Wednesday, July 31, 2013

American Hustle Trailer

Okay, I think this film looks simply awesome. The cast just looks fantastic, particularly Bale, Adams, and Lawrence, and David O. Russell has always been a favorite of mine, with projects like Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter, and Three Kings showcasing a real talent. American Hustle looks to be fun, funny, sexy, but also intense and deep. At least that is what I am getting from this trailer. Check it out below:

2013 Television Critics Association Award Predictions: Individual Achievement in Drama and Comedy

Individual Achievement in Drama
Will Win - Bryan Cranston "Breaking Bad"
Could Win/Should Win - Monica Potter "Parenthood"
Commentary - This year there are a lot of new contenders, and if I were voting, it would be for the incredible Monica Potter who had a jaw-dropping season on Parenthood. But I think that Breaking Bad is really hitting its stride this season. It did well at the BTJA, and is gaining a lot of supporters at this year's Emmy awards. There hasn't been a repeat winner since Hugh Laurie for House, but if anyone can do it, it is Bryan Cranston.
Individual Achievement in Comedy
Will Win - Louis C.K. "Louie"
Could Win - Julia Louis-Drefuss "Veep"
Should Win - Amy Poehler or Jake Johnson
Commentary - This is a tough one to predict. Louis C.K. was last year's winner, but there hasn't been a repeat winner since Jane Kaczmarek over a decade ago. But Louie is a critical favorite, and I think he will be a popular choice again. The one to watch out for is Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. Despite three Emmy awards, she has never won a TCA Award. But Veep is so funny, well-liked by critics, and really her show, I think she could pull off her first victory.

Oscar Bits & Bites: New Academy President, Captain Phillips Opens NYFF, Casting Director Branch

Three bits of information that I missed yesterday, but are nevertheless important:

  • The third woman in its history, Cheryl Boone Isaacs has been announced as the new President of AMPAS. She is a governor from the Public Relations Branch, and produced the 2012 Governor Awards. She is also the first African American woman to serve in this position, which is incredibly awesome, and also a sign that the Academy's effort to diversify are paying off. Congratulations to Isaacs, and I will hopefully see you on Academy nomination morning!
  • NYFF has had some high profile Oscar contenders open its fest the last couple of years. This year it looks like they have pulled another coup, with the selection of Paul Greengrass'  Captain Phillips. It is the story of the American captain whose ship was captured by Somali pirates, and stars Tom Hanks and Catherine Keener. It is sure to be a big Oscar contender come September.
  • For years, casting directors have simply been invited under the umbrella of "Members-at-Large. Today, the Academy announced that they are creating a separate branch for its many talented casting directors. If this is the direction, and the type of leadership that Isaacs is going to bring to the Academy, then I am all for it. I like this move, I think it is only fair considering how important casting directors are to the film process, and deserve some recognition for their efforts. This move is a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2013 Television Critics Association Award Predictions: Best Youth, Reality, and News/Information Program

Best Youth Program
Will Win/Should Win - Bunheads
Could Win - Switched at Birth or Sesame Street
Commentary - Sesame Street and Switched at Birth were the last two programs to take this award, so both of them are in the hunt, as past recepients have won more than once. But I think that this year's critics will go out on a limb for Bunheads. While they were voting, ABC Family was still making a decision, so some of them may think their vote could have saved the show. The show has unfortunately been cancelled, another wonderful program that was passed over my mediocre slop. But I am hoping that it gets one last recognition for its excellent season.

Best Reality Program
Will Win - The Voice
Could Win - The Amazing Race or Survivor
Should Win - The Glee Project
Commentary - There is not a lot of precedent in this category as it is only on its third year. Last year's winner So You Think You Can Dance was not even nominated, although previous winner The Amazing Race could pull an Emmy situation and continue to win. My guess is that critics like to be hip and on top of the current buzz. So this leads me to believe that The Voice, which has quickly become the most talked about reality program, and well-liked among critics and viewers, will be a hot vote that they will not want to miss.
Best News & Information Program
Will Win - The Central Park Five
Could Win - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or 60 Minutes
Should Win - The Rachel Maddow Show
Commentary -  Last year, 60 Minutes won its first TCA Award, so it is definitely in the running again. And it has been a while since The Daily Show took home an award, but its continuing popularity ensures it is always a possibility. But I think that this year, as in previous years, a jaw-dropping, popular, and controversial special with cinematic qualities will capture the hearts and minds of the TCA voters. While its probably a second choice for a lot of people, I think that The Central Park Five will surprise and take home the win.

Monday, July 29, 2013

2013 Television Critics Association Award Predictions: Best Movie, Miniseries or Special

Will Win - Behind the Candelabra

Could Win - Downton Abbey, Top of the Lake, or AHS: Asylum

Should Win - American Horror Story: Asylum
Commentary - Downton somehow managed to repeat a nomination here, despite the fact that it is now a full blown Drama Series, but it could be a winner again. But my guess, if history of the TCA repeats itself, that the most talked about program, which also happened to be a critical favorite, and the program that HBO produces, will be the frontrunner. Expect the popular Behind the Candelabra to take the prize, although Top of the Lake could surprise, and never forget American Horror Story. It has a strong fan basel, and this season's anthology was liked by critics as well.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

2014 Oscar Predictions in Sidebar

Over the last week or so, I have been putting up my July Predictions for this year's Academy Awards. I have already made some changes today to the list that is now up on the sidebar, and will continue to adjust as we get more buzz and more premeires. I am looking forward to this year's season, especially as September rolls around and we get a huge shot of Oscar adrenaline with Toronto, Venice, and Telluride. In October I will do another round of official predictions in the aftermath of the festival circuit. For the next week, I am turning my attention to, for the first time ever, presenting my predictions of the Television Critics Association Awards, which will be announced next weekend. I also hope to, by Tuesday at least, have the next part of the Top 100 Television Shows Since 2000. So stay tuned!

The Oscar Narrative: July Predictions - Best Picture

July Predictions
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
August: Osage County
Captain Phillips
Fruitvale Station
Gravity
Labor Day
The Monuments Men
Saving Mr. Banks
The Wolf of Wall Street

Other Contenders - Lee Daniel's The Butler, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Blue Jasmine, Inside Llewyn Davis, Rush, Philomena, The Counselor, Elysium, The Fifth Estate, Grace of Monaco, Diana, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Before Midnight, All is Lost, The Immigrant, The Invisible
Woman, Prisoners, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Frances Ha, The Spectacular Now, The Way Way Back, Dallas Buyers Club

Commentary - A lot of films this year, and over the next two months we will get a good look at a lot of them, which means by October, this list could change drastically. Right now I am leaving The Butler on the outside until it hits theaters in a few weeks, as am I Blue Jasmine. Woody Allen's latest is getting great reviews, but I wonder if it is all about Cate Blanchett. Plus, it will easily be a fill in if some of the bigger projects fail to impress. Also on the outside, but not forgotten include Mandela, Inside Llewyn Davis, Rush, Elysium, Grace of Monaco, The Hobbit, Before Midnight, Dallas Buyers Club, and Diana. So now onto the actual predictions. Several projects coming out later this year are in here based on their pedigree and cast. The Monuments Men is an historical epic directed by George Clooney and starring him, as well as Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, and many others, all of which makes it a huge contender, on paper at least. The Wolf of Wall street is the lastest project from the ever-popular Martin Scorsese, and its cast includes the likes of Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, and Matthew McConaughey. Once again, it sounds good on paper, and the first trailer looks entertaining as hell. American Hustle looks promising as well with David O. Russell behind the camera, and Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Bradley Cooper, and Robert DeNiro all in front of it. On paper, these three look like the big frontrunners, and the baitiest of all the projects. Although there are plenty of other films that are out for blood. Gravity could finally go where Life of Pi, Avatar, and Hugo could not, being a sci-fi epic that finally wins Best Picture. Buzz so far for the film has been pretty good. After Young Adult, I'm sure a lot of people are leary of Jason Reitman, but after his successes with Juno and Up in the Air, Labor Day should not be discounted. August: Osage County's trailer disappointed some, but the acting branch is sure to rally behind its talented cast, and we know the source material is great. Captain Phillips has some real talent behind it, and is a very relevant film. It could be this year's tense thriller representative. Steve McQueen's eariler projects were ignored, but the trailer for 12 Years a Slave looks right up the alley of the Academy.  While both The Help and The Blind Side were hit hard by critics, both were extremely popular with the public, and their talented performers lifted them to Best Picture nominations. This looks like it could happen again with Disney's Saving Mr. Banks. Finally, a film that is garnering lots of support, especially with its timeliness and its emotional impact is Fruitvale Station. Its list of supporters is growing, it just hit the top ten at the box office this weekend, and it has Weinstein behind it. Seriously watch out for this one. I have a feeling it will be in our sights the rest of this Oscar season.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Oscar Narrative: July Predictions - Best Director

