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Entries in Oscars (17) (75)

Wednesday
Aug162017

Review: Wind River

by Lynn Lee

It should come as no surprise that writer-director Taylor Sheridan, currently hot in Hollywood after his Oscar screenplay nomination for Hell or High Water, is an actual, bona fide cowboy.  Perhaps that’s why his work feels like such a throwback—to an era in which quietly capable men, silently toting unspoken burdens, took on the joyless task of meting out frontier justice.  At the same time, he’s shown a canny gift for placing such old-school archetypes in a distinctly modern, of-this-moment social and political context, making their struggles feel unexpectedly timely or, rather, timeless.  That gift is on ample display in his new film, Wind River, which is now in wide release after nabbing the best directing prize in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes earlier this year.

Set on a remote, wintry Indian reservation in Montana, the film marks the third installment in a loose trilogy of Westerns penned by Sheridan (the first two being Sicario and Hell or High Water), though Wind River is the first one he directed...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug032017

More TIFF Lineups: Midnight Madness and Platform

Another day another festival announcement. TIFF keeps adding to the festival. Even though they've reduced the number of films this year it's still SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM IN EACH SECTION. Herewith the Midnight Madness and Platform choices. Let us know which ones you're most curious about!

Gael García Bernal in the French film "If You Saw His Heart"

PLATFORM
This section of 12 films, which tends to focus on directors in early stages of their careers, is actually juried (though TIFF isn't known for awards really outside of "People's Choice" which tends to have a strong correlation to eventual Best Picture nominations at the Oscars).

“Platform is the place to look for the distinct stamp of today's most interesting directors as they establish their reputations.
- -Cameron Bailey, TIFF's artistic director

The three-person jjury for 2017's Platform are directors Chen Kaige (China), Malgorzata Szumowska (Poland) and Wim Wenders (Germany)

Beast (UK) A troubled woman becomes involved with a suspected killer in this debut from Michael Pearce [WORLD PREMIERE]
Brad's Status (US) Screenwriter Mike White returns to the director's chair for this story about a man (Ben Stiller) comparing himself unfavorably to friends while touring colleges with his teenage son [WORLD PREMIERE]...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug012017

Looking Ahead at Best Original Song

Chris here. What with Nathaniel's updated Oscar predictions and my regular Soundtracking duties, my mind has been on that ever pesky Best Original Song category. How will this year shake out for the sometimes maligned category?

Per usual we haven't had many obvious contenders, though I would argue that Beauty and the Beast's "How Does A Moment Last Forever" is one of the film's bright spots - can you just imagine Celine Dion taking the Oscar stage for the first time since Titanic. Perhaps our best chance at an Original Song behemoth like last year's La La Land and Moana were is The Greatest Showman, this season's original musical. But other questions and curiosities remain: what documentary song will surprise this year? Can credits song queen Sia finally land a nomination (she'll at least have one option with Wonder Woman)?

One contender I'm already hoping has some staying power is A Ghost Story's "I Get Overwhelmed" by Dark Rooms. The track flows fluidly in and out of Daniel Hart's score (naturally, he heads Dark Rooms), encompassing both the film's intimacy and cosmic expansiveness. Lyrically, the song carries meaning for Casey Affleck's songwriter and has a whole new context in the afterlife - so it carries the kind of narrative weight the Academy's songwriting branch has been seeking. But will it even make the eligibility long list?

Do you have any Original Song hopes already?

Monday
Jul312017

Oscar Chart Updates - Everything! 

The Oscar Charts are all freshly updated (but for the second two pages of foreign film submissions which will go up very soon). It's an exciting time because before the fall festivals hit and while we're still contemplating the highlights of the year's first seven months, it seems like anything's possible. That feeling will soon dissipate of course but for now, (almost) anything goes. Biggest gains this update go to The Papers, mother!, The Big Sick, and Wonder Wheel. Meanwhile Wonder Woman enters several charts, though not with much in the way of current predictions as it gears up for a campaign. Dunkirk solidifies pre-release Oscar faith now that people have layed eyes on it en masse. Taking the biggest hit this time is Detroit tas it gears up for wide release but is proving divisive and controversial. Our initial hunch/faith in The Snowman (due primarily to the director) dissipates with its somewhat generic thriller trailer.

