23 February 2015

Predicting the 88th Academy Awards, or: A Lesson in Hating Yourself

If you've been following along this blog as on-and-off as I've been posting, you might be aware of my interest in the Oscars.  I just enjoy delving into the history of the Academy and seeing how each year's winners act as a snapshot of Hollywood at that point of time.  Of course, like everyone I don't agree with or like many of the films and performances considered Oscar-worthy, but since who wins or loses has no affect on me and my life I don't see the point in complaining (at least not too much...).

Anyway, as I am such a big Oscar historian -- I prefer that term versus fan because my mind's like a steel trap in regards to winners and nominees and I'd almost like just a press release of winners instead of a ceremony -- every year I do a year-out predictions.  It's mostly pointless because there's so many unknown factors about movies' release dates and receptions and whatever else.  But it's fun because it's something I like to do.  No matter how wrong I am:  See last year when I correctly predicted 18 out of 93 nominations (it's just under 20%, so perhaps I'm not too terrible).

22 February 2015

Coming Back with Oscar Predictions

Okay, okay, okay, updating this blog has been a long time coming, but life gets crazy and things get lost in the shuffle...

Anyhow, I'm back to give my predictions for the 87th Academy Awards.  Last year I went into heavy detail about why I was picking this film or that film to win whatever categories, but I'd have to guess that most people just glossed over that part and jumped to the meat of the posts:  The predictions.  So this year, I'm just going to list my prediction and my pick, straight forward and simple.

Thus, without further ado...

Makeup & Hairstyling
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

PREDICTION:  The Grand Budapest Hotel
MY PICK:  Guardians of the Galaxy


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

PREDICTION:  Interstellar
MY PICK:  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


Sound Editing
American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

PREDICTION:  American Sniper
MY PICK:  Interstellar


Sound Mixing
American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

PREDICTION:  Whiplash
MY PICK:  Whiplash


Song
"Everything Is Awesome,"  The Lego Movie
"Glory," Selma
"Grateful," Beyond the Lights
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You," Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me
"Lost Stars," Begin Again

PREDICTION:  "Glory," Selma
MY PICK:  "Everything Is Awesome," The Lego Movie


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

PREDICTION:  The Theory of Everything
MY PICK:  The Theory of Everything


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

PREDICTION:  The Grand Budapest Hotel
MY PICK:  The Grand Budapest Hotel


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

PREDICTION:  The Grand Budapest Hotel
MY PICK:  Interstellar


Film Editing
American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

PREDICTION:  Whiplash
MY PICK:  The Grand Budapest Hotel


Cinematography
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Mr. Turner
Unbroken

PREDICTION:  Birdman
MY PICK:  Mr. Turner


Original Screenplay
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler

PREDICTION:  Birdman
MY PICK:  The Grand Budapest Hotel


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

PREDICTION:  The Imitation Game
MY PICK:  Gone Girl (Not nominated, but should've been...)


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

PREDICTION:  J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
MY PICK:  Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher


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

PREDICTION:  Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
MY PICK:  Abstain


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

PREDICTION:  Julianne Moore, Still Alice
MY PICK:   Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl


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

PREDICTION:  Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
MY PICK:  Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything


Director
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

PREDICTION:  Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
MY PICK:  Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel


Picture
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

PREDICTION:  Birdman
MY PICK:  The Grand Budapest Hotel


And now the predictions for quick summation:

PICTURE:  Birdman
DIRECTORAlejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
LEAD ACTOREddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
LEAD ACTRESSJulianne Moore, Still Alice
SUPPORTING ACTRESS:  Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
SUPPORTING ACTORJ.K. Simmons, Whiplash
ADAPTED SCREENPLAYThe Imitation Game
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAYBirdman
CINEMATOGRAPHYBirdman
FILM EDITINGWhiplash
PRODUCTION DESIGNThe Grand Budapest Hotel
COSTUME DESIGNThe Grand Budapest Hotel
SCORE:  The Theory of Everything
SONG"Glory," Selma
SOUND MIXINGWhiplash
SOUND EDITINGAmerican Sniper
VISUAL EFFECTSInterstellar
MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLINGThe Grand Budapest Hotel


So I have Birdman with 4 wins; The Grand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash with 3 wins each; The Theory of Everything with 2 wins; and American Sniper, Boyhood, The Imitation Game, Interstellar, Selma, and Still Alice with 1 win apieceI doubt I'll get even get half of these correct, but what does that matter, really, in the long run?  The fun is always in dissecting the categories and weighing each film's merits.

I plan on posting my year-out predictions for the 88th Academy Awards later this week.  If you want a sneak peek at how terrible it's sure to be just check out what I did last year...

13 June 2014

More Posts To Come, I Assure You

Just a quick update for the lack of activity:  On Monday I sent out a bunch of query lettersSo last weekend I was pretty much working on getting addresses correct and perfecting my letter and stamping envelopes and everything else that goes with sending out a lot of mail.

A couple days ago, I got a request for the script.  And today, I got another.  So I've been going over the script intensely, trying to find any proofing errors and story issues (I didn't find any, but I'm sure there are tons...) in order to know that I'm sending out the best draft of the script that I can.

