Monday, December 9, 2019

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Animated Film


My predictions: 4/5, missing “The Lion King”
Who’s missing? Abominable, Weathering with You, Klaus, I Lost My Body

I thought I had done much worse on this category that I actually did, and that’s mainly because I’ve barely seen any of these. I actually just watched Toy Story 4 last night, and already had plans in the next couple of weeks to see Frozen II in theaters and Missing Link and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World at home. I didn’t think that The Lion King was eligible here because it’s not on the 32-wide finalist list for the corresponding Oscar category. I’m sad “Abominable” didn’t make the cut and hopeful that some of the more independent and foreign contenders can break through at the Oscars, though I’ll have much more to say once I’ve actually seen these nominees.

Who will win? I suspect it’s Toy Story 4, but I don’t know enough just yet.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture


My predictions: 3/5, missing Bates and Bening
Who’s missing? Zhao Shuzhen (The Farewell), Margot Robbie (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

I neglected to swap Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell) in after seeing her film, which I really liked, and it’s interesting to see her extracted as the lone nomination since she is good but not the best part of it. I’m genuinely surprised that Annette Bening (The Report) made the cut since I wasn’t at all impressed with her take on Dianne Feinstein when I saw her film at Sundance in January. My double nomination prediction for Margot Robbie (Bombshell) didn’t pan out, but she did get in for the performance that seems to have gone over better with awards bodies. Laura Dern (Marriage Story) is in for the nominations leader, even though she was snubbed for her equally strong TV turn on “Big Little Lies.” Rounding out the list is the one nominee I haven’t seen, Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), whose film I’m going to see tonight!

Who will win? I actually think it will be Lopez over Dern, but let me watch the film first before I commit to that.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture


My predictions: 4/5, missing Hopkins
Who’s missing? Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse), Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit), Sam Rockwell (Richard Jewell)

Last year, I didn’t predict Sam Rockwell showing up, and this year I did, which didn’t work out so well while his costar Kathy Bates ended up getting nominated instead. There actually wasn’t a surprise in this category, with Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes) getting the fifth slot I couldn’t decide on, just part of a very strong showing for his film. Both Al Pacino (The Irishman) and Joe Pesci (The Irishman) got in, as did Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), representing two of the nominations leaders. Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) managed to secure a spot as the lone representative of his film. As I had read might be possible, this category features Oscar nominees from the 1990s, all of whom didn’t phone in these performances and still taking on challenging roles.

Who will win? I’m honestly not sure. I’ll go with Pitt for now.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical


My predictions: 3/5, missing de Armas and Blanchett
Who’s missing? Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart), Constance Wu (Hustlers)

I was so excited when I heard Kaitlyn Dever announced as a TV nominee for Netflix’s “Unbelievable” and though she might end up as a double nominee, but instead she was snubbed here while her equally deserving costar Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart) did fortunately make the cut. I’m relieved that Emma Thompson (Late Night) and Awkwafina (The Farewell), two terrific performances that I saw way back in January at Sundance, weren’t forgotten. I can’t comment much on the other two nominees since I haven’t seen their work, but I plan to in the next couple of weeks: Ana de Armas (Knives Out), who impressed me a lot in “Blade Runner 2049,” and Cate Blanchett (Where’d You Go, Bernadette), an up-and-comer you may not have heard of (who may have earned her tenth career Globe nomination this year). More thoughts to come once I’ve seen everyone here.

Who will win? I’m picking Awkwafina but without much certainty right now.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical


My predictions: 5/5
Who’s missing? Shia LaBeouf (The Peanut Butter Falcon)

This category wasn’t a surprise to me after Adam Sandler switched to drama and I subbed Daniel Craig (Knives Out), the one nominee I haven’t seen, in for him. Interestingly, all five of these men have their films nominated for the top prize. I’m most excited about Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit) and Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name) making the cut, and they’re joined by Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Taron Egerton (Rocketman). I don’t have much more to say about this category until I see Craig’s performance.

