Friday, February 28, 2014

SPECIAL: Final Oscar Predictions from the Experts

Here's a special bonus post on this Friday with links to a number of outlets with their final Oscar predictions.
Check back tomorrow and even Sunday to catch the latest Oscar buzz as we count down to the ceremony on Sunday night.


From Movie City News and The Gurus of Gold:

From HitFix/InContention (Kristopher Tapley, Greg Ellwood and Guy Lodge):

Deadline Hollywood's Pete Hammond:

Steve Pond from The Wrap:

Oliver Lyttleton from The Playlist:


More...maybe tomorrow!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The (Mostly) Final FAC (Film Awards Clearinghouse) Oscar Predictions/Finals

Welcome to Thursday...


Well, it's been nearly six months since The CEO and I rolled into Telluride for their 40th Film Festival.  That weekend, as I fully expected, got the Oscar ball rolling toward its 86th iteration.  At the end of that glorious weekend, I think everyone knew that "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" were serious players and that "Nebraska" might be.  There were also lofty expectations for "Inside Llewyn Davis" and "All is Lost" which never really fully materialized.

It all comes to a conclusion on Sunday night with the presentation of 24 Oscars, 21 in feature categories and three in Shorts categories.

Here's the Film Awards Clearinghouse's final take on what should/could go down on Sunday night though I might post an update or two before the ceremony actually begins.

For this set of predictions I have consulted the publicly posted picks from:

Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Kristopher Tapley/HitFix-InContention
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter
Brad Brevet/Rope of Silicon
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit


Out of the 24 categories, a dozen Oscars appear to be locked up including three of the four acting trophies.

"Gravity" appears to be solidly in place to win: Best Direction (Alfonso Cuaron), Original Score, Cinematography, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects.  It's also a player in other categories as you'll read below.

"Dallas Buyers Club" seems to be a lock for three Oscars: Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey), Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto) and Best Makeup/Hair.

"Frozen" has a choke hold on two Oscars: Best Animated Feature as well as Best Song for "Let it Go".

The two other locks are Cate Blanchett for Best Actress for "Blue Jasmine" and "Get a Horse" as Best Animated Short.


There are categories that don't look locked but do have strong favorites.

Best Adapted Screenplay, for example, looks very likely to go to "12 Years a Slave" but there is a slight undercurrent that "Philomena" has a chance to sneak in.

Production Design appears likely to go to "The Great Gatsby" despite some sentiment that "Gravity" could win here or Spike Jonze's "Her".

Short Form Documentary is probably going to "The Lady in #6".  

Sound Editing is probable for "Gravity".


Eight Oscar categories appear to have serious races going on including the biggest prize, Best Picture.  

Here's the breakdown of those categories:

Best Live Action Short:  The FAC says "Helium" wins in a squeaker but that "The Voorman Problem" and "Just Before Losing Everything" are also possible.

Costumes: It's now a dead heat between "American Hustle" and "The Great Gatsby".  The FAC says it's a tie.  I'm going to break the tie in favor of "Gatsby".

Film Editing:  "Gravity" is the probable winner (says the FAC) but don't be surprised if "Captain Phillips" picks up this Oscar.

Documentary:  The FAC says "20 Feet from Stardom" but it's a tight category with "The Act of Killing" and "The Square" also real possibilities.

Foreign Language Film:  "The Great Beauty" has an edge here (in a late charge) but "The Hunt" or "The Broken Circle Breakdown" could also win.

Original Screenplay:  This is a real race between "Hustle" and "Her".  The FAC points to "Her".  I'm personally thinking "Hustle".

Best Supporting Actress:  "12 Years a Slave's" Lupita Nyong'o maintains a lead in the FAC metric, but Jennifer Lawrence ("Hustle") could steal a second straight Oscar.


The FAC still says "12 Years a Slave" but "Gravity" hasn't faded and I still think "American Hustle" could split the vote and come out on top.

If the FAC is 100% accurate (and it is historically about 75% accurate)...

"Gravity" ends the night with seven Oscars but that could go as high as nine.

