Friday, October 27, 2017

The Oscar Narrative: Post-Festival Predictions - Best Picture

Post-Festival Predictions
Blade Runner 2049
Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
The Florida Project
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Other Contenders - Battle of the Sexes, I Tonya, Mudbound, Phantom Thread, The Big Sick, Logan, The Greatest Showman, Wonder Woman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Big Sick, Downsizing, Wonderstruck, Last Flag Flying, Coco, Detroit, Stronger, Molly's Game, Stronger, The Beguiled, Victoria and Abdul, mother!, War for the Planet of the Apes, Breathe, Murder on the Orient Express, Marshall, First They Killed My Father, Wind River

Commentary - As always, I start with ten, knowing that things can change. There are a few at this point I think are slam dunks. First, is Dunkirk, whose summer release will not hamper its ability to woo Oscar voters. I would also add Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water, Joe Wright's Darkest Hour, and Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Shape of Water is the director's film with style, Darkest Hour is the historical biopic that voters love, and Three Billboards is this year's surprise contender who will ride its Toronto audience award all the way to Oscar glory. Smaller projects like The Florida Project, Call Me By Your Name, and Lady Bird, are hoping to join the list of small indies that have become Oscar staples. Blade Runner 2049 may not be a box office hit, but I think that the directors and the tech folks will elevate it the way they have Mad Max and Arrival in recent years. The Post is the one big contender we really don't know yet, but Steven Spielberg + Meryl Streep + Tom Hanks = Oscar gold until we see otherwise. Finally, Get Out is the little film that could. It is not at all a typical Oscar movie, and this does make me nervous. But if it continues to retain its buzz, it could be the big surprise of this season. On the outside are some potent contenders though. Battle of the Sexes was deemed "crowd pleaser", but that is exactly why I think it is a bigger contender than folks are giving it credit for. These type of historical, crowd-pleasing biopics often find their way into this race (see Hidden Figures, The Help and The Blind Side for examples). I, Tonya is biting and gaining attention, Mudbound is in if Netflix plays their cards right, The Big Sick is heartfelt, Phantom Thread has all the right pieces, Stronger is emotional, and The Greatest Showman is the lurking contender I am keeping my eye on. The big guys like Star Wars, Coco, Planet of the Apes, and Logan are once again fighting for a slot, and the mixed contenders like Downsizing, Wonderstruck, mother!, Victoria and Abdul, Marshall, Wind River, and Last Flag Flying are hoping that they still have enough passionate voters to sneak in.

Academy Announces 170 Entries for Best Documentary Feature

Here are the 170 Entries:

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“Aida’s Secrets”
“Al Di Qua”
“All the Rage”
“All These Sleepless Nights”
“The American Media and the Second Assassination of President John F. Kennedy”
“And the Winner Isn’t”
“Angels Within”
“Architects of Denial”
“Arthur Miller: Writer”
“Atomic Homefront”
“The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography”
“Bang! The Bert Berns Story”
“Bending the Arc”
“Big Sonia”
“Bill Nye: Science Guy”
“Birthright: A War Story”
“Bobbi Jene”
“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”
“Born in China”
“Born to Lead: The Sal Aunese Story”
“Brimstone & Glory”
“Bronx Gothic”
“California Typewriter”
“Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story”
“Casting JonBenet”
“Chasing Coral”
“Chasing Trane”
“Citizen Jane: Battle for the City”
“City of Ghosts”
“Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives”
“Cries from Syria”
“Cruel & Unusual”
“Cuba and the Cameraman”
“Dawson City: Frozen Time”
“The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson”
“Destination Unknown”
“Dream Big: Engineering Our World”
“A Dying King: The Shah of Iran”
“Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)”
“Earth: One Amazing Day”
“Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars”
“Everybody Knows… Elizabeth Murray”
“Ex Libris – The New York Public Library”
“Extraordinary Ordinary People”
“Faces Places”
“The Farthest”
“The Final Year”
“Finding Oscar”
“500 Years”
“Food Evolution”
“For Ahkeem”
“The Force”
“The Freedom to Marry”
“From the Ashes”
“Gaga: Five Foot Two”
“A German Life”
“Get Me Roger Stone”
“God Knows Where I Am”
“Good Fortune”
“A Gray State”
“Hare Krishna! The Mantra, the Movement and the Swami Who Started It All”
“Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story”
“Hearing Is Believing”
“Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS”
“Human Flow”
“I Am Another You”
“I Am Evidence”
“I Am Jane Doe”
“I Called Him Morgan”
“If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast”
“The Incomparable Rose Hartman”
“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”
“Intent to Destroy”
“Jeremiah Tower The Last Magnificent”
“Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton”
“Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold”
“Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower”
“Karl Marx City”
“Keep Quiet”
“LA 92”
“The Last Dalai Lama?”
“The Last Laugh”
“Last Men in Aleppo”
“Legion of Brothers”
“Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982 – 1992”
“Let’s Play Two”
“Letters from Baghdad”
“Long Strange Trip”
“Look & See”
“Man in Red Bandana”
“Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance”
“My Scientology Movie”
“Naples ’44”
“Neary’s – The Dream at the End of the Rainbow”
“Night School”
“No Greater Love”
“No Stone Unturned”
“Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press”
“Nowhere to Hide”
“Oklahoma City”
“One of Us”
“The Paris Opera”
“The Pathological Optimist”
“The Pulitzer at 100”
“Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman”
“The Rape of Recy Taylor”
“The Reagan Show”
“Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan”
“A River Below”
“Rocky Ros Muc”
“Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World”
“School Life”
“Score: A Film Music Documentary”
“Served Like a Girl”
“The Settlers”
“Shot! The Psycho Spiritual Mantra of Rock”
“Sidemen: Long Road to Glory”
“The Skyjacker’s Tale”
“Sled Dogs”
“Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex-Trafficking”
“Strong Island”
“Surviving Peace”
“Swim Team”
“Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton”
“Take My Nose… Please!”
“They Call Us Monsters”
“32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide”
“This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous”
“Tickling Giants”
“Twenty Two”
“Vince Giordano – There’s a Future in the Past”
“Wait for Your Laugh”
“Wasted! The Story of Food Waste”
“Water & Power: A California Heist”
“Whitney. “Can I Be Me””
“Whose Streets?”
“The Work”

