The Films of 2020: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (dir by Aaron Sorkin)


The Trial of the Chicago 7, the latest film from Aaron Sorkin, is a fairly mediocre and rather forgettable film.  Because of that mediocrity, it stands a pretty good chance of doing very well at the Oscars later this year.

Aaron Sorkin specializes in political fan fiction.  He writes plays, movies and television shows that address big and controversial issues in the most safely liberal way possible.  Whenever Sorkin writes about politics, there’s not a single debate that can’t be won by one long, overdramatic speech, preferably delivered in an office or a conference room while everyone who disagrees nervously stares at the ground, aware that they’ll never be able to match the rhetorical brilliance of their opponents.  It’s a rather dishonest way to portray the ideological divide but it’s one that’s beloved by people who want to be political without actually having to do much thinking.  Sorkin is the poet laureate of the keyboard activists, the people who brag about how their cleverly-worded tweets “totally owned the MyPillow guy.”  (One sure sign of a keyboard activist is the excessive pride over rhetorically owning people who are ludicrously easy to own.  These are the people who think that Tom Arnold arguing about the electoral college with Kirstie Alley is the modern-day equivalent of the Lincoln/Douglas debates.)

The Trial of the Chicago 7, which Sorkin not only wrote but also directed, deals with a real-life event, the 1969 trial of eight political activists who were charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.  (Black Panther Bobby Seale was ultimately tried separately from the other defendants, leading to the Chicago 8 becoming the Chicago 7.)  Sacha Baron Cohen plays Abbie Hoffman, the fun-loving activist who delights in upsetting the establishment.  Eddie Redmayne played Tom Hayden, who takes himself and his activism very seriously and who worries that Hoffman’s antics in the courtroom are going to discredit progressives for generations to come.  Hoffman ridicules Hayden for being a rich boy who is rebelling against his father.  Hayden attacks Hoffman for not thinking about how his actions are going to be perceived by the rest of America.  Sorkin the screenwriter is clearly on Hayden’s side while Sorkin the director keeps finding himself drawn to Hoffman, if just because Hoffman is the more entertaining character.  Hoffman gets to make jokes while Hayden has to spend the entire film with a somewhat constipated expression on his face.

As is typical of Sorkin’s political work, the film raises issues without really exploring them.  We learn that the defendants were all arrested during anti-war protests but the film never really explores why they’re against the war.  It’s mentioned that David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch) is a pacifist who even refused to fight in World War II but at no point do we learn what led to him becoming a pacifist.  When Hoffman and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong) talk about how they feel that the government holds people like them in contempt and that they shouldn’t have to fight in a war that they don’t believe in, Sorkin’s script has them speak in the type of simplistic platitudes that could just as easily have been uttered by a MAGA supporter talking about the war in Afghanistan.  If all you knew about these men was what you learned in this film, you would never know that Hayden, Hoffman, and the rest of the Chicago 7 were activists both before and after the Vietnam War.  You’d never know that there was more to their ideology than just opposition to the Vietnam War.  The film never really digs into anyone’s beliefs and motivations.  Instead, everyone might as well just have “Good” or “Evil” stamped on their forehead.

Sorkin’s simplistic approach is most obvious when it comes to Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).  With Seale, the film is more interested in how other react to him than in the man himself or his activism.  The film’s most shocking moment — when Judge Hoffman (Frank Langella) orders Seale to be literally bound and gagged in the courtroom — actually did happen but the film mostly seems to use it as an opportunity to show that even the lead prosecutor (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is disgusted by the government’s heavy-handedness.  Seale and the Black Panthers are used more as symbols than as actual characters.

Since this is an Aaron Sorkin film, the action is male-dominated.  It’s justified as the Chicago 7 and their lawyers were all men. Still, it’s hard not to notice that the only prominent female characters are an undercover cop who betrays the protestors and a receptionist who is frequently reprimanded by the men in the film.  One black woman in a maid’s uniform does get a chance to reprimand Hayden for not speaking out when Bobby Seale was gagged but she’s never even given a name.  As often happens with women of color in films like this, she’s only there to remind the white heroes to do the right thing.

