2014 Oscar Nominations Announced; AMERICAN HUSTLE and GRAVITY Lead with 10 Nominations Each [Updated with Commentary]

by     Posted 336 days ago

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The nominations for the 86th Academy Awards have been announced. American Hustle and Gravity lead with 10 nominations each, while 12 Years a Slave isn’t too far behind with 9 nominations.  Looking over my predictions, there weren’t actually too many surprises this morning–at least no genuine “snubs” on the scale of Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow last year.  Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale made the Best Actor cut over Robert Redford and Tom HanksHer, Dallas Buyers Club, and Philomena all got Best Picture nominations over Saving Mr. Banks, and Sally Hawkins landed a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work in Blue Jasmine, seemingly taking Oprah Winfrey‘s spot from Lee Daniels’ The Butler.  Also, the Academy apparently did not take a liking to Saving Mr. Banks, as the film missed out on a Best Picture nomination and a Best Actress nomination for Emma Thompson.

Hit the jump to take a look at the full nominations list.  The 86th Oscars will be broadcast March 2nd on ABC. [Update: I've added my commentary on some of the categories after the jump.]

TOP 5: Our Favorite Movies of 2013, New Trailer for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, First Trailer for THE RAID 2: BERANDAL, Cinemath

by     Posted 348 days ago

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Because I’ve grown tired of never following through on my New Year’s resolutions to get in shape, this year I’m trying something more attainable: to keep a list of all the movies I watch in 2014. Many thanks to my colleague, Mr. Goldberg, for throwing out a Letterboxd recommendation in this collage of films he watched in 2013. I joined the site shortly after reading his rec and think it’s a great way not only to keep a viewing diary (and actually stick with a resolution for once) but also to create/share your own lists and communicate with fellow movie lovers. If you want to keep up with my 2014 watch diary, check out my Top 10 of 2013, and/or my most anticipated for 2014 then hit me up on Letterboxd by clicking here.

Shameless self-promotion aside, the first Top 5 of 2014 features a recap of Matt, Adam, and Dave’s Top 10 of 2013 lists, a new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2video interviews for Inside Llewyn Davis with Oscar Isaac and more, the great first trailer for writer/director Gareth EvansThe Raid 2: Berandal, and a new installment of Cinemath that breaks down the 2013 box office. Continue reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

2014 Writers Guild Nominations Include HER, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, WOLF OF WALL STREET, and LONE SURVIVOR

by     Posted 349 days ago

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The Oscar precursors are in full swing.  Yesterday we got a look at the nominations for the Producers Guild Awards—a solid predictor for the Best Picture Oscar category—and today the Writers Guild of America has unveiled its nominations for the 2014 awards.  The Best Original Screenplay nominees include Nebraska, Her, and American Hustle, while the Best Adapted category is filled out by the likes of Before Midnight, Captain Phillips, and The Wolf of Wall Street.  The major surprise in today’s WGA announcements is the inclusion of Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor script for Best Adapted Screenplay and the befuddling absence of Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis for Original Screenplay.

Hit the jump for more, including the full list of WGA nominations and my analysis with regards to what this means for Oscar.  The 2014 WGA Awards will be held on February 1st.

Edgar Wright’s Top 20 Movies of 2013 Include GRAVITY, HER, and SPRING BREAKERS

by     Posted 351 days ago

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Over the past week or so, we here at Collider have been inundating you with year-end lists.  In addition to personal Top 10s from me, Matt, and Dave, we’ve also run down 2013’s best trailers, posters, movie moments, new TV series, returning TV series, and much more.  Now filmmaker Edgar Wright has chimed in with his own personal “Top 20” of 2013.  The director is plenty busy at the moment prepping to direct Marvel’s Ant-Man (starring Paul Rudd, no less), but he graciously took some time to run down a varied list of films that includes Gravity, Inside Llewyn Davis, Pacific Rim, and Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra.  Hit the jump to take a look at the full batch.

Adam’s Top 10 Films of 2013

by     Posted 354 days ago

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Top 10 lists are inherently flawed.  How does one compare the “greatness” of a film like Gravity to a film like 12 Years a Slave?  The two could not be more different from each other, but they both exemplify the best of what movies have to offer.  Alas, the Oscars attempt to measure the quality of one film against the quality of another year after year, but for my personal Top 10 list I’ve opted to rank according to “favorite” rather than “best”.  2013 was a very good year for film, particularly these last two months.  I enjoyed a great deal of what 2013 had to offer—way more than just the following 10 movies—but if forced to choose, I’ve come up with a list of my 10 favorites.  It’s entirely possible that my arbitrary rankings could look entirely different tomorrow, but after the jump I’ve compiled a list of my 10 favorite films of 2013.

Richard Linklater’s BEFORE Trilogy to Play at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival with a Conversation with Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy

by     Posted 357 days ago

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If, like me, you’ve never seen writer-director Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, now’s your chance to remedy that all in one sitting.  The 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival will host 1995′s Before Sunrise, 2004′s Before Sunset and 2013′s Before Midnight back to back to back on the closing night of the festival, February 9th.  Following the close of the most recent film, Linklater, Delpy and Hawke will participate in an in-depth conversation about the trilogy.  Hit the jump to find out more, including information on where you can purchase tickets. 

Year in Review: Top 15 Movie Moments of 2013

by     Posted 363 days ago

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Forgettable films are a waste of time because they leave us with nothing.  Being completely inoffensive is arguably worse than being terrible because at least terrible movies give us something to talk about.  We may be ragging on it, but at least it’s not something like After Earth, a film where the only thing I remember about it is how forgettable it is.  But to focus on the positive, the best movie moments move us in a positive way.  They provide more than a target for snarky putdowns or jaw-dropping examples of complete incompetence.  The best movie moments can inspire us, shock us, exhilarate us, and bring us absolute joy.

Adam, Dave, and Matt have written about five movie moments that jumped out at them in 2013.  They’re unranked and there could have been far more selections, but these 15 moments are as good as any that came out this year. [Spoilers ahead, obviously]

12 YEARS A SLAVE Sweeps Boston Online Film Critics Awards with Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Supporting Actress

by     Posted 1 year, 11 days ago

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Oscar frontrunner 12 Years a Slave has nabbed its first critics group award in a very big way.  The Boston Online Film Critics Association awarded the incredibly moving drama six trophies in all, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Editing, and Best Original Score for Hans Zimmer.  Clear frontrunner Cate Blanchett continued her roll with another Best Actress award, Jared Leto landed Best Supporting Actor for his transformative work in Dallas Buyers Club, and the Best Animated Film trophy was split between Frozen and The Wind Rises.  Additionally, the Boston Online Film Critics Top 10 has a few refreshingly eclectic choices, with The World’s End, Blue Is the Warmest Color, and The Spectacular Now all nabbing well-deserved spots alongside films like Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Inside Llewyn Davis.

For those keeping score at home, we now have three critics group announcements and three different Best Pictures.  The New York Film Critics Circle went for American Hustle, the National Board of Review lauded Her, and now Boston has tapped 12 Years.  Hit the jump to read the full list of Boston Online Film Critics awards.

BEFORE MIDNIGHT Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 21 days ago

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Quite possibly the most unlikely trilogy of all time, director Richard Linklater’s Before series is also one of the best.  Audiences fell for Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s young lovers in 1995’s Before Sunrise and were delighted to catch up with the duo again in 2004’s Before Sunset.  Given the rather cliffhanger-like ending to the second film, anticipation was high for a possible third feature but Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy played coy about the prospect of another film for nearly nine years.  That is, until they wrote and shot this year’s Before Midnight almost in secret, only confirming its existence after production had wrapped in Greece.  The result is an emotional and sometimes tough look at life in love, and it’s also one of the best films of the year.  Read my review of Before Midnight on Blu-ray after the jump.

12 YEARS A SLAVE and NEBRASKA Top 2014 Independent Spirit Awards Nominations

by     Posted 1 year, 22 days ago

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The 2014 Independent Spirit Awards nominations have been announced, and director Steve McQueen’s excellent drama 12 Years a Slave tops the nominees with seven nods, including Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Actor.  Nebraska is not far behind with six nominations, and the Robert Redford drama All Is Lost also did well with four nods.  The much-beloved Short Term 12 failed to land a Best Feature nomination, but Primer director Shane Carruth’s twisty second feature Upstream Color landed nods for Best Director and Best Editing.  The Best Actor category is a strong mirror of the very tight Oscar race in the same category, and the wonderful Shailene Woodley and Brie Larson nabbed Best Actress nominations for The Spectacular Now and Short Term 12, respectively.

Hit the jump for the full list of nominations and additional commentary.  The Independent Spirit Awards will be hosted on March 1, 2014.

Oscar Beat: The Best Actress Race – Can Anyone Beat Blanchett?

by     Posted 1 year, 25 days ago

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In Collider’s ongoing awards feature Oscar Beat, we recently took a look at the state of the Best Actor Oscar race, which is looking to be one of the most competitive in recent memory.  Likewise, this year’s Best Actress race is chock-full of fantastic performances and serious contenders, but we’ve had a frontrunner for the category since July and Cate Blanchett’s name remains atop the pile as we head into the thick of the race.  Will Blanchett remain the favorite over the next three months or is there another contender more worthy of the trophy?  Can any of the brilliant performances from this year’s smaller indies crack the top five?  Read on after the jump as we examine the current state of the Best Actress category.

Gotham Award Nominations Announced; 12 YEARS A SLAVE and UPSTREAM COLOR among Best Picture Nominees

by     Posted 1 year, 55 days ago

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The Gotham Independent Film Awards go out of their way to get a jump on everyone, and in doing so they become almost completely irrelevant.  The voting board hasn’t seen unfinished films like The Wolf of Wall Street or American Hustle, so how can this be a true appraisal of the year’s best movies?  At best, the Gotham Awards try to shine a light on movies that will probably be overlooked during the award race, but still deserve attention.  I’m sure plenty of my fellow critics would love it if Upstream Color received the attention a Best Picture Oscar nomination would provide, but that will never happen.  But for the Gotham Awards, it can get a Best Picture nomination right alongside likely Oscar nominee 12 Years a Slave.

Hit the jump for a full list of nominees.  The winners will be announced on December 2nd.

TOP 5: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, Lost Episodes of DOCTOR WHO, AMERICAN HUSTLE, Tarantino’s Top 10 Films of 2013 So Far

by     Posted 1 year, 67 days ago

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Having missed it during its highly successful theatrical run, I made an early trip to the video store (remember those?) this past Tuesday to pick up The Purge on Blu-ray. Like many, I was intrigued by the premise of a dystopian future America in which an annual night of crime-free killing known as “The Purge” is the key to the new U.S. of A.’s unprecedented prosperity. For an elevator pitch, my last sentence is intriguing stuff that leaves you wanting to know more about the world created by writer/director James DeMonaco. Unfortunately, I found the stellar logline to be the best thing going for The Purge as a majority of the film’s execution felt flat. I cared little to nothing about the Sandin family, was taken out of the movie during long stretches of characters searching aimlessly around the house with a flashlight, and felt the pic exchanged discernible commentary on societal violence for an all-out bloodbath that was not as much scary as it was a welcomed break from said extensive flashlight searching. Final verdict? Watch The Purge for the interesting premise, but don’t expect much in the way of scares or social commentary.

All new to home video discussion aside, this week’s Top 5 is filled to the brim with Captain Phillips interviews with Tom Hanks and more, a new trailer for Ben Stiller‘s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty including Matt and Steve’s impressions of the film, 106 lost episodes of Doctor Who potentially popping up in Ethiopia, a new trailer for David O. Russell‘s American Hustle, and Quentin Tarantino‘s top 10 films of 2013 to date. As you may be expecting, a brief recap and link to each of the above awaits after the jump.

Quentin Tarantino’s Top 10 Films of 2013 So Far Includes GRAVITY, THIS IS THE END, and THE LONE RANGER

by     Posted 1 year, 74 days ago

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Quentin Tarantino loves, loves, loves movies.  The filmmaker has made this abundantly clear not only through the various and obscure influences gleaned in his own films but also in his many lengthy discussions on any number of topics relating to film.  Tarantino makes a point to go to the movies as often as possible, and recently he has taken to publicly publishing a list of his Top 10 movies from each year.  He took 2012 off since he was understandably busy working on Django Unchained, but his 2011 and 2010 lists were gleefully varied, with movies like Midnight in Paris and The Social Network ranking right up there with The Three Musketeers and Jackass 3D.

It appears that Tarantino plans on publishing another full Top 10 list later this year, but he’s gotten a jump on things and released a list of his 10 favorite films of 2013 thus far.  As expected, there are more than a couple of surprising choices.  Hit the jump to take a look.

Oscar Beat: A Way Too Early Glimpse at the Best Picture Field – Part 1

by     Posted 1 year, 111 days ago

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The Venice Film Festival is already underway, the Telluride Film Festival begins this weekend, and the Toronto International Film Festival will be in full swing by this time next week. With those three festivals underway, the Oscar Race will have officially begun.  Right now, no one knows how Gravity will stack up against August: Osage County or whether Labor Day is a major contender or more of a minor player like Jason Reitman’s 2011 feature Young Adult.  By next week, though, the aforementioned films and plenty more will have finally screened for critics and prognosticators, and an early lay of the land—based in fact instead of blind speculation—will arise.

I will be attending TIFF for the first time this year, so I’ll be right there in the trenches with the first reactions to plenty of 2013’s awards contenders, but before the festival madness begins, I thought it would be fun to do one last overview of the Best Picture race.  Hit the jump for part one of a way too early look at the potential Best Picture Oscar nominees.

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