Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: SAG ~ Nominations



Ensemble
Captain Fantastic
Fences
Hidden Figures
Manchester By the Sea
Moonlight


La La Land missing here makes sense even if I predicted that they'd still nominate it.  It is a two-person show with little mention ever of the supporting cast, so the fact that they stuck with ensemble heavy films makes sense.  Captain Fantastic kind of came out of nowhere though.  I had heard rumbling that it could play well, but I didn't believe it.  I guess I was wrong.

Supporting Actress
Viola Davis for Fences
Naomi Harris for Moonlight
Nicole Kidman for Lion
Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams for Manchester By the Sea

So, it is now looking like this is our lineup.  I didn't believe the Spencer nom but she hit here and the Globes so it looks like consensus has settled on her within the ensemble, and she's a previous Oscar winner who many think was snubbed back in 2013, so this makes sense.  What an F-You to #OscarsSoWhite, too, if we get three actresses of color in one category.

Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges for Manchester By the Sea
Hugh Grant for Florence Foster Jenkins
Dev Patel for Lion

Ali and Bridges are locked in for the Oscars, but this category still feels ripe for a surprise, especially since Silence is a late contender with multiple options going for it in this category alone.  I have faith in Hedges, who has cleaned up this season by proving he's more than just a 'breakthrough' contender.  Almost everyone has nominated him here.  Sadly, Oscar isn't always kind to young actors, and so he could still be snubbed, but I am predicting a nom for him.  Grant and Patel could both happen...but right now I think one of them will be left off for the likes of Liam Neeson.

Lead Actor
Casey Affleck for Manchester By the Sea
Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling for La La Land
Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington for Fences

So, this was the kiss of death for Tom Hanks.  I think he needed this to stay in the race.  I don't think this will be our lineup.  I'm still a little hesitant to trust in the Garfield nom.  I think that Silence could cause confusion as to which performance to nominate and that could lead to him being snubbed.  I also don't wholly trust in Mortensen, who has felt like a fringe contender at best all season.  I still hold out faith that Edgerton will get in.  He didn't hit here, like I expected, but supposedly screeners went out very late and so that could explain it.  His role is such AMPAS bait and so I hate a strong feeling he'll surprise come nomination morning.

Lead Actress
Amy Adams for Arrival
Emily Blunt for The Girl on the Train
Natalie Portman for Jackie
Emma Stone for La La Land
Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins

LMAO a thousand times for the randomness of this Blunt nomination.  OMG!!!  This has made my year.  So...we can count her out immediately, which frees up a spot here (which we know is going to Huppert), but I still think we could see a surprise in the form of Ruth Negga (I know, this seems crazy) replacing Streep.  Adams, Portman and Stone seem locked in.  Whoever takes this will most likely take the Oscar (cough*Stone*cough).

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: The Golden Globes ~ Nominations


Picture ~ Drama
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Lion
Manchester By the Sea
Moonlight

So...my first thought was 'maybe they didn't see Silence' and then I read that they did so apparently they just really didn't like it, which is odd since they usually fawn all over Scorsese.  But, there is a lot of weird stuff happening all over these nominations.  Lion shows up a lot here, which was a touch unexpected, and I think both Hell or High Water and Hacksaw Ridge are cemented firmly in this race now.

Picture ~ Comedy/Musical
20th Century Women
Deadpool
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land
Sing Street

I did NOT see Deadpool coming, but Sing Street is such an awesome surprise.  Just saw it last night and I'm currently IN LOVE!

Director
Damien Chazelle for La La Land
Tom Ford for Nocturnal Animals
Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester By the Sea

Ok, things are starting to get a little weird now, considering that Ford shows up here (just wait for all the Nocturnal Animals love) but the rest I sort of saw coming (didn't count on Jenkins, but he's doing VERY well this season).  Gibson...could be headed to the Oscars?

Screenplay
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester By the Sea
Moonlight
Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal Animals showing up everywhere here is strange for the sole reason that it just feels so 'dead' as far as AMPAS is concerned.  In fact, I don't see it snagging a single nomination, especially not for Screenplay.  The rest are on their way to the Oscars, for sure.

Supporting Actress
Viola Davis for Fences
Naomi Harris for Moonlight
Nicole Kidman for Lion
Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams for Manchester By the Sea

I don't know what to make of Hidden Figures.  Is it even in this race?  Spencer and Monae seem to be splitting decisions and not in a good way.  It's either one or the other, not both, which leads me to believe that neither will make it with AMPAS.

Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water
Simon Helberg for Florence Foster Jenkins
Dev Patel for Lion
Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals

Poor Michael Shannon.  The best reviews of the entire cast of his film and what looked like a surefire critics darling and a) he loses all the critics awards to Ali and b) be gets snubbed with the Globes in favor of his co-star.  And who the hell is Simon Helberg.  Ball was seriously dropped here.  Is Neeson even getting nominated?  They could have went with Foster or Sarsgaard or Hedges.  This is a very weird lineup.

Lead Actor ~ Drama
Casey Affleck for Manchester By the Sea
Joel Edgerton for Loving
Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington for Fences

The first real Hanks snub of the season and I'm seriously starting to think that both Edgerton and Garfield are getting Oscar noms in favor of Hanks.

