Amour – Michael Haneke
Beasts of the Southern Wild – Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi – Ang Lee
Lincoln – Steven Spielberg
Silver Linings Playbook – David O. Russell
Author: Mark Johnson
February 22, 2013
Amour – Michael Haneke
Oscar Week Begins with Scenarios that may show up at the ceremony...
February 18, 2013
As we sit six days before the Oscar ceremony attempting to finalize predictions and racking our brains trying to decipher this race, I find myself thinking of different scenarios for Oscar night. You can choose which one looks good to you and chime in with your own, but it makes for interesting conversations this close to the ceremony, especially since it’s up in the air.
Scenario #1 – Silver Linings Graduate
After the BAFTA Awards, many pundits, including myself, think Emmanuelle Riva is a possible spoiler for Jennifer Lawrence who has won the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards. With Chris Terrio winning the Writers Guild Award yesterday for Argo, Russell looks unlikely to garner an Adapted Screenplay consolation prize for himself.
What if David O. Russell wins Best Director and that’s the only award that represents Playbook? As an unprecedented year for the all awards, Silver Linings Playbook and David O. Russell will now become The Graduate and Mike Nichols.
As I spoke to six Academy voters last week, I was in awe when I saw how many voters were placing Silver Linings Playbook in multiple categories on their Oscar ballots. As David O. Russell and his film gain momentum in the final leg of the race, some are thinking a sweep is a feasible scenario where the film wins multiple awards including Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver. While this may be a likely occurence, we are in for some jaw-dropping moments at the ceremony. Although there are some glaring similarities between the 1967 film that won Best Director, there are some obvious differences as well:
Also, where do Spielberg and Russell fit into Oscar's equation....
January 25, 2013
I was speaking with some of my writers recently about who and what could be winning Best Picture and the subject came up about Argo. With Argo winning Best Picture and Director at the Critics Choice Movie Awards and Golden Globes, Ben Affleck’s film is in a position to make unprecedented history and I’m not just talking about being the first film to win without a Director nomination since Driving Miss Daisy (1989).
When it comes to the Producers Guild of America, this is when you can really start talking up the Daisy example. Critics and Oscar-lovers love to cite the missing Director fact but not many remember that Driving Miss Daisy was the first film to win the Producers Guild of America award in 1990. The group didn’t choose nominees for the first three years of its inception but the light-hearted comedy managed to best Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July, Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society, and Jim Sheridan’s My Left Foot. Granted, the film was announced as the winner after the actual Oscar ceremony, three days to be exact, so this is a unique circumstance to say the least.
January 17, 2013
Two (or perhaps three) of our presumed locks missed out on Director citations this year at the Academy Awards. It happened and now we have to try to sift out the “real” contender that will stand on stage at the end of the evening to be crowned Best Picture of the Year. Many, including myself, think Ben Affleck’s Argo stands a real chance to win it all if enough momentum builds in its favor. Our own Joey Magidson has a piece going up tomorrow to break it down more in-depth.
Today’s question might be one of our toughest yet.
Can you think of a film you would crown worthy of being named Best Picture of the Year without having its director make your personal five for Best Director?
The series moves on with the second installment, this time focusing on the men and women in the Director field...
Author: Joey Magidson
September 24, 2012
Sizing Up Series continues with an in-depth look at the Director candidates for this year’s Oscar ceremony. As was the case last year, there are a few things to keep an eye for this particular category. One obviously is that a lot will have to do with which films get nominated for Best Picture at the end of the day. The other is the possibility of a Lone Director nod. It used to be something that happened, but it hasn’t come close of late. Now, with us in the brave new-ish world of anywhere from 5 to 10 nominees, it keeps the idea of the lone director alive, though it’s going to be unlikely for one to wind up breaking through. Not impossible, mind you…but I wouldn’t count on seeing it this year, or too many instances going forward.
Tags: analysis, ang lee, Ben Affleck, Ben Lewin, Best Director, Christopher Nolan, David O. Russell, Director, Drew Goddard, Dustin Hoffman, Gus Van Sant, Jonathan Dayton, Juan Antonio, kathryn bigelow, Martin McDonagh, Michael Haneke, Mike Newell, Noah Baumbach, Oscar hopefuls, Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Lorenz, Roger Michell, Sacha Gervasi, Sizing Up series, Stephen Chbosky, Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg, Terrence Malick, Tom Hooper
Joe Wright gives a theatrical spin to the classic Tolstoy novel
Author: Daniel Ashtiany
September 9, 2012
Rarely has there been a tale so consistently revisited as Leo Tolstoy’s universally beloved Anna Karenina. Since the turn of the twentieth century there have been countless adaptations, from operas to ballets, musicals to radio shows, and television dramas to almost a dozen big screen interpretations. Today we find Keira Knightley stepping into Karenina’s oft-strung bodice, with regular collaborator Joe Wright bringing an ambitious slant to his director duties.
