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Entries in Punditry (19)

Saturday
Jul252015

Links: Video Game Movies, Big Lebowski Reads, Oscar Site Purchases

David Poland won't review Pixels 'because... why?'
Variety Our Brand is Crisis starring Sandra Bullock gets an October 30th release date. With that film, The Walk and Freeheld all coming out it could be a huge year for features based on documentaries at the Oscars
TFE in case you missed it Ann Dowd is in that film, too and loved being part of the ensemble
Towleroad I interviewed the director/star of Do I Sound Gay?, a documentary on the gay voice that's out right now
The Guardian reviews the latest Jason Reitman live read (The Big Lebowski) and loves on Michael Fassbender as "The Dude" and Patton Oswalt (in John Goodman's role of "Walter" and Mae Whitman (multiple parts) in particular. Not so much Jennifer Lawrence in Julianne Moore's original part

Variety interviews legendary documentarian Barbara Kopple. My shame: I've still never seen Harlan County, USA but people always say it's amazing
Comics Alliance on rumors about "Robin" in Batman v Superman. He might be played by Zach Snyder's son Eli who has only worked for his dad but it's "not entirely" and only "sort of" nepotism. (Related: on the internet, words continue to lose their meanings)
/Film looks at upcoming video game based movies. I don't play video games so none of this means anything to me but if you do... (I amend. There's one I'll see called Assassin's Creed but that's only because Fassy and Cotillard are both in on the heels of co-starring in Macbeth)
Awards Daily loves Grandma and agrees with us that Lily Tomlin needs to be in the Best Actress conversation 
Gold Derby I forgot to mention that they were bought up by a larger media company so congrats to Tom O'Neill. That leaves David Poland, Jeffrey Wells, Sasha Stone and little ol' me as the last of the original indies still doing this. Not everyone wants to be bought up... I'm not sure who I'd be without The Film Experience... but on the other hand, money is nice. green. useful.   

Off Cinema
Esquire has a fascinating/terrifying long read on climate scientist 'what if the end of the world was your day job?' 
Stage Buddy for Kander & Ebb's 50th anniversary, a ranking of their top 50 songs. Wow this is comprehensive. The order is all out of whack (Cabaret and Chicago combined only get 3 songs in the top 25!)  but still, good job Andrew! This reminded me how much I loved the music in The Visit and how great the music is in New York New York.

Speaking of... here's your Showtune to Go from The Scottsboro Boys (2010) which I'm so sad I never saw during its Broadway run (this song "Go Back Home" which comes fairly early in the show is so gorgeous). I only heard raves and it won 12 Tony nominations but in the season of The Book of Mormon there was no oxygen for the competition. Maybe someone will one day make it into a movie?

Friday
Feb202015

Post Predictions Oscar Jitters

Do you think Oscar wishes he had more of a bubble butt?

Have you voted on our Oscar charts? It's your last day to vote for your PICTURE, DIRECTOR, ACTOR, ACTRESS, SUPPORTING ACTRESS, SUPPORTING ACTOR, and SCREENPLAY preferences. I'll announce the Reader's Choice winners tomorrow.

If you found my "final predictions post" here yesterday a bit baffling in its haphazhard order -- I'm always a mess on Oscar weekend -- I'd suggest reading my far more organized final take at Towleroad which reiterates all the arguments I've been making the past month but in a more \readable fashion. If you read this blog every day you already know what I'm expecting but naturally I'm having "I'll be so wrong!" jitters. I like being wrong, don't get me wrong (super predictable set in stone years are dull) but I don't like being too wrong. It's a fine distinction but an important one!

My Great Fear is that Grand Budapest loses two prizes I predicted it for (Makeup and Costumes) to inferior work (i.e. all of its competitors in those categories).

My Great Dream is that Michael Keaton surprises and takes Best Actor against the odds because it has been forever since we've had an "all fictional characters winning" years. 1997 to be exact when As Good As it Gets, LA Confidential, and Good Will Hunting provided a brief reprieve from the exhausting dominance of biopic mimicry. 