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Oscar Narrative: Post-Festival Predictions - Best Director

Post Festival Predictions
Luca Guadagnino "Call Me By Your Name"
Denis Villeneuve "Blade Runner 2049"
Joe Wright "Darkest Hour"
Christopher Nolan "Dunkirk"
Guillermo Del Toro "The Shape of Water"

Other Contenders - Steven Spielberg "The Post", Martin McDonagh "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", Dee Rees "Mudbound", Paul Thomas Anderson "Phantom Thread", Greta Gerwig "Lady Bird", Jordan Peele "Get Out", Sean Baker "The Florida Project",  Michael Gracey "The Greatest Showman", Patty Jenkins "Wonder Woman", Rian Johnson "Star Wars: The Last Jedi", Kathryn Bigelow "Detroit", Alexander Payne "Downsizing", James Mangold "Logan", Ridley Scott "All the Money in the World", Edgar Wright "Baby Driver", Sofia Coppola "The Beguiled", Michael Showalter "The Big Sick", Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris "Battle of the Sexes", Todd Haynes "Wonderstruck", Richard Linklater "Last Flag Flying", Aaron Sorkin "Molly's Game", Darren Aronofsky "mother!", Matt Reeves "War for the Planet of the Apes", Taylor Sheridan "Wind River"

Commentary - In the last several years of the Best Picture expansion, this category has rewarded the visionary director, the technical expertise director, over the Best Picture winner. The one exception was Birdman, which was a combination of technical expertise, ensemble acting, and an Academy-friendly story line, and overcame this split. That is why I have three directors at the top: Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve, and Guillermo Del Toro. These are the types of directors, and their films the types of films, that the Academy has awarded in this category in recent years. I also think that this branch, which has hailed foreign directors in the past, will reward Italian Luca Guadagnino for Call Me By Your Name, which is also stylish in its own right. Joe Wright missed out for Atonement, but Darkest Hour is climbing the Oscar charts, and he is well-overdue for some recognition from his peers. But these five are in the lion fight. First is Martin McDonagh. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a crowd-pleaser, and he is on the cusp. Steven Spielberg is always in contention, Dee Rees, Sean Baker, Greta Gerwig, and Jordan Peele are breakout stars, and previous nominees like Paul Thomas Anderson, Richard Linklater, Ridley Scott, Darren Aronofsky, Kathryn Bigelow, Alexander Payne, and Sofia Coppola will inspire votes. Michael Gracey could inspire folks with the showy Greatest Showman, Patty Jenkins, James Mangold, Matt Reeves and Rian Johnson could get one for the studio films, Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut got good reviews, Edgar Wright is visionary, Michael Showalter is now a proven master of indie comedies, Dayton and Feris brought a crowd-pleaser, and Todd Haynes has been flirting with Oscar for years. All should be kept on your radar.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

