July 27, 2016
        A Teaser Trailer for "Justice League" suggests a really fun blockbuster                "Blair Witch" and "Wonder Woman": Comic-Con unleashes a ton of buzz worthy Trailers                Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Actress contenders                "Star Trek Beyond" is a rare success for the 2016 summer movie season                The 2016 New York Film Festival will open with Ava Duvernay's documentary "The 13th"                Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone make us swoon as "La La Land" drops a luminous Teaser Trailer                "Loving" announces itself as an awards player with a great Trailer                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for July                Woody Allen has another crowd pleaser on his hands with "Cafe Society"                Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Actor contenders                Kristen Stewart shines in the sci-fi love story "Equals"                'Ghostbusters' is an excellent re-invention of the classic franchise                Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Director contenders                "Captain Fantastic" is one of the year's most pleasant surprises                This week brings an adorable bit of animation in "The Secret Life of Pets"        

Tag Archives: oscars

Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for July

You knew these were coming. Predictions are probably my favorite part of this job, so obviously I was going to oblige, as always. This is a fun one too, as it’s the first update for the second half of the year. 2016 is taking a turn now, moving through the summer blockbuster movie season, with awards season and Oscar bait only a few months away. Those films are really what the Academy will focus on, so that’s where my attention is today. There’s been some definite movement, which you’ll see below, making for a slate of predicted nominees that doesn’t 100% resemble the last few that I’ve done. It’s getting to be very exciting times, ladies and gentlemen…
Two of the more notable things that have happened since last time around have been the facts that Live by Night potentially has entered the race, while The Zookeeper’s Wife left. Factor those in with baity Trailers for La La Land as well as Loving and you have the makings of some awards season buzz. La La Land is continuing to make a big play for the juggernaut spot of the predictions, so keep that in mind. I also have tried to figure out the technical categories, as well as a new look at things few are thinking about, such as Best Documentary Feature and Best Foreign Language Feature. It makes for something to think about, at least. Plenty more will change next month too, so this is clearly just placeholder stuff for the most part. Enjoy it though, obviously.
Here now are my most up to date Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. La La Land
2. Silence
3. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
4. Manchester by the Sea
5. Loving
6. The Birth of a Nation
7. Live by Night
8. Lion
9. Passengers
10. Nocturnal Animals
Next in line: 11. Arrival 12. War Machine 13. Fences 14. The Light Between Oceans 15. Café Society 16. Collateral Beauty 17. The Founder 18. Bleed for This 19. Sully 20. The Lost City of Z 21. Allied 22. A United Kingdom 23. Rules Don’t Apply 24. Snowden 25. Hands of Stone
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Damien Chazelle – La La Land
2. Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
3, Ang Lee – Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
4. Martin Scorsese – Silence
5. Ben Affleck – Live by Night
Next in line: 6. Jeff Nichols – Loving 7. Nate Parker – The Birth of a Nation 8. Morten Tyldum – Passengers 9. Tom […]

Hollywood Contenders: Updated Academy Award predictions for June

Guess what time it is? That’s right ladies and gentlemen, time for a new set of Oscar predictions to share with you all. We’re in the middle of June, coming up quickly on the end of the first half of 2016 and the start of the second half, so a transitional period is upon us. The type of title put out into theaters is going to change, so expect these predictions to change as well, moving on from many of the first half films and doubling down on fall and winter releases. That’s just the way it is, especially with as weak a half as we’ve had, in terms of awards friendly movies. For the Academy, they won’t really be considering the early year releases, at least this year. Maybe next year, but for now, it’s the ones hitting in July and beyond that are worth paying attention to…
What you’ll see this time around is a title change (Story of Your Life has become Arrival), along with some various tinkering. Mainly, I’m honing in on La La Land as perhaps the big player that’s sight unseen at the current moment. There’s also the debut of Fences within my predictions, as well as some upward mobility for things such as Nocturnal Animals. Remember, this is purely guesswork still, but they seem like potential contenders to me, at least right now, here in June. A lot can and will change, but this is just how I currently see the race unfolding. Enjoy though, as it’s still a ton of fun to build these lists.