Everyone was applauding Shirley Booth in the 1952/1953 seasonMy Great Confusion is shared with all. No matter how I weigh it, I can't figure out the Birdman vs Boyhood situation. No matter what your feelings about either, you have to admit that they'd be atypical winners. Birdman is quite cerebral and weird and funny (none of which generally describe Oscar winners) and Boyhood is quite "small" and indie-feeling despite its epic 12 years in the making slant. So I remind myself that I love both of them and either will make a great Best Picture so let the chips fall where they may.

But in terms of the Academy both seem "soft" if you will. If people love Birdman so much why isn't Keaton the Best Actor frontrunner and if people love Boyhood so much why does Birdman keep winning guild prizes? I keep coming up with scenarios wherein the Best Picture wins only one other Oscar and that has not happened since The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). And never before that until you go back to the 1940 and earlier when they had far less categories than they have now. Only 2 Oscars for the Best Picture winner seems highly unlikely but then 1952 might be a magic coincidence film year since that was also the last year a woman in her fifties won Best Actress.

 

Thursday
Feb192015

Awards Season Dichotomy: Easy Calls & Tough Choices

With time rapidly running out until we get to Oscar - we're just 3 days away - I'm afraid there's no time left for obsessive predictive postings and chart updates. So as a final predictive wrap up, we illustrate one of the conundrums of awards season via Oscar Predictions and our own Film Bitch Awards. With Oscar it seems categories often become either truly easy calls or are just impossible to figure. For the conscientous voter, personal ballots are never easy calls. They're another matter entirely.

To quote the witch Ursula who is not good and not nice but just right:

Life's full of tough choices, in'n't it?

Speaking of personal choices, if you haven't yet voted on the polls on each chart page, go and do that. I'll announce the Reader's Choice this Saturday before the Oscars.

OSCAR PREDICTIONS

Isn't it weird how things just line up for Oscar's  "duh" calls for predictions each year-- even if there's no appreciable difference in quality or the quality actually goes another way? So as recap. Here are the final predictions. Later today I'm doing a piece for Towleroad where you can read further thoughts on all of this if you haven't got enough of it right here. I also urge you to check out the Gurus of Gold chart at Movie City News to see what the general consensus is versus where I and maybe you if you predict at home, fall.

THE EASIEST CALLS
Actress  Julianne Moore, Still Alice (just discussed)
Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons, Whiplash (a press favorite all year)
Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette, Boyhood 
Production Design / Costume Design -Stockhausen & Canonero for Grand Budapest Hotel 
Cinematography Emmanuel Lubeski - Birdman 

SEEMINGLY EASY CALLS BUT THESE CATEGORIES ARE KNOWN FOR UPSETS
Foreign Film -Ida
Documentary  - Citizen Four
Makeup - Grand Budapest Hotel 

SLIGHTLY MORE COMPLICATED CALLS
Actor - Eddie Redmayne, Theory of Everything I understand some are arguing for a Cooper stealth win or a Keaton triumph with Birdman surging but I'm sticking by my original prediction. Oscar has always been deeply fascinated by mimicry and by men playing characters with physical challenges.

TRULY DIFFICULT CALLS
Picture/Director I'm going with a Boyhood/Birdman split though any combo or double from either makes sense. It's all terribly mystifying (Discussed on the podcast)
Visual Effects Interstellar (though I'm not confident)
Editing Whiplash (though Boyhood seems just as likely)
Original Screenplay Grand Budapest (or will it be Birdman?)
Adapted Screenplay Imitation Game (with an outside shot for Whiplash)
Doc Short Glenn thinks Crisis Hotline. I'm going with Joanna
Live Action Short The Phone Call
Animation Short Tim thinks Feast or The Dam Keeper. I'm going with The Bigger Picture
Score Theory of Everything
Sound Mixing Whiplash
Sound Editing American Sniper

And that's it for predictions. I look forward to being completely wrong this year. I love the volatile years most. Punditry is no fun when it's too easy.

FILM BITCH AWARDS

As for my own annual prizes with their own rich history... those are still in progress and much fussed over though the Oscar Correlative categories are all fully complete.

4 nominations for NIGHTCRAWLERNATHANIEL'S BALLOT - ALWAYS TOUGH CHOICES
PAGE 1 - Picture, Director, Screenplay, Animated (complete)
PAGE 2 - Acting (newly completed!)
PAGE 3 - Visuals (newly completed!)
PAGE 4 - Aurals and Oscar-Parallel Tally (newly completed with love for The Homesman, Gone Girl, Begin Again and more...) 

...and the extra "fun" categories are still in progress though there's a little something on each page now to whet your appetite.

PAGE 5 - Extras (new kudos for Pride, Love is Strange & Selma)
PAGE 6 - Character Prizes 
PAGE 7 - Scene Work 

Wednesday
Dec312014

A Scene With Finn Wittrock

INT. RESPLENDENT PARTY - HOTEL - EARLY DECEMBER.

Medium Shot on BREATHROUGH SENSATION (thirty) in expensive light suit, jet black hair, perfect skin, perfectest face, leaving an Academy schmoozing party. His co-stars in "Unbroken" are still mingling as the party wraps up but the young actor is heading out. People congratulate him on his recent marriage on his way.

Determined NOT USUALLY AGGRESSIVE SEMI WELL KNOWN OSCAR BLOGGER (forties), approaches, looking frantic, lumpy, bedraggled in comparison despite also wearing a suit and tie. The actor is having his moment. So too shall this blogger. The actor's handlers surprisingly give the blogger the thumbs up, everyone en route to the elevator bank.

NATHANIEL 

(Nervous) I guess on the go?

FINN WITTROCK

Let's do it!

NATHANIEL

Impressive year: Masters of Sex, Freakshow and now Unbroken. And you're so different in all. Is your life completely crazy all of a sudden?

FINN WITTROCK

It's been gradual -- at this moment it feels very different than a year ago when I was starving on a raft. Maybe in some ways because I haven’t gotten insane notoriety before this I've been able to do many different things without people putting in a box for any one thing?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec052014

Monty the Cat Pundit Smells a Jennifer Aniston Surprise!

Monty is getting on in years and has all but retired from Oscar punditry. When I show him my swag in the hopes that he'll reveal some innate feline wisdom about awards season these days he looks away with disdain, grumpier than ever. He's even ignored all the boxes which must be like an alcoholic strolling past an open bar without stopping.

But FINALLY engagement. This week he lept with glee into a box containing various Into the Woods substances (I wasn't quick enough with the camera but he obviously approves. Does this mean that Into the Woods can muscle into the Best Picture race after all (it's kind of a toss-up right?) or is it just a reminder that Monty has a thing for musicals? His first Oscar call ever was Best Original Song for Björk in Dancer in the Dark (2000) when he was just a 2 year-old. He would race to the CD player (remember those?) whenever it came on and plant himself there.

And tonight, the most curiousity yet this season as he began circling one of three new packages He would barely let me touch it. What's it for?

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar012014

Throwing the Link Bones

Gurus of Gold the final predictions. It's fascinating to see where the differences of opinion lie on this handy chart of top pundits
Telegraph Tim Robey picks the five best Oscar years ever from 1939 forward. Good choices.
Deadspin's "Hater's Guide to the Oscars" is insanely funny. Get on over there. Finally a piece making fun of the Oscars that is not dumb (Honestly I've had it with all the takedowns of Oscar we get every year. Even the 140 character type of takedowns. They're all so stupid and whiny ("why can't my favorites be nominated. waaaaaa") and clueless about how it all actually works and what movies, you know, exist in the world. 

Finally, you must read MTV Styles "United Colors of Lupita"... I know Oscar prediction is an inexact science, roughly akin to tossing small animal bones on the ground and pontificating but this is why I think Lupita is going to win.

This. 

Who needs all the precursors to line up when you can do this?