Precursor: 30th PGA Documentary Nominations (2018)

The Documentary Feature nominations take mild inspiration from the choices of the Producers Guild of America. Their choices for best produced documentary of the year often feature sure Oscar contenders, sure snubs, and titles that were never likely to appear. Which of these will make the cut? RBG, Three Identical Strangers, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? are the most likely to carry over. Free Solo and Hal are good bets to either be snubbed or take the place of one of the three aforementioned titles. The other two aren’t titles that have made a lot of impression yet, so they might be the easiest to ignore.

The Nominations

Best Documentary

The Dawn Wall
Free Solo
Into the Okavango
Three Identical Strangers
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Producers Guild Data

Year Founded: 1950 (Film)/1957 (TV)/1962 (Unified)
First Awards: 1989 (30)

Film Preview: Never Look Away (2018)

Page Revisions:

(November 18, 2018) Original

Release Date:

November 30, 2018


From IMDb: “German artist Kurt Barnert has escaped East Germany and now lives in West Germany, but is tormented by his childhood under the Nazis and the GDR-regime.”

Poster Rating: C / C-

Review: (#1) The distortion effect (meant to copy, poorly, the brush strokes at the core of the film’s premise) is all that keeps this design from looking dull and the end result still isn’t that interesting. (#2) This doesn’t seem to say much about the film itself, which won’t bring audiences to the theater.

Trailer Rating: B

Review: The plaudits spread across the trailer make this sound like a great film. The trailer itself doesn’t give quite that impression, though there are hints of brilliance here and there.

Oscar Prospects:

Germany’s submission for the Academy Awards could be a major contender based on the response from critics.

Trailer #1


Trailer Watch: Roma (2018) Updated

New Trailer (#2)

Roma, updated

Preview Link: CLICK HERE for all of the new content as well as the original.

91st Oscars: Screener Watch

Instead of posting every time I receive a screener, I’m going to try and post once a week (starting now) a list of all screeners I receive during the prior week. Below is everything I’ve received to date.


The DVD Report #595

nullThe Children Act was shown at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and subsequent film festivals before finally being given a theatrical run in the U.K., France, and elsewhere in August 2018 and the U.S. in September. It has now been released on DVD only by Lionsgate with little fanfare, which is a pity because Emma Thompson’s award-worthy performance deserves to be seen by larger audiences.

Thompson plays a British High Court judge who deals with difficult cases involving children. In the opening segment, she’s dealing with an issue regarding the separation of conjoined twins. The doctors want to separate them which will cause immediate death to one of them. The parents want to keep both boys alive for as long as they can even though the life of the healthier one will be shortened if they remain together much longer.

The crux of the film, however, deals with a case involving a 17-year-old Jehovah’s Witness dying of leukemia whose parents are refusing to allow his doctors to provide him with a potentially life-saving blood transfusion on religious grounds. Before making her decision, she insists on visiting the boy, played by Dunkirk‘s Fionn Whitehead who also turns in an amazing performance.


This Day in Oscar History: November 20 (2018)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.





Poll: Now That You’ve Seen “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”

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Now That You’ve Seen Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald…?

Cinema Sight Asks: Now that you've seen "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," which David Yates film is best?

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Trailer Watch: On the Basis of Sex (2018) Updated

New Trailer (#3) / New Poster (#2)

On the Basis of Sex, updated

Preview Link: CLICK HERE for all of the new content as well as the original.

Trailer Watch: Dumbo (2019) Updated

New Trailer (#2) / New Poster (#2) / Updated Plot Description

Dumbo, updated

Preview Link: CLICK HERE for all of the new content as well as the original.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Nov. 16-18, 2018

We had four films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.


With only three prior films under his belt, acclaimed director Steve McQueen is one artist who Hollywood needs to take more seriously. Although he earned several nominations for his film 12 Years a Slave, he wasn’t honored for Best Directing even though his film won Best Picture. Typically, those awards go hand-in-hand. His prior film saw Michael Fassbender deliver an acclaimed performance that was utterly ignored by the Oscars.

That brings us to Widows, a genre departure for the filmmaker as it tackles the popular heist genre with a twist wherein the widows of bank robbers carry out one last job their husbands had been planning prior to their deaths. Although the film’s opening numbers weren’t great, the film has received high praise from critics, which means that it goes into Oscar season with a slight advantage, one that might not translate to double-digit nominations, but which might secure it several high profile ones.

The film will be in the running for a Best Picture nomination though McQueen is unlikely to pull in a Directing citation. Viola Davis is sure to contend in Best Actress while co-stars Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo aren’t generating much buzz. The film is also sure to be a contender for Film Editing while the adapted screenplay by Gillian Flynn and McQueen is a solid, but not guaranteed potential nominee in that category. That’s about as far as the film has decent prospects, though cases could be made for Sound Mixing and Sound Editing categories and Cinematography if nowhere else. A lot will depend on how voters respond to it and if it can build word of mouth into a stronger box office success than it currently looks to be.

Green Book

It’s hard to believe that the director of Dumb and Dumber and its sequel, There’s Something About Mary, and Shallow Hal is being talked up as a potential Best Directing nominee, but that’s exactly where we’re at as Peter Farrelly entered the fall with a film labeled as a frontrunner after winning the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The story of a working class white bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) becomes a chauffeur for a black pianist (Mahershala Ali) on his tour through he deep south in the 1960s was well received coming out of the festival and has received largely positive reviews. Last week, a fly flew into the film’s ointment when Mortensen slipped up by saying the “N” word at a panel for the film. He has since apologized and Ali has accepted it, but the whole affair blew up fast and hot and an apology acceptance suggests that the entire affair didn’t sit well at all.

