Friday, October 30, 2015

19th Annual Hollywood Film Award Winners

I have been going back and forth on whether I should even acknowledge these "awards", especially after last year's ceremony was such a disaster. But we are early on in award's season, there is not as much to report as there will be by the end of next month, and screw it, at least it is something to keep our interest peaked until more of the substantive groups start to weigh in.

Hollywood Career Achievement Award
Robert DeNiro

Hollywood Producer Award
Ridley Scott "The Martian"

Hollywood Director Award
Tom Hooper "The Danish Girl"

Hollywood Actor Award
Will Smith "Concussion"

Hollywood Actress Award
Carey Mulligan "Suffragette"

Hollywood Supporting Actor Award
Benicio Del Toro "Sicario"

Hollywood Supporting Actress Award
Jane Fonda "Youth"

Hollywood Breakout Actor Award
Joel Edgerton "Black Mass"

Hollywood Breakout Actress Award
Alicia Vikander "The Danish Girl"

New Hollywood Award
Saoirse Ronan "Brooklyn"

Hollywood Ensemble Award
Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight

Hollywood Comedy Award
Amy Schumer "Trainwreck"

Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award
Adam McKay "The Big Short"

Hollywood Screenwriter Award
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer "Spotlight"

Hollywood Blockbuster Award
Furious 7

Hollywood Song Award
Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth "See You Again" from "Furious 7"

Hollywood Documentary Award
Asif Kapadia "Amy"

Hollywood Animation Award
Pete Docter "Inside Out"

Hollywood Cinematography Award
Janusz Kaminski "Bridge of Spies"

Hollywood Film Composer Award
Alexandre Desplat "The Danish Girl" and "Suffragette"

Hollywood Editor Award
David Rosenbloom "Black Mass"

Hollywood Visual Effects Award
Tim Alexander "Jurassic World"

Hollywood Sound Award
Gary Rydstrom "Bridge of Spies"

Hollywood Costume Design Award
Sandy Powell "Cinderella"

Hollywood Make-Up and Hair Styling Award
Lesley Vanderwalt "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Hollywood Production Design Award
Colin Gibson "Mad Max: Fury Road"

The Oscar Narrative: First Golden Globe Predictions - Other Film Categories

Best Director
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu "The Revenant"
David O. Russell "Joy"
Quentin Tarantino "The Hateful Eight"
Tom McCarthy "Spotlight"
Steven Spielberg "Bridge of Spies"

Best Screenplay
Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen "Bridge of Spies"
David O. Russell and Annie Mumolo "Joy"
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer "Spotlight"
Aaron Sorkin "Steve Jobs"
Quentin Tarantino "The Hateful Eight"

Best Animated Feature
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

Best Supporting Actor
Bradley Cooper "Joy"
Tom Hardy "The Revenant"
Samuel L. Jackson "The Hateful Eight"
Michael Keaton "Spotlight"
Mark Rylance "Bridge of Spies"

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh "The Hateful Eight"
Rooney Mara "Carol"
Rachel McAdams "Spotlight"
Alicia Vikander "The Danish Girl"
Kate Winslet "Steve Jobs"

Best Foreign Language Film
The Assassin (Taiwan)
The Club (Chile)
Goodnight Mommy (Austria)
Labyrinth of Lies (Germany)
Son of Saul (Hungary)

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat "The Danish Girl"
Michael Giacchino "Inside Out"
Johann Johannson "Sicario"
Thomas Newman "Bridge of Spies"
John Williams "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens"

Best Original Song
Leon Bridges "So Long" from "Concussion"
Abel Tesfaye, Stephan Moccio, Jason "DaHeala" Quenneville, Ahmad "Belly" Balshe "Earned It" From "Fifty Shades of Grey"
Max Martin, Savan Kotecha, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Ali Payami, and Tove Nilsson "Love Me Like You Do" from "Fifty Shades of Grey"
DJ Frank E, Charlie Puth, Wiz Khalifa, and Andrew Cedar "See You Again" from "Furious 7"
Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith "Writing's On the Wall" from "Spectre"

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ricky Gervais to Host Golden Globes

While the Oscars have yet to find the right balance, the Golden Globes have had six great years of hilarious hosts. Of course it helps when Ricky Gervais hosts for three years in a row, then the dynamic duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did the same thing. I know that Ricky Gervais ruffles some people's feathers, but like I said about Chris Rock, maybe that is a good thing. He was hilarious his first three outings, landed some awesome punches, and stirred up a delightful amount of controversy. Kudos to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on yet another great choice (even if at this point he is an old favorite). This will be his fourth time hosting the Globes, which will take place on January 10, 2016 on NBC.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Academy Narrows Best Documentary Short to Ten Finalists

The ten finalists for the Best Documentary Short category have been announced by the Academy, as full-blown Oscar season quickly descends upon us. Here are the films, half of which will be nominated for the Oscar!

Body Team 12
Chau, Beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
50 Feet From Syria
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom
My Enemy, My Brother
Starting Point
The Testimony

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: First Golden Globe Predictions - Best Actor and Actress in a Drama

Best Actress in a Drama
Cate Blanchett "Carol"
Brie Larson "Room"
Jennifer Lawrence "Joy"
Carey Mulligan "Suffragette"
Saoirse Ronan "Brooklyn"

Other Contenders - Emily Blunt "Sicario", Angelina Jolie "By the Sea", Cate Blanchett "Truth", Charlize Theron "Mad Max: Fury Road", Julia Roberts "Secrets in Their Eyes" Nicole Kidman "Secrets in Their Eyes", Julianne Moore "Freeheld", Regina Case "The Second Mother", Marion Cotillard "Macbeth", Juliette Binoche "Clouds of Sils Maria", Helen Mirren "Woman in Gold", Alicia Vikander "Testament of Youth", Alicia Vikander "Ex Machina", Carey Mulligan "Far From the Maddening Crowd", Dakota Johnson "Fifty Shades of Grey", Shailene Woodley "Insurgent", Jennifer Lawrence "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II", Blake Lively "The Age of Adaline", Cara Delevingne "Paper Towns", Rachel McAdams "Southpaw", Kate Mara "Captive", Daisy Ridley "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens"

Commentary - This looks like another year where Drama contenders are the most Oscar friendly, so it was relatively easy to move my five current Oscar predictions over to this category. But as we know, the Globes and the Oscars, while they agree on a lot, sometimes diverge. Especially when big stars are involved. So names like Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Julia Roberts, and Nicole Kidman are involved do not discount them. Even their projects end up being lesser contenders, remember that sometimes it is the name on the ballot that matters more than anything else. There are also the foreign contenders like Marion Cotillard, Helen Mirren, and Juliette Binoche. This is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and sometimes they reward their own. But I will stick with these five for now.

Best Actor in a Drama
Johnny Depp "Black Mass"
Leonardo DiCaprio "The Revenant"
Michael Fassbender "Steve Jobs"
Tom Hanks "Bridge of Spies"
Eddie Redmayne "The Danish Girl"

Other Contenders - Will Smith "Concussion", Michael Caine "Youth", Ian McKellen "Mr. Holmes", Jake Gyllenhaal "Southpaw", John Cusack "Love & Mercy", Tom Hardy "Mad Max: Fury Road", Tom Hardy "Legend", Joseph Gordon-Levitt "The Walk", Richard Gere "Time Out of Mind", O'Shea Jackson Jr. "Straight Outta Compton", Michael Fassbender "Macbeth", Chris Hemsworth "In the Heart of the Sea", Geza Rohrig "Son of Saul", Christopher Abbott "James White", Chiwetel Ejiofor "Secrets in Their Eyes", Tobey Maguire "Pawn Sacrifice", Josh Brolin "Sicario", Andrew Garfield "99 Homes", Jesse Eisenberg "The End of the Tour", Chris Pratt "Jurassic World", Jamie Dornan "Fifty Shades of Grey", Vin Diesel "Furious 7", Paul Walker "Furious 7", Ryan Reynolds "Woman in Gold", Arnold Schwarzenegger "Maggie", George Clooney "Tomorrowland", Shameik Moore "Dope", Nat Wolff "Paper Towns", Zac Efron "We Are Your Friends", David Oyelowo "Captive", Jake Gyllenhaal "Everest", Tom Hiddleston "Crimson Peak", Daniel Craig "Spectre", John Boyega "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens", Edgar Ramirez "Point Break"

Commentary - Once again, with the comedy side being relatively weak this year, the majority of huge Oscar contenders on this side. I have substituted Tom Hanks for Matt Damon, who will likely be the front runner on the Comedy/Musical side, and that feels like it is right. Will Smith is getting tons of buzz for Concussion, but has to really land well to knock off these guys ahead of him. John Cusack, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, and some of the bigger blockbusters all are in the mix, as are foreign and veteran contenders like Michael Caine, Ian McKellen, Tom Hiddleston, Daniel Craig, Chris Hemsworth, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Geza Rohring are in as well. But once again, it feels foolish to go against those top five, at least for the moment.

