July 11, 2015

Tag Archives: Stephen Daldry

Re-ranking the contenders in Best Director

As I mentioned last week, with the festival season well underway and a good portion of the major contenders for the Academy Awards having screened or about to screen, now seems like as good a time as any to take a look at the big eight categories and see what’s what in an updated and more expanded fashion. I did this with the major categories a few months back, but that was when almost everything was still speculation. We have some facts to go on now, so while much of this is still just an educated guess, I’m not completely relying on overt hunches this time around. It’s more of an even mix, depending on the film/director in question, of course. Today I’m turning my attention once again to the Best Director field, which will certainly match up somewhat with Best Picture, but perhaps not necessarily in a total form. Read on to see what I mean…
Here are the ten filmmakers that I have in play for Best Director currently, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point and time:
1. David Fincher (Gone Girl) – Considering I have Gone Girl winning Best Picture right now, it makes sense that I have Fincher winning Best Director here. The very first reviews for the movie dropped last night and they heavily praise his work, even if some do wish he’d tackle less “pulpy” subject matter. That seems like a film critic’s complaint to me (even if I’ve made that same statement about other filmmakers), so that might not bother the Academy too much. I’ll know more once I see it at the New York Film Festival on Friday, but for now…it’s in the top spot. This could be in flux though.
2. Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher) – Despite the slight reduction in buzz for this one, I’m expecting a surge again once Miller’s film plays at NYFF in a few weeks time. He’s slowly becoming an overdue director as well, so it’s possible voters might just decide that now is the time. As long as he can build back up some buzz, you have to still consider him a major threat to win. Don’t sleep on Miller’s chances, as he’s always found a way in the past.
3. Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Some have Iñárritu as the one to beat right now, but I’m not sure […]

Joaquin Phoenix: Oscar veterans hoping for another nomination this year

Each and every single awards season, there are tons of both newcomers and veterans to the Oscar game. Tomorrow I’ll be taking a bit of a look at those seeking their first nominations from the Academy, but today I’m going to be going ahead and listing some of the major players who’ve already been nominated before, and in some cases are already winners. It’s leading up to me re-ranking the contenders in the major categories next week, but right now it’s just going to be a preview of which old hands to the Oscar ranch are saddling up for another ride on the awards season pony.
In the Best Actor race, the highest profile former nominee is Joaquin Phoenix, who will look for his first win this year with Inherent Vice. He represents the most likely non first time nominee who could win the Oscar in this category, though one level down we have Bradley Cooper for American Sniper and Bill Murray for St. Vincent, with Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler and Brad Pitt for Fury as other possibilities, plus Ben Affleck, who I’m counting here since he’s an Oscar winner, even if he’s never received an acting citation to date. Longer shots for nominations who’ve been to the dance before include Christian Bale for Exodus: Gods and Kings, Ralph Fiennes for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Philip Seymour Hoffman for A Most Wanted Man, Matthew McConaughey for Interstellar, Al Pacino for Manglehorn, Jeremy Renner for Kill the Messenger, and Mark Walhberg for The Gambler. Those fellas will be fighting it out with a bunch of first timers in this category, and it’s going to be a bloodbath.
Over in Best Actress, we have perennial bridesmaid Amy Adams hoping that this year she’ll finally be the bride with her work in Big Eyes. She’s going to be getting a challenge from both Jessica Chastain (for either The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Miss Julie, or A Most Violent Year) and Reese Witherspoon for Wild though. One level down you have Julianne Moore for Still Alice and Meryl Streep for Into the Woods, with other former nominees/winner on the hunt including Marion Cotillard for The Immigrant or Two Days One Night, Keira Knightley for Begin Again, Hilary Swank for The Homesman, Kate Winslet for A Little Chaos, and Robin Wright for The Congress. The newbies could seriously vie for a win here, but the vets have […]

Bennett Miller: 2015 Best Director contenders

As you folks all know, 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 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 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.
Today I’m continuing with the second biggest one out there…Best Director.
Here are the ten filmmakers that I have in play for Best Director, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point:
1. Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher) – I have Miller in the top spot for Foxcatcher due to how well received it was at the Cannes Film Festival. The director himself took home a prize, and for an awards bait American movie to do that, it shows some potentially strong legs to me. Miller is probably the closest thing to a lock that we have so far this year.
2. Angelina Jolie (Unbroken) – It’s basically a tie between Jolie and Miller for me, but I give the Foxcatcher director the edge due to his aforementioned Best Director win at Cannes. Without that, I’d probably have Jolie in the top spot. Her directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey showed off her skills and this war film seems tailor made for the Academy. If she nails it, she’s a surefire nominee in the directing category.
3. David Fincher (Gone Girl) – I think we can all agree that Fincher is going to win an Oscar one day, it’s just a matter of when. While I doubt he’ll be able to do it this year, he seems like he’ll very much be in contention for a nomination at least here. A lot will depend on if this is a Best Picture player or not. If it is, my guess is that he makes it in here.
4. Jason Reitman (Men, Women, & Children) […]

