From 2013, an enigmatic opening for an enigmatic film:
From 2013, an enigmatic opening for an enigmatic film:
We talk a lot about which performers and directors have been snubbed at Oscar time.
For movie lovers, that’s an important subject. We all know that great actors like Peter O’Toole, Cary Grant, Albert Finney, and far too many others all went to their grave with several nominations but not a single competitive Oscar to their name. Just two years ago, Kirk Douglas died at the age of 103 without having ever won a competitive Oscar. And certainly, over the past two years, we have been made far more aware of the fact that everyone is going to die someday. We always talk about how certain actors are overdue for their first Oscar but sometimes we forget that being overdue doesn’t always translate into an eventual win. Sometimes, it translates into people watching a movie on TCM and saying, “How did that person never win an Oscar?”
With that in mind, here are 6 performers who I sincerely hope will have won their first Oscar by the time that 2032 rolls around:
Seriously, if you look up overdue in the dictionary, there’s a chance that Bradley Cooper would be used as the example. He’s been nominated so many times and he has yet to win, though I do get the feeling that he may have come close a few times. He deserved a nomination this year for Nightmare Alley and, if his role had been bigger, you could probably argue that he deserved one for Licorice Pizza as well. One gets the feeling that Cooper is taken for granted, in the way that many effortlessly good performers are. Maybe his upcoming biopic of Leonard Bernstein will finally do the trick.
2. Rachel Sennott
Rachel Sennott’s performance in Shiva Baby was one of the best of 2021 and it’s one for which she deserved to be nominated. It’s impossible to imagine that film working without her performance. Hopefully, it’ll lead to more worthy roles for her.
3. Chaske Spencer
Chaske Spenser gave one of the best performances of 2021 in Wild Indian. Though the film may not have been widely seen, Spenser’s performance was powerful and unforgettable and, much as in the case of Sennott, I hope it leads to more worthy roles for him.
4. Ann Dowd
It’s hard to believe that Ann Dowd hasn’t even received an Oscar nomination yet. Her performance in Mass was one of the best of 2021. In a role that others probably would have used as an excuse to overact and show-off, Dowd gave a quietly devastating and emotionally honest performance. Perhaps because Dowd disappears so effortlessly into her role, the Academy took her work for granted. Perhaps the film’s subject matter was simply too grim for the voters. Regardless of why the Academy didn’t respond to Mass, Dowd deserves an Oscar.
5. Adam Driver
It’ll happen soon. And I bet this former Marine will give the best acceptance speech of the night.
6. Scarlett Johansson
Much as with Driver, it’ll happen soon. Picking up both a lead and supporting nomination in 2020 was definitely a good start.
I can’t wait to see all six of these performers win their first Oscar! Don’t disappoint me, Academy!
It’s a new month and that means that it’s time for a new Black Widow trailer. How long have we been waiting for this film now? Where that old lady from Titanic? Has it really been over 80 years? I think that’s an exaggeration but we have been waiting for quite a while now.
Personally, I just hope this movie provides some sort of justice for the character. I’m still massively annoyed with how Natasha was treated in Avengers: Endgame and hearing that Black Widow 1) takes place before Endgame and 2) features Florence Pugh as the character who took Natasha’s place in the comic books does not particularly make me happy. At this point, though, I’ve been waiting so long to see the film that I’m just hoping Scarlett at least gets to beat a few people up with style.
Here’s the latest trailer. Black Widow will finally be released on July 9th!
Continuing the theme from my previous post, here are 6 actresses who I sincerely hope will have won their first Oscar by the time that the 2031 ceremony rolls around.
Admittedly, Saoirse Ronan is an obvious pick. She’s only 27 years old and she’s already been nominated for four Academy Awards and five BAFTAs and she’s got the type of filmography that most performers can only dream of. For a while there, it looked like she was running the risk of being typecast as everyone’s demure girlfriend but, ever since she starred in Brooklyn, she’s proven that she’s capable of playing a lot more and she’s established herself as one of the best and most consistently interesting actresses around.
Personally, I would have given her the Oscar for Brooklyn. I also would have given her an Oscar for Lady Bird. This upcoming year, she’s going to appear in Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and in an as-of-yet untitled murder mystery, in which she’ll co-star with Sam Rockwell. It’s really not a question of whether Saoirse Ronan will win an Oscar. It’s a question of when. She’s already overdue.
Much like Saoirse Ronan, Scarlett Johansson feels a bit inevitable. She’s both a star and an artist and she’s shown good instincts when it comes to picking both commercial and challenging material. She can be just as credible in an MCU film as she is in films like Lost in Translation, Marriage Story, JoJo Rabbit, and Under the Skin. Admittedly, Black Widow doesn’t seem like an Oscar film but still, it seems like only a matter of time until she gets the right role.
