Tuesday, December 30, 2014

John Carney hates love…or does he?


So, last week my wife and I celebrated eleven years of marriage.  For our anniversary, we went to see a local production of the latest Broadway smash (I say latest, but, like, it’s been out for a while now), ‘Once’.  Now, my wife had never seen the film, which I laud as one of the greatest musicals of our generation, and so she was walking into this show completely blind.  All the banners were proclaiming this the most romantic stage experience and so my wife was expecting something that I, having seen the film, was not.  My memories of the conclusion to ‘Once’, while never derailing my affection for the finished product, have haunted me.  Most recently, due to Sati’s elaborate posts on ‘Begin Again’ and her vocal disgust over the climax, I have been thinking more and more heavily about the conclusion to ‘Once’, and having the stage experience fresh in my mind, I have come around to a different understanding of these events and these conclusions.

It’s all about the eyes with which you see things.

You see, while watching ‘Begin Again’ recently (and for the first time), I was never heartbroken over the ending.  In fact, I was smothered with this feeling of happiness.  It felt right.  It felt pure.  Despite my memories of a depressing conclusion to ‘Once’, I found that my feeling upon leaving the theatre the other night was that same blossoming happiness.

And then it hit me.

And down comes the rain...


Looks like we're ending the year on a sad note, with the passing of a Hollywood legend, Louis Rainer.  Rainer died at the ripe old age of 104.  She was the oldest living Oscar winner, and the first two time Lead Actress Oscar winner.  My heart goes out to her family and friends, and to my blogging buddy Fritz, who is a big fan of her work (to the point where he grades individual acting performances of a scale of 'Louis's').  We recently discussed both of her Oscar wins on Twice a Best Actress (which will be resuming shortly).  

Monday, December 29, 2014

North Carolina Film Critics Association


Best Film
Boyhood
Birdman
Calvary
The Grand Budapest Hotel
A Most Violent Year
Selma
Whiplash

Best Director
Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Ava DuVernay (Selma)
David Fincher (Gone Girl)
Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Best Actor
Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Brendan Gleeson (Calvary)
Tom Hardy (Locke)
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
Essie Davis (The Babadook)
Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice)
Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
Alfred Molina (Love is Strange)
Edward Norton (Birdman)
Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
Rene Russo (Nightcrawler)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer)

Best Original Screenplay
Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo (Birdman)
Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Jon Michael McDonagh (Calvary)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Nick Hornby (Wild)
Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)
Joon-ho Bong and Kelly Masterson (Snowpiercer)

Best foreign Language Film
Force Majeure
Ida
The Lunchbox
Two Days, One Night
We are the Best!

Best Animated Feature Film
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie
The Tales of Princess Kaguya

Best Documental Feature Film
Citizenfour
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Life Itself
The Overnighters

Tar Heel Award (Related to North Carolina)
Zach Galifanikas (Birdman)
Cynthia Hill (Private Violence)
Jake Lacy (The Obvious Child)
Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz (Land Ho!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Canada doesn't forget about Mommy!

INTERNATIONAL

Best Film
"Birdman"
"Boyhood"
"Whiplash"

Best Director
Wes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman"
Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"

Best Actor
Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Nightcrawler"
Michael Keaton, "Birdman"

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, "The Immigrant"
Tilda Swinton, "Only Lovers Left Alive"
Reese Witherspoon, "Wild"

Best Supporting Actor
Edward Norton, "Birdman"
Mark Ruffalo, "Foxcatcher"
J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash"

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, "Boyhood"
Jessica Chastain, "A Most Violent Year"
Laura Dern, "Wild"

Best Screenplay
Wes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris & Armando Bo, "Birdman"
Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"

Best Foreign Language Film
"Force Majeure"
"Ida"
"We Are the Best!"

