Tuesday, November 24, 2009

TFF #36 and The Oscar Clearinghouse #5...Pre-Turkey Edition

Jeff Bridges is red hot in the Best Actor race...

As we get ready for Thanksgiving and the obligatory over eating that comes with it, here are some opening thoughts from the Clearinghouse before we get to the breakdown of each category...

UP IN THE AIR is staying strong and is considered by many to be the favorite to win Best Picture at this point...still with Nine, Lovely Bones, Invictus and Avatar still out there to be debuted it's not yet time to place your bets.

Saw trailers on the tube for Invictus, Avatar and UITA since our last post...Invictus looked better than I thought it would. Avatar does not. Lovely Bones continues a slight swoon as we move closer to its release...Avatar has gathered some heat in the interim since Clearinghouse # 4. and Jeff Bridges and "Crazy Heart" has zoomed onto the radar from complete obscurity in the last three weeks...we'll see if he and the movie have any staying power.

This entry of the Clearinghouse adds "Rope of Silicon", The Envelope and Gurus of Gold to the database...Now on to the categories...(TFF PIX IN CAPS AND BOLD)

Best Picture: 1) UP IN THE AIR, 2) The Hurt Locker, 3) Nine, 4) Precious, 5) Invictus, 6) AN EDUCATION, 7) Up, 8) The Lovely Bones, 9) Avatar, 10) A Serious Man.

Others in play: Inglorious Basterds, A Single Man, BRIGHT STAR, THE LAST STATION, THE ROAD, Julie and Julia.

Comments: Biggest Momentum...Hurt Locker, Avatar, A Single Man (finally catching up to the heat in the Best Actor and Supporting Actress categories...which have actually cooled a little) and The Road gets a bump...maybe because it finally gets released this week. Tree of Life drops out of all categories (including director and script) as the various guessperts factor in its release date being set for 2010.

Best Direction: 1) JASON REITMAN, 2) Kathryn Bigelow, 3) Rob Marshall, 4) Clint Eastwood, 5) Lee Daniels.

Lurkers: James Cameron, Peter Jackson, LONE SCHERFIG, Quentin Tarantino, Coen Brothers.

Comments: James Cameron is getting some good buzz in the run up to the release of Avatar.

Best Actor: 1) Morgan Freeman, 2) GEORGE CLOONEY, 3) Colin Firth, 4) Jeff Bridges, 5) Daniel Day-Lewis.

Others: Jeremy Renner, VIGGO MORTENSEN, Matt Damon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Robert DeNiro.

Comments: Two weeks ago Jeff Bridges best shot at a nomination was thought to be in supporting for The Men Who Stare at Goats...man, these change fast! His performance has exploded out of almost nowhere to leap into the #4 spot as a likely nominee...And that's really hurt Jeremy Renner's campaign as he drops from nominee to a "maybe" in status. Also a nice couple of weeks for Viggo as he returns to consideration as does the serious man, Michael Stuhlbarg.

Best Actress: 1) CAREY MULLIGAN, 2) Meryl Streep, 3) Gabby Sidibe, 4) HELEN MIRREN, 5) ABBIE CORNISH.

Lurkers: Saroise Ronan, Marion Cotillard, Sandra Bullock, Maggie Gyllenhall, Michelle Monaghan.

Comments: Cornish returns to "nominee" status. Bullock and Gyllenhall both appear for the first time. And the fall of Hilary Swank and Amelia is complete as she drops completely off the chart.

Best Supporting Actor: 1) Christoph Waltz, 2) Stanley Tucci, 3) ALFRED MOLINA, 4) Matt Damon, 5) CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER.

On the Outside Looking In: PETER SAARSGARD, Anthony Mackie, Christian McKay, Stanley Tucci (again), PAUL SCHNEIDER.

Dropping Out: JAMES MC AVOY.

Comment: Matt Damon is losing a little steam and Paul Schneider returns to the chart, replacing fellow TFF #36 potential nominee James McAvoy.

Best Supporting Actress: 1) Mo'Nique, 2) Penelope Cruz, 3) ANNA KENDRICK, 4) Julianne Moore, 5) VERA FARMIGA.

Lurkers: Judi Dench, Susan Sarandon, Samantha Morton, Marion Cotillard, Mariah Carey.

Comments: Moore falls a little bit and Samantha Morton comes on strong for her work in The Messenger. Also, Mariah Carey enters the chart...getting great notice for a small part and looking nothing like herself...look out for her.

Dropping out: Rachel Wiesz and Melanie Laurent.

Adapted Screenplay: 1) Precious, 2) UP IN THE AIR, 3) AN EDUCATION, 4) Invictus, 5) Nine

Others: The Lovely Bones, A Single Man, THE LAST STATION, Julie and Julia, Wild Things.

Dropping: THE ROAD.

Original Screenplay: 1) Up, 2) A Serious Man, 3) The Hurt locker, 4) 500 Days of Summer, 5) Inglorious Basterds.

And...BRIGHT STAR, District 9, It's Complicated, Avatar, THE WHITE RIBBON.

Dropping: Tree of Life and In the Loop.

Breakdown of THE BIG EIGHT CATEGORIES...Predicted Nominees: UP IN THE AIR-6, Nine, Precious, and Invictus-5, AN EDUCATION-4, and The Hurt Locker -3.

Nominations and Near Noms combined: Nine-7, UP IN THE AIR, Precious, AN EDUCATION, The Lovely Bones-6, The Hurt Locker, Invictus and A Single Man-5, Inglorious Basterds, BRIGHT STAR, THE LAST STATION, Julie and Julia-4

TFF#36...still 13 predicted nominations and 10 near noms...

The Clearinghouse will return next just prior to Christmas/New Years. Planning to spend New Year's Eve back in Telluride!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

TFF #36 and The Oscar Clearinghouse #4

Welcome...So....Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, eh? Can you say "It's Complicated"?

Here's your latest update using the services of: And the Winner Is, Film Misery, In Contention, The Oscar Guy, Film Experience and Awards Circuit. We'll add Gurus of Gold (when it's gets serious0 The Envelope (LA Times...also, when it gets serious) and Rope of Silicon. Perhaps Hollywood Elsewhere as the season progresses toward Mar. 7

TFF #36 in CAPS and BOLD

Best Picture: 1) UP IN THE AIR, 2) Nine, 3) Hurt Locker, 4) Precious, 5) Invictus, 6) AN EDUCATION, 7) The Lovely Bones, 8) Up, 9) A Serious Man, 10) Avatar...also, 11) Inglorious Basterds, 12) The Tree of Life***13) THE LAST STATION, 14) BRIGHT STAR, 15) Julie and Julia. Dropping Out: A Single Man and Amelia.

Notes: Serious Man makes a move back up the chart as does The Last Station, Bright Star and Inglorious Basterds. Actually, Basterds made a significant move. Amelia's free fall continues. AND ***Tree of Life has been pushed t 2010...maybe it will be at TFF #37.

Best Director: 1) JASON REITMAN/UITA, 2) Kathryn Bigelow/Hurt Locker, 3) Lee Daniels/Precious, 4) Rob Marshall/Nine, 5) Clint Eastwood/Invictus. Also: 6) Peter Jackson?Lovely Bones, 7) LONE SCHERFIG/EDUCATION, 8) Quentin Tarantino/Basterds, 9) Coen Bros./Serious Man, 10) Terrence Malick/Tree***(see previous note)...(next is MICHAEL HOFFMAN/LAST STATION). Dropping Out: None

Notes: Tarantino is the only big mover...Malick, again, is moving to 2010.

Best Actor: 1) Morgan Freeman/Invctus, 2) Colin Firth/Single Man, 3) GEORGE CLOONEY/UP IN THE AIR, 4) Daniel Day-Lewis/Nine, 5) Jeremy Renner/Hurt Locker. Also, 6) Robert DeNiro/Everybody's Fine, 7) Hal Holbrook/Evening Sun, 8) VIGGO MORTENSEN/THE ROAD, 9) Johnny Depp/Public Enemies, 10) Matt Damon/The Informant! Dropping Out: None

Notes: Colin Firth's assault continues. It's a surprise to me that the film hasn't gotten more play for Best Picture with the heat from his performance and Julianne Moore's (see below). Mortensen and Depp actually bump up a little and Matt Damon continues to fall substantially.

