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Entries in Nominations (4)

Wednesday
Jan232019

ROMA, THE FAVOURITE LEAD 91ST ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS.

Alfonso Quaron’s Roma and Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite lead the pack of nominees for the 91st Academy Awards, with each film to compete in 10 categories when the awards are announced on February 24. The full list of nominees were announced this morning in Los Angeles by Tracee Ellis Ross, star of the TV series black-ish, and Kumail Nanjiani, a nominee in 2018 for The Big Sick.

Roma and The Favourite are frontrunners in the Best Film category, though will not have it all their own way, with Peter Farrelly’s Green Book (5 nominations) on a roll in the wake of Golden Globe and PGA top honours. Other Best Picture nominees are Black Panther (7 nominations), BlackkKlansman (6), Bohemian Rhapsody (5), A Star is Born (8) and Vice (8).

The Academy’s embrace of Roma signifies a major turning point in the industry’s acceptance of streaming service Netflix, which has emerged as the third most nominated ‘studio’ this year. Also nominated in three categories is The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the content provider’s collaboration with Oscar favourites Joel and Ethan Coen. (Pictured, right; Quaron directs his lead actress Yalitza Aparicio on the set of Roma) 

Netflix’s nomination tally sees it behind Walt Disney Studios (16) and Fox Searchlight (15), while outpacing mini-major Annapurna Pictures (11), Universal (9), Warner Bros (9), Focus Features (8), 20th Century Fox (5) and Sony Pictures Classic (4).

Oscar’s embrace of Quaron’s stylised account of his upbringing in Mexico’s middle-class extended to the Best Actress category, where Yalitza Aparicio earned a nomination for her stoic turn as the household’s nanny/maid. Award bodies have so far largely ignored her central performance, citing the writer/director’s contribution as key to the film’s success. She will compete against Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and Lady Gaga (A Star is Born). (Pictured, left; Nominees Rachel Weisz, left, and Olivia Colman from The Favourite)

Bradley Cooper’s directing prowess on the musical remake was strangely snubbed in favour of his lead actor skills, which have largely taken a backseat to his work behind the camera in the awards season race. The other Best Actor nominees are otherwise as expected, with Cooper to face off against Christian Bale (Vice), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book) and Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody).

Cooper’s slot in the Best Director race is likely to have been filled by Polish auteur Pawel Pawlikowski, whose tragic romance Cold War (the second monochromatic feature in contention, alongside Roma) earned three nominations. The great iconoclast Spike Lee (pictured, right; with Topher grace, centre, and Supporting Actor nominee Adam Driver) has finally been taken into Oscar’s inner sanctum with his first nomination, for BlacKkklansman; fellow nominees are Lanthimos, Cuaron and Adam Mckay (Vice).

The list of those that could not catch Oscar’s eye include lead actress Elsie Fischer and original screenplay hope Bo Burnham for Eighth Grade; SAG-nominated Emily Blunt, for either lead actress in Mary Poppins (which did earn four other nominations) or supporting actress for A Quiet Place; Ethan Hawke for his lead acting in First Reformed (although Paul Schrader’s original script was shortlisted); Damian Chazelle’s astronaut saga First Man, which earned four tech nods but missed Picture, Actor (Ryan Gosling), Supporting Actress (Claire Foy) and Score; Toni Collette for her wild lead turn in Hereditary; the year’s most acclaimed and successful documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbour?;  and, Nicole Kidman, for either Destroyer or Boy Erased, both of which had award season momentum. The absence, again, of any female Best Director nominees has been noted, with Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Debra Granik (Leave No Trace), Tamara Jenkins (Private Life), Karyn Kusama (Destroyer), Mimi Leder (On the Basis of Sex), Josie Rourke (Mary Queen of Scots) and Chloe Zhao (The Rider) all considered serious contenders. 

The full list of 2019 Academy award nominees are:

Best Picture: Black Panther; BlacKkKlansman; Bohemian Rhapsody; The Favourite; Green Book; Roma; A Star Is Born; Vice.

Lead Actor: Christian Bale, Vice; Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born; Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate;  Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody; Viggo Mortensen, Green Book.

Lead Actress: Yalitza Aparicio, Roma; Glenn Close, The Wife; Olivia Colman, The Favourite; Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born; Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Green Book; Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman; Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born; Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?; Sam Rockwell, Vice.

Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Vice; Marina de Tavira, Roma; Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk; Emma Stone, The Favourite; Rachel Weisz, The Favourite.

