Lisa Tries To Predict The Oscars!


Oscars

Well, it’s almost here!

Tomorrow night, the Oscars will be handed out!  Now, I have to admit that, despite all of the time that I spent keeping up with all of the guild awards and the critics award and all the other precursors, I kinda lost interest in the Oscar race after the actual nominations were announced.  I took one look at Jeff Wells claiming to be solely responsible for the success of Birdman and Sasha Stone going on and on about Selma and Ryan Adams doing whatever the Hell it is that he supposedly does over at Awards Daily and I just found myself saying, “Fuck it, who cares?”

Seriously, 2015 will be remembered as the year that Oscar punditry jumped the shark.  Hopefully, within the next few years, new voices will emerge and we’ll be spared from having to deal with Jeff Wells, Sasha Stone, and all the rest.

The Oscar commentary this year has been so negative and so toxic and so predictably strident and so tediously bitter that I did get a little bit burned out.  It just hasn’t been as much fun this year.  When, earlier this week, I was reminded that the Oscars were this Sunday, I have to admit that I was taken a little bit by surprise.  For some reason, I had gotten into my head that the Oscars were next week.

But anyway, they’re not next week.  They’re tomorrow and that means that it is now time for me to try to predict who and what will win tomorrow night.  A lot of people are saying that this is the closest Oscar race in years.  But you know what?  They say that every year.

Remember how there were going to be a lot of upsets last year?

And, in the end, exactly what everyone thought would win did win.

I imagine the same thing will happen this year.

Here are my predictions!  I will be listing both what I think will win and what I think should win.

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!

Best Picture: 

Will Win: Birdman

Should Win: Boyhood

Best Director:

Will Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman

Should Win: Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Best Actor

Will Win: Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything

Should Win: Michael Keaton for Birdman

Best Actress

Will Win: Julianne Moore for Still Alice

Should Win: Reese Witherspoon for Wild

Best Supporting Actor

Will and Should Win: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress

Will and Should Win: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: Birdman

Should Win: Boyhood

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will and Should Win: Whiplash

Best Animated Feature:

Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Should Win: Big Hero 6

Best Foreign Language Film

Will Win: Leviathan

Should Win: Ida

Best Documentary Feature

Will Win: CitizenFour

Should Win: Finding Vivian Maier

Best Documentary Short Subject:

Will Win (random guess): Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Should Win: ???

Best Live Action Short Film:

Will Win (random guess): The Phone Call

Should Win: ???

Best Animated Short Film:

Will and Should Win: My Moulton

Best Original Score:

Will and Should Win: The Theory of Everything

Best Original Song:

Will Win: “Glory” from Selma

Should Win: “Hooray for Everything” from The Lego Movie

Best Sound Editing

Will and Should Win: American Sniper

Best Sound Mixing

Will Win: American Sniper

Should Win: Whiplash

Best Production Design

Will and Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Cinematography

Will Win: Unbroken

Should Win: Ida

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Will Win: Foxcatcher

Should Win: Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Costume Design

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Should Win: Inherent Vice

Best Film Editing

Will and Should Win: Boyhood

Best Visual Effects

Will Win: Interstellar

Should Win: Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

Well, those are my predictions!  Will I be right or will I be wrong?  We’ll find out tomorrow!

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!

Yes, The Cinema Audio Society Does Exist and So Do Their Nominations


Big-Hero-6-Funny-Cute-Wallpaper-2014-Disney-1412893206157

Is anybody going to be happy when the Oscar nominations are revealed on Thursday and all of us self-declared award divas will no longer have to pay attention to any of the precursors?  Seriously, I never thought I could get sick of awards seasons but oh my God!

Listen, I love foreplay but sometimes, you just need have to get to the point.

ANYWAY, here are the Cinema Audio Society nominees for the best achievements in sound mixing in 2014.  Before anyone dismiss the importance of these nominees, consider that correctly guessing the nominees for the Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing could make the difference in your Oscar pool.

Or, it might not.

