Film Review: Deadpool 2 (dir by David Leitch)


“From the studio that killed Wolverine!” the poster proclaims.

“Directed by the man who killed John Wick’s dog” the opening credits announce.

Deadpool 2 is so meta that it even opens with a close-up of a figurine of Hugh Jackman impaled on a rock or a branch or whatever it was that finally killed him at the end of Logan.  Deadpool, the irrepressible and nearly indestructible mercenary played by Ryan Reynolds, announces that he’s willing to accept the challenge posed by Logan‘s tragic ending.  Deadpool promises us that, in the movie we’re about to watch, he’ll die as well.  Deadpool then proceeds to blow himself up.

Of course, those of us who have seen first Deadpool film know better than to panic when Deadpool’s severed head flies at the camera.  Deadpool heals so quickly that, as long as his powers are working, he can’t be killed.  If he gets shot or stabbed, the wound heals almost immediately.  Broken bones mend themselves in record time.  When Deadpool literally gets ripped in half, he promptly starts to grow new legs.  Without his powers, of course, Deadpool would have died a long time ago.  He has cancer, a fact that the film doesn’t dwell upon but which still adds a bit of unexpected depth to the character and his trademark dark humor.

Of course, Deadpool is not just unique because his near-immortality.  Deadpool is also unique in that he, and he alone, understands that he’s a character in a movie.  Even more importantly, he understands that he’s a character who is being played by an actor named Ryan Reynolds.  (Some of Deadpool 2‘s best jokes — which I won’t spoil here — are at the expense of some of Reynolds’s earlier career choices.)  While everyone else in the film is taking things very seriously, as characters in comic book films tend to do, Deadpool is pointing out all of the clichés and even the occasional plot hole.  When Cable (Josh Brolin), a cyborg warrior from the future, offers up a hasty explanation for why he can’t just use time travel to solve all of his problems, Deadpool dismisses it as “lazy writing.”

With the monster success of Wonder Woman, Infinity War, and Black Panther, Deadpool is the hero that we now need.  I mean, let’s be honest.  Comic books movies can be a lot of fun and, right now, we’re living in the golden age of super hero cinema.  At the same time, these films can occasionally get a little bit pompous.  Think about the unrelenting grimness of the DC films.  Think about all the sturm und drang that made up the undeniably effectively ending of Infinity War.  It in no way detracts from those films to say that Deadpool’s refusal to take either himself or the movie too seriously often feels like a breath of fresh air.  Deadpool is the one hero who is willing to say to the audience, “Yes, it’s all ludicrous and silly and occasionally a little bit lazy.  Isn’t it great?”

And yet, even with all that in mind, Deadpool 2 has a surprisingly big heart.  Even while it encourages us to laugh as its excesses, the sequel makes clear that it has a bit more on its mind than the first film.  Deadpool 2‘s plot deals with the efforts of both Deadpool and Cable to track down an angry mutant who goes by the somewhat regrettable name of Firefist (Julian Dennison).  Cable has come from the future to kill Firefist and prevent him from eventually destroying the world with his anger.  As for Deadpool, he feels that the spirit of someone he loved wants him to save Firefist.  As for Firefist himself, he’s an escapee from the Essex Home For Mutant Rehabilitation, a Hellish orphanage where the hypocritical headmaster and his perverted staff attempt to torture young mutants into being normal human beings.  The parallel to conversion therapy is an obvious one and there’s always just enough outrage underneath the film’s humor.

Deadpool 2 is a fast-moving and quick-witted sequel and Ryan Reynolds is, once again, perfect in the role of the demented lead character.  The jokes are nonstop and fortunately, so is the action.  There’s a lengthy fight between Cable and Deadpool that’s destined to go down as a classic.  Another exciting scene opens with parachutes and ends with … well, I can’t tell you.  I won’t spoil it, beyond to say that sometimes, being a hero is all about good luck.  Deadpool 2 is an ultra-violent, ultra-profane action-comedy with a heart of iron pyrite.  It’s not a film to take the kids too.  Deadpool himself points that out.  (He also points out that the babysitter is probably stoned by now.)  However, Deadpool also says that this sequel is a film about family and, amazingly enough, it turns out that he’s not lying.

