Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

2014 Oscar Nomination Predictions

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

I’m paying less attention than usual this year, but I’m going to make some guesses anyway.

I’m betting tomorrow morning we see a full 10 Best Picture nominees, rather than the last two years’ nine. Each of these should be capable of grabbing the required 5% first place votes.

In the other categories, I’m sticking fairly close to the guild award nominees —  not seeing a ton of room for upsets. The only real wacky pick is McConaughey getting dual nominations in lead and supporting, which just seems like the kind of thing the Academy would do.

Best Picture

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Nebraska
  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

Lead Actor

  • Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
  • Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)
  • Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Forest Whitaker (The Butler)

Lead Actress

  • Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
  • Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
  • Judi Dench (Philomena)
  • Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
  • Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)

Supporting Actor

  • Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
  • Daniel Brühl (Rush)
  • Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
  • Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Matthew McConaughey (Mud)

Supporting Actress

  • Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
  • Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
  • Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
  • June Squibb (Nebraska)
  • Oprah Winfrey (The Butler)


  • Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)
  • Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips)
  • Spike Jonze (Her)
  • Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
  • David O. Russell (American Hustle)

Original Screenplay

  • American Hustle
  • Blue Jasmine
  • Her
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Nebraska

Adapted Screenplay

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Before Midnight
  • Captain Phillips
  • Philomena
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

The Oscar Diversity Outcry Begins

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Only a couple of notable surprises in the Oscar nominees announced yesterday (Javier Bardem, the Coens over Chris Nolan). But even more predictable is the media coverage. Just like I warned you in my last post:

CNN: Where’s the diversity at the Oscars?

2011 Oscar Predictions

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

This year’s Oscars promise to be duller and whiter than ever. But I still like predicting elections, and making lists, and I guess I like movies too. So let’s talk Oscars!

I really mean it about the “whiter” bit. Not only is the ceremony to be hosted by beloved caucasian icons Anne Hathaway and James Franco, but from what I can see there is a virtual zero percent chance that we see any nonwhite actors or directors nominated (possibly screenwriters too, but I’m not as sure because I don’t know what any of them look like and don’t really care to [and anyway Aaron Sorkin is probably white enough to cancel out anyone who isn't]). The only black actor with even the remotest of chances at a nomination is Halle Berry, who scored a (typically meaningless) Golden Globe nod for a movie called Frankie and Alice that currently has a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If her name does somehow show up on Oscar nomination day, you can be assured this was done strictly to mitigate this whitepocalypse of a ceremony. (more…)

Updated Oscar picks

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Well, most of the major non-Oscar nominations are out, including today’s SAG press release. Best Picture is looking more and more like a duel between Slumdog and Benjamin Button, and I have a feeling it’s going to be that way down to the end. The other three spots are likely to be filled by Milk and two of Frost/Nixon, The Dark Knight, and Revolutionary Road. Knight looks to be struggling a bit, which is ridiculous, but I still have to believe it edges in.

Anne Hathaway now has a solid advantage over all her competition in the Best Actress category. There are six other contenders at this point, and no matter who gets left out it’s going to piss people off — this is probably the single strongest category in 2008. Meryl is in, the rest are anybody’s guess — Sally Hawkins, though a major hit on most critics’ lists, took a big blow today from the bastards in the SAG. Melissa Leo gets a boost, as does Angelina although I’m still not convinced she can break in over Kristin Scott Thomas.

Best Actor has not changed. Either DiCaprio or Eastwood could squeeze in, but at this point I think Jenkins, Langella, Penn, Pitt, Rourke is starting to look like a safe prediction.

Penelope Cruz is kind of running away with the Supporting Actress category, though Viola Davis is in some ways right there with her. It’s still going to be shocking if Cruz doesn’t win unless there are some upsets in Davis’s favor at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards.

Supporting Actor still belongs to Heath Ledger and regardless of TDK’s status in Best Pic that isn’t changing.

Slumdog v. Button will continue their battle in the Best Director category, where Danny Boyle and David Fincher are the major candidates. In the Screenplay categories, I predict wins for Benjamin Button and Milk.

Full prediction chart below, with five predicted nominees in bold and winners italicized.


National Board of Review Awards

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

The first “real” awards of the movie season come from the National Board of Review, notorious for throwing a few curveballs at you while tending to solidify the status of several major Oscar contenders. You can’t be too sure about some of them — as I recall they gave “Best Director” to Tim Burton last year, and he did not end up receiving an Oscar nomination — but let’s take a look anyway and see if we can discern some of the major implications.

First, we have Slumdog Millionaire being named Best Film. In my previous entry I categorized this as a “likely” Best Pic contender; now I’m not only willing to say it’s a lock for a nomination, but I’d call it the frontrunner to win the big award in ’09.