Best Actress: 1) CAREY MULLIGAN/AN EDUCATION, 2) Meryl Streep/Julie & Julia, 3) Gabrielle Sidibe, 4) HELEN MIRREN/THE LAST STATION, 5) Saroise Ronan/Lovely Bones. Also: 6) Marion Cotillard/Nine***, 7) ABBIE CORNISH/BRIGHT STAR, 8) Michelle Monaghan/Trucker, 9) Hilary Swank/Amelia, 10) Michelle Pfeiffer and Annette Bening. Dropping Out: Penelope Cruz/Broken Embraces

Notes: Helen Mirren continues to be hot and Hilary Swank's Amelia continues its dive. We include Marion Cotillard's performance from Nine in the lead category, although she has votes in both lead and supporting for the same role. We think this is her most likely category placement.

Best Supporting actor: 1) Christoph Waltz/Inglorious Basterds, 2) Stanley Tucci/Lovely Bones, 3) Matt Damon/Invictus, 4) ALFRED MOLINA/AN EDUCATION, 5) CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER/THE LAST STATION. Also: 6) PETER SAARSGARD/AN EDUCATION, 7) Anthony Mackie/Hurt Locker, 8) JAMES MC AVOY/THE LAST STATION, 9) Stanley Tucci/Julie and Julia, 10) 4 guys tied here. Dropping Out: Richard Kind & ROBERT DUVALL.

Notes: Mackey continues to gain ground and Stanley Tucci is to be red hot as he appears on the list in 2 places (although I suspect he'll get the nomination for Lovely Bones). Duvall drops out...too bad, it's a really fine performance. And James McAvoy is getting split votes in lead and supporting. We suspect he'll end up campaigning as a supporting candidate.

Best Supporting Actress: 1) Mo'Nique/Precious, 2) Julianne Moore/Single Man, 3) Penelope Cruz/Nine, 4) ANNA KENDRICK/UP IN THE AIR, 5) VERA FARMIGA/UP IN THE AIR***. Also: 6) Judy Dench/Nine, 7) Susan Sarandon/Lovely Bones, 8) Rachel Weisz/Lovely Bones, 9) Marion Cotillard/Public Enemies, 10) Melanie Laurent/Inglorius Basterds. Dropping Out; Nicole Kidman and Catherine Keener.

Notes: ***Farmiga makes a move, partly because she also is getting attention in the lead category for this role. We suspect she'll end up in supporting as the season progresses. The first time both UITA ladies move into the "nomination" category. Julianne Moore's rise continues to be meteoric. Laurent returns to the bottom of the list as a part of the overall Inglorious Basterds boomlet over the past couple of weeks.

Best Adapted Screenplay: 1) UP IN THE AIR, 2) Precious, 3) Lovely Bones, 4) AN EDUCATION, 5) Invictus. Also: 6) Nine, 7) THE LAST STATION, 8) A Single Man, 9) Julie & Julia, 10) THE ROAD.

Best Original Screenplay: 1) Up, 2) A Serious Man, 3) The Hurt locker, 4) 500 Days (of Summer), 5) BRIGHT STAR. Also: 6) Inglorious Basterds, 7) THE WHITE RIBBON, 8) District Nine, 9) In the Loop, 10) Tree of Life*** (see above).

Notes: Thanks to Awards Circuit and Film experience, we can expand the screenplay list past 8 possibles...barely.

TFF #36 films account for 13 "Big 8" nominations...up one from the last post and 10 "lurking"up 4 from the last post.

Breakdown: "Nominations": UP IN THE AIR-6, Precious & Invictus-5, AN EDUCATION, Nine, Lovely Bones and Hurt Locker-4.

Combined Noms and Lurks: Nine & The Lovely Bones-7, UP IN THE AIR & AN EDUCATION-6, Hurt Locker, Precious, Invictus, Inglorious Basterds and THE LAST STATION-5. Julie & Julia-4. Serious Man, Single man and BRIGHT STAR-3.

Final Thoughts: I just have a feeling that Lovely Bones (can you say "King Kong"?) and Invictus (can you say "Changeling"?) are going to fade. I think Nine is a solid contender.