Director: Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman; Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War; Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite; Alfonso Cuarón, Roma; Adam McKay, Vice.

Animated Feature: Incredibles 2; Isle of Dogs; Mirai; Ralph Breaks the Internet; Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Animated Short: Animal Behaviour; Bao; Late Afternoon; One Small Step; Weekends.

Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs; Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman; Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, Can You Ever Forgive Me?; Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk; Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters, A Star Is Born.

Original Screenplay: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara, The Favourite; Paul Schrader, First Reformed;  Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, Green Book; Alfonso Cuarón, Roma; Adam McKay, Vice.

Cinematography: Lukasz Zal, Cold War; Robbie Ryan, The Favourite; Caleb Deschanel, Never Look Away; Alfonso Cuarón, Roma; Matthew Libatique, A Star is Born

Best Documentary Feature: Free Solo; Hale County This Morning, This Evening; Minding the Gap; Of Fathers and Sons; RBG.

Best Documentary Short Subject: Black Sheep; End Game; Lifeboat; A Night at the Garden; Period. End of Sentence.

Best Live Action Short Film: Detainment; Fauve; Marguerite; Mother; Skin.

Best Foreign Language Film: Capernaum (Lebanon); Cold War (Poland); Never Look Away” (Germany); Roma (Mexico); Shoplifters (Japan).

Film Editing: Barry Alexander Brown, BlacKkKlansman; John Ottman, Bohemian Rhapsody; Patrick J. Don Vito, Green Book; Yorgos Mavropsaridis, The Favourite; Hank Corwin, Vice.

Sound Editing: Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker, Black Panther; John Warhurst, Bohemian Rhapsody; Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan, First Man; Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl, A Quiet Place; Sergio Diaz, Skip Lievsay, Roma.

Sound Mixing: Black Panther; Bohemian Rhapsody; First Man; Roma; A Star Is Born.

Production Design: Black Panther; First Man; The Favourite; Mary Poppins Returns; Roma.

Original Score: Terence Blanchard, BlacKkKlansman; Ludwig Goransson, Black Panther; Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk; Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs; Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Mary Poppins Returns

Original Song: “All The Stars” from Black Panther by Kendrick Lamar, SZA; “I’ll Fight” from RBG by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson; “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman; “Shallow” from A Star Is Born by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice; “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch.

Makeup and Hair: Border; Mary Queen of Scots; Vice.

Costume Design: Mary Zophres, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs; Ruth E. Carter, Black Panther; Sandy Powell, The Favourite; Sandy Powell, Mary Poppins Returns; Alexandra Byrne, Mary Queen of Scots.

Visual Effects: Avengers: Infinity War; Christopher Robin; First Man; Ready Player One; Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Wednesday
Jan242018

OSCAR SPLASHES OUT: THE SHAPE OF WATER, DUNKIRK LEAD 2018 NOMINATIONS

Nine films will vie for the Best Picture Oscar at the 90th annual Academy Awards ceremony, to be held March 4 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Guillermo Del Toro’s love letter to the Hollywood horror films of yore, The Shape of Water firmed as favourite to take home the top honour on the back of its 13 nominations.

Other nominees in the race for Best Picture are Dunkirk (8 nominations), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (7), Darkest Hour (6), Phantom Thread (6), Lady Bird (5), Get Out (4), Call Me By Your Name (4) and The Post (2). Award season contenders that failed to make the Best Picture shortlist include The Florida Project, The Disaster Artist and Mudbound.

A late season surge by Paul Thomas Anderson’s dressmaker drama Phantom Thread (pictured, right), which had trouble finding traction early in the awards race, appears to have scuppered the chances of several films who were once considered ‘sure things’. Both director Steven Spielberg and star Tom Hanks were overlooked for The Post (it’s only other nomination was for perennial Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep, her 21st); actor/director James Franco and his tribute to ‘never-say-die’ filmmaking, The Disaster Artist were shunted, earning just a single nod for Adapted Screenplay.

The Hollywood men’s club that was the Best Cinematography category is no more, with Mudbound DOP Rachel Morrison becoming the first woman to be nominated in the category; it was one of four nominations for director Dee Rees’ slave story and represents the first non-documentary showing for streaming giant Netflix.

Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman to be nominated for Best Director for her coming-of-age drama Lady Bird, while first-time nominees in the major categories include Margot Robbie (Best Actress) and Allison Janney (Best Supporting Actress) for I, Tonya; Christopher Nolan for his direction on Dunkirk; Jordan Peele (Best Director) and Daniel Kaluuya (Best Actor) for Get Out; and legendary French New Wave figure Agnes Varda, who earns here first nomination at the age of 89 for her documentary Faces Places (pictured, below; Varda with Faces Places co-director, JR). While nothing came the way of Hugh Jackman for either Logan or The Greatest Showman, Margot Robbie's Best Actress mention and the nomination of director Derin Seale and star and co-writer Josh Lawson for their short The Eleven O'Clock meant Australian talent gets a look-in once again on the world of film's biggest night.   

Spielberg, Hanks and Franco were not the only high-profile talent to go home empty-handed. The blockbuster Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, failed to earn a single nomination; also on the no-show list, Battle of The Sexes, for which last year's Academy darling Emma Stone seemed destined for re-recognition; despite seven nominations in total, Three Billboards… director Martin McDonagh missed a Best Director slot (though did earn an Original Screenplay nod); Bret Morgan’s Jane, a profile of the great scientist Jane Goodall, seemed a certainty for the Best Documentary category; scene stealers Tiffany Haddisch (Girls Trip) and Holly Hunter (The Big Sick) in the Supporting Actress race; and, Fatih Akin’s In The Fade, which earned a Golden Globe for Foreign Language film and a Cannes trophy for leading lady, Diane Kruger.

The full list of nominees for the 90th Academy Awards are:

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET,Call Me by Your Name; DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, Phantom Thread; DANIEL KALUUYA, Get Out; GARY OLDMAN, Darkest Hour; DENZEL WASHINGTON, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: WILLEM DAFOE, The Florida Project; WOODY HARRELSON, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri; RICHARD JENKINS, The Shape of Water; CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, All the Money in the World; SAM ROCKWELL, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: SALLY HAWKINS, The Shape of Water; FRANCES MCDORMAND, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri; MARGOT ROBBIE, I, Tonya; SAOIRSE RONAN, Lady Bird; MERYL STREEP, The Post

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: MARY J. BLIGE, Mudbound; ALLISON JANNEY, I, Tonya; LESLEY MANVILLE, Phantom Thread; LAURIE METCALF, Lady Bird; OCTAVIA SPENCER, The Shape of Water

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: THE BOSS BABY; THE BREADWINNER; COCO; FERDINAND; LOVING VINCENT

CINEMATOGRAPHY: BLADE RUNNER 2049, Roger A. Deakins; DARKEST HOUR,Bruno Delbonnel; DUNKIRK, Hoyte van Hoytema; MUDBOUND, Rachel Morrison; THE SHAPE OF WATER, Dan Laustsen

COSTUME DESIGN: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Jacqueline Durran; DARKEST HOUR, Jacqueline Durran; PHANTOM THREAD, Mark Bridges; THE SHAPE OF WATER, Luis Sequeira; VICTORIA & ABDUL, Consolata Boyle

DIRECTING: DUNKIRK, Christopher Nolan; GET OUT, Jordan Peele; LADY BIRD, Greta Gerwig; PHANTOM THREAD, Paul Thomas Anderson; THE SHAPE OF WATER, Guillermo del Toro

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE): ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL; FACES PLACES; ICARUS; LAST MEN IN ALEPPO; STRONG ISLAND

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT): EDITH+EDDIE; HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405; HEROIN(E); KNIFE SKILLS; TRAFFIC STOP

FILM EDITING: BABY DRIVER, Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos; DUNKIRK, Lee Smith; I, TONYA, Tatiana S. Riegel; THE SHAPE OF WATER, Sidney Wolinsky; THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, Jon Gregory

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: A FANTASTIC WOMAN, Chile; THE INSULT, Lebanon; LOVELESS, Russia; ON BODY AND SOUL, Hungary; THE SQUARE, Sweden

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: DARKEST HOUR, Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick; VICTORIA & ABDUL, Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard; WONDER, Arjen Tuiten

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE): DUNKIRK, Hans Zimmer; PHANTOM THREAD, Jonny Greenwood; THE SHAPE OF WATER, Alexandre Desplat; STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, John Williams; THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, Carter Burwell

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG): MIGHTY RIVER from Mudbound;; MYSTERY OF LOVE from Call Me by Your Name; REMEMBER ME from Coco; STAND UP FOR SOMETHING from Marshall; THIS IS ME from The Greatest Showman

