Wednesday, August 31, 2011


We are about at the half way mark from last years Oscars to this years. This week also officially begins the film festival season where movies get screened for critics and Academy voters. Some also use the festivals to get distribution for their movies. A movie company that distributes your movie, promotes your movie and pays for an Oscar campaign is a huge win for a film maker.  Telluride begins Friday in Colorado. I will be posting news about Telluride as it happens. For now here is a list of possible Oscar Contenders that have already been released. If you like to see all of the movies before Oscar time check them out now because soon there will be a ton to see:

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS-Woddy Allen's highest grossing film of all time. It has had great reviews and some Oscar buzz. It will most likely not maintain the Oscar momentum, but you never know. It is still showing in some theaters. DVD release date may not be until December.

TREE OF LIFE-At the beginning of the year the word was this was going to be the film to beat. Since its release that has faded. Reviews are mostly positive, but I am not really sure if they are campaigning for awards. It may get a Director nomination for Terrence Malick and a screenplay nomination, so check it out. Still showing in some theaters. Sean Penn hates that he was cut out so much and apparently a ton of other parts were cut. DVD release date October 11th and it could include a special 4 hour edition with everything left in.

THE HELP-Oh the little movie that could. Distributers spend millions promoting and campaigning for Oscars and then comes THE HELP to take over. It opened small and soon word of mouth pushed it to many Best Picture predictions. Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and possibly Jessica Chastain have chances at getting acting nominations. You definately should see it before the Oscars. Still playing in theaters. No DVD release date yet.

APES, POTTER, TRANSFORMERS, PIRATES-Could all be in the running for technical awards. So if you are interested in seeing every possible contender these could be on the list.

BEGINNERS-Christopher Plummer is a good bet for a Best Supporting Actor nomination. In some theaters now, DVD release date is unknown.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


THE IDES OF MARCH is almost certain to get a Best Picture nomination. Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Maria Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood all have a great chance of being nominated in acting categories.

According to IMDB the movie is about "An idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail. Based on the play by Beau Willimon."

It is scheduled to be released October 7th in the US.

Check out the trailer below..


Saturday, August 27, 2011


I wrote about THE ARTIST earlier in the year during Cannes. Everyone seemed to love it. Then again the Cannes audiences are movie buffs who can appreciate the brilliance of silent films. The young ins may have a hard time getting into a silent, 4x3, black and white movie. The movie centers around a movie star who is resistant to movies with sound and how it could ruin his career. The cast includes John Goodman, Malcolm Macdowell and Missi Pyle. It will be interesting to see if in our world of CG and extraordinary sound, THE ARTIST can get a Best Picture nomination.

Check out the trailer below...


Friday, August 26, 2011


I have to take back some of the things I wrote about THE HELP.  Because this movie came out of nowhere I was very quick to say that it didn't have a chance at any Oscar nominations. I definitely spoke too soon. The word of mouth has quickly risen THE HELP to the top of the box office as well as Oscar talk. The performances of Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer can't be ignored as I had presumed.

I have learned that it's really tough to predict how a movie will do until you have seen it. The overall story line of THE HELP has some holes and is not a perfect movie. Some of the racially charged comments can be jarring, but it is a good representation some of the thinking Mississippi during the 60's. I still have my doubts about it getting a Best Picture nomination. I don't have my doubts about Spencer and Davis. The problem then becomes do they both get nominated in a supporting role and compete against each other or does one get a Best Actress nom. over the other? The later gives at least one of them a chance at a win. They could also cancel each other out all together. They are going to be up against Meryl Streep, Glenn Close and Tilda Swinton for Best Actress. That is some tough competition. My guess is Viola Davis gets a Best Supporting Actress nomination with a good chance at a win. Octavia Spencer unfortunately could get shut out. Her performance is more comedic against Davis' very emotional range.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I am sticking by my original post about THE HELP.  The buzz surrounding Viola Davis and the fact that the word of mouth made it the number one movie this week still does not convince me that it can be nominated. Sure it may get a few of the other smaller awards, but it is easy to forget that 95% of the Oscar potential films have not been released yet. If Dreamworks was serious about an Oscar run they would have waited for a fall release. Some are comparing this to THE BLIND SIDE effect, or as the little movie that could. Maybe that would be true if the Academy had to come up with 10 nominations, but not with the new voting.  Some were starting to sway me, but I am sticking with my prediction.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Roman Ploanki's CARNAGE is a screen adaptation of the play GODS OF CARNAGE.  Plays do not always translate well to film obviouslt because on stage most of the show takes place in one or two rooms. DOUBT is an excellant example of how it can be done well. It stars Kate Winslet, Jody Foster and Christopher Waltz. Three great actors with three great performances by the looks of the international trailer. It opens in New York and Los Angeles December 16th.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Michelle Williams is one of the Actresses out there. Her performance in Blue Valentine is one of the best from last year. This year she is playing Marilyn Monroe in MY WEEK WITH MARILYN.  The movie documents a week during the production of  The Prince and the Showgirl. Williams may not be a dead ringer for Monroe, but a few who have seen it say she captures the off screen insecure Monroe perfectly. It is scheduled to be released in November. Hopefully she can get nominated, but the competition in the Actress category this year is going to be VERY competitive.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN was a huge stand out in Cannes this year. It is a story of a couple that have a child who grows up to be a very troubled boy. The story is not so much about the shootings, but about how you raise a child to be so evil.  Tilda Swinton has a shot at an acting nomination as the troubled mother who questions if she could actually hate her son. She is going to have some tough competition against Meryl Streep and Glenn Close. The film itself might be too dark for a Best Picture nomination. It will be released in the US this Winter. Check out the UK trailer below...Can't wait to see it....


