Thursday, February 28, 2019

Awards Circuit's First Predix for Oscar 2020 / A Tease for The Irishman / Inarritu to Preside Over Cannes / Trial by Fire Acquired

Good post-Oscar Thursday...


Clayton Davis is all over it as he and his website, Awards Circuit, are already up with, what I believe is, the first serious pass at predicting Oscar nominees for Best Picture for next year.

Davis has a really good record of sniffing out Oscar potential this early and as such, gives us some hints about films that might have the pedigree necessary to be considered as possible TFF #46 selections.

Davis runs down a fairly substantial list of films and ends the article with a "pre-season" top ten of possible Best Picture nominees.  Without giving away the entire list of ten films, here are those included that, at first blush, feel like they have the most Telluride prospects:

Marielle Heller's Mr. Rogers biopic starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

John Crowley's The Goldfinch based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book starring Nicole Kidman.

Kasi Lemmon's Harriet based on the life of Underground Railroad pioneer Harriet Tubman starring Cynthia Erivo.

And...just because I think Netflix might try to follow the path they used with Roma, Martin Scorsese's The Irishman (see below).  The story of a mob hitman who may have killed Jimmy Hoffa.  For Scorsese, the old gang came back together as the film stars Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel and Joe Pesci with the addition of Al Pacino.

Among the other films that Davis discusses that didn't make it to his initial top ten list are these which also seem to make some sense for TFF:

Greta Gerwig's Little Women
Joe Wright's The Woman in the Window
Hirokazu Koreeda's The Truth
Scott Cooper's Antlers
Bill Condon's The Good Liar

Additionally, Davis makes predictions for each of the other 23 categories.

The entire article is linked here.


Perhaps this is Martin Scorsese' Great White Whale.  It's reportedly in post-production and there are rumors that it could well be headed to Cannes (if Cannes and Netflix can reach some sort of arrangement) or maybe Venice.

As I mentioned above, I think we have to at least consider the chance that the film makes its way to Telluride so I'll continue to keep an eye on it.

Consequently, if you didn't notice earlier this week, The Irishman and Netflix dropped a teaser.  Here it is via YouTube:

I also linked some of the coverage the came out with the teaser's release from:


The Playlist

Trailer Track


Speaking of Cannes...the prestigious film festival announced this week that four time Oscar winning director/writer Alejandro Inarritu will preside over this year's Palme d'Or jury.  Inarritu has, over the years, been a staple of the Cannes' lineup in various sections and with multiple films.

Inarritu has also been a frequent presence at Telluride both in the capacity as presenting one of his own films but also as a fan and supporter of his fellow amigos Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron.

Inarritu was first represented at Cannes in 2000 with his first feature Amores Perros.

Here's Variety's story about the announcement.


Roadside Attractions has acquired TFF #45 entrant Trial by Fire from director Ed Zwick.  The film stars Laura Dern and Jack O'Connell and is based on an article from author David Grann.  Trial by Fire was one of two films at last year's fest that was based on material written by Grann.  The other was David Lowery's The Old Man and the Gun starring Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek.

Coverage of the acquisition and plans to release the film this spring are addressed in the following:

The Hollywood Reporter


The Wrap

That's today's MTFB.  I'll another go at this on Monday.


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Monday, February 25, 2019

Oscar #91 in the Books: Telluride's Spell Is Broken / Oscar Odds and Ends / And Now We Turn the Page

Welcome back from Oscarland...


Here are your winners from the 91st Academy Awards from Last Night:

Best Picture: Green Book)
Direction: Alfonso Cuaron/Roma
Actress: Olivia Colman/The Favourite)
Actor: Rami Malek/Bohemian Rhapsody
Supporting Actress: Regina King/If Beale Street Could Talk
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali/Green Book
Original Screenplay: Green Book
Adapted Screenplay: BlacKkKlansman
Animated Feature: Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
Documentary Feature: Free Solo
Foreign Language Film: Roma
Original Song: Shallow/A Star Is Born
Original Score: Black Panther
Cinematography: Roma
Film Editing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Production Design: Black Panther
Costumes: Black Panther
Makeup/Hair: Vice
Visual Effects: First Man
Sound Editing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Sound Mixing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Animated Short: Bao
Documentary Short: Period. End of Sentence
Live Action Short: Skin


Telluride's streak of eight straight years of screening the eventual Best Picture winner ended last night with the win for Green Book.  It's the first non-TFF film to win since The Hurt Locker back in 2010.