"12 Years a Slave" wins three, including Picture.  "12 Years" could also go home empty handed.  It's best shot to add to its total is likely Costumes.

"Dallas Buyers Club" wins three.

"Frozen"  and "Gatsby" win two each.  "American Hustle" and "Blue Jasmine" each win one Oscar.


I have included links here to the final predictions from Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.  I'll be tweeting and posting additional "Finals" over the next three days.



And here's the line from Gold Derby as of this morning:

More...maybe tomorrow...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Oscar in the Headlights/Directors Talking

Good Monday Everyone...hope you had a good weekend.


It's down to less than a week until the envelopes are unsealed and the closest Best Picture race in a good long while comes to an end.  I'll have a final FAC Check of the Oscar categories on Thursday with the possibility of some tweaking on Friday and Saturday...maybe even Sunday morning.  As I wrote last week, I am planning to include all 24 Oscar categories including the "Shorts" in this final prognostication.

What's buzzing as we move into the last two days of Oscar balloting (remember balloting must be done by 5PM Pacific Time tomorrow)?

***It's still a horse race for Best Picture.  "12 Years a Slave" with a perceived slight edge over "Gravity" with no one completely dismissing the chance that it could be "American Hustle".

***Almost everyone that thinks they know this stuff is saying that Alfonso Cuaron wins Best Director regardless of the Best Picture outcome.

***Three of the four four acting categories have front runners that seem virtual locks: McConaughey for Actor for "Dallas Buyers Club", Leto for Supporting in the same film and Cate Blanchett for Actress for "Blue Jasmine".  Best Supporting Actress is a closer contest with Lupita Nyong'o Of  "12 Years" perceived to have a small advantage over Jennifer Lawrence for "Hustle".

I have been hearing some buzz about a possible DiCaprio surprise for Actor but Leto and Blanchett appear solid.  There's even a bit of a Chiwetel Ejiofor buzz after his BAFTA win last week.

***"Gravity" is going to win the most trophies Sunday night.  The questions are: How many? and Which ones?

***"Hustle" could end the night with no wins despite having the most nominations of any film (10, tied with "Gravity").  It's best chance is in Original Screenplay where it's thought that it's in a very tight race with "Her".  It's next best chance is Lawrence and its third best shot might actually be Best Picture.

***I mentioned this on my last post, at the end of the night the film with the second most wins may very well be "Dallas Buyers Club" which is seen as likely winning three: Actor, Supporting Actor and Makeup/Hair.  If "12 Years" goes down in Best Picture, Supporting Actress and/or Adapted Screenplay all of which could happen.

***As a matter of fact, "12 Years" could go home empty handed.

Anyway, the Oscar season is in full force for six more days...

Here are some of the last few days key Oscar prognosticators:

Gurus of Gold and their "top three" edition:

Also the Gurus "If We Could Sway the Academy" edition:

Here's a link to Scott Feinberg's next to last Feinberg Forecast...he still has "12 Years" listed on top for Best Picture:

Feinberg has also posted his "Forecast" for the Shorts categories.  You can find that here:

And Sasha Stone has her latest installment of "The State of the Race" in which she says what I's about Telluride:

And Stone and Jeff Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere have put up a rare version of Oscar Poker as we enter this last week before the awards:


Fox Searchlight tweeted this link to an interview with "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen over the weekend:

And Daniel Montgomery of Gold Derby has this interview with Oscar nominated documentarian and TFF #39 participant Joshua Oppenheimer whose "The act of Killing" is in hot competition to win the Best Doc Oscar on Sunday night:

More on Thursday...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Payne on Nebraska/Miyazaki on Retirement/The Return of Mickey Mouse/Oscar Podcast

Good Thursday to You...


With less than ten days before Oscar winners are revealed and with only a few days left for ballots to get in (they're due on Feb. 25th), directing nominee Alexander Payne is featured in this lengthy piece from Fade In Online by F.X. Feeney:


Animating legend and Oscar nominee Hayao Miyazaki talked to Anne Thompson about his currently nominated "The Wind Rises" and his announced retirement recently.


