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Writers Guild of America Nominations Announced

January 5, 2012 Leave a comment

And the guilds keep rolling in. Now, when it comes to Oscar, one cannot hold the WGA up to the same predictive powers as, say, the SAG or the PGA. This is not because the voting bodies don’t match up very well, because they do. It’s because of the Writers Guild annual list of discriminatory ineligibility standards. This year, a number of very promising scripts have been cast by the wayside. The potential frontrunner for Best Original Screenplay “The Artist” will not be found here, along with “Shame,” “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” “Beginners,” and “Margin Call” (among many others). In adapted, “Carnage,” “My Week with Marilyn,” “Drive” and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” are SOL. I don’t mind saying every year that the WGA needs to stop shunning great writers just because they don’t pay their annual dues. With that, on to who does.

If you take a good look at that ineligible list above, you will notice that Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” is not there. That’s right, it missed out on this nom out of sheer lack of votes. This is the second guild in a row to snub the film, and yet, I still do not believe it’s Best Picture chances have been tarnished. What has, however, been taken down a notch is George Clooney’s “The Ides of March,” which got a bit of a boost with Tuesday’s PGA nominations, but really could have used this one, as well. If the man, himself, doesn’t grab a DGA nod on Monday, I’d consider “Ides” to be down and out.

So enough of what’s been missing guilds and on to what’s been racking them in. Out of all the movies from this year, only two have nailed nominations in each of the four guilds, thus far: “The Help” and…that’s right…”Bridesmaids.” Chew on that for a bit, and begin to accept the film’s Best Picture chances. I’m still not sold, but am certainly entertaining the idea. However, a film enjoying perhaps an even better week is “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and I could not be more pleased. Granted Steven Zallian’s script may be ousted by one of the ineligibles in a couple of weeks, this makes 3 out of 4 guild nominations (and let’s be real, an Ensemble Cast nomination was never really in the cards, given the film’s dynamic). If David Fincher is able to score his second straight DGA nomination, it will be difficult to deny this fantastic film’s chances.

One final note. Congratulations to Zallian and Sorkin for writing the BEST screenplay of the year. Hands down.

Well, I’ll let the nominees do the rest of the talking, themselves. Check them out:

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Descendants” by Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Steven Zallian
“The Help” by Tate Taylor
“Hugo” by John Logan
“Moneyball” by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zallian

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“50/50” by Will Reiser
“Bridesmaids” by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig
“Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen
“Win Win” by Tom McCarthy
“Young Adult” by Diablo Cody

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Better this World” by Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” by Marshall Curry and Matthew Hamachek
“Nostalgia for the Light” by Patricio Guzman
“Pina” by Wim Wenders
“Position Among the Stars” by Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich and Leonard Retel Helmrich
“Senna” by Manish Pandey

Back Into the Fray…

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Alright, it’s certainly no secret that I’ve been on quite a hiatus from The Edge of the Frame over the last two weeks. I’m sorry to say that I don’t even have a good excuse, aside from just having a lot going on. Obviously Christmas, New Year’s Eve and both of their aftermaths have taken their toll on my schedule. As some of you know, my birthday also happened to fall in the last few weeks (congratulations to me for making it to a quarter of a century) which also brought about it’s own string of festivities. Perhaps the most time-consuming and unfortunately debilitating event of recent times was my grueling bout with food poisoning, that kept me all but bed-ridden for nearly a week. Allow me to thank Peking Chinese Kitchen on Belmont for that. You definitely lost a return customer with that one.

Anyway, now that my schedule is relatively clear and my digestive system is back to normal, I think it’s about time to get back down to business. The last post I made was to close out the biggest week in the awards season with the Golden Globe nominations. And while not many more hugely substantial announcements have occurred since, the shape of this year’s race has shifted a little bit. Let’s dive in.

Well, while other things have changed here and there, the overall frontrunner has not moved much. “The Artist” positioned itself in the lead about a month ago and it really hasn’t lost any ground. “The Tree of Life” has certainly picked up a lot of steam on the critics circuit, but no film has come close to matching the strong silent type in terms of genuine devotion, from critics and audiences alike. It also has a fresh taste spinning for it that virtually no other film made this year can lay claim to.

