Thursday, January 30, 2014

Toronto Draws a Line...Telluride Responds/Oscar Nomination Revoked/Rudderless Sundance Review/Oscar Podcast

Welcome to Thursday!

TORONTO DRAWS A LINE...TELLURIDE RESPONDS



I've been expecting this, especially after this past year's lineup at Telluride.  Yesterday, Thompson on Hollywood reported that the Toronto Film Festival will follow a new policy concerning its decisions about which films it will choose for it's opening and closing night slots as well as which films it chooses to feature the first few days of its fest.

The new policy is a direct response to Telluride's programming success over recent years.  The Thompson post is here:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/00000143-da14-dc86-a9c7-db57cbe20000#

Steve Pond at The Wrap also reported on the story yesterday:

http://www.thewrap.com/toronto-film-fest-studios-telluride-us/

Meanwhile, Telluride's Julie Huntsinger responded in an article from Variety saying, basically, "we're going to continue to do what we've always done.  Here's the link to that Variety post:

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/telluride-film-festival-wont-back-down-from-sneak-preview-premieres-1201076983/

It'll be interesting to see how this pans out over the next 7 months and what effect it will have on which films end up where...including Venice.

OSCAR NOMINATION REVOKED



The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has rescinded the Best Original Song nomination for "Alone, Yet Not Alone".  The song had been at the center of a controversy from the moment of its nomination announcement two weeks ago due to some allegedly shady moves to secure its spot as one of the five nominees.

Gold Derby has the story and explanation:

http://www.goldderby.com/news/5567/oscars-disqualify-song-academy-awards-movies-news-13579086.html

RUDDERLESS SUNDANCE REVIEW



Found another glowing review of William H. Macy's "Rudderless" from Sundance. It's from HeyUGuys.co.uk.  The link is here:

http://www.heyuguys.co.uk/sundance-2014-rudderless-review/


OSCAR PODCAST



Is "Gravity" the film to beat for Best Picture now?  Will there be a Best Pic/Best Director split like last year? Sasha Stone of Awards Daily tackles the Oscars in her 57th Oscar Podcast here:

http://www.awardsdaily.com/oscarpodcast/2014/01/28/oscar-podcast-episode-57/


More on Monday!  Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rudderless Rising/Cuaron Wins the DGA/Lupita Interview/TFF #41 and J.C. Chandor?/Making it in the Big Leagues

Welcome to Monday!

RUDDERLESS RISING


Standing ovation for William H. Macy's "Rudderless" at The Sundance Film Festival this past weekend.


Sundance's closing premiere, "Rudderless" premiered for Sundance audiences Friday night to a standing ovation.  The film was screened a second time on Sunday morning...also a standing ovation.  I have read half a dozen reviews of the film and five of the six range from good to ecstatic.  Variety is the one review that wasn't impressed with the film written by Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison and shot in Oklahoma last spring.

I am including links to reviews from The Hollywood Reporter, /Film, HitFix, The Playlist and WeLiveFilm:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/rudderless-sundance-review-674066

http://www.slashfilm.com/william-h-macys-directorial-debut-rudderless-is-a-tale-of-two-half-notes-sundance-14-review/

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/sundance-review-rudderless-is-a-remarkable-directorial-debut-from-william-h-macy-20140124

http://welivefilm.com/sundance-2014-rudderless-review-moviemanmenzel/

There are plenty of blurb-worthy quotes to chose from and that you can expect to see in future marketing for the film.  As to The Variety review, I'm an unrepentant fan of the film...so you can google it yourself if you want to read it.

If you have seen other reviews of the film, please drop me a note via the comments and I'll post those as well.

In other Sundance news, the biggest prize winner in the competition section was for "Whiplash" which opened the festival.  The film stars Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons and was written and directed by Damien Chazelle and focuses on the world of music...in this case drumming.  "Whiplash" won the top dramatic prize and the audience award both on Saturday night.


CUARON WINS THE DGA



Also on Saturday night...late Saturday night, the Directors Guild of America named Alfonso Cuaron the best feature film director of the year for "Gravity".  That solidifies the thinking that he will likely win the Oscar for the same feat and also boosts the chance that "Gravity" wins Best Picture on Oscar night.

It will be interesting to see how much the DGA win moves the tone of the Oscar pundits.  Over the last week the very strong popular narrative has been that "12 Years a Slave" would win Best Picture and tat Cuaron would win Best Director.  After the PGA tie between the two films last week, there was also a lot of discussion about what effect the DGA winner might have.

Though a split between Best Picture and Best Director is rare, it does happen.  It happened last year when Ang Lee won directing for "Life of Pi" and "Argo" won Best Picture.

Lost i the shuffle, at least a little bit over the past week has been "American Hustle" which looked like a house on fire after the SAG and Golden Globes and also after nomination morning when it co-lead the field (along with "Gravity") with 10 nominations.  I personally don't think you can completely write off its chances of winning Best Picture as it seems to have a lot of love from actors and that's the largest branch, by far, of the Academy's membership.

I also have to say that a real left field surprise could happen too.  I can see these three top films splitting #1 votes enough to allow a "compromise" candidate to emerge victorious.  Some of the Oscar elite think that could be "Philomena".  My "surprise" winner is "Dallas Buyers Club".  It's likely winning at least statues on Oscar night for Best Actor and Supporting Actor (McConaughey and Leto).  In addition to Best Picture, it has two other important nominations: Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.  It also has a nomination for Makeup/Hair.  It also appears to be adored by the actors.  I'm telling you that if had scored a Best Direction nomination, it would be a serious part of the conversation.

The other "surprise" possibility: Alexander Payne's "Nebraska".  It even has a Best Directing nomination.  It's weakness is that it will likely not win a single Oscar that it's nominated for.  In addition to Best Picture and Direction; it's nominated for Actor (Bruce Dern), Supporting Actress (June Squibb), Original Screenplay and Cinematography.  I think that had it picked up an Editing nomination, it might be a bigger topic of conversation as well.

Bottom line...I'm still of a mind that "12 Years" wins Best Picture but I have to accede to the dominant thinking at this point.   Up until Saturday night, I had still thought that Steve McQueen would win Best Director come Oscar night (and that could still happen...DGA and Oscar don't always agree on Direction) but too much points to Cuaron winning Best Director.  It seems the split is likely or even that "Gravity" may have a near "Titanic"/"Lord of the Rings; Return of the King" type night.

