Oscar History
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Friday
Sep232016

Thoughts I Had... The "Jumanji" Cast

Chris here. Do you remember 1995's Jumanji? That 90s kids classic still holds up today, so naturally we have a remake coming our way. Stars Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black are no strangers to family entertainment, and they're also bringing along the bankability of Kevin Hart and fan favorite Karen Gillan. Here's a first look at what they have in store:

... and I have some thoughts:

  • What is this Lara Croft ensemble Gillan is giving us? I'm no prude, but oversexualizing the only woman for a kids movie seems a bit much.
  • No seriously, she can't be wearing that little clothes because the jungle is so hot. Jack Black is wearing seventeen layers.
  • Does this crew go inside the game? The point of Jumanji is that the wild comes to you.
  • Johnson and Black have done plenty of family fare, but Kevin Hart is actually an inspired choice for this kind of entertainment. Can you believe The Secret Life of Pets was his first voiceover work?
  • Remember Johnathan Hyde's hunter villain in the original and how Hyde was seemingly the villain in all mid-90s movies? I wonder if we'll get another stock villain actor here too.
  • ... sigh What's Bonnie Hunt up to these days?

Jumanji opens next summer. Do you have fond memories of the original?

Thursday
Sep222016

Review: "The Magnificent Seven"

by Chris Feil

Drawing on the original iterations of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and the 1960 American remake by John Sturges, Antoine Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven arrives as another attempt to reanimate the American western.

Denzel Washington leads this bursting cast as Chisolm, corralling a ragtag mini-militia to help protect a small town from a violent and overbearing tycoon (Peter Sarsgaard). There are familiar faces (Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, Vincent D'Onofrio) and emerging talents (Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Martin Sensmeier) rounding out the Magnificent bunch with more shared attention to each player than you might be anticipating...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep222016

Best Actress - Who will dance with Oscar? 

While Best Actress remains the most impressively competitive category, the buzz has been so deafening on Natalie Portman and Emma Stone's work in Jackie and La La Land respectively, that we have our first acting nomination "locks" of the year. Yes, I hate to use the word so early -- i generally prefer not to use it until after a film has opened -- but in this case it applies.

Short of either of these well loved actresses murdering someone casually or becoming a spokesperson for Trump on his campaign trail their traction for Best Actress is a done deal. Having now seen both pictures it's tough to imagine either of them missing; their movies are probable Best Picture Contenders which hang on their every flickering bit of feeling. And they've both got multiple "clips" galore for award show reels, clips that will look like "of course she won the Oscar!" in retrospect should either of them manage the win.

So spots three through five is where the true competition is. Most people feel that Ruth Negga is a given for Loving -- though how a movie fares in release is often a factor and it's not out yet. One worrying factor is that she's significantly less famous than most of her competition. Everyone is banking on Viola Davis being spectacular in Fences but we must remind everyone (and also ourselves despite our raggedy "Team Viola" t-shirts!) that nobody has seen the picture; history has many examples of stage-to-screen transfers that underwhelmed. Beyond those two we have Oscar regulars like Meryl Streep (always a threat even if she doesn't campaign), Amy Adams (always a threat and always campaigns hard), and Annette Bening (unless the movie is waiting too long to make its move). And then there's "critical darling" possiblities like Isabelle Huppert. I've been harping on this for some time, I know, but I remain convinced that she could happen as a nominee. Natalie & Emma being so far out front actually makes passion votes more important because with both of them sucking up so many votes, other women will need to stick out in the hearts of voters to fight their way in. 

It's also fair to wonder what Globe Comedy/Musical nominations could do to boost profiles of particular actresses. Hmmmm...

GLOBE COMEDY / MUSICAL ACTRESS
the possibilities

Lock-ish
Stone - La La Land
Streep - Florence Foster Jenkins
It's easy to imagine them as nominees...
Field -  Hello My Name is Doris
Beckinsale - Love & Friendship
Winslet - the Dressmaker
But the Globes can surprise. What about...
Huppert -Elle
Sarandon - The Meddler
Zellweger - Bridget Jones's Baby 
anyone else? 

New Best Actress Oscar Prediction Chart. What'cha think?

Thursday
Sep222016

Marion Cotillard Wishes Her Haters "A Swift Recovery"

Guillaume, Marion, and First Child a few months backMarion Cotillard has had it with all the press attention she's getting in the Brangelina divorce. Who knows how the rumors about her and Brad started but Allied (opening this Thanksgiving) surely provided the easy optics. The movie stars are playing impossibly beautiful / sneaky deadly / possibly double crossing lovers in Allied (2016) and you could describe Mr & Mrs Smith (2005), the film that brought us Brangelina, in much the same way.

Cotillard released the following pointed statement, which reads like the equivalent of an eye roll crossed with a death glare. She wants you to know that she's perfectly happy with fellow French film star Guillaume Canet, her longtime partner, and also: she's pregnant again with their second child.

The statement in full and a bit more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep222016

Miles Teller and Emma Watson Join Long List of Alternate Hollywood Casts

By Daniel Crooke

If you've been wondering why Damien Chazelle didn’t cast Whiplash star Miles Teller in his TIFF’s People’s Choice Award winner La La Land, it looks like we have our answer: Teller wanted more money. Editorializing on a celebrity’s character is a tricky line to tow so let's just say this is not surprising. Of much more interest is the alternate casting of a different Emma as the female lead, Emma of the Watson variety.

We'll never be able to speak to what Watson and Teller would have done with the roles that are winning Oscar buzz for Ryan Gosling and (frontrunner?) Emma Stone but it does get the mind racing about favorite almost-casts or last minute drop-outs in movie history. There’s your classic Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones or Winona Ryder as Mary Corleone, or more contemporarily you’ve got Will Smith as Django or, uh, Will Smith as Neo. (Follow up question: what made Deadshot so appealing to him that he made it all the way to production?) Alternate cinematic villains give you a dreamy rogue’s gallery of woulda-coulda-shouldas, including The Bening as Catwoman or O.J. Simpson as The Terminator. Above all else, I’d kill to see Warren Beatty play Quentin Tarantino’s Bill. What are some of your favorite alternate casting choices in Hollywood history?

Thursday
Sep222016

Ask Nathaniel 

Good afternoon, lovelies. (I'm missing Canada, hence the coffee cup.) 

Let's have a Q&A. You know what to do in the comments. Please nothing that would require a whole book or top ten list to answer. I'll answer selected questions Sunday/Monday. Suggested themesCaptain America Civil War, A Bigger Splash (fresh on DVD), Zootopia, The Witch (new to streaming) or whatever else floats your curious boat.