So what film this year still has the potential to upset the current trajectory? The answer, unfortunately is nothing. Several films have earned themselves a late surge with some unexpected critical love, such as the above-mentioned “The Tree of Life,” as well as “Drive,” yet both films are still just fighting for nominations. As far as the other juggernauts go, “War Horse” just hasn’t been able to break past its own sappiness to overcome it’s largely mediocre status. “The Descendants,” meanwhile, seemingly peaked too early and lost a lot of its buzz by the time awards started rolling in. It will still likely pick up an Oscar or two, but its original status as a Best Picture hopeful is fading.

Perhaps the only two films that stand anywhere near a fighting chance are “Hugo” and “The Help.” While just about no one (aside from myself) can stop drooling their praise all over Martin Scorsese and what he has done with this 3D endeavor, the film does suffer greatly from completely missing out in the SAG nominations. Say what you want, but the performers contingent of the Academy nearly doubles any other and their opinion weighs in greatly, here. And one film’s bane is another’s best friend, for “The Help” has the SAG deep in it’s pocket. This unlikely little film-that-could has surprisingly become “The Artist”‘s biggest competition, provided it keeps up a solid guild run (which certainly seems probable with it’s PGA nomination). Perhaps its biggest detractor is the lack of a well-known director. Yet, if Tate Taylor is able to surprise us all with a DGA nomination next week, it’s star will just keep rising.

Obviously, the biggest surprise of the last month has been the emergence of “Bridesmaids” as a contender for a Best Picture nomination. I’d wager any money that, back in May, you could count on both hands how many people thought that this was a plausible scenario for a film that features one woman going number two in a bathroom sink, while another squats in the middle of the street. Albeit, that is arguably the funniest scene of any film this year and I would not be at all disappointed if the film ended up on the shortlist. Yet, it’s bordering on mystifying that the Academy has reached that point. If “Bridesmaids” scores a nomination with the WGA, tomorrow, it will have one from all four guilds, and you can count on only one hand the amount of films that have done that this year.

I won’t go into the acting categories just yet, but will hopefully address those individually at a later date. However, I will be following this up with a new complete set of predictions by tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Art Directors Guild Announces Nominees

January 4, 2012 1 comment

Following quickly on the heels of the Producers Guild, the first of the technical achievement societies was announced late last night. Every year, for 16 years running, the Art Directors Guild honors films that exemplify excellence in art direction and production design. A few years ago, they had bumped their number of nominees up to 15 features to fill three categories: Period Film, Fantasy Film and Contemporary Film.

The nominees were as follows:

EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A PERIOD FILM
“Annonymous”
“The Artist”
“The Help”
“Hugo”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A FANTASY FILM
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Captain America: The First Avenger”
“Cowboys and Aliens”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part II”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A CONTEMPORARY FILM
“Bridesmaids”
“The Descendants”
“Drive”
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

When looking at the Period nominees, the elephant in the room is undoubtedly the absence of a major Best Picture contender: “War Horse.” The lavish countrysides and muddy trenches were thought to be all but a shoo-in for this nomination. Perhaps the film is not as strong as we all thought. It was replaced by Roland Emmerich’s Shakespeare expose, “Annonymous,” which apparently has chops, I’m just not sure how much anyone actually takes it seriously. The winner here is “Hugo” in a landslide. Even a harsh critic of the film such as myself has to admit that the meticulous detail put into recreating early twentieth century Paris is completely awards-worthy. Nearly every shot contains something impressive to gaze at. The potential spoiler is “The Artist,” which, if it does succeed, will prove how unstoppable it really is.

The Fantasy selection is probably one of the weakest I’ve seen in years. “Harry Potter” will take this one down in a walk. Perhaps the only other film with a fighting chance is “Tintin,” which I’m still not entirely sure what it’s doing here. Is seems weird for an animated film to show up in a nomination pretty much designated for live-action work. To be honest, I don’t think anyone in Hollywood has a clue how to classify this film anymore. Regardless, this is “Potter”‘s award, and will likely be the only thing to give “Hugo” a run for its money at the Oscars.

The choices in Contemporary this year were really quite appalling to me. Some fantastic work went completely unmentioned last night. Most notably is that of Coen Brothers collaborator Jess Gonchor’s work in “Moneyball.” The drab detail at play in the clubhouses, locker rooms and residences is completely mention-worthy. Perhaps the most unforgivable snub, however, is “Hanna.” While, the film could arguably be considered a Fantasy film, the sets largely define an imaginative and whimsical kind of contemporary thriller that should have been better-noticed. Anyway, the winner here is really a toss-up and may depend on which film has the most support in general. I am very happy to see “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” show up, though. The gathering support of the film may lead to a well-deserved, though unexpected, Best Picture nomination.