2017 IFP Gotham Independent Film Award Nominations

I am SO late on these:

Best Feature
Call Me by Your Name
The Florida Project
Get Out
Good Time
I, Tonya

Best Documentary
Ex Libris – The New York Public Library
Rat Film
Strong Island
Whose Streets?
The Work

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award
Maggie Betts "Novitiate"
Greta Gerwig "Lady Bird"
Kogonada "Columbus"
Jordan Peele "Get Out"
Joshua Z. Weinstein "Menashe"

Best Screenplay
Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani "The Big Sick"
Mike White "Brad’s Status"
James Ivory "Call Me by Your Name"
Kogonada "Columbus"
Jordan Peele "Get Out"
Greta Gerwig "Lady Bird"

Best Actor
Willem Dafoe "The Florida Project"
James Franco "The Disaster Artist"
Daniel Kaluuya "Get Out"
Robert Pattinson "Good Time"
Adam Sandler "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)"
Harry Dean Stanton "Lucky"

Best Actress
Melanie Lynskey "I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore"
Haley Lu Richardson "Columbus"
Margot Robbie "I, Tonya"
Saoirse Ronan "Lady Bird"
Lois Smith "Marjorie Prime"

Breakthrough Actor
Mary J. Blige "Mudbound"
Timothée Chalamet "Call Me by Your Name"
Harris Dickinson "Beach Rats"
Kelvin Harrison, Jr. "It Comes at Night"
Brooklynn Prince "The Florida Project"

Breakthrough Series – Long Form
Better Things
Dear White People
Search Party

Breakthrough Series – Short Form
Let Me Die a Nun
The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes

Special Gotham Jury Award
The Cast of Mudbound

Sunday, October 15, 2017

2017 American Music Award (AMA) Nominees

Bruno Mars
The Chainsmokers
Kendrick Lamar
Ed Sheeran

James Arthur
Niall Horan
Julia Michaels
Post Malone
Rae Sremmurd

“Closer” – The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey
“Despacito” – Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber
“I’m The One” – DJ Khaled feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne
“Don’t Wanna Know” – Maroon 5 feat. Kendrick Lamar
“Starboy” – The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk

Bruno Mars
Ed Sheeran

Lady Gaga
Alessia Cara

The Chainsmokers
Imagine Dragons

“Starboy” – The Weeknd
“24K Magic” – Bruno Mars
“More Life” – Drake

“Despacito” – Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber
“Shape Of You” – Ed Sheeran
“Closer” – The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey

Bruno Mars
Donald Glover
The Weeknd


“24K Magic” – Bruno Mars
“Awaken, My Love!” – Donald Glover
“Starboy” – The Weeknd

“That’s What I Like” – Bruno Mars
“Location” – Khalid
“Starboy” – The Weeknd

Kendrick Lamar

“More Life” – Drake
“DAMN.” – Kendrick Lamar
“Culture” – Migos

“I’m The One” – DJ Khaled feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne
“HUMBLE.” – Kendrick Lamar
“Black Beatles” – Rae Sremmurd feat. Gucci Mane

The Chainsmokers
DJ Snake
Calvin Harris

Sam Hunt
Thomas Rhett
Keith Urban

Miranda Lambert
Maren Morris
Carrie Underwood

Florida Georgia Line
Little Big Town
Old Dominion

“They Don’t Know” – Jason Aldean
“From A Room: Volume 1” – Chris Stapleton
“Ripcord” – Keith Urban

“Body Like A Back Road” – Sam Hunt
“Dirt On My Boots” – Jon Pardi
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” – Keith Urban

Imagine Dragons
Linkin Park
Twenty One Pilots

Bruno Mars
Shawn Mendes
Ed Sheeran

Lauren Daigle
Chris Tomlin

Daddy Yankee
Luis Fonsi

“That’s What I Like” – Bruno Mars
“Shape Of You” – Ed Sheeran
“Despacito” – Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber

Garth Brooks

Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2: “Awesome Mix Vol. 2”

The Oscar Narrative: Post-Festival Predictions - Best Actor

Post-Festival Predictions
Timothee Chalamet "Call Me By Your Name"
Daniel Day-Lewis "Phantom Thread"
Jake Gyllenhaal "Stronger"
Hugh Jackman "The Greatest Showman"
Gary Oldman "Darkest Hour"

