Wednesday, April 30, 2014

2014 Daytime Emmy Nomination Predictions

Tomorrow, the nominations will be announced for the 2014 Daytime Emmy Awards! Here are my predictions for tomorrow's drama categories.

Best Drama Series
The Bold and the Beautiful
Days of Our Lives
General Hospital
The Young and the Restless

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Bergman "The Young and the Restless"
Doug Davidson "The Young and the Restless"
Billy Miller "The Young and the Restless"
Jason Thompson "General Hospital"

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Eileen Davidson "Days of Our Lives"
Finola Hughes "General Hospital"
Heather Tom "The Bold and the Beautiful"
Maura West "General Hospital"

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Bradford Anderson "General Hospital"
Steve Burton "The Young and the Restless"
Scott Clifton "The Bold and the Beautiful"
Greg Rikaart "The Young and the Restless"

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Melissa Claire Egan "The Young and the Restless"
Jane Elliot "General Hospital"
Kimberley McCollough "General Hospital"
Cynthia Watros "The Young and the Restless"

Best Younger Actor
Corbin Bleu "One Life to Live"
Chad Duell "General Hospital"
Chandler Massey "Days of Our Lives"
Freddie Smith "Days of Our Lives"

Best Younger Actress
Kristen Alderson "General Hospital"
Christel Khalil "The Young and the Restless"
Hunter King "The Young and the Restless"
Kim Matula "The Bold and the Beautiful"

Best Directing Team
The Bold of the Beautiful
Days of Our Lives
General Hospital
The Young and the Restless

Best Writing Team
The Bold and the Beautiful
Days of Our Lives
General Hospital
The Young and the Restless

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2014 Tony Award Nominations

Between now and June a lot of discussion and analysis will go into this year's nominees and potential winners. For now here are the nominees for this year's Tony Awards!

Best Musical
After Midnight
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Best Play
Act One by James Lapine
All the Way by Robert Schenkkan
Casa Valentina by Harvey Fierstein
Mothers and Sons by Terrence McNally
Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley

Best Revival of a Musical
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Les Miserables

Best Revival of a Play
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
A Raisin in the Sun
Twelfth Night

Best Leading Actor in a Musical
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Ramin Karimloo, Les Miserables
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Best Leading Actress in a Musical
Mary Bridget Davies, A Night With Janis Joplin
Sutton Foster, Violet
Idina Menzel, If/Then
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Kelli O’Hara, The Bridges of Madison County

Best Leading Actor in a Play
Samuel Barnett, Twelfth Night
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Chris O’Dowd, Of Mice and Men
Mark Rylance, Richard III
Tony Shalhoub, Act One

Best Leading Actress in a Play
Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
LaTanya Richardson Jackson, A Raisin in the Sun
Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Cabaret
Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway
Joshua Henry, Violet
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Jarrod Spector, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Linda Emond, Cabaret
Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Anika Larsen, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Adriane Lenox, After Midnight
Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Best Featured Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night
Stephen Fry, Twelfth Night
Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

Best Featured Actress in a Play
Sarah Greene, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
Anika Noni Rose, A Raisin in the Sun
Mare Winningham, Casa Valentina

Best Director of a Musical
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Leigh Silverman, Violet
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Best Director of a Play
Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Kenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
John Tiffany, The Glass Menagerie

Best Choreography
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Steven Hoggett and Kelly Devine, Rocky
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway

Best Book of a Musical
Woody Allen, Bullets Over Broadway
Chad Beguelin, Aladdin
Robert L. Freedman, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Douglas McGrath, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Best Score of a Musical
Jason Robert Brown (music & lyrics), The Bridges of Madison County
Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (lyrics), If/Then
Steven Lutvak (music) and Robert L. Freedman (lyrics), A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Alan Menken (music), Howard Ashman, Chad Beguelin & Tim Rice (lyrics), Aladdin

Best Orchestrations
Doug Besterman, Bullets Over Broadway
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Steve Sidwell, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Julian Crouch, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Santo Loquasto, Bullets Over Broadway

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Beowulf Boritt, Act One
Bob Crowley, The Glass Menagerie
Es Devlin, Machinal
Christopher Oram, The Cripple of Inishmaan

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Linda Cho, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway
Arianne Phillips, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Isabel Toledo, After Midnight

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jane Greenwood, Act One
Michael Krass, Machinal
Rita Ryack, Casa Valentina
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Christopher Akerlind, Rocky
Howell Binkley, After Midnight
Donald Holder, The Bridges of Madison County

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Jane Cox, Machinal
Natasha Katz, The Glass Menagerie
Japhy Weideman, Of Mice and Men

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, After Midnight
Tim O’Heir, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Mick Potter, Les Miserables
Brian Ronan, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Best Sound Design of a Play
Alex Baranowski, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Dan Moses Schreier, Act One
Matt Tierney, Machinal

Monday, April 28, 2014

2014 American Comedy Award Nominations

I missed the boat big time on these, probably because they haven't been presented in thirteen years. So here are the belated nominations for the 2014 American Comedy Awards, which have already taped, so I will probably have a winners list soon. The ceremony will air May 8th on NBC.

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”
“The Heat”
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”
“This Is the End”

Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Will Ferrell, “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”
Johnny Knoxville, “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”
Simon Pegg, “The World’s End”
Seth Rogen, “This Is the End”

Lake Bell, “In a World…”
Sandra Bullock, “The Heat”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Enough Said”
Melissa McCarthy, “The Heat”
Kristen Wiig, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

Louis C.K., “American Hustle”
Steve Carell, “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”
Will Forte, “Nebraska”
Jonah Hill, “This Is the End”
Danny McBride, “This Is the End”

Scarlett Johansson, “Her”
Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”
Emma Watson, “This Is the End”
Kristen Wiig, “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”

Paul Feig, “The Heat”
Spike Jonze, “Her”
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, “This Is the End”
Edgar Wright, “The World’s End”

“The Heat,” written by Katie Dippold
“Her,” written by Spike Jonze
“Nebraska,” written by Bob Nelson
“This Is the End,” written by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
“The World’s End,” written by Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
“Modern Family”
“Parks and Recreation”
“Saturday Night Live”

“Drunk History”
“Key & Peele”
“Kroll Show”

“The Colbert Report”
“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”

Fred Armisen, “Portlandia”
Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development”
Keegan-Michael Key, “Key & Peele”
Jordan Peele, “Key & Peele”
Andy Samberg, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl”
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”
Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer”

Aziz Ansari, “Parks and Recreation”
Will Arnett, “Arrested Development”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”
Tony Hale, “Veep”

Vanessa Bayer, “Saturday Night Live”
Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
Chelsea Peretti, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
Aubrey Plaza, “Parks and Recreation”

“Arrested Development”
“The Colbert Report”
“Key & Peele”
“Modern Family”
“Parks and Recreation”

“Arrested Development”
“Eastbound & Down”
“Key & Peele”
“Modern Family”
“Parks and Recreation”

“Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive”
“Kristen Schaal: Live at the Fillmore”
“Louis C.K.: Oh My God”
“Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend”
“Patton Oswalt: Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time”
“Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles”

Maria Bamford
Bill Burr
Jerrod Carmichael
Ron Funches
Kyle Kinane
Sebastian Maniscalco
Sean Patton
Brian Regan
Rory Scovel
Doug Stanhope

2014 Tony Awards Preview: Best Musical

The final preview category before Tuesday's nomination announcements is Best Musical, which looks to be incredibly competitive this year:

1. Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - This productions is currently rising to the front runner status, and it is not hard to see why. It has been running since last fall, with good box office, and stars Tony winners Jefferson Mays and Bryce Pinkham. It also knocked it out of the park with 12 Drama Desk Nominations, and featured orchestrations from EGOT winner Jonathan Tunick. While it is not the runaway favorite like The Book of Mormon, it certainly enters the race tomorrow as a strong contender.

2. If/Then - Idina Menzel is a Broadway legend, a personal favorite, and rocks out pretty much whatever she does. So it is no surprise that she apparently is lighting up the stage again in If/Then, as well as some of her co-stars Tony Winner LaChanze, and fellow Rent alum Anthony Rapp. They seem to be garnering a lot of buzz, but the production as a whole is a bit mixed. Some love the production, others think that it doesn't quite fit all together. Still with the cast is fantastic, the pedigree of the show includes the team that brought you the Pulitzer and Tony winner Next to Normal, so it will be hard for voters to pass up on a ballot.

3. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical - Carole King is a legend, and if this year's Grammy ceremony is any indication, she still has a lot to offer the music industry. She apparently also has a great story to tell on the Broadway stage, and while a few mixed reviews are in the mix (no pun intended), the reaction to the tribute to the Grammy-winning legend has been mostly positive. Apparently it really captures her heart and soul, and Jessie Mueller, a previous Tony nominee, is said to be pitch-perfect as King herself. I think that while there are a lot of great choices this year, that fans of King, and of the musical will give it enough support to get into the race.

4. Aladdin - After many success, and a few flops, Disney has tried its hand again with a Broadway musical adaption of Aladdin. It has been a box-office success, which is not surprising. But unlike their version of The Little Mermaid, this production has some pretty decent reviews, some big Drama Desk Nominations under its belt, and a lot of positive buzz from fans of the film that have fallen for the stage version. James Monroe Iglehart is apparently fantastic as the Genie (following in the footsteps of the great vocal performance from Robin Williams in the film), and Tony nominees Clifton Davis and Jonathan Freeman are a part of the supporting cast, lending some Broadway cred to the production. It think it could be a stealth contender this year. Never discount the power of Disney.

5. After Midnight - This particular celebration of jazz has had particular staying power, and is still going strong. It has included guest stars like Babyface, k.d Lang, and others, but its original run (through February), featured Grammy winner and Color Purple alum Fantastia Barrino. Because it rotated so many guest stars, I am not sure how the Tony nominations for the performers will shake out, although if Fantasia is eligible, she could be a strong acting contender. But no matter how the Tony committee has decided the acting awards, this one is one to watch, especially if American Theater Wing voters like it as much as critics have over its impressive run.

6. Bullets Over Broadway - Woody Allen has taken one of his classics to Broadway in the form of Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical. The film did particularly well back in 1994, and earned Dianne Wiest her second Oscar. The stage musical, which features Zach Braff in his Broadway debut, alongside Tony nominees Brooks Ashmanskas, and Rock of Ages star Nick Cordero, has not been as well received. So while is it still a top contender? Because its Woody Allen, a New York staple, who despite recent allegations resurfacing, is still an icon, and you never discount star power.

7. Rocky - The film version of Rocky, like its main character, overcame some tough competition in 1976 including Network, All the President's Men, and Taxi Driver to win the Best Picture Oscar. Could the Broadway musical version accomplish the same feat? Its buzz and stock has certainly been on the rise right as voters were casting their ballots, so don't be surprised if it makes it into the nominations. It has gotten pretty good reviews, and apparently is a visual treat (although ask Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark how that turns out), but once again, it is a stealth contender that has a pedigree that could be enticing.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

2014 BAFTA Television Craft Award Winners

The other half of the kudos will be on May 8th. Full list of winners and more information regarding BAFTA and specifically their television honors available at

Breakthrough Talent - Daniel Fajemisin-Duncan, Marlon Smith "Run"
Costume Design - Caroline McCall "Downton Abbey"
Digital Creativity - D-Day: As it Happens
Director - Fiction - Otto Bathurst "Peaky Blinders"
Director - Factual - Nick Holt "The Murder Trial"
Director - Multi Camera - Phil Heyes "The X Factor"
Editing - Factual - Mark Towns "Educating Yorkshire (Episode One)
Editing - Fiction - Steve Singleton "The Fall"
Entertainment Craft Team - Patrick Doherty, Kevin Duff, Kim Gavin, Andrew Milligan "Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway"
Makeup and Hair Design - Vickie Lang "An Adventure in Time and Space"
Original Television Music - Olafur Arnalds "Broadchurch"
Photography - Factual - Marcus Robinson "Rebuilding the World Trade Center"
Photography and Lighting - Fiction - George Steel "Peaky Blinders"
Production Design - Mark Geraghty "Ripper Street"
Sound - Factual - Rowan Jennings, Karl Mainzer, Adam Scourfield "David Bowie - Five Years"
Sound - Fiction - Adrian Bell, Lee Crichlow, Robert Farr, Ian Wilkinson "Dancing on the Edge"
Special Award - Strictly Come Dancing
Special, Visual, and Graphic Effects - Milk VFX, Real SFX, The Model Unit "Doctor Who: The Day Of The Doctor"
Writer - Comedy - Graham Linehan "The IT Crowd"
Writer - Drama - Dominic Mitchell "In the Flesh"

2014 Tribeca Film Festival Award Winners

I'll admit, I completely missed SXSW and Tribeca this year in terms of coverage. But alas, I would like to post (albeit a little late) the winners from this year's Tribeca Film Festival, including the Audience Awards. The one that I most interested in this early festival circuit (besides the Sundance contenders) is Chef, the new film from Jon Favreau. Sure its a comedy, so its Oscar chances are slim, but it looks like a fun and passionate project from a talented director. For more Tribeca info, visit their cool interactive site:

World Narrative Competition Categories

The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature - Zero Motivation
Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film - Paul Schneider as Otto Wall "Goodbye to All That"
Best Actress in  Narrative Feature Film - Valeria Bruni Tedeschi as Carla "Human Capital"
Best Cinematography in a Narrative Feature Film - Damian Garcia "Gueros"
Best Screenplay for a Narrative Feature Film - Guillaume Nicloux "The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq"
Best Editing in a Narrative Feature Film - Keith Miller "Five Star"

World Documentary Competition Categories

Best Documentary Feature - Point and Shoot
Special Jury Mention - Regarding Susan Sontag
Best Editing in a Documentary Feature - Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden "Ne Me Quitte Pas"

Emerging Competition Categories

Best New Narrative Director - Josef Wladyka "Manos Sucias"
Special Jury Mention - Alfonso Ruizpalacios "Gueros"
Best New Documentary Director - Alan Hicks "Keep On Keepin' On"

Short Film Competition Categories

Best Narrative Short - The Call
Best Documentary Short - One Year Lease
Special Jury Mention - The Next Part
Student Visionary Award - Nesma's Birds
Special Jury Mention - Cycloid

Bombay Sapphire Award for Transmedia - Clouds

The Nora Ephron Prize - Zero Motivation (Special Jury Mention - I Won't Come Back)

Heineken Audience Award: Narrative Feature - Chef

Heineken Audience Award: Documentary Feature - Keep On Keepin' On

Tribeca Online Festival

Tribeca Online Festival Best Feature Film - Vara: A Blessing
Tribeca Online Festival Best Online Short - Love in the Time of March Madness

Saturday, April 26, 2014

2014 Tony Awards Preview: Best Revival of a Musical

While this year is fraught with new plays and musicals, and plenty of play revivals, there are only two eligible productions for Revival of a Musical to be determined so far, while two late releases will most likely (unless something strange happens), joins their ranks. We assume there will be four nominees, but with so few productions qualifying, I do wonder if there will be less. Anyway, these are the four below:

1. Cabaret -Alan Cumming has already won a Tony for Cabaret back in 1998. Now he returns for the revival of the revival, this time opposite Oscar nominee Michelle Williams in her Broadway debut, also including Tony nominees Linda Emond and Danny Burstein. The same duo (an impressive one at that), that brought Cabaret back in 1998, Rob Marshall and Sam Mendes, are back again. This could spell good news for its Tony chances, as the last time they brought it to the stage it racked up four Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical. The reviews so far have proven that Cabaret is still as vibrant as ever, and Williams is apparently fantastic (she could follow in the late Natasha Richardson's footsteps and win a Tony). With only a few productions this year, it is sure to do well in the nominations, but it faces some big-time threats in its attempt to return to Tony winning glory.

2. Hedwig and the Angry Inch -  There is a lot of press about the revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, first because it features Neil Patrick Harris. But then he cussed out an audience member while staying in character, and the entertainment media just lapped up the story. All the buzz surrounding it is really a boost because it is getting a bunch of free press that is most likely boosting sales. But behind the buzz is also apparently a great show, if the reviews are correct, and the show is definitely in here for a nomination, and despite some stiff competition, Harris is a real contender here. Not only is he getting rave reviews as well for his performance, but after he brought so much energy and positive buzz to the ceremony the last several years, don't discount his popularity, and the tons of goodwill and credit the Broadway community owes him.

