Here Are The Oscar Nominations!


Oscar1

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning and, judging from the overdramatic reactions on twitter, some people are apparently taking all of this way too seriously.  Listen, I wish The LEGO Movie had been nominated.  I wish Jake Gyllenhaal had been nominated.  I haven’t seen Selma yet but it does seem strange that it was only nominated for one other Oscar.  And, for that matter, how did Foxcatcher get nominated for director, screenplay, actor, and supporting actor without getting a nomination for best picture.

And yes, I do wish that more women had been nominated but, then again, I also wish that more women were being given the opportunity to write and direct films.  If the Oscars are male-dominated, that’s because so is the industry.

AND WHERE’S GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY!?

AND WHAT ABOUT JODOROWSKY’S DUNE!?

*ahem*

But, honestly, I think people are overestimating the importance of the Oscars.  Great films will survive, regardless of awards won and lost.  Believe me, there were a lot of nominations that I did not agree with but I’m not going to have a Sasha Stone-style freak out over it because, ultimately, the Oscars are what they are and if you think they’re anything more than an event, you really need to calm down and get some perspective.

I’m just happy that it was a good morning for Texas filmmaking.  Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson were both nominated for best director.  Boyhood, a Texas film if there ever was on, is the front runner for best picture.  Texas actor Ethan Hawke was nominated for best supporting actor.  Bradley Cooper may not be a Texan but he played one and, judging from the trailer and commercials for American Sniper, he actually got the accent right.

So, I’m happy!

(And, by the way, let’s give this talk about how Laura Dern stole Jessica Chastain’s nomination a rest.  If anything, Meryl Streep stole Chastain’s spot.)

Here are the nominees!

BEST PICTURE
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

BEST DIRECTOR
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

BEST ACTOR
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

BEST ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Laura Dern, “Wild”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Foxcatcher”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Nightcrawler”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“American Sniper”
“The Imitation Game”
“Inherent Vice”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Whiplash”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Ida”
“Mr. Turner”
“Unbroken”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Inherent Vice”
“Into the Woods”
“Maleficent”
“Mr. Turner”

BEST EDITING
“American Sniper”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Whiplash”

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
“Foxcatcher”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“Into the Woods”
“Mr. Turner”

BEST SCORE
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“Mr. Turner”
“The Theory of Everything”

BEST SONG
“Everything Is Awesome from “The Lego Movie”
“Glory” from “Selma”
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
“I’m Not Going to Miss You” from “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”

BEST SOUND EDITING
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“Interstellar”
“Unbroken”

BEST SOUND MIXING
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”
“Interstellar”
“Unbroken”
“Whiplash”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“Interstellar”
“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Big Hero 6”
“The Boxtrolls”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“Song of the Sea”
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Citizenfour”
“Finding Vivian Maier”
“Last Days in Vietnam”
“The Salt of the Earth”
“Virunga”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Ida”
“Leviathan”
“Tangerines”
“Timbuktu”
“Wild Tales”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
“The Bigger Picture”
“The Dam Keeper”
“Feast”
“Me and My Moulton”
“A Single Life”

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”
“Joanna”
“Our Curse”
“The Reaper”
“White Earth”

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
“Aya”
“Boogaloo and Graham”
“Butter Lamp”
“Parvaneh”
“The Phone Call”

Here They Are! Lisa’s Final 2014 Oscar Predictions!


Hey!  It's the picture from Boyhood that we've used a few dozen times over the past two months!

Hey! It’s that picture from Boyhood that we’ve used a few dozen times since November!

Well, it’s been a long and tortured road since I first started this monthly series of Oscar predictions way back in March.  Some contenders have faded.  Some have come out of nowhere.  And some — like Boyhood and J.K. Simmons in Whiplash — have remained consistently strong for the entire year.

Here are my final 2014 Oscar predictions.  The actual Oscar predictions will be announced on Thursday.

