erik lundegaard

Movies - The Oscars posts

Wednesday January 14, 2015

My 2014 Oscar Nominations

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announces its nominees for the 2014 Oscars tomorrow morning. Here are my choices. These are preferences, not guesses. Guesses are boring, but I give odds after each category. Plus a better resource at the end.

BEST PICTURE

  • “Birdman”
  • “Boyhood”
  • “The Drop”
  • “Fury”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

The first two are in. “Budapest” maybe. “Drop” and “Fury” have no shot even though up to 10 films can be nominated. 

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
  • Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
  • Bennet Miller, “Foxcatcher”
  • Pawel Pawlikowski, “Ida”

The first three were nom'ed for DGAs yesterday, a good harbinger. I'd rather the other DGA noms, Clint Eastwood (“American Sniper”) and Morten Tyldum (“Imitation Game”), didn't make it. Options include: Ruben Östlund (“Force Majeure”) Michael R. Roskam (“The Drop”), David Ayer (“Fury”), Ira Sachs (“Love Is Strange”), Dan Gilroy (“Nightcrawler”), Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash”), Jean-Marc Vallee (“Wild”), Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), and Paul Thomas Anderson (“Inherent Vice”). 

BEST ACTOR

  • Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • Tom Hardy, “The Drop”
  • John Lithgow, “Love Is Strange”
  • David Oyelowo, “Selma”
  • Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Tough category. Toughest? I didn't even include Michael Keaton for “Birdman,” the likely winner. Unless it's Redmayne. Of mine, only Redmayne is a sure thing. 

BEST ACTRESS

  • Bérénice Bejo, “Le Passé”
  • Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
  • Lisa Loven Kongsli, “Force Majeure”
  • Jenny Slate, “Obvious Child”
  • Reese Witherspoon, “Wild” 

I don't know if I'm hearing nothing on “Le Passé” because it's considered a 2013 movie or because nobody liked it as much as I did. I think the former. Of the above, Witherspoon is the no-brainer, while Cotillard would get my vote. Caveat: I haven't seen either of the Julianne Moore movies, but she's the likely winner for a movie no one has seen. 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Shia LeBeouf, “Fury”
  • Ed Norton, “Birdman”
  • Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
  • J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”
  • Matthias Schoenaerts, “The Drop”

Norton and Simmons are the likely nominees, Simmons the likely winner. It pains me to leave off Ethan Hawke's work for “Boyhood.” LeBeouf and Schoenaerts have gotten *zero* talk. Is it the consecutive vowels in their names? I think the Academy is vowelist. Thus spaketh Lundegaard.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
  • Laura Dern, “Wild”
  • Agata Kulesza, “Ida”
  • Rene Russo, “Nightcrawler”
  • Marisa Tomei, “Love Is Strange” 

Arquette, yes, Dern and Russo maybe. Emma Stone will get nom'ed for “Birdman.” Probably Jessica Chastain for “A Most Violent Year.” Did you see her at the Golden Globes? She gets better-looking every year. 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • David Ayer, “Fury”
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo, “Birdman”
  • Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
  • Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, “The LEGO Movie”

 Would've had “Selma” in here but for the LBJ thing. “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” in. Everything else is up for grabs. 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash” 
  • James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
  • Nick Hornby, “Wild”
  • Dennis Lehane, “The Drop”
  • Gillian Robespierre, “Obvious Child”

“Whiplash” has a shot. Why, by the way, is Hornby getting no love? Talk about a tough adaptation. The book is mostly interior, something books do better than movies, and he made it work. Plus he's Nick Hornby. 

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • “CitizenFour”
  • “Jordorowsky’s Dune”
  • “Life Itself”
  • “The Unknown Known”
  • “Whitey: United States of America v. James G. Bulger”

It appears to be a battle between “CitizenFour” and “LifeItself,” with the former probably winning.

Better predictions can be found via Nathaniel Rogers at Film Experience

A demain.

Tom Hardy in "The Drop"

Tom Hardy in “The Drop”: No love, despite the puppy. 

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Posted at 07:01 AM on Jan 14, 2015 in category Movies - The Oscars
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Sunday December 21, 2014

Best Foreign Language Film Down to Nine Nominees

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (The Oscars) has shortlisted its “best foreign language film” category to nine choices. They are:

  • Accused (The Netherlands)
  • Corn Island (Georgia)
  • Force Majeure (Sweden)
  • Ida (Poland) *
  • Leviathan (Russia)
  • The Liberator (Venezuela)
  • Tangerines (Estonia)
  • Timbuktu (Mauritania)
  • Wild Tales 

* currently streaming on Netflix

As you can see, I've only seen “Ida,” which I think is one of the best movies of the year. Missed “Force Majeure” at SIFF Uptown because it's December and time is crazy. Heard good things on “Leviathan.”

