Lisa Reviews An Oscar Nominee: Capote (dir by Bennett Miller)


capote_poster

The first time I ever saw the 2005’s Capote, I thought it was a great film.

I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise.  I love movies about writers and I love biopics and, as the title indicates, Capote was both.  I’m also fascinated by true crime and Capote told the story of how Truman Capote came to write the first true crime book, In Cold Blood.  Add to that, I was (and am) a Philip Seymour Hoffman fan and Capote provided Hoffman with not only a rare starring role but it also won him an overdue Academy Award.  Finally, to top it all off, Capote also dealt with Truman’s friendship with Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), the author of To Kill A Mockingbird.  Seriously, a film that dealt with the writing of both In Cold Blood and To Kill A Mockingbird!?  How couldn’t I love that?  While everyone else was outraged that Crash beat Brokeback Mountain, I was upset that it beat Capote.

Needless to say, I was really looking forward to rewatching Capote for this review.  But when I actually did sit down and watched it, I was shocked to discover that Capote wasn’t actually the masterpiece that I remembered it being.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.  It’s still a good film.  At times, it’s even a great film.  I still think it would have been a more worthy Best Picture winner than Crash.  But still, there seemed to be something missing.  Much as with director Bennett Miller’s most recent film, Foxcatcher, there’s a coldness at the heart of Capote.  One can’t deny its success on a technical level but, at the same time, it keeps the audience at a distance.  In the end, we remains detached observers, admiring the skill of the film without ever getting emotionally invested in it.

Interestingly, the film suggests that the exact opposite happened to Truman Capote while he wrote In Cold Blood.  The film suggests that Capote got so invested in one of the killers at the center of In Cold Blood that the process of writing the book nearly destroyed him.  When we first see Capote, he’s at some social event in New York and he’s amusing his rich friends with charmingly risqué anecdotes about his other rich and famous friends.  As played by Hoffman, Capote is someone who is almost always performing.  It only with his friend Harper Lee and his partner Jack Dunphy (Bruce Greenwood) that he ever lets down his guard long enough to reveal who he actually is, a gay man from the deep South who was fortunate enough to escape.

That’s one reason why Capote grows close to Perry Smith (Clifton Collin, Jr.).  The subjects of In Cold Blood, Smith and Dick Hickcock (Mark Pellegrino) killed the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas.  Capote, who followed the case from their arrest to their eventual execution, becomes obsessed with Smith precisely because he sees Smith, with his dysfunctional background and his overly sensitive nature, as being who Capote could have been if things had gone just a little bit differently in his life.  Miller further makes this point by skillfully juxtaposing scenes of Truman dropping names and telling jokes at New York parties with the grim reality of life and death in Kansas.

Truman finds himself serving as a mentor to Perry.  (Hickcock is neglected by both Capote and the film.)  Of course, Truman’s also a writer and he knows that he needs an ending for his story.  As his editor (played by Bob Balaban, who seems to be destined to play everyone’s editor at some point or another) points out, Smith and Hickcock have to be executed if the book is ever to be completed.  Truman also has to get Perry to finally talk about what happened in the Clutter family farm.  As much as Capote seems to care about Perry, he’s ruthless when it comes to getting material for his book.  The film suggests that Truman Capote got his greatest success at the cost of his soul.

It’s a rather dark movie, which might explain why I was initially so impressed with it.  (I went through a period of time where I thought any movie with a sad ending was a masterpiece.)  Rewatching it, I saw that the film’s triumph was mostly one of casting.  Miller gets some seriously brilliant performances from the cast of Capote.  Yes, Hoffman is great in Capote but so is the entire cast.  Keener and Greenwood are well-cast as the only two people who have the guts to call Truman on his bullshit.  Chris Cooper gives a very Chris Cooperish performance as Alvin Dewey, the no-nonsense lawman who views Capote with a mix of amusement and distrust.  Clifton Collins, Jr. and Mark Pellegrino are both excellent as Smith and Hickcock.  In fact, Pellegrino makes such an impression that you regret the both Capote and the film didn’t spend more time with his character.

As previously stated, Hoffman won Best Actor but Capote lost best picture to Crash.  How Crash beat not just Brokeback Mountain but Capote as well is a mystery that Oscar historians are still trying to unravel.

Here Are The Oscar Nominations!