The PGA Nominations Announced

January 3, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m going to avoid any general discussion on this at the moment, suffice a moment of ecstatic joy concerning the official end of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” Best Picture run. It would take a miracle to get it in if the Producers won’t even give it the time of day. Apologies to “Potter” aficionados who read this blog, but I have never been a fan and I’d hate to to see that film steal away a spot on the shortlist, namely from films like “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” or “Moneyball”.

I’m currently crafting an all-encompassing post on the status of the current race which will be out later today. But for now, here are the nominations:

“THE ARTIST”
Producer: Thomas Langmann

“BRIDESMAIDS”
Producers: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Clayton Townsend

“THE DESCENDANTS”
Producers: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

“THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO”
Producers: Ceán Chaffin, Scott Rudin

“THE HELP”
Producers: Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Brunson Green

“HUGO”
Producers: Graham King, Martin Scorsese

“THE IDES OF MARCH”
Producers: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver

“MIDNIGHT IN PARIS”
Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum

“MONEYBALL”
Producers: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt

“WAR HORSE”
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

“THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN”
Producers: Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

“CARS 2”
Producer: Denise Ream

“KUNG FU PANDA 2”
Producer: Melissa Cobb

“PUSS IN BOOTS”
Producers: Joe M. Aguilar, Latifa Ouaou

“RANGO”
Producers: John B. Carls, Gore Verbinski

The 69th Annual Golden Globe Nominations

December 15, 2011 3 comments

Once again, I’ll have a full opinion piece out in a few hours. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the nominees (including a tally of how many I correctly predicted). Also, there’s one jarring thought that’s kind of occupying my mind right now?

WHERE THE HELL IS MELISSA McCARTHY!?!?!?!?!?! HFPA, just what were you thinking?

…and the nominees are…

BEST PICTURE: DRAMA  (4/5 + 1 alternate)
“The Descendants”
“The Help”
“Hugo”
“The Ides of March”
“Moneyball”
“War Horse”

BEST PICTURE: MUSICAL/COMEDY (5/5!!!)
“The Artist”
“Bridesmaids”
“50/50”
“Midnight in Paris”
“My Week With Marilyn”

BEST DIRECTOR (4/5 + 1 alternate)
Woody Allen – “Midnight in Paris”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”
George Clooney, “The Ides of March”

BEST ACTOR: DRAMA (4/5 +1 alternate)
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “J. Edgar”
Michael Fassbender, “Shame”
Ryan Gosling, “The Ides of March”
Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

BEST ACTOR: MUSICAL/COMEDY (3/5)
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Brendan Gleeson, “The Guard”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “50/50”
Ryan Gosling, “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”
Owen Wilson, “Midnight in Paris”

BEST ACTRESS: DRAMA (4/5)
Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Tilda Swinton, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

BEST ACTRESS: MUSICAL/COMEDY (4/5 + 1 alternate)
Jodie Foster, “Carnage”
Kristen Wiig, “Bridesmaids”
Charlize Theron, “Young Adult”
Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”
Kate Winslet, “Carnage”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (3/5 + 1 alternate)
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Viggo Mortensen, “A Dangerous Method”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (3/5 + 1 alternate)
Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
Shailene Woodley, “The Descendants”

BEST SCREENPLAY (4/5)
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon, “The Ides of March”
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, “Moneyball”

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM (N/A)
“The Flowers of War”
“In the Land of Blood and Honey”
“The Kid With a Bike”
“A Separation”
“The Skin I Live In”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE (5/5!!!)
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Arthur Christmas”
“Cars 2”
“Puss in Boots”
“Rango”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (3/5)
Ludovic Bource, “The Artist”
Trent Reznor and Attivus Ross, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Howard Shore, “Hugo”
John Williams, “War Horse”
Abel Korzeniowski, “W.E.”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG (N/A)
“Lay Your Head Down,” “Albert Nobbs”
“Hello Hello,” “Gnomeo and Juliet”
“The Living Proof,” “The Help”
“The Keeper,” “Machine Gun Preacher”
“Masterpiece,” “W.E.”

My SAG Predictions

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, I thought it’d be nice to actually do some predicting amidst all of this reporting. After all, the game of Oscar prognostication is all about what’s going to win, not what should win (if only wishing made it so). Therefore, I thought I’d offer up some quick guesses as to what’s going to make the cut tomorrow.