LUPITA INTERVIEW



Oscar nominated for "12 Years a Slave" (and perhaps a slight front runner), Lupita N'yong'o, spoke recently to The Carpetbagger/The New York Times.  Here's that interview:

http://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/23/video-lupita-nyongo/

TFF #41 AND J.C. CHANDOR?



A24 films have acquired the rights to writer/director J.C. Chandor's third feature: "A Most Violent Year". The film stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain.  I think it has a real chance to play at Telluirde #41 this Labor Day.  Reasons:  I spoke briefly last to both Chandor and Isaac at last year's festival, and both men seem to be having a great time.  Additionally, A24 has emerged as an occasional presence at Telluride with films playing as a part of the program in 2012 with "Ginger and Rosa' and last year with "Under the Skin".

Biggest reason that it might not play TFF #41...it hasn't started shooting yet.


MAKING IT IN THE BIG LEAGUES

This is completely unnecessary, but...

As you might expect, The Telluride Film Festival has official photographers and videographers.  I have to admit that I've always hoped that somehow, Kris and I might find ourselves in one of their shots someday.   You know, sort of as tangible proof to the rest of the world (and maybe even to ourselves) that we were actually there. The Fest puts out an annual Yearbook, there are certainly a ton of pictures from the fest as it's going on but it's never happened.  Until this year.

I was perusing the Fest's website recently and trolling through the official photos when I found this one from the Patron's Brunch:



Ostensibly this is a photo of past Guest directors Michal Ondaatje (author of "The English Patient") and Salman Rushdie author of "The Satanic Verses").  If you look at the background, to the left of Rushdie, you can see me standing (dressed in blue)  and looking out over the crowd.  Kris is blocked by the very nice woman in the salmon shirt (not Salman-ha!).  She's the artist who makes the medallions each years for the tributees.

Yes, that's really me behind Ondaatje and Rushdie...and I'm looking at a crowd that included Robert Redford, Francis Ford Coppola, Bruce Dern, The Coen Brothers, T.Bone Burnett and others. 

Objective photographic evidence my friends...I guess it really did happen.


More on Thursday...












Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Film Awards Clearinghouse-Oscar 2014 Predictions/Rudderless Sets Sail

Welcome to Thursday!

THE FILM AWARDS CLEARINGHOUSE-OSCAR WINNING PREDICTIONS



Well, we all know what the nominees are.  Now begins the nearly six week long process of determining Oscar winners.  The ceremony is set for Mar. 2nd (particularly late this year, reportedly to avoid conflicting with the presentation of the Winter Olympics).  Final ballots don't even go out until the middle of February.

All of that is to get to this...a first look at who or what the experts think the winners will be on Mar. 2nd.

For this first pass at predicting Oscars winners, I have drawn on six of the nine experts I have used throughout the season.  This is for a variety of reasons.  Of the three experts I usually use, some haven't updated their predictions yet or are predicting only in a limited fashion.  So, the six experts that I have used to calibrate this first set of Oscar winner predictions are:

Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Kristopher Tapley/HitFix-InContention
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter
Brad Brevet/Rope of Silicon
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Nathaniel Rogers/Film Experience

Films/actors are listed in order of the likelihood that they will win that category.  I also am focused on 13 categories with the majority of the technical and shorts categories on hold for the moment.

Telluride Films are Bold.

BEST PICTURE

1) American Hustle
2) 12 Years a Slave
3) Gravity
4) Captain Phillips
5) Nebraska
6) The wolf of Wall Street
7) Philomena
8) Dallas Buyers Club
9) Her

Comment:  Best Picture is perceived to be a real barn burner.  In raw numbers "Hustle" and "12 Years" were actually tied.  "Hustle" edged into the top spot on a tie breaker.  "Gravity" is also very, very close.  Personally, I still think "12 Years a Slave" is going to win the Best Picture Oscar.  You can also find someone as an advocate for the potential "spoiler" scenarios for almost every one of the other six films nominated.  My personal "left field" pick is "Dallas Buyers Club".  Its Film Editing nomination as well as its likely win in two acting categories tells me that the Academy really loves this film.

DIRECTION



1) Alfonso Cuaron/Gravity
2) David O. Russell/American Hustle
3) Steve McQueen/12 Years a Slave
4) Martin Scorsese/The Wolf of Wall Street
5) Alexander Payne/Nebraska

Comment: This group of experts is pretty convinced that there will be a split between Best Picture and Best Direction for the second straight year.  I'm not as convinced.  I still think that there's a reasonable chance that McQueen wins.  The DGA winner may point us to the eventual Oscar winner, but I don't even think that's carved in stone.

Last note, I might be okay with Cuaron winning this instead of McQueen.  Putting "Gravity" together is an impressive feat.

ACTRESS

1) Cate Blanchett/Blue Jasmine
2) Sandra Bullock/Gravity
3) Amy Adams/American Hustle
4) Judi Dench/Philomena
5) Meryl Streep/August: Osage County

Comment: Blanchett is the first of six nominees that are unanimous choices in their categories at this point. She's the very definition of a prohibitive favorite.  At this point, anyone else winning this category on Oscar night would rank as an historic upset.

ACTOR

1) Matthew McConaughey/Dallas Buyers Club
2) Chiwetel Ejiofor/12 Years a Slave
3) Bruce Dern/Nebraska
4) Leonardo DiCaprio/The Wolf if Wall Street
5) Christian Bale/American Hustle

Comment: McConaughey is a strong favorite here, but it's not unanimous.  There's a significant amount of support for Ejiofor and a Bruce Dern win isn't completely out of the question.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS



1) Lupita Nyong'o/12 Years a Slave
2) Jennifer Lawrence/American Hustle
3) June Squibb/Nebraska
4) Sally Hawkins/Blue Jasmine
5) Julia Roberts/August: Osage County

Comment:  I'm more than a little surprised that Nyong'o is a unanimous favorite in this category.  All six of my experts say she'll win.  Frankly, I think that it's a lot closer than that between her and Lawrence.

