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

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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 9 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 10 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 10 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 11 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: What Awards Prospects Does the First Half of 2014 Have to Offer?

by     Posted 72 days ago

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We’ve now passed the halfway point of 2014, and while we dusted off our awards column Oscar Beat to rundown the post-Cannes Film Festival atmosphere back in May, the Oscar season doesn’t begin in earnest until September.  That said, given that fall isn’t the only time of the year that’s considered eligible for awards notice, I thought it fitting to take a look back at the last six months to see what films might pop up in the Oscar conversation later this year.  Read on after the jump.

Oscars: Lupita Nyong’o, Josh Hutcherson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Clark Gregg, and More Added to Academy Voting Body

by     Posted 84 days ago

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its list of actors, filmmakers, and others involved in the moviemaking industry that have been invited to join the Academy’s membership.  271 artists made the cut this year, ranging from recent winners and nominees like Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbender to more eclectic choices like Rob Riggle, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Josh Hutcherson, and even Jason StathamChris Rock also finally gets a ballot years after hosting the ceremony, and Clark Gregg will bring some Marvel pedigree into the fold.  On the filmmaking side, brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, David Gordon Green, Denis Villeneuve, and Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Secret Life of Bees) join the directors branch, while DP Sean Bobbitt (12 Years a Slave) has been added to the cinematographers group.  Eddie Vedder and Pharrell Williams (sans hat) are also now Academy members should they accept their invitations.  The full list is still disappointingly short on females, however.

Hit the jump to check out the complete list of 2014 invitees to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  The 2015 race will be here before you know it, folks.

Oscar Beat: Early Contenders Arise from Cannes Film Festival

by     Posted 115 days ago

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It seems like only yesterday we were closing out the lengthy and eventful awards season with my 2015 preview installment of Oscar Beat, but the next race is already starting to heat up.  The first awards barometer of each year arrives with the Cannes Film Festival, and the most recent fest is no different.  A number of potential contenders premiered on the Croisette over the past couple of weeks, and after all the standing ovations (and a fair amount of boos), some serious Oscar contenders have emerged.

Hit the jump as I take a look at the post-Cannes Oscar landscape, which includes contenders like Foxcatcher, Mr. TurnerMaps to the Stars, and even a possible Oscar nomination for Channing Tatum.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron Returning to Produce 2015 Oscars for Third Straight Year

by     Posted 150 days ago

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The Academy seems intent on playing things safe for the foreseeable future.  It was announced today that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return to produce the 2015 Oscars ceremony, marking the duo’s third-straight telecast.  The 2014 Academy Awards ceremony pulled in 43.7 million total viewers, marking the most-watched telecast since 2000, so the Academy presumably didn’t feel the need to shake things up.  Ellen Degeneres did a fine job of hosting this year, but I thought the structure of the ceremony itself was unremarkable so I’m not exactly over-the-moon about the news of Zadan and Meron coming back.  After all, this is the same duo that put together a “tribute to movie musicals” during the 2013 ceremony that was essentially a celebration of Chicago—a film that they themselves produced.

Regardless, the overall enjoyment factor of the ceremony will come down to the host, so now we await that announcement later this year.  Personally, I’m in favor of just having Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host everything.  Read the full press release after the jump, and sound off in the comments with who you think should host the 87th Oscars on February 22, 2015.

Oscar Beat: 10 Films That Could End Up in the 2015 Awards Race

by     Posted 194 days ago

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With the recent 86th Academy Awards ceremony, the Oscar race has finally come to a close—for now.  We just spent the past five months here on Oscar Beat deconstructing every inch of the Oscar season, and while we still have quite a while to wait before the next race heats up, now seems like a fine opportunity to take a quick preview of what just might be on tap for next year’s ceremony.  Obviously it’s way too early to take the 2015 Oscar race seriously, but there are plenty of anticipated films slated for release this year that could turn out to be the serious contenders in the next awards race.  After the jump, I preview 10 of the films that might pop up in next year’s Oscar conversation.