Academy Announces 124 Eligible Films for Best Documentary Feature

The Academy has announced its 124 eligible films for Best Documentary Feature this year, there are a lot of big contenders, and so hopefully this week I will have a chance to sit down and dissect all the contenders and do my first predictions:

“Above and Beyond”
“All Things Must Pass”
“The Armor of Light”
“Ballet 422”
“Batkid Begins”
“Becoming Bulletproof”
“Being Evel”
“Beltracchi – The Art of Forgery”
“Best of Enemies”
“The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution”
“Bolshoi Babylon”
“Brand: A Second Coming”
“A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story”
“Call Me Lucky”
“Cartel Land”
“Censored Voices”
“Coming Home”
“Dark Horse”
“Deli Man”
“Dior and I”
“The Diplomat”
“(Dis)Honesty – The Truth about Lies”
“Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll”
“Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon”
“Eating Happiness”
“Every Last Child”
“Evidence of Harm”
“Farewell to Hollywood”
“Finders Keepers”
“The Forecaster”
“Frame by Frame”
“Gardeners of Eden”
“A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile”
“Godspeed: The Story of Page Jones”
“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”
“He Named Me Malala”
“Heart of a Dog”
“How to Change the World”
“The Hunting Ground”
“I Am Chris Farley”
“In Jackson Heights”
“In My Father’s House”
“India’s Daughter”
“Ingrid Bergman – In Her Own Words”
“Iraqi Odyssey”
“Janis: Little Girl Blue”
“Karski & the Lords of Humanity”
“Killing Them Safely”
“Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck”
“Lambert & Stamp”
“A Lego Brickumentary”
“Listen to Me Marlon”
“Live from New York!”
“The Look of Silence”
“Meet the Patels”
“The Mind of Mark DeFriest”
“Misery Loves Comedy”
“Monkey Kingdom”
“A Murder in the Park”
“My Italian Secret”
“My Voice, My Life”
“Of Men and War”
“One Cut, One Life”
“Only the Dead See the End of War”
“The Outrageous Sophie Tucker”
“Peace Officer”
“The Pearl Button”
“Pink & Blue: Colors of Hereditary Cancer”
“The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers”
“Prophet’s Prey”
“Racing Extinction”
“The Resurrection of Jake the Snake”
“Ride the Thunder – A Vietnam War Story of Victory & Betrayal”
“The Russian Woodpecker”
“Searching for Home: Coming Back from War”
“Seeds of Time”
“The Seven Five”
“Seymour: An Introduction”
“A Sinner in Mecca”
“Something Better to Come”
“Song from the Forest”
“Song of Lahore”
“Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine”
“Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans”
“Stray Dog”
“Sunshine Superman”
“Sweet Micky for President”
“Tab Hunter Confidential”
“The Tainted Veil”
“Tap World”
“Thao’s Library”
“Those Who Feel the Fire Burning”
“3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets”
“The Touch of an Angel”
“TransFatty Lives”
“The True Cost”
“Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of New Yorker Cartoonists”
“The Wanted 18”
“We Are Many”
“We Come as Friends”
“We Were Not Just…Bicycle Thieves. Neorealism”
“Welcome to Leith”
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
“What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy”
“Where to Invade Next”
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”
“The Wolfpack”

RIP Maureen O'Hara

Maureen O'Hara, just this year, won an Honorary Oscar, a well-deserved and long-over recognition for an incredible classic actress who had never even scored a nomination despite decades of tremendous work. Yesterday, at the age of 95, Maureen O'Hara passed away. This is truly a sad day in the film industry, but also a perfect occasion to remember her remarkable career. Here are just a few of the films she starred in: How Green Was My Valley, The Quiet Man, The Parent Trap, Miracle on 34th Street, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Black Swan, This Land is Mine, Buffalo Bill, Baghdad, Rio Grande, Our Man in Havana, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, and countless others. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends, may she rest in peace.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The 25th IFP Gotham Award Nominations

I love when the Gothams role around, it means we are inching every so closer to the flood gate of precursor awards for the upcoming Oscar season. This year, as always, the Gotham folks pick some bold choices, always snub some that will easily pick up steam later, and confirm early Oscar contenders. It should come as no surprise then that Carol and Spotlight led the way today. Room also got some love, but no Best Picture nod. There are also some boosts for smaller films like Diary of a Teenage Girl, Tangerine, While We're Young, Love & Mercy, and some nice boosts for smaller performances hoping to breakthrough this season like Blythe Danner, Bel Powley, Lily Tomlin, and Michael Shannon. Here is the full list:

Best Feature
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Heaven Knows What

Best Actor
Christopher Abbott "James White"
Kevin Corrigan "Results"
Paul Dano "Love & Mercy"
Peter Sarsgaard "Experimenter"
Michael Shannon "99 Homes"

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett "Carol"
Blythe Danner "I'll See You In My Dreams"
Brie Larson "Room"
Bel Powley "The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
Lily Tomlin "Grandma"
Kristen Wiig "Welcome to Me"

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award
Desiree Akhavan "Appropriate Behavior"
Jonas Carpigano "Mediterranea"
Marielle Heller "The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
John Magary "The Mend"
Josh Mond "James White"

Breakthrough Actor
Rory Culkin "Gabriel"
Arielle Holmes "Heaven Knows What"
Lola Kirke "Mistress America"
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez "Tangerine"
Mya Taylor "Tangerine"

Best Screenplay
Phyllis Nagy "Carol"
Marielle Heller "The Diary of a Teenage Girl"
Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner "Love & Mercy"
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer "Spotlight"
Noah Baumbach "While We're Young"

Best Documentary
Approaching the Elephant
Cartel Land
Heart of a Dog
Listen to Me Marlon
The Look of Silence

Chris Rock to Host the Oscars

I know that Chris Rock ruffled a lot of feathers when he first hosted the Oscars, but I personally found it hilarious, and his opening monologue is still one of the best in recent memory. Personally, some of those older, conservative voters need their feathers ruffled every once in a while. I am personally thrilled to see a bit of edge being brought to the ceremony. All of this is to say that earlier rumors have been confirmed that Chris Rock, the comedian, whose recent Top Five was a horribly snubbed film by the Academy, is going to host his second Oscar ceremony, the first in a decade. He is an award-winning comedian, one of the best working in stand up, television, and film, and so far the reaction to his announcement has seem to be mostly ecstatic. The 88th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

2015 Soul Train Award Nominations

Album of the Year
Chris Brown "X"
D'Angelo and the Vanguard "Black Messiah"
Jill Scott "Woman"
Tyrese "Black Rose"
The Weeknd "Beauty Behind the Madness"

Song of the Year
Common & John Legend "Glory"
Jidenna feat. Roman Gianarthur "Classic Man"
Rihanna "Bitch Better Have My Money"
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars "Uptown Funk"
The Weeknd "Earned It"

Best R&B/Soul Male Artist
Chris Brown
Trey Songz
The Weeknd

Best R&B/Soul Female Artist
Tamar Braxton
Janet Jackson
Janelle Monae
Jill Scott

Best New Artist
Alessia Cara
Dej Loaf
Jussie Smollett

Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year
Big Sean feat. Drake and Kanye West "Blessings"
Big Sean feat. E-40 "Idfwu"
Fetty Wap "The Queen"
Kendrick Lamar "Alright"
Nicki Minaj feat. Drake & Lil Wayne "Truffle Butter"

Best Collaboration
Big Sean Feat. Drake & Kanye West "Blessings"
Common & John Legend "Glory"
Nicki Minaj feat. Beyonce "Feeling Myself"
Omarion feat. Chris Brown and Jhene Aiko "Post to Be"
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars "Uptown Funk"

The Ashford and Simpson Songwriter's Award
Lonnie Rashid Lynn, John Roger Stephens and Che Smith "Glory" (John Legend and Common)
Jermaine L. Cole, Damon Coleman, Filippo Trecca "Apparently" (J.Cole)
Mark Ronson, Rudolph Taylor, Lonnie Simmons, Philip Martin Lawrence II, Peter Gene Hernandez, Jeffrey Nath Bhasker, Nicholaus Joseph Williams, Devon Christopher Gallaspy, Robert Lynn Wilson, Charles K. Wilson, Ronnie Wilson "Uptown Funk" (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars)
Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye, Ahmad "Belly"  Balshe, Jason Quenneville, Stephen Moccio "Earned It" (The Weeknd)

