Oscar Watch: mother!

One of the more eagerly awaited titles has screened at the Venice Film Festival as Darren Aronofsky’s mother! has seen its first reactions. The psychological horror pic debuts stateside next weekend and early word-of-mouth indicates it’s quite a head trip.

One could see from the effective trailers that mother! looks bizarre and pretty out there. It’s a tale of a couple (Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) whose remote home is visited by various strangers, including Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer. The Venice reaction was reportedly all over the map – a mix of wild cheering and boos. This could indicate how audiences may feel about it. mother! is said to be in the vein of the director’s earlier Black Swan (which received multiple nominations and a Best Actress win for Natalie Portman) and Rosemary’s Baby. 

While mother! currently stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, its apparent divisiveness could stand as a hindrance for a Best Picture or Director nomination. That said, it could also benefit from some voters ranking it as their #1 or #2 picture on the ballot.

As for the performers, Jennifer Lawrence would be gunning for her fifth nomination. She won in 2012 for Silver Linings Playbook, got lead nominations for Winter’s Bone (2010) and Joy (2015), and was nominated for Supporting Actress for American Hustle (2013). It’s been discussed a lot on this blog recently, but the Actress category is looking very strong right now and her inclusion could be a long shot. The best chance at recognition could belong to Michelle Pfeiffer, a three-time nominees whose last nod came 25 years ago. It should depend on the strength of that category, which is yet undetermined.

Bottom line: mother! has rather unsurprisingly garnered acclaim, but how it plays with audiences remains to be seen. We shall know soon enough and that may be a determining factor as to its Oscar viability.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Joy Movie Review

“Joy and pain. Like sunshine and rain.” – Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock

David O. Russell’s latest tells a fable grounded in reality of Joy Mangano, who invented a new way to clean floors in the early 90s with the Miracle Mop. It continues his habit during this decade of taking ordinary people and telling their extraordinary situations.

Our title character is portrayed by Russell’s muse Jennifer Lawrence. As a little girl, we see that she loves making inventions with her hands. This leads to the aforementioned mop, though selling it is no easy feat. Her quirky family includes her father Rudy (Robert De Niro, thankfully doing his best work nowadays with this director), who is restless in his love life and in a burgeoning relationship with a wealthy widow (Isabella Rossellini). That widow provides a pipeline to funding the Miracle operation, though not without serious reservations and Joy mortgaging her home twice. Joy’s mother (Virginia Madsen) is essentially an anti-social shut in who exists vicariously through the soap opera characters she watches all day. This allows for some interesting cameos. There’s Joy’s aspiring singer ex-husband (Edgar Ramirez), who still lives with her and serves as a trusted advisor. And Diane Ladd is her constantly supportive grandmother, who narrates these proceedings.

Joy is about the many pains that she must face to convince her family and the consuming public that she’s onto something. The journey eventually leads her to the upstart QVC, headed by a sturdy executive (Bradley Cooper) who conducts the network’s infomercials like an orchestra (her first segment is directed with the energy and enthusiasm we expect from this filmmaker). This allows for the fascinating of seeing Melissa Rivers play her late mother Joan. She soon learns the gloomy side of business, even when success comes. The picture is divided into two halves. The first is mostly about the pain of getting her venture started. The second has more joy and a little more sunshine, but pain is always around the corner. Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock couldn’t have known these lyrics would apply here, but they do.

More than anything, Joy gives Lawrence another platform to shine and she takes advantage. The film never does reach the emotional, comedic, or dramatic heights of previous efforts like The Fighter and, in particular, Silver Linings Playbook. By the movie’s end, we are dealing with a central character who’s gone from sketching her designs in crayon to a multi-million dollar empire. Yet her saga never feels as fraught with nervous excitement as that regional Pennsylvania dance contest in Playbook. Still, Joy’s strange odyssey is one worth taking due to Russell’s exuberance and Lawrence’s talent.

*** (out of four)

 

Todd’s 2015 Oscar Winner Predictions: Round 1

It’s been two days since the Oscar nominations came out, allowing some time to pass to digest what and who is being recognized. After numerous posts prognosticating the nominations, we now arrive at this question: What Will Win??

Today brings my initial round of guesses on the movies and performers that I believe will get their gold statues. I will definitely have a second and final round posted probably two to three days before the February ceremony.

Let’s get to it:

BEST PICTURE

First off, there are four selections that basically should be happy with the nomination: Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, The Martian, and Room. Mad Max: Fury Road is a major long shot. That leaves a three picture race and indeed it is. Between The Big Short, The Revenant, and Spotlight – this is truly a competitive category this time around. I’m currently giving the ever so slight edge to Spotlight, which has been considered the soft front runner for a while now. Be warned though: the other two are hot on its heels.

PREDICTED WINNER: Spotlight

BEST DIRECTOR

Tom McCarthy’s work in Spotlight could be honored with outside chances for Adam McKay (The Big Short) or George Miller (Mad Max). Lenny Abrahamson’s surprise nomination for Room succeeded in screwing up people’s predictions. He has no chance to win. Yet I’ll go with the Academy honoring Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s direction in The Revenant, just one year after he received the prize for Birdman.