Watching The Trial of the Chicago 7, I found myself thinking about how lucky Aaron Sorkin was to get David Fincher as the director of The Social Network.  A smart director with a strong and unique style, Fincher was able to temper Sorkin’s tendency toward pompousness.  Unfortunately, as a director, Aaron Sorkin is no David Fincher.  While Sorkin has definitely established his own style as a writer, he directs like someone who learned how to stage a crowd-pleasing moment from watching Spielberg but who, at the same time, never noticed the sense of playfulness that Spielberg, especially early in his career, infused within the best of those scenes.  It’s all soaring rhetoric and dramatic reaction shots and cues to let us know when we’re supposed to applaud.  As a director, Sorkin never challenges the audience or lets the film truly come to any sort of spontaneous life.  Instead, he adopts a somewhat cumbersome flashback-laden approach.  The story never quite comes alive in the way that the similar courtroom drama Mangrove did.  It’s all very safe, which is one reason why I imagine The Trial of the Chicago 7 is as popular as it is.  It’s a film that allows the viewers to celebrate the fantasy of activism without having to deal with the messy reality of all the complications that come along with taking an actual stand.  It’s a film that encourages you to pat yourself on the back for simply having watched and agreeing that people have the right to protest.

I will say that Sorkin made some good casting choices.  Langella is memorably nasty of the judge and Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a good job as the prosecutor.  Eddie Redmaye is a bit of a drag as Tom Hayden but Alex Sharp is likable as Hayden’s friend, Rennie Davis.  Michael Keaton has an effective cameo as Ramsey Clark.  The film presents Clark as being a bit of a wise liberal and the film’s epilogue doesn’t mention that Clark went on to a lucrative career of providing legal aide to murderous dictators and anti-Semites.  (Lyndon LaRouche was one prominent Ramsey Clark client.)

The Trial of the Chicago 7 will probably do well come Oscar-time.  In many ways, it almost feels like a generic Oscar movie.  It’s about a historical event, it’s political without being radical, and it presents itself as being far more thoughtful than it actually is.  That’s been a winning combo for many films over the years.

The Columbus Film Critics Circle Honors Promising Young Woman and Carey Mulligan!


Yesterday, the Columbus Film Critic Circle announced their picks for the best of 2020 and the end result was a victory for Promising Young Woman and Carey Mulligan!

Check out their winners and nominees below:​

Best Film
1. Promising Young Woman
2. Nomadland
3. Sound of Metal
4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
5. Minari
6. Soul
7. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
8. The Trial of the Chicago 7
9. First Cow
10. Mank

Best Director
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (RUNNER UP)
David Fincher – Mank
Darius Marder – Sound of Metal
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (WINNER)

Best Actor
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal (WINNER)
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (RUNNER UP)
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods
Gary Oldman – Mank
Steven Yeun – Minari

Best Actress
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Julia Garner – The Assistant
Frances McDormand – Nomadland (RUNNER UP)
Elisabeth Moss – Shirley
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman (WINNER)

Best Supporting Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods (RUNNER UP TIE)
Bill Murray – On the Rocks
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal (WINNER)
Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (RUNNER UP TIE)

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Movie Film
Olivia Colman – The Father (RUNNER UP)
Olivia Cooke – Sound of Metal
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Youn Yuh-jung – Minari (WINNER)

Best Ensemble
Da 5 Bloods
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (WINNER)
Minari
Promising Young Woman (RUNNER UP)
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Movie Film & The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods & Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) (WINNER)
Elisabeth Moss (The Invisible Man & Shirley) (RUNNER UP)

Breakthrough Film Artist
Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version (for producing, directing, screenwriting, and acting) (RUNNER UP)
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (for producing, directing, and screenwriting) (WINNER)
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (for acting)
Kitty Green – The Assistant (for producing, directing, screenwriting, and film editing)
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (for directing and screenwriting)
Alan S. Kim – Minari (for acting)
Darius Marder – Sound of Metal (for directing and screenwriting)

Best Cinematography
Christopher Blauvelt – First Cow
Eric Messerschmidt – Mank (RUNNER UP)
Lachlan Milne – Minari
Joshua James Richards – Nomadland (WINNER)
Hoyte Van Hoytema – Tenet

Best Film Editing
Alan Baumgarten – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (WINNER)
Kirk Baxter – Mank
Robert Frazen – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Mikkel E.G. Nielsen – Sound of Metal (RUNNER UP)
Kelly Reichardt – First Cow

Best Adapted Screenplay
Sarah Gubbins – Shirley
Charlie Kaufman – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Kemp Powers – One Night in Miami
Jonathan Raymond & Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (RUNNER UP)
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (WINNER)