Video of the Year
Beyonce "7/11"
Jidenna feat. Roman Gianarthur "Classic Man"
Kendrick Lamar "Alright"
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars "Uptown Funk"
The Weeknd "Earned It"

Best Gospel/Inspirational Song
Erica Campbell "More Love"
Kirk Franklin "Wanna Be Happy?"
Fred Hammond feat. Breann Hammond "I Will Trust"
Lecrae "All I Need Is You"
Marvin Sapp "Yes You Can"

Best Dance Performance
Beyonce "7/11"
Chris Brown and Tyga "Ayo"
Janelle Mone & Jidenna "Yoga"
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars "Uptown Funk"
Silento "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)"

Centric Certified Award
Chrisette Michele
The Internet
Vivian Green

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: First Golden Globe Predictions - Actor and Actress in a Comedy/Musical

Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical
Sandra Bullock "Our Brand is Crisis"
Amy Schumer "Trainwreck"
Maggie Smith "The Lady in the Van"
Meryl Streep "Ricki and the Flash"
Lily Tomlin "Grandma"

Other Contenders - Melissa McCarthy "Spy", Judi Dench "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", Anne Hathaway "The Intern", Tina Fey "Sisters", Amy Poehler "Sisters", Blythe Danner "I'll See You in My Dreams", Mae Whitman "The DUFF", Diane Keaton "Love the Coopers", Anna Kendrick "Pitch Perfect 2", Naomi Watts "While We're Young", Patricia Clarkson "Learning to Drive", Bel Powley "Diary of a Teenage Girl", Kristen Wiig "Welcome to Me", Olivia Cooke "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl", Annette Bening "Danny Collins", Reese Witherspoon "Hot Pursuit", Sofia Vergara "Hot Pursuit", Emma Stone "Irrational Man", Emma Stone "Aloha", Taissa Farmiga "The Final Girls", Kate Hudson "Rock the Kasbah", Kristen Stewart "American Ultra"

Commentary - There are two women I feel like are safe bets at this point, and are probably the two who will battle it out for the prize. The first is the new Emmy-winning darling, and awesome SNL host Amy Schumer, who is now a critical darling and a genuine star. Her Trainwreck was this summer's big raunchy comedy, and Schumer is now too big of a star for the always star-hunger HFPA to ignore. The other is the legendary Lily Tomlin. She is getting a lot of Oscar buzz for Grandma, and is a powerhouse in the film. Tomlin has never won an individual Globe (she won a special one for Short Cuts), and it would be an awesome moment at the ceremony. Maggie Smith's The Lady in the Van premiered at the fests, and most of the praise came for her performance. The last two are based on name solely. Ricki and the Flash might have been a bit of a bomb, but never discount the Globes and their love for Meryl Streep. Finally, while Our Brand is Crisis is getting roasted by the critics, there is still a lot of praise for her performance despite the overall product. Once again, don't discount her star power. I would love to see Melissa McCarthy get nominated for Spy, the best comedy so far this year. But to date, Melissa McCarthy has never (somehow) earned a Golden Globe nomination. Judi Dench is a strong contender for The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and if they remember how much the film made, she could easily get in. Anne Hathaway is great in The Intern (even if the overall product is mixed at best), and the Sisters that are the great Amy Poehler and Tina Fey could have some good will left over from their hosting jobs the last three years. Blythe Danner is charming in I'll See You in My Dreams, Mae Whitman leads DUFF, Anna Kendrick is infectious in Pitch Perfect 2, and the indie comedies offer Kristen Wiig, Bel Powley, Olivia Cooke, Patricia Clarkson, and Naomi Watts. Diane Keaton could be a knockout in Love the Coopers, as could Kate Hudson in Rock the Kasbah. And despite its terrible reviews do not discount the star-studded duo of Hot Pursuit, Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara.

Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical
Steve Carell "The Big Short"
Bradley Cooper "Burnt"
Bryan Cranston "Trumbo"
Robert DeNiro "The Intern"
Matt Damon "The Martian"

Other Contenders - Bill Hader "Trainwreck", Bill Murray "Rock the Kasbah", Al Pacino "Danny Collins", Thomas Mann "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl", Christian Bale "The Big Short", Brad Pitt "The Big Short", Joaquin Phoenix "Irrational Man", Mark Ruffalo "Infinitely Polar Bear", Paul Rudd "Ant-Man", Billy Bob Thornton "Our Brand is Crisis", Ben Stiller "While We're Young", Shameik Moore "Dope", Ben Kingsley "Learning to Drive", Kevin Hart "The Wedding Ringer", Will Smith "Focus", Will Ferrell "Get Hard", Kevin Hart "Get Hard", Bradley Cooper "Aloha", Mark Wahlberg "Ted 2", Channing Tatum "Magic Mike XXL", Adam Sandler "Pixels", Ed Helms "Vacation", Jesse Eisenberg "American Ultra", Bruce Willis "Rock the Kasbah", Tye Sherdian "Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse", John Goodman "Love the Coopers", Joseph Gordon-Levitt "The Night Before"

Commentary - So The Martian looks to jump start its Oscar campaign by submitting as a comedy, and it could win, and Matt Damon could be brought along with the film. Burnt has yet to be seen, but Bradley Cooper is a bona fide star, and a good early guess. The Big Short is getting a ton of buzz, and while I'm still not sure who is the lead, Steve Carell is getting the most buzz at the moment of the three. Trumbo, which premiered to great reviews for its star Bryan Cranston, will probably try to go as a comedy, and between the performance, and the lingering love for Breaking Bad, he will probably be a shoo-in. Finally, while The Intern was mixed at best, Robert DeNiro carries the film on his back, and is a beloved veteran. Beyond those five there are a lot of potentials. Al Pacino is great in Danny Collins, Bill Hader as well in Trainwreck, Bill Murray and Bruce Willis could be fantastic in Rock the Kasbah, and Thomas Mann is charming for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Mark Ruffalo, Ben Still, Shameik Moore, and Ben Kingsley represent the indie offerings, and Paul Rudd, Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, John Goodman, and Will Ferrell represent the big guys. Tye Sheridan, Channing Tatum, Billy Bob Thornton, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt should also be considered.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions - Best Picture

Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl 
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out
The Martian
The Revenant
Steve Jobs 

Other Contenders -  Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, Black Mass, Beasts of No Nation, Son of Saul, Sicario, In the Heart of The Sea, In the Heart of the Sea, The Big Short, By the Sea, Straight Outta Compton, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, Trumbo, Secrets in Their Eyes, The Good Dinosaur, Youth, Truth, Grandma, The Lady in the Van, Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Suffragette, Love & Mercy, Anomalisa, Truth, Youth, Creed, 45 Years, Legend, Macbeth, 99 Homes, Burnt, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Paper Towns, Concussion, The Walk, Spectre, Our Brand is Crisis, I'll See You In My Dreams, Hello, My Name is Doris, Ant-Man, Spy, Cinderella, Ex Machina, Paddington, Dope

Commentary - Let's first start with the unknowns, that I think will be huge contenders in the next couple of weeks. David O. Russell returns with another Jennifer Lawrence vehicle in Joy, Quentin Tarantino returns to the West with The Hateful Eight, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu hopes to recapture his Birdman magic with The Revenant. These are all Oscar-nominated or Oscar-winning directors/screenwriters, with incredible casts, and buzz. The rest, at least the rest I am predicting, are all known entities with a lot of buzz out of the fall festivals. Leading the way is Spotlight, which came bursting out of the fests with a deafening buzz. It is timely, a great cast, and an up and coming director, all pointing to a bunch of Oscar nods. Todd Haynes Carol remains a popular film after its premiere in Cannes. Todd Haynes has never gotten a film nominated for Best Picture, but this might be his first. Tom Hooper returns to the mix, a few years after his Les Miserable went on to be an Oscar darling, with the incredibly prevalent transgender story The Danish Girl. Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies is our latest contender out of New York, and apparently, it is Spielberg at his best, something Oscar voters eat up. Steve Jobs feels like this year's The Social Network, and in terms of a Best Picture nomination, that is a very good thing. Finally, the last two slots I am reserving for the big guys. The Oscar voters need to embrace some more populist films this year, or their Academy leadership will starting moving things around yet again. Rating matter for those folks, and last year's numbers, with so many indies in the lead, were not inspiring. There are two at this point that feel like top ten picks. The first is The Martian, which is soaring at the box office, is seemingly beloved by everyone who sees it, and will probably be the front runner for the Comedy/Musical Golden Globe, giving it a big platform to win a big prize. Finally, and definitely not forgotten is Inside Out. Pixar hasn't had a film like this in awhile, and in the expanded Best Picture race, its films like Up and Toy Story 3, films on the same par as something like Inside Out, have managed to get in. I think that the best studio in Hollywood today gets back in with the big guys. So who does that leave out? Films like Sundance darling Brooklyn, the incredible Mad Max: Fury Road, the rough, but apparently magnificent Beasts of No Nation, the foreign contender Son of Saul, Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea (which was pushed to a more Oscar friendly date by the studio, the tempting The Big Short, the summer smash Straight Outta Compton, and of course, Star Wars. There other big contenders like Avengers, Cinderella, Spy, Paper Towns, The Walk, Spectre, Black Mass and The Good Dinosaur. It leaves out Room, which is probably not the smartest move at this point. While early reviews did not make it seem like an Oscar contender for Best Picture, its wins out of TIFF, and its continuing rise make that seem like a wrong early prediction. Then there are some of the smaller folks like Grandma, Youth, Truth, 45 Years, Macbeth, 99 Homes, Burnt, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and I'll See You in My Dreams. Finally there are the wild cards like Concussion, Our Brand is Crisis, Secrets in Their Eyes, and By the Sea. 