July Predictions
George Clooney "The Monuments Men"
Alfonso Cuaron "Gravity"
Steve McQueen "12 Years a Slave"
David O. Russell "American Hustle"
Martin Scorsese "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Other Contenders - John Wells "August: Osage County", Woody Allen "Blue Jasmine", Jason Reitman "Labor Day", Ridley Scott "The Counselor", Paul Greengrass "Captain Phillips", John Lee Hancock "Saving Mr. Banks", JC Chandor "All is Lost", Joel and Ethan Coen "Inside Llewyn Davis", Ryan Coogler "Fruitvale Station", Lee Daniels "Lee Daniel's The Butler", Justin Chadwick "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom", Ron Howard "Rush", Stephen Frears "Philomena", Richard Linklater "Before Midnight", Neill Blomkamp "Elysium", Noah Baumbach "Frances Ha", Bill Condon "The Fifth Estate", Peter Jackson "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"
Commentary - A tough bunch this year, but there are definitely some directors on the rise, even if they are not currently in my top five. John Wells and Lee Daniels are Weinstein backed and directing huge casts. Jason Reitman had a bump in the road in terms of Oscar with Young Adult, but Labor Day could be his ticket back in. Ryan Coogler is the up and coming director, the potential Benh Zeitlin this year. Blue Jasmine is getting rave reviews, and Woody Allen just recently added an Oscar to his collection for Midnight in Paris, so don't leave him out of your thoughts. John Lee Hancock could build on his Blind Side love, JC Chandor on his Margin Call love, and previous nominees Paul Greengrass, Joel and Ethan Coen, and Ridley Scot all have baity projects. But so far, I think they are all on the outside looking in. Returning to the race this year could be David O. Russell. After his nods for The Figher and Silver Linings Playbook, he is definitely on the Academy's radar. Seemingly always on their radar is George Clooney, who could get multiple nominations, including another directing nod for his Monuments Men, which has Oscar bait written all over it. Every time Martin Scorsese makes a film, he is a top contender. Many thought he was close to a win for Hugo, and The Wolf of Wall Street could put him back in the race. Finally, I think that despite all of the veterans in the race, that a couple of newcomers could make an impact. The last several years, nominations for Ang Lee, James Cameron, and Martin Scorsese for Life of Pi, Avatar, and Hugo respectively, show that the directing branch respects fantasy/sci-fi epics and their directors if they are really well made. Gravity is getting loads of positive buzz, and Alfonso Cuaron could join the list (as could Neill Blompkamp for that matter). Finally, 12 Years a Slave looks like the perfect project to show the incredible talent of Steven McQueen, while having enough of a sensibility to appeal to a broader audience than his previous works.

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Emmy Polls in Sidebar

This week you all can make your picks for who you think will win the acting races for this year's Television Movies and Miniseries. All four races are up, so remember to cast your votes!

The Oscar Narrative: July Predictions - Best Actor

July Predictions
Leonardo Dicaprio "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Chiwetel Ejiofor "12 Years a Slave"
Tom Hanks "Captain Phillips"
Matthew McConaughey "Dallas Buyers Club"
Robert Redford "All is Lost"

Other Contenders - Christian Bale "American Hustle", Tom Hanks "Saving Mr. Banks", Idris Elba "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom", Forest Whitaker "Lee Daniel's The Butler", Michael B. Jordan "Fruitvale", Oscar Isaac "Inside Llewyn Davis", George Clooney "The Monuments Men", Hugh Jackman "Prisoners", Bruce Dern "Nebraska", Ralph Fiennes "The Invisible Woman", Steve Coogan "Philomena", Ethan Hawke "Before Midnight", Will Forte "Nebraska", Tye Sheridan "Mud", Terence Stamp "An Unfinished Song", Michael Fassbender "The Counselor", Casey Affleck "Ain't Them Bodies Saints"
Commentary - There are some names like Tom Hanks as Walk Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, and Bruce Dern in Nebraska that seem to be borderline lead and supporting, so for now I am leaving them out. That being said, I still think that Tom Hanks will get in, maybe for his role in Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips. If he splits his campaign, he could get two acting nominations this year. The two actors that seem to be on the rise are Chiwetel Ejiofor, after the 12 Years a Slave trailer made it look much more Academy friendly than McQueen's previous efforts, and Matthew McConaughey, who is getting early rave buzz for his work in Dallas Buyer's Club. This means that some big contenders are not currently predicted including names like Christian Bale, George Clooney, Forest Whitaker, Idris Elba, and upstart Michael B. Jordan. In the last two slots I am going to play it a little safe. Leonardo Dicaprio has never had Oscar nominations come easy to him, but he looks excellent The Wolf of Wall Street. Finally, in an almost silent role, Robert Redford is said to light up the screen in JC Chandor's All is Lost. Chandor's lsat effort earned a screenplay nomination, so he is now on the Academy's radar. And Robert Redford is a an Academy Award winning film legend, who has never managed to win for acting. This touching role could be his ticket.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Oscar Narrative: July Predictions - Best Actress

July Predictions
Cate Blanchett "Blue Jasmine"
Sandra Bullock "Gravity"
Meryl Streep "August: Osage County"
Kate Winslet "Labor Day"
Naomi Watts "Diana"

Other Contenders - Nicole Kidman "Grace of Monaco", Judi Dench "Philomena", Emma Thompson "Saving Mr. Banks", Amy Adams "American Hustle", Berenice Bejo "The Past", Julie Delpy "Before Midnight", Felicity Jones "The Invisible Woman", Maron Cotillard "The Immigrant", Jennfer Lawrence "Serena", Rooney Mara "Ain't Them Bodies Saints", Emma Watson "The Bling Ring", Greta Gerwig "Frances Ha", Shailene Woodley "The Spectacular Now", Rachel McAdams "A Most Wanted Man", Kirsten Dunst "The Two Faces of January"
Commentary - An all-star lineup this year could ensure a tremendous race, and right now names like Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, and Emma Thompson (all Oscar winners), are on the outside looking in. The best place to start is with this year's biggest contender of the early season the great Cate Blanchett, who is said to be just tremendous in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. Allen has always written incredible parts for his females, and when they knock it out of the park they not only get nominated for Oscars, but they win (Diane Keaton, Dianne Wiest, Penelope Cruz, Mira Sorvino). Of course no Oscar race would be complete without a few legends, and the great Meryl Streep returns to the race this year with her role in August: Osage County, which even if the film is bad, could still earn Meryl her 18th Oscar nomination. Another popular nominee is Kate Winslet. A lot of people seem to be overlooking Labor Day this year despite the pedigree, and the last time I went to bat for Young Adult, I got burned. But I think the film has a lot of potential, and Winslet is always a safe bet. Not always a safe bet is the science fiction genre. But Sandra Bullock will get an incredible amount of screentime, and if the film is successful, she could be a rare genre nominee. Plus she is a recent winner and still one of the biggest film stars on the planet, aka she is hard to ignore. Finally, I was choosing between two biopics that will have Oscar bait written all over them. In light of the birth of Prince George, royal fever has once again struck America, and even if Diana turns out to be another Iron Lady, the popular Naomi Watts could still here her name called on Oscar nomination morning.

2013 Venice Film Festival Lineup

Well it didn't take long after Toronto announced its lineup for Venice to follow in their tracks. Here is the full lineup which includes lots of major contenders and as always some interesting films to watch for:

COMPETITION

"Es-Stouh," Merzak Allouache
"L'intrepido," Gianni Amelio
"Miss Violence," Alexandros Avranas
"Tracks," John Curran
"Via Castellana Bandiera," Emma Dante
"Tom at the Farm," Xavier Dolan
"Child of God," James Franco
"Philomena," Stephen Frears
"La Jalousie," Philippe Garrel
"The Zero Theorem," Terry Gilliam
"Ana Arabia," Amos Gitai
"Under the Skin," Jonathan Glazer
"Joe," David Gordon Green
"The Policeman's Wife," Phillip Groning
"Parkland," Peter Landesman
"The Wind Rises," Hayao Miyazaki
"The Unknown Known: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld," Errol Morris
"Night Moves," Kelly Reichardt
"Sacro Gra," Gianfranco Rosi
"Stray Dogs," Tsai Ming-Liang

OUT OF COMPETITION

"Space Pirate Captain Harlock," Shinji Aramaki
"Gravity," Alfonso Cuaron (Opening Film)
"Cuccia: Summer '82 When Zappa Came to Italy," Salvo Cuccia
"Pine Ridge," Anna Eborn
"The Armstrong Lie," Alex Gibney
"Redemption," Miguel Gomes (short)
"Ukraine is Not a Brothel," Kitty Green
"Moebius," Kim Ki-duk
"Locke," Steven Knight
"Unforgiven," Sang-il Lee
"Wolf Creek 2," Greg McLean
"Con Il Fiato Sospeso," Constanza Quatriglio (short)
"Amazonia," Thierry Ragobert
"Home From Home: Chronicle of a Vision," Edgar Reitz
"Gondola," Paul Rudish, Aaron Springer and Clay Morrow (short)
"Che Strano Chiamarsi Federico: Scola Racconta Fellini," Ettore Scola
"The Canyons," Paul Schrader
"La Voce di Berlinguer," Mario Sesti and Tito Teardo (short)
"Walesa, Man of Hope," Andrzej Wajda and Ewa Brodzka
"'Til Madness Do Us Part," Bing Wang

HORIZONS
"Little Brother," Serik Aprymov
"Il Terzo Tempo," Enrico Maria Artale
"Je M'Appelle Hmmm...," Agnes B.
"Eastern Boys," Robin Campillo
"Palo Alto," Gia Coppola
"Ruin," Amiel Courtin-Wilson and Michael Cody
"Fish and Cat," Shahram Mokri
"We Are the Best!," Lukas Moodysson
"Wolfschildren," Rick Ostermann
"La Vida Despues," David Pablos
"Algunas Chicas," Santiago Palavecino
"Medeas," Andrea Pallaoro
"Still Life," Uberto Pasolini
"Piccola Patria," Alessandro Rossetto
"La Prima Neve," Andrea Segre
"Why Don't You Play in Hell?," Sion Sono
"The Sacrament," Ti West