Other Contenders - Tom Hanks "The Post", Andrew Garfield "Breathe", James Franco "The Disaster Artist", Jeremy Renner "Wind River", Daniel Kaluuya "Get Out", Sam Elliott "The Hero", Steve Carell "Battle of the Sexes", Steve Carell "The Last Flag Flying", Denzel Washington "Roman J. Israel, Esq", Kumail Nanjiani "The Big Sick", Christian Bale "Hostiles", Ryan Gosling "Blade Runner 2049", Chadwick Boseman "Marshall", Hugh Jackman "Logan", Miles Teller "Thank You For Your Service", James McAvoy "Split", Matt Damon "Downsizing", Kevin Spacey "All the Money in the World", Javier Barden "mother!", Robert Redford "Our Souls at Night", Kenneth Branagh "Murder on the Orient Express", Robert Pattinson "Good Time", Joel Edgerton "It Comes At Night", Tom Cruise "American Made", John Boyega "Detroit", Adam Sandler "The Meyerowitz Stories", Donald Sutherland "The Leisure Seeker"

Commentary - After the fests, one name stands out among the pack. Of course I am speaking of Gary Oldman. He has everything going for him: overdue status, brilliant performance, biopic, film with overall Oscar potential. Can something unseat him? Of course! It is only mid-October and the next three months or so could change a lot. But Oldman feels like one of those inevitable contenders, and so far, it looks like everyone is happy to go along for the ride. A surprise contender is Jake Gyllenhaal. He was not really on my radar, but Stronger has earned him raves. In a race that I actually think is rather weak, he is a previous nominee who recently missed out for some great roles, and this is the type of role that actors love. I think he finally earns himself a second Oscar nomination. While younger actors have always struggled here, I think that Timothee Chalamet, who is apparently just awesome in Call Me By Your Name can be an exception to the rule, if the film continues to play well. The last two slots I am saving for sights unseen. Daniel Day-Lewis is re-teaming up with Paul Thomas Anderson in what he says will be his last film. And Hugh Jackman gets to sing, dance, and play a real life character. Plus he also has a stunning performance in Logan to bolster him. I think that, on paper at least, these look like perfect roles for two beloved actors. My first alternate slot goes to Tom Hanks. Like always, folks are rushing to predict him, but then I go back to Captain Phillips and Bridge of Spies, and so many other performances in the last fifteen years that have been overlooked. So for now, I am leaving him out. Beyond those six, the field, in my opinion, gets muddled. You have previous winners and nominees like Jeremy Renner, Andrew Garfield, James Franco, Steve Carell, Denzel Washington, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Matt Damon, Kevin Spacey, Javier Bardem, Robert Redfrod, Kenneth Branagh, and Tom Cruise. But in each of their cases, there is something that makes me hesitate. It's either the film is not well-received, or the film is too small, or to controversial, or lacking buzz. But for whatever reason, none have risen to the top. YOu have legends like Sam Elliott and Donald Sutherland doing great late-career work, and young talents like Chadwick Boseman, Daniel Kaluuya, Kumail Nanjiani, Miles Teller, Robert Pattinson, and John Boyega patiently waiting for Oscar breakthrough. But right now, they all need more buzz to breakthrough.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Oscar Narrative: Post-Festival Predictions - Best Actress

Post-Festival Predictions
Sally Hawkins "The Shape of Water"
Frances McDormand "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Margot Robbie "I, Tonya"
Emma Stone "Battle of the Sexes"
Meryl Streep "The Post"

Other Contenders - Kate Winslet "Wonder Wheel", Saoirse Ronan "Lady Bird", Jessica Chastain "Molly's Game", Judi Dench "Victoria and Abdul", Annette Bening "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool", Michelle Williams "All the Money in the World", Carey Mulligan "Mudbound", Daniela Vega "A Fantastic Woman", Gal Gadot "Wonder Woman", Diane Kruger "In the Fade", Claire Foy "Breathe", Jennifer Lawrence "mother!", Salma Hayek "Beatriz at Dinner", Debra Winger "The Lovers", Helen Mirren "The Leisure Seeker", Jane Fonda "Our Souls at Night", Charlize Theron "Atomic Blonde", Isabelle Huppert "Happy End"

