusion with Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander, keeping them both in Best Supporting Actress. Those choices hardly the only notable ones here, but they’re a few things to keep an eye out for, potentially. My big struggle? Best Picture, obviously. There are 11 realistic contenders for the honor tomorrow, with between five and ten set to be cited. My biggest struggle was to figure out if Straight Outta Compton was potentially going to be the first film to be nominated for one Academy Award and have it be picture. You’ll see what I decided on, but trust me when I say that these predictions stressed me out. One extra bonus you’ll notice is when applicable, I showed where the cut off for realistic nominees is in certain categories. Still, so much stress…
Here goes nothing folks. My last crack at Oscar predictions, in advance of tomorrow’s announcement:
1. Spotlight
2. The Martian
3. The Big Short
4. The Revenant
5. Bridge of Spies
6. Mad Max: Fury Road
7. Room
8. Straight Outta Compton
9. Carol
10. Brooklyn
Next in line: 11. Sicario
Rest of the pack: 12. Trumbo 13. Star Wars: The Force Awakens 14. Ex Machina 15. Beasts of No Nation […]

A post BAFTA update to Oscar Predictions

Believe it or not, members of the Academy will likely have finalized their nomination decisions by the time you’re reading this. Yes, the deadline for ballots to be in is today, and that’s coming right on the heels of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (or BAFTA) making their nomination announcement in the wee hours. They function almost as an extra guild, as many BAFTA members are in the Academy as well, so it bears referencing. Oscar isn’t going to be able to refer to DGA nominations this year, so I think some voters will look for clues as to what their colleagues support anywhere that they can find it. This might lead to some surprises, for sure, but it also makes things almost impossible to pin down right now. Still, we try.

First up, here are the BAFTA nominations:
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
The Revenant
Cate Blanchett – Carol
Brie Larson – Room
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
Maggie Smith – Lady in the Van
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
Matt Damon – The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara – Carol
Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina
Julie Walters – Brooklyn
Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs
Christian Bale – The Big Short
Benicio Del Toro – Sicario
Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation
Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Todd Haynes, Carol
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, The Revenant
Adam McKay, The Big Short
Ridley Scott, The Martian
Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies
45 Years
The Danish Girl
Ex Machina
The Lobster
The Assassin
Force Majeure
Wild Tales
Cartel Land
He Named Me Malala
Listen to Me Marlon
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
Roger Deakins, Sicario
Janusz Kaminski, Bridge of Spies
Ed Lachman, Carol
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road
Thomas Newman, Bridge of Spies
Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Ryuichi Sakamoto, Carsten Nicolai, The Revenant
Jóhann Jóhannsson, Sicario
John Williams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Sean McAllister (Director/Producer), Elhum Shakerifar (Producer), A Syrian Love Story
Stephen Fingleton (Writer/Director), The Survivalist
Alex Garland (Director), Ex Machina
Debbie Tucker Green (Writer/Director), Second Coming
Naji Abu Nowar (Writer/Director), Rupert Lloyd (Producer), Theeb
Matthew Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Bridge of Spies
Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Inside Out
Alex Garland, Ex Machina
Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, Spotlight
Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight
Emma Donoghue, Room
Nick Hornby, Brooklyn
Adam McKay, Charles Randolph, The Big Short
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs
Hank Corwin, The […]

Updated Oscar predictions after the Globes and SAG announce their nominees

In this post Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nomination world that we’re now living in, I think it’s a very apt time to update Academy Award predictions. In fact, I believe that anyone not in need of a prediction update needs to seriously take a look at themselves in the mirror. Either you’re some kind of prognostication savant and have been right all along (which I highly doubt), or you’re just ignoring the facts. I’ve spent all week tinkering, with the last hour or so being when I’ve really put my nose to the grindstone and tried to figure out what Oscar might do. Who knows if I’m any closer to being right, but at least now I have some material to look at in terms of these educated guesses.
What you’ll probably notice below, besides a facelift given to a number of the technical categories (I’ll admit it, I hadn’t been giving them enough attention), is a potential reflection of what the Globes and SAG did to the Academy Award race. They didn’t create any new frontrunners or anything of the sort, but they did more or less eliminate some candidates, while pushing forward some other ones. Among the contenders very pleased this week, we have Trumbo, which is no longer likely to get shut out. On the flip side, the actors in Spotlight now have reason to be nervous, though I ultimately think at least one will still get in. It’s a bit of a mess, as reflected in my prediction update. Stand by for another update very soon…
Here now is my latest set of Oscar predictions:
1. Spotlight
2. The Martian
3. Room
4. Carol
5. The Revenant
6. Brooklyn
7. The Hateful Eight
8. Steve Jobs
9. The Big Short
10. Mad Max: Fury Road
Next in line: 11. Bridge of Spies 12. Trumbo 13. Beasts of No Nation 14. The Danish Girl 15. Sicario 16. Joy 17. Youth 18. Son of Saul 19. Inside Out 20. Star Wars: The Force Awakens 21. Love & Mercy 22. Black Mass 23. Creed 24. 45 Years 25. In the Heart of the Sea 26. Concussion 27. Suffragette 28. Straight Outta Compton 29. Anomalisa 30. Truth
1. Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
2. Ridley Scott – The Martian
3. Lenny Abrahamson – Room
4. George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
5. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Next in line: 6. Todd Haynes – Carol 7. Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight 8. John […]

