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


Da 5 Bloods

The Father

Hillbilly Elegy

News of the World


On The Rocks



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

One Man And His Shoes (2020, directed by Yemi Bamiro)

I have never been a shoe person.

As long as they fit, they’re comfortable, and they get me where I’m going, I’ve never cared who made my shoes or what they represented.  That set me apart from most of the people who I grew up with.  They were not only very much concerned with wearing the right shoes but they also judged anyone who was perceived as wearing the wrong shoes.  They all wanted the Air Jordans, even though I can’t think of a single person I knew who was ever able to get a pair.  Everyone knew that the Air Jordans were expensive and that they sold out quickly.  They also knew that owning a pair of Air Jordans could be dangerous.  People got killed for their shoes.  A friend of mine came close to getting a pair but his mother refused to give him the money after she read a news story about someone on the Block getting shot because he wouldn’t hand over his shoes.  That always seemed strange to me.  Why shoot someone over their shoes?  Of course, I was not a shoe person.

The new documentary, One Man and His Shoes, is all about shoes and shoe culture.  Beginning in the 80s, when Michael Jordan was just a promising basketball player in North Carolina and Nike was considered to be an also-ran in the shoe business, the documentary shows how Michael Jordan and the shoes named after him revolutionized American culture.  At a time when shoe companies like Converse were making cringe-worthy commercials that featured Larry Bird and several other players rapping about their shoes, Nike reinvented the game by teaming up with Michael Jordan and bringing in Spike Lee to film their commercials.

If the first half of the documentary celebrates the success of Jordan and Nike, the second half takes a critical look at the violence that has sprung up over the shoes.  Nike is faulted for aggressively advertising the shoes and then only released a limited amount of them at a time.  As a result, the shoes become a status symbol that are difficult to get and which some people are willing to kill to possess.  The documentary goes from celebrating Jordan and Nike to condemning them for refusing to speak out about the violence surrounding their product.  As one interviewee puts it, Jordan telling people to “knock it off” wouldn’t end all of the violence but it wouldn’t hurt.

The documentary ends with the wrenching tale of a man in Houston who was killed for his shoes.  When the murder became national news, Jordan personally sent the grieving family a pair of the new Air Jordans.  The dead man’s sister explains that she didn’t feel safe wearing them in public because, if anyone saw them in her possession, they might kill her as well.

One Man and His Shoes is a sobering documentary.  If you just watched The Last Dance, you owe it to yourself to also watch One Man and His Shoes.

4 Shots From 4 Spike Lee Films: Summer of Sam, 25th Hour, Oldboy, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today is Spike Lee’s 63rd birthday and you know what the means.  It’s time that we honor one of American cinema’s greatest provocateurs with….

4 Shots From 4 Films

Summer of Sam (1999, dir by Spike Lee)

25th Hour (2002, dir by Spike Lee)

Oldboy (2013, dir by Spike Lee)

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014, dir by Spike Lee)

Music Video Of The Day: White Lines by Melle Mel (1983, directed by Spike Lee)

This song, one of the first hit rap songs about drugs, is often mistakenly described as being a collaboration between Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel.  Grandmaster Flash actually had nothing to do with the song.  He had already left Sugar Hill Records before the song was even recorded.  When the single was first released, it was credited to “Grandmaster and Melle Mel,” in order to create the impression that Flash was involved.  In his autobiography, Flash wrote that he once heard the song was while he was on the way to buy crack and, at that moment, he felt that Melle Mel was specifically speaking to him.

This song was recorded at a time when much of America — specifically, white America — was either unaware of or unconcerned with the drug epidemic that was ravaging America’s poorest neighborhoods.  White Lines attacks both cocaine and a legal system that punishes poor black kids more harshly than rich, white businessmen.  “The businessman who is caught with 24 kilos” is a reference to car manufacturer John DeLorean, who was arrested after trying to buy 24 kilos from an undercover FBI agent.  DeLorean was later acquitted after he made the case that the FBI agent had entrapped him.

(DeLorean today is best remembered for designing the car made famous by Back to the Future.  Between 1981 and 1983, 9,000 Deloreans were manufactured and 6,500 of them are reported to still be in working condition.  I once came across a classified ad from someone who was looking to sell his DeLorean.  I called and offered him a thousand dollars.  He laughed and hung up.)

This video was shot by Spike Lee, who was a film student at NYU at the time and yes, that is Laurence Fishburne.  Fishburne appeared in this video shortly after playing Cutter in Death Wish II and he has the same look in the video as he did in the movie.




Here’s The Trailer For See You Yesterday!

The trailer for See You Yesterday dropped earlier on Monday.  Originally, there was some confusion on twitter because someone said that this was Spike Lee’s newest movie, which led to others assuming that Lee had directed the film.  Actually, Lee served as the film’s producer while Stefon Bristol is making his feature directing debut.  (According to the imdb, Bristol previously directed a handful of short films.  In fact, See You Yesterday appears to be an expansion on a short film that Bristol wrote and directed in 2017.)

Judging from the trailer, See You Yesterday appears to combine science fiction with social commentary.  Two African-American teens discover the secret of time travel and attempt to save the life of their brother, who was previously gunned down by a member of the NYPD.  However, it appears that changing the past is just as difficult as changing the present.  It also appears that there’s only a limited number of times that they can travel through time.  I’m intrigued by the concept.  If Bristol manages to strike the right balance between entertainment and commentary, this has the potential to be a powerful film.

See You Yesterday will be released on May 17th.  Here’s the trailer:

Here are the DGA Nominations!

The Director’s Guild announced their nominations for 2018 earlier today.

Typically, getting a DGA nomination tends to translate into a film also getting a Best Picture nomination from the Academy.  There’s been some exceptions, of course.  David Fincher somehow received a DGA nom for his work on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but the Academy was not quite as enamored.  Personally, I’m hoping that, this year, Adam McKay will get the David Fincher treatment.  McKay may have picked up a DGA nom for Vice but that doesn’t mean that the film’s actually any good.  In fact, I’d say that Vice is one of smuggest, most self-congratulatory films that I’ve ever seen but I’ll save all that for my review.

Anyway, here are the DGA nominations!  For Best Director of a Feature Film:

Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Spike Lee, BlackKklansman

Adam McKay, Vice

Can you believe that, until today, Spike Lee has never received a nomination for the DGA?  Interestingly, BlackKklansman is one of his weaker films but it’s also definitely more of a mainstream crowd pleaser than some of his previous work, which I imagine is why he received a nomination for it and not Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.

This is also the first nomination for both Cooper and Peter Farrelly.  With Cooper, that makes sense because this is the first film that he’s ever directed.  But how did the Guild fail to nominate Peter Farrelly for that movie where Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear are conjoined twins?

This was Cuaron’s second nomination.  It was also McKay’s second nomination, despite the fact Adam McKay hasn’t made a good film since The Other Guys.

Here are the nominations for Best First Time Director:

Bo Burhnam, Eighth Grade

Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born

Carlos Lopez Estrada, Blindspotting

Matthew Heineman, A Private War

Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You

For everyone who is hoping to see Black Panther become the first comic book movie to receive a best picture nomination, it’s hard not to be disappointed by the snubbing of Ryan Coogler.  A DGA nomination would have really Black Panther with the members of the Academy who might still be hesitant about the idea of honoring a Marvel film.

Personally, I would have replaced Adam McKay with Ryan Coogler.  For that matter, I would have replaced Adam McKay with just about anyone else who had a film released last year.  Lynne Ramsay.  Debra Granik.  Yorgos Lanthimos.  The Russo Brothers.  Peyton Reed.  Who directed The Equalizer 2?  I’m not sure but I’d nominate him before I nominated Adam McKay.  Hell, I’d even build a time machine and bring Ed Wood and Phil Tucker into the present and have them collaborate on a movie about a haunted laundromat before I gave that fifth slot to Adam McKay.

Anyway, should I try to make a prediction?  Okay: Alfonso Cuaron wins Best Director for Roma while Bradley Cooper is named Best First-Time Director for A Star is Born.

The St. Louis Film Critics Association Names A Star Is Born The Best Of 2018

On Sunday, the St. Louis Film Critics Association announced their picks for the best of 2018!  While A Star is Born hasn’t quite dominated the precursor season in the way that many expected that it would, it still managed to win over St. Louis.

For a full list of nominees, click here.  And check out the winners below:

A Star Is Born
Runner-up: BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
Runner-up: Alfonso Cuarón – Roma

Ethan Hawke – First Reformed
Runner-up: Christian Bale – Vice

Toni Collette – Hereditary
Runner-up: Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born

Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Runner-up: Mahershala Ali – Green Book

Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
Runner-up: Emma Stone – The Favourite

Vice – Adam McKay
Runner-up: The Favourite – Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara

BlacKkKlansman – Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee (Screenplay); Ron Stallworth (Book)
Runner-up: Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty (Screenplay); Lee Israel (Book)

Vice – Hank Corwin
Runner-up: First Man – Tom Cross

Roma – Alfonso Cuarón
Runner-up: If Beale Street Could Talk – James Laxton

Black Panther – Hannah Beachler
Runner-up: The Favourite – Fiona Crombie

The Avengers: Infinity War
Runner-up: Black Panther

BlacKkKlansman – Terence Blanchard
Runner-up: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Carter Burwell

Bohemian Rhapsody
Runner-up: BlacKkKlansman

Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Runner-up: Avengers: Infinity War

The Favourite
Runner-up: Paddington 2

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse
Runner-up: Isle of Dogs

Won’t You Be Me Neighbor?
Runner-up: Three Identical Strangers

Runner-up (tie): Capernaum, The Captain, The Guilty

Roma – Beach rescue
Runner-up: Bohemian Rhapsody – Live Aid


The Phoenix Critics Circles Rises From The Ashes To Announce Their Nominations For The Best of 2018

Earlier today, the Phoenix Critics Circle rose from the ashes of this year and announced their nominations for the best of 2018.  They really liked The Favourite.  They also liked First Reformed and Eighth Grade, both of which could use the help after being snubbed by those SAG bastards yesterday.

The Favourite
First Reformed
A Star is Born

Eighth Grade
The Favourite
Game Night
Sorry to Bother You

A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
Sorry to Bother You

Quiet Place
Suspiria (oh, fuck you, Phoenix)

The Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

Cold War

Free Solo
Minding the Gap
Three Identical Strangers
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther
Deadpool 2
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Toni Collette, Hereditary
Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Richard E Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Michael B Jordan, Black Panther
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Amy Adams, Vice
Claire Foy, First Man
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Adam McKay, Vice
Paul Schrader, First Reformed

Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade
Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara, The Favourite
Spike Lee, David Robinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott, BlacKkKlansman
Adam McKay, Vice
Paul Schrader, First Reformed

Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk
Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs
Ludwig Goransson, Black Panther
Justin Hurwitz, First Man
Thom Yorke, Suspiria

Black Panther Dominates The Black Reel Nominations

The Black Reel Nominations were announced today, with Black Panther picking up a record 17 nominations!  Coming in second was If Beale Street Could Talk, which received 14 nominations while Spike Lee’s BlackKklansman received 11 nominations.

Here’s a full list of the nominees:

Outstanding Motion Picture
Black Panther
Green Book
If Beale Street Could Talk

Outstanding Actor
Chadwick Boseman | Black Panther
Stephan James | If Beale Street Could Talk
Michael B. Jordan | Creed II
LaKeith Stanfield | ​Sorry to Bother You
John David Washington | BlacKkKlansman

Outstanding Actress
Viola Davis | Widows
Regina Hall | Support the Girls
Kiki Layne | If Beale Street Could Talk
Zoe Renee | Jinn
Amandla Stenberg | ​The Hate U Give

Outstanding Director
Ryan Coogler | Black Panther
Barry Jenkins | If Beale Street Could Talk
Spike Lee | BlacKkKlansman
Steve McQueen | Widows
Boots Riley | ​Sorry to Bother You

