Friday, 4 September 2009

Best Actor Prediticions

Morgan Freeman – ‘Invictus’
Firstly, you have to take the lead actor in any Clint Eastwood film seriously as a major Oscar contender. Secondly that actor is Morgan Freeman who many people would like to see win a prize for lead. Thirdly Freeman is playing Nelson Mandela who is one of the most respected and well liked icons in the world. He is in.

George Clooney – ‘Up in the Air’
When is comes to charm, Clooney has it in spades. He is also well respected and liked and has two high profile films out this year. This is the most likely to see him get a nomination playing a business man falling in love. Every female voter is going to be in fantasy land with this one.

Matt Damon – ‘The Informant’
Damon has been under the radar for a while now, and is for some reason snubbed a lot, even though he is a very solid actor. Here he gains weight and seems to have a lot of fun playing a bumbling idiot in a true story (the Academy LOVES true stories). Will this been seen as too light weight for Oscar? Could Damon be Oscar vanilla?

Colin Firth – ‘A Single Man’
The man has worked with a lot of people. He as been around for ages and been very well respected, but just never been able to cross over and get that elusive Oscar nomination.
This could all change now with a career best performance in ‘A Single Man’ that has got critics very excited and Firth a lead actor prize at the Venice Film Festival. Not shabby at all

Robert Duvall – ‘Get Low’
When people start saying that an legendary actor gives a wonderful performance in a little film not many people have heard of, you may want to take note. If that actor is Robert Duvall, then you definitely have to.
The man is loved and is already getting great reviews for his small role in ‘The Road’. A serious contender.

Daniel Day-Lewis – ‘Nine”
This really is the big question mark. On one hand this is one of the best actors ever. He is consistent, delivering awards worthy performances most of the time. I do not think the question of if he can sing is relevant as the man will make sure he will deliver. The big question is how is the film and how meaty is his role?

Jeremy Renner – ‘The Hurt Locker’
Although the performance has already been nominated for last years Independent Spirit Awards, it will be considered for this years Oscars. The praise for the performance in unanimous, he is the real deal. All he needs is a mega campaign to keep him floating about in voters minds.

Clive Owen – ‘The Boys are Back’
This is shaky. The film has not been shown, so nothing really is known. It is a heart warming story of a single father raising his two sons after the death of his wife. Will be nice to see Owen in a sensitive role, and he could pull it off all the way to an Oscar nomination. Once the film is seen we will know more.

Johnny Depp – ‘Public Enemies’
They really like him it seems. He has three nominations under his belt, but how much do they like him? The reviews for the film were good, but not great, just as they were for his performance. Will the really let him win for this? Will they really nominate him again to go home empty handed again?

Michael Douglas – ‘Solitary Man’
He hails from an acting dynasty, but that second Oscar nomination has been very elusive indeed.
Another player coming out of Toronto with critics say it is a career best performance.
Not everyone agrees however, and that could hurt him. There are a lot of other contenders wanting one of the five spots.

Hugh Dancy – ‘Adam’
One of those small films that is all about the performance. There is usually one of these lurking about in the Best Actor category (Jenkins, Gosling, Howard) and they often make it in when push comes to shove. He has been a solid actor getting noticed in all that he does. Is it too soon though?

Sam Rockwell – ‘Moon
Had a hard task in the film, he is basically the only person in the film, and he carries it with great skill and realism. The reviews were very good, especially for the performance. His only problem is that not a lot of people saw the film, and how often do sci-fi performances get nominations, especially in small sci-fi movies?

Sharlto Copley – ‘District 9’
He is deserving. You are with him through the entire film and manages his character shifts like a pro. By the end of the film he is not the same person and he never puts a foot out of place. It is his film debut and he improvised a lot of the dialogue himself.
Again this is sci-fi and summer. It is actresses who get nominated on their film debut, not actors. A long shot.

New face in the race?

Well old face really, but since she just missed out on a nomination last year for ‘I’ve Loved You So Long’ could we see Kristen Scott Thomas back this year on the campaign trail for her well received portrayal of a well to do woman in France having a hot and steamy affair?

‘Partir’ aka ‘Leaving’ has opened to good reviews especially for Scott Thomas’

Never say never, a shake up in the race is always welcome. Sure this will probably not happen, but don’t we always hope for some out of the blue contender to come and whack all our predictions on our head.
Sure it hardly happens, but don’t you just love those last minute surprises where on nomination morning you go “Ooohhh” with a mixture of delight and annoyance?

When was the last tie I happened?

Thursday, 3 September 2009

"The Road" less travelled

Just as I begin to do my predictions, this goes and happens.