Lead Actor ~ Comedy/Musical
Colin Farrell for The Lobster
Ryan Gosling for La La Land
Hugh Grant for Florence Foster Jenkins
Jonah Hill for War Dogs
Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool

The fact that Russell Crowe was snubbed is heartbreaking, even if I saw it coming.  His comedic timing and chemistry with Gosling (who could have been double nominated and probably should have) was a thing of real beauty.  That being said, Farrell popping up is glorious.

Lead Actress ~ Drama
Amy Adams for Arrival
Jessica Chastain for Miss Sloane
Isabelle Huppert for Elle
Ruth Negga for Loving
Natalie Portman for Jackie

This is the only category I predicted 5/5.  I called the Chastain nom.  They love to reach out to every possible star they can, and she made sense.  

Lead Actress ~ Comedy Musical
Annette Bening for 20th Century Women
Lily Collins for Rules Don't Apply
Hailee Steinfeld for The Edge of Seventeen
Emma Stone for La La Land
Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins

LOL, didn't Lily Collins get...bad reviews?  I bet Steinfeld wishes this were a weaker year, because her reviews could have carried her to a Ellen Page style nom (she's already an Oscar nominee), but Stone is taking this in a walk and both Bening and Streep have their claws in that Oscar nom over Steinfeld, who simply won't happen.

Score
Arrival (Johann Johannsson)
Hidden Figures (Benjamin Wallfisch, Pharrell Williams & Hans Zimmer)
La La Land (Justin Hurwitz)
Lion (Hauschka & Dustin O'Halloran) 
Moonlight (Nicholas Britell)


I love seeing La La Land included all over the place because I was afraid the beautiful music would be shunned due to the song heavy soundtrack.  I don't know what to make of all the Moonlight attention in this category.  Is it happening?

Song

'Can't Stop The Feeling!' from Trolls
'City of Stars' from La La Land
'Faith' from Sing
'Gold' from Gold
'How Far I'll Go' from Moana

You nominated Sing Street for Picture and...don't include a single song when practically every one is better than the five you nominate?  This is just plain stupid.

Animated Film
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini 
Sing
Zootopia

I didn't expect them to love Sing so much.  

Foreign Film
Divines
Elle
Neruda
The Salesman
Toni Erdmann

We are starting to see a real consensus.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: American Film Institute (AFI) ~ Nominees


Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester By the Sea
Moonlight
Silence
Sully
Zootopia

What does all this mean?  Jackie and Loving are, most likely, dead...Zootopia is winning the Animated Film Oscar, Fences is probably Top 5 (which means Denzel is probably happening in Director) and Hell or High Water and Hacksaw Ridge are the REAL DEAL this season.  This is shaping up to look like an obvious Oscar ballot.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: LAFCA


Alright, so LAFCA announced yesterday and...I'm not sure what this is supposed to be.  I find it funny when critics groups go out of their way to seem 'individual' to the point where they almost make no sense, especially when you look at their runner-up options.  I mean, Moonlight aside (because the reviews/buzz/accolades support it being at the top), these wins all feel like a group trying to be 'different', especially when you consider the fact that their runner-ups are all the current frontrunners.

In all honesty, despite La La Land not nabbing a single win outside of Original Score, I think this said more about it's inevitable Oscar slayage than anything else because it was practically runner-up in every other category.

Here's the shakedown:

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: Broadcast Film Critics Society (BFCA) ~ Nominations


So, after last year's ridiculous debacle regarding Star Wars, the BFCA has officially become a joke to most prognosticators.  They've skirted that line for years thanks to their ridiculous MTV-esque categories and their penchant for nominating everything (ala The Satellites) but now they're officially on the other side of that line.  Still, we've discussed The Satellites AND the Hollywood Film Awards (which are even worse, to be honest) so we may as well discuss these.  I'm NOT including their ridiculous sub-categories except one (Young Actor/Actress) because it's a) not that ridiculous and b) says something about this race that I want to address.

So let's talk..

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: NYFCC


Picture

La La Land
The fact that this wins here despite the fact that it won NOTHING else and they so clearly adored Moonlight just goes to show the power of a universal crowd pleaser.  I can't see ANYTHING taking the Oscar over this.  It is written.

Director

Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
I have doubted him since the beginning, because he feels like such a critical darling that Oscar inevitably snubs, but his wins are starting to rack up (he also won NBR) and so maybe he will become a force.

Screenplay

Manchester By the Sea
I still expect this to repeat with Oscar.

Supporting Actress

Michelle Williams for Certain Women
&

Michelle Williams for Manchester By the Sea
I want to believe that this is still Michelle's year, but Davis is salivating over the chance to snatch that Oscar and she feels like a real Oscar choice, so I have such doubts!!!

Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
I kind of hate myself right now for doubting his Oscar chances.  I mean, I still don't think he's locked in or anything, but I something brewing.

Lead Actor

Casey Affleck for Manchester By the Sea
Get that Oscar, Casey!

Lead Actress

Isabelle Huppert for Elle
&
Isabelle Huppert for The Things to Come
She's shaping up to be the Marion Cotillard of this year.  I'm more than OK with this!

