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Entries in Bradley Cooper (31)

Monday
Jan262015

Oscar Acting Races: 5 Box Office Musings

Manuel here to offer some random box office facts about the acting races. The big Oscar box office story continues to be American Sniper’s unprecedented success, so much so that Bradley Cooper garnered a shoutout last night at the SAG Awards despite not being nominated. I’m starting to feel the Best Picture category might not be the only three-way race as we wade deeper into Phase 2. Numbers and statistics junkie that I imagine myself to be, I was curious to see whether the past fifteen years’ worth of box office numbers in the acting categories could help us gleam anything about potential outcomes. Spoiler alert: not much, but enjoy the following random tidbits below. 

As it stands, Bradley, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall (improbably, really) and Meryl Streep hold the title as the highest grossing nominees from their respective races. How might this help Bradley; well, let's take a look back at the box office history in the acting races.

  • Did you know that the last three times Best Leading Actor went to the highest grossing film of the bunch it went to men winning their second (Tom Hanks) and third (Jack Nicholson, Daniel Day Lewis) Oscars?
  • In stark contrast, headlining the biggest hit in the category usually helps you win* in the Best Leading Actress category (see: Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman, Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank, and Julia Roberts) and the Best Supporting Actress category (see: Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Hudson, Cate Blanchett, Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jennifer Connelly). I’d come up with a random theory about this statistical anomaly where it not, like everything else below, most likely random happenstance.
    *Or rather, the Oscar has statistically gone to the actress in the highest grossing film of the group.

All info collected from BoxOfficeMojo 

  • 2014 will be the first year since 2011 where Best Supporting Actor, a category that most often than not boasts the highest per film average of all four acting categories (usually bolstered by films like The Dark Knight in 2008, Lincoln & Django Unchained in 2012, and Chicago & Catch Me If You Can in 2002) will be the lowest grossing category among the acting races. And just as in 2011, when Christopher Plummer picked up a statuette for Beginners ($5,790,894) the lowest-grossing nominee will most likely walk away with the win.
  • Unsurprisingly, averaging in the past fifteen years a little less than $50 million per film, Best Leading Actress is usually the lowest-grossing category among the acting nominees. Notice those two most recent upticks in the category in 2009 and 2013? You can thank one Ms Sandra Bullock for those.
  • 2007 may account for the lowest averages for all acting categories, but 2005 is the last year where only one film nominated for an acting award crossed the $100 million threshold: Walk the Line. This year, out of 13 films nominated in these four categories, three films have accomplished this feat: Gone Girl, Into the Woods and American Sniper, with The Imitation Game looking likely to join them.
Let's talk money. Do you think Bradley actually has a chance at gold? Stats would seem to think so; Renee & Russell prevailed at least once during their recent threepeat and actors really seem to be warming up to him in the film, no?
Tuesday
Jan202015

Bradley, Benedict, Eddie, Michael and Steve. OR...

The Best Actor chart is revised for your perusal with our usual game of 'how'd they get nominated' -- especially relevant in this stacked category (sniffle goodbye Timothy Jake Fiennes-Oyelowo) -- and the readers poll of who you think is actually best.

So check that out and vote, would you?

Though I've already expressed my disappointment in the Acdemy's shortlist given the wide variety of strong performances they didn't love enough, one thing that is satisfying about it is how many first timers we have. Indeed, had they not nominated Bradley Cooper and chosen, say, Oyelowo or Spall we could have had an all virgin Best Actor lineup.

Trivia Break: there's been a lot of talk about Cooper's 3 consecutive nominations (2012-2014 for Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and American Sniper). If you're curious, no, it's not an acting record. The all time consecutive record holders for men are Marlon Brando (51-54) and Al Pacino (72-75) each with four. Neverthless Bradley is the first to accomplish it since Russell Crowe (99-01) and if he is nominated again for this new year of film we're entering he'll be tied for #1 in the male division. Greer Garson (41-45) and Bette Davis (38-42) are the all time record holders with five consecutive acting nominations each. You can wish Cooper good luck if you're a fan but four consecutive is extremely rare; the last person to do it male or female was Al Pacino in the 1970s and even Meryl Streep hasn't managed it.

Enough trivia. I hope you haven't forgotten my own kudos. Here is my ballot for Best Actor as we continue the Film Bitch Awards (nominations have now been announced for Picture, Director, Screenplays, Animated Feature, and Actor)

For what it's worth I made my selections before Oscar votes and didn't expect the final list to be so contrary to mine so this is not to be misunderstood as a pointed corrective but actual opinion. The further we get away from the heat of nomination day the more sad I am that the wondrous "Gustave H", one of the best character conjurings in years, was not selected. In fact, I think it's Ralph Fiennes most Oscar-worthy work since Schindler's List

Monday
Jan192015

Box Office: American Sniper Towers Above Oscar Nominees

Amir here, back from my very long vacation to hit you with some box office news.  Did you know that this group of eight Best Pictures is the least popular set of nominees since the turn of the century, going by box office receipts? The average gross of about $39m is the lowest of the past fifteen years, though it will probably edge out 2005’s collective (standing at $49m) once the theatrical run of all these films ends. It is also the first time since that year that none of the nominees have hit the $100m mark, though American Sniper is about to change that. 

Chart via Box Office Mojo. Estimates as of Sunday January 18th

It is easy to forget sometimes what a small bubble we occupy in the film blogosphere, and how differently people in the real world perceive and consume these films. It feels like Whiplash has been around for ages, having first entered the conversation all the way back in January. It’s shocking to see what little impact this expertly directed film has made at the box office, barely edging out Amour and Winter’s Bone to avoid becoming the lowest grossing best picture nominee of the century.

Oscar wasn’t interested in what people liked this year, despite finally getting on the Wes Anderson bandwagon for his biggest hit – and a decade too late. Several of the year’s biggest hits either missed out on nominations entirely, or underperformed with the Academy. File Gone Girl, Noah, The LEGO Movie, Edge of Tomorrow and even Fury under that category, though only one of those had any hope of a best picture nomination. What has been surprising is that Eastwood’s late party-crasher performed as well as it did, breaking all sorts of records for January releases and R-rated films, grossing $90m on its first wide weekend.

American Sniper is going to be the savior of this collective, financially speaking. According to Box Office Mojo, the film has made more than Birdman, Boyhood, Whiplash and The Theory of Everything combined. Its gross this weekend is wildly beyond expectations, but the magical combination of Bradley Cooper, conservative material and Eastwood in his comfort zone have totally hit America’s sweet spot. This caps an outstanding year for Cooper, who just netted his third consecutive best actor nomination and starred in the year’s biggest box office hit, Guardians of the Galaxy. You’d have been called a lunatic if you predicted this as recently as three years ago and yet, here we are, witnessing Cooper’s reign. And for what it’s worth, he’s a better king for Hollywood than most of his contemporaries.  

Have you seen American Sniper? Which gaps do you still need to fill in your Oscar slate?

Tuesday
Jan132015

The Golden Gyllenhaals. And Final Best Actor Predictions

In the cascade of perfect smiles, smh laughter at outre jokes, and general 'oh god the camera is on me now and I don't have a script' that is awards show reaction shows you may have missed the Jake Gyllenhaal and Maggie Gyllenhaal had pride of place at Sunday's Golden Globe ceremony, and received the very first reaction shot as Tina & Amy entered to host, their joke quote, "the 72nd and final Golden Globe Awards". The very first reaction shot. Even Oprah had to settle for second billing. 

It was a good night for the Gyllenhaals. They started the festivities with family nostalgia listening to "Graceland" in the limo (as they said on the red carpet), Maggie won for Best Actress in a Television Movie or Miniseries for The Honourable Woman, Jake was a very proud sibling and a nominee, and Jake's current Broadway co-star Ruth Wilson ("Constellations") was also a winner taking Best Actress in a Drama Series for The Affair.

Maggie's acceptance speech was a beauty

I love that she doesn't even disguise that she's "complicated" which Gone Girl reminds us is a code word for "bitch." Will any of this reminder of her screen power that the industry got in The Honourable Woman transfer back to the big screen in better parts?

Even Frances McDormand vaguely put up with Maggie's speech.. well, half of it anyway. She started fanning herself at one point which looked very dismissive oncamera until we read afterwards that the air conditioning was not working in the building, which explains all of the celebrities looking like they forgot to powder before taking the stage. 

But What About Jake?
He didn't win but with Nightcrawler picking up so much steam at various guilds, it seems reasonable to expect him to show up in the final five for Best Actor. I've decided to bet big and risky on Nightcrawler in my final Oscar predictions, so I'm saying he's in.

My Final Predictions
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton, Birdman
David Oyelowo, Selma
Eddie Redmayne, Theory of Everything 

Now, it is a tight race and anyone could fall out, really, with the exception of Redmayne & Keaton -- either of them missing would be a shocker. If someone does stumble my guess is that it's not Gyllenhaal since his film garnered so much surprising love late in the game, but either Oyelowo (if Selma underperforms) or *gasp* Cumberbatch... in kind of a Leo/Titanic moment. Bradley Cooper may be gaining steam with American Sniper but of the 9 performances left standing at this point (my predictions: plus Carell, Cooper, Fiennes, and Spall) Cooper's is literally the least showy. It's not too often where the least showy triumph, even if he is very good as the blindly patriotic kiling machine. But Just about the only attention-grabbing aspect of his turn is that he gained weight. He has approximately one scene you might call an 'Oscar clip'. Now, that might not stop AMPAS from nominating him if they're in a very Cooper place (Oscar, like the Emmys, does get into ruts where anything will do for certain performers) but are they? His two nominations were for super popular actors-branch obsessions with the whole cast receiving nominations. He'd have to pull this one off on his own.

Finally, my heart wants to predict Ralph Fiennes as the surprise that makes every bit of sense once it happens. But my head tells me that's entirely too much wishful thinking. The Oscars would never give me both Fiennes and Gyllenhaal. That would be too much abundance for this pundit whose taste in male actors is generally not sympatico with Oscar voters. 

Tuesday
Dec162014

Makeup & Hairstyling: The Elephantine Origin Story (and this year's finalists since we must)

It's history time, kids! Gather round. Did you know that The Elephant Man, currently on Broadway with Bradley Cooper, is indirectly responsible for the Academy's makeup Oscar? No, not that kind of make up Oscar ... though the Academy gives those all the time, too (why, hello Ms. Julianne Moore "Ms. February 2015"!) and maybe Bradley Cooper will get one of those someday?

what's that? u think this intro was an excuse to post a photo of shirtless Bra---FINE! don't judge.

I digress. In the stage version of The Elephant Man the lead actor traditionally performs while wearing no special makeup; he merely acts deformity. But that stylization hasn't yet been tried on film. When it came time to make the film version in 1980, David Lynch, no stranger to depicting deformity without prosthetics -- deformity of the soul at least -- opted for makeup effects. People bitched about the lack of Oscar recognition since The Elephant Man was an Oscar hit (8 nominations) and the very next year we had our category! Unfortunately for the The Elephant Man's team Christopher Tucker and Wally Schneiderman and all, it was too late. Those makeup artists never won a Makeup Oscar or even the other kind of Make up Oscar for overdue peeps.

Once there was an official category a young pony-tailed prosthetics genius named Rick Baker immediately began his relentless reign, hogging 11 nominations and 7 statues starting with An American Werewolf in London. The Makeup prize continued on its weirdly lyncathropic, excruciatingly unstable number of nominee (0,2,3,4) effects-obsessed path for decades thereafter.

UNTIL...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct152014

Thought I Had... While Staring at the American Sniper Poster


Careful where you point that thing, Bradley.