Oscar Watch: Blade Runner 2049

24 hours can change the dynamic considerably at this time in the Oscar season. When I made my weekly Oscar predictions yesterday, Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying was ranked 8th in my Best Picture possibilities with Blade Runner 2049 outside at #13.

Yesterday, support for Flag wavered a bit with a mixed critical reaction stemming from the New York Film Festival. On the other hand, Blade has sharpened its chances with reviews coming out this morning. Denis Villeneuve’s continuation of Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi pic from 35 years ago is drawing raves (it’s at 97% currently on Rotten Tomatoes). The word “masterpiece” has been thrown around by some critics.

Bottom line: its chances for a Best Picture nomination have risen dramatically. Just last year, Villeneuve’s Arrival scored eight nominations, including Picture and Director. That could happen here again. While I doubt any of the actors (including Ryan Gosling and the return of Harrison Ford in the role of Deckard) will hear their names called, there are other races in play. This includes Adapted Screenplay, Production Design, Editing, both Sound categories, and Visual Effects (where it will almost certainly be named).

And then there’s Cinematography. Again, a nomination for its cinematographer Roger Deakins seems virtually assured. If so, it will mark his 14th nomination. The list of films he was nominated for? The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, Kundun, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn’t There, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men, The Reader, True Grit, Skyfall, Prisoners, Unbroken and Sicario. Number of wins? 0. There’s definitely a feeling that Mr. Deakins is long overdue for his gold statue and the 14th time could be the charm.

When I made my box office prediction for 2049 earlier this week, I compared my $44.1 opening weekend estimate to Mad Max: Fury Road from two years ago. As of this morning, I’m thinking the opportunity is there for it to come close to Fury‘s 10 Oscar nominations too.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Top 25 Best Movies (1990-2015): Nos. 5-1

This is it, loyal blog readers! We’ve reached the best of the best of my personal favorite 25 motion pictures of the past 25 years. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my picks and keep in mind that while I know your list likely differs from mine, I would encourage all of you to check out any titles on this here list you may have missed.

Our final installment brings us the top five and these are obviously pictures I hold among the greatest of all time. Let’s get to it:

5. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Has any actor done more with less screen time than Anthony Hopkins in his iconic role as Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter? I think not. This masterfully constructed suspense thriller deserved the across the board Oscar attention it received – Best Picture, Director (Jonathan Demme), Actor (Hopkins), and Actress (Jodie Foster).

4. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

21 years later, it doesn’t matter how many times I see Andy Dufrane (Tim Robbins) make his escape past that poster on the wall… it still gives me goosebumps. Frank Darabont’s rendering of Stephen King’s short story is one of the ultimate feel good movies of any era about a man who had to experience years of hell to find redemption. And that moment seeing Andy walk the beach to meet Morgan Freeman’s Red gets me every time, too.

3. Boogie Nights (1997)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic about people in the California porn industry came out of nowhere and instantly became one of my all time favorites. The lengthy flick with its incredible cast (Mark Wahlberg, Don Cheadle, Burt Reynolds in career best work, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly, Julianne Moore, Heather Graham and so forth) moves us from the character’s glorious excesses of the 1970s to their dark spiral downward in the 1980s. The drug dealing scene involving Alfred Molina’s crazed character and Chinese firecrackers that serve as an amazing example of sound effects work is the crowning scene in a film filled with many of them.

2. GoodFellas (1990)

Coppola’s first two Godfather masterpieces stood as the highlight of the American Mafia film genre. In 1990, Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas made that list a trilogy. Astonishing from beginning to end, this stands as Marty’s finest hour in a career filled with fabulous work.

  1. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Readers of my blog knew this was coming from a mile away and Quentin Tarantino’s time shifting crime drama/comedy served as a massive adrenaline shot to the movie industry. With an unrivaled cast that included a career resurgent role for John Travolta, Pulp merged the sensibilities of mainstream entertainment with the independent filmmaker spirit in a previously unforeseen way. In a career filled with one terrific picture after another, Pulp still stands as Quentin’s greatest. And that makes it the greatest movie of the last 25 years.

Thanks for reading, ladies and gentlemen! It was a pleasure.

You Could See That Pierre Did Truly Love The Mademoiselle: My Blog Turns 1 Years Old!

It was a Thursday autumn evening one year ago when I was sitting at my computer and on a snap decision, I said to myself, “Screw it – I’m starting a movie blog. Right now.”

I had thought about it before, but obviously never acted on the notion. I knew two things: I seriously love movies. And I seriously love writing about them. That’s all I knew. I had no clue – none – on that Thursday night what the blog would be… other than it would be about movies. I wrote my inaugural post quickly and titled it My Love of Movies. This is what I wrote moments after that snap decision entered my head:

https://toddmthatcher.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/my-love-of-movies/

That same night, I wrote my second post, which was my first entry in my Movie Perfection series. This one is about 1995’s Seven. I have said before that the Movie Perfection posts are my very favorite to write:

https://toddmthatcher.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/movie-perfection-the-final-act-of-seven/

Since then my examples of Movie Perfection has expanded to a Raquel Welch poster leading Tim Robbins to glorious freedom in The Shawshank Redemption. The brilliantly edited sequence in Moneyball where we hear the crack of a baseball bat that signals validation for Brad Pitt’s character. Christian Bale hilariously turning into a music critic as he extols the virtues of Genesis, Huey Lewis, and Whitney Houston in American Psycho. A vehicle full of rockers and groupies coming together to the sound of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” in Almost Famous. The birth of Melissa McCarthy’s movie stardom as she tells Kristin Wiig to stop blaming the world for her problems in Bridesmaids. A letter written by Bradley Cooper to Jennifer Lawrence expressing his love for her in Silver Linings Playbook. An absolutely stunningly beautiful and emotional animated montage that chronicles a couple’s life together in Pixar’s Up.

One year ago, it’s hard to describe how terrific that evening was as I began the blog. Those who know me know my passion for film and writing. The fact that it took so long to bring that passion to a blog confounds me now. What took so damn long? Oh well – the point is, it exists now. And truth be told – I cannot imagine it not existing now.

I know it may sound cheesy, but it really does mean a lot to me that this blog has people reading it. Honestly, I can love doing it (and I do), but what’s the point if no one reads the damn thing?

A year ago in that first My Love of Movies post, I described the sense of wonder I experienced when viewing Pulp Fiction on the big screen for the first time. It’s what you hope for every time you go to the theater. Pulp Fiction is filled with moments that reiterate to me why I love movies. One scene is the famous John Travolta/Uma Thurman dance scene set to a rockin Chuck Berry tune. It is yet another example of Movie Perfection, as is nearly everything Quentin Tarantino does. I began this blog discussing the unforgettable title credit sequence set to Dick Dale’s “Misirlou” in Pulp Fiction. A year later, it comes full circle with that fantastic dance scene and Chucky Berry.

As I sit here on another Thursday autumn evening a year later, I am thankful for snap decisions. Mostly, I’m thankful to you for rewarding my snap decision. I started this little blog on a whim and truly wasn’t sure if I would love doing it or not. That is no longer a question in my head. It goes to show you never can tell. There’s a great lyric in that Chucky Berry song where Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace dance and that serves as the title of this anniversary post. “You Could See That Pierre Did Truly Love The Mademoiselle.” In this instance, I’m Pierre. This blog is The Mademoiselle. The readers of this blog are The Mademoiselle, too. Thank you.