Who will win? It will be probably be DiCaprio, but I’m going to bet on Murphy.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama


My predictions: 5/5
Who’s missing? Lupita N’yongo (Us), Alfre Woodard (Clemency)

I expected to get this category entirely right, with N’yongo not managing to build enough late buzz for her film and Woodard not managing to do it either since her film hasn’t yet been released. The bigger surprise here is that this is the only major nomination from her film for Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), which I find disappointing because I just saw it and really liked it. The only actress whose film is nominated for the top prize (and actually the nominations leader overall) is Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), and she’s joined by Charlize Theron (Bombshell) and Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), both of whose films have one other nomination. Rounding out the category is predicted winner Renee Zellweger (Judy), who should be able to do so even with no other bids for her film. I’m fine with this list even if I’d add in a few other worthwhile performances.

Who will win? I think Zellweger takes this without much issue.

Golden Globe Nominees: Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama


My predictions: 3/5
Who’s missing? Robert De Niro (The Irishman), Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems)

I made a mistake swapping Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), who ended up earning his film’s only nomination, out for Adam Sandler at the last minute, whose film’s category switch to drama from comedy didn’t pay off, earning the film no nominations at all. I’m glad to see Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes) here after he missed out on bids from other awards groups, and his film actually ended up doing very well. Despite his film earning five bids, Robert De Niro didn’t make the cut, and the other three nominees were as expected: Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), whose film contends for Best Foreign Film, Adam Driver (Marriage Story), whose film did pretty well, and Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), whose film did much better than I expected. This is a solid list to be sure.

Who will win? I think Phoenix takes this easily.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Final Golden Globe Predictions


Golden Globe nominations will be announced tomorrow morning. I’m very excited since I feel like I’ve seen so much more than ever before at this point, and I’m hoping to be happy with all the picks. I’m making three small changes to my predictions, two of which are based off the category switching of “Uncut Gems” to drama after I had already written some of my predictions. Therefore, I’m swapping out Christian Bale for Adam Sandler in drama, and Daniel Craig will take Sandler’s spot in comedy. I also saw “Richard Jewell” within the last week and think it will do well, so I’m putting Sam Rockwell in for supporting actor with a suspicion that both Paul Walter Hauser and Kathy Bates, plus director Clint Eastwood, could also show up. I’m hoping that both “Booksmart” actresses aren’t left off, and it would be great if the movie earned a nomination too. The film I’m most pulling for to surprise is “Wild Rose,” which I’ve predicted for Best Original Song, and I’d love to see it earn star Jessie Buckley a best actress bid, though I’m not sure if it would be considered a drama or a musical. I’d also be ecstatic if “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” or “Honey Boy” broke through in significant ways. And a nomination for Aldis Hodge for “Clemency” would be wonderful. But, for now, I’ll settle for my bold and probably incorrect predictions that “Parasite” will be nominated only for Best Foreign Film and that Margot Robbie will earn two Best Supporting Actress nominations. Let’s see how it goes! Full reactions by category beginning Monday morning, though probably not quite as early as nominations are announced given that I’m currently in Los Angeles.

No guts, no glory:
Jessie Buckley and “Wild Rose” both nominated in Comedy/Musical
Julia Fox for Best Supporting Actress for “Uncut Gems”
“Honey Boy” nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama

Final predictions:
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory)
Robert De Niro (The Irishman)
Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems)

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)
Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
Saiorse Ronan (Little Women)
Charlize Theron (Bombshell)
Renee Zellweger (Judy)

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical
Daniel Craig (Knives Out)
Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
Taron Egerton(Rocketman)
Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name)

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical
Awkwafina (The Farewell)
Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart)
Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart)
Emma Thompson (Late Night)
Constance Wu (Hustlers)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
Al Pacino (The Irishman)
Joe Pesci (The Irishman)
Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
Sam Rockwell (Richard Jewell)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers)
Margot Robbie (Bombshell)
Margot Robbie (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
Zhao Shuzhen (The Farewell)

Best Animated Film
Abominable
Frozen 2
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Missing Link
Toy Story 4


Best Foreign Film
The Farewell (USA)
Les Miserables (France)
Pain and Glory (Spain)
Parasite (South Korea)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France)

Best Original Score
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
1917


Best Original Song
Speechless (Aladdin)
Into the Unknown (Frozen 2)
Stand Up (Harriet)
I’m Gonna Love Me Again (Rocketman)
Glasgow (Wild Rose)

