universal-pictures-100th-anniversary-logo1With A24 Films landing first with their awards site, Universal Pictures has revealed their entire slate on their own. With a record breaking year at the box office, they have plenty to consider this year and they’ll be focusing on making sure those films are getting the proper citation from the Academy and guild members.  

They seem to have a unique amount of prestige and popcorn flair, which may result in some surprising mentions throughout the season.  Last year they came up short in the major categories with Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken” and Tate Taylor’s “Get on Up.”  This year, more than ever, they’re determined to grab the prestigious Best Picture prize and they may just have the one (or two) to do it.

Let’s look at their lineup:



  • Furious 7” – dir. James Wan
    FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Best Picture (Neal H. Moritz p.g.a., Vin DieselMichael Fottrell), Best Director (James Wan), Best Actor (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker), Best Supporting Actor (Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham), Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel), Best Adapted Screenplay (Chris Morgan; Based on Characters Created by Gary Scott Thompson), Best Cinematography (Stephen F. Windon ACS, Marc Spicer ACS), Best Film Editing (Christian Wagner, Dylan Highsmith, Kirk Morri, Leigh Folsom Boyd), Best Production Design (Bill Brzeski, Production Designer, Danielle Berman, Set Decorator), Best Costume Design (Sanja Milkovic Hays), Best Makeup and Hairstyling (James MacKinnon, Department Head Makeup, Sarah Mays, Autumn Butler, Key Makeup Artists, Linda Flowers, Jennifer Santiago, Department Heads Hair, Lisa Wilson, Andrea Brotherton, Hairstylists), Best Sound Mixing (Whit Norris, Mark Weingarten, Production Sound Mixers, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Re-Recording Mixers), Best Sound Editing (Peter Brown, Sound Design and Supervision), Best Visual Effects (Michael J. Wassel, Kelvin McIlwain, Visual Effects Supervisors, Joe Letteri, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Dan Sudick, SPFX Coordinator), Best Original Score (Brian Tyler), Best Original Song (“See You Again” – Written by Justin Franks, Andrew Cedar, Charlie Puth, Cameron Thomaz, Performed by Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth)

How much is a large box office really worth to Academy members?  Vin Diesel went on record earlier this year saying that “Furious 7” would “sweep the Oscars.”  I’m sure the excitement of the film hitting theaters overcame him but the film performed very well not just at the box office but critically.  While a run in the major categories is certainly not in the cards, the tech branches have plenty to admire from the Sound Mixing to Sound Editing, and perhaps even a Visual Effects play.  Even something like Film Editing isn’t completely out of the question but the film’s strongest chances will be for the hit song, “See You Again.”  Not really since the 1980’s, have so many chart-topping songs from movies have been in serious contention for an Academy Award.  The song is extremely moving, considering the loss of the film’s star Paul Walker in 2013, and best of all, its something that gets the mass audiences watching.  Who wouldn’t want to see Wiz Khalifa win an Academy Award?  



  • Jurassic World” – dir. Colin Trevorrow
    FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Best Picture (Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley), Best Director (Colin Trevorrow), Best Actor (Chris Pratt), Best Actress (Bryce Dallas Howard), Best Supporting Actor (Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Irrfan Khan), Best Supporting Actress (Judy Greer), Best Adapted Screenplay (Screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow, Story by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver; Based on Characters Created by Michael Crichton), Best Cinematography (John Schwartzman ASC), Best Film Editing (Kevin Stitt ACE), Best Production Design (Edward Verreaux, Production Designer, Ron Reiss, Set Decorator), Best Costume Design (Daniel Orlandi), Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Vivian Baker, Makeup Department Head, Melanie Deforrest, Key Makeup Artist, Mary Mastro, Hair Department Head, Peter Tothpal, Key Hairstylist), Best Sound Mixing (Kirk Francis, Production Sound Mixer, Christopher Boyes, Pete Horner, Re-Recording Mixers), Best Sound Editing (Al Nelson, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Supervising Sound Editors), Best Visual Effects (Tim Alexander, Visual Effects Supervisor, Glen McIntosh, Visual Effects Animation Supervisor, Tony Plett, Co-Visual Effects Supervisor, Michael Meinardus, Special Effects Supervisor), Best Original Score (Michael Giacchino)

Surpassing “The Avengers” as the third highest grossing film of all-time has to carry a little weight this year.  The beloved franchise was embraced by audiences, and even some of the nation’s top critics.   A major category run will next to impossible but as always, the technical merits of the film will be ripe for the picking.  The sound branches will have plenty to consider with the creation of new dinosaur roars while the Visual Effects branch will have this near the top of their lists surely.  I’d go as far to say its a serious threat for the win that category.  Hats off to Universal Pictures for listing all the actors in their respective categories.  Performances from a film such as this is near impossible but we can always admire the studio that gives them their proper listing.


  • Minions” – dir. Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda
    FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Best Picture (Chris Meledandri p.g.a., Janet Healy p.g.a.), Best Director (Pierre Coffin and Kyle Palda), Best Actress (Sandra Bullock), Best Supporting Actor (Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Geoffrey Rush, Pierre Coffin), Best Supporting Actress (Allison Janney, Jennifer Saunders), Best Adapted Screenplay (Brian Lynch), Best Film Editing (Claire Dodgson), Best Production Design (Eric Guillon, Production and Character Designer, Olivier Adam, Art Director), Best Sound Mixing (Christopher Scarabosio, Sound Designer, Gary A. Rizzo, Christopher Scarabosio, Re-Recording Mixers), Best Sound Editing (Dennis Leonard, Supervising Sound Editor), Best Visual Effects (Frank Baradat, Antonin Seydoux, Computer Graphics Supervisors, Nicolas Brack, Lighting & Compositing Supervisor, Milo Riccarand, Effects Supervisor), Best Original Score (Heitor Pereira)

The prequel to the loved “Despicable Me” and “Despicable Me 2” was a money-making sensation this past summer, taking in more $333 million at the domestic box office.  The film’s reception however, was split among critics.  Nonetheless, a strong campaign and push from Universal may ensure a slot for the film in Animated Feature, which coincidentally is NOT listed (I’m sure that will change momentarily).  Another batch of kudos to Universal for listing for the voice actors under their respective categories.  In the near future, we’re either going to need a category that solely recognizes voice and motion capture work (which I’m ALL FOR) or they need to be given serious consideration alongside other performances from the film year.


  • Trainwreck” – dir. Judd Apatow
    FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Best Picture (Judd Apatow p.g.a., Barry Mendel p.g.a.), Best Director (Judd Apatow), Best Actor (Bill Hader), Best Actress (Amy Schumer), Best Supporting Actor (Dave Attell, Mike Birbiglia, John Cena, LeBron James, Norman Lloyd, Ezra Miller, Colin Quinn), Best Supporting Actress (Vanessa Bayer, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton), Best Original Screenplay (Amy Schumer), Best Cinematography (Jody Lee Lipes), Best Film Editing (William Kerr ACE, Paul Zucker), Best Production Design (Kevin Thompson, Production Designer, Debra Schutt, Set Decorator), Best Costume Design (Leesa Evans), Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Kyra Panchenko, Makeup Department Head, Maya Hardinge, Key Makeup Artist, Alan DâAngerio, Hairstylist Department Head, Stanley Tines, Key Hairstylist), Best Sound Mixing (Tom Nelson, Production Sound Mixer, Marc Fishman, Chris Carpenter, Re-Recording Mixers), Best Sound Editing (George Anderson, Supervising Sound Editor), Best Original Score (Jon Brion)

DOWNLOAD THE SCRIPT>>>http://www.universalpicturesawards.com/site-content/uploads/2015/08/Trainwreck-Final-Script.pdf