TFF films did pick up six Oscars last night.  Roma had three: Direction, Foreign Language Film and Cinematography.  The Favourite's Olivia Colman won for Best Actress, Free Solo won Best Documentary and First Man won for Best Visual Effects.

Multiple Oscar winning films included:

Bohemian Rhapsody-4 Actor, Film Editing, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing
Green Book-3 Picture, Supporting Actor and Original Screenplay
Roma-3 Direction Foreign Language Film and Cinematography
Black Panther-3 Production Design, Costumes and Original Score

My personal prediction success rate was 19/24 or 79.2% .  I missed Picture, Actress, Film Editing, Production Design and Live Action Short.
I don't know that I would classify any of last night's awards as shockers.  Late wins by Colman and Green Book were mildly surprising but looking at the list I posted last Thursday, four of the five places where I missed, I had the actual winner listed as the "Could Be" candidate.

Why'd Green Book win?  I suspect a combination of factors mostly related to the baggage that Roma had going into the season: a foreign language film in black and white from Netflix.


Though I have played around already with looking ahead to this year's potential TFF #46 lineup, now that this year's Oscar ceremony is in the books, it's time for this space to turn back to what was originally created to do.

Oscar's in the rear view and we turn our gaze ahead and aim toward Aug. 30th and the opening day of the 46th Telluride film Festival.

I'll have more for you on Thursday.


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Thursday, February 21, 2019

FINAL Oscar Predictions / The Telluride Effect Part Two / Oscar Experts Final Predictions

Thursday before Oscar...


Best Picture:Roma  (Could be: Green Book)
Direction: Alfonso Cuaron/Roma (Could be: Spike Lee/BlacKkKlansman)
Actress: Glenn Close/The Wife (Could be: Olivia Colman/The Favourite)
Actor: Rami Malek/Bohemian Rhapsody (Could be: Christian Bale/Vice)
Supporting Actress: Regina King/If Beale Street Could Talk (Could be: Rachel Weisz/The Favourite OR Amy Adams/Vice)
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali/Green Book (Could be: Richard E. Grant/Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Original Screenplay: Green Book (Could be: The Favourite)
Adapted Screenplay: BlacKkKlansman (Could be: Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Animated Feature: Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse (Could be: Incredibles 2)
Documentary Feature: Free Solo (Could be: RBG)
Foreign Language Film: Roma (Could be: Cold War)
Original Song: Shallow/A Star Is Born (Could be: All the Stars/Black Panther)
Original Score: Black Panther (Could be: If Beale Street Could Talk)
Cinematography: Roma (Could be: Cold War)
Film Editing: Vice (Could be: Bohemian Rhapsody)
Production Design: The Favourite (Could be: Black Panther)
Costumes: Black Panther (Could be: The Favourite)
Makeup/Hair: Vice (Could be: Mary Queen of Scots)
Visual Effects: First Man (Could be: Avengers: Infinity War)
Sound Editing: Bohemian Rhapsody (Could be: First Man)
Sound Mixing: Bohemian Rhapsody (Could be: First Man)
Animated Short: Bao (Could be: Animal Behavior)
Documentary Short: Period. End of Sentence (Could be: End Game)
Live Action Short: Marguerite (Could be: Any of the others)


I wrote on Monday about "The Telluride Effect", the notion that a film now almost has to play Telluride to win Best Picture at the Oscars.  I reminded readers that the last decade seems to provide evidence for the theory with nine of the last ten winners having played TFF on their way to Oscar glory.

I also suggested that there might be five reasons that it could be true:

1) Reputation
2) Demographics
3) Ties to The Academy
4) Timing
5) Media Presence Increase

So, I asked a number of friends and acquaintances from the industry that are usual TFF attendees and asked them two questions:

1) Is the "Telluride Effect" real?
2) If so, why?

The first question drew mixed responses.