PREDICTED WINNER: Inarritu

BEST ACTOR

We will make this simple: it appears that Leonardo DiCaprio is finally going to win a statue for The Revenant. He is the very heavy favorite and if he doesn’t emerge victorious, it would probably constitute the largest upset of the evening.

PREDICTED WINNER: DiCaprio

BEST ACTRESS

Like lead Actor, there is a front runner here with Brie Larson in Room. Unlike Actor, the possibility for an upset is real with both Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) and Saoirse Ronan. I’ll stick with Larson though. Cate Blanchett (Carol) and Jennifer Lawrence (Joy) seem like non factors.

PREDICTED WINNER: Larson

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

This was an incredibly difficult category to predict with about 12 performances in the running. Now that we know the nominees, this is a race ripe for an upset. Any of the five – Christian Bale (The Big Short), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Sylvester Stallone (Creed) – are feasible recipients. Rylance has won some precursors, but like the Golden Globes, I’ll project that sentimentality wins out with Stallone standing center stage.

PREDICTED WINNER: Stallone

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

No major front runner here but Alicia Vikander had a great year with another heralded role in Ex Machina. I’ll predict her work in The Danish Girl eeks out a win over Rooney Mara (Carol), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Globes winner Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs), and Rachel McAdams (Spotlight).

PREDICTED WINNER: Vikander

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Short and sweet here – Spotlight is the heavy front runner here and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t win here. I’m much more confident in predicting a victory for it here than in Picture.

PREDICTED WINNER: Spotlight

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Martian or Room have outside shots, but this looks like a win for The Big Short.

PREDICTED WINNER: The Big Short

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Anomalisa has its hardcore fans, but Pixar’s Inside Out is the big favorite.

PREDICTED WINNER: Inside Out

BEST FOREIGN FILM

Easy pick. Son of Saul is a huge front runner. Mustang is the only completion.

PREDICTED WINNER: Son of Saul

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Amy, chronicling the career of the late singer Amy Winehouse, is the favorite. For now, however, I’m going with an upset pick in the form of Cartel Land.

PREDICTED WINNER: Cartel Land

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The legendary John Williams could be in the running for his latest Star Wars score, but I’ll predict the Academy honors another legend: Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight.

PREDICTED WINNER: The Hateful Eight

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Was very surprised to see “See You Again” from Furious 7 snubbed. To me, that would have been the main competition for “Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground, performed by Lady Gaga.

PREDICTED WINNER: “Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground

BEST SOUND EDITING

I believe these sound categories will come down to a battle between Mad Max and Star Wars, with The Revenant as a spoiler. For now, I’m splitting the difference.

PREDICTED WINNER: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST SOUND MIXING

See above.

PREDICTED WINNER: Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Once again, I see this as a contest between Chewbacca and Max. I’ll give Max the slight edge.

PREDICTED WINNER: Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

This is another tough one with Mad Max maintaining a small edge over The Revenant and The Martian.

PREDICTED WINNER: Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Hateful Eight stands a chance here, as does Mad Max. However, I believe Emmanuel Lubezki will take home his third Oscar in a row for The Revenant.

PREDICTED WINNER: The Revenant

BEST EDITING

This race often matches Picture and could here with Spotlight. The Big Short, Mad Max, and The Revenant are in the mix. This is practically a coin flip for me right now so don’t be shocked if this changes.

PREDICTED WINNER: The Big Short

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Only three nominees here and Mad Max and The Revenant are likely the only two winner possibilities.

PREDICTED WINNER: Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Sandy Powell could split her own vote between Carol and Cinderella. Mad Max and The Danish Girl are in the running, but I’ll go with Powell and her work in Carol.

PREDICTED WINNER: Carol

And there you have it! My first Oscar winner predictions.

 

 

Todd’s FINAL 2015 Oscar Predictions

Here we are folks! After numerous posts prognosticating on what and whom will be nominated for the Academy Awards honoring 2015’s best, we will all collectively find out tomorrow morning. This Oscar season has been filled with much intrigue and a great deal of uncertainty.

Many questions abound:

  • Will the performances of Rooney Mara (Carol) and Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) be recognized in lead Actress or Supporting Actress? That query alone makes predicting both of those races tricky this year. I will go with both being recognized in Supporting, but if Oscar voters go lead with one or both, it changes the whole dynamic. There’s also the possibility that Vikander could be honored in Supporting for Ex Machina and not Danish, which adds to the confusion.
  • Will the Academy nominate their first Star Wars pic (The Force Awakens) since the original 38 years ago? It’s already become the highest grossing film of all time and could certainly lead to even more eyeballs watching the telecast. That said, I have it narrowly missing the cut.
  • Will Leonardo DiCaprio finally win the gold statue for his work in The Revenant? Precursor awards including the Golden Globes point to yes. A nomination seems assured.
  • Is Spotlight truly the front runner or not? Many other possibilities are out there for an “upset” win. It is, at best, a soft front runner.
  • I’ll finally note that my predictions reflect a belief that Straight Outta Compton will be shut out. This goes against what several other predictors are saying and many have it being recognized in Best Picture. Another high profile offering that I have coming up empty: Black Mass.