Commentary - This race is packed this year, and it will take a while to really sort out the top five. First, we have to make room for the obligatory Meryl Streep slot. Sometimes she does make it in, but she does more than she doesn't, and I discounted her last year for most of the season and I was wrong. Plus she is pairing up with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Sounds like Oscar gold. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri's Toronto prize is a big deal, and previous winner Frances McDormand is ripe for an Oscar comeback. Despite being a mute performance, I think the power and popularity of Shape of Water, and her performance, will put Sally Hawkins back into the Oscar race for the first time since Blue Jasmine. Margot Robbie has been on the verge of Oscar for years now, and her role in I, Tonya has been earning raves. Finally, while a lot of Oscar prognosticators have written off Battle of the Sexes as a "crowd-pleaser", that is exactly why I am keeping it in a lot of these races. It is the kind of feel-good film like Hidden Figures last year, that wins the hearts of voters. Emma Stone is last year's winner, is fantastic as Billie Jean King, in a film I think Oscar voters will love. I say she earns her third nomination. Beyond those five though are some potent contenders. Kate Winslet is apparently fantastic in Wonder Wheel, although early reviews have been mixed. Saoirse Ronan earned raves out of the fests for Lady Bird, Jessica Chastain sizzles in Molly's Game, Annette Bening is the reason to watch Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, and Judi Dench is, well, Judi Dench. Those only make my top ten, and there are still plenty of names to think about. Gal Gadot deserves some love for Wonder Woman, Carey Mulligan is still searching for that second Oscar nomination, Michelle Williams is overdue, and names like Diane Kruger, Claire Foy, Jennifer Lawrence, Jane Fonda, Isabelle Huppert, and Debra Winger will inspire support.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The 2nd Annual Critics Choice Documentary Award Nominations

Best Documentary
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Beware the Slenderman
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds
Chasing Coral
City of Ghosts
Cries From Syria
Dawson City: Frozen Time
Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis
Ex Libris: The New York Public Library
Faces Places
One of Us
Strong Island

Best Director
Evgeny Afineevsky – Cries from Syria
Amir Bar-Lev – Long Strange Trip
Matthew Heineman – City of Ghosts
Bill Morrison – Dawson City: Frozen Time (
Doug Nichol – California Typewriter
Jeff Orlowski – Chasing Coral
Irene Taylor Brodsky – Beware the Slenderman
Ceyda Torun – Kedi
Agnès Varda & JR – Faces Places
Frederick Wiseman – Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

Best First Documentary
California Typewriter
Nowhere to Hide
Strong Island
Whose Streets?

Best Political Documentary
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
City of Ghosts
The Reagan Show

Best Sports Documentary
Speed Sisters
Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton

Best Music Documentary
Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of our Live
Contemporary Color
Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis
I Called Him Morgan
Long Strange Trip
Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary
The Cats of Istanbul – Kedi
Etty – One of Us
Al Gore – An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power \
Laird Hamilton – Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton
Dolores Huerta – Dolores
Gigi Lazzarato – This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous
The Sung Family – Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Most Innovative Documentary
Casting JonBenet
Dawson City: Frozen Time
Karl Marx City
Last Men in Aleppo

Best Song in a Documentary
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power – “Truth to Power” – OneRepublic
Chasing Coral – “Tell Me How Long” – Kristen Bell
Cries From Syria – “Prayers for This World” – Cher
Dina – “Best I Can” – Michael Cera featuring Sharon Van Etten
Served Like a Girl – “Dancing Through the Wreckage” – Pat Benatar
Step – “Jump” – Cynthia Erivo

Best Limited Documentary Series (TV/Streaming)
The Defiant Ones
Five Came Back
The Keepers
The Nineties
Planet Earth II
The Vietnam War

Best Ongoing Documentary Series (TV/Streaming)
30 for 30
American Masters
Independent Lens

The Oscar Narrative: Post-Festival Predictions - Technical Categories

Best Cinematography
Roger Deakins "Blade Runner 2049"
Hoyte van Hoytema "Dunkirk" 
Dan Laustsen "The Shape of Water"
Steve Yedlin "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Edward Lachmann "Wonderstruck"

Other Contenders - Bruno Delbonnel "Darkest Hour", Paul Thomas Anderson "Phantom Thread", Seamus McGarvey "The Greatest Showman", Rachel Morrison "Mudbound", Linus Sandgren "Battle of the Sexes", Sayombhu Mukdeeprom "Call Me By Your Name", John Mathieson "Logan", Anthony Dod Mantle "First They Killed My Father", Ben Davis "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", Matthew Jensen "Wonder Woman", Tobias A. Schliessler "Beauty and the Beast", Vittorio Storaro "Wonder Wheel", Ben Richardson "Wind River", Masanobu Takayanagi "Hostiles", Dion Beebe "The Snowman", Dariusz Wolski "All the Money in the World", Michael Seresin "War for the Planet of the Apes"