Cinematography

Moonlight
I've doubted all things Moonlight, but it could be much stronger than anticipated.  It could also sweep through the critics and still wind up Oscar snubbed in the end.  This is a very tricky combination of critical darling with very un-Oscary material.

Animated Film

Zootopia
Are we serious?  I mean, I love this movie...and I wholly expect it to be Oscar unstoppable, but even with the critics?

Documentary Feature

O.J. Made in America
I did not see this film being as strong as it is...

Foreign Film

Toni Erdmann
I have a feeling this will be our Oscar winner...

First Film

The Edge of Seventeen
&
Krisha
And yet another win for Krisha.  I don't know what to make of this, but could it make a play for Documentary?  Is it eligible?  I need to find this out.

A Season Full of Awards: Satellite Awards ~ Nominations



So, these are always a mess, but they are fun to look at...kind of like a train wreck, although after last year maybe they are 'more prestigious' than the BFCA now?  Anyways, while we await the complete results of the NYFCC for the next 6 hours, we may as well talk about this mess from yesterday.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: NBR


The NBR always feels like the official start to Award's Season because it is the first batch of nominees/winners that actually encompasses the whole of film for the year and not just the independant or foreign films.  Here we have a first 'critical' look at the year as a whole.  The NBR has shown a specific taste in the past, some of it questionable, but the last few years they have tried to separate themselves from being considered as merely another Oscar prognosticator, and their choices of films like Her and A Most Violent Year as Best Film show that separation well.  This year had a lot of interesting choices.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: Gotham Winners


Best Picture
Moonlight

This has no chance in hell at actually winning Best Picture at the Oscars...but this upset over Manchester By the Sea (which seemed like the stronger film) could solidify it's place on nomination morning.  This could wind up being a stronger film than I initially anticipated.

Documentary
O.J. Made in America

I think a concensus is starting to form over the documentaries we'll be seeing pop up on nomination morning.  This feels like one of them.

Actor
Casey Affleck for Manchester By the Sea

Stars are aligning for Casey to snatch up that Oscar, and I'm so happy for him since he's one of those actors who is consistently good, and he should already have an Oscar in his hands for his tremendous performance in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.  Washington could still make a play, but right now it's looking like Casey will actually take this, especially in the light of Viola stealing Williams' Oscar.

Actress
Isabelle Huppert for Elle

So, this happened.  Huppert, I think, is stronger than we all thought she was.  I never saw Portman as undeniable, and I still think that Oscar is Stone's, but this makes things so much more interesting.  Watching this go down like 2012, with Stone and Huppert being the Lawrence/Riva pairing.  AMAZING!

Screenplay
Moonlight

Over Manchester By the Sea seems strange and yet, this movie is truly beloved.  Could this repeat with Oscar?  I'm not so sure, since Lonergan seems like someone AMPAS will want to reward this year, but you never know.  It's beginning to look like a real race.

Breakthrough Director
Trey Edward Schultz for Krisha

In terms of Oscar, this means nothing.

Breakthrough Actor
Anya Taylor-Joy for The Witch

This also means nothing, considering who it is.  She has no Oscar traction and won't get any.  Poor Lucas Hedges...I thought this could have been the start of his onslaught of Breakthrough Awards this season.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: Annie Awards ~ Nominations


So here is our first real glimpse at the animated films that are edging themselves out in the front of the pack and the first time we'll get a real idea of which animated shorts could be in contention for Oscar.  Films that do not get a wide release here in the States are delegated to the Indepentent category, so there will be a combination come Oscar.

Best Animated Feature

“Finding Dory,” Pixar Animation Studios
“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika
“Kung Fu Panda 3,” DreamWorks Animation
“Moana,” Walt Disney Animation
“Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation

Zootopia is locked in.  I also feel like Kubo will happen.  The animated brack LOVES to reward the stop-motion animation and Kubo has very good reviews.  The rest I'm a touch up in the air about because I could see something like Dory being nominated because of the sheer strength of it's box-office, but Moana is new and shiney (despite not having stellar reviews).  Kung Fu Panda 3 is here as filler...which is a shame because if we're going to have filler I'd rather it be something like Secret Life of Pets, which was actually really, really good.

Best Animated Feature – Independent

“Long Way North,” Sacrebleu Productions, Maybe Movies, NorlumStudios, France 3 Cinéma and 2 Minutes
“Miss Hokusai,” GKids
“My Life as a Zucchini,” GKids
“The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions
“Your Name.,” CoMix Wave Films

The Red Turtle is in.  I also really think that My Life as a Zucchini is in as well.  Miss Hokusai has been getting some attention lately, but the idea of three foreigns getting in seems like a real stretch.  I really wish the April and the Extraordinary World would have snuck in here, or The Little Prince.

Best Animated Short Subject

“Blind Vaysha,” National FilmBoard of Canada
“Deer Flower,” Studio ZAZAC
“Path Title Sequence,” Acme Filmworks
“Pearl,” Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures
“Piper,” Pixar Animation Studios

I have no idea what to make of this category yet, but Piper is adorable and will most likely sail through to an Oscar nom on the shoulders of Disney/Pixar alone.

