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Thursday, January 15, 2015


Oscar nomination day is like Christmas morning to me, a heady mix of anticipation sure to be followed by a little disappointment.  There was a bit of both to be had today.

A few thoughts:

-The 4 apparent "frontrunners", which have Picture/Directing/Screenplay nominations are Boyhood, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Imitation Game. I haven't yet seen The Imitation Game, but the other 3 are among my very favorites of the year. So I really shouldn't complain too much about other snubs. Can we all just take a minute and say how great that a Wes Anderson movie LED the nominations? Not only that, they released it early in the year, showing they didn't give a hell about the Oscars.  And that the presumed frontrunner is a very independent film by Richard Linklater? Here's to quirky and idiosyncratic directors continuing to do what they do best.

-I'm very excited by Marion Cotillard's nomination. I haven't seen Two Days, One Night yet but I think she just might be the best Actress of her generation, and it's good to see the Academy look towards foreign films.

-This race is 20 white people.  Pretty terrible in 2015, but it says a lot about Hollywood, which films get funded, which films get made, and which films get voted on.  Which leads me to.....

-Selma. Damn.  Sure it got a Best Picture nomination, but only joined by a measly Best Song nomination. A few weeks ago, many pundits were putting it in the top 3 or 4 contenders.  There are movies in the race that I like a bit more than Selma, but it is strange and telling that this type of movie was so ignored across the board. It seems crazy to nominate the film and ignore the masterful central performance (David Oyelowo), the costumes, the cinematography (by the great young Black cinematographer Bradford Young), and of course the directing (Ava DuVernay). The Academy had the chance to make history by nominating the first African-American female director, and they didn't.  
-The nominations feel very male as well.  Gillian Flynn couldn't manage a screenplay nomination for the megahit Gone Girl (which I thought might win), and Wild, a story centered around a woman, also got passed over in screenplay.

On the categories I predicted, I got 36/43 for an 84% prediction rate. Last year I was 82% and the year before 87%, so right in the middle.

Here's the category-by-category rundown for those who are interested. I've also foolishly put my initial predictions (in everything except the short films) in italics.

Best Picture
American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

I predicted these 8, but I thought there would be 9 with Gone Girl as the 9th.  Pretty proud of myself here, my first time predicting Best Picture correctly.

Best Director
Alexandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

I predicted 4/5, thinking they would go with Damian Chazelle for Whiplash over Bennett Miller.  The saddest omission here is Ava Duvernay (Selma).

Best Actor
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

My worst category, with only 3/5. I thought they would go David Oyelowo (Selma) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) over Carrell and Cooper. A category chock full of contenders ended up looking a little lackluster.

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

4/5, and happily because we don't have to say Oscar nominee Jennifer Aniston (Cake)! Instead Marion Cotillard got in. I haven't seen Two Days, One Night yet but I love Cotillard (including her other performance this year in The Immigrant) and the directors the Dardenne brothers.

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

5/5.  If I continue my tradition of seeing all the major nominees, this means I have to watch The Judge.... yikes.

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

4/5. I picked Rene Russo (Nightcrawler) and they went with Dern. I prefer Russo's performance, but also love Dern so am very happy for her.

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything

4/5.  I (along with everyone) thought they would nominate Gone Girl, and I missed Inherent Vice.  One of the biggest shockers of the day was Gone Girl missing.

Best Original Screenplay
The Grand Budapest Hotel

4/5. I thought they'd go Selma, but they went with Foxcatcher, which did very well for a movie not in the Best Picture race.

Best Cinematography
Birdman – Emmanuel Lubezki
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Robert Yeoman
Ida – Lukasz Zal & Ryszard Lenczewski
Mr. Turner – Dick Pope
Unbroken – Roger Deakins

Great category! Sooooo excited for the Polish film Ida, which is great and has stunning cinematography.  It's on Netflix instant-check it out!

