Welcome to East Village Afternoon... enjoy your pop.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

We Got a Solid B, Can We Borrow the Car Now?

Well, we didn't do too badly with our Oscar predictions. In each of the four acting categories, we missed one actor, which gives us an overall score of 80%.

(quvenzhane wallis in "beasts of the southern wild")

For Best Actor, we picked Day-Lewis, Phoenix, Cooper and Washington, but we thought John Hawkes would get a nod before Hugh Jackman. We were wrong, Jackman got it.

For Best Actress, we got Chastain, Lawrence, Riva and Watts, but we never really believed the Academy would nominate a nine year-old girl for Best Actress. We were wrong, they did. Little tyke Quvenzhane Wallis won the fifth slot.

For Best Supporting Actor, we picked Jones, Hoffman, Arkin and Waltz, but we didn't see Robert De Niro coming. Much like rewarding Meryl Streep last year after denying her another Oscar for so many years, we're guessing the Academy figures it's high time they rewarded De Niro again, as well.

(jackie weaver and robert de niro in "silver linings playbook")

For Best Supporting Actress, we correctly guessed Hathaway, Adams, Hunt and Field, but Jackie Weaver getting the fifth slot was a total surprise. In fact, almost no credible Oscar predictors had Weaver anywhere on their radar, and she won no critics awards this year.


Surprises: Other than Jackie Weaver's surprise nomination, the other big shock of the nominations was Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow and Tom Hooper all being denied a nomination for Best Director. Trust us, this was a big shock to everyone, and it completely changes the Best Picture race, as almost every single Best Picture winner also earns a win for its Director. In the past 30 years, only five times has the same film NOT won the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director. So today's nominations seriously hurt the chances of "Zero Dark Thirty", "Argo" or "Les Miserables" winning Best Picture. We're guessing that that rare notion about Oscar voters splitting the votes among the front-runners and thereby allowing dark horses to sneak in actually happened this year in the Best Director category.

Best Song: We, along with everyone else, are predicting a win for Adele and "Skyfall", and although we knew it didn't have a chance of being nominated, we were disappointed that "Big Machine" from "Safety Not Guaranteed" didn't get any love. It was a wonderful song, and it did what a "Best Song" is supposed to do, it transformed the storyline of the entire movie. Also in this category came the most ridiculous and gratuitous nomination, that of Best Song for "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from "Ted". Hmm, wonder how that happened? Maybe it was just coincidence that the song's writer is also this year's host for the Oscar show, Seth McFarlane. Right. Come on Oscar voters, seriously?

Not My Night: Just like all the Oscar buzz melted like warm ice cream for Justin Timberlake a couple of years ago, the same buzz died on the vine this year for Matthew McConaughey. The shirtless wonder has a lot of fans, and so we wouldn't have been completely shocked if he had managed to slide in with a nom, but we thank Jesus, and for the sake of the Academy's credibility, that he didn't. Maybe the Academy actually learned a lesson from that old Marisa Tomei fiasco years ago.


Veteran's March: Of the twenty acting nominees, a staggering number of them, nine, have previously won Oscars, and seven more have been previously nominated, leaving only four actors earning their first Oscar nominations.

(sally field in "lincoln")

Previous Oscar winners: Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington, Tommy Lee Jones, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Arkin, Christoph Waltz, Robert De Niro, Sally Field and Helen Hunt.

Previous Oscar nominees: Joaquin Phoenix, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Naomi Watts, Anne Hathaway, Amy Adams and Jackie Weaver.

First-Timer's: Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman, Emmanuelle Riva and Quvenzhane Wallis.

Rarified Air: If two-time Oscar winners Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Denzel Washington and/or Robert De Niro win, they will join a very elite group of actors who have won at least three Oscars. Before this year, only five actors have won more than two Academy Awards.

(alan arkin and ben affleck in "argo")

In the Best Supporting Actor race, all five nominees have previously won Oscars, which means that we are guaranteed that one of those five actor's careers will climb a few rungs higher in the Hollywood Hall of Fame. In other words, in Hollywood terms, it's one thing to win one Oscar, but to win two gives you an entirely different level of respect and importance. At the exact moment of winning your second Oscar, you go from being seen as an actor who might have won an Oscar on a fluke, to an actor who is considered one of the all-time greats.

In the Best Actress race, all five nominees will be up for their first Oscar win, which means one of them will get a serious career shot in the arm.

With "Silver Linings Playbook" winning nominations in each of the four acting categories, that film also joins very rarified air. Only thirteen other films have accomplished the same feat, and only two of those films didn't earn at least one Oscar win, so we're thinking somebody from "SLP" had better get an acceptance speech ready.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

We're Almost There!

Tomorrow morning, at the butt-crack of dawn, comes the announcement of this year's Oscar nominations. In previous posts, we've guessed who would earn noms for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor, and today we delve into the category for Supporting Actress.