Friday, November 25, 2016

1950 Fisti Awards

[Images May Be Enlarged by Clicking on Them]


1950.  The battle of the two masterpieces that define Classic Hollywood in the most incredible ways.  How can you chose?  HOW CAN YOU CHOSE?!?!  It's a flip of the coin type ordeal because both films are tremendous in nearly every possible way and yet, one must chose and so chose I have.

I agree with Oscar; sort of.

All About Eve is a tremendous feat and a film that is, in a word, unforgettable.  And yet, Sunset Boulevard is just as tremendous and just as unforgettable and so, while I side with Oscar and their decision to reward All About Eve the title of Best Picture...I can't let is sweep here (it won 6 Oscars) because Sunset Boulevard deserves just as much recognition.

Honestly, if I allowed myself a tie in Best Picture, I would dole it out this year.

But as a wise friend (cough-Joel-cough) said to me:

1950 is just an insanely competitive year, I think because All About Eve & Sunset Blvd.'s reputations loom so large that much of the other bounty of quality available doesn't get its proper due.
He's right, this is one incredible year and it's a shame that so little outside of those two Oscar giants are even remembered, let alone talked about.  The film noir soars this year, with Huston, Preminger, Lewis, Dassin, Mankiewicz, Curtiz, Ray and yes, Wilder, delivering a bounty of films that will keep you glued from start to finish in a sea of tension.  Daves and Mann deliver standout westerns while Minnelli takes on the dramedy with lavish results.  The year is aces from top to bottom and with that in mind I present to you the Fisti Awards for 1950 (now with comments on all ballots)!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: ISA (Independent Spirit Awards) ~ Nominations



Best Feature

“American Honey”
“Chronic”
“Jackie”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”

It's weird to me that a film like Chronic made it, when everything I hear from those who have seen it was that it was very underwhelming; and Hell or High Water was in contention and had a lot of buzz/praise going into this so it seems odd that it missed.  Loving also feels like a strange omission, considering the love the ISA has for Nichols.  That being said, three of these films (Jackie, Manchester by the Sea & Moonlight) are almost guarantied Oscar nominations for Best Picture.

Best Director

Andrea Arnold (“American Honey”)
Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”)
Pablo Larrain (“Jackie”)
Jeff Nichols (“Loving”)
Kelly Reichardt (“Certain Women”)

No Lonergan?  This does not compute.  Actually, a LOT of these nominations/snubs don't compute.  Lonergan is one that I'd say is almost assured an Oscar nomination, while Jenkins and Larrain feel...uncertain, despite the raves for their films.  Odd...

Best First Feature

“The Childhood of a Leader”
“The Fits”
“Other People”
“Swiss Army Man”
“The Witch”

Love for Swiss Army Man makes me happy.  That being said, none of these films will compete for Oscar attention in any category.

Best Male Lead

Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”)
David Harewood (“Free in Deed”)
Viggo Mortensen (“Captain Fantastic”)
Jesse Plemons (“Other People”)
Tim Roth (“Chronic”)

No Edgerton makes my heart hurt.  Affleck is going to take this rather easily, and his path to Oscar glory is looking...very good.  The rest of the nominees here aren't going to factor into the race at all, with the exception (possible) of Mortensen...but I'm not so sure about that.

Best Female Lead

Annette Bening (“20th Century Women”)
Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”)
Sasha Lane (“American Honey”)
Ruth Negga (“Loving”)
Natalie Portman (“Jackie”)

Could Bening, Huppert, Negga AND Portman all be Oscar nominated?  The ISA matches more often than you'd think with this particular category.  2010 anyone?

Best Supporting Male

Ralph Fiennes (“A Bigger Splash”)
Ben Foster (“Hell or High Water”)
Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”)
Shia LaBeouf (“American Honey”)
Craig Robinson (“Morris from America”)

I'm holding out hope for Hedges...but honestly, I could see all from this category snubbed.  Where the hell is Ali and Sarsgaard?

Best Supporting Female

Edwina Findley (“Free in Deed”)
Paulina Garcia (“Little Men”)
Lily Gladstone (“Certain Women”)
Riley Keough (“American Honey”)
Molly Shannon (“Other People”)

What the actual f***?  No Michelle Williams?  This feels...really strange.  Harris I can understand ONLY because her reviews are nowhere near as uniformly stellar and her film won the Altman 'ensemble' award, so that is where she's rewarded, but Williams seemed like a lock to WIN this.  None of these nominees will repeat with Oscar.

Best Screenplay

“Hell or High Water”
“Little Men”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”
“20th Century Women”

I could honestly see 4 of these repeating with Oscar...

Best First Screenplay

“Barry”
“Christine”
“Jean of the Joneses”
“Other People”
“The Witch”

Nice...

Best International Film

“Aquarius”
“Chevalier”
“My Golden Days”
“Toni Erdmann”
“Under the Shadow”

I'm not sure what to make of Aquarius and it's chances.  Hell, I'm not sure what to make of this category at all, but I have a suspicion that Cannes triumph (critically, not with awards) Toni Erdmann is going to show up everywhere.