Best Foreign Language Film
Wild Tales

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Original Score
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Mr. Turner
The Theory of Everything

Best Original Song
“Lost Stars,” Begin Again
“Everything is Awesome,” The LEGO Movie
“Glory,” Selma
“Grateful,” Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me

A fun category! The first three songs are all great.

Best Animated Feature
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

OK, maybe this is the biggest shock.  No The Lego Movie, easily the most acclaimed animated movie of the year.

Best Documentary—Short
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

Best Film Editing
American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game

Best Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Best Animated Short
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Best Live Action Short
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
The Phone Call

Best Sound Editing
American Sniper
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Best Sound Mixing
American Sniper

Best Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Documentary — Feature
Finding Vivien Maier
Last Days of Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth

No Life Itself, the Ebert documentary! I guess not everyone loves a movie critic....

Best Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Final Nomination Predictions

The Oscar nominations are tomorrow and it's time for my annual predictions. An unpredictable year with some big unknowns, but here are my best guesses. I've divided into "locks," very likely, possible, and contenders, listed in order of likelihood.

Look for the nomination leaders to be Birdman, The Imitation Game, and maybe The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Boyhood is still our likely winner, but won't get many technical/craft nominations.

A few big questions for tomorrow:
-Did the lack of precursor support for Selma combined with the historical controversy (the role of LBJ) really hurt Selma, once a presumed major player?
-Is American Sniper actually a major contender? (Personal note.... did the Oscar race really need a late-breaking, mainstream Eastwood movie?)
-How much did the Academy like Gone Girl and Nightcrawler, two genre movies that aren't typical Oscar bait but have been doing well this season?


1. Boyhood
2. Birdman
3. The Imitation Game

Very Likely
4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
5. The Theory of Everything

6. Whiplash
7. Selma
8. American Sniper
9. Gone Girl
Into the Woods

While there could be anything between 5-10, I'm guessing we'll continue the 9 pattern of the last several years. After the first five, some really tough calls.   No matter what, how cool is it that a Wes Anderson movie is pretty much a lock??


1. Michael Keaton, Birdman
2. Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Very Likely
3. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

4. David Oyelowo, Selma
5. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Steve Carrell, Foxcatcher
Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner

A category chock-full of contenders, and I think only two (one of whom will win) are 100% safe.  The surprise I am most hoping for is a Fiennes nomination, but I highly doubt it will happen.


1. Julianne Moore, Still Alice
2. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
3. Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Very Likely
4. Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

5. Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Emily Blunt, Into the Woods

Certainly a weak category this year.  So much so that Aniston will probably get in for a movie that no one liked all that much and has barely opened.

Supporting Actor

1. J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
2. Edward Norton, Birdman
3. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
4. Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

Very Likely
5. Robert Duvall, The Judge

Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
Riz Ahmed, Nightcrawler
Tom Wilkinson, Selma
Steve Carrell, Foxcatcher (If they decide to switch categories)

A category with 4 amazing performances (the top 4) and not a hell of a lot else.

Supporting Actress

1. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
2. Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
3. Emma Stone, Birdman

Very Likely
4. Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

5. Rene Russo, Nightcrawler
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Laura Dern, Wild
Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer

My most risky pick this year is guessing Russo gets in. Nightcrawler has been doing well, and buzz around A Most Violent Year has been extremely quiet.


1. Richard Linklater, Boyhood
2. Alejandro Guiterraz Innaritu, Birdman

Very Likely
3. Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

4. Morton Tyldum, The Imitation Game
5. Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Ava Duvernay, Selma
Clint Eastwood, American Sniper
David Fincher, Gone Girl
Tony Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Director is often the most interesting category. In 2012, presumed frontrunners Ben Affleck (Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) were left out for indie directors Benh Zeitlan (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Michael Haneke (Amour).  I'm guessing they'll give the indie slot to Chazelle.
These are always tough, so I could very well only get 3 out of 5.

Original Screenplay

1. Birdman
2. Boyhood
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel

4. Nightcrawler
5. Selma
Mr. Turner
A Most Violent Year
The LEGO Movie

Beyond the top 3, a category ripe for some interesting happenings, especially with Whiplash  moved to adapted. That last slot seems really tricky.

