Friday, February 27, 2015

RIP Leonard Nimoy

Some sad news to report. Leonard Nimoy, the legendary actor most famous for his role as Spock on Star Trek has passed away at the age of 83. His role as Spock made him an instant legend, always ensured he had a legion of fans, and seamlessly would never run out of work as Star Trek continues to be a force in pop culture. But Nimoy was a talented actor beyond the Star Trek realm, a poet, did some music (not entirely successfully, but nonetheless recorded several albums). He was a talented voice over actor with voice that is as iconic as the actor himself. He was also a father, husband, grandfather, and great-grandfather. I'm know he will be missed by the legions of fans who worship him, and of course by his family and close friends. My thoughts and prayers are with those family members and friend today. Rest in Peace old friend.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron Second Trailer

I know I am behind on this one, but in the heat of the Oscar season I missed a lot of big news about the upcoming Oscar season. So let me play some catch up. This film will probably not make head waves in Best Picture, but it will be a big contender in the tech categories and is sure to tear up the summer box office. Check out the most recent trailer below:

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

30. The Fighter (2010) - Since 2010, David O. Russell has received three Best Director nominations in what has become a sort of career renaissance. The first of this trio of great films was 2010's The Fighter. The Fighter, like all of the recent David O. Russell films, is a hot mess, but I really do mean that in a good way. It
is the story of Mickey Ward, and his screwed up family including his ambitious mother Alice (Melissa Leo), his druggy brother Dickey (Christian Bale), and his fiery love interest Charlene (Amy Adams). Mickey's life is messy, it is complicated, and for every fight in the ring, there are plenty of fights outside of it. So Russell's chaotic, loud, and messy approach to the film fits absolutely perfectly into the characters that he develops, and the story he is trying to tell, and when it all concludes you realized that it has been a hell of a ride. Russell's emergence has inspired a lot of hate among commentators, bloggers, and pundits, as his style is a bit unconventional. But with The Fighter and his later projects, Russell somehow makes it work. For all the chaos in his films, there is still a surprising control of the story, and an impeccable eye and use of craft. Russell doesn't get enough credit for the success of his films because he usually has such incredible casts that are packed with talent and star power, and The Fighter is no exception. Christian Bale earned his Oscar for this role as a drug-addict who is Mickey's confidant, mentor, and coach, when he is not busy being self destructive. Bale lost weight for the role, did his research, and created an incredible character that shows his craft as an actor. Melissa Leo's Alice is a manipulative, self-interested monster that you still kind of like because for all of her evil she cares about her family and wants them to succeed. It is a layered character that earned Leo a well-deserved Oscar as well. Amy Adams was once again the bridesmaid, watching her co-star win award after awards, but she held her own against such big personalities, and proved her ability to stretch herself as an actor. Last, but certainly not least was Mark Wahlberg. Mark Wahlberg's only Oscar nomination came for his over-the-top role in The Departed, but his best work came here in The Fighter. He may not have been as loud and brash as his co-stars, but he was the heart and soul of the film, proved that he really is a talented actor that doesn't get the recognition he deserves.

29. Argo (2012) - Argo got a lot of flack in that 2012 Oscar season, including from this blogger. My favorite film of the year was Lincoln, and I just couldn't understand why it wasn't winning Best Picture. Yes, I look back and realize that I was being irrational and petty, but when your in the heat of the moment of Oscar season, and you love a film, you can't help but be a bit ridiculous. If I wasn't passionate about what I was doing, I would have given up the game years ago. I recently re-watched Argo, and while I still think it is a pale comparison to Lincoln, I truly began to understand why it was so well-liked by critics, moviegoers, and the industry. Argo is a great film. It is a fun, thrilling film that shows us a slice of history previously unknown, and shows us the talents of a film maker that has finally hit his stride. Ben Affleck was one of my least
favorite actors, and honestly he was not a good actor, until he got himself behind the camera. I think as soon as he got a different perspective, he became a better actor in the process. And Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo proved that Affleck has a real eye behind the camera. He impeccably crafts this story and gives it its energy. And I hate that we have to wait till 2016 to see his next directorial achievement Live By Night, which looks to be another historical film, this time set in Prohibition. The one award I was particularly mad it won was the SAG Ensemble award. Once again, I was being stupid, and petty, because when I re-watched, I realized how great of an ensemble piece it was. You had the biggies like Affleck, Arkin, Cranston, and Goodman. But you had plenty of great performances from character and television actors including Victor Garber, Tate Donovan, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina, Zeljko Ivanek, and Clea DuVall. They crackled with the script, added much needed comedic relief, and yes, earned that ensemble win. Argo is one of those films that will continue to inspire hate from so many. When a film is successful, it always inspires backlash. But from now on, I am going to keep my mouth shut about it, because hindsight is always 20/20. Argo won Best Picture because it was a well-made, well-acted, entertaining historical thriller that is worth a second view.

28. The Descendants (2011) - I loved Kaui Hart Hemming's novel about a struggling family in Hawaii after their mother/wife falls into a coma after a boating accident with the man she was having an affair with. It was warm and funny, but also deeply complicated and emotional. These two poles blended seamlessly together into an inspiring work. I was so happy to see that Alexander Payne, of the best American directors working today, and his team of talented screenwriters were able to perfectly capture and translate Hemming's work to the screen. Did I mention that Payne is one of the best directors working today? Luckily the Directors Branch of the Academy has recognized his work, because there are still plenty out there that do not rank him
high enough. His films may not be flashy or considered incredible directorial achievements, but in their own way they are great achievements because he has created a class of films that explore the American people in life, death, and always adding rich and dark comedy, as life always seems to do. The Descendants is yet another notch in Payne's belt, and yet another great portrait of real people in real situations. Payne also brought out the best in George Clooney an actor I respect, but I also feel relies on his charm to overcome a lot on screen. There is a certain amount of that in The Descendants, as always, but Clooney, who has always done well at comedy, also hits his dramatic and emotional notes with ease. He is the heart and soul of The Descendants, and he does probably his best acting work to date by embracing his role. Another standout among the cast was Shailene Woodley, who narrowly missed out on an Oscar nomination for the role. Up until this role she was best known for her work on the TV show The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which is not something to necessarily to be proud of. But her fiery and complicated part in this film showed the world her incredible talents and since then has continued to shine in films such as The Spectacular Now and The Fault in Our Stars, and is now a huge box office star thanks to Divergent. The cast was great, but in the end the credit and the success goes full circle back to Payne. He doesn't make too many films, in the last decade, only three. But when he does, he knocks it out the park.

27. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) - Beasts of the Southern Wild was the little indie that could. It was made on a practically nonexistent budget by a young filmmaker with completely unknown actors. The fact that this film went on to earn four Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress is a true testament to the power and the vision behind this piece. When Benh Zeitlin got the last slot for Best Director in early 2013, there was an audible gasp in the crowd, and I'm sure there were plenty more around the world. But if you go back and watch Beasts of the Southern Wild, it is not hard to see why the Directors Branch found love for the film. It is gritty, most likely due to the low budget, but there are some incredible shots, the vision is bold and inventive, and honestly, it is hard to tell that this is his first full-length
film. Little Quvenzhane Wallis has become a movie star thanks to her role here, and Dwight Henry got a lot of positive buzz off of his role. Both were completely unknown actors that brought an authenticity to the screen, but you never once doubted their skill and talent. Both are clearly talented actors, and with Benh Zeitlin's skill they were able to give powerful and magnetic performances, even though it was their first time at bat. But Zeitlin, and his co-screenwriter Lucy Alibar, deserve most of the credit for Beasts of the Southern Wild's success. They beautifully constructed a not-so-distant future that speaks to a number of issues including poverty, climate change, and growing-up. They also shrouded their story in darkness so that hope and courage, in the form of Hushpuppy, could find the light. It was an exuberant film experience, a pitch-perfect Southern noir that came from nothing, and became a profound hit, and one of the best films of the decade.

26. Moonrise Kingdom (2012) - This year, Wes Anderson finally earned his first Academy Award nomination for directing, and The Grand Budapest Hotel became the first film of his to earn a Best Picture nomination. For those of us who have been following Anderson's films and his career, these honors are a long time coming. Many of us also thought he might finally cross that threshold in 2012 with Moonrise Kingdom. Alas he did not, but he did earn another screenplay nomination, oh and he created one of his finest films to date. The biggest complaint that most people have about Wes Anderson films is that for all of their quirk, they seem to be lacking heart. Moonrise Kingdom, a sweet tale of young love and rebellion, was the
first film that finally silenced his critics. Don't get me wrong, like all of his films, Moonrise Kingdom was wacky, clever, and quirky comedy that was a nice combination of funny and odd. Like all of his films, the cast was large and quite impressive. Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, and Bob Balaban make up the incredible adult cast, all of whom are on their A-Game. And new additions Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward play the young couple at the center of the film, and both clearly have a grasp of the Wes Anderson quirk. And of course, the cinematography, production design, setting, score, and costumes provide plenty of charming backgrounds that capture the unique aesthetic of its director's vision. But what sets Moonrise Kingdom apart, is its heart. It is not some cheesy or weepy heart-string tugger. But it has a layer of sweetness to it that adds just the right amount of depth to make Moonrise Kingdom Wes Anderson's most accessible, and probably best film to date (a close race with The Grand Budapest Hotel). It would have been nice to see him take home an Oscar, but one day he will, and when he does it will be a win that will surely resonate with film lovers around the world.

