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Saturday
Sep222018

Best Actress - New Oscar Chart

by Nathaniel R

Beware the premature envelopers! The Best Actress race is far from over and it's very exciting. I still suspect that Glenn Close wins IF nominated but Lady Gaga could IF nominated (though we suspect she's just winning Best Song despite the early hoopla). And who knows, perhaps Olivia Colman in The Favourite will go lead (we still have her in the supporting chart) and from early reports she could also win IF nominated. Then you have Carey Mulligan and Melissa McCarthy, both arguably doing the best work of their careers. Nicole Kidman, Emma Stone, Emily Blunt, Toni Colette and Viola Davis all in very flashy roles or high profile films and Yalitza Aparicio as a highly sympathetic debut in a critical favorite. 

The grid above shows you what we predict are the current top ten (alpha order) but a lot can change once the movies... 

  1. Face the public
  2. Fine tune their Oscar campaigns and press play/
  3. Meet the first wave of precursors which will generally shun some worthy competitors and embrace others and in ways that are not always easy to predict until suddenly everyone is doing the same thing and it is.

Ah the agony and joy of Awards Season. It's not much further away. One thing is for certain. If any competitors from the first half of the year want to reemerge or move up the chart, they need a strong campaign. Only Toni Collette in Hereditary remains in the top ten from the year's first half and it's not because other contenders (Elsie Fisher, Charlie Theron, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Pfeiffer, etcetera... ) didn't do fine work, too. It's just people have short memories and they like shiny new toys.

UPDATED OSCAR CHARTS: Actress, Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Foreign Film

Saturday
Sep222018

Supporting Actress - New Oscar Chart

by Nathaniel R

Continuing the chart updates to reflect this post-festival world, Supporting Actress is now redone with new images and new rankings and new text. The major change is that I've thoroughly convinced myself that Elizabeth Debicki will nab her first nomination for Widows. In some ways she has the biggest character arc, and it's a very large role that still is a supporting one (and screen time really counts as you know) and she has interesting screen chemistry of all types with her primary scene partners (Viola Davis, Lukas Haas, Jon Bernthal, and Jacki Weaver). Plus she's one of the most exciting new actresses working and there's usually someone newish in a lineup. Of course to include her I've had to drop Amy Adams out of the predictions for her Second Lady role in Vice which might be foolhardy. On the other hand, Oscar eventually falls out of obsessive love with every actor (unless their name is Meryl Streep).

Check out the new chart

ICYMI: Supporting Actor and Leading Actor are also revamped

Friday
Sep212018

Strong Contenders from Iceland, Denmark, and Lebanon

by Nathaniel R

We're now up to 67 entries for Oscar's Best Foreign Language Film category. We're about two weeks away from the official announcement from the Academy which is typically about 90 films long. The latest announcements:

  • Bulgaria - Omnipresent 
    Drama about a man spying on neighbors and employees with hidden cameras. No US distribution yet.
  • Canada - Watch Dog 
    This drama stars French-Canadian actor Théodore Pellerin, who has a romantic scene with Lucas Hedges in Boy Erased. This is a very different performance as he's playing a violent troubled young criminal here. No US distribution yet but playing at Chicago Film Festival next month.
  • Denmark - The Guilty
    A crime drama about a kidnapped woman and a police office. Opens in the US on October 18th.
  • France - Memoir of War
    Sad news for the very passionate fans of French family drama Custody. They went with this WW II drama instead. The film stars Melanie Thierry and Benoît Magimel. In limited release in US theaters now.
  • Iceland - Woman at War 
    You already know I love this oddball environmental activist movie! It's from Benedict Erlingsson, a former actor, who with his second film, confirms that he's Iceland's most exciting new director. Magnolia Pictures will release in the US...date TBA
  • Lebanon - Capernaum
    This is widely expected to be Oscar-nominated. But a word of caution always with the foreign category: there are regularly surprises. Nadine Labaki's previous Lebanese submission Where Do We Go Now? was expected to be Oscar-nominated after winning prizes at Cannes and TIFF's People's Choice Award in 2011...but had to settle for a Critics Choice nomination only when the mainstream awards season hit. Opens in the US on December 14th
  • Macedonia - Secret Ingredient
    Dramedy about a man who makes his father a pot cake and soon has neighbors and criminals after him. I believe this is available on HBO Go but will have to double check.
  • Nepal - Panchayat
    Panchayat refers to an old style of local political systems in South Asian countries in which five elders would settle disputes between individuals and villages. No US distribution yet.
  • South Africa - Sew the Winter to my Skin
    An "existentialist-adventure" set in the 1950s about a Robin Hood like outlaw who steals from white settlers and becomes a hero to the indigenous population. No US distributor yet.

If patterns from past years hold we'll see one switcheroo with a different title than was previously announced and one other title will be mysteriously missing due to disqualification or whatnot. So these charts are accurate from press announcements until they're not should unforseen circumstances occur.

FOREIGN PREDICTIONS
Submissions pt 1 - Austria through Estonia
Submissions pt 2 - Finland through Montenegro
Submissions pt 3 - The Netherlands through Venezuela

Friday
Sep212018

And the Skies Are Not Cloudy All Day

At several key moments in Jacques Audiard's hymnal The Sisters Brothers time stands still and we watch a curtain gently shift to and fro in the breeze, mid-day sunlight coloring in its folds, making shade where none just was. Take a moment to smell the roses, the film whispers, because hey you never know if and or when you might get shot right in your face... 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep212018

Months of Meryl: Lions for Lambs (2007)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep.  

 

#38 — Janine Roth, a liberal network journalist faced with an ethical quandary.

JOHNWhen Meryl Streep accepted her Golden Globe for The Devil Wears Prada in January 2007, she divulged a prophecy: “This has been such a fun year to watch movies because of you gals,” she said, citing fellow nominees like Annette Bening, Toni Collette, and Beyoncé. “[It] makes you want to cry with gratitude… until next year.” How could Streep have known that her 2007 would contain some of the most insipid and unwatchable films of her entire career?

In Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs, Streep switches sides from Rendition, her previous War on Terror drama, playing Janine Roth, an investigative journalist given an exclusive scoop by a hawkish, right-wing senator named Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise) about a new military tactic being deployed in Afghanistan. Because Lions for Lambs was made under the same misguided inspiration of everything-is-connected political narratives like Babel, Crash, and Rendition, Streep and Cruise’s conversation is just one of three narrative threads...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep212018

TIFF 2018 Finale. Jury of One: Nathaniel

OKAY WRAPPING UP TIFF NOW. Unless you are on an actual jury at a festival, you see a different set of films than everyone else attending (with a handful of crossovers) so I couldn't corral votes with my festival roomies (Nick, Joe, and Chris -- instead we did a podcast). So I thought it might be fun to share my favorites from the festival in 'nominee' Oscar style. These are not, of course, Oscar predictions or even Film Bitch ballots because not all of the films are guaranteed eligibility this year and we've had 8 months of good movies before these and we'll have 3 months of hopefully good movies afterwards that they'll have to compete with. But here's the achievements within traditional awards categories that thrilled me most at TIFF during that 29 film screening marathon.

They're listed in alpha order (by film) except the actors (by name) and links go to our festival reviews if we managed one -- a few more reviews are half written but we need to wrap up TIFF so expect more on A Star is Born, Beautiful Boy, Border, and more soon as they'll be in theaters within the next few weeks.

TEN BEST FILMS I SAW AT TIFF

"Roma" is rich with endless details and emotional punch

Runners up: Cold War (Poland)

Lots more after the jump including best performances, best visuals, best dogs (yes, really), best original songs and more...

Click to read more ...