VENICE DAYS
"Bethlehem," Yuval Adler
"May in the Summer," Cherien Dabis
"La Belle Vie," Jean Denizot
"La Mia Classe," Daniele Gaglianone
"Traitors," Sean Gullette
"Nobody's Home," Deniz Akçay Katcksiz
"Kill Your Darlings," John Krokidas
"Gerontophilia," Bruce LaBruce
"Alienation," Milko Lazarov
"Rigor Mortis," Juno Mak
"Siddharth," Richie Mehta
"La Reconstruccion," Juan Taratugo

VENICE DAYS - WOMEN'S TALES (shorts)
"Le Donne Della Vucciria," Hiam Abbass
"The Door," Ava DuVernay

VENICE DAYS - SPECIAL EVENTS
"Julia," J. Jackie Baier
"Tres Bodas de Mas," Javier Ruiz Caldera
"Venezia Salva," Serena Nono
"Lenny Cooke," Benny and Joshua Safdie
"L'arbitro," Paio Zucca

CRITICS' WEEK"The Art of Happiness," Alessandro Rak (Opening Film - out of competition)
"Class Enemy," Rok Bi?ek
"White Shadow," Noaz Deshe
"The Reunion," Anna Odell
"Zoran, My Nephew the Idiot," Matteo Oleotto
"The Quispe Girls," Sebastián Sepúlveda
"Salvation Army," Abdellah Taïa
Surprise Film
"Illiterate," Moisés Sepúlveda (Closing Film - out of competition)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Oscar Narrative: July Predictions - Best Supporting Actor

July Predictions
George Clooney "Gravity"
Matt Damon "The Monuments Men"
Michael Fassbender "12 Years a Slave"
John Goodman "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Jonah Hill "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Other Contenders - Matthew McConaughey "The Wolf of Wall Street", Tom Hanks "Captain Phillips", Bruce Dern "Nebraska", Brad Pitt "The Counselor", Philip Seymour Hoffman "A Most Wanted Man", Bradley Cooper "American Hustle", Josh Brolin "Labor Day", Jared Leto "Dallas Buyers Club", Javier Bardem "The Counselor", Benedict Cumberbatch "August: Osage County", Woody Harrelson "Out of the Furnace", Matthew McConaughey "Mud", Tim Roth "Grace of Monaco", Casey Affleck "Out of the Furnace", Daniel Craig "The Monuments Men", Paul Dano "Prisoners", Jean Dujardin "The Wolf of Wall Street", Andrew Dice Clay "Blue Jasmine", Alec Baldwin "Blue Jasmine", Terrence Howard "Prisoners", Colin Farrell "Saving Mr. Banks", Bill Murray "The Monuments Men", Sam Rockwell "The Way, Way Back", Robin Williams "The Butler", James Marsden "The Butler", Terrence Howard "The Butler"
Commentary - This race could be entirely different in a few months, as big names like Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips and Bruce Dern in Nebraska, both of whom I assumed would be lead, could be switched to a supporting campaign, drastically changing the landscape. I am also betting on Matthew McConaughey getting a nomination, but I think it will come for his lead role in Dallas Buyers Club, so I have left him out for his roles in Mud and Wolf of Wall Street for the time being, basically until some of these category decisions sort themselves out. I do think however, that previous nominee and McConaughey's co-star Jonah Hill will make the cut as early word is that he is a standout like he was in Moneyball. We already know that John Goodman is a standout in Inside Llewyn Davis, and while he didn't make the cut last year for Flight or Argo, he did succeed in building a campaign on the fact that despite his illustrious career, he has never earned an Oscar nomination. This could be his year. I am still a little uncertain about Gravity. It could be daring and visionary and beloved, or too difficult for the Academy to wrap its head around. But if they love it, both of its stars, who are the only major characters in the film will be hard to miss contenders. This means that George Clooney could pull a major coup like he did in 2005 where he could a plethora of nods for two separate films (this year Gravity and The Monuments Men). Speaking of The Monuments Men, there are a lot of big names among its ranks, but Matt Damon, at this point at least, seems to be the name that is sticking out of the lineup. Finally, after years of being on the cusp, I think that Michael Fassbender could finally get an Oscar nomination for his role in Steve McQueen's upcoming historical epic 12 Years a Slave. He has built an impressive resume over the last several years, and this could be a role that is baity, but not too much, striking the perfect balance for the voting bloc of the Academy.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Oscar Narrative: July Predictions - Best Supporting Actress

July Predictions
Amy Adams "American Hustle"
Margo Martindale "August Osage: County"
Julia Roberts "August: Osage County"
Octavia Spencer "Fruitvale Station"
Oprah Winfrey "Lee Daniel's The Butler"

Other Contenders - Cameron Diaz "The Counselor", Cate Blanchett "The Monuments Men", Naomie Harris "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom", Lupita Nyong'o "12 Years a Slave", Sally Hawkins "Blue Jasmine", Kristin Scott Thomas "The Invisible Woman", Viola Davis "Prisoners", Mario Bello "Prisoners", Melissa Leo "Prisoners", Penelope Cruz "The Counselor", Jennifer Garner "Dallas Buyers Club", Jennifer Lawrence "American Hustle", Melonie Diaz "Fruitvale Station", Amy Adams "Her", Rooney Mara "Her", Carey Mulligan "Inside Llewyn Davis", Nicole Kidman "The Railway Man", Laura Linney "The Fifth Estate", Emily Watson "The Book Thief", Robin Wright "A Most Wanted Man", Julianne Moore "Carrie", Shirley MacLaine "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", Juliette Lewis "August: Osage County", Jessica Lange "Therese", Sarah Paulson "12 Years a Slave", Alfred Woodard "12 Years a Slave"
Commentary - A strong group of actresses this year looks to make this a tough race. Names like Cate Blanchett, Cameron Diaz. Jennifer Lawrence, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, Carey Mulligan, Laura Linney, and countless others are on the outside looking in at the moment. In this upcoming race there is one thing I know: If August: Osage County is good, it is going to be a huge hit with the acting branch of the Academy. These supporting races constantly get two in, and this year both Margo Martindale and Julia Roberts are great possibilities. But the key to both of their nominations is this: the film has got to live up to the hype. One of the biggest contenders so far this year is Fruitvale Station. It has to overcome its early release, but I think the film is emotional enough, and has enough support from the Weinstein company to play well in the Oscar race. Now that Octavia Spencer is one the Oscar radar with her win for The Help, and she is getting rave reviews for her role, I expect her to continue to be a big contender all the way to the finish line (also looking out for her co-star Melonie Diaz who could take her spot). I am still not sure about Lee Daniel's The Butler (smooth move on the title Harvey). The first trailer was okay, although I think it was trying too hard to be Oscar-bait, and I am not sure it reflects the film (if it does then Lee Daniels has changed his style dramatically from his previous efforts). All of that being said, I think that Oprah's role in the film looks incredibly baity, and she is a previous nominee. Plus, she is beloved in the industry and an undeniable force. The last slot was a tough one. I think Cate Blanchett will get in for Blue Jasmine, so maybe her Monuments Men role may not be as prevalent on voters' minds, and names like Cameron Diaz, Naomie Harris, and Lupita Nyong'o will all be newcomers to the race. So I am going with an actress who has become a safe bet for an Oscar nomination. Four nominations in (including one for a David O'Russell film), is incredible for Amy Adams considering how young she is. Teaming up again with O'Russell, and featured in an incredible cast could easily get her to nod number five.

2013 Toronto Film Festival Line-Up

As always, the Toronto Film Festival will play heavy on this year's Oscar race as films like August: Osage County, The Fifh Estate, Kill Your Darolins, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Rush, 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, The Disappearence of Elearno Rigby, Gravity, Philomena, Labor Day, and Prisoners will all make their debut. Check out the list below, and get ready, Oscar season is just around the corner.  
 