Oscar1

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning and, judging from the overdramatic reactions on twitter, some people are apparently taking all of this way too seriously.  Listen, I wish The LEGO Movie had been nominated.  I wish Jake Gyllenhaal had been nominated.  I haven’t seen Selma yet but it does seem strange that it was only nominated for one other Oscar.  And, for that matter, how did Foxcatcher get nominated for director, screenplay, actor, and supporting actor without getting a nomination for best picture.

And yes, I do wish that more women had been nominated but, then again, I also wish that more women were being given the opportunity to write and direct films.  If the Oscars are male-dominated, that’s because so is the industry.

AND WHERE’S GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY!?

AND WHAT ABOUT JODOROWSKY’S DUNE!?

*ahem*

But, honestly, I think people are overestimating the importance of the Oscars.  Great films will survive, regardless of awards won and lost.  Believe me, there were a lot of nominations that I did not agree with but I’m not going to have a Sasha Stone-style freak out over it because, ultimately, the Oscars are what they are and if you think they’re anything more than an event, you really need to calm down and get some perspective.

I’m just happy that it was a good morning for Texas filmmaking.  Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson were both nominated for best director.  Boyhood, a Texas film if there ever was on, is the front runner for best picture.  Texas actor Ethan Hawke was nominated for best supporting actor.  Bradley Cooper may not be a Texan but he played one and, judging from the trailer and commercials for American Sniper, he actually got the accent right.

So, I’m happy!

(And, by the way, let’s give this talk about how Laura Dern stole Jessica Chastain’s nomination a rest.  If anything, Meryl Streep stole Chastain’s spot.)

Here are the nominees!

BEST PICTURE
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

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

BEST ACTOR
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

BEST ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Laura Dern, “Wild”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Foxcatcher”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Nightcrawler”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“American Sniper”
“The Imitation Game”
“Inherent Vice”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Ida”
“Mr. Turner”
“Unbroken”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Inherent Vice”
“Into the Woods”
“Maleficent”
“Mr. Turner”

BEST EDITING
“American Sniper”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Whiplash”

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
“Foxcatcher”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“Into the Woods”
“Mr. Turner”

BEST SCORE
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“Mr. Turner”
“The Theory of Everything”

BEST SONG
“Everything Is Awesome from “The Lego Movie”
“Glory” from “Selma”
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
“I’m Not Going to Miss You” from “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”

BEST SOUND EDITING
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“Interstellar”
“Unbroken”

BEST SOUND MIXING
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Interstellar”
“Unbroken”
“Whiplash”

BEST 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”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Big Hero 6”
“The Boxtrolls”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“Song of the Sea”
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Citizenfour”
“Finding Vivian Maier”
“Last Days in Vietnam”
“The Salt of the Earth”
“Virunga”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Ida”
“Leviathan”
“Tangerines”
“Timbuktu”
“Wild Tales”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
“The Bigger Picture”
“The Dam Keeper”
“Feast”
“Me and My Moulton”
“A Single Life”

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”
“Joanna”
“Our Curse”
“The Reaper”
“White Earth”

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
“Aya”
“Boogaloo and Graham”
“Butter Lamp”
“Parvaneh”
“The Phone Call”

Film Review: Foxcatcher (dir by Bennett Miller)


What a long and strange trip it has been for Foxcatcher.

Originally, Bennett Miller’s latest film was scheduled to be released at the end of 2013 and it was expected to be a major player in the 2013 Oscar race.  And then it was suddenly announced that Sony Pictures would, instead, wait an extra year to release the film.  Usually, this is a sign of a film that’s not expected to live up to expectations.  (Case in point: The Monuments Men.) But, in this case, it was seen as being the exact opposite.  Sony had such faith in the Oscar prospects of Foxcatcher that they were willing to hold off a year so it wouldn’t get lost in all of the attention that was being given to American Hustle, Gravity, 12 Years A Slave, and Wolf of Wall Street.

And, in many ways, it was a smart move.  Overnight, Foxcatcher went from being that weird movie with Steve Carell to being one of the most anticipated film of 2014.

Then, during the summer, Foxcatcher premiered at Cannes and was one of the hits of the festival.  With the notable exception of the A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd, the reviewers at Cannes were rapturous in their praise of Foxcatcher.  And, though it failed to win the Palme d’Or, it did win best director for Bennett Miller and it cemented it’s status as the Oscar front-runner.

And then, something started to happen.

