Friday, November 28, 2014

Sight and Sound's Top Films of 2014

Sight and Sound is always an interesting top twenty list. Topping the list is Boyhood, something I'm sure it will repeat several times. There are also several big Oscar contenders included such as Whiplash, Birdman, CITIZENFOUR, Leviathan, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mr. Turner, Winter Sleep and Two Days, One Night. Check out the full list below

1. Boyhood
2. Goodbye to Language 3D
3. (TIE) Leviathan and Horse Money 
5. Under the Skin
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel
7. Winter Sleep 
8. The Tribe 
9. (TIE) Ida and Jauja
11. (TIE) Mr. Turner, National Gallery, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Whiplash 
15. The Duke of Burgundy 
16. (TIE) Birdman and Two Days, One Night
18. (TIE) CITIZENFOUR, The Look of Silence, and The Wind Rises 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer

This is probably the first of many teasers to come for the upcoming Star Wars film, and it absolutely made my day. I am a huge Star Wars geek, and I will say that this looks awesome! It is dark, it shows that the rebellion didn't end with the blowing up of the Death Star, and with the cast and crew involved, it is sure to be one to watch come next year! Check out the teaser below:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Oscar Narrative: Indie Spirits Weigh In, The Critics Are Next

The Independent Spirit Awards have weighed in early, as usual, and they give us an early indication of which of the independent films will be big players this year, which ones have some work to do. It also gives us a path forward before the critics bombard us with a constant stream of awards for the next month, including the biggies like the BFCA and the HFPA. So before we look forward, let's take a look at this year's Indie Spirit Nominees, the winners and the losers, and their impact on this year's Oscar race.

First, I'd like to mention some great nods for films that will probably not be in the Oscar race, but were worthy of recognition. Nods for films like Dear White People, Obvious Child, Only Lovers Left Alive, and Love is Strange, and for performers such as Tilda Swinton, Andre Benjamin, Jenny Slate, John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, and Rinko Kikuchi, were welcome inclusions into the race. While so many of these films are on the Oscar track, and the Indie Spirits in general have gotten on the Oscar track as of late, it is nice to see they still have that independent streak in them that is bold enough to reward films that identify with the spirit of these awards.

Now onto Oscars. Birdman and Boyhood were expected to do well, and all of them hit all of the important categories they should have. Both will also be critical favorites among several groups, and could rack up considerable honors going into the guilds. The other big inclusion was Whiplash, a film a lot of people are predicting, but I have personally held off on. The film looks fantastic, and J.K. Simmons is far ahead of his competition in the Best Supporting Actor race. But it is the type of film that needs more for me to finally include it. It will not make a mark across many categories at the Oscars, and its box office has been a bit understated. The Indie Spirits are a fine first step, but it is going to need a few more before I include it in my Best Picture predictions.

But none of those three were unexpected. If they had not done well, I would have been shocked. There was one film that really surprised me, not becuase it wasn't worthy, but because not enough people have seen it yet. Of course I am talking about Ava DuVernay's Selma, which racked up a total of five nominations, hitting all of its big awards (missing screenplay was probably its only semi-snub), and including nominations for David Oyelowo and Carmen Ejogo who are both hoping to break through into this Oscar race. I know for a fact that not a lot of people have seen Selma, and I do not think that the independent film crowd are the type for vote for a film they have not seen. That means that those voters out there who had seen it must have absolutely loved it, enough to break past a dozen of earlier contenders which had widespread access. The film must just be phenomenal, and if it is getting that kind of passionate support, it could easily become the front runner for the big prize.

Other films that did well, but not extraordinary include A Most Violent Year (which surprisingly missed out on Oscar Isaac, but managed a screenplay nod and one for editing and Jessica Chastain). Nightcrawler actually did better than many expected including a First Feature nod, and a nod for Jake Gyllenhaal, who is really aiming for a dark horse slot. Finally, Julianne Moore began her march to what could be an overdue Oscar with a nod here, I expect more recognition to follow.

For every film that got one step forward, there were some that were left standing in the dust. Harvey Weinstein is the master, but even he sometimes takes it too far. He bullied The Imitation Game into an American production, and an independent film to try and pull off another Silver Linings Playbook. But alas, he walked away with zero nods for the film, even a snub of Benedict Cumberbatch who seemed like a shoo-in. I have three theories about this. One, is that they simply didn't like the film, which is entirely possible. Two, is that voters resented the fact that a film that does not really represent an independent spirit was forced onto their ballots by a strong-arm campaigner, and they refused to vote for it on principle. Or third, and probably most likely, is that this is simply not their type of film. Silver Linings, thanks in large part to David O. Russell, had an edge too it, and grittier feel on its camera work, and therefore, actually felt more like an independent film. By all accounts, The Imitation Game is a slick, glossy film that probably simply did not appeal to these edgier voters. That doesn't mean that its out of the game, it just means it will have to wait its turn for the older crowd. Wild was another one that I thought would do well here, but it was surprisingly snubbed as well. This was does sting in its road to Oscar, especially since it had great reviews out of the festival circuit, and its director, Jean-Marc Vallee had such luck with Dallas Buyers Club just a year before. This year's Best Actress race is pretty slim, so I expect Reese Witherspoon to still snag a nod, and probably the Globes and SAG as well, but I am starting to think that the film's chances across the board are simply not as good as people assumed.

Of course the Indie Spirits are just the first step. They are becoming an increasingly important first step, but nonetheless we have a lot of big awards coming out that could easily completely change the landscape. New York, LA, Boston, Washington DC, and the NBR are usually the first major ones to announce, and they will quickly set the tone for the season. Remember last year when American Hustle was a marginal contender. The NYFCC put it on the map and started its journey to ten Oscar nominations. I am not going to try to predict these awards, because they are entirely unpredictable. After Dec. 1st not only do we start the critical circuit, but we finally get to see what people think about Unbroken, the last big contender left out there. Into the Woods actually got decent reactions, and proved it could be a player, and so after Monday, the deck is set, and its time to start the race. Anything could happen. As always, we'll have to wait and see...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The 30th Annual Independent Spirit Award Nominations

A full analysis either tonight or tomorrow:

Best Feature
Love is Strange

Best Director
Damien Chazelle "Whiplash"
Ava DuVernay "Selma"
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu "Birdman"
Richard Linklater "Boyhood"
David Zellner "Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter"

Best Screenplay
Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski "Big Eyes"
J.C. Chandor "A Most Violent Year"
Dan Gilroy "Nightcrawler"
Jim Jarmusch "Only Lovers Left Alive"
Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias "Love is Strange"

Best First Feature
A Girl Walks Home Late at Night
Dear White People
Obvious Child
She's Lost Control

Best First Screenplay
Desiree Akhavan "Appropriate Behavior"
Sara Colangelo "Little Accidents"
Justin Lader "The One I Love"
Anja Marquardt "She's Lost Control"
Justin Simien "Dear White People"

Best Male Lead
Andre Benjamin "Jimi: All Is By My Side"
Jake Gyllenhaal "Nightcrawler"
Michael Keaton "Birdman"
John Lithgow "Love is Strange"
David Oyelowo "Selma"

Best Female Lead
Marion Cotillard "The Immigrant"
Rinko Kikuchi "Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter"
Julianne Moore "Still Alice"
Jenny Slate "Obvious Child"
Tilda Swinton "Only Lovers Left Alive"

Best Supporting Male
Riz Ahmed "Nightcrawler"
Ethan Hawke "Boyhood"
Alfred Molina "Love is Strange"
Edward Norton "Birdman"
J.K. Simmons "Whiplash"

Best Supporting Female
Patricia Arquette "Boyhood"
Jessica Chastain "A Most Violent Year"
Carmen Ejogo "Selma"
Andrea Suarez Paz "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors"
Emma Stone "Birdman"

John Cassavetes Award
Blue Ruin
It Felt Like Love
Land Ho!
Man from Reno

Best Cinematography
Darius Khondji "The Immigrant"
Emmanuel Lubezki "Birdman"
Sean Porter "It Felt Like Love"
Lyle Vincent "A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night"
Bradford Young "Selma"

Best Editing
The Guest
A Most Violent Year

Best Documentary
20,000 Days on Earth
Stray Dog
The Salt of the Earth

Best International Film
Force Majeure (Sweden)
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Mommy (Canada)
Norte, The End of History (Philippines)
Under the Skin (United Kingdom)

Robert Altman Award
Inherent Vice

Special Distinction Award

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Oscar Narrative: November Predictions - Best Picture

November Predictions
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Into the Woods
The Theory of Everything

Other Contenders - A Most Violent Year, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wild, American Sniper, Whiplash, Mr. Turner, Fury, Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Big Eyes, Inherent Vice, The Hundred-Foot Journey, St. Vincent, Still Alice, Calvary, The Judge, The Fault in Our Stars, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Snowpiercer, Obvious Child, The Skeleton Twins

