Category: Oscar Preview

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Dec. 7-9, 2018

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Mary Queen of Scots

In Oscar history, period epic dramas have been a staple, gracing countless Oscar ceremonies and winning numerous awards. Mary Queen of Scots looks to be just the kind of movie the Academy has always loved to recognized. So, why does it feel like an also-ran?

The first sign of trouble came when critics reviewed the film. While they have been uniformly positive (68% on Rotten Tomatoes and 64 on MetaCritic), they aren’t the stuff of Oscar juggernauts. Matter of fact, the film has been almost ignored by the precursor awards so far, including the more friendly Golden Globes. Sure, the Satellite Awards gave it a few mentions, but they aren’t a group Oscar voters typically look to for validation.

The film sports Oscar nominees Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, two of the biggest young actresses working today. It’s a period feast that’s sure to figure in at least Production Design and Costume Design, but the film itself just can’t seem to get a toe-hold in this year’s race. While Ronan and Robbie both look to give fiery performances, the critics are looking in other directors for their choices, which means neither is likely to compete this year.

Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 4

As the precursor awards continue unabated until Oscar night, 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).

A slew of precursors have been handed out this week and most of the major ones have been announced. We have a few big ones still to go (such as the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Kansas City Film Critics, and the Online Film Critics Society), but we’re also about to hit the guild nominations with Screen Actors Guild leading the way next week.

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

Week 5

Tue. 11 – Houston Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Tue. 11 – Phoenix Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Wed. 12 – Dallas Area Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Wed. 12 – African American Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Wed. 12 – Screen Actors (Nominations) (Official)
Wed. 12 – Goya Awards (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Thu. 13 – Las Vegas Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Fri. 14 – Austin Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Fri. 14 – Vancouver Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Sat. 15 – Phoenix Circle (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Sat. 15 – Black Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Sun. 16 – Boston Critics (Awards) (Official)
Sun. 16 – Kansas City Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Sun. 16 – St. Louis Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Mon. 17 – Indiana Journalists (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Mon. 17 – Seattle Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Mon. 17 – Southeastern Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Mon. 17 – Utah Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Mon. 17 – Vancouver Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)

Big Winners

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2018

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 3

As the precursor awards continue unabated until Oscar night, 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).

While the onslaught of critics awards begins in earnest this week, there’s no question that it got a good jolt from this week’s Washington DC critics and New York Film Critics as well as nominations from the Annie Awards.

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

Week 4

Tuesday, Dec. 4 – American Film Institute (Awards) (Official)
Wednesday, Dec. 5 – Detroit Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Wednesday, Dec. 5 – Australian Academy of Cinema and Televisions Arts (Awards) (Official)
Wednesday, Dec. 5 – Grammy Awards (Nominations) (Official)
Thursday, Dec. 6 – Detroit Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Thursday, Dec. 6 – Golden Globes (Nominations) (Official)
Saturday, Dec. 8 – North Texas Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Saturday, Dec. 8 – Philadelphia Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Saturday, Dec. 8 – San Francisco Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Dec. 9 – Boston Online Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Dec. 9 – Chicago Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Dec. 9 – NY Online Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Dec. 9 – Philadelphia Critics (Awards) (Official)
Sunday, Dec. 9 – San Diego Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Dec. 9 – San Francisco Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Dec. 9 – Toronto Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Monday, Dec. 10 – Atlanta Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Monday, Dec. 10 – Broadcast Critics (Nominations) (Official)
Monday, Dec. 10 – Phoenix Circle (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Monday, Dec. 10 – San Diego Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Monday, Dec. 10 – Seattle Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Monday, Dec. 10 – St. Louis Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)

Big Winners

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Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 2

As the precursor awards continue unabated until Oscar night, 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 past week saw less movement than expected with only the Producers Guild of America documentary nominations. As such, there isn’t a lot to discuss in terms of winners or losers this week. We’ll present you with the calendar, which promises a thrilling next week of activity, and then we’ll be back to regular winners/losers citations next week.