Todd McCarthy posted his review of ‘The Road’ today and it is not pretty at all. Perhaps this should have been seen from the beginning with all the release dates changing and the such, or perhaps these things are never predictable.
Anyway McCarthy really doesn't like the film, but this is not the first time he has slagged off something that has gone on to be a Best Picture nominee.
“This "Road" leads nowhere. If you're going to adapt a book like Cormac McCarthy's 2006 bestseller, you're pretty much obliged to make a terrific film or it's not worth doing -- first because expectations are high, and second, because the picture needs to make it worth people's while to sit through something so grim. Except for the physical aspects of this bleak odyssey by a father and son through a post-apocalyptic landscape, this long-delayed production falls dispiritingly short on every front. Showing clear signs of being test-screened and futzed with to death, the Dimension release may receive a measure of respect in some quarters but is very, very far from the film it should have been”
The notices for Mortensen and the other actors also spell trouble ahead come awards season:
“Unfortunately, Mortensen lacks the gravitas to carry the picture; suddenly resembling Gabby Hayes with his whiskers and wayward hair, the actor has no bottom to him, and his interactions with Smit-McPhee, whom one can believe as Theron's son but not Mortensen's, never come alive. Tellingly, both thesps are better in their individual scenes with other actors; Mortensen gets into it with Robert Duvall, who plays an old coot met along the road, while Smit-McPhee registers a degree of rapport with Guy Pearce, practically unrecognizable at first as another wanderer. Generally, the boy's readings are blandly on the nose.”
And so it begins, although not devastating, it does smell trouble and reviews like this will make it that much harder to get nominated……like every year one by one big contenders are picked off leaving the way for films not many people were expecting. I just wonder if there is a 'Slumdog Millionaire' in the bunch?

Best Actress Predictions

The Likely

1 Meryl Strep – ‘Julie & Julia’
Once again she has charmed the pants off the critics. She is also an Academy legend who is long over due for another win, and here she is in a bio pic for a very beloved character, so that kind of wraps things up. Her biggest hurdle is her other lead role of the year, in a another comedy. Will this end up going supporting if the reviews are also exceptional for ‘It’s Complicated’?

2 Gabourey Sibide – ‘Precious’
By all accounts the performance is there. The critics have all said she is a true find and holds her own against her more famous co-stars The problem is will Academy voters go to see the film? Also the performance is said to be very very inward which sometimes is hard to judge (for some) compared to bigger “acting”. However she has been doing the talk show circuit and been a pro, winning over everyone she meets. Campaigning like this works wonders. Her buzz since Toronto has sky rocketed.

3 Carey Milligan – ‘An Education’
At the moment she has so much buzz behind her, that is will be very surprising if she does not make the cut. She is a pretty young thing in a break out role in a film every critic says she pretty much carries. However if the Academy does not agree that could change things drastically. I am not convinced she can win this, but she should easily slide into a nomination.

Very Possible

4 Helen Mirren - 'The Last Station'
Everyone says this will happen. She holds back when she needs to and chews the scenery to great effect.
This is almost as likely as the top three women. What started out as a weak field is looking very strong right now, and Mirren adds some heft to the category. Unlikely to win, par a few critics awards though.

5 Sandra Bullock - 'The Blind Side'
The woman has charisma to spare, and has been in the business for a long time now, enough time to build up some respect within the Academy. This is said to be a winning performance from her, and it should be a nice big Thanksgiving hit in theatres. If the critics praise is exceptional, then she could be another late entry.

6 Abbie Cornish – ‘Bright Star’
Another early one to be reviewed, and another female driven film where the performance got the critics shouting praise. The film campaign needs to be wonderful and the reviews need to be exstatic for her to make it in, which they are. There are more attention grabbing roles (Sibide, Monaghan, Mulligan) vying for that ingénue place. If the film is in other categories she should easily make it in.

7 Saoirse Ronan – ‘The Lovely Bones’
She is supposed to be great in the film, and she is a previous nominee. The book is well loved so the film will be seen. Also Peter Jackson is behind the camera so that gives it added 'heft'. There are two main problems. Firstly, how is the film? Jackson is wonderful, but how will this translate? Secondly her age. The Academy seems to notice category fraud with child actors in lead roles ('Whale Rider' anyone) but can she still be thrown into Supporting?

8 Meryl Streep – ‘It’s Complicated’
The other Meryl film. Nancy Meyers directed Diane Keaton to a nomination, and there are many who think that Meryl is a better actress then Diane is (I am one of them…sorry Keaton-ites). But is the film any good, or is it too fluffy? The trailer gives nothing away so we are going to have to wait and see. At the moment it seems Streep is box office gold, so expect it to make money, but will it get her in over ‘Julie & Julia’?

9 Marion Cotillard – ‘Nine’
Is said to have the most emotionally satisfying role in the film, and some advance screenings all concur. With this and ‘Public Enemies’ she is having a good year. This is another likely nomination unless internal competition is far too much that they all get swallowed up.

Loosing steam

10 Penélope Cruz – ‘Broken Embraces’
This nomination is going to be an uphill battle for her. She has ‘Nine’ coming out later in the year and all the attention could be taken away. She has also just won so the Academy may feel she needs a little break from the stress of the nomination. Her performance is said to be dazzling, but will that matter when there are performances this year that are more gritty and real?