Here now are my updated Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. La La Land
2. Silence
3. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
4. Manchester by the Sea
5. Loving
6. The Birth of a Nation
7. Lion
8. The Light Between Oceans
9. Passengers
10. Nocturnal Animals
Next in line: 11. Arrival 12. War Machine 13. Fences 14. Sully 15. Café Society 16. Collateral Beauty 17. The Founder 18. A United Kingdom 19. The Zookeeper’s Wife 20. Allied 21. The Lost City of Z 22. LBJ 23. The Circle 24. Rules Don’t Apply 25. Snowden
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Damien Chazelle – La La Land
2. Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
3, Ang Lee – Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
4. Martin Scorsese – Silence
5. Nate Parker – The Birth of a Nation
Next in line: 6. Jeff Nichols – Loving 7. Derek Cianfrance – The Light Between Oceans 8. Morten Tyldum – Passengers 9. Tom […]

HOLLYWOOD CONTENDERS: Updated Oscar predictions for May

With the 2016 Cannes Film Festival well underway, now’s the perfect time to give you a new look at Oscar predictions folks! Why, you may ask? Well, having seen two the movies playing at Cannes, it only seems apt. One is Money Monster, which isn’t really of note here, but the other is Woody Allen’s Café Society, which I was lucky enough to see stateside. That one could be a player, and obviously it’s floating around my head as I update these predictions. Read on to see how I think it might go for Allen’s latest, along with all of the other contenders we currently know about!
What you’ll see below reflects basically how I currently see the race. The only information I’m working off of that everyone else might not have is having seen Café Society. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk got a very promising Trailer yesterday as well, but that’s nothing exclusive and I’ll be tackling that in a specific post on Monday. As for Woody’s flick, I think it’s one of his recent best and definitely has a chance to make waves with Oscar. It’s got a lot in common with Midnight in Paris, which should prove to be rather promising for Allen and company. It’s not out until July, so no one can say just yet, but I suspect it won’t be easily dismissed. Other than that, it’s more or less the same contenders here, just tinkered with to try and get an early feel for the season to come…

Here now are my current early Oscar predictions, at least for the moment here in the middle of May:
BEST PICTURE
1. Manchester by the Sea
2. Silence
3. La La Land
4. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
5. Loving
6. The Birth of a Nation
7. Lion
8. The Light Between Oceans
9. Passengers
10. Café Society
Next in line: 11. War Machine 12. The Founder 13. Sully 14. Story of Your Life 15. A United Kingdom 16. Collateral Beauty 17. Snowden 18. Nocturnal Animals 19. The Zookeeper’s Wife 20. Allied 21. The Lost City of Z 22. The Nice Guys 23. LBJ 24. The Circle 25. Everybody Wants Some
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
2. Martin Scorsese – Silence
3. Damien Chazelle – La La Land
4. Jeff Nichols – Loving
5. Nate Parker – The Birth of a Nation
Next in line: 6. Ang Lee – Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk 7. Derek Cianfrance – The Light Between Oceans […]

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 […]

The 88th Academy Awards offered up surprise after surprise

Wow. That’s about as appropriate a one word reaction to what happened last night as anything else. After a full year basically of predictions, guessing, analysis, and precursors, it all came down to waiting for Morgan Freeman to announce the Best Picture winner at the 88th Oscars. Recent events had made us initially think it would be The Big Short, then The Revenant, but go figure, it turned out to be the original frontrunner all along, Spotlight. The Academy saved their biggest shocker for last, but it was hardly the only one. Yes, it was a night filled with unexpected events, which thrills a prognosticator like myself. It’s easy to get bored, but you really couldn’t get bored with this one. It was one for the ages!
It was an Academy Award ceremony filled with surprises, that’s for sure. In addition to Spotlight upsetting The Revenant in Picture, we saw Mark Rylance upset Sylvester Stallone in Best Supporting Actor, Mad Max: Fury Road nearly sweep the technical categories, and Ex Machina pull off an absolute stunner in Best Visual Effects. Of course, there were coronations as well, including Leonardo DiCaprio finally getting his Oscar, winning Best Actor for The Revenant. That film also saw Alejandro G. Iñárritu expectedly take Best Director, while Brie Larson surprised no one with her Best Actress win for Room. Of the Best Picture nominees, only Brooklyn and The Martian went home empty handed, so the love was more or less spread out here as well. I only went 16/24 with my predictions this time around, but considering how it was almost impossible to ace these, along with my prediction of Spectre winning Best Original Song coming true, I can deal with that low total. Overall, it was a solid group of winners, but what will be spoken of for some time is how the show offered up surprises that not all of the pundits saw coming…