So far, 2018 has been the year of the comic book movie and Deadpool 2 is a welcome addition.

What If Lisa Picked The Oscar Nominees: 2017 Edition


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations. Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated. The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not. Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year. Winners are starred and listed in bold.

(You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.)

(Click on the links to see my nominations for 201620152014201320122011, and 2010!)

Best Picture

Baby Driver

The Big Sick

The Disaster Artist

*A Ghost Story*

It

Kedi

Lady Bird

The Meyerowitz Stories

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Wonder Woman

Best Director

Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

Patty Jenkins for Wonder Woman

*David Lowery for A Ghost Story*

Martin McDonagh for Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Andy Muschietti for It

Edgar Wright for Baby Driver

Best Actor

*Sam Elliott in The Hero*

James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out

James McAvoy in Split

Robert Pattinson in Good Time

Best Actress

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman

Sally Hawkins in Maudie

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Cynthia Nixon in A Quiet Passion

Aubrey Plaza in Ingrid Goes West

*Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird*

Best Supporting Actor

Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Adam Sandler in The Meyerowitz Stories

Bill Skarsgard in It

*Patrick Stewart in Logan*

Jason Sudekis in Colossal

Best Supporting Actress

Holly Hunter in The Big Sick

Catherine Keener in Get Out

Sophia Lillis in It

*Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird*

Carey Mulligan in Mudbound

Ella Rumpf in Raw

Best Voice-Over or Stop Motion Performance

Will Arnett in The LEGO Batman Movie

Gael Garcia Bernal in Coco

Bradley Cooper in Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2

Doug Jones in The Shape of Water

*Andy Serkis in War for the Planet of the Apes*

Dan Stevens in Beauty and the Beast

Best Original Screenplay

The Big Sick

Get Out

A Ghost Story

*Lady Bird*

The Meyerowitz Stories

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Adapted Screenplay

Before I Fall

*The Disaster Artist*

It

Logan

Their Finest

Wonder Woman

Best Animated Film

Cars 3

Coco

*The Lego Batman Movie*

Leap!

Best Documentary Feature

Karl Marx City

*Kedi*

Risk

Step

Strong Island

32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide

Best Foreign Language Film

First They Killed My Father

Frantz

*Kedi*

Raw

Best Casting

The Big Sick

Detroit

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

*The Meyerowitz Stories*

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

*A Ghost Story*

It

Lost City of Z

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast

The Beguiled

Free Fire

Thor: Ragnarok

Victoria & Abdul

*Wonder Woman*

Best Editing

*Baby Driver*

Before I Fall

Dunkirk

A Ghost Story

It

Wonder Woman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The Disaster Artist

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Lady MacBeth

Logan Lucky

My Cousin Rachel

*Thor: Ragnarok*

Best Original Score

Blade Runner 2049

A Ghost Story

*Good Time*

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Wind River

Best Original Song

“Buddy’s Business” from Brawl In Cell Block 99

“Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast

“Friends are Family” from The Lego Batman Movie

“How Does A Moment Last Forever” from Beauty and the Beast

“Myron/Byron” from The Meyerowitz Stories

*”The Pure and the Damned” from Good Time*

Best Overall Use Of Music

Atomic Blonde

*Baby Driver*

The Disaster Artist

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Thor: Ragnarok

T2: Trainspotting

Best Production Design

*Beauty and the Beast*

The Beguiled

Blade Runner 2049

It Comes At Night

Logan

Thor: Ragnarok

Best Sound Editing

Baby Driver

*Dunkirk*

Kong: Skull Island

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War For The Planet of the Apes

Wonder Woman

Best Sound Mixing

Baby Driver

*Dunkirk*

Kong: Skull Island

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War For The Planet of the Apes

Wonder Woman

Best Stuntwork

Baby Driver

Dunkirk

Logan

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Thor: Ragnarok 

*Wonder Woman*

Best Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Thor: Ragnarok

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

*War For The Planet of the Apes*

Films Listed By Number of Nominations

9 Nominations — Wonder Woman

7 Nominations — Baby Driver, Dunkirk, It, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

6 Nominations — A Ghost Story, Lady Bird, Thor: Ragnarok

5 Nominations — Beauty and the Beast, The Disaster Artist, The Meyerowitz Stories

4 Nominations — The Big Sick, Blade Runner 2049, Get Out, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Logan, Spider-Man: Homecoming, War For The Planet Of The Apes

3 Nominations — Good Time, Kedi, The LEGO Batman Movie

2 Nominations — Before I Fall, The Beguiled, Coco, Kong: Skull Island, Raw, Shape of Water

1 Nominations — Atomic Blonde, Brawl in Cell Block 99, Cars 3, Colossal, Detroit, First They Killed My Father, Frantz, Free Fire, The Hero, Ingrid Goes West, It Comes At Night, Karl Marx City, Lady MacBeth, Leap!, Logan Lucky, Lost City of Z, Maudie, Mudbound, My Cousin Rachel, A Quiet Passion, Risk, Split, Step, Strong Island, Stronger, T2: Trainspotting, Their Finest, 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Victoria & Abdul, Wind River

Films Listed By Number of Wins

3 Oscars — A Ghost Story, Lady Bird

2 Oscars — Baby Driver, Dunkirk, Good Time, Kedi, War For the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman

1 Oscar — Beauty and the Beast, The Disaster Artist, The Hero, The LEGO Batman Movie, Logan, The Meyerowitz Stories, Thor: Ragnarok

Will the Academy be smart enough to agree with me?  Probably not.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow!

 

Here Are The Seattle Film Critics Nominations!


Earlier today, the Seattle Film Critics Society announced their nominations for the best of 2017!  The winners will be announced on December 18th.

The most interesting thing about Seattle’s nominations?  The amount of love that they showed to Blade Runner 2049, an acclaimed film that, with the exception of Roger Deakins’s cinematography, was running the risk of being forgotten during the precursor season.  They also showed some love to Logan and The Disaster Artist, which made me happy.

With a tip of the hat to AwardsWatch, here are their nominations:

BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR:

Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros.)

The Disaster Artist (A24)

Dunkirk (Warner Bros.)

The Florida Project (A24)

Get Out (Universal)

Lady Bird (A24)

Logan (20th Century Fox)

Phantom Thread (Focus Features)

The Post (20th Century Fox)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight)

 

BEST DIRECTOR:

Sean Baker – The Florida Project

Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird

Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk

Jordan Peele – Get Out

Denis Villeneuve – Blade Runner 2049

 

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE:

Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread

James Franco – The Disaster Artist

Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out

Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

Robert Pattinson – Good Time

 

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE:

Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water

Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie – I, Tonya

Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird

Meryl Streep – The Post

 

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE:

Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project

Barry Keoghan – The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Michael Shannon – The Shape of Water

Patrick Stewart – Logan

 

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE:

Tiffany Haddish – Girls Trip

Holly Hunter – The Big Sick

Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Lesley Manville – Phantom Thread

Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird

 

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST:

Call Me by Your Name

Get Out

Lady Bird

The Post

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

 

BEST SCREENPLAY:

The Big Sick – Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani

The Disaster Artist – Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber

Get Out – Jordan Peele

Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Martin McDonagh

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:

The Breadwinner – Nora Twomey, director

Coco – Adrian Molina, Lee Unkrich, directors

The LEGO Batman Movie – Chris McKay, director

Loving Vincent – Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, directors

Your Name. – Makoto Shinkai, director

 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:

Blade of the Immortal – Takashi Miike, director
BPM (Beats Per Minute) – Robin Campillo, director

Frantz – François Ozon, director

Raw – Julia Ducournau, director

Thelma – Joachim Trier, director

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:

City of Ghosts – Matthew Heineman, director

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library – Frederick Wiseman, director

Faces Places – JR, Agnès Varda, co-directors

LA 92 – Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin, directors

Step – Amanda Lipitz, director

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Blade Runner 2049 – Roger A. Deakins

Columbus – Elisha Christian

Dunkirk – Hoyte von Hoytema

The Florida Project – Alexis Zabé

The Shape of Water – Dan Laustsen

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:

Beauty and the Beast – Jacqueline Durran

Blade Runner 2049 – Rénee April

Darkest Hour – Jacqueline Durran

Phantom Thread – Mark Bridges

The Shape of Water – Luis Sequeira

 

BEST FILM EDITING:

Baby Driver – Paul Machliss, Jonathan Amos

Blade Runner 2049 – Joe Walker

Dunkirk – Lee Smith

Get Out – Gregory Plotkin

Lady Bird – Nick Houy

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:

Blade Runner 2049 – Benjamin Wallfisch, Hans Zimmer

Dunkirk – Hans Zimmer

Phantom Thread – Jonny Greenwood

War for the Planet of the Apes – Michael Giacchino

Wonderstruck – Carter Burwell

 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

Blade Runner 2049 – Dennis Gassner (Production Designer); Alessandra Querzola (Set Decorator)

Dunkirk – Nathan Crowley (Production Designer); Gary Fettis (Supervising Set Decorator)

Murder on the Orient Express – Jim Clay (Production Designer); Rebecca Alleway (Set Decorator)

Phantom Thread – Mark Tildesley (Production Designer); Véronique Melery (Set Decorator)

The Shape of Water – Paul Denham Austerberry (Production Designer); Shane Vieau, Jeff Melvin (Set Decorators)

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:

Blade Runner 2049 – John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
Dunkirk – Andrew Jackson, Andrew Lockley, Scott Fisher, Paul Corbould

The Shape of Water – Dennis Berardi, Luke Groves, Trey Harrell, Kevin Scott

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Scott Stokdyk, Jérome Lionard

War for the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist

 

BEST YOUTH PERFORMANCE (18 years of age or younger upon start of filming):

Dafne Keen – Logan
Sophia Lillis It

Brooklynn Prince – The Florida Project

Millicent Simmonds – Wonderstruck

Jacob Tremblay – Wonder

 

VILLAIN OF THE YEAR:

Dennis and various multiple personalities – Split – portrayed by James McAvoy

Martin – The Killing of a Sacred Deer – portrayed by Barry Keoghan

Pennywise – It – portrayed by Bill Skarsgård

Philip Krauss – Detroit – portrayed by Will Poulter

Richard Strickland – The Shape of Water – portrayed by Michael Shannon

Horror Film Review: It (dir by Andy Muschietti)


Here’s something that Leonard Wilson and I have often pondered here at the TSL offices:

Why is it sometimes easier to write about a film that you hate than a film that you love?

Seriously, whenever I watch a film that I hate, the review is practically written in my head before the end credits have even finished.  Take Wolves At The Door, for instance.  It took me 15 minutes to write that review, largely because I hated the movie and I knew exactly why.  Perhaps it’s because the films that we hate are usually films that have absolutely nothing going on beneath the surface.  It’s a lot easier to write a review when you don’t have to consider things like nuance or subtext.

But, whenever I see a film that I absolutely love, it always takes me longer to write the review.  It’s intimidating to try to explain why you loved a film.  After all, if you loved it then you want everyone else to love it too.  And you want to be able to explain yourself with something more than just: “This was a really good movie.”

Take It, for instance.  It opened last month.  I saw it on opening weekend.  I thought it was a great movie, one that worked in almost every way possible.  I thought it was well-acted.  I thought Andy Muschietti did an excellent job directing it.  I thought that the film’s screenwriters did a wonderful job adapting a challenging novel.  When It was scary, it made me scream.  When It was funny, it made me laugh.  Most importantly, when It was dramatic, it brought tears to my eyes.  It was not just a brilliant horror movie but it was a brilliant movie period, one of the best of the year so far.

And yet, it’s taken me a month to write the 300 words that you just read.  Fortunately, back in September, Ryan C. posted a review of his own.

I assume that most of our readers have already seen It or, at the very least, they’re familiar with what the film is generally about.  It’s based on the famous novel by Stephen King, a work that many feel is King’s best.  It follows a group of 12 year-old outcasts, the so-called Losers Club, as they spend the summer of 1989 trying to avoid both local bullies and Pennywise the Dancing Clown (played by Bill Skarsgard), the cannibalistic demon who lives in the sewers and who awakens every 27 years so that it can feed.  Pennywise has already killed George, the younger brother of Bill Denborough (Jaeden Leiberher), the unofficial leader of the Losers Club.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Pennywise is terrifying.  If horror films actually get Oscar nominations, Bill Skarsgard would, at the very least, be in the running for best supporting actor.  But what’s interesting is that Pennywise is not necessarily the scariest thing about the film.  As both outcasts and children, the members of the Losers Club are in the unique position to be able to understand that, despite its placid surface, Derry would be a scary place even without a killer clown.  Much like the town of Twin Peaks, there is much going on underneath the surface.

Overweight Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor) is attacked by bully Henry Bowers (a terrifying Nicholas Hamilton), who proceeds to try to carve his name into Ben’s stomach.

Hypochondriac Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Glazer) is literally held prisoner by his domineering mother.

African-American Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs) and Jewish Stan Uris (Wyatt Oleff) spend their days being targeted over their skin color and religion.

Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) lives in poverty with her sexually abusive father.

Ever since the disappearance of George, Bill Denborough has watched his family fall apart.

Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard) tells jokes because making people laugh is the only way he can convince them not to beat him up.

Even the fearsome Henry Bowers lives with an abusive father who has obviously passed down his twisted worldview to his son.

And yet, despite all of that, It is not a relentlessly grim movie.  In some ways, it’s one of the most hopeful horror films that I’ve ever seen.  This may be a horror film but it’s also a celebration of friendship.  The members of the Losers Club may be outcasts but at least they have each other.  It may be a horror film but it’s also a coming-of-age story, an adventure of growing up that the members of the Losers Club will never forget.  (Except, of course, they will…but not until the sequel…)  All of the child actors are natural and believable in their roles.  Since he gets the funniest lines, Finn Wolfhard is an obvious audience favorite but really, the entire ensemble does a good job.

Between Get Out at the start of the year and It in September, this has been a very good year for horror.  It is one of the best films of 2017 so see it.

Lisa’s Too Early Oscar Predictions For February


Oscars

Well, it’s that time again!

Every month this year, I am updating my predictions for which films and performers will be nominated for Oscars in 2018.  At this point in the year, this is largely an academic exercise.  The nominees below are a mix of wild guesses, instinctual feeling, and wishful thinking.  Usually, a clear picture of the Oscar race doesn’t start to form until October at the earliest.  (Last year, at this time, nobody had even heard of Moonlight or Hell or High Water.)  In other words, take these predictions with a grain of salt.

This update is heavily influenced by what happened at the Sundance Film Festival last month.  In fact, it’s probably a bit too influenced by Sundance.  If these predictions turned out to be 100% correct, the 2018 Oscars would be the Sundance Oscars.  That said, it seems that there’s always a few successful Oscar campaigns that start during Sundance.  (And then there’s always a few Sundance sensations that totally fizzle during awards season.  Birth of a Nation, anyone?  Or perhaps The End of the Tour.)  But, as of right now, Sundance is pretty much the only thing that we have to go on, as far as future Oscar contenders are concerned.

Again, take all of this with a grain of salt.  Just because I may brag about knowing what I’m talking about, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I do.

Check out January’s predictions here! 

And without further ado…

Mudbound

Mudbound

Best Picture

Battle of the Sexes

The Beguiled

The Big Sick

Blade Runner 2047

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour

Downsizing

Dunkirk

Mudbound

The big additions here are Mudbound, The Big Sick, and Call Me By Your Name, all three of which got a lot of attention and acclaim at Sundance.  Both Mudbound and Call Me By Your Name are already being mentioned, by some Oscar bloggers, as possible winners for best picture.  The Big Sick may seem like more of a dark horse but, from what I’ve read, it sounds like the sort of movie that could emerge as a surprise contender.  With its Muslim protagonist and its mix of comedy and drama, it sounds like it could catch the cultural zeitgeist.

Dropping from the list: T2, All Eyez On Me, and War Machine.  T2 has gotten good but not great reviews in the UK.  As for All Eyez on Me and War Machine — well, it’s just a feeling I have.  Both of them could be good but it’s easier to imagine a scenario in which they’re both disappointments.

Best Director

Luca Guadagnino for Call Me By Your Name

Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

Alexander Payne for Downsizing

Dee Rees for Mudbound

Denis Villeneuve for Blade Runner 2047

Guadagnino and Rees are new contenders.  Rees would be the first black woman ever nominated for best director.