2015 American Music Award Nominations

Artist of the Year
Luke Bryan
Ariana Grande
Maroon 5
Nicki Minaj
One Direction
Ed Sheeran
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor
The Weeknd

New Artist of the Year
Fetty Wap
Sam Hunt
Tove Lo
Walk The Moon
The Weeknd

Song of the Year
Wiz Khalifa feat, Charlie Puth “See You Again”
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk!”
Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift “Blank Space”
The Weeknd “Can’t Feel My Face”

Collaboration of the Year
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth “See You Again”
Rihanna & Kanye West feat. Paul McCartney “FourFiveSeconds”
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk!”
Skrillex & Diplo feat. Justin Bieber “Where Are Ü Now”
Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar “Bad Blood”

Favorite Male Artist - Pop/Rock
Nick Jonas
Ed Sheeran
Sam Smith

Favorite Female Artist - Pop/Rock
Ariana Grande
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor

Favorite Duo or Group - Pop/Rock
Maroon 5
One Direction
Walk The Moon

Favorite Album - Pop/Rock
Ed Sheeran "X"
Sam Smith "In The Lonely Hour"
Taylor Swift "1989"

Favorite Male Artist - Country
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Sam Hunt

Favorite Female Artist - Country
Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Carrie Underwood

Favorite Duo or Group - Country
Zac Brown Band
Florida Georgia Line
Little Big Town

Favorite Album - Country 
Jason Aldean "Old Boots, New Dirt"
Florida Georgia Line "Anything Goes"
Sam Hunt "Montevallo"

Favorite Artist - Rap/Hip-Hop
Fetty Wap
Nicki Minaj

Favorite Album - Rap/Hip-Hop
J. Cole "2014 Forest Hills Drive"
Drake "If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late"
Nicki Minaj "The Pinkprint"

Favorite Male Artist - Soul/R&B
Chris Brown
Trey Songz
The Weeknd

Favorite Female Artist - Soul/R&B
Mary J.  Blige

Favorite Album - Soul/R&B
Chris Brown "X"
D’Angelo and The Vanguard "Black Messiah"
The Weeknd "Beauty Behind the Madness"

Favorite Artist - Alternative Rock
Fall Out Boy
Walk The Moon

Favorite Artist - Adult Contemporary
Ed Sheeran
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor

Favorite Artist - Latin
Enrique Iglesias
Ricky Martin
Romeo Santos

Favorite Artist - Contemporary Inspirational 
Casting Crowns
Hillsong United

Favorite Artist - EDM
Calvin Harris
David Guetta

Favorite Soundtrack
Fifty Shades of Grey
Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1
Pitch Perfect 2

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions - Best Director

Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions
Danny Boyle "Steve Jobs"
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu "The Revenant"
Tom McCarthy "Spotlight"
David O. Russell "Joy"
Steven Spielberg "Bridge of Spies"

Other Contenders - Quentin Tarantino "The Hateful Eight", Todd Haynes "Carol", Ridley Scott "The Martian", George Miller "Mad Max: Fury Road", J.J. Abrams "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens", John Crowley "Brooklyn", Lenny Abrahamson "Room", Tom Hooper "The Danish Girl", Laszlo Nemes "Son of Saul", Scott Cooper "Black Mass", Angelina Jolie "By the Sea", Sarah Gavron "Suffragette", Denis Villenueve "Sicario", Pete Docter "Inside Out", Ron Howard "In the Heart of the Sea", Cary Joji Fukunaga "Beasts of No Nation", F. Gary Gray "Straight Outta Compton", Billy Ray "Secret in Their Eyes", Sam Mendes "Spectre", Jay Roach "Trumbo", Bill Pohlad "Love & Mercy", Adam McKay "The Big Short", Paolo Sorrentino "Youth", James Vanderbilt "Truth", Andrew Haigh "45 Years", Justin Kurzel "Macbeth", Guillermo Del Toro "Crimson Peak", Robert Zemeckis "The Walk", Bill Condon "Mr. Holmes", Ryan Coogler "Creed", Olivier Assayas "Clouds of Sils Maria", Paul Weitz "Grandma", David Gordon Green "Our Brand is Crisis", Peter Landesman "Concussion", Joss Whedon "Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron", Paul Feig "Spy", Charlie Kaufman "Anomalisa", Rick Famuyiwa "Dope", Alfonso Gomez-Rejon "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl", Alex Garland "Ex-Machina", Paul King "Paddington"

Commentary - This race, as always, is simply brutal. Right now some of the folks sitting on the outside looking in: Tom Hooper for The Danish Girl, Ridley Scott for The Martian, Ron Howard "In the Heart of the Sea", and most importantly, Quentin Tarantino for The Hateful Eight. All of these directors brilliant, previous winners or nominees, and all huge threats. But for now they are on the outside looking in. Danny Boyle has yet to be nominated since his win in 2008 for Slumdog Millionaire, but the reviews and box office for Steve Jobs suggest that he could easily snag nod number two. Tom McCarthy is one of my favorite indie directors from recent years with films like The Station Agent, and Win Win. His latest Spotlight (after last year's The Cobble was an epic disaster),  is now the current Oscar front runner for Best Picture, and he, of course, looks like he will come along for the ride. Finally, of the seen contenders, Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies has premiered, and while it is definitely an old-school type of film, it is getting raves from critics, and most of the praise is in the fact that it is simply a hell of a movie, impeccably made by a director, and a stunning creative teams, that is still at the top of his game. Then there are the that have yet to be seen, but I would be stupid not to predict. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu returns just a year after winning for Birdman, with The Revenant, and David O. Russell hopes to go 4 for 4 with Joy. Both are in this until evidence suggests otherwise. So beyond those five, and the four mentioned in the beginning, the race just continues to deepen. You have newcomers like John Crowley, Lenny Abrahamson, and Sarah Gavron who has struck Oscar buzz with positive festival premieres. The legendary George Miller finally showed a lot of other directors out there (George Lucas), how to correctly reboot and revision a franchise, Angelina Jolie hopes to overcome the Unbroken problem with By the Sea, Pete Docter should be in the conversation for the best film of 2015 so far Inside Out, and Cary Joji Fukunaga is getting a lot of critical support for his brutal Beasts of No Nation. There are the big guys like J.J. Abrams, Guillermo Del Toro, Sam Mendes, F. Gary Gray, Joss Whedon, and Paul Feig, who hope to ride box office success to Oscar glory. Robert Zemeckis and Bill Condon are veterans with well-liked new projects. Paolo Sorrentino and Laszlo Nemes hope to join other foreign directors who have managed to capture the attention of the Directors Branch. Throw in James Vanderbilt, Olivier Assayas, Jay Roach, Bill Pohlad, Paul Weitz, David Gordon Green, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Scott Cooper, Ryan Coogler, Justin Kurzel, Peter Landesman, Billy Ray, Charlie Kaufman, and Andrew Haigh, and this is a race that could be a mystery till the nominations are announced.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Post Telluride/Venice/Toronto Predictions - Best Actor

Post Telluride/Venice/Toronto Predictions
Matt Damon "The Martian"
Johnny Depp "Black Mass"
Leonardo DiCaprio "The Revenant"
Michael Fassbender "Steve Jobs"
Eddie Redmayne "The Danish Girl"