BEST PICTURE: CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges and Marco Morabito, Producers; DARKEST HOUR, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten and Douglas Urbanski, Producers; DUNKIRK, Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers; GET OUT, Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr. and Jordan Peele, Producers; LADY BIRD, Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Evelyn O'Neill, Producers; PHANTOM THREAD, JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison and Daniel Lupi, Producers; THE POST, Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers; THE SHAPE OF WATER, Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale, Producers; THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh, Producers

PRODUCTION DESIGN: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST; BLADE RUNNER 2049; DARKEST HOUR; DUNKIRK; THE SHAPE OF WATER

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED): DEAR BASKETBALL; GARDEN PARTY; LOU; NEGATIVE SPACE; REVOLTING RHYMES

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION): DEKALB ELEMENTARY; THE ELEVEN O'CLOCK; MY NEPHEW EMMETT; THE SILENT CHILD; WATU WOTE/ALL OF US

SOUND EDITING: BABY DRIVER, Julian Slater; BLADE RUNNER 2049, Mark Mangini and Theo Green; DUNKIRK, Richard King and Alex Gibson; THE SHAPE OF WATER, Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira; STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce

SOUND MIXING: BABY DRIVER, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H. Ellis; BLADE RUNNER 2049, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth; DUNKIRK, Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary A. Rizzo; THE SHAPE OF WATER, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern and Glen Gauthier; STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Stuart Wilson

VISUAL EFFECTS: BLADE RUNNER 2049; GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2; KONG: SKULL ISLAND; STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI; WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY): CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, Screenplay by James Ivory; THE DISASTER ARTIST, Screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber; LOGAN, Screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green, Story by James Mangold; MOLLY'S GAME, Written for the screen by Aaron Sorkin; MUDBOUND, Screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY): THE BIG SICK, Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani; GET OUT, Written by Jordan Peele; LADY BIRD, Written by Greta Gerwig; THE SHAPE OF WATER, Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor, Story by Guillermo del Toro; THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, Written by Martin McDonagh

Sunday
Feb282016

SENTIMENTAL FAVES TO DOMINATE OSCAR 2016

The ‘sentimental narrative’ is being bandied about with shameless abandon in most prognostications over the 2016 Academy Awards. Key categories are not being discussed on merit, but more so as if nominees are nearing death; those “Oh, it’s his time,” and “Wouldn’t it be fitting if…” kind of comments. SCREEN-SPACE can play that game as well as the best of them so, just over 24 hours out from host Chris Rock’s highly-anticipated opening monologue, here are our winners and why…

BEST PICTURE
Bridge of Spies is the best film amongst the eight nominees, but Spielberg was bumped from the director category and its Cold War setting (and, yes, Tom Hanks’ casting) makes it feel like a throwback to a bygone Hollywood era. Room will earn kudos elsewhere; The Martian and Brooklyn will have been shutout across the board by this time of the night. With no nomination in the script categories, it would go against the grain for The Revenant to pick up the trophy, but that is likely to happen. The upside is that the absence of Innaritu and co-writer Mark L Smith from the writing honours list means Spotlight and The Big Short won’t go home empty-handed. But could Mad Max Fury Road steal the Best Picture spotlight….?
Who will win: THE REVENANT.
Who should win: INSIDE OUT.

BEST DIRECTOR
…No, but the sentimental narrative will help its director George Miller to a surprise Best Director trophy. If the Academy rank-&-file are in a ‘body of work’ mindset, no one would be more deserving than the Aussie filmmaker; he has one trophy already, for Best Animated Film winner Happy Feet, and is high on the AMPAS membership radar after Babe (7 noms), The Witches of Eastwick (2 noms) and Lorenzo’s Oil (2 noms). Industry types know that the journey he undertook on the action franchise reboot was every bit as fraught with hardship as anything Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu and his team undertook on The Revenant. Adam McKay’s giddy, fresh vision for The Big Short could be the bolter; Tom McCarthy’s work on Spotlight was solid; Lenny Abrahamson for Room is this category’s ‘reward enough to be nominated’ guy.
Who will win: GEORGE MILLER for MAD MAX FURY ROAD (pictured, above; on-set with star Tom Hardy)
Who should win: GEORGE MILLER for MAD MAX FURY ROAD