Best Actor

Chadwick Boseman in Marshall

Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name

Tom Cruise in American Made

Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick

Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour

I’m a little bit iffy on Chadwick Boseman.  In Marshall, he will be playing Thurgood Marshall, which sounds like a good, Oscar baity role.  But Marshall itself sounds like a rather standard biopic.  Timothee Chalamet and, especially, Kumail Nanjiani received a lot of Sundance acclaim.  The fact that Nanjiani has been outspoken in his opposition to Trump’s travel ban will probably help his chances.

Sundance was also responsible for Logan Lerman falling off this list.  Sidney Hall got terrible reviews.

Best Actress

Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul

Danielle MacDonald in Patti Cake$

Carey Mulligan in Mudbound

Lois Smith in Marjorie Prime

Emma Stone in Battle of the Sexes

Among the new additions, Danielle MacDonald was one of the break-out stars at Sundance.  Carey Mulligan is due to get another nomination (and Mudbound is expected to be a major Oscar contender).  As for Lois Smith, she’s a respected veteran actress who gets to play a rare lead role in Marjorie Prime.  So, why not a nomination?

Best Supporting Actor

James Franco in The Masterpiece

Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name

Jason Mitchell in Mudbound

Bill Skarsgard in It

Michael Stuhlbarg in Call Me By Your Name

I’m continuing to predict a nomination for James Franco and yes, it probably is just wishful thinking on my part.  But dammit, I just like the idea of Franco getting a nomination for playing Tommy Wiseau.

Skarsgard is probably wishful thinking as well.  If It works, it will be because of Skarsgard’s performance as Pennywise.

Finally, Hammer, Mitchell, and Stuhlbarg are our Sundance nominees.  Many people think that all three are overdue for some Academy recognition.  (There’s some debate over whether Hammer should go supporting or lead for Call Me By Your Name.  I’m going to assume that he’s going to pull a Viola Davis and go supporting.)

Best Supporting Actress

Mary J. Blige in Mudbound

Holly Hunter in The Big Sick

Melissa Leo in Novitiate 

Kristin Scott Thomas in Darkest Hour

Tilda Swinton in War Machine

As always, this is the most difficult category to predict.  Blige, Hunter, and Leo are all Sundance nominees.  (Hunter is especially said to be award-worthy in her Big Sick role.)  For the second month in a row, Scott Thomas and Swinton are listed more because of who they are than any other reason.

The Big Sick

The Big Sick

Lisa’s Way Too Early Oscar Predictions For January


2013 oscars

Why are these Oscar predictions “way too early?”

Well, unlike every other movie blogger right now, I am not attempting to predict who and what will be nominated on January 24th.  Instead, with this post, I am attempting to predict which 2017 releases will be nominated next year!  In short, I am attempting to predict what movies and which performers will emerge as Oscar contenders over the next 12 months.

Needless to say, this is more than a little bit foolish on my part.  I haven’t seen any of the films listed below.  Some of these films don’t have release dates and others are coming out so early in the year that, in order to be contenders, they’ll have to be so spectacular that neither the Academy nor the critics end up forgetting about them.  For the most part, the true picture of the Oscar race usually doesn’t start to emerge until the summer.

For now, these predictions are, for the most part, wild guesses and they should be taken with more than just a grain of salt.  Each month, I will revise my predictions.  At the very least, next year, we’ll probably be able to look back at this post and laugh.

(Whenever trying to make early Oscar predictions, one should remember all of the award bloggers who predicted Nicole Kidman would win an Oscar for Grace of Monaco, just to then see the movie make its long-delayed premiere on Lifetime.)

With all that in mind, here are my way too early Oscar predictions for January!

Best Picture

All Eyez on Me

Battle of the Sexes

The Beguiled

Blade Runner 2047

Crown Heights

Darkest Hour

Downsizing

Dunkirk

T2: Trainspotting

War Machine

Again, for the most part, these predictions are a combination of wild guesses, instinct, and wishful thinking.  It’s entirely possible that none of these films will actually be nominated for best picture.  (Some might even end up premiering on Lifetime, you never know.)  Here’s why I think that some of them might be remembered next year at this time:

All Eyez On Me is a biopic of Tupac Shakur.  Assuming the film is done correctly, Shakur’s life would seem to have all the elements that usually go into an Oscar-winning film.