Other Contenders - Tom Hanks "Bridge of Spies", Michael Caine "Youth", Will Smith "Concussion", Bryan Cranston "Trumbo", Jake Gyllenhaal "Southpaw", Bradley Cooper "Burnt", Geza Rohrig "Son of Saul", Michael Fassbender "Macbeth", Joseph Gordon-Levitt "The Walk", Tom Courtenay "45 Years",  John Cusack "Love & Mercy", Abraham Attah "Beasts of No Nation", Steve Carell "The Big Short", Christian Bale "The Big Short", Brad Pitt "The Big Short", Brad Pitt "By the Sea", Chris Hemsworth "In the Heart of the Sea", Samuel L. Jackson "The Hateful Eight", Kurt Russell "The Hateful Eight", Channing Tatum "The Hateful Eight", Tom Hiddleston "I Saw the Light", Chiwetel Ejiofor "Secret in Their Eyes", Ian McKellen "Mr. Holmes", Antonio Banderas "The 33", Robin Williams "Boulevard", Shameik Moore "Dope", Tom Hardy "Legend", Jesse Eisenberg "The End of the Tour", Thomas Mann "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl", Tobey Maguire "Pawn Sacrifice", Michael B. Jordon "Creed", Andrew Garfield "99 Homes", Daniel Craig "Spectre", Joaquin Phoenix "Irrational Man"

Commentary - If you peruse across the predictions, articles, podcasts, etc. of the Oscar season four actors, one still sight unseen seem to be holding places in the top five. First and foremost is Michael Fassbender playing Steve Jobs. The films is getting raves, and Fassbender is at its center. After getting a nomination for 12 Years a Slave two years ago, he is now on the radar, and he has a knockout. Black Mass has slipped in recent weeks as newer contenders have emerged, and lets face it, the film overall is not that great, but there is still plenty of buzz for Johnny Depp. He has the narrative, the reviews, and could make an Oscar comeback. Eddie Redmayne could become the first actor since Tom Hanks to win this award back to back. Honestly, as the buzz has moved and changed, I don't see the voters going for it again, especially with so many on the ballot that have yet to win. But the reviews are great for Redmayne, his role is timely, and I think he will easily score his second nomination. Finally, sight unseen, there is a lot of buzz for Leonardo DiCaprio for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's The Revenant. It could end up not being a player, but if it is, then no actor is more deserving than the way overdue DiCaprio. So there are the consensus four among most folks who look at this race. It is that fifth slot that feels up for grabs. My money is on Matt Damon. He could easily win the Comedy/Musical Globe (I know the film has funny moments, but an outright comedy feels like a bit of a stretch), and carries a film that is clearly well-liked across the board. Tom Hanks and Bridge of Spies have launched themselves into the Oscar fray, but if he could not get nominated for Captain Phillips, I don't know if he can do it here, where apparently he is good, but doesn't have the range or physicality of the previous film. Will Smith is getting a lot of buzz ahead of Concussion, and could be his first nomination in over a decade. Bryan Cranston is getting rave reviews for Trumbo, even the film has some mixed opinions. Jake Gyllenhaal lifts an otherwise so-so Southpaw, Geza Rohrig is going to get a huge push for the Hungarian smash Son of Saul, and John Cusack is certainly worthy for his Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy. Bradley Cooper has his role in Burnt, a movie he made sure got made (remember American Sniper?), one of The Hateful Eight guys could get bumped up (rumor is Samuel L. Jackson, which would mess up my Supporting Actor nominations), and The Big Short guys are in the same boat. Tom Hiddleston and Tom Hardy lift bad projects with great performances, Thomas Mann is Endearing, Michael B. Jordon is owed a nod for Fruitvale Station, Chris Hemsworth could prove his acting might in In the Heart of the Sea, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great in The Walk, Tom Courtenay holds his own against Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years, Ian McKellen is Mr. Holmes, and young Abraham Attah could join Idris Elba in the buzz for Beasts of No Nation.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

81 Films/Countries For Best Foreign Language Film

Here are the 81 submission for Best Foreign Language Film, predictions to come soon!

Afghanistan, “Utopia,” Hassan Nazer, director
Albania, “Bota,” Iris Elezi, Thomas Logoreci, directors
Algeria, “Twilight of Shadows,” Mohamed Lakhdar Hamina, director
Argentina, “The Clan,” Pablo Trapero, director
Australia, “Arrows of the Thunder Dragon,” Greg Sneddon, director
Austria, “Goodnight Mommy,” Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala, directors
Bangladesh, “Jalal’s Story,” Abu Shahed Emon, director
Belgium, “The Brand New Testament,” Jaco Van Dormael, director
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Our Everyday Story,” Ines Tanović, director
Brazil, “The Second Mother,” Anna Muylaert, director
Bulgaria, “The Judgment,” Stephan Komandarev, director
Cambodia, “The Last Reel,” Sotho Kulikar, director
Canada, “Félix and Meira,” Maxime Giroux, director
Chile, “The Club,” Pablo Larraín, director
China, “Go Away Mr. Tumor,” Han Yan, director
Colombia, “Embrace of the Serpent,” Ciro Guerra, director
Costa Rica, “Imprisoned,” Esteban Ramírez, director
Croatia, “The High Sun,” Dalibor Matanić, director
Czech Republic, “Home Care,” Slavek Horak, director
Denmark, “A War,” Tobias Lindholm, director
Dominican Republic, “Sand Dollars,” Laura Amelia Guzmán, Israel Cárdenas, directors
Estonia, “1944,” Elmo Nüganen, director
Ethiopia, “Lamb,” Yared Zeleke, director
Finland, “The Fencer,” Klaus Härö, director
France, “Mustang,” Deniz Gamze Ergüven, director
Georgia, “Moira,” Levan Tutberidze, director
Germany, “Labyrinth of Lies,” Giulio Ricciarelli, director
Greece, “Xenia,” Panos H. Koutras, director
Guatemala, “Ixcanul,” Jayro Bustamante, director
Hong Kong, “To the Fore,” Dante Lam, director
Hungary, “Son of Saul,” László Nemes, director
Iceland, “Rams,” Grímur Hákonarson, director
India, “Court,” Chaitanya Tamhane, director
Iran, “Muhammad: The Messenger of God,” Majid Majidi, director
Iraq, “Memories on Stone,” Shawkat Amin Korki, director
Ireland, “Viva,” Paddy Breathnach, director
Israel, “Baba Joon,” Yuval Delshad, director
Italy, “Don’t Be Bad,” Claudio Caligari, director
Ivory Coast, “Run,” Philippe Lacôte, director
Japan, “100 Yen Love,” Masaharu Take, director
Jordan, “Theeb,” Naji Abu Nowar, director
Kazakhstan, “Stranger,” Yermek Tursunov, director
Kosovo, “Babai,” Visar Morina, director
Kyrgyzstan, “Heavenly Nomadic,” Mirlan Abdykalykov, director
Latvia, “Modris,” Juris Kursietis, director
Lebanon, “Void,” Naji Bechara, Jad Beyrouthy, Zeina Makki, Tarek Korkomaz, Christelle Ighniades, Maria Abdel Karim, Salim Haber, directors
Lithuania, “The Summer of Sangaile,” Alanté Kavaïté, director
Luxembourg, “Baby (A)lone,” Donato Rotunno, director
Macedonia, “Honey Night,” Ivo Trajkov, director
Malaysia, “Men Who Save the World,” Liew Seng Tat, director
Mexico, “600 Miles,” Gabriel Ripstein, director
Montenegro, “You Carry Me,” Ivona Juka, director
Morocco, “Aida,” Driss Mrini, director
Nepal, “Talakjung vs Tulke,” Basnet Nischal, director
Netherlands, “The Paradise Suite,” Joost van Ginkel, director
Norway, “The Wave,” Roar Uthaug, director
Pakistan, “Moor,” Jami, director
Palestine, “The Wanted 18,” Amer Shomali, Paul Cowan, directors
Paraguay, “Cloudy Times,” Arami Ullón, director
Peru, “NN,” Héctor Gálvez, director
Philippines, “Heneral Luna,” Jerrold Tarog, director
Poland, “11 Minutes,” Jerzy Skolimowski, director
Portugal, “Arabian Nights – Volume 2, The Desolate One,” Miguel Gomes, director
Romania, “Aferim!” Radu Jude, director
Russia, “Sunstroke,” Nikita Mikhalkov, director
Serbia, “Enclave,” Goran Radovanović, director
Singapore, “7 Letters,” Royston Tan, Kelvin Tong, Eric Khoo, Jack Neo, Tan Pin Pin, Boo Junfeng, K. Rajagopal, directors
Slovakia, “Goat,” Ivan Ostrochovský, director
Slovenia, “The Tree,” Sonja Prosenc, director
South Africa, “The Two of Us,” Ernest Nkosi, director
South Korea, “The Throne,” Lee Joon-ik, director
Spain, “Flowers,” Jon Garaño, Jose Mari Goenaga, directors
Sweden, “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence,” Roy Andersson, director
Switzerland, “Iraqi Odyssey,” Samir, director
Taiwan, “The Assassin,” Hou Hsiao-hsien, director
Thailand, “How to Win at Checkers (Every Time),” Josh Kim, director
Turkey, “Sivas,” Kaan Müjdeci, director
United Kingdom, “Under Milk Wood,” Kevin Allen, director
Uruguay, “A Moonless Night,” Germán Tejeira, director
Venezuela, “Gone with the River,” Mario Crespo, director
Vietnam, “Jackpot,” Dustin Nguyen, director