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
The Farewell
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


Best Director – Motion Picture
Martin Scorsese (The Irishman)
Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit)
Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story)
Sam Mendes (1917)
Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Best Motion Picture – Drama
The Irishman
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Richard Jewell


Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical
Dolemite Is My Name
Hustlers
Jojo Rabbit
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Rocketman

SAG Predictions: Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture


Last year’s nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, Crazy Rich Asians, A Star is Born

I’m making predictions for SAG, which will announce its picks Wednesday, ahead of the Golden Globe nominations being unveiled on Monday, though I may revise them again on Tuesday if there are some big surprises. That said, there’s no corresponding category there. Also, I only got one out of five in this race last year, so I’m hoping to do much better this time around. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood seems like the only safe lock, with The Irishman and Marriage Story. Dolemite Is My Name, Downton Abbey, Hustlers, Bombshell, and Knives Out all feel like they could have their large casts rewarded, but I don’t feel too confident about any of them. I think Jojo Rabbit actually has a solid chance to score here, and Little Women could round out the list.

Current predictions:
Dolemite Is My Name
The Irishman
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

SAG Predictions: Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role


Last year’s nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), Margot Robbie (Mary, Queen of Scots), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

I’m making predictions for SAG, which will announce its picks next Wednesday, ahead of the Golden Globe nominations being unveiled on Monday, though I may revise them again on Tuesday if there are some big surprises. The two frontrunners here are Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers) and Laura Dern (Marriage Story). A nominee last year, Margot Robbie (Bombshell) should be back, though she could cancel herself out if she also gets votes for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Florence Pugh (Little Women) seems to be building steam lately, and could displace some earlier contenders like Zhao Shuzhen (The Farewell) or Annette Bening (The Report). Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit) might end up as a double nominee, while Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit) and Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Dolemite Is My Name) could benefit from overall enthusiasm for their films. Even if she doesn’t get an Oscar nomination, this is a place that Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey) can probably score.

Current predictions:
Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)
Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers)
Margot Robbie (Bombshell)
Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)

Saturday, December 7, 2019

SAG Predictions: Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role


Last year’s nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

I’m making predictions for SAG, which will announce its picks next Wednesday, ahead of the Golden Globe nominations being unveiled on Monday, though I may revise them again on Tuesday if there are some big surprises. The biggest lock in this category is Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), and he’ll likely be joined by both Joe Pesci (The Irishman) and Al Pacino (The Irishman). It’s probable that Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) will be on the list too. For the fifth slot, it could be Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), Sam Rockwell (Richard Jewell), Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse), Alan Alda (Marriage Story), Sterling K. Brown (Waves), Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy), or Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit).

Current predictions:
Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy)
Al Pacino (The Irishman)
Joe Pesci (The Irishman)
Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

SAG Predictions: Best Female Actor in a Leading Role


Last year’s nominees: Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

I’m making predictions for SAG, which will announce its picks next Wednesday, ahead of the Golden Globe nominations being unveiled on Monday, though I may revise them again on Tuesday if there are some big surprises. The frontrunner here is Renee Zellweger (Judy), and she’ll almost definitely be joined by Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story) and Charlize Theron (Bombshell). Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess. Lupita Nyong'o (Us) and Alfre Woodard (Clemency) may be building steam, while it still remains a question mark how Saoirse Ronan (Little Women) and Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) will do. It would be great for Awkwafina (The Farewell) to score here, but that’s far from guaranteed. Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell) is apparently eligible in this category rather than the supporting race, and while she’ll likely earn other accolades for her performance, it would be strange for her to show up here given her clearly supporting role in the film.

Current predictions:
Awkwafina (The Farewell)
Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)
Charlize Theron (Bombshell)
Renee Zellweger (Judy)

SAG Predictions: Best Male Actor in a Leading Role


Last year’s nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

I’m making predictions for SAG, which will announce its picks next Wednesday, ahead of the Golden Globe nominations being unveiled on Monday, though I may revise them again on Tuesday if there are some big surprises. It’s hard to imagine Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) and Adam Driver (Marriage Story) not making the cut. Even if he doesn’t score an Oscar nomination, Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) should find himself nominated here thanks to past enthusiasm for his performances in films like “J. Edgar” and “The Departed.” I’m betting that Robert De Niro (The Irishman) scores here too, leaving one more slot open. It could be Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes), Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems), or maybe even Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewell).

