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Entries in Best Picture (96)

Sunday
Jan262014

Cuarón Takes DGA

In non-surprising awards news Alfonso Cuarón has won the Directors Guild of America prize for his long-in-the-making sci-fi epic Gravity. Though I've long been predicting him to win the Oscar, the Best Picture race still seems competitive. It's insane that 12 Years a Slave, a magnificent film and a historically significant drama in several ways, isn't steamrolling but it isn't. My guess is that even if Gravity sweeps the craft categories, Best Picture will be a nail biter down to the last envelope opening. The most famous 'dominated the Oscars but still lost Best Picture' year is, of course, 1972. Cabaret won 8 Oscars but The Godfather beat it in two of the top 8 categories Adapted Screenplay & the big kahuna Best Picture. The end result: they were both winners. Cabaret took home a lot of Oscars and has the impressive distinction of being the biggest winner among all Best Picture losers. (There are some who think that 2002 was heading toward a similar outcome had The Pianist had another month to gain momentum on Chicago) 

Will we see another split year? No predominantly black film has ever won Best Picture which is depressing and bad news for 12 Years a Slave but no sci-fi film has won either which isn't exactly points in Gravity's favor. 12 Years has to convince voters who are resisting it to see the picture (if you ask me, AMPAS voters who won't watch all the Best Picture nominees each year before voting really ought to have their memberships revoked) and it needs to find a second wind with the media who have a predictable way of turning on frontrunners each year. I fear a Brokeback Mountain situation where the less evolved voters just won't give a seminal work its due because of the subject matter. Am I too pessimistic?

Gravity has the potentially easier task in that it only needs to convince voters that it isn't lightweight and that it won't age poorly (I'm not convinced on the latter). And, since it hasn't truly been the frontrunner at any point, it doesn't have much backlash to conquer. I'm leaning toward predicting Gravity to just (nearly) sweep the whole thing.

Wednesday
Jan222014

With Six You Get Linkroll

Jeremy Cowart tales from a stunning photoshoot starring actor John Schneider
Policy Mic 7 reasons why Frozen is the most progressive Disney movie 
Grantland Mark Harris on "The Nolan Effect" and how the expanded Best Picture field is actually shrinking the number of movies deemed Oscar Worthy. Statistically, it's getting worse each year. I co-sign all of this.
YouTube Cate Blanchett's awesome SAG press room performance - she even sings the Beatles
Huffington Post Amy Adams does Wicked's "Defying Gravity" at karaoke 
Deadline Quentin Tarantino very upset about the leaking of his Hateful Eight screenplay. Who knows, though? Maybe we're all winners here since did he really need to do another violent ensemble guys western so soon after Django?  

Thursday
Jan162014

Oscar Nominations. They're Finally Here!

Refresh your screens for periodic updates. Some of the type if funky on this page but I copied and pasted from Oscar's site so whatever they had in their coding travelled. 

And the nominees are...

BEST PICTURE

  • American Hustle
    Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
  • Captain Phillips
    Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, Producers
  • Dallas Buyers club
    Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, Producers
  • Gravity
    Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman, Producers
  • Her
    Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, Producers
  • Nebraska
    Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers
  • Philomena
    Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers
  • 12 Years a Slave
    Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers
  • The Wolf of Wall street
    Nominees to be determined

Instant Reaction: a perfect score for me again in terms of predictions (I thought they might end with Philomena but if 9 then Her) but I really wish they'd just go back to 10 or, even better, 5. 9 is a stupid number. As per usual the Best Picture nominees really dominated all awardage with a total of 61 nominations between them.

More...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan082014

Will Eight Be Enough? BAFTA & Best Picture Predix

If you haven't been to the Oscar charts as of late, know that the final predictions will be up Monday night come rain or shine (Sunday is too crowded - Golden Globes Day and after that yours truly is off to LA and Sundance for festivities). The Best Picture chart, though, which I've just updated, might stay as is.  

I am currently predicting 8 nominations for Best Picture though the number can annoyingly vary from as little as 5 and as many as 10 (note: we've only seen 9 since the voting process changed). But the way I see it in my crystal ball, which goes from foggy to crystal clear from year to year (win some you lose some), it'll shake out like so:

LOCKS / NOMINATION LEADERS:
12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Gravity
IF WE STOPPED AT FIVE: Nebraska, Capt Phillips
BUT WE DON'T, SO: Wolf of..., Dallas Buyers Club
AND ALSO Philomena 

BAFTA nominations, which hit while we were sleeping, have not significantly shaken up our perceptions of the race as they can very occasionally do. Philomena's strong showing at an awards show originally meant to honor British film (which has since devolved into: Oscars Cross-Atlantic Edition) is not unexpected but I also don't think it unmeaningful. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan062014

Linker and Commander

My New Plaid Pants the greatest "which is hotter?" of all time
Pajiba's bitch rankings for the new season of Downton Abbey. So happy it's back. Love Mary so much. 
The Backlot Did Sir Ian McKellen out gay actors who everyone knows are gay even though they're not actually really out even though they're gay? The silliest "controversy" of the weekend. Gay gay gay

Awards Daily seems convinced that American Hustle is going to win Best Picture and everyone knows it. Ummm... we don't even have the nominations yet. I'd say the race is still on.
The Carpetbagger let's ask Siri about Samantha in Her why don't we? Yes, let's.
Variety Judi Dench, Bruce Dern and 12 Years get props from the AARP in their annual "best movies for grownups" list
In Contention oooh, it's BAFTA's rising star nominees! I always forget that they do that.  The nominees are: Dane DeHaan (Kill Your Darlings), George Mackay (How I Live Now), Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave), Will Poulter (We're the Millers), and Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color). They aren't nominated for those specific pictures but I just include them to remind you. Who would you vote for?