(You can check out my predictions of March, April, May, June, July, AugustOctober, November, and December by clicking on the links in this sentence!)

Best Picture

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Nightcrawler

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper in American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

(Where’s David Oyelowo?  Originally, I did list him but I don’t know.  With the guild awards, it seems like Selma is losing momentum and American Sniper is gaining it.  I know that a lot of watchers are saying this is due to the Selma screeners being sent out late and that could well be true.  Hopefully, I’ll get to see both Selma and American Sniper this weekend but, until then, I can’t offer an opinion on whether either one deserves to be nominated.  But it’s hard not to feel as if Selma is not shaping up to be quite the Oscar powerhouse that a lot of us were expecting it to be.  We’ll see.)

Best Actress

Jennifer Aniston in Cake

Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon in Wild

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall in The Judge

Ethan Hawke in Boyhood

Edward Norton in Birdman

Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

(I still have a hard time believe that Robert Duvall is going to be nominated for The Judge because Duvall was good but not great and the movie kind of sucked.  But, honestly, who else are they going to nominate?  Josh Brolin deserves the spot for Inherent Vice but the film is probably a little bit too odd for a lot of voters.  Maybe if Unbroken‘s Miyavi or Gone Girl‘s Tyler Perry had a little more screen time, they could make a case.  But ultimately, that fifth spot does seem to be Duvall’s.)

Best Supporting Actress

Patrica Arquette in Boyhood

Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year

Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game

Emma Stone in Birdman

Naomi Watts in St. Vincent

(I’m going to go out on a limb and predict Watts over Meryl Streep.  Why not?  There always seems to be at least one surprise acting nominee.)

Best Director

Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Clint Eastwood for American Sniper

Alejandro G. Inarritu for Birdman

Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

So there they are!  My final “for real” predictions.  Tomorrow, I’ll be posting my annual “If Lisa Had All The Power” post, which will be my personal nominations, the films and performances that I would nominate if I had all the power.  And then, on Thursday, the Oscar nominations will be announced!

Need to kill some time?  Look through all the posts since November and count up how many times this picture has appeared on the site!

Need to kill some time? Look through all the posts since November and count up how many times this picture has appeared on the site!

2014 In Review: Lisa’s Picks For The 16 Worst Films Of 2014


actor-nicolas-cage-discusses-his-2014-movie-left-behind

Continuing our look back at the previous year, today I present you with my choices for the 16 worst films of 2014!

I have to admit that 2014 was a strange year for me.  While I saw a lot of films that I didn’t think were very good, none of them quite inspired the amount of loathing that I felt while watching previous TSL worst film “winners” like Love and Other Drugs and Man of Steel.  Looking at the 16 films below, I’m struck by how many of them were simply films that failed to live up to my expectations.  (The Judge and Endless Love are obvious examples.)  Some of the other entries are films that we all knew ahead of time would never be good but they made the list because they represent everything that annoys me about mainstream film making. (Case in point: Transformers: Let’s Deafen The Audience or whatever the Hell that thing was called.)

Of course, some of the films listed below are on the list because they just plain sucked.  In fact, one made-for-Lifetime movie was so mind-numbingly awful that it made the list despite having never actually been released in theaters!  That’s pretty bad!

(Be sure to click on the links in this sentence if you want to see what I considered to be the worst of 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013!)

Without further ado, here’s the list!

16) Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart 
15) Ride Along
14) The Judge 
13) Into the Storm
12) Endless Love
11) Nuse 3D
10) Barefoot
9) The Best Of Me
8) I, Frankenstein
7) Left Behind
6) Paranormal Activity — The Marked Ones
5) The Legend of Hercules
4) Transformers: The Age of Extinction
3) A Million Ways To Die In The West 
2) The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story

And finally, without further ado, here is the worst film of 2014!

1)  April Rain

Birdemic 2 April Rain

Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

Tomorrow, I’ll be presenting my 10 favorite songs of 2014!