Best Costume Design
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
The Greatest Showman
Murder on the Orient Express
Victoria and Abdul

Other Contenders - Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Film, Wonderstruck,The Beguiled, Blade Runner 2049, Mudbound, Wonder Wheel, Dunkirk, Battle of the Sexes, The Shape of Water,  Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Wonder Woman, The Post, The Death of Stalin, Suburbicon, Marshall, Hostiles, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, The Glass Castle, Breathe, Call Me By Your Name, Ladybird, Detroit, Goodbye Christopher Robin

Best Film Editing
Blade Runner 2049
The Post
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Other Contenders - Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Get Out, Wonder Woman, Battle of the Sexes, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Mudbound, The Greatest Showman, Logan, Wonderstruck, Wonder Wheel, Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Film, Victoria and Abdul, Detroit, War for the Planet of the Apes, I, Tonya, Hostiles, All the Money in the World, Stronger, Downsizing, Last Flag Flying

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
The Greatest Showman

Other Contenders - Logan, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Dunkirk, The Beguiled, All the Money in the World, Wonder, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Battle of the Sexes, Victoria and Abdul, I Tonya, Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Film, Thor: Ragnarok, Wonderstruck, Detroit, Hostiles, It, The Post, Logan Lucky, Justice League, mother!

Best Original Score
Dario Marianelli "Darkest Hour"
Alexandre Desplat "The Shape of Water"
Thomas Newman "Victoria and Abdul"
John Williams "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Hans Zimmer "Dunkirk"

Other Contenders - John Williams "The Post", Carter Burwell "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", John Debney, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul "The Greatest Showman", Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer "Blade Runner 2049", Michael Giacchino "War for the Planet of the Apes", Michael Giacchino "Coco", Carter Burwell "Wonderstruck", Marco Beltrami "Logan", James Newton Howard "Detroit"

Best Original Song
I will wait till the contenders list is released, this category always has surprises left off or included.

Best Production Design
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049\
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Other Contenders - Murder on the Orient Express, Victoria and Abdul, The Greatest Showman, Dunkirk, Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Film, Wonder Wheel, Battle of the Sexes, Mudbound, The Post, Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Logan, Thor: Ragnarok, Marshall, Call Me By Your Name, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Justice League, Detroit, War for the Planet of the Apes, Hostiles

Best Sound Editing
Blade Runner 2049
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Wonder Woman

Other Contenders -  The Shape of Water, Justice League, Beauty and the Beast, Detroit, Battle of the Sexes, The Greatest Showman, Get Out, War for the Planet of the Apes, Coco, Transformers: The Last Knight, Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, Atomic Blonde, The Post, Mudbound, Hostiles, Kong: Skull Island, Darkest Hour, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Thank You For Your Service, Mudbound, Okja, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Murder on the Orient Express

Best Sound Mixing
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Wonder Woman

Other Contenders - The Shape of the Water, Justice League, Logan, Detroit, Battle of the Sexes, The Greatest Showman, Get Out, War for the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Coco, Transformers: The Last Knight, Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, Atomic Blonde, The Post, Mudbound, Hostiles, Kong: Skull Island, Darkest Hour, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Thank You For Your Service, Mudbound, Okja, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Murder on the Orient Express

Best Visual Effects
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes
Wonder Woman

Other Contenders -  Justice League, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The Shape of Water, Dunkirk, Thor: Ragnarok, Kong: Skull Island, Okja, Life, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Murder on the Orient Express

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Oscar Narrative: Post-Festival Predictions - Best Adapted Screenplay

Post-Festival Predictions
James Ivory "Call Me By Your Name"
Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, and Peter Fellows "The Death of Stalin"
James Mangold, Scott Frank, and Michael Green "Logan"
Aaron Sorkin "Molly's Game"
Dee Rees and Virgil Williams "Mudbound"

Other Contenders - John Pollono "Stronger", Brian Selznick "Wonderstruck", Sofia Coppola "The Beguiled", Hossein Amini, Peter Straughn, and Soren Sveistrup "The Snowman", Richard Linklater and Darryl Ponicsan "Last Flag Flying", Lee Hall "Victoria and Abdul", Rian Johnson "Star Wars: The Last Jedi", Hampton Fancher and Michael Green "Blade Runner 2049", Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber "The Disaster Artist", Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber "Our Souls at Night", David Scarpa "All the Money in the World", Jason Dean Hall "Thank You For Your Service", Steve Conrad "Wonder", Allan Heinberg, Zach Snyder and Jason Fuchs "Wonder Woman", Matt Bomback, Matt Reeves, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver "War for the Planet of the Apes", Michael Green "Murder on the Orient Express"

