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Posts tagged ‘Birdman’

A.C.E. announce! The Importance of Editing to Oscar

Nightcrawler 2The A.C.E. or the Eddies, the Editing organization that the public may not know about, but the industry sure does, just announced their nominees and this year in their two film categories there were 11(!) nominations.  Six in Drama and Five in Musical/Comedy, like the Golden Globes. There was a tie in the Drama category, but they’re not saying who or which film. Including “Nightcrawler”, they were “Gone Girl,” “Boyhood”, “Imitation Game” and “Whiplash.” And the also surprising last minute, late comer to the race,  Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.”

The importance of editing as the central or key aspect in film-making today and in the awards season race, can not be underestimated. And also, no Best Picture has won without at least an Eddie nomination, Which is bad news for “Selma”.

If I had it to do over again, I’d study film-editing myself. Sometimes you feel like you’ve missed your calling and I think about trying to start to learn how to edit everyday. But I digress…

The guilds are the first REAL sample of how the industry is feeling this year about the Oscars. All the other awards so far are mainly voted on by CRITICS! And there are NO critics or press in the Academy.

There ARE press agents, but they only are allowed to nominate five pictures for Best Film, as one small for instance. When the nominations are announced they THEN get to vote in all the categories, but this is Phase I, the nomination phase. In fact, Academy members are nominating right now as we speak.

And next to the VAST Actor’s Branch, the second branch that really has a say, I think, is the Editor’s Branch. Not all the members of A.C.E. are IN the editors branch, by the way, but it’s a pretty good indicator.

And what’s surprising about today’s announcements, is what was left in that wasn’t expected, like for instance “Nightcrawler” (on my year’s 10 Best List for sure) and also the late opening Clint Eastwood “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper.

Nobody expected either of them to make it and that means they may make it into the Best Picture race at the Oscars. Left out was “Selma”. Which is kind of shocking, with all the supposed momentum that is building for it. But maybe it’s not. Also left out, I’m sorry to say was my fave “The Theory of Everything.” Watch for the Oscar nominations to correct that in two weeks.

But Jake Gyllenhaal has started really picking up nomination speed with nods from the Golden Globes, SAG, and the Broadcast Film Critics. And now this.”Nightcrawler” has LEGS! As many legs as a centipede, it seems.

http://www.hitfix.com has the rest with spirited analysis by their great Kris Tapley and Gregory Ellwood. The complete list is there.

And on Monday, the Producer’s Guild is set to announced its’ list of ten nominees for Best Picture. The PGA as it’s called was the first group to vote for “The King’s Speech,” when they voted for their winner that year when everyone else up to that point was going “The Social Network,” a film that I STILL intensely dislike. I still think of it as “The Joy of Typing.”

The PGA even more than the A.C.E. Eddies are ALLLL mostly Academy Members. They have ten slots and use a preferential ballot, like the Oscars do.

So films that are on the edge of the Oscar bubble, like for instance “Gone Girl,” “Nightcrawler”, “American Sniper,” “Unbroken,” “Into the Woods”, “A Most Violent Year” or “Whiplash” will find their hopes either raised or dashed on Monday.

I think frontrunners like “Boyhood”, “Birdman”, “Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” will all be on the Producer’s List. And “Selma”, too, even though it was left off the A.C.E. Eddie’s today.

Never underestimate the importance of film editors. They silently run the show, and year after year do great unsung work that is respected and admired by the industry. These are the first voters we’ve heard from who REALLY count.

So who do these Eddie Nods help? For sure, Jake Gyllenhaal’s bid to get in to the extremely tight Best Actor Oscar race. It could help give “Nightcrawler” Best Picture cred, too. And don’t forget the wonderful 60-year-old-but-still-glamourous Rene Russo, who could get swept into the Supporting Actress race. Why not? She certainly deserves it.

And what of Bradley Cooper and “American Sniper”? Well, we shall see what we shall see.