FROZEN Songwriter Robert Lopez Becomes Youngest Person to EGOT

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Last night, Robert Lopez took home an Academy Award for co-writing “Let It Go” from Frozen, and became the youngest person to “EGOT”, i.e. win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award.  Lopez previously won the Grammys and Tonys for The Book of Mormon, and received Daytime Emmy Awards for music direction and composition for the kids TV series The Wonder Pets.

Per Variety, other “EGOT” members include Whoopi Goldberg, Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, and Scott Rudin.  So if you need a bit a trivia about last night’s ceremony, you can point at Lopez’ win.

12 YEARS A SLAVE Wins Best Picture; GRAVITY Wins Seven Oscars Including Best Director

by     Posted 200 days ago

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For the first time in at least six year, we have a Best Picture winner that will stand the test of time.  Cynics thought the Academy’s highest honor would go to American Hustle, the numbers were pointing slightly towards Gravity, but the Oscar ultimately went to 12 Years a Slave, the definitive major motion picture about slavery.  The ceremony itself was an absolute chore, but it was wonderful to see Steve McQueen’s harrowing drama pick up the win at the end.  Additionally, Gravity–another great movie–received plenty of love by earning seven Oscars including Alfonso Cuaron for Best Director.  Among the acting categories, there were no surprises: Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor, Cate Blanchett for Best Actress, Jared Leto for Best Supporting Actor, and Lupita Nyong’o for Best Supporting Actress.  It was not a shocking night, and the biggest “upset” was Mr. Hublot beating out Get a Horse! for Best Animated Short Film.  Personally, I’m pretty satisfied with this year’s winners, especially since Spike Jonze took home Best Original Screenplay for Her.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of this year’s Oscar winners, and click here for my live-blog.

Matt Live-Blogs the 86th Academy Awards

by     Posted 200 days ago

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This year, our awards coverage was more extensive than ever, and Adam, our Oscar expert, laid his predictions out over three articles.  However, the humble task of sitting through the ceremony and poking fun at it for over three hours falls to me.  To be fair, there are a few exciting races this year, especially Best Picture.  But when it comes to the actual program, I think we’re going to be rolling our eyes together as the Academy salutes “heroes”, whatever the hell that means.

My live-blogging will kick in around 8:00pm (EST) and then just keep refreshing the page for my latest thoughts on the 86th Academy Awards.  I’ll also be tweeting (why only mock the Oscars on one platform?), and you can follow me on Twitter at @MattGoldberg.  The 2014 awards race is almost over.  Let’s pull each other across the finish line with jokes, faux-outrage, and perhaps, if we’re lucky, genuine happiness towards a deserving winner.  The ceremony begins at 8:30pm (EST)

Adam Predicts the Oscars Part 3: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and More

by     Posted 202 days ago

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After running down predictions for the Oscars in a number of categories over the past two days, we’ve now come to the big ones.  As I’ve said many times before over the course of this awards season, this is quite possibly the closest Best Picture race in history; a coin flip would not be unwarranted.  And while some of the acting categories are pretty sewn up, Supporting Actress remains a bit tricky and there’s some intense competition in the race for Best Original Screenplay.  I’ve had a lot of fun covering this year’s awards race over the last five months with Oscar Beat and I look forward to doing it all over again this fall, but for now here’s the culmination of this season’s coverage.

After the jump you’ll find my predictions for the final categories ahead of this weekend’s Academy Awards ceremony as well as my full predictions list for the ceremony, and if you missed Part 1 or Part 2 be sure to check them out.  The 86th Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 2nd on ABC, during which time our own Matt Goldberg will be live-blogging the ceremony right here on Collider.

Adam Predicts the Oscars Part 2: Best Cinematography, Costume Design, Production Design, Makeup, and Short Categories

by     Posted 203 days ago

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Continuing on with predictions for this Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, today we take a look at the rest of the technical categories and the shorts—aka where Oscar ballots are made or lost.  I surmised that Gravity would clean up in most of yesterday’s categories, but the love will have to be spread around when it comes to Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, and possibly Production Design.  After the jump, I run through these categories as well as the contenders for Best Animated Short, Live-Action Short, and Documentary Short in Part 2 of my Oscar predictions.

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