Others Entries In TSL’s Look Back At 2014:

  1. Things I Dug In 2014 Off The Top Of My Head
  2. 2014 In Review: The Best of SyFy and Lifetime

Here are the Critics Choice Nominations!


BFCA

This morning, the Broadcast Film Critics Association announced their nominations for the best of 2014!  No sooner had I started to dismiss Unbroken as a contender then the BFCA nominated not only the film for best picture but Angelina Jolie for best director as well.

As opposed to a lot of critics group, the BFCA is considered to be a pretty strong and influential precursor.  So, if anyone should be worried by today’s nominations, it might be those hoping to see Foxcatcher and Steve Carell nominated in January.

The BFCA awards will be broadcast on A&E on January 15th.

Best Picture
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Gone Girl”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Nightcrawler”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Unbroken”
“Whiplash”

Best Director
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Ava DuVernay, “Selma”
David Fincher, “Gone Girl”
Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
Angelina Jolie, “Unbroken”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Best Actor
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
David Oyelowo, “Selma”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Best Actress
Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, “Inherent Vice”
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”
Tilda Swinton, “Snowpiercer”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“Gone Girl”
“The Imitation Game”
“Inherent Vice”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Unbroken”
“Wild”

Best Original Screenplay
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Nightcrawler”
“Whiplash”

Best Art Direction
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Inherent Vice”
“Interstellar”
“Into the Woods”
“Snowpiercer”

Best Cinematography
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Interstellar”
“Mr. Turner”
“Unbroken”

Best Editing
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Gone Girl”
“Interstellar”
“Whiplash”

Best Costume Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Inherent Vice”
“Into the Woods”
“Maleficent”
“Mr. Turner”

Best Hair & Makeup
“Foxcatcher”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“Into the Woods”
“Maleficent”

Best Score
“Birdman”
“Gone Girl”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“The Theory of Everything”

Best Song
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”
“Big Eyes” from “Big Eyes”
“Yellow Flicker Beat” from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″
“Everything is Awesome” from “The LEGO Movie”
“Glory” from “Selma”

Best Visual Effects
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Edge of Tomorrow”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“Interstellar”

Best Animated Feature
“Big Hero 6″
“The Book of Life”
“The Boxtrolls”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2″
“The LEGO Movie”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Force Majeure”
“Ida”
“Leviathan”
“Two Days, One Night”
“Wild Tales”

Best Documentary Feature
“CITIZENFOUR”
“Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
“Jodorowsky’s Dune”
“Last Days in Vietnam”
“Life Itself”
“The Overnighters”

Best Acting Ensemble
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Into the Woods”
“Selma”

Best Young Actor/Actress
Ellar Coltrane, “Boyhood”
Ansel Elgort, “The Fault in Our Stars”
Mackenzie Foy, “Interstellar”
Jaeden Lieberher, “St. Vincent”
Tony Revolori, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Quvenzhane Wallis, “Annie”
Noah Wiseman, “The Babadook”

Best Action Movie
“American Sniper”
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
“Edge of Tomorrow”
“Fury”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”

Best Actor in an Action Movie
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Tom Cruise, “Edge of Tomorrow”
Chris Evans, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Brad Pitt, “Fury”
Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Best Actress in an Action Movie
Emily Blunt, “Edge of Tomorrow”
Scarlett Johansson, “Lucy”
Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″
Zoe Saldana, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Shailene Woodley, “Divergent”

Best Comedy
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“St. Vincent”
“Top Five”
“22 Jump Street”

Best Actor in a Comedy
Jon Favreau, “Chef”
Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Bill Murray, “St. Vincent”
Chris Rock, “Top Five”
Channing Tatum, “22 Jump Street”

Best Actress in a Comedy
Rose Byrne, “Neighbors”
Rosario Dawson, “Top Five”
Melissa McCarthy, “St. Vincent”
Jenny Slate, “Obvious Child”
Kristen Wiig, “The Skeleton Twins”

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie
“The Babadook”
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Interstellar”
“Snowpiercer”
“Under the Skin”

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions for December


2013 oscars

Well, here it is, my next to last attempt to predict who and what will be nominated for an Academy Award in January.  With the AFI, SAG, and the Golden Globes all having made their voices heard, this list was definitely a bit easier to make than it was when I first started posting my monthly predictions back in March!