3. Les Miserables - After the film adaptation earned 3 Oscars and a butt load of money at the box office, Les Mis is hotter than ever. That being said, you can tell that some reviewers have become a bit burned out of the production. They admit that it loses some of its power this time around, but overall, it is grossing well at the box office, and most reviews agree it is still an incredible show to see, and that the two leads this time around (Ramin Karimloo and Will Swenson) are fantastic and knock it out of the park. Expect Tony buzz for the two leads, lots of tech nominations, and probably an easy nod here in revival.

4. Violet - Sutton Foster, for me at least, can do no wrong. She is a Broadway darling who has knocked it out of the part several times in her short career, most recently in the revival of Anything Goes, for which she won her second Tony award. I was so sad when ABC Family cancelled Bunheads. I don't give a crap about ballet, but I miss seeing Foster (and Kelly Bishop) light up the small screen every week. While the overall productions is garnering some mixed (mostly positive) reviews, it is clear that once again Sutton Foster has knocked it out of the park. This isn't surprising to anyone familiar with her work, but it's nice to have my hopes confirmed.

Friday, April 25, 2014

2014 Drama Desk Award Nominations

The Drama Desk organization is composed of critics, editors, etc. set in New York, and their categories include the mix of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway productions, making them a unique honor and always a interesting one to follow. The full nomination list for the 2014 kudos is below: 

Outstanding Play
All the Way
Core Values
The Explorers Club 
The Night Alive 
Outside Mullingar
Regular Singing

Outstanding Musical
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Fun Home
Love’s Labour’s Lost
The Bridges of Madison County

Outstanding Revival of a Play
I Remember Mama
London Wall
No Man's Land
Of Mice and Men
The Cripple of Inishmaan 
The Model Apartment 
Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe Production)

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Hedwig and the Angry Inch 
Les Misérables

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Bryan Cranston, All The Way
Hamish Linklater, The Comedy of Errors
Ian McKellen, No Man's Land
David Morse, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin 
Chris O'Dowd, Of Mice and Men
Daniel Radcliffe, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Denzel Washington, A Raisin in the Sun

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Barbara Andres, I Remember Mama
Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill 
Laurie Metcalf, Domesticated
J. Smith-Cameron, Juno and the Paycock
Harriet Walter, Julius Caesar

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Adam Jacobs, Aladdin
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 
Steven Pasquale, The Bridges of Madison County
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Sutton Foster, Violet
Idina Menzel, If/Then
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical 
Kelli O'Hara, The Bridges of Madison County 
Margo Seibert, Tamar of the River
Barrett Wilbert Weed, Heathers: The Musical

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
Chuck Cooper, Choir Boy
Peter Maloney, Outside Mullingar 
Bobby Moreno, Year of the Rooster 
Bill Pullman, The Jacksonian
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Betty Buckley, The Old Friends
Julia Coffey, London Wall
Diane Davis, The Model Apartment
Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie 
Jan Maxwell, The Castle
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Cabaret
Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical 
Joshua Henry, Violet
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Rory O’Malley, Nobody Loves You
Bobby Steggert, Big Fish

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, Little Miss Sunshine
Anika Larsen, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Adriane Lenox, After Midnight
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Laura Osnes, The Threepenny Opera
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Director of a Play
Joe Calarco, A Christmas Carol 
Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night 
Thomas Kail, Family Furniture 
Bill Rauch, All The Way
Anna D. Shapiro, Domesticated
Julie Taymor, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Sam Gold, Fun Home
Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Bartlett Sher, The Bridges of Madison County
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical 
Alex Timbers, Rocky
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Choreography
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Steven Hoggett, Kelly Devine, Rocky
Danny Mefford, Love's Labour's Lost
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical 
Sonya Tayeh, Kung Fu

Outstanding Music
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County 
Andrew Lippa, Big Fish
Steven Lutvak, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 
Alan Menken, Aladdin
Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, Heathers: The Musical 
Jeanine Tesori, Fun Home

Outstanding Lyrics
Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin, Aladdin
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 
Michael Friedman, Love's Labour's Lost
Michael Korie, Far from Heaven
Lisa Kron, Fun Home

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Chad Beguelin, Aladdin
Robert L. Freedman, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 
Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, Murder for Two
Lisa Kron, Fun Home
Douglas McGrath, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical 
Marsha Norman, The Bridges of Madison County

Outstanding Orchestrations
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County 
John Clancy, Fun Home
Larry Hochman, Big Fish
Steve Sidwell, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical 
Michael Starobin, If/Then
Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Music in a Play
Lewis Flinn, The Tribute Artist
Elliot Goldenthal, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Rob Kearns, The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle 
Tom Kochan, Almost, Maine
Nico Muhly, The Glass Menagerie
Duncan Sheik, A Man's a Man

Outstanding Revue
After Midnight
I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Musik from the Weimar and Beyond 
Le Jazz Hot: How the French Saved Jazz
Til Divorce Do Us Part
What's It All About? Bacharach Reimagined

Outstanding Set Design
Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 
Richard Hoover, Small Engine Repair
Santo Loquasto, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Ian MacNeil, A Doll's House
Donyale Werle, The Explorers Club

Outstanding Costume Design
Constance Hoffman, A Midsummer Night's Dream 
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical 
Zane Pihlstrom, Nutcracker Rouge
Loren Shaw, The Mysteries
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night
David C. Woolard, The Heir Apparent

Outstanding Lighting Design
Christopher Akerlind, Rocky 
Jane Cox, Machinal
David Lander, The Civil War 
Peter Mumford, King Lear 
Brian Tovar, Tamar of the River 
Japhy Weideman, Macbeth

Outstanding Projection Design
Robert Massicotte and Alexis Laurence, Cirkopolis 
Sven Ortel, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Aaron Rhyne, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 
Shawn Sagady, All The Way
Austin Switser, Sontag: Reborn Ben Rubin, Arguendo

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Kai Harada, Fun Home
Peter Hylenski, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Peter Hylenski, Rocky
Brian Ronan, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Dan Moses Schreier, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 
Jon Weston, The Bridges of Madison County

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
M.L. Dogg, The Open House
Katie Down, The Golden Dragon
Paul James Prendergast, All The Way 
Dan Moses Schreier, Act One 
Christopher Shutt, Love and Information 
Matt Tierney, Machinal

Outstanding Solo Performance
David Barlow, This is My Office
Jim Brochu, Character Man
Hannah Cabell, Grounded
Debra Jo Rupp, Becoming Dr. Ruth
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson's How I Learned What I Learned 
John Douglas Thompson, Satchmo at the Waldorf

Unique Theatrical Experience
Charlatan Cirkopolis
Mother Africa
Nothing to Hide
Nutcracker Rouge
The Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O'Neill Vol. 2

Seth Meyers to Host 2014 Primetime Emmys

The Television Academy announced that SNL alum and new late night talk show host Seth Meyers, who has won an Emmy himself, and been nominated countless times for his work on Saturday Night Live, will host this year's Emmy awards. I am mixed about this decision. I have always liked Seth, and think that his new show is pretty good. That being said I think that hosting the Emmys might be a bit of a stretch. Who knows? He could be excellent and bring the goofy charm that made him famous, or he could  be swallowed up by the magnanimity of the event. I will say this for a fact though: it will be incredibly hard to follow Neil Patrick Harris (even one of his weaker hosting efforts), and there will be a lot of pressure on him to bring the ratings which will be difficult in August and on a Monday night instead of the usual Sunday. Good luck to Seth! As always we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2014 Tony Awards Preview: Best Revival of a Play

Here is a look at the upcoming race for Best Revival of a Play

1. A Raisin in the Sun - Two of the greatest American stage productions got remakes this year, both to fantastic results (according to critics and audiences). The first is Raisin in the Sun, brought again to the stage by Tony Winner Scott Rudin, and featuring a knock-out cast including Tony winners Denzel Washington and Anika Noni Rose, Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo making her Broadway debut, and directed by Tony nominee Kenny Leon (he was nominated for Fences which won Denzel his Tony alongside Viola Davis). The reviews have been fantastic, and Washington could well be on his way to another Tony. But the reviews suggest that it is not just Washington, but the production as a whole that really pops. Expect it to be a big contender come Tony night.

