December 03, 2016

Tag Archives: ryan gosling

“La La Land” takes the Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival

Yesterday, the Toronto International Film Festival gave out its awards for 2016, with Damien Chazelle’s La La Land taking the top prize. That distinction, the People’s Choice prize, also known as the Audience Award, puts it into some very strong company (for those wondering, the first runner up was Lion, while the second runner up was Queen Of Katwe). The original musical, which stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, has been winning over viewers for a few weeks now, starting out at the Venice Film Festival, continuing at the Telluride Film Festival, and now charming everyone at Toronto. At this point, it was already considered the frontrunner in Best Picture, but now, one can say it with more distinction. Frankly, it’s hard not to consider this the one to beat right now.
In terms of this particular award and its history, this is a somewhat reliable indicator of prestige. La La Land now joins a group that has five prior Best Picture winners, along with a whole host of nominees since the prize was introduced in the late 1970’s. Just look here at the list of what has won since the Audience Award was originally instituted:
1978 – Girlfriends
1979 – Best Boy
1980 – Bad Timing
1981 – Chariots of Fire
1982 – Tempest
1983 – The Big Chill
1984 – Places in the Heart
1985 – The Official Story
1986 – The Decline of the American Empire
1987 – The Princess Bride
1988 – Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
1989 – Roger & Me
1990 – Cyrano de Bergerac
1991 – The Fisher King
1992 – Strictly Ballroom
1993 – The Snapper
1994 – Priest
1995 – Antonia
1996 – Shine
1997 – The Hanging Garden
1998 – Life Is Beautiful
1999 – American Beauty
2000 – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
2001 – Amélie
2002 – Whale Rider
2003 – Zatōichi
2004 – Hotel Rwanda
2005 – Tsotsi
2006 – Bella
2007 – Eastern Promises
2008 – Slumdog Millionaire
2009 – Precious
2010 – The King’s Speech
2011 – Where Do We Go Now?
2012 – Silver Linings Playbook
2013 – 12 Years a Slave
2014 – The Imitation Game
2015 – Room
2016 – La La Land

As you can see, getting the People’s Choice prize is a pretty big deal. Now, we don’t know if La La Land is going to follow in the footsteps of Chariots of Fire, American Beauty, Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, and 12 Years a Slave, going the distance to an Oscar win in Best Picture, but the odds are certainly not bad. The Academy Award is a ways […]

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone make us swoon as “La La Land” drops a luminous Teaser Trailer

If you saw my predictions late last week, you saw that I’m very high on La La Land, the upcoming modern musical from Damien Chazelle. This high concept romance is his follow up to the Oscar winning film Whiplash, so it’s clear that this movie has clear Academy Award hopes. Not only is it my perceived frontrunner right now, it’s just one of the 2016 releases to be most excited about this fall. A few days ago, a Teaser Trailer was released, and boy does it look absolutely delightful. You’ll see that Trailer below (and hear some of the original song City of Stars), but in the meantime, I want to whet your appetite a bit for La La Land…
The flick is, again, a musical, with original songs, capturing the old time Hollywood spirit but in a completely new story. It follows a jazz pianist in Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring actress in Mia (Emma Stone) as they fall in love. They come together in Los Angeles, with success and fame potentially getting in the way of their future. It’s not necessarily a plot that we’ve never seen before, but it’s a perfect fit for a romantic musical to tackle. Chazelle writes and directs, with the rest of the cast, in addition to Gosling and Stone, including Rosemarie DeWitt, John Legend, Josh Pence, J.K. Simmons, Finn Wittrock, and many more. Tom Cross, who won an Oscar for Whiplash, again edits, with Justin Hurwitz returning to do Chazelle’s music as well. Linus Sandgren handles the cinematography. It’s a team capable of doing something very special, that much is certain.