Film maker, Script Magazine contributor and long time Telluride Film Fest attendee Christopher Schiller writing that "it is certainly real from my observations" while Variety's Kristopher Tapley suggests that "It's potentially real."

Other respondents weren't as quick to sign on to the existence of The T-ride Effect.  Mark Johnson of Awards Circuit saying "I think it may just be lucky coincidence".  Indiewire's Eric Kohn came close to seconding Johnson's assessment claiming his belief that "it's arbitrary.

Variety's Peter DeBruge told me that it does exist as a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts"  but The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg said that "there is no way to know".

To the extent that it does or might exist, many of the answers I got to the second question as to why underscored the five points I made in Monday's post.

Telluride's reputation and its programming prowess were cited by Sasha Stone of Awards Daily as she said that it is a combination of factors including "the selection committee".    Schiller says that the fest has "always had from the very first one onward" the "class of selection" and that "producers who calculate a ride to the awards...consider getting the 'right' exposure from Telluride" 

Both Schiller and DeBruge take pains to say that they don't believe any of the "effect" is the conscious design of the TFF programmers.

In as far as my second and third points, that Telluride has great demographics including a significant Academy presence, those sentiments were echoed by Tapley who commented on "the concentration of Academy members that are present" and Stone who says that the "effect" may be true in part because of "the small amount of people who attend...that make it a perfect launching site for Oscar movies."

On to my fourth observation that some of it has to do with timing.  About this there was a good deal of agreement with the general notion but the specifics differed a bit.  Schiller pointed to the festival's benefiting from the decision of the Motion Picture Academy to move the date of the Oscar ceremony forward three weeks from the end of March to the end of February or early March.  That change came in 2003.  DeBruge mentions it's fortuitous placement between Venice and Toronto but Mark Johnson had, perhaps the most pointed comment concerning timing and the Best Picture Oscar saying that screening a film at Telluride mean that producers "have time for their film to take heat and recover from it."

My fifth point was the increase in the press coverage that has happened over the last decade plus.  Again, Peter DeBruge underscored my point in his commentary saying,  "The phenomenon is bolstered by...the steep increase in press coverage at the festival."  He went on to write, "Now that many more critics-and Oscar bloggers- attend, these movies now get early adulatory coverage, as opposed to getting lost among the 300 or so movies unspooling at Toronto a week later."

So, I felt good about the things I wrote on Monday but there were a couple of other tidbits among the responses that I felt merited mentioning. 

DeBruge added that not all plans to take advantage of The Telluride Effect, if in fact it does exist, go as planned.  For every Spotlight, Moonlight or Shape of Water, TFF can also be a place where those awards dreams sometimes crash.  He says, "let's not forget the many movies that miscalculated their own merits and were met with mixed reactions/downright disappointment by the discerning viewers in the Colorado mountains"  Among the films he mentioned: Labor Day, Hyde Park on Hudson and Downsizing.

It was Schiller who posed the obvious question that I overlooked which was "Will it last?"  which is a great question.  Chris has some of the same thought that I do suggesting that the changing particulars of the awards season may mean that the "effect" may be limited saying, "the quality structure that is the heart of Telluride may not align with the awards shows' proclivities in the future."

My take on Schiller's note here is what I said Monday in my second point which is that with the conscious move by the Academy to expand and diversify TFF's effect may change as a result.

Finally, leave it to THR's Scott Feinberg to put it most succinctly, "as long as Telluride films keep winning Best Picture, I expect distributors will continue to treat the fest as a must-go place."

Will that happen Sunday night?  If you read my predictions above...I think so....but it's tight people...IT IS TIGHT...

My thanks to:

Peter DeBruge/Variety
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter
Mark Johnson/Awards Circuit
Eric Kohn/Indiewire
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Kristopher Tapley/Variety
Christopher Schiller/


Here are links to the current "Final" predictions from a slew of Oscarologists:

Kristopher Tapley/Variety-InContention

Erik Anderson/Awards Watch

Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit

Andrew Carden/The Awards Connection

Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter

Steve Pond/The Wrap

That's all for MTFB for today.  I'll be back Monday with an Oscar breakdown.


