7 Films Advance in Best Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar Race as INTO THE WOODS Misses the Cut

by     Posted 4 days ago

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As the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards draws nearer, the Academy has been busy announcing the contenders that are advancing in certain categories.  We’ve seen the Best Visual Effects shortlist, a few days ago we got a look at the eligible contenders for Best Original Song and Best Original Score, and today seven films advanced in the race for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.  Surprisingly, the lavish Disney musical Into the Woods failed to make the cut, as did The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (though Desolation of Smaug was left out too) and, more disappointingly, Snowpiercer.  Regardless, the seven finalists showcase a number of fantastic pieces of work from the year, from Foxcatcher’s subtle and seamless transformations to more showy work like Guardians of the Galaxy.  Even The Theory of Everything made the list.  But only three films will be nominated, so this list will be whittled down by more than half.

Check out the full list of Best Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar finalists after the jump, along with a bit more analysis.

79 Original Songs and 114 Original Scores in Contention for Oscar Race

by     Posted 6 days ago

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has unveiled lists of the eligible contenders in the Oscar races for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.  In the former category I’d have to say “Everything Is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie is an early favorite, and I would love to see Tegan & Sara and The Lonely Island perform on the Oscar stage.  Other standouts include two songs from Boyhood, both co-written by Ethan Hawke, and the beautiful “For the Dancing and the Dreaming” from How to Train Your Dragon 2.  On the Best Original Score side of things, it’s kind of an embarrassment of riches.  How to choose between John Powell’s Dragon 2 score, Alexandre Desplat’s incredible work on The Imitation Game, Hans Zimmer’s astounding Interstellar score, James Newton Howard‘s propulsive work on Nightcrawler, etc.?

Check out the full lists of eligible contenders in both categories (79 songs and 114 scores) after the jump, along with a bit more analysis.  Nominations for the 87th Academy Awards will be announced on January 15, 2015.

Oscar Beat: The Best Supporting Actress Race At a Glance

by     Posted 6 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 8 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 13 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.

Best Visual Effects Oscar Shortlist Includes GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, and INTERSTELLAR

by     Posted 14 days ago

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the 10 films that will advance in the race for the Best Visual Effects Oscar for the upcoming 87th Academy Awards.  Standard franchise fare like Transformers: Age of Extinction and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies make the cut, as do two Marvel movies—Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier—as well as Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic Interstellar.  The only noticeable absence here is Darren Aronofsky’s Biblical epic Noah, which didn’t make the cut, nor did Ridley Scott’s own Biblical adaptation Exodus: Gods and Kings.  No surprise, though, that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes appears to be the standout.

Check out the full Best Visual Effects Oscar shortlist after the jump, along with a bit of analysis.

15 Documentaries Advance in Oscar Race; List Includes LIFE ITSELF and CITIZENFOUR

by     Posted 17 days ago

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The Best Documentary Feature Oscar race is off and running, and the contenders aren’t lacking in quality non-fiction filmmaking.  Out of 134 submissions, 15 films have advanced in the category and will be competing for a nomination in the 87th Academy Awards race.  Notable inclusions range from the moving Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself, to the controversial and critically acclaimed Edward Snowden doc Citizenfour.  I’m also happy to see the excellent Aaron Swartz documentary The Internet’s Own Boy make the cut, and the well-received Jodorowsky’s Dune was also shortlisted.  As far as snubs go, the biggest surprises are the Nick Cave documentary 20,000 Days on Earth and the festival favorite Soviet hockey film Red Army not advancing.

Check out the full Best Documentary Oscar list after the jump.  The 87th Academy Awards nominations will be announced on January 15, 2015 in advance of the ceremony on February 22, 2015.  For more on this year’s Oscar race, check out my recent Oscar Beat columns.

Oscar Beat: The Best Director Race at a Glance

by     Posted 21 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 36 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.

Oscars: 20 Films Submitted for Best Animated Feature Consideration

by     Posted 45 days ago

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A total of 20 films have been submitted for consideration for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, with titles ranging from The LEGO Movie to The Boxtrolls to The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.  This is an odd year in that there’s really no clear frontrunner yet.  Pixar didn’t release anything, and response to Walt Disney Animation’s sole offering, Big Hero 6, isn’t coming close to the near universal praise of Frozen last year.  DreamWorks Animation has a strong film in How to Train Your Dragon 2, but the sequel suffered a somewhat disappointing box office performance domestically.  Princess Kaguya comes from the revered folks at Studio Ghibli and studio co-founder Isao Takahata, so it could be a formidable force in the race, and I’d say The LEGO Movie is a strong contender to take home the trophy as well given its wildly positive response from critics and audiences alike.

Check out the full list and more commentary on the contenders after the jump.

Oscar Beat: The Best Actor Race at a Glance

by     Posted 48 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.

Chris Rock and Julia Louis-Dreyfus Turned Down the Offer to Host This Year’s Oscars

by     Posted 58 days ago

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It was announced last week that the excellent Neil Patrick Harris will be hosting this coming February’s Oscar ceremony, but it turns out that NPH wasn’t the Academy’s first choice.  THR reports that producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron—who have produced the last two ceremonies in a row—first “begged” Ellen Degeneres to return as Oscar for this year’s ceremony.  She firmly declined the offer, and then they next approached Chris Rock, who hosted in 2005.  He turned down the offer as well, and so Zadan and Meron then went to Julia Louis-Dreyfus who, shocker, said “no”.  They then finally landed on Harris, who graciously agreed to take on the gig.  More after the jump.

Neil Patrick Harris to Host the 2015 Oscars

by     Posted 65 days ago

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The host for the 2015 Oscars has been chosen, and it’s a mighty fine choice.  Neil Patrick Harris has been tapped to host the 87th Academy Awards on February 22, 2015, ensuring that there will likely be at least one highly enjoyable musical number during the telecast.  Harris has plenty of experience hosting these kinds of ceremonies, having hosted the Tony Awards numerous times and the Emmy Awards this past year.  Ellen Degeneres hosted this past Oscar ceremony to positive results, but apparently she was apprehensive about accepting the gig and didn’t want to return for the 2015 Oscars.

Harris is a fantastic showman and so I’m very pleased by this news.  Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are returning to produce for the third time in a row (sigh), but they’ve found themselves an excellent frontman.  Harris is extremely charismatic and funny, and he also might find himself appearing in one of the Best Picture nominees if Gone Girl takes off with the Academy.  Check out NPH’s video confirmation of the news after the jump.

Oscar Beat: The Best Picture Race at a Glance

by     Posted 65 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 84 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.

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