BEST ACTRESS
45 Years star Charlotte Rampling had the sentimentalists on her side until she laid into the Academy over the diversity issue. Jennifer Lawrence’s industry pull and not her performance in Joy got her a spot on the ballot, but she’s doing no campaigning for the prize. It’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ for Saoirse Ronan, but the current is running against her for Brooklyn. And the frontrunner a few months back, Cate Blanchett in Todd Haynes’ lesbian romantic drama Carol, has found no awards season favour come trophy time (Ed: fine with that, it’s a hammy performance). When the terrific Ms Larson is cradling the little gold guy back stage, will any of the pap gallery have the verve to call out, “Hey Brie, say ‘cheese’?”
Who will win: BRIE LARSON for ROOM.
Who should win: CHARLIZE THERON for MAD MAX FURY ROAD

BEST ACTOR
Just how the sentimental narrative surrounding Leonardo DiCaprio’s bare Oscar cabinet emerged is a mystery. He’s been “snubbed for this” and “denied for that” over the years, according to page after page of fawning editorial (in all fairness, he perhaps should have won for The Aviator…or Revolutionary Road…or The Wolf of Wolf Street). But his cause quickly became the catchcry of the modern American film industry, the shrill shrieking reminiscent of Oscar matriarch Shirley Maclaine’s “Give my daughter the stuff!” meltdown in Terms of Endearment. Fassbender is fantastic as Steve Jobs; the buzz on Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl was hotter than the technically proficient but chilly performance that finally emerged; Trumbo was undersen, so Cranston remained an outsider. Damon’s space dude from The Martian? Puh-leeze.
Who will win: LEONARDO DICAPRIO from THE REVENANT.
Who should win:  GEZA ROHRIG from SON OF SAUL.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
No one begrudges Rachel McAdams’ nod for her fine work in Spotlight but she didn’t have the big showy moment that usually gets noticed amongst support players. Rooney Mara is the warm heart and soul in the otherwise overpraised Carol, but it’s a lead performance, surely? Winslet has a Lead Actress statue (and 6 other noms), which should be enough to discount her in a close race. If the 2016 Oscars fully commit to the sentimental, industry veteran Jennifer Jason Leigh could win for The Hateful Eight. Likely, though, that Alicia Vikander will top off a breakthrough year with the crown for The Danish Girl (also essentially a lead performance). If the male winners seem steeped in gooey sentimentality, the actress categories seem to be looking to the future of the industry.
Who will win: ALICIA VIKANDER for THE DANISH GIRL (pictured, above)
Who should win: KRISTEN STEWART for CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
No category pulses soloudly with a sentimental heartbeat as the Supporting Actor contest. Mark’s Ruffalo and Rylance (for Spotlight and Bridge of Spies, respectively) can feel hard done by; in any other year they would have been duking it out (pardon the boxing analogy, but it’s fitting). Christian Bale is in peak form at present; his role in The Big Short represents an actor mature enough to back his instincts and deliver. Tom Hardy had a great year and bad guys, such as the creep he played in The Revenant, often win this category. But does the potential for overflowing goodwill and a minutes-long standing ovation (if the broadcaster allows it) exist anywhere else in the Oscar schedule than with the feting of Sylvester Stallone? No, it doesn’t and he will win and win big.
Who will win: SYLVESTER STALLONE for CREED
Who should win: Well, take your pick – JACOB TREMBLAY for ROOM; PAUL DANO for LOVE & MERCY; MICHAEL SHANNON for 99 ROOMS.

OF THE REST…
As stated, Adapted Screenplay honours will go to Adam McKay and Charles Randolph for The Big Short, while Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer will win Original Screenplay honours for Spotlight (both earned WGA gongs); Emmanuel Lubezki will win for lensing The Revenant, though John Seale could take this slot if the night turns in Fury Road’s favour; Mad Max will sweep the tech categories, including Editing, Makeup/Hair Styling, Production Design and the Sound categories; Inside Out is a cert for Animated Film; harrowing Holocaust drama Son of Saul for Foreign Film; the sentimental favourite for Original Score will be the legendary Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight, earning him his first Oscar; box office dominance will be rewarded with a VFX win for Star Wars The Force Awakens; doco honours for Amy; costuming to Sandy Powell for Cinderella; remarkably, the years forgotten hit Fifty Shades of Grey will earn Oscar bragging rights with a  Best Song win, for ‘Earned It’ by The Weeknd.

Sunday
Feb222015

"AND THE OSCAR GOES TO...": PREDICTING THE 2015 WINNERS.