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Monday, February 18, 2019

The Telluride Effect Part One / Berlin Film Fest Closes / Ken Burns' Country / Spotlight on Free Solo

Hope everyone had a pleasant weekend and is having a great President's Day.


Oscar night for 2019 is now just days away.  Final Oscar predictions from every source imaginable will be coming at you fast and furious over the next six days including in this space in Thursday's blog post.   

Some of the experts may mention "The Telluride Effect".  For those of you who are frequent readers here, the expression likely doesn't need any explanation.  For those that may not have bumped up against the term, here's an definition of sorts...The Telluride Effect suggests that for a film to win Best Picture at the Oscars it will have had to play at the Telluride Film Festival.  It does not mean the film has had to premiere at Telluride, only that it screens as a part of the festival's lineup.

The term (I think Sasha Stone at Awards Daily is actually the person who coined it) has emerged over the last decade-plus as, with one exception when The Hurt Locker won as 2009's Best Picture.

Here's the lowdown for those years:

2008: Slumdog Millionaire (premiered at Telluride)
2009: The Hurt Locker (no T-ride play)
2010: The King's Speech (premiered at Telluride)
2011: The Artist (premiered at Cannes then played Telluride)
2012: Argo (premiered at Telluride)
2013: 12 Years a Slave (premiered at Telluride)
2014: Birdman (premiered at Venice then played Telluride)
2015: Spotlight (premiered at Venice then played Telluride)
2016: Moonlight (premieres at Telluride)
2017: The Shape of Water (premiered at Venice then played Telluride)

So there it is.  Nine of the last ten Best Picture winners and the last eight in a row have played Telluride and, as you can see, the most common route is to either premiere at Telluride originally or, of late, do the Venice to T-ride.  Only in the case of The Artist in the last decade has a film run through Cannes/Telluride to a Best Picture win.

This year, among the eight films nominated for Best Picture, the Telluride Effect's continuation depends on either Alfonso Cuaron's Roma or Yorgos Lanthimos' The Favourite.  If you read most Oscar experts you'll have seen that many feel Roma will win Sunday night.  I can't think of any that think The Favourite will be the big winner.  

Roma's chances appear to be reasonable.  I'd say something better than 50/50 but certainly not a lock.  Many prognosticators think Peter Farrelly's Green Book could win Sunday night.  Other, more distant possibilities might be BlacKkKlansman and Black Panther but most think it's down to Roma and Green Book.

I'll be on record on Thursday...but...hint, hint...I'm probably going to stick with the notion that The Telluride Effect continues to hold sway.

So...if it really exists, why?  You might ask.  I have a few ideas:

1) Reputation.  The fest has this string because they consistently program great film.  I think that attendees and peeps from the business pay attention to what Tom Luddy, Julie Huntsinger and crew secure to screen over Labor Day.

2) Demographics:  The fest, it seems to me, has a clientele that, at some level, mirrors the Academy.  That's probably changing some over the past few years as the Academy has made a strong effort to expand size and diversity.

3) And speaking of the Academy...TFF and AMPAS have had a significant relationship for a while and a good chunk of the attendees each year are members of the Academy.

4) Timing:  Telluride is in a sweet, sweet spot on the calendar.  Situated at the beginning of September and between Venice and Toronto is great positioning in terms of  setting the table for the fall films that will likely dominate the Oscar conversation.

5) The media has noticed.  There has always been a media presence since I started going to Telluride (since 2006) but over the last decade that seems to have increased dramatically.  As Telluride has, at the very least coincidentally, become a harbinger for what could occur during Oscar season, the press contingent seems to have become larger making for a more dramatic Telluride impact on the awards season.  At least it feels that way to me.

There are probably other reasons but these are the five that come to mind.  I know that Sasha Stone also has frequently suggested that the AMPAS choice a few years back to move the Oscars to earlier in the year has magnified the effect of fall film fests including Telluride.

Does it happen again this year?  For a big chunk of this Oscar season, I didn't think it would but as I said above, I think it's now more likely than not but it sure isn't a lock.  

I'll have more about The Telluride Effect in Thursday's post...


