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Entries in precursor awards (196)

Tuesday
Jan132015

DGA Nominations: Eastwood is Fashionably Late Yet Again

The Directors Guild of America have spoken and raised the Eastwood flag yet again. The 84 year old director cruised to a nomination for his conservative military drama American Sniper. It's his fourth nomination with the DGA. He has won twice before at the DGA and also received a Lifetime Achievement Award. The Academy has nominated him even more often for directing as American Sniper will be his fifth Best Director nomination should it come to pass. Eastwood has a habit of crashing the party late. He did it in 2004 with Million Dollar Baby when everyone was preparing for an Aviator sweep. He did it in 2006 with the tiny grossing nearly black and white foreign language film Letters from Iwo Jima and he looks like he'll do it again on Thursday for American Sniper.


DGA NOMINEES:

Wes Anderson, Grand Budapest Hotel
Clint Eastwood American Sniper
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

I promised you back when the Globe nominations were first announced that the Academy would never come up with a list that good for Best Director. While we won't know the truth of my prediction until Thursday morning, the DGA choices don't bode well for a happy Thursday morning for many of us. Congratulations to the nominees but, all due respect, Eastwood & Tyldum replacing Duvernay and Fincher is trading down if we're judging by the directing jobs in question and not by legendary reputations and best picture heat respectively.

But here's something to give you hope if you're already grousing about these nominations: In Ye Olden Times (i.e. 1970 through 2008) the DGA was considered the single most predictive precursor. This was not because the DGA lineup was always Oscar's lineup for Best Director. In fact, it rarely matches 5/5 but it was called that because it was the single most predictive of the Best Picture race (not Best Director). That is no longer the case -- or if it is it's lost all meaning since there can be up to 10 nominees for Best Picture now so it's easy to call five of them. But in Ye Olden Times, i.e. up until seven years ago, today's announcement would mean that American Sniper was probably going to edge out another movie we thought was more strongly in the mix like The Theory of Everything or Selma.

Here are some recent history switcheroos from DGA to Oscar

2013 DGA (4/5) Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips. Oscar replaced with Alexander Payne for Nebraska.
2012 DGA (2/5) Hooper, Affleck, Bigelow. Oscar replaced with Haneke, Zeitiln, and Russell
2011 DGA (4/5) Fincher, Dragon Tattoo. Oscar replaced with Malick for Tree of Life
2010 DGA (4/5) Nolan, Inception. Oscar replaced with the Coen Bros for True Grit
2009 DGA (5/5) 
2008 DGA (4/5) Nolan, Dark Knight. Oscar replaced with Stephen Daldry for The Reader
2007 DGA (4/5) Sean Penn, Into the Wild. Oscar replaced with Jason Reitman for Juno 
2006 DGA (3/5) Dayton/Faris and Condon. Oscar replaced with Greengrass and Eastwood 
2005 DGA (5/5)

There's not much of a pattern though both of the recent years with perfect matches were very much consensus years where it was the same five titles all the time. 2014 is not that kind of year. When Oscar makes a change they trade both up and down... the only throughline, and it has exceptions, is that Oscar's directing branch tends to be a little more artistically inclined than DGA's more populist tastes. So the people who didn't make it today are still in it: James Marsh has a BAFTA nod to recommend him, Ava Duvernay has a critically acclaimed resonant film, Damien Chazelle is a new boy wonder (and they love those since its the old boys club) and David Fincher is, well, David Fincher with a huge hit. One of them could surely still knock one of the DGA contenders out. But who and which?

Final predictions soon. Need some time to think on it. Thoughts?  

Monday
Jan122015

Big Eyes Surprise? Final Best Actress Predictions

One of last night's most unnerving moments may well have been hearing Big Eyes mentioned multiple times. It's easy to forget that the movie is out in theaters now, since it didn't make big Christmas waves in the media or the box office (it's likely to end its run as Burton's second least successful film of all time after Ed Wood which is 100 times better), didn't earn rave reviews (it's sitting at 70% on Rotten Tomatoes which is, shall we say, generous) so Amy Adams surprise upon winning is entirely understandable.

To say that I am ill prepared for this moment is a huge understatement. Huge."

The surprise win reminds us that she's been generously adored by nearly all the awards communities for years now, an embryonic-Meryl perhaps. This season provides the biggest test yet of how much of a default nominee she truly is with AMPAS. If she manages an Oscar nod this year against much stronger competition in much better films (Reese, Julianne, Felicity, Marion, Rosamund, Hilary, and Emily) and a much more willful campaign for another performance that's better than its movie (Hi, Jennifer Aniston!) you should expect her to be nominated for every film going forward, as you would Meryl herself.  