Adapted Screenplay

1. The Imitation Game
2. Gone Girl

Very Likely
3. Whiplash

4. The Theory of Everything
5. American Sniper
Inherent Vice
Guardians of the Galaxy

Somehow this seems easier to predict, at least is American Sniper is gaining momentum.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Golden Globes Live Blog

Live Blog- I'll be updating all night with newest posts up top!


-Picture (Drama). Boyhood.  Every single time I see anyone go up, I just.... get so emotional. What a movie. One for the ages. I got 8/13 tonight.

-Actor (Drama). Eddie Redmayne (Theory of Everything). 7/12. Good performance in a movie I was kind of mixed on.

-Actress (Drama). Julianne Moore (Still Alice). On her march to Oscar. 6/11.

-Comedy/Musical: Grand Budapest Hotel!!  A fun surprise after Birdman winning a couple. 5/10

-2 hour delay called!!!! Yes!!!

-Getting towards 11, and I just want a 2-hour delay call from DC!

-Actor (Comedy/Musical). Michael Keaton of course. 5/9.  Now Eddie Redmayne will win the Drama award and the Oscar race is ON! #teamkeaton

-Actress/Drama. Ruth Wilson (The Affair).

-Director. Richard Linklater!! What an amazing achievement.  So happy for him in so many ways. 4/8.

-George Clooney award.  He has had quite a career.  My favorite Clooney movies are probably Up in the Air, Gravity (although not because of him), and Three Kings. Also love O Brother Where Art Thou and Michael Clayton.

-Actor (Drama). Kevin Spacey (House of Cards). Finally a show I watch!

-TV Series (Drama). The Affair. I haven't seen ANY of these shows.

-Actress (Miniseries/TV Movie): Maggie Gylenhaal (The Honorable Woman). A surprise over Frances McDormand I think.  Netflix keeps recommending this series to me.

-Foreign Language: Leviathan from Russia.  Guys, I promise I'll do better predicting Oscars. 3/7.

-Lupita! Still smiling from her wins last year.

-Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin! Actor Comedy/Musical. Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent.

-Jack Black presenting Boyhood.

-Screenplay to Birdman! Great choice. 3/6.

-Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader presenting screenplay.

-Jared Leto. Braided the hair for tonight. Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette!! Yes! And she will repeat at the Oscars. 3/5. I just love her and she was incredible.

-Animated. How to Train Your Dragon 2. Definitely a surprise. Bad at predictions tonight. I'm at 2/4.

-Miss Golden Globe AKA "My parents are famous." Weird tradition.

-Ricky Gervais. Reeeeal drunk already. And swearing! "Terrible things you've done to get here tonight.... Streep, Clooney, I'm not even looking at Katie Holmes." Actress (Musical/Comedy): Amy Adams (Big Eyes). I thought this would go to Blunt.... but another one for Amy. This movie looks and sounds pretty bleh to me. 2/4.

-Supporting Actor/TV: Matthew Bomer (The Normal Heart). Continuing giving awards to things I have never seen. Want to catch this too.

-PRINCE!! Yes! Viola Davis, Channing Tatum, and Steve Carrell really love this. Glory from Selma!! Great song. 2/3.

-Score. The Theory of Everything. I think it was fine..... didn't predict this one. 1/2 so far.

-TV Series-Comedy/Musical. Transparent.  Want to watch this one too. None of the shows I watch are winning anything tonight...

-Actress in Comedy.  Gina Rodriguez in Jane the Virgin. Anyone watch this? I've heard good things.

-Naomi Watts.  LOVE HER since Mulholland Drive and she looks great tonight. Presenting Birdman, one of my favorites this year.

-Actor/Miniseries: Billy Bob Thornton (Fargo). Kind of an upset over the True Detective dudes.

-Miniseries/TV Series: Fargo.  Haven't seen it but definitely want to check it out. LOVE the movie.