Best Original Screenplay
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (WINNER)
Darius Marder & Abraham Marder – Sound of Metal
Andy Siara – Palm Springs
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (RUNNER UP)

Best Score
Alexandre Desplat – The Midnight Sky
Ludovico Einaudi – Nomadland
Emile Mosseri – Minari
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Mank (RUNNER UP)
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Soul (WINNER)

Best Documentary
Boys State (RUNNER UP)
Collective
Crip Camp
Dick Johnson is Dead (WINNER)
The Painter and the Thief
Time

Best Foreign Language Film
Bacurau
Beanpole
Martin Eden (RUNNER UP)
Minari (WINNER)
The Whistlers

Best Animated Film
The Croods: A New Age
Onward
Over the Moon
Soul (RUNNER UP)
Wolfwalkers (WINNER)

Best Overlooked Film
The Assistant
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
Palm Springs (RUNNER UP)
Possessor
The Vast of Night (WINNER)

Here Are The Nominees of the 2020 Columbus Film Critics Association!


The Columbus Film Critics Association has announced their nominees for the best of the year and it’s pretty much all of the usual suspects.  The winners will be announced on January 7th, 2021.  I do like the fact that the CFCA gives out an award for the Overlooked Film of the Year.  Some of my top films of the year — Possessor, The Vast of Night, The Assistant — are nominated in that category.

Here are the nominees!

Best Film
First Cow
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Minari
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Soul
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
David Fincher – Mank
Darius Marder – Sound of Metal
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

Best Actor
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods
Gary Oldman – Mank
Steven Yeun – Minari

Best Actress
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Julia Garner – The Assistant
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Elisabeth Moss – Shirley
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
Bill Murray – On the Rocks
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Supporting Actress
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Movie Film
Olivia Colman – The Father
Olivia Cooke – Sound of Metal
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Youn Yuh-jung – Minari

Best Ensemble
Da 5 Bloods
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Minari
Promising Young Woman
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Movie Film & The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods & Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Elisabeth Moss (The Invisible Man & Shirley)

Breakthrough Film Artist
Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version (for producing, directing, screenwriting, and acting)
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (for producing, directing, and screenwriting)
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (for acting)
Kitty Green – The Assistant (for producing, directing, screenwriting, and film editing)
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (for directing and screenwriting)
Alan S. Kim – Minari (for acting)
Darius Marder – Sound of Metal (for directing and screenwriting)

Best Cinematography
Christopher Blauvelt – First Cow
Erik Messerschmidt – Mank
Lachlan Milne – Minari
Joshua James Richards – Nomadland
Hoyte Van Hoytema – Tenet

Best Film Editing
Alan Baumgarten – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Kirk Baxter – Mank
Robert Frazen – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Mikkel E.G. Nielsen – Sound of Metal
Kelly Reichardt – First Cow

Best Adapted Screenplay
Sarah Gubbins – Shirley
Charlie Kaufman – I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Kemp Powers – One Night in Miami
Jonathan Raymond & Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

Best Original Screenplay
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Darius Marder & Abraham Marder – Sound of Metal
Andy Siara – Palm Springs
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Score
Alexandre Desplat – The Midnight Sky
Ludovico Einaudi – Nomadland
Emile Mosseri – Minari
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Mank
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Soul

Best Documentary
Boys State
Collective
Crip Camp
Dick Johnson is Dead
The Painter and the Thief
Time

Best Foreign Language Film
Bacurau
Beanpole
Martin Eden
Minari
The Whistlers

Best Animated Film
The Croods: A New Age
Onward
Over the Moon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

Best Overlooked Film
The Assistant
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
Palm Springs
Possessor
The Vast of Night

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions for August


As this very strange year enters into the home stretch, it does seem like, almost despite itself, the Oscar picture is becoming a little bit clearer.  The Venice and Toronto film festivals have announced their lineups.  Theaters are tentatively reopening and, assuming that there isn’t a spike in moviegoers contracting the Coronavirus as a result, the majority of them could be reopen by December.  For all the talk about how this year was going to be the Streaming Oscars, it’s totally possible that, with the eligibility window being extended to February and assuming theaters don’t have to close again, the Oscars could, once again, be dominating by traditional theatrical releases.

Anyway, here are my predictions for this month.  Though the picture may have cleared a little, the year is still pretty uncertain so take these with a grain of salt.  I imagine, over the next month, we’ll see a lot of movies scheduled for that January/February window of eligibility.