25. The Help (2011) - Before you begin to criticize this pick, just stop while you are ahead. Yes, The Help, both its source material, and the film itself, are a bit pat. Yes, they gloss over too much of the true violence and hatred of the South during the Civil Rights Movement, and yes, its balancing humor really does evolve around someone eating a shit pie. But first, if you didn't pump your fists and laugh out loud when Hilly ate that pie, then you have no heart, because it was funny as hell, and she got exactly what she deserved. But I digress. The Help is still one of my favorite films of this decade despite its obvious flaws, and the reason should be crystal clear. I love movies where actors get to just go free and tear up the screen, and The Help has one of the best casts in recent memory. It was a huge hit led by a cast of women, proving Cate Blanchett's point that the world is really round. Viola Davis was robbed of an Oscar for her hauntingly
beautiful and devastating performance. That last scene was so emotional, yet so controlled, showing the skill of one of our finest actors working today. Octavia Spencer did win that Oscar (Thank God at least one of them did), for showing us Minnie's strength, her sass, and her vulnerabilities. Emma Stone gets some great screen time as our lead, and her journey to expose a world not seen by many was noble. Jessica Chastain played Spencer's dynamic duo of a lost and weak young wife who found strength in herself, and her friend. Of course every film has a villain, but Bryce Dallas Howard managed to find some depth to her hatred, and gave us someone worthy to root against. Allison Janney was a scene-stealer, as always, and between her performance and Sissy Spacek there was plenty of comic relief. Throw in a dose of the great Cicely Tyson, and as I said, you quite simply have one of the best ensemble casts in recent memory. These women lit up the screen, showed strength and courage, as well as incredible acting ability, and took what would have been a mediocre project and turned it into something wonderful.

24. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) - The YA genre of books has exploded over the last several years, and take it from this librarian, it has expanded well beyond its age group. Within this expansions there have been two distinctly different tracks. You either have the dystopia, futuristic action flicks, or the heartfelt and honest looks at real life. Both have their merits, and both have been wildly succesful in their translations to the big screen. But I have profoundly preferred the real stories, with films like The Fault in Our Stars (not eligible for this list) and The Spectacular Now (already on this list), and the same writing duo of those two films is tackling John Green's Paper Towns, and I'm sure the results will be splendid. But before all of those films was Stephen Chbosky's own adaptation of his hit novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. While the film is marketed for a younger audience it has universal appeal, and while it was not quite the hit that things like The Hunger Games and Divergent were, it was a worthy entry into a stuffed canon of films that not only
stood out, but was successful in its own right. The script beautifully captured the heart and pain of the novel, and Chbosky, despite not being separated from the original work, was able to know when to leave things out, and when to move things when necessary to make the film experience a reflection of the work, while its own entity (something I honestly think was the main problem with Gone Girl and Gillian Flynn, even though I liked the film). But it is our trio of leading actors here that steal the screen, and it is probably this work, among other quality entries that has launched a new generation of talented actors. Emma Watson proved that she was not a one tricky Harry Potter pony with a well-thought and beautifully constructed character. Logan Lerman had a quiet charm that at just the right moments had the ability to knock you over. But it was Ezra Miller, already a standout from his work in City Island and We Need to Talk About Kevin that proved that he is a magnetic screen presence with an electricty that is infectious and lights up the entire ensemble around him. These three create an unforgettable team, and combined with a refreshingly real and honest look at real life at that age, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was easily the best coming of age film of the decade so far.

23. Please Give (2010) - Nicole Holofcener has a track record of  great ensembles going into the depths of dark comedy that are both difficult to watch and also incredibly entertaining and funny, a hard combination to pull off. Enough Said, Friends With Money, and Lovely & Amazing are all excellent pieces that show off her skill, and her ability to assemble a great combination of actors. Her 2010 work Please Give is my second favorite piece of hers (as you will see!), and it is easily one of her best films to date. It is the story of an incredibly selfish and yet outwardly unselfish and guilty couple who are waiting on their elderly neighbor to die, so that they can buy her apartment and combine the two. Yes, it is an incredibly cynical. But Holofcener's script adds just enough bite, and just a dash of the right amount of humor to pull you along despite wanting to literally hit some of these characters over the head with something large. Plus the characters that she creates are mind-boggling complex. They are incredibly screwed up, flawed, and yet you understand why they are the way they are. You want to see how their journey ends, you want to see if they are capable of what you think they are. It is tragedy and comedy blended together in a way that keeps you engrossed. Of course none of this would be possible without a knock-em dead cast. Veteran Ann Morgan Guilbert, yes Yetta from The Nanny, proves her comedic chops here, and takes what could be one of those thankless "grandma roles" and makes it worth watching. Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet, two incredibly under-rewarded actors, playing polar opposite sisters work well against each other. But it is the family in the center of the drama, played by Oliver Platt, Sarah Steele, and particularly the incredibly talented Catherine Keener that anchor the ensemble with their witty, and psychologically fascinating family dynamic. Please Give is not a film for everyone, and it certainly has its detractors, but it is a fascinating tragic comedy that is worth a second look.

22. 50/50 (2011) - Pairing cancer diagnosis and treatment with a Seth Rogen, pot-head style comedy is a huge risk to take. You either end up killing all of the humor out of the film, or you end up taking too lightly such a serious subject. It is a fine line, and it takes skillful writers, directors, and actors to balance out both sides in a way that really works. Luckily for us, 2011's 50/50 had all three. First and foremost is the work of writer Will Reiser and director Jonathan Levine, but particularly Reiser's script. I don't honestly know how he managed to pull it off, but this is film where one minute you are literally laughing your ass off, and the next minute you feel the tears welling up in your eyes because their is a touch of truly effective emotion. Like I said, it is a tough balance, but Reiser easily pulls it off, and when I look back at snubs for screenplays, this
one is high on the list. Luckily, while the Academy ignored it the Writers Guild of America did give it a well-deserved nomination. It was nice to see that writers recognized the skill, care, and impeccable talent it took to pull it off. The acting is as good as the script, particularly its two leads Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen. Gordon-Levitt has made his mark several times, and it was not a shock to me that he was able to pull off the role with ease. But it was Seth Rogen that surprised me. He did a lot of his funny Seth Rogen stuff, which always works, but it is not a surprise anymore. But he also really dug deep, and took the buddy comedy approach to the film to new depths. The success of the film depended on him stretching himself as an actor, and he pulled it off. The supporting cast pulled its own weight as well. Bryce Dallas Howard plays a good bitch in many roles (from what I have seen from her interviews, she herself is not one at all, but damn she nails it in several different films), and Anna Kendrick, despite not having as much to do as I would have hoped, still makes her mark. The real star though among these talented women is the fantastic Angelica Huston. As the mother trying to make sense of her son's disease, her performance is the one among the bunch that had the most effect on me, and seriously broke my heart. 50/50 remains a beacon for film comedies that want to be smart, have a lot of heart, and still make you laugh till you cry. It is a rare but incredibly delicious treat when you get all three.

21. Mud (2012) - Mud is one of those films that did not make much of a dent on the overstuffed 2012 Oscar circuit. A few critics nods, the Robert Altman Award at the Indie Spirits, and some film festival notices were about it for the film. I get it. 2012 was a great year for awards-friendly films, and it simply, not for lack of quality, just got lost in the shuffle. Well I hope that maybe these few sentences from this paragraph will make you dust it out of the pile, and rediscover what is truly a gem of a film. Led my Matthew McConaughey, the mysterious drifter with a haunted past, Mud is chocked full of talented veterans, bright newcomers, and combined it is one of the best ensembles in recent memory. McConaughey, who was in the middle of his career rejuvenation was fantastic. Reese Witherspoon in a limited role as the abused girl who Mud longs for once again, gives us a incredibly effective look at long-lost love and the horrifying results of
domestic abuse. It might have been a small role, but that character, and the pain that she suffered, may have helped her find her grit and her pain in Wild, which earned her a second Oscar nomination. The two kids in the film, Jacob Lofland, but particularly the fantastic Tye Sheridan act way beyond the abilities of many older actors working today. Sheridan, of course, is the lead, and since Mud he has done some more incredible work, and it looks like he has some incredibly baity projects on the horizon. He is one to watch for in the not so distant future. Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon, Ray McKinnon, and the always incredible Sarah Paulson round out a great ensemble piece. But at its heart and center is the work of its writer/director Jeff Nichols. It is hard to believe that Mud is only Nichols' third film. His first Shotgun Stories has some issues, but Take Shelter was a jaw-dropping masterpiece (as you shall see). Mud continues his streak, and sets him up as one of the most unique and daring young filmmakers working today. He has captured the art of telling brilliant Southern gothic tales that are an unusual, but incredibly well blended mix of horror, action, thriller, romance, and rural attitude. Mud is a handsome mix of all these elements, and while it could have been an awkward piece with random tonal shifts, Nichols steady hand and brilliant script hold it together marvelously.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Another Year Down...