And yet, what’s interesting is that my March predictions aren’t all that different from my December predictions.

It’s true that I’ve recently come to the conclusion that both Foxcatcher and Unbroken will be left out of the best picture race.  And, over the past few months, both Selma and The Theory of Everything have developed into major contenders.  For that matter, I failed to predict the sudden groundswell of support for Jake Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Aniston, and the Grand Budapest Hotel.

However, from the beginning of the year, both myself and a lot of other award watchers have been predicting that both Boyhood and Birdman would be contenders.  J.K. Simmons, as well, has been viewed as a probable nominee since Whiplash premiered at Sundance.

And, of course, everyone always knows that Meryl Streep is going to get nominated for something.

Anyway, my latest predictions are below.  You can check out my predictions for March, April, May, June, July, August, October, and November by clicking on the month!

Boyhood Image

Best Picture

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

o-BOYHOOD-facebook

Best Director

Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ava DuVernay for Selma

Alejandro G. Inarritu for Birdman

Richard Linklater for Boyhood

James Marsh for The Theory of Everything

Birdman

Best Actor

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton in Birdman

David Oyelowo in Selma 

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Best Actress

Jennifer Aniston in Cake

Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon in Wild

Whiplash

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall in The Judge

Ethan Hawke in Boyhood

Edward Norton in Birdman

Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Meryl-Streep-Into-The-Woods

Best Supporting Actress

Patrica Arquette in Boyhood

Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year

Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game

Emma Stone in Birdman

Meryl Streep in Into the Woods

Here Are The Golden Globe Nominees!


214053-the-2013-golden-globe-award-nominations

The Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning and the big news is that Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken was totally and completely snubbed.  Knowing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, I figured that they’d nominate Jolie just to get her and Brad Pitt on the show.

(Does anyone remember when they nominated The Tourist for Best Comedy Film of 2010?  For that matter, does anyone remember The Tourist?)

Also, it’s interesting to note that David Fincher was nominated for best director for Gone Girl but Gone Girl itself did not receive a nomination for best picture.

(As of this writing, Sasha Stone has yet to post her analysis on Awards Daily but I’m sure when she does, it will be depressing.)

Anyway, below you can find the Golden Globe nominations for the best films of 2014.  (If you want to see a complete list with all of the television nominations, you can click here.)

BEST DRAMA FILM
“Boyhood”
“Foxcatcher”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”

BEST DRAMA ACTOR
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”
David Oyelowo, “Selma”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

BEST DRAMA ACTRESS
Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

BEST MUSICAL/COMEDY FILM
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Into the Woods”
“Pride”
“St. Vincent”

BEST MUSICAL/COMEDY ACTOR
Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Bill Murray, “St. Vincent”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Inherent Vice”
Christoph Waltz, “Big Eyes”

BEST MUSICAL/COMEDY ACTRESS
Amy Adams, “Big Eyes”
Emily Blunt, “Into the Woods”
Helen Mirren, “The Hundred-Foot Journey”
Julianne Moore, “Maps to the Stars”
Quvenzhane Wallis, “Annie”

BEST FILM SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

BEST FILM SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

BEST DIRECTOR
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Ava Duvernay, “Selma”
David Fincher, “Gone Girl”
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

BEST SCREENPLAY
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Gone Girl”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Big Hero 6”
“The Book of Life”
“The Boxtrolls”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“The Lego Movie”

BEST SCORE
“Birdman”
“Gone Girl”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“The Theory of Everything”

BEST SONG
“Big Eyes” from “Big Eyes” (Lana Del Ray)
“Glory” from “Selma” (John Legend, COmmon)
“Mercy Is” from “Noah” (Patty SMith, Lenny kaye)
“Opportunity” from “Annie”
“Yellow Flicker Beat” from “The Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 1” (Lorde)

Here Are The SAG Nominations!


