Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

Early Oscar Odds

Monday, December 1st, 2008

The first stab — as in most years, I have yet to see the vast majority of these films at this point. But I’m still usually pretty good, considering. Potential nominees are split into “lock” (guaranteed nom), “likely” (would be considered a surprise if omitted), “possible” (definite contender but nothing is certain), and “unsure” (not enough information on the film at this time to say). Have at it.

Picture Chances
Slumdog Millionaire Likely
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Likely
Milk Likely
Revolutionary Road Possible
The Dark Knight Possible
Doubt Possible
Frost/Nixon Possible
The Wrestler Possible
Rachel Getting Married Possible
Gran Torino Unsure
The Reader Unsure
Actress Chances
Meryl Streep (Doubt) Likely
Kristin Scott Thomas (I’ve Loved You So Long) Likely
Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married) Likely
Sally Hawkins (Happy Go Lucky) Possible
Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road) Possible
Melissa Leo (Frozen River) Possible
Angelina Jolie (Changeling) Possible
Actor Chances
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) Lock
Sean Penn (Milk) Lock
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) Lock
Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) Possible
Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road) Possible
Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button) Unsure
Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino) Unsure
Will Smith (Seven Pounds) Unsure
Supporting Actress Chances
Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) Likely
Viola Davis (Doubt) Likely
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler) Likely
Elsa Zylberstein (I’ve Loved You So Long) Possible
Rosemary DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married) Possible
Sophie Okonedo (Secret Life of Bees) Possible
Amy Adams (Doubt) Possible
Taraji P. Henson (Benjamin Button) Unsure
Tilda Swinton (Benjamin Button) Unsure
Cate Blanchett (Benjamin Button) Unsure
Kate Winslet (The Reader) Unsure
Supporting Actor Chances
Heath Ledger (Dark Knight) Lock
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt) Likely
Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) Possible
James Franco (Milk) Possible
Josh Brolin (Milk) Possible
Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) Possible
Robert Downey, Jr. (Tropic Thunder) Possible
Eddie Marsan (Happy Go Lucky) Possible
Liev Schreiber (Defiance) Unsure
Ralph Fiennes (The Reader) Unsure
Director Chances
David Fincher (Benjamin Button) Likely
Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) Likely
Jonathan Demme (Rachel Getting Married) Possible
Gus Van Sant (Milk) Possible
Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road) Possible
Christopher Nolan (Dark Knight) Possible
John Patrick Shanley (Doubt) Possible
Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon) Possible
Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) Possible
Mike Leigh (Happy Go Lucky) Possible
Thomas McCarthy (The Visitor) Possible
Baz Luhrmann (Australia) Possible
Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino) Unsure
Stephen Daldry (The Reader) Unsure
Adapted Screenplay Chances
Eric Roth (Benjamin Button) Likely
Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) Likely
Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road) Likely
John Patrick Shanley (Doubt) Likely
Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon) Likely
Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan (Dark Knight) Possible
David Hare (The Reader) Unsure
Original Screenplay Chances
Woody Allen (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) Likely
Robert Siegel (The Wrestler) Likely
Dustin Lance Black (Milk) Likely
Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon (WALL-E) Possible
Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married) Possible
Thomas McCarthy (The Visitor) Possible
Baz Luhrmann, et al (Australia) Possible
Mike Leigh (Happy Go Lucky) Possible
Philippe Claudel (I’ve Loved You So Long) Possible
Charlie Kaufman (Synecdoche, New York) Possible
Nick Schenk (Gran Torino) Unsure
Grant Nieporte (Seven Pounds) Unsure

2007 in Film

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

The 2007 movie year has officially closed for business with a surprisingly decent Academy Awards ceremony. Kyla and I have put together our individual lists of the best films and performances of ’07, same as we did last year.

Here they are:

10 Best Films of 2007
Rich’s Picks
Kyla’s Picks
  1. The Diving Bell & The Butterfly
  2. Atonement
  3. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
  4. No Country for Old Men
  5. There Will Be Blood
  6. Michael Clayton
  7. Once
  8. The Savages
  9. American Gangster
  10. Ratatouille
  1. Atonement
  2. There Will Be Blood
  3. Gone Baby Gone
  4. Once
  5. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  6. The Darjeeling Limited
  7. Zodiac
  8. No Country for Old Men
  9. The Savages
  10. Eastern Promises
10 Best Leading Male Performances of 2007
Rich’s Picks
Kyla’s Picks
  1. James McAvoy (Atonement)
  2. Philip Seymour Hoffman (Before the Devil…)
  3. Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
  4. Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah)
  5. George Clooney (Michael Clayton)
  6. Ryan Gosling (Lars and the Real Girl)
  7. Frank Langella (Starting Out in the Evening)
  8. Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell…)
  9. Russell Crowe (3:10 to Yuma)
  10. Denzel Washington (American Gangster)
  1. James McAvoy (Atonement)
  2. Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
  3. Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
  4. Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
  5. Christian Bale (3:10 to Yuma)
  6. Glen Hansard (Once)
  7. Gordon Pinsent (Away From Her)
  8. Russell Crowe (3:10 to Yuma)
  9. George Clooney (Michael Clayton)
  10. Frank Langella (Starting Out in the Evening)
10 Best Leading Female Performances of 2007
Rich’s Picks
Kyla’s Picks
  1. Laura Linney (The Savages)
  2. Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
  3. Ellen Page (Juno)
  4. Keri Russell (Waitress)
  5. Anamaria Marinca (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days)
  6. Markéta Irglová (Once)
  7. Julie Christie (Away From Her)
  8. Keira Knightley (Atonement)
  9. Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up)
  10. Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age)
  1. Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
  2. Markéta Irglová (Once)
  3. Laura Linney (The Savages)
  4. Keri Russell (Waitress)
  5. Julie Christie (Away From Her)
  6. Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd)
  7. Anamaria Marinca (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days)
  8. Ellen Page (Juno)
  9. Keira Knightley (Atonement)
  10. Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age)
10 Best Supporting Male Performances of 2007
Rich’s Picks
Kyla’s Picks
  1. Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)
  2. Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
  3. Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War)
  4. Tommy Lee Jones (No Country for Old Men)
  5. Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James…)
  6. Homayoun Ershadi (The Kite Runner)
  7. Albert Finney (Before the Devil…)
  8. Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood)
  9. Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac)
  10. Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild)
  1. Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood)
  2. Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James…)
  3. Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
  4. Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War)
  5. Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac)
  6. Robert Downey Jr. (Zodiac)
  7. Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)
  8. Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma)
  9. Tommy Lee Jones (No Country for Old Men)
  10. Philip Bosco (The Savages)
10 Best Supporting Female Performances of 2007
Rich’s Picks
Kyla’s Picks
  1. Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)
  2. Romola Garai (Atonement)
  3. Catherine Keener (Into the Wild)
  4. Jennifer Garner (Juno)
  5. Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
  6. Emily Mortimer (Lars and the Real Girl)
  7. Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There)
  8. Kelly Macdonald (No Country for Old Men)
  9. Laura Vasiliu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days)
  10. Marisa Tomei (Before the Devil…)
  1. Romola Garai (Atonement)
  2. Jennifer Garner (Juno)
  3. Lauren Ambrose (Starting Out in the Evening)
  4. Saoirse Ronan (Atonement)
  5. Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
  6. Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
  7. Lili Taylor (Starting Out in the Evening)
  8. Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)
  9. Emily Mortimer (Lars and the Real Girl)
  10. Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There)

Final Predictions

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Whether the Oscars happen or not, nominations will be announced in five days. That means it’s time to end the guessing and place my final bets. Here we go (expected winners in bold):

Into the Wild
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

P.T. Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd)
Ethan & Joel Coen (No Country for Old Men)
Sean Penn (Into the Wild)
Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell & the Butterfly)

George Clooney (Michael Clayton)
Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd)
Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild)
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)

Julie Christie (Away From Her)

Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose)
Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart)
Laura Linney (The Savages)
Ellen Page (Juno)

Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James…)
Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War)
Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild)
Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)

Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There)

Ruby Dee (American Gangster)
Catherine Keener (Into the Wild)
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)

Original Screenplay
Diablo Cody (Juno)
Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton)
Tamara Jenkins (The Savages)
Kelly Masterson (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead)
Nancy Oliver (Lars and the Real Girl)

Adapted Screenplay
P.T. Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
Ethan & Joel Coen (No Country for Old Men)
Christopher Hampton (Atonement)
Ronald Harwood (The Diving Bell & the Butterfly)
Sean Penn (Into the Wild)

I probably have no business making guesses in the other various categories, but I’m going to anyway (except for the short film ones, because I don’t even know what the candidates would be): (more…)

Yet More Oscar stuff

Friday, December 21st, 2007

A lot of precursor awards announced in the last week or two — Golden Globe and SAG noms being the big ones. A few significant updates to what’s looking like one of the most potentially interesting Oscar seasons in a while.

Best Actor might be the toughest category to predict this year. Daniel Day-Lewis and George Clooney are looking like sure things at this point, and the race might end up neck and neck between those two. Right now DDL has the momentum. Emile Hirsch has rocketed into the top tier after Into the Wild‘s huge showing at the SAGs, and more people than I expected are remembering Viggo Mortensen’s amazing performance in Eastern Promises. Despite the SAG’s snub of Johnny Depp, his reviews and popularity lead me to believe he’s still more likely to receive an Oscar nod than Ryan Gosling. Denzel and James McAvoy are hanging in there, but the SAG definitely hurt their chances. In any case, I’m very certain the five nominees will come from that pool of eight.