Well another Oscar year has come and gone, and like all of them this season was filled with highs and lows, and in the end, a group of incredibly deserving winners. But before we dive into the winners, and the season as a whole, let's talk about the ceremony. After sitting through what felt like a particularly long ceremony, a thought popped into my mind: fire these producers. The reason the show, overall, worked as well as it did was because you had talented people involved, five great original song performances, and some spirited and passionate winners that delivered memorable speeches (Simmons, Arquette, Common/John Legend, and all of Inarritu's just to name a few). All of these things succeeded despite the producers. They and their writers even managed to dull Neil Patrick Harris, who had a few good moments, but also had a lot of jokes and bits fall flat (boy Octavia Spencer deserves an Oscar for playing along with that locked box bit). The fact that they chose their song for Jennifer Hudson to sing after the in memoriam (from Smash of all things), and the fact that they slipped yet another musical tribute (Okay so the Lady Gaga and Julie Andrews combo turned into one of the shows best moments, but the original thought was my issue) just proved that this duo is a self-absorbed group of guys that don't seem to think about anything other than obvious self-promotion. Ratings will probably drop this year because of the indie choices, but I hope it is also the catalyst that keeps them from returning.

Now onto the winners. There were a lot of films that inspired passionate supporters, and each of the eight Best Picture nominees walked away with at least one Oscar. So everybody's favorite got some love, and for those of us who loved multiple nominees this year, that was nice to see, especially after so many nominees went home empty handed last year. For those in the Boyhood camp though, last night was a heart-breaker. The Arquette win was great, but for a film that some people predicted would win up to four awards, walking away with only one has definitely left some folks feeling burned. Boyhood was a remarkable achievement, but so was Birdman. So was The Grand Budapest Hotel, Selma, and Whiplash for that matter. Those in the Boyhood camp have already labeled the Birdman win as a narcissistic, and conventional choice on the part of Oscar voters, as compared to the once-in-a-lifetime experience that Boyhood was. For me, I was thrilled to see that the top four films this year for the Academy were Boyhood, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Whiplash. We shouldn't be dividing into camps, trashing each other, nor labeling any win as appalling or the wrong choice, especially among these four films. We should all be celebrating the fact that such bold and un-Academy films had such impact on the industry this year. Starting with Ang Lee's win for Life of Pi, continuing with Cuaron and 12 Years a slave last year, and now with the choices almost across the board this year (as always there were a few conventional choices), the Academy is moving in a direction that I think I really like. Would I have liked to have seen the love spread to Linklater and Anderson as well as Inarritu? Yes. Would I have preferred that the Birdman love would have spread to Michael Keaton? Of Course. But when the Academy gets a heck of a lot more right than it does wrong, that is reason enough to celebrate. So my favorite wins of the night: Simmons and Moore, Whiplash for Editing, Birdman for Picture and Director, and Glory for Original Song.

This was a season that became embroiled in controversy, and became politically charged. Every major biopic took a hit this season. Selma and American Sniper became a battle of race and politics, of conservative versus liberal. It is not worth going into exorbitant detail, as we have all just lived through it and there is no need to rehash. But the politics spilled over to the ceremony itself as puns about Citizenfour, as well as women's rights, civil rights, and gay rights came to the forefront. So it is no surprise that in the midst of all the controversy, that voters looked inward. Birdman does fit the model of a movie about the business equals Oscar glory. But it would be a huge mistake to categorize it with the like of Argo and The Artist, both fine films, but neither anywhere near the artistry of Birdman. That is a surface level way to dismiss its win, but it doesn't complete the whole picutre. These members of this industry saw something in Birdman that enticed and scared the hell of them. This was their way of rewarding something that spoke to them in a way it will never do to mainstream American audiences. By doing so, the Academy dodged those highly political topics, and maybe in their own way they pushed past the controversies. And who can blame them? Who wants to tackle these issues? There is not much the Academy can do. It has tried to diversify its membership, which I think is actually working. Clearly we are starting to see the results as these bolder films start to stake their claim as a younger and more diverse voting body sets in.. So while some may claim that the Academy is racist, ignores great art, etc. (for the record it is the industry that lacks diversity and the Academy is a byproduct of that), and some may say that they copped out of rewarding something that might have caused controversy, the real reason behind Birdman's win is that they simply liked it better, avoiding charged controversy was just a nice way addition. They cannot immediately fix their problems (although I;m sure they will try), and in the meantime they can continue to honor great film, which is exactly what they did last night.

So this is my sixth year of Oscar coverage, and I could not be happier than to announce that soon enough we will start year number seven. The void we are all feeling right now is inevitable, but there are plenty of awards, plenty of movies and television shows to be seen, and plenty of predictions to be made. The world keeps on spinning. Congratulations to this year's winners, you all worked hard and survived a long battle that is not easy. And finally, thank you all for continuing to read and comment here at The Awards Psychic. Without the support of the readers like you, none of this would be possible. So keep watching, keep reading, keep rooting for the movies you love. Stay passionate and engaged, and continue to tune into The Awards Psychic. I just hope I make the destination worth the journey. Goodbye Oscar season 2014-2015, and hello to new beginnings.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The 87th Annual Academy Awards

Congrats to all the winners, full recap tomorrow! Good Night!

Best Picture - Birdman
Best Director - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu "Birdman"
Best Actor - Eddie Redmayne "The Theory of Everything"
Best Actress - Julianne Moore "Still Alice"
Best Supporting Actor - J.K. Simmons "Whiplash"
Best Supporting Actress - Patricia Arquette "Boyhood"
Best Adapted Screenplay - Graham Moore "The Imitation Game"
Best Original Screenplay - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo "Birdman"
Best Animated Feature Film - Big Hero 6
Best Documentary Feature - Citizenfour
Best Foreign Language Film - Ida (Poland)
Best Cinematography - Emmanuel Lubezki "Birdman"
Best Costume Design - Milena Canonero "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Film Editing - Tom Cross "Whiplash"
Best Makeup and Hair Styling - Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Original Score - Alexandre Desplat "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Original Song - John Legend and Common "Glory" from Selma
Best Production Design - Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Sound Mixing - Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley "Whiplash"
Best Sound Editing - Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman "American Sniper"
Best Visual Effects - Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher "Interstellar"
Best Animated Short - Feast
Best Documentary Short - Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1  
Best Live Action Short - The Phone Call

The 35th Annual Razzie Award "Winners"

Worst Picture
Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas

Worst Actor
Kirk Cameron "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas"

Worst Actress
Cameron Diaz "The Other Woman/Sex Tape"

Worst Supporting Actor
Kelsey Grammer "Expendables 3/ Legends of Oz/ Think Like a Man Too/ Transformers: Age of Extinction"

Worst Supporting Actress
Megan Fox "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"

Worst Director
Michael Bay "Transformers: Age of Extinction"

Worst Screenplay
Darren Doane and Cheston Hervey "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas"

Worst Screen Combo
Kirk Cameron and his ego "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas"

Worst Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel
Annie

The Razzie Redeemer Award
Ben Affleck - From Gigli to Argo and Gone Girl

The Oscar Narrative: Final Oscar Predictions

Best Picture - Birdman
Best Director - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu "Birdman"
Best Actor - Eddie Redmayne "The Theory of Everything"
Best Actress - Julianne Moore "Still Alice"
Best Supporting Actor - J.K. Simmons "Whiplash"
Best Supporting Actress - Patricia Arquette "Boyhood"
Best Original Screenplay - Wes Anderson "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Adapted Screenplay - Graham Moore "The Imitation Game"
Best Animated Feature - How to Train Your Dragon 2
Best Documentary Feature - Citizenfour
Best Foreign Language Film - Ida (Poland)
Best Cinematography - Emmanuel Lubezki "Birdman"
Best Costume Design - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Film Editing - Boyhood
Best Makeup & Hair Styling - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Original Score - Alexandre Desplat "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Original Song  - John Legend and Common "Glory" from Selma
Best Production Design - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Sound Editing - American Sniper
Best Sound Mixing - Birdman
Best Visual Effects - Interstellar
Best Animated Short - The Dam Keeper
Best Documentary Short - Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Best Live Action Short - The Phone Call

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Final Oscar Predictions - Best Picture and Best Director

Best Picture
Will Win - Birdman
Could Win - Boyhood
Should Win - Selma
Commentary - This one has come down to the wire. There are some outside contenders like The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash, and American Sniper that should not be counted out, but all have some pretty big blocks that will most likely prevent them from taking the podium: either too quirky (Grand Budapest Hotel), passionate support but too small (Whiplash), or too controversial (American Sniper). But in the end this comes down to two. It is interesting to note that at the Indie Spirts, they gave Best Picture to Birdman and Director to Linklater, clearly to spread the love. I don't know if the Academy will be as generous. Boyhood is a masterpiece, and its 12 year process is one of a kind. But Birdman, despite not getting an editing nod, has the most broad and deep industry support of any film this year. It features a subject that Oscar voters love: themselves. And it not only won the PGA, SAG, and the DGA. But also won the top award at the CAS and ASC, as well as at least one award from the VES, M&HS, ADG, MPSE, and CDG. That is kind of unprecedented in terms of industry support. They love Birdman, and I think it is going to win. So why isn't it a slam dunk? First, BAFTA proved to me that a big group with a lot of crossover voters can practically snub Birdman. It also proved that there is still a lot of love out there for Boyhood. It is going to be a tight race, and I can't wait to see how it plays out.

