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: the Cannes Film Festival

Rooney Mara: Oscar possibilities for the Cannes 2015 winners

Yesterday, the Cannes Film Festival awarded their prizes for 2015, so as always, immediate attention has turned to Academy Award possibilities. Some years, there’s a dearth of contenders, while others have no shortage of them to sift through. It’s very much an American thing, as if a fest always needs to have an Oscar correlation to matter, but hey…who am I to argue? Luckily, this year we have a number of potential players worthy of discussion among the winners. There are some titles that went home empty handed that could easily hit with the Academy, including Sicario and Out of Competition entries like Inside Out, Irrational Man, and Mad Max: Fury Road, but for now I’ll limit it to only those that wound up In Competition and with a prize…
Obviously, we have to start with the Palme d’Or winning Dheepan, which likely will be a Best Foreign Language Feature contender or bust. The same can be said of Grand Prix (second place, basically) winner Son of Saul and The Assassin, which gave Hou Hsiao-Hsie a Best Director win. Those are harder to figure out right now since it winds up being one film per country in terms of Oscar submissions and we don’t know what else each nation will be choosing between, but these certainly go on the long list. Other longer shots include co-Best Actress winner (more on that shortly) Emmanuelle Bercot for Mon roi, Best Actor winner Stéphane Brize for The Measure of a Man, and Chronic, the Best Screenplay victor.
Then, we have the singular X factor that is The Lobster, winner of the Jury Prize (third place, essentially). Filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos got his very unique film Dogtooth into Best Foreign Language Feature a few years back, so his English language debut was on everyone’s radar. It apparently lived up to the hype too, so while this probably is too weird for Best Picture, there’s an outside shot that the Best Original Screenplay could be livened up by The Lobster’s presence. It was widely expected to win that prize at Cannes, so perhaps the Academy can choose to go where the fest did not this weekend?
Finally, the most likely contender out of this year’s festival crop is clearly Carol. Perhaps disappointing some by only leaving the fest with a tie in Best Actress, Todd Haynes’ movie is still the odds on favorite to translate to Oscar. An interesting […]

And the Cannes Film Festival 2015 winners are…

The 68th annual Cannes Film Festival came to a close Sunday night with an awards ceremony at the Palais des Festivals.
This year’s Grand Prix was awarded to the Holocaust drama “Son of Saul,” the debut film by Hungarian director László Nemes. The festival’s Jury Prize went to “The Lobster,” directed by Yorgos Lanthimos.
And the winners are…
Palme d’Or
DHEEPAN Directed by Jacques AUDIARD
Grand Prix
SAUL FIA (SON OF SAUL) Directed by László NEMES
Award for Best Director
Award for Best Screenplay
Award for Best Actress Ex-aequo
Emmanuelle BERCOT, Rooney MARA in MON ROI Directed by MAÏWENN
Rooney MARA, Emmanuelle BERCOT in CAROL Directed by Todd HAYNES
Award for Best Actor
Stéphane BRIZÉ in LA LOI DU MARCHÉ (THE MEASURE OF A MAN) Directed by Stéphane BRIZÉ
Jury Prize
Palme d’Or – Short Film
WAVES ’98 Directed by Ely DAGHER

Prize of Un Certain Regard
Jury Prize – Un Certain Regard
Directing Prize of Un Certain Regard
Un Certain Talent Prize
Promizing Future Prize Ex-aequo
MASAAN Directed by Neeraj GHAYWAN
1st Prize Cinéfondation
SHARE Directed by Pippa BIANCO
2nd Prize Cinéfondation
3rd Prize Cinéfondation Ex-aequo
Caméra d’or
LA TIERRA Y LA SOMBRA Directed by César Augusto ACEVEDO

In Mexico, “SICARIO” means hitman – Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin

SICARIO’s Emily Blunt [Kate Macer], Benicio del Toro [Alejandro], Josh Brolin [Matt Graver], and Director Denis Villeneuve, walked the Palais des Festivals Red Carpet tonight before the In Competition Screening of SICARIO at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France.
In Mexico, SICARIO means hitman.
In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent [Emily Blunt] is enlisted by an elite government task force official [Josh Brolin] to aid in the escalating war against drugs.
Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past [Benicio Del Toro], the team sets out on a clandestine journey forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive.
A Lionsgate presentation, a Black Label Media presentation, a Thunder Road production, a Denis Villeneuve film.
SICARIO opens in the US in limited release on September 18, 2015, and opens wide on September 25, 2015.
Photo courtesy Lionsgate, by Paul Le