Best Documentary
"CITIZENFOUR"
"The Overnighters"
"Virunga"


CANADIAN

Best Canadian Film
"Enemy"
"Mommy"
"Tu dors Nicole"

Best Director of a Canadian Film
Xavier Dolan, "Mommy"
Stéphane Lafleur, "Tu dors Nicole"
Denis Villeneuve, "Enemy"

Best Actor in a Canadian Film
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Enemy"
Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, "The Husband"
Antoine-Olivier Pilon, "Mommy"

Best Actress in a Canadian Film
Julianne Côté, "Tu dors Nicole"
Anne Dorval, "Mommy"
Dagny Backer Johnsen, "Violent"

Best Supporting Actor in a Canadian Film
Bruce Greenwood, "Elephant Song"
Marc-André Grondin, "Tu dors Nicole"
Callum Keith Rennie, "Sitting on the Edge of Marlene"

Best Supporting Actress in a Canadian Film
Sarah Allen, "The Husband"
Suzanne Clément, "Mommy"
Sarah Gadon, "Enemy"

Best Screenplay for a Canadian Film
Xavier Dolan, "Mommy"
Andrew Huculiak, Josh Huculiak, Cayne McKenzie & Joseph Schweers, "Violent"
Elan Mastai, "The F Word"

Best Canadian Documentary
"Everything Will Be"
"Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story"
"The Price We Pay"

Best First Film by a Canadian Director
"Sitting on the Edge of Marlene"
"The Valley Below"
"Violent"

Best British Columbia Film
"Everything Will Be"
"Preggoland"
"Violent"

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why I 'think' Michael Keaton is winning the Oscar...


So, last night, and moving on into today, I got into a Twitter conversation with regards to the Lead Actor Oscar race, and I made the comment that Keaton was going to win.  Now, I've made this statement before, and for a while now, and with each passing critics award win, I'm further cemented in my belief that he has that Oscar sealed up.  But it isn't just the critics wins.  Those come and go, and quite frankly they don't win you an Oscar.  They can help you get a nomination, but sometimes not even that pans out.  No, those wins are just a small part of the whole equation.  So, I thought I'd break down that equation and why I 'think' this is Michael Keaton's year.

And I'm going to prefix this whole article with these two facts:

1) I have not seen Birdman, so this is not some sort of performance bias where I just really want this amazing performance to win and so I'm going to predict it no matter what, and...

2) I am not a fan of Michael Keaton.  Like, he's ok, but he's not an actor I really care for much, so this isn't some sort of "I love him, he's so due" moment, because quite frankly, I couldn't care less if he ever even gets Oscar nominated.

That said, let's break this down.

My First Movie Blogathon!


This was due on December 2nd.  I'm so sorry.  Life is so damn busy that I totally forgot about this until yesterday.  Luckily, I've known from the first day I read about Flick Chick's very first blogathon which movie I was going to talk about.

The rules were simple:

1. Write a post about your 'First Movie' (interpret that as you will), you can choose multiple movies if you have ideas for more than one - go nuts!

2. Include the banner above in your post and link it to this post.

3. Comment on this post or e-mail flickchicks2014@gmail.com to let us know you have contributed.

So, my first movie memorable movie experience is kind of shaky.  I have a lot of movie memories from my youth, so figuring out the first was hard.  I'm not sure I have it right.  I mean, I remember Oliver and Company and All Dog's Go to Heaven being on heavy rotation in my house, and I have very fond memories of both.  I remember countless movie musicals being staples, like Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady and The King and I, all of which I was well versed in before I went to school.  I remember sneaking to see Jaws as a child, possibly even pre-school age, and being so scared of it that I couldn't even look at the pool and even had nightmares that Jaws lived under my bed.

But one film stood out to me almost immediately, and because of that I decided it was the one to stick with.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Join me for A Fistful of Reads, 2015!


So, back in 2013 I made a personal goal here on the blog to read 30 books.  I posted a post at the end of every month that listed the books I had read and gave a brief (sometimes not so brief) review of the book(s) in question.  I ended up reading 29 books.  Then this year happened; 2014.  I read nothing.  I attempted to start to read a book, two even, but never finished either.  I just couldn't do it.  Life is busy as hell, and I just couldn't find the time to dedicate to reading.  But I love to read, and so in order to force me back into that wonderful habit of reading, I decided to make a companion 'Blind Spot' series this year.  Yup, I'm bringing back 'A Fistful of Reads', except this year I'm asking you to play along!

Here's the deal; I'm selecting 12 books (a book for each month) that I am going to commit (or at least try and commit) to reading.  My goal is to read a book each month.  I'm inviting you to do the same.  Now, I understand that a book each month could be a bit much, especially when we all lead busy lives, so I'm not fastening any rules here.  Basically, just pick a handful, 3 or 5 maybe, and try to read them before the end of the year.  Once you've read one, blog about it, review it, break it down...and send me a link and I'll tag it in my end of the month post.