I see that has a few more followers CS, TOM and DR BLOOD...Thank you very much for your support. Keep the comments coming.


Monday, August 15, 2011


There were a lot of movies released early in the year that create Oscar buzz. Usually due to the fact that there is nothing to talk about for the first 6 months. Any real Oscar contender is not released until the Fall for that very reason. Here is a list of some of the movies that I thought might have Oscar potential but once they were released it was clear they weren't:

THE BEAVER: Was supposed to be released last year, but due to Mel Gibson's issues they waited until this year. There was talk that Gibson could get an acting nomination. Turns out the movie was not that great and not too many want to forgive Gibson just yet.

SOURCE CODE-Was a good movie and received good reviews, but everyone has forgotten about it. It just is not kind of movie that can sustain an Oscar run through the year.

SUPER 8-When it came out it was the best rated movie of the Summer. Paramount is not really behind it for an Oscar campaign. It could get nominated for a few technical awards, but will not win over POTTER and APES.

THE TREE OF LIFE-Critics loved it, the average movie goer said "what the hell was that?" Again if they were serious about an Oscar it would been released later in the year.

LARRY CROWNE-Tom Hank, Julia Roberts how could they not get nominated? Well the movie sucked!

Many more will come and go before the end of the year. The movie distributors need to spend a lot of money to campaign for an Oscar run, so they choose carefully. Please feel free to comment on any other movies that started with Oscar buzz and went away.

Saturday, August 13, 2011



Although not very exciting we are starting to some picture's released from up coming Oscar potential films. One of which is EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE. They finally announced a release date. It will be in limited release December 25th, just in time to be considered for this years Academy Awards. It will open wide January 20th. There is a lot of anticipation for this movie. As I mentioned earlier I saw it being shot while visiting New York City in the Spring. Hopefully they are not rushing the finished product just to get it released in time.

J. EDGAR also has released a few pictures. We get the first look at Leonardo Dicaprio as J. Edgar Hoover. This is another Clint Eastwood product. It was announced that EDGAR would not be screening at any of the festivals. Rumor has it Eastwood is not a fan of movie festivals plus when HEREAFTER was screened the critics were not kind. Hopefully that doesn't hurt it's chances at a Best Picture nomination. Dicaprio is a safe bet that he will get a Best Actor mom.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


THE HELP opens nationwide today. The movie is based on a best selling book and about "a look at what happens when a southern town's unspoken code of rules and behavior is shattered by three courageous women who strike up an unlikely friendship." It stars Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer.

I had not heard about THE HELP until the last week or so, but it appears to be getting good reviews. There is a lot of Best Supporting Actress talk for Davis and Spencer. This seems to me like all of the predictors want something to talk about regarding awards season. It is still waaaay to early to start throwing out names for any acting category before any of the film festivals. We shall see....

Monday, August 8, 2011


Some of the Oscar voting rules have changed this year. One of course is that there will be at least 5 Best Picture nominees, but it could go up to 10 depending on how the voting goes. This is obviously to keep out movies like WINTER'S or 127 HOURS. The Academy felt like they were having trouble filling in 10 best movies.

The other change is how the votes are counted. Math was never my thing, but this process of choosing a Best Picture is very difficult to understand let alone explain. I really want to understand how it works. Steve Pond from The Wrap broke it down in the most simple way that I have seen, but I still have no idea what he is talking about. Below is Steve's explanation.  Good Luck:

1. As in the old system, all the Best-Picture ballots are put in piles based on each voter's first choice. Based on the number of ballots received, PwC will determine the number required to guarantee a nomination in the initial count by dividing the number of ballots cast by 11 (the number of available nominations plus one), and then adding one.

In assigning this number, PwC will assume that 10 nominations are up for grabs, even though the final number may well be lower. For instance: If 5,000 of the Academy's near-6,000 members cast ballots in the Best Picture category, the magic number will be 455.
In that situation, a film with 455 votes or more is automatically a nominee.
2. Any film with 20 percent more votes than it needs triggers the surplus rule, in which the unneeded portion of each vote will go to the second-place film on that ballot, or the highest-ranked film that's still in the running.

If, for instance, you need 455 votes to be nominated but you get twice that many, 910, each of your votes will count 50 percent for you and 50 percent for the voter's next choice. If you get a third more votes than you need, that third will go to your second choice.

Note: Contrary to a recent explanation in the Hollywood Reporter, this redistribution does not take place with the ballots of all films that receive more than 5 percent of the vote. It only takes place with films getting 20 percent more than they need to guarantee a nomination. (That means you need to get just under 11 percent of the first-place votes, or 546 votes in our example, to trigger the surplus rule.)

3. Once the surplus redistribution has been made, the films that have less than 1 percent of the total -- meaning, in our hypothetical case of 5,000 ballots, all of those with fewer than 50 first-place votes -- also have their ballots redistributed. On each of those ballots, the first-place film is crossed off and the vote goes to the film listed second, or to the top-ranked film that is still in the running.
And then the vote stops.

It's just that simple. I will just predict the Best Picture nominees and they can do all of the math.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Before this weekend their were not many expectations for THE RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. The trailer was good, but everyone figured it would not be much better than the disappointing Tim Burton version in 2001.

Then the critics began to screen it and I read that some were saying "best picture so far this year", Best Picture contender and Best Actor for Andy Serkis playing the motion captured Ape. It then sparked my interest and I ran to see it this weekend.  Either I am totally crazy or it has been such a bad summer at the movies that critics are looking for anything to love. APES is good, but not great. The motion capture is pretty impressive, but it makes the chimps look "too human" and I felt like it took me out of the movie. There is no way that the Academy will pick PLANET OF THE APES as their number one movie of the year. (with new voting 5% of voters will have to choose APES as their number one choice) Serkis getting an acting nomination is just as crazy. Granted there are acting skills needed to "act" with only facial expressions and convey what the chimp is feeling. But motion capture can be manipulated in post production to make any expression they need in the end. I would imagine that the acting community would not embrace computer generated actors getting acting awards. I could see a category dedicated to motion capture acting in the future but any other way would not be fair.

So everyone needs to just calm down and wait for the real award winners in the fall!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Director Brett Ratner Don Mischer will produce the Academy Awards telecast this year. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made the announcement this past week. Mischer co produced last years show and this will be a first for Ratner. They both have the difficult task of giving the Oscars a fresher look. The Academy is desperately trying to make it a more hip awards show. My concern is that in their attempt to reach a broader audience, Academy members are going to vote for more of the popular films this year. Nominating a movie like WIN WIN is not going to bring a wider audience, but HARRY POTTER will.

The first assignment for Ratner and Mischer. Find a good host!!!!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011


Date: September 8-18

*TIFF unofficially begins the movie award season each year. This festival is not a competition. It does give an audience award, but thats about it. It is the largest film festival in North America and a great place to get movies distributed and begins to shape the Oscar season.

This year will be the first time that TIFF will open with a documentary. FROM THE SKY DOWN tells the stoory of  U2.

It will show the world premiere of Brad Pitt in MONEYBALL. A big Oscar contender this year. Check out the trailer if you havent seen it.

Other screenings include:

THE DESCENDANTS -with George Clooney.

DRIVE-Ryan Gosling and has very positive reviews.


THE IDES OF MARCH -more George Clooney

W.E  -Directed by Madonna

50/50- Joesph Gordan-Levitt and cancar

THE ARTIST -Black and white silent film

MELANCHOLIA -Kirsten Dunst won best actress at Cannes, but director Lat Von Treir made comments about understanding Hitler and being a Nazi. He may have been joking, but the Academy will not want to honor him after that. Dunst could still get a nomination.

TWIXT -World premiere for this Frances Fors Coppola film

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN-Might be to rough for a Best Picture, but Tilda Swinton steals the show and could get a Best Actress nom.

There are a ton more being shown. Check out the TIFF website for a complete list.