Current predictions:
Robert De Niro (The Irishman)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name)
Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

Friday, December 6, 2019

Weekend Movie Recommendations with Abe

I'm excited to present a revamped version of Saturday Night Movie Recommendations with Abe! The Minute with Abe: Weekend Movie Recommendations Edition will premiere on YouTube each Friday and be reposted here during the day as well. Check it out, and subscribe to the movieswithabe channel!

Movie with Abe: The Aeronauts

The Aeronauts
Directed by Tom Harper
Released December 6, 2019

Most people these days take for granted how easy it is to hop on an airplane and travel across the world at incredible speeds. It’s also possible to forecast the weather, allowing for planning that increases both safety and comfort. For many years in our history, these things couldn’t even be imagined, and someone had to be bold enough to think outside the box and ask whether such notions as taking off into the air to rise above the clouds or scientifically measuring how weather works could be achieved. Such stories tend to make for very involving and watchable cinema.

In 1862, scientist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) finds little support from his colleagues and the community at large for his research on predicting the weather, and so he must resort to alternative methods to take to the skies. He convinces pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones), whose last flight ended in tragedy, to join forces with him, and together they ascend to reach unattained heights. Their adventure captures the attention of many onlookers, who wait to catch a glimpse of the balloon after it disappears into the horizon, fully unaware of the unpredictable obstacles and elements that will be faced by its passengers.

This film is based on a true story, though Wren is a fictionalized character representative of a number of women of the time, replacing Glaisher’s real-life male companion Henry Coxwell, who does not appear at all in the film. It’s in the nature of filmmaking to embellish, and in this case the addition of Wren seems excusable since she serves as the film’s primary anchor, bursting onto the scene as a showboat, performing for her audience as Glaisher emphasizes the serious and precarious nature of their work, and gradually reveals layers as they rise to the clouds. The way that this story is framed with these two characters proves effective in enhancing the experience they endure, a journey taken mostly by just the two of them.

This is a reunion for Redmayne and Jones, who last earned Oscar attention together for “The Theory of Everything.” Their dynamic here is much different, and while Redmayne plays his part suitably, Jones is the real star, commanding so many of the film’s scenes and making her invented character feel entirely believable. This film is best compared to “The Walk,” based on Philippe Petit’s high-wire walk between the Twin Towers – a surprisingly compelling portrait of bold, daring minds set on challenging standards created with impressive visual effects that will surely be underappreciated.

B+

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Golden Globe Musings: Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year’s nominees:
Crazy Rich Asians
The Favourite
Green Book
Mary Poppins Returns
Vice


Two major contenders are Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Jojo Rabbit, and there isn’t a situation I can imagine in which either of them gets snubbed here. “The Farewell” isn’t eligible in this category since it’s considered a foreign film, and “Uncut Gems” has joined “The Two Popes” as a potential comedy submission that is ultimately going to be billed as a drama. That makes space for Dolemite Is My Name and Rocketman, both of which should place, and then the last spot should be a competition between Hustlers and Knives Out. I’d love to see Booksmart make the cut but don’t think it will happen, and it’s probably too late for Cats to earn votes given that it hasn’t even screened yet. Music nostalgia could earn either Yesterday or Blinded by the Light a spot here too.

Current predictions:
Dolemite Is My Name
Hustlers
Jojo Rabbit
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Rocketman

Golden Globe Musings: Best Motion Picture – Drama


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year’s nominees:
BlacKkKlansman
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star is Born


The past two years, I’ve missed predicting the winner of this category as a nominee. I hope not to make that mistake this time, and that’s mainly because I’ll be including The Irishman and 1917, which I consider the frontrunners for the win here. Likely Oscar nominee “Parasite” isn’t eligible here because it’s a foreign-language film, so next up is Marriage Story. After that, Little Women is probably likeliest, with Ford v Ferrari, Joker, Bombshell, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and The Two Popes also very possible. Apparently Uncut Gems has also been switched to this category, which I don’t think is a smart idea since its chances at a nomination are that much weaker. If it does show up, that’s a really good sign for its Oscar chances. I think, however, that another late-breaking hit, Richard Jewell, will claim the final spot.