(amy adams in "the master")

This one's easy. Two words: Anne Hathaway. Just like Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor, Hathaway is a lock to not only get an Oscar nomination, but will more than likely win the naked golden man as well. Hathaway has hit all the right buttons: she's won 21 out of 35 critics awards this season, she's wildly popular with the audiences who have seen the film, "Les Miserables", and more importantly, Oscar voters are practically drooling to forgive her for her disastrous turn as Oscar's co-host last year. Popular opinion has solidified into the belief that James Franco was the "heavy" who ruined poor Hathaway's chance to shine as Oscar's host, and therefore the Oscar voters strongly feel the need to let poor, little bug-eyed Hathaway know that they still love her, even while they hate that awful James Franco. And if you think this sounds like a bunch of grown adults acting like junior high school students voting for prom queen, you're right. Welcome to Oscar World!

So who will join Hathaway as nominees? Locks for nominations are Sally Field and Amy Adams, and a very strong maybe is Helen Hunt. Which leaves one slot still available. We're guessing that fifth slot will be taken by someone completely out of the blue. It could be Emma Watson or Gina Gershon or Nicole Kidman, but we think it will either go to the veteran, Maggie Smith, on whom Oscar would like to heap some "career achievement" love, or a complete unknown, Ann Dowd, who turned in a riveting performance in a small, sleeper film.

(ann dowd in "compliance")

Prediction: Hathaway, Field, Adams, Hunt and... Maggie Smith or Ann Dowd.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Best Supporting Actor

Yesterday we made our predictions for which men and women would get Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Actress. Today we venture into truly dangerous territory: trying to sort out this year's Best Supporting Actor race. In a nutshell, the race is wide open.

(philip seymour hoffman in "the master")

Unlike in the contest for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, in which it's almost a foregone conclusion who will win the Oscar, and in the Best Actress category, in which the race is really only between two women, the Best Supporting Actor Oscar could go to four or five different men. There are some frontrunners, but they don't have a lock on a win by any means.

The Frontrunners: Three men have won the majority of the critics awards, Tommy Lee Jones, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christoph Waltz, and they've all previously won Oscars, which gives them important street cred with Oscar voters.
The Maybe's: There is another group of men who are incredibly popular with Oscar voters, and who those voters will be anxious to reward, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Dwight Henry, Javier Bardem and Alan Arkin.

(javier bardem in "skyfall")

Theory: We'll go ahead and guess that Jones, Hoffman and Waltz will get the first three slots, and after that, it's anybody's guess. If DiCaprio doesn't get one of the two remaining nominations, it will be because another actor from his movie, "Django Unchained", already has a nomination, and the Oscar voters usually prefer to spread the wealth around to different movies. There will be a lot of peer pressure to nominate someone from "Beasts of The Southern Wild", so if the lead actress in that movie doesn't get a nod for Best Actress, then Dwight Henry could get the nod to represent the popular, sleeper movie. And then there's Matthew McConaughey, who the voters are practically drooling to reward for "Magic Mike".  But McConaughey made a poor showing in the critics awards season, so the Oscar voters might be afraid a nomination for him could be ridiculed. There's also Alan Arkin, a previous Oscar winner, who is the only person likely to get recognized for the immensely respected "Argo", so you can't count him out.  And Javier Bardem turned in an absolutely deliciously subvervise performance in "Skyfall", so he's a possibility as well.

Prediction: Jones, Hoffman, Waltz, Arkin... and either DiCaprio or Bardem.

Monday, January 7, 2013

And the Nominations Are...

(jessica chastain in "zero dark thirty")

Well, it's that time. The Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, and it's time for us to pony up. We're going to take a stab at guessing which men and women will get the highly coveted 20 acting nominations. We haven't seen many of the movies in contention, but this is the Oscars, since when did that matter? As we've written over and over and over again, Oscars are handed out for a variety of reasons, i.e. popularity, career recognition, acknowledgement of ethnic diversity, etc., and only sometimes are Oscars given to the actors who truly delivered the critically-best performance. So actually watching the movies when trying to guess who will win is irrelevant. All one has to do is pay attention to the "prevailing Hollywood winds".

Best Actor-
Daniel Day-Lewis. Period. Okay, next up, Best Actress. Okay, okay, we're kidding... but not really. Not only is Daniel Day-Lewis a lock for a nomination, but he's also a lock for the win. All the other actors this year, no matter how good, simply had the misfortune of acting up a storm in a year in which Daniel Day-Lewis acted up a tsunami. The only guessing game left in this category is which actors will get the other four nominations.

(daniel day-lewis in "lincoln")

Locks for a Nomination: Daniel Day-Lewis and Bradley Cooper.

The Maybe's: Joaquin Phoenix won several critics awards this year, but he's not particularly popular in Hollywood right now, for a variety of reasons. John Hawkes is a new favorite in Hollywood, plus he portrayed a character with a physical disability, a long-time Oscar favorite. He's also received an Oscar nom in the past, so he has Academy credibility. Denzel Washington, a two-time Oscar winner, is a perennial Academy favorite. Denzel won't win this year, but he's likely to get a nomination simply based on his popularity.

