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10th Anniversary: A SERIOUS MAN

"I have never seen a film that mixes laugh-out-loud comedy so intimately with dead serious philosophical questioning. It packs so much into its short runtime. " - Dr strange

"This movie is one of my favorites - Michael Stuhlbarg the biggest reason, he's so heartbreakingly fantastically good in everything." -Rebecca

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Directors (For Sama)
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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91st Oscars. Oscar Contenders of 2018 (for the 2019 Ceremony) - For prediction, discussion, entertainment purposes only

 discuss on the blog

Rami Malek

Christian Bale
45 yrs old | 44 films | 4th nomination | 1 win

Dec 21st
Box Office: $46+

Role: Dick Cheney, ruthless politician amassing incredible power on the sly and using it for evil

Awards won: Critics Choice x 2, Globe, and 6 regional or specialty critics orgs

Trailer | More Bale


Bradley Cooper

44 yrs old | 34 films | 4th nom in acting

Oct 5th
Box Office: $210+

Role: Jackson Maine, a depressed rock star who finds love and new hope, briefly, with a rising singer/songwriter

Awards won: 4 regional or specialty critics orgs

Review | Podcast  | More Cooper

Willem Dafoe

63 yrs old | 95 films | 4th nomination

Nov 16th
Box Office: $2+

Role: The mentally disturbed Vincent Van Gogh during his time in

Awards won: Venice Volpi Cup, Satellite

Review | More Dafoe

★ Rami Malek
37 yrs old | 15 films | 1st nom & 1st win

Nov 2nd
Box Office: $212+

Role: Freddie Mercury, singer, who becomes a household name rockstar before his untimely death from AIDS complications.

Awards won: Globe, SAG, AACTA, CinEuphoria, Palm Springs tribute, Satellite, and 3 regional or specialty critics orgs


Review  | Podcast | More Malek

Viggo Mortensen
60 yrs old | 48 films | 3rd nomination!

Nov 21st
Box Office: $67+

Role: Tony Lip, an Italian bouncer/chauffeur driving a black classical pianist around the deep south in the 1960s.

Awards won: NBR, Boston Festival, Palm Springs & Santa Barbara Tributes, and 1 regional or specialty critics orgs

Review | Podcast 
More Mortensen

How'd he get nominated?
25% Role/Transformation Oscar cannot get enough of celebrities pretending to be famous people -- especially if they do it in a physical way like weight gains, or prosthetics
24% Preaching to the choir politics
20% Performance. Good mimicry plus Bale's gift with gravitas and mystery
19% He's Christian Bale and his brilliance is assumed before a single scene plays. That helps with latebreaking films and
10% receny effect
9% Best Picture heat
8% Amy Adams
30% Best Picture and box office heat = media frenzy around his directorial debut and sensational chemistry with Gaga
25% Performance. Deep. Vulnerable. Musical.
14% Role. Oscar resists men in romantic dramas, but they've always loved alcoholic artists.
11% Precursor love
9% The masterstroke of stealing Sam Elliott's voice.
7% Producing? Writing? Starring? Directing? Songwriting? "Is there anything he can't do?"
4% Sex appeal
50% Role. If there's one thing Oscar loves above all else, it's biopics. Even better if the biopic is about a famous artist.
25% Performance. Great reviews
11% Overdue momentum - sorry about The Florida Project
10% Industry respect. Works all the time and has worked with everyone.
4% Voters didn't see Ethan Hawke in First Reformed or didn't quite love JDW in BlacKkKlansman? I dunno. Reaching for straws here.
52% Role. Love for the iconic Freddie Mercury and Queen's beloved songs.
15% Genuine box office phenomenon + unexpected Best Pic heat
13% Got a lot of credit, rightly or wrongly, for the film surviving Bryan Singer.
12% Performance. Trying his damndest +  Oscar loves a prosthetic gimmick (see fake teeth)
8% Heteronormative appeal of the movie's POV. Oscar is notoriously straight and conservative when it comes to queer people.

