Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sundancing/Unusual Lists/Oscar Confusion/A Separation/The Artist

Good Morning and Happy 2012!  I hope your start to the new year was entertaining.  My hope is that the whole of 2012 is entertaining.


I am very excited to announce that for the first time, Michael's Telluride Film Blog/The Film Awards Clearinghouse will have a presence at the Sundance Film Festival.  Not me (though I wish it was) but former student and active cinephile, Gant Lee of Cinema Bebop will be attending the back half of Sundance and has kindly agreed to allow this blog to share his experiences, impressions, reports and reviews...I am uber-pumped and not a little jealous.  Sundance is set to run from Jan. 19-29.  I believe Gant will be on the ground in Park City and vicinity from Jan. 24 or so until they close the place down. I'm  looking forward to seeing Gant's dispatches.

Also, if there's a Sundance title you have an interest in hearing about, drop me an email ( or tweet ( and let me know.  No guarantees, but we'll see what we can do.

The Sundance website is here:


I ran across a couple of interesting lists this week that I thought I would pass along.  First is Scott Feinberg's list of films that were, at one point, thought to be potential players for the 2012 awards season.  He has 13 films on this list and one of them DID play Telluride (the fairly pedestrian "Butter", read my less than stellar review for The Playlist here: 
The other dozen are almost all films that at one point or another were on my Telluride 2012 radar.  Feinberg tells us what the status is for each of the films.  Here's the link to the article:

The other list comes from my Telluride buddy, Leonard Maltin and is comprised of 11 films that he suggests are really good, but have been fling under the radar.  Included on his list are Telluride players "Of Gods and Men"and "Incendies" from TFF #37.  the complete list is here:


Another year, and another new Oscar Best Picture procedure.  After the two year "Ten Nominees" experiment, the Academy has instituted a new voting procedure designed to give us anywhere from 5 to 10 Best Picture nominees.  After such a drastic change just two years ago, this new wrinkle has apparently created some confusion among Academy voters.  This according to Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter as you can see here:

I'd probably be confused too.

Incidentally, as we move into serious Oscar gear in the month of January, I am going to try to pick the brains of the few "insiders" I've come to know over the last few years and see what, if any, insight I might be able to glean from their wisdom.


A lot of heat continues for Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation" as reflected by continued and increasing media coverage.  Here is some of that:

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Thompson on Hollywood:



The Guardian has a nearly five minute interview with the creators of the silent black and white Oscar favorite here:


This website has posted its Best Of list for 2011 and i includes no less than six TFF #38 films.  Take a look here:

That's a wrap for the first post of 2012...Again, Happy New Year and catch a new post on Thursday!  (should have some guild news to talk about).

Follow me on Twitter @Gort2

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Oscar Poster/Critical Response/Oscar Pickers/Online Film Critics

Good Morning and a hope that everyone had a great holiday.  2012 is just around the corner!

Oscar has a new poster and here it is:



Various outlets continue to collate and crunch the year's critical response to the films that were released in 2011.  Three more of those were published this past week...The Tree of Life continues to  do well with the critics and I still think that translates into  Best Picture and (perhaps)  Best Director nominations for the film that refer to as the only unofficial film of Telluride #37 (2010).  as you may recall, it was screened privately in Telluride for (reportedly) Fox Searchlight and Sony Pictures Classics.  Fox Searchlight picked it up.

Here are the three new critic's compilations:

From Movie City News (where the top five are Tree of Life, Descendants, Artist, Drive and A Separation):

From Metacritic (top five: Tree of Life, A Separation, Descendants, Melancholia, Drive):

From Movie Review Intelligence (top five: Artist, Potter, Poetry, We Were Here, City of Life and Death):;100;8388607;04/29/2011;04/28/2012;;;0;;;;;1;1;1;1;1;1;1;;true;true


New Oscar prediction update from Oscar guru Scott Feinberg at The Hollywood Reporter:

Brad Brevet at Rope of Silicon shares his latest Oscar ruminations:

Oscar nominating ballots were sent out Dec. 27.  Nominations will be announced the morning of Jan. 24.


Nominations from the Online Film Critics announced late last week.  Here's the link (from Awards Daily):

and the Best picture nominees were:
The Artist
The Descendants
The Tree of Life

 Happy New Year.  Next post in 2012!