Fox Searchlight could have a winner with Ben Lewin's latest...
September 8, 2012
Everything we have heard about The Sessions is true. The film is a miracle of a movie, the sort of film that enables cinema in every way. The capacity press screening sat and were with the film throughout, laughing when they should have, weeping when it was necessary and felt moved when they needed too. How do I know this? I listened to the comments on the way out of the theater and saw more than one damp eye. Fox has every right to be confident of where this film is going, and its target is the Oscar for Best Picture.
This soul stroking film is the sort of film that enables cinema in every way, from the superb performances of the actors, the gentle direction and excellent, compassionate screenplay that pulls no punches and yet manages to be deeply moving. What I found remarkable about the work was that it explored how people should treat one another, how kindnesses are not difficult, and actually bring out the best in humanity. Read more on TIFF: The Sessions (****)…
May 11, 2012
It’s May! Contenders are still far on the horizon, the summer blockbuster season is quietly underway after the impressive showing of “The Avengers.” $200 million dollars? I still can and cannot believe it. With our revamp being brought to a close, official and frequent Oscar predictions have started and will continue to be updated. As you will see from the menu and the actual pages, there are some changes, most for the better. I’ve kept the basic “For It/Against It” as you click through the contenders. Anything outside of the predicted five or ten nominees are ranked accordingly. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to keep the ranking in perspective of the actual predicted nominees and I’m open to any suggestions. Otherwise, what you see is what you get. Now, on to actual Oscar talk which is pretty much the reason you all come here in the first place.
Predictions have begun with the NEW and IMPROVED official Oscar Predictions! I’ve begun in Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress. The rest will come periodically throughout the weekend. (MAKE SURE YOU CLICK ON THE PICTURES!)
These Oscar Circuit’s will be incredibly in-depth since there won’t be any place for me to include commentary on the actual pages. You can look on the sidebar for the updated Oscar Circuit’s as they become more and more frequent throughout the year.
Categories: Editor, Oscar Circuit
Tags: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, best picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Daniel Day-Lewis, Django Unchained, Editor, Julianne Moore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lincoln, Oscar Circuit, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, The English Teacher, The Great Gatsby
February 20, 2012
Welcome back to the Awards Circuit Power Hour. I’m joined by Staff Writers Joey Magidson and Robert Hamer and we’re speaking about the Picture, Director, Screenplay categories. I also reveal the Academy Idol Top 3 Results!!!!
Here’s the agenda:
January 29, 2012
If you still weren’t willing to call the Oscar for “The Artist,” you should now. Not sure if this will necessarily translate to an automatic Directing win for the French director but the film is signed, sealed, and delivered for Oscar gold. Here’s the press release:
January 23, 2012
I’ve stuck with seven Best Picture nominees. A big part of me wanted to exclude David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” from the shortlist but if the film would miss a Best Picture nomination, it would be unprecedented. No film has been cited by nearly all the guilds and miss out in the end. It did miss the Golden Globe and SAG nod so it’s very possible to miss. I still believe “War Horse” will make it. Can you imagine an older member of the Academy not checking off his name? I can’t. I’m foreseeing a very low show for Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball,” although I did stick with Jonah Hill but I’m crossing my fingers for him. Even though I respect Scott Feinberg, I still don’t see the “Drive” love coming through to get it nominated. It currently sits at #9 on the predictions but I couldn’t choose the film to be nominated with only one other nomination for Albert Brooks. I think it would need Editing and Cinematography and I don’t see either happening.
Categories: Article, Editor, Oscar Circuit
Tags: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Animated Feature, Best Animated Short, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Director, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short Subject, Best Film Editing, Best Foreign Language Feature, Best Makeup, Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song, best picture, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Visual Effects, Final Oscar Predictions, Oscar Circuit, oscar predictions
December 30, 2011
For Your Consideration: Best Achievement in Directing
Oscar Scene: Kevin’s bow (after the massacre).
Few women find themselves in Oscar’s conversation for Best Director. Most recently we saw Kathryn Bigelow win her much deserved Oscar for “The Hurt Locker” but there have been plenty of women worthy of citation over the past decade. Sofia Coppola was nominated for writing and directing the independent classic, “Lost in Translation” but what of Julie Taymor for her wonderful adaptation of the Beatles’ classic songs in “Across the Universe.” Before the “Twilight” franchise, Catherine Hardwicke put her stamp on the indie film, “Thirteen” starring Evan Rachel Wood and Oscar Winner Holly Hunter. Obviously we’ve seen Jane Campion awarded for her work in “The Piano” but she brought to life the beautiful “Bright Star” and “Portrait of a Lady,” both ignored by the Academy.