 

 

 

Broadcast Film Critics Nominations Announced

 

The Broadcast Film Critics, sometimes known as the Critics Choice Awards announced this AM and “Birdman”(13 nominations),Budapest 1 then “The Grand Budapest Hotel”(11) led the pack followed by, of course, “Boyhood”(8).

The most interesting thing is that Steve Carrell was snubbed for Best Actor for “Foxcatcher” in a field of six actors! As I prediceted BTW. And “Foxcatcher” also did not make it in to the Best Picture category in a field of ten…very big blow to its’ Oscar chances, which now seem limited to Mark Ruffalo in Supporting Actor, who did nominated.

However, Marion Cotillard DID make it into Best Actress and Tilda Swinton was in in Supporting Actress for “Snowpiercer.” Again both in a field of six.

Also left out of Best Picture was “Into the Woods” but Meryl Streep was IN in Supporting Actress. I’m seeing tonight and will give a full report back.

Also “Gone Girl” was in as was “Nightcrawler.” The Broadcast Film Critics are considered the MOST predictive of the Oscar precursors, but they’re muddying the waters a bit with their fields of six nominees in many categories where they Oscars, of course only have five

BEST PICTURE
Birdman
Boyhood
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Nightcrawler
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Unbroken
Whiplash

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

For complete list see http://www.awardsdaily.com

N’tional B’d of Review Announces. Who does it help? Jessica Chastain, that’s who!

Most Violent Year 1The National Board of Review announced its’ award-winners today, and they had some shocking results. Namely that “A Most Violent Year” was named Best Picture. and Oscar Isaac was named Best Actor (in a tie with Michael Keaton for “Birdman”) and “AMVY” also won Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Chastain.

Julianne Moore won again(as she did last night at the Gothams) Best Actress for “Still Alice,” and that makes both actress winners red-heads, which delights me, being a ginger myself.

You can read the entire list below, but it does make you gasp. They really are an all-over-the-place kind of honor. And a lot is also based on making sure they have every distributor on the planet, or the Oscar Planet as Sasha Stone so aptly puts it, represented somehow so THEY CAN SELL THEM A TABLE at their shindig in early Jan.

The only place that these wacky awards really matter this year in terms of influence, I think, is in the very weak field, Best Supporting Actress for  Jessica Chastain, who also has “Interstellar” in the mix, but oddly, the NBR didn’t mention that film ANYWHERE. Not even including it in Chastain’s work for this year.

I do think this does send her to H’wood AGAIN this year for her third nomination, where she will undoubtedly lose to Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood.” But a nomination I think now is in the bag for the always- worthy JC.

I can’t say the same for Oscar Isaac, whom I greatly admire. He really got suckered last year with the lack of response to his great work in “Inside Llewyn Davis.” And with the Oscar gridlock in the Best Actor category looking like rush-hour on a LA free-way. I hope he can break in. But I doubt it.

But it’s interesting that the one main category that is more than slightly fluid is Best Actor! Michael Keaton you’re on shaky ground! Where on Monday, Timothy Spall won the New York Film Critics for “Mr. Turner,” and then last night, only yesterday, Keaton did win Best Actor at the Gothams for “Birdman.” And now, today, Tuesday, he has to share it with young Oscar Isaac, which can’t make the Birdman happy.

Happy today would be former Juilliard class-mates Chastain and Isaac. It’s like a dream come true for them, I’m so sure.

See the complete list of the NBR annual mess at AwardsDaily.com, Sasha’s great Oscar site.

http://www.awardsdaily.com/blog/2014/12/national-board-of-review-names-xxx-best-film-of-2014/

 

 

Independent Spirit Awards Announced, No “Imitation Game,”No “Wild”, No Reese

Tilda 2Marion Oscar1Birdman 1The Independent Spirit Awards were announced this morning in L.A. No surprise that “Birdman” & “Boyhood” did very well, but “Selma” which STILL is in post-production broke through in several categories. However, the TWC’s big awards player “The Imitation Game” was nowhere to be seen!