Commentary - I am still predicting ten at this point, knowing that it will probably be nine again. This race is really starting to shape up, and as of December 1st, we will finally know the verdict on Unbroken, the last piece to the puzzle. Recently Into the Woods screened to great response, and apparently is being heavily invested in by Disney, as they are peeved that Saving Mr. Banks turned into an Oscar dud. I think that with the cast involved, the below the line and actors' support, and what will probably be a huge box office number right in the thick of voting, it will make the cut for Best Picture. It also doesn't hurt that it is truely a unique entity in this year's race. Not just because it is a musical, but because it has a fanciful and comedic side to it, that might be a nice change of pace for some voters. Moving on now. Prestigious pure-Academy bait films The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game continue to hold on strong, and Unbroken continues to be a favorite, sight unseen. Birdman is eccentric, but it also has a vibe that appeals to actors, writers, directors, and technical folks as well. It could be an unusual and strong contender going into the nominations. I have held off on Boyhood, just because it seemed too experimental, and too subtle for Academy voters, but months in and it is still all people can talk about. So it finally earns its spot on the list. Newcomer to the game Selma proved its pre-release buzz when it stunned at AFI Fest, and planted itself squarely in the thick of things. These are our leaders in this race that has yet to actually produce a front runner. That is seven, and right now they look like a pretty solid seven going into the critics race a week from today. The last two/three spots are tricky. Despite mixed reviews, I think Interstellar is still very much in this race. It will have tons of below the line support, and every year since the expanded field they have gone for at least one big sci-fi/action film. Of course the previous nominees (Avatar, Inception, Hugo, Life of Pi, Gravity), all had much better critical support than Interstellar. And finally, despite losing a ton of buzz, and despite their dark subject matter, I still think that Gone Girl and Foxcatcher are not to be underestimated. They both have directors with a good Oscar history, and both are big productions with great reviews. I say they live to fight another day. Beyond those ten, there are five that are the biggest competition. A lot of people are lining up behind Whiplash, but besides J.K. Simmons, and maybe a screenplay nod, I don't know if there is going to be enough broad support across the branches. It will need some big precursors for me to include it. A Most Violent Year is another smaller film that needs precursors for me to include it, although it could have some critical support. The Grand Budapest Hotel is hoping to make a comeback (and working hard at it), and Wild hopes to regain some of its festival buzz and manage another Dallas Buyers Club-esque comeback. Finally, Mike Leigh should always be in the equation, and Mr. Turner could be this year's BAFTA inclusion.

2014 American Music Award Winners

Artist of the Year
One Direction

New Artist of the Year
5 Seconds of Summer

Single of the Year
Katy Perry feat. Juicy J. "Dark Horse"

Favorite Male Artist - Pop/Rock
Sam Smith

Favorite Female Artist - Pop/Rock
Katy Perry

Favorite Band/Duo/Group - Pop Rock
One Direction

Favorite Album - Pop/Rock
One Direction "Midnight Memories"

Favorite Male Artist - Country
Luke Bryan

Favorite Female Artist - Country
Carrie Underwood

Favorite Band, Duo, or Group - Country
Florida Georgia Line

Favorite Album - Country
Brantley Gilbert "Just As I Am"

Favorite Artist - Rap/Hip-Hop
Iggy Azalea

Favorite Album - Rap/Hip-Hop
Iggy Azalea "The New Classic"

Favorite Male Artist - Soul/R&B
John Legend

Favorite Female Artist - Soul/R&B

Favorite Album - Soul/R&B
Beyonce "Beyonce"

Favorite Artist - Alternative Rock
Imagine Dragons

Favorite Artist - Adult Contemporary
Katy Perry

Favorite Artist - Latin
Enrique Iglesias

Favorite Artist - Contemporary Inspirational
Casting Crowns

Favorite Artist - Electronic Dance Music
Calvin Harris

Favorite Soundtrack

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Oscar Narrative: November Predictions - Best Director

November Predictions
David Fincher "Gone Girl"
Richard Linklater "Boyhood"
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu "Birdman"
Ava DuVernay "Selma"
Angelina Jolie "Unbroken"

Other Contenders - Morten Tyldum "The Imitation Game", Rob Marshall "Into the Woods", J.C. Chandor "A Most Violent Year", Christopher Nolan "Interstellar", Bennett Miller "Foxcatcher", Clint Eastwood "American Sniper", Mike Leigh "Mr. Turner", James Marsh "The Theory of Everything", Paul Thomas Anderson "Inherent Vice", Jean-Marc Vallee "Wild", Damien Chazelle "Whiplash", Wes Anderson "The Grand Budapest Hotel", Tim Burton "Big Eyes", Ridley Scott "Exodus: Gods and Kings", Matthew Warchus "Pride", Chris Rock "Top Five", Xavier Dolan "Mommy", Lasse Hallstrom "The Hundred-Foot Journey"

Commentary - Unbroken remains the last contender to be seen by wide audiences, but I still think it will land well, and land Angelina Jolie her first directing nomination. But if it lands soft there are plenty of folks waiting in the wings. For example, a lot of people are picking Morten Tyldum and/or James Marsh to fill in what is now being called The Kings Speech/Tom Hooper slot, but the films have to land well and prove their initial buzz before I will include virtual unknowns. Christopher Nolan has a lot of work to do to overcome Interstellar's soft landing. Rob Marshall could be back in this thing, as the initial response to Into the Woods has been mostly positive, but musicals have landed here in a while. Bennett Miller is finally getting Foxcatcher into theaters, but a lot of folks are calling it too dark to make it in (although for my money, he is really one to watch for. JC Chandor has made his most Academy-accessible film to date despite its darkness, Clint Eastwood is always a threat, Mike Leigh is beloved among the directors branch, many felt Jean-Marc Vallee was unfairly left off for Dallas Buyers Club, Damien Chazelle is a hot newcomer, and names like Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Tim Burton, and Ridley Scott are not to be ignored. But how about those other four slots? Gone Girl is one of those that is still flirting with Best Picture, but I think that the directors will love Fincher's work, and its box office total is proving that it is a well-liked film among broader audiences. Fincher barely missed the cut with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and this film seems to be much more accessible to voters. Selma came bursting on the scene at AFI Fest as a real contender, and we could have an historic race with two female directors nominated at the same time, and the first African American female nominated, as critics are praising DuVernay's direction as one of the key elements to the film's triumph. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is a previous nominee, and Birdman is his most praised and boldest work to date, and I expect the director's branch to jump all over it. Finally, I have left Richard Linklater off the list for months now, simply because I thought Boyhood would be to experimental, too subtle, and too small, despite the fact that it is brilliant, to survive the fall onslaught of major Oscar players. But despite the fact that most of the big players have turned out to be contenders, Boyhood has hung on. I am still a bit skeptical that the industry and the Academy may not love it as much as the critics, but it is the little film that could, and Linklater could get his first directing nomination.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Oscar Narrative: November Predictions - Best Actor

November Predictions
Steve Carell "Foxcatcher"
Benedict Cumberbatch "The Imitation Game"
Michael Keaton "Birdman"
David Oyelowo "Selma"
Eddie Redmayne "The Theory of Everything"

Other Contenders - Bradley Cooper "American Sniper", Oscar Isaac "A Most Violent Year", Timothy Spall "Mr. Turner", Jack O'Connell "Unbroken", Chadwick Boseman "Get On Up", Ralph Fiennes "The Grand Budapest Hotel", Jake Gyllenhaal "Nightcrawler", Ben Affleck "Gone Girl", Matthew McConaughey "Interstellar", Bill Murray "St. Vincent", Ellar Coltrane "Boyhood", John Lithgow "Love is Strange", Brad Pitt "Fury", Miles Teller "Whiplash", Christian Bale "Exodus: Gods and Kings", Brendon Gleeson "Calvary", James Corden "Into the Woods"

Commentary - This is going to be said a dozen more times throughout this season, but this year's Best Actor race is simply brutal. Despite that four guys have managed to weasel their way into what looks like four solid positions. And for the record, while I am predicting those four, I am not stupid enough to think that these four are locks. Remember Tom Hanks was a lock last year for Captain Phillips, and at the last minute was squeezed out. Nothing is certain, except for maybe Michael Keaton, who looks to be the front runner going into the race, and will probably be a critical favorite. Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne are looking pretty good right now as well, the two young hotshots looking to upset the overdue veteran. Redmayne is riding high right now with his film opening (not well, I might add), but I think by the end this will be a battle between Cumberbatch and Keaton for the gold. Steve Carell is the fourth one right now, and while a lot of people are doubting Foxcatcher's Oscar chances, I think that the acting branch has enough respect for Carell, and is shocked enough by his dramatic transformation to reward him. So those are the four, but there are plenty of guys waiting in the wings to take a spot. Bradley Cooper was underestimated and still managed back to back nominations. He is hot right now, apparently is fantastic in American Sniper, and has enough muscle to break through. Timothy Spall is the veteran in a Mike Leigh movie who will have a lot of British support, and Jack O'Connell is the newcomer leading one of the biggest contenders of the year. Chadwick Boseman and Ralph Fiennes are both starting to reappear on the circuit hoping that Oscar voters remember their earlier projects. And names like Ben Affleck, Bill Murray, Matthew McConaughey, and newcomers Miles Teller, Ellar Coltrane, and James Corden are hoping voters are looking for alternatives. But in the fifth slot, I think it is between three guys. First Cooper, then A Most Violent Year's Oscar Isaac, who is owed a nod for Inside Llewyn Davis. Finally, and my current predictions, I think that David Oyelowo, who stars as the great Martin Luther King Jr. in the shiny new Oscar contender Selma will have enough support, and a powerful enough performance to make the top five.

