Gurus o’ Gold

Gurus o’ Gold: The Globes Party On

The Gurus return from the holidays with a mostly unchanged view of Best Picture, along with picks of all the winners at Sunday’s Golden Globes, with strong consensus in only five of 14 categories.

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Gurus o’ Gold: And The Horses Are In The Gate (And Going On Vacation)…

As Oscar voters head to the beach or the snow or lands of eternal beauty and dysentery, The Gurus take one more look at Best Picture, the Acting races, Director and Screenplay, Also, some suggestions about which DVDs should make the journey with you and fill your happy holiday nights. Even better, find a movie theater with these films and buy a ticket. You can afford it… you just got a big tax break! Happy, happy holidays from the Gurus o’ Gold.

Read the full article » 6 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: Precursors Narrow The Field

The Gurus lay out Picture, Acting, Directing and Screenwriting in the hours before Golden Globes nominations. The groups of potential nominees get smaller as the year gets shorter.

Read the full article » 4 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: Now We’ve Seen It All

The Gurus recovered from Thanksgiving and have seen the final two expected Oscar contenders, Steven Spielberg’s The Post and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread. Looking only at Best Picture, Directing, Acting and Screenwriting, The Gurus consider in which categories these two newcomers might strike gold or not. And as always, the full Best Picture field, with some big movers and a debut.

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Gurus o’ Gold: Thanks

The Gurus offer their usual Best Picture chart, with The Post having arrived for screenings and Phantom Thread due a day after the turkey’s been eaten. In addition, please check out the Oscar nominations that The Gurus would be thankful for as the first groups start voting next week. Lots of wonderful treats voters should have an eye out for.

Read the full article »

Gurus o’ Gold: Oscars For The Ages

The Gurus do the normal Top 10, then take a look at what age groups in The Academy they think will be the primary base of support for each movie. (Here’s a hint… Get Out is for the young voters, Victoria & Abdul for the elders.)

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Gurus o’ Gold: Pick The Winners Way Too Early

As The Gurus get into the weekly habit of prognosticating again, there was no messing around. Who is going to win? The Gurus, who are insightful, but not fools, didn’t vote for any of the movies or performances that haven’t yet been shown widely (that changes over Thanksgiving). For a “wide open season,” there are a bunch of categories that seem surprisingly close to settled in the minds of The Gurus.

Read the full article » 7 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: Early Line

The Gurus are back a week early this year, launching with Best Picture, Acting categories and Director. If this early look matched nominations exactly (which, of course, it won’t), the only nominated actor of color would be Octavia Spencer for The Shape of Water, and Get Out would get a Best Picture nod. Also of note, a big showing from Call Me By Your Name, as well as a female directing nominee.

Read the full article » 9 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: Dawn Of A New Award Season

Venice starts in five days. Telluride in six. And The Gurus are here to let you know that the only films that are considered sure bets are Dunkirk and Steven Spielberg’s still-editing Pentagon Papers movie. Also accruing over 80 points are Get Out, The Shape of Water, Downsizing and the Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson. So what does this mean? Expect big surprises over the next couple weeks as fortunes rise and fall.

Read the full article » 6 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: Our Final Votes

In this final look at the field before Oscar Sunday, The Gurus bet heavy on La La Land. Also, a long list of categories where The Gurus think upsets are still possible, though the only La La upset with any traction is Huppert over Stone (and still, all voting Gurus went Stone and only 5 consider the upset possible). Plus, the Gurus are still fuzzy on the shorts.

Thanks for joining us for another season. We predict we will see you again in August.

Read the full article » 6 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: Final Voting Has Begun… The Gurus Weigh In

The Gurus offer their Top 2 in every category… except when a Guru feels the win is so locked in that there is no realistic competition. Seven of the categories have unanimous votes (Actress, Supporting Actress, Animation, Documentary, Score, Song, VFX). If The Gurus’ vision is clear, one film will win 9 Oscars on the night. The Gurus will be back one more time, after voting closes.

Read the full article »

Gurus o’ Gold: Pick Your Top Two

This week, the Gurus were asked for their Top 2 picks in every category… unless they thought the winner is a lock. The results were not surprising, although Denzel Washington has moved into a lead and virtual Guru tie with Casey Affleck for Best Actor. Also close: Original Screenplay.

Read the full article » 3 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: First Take At Ranking The Nominees

The Gurus ranked every Oscar category except for the shorts (even Gurus need to catch up with those nominees). And according to the Gurus, La La Land won’t break or tie the record for most wins. The film will have to settle for nine wins. The category in which The Gurus are the most indecisive? Make-up and Hair, with all three nominees ranked within two points of each other.

Read the full article » 4 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: Last Guesses Before Nominations

The Gurus are making their last group gasp before nominations arrive on Tuesday. (A couple Gurus, stuck in Sundance, may add to the charts.) Not a lot has changed in Best Picture, but some long-expected nominees have been pushed out in Actress. If the Gurus are channeling a true vibe, La La Land will lead the way with 14 nominations, followed by Arrival with 10. Dive in. Every category except for shorts is there this week. And after nominations, The Gurus will return with rankings of the nominees.

Read the full article » 5 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: Let The Ballots Be Filled

In the last pre-Globes Best Picture poll, a lot of stability on top of the Best Picture chart and a lot of instability in the last few potential slots for nomination. Also, The Gurus were asked if they had anything to say about it all at this moment… only 3 decided to speak up.

Read the full article » 2 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: Doc & Foreign Faves

The Gurus are on vacation, but they left behind their thoughts about the short-list races of Feature Documentary and Foreign Language, offering up their personal preferences about both categories. And as always, Best Picture. Happy New Year to all. Oscar nomination voting starts in less than a week.

Read the full article » 2 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: ChristmaChanukah Time!

The Gurus answer the question on everyone’s mind… what are the best gifts The Academy could give us this holiday season? And, as always, the latest look at Best Picture, where there isn’t a lot of change. Happy Holidays!!!

Read the full article » 8 Comments »

Gurus o’ Gold: What Films Are On The Edge & Who Will Win Golden Globes?

The Gurus tighten things up, with only 10 Best Picture picks. They ask, “What films are on the edge of being in or out of Best Picture contention?” Also, in honor of the Golden Globes nominations, The Gurus pick their winners. Only two of eight categories are unanimous, but all but Best Drama have overwhelming leads.

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Gurus o’ Gold: Top 8 Categories A Few Days Before The Globes Nominations

Thirteen Best Picture titles have votes from more than half the voting Gurus this week, after all the movies expected to be in play, aside from Passengers, have been seen. That is the field from which 7-10 will get Best Picture nominations. Scorsese’s Silence didn’t rise… but it didn’t fall either. Denis Villeneuve, Andrew Garfield, Isabelle Huppert and Janelle Monáe are on the rise.

Read the full article » 1 Comment »

Gurus o’ Gold: Directing, Animated, Screenplay

This week, in a vote taken before the critics groups weighed in on Thursday, the Gurus take on Director, Animated Feature and the two Screenplay categories, in addition to the BP Top 10.

If there are any surprises, it is The Gurus’ unwillingness to take movies set in the 1960s very seriously or that the Top 5 Directors right now are all American.

Read the full article » 3 Comments »

Gurus o' Gold

Quote Unquotesee all »

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