(By the way, Arleigh, when I’m tempted to fanatically follow next year’s awards season, remind me of this post.  It might make all the difference!)

Anyway, here are the film nominees!

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING — LIVE ACTION:

American Sniper

Birdman

Guardians of the Galaxy

Interstellar

Unbroken

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING — ANIMATED:

Big Hero 6

The Boxtrolls

How To Train Your Dragon 2

The LEGO Movie

Penguins of Madagascar

Here’s The Latest In Precursor News: The USC Scripter and the Makeup and Hairstyling Guild Nominations!


Nightcrawler

Awards season continues!  The Makeup and Hairstyling Guild announced their nominees for the best of 2014 today!

FEATURE LENGTH MOTION PICTURE (FEATURE FILMS)
BEST CONTEMPORARY MAKE-UP

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Gone Girl

Guardians of the Galaxy

Interstellar

Nightcrawler

FEATURE LENGTH MOTION PICTURE (FEATURE FILMS)
BEST PERIOD AND/OR CHARACTER MAKE-UP

Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Into the Woods

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Theory of Everything

Unbroken

FEATURE LENGTH MOTION PICTURE (FEATURE FILMS)
BEST SPECIAL MAKE-UP EFFECTS

Foxcatcher

Guardians of the Galaxy

Into the Woods

Maleficent

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

FEATURE LENGTH MOTION PICTURE (FEATURE FILMS)
BEST CONTEMPORARY HAIR STYLING

Birdman

Guardians of the Galaxy

Interstellar

St. Vincent

Winter’s Tale

FEATURE LENGTH MOTION PICTURE (FEATURE FILMS)
BEST PERIOD AND/OR CHARACTER HAIR STYLING

Get on Up

Into the Woods

Selma

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Theory of Everything

theory-of-everything-new

And here are the nominees for the 27th Annual USC Scripter Awards!  The Scripter Award specifically recognizes screenplays that were adapted from other works.

Gone Girl

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice

The Theory of Everything

Wild

Tyler Perry in Gone Girl

 

Here’s The Latest From The Guilds: WGA, CDG, and ASC


Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh's Mr Turner

Here’s the latest news from Awards Season!  Today, three more guilds announced their nominees for the best of 2014.

First off, the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) nominated the following five films:

Birdman

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Mr. Turner

Unbroken

And then, the Costume Designers Guild (CDG) nominated the following fifteen films:

Excellence in Contemporary Film
Birdman – Albert Wolsky
Boyhood – Kari Perkins
Gone Girl – Trish Summerville
Interstellar – Mary Zophres
Wild – Melissa Bruning

Excellence in Period Film
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero
The Imitation Game – Sammy Sheldon Differ
Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges
Selma – Ruth E. Carter
The Theory of Everything – Steven Noble

Excellence in Fantasy Film
Guardians of the Galaxy – Alexandra Byrne
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Bob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, Ann Maskrey
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 – Kurt and Bart
Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood
Maleficent – Anna B. Sheppard, Jane Clive

(Is anybody else surprised to learn that Interstellar is apparently a contemporary film?)

And finally, here are the Writer’s Guild (WGA) nominations!  As always, the WGA nominations should be taken with a grain of salt as several Oscar front runners — Birdman, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Mr. Turner, had been ruled ineligible for a WGA nomination.  Over the years, many films that were ineligible for a WGA nomination have gone on to win Oscars for original and adapted screenplay.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Boyhood, Written by Richard Linklater; IFC Films
Foxcatcher, Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman; Sony Pictures Classics
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness; Fox Searchlight
Nightcrawler, Written by Dan Gilroy; Open Road Films
Whiplash, Written by Damien Chazelle; Sony Pictures Classics

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
American Sniper, Written by Jason Hall; Based on the book by Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice; Warner Bros.
Gone Girl, Screenplay by Gillian Flynn; Based on her novel; 20th Century Fox
Guardians of the Galaxy, Written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman; Based on the Marvel comic by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The Imitation Game, Written by Graham Moore; Based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges; The Weinstein Company
Wild, Screenplay by Nick Hornby; Based on the book by Cheryl Strayed; Fox Searchlight