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions - Best Actress

Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions
Cate Blanchett "Carol"
Brie Larson "Room"
Jennifer Lawrence "Joy"
Carey Mulligan "Suffragette"
Saoirse Ronan "Brooklyn"

Other Contenders - Cate Blanchett "Truth", Meryl Streep "Ricki and the Flash", Lily Tomlin "Grandma", Maggie Smith "The Lady in the Van", Charlotte Rampling "45 Years", Blythe Danner "I'll See You in My Dreams", Sally Field "Hello, My Name is Doris", Julianne Moore "Freeheld", Sandra Bullock "Our Brand is Crisis", Emily Blunt "Sicario", Julia Roberts "Secret in Their Eyes", Marion Cotillard "Macbeth", Charlize Theron "Mad Max: Fury Road", Angelina Jolie "By the Sea", Sarah Silverman "I Smile Back", Helen Mirren "Woman in Gold", Melissa McCarthy "Spy", Amy Schumer "Trainwreck", Bel Powley "The Diary of a Teenage Girl", Jennifer Lawrence "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2", Drew Barrymore "Miss You Already", Juliette Binoche "Clouds of Sils Maria", Emma Stone "Irrational Man", Greta Gerwig "Mistress America", Alicia Vikander "Testament of Youth", Carey Mulligan "Far From the Maddening Crowd"

Commentary - For the first time in a while, this race is truly deep, and is truly a race to watch, which is a welcomed change from recent years where it seemed like voters had to scrape to get to five nominees. At the top of the pack are young stars with big roles in potential Best Picture contenders. After being virtually ignored by the big awards for her stunning role in Short Term 12, Brie Larson might finally get some recognition for her stunning performance in Room, a quiet, yet potent Best Picture potential. Two previous nominees could also return to the fold. While this week's controversy might set them back (a ridiculous controversy based on a misunderstanding that was completely blown out of proportion), but Carey Mulligan, who has been putting out outstanding work since her nod for An Education in 2009, still has a great shot at nomination #2. The other is Saoirse Ronan. Brooklyn is one of those I think will play well, but it might struggle to get in to some of these categories. That being said, reviews suggest that no matter what happens with the film overall, Ronan is going to be a major player going forward. Cate Blanchett could return quickly after winning for Blue Jasmine with two different roles. I think of the two that Carol is still her safe bet, as it looks like the bigger contender overall across the categories. Finally, sight unseen, it is probably safe to say that Jennifer Lawrence is going to be magnetic in David O. Russell's latest, Joy. I will reserve a slot for her until I hear/see otherwise. That is just the top five, which is impressive. There is a whole slew of potentials waiting just on the outside. The veterans this year are definitely making a comeback. Ricki and the Flash may have bombed, but Meryl Streep is, well, Meryl Streep. Blythe Danner's I'll See You In My Dreams was the first screener sent to voters this season, hoping to get her beautiful performance recognized before the madness descends on voters. Sally Field is a favorite, and is getting rave reviews for Hello, My Name is Doris, Charlotte Rampling could get British support for 45 Years, Julianne Moore shines in a mediocre Freeheld, Sandra Bullock shines in a mediocre Our Brand is Crisis, Julia Roberts looks great in Secret in Their Eyes, Angelina Jolie could strike gold with By the Sea, and Marion Cotillard is getting raves for Macbeth. I would also like to personally throw in the three performances from this summer: Charlize Theron, Melissa McCarthy, and Amy Schumer into the mix, because genre barriers are tiring, and great performances, period, should be recognized.

John Williams to Receive AFI Lifetime Achievement Award

Kudos to the American Film Institute today. For the first time, in 44 years, they are honoring someone outside of the actor and director fields to reward its first composer with its coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. The actual ceremony will not be till June of 2016, and in between now and then he will probably receive yet another Oscar nomination, bringing his grand total to a whopping 50 nominations, and he could win his sixth Oscar for the new Star Wars film. John Williams is the greatest American film composer of all time next to greats like Henry Mancini and Elmer Bernstein. His scores are as synonymous with their films as the actors and directors who made them, and he is easily one of the most recognizable names in Hollywood. Congrats to Williams, and congrats to the AFI, who I hope will continue to look to tech and music greats within the industry. By the way, here are some of William's notable scores: Fiddler on the Roof, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Wars, Superman, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., The Return of the Jedi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Empire of the Sun, Born on the Fourth of July, Home Alone, JFK, Hook, Schindler's List, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Catch Me if You Can, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Munich, Memoirs of a Geisha, War Horse, Lincoln, and The Book Thief.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions - Best Supporting Actor

Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions
Bradley Cooper "Joy"
Tom Hardy "The Revenant"
Samuel L. Jackson "The Hateful Eight"
Michael Keaton "Spotlight"
Mark Rylance "Bridge of Spies"

Other Contenders - Idris Elba "Beasts of No Nation", Robert DeNiro "Joy" Mark Ruffalo "Spotlight", Joel Edgerton "Black Mass", Benicio Del Toro "Sicario", Bruce Dern "The Hateful Eight", Kurt Russell "The Hateful Eight", Walton Goggins "The Hateful Eight", Demian Bichir "The Hateful Eight", Michael Madsen "The Hateful Eight", Tim Roth "The Hateful Eight", Jacob Tremblay "Room", Robert Redford "Truth", Sylvester Stallone "Creed", Paul Dano "Love & Mercy", Paul Giamatti "Love & Mercy", Harvey Keitel "Youth", Seth Rogen "Steve Jobs", Jeff Daniels "Steve Jobs", Jason Segal "The End of the Tour", Sam Elliot "Grandma", Tom Holland "In the Heart of the Sea", Cillian Murphy "In the Heart of the Sea", O'Shea Jackson Jr. "Straight Outta Compton", Corey Hawkins "Straight Outta Compton", Jason Mitchell "Straight Outta Compton", Emory Cohen "Brooklyn", Michael Shannon "Freeheld", Steve Carell "Freeheld", Michael Shannon "99 Homes", Liev Schreiber "Spotlight", Matthias Schoenaerts "The Danish Girl", Michael Sheen "Far From the Maddening Crowd", Oscar Isaac "Ex Machina", Michael Douglas "Ant-Man", Harrison Ford "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens", Mark Hammill "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens", Adam Driver "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens", Nicholas Hoult "Mad Max: Fury Road", Lewis Black "Inside Out", Bill Hader "Inside Out"

Commentary - There are plenty of contenders emerging out of the fall festivals, and yet, so far, I am still reserving a few slots for contenders unseen. Two in particular have emerged, in my opinion, straight into the top slots. First is Michael Keaton. After unceremoniously losing last year for Birdman, he is back again with a vengeance. Spotlight has emerged as one of the top Oscar contenders, and this time around he could finally get the Oscar that he is owed. The other one has emerged recently, and it should not come as any surprise. Bridge of Spies is getting a ton of buzz out of the New York Film Festival. At the top of the list is Mark Rylance. He is a recent Emmy nominee, a multiple Tony winner, and is considered one of the best actors alive. He is also apparently pretty amazing in the film. He could easily get his first Oscar nomination soon. The other three current predictions are unknowns. Quentin Tarantino has had great luck in this category with Christoph Waltz, and with the deep lineup for The Hateful Eight, you feel like one of these guys is going to get in. My money is on Samuel L. Jackson. He is probably the hardest working actor in Hollywood, is always a standout in Tarantino films, and is way, way, way overdue for an Oscar. The Revenant bring Inarritu to the fold just a year after winning a lot of Oscars for Birdman. The film looks great, and Tom Hardy, who has been hovering around awards for awhile now, could finally cross into the top five. Plus his Mad Max role this year doesn't hurt. Finally, Bradley Cooper has become a safe bet as of late, and with he and DeNiro in the mix, we would be stupid to ignore them, especially in a David O. Russell film. Speaking of DeNiro, he is not far from the top five. Neither is Idris Elba, a name most people are predicting. A well-liked talented actor with a great role backed by Netflix, who knows how to campaign. But Beasts of No Nation is apparently so tough, I just don't know if Oscar voters will embrace it. Joel Edgerton and Benicio Del Toro are top names in projects that should do well with voters, but are not slam dunks. The Hateful Eight, In the Heart of the Sea, and Straight Outta Compton have so many contenders that some sorting out has to be done to see if anybody is worthy or at least winning at the Oscar game. Newcomer Jacob Trembley, veterans Robert Redford, Sylvester Stallone, and Paul Giamatti are in the mix. So are the Steve Jobs pair, Michael Shannon, Paul Dano, Matthias Schoenaerts, the other Spotlight guys (especially Mark Ruffalo), and Harvey Keitel are all ones to watch. This is going to be a fun and competitive race to watch.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bridge of Spies Lands A New York Film Festival and The Martian Makes a Bundle

So two major updates in the Oscar race, and both make me lean towards Best Picture nominations.