Prediction for the Nominations: Day-Lewis, Cooper, Phoenix, Hawkes and Washington.

Best Actress-
Locks for a Nomination: Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence and Emmanuelle Riva.

(jennifer lawrence in "silver linings playbook")

The Maybe's: Rachel Weisz and Helen Hunt are both previous Oscar winners, and other than Chastain, Lawrence and Riva, they were the only other actresses to win critics awards this year, so there aren't any other actresses on Hollywood's radar at the moment. There could be a surprise nominee in this category if Hunt is nominated in the Supporting category. And the surprise could be Emma Watson, who the Academy would like to reward for valiantly trying to break out of the Harry Potter child-star roles for which she is best known. Oscar likes to give big pats on the back to young, up-and-coming stars.  Marion Cotillard, Naomi Watts and Helen Mirren are very long shots, but the fact that none of them won a single critics award this year severely hurt their chances.  In the end, we're going with Watts over Weisz because no one saw Weisz's movie, and Hollywood really, really likes Naomi Watts.

Prediction for the Nominations: Chastain, Lawrence, Riva, Watts and... either Hunt or Watson.

Tomorrow, the Supporting Categories.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

You Snooze, You Lose

For those of you who follow us for our Oscar Race coverage, you know we cut through the hoopla and hype, and we tell the truth, even when it's not pretty.  And here's another sad truth.  Many of the critics groups give out their "year's best in film" awards from late November to late December.  But a few of the hold-outs wait until January to name their favorite films.  And for those late-bloomers who are just now giving out their trophies, we have some bad news:  You don't matter.

Oh, you January critics can matter to the readers in your local region; a few of those people might enjoy reading which films were your favorites, and your selections might even influence a few of them as to which movie to see, but in terms of the overall Oscar race, you blew it.  The Oscar voters want their nominees and ultimate winners to be a respected group, and whether they admit it or not, they are highly influenced by what the critics think.  But the voting for the Oscar nominations ended yesterday, so for those late-announcing January critics, you missed the boat.  The Oscar voters were influenced by the November and December critics winners, not the January winners.  In the Oscar race, as in life, you snooze, you lose.

A good example of how these late critics affect the Oscar race is in the case of Matthew McConaughey.  The "Magic Mike" star won the very first critics award of the season for Best Supporting Actor, and suddenly, all of Hollywood was abuzz that the actor previously best known for appearing shirtless in public might actually win an Oscar.  But then, McConaughey never won another critics award and the Oscar buzz disappeared.  Lo and behold, though, McConaughey won a big one yesterday when a very respected critics group, The National Society of Film Critics, handed McConaughey his second Best Supporting Actor win of the season.  Unfortunately, it's too late, the voting for the Oscar nominations is already over.  Who knows how much this win from the NSFC might have helped McConaughey to get an Oscar nod?  We'll never know; way to go, National Society of Film Critics!  We doubt you'll ever get an invite to run shirtless on the beach with the dazed and confused one.

The Producers Guild announced its nominations a few days ago, and you can bet that these are the films that will be up for an Oscar for Best Picture.  The nominations list is as follows:

Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook, Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty.

The only surprise on this list is the James Bond flick, "Skyfall".  The film has been steadily increasing in respect in the past few weeks, not to mention the fact that it's now crossed the magical $1 Billion dollar mark at the box office, so don't be surprised if it becomes the first Bond movie in the legendary franchise to contend for serious Oscars.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Put Away the Anti-Depressants, It's Almost Over

Okay, it's almost over... the first phase of the Oscar race, that is.  In the past few years, the modern Oscar race has settled into three distinct phases:
1. The Critics Awards (November-December)
2. The Union Awards (January)
3. The Oscars (February)

1. The nation's film critics groups, and there is a growing number of them, announce their winners for the year's best in film in a stretch of weeks from late November to late December.  Some of these groups are questionable, i.e. having a very small number of members, and/or having journalists which may or may not really know much about film, but nevertheless, these are the first and most important flares which go up and tell the Oscar voters how to vote.  It's very important to remember that the Oscar voters are NOT critics, and believe us, if you're trying to predict the Oscar race, you forget this fact at your own peril, but it's also important to remember that the Oscar voters wish they were critics.  In other words, Oscar voters end up voting in what often turns out to be little more than a popularity contest, but they want to their awards to be IMPORTANT, and therefore, they know they can't veer too far away from what the critics consider credible.

2. Right after the critics hand out their awards come the Union Awards, i.e. the awards from The Screen Actors Guild, The Producers Guild, The Directors Guild, etc.  These awards are actually the best predictors of the Oscar race for one simple reason: many of the Oscar voters are also members of these guilds.