Woody Allen: First Trailer for “Irrational Man” with Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone

Each and every single year, we’re treated to a new Woody Allen movie. Moreover, basically every other year, Allen’s latest outing becomes an awards contender. With last year apparently being his off year with the enjoyable, if slight, Magic in the Moonlight, speculation is high that 2015 could see an Oscar player from the filmmaker. Well, the first Trailer for his new film Irrational Man has hit the web, and it shows off some solid acting and a unique take on a potentially tired plot. I’m not sure if the Academy will wind up noticing it when all is said and done, but I sure did.
Irrational Man is a romantic comedy about a burnt out Philosophy professor who arrives at a new school and winds up in an existential crisis when he becomes smitten/in a relationship with a student. Joaquin Phoenix plays the professor while Emma Stone plays the student. Also on hand in this potentially smaller than usual last for Allen (who of course writes and directs) is Jamie Blackley and Parker Posey, to name two. If the plot sounds like something you’ve seen before, you’re not alone. The catch here is that Allen has a very unique take on the world, so his interpretation of this situation has a ton of potential.
There’s two things in the Trailer that stick out at me. One is the chemistry apparent between Phoenix and Stone, as well as the potential for Posey to steal her scenes. The other is that it appears that Allen is utilizing dual voiceovers to get us into the headspace of both main characters. That could lead to some fascinating introspective commentary, though it also could wind up just being a gimmick. Right now though, I’m willing to look at it as a clever choice by the legendary filmmaker, one that gives this film something to potentially set it apart from the crowd. You’ll be able to see the Trailer below and decide for yourself, of course, but I liked what I saw.
Obviously, we don’t know if Irrational Man will be a player in the awards season or not, but if it does, my suspicion is that it would be on the back of Allen’s script and the performances of Phoenix, Posey, and Stone. One could potentially envision a campaign centered on Best Picture, Best Actor for Phoenix, Best Actress for Stone, best Supporting Actress for Posey, and […]

Which films could play this year at the Cannes Film Festival?

When it comes to film festivals, there is arguably none more prestigious than the Cannes Film Festival. Each year, critics and the like descend on the south of France hoping to discover the classiest in cinema, which in turn can begin to fuel the impending Oscar speculation. 2015 likely will be no exception, as perhaps a few more Academy friendly projects than usual could wind up at Cannes. Sometime either this month or next, the fest will reveal the titles scheduled to play, so I wanted to get a head start and speculate a bit about what the festival could have in its lineup. Tribeca will be on my mind soon enough, but for now…Cannes gets my attention for the day.
Here now are ten films that could very well play at the Cannes Film Festival, in just a simple alphabetical order:
1. Carol – One of the most anticipated Oscar hopefuls of 2015 is the new movie from Todd Haynes. Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, it stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in a very unique love story. So yeah, this is a big player, provided the quality is there. Assuming it’s done, I’d be shocked if it didn’t debut at Cannes. Personally, I can’t wait to see it.
2. Erran – The new film from Jacques Audiard, the director of both A Prophet as well as Rust and Bone, makes perfect sense for Cannes. He’s been there before, garnering awards buzz, so this should wind up at the fest as well. The only question is if it’ll be ready in time or not. I’m definitely curious about this one, that’s for sure.
3. Lawless/Untitled Terrence Malick Project – There’s no doubt that the fest would love a new Terrence Malick film, so if it’s actually somewhere close to completion…count this one in for sure. With a cast led by Ryan Gosling and potentially some members of his Knight of Cups cast, there’s plenty of intrigue here. I’m not always wild about Malick, but I love Gosling, so consider me intrigued.
4. The Lobster – I’ve been fascinated with filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos ever since seeing Dogtooth a few years ago. His follow up Alps was solid, but this new one seems like it could very well be his masterpiece. An English language feature (one of a bunch from foreign directors coming out in 2015), the cast is eclectic, including John C. Reilly, the […]