Buckley deserved to win an Oscar last year for her performance in Wild Rose. This year, she deserved a nomination for her performance in i’m thinking of ending things. She’s got the Maggie Gyllenhaal-directed The Lost Daughter coming up this year, in which she’ll be playing a younger version of a character played by Olivia Colman. Buckley seems to be destined to get her first nomination sometime soon.
I was a bit surprised that Thomasin McKenzie wasn’t nominated for either Leave No Trace or JoJo Rabbit. Seriously, her performance in JoJo Rabbit held the entire film together and prevented it from just becoming another awkward comedy about Hitler. This year, McKenzie will be appearing in Edgar Wright’s Last Night In Soho, opposite Anya Taylor-Joy. Last Night in Soho has been described as being a “psychological horror film.” Horror is a genre that, the recent success of Get Out aside, traditionally struggles with getting Academy recognition but, still, anything is possible and McKenzie has proven herself to be one of the most talented actresses out there.
Zoe Kanzan may not be as well-known as some of the actresses on this list but she’s given two of the best performances of the last ten years, in 2012’s Ruby Sparks and 2018’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. She may not appear in a lot of movies but the ones that she does appear in are always better due to her presence. If that’s not awards-worthy, then what is?
If this seems like a strange pick to you, you obviously haven’t seen Ingrid Goes West.
Agree? Disagree? Do you have a pick of your own you’d like to mention? Let us know in the comments!
As I’ve said before, both on this site and on twitter, I have mixed feeling about the upcoming Black Widow film. On the one hand, Natasha was my favorite member of the Avengers and I’m glad that she’s finally getting a solo film. On the other hand, it annoys me that she’s only getting a solo film after being killed off in Avengers: Endgame. Don’t even get me started on the screwed-up logic of her sacrificing her life when Clint was the one who had basically spent 5 years killing everyone that he met. Natasha may have made mistakes when she was a spy but at least she was never a serial killer!
Apparently, the Black Widow solo film takes place in between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War and it seems very likely that it’s also going to serve as an origin story for a character played by Florence Pugh, who may end up becoming the new Black Widow. I hope that’s not true but, from what I’ve heard, it seems probable. I’m not particularly excited about the prospect of that happening. I don’t want a replacement Black Widow. I want the original to come back to life and I want Clint to do the right thing.
To be honest, though, I’m now at a point where I just want to see the damn movie. That release date has been moved around so much that I no longer care whether or not the film’s any good or not. I don’t care whether or not they’re going to do the right thing and resurrect Natasha from the dead. I JUST WANT TO SEE THE DAMN MOVIE! Hell, I’ll even spend the extra 30 to see it in Disney Plus, I don’t care. I JUST WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE!
Anyway, with all that in mind, Black Widow is going to be released on July 9th and it’s about time! Here’s the latest trailer:
Lucy (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Joe (Eric Schaeffer) are two platonic best friends and roommates. They have a pact. If they don’t find true love by the time Lucy turns 30, they’ll hold hands while jumping off of the Brooklyn Bridge. Now, Lucy’s 30th birthday is rapidly approaching and Lucy still hasn’t found the right man! Meanwhile, Joe is obsessed with Jane (Elle MacPherson) but he hasn’t had sex in five years! It looks like Lucy and Joe are going to have to commit suicide. They made a pact, after all and single New Yorkers don’t break pacts. Fortunately, things start to look up when Joe finally talks to Jane and Lucy meets a weirdo artist named Bwick (Ben Stiller). Or could Lucy and Joe are actually meant to be together?
If Lucy Fell was briefly a big deal in 1996 because it featured both supermodel Elle MacPherson and Ben Stiller. (It’s easy to forget how popular Ben Stiller was in the mid-90s.) Once the film came out, people discovered that it was actually about the bland characters played by Sarah Jessica Parker and Eric Schaeffer and the film bombed at the box office. Though it may be forgotten today, If Lucy Fell is still the epitome of the type of independent romantic comedy that a lot of directors made in the 90s. Take a plot line that probably wouldn’t have made it beyond the table read if it was an episode of Friends (it’s interesting to note that both MacPherson and Stiller later made guest appearances on that sitcom), toss in some “alternative” music, and beg someone with a well-known name to take a supporting role. The film is also interesting as an example of how a generally unappealing actor can play the lead in a romantic comedy and get to make out with both Elle MacPherson and Sarah Jessica Parker. Just write and direct the film and then cast yourself in the lead role. Congratulations to Eric Schaeffer for figuring it all out.