3. And finally comes The Oscar show itself, and we don't have to wonder any longer who is going to win, we find out.  For many years, it was conventional wisdom to look to The Golden Globes for a predictor of the Oscars, but as many have come to realize, The Golden Globes are a questionable, sometimes even shady, organization which almost always goes for the "popular" choices for its winners.  The Golden Globes are now seen as a fun night for the actors, and a great t.v. show, but it's largely ignored by serious Oscar voters.

So, at this point, we have just a few more critics awards, and then in January, we head into the home stretch of the Oscar race.  The last big variable in the race, but something which is almost impossible to track or measure, is the effect of the film reviews.  Because so many of the serious Oscar-contending films wait until late December to release, many of the critics awards are handed out before a film is seen by the public and/or the film's reviews hit the newspapers.  So sometimes, even after a film wins a truck-load of critics awards, the film opens and gets bad reviews in the newspapers, or worse, it flops at the box office.  Then all bets are off, and suddenly the bevy of critics awards that the film won can mean absolutely nothing.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Christmas Edition

Following are our picks for the greatest pop Christmas songs of all time.  Which of your favorites did we forget?

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - 1963
Darlene Love

Blue Christmas - 1957
Elvis Presley

Sleigh Ride - 1963
The Ronettes

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - 1958 Brenda Lee

Jingle Bell Rock - 1957
Bobby Helms

All I Want For Christmas Is You - 1994
Mariah Carey

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Houston-Bottabod, We Have A Problem

(dwight henry in "beasts of the southern wild")

Another critics group, The Utah Film Critics Association, announced it's picks for the best in film in 2012, and there were some minor surprises.  Utah liked "Zero Dark Thirty" for Best Picture, and just like most of the other critics, they picked Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables", for Best Supporting Actress.  They couldn't decide between Oscar front-runners, Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty", and Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook", for Best Actress, so they picked both of them in a tie.  In the male acting categories, Utah veered away from the popular choices in giving Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master", his fourth win for Best Actor, and in the biggest surprise, they liked Dwight Henry, "Beasts of the Southern Wild", for Best Supporting Actor.  This win is Henry's second and probably gives him more momentum for an Oscar nomination.

But now comes an interesting point in the awards season.  Historically, many of the most serious Oscar-contending films wait until the very end of the year to release their films, so that when Oscar voters mark their ballots, those films will still be fresh on the minds of those voters.  But the critics see these films weeks before their audience releases, so that it's possible that a film, like "Zero Dark Thirty", can win a slew of awards and build major Oscar momentum before anyone in the general pubic even sees the film.  And then, when the film is finally seen by a wide audience, if there's a "problem" with the film, suddenly those Oscar hopes can evaporate overnight.  And the angry buzz about the "torture scenes" in "ZDT" are just beginning; the conversation involves the controversy of "ZDT" promoting the idea that it was the CIA's practice of torture that gave us the information needed to find and kill Osama Bin Laden.  And in a Hollywood community which is traditionally liberal in its politics, this could be the very thing that kills "ZDT"'s chances of winning the Oscar for Best Picture.  Just as many Academy voters couldn't bring themselves to vote for "Brokeback Mountain", which celebrated gay, man-on-man love, we suspect that many in Hollywood won't vote for a movie which reinforces the worst philosophies of the George Bush/Dick Cheney years.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Slipping Through The Cracks

Oops!  We knew we'd do this at some point.  With the slew of critics groups announcing their 2012 Best in Film awards all within three weeks of each other, we knew we'd miss one.  And this past Sunday, The Kansas City Film Critics Circle announced their winners, and somehow we completely missed it.

(tommy lee jones in "lincoln")

Kansas City went for "The Master" as Best Picture, and they gave Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln", his fifteenth win of the year for Best Actor. Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook", picked up her seventh Best Actress win, and Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables", grabbed her eleventh for Best Supporting Actress. The midwestern critics selected Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master", for Best Supporting Actor, which now puts him in a tie with Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln", with six wins each.

Our thoughts at this point in the Oscar race: Anne Hathaway has won the bulk of the critics awards for Best Supporting Actress, and "Les Miserables" is expected to do major box office when it's released on Christmas Day.  But here's the elephant in the room.  Many critics are giving the film terrible reviews, and they're singling out Hathaway as particularly bad.  So will Oscar voters have a last minute come-to-Jesus moment, and think twice about rewarding an actor in a role which is considered by many to be embarrassingly bad?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Are We Done Yet?

We've heard from twenty-one film critics groups so far, and although there are a few more to come, we have a pretty clear picture by now of who is likely to get an Oscar nomination, and in some cases, we can pretty well predict who will win.

(a still photo from "argo")

In the Best Picture race, "Zero Dark Thirty" has won the most critics awards, but as we learned two years ago when "The Social Network" won most of the critics awards and then promptly lost the Oscar to "The King's Speech", Oscar voters are NOT critics.  So along with "ZDT", you can look for "Argo", "The Master" and "Silver Linings Playbook" to snag an Oscar nomination.