“It Follows” is the best horror film in years and the rare one worthy of awards

When it comes to the Academy, the genre the least seem to embrace (give or take animation, though that at least has its own category) is horror. With the exception of The Silence of the Lambs, no fright flick has been nominated for Best Picture, and while that’s not going to change, periodically we get such top notch entries into the genre that awards consideration is warranted. A few years back, it was The Cabin in the Woods that got a small Best Original Screenplay push, while more recently The Babadook and You’re Next drummed up a bit of buzz. This year though, we have the best of the bunch (or at least the best since The Cabin in the Woods) with It Follows. The film opens this weekend after playing at the Cannes Film Festival last year and is easily the best of 2015 to date…not just in terms of horror either. It’s the best release of the year so far, overall.
In case you don’t know, It Follows is a hybrid character study/coming of age tale/horror film. Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, it tells the story of a 19 year old girl named Jay (played wonderfully by Maika Monroe) who sees a sexual encounter lead to terror. After sleeping with her new boyfriend for the first time, he basically kidnaps her in order to safely inform her of what he’s passed on to her. Until they had sex, he was plagued by something monstrous following him slowly wherever he went. It started when he slept with someone on a one night stand, and now that he’s given it to her, he’s free from its clutches. Jay is warned that if it catches you, you die. Worse yet, it’ll take the form of people you know in order to get close to you. After he lets her go and runs off, she groups up with her friends, neighbor, and sister to figure out if there’s any way to survive. Monroe is the undisputed star, but the cast has some solid supporting players, including Keir Gilchrist. Besides Monroe, you’ll be blown away by Mitchell’s work, especially when it pairs with the cinematography by Mike Gioulakis and the score from Rich Vreeland.
While any Oscar attention is a long shot, I believe that this flick is truly worthy of consideration in a number of categories. Beyond the fruitless endeavor of pushing […]

The Toronto Film Festival will again play host to scores of Oscar hopefuls

With today’s announcement that David Dobkin’s film The Judge will open the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, I figured that it was a good time to talk about the TIFF lineup. That Robert Downey Jr. vehicle will seek to become an awards player, and it’s not alone. Each year, scores of titles descend on Toronto in order to distinguish themselves to Academy members and various precursor voters everywhere. The festival has a solid history of producing Oscar nominees, though the big time competition this year from the New York Film Festival will certainly shine a light on just how essential a stop this fest still is. For now though, it’s a big one, and well worth a bit of discussion.
As mentioned above, the opening film is The Judge, which could be a Best Actor player for Downey Jr. or perhaps even a Best Picture contender if it’s better than expected. It’s definitely one of the most anticipated flicks starting up their run at the festival, along with the closing selection, which is Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos. Along with those two, the highest profile titles include Jon Stewart’s Rosewater, Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild, Jason Reitman’s Men, Women, & Children, Liv Ullmann’s Miss Julie, Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, and James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything. Each of these is considered a major awards hopeful to one degree or another, so it’ll be their first test of viability. Strong reactions set it off on a path to potential Oscar glory, while mixed to poor reactions could sent it straight down the drain into oblivion.
Other big debuts at the fest will be Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, Mike Binder’s Black and White, Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Equalizer, Ed Zwick’s Pawn Sacrifice, Lone Scherfig’s The Riot Club, Shawn Levy’s This Is Where I Leave You, Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes, Chris Evans’ directorial debut Before We Go, Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy, Barry Levinson’s The Humbling, David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn, as well as other works like The Drop and The Imitation Game, all of whom have some level of awards hope to them. Most won’t take on that kind of narrative, but at least one or two will, so it becomes almost a game trying to figure out which ones it will be ahead of time.
The other titles of note are Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher of course, along with David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, Mike Leigh’s […]

Ryan Gosling: the next actor turned director to watch out for?

HOLLYWOOD ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK: A few days ago at the Cannes Film Festival, A list actor Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut Lost River (which was originally titled by him as the more compelling How To Catch a Monster) screened to a rather divisive response from critics. Some praised his skill behind the camera and the way he worked in many influences from other filmmakers, while others panned the movie for being derivative and an imitation of better works. That more or less takes the film out of major awards contention, but it does leave me still contemplating Gosling’s future as a director. He may not have hit a home run his first time out, but very few actors turned directors do. My hunch is that he’s a few years away from making a flick that really wows folks.
Why do I think that? Look at other A-listers who stepped behind the camera. George Clooney’s debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind wasn’t rapturously received either, but his next outing was Good Night and Good Luck, which was nominated for Best Picture and got Clooney a handful of nominations himself. For another example, look at Angelina Jolie. She made her debut with the foreign war flick In the Land of Blood and Honey, but this year she’s back with the Oscar frontrunner Unbroken. Gosling certainly wouldn’t be the first to have his sophomore feature be the one that’s really embraced. In fact, it seems to almost be the path of choice for many of his colleagues. Get a perhaps overly ambitious debut out of the way first and then go hit him with something a bit more accessible the next time out.
If you look at the filmmakers that Gosling is apparently referencing, you can see that he’s only beginning to develop his own filmmaking identity. If you mix the work of Derek Cianfrance, David Lynch, Gaspar Noe, and Nicolas Winding Refn, you’re bound to get something rather off the beaten path. Now that he’s basically thrown everything at the wall to see what stuck, he’s got the opportunity to show off his own vision next time out. If not, he can even just begin to figure out which influences to play up and which ones to sort of keep on the back burner.
Right now, Lost River is probably little more than a curiosity, but it’s the start of something. There’s no way of knowing […]