Oscars: Nine surprises from this year’s nominations – ANALYSIS – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: Nominations for the 84th Academy Awards were revealed this morning, with nine films making it into the fluid Best Picture race.
Jennifer Lawrence and Academy President Tom Sherak revealed that “The Artist,” “The Descendants,” “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” “The Help,” “Hugo,” “Midnight In Paris,” “Moneyball,” “The Tree of Life” and “War Horse” will compete for Oscar’s top prize when Billy Crystal hosts this year’s ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
In honor of the nine Best Picture nominees, here are the nine biggest surprises from this morning’s nominees:
1. “Hugo” earned more nominations than “The Artist”
That doesn’t mean Michel Hazanavicius’ film isn’t the frontrunner, as it earned nominations in the top categories including Picture, Director, Actor (Jean Dujardin) and Supporting Actress (Berenice Bejo, who had to hear her name butchered by Sherak). But Marty Scorsese’s film topped all contenders with 11 nominations, and that means something.
2. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” represents
A late entry into the Oscar race, Stephen Daldry’s heartwrenching drama about a special needs boy (Thomas Horn) overcoming the loss of his father in the 9/11 terrorist attacks connected with enough Academy members to earn a Best Picture nomination, as well as a nod for the mighty Max Von Sydow. It also triggered the largest number of cry-baby Tweets from detractors, which are always fun to read.
3. Stephen Daldry’s Director streak is snapped
With nine Best Picture nominees and only five Best Director slots, some filmmakers had to be left out. Steven Spielberg (“War Horse”), Bennett Miller (“Moneyball”), Tate Taylor (“The Help”) and Daldry all saw their films earn Picture nods, but they missed the Director cut. For Daldry, it is the first time he has released a movie and has not been nominated.

4. Nick Nolte makes the cut!
Thankfully enough voters saw Gavin O’Connor’s grossly underrated “Warrior” to recognize Nolte’s tremendous performance.
5. Gary Oldman makes the cut!
Earning his first (FIRST!!) Oscar nomination. That, alone, is shocking. At least the Academy’s starting to wake up to this “newcomer.” (Side note: Thrilled that Demián Bichir scored a nom for “A Better Life.”)
6. Melissa McCarthy made the cut, as well!
So the “Bridesmaids” train didn’t carry the mega-comedy all the way to Best Picture, but it did churn up nominations for this year’s “It” girl, McCarthy, and a Screenplay nod for Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig.
7. Albert […]

Sandra Bullock NEW Photos – “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

HollywoodNews.com: Our selected star to be included in our “Hollywood Movie Photo Gallery of the Year” is Sandra Bullock.
Sandra is the co-star with Tom Hanks in Stephen Daldry’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” and she will be seen next year in Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” with George Clooney.
More good news for Sandra, the “Awards Season Screener” of choice from family members visiting over the holiday weekend was Stephen Daldry’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”
Enjoy Sandra Bullock photo Gallery