Here you go. These are the results of the 88th annual Oscars:
Best Picture
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Room”
“Spotlight” (WINNER)
Best Actor
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant” (WINNER)
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”
Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room” (WINNER)
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies” (WINNER)
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”
Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Rachel McAdams, […]

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:

BEST PICTURE
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
BEST DIRECTOR
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
BEST ACTOR
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
BEST ACTRESS
1. Brie Larson – Room
2. Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
3. Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
4. Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
5. Cate Blanchett – Carol
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
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
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
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
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. Spotlight
2. Straight Outta Compton
3. Inside Out
4. Ex Machina
5. Bridge of Spies
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
1. The Big Short
2. Room
3. The Martian
4. […]

“The Big Short” vs “The Revenant” vs “Spotlight” in the race for Best Picture

As we get down to the final days until the Academy Awards, it’s obviously still worth focusing in on a few of the races that might still be up in the air, concluding now with the biggest one. Yes, the competition for Best Picture. Depending on how generous you’re feeling at a given moment, this is a three horse race, obviously coming down to either The Big Short, The Revenant, or Spotlight. Below I’ll be discussing the candidacies of all three, as we try to nail down just what is going to happen with Picture on Sunday (yes, we can safely count out Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, and Room from actual contention). Join me now, why don’t you?
The case for The Big Short really centers on preferential balloting. That’s where Adam McKay’s film has a chance to pull the upset. The Producers Guild win shows that much, at least. PGA votes the way Oscar does, so fans of this one can hold out hope in that regard. It’s also a more traditional winner in a way, taking on the issues of our time. Is it a bit more of a comedy than usually wins? Sure, but so was Birdman last year, so it does happen. If you want to look out for a Picture win here, you have to see The Big Short win in Best Film Editing (I don’t think it benefits enough if Mad Max: Fury Road takes it). Anything short of that could be too little, too late. It has a chance, but it’s a small one, honestly. McKay, along with Charles Randolph, will win in Best Adapted Screenplay, so the film won’t go home empty handed.
The Revenant easily makes the strongest case for Picture, without question. It’s the frontrunner, that much is undeniable. The win from the Directors Guild sets Alejandro G Iñárritu up to win Best Director here, which is clearly a big boon. This one also has BAFTA as well as a Golden Globe in its pocket, making for a combination that is historically hard to beat. The one pause for this one as a lock to win is that it hasn’t won in a preferential balloting system, but I don’t know how much of a sway that will hold. We’ll see on Sunday, but if you’re just looking at the numbers, as it were, this is The […]

Updated Academy Award Predictions

Oh boy. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the second to last opportunity for me to figure out what might happen at the Oscars. All of the information is at our fingertips, so it’s just a matter of trying to read the tea leaves as best as possible. On the one hand, I feel like I know more or less what is going to happen at the Academy Awards telecast next Sunday, but on the other, I never trust having confidence this late in the game. A surprise or two is always possible, so that’s something to keep in mind. The odds favor just a solid run by The Revenant, including wins in the three biggest categories, but the film hasn’t quite locked it up yet.
Basically, we’re in a holding pattern here. As I’ll more explicitly say in a piece next week, there’s an argument that one can make in Best Picture for either The Big Short, The Revenant, or Spotlight. I think The Revenant is in the lead, with only a small chance for an upset by The Big Short, but it can happen. Other than that, what you’ll see below is more of the same, basically. A few movies might still have shots to pull ahead at the last minute in the technical categories (see my article yesterday for more on that), but don’t expect these predictions to be too different from my final ones a week from today…
Here now are those penultimate Oscar predictions:
BEST PICTURE
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
BEST DIRECTOR
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
BEST ACTOR
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
BEST ACTRESS
1. Brie Larson – Room
2. Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
3. Cate Blanchett – Carol
4. Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
5. Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
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
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
2. Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs
3. Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
4. Rooney Mara – Carol
5. Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. Spotlight
2. Inside Out
3. […]