Not too hard, right?

There is no deadline here.  You don't have to have a list to me by any specific time.  You don't have to post every month.  You don't have to post in January.  Hell, you can read one book all year, finish it by December 31st and I'll still tag you in my December post!  

If you read it, I will tag it.

So, here are my picks for the year:

Southeastern Film Critics Association...


Top Ten
1) The Grand Budapest Hotel
2) Boyhood
3) Birdman
4) Whiplash
5) The Imitation Game
6) Gone Girl
7) Snowpiercer
8) Nightcrawler
9) Foxcatcher
10) The Theory of Everything

Ensemble
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Director
Linklater/Boyhood

Adapted Screenplay
Gone Girl

Original Screenplay
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Actor
Keaton/Birdman

Actress
Moore/Still Alice

Supporting Actor
Simmons/Whiplash

Supporting Actress
Arquette/Boyhood

Cinematography
Birdman

Animated Film
The LEGO Movie

Foreign Film
Force Majeure

Documentary
Life Itself

The Film That Best Evokes the South 
(or; we didn't have a chance to watch this movie yet, but I think we're supposed to like it)
Selma

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blind Spot Series 2015: Selections!


So, it's time to select my next crop of Blind Spot entries for 2015!  It's so weird to think that 2014 is over...MY GOD THAT YEAR WENT BY FAST...but it is and so now it's time to move on.  Now, last year I decided to stick to a particular decade.  I was very underversed in the 1940's and so I kept all of my selections in that decade, but this year I'm going to spread the love all over the place.  I was reminded that the idea for this was to familiarize ourselves with films that are often cited as the best of the best, films that we know we should have seen by now, not simply films we want to see.  So, I tried to do just that, find those films I hear so often discussed that I, shamefully, have not gotten around to.

So, in alpha-order (who knows in what order I'll actually watch them), here is my list:


Blind Spot Series 2014: Les Enfants du Paradis


So, we've reached the end of the year, and because of that we've reached the end of this year's Blind Spot Series!  It feels so strange to be here, now, at the end.  This year has just flown by.  This year was a rewarding one, with regards to this series, for me.  It was my first time participating, and my decision to stick to a singular decade (the 40's) proved so incredible.  I was able to discover for the first time films that so many had discovered years ago, lauded and placed in such high esteem.  Huston, Hitchcock, Chaplin, Lubitsch...just a few of the extraordinary directors I was able to indulge in during this series.

And now it ends.

So, I purposefully left a certain film for last, because it was the film I was most excited to see...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Oscar snubs Dolan and the Dardennes in their shortlisted 9 Foreign Films...


Argentina
Wild Tales

Estonia
Tangerines

Georgia
Corn Island

Mauritania
Timbuktu

Netherlands
Accused

Poland
Ida

Russia
Leviathan

Sweden
Force Majeure

Venezuela
The Liberator

Nevada Film Critics Society...


Best Film - 'Gone Girl'

Best Actor - Jake Gyllenhaal 'Nightcrawler'

Best Actress - Rosamund Pike 'Gone Girl'

Best Supporting Actor - JK Simmons 'Whiplash'
Best Supporting Actress - Tie - Jessica Chastain for 'A Most Violent Year' and Patricia Arquette for 'Boyhood' 

Best Youth Performance - Ellar Coltrane 'Boyhood'

Best Director - Dan Gilroy 'Nightcrawler'
Best Screenplay - Dan Gilroy 'Nightcrawler'

Best Ensemble Cast - 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

Best Documentary - 'Citizenfour'
Best Animated Movie - 'Big Hero 6'
Best Production Design - 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

Best Cinematography - 'Interstellar'

Best Visual Effects - 'Interstellar'

Las Vegas Film Critics Society


Best Score: Birdman 
Best Documentary: Citizenfour 
Breakout Filmmaker of the Year: Damien Chazelle. 
Best Song: "I Love You All" from Frank 
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Best Costume Design: Guardians of the Galaxy
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Best Foreign Film: Ida
Best Editing: Edge of Tomorrow
Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer 
Best Art Direction: The Grand Budapest Hotel 
Best Youth Performance: Jaeden Lieberher, St. Vincent 
Best Horror/Sci-Fi Film: The Babadook. 
Best Comedy: Top Five
Best Family Film: The LEGO Movie
Best Action Film: Guardians of the Galaxy. 
Best Animated Film: The LEGO Movie
Best Screenplay: Birdman.
Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Best Actor: Michael Keaton, Birdman
Best Ensemble: Birdman
Best Picture: Birdman
Best Director: Innaritu, Birdman