The Berlin Film Festival concluded this week with the naming of Nadiv Lapid's Synonyms as the recipient of the Golden Bear, the fests more important prize.  Also winning awards: By the Grace of God, System Crasher, I Was at Home...But, and So Long My Son.

As I have written here, it isn't uncommon for Telluride to program a couple of films that premiere at Berlin.  Last year, for example, Dovlatov played Berlin first.  In 2017, A Fantastic Woman, The Other Side of Hope and Hostages all played the German fest prior to Telluride bows.

With its Silver Bear win, Francois Ozon's By the Grace of God may have moved to the front of the line for Berlin titles that could make the TFF #46 lineup.  A couple of other titles that I thought we should keep an eye lost some of their luster in that regard owing to mediocre/tepid critical response.  I'm referring to Lone Scherfig's The Kindness of Strangers and Agnieska Holland's Mr. Jones.

I have linked stories about Berlin;s awards here from

Screen International



And critical roundups for the Berlin films are linked here from:


Reini Urban's Compilation


I wrote a couple of weeks back about Ken Burns' upcoming PBS multi-part documentary about American Country/Western music and the possibility some of that might screen at Telluride prior to its bow on PBS in September.

PBS posted a 60 second teaser for the doc featuring Marty Stuart talking about the Grand Ole Opry and its place in Nashville and Country music history.  Here it is thanks to the magic of YouTube:


I have had RBG at the top of my list to win the Best Documentary Oscar on Sunday night since the nominations were announced but the last week or so, there seems to be a real undercurrent in favor of Free Solo which, of course, played Telluride last Labor Day.  Honestly, between now and Thursday when I put up my final Oscar predictions, I may switch to Free Solo to win.

No less a light than Indiewire's Anne Thompson makes a compelling case for that possibility in the story she put up on Friday.  It's not really the focus of Anne's story but shows up in it.

You can see what Anne and what the film makers and climbers had to say to Anne as well by clicking here.

That's today's MTFB.  I'll have a Part Two about The Telluride Effect on Thursday in addition to my final Oscar picks for Sunday night's extravaganza.


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Thursday, February 14, 2019

BOLO (Be On the Lookout): Nomadland / Melissa McCarthy on Lee Israel / Oscar Buzz

Howdy, Howdy on this Thursday and Happy Valentines Day to you and your nearest and dearest.


Frances McDormand in Nomadland (photo via Fox Searchlight)

I don't always include news here when I come across news of films that seem to have the right mix of ingredients to become a selection for the Telluride Film Festival.  Most of the time I note whatever it is and store away its information and whatever news I have uncovered in a "Future Telluride" file that I keep.  Periodically I'll check that file and see what, if anything has or looks like it might pan out for Labor Day weekend.

Sometimes, however, something pops up that feels like such a realistic possibility that I skip the filing altogether and one of those instances happened this week with the revelation that director Chloe Zhao was working on an under-the-radar film.

That's notable as Zhao's last film was The Rider which played TFF #44 to tremendous acclaim and was released in 2018 and earned mentions among many critics "Best Of" lists and five Spirit Award nominations including one for Best Picture.

That, by itself would have been enough for me to take notice but other factors moved the needle a bit more.  The reason that the film came to light this week was its acquisition by frequent TFF participant Fox Searchlight.  Add to that some speculation the film might be bound for Cannes (The Rider played at Cannes in the Directors Fortnight section) put it over the top for me to include on my TFF #46 watch list and also seemed to be enough fuel to warrant mentioning it here and now rather than relegating it to my "Future Telluride" collection.

The film is titled Nomadland and stars Oscar winner Frances McDormand and Oscar nominee David Stratharin and is based on Jessica Bruder's non-fiction book "Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century".

I have linked coverage of the announcement here from:

And, appears that Telluride favorite and past TFF Guest Director Alexander Payne looks to be set up with his newest project described as a "Horror-Comedy".  The Playlist reports that Payne will be directing The Menu.  Both Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are also involved as producers on the project.


Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy is featured in a new interview with Lexy Perez for The Hollywood Reporter talking about her character, Lee Israel, from Can You Ever Forgive Me? and other topics as well.  


Final Oscar voting is underway (it started Tuesday) and runs until next Tuesday, Feb. 19th with the Awards whatever form and structure it ultimately takes, on Feb. 24th.

