Monday, September 25, 2017

Oscar Analysis as Fall Begins / Catching Up on Trailers: Wonderstruck, Film Stars, Faces Places / Looking Ahead / Earthquake in Mexico

Good Monday everyone...



We're through the triple threat of Telluride, Venice and Toronto.  New York and London loom in October with the AFI Fest set to run in November.  It's time to get serious about awards season and the Oscarologists have begun to get serious as well.

And what they have to say is...nobody knows nothin'.

Across the board the pundits and experts are saying that it's the most wide open Best Picture race years.  We've had what were perceived as close races recently but those have generally two pony races:  12 Years a Slave and Gravity in 2013 and Birdman/Boyhood in 2014.  But this year it seems like a multi-horse race.  Then, when you add in the preferential ballot...

So...after consulting some of my usual gurus (OK, not real consultation, I just read their various websites)..Here's what looks to me like what could be some Oscar nominees when they are announced on January 23rd.

Best Picture:

Three films seem to have become consensus picks to be nominees:
The Shape of Water
Darkest Hour

After that it becomes murky...


Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Last Flag Flying
Call Me By Your Name
The Post
Phantom Thread (or whatever its title will be)
The Florida Project

Others that could play:

Get Out
The Big Sick
Battle of the Sexes

It seems to me that mother!, Downsizing and Wonderstruck are not likely and I'm not sold on The Greatest Showman.

Directing candidates: Nolan, Del Toro, Wright, Spielberg, Anderson, Guadagnino, McDonagh, Baker, Linklater.

Best Actress: This field is loaded and is going to be fiercely competitive.  Just getting a nomination will be difficult.  Candidates:

Sally Hawkins/Shape of Water
Judi Dench/Victoria and Abdul
Saoirse Ronan/Lady Bird
Emma Stone/Battle of the Sexes
Meryl Streep/The Post
Kate Winslet/Wonder Wheel
Frances McDormand/Three Billboards
Margot Robbie/I Tonya
Daniela Vega/A Fantastic Woman
Glenn Close/The Wife
Jessica Chastain/Molly's Game
Jennifer Lawrence/mother!
Annette Bening/Film Stars
Carey Mulligan/Mudbound

It feels like Hawkins, Streep and McDormand are probable but this list of 14 is formidable.

Best Actor:  A thinner field than the says the experts and I tend to agree:

Gary Oldman/Darkest Hour (and your prohibitive favorite I suspect)
Tom Hanks/The Post
Daniel Day Lewis/Phantom Thread/PTA Film
Timothee Chalamet/Call Me By Your Name
Jake Gyllenhaal/Stronger
Andrew Garfield/Breathe
Hugh Jackman/The Greatest Showman
Bryan Cranston/Last Flag Flying

And, of course, the dark horse candidate that I'm pushing: Harry Dean Stanton for Lucky.

Best Supporting Actress:

Laurie Metcalf/Lady Bird
Alison Janney/I Tonya
Nicole Kidman/Sacred Deer
Hong Chau/Downsizing
Holly Hunter/Big Sick
Octavia Spencer/Shape of Water
Mary J. Blige/Mudbound

Best Supporting Actor:

Willem Dafoe/Florida Project
Mark Rylance/Dunkirk
Armie Hammer/Call Me By Your Name
Sam Rockwell/Three Billboards
Michael Stuhlbarg/Call Me By Your Name
Richard Jenkins/Shape of Water
Michael Shannon/Shape of Water
Steve Carell/Last Flag Flying
Dustin Hoffman/The Meyerowitz Stories
Ben Mendelsohn/Darkest Hour

At a guess, your winners will be: Dafoe, Metcalf, Oldman, McDormand or Hawkins, Nolan and Dunkirk.

Here are some of the experts:

Kristopher Tapley/Variety: Article 1  Article 2
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Jason Osiason/Fantastic Film Fans
Greg Ellwood/The Playlist
Steve Pond/The Wrap



It won't surprise any of you that I constantly save articles and posts about upcoming films that I think may be Telluride players at some future fest.  I email myself all the time and store them in a file call "Future Telluride".

Every now and then I clean it as events overtake what has been collected.  For example, I dumped articles on Friday that I had collected on TFF #44 films Battle of the Sexes, Downsizing, Lady Bird First Reformed and Darkest Hour.

But there are plenty of films that live there too that I think might show at The SHOW and then don't like: Happy End, The Current War, Molly's Game, The Snowman, Our Souls at Night and The Leisure Seeker.