SUPPORTING ACTOR

1) Jared Leto/Dallas Buyers Club
2) Michael Fassbender/12 Years a Slave
3) Bradley Cooper/American Hustle
4) Barkhad Abdi/Captain Phillips
5) Jonah Hill/American Hustle

Comment: Leto is the unanimous choice here.  Any other winner would be a shock.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

1) American Hustle
2) Her
3) Nebraska
4) Blue Jasmine
5) Dallas Buyers Club

Comment:  This is a pretty tough category between the top three screenplays.  On Oscar night, I think that this might actually be the only Oscar that "Hustle" wins.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

1) 12 Years a Slave
2) Philomena
3) The Wolf of Wall Street
4) Captain Phillips
5) Before Midnight

Comment: John Ridley's "12 Years a Slave" script is the unanimous choice to win this category.

FILM EDITING

1) Gravity
2) American Hustle
3) 12 Years a Slave
4) Captain Phillips
5) Dallas Buyers Club

Comment: "Gravity" isn't a unanimous choice, but it's pretty close.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

1) Gravity
2) Inside Llewyn Davis
3) Nebraska
4) Prisoners
5) The Grandmaster

Comment: "Gravity" is a unanimous choice.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM



1) The Hunt (TFF #39)
2) The Great Beauty
3) The Broken Circle Breakdown
4) Omar
5) The Missing Picture

Comment:  Any of the top three could win.  The category is very, very tight.

ANIMATED FEATURE

1) Frozen
2) The Wind Rises
3) The Croods
4) Despicable Me 2
5) Ernest and Celestine

Comment: "Frozen" is the sixth film in these 13 categories that is a unanimous pick to win.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

1) 20 Feet from Stardom
2) The Act of Killing (TFF #39)
3) The Square
4) Dirty Wars
5) Cutie and the Boxer

Comment:  "20 Feet" is a strong favorite.

The FAC says (in these 13 categories) that  "Gravity" wins three, "12 Years" wins two,  "American Hustle" wins two, "Dallas Buyers Club" wins two.

Should The FAC have this right (and remember , we're still over a month away) Telluride films pick up five Oscars in these thirteen categories and I think "Slave" beats "Hustle" for the sixth.  Also, a win for "The Hunt" makes it another T-ride Oscar albeit from TFF #39.

RUDDERLESS SETS SAIL



Well, it is finally upon us.  Oklahoma generated film "Rudderless" closes The Sundance Film Festival tomorrow night.  It's been awhile in coming.  I've been talking about it, off and on, for almost four years.  I met co-author Casey Twenter in Kansas City in the summer of 2010 after we had been emailing for a number of months.  Casey had contacted me because he'd found the blog and was interested in Telluride. Over the years, I've been privileged to read two different versions of the script and follow, at a distance, the ups and downs along the way.  It's been a hell of a ride.  There have been a number of incarnations featuring different directing, producing and acting possibilities...stuff I really can't write about.

I am very happy for Casey and his writing partner Jeff Robison who were fortunate to have William H. Macy fall in love with the script.  I'll tell you, that fortune is only a small part of the story.  It was always a good script and Macy is fortunate to have had it fall into his lap and recognize the quality.

"Rudderless" has actually already screened for industry types and the first word is oozing out of corners (including an actual review at /Film (Slashfilm).  The "early ooze" seems pretty positive.

/Film review:

Here's  sample of some of the commentary from the review by /Film writer Germain Lussier:

"Rudderless...a complex story of love, loss, friendship and music"

"it's a touching movie with a fantastic lead performance and even better music."

"Macy is in control of our emotions"

"There is a lot to like about Rudderless"

I have friends who, I think, thought I was putting them on at times over these last four years; who didn't believe that the project existed, took place in Oklahoma, would ever make it in front of cameras or would find its way to a theater.  Well, tomorrow night in Park City, Utah, all those doubts will be put to rest.

I'll be anxiously awaiting to see the critical response and to see what distribution outfit picks the film up...come on TWC, Fox Searchlight and SPC.

Congratulations Casey and Jeff...you dreamed it and it's about to happen!  On behalf of all of us on the fringe of the film business and who harbor dreams of being a little less on the fringe, thanks!  "Rudderless" gives us all hope!

Finally, a note to Gary Meyer, Julie Huntsinger and Telluride programmers...I know that the Sundance/Telluride crossover film is very rare (seems like it happens about once every five years or so) and the last one was "An Education" (2009)...so, if the eventual distributor hasn't already released this film by Labor Day...TFF #41?  Give it a thought.

More on Monday...have a good weekend!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The PGA, SAG and The Critic's Choice/Nebraska, Tim's Vermeer and All is Lost Music

Good morning on this Monday...


THE PGA, SAG AND CRITIC'S CHOICE

Since Oscar nomination morning last Thursday, three groups have weighed in on their choices for the Best in film.



***PRODUCERS GUILD AWARD






Well, it just keeps getting weirder and weirder.  The Producers Guild named "12 Years a Slave" AND "Gravity" Best Films late last night in an unprecedented tie.  A topsy-turvy race for the Oscar is now even topsier and turvier.  Many pundits thought that The PGA would point us toward the Best Picture winner...and maybe it has...sort of.  A lot of the those same pundits thought "American Hustle" was going to continue its winning streak last night and that didn't happen.  So, the takeaway here seems to be the most wide open Best Picture race in a long, long time.

For some analysis, take a look at this post filed last nigh from Kristopher Tapley of HitFix/InContention:

http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/gravity-and-12-years-a-slave-tie-at-2014-pga-awards-breaking-bad-and-modern-family-win-tv-prizes
 
And Pete Hammond of Deadline.com

http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/producers-guilds-stunner-of-a-split-decision-how-does-it-alter-the-oscar-race/

And Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/pga-awards-12-years-gravity-672440

***SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS




20th ANNUAL SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS® RECIPIENTS
THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES 
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY / Ron Woodroof – “DALLAS BUYERS CLUB” (Focus Features)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
CATE BLANCHETT / Jasmine – “BLUE JASMINE” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
JARED LETO / Rayon – “DALLAS BUYERS CLUB” (Focus Features)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
LUPITA NYONG’O / Patsey – “12 YEARS A SLAVE” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
AMERICAN HUSTLE (Columbia Pictures)
AMY ADAMS / Sydney Prosser
CHRISTIAN BALE / Irving Rosenfeld
LOUIS C.K. / Stoddard Thorsen
BRADLEY COOPER / Richie DiMaso
PAUL HERMAN / Alfonse Simone
JACK HUSTON / Pete Musane
JENNIFER LAWRENCE / Rosalyn Rosenfeld
ALESSANDRO NIVOLA / Federal Prosecutor
MICHAEL PEÑA / Sheik (Agent Hernandez)
JEREMY RENNER / Mayor Carmine Polito
ELISABETH RÖHM / Dolly Polito
SHEA WHIGHAM / Carl Elway