As I’ve done for the last several weeks, I’m listing my predicted nominees and other possibilities in each category by likelihood of being nominated. Just because I have something listed as #1 doesn’t mean I’m predicting it to win (I’ll have my first blog post up predicting the winners this weekend). In parentheses after each entry is how far each predicted nominee/possibility has fallen from my previous predictions last week. On Thursday evening, I’ll have a post up letting you know how well (or not so much) I did.

Let’s get to it, shall we? My FINAL predictions:

Best Picture

As I see it, there are 21 films vying for anywhere from 5-10 spots. The magic number is usually 9 (last year it was 8). I’m going with 9 this year, though I believe 10 is more probable than 8. And strangely enough, my predicted nine has stayed the same over the course of the last month or so. Straight Outta Compton, Sicario, and even The Force Awakens have made some waves of late, but I still have them narrowly missing.

  1. Spotlight (No Change)
  2. The Big Short (No Change)
  3. The Revenant (+3)
  4. Mad Max: Fury Road (-1)
  5. The Martian (No Change)
  6. Carol (+1)
  7. Bridge of Spies (+1)
  8. Room (-4)
  9. Brooklyn (No Change)

Other Possibilities:

10. Straight Outta Compton (No Change)

11. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (No Change)

12. The Hateful Eight (No Change)

13. Sicario (+1)

14. Inside Out (-1)

15. Steve Jobs (+1)

16. Ex Machina (+2)

17. Trumbo (No Change)

18. Beasts of No Nation (-3)

19. Son of Saul (+1)

20. The Danish Girl (-1)

21. Creed (No Change)

Best Director

Tuesday’s Directors Guild of America usually provides a reasonably reliable snap shot of at least three or four of the nominees that will end up being recognized here. Their picks were Tom McCarthy, Ridley Scott, George Miller, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and Adam McKay. Of those, McKay seems the most vulnerable (with Miller and Scott behind). I’ll keep my prediction for Todd Haynes in and there’s certainly a chance there’s a shocker nominee as we sometimes see in this category.

  1. Tom McCarthy, Spotlight (+1)
  2. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant (+1)
  3. Ridley Scott, The Martian (+1)
  4. George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road (-3)
  5. Todd Haynes, Carol (No Change)

Other Possibilities:

6. Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies (+1)

7. Adam McKay, The Big Short (-1)

8. Denis Villenueve, Sicario (+5)

9. Lenny Abrahamson, Room (-1)

10. F. Gary Gray, Straight Outta Compton (+1)

11. John Crowley, Brooklyn (-2)

12. Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight (-2)

13. J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (-1)

14. Jay Roach, Trumbo (Previously Unranked)

15. Cary Fukanaga, Beasts of No Nation (-1)

16. Alex Garland, Ex Machina (Previously Unranked)

17. Laszlo Nemes, Son of Saul (-2)

18. Ryan Coogler, Creed (Previously Unranked)

19. Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs (Previously Unranked)

20. Tom Hooper, The Danish Girl (Previously Unranked)

Best Actor

This race is increasingly looking like ‘The Leo Show” with Mr. DiCaprio likely to nab (finally) his first Oscar. Only Leo seems to be a totally safe bet (though it would be a surprise to me if Redmayne and Fassbender don’t get in and probably Cranston too). I would say numbers 5-8 are practically interchangeable while anything 9 or below would be a fairly big surprise.

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (No Change)
  2. Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl (No Change)
  3. Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  4. Bryan Cranston, Trumbo (No Change)
  5. Matt Damon, The Martian (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Steve Carell, The Big Short (-1)

7. Will Smith, Concussion (No Change)

8. Johnny Depp, Black Mass (No Change)

9. Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes (No Change)

10. Michael Caine, Youth (No Change)

11. Michael B. Jordan, Creed (+1)

12. Geza Rohrig, Son of Saul (-1)

Best Actress

As previously discussed, all the rules go out the window if either Rooney Mara or Alicia Vikander are recognized here instead of in Supporting Actress. That said, I feel pretty confident about Larson, Ronan, and Blanchett. The rest? Not so much.

  1. Brie Larson, Room (No Change)
  2. Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn (No Change)
  3. Cate Blanchett, Carol (No Change)
  4. Jennifer Lawrence, Joy (+1)
  5. Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road (+1)

7. Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold (+1)

8. Emily Blunt, Sicario (+3)

9. Blythe Danner, I’ll See You in My Dreams (+1)

10. Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back (-1)

11. Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van (Previously Unranked)

Best Supporting Actor

Bottom line: I feel like Rylance and Stallone are the only safe bets here. This category has been wide open for quite some time and all 12 performers listed here could get in. Very curious to see how this works out come tomorrow.

  1. Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies (No Change)
  2. Sylvester Stallone, Creed (+1)
  3. Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation (-1)
  4. Paul Dano, Love and Mercy (+1)
  5. Christian Bale, The Big Short (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Michael Keaton, Spotlight (No Change)

7. Michael Shannon, 99 Homes (No Change)

8. Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight (No Change)

9. Tom Hardy, The Revenant (No Change)

10. Jacob Tremblay, Room (+1)

11. Benicio del Toro, Sicario (-1)

12. Jason Mitchell, Straight Outta Compton (Previously Unranked)

Best Supporting Actress

Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander seem like safe bets – as long as they’re nominated here and not in Actress. Kate Winslet (fresh off a Globe win) and Jennifer Jason Leigh should play here, too. The fifth slot is truly up for grabs, I feel.

  1. Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl (No Change)
  2. Rooney Mara, Carol (No Change)
  3. Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs (+1)
  4. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight (-1)
  5. Helen Mirren, Trumbo (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jane Fonda, Youth (-1)

7. Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria (No Change)

8. Rachel McAdams, Spotlight (+1)

9. Joan Allen, Room (-1)

10. Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina (No Change)

11. Elizabeth Banks, Love and Mercy (No Change)

12. Marion Cotillard, MacBeth (Previously Unranked)

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Spotlight (No Change)
  2. Inside Out (No Change)
  3. Bridge of Spies (+1)
  4. The Hateful Eight (-1)
  5. Sicario (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ex Machina (-1)

7. Straight Outta Compton (No Change)

8. Love and Mercy (No Change)

9. Son of Saul (+2)

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. The Big Short (No Change)
  2. Carol (No Change)
  3. Room (No Change)
  4. Steve Jobs (+1)
  5. Brooklyn (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Martian (No Change)

7. The Revenant (+1)

8. Beasts of No Nation (+1)

9. Trumbo (-2)

10. Mad Max: Fury Road (Previously Unranked)

11. Anomalisa (No Change)

Best Animated Feature

  1. Inside Out (No Change)
  2. Anomalisa (No Change)
  3. Shaun the Sheep Movie (No Change)
  4. Kahlil Gabran’s The Prophet (No Change)
  5. The Peanuts Movie (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Good Dinosaur (-1)

7. When Marnie Was There (No Change)

8. Minions (Previously Unranked)

Best Documentary Feature (First Time Predictions)

  1. Amy
  2. The Look of Silence
  3. Winter on Fire
  4. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
  5. He Named Me Malala

Other Possibilities:

6. Listen to Me Marlon

7. Best of Enemies

8. The Hunting Ground

9. Where to Invade Next

10. Heart of the Dog

Best Foreign Language Film (First Time Predictions)

  1. Son of Saul
  2. Mustang
  3. A War
  4. The Brand New Testament
  5. Embrace of the Serpent

Other Possibilities:

6. The Fencer

7. Labyrinth of Lies

8. Theeb

9. Viva

Best Production Design

  1. The Danish Girl (No Change)
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road (+1)
  3. Bridge of Spies (+1)
  4. Carol (-2)
  5. The Revenant (+4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Brooklyn (-1)

7. The Martian (Previously Unranked)

8. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (+3)

9. The Hateful Eight (-3)

10. Cinderella (-3)

Best Cinematography

  1. The Revenant (No Change)
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)
  3. The Hateful Eight (No Change)
  4. Bridge of Spies (+1)
  5. Sicario (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Carol (+1)

7. Son of Saul (+2)

8. The Martian (-2)

9. The Assassin (-1)

10. Spotlight (Previously Unranked)

Best Costume Design

  1. The Danish Girl (No Change)
  2. Carol (No Change)
  3. Cinderella (+1)
  4. Brooklyn (-1)
  5. Far from the Madding Crowd (No Change)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mad Max: Fury Road (+6)

7. The Hateful Eight (-1)

8. Suffragette (-1)

9. The Revenant (No Change)

10. Mr. Holmes (Previously Unranked)

Best Editing

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)
  2. The Big Short (No Change)
  3. Spotlight (+2)
  4. The Revenant (No Change)
  5. Bridge of Spies (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Martian (-3)

7. Sicario (+3)

8. Steve Jobs (-2)

9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (+3)

10. The Hateful Eight (-1)

11. Room (-3)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)
  2. The Revenant (No Change)
  3. The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (+1)

Other Possibilities:

4. Black Mass (-1)

5. Mr. Holmes (No Change)

6. Concussion (No Change)

7. Legend (No Change)

Best Sound Mixing

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)
  2. The Revenant (+3)
  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (No Change)
  4. Sicario (No Change)
  5. The Martian (-3)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Hateful Eight (No Change)

7. Bridge of Spies (Previously Unranked)

8. Jurassic World (-1)

Best Sound Editing

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (No Change)
  3. The Revenant (No Change)
  4. The Martian (No Change)
  5. The Hateful Eight (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sicario (-1)

