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« Balls | Main | 2 Days 'til Emmy Awards: Fantasy Mash-Ups »
Sunday
Aug242014

182 days 'til Oscar

Which power couple will be obsessing over in just six months time? The 87th Oscars approach and as long as the movies have been around there have been fabulously wealthy and glamorous movie star couples. Take Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks for instance, the original celebrity power couple. If you must know (I know you are too shy to ask) my favorite films of theirs are His: The Thief of Bagdad (1924) and Hers: Stella Maris (1918) though admittedly I have many more left to see.

Fairbanks & Pickford were married in 1920 when both were superstars, he the original Zorro and she Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and other big hits. He famously gave Pickford "The Star of Bombay," a 182-carat sapphire which was not actually from Bombay but from Sri Lanka. She later bequeathed it to the Smithsonian where it remains. There's your priceless (okay, $½ million in today's dollars) piece of trivia for the day. You're welcome.

Pickford (the original "America's Sweetheart") and Fairbanks (the original "King of Hollywood") were among the 36 co-founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Fairbanks served as its first President and both would eventually receive Honorary Oscars with Mary also winning a regular statuette for Coquette). Could they have ever imagined how obsessive we'd all be about their little annual banquets 87 years later? 

At the 86th Oscars, contemporary Hollywood's most glamorous megastar couple Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt famously ate a pizza (well, he did) but they were also honored. She took home an Honorary (albeit non televised. argh) and he won his first competitive Oscar for producing 12 Years a Slave. They could theoretically both take home Oscars again if Fury and Unbroken are massive hits with AMPAS and reasonably well liked by audiences. 

Do you think they will be?

CURRENT OSCAR PREDICTIONS (which category needs a major rethink?)

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Reader Comments (22)

Best Actress... Streep can surely knock out one of the last two ☺️

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

At this optimistic stage of the Oscar season, I see both Unbroken and Selma getting nominations for Best Picture, and Jolie and DuVernay getting noms for Best Director. They both have a strong male lead, and are stories about men. They also look like livelier and more interesting films than some of the others considered front runners.

They wouldn't win, of course, but they could be pointed to as an example of being forward thinking without actually having to give it a prize.

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Streep could probably even win if she did supporting, don't you think? Also I think Julianne is supporting too in Maps. Sometimes I'm okay with category fraud.... :)

Chastain in Miss Julie could be phenomenal.

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

That depends - how much do critics ignore the first two thirds of the year (that gave us Ida, Only Lovers Left Alive, Under the Skin, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood). Right now, I'd say the last two are strong bets for nominations unless the critics absolutely forget them (I'd actually pencil in Wes Anderson ahead of Christopher Nolan)

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

I have made my feelings known about your early pedestrian picks. The season seems so weak until the fall festivals have their say about what will have legs as contenders this season. I think the best thing about this season is that there is no front runner in sight. Everything is a blank canvas of possibility and preference at this early stage.

I wish you wouldn't underestimate PT Anderson. But you're going off the shutout of The Master from all other branches outside the actors' branch. Of course that would mean Joaquin Phoenix should be much higher on your Best Actor prediction chart.

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

"Unbroken" has all the elements of a Best Picture Nominee- epic period film making, triumph of the human spirit, it's a sports movie and a prisoner of war drama- it's " Chariots of Stalag 17" or"Band of Running Brothers"

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I think you should be thinking about Katherine Waterston in BSA for Inherent Vice. Been hearing from multiple people she steals the show. Also I don't see Williams or Jones having much impact in BA.

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

I echo those saying that you're underestimating Unbroken. That trailer is magnificent. O'Connell is intensely good and, whether or not he gets a nomination, he can definitely carry a movie. I'll be shocked if it joins the long list of anticipated frontrunners-turned-failures.

I'm also starting to think more highly of Wild (bias alert: this is my favorite type of story, but realistically, Vallee has some goodwill) and Selma, which you've predicted nicely throughout.

I don't know what to make of The Imitation Game. It looks so boring, to be honest, and there will be so many other WWII-themed movies this year. On the other hand, it has TWC behind it so you never know...

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Arquette should be top 5. Into the Woods is not going to score two Supporting Actress nominations. It's not going to be a frontrunner like Chicago.

Personally, I'll be rather surprised if Jolie makes the Best Director cut. Affleck couldn't do it and he had three acclaimed movies under his belt. And Streisand never did it, either.

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

That's why they can never split up... I mean, who else would Brad & Angelina go to? I bet Jay-Z and Beyonce are having the same thoughts.

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Best Actress: I suspect Streep will be amazing in ITW. She shoud be in
The top 5 me thinks...

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark

It seems like Brad has a better crack at it than Angelina but it really is too early too say.

I agree with you Nathaniel that The Thief of Bagdad is Fairbanks best, although I haven't seen many of his but the few others I have are not nearly as good. For Mary Pickford, My Best Girl and Sparrows were decent but I haven't seen Stella Maris or much of her other work aside from a couple of her talkies where she wasn't at her best.