Top 10: 
10) Under the Skin
9) Snowpiercer
8) The Imitation Game
7) Selma
6) Wild
5) The Grand Budapest Hotel
4) Nightcrawler
3) Whiplash
2) Boyhood
1) Birdman

Friday, December 19, 2014

December Oscar Predictions: Lead Performances


Lead Performances

So, we’ll wrap up the breakdown with a look at the Leading Performances up for Oscar consideration this year.  As we’ve seen, there is a clear consensus as to the performances that are being considered, but we always see shocking exclusions (like, who would have guessed at this point last year that Redford and Hanks were going to be Oscar snubs?) and inclusions and so we need to keep our eyes open for films/performances that are rising at the last minute, because it is the last minute, and this is when those performances will get the jump on those we thought were safe all along.

First, we’ll talk Lead Actor:

December Oscar Predictions: Supporting Performances


Supporting Performances

We’ll continue breaking down these categories by looking at the Supporting categories.  There is a strong consensus forming for all the acting categories, with it looking like there are four locks per category and a few names fighting for a fifth spot.  Some categories are fuller than others, but it’s time to weed some of the obvious non-contenders out.

We’ll start with Supporting Actor.

December Oscar Predictions: Screenplays


Screenplays

So, we’ll continue our breakdown of the top eight categories and where I personally see the race ATM with considering the Screenplays.  I’m going to just lump these two together, since I can and, well, why not.  We still have WGA to account for, which will come next month, but for now we can really see a narrowing down beginning, especially in Adapted Screenplay (where, like, there is such a lack of real contenders), so we might as well give this a go.

Let’s start with Adapted Screenplay, since it’s the easiest to weed through.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hack my shit!

You win.
I haven't said anything about the Sony hack here.  I wasn't sure if I was going to.  I mean, I try and address important cinematic/celebrity news, and yet this is the heart of awards season and there are more important things to talk about (or not as important but more time consuming).  Still, we all have an opinion, obviously, and sometimes it's good to just spit it out.  It's not like we haven't addressed controversial topics here before.  I've weighed in on the fappening and the Woody scandal.  I might as well weigh in on North Korea's complete and total domination of Hollywood.

So, when the hack first started it was all fun and games, right?  We all laughed at the shade thrown at the Smith family and those scathing emails about Angelina Jolie (like, OMG), but then things got serious; death threat serious.  

We've known for a while now that The Interview was causing trouble.  North Korea issued a statement months ago that if the film were released they'd consider it an act of war.  We all laughed that off, because, well, it was silly.  I mean, it's a buddy comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.  Who cares, right?  North Korea cares, and they obviously cared enough (allegedly) to threaten 9/11 style terrorist attacks on any theater that dared show this movie.  Sony initially left this up to individual theaters to decide whether or not they wanted to show the film, while they themselves canceled the premier.  

Then Sony did something that is dividing everyone; they pulled the movie from opening...anywhere.  Not only this, but they have no plans to release the movie on any format.

Now here's the thing; this is a really controversial move and one that is going to split the world.  It's also truly a no win situation for Sony, and Hollywood really, because no matter what decision was made at this point, it was going to reflect badly somehow.  I mean, everyone is up in arms now, saying that Sony has handed North Korea all the power and has set a horrific precedent now, basically telling the world that if you threaten violence you can get your way, and in one decision has kind of raped America of our free speech.  I get this.  I actually agree with this.  But let me ask you this; had they NOT pulled the film, and North Korea bombed even ONE theater, killing a slew of innocent people (even those not seeing The Interview, or even those who lived nearby), what would be our reaction?  Would we be berating Sony, condemning them for being so greedy they couldn't pull the film, calling them bloodguilty?

I think we would.

Here's the problem with this whole situation.  It's a no-win.  Sony will always be the bad guys here because, no matter what their decision, they crossed a line we aren't cool with.  With the decision they made, they declared to the world that our free speech isn't worth fighting for, but if they had gone the other way, they would have declared that our lives aren't worth fighting for.  I ask you; what's more important?