If you saw the same screening in Telluride that I did you saw the Oscar nominated animated short (and probable favorite to win that statue) "Get a Horse" featuring Disney legend Mickey Mouse.  Steve Pond from The Wrap talks to Lauren McMullan about the short film and the re-emergence of the classic character:


Less than ten days to Oscar and Awards Daily's Sasha Stone has put together her 59th edition of Oscar Podcast:

More on Monday...have a great weekend everyone...

Monday, February 17, 2014

The FAC Checks the Big Oscars/BAFTAs/Berlin Ends/125,000

Welcome to Monday!


With two weeks left before the ceremony and ballots in the hands of Academy members (or web based voting open) and since it's been three weeks since we first did a FAC Check on the 13 "major" Oscar races, here's where the race is with one caveat.  That being that I collated all of this info before this past weekend's BAFTA Awards announcements.  Will they, could they have an effect with Oscar ballots not due until Feb. 25th?  Some pundits think they might, especially in what are perceived to be tight races.  I.E.  Best Picture.

I'll post a final pre-Oscar FAC for the 21 feature categories at least and the three Shorts categories if I can gather enough data on the Thursday before Oscar (Feb. 27).  I may tweak that forecast on Oscar morning if it seems like things may have moved in that last 72 hours.

And with that...

Films/actors are listed in order of the likelihood that they will win that category.  The positions of the nominees from the last FAC for these categories is in parenthesis.

For this set of predictions I have consulted the publicly posted picks from:

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
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit

Telluride Films are Bold.


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

Note: The "American Hustle" boom that came from the surprise of nominations in all four acting categories and a tie for the most number of nominations has subsided a bit.  It still is a realistic possibility for Best Picture but most pundits have reverted back to the notion that it's a two horse race between "12 Years" and "Gravity".  They're actually tied in the FAC rubric, but the tie breaker I use breaks in favor of the Steve McQueen film.  Make no mistake though, this Best Picture race is as tight as one could imagine.


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

Note: The slide of "Hustle" is also reflected in the Director's race from which Steve McQueen ostensibly benefits.  But...all of the experts that I list above are now predicting Cuaron to win.  This is one of eight categories among the 13 I'm listing here that the number one listed nominee is a unanimous choice from the prognosticators.


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

Note: Cate unanimously.  I finally saw the performance.  She ought to win.


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

Note: Matt unanimously.  I'd be inclined to vote for Ejiofor personally.


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

Note: Despite what was perceived as a fairly tight race three weeks ago, Nyong'o has become the unanimous choice here.  (NOTE: These numbers were crunched prior to Jennifer Lawrence's BAFTA win Sunday.  I expect to see some tightening in this race over the next week.)


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

Note: Leto is unanimous.  Should DBC pick up Actor and Supporting Actor as expected and Best Makeup/Hair, as also expected, it could have the second biggest Oscar haul with 3 especially if "Gravity" picks up Best Picture instead of "12 Years".


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

Note: "12 Years" and John Ridley are a unanimous choice here.


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

Note:  This race is about as tight as Best Picture.    It's very likely that if "Hustle" or "Her" win it will be that film's only Oscar of the night.


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

Note:  This category seems pretty competitive.  "Gravity" is still in front but "Captain Phillips" profile has sky-rocketed these last three weeks.  Winning the ACE award will do that.  Among the categories in which "Gravity" is the leader, this category would seem to be the most likely to see an "upset".


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

Note: "Gravity" is the unanimous choice.


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

Note: Still a very competitive category between the top three films.


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

Note: "Frozen" is everyone's pick.


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

Note: "20 Feet" is a modest favorite.  "Act of Killing" and "The Square" are both still in the mix.

Overall thoughts:  Eight of these 13 categories are unanimous at this point: Director, Actress, Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Animated Feature and Cinematography.  Only five appear to be competitive: Picture, Original Screenplay, Documentary Feature, Editing and Foreign Language.