Nevertheless I don't think it's going to happen and the dye is set on this category. Our nominees will be

Best Actress Oscar Predictions
Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Felicity Jones, Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

A few critics groups made a valiant stand for Marion Cotillard but in the end Two Days One Night killed that dream itself by arriving in theaters way too late to build any presence of its own as an impressive movie, which would have bolstered support for the shockingly real performance at its center from an actress that keeps topping her Oscar-winning role without the Academy paying her any mind. 

In conclusion, may Big Eyes greatest pop culture legacy be the opening monologue joke from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They announced that there was a live Margaret Keane painting at the ceremony. Cut to: Emma Stone. Well, they are gigantic. They take up her whole face like an anime character. What really sold the punchline was its coda; Tina & Amy are great at those little joke extenders when you're already laughing.


Emma reactions to a BIG EYES joke aimed at her gif via Vulture

It's cute. But it's creepy."

We might say the same of Amy Adams Awards Haul!

Sunday
Jan112015

Golden Globe Foreign Film Panel

It's Golden Globes night. We'll start covering the red carpet arrivals in a half hour or so. If you missed our predictions those were here on the podcast.

 

A neat new tradition for the Golden Globes is this focus on their foreign film nominees -- they are the "Hollywood Foreign Press Association" after all. In this streamed event you can hear from FORCE MAJEURE's (Sweden) Ruben Ostlund, GETT: THE TRIAL OF VIVIANE AMSALEM's (Israel) Ronit Elkabetz &  Shlomi Elkabetz, IDA's (Poland/Denmark), Pawel Pawlikowski, LEVIATHAN's (Russia) Andrey Zvyagintsev, and TANGERINES (Estonia) Zaza Urushadze. Interestingly enough -- it's not common -- four of the five Globe nominees this year (all but Gett) are still in the running for an Oscar nomination in the correlative category

Sunday
Jan112015

Awards, Recent Miscellania

It's Golden Globes Night.  Until then let's try in vain to catch up a little.

Oscar Nomination Morning (this Thursday) has some news. For the first time they'll be announcing ALL CATEGORIES at that early morning ceremony we so love. Not just the headliners which is all they used to do followed by the press release list of all nominees. The Film Experience heartily approves! 

Palm Springs International Film Festival wraps up tomorrow but the jury prizes are in and four of this season's Oscar submissions won something: Russia's Leviathan won the FIPRESCI for Best Film and Georgia's Corn Island took an award called "Bridging the Borders". Both are still in the running to become America's Next Top Foreign Language Film. The acting prizes went to films that have already been cut from Oscar's Foreign Film Party. Mommy's Anne Dorval took Best Actress and Winter Sleep's Haluk Bilginer won Best Actor. You can see the rest of the prizes here. Audience Awards have yet to be announced.

That bitch to the right does NOT like Glenn Close's hairstyle. Do you?

Makeup And Hair Stylists Guild will hold their awards ceremony on Valentine's Day on the Paramount lot where Rick Baker, of werewolf fame, and Kathryn Blondell (of Leo DiCaprio and Goldie & Kate hairstyling fame) will receieve lifetime achievement awards. They have 5 categories for film as well as 14 other categories which cover tv, commercials, and live theater. Thus they're far more generous than the Academy's corresponding branch which already eliminated several of their nominees. Curiously their website does not contain the nominees just into about attending their awards show (unless I'm just missing it) but you can see a complete list at Deadline. Guardians of the Galaxy and Into the Woods led their nominations with 3 each including a prize specifically for the Witch which I'm sure will delight many of you given what you've been saying in the comments. The most curious category in terms of a collection of nominees is surely Best Contemporary Hairstyling. They went with: Birdman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Interstellar , St. Vincent, and Winter's Tale. Super strange, right? I'd only heard people mocking Winter's Tale... even for the hair! I can't excuse the lack of Tilda's vampire dreadlocks, or Lucy's dye jobs, but I guess there aren't a lot of contemporary films with noticeable hair work this year?