I’ve written a few thoughts down with after each category, as well:

 

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE

 

1. George Clooney – “The Descendants”
2. Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”
3. Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
4. Leonardo DiCaprio – “J. Edgar”
5. Gary Oldman – “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Alt 1: Michael Fassbender – “Shame”
Alt 2: Woody Harrelson – “Rampart”

 

The first three are all but locks. It’s true that “J. Edgar” has not raised a lot of popularity (for legitimate reasons), yet the performance has often been singled out and has enough support to have achieved a BFCA nomination, so I’ll stick with it. I know that I’m going out on quite a limb by not putting Fassbender on there, but I’m just not sure “Shame” will have as much industry-support as it does with critics and festivals. Meanwhile, I think that Oldman’s chances are stronger here than anywhere else. He’s getting into his elder years and is more than overdue for recognition, two qualities that SAG usually jumps on. Also, they’re the only major awards body to have nominated him before (Best Supporting Actor, “The Contender”). Plus his popularity and respect among the acting community is pretty indisputable. If he’s going to make a stand in this race, I think it will be here.

 

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE

 

1. Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
2. Viola Davis – “The Help”
3. Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”
4. Glenn Close – “Albert Nobbs”
5. Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Alt 1: Charlize Theron – “Young Adult”
Alt 2: Rooney Mara – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Once again, I’d say that the first three are pretty much locked in. Glenn Close’s campaign has been heading downhill, yet here, her “due” status will have a much bigger effect. Tilda Swinton should be a sure thing here, but it’s not a perfect world. Though, I think she’s the only other contender with enough clout to make it onto the shortlist. Olsen and Mara are definitely still in the running, but the SAG isn’t as partial to youth and sex appeal as the AMPAS are.

 

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE

 

1. Albert Brooks – “Drive”
2. Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
3. Kenneth Branagh – “My Week with Marilyn”
4. Nick Nolte – “Warrior”
5. Andy Serkis – “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Alt 1: Max von Sydow – “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
Alt 2: Patton Oswalt – “Young Adult”

This category is definitely the biggest question mark of them all. Brooks and Plummer are practically written in ink already, and Branagh (while not yet awarded, this year) fits a good pedigree and is very likely. However, those last two spots are a mystery. All the major candidates have some serious detractors. Von Sydow, in particular, is impossible to read because his performance is so shrouded in mystery to the general public. He’s locked in review embargo hell. I’ll go with Nolte just because he’s got a great “comeback kid” story. Finally, I’m going to foolishly predict Serkis in believing that the campaign and mentality really are working and that his nomination will come as more of a statement than an honor.

 

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE

 

1. Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
2. Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”
3. Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
4. Vanessa Redgrave – “Coriolanus”
5. Jessica Chastain – “The Help”

Alt 1: Berenice Bejo – “The Artist”
Alt 2: Carey Mulligan – “Shame”

Pretty much the only lock in this category, as of now, is Octavia Spencer. She’s probably also the only acting candidate who’s close to having her name stenciled onto a golden statue in February, but that’s neither here nor there. Shailene is a good bet for this group loves to usually throw some love to at least one newly risen star. Melissa McCarthy is also riding on more buzz then nearly all these candidates combined, so she’s definitely close to being in. Redgrave’s film is on the opposite side of the buzz scale, but it’s been a while since this goddess of acting has set foot on a red carpet, and more then a few people are excited for that return. Finally, I am hesitantly putting Chastain in that final spot, however, I’m definitely wary about her many, many performances canceling each other out and making way for the silent film star or sex addict’s sister.

 

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST

 

1. “The Descendants”
2. “The Help”
3. “The Artist”
4. “Bridesmaids”
5. “The Ides of March”

Alt 1: “Midnight in Paris”
Alt 2: “Hugo”

No matter what happens, tomorrow is going to quite a coup for “The Help.” It’s guaranteed three nominations, with a chance at a fourth. Same goes to “The Descendants” which has a nomination, here, pretty sewn up. “The Artist” isn’t a true ensemble piece, but is so ahead of the pack that it will be difficult to miss a nomination in any major category. While “Bridesmaids” isn’t in big contention for any Best Picture awards, the film has been given more Ensemble Cast citations then practically any other film, so if the SAG has a sense of humor, they’ll probably throw it a bone. And perhaps my ballsiest pick of the night will be “The Ides of March.” True, the film’s steam has all but been extinguished, but it’s hard for anyone to deny the pure talent in this cast. I believe the voters will recognize it as well.