NBR also lists their ten runners-up, in no particular order. First, the non-surprises: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Gran Torino, Milk, WALL-E, The Wrestler. That leaves three movies I’d call surprises (mostly due to what’s been left out): Burn After Reading, Changeling, and Defiance. Burn After Reading is a complete left-field pick, a fun but extremely odd and very slight Coen Brothers effort. Defiance isn’t out yet, but all the early reviews I’ve seen so far have been pretty uniformly disappointing. Changeling is not a huge surprise, especially because the NBR has such a huge Clint Eastwood fetish, but it’s a little jolting to see it here rather than Revolutionary Road, The Reader, Doubt, or Rachel Getting Married. This doesn’t mean those four movies are out of contention for Best Picture, and it doesn’t mean Changeling is suddenly in. But it does confirm to me that four of the five nominees are now very likely to be Slumdog Millionaire, Benjamin Button, Milk, and Frost/Nixon, with the fight for that fifth spot looking like something of a free-for-all (though if the Academy is smart they’ll put in Dark Knight). Could both of Kate Winslet’s highly anticipated films be denied?

NBR’s Acting awards don’t help Winslet’s cause much, either. They did give Best Actor to Clint for Gran Torino, but I’m pretty sure these guys would have given it to Clint if he were in The Love Guru. I guess this does confirm he’s a reasonably likely nominee this year, though I’d still put Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke, and Frank Langella ahead of him. If Clint is in there that leaves a spot for Richard Jenkins, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Brad Pitt, and right now Jenkins has the most buzz for the little-seen The Visitor. So there’s another door potentially slammed on Revolutionary Road.

For Actress, Anne Hathaway gets the call for Rachel Getting Married. This maybe does give her a slight lead in the Oscar crowd, though frankly hers wasn’t even the best performance in that film let alone any other this year. Meryl Streep will inevitably receive her billionth nomination (but probably will not win). Kristin Scott Thomas has been widely expected to get in for I’ve Loved You So Long, but that movie gets no mention from the NBR. Hmm. I’ll still classify her as “likely,” although she probably now falls behind Melissa Leo (who shares the “Spotlight Award” with Richard Jenkins) for her raved about peformance in indie Frozen River. The fifth slot may well go to Angelina Jolie, horrifying a prospect as that is — particularly if that means Sally Hawkins gets dissed for her transcendental role in Happy Go Lucky.

And Kate Winslet? Not impossible, but…well…could be at the back of the line. We will see.

NBR did not give Supporting Actor to Heath Ledger (why so serious, NBR?) but he’s still winning his posthumous Oscar. This one goes to Josh Brolin’s very serious turn in Milk, which vaults him into position as a likely nominee. Philip Seymour Hoffman will probably end up in there too for Doubt, as he’s supposed to be typically brilliant. I think James Franco might get in there for Milk as well, and maybe surprisingly the last spot seems destined to go to Robert Downey, Jr. for Tropic Thunder. I guess I’ll actually have to watch that now. If anyone else fades, Bill Irwin could sneak in there for Rachel. Another dark horse is Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road, but so far that isn’t getting nominated anywhere else so why here?

Supporting Actress goes to Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She and Viola Davis in Doubt are the only pretty sure nominees in this year’s most wide open acting category. Who else? Could have Marisa Tomei, Rosemary DeWitt (the superior female performance in Rachel), Sophie Okonedo. Benjamin Button contains a bunch of well-received supporting performances from women, including Taraji P. Henson. This may actually be Kate Winslet’s best shot at getting nominated for her Nazi turn in The Reader, but I’m not 100% she’s being submitted for the Supporting category. If she wants a shot, she should be.

Best Director has been given to David Fincher, and it’s fair to say he probably will get his first much-deserved Oscar nomination this time for Benjamin Button. Hard to believe Danny Boyle isn’t also automatically in there, although he’s listed alongside an Indian co-director for Slumdog (Loveleen Tandan) so I’m not sure if that complicates things. Gus Van Sant and Ron Howard are extremely likely as well, so once again you’re left with that mysterious fifth spot, as in the Best Pic category. The Academy will often take this chance to reward a beloved director whose film is not in Best Picture contention, as they have in recent years with Julian Schnabel, Paul Greengrass, and Mike Leigh. That could mean Leigh stands a shot again this year for Happy Go Lucky, or possibly Thomas McCarthy for The Visitor. Of course, Clint Eastwood could always swoop in and spoil everything, too.

NBR’s Adapted Screenplay award is a tie between Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog and Eric Roth for Button, and they probably will remain the two on top fighting for the Oscar. Best Original Screenplay goes to Nick Schenk for Gran Torino, who now enters a potentially fierce battle with Dustin Lance Black (Milk), Robert Siegel (The Wrestler), Woody Allen and others.

Do I really believe Revolutionary Road is going to be universally shut out from all major categories? No, not yet. But it’s definitely been hurt today, and it’s difficult to see where it’s going to fit in with all these other highly competitive films. One thing we can say after today is our big buzz winners are Gran Torino and Slumdog Millionaire, which as I mentioned now has a very clear path to Oscar immortality.