The Casting Guild used to hold the annual Artios Awards in November and their eligibility period was not based on the calendar year. They've shifted it now -- presumably to be more in line with everyone else -- so their eligibility period is fairly long this year which resulted in a curious mix of last year's beloved movies and this year's contenders so you have categories where, say, 12 Years a Slave is going up against Selma (Feature Film Big Budget Drama) and Short Term 12 is going up again Boyhood (Feature Film Low Budget Drama). You can see a complete list at their website. My happiest takeaway from this list is that Short Term 12 was remembered (its casting was effortful and brilliant, if you think about it) and that Pride was honored in the oddly and very broadly titled Feature Film Studio or Independent Comedy category. Pride will be competing with Big Eyes, Chef, The Grand Budapest Hotel, St. Vincent and Top Five. Chef seems like a really weird choice since there was a whole lot of Jon Favreau calling up all his celebrity friends to do him a favor.

Mommy won several prizes from Vancouver critics. But Anne Dorval lost Best Actress!Critics Prizes continue in cities all over the place. We decided we just couldn't cover it all so made firm decisions about how we'd proceed next year -- if you missed that post it's basically that we'll only be covering groups formed before 2000 since there's been an absolute explosion ever since with multiple rounds of press releases  -- some groups have as few as 8 people so they might all be friends in someone's basement, who knows! But since we don't cover them all we'll be just linking up to their awards at other places (though not their nominations) and pointing out areas where they went out on a true limb if there are any. Recent groups that have announced include Iowa which went with all the usual suspects but for Reese for Best Actress,  Vancouver which went for all the usual suspects but for Tilda Swinton for Best Actress for Only Lovers Left Alive and The Overnighters for Documentary (they also have Canadian film awards so it's worth looking at and they were fans of Mommy & Tu dors Nicole) , Oklahoma went with the usual suspects but for Edward Norton in Birdman the world's Official Runner Up for supporting (bad timing for his Oscar dreams I suppose), and they have a fun prize called "not so obviously worst movie" which went to Monuments Men and a prize I don't agree with called "Guilty Pleasure" which went to Edge of Tomorrow but honestly there's nothing to feel guilty about when a movie is really good, which that one is, and you like watching it). Finally, though I probably missed some cities,  Georgia went with the usual suspects but for Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer and the getting less and less unusual Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler. They also have a breakthrough award which went to David Oyelowo which is an interesting choice but he's been working too long for me to view him thusly. Still, I get the impulse. He had a big year and he's lesser known.

How prepared are you for the Globes tonight? Make sure to listen to our predictions today if you haven't yet!

Wednesday
Jan072015

Imitation Game vs. Whiplash. All in Good Fun

Tonight's Oscar event, another ritzy event with movers and shakers and Oscar winners present, was in celebration of The Imitation Game. But we'll backtrack to that in a moment. Just before heading out, I spotted Damien Chazelle the young/writer director of Whiplash fame and his friend, a composer, in the corner. I popped over to say hi, since they'd been so friendly at a Christmas party for Nightcrawler. Who were they chatting with but Graham Moore who wrote The Imitation Game! 'I guess this is the writer's corner,' I say and congratulated them on their WGA nominations earlier in the day. Imitation will be competing with the writers of American Sniper, Gone Girl, Guardians of the Galaxy (interview), and Wild. Whiplash will be competing with the writers of Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Grand Budapest Hotel, and Nightcrawler.

It suddenly occurred to me, and I verbalized it, that they'll be competitors with each other instead should they both be Oscar nominated on the 15th, considering the Whiplash switcheroo to Adapted. 'Can you tell how much we dislike each other?' they said, laughing, and the joke escalated 'it's even worse now that we're rivals!.' Chazelle is very very nice so I tried not to be disgusted (I kid I kid) at how young he is to be in the thick of the Oscar race. Imagine being an Oscar nominee, before you're even 30! I split hairs: Chazelle turns 30 a few days after Nomination Morning so it'll be quite a birthday present for the big 3-0 should it come to pass.