Broadcast Film Critics Choice Awards Nominees

December 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Jeez. I’m not sure at what point and time I am going to have a chance to process everything that has happened as of late. In fact, with the Screen Actors Guild nominations coming tomorrow and the Golden Globe nods coming the day after that, I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to that point. Therefore, we’ll just continue to take this thing one step at a time. And this particular step may be the most defining moment in shaping the Oscar race (at least as far as critics are concerned).

For the past decade the BFCA has made itself into less of prestigious critics group that makes insightful choices concerning the best films of the year and more into the most highly televised group of Oscar prognosticators on the planet. Sure, they picked “The Social Network” over “The King’s Speech” and yes, they went with “Brokeback Mountain” over “Crash” so one could make the argument that they have some integrity. Or you could just look back and realize that at those points in time, those films were the absolute frontrunners to win the Oscar. And when you take a look at this list of nominees, there’s really nothing to hide. These are Oscar predictions to the core.

One thing that these nominations have certainly proven is what we’ve already known all along: “The Artist” is the frontrunner for Best Picture. Even though it shares the title of nomination-leader (11) with “Hugo,” with all of its accolades, it’s hard not to put Hazavanicius’ film in the lead. Coming in second with a surprising 8 nominations is “Drive,” followed by “The Help,” “The Descendants” and “War Horse” each garnering 7. “The Tree of Life” came out with five nominations, including a Best Picture nod and yet, strangely, no love for Terrence Malick, himself. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” scored four nominations, including Picture and Director, while “Midnight in Paris” and “Moneyball” rounded it out with 3 apiece.

I simply don’t have the strength to go into a full analysis of all this right now. Plus, it all seems a bit of a mute point when everything will just get turned on its head tomorrow and then again on Thursday. Therefore, we’ll just let these stew for a while and I’ll get back to milling over “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” which I got a chance to screen last night.

Here’s the full list of nominations:

BEST PICTURE
The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse

BEST ACTOR
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Leonardo DiCaprio – “J. Edgar”
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Michael Fassbender – “Shame”
Ryan Gosling – “Drive”
Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

BEST ACTRESS
Viola Davis – “The Help”
Elizabeth Olsen – “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Charlize Theron – “Young Adult”
Michelle Williams – “My Week With Marilyn”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Kenneth Branagh – “My Week With Marilyn”
Albert Brooks – “Drive”
Nick Nolte – “Warrior”
Patton Oswalt – “Young Adult”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
Andrew Serkis – “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Berenice Bejo – “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
Carey Mulligan – “Shame”
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS
Asa Butterfield – “Hugo”
Elle Fanning – “Super 8”
Thomas Horn – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
Ezra Miller – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Saoirse Ronan – “Hanna”
Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE
The Artist
Bridesmaids
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March

BEST DIRECTOR
Stephen Daldry – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Alexander Payne – “The Descendants”
Nicolas Winding Refn – “Drive”
Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”
Steven Spielberg – “War Horse”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“The Artist” – Michel Hazanavicius
“50/50” – Will Reiser
“Midnight in Paris” – Woody Allen
“Win Win” – Screenplay by Tom McCarthy, Story by Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni
“Young Adult” – Diablo Cody

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Descendants” – Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” – Eric Roth
“The Help” – Tate Taylor
“Hugo” – John Logan
“Moneyball” – Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Story by Stan Chervin

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“The Artist” – Guillaume Schiffman
“Drive” – Newton Thomas Sigel
“Hugo” – Robert Richardson
“The Tree of Life” – Emmanuel Lubezki
“War Horse” – Janusz Kaminski

BEST ART DIRECTION
“The Artist” – Production Designer: Laurence Bennett, Art Director: Gregory S. Hooper
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Production Designer: Stuart Craig, Set Decorator: Stephenie McMillan
“Hugo” – Production Designer: Dante Ferretti, Set Decorator: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“The Tree of Life” – Production Designer: Jack Fisk, Art Director: David Crank
“War Horse” – Production Designer: Rick Carter, Set Decorator: Lee Sandales

BEST EDITING
“The Artist” – Michel Hazanavicius and Anne-Sophie Bion
“Drive” – Matthew Newman
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” – Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“Hugo” – Thelma Schoonmaker
“War Horse” – Michael Kahn