2. The Glass Menagerie - The other great American stage production getting a revival this year is The Glass Menagerie. It stars Tony winner Cherry Jones, Tony nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger, and Zachary Quinto making his Broadway debut. It too has been showered with rave reviews, and ran for several months in the fall to decent receipts. Its all-star cast, along with its director, Tony winner John Tiffany should ensure a lot of buzz, and despite the onslaught of new plays right here towards the Tony cut-off point haven't seemed to kill its buzz, or its support from critics and pundits. It will probably end up being this versus A Raisin in the Sun for the big prize.

3. Waiting for Godot/No Man's Land - So two slots seem locked and loaded, but what about the other two. One which is getting a lot of positive buzz is the revival of Waiting for Godot starring Tony winners Billy Crudup, Shuler Hensley, Ian McKellen, and Tony-nominee Patrick Stewart (a reunification of Magneto and Professor X). This is a tricky situation though because it played in repertory with another work No Man's Land. This year I believe that the Tony Awards will allow both to compete. I'm not entirely sure whether they will go for one or the both, or neither, or both, but of the two it looks like Waiting for Godot has more buzz behind it. It will be interesting to see how the Tony nominators deal with this one in terms of this category, and more interestingly, in terms of where the performances fall.

4. Twelfth Night/Richard III- Two of Shakespeare's productions (actually a third Romeo and Juliet, but I don't think that one will play well) got face lifts to decent results. Once again they played in repertory, both all-male revival of the classics starring Tony winner Mary Rylance, and Tony nominees Stephen Fry and Samuel Barnett. I'm not sure what the fascination is this year with repertory productions, but once again, it will be interesting to see how this well-reviewed production plays out in terms of nominations. Of the two, Twelfth Night looks to be the stronger of the two, but we'll have to wait and see.

5. The Cripple of the Inishmaan - The committee has still not determined where this one will be placed. Until then, it looks like this will be its spot. This time around the production has received rave reviews, and stars Daniel Radcliffe, who took Broadway by storm in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying a couple of years ago. It only recently premiered, so it doesn't have quite the early buzz of earlier productions, but I think that it could easily overtake some contenders and sneak into one of those last two slots.

6. Of Mice and Men - James Franco has recently taken to Instagram to rant about a particularly bad review of his new role in the revival of Of Mice and Men opposite Chris O'Dowd. It was a petty rant from a star who once garnered by respect (but in recent years had made me question my decision). That being said, the review have been decent overall, but more mixed than outright raves. And yes, Franco has been pushed aside in most of them for his co-star O'Dowd, who is apparently fantastic. But it is a storied production, has a lot of buzz, and unless Tony voters are annoyed with Franco, it could find its way into this category.

7. Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill - Can we just all be honest about something real quick? Audra McDonald is just freaking awesome, and on stage, she can seemingly do no wrong. They could still move this into Revival of A Musical, as it is kind of like Ray and Walk the Line on screen, it straddles the line between play and musical, but either way, expect McDonald to earn another Tony nomination, and maybe even another win to add to her crowded mantle. At this point, all of the reviews seem to focus on McDonald, so I'm not sure if the play as a whole will be as respected, or whether it will be solely about its cherished star.

8. Betrayal - This is a star-studded revival featuring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, a real-life married couple, and put on the stage by theater legend (and EGOT winner) Mike Nichols is sure to be in play, simply on the name recognition alone. It doesn't hurt that it is backed by good reviews (some are not as nice, but almost all agree that Craig and Weisz are great), and a lot of buzz. Still, it feels like this one isn't on the top of many people's lists, and it missed the cut at this morning's Drama League nominations. It will be interesting to see if big stars can pull as much weight as better mounted productions next week at the nominations announcement.

9. The Winslow Boy - A short six-week run or so for the revival of The Winslow Boy put it in the running, but it will need a passionate support system to be remembered because it aired so long ago, and is up against the shiny new toys ahead of it. Still, it features a plethora of stage veterans with plenty of Tony nominations (and a win or two) among them, that the theater community will certainly give this one another look.

80th Annual Drama League Award Nominations

The Drama League is an awesome organization that promotes theaters, gives awesome benefits for its members, as well as a plethora of theater events and educational opportunities year round. Their website has plenty of good information about the League and about their annual awards, a long standing theater honor that serves as a precursor to the Tonys, and honors both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. The full list of nominees and special honorees is below:

Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play
All that Fall
All the Way
Casa Valentina
Mothers and Sons
Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play
The Open House
The Realistic Jones

Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical
After Midnight
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
The Bridges of Madison County
Bullets Over Broadway
Fun Home
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
Murder for Two

Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play
The Cripple of the Irishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
Good Person of Szechwan
The Mutilated
Of Mice and Men
A Raisin in the Sun
Twelfth Night, or What You Will
Waiting for Godot

Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
Les Miserables

Distinguished Performance Award
Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
Steven Boyer, Hand to God
Zach Braff, Bullets over Broadway
Arnie Burton, The Mystery of Irma Vep
Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Nick Cordero, Bullets over Broadway
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Alan Cumming, Cabaret
Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
Mary Bridget Davies, A Night With Janis Joplin
Gabriel Ebert, Casa Valentina
Carson Elrod, The Heir Apparent
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, The Comedy of Errors
Sutton Foster, Violet
James Franco, Of Mice and Men
Peter Friedman, The Open House
Michael C. Hall, The Realistic Joneses
Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Joshua Henry, Violet
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
LaTanya Richardson Jackson, A Raisin in the Sun
Ramin Karimloo, Les Misérables
Andy Karl, Rocky
Adriane Lenox, After Midnight
Tracy Letts, The Realistic Joneses
Zachary Levi, First Date
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Taylor Mac, Good Person of Szechwan
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
Idina Menzel, If/Then
Laurie Metcalf, Domesticated
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Chris O'Dowd, Of Mice and Men
Kelli O'Hara, The Bridges of Madison County
Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn
Steven Pasquale, The Bridges of Madison County
Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy
Zachary Quinto, The Glass Menagerie
Daniel Radcliffe, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, How I Learned What I Learned
Margo Seibert, Rocky
Robert Sella, The Mystery of Irma Vep
Tony Shalhoub, Act One
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie
Patrick Stewart, Waiting for Godot
John Douglas Thompson, Satchmo at the Waldorf
Denzel Washington, A Raisin in the Sun
Michelle Williams, Cabaret

Special Recognition - Distinguished Performance Award (Ineligible Past Recepients in Productions This Year)
Eileen Atkins, All That Fall
Norbert Leo Butz, Big Fish
Kathleen Chalfant, Somewhere Fun/Tales From Red Vienna
Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Ian McKellen, Waiting For Godot/No Man’s Land
Frank Langella, King Lear
Mary-Louise Parker, The Snow Geese
Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night, Or What You Will/Richard III

Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater
Barbara Cook

Unique Contribution to Theater
Key Brand Entertainment/Broadway Across America: John Gore

Founders Award for Excellence in Directing
John Tiffany

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2014 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations

This group is for journalists and critics who cover the Broadway stage from national, non-local (as in non-New York), and international publications. Just a little over a week from the Tony nominations, they have released their own list with a lot of hopeful Tony contenders among the bunch. Check out the full list below:

Act One
All the Way
Casa Valentina
Outside Mullingar
The Realistic Joneses

After Midnight
Beautiful — The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Choir Boy
The Explorer's Club
The Heir Apparent
Stage Kiss

Far From Heaven
Fun Home
Murder for Two
What's It All About? Bacharach Reimagined

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Beautiful — The Carole King Musical
Fun Home
A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
The Bridges of Madison County
Fun Home
A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
Twelfth Night
The Winslow Boy

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
Les Misérables

Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Lindsay Posner, The Winslow Boy
Bill Rauch, All the Way
Lyndsey Turner, Machinal

Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Laurence Connor & James Powell, Les Misérables
Sam Gold, Fun Home
Alex Timbers, Rocky
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Peggy Hickey, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
Steven Hoggett & Kelly Devine, Rocky
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway

Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Beowulf Boritt, Act One
Bob Crowley, Aladdin
Es Devlin, Machinal
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Gregg Barnes, Aladdin
Linda Cho, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night
Isabel Toledo, After Midnight

Kevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Howell Binkley, After Midnight
Paule Constable, Les Misérables
Natasha Katz, Aladdin
Philip S. Rosenberg, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Ian McKellen, No Man's Land
Brían F. O'Byrne, Outside Mullingar
Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night
Tony Shalhoub, Act One

Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
Rebecca Hall, Machinal
Jessica Hecht, Stage Kiss
Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn

Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Sutton Foster, Violet
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful — The Carole King Musical
Kelli O'Hara, The Bridges of Madison County
Michelle Williams, Cabaret

Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night
Michael Cyril Creighton, Stage Kiss
John McMartin, All the Way
Alessandro Nivola, The Winslow Boy
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

Barbara Barrie, I Remember Mama
Andrea Martin, Act One
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
Anika Noni Rose, A Raisin in the Sun
Mare Winningham, Casa Valentina

Danny Burstein, Cabaret
Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway
Joshua Henry, Violet
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Jarrod Specter, Beautiful — The Carole King Musical

Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
Anika Larsen, Beautiful — The Carole King Musical
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Marin Mazzie, Bullets Over Broadway
Lisa O'Hare, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Jim Brochu, Character Man
Debra Jo Rupp, Becoming Dr. Ruth
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, How I Learned What I Learned
Alexandra Silber, Arlington
John Douglas Thompson, Satchmo at the Waldorf

(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
Scott Z. Burns, The Library
Eric Dufault, Year of the Rooster
Madeleine George, The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence
Steven Levenson, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin
Lauren Yee, The Hatmaker's Wife

Producers Guild of America (PGA) Announces 2015 Calendar

Full information and timeline at:

October 27, 2014 - Nomination polls open for television and digital series/sports program. 

November 24, 2014 - Nomination polls close for television 

November 26, 2014 - Nomination polls close for digital series/sports program and nominations announced for television, documentary, and digital series/sports program

December 1, 2014 - Nomination polls open for long form television, motion pictures, and animated features

January 2, 2015 - Nominations polls close for long form television, motion pictures, and animated features

January 5, 2015 - Nominations announced for long form television, motion pictures, and animated features

January 23, 2015 - Final polls close at noon

January 24, 2015 - 26th Annual PGA Awards

Monday, April 21, 2014

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron Return to Oscar Telecast

The Academy has announced today that after two straight years of the ratings going up, they have once again turned to Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the producers of the last two years, to run a third straight telecast. Let's make this very clear, the reason that the telecast ratings have risen is due to several factors. First, both Seth MacFarlane and Ellen Degeneres are popular figures in pop culture. Second, the rise of social media has helped boost interest in live television events. But the third reason is the real reason that the last two years have produced highly rated telecasts is because the last two years have been incredible years for American and world cinema. The Best Picture lineups have been a great balance of indie projects, blockbusters, and critical favorites, and audiences have tuned in to see films they like win Oscars. Also, there have been some nail biters in categories the last two years (this year's Best Picture race was particularly thrilling), that has made people want to tune in (instead of the years where almost every category was pre-determined). I do not think that these two producers are the reason the telecasts have done well, although the Academy clearly disagrees with me. I personally think that these two telecasts thrived despite their production. MacFarlane was too much for viewers, and their self indulgent musical tribute didn't help. And this year in response you could tell Ellen was uncomfortable, something she never is. Probably told to back off and play it safe after MacFarlane. But alas, they have been brought back this time around, and I do hope that this year's show is an entertaining affair, and they could really surprise me and knock me out of the park this year. I hope they do, and I wish them the best. The season kicks off in a few weeks at Cannes, so stay tuned. As always, we'll have to wait and see...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

2014 Tony Awards Preview: Best Play

On April 29th, the American Theater Wing will announce its nominees for the 68th Annual Tony Awards, which will be hosted by Tony winner Hugh Jackman. Before the big announcement, I wanted to take a quick look at the top categories. The first one on deck is the Best Revival of a Play

1. Mothers and Sons - Tyne Daly has won a total of six Emmys, but only one Tony, 24 years ago for her role in Gypsy. But it looks like she could be back in the race for this AIDs drama co-starring Frederick Weller. The film is getting strong reviews, particularly for Daly, who will probably find herself among the nominees for Best Actress in a Play, and it tackles a subject matter that many in the Broadway community take to heart. The Normal Heart and Rent are great examples of plays/musicals that fared well with the American Theater Wing while tackling the important issue of AIDS.

2. Casa Valentina - One of the last contenders to emerge (its opening night is actually not until this Wednesday) nonetheless has already accrued a decent amount of buzz heading into the Tony Nominations on April 29th. It is about a group of heterosexual men who have found a place where they can live out their alternate lives as women, or at least dressing like them. They must decide whether to go public with their secret and risk their personal lives, or stay in the dark. Starring bankable Broadway stars including John Cullum and Reed Birney, as well as last year's Tony Winner for Featured Actor in a Musical Gabriel Ebert. It boasts an impressive resume, and it promises to be a compelling and fun romp. Reviews will appear later this week as it premieres, which will give us a better idea. But if it lives up to the hype, it could be a major Tony contender.

3. All the Way - Bryan Cranston is hot right now. The finale of Breaking Bad was months ago, and yet people are still buzzing about it as it enters its final Emmy season (Cranston has three on his mantle for the show) as the reigning Drama Series champ. He stars in the upcoming blockbuster Godzilla (which looks like more than your average summer action flick), and he has now turned his sights towards Broadway, playing LBJ in Robert Schenkkan's new play All the Way. So far it has done well at the box office, and the reviews, both for Cranston and for the work as a whole, have been pretty good. While the American Theater Wing sometimes chooses its favorites over big screen stars (Tracey Letts over Tom Hanks last year), but I would bet that Cranston will be a top Lead Actor contender come Tony night.

4. The Realistic Joneses - Speaking of big-screen star power, look no further than the new comedy from Sam Gold and Will Eno, The Realistic Jones, which stars Michael C. Hall, Toni Collette, Marisa Tomei, and last year's Best Actor in a Play Tracey Letts. The reviews have been fantastic, calling it weird, funny, and incredibly powerful, particularly the incredible cast. This is not surprising considering the actors involved, and they all could hear their names come Tony nomination morning. Remember last year's winner Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike went on to win Best Play, and three of its stars (surprisingly Sigourney Weaver was the one snubbed) went on to Tony nominations. This has a similar vibe and it could end with similar results.

5. Outside Mullingar - John Patrick Shanley has had his share of Broadway and film hits (look no further than the Oscar, Tony, and Pulitzer on his mantle), but he hasn't really knocked it out of the park in a while, according to theater critics. Outside Mullingar looks to be his best effort in a while though, as it has gotten a lot more press (and an actual Broadway debut, some of his recent ones have only made it to off-Broadway), and while most of the reviews are mixed, there does seem to be a consistency that this is one of his better works, and some of them have been out-right positive. I don't think it is going to be as big of contender as the four contenders listed below, but do not discount the popularity of Shanley, and of the stars Debra Messing (making her Broadway debut) and Tony winner Brian F. O'Byrne.

6. Act One - Tony Shalhoub and Santina Fontana are said to be great in this new play from James Lapine adapted from the autobiography of Moss Hart. Fontana was nominated last year for the first time for the revival of Cinderella, and Shalhoub seeks his third nomination after what has been, so far, a storied stage career. But the box office hasn't been great, and the reviews are mixed at best. Most seem to praise the performances, but feel the production as a whole is a bit flat. But there are enough positive fans out there to boost its credentials and it comes from Lapine, who has three Tonys and a Pulitzer so far, in his long and storied career on the stage. Don't discount a legend when it comes to Tony voters.

7. The Velocity of Autumn - Oscar winner Estelle Parsons joins forces with two-time Tony winner Stephen Spinella in the Broadway version of The Velocity of Autumn, which originated from a DC theater. The play is apparently warm and funny, but I wonder if it has the same bite or enough prestige to break into what seems like a competitive race for four slots in the Best Play race. But expect it to be a part of the conversation for sure (its reviews alone will ensure that), and Parsons and Spinella, both legends at this point are certainly going to be enticing to voters on their ballots.