Updated Oscar Predictions as BAFTA and the Writers Guild Awards near

If it’s Friday, it must be time for some new predictions. Yes, we’re nearing the finish line for the Academy Awards, with the ceremony only a few short weeks away. This is a pretty huge precursor weekend though, with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (or BAFTA) handing out their awards, along with the American Society of Cinematographers (or ASC), and the Writers Guild of America (or WGA). We can look to BAFTA for help in figuring out if The Revenant is going to more or less sweep the Oscars, while ASC will likely confirm the Best Cinematography category to be in its favor. As for the WGA, it’s probably going to be split between The Big Short and Spotlight. We could finally get some answers in the next few days, but we also might just wind up with more questions…
First up, take a look at my picks for the WGA awards:

Original
Prediction – Spotlight (Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer)
Alternate – Bridge of Spies (Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, and Joel Coen)
Dark Horse – Straight Outta Compton (Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus)
Shocker – Trainwreck (Amy Schumer)
Adapted
Prediction – The Big Short (Adam McKay and Charles Randolph)
Alternate – The Martian (Drew Goddard)
Dark Horse – Carol (Phyllis Nagy)
Shocker – Steve Jobs (Aaron Sorkin)
Documentary
Prediction – Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (Alex Gibney)

Also, this is my ASC pick:
Prediction – The Revenant (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Alternate – Carol (Ed Lachman)
Dark Horse – Mad Max: Fury Road (John Seale)
Shocker – Sicario (Roger Deakins)

As for BAFTA, that’s basically what could tip the Academy Awards to either The Big Short, The Revenant, or Spotlight. We have The Revenant peaking at the perfect time, so it’s easy to see this group citing it and essentially ending the race, though there’s still a definite shock for the other two contenders. Now that it appears like Mad Max: Fury Road is out of the running, it’s a three horse race that could very well go down to the wire with Oscar voters. I’m not giving BAFTA predictions today, for fear of being very wrong, but look to The Revenant as the frontrunner there. If it loses, anything goes…
Here now is my as of the moment current Oscar predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. The Revenant
2. The Big Short
3. Spotlight
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
5. The Martian
6. Bridge of Spies
7. Room
8. Brooklyn
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
2. Adam McKay – […]

The Biggest Oscar morning snubs this year

When the Academy Award nominations were announced last week, a number of satisfying citations were given out. By that same token, a bunch of glaring omissions occurred, as well. Big and small, down the line, Oscar missed out on opportunities to cite huge contenders, as well as rising stars. Obviously, with the #OscarsSoWhite situation, there’s been a lot of talk about a few specific snubs, and while those were definitely notable, they weren’t the only ones (though at least one is included below). Today I’m going to be looking at the biggest snubs, ones that we might have felt confident in predicting, right up until nomination morning. I’ve got ten listed, as you’ll see…
Here are the ten biggest Academy Award nomination snubs this year:
10. The Walk in Best Visual Effects – When a film is only competing in one category, that can be rough and potentially lead to be left out. That being said, when the centerpiece of the movie is so centered on an immersive bit of CGI, you’d think that voters would remember it? Alas, it was not to be for this one.
9. Ricki and the Flash in Best Original Song – Much like above, it was always going to be one and done here, especially since Meryl Streep never caught on. Here though, the song Cold One is as good, or better, than all of the actual nominees, with the added benefit of being placed perfectly into the flick. A real snub indeed.
8. Michael B. Jordan in Best Actor – Considering how thin the Best Actor race turned out to be, how beloved Creed was, and the wave that co-star Sylvester Stallone seems to be riding to a Best Supporting Actor win, it’s a real shame that Jordan didn’t get to join him. Of all the snubbed Actor nominees, he probably came the closest and really would have livened up the race with a nomination. His time will come soon enough, but still…this was a bummer.
7. Kristen Stewart in Best Supporting Actress – In a very real way, Stewart probably was a victim of category fraud…just not her own. Having Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander, great as they were, in Supporting Actress instead of going Lead closed off this race early. Had they not been there, Stewart had a definite chance for her critically awarded turn in Clouds of Sils Maria.
6. Idris Elba in Best Supporting […]

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