Now, with a pitiful opening weekend at limited theaters, the film might be losing a bit of steam. Although some have compared the film to Driving Miss Daisy, it was clear when that film released almost thirty years ago, it was an incredibly popular film, opening to much larger numbers and becoming the year’s 9th biggest box office performer. Apart from the box office, reviews seemed to be stronger in 1989 for Daisy than they are for Green Book today and the shift in culture in the intervening years suggests that this film isn’t nearly the progressive lightning rod as it might have been even twenty years ago. Today, it feels rather tame and although a viable topic, there are other movies this year that could benefit from this film’s failure to catch fire, like Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. And after Lee’s anger over his 1989 film Do the Right Thing not even securing a Best Picture nomination, better yet losing out to a film he considered too tame at the time, it could be the ultimate rebuke for Lee to take the crown over this film.

At Eternity’s Gate

Another film that did poorly at the box office this weekend, but for which such poor performance isn’t as damaging, At Eternity’s Gate is the latest film to look at the life of Vincent Van Gogh, this film specifically his later life. Starring Willem Dafoe as the legendary painter, Julian Scnabel’s first film in eight years, and first since 2007’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly to enter the Oscar conversation has only one real shot at a nomination.

Dafoe has been a well respected actor for years and the Academy is surely itching to recognize the thespian for his long career of solid work. Additionally, the Academy loves biopics of real people, having themselves given Kirk Douglas an Oscar nomination for playing Van Gogh in 1956’s Lust for Life. Countless actors have earned nominations and even won for such feats. When the film debuted earlier this year at, fittingly, the Venice International Film Festival, there was a lot of talk about Dafoe as a strong Best Actor contender.

However, as that early attention faded, so too has talk of Dafoe as a major contender. Now, it appears he might be lucky to be nominated. That said, I suspect that if he is nominated, a groundswell of support might build for him and an Oscar could be in the cards. That’s especially true considering the dearth of other potential Best Actor winners. As to other categories, the film could make a play for Cinematography, Production Design, and Costume Design, but I suspect that Dafoe’s nomination might be it for the film unless the precursors start swinging heavily in its direction.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The Harry Potter series had always struggled with the Oscars as fantasy was still thought inconsequential enough to merit consideration. Although the series eventually started picking up a handful of creative nominations, it wasn’t until Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that the Wizarding World finally claimed an Oscar winning for Best Costume Design.

Set in the 1920s, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald picks up where the prior film left off and that might be as adequate a description of its Oscar chances as anything. Shifting from New York City to Paris in its second outing, the period designs are still on display, making it a strong contender for repeat nominations both in Costume Design and its other nominated category Production Design. The problem is that consistency isn’t always the Academy’s concern and while the prior Potter films appeared in a regular array of categories, including the two above plus Visual Effects, none of the nominations were common between films.

That said, the film still has a strong chance at nomination, including in Best Visual Effects this year where it wasn’t nominated previously. There’s lots of competition and this film’s weak response from critics and audiences might hinder its chances more than help. So, exactly-repeated nominations aren’t likely, but one or two categories might be within reach.

Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 1

As the precursor awards begin, I’m going to be providing a weekly update highlighting the films that have won and lost momentum through the precursor awards (and in some cases other outside influences).

This week only featured one precursor, but it’s among the first and last awarded. It’s awards are always held the night before the Oscars, otherwise known as too late to impact our final predictions. That said, the Spirit Awards tend to recognize Oscar nominees among their choices and while they will pick the most likely to win if there are multiple Oscar nominees in the category, the winners aren’t particularly instructive, even if five of the last seven Spirit Award winners also won the Best Picture Oscar. Of this year’s five Best Feature nominees, only If Beale Street Could Talk is a major contender for a Best Picture nomination, so keep an eye on that film.

But, before we get into this week’s winners and losers, let’s take a look at what’s coming up this week:

Week 2

Monday, Nov. 19 – NAACP Image Awards (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Tuesday, Nov. 20 – Cairo Festival (Festival) (Official)
Tuesday, Nov. 20 – India Festival (Festival) (Official)
Tuesday, Nov. 20 – Producers Guild (Documentary) (Nominations) (Official)
Friday, Nov. 23 – Blue Dragon Film Awards (Awards) (Official)

Big Winners


The Morning After: Nov. 19, 2018

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:


After a seven-year career as a short filmmaker, Ari Aster has made the transition to features with this chilling and unexpected horror gem. As a mother deals with grief over the death of her mother, her family must struggle with her increasing paranoia.

The film is broken into three incredibly distinct acts. The first act ends with an entirely unexpected twist that redefines the second third of the film, then swerves even further off course in the last third. Each of these course corrections is expertly handled, driving the audience crazy with anticipation for what bizarre thing will happen next and how to connect everything together once the credits role.


Review: Night School (2018)

Night School



Malcolm D. Lee


Kevin Hart, Harry Ratchford, Joey Wells, Matthew Kellard, Nicholas Stoller, John Hamburg


1h 51m


Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Keith David, Taran Killam, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Anne Winters, Romany Malco, Ben Schwartz, Rob Riggle

MPAA Rating

PG – 13 for crude and sexual content throughout, language, some drug references and violence

Original Preview

Click Here

Review: Venom (2018)




Ruben Fleischer


Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, Kelly Marcel


1h 52m


Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Jenny Slate, Melora Walters, Peggy Lu

MPAA Rating

PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language

Original Preview

Click Here

This Day in Oscar History: November 19 (2018)

Here’s what happened today in Oscar History.





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