First Golden Globe Television Predictions

Best Drama Series
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
House of Cards
Masters of Sex

Best Comedy Series
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Modern Family
Orange is the New Black

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Clive Owen "The Knick"
Michael Sheen "Masters of Sex"
Kevin Spacey "House of Cards"
James Spader "The Blacklist"
Dominic West "The Affair"

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Viola Davis "How to Get Away With Murder"
Julianna Margulies "The Good Wife"
Kerry Washington "Scandal"
Robin Wright "House of Cards"
Ruth Wilson "The Affair"

Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Ricky Gervais "Derek"
Ian McKellen "Vicious"
Jim Parsons "The Big Bang Theory"
Andy Samberg "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
Jeffrey Tambor "Transparent"

Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham "Girls"
Lisa Kudrow "The Comeback"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus "Veep"
Amy Poehler "Parks & Recreation"
Taylor Schilling "Orange is the New Black"

Best Made for Television Movie/Limited Series
American Horror Story: Freak Show
The Normal Heart
Olive Kitteridge
True Detective

Best Actor in a Made for Television Movie/Limited Series
Benedict Cumberbatch "Sherlock: His Last Vow"
Woody Harrelson "True Detective"
Matthew McConaughey "True Detective"
Mark Ruffalo "The Normal Heart"
Billy Bob Thornton "Fargo"

Best Actress in a Made for Television Movie/Limited Series
Maggie Gyllenhaal "The Honourable Woman"
Jessica Lange "American Horror Story: Freak Show"
Frances McDormand "Olive Kitteridge"
Sarah Paulson "American Horror Story: Freak Show"
Cicely Tyson "The Trip to Bountiful"

Best Supporting Actor
Matt Bomer "The Normal Heart"
Peter Dinklage "Game of Thrones"
Martin Freeman "Sherlock: His Last Vow"
Bill Murray "Olive Kitteridge"
Jon Voight "Ray Donovan"

Best Supporting Actress
Uzo Aduba "Orange is the New Black"
Kathy Bates "American Horror Story: Freak Show"
Allison Janney "Mom"
Kate Mulgrew "Orange is the New Black"
Julia Roberts "The Normal Heart"

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Oscar Narrative: November Predictions - Best Actress

November Predictions
Emily Blunt "Into the Woods"
Felicity Jones "The Theory of Everything"
Julianne Moore "Still Alice"
Rosemund Pike "Gone Girl"
Reese Witherspoon "Wild"

Other Contenders - Amy Adams "Big Eyes", Shailene Woodley "The Fault in Our Stars", Hilary Swank "The Homesman", Angelina Jolie "Maleficent", Jennifer Aniston "Cake", Gugu Mbatha-Raw "Belle", Gugu Mbatha-Raw "Beyond the Lights", Marion Cotillard "Two Days, One Night", Helen Mirren "The Hundred-Foot Journey", Jenny Slate "Obvious Child", Maggie Smith "My Old Lady", Emma Stone "Magic in the Moonlight"

Commentary - This is an incredibly weak year that even though Big Eyes kind of landed soft, perennial favorite Amy Adams could easily slide in here, although I think her chances of winning are decreased dramatically, unless the Academy decides it is her time. At the moment, I have her in sixth place, as there is one more big contender that could easily get in. On the opposite end, Julianne Moore is riding that narrative high right now, easily leading the pack with not only a praised performance, but an industry that seems finally ready to give her an Oscar. Recent winner Reese Witherspoon is finally bringing Wild to the domestic markets, and not a moment too soon as buzz for the film has almost died. But I think that no matter what happens in this race Witherspoon is going to be a big player throughout the season, and Wild could easily recapture its festival spirit and pull off another Dallas Buyers Club. I wasn't sure if both would get in, but it looks like in this weaker field that two newcomers will join the race in the likes of Felicity Jones and Rosemund Pike. Both are getting rave reviews in top Best Picture contenders, and will end up most likely as locks by season's end. So now back to the person I have in place of Amy Adams. Another newcomer that is not new at all, but has yet to break into the Oscar race. Emily Blunt is carrying a lot of Into the Woods, and if the film lands well (and yes, I am aware that that is a big if), she could finally get some recognition, especially if she holds her own up against Meryl Streep. She did it before in The Devil Wears Prada (an Oscar worthy performance unjustly ignored), and she can easily do it again. Beyond these six, we have great performances whose films could hold them back. Shailene Woodley is fantastic, but The Fault in Our Stars is a teen movie. Angelina Jolie is magnificent, but Maleficent had less-than-stellar reviews, and is just kids stuff. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is one of the hottest rising stars in Hollywood, and neither film looks to be an Academy player. Helen Mirren, Jenny Slate, Maggie Smith, and Emma Stone have to battle against their lightweight films, and Hilary Swanks is about the only think people love in Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman. This really does set a path for those top six to battle it out for five slots. There is one other contender that is on the rise, and that is Jennifer Aniston. She has never really had enough great roles, but she received raves out of Toronto, and if her buzz continues to rise, she could be a real spoiler here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Academy Announces Ten Finalists for Best Live Action Short

It is time to start watching some shorts! Check out the titles for this year's top ten finalists, half of which will end up being Oscar nominees.

Baghdad Messi
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre de Yak)
Carry On
My Father's Truck
The Phone Call
Summer Vacation (Chofesh Gadol)

Check out for all your Academy info, and continue to stay tuned for more Oscar predictions, and next week the Indie Spirit nominations!!

The Oscar Narrative: November Predictions - Best Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress

November Predictions - Best Supporting Actor
Johnny Depp "Into the Woods"
Ethan Hawke "Boyhood"
Edward Norton "Birdman"
Mark Ruffalo "Foxcatcher"
J.K. Simmons "Whiplash"

Other Contenders - Miyavi "Unbroken", John Goodman "The Gambler", Tim Roth "Selma", Tom Wilkinson "Selma",  Josh Brolin "Inherent Vice", Robert Duvall "The Judge", Logan Lerman "Fury", Christoph Waltz "Big Eyes", Chris Pine "Into the Woods", Domhnall Gleeson "Unbroken", Neil Patrick Harris "Gone Girl", Tyler Perry "Gone Girl", Charles Dance "The Imitation Game", Charlie Cox "The Theory of Everything", Albert Brooks "A Most Violent Year", Joel Edgerton "Exodus: Gods and Kings", Dominic West "Pride", Matthew Goode "The Imitation Game"

Commentary - This race has two front runners, and then a whole bunch of oddball contenders and up in the air potentials that makes this race exciting, and also disappointing at the same time. Leading the pack are Edward Norton and J.K. Simmons. Both are veteran actors who steal the screen every time they are on it. of the two I think Simmons is actually in a better position to win, as Norton might be a bit too weird for the broader Academy vote. But either way it should be an interesting race till the end. It is the other three slots that are a mess. Ethan Hawke is one of those contenders that is now in this race because there aren't a lot of other options. Not that he is not absolutely fantastic in Boyhood, its just that it looked like in the beginning there would be flashier performances to take his place. Alas, it looks like that Boyhood has survived the onslaught, remains a big contender (despite my initial thoughts that it would fade in terms of buzz), and Hawke looks to be a solid bet. Foxcatcher is another early contender that I think continues to defy its odds, and continue its long journey. Some pundits have moved past it, due to its dark nature, but I still think it will find a lot of support, including for previous nominee Mark Ruffalo. The last slot is truly up in the air. A lot of buzz is building for Japanese star Miyavi in Unbroken, Tom Wilkinson and Tim Roth apparently shine in small rolls in Selma, Josh Brolin could break past his film's un-Academy trappings, despite mixed reviews Christoph Waltz is a two-time winner, Chris Pine, Logan Lergman, Albert Brooks, Charles Dance, Matthew Goode, Charlie Cox, the Gone Girl guys, and of course the legend Robert Duvall are all swimming around the outside looking in. But I am sticking with my Johnny Depp theory. It is a baity role, and probably perfect for Depp's talents, and after so many years of missing out, I think he is due to get back in this race.