Gosling and Stone appear to have again recaptured the magic that they shared in both Crazy, Stupid, Love., as well as in Gangster Squad. Watching them sing, dance, and fall in love should be an absolute pleasure. I’m quite fond of them both on their own, so together, it’s just an added bonus. Likewise, Chazelle announced himself as a powerful filmmaker with Whiplash, so seeing him do something musical and yet completely different is quite exciting. We almost never get original musicals like this one, so there’s a chance that the Academy and its voters could fall head over heels in love with this one, making it a formidable opponent for all other contenders on the awards season junket.
Awards wise, this seems like a potential juggernaut. Look for a massive campaign to be […]

Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Actor contenders

Folks, as you all know so well from last year as well as my articles again so far this year, it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen six or so months from now, but it’s another thing entirely to actually know something about what will be in contention. To help out in that regard, I’m once again 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/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 take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket. It’s old hat to you by now, I’m sure, but hey…
Today I’m continuing with another of the bigger ones that’s out there for us…the Best Actor category.
Here are the ten particular gentlemen that I have in play for Best Actor, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point:
1. Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) – I might be out on a limb here with Affleck in Kenneth Lonergan’s drama, but Manchester by the Sea was so highly praised at the Sundance Film Festival, I just think he’ll be in major contention. He’s an underrated actor with a nomination already under his belt, so it could very well set up nicely for him to really contend for the win. At least at this moment, Affleck is ever so slightly in the pole position for me.
2. Ryan Gosling (La La Land or The Nice Guys) – Considering how I have La La Land as the big winner so far, Gosling is a strong number two, with designs on the top spot. The Trailer just hit today (I’ll write something up on it soon) for Damien Chazelle’s latest, and it’s stunning stuff. I have no doubt that Gosling will be in contention, so if this is as big a player as I think it is, he’s almost assured of being high up here. If he gets in, he definitely could win.
3. Michael Keaton (The Founder) – Early on, many had Keaton as […]

“The Nice Guys” is a phenomenal comedic showcase for Ryan Gosling

As a huge fan of Ryan Gosling and Shane Black’s underrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, I had a pretty good feeling that The Nice Guys was right up my alley. So, perhaps it wasn’t a shock that I loved this movie. Still, it was an absolute pleasure to watch Black again ace the buddy cop genre. As much fun as anything I’ve seen this year, it’s an absolute hoot. Opening this week after a successful debut at the Cannes Film Festival, it really should be a big hit, provided audiences are actually aware of its existence and subsequent quality. My fingers are crossed, but I’ll do my part here to sell you on it too. It’s one of 2016’s best to date.
The film is an action comedy film noir, if that makes sense. Set in the late 1970’s, it follows two private investigators who are brought together to look into the disappearance of a young lady that may be tied to the death of a porn actress. The private eyes couldn’t be more mismatched, but they do make a good team. Holland March (Gosling) is an alcoholic bumbler, but also an occasionally talented sleuth, someone holding it together for his daughter Holly (Angourie Rice). Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a straight laced enforcer, one we meet as he’s being paid to break Holland’s arm. Of course, as they bicker and investigate the case, things aren’t as they seem and a large scale conspiracy is revealed. Black directs and co-writes with Anthony Bagarozzi, while the supporting cast includes Kim Basinger, Matt Bomer, Keith David, Jack Kilmer, Beau Knapp, Margaret Qualley, and more.

I loved just about every aspect of The Nice Guys, so kudos to Black there, but in particular what I want to highlight is how I loved the physical comedy put forward by Gosling. He can do slapstick in a way that’s just an utter delight. Crowe is very good here too, but Gosling steals the show in a big way. Black knows how utilize actors, and just like he did in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, he gives Crowe and especially Gosling room to both play and shine. For my money, it’s one of the best performances of his career and a comedy highlight for an actor who really should do this thing more often.
Awards wise, I suspect we won’t really see too much attention paid to this one, but […]

Bruce Dern and Mark Ruffalo: Who’s most overdue for an Oscar now?

As you all know by now, plenty of folks in the industry can go a whole career without ever winning an Oscar. As such, that makes for a ton of heavyweights in Hollywood who are very overdue for wins. Much like I did last week with people who have never been nominated, I’m going to be citing today ten actors or actresses who have yet to win Oscars but deserve to already have one on their mantle. All of these previous nominees were in contention at some point this year, believe it or not, and many will hopefully be winners within the next few years. Keep in mind that this is just my humble opinion, but take a look below at who I think is most overdue a little gold man…