Call us a little bit cynical, but the modern Oscars circus is little more than an extension of the studio marketing arms. Each year, the bestowed-upon contenders are probably not the ‘best’ movies of the year, but certainly are the ones that serve the image and integrity of Hollywood’s corporate masters most succinctly. That said, the Oscars are still a blast, not least for us ‘industry analysis’ types. We indulge in long ruminations about who is going to win and why, as if we are privy to the back room dealings and long lunches that draw those left-field votes from the Academy members. We aren’t that inside, of course, but that never stops us from conjuring wildly hypothetical scenarios to support our prognostications. To wit, the 2015 SCREEN-SPACE Oscar Predictions… 

BEST ACTRESS:
Julianne Moore will take home this statue. It is impossible to recall when a category seemed like such a lock and will present the defining moment of the entire evening if she misses out (see also, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette in the supporting player categories). On merit alone, it should be a much closer contest - Marion Cotillard gives the performance of the year in Two Days One Night, but no one saw it; Reese Witherspoon hit a new career-high in Wild; Felicity Jones was the Tom Cruise to Eddie Redmayne’s ‘Rainman’ and deserves any acting kudos far more than her co-star. Gone Girl’s Rosamund Pike’s inclusion at the expense of Jenny Slate (Obvious Child), Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year; Miss Julie), Jennifer Aniston (Cake) or Essie Davis (The Babadook) now seems daft. 

BEST ACTOR:
Like Moore, sentimental favourite Michael Keaton seemed a similar ‘sure thing’ a few months back. But the race has tightened. American Sniper’s enormous success has seen Bradley Cooper surge; with no Best Director nomination and the adapted screenplay sparking credibility debates, this category may be the only opportunity to reward the surprise hit. Redmayne’s impersonation of Stephen Hawking pales next to the likes of Daniel Day Lewis (who won for My Left Foot) and Tom Cruise (nominated for Born on The Fourth of July), but he has the BAFTA and SAG trophies already in his cabinet. No Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel) or Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) undermines this category, for sure. Hollywood will reward it’s own and give Keaton the gong. 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY and BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Pundits will get some idea if The Grand Budapest Hotel is going to contend for a Best Picture win if it bumps Boyhood and Birdman in the Original Screenplay category. It will have certainly picked up some below-the-line honours by this stage, but will need this nod to maintain momentum; the recent BAFTA crown is a good sign. Foxcatcher is firming as the evening’s also-ran; Nigtcrawler should win, but won’t. Wes Anderson by a hipster’s whisker.
Adapted Screenplay is most likely the last big category The Imitation Game can win, but that seems unlikely against American Sniper and The Theory of Everything. Inherent Vice is (fittingly) the rank outsider; would’ve been nice to see James Gunn’s smart, sweet reworking of the comic book source Guardians of the Galaxy get recognition here. The 2015 surprise may be Damien Chazelle (pictured, left) taking the gold for Whiplash. With five nominations, the film has a lot of love amongst AMPAS members; JK Simmons didn’t just make up those vicious, tyrannical rants. Whiplash in an upset. 

BEST DIRECTOR
Morten Tyldum’s understated, workmanlike job on The Imitation Game was fine, but not one of the year’s five best. Foxcatcher auteur Bennet Miller’s rigid, austere eye was much admired, but did anyone come out of that film exclaiming, “God, I loved it”? Wes Anderson will be rewarded with the Original Screenplay gong. That leaves arguably the night’s toughest split decision – Alejandro Inarritu’s giddy, bewildering, technically dazzling spin on the artist-as-a-tortured-soul, or Richard Linklater’s warm celebration of every-home Americana. For its widely publicised production schedule and his intensely personal conviction, Linklater will probably claim it. No, I’m not that enamoured with the meandering mediocrity of Boyhood or its mopey leading man, but everyone else seems to love it and Linklater has certainly paid his dues, so good luck to him. 

BEST FILM:
In such a tight year, it is inconceivable that any kind of ‘clean sweep’ will emerge. If Boyhood wins here, it will have three of the top slots (Director, Supporting Actress). Boyhood won’t be ‘that’ film. If Redmayne surprises in the Best Actor category, Linklater takes the directing honours and The Grand Budapest Hotel nabs tech awards, the highly-touted pre-ceremony frontrunner Birdman may be shutout. Frankly, I can’t see that happening. Both the critics and the creative community adored Inarritu’s vision; that warmth will carry it to Best Picture glory in one of the tightest races in recent memory.

For what it’s worth…
Ida for Best Foreign Film; Big Hero 6 for Animated Feature; CitizenFour for Doco, and; ‘Glory’ from Selma for Best Song.