There was backlash against Foxcatcher.  As more and more critics saw the film, we started to hear more and more speculation that the film would fail to live up to all of the hype.  Critics generally praised the performers but many complained that the film was too cold and detached for its own good.  At first, it was easy to say that this was partially the result of unrealistically high expectations.  But, as more and more reviews came in, it became almost fashionable to speculate that Foxcatcher would be left out of the Oscar race.

Of course, most of us who were doing the speculating were doing so without actually having seen the film for ourselves.  After all, film critics and festival goers aren’t the ones who actually vote on what films will be nominated for and win Oscars.  One need only look at the nominations for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close to realize that.

Well, Foxcatcher has finally been released and we’ve all finally gotten a chance to see it.  I saw it last week, while I was in Fort Worth for the Christmas holidays.  And my reaction…

Well, there’s a reason why it’s taken me nearly a week to write this review.

Ultimately, Foxcatcher is a good film.  In fact, on a purely technical level, it’s probably one of the best films of the year.  If it is nominated for best picture, the nomination will not necessarily be undeserved.  Bennett Miller comes up with some hauntingly chilly images.  Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo all give excellent performances.  It’s a film that stays with you, a powerful depiction of a true crime.

But it’s still not an easy film to enjoy.

Those critics who complained that Miller’s approach was too cold and detached have a point.  You watch the film with a sense of dread, knowing what’s going to eventually happen.  (Though I didn’t know anything about the murder of Dave Schultz before the film, I had read the reviews and I knew that eventually Mark Ruffalo’s kind-hearted family man would end up being gunned down in front of his family.)  But Miller always keeps the characters and the story at a distance.  You watch the characters and you struggle to understand them but, by the end of the film, you’re no closer to understanding why John E. du Pont (the eccentric millionaire turned murdered, played by Steve Carell) murdered Dave Schultz than you were at the beginning.

Instead, Miller is more interested as looking at John du Pont as being an example of American exceptionalism gone crazy.  Throughout the film, characters frequently comment on the fact that the du Ponts are one of the oldest and richest families in America.  (Not coincidentally, we’re also told that they initially made their fortune by producing and selling gunpowder.)  Du Pont is an outspoken and proud American.  Along with training wrestlers on the grounds of his estate (the Foxcatcher of the title), he also frequently invites the police to use the grounds for target practice.  Though Miller couldn’t have realized it when the film was originally shot in 2013, the scenes of the obviously unstable du Pont hanging out with the cops take on an extra resonance in this time of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice.

John du Pont frequently talks about how his plan to open a world-class wrestling training facility is, at heart, a patriotic act.  The world wrestling championship, du Pont believes, belongs in America and he’s going to make sure that it gets there.  In order to achieve this goal, he hires Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) to be his wrestling coach.  Mark, who has always lived in the shadow of his older brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), jumps at the chance to establish his own identity.  At first, du Pont is like the father that Mark has never had.  They even become friends.  (Du Pont, at one point, talks about discovering that all of his childhood friends had been paid to be his friend.)  Mark shows du Pont some wrestling moves.  Du Pont introduces Mark to cocaine.

But, ultimately, it becomes apparent that du Pont’s friendship with Mark was really just a ruse to get Mark to convince his older brother to come work for du Pont.  When Dave finally does join Mark at Foxcatcher, it causes Mark to turn self-destructive and du Pont to eventually turn into a murderer.

And, as I said, it’s a powerful film.  Channing Tatum gives the performance of his career and Steve Carell is frighteningly believable as John du Pont.  (One minor complaint: Carell is being promoted for best actor, even though his performance was clearly a supporting one.)  Mark Ruffalo, as well, does great work as Dave and somehow manages to make innate human decency compelling.

But the film itself is so cold and detached that, ultimately, this is a film that you end up respecting more than you end up enjoying.

Foxcatcher

 

 

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions For October


Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Ever since March, I have been posting my monthly Oscar predictions.  Because I was so busy with my Back To School series, I missed my chance to post an update in September.  (And, before you say that missing one month is no big deal, you should take into my consideration my OCD…)  However, it is now October and, as the Oscar picture starts to become a little bit more clear, here are my current predictions!

(Interested in seeing my past predictions?  Check out March, April, May, June, July, and August.)

Best Picture

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Imitation Game

Interstellar

Still Alice

Unbroken

Whiplash

Wild

(Before anyone asks why I haven’t included Gone Girl or Inherent Vice on the list, I ask them to consider the Oscar fate of both The Master and Fincher’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.)