Current predictions:
The Irishman
Little Women
Marriage Story
1917
Richard Jewell


Golden Globe Musings: Best Director – Motion Picture


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year’s nominees:
Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born)
Adam McKay (Vice)

This is a category that mostly draws from Best Motion Picture - Drama nominees and a well-received Comedy/Musical honoree or too, which, this year will probably be too. Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) should be a sure thing, while Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) is likely but not guaranteed. Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) is a lock, and, based on recent buzz, so is Sam Mendes (1917). I think Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story) and Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) are competing for the last slot, with a disadvantage to the latter, which is not eligible in the top categories because it’s a foreign-language film. The same is true for longshot Lulu Wang (The Farewell). Another possibility is Greta Gerwig (Little Women), though she wasn’t nominated for “Lady Bird” two years ago when it won Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical. I’m not sure any of the other possibilities, like Clint Eastwood (Richard Jewell), Todd Phillips (Joker), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), James Mangold (Ford v Ferrari) and Pedro Almodovar (Pain and Glory), feel like they’ll be able to muster enough support.

Current predictions:
Martin Scorsese (The Irishman)
Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit)
Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story)
Sam Mendes (1917)
Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Screenplay – Motion Picture


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year’s nominees:
The Favourite
Green Book
If Beale Street Could Talk
Roma
Vice


The Globes don’t have separate categories for original and adapted screenplays, which means that the buzziest films nominated in the top races often place here, along with a few surprising inclusions every couple of years. Last year, I didn’t expect foreign film “Roma” to make the cut, which suggests that maybe Parasite could show up this year. I suspect that Marriage Story and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are likeliest to lead this list, with Little Women, The Farewell, Jojo Rabbit, The Two Popes, and Bombshell.

Current predictions:
The Farewell
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Golden Globe Musings: Best Foreign Film


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year’s nominees:
Capernaum (Lebanon)
Girl (Belgium)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico)
Shoplifters (Japan)

I’ve seen more than ever before this year, and I just have to adjust my expectations slightly from the corresponding Oscar race due to certain films being eligible here and not there, and vice versa. The most significant films present on the list of 92 submissions from 63 countries is The Farewell (USA), making it ineligible in the normal motion picture category, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France), while “Honeyland,” from North Macedonia, is ineligible because it’s a documentary. Parasite (South Korea), Pain and Glory (Spain), and Les Miserables (France) seem like the surest bets. The question is whether Corpus Christi (Poland) will make the cut after last year’s “Cold War,” which went on to earn a Best Director bid, was shockingly snubbed. Among the other films vying for a slot are Invisible Life (Brazil), Out Stealing Horses (Norway), Truth and Justice (Estonia), And Then We Danced (Sweden, Georgia, France), Atlantics (Senegal, France, Belgium), Beanpole (Russia), Synonyms (Israel, France, Germany) and Tel Aviv on Fire (Luxembourg, Belgium, Israel, France).

Current predictions:
The Farewell (USA)
Les Miserables (France)
Pain and Glory (Spain)
Parasite (South Korea)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Animated Film


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year’s nominees:
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Mirai
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse


The past two years, this category has matched the Oscar list for Best Animated Feature perfectly. I’ll admit, this is where I’m currently weakest, having barely screened any of these contenders. Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, Missing Link, and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World feel like locks. Abominable seems like a good bet too, but the question is whether it can eclipse more independent and foreign contenders like Klaus, Weathering With You, and I Lost My Body. I’ll be screening a number of these soon.

Current predictions:
Abominable
Frozen 2
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

Golden Globe Musings: Best Original Song


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

All the Stars (Black Panther)
Revelation (Boy Erased)
Girl in the Movies (Dumplin’)
Requiem for a Private War (A Private War)
Shallow (A Star is Born)

This category is especially hard to predict without the list of fifteen finalists for the corresponding Oscar race, which won’t be released until next week. Last year, I predicted “The Shallows” for this award, representing an unfortunate unawareness of the song’s real title. This year, I feel like I don’t even have that much of a clue. Stand Up (Harriet), Into the Unknown (Frozen 2), I’m Gonna Love Me Again (Rocketman), Beautiful Ghosts (Cats), Speechless (Aladdin), and Control (Her Smell) seem like the likeliest bets. I’d love to see Glasgow (Wild Rose) recognized, but I’m not sure if the movie will make it onto Globe voters’ radar. I look forward to getting to know any of these songs – I’m certainly least prepared for this category.

Current predictions:
Speechless (Aladdin)
Into the Unknown (Frozen 2)
Stand Up (Harriet)
I’m Gonna Love Me Again (Rocketman)
Glasgow (Wild Rose)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Original Score


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year's nominees:
Black Panther
First Man
Isle of Dogs
Mary Poppins Returns
A Quiet Place


I have no idea where to start here other than to note how happy I was when “First Man” won this award last year and how devastated I was when it went on to be snubbed by Oscar voters. 1917 seems like the surest thing, with Ford v Ferrari and Little Women also pretty likely. The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, and A Hidden Life are other possibilities, and while John Williams is probably going to earn an Oscar nomination for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, his last and only bid for the franchise was for the very first installment way back in 1977. I expect a few surprises here – I’m really not too confident going in.

Current predictions:
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
1917

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year’s nominees:
Amy Adams (Vice)
Claire Foy (First Man)
Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Emma Stone (The Favourite)
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

I’m not sure exactly where to start here aside from with Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers) and Laura Dern (Marriage Story), who seems like a sure thing even though I’m predicting her to miss out on a TV bid in the corresponding category. Zhao Shuzhen (The Farewell) seems to be building buzz, while I’m still not convinced that Annette Bening (The Report) is going anywhere. I’m actually going to predict that Margot Robbie (Bombshell) scores twice in this race, also earning a bid for her performance in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” I still think Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey) might make the cut, but it’s also possible that late-breakers like Florence Pugh (Little Women) and Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell). Other possibilities include Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit), Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit), Meryl Streep (The Laundromat), Nicole Kidman (Bombshell), Octavia Spencer (Luce), and Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Dolemite Is My Name).

Current predictions:
Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers)
Margot Robbie (Bombshell)
Margot Robbie (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
Zhao Shuzhen (The Farewell)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year’s nominees:
Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Sam Rockwell (Vice)

Four out of five of these nominees seem pretty likely, even if they’re not going to make it all the way to Oscar. Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) should be safe. Joe Pesci (The Irishman) and Al Pacino (The Irishman) will likely both get in. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse) could earn his third consecutive Globe bid, and Sterling K. Brown (Waves) might score his first film accolade to go along with his past TV trophy. Tracy Letts (Ford v Ferrari) feels like a possible dark horse, and maybe this is where Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) scores for his performance. Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes) is probably the safe choice.

Current predictions:
Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
Al Pacino (The Irishman)
Joe Pesci (The Irishman)
Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year’s nominees:
Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns)
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)
Charlize Theron (Tully)
Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians)

I scored 5/5 on this category last year, so the pressure’s on. Awkwafina (The Farewell) will hopefully show up there, though it’s not guaranteed. Constance Wu (Hustlers) could find herself with a repeat nomination. Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart) and Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart) are both terrific choices, and hopefully they can both make the cut. Emma Thompson (Late Night) seems like a good bet, and she may be accompanied by costar Mindy Kaling (Late Night), though she’s more of a longshot. On that note, Charlize Theron (Long Shot) could benefit from buzz for another film and earn a double nomination. Other possibilities include Ana de Armas (Knives Out), Jillian Bell (Brittany Runs a Marathon), and I’m sure plenty of others.

