Sunday, January 25, 2015

Guild Developments!

Just got back into town from opening weekend at the Sundance Film Festival -- and indeed, just got back from the red carpet of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, where I field-produced a red carpet piece that included the cast of Orange is the New Black (who won Ensemble in a Comedy Series) and William H. Macy of Shameless (who won Actor in a Comedy Series). going well.

But it does mean I missed the Guild news. Which is rather shocking!

After Boyhood took LAFCA, NYFCC, the Golden Globes, and Critics' Choice, the Producers Guild Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture went to...Birdman! Whoa! Surelt The Imitation Game or The Grand Budapest Hotel would take SAG though, right?

Wrong. Once again, 'twas Birdman that won the prize -- in this case, Ensemble in a Motion Picture. Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons and Julianne Moore once again won plaudits in their respective categories, but in the battle between Birdman's Michael Keaton and The Theory of Everything's Eddie Redmayne, it was the young'un in the biopic who won Actor in a Motion Picture. Which is bull. Redmayne is a great actor, it's a fine performance, and he's rather sexy in person (oh, trust me), but I believed Riggan Thomson more than I believed Stephen Hawking.

But who knows? Birdman's triumph in the Ensemble category could benefit Michael Keaton -- I hope it does -- just as it could influence its Best Picture chances...not a whit.

By the way. The frontrunners of this category are Birdman, a single-take (ish) film about a washed-up actor putting on a vanity project; Boyhood, a 12-years-in-the-making reflection of growing up and parenting; and The Grand Budapest Hotel, a zany-yet-melancholy period piece from Wes Anderson. No matter what, this year's Oscars are gonna be weird.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015


Only the Oscars could get me up at this time! It is 5:29am, pitch dark outside, everything silent but for the clip-clop of some passerby outside...and the hum of the press on the live feed. This year, all 24 categories will be announced live, but just so no one gets confused, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Chris Pine are still doing the sexy half. Here's Alfonso Cuaron and JJ Abrams with the first batch. Neat!

Begin Again - "Lost Stars"
Beyond the Lights - "Grateful"
Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me - "I'm Not Gonna Miss You"
The LEGO Movie - "Everything is Awesome"
Selma - "Glory"
Aw, the Glen Campbell song made it. Can't be mad about that -- especially since "Lost Stars", "Grateful", and "Glory" all made it in, too.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Whoa, no Godzilla! Whoa! OK, genuinely surprised by that. Wow. Good for X-Men though!

Crisis Hotline
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Roger Ebert doc Life Itself left off final ballot; The Salt of the Earth is in.

American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
No Birdman here does surprise me, since this is usually where Best Picture frontrunners secure their bids. But Whiplash was astonishingly-edited, so no complaints here.

American Sniper
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
OK, but like, where's Fury? Seriously. Where is it?

American Sniper
I just didn't expect all the Birdman love in the sound categories!

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner
Interstellar makes it in over The Theory of Everything! Good choice, Academy -- I happen to agree!

Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
The Phone Call

The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Me and my Molton
Single Life

Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Holy shit, no The LEGO Movie

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pre-Nominations: Oscar Predictions

Can you believe the Oscar Nominees are tomorrow? More, can you believe that the Critics' Choice Awards are the same night? Does anyone else think that ceremony's gonna rub salt in more than a few wounds? Shouldn't there be two days between Oscar Noms and everything else, just to give us time to heal?

No matter. My alarm is already set to go off at 5:20am Pacific Time so I can watch, for the first time, all 24 categories announced LIVE on YouTube (right here, in fact: But before I do that ... can I correctly guess how it's going to go? Let's find out!

(And for a look at how things would go in a perfect world, check out my personal ballot for the Ninth Annual Hollmann Awards!).

The predix...after the jump...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Hollmann Awards Nominees!

Ballots for this year's Academy Awards are due, with the nominees to be named this coming Wednesday. Excitement city! Even more exciting: before you hear what those bums think, you get to see the nominees for the 2014 Hollmann Awards!

I happen to think it's been a great year for film -- check out my Top 25 -- yet this was also one of the easiest times I've ever had making a ballot. Both actress categories were no-brainers; ditto for Best Picture. Actor and Director were more challenging -- and that led to some surprises!

As usual, I deliver the nominees to you in the order in which I locked them in -- except for Best Picture, which I've saved for the end. So, shall we get on with it?

After the jump, I mean...

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 in Longlists

Longtime readers are familiar with my love of the Longlist. It's a simple concept -- every category gets 15 (or fewer) titles being considered, as a lead up to the release of official nominees. A way of narrowing-down, but letting the fans/readers in on how the mind is working.

Years back, BAFTA used to release them -- the last I remember is 2011, when we got to see who all from My Week with Marilyn made the cut -- but they've since abandoned the process (a shame, since I would have loved to have seen who Rene Russo bested to get her Best Supporting Actress nomination). But I like to keep it going. Mostly to hold off any real decision-making.

So here are the finalists in the 18 categories for the Hollmann Awards.

Beyond the Lights
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Homesman
A Most Violent Year
A Walk Among the Tombstones
We Are the Best!

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel 
J.C. Chandor, A Most Violent Year
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Ava DuVernay, Selma 
David Fincher, Gone Girl
Scott Frank, A Walk Among the Tombstones 
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler 
Alain Guiraudie, Stranger by the Lake 
Tommy Lee Jones, The Homesman 
Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner 
Richard Linklater, Boyhood 
Pawel Pawlikowski, Ida 
Gina Prince-Bythewood, Beyond the Lights 
Justin Simien, Dear White People 
Matthew Warchus, Pride

Actress, Song, and...well, the rest, obviously. After the jump.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top 25 of 2014!

2014 has gone! So what better time to look back on it?

Last year, I labored long and hard over my Top 24, culled from the 91 movies I saw. This year, I did one better: a total of 92. So why not? Let's tick it back up to a full 25. It just feels right.

As usual, everything is ranked from 25 to eleven; my Top Ten is alphabetized, since I like doing my Hollmann Award Nominations all traditional-like. And if you want a complete list of the other 67 films that didn't make it -- check the bottom.

And now that's all done...the Top 25 of 2014!

25. Fury

dir/scr: David Ayer
cin: Roman Vasyanov
A stirring depiction of the horrors of war, exposing not just the brutality done to men in combat -- though that, certainly, is gruesomely on display -- but what is done psychologically. Having the tone and style of the film slowly shift to match the lead's own arc from unwilling participant to "kill 'em all" grunt was effectively executed.

That's just the beginning -- activist, artists, actors, and a whole lot of gays, after the jump!