Earlier today, the Screen Actors Guild nominations were announced and I love them!  Not because I agree with all of them but because they’re a nice mix of the expected and the surprising.  Every category had at least one surprise and really, it’s the surprises that make Oscar Season so much fun.

For what they are worth, here are a few observations from yours truly:

When it comes to predicting the actual Oscar nominations, the SAG are usually an excellent precursor.  It makes sense — the Actors Branch is the biggest of the Academy’s voting branches and many of the same people who determined the SAG nominees will also be casting ballots for the Academy Awards.

At first, I was really shocked to see that Selma was totally snubbed.  However, I then read over at Gold Derby that apparently, because of production delays, a screener of Selma was not available for the SAG voters.  So, a lot of the voters made their nominations without having seen Selma.

Foxcatcher did not receive an ensemble nomination but it did receive nominations for Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo.  That’s especially good news for Carell, who has yet to be much of a factor in the precursor voting.

Speaking of which, everyone keeps taking about how Foxcatcher hasn’t been a major player in the precursors. What about Unbroken?  For a so-called Oscar front runner, Unbroken certainly hasn’t received much from the critics groups.

(I should note that I have yet to see either Foxcatcher or Unbroken so I don’t have an opinion on whether either one of them deserves awards.)

Among the big snubs: Amy Adams for Big Eyes, Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year or Interstellar, Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night, and Oscar Isaac for A Most Violent Year.

My favorite nomination was Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler.  I haven’t seen Cake but I was happy to see Jennifer Aniston nominated because it was unexpected.  Robert Duvall’s great but wow, was the Judge ever a disappointing movie.

I was shocked to see Naomi Watts nominated for St. Vincent but it actually makes sense.  Her role in St. Vincent really was awards bait.  And who doesn’t love Naomi Watts?  (That said, I thought her performance was a bit cartoonish.)

Both the Grand Budapest Hotel and especially The Theory of Everything are looking more and more like probable best picture nominees.

And here are the nominees:

The-Grand-Budapest-Hotel-580

Best Ensemble:

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

The Theory of Everything

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

Best Actor

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

Jennifer Aniston in Cake

Best Actress

Jennifer Aniston in Cake

Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon in Wild

Robert Duvall

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall in The Judge

Ethan Hawke in Boyhood

Edward Norton in Birdman

Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Naomi Watts

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game

Emma Stone in Birdman

Meryl Streep in Into The Woods

Naomi Watts in St. Vincent

Xmen

Outstanding Stunt Ensemble

Fury

Get On Up

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Unbroken

X-Men: Days of Future Past

A Quickie With Lisa Marie: The Judge (dir by David Dobkin)


The Roberts

Hey, everyone!

Remember how, earlier this year, a whole lot of people (like me) figured that The Judge would be a surefire Oscar contender and that Robert Duvall would probably receive an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor?

At the time, it made perfect sense.  After all, in the past, courtroom dramas have occasionally been popular with the Academy and, while we all knew that The Judge probably wouldn’t be a modern-day Anatomy of a Murder, there was still reason to hope that the film would turn out to be a watchable melodrama.  Add to that, the movie starred Robert Downey, Jr, an actor who is eventually going to win an Academy Award.  Perhaps most importantly, the title character was played by Robert Duvall, one of the best American actors of all time and an actor who, having recently turned 83, might not get many more opportunities to win one final career-honoring Oscar.

It only made sense to assume that The Judge would be a contender.