Some faves of mine did pop up. Tilda Swinton, who is being honored at the Gothams here in NYC on Monday and Marion Cotillard. Both were nominated for Best Actress for “Only Lovers Left Alive” and “The Immigrant.” Would that Mlle. Marion could crack the OSCAR best actress race for ANOTHER incredible performance in the Belgian film “Two Days, One Night” which was another of her incredible performances in French. C’est la Vie! C’est la Guerre!

However, I was NOT surprised to see that neither “Wild” nor its’ leading lady, Reese Witherspoon turned up. It was a VERY tedious film. I watched the whole damn thing and STILL didn’t know why she was doing all that hiking. No Laura Dern in Supporting either for “Wild.” So not only was “Imitiation Game” shut out, “Wild” was, too!

Shut in, IOW, nominated also in as many categories as “Boyhood” was Jake Gyllenhaal’s marvelously creepy “Nightcrawler.” Yay!

THx to Hitfix for the list!

See the full list of nominations below:

Best Feature
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
“Boyhood”
“Love is Strange”
“Selma”
“Whiplash”

Best Director
Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”
Ava DuVernay, “Selma”
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
David Zellner, “Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter”

Best Screenplay
Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, “Big Eyes”
J.C. Chandor, “A Most Violent Year”
Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”
Jim Jarmusch, “Only Lovers Left Alive”
Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias, “Love is Strange”

Best First Feature
Ana Lily Amirpour, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”
Justin Simien, “Dear White People”
Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”
Gillian Robespierre, “Obvious Child”
Anja Marquardt, “She’s Lost Control”

Best First Screenplay
Desiree Akhavan, “Appropriate Behavior”
Sara Colangelo, “Little Accidents”
Justin Lader, “The One I Love”
Anja Marquardt, “She’s Lost Control”
Justin Simien, “Dear White People”

John Cassavetes Award
Jeremy Saulnier, “Blue Ruin”
Eliza Hittman, “It Felt Like Love”
Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens, “Land Ho!”
Dave Boyle, “Man From Reno”
Chris Mason Johnson, “Test”

Best Female Lead
Marion Cotillard, “The Immigrant”
Rinko Kikuchi, “Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Jenny Slate, “Obvious Child”
Tilda Swinton, “Only Lovers Left Alive”

Best Male Lead
André Benjamin, “Jimi: All Is By My Side”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
John Lithgow, “Love is Strange”
David Oyelowo, “Selma”

Best Supporting Female
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”
Carmen Ejogo, “Selma”
Andrea Suarez Paz, “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors”
Emma Stone, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Best Supporting Male
Riz Ahmed, “Nightcrawler”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Alfred Molina, “Love is Strange”
Edward Norton, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Best Cinematography
Darius Khondji, “The Immigrant”
Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Sean Porter, “It Felt Like Love”
Lyle Vincent, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”
Bradford Young, “Selma”

Best Editing  
Sandra Adair, “Boyhood”
Tom Cross, “Whiplash”
John Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”
Ron Patane, “A Most Violent Year”
Adam Wingard, “The Guest”

Best Documentary
Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, “20,000 Days on Earth”
Laura Poitras, “CITIZENFOUR”
Debra Granik, “Stray Dog”
Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders, “The Salt of the Earth”
Orlando von Einsiedel, “Virunga”

Best International Film
Ruben Östlund, “Force Majeure”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Ida”
Andrey Zvyagintsev, “Leviathan”
Xavier Dolan, “Mommy”
Lav Diaz, “Norte, the End of History”
Jonathan Glazer, “Under the Skin”

Robert Altman Award
“Inherent Vice”

Special Distinction Award
“Foxcatcher”

Piaget Producers Award
Chad Burris
Elisabeth Holm
Chris Ohlson

Someone to Watch Award
Ana Lily Amirpour, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”
Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia  , “H.”
Chris Eska, “The Retrieval”

Truer Than Fiction Award
Amanda Rose Wilder, “Approaching the Elephant”
Darius Clark Monroe, “Evolution of a Criminal”
Dan Krauss, The Kill Team”
Sara Dosa, “The Last Season”
Read more at http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/birdman-boyhood-selma-lead-the-2015-independent-spirit-awards-nominations#v4s51biGLUv5lUet.99

Jeff Wells Admits Eddie Redmayne Could Beat Michael Keaton

Theory2Theory 1

Well, it had to happen. Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere, arguably the biggest supporter of “Birdman” now admits that yes, as I said all along since I saw it in Toronto, that Eddie Redmayne could very well topple Michael Keaton’s front-runner status for the Best Actor Oscar!

