April 23, 2014

Tag Archives: scarlett johansson

Robin Wright: Who’s overdue for their first Academy Award nomination?

Much like I wrote about the actors, actresses, and filmmakers in Hollywood who are overdue to win an Oscar a few weeks ago, there are tons in the industry who are way overdue merely for their first nomination by the Academy. Some of them have gotten close in the past, while others have yet to really sniff that sort of acclaim. They’re both newcomers to the business and old hands, with plenty of in between as well. In my eyes, there are some really overdue ones in particular, and I figured I’d cite some of them here in this article. Narrowing it down to just ten is really difficult, but I wanted to mix and match between different members of the industry and attempt to include some who will have 2014 releases in contention, as you’ll see momentarily…
Below you’ll find ten members of the industry who have yet to receive an Oscar nomination, but who I think are closing in on one, perhaps even within the next year. Take a look:
10. Channing Tatum – I know his name raises some eyebrows, and up until recently I wasn’t his biggest fan, but he’s going to have a big Oscar contender in Foxcatcher this year, so while Steve Carell (who we’ll be talking about shortly) and Mark Ruffalo as more likely nominees, it’s hardly out of the question for Tatum to make it in. In fact, if he’s a standout, it’ll be one of those more youth skewing nominations that the Academy sometimes likes to sneak in.
9. Joseph Gordon-Levitt – I’ve long been saying that Gordon-Levitt is overdue for a nomination, despite his relative youth. His writing and directing debut Don Jon only showed off more of his talents, so while he couldn’t make it in for something like (500) Days of Summer, the next few years should most likely result in him joining the Academy as a nominee. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t nominated by the end of the decade.
8. Kevin Smith – While Smith is probably past the point of making things that will appeal to Oscar voters, that doesn’t make him any less overdue in my eyes. I’ll be talking about him in a Spotlight on the Stars piece soon, but his best chance was probably for the Chasing Amy screenplay. A few years ago he made a great film that nobody saw called Red State too, so [...]

The Best of the First Quarter of 2014

Believe it or not, we’re now three full months into the 2014 movie calendar, which means we’re a quarter of the way through. That got me thinking about what the best of the bunch so far this year has been. Since now is the time when the film slate begins to transition into summer flicks and counter programming independent fare, I thought it was the perfect time to praise the best of 2014 so far. Basically, anything that hit screens between January 1st and March 31st will be up for grabs here for my personal honors. There are some April and May releases that are wonderful too and would have otherwise cracked my top ten to date, but I’m excluding them here since they’re not first quarter releases.
Below you’ll find my top ten of the year so far, along with my awards for the the first quarter of 2014. Here you go:
10. Bad Words – Jason Bateman’s directorial debut is one of the funnier movies of the year so far. Hardly a masterpiece, but thoroughly enjoyable, it shows that he has a future as a comedic filmmaker. Crude and intentionally lowbrow at times, this is still a very fun flick.
9. Like Father, Like Son – A fascinating look at Japanese fatherhood, this was at one time considered a potential Best Foreign Language Feature contender at the Oscars last year. That never came to pass, but this is still one of the better things to hit theaters this year.
8. Noah – I’ve yet to dislike a Darren Aronofsky flick, and this alternate take on the biblical story continues that perfect record for him. Incredibly ambitious and visionary, the good far outweighs the bad here. Though far from perfect, it’s the first must see epic of 2014 in my mind and a great conversation starter as well.
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel – I’m not usually a big Wes Anderson fan, but something about this latest film of his really clicked for me and I fully embrace it. Ralph Fiennes is really terrific here, while the scope of the work really managed to catch my eye and appreciation. His quirkiness finally found a proper outlet, at least according to my tastes.
6. Breathe In – Drake Doremus is one of the more interesting young filmmakers in the business, and he continues to show why with this domestic drama. With a strong visual palate and [...]