I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the 90s. I guess everyone eventually feels nostalgic for the decade in which they grew up. But nostalgia can be a harsh taskmaster and it’s important to remember that not all 90s independent films were Pulp Fiction and Fargo. Quite a few of them were If Lucy Fell. Ben Stiller has some funny moments, though they’re so cartoonish that they seem like they belong in a different film. Elle MacPherson is beautiful, even if her character never makes sense. Sarah Jessica Parker seems like she deserves better than everything the film offered to her. Eric Schaeffer is dull but at least he got along with the director. 12 year-old Scarlett Johansson has a small role. If Lucy Fell was a film that could only have been made in 1996 and it was forgotten by 1997.
Yesterday, I posted my list of the film and performers that I believe will win Oscars tonight.
Below is a different list. This is what I wish would win tonight. These are the nominees that I would vote for if I was a member of the Academy. Now, to be honest, there were a lot of films and performances that I liked that were not nominated. My favorite film of 2019 was The Souvenir. It received zero Oscar nominations. But, for the purposes of this list, I’ve limited my choice to the actual nominees.
So, here we go:
Best Picture — 1) Once Upon A Time In Hollywood 2) The Irishman 3) Parasite 4) 1917 5) Joker 6) JoJo Rabbit 7) Little Women 8) Ford v Ferrari 9) Marriage Story
Best Director — Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Best Actor — Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Best Actress — Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Best Supporting Actor — Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Best Supporting Actress — Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Best Original Screenplay — Parasite
Best Adapted Screenplay — The Irishman
Best Animated Feature Film — I Lost My Body
Best International Feature Film — Parasite
Best Documentary Feature Film — The Edge of Democracy (which I didn’t even really like, it’s just the only nominee that I’ve seen)
Best Documentary Short Subject — Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If you’re a girl)
Best Live Action Short Subject — Nefta Football Club (that’s for you, Jason)
Best Animated Short Film — Sister
Best Original Score — 1917
Best Original Song — I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away from Toy Story 4
Best Sound Editing — 1917
Best Sound Mixing — 1917
Best Production Design — Parasite
Best Cinematography — The Lighthouse
Best Makeup and Hairstyling — Judy
Best Costume Design — Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Best Editing — The Irishman
Best Visual Effects — Avengers: Endgame
The Oscar nominations were announced earlier today and, as happens every year, some of the nominations were met with acclaim while others left observers scratching their heads. Right now, on twitter, there’s a fierce debate going on between those who think Joker deserved all of its nominations and those who believe that the Academy has once again deliberately snubbed women and people of color.
As for me, I’m just shaking my head at all the nominations for Marriage Story. I get the feeling that, out of all of the recently unveiled best picture nominees, Marriage Story is the one that we will have forgotten about within the next year. It’s an acclaimed film and I’m happy that Scarlett Johansson finally got a nominations (two nominations, as a matter of fact, as she was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Jojo Rabbit) but, in the end, Marriage Story feels rather hollow.
Marriage Story is about the end of a marriage. Charlie Barber (Adam Driver) is a New York-based theatrical director. Nicole Barber (Scarlett Johansson) is his wife. Nicole is an actress who, before she married Charlie, was best known for appearing topless in a teen comedy. Charlie is often credited with having resurrected her career. On the surface, they’re the perfect New York couple. However, when we first meet them, their marriage is coming to an end. Charlie, we learn, cheated on Nicole with a production assistant. Nicole wants to go to Los Angeles so that she can star in a television series and have a career that’s not dependent upon her husband. Caught in the middle of all this is their son, Henry (Azhy Robertson).
At first, Charlie and Nicole agree to an amicable split, one with no lawyers and no accusations. That doesn’t last. Nicole hires the cheerfully ruthless Nora Fanshaw (Laura Dern). Charlie, after moving out to Los Angeles, finds himself torn between hiring either the the kindly (but ineffectual) Bert Spitz (Alan Alda, in a role he was born to play) or the somewhat sinister (but definitely effective) Jay Marotta (Ray Liotta, also in a role that he was born to play). While both Charlie and Nicole try (and often) fail to maintain a civil relationship for Henry’s sake, their attorneys go to war.