26% Best Picture heat.
24% Role. Oscar loves real life characters but Tony Lip is also a "character" so it's a best of both worlds scenario.
23% Performance. It's an against type comic turn from a revered actor who usually does heavier more dramatic work.
12% Chemistry with Mahershala Ali
11% Lockstep precursor support despite the movie taking so long to catch on
4% Easy to digest racial harmony messaging for a lot of voters (despite othrs  finding it reductive) 
web survey


Who will win?

 The race appears to have narrowed to Christian Bale vs Rami Malek. At the moment we're suspecting Malek takes it but there's still time for Bale to rally. If Malek wins BAFTA though it's surely all over. 


Who should win?

 The answer to this is obviously Bradley Cooper, who has quite absurdly won no major prizes for his bset ever performance despite running circles around the four rivals, who have all won major prizes and MORE prizes. It's been a strange season. On the other hand it's hard for male actors to win awards for romantic dramas because they tend to be more sensitive performances and that's only valued with female actors (as statistics bear out)


Who was left out?

 Precursor-wise John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) was probably a near miss given the attention his work received from other organizations before Oscar. The travesty snub, though, was surely Ethan Hawke (First Reformed) who utterly dominated the critics awards for his best ever performance in First Reformed. That he didn't show up on the Oscar list is a stain on the Academy that won't look good for them film-history wise. 


Trivia on the Contenders!

 • His zodiac sign is Aquarius

• He shares a birthday with Dick Cheney, who he portrays. No, really!

• His Oscar is for Supporting Actor (The Fighter) so if he wins lead he joins a very small group of men who "graduated" to Lead wins AFTER winning supporting: the only others are Jack Lemmon, Denzel Washington, Robert De Niro, and Kevin Spacey... though two more male actors also have Oscars from both categories (though they did it in the opposite order):  Jack Nicholson, and Gene Hackman.

Vice is his fourth time in a Best Picture nominee. the others are The Big Short, American Hustle, and The Fighter.  There probably would have been a fifth but for the fact that in ye olden times of his debut (Empire of the Sun ) there were only 5 nominees

 • His zodiac sign is Capricorn

• The tallest of the Best Actor nominees at 6'1" but curiously the Best Supporting Actor list is even taller.

• He's now been nominated for 7 Oscars across 4 different categories (within the fields of producing, acting, and writing, all three of which he scored in again with this movie). He has yet to win one for anything. (We believe the record among movie stars for most categories they've been nominated in across their career is Warren Beatty who has 5 different categories worth of  nominations)

• Though Willem Dafoe is also, famously, a theater actor (with the Wooster Group), Cooper is the only Best Actor nominee that has also been on Broadway. He was Tony-nominated for The Elephant Man in 2015

• Has starred in four Best Picture nominees American Sniper, American Hustle, A Star is Born, Silver Linings Playbook

• His zodiac sign is Cancer (on the cusp of Leo)

• Vincent Van Gogh was only 5'7" so Dafoe has two inches on his character 

• This is his first Best Actor nod though he's been nominated three times in Best Supporting Actor. 

• Has starred in more Best Picture nominees than any other nominee (six) this year. This is particular impressive because almost all of them were from the time when there were only 5 BP nominees in a year. The films were: Platoon, Mississippi Burning, Born on the Fourth of July, The English Patient, The Aviator, and The Grand Budapest Hotel

 • Zodiac sign is Taurus (Freddie Mercury was a Virgo)

• He's the only first time nominee but none of his competitors (including Christian Bale) have ever won Best Actor.

• He and Dafoe are the shortest of the lead actor nominees at 5'9" each. Freddie Mercury was a smidge taller at 5'10"

• This is his first time starring in a Best Picture nominee

 • Zodiac sign is Libra

Green Book never mentions this but his character Tony Lip became an actor, playing crime bosses in famous work like The Sopranos and Goodfellas. 

• Quadrilingual. He speaks Danish, French, Spanish and English fluently. He's used all but French in various movie roles.

• Has co-starred in 5 Best Picture nominees, all three Lord of the Rings pictures, Witness, and Green Book