GALAS
"American Dreams in China" (Peter Ho-Sun Chan)
"The Art of the Steal" (Jonathan Sobol)
"August: Osage County" (John Wells)
"Cold Eyes" (Cho Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo)
"The Fifth Estate" (Bill Condon)
"The Grand Seduction" (Don McKellar)
"Kill Your Darlings" (John Krokidas)
"Life of Crime" (Daniel Schechter)
"The Love Punch" (Joel Hopkins)
"The Lunchbox" (Ritesh Batra)
"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" (Justin Chadwick)
"Parkland" (Peter Landesman)
"The Railway Man" (Jonathan Teplitzky)
"The Right Kind of Wrong" (Jeremiah Chechik)
"Rush" (Ron Howard)
"Shuddh Desi Romance" (Maneesh Sharma)
"Supermensch" (Mike Myers)

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
"12 Years a Slave" (Steve McQueen)
"All is By My Side" (John Ridley)
"Attila Marcel" (Sylvain Chomet)
"Bad Words" (Jason Bateman)
"Belle" (Amma Asante)
"Blue is the Warmest Color" (Abdellatif Kechice)
"Can a Song Save Your Life?" (John Carney)
"Cannibal (Caníbal)" (Manual Martín Cuenca)
"Dallas Buyers Club" (Jean-Marc Vallée)
"Devil's Knot" (Atom Egoyan)
"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her" (Ned Benson)
"Dom Hemingway" (Richard Shepard)
"Don Jon" (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
"The Double" (Richard Ayoade)
"Enough Said" (Nicole Holofcener)
"Exit Marrakech" (Caroline Link)
"Felony" (Matthew Saville)
"For Those Who Can Tell No Tales" (Jasmila Žbani?)
"Gloria" (Sebastián Lelio)
"Going Away (Il est parti dimanche)" (Nicole Garcia)
"Gravity" (Alfonso Cuarón)
"The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)" (Paolo Sorrentino)
"Half of a Yellow Sun" (Biyi Bandele)
"Hateship Loveship" (Liza Johnson)
"Ida" (Pawel Pawlikowski)
"L'intrepido" (Gianni Amelio)
"The Invisible Woman" (Ralph Fiennes)
"Joe" (David Gordon Green)
"Labor Day" (Jason Reitman)
"Like Father, Like Son" (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
"Man of Tai Chi" (Keanu Reeves)
"MARY Queen of Scots" (Thomas Imbach)
"Night Moves" (Kelly Reichardt)
"Omar" (Hany Abu-Assad)
"One Chance" (David Frankel)
"Only Loves Left Alive" (Jim Jarmusch)
"The Past (La Passé)" (Asghar Farhadi)
"Philomena" (Stephen Frears)
"Pioneer (Pionér)" (Erik Skjoldbjærg)
"Prisoners" (Denis Villeneuve)
"Quai d'Orsay" (Bertrand Tavernier)
"REAL" (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
"Starred Up" (David Mackenzie)
"Third Person" (Paul Haggis)
"Those Happy Years (Anni Felici)" (Daniele Luchetti)
"Tracks" (John Curran)
"Under the Skin" (Jonathan Glazer)
"Violetta" (Martin Provost)
"Visitors" (Godfrey Reggio)
"Walesa. Man of Hope. (Walesa. Czlowiek z nadziei.)" (Andrzej Wajda)
"We are the Best! (Vi är bäst!)" (Lukas Moodysson)
"Le Week-End" (Roger Michell)
"You Are Here" (Matthew Weiner)
"Young and Beautiful (Jeune & jolie)" (François Ozon)

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Oscar Narrative: July Predictions - Best Original Screenplay

July Predictions
David O. Russell and David Singer "American Hustle"
Woody Allen "Blue Jasmin"
Cormac McCarthy "The Counselor"
Ryan Coogler "Fruitvale Station"
Joel & Ethan Coen "Inside Llewyn Davis"

Other Contenders - Bob Nelson "Nebraska", Neill Blomkamp "Elysium", Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith "Saving Mr. Banks", Peter Morgan "Rush", Aaron Guzikowski "Prisoners", Afonso and Jonas Cuaron "Gravity", Jeff Nichols "Mud", Asghar Fahadi "The Past", Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig "Frances Ha", Spike Jonze "Her", Scott Cooper and Brad Inglesby "Out of the Furnace", J.C. Chandor "All is Lost", Arash Amel "Grace of Monaco", Nat Faxon and Jim Rash "The Way Way
Back", Stephen Jeffreys "Diana", Craig Morton and Melisa Walack "Dallas Buyers Club", Sofia Coppola "The Bling Ring"

Commentary - This year, it looks like this could be just as exciting as its Adapted counterpart, whereas usually it takes a lot of effort to find enough contenders. Two of the first big contenders out of the gate are Blue Jasmin and Frutivale Station. Allen is always a possibility, especially if later films falter. The one to look out for is Fruitvale Station. It did well with the critics, and has an emotional storyline along with Weinstein behind it. It could clean up in major categories if can survive the onslaught of fall films. Inside Llewyn Davis is another early contender that had a lot of buzz coming out of Cannes. I still think that its vibe is not exactly Academy material, but the Coens will always be on the voters' radar. There are a lot of contenders that have yet to be seen, and if some of them come flying out of the gate with lots of buzz, some of these eariler contenders could fade away. At this point, I am going with David O. Russell's film American Hustle, as the directors last two project both did well at the Oscars, plus the project is extremely baity with a great cast. The last slot I am sticking with Cormac McCarthy. If The Counselor if as well written as his novels, then we are all going to be in for a real treat. Also watch out for Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks, Gravity, Elysium, Rush, and Prisoners to be real threats .

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Top 100 Television Shows Since 2000: Part V

60. Project Runway (2004-2013) - There are a lot of competition shows out there, and a lot of them follow the same format. But even with a similar format, there is no other competition show on
television quite like Project Runway. Its premise of finding the next great clothes designer provides the show with so much energy and drama simply due to the creative and outgoing, and yes, sometimes weird, contestants. More importantly, the challenges put other reality shows' to shame with some of the most challenging and entertaining on television, throwing in crazy materials, stunning and confusing inspirations, and a constantly ticking clock as the contestants try to create a masterpiece. The judges are also entertainment within themselves, and are some of the best in the fashion business including Nina Garcia and Michael Kors. The hosts have a great Jekyll and Hyde routine with Tim Gunn being the nice one and Heidi Klum being tough with her derogatory and sharp, "you're out!" All of these elements combine together to create one of the most entertaining hours on television, and most importantly, one of the best reality shows to ever air. Twelve seasons, countless Emmy nominations, and a legion of devoted fans who love fashion, drama, and high entertaintment are all proof of the immense entertainment value and the popularity of this great reality show.

59. Game Change (2012) - Tackling such popular and controversial subjects as John McCain and Sarah Palin was sure to spark debate, but the combination of a great cast, a wonderful script by Danny Strong, and cinematic-esque direction from Jay Roach turned the 2012 HBO original television movie Game Change into a huge success. The actors, led by the likes of Ed Harris, Woody Harrelson, and Sarah Paulson all hit the nail on the head. But the real triumph here was Julianne
Moore's Sarah Palin. She played Palin with a ferocity, but also with a sympathetic view that challenged the supposed bias of the movie. What she also adequately portrayed was the fact that Sarah Palin, while an excellent wife and mother, was overly ambitious and completely unqualified to be the Vice President. This complicated of a portrayal may not have worked with a lesser actor, but in the hands of Julianne Moore, the results were terrific. The film's other strongpoint was the incredible inside story that gave the American public the real interworkings of a struggling campaign, and the tension between running mates. While many conservatives will deny these details, the truth could not be far from what was portrayed, as the tension was reflected throughout the campaign. But Game Change was not just an actor's gold mine or a great civics and history lesson. It was also a thoroughly entertaining television movie that had cinematic qualities, and a facsinating story.

58. Archer (2009-2013) - There are certain shows that are simply not for everyone, and Archer is definitely one of them. The animated story of ISIS, a spy agency, whose agents and employees
always save the day, while screwing each other, taking trips down outrageous excursions, and making audiences laugh out loud, is one those shows that could turn off a whole swath of people. But for those who dare, Archer is one of the most creative shows to hit the air in the last thirteen years, and also one of the most outrageous, jaw-dropping, and crude. It's characters are despicable, and yet you love them at the same time. Its jokes are insensitive, sexually tinged, unbelievable, and absolutely brilliantly funny. Adding to the crazy writing, are the balls-out performances of its voice cast lead by H. Jon Benjamin (who recieved an Emmy nomination for his work), and including the great Jessica Walters, Judy Greer, Aisha Tyler, Chris Parnell, and the MVP of the bunch Amber Nash, who has turned her Pam into the most ridiculous and memorable animated characters on television today. The interplay between the characters is so fresh, that it can not only be attributed to the sharp scripts of its writers, but also to the chemistry of its actors. It takes a talented cast to create chemistry when they share a screen, but it is a true testiment to the cast and its writers, when you can feel the chemistry through only their voices. Like I said before, Archer is not everyone's cup of tea, but if you haven't checked it out yet, you may just find that you are as much in love with this show as I am.

57. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000-2013) - The last several seasons of CSI are proof that sometimes shows overstay their welcome, especially when most of the original cast as already jumped ship. But for at least a decade, CSI was one of the biggest and most interesting criminal procedurals on television. The original cast, featuring some great performances from Marg Helgenberger, Jorja Fox, George Eads, Gary Dourdan, and William Peterson had a great chemistry, and usually captured the highly dramatic, and incredibly emotional world of crime investigation
incredibly well. But what made CSI such an engaging and popular drama for so long was its groundbreaking and trailblazing premise, and its constantly entertaining crimes. Its creators and writers took the basic premise of a crime procedural, and added in an incredible amount of amazing science and technology, satisfying the geek in all of us, who, let's face, found all of the different techniques and lab equipment to be just totally cool. A lot of people who read this post will see CSI, and roll their eyes. I can understand where they come from regarding the last couple of seasons, but the generic characterization of an old people's show that lacks inventiveness is not accurate at all. It may not be the most clever show on television, but for now over a decade, CSI has been one of the most entertaining, and fun shows on the air, and has definitely become a pop culture icon that spawned two spinoffs, and several other shows that all can trace their roots back to this original. While I no longer watch the show, it is a testament to its popularity, and to the devotion of its fans, that it looks like there are no signs of stopping.