If the FAC is 100% accurate (and remember, The FAC is probably around 75% accurate) then the breakdown for winners in these categories goes like this:

"Gravity" wins three: Director, Cinematography and Editing
"12 Years" wins three: Picture, Supporting Actress and Adapted Screenplay
"Dallas Buyers Club" wins two: Actor and Supporting Actor
And one each for: "Blue Jasmine" (Actress), "Frozen" (Animated Feature), "20 Feet from Stardom (Documentary Feature), "American Hustle" (Original Screenplay) and "The Hunt" (Foreign Language).

If you add anticipated Oscars for the other eight categories from last Thursday's post "Gravity" gets an additional four (for a total of seven), "The Great Gatsby" gets two.  "DBC" adds one (as mentioned above for a total of three) and "Frozen" adds Best Original Song.

At the end of Oscar evening multiple winners would be:

"12 Years a Slave"-3
"Dallas Buyers Club"-3
"Frozen" -2
"The Great Gatsby"-2

Count those ballots and place your bets!


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced their film awards yesterday.  It's the last major "precursor" prior to the Oscars in just under two weeks.  The complete results are linked here from Awards Daily:

Much like what the latest FAC above tells us, BAFTA awarded "Gravity" several trophies, six in all including Best Direction, but went with "12 Years a Slave" for Best Film.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the BAFTA evening was Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) winning Supporting ACtress over Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave).  "Hustle" also picked up Original Screenplay while Adapted went to "Philomena".

Do these results tell us anything about Oscar?  I'm not sure they change anything about Best Picture or Director.  They may point to a tightening in Supporting Actress and also that "hustle" may have a slight edge over "Her" for the Original Script Oscar.


Anne Thompson reports on the end of the Berlinale and films that were recognized.

Does this put Golden Bear winner "Black Coal, Thin Ice" on the radar for Telluride?  Probably.  Especially considering that "Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" is likley off the table as it was a Sundance premiere and Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" opens in less than three weeks.  Perhaps also getting some Telluride consideration: Best Screenplay winner Kreuzweg (Stations of the Cross).

Over the past six years these films have played both Berlin and Telluride:

2013: "Gloria", 'Fifi Howls with Happiness", "La Maison de la Radio" and "Slow Food Story"
2012: "Barbara" and "A Royal Affair"
2011: "A Separation", "The Turin Horse" and "Pina"
2010: None
2009: "Gigante" and "London River"
2008: "Happy Go Lucky" and "I've Loved You So Long"


And over the weekend, Michael's Telluride Film Blog logged its 125,000th view.  That's a quarter of a million eyeballs...

More on Thursday!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Other Eight Categories/Payne Talks to Variety/"Under the Skin" Trailer

Good Thursday Peeps!


A couple of weeks back I posted The Film Awards Clearinghouse opening line for 13 major Oscar categories.  I'll update those next week.  Today, a look at the remaining eight "feature" categories.  I am hoping to get together enough data to also get in a set of predictions for the "Shorts" categories but as of yet there's just not enough information.

For this set of predictions I have consulted the publicly posted picks from:

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
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit

Films are listed in order of the likelihood that they will win that category.  Telluride Films are Bold.


1) The Great Gatsby
2) American Hustle
3) 12 Years a Slave
4) The Invisible Woman
5) The Grandmaster

Note:  This is fairly tight among the top three films.


1) The Great Gatsby
2) Gravity
3) 12 Years a Slave
4) Her
5) American Hustle

Note:  "Gatsby's" lead is substantial.


1) Gravity
2) Philomena
3) The Book Thief
4) Saving Mr. Banks
5) Her

Note: Gravity's Steven Price is way out front here.


1) Let It Go/Frozen
2) Ordinary Love/Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
3) Moon Song/Her
4) Happy/Despicable Me 2

Note: "Let it Go" is a prohibitive favorite.


1) Dallas Buyers Club
2) Bad Grandpa
3) The Lone Ranger

Note: DBC is way out front.


1) Gravity
2) Captain Phillips
3) Lone Survivor
4) All is Lost
5) The Hobbit: Smaug

Note:  "Gravity" leads but The Captain is in striking distance.


1) Gravity
2) Captain Phillips
3) Lone Survivor
4) Inside Llewyn Davis
5) The Hobbit: Smaug

Note: Ditto the note from Sound Editing.


1) Gravity
2) The Hobbit: Smaug
3) Iron Man 3
4) Star Trek Into Darkness
5) The Lone Ranger

Note: "Gravity" is the prohibitive favorite here.

Overall, from these eight categories, if The FAC is 100% accurate, "Gravity" adds another four Oscars, "Gatsby" gets two and one each for "Dallas Buyers Club" and "Frozen".


Variety's Tim Gray talks to Best Director nominee Alexander Payne about "Nebraska":


Jonathan Glazer's "Under the Skin" starring Scarlett Johansson has a new full length trailer.  You can find it here along with a story about it and the film from The Los Angeles Times here:,0,7281089.story#axzz2t6wnh1sU

More on Monday...have a great weekend!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Playlist's Top Fifty/Berlin in Progress/"12 Years" Wins USC Scripter


On Thursday I took a look at the films that The Playlist had deemed the 100 Most Anticipated films of 2014 focusing on the films that they had placed 51-100 that seemed, at least to me, to be the most Telluride likely films..  Today a look at the films in their list from 1-50 that may have Telluride potential.

#42-"Love and Mercy"-Bill Pohlad directs this biography of Beach Boys legend Brain Wilson with Paul Dano and John Cusack splitting the role.  Pohlad's participation makes this a likely film for Telluride.

#40-"Squirrel to the Nuts"- Peter Bogdonavich returns to directing.  Bogdo has had a long history with Telluride, though I don't think he's been there since 2006 (he is, however, still listed as being on TFF's Council of Advisors) so I'm actually on the fence about whether to include this as a possibility.  "Nuts" stars Jennifer Aniston and Imogen Poots.

#36-"Men, Women and Children"- Jason Reitman's next project would normally be a no-brainer for Telluride but...given that "Labor Day" didn't exactly overwhelm and Toronto's ultimatum from a couple of weeks ago, this film is not as certain for T-ride as it might have been in the past.  Plus, I'm NOT a fan of Adam Sandler...

#34- Justin Kurzel's "Macbeth" with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.  I have no real, objective reason for this film to be a Telluride possibility save for it's distribution from The Weinstein Company.  Still, I'm keeping it on this (and other) lists...because hope dies hard.

#31-"Mr. Turner"-Mike Leigh's biography of Brit art legend J.M.W. Turner starring Timothy Spall.  SPC has the distribution.  It's a solid bet to play Telluride.

#26-"Eden" Mia Hansen-Love directs with Greta Gerwig in the cast.  Hansen-Love was at Telluride in 2011 with her "Goodbye First Love".  She could easily return.

#17- "Sils Maria" Olivier Assayas could return to Telluride with this film featuring Chloe Grace Moretz, Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart.  Assayas has been involved at T-ride previously with "Irma Vep" in '96 and "Carlos" in 2010.  IFC Films has the distribution.

#14 "Two Days One Night"- Marion Cotillard stars in this film from the Dardennes brothers.  I expect a Cannes premiere and a Telluride bow.  The Dardennes were tributed at Telluride in 2005 and also showed "The Kid with a Bike" in 2011.  Sundance Selects has the U.S. distribution for the film.

#10-"Birdman"- Directed and co-written by Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu...his first comedy stars Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Edward Norton among others.  Inarritu has been a Telluride fixture since "Babel" in 2006.  "Biutiful" played there as well in 2010.  I spoke to him this past year at TFF #40.  He was there...just to be there (and I expect in support of his buddy Alfonso Cuaron).  Fox Searchlight has "Birdman" under its wing.

#8-"While We're Young"-One of two Noah Baumbach projects that could land in the Telluride lineup.  This one stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts.  Baumbach has also made Telluride a semi-frequent hangout with "France Ha" in 2012 and "Margot at the Wedding" in 2007.

#5-"Foxcatcher"- Bennett Miller's Olympic wrestling film with Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum that got bumped from 2013.  Still regarded as a potential awards vehicle and under the distribution of SPC.  I think/hope this could emerge on Telluride's playlist.