Best Documentary Feature

“13th”
“Cameraperson”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“O.J.: Made in America”
“Sonita”
“Under the Sun”

We are starting to see a lot of repeat names.

Best Cinematography

“American Honey”
“Childhood”
“Free in Deed”
“Eyes of My Mother”
“Moonlight”

Only Moonlight has a shot at an Oscar nom, and from what I hear it would be VERY deserving...but some of these guilds are very picky about allowing new people into their fold and so it would not surprise me if there is a Moonlight snub come Oscar morning.

Best Editing

“Hell or High Water”
“Jackie”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”
“Swiss Army Man”

From what I hear, Jackie is very sharply edited.  That could play well here and with Oscar.

John Cassavetes Award

“Free in Deed”
“Hunter Gatherer”
“Lovesong”
“Nakom”
“Spa Night”

Nice...

Robert Altman Award

“Moonlight”

This is probably why we have no actors from the film nominated.  Strange rule (if it is even a rule) but it seems like the only possible explanation. 

Trailer Break: Silence


This movie was almost starting to feel like a figment of my cinematic dreams, but it really is REAL, and it looks incredible.  My everything still says that La La Land is going to coast to win all the Oscars, because it has the added bonus of not only dazzling at the festivals but building buzz that seems to actually be validated by the finished product, but if any film this year can come out of the shadows and steal all the attention, it's a Martin Scorsese passion project that looks THIS good.  I need this movie in my life right now!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Would you have still done it?


When my wife was pregnant with our first child, the question everyone would ask was, "Do you want a boy or a girl?".  That's the question everyone asks, I know, and my wife and I generally gave the same answer everyone gives; "We don't care as long as they're healthy."  Recently a friend, who's daughter was born with a very serious heart condition, expressed his irritation with that common response.  "Should we throw her away if she's not?" was his question, and it was one that struck a chord with me.  Still, no parent in their right mind would not WANT their child to be healthy, because there is no greater gift in this world than that of life, and every (good) parent wants the best of those to go to their children.

When the credits began to roll after a late night Friday showing of Arrival, I thought of my friend's words.  As I wiped my face, soaked with tears, I looked at my friend's two teenage sons (whom I had taken to the movies with me) and saw the concern on their face and then one of them literally asked me, "Would you have still done it?" and I couldn't talk.

Most of the ride home I couldn't talk.

Thinking about it now, I'm still not sure I know the answer.

Arrival has been lavished with praise by many critics and movie goers as the best sci-fi film in recent memory.  Cerebral sci-fi is what it is being called, but despite all the praise and inevitable accolades, I was skeptical.  Denis Villeneuve's name isn't one the elicits excitement from me.  I rather enjoyed Enemy, but Sicario was clumsy and somewhat empty, Incendiaries was ridiculous and Prisoners was one of the dumbest movies I've ever seen.  I was prepared to find this film overrated and silly, to be honest, but there is nothing overrated or silly about Villeneuve's first true masterpiece.

It's damn-near perfect.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Trailer Break: Beauty and the Beast


Ok, so as most of you probably know, I consider 1991's Beauty and the Beast to be one of the greatest films of all time.  I have been quietly skeptical about this live adapatation despite fawning over it having the cast to put an end to all casts because it's so perfect (Belle aside), but this trailer is everything I could have ever hoped it would be.  Sure, it looks like a pretty 'on point' retelling of Disney's gem (although that glimpse of Maurice plucking the rose brought back La Belle et la Bete memories) but the amount of chills this trailer gave my body does not lie.  MY BEATING HEART!  The effects look remarkable, and you can pencil this in for some serious Cinematography/Art Direction/Costume Design consideration at next year's Oscars.  This looks, in a word, magical.

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: HFA (Hollywood Film Awards)


LOL, I know that these awards truly mean nothing, since they're all purchased by the studios in an attempt to get Oscar traction, but they happened last night so we might as well discuss them.  Let's take a look at their roster of winners (since they don't have nominees).

Hollywood Career Achievement Award
Eddie Murphy

This seems like an odd choice, even for them.  I mean, usually they tend to attach this award to a name that actually has Oscar traction (De Niro, Keaton, Ford etc.) and Mr. Church has none of that, but whatever...he has had a pretty incredible career so these kinds of awards are deserved.

Hollywood Producer Award 
Marc Platt (La La Land, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, The Girl on the Train)

So this is their equivelent of a Best Picture award this year, I guess, and it's obviously going to La La Land considering that both The Girl on the Train and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk have...no Oscar chances anymore.  LOL at how that turned out (especially for Billy Lynn) but who cares.  This award's body is a joke anyway.  They probably made all these decisions before seeing any of these films.

Hollywood Director Award 
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

So, he's not happening with Oscar, but this is actually a touch telling considering some of the buzz his film is actually getting.  It's not strong enough to actually make a big play, especially not with the more prestigious guilds and with Oscar, but I could actually see Gibson and company making a dash for some of the lesser critics and even the Globes, where they LOVE to starf*ck.

Hollywood Actor Award 
Tom Hanks, Sully

I'm predicting him for the Oscar nom, ATM.  The category is so weak and his reviews are stellar, but he never campaigns so this could be a problem for him in the long run.  He was snubbed for his last two film (for which he recieved stellar reviews as well) but every race is different and this one looks more favorable for him.