Best Director
Will Win - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu "Birdman"
Could Win - Richard Linklater "Boyhood"
Should Win - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu "Birdman", Richard Linklater "Boyhood" or Wes Anderson "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Commentary - Just like Best Picture, this one is far from over. A lot of folks are predicting a split. But after Inarritu won the DGA, I am sticking with him to win. It might be the safe choice, but it is as good as any other. Of course Linklater is the wild card, and his wins at BAFTA, the Globes, and the Indie Spirits prove he is a force to be reckoned with. If they are going to split, I feel like Boyhood winning Best Picture makes more sense, with Inarritu, doing the big visual movie of the year, winning here, and Linklater winning as a producer, like of like McQueen and Cuaron last year. But once again, I think that broad industry support for Birdman will end up in it taking both top prizes. As always, we'll have to wait and see...

The 30th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards

Best Feature
Birdman

Best Director
Richard Linklater "Boyhood"

Best Male Lead
Michael Keaton "Birdman"

Best Female Lead
Julianne Moore "Still Alice"

Best Supporting Female
Patricia Arquette "Boyhood"

Best Supporting Male
J.K. Simmons "Whiplash"

Best Screenplay
Dan Gilroy "Nightcrawler"

Best First Feature
Nightcrawler

Best First Screenplay
Justin Simien "Dear White People"

Best Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki "Birdman"

Best Editing
Tom Cross "Whiplash"

John Cassavetes Award
Land Ho!

Best Documentary
Citizenfour

Best International Film
Ida

Robert Altman Award
Inherent Vice

Special Distinction
Foxcatcher

Friday, February 20, 2015

Television Academy Drastically Changes Emmy Rules

I have applauded the Emmys for trying to expand their horizons, mix things up, and for responding quickly to the recent and rapid changes that have occurred in television in the last decade. Today, the Television Academy took another giant leap forward to continue to try to push the Emmys forward as television does the same. Let's take a look at some of the changes that will effect this year's Emmys:

1) My favorite new rule is that they are expanding the number of nominees in Best Comedy Series and Best Drama Series to seven. Not seven with a tie, but seven solid nominees. Considering the wealth of great television shows out there, this is great to see the offerings expand. I wish they would have gone a step further and done it for the acting categories as well.

2) Instead of just those small panels, second round voting is now expanding to the entire membership, but they still have to see all the episodes. Many think this might open up the second round to more populist choices, I still think that it will be a smaller group voting because not all voters are going to actually watch all of the episode. Also sometimes the populist choices are better than some of the obscure ones that have won, and vice versa. We'll need a few years to see if this drastically changes the winners.

3) This one could get a bit tricky, but for most shows it won't be a problem. Comedies are now defined as shows 30 minutes or less, and dramas as more than 30 minutes. This could be a bit of a problem because there are some hour-long comedies, but in general that probably means shows like Orange is the New Black, which masqueraded as a comedy last year, will probably end up in drama where it belongs. I say probably, because they can petition a panel to review the placement and they can choose to move the show where it wants if they want to. Once again, we'll have to see how this plays out before we can judge its merits.

4) Miniseries will be called Limited Series, and will included shows that tell a complete story without that story line crossing over to another season. At the same time though, drama and comedy series must still have a minimum of six episodes. Sherlock will probably go the way it went last year where it submitted one of its parts as a television movie, but this could be a problem for some of those series that are continuous but less than six episodes a season. Also True Detective will not be in Drama Series again this year, but in the proper category, which, looking at its win total, might actually work out in its favor. But once again, there is a panel to petition.

5) This one is cool, Variety Series is being split into two types, the Talk type, and then one for Sketch shows. I like this because SNL was the only sketch show represented for the last couple of years, while talk shows like Daily Show, Jimmy Kimmel, and Real Time dominated the nominations. This will give some love to some underrated shows that have been ignored, most likely shows like Portlandia and maybe even the awesome Key and Peele.

6) Finally, those recurring actors who have tried to slip into the Guest Acting races will now not be able to, and thank God! An actor now must be in less than half the episodes to actually be a guest actor, otherwise they have to compete in supporting or lead. This is my second favorite rule, because allowing actors to submit in either way has led to a lot of category fraud, and plenty of excellent performances that are actually guest can't compete against folks that have a lot more material.

The Oscar Narrative: Final Oscar Predictions - Best Actor and Best Actress

Best Actor
Will Win - Eddie Redmayne "The Theory of Everything"
Could Win - Michael Keaton "Birdman" or Bradley Cooper "American Sniper"
Should Win - Michael Keaton "Birdman"
Commentary - There is a lot of buzz about how this is a nail-biter of a race, and honestly, while I think it is the only acting award that isn't a slam dunk, it probably isn't as close as we all think it is going to be. I agree that with Birdman suddenly rising at the guilds that Michael Keaton is definitely in this race. I also agree that if there is going to be a wild card upset it is going to be Bradley Cooper, who is on his third straight nomination, one of the few parts of American Sniper that almost everyone agrees upon, and is clearly a well-liked actor. But I still think Redmayne is ahead, and I just don't see either of them catching up (although if Keaton wins, you would hear nothing but praise for Academy voters from this blogger). Redmayne won the Globe, the BAFTA, and the SAG Award, an award that many thought was a slam dunk for Keaton. This is a hard precedent to beat, and while an upset is not impossible, I think Redmayne wins his first Academy Award.

Best Actress
Will Win - Julianne Moore "Still Alice"
Could Win - Felicity Jones "The Theory of Everything"
Should Win - Julianne Moore "Still Alice"
Commentary - I think all of us have been waiting a long time to see Julianne Moore, one of the best actresses of the last two decades to win a well-deserved, and way overdue Oscar. I am so glad that this year she is the overwhelming front runner for Best Actress. Honestly, the only name I could see called instead is maybe Felicity Jones (If they are voting for Redmayne, the duo also makes sense). But that is not happening. Moore has been waiting way too long for an Oscar, and I think that Sunday, the wait will finally be over.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

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

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win - J.K. Simmons "Whiplash"
Could Win - Edward Norton "Birdman"
Should Win - J.K. Simmons "Whiplash"
Commentary - If Edward Norton weren't such a strange person (apparently he is difficult to say the least), then he could have built on some critical love, and industry love for Birdman and risen to the top. But alas, he will have to sit on the sidelines for the great J.K. Simmons, and honestly, I could not be happier about it. Simmons has been a hardworking actor in this business for a long time. He should have gotten some love for Juno (as well as his on-screen wife, the magnificent Allison Janney), but alas this is his first Oscar nomination. I would be absolutely shocked if he did not win this year, and it would also be a complete travesty if he doesn't. He won SAG, BAFTA, the Globe, the Critics Choice, and a whole host of other honors. It is his to lose.

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win - Patricia Arquette "Boyhood"
Could Win - Emma Stone "Birdman" or Meryl Streep "Into the Woods"
Should Win - Patricia Arquette "Boyhood", Emma Stone "Birdman" or Laura Dern "Wild"
Commentary - For my money there are three great choices for the Academy this year. First, let me say the same warning I say practically every year: don't forget Meryl Streep. Now that that is out of the way, let's move on to those previously mentioned three. One of the best surprises on Oscar morning was the nomination for Laura Dern. She is one of my favorite actresses working today, and it has been entirely too long since she has gotten some Oscar love. Her great roles this year (I am including The Fault in Our Stars here), proved what a wonderful and emotional screen presence she is. Emma Stone has been tearing it up for years now, mostly doing comedy, but nonetheless is one of the best talents working today. Her role in Birdman lit up the screen, and it would be a great way for the Academy to reward a talent that will be delivering great parts for years to come. But their third option is the one that has this pretty much locked up. 12 Years in the making Boyhood is a feat no doubt, and Patricia Arquette's work is clearly a standout. Like J.K. Simmons in this race's counterpart, Arquette is one of those under-appreciated actresses that has churned out quality work for years. On Sunday, I think she finally gets her due.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win - Graham Moore "The Imitation Game"
Could Win - Damien Chazelle "Whiplash" or Jason Hall "American Sniper"
Should Win - Damien Chazelle "Whiplash"
Commentary - This race has taken so many forms, and it changed dramatically when Gillian Flynn was shut out for Gone Girl (as the was the movie across the board except for Rosamund Pike). All of the sudden the perceived front runner was gone a huge gap was left just looking for someone to fill the gap. After winning the USC Scripter and the WGA The Imitation Game has leaped to the top of the pile, but it is far from a slam-dunk. With probably the exception of Inherent Vice, the other three contenders all have a legitimate shot here. The Theory of Everything's Anthony McCarten won the BAFTA, which show it has support. And American Sniper is clearly a well-liked film that will probably not have the preferential support to pull off picture but could pick up a major prize along the way. But I think that if anyone is going to beat Graham Moore it is the last minute switch-eroo Whiplash. In every other major race Whiplash has contended in Original Screenplay where it belongs. The Academy made an odd and wrong decision to switch it to adapted. While I don't like the reasoning, I do like the fact that it could win Damien Chazelle an Oscar, who deserves one after knocking it out of the park. Plus, Whiplash is one that has a lot of passionate voters, and could really rally behind the film here. It will be an interesting race to watch.