Commentary - This category is so weak this year, in terms of pure Oscar bait contenders, but I'm hopeful that it leads to some of the thought provoking blockbusters that deserve recognition to finally make the cut here. For example, so far, I think Logan is in this race, and could go where other Marvel films have come up short (including Deadpool last year, despite a WGA nod). It is the type of character arch that writers will enjoy, and it is way more than its action. I thought about Blade Runner 2049, but so far its praise is for its direction and technical prowess, not its story. But Wonder Woman, The Last Jedi (hopefully), War for the Planet of the Apes, and Blade Runner, are all making the case that big sometimes does mean better, and with a lack of normal writing contenders, one of these might sneak in. Right now, my bet is Logan. Beyond Logan, I have probably what are considered the three "Oscar bait" scripts. Sorkin is a previous winner here, and Molly's Game has decent reviews. In a tough year, it might have had the same fate as Steve Jobs did a few years ago, but with less choice, Sorkin is an easy spot to fill. Call Me By Your Name continues to heat up the Oscar race since its premiere at Sundance in January, and right now I would consider it the front runner. Finally, Mudbound still has a tough hill to climb if Netflix doesn't play the game, but once again, in a weaker race, it may not matter in this category. In the final slot, I have a real wild card. I remembered that not that long ago, In the Loop, another Armando Iannucci comedy snuck into this race by surprise. The Death of Stalin got great reviews, and is just the kind of curve ball contender that could attract some writers to its cause. Beyond those five (and the potential blockbusters), I would watch out for Stronger, which is mostly getting buzz for its performances, but is a solid film with good buzz. Wonderstruck feels like it belongs here, but we need more consensus after its mixed festival launch. The Beguild is probably dead in terms of the Oscar race, but it will have supporters, the team of Neustadter and Weber have been flirting with Oscar recognition for years, and now have two more attempts this year. David Scarpa is writing for Ridley Scott, Jason Hall is a previous nominee, Victoria and Abdul could inspire older voters. But I think the two that we all really need to watch out for are Last Flag Flying and The Snowman. Last Flag Flying has mixed reviews, and The Snowman looks too genre for Oscar voters. But with names like Richard Linklater and Peter Straughn, both previous nominees in this category, on board, they could end up surprise screenplay contenders.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Academy Announces 92 Foreign Language Film Submissions