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY
Finding Vivian Maier, Written by John Maloof & Charlie Siskel; Sundance Selects
The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, Written by Brian Knappenberger; FilmBuff
Last Days in Vietnam, Written by Mark Bailey & Kevin McAlester; American Experience Films
Red Army, Written by Gabe Polsky; Sony Pictures Classics

richard-linklaters-boyhood-movie-film-still-ellar-coltrane

Film Review: Unbroken (dir by Angelina Jolie)


Ultimately, Unbroken is a victim of expectations.

From the start of last year, Oscar watchers and other film critics were united in fully expecting Unbroken to be a great film.  No sooner had 12 Years A Slave won best picture then we were all predicting that Unbroken would be named the best film of 2014 and that Angelina Jolie would be the 2nd woman to win an Oscar for best director.

And can you blame us?

Unbroken seemed to have everything that you would expect to add up to Oscar glory.  Not only was it directed by a celebrity (and, ever since Argo, everyone has been under the impression that all performers can also direct) but it starred an exciting and up-and-coming actor.  It was not only a war film but it was a war film that took place during the only war that everyone agrees was a good one, World War II.  It was based on a true story and what a story!  Louis Zamperini was an Olympic medalist whose athletic career was put on hold when he joined the U.S. Air Force.  After a plane crash, he and two other survivors spent 47 days floating in a lifeboat.  They were finally captured by the Japanese and Louis spent the rest of the war as POW.  During that time, he survived terrible torture.  When the war finally ended, Louis set aside his anger and publicly forgave those who had nearly killed him.  When he was 80 years old, he returned to Japan and carried the Olympic torch.  It’s an incredibly touching story and it should have made for a great movie.

And, ultimately, that’s Unbroken‘s downfall.  It has all the ingredients for being a great movie but instead, it’s only a good one.

That’s certainly not the fault of Jack O’Connell, who plays Louis and gives a strong and sympathetic performance.  Actually, the entire film is well-acted, with everyone fully inhabiting his role.  Perhaps the film’s best performance comes from Miyavi, who plays “The Bird,” the sadistic head of both of the POW camps where Louis is held prisoner.  The dynamic between The Bird and Louis is an interesting one, with the film emphasizing that The Bird is in many ways jealous of Louis’s previous fame and Miyavi plays the character as if he were a high school bully who has suddenly been left in charge of the classroom.

That the cast does well should not be a surprise.  Actors-turned-directors can usually get good performances but often times, they seem to struggle with shaping a narrative and this is where Unbroken struggles.  It’s not that Unbroken doesn’t tell a worthy story.  It’s just that it tells it in such a conventional and predictable way.  The entire film is full of scenes that seem like they were lifted out of other, more memorable movies.  The scenes with Louis growing up and competing in the Olympics feel like they could have come from any “inspiring” sports biopic.  (It doesn’t help that Louis’s brother and coach has been given dialogue that sounds like it should be surrounded by air quotes.)  When Louis is joking around with the guys in the plane, it feels like a hundred other war films.  When Louis is floating in the ocean, it’s hard not to compare the film’s static and draggy approach to what Ang Lee was able to do with Life of Pi or J.C. Chandor with All Is Lost.  Miyavi brings a feeling of real menace and danger to the POW scenes but it’s not enough.  Jolie’s direction is competent but there’s not a single moment that feels spontaneous or truly cinematic.

In fact, I sat through Unbroken totally dry-eyed, which is somewhat amazing considering how easily I cry at the movies.  However, towards the end of the film, there was a clip of the real-life, 80 year-old Louis running down the streets of Tokyo with the Olympic Torch and, at that moment, his story became real for me.  And that’s when the tears came.

I really wish Unbroken had been better because Louis Zamperini seems like someone who deserved to have a great film made about him.  Angelina Jolie’s heart was in the right place but, ultimately, it’s just not enough to make Unbroken the film that it deserves to be.