Best Original Screenplay
Will Win - Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Could Win - Richard Linklater "Boyhood" or Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo "Birdman"
Should Win - Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Commentary - This race could be incredible indicative of how the night is going to go for Boyhood or Birdman. Neither script is really that great, as both are feats of acting and directing, but if either film is going to sweep, this will be an early indicator of which film exactly that is. I think however, that they are not going to use this category to pump up a Best Picture winner, but instead, do what they have done a lot lately in this category. From Midnight in Paris to Django Unchained to Her, the Oscar voters have rewarded not only a Best Picture nominee that isn't likely to win, but have rewarded popular and quirky directors/writers that show eccentricity and originality. I think that Wes Anderson is about to added to the list. They clearly like The Grand Budapest Hotel, and it did just win the WGA and the BAFTA, as well as a dozen or so critics awards in this category. I don't for a second think that it is a slam dunk, but I think is a great way to spread the love among the auteurs (assuming that Linklater and Inarritu either win or split BP and BD), and to show a bit of love for a movie they clearly admire.

Costume Designers Guild (CDG) Award Winners

So as I suspected the Oscar will come down to Into the Woods vs. The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Birdman takes another guild prize.

Excellence in Contemporary Film
Albert Wolsky "Birdman"

Excellence in Period Film
Milena Canonero "The Grand Budapest Hotel"

Excellence in Fantasy Film
Colleen Atwood "Into the Woods"

Outstanding Contemporary Television Series
Jenny Eagan "True Detective"

Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series
Michele Clapton "Game of Thrones"

Outstanding Made for TV Movie/Miniseries
Lou Eyrich "American Horror Story: Freak Show"

Excellence in Commercial Costume Design
Christopher Lawrence "Army - Defy Expectations, Villagers"

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Final Oscar Predictions - Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hair Styling

Best Costume Design
Will Win - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win - Into the Woods
Should Win - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Commentary -  As with Production Design, this is a category that has favored big bold period and fantasy costumes. Oscar voters have always taken Best Costume Design to mean Most Obvious Costume Design. So like in production design, Into the Woods is one to watch. But once again, I am going with the Best Picture contender, and the film whose costumes are great looks at the period, and are bright and a huge part of the story. Of course I am speaking of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Tonight are the Costume Design Guild Awards, and depending on how they turn out, I might take a second look here. But these voters clearly love The Grand Budapest Hotel, it has done tremendously well with the craft guilds, and won four craft BAFTA awards. I think this another one to its total (which could be the highest of the night).

Best Makeup and Hair Styling
Will Win - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win - Guardians of the Galaxy or Foxcatcher
Should Win - Guardians of the Galaxy
Commentary - Like most of the craft categories this year, there is some mystery surrounding who is going to win this award. In the history of this award, two types of films have dominated the winners. First and foremost are fantasy films, so Guardians of the Galaxy, and its bright and fun makeup design will surely garner a lot of attention. The other genre that has traditional done well is the biopic. So Foxcatcher, and Steve Carell's infamous nose are definitely in play. So when I say I am picking The Grand Budapest Hotel to win here, I am really going against history. But it did extremely well at the Makeup and Hair Styling Guild, and once again, the film is beloved by the Academy as the whole, especially the craft guilds. And it won the BAFTA award as well. I think in a close race, it pulls it off.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Final Oscar Predictions - Best Animated Feature and Film Editing

Best Animated Feature
Will Win - Big Hero 6
Could Win - How to Train Your Dragon 2
Should Win - How to Train Your Dragon 2
Commentary - The one positive about not have The LEGO Movie in this category is that in the aftermath of the Golden Globes, I really thought this was going to be a slam dunk for my favorite animated film of the year How to Train Your Dragon 2. It then went on to win the Annies, and my hopes rose. Let's first get this disclaimer out of the way: this is an incredibly close race. But the other film, Big Hero 6 has made some strides in guild awards lately that show me there is a lot of respect for it across the industry. Wins at the VES, CAS, and MPSE might not seem like significant enough to swing votes one way or the other, but to me they are indicative of deep support for Big Hero 6, and it follows the same path that Brave did when it upset Wreck-It Ralph a few years ago. Brave did have Globe though, something Big Hero 6 doesn't. Plus, besides Toy Story 3 which was so exceptional nothing was going to beat it, this category has not been kind to sequels, especially since the first did not win (ironically beaten by a sequel Toy Story 3). All of that being said, I am going against the pack here and going with Big Hero 6, but it will be a tight race to the finish.

Best Film Editing
Will Win - Sandra Adair "Boyhood"
Could Win - Tom Cross "Whiplash" or Joel Cox and Gary Roach "American Sniper"
Should Win - Boyhood or Whiplash
Commentary - Another tight race here, especially after Whiplash won the BAFTA, splitting the Eddie with Boyhood, and honestly, unless American Sniper fans rally here, I think that the race will come down to those two. Whiplash is a real threat here, as, in terms of editing, because it is so taut, and brilliantly builds its suspense and tension to a fantastic finish. But Sandra Adair's work in Boyhood should not be ignored. Even though most would agree it was still a bit too long, to be able to condense twelve years of footage into something that was entertaining, accessible, and a cohesive piece is no easy task. I think Boyhood pulls it off. Even though it has fallen behind in the Best Picture race in recent weeks, it is going to take some consolation prizes and this will probably be one of them. Either way, this will be a well-deserved winner.

American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Award Winners

Best Cinematography in a Theatrical Release
Emmanuel Lubezki "Birdman"

Best Cinematography in Episodic Television Series
Jonathan Freeman "Boardwalk Empire - Golden Days for Boys and Girls"

Best Cinematography in a Television Movie/Miniseries/Pilot
John Lindley "Manhattan"

Spotlight Award
Peter Flickenberg "Concrete Night"

Bud Stone Award
Denny Clairmont and Otto Nemenz

International Award
Phil Meheux 

President's Award
Matthew F. Leonetti

Board of Governors Award
Barbra Streisand

Career Achievement in Television Award
Bill Roe

Lifetime Achievement Award
John Bailey

Motion Pictures Sound Editors (MPSE) Award Winners

Sniper takes the top award here, which helps with my Sound Editing prediction for it. Birdman wins another industry award, as does Big Hero 6.

Best Sound Editing in a Feature Film: FX/Foley
American Sniper

Best Sound Editing in a Feature Film: Dialogue/ADR
Unbroken

Best Sound Editing in a Feature Film: Music
Birdman

Best Sound Editing in a Feature Film: Music (Musical Film)
Get on Up

Best Sound and Music Editing: Feature Animation
Big Hero 6

Best Sound and Music Editing: Feature Documentary
Warsaw Uprising

Best Sound Editing in Television: Short Form - FX/Foley
Game of Thrones - The Children

Best Sound Editing in Television: Short Form - Dialogue/ADR
The Newsroom

Best Sound Editing in Television: Short Form - Music
(TIE) Almost Human and Fargo

Best Sound Editing in Television: Long Form - FX/Foley
Houdini - Night 1

Best Sound Editing in Television: Long Form - Dialogue/ADR
Klondike - Episode 1

Best Sound and Music Editing - Animation Television
Star Wars: Rebels - Gathering Forces

Best Sound and Music Editing: Television Documentary - Short Form
Ax Men - Ax Marks the Spot

Best Sound and Music Editing: Television Documentary - Long Form
Foo Fighters Sonic Highways - Seattle

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Final Oscar Predictions - Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing

Best Sound Mixing
Will Win - Birdman
Could Win - American Sniper, Whiplash, or Interstellar
Should Win - Whiplash
Commentary - The Cinema Audio Society winner has matched up the last couple of years, plus it adds one more to Birdman's total, which I think is important in its quest to win Best Picture. But it is not a traditional winner in this category, which makes me nervous. I think that there are legitimately four contenders, and the other three are more in line with past choices. American Sniper is probably the favorite to win both sound awards, as a consolation prize for missing out on the top awards. Interstellar might have gotten a lot of sound complaints, but it got the CAS and Oscar nod, so the sound mixers were okay with it. Science fiction films have done well here over the years. Finally, while its not a traditional musical (still surprised Into the Woods didn't get in), Whiplash does have a lot of musical elements, and won the BAFTA. It is the one I am really looking at in terms of an upset.