Battle of the Sexes is a film based on a true incident, a 1970s tennis match between a feminist and a self-declared male chauvinist.  It’s directed by the team behind the Oscar-nominated Little Miss Sunshine and it stars two former nominees, Emma Stone and Steve Carell.

The Beguiled might be wishful thinking on my part but, at this point, wishful thinking is all I have to go on for most of these predictions.  The Beguiled is a remake of a Clint Eastwood film and it’s directed by one of my favorite directors, Sofia Coppola!  Much like Battle of the Sexes, its misogynist-gets-what’s-coming-to-him storyline might make it the perfect film for the first year of the Trump presidency.

Blade Runner 2047 is one of the most eagerly anticipated films of 2017 and it’s directed by Denis Villeneuve, who is hot off of Arrival.  The Oscar success of Mad Max: Fury Road proved that a sequel can be a contender.

Every year, at least one contender emerges out of Sundance and this year, it could very well be Crown Heights.  It tells a fact-based story, about a man trying to win his best friend’s release from prison after the latter is wrongly convicted.  That all sounds very Oscar baity.

Speaking of Oscar bait, Darkest Hour stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill.  If that doesn’t sound like Oscar bait, I don’t know what does.

Downsizing is Alexander Payne’s latest film.  It’s about a man (Matt Damon), who shrinks himself.  It may not sound like typical Oscar bait but Payne is definitely a favorite of the Academy’s.

Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s big epic for 2017.  Will it be another huge success or will it just be bombastic?  We’ll see.  The Academy has a weakness for World War II films and it could be argued that the very successful yet never nominated Nolan is overdue for some Academy recognition.  (It is true that Inception received a nomination for best picture but Nolan himself was snubbed.)

T2: Trainspotting is probably coming out too early in the year to be a legitimate contender but who knows?  The trailer was great.  Danny Boyle is directing it.  And, much as with Blade Runner 2047, Mad Max: Fury Road proved that a well-made and intelligent sequel can find favor with the Academy.

War Machine is described as being a satire about the war in Afghanistan.  Could it be another Big Short?  With Obama out of office, the Academy might be more open to political satire than they’ve been in the past.

Best Director

Danny Boyle for T2: Trainspotting

Sofia Coppola for The Beguiled

Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

Alexander Payne for Downsizing

Denis Villeneuve for Blade Runner 2047

Again, there’s a lot of random guessing here.  Personally, I’d love to see Sofia Coppola receive a second nomination for best director.  Payne and Boyle are always possibilities and, if Villeneuve’s work on Arrival is ignored this year, nominating him for Blade Runner would be a good way to make up for it.  As for Nolan, he’s going to get nominated some day.   Why not for Dunkirk?

Best Actor

Tom Cruise in American Made

Sam Elliott in The Hero

Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman

Logan Lerman in Sidney Hall

Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour

In American Made, Tom Cruise plays a real-life drug runner.  It sounds like one of those change-of-pace roles that often results in an Oscar nomination.  Gary Oldman has never won an Oscar and has only been nominated once.  The Academy might want to rectify that situation by nominating him for playing Winston Churchill.  And finally, Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum in a big budget musical that’s scheduled to open on Christmas Day?  It sounds like either a total disaster or the formula for Oscar gold!

Logan Lerman is one of those actors who appears to be destined to eventually be nominated for an Oscar and, in Sidney Hall, he ages over thirty years.  Finally, Sam Elliott is a beloved veteran who has never been nominated.  If The Hero is a hit at Sundance, it’s easy to imagine the Oscar campaign that will follow.

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Zookeeper’s Wife

Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul

Nicole Kidman in The Beguiled

Emma Stone in Battle of the Sexes

Naomi Watts in The Book of Henry

As of this writing, Meryl Streep does not have a movie scheduled to be released in 2017, which means that another actress will get the sport usually reserved for her.  But who?  Jessica Chastain could be nominated because she’s Jessica Chastain and the Academy loves her.  Judi Dench plays Queen Victoria for a second time in Victoria and Abdul.  The Academy loves movies about British royalty and Dench has already been nominated once for bringing Victoria to life.  Naomi Watts plays a loving but possibly crazy mother in The Book of Henry, which again sounds like a very Oscar baity role.  If Emma Stone doesn’t win for La La Land, the Academy could make it up to her by nominating her for Battle of the Sexes.