Be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, and July!

Best Picture

Ammonite

Da 5 Bloods

The Father

Hillbilly Elegy

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

Respect

Soul

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

Best Actor

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods

Gary Oldman in Mank

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillybilly Elegy

Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods

Richard E. Grant in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Mark Rylance in The Trial of Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steven Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Natasha Lyonne in The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Meryl Streep in The Prom

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions For June


Once again, even trying to predict the Oscars this year seems like a fool’s errand.

Our story so far:

  1. COVID-19 shut everything down, including both theaters and production on many of the films that were expected to be contenders for the 2020 Oscars.
  2. The Academy announced that, for this year only, VOD and streaming-only films would be considered eligible for the Oscars.  That’s good news for all of the films premiering on Netflix and Prime right now, right?
  3. It looked briefly as if theaters might start reopening in July.  Tenet awaits!
  4. Oh wait, there’s still a pandemic going on.  Keep those theaters closed.
  5. But what about Tenent!?  Tenet will open in July, no matter what!
  6. Tenet gets moved back to August.  Every other big production gets moved back to August and chances are they’ll get moved back again.
  7. The Academy, meanwhile, throws everything into even more disarray by announcing that they will be extending the eligibility window to the end of February of 2021.
  8. And now, we’re all waiting to see which films will be moved either back or forward to a January or February 2021 opening in order to qualify for the Oscars.

In other words, who knows what’s going to be eligible once the Academy finally gets around to selecting their nominees.  Personally, I wish they hadn’t moved the eligibility window.  It feels like a bunch of studios complained about the having to release all of their big movies via VOD so the Academy said, “Okay, we’ll give you an extra two months.”  With the way things are going, though, it’s totally possible that theaters could still be closed in January and February so joke’s on them.  ENJOY YOUR VOD OSCARS, YA BASTARDS!

Anyway, here are my monthly Oscar predictions.  I did the best I could with what little information is actually out there.  Normally, I would say that the Da 5 Bloods came out too early to be remembered at Oscar time but this is not a typical year.  Despite the best picture victories of 12 Years A Slave and Moonlight, no black director has ever won best director.  If there’s ever a year when the Academy is going to be motivated to rectify that, it will be this year.

Anyway, be sure to check out my equally useless predictions for January, February, March, April, and May!

Best Picture

Ammonite

Da 5 Bloods

The Father

Hillbilly Elegy

News of the World

Nomadland

On The Rocks

Respect

Soul

West Side Story

Best Director

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Courier

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Sir Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods

Bill Murray in On the Rocks

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Angelina Jolie in Those Who Wish Me Dead

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Tom Burke in Mank

Richard E. Grant in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Mark Rylance in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Best Supporting Actress

Abigail Breslin in Stillwater

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Lisa Marie’s Possibly Pointless Oscar Predictions For March


I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should even bother to continue my monthly Oscar predictions.  With the current Coronavirus pandemic, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if there will even be an Oscar ceremony next year.  Many completed films have been taken off the schedule so that they can be released at a time when people aren’t scared to leave their house.  Meanwhile, production on several other films — some of them expected to be Oscar contenders — has been suspended.  New films are continuing to premiere on the streaming services but the Academy has always insisted that films also play in a theater if they want to contend for an Oscar.  That’s going to be difficult with the majority of the country’s theaters currently being closed.

Unlike a lot of people, I’m not necessarily apocalyptic or even that pessimistic in my outlook.  I think that, one way or another, we will eventually be able to leave our homes again and that at least some of the movie theaters will reopen.  So, I think that we will be able to have some sort of Oscar ceremony.  For that reason, I’m going to make my predictions for March but, needless to say, take all of these with an even bigger grain of salt than usual.

If you’re curious to see what my Oscar thinking was in the months before the world went crazy, check out my predictions for January and February!

(I’ve tried to take the fact that the Coronavirus led to the suspension of many ongoing productions while making out my list below.  As far as I know, filming wrapped on all of the films listed below before the outbreak.)

Best Picture

Ammonite

Annette

Hillbilly Elegy

The Father

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

On the Rocks

Tenet

West Side Story

Best Director

Isaac Lee Chung for Minari

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Christopher Nolan for Tenet

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Florian Zeller for The Father

Best Actor

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Bill Murray in On the Rocks

Gary Oldman in Mank

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Clare Dunne in Herself

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Burke in Mank

Richard E. Grant in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Mark Rylance in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steve Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Abigail Breslin in Stillwater

Glenn Close in Hillybilly Elegy

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Helena Zengel in News of the World

 

Lisa’s Way, Way, Way, Way, Way, Way, Way Too Early Oscar Predictions For February


It’s a fool’s errand to try to predict next year’s Oscars nominees this early but we’re all about taking risks here at the Shattered Lens.  So, with that in mind, here is my latest set of monthly predictions.