Best Sound Editing
Will Win - American Sniper
Could Win - Birdman or Interstellar
Should Win - Birdman
Commentary - Without Whiplash, this is essentially the same battle as Sound Mixing. I know it is not smart to predict a split in these awards, but this year just feels like one where voters will spread the love. Birdman could sweep both awards here, as clearly it is well-liked among the craft guilds. Same logic for Interstellar as in Sound Mixing. But this is where I think American Sniper gets some love. I was not a huge fan of the film, but this is a good place to reward a film they clearly like. But this category, and Mixing are real toss ups this year, and are categories to watch to gauge how the rest of the night is going to go, particularly for Birdman.

Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award Winners

As I expected, Grand Budapest and Imitation Game won here tonight, and while neither is a slam dunk, I think both are the front runners to repeat at the Oscars. Also great win for The Good Wife!

Best Original Screenplay
Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness "The Grand Budapest Hotel"

Best Adapted Screenplay
Graham Moore "The Imitation Game"

Best Documentary Screenplay
Brian Knappenberger "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Schwartz"

Best Drama Series
Nic Pizzolatto "True Detective"

Best Comedy Series
Louis C.K. "Louie"

Best New Series
Nic Pizzolatto "True Detective"

Best Long Form Original
Melissa Carter "Deliverance Creek"

Best Long Form Adapted
Jane Anderson "Olive Kitteridge"

Best Short Form New Media - Original
Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair "Episode 113: Rachel" from helpingyoumaintain.com

Best Animation
Brian Kelley "The Simpsons - Brick Like Me"

Best Episodic Drama Series
Michelle King and Robert King "The Good Wife - The Last Call"

Best Episodic Comedy Series
Louis C.K. "Louie - So Did the Fat Lady"

Best Variety Series
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Best Variety Special
71st Annual Golden Globe Awards

Best Quiz and Audience Participation
Hollywood Game Night

Best Daytime Drama
General Hospital

Best Children's Script - Episodic and Specials
Bob Smiley "Haunted Heartthrob"

Best Documentary Script - Current Events
Michael Kirk and Mike Wiser "United States of Secrets: The Program (Part 1)"

Best Documentary Script - Other Than Current Events
Michael Kirk and Mike Wiser "League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis"

Best TV News Script - Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin, or Breaking News
Dave Bloch, Lisa Ferri, and Diane Sawyer "Nelson Mandela: A Man Who Changed the World"

Best TV New Script - Analysis, Feature, or Commentary
Oriana Zill de Granados, Scott Pelley, and Michael Rey "60 Minutes - Nowhere to Go"

Cinema Audio Society (CAS) Award Winners

I'm not sure if the Birdman win will translate to the Oscar sound mixing race, as the larger voting body will go for something more obvious most likely. But it does continue, along with the Makeup and Hair Stylists Guild to show broad industry support for Birdman. Also Big Hero 6 has shown some industry muscle as of late, in the same manner that Brave did a few years ago, I think I might need to update my animated feature prediction. 

Motion Picture - Live Action
Birdman

Motion Picture - Animated
Big Hero 6

Television Movie/Miniseries
Sherlock: His Last Vow

Television Series - 1 Hour
Game of Thrones - The Children

Television Series - 1/2 Hour
Modern Family - Australia

Television - Nonfiction or Variety Series or Special
Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways: Los Angeles

Technical Achievement Award - Production
Sound Devices - Dante and MADI Audio Recorder model 970

Technical Achievement Award - Post-Production
iZotope - RX4-Advanced

Makeup and Hair Stylists Guild Award Winners

Oscar will definitely come down to Grand Budapest vs. Guardians of the Galaxy.

Best Contemporary Makeup
Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Contemporary Hair Styling
Birdman

Best Period/Character Makeup
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Period/Character Hair Styling
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Special Make-Up Effects
Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Contemporary Makeup - Television
Sons of Anarchy

Best Contemporary Hair Styling - Television
Dancing With the Stars

Best Period/Character Makeup - Television
Downton Abbey

Best Period/Character Hair Styling - Television
Downton Abbey

Best Special Makeup Effects - Television
The Walking Dead

Best Contemporary Makeup - TV Movie/Miniseries
Fargo

Best Contemporary Hair Styling - TV Movie/Miniseries
Sherlock

Best Period/Character Makeup - TV Movie/Miniseries
American Horror Story: Freak Show

Best Period/Character Hair Styling - TV Movie/Miniseries
American Horror Story: Freak Show

Best Special Makeup Effects - TV Movie/Miniseries
American Horror Story: Freak Show

Best Makeup - Commericals/Music Video
DirectTV

Best Hair Styling - Commercials/Music Video
Progressive

Best Makeup - Theatrical Production
Kinky Boots

Best Hair Styling - Theatrical Production
Motown The Musical, National Tour

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Final Oscar Predictions - Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Visual Effects

Best Cinematography
Will Win - Emmanuel Lubezki "Birdman"
Could Win - Robert Yeoman "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Should Win - Roger Deakins "Unbroken"
Commentary - Obviously, Emmanuel Lubezki's work in Birdman is the best of the bunch, and I presume that he will easily win the ASC tomorrow night (for the record if something else suddenly wins, I will take a second look here). I don't think that voters care he won last year, and Birdman is also clearly beloved by the industry, including the craft guilds/branches. I would be incredibly surprised if it didn't take at least one technical honor at the Oscars. So who can beat Lubezki? Honestly, of the bunch, it is probably Yeoman for The Grand Budapest Hotel, another film that is beloved among the craft folks, and deservedly so. So who would I choose? Since Lubezki just won last year, and Bradford Young was not among the nominees, the obvious choice to be is Roger Deakins. I know the industry, critics, and actually most fans weren't incredibly fond of Unbroken, but his work is superb. And most importantly, it is a black mark on the Academy's record that this legend is still Oscar-less.

Best Production Design
Will Win - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win - Interstellar or Into the Woods
Should Win - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Commentary -  This award, like its costume design counterpart, tends to go for the flashiest of the bunch. So watch out for Into the Woods (Rob Marshall movies do well here. Of the three films he has had nominated here two of them, Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago have won). And if they are going to go for the Hugo/Avatar film that combines actual art and set direction with digital production design, then Interstellar is also one that could triumph. But the ADG and the BAFTA have spoken, and a flashy, yet wonderfully bold winner will probably emerge in the form of The Grand Budapest Hotel. What I love about this prospect is because not only is it excellent work, but because the production design was so intrinsic to the success of the film, and to the plot and its characters. It is exactly the type of work that the Academy should be honoring.

Best Visual Effects
Will Win - Interstellar
Could Win - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or Guardians of the Galaxy
Should Win - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Commentary - For the first time in a long time, this is an actual race to the finish. Usually this one is so locked up come Oscar night there is not even a second place contender that has a shot in hell of upsetting. This year, I see a three-way race that all depends on how the Academy views its contenders. If they want to go with groundbreaking visual effects, then Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the best of the bunch. But they missed the boat the first time around, and it has no other nominations in any category. Guardians of the Galaxy would be an interesting and worthy choice, and it honors a film that was a huge hit (all three were), a huge surprise hit, and one that has, at least a little, given some life to a genre that has started to overstay its welcome. But I think they will go with option number three. Interstellar also has great work, won the BAFTA, and also has a production design nomination, an award that has gone hand in hand over the last several years (Gravity did not win production design, but it did have a nomination). And while it failed to gain the traction many thought it would, of the bunch it is probably the most prestigious, an argument I hate to make because it shouldn't matter, but we all know that unfortunately it does.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Final Oscar Predictions - Best Original Score and Original Song

Best Original Score
Will Win - Alexandre Desplat "The Grand Budapest Hotel" 
Could Win - Johann Johannsson "The Theory of Everything" or Hans Zimmer "Interstellar"
Should Win - Alexandre Desplat "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Commentary - This category had defaulted to Johann Johannsson after his Globe win, with the belief that his big and bold score would do well with voters. I expected him to steamroll at BAFTAs, especially since I felt the film was going to do well with its home British crowd (it did by the way with Best Actor and Best British Film). So it said something to me when they went instead went with Alexandre Desplat. He also won the Grammy the same day, quite a feat. There are two things against Desplat that make him less than a slam-dunk going into this final week. First, unlike at the BAFTAs, he is up against himself with a double nod. That could pull his supporters in two different directions and lead to another winner. And, as we saw, BAFTA voters really liked The Grand Budapest Hotel a lot. There is clearly a lot of love of Budapest here as well, but it doesn't necessarily always translate. If Desplat is not their pick, I think voters either go for Hans Zimmer sweeping score in Interstellar, or the person who has been out front for the last month, Johann Johannsson meets expectations and wins. 

