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Guilds, Guilds, Guilds Galore!

January 8, 2013 Leave a comment

sally_field_guild_awards_norma_rae

In the last several weeks, we’ve seen the top dogs of Hollywood’s guilds announce their nominations for best of the year. Nowadays, the precedent for any of these awards-giving bodies lining up with their equivalent Academy Award is virtually non-existant. However, they have always been the closest predictors of any precursor on the table. The Screen Actor’s Guild was the first to arrive with disappointments and surprises abound.

Undoubtedly, the guild elevated Nicole Kidman to a place of prominence in the Supporting field (simply a Golden Globe nomination could have been dismissible). Everything is pointing towards a nod, but I’m sticking with her just missing the cut for a surprise indy favorite in Ann Dowd from “Compliance”.

kinopoisk.ru

While the SAGs gave a boost to Kidman, they tied a cinderblock to perhaps my personal favorite performance of the year, none other than Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master”, in an attempt to drown it in the deep end of the pool. No doubt this miss of a nomination is due to Phoenix’ lack (or even disdain) of a campaign. He still managed the Globe and BFCA noms, however, and I doubt that Bradley Cooper will be able to garner as many No 1. votes on the ballots to squeeze him past such a die hard performance. Either you love it or hate it, but ask Terrence Malick how that methodology worked out for him last year.

Here’s the list of SAG nomination, color-coated with whom I think will advance:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role 
Bradley Cooper – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
John Hawkes – “The Sessions”
Denzel Washington – “Flight”
Hugh Jackman – “Les Miserables”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role 
Jessica Chastain – “Zero Dark Thirty”
Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Helen Mirren – “Hitchcock”
Naomi Watts – “The Impossible”
Marion Cotillard – “Rust and Bone”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role 
Alan Arkin – “Argo”
Robert De Niro – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Philip Seymour Hoffman – “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones – “Lincoln”
Javier Bardem – “Skyfall”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role 
Sally Field – “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway – “Les Misérables”
Helen Hunt – “The Sessions”
Nicole Kidman – “The Paperboy”
Maggie Smith – “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

As far as the Producer’s Guild is concerned, things couldn’t have gone more predictably. Generally, this field has a penchant for box office fair, with the Hollywood big whigs patting each other on the back over who managed to secure the best profit even when making decent cinema. Therefore, “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” with its minuscule budget and purebred independent production, showing up here is a bit surprising and more than a little admirable.

Daniel Craig

Meanwhile, I doubt that the mammoth monetary returns of the latest James Bond entry are the only reason for it’s appearance. “Skyfall” has been steadily gathering momentum since its release and a Best Picture nomination to follow would not be at all unexpected at this point. Given that it’s become a near lock for 4 nominations and a safe bet for 3 more, it may already be in the top tier in its total tally, so why not?

It’s really difficult to translate the PGA to Best Picture, given that one has a set amount of nominees, while the Oscars will be an unpredictable number between 5 and 10. Therefore, I’ve highlighted the definite locks and noted which films are surely on the bubble:

Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures
“Argo”
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Django Unchained”
“Les Misérables”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”
“Moonrise Kingdom”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Skyfall”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

As usual, the Writers Guild of America continued its inclusive, snobbish routine of listing all of the films that would not receive nominations based on the rules and regulations of the union and its membership. Some of the most prominent ineligibles include “”Django Unchained,” “Amour,” “Brave,” “Seven Psychopaths” and “The Intouchables” in in the original field, along with “Les Miserables,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and “Anna Karenina” absent from adapted.

Given that it actually did make the cut of qualifying films, “The Sessions” not showing up here is a major blow. It will have a hard time eking in a nod competing against a wider field on Thursday. “The Master” finally scored an important guild mention here after being largely shut out everywhere else. Will it be booted by QT’s “Django” in a few days. I severely pray not.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Bruce Willis

A joy to see on this list is definitely Rian Johnson’s mind-blowing sci fi action film “Looper,” which has risen from a financially unappreciated flop to a legitimate awards contender. Hopefully, it hold its ground for Oscar.

Here’s the two categories and my perspective:

Best Adapted Screenplay:
“Argo”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
“Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Original Screenplay:
“Flight”
“Looper”
“The Master”
“Moonrise Kingdom”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Finally, we come to the newly announced Directors Guild nominations, which, for the first time, were released after the close of Oscar balloting. Whether this proves a massive difference from other years will surely determine how much of an influence these nominations have on the hearts and minds of Oscar voters.