November Predictions - Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette "Boyhood"
Jessica Chastain "A Most Violent Year"
Keira Knightley "The Imitation Game"
Emma Stone "Birdman"
Meryl Streep "Into the Woods"

Other Contenders - Carmen Ejogo "Carmen", Laura Dern "Wild", Katherine Waterston "Inherent Vice", Viola Davis "Get On Up", Carrie Coon "Gone Girl", Rene Russo "Nightcrawler", Kristen Stewart "Still Alice", Jessica Chastain "Interstellar", Anne Hathaway "Interstellar", Anna Kendrick "Into the Woods", Dorothy Atkinson "Mr. Turner", Sienna Miller "American Sniper", Kelly Reilly "Calvary", Robin Wright "A Most Wanted Man", Octavia Spencer "Black or White", Marisa Tomei "Love is Strange", Melissa McCarthy "St. Vincent", Naomi Watts "Birdman", Oprah Winfrey "Selma", Lorraine Touissant "Selma", Imelda Staunton "Pride"

Commentary - This race has quickly turned into one with five comfortable contenders that are looking for a the one that its going to upset the apple cart. We have yet to see Into the Woods, and even if it turns out to be flat, my bet is that Meryl Streep will be on a lot of folks' ballots. The other four we have seen, and all of them are quickly solidifying their positions. Patricia Arquette, like Hawke, continues to benefit from Boyhood's impossibly awesome buzz. Jessica Chastain was initially reported as lead for A Most Violent Year, but now looks like she is going supporting. And even though Christopher Nolan won't let her campaign for the role, I think all of her supporters are going to rally behind that one before they rally behind this performance versus her Interstellar one. Take that Nolan! (whom I still respect as a filmmaker). Keira Knightley is apparently fine in The Imitation Game, and benefits from the film's buzz, and her status as a former nominee. And Emma Stone looks to finally get her first Oscar nod for her bizarre, and apparently wonderful performance in Birdman. So that's it right? It honestly could be, but there are some other actresses with real chances of breaking through. Laura Dern, Viola Davis, and Sienna Miller make good use of small roles, Rene Russo is a knockout, Carrie Coon and Katherine Waterston are great newcomers, Anna Kendrick could repeat, and the British Isles could get some love with Imelda Staunton, Dorothy Atkinson, and Kelly Reilly. Selma has offered some great choices with veterans like Lorraine Touissant and Oprah Winfrey, but I think that the biggest spoiler could come from Carmen Ejogo playing Coretta Scott King. There is usually always a newcomer in this race, and she apparently radiates. She will have to beat some stiff competition though, and it will be an uphill climb.

RIP Mike Nichols

This one was a complete shock to me, and a tremendous loss to the film and theater communities. One of the greatest American stage and film directors of all time, the great Mike Nichols, has passed away at the age of 83. He is one of the few people to have won the coveted EGOT, including his Best Director Oscar for The Graduate. His other notable films include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Closer, Primary Colors, The Birdcage, Charlie Wilson's War, Postcards From the Edge, and Silkwood. He won a total of four Emmys, for his work on Wit, and one of the greatest television events of all time, HBO's Angels in America. It is on the stage where he won his most acclaim from the industry winning, winning a total of nine Tonys for directing and producing some of the greatest theater pieces of all time including Death of  Salesman, Month Python's Spamalot, Annie, The Real Thing, Plaza Suite, Luv, and The Odd Couple. He won his Grammy for Best Comedy Performance in 1961. Mike Nichols was an actor's director who produced some of the greatest film roles of all time. He was a true artist, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends this very sad evening. Rest in peace old friend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Oscar Narrative: November Predictions - Best Adapted and Original Screenplay

November Predictions - Best Adapted Screenplay
Jason Dean Hall "American Sniper"
Gillian Flynn "Gone Girl"
Graham Moore "The Imitation Game"
Anthony McCarten "The Theory of Everything"
Joel & Ethan Coen, William Nicholson, and Richard LaGravenese "Unbroken"

Other Contenders - Nick Hornby "Wild", Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland "Still Alice", James Lapine "Into the Woods", Paul Thomas Anderson "Inherent Vice", Jon Stewart "Rosewater", William Monahan "The Gambler", Andrew Bovell "A Most Wanted Man", Stephen Beresford "Pride", Kieran Fitzgerald, Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Oliver, Hood Swarthout "The Homesman", Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber "The Fault in Our Stars", Steven Knight "The Hundred-Foot Journey", Dean DeBlois and Cressida Cowell "How to Train Your Dragon 2", Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro, Phillippa Boyens "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies"

Commentary - I honestly see four of these five making the cut, and yes I am confident this early in the game, with one slot being up in the air, two at the most. Of course a lot of that is banking on the fact that Unbroken will be a hit, I might have to back off of my hubris if it doesn't land as well as we think it will (although I really do think it will be a hit). We know that The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything are both pure Academy bait, well liked by critics, and both should earn easy nods here. I also think that Gone Girl will be a hard film to bet against here. The fact that Gillian Flynn was able to adapt her novel so successfully, changing things when they were appropriate, and allowing Fincher room to play with the mood and story, is a testament to her faith in her director, and to her abilities. I think the writers will agree. Beyond that there are probably two slots up in the air (okay so I am really now backing down on my four locks theory). Wild and Still Alice are both getting great reviews, but I feel like their actors are the real contenders, and that everything else might get ignored. Yes the writers do love Paul Thomas Anderson, but they snubbed The Master which had other Oscar locks, and Inherent Vice doesn't look like a player in any other category except for maybe an outside nod for Josh Brolin. But I think that a new contender has emerged that has a real shot. American Sniper may not be the biggest Oscar contender, probably overshadowed by premiering next to Selma. But this category is not the strongest, and if it ends up playing well in other categories, it could easily bring this nod along with it. Also look out for Pride, A Most Wanted Man, Into the Woods, Rosewater, The Fault in Our Stars, and How to Train Your Dragon 2.

November Predictions - Best Original Screenplay
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo "Birdman"
Richard Linklater "Boyhood"
E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman ""Foxcatcher"
Mike Leigh "Mr. Turner"
Paul Webb "Selma"

Other Contenders - JC Chandor "A Most Violent Year", Damien Chazelle "Whiplash", Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness "The Grand Budapest Hotel", Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan "Interstellar", Justin Simien "Dear White People", Chris Rock "Top Five", David Ayer "Fury", Ira Sachs "Love is Strange", John Carney "Begin Again", Jon Faverau "Chef", Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Dan Hageman, and Kevin Hageman "The Lego Movie", Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski "Big Eyes", Patrick Tobin "Cake", Dan Gilroy "Nightcrawler", Woody Allen "Magic in the Moonlight", Theodore Melfi "St. Vincent"

Commentary - Unlike its Adapted Screenplay counterpart, this one is a real head scratcher, with simply too many contenders to handle. For example, I am currently leaving out previous nominees the Nolans, JC Chandor, and Wes Anderson (for Interstellar, A Most Violent Year, and The Grand Budapest Hotel), and hotshot newcomer Damien Chazelle for Whiplash. Through in daring comedies Top Five and Dear White People, and it looks like there could easily be ten or eleven worthy nominees. And all of those films are right there to try to upset the apple cart. Now onto the actual predictions. After premiering at AFI Fest, Selma has shot right into the Oscar race, and I expect its script to get some attention. And while I have been hesitant about Boyhood, a) I always thought it would get a nod here, and b) it looks like despite the onslaught, it is remaining a tough contender, so I am putting aside by hesitations, and throwing it squarely in this race. It's biggest competition here is Birdman, one of the most original scripts of the year, which continues to light up critics and the specialty box office. Foxcatcher has taken some heat lately, but its long journey over the last two years seems to be worth the trip, as critics love it, and despite its dark premise, I think it will do extremely well at the box office. And while some critics have cooled on its Oscar chances, I think it will inspire enough votes to at least score a few big nods. Finally, while Mr. Turner seems to be losing steam, I remind myself, that Another Year was even further in the whole at this point, and still managed to get a nod here. The writers love Mike Leigh, and he has rarely missed a nod in this category. I will continue to predict him here.

