September 17, 2015
        "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette                “Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September                Will Smith crusades for Best Actor in the "Concussion" Trailer        

Tag Archives: Rachel McAdams

Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race

We always knew that the beginning of the fall festival season would launch a number of titles into the early Oscar race, but perhaps not to this level so far. Yes, over at the Telluride Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival, almost all of the high profile debuts have been fondly received, giving them momentum going into the awards season. We still have the New York Film Festival later this month to add more potential contenders, but already Telluride and Venice have been a near embarrassment of riches. Even just a quick glance at the early response could make this a crowded precursor season once again.

We’ll start with Venice, which begun first and had the high profile premiere of Everest to kick things off. That disaster epic debuted to mostly solid reviews, though outside of the technical fields I have my doubts that this will contend heavily. Time will tell, but it could techs or bust for Baltasar Kormákur’s movie, which stars an ensemble that includes Jake Gyllenhaal. There was also the bow for Beasts of No Nation, which was incredibly well received, with tons of good work for filmmaker Cary Fukunaga as well as for actors Idris Elba and first timer Abraham Attah. The question here will be distributor Netflix can run a strong awards campaign or not. They’ve had mixed success with their television contenders at the Emmys, so their first film shot could be a tough go. It certainly bears watching though, as the quality is apparently very much there.

The big three over in Italy that have generated the most buzz though seems to be the trio of Black Mass, The Danish Girl, and Spotlight. Each seems to be a player, to one degree or another. Black Mass has gotten mostly solid initial reviews, though most of the time it’s been in praise of Johnny Depp’s performance more than anything else. Depp will be a force to be reckoned with in Best Actor, though the film and perhaps a supporting performance or two (Joel Edgerton, for one) could come along for the ride. Scott Cooper’s flick might not be in a prime spot for Best Picture, but it’s definitely going to hang around. The same can be said of The Danish Girl, which is Tom Hooper’s latest Academy player. Pundits have raved about the performances of Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, so this could potentially be […]

Rooney Mara: Looking at potential Best Supporting Actress contenders

As you fine ladies and gentlemen must all know by now (since I’ve pretty much hammered it into your heads), it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions in order to see what folks like myself think will happen this winter, but it’s a whole separate thing to actually know something about who and what will be in contention. To help out in that particular regard, I’m continuing my yearly ritual of 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 or 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 potentially take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket.
Today I’m continuing on with another of the big acting categories…you guessed it, it’s Best Supporting Actress time.
Here are the ten particular women that I have currently in play for Best Supporting Actress, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:
1. Rooney Mara (Carol) *Could go Lead – I wrote a bit about Mara earlier this week when I got into the awards possibilities for Carol, but Mara is sitting in the lead here due to her Cannes Actress win. She could easily go Lead, but I have a feeling she’ll wind up going Supporting so Cate Blanchett can contend in Lead. The silver lining? That will easily make her the early odds on favorite here, at least in my book. A lot can and will change, but right now, I have her in the pole position.
2. Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) – I’ve spent some time writing about the gentlemen of Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming flick, but what about the notable lady of the cast? Just like Bruce Dern and Kurt Russell seem like they’ll be in play for The Hateful Eight, so too will be Leigh, so is the favorite here to some. I obviously have her as the main runner up, but it’s hard not to see her as a likely nominee at this point. Especially with the potentially light competition, she might have a surprisingly easy time scoring her first ever nomination.
3. Ellen Page (Freeheld) […]

“True Detective” wraps up a compelling yet divisive second season

After the almost masterpiece that was the first season of True Detective, it seemed almost inevitable that this new season would be met with a more mixed response. That being said, I’m sure creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto wasn’t expecting Season Two to be nearly as divisive as it was. Having just wrapped up last night, I certainly enjoyed it quite a bit, but like most also recognize that Season One was a bit of an anomaly with how amazing it was. You were never going to beat Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson at the top of their game, backed by Cary Fukunaga directing all six episodes like one long movie. Still, for many this second time around left a lot to be desired. Not me though…
Much like last season, True Detective centered around a murder mystery but really was more concerned with the personal and professional lives of those investigating the crime. This time around, instead of a pair of detectives, there were three law enforcement agents, along with a criminal. There was the damaged Detective Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), the secretive Officer Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch), and the slightly corrupt Detective Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell), who lost his moral compass when falling into the debt of Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) in the effort to avenge a crime against his former wife. Frank leans on Ray, but also worries about him, making for less of a villain than just another morally complex individual. They all come together while trying to figure out who killed a city official in a small California town. Frank has had money stolen from him by the now dead man, while the other three come across the body. What follows is again a sometimes poetic and sometimes frustrating descent into moral confusion and despair. Last season was nearly perfect, this one is more of a peaks and valleys type of situation. All the same, it was still must see television.
While certain things continued on from the first season of True Detective (like Pizzolatto undeserving his supporting female characters…Michelle Monaghan last time and Kelly Reilly this time), the big difference in quality here was the direction. Pizzolatto’s hard boiled writing just worked better when mixed with Fukunaga’s singular vision. He created a six hour movie with Harrelson and McConaughey. This time around, that doesn’t feel like the case, as a number of directors took turns with […]

