Oscars

Oscar Predictions 2014: Adapted Screenplay

Don’t tell anyone, but the screenplay categories, both original and adapted, remain the only Oscar contests that truly matter to me. It’s not just my respect for the written word or any personal interest I may have in the art form, instead it’s the understanding that the script is the singular basis from which every other element of a film builds. Adapted screenplays have the additionally daunting task of taking an existing creation, whether it be a book, article, or television show, and crafting something new, compact, and wholly its own. All but one of this year’s nominees are adapting a nonfiction memoir, while the fifth is a sequel. Keep reading for a look at all five of this year’s nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay along with my predicted winner in red…

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Oscar Predictions 2014: Original Score

Unlike a singular song, a film’s score stays with a narrative from beginning to end, helping to reinforce the emotions on screen and round out the overall feeling and impression of a film. It is a delicate balance and it is the scores which are able to make an impression, without distracting from the film itself, that rise to the top to become the scores that are remembered long after a film ends. The nominees for Best Original Score this year are a combination of familiar names (John Williams, Alexandre Desplat, Thomas Newman) along with some new ones (Steven Price, William Butler, Owen Pallett). The five films these scores are nominated from are powerful stories about people dealing with extraordinary situations from fighting for love, family, stories, even one’s own life. The music in each of these films is an incredibly important element as it helps give each story the weight it deserves. Williams, Desplat, and Newman are distinguished talents who have proven their staying power over the years and helped elevate their respective films thanks to their music whereas the scores from Price, Butler, and Pallett are not only from newer voices, they are attached to two films that pushed the envelope when it came to visual style and narrative approach. We review the five nominees and predict who we think will win in red…

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Oscar Predictions 2014: Original Song

This year’s nominees for Best Original Song come from four films that tackle very different subject matter – fighting an evil villain (with the help of some tiny yellow friends), finding love in unexpected ways, learning to accept who you are, and the story of a man who lived an extraordinary life. But there is one thing that unites all these songs: an uplifting spirit. Songs featured in films should capture the feeling of the film itself and all four of these nominations do just that in very different and compelling ways. Some will move you to tears where others will put a smile on your face, but the one thing all four will do is make you feel. The fact that all four nominees are going to be performed live by Pharell Williams, Karen O, Idina Menzel, and U2 promises this category’s presentation to be one of Oscar night’s best moments. We break down the nominees with my prediction of which song I think will win in red…

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Oscar Predictions 2014: Actor

The Best Actor field this year is a bit different than normal. Christian Bale is the only nominee to have won an Oscar, and that was in the Best Supporting Actor category. More over, two of the nominees (Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey) have never received a nomination before. It’s not that these guys are newcomers. They’ve been acting for years, some of them in respected and popular films. The Academy is just finally getting around to giving them some recognition. Still, each nomination comes with a social issue attached to it. Whether it be the greed of American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street, the plight of the elderly in Nebraska, slavery and white guilt in 12 Years a Slave, or good old fashioned AIDS baiting for the Academy voters in Dallas Buyers Club, these nominations could be seen as a nod to the issue rather than the actor. (This could explain why Robert Redford and Tom Hanks were shut out of the contest this year: no social issues with lost yachters and captains who thwart Somali pirate attacks.) No matter what, someone will be winning his first Best Actor Oscar. Keep reading for a look at all five nominees for Best Actor along with my predicted winner in red…

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Oscar Predictions 2014: Supporting Actor

The Best Supporting Actor category at this year’s Academy Awards is a tough race, because there isn’t a single nominee who doesn’t deserve to be there. All five men brought vastly different roles to the table, and it’s clear that they’re playing to win. But couldn’t the Academy have, just for a minute, thought to consider that shit and nominate James Franco for Spring Breakers? Franco’s controversial role as Alien in the equally controversial Harmony Korine film was divisive to say the least, but it’s his strongest to date. Plus, wouldn’t it have been wonderful to see that Oscar campaign go on just a little bit longer? Daydreams of what might have been aside, the talent that made the cut is tremendous. Keep reading for a look at all five nominees for Best Supporting Actor along with my predicted winner in red…

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Oscar Predictions 2014: Supporting Actress

Every year, the Academy Awards kick into two extremely important categories quite early, swiftly doling out Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actors statuettes before most people have settled into their seats (both at the ceremony and at whatever shindig viewers are throwing in the safety of their own home). It’s a whirlwind and it’s a hell of way to start off the show, but damn if it doesn’t always feel a bit stilted. These are big awards, you guys, and they so often signal the arrival of new talents to watch out for, the kind of thespians we might soon see going for leading awards. Give them some space! The Supporting section also allows for a great variety of nominees, recognizing performers of every age, from veterans to newbies, and from every kind of performance, from those who appear alongside leads throughout features and those who show up for a memorable minute or so. This year’s Best Supporting Actress field, however, places a premium on heft — at least, on hefty performance time — including five actresses who quite easily helped make their features sing, and a few that might just have squeaked by with a Best Actress nomination instead (sorry, Julia Roberts). But who will win? Oh, we don’t know, but we’ve got some ideas. Keep reading for a look at all five nominees for Best Supporting Actress along with my predicted winner in red…

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Some people have a routine of eating two eggs for breakfast, reading the news and brushing their teeth before heading to work; Meryl Streep has a routine of getting Oscar nominations. She’s earned her 18th with August: Osage County, and to celebrate her cultural dominance we’ll speak with Karina Longworth, author of “Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor,” about Streep’s rich career arc. Plus, Geoff will answer three of your screenwriting questions, we’ll finally reveal who won the Prestige-Off and Rob Hunter will give us the movies from Sundance you need to look out for. You should follow Rob (@fakerobhunter), Karina (@karinalongworth), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #47 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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E.T.