Outstanding Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali | Green Book
Brian Tyree Henry | If Beale Street Could Talk
Russell Hornsby | The Hate U Give
Michael B. Jordan | Black Panther
Daniel Kaluuya | Widows

Outstanding Supporting Actress
Danai Gurira | Black Panther
Regina King | If Beale Street Could Talk
Simone Missick | Jinn
Lupita Nyong’o | Black Panther
Letitia Wright | Black Panther

Outstanding Screenplay
Black Panther
If Beale Street Could Talk
​Sorry to Bother You

Outstanding Ensemble
Black Panther
If Beale Street Could Talk
​Sorry to Bother You

Outstanding Documentary
Amazing Grace
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Minding the Gap

Outstanding Foreign Language/ World Cinema Motion Picture
Green Days by the River (Trinidad & Tobago)
Lionheart (Nigeria)
Rafiki (Kenya)
Vaya (South Africa)
Where Hands Touch (UK)

Outstanding Voice Performance
Mahershala Ali | Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Taraji P. Henson | Ralph Breaks the Internet
Brian Tyree Henry | Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Samuel L. Jackson | Incredibles 2
Shamiek Moore | Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Outstanding Score
Black Panther
Creed II
The Hate U Give
If Beale Street Could Talk

Outstanding Original Song
“All the Stars” (Black Panther) | Kendrick Lamar & SZA
“I’ll Fight” (RBG) | Jennifer Hudson
“Love Lies” (Love, Simon) | Khalid & Normani
“Pray For Me” (Black Panther) | The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar
“We Won’t Move” (The Hate U Give) | Arlissa

Outstanding Independent Feature
A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.
Monsters and Men
Roxanne Roxanne

Outstanding Independent Documentary
Basquiat: Rage to Riches
Lorainne Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/ Feeling
Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

Outstanding Short
Funk Force | Desmond Levi Jackson
Hair Wolf | Mariama Diallo
Jump | Kofi Siriboe, director
The Tale of Four | Gabourey Sidibe, director
WTFIMH: What the F*ck Is Mental Health | Kofi Siriboe, director

Outstanding Emerging Director
Idris Elba | Yardie
Reinald Marcus Green | Monsters and Men
Rashida Jones | Quincy
Nijla Mu’min | Jinn
Boots Riley | ​Sorry to Bother You

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Male
Daveed Diggs | Blindspotting
Winston Duke | Black Panther
Donald Glover | Solo: A Star Wars Story
Brian Tyree Henry | If Beale Street Could Talk
John David Washington | BlacKkKlansman

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female
Cynthia Erivo | Bad Times at the El Royale
Laura Harrier | BlacKkKlansman
Kiki Layne | If Beale Street Could Talk
Zoe Renee | Jinn
Letitia Wright | Black Panther

Outstanding First Screenplay
Monsters and Men
Roxanne Roxanne
Sorry to Bother You

Outstanding Cinematography
Black Panther
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Wrinkle In Time

Outstanding Costume Design
Black Panther
If Beale Street Could Talk
Sorry to Bother You
A Wrinkle In Time

Outstanding Production Design
Black Panther
Green Book
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Wrinkle In Time

The African-American Film Critics Association Names Black Panther The Best of 2018!

On Tuesday, the African-American Film Critics Association announced their picks for the best of 2018!

Best Film: Black Panther
Best Director: Ryan Coogler – Black Panther
Best Screenplay: Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
Best Actor: John David Washington – BlacKkKlansman
Best Actress: Regina Hall – Support the Girls
Best Supporting Actor: Russell Hornsby – The Hate U Give
Best Supporting Actress: Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Breakout Performance: Amandla Stenberg – The Hate U Give
Best Animated Film: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Best Independent Film: If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Foreign Film: Roma
Best Documentary: Quincy
Best Song: “All The Stars” – Black Panther
Best New Media: Red Table Talk
Best TV Drama: Queen Sugar
Best TV Comedy: Insecure