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Entries in precursor awards (217)

Sunday
Feb012015

So Linky Together

Such Moving Pictures Clayton picks his top 11 of the year
The Film Doctor and his wife discuss Birdman and crisis of identity
The Backlot does a readers poll of the greatest gay movies but YIKES some of the titles and their rankings. It's also very very American movie centric. No Happy Together on a list of 100 greatest gay movies? THAT'S A DEAL BREAKER, LADIES.
20 Weeks to Oscar - David Poland wonders if it's wide open due to preferential balloting which he hates (and explains why)


NY Times Colleen McCullough author of the Thorn Birds dies at 77. My mom was obsessed with that miniseries when I was a little kid so I vaguely remember it.
Variety reviews Lila & Eve starring Viola Davis & Jennifer Lopez. Yes, I realize they're billed the other way round but let's be real, okay? I really wanted to see this one but it did not screen during the first five days when I was there. I'm hoping Michael saw it.
Film School Rejects talks about release / distribution for Sundance films. Sadly some of the biggest hits will undoubtely wait until the fall or winter to try to get Oscar traction. But a few will open before that like Dope (due in June). 
Salon "I was an American Sniper, and Chris Kyle's war was not my war."
Art of the Title Sequence takes on Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing (1989)
The New Yorker Richard Brody thinks critics have failed female auteurs
/Film whoa. Martin Starr from Freaks & Greeks is all grown up and is playing a romantic lead in Amira & Sam
THR Oooh, a new leading role for Octavia Spencer in Seacole, a biopic of a Jamaican doctor
/Film Ezra Miller interviewed about The Flash on the street with Billy Crudup his Stanford Prison Experiment co-star. Nobody asks Billy Crudup about the time he turned down the Hulk in the early Aughts
Variety ooh Glenn Close & Frances McDormand are both going to be in a new drama called The Wife (Close is the lead who leaves her literary giant husband (Jonathan Pryce) just as he's about to be presented with the Nobel prize). Co-starring: Logan Lerman, Brit Marling, and Christian Slate
THR Megan Ellison saves Vidiots from closure
The Carpetbagger Clothes and character in The Theory of Everything and more 

Allow me to be weirded out for a moment.

Did you know that Kirk (Sean Gunn) from Gilmore Girls played Rocket Raccoon on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy. I am dumbfounded. Perhaps this is common knowledge but I am only just realizing it. That Kirk was always trying new careers on for size in Stars Hollow but who knew he would ever end up like this!?

 

Sunday
Jan252015

SAG Open Thread

I wish I had the energy and window of time to live-blog the SAG Awards but I'm not really catching the full thing, peeking at them inbetween Sundance stuff. I apologize for not planning properly to get you live blogged coverage in my absence but did you enjoy the show?

Feature Films
Lifetime Achievement The Unsinkable Debbie Reynolds  
Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Lead Actress Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Lead Actor Eddie Redmayne, Theory of Everything
Ensemble Birdman


Television
Actress in a Movie or Miniseries Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge 
Actress in a Drama Series Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder 
Actor in a Drama Series Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey  
Actor in a Comedy Series William H Macy, Shameless
Actress in a Comedy Series Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Ensemble in a Comedy Series Orange is the New Black 

 

Sunday
Jan252015

SAG Predictions. Got any crazy ones?

I'm betting it continues to be a big weekend for Birdman on account of actors playing actors in a movie about acting (not to mention that the ensemble IS truly worthy) but I could be wrong. The temptation to wield your guild's top award as a defacto Best Picture prize -- even though none of the guilds are meant to be awarding that but their own craft instead -- has often proven a strong lure. Boyhood is easier to love so perhaps they'll hand the prize to just four people: Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater. Otherwise I feel little fear in predicting Keaton, Moore, Arquette and Simmons as the winners. Same as it ever was. That said if Eddie Redmayne is the viable Oscar threat I think he is, things could shift here in Best Actor to put him firmly in first place. After all SAG did go really above and beyond for Theory nominating this three-hander (for all intents and purposes) for the Ensemble prize.

It's worth noting that nominating committees are different than general voting bodies. They are much smaller and more peculiar and they vote much earlier. The conversation about Redmayne's movie has been drowned out recently by discussions about every other Best Picture nominee outside of maybe Whiplash

Wednesday
Jan142015

BFCA "Critics Choice" Predictions

We'll do this quickly because the Oscar nominations are the important thing. I have arrived safely in Los Angeles and love my fake new apartment for the time being (thanks AirBnB). I was surprised to realize the big budget of the CCMA's when I hit JFK and banner ads for the BFCA show were everywhere...

God, greedy much. How many thumbs could you want?

I hope you'll all tune in tomorrow night (A&E). The BFCA has a ton of categories and not all of them are televised so I'm not sure which you'll see tomorrow night but here's a very quick list:

BEST PICTURE
Prediction: Boyhood. I've heard fellow members stumping for Birdman and Selma mostly but in the end they pride themselves on Oscar predictions so I doubt Boyhood misses.

BEST ACTOR
Prediction: Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
Would love a surprise here like Jake Gyllenhaal but I doubt it. (Remember that year when Anne Hathaway won for Rachel Getting Married? We need more discerning detours like that.) There's another place to honor Keaton which might given them a fine excuse to let Redmayne prep for the possible Oscar win.

BEST ACTRESS
Prediction:  Julianne Moore – Still Alice

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Prediction: J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Prediction: Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Though you'll get to see Jessica Chastain onstage too since we're giving her a Body of Work award for some reason (though she's already won 2 prizes in the past few years)

Click to read more ...

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!

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