56. Band of Brothers (2001) - When talking about The Pacific in an eariler part of this series, I kept referring to an earlier HBO production, 2001's Band of Brothers. This story involves Company E,
whose shared journey through the European theater of World War II includes major battles, and one of the most incredible sequences involving the liberation of a concentration camp. In the end, the war takes a back seat to the companionship, and the bond that develops between soldiers when they have the unfortuante task to fight in gruesome battles and experience horrific sights together. This is where I think The Pacific falls short of its predecessor. It does not spend enough time with the characters. In contrast, the different writers and directors who contributed to Band of Brothers spend ample time and depth fleshing out these incredible and lifelong bonds, showcasing how these men went from being simply company mates to being brothers in a lasing fraternity of bravery. Adding on to the series greatness were the incredible technical elements by its crafting team, that gave it a cinematic quality, of course I would expect no less when your executive producers include names like Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Furthermore, while none of the actors at the time were exactly considered A-list, they all were hard working veterans of the genre who poured their heart and soul into their characters and helped the audience fill the emotion, the pain, and the friendship. Some of the names include people like Tom Hardy, Ron Livingston, Damian Lewis, Scott Grimes, and Donnie Wahlberg, have gone on to have successful careers. Overall, Band of Brothers remains one of HBO's greatest achievements, and also one of television's.

55. Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000) - Before Paul Feig became a household name with the success of his Oscar-nominated film Bridemaids, he was a hardworking television creator/writer. More importantly, he became infamous as the creator and writer of the short-lived, but cult classic Freaks and Geeks. Anyone who ever went through the hell that is high school in America can relate to the two major cliques that Feig created, the Freaks and the Geeks (I'm sure that one was hard
for all of you to figure out). High school dramas or comedies tend to fit into two different sections of the genre. They are either cliche rehashes of the same themes, or they are over-the-top versions of those stale genres that make fun of them. What I always liked about Freaks and Geeks is that while it had a self-aware humor about its subjects, it managed to stay fresh enough to avoid falling into one of the normal categories. The characters that were created never fall quite into any category, they were not played by people twice their age, and the problems they faced were never so easily resolved, and were never quite as humiliating as usually portrayed. In lamens terms, Freaks and Geeks had an incredible sense of originality and reality that made it down-to-earth, and actually made it relatable to its audience. It filled a void in the genre that has never quite been replaced. It also featured a plethora of talnented young actors, many of who went on to big careers including Linda Cardellini, Jason Segal, Seth Rogan, and James Franco. Like many of the great shows, Freaks and Geeks only lasted one season. But luckily its fans and the critics have given it a life after death and have turned it into a cult classic that should not be missed.

54. Glee (2009-2013) - Before you take to the comments section to villify me, let me say this: I know that Glee can be tumultuous at best, but it is one of my guilty pleasures, and honestly I don't feel that guilty about it. Yes, I like the show, and personally think that while the third season was dreadful,
this past season was a much needed improvement, focusing more on the characters, and doing less (still two or three too many) public service announcement episodes. Glee is one of the shows that you never what you're going to get each week, and even in its bad episodes, it has moments of brilliance. The songs have become legendary, particularly their anthem version of Journey's Don't Stop Believin', and its use of music to push its storylines forward keeps it bouncing along a nice pace in most of its episodes. But, for me at least, the real reason to tune into Glee week after week are the characters. No matter what ridiculous situations Ryan Murphy and his team put them through, this cast of talented young actors/musicians alwasy bring their A-game, and have worked tremendously hard to create a batch of characters that we can see ourselves in at that age, and that we truly care about. That is why the passing of Cory Monteith has hit the show's fans so hard. We genuinely care about these characters, and to see one go like that is just heartbreaking. Through its us and downs, Glee has always been an excellent vehicle for funny and quirky characters, toe-tapping music numbers, and a nice mix of humor, with a dash of emotion that gives the show some bite. Glee has, and always will be, a cheeky and fun show that needs an acquired taste to appreciate it. And no matter how many people insult me for this, I will continue to watch the show, and in the end, I will never feel that guilty about enjoying it.

53. The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986-2011) - For a quarter of a century, Oprah Winfrey was the queen of talk shows. With one mention, she could put a book in the top twenty of the New York Times Best Sellers List, win a film an Oscar, or help those who needed help the most with one very loud sentence. It takes someone with a lot of finnese and talent to go from nothing to a dominating
entertainment empire, which is a true testament to the will, power, and amazing ability of the one and only Oprah. Her shows were legendary, and her infamous prizes could change lives. Take for example the time that she gave the whole audience cars, each one of it's members needing one desperately. Most importantly, her interviews are, and still are, simply one of a kind. She has always excelled at blending together a dash of hard-hitting journalism and tough questions, with a lighter sensiblity that made her flourish in daytime television, while also reaching out to a broader audience creating an amazing fanbase that loves and respects her. She also used her position as a powerful black woman, to reach into black communities across the country and better their lives while inspiring them to achieve their dreams. She has since moved on from her daily talk-show, all though she does interviews of powerful or popular people on a regular basis, and launched an entirely new empire OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. While it got off to a rocky start, it has expanded its offerings to include classic Oprah interviews, daytime and primetime original programming that reaches a broad audience, although particularly attracting women and African Americans who continue to find Oprah inspiring and entertaining. But no matter what happens with OWN, we will always remember the original, The Oprah Winfrey Show, one of the most influential television programs of all time.

52. Frasier (1993-2004) - For over a decade, Fraiser was one of the best sitcoms on the air, and in the aftermath of its finale, most critics and fans agree that it is certaintly one of the best shows of all time. If we were to do a Best of the 1990's (which I might just do next summer), Frasier would be much higher on the list, but even in its last couple of seasons, it remained a popular and funny classic.
Cheers was so good, I'm sure not many thought that a spin-off would even get close to its predecessor's success. But the creative mixture of Frasier, his even snootier brother Niles, their gruff nad laid-back ex-cop father Martin, the sex-crazed and sarcastic producer Roz, and the wonderfully daft and funny Daphne was delightfully funny, doing well to match Cheer's ensemble vibe, while still remaining its own unique entitity. The actors including Kelsey Grammer, John Mahoney, Peri Gilpin, Jane Leeves, and especially the neurotically funny David Hyde Pierce had an incredible Cheers-esque chemistry, and together they amassed a stunning twenty-five acting nominations winning an incredible amount, and this doesn't even include the dozens of guest stars that were nominated and won over its eleven seasons. Fraiser was considered by many to be high-minded entertainment, almost snobby, which is why the Television Academy was so in love with it (it won five years in a row the Best Comedy Series prize), but it also had an incredible way of relating to all of its viewers, always slyly insulting Frasier and Niles for their fussieness, and allowing their more common characters' (Roz, Martin, and always Daphne) street smarts to win the day. When Frasier went of the air about the time Friends did there was a massive hole in the NBC's comedy lineup, and in our hearts. Because for so long, we had grown to love these characters and laugh along with them all the way to the bittersweet end. Not much has come close to matching that kind of success in the years sent, which means that Frasier remains in a league of its own.  

51. ER (1994-2009) - Like CSI above, ER was one of the those shows that probably should have said goodbye a few years before it actually did, as by the end its original cast had all gone their separate ways. Also, like Frasier, it would be one of those shows that would be a lot higher on a list celebrating the best television shows of the 1990's. But anyone who tuned into the last several episodes, particularly its amazingly emotion, Emmy-winning series finale, can easily see why it remained so popular and so beloved by its fan base throughout its incredible fifteen seasons. Many of the later television success stories involving medicine such as House and Grey's Anatomy owe a lot
of ER, as it was really one of the originals. It, like its successors, succesfully used the natural stress, drama, and emotion of a hospital, particularly an emergency room, to allow for its drama to explode (literally sometimes), and its relationships grow. ER also deserves a spot on this list for its longevity. Even though the quality did slightly dip as the seasons went on, and its cast members moved on to different projects, it still managed to week in and week out be an engaging, dramatic, sometimes shocking, and always surprising television drama that no matter who was in front of the camera, worked extremely hard to intertwine its characters and provide amazing depth that made the show so much more than a serial enterprise. Some of its cast members including Julianne Margulies and Noah Wylie have gone on to other succesful television enterprises, and of course the juggernaut in the list is George Clooney, who today is considered one of the best actors, writers, and directors working in Hollywood today. ER remains today one of the most popular, longest running and greatest television shows in the medium's history.