Awkwafina (The Farewell)
Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart)
Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart)
Emma Thompson (Late Night)
Constance Wu (Hustlers)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year’s nominees:
Christian Bale (Vice)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
Robert Redford (The Old Man and the Gun)
John C. Reilly (Stan and Ollie)

This category has some heavyweights competing here who should almost definitely be included. Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) is one, and Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name) is another. Taron Egerton (Rocketman), while not as well-known, will likely be here too, and hopefully child actor Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit) will earn enough votes to merit a nomination. Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems) should be able to score a lot for his latest effort and, beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess. Daniel Craig (Knives Out) might be able to stand out from his ensemble, or maybe Antonio Banderas (The Laundromat) and Gary Oldman (The Laundromat) can impress voters. Shia LaBeouf (The Peanut Butter Falcon) might also contend, though probably for his supporting role in a different film, and someone like Seth Rogen (Long Shot), while deserving in this prognosticator’s mind, is likely too silly a choice for Globe voters.

Current predictions:
Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
Taron Egerton(Rocketman)
Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name)
Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems)

Monday, December 2, 2019

Monday Oscar Odds


I was supposed to see “Little Women” yesterday in New York, but the screening was cancelled at the last minute when the theater closed early due to inclement weather. I’m on a plane now back to Los Angeles, where the weather should be better and I shouldn’t have any problem seeing it later this week. Also on my schedule already for the next week are “Richard Jewell,” which seems to be building up steam, “Hustlers,” and a handful of Best International Feature contenders. From what I’ve been seeing thus far from the groups that have announced their nominees, I think I need to go see “Knives Out,” and, as much as I don’t want to, it seems that “Us” will almost definitely be an awards player.

I did watch “Waves,” which I don’t think will be the awards contender I initially thought it would, and so I’m removing Sterling K. Brown for now from the Best Supporting Actor race. He may still contend, but I don’t think so. I also watched “Rocketman,” which will likely place in the technical categories but not anything too major. That’s all I have in terms of updates – I didn’t watch many movies during Thanksgiving week but will make up for that this coming week.

The Annie Awards announced their nominations for the best in animation today, and, despite a few omissions of top contenders in the Best Director category, all is pretty much as expected. I’ve barely seen any of these, but “Toy Story 4,” “Frozen 2,” “Missing Link,” and “How to Drain Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” Nipping at their heels are “Klaus,” “Weathering with You,” and “I Lost My Body,” and, despite its presence in a few technical categories, “Abominable” didn’t make the cut in any top race.

The other big news comes from the British Independent Film Awards, which crowned “For Sama” its Best Picture winner. While none of the films it beat will contend in major categories and only three past nominees have gone on to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture, its significant that this Best Documentary contender took home that prize. I’m going to put it back in my predictions, replacing “Apollo 11.”

The Gotham Awards tonight are expected to crown either “The Farewell” or “Marriage Story” their best film, though “Uncut Gems” might also win. It doesn’t have much of an effect on the Oscars other than to give a boost to whatever film takes home prizes. The Satellite Awards should also announce sometime tonight, and while they’re not significant, they do offer a look at what films and performances could make the cut in an expanded lineup.

One week from today, the Golden Globe nominations will be unveiled, and then next Wednesday, SAG nominations will be announced. Two weeks from today, we’ll get finalists in a bunch of Oscar categories, so stay tuned for lots of predictions, commentary, and more, plus reviews of as many contenders as I can watch and write.

Current predictions:

Best Picture
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Bombshell
Ford v Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Marriage Story
1917
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite

Best Director
Martin Scorsese The Irishman)
Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit)
Sam Mendes (1917)
Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)

Best Actor
Robert De Niro (The Irishman)
Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name)
Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

Best Actress
Awkwafina (The Farewell)
Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
Charlize Theron (Bombshell)
Alfre Woodard (Clemency)
Renée Zellweger (Judy)

Best Supporting Actor
Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)
Al Pacino (The Irishman)
Joe Pesci (The Irishman)
Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Best Supporting Actress
Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)
Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers)
Margot Robbie (Bombshell)
Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)

Best Original Screenplay
Bombshell
The Farewell
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite

Best Adapted Screenplay
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Joker
Little Women

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Bombshell
The Irishman
Rocketman

Best Animated Feature
Frozen II
Klaus
Missing Link
Toy Story 4
Weathering with You

Best Documentary
American Factory
Apollo 11
The Biggest Little Farm
For Sama
Honeyland