Hollywood Actress Award 
Natalie Portman, Jackie

Not sure why she bought this one, since her reviews alone have cemented her as a frontrunner, but I still think Emma Stone is taking this rather easily so...

Hollywood Supporting Actor Award 
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins

He has the reviews and many think he's got the narrative (reliable and likable star who finally has an Oscar break) and he's WORKING the curcuit, but I'm a little weary of his actual Oscar chances.  I like Grant a lot, but he just doesn't feel like an Oscar nominee to me, and I have a feeling that even if he hits all precursors he could still wind up being that random snub in favor of a tagalong nom from a more prestigious film.  We'll just need to see how this season shapes up.

Hollywood Supporting Actress Award 
Nicole Kidman, Lion

Like Winslet last year, this feels like the kind of supporting role that gets a legendary Oscar winning actress a welcome back nom.  Her last nom was in 2010 (Winslet's was in 08) so it makes sense, and the category is fluid enough ATM to validate it.

Hollywood Breakout Actress Award 
Naomie Harris, Collateral Beauty and Moonlight

I love how excited everyone is for Harris despite the fact that most everyone I know who's seen the film says she's the weakest part of it (some say she's downright bad) but her career deserves this and so I'm so happy for her to finally have a moment that could hopefully lead to many more moments.  It's like Henson circa 2008...lovely nomination for a meh performance delivered by a brilliant actress finally getting recognized.  

New Hollywood Award 
Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply

She's been around for quite a while already...so this is kind of dumb (same for Harris except that I consider Breakout more the year where people start to recognize you, and so it makes more sense for Harris...but New Hollywood...for someone who's already helmed a Snow White adaptation alongside Julia Roberts YEARS ago?...no).

Hollywood Spotlight Award 
Janelle Monáe, Hidden Figures

How many 'breakout' awards do they need?  I've heard she's the best thing about Hidden Figures and better than Harris in Moonlight so I'm excited for her movie career.  If it's anything like her music one, I'll be VERY happy.

Hollywood Ensemble Award 
Gold

I have a feeling no one will care about this movie at all once it's released.

Hollywood Comedy Award 
Robert De Niro, The Comedian

Ok, so this is one perforamnce I'm intrigued by because it is being pushed out to us almost out of the blue entirely in a very weak year for Lead Actor (at least in terms of Oscar) and De Niro was recently welcomed back to the club (thank you Russell) and this kind of role could be GOLD if written right, so I wonder if he could get a late in the season surge once it's dropped and wind up being embraced by the likes of SAG and eventually Oscar.  Time shall tell.

Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award 
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

This film looks SICK...but I have a strong feeling no member of AMPAS will even watch it.

Hollywood Screenwriter Award 
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

And the Oscar goes to...

Hollywood Blockbuster Award 
The Jungle Book

I kind of hate these kinds of awards because, who cares, but I really liked this movie so...

Hollywood Song Award 
"Can't Stop the Feeling!" - Justin Timberlake, Trolls

I HATE this song, but it's catchy AF and it's a HUGE hit so this makes sense.  I'm not entirely sure of the Oscar chances here.  It feels almost too pop-culture populist at this point, but then again a song like Happy came close to dethroning the Disney juggernaut of it's year, so you never know.

Hollywood Documentary Award 
Before the Flood

Another film to keep an eye on?

Hollywood Animation Award 
Zootopia

Listen, I really, really liked this one.  I love Disney, and this film had such a strong and cleverly executed message.  That said, this year has a few foreign animated films with RAVES upon RAVES and it would be so nice to see Oscar embrace something different for a change.  I'm not going to hold my breath, but maybe, just maybe, we'll see a surprise.  Zootopia doesn't feel as strong as many of the past frontrunners we've seen.

Hollywood Cinematography Award 
Linus Sandgren, La La Land

I have a feeling La La Land is going to RAKE IN the techs, but Silence has yet to be seen, and it has the potential to snag a could of these.

Hollywood Film Composer Award 
Mychael Danna, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Storks

I love Danna's work, but with the beath of Billy Lynn, this won't translate into an Oscar nom.

Hollywood Editor Award 
John Gilbert, Hacksaw Ridge

I wonder...

Hollywood Visual Effects Award 
Doctor Strange (Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff)

I have a feeling this will be our Superhero Movie nom this year.  It looks like a rip off of Inception in the trailers (yet not as revolutionary) and I still think that either Rogue One or The Jungle Book is winning, but the nom looks likely here.

Hollywood Sound Award 
The Jungle Book (Christopher Boyes, Frank Eulner)

Deserved.  Hopefully Oscar will agree (at least for the nom).

Hollywood Costume Design Award 
Albert Wolsky, Rules Don’t Apply

I don't know what to make of this movie.  It looks AWFUL, but as far as techs are concerned (and maybe Beatty) it could actually make a dash.  I mean, Oscar loves a period piece, especially in costumes and art direction and...acting.