I couldn’t believe I was reading this because Jeffrey has been such a staunch admirer of Keaton, but all along I’ve been on Team Eddie!

What he has to do in “The Theory of Everything” as the severely crippled British genius Stephen Hawking in terms of the great Oscar determinator “Degree of Difficult” is off the charts amazing.

Disabilities, when they are as well and as feelingly portrayed as they are in “Theory of Everything,” are catnip to Academy voters and especially the dominant Actor’s Branch. But this will appeal across all branches.This film has Triumph of the Human Spirit written all over it.

It’s exhilarating. Inspirational to the max. When I think there’s something I can’t do these days, I just think of what that OTHER Stephen has had to go through all this life, and well, it just encourages me to struggle on.

And Jeff Wells writes about this feelingly in his latest posting, quoting David Denby’s elegiac, rapturous review of Redmayne’s performance in this week New Yorker.

Check out what Jeff had to say here at http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com

I never thought he’d admit it in print, but realist that Jeff is, he did.

I think the recently reconstituted Focus Features is doing this just right for Redmayne and “Theory,” just as I hoped they would.

There was a lovely piece on Redmayne and Felicity Jones, who plays his devoted wife, Jane,and who may also be in line for an Oscar Nomination of her own, in the New York Times, at just the right moment that it should be this past week.

This film is also an amazing love story on top of everything else. Based on Jane’s memoir, it is the story of both their battles, and her dedication to her husband in spite of EVERYTHING. Or because of EVERYTHING is just awe-inspiring. As is this film.

It’s hands down the Best Film of the Year, and I am so glad I saw it at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

If you put Stephen Hawking on the one hand and try to balance it on the other hand with a portrait of a self-absorbed asshole of an actor (Birdman) well, guess which way the awards’ scales tip?

Oscar Whisperings

Oscars 2Sometimes I hear things, Oscar-wise I mean. And I try to talk to as many members of the Academy that will speak to me about this.

So here’s the skinny. Whether I wanted to hear it or not. “Boyhood,” a film I frankly didn’t like, is WAAAAAAAAAAY out in front. So this is as an objective opinion as you’re gonna hear on this blog. I hoped this wouldn’t be true, wouldn’t be the case. But it seems it is. Despite IFC(the distributor)’s notorious lack of experience in landing an Oscar winner, “Boyhood”, like the film itself is out- lasting everything else so far.

And another funny thing. Patricia Arquette’s performance as the mother of the boy in question is the one female acting performance that is being discussed. She STILL could end up in the Best Actress category, not Supporting, if the Academy voters write her name down in that, the leading spot.

But it’s early days still.”Still Alice” and others have yet to hit the Academy’s radar, which always gets things LAST.The Academy has its’ own screenings for these films, remember.

“The Theory of Everything”, “Imitation Game”, and many many others have not really landed, as they say, yet.Same can be said of “Foxcatcher” and certainly, the other later entries still to come.Including the Big Musical “Into the Woods.”

And reviews count for a lot. And box-office for even more. If a film that is open and out in the world already isn’t really doing all that well, like for instance, “Whiplash”, it hurts its’ Oscar chances. Which in the Supporting Actor category, is its’ J.K.Simmons. All the acclaim means a nomination but not necessarily a win. More likely so far, as I’ve already noted is Edward Norton’s flamboyant turn in “Birdman,” but what happens if it, too, disappoints or flops, as it goes wide?

But I’m betting it doesn’t go wide til after the nominations are announced, which is January…

However, they WANT to give Michael Keaton an Oscar, no matter how many reservations this quirky film has with voters.It’s very negatory of big blockbuster films and LURVS the theater and New York, New York. Hwood isn’t a theater town.IT’s where they MAKE block-buster, comic-book hero films. Those people could be insulted or maybe not. They may think “Birdman” is dead on.