8. The Snow Geese - This show premiered to mixed reviews a ways back, and it didn't make too much of an impact. But its star was Mary-Louis Parker, a Tony and Emmy winner, and its cast is large and varied enough to spark attention. I think a nomination for Parker will probably be its only chances, but alas, when talent such as this is involved, it is never safe to count it out for more prospects.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jersey Boys Trailer

In all of the talk about this year's upcoming Oscar race, one of the most surprising omissions is Clint Eastwood's adaptation of Jersey Boys. I too am guilty of omitting him from my first Oscar predictions in March. I know some of his works recently have been less than stellar, but he is a two-time Oscar winning director adapting a Broadway smash hit that won four Tonys including Best Musical. The trailer looks like a lot of the musical adaptations that have hit recently, so there is nothing about it at the moment that seems to stand out. But you never know what to expect from Eastwood, because every once in a while he produces a Mystic River, a Million Dollar Baby, or an Unforgiven. Will Jersey Boys join their ranks? As always we'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Academy Releases 2014-15 Oscar Calendar

The Academy has released some of its important dates for the upcoming 2014 Oscar Season. Of course for more information and updates visit: Or of course follow along here at The Awards Psychic for all of your awards news. Check out the dates below:

Saturday, November 8, 2014 - The Governor Awards

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - Official Screen Credits and music submissions due

Monday, December 29, 2014 - Nominations voting begins 8 a.m. PT

Thursday, January 8, 2015 - Nominations voting ends 5 p.m. PT

Thursday, January 15, 2015 - Oscar nominations announced

Monday, February 2, 2015 - Oscar Nominees Luncheon

Friday, February 6, 2015 - Final voting begins 8 a.m. PT

Saturday, February 7, 2015 - Scientific and Technical Awards

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - Final voting ends 5 p.m. PT

Oscar Sunday, February 22, 2015 - 87th Academy Awards begins 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT

2014 Cannes Film Festival Lineup

Well, it is finally here, the lineup for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival has been announced. There aren't any big shockers, but there are plenty of awesome films that could have a tremendous impact on the 2014 film landscape and the Oscar race. Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller's latest which was pulled from last year's lineup, is back in with a bow at Cannes. Also on the slate is Cronenberg's Map to the Stars, Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman, Atom Egoyan's Captives", Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner, and a look at the followup to his Oscar-winning The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius' The Search starring Annette Bening and Berenice Bejo. For now enjoy the list, but later we will dive into how this year's Cannes lineup could impact the Oscar race.

“Grace of Monaco” (Olivier Dahan)

“Adieu au langage” (Jean-Luc Godard)
“The Captive” (Atom Egoyan)
“Clouds of Sils Maria” (Olivier Assayas)
“Foxcatcher” (Bennett Miller)
“The Homesman” (Tommy Lee Jones)
“Jimmy’s Hall” (Ken Loach)
“La Meraviglie” (Alice Rohrwacher)
“Leviathan” (Andrei Zvyagintsev)
“Maps to the Stars” (David Cronenberg)
“Mommy” (Xavier Dolan)
“Mr. Turner” (Mike Leigh)
“Saint Laurent” (Bertrand Bonello)
“The Search” (Michel Hazanavicius)
“Still the Water” (Naomi Kawase)
“Timbuktu” (Abderrahmane Sissako)
“Two Days, One Night” (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne)
“Wild Tales” (Damian Szifron)
“Winter Sleep” (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

Out of Competition
“Coming Home” (Zhang Yimou)
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“Les Gens du Monde” (Yves Jeuland)

Un Certain Regard
“Amour fou” (Jessica Hausner)
“Bird People” (Pascale Ferran)
“The Blue Room” (Mathieu Amalric)
“Charlie’s Country” (Rolf de Heer)
“Dohee-ya” (July Jung)
“Eleanor Rigby” (Ned Benson)
“Fantasia” (Wang Chao)
“Harcheck mi headro” (Keren Yedaya)
“Hermosa juventud” (Jaime Rosales)
“Incompresa” (Asia Argento)
“Jauja” (Lisandro Alonso)
“Lost River” (Ryan Gosling)
“Party Girl” (Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis) (OPENER)
“Run” (Philippe Lacote)
“The Salt of the Earth” (Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado)
“Snow in Paradise” (Andrew Hulme)
“Titli” (Kanu Behl)
“Tourist” (Ruben Ostlund)

Midnight Screenings
“The Rover” (David Michod)
“The Salvation” (Kristian Levring)
“The Target” (Yoon Hong-seung)

Special Screenings
“The Bridges of Sarajevo” (various directors)
“Eau argentee” (Mohammed Ossama)
“Maidan” (Sergei Loznitsa)
“Red Army” (Polsky Gabe)
“Caricaturistes – Fantassins de la democratie” (Stephanie Valloatto)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Pulitzer Prize Winners


Public Service: The Guardian US and The Washington Post
Breaking News Reporting: The Boston Globe staff
Investigative Reporting: Chris Hamby of The Center for Public Integrity, Washington, D.C.
Explanatory Reporting: Eli Saslow of The Washington Post
Local Reporting: Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia of the Tampa Bay Times
National Reporting: David Philipps of The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.
International Reporting: Jason Szep and Andrew R.C. Marshall of Reuters
Commentary: Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press
Criticism: Inga Saffron of The Philadelphia Inquirer
Editorial Writing: Editorial staff of The Oregonian, Portland
Editorial Cartooning: Kevin Siers of The Charlotte Observer
Breaking News Photography: Tyler Hicks of The New York Times
Feature Photography: Josh Haner of The New York Times


Fiction: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown)
Drama: The Flick by Annie Baker
History: The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor (W.W. Norton)
Biography: Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Poetry: 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri (Graywolf Press)
General Nonfiction: Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin (Bantam Books)


"Become Ocean" by John Luther Adams, premiered on June 20, 2013, by the Seattle Symphony (Taiga Press/Theodore Front Musical Literature)

2014 Cannes Film Festival Poster

The Cannes Film Festival is just around the corner (we will soon know the lineup), and they have revealed an awesome new poster featuring Marcello Mastroianni in Fellini's masterpiece 8 1/2. It is a stunning work from Herve Chigioni and Gilles Frappier, and it gets me incredibly excited because I know that Oscar Season 2015 is just around the corner. Check out the poster below courtesy of, the official site of the Cannes Film Festival where you can get lots of cool information about the upcoming fest.

Monday, April 14, 2014

New Trailers: The Homesman and Maps to the Stars

Two Oscar contenders have premiered their trailers today, Tommy Lee Jones directing The Homesman, and David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars. Jones' latest looks like a pretty decent western. While not every modern western has gotten Oscar attention, True Grit is an example of a film that really hit it off with the Academy. If its good, and with Jones' name attached it could be a stealth contender. It is also nice to see someone who clearly loves the genre keeping it alive and well. It also stars awards-magnet Hilary Swank, and that can only improve its chances.
The other film is Cronenberg's latest Maps to the Stars. His work is always fascinating to watch, and usually manage to garner some Oscar attention, if only in certain categories. This particular trailer is fascinating and incredibly enticing. It also does not look like an Oscar movie. There is of course nothing wrong with that, and don't ever discount Julianne Moore, who is a force, and could break through like Viggo Mortensen did a few years back for Cronenberg's Eastern Promises. (You'll have to find another clip of it online, mine is not working).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

2014 MTV Movie Award Winners

Well, not all the winners are actually up yet because no one seems to know who won them, but with a few exceptions, I really got my ass kicked here in terms of my predictions. In my defense, there were some surprising winners, and also these are the MTV Movie Awards. You never know how this generation will vote (and the further I get away from it, the less I know). I will add the other categories winners as soon I figure out who they are. I will say this though. I wouldn't have minded missing every prediction if the show were at least incredibly entertaining, and yet in the end it was pretty uneventful, which is particularly surprising and kind of disappointing. Oh well, in the next weeks expect Tony and Daytime Emmy coverage as we get closer to the summer awards season!

