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Entries in Punditry (36)

Monday
Sep192016

"Land of Mine" to compete for Foreign Oscar. (Plus Chart Updates)

Though I just gushed love all over Thomas Vinterberg's Oscar submission finalist The Commune yesterday, today brings news that Denmark went with another title for their submission. The committee unanimously chose Land of Mine, a World War II drama. The film looks at a little told story about German POWs in Denmark forced to dig up land mines. The film will be released in the US by Sony Pictures Classics, dates TBA. It's worth noting that the film is also up for the Nordic Film Prize on November 1st, a prize which has other Oscar submission finalists in the running:

Nordic Council Film Prize Nominees
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (Finland's Oscar submission)
The Here After (Sweden - Reviewed last year at TIFF)
Land of Mine (Denmark's Oscar submission)
Louder Than Bombs (Norway's English Language Joachim von Trier film)
Sparrows (Iceland's Oscar submission finalist - they have not announced yet)

If you haven't checked out the Foreign Film Submission Charts they've had multiple updates recently with 55 films announced thus far (the number of contenders generally falls somewhere between 75-80 when all is said and done). New announcements include Apprentice from Singapore (reviewed), Jonas Cuarón's Desierto from Mexico (opening next month in the US starring Gael García Bernal, a mainstay of this category), Asgar Farhadi's Arthur Miller inspired Salesman from Iran, Karma from Thailand, and more. You can read about the films on the charts

Submission Charts
Afghanistan to Finland - 20 submissions thus far
George to Morocco - 13 submissions thus far
Nepal to Venezuela - 23 submissions thus far 

Current Predictions 
Here are 15 hunches, alphabetically, of films that have a good shot at the 9-wide finals. In red is the only film you could argue is locked up for the finalist list.
Barakah Meets Barakah (Saudi Arabia)
Desierto (Mexico)
Happiest Day in the Life... (Finland)
Julieta (Spain)
The King's Choice (Norway)
Land of Mine (Denmark)
Letters From War (Portugal)
A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
Neruda (Chile)
Salesman (Iran)
Sieranevada (Romania)
Tanna (Australia)
Toni Erdmann (Germany) 
Train Drivers Diary (Serbia) 
"Whatever France Submits" (TBA) 

 

Friday
Sep022016

All Oscar Charts Updated 

ICYMI. With Venice & Telluride in swing and Toronto almost in session, the race is off. But a word to the wise - it's a marathon not a sprint.

INDEX 
Handy chart (final pre-festival guesswork) and nomination tallies 

PIC
 | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS 
The marquee categories

FOREIGN
 | FOREIGN A-F | FOREIGN F-N | FOREIGN N-Z
Updated Frequently. 15 Official Submissions in foreign language film category thus far. New films added today include entries from Egypt, Bosnia, Hungary, Sweden, and Belgium

VISUALS | AURALS | ANIMATION & DOCS | SCREENPLAYS 
Some of our favorite categories 

Wednesday
Aug312016

Best Picture Updates: La La Land Up, Birth of Nation Down

It's the final blind read Oscar charts update... after Venice/Telluride/Toronto each year things clear up a lot which is both fun because "the Oscar race has begun" and horrible since it's nice to hold on to multiple impossible dreams. After festival season is over you have to winnow the impossible dreams down since so many of the films have shown their faces and people get to decide how attractive they are and if they want to keep talking and thinking and looking at them for the next five months. 

At the very current moment La La Land is enjoying a deluge of ecstatic responses at Venice which makes us feel good about having predicted it from moment one. At the very current moment, The Birth of a Nation is reminding everyone that being a "frontrunner" a year before the actual ceremony is usually an untenable situation for a variety of similar reasons each time (boredom, hype backlash, "that ol' thing?" annoyance, etcetera) and also for specific unique reasons each time.

In the case of The Birth of a Nation we're dealing with the very unsavory business of a past rape incident. It feels grotesque to view such things through the lens of "what does it mean for Oscar?" which is largely why we've stayed relatively mum on the topic at The Film Experience. Nevertheless we should note that this is not necessarily the end for the movie. History is filled with bad press situations overcome and Hollywood is forgiving when they want to be. There are still four months left until Oscar nominations - plenty of time for more hot takes and backlashes against backlashes and so on. Nate Parker's willingness to talk at length about this is probably a good sign for both his future and the picture's, like this candid must-read interview with Ebony magazine. We can debate about how sincere and/or ignorant he is /was about consent (yes, yes, cultural understanding around sensitive topics does evolve over time but it was never okay to invite your friends to have sex with a passed out woman;  you didn't need modern understandings of "consent" to know this in the 90s) but I think we can all agree that rape culture is a very forgiving place for accomplished men, however awful that sounds. 

On the other hand once voters realize how much diversity there is in front of and behind the camera in 2016's movie offerings (Fences, Loving, A United Kingdom, Queen of Katwe, and Moonlight are all still to come) they might be eager to run far afield of the icky Birth of a Nation situation without worrying about any #OscarsSoWhite fallout because they can run right into the arms of less troubled filmmakers and warmer films. 