-Supporting Actress (TV). Joanne Frogett (Downton Abbey). I stopped watching this show, partially because storylines such as hers became a bit boring.

-Supporting Actor in movies. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) and he will definitely repeat at the Oscars. 1/1 so far.

-Bill Cosby jokes.... they are going there!!

-"Wes Anderson arrived on a bicycle made of antique tuba parts!" Perfect.

Red Carpet

-David Oyelowo was amazing.  I am so excited to see him and Lupita in Americanah- such a great book.

-Comments from my viewing- lots of side/front cut-outs. Very 90s.

-I don't like Jennifer Aniston at all.... Not looking forward to seeing her during Oscar season.

-McConaughey sporting hockey hair and a nasty beard.  I guess for a Civil War movie.

-Kate Mara and Kevin Spacey. A little creepy to see them together if you watch House of Cards.

-Tina and Amy.  I could not love these two any more. Speaking of.... Parks and Rec returns this week!!

-To Bill Murray: "You're a double nominee." Bill: "Well, it's better then being a double amputee..."

-Biggest impression yet is Rosamund Pike (AKA the Gone Girl). Just had a baby 5 weeks ago and pulling off a very revealing dress.

-Red carpets are always great for awkward patter, and of course to see who will make the best/worst dressed list. A little weird to see Al Roker and Matt Lauer as some of the main hosts....


Before we get started, here are my predictions.  I'm guessing they'll do the expected anointing of Boyhood/Linklater and the expected supporting winners (Simmons and Arquette). The globes are known to make some off-the-wall choices.  And they REALLY love musicals (i.e Evita beat Fargo in 1996.... for real), so watch out for Into the Woods.  I'm choosing not to predict the TV awards. While I like and watch some of these shows, I don't know enough to make great guesses!

The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Will Win: Boyhood
Runner-Up: The Imitation Game
Should Win: Boyhood

Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
Jennifer Aniston (Cake)

Will Win: Julianne Moore
Runner-Up: Rosamund Pike
Should Win: Reese Witherspoon

Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
David Oyelowo (Selma)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
Runner-Up: Jake Gyllenhaal
Should Win: David Oyelowo

Picture-Musical or Comedy
Into the Woods
The Grand Budapest Hotel
St. Vincent

Will Win: Birdman
Runner-Up: Into the Woods
Should Win: Birdman

Actress-Musical or Comedy
Julianne Moore (Maps to the Stars)
Amy Adams (Big Eyes)
Emily Blunt (Into the Woods)
Helen Mirren (The Hundred Foot Journey)
Quevenzhane Wallis (Annie)

Will Win: Emily Blunt
Runner-Up: Amy Adams
Should Win: Haven't seen any yet!

Actor-Musical or Comedy
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes)
Joaquin Phoenix (Inherent Vice)

Will Win: Michael Keaton
Runner-Up: Ralph Fiennes
Should Win: Ralph Fiennes

Supporting Actor
Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
Robert Duvall (The Judge)
Edward Norton (Boyhood)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)

Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Runner-Up: Edward Norton
Should Win: Edward Norton

Supporting Actress
Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
Emma Stone (Boyhood)

Will Win: Patricia Arquette
Runner-Up: Meryl Streep
Should Win: Patricia Arquette

Ava DuVernay (Selma)
Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Aljeandro Gonzalez Innaritu (Birdman)
David Fincher (Gone Girl)
Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Will Win: Richard Linklater
Runner-Up: Ava DuVernay
Should Win: Richard Linklater

And the rest of the categories....

Will Win: Grand Budapest Hotel
Runner-Up: Boyhood
Should Win: Grand Budapest Hotel

Will Win: The Imitation Game
Runner-Up: Birdman
Should Win: Birdman

Will Win: Glory from Selma
Runner-Up: Big Eyes?
Should Win: Glory

Will Win: Ida
Runner-Up: Force Majeure

Will Win: The Lego Movie
Runner-Up: Big Hero 6
Should Win: The Lego Movie