Jake Gyllenhaal fights for Oscar attention in “Southpaw”

Over the last week or so, Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance in Southpaw just became his main shot at Oscar attention. Part of that has to do with people seeing his film, which opens on Friday, but most of it has to do with one of his other 2015 releases being pushed back. That one is the drama Demolition, so this boxing flick is his primary chance, unless Everest becomes a big player. As for the movie itself, it’s a solid sports drama, mainly elevated by Gyllenhaal, who delivers yet another outstanding performance. At this point, he might just be the most consistent and interesting actor in Hollywood.
Southpaw is a boxing drama about Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) a champion who has fought his way to the top and has it all. A loving wife (Rachel McAdams), a cute daughter (Oona Laurence), millions, and a championship belt, to boot. Then, tragedy strikes and absolutely everything that he knows comes crashing down. An orphan as a child, he grew up with nothing and is headed that way again, until he’s aided by a trainer (Forest Whitaker) who can see the heart within Billy. Antoine Fuqua directs, Kurt Sutter penned the screenplay, and the supporting cast includes Curtis Jackson (better known as 50 Cent), Naomie Harris, Victor Ortiz, Miguel Gomez, Rita Ora, and more. Sure, the plot is generic, but Gyllenhaal more than makes it work.
Gyllenhaal is really strong here. Not only is this a tremendous physical transformation, but he completely changes his acting style. Sure, he’s as immersive as ever, but he’s strong delivery of language and charisma is exchange for a brooding physicality. He’s playing a reformed punk, and boy does he play it well. You believe him as a boxer, fully. The rest of the cast is solid enough, with McAdams especially leaving a bit of a mark in her supporting role, but Gyllenhaal is the one you really leave Southpaw buzzing about. Without him, I do think it wouldn’t have worked as well. Originally it was supposed to star Eminem, and oh man would there have been a difference.
Awards wise, this is probably Best Actor or bust for Gyllenhaal. I mean, in some version of the upcoming precursor season, it’s possible that Best Picture becomes a possibility, but outside of Best Supporting Actress (for McAdams), the only other thing worth mentioning here is Best Original Song. The aforementioned Eminem contributed songs, and […]

Cameron Crowe returns to the big screen with “Aloha”

One of my favorite filmmakers out there is Cameron Crowe, bar none. He’s responsible for some of the most enjoyable and memorable cinema of the past few decades, so whenever a new film of his arrives, it’s something that I look forward to in a big way. As such, this week’s release of Aloha is one that’s been on my movie calendar for a while now. The director is returning to a project that he’d originally intended to be his follow up to Elizabethtown (a film that I unabashedly love, even if I’m in the minority), so it’s clear it means something to him. When I see it later tonight (we’re embargoed on discussing it until later in the week, by the by), hopefully that passion is reflected.
The film (once called Deep Tiki and rumored to star Ben Stiller and Reese Witherspoon before being shelved for a while and re-emerging from Crowe’s mind as Aloha) is a Hawaii set romantic dramedy, sure to be filled with memorable music. It centers around a military contractor (played by Bradley Cooper) who returns to the Hawaiian location of one of his greatest career triumphs. While there, he re-connects with a long-ago love (played by Rachel McAdams) while unexpectedly falling in love with the Air Force watchdog (played by Emma Stone) who is assigned to him be with him at all times. Crowe obviously writes and directs, while the cast, aside from Cooper, McAdams, and Stone, features Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Elizabeth Marvel, and many more.
Throughout Crowe’s career, he’s had a great sense of music, relationships, and just filmmaking on the whole that makes you want to stand up and cheer. If any of that is once again in evidence here, it’ll make for a very entertaining film. Even if this is one of his lesser features, like the still enjoyable We Bought a Zoo, for example, it’ll still be something likely worth seeing. Factor in how great of a run Cooper is on of late, and that only makes this something more interesting. When Crowe is at his best, we get all time classics like Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire, so even if he’s not on that level, expectations should still be high.
Yes, the trailers so far have made this feel a bit on the generic side, but sometimes that actually winds up working in a movie’s favor. Without […]

Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone in ALOHA

In Aloha, a celebrated military contractor (Bradley Cooper) returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs – the US Space program in Honolulu, Hawaii – and reconnects with a long-ago love (Rachel McAdams) while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watchdog (Emma Stone) assigned to him.
From Academy Award®-winner Cameron Crowe, the writer-director behind such films as Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous, Aloha also stars Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, and Alec Baldwin.