The Playlist's 50 Most Anticipated Films for 2014 can be found here:


The Berlin International Film Festival in Germany has begun.  Berlin has a fair history of providing Telluride programmers with film fare for Labor Day weekend.  In the recent past Berlin exhibited these films that then played Telluride:

2012: "Barbara" and "A Royal Affair"
2011: "A Separation", "The Turin Horse" and "Pina"
2010: None
2009: "Gigante" and "London River"
2008: "Happy Go Lucky" and "I've Loved You So Long"

"The 2013 Berlin Connection":  The overlap between Telluride and Berlin was a little larger last year than usual: "Fifi Howls with Happiness", "Gloria", La Maison de la Radio" and "Slow Food Story".  Four films played both fests.

The Hollywood Reporter filed this story with a comprehensive look at the films playing at Berlin 2014:

What might end up at Telluride?  That'll likely depend on buzz and awards at the end of the festival.  At the moment, the films that I think sound intriguing are : "71", "Aloft" and "Two Men in Town".


Thursday, February 6, 2014

THR on Who Goes Where: Telluride vs. Toronto/The Playlist's 100 Most Anticipated and T-ride/Gold Derby's Latest Odds

Welcome to another Thursday in the Monkey House (there's your Vonnegut reference for today)...

THR ON WHO GOES WHERE (Telluride vs. Toronto)

Analysts continue to parse the meaning of the announcement from the Toronto International Film Festival about programming decisions for their first four days and their opening and closing films.

Scott Feinberg weighed in on Tuesday with a piece for The Hollywood Reporter detailing some guesswork involving various directors and their possible loyalties vis-a-vis Tellurdie and Toronto.

That piece is linked here:

I also include it in today's blogpost because Feinberg references the Werner Herzog Theater as "The Zog".  Readers of this space and friends who came to the 2013 "Guide to the Ride" reception in Telluride know that "The Zog" was the nickname that I said I was going to try to push as a nifty shorthand for the new facility.  Now, I'm not claiming that the THR reference springs from that attempt...but I'm very close to saying that...


The Playlist has put together the 100 films they are the most excited about that will/may premiere in 2014. Taking my cue from them, I've tried to parse the Telluride possibilities beginning with the films listed from 51-100:

The Complete list/post is here:

And here are what seem to me to be the likeliest candidates for Labor Day in the San Juans:

#96- Michel Hazanavicius' "The Search" starring Berenice Bejo.  A drama set in Chechnya.  Hazanavicius "The Artist" played Cannes and Telluride in 2011.  It wouldn't surprise me if this film made the same journey in 2014.

#90- Andrey Zvyagintsev's "Leviafan"-The Playlist calls it a social drama set in a fictional "new country".  The film sounds ambitious and intriguing.  They also seem to think it's a highly probable Cannes entry and that's enough for me to be thinking I should put it on the Telluride watch list.

#87-Tim Burton's "Big Eyes"-Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams...yes please.  The Weinstein Company has this in their basket and the thinking is that they may want to push it come awards season.  It's based on the life of painter Margaret Keane (Adams).   I can see tribute possibilities for Burton...

#77-"Suite Francaise"- This is a World War II set love story with complicatons.  Weinstein's have it and The Playlist explicitly says that Telluride is likely...of course that pronouncement came before the Toronto change of protocol.

#55-"Far From the Madding Crowd"-We've mentioned this film in earlier posts from other lists.  The biggest reasons to think it would be Telluride bound: the director-Thomas Vinterberg and the production company (and likely distributor)- Fox Searchlight.

#51-Untitled Noah Baumbach/Greta Gerwig Public School Project-  Because it's Baumbach and he's made a habit of coming to Telluride.

I'll take a look at The Playlist's films from 1-50 on Monday.


Here's the latest line from The Gold Derby on Best Picture Oscar odds:

It still looks very likely that Best Picture went through Telluride.

More on Monday...Have a great weekend.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman/More Toronto Ultimatum Coverage/Nebraska Notes/Gravity Goodies/12 Years Tidbit


I don't know where to start.  I hate this.  Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead at 46.  News reports have said heroin overdose is the cause.

