Academy Award predictions

22 02 2015

I discussed the top 5 in Thursday’s Bowling Green Daily News

To recap
Birdman picture
Julianne Moore actress
Eddie Redmayne actor
J.K. Simmoms supporting actor
Patricia Arquette supporting actress

Now the rest of my picks

Best Director: Richard Linklater
It’s probably Innaritu for Birdman, but I’ll take the upset and the split which most experts believe is coming

Best Adapted screenplay: The Imitation Game
I stick with consensus, although Whiplash or American Sniper would not surprise

Best Original screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best way to honor a film the Academy clearly liked

Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
It should have been the Leggo Movie

Documentary: Citizenfour
Finding Vivan Maier is the dark horse though

Foreign Film: Ida
Leviathan is the strongest contender

Animated short: Feast
It’s Disney. It wins.

Live Action short: Phone Call
Documentary short: Crisis Hot Line

Just taking wild guesses here

Cinematography: Birdman
Grand Budapest could win here, but man I’d love to see Ida win it.

Costumes: Grand Budapest Hotel
No real threat here

Editing: Boyhood
seems to be the favorite, but that final scene of Whiplash could be enough to give it the win.

Makeup: Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of Galaxy has a shot

Production design: Grand Budapest Hotel
maybe Into the Woods, but likely not

Score: Theory of Everything
Even if the music was one of the faults in the film

Song: Glory
Although I’d like Everything is Awesome just for some Lego love.

Sound editing: American Sniper
Sound mixing: Whiplash

Sniper could sweep both, probably best chances at Oscars

Visual effects: Interstellar
Should be Guardians of the Galaxy


Academy Award nomination predictions

14 01 2015

The Oscar frenzy reaches a fever pitch Thursday morning, when the nominations are revealed.
Nomination morning always seems to provide some surprises, both good or bad, and also tends to present a clearer picture of where most frontrunners stand.
This season seems to be one of the more predictable in recent memory, which could set up for a surprising morning.
Then again it might not, leading to a predictable Oscar night.
Here is where I think everything stands less than 24 hours until nominations are announced.

Best Picture
American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Also in running: Gone Girl, Into the Woods, Nightcrawler, Wild

I think there are six firmly locked in, with Selma, Foxcatcher, Whiplash, Gone Girl, Into the Woods and perhaps Nightcrawler competing for the final three slots.
Selma’s backlash and lack of guild support is alarming, but I think it might slip in. Foxcatcher has some support so it might slide in too, along with Whiplash. I think Gone Girl is first one out.

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
David Oyelowo (Selma)
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Also in the running: Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

Cooper and Oyelowo were omitted from the Screen Actors Guild nominations in favor of Carrel and Gyllenhaal. Cooper should ride the late momentum of American Sniper. Carrell and Gyllenhaal are both unlikable characters that might cancel each other out, opening the door for the very deserving Oyelowo. Fiennes is the true wild card, especially if Budapest gets universal love.

Best Actress
Jennifer Ansiton (Cake)
Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

Also in the running: Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Marion Cotillard (Two Days/One Night)

This looks to be the most locked in category. Maybe the Aniston train peaked too soon, which would allow Adams or Cotillard to sneak in. If the Academy really hates Gone Girl, as some pundits have suggested, then Pike could be in trouble. I will stick with the SAG five here.

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall (The Judge)
Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
Edward Norton (Birdman)
Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Also in the running: Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice)

Like best actress, I think the SAG five remain in tact. Brolin is the only real threat to break in, but Inherent Vice doesn’t have much momentum.

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
Kiera Knightley (The Imitation Game)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

Also in the running:
Laura Dern (Wild), Tilda Swinton (The Grand Budapest Hotel or Snowpiercer), Naomi Watts (St. Vincent)

Chastain didn’t get a SAG nod, but will likely crack the final five – perhaps bumping Watts. Dern would be my personal choice, but I think she gets snubbed. Swinton is a wildcard.

Best Director
Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Clint Eastwood (American Sniper)
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)
Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

Also in the running: Ava DuVernay (Selma), David Fincher (Gone Girl)

I’ll take the Director’s Guild five here since directors represent a large part of the voting body. If that happens than a very deserving DuVernay gets left out along with the very talented Fincher.

Five things to take away from the Golden Globes

12 01 2015

The Oscar season officially kicked off with Sunday’s Golden Globes, which is a good precursor for next month’s Academy Awards.
While the Globes won’t influence nominations, which are already in and will be announced on Thursday, it can help shape the winners.
Here is what to take away from tonight’s awards.

1. The Frontrunners are cemented

The major six categories had clear front runners heading into night and their front runner status was validated with wins. I thought Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood” was most vulnerable with Meryl Streep in the category with her, but she passed with flying colors.

2. Boyhood is the clear best picture front runner

Coming into Sunday the feeling was “Boyhood” and “Birdman” were the two main Best Picture contenders, but with “Grand Budapest Hotel” winning best comedy/musical then “Birdman” takes a backseat to “Boyhood.” “The Theory of Everything” likely moves up, but “Boyhood” seems firmly entrenched now.
As for “Budapest,” I think a best picture nomination is coming.

3. Julianne Moore’s time has come
I’ve been a huge fan of Julianne Moore since 1993’s “Short Cuts” and consider her the best actor/actress working to not have an Oscar. That appears to be coming to an end with her work in “Still Alice,” which gave Moore her first Globes win in eight tries on the movie side. Her speech, even pressed for time, was elegant and was a nice audition for next month.

4. Michael Keaton vs. Eddie Redmayne for best actor
It’s now a two man race for best actor. Redmayne’s role is showier, but Keaton has a long career that is respected among industry circles. Add his amazing speech at the Globes and I think Keaton may be closing in on the Oscar.

5. No Common speech
The best speech of the night goes to Common, who along with John Legend won best original song “Glory” from “Selma.” It was touching, inspirational, and elegant. A graceful statement that is an extension of a beautiful film.

The year in movies

1 01 2015

My picks for the best and worst of 2014 is in today’s Bowling Green Daily News

Here are a few more unofficial awards to put a bow on 2014

Best male performances (lead or supporting)
1. J.K. Simmons Whiplash
2. Edward Norton Birdman
3. Steve Carrell Foxcatcher
4. Channing Tatum Foxcatcher
5. Chadwick Boseman Get on Up

Best female performances (lead or supporting)
1. Reese Witherspoon Wild
2. Agata Kulesza Ida
3. Rosamund Pike Gone Girl
4. Patricia Arquette Boyhood
5. Tilda Swinton Snowpiercer

Movies I didn’t like, but everyone else did
1. Nightcrawler
2. Interstellar
3. Maleficent
4. The Equalizer

Movies I liked, but not as much as everyone else
1. Under the Skin
2. The Theory of Everything

Movies I liked that no one got to see (until Netflix or DVD)
1. The Skeleton Twins
2. Snowpiercer
3. Ida

Movies I liked that no one seemed to have heard of
1. The Babadook
2. The Disapperance of Elanor Rigby
3. Love is Strange

Movies I didn’t hate as much as everyone else

1. The Other Woman
2. Blended

Guilty pleasures
1. The Interview
2. Pompeii
3. Dumb and Dumber To

Biggest surprises
1. About Last Night
2. Veronica Mars

Best of the chick flicks

1. The Fault in Our Stars
2. If I Stay
3. Gimme Shelter

Oscar Predictions

1 03 2014

I covered the main categories in Thursday’s Bowling Green Daily News. You can read it at this link
Here is how I see the entire night shaping up

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave (although the Gravity train seems to be picking up steam)
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Best Original Screenplay: Her
Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave
Production Design: The Great Gatsby
Cinematography: Gravity
Costumes: American Hustle
Foreign Film: The Great Beauty
Sound mixing: Gravity
Sound editing: Gravity
Documentary feature: 20 Feet from Stardom
Documentary short: Room 106
Animated feature: Frozen
Animated short: Get a Horse
Live Action short: Helium
Special effects: Gravity
Editing: Captain Phillips
Score: Gravity
Song: Let it Go
Make-up: Dallas Buyers Club

2014 Oscar nomination predictions

15 01 2014

The Oscar race hits a fever pitch on Thursday with the announcement of the 2014 nominees.
It is a list that is sure to include a few surprises, especially in a year when most races seem to be wide open.
Here is how I see the six major categories shaking out:

American Hustle
12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
Saving Mr. Banks
Dallas Buyers Club

It could be up to 10 nominees and as few as five, but I think eight seems to be the likely number. The Wolf of Wall Street and Her are the two films I could see breaking through, while Saving Mr. Banks and Nebraska may be the ones on the list most in danger.

Christian Bale, American Hustler
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Someone is going to be left out in arguably the deepest category this year. Dern, Ejiofor, Hanks, and McConaughey are all likely locked in, leaving Bale, Robert Redford for All is Lost (my personal favorite) and Leonardo DiCaprio for the Wolf of Wall Street to fight for that final spot. I’ll take Bale because Hustle seems to have the momentum. Wolf may be too divisive, while Redford’s momentum has faded away.

Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

Like actor, this has four sure things with Blanchett, Bullock, Dench, and Thompson. The fifth spot comes down to Adams versus Meryl Streep for August:Osage County. Streep is an Academy darling, but Adams and Hustle has momentum. If Adams sneaks in she is a major contender to win. If Streep gets in Blanchett could have the most to benefit because her path to a victory gets a lot easier.

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

This is one category where I could see a big shake-up. Daniel Bruhl and James Gandolfini could both be on the outside looking in, with everyone from Bradley Cooper in American Hustle, Jonah Hill in the Wolf of Wall Street, Tom Hanks in Saving Mr. Banks, and yes even James Franco in Spring Breakers capable of breaking into the final five.

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels’ The Butler

This could be the easiest category to call, with perhaps Sally Hawkins from Blue Jasmine replacing Julia Roberts.

Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Depending on what happens with best picture, you could see Martin Scorsese and Spike Jonze break through. Cuaron, McQueen, and Russell seemed to be the most sure things of the bunch.

“Stories We Tell” leaves a lasting impression

27 06 2013

“Stories We Tell” is one of the most personal films I’ve ever experienced.
A documentary about Sarah Polley, written and directed by Polley, is utterly fascinating — a film that starts in one direction, only to surprise you as layers are peeled back.
The background for the film is simple. Polley learned a few years ago that she was the product of an extramarital affair.
Since Polley’s mother died when Polley was 11, she had to go through other means to learn who her father was — and eventually had to share this revelation with the man who she thought was her father.
What makes “Stories We Tell” so fascinating is that Polley explores this journey from all angles — interviewing family members, friends of her late mother, and people who might shed more light on her affair.
Interviews with the man she thought was her father pack an emotional punch that become even more emotional as the film progresses.
The result is a movie that becomes much more than Polley discovering her real father. It is a film that explores the very fabric of family, and how perception isn’t always reality. Some stories contradict one another, showing how one moment can be seen with multiple perspectives.
Perhaps what makes “Stories We Tell” so effective is the way Polley weaves her film — with the final act featuring several unexpected twists (including a final revelation during the credits that clouds the whole story even more) that leave the audition questioning their own perspectives of the story.
This is film that is both beautiful and sad, melancholy and uplifting, straight forward and mysterious.
It’s a documentary that is more than that.
It’s a profound piece of work from Polley that is the best film of 2013 to date.