Follow me on Twitter @Gort2

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Big List/ROS Predicts/Shame News/TFF #38 Foreign Films/Tidbits

Good Morning ALL...and a very happy Boxing Day to everyone.


Sasha Stone at Awards Daily passes along this link that is fantastic to anyone that is obsessive about this Film awards stuff.  It's incredibly comprehensive.  Thanks to David Hanks at for the hard work.  Take a look, you'll be amazed:


The latest Oscar predictions from Brad Brevet at Rope of Silicon reflecting some of the moves that he thinks have an effect or act as a precursor:


Several articles and/or posts regarding Steve McQueen's "Shame" as Fox Searchlight seeks to maximize its Oscar possibilities.

From Fox Searchlight:

Awards Daily:



As is always the case, a number of the foreign films that played at this year's fest are making news in the foreign language Oscar race.  Here are some updates concerning those films and the FLF Oscar race in general...

An Overview from Scott Feinberg at The Hollywood Reporter:

A Separation (from Movie City News):

In Darkness from Thompson on Hollywood:

Le Havre from The Hollywood Reporter:


The Descendants From Fox Searchlight:

A Dangerous Method from The Chicago Sun Times:

and The New York Times:

Next blogpost will be Thursday, Dec. 29

Follow me on Twitter @Gort2

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Film Awards Clearinghouse Vol. 4/What the Critics Say about 2011

Here's the latest Film Awards Clearinghouse number crunching using published information from:
Awards Daily
The Hollywood Reporter
The Movie City News
Incontention (at HitFix)
Hollywood Elsewhere
Film Misery
FIlm Experience
Thompson on Hollywood
Awards Circuit

TFF #38 films in Bold and Large


1)The Artist
2) The Descendants
3) War Horse
4) Hugo
5) The Help
6) Moneyball
7) Midnight in Paris
8) Extremely Loud
9) The Tree of Life
10) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
11) The Ides of March
12) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
13) Drive
14) J. Edgar
15) My Week with Marilyn

Out: Shame, The Iron Lady
Hot: HUGO (red hot!), Drive
Not: Midnight in Paris, Tinker Tailor, J. Edgar
Comment: We’re a month from the announcement of the nominees and you can book them coming from the 1-9 spots.  I still believe there will be 7 BP noms and at this point I feel that only Artist, Descendants and Hugo are locks.  That’s right; I skipped over #3 War Horse…because I just think it’s not a lock, at least not yet.  Same for The Help and Moneyball.  Those three are probable…but just not locks.  And I also believe that Paris, Extremely Loud and Tree are going to battle for the 7th spot.  My money would be on Tree of Life at this point.  Personally, I’d be voting “Shame” best film of the year…(my Top Ten list for 2011 is coming soon).


1) Michel Hazanavicius/Artist
2) Alexander Payne/Descendants
3) Martin Scorsese/Hugo
4) Terrence Malick/Tree of Life
5) Steven Spielberg/War Horse
6) Bennett Miller/Moneyball
7) Woody Allen/Midnight in Paris
8) Stephen Daldry/Extremely Loud
9) David Fincher/Tattoo
10) George Clooney/Ides
Out: Tomas Alfredson/Tinker, Clint Eastwood/J. Edgar
Hot: SCORSESE/HUGO (scorching!) and Malick
Not: Allen and Daldry
Comment:  This is a real tell as far as I’m concerned about the weakness of the positions of The Help and Midnight in Paris as Best Picture players…and also a reason that I think Tree of Life might get a Best Picture nomination.

1) Viola Davis/The Help
2) Meryl Streep/Iron Lady
3) Glenn Close/Albert Nobbs
4) Michele Williams/My Week with Marilyn
5) Tilda Swinton/We Need to Talk About Kevin
6) Charlize Theron/Young Adult
7) Rooney Mara/Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
8) Elizabeth Olsen/Martha Marcy…
9) Felicity Jones/Like Crazy
10) Olivia Colman/Tyrannosaur
Out: Kirsten Dunst/Melancholia
Hot: Streep and Swinton
Not: Nobody really
Comment:  Swinton’s star has risen meteorically the last month and the top five look pretty solid with just a month left to go.  Theron and Mara appear to be the only outliers that might have a chance to crash the party.