Bloomberg addresses producer Teddy Scharzman (cast and crew behind them). Photo © Kristina Bumphrey, StarTraks

As for The Imitation Game event...
Mayor Bloomberg spoke as did the producer Teddy Schwarzman and the director Morten Tyldum (who I'd earlier bombed with while trying my broken Norwegian out on him. You can't win them all and I promise I'm not as obnoxious as I sound in these write-ups. I exchange niceties and move on so as not to hog the luminaries since reporters who hog them are The.Worst.) Their speeches stressed frequently that Alan Turing changed the world and mourned the tragedy of his life and persecution due to his homosexuality. They also stressed the team effort, a labor of love with everyone being overworked and underpaid. Bloomberg attempted a joke about that last bit -- at least I hope it was a joke but, you know, card carrying pinko liberal here --  suggesting to the director and producer that that's what you're supposed to do 'overwork and underpay people. How the world works'

 

The films SAG nominated ensemble was not present but for three: Allen Leech (better known as "Tom" on Downton Abbey) who seemed genuinely grateful about how well his career is going and excited about the SAG nomination in particular. He told me he'd just wrapped an action picture with Sam Worthington and referred to Downton amusingly as 'the big house' but was cagey about whether he'd be back for another round. But the most fun was meeting the two youngest cast members from the film Alex Lawther (the young Alan Turing) and Matthew Beard (Peter Hilton, the codebreaker with the brother at sea). I remarked that they looked just like brothers which they'd heard more than once that night. 'We're standing together so that some producer will see us. Somebody's got to have a brothers picture!' The Imitation Game was Lawther's first movie ... he thinks... 'maybe it was X+Y' he's been very busy very quickly, hence the confusion. He confirmed to my delight that Sally Hawkins (also in X+Y) is just as amazing as you'd think she'd be. 'She's just like her Happy-Go-Lucky character. Well, not really.'

Allen Leech, Moten Tyldum, Matthew Beard and Alex Lawther at the event. Photo ©Kristina Bumphrey Star Traks

Beard, a little more seasoned in the movies, had previously co-starred in An Education (2009). I pointed out that by this time next week he'll already have two Best Picture nominees on his filmography. He hadn't realized it but quickly warmed to the idea, demanding that future scripts comply: 'I only do Best Pictures!'

related: Selma Luncheon, Unbroken party, A Most Violent Year afterparty

Wednesday
Jan072015

The Cinematography Guild's Nominees 

The American Society of Cinematographers chose the following five films as the best shot of the year. According to Twitter The Imitation Game is the odd man out. It was shot by Oscar Faura who is definitely talented (see The Orphanage and The Impossible) but discussions around this film rarely concern themselves with the quality of its cinematography (which can't really be said for the other nominees here). 

1 of roughly 1,890 amazing shots in Mr Turner

 

 

It does remind slightly of when The King's Speech got that perplexing actual Oscar nomination for Cinematography over at least a dozen (at least it bears repeating) well shot and more inspiring choices from 2010. Of the ASC nominees only Lubezki has previously won an Oscar (for Gravity) and Roger Deakins is of course ever the Bridesmaid, never the Bride (which we used to be able to say about Lubezki). Dick Pope has one previous nomination to his credit (The Illusionsit) 

Assuming the Oscar race is between Lubezki and Deakins, who do you think will win? Do you think this will be the Oscar list and if you don't which film with acclaimed cinematography (no matter what one thinks of each film) sneak in?  Selma? Interstellar? A Most Violent Year? Wild (interview)? Gone Girl? The Homesman? or something else entirely? My write-in vote is Yorick LeSaux's work on Only Lovers Left Alive.

P.S. My final Oscar predictions are coming next week. Obviously I need to rethink my chart - way off there! We're just waiting for Oscar nomination balloting to close up shop (which happens tomorrow evening). 

Wednesday
Jan072015

CDG Nominations: The Theory of Wild Budapest Hotels of the Galaxy

The Costume Guild Nominees have been announced. It's worth noting, always, with guilds that their memberships are much broader than their correlative branch within the Academy. Neverthless they often stick closely to whichever movies are being talked up for Best Picture, regardless of their guild-specific merits. Note some of the nominations below.

Excellence in Contemporary Film
Birdman - Albert Wolsky
Boyhood - Kari Perkins
Gone Girl - Trish Summerville
Interstellar - Mary Zophres
Wild – Melissa Bruning

Albert Wolsky is a legend and Trish Summerville has been killing it lately so no complaints there. But the contemporary categories, as with all guilds, are where you can see how distracted people get with their feelings for the movie at hand and not with the [insert field]. My point is this: These are five strong movies but did they even consider, say, Mommy, Only Lovers Left Alive, Neighbors, Begin Again, 22 Jump Street, or Lucy? And if they didn't, shouldn't they have? (At least they didn't nominate Sniper's fatigues or Gyllenhaal's baggy shirts in keeping with the other guilds lockstep devotion to those pictures.)

PERIOD / FANTASY / AND TV NOMINEES AFTER THE JUMP...

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