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

Week 3

Monday, Nov. 26 – Gotham Awards (Awards) (Official)
Tuesday, Nov. 27 – National Board of Review (Awards) (Official)
Thursday, Nov. 29 – New York Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Thursday, Nov. 29 – Satellites (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Saturday, Dec. 1 – DC Critics (Nominations) (Unconfirmed)
Sunday, Dec. 2 – Los Angeles Critics (Awards) (Unconfirmed)
Monday, Dec. 3 – DC Critics (Awards) (Official)
Monday, Dec. 3 – Annie Awards (Nominations) (Official)

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Nov. 23-25, 2018

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

Ralph Breaks the Internet

When you look at the nominees and winners for Best Animated Feature, there are two facts that are irrefutable. One is that Disney/Pixar is responsible for the majority of nominees and a huge majority of the winners. Two is that Disney/Pixar sequels rarely ever get nominated with only Toy Story 3 managing to accomplish the feat. Matter of fact, only three sequels from any studio have ever been nominated for the Oscars.

So what does a film like Ralph Breaks the Internet do? There probably isn’t anything. While the film wasn’t as meagerly received as Monsters University, it wasn’t as well received as Finding Dory. Whereas none of them were as well reviewed as Toy Story 3, which had the added benefit of both prior films releasing prior to the category’s existince.

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

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

Widows

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.

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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

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 9-11, 2018

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

The Grinch

Dr. Seuss’s classic story about a mean-spirited grump who steals Christmas from the holiday-loving people of Whoville was told to great acclaim in 1966 with the television movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. The perennial TV staple stood for thirty-four years as the only telling of the classic children’s book when Ron Howard directed Jim Carrey in a live-action version of the story with the same title sans exclamation point. While the film did well at the box office, it was poorly received and the original TV version remains the gold standard.

Illumination, which has once before taken a Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) story and adapted to the big screen, 2012’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax decided to adapt yet another Seuss story to the big screen. In choosing The Grinch in lieu of any of Geisel’s other adventures, they set themselves up for direct comparison to the Chuck Jones-crafted animated feature. Suffice it to say critics have been less than enthused by this particular retelling, some of them wondering what the need was considering the original’s legendary status.

That presents a major obstacle to the film’s Oscar chances for a nomination. Audiences have responded positively to it, but that’s a given for almost any major animated feature, especially from a company like Illumination, which has earned countless dollars off its myriad films. Illumination is the second mark against the film’s favor. Outside of Despicable Me 2, none of their other films have earned Oscar nomination. Could this be the film to bring them back to the competition? With critical reception mediocre, the third worst in the company’s history, the film’s chances are slim. However, with a dearth of competition this year, it’s possible the film could sneak into one of the weaker spots, especially if the change to voting rules for the branch promotes more populist fare.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Nov. 2-4, 2018

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

Bohemian Rhapsody

A film that has made a lot of money at the box office, Bohemian Rhapsody was always a long shot for Oscar consideration considering the problematic production schedule.

That hasn’t stopped the film’s star, Rami Malek from earning heaps of praise over the film itself, which is receiving a more tepid response. Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury is one of a handful of Oscar contenders out there and the film’s strong box office performance might propel him into the nomination circle. He’s sure to pick up a Golden Globe nomination (and probably win), but Oscar’s a tougher sell. That said, they love actors playing real figures, giving him a slightly better shot at the nomination.

The critics awards will give us a better idea of whether he’s an actual contender or if he’s going to disappear into the ethos.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 26-28, 2018

We had no films release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 19-21, 2018

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

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Based on a fascinating true story about down-on-her-luck author Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) who took to forging type-written letters from world renowned novelists to help her get through tough financial times, Can You Ever Forgive Me? has earned stellar reviews since its debut at Telluride in September.

The film co-stars noted character actor Richard E. Grant who is said to get his juiciest role in years and may be progressing towards a J.K. Simmons-style Oscar run through precursor season in Best Supporting Actor. McCarthy is also a contender moving into an overcrowded Best Actress slate. While it’s possible she gets overlooked in such a tough year, she’s still at the forefront of the competition, meaning she could be a bird-in-the-hand kind of guarantee.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 12-14, 2018

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

First Man

With his debut film, Damien Chazelle received critical acclaim. Although Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench wasn’t an Oscar contender, it established him as an up-and-coming director. While it took four years to find his next projects, writing the poorly received films Grand Piano and The Last Exorcism Part II, it was his second film as a director that put him on the map.