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“Extremely Loud” and Stephen Daldry’s Oscar chances — AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: The “Awards Season Screener” of choice from family members visiting over the holiday weekend was Stephen Daldry’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” (The second most popular was Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse,” followed by “The Artist.”)
All three went over very well – an extremely unscientific poll, which is influenced by overeating and alcohol – but “Loud” was a devastator. I now know at what moment I need to get up and get the tissue boxes ready, because the tears are about to flow.
It worked every time. And now that I’ve seen it a number of times, I’m even more confident throwing my support behind Daldry’s powerful and moving drama. Mainly, I’ve come to realize the precise structure of Eric Roth’s adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel. Mysteries about The Renter (Max von Sydow), the key, the swing and other obstacles I might have encountered on a first pass are buttoned up with repeat viewings.
And then there’s Thomas Horn’s calculated performance as Oskar, the heartbreakingly challenged escort through Daldry’s complicated, emotional expedition through post-9/11 Manhattan. It’s such a mature turn, marked by complicated flourishes in scenes that young kids shouldn’t understand. Watch his scenes with Sandra Bullock or Jeffrey Wright near the end of “Loud.” It’s hard to say whether Horn – a former “Jeopardy” contestant – has a career outside of this movie, but for this particular part, he connects with a courage that resonates.
Of course, “Loud” plays on our sympathies for those who lost someone in 9/11, but the film rarely becomes the maudlin, manipulative movie that you fear. Instead, it’s the life-affirming story of a fractured family trying to rediscover a personal balance in the wake of that national catastrophe. Oskar father, who dies in one of the attacked towers, could have had a heart attack on his way home from his suburban office. He could have lost his life in a car crash, and young Oskar still would have to work through his grief using his own unique methods.
And yet, at the onset, I hated Oskar. Hated him. He’s insufferably eccentric, who’s inquisitive mind – and his enabling parents (played by Tom Hanks and Bullock) – grated on my every nerve. Oskar’s eccentricities, his insufferable narration, blocked me from embracing this story on my first pass. I was just about ready to wave the white flag and dismiss “Extremely Loud” as pretentious […]

“Extremely Loud” having international premiere in Berlin – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: Stephen Daldry’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” which held its premiere over the weekend in New York City, is taking its promotional campaign overseas. The film will hold its international premiere with an out-of-competition screening at the Berlin International Film Festival. This year’s event runs from Feb. 9-19.
Daldry’s captivating drama adapts Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel about a special-needs boy (Thomas Horn) coping with the loss of his father (Tom Hanks) in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Sandra Bullock and Max von Sydow co-star in the emotionally stirring story, which was one of the last films to enter the Oscar season.
Gradually, “Loud” is picking up some awards heat – the BFCA recognized Daldry and his film with their Critics’ Choice Movie Awards nominations – and Warner Bros. Plans a Dec. 25 release in the States to keep it on Oscar’s radar.
It belongs there. those who’ve read Foer’s book know that Horn’s challenging character, Oskar, has Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s a subtle reveal, and one that changes the complexity of the film’s narration. With that knowledge comes tremendous sympathy, and overwhelming respect for Horn’s portrayal. Suddenly, the mission of this special-needs child isn’t as phony as you fear. It’s blunt. Honest. Emotional. And outstanding.
We’ll have more on “Loud” as the release date approaches. In the meantime, Berlin revealed that Zhang Yimou’s “The Flowers of War,” with Christian Bale, also will screen out of competition. And the following three films will compete: Brillante Mendoza’s “Captive;” Antonio Chavarrias’ “Childish Games;” and “Postcards From the Zoo,” the latest from Edwin.
Awards Alley brings you the best Oscar coverage. Click below to read our exclusive interviews with:
– Harvey Weinstein
– The cast of “The Artist.”
– Sir Ben Kingsley and Chloe Grace Moretz for “Hugo.”
– Tilda Swinton for “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
– Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for “The Help.”
– Tate Taylor for “The Help.”
– Gavin O’Connor for “Warrior.”
– Gary Oldman and Colin Firth for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”
– Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody for “Young Adult.”
– Steve McQueen for “Shame.”
– Glenn Close for “Albert Nobbs.”
– Seth Rogen and Will Reiser for “50/50.”
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Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Extremely Good, Incredibly Intense

By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: It was the penultimate movie premiere of the fall Oscar season– Stephen Daldry’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Or is it “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”? No one can remember. This is what we know: it’s Extremely Late and Incredibly Tearful. The movie is based on Jonathan Safran Foer‘s novel about a 10 year old boy whose father dies in the World Trade Center. That’s Tom Hanks. The mom is Sandra Bullock. The mysterious grandfather is Max von Sydow, who is so good he should be nominated for an Oscar. It will take members of the Academy to save him.
Along the way the boy–who was found on “Jeopardy!”–meets Viola Davis and Geoffrey Wright, among others. He walks from the Upper West Side to Fort Greene, Brooklyn. You either find it preposterous or very moving. Or both.
At the premiere at the Ziegfeld, all the stars and the director arrived. Everyone had to pass through massive metal detectors even though this film is not the biggest of the year and probably no one wants to pirate it. There were no metal detectors at the premieres of “War Horse” or even “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” This is called ‘overkill.’ There were dozens of very serious security people eying the guests as if they were recent residents of Rikers Island. It was kind of funny.
All the stars bunched up near the little green room just beyond the inside theater doors. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were briefly separated. “Where’s Tom?” Rita asked, nervously. She told me her album is coming on May 6th from Decca Records. She’s a good singer. Tom Hanks, stuck in this little passageway, said, “I want to keep everyone incredibly close.” I told him I’d seen the movie last week, and that he was very affecting in it. (He is.) He said, “Tell me, is at as good as, say, “New Year’s Eve”? He’s very funny. “New Year’s Eve” got the lowest score of the year just about, on Rotten Tomatoes.
Viola Davis came along. She’s been nominated by every award group this week for “The Help.” She’s also in this movie. She greeted Sandra Bullock. They immediately started talking about their adopted toddlers. They’re all very happy, which is nice. Gabourey Sidibe wandered through, and said hi to everyone. It was like an Oscar reunion.
Then came Stephen Daldry. He kisses everyone. He’s light as a […]

