Monday, January 26, 2015

Screen Actors Guild Awards 2015

The Screen Actors Guild announced their winners of the year in a ceremony last night. Mostly the predicted winners were awarded. Julianne Moore won for her lead performance in "Still Alice" while Patricia Arquette and J. K. Simmons won supporting awards for their work in "Boyhood" and "Whiplash" respectively. As overseen by many, "Birdman" won the ensemble prize. A film packed with actors on their toes, with a subject like stage production and a feeling of true ensemble, it was poised to win. This is of course coming fresh from the PGA win, watch out for the Bird. But the surprise of the evening for many was Eddie Redmayne winning lead actor for his portrayal of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything". Now Michael Keaton was a favorite with critics but I had this suspicion at the back of my head regarding actors usually responding well to these 'portrayals' where the actors go through physical transformations. A fresh example would be Matthew McConaughey for "Dallas Buyers Club" (albeit a much stronger performance than Redmayne). McConaughey didn't win much or almost nothing with the critics until the industry awards started to happen. Chiwetel Ejiofor was the better one, giving an audacious performance in "12 Years a Slave". Forget that he was playing a real-life figure as well. I see Keaton in the same vein but then this is also a 'comedy' film so it shouldn't come as a surprise when the Academy decides to award Redmayne instead of Keaton. The actors have spoken and they love him.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Producers Guild Awards 2015

Best Picture: Birdman
Best Animated Feature: The Lego Movie
Best Documentary Film: Life Itself

And the PGA throws a big surprise by awarding best picture to Birdman over much predicted, much beloved Boyhood. This certainly adds a bit doubt to the whole thing, curiosity is raised but it still may be Boyhood at the Oscars. Both Birdman and Boyhood are the frontrunners. I think SAG is next for the Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu directed film with DGA and BAFTA awarding Boyhood. On the other hand, animated and documentary prizes went to the snubbed films, "The Lego Movie" and "Life Itself".

Friday, January 16, 2015

20th Critics Choice Awards Winners

Critics' Choice Awards were given out last night for the films of 2014. "Birdman" received most wins at 7 while "Boyhood" came in second with 4 total wins. Of course Boyhood received the best picture award along with best director for Richard Linklater, best supporting actress for Patricia Arquette and best young actor for Ellar Coltrane. Birdman won awards for lead actor Michael Keaton, who also won best actor in a comedy. Other wins include original screenplay, ensemble, score, editing and cinematography. The three winners of foreign language, animated film and documentary feature were all Oscar snubbed contenders. The same goes for some technical categories. Julianne Moore won best actress for her marvelous work in "Still Alice". "The Grand Budapest Hotel" was awarded with best art direction, costumes and comedy film. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" won visual effects prize. While Jessica Chastain was given the inaugural MVP award for her multiple performances this year.

Check out the full list of winners below:

Best Picture:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Academy Award Nominations 2015

After months of predictions, speculations, headaches... Academy announces their nominations for 2014. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Birdman" leads the pack with 9 nominations each. For the first time since the rules change, there are 8 nominations in best picture instead of 9. Other films nominated are Boyhood, Selma, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash. For the first time since the picture field expanded, we have a best director nominee with no best picture nomination, Bennett Miller for "Foxcatcher". A big surprise. There were major shut outs in animation and documentary, no "The Lego Movie" or "Life Itself". "Gone Girl" is missing from many categories including picture, editing, score and adapted screenplay. PTA's "Inherent Vice" had a surprise showing in costume design and adapted screenplay. Laura Dern nominated for "Wild" in supporting actress after being overlooked almost everywhere. That means no Jessica Chastain for "A Most Violent Year". Selma itself was overlooked everywhere... the biggest of all in best actor. David Oyelowo's remarkable performance was snubbed, also Jake Gyllenhaal for "Nightcrawler". One of the most welcome surprises came in lead actress with a nomination for Marion Cotillard in "Two Days, One Night". Bradley Cooper got his 3rd consecutive nomination after being recognized for lead in "Silver Linings Playbook" and supporting in "American Hustle". American Sniper itself got editing, the 2 sound nominations and adapted screenplay. "Foxcatcher" had a good showing which I wasn't expecting.

In the foriegn language category, "Force Majeure" was snubbed for "Tangerines". Birdman didn't make it in editing despite huge support elsewhere. No The Hobbit or Godzilla in visual effects. Great to see "Mr. Turner" in a few technical categories. And who can forget that amazing mention of "Ida" in cinematography? Oscars nominations this year are a mixture of good and weird surprises. Confirmation of our usual fears and well... bad luck!

Check out the full list of nominations below:

Best Picture:

“American Sniper”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“The Theory of Everything”

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review: GONE GIRL (2014)

            Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Patrick Fugit, Casey Wilson, Missi Pyle, Sela Ward, Emily Ratajkowski, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Lisa Banes, David Clennon, Scoot McNairy, Boyd Holbrook, Lola Kirke, Cyd Strittmatter and Leonard Kelly-Young

                    David Fincher

Directors Guild of America Nominations 2015

Directors Guild of America announced their nominations for 2014. Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater and Morten Tyldum each received their first ever DGA nominations for their respective films. Alejandro G. Inarritu and veteran Clint Eastwood rounding out the list had nominations before. So are these nominations surprising? No! Except maybe Clint Eastwood because "American Sniper" hasn't truly been among the most rewarded and acclaimed films with critics or the guilds, it has received a few nominations but I wasn't confident about it breaking in with the DGA. My alternate picks were both Ava DuVernay for "Selma" and David Fincher for "Gone Girl". Of course I had Damien Chazelle predicted for "Whiplash", meaning I got four right so that is good. Linklater, Innaritu and Anderson have all been receiving so much love and very deserving. Tyldum has a prestige British biopic backed by Weinstein so that is a no-brainer. Lets see what the Academy nominates.