I honestly ask that, because I'm on the fence.

Some are saying the film never should have been made.  I don't agree.  I actually think the idea for the film was genius and I give full props to Rogen and Franco and Sony for having the balls to even attempt this.  Some have said if North Korea did the reverse (a film about killing Obama) then we'd be up in arms and would see it as a terrorist threat.  I like to think that that would not happen.  For a country and is so devoted to the freeness of our speech, I can't see how this would have happened.  I find absolutely no reason for North Korea to feel as they do about this (I mean, it is so clearly a joke...like SO CLEARLY) but some people just don't possess a sense of humor (and, well, we already knew that was going to be a problem).  That said, I find this whole situation very sad for all involved.

But, like, seriously...don't you REALLY want to see this movie now?

A moment of silence for one of the greatest Supporting performances of the 90's...


Italian actress Virna Lisi has passed away after being diagnosed a month ago with an incurable illness.  She was 78.  I am unfamiliar with her legendary status within the Italian cinematic community, or her filmography outside of one particular, career defining role as Catherine de Medicis in the film Queen Margot.  Her performance is uncanny, and despite being clearly Supporting, it was strong enough to net her a Cannes Best Actress win back in 1994.  She's my personal runner-up in 1994 (losing to the equally brilliant Dianne Wiest) and I recommend you seek out this film and this performance if you have not seen it yet.  She devours her scenes and just slays.  I'd personally rank her (and Wiest) in the top five Supporting performances of the 90's, easily.  I feel ashamed to have not discovered the rest of her filmography yet, but I'm new to even this performance (only seeing it about a year ago), but I will make it a goal to Netflix the hell out of her work.

A few more critics to ponder...


Best Picture: "Birdman." 
Runner-up: "The Imitation Game.

Best Achievement in Directing: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, BIRDMAN
Runner-up: Jonathan Glazer, "Under the Skin

Best Lead Performance, Male: Michael Keaton, BIRDMAN
Runners-up: Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"; Ralph Fiennes, "Grand Budapest Hotel.

Best Lead Performance, Female: Rosamund Pike, GONE GIRL
Runner-up: Marion Cotillard, "Two Days, One Night

Best Supporting Performance, Male: J.K. Simmons, WHIPLASH
Runner-up: Edward Norton, "Birdman

Best Supporting Performance, Female: Jessica Chastain, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
Runner-up: Tilda Swinton, "Snowpiercer

Best Original Screenplay: BIRDMAN
Runner-up: "Nightcrawler.

Best Adapted Screenplay: INHERENT VICE and SNOWPIERCER (tie)

Best Cinematography: Robert Elswit, NIGHTCRAWLER
Runner-up: Daniel Landin, "Under the Skin

Best Documentary Feature: CITIZENFOUR
Runner-Up: The Overnighters

Best Non-English Language Feature: WE ARE THE BEST!
Runner-up: Two Days, One Night

Best Animated Feature: THE LEGO MOVIE
Runner-Up: The Boxtrolls


Best Film: Boyhood
Best Director: Richard Linklater
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)
Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)
Best Irish Film: Frank
Best Documentary: Finding Vivian Maier
Best Breakthrough: Jack O’Connell (Starred Up, Unbroken, ‘71)


Best Picture

Winner – Birdman

Other Nominees:
Boyhood
Grand Budapest Hotel
Selma
Whiplash

Best Comedy Film

Winner – Grand Budapest Hotel

Other Nominees:
Guardians of the Galaxy
Lego Movie
Obvious Child
St. Vincent

Best Horror or Sci-Fi Film

Winner: Snowpiercer

Other Nominees:
Edge of Tomorrow
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
Under the Skin

Best Mystery or Thriller Film

Winners (tie) – Gone Girl and Nightcrawler

Other Nominees:
The Imitation Game
A Most Violent Year

Best Actor

Winner – Michael Keaton, Birdman

Other Nominees:
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
David Oyelowo, Selma
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Best Actress

Winner – Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Other Nominees:
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Hilary Swank, The Homesman

Best Supporting Actor

Winner – JK Simmons, Whiplash

Other Nominees:
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

Best Supporting Actress

Winner – Emma Stone, Birdman

Other Nominees:
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game

Best Director

Winner – Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman

Other Nominees:
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Best Screenplay