However, it’s insular quirkiness could lead to box-office falling off(A friend reported seeing it in a theater that only contained 12 audience members)could let Eddie Redmayne take the prize. He’s constantly being compared to Daniel Day-Lewis in “My Left Foot” and look what happened with that small British film!

“Instellar” has gotten trashed by the very critics whose support it needed stateside, but in the U.K. they loved it. But the U.K. isn’t where most Academy voters live. It’s here. And particularly in Los Angeles.

Oscar Chances of “Birdman” Yes? No?Maybe?

Dear Readers, dear cineastes, dear lovers of theatre, I don’t know quite what to say about “Birdman”. I liked it. It’s shot in my hood, the theater district in Manhattan. It’s all about the theater, But somehow it also seems quite critical of the theater. Not that the Academy would mind that at all. It’s also extremely critical of Hwood, too. “The Artist” is this not.

This was the film that got the most Oscar buzz and internet chatter going at the New York Film Festival so far this year.

Filmed almost entirely(it seems) at the St. James theater, which I overlook, I can’t believe it missed all this just going on right downstairs.

But the Academy will probably like this a lot. Especially the dominant Actor’s Branch. While it is critical of the theater, it revels in the Art of the Actor. And they will go for that hook, line and sinker. Or will they?

I think Michael Keaton is going to get nominated for Best Actor for sure. Having finally seen his performance, I can say that. But will he win? It’s a) a comedy and b) he’s got the stiffest competition imaginable this year in that category c) he’s playing a likable/unlikeable self-centered asshole.

The most likely winner out of the many nominations this film would seem to be heading towards is Edward Norton for Best Supporting Actor. His no-holes-barred, over-the-top(almost) hysterical depiction of a narcissistic theatre(with an re) actor may be the big award that “Birdman” gets. It may get nominated for Best Picture, and probably will. But it seems about nothing more(nor less) of the inside of his aging actor’s head. Keaton, I mean. The ego that eats everyone around it alive. It’s fun, but also not fun to see this. One moment I was screaming with upexpected laughter, the next I was gagging at its’ excesses…Call it stedicam nausea.

Emma Stone is also proably assured of her first Oscar nomination for playing Keaton’s smart, sexy,mouthy teenage daughter.Compare this to her tepid performance in Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight” where she seemed completely at sea. Innaritu really directed the hell out of his actors in this, and in a very good way.

But this film is filmed annoyingly in steadicam. It makes you dizzy, and it’s also a fantasy. And the ending is, well, equivocal, to put it spoiler-free.

I can see it losing to a film with more social relevance. Like for instance “The Theory of Everything” and I think it’s a battle for Best Actor between Eddie Redmayne’s superb Stephen Hawkings and Keaton’s aging asshole.. Redmaybe is young. That’s the only thing standing in his way.”Everything” is a triumphant movie in a big way. It’s uplifting. “Birdman” is icky. But it’s still fun…but…

“The Theory of Everything” is probably going to “My Left Foot” its’ way all the way to the Oscars. I thought that when I saw it at TIFF as they crowd went wild. And it’s NOT the terribly disjointed, depressing, but also socially relevant film that “Imitation Game” is. The Academy doesn’t vote Best Picture to gay films, which is what “Imitation Game” is. But Benedict Cumberbatch will be nominated. AND Keira Knightley, who will join Emma Stone in Best Supporting Actress. Which they will both lose to Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood.”

But I found”Birdman”  enjoyable  almost in spite of myself. It’s my kinda film.I love films about the theater. And I couldn’t identify more with the character’s quest to do great Art on Broadway.  But is it the Academy’s taste? Theater? Theatre? Does it justify all this awards hype? Well, yes,no and maybe.

Comedy can win, and often does, in Best Supporting Actor. So Edward Norton get your acceptance speech ready. Michael Keaton, um, not so fast.Birdman 1 Birdman 1

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