(daniel day-lewis in "lincoln")

Daniel Day-Lewis has the Best Actor race all but sewed up.  In fact, over at the Oscar statue factory, they're probably already engraving his name on the little golden man.  Of the twenty-one awards given so far, Day-Lewis has won fourteen of them.  The Oscar will be Day-Lewis' third, making him only the sixth actor in Oscar history to win three.

The Best Actress race looks to be a two-woman race between Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty", and Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook".  For both women, it will be a second Oscar nomination and a first win.  Emmanuelle Riva might make a late run, but don't count on her to win; Chastain and Lawrence are far more popular in Hollywood.

(still photo from "the master")
Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables", is making a solid run for Best Supporting Actress, but already the popular Broadway musical-turned-epic screen event is starting to reap some terrible reviews.  Look for Sally Field, "Lincoln", to be the spoiler for Miss Hathaway to take her first Oscar.

In the Best Supporting Actor race, one would be a fool, at this point, to try to make an Oscar prediction.  This is the most wide-open race of them all in the acting categories.  Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln", Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master", and Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained", are locks for Oscar nominations, but who knows, at this point, who will win.  This one will go down to the wire.

This might be one of those rare years in which the director of the Best Picture winner does not win the Oscar for Best Director.  It looks like there is a lot of sentiment this year for both Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow, which means that if one of them wins Best Picture, (for "Argo" or "Zero Dark Thirty", respectively), the other one might win Best Director.

Following is the summary of critics awards wins so far:

Best Picture-
Zero Dark Thirty (9 wins); Argo (4 wins); Silver Linings Playbook, The Master (2 wins); Amour, Life of Pi, Safety Not Guaranteed, Lincoln (1 win)

Best Actor-
Daniel Day-Lewis (14); Bradley Cooper, Joaquin Phoenix (3); Denis Lavant, Denzel Washington (1)

Best Actress-
Jessica Chastain (8); Jennifer Lawrence (6); Emmanuelle Riva (4); Rachel Weisz (2); Michelle Williams, Emayatzi Corinealdi (1)

Best Supporting Actor-
Tommy Lee Jones (6); Philip Seymour Hoffman (5); Christoph Waltz (3); Matthew McConaughey, Leonardo Di Caprio, Robert De Niro, Nate Parker, Ezra Miller, Dwight Henry, Javier Bardem (1)

Best Supporting Actress-
Anne Hathaway (10); Sally Field (4); Amy Adams, Helen Hunt, Ann Dowd (2); Emma Watson, Gina Gershon (1)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We Spoke Too Soon

Just when we said earlier today that it looked like the critics were turning away from "Zero Dark Thirty" as the year's best film, the film critics down in Austin, Texas proved us wrong.  The Austin Film Critics Association just announced their winners for the best in film in 2012, and they named the Kathryn Bigelow-directed movie as their top film.

(jennifer lawrence in "silver linings playbook")

Austin also picked Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master", and Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook", as their top actor and actress.  In the supporting categories, Austin liked Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained", and Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables", and they gave Paul Thomas Anderson, "The Master", his third win of the year for Best Director.

Zero Dark Thirty... We Hardly Knew Ye

Three more critics groups announced their picks for the best in film for 2012 today, and "Zero Dark Thirty" suddenly looks to be taking a huge hit.  Today we heard from The Dallas-Ft. Worth Film Critics Association, The Florida Film Critics Circle and The Toronto Film Critics Association, and none of them named "Zero Dark Thirty" as its Best Picture, marking the sixth award in a row the Osama Bin Laden flick has lost.  Early in the awards season, "ZDT" looked to be a lock to garner the bulk of the critics awards, and then hopefully ride that momentum all the way to the Oscar stage, but lately it looks like some of the critics are having second thoughts.  Florida picked "Argo" for Best Picture, Dallas named "Lincoln" and Toronto went for "The Master".  "Lincoln" has been wiping the floor with the competition when it comes to winning the acting awards, but the trophy from Dallas marks the first win for the film as Best Picture.

Also marking their first wins of the season are Denis Lavant for the underground favorite, "Holy Motors", and Gina Gershon for "Killer Joe".  Back from the dead is Rachel Weisz, who won the first award of the season two weeks ago, but since then has been completely ignored.

Best Picture-
Dallas: "Lincoln"
Florida: "Argo"
Toronto: "The Master"

Best Actor-
Dallas: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
Florida: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
Toronto: Denis Lavant, "Holy Motors"

(denis lavant in "holy motors")

Best Actress-
Dallas: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Florida: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Toronto: Rachel Weisz, "The Deep Blue Sea"

Best Supporting Actor-
Dallas: Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
Florida: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"
Toronto: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"

(gina gershon and thomas haden church in "killer joe")

Best Supporting Actress-
Dallas: Sally Field, "Lincoln"
Florida: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"
Toronto: Gina Gershon, "Killer Joe"

Happy Milestone To Us!

Yesterday's post marked our 1,000th post since starting this blog back in 2008.  We don't write as often as we once did, but we still try to cover the things in pop culture which really interest us.  So Happy 1,000th Post to us, and hopefully, all three of our readers will continue to appreciate us.  lol...