Afghanistan, “A Letter to the President,” Roya Sadat, director;
Albania, “Daybreak,” Gentian Koçi, director;
Algeria, “Road to Istanbul,” Rachid Bouchareb, director;
Argentina, “Zama,” Lucrecia Martel, director;
Armenia, “Yeva,” Anahit Abad, director;
Australia, “The Space Between,” Ruth Borgobello, director;
Austria, “Happy End,” Michael Haneke, director;
Azerbaijan, “Pomegranate Orchard,” Ilgar Najaf, director;
Bangladesh, “The Cage,” Akram Khan, director;
Belgium, “Racer and the Jailbird,” Michaël R. Roskam, director;
Bolivia, “Dark Skull,” Kiro Russo, director;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Men Don’t Cry,” Alen Drljević, director;
Brazil, “Bingo - The King of the Mornings,” Daniel Rezende, director;
Bulgaria, “Glory,” Petar Valchanov, Kristina Grozeva, directors;
Cambodia, “First They Killed My Father,” Angelina Jolie, director;
Canada, “Hochelaga, Land of Souls,” François Girard, director;
Chile, “A Fantastic Woman,” Sebastián Lelio, director;
China, “Wolf Warrior 2,” Wu Jing, director;
Colombia, “Guilty Men,” Iván D. Gaona, director;
Costa Rica, “The Sound of Things,” Ariel Escalante, director;
Croatia, “Quit Staring at My Plate,” Hana Jušić, director;
Czech Republic, “Ice Mother,” Bohdan Sláma, director;
Denmark, “You Disappear,” Peter Schønau Fog, director;
Dominican Republic, “Woodpeckers,” Jose Maria Cabral, director;
Ecuador, “Alba,” Ana Cristina Barragán, director;
Egypt, “Sheikh Jackson,” Amr Salama, director;
Estonia, “November,” Rainer Sarnet, director;
Finland, “Tom of Finland,” Dome Karukoski, director;
France, “BPM (Beats Per Minute),” Robin Campillo, director;
Georgia, “Scary Mother,” Ana Urushadze, director;
Germany, “In the Fade,” Fatih Akin, director;
Greece, “Amerika Square,” Yannis Sakaridis, director;
Haiti, “Ayiti Mon Amour,” Guetty Felin, director;
Honduras, “Morazán,” Hispano Durón, director;
Hong Kong, “Mad World,” Wong Chun, director;
Hungary, “On Body and Soul,” Ildikó Enyedi, director;
Iceland, “Under the Tree,” Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, director;
India, “Newton,” Amit V Masurkar, director;
Indonesia, “Turah,” Wicaksono Wisnu Legowo, director;
Iran, “Breath,” Narges Abyar, director;
Iraq, “Reseba - The Dark Wind,” Hussein Hassan, director;
Ireland, “Song of Granite,” Pat Collins, director;
Israel, “Foxtrot,” Samuel Maoz, director;
Italy, “A Ciambra,” Jonas Carpignano, director;
Japan, “Her Love Boils Bathwater,” Ryota Nakano, director;
Kazakhstan, “The Road to Mother,” Akhan Satayev, director;
Kenya, “Kati Kati,” Mbithi Masya, director;
Kosovo, “Unwanted,” Edon Rizvanolli, director;
Kyrgyzstan, “Centaur,” Aktan Arym Kubat, director;
Lao People’s Democratic Republic, “Dearest Sister,” Mattie Do, director;
Latvia, “The Chronicles of Melanie,” Viestur Kairish, director;
Lebanon, “The Insult,” Ziad Doueiri, director;
Lithuania, “Frost,” Sharunas Bartas, director;
Luxembourg, “Barrage,” Laura Schroeder, director;
Mexico, “Tempestad,” Tatiana Huezo, director;
Mongolia, “The Children of Genghis,” Zolbayar Dorj, director;
Morocco, “Razzia,” Nabil Ayouch, director;
Mozambique, “The Train of Salt and Sugar,” Licinio Azevedo, director;
Nepal, “White Sun,” Deepak Rauniyar, director;
Netherlands, “Layla M.,” Mijke de Jong, director;
New Zealand, “One Thousand Ropes,” Tusi Tamasese, director;
Norway, “Thelma,” Joachim Trier, director;
Pakistan, “Saawan,” Farhan Alam, director;
Palestine, “Wajib,” Annemarie Jacir, director;
Panama, “Beyond Brotherhood,” Arianne Benedetti, director;
Paraguay, “Los Buscadores,” Juan Carlos Maneglia, Tana Schembori, directors;
Peru, “Rosa Chumbe,” Jonatan Relayze, director;
Philippines, “Birdshot,” Mikhail Red, director;
Poland, “Spoor,” Agnieszka Holland, Kasia Adamik, directors;
Portugal, “Saint George,” Marco Martins, director;
Romania, “Fixeur,” Adrian Sitaru, director;
Russia, “Loveless,” Andrey Zvyagintsev, director;
Senegal, “Félicité,” Alain Gomis, director;
Serbia, “Requiem for Mrs. J.,” Bojan Vuletic, director;
Singapore, “Pop Aye,” Kirsten Tan, director;
Slovakia, “The Line,” Peter Bebjak, director;
Slovenia, “The Miner,” Hanna A. W. Slak, director;
South Africa, “The Wound,” John Trengove, director;
South Korea, “A Taxi Driver,” Jang Hoon, director;
Spain, “Summer 1993,” Carla Simón, director;
Sweden, “The Square,” Ruben Östlund, director;
Switzerland, “The Divine Order,” Petra Volpe, director;
Syria, “Little Gandhi,” Sam Kadi, director;
Taiwan, “Small Talk,” Hui-Chen Huang, director;
Thailand, “By the Time It Gets Dark,” Anocha Suwichakornpong, director;
Tunisia, “The Last of Us,” Ala Eddine Slim, director;
Turkey, “Ayla: The Daughter of War,” Can Ulkay, director;
Ukraine, “Black Level,” Valentyn Vasyanovych, director;
United Kingdom, “My Pure Land,” Sarmad Masud, director;
Uruguay, “Another Story of the World,” Guillermo Casanova, director;
Venezuela, “El Inca,” Ignacio Castillo Cottin, director;
Vietnam, “Father and Son,” Luong Dinh Dung, director.