American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Television Nominations

Episode of a Regular Series
PJ Dillon, Vikings, “Blood Eagle” (History)
Jonathan Freeman, ASC, Boardwalk Empire, “Golden Days for Boys and Girls” (HBO)
Anette Haellmigk, Game of Thrones, “The Children” (HBO)
Christopher Norr, Gotham, “Spirit of the Goat” (Fox)
Richard Rutkowski, Manhattan, “Perestroika” (WGN America)
Fabian Wagner, Game of Thrones, “Mockingbird” (HBO)

Television Movie, Miniseries or Pilot
David Greene, CSC, The Trip to Bountiful (Lifetime)
John Lindley, ASC, Manhattan pilot (WGN America)
David Stockton, ASC, Gotham pilot (Fox)
Theo van de Sande, ASC, Deliverance Creek (Lifetime)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Oscar Narrative: November Predictions - Technical Categories

Best Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki "Birdman"
Jeff Cronenweth "Gone Girl"
Hoyte van Hoytema "Interstellar"
Bradford Young "Selma"
Roger Deakins "Unbroken"

Best Costume Design
Big Eyes
The Imitation Game
Into the Woods

Best Film Editing
Gone Girl

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Into the Woods

Best Original Score
Antonio Sanchez "Birdman"
Hans Zimmer "Interstellar"
Thomas Newman "The Judge"
Johann Johannsson "The Theory of Everything"
Alexandre Desplat "Unbroken"

Best Original Song
New Post Coming Tonight specifically for this category!!

Best Production Design
Big Eyes
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
The Imitation Game
Into the Woods

Best Sound Editing
American Sniper
Transformers: Age of Extinction

Best Sound Mixing
American Sniper
Into the Woods
Transformers: Age of Extinction

Best Visual Effects
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Into the Woods
Transformers: Age of Extinction

The Oscar Narrative: November Predictions - Foreign Language/Animated Feature/Documentary Feature

November Predictions - Best Animated Feature Film
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Other Contenders - The Book of Life, The Boxtrolls, The Penguins of Madagascar, Rocks in My Pockets, Rio 2, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Postman Pat: The Movie

Commentary - Big Hero 6 landed squarely in the Oscar race, with great reviews, and a great opening and second box office weekend. That being said, it may not be able to unseat the two early favorites, which honestly look like they will have more critical support going into the race, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Lego Movie. Either way, three big, well-received studio flicks will make for an interesting race. But we should also not forget GKids, who may not have been able to unseat one of the big studios yet, but continues to make an incredible impact on the Oscar race. So far, we know that The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a huge critical hit, and animators in the nomination stage will eat it up. But there is still that last slot that could be tricky. The Book of Life and The Boxtrolls have landed well, but neither has been a big enough hit to have a guaranteed spot. Early contenders Mr. Peabody and Sherman and Rio 2, as well as the upcoming Penguins of Madagascar, are all outside possibilities. But I am going with the other major GKids contender Song of the Sea. They have proven before they can get one more in, and I think they will do it again.

November Predictions - Best Foreign Language Film
Force Majeure (Sweden)
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Mommy (Canada)
Winter Sleep (Turkey)

Other Contenders - Wild Tales (Argentina), Two Days, One Night (Belgium), Timbuktu (Mauritania), White God (Hungary), Beloved Sisters (Germany), The Liberator (Venezuela), The Dark Valley (Austria), Living is Easy With Eyes Closed (Spain), A Few Cubic Meters of Love (Afghanistan), 1001 Grams (Norway), The Japanese Dog (Romania), The Way He Looks (Brazil), Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Israel), Invasion (Panama)

Commentary - This is always a tricky category. There are so many contenders, and not that many precursors of significance to help us sort it out. So a lot of my guesses are based on reviews out of film festivals at this point, which could significantly change as the critics weigh it (although in terms of Oscar, they can sometimes be way off). We know with the European Film Award nominations that Ida (which I recently saw) and Force Majeure are going to be the European favorites this year. I think Ida is the clear front runner at this point, as it has the most press, has already been released on DVD, and has a story line that goes back to WWII and the Holocaust, a subject voters eat up in this category. Beyond that I really don't know. From Canada Mommy hit well at the fall festivals, but could have a subject matter that is out of the scope of Academy voters, and Leviathan and Winter Sleep have had decent runs so far. But films like Wild Tales, Timbuktu, and Two Days, One Night, with Oscar winner Marion Cotillard are sure to grab some voters. And honestly, that's it. I know that I am probably only going to get 2 or 3 of these right when it comes down to the final five, and I will be waiting and not placing too much hope on my predictions, until the surprise hits us Oscar nomination morning.

November Predictions - Best Documentary Feature
I will come back to this category once the finalists are announced, because if last year is any indication, early predictions would be futile. Check back soon!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The 3rd Annual Awards Psychic Music Award Nominees

I will announce the winners in a couple of weeks!:

Album of the Year
Arcade Fire “Reflektor”
Beyonce “Beyonce”
Frozen Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Miranda Lambert “Platinum”
Pusha T “My Name is My Name”
Sia “1000 Forms of Fear”
Jack White “Lazaretto”

Single of the Year
Eminem feat. Rihanna “The Monster”
Kendrick Lamar “i”
John Legend “All of Me”
Idina Menzel “Let it Go”
Sia “Chandelier”
Sam Smith “Stay With Me”
Taylor Swift “Shake it Off”
Jack White “Lazaretto”

Best New Artist
Iggy Azalea
Aloe Blacc
Rita Ora
Sam Smith
Schoolboy Q
Meghan Trainor

Best Pop Album
Tori Amos “Unrepentant Geraldines”
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga “Cheek to Cheek”
Ingrid Michaelson “Lights Out”
Lana Del Rey “Ultraviolence”
Sia “1000 Forms of Fear”
Sam Smith “In the Lonely Hour”

Best Rap Album
Iggy Azalea “The New Classic”
Common “Nobody Smiling”
Mobb Deep “The Infamous Mobb Deep”
Eminem “The Marshall Mathers LP 2”
Pusha T “My Name is My Name”
Rick Ross “Mastermind”
Schoolboy Q "Oxymoron"

Best Rock/Alternative Album
Arcade Fire “Reflektor”
Beck “Morning Phase”
The Black Keys “Turn Blue”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “Hypnotic Eye”
Bruce Springsteen “High Hopes”
Jack White “Lazaretto”

Best R&B Album
Marsha Ambrosius “Friends & Lovers”
Aloe Blacc “Lift Your Spirit”
Beyonce “Beyonce”
Toni Braxton & Babyface “Love, Marriage & Divorce”
Mariah Carey “Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse”
Jennifer Hudson “JHUD”

Best Country Album
Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones “Foreverly”
Eric Church “The Outsiders”
Miranda Lambert “Platinum”
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers “Live”
Willie Nelson “To All the Girls…”
Dolly Parton “Blue Smoke”

Best Pop Performance
Jessie J., Ariana Grande, & Nicki Minaj “Bang Bang”
Idina Menzel “Let it Go”
Ingrid Michaelson “Girls Chase Boys”
Lana Del Rey “Ultraviolence”
Sia “Chandelier”
Sam Smith “Stay With Me”
Taylor Swift “Shake it Off”
Pharrell Williams “Happy”

Best Rock Performance
Arcade Fire “Reflektor”
Beck “Waking Light”
The Black Keys “Fever”
Kings of Leon “Wait for Me”
Bruce Springsteen “High Hopes”
Jack White “Lazaretto”

Best Rap Performance
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX “Fancy”
Common feat. Vince Staples “Kingdom”
Mobb Deep “Taking You Off Here”
Eminem feat. Rihanna “The Monster”
Kendrick Lamar “i”
Rick Ross “The Devil is a Lie”
Schoolboy Q feat. Kendrick Lamar "Collard Greens"

Best R&B Performance
Beyonce “Pretty Hurts”
Aloe Blacc “The Man”
Mariah Carey “The Art of Letting Go”
Fantasia “Lose to Win”
John Legend “All of Me”
Janelle Monae “PrimeTime”

Best Country Performance
Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones “Long Time Gone”
Eric Church “Give Me Back My Hometown”
Miranda Lambert “Automatic”
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers “Love Has Come For You”
Kacey Musgraves “The Trailer Song”
Dolly Parton “Blue Smoke”
Zac Brown Band “All Alright”

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Selma and American Sniper Land at AFI Fest and Squarely in Oscar Race

I know I'm about a day behind here (it's been one of those weeks), but on Tuesday night, the AFI Fest went from an interesting film festival, to one of the most important of this Oscar season. On the same night (damn what I would have given to be there), AFI Fest premiered two huge Oscar contenders to incredibly enthusiastic responses: Clint Eastwood's American Sniper, and Ava DuVernay's Selma.