Winner – Birdman

Other Nominees:
Boyhood
Gone Girl
Grand Budapest Hotel
Whiplash

Best Animated Film

Winner – The Lego Movie

Other Nominees:
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2

Best International Film

Winners (tie) – Force Majeure and Ida

Other Nominee:
Two Days, One Night


(these girls are always entertaining)

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN
Camp X-Ray
The Homesman
Still Alice*
Two Days, One Night

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN
Belle
Selma*
The Babadook
The Pretty One

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]
Belle: Misan Sagay
Ida: Rebecca Lenkiewicz*
Obvious Child: Gillian Robespierre
The Babadook: Jennifer Kent

BEST ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard: Two Days, One Night
Carol Kane: Clutter
Julianne Moore: Still Alice*
Kristen Stewart: Camp X-Ray

BEST ACTOR
Tom Hardy: Locke
Tommy Lee Jones: The Homesman
Eddie Redmayne: The Theory Of Everything*
Jeremy Renner: Kill The Messenger

BEST YOUNG ACTRESS
Mira Grosin: We Are The Best*
Lorelei Linklater: Boyhood
Saoirse Ronan: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Quvenzhane Wallis; Annie

BEST COMEDIC ACTRESS
Anna Kendrick: Happy Christmas
Helen Mirren: The Hundred-Foot Journey
Jenny Slate: Obvious Child*
Kristen Wiig: Skeleton Twins

BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Ida
Two Days, one Night*
We Are The Best
Zero Motivation

BEST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Belle
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1*
Lucky Them
Obvious Child
1,000 Times Good Night

WORST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Gone Girl
Horrible Bosses 2*
Nymphomaniac
Sex Tape
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

BEST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Cesar Chavez
Kill The Messenger
Love Is Strange*
The Homesman

WORST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Bad Words
Big Eyes
Dumb And Dumber To*
Listen Up Philip

BEST THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED MOVIE BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Girlhood*
Ukraine Is Not A Brothel

WOMEN'S WORK/BEST ENSEMBLE
The Homesman*
Two Days, One Night
We're The Best
Zero Motivation


SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS

COURAGE IN FILMMAKING:
CitizenFour

ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women
Frontera
Private Violence

JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: For best expressing the woman of color experience in America
Anita: Speaking Truth To Power*
The Maid's Room

KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For best exemplifying a woman's place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity
Belle*
Big Eyes

COURAGE IN ACTING [Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen]
Carla Juri: Wetlands
Julianne Moore: Still Alice*
Hilary Swank: The Homesman
Reese Witherspoon: Wild

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD: [Performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored]
Amy Adams: Big Eyes
Patricia Arquette: Boyhood
Felicity Jones: The Theory Of Everything*
Hilary Swank: The Homesman

BEST DOCUMENTARY BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Anita: Speaking Truth To Power
CitizenFour*
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
She's Beautiful When She's Angry

MOMMIE DEAREST WORST SCREEN MOM OF THE YEAR AWARD
Charlotte Gainsbourg: Nymphomaniac

BEST SCREEN COUPLE
Boyhood
Elsa & Fred
Obvious Child
Skeleton Twins*

BEST LINE IN A MOVIE
Big Hero 6: "Stop whining. Woman up!"

A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO MALE ROLES IN MOVIES
Jessica Chastain: Interstellar


JUST KIDDING AWARDS:

Forty-Plus Female Empowerment Award: For the producers who give women over forty meaningful roles in movies on a regular basis, in an industry where forty is the new ninety-five - and as other than maniacs and witches.

Merry Macho Award: Seth Rogen and James Franco: For advancing the cause of world peace with their presidential assassination comedy, The Interview, and for further extending Hollywood as a wing of the US military and the CIA. And, while possibly mulling the Interview II sequel comedy - the assassination of President Obama.

ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: Adrienne Shelly was a promising actress and filmmaker who was brutally strangled in her apartment in 2006 at the age of forty by a construction worker in the building, after she complained about noise. Her killer tried to cover up his crime by hanging her from a shower20rack in her bathroom, to make it look like a suicide. He later confessed that he was having a "bad day." Shelly, who left behind a baby daughter, had just completed her film Waitress, which she also starred in, and which was honored at Sundance after her death.

JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: The daughter of a laundress and a musician, Baker overcame being born black, female and poor, and marriage at age fifteen, to become an internationally acclaimed legendary performer, starring in the films Princess Tam Tam, Moulin Rouge and Zou Zou. She also survived the race riots in East St. Louis, Illinois as a child, and later expatriated to France to escape US racism. After participating heroically in the underground French Resistance during WWII, Baker returned to the US where she was a crusader for racial equality. Her activism led to attacks against her by reporter Walter Winchell who denounced her as a communist, leading her to wage a battle against him. Baker was instrumental in ending segregation in many theaters and clubs, where she refused to perform unless integration was implemented.

KAREN MORLEY AWARD: Karen Morley was a promising Hollywood star in the 1930s, in such films as Mata Hari and Our Daily Bread. She was driven out of Hollywood for her leftist political convictions by the Blacklist and for refusing to testify against other actors, while Robert Taylor and Sterling Hayden were informants against her. And also for daring to have a child and become a mother, unacceptable for female stars in those days. Morley maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Oscar Predictions: Director


Best Directorial Achievement

Continuing our breakdown of the top eight Oscar categories, here in December, let’s look at the Director category.  There are fewer options here, as opposed to Best Picture, but that’s only to be expected considering the fact that only five nominees are allowed here, as opposed to the ten that could possibly pop up in Best Picture.  That isn’t to say that there aren’t surprises, and sometimes we’ll see this particular voting branch think outside of the boxes that the rest of Oscar have placed them in.  Think about those surprise nominations for Mike Leigh and Michael Haneke and Fernando Meirelles.  This branch likes to spread the wealth and reward auteurs for doing accessible work when they have the chance.

That doesn’t mean they don’t nominate bland, by-the-numbers direction if it is in an Oscar frontrunner.  I mean, look at the Tom Hooper and Taylor Hackford.

But, let’s take a look at how things are looking this year.

December Oscar Predictions: Best Picture


Best Picture

I thought we could dissect what we know of the top eight categories right now (Picture / Director / Screenplays / Acting), considering that the first leg of award’s season is pretty much over.  We may have a few more critics filter in with their thoughts, but as we’ve seen, a consensus is forming around the best of the year.  If you’ve checked out the Award’s Tally Page here on the site, you’ll have seen which films/performances are racking up the nominations and the wins, and so we’re going to talk about that a bit today.  We’re gonna start with Best Picture.

Austin Film Critics Association...



Best Film: Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
Best Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Best Actress: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Best Original Screenplay: Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Best Adapted Screenplay: Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Best Score: Antonio Sanchez, Birdman
Best Foreign-Language Film: Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund)
Best Documentary: Citizenfour (Laura Poitras)
Best Animated Film: The LEGO Movie (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller)
Best First Film: Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)
Breakthrough Artist: Jennifer Kent, The Babadook
Best Austin Film: Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
Special Honorary Award: Gary Poulter, for his outstanding performance in Joe

AFCA 2014 Top Ten Films:

1. Boyhood
2. Whiplash
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Birdman
5. Snowpiercer
6. Nightcrawler
7. Selma
8. The Imitation Game
9. TIE: Inherent Vice and Gone Girl

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Floridian critics speak the minds of every other critics' body...

BEST PICTURE
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST ACTOR
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

BEST ACTRESS
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Emma Stone – Birdman

BEST ENSEMBLE
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST DIRECTOR
Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu – Birdman
Richard Linklater – Boyhood

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Gone Girl
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY 
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Interstellar

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS 
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar

BEST ART DIRECTION/PRODUCTION DESIGN 
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Interstellar
Into the Woods

BEST SCORE
Gone Girl
Interstellar
Under the Skin

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Citizenfour
Life Itself
Jodorowsky’s Dune

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
Ida
Force Majeure
The Raid 2

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie

PAULINE KAEL BREAKOUT AWARD
Jennifer Kent – The Babadook
Damien Chazelle – Whiplash
Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Belle/Beyond the Lights

Let's talk BFCA...



I had to work yesterday, and these came through as I was walking out the door...so now we can talk about this shit!  Like, WTF!

Houston Film Critics Nominees...