Best Read
If you haven't yet read this open letter to James Franco from The Village Voice's Amy Nicholson, titled "do the double dick dude" you absolutely must: hilarious, provocative, and smart.

Today in Randomness...
A happy 25th birthday to actor Max Pirkis. Remember how great he was opposite Paul Bettany and Russell Crowe in Master and Commander: Far Side of the World? I've been meaning to rewatch that for in forever. You never know with child actors if it's merely a great director, a natural gift, or a happy accident. Pirkis later had a supporting role on HBO's Rome as the evil Gaius Octavian (I only saw the first season of that show but I understand it was akin to a King Joffrey part?) but he's been absent from screens for all of his twentysomething years. He's returning to the movies this year in Flying Home (with Jamie Dornan) and the horror flick The Quiet Ones (opening in April) and we wish him well, especially if Master and Commander was indication of his potential. As I was typing this up I realized he was on twitter and twitter accounts from non celebrity actors are a peculiar joy. There you can sometimes spot actual opinions instead of careful PR positivity about everything. For example, he has Oscar opinions, didn't like whatever Jodie Foster was doing in Elysium (but who did, really?). And, this is my favorite, because I never quite understood why people were so gaga for The World's End (which I think is the worst of the Cornetto Trilogy and by a significant margin. 

 

Friday
Jan032014

Nebraska, Finely Aged and Potentially Oscar Record-Breaking

I'm sure you've seen the melancholy yet uplifting new spot for Nebraska that points out the ages of its principal cast and how long they've been acting. It's inspiring, for sure, as longevity often is. Hollywood and the Oscars often favor the sprinters (note all the stars, particularly actresses, who won too soon and all the films that opened in the rush of awards season that were only hot for two months) but life is a marathon.

Assuming Bruce Dern and June Squibb are both nominated on January 16th (and smart money says they will be) they'll both be among the top three oldest performers ever nominated in their categories. It will break down like so...

OLDEST BEST ACTOR NOMINEES
01 Richard Farnsworth, The Straight Story (1999) who was 79
02 Bruce Dern, Nebraska (20) who is 77*
03 Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond (1981) who was 76
04 Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby (2004) who was 74
05 Peter O'Toole, Venus (2006) who was also 74
06 Morgan Freeman, Invictus (2008) who was 72
07 Sir Laurence Olivier, The Boys From Brazil (1978) who was 71
08 Frank Langella, Nixon (2008) who was also 71
09 Paul Newman, Nobody's Fool (1994) who had just turned 70

Those are the only 70somethings ever nominated for Best Actor... if Robert Redford and Bruce Dern are both nominated we'll have a perfect full top ten of 70something Best Actor candidates; they're only two months apart in age (with Dern born first). Among these senior men Henry Fonda was the only winner. If Dern wins --  and I've long thought he might with that magic combo of a likely Best Picture nominee, a moving performance, and a stellar campaign --  he'll become the oldest winner ever in the Best Actor category. 

OLDEST BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEES
01. Gloria Stuart, Titanic (1997) who was 87... and the oldest in *any* category actually
02. Ruby Dee, American Gangster (2007) who was 85 *but there are conflicting reports on her age*
03. June Squibb, Nebraska (2013) who is 84
03. Jessica Tandy, Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) who was 82
05. Eva Le Gallienne, Resurrection (1980 - recently discussed) who had just turned 82

Those are the only 80somethings ever nominated in Supporting Actress and none of them won. Can June Squibb break the pattern this year? (The current oldest winner ever in this category is Dame Peggy Ashcroft for A Passage to India (1984) who was 77). Speaking of Squibb, have you been watching the American remake of the British nursing comedy series Getting On? Squibb guest stars in one episode as a foul-mouthed cigarette-smoking patient. She and Niecy Nash are pretty great together.

What do you make of Dern & Squibb's Oscar chances? 

Saturday
Dec212013

Updated Charts - All Categories

The Oscar Charts are fully revised. Enjoy! I've currently predicted 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Captain Phillips and American Hustle to lead the nominations hogging 37 nominations between them and The Great Gatsby and Saving Mr Banks to share the asterisked honor of "most nominations without a Best Picture bid. The wildest card is still The Wolf of Wall Street and the guilds will have to show us if that one is going to make a dent.

PICTURE | DIRECTOR | SCREENPLAYS
The top five look set in stone but how many nominees will we have? The race with the most mystery might just be Original Screenplay. Too many films still seem absolutely believable as future 'of course it was nominated' nominees. But there can be only five. Can Enough Said or Fruitvale Station, two films which have never exactly left the conversation, find a way to slip in?

ACTRESS | ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR
The precursor awards have locked up the female categories and placed guards around the door despite a pre-season that seemed robust with possibility. That's always a shame when the performances on the outside are as good as the ones that Adèle, Greta, Brie, Sally, Julia, and so on are giving. The male categories have also tightened up but the chamber isn't nearly as air tight. A bit of "who will it be?" mystery remains.

are these the films that are the biggest wild cards in terms of nomination count?

VISUAL CATEGORIES | SOUND CATEGORIES
Before the Guilds speak up let's speculate wildly!

FOREIGN FILM | ANIMATED, DOCS, SHORTS
The fields are already small from "finalist" lists. Watch along with us as we try to see them all. 

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