First and foremost, Bridge of Spies, the Cold War-era Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks thriller premiered at the New York Film Festival to pretty good reviews. It looks like Spielberg has another historical hit on his hands, and let's remind ourselves, that Spielberg + History = Best Picture Nomination. Just look at Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Munich, War Horse, Lincoln, and now probably Bridge of Spies which is said to be a rousing Cold War drama that is well-acted, impeccably crafted, and incredibly entertaining. This feels like the perfect fit for those older voters of the Academy, and actually could inspire a lot of support across the branches. Tom Hanks missed out for Captain Phillips (a crime to this day in my opinion), and apparently, while he is convincing, it is not a stretched performance, and Amy Ryan has not had any reviews to suggest good or bad (and that category has a lot of contenders this year, so good will is probably not enough). But Mark Rylance is getting rave reviews, is a beloved stage actor with a ton of Tonys, and received an Emmy nomination this year, there could be some space for him in the Best Supporting Actor race.

Then there is the story of The Martian. It is a beloved film among critics, with pretty great reviews backing it, and it is a hit with audiences. It is technically superior from a legendary director, with a popular leading man, and has just raked in one of the biggest hauls in October history, almost beating Gravity, with $55 Million over the course of its opening weekend. Basically, this feels like the movie that Interstellar wanted to be. It has the heart, and the brains, and while it is clearly not a perfect movie, its box office haul proves it is one that is enticing a lot of folks. Popularity isn't everything, but this movie feels like the kind of film that Oscar voters need to embrace. Maybe they want, but after this weekend, this will be a film that is hard to ignore over the next couple of months.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions - Best Supporting Actress

Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions
Jennifer Jason Leigh "The Hateful Eight"
Rooney Mara "Carol"
Rachel McAdams "Spotlight"
Alicia Vikander "The Danish Girl"
Kate Winslet "Steve Jobs"

Other Contenders - Joan Allen "Room", Diane Ladd "Joy", Virginia Madsen "Joy", Jane Fonda "Youth", Amy Ryan "Bridge of Spies", Jessica Chastain "The Martian", Jessica Chastain "Crimson Peak", Elizabeth Banks "Love & Mercy", Julie Walters "Brooklyn", Kristen Stewart "Clouds of Sils Maria", Gugu Mbatha-Raw "Concussion", Elizabeth Olsen "I Saw the Light", Helena Bonham Carter "Suffragette", Meryl Streep "Suffragette", Anne Marie Duff "Suffragette", Laura Linney "Mr. Holmes", Phylicia Rashad "Creed", Helen Mirren "Trumbo", Sarah Paulson "Carol", Rose Byrne "Spy", Ellen Page "Freeheld", Julianne Nicholson "Black Mass", Rachel Weisz "Youth", Nicole Kidman "Secret in Their Eyes", Sienna Miller "Burnt", Keira Knightley "Everest", Rachel Weisz "The Lobster", Scarlett Johansson "Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron", Bryce Dallas Howaird "Jurassic Park", Allison Janney "Spy", Rosie Huntington-Whiteley "Mad Max: Fury Road", Zoe Kravitz "Mad Max: Fury Road", Rene Russo "The Intern", Elisabeth Rohm "Joy", Kristen Wiig "The Diary of a Teenage Girl", Kristen Wiig "The Martian", Melanie Laurent "By the Sea", Rachel McAdams "Southpaw", Brie Larson "Trainwreck", Zoe Kazan "Our Brand is Crisis", Ann Dowd "Our Brand is Crisis"

Commentary - Coming out of the fall festivals, there are now three known entities that seem like safe bets, at least at this early stage in the race. First and foremost is Rooney Mara, who I feel like is the front runner. She essentially is the co-lead with Blanchett but is being campaigned in supporting. Given the screen time, let alone the rave reviews, she will be a tough competitor. Alicia Vikander is another contender that probably should be in lead, but is once again being campaigned in supporting. We knew that Eddie Redmayne would be a interesting contender, but honestly, of the two, it feels like its Vikander, who is going to have a Jessica Chastain-esque year with about five major releases, has the most heat. Kate Winslet, who has not been nominated since her win for The Reader, is said to be a standout among a mostly male cast in Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin's hot new contender Steve Jobs. The season can change at any moment, new contenders can emerge, and original contenders can fall by the wayside. But these three feel safe at the moment. The other two slots are definitely up in the air. Sight unseen, there is a lot of buzz for Jennifer Jason Leigh, and it really feels like Hollywood is banking on a comeback. Of course there was a lot of heat for Margot at the Wedding a few years ago, and that did not turn out as well. But that was not a Tarantino movie, and he has yet to make a dud. Finally, Spotlight is tearing up the Oscar punditry right now, and a lot of the love seems to be on its cast. Yet, Michael Keaton seems to be the only one getting a lot of support. I think that if this film is going to be the one to beat, it is going to bring along another actor with it. Rachel McAdams has been churning out great work for years now and she is the only major female among a large cast of guys. I think this could be her first real shot at an Oscar nomination. But this means that I am leaving out the actresses from Joy, and David O. Russell's track record suggests one of them has a really good shot at a nod. Joan Allen has a small role in Room, but it is apparently powerful. Jessica Chastain has two options this year, Jane Fonda is apparently a knockout in Youth, Elizabeth Banks should be invited to the party for Love & Mercy, and Kristen Stewart has already made history with her role in Clouds of Sils Maria. There are several folks looking for a first nomination including Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, Julianne Nicholson, Phylicia Rashad, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Rose Byrne, the Mad Max girls, and Kristen Wiig. Then there are the veterans including Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter for Suffragette (roles are probably too small), Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, Laura Linney, Ellen Page, Keira Knightley, and Rachel Weisz. As always, we'll have to wait and see...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

2016 Grammys: First Look at Best Pop Vocal Album

James Bay "Chaos and the Calm"
Charli XCX "Sucker"
Michelle Chamuel "Face the Fire"
Kelly Clarkson "Piece By Piece"
Miley Cyrus "Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz"
Hilary Duff "Breathe In. Breathe Out"
Fifth Harmony "Reflection"
Florence + The Machine "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful"
Ben Folds "So There"
Selena Gomez "For You"
Josh Groban "Stages"
Ella Henderson "Chapter One"
Jessie J "Sweet Talker"
Nick Jonas "Nick Jonas"
Tori Kelly "Unbreakable Smile"
Elle King "Love Stuff"
Adam Lambert "The Original High"
Mary Lambert "Heart On My Sleeve"
Leona Lewis "I Am"
Madonna "Rebel Heart"
Katherine McPhee "Hysteria"
Shawn Mendes "Handwritten"
Angie Miller "Weathered"
Olly Murs "Never Been Better"
One Direction "Four"
Lana Del Rey "Honeymoon"
Mark Ronson "Uptown Special"
Nate Ruess "Grand Romantic"
Taylor Swift "1989"
Bella Thorne "Jersey"
Meghan Trainor "Title"
Jessie Ware "Tough Love"
Brian Wilson "No Peer Pressure"
You + Me "Rose Ave."