And those were all from 2016 or earlier.

So, you might ask, what's still in there?

Here are the top ten film projects that have a least three articles still living in my "Future Telluride: file:

1) First Man-Damian Chazelle on Neil Armstrong with Ryan Gosling
2) Widows-Steve McQueen with Viola Davis, Carrie Coon
3) The Man Who Killed Don Quixote-Terry Gilliam's passion project for the last million years or so
4) Roma-Alfonso Cuaron
5) This Above All- Focuses on the Westboro Baptist Church
6) Black Money-Maybe a Coen Brothers project
7) The Irishman-Scorsese gets the old band back together: DeNiro, Pacino,Keitel, Pesci
8) The Front Runner-Jason Reitman telling the Gary Hart story with Hugh Jackman as Hart
9) On the Other Side-Carey Mulligan
10) The Death and Life of John F. Donovan-Xavier Dolan...a film many thought might be making the rounds this fall.  It's now dated for a January release in Italy...but I wouldn't rule out a play at Berlin or Cannes.

I have 46 other films in the hold.


I had a couple of different sources point me in the direction of the story of film preservation nin Mexico endangered by the aftermath of the recent earthquake.

First, here's the explanation from Viviana Garcia Besne, director of the Permancia Volunatria Film Archive:

Dear family, friends and collegues, I am writing on behalf of the PERMANENCIA VOLUNTARIA FILM ARCHIVE -- the only independent film archive in Mexico specializing in the collection and preservation of popular films. Our collection focuses on the works of the Calderón and García Besné family, pioneers in important film genres such as the Rumberas, Luchadores and Ficheras. Our archive also houses other unique materials that cannot be found anywhere else, including movie posters, documents and promotional items. As you know, on September 19 a terrible 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook Mexico City, Puebla, and Tepoztlán (Tepoztlán, home of the archive, was right on the epicenter.) We are a small town, our buildings are heavily damaged, and we lack the money, means, and manpower to repair the extensive damage wrought by the earthquake. Today an engineer confirmed that the space where the archive is located and its microcinema, our BATICINE, are safe to rebuild. By order of the local government we cannot access the second floor of the archive, as a window and part of a wall are completely damaged. It will be inaccessible until we bring an engineer and a construction team to start rebuilding. To date we are unable to take photos and assess the damage to the second floor. This is especially worrying because we are entering the rainy season, and with every passing day we will be at risk of extensive water damage if we do not work to repair this area quickly. We need emergency assistance. Another big concern is that a major water line has been compromised at this location. The pipe is not currently leaking as Tepotzlán has no running water, but when the city manages to resume water services our archive will flood. We cannot wait for the government to assist us in preventing water damage, and we currently do not have the resources to fix the crack. This is particularly alarming as 80% of our storage racks were damaged in the earthquake, and most of our artifacts are littered on the ground at extreme risk. With the proper assistance we will be able to move the films and purchase the necessary hardware and protective materials to keep them safe. We cannot underestimate the severity of this situation. As you know, these antique film reels are irreplaceable and priceless, and with every passing moment we are at risk of losing everything. Our Baticine, the community movie theater that we manage which showcases the works of local filmmakers and popular films for all audiences, has also been destroyed. We have months of work ahead of us to fix this beloved community space, but our priority is the restoration of the archive. The devastating earthquake not only destroyed the roof of the archive, but it damaged the films, which will need additional longer term assistance to be rehoused and cleaned, and has undone most of our cataloguing and organizational efforts. The scope of this project is beyond our means and we cannot do it alone. We will be beyond grateful for any assistance you can offer in regards to the preservation of our Archive.

Warm regards,
Viviana Garcia Besne
Director Permanencia Voluntaria Film Archive


Banco Mercantil del Norte SA
Monterrey, NL. México
CLABE: 072 180 00016748735 9
No. de CUENTA: 0016748735

The wire need to be processed though one of the following US banks:

CHASUS33XXX(ABA 021-000-021)JP Morgan Chase BankNew York, NY. USA BOFAUS6SXXX(ABA 121-000-358)Bank of America NASan Francisco, CA. USA PNBPUS33XXX(ABA 026-005-092)Wells Fargo BankNew York, NY. USA
SCBLUS33XXX(ABA 026-002-561)Standard Chartered BankNew York, NY. USA

And the Go Fund Me link from archivist Peter Conheim.

That's your Monday...come back for more on Thursday.


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