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Not a lot of surprises abound in this group of five. There were some who believed (and maybe a few who hoped, myself included) that “Life of Pi” had gone quiet in the final stretch of campaigning, leaving the coveted final spot for “Silver Linings Playbook” helmer David O’Russell. However, with nods from the PGA, WGA and now the DGA, it’s full steam ahead for this cartoonish storybook epic. Ang Lee is such a legend in this day and age that there might never have been a question about it.

I’m predicting a five-for-five line-up here, but would be thrilled to see either P.T. Anderson (“The Master”) or Michael Haneke (“Amour”) make surprise coups.

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film:
Ben Affleck, “Argo
Tom Hooper, “Les Misérables”
Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Stay tuned for my final Oscar predictions tomorrow evening. At this state in the race, it’s every man for himself until curtain call. Don’t be surprised if even what I’ve said above changes in the next 24 hours.

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Producers and Writers Guild Preview

January 2, 2011 1 comment

Two more of the four major guilds will be announcing on Tuesday: the Producers Guild and the Writers Guild. It’s quite obvious that the WGA awards are related to the Oscars for Best Original and Adapted Screenplays, while the Producers’ award is the union equivalent of Best Picture.

For those who are unfamiliar with the whole precursor process, the guilds are the closest tool to predicting the Oscars for they make up the largest crossover of voting members. Both the guilds and the Oscars are made up of members of the film industry, itself, though the Academy is obviously more selective. The critics and the Golden Globes can confirm what are probably thought to be the best films of the year, however, only the guilds can be an accurate barometer of what the Academy will be thinking.

This is especially true, usually, for the Producers Guild. Last year, the PGA lined up with the Academy Award for Best Picture 8 for 10, missing “The Blind Side” and “A Serious Man.” Every year since 2004, they have matched up 4 for 5. While there’s no real process for predicting the Producers Guild, they do sometimes have a penchant for blockbusters with a brain, especially ones that perform better than expected. Therefore, I would be fast to predict “How to Train Your Dragon,” were it not for their Best Animated Feature category, which I don’t think it will be able to escape from.

Therefore, I believe these will be the nominees:

1. “The Social Network”
2. “Toy Story 3”
3. “Inception”
4. “The Fighter”
5. “The King’s Speech”
6. “Black Swan”
7. “True Grit”
8. “The Kids Are All Right”
9. “127 Hours”
10. “The Town”

I obviously want to predict “Winter’s Bone,” however, I’m afraid that it is too independent for the PGA’s taste. I hope that I am proven wrong and it ousts “The Town” from the line-up. Other alternates include “Shutter Island” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part I.”

The Writers Guild of America is a little bit tricker to predict due to their annual, well-publicized list of ineligible films. For instance, last year, four of the main contenders and eventual nominees for screenplay nominations were ineligible for the WGA. They included “An Education,” “District 9,” “In the Loop” and, a close contender for the win, “Inglourious Basterds.” When so many films with great chances to not only get nominated, but rather win the eventual Oscar, it is difficult to predict these based on what to expect from the Academy.

This year, the list of ineligible films include: “The King’s Speech,” “Another Year,” “Blue Valentine,” “Biutiful” and “Made in Dagenham” in original; “Toy Story 3,” “Winter’s Bone,” “The Ghost Writer,” “Never Let Me Go” and “The Way Back” in adapted. While not all of these are locks for Oscar nominations, some of them are, as well as being big contenders for the win.

Having whittled down the selection, I believe the WGA nominations will look like this:

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

1. “The Kids Are All Right”
2. “Inception”
3. “Black Swan”
4. “The Fighter”
5. “Please Give”
Alt: “Greenberg”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
1. “The Social Network”
2. “True Grit”
3. “127 Hours”
4. “Rabbit Hole”
5. “The Town”
Alt: “Fair Game”

I personally believe that the eventual winners of the screenplay Oscars are, in fact, still eligible for the WGA, as well. An interesting piece of information, and quite bad news for films like “Toy Story 3” and “The King’s Speech” is that a film hasn’t won Best Picture and not been a WGA-eligible film since “Gladiator” won in 2000.

Check back to The Edge of the Frame on Tuesday for the official PGA and WGA nominations and we’ll see how close our predictions are.