And now it's the weekend.  Which means if the people who wanted to read the script do read it right away I'm not hearing anything until Monday.  But who knows who might contact me about the script then -- optimistic, I know, but I wasn't even expecting to get one response, so I'll take the good times and run with it.

Anyhow, I should be getting to some more 12 in 12 posts and updates over the weekend.  The current script, Greyhound 1170, is going well and I'm excited about how it's developing, especially one of the lead characters (more on why just the one later), and I do want to share what my process has been like this month.

So stay tuned, I'll be back.

05 June 2014

UPDATE: The July Script

Just a heads up that the July script will not be discussed too much -- or at all -- as it's moved on to Round 3 of the Movie Poet feature screenplay contest.  I don't expect to win since I've only just gotten by in the first two rounds, but based upon the reviews/comments, I got the reactions I was hoping for.  I'm kind of stumped about the script as a whole, but I've been focusing more on Greyhound 1170 and getting query letters figured out (and yes, because I don't have email addresses to query I'm sending actual, honest-to-goodness letters via the United States Postal Service).

Anyhow, below is a list of Movie Poet's Round 2 results and the screenplays moving on to Round 3.  Keep in mind that the contest is done anonymously, so no one will know for sure who wrote what until October 1st when the final results are announced. 

First, the results:

04 June 2014

The December Script

Even though for all intents and purposes I stopped caring about politics a few years ago -- only thing that seems to matter now (which the Supreme Court backed up) is how much money you have rolling into your pockets -- I still keep a view from the sidelines.  Besides, you've gotta know what's going on in the macro in order to have something to chat about in the micro. 

The thing is, politic debate in the U.S. is just too much of a "I'm more right than you" argument and has little to do with making persuasive points and counterpoints.  Over the last two decades, the best accord between the right and left has been this:



And to be honest, I've gotten just about about enough abortions and miniature American flags as I care to get.

28 May 2014

12 in 12: When 25% Is Passing

To those just joining this blog, I'd like to say thanks, really appreciate your patronage.  And I should also explain the impetus for the dramatic increase in posts this year (this one's the 13th of May -- one-upping the total of 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 combined).

Fortunately, the math I'll use is not as complicated.
It's complicated, to be sure, but not as.
In February, I was finishing up a script called Bake Sale, an R-rated comedy that I had note-carded years ago but finally got around to writing.  Not having school and homework to worry about helped open up my schedule to write.  And my sons had reached an age where constant supervision wasn't an absolute necessary (they're 4 and 3, so yeah, they need Mom and Dad still, but at least there's no more diaper changing to be concerned with).  Anyhow, the point is, now that I was no longer a student but an actual screenwriting degree holding person, I felt I should get to writing screenplays full-time -- Bake Sale is the seventh feature I've written, so it's not like I was slacking or anything before then.

27 May 2014

Commencement and Screenwriting

I graduated from college this past December.  I got a late start (meaning I didn't start my post-secondary education until a few years after high school) and went part-time over 6.5 years.  While in school, my wife and I bought a house, had two kids, and I sold or had a few screenplays optioned.  I did well enough in my classes -- even the non-writing ones that I had little to no interest in -- and was fortunate enough to be named one of seven Outstanding Students with my graduating class (of around 1000 or so).

We were actually handed medallions at the ceremony.
Diplomas were mailed out two weeks later,
after grades were finalized. 
You know, just in case.
I was also asked/selected to give the student commencement address.  I think because there's "writing" within my major it was presumed that I could come up with a speech, no problem.  And sure, the speech wasn't that difficult, but I'd never spoken in front of more than a few dozen people at one time.  And there going to a give or take a few thousand watching and listening to me.

26 May 2014

Networking

In an effort to branch out and reach more potential readers -- you know, beyond me and the three other people who frequent this blog -- I'm trying new things for F*** No! But There's A Poster.  And the best way to do that in the 21st century is through social networking sites.

As such, I've created a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

Honestly:  I don't know what most of these are for.

Unforgiven: A Genre Analysis


Of all the genres in the history of American cinema the Western is easily the most popular -- or at least the most abundant.  The 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s saw hundreds upon hundreds of films depicting various aspects of the American West.  Though the genre is not as prevalent now, Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven (1992), has proven itself to be one of the best examples of the genre.  The film takes a revisionist approach to Western conventions and unlike classic Westerns leaves viewers with many questions about what constitutes good and bad or right and wrong people.  Despite the ambiguities, Unforgiven still follows, often modifies, and sometimes violates Western standards.  This includes its presentation of stock characters, settings, plot and story events, and issues/questions that Westerns raise.
 

23 May 2014

High Noon: One Shot for a Shot

While there are many relationships that carry more weight throughout Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon (1952), the one that sets all events into motion is the one between Will Kane and Frank Miller.  While most of the main events of this relationship take place before the film starts -- including Miller’s arrest, threat of revenge upon Kane, and subsequent pardons -- it is the outlaw’s imminent arrival to Hadleyville that eventually brings the two men together by the film’s end.  By the time Kane and Miller share a shot -- it’s worth noting that the characters only have one scene and three shots together –- the nature of their relationship is that of enemies.  Miller is returning to Hadleyville to kill Kane for sending him to prison five years earlier and Kane is staying in town to finish his last piece of business as marshal.

The relationship is very combative, as the single scene involving the men is the final shoot-out/showdown of the film.