The Oscar Narrative: July Predictions - Best Adapted Screenplay

July Predictions
John Ridley "12 Years a Slave"
Tracey Letts "August: Osage County"
Jason Reitman "Labor Day"
George Clooney and Grant Heslov "The Monuments Men"
Terence Winter "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Other Contenders - Richard Linklaker, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke "Before Midnight", Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope "Philomena", Billy Ray "Captain Phillips", William Nicholson "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom", Abi Morgan "The Invisible Woman", Lee Daniels and Danny Strong "Lee Daniel's The Butler", John Singer "The Fifth Estate", Steve Conrad "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", Christopher Kyle "Serena", Phillipa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro, Fran Walsh and Peter
Jackson "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

Commentary - As always, this race is stacked with contenders, and while Before Midnight was my favorite film of the first half of the year, I am currently leaving it in sixth place. There are so many high-profile projects left to be seen in this category, that I am keeping it in the wings in case some of the favorites stumble towards the finish line. This year at the Tony's Pulitzer Prize winning writer Tracey Letts had a huge upset victory over Tom Hanks in the Best Actor in a Play category for his role in the revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He is clearly well-liked by the Broadway community, as he has another Tony for, you guessed it, his play August: Osage County (which is what won him the Pulitzer in 2008). Letts is also translating his play to the screen, much like John Patrick Stanley did for Doubt. Shanley got an Oscar nomination and his four main actors all got nominated as well. I think that if the film version of August: Osage County is half as respected as the play was, then Letts could follow up a Tony win with an Oscar nomination. Jason Reitman returns to the race with his adaptation of Labor Day. I personally think he has yet to make a bad movie (I loved Young Adult), and his adaptation of Up in the Air was great, and this time around (like usual), he has an incredible cast to help elevate the material. He may have missed out for Young Adult, but I get the feeling that Labor Day is his ticket back into the Oscar race. Probably two of the most anticipated projects this year are The Monuments Men and The Wolf of Wall Street. Terence Winter's previous films don't really stack up, but he has had a very successful career as a television writer winning four Emmy awards for one of TV's best shows, The Sopranos. With Martin Scorsese behind the camera, I have a feeling Wolf will be a hit, and Winter will earn his first Oscar nomination. The Monuments Men will probably get in even if it is not quite as good as the hype for two incredibly good reasons: George Clooney and Grant Heslov. In the last slot, I am going with Steve McQueen's latest effort 12 Years a Slave. While his previous films were too dark for the Academy, I think that this film, with its great cast and baity subject matter, might finally be the one that gets recognition, including in his category for John Ridley's adaptation of Solomon Northup's historical account.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Oscar Narrative: July Predictions - Best Animated Feature

July Predictions
Ernest and Celestine
Frozen
Monster's University
Planes
The Wind is Rising

Other Contenders - Despicable Me 2, Epic, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, Freebirds, The Croods, Turbo, The Congress, Dorothy of Oz, The Apostle, A Letter to Momo, The Legend of Sarila, The Snow Queen, Walking With Dinosaurs 3D
Commentary - This year is clearly not going to be as good as last year's crop in the Animation field. Last year Brave, Wreck-It Ralph, Frankenweenie, and ParaNorman, were all excellent efforts and all Oscar nominees/winners. So far, hits like Despicable Me 2, Turbo, The Croods, and Epic have all done well, but their reviews are lackluster to say the least. Even Monsters University, which I fully expect to ride the Pixar wave all the way to an Oscar nomination, definitely underperformed in terms of critical acclaim, when compared to Pixar's high standards. That being said there are definitely some big names still left to be seen this year, that could easily emerge as Oscar contenders. Two foreign entries could make a play, after last year's field yielded nothing out side of the US or UK. Ernest and Celestine is apparently wonderful, and could put GKIDS back into the race after missing out last year (they did get two in the year before, so they are still strong). Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind is Rising is sure to be a strong contender, despite Ponyo missing the cut a couple of years ago. Then comes the Disney juggernaut. After Cars 2 was such a bomb (relatively speaking), I'm not confident that Planes will be a huge draw for Oscar voters. But this time it is a different franchise, and it could end up surprising all of us. Finally, I think that the dark horse this year could be Frozen. The teaser trailer was funny, but did have an Ice Age vibe. If the film can prove to have wonderful depth, it could be Disney's year, exacting revenge for last year's Wreck-It Ralph loss.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Trailer

We had a teaser not too long ago, and no we have a full trailer. It definitely has an Oscar vibe, and the kind of movie that critics will love to hate. It looks uplifting, and drenched with historical importance, so I will definitely be tuning in, and Idris Elba does look fantastic. This could be a banner year for black actors as Elba, Ejiofor, Forest Whitaker, and Michael B. Jordan all strong Oscar contenders at this point. Take a look at the trailer below:

The Oscar Narrative: July Predictions - Technical Categories

Now that the Emmy nominations have been announced, we can take a break from them and wait for episode submissions to come in. It also means that we can turn our attention to this year's Oscar race. Every July, I take a look at the surroundings and basically do a mid-point prediction. This time around, let's take a first look at the technical categories.

Best Cinematography
Sean Bobbitt "12 Years a Slave"
Bruno Delbonnel "Inside Lleweyn Davis"
Emmanuel Lubezki "Gravity"
Roger Deakins "Prisoners"
Rodrgio Preito "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Other Contenders - The Monuments Men, Captain Phillips, Labor Day, All is Lost, The Butler, Ain't Them Bodies Saints, August: Osage County, American Hustle, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Counselor, Elysium, The Book Thief, The Counselor, Grace of Monaco, The Immigrant, The Invisible Woman, Nebraska, Pacific Rim, Saving Mr. Banks, Rush,

Best Costume Design
12 Years a Slave
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman
The Monuments Men
Saving Mr. Banks

Other Contenders  - American Hustle, Oz The Great and Powerful, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Butler, August: Osage County, Serena, Philomena, Thor: The Dark World, Diana, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Grace of Monaco, The Immigrant

Best Film Editing
American Hustle
August: Osage County
Captain Phillips
The Monuments Men
The Wolf of Wall Street

Other Contenders - Gravity, The Butler, Saving Mr. Banks, The Counselor, Labor Day, Rush, Elysium, Nebraska, 12 years a Slave, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Before Midnight, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Inside Llewyn Davis, Out of the Furnace, Pacific Rim, Prisoners.

Best Makeup and Hair
The Butler
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Star Trek: Into Darkness

Other Contenders - Rush, Oz The Great and Powerful, Pacific Rim, The Invisible Woman, American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, Grace of Monaco, Diana, Elysium, The Great Gatsby, 12 Years a Slave, World War Z, Saving Mr. Banks, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat "The Monuments Men"
Quincy Jones "The Butler"
Steven Price "Gravity"
Thomas Newman "Saving Mr. Banks"
Hans Zimmer "12 Years a Slave"

Other Contenders - Randy Newman "Monster's University", Alexandre Desplat "Philomena", Hans Zimmer "Rush", Howard Shore "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug", Carter Burwell "August: Osage County", Henry Jackman "Captain Phillips", Rolfe Kent "Labor Day", Rachel Portman "Diana", Daniel Hart "Ain't Them Bodies Saints", Alex Heffes "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom", Carter Burwell "The Fifth Estate", Danny Elfman "Oz the Great and Powerful", Mark Orton "Nebraska"

Best Original Song
N/A

Best Production Design
12 Years a Slave
The Great Gatsby
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Monuments Men
Oz The Great and Powerful

Other Contenders - The Invisible Woman, Saving Mr. Banks, August: Osage County, Star Trek Into Darkness, Elysium, Gravity, American Hustle, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Book Thief, Grace of Monaco, Diana., Philomena, The Butler, The Immigrant, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Pacific Rim, Iron Man 3

Best Sound Mixing
Captain Phillips
Elysium
Gravity
The Monuments Men
Pacific Rim

Other Contenders - Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Inside Llewyn Davis", The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Man of Steel, Rush, The Great Gatsby, Monster's University, Frozen, 12 Years a Slave, World War Z, Thor: The Dark World.

Best Sound Editing
Captain Phillips
Elysium
Gravity
Man of Steel
Pacific Rim

Other Contenders - The Monuments Men, Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Inside Llewyn Davis", The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Man of Steel, Rush, The Great Gatsby, Monster's University, Frozen, 12 Years a Slave, World War Z, Thor: The Dark World.

Best Visual Effects
Elysium
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Pacific Rim
Star Trek Into Darkness

Other Contenders - Oz the Great and Powerful, Thor: The Dark World, World War Z, Iron Man 3, The Wolverine, Rush, The Great Gatsby, Man of Steel

Friday, July 19, 2013

New Emmy Poll in Sidebar

Over the next nine weeks, I will be posting several polls per week, so that you as readers can make your picks for the Emmy Awards. Remember that these polls are not for your favorites, but who you think will actually win the award. This week, vote in three polls for Variety Series, Reality Host, and Reality-Competition Program.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

First 2013 Emmy Winner Predictions

We will soon know which episodes were submitted, which could change to whole landscape. But for now these are my knee-jerk reactions to the top races. I will also do full predictions for all the categories, including the Creative Arts awards, as we get close to late September.

Best Drama Series - Breaking Bad
Best Comedy Series - 30 Rock
Best Actor in a Drama Series - Jeff Daniels "The Newsroom"
Best Actress in a Drama Series - Claire Danes "Homeland"
Best Actor in a Comedy Series - Jim Parsons "The Big Bang Theory"
Best Actress in a Comedy Series - Julia Louis-Dreyfus "Veep"
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Jonathan Banks "Breaking Bad"
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Maggie Smith "Downton Abbey"
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Ty Burrell "Modern Family"
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series - Jane Krakowski "30 Rock"
Best TV Movie/Miniseries - Behind the Candelabra
Best Actor in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Michael Douglas "Behind the Candelabra"
Best Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Jessica Lange "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Best Supporting Actor in TV Movie/Miniseries - James Cromwell "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Sarah Paulson "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series - Rupert Friend "Homeland"
Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series - Jane Fonda "The Newsroom"
Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series - Bob Newhart "The Big Bang Theory"
Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series - Melissa McCarthy "Saturday Night Live"
Best Variety Series - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Best Reality Competition Program - The Amazing Race
Best Reality Host - Tom Bergeron "Dancing With the Stars"
Best Directing in a Drama Series - David Fincher "House of Cards - Chapter 1"
Best Directing in a Comedy Series - Beth McCarthy-Miller "30 Rock - Hogcock!/Last Lunch"
Best Directing in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Steven Soderbergh "Behind the Candelabra"
Best Writing in a Drama Series - George Mastras "Breaking Bad - Dead Freight"
Best Writing in a Comedy Series - Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield "30 Rock - Last Lunch"
Best Writing in a TV Movie/Miniseries -  Richard LaGravenese "Behind the Candelabra"