Whiplash, based on his 2013 short film of the same name, starred Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons as student and teacher. The film picked up a surprisingly strong five Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Simmons), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. The film pulled in three total awards for Simmons, Film Editing, and Sound Mixing. This was 2014. In 2016 he made another stab at writing with the adept horror thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane, but it was his festival hit La La Land that made the Academy stand up and listen.

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Oscar Preview: Weekend of Oct. 5-7, 2018

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

A Star Is Born

Oscar history is littered with actors-turned-director who earn Oscar glory. The likes of Robert Reford (1980), Warren Beatty (1981), Kevin Costner (1990), Clint Eastwood (1992, 2004), Mel Gibson (Braveheart), and Ron Howard (2001) all won Oscars. That’s a good sign for Bradley Cooper how headed behind the camera (as well as in front) to direct the fourth incarnation of the classic musical story A Star Is Born.

The first incarnation, in 1937, starred Oscar winners Janet Gaynor and Fredric March as a rising star and her drunken benefactor. The film secured seven Oscar nominations, the most of any of the four films to date, including nominations for Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Directing, Original Story, Screenplay, and Assistant Director. It won for Original Story as well as an honorary Oscar for W. Howard Greene’s color photography. 17 years later, the second attempt at the story found Juvenile Oscar winner Judy Garland and James Mason as the pair. The film brought both actors their first Oscar nominations and the film also picked up nods in Scoring (this was the first musical version), Original Song, Art Direction, and Costume Design for a total of six.

Twenty-two years later, another attempt was made to tackle the subject putting Oscar winner Barbra Streisand and non-nominee Kris Kristofferson in the roles. Kristofferson would later pick up an Oscar nomination for songwriting, but the film was so poorly receive that it managed only four Oscar nominations, all in the creative categories. Though, it did win the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Here we are 43 years on and Cooper has directed another version of the film with himself and Lady Gaga (Original Song Oscar nominee) in the role. Cooper has four Oscar nominations for acting and from the sound of things, he’s going to get his fifth for this film (and sixth as director). Lady Gaga is also being talked up as a Best Actress contender and could be the first major pop star to pick up the citation, with Madonna having lost out on a nomination for Evita back in 1996. She would finally have one up on her idol.

The film has done well with audiences (8.5 on IMDb, A at CinemaScore), had a terrific opening at the box office $41 million), and enjoys superb critics’ reviews (90% on Rotten Tomatoes with 8/10 average score and 88 at MetaCritic). Those factors combine to make this a major Oscar contender. Best Picture, Directing, Actor (Cooper), Actress (Lady Gaga), Adapted Screenplay, Original Song, and Film Editing seem assured. It will probably only win Best Original Song, giving Gaga an Oscar she should have won three years ago.

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 28-30, 2018

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

The Old Man and the Gun

There are few acting legends of the 1960s who can still performing today and fewer still who would command Oscar attention the way Robert Redford does or has. Redford is something of an idol in Hollywood and now that he’s announced that The Old Man and the Gun will be his final film as an actor, its Oscar potential skyrockets, but will it be enough?

While Redford is well known for his work in front of the camera, he’s only ever been nominated for one acting honor: Best Actor for The Sting in 1973. Since then, he’s received three other Oscar nominations: two for directing and one for producing. His first directing citation was in 1980 for Ordinary People, for which he won the Oscar. He was next nominated 14 years later for Quiz Show for Best Directing and Best Picture. While he’s made a handful of films since then, none have been major Oscar players.

Redford received an honorary Oscar in 2001. That’s 17 years since Oscar last paid attention to him, 24 if you count only the competitive arena. This film doesn’t have a lot of other Oscar potential, which does hurt his chances; however, he cannot be considered out of the race, especially with such a lackluster line up so far this year. Will he be nominated? Possibly. If he is, will he win? I doubt it.

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