Monday, December 17, 2012

And The Orgy Begins

No sooner had I posted the results today of three critics groups' film awards, than three more groups quickly followed with their year-end winners.  The St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association, The Indiana Film Journalists Association and The Southeastern Film Critics Association have all announced their picks for the best in film in 2012.

The only big surprise from these last three groups' picks was Indiana's selection of "Safety Not Guaranteed" as its Best Picture.  We can safely say that this small film was not on anyone's awards radar, but now that it's gotten a small bit of attention, who knows?  Stranger things have happened.  St. Louis and the Southeastern critics both named "Argo" as Best Picture.

(christoph waltz in "django unchained")

Best Actor-
St. Louis: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
Indiana: (TIE) Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln", and Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"
SouthE: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"

Best Actress-
St. Louis: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Indiana: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
SouthE: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"

Best Supporting Actor-
St. Louis: Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained"
Indiana: Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
SouthE: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"

(ann dowd in "compliance")

Best Supporting Actress-
St. Louis: (TIE) Ann Dowd, "Compliance" and Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"
Indiana: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"
SouthE: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"

In the Best Picture Race, after an early dominating lead, "Zero Dark Thirty" is losing a bit of its luster, but the race that you can practically bet the house on at this point is for Daniel Day-Lewis.  Of the seventeen Best Actor awards given so far, Day-Lewis has won twelve of them.  Ann Dowd, ("Compliance"), is building slow but steady steam in the Supporting Actress category; could she be the surprise of the year in the Oscar nominations?

And The Winner Is...

Fourteen critics groups have announced their picks for the best in film in 2012, and although these wins are not guarantees of an Oscar nomination or win, they sure as hell don't hurt.  Here's where the potential Oscar race stands so far.
Best Picture-
Zero Dark Thirty (8 wins); Silver Linings Playbook (2 wins); Amour, Argo, Life of Pi, The Master (1 win)

Best Actor-
Daniel Day-Lewis (9); Bradley Cooper, Joaquin Phoenix (2); Denzel Washington (1)

Best Actress-
Jessica Chastain, Emmanuelle Riva, Jennifer Lawrence (4); Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Emayatzi Corinealdi (1)

Best Supporting Actor-
Tommy Lee Jones (4); Philip Seymour Hoffman (2); Matthew McConaughey, Leonardo Di Caprio, Robert De Niro, Nate Parker, Ezra Miller, Dwight Henry, Christoph Waltz, Javier Bardem (1)

Best Supporting Actress-
Anne Hathaway (6); Sally Field (3); Amy Adams (2); Emma Watson, Helen Hunt, Ann Dowd (1)

The race which looks to be the most wide open is that for Best Supporting Actor, in which ten different actors have shared the fourteen trophies awarded so far.

15 Down, 115 To Go...

If anyone out there still doubts that we care more about our entertainment in America than anything else, think again.  Today we heard from three more critics groups handing out their year-end awards for movies, and we're not even half-way through the movie awards season.  The only American cultural entity which hands out more trophies than the film industry is the sports industry, which also falls into the categorgy of "entertainment".  We might like our work, education and church, but what we really care about is our entertainment.  And come on, isn't that the way it should be?  Thank you.

The latest critics to weigh in are the Satellite Awards voters, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Chicago Film Critics Association.  Never heard of The Satellite Awards?... just think Golden Globes, but with a little more respect.  The Satellite Awards are given out by the International Press Academy, a group of foreign journalists who write about the film industry, not to be confused with The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out The Golden Globes.  But you can heap a lot of respect on the critics in Chicago and San Francisco.  These two groups are made up of the critics from the largest cities in the country, along with New York, Boston and Los Angeles, and carry almost as much critical weight as the critics in those larger cities.

Best Picture-
Satellites: Silver Linings Playbook
San Fran: The Master
Chicago: Zero Dark Thirty

(javier bardem in "skyfall")

Best Actor-
Satellites: Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"
San Fran: Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"
Chicago: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"

Best Actress-
Satellites: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
San Fran: Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"
Chicago: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"

(helen hunt in "the sessions")
Best Supporting Actor-
Satellites: Javier Bardem, "Skyfall"
San Fran: Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
Chicago: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"

Best Supporting Actress-
Satellites: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"
San Fran: Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"
Chicago: Amy Adams, "The Master"
Best Director-
Satellites: David Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook"
San Fran: Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Chicago: Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"

(amy adams in "the master")

First time winners:  This is "The Master"'s first win for Best Picture, and the first wins for Javier Bardem and Helen Hunt.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Another Day, Another Film Award

(emayatzi corinealdi in "middle of nowhere")

Another critics group handed out prizes today, and "Zero Dark Thirty" ended its losing streak of Best Picture awards.  The African-American Film Critics Association announced its list of the year's best in film, and surprisingly they went for the Osama Bin Laden flick for its top honor.  We say it's surprising because the AAFCA's mission is to recognize the best in film which represents the "Black Experience", so we guessed they would have gone for "Django Unchained", "Flight" or "Beasts of the Southern Wild".