There’s a lot of good things to be said about Marriage Story. Though I think that his truly award-worthy work for 2019 was not in this film but instead in The Report, Adam Driver does a good job with role of Charlie. Scarlett Johansson, who has so often been unfairly overlooked at awards time, again proves herself to be one of the best actresses around. Dern, Alda, and Liotta are well-cast as three very different (but very recognizable) attorneys. Noah Baumbach’s script has several good lines. The scene where Nicole’s sister is awkwardly recruited to serve Charlie with the divorce papers is both funny and cringey. The much-acclaimed scene where Charlie and Nicole go from having a polite (if awkward) conversation to yelling at each other is definitely effective even if it’s power has been diluted by it’s subsequent reinvention as a twitter meme.
That said, Marriage Story ultimately left me feeling dissatisfied. It’s pretty much an open secret that the film is based on Noah Baumbach’s divorce from Jennifer Jason Leigh and, watching the film, you can’t help but feel that you’re only getting one side of a very complex story. My first warning sign came when Nicole left for Los Angeles and the film cut to her on the set for her new television series. Marriage Story goes so overboard in portraying Nicole’s show as being vapid and silly that you can’t help but feel that we’re meant to look down on Nicole for abandoning Charlie’s avant-garde theater productions to star in it. We’re meant to say, “She gave up Broadway so she could star in some second-rate Marvel show!?” From the claim that no one took Nicole seriously until Charlie married her to it’s portrayal of her being easily manipulated by her attorney, there’s a pettiness to the film’s portrayal of Nicole.
As for Charlie, he’s presented as being flawed but, as the film progresses, it’s hard not to notice that almost all of his flaws can also serve as a humble brag. He’s a little dorky, He’s too intense. He works too hard. Sometimes, he has a hard time not being the director. Almost all of Charlie’s flaws are the type of stuff that people mention in job interviews whenever they’re asked to name their biggest weakness. “Well, I guess I am a bit of a perfectionist, sometimes….” It’s hard not to feel that, despite a few scenes where Nicole gets to open up, the film is really only interested in Charlie’s perspective. By the end of the film, Marriage Story reduces Nicole to merely being an obstacle standing in the way of Charlie and his son and it’s hard not to feel that both the character and the actress who plays her deserves better than that. The film goes from being Marriage Story to simply being Charlie’s Story.
While you’re watching the film, it’s easy to get swept up in Driver and Johansson’s performances. It’s only afterwards, when you really think about it, that you come to realize that Marriage Story doesn’t really add up to much. It’s a good acting exercise and I’m sure that it will be popular among community theater actors who have been asked to prepare a monologue for their next audition. But the whole is ultimately far less than the sum of its parts.
Well, here we go!
This is my last set of Oscar predictions for the year. With the critics groups and some of the guilds having now announced their picks for the best of 2019, the Oscar picture is now a lot more clear. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Parasite, The Irishman, 1917, and Marriage Story all seem to be guaranteed to pick up a nomination.
I am going to go out on a limb and predict that, despite being ignored at SAG and by the Golden Globes, Uncut Gems will get some nominations as well. Right now, the film just seems to have momentum on its side. Realistically, I’m not a 100% convinced that it’ll be nominated, not the way I am with some other films. It’s divisive film and I’m sure that some people think that rewarding Adam Sandler will just lead to him using his newfound respect to get a theatrical release for the next Grown Ups sequel. But I’m going to take a chance and go with it.
(Of course, Nightcrawler and Jake Gyllenhaal also had a lot of momentum a few years ago and ended up getting totally shut out of the Oscars.)
Below are my predictions for December. If you want to see how my thinking has evolved, be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November!
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Bong Joon-ho for Parasite
Sam Mendes for 1917
The Safdie Brothers for Uncut Gems
Martin Scorsese for The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Adam Driver for Marriage Story
Taron Egerton for Rocketman
Joaquin Phoenix for Joker
Adam Sandler for Uncut Gems
Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story
Luptia Nyong’o for Us
Saoirse Ronan for Little Women
Charlize Theron for Bombshell
Renee Zellweger for Judy
Best Supporting Actor
Willem DaFoe in The Lighthouse
Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood
Al Pacino for The Irishman
Joe Pesci for The Irishman
Brad Pitt for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Best Supporting Actress
Laura Dern in Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson in JoJo Rabbit
Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers
Florence Pugh in Little Women
Margot Robbie in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 13th!
Happy New Year, everyone!
Here’s a full list of the winners in Nevada:
Best Film: Marriage Story
Best Director: Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story
Best Actor: Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Best Actress (tie): Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story & Charlize Theron – Bombshell
Best Supporting Actor: Joe Pesci – The Irishman
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers
Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Best Adapted Screenplay: Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit
Best Animated Movie: Toy Story 4
Best Documentary: Apollo 11
Best Production Design: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Best Cinematography: 1917
Best Visual Effects: Avengers: Endgame