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“The Artist” – Mark Bridges
“The Help” – Sharen Davis
“Hugo” – Sandy Powell
“Jane Eyre” – Michael O’Connor
“My Week With Marilyn” – Jill Taylor

BEST MAKEUP
Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Iron Lady
J. Edgar
My Week With Marilyn

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Super 8
The Tree of Life

BEST SOUND
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Super 8
The Tree of Life
War Horse

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Adventures of Tintin
Arthur Christmas
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rango

BEST ACTION MOVIE
Drive
Fast Five
Hanna
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Super 8

BEST COMEDY
Bridesmaids
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Horrible Bosses
Midnight in Paris
The Muppets

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
In Darkness
Le Havre
A Separation
The Skin I Live In
Where Do We Go Now

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Buck
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Page One: Inside the New York Times
Project Nim
Undefeated

BEST SONG
“Hello Hello” – performed by Elton John and Lady Gaga/written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin – Gnomeo & Juliet
“Life’s a Happy Song” – performed by Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter/written by Bret McKenzie – The Muppets
“The Living Proof” – performed by Mary J. Blige/written by Mary J. Blige, Thomas Newman and Harvey Mason, Jr. – The Help
“Man or Muppet” – performed by Jason Segel and Walter/written by Bret McKenzie – The Muppets
“Pictures in My Head” – performed by Kermit and the Muppets/written by Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis and Chen Neeman – The Muppets

BEST SCORE
“The Artist” – Ludovic Bource
“Drive” – Cliff Martinez
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
“Hugo” – Howard Shore
“War Horse” – John Williams

Updated Oscar Predictions – 12/5

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Thought I’d throw these up real quick before anything has the chance to further throw things off track. With so much going on, it’s almost impossible to do this without live prediction updates with every new announcement. Yet, it’s important to remember that many of the announcements, while notable, are not intensively significant in terms of the Oscar season. When predicting at this point, you almost have to just stick your finger up and see where the wind is blowing.

There are two films that have certainly positioned themselves at the head of the field, and it’s not like we weren’t already aware. “The Descendants” and “The Artist” have dominated the majority of awards announcements thus far and are not likely to stop.”Moneyball” and “The Tree of Life” have definitely shown their still in the game, while “Hugo” has emerged as a candidate and potential frontrunner.

While the guilds will largely decide its fate, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” has yet to receive any notice at all. Neither, to some extent, has “War Horse,” yet Mr. Spielberg’s film is far from leaving contention. Meanwhile, “The Girl with Dragon Tattoo” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” remain shrouded in a fair amount of mystery.

Remember, that while I hope that these predictions are a bit more relevant than my last, things are going to get blown wide open in about ten days when we have the results of the BFCA, the SAG and the Golden Globe nominations. Therefore, enjoy these while they last. Things are about to get messy.

Check out my full list of predictions after the cut:

BEST PICTURE

1. “The Artist”
2. “The Descendants”
3. “War Horse”
4. “Hugo”
5. “Moneyball”
6. “The Help”
7. “Midnight in Paris”
8. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
9. “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
10. “The Tree of Life”

Alt 1: “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
Alt 2: “Shame”

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Washington D.C. Film Critics Announce Nominees

December 3, 2011 Leave a comment

I had a feeling that these guys were going to stick their heads up this week. They have a tendency of announcing early and without warning. While the results of their voting is apparently still being tallied and the winners will be announced on Monday, we can take a look at the nominees right now.

Well, there’s not much question as far as what film will likely go all the way here, and that is the emerging critical darling “The Artist.” The film received eight nominations, practically in every category that it was eligible. “Hugo” comes in second with six nominations, continuing to baffle me. I’m sure that I’m going to be saying that a lot this awards season.

The overrated, but still exceptionally cool, “Drive” picked up four nominations, including one for it’s phenomenal director Nicholas Wending Refn. “The Descendants” also continued its string of love with five nominations. Octavia Spencer receives her first of what I’m sure will be a long string of nominations for her work in “The Help,” likewise for Viola Davis. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing both of those ladies with gold in their hands come Oscar night.

A surprisingly absent film from these nods is a little title about a war and a horse. Not sure if you’ve heard of it. For a critics group that largely trends towards the Oscars, it’s highly unusual to find Mr. Spielberg’s latest largely vacant from these nominations. True it picked up a few tech nods, yet this film is believed by many to potentially be the nomination leader next month. One can’t say that the group has a beef with the director, either, for they were the first and one of the only to award “Munich” Best Picture back in 2005.