If you look over these names, you’ll see a lot of familiar ones.  That’s because it’s early in the year and familiarity is really the only thing that a lot of these unreleased films have going for them.  Some of the films mentioned below were hits at Sundance.  From what I’ve read, I really do think Minari could be a contender because, along with being loved by critics, it sounds like it’s very much of the current cultural moment.

But the important thing to remember is that, last year at this time, no one expected Joker to become the film of the year.  No one had even heard of Parasite.  Most people were still predicting the Oscars would be dominated by Harriet.  So, my point is — take this stuff with several grains of salt.

To be honest, I think a lot depends on how the presidential election goes.  If Trump is reelected, I think you’ll see the Academy voting for angry, political films, if just as a way to get back at Trump and the people who voted for him.  (Think about the otherwise baffling love that was previously shown to a movie like Vice.)  The Trial of the Chicago 7 sounds incredibly tedious to me but I could imagine people voting for it and thinking to themselves, “This is so going to piss off the Republicans.”  If Trump is defeated, I imagine the Academy will be a bit more upbeat in their selections.

If you want to see how my thinking has evolved, check out my predictions for January here!    (It’s only been a month so my thinking hasn’t really evolved at all.  Still, we could always use the clicks.)

Best Picture

Dune

Happiest Season

Hillybilly Elegy

Ironbark

Minari

News of the World

Respect

Stillwater

The Trial of the Chicago 7

West Side Story

Best Director

Isaac Lee Chung for Minari

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Ron Howard for Hillybilly Elegy

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch in Ironbark

Matt Damon in Stillwater

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman in The Father

Clare Dunne in Herself

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Angelina Jolie in Those Who Wish Me Dead

Best Supporting Actor

Bo Hopkins in Hillbilly Elegy

Merab Ninidze in Ironbark

Mark Rylance in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steven Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Abigail Breslin in Stillwater

Glenn Close in Hillybilly Elegy

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Mary Steenburgen in Happiest Season

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Lisa’s Way, Way, Way, Way, Way, Way, Way Too Early Oscar Predictions for January


It’s a new year and that means that it’s once again time for me to do something spectacularly stupid.

Below, you’ll find a list of Oscar predictions.  However, this is not a list of what I think will be nominated on January 13th.  No, instead, these are my predictions for the upcoming year.  This the first installment of my monthly predictions for which 2020 films will be nominated next year at this time.

Just in case it’s not already obvious how foolish this is, consider the following: Last year, at this time, no one had heard of Parasite.  Maybe a handful of people knew that Noah Baumbach’s next film was going to be called Marriage Story.  There were vague rumors about 1917 and there were still serious doubts as to whether Scorsese would ever finish putting together The Irishman.  In short, trying to predict the Oscars 12 months out is impossible.

Needless to say, I haven’t seen a single one of these films listed below so I can’t tell you one way or the other whether or not they’re going to set the world on fire.  Instead, what is listed below is a combination of random guesses and my own gut feelings.  You’ll notice that there are a lot of big names listed, Spielberg, Anthony Hopkins, Ron Howard, and Glenn Close.  Yes, all of them could very well be Oscar contenders.  At the same time, they’re all also a known quantity.  They’ve all got a good track record with the Academy and, as of right now, that’s all that I have to go on.

You may also notice that I’ve listed several films that will, in just a few weeks, be playing at the Sundance Film Festival.  Again, it’s not that I know anything about these films that the rest of the world doesn’t.  Instead, it’s simply a case of I looked at the list of Sundance films, I read the plots, and a few times I said, “That sounds like it could potentially be a contender.”  After all, it seems like at least one nominee comes out of Sundance every year.  Why shouldn’t it happen again?

My point is that you shouldn’t take these predictions too seriously.  Some of the films and performers below may be nominated.  Some definitely will not be.  But, next year, we will at least be able to look back at this list and have a laugh!

So, without further ado, here are my Oscar predictions for January!