1. WES ANDERSON - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Mr. Anderson's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Miki Emmrich
First Assistant Director: Josh Robertson
Second Assistant Director: Ben Howard 

2. CLINT EASTWOOD - American Sniper

Mr. Eastwood's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Tim Moore
First Assistant Director: David M. Bernstein
Second Assistant Director: Paula Case
Second Second Assistant Director: Clark Credle
First Assistant Director (Morocco Unit): Ahmed Hatimi
Second Assistant Director (Morocco Unit): Yann Mari Faget
Second Second Assistant Directors (Morocco Unit): Andrew Madden, Khalil Zghayou


Mr. Iñárritu's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: James W. Skotchdopole, Robert Graf
First Assistant Director: Peter Kohn
Second Assistant Director: Amy Lauritsen
Second Second Assistant Director: Catherine Feeny
Location Manager: Joaquin Prange


Mr. Linklater's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Cathleen Sutherland
First Assistant Director: Vince Palmo Jr.
Second Assistant Directors: Susana Jasso, Kathleen Tull
Second Second Assistant Directors: Mary Beth Chambers, Brian Franklin

5. MORTEN TYLDUM - The Imitation Game

Mr. Tyldum's Directorial Team:
Production Manager: Suzie Shearer
First Assistant Director: Phil Booth
Second Assistant Director: James Manning

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Denver Film Critics Society Awards 2015

Denver Film Critics Society awarded their best picture prize to... "American Sniper". There was a tie in best actor category, both Ralph Fiennes and Bradley Cooper won for their respective films. "Boyhood" won the awards for director Richard Linklater and supporting actress Patricia Arquette. "Birdman" won the most awards in categories best original screenplay, score and cinematography. "Two Days, One Night" was given best foreign language film award.

Check out the full list of winners below:

Best Picture: American Sniper

Houston Film Critics Society Awards 2015

Houston Film Critics Society showered their love for "Boyhood". The film won six awards overall including picture, director, supporting actress, screenplay and two other special awards. Jake Gyllenhaal and Julianne Moore won actor and actress while "Birdman" won the award for cinematography.

Check out the full list of winners below:

Best Picture: "Boyhood"

Monday, January 12, 2015

72nd Golden Globe Awards Winners

HFPA gave out their annual awards last night in a ceremony full of jokes and drunk folks, I can only assume because I wasn't able to watch it myself. So the Globes winner for best picture drama 2014 is "Boyhood", as predicted by everybody. The film also won awards for its director Richard Linklater and supporting actress Patricia Arquette. A great win for the film that it is and also for the kind of filmmaking Mr. Linklater has been so great at. Continuing his love for films where the idea of time and relationships are explored. On the comedy/musical side, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" won the big prize over "Birdman", a film I am sure everyone was predicting to win. The Wes Anderson directed film was my pick for screenplay instead but Birdman won that award, funny! The acting prizes all went to the predicted ones except for best actress in a comedy/musical which went to Amy Adams for "Big Eyes", I had Emily Blunt and Julianne Moore predicted for that. This is Adams' second consecutive win after "American Hustle" last year. Golden Globes had more surprises in stored as well. The foreign language award went to Russia's "Levitathan" over popular choices "Ida" and "Force Majeure". Animated award went to "How To Train Your Dragon 2" over "The Lego Movie". I was a bit confused predicting original score which I thought will go to either "Interstellar" or "Birdman" but instead, they gave it to "The Theory of Everything", boring! So what does Golden Globes tell us? Well they told us what was already being established that its between Boyhood-Birdman-The Grand Budapest Hotel. Keaton vs Redmayne and Julianne Moore will finally win something from the Academy.

Below is the full list of film winners:

Best Motion Picture - Drama:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Academy Awards Nominations 2015 (Final Predictions)

I am back with my final predictions for this year's Oscars. The nominations will be announced on January 15 and the anticipation is at its peak. This year I am having a tough time predicting nominations in many categories. The award season has been for the most part very typical (I mean its always like that) but still, we have had some delightful surprises throughout. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" would be on the top of my surprise-list. Two months ago, I thought it will only make it to three technical categories but now, I am predicting it for the most nominations. This Wes Anderson gem has done the best with guilds and industry apart from critics. Other surprises include "Whiplash" and "Nightcrawler". While "American Sniper" has been showing its face as well, I am still not 100% sold on it. On the other hand, "Foxcatcher" have had a weird trajectory. Snubbed by critics and making it to few of the guilds but again, I have lost confidence in that film. Of course there is the Angelina Jolie directed film "Unbroken" which most of us thought was the early best picture frontrunner (such awful times those were) and now it has really bad reviews. That may still not hurt it (I am looking at you EL&IC). I may be very wrong about most of these, I usually am but hey, lets not take this too seriously. Critics can't fully paint an early picture for the Oscars and guilds can only hint at the direction this race takes but we award watchers still follow every move and analyze things a bit too much. For me, awards season is both fun and agonizing. On one hand you play it as a game having a grasp on the mind of how these things work. Then also you see some of your favorites and deserving candidates go home with nothing.


1. Boyhood
2. Birdman
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. The Imitation Game
5. The Theory of Everything
6. Whiplash
7. Gone Girl
8. Selma
9. American Sniper