What's missing? “Deux jours, une nuit” from Belgium. I've heard “Winter Sleep” from Turkey is quite good. I assume “Kraftidioten” wasn't even offered up by Norway to the Academy.

Ida 

“Ida”: The best road movie of the year. 

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Posted at 07:54 AM on Dec 21, 2014 in category Movies - The Oscars
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Tuesday December 02, 2014

Academy Winnows Best Documentary Feature to 15, Including 'CitizenFour' and 'Life Itself'

Life Itself: Our Roger Wins Pulitizer

Our Roger wins best documentary feature?

I don't know if you know, but the Academy's documentary branch always sees fit to winnow the nonfiction possibilities down to 15 before arriving at the five documentary nominees, announced in January, from which they choose, of course, the one: best documentary feature.

Well, today they winnowed to 15:

  • “Art and Craft,” Purple Parrot Films
  • “The Case Against 8,” Day in Court
  • “Citizen Koch,” Elsewhere Films
  • “CitizenFour,” Praxis Films
  • “Finding Vivian Maier,” Ravine Pictures
  • “The Internet’s Own Boy,” Luminant Media
  • “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” City Film
  • “Keep on Keepin’ On,” Absolute Clay Productions
  • “The Kill Team,” f/8 filmworks
  • “Last Days in Vietnam,” Moxie Firecracker Films
  • “Life Itself,” Kartemquin Films and Film Rites
  • “The Overnighters,” Mile End Films West
  • “The Salt of the Earth,” Decia Films
  • “Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” Lafayette Film
  • “Virunga,” Grain Media

I've seen five: the four that are linked to my reviews, and “The Case Against 8,” which, I suppose, could be linked to this interview I did in January—shortly after the doc premiered at Sundance. 

It's not a bad group. What's missing? “The Unknown Known,” Errol Morris' mixed but still powerful doc on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. 

Among the docs I've seen, I'd probably vote for “Life Itself.” Does it have a shot? Maybe. I don't believe in the make-up vote, but director Steve James was royally reamed when his doc “Hoop Dreams” wasn't even nominated in 1994—a travesty that Roger and Gene (among others) let the world know about. How delicious if Steve's doc on Roger made up for that?

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Posted at 06:05 PM on Dec 02, 2014 in category Movies - The Oscars
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Tuesday November 11, 2014

Why We Can't Quit the Academy Quitting on 'Brokeback'

In a post on “Beckett,” which he calls “the most covert 'gay' movie ever released to mainstream America in the 20th Century,” Jeffrey Wells takes the Academy to task over ignoring the most overt gay love story Hollywood has produced:

At this exact time nine years ago “Brokeback Mountain” was building a head of Oscar steam like no other Best Picture contender. Or so it seemed to me and mine. It had premiered in Telluride, Venice and Toronto in September 2005 but wouldn’t open commercially until early December, but everyone knew. It was one of the saddest love stories ever made, one that might have been even more moving for being about closeted gay guys. Everybody knew the truth of what it was saying, which was more or less “If you’ve got something really good going with someone, don’t blow it…don’t hide your feelings, don’t be afraid. Man up.”

It was a love fest, a blossoming. Critical praise, critics awards, big box-office, etc. Around which the whole country, in a sense, seemed to be holding hands and coming together.

And then it all started to go wrong. Discussions I had during that period (late ’05 and early ’06) suggested that older Academy geezers were not emotionally comfortable with gay sheepherders, and that they had written it off early on. The late Tony Curtis became the poster boy for this sentiment, famously declaring that “Howard Hughes and John Wayne” wouldn’t like it.” And then Jack Nicholson opened the envelope … thud. I’ll never get over that. Never.

Agreed

Brokeback Mountain

The unforgivable moment. Not the love between Jack and Ennis but the lack of love from the Academy.

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Posted at 06:29 AM on Nov 11, 2014 in category Movies - The Oscars
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Wednesday October 15, 2014

Neil Patrick Harris to Host 2015 Oscars

Because he's not just for gays anymore.

Seriously, this is great news for the Oscars and for my Oscar party. Although I might actually want fewer people there so I can hear more.

A few days ago, I was watching the clip below for the umpteenth time and marveling at the talent. If he brings a fraction of this to the Oscar telecast, it'll only be a massive improvement.

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Posted at 01:48 PM on Oct 15, 2014 in category Movies - The Oscars
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