But they didn't ignore "Flight" completely; it's star, Denzel Washington, picked up the trophy for Best Actor. Washington was joined on the winners' podium by Emayatzy Corinealdi, "Middle of Nowhere", for Best Actress; Nate Parker,
"Arbitrage", for Best Supporting Actor; and Sally Field, "Lincoln", for Best Supporting Actress.

(nate parker in "arbitrage")

The AAFCA also gave Ben Affleck his first win of the season for Best Director for "Argo".

Friday, December 14, 2012

You Talking To Me?

Another critics group has spoken, and while some films and actors are solidifying their place in the awards season firmament, others are starting to see the writing on the wall that 2012 just won't be their year.
(jacki weaver and robert de niro in "silver linings playbook")
Today the Detroit Film Critics Society announced its winners, and they made news by becoming the first critics group of the season to name "Silver Linings Playbook" as its Best Film.  They also gave Robert De Niro his first win of the year, as Best Supporting Actor for "Silver Linings Playbook".

Detroit's other awardees fell into line with what is becoming a fairly predictable script: Daniel Day-Lewis as Best Actor for "Lincoln", Jennifer Lawrence as Best Actress for "Silver Linings Playbook" and Anne Hathaway as Best Supporting Actress for "Les Miserables".  And as if Detroit hadn't made it clear enough that they really love "Silver Linings Playbook", they also were the first group to name the film's director, David Russell, as Best Director.

Trending?  After an intial early run of wins for "Zero Dark Thirty", the Osama Bin Laden film has now lost three Best Picture trophies in a row.  Were we too quick to assume that "Zero Dark Thirty" had already won the Oscar?  Ask the producers of "The Social Network" about that.  In 2010, "The Social Network" won almost every critics award on the planet, only to promptly lose the Best Picture Oscar to "The King's Speech". 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A cold, Hard Bitch-Slap in the Face

Okay, just as quickly as we got our sugar rush from The Golden Globes today, we were slapped back to reality by the announcement of another group of winners from a critics group.  Today it was the Las Vegas Film Critics Society betowing their picks for the year's best in film, and although they didn't take any wild risks with the acting categories, they did surprise with their Best Picture.  The Las Vegas crowd selected Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" for Best Picture, and also rewarded Lee with the Best Director trophy.

Las Vegas picked Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln", for Best Actor, which gives Day-Lewis seven (out of nine) wins among the critics groups, and Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook", was named the Best Actress.  In the Supporting categories, Las Vegas gave Tommy Lee Jones his third win for "Lincoln", and Anne Hathaway earned her fourth win for "Les Miserables".

Most exciting of all, Adele got a win for Best Song for her fantastic James Bond anthem from "Skyfall".  We can only hope Adele gets to sing the song at the Oscars.

Following is the updated tally of wins from the various critics groups-

Best Picture
Zero Dark Thirty (6 wins); Life of Pi, Argo, Armour (1 win each)

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis (7); Bradley Cooper, Joaquin Phoenix (1)

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, Emmanuelle Riva (3); Jennifer Lawrence (2); Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams (1)

Best Supporting Actor
Tommy Lee Jones (3); Leonardo Di Caprio, Ezra Miller, Christoph Waltz, Dwight Henry, Matthew McConaughey, Philip Seymour Hoffman (1)

Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway (4); Sally Field (2); Emma Watson, Anne Dowd, Amy Adams (1)

We Don't Even Have The Energy

Okay, okay, so the 2013 Golden Globes nominations were announced this morning, and... what?  oh, sorry, we dozed off for a second.  Before you get too excited, just remember the Golden Globes are among the fakest of the fake awards given in the world of entertainment.  Refer to the post we wrote last year aobut what the Golden Globes really are, and you'll see what we mean, (in the Labels list, click on "2011 Golden Globes)".  But with that said, sometimes the Globes indicate the popularity of a particular movie or actor, and so for the Oscar voters who are solely influenced by popularity, the Globes can be an influencing factor.
There aren't any surprises in this year's Globes nods, all the nominated films and actors have already either won critics awards, or been nominated for other industry awards.  The only new names on the lists are some of folks from "Django Unchained", and Bill Murray from "Hyde Park on Hudson".  This year's Globes looks like it won't force any major changes in the Oscar race, but it will be what it always was, an excuse for a bunch of stars to appear on t.v., try to win a little trophy and drink a lot of free booze.  And in the end, isn't that all we need?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Let's Get Real

Yesterday the 2013 Oscar Race got interesting, today it got serious.  For while it's perfectly fine for all the nation's critics to name their favorite films and actors of the year, the critics don't actually vote for the Oscars, but other actors do, and today the actors spoke.  The Screen Actors Guild announced their nominations for the SAG Awards this morning, and for the first time, we have an indication of which films and actors some actual Oscar voters prefer.