Oscars®: Under the Skin – Scarlett Johansson – What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: Jonathan Glazer
Written by: Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer, based on the novel by Michael Faber
Main Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Paul Brannigan, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, and others
Past Oscar relations: None, though Scarlett Johansson has received four Golden Globe nominations and twice came very close to Academy Award nominations
Here now is the newest article in this series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention. Next up today is Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, which hopes to be the sort of heady indie contender that voters every so often can fall under the spell of. Glazer’s acclaimed Sexy Beast wasn’t able to attract enough votes, but can this one do better? Armed with an amazing performance by Scarlett Johansson and some incredible visuals/sound design, Glazer has a magnificent movie, though one that could prove to be a hard sell.
What this flick really has going in its favor is Johansson’s acting and Glazer’s ambition. She’s absolutely phenomenal here, possibly even giving the best performance of her career. It’s a brilliant turn by the talented actress, showing a brand new side to her. Glazer coaxed this out of her and it really turns heads. The film is presented in such a way that Johansson is front and center the whole time, so her success is very much the movie’s as well. She blew me away, quite frankly. In a fair world, she’d be a lock for a Best Actress nomination.
Working against Under the Skin is that the movie is very challenging and will leave some scratching their heads. Nothing is spelled out for you and a lot of the film is presented in a rather obtuse way. At times, it even comes close to pretentiousness, though it never reaches that point. Still, when you make voters work for it, sometimes they opt to just move on to something easier, and I expect that to be the case here with this one. It’s a shame too, since Johansson deserves to win an Oscar for this, but even a nomination will be hard to come by.
So, can this one be a player at all? Simply put, the odds are against it, though the independent precursors will likely love it. Basically, I’d be pretty surprised if it held on until the end of awards season in any substantial way, but stranger things have certainly happened. The flick will really have an uphill battle, but Under [...]

Spotlight on the Stars: Scarlett Johansson

After last week’s look at Jennifer Lawrence, I think this is now going to become another weekly series for me, tentatively called “Spotlight on the Stars”. Each week, I’ll look at an actor/actress/filmmaker that I’d like to celebrate in some way. It could be due to something of theirs coming out that weekend or just because I feel they deserve a moment in the sun, but each time it’ll be a bit of positivity about someone who I’d like to pay tribute to.
For this week’s piece (which is technically the second one in the series, though I didn’t have a snappy name for the inaugural Lawrence one), I wanted to take a look at Scarlett Johansson. To some, she’s merely a pretty face, but when I look at her, not only do I see a beautiful woman, I also see a criminally underrated actress. From her early days as a child star of sorts to this very weekend when she has a wonderfully complex leading role in an independent film called Under the Skin coming out, Johansson has way more to offer than some realize. Folks also don’t always catch on to why she’s chosen some of the projects that she has, but one look at the filmmakers that she’s acted for will give you some clue as to her decisions.
Johansson has worked with directors like Woody Allen, Sofia Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Brian De Palma, Jon Favreau, Spike Jonze, Christopher Nolan, and Joss Whedon. You can argue that one or two of the movies she did with these auteurs aren’t particularly great, but she’s certainly got an eye for working with talented people. That’s usually the mark of a strong actress with a good head on her shoulders. No one makes perfect decisions all the time, but even when the project might be misguided, usually there’s an A-list director that’s been a part of the decision to sign on.
Just as an actress, she’s got more range than a lot of people give her credit for. Compare her performances in Her, Lost in Translation, Match Point, and now with Under the Skin, and it’s as if there’s a different actress on display each time. Those four Golden Globe nominations didn’t happen by accident, even if sadly it never translated into an Oscar nod. The Academy in particular missed the boat on a nom for either Lost in Translation or Match [...]

Oscars: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “Her”

“Her”
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Written by: Spike Jonze
Main cast members: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Chris Pratt, Rooney Mara, and Portia Doubleday
Number of Oscar nominations in total: 5
Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Original Screenplay (Jonze), Best Production Design, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song
Notable precursor wins: Won Best Original Screenplay at the Writers Guild of America Awards, Won Best Screenplay at the Golden Globe Awards, and Won Best Film/Best Director from the National Board of Review
Chances at winning Best Picture: It’d be an absolute shock if it managed to win Best Picture, so it’s slim to none here
Chances at other Academy Award wins: It’s the frontrunner for Best Original Screenplay, while it’s not impossible for any of its tech nominations to turn into upset wins.
ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and HER.
Her is the six film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s another nominee that has to consider the nomination itself to be the real reward, at least in this category. That being said, the nod (along with all of its noms overall) is really something to admire. Such a singular and unique movie being nominated for more than a token Oscar or two is a nice change of pace for the Academy. Especially considering that it scored not just a Best Picture citation but a Best Original Screenplay as well, there are voters here who are very fond of this film, and that pleases me to no end. Regardless of anything else, it’s nothing like any other nominee this year, or really in history I’d argue, so kudos to Spike Jonze and company for such fine work. He may not be a serious Best Picture contender, but Jonze is likely to win the Original Screenplay Oscar, so the flick isn’t too likely to go home empty handed regardless.
Working in Her’s favor is just how different and romantic it is. The film has connected with so many people, arguably in a way that no other nominee has been able to do. Members of the Academy were taken by this movie in more than one way, honoring not just the film itself and it’s writing, but the production design and musical components as well. Multiple tech nominations are a sure sign of widespread support. Without it, you have no chance at [...]