***CRITIC'S CHOICE WINNERS:



WINNERS OF THE 19th ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE MOVIE AWARDS
Best Picture – “12 Years a Slave”
Best Actor – Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Best Actress – Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Best Supporting Actor – Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Best Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Best Young Actor/Actress – Adele Exarchopoulos, “Blue Is The Warmest Color”
Best Acting Ensemble – “American Hustle”
Best Director – Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”
Best Original Screenplay – Spike Jonze, “Her”
Best Adapted Screenplay – John Ridley, “12 Years a Slave”
Best Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki, “Gravity”
Best Art Direction – Catherine Martin (Production Designer), Beverley Dunn (Set Decorator), “The Great Gatsby”
Best Editing – Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger, “Gravity”
Best Costume Design – Catherine Martin, “The Great Gatsby”
Best Hair & Makeup – “American Hustle”
Best Visual Effects – “Gravity”
Best Animated Feature – “Frozen”
Best Action Movie – “Lone Survivor”
Best Actor in an Action Movie – Mark Wahlberg, “Lone Survivor”
Best Actress in an Action Movie – Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
Best Comedy – “American Hustle”
Best Actor in a Comedy – Leonardo DiCaprio, “Wolf of Wall Street”
Best Actress in a Comedy – Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie – “Gravity”
Best Foreign Language Film – “Blue Is the Warmest Color”
Best Documentary Feature – “20 Feet From Stardom”
Best Song – “Let It Go” Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, “Frozen”
Best Score – Steven Price, “Gravity”



A number of the Oscar pundits believe the PGA win points the way.


NEBRASKA, TIM'S VERMEER AND ALL IS LOST MUSIC



Here are a few stories that were making news the last week about TFF #40 films:

Will Forte (Nebraska) recently spoke at the Variety Breakthrough of the Year Wards.  Here's the link to that video:



The Carpetbagger from The New York Times recently talked to Teller about his "Tim's Vermeer":



The Playlist talks to Golden Globe score winner Alex Ebert about his music for "All is Lost" and other items:



Thursday, January 16, 2014

The 86th Oscars and Telluride: Analysis and Numbers

Well, we're digesting now.

TFF #40 hosted films with 33 Oscar nominations among them this morning plus an additional two from TFF #39.

"Gravity"-10
"12 Years a Slave"-9
"Nebraska"-6
"Inside Llewyn Davis"-2

One each for : "Prisoners", "The Wind Rises", "The Missing Picture", "The Invisible Woman", "All is Lost" and "Get a Horse!"

TFF #39 had "The Act of Killing" and "The Hunt"

After this morning's announcement of Oscar nominees there are a few takeaways.

1) The Academy spread the wealth, which, in a year that has such an abundance of quality films, makes sense.  Ten films had four or more nominations this morning.

2) "Inside Llewyn Davis" was not saved by the voting system.  I had a theory that, though the majority of Academy members didn't connect with the film, that there would be enough passionate devotees that it might pull a surprise Best Picture nomination.  Um...nope.

3) "American Hustle" looks like the film to beat at this point.  I have been pretty firm since I saw "12 Years a Slave" in Telluride that it was your Best Picture winner.  That seems possible still, but unlikely.

4) For the third straight year nine films were nominated which empirically indicates that we might now expect that every year.

Category by category.

BEST PICTURE: The FAC got all nine.  Nine films nominated.  No "Inside Llewyn Davis".  Boomlets for "Wolf", "Dallas" "Her" and "Philomena" were all real.

BEST DIRECTION: The FAC went 4 of 5.  Little surprised that Paul Greengrass missed but pleased about Payne.

BEST ACTRESS:  The FAC goes 4  of 5.  No Emma Thompson was a bit of a surprise.  ("Saving Mr. Banks" at one time looked to be a big Oscar player.  This morning it had only one nomination: Score).  Most thought that it was between Streep and Adams (#6 on last FAC)  for spot #5...guess not.

BEST ACTOR: The FAC 4 of 5. Bale in for Hanks in maybe the toughest category.  Would have liked to have seen Redford and Isaac.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:  The FAC goes 4 of 5.  Hawkins gets in (she was #6 on the last FAC) displacing Oprah. (Lee Daniels The Butler gets the goose egg in all categories)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: The FAC 4 of 5.  Jonah Hill (from the #6 spot) in Daniel Bruhl: out...(read what I said here yesterday)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The FAC is perfect, 5 for 5.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The FAC gets 4 of 5.  The #6 Script, "Dallas" instead of "Llewyn".  I was afraid of that.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: The FAC hit 4 of 5 with "The Grandmaster" surging.  This was one of the places I thought "12 Years a Slave" would pick up a nomination.

FILM EDITING: The FAC goes 4 of 5.  "Dallas Buyers Club" came out of nowhere to get this nomination and it's a testament to how much The Academy must love this film.  As a matter of fact, "Dallas" might be your real sleeper for a Best Picture upset on Mar. 2.

PRODUCTION DESIGN: The FAC hits just 2 of 5.  Yikes!

ORIGINAL SONG:  The FAC goes 4 of 5...but I don't think anyone had "Alone Yet Not Alone" anywhere.

ORIGINAL SCORE: The FAC 4 of 5 here.  Again, another "12 Years a Slave" nomination I thought was very likely that didn't materialize.

ANIMATED FEATURE: 4 of 5 here.  The #6 film "Ernest and Celestine" made it in while "Monsters University" did not.

FEATURE DOCUMENTARY: The FAC is 3 of 5. The exclusion of "Stories We Tell" and "Blackfish" might be two of the biggest surprises of the day.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE:  Again 3 of 5.

VISUAL EFFECTS: 4 of 5.

COSTUMES: 4 of 5.  "The Grandmaster" is a surprise here.

SOUND EDITING: 3 of 5.

SOUND MIXING: 3 of 5.

I didn't make in calls for Makeup/Hair or the Shorts categories.


FINAL THOUGHTS UNTIL MONDAY...

FAC total for 2014: 80 of 104 for a 77% success rate...about normal.