And here's the wonderfully opaque teaser for mother! which might be exactly the kind of thing that works in acting categories (where psychological horror is sometimes popular if the film is a hit) so I've had to boost Jennifer Lawrence up in the Best Actress chart... not sure what I was thinking to so undervalue her previously...

Check out the charts and report back, won'cha?

INDEXPICTUREDIRECTORACTRESSACTORSUPPORTING ACTRESSSUPPORTING ACTORVISUAL CATEGORIESSOUND CATEGORIESSCREENPLAYS ANIMATED FEATURESFOREIGN SUBMISSIONS PT 1

Sunday
Jul302017

Actor Chart Updates: Who will repeat?

Having just had a lively discussion about Best Actress and Supporting Actress possibilities, let us turn our attention to the men.

Though I'm not currently predicting any women from last year's 20 honored thespians to repeat this year, it's not uncommon for that to happen. So let's try out a Denzel Washington post-Fences prediction and see how it feels. He's headling Roman Israel, Esq. a Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) picture about a lawyer in crisis and conflict with his new law firm. Colin Farrell co-stars. The film was called Inner City during filmmaking but now goes by the name of Denzel's character. The film takes place in the 1970s so Denzel has a fro!

1970s are popular in cinema this year. Also working early 1970s looks this year are the stars of two true stories. Spielberg's The Papers is already causing a buzzy stir. Less discussed but also scheduled to open this season is the Ridley Scott drama All the Money in the World about the famous kidnapping of a young man from a wealthy family (busy actor Charlie Plummer). Kevin Spacey is the grandfather billionaire who won't pay the ransom, Michelle Williams is the mother, and Mark Wahlberg is a CIA operative but it's tough to know who is lead or supporting or whatnot since it sounds like an ensemble picture. Incidentally the role played by Michelle Williams was originally offered to Angelina Jolie and then they sought out Natalie Portman. It's tough to know what they were looking for for that role (beyond stardom) because those three actresses have such different onscreen personas and talents.

Both of these movies could easily be something closer to box office hopefuls than gold-statue hunters given their mainstream stars and plots but you never know with holiday season releases. Check out the updated charts and report back...

ACTOR CHART UPDATES
Denzel & Daniel & Tom (all multiple Oscar winners!) on the rise
SUPPORTING CHART UPDATES 
A ton of movement here since we still know relatively nothing about what might happen in this category yet. Upward movement for mother!'s Javier Bardem, Call Me By Your Name's Michael Stuhlbarg, and Dunkirk star Fionn Whitehead who will next be seen in a big role opposite Emma Thompson in The Children Act

 

Saturday
Jul292017

Actress Chart Updates: Kate Winslet is Buzzing

Wonder Wheel continues to gather quite a lot of pre-release hype. It's opening quite late for a Woody Allen picture on December 1st. If you look at the history of his releases they've been summer counter-programming for a very long time now. Midnight in Paris (2011) and Blue Jasmine (2013) have been his biggest Oscar and commercial successes since the 1990s and they both opened in the summer. You have to go all the way back to Match Point (2005) to find a successful December release for the annual Woody Allens and that one came up short of expectations on Oscar nomination morning (1 nomination) despite a lot of pre-release critical buzz.

But Amazon Studios, who plan to distribute Wonder Wheel themselves (a first for them), seem to have an eye on Oscar. Perhaps they've bought into the common (and very wrong) belief that you have to be a December release to catch Oscar's eye? Good luck to them and we hope the movie is as good as we're hearing!

Consider this high praise from Kent Jones who selected the movie to close the New York Film Festival in October:

I’m not quite sure what I expected when I sat down to watch Wonder Wheel, but when the lights came up I was speechless. There are elements in the film that will certainly be familiar to anyone who knows Woody Allen’s work, but here he holds them up to a completely new light. I mean that literally and figuratively, because Allen and Vittorio Storaro use light and color in a way that is stunning in and of itself but also integral to the mounting emotional power of the film. And at the center of it all is Kate Winslet’s absolutely remarkable performance—precious few actors are that talented, or fearless.

Now, it's important to note that Kent Jones is the Festival Director and thus has an obligation to promote his festival but still... wouldn't it be wondrous to see Kate rise again after the delicious hint of her full throttle starpower returning via The Dressmaker last year?

UPDATED OSCAR CHARTS
Best Actress - Kate, Emma, and Meryl on the rise
Best Supporting Actress - Holly Hunter securely up top... for now
Foreign Film Chart 1 - Afghanistan to Ethiopia speculation