Hollywood Make-Up & Hair Styling Award 
Hacksaw Ridge (Shane Thomas, Angela Conte, Bec Taylor, Noriko Waztanabe)

They LOVED this movie.  I don't think Oscar will, but this definitely put it in the race, at least a little bit.

Hollywood Production Design Award 
Wynn Thomas, Hidden Figures

Hmmm.  This film feels like such a non-starter so I'm not predicting it for anything, Oscar-wise, and this award feels odd considering that there are more prestigious films that could have taken this, but it is period and awards tend to love NASA related stuff as of late, especially in this category.  I still don't think this movie (and this award) is going anywhere.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: IDA (International Documentary Association) Awards


The documentary races are always the hardest to pin down so early in the season, but here we can at least get a slight handle on what is being embraced and snubbed.  This will, ultimately, mean very little because the tide will change and the televised awards mean a lot with these categories, but for now we can give this a little attention.

Best Feature Award
13th
Cameraperson
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
O.J.: Made in America
Weiner

The 13th is gaining traction as an undeniable frontrunner on buzz alone, and O.J., Weiner and I Am not Your Negro have already shown up with Gotham so you can pencil in another showing for them here.  

Best Short Award
The Above
Clinica De Migrantes : Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Extremis
Pickle
Red Lake
The White Helmets

If you think Documentary is hard to predict...Documentary Short is even harder!  I have no clue yet what to make of this category or these potential nominees.

Monday, October 24, 2016

2001 Fisti Awards

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2001.  I feel like I say this a lot, but MY GOD what a year this was.  Now I know what a lot of people think of when they think of the 2001 Oscars; A Beautiful Mind's supposed undeserving Oscar win.  I'll admit, I was heavily rooting for it to win (granted it was the only nominee I had seen at the time) but even after seeing the rest (and preferring quite a few of them) I don't hate this win at all.  It's a very well made and very heartfelt biopic with solid (some stellar) performances throughout and a real arc at the end.  It isn't some cookie cutter flick.  It has thrills, romance, drama and bleeding emotion and it all feels honest.

Hate all you want, but I still love the movie.

Not enough for it to make my BP ballot, but this year was too strong for that.  

As a side note, this is the ONLY Oscar ceremony I actually turned off on purpose because a surprise win had me seething with anger, and yes that win was Washington over Crowe because as much as I like Training Day and even like Washington's performance, that was Crowe's Oscar and that loss tragically robbed one of our greatest working actors of his shot at being a two-time Academy Award winner.

But being honest, neither deserved the win in that lineup.

Now, one really interesting thing about this particular awards is that, despite how awesome this year was as a whole, 15 of the 17 awards given out here go to the five films nominated for Best Picture.  Wealth was not spread that much here, but these five films deserve every ounce of praise and accolades they can muster.

And on that note I present to you the Fisti Awards of 2001!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: Gotham


So, I've been out of the Oscar watch game now for 2 years and the sting is strong in my heart, since this is one of the reasons I started this blog.  So, while I can't promise this will last all season, I want it to so pray for me.  This could be my ease back into relevant blogging.

So, Oscar season is officially upon us with the Gotham nomination announcement this morning, and so here are the nominees and my take on their Oscar chances.

Monday, September 26, 2016

1975 Fisti Awards

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1975.  I feel like I say this a lot, but WHAT A YEAR!  I personally wasn't prepared for how awesome this year would turn out to be, but it just kept getting better and better.  It felt like every auteur was delivering career best work, between Kubrick, Kurosawa, Antonioni, Tarkovsky, Spielberg, Lumet and Wier, not to mention some phenomenal achievements by the likes of Truffaut, Huston, Forman and Altman; and that's just the guys that wound up gracing my Directors Dozen.

1975 was also a tremendous year for women's stories, with films like The Story of Adele H, Hester Street, Grey Gardens, A Brief Vacation and Jeanne Dielman centering on strong portrayals of women in varying situations.

The 70's get knocked around a lot as being a decade of films that...feel very dated, and I get that.  There was a lot of politically centered films that feel very much 'a part of the times' and sometimes those particular films can be hard to embrace in a more modern setting, but this year is just so full of riches of all genres.  The snubs were painful...VERY painful, as films like Dog Day Afternoon, Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Story of Adele H got the shaft, but at the end of the day I'm very happy with the final ballot, and I hope you are too.

With that said, I present to you the Fisti Awards of 1975!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sunshine Blogger Award


So, as many of you know, this has been a rough year for me, and unfortunately life stepping in the way of my blogging and what used to be a pretty consistent and prolific blog has become a wasteland of broken dreams and the occasional post trying in some sort of way to regain a sliver of it's former being.  But, not matter how little I get to post or how little I get to comment (seriously guys, I'm SO SORRY that I don't stop by as regularly as I used to), not a single day goes by when I don't think of you all fondly.

And then one of you mentions me in a post and my heart skips a little beat because I realize that you haven't forgotten about me and that you, too, think of me fondly.

So, before I get on with responding to this particular award, I want to say thank you to all who remember me because I still remember you (and always will).