Best Actor

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper in American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Big Eyes

Felecity Jones in The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Reese Whitherspoon in Wild

Best Supporting Actor

John Brolin in Inherent Vice

Edward Norton in Birdman

Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Tom Wilkinson in Selma

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Laura Dern in Wild

Kiera Knightley in The Imitation Game

Rene Russo in Nightcrawler

Emma Stone in Birdman

Best Director

Clint Eastwood for American Sniper

Alejandro Inarritu for Birdman

Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher

Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

American Sniper

American Sniper

 

 

It’s Time For Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions for August!


theory-of-everything-new

Every month, around this time, I post my early Oscar predictions.  These predictions are based on random guesses, early buzz, and gut instinct.  Originally, I referred to these as being my way too early Oscar predictions but, now that we’re in August, they are merely early.

Below you can find my latest set of predictions.  The main change for this month is that I’ve factored in the fact that, based on the trailer, it looks like The Theory of Everything will be a definite contender.

And feel free to check out my predictions for March, April, May, June, and July!

 

Best Picture

Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Imitation Game

Interstellar

The Theory of Everything

Unbroken

Whiplash

Wild

 

Best Director

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman

Richard Linklater for Boyhood

James Marsh for The Theory of Everything

Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher

Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

 

Best Actor

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

Timothy Spall in Mr. Turner

 

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Big Eyes

Jessica Chastain in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Reese Whitherspoon in Wild

Shailene Woodley in The Fault In Our Stars

 

Best Supporting Actor

Ethan Hawke in Boyhood

John Lithgow in Love is Strange

Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Tom Wilkinson in Selma

 

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore in Map To The Stars

Kristen Stewart in The Clouds of Sils Maria

Emma Stone in Birdman

theory-of-everything-felicity-redmayne

Lisa’s Early Oscar Predictions For July


Foxcatcher

Foxcatcher

It’s time for me to update my early Oscar predictions!  Every month, based on a combination of buzz, reviews, gut feelings, and random guesses, I attempt to predict which films, directors, and performers will receive nominations in 2015!  Originally, I referred to these as being my “way too early Oscar predictions.”  However, we are now halfway through the year and the picture is no longer quite as hazy as before.  Therefore, these are now simply my “early” predictions.

Click on the links to check out my predictions for March, April,  May, and June!

And below you’ll find my predictions for July.

As you may notice, my predictions have remained pretty stable over the past month.  The advance word on Big Eyes has been mixed but, unlike a lot of Oscar watchers, I was never expecting Big Eyes to be a major contender for any award other than best actress.  Meanwhile, Boyhood continues to be one of the most acclaimed films of the year, which makes me even more certain that Boyhood will be a contender in several categories.  Advanced word on Foxcatcher has also been so strong that I can now imagine both Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum scoring nominations for best supporting actor.

The big question right now is whether or not the acclaim that’s been given to summer films like Edge of Tomorrow and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will also translate into major Oscar nominations or will those films simply have to be satisfied with getting all of the usual technical nominations.  Personally, I would love to see Andy Serkis get some love from the Academy but, sadly, I doubt it’s going to happen.

Best Picture

Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Imitation Game

Interstellar

Mr. Turner

Unbroken

Wild

 

Best Director

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman

Mike Leigh for Mr. Turner

Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher

Jean-Marc Vallee for Wild

 

Best Actor

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Timothy Spall in Mr. Turner

 

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Big Eyes

Jessica Chastain in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Reese Whitherspoon in Wild

Shailene Woodley in The Fault In Our Stars

 

Best Supporting Actor

Ethan Hawke in Boyhood

Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Channing Tatum in Foxcatcher

Tom Wilkinson in Selma

 

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Julianne Moore in Map To The Stars

Kristen Scott Thomas in Suite francaise

Kristen Stewart in The Clouds of Sils Maria

Emma Stone in Birdman

Boyhood

Boyhood

Lisa’s Way Too Early Oscar Predictions For June


Timothy Spall in Mr Turner

It’s time for me to update my way too early Oscar predictions!  Every month, based on a combination of buzz, reviews, gut feelings, and random guesses, I attempt to predict which films, directors, and performers will receive nominations in 2015!  For the June edition, I look at how my predictions have been effected and changed by the results of the Cannes Film Festival.

