Yay! Here Are The Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award Winners!


Film Review Under the Skin

That’s right, I said “Yay!”  And believe it or not, I’m not at all being snarky.  The AWFJ awards are always some of my favorite of the annual precursor awards.  Not only do they provide a different (and, let’s just be honest, better) perspective than the other male-dominated critical societies but they also have a lot of extra (some fun and some thought-provoking) categories.

Here are their picks for the best of 2014!  I especially appreciate and agree with the recognition given to Under the Skin and Emily Blunt’s performance in Edge of Tomorrow.

Best Film
BOYHOOD

Best Director (Female or Male)
Richard Linklater for BOYHOOD

Best Screenplay, Original
BIRDMAN – Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, Nicholas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo

Best Screenplay, Adapted
GONE GIRL – Gillian Flynn

Best Documentary
CITIZENFOUR – Laura Poitras

Best Animated Film
LEGO – Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Best Actress
Julianne Moore for STILL ALICE

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Tilda Swinton for SNOWPIERCER

Best Actor
Michael Keaton for BIRDMAN

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
J.K. Simmons for WHIPLASH

Best Ensemble Cast (tie)
BIRDMAN – Francine Maisler, Casting Director
and
GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL – Douglas Aibel (US), Antoinette Boulat (France), Simone Bar, Alexandra Montag (Germany), Debra Maxwell Dion (LA), Jina Jay (UK)

Best Editing
BIRDMAN – Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione

Best Cinematography
BIRDMAN – Emmanuel Lubezki

Best Film Music Or Score
BIRDMAN – Antonio Sanchez

Best Non-English-Language Film
IDA – Pavel Pawlikowski (Poland)

EDA FEMALE FOCUS AWARDS
These awards honor WOMEN only.

Best Woman Director
Ava DuVernay for SELMA

Best Woman Screenwriter
Gillian Flynn for GONE GIRL

Best Female Action Star
Emily Blunt for EDGE OF TOMORROW

Best Breakthrough Performance
Gugu Mbatha-Raw for BELLE

Female Icon of the Year (tie)
(a woman whose work in film and/or in life made a difference)
Ava DuVernay
and
Laura Poitras

EDA SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS

Best Depiction Of Nudity, Sexuality, or Seduction
UNDER THE SKIN – Scarlett Johansson

Actress Defying Age and Ageism
Tilda Swinton

Most Egregious Age Difference Between The Leading Man and The Love Interest
MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT – Colin Firth (b. 1960) and Emma Stone (b. 1988)

Actress Most in Need Of A New Agent
Cameron Diaz for SEX TAPE

Movie You Wanted To Love, But Just Couldn’t
INHERENT VICE

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

Here’s The Trailer For Magic In The Moonlight


Here’s the trailer for Woody Allen’s latest film Magic In The Moonlight.

For the longest time, a lot of film bloggers (myself included) have been predicting that Emma Stone might be Oscar-nominated for this film.  This was largely because actresses who appear in Woody Allen films always seem to end up getting nominated and we all know that Emma Stone is going to be nominated at some point in her career.

(She deserved a nomination for Easy A.)

(Oh, she so totally did!)

However, having now seen the trailer, I’m no longer quite as sure.  It looks like it’s going to be a perfectly charming little comedy and the trailer is gorgeous to look at but the film itself doesn’t look like it’s going to be the type to resonate as strongly as Blue Jasmine or Midnight In Paris.

On the plus side, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be another To Rome With Love, either.

Lisa’s Way Too Early Oscar Predictions For May


Whiplash

Whiplash

Of course, it’s way too early for me or anyone else to try to predict who and what will be nominated for an Academy Award in 2015.  However, that’s not stopping me from trying to do so on a monthly basis!

Below are my updated predictions for May.

You can read my predictions for April here and my March predictions here.

Best Picture

Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Imitation Game

Interstellar

Unbroken

Whiplash

Wild

I’ve dropped Get On Up from my list of best picture nominees, mostly because the film’s trailer is just too bland.  As for some of the other films that some of my fellow bloggers are predicting will be contenders: The Grand Budapest Hotel may very well deserve a nomination but it may have come out too early in the year.  Gone Girl may be too much of a genre piece while Inherent Vice may not be enough of one. Big Eyes would theoretically benefit from the fact that both Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams would appear to be perfectly cast but, after his last few live action films, I don’t have much faith in Tim Burton. As for Into The Woods, my instinct says that Rob Marshall’s latest musical film adaptation is going to have more in common with Nine than with Chicago.

Best Director

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman

Angelina Jolie for Unbroken

Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

Jean-Marc Vallee for Wild

No changes here.  I nearly dropped Angelina Jolie from the list, just because she’s being so aggressively hyped and early hype always seems to lead to later disappointment.  If I had dropped her, I would have replaced her with Christopher Nolan for Interstellar.

Best Actor

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Joaquin Phoenix in Inherent Vice

Christoph Waltz in Big Eyes

I dropped Chadwick Boseman from my list of predictions, again based on the blandness of the trailer for Get On Up.  I also moved Ralph Fiennes down to best supporting actor.  In their place: Joaquin Phoenix and Christoph Waltz.

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Big Eyes

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Emma Stone in Magic in the Moonlight

Reese Whitherspoon in Wild

Michelle Williams in Suite francaise

I dropped Jessica Chastain from the list and replaced her with Michelle Williams.  Why?  There’s really no big reason, beyond the fact that I know more about the role Williams is playing in Suite francaise than I do about the role Chastain is playing in A Most Violent Year.  If The Fault In Our Stars was being released in October (as opposed to next month), I would have probably found room for Shailene Woodley on this list.

Best Supporting Actor

Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ethan Hawke in Boyhood

Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

Martin Sheen in Trash

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

I dropped both Robert Duvall and Channing Tatum from this list, largely because I don’t know enough about Duvall’s character in The Judge and because I have a feeling that, when it comes to Foxcatcher, the Academy will either nominate Ruffalo or Tatum but not both of them.  My first replacement is Martin Sheen for Trash, largely because Sheen has never been nominated for an Oscar and the role of an activist priest seems to be perfect for him.  My second replacement is Ralph Fiennes for The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Originally, I was predicting Fiennes would get a best actor nod but — as is explained in this article over at AwardsWatch — a pretty good case can be made for Fiennes getting a supporting nod instead.

Literally minutes before clicking publish on this post, I also decided to remove Christopher Walken and replace him with Ethan Hawke.  With three nominations already — one for acting and two for writing — Hawke seems to be popular with Academy voters and he always seems to do his best work for Richard Linklater.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Viola Davis in Get On Up

Marcia Gay Harden in Magic In The Moonlight

Kristen Scott Thomas in Suite francaise

Meryl Streep in Into The Woods

Two changes: I dropped Amy Ryan and replaced her with Kristen Scott Thomas.  Again, it’s mostly just because I know more about the role Scott Thomas is playing than I do about Ryan’s role.  I also, shortly before posting this, decided to remove Kiera Knightley and replace her with Patricia Arquette for Boyhood.

So, those are my predictions for this month!  Agree?  Disagree?  Please feel free to let me know in the comments section below.

Boyhood

Boyhood