2013 Emmy Nomination Analysis

So the Emmy nominations are in, an as always they are suprising and interesting, to say the least. I will post by knee-jerk reaction Here is a run down of the snubs, surprises, and shocks:

Drama
So House of Cards did get in, showing that Netflix has some strength (although not as strong as we thought), which is nice to see, considering how slow they were to accept cable. Other than that, the five that were expected to make the cut, but it was not boring later on down the ballot at all. The leading actor category could be one of the most competitive, and two favorites Steve Buscemi and Michael C. Hall were left off for two newcomers Jeff Daniels and Kevin Spacey, both of who will be strong contenders to win. The real surprises came in the Drama Actress category. First, there were seven nominees, and those didn't even included past winners Julianna Margulies and Glenn Close. I like Elisabeth Moss and Michelle Dockery, but the fact that they got in over Margulies is a real shocker, and I'm not sure the right choice. But three new contenders made the cut, Kerry Washington, who was expected, and then Connie Britton and Vera Farmiga. I am not that surprised that Britton made it, as she had been nominated three years in a row for both FNL and American Horror Story. But Farmiga really surprises me, not because of the actress, but because I did not expect Emmy voters to embrace Bate's Motel at all. The supporting categories also had some surprises including Bobby Cannavale, Jim Carter, and Emilia Clarke, leading to the exclusion of big names like Archie Panjabi, Rob James-Collier, Corey Stoll, and a real sad note, Monica Potter, who could have won if she had been nominated. The Guest categories are always surprising, and I will discuss them later. In the end I think that three shows emerge as the frontrunners: Homeland, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones. All did well across the board, and all got at least a writing and/or directing nomination, Breaking Bad really breaking through in writing with two nominations. I think this will be Breaking Bad's year. Homeland did much better than last year, but so did the other two shows, so that is not necessarily the indicator of the win. Overall, I am sad to see little support for The Newsroom, The Americans, and The Good Wife, but I think these were, for the most part, a great set of nominees.

Comedy
So Netflix has proven this year that it can get big nominations which means one thing: Arrested Development was not well liked. It only got Jason Bateman in, missing out on all the other acting contenders and both writing and directing. This is surprising, as is the complete snub of New Girl, no acting including Zooey Deschanel and Max Greenfield, who were nominees last year, and no directing/writing. This paved the way for some strong support for Louie and Veep, as well as returned support for 30 Rock. Louie got in for Melissa Leo, C.K. himself in writing, directing, and actor, and Veep, while not getting any directing or writing nominations, did get in Anna Chlumsky and Tony Hale, which was fantastic and definitely surprising. I'd also like to note that Louis C.K. got nine solo nominations, which is incredible. I thought that Big Bang would do better but it kind of plateaued compared to 30 Rock, which got Jane Krakowski back in, a directing and two writing awards. I think that maybe this is a year where the veteran show gets a final goodbye. Modern Family could easily win again, as it got most of the nominations it was expected to, except for the big snub of Eric Stonestreet, which is really surprising considering he has won twice. Most of the other surprises included shows that are not nominated for Comedy series. Glee came back after the terrible third season and got Dot Marie Jones and Jane Lynch back in, and a surprise directing nomination. If the show does well next year it could be back in this race even more, despite its big dip last year. Nurse Jackie got all three actors back in, showing that this show is well liked by the actors. Laura Dern and Molly Shannon for Enlightened were surprises considering the show got cancelled. In Supporting Actor, Adam Driver and Bill Hader and Tony Hale over Simon Helberg, Max Greenfield, and the AD guys was kind of surprising, but both were on the radar. Episodes got another writing nod plus Matt LeBlanc, showing that that show still has support. The Supporting Actress race had a tie as well leading to seven nominees, leaving out the Girls supporting characters, Betty White, and Kaley Cuoco, who I thought could make the cut. I think this race comes down to Modern Family versus 30 Rock with Louie as the spoiler.

TV Movie/Miniseries
The six I was predicting to get in for the big category got in, as did all ten I picked for the lead actor/actress which is surprising considering all of the other surprises that happened. But the supporting had some surprises. No Jeffrey Tambor or Rob Lowe, but a nod for Scott Bakula and John Benjamin Hickey. No Lily Rabe or surprisingly Holly Hunter, in favor of Imelda Staunton and Charlotte Rampling. The directing and writing categories are a mess including nods for The Girl, Ring of Fire, The Hour, none of which were nominated for the top prize. American Horror Story did so well in nominations but once again was left off of writing and directing, which means that Behind the Candelabra, which is the only of the six that did well down the line besides Top of the Lake, which could be a dark horse.

Reality/Variety
Same six on both Variety and Reality, yawn. Expect Amazing Race and Daily Show to keep on truckin. But the reality host had some surprises incluidng Gunn and Klum from Project Runway and Anthony Bourdain. I think that this category is not a lock for Bergeron again, as there are some strong contenders. I am surprsed that neither Jeff Probst nor, really surprising Phil Keoghan, made the cut. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe this is the year that something else comes in and beats the juggernaut.

The 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Nominations

Best Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Mad Men

Best Comedy Series
30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory
Girls
Louie
Modern Family
Veep

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Bonneville "Downton Abbey"
Bryan Cranston "Breaking Bad"
Jeff Daniels "The Newsroom"
Jon Hamm "Mad Men"
Damian Lewis "Homeland"
Kevin Spacey "House of Cards"

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Connie Britton "Nashville"
Claire Danes "Homeland"
Michelle Dockery "Downton Abbey"
Vera Farmiga "Bate's Motel"
Elisabeth Moss "Mad Men"
Kerry Washington "Scandal"
Robin Wright "House of Cards"

Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin "30 Rock"
Jason Bateman "Arrested Development"
Louis C.K. "Louie"
Don Cheadle "House of Lies"
Matt LeBlanc "Episodes"
Jim Parsons "The Big Bang Theory"

Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Laura Dern "Enlightened"
Lena Dunham "Girls"
Edie Falco "Nurse Jackie"
Tina Fey "30 Rock"
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss "Veep"
Amy Poehler "Parks & Recreation"

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Banks "Breaking Bad"
Bobby Cannavale "Boardwalk Empire"
Jim Carter "Downton Abbey"
Peter Dinklage "Game of Thrones"
Mandy Patinkin "Homeland"
Aaron Paul "Breaking Bad"

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Morena Baccarin "Homeland"
Christine Baranski "The Good Wife"
Emilia Clarke "Game of Thrones"
Anna Gunn "Breaking Bad"
Christina Hendricks "Mad Men"
Maggie Smith "Downton Abbey"

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell "Modern Family"
Adam Driver "Girls"
Jesse Tyler Ferguson "Modern Family"
Bill Hader "SNL"
Tony Hale "Veep"
Ed O'Neill "Modern Family"

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik "The Big Bang Theory"
Julie Bowen "Modern Family"
Anna Chlumsky "Veep"
Jane Krakowski "30 Rock"
Jane Lynch "Glee"
Sofia Vergara "Modern Family"
Meritt Wever "Nurse Jackie"

Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Dan Bucatinsky "Scandal"
Michael J. Fox "The Good Wife"
Rupert Friend "Homeland"
Harry Hamlin "Mad Men"
Nathan Lane "The Good Wife"
Robert Morse "Mad Men"

Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Bob Newhart "The Big Bang Theory"
Nathan Lane "Modern Family"
Bobby Cannavale "Nurse Jackie"
Louis C.K. "SNL"
Justin Timberlake "SNL"
Will Forte "30 Rock"

Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Molly Shannon "Enlightened"
Dot-Marie Jones "Glee"
Melissa Leo "Louie"
Melissa McCarthy "SNL"
Kristen Wiig "SNL"
Elaine Stritch "30 Rock"

Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Linda Cardellini "Mad Men"
Margo Martindale "The Americans"
Diana Rigg "Game of Thrones"
Jane Fonda "The Newsroom"
Carrie Preston "The Good Wife"
Joan Cusack "Shameless"


Best TV Movie/Miniseries
American Horror Story: Asylum
Behind the Candelabra
The Bible
Phil Spector
Political Animals
Top of the Lake

Best Actor in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Benedict Cumberbatch "Parade's End"
Matt Damon "Behind the Candelabra"
Michael Douglas "Behind the Candelabra"
Toby Jones "The Girl"
Al Pacino "Phil Spector"

Best Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Jessica Lange "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Laura Linney "The Big C Hereafter"
Helen Mirren "Phil Spector"
Elisabeth Moss "Top of the Lake"
Sigourney Weaver "Political Animals"

Best Supporting Actor in a TV Movie/Miniseries
James Cromwell "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Zachary Quinto "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Scott Bakula "Behind the Candelabra"
John Benjamin Hickey "The Big C Hereafter"
Peter Mullan "Top of the Lake"

Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Sarah Paulson "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Imelda Staunton "The Girl"
Ellen Burstyn "Political Animals"
Charlotte Rampling "Restless"
Alfre Woodard "Steel Magnolias"

Best Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

Best Reality Competition Program
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance?
Top Chef
The Voice

Best Reality Host
Tom Bergeron "Dancing With the Stars"
Anthony Bourdain "The Taste"
Cat Deeley "So You Think You Can Dance?"
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn "Project Runway"
Ryan Seacrest "American Idol"
Betty White "Betty White's Off Their Rockers"