Movie of the Year - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Best Female Performance - Jennifer Lawrence "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
Best Male Performance - Josh Hutcherson "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
Best Fight - Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lily "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"
Best Hero - Henry Cavill "Man of Steel"
Best Kiss - Will Poulter, Jennifer Aniston, and Emma Roberts "We're the Millers"
Best On-Screen Duo - Vin Diesel and Paul Walker "Fast and Furious 6"
Best Shirtless Performance - Zac Efron "That Awkward Moment"
Best Scared as S*** Performance - Brad Pitt "World War Z"
Best Villain - Mila Kunis "Oz the Great and Powerful"
Best Musical Moment - Backstreet Boys, Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, and Craig Robinson "This is the End"
Best WTF Moment - Leonardo DiCaprio "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Best Comedic Performance - Jonah Hill "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Best Cameo Performance - Rihanna "This is the End"
Best On-Screen Transformation - Jared Leto "Dallas Buyers Club"
Best Breakthrough Performance - Will Poulter "We're the Millers"
Favorite Character - Tris in Divergent (Shailene Woodley)

Top 100 Films of the 2010's...So Far: Part II

90. The Queen of Versailles (2012) - For some reason, the last several years have seen a plethora of fantastic documentaries hit the big screen, and made an incredible cultural impact, far more than most nonfiction films ever even get close to doing. Just look at the offerings this past year: 20 Feet from Stardom, The Act of Killing, Stories We Tell, The Square, just to name a few, which were praised for not just being great docs, but for being genre-bending, cross-over films that not only enlightened, but entertained audiences as well. 2012's The Queen of Versailles should be added to that list, because not only is it an incredibly biting and timely look at the precariousness of the so-called "American Dream", but also works as an engaging and entertaining character drama that would make for either a great Blue Jasmine-spin off, or a guilt pleasure reality show on VH1. Director Lauren Greenfield has a keen eye as her tale shifts gears and brilliant balances its two messages. Its story of the Great Recession, of how greed and wealth brought down an entire global economy is a relevant and powerful message that should be seen by every American who was affected by the crisis (which is every American). But the film also manages to be a stinging indictment of the one-percenters, the large corporations and the CEO's. It shows that even the almighty can be brought to their knees. The one word I remember seeing over and over again in reviews of the film was schadenfreude. For those who are familiar with Avenue Q, we know that schadenfreude is German for happiness at the misfortune of others. While we try to find sympathy for this family, who really is going through a tough time, in the back of our minds, we can't help but enjoy their suffering because they got exactly what they deserved for their hubris. So yes, The Queen of Versailles is also a biting, yet surprisingly funny, big middle finger to the bastards whose greed brought down an entire global economy. But I also think that by the end, some of the schadenfreude wears off, and just when Greenfield could have hit the final blow, she backs off, just a bit, and reminds us of our own humanity, and that suffering, no matter how you got there, should not be taken so lightly. It is this impeccable balance of stinging criticism and favorable humility that makes The Queen of Versailles such a terrific experience.

89. The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) - 2010's Blue Valentine was a beautifully constructed tragedy that navigates back and forth between the beginning and ending of a doomed relationship, managing to create two of the most authentic characters seen on the big screen in the last decade. So needlessly to say, I could not wait to see what writer/director Derek Cianfrance had up his sleeve next. When I first saw The Place Beyond the Pines in 2012, I was actually a bit disappointed. It was not as good as Blue Valentine, plain and
simple. But I finally opened my mind a little, stopped comparing projects long enough to watch it again, and I'm glad I'm did. My first assessment was right, it was not as good as Blue Valentine, but it was still an incredibly powerful, and beautifully constructed film that easily stands on its own merits. At its center is Ryan Gosling, who brought half of the magic in Blue Valentine. He once again (see Ides of March below), proves that he can be an engaging leading man, even when playing dark characters. He is joined by excellent turns from Eva Mendes and Bradley Cooper, who both match Gosling's grittiness and ferocity as they bring their characters to life. But it is Cianfrance's dark script, and his unique vision that matches his ability to weave stories together brilliantly, and create complex webs of connection that really pulls the film together into an emotional ride of intertwining fates. A special shout out is also deserved for cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, who many felt was robbed of an Oscar nomination this past year for his breathtaking work in 12 Years a Slave. To be honest, I think his work here is just as brilliant, maybe even more so, because I firmly believe that it is his shots, his creation of mood, his brilliant contrast of light and dark that bring a certain visual intensity that the film desperately needed. The cinematographer usually doesn't get enough credit, but I dare you to watch The Place Beyond the Pines and not comment on Bobbitt's excellent work.

88. Marvel's The Avengers (2012) - If you take The Avengers as a stand alone film, you might think of it as a poorly set-up, over-caffeinated action flick along the lines of the Transformers series. But Joss Whedon and his team knew it would be futile to spend a lot of time on exposition, and instead took the approach that if you were joining the crowd for this film, then you probably had already seen Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and the first two Iron Man films. If you were a casual viewer, this was probably frustrating. But if you had followed the journey of these varying characters, then The Avengers was probably an utter
delight for you, a brilliant combination of the varying personalities, into one fun, epic, and action-packed climax that managed to also set the stage for the Marvel Universe in the future (as evidenced by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Iron Man 3, Thor The Dark World, and the new Captain America entry, all building up for an Avengers reunion). For me The Avengers was far from a perfect movie, but honestly hit all the high points for a perfect summer blockbuster. It brings the flash and the bang with stunning visual effects and sound work, and an adrenaline shot of energy into its action sequences. It brings together a whole host of capable and attention-grabbing actors that are charismatic and nice to look at, and most importantly, it is the perfect escapist entertainment that, despite a two and a half hour run time, manages to transport you away enough that don't realize you haven't seen the sunlight in so long. But upon a second viewing, I realized that The Avengers digs a lot deeper that I had originally given it credit for. It brilliant balances its plethora of characters, while preserving their back story, and managing to move each character forward in their personal narratives at the same time that it explodes the Marvel Universe as a whole. It also reaches out of a huge dose of humanity, and manages to inject it flawlessly into the fast-paced story. The Avengers could have been a loud, clunky disaster. But a talented director, a kick-ass cast, and a surprisingly deep story rescued the film from summer box-office hell, and turned it into a hell of a film.

87. The Ides of March (2011) - This is another film in recent memory that by the time the Oscars finally rolled around was long-ago swept under the rug. While it managed an Adapted Screenplay nomination, that felt more like a consolation prize for the beloved George Clooney than a reward for the film as a whole. And it is kind of a shame considering some of the lesser efforts that year that were far more successful. When it landed on the film festival circuit, it was certainly a soft landing. But in the end it rebounded with great reviews, and a recognition that it was a smart and entertaining political thriller, and one of the better ones to grace the big screen in recent years. Ryan Gosling plays a young staffer of a potent candidate for President,
who truly believes in the man until a dark secret about him is revealed. Then the young, and hopeful boy has to decide whether to leave the game or dive into a corrupt and dark political world where he has to play the villain to achieve his own personal goals. It is a taut and tense thriller that has a lot of potency on the screen as it mirrors so many campaigns and so many politicians in our time that have dove to unbelievable depths just to achieve some form of political and personal success. The screenplay landed an Oscar nomination, and while I think many voters thought of it as a placeholder, I think it was a well-deserved mention, and a nice addition to a great set of nominees in that category. But I think, and most critics seemed to agree at the time of its release, that the reason the film achieves its entertainment value and its political potency is because of its stand out cast. Ryan Gosling proves once again that he has the charisma and the force to carry pretty much any genre of film. George Clooney perfectly captures the shiny exterior, and mean interior of a flawed and dirty politician. And Evan Rachel Wood captures the vulnerability, as well as encapsulates the prices we pay for messing with the wrong guys. All of them are on top of their game and they deliver the film's energy and presence. Of course I also have to mention the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman. It is still hard to think about his death, especially as I have been re-watching his many roles over the last several months. His character here, Paul Zara, is another standout, and yet again, a reminder of the talent that we lost way too soon.