Best Picture
A Most Violent Year
Birdman
Boyhood
Guardians of the Galaxy
Inherent Vice
Nightcrawler
Selma
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

Director
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Actor
Bendict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Eddie Redmayne, Theory Of Everything
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Tom Hardy, Locke

Actress
Essie Davis, The Babadook
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Supporting Actor
Andy Serkis, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Edward Norton, Birdman
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

Supporting Actress
Emma Stone, Birdman
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Kiera Knightley, The Imitation Game
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer

Screenplay
Birdman
Whiplash
Nightcrawler
Boyhood
The Grand Budpest Hotel

Animated
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Book of Love
The Boxtrolls
The Lego Movie

Cinematography
Birdman
Interstellar
Nightcrawler
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Unbroken

Documentary
Citizenfour
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Life Itself
The Overnighters

Foreign
Force Majeure
Ida
Leviathan
The Raid 2
Two Days, One Night

Original Score
Alexander Desplat, The Imitation Game
Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Antonio Sánchez, Birdman
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Johann Johannson, The Theory of Everything

Original Song
Big Eyes, Big Eyes
Everything is Awesome, The Lego Movie
Glory, Selma
I’m Not Going to Miss You, Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Lost Stars, Begin Again

Texas Independent Film Award
Above All Else
Boyhood
Hellion
Joe
No No: A Dockumentary
Stop the Pounding Heart

Best Poster
Birdman
Godzilla, IMAX
Guardians of the Galaxy, Primary Theatrical
Inherent Vice
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Technical Achievement
Birdman – Creation of single long take for bulk of film
Boyhood – Filming over 12 years
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – creation of ape characters

Worst Film of the Year
Blended
Dumb and Dumber To
Left Behind
The Identical
Transformers: Age of Extinction

London Critics' Circle Film Awards Nominations...


FILM OF THE YEAR
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Leviathan
Mr Turner
Nightcrawler
The Theory of Everything
Under the Skin
Whiplash

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
Ida
Leviathan
Norte, The End of History
Two Days, One Night
Winter Sleep

BRITISH FILM OF THE YEAR
The Imitation Game
Mr Turner
Pride
The Theory of Everything
Under the Skin

DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR
20,000 Days on Earth
Citizenfour
Manakamana
Next Goal Wins
Night Will Fall

ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton - Birdman
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Timothy Spall - Mr Turner

ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Marion Cotillard - Two Days, One Night
Essie Davis - The Babadook
Scarlett Johansson - Under the Skin
Julianne Moore - Maps to the Stars
Julianne Moore - Still Alice

SUPPORTING ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Riz Ahmed - Nightcrawler
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
Edward Norton - Birdman
Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
JK Simmons - Whiplash

SUPPORTING ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Marion Bailey - Mr Turner
Jessica Chastain - A Most Violent Year
Agata Kulesza - Ida
Emma Stone - Birdman

BRITISH ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
Tom Hardy - Locke, The Drop
Jack O'Connell - Starred Up, '71 & Unbroken
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Timothy Spall - Mr Turner

BRITISH ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Emily Blunt - Into the Woods & Edge of Tomorrow
Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game, Begin Again & Say When
Gugu Mbatha-Raw - Belle
Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl & What We Did on Our Holiday

YOUNG BRITISH PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
Daniel Huttlestone - Into the Woods
Alex Lawther - The Imitation Game
Corey McKinley - '71
Will Poulter - The Maze Runner & Plastic
Saoirse Ronan - The Grand Budapest Hotel

DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jonathan Glazer - Under the Skin
Alejandro G Iñárritu - Birdman
Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Mike Leigh - Mr Turner

SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR
Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Damien Chazelle - Whiplash
Dan Gilroy - Nightcrawler
Alejandro G Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris & Armando Bo - Birdman
Richard Linklater - Boyhood

BREAKTHROUGH BRITISH FILMMAKER
Hossein Amini - The Two Faces of January
Elaine Constantine - Northern Soul
Yann Demange - '71
Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard - 20,000 Days on Earth
James Kent - Testament of Youth

TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
'71 - Chris Wyatt, editing
Birdman - Emmanuel Lubezki, cinematography
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - Joe Letteri, visual effects
The Grand Budapest Hotel - Adam Stockhausen, production design
Inherent Vice - Mark Bridges, costumes
Leviathan - Mikhail Krichman, cinematography
Mr Turner - Dick Pope, cinematography
A Most Violent Year - Kasia Walicka-Maimone, costumes
Under the Skin - Mica Levi, score
Whiplash - Tom Cross, editing