Oscars: “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” a human journey – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: That uppercut to the gut we’ve been waiting for all awards season? It finally arrives in the form of young Thomas Horn.
Full reviews still have to be held until closer to release date, but I’m currently allowed to comment on the awards hopes for the film, which moved me in ways I certainly didn’t expect.
Warner screened the film late, which might have led to the goose egg from the Golden Globes. The Broadcast Film Critics Association responded to this film’s intense gravitational pull, awarding it with four nominations including Best Picture, Best Young Actor (for Horn), Best Director (for Daldry) and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Roth). And I’m hoping Oscar recognizes the film and its talent.
Daldry’s an Oscar veteran. That’s an understatement. When it comes to the Best Picture and Director races, Daldry’s a perfect three-for-three. If the Academy’s paying a bit of attention, he has a very good chance of going four-for-four in those two (and several other) categories come January.
More commentary and review coming soon …

Awards Alley brings you the best Oscar coverage. Click below to read our exclusive interviews with:
– Harvey Weinstein
– The cast of “The Artist.”
– Sir Ben Kingsley and Chloe Grace Moretz for “Hugo.”
– Tilda Swinton for “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
– Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for “The Help.”
– Tate Taylor for “The Help.”
– Gary Oldman and Colin Firth for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”
– Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody for “Young Adult.”
– Steve McQueen for “Shame.”
– Glenn Close for “Albert Nobbs.”
– Seth Rogen and Will Reiser for “50/50.”
For complete Oscar and Film Festival coverage, visit our Awards Alley for the latest news items, reviews and interviews all season long.
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Surprises and omissions from the Critics’ Choice nominations – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: The Broadcast Film Critics’ Association spread its end-of-year awards love to multiple films this morning, nominating Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” and Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” for a field-leading 11 nominations each for the 17th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive” and Tate Taylor’s “The Help” each grabbed 8 nominations, while Alexanader Payne’s “The Descendants” and Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” nabbed 7 a piece.
But a thorough scan of this morning’s CCMA nominees did produce a few surprises, either in the form of omissions or inclusions that those of us tracking the annual Oscar race didn’t expect. Here are a few things that jumped out at me while scanning the list of the CCMA nominees.
– Pixar’s “Cars 2” was shut out of the Best Animated Feature category.
– Andy Serkis. Best Supporting Actor. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” That, I can get behind.
– In fact, the Best Supporting Actor category is solid, with nods for Christopher Plummer, Kenneth Branagh, Albert Brooks, Patton Oswalt and Nick Nolte. Every one is a winner.
– Glenn Close was on the outside of a competitive Best Actress field, looking in.
– Similarly, Gary Oldman was on the outside of a competitive Best Actor field, looking in. Both still could get into the Oscar race, but BFCA noms would have helped.
– “Drive” is a legitimate awards contender. Picture and Director noms really help the film’s Oscar cause. But the film also nabbed Actor, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Editing, Action Movie and Score.
– David Fincher’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” is a solid genre film, but it does not appear to be an awards contender. The film earned two CCMA noms for Editing and Score, but did not crack the top categories.
– Stephen Daldry’s late-entry “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” might be a contender. Even though BFCA members didn’t see the film until a day or two before ballots were due, it still earned four key nominations including Best Picture, Best Young Actor/Thomas Horn, Best Director/Stephen Daldry, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
– The “Harry Potter” Oscar train took a hit. The film earned technical nominations, but did not get into the Picture or top Acting categories.
– “The Muppets” has great songs. Three of the film’s four noms were in the Best Song category. It’s other nomination was for Best Comedy.
– Finally, Nick Nolte got into the Best Supporting Actor race for […]

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