Best International Feature
Les Miserables (France)
Out Stealing Horses (Norway)
Corpus Christi (Poland)
Parasite (South Korea)
Pain and Glory (Spain)

Movie with Abe: The Two Popes

The Two Popes
Directed by Fernando Meirelles
Released November 27, 2019

There are few people in the world with a degree of influence anywhere near that of the pope. The leader of the Catholic Church is revered by many in his religion, and is chosen by secret ballot in a closed ceremony by cardinals from around the world. As the figurehead of a faith and a symbol to many others from different spheres, the pope is responsible for setting policies and determining modern interpretations of classical texts and beliefs. How one gets to that position of power isn’t set, and, especially in the case of the current person holding the role, not wanting it can be the most important reason for selection.

Joseph Ratzinger (Anthony Hopkins) of Germany campaigns and is elected Pope Benedict following the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, eclipsing unexpected support for Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) of Argentina at the papal conclave. After his papacy is rocked by scandal in the Church, Pope Benedict summons Bergoglio to Vatican City. Bergoglio is set on retiring and seeks permission from the pope, while Benedict has other ideas for a man with whom he agrees on almost nothing. Their time together helps them to reveal plenty about each other and how their differing visions of faith might be able to coexist.

This film’s clever title reveals the fact that Bergoglio is none other than Pope Francis, who was Benedict’s successor. Seeing the two figures in such close proximity to one another and with few barriers between them as they share their thoughts and views is immensely rewarding and enlightening. Extensive flashbacks to formative moments in Bergoglio’s career, which feature actor Juan Minujín in the role, are informative but do detract from this film’s greater strength as a two-man showpiece.

Pryce is a respected actor with prominent film roles in many projects, including “Brazil” and “Pirates of the Carribean,” and hopefully this subtle tour de force will earn him cinematic accolades to go along with his existing Tony Awards. He paints a sympathetic but honest portrait of a man haunted by his failures and troubled by the future. Hopkins delivers as well, complementing Pryce’s interpretation with his own hard exterior that gradually reveals an occasionally warm interior. Together, the two are magnificent, leading a film that’s light, entertaining, and very enjoyable, creating an accessible entry point into the lives and minds of two people who have held this most auspicious office.

B+

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year’s nominees:
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Lady Gaga (A Star is Born)
Nicole Kidman (Destroyer)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Rosamund Pike (A Private War)

The surest thing in this category is Renee Zellweger (Judy). Next up: Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), who has been nominated four times in the past and shouldn’t have a problem returning, and Charlize Theron (Bombshell), who should show up even if her movie doesn’t. It’s less certain that Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) will be included, but she’s a good bet. Saiorse Ronan (Little Women) will probably make the cut too. After that, Alfre Woodard (Clemency) and Lupita Nyong'o (Us) are serious threats. Other distant possibilities include Helen Mirren (The Good Liar), Julianne Moore (Gloria Bell), Jodie Turner-Smith (Queen and Slim), and Elisabeth Moss (Her Smell).

Current predictions:
Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)
Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
Saiorse Ronan (Little Women)
Charlize Theron (Bombshell)
Renee Zellweger (Judy)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama


Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced shortly, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anything important. A reminder that the Globes are wildly unpredictable and that it is still a bit early to gauge the reception or awards potential of a number of the so-called “contenders” at this point.

Last year’s nominees:
Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born)
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate)
Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

It looks like there are just two locks in this category - Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) and Adam Driver (Marriage Story). It would be hard to imagine Robert De Niro (The Irishman) missing the cut, but it’s possible voters won’t love the film (though I really doubt it). Next up are a handful of contenders, including Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Matt Damon (Ford v Ferrari), and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes). I think it’s likely that, even if he doesn’t make it all the way to Oscar, Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), a past honoree in other categories, will be nominated here. Adam Driver (The Report) could find himself with a double nomination, and Mark Ruffalo (Dark Waters) is also a possibility. Other late-breaking contenders with buzz include Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewell) and George MacKay (1917). I’d love to see Noah Jupe (Honey Boy), but I don’t think he can muster enough support to show up in this category.

Current predictions:
Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari)
Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory)
Robert De Niro (The Irishman)
Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)