For Best Actress, Julie Christie and Marion Cotillard are the two definites, with Christie currently leading for a movie nobody saw (man, no one is going to watch the Oscars this year, are they). Ellen Page is a good bet as well for her raved-about performance in the indie comedy Juno. Angelina Jolie is a level down, but she’s Angelina Jolie and she’s in the mix for the Globes and SAGs, so expect the Academy to select her, too. That leaves only one tough call in this category — Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, or Keira Knightley in the fifth spot? It’s really anyone’s guess right now, but Blanchett got the SAG’s vote and so that’s what I’m going with for now.

The Supporting Actor category has been set for a while now — Javier Bardem’s terrifying turn as killer Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men is the safest bet in this entire race. It is extremely likely he wins, and there is no chance he does not get nominated whatsoever. Casey Affleck has shown up on pretty much everybody’s list for his role in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, so he’s in. Same for Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton. Hal Holbrook, while not an absolute certainty, is very likely to take the aged veteran spot in this crowd. The fifth spot seemed to be going to Philip Seymour Hoffman, who gave three superb performances this year, but lately there’s a big push to get Tommy Lee Jones in there for No Country as his lead in In the Valley of Elah has lost its buzz. It’ll be one of those two.

Supporting Actress is the weakest category this year. Amy Ryan is the most popular pick to win, and Cate Blanchett looks poised to have a two-nom year (supporting for I’m Not There, lead for Elizabeth: The Golden Age). Tilda Swinton has made about every precursor to date, and Ruby Dee is looking like the Hal Holbrook of this category. Fifth spot will be either young Saoirse Ronan or Catherine Keener, and I’m saying Keener right now following the SAG’s Atonement dis.

The Best Director Oscar will no doubt go to Joel and Ethan Coen, and Joe Wright’s work on Atonement has been roundly praised. The Academy has never been warm to Tim Burton, but many are calling Sweeney Todd his best work and I’m not sure that can be ignored. For stupid reasons The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (one of the most well reviewed films of the year) is not eligible in the Foreign film category, but director Julian Schnabel will probably get recognition here. Fifth spot is a tough one — Paul Thomas Anderson for his challenging epic There Will Be Blood? Sidney Lumet for adding another masterpiece to his unbelievably long and impressive resume? Sean Penn because the Academy (and SAG) love Sean Penn? Right now I’m saying Ridley Scott for the fantastic American Gangster, but don’t hold me to it.

And finally, Best Picture. No Country for Old Men is the most well reviewed movie of 2007 and will be nominated. Atonement is the most Academy-friendly film, and the reviews are good enough to assure it a spot. American Gangster and Into the Wild have the most momentum right now, and I don’t believe either will be left out. This is really looking like the big four at the moment – but it could all change tomorrow. Seriously, there’s a huge amount of unpredictability for Best Pic this year. It seems like Juno will probably get a nomination, but the same could be said for Michael Clayton and Sweeney Todd and There Will Be Blood and what’s this about 3:10 to Yuma suddenly making a comeback??? Then we’ve got Charlie Wilson’s War, Diving Bell, Kite Runner, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, The Savages, Eastern Promises, The Great Debaters, Hairspray… you can’t rule any of these out yet. Okay, maybe Hairspray. I hope. In any case, this is what makes the whole thing fun. Who will win? No Country for Old Men has everything going for it, so I’ll stick with it for now.

Full prediction chart after the break. (more…)

Oscar Season Updates

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

The first 2007 movie awards that matter were announced yesterday, by the National Board of Review. These are the first real hints at what some of the Oscar nominees might look like, and there were some pretty huge surprises.

Many supposed contenders were omitted from the Board’s “Top Ten Films” list (American Gangster being the biggest), while some movies with very little awards buzz made the cut (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bucket List). Some potential nominees had their Oscar hopes raised significantly: by taking “Best Actor,” George Clooney is suddenly very much in the running for what might be the toughest category to pick. Casey Affleck and Julie Christie have cemented their status as nominees in supporting categories (for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Away From Her, respectively). Perhaps the biggest winner is Sweeney Todd — Tim Burton upset the competition to win “Best Director,” while the musical itself was named one of the year’s best.

Some old favorites remain favorites — by taking “Best Film,” No Country for Old Men officially has zero chance of being snubbed for an Oscar nom (despite the teenager sitting behind me in the theater who left complaining it was “the most pointless movie since I Heart Huckabees”). Atonement, which may be more traditionally Oscar-friendly, continues to look strong. It’s clear that this year Juno is the little indie that could, and if the Academy wishes it to be this year’s Little Miss Sunshine, then so it shall be.

Below the cut I’ve charted my predictions, and how they’ve shifted since November. (more…)