Best Original Song
Will Win - John Legend and Common "Glory" from Selma
Could Win - Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me or Shawn Patterson "Everything is Awesome" from The LEGO Movie 
Should Win - John Legend and Common "Glory" from Selma
Commentary - Since the nominees were announced, I had two titles in mind. The first is Globe winner, and Oscar front runner Glory. It is not only a great song, but rewards two Grammy-winning music superstars, and is a way to honor Selma whose only other nomination is Best Picture, and that is probably not going to happen. The other potential is the sentimental vote for Glen Campbell. It is a way to honor a legend who is suffering from a terrible disease, and so this will probably be the only time they will get to do so. But in the last week it occurred to me that there actually is a third contender that is a really strong dark horse. There were a lot of folks upset that The LEGO Movie was snubbed by the animation branch. Then it won the PGA, the BAFTA, and several other major awards along the way. So it turns out the industry was also a bit upset by this snub. This is its only nomination, and if there is still a lot of upset voters, they could seek revenge on their animation brethren by giving it a win for Everything is Awesome, which is a fun song, a huge part of the film's story (which could also put Lost Stars as a dark horse as a I think about it), and simply infectious. It could pull a major upset come Oscar night. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: Final Oscar Predictions - Best Foreign Language Film and Best Documentary Feature

Best Foreign Language Film
Will Win - Ida
Could Win - Wild Tales or Leviathan 
Should Win - Wild Tales 
Commentary - Ida was my personal favorite of the bunch until I saw Wild Tales, which is such an energetic and fun film that I was enraptured in it. I think that this race, which appears to many to be over, will actually be a fun three-way battle. Ida has been dominating the season so far, and has been on DVD for months, so it is probably the most widely seen contenders. It also is the only film of the five to have a nomination outside of this category (it got a well-deserved cinematography nod). But there are two lurking that are going to put up quite a fight. The first is the aforementioned Wild Tales, which is certainly going to have a lot of passionate supporters, it's just that kind of film. The other one to watch for is this year's Golden Globe winner Leviathan. I personally had trouble getting through it, but it does have an artistry that will appeal to a lot of voters. I still think Ida comes out on top, but I don't think it is the slam-dunk that others are proclaiming it to be. 

Best Documentary Feature
Will Win - Citizenfour
Could Win - Virunga or Finding Vivian Maier
Should Win - Finding Vivian Maier
Commentary - Of the bunch, Finding Vivian Maier was one of the most intriguing and also most frustrating documentaries this year. It wasn't the fault of the film makers, it was that there was still so much left unknown about this strange and talented figure. And if you are looking for the doc that will cause the most tears, look no further than Virunga. In recent years, voters have kind of rotated back and forth between emotionally powerful docs (Undefeated, Searching for Sugar Man., and 20 Feet From Stardom), and harder-hitting pieces (Inside Job, The Cove, Inconvenient Truth), This year they have the unique explorations docs in Finding Vivian Maier and The Salt of the Earth, the historical doc with Last Days in Vietnam, the heart-tugger in Virunga, and then their is the juggernaut. I don't see anybody taking down Citizenfour. It has won so many precursors to be ignored, and probably its stiffest competition Life Itself was left off. It goes after a timely subject that will have incredible impact on voters. It wins in a landslide. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cameron Crowe's Aloha Trailer

My favorite movie is Almost Famous. It is absolutely brilliant, and I have waited now fourteen years for Cameron Crowe to top it. Even if this film is awful (it will be at least mildly mediocre), I am excited for it. No, it probably won't be my long awaited film, but with that cast, it will be at least worth the time to watch it. Check out the full trailer below:


The Oscar Narrative: Final Oscar Predictions - Animated Short, Documentary Short, and Live Action Short

Best Animated Short
Will Win - The Dam Keeper
Could Win - Feast or Me and My Moulton
Should Win - The Dam Keeper
Commentary - Feast is the Disney Animated Short this year, so a lot of pundits are picking it based on the popular vote theory. I am going to go in a different direction, because last year, the populist vote theory (that because voting was opened up to the whole membership, then the big studio Disney short would have the most exposure) did not work out in my favor. It turns out that if these voters don't actually care enough about the category, or haven't taken the time to watch them, then they probably don't vote in those categories. Last year proved that most likely the majority of people who voted in the short categories were basically the same group that voted on them in the past. So history tells us that something like The Dam Keeper will appeal more to that core block of voters. Me and My Moulton is also a possibility, but I think that the pundits will be defied once again, and that The Dam Keeper, my personal favorite of the bunch, will prevail.

Best Documentary Short
Will Win - Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Could Win - Joanna
Should Win - Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Commentary - With all the hype surrounding American Sniper, the one conversation that should have come out of that film is being put on the back burner. Of course, I am speaking of the struggles that veterans face when they return home, and the struggles that their families and friends face as well. Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 not only documents the struggles of veterans, but also places a spotlight on the workers behind the scenes of the hotline who talk to and counsel these struggling heroes. Its next competition Joanna is a passionate and heartfelt doc that would be a worthy winner, and will pull the heartstrings of many voters, but Crisis Hotline is emotional as well, and is also incredibly timely. That can be a powerful combination.

Best Live Action Short
Will Win - The Phone Call
Could Win - Boogaloo and Graham
Should Win - The Phone Call
Commentary - I love Oscar-nominee Sally Hawkins, and she is great in The Phone Call, the film I think has the best shot at winning the prize here. It also features Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent. They bring a heightened awareness, and a breadth and depth of talent to this fantastic short. It is also deals with some serious issues, not that different from the ones dealt with in Crisis Hotline. It also is hard to watch at points, which may work against it, especially with the slight, but lighthearted Boogaloo and Graham. It did win the BAFTA this Sunday for British Short film, and in a race with few precursors that is a big one. I'm honestly not sure which way the voters will go, but I will go with heavyweight versus the lightweight.

Monday, February 9, 2015

2015 Emmys Dates Set

Oscar season is still a few weeks away from ending, and we can already start talking about the upcoming Emmy season. First, let me say, that I am so happy to see it move back to Sunday night, and back to September. With the exception of the Sherlock love (it turns out the industry as a whole was not a big fan of The Normal Heart, so it is all starting to make sense), there were very few surprises. When you squish the voting too much, you end up producing the same winners over and over (hint hint Oscars, give voters more time!). Fox is taking on the telecast this year, and the dates are below, and always visit www.emmys.com

June 15th - Nomination Voting Begins

June 26th - Nomination Voting Ends

July 16th - Nominations Announced Live at 5:35 AM PT

September 12th - Creative Arts Emmys

September 20th - The 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Oscar Narrative: The Race is On...

After losing three big guild awards, the trifecta if you will (PGA, SAG, and DGA), Boyhood made a comeback at the BAFTAs winning Best Picture and Best Director. Will it be enough? We won't know till Oscar night, but no matter what, the race for Picture and Director will be nail biters. First, let's all be happy that despite most likely knowing all four acting winners (all four won at SAG and BAFTA), most of the other major races are toss ups. Director is between Linklater and Inarritu, who just split the BAFTA and DGA. Best Picture is Boyhood and Birdman, with Grand Budapest Hotel and American Sniper as dark horses. Original Screenplay is a tight three-way race between Anderson, Inarritu and Team, and Linklater. I have no idea what is going to happen in Adapted Screenplay, where Sniper, Imitation Game, and Theory of Everything are all battling it out, and in the end, I am starting to think Whiplash could be the spoiler there. Animated Feature is a dead-heat between How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Big Hero 6, and countless tech awards are still up in the air.

This is great news for the Academy, whose winners have become almost afterthoughts by the time the ceremony rolls around. It makes for an interesting last couple of weeks, and what is sure to be an exciting ceremony come February 22nd. But let's really dig into that Best Picture race. First, let me take a few minutes to rant about something that has bugged me the last two weeks or so. Boyhood and Birdman took a lot of critical prizes, Boyhood obviously coming out on top of the total count. For some strange reason, many pundits, bloggers, and critics are trying to compare this particular race to The Social Network/The King's Speech battle of 2010. The Boyhood fanatics are starting to get nervous, and they are on full attack mode, trashing Birdman as some sort of stale choice compared to daring Boyhood. First of all, let me just say this: get over 2010. The King's Speech was a wonderful film, and while it might not have been the critical favorite, it was a good movie, and certainly not even close to being one of the worst Best Picture winners. I'd also like to point out that for a film that has received so much hate from critics by the time it won Best Picture, it had 94% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and 88 on Metacritic, a 97 from the BFCA, and was nominated for 7 Golden Globes (1 Win), 11 Critics Choice Awards (2 Wins), and received nominations/wins from the Chicago Film Critics Association, Central Ohio Film Critics Association, Dallas-Ft. Worth Critics Association, Denver Film Critics Society, Houston Film Critics Society, Iowa Film Critics, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, London Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle, New York Films Critics Online, Online Film Critics Society, Phoenix Film Critics Society, San Diego Film Critics Society, Southeastern Film Critics Association, St. Louis Film Critics Association, and the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association. If critics and bloggers hated that film so much, they had a funny way of showing it. 

