14 January 2016

88th Oscar Nominations

The sidebar has been updated with all of the nominees for the 88th Academy Awards.  But since that might be tough to read at times, here are the nominees in good old post form.

Picture
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

Direction
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Actor
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Actress
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

Original Screenplay
Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

Cinematography
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario

Editing
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Production Design
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Costume Design
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Score
Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Song
"Earned It," Fifty Shades of Grey
"Manta Ray," Racing Extinction
"Simple Song 3," Youth
"Til It Happens to You," The Hunting Ground
"Writing's on the Wall," Spectre

Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Sound Editing
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Visual Effects
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Makeup & Hairstyling
Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Foreign Language Film
The Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
Mustang (France)
Son of Saul (Hungary)
Theeb (Jordan)
A War (Denmark)

Animated Feature
Anomalisa
Boy & the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Documentary Feature
Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom

Live Action Short
Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
Shok
Stutterer

Documentary Short
Body Team 12
Chau, Beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom

Animated Short
Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay's Super Team
We Can't Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

13 January 2016

87th Academy Awards Predictions: What a Difference a Year Makes

I probably should've done this last year on January 15 or 16, but I didn't, so whatever (I guess).  Nevertheless, it's still interesting to take a look at how my year-out predictions compared with actual nominations.  I've been doing early predictions for years but the 87th Academy Awards was the fist time I ever publicized the futility that is trying to determine what movies will land and lead to glory and which will waft into the ether, a "could've been a contender."

As has been noted before, I'm probably not the best prognosticator when it comes to... well, most anything, I suppose.  But with the Oscars, especially, I tend to do terribly.  And even though I only missed two out of twenty-four categories on Oscar night (Score and Animated Feature), I consider that a fluke, the exception to the rule.  Then again, perhaps I think I'm terrible at making these predictions because I'm factoring in all my various prognostications:  there's the year-out, the pre-nominations, and pre-awards predictions I'm sorting through when most folks are probably just sticking with picking winners.  But, you know, when you're in, you're in -- and I'm definitely in with Oscar history and stats and info and the like.

Anyhow, let's take a look at how my predictions for the 87th Oscars panned out, from the initial March 2014 "seeing what's to come" predictions to the final pick of the winners in late February 2015.

12 January 2016

88th Academy Awards Nominations Predictions

Okay, I was going to post a comparison of my year-out predictions for the 87th Academy Awards and the actual nominees, but I'm still putting the piece together -- so it's going to wait until later.  Plus, with the 88th Oscar nominations coming our way Thursday, I figured it's better to focus on the present/future and save looking at the past until the dust settles after nominations are announced.  Anyhow, if anyone cares to, you can find the post of my year-out predictions and compare it with the real noms.  But if you have some patience, I will post it, so unless you can't wait, wait.

Now then...  This is has been an unusual year, Oscar-wise.  The National Board of Review came out of the gate to establish our footing, then the New York and L.A. critics spoke up.  And then SAG through everything out of whack.  And then the Golden Globes seemed to get everything back where most of us thought we'd be.  Then the other guilds' nominations started weeding out the third and fourth tier films.  And today (well, January 12, 2016, whenever you're reading this), the DGA more or less confirmed the five front-runners for Best Picture.  You've got to back to 1989 for the last time the Best Picture winner didn't also have a DGA nomination (that'd be Oscar history footnote Bruce Beresford for Driving Miss Daisy), and to the DGA's first awards year of 1948 for the other time (Laurence Olivier for Hamlet).  So that's twice in almost 70 years, and that first time can be overlooked (just like Sunrise winning Artistic Picture at the 1st Oscars).


So we're looking at one of The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury, The Martian, The Revenant, or Spotlight as the Best Picture for 2015.  Of course, knowing that doesn't really help or mean anything when it comes to nominations.  For that, you've got to go in, make some tough choices (and a fool of yourself), and see what films might lead the field in nominations.  Yes, having the most nominations doesn't at all guarantee a Best Picture win, but it doesn't hurt.  


So without further ado, here are my nomination predictions for the 88th Academy Awards.  But before moving on, I should say that I'm not enthused by these predictions -- mostly having so many films with the same amount of higher nominations.  Keep in mind, these are just my picks; if you don't like them, just copy and paste the list, replace your own picks, and post them wherever you like.  In less than 36 hours these become basically meaningless anyhow.



Oh, and if you want to skip the post (which I don't recommend), these predictions are what's currently on the right sidebar. 


07 January 2016

Oscar Time Again

I'm probably one of the worst bloggers ever.  Well, maybe not the worst, but damn near the bottom of a corner in the dark, dank basement of the Internet.  I intend to post more (I think once or twice a week is ideal), but don't; then I commit to at least getting one post done a month, but don't.  I want to..., but I don't.

At least with 2015 I had a legitimate excuse of having started graduate school.  Which, by the way, does end up consuming your life and everything you love about life and living.  Then it comes back for seconds -- a dick move, but there you go.  Still, I should've taken the time between semesters (about 4-6 weeks, depending upon the semesters) and posted more.  I should have. 

So I'm going to try.

I'm working on starting a new project involving a podcast, Oscar-related.  I'm still working out the details and brainstorming ideas about what to do, how to do, who to include, etc.  The bulk of the heavy lifting, though, is done, so now it's just taking the hammer and chisel and trying to form it into some kind of coherent, engaging piece of entertaining and informative listening.  And reading, I'm sure.  I suspect that each podcast will include some kind of written component, either pseudo-transcript or just some added information/trivia.  Like I said, the mold is in place, it's just getting the damn thing out and into the world in a presentable state.

Anyhow, that's the upcoming plan.  Once the pieces and sorted I plan on getting a handful of episodes recorded so I can be working on it ahead of time and not have to worry about much if school starts to overwhelm me (which I'm sure it will).  I'd say keep an eye out for more, but I don't have the best track record of having more in the immediate future...

Okay, moving on...

It's Oscar time again, with nominations for the 88th Academy Awards set to be announced next week Thursday, January 14th.  I've got some preliminary predictions, but I'm waiting to post a final list until after the DGA announces its nominees on the 12th.  I feel okay enough with most of what I'm predicting except for Best Direction, so I want to have a bit more to stand on before going public -- plus, the less I can embarrass myself the better.  Or not, I don't know, some people like watching others fail.  It's a good laugh, I get it.

So to ensure that I'll start posting more regularly, I'm making sure I post this and then post Tuesday and then probably again on Thursday with post-nomination reaction.  Then I'll post again that weekend comparing my year-out predictions to reality (unsurprisingly, it's already looking beyond terrible).  In the meantime, though (as in this weekend), I might dig into my year-out predictions for the 87th Oscars and see how I did.

I know it's pointless (more or less; more more, though), but I like putting together predictions way out because it gives me a chance to see what movies are coming out in the next year -- you know, other than the ones that cost $200 million plus -- and let's me start getting exciting about certain films.  I like that.

All right, so I've got a plan, announced it to the world (that's still paying attention -- I don't why you are, but much thanks for doing so), and I will now follow through on it.  I will.  I will, I will, I will.

Okay.  See you this weekend.

14 May 2015

"A Place in the Sun" on Go Into the Story

I haven't been too active here, but I'm still working and writing.

In fact, here's a guest post I did for Go Into the Story's Classic 50s Movies series:

http://gointothestory.blcklst.com/2015/05/classic-50s-movie-a-place-in-the-sun.html

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.