Of the two, it is, no surprise, Ava DuVernay's Selma that has quickly skyrocketed to the top of many people's Oscar predictions with an incredibly enthusiastic response. The response has been fantastic, proving that Middle of Nowhere was not a critical fluke, and its Oscar chances are now rosy to the say the least. At its center are two particular contenders, both of whom will probably make it into my November Oscar predictions. The first is DuVernay, who is getting a lot of praise for managing to find a refreshing and effective angle on a well-worn topic, and proves that she can play in the big leagues. The other is David Oyelowo. When Lee Daniel's The Butler hit theaters, Oyelowo was the unsung hero of the big-name cast, as he has been many times before. This time he really gets a chance to shine, playing Martin Luther King Jr., and early word is that he is fantastic, and could manage to fight his way into the incredibly tight Best Actor race. There is some word that Oscar has just rewarded its first "black" movie last year with 12 Years a Slave, and it may not be ready to reward another one so soon. First of all, if that is the case, then Academy voters should be ashamed of themselves. Most importantly, there is another way to look at this. Now that the race barrier has been broken, this could finally open up the door for future films that tackle race issues. Selma might actually benefit. I just hope that if the film turns out as successful as it looks like it deserves, that it gets the proper reward, no matter its subject matter, or its comparisons to previous projects.

The other film to land was Clint Eastwood's American Sniper. This one has earned some great reviews, and after this summer's Jersey Boys, it is nice to see that he hasn't completely lost his touch. There are some that are comparing it to last year's Lone Survivor or Eastwood's own Flags of Our Fathers. Decent films with good reviews, that managed to make a mark on the tech guilds, but not break into the top categories. Others are comparing it to Clint's Letters from Iwo Jima or even The Hurt Locker. Either way, I think that American Sniper, and its two performances (particularly Bradley Cooper, who has worked tirelessly to get this film made) are in play, and while it may not be a slam dunk, it is certain to play well, and I think that has more critics get a look at it, and the fact that is has more time to play with a campaign that Lone Survivor did, it could appeal to the Academy's more conservative block.

Big Eyes premieres tonight, so we are still waiting on Into the Woods and Unbroken, and then I am pretty sure that we can finally start looking at the race as a whole. Of course, we'll have to wait and see...

2015 Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking Nominees

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking
“20,000 Days on Earth”
“Life Itself”
“The Overnighters”

Outstanding Achievement in Direction
Robert Greene “Actress”
Laura Poitras “Citizenfour”
Steve James “Life Itself”
Jesse Moss “The Overnighters”
Nick Broomfield “Tales of the Grim Sleeper”

Outstanding Achievement in Editing
Robert Greene “Actress”
Kate Amend “The Case Against 8”
Mathilde Bonnefoy “Citizenfour”
Steve James and David E. Simpson “Life Itself”
Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden “Ne Me Quitte Pas”
Marshall Curry “Point and Shoot”

Outstanding Achievement in Production
Ben Cotner and Ryan White “The Case Against 8”
Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky “Citizenfour”
Katy Chevigny, Ross Kauffman and Marilyn Ness “The E-Team”
Orwa Nyrabia and Hans Robert Eisenhauer “Return to Homs”
Joanna Natesegara and Orlando von Einsiedel “Virunga”

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Erik Wilson “20,000 Days on Earth”
Laura Poitras, Kirsten Johnson, Katy Scoggin & Trevor Paglen “Citizenfour”
Ross Kauffman and Rachel Beth Anderson “The E-Team”
Niels van Koevorden “Ne Me Quitte Pas”
Andrew Droz Palermo “Rich Hill”
Franklin Dow and Orlando von Einsiedel “Virunga”

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Films Made for Television
“American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Here My Train a Comin'”
“The Education of Muhammad Hussein”
“The Price of Gold”
“Six by Sondheim”

Audience Choice Prize
“20,000 Days on Earth”
“The Case Against 8”
“Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me”
“Finding Vivian Maier”
“Jodorowsky's Dune”
“Keep On Keepin’ On”
“Life Itself”
“Mistaken for Strangers”
“Particle Fever”

Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film
“20,000 Days on Earth” - Directed by Iain Forsythe and Jane Pollard
“Approaching the Elephant” - Directed by Amanda Rose Wilder
“Evolution of a Criminal” - Directed by Darius Clark Monroe
“Finding Vivian Maier” - Directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
“Return to Homs” - Directed by Talal Derki

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Score
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis "20,000 Days on Earth"
David Wingo “The Great Invisible”
Joshua Abrams “Life Itself”
David Perlick-Molinari “Mateo”
Edwyn Collins “The Possibilities Are Endless”

Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation
Kyle McKeveny and Matt St. Leger “Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart”
Syd Garon “Jodorowsky's Dune”
MK12 – Nominees to be Determined “Particle Fever”
Philippe Gariepy and Benoit St. Jean “Red Army”
Steven Do “The Unknown Known”

Spotlight Award
“Evaporating Borders”
“An Honest Liar”
“Living Stars”
“My Name is Salt”

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking
“Hacked Circuit”
“The Lion's Mouth Opens”
“Notes on Blindness”
“One Year Lease”

Sunday, November 9, 2014

New European Film Awards Poll in Sidebar

With films like Leviathan and Ida in the running for Best European Film at this year's European Film Awards, it looks like this year's ceremony will have a big impact on this year's Foreign Language Oscar race. So take a few seconds and vote for who you think will win this year's award. Also stay tuned, as in the next couple weeks we look at the Oscar race, before the critics announce. Also, very soon, I will announce this year's nominees for The 3rd Annual Awards Psychic Music Awards!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

2014 European Film Award Nominations

Oscar contenders including Ida, Leviathan, Locke, Mr. Turner, and others make a mark here. It looks like Ida and Leviathan are still the two front runners for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Best European Film
Force Majeure
Nymphomaniac Director's Cut - Parts I & II
Winter Sleep

Best European Comedy
Carmina & Amen
The Mafia Only Kills in the Summer

Best European Director 
Nuri Bilge Ceylan "Winter Sleep"
Steven Knight "Locke"
Ruben Ostlund "Force Majeure"
Paweł Pawlikowski "Ida"
Paolo Virzì "Human Capital"
Andrey Zvyagintsev "Leviathan"

Best European Actress
Marian Alvarez "Wounded"
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi "Human Capital"
Marion Cotillard "Two Days, One Night"
Charlotte Gainsbourg "Nymphomaniac Director's Cut - Parts I & II"
Agata Kulesza "Ida"
Agata Trzebuchowska "Ida"

Best European Actor
Brendan Gleeson in Calvary
Tom Hardy in Locke
Alexey Serebryakov in Leviathan
Stellan Skarsgard in Nymphomaniac Director’s Cut – Volume I & II
Timothy Spall in Mr. Turner

Best European Screenwriter
Ebru Ceylan & Nuri Bilge Ceylan "Winter Sleep"
Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne "Two Days, One Night"
Steven Knight "Locke"
Oleg Negin & Andrey Zvyagintsev  "Leviathan"
Paweł Pawlikowski & Rebecca Lenkiewicz "Ida"

Best European Discovery
10,000 KM
Party Girl
The Tribe/Plemya
Wounded/La Herida

Best European Documentary
Just the Right Amount of Violence
Master of the Universe
Of Men and War
Sacro Gra
Waiting for August
We Come as Friends

Best European Animated Film
Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Minuscule - Valley of the Lost Ants
The Art of Happiness

Best European Short Film
A Town Called Panic: The Christmas Log
Daily Bread
Emergency Calls
Little Block of Cement with Disheveled Hair Containing the Sea
Still Got Lives_
Summer 2014
The Chicken
The Chimera of M.
The Missing Scarf
Whale Valley

Juried Awards

Best European Cinematographer – Prix Carlo Di Palma 2014
Łukasz Żal & Ryszard Lenczewski "Ida"

Best European Editor 2014
Justine Wright "Locke"

Best European Production Designer 2014
Claus-Rudolf Amler "The Dark Valley"

Best European Costume Designer 2014
Natascha Curtius-Noss "The Dark Valley"

Best European Composer 2014 
Mica Levi "Under the Skin"

Best European Sound Designer 2014

Joakim Sundström "Starred Up"

Friday, November 7, 2014

First Selma Trailer

I know you shouldn't judge a movie by its trailer, but damn Selma looks like it is going to be a brutally honest, emotionally stunning film. I just hope it lives up to the promise. Check out the first trailer below:

A Most Violent Year Plays Well at 2014 AFI Fest

As many of you know, I had high hopes for JC Chandor's latest A Most Violent Year. With a stunning cast including Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac, and films of great quality Margin Call and All is Lost under his belt, it just felt like this film was going to succeed. Well, after last night's reactions coming from the opening of AFI Fest, it looks like Chandor has lived up to his promise and created a smart, dark crime thriller that (no surprise here) is chocked full of top notch performances. Unfortunately, Christopher Nolan has put an embargo on Jessica Chastain campaigning for A Most Violent Year (a little petty if you ask me), but that doesn't mean other people can't do the work for her. There is a bit of concern that it might be too dark for Oscar voters. And with the likes of Gone Girl already on the map, there might not be room for another dark crime thriller. But I also think it will get critical support, and enough praise, and get seen by enough people between now and its release date on Dec. 31st, to garner some attention. Below are some snippets (and links to the full articles) of some of the early reviews. Of course, we'll just have to wait and see...

Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter writes:

"Chandor's absorbing and troubling film asks these difficult questions and more against a backdrop of tacitly accepted corruption and street-level New York interaction rarely seen since the heyday of Sidney Lumet. The sense of widely shared assumptions about what's OK and what's not in business dealings is brought home powerfully, and the tension of the final stretch provokes a prolonged case of sweaty palms. The resolution is painful, a bit melodramatic, thematically apt and, for it all, feels just about right."

Full Review:

Xan Brooks at The Guardian writes:

"A Most Violent Year, fittingly enough, comes billed as the plucky outsider in the pending Oscar race, a film on a mission to unseat the big favourites. Like Morales, the odds are stacked against it. And yet, like Morales, JC Chandor’s period crime drama is rigorous, resourceful and as smart as a whip. It surely can’t win; it’s too nuanced and sombre. But its canny tactical struggle remains a joy to behold."

Full Review:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

2014 Country Music Association (CMA) Award Winners

Musical Event of the Year
“We Were Us,” Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert

Music Video of the Year
“Drunk on a Plane,” Dierks Bentley

Musician of the Year
Mac McAnally

Single of the Year
“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert

Song of the Year
“Follow Your Arrow,” Kacey Musgraves

New Artist of the Year
Brett Eldredge

Vocal Duo of the Year
Florida Georgia Line

Album of the Year
“Platinum,” Miranda Lambert

Vocal Group of the Year
Little Big Town

Male Vocalist of the Year
Blake Shelton

Female Vocalist of the Year
Miranda Lambert

Entertainer of the Year
Luke Bryan

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2015 Peoples Choice Award Nominations

I completely missed these nominations a couple of days ago, so now here is the list:

Favorite Movie
22 Jump Street
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Favorite Movie Actor
Brad Pitt
Channing Tatum
Hugh Jackman
Mark Wahlberg
Robert Downey Jr.

Favorite Movie Actress
Angelina Jolie
Emma Stone
Jennifer Lawrence
Melissa McCarthy
Scarlett Johansson

Favorite Movie Duo
Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Chris Evans & Scarlett Johansson (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Jonah Hill & Channing Tatum (22 Jump Street)
Shailene Woodley & Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars)
Shailene Woodley & Theo James (Divergent)

Favorite Action Movie
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Favorite Action Movie Actor
Chris Evans
Denzel Washington
Hugh Jackman
Liam Neeson
Mark Wahlberg

Favorite Action Movie Actress
Angelina Jolie
Jennifer Lawrence
Scarlett Johansson
Shailene Woodley
Zoe Saldana

Favorite Comedic Movie
22 Jump Street
Let’s Be Cops
The Other Woman

Favorite Comedic Movie Actor
Adam Sandler
Channing Tatum
Jonah Hill
Seth Rogen
Zac Efron

Favorite Comedic Movie Actress
Cameron Diaz
Charlize Theron
Drew Barrymore
Melissa McCarthy
Tina Fey

Favorite Dramatic Movie
The Fault in Our Stars
The Giver
Heaven Is for Real
If I Stay

Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor
Ben Affleck
Brad Pitt
George Clooney
Matt Damon
Robert Downey Jr.

Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress
Chloë Grace Moretz
Emma Stone
Meryl Streep
Reese Witherspoon
Shailene Woodley

Favorite Family Movie
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The LEGO Movie
Rio 2

Favorite Thriller Movie
Dracula Untold
The Equalizer
Gone Girl
The Purge: Anarchy

Favorite TV Show
The Big Bang Theory
Game Of Thrones
Once Upon a Time
The Walking Dead

Favorite Network TV Comedy
2 Broke Girls
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
New Girl

Favorite Comedic TV Actor
Ashton Kutcher
Chris Colfer
Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Jim Parsons
Ty Burrell

Favorite Comedic TV Actress
Amy Poehler
Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting
Melissa McCarthy
Sofia Vergara
Zooey Deschanel

Favorite Network TV Drama
Chicago Fire
Downton Abbey
Grey’s Anatomy

Favorite Dramatic TV Actor
Dax Shepard
Jesse Williams
Justin Chambers
Patrick Dempsey
Taylor Kinney

Favorite Dramatic TV Actress
Alyssa Milano
Ellen Pompeo
Emily VanCamp
Hayden Panettiere
Kerry Washington

Favorite Cable TV Comedy
Baby Daddy
Cougar Town
Faking It
Melissa & Joey
Young & Hungry

Favorite Cable TV Drama
Bates Motel
Pretty Little Liars
Rizzoli & Isles
Sons of Anarchy
True Detective

Favorite Cable TV Actor
Charlie Hunnam
Eric Dane
Matt Bomer
Sean Bean
William H. Macy

Favorite Cable TV Actress
Angie Harmon
Ashley Benson
Courteney Cox
Kristen Bell
Lucy Hale

Favorite TV Crime Drama
Criminal Minds
The Mentalist

Favorite Crime Drama TV Actor
David Boreanaz
Kevin Bacon
Nathan Fillion
Shemar Moore
Simon Baker

Favorite Crime Drama TV Actress
Emily Deschanel
Lucy Liu
Mariska Hargitay
Robin Tunney
Stana Katic

Favorite Network Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show
Beauty and the Beast
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Once Upon a Time
The Vampire Diaries

Favorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV ShowAmerican Horror Story
Doctor Who
Game of Thrones
The Walking Dead

Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor
Ian Somerhalder
Jared Padalecki
Jensen Ackles
Misha Collins
Paul Wesley

Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress
Ginnifer Goodwin
Jennifer Morrison
Jessica Lange
Kristin Kreuk
Nina Dobrev

Favorite Competition TV Show
America’s Got Talent
Dancing with the Stars
Hell’s Kitchen
The Voice

Favorite Daytime TV Host(s)
Ellen DeGeneres
Kelly Ripa & Michael Strahan
Queen Latifah
Rachael Ray
Steve Harvey

Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host
Conan O’Brien
Craig Ferguson
David Letterman
Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Kimmel

Favorite Dramedy
Orange Is the New Black
White Collar

Favorite TV Icon
Betty White
Katey Sagal
Mark Harmon
Tim Allen
Tom Selleck

Favorite TV Duo
David Boreanaz & Emily Deschanel (Bones)
Ginnifer Goodwin & Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time)
Jared Padalecki & Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
Nathan Fillion & Stana Katic (Castle)
Nina Dobrev & Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)

Favorite TV Character We Miss Most
Dr. Cristina Yang played by Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy)
Dr. Lance Sweets played by John Francis Daley (Bones)
Hershel Greene played by Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead)
Leslie Shay played by Lauren German (Chicago Fire)
Neal Cassidy played by Michael Raymond-James (Once Upon a Time)

Favorite Actor In A New TV Series
Ben McKenzie
David Tennant
Dylan McDermott
Laurence Fishburne
Scott Bakula

Favorite Actress In A New TV Series
Debra Messing
Jada Pinkett Smith
Octavia Spencer
Téa Leoni
Viola Davis

Favorite Sketch Comedy TV Show
Drunk History
Inside Amy Schumer
Key & Peele
Kroll Show
Saturday Night Live

Favorite Animated TV Show
American Dad
Bob’s Burgers
Family Guy
The Simpsons
South Park

Favorite New TV Comedy
A to Z
Bad Judge
Jane the Virgin
Marry Me
The McCarthys

Favorite New TV Drama
The Flash
How to Get Away with Murder
Madam Secretary
The Mysteries of Laura
NCIS: New Orleans
Red Band Society

Favorite Male Artist
Blake Shelton
Ed Sheeran
John Legend
Pharrell Williams
Sam Smith

Favorite Female Artist
Iggy Azalea
Katy Perry
Taylor Swift

Favorite Group
Imagine Dragons
Maroon 5
One Direction

Favorite Breakout Artist
5 Seconds of Summer
Charli XCX
Fifth Harmony
Meghan Trainor
Sam Smith

Favorite Male Country Artist
Blake Shelton
Brad Paisley
Hunter Hayes
Luke Bryan
Tim McGraw

Favorite Female Country Artist
Carrie Underwood
Dolly Parton
Faith Hill
Lucy Hale
Miranda Lambert

Favorite Country Group
The Band Perry
Florida Georgia Line
Lady Antebellum
Rascal Flatts
Zac Brown Band

Favorite Pop Artist
Jennifer Lopez
Jessie J
Taylor Swift

Favorite Hip-Hop Artist
Iggy Azalea
Jay Z
Nicki Minaj

Favorite R&B Artist
Chris Brown
Jennifer Hudson
John Legend
Pharrell Williams

Favorite Album
G I R L by Pharrell Williams
Ghost Stories by Coldplay
In the Lonely Hour by Sam Smith
My Everything by Ariana Grande
X by Ed Sheeran

Favorite Song
“All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor
“Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
“Maps” by Maroon 5
“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
“Stay with Me” by Sam Smith

The 5th Annual Hollywood Music in Media Award Winners

The Original Score category is always tricky at the Oscars, mostly because the few precursors do not overlap with Academy voters. That being said, this is a lot of good publicity for potential contenders Antonio Sanchez and John Powell.