7. Jurassic World (+1)

8. Bridge of Spies (Previously Unranked)

Best Visual Effects

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (No Change)
  3. Jurassic World (No Change)
  4. The Martian (No Change)
  5. The Revenant (Previously Unranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ex Machina (-1)

7. The Walk (No Change)

8. Ant-Man (Previously Unranked)

9. Avengers: Age of Ultron (-1)

10. In the Heart of the Sea (-4)

Best Score

  1. The Hateful Eight (No Change)
  2. Carol (+1)
  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (+2)
  4. Bridge of Spies (-2)
  5. The Danish Girl (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spotlight (No Change)

7. Mad Max: Fury Road (+1)

Best Original Song

  1. “See You Again” from Furious 7 (+2)
  2. “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground (-1)
  3. “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre (+4)
  4. “Simple Song #3” from Youth (No Change)
  5. “So Long” from Concussion (-3)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Love Me Like You Do” from Fifty Shades of Grey (-1)

7. “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey (-1)

These FINAL predictions reflect a belief that the following pictures will receive this number of nominations:

10 Nominations

The Revenant

9 Nominations

Mad Max: Fury Road

8 Nominations

Carol

7 Nominations

Bridge of Spies

6 Nominations

The Martian

5 Nominations

The Danish Girl, The Hateful Eight

4 Nominations

The Big Short, Brooklyn, Spotlight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

3 Nominations

Room, Sicario, Steve Jobs

2 Nominations

Inside Out, Trumbo

1 Nomination

Beasts of No Nation, Cinderella, Concussion, Creed, Far from the Madding Crowd, 45 Years, Furious 7, The Hunting Ground, Joy, Jurassic World, Love and Mercy, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, Spectre, Youth

And there you have it, folks! My final Oscar predictions! I’ll have an update posted tomorrow. Until then…

 

Golden Globes Reaction

Well, the most high profile Oscar precursor has come and gone in a haze of bleeped out words, priceless Leo DiCaprio reactions to Lady GaGa, and the burgeoning bromance of host Ricky Gervais and Mel Gibson. Through all that craziness, there were actual awards given out and I had a spotty record predicting the winners.

Of the 14 film categories, I correctly predicted 8 (hey – over 50%, right??). Yet I certainly missed some biggies. This started with the fact that The Revenant performed much better than anticipated, winning Best Drama and Best Director with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. I predicted that Spotlight (which was totally shut out) would win Picture with Mad Max: Fury Road‘s George Miller taking the director prize. What does this mean for the Oscars? Perhaps nothing, but it does reinforce the fact that if Spotlight is the Oscar front runner, it’s a soft one.

I also whiffed on the Best Musical or Comedy Picture race as Ridley Scott’s The Martian (even with its questionable category placement) won over my predicted winner The Big Short.

As for the lead acting races, I did manage to go four for four: Leo in Drama for The Revenant, Brie Larson in Actress (Drama) for Room, Matt Damon in Actor (Comedy or Musical) for The Martian, and Jennifer Lawrence in Actress (Comedy or Musical) for Joy. I also correctly said Sylvester Stallone in Supporting Actor for Creed, which provided one of the longest ovations of the evening (along with Leo). Supporting Actress was a bit of a dice roll, especially with likely Oscar contenders Rooney Mara (Carol) and Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) being nominated in Lead at the Golden Globes. I said Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight, but the Hollywood Foreign Press went with Kate Winslet’s work in Steve Jobs. That biopic about the tech giant also had a surprise win in Best Screenplay over my prediction, yet again, of Spotlight.

Others I got right: Ennio Morricone for Score (The Hateful Eight), Animated Feature (Inside Out), and Foreign Language Film (Son of Saul). And one more wrong guess as Sam Smith took Best Original Song for Spectre theme “Writing’s on the Wall”, even though it was received with mostly ambivalence. My prediction for Wiz Khalifa’s huge hit and Paul Walker tribute “See You Again” from Furious 7.

Of course, Thursday will bring us Oscar nominations and I’ll have my predictions up on the blog either tomorrow or Wednesday. Meanwhile, may visions of Jonah Hill in that Revenant bear costume continue to fill your mind…

Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: January 8th Edition

We have arrived at my weekly Friday predictions for who and what will be nominated for the Oscars honoring 2015 pictures. This will be the last Friday I’ll be doing so because the nominations themselves come out this Thursday, January 14th. I will have one final post of predictions either on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

One consistent source of consternation is whether Rooney Mara will be nominated in lead Actress or Supporting Actress for Carol (same goes, to a lesser degree, for Alicia Vikander’s work in The Danish Girl). Last week, I had her in Actress, but now I’m switching back to Supporting. We shall see. As with my posts every week, it will show where the movers and shakers have shifted around with chances of nomination.