Thanks to Cannes, I’m a bit more sure about some of my predictions (in particular, Foxcatcher, Mr. Turner, and Julianne Moore in Map To The Stars).  But at the same time, the majority of these predictions remain the result of instinct and random guessing.

Click on the links to check out my predictions for March, April, and May!

And now, here are June’s predictions!

Best Picture

Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Imitation Game

Interstellar

Mr. Turner

Whiplash

Wild

Based on its reception at Cannes, I’ve added Mr. Turner to the list of nominees.    I’ve also dropped Unbroken from the list, largely because of how aggressively it is currently being hyped by people who have yet to see it.    Traditionally, the more intensely an awards contender is hyped during the first half of the year, the more likely it is that the film itself is going to be end up being ignored once the actual nominations are announced.  (This is known as the Law of The Butler.)

Best Director

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman

Mike Leigh for Mr. Turner

Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher

Jean-Marc Vallee for Wild

I’ve dropped Angelina Jolie (Unbroken) and Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) and replaced them with Mike Leigh (Mr. Turner) and Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher).  I’m far more confident that Cannes winner Miller will receive a nomination than Leigh.

Best Actor

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Timothy Spall in Mr. Turner

The big addition here is Timothy Spall, who I am predicting will be nominated for his Cannes-winning performance in Mr. Turner.

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Big Eyes

Jessica Chastain in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Reese Whitherspoon in Wild

Shailene Woodley in The Fault In Our Stars

Based on the charming but slight trailer for Magic In The Moonlight, I have removed Emma Stone from this list.  I was tempted to replace her with Hillary Swank but even the positive reviews of The Homesman were curiously muted.  So, I ended up going with Jessica Chastain’s performance in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.  I also replaced Michelle Williams with Shailene Woodley who, much like Jennifer Lawrence over the past two years, is currently starring in both a commercially successful franchise film and a critically and commercially acclaimed drama.  That said, The Fault In Our Stars may have opened too early in the year to be a legitimate contender.

Best Supporting Actor

James Franco in True Story

Ethan Hawke in Boyhood

Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

Martin Sheen in Trash

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

I’ve moved Ralph Fiennes back up to Best Actor and I’ve replaced him with James Franco for True Story.  That might be wishful thinking on my part because everyone knows that I have a huge crush on James Franco.  However, the role — that of a real-life murderer who steals a reporter’s identity — sounds like both a chance of pace for Franco and the type of role that often leads to Oscar recognition.  (Just ask Steve Carell…)

Speaking of Steve Carell, he’s not the only actor getting awards-buzz for his performance in Foxcatcher.  Channing Tatum has been getting the best reviews of his career.  If he’s promoted for a supporting nod, Tatum is probably guaranteed a nomination (and, in all probability, that would doom the chances of Mark Ruffalo).  However, Tatum is apparently going to be promoted for best actor and his chances might be a bit more iffy in that race.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Julianne Moore in Map To The Stars

Vanessa Redgrave in Foxcatcher

Kristen Scott Thomas in Suite francaise

Kristen Stewart in The Clouds of Sils Maria

Unlike a lot of film bloggers, I am not expecting Into the Woods to be a major Oscar contender.  (See The Law of The Butler above.)  While I was originally predicting that this film would manage to get Meryl Streep her annual nomination, I am now going to go out on a limb and predict that Meryl Streep will not be nominated for anything (other than maybe a Nobel Peace Prize) in 2015.  I’m also dropping both Viola Davis and Marcia Gay Harden from my list of predicted nominees and I’m replacing them with three actresses who received a lot of acclaim at Cannes: Julianne Moore for Map To The Stars, Vanessa Redgrave for Foxcatcher, and Kristen Stewart for The Clouds of Sils Maria.

Yes, I know what you’re saying — “Kristen Stewart!?”  Personally, if she’s as good as her reviews for The Clouds of Sils Maria seem to indicate, I think she will definitely be nominated.  I think it will actually help her case that she’s not exactly an acclaimed actress.  Look at it this way — people take it for granted that Meryl Streep is going to give a great performance, so much so that they’ll even make excuses for Meryl’s shrill turn in August: Osage County.  When someone like Kristen Stewart shows that she’s capable of more than Twilight, people notice and remember.  It’s those performances that inspire people to go, “Oh yeah, she actually can act!” that often lead to Oscar momentum.

And those are my predictions for June.  Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know in the comments section below!

Kristen Stewart