Monday, December 14, 2015

Thoughts on the Season...Oscar not Holiday / Late Breaking: Critics Choice Award Nominations and Online Film Critics / Feinberg's Latest Forecast / Interviews and Profiles / Reminders

If you didn't know...It's Monday...


My friend Sasha Stone of Awards Daily is fond of screen writer William Goldman's sage description of Hollywood: "Nobody knows anything".  It seems like that's an apt description of where we are as we come to the last few pages of the book that has been 2015 in terms of the awards season landscape.

I have been following Oscar with some seriousness since I started this blog seven years ago because I was interested to see how the films that played the Telluride Film Festival fared at Oscar time.  It's engaging and allows me to continue to have something to write about beyond the normal schtick that this space focuses on...namely "What's going to play at Telluride?"

So, as I look back at these last seven years and the way the Oscar seasons have played out, it seems to me that we have a truly anomalous year.  It seems like we should be a whole lot surer about a whole lot more about what's going on as we march toward Oscar and we just aren't.

"Nobody knows anything".  The Oscarologists are all over the place with the perceived rise and fall of a film's or an actor's awards prospects.  As an example, look at George Miller's "Mad Max: Fury Road", which hasn't been thought of as a serious Oscar Best Director/Best Picture contender has suddenly gathered a lot of momentum from its Golden Globes and critic's groups notices apparently at the expense of Ridley Scott's "The Martian".

Another category placement.  It seems to be a very obvious consideration in the campaigns for Rooney Mara for "Carol" and Alicia Vikander for both "The Danish Girl" and"Ex Machina".  It also seems to be potentially harming the cast members of Tom McCarthy's "Spotlight".  Keaton and Ruffalo seemed like that might be able to pull off the feat of both being nominated for Supporting Actor from the same film but the precursors up to this point are pointing to the greater likelihood that neither guy gets in.

So, as we move through this next week (with notable news from the Online Film Critics Society, the Broadcast Film Critics Association and The American Film Institute) maybe what we DO know IS that "Nobody knows anything" which is making for what is an unusual, dynamic and surprising 2015 Oscar season.

So, despite nobody knowing's a reminder of some awards season thoughts, many of which I have included in this space before.

1) I still think that "Spotlight" is your best chance to continue Telluride's streak of hosting the year's Best Picture Oscar winner.  That streak has held each year since 2010...and save for 2009's win for "The Hurt Locker", would actually date back to 2008.  I was beginning to think that "Room" was looking like a real possibility to replace "Spotlight" as the film with the best chance to continue the string but that possibility seemed to recede this past week.  The "Streak"...

2008-"Slumdog Millionaire"
2009: The Hurt Locker" (not at TFF)
2010: "The King's Speech"
2011: "The Artist"
2012: "Argo"
2013: "12 Years a Slave"
2014: "Birdman"

2) Up until this week, I was saying that the Best Picture winner was likely to be one of four films: "Spotlight", "Room", "The Martian" and "The Revenant".  Last week's precursor news seemed to take some wind out of the sails of everything but "Spotlight" and the beneficiaries seemed to be the aforementioned "Mad Max: Fury Road" and Todd Haynes' "Carol".

3) Don't count out "Steve Jobs" as a Best Picture nomination contender.  The film has all but disappeared on the charts of the professional Oscar pundits but I feel like the four Globe nominations may suggest that, despite its box office results, there could be more strength there than a lot of people think.

4) I've said it already, but I'll say it again..."Carol" will have more nominations on Oscar morning than any other film.  Conceivably: Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, two Acting nominations-maybe one lead and one supporting or two leads-, Costumes, Production Design, Score, Hair/Makeup, Cinematography.  That's 10.  It could happen.

5) I'm still stumping for: "Son of Saul" to be nominated for Best Picture.  It's status as the front runner for Best Foreign Film feels like the only sure thing about Oscar here in the middle of December.

Also the MTFB/FAC campaigns of futility continue for Supporting Actor nominations for Jeff Daniels from "Steve Jobs" and Peter Sarsgaard from "Black Mass".

6) Since I started covering Telluride and its relation to Oscar season, the average TFF film cumulative Oscar nomination total is 27.  This year has felt like that average seemed to be good bet for this year's total.  I'm thinking the last week or so that the total might inch a little bit past the 27 but even then, we're talking 28-29 nominations all told.  I'm not feeling that this will be a 30+ nomination year...but, keep in mind...nobody knows anything.


The Broadcast Film Critics Association has announced their nominees for Film and television achievement.  Telluride films are well represented with TFF #42 films nominated for 31 BFCA awards plus two additional nominations for TFF #41 films.

Here's the breakdown:

"Carol" (9): Best Picture, Actress, Supporting Actress, Director, Production Design, Hair/Makeup, Cinematography, Costumes, Score.

"Spotlight" (8): Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Ruffalo), Supporting Actress, Ensemble, Director, Original Screenplay, Film Editing and Score.

"Room" (4): Best Picture, Actress, Young Actor, Adapted Screenplay

"Steve Jobs"(3): Best Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay

Black Mass (2): Best Actor, Hair/Makeup

Single nominations for:

"45 Years": Best Actress
"Beasts of No Nation: Best Young Actor
"Anomalisa": Best Animated Film
"Son of Saul": Best Foreign Film
"He Named Me Malala": Best Documentary

Additionally, from TFF #41, Michael Shannon was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for "99 Homes" and "The Look of Silence" was nominated for Best Documentary.

The complete list of all nominees is here:

Meanwhile, the Online Film Critics Association  named Telluride films winners of six of their 13 awards.  “Mad Max: Fury Road” was named Best Picture.  They liked “Carol” a lot too.  See below:

The Online Film Critic’s awards for Telluride Film Festival films for 2015:

Best Actor: Michael Fassbender/”Steve Jobs”
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett/”Carol”
Best Supporting Actress: Rooney Mara/”Carol”
Best Documentary: “The Look of Silence” (TFF #41)
Best Original Screenplay: “Spotlight”
Best Adapted Screenplay: “Carol”
Top Ten Foreign Films includes “Rams”

 Analysis is here:


The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg has updated his latest view of the Oscar race in light of last week's SAG and Golden Globes news.

Take a look at those here:


Check out the latest edition of ScreenTalk with Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood, Eric Kohn/Indiewire and their special guest Sasha Stone/Awards Daily as they talk about the latest developments in the Oscar race here:








Check back later today as I'll do some coverage on the news from the Broadcast Film Critics.

And also look for a Film Awards Clearinghouse update for the four major categories (Picture, Director, Actress and Actor) on Thursday.

Also, take a look at the 2015 addition to the second page of this blog "Selected Telluride History".  I added an attenuated version of this year's tributes, guests and films over the weekend.

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