86. Easy A (2010) - Every year since the height of John Hughes in the 1980's, some director or screenwriter has tried to capture the magic, hilarity, and sometimes ridiculousness of high school drama. So many try, and more often than not they completely fail. Over the last several decades, three films in particular have created a new sub-genre that while set in high school, does a lot to actually make fun of those films, and create incredibly funny parodies of those classic 80's films. Clueless in the 90's and Mean Girls in the 00's proved that this reinvention of a classic film genre was possible. In 2010, Easy A even took it a step further by having its main character have an incredible self-awareness of the cliches, and play on them in a way that felt refreshingly funny. Easy A was not everybody's favorite film, and many people probably
instantly wrote it off, because there was no way that a high school comedy could be anything but stale. But those who gave it a chance were probably incredibly surprised at just how much they liked the film. The story line certainly has its moments, and while it deserves a lot of credit for mocking the cliches, it sometimes can fall into other ones along the way. So in order to pull this off, they needed an actor who could make it work, and boy did they find it in Emma Stone. This was the film that really introduced the world to this incredibly talented, husky-voiced comedienne who defied the traditional Hollywood look, and proved to be a surprisingly deep and versatile actress that is one of the best younger actors working today. Her spunk, sarcasm, and brilliant screen presence make this story really pop, and really work. She sells her role with gusto, and makes us all wish we were half as smart or self-aware when we were in high school. It takes a lot to make a well-worn genre feel fresh, but Easy A pulls it off.

85. Prisoners (2013) - In the year that was 2013, there were so many films of high quality that you knew that some of them were going to be left behind when the Oscar nominations came out. While it did score a worthy cinematography nomination, Prisoners was one of those overlooked gems that is worth revisiting. The basic story is that during a visit, two young girls from two tight personal families go missing while playing in the yard. A suspect gets arrested, but is later released due to lack of any evidence. While the police search for answers, a father takes the case into his own hands to find out the truth about his daughter. On paper, this
sounds like another bloody, violent revenge tale, or just another been-there-done-that cop drama. Fortunately for the viewer neither of these stereotypes fit Prisoners, as it dares to go deeper than the run of the mill members of its genre ever thought to do. Prisoners is a dense and taut thriller, brilliant constructed by the screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski, and director Denis Villeneuve that never condescends its viewers, and instead keeps them on their toes with the many twists and turns that weave together the story. At times it can be difficult to keep up, and at other times it can just be painful to watch. But the end product is so worth the ride that you are willing to look through the painful moments. It doesn't hurt that some of the finest actors working today make up a wonderful ensemble cast. Hugh Jackman gets a lot of the credit, deservedly so, as the father who takes the law into his own hands. And Paul Dano and Jake Gyllenhaal provide fine supporting turns. I also think that the women in the film Maria Bello, Melissa Leo and Viola Davis deserve a lot of credit for standing out in a dominant male cast, and pulling us into the struggles as mothers facing a life-altering and devastating possibilities. All around Prisoners is a well-written, impeccable acted thriller that should have stayed in the awards conversation much longer than it did.

84. Another Year (2010) - Whether he is directing an historical film or one set in modern times, Mike Leigh is the master at creating complicated and deeply flawed characters. Just look no further than his characters in Happy-Go-Lucky and Secrets & Lies, as well as many of his other efforts, and you will see exactly what I am talking about. In 2010, he presented us with another one of his singular creations, Another Year. In the film, we see a happily married couple over the course of a year in their lives. Their story of continued happiness is really not just the center of the film, emotionally, but also provides the perfect launch point to foil their happiness with individuals who are quite the opposite. In particular their friend Mary's loneliness and inability to fix her own issues provides a stunning, yet stark contrast. Mike Leigh has crafted a wonderfully
human script about love, family, friendship, and the debilitating disease that is loneliness. His actors, including Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen as the happy couple, are built for their roles, and each tackles their characters with an incredible passion. But the real star here is Lesley Manville as Mary. In the earlier days of the 2010 Oscar Season, she gained a lot of traction, including many critical awards, in the hopes of crossing the finish line with an Oscar nomination. While she was not able to pull it off, she certainly was worthy of any accolades she received. Mary's almost tragic life is the real center of the film, and shows the complexity of human relations and human emotions. Leigh has a new film, Mr. Turner coming up, and I think I speak for most people when I say that I am thoroughly excited to see what he has in store for us next, because Another Year was another incredible film.

83. The Wind Rises (2013) - We're not sure whether this will be Hayao Miyazaki's last film. It was reported before its release that that was the case, but it was later taken back, with the statement that more work from the Japanese master could be in the works. Either way, 2013's The Wind Rises is an wonderful film from one of the greatest directors of all time. It is also a surprisingly grown-up film, considering that it is animated. Although when you think about it, Miyazaki's films have never been just for kids. They have
always had a universality to them that has appealed to all age groups. The Wind Rises is no different, and maybe his most mature effort to date. It tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the fighter planes used by the Japanese during WWII. Like some of his earlier efforts, Miyazaki is looking at the effects of WWII on Japan and its people, and war in general. He has always been fascinated by the subject, and this biopic brings an incredible authenticity to the discussion. Furthermore, as always, Miyazaki has created a lush world that straddles the line between realism and fantasy, and the end product is stunning to look at, despite having a traditional animation feel. Throughout his career, Miyazaki has always stuck to that classic animation, and none of his films have the 3-D, computer feel of say Pixar or later Disney films. His passion for his art form is always at the forefront, and his stories are emotional, mature, and always worth the journey, and The Wind Rises is no exception, and it even earned Miyazaki another Oscar nomination. If this his is final film, and I'm sure all of us hope that is not true, then at least he went out with a bang.

82. Flight (2012) - When Denzel Washington finds the right project, he knocks it out of the park. Think Glory, The Hurricane, Training Day. The latest addition to his impeccable resume of award-worthy roles was his role as Whip Whitaker in Robert Zemeckis' 2012 hit Flight. He nails the action parts with gusto, which is not a huge feat considering that when he is not pursuing these types of roles, he is usually starring in action films. But it is the emotional depth, the vulnerability, and the bravura that he brings to the screen with this damaged, yet still likable character that makes the film soar . It is magnificent role that lights up the screen, and gives the film its gravitas, as well as its entertainment value, and earned Washington yet another Oscar nomination. But, despite popular belief, Flight is not just the Denzel Washington show. The supporting cast, including John Goodman, Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo, and Kelly Reilly hold their own against the main star. Furthermore, Zemeckis, and Oscar-nominee John Gatins craft a brilliantly balanced thriller that plays up its character development, and deftly combines entertaining, breath-taking action sequences, with an emotionally stunning character arch that pushes it way into the clouds above your regular action or dramatic fair. In the end, Flight did relatively well at the box office and earned two Oscar nominations, so it was certainly not a failure. But upon returning to it recently, I realized that in the end, it probably deserved a lot more credit than it got. It proved than Denzel was still on top of his game, and that Zemeckis despite some bumps in the road was still a hell of a director with a passionate and clear vision. Take another look at Flight, I think you find it is worth a second chance.

81. Martha Marcy May Marlene - It is hard to believe that the younger sister of the infamous Olsen twins would end up being the one in the spotlight, but over the last several years, Elizabeth Olsen has managed to breakthrough her family name, and with role after role, prove that she is a stand alone actress who should only be compared to herself, and is immensely more talented and unique than her infamous siblings. The role that proved her talent, and introduced her to the acting world was 2011's haunting Martha Marcy May Marlene. Olsen plays Martha, a young woman who struggles to reintroduce herself to normal society, including rebuilding her relationship with her family, after escaping an abusive and horrific cult. First time writer/director Sean Durkin shows surprising depth and vision for a director at such an early stage in his career, flawlessly interweaving the haunting images, flashback, and psychotic nature of Martha's time in the cult, with her struggles to recover from the psychological damage done to her. The story slowly builds in its intensity as both threads weave around each other, and without a lot of bang or flash, Durkin manages to create an undeniably fierce tension that builds towards a stunning ending. I'll say it once again, it is hard to believe that this was Durkin's first feature film considering how much control it takes to pull off this successful of a psychological thriller and reach deep into the varying themes of wealth, ideology, psychology, and family that wind through the plot and the characters. But every story comes full circle, and in the end Martha Marcy May Marlene comes back to Olsen. Her innocence, her struggle in her search for the truth, and, despite her mostly quiet exterior, her ability to convey to the audience the depths of her pain, are truly haunting, yet mesmerizing to watch. And that is because of Olsen and her incredible abilities and talents as a young actress. In the coming years we will see her tackle the Hollywood blockbuster with her roles in Godzilla and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. And I guarantee that she will bring surprising depth and gravitas to those projects, and if critics need any proof for this bold prediction, look no further than Martha Marcy May Marlene.