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87th Oscars. The Oscar Contenders of 2014 - For prediction, discussion and entertainment purposes only. This is not a endorsement of quality work, especially since no one has seen the pictures yet!

 discuss on the blog

Best Picture Predictions - September 18th
Four tiers here and no stampeding frontrunner. How many nominees will we get this year?

The Imitation Game
(Weinstein Co)
Nov 21st

Boyhood
(IFC Films)
July
Theory of Everything
(Focus Features)
Nov 7th
Foxcatcher
(SPC)
Nov 17th
Birdman
(Fox Searchlight)
Oct 17th

REVIEW

Fascinating true story and a WWII story at that. Cumberbatch still needs to make good on the internet obsession with him (as a leading actor for features) and TWC will be looking to come back strong this year. Could be a little gay for some voters. But the trailer looks Oscar-Baity 

 

REVIEW

Oscar loves stories about women in love with complicated brilliant men (most obvious example: A Beautiful Mind), they love a biopic, and they could use a dose of fresh blood. None of the people here are yet Oscar players. Can this Stephen Hawking marital bio do it? 

REVIEW

IFC Films have done a brilliant job thus far at making the movie an event. There will be nothing else like it this year. Its emotional effect is primarily cumulative so it won't play as well if people watch its three hours in installments on screeners

 

 

REVIEW

Fascinating true story. Actors at the right moments in their careers for awards madness and a very solid previously nominated director (Bennett miller) still waiting for his signature 'he's a master' movie  Could be a little chilly for voters 

Early word is very positive, the trailers went over sensationally well and the film looks to be one-of-a-kind, designed to look like one continuous shot a la "Rope" or "Russian Ark" Could be a little meta for some voters. And "clever" stylized movies sometimes dont work for AMPAS

Second Tier - Also looking strong
Gone Girl
(Fox)
Oct 3rd
Interstellar
(Paramount)
Nov 7th
Selma
(Paramount)
Dec 25th

Wild
(Fox Searchlight)
Dec 5th

Fury
(Columbia)
Oct 17th
 

Thrillers are never sure things with Oscar but this one's got the prestige factor since Gillian Flynn is a hot author right now and David Fincher is a master. But given the genre it'll need to be a big hit to compete.

 

Even though Oscar has always passed on him in the director category, they like Chris Nolan's movies. They like them a lot. And there seems to be no serious genre rivals this year. How long will Nolan be able to keep his hot-streak going or was The Dark Knight Rises a warning sign?

Paramount can be a  formidable campaigner and this will likely be substantive but will the release garner enough attention with a director and lead who, while enormously talented, are not widely know? I'd feel more optimistic if it wasn't waiting til Christmas to open.

 REVIEW

Jean-Marc Vallee just made Dallas Buyers Club and Oscar history suggests that when you're hot you're hot. Can this one woman trek move people enough or will it just be fighting for acting kudos?


The trailer from this once-iffy project was surprisingly strong, moody, and beautiful looking. The cast is great and the early hype has begun. It will need critical attention since its from a very well worn genre. Is it special enough?

Third Tier - With the right campaign and response...

Unbroken
(Universal)
Dec 25th
Grand Budapest Hotel
(Fox Searchlight)
Mar 28th
Into the Woods
(Disney)
Dec 25th
A Most Violent Year
(A24)
Nov 12th
Big Eyes
(Weinstein Co)
Dec 25th 
 

WW II survival epic with Olympics inspiration thrown in sounds like it was created in a lab specifically for Oscar love. The trailer looks a little shameless with its "triumph of human spirit"isms, though. But Oscar ain't against shameless. I might be underestimating it

It's one of the biggest critical hits of the year and the box office take suggests its more accessible than previous Anderson films. Or maybe the audience has caught up to him. It would sure make an unusually manic and mannered Best Picture nominee but it's not out of the question.

One of the greatest stage musicals ever written. Plus a cast that veritably demands that the media drools for a whole month. But people hated Marshall's last movie and dark fairy tale movies are ubiquitous now dulling the unique factor - can this movie surprise everyone and become a threat?

A24 isn't exactly an Oscar powerhouse but J.C. Chandor is building an interesting rangey reputation and has a great cast for this 80s family crime drama. It could be a surprise success, especially if the performances are lively and it catches the acting branch's eye.

Weinstein Co agression + Tim Burton vision (think Ed Wood artist bio) + Tim Burton super famous but rarely honored + Amy Adams still waiting for Oscar = Oscar magnetism. Unless it's not very good or there's Adams/Waltz fatigue. Which there might be.

Fourth Tier - I'm doubtful. Others are more hopeful

Inherent Vice
(Warner Bros)
Dec 12th
Mr Turner
(SPC)
TBA

Vote Siphoning From... ?
Love is Strange | Pride | Noah | Dawn of the Planet of the Apes | Exodus: Gods and Kings | Rosewater | Maps to the Stars |  Whiplash | Men Women and Children | Guardians of the Galaxy | Still Alice

Looking at 2015
Release Dates Shaky and/or Non-existent
Carol | Far From The Madding Crowd | Macbeth | Suffragette
Queen of the Desert | Midnight Special | Mommy | A Little Chaos
Pawn Sacrifice | The Water Diviner | Dark Places | Mojave | True Story

 Paul Thomas Anderson is a genius but will the lighter comic touches and outre characters make this an oddity they don't get like Punch-Drunk love? I suspect it's all or nothing with this picture in terms of Oscar play  Mike Leigh is deeply respected by the Academy. His previous period pieces (Vera Drake & Topsy Turvy) won multiple nods. But that Cannes enthusiasm seems to fading. Needs its second wind soon.

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