Best Picture

Dune

Hillbilly Elegy

The Many Saints of Newark

Minari

News of the World

Respect

Tenet

The Personal History of David Copperfield

The Trial of the Chicago 7

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Christopher Nolan for Tenet

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper in Bernstein

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Lance Henriksen in Falling

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Michael Keaton in Worth

Best Actress

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Glenn Close in Four Good Days

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Elisabeth Moss in Shirley

Amy Ryan in Lost Girls

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in The Last Thing He Wanted

Richard E. Grant in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Mark Rylance in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Steven Yeun in Minari

Best Supporting Actress

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Tilda Swinton in The Personal Life of David Copperfield

Marisa Tomei in The King of Staten Island

Helena Zengel in News of the World

Belatedly, Here Are The Nominations of the North Texas Film Critics!


Two days ago, the North Texas Film Critics Association announced their nominations for the best of 2017!

On twitter, there’s been a lot of speculation as to why the NTFCA totally snubbed Call Me By Your Name in their nominations.  Hilariously, some people — all from out-of-state, of course — are assuming that the NTFCA must be made up of evangelical, right-wingers because it’s a Texas organization.  Seriously, those people have no idea how left-wing most members of the Texas media are.  Texas may be a Republican state but most of our native film critics are somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders.

Anyway, here are the nominees:

BEST PICTURE
“Baby Driver”
“The Big Sick”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“The Florida Project”
“Lady Bird”
“Logan”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ACTOR
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Stronger”
Tom Hanks, “The Post”
Hugh Jackman, “Logan”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
James McAvoy, “Split”
Kumail Nanijiani, “The Big Sick”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Robert Pattinson, “Good Time”
Jeremy Renner, “Wind River”
Andy Serkis, “War for the Planet of the Apes”

BEST ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”
Gal Gadot, “Wonder Woman”
Jennifer Lawrence, “mother!”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Brooklynn Prince, “The Florida Project”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Nicole Kidman, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Tatiana Maslany, “Stronger”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
Tilda Swinton, “Okja”
Kristin Scott Thomas, “Darkest Hour”
Bria Vinaite, “The Florida Project”
Allison Williams, “Get Out”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”
Daniel Craig, “Logan Lucky”
Bryan Cranston, “Last Flag Flying”
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Idris Elba, “Molly’s Game”
Will Poulter, “Detroit”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Ray Romano, “The Big Sick”
Mark Rylance, “Dunkirk”
Patrick Stewart, “Logan”

BEST DIRECTOR
Sean Baker, “The Florida Project”
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Patty Jenkins, “Wonder Woman”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Steven Spielberg, “The Post”
Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”
Denis Villeneuve, “Blade Runner 2049”
Joe Wright, “Darkest Hour”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Thimios Bakatakis, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”
Hoyte Van Hoytema, “Dunkirk”
Matthew Jensen, “Wonder Woman”
Dan Laustsen, “The Shape of Water”
Janusz Kaminski, “The Post”
Michael Seresin, “War for the Planet of the Apes”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“First They Killed My Father”
“In the Fade”
“Menashe”
“Raw”
“The Square”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“Chasing Coral”
“City of Ghosts”
“Cries from Syria”
“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”
“Jane”
“Step”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“The Breadwinner”
“Cars 3”
“Coco”
“Despicable Me 3:
“The LEGO Batman Movie”
“Loving Vincent”

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions For November


Well, it’s that time again!  It’s time for me to update my predictions for what will be Oscar-nominated in January.

This is also the point of the year when, for better or worse, the Oscar race starts to get a bit clearer.  I guess it’s time for me to stop pretending that either It or Wonder Woman is going to be nominated for best picture.  *Sigh*  That said, there still might be a few surprises.

(At least, I hope there will be…)

Be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and October!

Best Picture

Call Me By Your Name

The Disaster Artist

Dunkirk

The Florida Project

Get Out

Lady Bird

Logan

Phantom Thread

The Post

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Director

Sean Baker for The Florida Project

Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

Jordan Peele for Get Out

Steven Spielberg for The Post

Best Actor

Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread

James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Tom Hanks in The Post

Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour

Best Actress

Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie in I, Tonya

Saorise Ronan in Lady Bird

Meryl Streep in The Post

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in The Florida Project

Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name

Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Mark Rylance in Dunkirk

Best Supporting Actress

Tiffany Hadish in Girl Trip

Holly Hunter in The Big Sick

Allison Janney in I, Tonya

Melissa Leo in Novitiate

Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird