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Entries in Oscars (12) (290)

Sunday
Apr292012

First Best Actress Predictions of the New Oscar Year

"Are you actress psychic?" It's a question I've often asked in conjunction with prediction contests. I'm still working out details as to what we'll do for an Oscar contest this year but in the meantime I knew I had to wrap up my April Foolish predictions in April which ends... right about now.

To answer my own question I am somewhat Actress Psychic -- as long time readers know -- since my prediction ratio is pretty good early on before we've seen any films. This year I think I dropped the ball, the crystal one that is, not the "ohmygodthis postissoooolate" ball though that one as well. So many potentially interesting leading actress roles and so little in the way of sure things.

Maggie Smith in Quartet (1981) and Maggie Smith in Quartet (2012)

But let's pause for a moment to appreciate the beautiful coincidence should Maggie Smith be nominated as an opera diva in Quartet (2012). much much Oscary more after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr242012

Tuesday Night Chat?

UPDATE: We begin at 10:00 pm EST. Be ready to throw a few back.

Previous Tease...

I will valiantly try to complete the Oscar nomination predictions this weekend (things have been craycray offline... including in-laws visit and such) but why not join me for a live chat on Tuesday night? [update: I'd originally suggested Monday but forgot that Monday was also insane with activity.]

Tuesday
Apr242012

'April Foolish' Oscar Predix In All Categories But...

...Best Actress.

I know. I know. I'm like those annoying repetitive "coming up on _______" interstitials which tell you what you're about to see about 20 times before you actually see it. But these Oscar charts are lots of work, y'hear? So don't only read the Best Actress page (yes, it's the most visited Oscar page. Always). Read them all. There's not much text yet (time constraints but the charts are up. Wheeeee

Here are twelve pressing questions about the five new Oscar chart pages for this film year

The first teaser poster for Les Miz embraces the original stage sensation logo and promises "THE MOTION PICTURE EVENT OF 2012". Can it deliver on all this promise?

BEST DIRECTOR 

• Can Tom Hooper win a second Best Director Oscar with film number three? That seems unlikely even if Les Misérables pushes all the Oscar buttons; multiple director wins in tiny time frames are not unprecedented, just rare.
• Or am I barking up the wrong tree and is it Kathryn Bigelow who'll be gold hunting again with the Osama hunting actioner Zero Dark Thirty?
• Don't you think Ben Affleck becomes more of a Clint Jr. threat each year? Can he find a place with his true story political thriller Argo?
• Can David Cronenberg, a director's director if there ever was one, ever find a way to win Oscar traction? It's not like outre auteurs are always ignored.   

BEST SCREENPLAYS 

• My statistics as an Oscar pundit over the years prove that Original Screenplay is one of the toughest categories to predict a year early. So much depends on critical response. Do you think I'm on the right track here with Brave, Hyde Park on Hudson, Imogene, The Master and Seven Psychopaths or is that too many potential critical darlings in one category?

•What do you make of Life of Pi's chances in Adapted? Or any category for that matter. 

MUCH MORE AFTER THE JUMP

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr212012

Do you hear the people sing?

Provided you have speakers on your computer, then yes. Hear them you do. Well not Hugh and Anne specifically...

I know I shouldn't be this excited for a movie. It will all end in tears!

Saturday
Apr072012

April Foolish Predictions: The Supporting Categories

Nowhere is the "April Foolish" descriptive more appropriate than in the Supporting Categories. They're generally the last major categories to clear up in each Oscar race since so much rides on the success of a film and/or its leading players. Coattails are often required even if the performance is great all by its lonesome. Witness the sad fate of Vanessa Redgrave's Coriolanus performance in the last race. She was easily the greatest but barely any awards group noticed since reviews for the film were lukewarm and it was barely released at that.

Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp are old married in "Song for Marion"

Redgrave might be in play again this year, though, with a warmer title role in Song For Marion. The last time she was in the Oscar race (20 years ago) she was playing a dying woman who worked as a catalyst for the protagonist's emotional journey and the same is probably true here in this film about her husband (Terence Stamp) who joins the church choir to please her. The supporting categories are often home to heartwarmers like that and they're much kinder to senior actors as well so the cast of Quartet (Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins) Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut about retired opera singers, might win kudos too.

If Oscar wants to lean darker -- they love villains in both of the supporting categories -- they might latch on to the sure to be controversial Django Unchained but it's worth noting that Pulp Fiction is the only Quentin Tarantino film that has managed multiple acting nominations. So it's anyone's guess as to who will be named "best in show" this time out but my money is currently on the villain (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his captive (Kerry Washington

Crowded Films
We can't possibly know this early on who the standouts will be in various crowded films but we can guess. Ben Affleck's Argo, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty, and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln might be key films to watch for the Supporting Actor category since they all involve dangerous military operations and the cast lists are deep. Les Misérables will undoubtedly be the film that will spark the most early discussion about the Supporting Actress category since Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks and Helena Bonham-Carter will all have key moments they can own.

Can David O. Russell get two of his supporting ladies nominated again? The Silver Linings Playbook has Jacki Weaver and Jennifer Lawrence

Double Dipping?
Oscar has really gone crazy for doubling up in Supporting Actress this past decade. It just keeps happening that two actresses are nominated from the same film. Two more films which might be in play for the ol' twice over are Hyde Park on Hudson (The Olivias, Williams and Colman) and David O. Russell's The Silver Lining Playbook (with previous nominees Jennifer Lawrence and Jacki Weaver)

Can all those "Rampart" raves, help Woody Harrelson in his next role as a dog-loving mobster?
The April Foolish Predictions...

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
See where they rank: Amy Adams, Redgrave, The Bening, JLaw hot off Hunger Games, Mary Todd "Sally" Lincoln, Nicole Kidman, The Olivias and the Les Mis girls.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
See where they rank: All those men still waiting for a win like Leo, Woody & Joaquin, plus previous winners Lee Jones, Waltz, and many more.

Naturally you'll want to sound off on all the wonderful possibilities. Which performances do you have warm fuzzy hunches about? Which performances do you think I'm overestimating?

 

Tuesday
Apr032012

April Foolish Predictions: Best Picture

Every year in the first week of April we try to mentally project ourselves forward several months. This is not easy to do due to the pesky problem of films being so much different on screen than they are "on paper". Drama is Oscar's favorite category and the year has already produced two hit dramas in The Grey and The Hunger Games, one a surprise the other a bonafide phenomenon but they're both essentially genre movies so that's one strike against them. And they'll be old news when voting occurs. Strike two.

We're projecting forward anyway.

The Oscar race doesn't actually begin until summer's end anyway when media and pundit types (guilty!) get all respective about 'the year thus far'. At that point box office and critical heat will hopefully combine for one or two of the blockbusters or sleepers and give us our first real contenders. Fans who never forgave the Academy for leaving The Dark Knight out of the 2008 Best Picture field will surely hope that the magic strikes again for The Dark Knight Rises but I personally can't see it happening. It would have to surpass that film, I think, and even if it does it won't have the unrepeatable tragic connections that elevated the reception of the earlier film. Since I'm doubtful that that could possibly happen and don't particularly think Oscar should feel guilty about that omission (I'm much more pissed that WALL•E missed the list that year) I'd rather dream about an Oscar bid for a certain wild-haired princess. Can Pixar regain their "do no wrong" magic with Brave or did that era run out of gas [*cough Cars 2*] or will Merida strike a bullseye? Sorry to mix metaphors but archery is so hot this year (see also: The Avengers and The Hunger Games).

Late year curiousity and prediction battles after the jump

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr012012

April Foolish Predictions: Best Actor 

Every year on the 1st of April we begin consulting our well used crystal ball. It's like "the Oscars, again? Don't you wanna know winning lottery numbers or something?" It's foolish to predict the Oscars before practically any of the contenders have screened but foolish can be fun.

This year the contest might be between two men playing beloved US presidents, Bill Murray as FDR in Hyde Park on Hudson and Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln, and even if it isn't that angle will get media play. Streep's win a month ago reminded us that Oscar has always loved political performances (if not overtly political films) and they literally can't go one year without having one of the four acting winners playing a real life character. (Benjamin Walker is also playing Abraham Lincoln this year but he's playing him as a vampire hunter so he doesn't figure into the chart.) 

Ryan Gosling has a few leading roles again this year but after the past few years it's clear that Oscar just isn't that into him. So we look to people they love nearly without fail like Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master. It's possible that he'll overplay the role of a charismatic cult leader but that might actually help with Oscar. They love Clint Eastwood more as a director than an actor but one last chance to honor him for The Trouble With the Curve, a father/daughter road trip drama might be too much to pass up.

At this point I'm most curious about Hugh Jackman's chances for Les Misérables -- I'm guessing they're very good but I'm also guessing that that opinion won't be shared by all -and whether John Hawkes can fend off dozens of upcoming contenders and keep the heat from his Sundance success in The Surrogate as a man in an iron lung. 

Numerous leading men are coming but only five of them can win Oscar love. Other possibly interesting lead performances are on the way from Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Oscar Isaac, and of course Jamie Foxx as Django Unchained.

Who will it be? Here's my new guesswork.

How would you shift it?
Whose work are you most curious to see? 

Sunday
Mar252012

Review: Hunger Games 

This review was originally published in my column at Towleroad. Congratulations to Towleroad for winning Outstanding Blog at the GLAAD Awards

"The Hunger Games," now in their 74th year, began as a way to punish an uprising against the government. The totalitarian regime of Panem (in what remains of the former United States) maintains total control over the outlying districts. Each of the 12 districts is required to send forth two "tributes" annually, a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 to 18 chosen by lottery. They are shipped to the Capital where they are paraded about and then shipped off to die for the amusement of the masses. Everyone in the nation watches. There are no alternatives in this dystopia. Only one adolescent will live bringing supposed honor (and maybe food?) to their starving district... or so claims the capital. What honor there is in forcing teenagers to kill each other is not a question the Capitol asks itself.

Any similarities that The Hunger Games has to the Japanese classic Battle Royale (2000), which also features schoolchildren forced to kill each other by a totalitarian regime -- only one survivor allowed -- are, according to The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, entirely coincidental. Another film in this subgenre, the little seen Series 7: The Contenders (2001) also features mandatory lotteried killing for televised amusement. In short, the ideas are nothing new, just the treatment; these are topics we're obviously grappling with in popular culture in this era of televised "reality" and winner takes all capitalistic vice. The gap between the haves and have nots grows and this dystopia gives it steroids.

"The Reaping" Effie chooses tributes from District 12

When 12 year old Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields) is named as tribute in "The Reaping" ceremony, her protective sister Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her place. The district also sends Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a sweet strong baker's son who Katniss knows a little. Will they kill or be killed? 

Click to read more ...