1) George Clooney/Descendants
2) Jean Dujardin/Artist
3) Brad Pitt/Moneyball
4) Michael Fassbender/Shame
5) Leonardo DiCaprio/J. Edgar
6) Gary Oldman/Tinker Tailor
7) Demian Bichir/A Better Life
8) Woody Harrelson/Rampart
9) Ryan Gosling/Ides of March
10) Michael Shannon/Take Shelter
Out: Jordan Gordon-Leavitt/ 50/50
Hot: Bichir
Not: Shannon
Comment:  Fassbender seemed like an #occupyoscar project two months ago…now he seems pretty solidly locked into a likely nomination.  As a matter of fact…this category is probably the closest of the Big 8 to be locked into these five as the nominees.

1) Octavia Spencer/The Help
2) Shailene Woodley/Descendants
3) Berenice Bejo/Artist
4) Jessica Chastain/The Help
5) Vanessa Redgrave/Coriolanus
6) Janet McTeer/Albert Nobbs
7) Melissa McCarthy/Bridesmaids
8) Carey Mulligan/Shame
9) Sandra Bullock/Extremely Loud
10) Judi Dench/J. Edgar
Out: Chastain (Tree of Life)
Hot: Chastain (The Help)
Not: Nobody
Comment:  It seems that the world has decided that it will be Jessica Chastain’s role in “The Help” that will get enough love to boost her to a nomination as opposed to “Tree of Life” or “Take Shelter” or…  And that’s fine.  Chastain really should be recognized as one of these nominees.  I can’t think of anyone who has had a better year.  I’d still prefer to see Mulligan get a nomination over just about anyone else in the field and that’s not completely impossible, but it seems very unlikely at this point.  I will say this, though.  The only 100% lock right now is Spencer.  Anyone else from the 2-8 spots could be in or out come the morning of Jan. 24.


1) Christopher Plummer/Beginners
2) Albert Brooks/Drive
3) Kenneth Brannagh/Marilyn
4) Max Von Sydow/Extremely Close
5) Nick Nolte/Warrior
6) Jonah Hill/Moneyball
7) Patton Oswalt/Young Adult
8) Armie Hammer/J. Edgar
9) Brad Pitt/Tree of Life
10) Viggo Mortensen/Dangerous Method
Out: Kevin Spacey/Margin Call and Philip Seymour Hoffman/Ides of March
Hot: Nolte
Not: Oswalt
Comment:  It’s amazing what some notice from precursors will do as in the case of Nick Nolte (and to a lesser extent Armie Hammer) who has caught fire as an Oscar possible again this last couple of weeks.  It still seems that Plummer, Brooks and Brannagh are pretty much locked in and then the last two spots figure to be in play between Nolte, Von Sydow, Oswalt and Hill.  My money (for the moment) is on Nolte and Von Sydow.

1) The Descendants
2) Moneyball
3) Hugo
4) Extremely Loud
5) Tinker Tailor
6) War Horse
7) The Help
8) Girl with Dragon Tattoo
9) Ides of March
10) Drive
Out: We Need to Talk About Kevin
Hot: Hugo
Not: Tattoo
Comment: This category remains wide open after The Descendants and Moneyball.

1) Midnight in Paris
2) The Artist
3) Young Adult
4) The Tree of Life
5) Win Win
6) 50/50
7) Margin Call
8) Rango
9) Bridesmaids
10) Shame
Out: Martha Marcy and J. Edgar
Hot: Young Adult, Win Win, 50/50, Margin Call
Not: Bridesmaids, Shame
Comment: Paris and Artist look solid…after that this category is a free for all as well.

Telluride = 13 nominations and 4 possibles in the latest configuration (remarkably consistent for 3 and ½ months).


A couple of cumulative crtitcs polls were published this week.  They're interesting reading, if you care about what critics think about this year's crop of film.

IndieWire compiled lists from nearly 200 critics and they provided several categories in addition to Best Film.  Their cumulative top twenty is (numbers to the right are total points and judges votes):

1The Tree of Life43963
3A Separation35660
4Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives32853
6Certified Copy29041
7Mysteries of Lisbon27037
10Meek's Cutoff22033
12The Descendants20231
13The Artist19928
14Take Shelter19336
15Martha Marcy May Marlene19037
16A Dangerous Method15529
17Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy15327
18We Need to Talk About Kevin14425
19Film Socialisme14320


You can find the entire set of lists here:

Telluride films in this Top Twnety were: at #3 A Separation, at #11 Shame, #12 The Descendants, #13 The Artist, # 16 A Dangerous Method, and #18 We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Meanwhile The Village Voice has done the same thing with 95 critics and you can find all of their results here:
Their Top Twenty is:
1) The Tree of Life
2) A Separation
3) Melancholia
4) Certified Copy
5) Mysteries of Lisbon
6) Uncle Boonmee
7) Margaret
8) Meek's Cutoff
9) Drive
10) Take Shelter
11) Hugo
12) A Dangerous Method
13) Martha Marcy Mae Marlene
14) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
15) The Descendants
16) Weekend
17) The Artist
18) Poetry
19) Shame
20) Film Socialisme

Telluride films on this Top Twenty: at #2 A Separation, #12 A Dangerous Method, #15 The Descendants, #17 The Artist and #19 Shame.  Honorable mention to Poetry at #18 which was TFF #37.

Follow me on Twitter @Gort2
More next Monday!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Special to the Film Awards Clearinghouse/Various Oscar Predictions

Normally the Film Awards Clearinghouse seeks to condense the best conventional wisdom of Oscar prognosticators into a single spot and then use that information to attempt to divine what will happen when the Oscar nominations are announced.  But for this special edition of the FAC, I have developed a different metric to see what it may tell us.  I’ve slammed together the results of announcements from the last two weeks from The American Film Institute, the National Board of Review, the Independent Spirit Awards, The Broadcast Film Critics’ Awards, The Golden Globes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association and The New York Film Critics Circle to get a little different slant at where the Oscar race might be.

The next edition of the Film Awards Clearinghouse, which should appear Thursday, will revert to the traditional metric.


Two films are way out front (to no one’s surprise they are): The Artist and The Descendants.  Then there are 4 other films that the above metric suggests will likely be nominated: The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris and War Horse.
I think that there will likely be seven Best Picture nominees and this metric suggests that 5 films are slugging it out for that slot: Moneyball, The Tree of Life, and, perhaps a bit surprisingly, Drive, 50/50 and Bridesmaids…really…

One other note…because virtually no one has yet seen Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I don’t think you can completely rule it out yet.


Almost certain: Michel Hazanavicius/Artist, Alexander Payne/Descendants, Martin Scorsese/Hugo.
After those three…it’s a cloud of dust.  Personally, I tend to lean toward Terrence Malick/Tree of Life and Steven Spielberg/War Horse


Four women rule (it would seem) at this point: Meryl Streep/Iron Lady, Viola Davis/The Help, Michele Williams/Marilyn and (in a stunning turn…she’s gotten really hot this last week or so) Tilda Swinton/We Need to Talk.
Leaving three women fighting for the fifth slot: Glenn Close/Albert Nobbs, Charlize Theron/Young Adult and Elizabeth Olsen/Martha Marcy


The five nominees (under this system) would be: Michael Fassbender/Shame, Jean Dujardin/Artist, Brad Pitt/Moneyball, George Clooney/Descendants and Leonardo DiCaprio/J. Edgar.
Outside shots for Demian Bichir/A Better Life, Michael Shannon/Take Shelter and Ryan Gosling/Drive.  Nowhere to be found: Gary Oldman.


This configuration of sources suggests the five nominees will be: Janet McTeer/Albert Nobbs, Shailene Woodley/Descendants, Berenice Bejo/Artist, Jessica Chastain/The Help and Octavia Spencer/The Help.

Best shot at sneaking in: Melissa McCarthy/Bridesmaids


Three men seem pretty likely: Christopher Plummer/Beginners, Albert Brooks/Drive, and Kenneth Brannagh/Marilyn.

Patton Oswalt/Young Adult and Jonah Hill/Moneyball seem to be the best bets for the other two spots, but only marginally more likely than a list of several others including Nick Nolte, Viggo Mortensen and John Hawkes.


Two adapted screenplays look fairly certain: The Descendants and Moneyball.
Four originals appear to have an edge: The Artist, 50/50, Win Win and Midnight in Paris.


And the only foreign film that looks solid is (no surprise) A Separation.


So after all of the above, here are some links to the folks who are supposed to know what's happening as we come out of this last week into the Holiday period which will see a slowdown in this pre-Oscar stuff.  that will pick up strongly again the first week of the new year with the announcement of nominees for the producers and writers guild awards.

Gurus of Gold:

Gold Derby:

Scott Feiberg's Forecast from The Hollywood Reporter:

Anne Thompson and Kris Tapley's Oscar Talk podcast:

Awards Circuit:

Anne Thompson:

See you Thursday

Golden Globes

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced their nominees for the Golden Globe awards this morning.  Here they are (with TFF #38 films Bold and Large):

Best Picture – Drama
“War Horse”

Best Picture – Comedy

Best Actor in a Drama
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Leonardo DiCaprio – “J. Edgar” 
Michael Fassbender – “Shame”
Ryan Gosling – “The Ides of March”
Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

Best Actress in a Drama
Glenn Close – “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis - “The Help”
Rooney Mara – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Brendon Gleeson – “The Guard”
Ryan Gosling – “Crazy Stupid Love” 
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – “50/50”
Owen Wilson – “Midnight in Paris”

Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical
Jodi Foster – “Carnage”
Charlize Theron – “Young Adult” 
Kristen Wiig – “Bridesmaids”
Michelle Williams – “My Week with Marilyn”
Kate Winslet – “Carnage”

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh – “My Week with Marilyn”
Albert Brooks – “Drive” 
Viggo Mortensen – “A Dangerous Method”
Jonah Hill – “Moneyball”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners” 

Best Supporting Actress
Bernice Bejo – “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Janet McTeer – “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

Best Director
Woody Allen – “Midnight in Paris”
George Clooney – “The Ides of March”
Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Alexander Payne – “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”

Best Screenplay

Best Original Score
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
“War Horse”

Best Animated Film
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Arthur Christmas”

Best Original Song
“Hello Hello” – “Gnomeo and Juliet”
“The Keeper” – “Machine Gun Preacher”
“Lay Your Head Down” – “Albert Nobbs”
“The Living Proof” – “The Help”
“Masterpiece” – “W.E.”

Best Foreign Language Film
The Flowers of War - China
In the Land of Blood and Honey - USA
The Kid with the Bike - Belgium
A Separation - Iran
The Skin I Live In – Spain

Total of 19 Telluride Golden Globe Nominations.  
The Artist = 6
The Descendants = 5
Albert Nobbs = 3
One each for Shame, A Separation, The Kid with a Bike, We Need to Talk to Kevin and A Dangerous Method.

At this point, the Globes aren't necessarily a predictor, but can serve as a reminder or a goad to Academy members who are making up their minds about who/what to put on their ballots.
Comment...The Artist is probably the front runner as of this morning with (by my estimation) Hugo and The Descendants the most likely films to challenge it for Best Picture. 

The Artist led all films with 6 nominations followed by The Descendants and The Help with 5 a piece.
Good news this  morning for both Glenn Close and Shailene Woodley, keeping them both in play.
Hugo, Midnight in Paris and Moneyball definitely did well enough to continue to be a part of the conversation.

Surprises (at least to me):
*Viggo Mortensen's nomination for A Dangerous Method.  
*The success of The Ides of March (maybe it gets back into the conversation because of this morning).  
*Kristen Wiig gets in for Bridesmaids but Melissa McCarthy did not.  
*No Vanessa Redgrave for Coriolanus...Is her campaign losing steam?
*No In Darkness for Foreign Film
*No song nominated from The Muppets
*No Tree of Life anywhere to be seen

In other thoughts...
I was personally happy to see Michael Fassbender and Janet McTeer get acting nominations.  Also was pleased to see A Separation in the foreign film category (I'd still love for it to sneak into the Original Screenplay category come Oscar time).  Sad that there was no other love for Shame (especially for Carey Mulligan).