The popularity of Amy Schumer at this moment is spilling over from our television screens, Emmy wins, and countless other future projects that many are just excited for.  “Trainwreck” emerged from the summer with a strong box office, taking in just under $110 million domestically.  On the precursor circuit, “Trainwreck” should find some notices along the way at any organization that rewards comedies (i.e. Golden Globes, Critics Choice Movie Awards, etc.).  As a matter of fact, Schumer herself should easily land among the nominees for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical by the HFPA, perhaps even a frontrunner for the prize if contenders like BFFL Jennifer Lawrence and Lily Tomlin fall by the wayside.  I’d even say Tilda Swinton may be a dark horse for a nomination from the same group.  Outside of that, the film’s genre bias will hold it back from serious contention in other categories.  This is coming from the person who genuinely believes that supporting players John Cena and Brie Larson deliver outstanding performances.  


  • Straight Outta Compton” – dir. F. Gary Gray
    FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Best Picture (Ice Cube p.g.a., Matt Alvarez p.g.a., F. Gary Gray p.g.a., Scott Bernstein p.g.a.), Best Director (F. Gary Gray), Best Supporting Actor (Jason Mitchell, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Corey Hawkins, Paul Giamatti), Best Original Screenplay (Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff, Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff), Best Cinematography (Matthew Libatique ASC), Best Film Editing (Billy Fox ACE, Michael Tronick ACE), Best Production Design (Shane Valentino, Production Designer, Christopher Carlson, Set Decorator), Best Costume Design (Kelli Jones), Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Debra Denson, Beverly Jo Pryor, Department Heads Makeup, Tena Austin, Key Makeup Artist, Andrea Jackson, Department Head Hair, Corey Hill, Roddy Stayton, Key Hairstylists), Best Sound Mixing (Willie Burton CAS, Production Sound Mixer, Jon Taylor, Frank A. MontÃo, Re-Recording Mixers), Best Sound Editing (Mark P. Stoeckinger, Greg Hedgepath MPSE, Supervising Sound Editors), Best Visual Effects (Bernhard Kimbacher, Visual Effects Supervisor, Eric Rylander, Special Effects Supervisor), Best Original Score (Joseph Trapenese)

What an interesting yet smart choice to campaign all the men from F. Gary Gray’s summer hit in the supporting categories.  As one that sees it as a three-lead story, I’m glad they opted for ensemble, as that’s the only honest way to sell it.  With that said, a serious campaign is gearing up for Jason Mitchell as “Eazy E,” the film’s true standout who delivers one of the year’s most sensational turns.  In a category that has showed its colors as tremendously competitive, Supporting Actor should be happy to welcome a newcomer like Mitchell to the fray.  His work sings, and still stands out from any other performances this year.  The film itself, is another quality and compelling piece from a filmmaker who doesn’t get enough credit.  “Straight Outta Compton” may have glossed over some of the real life events of N.W.A., but as stand alone piece of cinema, its among the year’s very best.  After snubs for films like “Selma” in major categories last year, the Academy should be looking to rectify its wrong by embracing quality black cinema in a major way.  “Straight Outta Compton” is a fine choice.  Oh yeah, the box office was huge, landing at the top of the charts for three weeks in a row.  Just more reason to give it a shot.  Technical branches may be able to find citations for Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and maybe Film Editing, as those seem like appropriate places to check the film off.  Personally, the score by Joseph Trapenese and camera work by Matthew Libatique were well worth noting but may have an uphill climb.


  • Steve Jobs” – dir. Danny Boyle
    FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: None listed yet (just synopsis)

The film is about to premiere at the New York Film Festival in a matter of hours (at this time of writing).  Look for the film to have a major push and campaign mounted for just about every category.  

Will return when updated.