As for Nicole Kidman in The Beguiled — well, let’s call that wishful thinking.  My hope is that Sofia Coppola will do great things with The Beguiled and she will get another great performance out of Nicole Kidman.  We’ll see if I’m right.

 

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Carlyle in T2: Trainspotting

Johnny Depp in Murder on The Orient Experss

James Franco in The Masterpiece

Bill Skarsgard in It

Kevin Spacey in Billionaire Boys Club

Admittedly, the guesses here are fairly random but there is a logic behind each nominee.  Robert Carlyle was great in Trainspotting so he might be just as great in T2.  In Billionaire Boys Club, Kevin Spacey plays a sleazy con artist and that sounds like the type of role with which he could do wonders.  If It is to be a success, Bill Skarsgard is going to have to be a terrifying Pennywise.  If Heath Ledger could win for playing the Joker, surely Skarsgard could be nominated for playing Pennywise.

As for James Franco in The Masterpiece … yes, it’s more wishful thinking on my part.  Franco will be playing Tommy Wiseau, the director of the notorious The Room.  Wiseau is, needless to say, an eccentric figure.  Not only do I think James Franco could give an award-worthy performance in the role but I also just like the idea of someone getting an Oscar for playing Tommy Wiseau.

Finally, we have Johnny Depp in Murder on The Orient Express.  Why not?  It seems like someone from that film’s huge cast is destined to be nominated so why not Johnny Depp?

 

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Aniston in The Yellow Birds

Danai Guirra in All Eyez On Me

Kelly MacDonald in T2: Trainspotting

Kristin Scott Thomas in Darkest Hour

Tilda Swinton in War Machine

These guesses are even more random than my guesses for supporting actor.  Jennifer Aniston and Danai Guirra will both be playing mothers who lose their sons.  A lot of people were surprised when Aniston was not nominated for Cake so here’s a chance for the Academy to make it up to her.  As for Kristin Scott Thomas, she’ll be playing Winston Churchill’s wife and the Academy loves historical wives (i.e., Helena Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech and Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything).

As for the last two predictions, Tilda Swinton is listed because she’s Tilda Swinton.  Kelly MacDonald is listed for the same reason that I put Robert Carlyle down for supporting actor.  She was just so good in the first film.

So, there you go!  Those are my too early Oscar predictions for January!  Will they prove to be accurate?  Probably not.

But we’ll see how things change over the next couple of months.  At the very least, you’ll be able to look back at this post and laugh at me for thinking that … oh, let’s say Battle of the Sexes … would ever be nominated for an Academy Award.

As for me, I’ll be revising my predictions in February.  At least by that point, maybe the Sundance Film Festival will have provided some guidance…

Tommy_Wiseau_in_The_Room

Here’s The Latest Image of It’s Pennywise The Clown!


So, as you may know, there’s a new version Stephen King’s It coming out.  It’s scheduled to be released next year and it’ll star Bill Skarsgard as everyone’s favorite killer clown, Pennywise!

A new image of Pennywise’s costume appeared earlier today in Entertainment Weekly and here it is:

pennywise-ew-00054120

I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of this look.  According to the EW article, the film’s costume designer decided to incorporate ideas from all eras of clowning, in order to show that Pennywise has been around for centuries.

But, to me, that kind of misses the point.  In the book, It appeared in many different forms, depending on who it was dealing with and it’s goal was at the time.  It used the form of Pennywise the Clown to both get the attention of and to scare the Hell out of children.  In the book, Pennywise kills Georgie Denbrough in 1957.  In the upcoming film, the timeline has been updated so that Georgie dies in 1989.  But, in both cases, why would Pennywise use the form of a Victorian-era clown to attack children in the 20th Century?  Wouldn’t Pennywise appear as a contemporary clown?

I may be overthinking this but, honestly, it’s difficult for me to look at this Pennywise without thinking about the time that Bobby Hill performed as Tartuffe the Spry Wonder Dog on King of the Hill.

 

Am I right?  Am I wrong?  What do you think of this new Pennywise?