Here now are ten actors/actresses who are overdue for an Academy Award:
10. Carey Mulligan – It might surprise a lot of you to know that Mulligan only has one Oscar nomination, for her breakthrough performance in An Education. She seems like she’s been nominated more than that, right? Well, that hasn’t happened, and while Suffragette didn’t do it for her this year, it feels like many more nominations are in her future, and as such, a solid chance at a win. I’d be shocked if she doesn’t wind up with an Oscar one day.
9. Johnny Depp – For a bit, it seemed like Depp was going to finally win for his role this year in Black Mass. Mostly though, it served as a reminder that he’s out there and still without a victory. Depp has a pocket of supporters who always push him when he’s in an awards friendly vehicle, so while I might prefer his recent outings in Kevin Smith movies, he’s probably only one safe prestige project away from getting to that stage.
8. Ellen Page – Another talented actress with only one nomination, she potentially should have won for Juno, but since then has been shut out. Had Freeheld been more of a contender, I think Page not only would have gotten a Best Supporting Actress nomination, she’d have easily been the frontrunner. Her time is still to come, it seems, but never count her out…
7. Will Smith – Much like with Depp, but to a greater extent, it seemed at one point in 2015 like it was finally going to be Smith’s year. Concussion wound up getting […]

Hollywood Contenders – “The Big Short” continues to impress on the precursor circuit

About a month or so ago, The Big Short first started making the pre release rounds, building up buzz and goodwill. Then, critics were able to begin chiming in, speaking about how fond they were of Adam McKay’s film. Now, in the past few days, the precursors have supported the movie as well, in particular the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. In the case of the latter, the flick now has guild support. All this is to say that The Big Short is not going away and has impressed me as a late contender really managing to make its mark on the award season so far. With it opening in limited release today, now’s a perfect time to take another look at it.
One more time, a quick primer on what this is about. The film is an adaptation of the best selling Michael Lewis nonfiction book of the same name. It centers on the housing crisis and the chaos brought on by the banks in the mid to late 2000’s. Essentially, some tried to take advantage of the looming calamity, while some fought against it, seeing what was coming before anyone else did. We watch as those few outsiders in the industry with foresight like the characters played by Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling. They make their moves, all as the collapse gets closer and closer to happening. The aforementioned McKay directs and co-writes the adaptation of Lewis’ book with Charles Randolph, while the giant A-list cast includes, besides the previously mentioned Bale, Carell, and Gosling, the likes of Melissa Leo, Hamish Linklater, John Magaro, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, Marisa Tomei, Finn Wittrock, and quite a few more in addition to those already cited. Cinematography is by the great Barry Ackroyd as well. Lewis penned the non fiction books that became The Blind Side and Moneyball, so The Big Short already had a pedigree to it, that’s for sure. It’s just been interesting to see it take that ball and really run.

I’ve praised this movie already before, so what I mainly want to talk about now is the recent run of good luck on the precursor circuit that it’s had. SAG gave it two nominations on Wednesday (Best Supporting Actor for Bale and Best Ensemble, which is like a Best Picture nomination), while the Globes really dug it yesterday, heaping four nominations […]

Hollywood Contenders – “The Big Short” is trying to crash the Oscar party

Almost every year, we get a late breaking contender into the Oscar race that hopes to upend things and carve out a spot for itself across the board. Last year, that hopeful was American Sniper, and we all know how well that did (no sarcasm there, for once). This year, Paramount is hoping to copy the successful play of Warner Brothers and drop The Big Short into late Academy Award contention. Having seen the film last night, I can vouch for it potentially being able to make a dent in the Oscar lineup. It’s an angry, entertaining, and unique look at the financial collapse, with an A-list cast all doing strong work.

The film is an adaptation of the best selling Michael Lewis book of the same name. It’s about the housing crisis and the chaos brought on by the banks. Essentially, some tried to take advantage of the looming calamity, while some fought against it, seeing what was coming before anyone else did. We watch as those few with foresight like the characters played by Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling make their moves, all as the collapse gets closer and closer. Adam McKay directs and co-writes the adaptation of Lewis’ book with Charles Randolph, while the giant A-list cast includes, besides the aforementioned Bale, Carell, and Gosling, the likes of Melissa Leo, Hamish Linklater, John Magaro, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, Marisa Tomei, Finn Wittrock, and quite a few more in addition to those already mentioned. Cinematography is by the great Barry Ackroyd as well. Lewis penned the non fiction books that became The Blind Side and Moneyball, so The Big Short already has a pedigree to it, that’s for sure.
What really works here is how McKay not only gets such great work from his cast (Carell and Gosling are best in show, if you ask me, though everyone pulls their weight), but how he’s able to take so many complicated concepts and whittle them down to something we can all understand. It’s a complex film, but he does so many experimental things (like having characters break the fourth wall to tell us which scenes were real and which were fabricated, along with some other surprises I won’t spoil), leading to a flow that really works. It might be too focused and smart for others, but it’s also very funny at times, though you’ll possibly […]

Which categories will be the most competitive this year?