#6 ranked films/ people were nominated (instead of a "favorite") in Best Actress (Adams), Supporting Actress (Hawkins), Supporting Actor (Hill), Original Screenplay (Dallas Buyers Club), Production Design (Gravity), Original Song (Happy from Despicable Me 2) and Animated Feature (Ernest and Celestine).

All in all, looking back to yesterday's commentary, I feel okay about most of this year's guesses.

More on Monday...Have a great weekend.


COMPLETE LIST OF OSCAR NOMINEES


COMPLETE LIST OF OSCAR NOMINEES 



1. Best Picture: "American Hustle," "Captain Phillips," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Gravity," "Her," "Nebraska," "Philomena," "12 Years a Slave," "The Wolf of Wall Street."

2. Actor: Christian Bale, "American Hustle"; Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"; Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street"; Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"; Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club."

3. Actress: Amy Adams, "American Hustle"; Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"; Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"; Judi Dench, "Philomena"; Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County."

4. Supporting Actor: Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"; Bradley Cooper, "American Hustle"; Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave"; Jonah Hill, "The Wolf of Wall Street"; Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club."

5. Supporting Actress: Sally Hawkins, "Blue Jasmine"`; Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"; Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"; Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County"; June Squibb, "Nebraska."

6. Directing: David O. Russell, "American Hustle"; Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"; Alexander Payne, "Nebraska"; Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"; Martin Scorsese, "The Wolf of Wall Street."

7. Foreign Language Film: "The Broken Circle Breakdown," Belgium; "The Great Beauty," Italy; "The Hunt," Denmark; "The Missing Picture," Cambodia; "Omar," Palestine.

8. Adapted Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, "Before Midnight"; Billy Ray, "Captain Phillips"; Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, "Philomena"; John Ridley, "12 Years a Slave"; Terence Winter, "The Wolf of Wall Street."

9. Original Screenplay: Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, "American Hustle"; Woody Allen, "Blue Jasmine"; Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack, "Dallas Buyers Club"; Spike Jonze, "Her"; Bob Nelson, "Nebraska."

10. Animated Feature Film: "The Croods"; "Despicable Me 2"; "Ernest & Celestine"; "Frozen"; "The Wind Rises."

11. Production Design: "American Hustle," "Gravity," "The Great Gatsby," "Her," "12 Years a Slave."

12. Cinematography: "The Grandmaster," "Gravity," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Nebraska," "Prisoners."

13. Sound Mixing: "Captain Phillips," "Gravity," "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Lone Survivor."

14. Sound Editing: "All Is Lost," "Captain Phillips," "Gravity," "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," "Lone Survivor."

15. Original Score: "The Book Thief," John Williams; "Gravity," Steven Price; "Her," William Butler and Owen Pallett; "Philomena," Alexandre Desplat; "Saving Mr. Banks," Thomas Newman.

16. Original Song: "Alone Yet Not Alone" from "Alone Yet Not Alone," Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiegel; "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2," Pharrell Williams; "Let It Go" from "Frozen," Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez; "The Moon Song" from "Her," Karen O and Spike Jonze; "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen.

17. Costume: "American Hustle," "The Grandmaster," "The Great Gatsby," "The Invisible Woman," "12 Years a Slave."

18. Documentary Feature: "The Act of Killing," "Cutie and the Boxer," "Dirty Wars," "The Square," "20 Feet from Stardom."

19. Documentary (short subject): "CaveDigger," "Facing Fear," "Karama Has No Walls," "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life," "Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall."

20. Film Editing: "American Hustle," "Captain Phillips," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Gravity," "12 Years a Slave."

21. Makeup and Hairstyling: "Dallas Buyers Club," "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa," "The Lone Ranger."

22. Animated Short Film: "Feral," "Get a Horse!," "Mr. Hublot," "Possessions", "Room on the Broom."

23. Live Action Short Film: "Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)," "Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)," "Helium," "Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)," "The Voorman Problem."

24. Visual Effects: "Gravity," "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," "Iron Man 3," "The Lone Ranger," "Star Trek Into Darkness."

Commentary and analysis to follow later today.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

THE FINAL FAC (Film Awards Clearinghouse)/By the Numbers/Questions About Oscar

Good Wednesday and welcome to today's special edition of The Film Awards Clearinghouse: The Final pre-Oscar nomination edition with Oscar picks in the 21 feature film categories.  Unless some serious weirdness happens, these predictions are final.

Also, I'd remind everyone that the FAC success rate over the past few years has been between 75-80% which means that I average about 4 out of 5 right in each category.  It's also worth mentioning that, more often than not, when I do miss in a category, the #6 pick is the film/person that slides into the nomination.

I use the publicly posted predictions of these Oscar experts:

Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Kris Tapley/HitFix-InContention
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Alex Carlson/Film Misery
Nathaniel Rogers/Film Experience
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Brad Brevet/Rope of Silicon

The films position on the last FAC is in parenthesis.  Telluride #40 films are Bold.

BEST PICTURE



1) 12 Years a Slave (1)
2) American Hustle (2)
3) Gravity (3)
4) Captain Phillips (5)
5) Nebraska (4)
6) The Wolf of Wall Street (6)
7) Dallas Buyers Club (10)
8) Her (9)
9) Philomena (12)
10) Saving Mr. Banks (8)
11) Inside Llewyn Davis (7)
12) Lee Daniels The Butler (11)
13) Blue Jasmine (13)
14) August: Osage County (14)
15) Rush (New)

Comment: "Dallas" goes from the outside to probable nominee.  "Llewyn" from "probable" to "probably not"...though I still think that there's a scenario where it gets in.

BEST DIRECTOR



1) Steve McQueen/12 Years a Slave (2)
2) Alfonso Cuaron/Gravity (1)
3) David O. Russell/American Hustle (3)
4) Paul Greengrass/Captain Phillips (4)
5) Martin Scorsese/Wolf of Wall Street (5)
6) Spike Jonze/Her (8)
7) Alexander Payne/Nebraska (6)
8) Joel and Ethan Coen/Inside Llewyn Davis (7)
9) Ryan Cooglar/Fruitvale Station
10) John Lee Hancock/Saving Mr. Banks (9)

Comment: Looks like the five spot is a "pick 'em" between Scorsese, Jonze and Payne.

BEST ACTRESS

1) Cate Blanchett/Blue Jasmine (1)
2) Sandra Bullock/Gravity (2)
3) Emma Thompson/Saving Mr. Banks (3)
4) Judi Dench/Philomena (4)
5) Meryl Streep/August:Osage County (5)
6) Amy Adams/American Hustle (6)
7) Brie Larson/Short Term 12
8) Adele Exarchopoulous/Blue is the Warmest Color (8)
9) Julia Louis-Dreyfuss/Enough Said (New)
10) Julie Delpy/Before Midnight (10)

Comment: It's real fight between Streep and Adams for the last spot. I'm leaning toward Adams.

BEST ACTOR



1) Chiwetel Ejiofor/12 Years a Slave (1)
2) Matthew McConnaughey/Dallas Buyers Club (2)
3) Bruce Dern/Nebraska (3)
4) Tom Hanks/Captain Phillips (4)
5) Leonardo DiCaprio/Wolf of Wall Street (6)
6) Robert Redford/All is Lost (5)
7) Christian Bale/American Hustle (8)
8) Forest Whitaker/Lee Daniels The Butler (7)
9) Oscar Isaac/Inside Llewyn Davis (9)
10) Michael B. Jordan/Fruitvale Station (New)

Comment:  DiCaprio displaces Redford and the people "in the know" think that's a pretty safe bet.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

1) Lupita Nyong'o/12 Years a Slave (1)
2) Jennifer Lawrence/American Hustle (2)
3) June Squibb/Nebraska (4)
4) Oprah Winfrey/Lee Daniels The Butler (3)
5) Julia Roberts/August: Osage County (5)
6) Sally Hawkins/Blue Jasmine (6)
7) Octavia Spencer/Fruitvale Station (7)
8) Margo Martindale/August: Osage County (8)
9) Scarlett Johansson/Her (9)
10) Jennifer Garner/Dallas Buyers Club (New)

Comment:  I think in a stronger year for this category that both Winfrey and Roberts would be in trouble but looking at the field, they're probably not.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR


1) Jared Leto/Dallas Buyers Club (1)
2) Michael Fassbender/12 Years a Slave (2)
3) Barkhad Abdi/Captain Phillips (3)
4) Daniel Bruhl/Rush (4)
5) Bradley Cooper/American Hustle (5)
6) Jonah Hill/Wolf of Wall Street (8)
7) James Gandolfini/Enough Said (6)
8) Will Forte/Nebraska (9)
9) Tom Hanks/Saving Mr. Banks (7)
10) James Franco/Spring Breakers (10)

Comment: I actually think that Bruhl is in more danger of missing than Cooper.  Jonah Hill is coming on like gangbusters.


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

1) 12 Years a Slave (1)
2) Captain Phillips (2)
3) Philomena (3)
4) Before Midnight (4)
5) The Wolf of Wall Street (5)
6) August: Osage County (6)
7) Short Term12 (7)
8) The Spectacular Now (9)
9) Blue is the Warmest Color (8)
10) Lone Survivor (New)

Comment:  This category has been pretty solid.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY



1) American Hustle (1)
2) Her (3)
3) Nebraska (2)
4) Blue Jasmine (5)
5) Inside Llewyn Davis (4)
6) Dallas Buyers Club (8)
7) Gravity (6)
8) Enough Said (7)
9) Saving Mr. Banks (New)
10) Lee Daniels The Butler (10)

Comment:  "Llewyn" is hanging on by a thread to the last spot but "Dallas" has gained a lot of traction.


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY



1) Gravity (1)
2) 12 Years a Slave (2-TIE)
2) Inside Llewyn Davis (2-TIE)
4) Prisoners (4)
5) Nebraska (6)
6) Captain Phillips (5)
7) Rush (7)
8) Her (8)
9) The Grandmaster (New)
10) All is Lost (9)

Comment:  


BEST FILM EDITING

1) Gravity (1)
2) 12 Years a Slave (2)
3) Captain Phillips (3)
4) American Hustle (4)
5) Rush (5)
6) The Wolf of Wall Street (6)
7) Inside Llewyn Davis (8)
8) All is Lost (7)
9) Her (9)
10) Lone Survivor (New)

Dropping Out: "Nebraska"

Comment: A very competitive category as well through the first six places with both "Llewyn " and "Lost" also realistic possibilities to sneak into a nomination.


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN



1) 12 Years a Slave (1)
2) The Great Gatsby (2)
3) Saving Mr. Banks (3)
4) The Hobbit: Smaug (4)
5) Inside Llewyn Davis (5)
6) Gravity (6)
7) Her (7)
8) American Hustle (8)
9) The Invisible Woman (9)
10) Oz The Great and Powerful (10)

Comment:  That's right, a category with absolutely no movement in the past couple of weeks.  This category seems ultra-competitive through the top seven spots and I have a feeling the #8 "American Hustle" might sneak in.


ORIGINAL SONG

1) "Let It Go"/Frozen (1)
2) "Young and Beautiful"/The Great Gatsby (2)
3) "Moon Song"/Her (5)
4) "So You Know What It's Like"/Short Term 12 (3)
5) "Ordinary Love"/Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (9)
6) "Happy"/Despicable Me 2 (6)
7) "In the Middle of the Night"/Lee Daniels The Butler (10)
8) "Amen"/All is Lost (4)
9) "I See Fire"/The Hobbit: Smaug (7)
10) "You and I Ain't Nothin' No More"/Lee Daniels The Butler (8)

Comment:  Biggest jump: "Ordinary Love".  Biggest drop: "Amen".

ORIGINAL SCORE

1) Gravity (1)
2) 12 Years a Slave (2)
3) The Book Thief (4)
4) Saving Mr. Banks (3)
5) Philomena (5)
6) Captain Phillips (6)
7) All is Lost (7)
8) Her (8)
9) Monsters University (9)
10) Rush (10)

Comment:

ANIMATED FEATURE

1) Frozen (1)
2) The Wind Rises (2)
3) The Croods (3)
4) Monsters University (4)
5) Despicable Me 2 (5)
6) Ernest and Celestine (6)
7) Letter to Momo (7)
8) Epic (9)
9) Cloudy with a  Chance of Meatballs 2 (8)
10) O Apostolo (10)

Comment: Pretty hot race between "Despicable Me 2" and "Ernest and Celestine" for the fifth spot.