We found out early yesterday afternoon...and it made me physically ill.  Angry, sad.

He was so talented and had such range and at 46 had had enough of a career so that we knew how special he was.  That also means that we can know that we've lost another three or four decades of great work from him.

He was branching out...moving into directing and producing.  I was excited to see how those choices played out.  My thinking: a guy this talented might really be able to bring that same spark to every endeavor he undertook.

His body of work is breath taking...I think I really first noticed him in 1992's "Scent of a Woman" playing Chris O'Donnell's feckless classmate.  For the next few years, he'd continue to pop up in some things...then "Boogie Nights" in 1997 and it was game on:

"The Big Lebowski"
"Magnolia"...dear God, he's good in this...
"The Talented Mr. Ripley"
"State and Main"
"Almost Famous"...dear God, he's good in this...
"Red Dragon" excellent Freddy Lounds...not a nice guy
"Cold Mountain"
"Capote"...dear get it.  (Wins the Oscar after having it play in Telluride with PSH in attendance).
"The Savages"  ditto
"Charlie Wilson's War"  best thing in the flick
"Synechdoche, NY"
"The Master"

all this and more and he was 46...

Two things...

I've always thought his career was one you could point to and tell kids (after all I teach high school kids drama) "Here's a guy that proves that talent CAN get noticed, be rewarded and provide a career".

And on a completely selfish level, he was always one of the people on the list I carry in my head that I thought I might actually get to shake hands with on Colorado Ave. in Telluride or at the Patron Brunch. There are some people I'd like to say "thank you" to for the things that they've created that have been meaningful to me.  Because of the fest and the type of projects that PSH has done, I've always harbored the notion that I might be able to say that in person someday...

Not now...


I have added a couple of pother posts/articles concerning the announcement for the Toronto Film Festival about their new policy regarding "premieres" and the programming of new films beginning with this year's festival.  As noted last Thursday, the new policy is clearly aimed at Telluride in an attempt to curb the choice of film makers and distributors to play Telluride first and then Toronto after TIFF has billed a film as a World or North American premiere.

From The Toronto Star:

Business Week:

The Globe and Mail:

At this point, the only response that I've seen from the Telluride camp is a Variety story from last week by Dave McNary that quotes TFF Exec. Director Julie Huntsinger saying, essentially, that TFF will continue to do its thing.  I've re-posted the link to that story here:


Alexander Payne's "Nebraska is nominated for six Academy Awards: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay and Cinematography.  It'll likely win none on Mar. 2.  It's best shot might be Bob Nelson's screenplay but "Her" or "American Hustle" are more likely.  There's maybe an outside shot for Bruce Dern to surprise as Best Actor...but that's very likely Matthew McConaughey's to lose and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) is a more likely spoiler.  Nevertheless, "Nebraska" continues to be among the best reviewed films of the year (currently sitting at #10 on Metacritic for 2013 ) and it was #3 for me on my TFF #40 list of films (led by 12 Years and Llewyn Davis).

The "Nebraska" crew is keeping the Oscar fires alight however with a number of posts appearing within the last couple of weeks.  I have included a few here: interviews Alexander Payne:

The Carpetbagger/New York Times talks to Oscar nominee June Squibb:

The Hollywood Reporter talks to Nebraska score composer Mark Orton:


A month from now you can count on hearing this and reading this in any number of places:  "Winner of the most Oscars for 2013, 'Gravity"..." ; because that will be a true statement.  We still don't know what the exact number of Oscars will be for the Alfonso Cuaron film, but it'll be somewhere between  five and nine. Currently I'm thinking seven.

Variety recently posted this video with "Gravity" Oscar nominees Sandra Bullock and Alfonso Cuaron:

And I have included a featurette fromHitFix highlighting both Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron talking about story and screenplay here:


And here is a lengthy discussion with Steve McQueen about his masterpiece "12 Years a Slave" and other topics from The Walker Art Center and posted by The Playlist here:

More on Thursday...