Could “The Martian” be this year’s blockbuster Hollywood Best Picture nominee?

I’ve written a fair amount about The Martian already this year, and still have more planned in advance of its release next week, but having seen the film now, I have more to say. First of all, it’s a terrific movie, one of my favorites of 2015 so far, and a legitimate Academy Award contender. Where exactly will depend on a few factors, but what I want to focus on today is how it can score a Best Picture nomination. Essentially, it will have to be a big financial hit and be the blockbuster nominee of the group. Can it do it? Believe it or not…I think that it can.
I mentioned that this will need to make money, and by that I mean that often Oscar will have a financial hit or two in its Best Picture lineup. Honestly, they almost always need to have made some money, but I’m specifically looking at things that were breakout financial hits. Just look at some of the previous nominees in the categories that have been of this ilk:
2014 – American Sniper
2013 – Gravity
2012 – N/A
2011 – The Help
2010 – Inception, Toy Story 3
2009 – Avatar, The Blind Side, Up
2008 – N/A
2007 – N/A
2006 – N/A
2005 – N/A
2004 – N/A
2003 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2002 – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2001 – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2000 – N/A
Obviously, there’s an exception with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, as it won Best Picture, but often it seems like these are meant as filler nominees, meant to boost ratings. Looking at those blockbuster nominees, aside from Avatar, which was kind of a one off situation, and Gravity, none were definitely considered heavily as winners. Luckily for The Martian, it does fit in with those, so that keeps its hopes very much alive…

As always, let me now double back for a quick summary of what The Martian is about, in case you’ve been ignoring this section all the previous times. For astronaut Mark Watney (Damon), the worst case scenario comes true for him on a mission to Mars when his crew (led by Jessica Chastain) thinks he’s been killed while on the surface and takes off for Earth without him. Still alive, but injured and only with supplies for a short period of time, Mark has […]

“Straight Outta Compton” is making the case for Oscar consideration

During the end of the summer, any surprise critical and financial success story seems to generate Oscar buzz. Frankly, that’s sort of the case whenever an early year or pre awards season release exceeds expectations. This year however, we have an interesting case to study in the biopic Straight Outta Compton, about the seminal rap group NWA, which has gone above and beyond any of its goals so far. Now, some are beginning to wonder if the Academy might have an interest. I remain skeptical, but it’s well worth taking a look at. Perhaps the investigation will reveal something? Let’s find out now…
The film is a look at the rap group NWA, how its members came together, and what kind of an impact they had on the culture. Started in the city of Compton, California in the mid 1980’s, the music would spread across the world and have a huge impact on hip hop culture. Not your garden variety biopic for sure, but mixing up the formula is always welcome in my book. Veteran filmmaker F. Gary Gray directs, the script is written by Andrea Berloff and Jonathan Herman (with story credits going to Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus), while the cast includes O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube, Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell as Easy-E, Neil Brown Jr. is Dj Yella, and Aldis Hodge is MC Ren, along with Paul Giamatti, Keith Stanfield, and more. Ice Cube and Dr. Dre produced this look at their careers, while behind the camera Matthew Libatique is the DP.
Among the many things that pundits have praised about Straight Outta Compton, the acting seems to be chief among them. Gray’s direction has been given kudos, but the acting trio of Hawkins, Jackson, and Mitchell have been saluted in particular, saying that they add a lot to these iconic characters. Jackson in particular is playing his actual father, so there’s an added layer of interest to be found there. Could one of them wind up in awards contention? That seems like a bit of a long shot, but anything is certainly possible, especially if there’s a distinct lack of solid minority contenders. I hate qualifying things in that way, since a good performance is a good performance, but the Academy does have a spotty track record when it comes to non-white acting nominees. They’re getting better, but Oscar isn’t quite there […]

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