DOCUMENTARY

1) The Act of Killing (4) (TFF #39)
2) Stories We Tell (2) (TFF #39)
3) Blackfish (1)
4) 20 Feet from Stardom (3)
5) The Square (5)
6) Tim's Vermeer (6)
7) Cutie and the Boxer (7)
8) God Loves Uganda (10)
9) The Armstrong Lie (8)
10) Dirty Wars (New)

Dropping out: "After Tiller"

Comment: Documentary is always a tough category to pick and always very competitive.  Big jump for "The Act of Killing".


FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

(Note: The Academy has short listed this category to nine films)

1) The Hunt (1) (TFF #39)
2) Broken Circle Breakdown (6)
3) The Great Beauty (5)
4) Two Lives
5) The Notebook
6) The Grandmaster
7) Omar
8) The Missing Picture 
9) An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker

When TFF #40 misses making it to 40 overall nominations on Thursday morning it may well be because of this category.  TFF almost always has strong presence in the Foreign Language category but the Academy' s short list really put a damper on that.

VISUAL EFFECTS

1) Gravity (1)
2) The Hobbit: Smaug (2)
3) Pacific Rim (3)
4) Iron Man 3 (4)
5) Star Trek Into Darkness (5)
6) World War Z (7)
7) Elysium (6)
8) Oblivion (8)
9) The Lone Ranger (9)
10) Thor 2 (New)

Dropping Out: Man of Steel

Comment:  Another very stable category heading into Thursday morning's announcements.


COSTUMES

1) 12 Years a Slave (1)
2) The Great Gatsby (3)
3) American Hustle (2)
4) Saving Mr. Banks (4)
5) The Invisible Woman (7)
6) Inside Llewyn Davis (5)
7) Lee Daniels' The Butler (6)
8) Oz The Great and Terrible (9)
9) Hunger Games: Catching Fire (10)
10) The Hobbit: Smaug (8)

Comment:   No film dropped away but "Invisible Woman" made a significant move into the fifth slot.  "Llewyn's" prospects may have dimmed slightly due to the perception that the film is in some Oscar trouble overall.  The 1-4 spots seem solid but #5 looks like it'll be close.

SOUND EDITING

1) Gravity (1)
2) Captain Phillips (2)
3) Rush (3)
4) All is Lost (4)
5) The Lone Ranger (5)
6) Iron Man 3 (6)
7) Pacific Rim (7)
8) Man of Steel (8)
9) World War Z (New)
10) Star Trek Into Darkness (9)

Dropping Out: Oblivion.

Comment:  A remarkably stable category with the 1-8 spots unmoving.  At this point, "Gravity" is the only sure nomination with "Captain Phillips" a near lock.


SOUND MIXING

1) Gravity (1)
2) Rush (2)
3) Inside Llewyn Davis (5)
4) All is Lost (4)
5) Captain Phillips (3)
6) 12 Years a Slave (6)
7) The Lone Ranger (7)
8) The Hobbit: Smaug (9)
9) Frozen (New)
10) Man of Steel (8)

Dropping Out: Pacific Rim

Comment:  The one place on the charts where "Llewyn" actually picked up ground.  "Gravity", again, is a lock.  Spots 2-4 are probable.

And a reminder of the seven film short list for BEST MAKEUP/HAIR
American Hustle
Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger
The Great Gatsby
Dallas Buyers Club
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

BY THE NUMBERS:

If the FAC is 100% accurate, this is the breakdown of what happens tomorrow morning:

Telluride films with nominations:

"12 Years a Slave" (leading all films) with 11 nominations: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Score and Costumes.

"Gravity" with 9 nominations: Best Picture, Director, Actress, Cinematography, Editing, Score, Visual Effects, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.

"Nebraska" with 5  nominations: Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Cinematography.

"Inside Llewyn Davis" with 3 nominations: Best Original Screenplay, Cinematography and Sound Mixing.

"All is Lost" with 2 nominations: Sound Editing, Sound Mixing.

"Prisoners" 1 nomination: Best Cinematography.

"The Invisible Woman" with 1 nomination: Best Costumes.

"The Wind Rises" with 1 nomination: Best Animated Feature.

Absent the Short film categories, it appears that Telluride #40 gets 33 nominations in the 21 feature categories with an additional 3 nominations for TFF #39 films.

There are also 19 other "possible" nominations for TFF #40 films.



SCOUTING THE EXPERTS

Earlier this week, I contacted about a dozen people and asked them four questions.  The respondents come from Oscar experts, bloggers, journalists, Academy members, screenwriters and more.  Here's what I asked them:

1) What will be the biggest surprise Thursday morning?
2) What's going to happen that you will dislike?
3) What's will happen that you'll be happiest about?
4) What should happen that won't?

As an example, here are what my responses would be:

1) Meryl Streep isn't nominated for "August: Osage County".
2) The only thing that I can come up with would be if "Gravity" gets an Original Screenplay nomination.
3) "12 Years a Slave" leading the nomination count.
4) Oscar Isaac should get a nomination for Best Actor but it's not going to happen.

Some of the other responses that came in:

For #1, the question about the biggest surprise tomorrow morning the responses broke down according to surprises of omission and inclusion.  Omission type surprises included The Coens and "Inside Llewyn Davis" being generally shut out and a significant number of respondents didn't actually pinpoint a specific person to be omitted but rather pointed to the Best Actor and Best Director categories.

Surprises of inclusion included some speculation that either Jean Marc Vallee/Dallas Buyers Club or Stephen Frears/Philomena might pick up a Best Director nomination.  Also another respondent feels like a James Gandolfini nomination is going to surprise in The Best Supporting Actor race.

#2...what will happen that you'll dislike:  Again, omission and inclusion.  Nominations that were mentioned that WILL happen that will set some teeth on edge:
"Captain Phillips" and "Gravity" getting a Best Picture nomination.
Maybe all of the Best Original Song nominees.

Films excluded that will set some hair on fire:
"Wolf of Wall Street", "Fruitvale Station" and "Inside Llewyn Davis" not nominated for Best Picture.
There's also a lot of general disgruntlement with the films in the Foreign Language category.


#3 What's going to make you happy?

Scorsese nominated for Best Director for "Wolf of Wall Street"
Nominations for "Her" as Best Picture and for Best Original Screenplay.
A Best Doc nomination for "Stories We Tell"
Christian Bale NOT being nominated.
Nominations for Best Supporting Actor for Barkhad Abdi/Captain Phillips and Daniel Bruhl/Rush.
A Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for "Before Midnight".