11 Brenda Blethyn - 'London River'
Said to be her best since 'Secrets and Lies'.
She plays a woman looking for her daughter after the London bombing, so the role is riff with emotional punch. Critics have said she is in more restrained mode here which can work well in her favor. She already has good will with the Academy and a LA qualifying run could be enough to get her into consideration.

12 Michelle Pfeiffer - 'Cheri'
She has not been a contender for a long time, mainly because she does not work that much.
The critics did not respond to the film with raves, more like mellow applause. She got good notices, but not the type of reviews that would make her a strong contender.
She may have to rely on her name, good will and a major campaign push to get this.

13 Michelle Monaghan – ‘Trucker’
There is always that indie film that has been gathering praise when it is shown at festivals. It is usually female driven and as we get nearer to awards season the buzz slowly starts building (Felicity Huffman, Melissa Leo ect). Monaghan is a good actress and is said to raise the movie to a new level. What she needs now is to get deafening praise and the film also need to get a lot of love.

14 Charlotte Gainsbourg – ‘Antichrist’
The film is either loved or hated.
Once again Lars Von Trier has put his lead actress through the ringer. And the generally unlikable film (which was booed at Cannes) is still getting brilliant write ups for the acting.
It is doubtful the Academy would put the screener in their collective DVD players, but A Best Actress Cannes win is nothing to be sniffed at.

15 Tilda Swinton – ‘Julia’
The reviews for the film were just ok. The reviews for the performance were brilliant. She playes a woman on self destructive mode, and apparently nails it. Does the Academy like woman who are just behaving badly? This is another unlikely nomination as is, but if she gets a few year end sitations from the various awards bodies, then she is in the race.

16 Catalina Saavedra – ‘La Nana’/’The Maid’
She won the World Cinema acting prize (which Carey Mulligan was also up for) at Sundance. People who have seen it say it is an incredible performance. IF the film gets seen then she could be in with a shot.
However it is not often that foreign language performances make it in the top five and she will have to compete with the more popular Cruz.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


I just went out of my office to get some milk for coffee and there is a big ole film crew outside the station and none other than Jason Stratham is there. I take it he is filming ‘Blitz’ and all I can say is my sexual fantasy has been squashed dead.
The man is tiny.

Trailer Park Actresses.

It is amazing how a story can win you an Oscar. Dear ole Hillary ‘I can eat an apple through a letter box” Swank pedalled that “I grew up in a trailer” story around every talk show during campaign season and ended up with that Golden Boy for 'Million Dollar Baby' over some very very deserving contenders.

Why do I mention this yet again? Well simply because I was noticing how all the major actress contenders have trailers out for their films, including Swank.
So we can all take a nice little sneak peak at their performances.

Obviously the most impressive is that of Carey Mulligan in ‘An Education’. She looks like she is going to be an awards darling this year. The people who have seen her in the film all agree she is sensational, and the Academy like a nice young ‘pretty’ break-out ingénue.

This leaves another break out star who has garnered awards worthy praise fighting for one of the five slots.
Gabourey Sibide is singled out in every review for ‘Precious’ I have read (and trust me, I am so obsessed with the film I have read them all) yet how will the Academy respond not only to the film but also to Gabourey. Black actresses have a hard enough time breaking into the five nominee slots, and when they do they are usually slim pretty things.
Can ‘Precious’ do for Gabby what ‘The Color Purple’ did for Whoopie?
She is not who people imagine arriving on the red carpet, but I am keeping my fingers firmly crossed that we see her walking that long red as a Best Actress nominee and a real threat.

Abbie Cornish also impresses in the trailer for ‘Bright Star’.
She has long been on the cusp on breaking out and now she is being directed by Jane Campion who is wonderful with actresses. The reviews are also there.

Meryl at this point is a default nominee. However people actually think she is deserving for ‘Julie & Julia’, but will she go lead or supporting? I am thinking lead as they smartly did for ‘The Devil Wears Prada’.
But what about ‘It’s Complicated’? Can Meryl really fight against herself for a slot with two comedies?

Oscar loves a surprise attack, and that could easily come from Michelle Monaghan for ‘Trucker’.
Early word is she carries this little indie on her shoulders. I do not know what the surprise is though, she impressed me to no end as Sherry in ‘North Country’.

Finally we end where we began. The Swank is vying for that 3rd nomination and win with ‘Amelia’. Can she do it? Will they really give her a third lead Oscar before they even give Meryl a second?

I shudder at the thought (actually, to overly share, I do a little mini vomit in my mouth).

Who will surprise? Who is left to sneak in at take a big ole bite out of the race? Is Penélope Cruz’s chances slipping away? Will Audrey Tatou make it? Will the Academy over look the critics and invite Michelle Pfeiffer back? Helen Mirren has two potential films coming out, but when? And lastly, can someone please tell me what the bloody bollocky bollocks is still going on with ‘Margaret’ staring Anna Paquin?? This film needs to get finished.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A Poor Effort

She used to be boundary pushing with her videos. Now she is a Lady Gaga wanna be.

I know she is busy on tour, but please. Make an effort and prove you are still relevant.