So here goes… my penultimate Oscar predictions…

Best Picture

  1. Spotlight (No Change)
  2. The Big Short (+1)
  3. Mad Max: Fury Road (+1)
  4. Room (-2)
  5. The Martian (+1)
  6. The Revenant (+1)
  7. Carol (-2)
  8. Bridge of Spies (+1)
  9. Brooklyn (-1)

Other Possibilities:

10. Straight Outta Compton (+3)

11. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (-1)

12. The Hateful Eight (No Change)

13. Inside Out (-2)

14. Sicario (+4)

15. Beasts of No Nation (-1)

16. Steve Jobs (No Change)

17. Trumbo (+2)

18. Ex Machina (Previously Unranked)

19. The Danish Girl (+1)

20. Son of Saul (-5)

21. Creed (-4)

DROPPED OUT: Anomalisa

WHAT’S CHANGED: No Changes

Best Director

  1. George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road (+1)
  2. Tom McCarthy, Spotlight (-1)
  3. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant (+1)
  4. Ridley Scott, The Martian (-1)
  5. Todd Haynes, Carol (No Change)

Other Possibilities:

6. Adam McKay, The Big Short (No Change)

7. Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies (+1)

8. Lenny Abrahamson, Room (-1)

9. John Crowley, Brooklyn (+3)

10. Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight (-1)

11. F. Gary Gray, Straight Outta Compton (Previously Unranked)

12. J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (-1)

13. Denis Villenueve, Sicario (Previously Unranked)

14. Cary Fukanaga, Beasts of No Nation (-1)

15. Laszlo Nemes, Son of Saul (-5)

DROPPED OUT: Ryan Coogler, Creed

WHAT’S CHANGED: No Changes

Best Actor

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (No Change)
  2. Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl (+1)
  3. Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs (-1)
  4. Bryan Cranston, Trumbo (+1)
  5. Steve Carell, The Big Short (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Matt Damon, The Martian (-2)

7. Will Smith, Concussion (No Change)

8. Johnny Depp, Black Mass (-2)

9. Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes (+1)

10. Michael Caine, Youth (-1)

11. Geza Rohrig, Son of Saul (+2)

12. Michael B. Jordan, Creed (-1)

DROPPED OUT: Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies

WHAT’S CHANGED – In: Carell. Out: Damon.

Best Actress

  1. Brie Larson, Room (No Change)
  2. Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn (No Change)
  3. Cate Blanchett, Carol (No Change)
  4. Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years (+2)
  5. Jennifer Lawrence, Joy (No Change)

Other Possibilities:

6. Rooney Mara, Carol (-2) MOVED TO SUPPORTING

7. Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)

8. Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold (+1)

9. Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back (Previously Unranked)

10. Blythe Danner, I’ll See You in My Dreams (-2)

11. Emily Blunt, Sicario (Previously Unranked)

WHAT’S CHANGED – In: Rampling. Out: Mara (moved to supporting)

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies (No Change)
  2. Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation (+1)
  3. Sylvester Stallone, Creed (-1)
  4. Christian Bale, The Big Short (No Change)
  5. Paul Dano, Love and Mercy (+4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Michael Keaton, Spotlight (No Change)

7. Michael Shannon, 99 Homes (-2)

8. Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight (-1)

9. Tom Hardy, The Revenant (-1)

10. Benicio del Toro, Sicario (+1)

11. Jacob Tremblay, Room (-1)

WHAT’S CHANGED – In: Dano. Out: Shannon.

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl (+2)
  2. Rooney Mara, Carol (Previously Ranked in lead Actress)
  3. Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight (-2)
  4. Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs (-2)
  5. Jane Fonda, Youth (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Helen Mirren, Trumbo (-2)

7. Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria (+2)

8. Joan Allen, Room (-3)

9. Rachel McAdams, Spotlight (-3)

10. Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina (-2)

11. Elizabeth Banks, Love and Mercy (-1)

WHAT’S CHANGED – In: Mara, Fonda. Out: Mirren, Allen.

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Spotlight (No Change)
  2. Inside Out (No Change)
  3. The Hateful Eight (No Change)
  4. Bridge of Spies (No Change)
  5. Ex Machina (No Change)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sicario (+4)

7. Straight Outta Compton (-1)

8. Love and Mercy (-1)

9. Trainwreck (Previously Unranked)

10. Mad Max: Fury Road (Previously Unranked)

11. Son of Saul (-2)

12. 99 Homes (-4)

DROPPED OUT: Joy

WHAT’S CHANGED: No Changes

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. The Big Short (No Change)
  2. Carol (+1)
  3. Room (-1)
  4. Brooklyn (+1)
  5. Steve Jobs (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Martian (No Change)

7. Trumbo (+3)

8. The Revenant (-1)

9. Beasts of No Nation (-1)

10. The Danish Girl (+2)

11. Anomalisa (-2)

DROPPED OUT: Creed, Mad Max: Fury Road (moved to Original)

WHAT’S CHANGED: No Changes

Best Animated Feature

  1. Inside Out (No Change)
  2. Anomalisa (No Change)
  3. Shaun the Sheep Movie (No Change)
  4. Kahlil Gabran’s The Prophet (+1)
  5. The Good Dinosaur (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Peanuts Movie (-2)

7. When Marnie Was There (No Change)

DROPPED OUT: Minions

WHAT’S CHANGED – In: The Good Dinosaur. Out: The Peanuts Movie.