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

It's been a boring year and nothing is really leading the pack or even buzzing outside the tech areas and not just for those who follow film. There's no "Have you seen?" or "I can't wait to see....." water cooler talk and THR reports that none of the trailers released last week made it into the top ten on You Tube. That can't be comforting for the industry. If a film doesn't hit soon, it's going to be chaos in Dec and some very good films and performances will be passed over.

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I like your Pic nominations.

I don't think Into the Woods, Unbroken or Wild will be good enough to get into best picture, so I think you are right to leave these out of the Top 10 for now.

I'd also switch out Theory of Everything from every category that you have it predicted in. I don't see it getting a best Picture (trailer looks bad), Best Actor (too young & gimmicky), Best Actress (she's beautiful but I have my doubts about her talent AND the complexities of the role and the film itself) and a Best Screenplay nomination. I'd bet on it being a major miss across the board with another film, maybe Inherent Vice?, taking up some of those nominations.

Even if Inherent Vice falls a bit flat, with the director's track record and that cast, I have a hard time believing it will be snubbed completely in the acting categories.

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

Michelle Williams should probably knocked out by now? No release date, no appearances at any fall festivals = D.O.A

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGalinka

I'd never heard of Stella Maris - will seek it out

I do quite like The Thief of Bagdad... though I must admit it has a lot to do with the Torso of Baghdad

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergoran

I smell a disaster in Big Eyes. Critics will pan this movie like there is no tomorrow. Tim Burton is like Martin Scorsese. Repeating themselves to movie death

Meryl Streep is NOT gonna be nominated. Please don't. Please the Academy. Listen to me!

Gonna root for Ralph Fiennes until my last breath. Same with Jessica Chastain in Miss Julie. She looks phenomenal. So does Farrell and Morton. Looks like Liv Ullmann brings out the best in her actors ( Blanchett as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire) is a VErY good example

Patricia Arquette is a shoe-in for a Best Supporting Actress nom

Ida is such a marvelous minimalistic movie. Is great to watch a movie without a manipulate score. I hope Poland nominate this movie

Michael Fassbender was very good in Frank and so was Maggie Gyllenhaal. But they will be forgotten come nomination day

Im starting to diss Gone Girl in my head so I would go in the theatre with very low expectations. I always have skyrock high expectations when David Fincher is involved

This year the critics will be all over the place when it comes to best picture, best director and most certainly best actor

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

I think this a wide open year for BP and the Acting categories, my top 5 male lead performances so far:
1.Nicolas Cage Joe
2. Mark Ruffalo Begin Again
3.Brendan Gleeson Calvary
4.Tom Hardy Locke
5. Chandler Rylko The Toy Soldiers
My top 5 Female Lead Performances so far:
1.Zoe Kazan The Pretty One
2. Shailene Woodley A Fault in The Stars
3. Keira Knightley Begin Again
4. Najarra Townsend The Toy Soldiers
5.Jenny Slate Obvious Child

There plenty more to see so some of these will change

August 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdavid

Nathaniel, thoughts on Julianne Moore in "Still Alice". If it gets picked up and she gets the reviews, do you think she could take it? (overdue + "weak" year + MTTS love)?

August 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeigh

I've gotten rather late interested in Oscars.
I was happy 2004 when Finding Nemo won best animated Feature, because I loved it so much.
Or in 2006 I was wishing Meryl good luck for TDWP, but I knew no one could win against Helen Mirren's Queen Elisabeth the 2nd.
I've watched the show in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. I refused to watch in 2012 because I didn't wanted to see my golden lady loosing again and ironically this was were she (surprisingly for most of us) actually won again.
It's crazy. There are about 6000 people (of more than 7 billion people worldwide) decide what's "the best". It's art, not sport. (though it's not like sports are "clean" these days)
It will always be subjective.
Nevertheless we love the glamour, the dresses, the winning moments, the speeches.
It took quite a one way to infect me, but it did.
As for this year I'd root for Amy Adams, but it seems I'm always (well nearly always) rooting for the looser. I'd so have loved it if Big Eyes was Tim Burtons path to former glory again, but it seems like it isn't. *sigh*
Still I'm waiting for actual "real" reviews.
And as for Meryl I'm just not sure about ITW. Though from what I've seen so far (stills and teaser trailers), it looks "darker" than most people thought.
I do think she'll be a shoo in for Ricky and the Flash next year. Yepp, definitely.

August 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

I think Supporting Actress needs a re-think...love you as I do Nathaniel, I can't see any compelling reason why Blunt, Kendrick, or Knightley stand a chance as of right now...and I feel like Emma Stone is in the right place career-wise, but what if the role isn't impactful enough? I'd offer this ranking:

1. Chastain - A Most Violent Year (perhaps lead...)
2. Arquette - Boyhood
3. Garner - Men, Women, and Children
4. Waterston - Inherent Vice
5. Greer - Men, Women, and Children
6. Stone - Birdman
7. Thomas - My Old Lady
8. Jones - Theory of Everything (perhaps lead...)
9. Davis - Get On Up
10. Blunt - Into the Woods
11. Dern - Wild
12. Kendrick - Into the Woods
13. Knightley - Imitation Game
14. Staunton - Pride
15. Ejogo - Selma (or Toussaint? Who has the best role?)

August 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean D

Cinematography: Grand Budapest

August 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoel v

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