Okay, so now that I have finally gotten that rant off of my chest. Onto 2015. No this is not another 2010. Birdman may not have as many critics awards as Boyhood, but it has a lot, and Boyhood was not nearly as dominant as The Social Network was. Also, while I love The King's Speech, I will admit that it is a more traditional film, and a more Academy-bait type of movie (I still love it). Birdman is absolutely not traditional in any sense of the word, and if the top three for this prize are Boyhood, Birdman, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, then a "traditional Academy film" is not going to win the top prize this year. The only narrative that crosses over is that the biggest critical favorite did not do as well at the guilds as expected. I love both Boyhood and Birdman, and whoever wins this prize is going to be a deserving winner, and an extraordinary pick for an Academy that usually doesn't go so bold. For the record, while the BAFTA keeps its hopes alive, I think missing SAG, PGA, and DGA has put it in a close second, and Birdman is in the lead. Some would argue that 12 Years a Slave made its comeback at BAFTA, but it had tied at PGA with Gravity, and with American Hustle winning the SAG, it was basically a three-way split coming into BAFTA. Birdman won all three, no ties, no dark horse stealing from the front runners. Just outright won all three. So for now, Birdman retains its spot in the top slot. And honestly, it makes sense. Birdman is a film about the industry, acting, and fame, subjects we know Academy voters eat up. I'm just surprised it took so long for all of us to see its potential. 

So how about those other awards. Theory of Everything and Grand Budapest won the screenplay awards at BAFTA. Theory was not eligible at WGA, so that doesn't really help us sort out that crazy Adapted category. But if Wes Anderson wins at WGA (Birdman was not eligible either so it won't be a complete picture), it places him in the front runner status. In Adapted, I really don't know, as I said above, I'm starting to look at Whiplash as the dark horse that comes in and breaks up this cluster you-know-what between Theory of Everything, Imitation Game, and American Sniper. What was the most interesting sweep of the BAFTAs was The Grand Budapest Hotel taking four technical awards, along with the screenplay. I could honestly seeing it repeat all five of those wins. Production Design and Costume Design seem like shoo-ins at this point. Makeup and Hair Design is a hot three-way race, and could be the one that doesn't cross over. Alexandre Desplat might lose due to his double nomination, but his score for The Grand Budapest Hotel just won the BAFTA and the Grammy, so it looks like voters are rallying behind that score for the win. After 8 nominations, he is due for a win. Cinematography seems locked up at this point, and Interstellar's win for Visual Effects feels like it will repeat at the Oscars. The Sound races are particularly interesting this year. Whiplash's win at BAFTAs means there could be a split in those awards, as there has been a lot of crossover between BAFTA and Oscar here, and Whiplash is the semi-musical film (which do well here). That leaves Sniper and Interstellar (most likely) battling it out for Sound Editing (although don't discount voters voting for one of those films for both sound awards, because many don't understand the difference between the two. And How to Train Your Dragon swept the Annies, and Big Hero 6 the VES Awards, and I have no idea how that will shake down come Oscar night. 

There is still so much mystery in the race this year. The tech guilds coming up will sort out some categories, but most likely there will be plenty of surprises come Oscar night. I am thrilled, scared, and wrapped up in all of it all at the same time. Two weeks folks, two weeks. 

The 57th Annual Grammy Awards

I will update the winners live, and check out grammy.com for all the winners in all categories:

Album of the Year - Beck "Morning Phase"
Record of the Year - Sam Smith "Stay With Me"
Song of the Year - James Napier, William Phillips, and Sam Smith "Stay With Me"
Best New Artist - Sam Smith
Best Pop Vocal Album - Sam Smith "In the Lonely Hour"
Best Pop Solo Performance - Pharrell Williams "Happy"
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance - A Great Big World feat. Christina Aguilera "Say Something"
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance - Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga "Cheek to Cheek" 
Best Dance Recording - Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne "Rather Be"
Best Dance/Electronic Album - Aphex Twin "Syro"
Best Rock Album - Beck "Morning Phase"
Best Rock Performance - Jack White "Lazaretto"
Best Metal Performance - Tenacious D "The Last in Line"
Best Rock Song - Hayley Williams and Taylor York "Ain't It Fun"
Best Alternative Music Album - St. Vincent "St. Vincent" 
Best R&B Performance - Beyonce feat. Jay-Z "Drunk in Love"
Best Traditional R&B Performance - Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Lalah Hathaway and Malcolm-Jamal Warner "Jesus Children"
Best R&B Song - Shawn Carter, Rasool Diaz, Noel Fisher, Jerome Harmon, BeyoncĂ© Knowles, Timothy Mosely, Andre Eric Proctor & Brian Soko "Drunk in Love"
Best Urban Contemporary Album - Pharrell Williams "G I R L"
Best R&B Album - Toni Braxton & Babyface "Love, Marriage & Divorce"
Best Rap Performance - Kendrick Lamar "i"
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration - Eminem feat. Rihanna "The Monster"
Best Rap Song - K. Duckworth and C. Smith "i"
Best Rap Album - Eminem "The Marshall Mathers LP 2"
Best Country Album - Miranda Lambert "Platinum"
Best Country Solo Performance - Carrie Underwood "Something in the Water"
Best Country Duo/Group Performance - The Band Perry "Gentle On My Mind"
Best Country Song - Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond "I'm Not Gonna Miss You"
Best American Roots Performance - Rosanne Cash "A Feather's Not a Bird"
Best American Roots Song - Rosanne Cash "A Feather's Not a Bird"
Best Americana Album - Rosanne Cash "The River and the Thread"
Best Spoken Word Album - Joan Rivers "Diary of a Mad Diva"
Best Comedy Album - Weird Al Yankovic "Mandatory Fun"
Best Musical Theater Album - Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media - Frozen
Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media - Alexandre Desplat "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Song Written for Visual Media - Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez "Let it Go" from Frozen
Best Music Video - Pharrell Williams "Happy"
Best Music Film - 20 Feet From Stardom 

The 68th Annual BAFTA Awards

Boyhood makes a comeback here! Tomorrow I will go over DGA and BAFTAs and see where we stand, and start Final Predictions!

Best Picture - Boyhood
Best Director - Richard Linklater "Boyhood"
Best Actor - Eddie Redmayne "The Theory of Everything"
Best Actress - Julianne Moore "Still Alice"
Best Supporting Actor - J.K. Simmons "Whiplash"
Best Supporting Actress - Patricia Arquette "Boyhood"
Best Adapted Screenplay - Anthony McCarten "The Theory of Everything"
Best Original Screenplay - Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Documentary - Citizenfour
Best Animated Film - The LEGO Movie
Best Film Not in the English Language - Ida
Best British Film - The Theory of Everything
EE British Rising Star Award - Jack O'Connell
Best Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer - Stephen Beresford and David Livingstone "Pride
Best Cinematography - Emmanuel Lubezki "Birdman"
Best Costume Design - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Film Editing - Whiplash
Best Makeup and Hair - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Original Score - Alexandre Desplat "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Best Production Design - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Sound - Whiplash
Best Special Visual Effects - Interstellar
Best British Short Film - Boogaloo and Graham
Best British Short Animated Film - The Bigger Picture
British Contribution to Cinema - BBC Films

The 67th Annual Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award Winners

Birdman has now hit the trifecta, and after this afternoon we will know the fate of the BAFTAs, and of how this Oscar race is going to play out. Full recap and updated predictions tomorrow! For now check out the winners below and tune in today/tonight for live updates of the BAFTA and Grammy Awards!

Best Director of a Motion Picture - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu "Birdman"

Best Director of a Documentary - Laura Poitras "Citizenfour"

Best Director of a Drama Series - Lesli Linka Glatter "Homeland - From A to B and Back Again"

Best Director of a Comedy Series - Jill Soloway "Transparent - Best New Girl"

Best Director of a TV Movie/Miniseries - Lisa Cholodenko "Olive Kitteridge"

Best Director of Variety Series - Dave Diomedi "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Episode #1"

Best Director of a Variety Special - Glenn Weiss "The 68th Annual Tony Awards"

Best Director of a Reality Program - Anthony B. Sacco "The Chair - The Test"

Best Director of a Children's Program - Jonathan Judge "100 Things to Do Before High School - Pilot"

Best Director of Commercials - Nicolai Fuglsig, MJZ "Sapeurs - Guinness" and "Waiting - FEMA"

Lifetime Achievement Award - James Burrows and Robert Butler

Frank Capra Achievement Award - Phillip Goldfarb  

Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award - Julie Gelfand