Of the many things that you can consider when thinking about the Oscar race, one that I like to ponder from time to time is which categories will be the most competitive. I hinted at this in another piece this week, but certain categories are shaping up to be stronger than other ones. That being said, instead of looking at strengths and weaknesses, I figured today I’d see which ones seem like they’ll be the most competitive. That opens things up to more combine quality and quantity, as it were. This is a wide open year in general, so it’s only fitting that so many categories seem to be that way as well…
Below are the half dozen most competitive categories, as it stands right now:
6. Best Actress – After a bit of a drought, we have a group of Actress contenders that we can be quite proud of. Of course, who will win is wide open, but it’s not a situation where there’s only six or seven legitimate contenders for a nod. Vying for a nom here are the likes of Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt, Blythe Danner, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, Carey Mulligan, Charlotte Rampling, Saorise Ronan, Maggie Smith, Lily Tomlin, and more. That’s ten right there. Nothing to sneeze at, right? It’s a tight race, and one that’s certainly among the most competitive that the Academy will have to offer us this year.
5. Best Visual Effects – Here’s a category that will really be an embarrassment of riches. Basically, there’s a bunch of different styles on display that voters will have to choose from. Contenders like Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, In the Heart of the Sea, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Walk, and more will be up for a nomination. Usually, this category has one or two frontrunners and then some also rans, but that’s not the case this year. I can see it going any number of different ways, and that’s a delight.
4. Best Supporting Actor – As jam packed as any category this year, Supporting Actor could be a photo finish. Among the large number of contenders, there are the likes of Paul Dano, Benicio del Toro, Bruce Dern, Joel Edgerton, Idris Elba, Sam Elliot, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy, Michael Keaton, Harvey Keitel, Seth Rogen, Mark Ruffalo, Kurt Russell, Mark Rylance, and Jason Segel. That’s […]

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 – […]

Hollywood Film Awards Officially Launched the Awards Season with Star-Studded Evening

“The 19th Annual Hollywood Film Awards” brought together Hollywood’s elite to honor performances from this year’s most talked about and highly anticipated films. The awards ceremony took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and was hosted by critically and globally acclaimed actor, comedian and late-night talk show host James Corden. The Hollywood Film Awards, the official launch of the awards season®, has recognized excellence in the art of cinema and filmmaking for 18 years, honoring some of the world’s biggest stars. More than one hundred honorees have gone on to garner Oscar® nominations and wins.

Alicia Vikander graciously accepted the “Hollywood Breakout Actress” award from Armie Hammer, who noted that she’s been in a remarkable seven films this year. Amy Poehler borrowed reading glasses from Pete Doctor’s wife to present him with the “Hollywood Animation Award.” Ryan Gosling set the record straight on how to pronounce Saoirse Ronan’s name, while singing her praises. Jane Fonda received a standing ovation after stepping onstage to accept the “Supporting Actress Award” for her work in Youth. Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez accepted the “Hollywood Blockbuster Award” for Furious 7 along with Vin Diesel, who gave an emotional speech about the cast, as well as the impact of losing a member of that family too soon. Carey Mulligan spoke passionately about women’s rights while accepting the “Hollywood Actress Award” for her work in Suffragette. Amy Schumer drew big laughs while accepting the “Hollywood Comedy Award” from an excited Selena Gomez.

Vin Diesel took the stage again to introduce a powerful performance of “See You Again” by “Hollywood Song Award” winners Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth. Will Smith accepted the “Hollywood Actor Award” for Concussion from Jamie Foxx, and spoke passionately about wanting to honor the truth of the film while also being a football dad, and the role that played in his work. Robert De Niro received a standing ovation after a reel honoring his work was played. He noted that while this event typically marks the start of awards season, for him this award season started forty years ago.

This year’s award show honored the following:
“Hollywood Career Achievement Award”
Robert De Niro, presented by David O. Russell
“Hollywood Producer Award”
Ridley Scott for The Martian, presented by Russell Crowe
“Hollywood Director Award”
Tom Hooper for The Danish Girl, presented by Amber Heard
“Hollywood Actor Award”
Will Smith for Concussion, presented by Jamie Foxx
“Hollywood Actress Award”
Carey Mulligan for Suffragette, presented […]

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