Best Production Design

  1. The Danish Girl (+1)
  2. Carol (-1)
  3. Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)
  4. Bridge of Spies (No Change)
  5. Brooklyn (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Hateful Eight (-1)

7. Cinderella (-1)

8. MacBeth (+3)

9. The Revenant (-1)

10. Far From the Madding Crowd (No Change)

11. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (-2)

WHAT’S CHANGED – In: Brooklyn. Out: The Hateful Eight.

Best Cinematography

  1. The Revenant (No Change)
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road (+1)
  3. The Hateful Eight (-1)
  4. Sicario (No Change)
  5. Bridge of Spies (No Change)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Martian (No Change)

7. Carol (+1)

8. The Assassin (Previously Unranked)

9. Son of Saul (-2)

DROPPED OFF: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

WHAT’S CHANGED: No Changes

Best Costume Design

  1. The Danish Girl (+1)
  2. Carol (-1)
  3. Brooklyn (+1)
  4. Cinderella (-1)
  5. Far from the Madding Crowd (No Change)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Hateful Eight (No Change)

7. Suffragette (+3)

8. Trumbo (Previously Unranked)

9. The Revenant (No Change)

10. MacBeth (-2)

11. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (No Change)

12. Mad Max: Fury Road (-5)

WHAT’S CHANGED: No Changes

Best Editing

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)
  2. The Big Short (+5)
  3. The Martian (+1)
  4. The Revenant (-2)
  5. Spotlight (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Steve Jobs (-1)

7. Bridge of Spies (+1)

8. Room (+4)

9. The Hateful Eight (No Change)

10. Sicario (-4)

11. Straight Outta Compton (Previously Unranked)

12. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (-2)

DROPPED OUT: Carol

WHAT’S CHANGED – In: The Big Short. Out: Steve Jobs.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)
  2. Black Mass (+1)
  3. The Revenant (-1)

Other Possibilities:

4. The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (+2)

5. Concussion (-1)

6. Mr. Holmes (-1)

7. Legend (No Change)

WHAT’S CHANGED: No Changes

Best Sound Mixing

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)
  2. The Martian (+2)
  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (-1)
  4. Sicario (+1)
  5. The Revenant (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Hateful Eight (No Change)

7. Jurassic World (+1)

8. In the Heart of the Sea (-1)

WHAT’S CHANGED: No Changes

Best Sound Editing

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (+1)
  3. The Revenant (-1)
  4. The Martian (No Change)
  5. Sicario (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Hateful Eight (+1)

7. In the Heart of the Sea (-2)

8. Jurassic World (No Change)

WHAT’S CHANGED – In: Sicario. Out: In the Heart of the Sea.

Best Visual Effects

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road (No Change)
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (No Change)
  3. Jurassic World (+1)
  4. The Martian (-1)
  5. Ex Machina (No Change)

Other Possibilities:

6. In the Heart of the Sea (No Change)

7. The Walk (No Change)

8. Avengers: Age of Ultron (Previously Unranked)

9. Everest (-1)

DROPPED OFF: The Revenant

WHAT’S CHANGED: No Changes

Best Original Score

  1. The Hateful Eight (No Change)
  2. Bridge of Spies (No Change)
  3. Carol (No Change)
  4. The Danish Girl (+1)
  5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Spotlight (No Change)

7. Steve Jobs (No Change)

8. Mad Max: Fury Road (+1)

DROPPED OFF: Inside Out, The Revenant

WHAT’S CHANGED: No Changes

Best Original Song

  1. “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground (No Change)
  2. “So Long” from Concussion (+1)
  3. “See You Again” from Furious 7 (-1)
  4. “Simple Song #3” from Youth (No Change)
  5. “Love Me Like You Do” from Fifty Shades of Grey (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey (-1)

7. “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre (-1)

WHAT’S CHANGED – In: “Love Me Like You Do”. Out: “Earned It”.

These current predictions reflect the following breakdown of films getting these numbers:

9 Nominations

Mad Max Fury Road

8 Nominations

Carol, The Revenant

6 Nominations

Bridge of Spies, The Martian

5 Nominations

The Big Short, Brooklyn, The Danish Girl

4 Nominations

The Hateful Eight, Spotlight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

3 Nominations

Room. Sicario, Steve Jobs

2 Nominations

Ex Machina, Inside Out

1 Nomination

Anomalisa, Beasts of No Nation, Black Mass, Cinderella, Concussion, Creed, Far from the Madding Crowd, Fifty Shades of Grey, 45 Years, Furious 7, The Good Dinosaur, The Hunting Ground, Joy, Jurassic World, Kahlil Gabran’s The Prophet, Love and Mercy, Shaun the Sheep Movie, Trumbo, Youth

That’ll do it for now, folks! I’ll have my FINAL Oscar predictions up next week…

 

2015 Golden Globe Predictions

Four days before Oscar nominations are revealed, Hollywood will throw their annual party and awards ceremony known as the Golden Globes, put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press (whoever they are). The always entertaining Ricky Gervais is back to host and the show honors 2015’s best in movies and television. I won’t bother with the TV stuff (just because I haven’t followed it anywhere close to what I do with film). As you may know, the Globes divide the picture and lead actor races in two: Drama and Musical/Comedy. This has been a source of some controversy recently with titles like The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle being questionably placed into Comedy. The ante was upped this year when Ridley Scott’s The Martian made that category. It has laughs to be sure, but really?

