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Entries in Punditry (33)

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!

Monday
May022016

Which actors will Oscar celebrate this year?

We've discussed Best Actress and the overall April Foolish Predictions so let's talk Best Actor & Supporting Actor

First, we have to wonder what it will take to get Tom Hanks back in Oscar's shortlist. His last two acclaimed hits have wound up with Best Supporting Actor & Best Picture nominations but Hanks was passed over in both cases. If the same thing happens with Aaron Eckhart in the co-pilot seat of Sully, the famous story of the pilot who successfully crash landed a plane on the Hudson, we'll have a bonafide trend and not just a coincidence. That's what I'm currently predicting though of course it's all fun and games now before we see the films. And before we even know about several competitors as the year doesn't really get going until the fall according to Oscar voters.

The pressure is off Birth of a Nation... at least a little bit. Several films with actors of color look promising this year, so it needn't be the sole standard bearerIn other acting category predictions, I feel confident in saying that we'll see the end of the dread #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Or, rather, the issue will persist (Hollywood having white male imbalance problems) but it will take a different shape, less focused on the Oscar's acting branch which was an easy but unfortunate scapegoat of a much larger Hollywood problem. The Acting branch has always been the most inclusive and diverse of any Oscar branch but the uproar and embarrassing photo ops of the past two years -- as well as, yes, too-defensive quotes from some famous actors themselves -- have convinced the public otherwise. With more racially diverse dramas being released this year (Fences, Birth of a Nation, A United Kingdom, Loving, Lion and possibly more)  it should be an easy fix; AMPAS members can only vote for films and performances that are eligible. My sincere hope is that we see a few Latino or Asian nominees in the mix soon so we can move past this idea that racial identity and diversity are binaries. But first people will have to start actually casting Latin and Asian actors in movies. Wouldn't that be nice. It's especially rough for Asian actors since they nearly always change their characters to white characters between source material and production.

[Tangent for Hard Core Fans: Despite the difficulty of predicting a full slate of nominees this far in advance I don't actually do a poor job of it. Even in the below the line craft lineups I tend to score two of five before we've seen any films. This sounds easy but I assure you it's not. Try it one year in April and save your list with no changes ever each time you hear news or release date shifts thereafter and see how many remain at the end of the year. Best Actor remains my best category in terms of flying that blind. In 2013 and 2015 I correctly guessed 4 of the 5 nominees this early which is really something. And in 2001 and 2008 the scores would have also been that incredible but for the business of men being nominated the next year instead. - Nathaniel]

Sunday
Mar062016

Podcast Season Finale: 88th Oscars

NathanielNick, Joe and Katey close this season of the podcast with their final "it's all sunk in now" feelings

42 minutes 
00:01 "So Spotlight won..."
02:15 Katey's Party / Nick's House Rules 
05:25 Stallone's Loss / Compton Moviegoing
09:30 How much changes if Idris Elba had been nominated?
15:00 Sam Smith, The Gays, and Original Song
20:00 What wins will age well and much randomness
37:54 That moment when we thought George Miller was possible...
40:00 Girl Scout Cookies and Goodbyes

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Related Reading: Index of Oscar Ceremony Coverage

Oscar Wrap Up

Friday
Feb262016

Final Oscar Predictions. Here We Go...

Thanks for reading all year, dear Oscar freaks.  I originally published these predictions in my column at Towleroad but the write-ups are expanded here with more details since y'all are movie freaks and I love you for it. Here we go...

From silly rumors of a bear “raping” Leonardo DiCaprio, to the critical fervor for a fourth film in a Mad and previously non-prestigious action franchise, to obviously gathering but non-impactful support of our years long anti category fraud crusade, to the internet rage and ongoing controversy over #OscarsSoWhite this has been an eventful and often surprising awards season. Will Oscar night continue that trend or feel like an anticlimax? Whichever way it goes, it all comes to an end this Sunday night on ABC when the 88th Academy Awards unspool.

The following predictions can be used to inform your Oscar party or office Oscar pool but fair warning: even seasoned Oscar pundits like myself and other Gurus and Experts are confused this year about some categories. As early as last week, for example, I had planned to start this article with an obnoxiously cute bit about the surest prediction being that the producers would try desperately to pretend that Hollywood was very diverse on Oscar night. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. They went and made another anti-diversity blunder, axing performances of two of the Original Song nominees, the two that happen to be sung by a famous Asian soprano and a trans woman. Can we have a round of applause please for Anohni (better known as Antony Hegarty) who has published a must-read personal essay about the insulting behavior of the Academy in regards to her nomination for Best Original Song.

Sigh. It’s like The Academy can’t help themselves!?! They just dig themselves deeper every time. Yet we can’t help ourselves either and continue obsessing over that 13½ inch naked gold man. Let’s look at all 24 categories after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan162016

Best Picture Chart Fun: Rankings, Nomination Formulas, Stats, Etc...

We love who what we love. And one of the things we love is Stats. And Charts! Oh god do we ever    charts. Why don't you marry them then? Okay. I will. Call city hall. I'll throw a veil over my laptop for the big day.

The new charts are now walking down their virtual aisles to you. First up Best Picture. If you smoosh them all together you have a 131 minute violent R rated drama in which a captive mother tells her son the fantastical story of a grizzly fur trapper and a lovely Irish lass who attempt to survive on a harsh inhospitable planet called Mars where a raving band of warboys pursues them relentlessly... but we never hear how the story ends because suddenly a  lawyer negtotiates the mom & son's release and a crack team of Boston journalists swoops in to investigate just what the hell happened and why no one knew about this story until now. 

But that's just a synopsis.

Click to the chart to see how these movies got nominated, how would we rank or compare them and trivia. It was fun working the angles on this charts so please take a look and consider your own rankings in the comments. 

Housekeeping Note: You'll notice the reader poll is no longer part of the Oscar charts. Since we lost our favorite poll site Twiigs... we have yet to find a suitable easy to access poll site that works well for embedding without interrupting the site in question or being ugly or forcing you to leave the site (you'll notice their fun absence on other former poll loving sites like Fug Girls - why is it so hard to find a good poll site?). But I'll keep an eye out and hope some new service emerges.