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2013 Emmy Nomination Predictions: Final List

Best Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Mad Men

Best Comedy Series
Arrested Development
The Big Bang Theory
Louie
Modern Family
Veep
30 Rock

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi "Boardwalk Empire"
Bryan Cranston "Breaking Bad"
Jeff Daniels "The Newsroom"
Jon Hamm "Mad Men"
Damian Lewis "Homeland"
Kevin Spacey "Houe of Cards"

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes "Homeland"
Michelle Dockery "Downton Abbey"
Julianna Margulies "The Good Wife"
Elisabeth Moss "Mad Men"
Keri Russell "The Americans"
Kerry Washington "Scandal"

Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin "30 Rock"
Jason Bateman "Arrested Development"
Louis C.K. "Louie"
Don Cheadle "House of Lies"
Jon Cryer "Two and a Half Men"
Jim Parsons "The Big Bang Theory"

Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Zooey Deschanel "New Girl"
Lena Dunham "Girls"
Edie Falco "Nurse Jackie"
Tina Fey "30 Rock"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus "Veep"
Amy Poehler "Parks & Recreation"

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Banks "Breaking Bad"
Peter Dinklage "Game of Thrones"
Rob James-Collier "Downton Abbey"
Mandy Patinkin "Homeland"
Aaron Paul "Breaking Bad"
Sam Waterston "The Newsroom"

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Christine Baranski "The Good Wife"
Anna Gunn "Breaking Bad"
Christina Hendricks "Mad Men"
Elizabeth McGovern "Downton Abbey"
Monica Potter "Parenthood"
Maggie Smith "Downton Abbey"

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Will Arnett "Arrested Development"
Ty Burrell "Modern Family"
Max Greenfield "New Girl"
Simon Helberg "The Big Bang Theory"
Eric Stonestreet "Modern Family"
Jeffrey Tambor "Arrested Development"

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik "The Big Bang Theory"
Julie Bowen "Modern Family"
Kaley Cuoco "The Big Bang Theory"
Jane Krakowski "30 Rock"
Sofia Vergara "Modern Family"
Jessica Walter "Arrested Development"

Best TV Movie/Miniseries
American Horror Story: Asylum
Behind the Candelabra
The Bible
Phil Spector
Political Animals
Top of the Lake

Best Actor in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Benedict Cumberbatch "Parade's End"
Matt Damon "Behind the Candelabra"
Michael Douglas "Behind the Candelabra"
Toby Jones "The Girl"
Al Pacino "Phil Spector"

Best Actress in TV Movie/Miniseries
Jessica Lange "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Laura Linney "The Big C Hereafter"
Helen Mirren "Phil Spector"
Elisabeth Moss "Top of the Lake"
Sigourney Weaver "Political Animals"

Best Supporting Actor in a TV Movie/Miniseries
James Cromwell "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Rob Lowe "Behind the Candelabra"
Peter Mullan "Top of the Lake"
Zachary Quinto "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Jeffrey Tambor "Arrested Development"

Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Ellen Burstyn "Political Animals"
Holly Hunter "Top of the Lake"
Sarah Paulson "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Lily Rabe "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Alfre Woodard "Steel Magnolias"

Best Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jiimmy Kimmel Live
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

Best Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance?
Top Chef
The Voice

Best Reality Host
Tom Bergeron "Dancing With the Stars"
Carson Daly "The Voice"
Cat Deeley "So You Think You Can Dance?"
Phil Keoghan "The Amazing Race"
Betty White "Betty White's Off Their Rockers"

2013 MTV VMA Nominations

Video of the Year
» Justin Timberlake, "Mirrors"
» Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz, "Thrift Shop"
» Bruno Mars, "Locked Out of Heaven"
» Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell, "Blurred Lines"
» Taylor Swift, "I Knew You Were Trouble"

Best Hip Hop Video
» Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton, "Can't Hold Us"
» Drake, "Started From The Bottom"
» Kendrick Lamar, "Swimming Pools"
» A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar, "F--kin' Problems"
» J. Cole feat. Miguel, "Power Trip"

Best Male Video
» Justin Timberlake, "Mirrors"
» Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell, "Blurred Lines"
» Bruno Mars, "Locked Out of Heaven"
» Ed Sheeran, "Lego House"
» Kendrick Lamar, "Swimming Pools"

Best Female Video
» Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko, "Stay"
» Taylor Swift, "I Knew You Were Trouble"
» Miley Cyrus, "We Can't Stop"
» Pink feat. Nate Ruess, "Just Give Me A Reason"
» Demi Lovato, "Heart Attack"

Best Pop Video
» Bruno Mars, "Locked Out of Heaven"
» Justin Timberlake, "Mirrors"
» Fun., "Carry On"
» Miley Cyrus, "We Can't Stop"
» Selena Gomez, "Come and Get It"

Artist To Watch, Presented by Taco Bell
» Twenty One Pilots, "Holding On To You"
» Zedd feat. Foxes, "Clarity"
» Austin Mahone, "What About Love"
» The Weeknd, "Wicked Games"
» Iggy Azalea, "Work"

Best Collaboration
» Justin Timberlake, feat. Jay-Z, "Suit & Tie"
» Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera, "Feel This Moment"
» Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding, "I Need Your Love"
» Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell, "Blurred Lines"
» Pink feat. Nate Ruess, "Just Give Me A Reason"

Best Video With A Social Message
» Kelly Clarkson, "People Like Us"
» Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, "Same Love"
» Snoop Lion, "No Guns Allowed"
» Miguel, "Candles in the Sun"
» Beyoncé, "I Was Here"

Best Rock Video
» Imagine Dragons, "Radioactive"
» Fall Out Boy, "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)"
» Mumford & Sons, "I Will Wait"
» Thirty Seconds To Mars, "Up in the Air"
» Vampire Weekend, "Diane Young"

Best Art Direction
» Capital Cities, "Safe and Sound"
» Thirty Seconds To Mars, "Up in the Air"
» Janelle Monae feat. Erykah Badu, "Q.U.E.E.N"
» Lana Del Rey, "National Anthem"
» Alt-J, "Tesselate"

Best Choreography
» Chris Brown, "Fine China"
» Ciara, "Body Party"
» Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull, "Live It Up"
» will.i.am feat. Justin Bieber, "#thatPOWER"
» Bruno Mars, "Treasure"

Best Cinematography
» Thirty Seconds To Mars, "Up in the Air"
» Lana Del Rey, "Ride"
» Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Sacrilege"
» Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton, "Can't Hold Us"
» A-Trak & Tommy Trash, "Tuna Melt"

Best Direction
» Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z, "Suit & Tie"
» Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton, "Can't Hold Us"
» Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Sacrilege"
» Fun., "Carry On"
» Drake, "Started From The Bottom"

Best Editing
» Pink feat. Nate Ruess, "Just Give Me A Reason"
» Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch, "Sweet Nothing"
» Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton, "Can't Hold Us"
» Justin Timberlake, "Mirrors"
» Miley Cyrus, "We Can't Stop"

Best Visual Effects
» Capital Cities, "Safe and Sound"
» Duck Sauce, "It's You"
» Flying Lotus, "Tony Tortures"
» Skrillex feat. the Doors "Breakn' a Sweat"
» The Weeknd "Wicked Games"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

2013 Emmy Nomination Predictions: Best Drama Series

2013 Nomination Predictions
1. Breaking Bad
2. Homeland
3. Game of Thrones
4. Mad Men
5. Downton Abbey
6. House of Cards

Other Contenders - The Americans, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom, The Good Wife, Nashville, Dexter, Scandal, Justified.
Commentary - Once again, this is another tough race with so many possible contenders. That being said, I am feeling pretty confident about five of the six, leaving potentially four to five shows battling it out for one slot. Three shows are definitely locks and will probably be the frontrunners for the win. Homeland surprised a lot of people last year when it won, but this year it will be no surprise when it re-enters the race as the frontunner. This year though, the stars are aligning for two contenders that I would never have thought could win the top prize, but now I think this could be their year. Game of Thrones may have some dragons, but otherwise it feels like a nice period piece, and has had the most buzz and most press for its season, which also happened to air close to voting time. I think it could be a really strong contender this year. But I think that this is the year Breaking Bad finally takes the top prize. Its final episodes will be airing voters mark their ballots, it has an enormous amount of buzz, and the final season is sure to spark some emotional reactions. Also, it has done better and better each year in terms of nominations, and I think that Homeland is not as strong as say Mad Men was on its streak. Speaking of, both Downton Abbey and Mad Men, which were huge at the Emmys before, are in much weaker positions this year. I still expect both to do well, but both are the two that could be eclipsed by some stiff competition. That leaves one slot. Boardwalk Empire is a favorite among the technical categories, but most pundits have written it off. Not a smart move on our part. The Good Wife is still broadcast's greatest chance of getting in. It may have missed the cut last year, but the sting of having no shows may cause voters from the major networks to rally behind this show and get back into the fold. But I think that the last slot will come down to three new shows. The Americans is a latecomer to the race and I may end up putting in in tomorrow's final list. The Newsroom may have not done well with the critics, but it is an Aaron Sorkin show, an HBO show, and is highly political. So is House of Cards, and it features film stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, and one of the best film directors working today, David Fincher. The star power behind it, along with the clever campaigning, and the political storylines will be enough for it to overcome its Netflix medium and make the cut.