July 24, 2016
        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"                Aaron Eckhart has plum supporting roles in "Bleed for This" and "Sully"                "Cafe Society", "Captain Fantastic", and "Ghostbusters": Films to see in July        

Tag Archives: Rachel McAdams

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 […]

“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
Carol
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 – “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:
BEST PICTURE
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
BEST DIRECTOR
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:
BEST PICTURE
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
BEST DIRECTOR
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 […]

A first crack at Golden Globe predictions

Now that we’re well into the fall months and about to enter the tail end of the 2015 movie release season, I wanted to take my first crack at some Golden Globe predictions. I’ll be mixing these in with Oscar predictions going forward, but early Globe picks are always interesting to me, especially since sometimes you’re still guessing category placement and just what the tastes of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will look like at the time. They’re almost impossible to accurately guess off the bat the first time around, but that little factoid has yet to stop me from trying all the same. Here goes nothing!
What you’ll notice below is that things more or less reflect how I see the Academy Awards going, but with some slight changes. Obviously, the Comedy or Musical categories open things up to some other contenders, though we won’t know for a bit still how certain contenders will decide to compete. We know that Joy is likely to go Drama, but The Big Short and The Martian, for example, are two that could go the Comedy route. I have pretty much the same winners here as with Oscar, with the exception of Ridley Scott winning Best Director, on the potential strength of The Martian going Comedy and winning Best Picture in that area and getting Matt Damon that Best Actor win as well. The Drama category at the Globes still is where the Best Picture winner for Oscar likely will come from, with Spotlight and Steve Jobs facing off for now, though The Revenant is an X factor spoiler here. We’ll have more HFPA analysis coming soon, but these predictions should suffice for now…
Here you go folks, my initial look at how the Golden Globe awards could shape up:
Best Picture (Drama)
1. Spotlight
2. The Revenant
3. Steve Jobs
4. The Hateful Eight
5. Joy
If there’s a sixth: Brooklyn
Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)
1. The Martian
2. Trainwreck
3. The Big Short
4. Love & Mercy
5. Our Brand is Crisis
If there’s a sixth: Grandma
Best Actor (Drama)
1. Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
2. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
3. Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
4. Johnny Depp – Black Mass
5. Jake Gyllenhaal – Southpaw
If there’s a sixth: Tom Hanks – Bridge of Spies
Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)
1. Matt Damon – The Martian
2. Paul Dano – Love & Mercy
3. Bill Murray – Rock the Kasbah
4. John Cusack – Love & Mercy
5. Bill Hader – Trainwreck
If there’s a […]

“The Big Short”: An October Oscar predictions update

Happy Friday friends! It’s not only the end of the week, but the beginning of the month of October as well, so obviously it’s time for a new set of Academy Award predictions. It’ll be an interesting new set as well, considering the things that I’ve seen since last time. Honestly, with Miles Ahead debuting tomorrow at the New York Film Festival, the list of unseen titles is shrinking by the day. As such, there’s hopefully a bit of clarity in the race, while also suggesting which categories will be the stronger ones this year and which ones will be the weaker ones (in fact, look for a piece on that next week). Right now though, I’ll give you a quick preview and then dive right into these Oscar predictions!
The big things to keep in mind with this Academy Award nominations update is that I’ve seen Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Son of Saul, Steve Jobs, and more firsthand. That can help clarify things a bit. What’s most noticeable here this time around is that Spotlight and Steve Jobs seem like the frontrunners for the major non acting categories right now (Aaron Sorkin especially seems like he could have Best Adapted Screenplay in the bag). I’ve also dropped Bridge of Spies from most categories, just to see how that feels. The new addition of note here is The Big Short, obviously, which I think could be our late year surprise. A lot will depend on how things like The Hateful Eight, Joy, and The Revenant do, but assuming they’re up to snuff, the one unexpected hit could be The Big Short. We’ll see, but it’s something to keep in mind…
Here now is how I see the Oscar nominations going down, as of today:
BEST PICTURE
1. Spotlight
2. Steve Jobs
3. The Revenant
4. The Hateful Eight
5. Brooklyn
6. Room
7. The Martian
8. Joy
9. The Big Short
10. The Danish Girl
Next in line: 11. Carol 12. Bridge of Spies 13. Inside Out 14. The Light Between Oceans (possible 2016 release) 15. Son of Saul 16. Beasts of No Nation 17. Sicario 18. Miles Ahead (possible 2016 release) 19. Our Brand is Crisis 20. Truth 21. By the Sea 22. Macbeth 23. Suffragette 24. The Walk 25. In the Heart of the Sea 26. Trainwreck 27. Freeheld 28. The End of the Tour 29. Anomalisa 30. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
2. Danny Boyle – Steve […]

“Spotlight”: Another September look at Oscar predictions

My oh my how things can change! Just a few weeks ago, I put up Oscar predictions for September that I thought I was pretty confident in. Alas, nothing stays the same, so now I’m back with an updated look at what the Academy Award nominations could look like. I’m going to two a month from now on, with potentially one a week by the end of the season, but right now, it’s time to get serious. You’ll notice a bunch of changes in the predictions, mostly spurred on by having seen some of the contenders, a few of which are now pretenders, quite honestly. That’s the name of the game though, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to either you or me. On my end, I’m just still trying to get a feel for the race. What you’ll see today reflects a more realistic look at the field than before, so there’s that as well. It’ll get updated again next month, obviously, but for now…this is it.
The main thing to notice below is my new winner. Having seen Spotlight, which is a masterpiece, I honestly think it could go all the way. The film will be among the most beloved this year, has important subject matter, sharp direction by Tom McCarthy, and incredibly acting, especially from Michael Keaton as well as Mark Ruffalo, the latter giving the performance of the year so far. I could easily see it winning Best Picture, as it is undeniably the frontrunner at this point. You’ll also notice me backing off of Our Brand is Crisis completely and settling in on a new middle ground for The Martian, as well as placing The Big Short in the running for things in a bunch of categories. Things have been tinkered with all around, but there will be more done soon enough, so stay tuned…
Here now is how I see the Academy Award nominations going down, as of today:
BEST PICTURE
1. Spotlight
2. Bridge of Spies
3. Steve Jobs
4. The Revenant
5. Carol
6. The Hateful Eight
7. Brooklyn
8. The Martian
9. Room
10. Joy
Next in line: 11. The Danish Girl 12. The Light Between Oceans (possible 2016 release) 13. Inside Out 14. The Big Short 15. Truth 16. Beasts of No Nation 17. Sicario 18. Miles Ahead (possible 2016 release) 19. Our Brand is Crisis 20. The Walk 21. By the Sea 22. Macbeth 23. Suffragette 24. The End of the […]

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) […]

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