(helen mirren in "hitchcock")

Following is a list of the SAG nominees, and we'll split the list into "Expected" and "Surprise" categories.  The Expected nominees are the same ones that the country's critics have been picking, and the Surprise nominees are the ones who have heretofore been completely ignored by the critics, but who might just find themselves showered with some Oscar love in a few weeks.

Best Actor-
EXPECTED: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"; Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"
SURPRISES: John Hawkes, "The Sessions"; Denzel Washington, "Flight"; Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"

Hawkes and Washington have certainly been mentioned as possible Oscar contenders, but so far, they haven't won any critics awards.  The real surprise here is Jackman, whose reviews for Les Mis have been mixed at best.  The only critics awards winner absent from this list is Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master".

Best Actress-
EXPECTED: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"; Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
SURPRISES: Helen Mirren, "Hitchcock"; Naomi Watts, "The Impossible", Marion Cotillard, "Rust and Bone"

There are no real surprises here; even though Mirren, Watts and Cotillard haven't won any critics awards, they were clearly on everyone's Oscar radar this year.  The glaring snub is for Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour", who is mopping up the critics awards.

(nicole kidman in "the paperboy")

Best Supporting Actor-
EXPECTED: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"; Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
SURPRISES: Javier Bardem, "Skyfall"; Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Alan Arkin, "Argo"

Again, no real surprises here; all five of these guys have been mentioned as Oscar hopefuls.  The surprises are the snubs.  No one from "Django Unchained" got a nod, nor did Ezra Miller, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", who has already won one critics award and will probably win a few more.  But maybe the biggest snub is for Matthew McConaughey, "Magic Mike", who won the first critics award of the season, which then gave permission to an adoring fanbase in the entertainment industry to seriously consider McConaughey for Oscar recognition.  But for some reason, it looks like McConaughey's fellow actors didn't take the bait.

Best Supporting Actress-
EXPECTED: Sally Field, "Lincoln"; Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"
SURPRISES: Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"; Nicole Kidman, "The Paperboy"; Maggie Smith, "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

(javier bardem in "skyfall")

Hunt was expected to be on this list, although she hasn't won any critics awards, and Maggie Smith is getting recognition for a variety of reasons.  Smith is being rewarded for a lifetime of great work, plus with "Downton Abbey", Smith is having a hell of a year.  The big surprise here is Nicole Kidman, who hasn't won any critcs awards nor has she been seriously mentioned as an Oscar contender.  But everyone loves Kidman, including her fellow actors, so this isn't that big of a shock.  Noticeably missing is Amy Adams, "The Master", who is a perennial Oscar contender.

The SAG's also recognize t.v. actors, and in that division comes the biggest surprises. Juliana Marguiles got another acting nomination, which absolutely floors us, because we've watched "The Good Wife", and we're not sure whatever it is Marguiles is doing could be considered acting... just saying. But the saddest mistake the SAG's made was to continue to overlook Wendie Malick. Bettie White got a nom for "Hot in Cleveland", and as good as Bettie is, it's very obvious that the writers of "Cleveland" give all their best punch-lines to Malick because, well, Malick is the most gifted comedic actor on that show. We're happy for Bettie White, but it's a little ridiculous that a comedic actor of Malick's talent is consistently ignored. Better luck next time, Wendie, or maybe when you're 90!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

San Diego Has Spoken

Now starts the interesting part.  The "major" critics groups, (New York, Los Angeles, Boston), have annointed their year's best in film, and now the "smaller" critics groups get to stick out their tongue at the bigger groups and say, "You're not the boss of us!".  For while the critics in the bigger cities follow the same basic script of which films to reward, the critics in the smaller cities tend to break away from that storyline and go out of their way to single out more obscure films and actors, which leads to some interesting choices.  And who knows, sometimes a film or actor can build enough steam from those "smaller" wins to actually snag an Oscar nomination.

Today the first of the smaller city critics groups, The San Diego Film Critics Society, announced its winners, and it became only the second group, so far, to pick for Best Picture a film other than "Zero Dark Thirty".  San Diego named "Argo" as the year's best film.  San Diego did, however, join with most of the other groups by naming Daniel Day-Lewis as Best Actor for "Lincoln".
But then San Diego really went off the map.  They named Michelle Williams as Best Actress for "Take This Waltz", a film and performance which had heretofore been completely ignored by the other groups.  Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained", was selected as Best Supporting Actor and Emma Watson, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", was named the Best Supporting Actress.  Waltz and Watson had also been looked over by all the other critics groups.

Also in a surprise, San Diego named Ben Affleck as Best Director for "Argo", his first win of the season, and only the second time someone other than Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty", got a win.

Some housekeeping:
we wrote a couple of days ago that if Daniel Day-Lewis wins the Oscar this year, he will become only the sixth actor in Oscar history to win three Oscars.  But we completely forget that Sally Field also has a good chance of winning an Oscar this year, and if so, it would also be Field's third Oscar.