And to Sati and Daniel...thank you so much for thinking of me, and Dan...your dedication:

Actually, pretty much everyone I would nominate has already been nominated (and most have accepted), so that makes this kinda hard. BUT, there is one person who always brings the sunshine when he posts who as far as I can tell has NOT been nominated for this award, so PLEASE JOIN ME in bestowing this honor on Drew (or Fisti, whichever your prefer) over at A Fistful of Films. We all love you, Drew, and while we all know "real life" has to come first, that doesn't stop us from missing you and your posts something awful. Thanks for the light you have always brought to this little corner of the blogosphere. I don't think there's anyone more deserving.

F***ing tears, man!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

2000 Fisti Awards

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2000.  This is a really weird year for me.  This is the year that I lost my Oscar virginity.  This is the year that I found God, and by God I do mean Russell Crowe.  This is the year that changed everything for me as a film-watcher.

I saw the light and the light was Gladiator.

For the longest time whenever anyone asked me what my favorite movie was, Gladiator spilled from my lips without hesitation.  Time has passed a great deal since 2000, though, and my cinephile tastes have evolved.  Gladiator doesn't even land on my BP ballot for this year.  That being said, when my friends ask me for my favorite movie, I still respond with Gladiator.  Why?  Because I'm always in the mood to watch it.  It's my happy place.  Pop me in front of a TV with a beer and a pizza and put on this movie and I'm in heaven.  Is it the best film of the year?  No, but does that matter.

Besides, none of my friends have ever heard of Mommy.

On that note, I present to you the Fisti Awards of 2000!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

1964 Fisti Awards

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1964.  Gulp.  Double gulp.  Bring on the feels.

This is such a vibrant and fun year, with two very special films at it's core.  It feels like the year of the big movie musical, and that also plays into my love of it.  Hell, even Oscar went ahead and awarded My Fair Lady Best Picture.  Sure, My Fair Lady is the lesser of the musicals of the year, but that's besides the point.  It's still a delicious win!

But this isn't all about the musicals (although they do win nearly every Fisti Award this year).  In fact, the diversity of the year itself is a godsend.  From political satire to Asian horror to familial dramas to foreign art house to thrillers and French New Wave and Disney and singing and dancing and Gothic pulp melodrama and so much more, this year has everything.

It also has, possibly, the greatest collection of actressing in any year, ever.  In fact, this is such a realism that I could not narrow my personal Lead Actress ballot down to five and, for the first (and quite possibly ONLY) time I have EIGHT Lead Actress nominees.  I just couldn't cut anyone, and all eight would land on my Top 100 Female Performances of All Time list...if I ever got up the balls to actually make one.

So, with that in mind, I present to you the Fisti Awards for 1964!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fisti Best Picture Predictions for 2016

I don't normally do this, but I'm bored and with each new trailer released I find myself wanting to talk more and more about what I perceive I'll think to be the best films of the year...so, I've compiled the five films I think have the greatest chance of landing on my personal Fisti Best Picture ballot.

And here's why:


It's Only the End of the World ~ Xavier Dolan

Why?  It's f*cking Xavier Dolan and we all know my allegiance to him.  The reviews out of Cannes were...hard to read, but the jury fawned over his film (Grand Jury Prize) and Dolan's films just speak to me in ways that make me not care what anyone else has to say about it.  In fact, half the harsh reviews called out things as faults that, on paper, sounded like total pluses to me.  Besides, this cast...like, MY GOD YES!!!


La La Land ~ Damien Chazelle

Why?  I wasn't as taken with Whiplash as everyone else, but Chazelle's style was so prominent that you can't help but admit the talent there, and this looks like a delicious throwback to the years of Hollywood glitz, glam and MUSIC and you know how much I ADORE that.  Charm to spare, this looks like a visual and emotional masterpiece!


The Lobster ~ Yorgos Lanthimos

Why?  I haven't seen this yet (I know, I know) but everything I read about it has me so intrigued.  I love the idea of something so bizarre being so engaging, and Lanthimos has impressed me before.  It has the feeling of an quirky indie and yet it looks so mature, and I'm drooling all over this cast.


Moonlight ~ Barry Jenkins

Why?  This looks like it could be that one movie that just ruins me from an emotionally mature perspective (i.e. Carol).  Early word is that this is a masterpiece of modern cinema, and the story is certainly ripe to be one of those films that hits home and stays there.  Stories like this deserve to look and feel this rich and honest.


The Red Turtle ~ Michael Dudok de Wit

Why?  Um, this should be self explanatory.  It's an SILENT, ANIMATED film about the MAGIC of FAMILY...queue all the tears I have left in my eyes for the rest of eternity.  Given my current circumstances, I probably shouldn't see this in public with anyone else, and yet my eldest daughter has already said she wants to see this with me so...she will see her father a puddle, I assure you.  Word out of Cannes was that this is, without question, a masterpiece and will emotionally ruin me.

What else?  Two films have my attention and I speculate could make a play here as well, one being Loving and the other being Scorsese's passion project, Silence (if that does get released this year).  I'm also hopeful for Manchester By the Sea, and as much as I hate much of his filmography, Arrival looks really intriguing to me.

This is obviously just a broad guess based on synopsis, trailer, components, cast, directors and my personal feelings towards the projects, but who knows...this very well could be what my ballot looks like come this time next year when the Fisti Awards are complete.