It's all so gross. So on to something more fun. Did you know that Alicia Keys, Tori Amos, and Sia all wrote Original Songs for movies this year? They did. See it on the music chart. 

CHART UPDATES Pre Festival Edition
INDEX |  BEST PICTURE | BEST DIRECTOR 
FOREIGN | FOREIGN A-F | FOREIGN F-N | FOREIGN N-Z
SCREENPLAYS | VISUALS | SOUND & MUSIC ANIMATION & DOCS
Acting chart updates tomorrow!

Tuesday
Aug162016

Monty (1998-2016)

Our first photo together in December 1998, before The Film Experience existed. I lost my furbaby today (apologies that scheduled blog events are delayed). You knew him as a highly elusive cat pundit (he was most active in the prediction game from 2010-2012) but he was never easy to pin down on movies and Oscars.

Some of his classic posts:
Bridesmaids
127 Hours, Conviction, and Never Let Me Go
Hitchcock 
Olaf from Frozen 
Jennifer Aniston in Cake 

He did love a few movies unreservedly including Microcosmos (1996), Dancer in the Dark (2000), and Paddington (2014) but mostly he ignored them, preferring to imagine he was my only love. I already miss him terribly.

Friday
Jul222016

Oscar Chart Updates: The Acting Races !

The July Oscar prediction chart updates are complete! You're welcome. Each chart has been updated (but for foreign film but we start building the submission tables now). With the acting charts newly updated you'll see new predictions we're trying on for size (Jessica Sloane for Miss Sloane and Naomie Harris for Moonlight) and significant chart gains for the casts of three pictures (which affects the supporting actor chart most) Love and Friendship, Loving and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.

Will they be contenders? Who knows.

Here are some questions TFE is asking its Oscar Crystal Ball. Care to answer them in the comments? 

• Which sci-fi picture is more likely to be garner acting praise: Passengers with Jennifer Lawrence or Arrival with Amy Adams? Or neither since sci-fi pictures are rarely regarded, right or wrong, as "actor's pictures"?

• Do you think Love & Friendship can muster up an acting campaign to capitalize on its sleeper arthouse hit status?

• Why is buzz around Martin Scorsese's Silence so quiet and does this mean anything for its formidable male actors?

• Will Fences be seen as just the Viola & Denzel show or will it be a force in Supporting Actor? And can Denzel win a third Oscar, tying Daniel Day Lewis, Walter Brennan, and Jack Nicholson?

• Can Sony Pictures Classics make a critical cause of or controversy 'must-see' event out of Paul Verhoeven & Isabelle Huppert's pairing in Elle?

• When will filmmakers quit wasting Oscar caliber actresses as "concerned wife on phone" and "inquisitive wife at kitchen table"? (Actually this last one is rhetorical. No need to answer lest we all weep.)

NEW CHARTS
INDEX |  PIC | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | ACTRESS
SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS 
SCREENPLAYSVISUALS | AURALS | ANIMATION & DOCS

Thursday
Jul142016

Oscar Chart Updates: Picture, Director, Screenplay

It's time to overhaul those April Fool's Oscar Predictions. Release dates have shifted around a bit with Miss Sloane (starring Jessica Chastain) and The Founder (starring Michael Keaton) moving to a very crowded December. Same as it ever was. Quite strangely every Oscar hopeful wants to open opposite Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, so those that have firmly planted their flags in October and November like Birth of a Nation, Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk, and Loving are looking extra smart since that's where Best Picture winners come from for a whole decade now. So why do studios keep banking on December? The answer is twofold. IF you don't get buried in the glut (that's the risk) you can make a lot of money during the holidays and get a higher nomination count than you probably could have managed had you opened in October since you're so fresh in the memory. That's what happened to The Big Short, Carol, Star Wars, and The Revenant last year though half of those did not manage Best Picture honors, even with the benefit of being fresh despite a plentiful stack of nominations.

Will the screenplay branch be appreciative of The Lobster's eccentric originality?

Sadly it doesn't look like we have a major summer player this year like we did last year with Mad Max Fury Road. Though we can hold out hope that The Lobster, Love & Friendship, The Witch and some other goodies from the year's first half will get a second wind later in the season. Anyway, the updates!

BEST PICTURE | BEST DIRECTOR
Faith is increasing in Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk and Loving and La La Land (though they were already doing well in our charts). Faith has decreased in Fences -- they sure rushed that one, didn't they, since they're already done filming and The Zookeeper's Wife has moved to 2017. (Surely a few more titles will also exit and wait it out)

BEST SCREENPLAYS
We'll assume Loving is an Original Screenplay for now, though there's a documentary and other writings on that topic. Since Oscar is weird about nominating musicals for Screenplay this is one category where La La Land is not predicted. But we've thrown Miss Sloane onto the chart to see how it feels. In Adapted Screenplay we're banking on Love & Friendship being the early bird that sticks around since it became such an arthouse hit and it's so delightful and so much was made in profiles and reviews and interviews of Whit Stillman's Jane Austen connection. 

More updates to come!