Friday, September 19, 2008

Oscar Clearinghouse #1

Well...Telluride and Toronto are over and it's time to start thinking about awards season. I've done the first analysis of the guessperts and as the season moves along, I'll add more prognosticators into the matrix. I'll update every 2-3 weeks or so, until we get closer and then update weekly.

The Telluride link to Oscar has been fairly prevalent the past 5 years, but this year that's expected to be less likely because of the smaller number of American films at Telluride. However, after the first run though, it seems that Telluride may still be pretty impactful. Last year Telluride films received 23 Oscar noms...the year before I think it was 17. Looking at this year's first combination chart shows 6 solid noms in the Big 8 categories with Telluride ties and another 4 possibles lurking...and that doesn't include the foreign film Oscar possibles and even an animation nom possibilty.

Of course, this will all mutate before the announcement of the nominees and probably drastically.

Here's what the first wave of predictions are pointing toward with Telluride connections in bold:

Best Pic...Australia, Milk, Benjamin Button, Revolutionary Road and Frost/Nixon

Other possibles: Doubt, Defiance, The Changeling, The Soloist, The Dark Knight and Slumdog Millionaire (riding a wave of popular and critical success out of Telluride and into Toronto)

Best Director: Gus Van Sant, Baz Luhrmann, David Fincher, Clint Eastwood and Ron Howard.

Other directors in play: Christopher Nolan, Sam Mendes, Jonathan Hillcoat, John Patrick Shanley, Joe Wright, and Ed Zwick

Best Actor: Frank Langella, Sean Penn, Leonardo DeCaprio, Brad Pitt, Mickey Rourke.

Others: Viggo Mortenson, Richard Jenkins, Benicio Del Toro, Robert Downey, Jr., and Hugh Jackman

Best Actress: Kate Winslet, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, and Sally Hawkins.

Others: Nicole Kidman, Melissa Leo, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Drew Barrymore.

Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Josh Brolin, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe.

Others: James Franco, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, John Malkovich, Jamie Foxx, Michael Sheen, and Robert Downey, Jr. (for the same roll in "The Soloist"...apparently the guessperts don't really know which category he should be in)

Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Tajari Henson, Viola Davis, Kathy Bates, and Vera Farmiga.

Others: Marisa Tomei, Amy Adams, Kim Basinger, Debra Winger, Rosemaire DeWitt, and Charlize Theron.

Adapted Screenplay: Frost/Nixon, The Road, Benjamin Button, Revolutionary Road, and Doubt.

Others: The Dark Knight, Slumdog Millionaire, Defiance, Body of Lies, The Reader.

Original Screenplay: Milk, Australia, Vicky Christina Barcelona, The Cahngeling, Rachel Getting Married.

Others: The Visitor, Wall-E, Happy-Go-Lucky, The Soloist and Gran Torino.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Telluride Stories

Variety has posted a slew of interviews with a number of the participants from this year's festival. You can find them at this link:

Included are Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Boyle, Ari Folman and many others. Check it out.

Friday, September 5, 2008

And Home

We've been home for a couple of days and I am trying to catch up after the whirlwind that was Telluride this year. The last day we got in "The Good, The Bad and The Weird" a Korean homage/send-up of the Eastwood spaghetti western. Very LOUD and very entertaining.

Followed that up with what appears to be the hit of the Festival. Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire". We really enjoyed it. And the response from the rest of the Telluride attendees seems to be very good (if you read the reviews and blogging that has come out of last weekend. It was gratifying to see/hear Boyle introduce the film and thank the audiences in Telluride for giving it a boost as it heads to Toronto's festival... I suspect that part of the response is due to "Slumdog" having a brighter tone and conclusion than most everything else at the fest this year. Sometimes you just need some relief.

We concluded the fest with "American Violet" a true story of racially biased mass arrest in Texas...a lot like the Tulia, Texas case of a few years ago that those of us in the Amarillo media market are familiar with. A good performance from Nicole Behaire (Kris talked to her briefly on Sunday) is the highlight of this film...which you want to like, but dramatically falls short.

All in all, this year's fest didn't reach the heights of last year's in terms of film quality nor in our chance encounters and interaction with the famous and near famous. That being said, the opportunity to meet and talk with Salman Rushdie pretty much made the weekend. I mean, how often does something like that happen?

Movie round up (what I/we saw)

Asphalt Tango (Romanian and one of the 3 best things I saw)... 3 stars

Tribute to David Fincher (20 min. of "Button"...looks great also derivative)

Hunger (Bobby Sands hunger strike/brutal)...2 and 1/2 stars

Happy-Go-Lucky ( Sally Hawkins is good in a fair movie) 2 and 1/2 stars

Waltz with Bashir (animated and a likely Oscar nominee) 3 stars

Flash of Genius ( not so much, Greg Kinnear) 2 stars

Firaaq (Rushdie introduced Indian "Crash") 2 and 1/2 stars

Tribute to Jean Simmons (who didn't she work with?)

Good, Bad Weird (fun!) 3 stars

Slumdog Millionarie ( best movie of the weekend) 3 stars

American Violet (seemed to lack dramatically) 2 and 1/2 stars

Other buzz we didn't get to see:

I've Loved You So Long

Flame and Citron


Will probably morph this blog into an Oscar watch/clearinghouse with emphasis on what was at Telluride and the chances those films have for winning Oscar glory in February...