Best Original Score (Feature Film) - Antonio Sanchez "Birdman"
Best Original Score (Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film) - Howard Shore "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"
Best Original Score (Animated Film) - John Powell "How to Train Your Dragon 2"
Best Original Score (Documentary) - Mark Adler "Merchants of Doubt"
Best Original Score (Indie Film/Short) - Julia Pajot "Impulsion"
Best Original Score (TV/Digital) - Alan Silvestri "COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey"
Best Original Score (Video Game) - World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
Best Original Song (Film) - Begin Again - Lost Stars
Best Original Song (Animated Film) - The Lego Move - Everything is Awesome
Best Original Song (Documentary) - Coming Home - Stopping for Death

For the full list of winners check out:

Academy Announces Animated Short Shortlist

AMPAS continues to role out big awards news this week, now announcing its ten finalists for the Best Animated Short Award, probably my favorite of the short categories. Here are the ten finalists

The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Me and My Moulton
The Numberlys
A Single Life
Symphony No. 42 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Academy Announces Animated Feature Finalists

Today AMPAS has announced its twenty finalists for this year's Best Animated Feature race. That means that there enough contenders to potentially get five nominations, and all of the cast of characters that we expected are in the race. Check out the full list below:

Big Hero 6
The Book of Life
The Boxtrolls
Giovanni's Island
Henry & Me
The Hero of Color City
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
The Lego Movie
Minuscule - Valley of the Lost Ants
Mr. Peabody and Sherman
Penguins of Madagascar
The Pirate Fairy
Planes: Fire & Rescue
Rio 2
Rocks in My Pockets
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

My current predictions for this year's race are:

Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Monday, November 3, 2014

New British Independent Film Award Poll in Sidebar

In honor of today's announcement of the 2014 British Independent Film Award Nominations, you can now pick which film will win the top prize of Best British Independent Film at this year's ceremony. Check out the poll in the sidebar, and stay tuned as the season is just starting to heat up!!

2014 British Independent Film Award Nominations

Another big award drops early, and gives us a look at what the Brits are thinking in terms of their independent circuit, and potential awards contenders including Mr. Turner, Cavalry, Pride, The Imitation Game came out swinging doing well across the board. For more information about the organization and this year's awards check out their site:

Best British Independent Film
Mr. Turner
The Imitation Game 

Best Director
John Michael McDonagh "Cavalry"
Lenny Abrahamson "Frank"
Matthew Warchus "Pride"
Mike Leigh "Mr. Turner"
Yann Demange "71"

The Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director)
Daniel Wolfe and Matthew Wolfe "Catch Me Daddy"
Hong Khaou "Lilting"
Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard "20,000 Days on Earth"
Morgan Matthews "X + Y"
Yann Demange "'71"

Best Screenplay
Graham Moore "The Imitation Game"
Gregory Burke "'71"
John Michael McDonagh "Calvary" 
Jon Ronson and Peter Straughn "Frank"
Stephen Beresford "Pride"

Best Actress
Alicia Vikander "Testament of Youth"
Cheng Pei Pei "Lilting"
Gugu Mbatha-Raw "Belle"
Keira Knightley "The Imitation Game"
Sameena Jabeen Ahmed "Catch Me Daddy"

Best Actor
Asa Butterfield "X + Y"
Benedict Cumberbatch "The Imitation Game"
Brendan Gleeson "Calvary"
Jack O'Connell "'71"
Timothy Spall "Mr. Turner"

Best Supporting Actress
Dorothy Atkinson "Mr. Turner"
Imelda Staunton "Pride"
Maggie Gyllenhaal "Frank"
Sally Hawkins "X+Y"
Sienna Guillory "The Goob" 

Best Supporting Actor
Andrew Scott "Pride"
Ben Schnetzer "Pride"
Michael Fassbender "Frank"
Rafe Spall "X+Y"
Sean Harris "'71"

Most Promising Newcomer
Ben Schnetzer "Pride"
Cara Delevingne "The Face of an Angel"
Gugu Mbatha-Raw "Belle"
Liam Walpole "The Goob"
Sameena Jabeen Ahmed "Catch Me Daddy"

Best Achievement in Production
20,000 Days on Earth
Catch Me Daddy
The Goob

Best Technical Achievement
Chris Wyatt - Editing "'71"
Dick Pope - Cinematography "Mr. Turner"
Robbie Ryan - Cinematography "Catch me Daddy"
Stephen Rennicks - Music "Frank"
Tat Radcliffe - Cinematography "'71"

Best Documentary
20,000 Days on Earth
Next Goal Wins
Night Will Fall
The Possibilities are Endless

Best British Short
Emotional Fusebox 
Keeping Up with the Joneses
The Karman Line

Best International Independent Film
Blue Ruin
Fruitvale Station
The Badadook

The Raindance Award
Film: The Movie...
Keeping Rosy
The Beat Beneath My Feet

Saturday, November 1, 2014

First 2015 Grammy Predictions: Album of the Year

First Grammy Predictions
Beyonce "Beyonce"
Eminem "The Marshall Mathers LP 2"
Ed Sheeran "X"
Sia "1000 Forms of Fear"
Jack White "Lazaretto"

Other Contenders - Sam Smith "In the Lonely Hour", U2 "Songs of Innocence", Miranda Lambert "Platinum", Frozen Original Soundtrack, The Black Keys "Turn Blue", Pharrell Williams "GIRL", Arcade Fire "Reflektor", Michael Jackson "Xscape", Aloe Blacc "Life Your Spirit", Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett "Cheek to Cheek", Iggy Azalea "The New Classic", Barbra Streisand "Partners", Coldplay "Ghost Stories", Beck "Morning Phase", Katy Perry "Prism", Eric Church "The Outsiders", Ariana Grande "My Everything", Lady Gaga "ArtPop", Tommy Petty and the Heartbreakers "Hypnotic Eye", Bruce Springsteen "High Hopes", Paul McCartney "New", Bastille "Bad Blood", Tony Braxton and Babyface "Love, Marriage, & Divorce", Santana "Corazon", Rick Ross "Mastermind", Lana Del Rey "Ultraviolence", Common "Nobody Smiling", Meghan Trainor "Title", Chris Brown "X", Maroon 5 "V", Jennifer Hudson "JHUD", Brad Paisley "Moonshine in the Trunk", Lady Antebellum "747", St. Vincent "St. Vincent", Mariah Carey "Me. I Am Mariah...The Exclusive Chanteuse", Billie Joe Armstrong & Norah Jones "Foreverly"

Commentary - A tough race is brewing here, and some big contenders are fighting for only a few spaces. Beyonce's album hit like lightning (even though none of its singles hit particularly well), and I think she is a shoo-in. I would also bet on Jack White. Rock almost always gets a name in here, Lazaretto got rave reviews, and he got in for Blunderbuss recently. Rap usually gets in as well (although not always), and Eminem has always been a Grammy favorite. Marshall Mathers 2 has the reviews and sales to get Eminem into this category once again. Deciding which of the big pop albums to include is hard. Sam Smith is the hot newcomer, Pharrell Williams is unstoppable (even if the album as a whole was a little flat), Katy Perry is an icon at this point, Barbra Streisand and Lady Gaga/Tony Bennett could easily class up the joint, Michael Jackson is Michael Jackson, and Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey are hot new artists in the game. But I think that Sia's bold and fantastic 1000 Forms of Fear is just the type of stadium pop that could really excite voters, so for now, I am sticking with her in this category. Finally, I think that Ed Sheeran has always surprised us come Grammy nominations, and I refuse to let him slip by me again. I think he has had enough big awards under his belt to finally get into the top prize for X. There are still a lot of big question marks though. Will they go for a country album (they include them a lot of times)? If that's the case, then Miranda Lambert is the most likely nominee, then maybe Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, and Brad Paisley as backups. If they want to go for a different rock nominee, look for Coldplay, previous winners Arcade Fire, legend Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, or Tom Petty, Bastile, or Santana could benefit. Throw in the soulfulness of Toni Braxton and Babyface, Aloe Blacc, and JHUD, the flow of Common, Iggy Azalea, and Rick Ross, and Mariah Carey, and this race is on fire.