The very first Best Picture, Wings, also won an award for Engineering Effects, but it was hardly the birth of an Oscar category. It took another decade before a combined award for sound and visual effects was given a spotlight. The sheer amount of early nominees proves how willing the Academy was to reward movies simply for attempting to trick our eyes, but the roster soon shifted back the other way so that in the 1950s there was almost always one nominee per year for a decade. Pretty easy to win with those odds, right? It became a special award category, and then special effects movies exploded. In 1977, Star Wars was awarded the first Best Visual Effects Oscar, Life of Pi won it last year, and now Gravity, Iron Man 3, Smaug, The Lone Ranger and Star Trek Into Darkness are up for the honor. One of those films will have to be tacked onto this keen montage featuring the winners from ’77 – ’13. Nelson Carvajal put it together choosing a strangely somber song for the background (Zimmer!), but ultimately proving that Spielberg and Lucas had this on lock for a healthy chunk of time. And now, some magic:

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The King

A few weeks ago, I saw and greatly enjoyed American Hustle. It’s all surface and doesn’t really add up to anything profound, but I was at a mall on Cape Cod with my mom, whom I was visiting for Christmas. We didn’t need, nor were we expecting, any great masterpiece, and I wasn’t on the hook to review the movie for anyone, so we went to the movies and had a grand old time. This reaction was by no means universal. A whole lot of people don’t like the movie, and a number of critics found it infuriatingly insubstantial and sloppy. It was ever thus. But, when I’m not serving as the model of critical equanimity, I spend my days in a state of nervous terror, brought on by an acute fear of “being wrong” whose scale is frankly silly in its enormity, which is why it may be a very long time, if ever, until I can rewatch American Hustle. Here are 5 more films that induce that same state:

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Princess Mononoke

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Frozen Princess Elsa

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Alone Yet Not Alone

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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12 Years a Slave

The visuals of 12 Years a Slave are stunning, often unflinching, and this week we’ve invited cinematographer (and frequent Steve McQueen collaborator) Sean Bobbitt to explain how he challenged millions with his imagery. Plus, Geoff and I talk about The Wolf of Wall Street‘s capability to turn good people into quaalude-hungry maniacs and answer a hypothetical question about saving only one 2014 movie from destruction (by quaalude-hungry maniacs). You should follow the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #45 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Los Angeles Plays Itself

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Oscars 2014

Hopefully you’re all wearing your tuxedos and evening gowns because, as we all know, Thursday morning before sunrise is the best time to get fancy. Feel no shame about that 5am martini. Unless it’s your fourth. Because you’re behind. And you might need something strong for the announcement of the nominees for the 86th annual Academy Awards.

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Oscars

The Golden Globes are not like the Academy Awards (and don’t let anyone ever tell you as such, even if they are holding both a pair of Louboutins and a dirty martini and seem very convincing). While the Globes come to us care of “Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” a voting body made up of, well, members of the foreign press who like to shower their nominees with a boozy dinner (and apparently just a lot of small boxes of Godiva chocolates), the Oscars are put together by a giant body of Academy members that include professionals across the industry who refuse to provide even a plate of whatever to their honorees and guests. The Globes also honor television (even if its talents are stuck in the back of a ballroom that seems to be crammed beyond all comprehension with far too many tables and far too few paths to the stage), while the Oscars are pure cinema. With the Globes concerned with two different mediums, there’s no room for awards for technical stuff like cinematography or costume design, and the Oscars relish that sort of stuff. There’s also the elephant in the room – the Oscars are the Hollywood awards ceremony, the Golden Globes are the other (more boozy!) Hollywood awards ceremony. Being a Golden Globe winner in no way guarantees that you will be an Oscar winner.

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Oscars

Oscar voting starts today and runs for two weeks wherein AMPAS members will nominate the movies that they think deserve gold. That’s people who yell, “Shame on you!” to Martin Scorsese and actively engaged industry members alike. More than 6,000 people all pushing cinema they love closer toward a democratic consensus on greatness. In the real world the voting is compartmentalized (costume designers aren’t voting for sound design), but here in fantasyland, we can afford to run the gamut. So if you were an omnipresent kind of Academy member, who would you submit for the honor? What cinematography took your breath away? What acting reached into your soul? What editing astounded you? What movie should we remember for years to come? Please share your nominees in the comments section.

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Monuments Men

Hollywood has a favorite sport, one that comes complete with odds and bets and even occasional physical contact, though it’s not one that requires a ball or a uniform or actual rules – it’s Oscar prognostication, and it’s out of control. Every year, awards season wonks start crafting lists of possible contenders and winners still earlier and earlier. Many of this year’s safest bets (if there can be such a thing) have yet to even hit theaters or screen beyond film festivals, but plenty of journalists, bloggers, and writers who focus their attentions on awards season have already gotten to work on their lists for 2014. It must be noted – many of the films apparently bound of Oscar glory haven’t been completed yet, some of them haven’t even started filming, and yet they are already the subject of career-making guesswork. The last few weeks have seen a surprising number of “surefire” awards season contenders drop out of this year’s race, simply by moving their release dates from late 2013 (prime awards season) to various times in 2014 (obviously, a film cannot be eligible for 2013 awards if it opens in 2014). George Clooney’s The Monuments Men is the latest to join a long line of films, much like Foxcatcher, The Immigrant, Grace of Monaco, and (for awhile there at least) Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.

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Reservoir Dogs

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Oscars

The morning’s fascinating articles from around the movie website-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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