Oscar Beat: The Best Supporting Actress Race At a Glance

by     Posted 8 days ago

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There are complaints every year that while the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories are stacked with talent, the low number of quality female roles that appear in movies makes for frustratingly thin Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress races.  Those complaints are entirely valid, and while there are indeed a plethora of excellent male roles that were on display this year, the Best Supporting Actress field has actually filled out quite nicely.  In this edition of Oscar Beat, I take a look at where the category stands right now.

Oscar Beat: 5 Things the Golden Globe Announcements, SAG Nominations, and Critics Awards Tell Us About the Season Ahead

by     Posted 10 days ago

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As evidenced by the first rounds of critics group awards and announcements of both the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations, we are in the thick of awards season.  I’ve been following the race closely these past few months and taking a closer look at specific categories like Best Picture, Best Actress, and most recently Best Supporting Actor over the past few weeks in regular Oscar Beat columns, but now feels like an opportune time to take a breath and consider what the awards thus far say about the race ahead.  Does Unbroken’s snub signal a surprisingly light Oscar presence?  Will Boyhood enjoy a near clean sweep of the critics groups?  Is Jennifer Aniston on her way to an Oscar nomination?  Read on after the jump.

Oscar Beat: The Best Supporting Actor Race at a Glance

by     Posted 15 days ago

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By the time the Academy Awards nominations are announced every year, there’s already been so much prognosticating and discussion about the race itself that in actuality, there aren’t a great deal of surprises.  Sure, every now and then you’ll have something like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close getting into the Best Picture race or Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow being left off the Best Director shortlist (that one still baffles me), but by and large, things mostly seem to fall into place as expected.  Where you can find many of the true surprises, though, is in the Supporting Actor and Actress categories.  This is where beloved character actors can finally get their due, or burgeoning newcomers can find themselves nominated alongside acting veterans; and these kinds of nominees actually have good shots at winning.  This year, the bench for the Best Supporting Actor category is yet again deep with talent, offering plenty of opportunities for some pleasant surprises.

After the jump, I run down the current state of the Best Supporting Actor race in this week’s edition of Oscar Beat.

Oscar Beat: The Best Director Race at a Glance

by     Posted 23 days ago

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As we head out of the Thanksgiving holiday, studios have been scrambling to get screeners out to critics and voters before early December deadlines, and some of the year’s later releases are finally starting to be seen, which means the Oscar race is becoming much clearer.  We already have one potentially huge game-changer in the form of Selma, which has enjoyed enthusiastically positive response from its initial screenings, but that film also throws a curious prospect into the mix: for the first time in history, could we actually have two female directors nominated for the Best Director Oscar?

After the jump, I consider this question as I take a look at the current state of the rather crowded Best Director race in this edition of Oscar Beat.

Oscar Beat: The Best Actress Race at a Glance

by     Posted 38 days ago

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Every year it seems like Oscars’ Best Actor category is crowded, while the number of contenders for the Best Actress trophy feels relatively thin.  It’s a result of the sad fact that there just aren’t as many interesting lead roles for women in Hollywood as there are for men; many times the “female lead” is relegated to existing only in relation to the film’s male lead.  It’s disappointing to be sure, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t any noteworthy female roles out there, and this year’s Best Actress race is an excellent showcase of both talent and range, from brilliant sociopaths to Alzheimer’s patients.

After the jump, I take a look at the current state of the Best Actress Oscar category in this new edition of Oscar Beat.

Oscar Beat: The Best Actor Race at a Glance

by     Posted 50 days ago

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Every year in the awards race, it seems like the Best Actor field is the most crowded category.  That is certainly the case with this current crop of contenders, as there is no shortage of formidable talents vying for one of the five Best Actor Oscar slots.  While it’s still a tad early to start talking about possible winners, there’s plenty to discuss with regards to chances of being nominated.  The contenders range from well-respected underdogs to recent winners, and yes, spoiler alert, many of them are playing real people.  After the jump, I take a look at the Best Actor race at a glance in this edition of Oscar Beat.

Oscar Beat: The Best Picture Race at a Glance

by     Posted 67 days ago

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The awards race is off and running.  We’ve already been through the fall film festival circuit where a number of contenders emerged either as heavy hitters or non-players, and as November approaches we’re starting to get to the point where all of the big films have been seen.  As such, I thought now would be a good time to start taking a closer look at some of the big categories, seeing where things stand as far as what films and actors/actresses are most likely to be nominated.  Take a look at the Best Picture race at a glance in this week’s edition of Oscar Beat after the jump.

Julianne Moore Surges into Best Actress Race as STILL ALICE Gets Oscar-Qualifying Release from Sony Pictures Classics

by     Posted 86 days ago

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One of the big surprises of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was a film called Still Alice.  Not many people I talked to saw it, but those that did were raving about Julianne Moore’s performance as a linguistics professor who begins showing the signs of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  The consensus was that if a studio picked up the independent film and set it for release before the year was out, they would have very good odds of landing a Best Actress Oscar for Moore.  And that is just what Sony Pictures Classics has done.  The studio confirmed today that it will release co-directors and co-writers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s adaptation of the Lisa Genova novel in New York and Los Angeles in December for a one-week awards qualifying run, officially entering Moore into this year’s Best Actress race.

Hit the jump for more on the Best Actress category as it stands now and Moore’s presumed frontrunner status for Still Alice.

Oscar Beat: Patricia Arquette Going Supporting for BOYHOOD While A MOST VIOLENT YEAR Enters Awards Race

by     Posted 94 days ago

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A couple of interesting developments have surfaced in the past 24 hours with regards to the current awards race.  While you may be saying, “Adam, it’s September, the awards race is still months away,” I’d counter by pointing out that the fall film festivals traditionally signal the start of the very long Oscar season—by this time last year, critics were already buzzing after the debuts of 12 Years a Slave and Gravity on the festival circuit.  I provided live Oscar Beat updates from TIFF just last week, but now we’ve got a couple of news-y bits of awards content to attend to.  Firstly, IFC Films has opted to submit Patricia Arquette in the Best Supporting Actress category for Boyhood instead of Best Actress, greatly increasing her chances of winning.

And secondly, A24 Films has officially set director J.C. Chandor’s highly anticipated All Is Lost follow-up A Most Violent Year for limited release on December 31st, crashing the awards race with an Oscar-qualifying run.  Much more after the jump.

Oscar Beat TIFF 2014: Reese Witherspoon Enters Frustratingly Thin Best Actress Race with WILD

by     Posted 100 days ago

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While the Toronto International Film Festival is a regular launching pad for awards season fare, this year’s fest lacked any one big breakout film like last year’s 12 Years a Slave and Gravity.  TIFF 2014, instead, was all about the performances.  I’ve already written about the awards prospects of the incredible work in Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, and The Theory of Everything, not to mention a potential dark horse in Jake Gyllenhaal’s Nightcrawler, and now it’s time to discuss Reese Witherspoon’s raw, naked lead performance in director Jean-Marc Vallée’s pleasantly surprising and refreshing drama Wild.

You can read my full review of the film right here, but in this TIFF 2014 edition of Oscar Beat, I consider Witherspoon’s chances in the frustratingly weak Best Actress race.  Read on after the jump.

Oscar Beat TIFF 2014: Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones Shine in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

by     Posted 103 days ago

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As I said in yesterday’s Oscar Beat article focusing on The Imitation Game, the awards season is always prime time for biopics.  At the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival—which acts as a sort of launching pad for much of the season’s awards fare—there were two high-profile films based on the lives of historical figures that screened for audiences.  The Imitation Game took the non-traditional route, turning the life of Alan Turing into a sort of spy thriller, while the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything is pretty standard as far as the genre goes (read Phil’s review here).  However, director James Marsh’s drama is rendered highly emotional by two absolutely stellar lead performances by Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, which will undoubtedly land them in the frontlines of the Oscar conversation.  More after the jump.

Oscar Beat TIFF 2014: Benedict Cumberbatch Launches Into the Best Actor Race with THE IMITATION GAME

by     Posted 104 days ago

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The awards season is certainly prone to recognizing biopics, and luckily there are two high-profile films based on the lives of historical figures screening at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  I’ll have a full Oscar Beat report up on The Theory of Everything soon (for now read Phil’s review), but for now it’s time to focus on the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch might very well end up with a Best Actor nomination for his fantastic performance as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.  Moreover, the film itself has been receiving high praise, and I left the theater this afternoon thinking, “this feels like the kind of movie that wins Best Picture.”  More after the jump.

Oscar Beat TIFF 2014: FOXCATCHER Enters Awards Race with Tremendous Performances from Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, and Mark Ruffalo

by     Posted 104 days ago

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The terrific, immensely unsettling drama Foxcatcher is finally on the verge of release on November 14th, and the film comes with incredibly high expectations.  Not only does it carry a fascinating, true story premise (eccentric millionaire John du Pont’s quest to coach an Olympic wrestling team) but the movie hails from filmmaker Bennett Miller, who is two-for-two when it comes to directing Best Picture nominees and even landed a Best Director Oscar nomination for his narrative feature debut Capote.  Having finally gotten a chance to see Foxcatcher at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, I can confirm that it is indeed a major contender in the upcoming awards race, especially when it comes to the film’s jaw-dropping trio of performances from Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, and Mark Ruffalo.

In this TIFF 2014 edition of Oscar Beat, I run down Foxcatcher’s chances in the upcoming Oscar race, including a very tricky quandary when it comes to category placement for the performances.  Read on after the jump.

Oscar Beat TIFF 2014 Edition: Part 1 – Jake Gyllenhaal, MR. TURNER, and the Return of Jason Reitman

by     Posted 105 days ago

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The first few days of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival are in the bag, but it’s an uncharacteristically slow start to what is usually a big awards season kickoff.  Due to a rule change this year, only films that have not previously premiered at other festivals (ie. Telluride) can be highlighted during the first four days of TIFF, which leaves potential heavy hitters like Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, and Wild on the bench until next week.  That said, these first couple of days have given us the debuts of Jason Reitman’s heavy drama Men, Women & Children, an unhinged Jake Gyllenhaal in the fantastic psychological thriller Nightcrawler, and the charming new Noah Baumbach feature While We’re Young, as well as the Canadian Premiere of the well-received Mr. Turner.

While major Oscar contenders have yet to surface, there are a few noticeable standouts from the aforementioned features that could pick up steam as the season rolls on.  More after the jump in this TIFF 2014 edition of Oscar Beat.

Oscar Beat: Which Awards Contenders Will Emerge from the Fall Film Festival Season?

by     Posted 116 days ago

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Ready or not, the awards season is about to begin.  Every year, Oscar season kicks off with the series of film festivals in late August and early September.  It’s at these festivals—Telluride, Toronto, and Venice—that a hefty number of the year’s Oscar hopefuls debut and begin what they hope will be long and prosperous campaigns.  Four out of the last five Best Picture winners screened at both Telluride and Toronto, and as the festivals are about to start later this week, now felt like a good time to preview the block of awards hopefuls that will be screening since the odds are pretty good that this year’s Best Picture winner will have debuted by mid-September.

Hit the jump for the Fall Film Festival Preview 2014 edition of Oscar Beat.

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