And #4- What should but won't happen?

Nominations for Adele Exarchopoulous and Lea Seydoux for "Blue is the Warmest Color"
Robert Redford's Best Actor nomination (which I note was considered all but a lock after Telluride and has dwindled to the point that Redford is maybe on the outside looking in).
No directing nod for Spike Jonze/Her.
No nominations for Jeff Nichols' "Mud".
No writing nomination for Nicole Holofcener for "Enough Said"

and my favorite: Peter O'Toole will not be announcing the nominees...

Tune in tomorrow morning for the nomination announcements and I'll have them posted tomorrow here as well.  Later in the day, I'll have some ruminations about what actually has been announced.

Until then...






SPECIAL POST: THE FINAL FAC COMING LATER TODAY/ Final Picks from Sasha, Kris and The Gurus

Good Wednesday...less than 24 hours before the Oscar nominations are announced...

I'm still waiting for the last couple of Oscar experts to post their calls, which should happen this morning.  As soon as they do, I'll post THE FINAL FILM AWARDS CLEARINGHOUSE before nominations are announced, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here are the final predictions from some of my usual suspects:

Sasha Stone/Awards Daily:

http://www.awardsdaily.com/blog/the-state-of-the-race-final-oscar-nomination-predictions/

Kris Tapley/HitFix-Incontention:

http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/final-2014-oscar-nominee-predictions

Movie City News' Gurus of Gold:

http://moviecitynews.com/2014/01/gurus-o-gold-last-stand-before-nominations/

More in a couple of hours...a lot more...


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

SPECIAL POST: The FAC (Film Awards Clearinghouse) Vol. 5C/Questions About Oscar

Good Tuesday to All!

Down to less than 48 hours until Oscar announces his nominees for this year...excitement building.

THE FAC VOL. 5C

Today a look at the last set of "below the line categories": Original Song. Original Score, Animated Feature, Documentary Feature, Foreign Language Film and Visual Effects.


I use the publicly posted predictions of these Oscar experts:

Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Kris Tapley/HitFix-InContention
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Alex Carlson/Film Misery
Nathaniel Rogers/Film Experience
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Brad Brevet/Rope of Silicon

The films position on the last FAC is in parenthesis.  Telluride #40 films are Bold.




ORIGINAL SONG

1) "Let It Go"/Frozen (1)
2) "Young and Beautiful"/The Great Gatsby (2)
3) "Moon Song"/Her (5)
4) "So You Know What It's Like"/Short Term 12 (3)
5) "Ordinary Love"/Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (9)
6) "Happy"/Despicable Me 2 (6)
7) "In the Middle of the Night"/Lee Daniels The Butler (10)
8) "Amen"/All is Lost (4)
9) "I See Fire"/The Hobbit: Smaug (7)
10) "You and I Ain't Nothin' No More"/Lee Daniels The Butler (8)

Comment:  Biggest jump: "Ordinary Love".  Biggest drop: "Amen".

ORIGINAL SCORE



1) Gravity (1)
2) 12 Years a Slave (2)
3) The Book Thief (4)
4) Saving Mr. Banks (3)
5) Philomena (5)
6) Captain Phillips (6)
7) All is Lost (7)
8) Her (8)
9) Monsters University (9)
10) Rush (10)

Comment:  At this point, along with Animated Feature, this is the most stable, least fluid category.

ANIMATED FEATURE

1) Frozen (1)
2) The Wind Rises (2)
3) The Croods (3)
4) Monsters University (4)
5) Despicable Me 2 (5)
6) Ernest and Celestine (6)
7) Letter to Momo (7)
8) Epic (9)
9) Cloudy with a  Chance of Meatballs 2 (8)
10) O Apostolo (10)

Comment: Pretty hot race between "Despicable Me 2" and "Ernest and Celestine" for the fifth spot.

DOCUMENTARY



1) The Act of Killing (4) (TFF #39)
2) Stories We Tell (2) (TFF #39)
3) Blackfish (1)
4) 20 Feet from Stardom (3)
5) The Square (5)
6) Tim's Vermeer (6)
7) Cutie and the Boxer (7)
8) God Loves Uganda (10)
9) The Armstrong Lie (8)
10) Dirty Wars (New)

Dropping out: "After Tiller"

Comment: Documentary is always a tough category to pick and always very competitive.  Big jump for "The Act of Killing".


FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

(Note: The Academy has short listed this category to nine films)

1) The Hunt (1) (TFF #39)
2) Broken Circle Breakdown (6)
3) The Great Beauty (5)
4) Two Lives
5) The Notebook
6) The Grandmaster
7) Omar
8) The Missing Picture 
9) An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker

When TFF #40 misses making it to 40 overall nominations on Thursday morning it may well be because of this category.  TFF almost always has strong presence in the Foreign Language category but the Academy' s short list really put a damper on that.

VISUAL EFFECTS



1) Gravity (1)
2) The Hobbit: Smaug (2)
3) Pacific Rim (3)
4) Iron Man 3 (4)
5) Star Trek Into Darkness (5)
6) World War Z (7)
7) Elysium (6)
8) Oblivion (8)
9) The Lone Ranger (9)
10) Thor 2 (New)

Dropping Out: Man of Steel

Comment:  Another very stable category heading into Thursday morning's announcements.

Overall for these categories, if The FAC was 100% accurate, TFF #40 films would have 4 nominations and another 4 possibles.  TFF #39 would reap 3 nominations.

QUESTIONS ABOUT OSCAR



I sent out a brief survey to some of my friends and acquaintances (Academy members, Oscar experts, directors, screenwriters and film journalists) and asked them four questions:

1)      What will be the biggest surprise Thursday morning?
2)      What’s going to happen that you will dislike?
3)      What will happen that you’ll be happiest about?
      4)      What should happen that won’t? 
  
For example, my answers would be:

1) Meryl Streep doesn't get a Best Actress nomination for "August: Osage County".
2) If it were to happen, I'd dislike a nomination for Best Original Screenplay for "Gravity"...and that could happen.
3) "12 Years a Slave" will lead the field in number of total nominations.
4) Oscar Isaac will not get a Best Actor nomination.

What are your answers to those four questions?  Comment!


Tomorrow, with The Final FAC before nominations are announced, I'll post some of those answers.  Should be fun.