The big story here is Tom McCarthy’s “Win Win” picking up a nomination for Best Picture, beating out the above mentioned “War Horse” and a number of others. Quite a coup for this little delight of a film. Yet, as intriguing as this nomination is, I doubt it will pan out much for the rest of the year, at least in terms of Best Picture. However, a screenplay nomination for McCarthy is becoming more and more likely.

Some underdog victories abound here that are worth mentioning. Michael Shannon asserts himself as a certifiable contender, getting a nod for his fantastic work in “Take Shelter.” It’s also very refreshing to see Andy Serkis get his first and hopefully not last nomination as a motion captured ape in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” His is certainly the most interesting campaign of the season, and if it succeeds, it will make Oscar history. While I despise the precedent that it will set, I admit that I can’t help feeling proud of Andy Serkis. If it’s going to happen, it should happen to him. From Gollum, to Kong, and now Ceasar, the man has truly put his heart and soul into his work and has ultimately changed the face of cinema in a lot of ways.

Hands down, my favorite pick of the evening has got to be Melissa McCarthy for “Bridesmaids.” A good movie that this lady really took to another level with her incredible comedic skills. Her performance, if it continues down this track, could end up being one of the funnest nominations since Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder.” Kudos to the WAFCA for getting the ball rolling, there.

Check out the full list of nominations after the cut:

Best Film
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Drive”
“Hugo”
“Win Win”

Read more…

Updated Oscar Predictions – 10/13

October 17, 2011 2 comments

Another month has passed, and many of the biggest potential candidates have yet to be released to the general public (or the people who actually vote on them). However, there have definitely been a few shifts in the state of the race. Several horses have solidified themselves while others have fallen from grace. Meanwhile, most still remain a mystery.

One film has certainly been securely planted into the Best Picture race after a decent showing in the box office and nearly unanimous praise from critics (including this one). That movie is “Moneyball.” Aaron Sorkin looks to make it two nominations in a row with his fantastic script shared with Stephen Zallian. For sure, Brad Pitt, Bennett Miller and even Jonah Hill also have chances for nominations as well. The film is far from a lock in terms of a Best Picture nomination, especially with the potentially smaller field. Yet, it has definitely sky-rocketed into contention.

While certain films are on the rise, others are falling fast. One of the season’s early hopefuls has hit a series of brick walls on the festival trail. David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” had a lot of potential, but is mostly coming across critics and audiences that simply like it or don’t. Rave reviews are an elusive find. While Keira Knightley is definitely getting the majority of the raves, keeping her in the game, the studio is attempting to campaign her in the leading category, which I personally see as a mistake. Maybe “Method” still has a shot at a few nominations, but overall, it seems to be fading fast into limbo.

One major question, awaiting a final judgment, is whether or not “The Adventures of Tin Tin” will be ruled as an animated film or as live action due to its motion capture. This will have a huge impact on at least Best Animated Feature, for if it is ruled a cartoon, expect it to win in a walk. If not, then “Rango” becomes the frontrunner. For now, I will keep it in the category and I hope it stays. God help us when the Academy and people as a whole start to lose track of what is animated and what isn’t. I mean, seriously.

Finally, one movie that was originally poised for a potential victory on the big night was “The Ides of March.” However, now that the film has come and nearly gone, it doesn’t seem to have made as big of a splash that it would have liked. box office was relatively poor and reviews are missing a positive consensus. It seems as though the idea of the film (a political thriller, very much in the moment with George Clooney in nearly every single credit) is keeping it afloat more so than the film itself. Since critics will most likely pass it over when their awards come along, the buzz will have to survive until the guilds for it to have any kind of chance.

As far as “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” I really don’t know what to do with it, yet. As much as everyone else sees it becoming THE frontrunner for pretty much everything, I could just as easily see it missing completely. For now, I’m leaving it out of most categories, but that may change if the buzz increases once critics actually start to see it.

Well, enough talk. I will let the rest of my predictions speak for themselves. Check out the full list after the jump or up in the predictions tab in the corner of the page. Enjoy!

BEST PICTURE

1. War Horse
2. The Descendants
3. J. Edgar
4. The Artist
5. The Ides of March
6. The Help
7. Moneyball
8. Midnight in Paris
9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
10. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Alt 1: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Alt 2: The Tree of Life

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