I’ll go through each race and predict the winners (and potential runner-up) and will update the blog either Sunday evening or Monday with how I did:

Best Picture (Drama)

Nominees:

Carol

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

Outlook: Early critical precursors have placed Spotlight in the position of soft front runner for the Oscars and here. In fact, one of its main competitors The Big Short is in the other category so that helps even more. Potential spoilers could be Carol or just maybe Mad Max, but Spotlight is the odds on favorite here.

Predicted Winner: Spotlight

Runner-Up: Carol

Best Picture (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees:

The Big Short

Joy

The Martian

Spy

Trainwreck

Outlook: Let’s dispense with the two outright comedies – Spy and Trainwreck – as they stand no real chance. Joy‘s mixed critical reaction probably leaves it out, too. So we’re down to The Big Short and The Martian. With the deserved controversy of having The Martian even here in the first place aside, Short seems to have the bigger momentum right now and it should edge out its main competitor.

Predicted Winner: The Big Short

Runner-Up: The Martian

Best Actor (Drama)

Nominees:

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Will Smith, Concussion

Outlook: While he’s famously never won an Oscar, Leo did take a Globe two years ago (in Comedy) for Wolf of Wall Street. Look for his dramatic work here to be recognized and it would frankly be fairly surprising if he didn’t win. I’d say Fassbender or maybe Cranston pose the only real upset threats.

Predicted Winner: DiCaprio

Runner-Up: Fassbender

Best Actress (Drama)

Nominees:

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Rooney Mara, Carol

Saoirise Ronan, Brooklyn

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Outlook: My inkling here is that Blanchett and Mara will pretty much cancel each other out for their work in Carol. Vikander is a double nominee this year, but appears to be a long shot in this race especially. Ronan is certainly a possibility, but Larson is the likely recipient for her lauded work.

Predicted Winner: Larson

Runner-Up: Ronan

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees:

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Steve Carell, The Big Short

Matt Damon, The Martian

Al Pacino, Danny Collins

Mark Ruffal0, Infinitely Polar Bear

Outlook: First things first – Pacino and Ruffalo have zero shot. Like the previously discussed race, I could see Bale and Carell canceling one another out and that leaves Mr. Damon.

Predicted Winner: Damon

Runner-Up: Bale

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees:

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Melissa McCarthy, Spy

Amy Schumer, Trainwreck

Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van

Lily Tomlin, Grandma

Outlook: Schumer had her breakout role with Trainwreck and stands a chance, but this is probably Lawrence’s race to lose.

Predicted Winner: Lawrence

Runner-Up: Schumer

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees:

Paul Dano, Love and Mercy

Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Michael Shannon, 99 Homes

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Outlook: This race is a little trickier and could be ripe for an upset (Elba or Shannon wouldn’t shock me). However, this probably comes down to Rylance (who’s picked up numerous critic precursor notices) and Stallone (for the sentimental vote). I’m going with sentimentality trumping all else.

Predicted Winner: Stallone

Runner-Up: Rylance

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees:

Jane Fonda, Youth

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Helen Mirren, Trumbo

Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Outlook: Another race that could feature an upset (any one of these ladies are possible), but I’ll give the slight momentum to Leigh’s work.

Predicted Winner: Leigh

Runner-Up: Winslet

Best Director

Nominees:

Todd Haynes, Carol

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Ridley Scott, The Martian

Outlook: Don’t see Haynes or Inarritu prevailing, so that leaves this question: will the HFPA go with the likely Best Drama Picture winner’s director (McCarthy) or the outstanding visual work from Miller or Scott. Miller has picked up a number of precursor awards, so I give him the edge over Scott and I ultimately believe he’ll eek out the victory here.

Predicted Winner: Miller

Runner-Up: McCarthy

As for the other categories – here are my picks

Best Screenplay

Predicted Winner: Spotlight

Runner-Up: The Big SHort

Best Score

Predicted Winner: The Hateful Eight

Runner-Up: Carol

Best Song

Predicted Winner: “See You Again” from Furious 7

Runner-Up: “Love Me Like You Do” from Fifty Shades of Grey

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Winner: Inside Out

Runner-Up: Anomalisa

Best Foreign Language Film

Predicted Winner: Son of Saul

Runner-Up: Mustang

And there you have it, folks! My Golden Globe predictions…