  • Legend” – dir. Brian Helegand
    FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Best Picture (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Chris Clark, Quentin Curtis, Brian Oliver), Best Director (Brian Helegand), Best Actor (Tom Hardy), Best Actress (Emily Browning), Best Original Screenplay (Written by Brian Helgeland), Best Cinematography (Dick Pope BSC), Best Film Editing (Peter McNulty), Best Production Design (Tom Conroy, Production Designer, Crispian Sallis, Set Decorator), Best Costume Design (Caroline Harris), Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Christine Blundell, Make-up and Hair Designer, Lesa Warrener, Senior Hair & Make-up Artist, Chloe Meddings, Hair & Make-up Artist, Audrey Doyle, Make-up Artist), Best Sound Mixing (Danny Hambrook, Production Sound Mixer, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Mark Taylor, Re-Recording Mixers), Best Sound Editing (Dominic Gibbs, Supervising Sound Editor), Best Visual Effects (Adam Rowland, Visual Effects Supervisor, Christoph Unger, Digital Matte Painter, Jim Parsons, Visual Effects Compositing Supervisor), Best Original Score (Carter Burwell)

DOWNLOAD THE SCRIPT>>>http://www.universalpicturesawards.com/film/legend/#

Academy Award winner Brian Helegand’s “Legend” walked out of the Toronto Film Festival with mixed praise, leaving Tom Hardy as a possibility for a campaign run.  With a period piece, “Legend” may find wiggle room in Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, and possibly one or both of the sounds.  Hardy will have another turn in “The Revenant” that will eat up some of the attention but if that doesn’t live up to the hype, Hardy may find traction in a weak Lead Actor category.


  • By the Sea” – dir. Angelina Jolie Pitt
    FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: All categories.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey” – dir. Sam Taylor-Johnson
    FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Best Original Song

    “Earned It” from FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
    Songwriters: Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd), Stephan Moccio, Jason “DaHeala” Quenneville, Ahmad Belshe (aka Belly)
    Performed by: The Weeknd
    “Love Me Like You Do” from FIFTY SHADES OF GREY 
    Songwriters: Max Martin, Savan Kotecha, Ali Payami, Ilya Salmanzadeh
    Performed by: Ellie Goulding
    “Salted Wound” from FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
    Songwriters: Brian West, Gerald Eaton, Sia Furler, Oliver Kraus 
    Performed by: Sia 
  • Pitch Perfect 2” – dir. Elizabeth Banks
    FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Best Original Song

    “Flashlight” from PITCH PERFECT 2 
    Songwriters: Sia Furler, Sam Smith, Christian Guzman, Jason Moore 
    Performed by: Hailee Steinfeld
  • Ted 2” – dir. Seth MacFarlane
    FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Best Original Song

    “Mean Ol’ Moon” from TED 2 
    Songwriters: Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane 
    Performed by: Amanda Seyfried 
  • Jem and the Holograms” – dir. Jon M. Chu
    FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Best Original Song

    “Youngblood” from JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS
    Songwriters: Fran Hall, Martin Johnson, Anjulie Persaud

What do you think of the Universal Pictures lineup?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!




  1. Well, they certainly have a lot of money to throw around when it comes to awards campaigns, that’s for sure. I’m curious to see if more of Universal’s films can sneak into other less likely categories as a result. Historically speaking, money isn’t always something a film needs to succeed during awards season, but if Universal can, for instance, get Furious 7 into a Film Editing lineup, or Jason Mitchell a Supporting Actor nod, then maybe this year could serve as an interesting metric for what campaign budgets can mean during awards season. Just a thought.

    Also, look at that Original Song lineup! Between Furious 7, Fifty Shades of Grey, Ted 2, Jem and the Holograms, and Pitch Perfect 2, Universal seems to own half of the original songs in contention. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 2 or even 3 of these songs make it nomination morning.

    At this point, I see Furious 7 and Jurassic World getting 4-2 tech nods each, with See You Again virtually a lock. Minions and Legend aren’t likely to go anywhere. I can see a scenario where Trainwreck pulls a ‘Bridesmaids’ and makes it into Original Screenplay. Straight Outta Compton is tough to pin down, because outside of Sound Mixing, I’m not sure if the competition will allow Mitchell (or any of his co-stars for that matter) to crack a lineup. What he needs is something substantial along the lines of a Golden Globe nod in Supporting, maybe a Critics Choice mention, or even just a SAG ensemble nomination for the film.