December 28, 2011
For Your Consideration – Achievement in Directing – Terrence Malick
To the surprise of some, Terrence Malick’s challenging, divisive and indispensable spiritual odyssey has stayed alive in the awards conversation, racking up a number of nominations and wins from critics organizations, most recently the Online Film Critics Society. Such success has no guarantee of Oscar recognition, however, and a film as heady as The Tree of Life still faces an uphill climb to the Kodak Theater. Craft nods and even Best Picture are certainly in the cards, but none of those would make a whole lot of sense without recognizing the singular vision behind this film. While not necessarily his best work (but, let’s be honest, how many filmmakers have ever topped The Thin Red Line?), it is not unreasonable to suggest that this is perhaps the defining film of his career, taking all of his artistic risks and thematic ambitions and combining them into a single motion picture. Read more on Circuit Consideration: Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life…
December 28, 2011
In 1992 my wife and I went out to a movie, our first since the birth of our first child Aurora. We were nervous about leaving the baby with a sitter, but knew that this had to happen at some point, so we took the plunge. Sherri had always gone to the movies with me, press screenings excepted of course, and I missed having her along with me. The film was Unforgiven (1992) and two hours later we emerged from the film looking at each other as though we had eaten something bad. Neither of us liked the film very much, and voiced this to each other all the way home. But then for the next week, I could not stop thinking about the movie, the little moments, the performances, the many layers of the deceptively simplistic screenplay that contained enormous depth. Eastwood’s superb performance, Hackman’s terrifying Little Bill, all weighed on my mind. Oddly enough, Sherri had also been thinking about the film so we decided to go and give it another try.
December 17, 2011
Oscar Predictions have been updated!
I’ve come, I saw, well, I didn’t conquer but I feel comfortable with the picks thus far. I’ve spent hours analyzing and looking at categories while trying to think like an AMPAS voter. The past eight days or so have presented many answers to questions we thought we knew the answer to. When looking at the Critics Choice, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and the two dozen critics’ awards that have announced their favorites for Year 2011, one thing remains clear. This is one of the most open races we’ve seen in years.
I hate using the word “lock” because as history has told us, AMPAS can “unlock” someone just as fast as we put them in. Think Paul Giamatti in “Sideways.” However, I feel comfortable using the word for a few films thus far. Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” is the clear favorite and the one to beat. It has the Oscar flair that they love and the critics have taken to it in a big way as well. I still feel the same way about it that I did when I first saw it and that means something. “Slumdog Millionaire” which had the same effect on many critics, including myself, aged very poorly and looking back, not necessarily the best film of the year. Not by a long shot. Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” has made a strong showing. George Clooney is working his magic and has encountered many awards along the way. It doesn’t hurt that he also directed and starred in “The Ides of March,” a film not locked by any means despite the Golden Globe nomination. Steven Spielberg’s great epic “War Horse” has everything that Oscar loves. While it doesn’t carry a strong showing on the performance front, the story alone will get voters checking the film off.
Categories: Editor, Oscar Circuit, Oscar Predictions
Tags: Beginners, Berenice Bejo, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, best picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer, Drive, George Clooney, Glenn Close, Hugo, jean dujardin, Jessica Chastain, Martin Scorsese, Michel Hazanavicius, Moneyball, Oscar Circuit, oscar predictions, Oscars, the artist, The Descendants, The Help, Viola Davis
November 14, 2011
Though I suspect the Best Director category will be overflowing with talent this year, and the usual group of excellent achievements left out, there is a strong possibility Woody Allen could land a nomination as Best Director. It has been a long time since Woody Allen has won the Oscar as Best Director, not since his film Annie Hall (1977) though he has been oft nominated through the years including Interiors (1978), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and Bullets Over Broadway (1994). There should have been nominations for Manhattan (1979), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) and Match Point (2005), perhaps even Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) as well, but other directors slipped in ahead of Allen. While there have been times through the years he fell out of favor with film critics and audiences, when he’s on he’s on, and no one does what he does better. Indeed there have been some terrible films, but with the average of a film a year, sometimes two, they are not all going to be brilliant, how could they be?? He is among the most nominated screenwriters in film history, and remains a comedic icon now in his seventies with an uncanny ability in writing for women. His move away from New York and the United States to make his films seems to have revived him and brought a new freshness to his work that was fading through the nineties. The decision was largely economical, as Allen found it easier to get funding outside of America for his work, but the new surroundings and culture have had a positive effect on the demanding filmmaker, bringing to his films a new energy, and in some cases, a darker Woody Allen. HIs brilliant Match point (2005) was totally unexpected from Allen, the sort of film that had been suggested in Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) but never had the killing been front and centre as part of the story. This was a dark and nasty film about getting away with murder, and though Martin Landau did the same in the 1989 film, we knew he would be forever haunted by what he had done, while the Jonathan Rhys Meyer character could not care less, and had already moved on when he pulled the trigger.