First 2016 Predictions
Kelly Clarkson "Piece By Piece"
Florence + The Machine "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful"
Mark Ronson "Uptown Funk"
Taylor Swift "1989"
Meghan Trainor "Title"

The Oscar Narrative: Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions - The Techs Part 2

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat "The Danish Girl"
Michael Giacchino "Inside Out"
Johann Johannson "Sicario"
Thomas Newman "Bridge of Spies"
John Williams "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens"

Other Contenders - Thomas Newman "Spectre", Harry Gregson-Williams "The Martian", Michael Brook "Brooklyn", James Horner "Southpaw", John Powell "Pan", Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL "Mad Max: Fury Road", Roque Banos "In the Heart of the Sea", Alexandre Desplat "Suffragette", Howard Shore "Spotlight", Alan Silvestri "The Walk", Dario Marianelli "Everest", Dan Romer "Beasts of No Nation", Craig Armstrong "Far From the Maddening Crowd", James Newton Howard "Concussion", Atticus Ross "Love & Mercy", Daniel Pemberton "Steve Jobs", Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna "The Good Dinosaur", Carter Burwell "Legend", Carter Burwell "Mr. Holmes", Fernando Velazquez "Crimson Peak", Hans Zimmer "Freeheld", Carter Burwell "Anomalisa", Michael Giacchino "Joy"

Best Sound Mixing
Jurassic Park
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Other Contenders - The Revenant, Inside Out, Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, In the Heart of the Sea, Everest, Steve Jobs, The Hunger Games: Mockinjay Part 2, The Hateful Eight, The Walk, Bridge of Spies, Black Mass, Furious 7, Tomorrowland, Macbeth, Crimson Peak, Creek, Ex Machina, Spotlight, Beasts of No Nation, Southpaw, Cinderella, Fantastic Four, The Last Witch Hunter, Pan, San Andreas, Ant-Man, Suffragette, Spy, Ricki and the Flash, Love & Mercy, I Saw the Light, Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation

Best Sound Editing
Jurassic Park
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Other Contenders - The Revenant, Inside Out, Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, In the Heart of the Sea, Everest, Steve Jobs, The Hunger Games: Mockinjay Part 2, The Hateful Eight, The Walk, Bridge of Spies, Black Mass, Furious 7, Tomorrowland, Macbeth, Crimson Peak, Creek, Ex Machina, Spotlight, Beasts of No Nation, Southpaw, Cinderella, Fantastic Four, The Last Witch Hunter, Pan, San Andreas, Ant-Man, Suffragette, Spy, Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation

Best Visual Effects
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
The Walk

Other Contenders - Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Pan, The Hunger Games: Mockinjay Part 2, Cinderella, In the Heart of the Sea, Spectre, Ex Machina, Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation, Everest, Terminator Genisys, San Andreas, Tomorrowland, The Last Witch Hunter, Crimson Peak, Fantastic Four, Victor Frankenstein

Friday, October 2, 2015

2016 Grammys: First Look at Best Rap Album

A$AP Rocky "At. Long. Last. A$AP"
Astro "Computer Era"
Azealia Banks "Broke With Expensive Taste"
B.O.B. "Psycadelik Thoughtz"
Big Sean "Dark Sky Paradise"
Chris Brown & Tyga "Fan of a Fan: The Album"
Dr. Dre "Compton"
Drake "If You're Reading This It's Too Late"
Fetty Wap "Fetty Wap"
Lupe Fiasco "Tetsuo & Youth"
Flo Ride "My House"
Flying Lotus "You're Dead!"
The Game "Blood Moon: Year of the Wolf"
J. Cole "2014 Forest Hills Drive"
Kendrick Lamar "To Pimp a Butterfly"
Ludacris "Ludaversal"
Method Man "The Meth Lab"
Nicki Minaj "The Pinkprint"
Pitbull "Dale"
Pitbull "Globalization"
Public Enemy "Man Plans God Laughs"
Raekwon "Fly International Luxurious Art"
Rick Ross "Hood Billionaire"
Scarface "Deeply Rooted"
Snoop Dogg "Bush"
Rae Sremmurd "SremmLife"
T.I. "Paperwork"
Tyler The Creator "Cherry Bomb"
Wale "The Album About Nothing"
Wu-Tang Clan "A Better Tomorrow"

First 2016 Predictions
Drake "If You're Reading This It's Too Late"
Dr. Dre "Compton"
J. Cole "2014 Forest Hills Drive"
Kendrick Lamar "To Pimp a Butterfly"
Nicki Minaj "The Pinkprint"

The Oscar Narrative: Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions - The Techs Part 1

Best Cinematography
Roger Deakins "Sicario"
Hoyte Van Hoytema "Spectre"
Emmanuel Lubezki "The Revenant"
Robert Richardson "The Hateful Eight"
John Seale "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Other Contenders - Janusz Kaminski "Bridge of Spies", Daniel Mendel "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens", Danny Cohen "The Danish Girl", Anthony Dod Mantle "In the Heart of the Sea", Edward Lachman "Carol", Alwin Kuchler "Steve Jobs", Christian Berger "By the Sea", Dariusz Wolski "The Martian", Dariusz Wolski "The Walk", Dan Laustsen "Crimson Peak", Cary Joji Fukunaga "Beasts of No Nation", John Mathieson and Seamus McGarvey "Pan", Danny Cohen "Room" Salvatore Totino "Everest", Barry Ackroyd "The Big Short", Dick Pope "Legend", Masanobu Takayanagi "Black Mass", Adam Arkapaw "Macbeth", Masanobu Takayanagi "Spotlight", Luca Bigazzi "Youth", Ben Davis "Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron", Russell Carpenter "Ant-Man", Haris Zambarloukos "Cinderella", Matyas Erdely "Son of Saul"

Best Costume Design
Crimson Peak
The Danish Girl

Other Contenders - Brooklyn, Suffragette, Far From the Maddening Crowd, Youth, The Revenant, The Hateful Eight, Bridge of Spies, Pan, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, Mad Max: Fury Road, Trumbo, In the Heart of the Sea, I Saw the Light, Black Mass, Legend, Mr. Holmes, Spectre, By the Sea, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, The Last Witch Hunter, The Martian

Best Film Editing
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Steve Jobs

Other Contenders - Bridge of Spies, The Martian, The Hateful Eight, The Danish Girl, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, Spectre, Sicario, Carol, In the Heart of the Sea, Brooklyn, Creed, Secret in Their Eyes, The Big Short, Beasts of No Nation, Son of Saul, Burnt, Youth, Suffragette, Room, Clouds of Sils Maria, Ricki and the Flash, Crimson Peak, By the Sea, The Walk, Macbeth, Cinderella, Concussion, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Spy, Black Mass, Pan, Ant-Man, Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Other Contenders - Pan, The Revenant, Carol, Black Mass, The Martian,  Crimson Peak, In the Heart of the Sea, Cinderella, The Hateful Eight, Macbeth, Steve Jobs, The Walk, Mr. Holmes, Victor Frankenstein, The Last Witch Hunter, Jupiter Ascending, Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Ricki and the Flash, I Saw The Light, Far From the Maddening Crowd, Creed, Southpaw, Spy

Best Production Design
Bridge of Spies
The Revenant
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Other Contenders - Brooklyn, Pan, The Hateful Eight, Steve Jobs, Crimson Peak, Mad Max: Fury Road, Far From the Maddening Crowd, In the Heart of the Sea, Suffragette, The Martian, Mr. Holmes, Joy, Macbeth, Sicario, Room, Secret in Their Eyes, The Big Short, Youth, Ex Machina, By the Sea, Black Mass, Tomorrowland, The 33, Trumbo, Victor Frankenstein, Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2"

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2016 Grammys: First Look at Best Country Album

Alabama "Southern Drawl"
Jason Aldean "Old Boots, New Dirt"
Kelsea Ballerini "The First Time"
Clint Black "On Purpose"
Wade Bowen "Wade Bowen"
Garth Brooks "Man Against Machine"
Laura Bell Bundy "Another Piece of Me"
Luke Bryan "Kill the Lights"
Luke Bryan "Spring Break...Checkin' Out"
Jason Michael Carroll "What Color is Your Sky"
Easton Corbin "About to Get Real"
Billy Currington "Summer Forever"
Brett Eldredge "Illinois"
Tyler Farr "Suffer in Peace'
Florida Georgia Line "Anything Goes"
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell "The Traveling Kind"
Hunter Hayes "21"
Sam Hunt "Montevallo"
Alan Jackson "Angels and Alcohol"
Jewel "Picking Up the Pieces"
Little Big Town "Pain Killer"
Maddie and Tae "Start Here"
Reba McEntire "Love Somebody"
Ashley Monroe "The Blade"
Montgomery Gentry "Folks Like Us"
Kip Moore "Wild Ones"
Kacey Musgraves "Pageant Material"
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard "Django & Jimmie"
Thomas Rhett "Tangled Up"
Darius Rucker "Southern Style"
Canaan Smith "Bronco"
Cole Swindell "Down Home Sessions"
Trisha Yearwood "PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit"
Dwight Yoakum "Second Hand Heart"
Zac Brown Band "Jekyll & Hyde"

First 2016 Predictions
Sam Hunt "Montevallo"
Ashley Monroe "The Blade
Kacey Musgraves "Pageant Material"
Darius Rucker "Southern Style"
Zac Brown Band "Jekyll & Hyde"