Oscar Predictions for the month of May, 2015

Almost five full months into the 2015 movie season and I’m happy to report that we know zilch about the Oscar race. Why happy? Well, it means there’s plenty of fun guesswork to be done, and I’m all about that. The Cannes Film Festival has gotten underway and that can be used for a hint or two, but right now, it’s only eliminated one film (The Sea of Trees, which seems to be out of it entirely, outside of perhaps Matthew McConaughey) and made another a question mark (Woody Allen’s Irrational Man), with some other contenders like Carol still to screen. As such, your guess is as good as mine, which is part of the early year fun, at least in my book.
The one thing of note that I want to make mention of for this latest Oscar prediction update is that I expanded the fields a bit. The Best Picture lineup I’ve bumped up to 30, actually, with 15 for the other seven remaining categories that make up the “Big Eight”. As a bonus, I even went with ten for Best Animated Feature, just to have things as open as possible, which is what things are like right now, no question about it. My winners are still largely the same, including Steven Spielberg and his film Bridge of Spies, while something like Brooklyn or Carol is making its way up my rankings, slowly but surely. It’ll be a few months still until we have some semblance of an idea about the Oscar race, but right now, it’s a ton of fun to speculate…

Here now are my newest set of Academy Award predictions:
1. Bridge of Spies
2. Our Brand is Crisis
3. Carol
4. The Light Between Oceans
5. Joy
6. The Martian
7. The Hateful Eight
8. Steve Jobs
9. The Revenant
10. Brooklyn
Next in line: 11. The End of the Tour 12. Ricki and the Flash 13. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 14. Lion 15. MacBeth 16. Black Mass 17. By the Sea 18. Demolition 19. Freehold 20. Trainwreck 21. The Danish Girl 22. The Walk 23. Southpaw 24. In the Heart of the Sea 25. Star Wars: The Force Awakens 26. Bleed for This 27. Sicario 28. Irrational Man 29. Suffragette 30. Ex Machina
1. Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies
2. David Gordon Green – Our Brand is Crisis
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Todd Haynes – Carol
5. Derek Cianfrance – The […]

“Trainwreck”: Ten Original Summer Movies to look forward to

As you all know by now, the summer movie season is getting longer and longer each and every single year. At the same time, the films being released are getting less and less original as well. It’s not necessarily a knock on quality, but everything seems to be a prequel or a reboot or a sequel, leaving very little room for originality. Sure, there’s original takes on things, but original ideas themselves appear to be in short supply. As such, I wanted to highlight some of the 2015 summer releases that seem to buck this trend. There’s a handful of titles that aren’t based on existing material, and that’s delightful to me.
Below you’ll find a list of ten flicks hitting theaters between the beginning of May and the end of August that aren’t comic book adaptations or anything even close to that. I might do a separate list of films like that next week, as the summer movie season basically officially kicks off, but for now, I’m going with this list. They tend to be mainstream outings, though there’s one or two small indies thrown in there to mix it up, for good measure, of course. Take a gander and use this as a way to plan out a well round couple of months of going to the cinema…
In alphabetical order, here are ten original concept movies to look forward to this summer:
Aloha – As a huge Cameron Crowe fan, I’m certainly eager to see his latest romantic comedy that’s sure to have a great soundtrack. Bradley Cooper stars alongside Emma Stone, with Rachel McAdams and Bill Murray among the top notch supporting cast. Crowe hasn’t been the king of the rom-com in a while, so perhaps this will be his return to wide level acclaim? We’ll find out at the very end of May.
Digging for Fire – Indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg always makes original films, but they rare show up on summer movie lists. This year, however, he continues his trend of working with bigger actors on slightly more mainstream a scale. He’s finally being noticed, so another teaming with Jake Johnson could continue that upswing. I believe this one comes out in August.
Inside Out – Pixar goes back to their non-sequel roots with this look inside the mind of a young girl, particularly at her emotions and how they control/interact with her. It has a spot at the […]

Oscars: Shaping up for Terrence Malick?

That’s how I feel about this Oscar race.  I feel I see something that no one else does.  I’ve been doing this a long time but I’ve never had the overwhelming feeling like I just figured out the Oscar race in August.  I was sitting down to do my Oscar predictions like any other month.  Making some switches, moving some contenders, and cleaning out films and performances that we thought would be coming out but still have no release date.
I stared at a few names and had an epiphany.  It was as if I was Russell Crowe inA Beautiful Mind, and the code all came off the page and circled my head in an Oscar sensation.  On August 25, 2012 I’ve chosen to make my first ballsy prediction of the year.  Terrence Malick and his film, To the Wonder wins Best Director and Best Picture at the Oscars 2013.  How did I come to this conclusion you ask?  I will discuss this in more detail on this week’s Power Hour which premieres on Monday but I’ll attempt to give you the best break down possible in the following thoughts beginning with the Director field:
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Terence Malick’s “To the Wonder” revealed!

By Joey Magidson With the big announcement yesterday of the titles that will be debuting/playing at the Toronto Film Festival, the first Plot Synopsis for Terrence Malick’s new film “To the Wonder” was revealed.
The film stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Olga Kurylenko, and Javier Bardem, and seems to be Malick’s most overt relationship drama in some time, though there are still rumblings that it’s also his most experimental one as well (which would actually be saying something). After the jump you can see the short summary of the picture, and it sets things up very nicely. I may not have been big on ‘The Tree of Life’ last year, but I recognize his talent, and this one has my attention in a big way. You can find the synopsis below.
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