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Entries in precursor awards (155)

Thursday
Jan092014

Art Directors Make Their Picks 

Jose here, with yet another batch of guild nominees. This time members of the Art Directors Guild have determined nominees in three categories (which are just as nonsensical as those of the Costume Designers Guild...how is Her contemporary and Gravity a fantasy?). It's mostly more of the same, except for one or two rather interesting choices here and there, and truly it seems as if Oscar mostly cares about the "old look" which is why the Period nominees might pretty much translate into our final five nominees. Right?

The nominees were the following:

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan072014

DGA Howls for Scorsese, Russell and Three First-Timers

The Directors Guild of America, more commonly referred to as simply DGA, have announced their nominees for the film year, and the expected nominees prevailed… with the possible exception of the final slot, alphabetically and most in doubt, which went to Martin Scorsese for his controversial satire.

The nominees are…


  • Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity (first time DGA nominee)
  • Paul Greengrass, Captain Philllips (first time DGA nominee)
  • Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave (first time DGA nominee)
  • David O. Russell, American Hustle (second DGA nomination though curiously not honored in 2012 when Silver Linings Playbook was all the rage)
  • Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street (12th DGA honor*)

In the past DGA nominees were literally the surest indication of which five movies would be nominated for Oscar’s Best Picture, even moreso than accurate bellweathers of what would happen in the director race itself. But since the upheavals in Academy voting since 2009, it’s tough to say what they mean anymore since Best Picture nominations are so much easier to come by. But whatever it means it is certainly not good news for the Coen brothers (Inside Llewyn Davis), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), or Spike Jonze (Her) all of whom have been nominated by the DGA in previous years.

In the past four years (2009-2012) of the DGA nominations 15 of 20 of their selections went on to be Oscar nominated in the same category with 2012 being famously divisive between the two awards groups – only 2 of the DGA’s choices made it to the Oscar lineup in a real surprise shake-up. But despite those disagreements only 1 of the DGA’s 20 selections in the past four years did NOT receive a Best Picture nomination (David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo which won five Oscar nominations and 1 actual statue) so all five of these movies are likely to be Best Picture nominated

… yes, even The Wolf of Wall Street despite the defensive game it’s been playing the media. The Wolf of Wall Street’s current situation has been compared to Zero Dark Thirty’s last year (both here and elsewhere) and Zero Dark Thirty, like Dragon Tattoo, went on to five Oscar nominations and 1 win. So smart money…and by smart money I mean “people who believe in crazy coincidences of Oscar numerology” should expect 5 nominations and one win for Wolf, though not in Best Director and maybe not in Best Picture. In short: we know not a damn thing about how this will play out!

* It’s worth noting that Martin Scorsese is a beloved icon to the Directors Guild of America, having won television, narrative feature, and documentary honors. They’ve been slightly more generous with him over the years than Oscar has. As with Oscar he’s only won their top prize once (also for The Departed) but they’ve given him a lifetime achievement prize as well as nominating him for two pictures that Oscar did not recognize him for: Taxi Driver and The Age of Innocence. The only time the Oscars recognized him when the DGA didn’t was for The Last Tempation of Christ.

Saturday
Jan042014

National Society of Film Critics Wants Inside Llewyn Davis

The National Society of Film Critics is the second oldest film critics group, after the grandfather of them all the New York Film Critics Circle. This year they swooned for that cad with the cat, Llewyn Davis, giving the Coen brothers Inside Llewyn Davis four of its major prizes: Picture, Director, Actor and Cinematography.

Their prizes

PICTURE Inside Llewyn Davis (runner up: American Hustle)
DIRECTOR Joel and Ethan Coen Inside Llewyn Davis (runner up: Alfonso Cuaron)
ACTRESS Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (runner up: Adéle Exarchopoulus)
ACTOR Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis (runner up: Chiwetel Ejiofor)
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle (runner up: Lupita Nyong'o)
SUPPORTING ACTOR James Franco, Spring Breakers (runner up: Jared Leto)
FOREIGN FILM  Blue is the Warmest Color (runner up: A Touch of Sin)
NON-FICTION [tie] The Act of Killing & At Berkeley)
EXPERIMENTAL FILM Leviathan 

More after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan032014

WGA Prefers 'Buyers Club' To Llewyn Davis Inside Greenwich Clubs

The Writers Guild of America has spoken, choosing their favorite scripts of the year in film and television. They repeat an interesting move from yesterday's Producers Guild Awards in that they've (somewhat) unexpectedly acknowledged Dallas Buyers Club, which few people thought was a strong contender outside of the male acting categories, while skipping the Coen Bros Inside Llewyn Davis for honors.

The nominations with commentary are after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec272013

Oscar Voting Begins! Three Suggestions for Academy Members

And so we've come to it! Oscar ballots go out today and voting begins. That's potentially great timing for The Wolf of Wall Street and (maybe) Saving Mr Banks neither of which have done well in the "precursors" -an awful reductive name, sure, but an accurate one since we're long past the days when awards groups weren't primarily existing to either influence or predict the Oscar race. Both of those late blooming films could still find Oscar favor if voters are taken with them over this holiday break. The timing is also probably good news for American Hustle which is doing strong box office and doesn't have that 'shrugged off' by precursors feeling to overcome. 

But, if early predictions from the vast array of pundits hold, this is going to be yet another year that reminds distributors that October is a really great time to release Oscar contenders (Captain Phillips, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity) and maybe not everything needs to wait until the last week of the year. 

THREE SUGGESTIONS FOR THOSE BLESSED WITH BALLOTS

01 Watch two more screeners before voting. You can do it. For those in the acting branch might I suggest Short Term 12 and Enough Said? For those in technical fields, why not try Spring Breakers or The Grand Master or something else off the beaten path? Sometimes the small, weird or foreign movies that can't afford huge campaigns have incredible performances and brilliant craftsmanship. Gravity doesn't need your votes anyway. It's safe.

Throw in a couple more screeners. You can find 3 and a ½ hours this week.

02 PLEASE STOP CATEGORY FRAUD IN ITS TRACKS. The only cure for this madness is for you, the most important movie awards voters on the planet, to reject it. You have the power. If you think Julia Roberts is brilliant in August: Osage County vote for her in Best Actress. Even the author of that film refers to her as "the protagonist" Remember that when you pretend that leading movie stars are supporting, you are in point of fact, penalizing the hardworking character actors for whom the supporting categories were created in 1936. And with so many great supporting ladies available to you this year (Sally Hawkins, Léa Seydoux, Sarah Paulson are all under-loved and why is that?) why waste one of the five spots on a leading performer. Leading ladies have their own category. Vote for Julia there! 

03 Ignore the precursors. If you want to vote for James Franco in Spring Breakers or Blue is the Warmest Color for anything or, if you're in the costuming or production design branches and really believe in the work that's happening in a contemporary or out of time film like Stoker or Her or The Bling Ring or whatever but you feel like you're wasting your vote, do it anyway! Longshots can win Oscar nominations but they only can when people like you go with your true favorites and not with whatever high profile accomplishments are happening within the presumed Best Picture nominees. 

What three things would you ask AMPAS to consider?

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