Awards Watch Archive for January, 2015

20 Weeks To Oscar: Is The Door Wide Open Again?

Could the Academy’s bizarre preferential balloting system be the defining issue in coming to a Best Picture winner this year?

And let me note again, before going any further, that the existence of the preferential ballot system at The Academy is IDIOTIC and I will forever believe that this was a bad joke foisted on The Academy by an exiting Bruce Davis.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: It’s Gettin’ Hot In Here

There are a lot of theories out there about how to read the tea leaves this season. But for me, the truth is that I have never seen anything quite like it.

PGA and SAG, Birdman. Globes, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel. LAFCA and NYFCC, Boyhood. Coming up in short order… DGA, BAFTA, WGA.

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Gurus o’ Gold: A Week After Nominations… Any Changes?

The Gurus update their Best Picture picks and answer this question: Has the leader in any of the other categories changed, in your view, over the last week?

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Ragin’

I don’t know that I have seen anything like this before. It’s kind of about Oscar season. It’s mostly not. But Oscar has yelled “pull” and now everyone is shooting at the clay pigeons. And the bullets are flying from every direction.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Nomination Day (1 of 2)

The Gurus have voted on the slotting of 22 categories (no shorts yet) after today’s nominations. And if you listen to the Gurus today, 14 of those awards will be split pretty evenly between Boyhood, Birdman, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Nomination Day (2 of 2)

Page 1 of 2 Pre-Venice/Telluride/Toronto Best Picture Field Post-Venice/Telluride/Toronto Best Picture Field After New York… Just Before Selma & American Sniper Just After Selma & American Sniper Gurus o’ Gold: A Week From Thanksgiving, aka Screener Time Thanksgiving Week The Rise of Selma Gurus o’ Gold-n-Globes) The Top 8 Categories Heading Into The Holiday Break…

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The 2014 Critics Choice Movie Awards Go To…

Best Picture – “Boyhood” Best Actor – Michael Keaton, “Birdman” Best Actress – Julianne Moore, “Still Alice” Best Supporting Actor – J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash” Best Supporting Actress – Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood” Best Young Actor/Actress – Ellar Coltrane, “Boyhood” Best Acting Ensemble – “Birdman” Best Director – Richard Linklater, “Boyhood” Best Original Screenplay – Alejandro G….

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Most Shocking Event Of The Week!!!!

The Answers

Clint Eastwood.
Bradley Cooper.
Alexandre Desplat.
Foxcatcher.
The LEGO Movie.
Life Itself.

The Question…

What are six Oscar occurrences today that are legitimately more surprising than Selma “only” getting a Best Picture nod?

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Oscar Nominations: The Nominee Reactions

“Almost exactly a year ago, we were off to Sundance wondering if people would ever see Whiplash. Today is truly beyond our wildest dreams. As Fletcher would say, holy #@^!#@*$!!!”.” –  Helen Estabrook, Jason Blum & David Lancaster, producers of Whiplash ______________ “Humbled, thankful and more than anything, grateful. So, so happy that Alejandro and…

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Screenermania!

An industry in which a $2.4 million buy-in ($900,000 before you are nominated for anything) just for DVDs—before ads, books, promo items, appearance costs, etc,—to be considered “serious” about receiving awards is a problem.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Trouble With Endings (spoilers)

This piece deals with the end of three Oscar Best Picture candidates, reveling the ending of American Sniper, The Imitation Game, and Unbroken. DO NOT PROCEED is you haven’t seen the films or do not want to know the endings… you have been warned!

SPOILER ALERT!!!

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20 Weeks To Oscar: SNUB!

A snub is a smile turned upside down. That’s the First thing that always hits me when people scream, “SNUB!.” In order for some potential nominee who didn’t get nominated to be snubbed, someone who did get nominated has to have been undeserving in the eyes of the screamer(s). Second thing I think of is…

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Gurus o’ Gold: One Last Guess Before Nominations

The Gurus are back for one more round before nominations are announced on Thursday morning. The last slots for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay are the most contentious slots for The Gurus. And Grand Budapest Hotel moves up slightly while Selma moves down slightly.

Look for the Gurus rankings of all the categories (other than shorts) on Thursday afternoon.

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2014 EDA Award Winners

AWFJ EDA ‘BEST OF’ AWARDS These awards are presented to females and/or males. Best Film BOYHOOD Best Director (Female or Male) Richard Linklater for BOYHOOD Best Screenplay, Original BIRDMAN – Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, Nicholas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo Best Screenplay, Adapted GONE GIRL – Gillian Flynn Best Documentary CITIZENFOUR – Laura Poitras Best Animated Film…

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Houston Film Critics 2014

Houston Film Critics Honor Boyhood, Gyllenhall and Moore   Richard Linklater’s Boyhood dominated the proceedings, winning awards for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette) and Technical Achievement. It was also received the Texas Independent Film Award, a special recognition for films shot in the state.   Jake Gyllenhall bested a competitive field of leading actors to…

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Critics Top Ten List 2014: Ray Pride

Movie City News 1. Boyhood 2. Gone Girl 3. The Immigrant 4. The Grand Budapest Hotel 5. Love Is Strange 6. We Are The Best! 7. Ida 8. Calvary 9. Winter Sleep 10. Actress

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Globes Shine Boyhood And Linklater

Globes Shine Boyhood And Linklater, As Well As Grand Budapest: Plus Adams, Keaton, Arquette, Simmons,  Leviathan

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Boyhood’s Richard Linklater Not So Fond Of Plot

“Nothing much happens anyway.” Boyhood‘s Richard Linklater Not So Fond Of Plot With – Boris Kachka’s June 2014 Profile Of The Life Of Ellar Coltrane, Up To Now

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The Top 10s of 2014

Boyhood sits alone at the top of the list – nothing else comes close – and then The Grand Budapest Hotel, another big gap and then the rest of the list. Guardians of the Galaxy, in case you were wondering, is sitting there at #21 just a hair away from the Top Twenty.

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Critics Top Ten List 2014: Moira Macdonald

Seattle Post Birdman Boyhood Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen Gone Girl The Grand Budapest Hotel Life Itself Like Father, Like Son Love is Strange Mood Indigo Selma

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Awards Watch

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin