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Entries in Best Picture (286)

Sunday
Aug112019

Oscar Predictions for August Complete!

It only took three days to revamp all the charts. Woohoo. Have a looksie.

In this mass overhaul we have major gains for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and The Farewell, naturally, since both have proven themselves with critics and at the box office already. Experiencing small gains are The Irishman and Just Mercy (now that they're officially going to be premiering this year), The Lighthouse and 1917 (after their stunning teases), and Judy (sigh). Small losses were incurred by Harriet (after a somewhat generic trailer) and The Report (given Amazon's sudden cold feet about regular theatrical exposure for their films). Films tumbling downward since our April Foolish wild guesswork include The Good Liar, Ford v Ferrari, and The Goldfinch (though we're definitely looking forward to two of those).

We've also added documentary predictions for the first time this year though this is still blindfolded guesswork since we won't know what's actually eligible and long-listed for quite some time still. 

 All Pages
INDEX | PICTURE   | DIRECTOR |
ACTRESS | ACTOR | SUPP ACTRESS |
SUPP ACTOR | SCREENPLAY  |
FOREIGN FILM | ANIMATION, DOCS |
VISUALS | SOUND

Tuesday
Jun252019

The New Classics - The Hurt Locker

Michael Cusumano here to look back on one of the few classics about the Iraq War on the 10th anniversary of its release. 

Scene: The Daisy Chain Bomb
When Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker hit theaters in the Summer of 2009 it was sold as an all-thrills, zero-politics experience. Here, the ads promised, was a film that wasn’t going to go all Valley of Elah on you with ponderous anti-war messages. The trio of soldiers that make up the film’s central bomb disposal unit never discuss politics. They defuse the bombs, they don’t get to hung up on why they are there in the first place. At no point do any of them sigh during a low moment and wonder, “Man, I don’t even know what we’re doing here...”

Click to read more ...

Monday
May272019

50th Anniversary: "Midnight Cowboy"

by Mark Brinkerhoff

Gay pride month is nearly upon us, so what better time to revisit Midnight Cowboy, the first LGBT-related Best Picture Oscar winner, which arrived in theaters 50 years ago this week. It remains, incidentally, the only X-rated film (for “homosexual frame of reference" and its "possible influence upon youngsters”) ever to win the Academy’s top award. 

Centering on Joe Buck, a wannabe hustler from Texas who finds himself entirely out of his depth in the big city (New York, that is), Midnight Cowboy succeeds poignantly, in the words of its director, as an “exploration of loneliness.” It also doubles as — and doubles down on — disastrous toxic masculinity: how men often are conditioned to (mis)treat others, not to mention themselves, as disposable, degradable objects of disaffection. 

In this ambling story, callousness reigns supreme, with humanity increasingly lost in the constant shuffle, on the streets of Manhattan...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr112019

April Foolish Predictions #7: Screenplay, Director, and Best Picture

Taika Waitita directing Scarlett Johansson on the set of "JoJo Rabbit"

Our annual way-too-early Oscar predictions are nearing completion! Only lead actor, and both actress categories left to go. Today the big one BEST PICTURE, as well as both screenplay races, and the Best Director contest. The latter looks really exciting (at least at this way-too-early juncture) because the competition appears to be more gender-balanced than usual with a handful of female directors in the mix. Imagine that! Of course the year might not play out like that once the films are screened, but here's hoping the female directed pictures deliver in a can't-be-denied kind of way.

Tuesday
Mar122019

Nathaniel's (Belated) Top Ten List of 2018

by Nathaniel R

Given that we're two months into a new year, the best cinema of 2018 is receding in our mind's eye, still shimmering but moving out of focus. But so much vivid color and feeling remains. Before we are fully blinded to its beauties (until, that is, they are "old films" and we can revisit) by a whole new batch of cinematic images to obsess over, here's one last post to honor the year that was. Here's your host's choices for the 25 best films of 2018.

This year's HONORABLE MENTIONS are a varied bunch taking us from horny self-discovery in Swedish woods to a trash-heap island in Japan. Strangely, grief was the year's most defining theme across genres as diverse as horror, tragicomedy, bopics, thrillers, character studies, and romantic dramas.

The films are listed in loosely ascending order, though we always reserve the right to change our minds where lists and rankings are concerned:

  • Paddington 2 (Paul King, UK) If all franchises were crafted with this much heart and warmth and wit, Hollywood wouldn't feel souless at all.
  • Border (Ali Abassi, Sweden) A refreshing oddity which totally commits to its own hybrid identity as its protagonist discovers hers.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Ramsey, Persichetti, and Rothman, US) If all superhero movies were this fun, inclusive, and inventive, they'd deserve their now automic success in the marketplace.
  • First Man (Damien Chazelle, US) A nation's epic ambitions paired with a marriage's intimate drama. So elegantly crafted.
  • Burning (Lee Chang-dong) as elusive and mysterious as a cat that doesnt want to be seen, until it saunters boldy into sight to stare you down.
  • First Reformed (Paul Schrader, US) The year's most disturbing drama. Hard to shake and necessary.
  • Widows (Steve McQueen) Overstuffed and strangely paced, but reverberating with provocative ideas and juicy characters. 
  • Capernaum (Nadine Labaki, Lebanon) For all that urgency and visceral feeling, not to mention one of the great child performances.
  • Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, US) for its ramshackle charms and subtle character-portrait
  • Hereditary (Ari Aster, US) What a calling card debut, from that dollhouse opening shot all the way through that psychotic break ending, a new horror classic. 

RUNNERS UP. Oh, if there were room in the top ten for all of these...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar112019

25th Anniversary: "Four Weddings and a Funeral"

by Deborah Lipp

Four Weddings and a Funeral turns 25 today. This is probably not also the number of times I’ve seen it, but it might be. I’m sure if you add the times Professor Spouse and I have each seen it, we exceed that number.  To say, therefore, that this is a beloved movie is a ridiculous understatement.

Here’s what we’re going to cover after the jump to celebrate its birthday...

  • Four Weddings is highly quotable
  • It features the best use of "fuck," and its variations, this side of Get Shorty
  • Screenwriter Richard Curtis excels at movies that are kind-heartd and generous
  • Four Weddings isn't perfect, but I will teach you the trick of making it perfect

Click to read more ...