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” will come out in 2014

Following in the footsteps of the record-breaking Marvel Studios’ release, “Marvel’s The Avengers,” production on the highly anticipated release, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” has commenced in Los Angeles, Calif., with production also including locations in Cleveland, Ohio, and Washington D.C. Directing the film is the team of Anthony and Joe Russo (“Welcome to Collinwood”) from a screenplay written by Christopher Markus (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) & Stephen McFeely (“Captain America: The First Avenger”). Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” returns Chris Evans (“Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Marvel’s The Avengers”) as the iconic Super Hero character Steve Rogers/Captain America, along with Scarlett Johansson (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Iron Man 2”) as Black Widow and Samuel L. Jackson (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Iron Man 2”) as Nick Fury. In addition, film icon Robert Redford has joined the all-star cast as Agent Alexander Pierce, a senior leader within the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is set for release in the U.S. on April 4, 2014.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” will pick-up where “Marvel’s The Avengers” left off, as Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and teams up with Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, to battle a powerful yet shadowy enemy in present-day Washington, D.C.
Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1941, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” features an outstanding supporting cast that includes Sebastian Stan (“Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Black Swan”) as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker,” “Million Dollar Baby”) as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Cobie Smulders (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” “How I Met Your Mother”) as Agent Maria Hill, Frank Grillo (“Zero Dark Thirty”) as Brock Rumlow and Georges St-Pierre (“Death Warrior”) as Georges Batroc. Rounding out the talented cast are Hayley Atwell (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) as Peggy Carter, Toby Jones (“Captain America: The First Avenger,” “The Hunger Games”) as Arnim Zola, Emily VanCamp (“The Ring 2,” “Revenge”) as Agent 13 and Maximiliano Hernández (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Thor”) as Agent Jasper Sitwell.
Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is producing the film. Executive producers on the project include Alan Fine, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo and Stan Lee. The creative production team on the film includes director of photography Trent Opaloch (“Elysium,” “District 9”), production designer Peter Wenham (“21 Jump Street,” “Fast Five”), editors Jeffrey Ford, A.C.E. and Mary Jo Markey, A.C.E. (“Star [...]

Scarlett Johansson reportedly single once again

HollywoodNews.com: While her ex-husband Ryan Reynolds is now happily married to Blake Lively, it seems that Scarlett Johansson is finding herself single once again.
It is rumored that things have come to an end for Johansson and ad executive Nate Naylor, states RadarOnline. The two were first linked to each other back in February and were spotted on vacation and out and about in New York City since then.
Details about why they allegedly split are unclear at this time. But it seems unlikely that Johansson will stay single for long.
Who do you think she should date?
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Scarlett Johansson headed to Broadway in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’

HollywoodNews.com: Scarlett Johansson is apparently heading back to Broadway soon as she will reportedly be in the revival of Tennessee Williams’ ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.’
Johansson will reportedly take part in the show that will start performances in January 2013, states UsMagazine.com. The actress will reportedly star as Maggie opposite ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ star Benjamin Walker who will play Brick Pollitt.
Johansson has previously been on Broadway in Arthur Miller’s ‘A View From a Bridge.’
‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ is expected to open on January 17th.
Do you like the casting?
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Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds reportedly marry in South Carolina

HollywoodNews.com: Although there was no news of an engagement, it looks like Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have been waiting to take the next step in their relationship.
It is being reported that Lively and Reynolds wed this weekend in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, states UsMagazine.com. The two allegedly wed in a private ceremony where her mother and favorite shoe designer, Christian Louboutin, were spotted.
Lively and Reynolds have reportedly been visiting the area in the last year which allegedly had some wondering what they could be doing there.
Few details about the rumored event are out at this time, but it is reported that Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine performed at the reception, states TooFab.
While the rumored wedding does seem to be a surprise, it isn’t all that shocking considering they have already purchased a house in Westchester County, New York.
Their reps have not yet confirmed the news.
Reynolds has been married once before to Scarlett Johansson while this is the first marriage for Lively although she has previously dated Leonardo DiCaprio and her ‘Gossip Girl’ costar Penn Badgley.
Do you like them as a couple?
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Scarlett Johansson, Jared Leto romance rumors shot down

HollywoodNews.com: Scarlett Johansson was spotted holding hands with one-time rumored love Jared Leto while at the Democratic National Convention, but it seems there is nothing behind it.
While the two were allegedly holding hands, laughing and leaning on each other, her rep is denying romance rumors, states E! News. “Scarlett is still dating Nate [Naylor]. This is very innocent. Scarlett and Jared have remained friends, nothing more, nothing less,” Johansson’s rep commented.
Johansson was there to speak at the convention. The two also reportedly hung out with other stars like Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde, Zach Braff, Don Cheadle and Elizabeth Banks.
Who do you think she should be with?
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