And then the trailer came out and those of us who know our film history were left a little bit confused.  It wasn’t that the trailer was necessarily bad.  It was just that it made the film seem rather old-fashioned.  It didn’t feel like a trailer for a film that was set to be released in 2014.  If anything, it almost felt like a parody, as if it was one of those fake, overly Hollywood trailers that appeared at the beginning of Tropic Thunder.  (The fact that the trailer featured Robert Downey, Jr. looking haunted only contributed to this feeling.)

And then the film opened and received reviews that were, at best, respectful and, at worst, scathing.  And I quickly revised my Oscar predictions.

Despite the bad reviews and my own suspicion that the film would not be very good, I still wanted to see The Judge.  I love melodrama.  I love courtroom dramas.  Even more importantly, the Roberts are two of my favorite actors.  Robert Downey, Jr. is always a lot of fun to watch.  Robert Duvall began his career playing Boo Radley in To Kill A Mockingbird and, 52 years later, he’s still a great and uniquely American actor.

So, I saw The Judge this weekend and … well, it’s just a weird movie and not in a good way.  Instead, it’s one of those movies where almost everything seems to be so strangely miscalculated that you really can’t imagine how it could have possibly happened.  The film runs for nearly two and a half hours, despite only having enough plot for maybe an hour-long pilot for a potential mid-season replacement.  The script is amazingly overwritten, full of portentous speeches and clichéd characters.  It’s not enough that Robert Downey, Jr. has two brothers that he has to reconnect with while defending their father on a murder charge.  Instead, one of the brothers also has to be vaguely developmentally challenged so that he can deliver cute lines that are full of “accidental wisdom.”  It’s not enough that Downey reunites with his ex-high school girlfriend (Vera Farmiga, who deserves a better role) but she also has to have a daughter who might be his but could be someone else’s.  It’s not enough that Billy Bob Thornton’s prosecuting attorney is slick and cunning but he also has to be a self-righteous crusader who has rather silly personal reasons for wanting to defeat Downey in court.  It’s not enough that Downey and Duvall eventually end up yelling their personal grievances each other.  Instead, they have to do it while a tornado literally tears through the front yard, the type of directorial choice that is so obvious and heavy-handed that it indicates that director David Dobkin (best known for directing comedies like Wedding Crashers) was desperate to prove that he could be dramatic.

Much like the similarly bad Love and Other Drugs, The Judge is one of those films that tries so hard to be all things to all viewers that it’s ultimately just a huge mess.  Is it a murder mystery?  If so, you have to wonder why we learn so little about the case against Duvall’s judge.  Is it a romantic comedy about Robert Downey, Jr. returning to his small hometown and rediscovering what’s important in life?  If so, you have to wish that the town had a little bit more character beyond just being a standard Hollywood version of what middle America is like.  Is it a family drama?  Well, then it would be nice to know more about the family dynamic beyond the fact that Duvall was stern, Downey was rebellious, and Vincent D’Onofrio is stuck playing the brother who never got to leave home.  It’s a comedy with few laughs and a drama with few tears and ultimately, The Judge just does not work.

However, both of the Roberts give pretty good performances.  That’s what makes The Judge truly frustrating.  Duvall and Downey both do such good work but the material ultimately not only lets them down but lets the audiences down as well.

Oh well.

Duvall

Trailer: The Judge


Someday, Robert Downey, Jr. is going to win an Oscar but will it be for his performance in The Judge?  This upcoming film has been mentioned on some sites as being an Oscar contender but, based on the newly released trailer, I have my doubts.  Don’t get me wrong — it looks like it’s going to be a good film and Robert Downey, Jr. looks like he’s been perfectly cast.  But, at the same time, the trailer makes the film look just a bit predictable.  Hopefully, the film’s plot — Robert Downey. Jr. is a slick lawyer who defends his estranged father (Robert Duvall) after the latter is accused of murdering his wife — will provide a few unexpected twists that aren’t obvious from the trailer.

That said, this is a film that I will definitely see when it’s released in theaters.  How can you not see a film that features both Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall?

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