November 11, 2011
Okay, so in perhaps my worst Weekend Openings yet, I predicted that Brett “rehearsing is for fags” Ratner’s Tower Heist would be “the guaranteed hit of the weekend.” Looks like my crystal ball was broken last week, or more likely I just foolishly underestimated the power of an animated cat with a Spanish accent. Not this time. Puss in Boots will probably hold on to the top spot a third time this Veteran’s Day weekend (though with my luck it’ll tumble now).
The most successful new release will most likely be Immortals. Or, at least it had better be, because dear god America will be lost forever if the other one grosses more. Declaring war on humanity, King Hyperion searches for a weapon that would free the Titans and take revenge on the Gods who imprisoned them. The Gods select as humanity’s champion Theseus to stop the king of Crete. The only interesting thing about this sword-and-sandals epic to me is that it’s from the visually creative Tarsem Singh, who at least will guarantee some great eye candy. Critics are once again dazzled by his impressionistic aesthetic but are less enthused about the film’s shameless style-over-substance. I’m going to predict an $18-23 million opening, and if Immortals ends up on the high side of that, it could be looking at Oscar nominations for Art Direction, Sound, Costume Design and/or Visual Effects. Read more on Weekend Openings (November 11-13)…
Categories: Weekend Openings
Tags: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Documentary Feature, Best Foreign Language Film, best picture, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, Clint Eastwood, Immortals, Into The Abyss, J. Edgar, Jack And Jill, Kirsten Dunst, Lars von Trier, Leonardo DiCaprio, London Boulevard, Melancholia, Oscar hopefuls, Tarsem Singh, Weekend Openings, Werner Herzog
Author: Michael Ward
October 7, 2011
Oscar nominated filmmaker Jason Reitman directs Oscar winner Charlize Theron in “Young Adult”, written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody. Reitman and Cody collaborated on the memorable comedy “Juno” and are generating Oscar buzz with this project. Check it out after the jump!
September 23, 2011
Yet another potential Oscar contender is hitting theaters this weekend, along with something for kids, dudes, and well, girls who are on Team Jacob at least:
The Oscar contender, of course, is the sports drama Moneyball, telling the true story of how a manager for the Oakland A’s reinvented professional baseball. Based on the reviews, we could be seeing nominations for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay on the way for Bennett Miller’s follow-up to Capote. Critics (including our own John H. Foote) have been hailing this film as a smart, crackling behind-the-scenes drama that turns the sports genre on its head. Online buzz for this is surprisingly strong and Pitt is still a reliable draw for mainstream audiences, so I’ll predict a strong $17-22 million opening. Read more on Weekend Openings (September 23-25)…
Categories: Weekend Openings
Tags: based on a true story, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Documentary Feature, best picture, Best Supporting Actor, Brad Pitt, Chris Evans, Dolphin Tale, Gerard Butler, Killer Elite, Machine Gun Preacher, Marc Forster, Moneyball, Oscar contender, Oscar hopeful, Puncture, Taylor Lautner, Thunder Soul, Weekend Openings
September 18, 2011
Categories: Circuit Round-Up
Tags: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, best picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Circuit Round-Up, Citizen Kane, Drive, emmy awards, golden globe predictions, oscar predictions, The Awards Circuit Staff, Toronto International Film Festival, Zooey Deschanel
Author: Joey Magidson
September 15, 2011
Continuing an annual tradition for me here at The Awards Circuit, this is part two in my series of articles that deal with how to rank the chances of the various catergories of Oscar contenders. This one is an early grouping of the hopefuls for Best Director, categorizing them by their assumed likelihood of a nomination. A few things to keep an eye for this particular category is that a lot will have to do with which films get nominated for Best Picture. When there were only 5 nominees, the chances for directors who don’t see their film get nominated were not out of the question. The “lone director” nod happened quite often. When the switch was made to 10 nominees, that all but eliminated the lone director. Now, with the switch to anywhere from 5 to 10 nominees, it keeps the idea of the lone director alive, though it’s going to be unlikely. Not impossible, mind you…but I wouldn’t count on seeing it much. Well, that’s enough prep…let’s dive right in!