“Foxcatcher” has announced itself as an awards player at Cannes

Earlier this week, Bennett Miller’s third directorial outing Foxcatcher debuted at the Cannes Film Festival to pretty much rave reviews. In an instant, it went from a potential Oscar hopeful to a likely nominee. Ever since pundits like myself first thought the movie was hitting last year, it’s been spoken of a possible big player. Now, we can firmly discuss it in slightly more sure terms. To be fair, nothing is guaranteed for the film, but right now, nothing has better buzz than Foxcatcher. If it can sustain until its theatrical release this fall, it may very well even become a Best Picture frontrunner.
Many of my colleagues at Cannes have said that this is Miller’s best film yet. Considering that his first two films are Capote and Moneyball, both of which were Best Picture nominees, that’s saying something. Miller is a previous Best Director nominee as well, so not only is he likely to be back in that race, he’ll probably contend seriously for the win as well. I recently spoke of the danger filmmakers face when making passion projects, but it seems like Miller has avoided all of the traps there, resulting in what a ton of folks are calling a brilliant film.
The cast are receiving tons of praise as well. Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum are the subject of career best reviews, while Mark Ruffalo is being highly spoken of as well. With Sienna Miller and Vanessa Redgrave also on hand, there’s no shortage of talent in play for awards consideration now. I can’t imagine Carrell being snubbed now, whether it’s in Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor, while Ruffalo and Tatum will likely be in contention now as well. Miller and Redgrave weren’t given too many notices, but if Best Supporting Actress turns out to be a weak field, one could certainly sneak in there as well.
Of course, anything is possible for the movie. Sometimes the acclaimed films from Cannes don’t sustain throughout an entire season. Sometimes a similar flick can take the wind out of this one’s sails. Sometimes a different work just captures all the attention. There’s no way of knowing what’s going to happen to Foxcatcher between now and then, so there are absolutely no guarantees. There is, however, educated guesswork to be done, and that puts the film in a solid spot. It doesn’t seem like the sort of one to be forgotten […]

Foxcatcher will debut at Cannes and might be on a collision course with Oscar

About a month ago, I wrote a piece here that speculated on some of the Academy Award hopefuls that might be debuting at the Cannes Film Festival. Well, the lineup for Cannes has been announced (at least the preliminary list of titles…look for some movies to be added in the coming weeks), and while a few flicks I mentioned in that article like The Homesman, How to Catch a Monster, and Maps to the Stars are set to unspool in France, the film that probably is the most anticipated, especially in terms of awards potential, is Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. In fact, I’ve listed it as a Best Picture frontrunner in my Oscar predictions, if you haven’t already noticed.
In case you’re not up to speed on this movie, it’s obviously directed by Miller based on a script from Dan Futterman and based on a true story. The plot surrounds Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz and how, while training with paranoid schizophrenic millionaire John duPont, Schultz’s brother, Olympic Champion Dave Schultz, was killed by duPont. The cast is led by Steve Carrell as duPont, Mark Ruffalo as Dave, and Channing Tatum as Mark, with Anthony Michael Hall, Sienna Miller, and Vanessa Redgrave in supporting turns as well. That’s pretty baity stuff if I do say so myself, especially in terms of the potential it holds for Carrell and Ruffalo.
Miller has so far been perfect at getting his films into Best Picture lineups, with both Capote and Moneyball scoring citations. This is also a passion project of his, which could put an extra chip on his shoulder to really nail this one. He’s also gotten multiple performers of his nominated each time out (along with his screenplays getting nominated both times to go along with one Best Director nomination for himself as well), so the odds are really in this cast’s favor. Assuming the debut at Cannes goes well, it’d be pretty foolish to bet against this one not turning into a major awards player.
So, what are the odds of Foxcatcher going from Cannes to the Oscar ceremony? Well, it’s not incredibly uncommon, though winners are a bit more on the rare side. The last movie to pull that off was No Country for Old Men, so while Foxcatcher (along with The Homesman, for example) might not have any statistics out there in the universe to suggest that a strong debut at this […]

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