    And of course, you can bet Steve Jobs is ready to make a dent this season. For now, I have it winning Adapted Screenplay and getting in for Picture/Director etc. And I also subscribe to the notion that Rogen could pull a Franco/Hill should enough precursors claim he is worthy. Yep, it looks like Universal will continue to have a stellar year, right into awards season.

    • I think Furious 7 might have an opportunity to get Paul Walker into the best supporting actor category and original song at this point looks like a win. Straight Outta Compton would get in with Harvey weinstein´s dirty tricks but with Universal it seems kinda difficult since they already have Steve Jobs as near lock. I think Rogen doesnt have that much of a chance but Jonah managed to make it last time when Bruhl and Gandalfini seemed like safer choices so who knows. Trainwreck will get a lot of help from the Golden Globes so it might get there.

      • I agree that Universal will likely be firing the Steve Jobs awards machine on all cylinders. That said, it’s likely that they will put most of their effort just fighting to get Rogen in, and Mitchell might suffer because of it.

        Also, though I don’t think the Academy will seriously put Paul Walker in a lineup, it feels like the song will sort of act as Walker’s Academy recognition by proxy, if that makes any sense. I currently have the song winning in my predictions as well.

        • Yeah. They could really use the argument of equality but the academy will have Carol and The Danish Girl so they will feel like they have done their job with just those two. They also have Sam L Jackson who would make a lot more sense.

      • I think Furious 7 might have an opportunity to get Paul Walker into the best supporting actor category

        Oh, come on. There is zero chance of this happening.

        • Like I said if Universal was in the same spot as Paramount was a copule of months ago where they had nothing to do except MI5 they could have really pushed it. But since they have Steve Jobs they wont.

  2. “What an interesting yet smart choice to campaign all the men from F. Gary Gray’s summer hit in the supporting categories.”

    If by “interesting” you mean “disgusting” and by “smart” you mean “blatantly dishonest and unfair to actual supporting actors,” yes I completely agree.

    • You must be new to this, everybody does it. Everyone came to terms with it a long time ago, complaining abouyt it is pointless.

          • Well, I really don’t share your defeatism. Which is good, because if I did, I probably would have never been offered a staff writer position here. And I likely would have been fired from my day job by now.

            • Do you think if I had some kind off “defeatism” I would be working to pay myself a college, and french clases so that I can study communications even though I live in a third world country which barely gives any support for those kind of careers (Mexico)? Making some comment in some internet page wont do much. To make a change we would really need to stop watching the awards or giving a boost to the movies they nominate, and we wont get people to support us by just saying its “disgusting” or “dishonest and unfair” because lets be honest, they wont care. We need to actually bring arguments like the fact that it damages the quality of the films being produced, that winning an academy award gives the winners the opportunity to make more and better films. Just complaining doesnt do a damn thing.

              • This attitude is absurd. You can express displeasure if you don’t like something. It’s called an opinion. Many, many, people don’t like category fraud. Why should they not be allowed to say that?

                  • And I’m saying that’s a ridiculous view to have. It’s called voicing an opinion. Has every single thing you’ve ever said in your life changed something? Doubt it.

                    • Yes and you considering my opinion ridculous is something that I dont mind, you have a right to say and I dont need to judge you because of it. The fact that I respect it doesnt mean that I have to agree with you, by saying I dont Im also expressing my opinion and you writing it on the internet means that youre ok with that also.
                      What I dont understand this is why just because I thought he´s opinion wasnt good the other guy pretty much implied that he was better than me. Like saying he has a good job and success just because he doesnt have defeatism in one aspect of life when he probably has it in other just like everyone else. We all think theres stuff thats pointless but acting like your views on the world make you a better person than someone who doesnt share them is pretty obtuse.

  3. Just so you know, both A24 and Universal have added another film to their lineup. A24 has ‘Remember’ and Universal has ‘Home’


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