I'll have my final predictions a week from today.

At this point my current calculation is:

Picture: Roma
Director: Cuaron/Roma
Actress: Close/The Wife
Actor: Malek/Bohemian Rhapsody
Supporting Actress: Adams/Vice
Supporting Actor: Ali/Green Book
Original Screenplay: Green Book
Adapted Screenplay: BlacKkKlansman
Animated Feature: Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
Documentary Feature: RBG
Foreign Language Film: Roma
Cinematography: Roma
Film Editing: Vice
Original Score: If Beale Street Could Talk
Original Song: Shallow/A Star Is Born
Costumes: The Favourite
Production Design: The Favourite
Makeup/Hair: Vice
Visual Effects: Avengers: Infinity War
Sound Editing: First Man
Sound Mixing: A Star Is Born
Animated Short: Bao
Doc Short: Period. End of Sentence.
Live Action Short: Marguerite

TFF #45 Films winning if I'm 100% accurate:

Roma (4): Picture, Direction, Foreign Language Film, Cinematography
The Favourite (2): Costumes. Production Design
First Man (1): Sound Editing

Other winners:

Vice (3): Supporting Actress, Film Editing, Makeup/Hair
Green Book (2): Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay
A Star Is Born (2): Song, Sound Mixing

Single wins:

Bohemian Rhapsody-Actor
The Wife-Actress
BlacKkKlansman-Adapted Screenplay
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse-Animated Feature
RBG-Documentary Feature
If Beale Street Could Talk-Original Score
Avengers: Infinity War-Visual Effects
Shorts- Bao, Period. End of Sentence, Marguerite.

That's your MTFB for this Thursday.  More on Monday...


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Monday, February 11, 2019

BAFTA Loves Telluride / TFF #45 Films Duke It Out for ASC Award / Oscar Predictions for Seven More Categories / Albert Finney 1936-2019

Welcome to a new week on this Monday...


The  British Academy of Film and Television Arts named their film award winners on Sunday night and films that played TFF #45 last Labor Day weekend dominated the ceremony.  Alfonso Cuaron's Roma won for Best Film, Film not in the English Language, Direction and Cinematography.  Yorgos Lanthimos' The Favourite won the most trophies of the evening with seven including: Best Actress-Olivia Colman, Supporting Actress-Rachel Wiesz, Outstanding British Film, Original Screenplay, Production Design, Costume Design and Makeup/Hair.

Additionally, TFF #45 selection Free Solo won Best Documentary.

TFF #45 films totaled 13 BAFTA wins altogether.

Complete lists of winners in all BAFTA categories plus some insight into what effect these results have on Oscar...whose voting opens tomorrow, is explored from these linked sources:


Hollywood News



The American Society of Cinematographers sent a ripple of surprise and uncertainty into the Oscar race for Best Cinematography on Saturday night as they gave their top film prize to Lukasz Zal for shooting Pawel Pawlikowski's Cold War.  Zal bested Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, thought by many to be the favorite for Oscar glory as well as other TFF #45 films First Man and The Favourite.  The other ASC nominees was A Star Is Born.

Indiewire has the story on the ASC presentation which is linked here.


Here are my Oscar predictions for seven more categories (which completes the wave of predictions for all 24 categories over the past week). 


1) Avengers: Infinity War
2) First Man
3) Ready Player One
4) Solo: A Star Wars Story
5 Christopher Robin


1) First Man
2) A Quiet Place
3) Black Panther
4) Roma
5) Bohemian Rhapsody


1) A Star Is Born
2) First Man
3) Roma
4) Black Panther
5) Bohemian Rhapsody


1) Vice
2) Mary queen of Scots
3) Border


1) Bao
2) Animal Behavior
3) Weekends
4) Late Afternoon
5) One Small Step


1) Period. End of Sentence.
2) End Game
3) A Night at the Garden
4) Lifeboat
5) Black Sheep


1) Marguerite
2) Detainment
3) Fauve
4) Skin
5) Mother


Photo via IMDb

 A note here on the passing of this past weekend of five time Oscar nominee Albert Finney.  Finney has a spot in my heart since his role as mobster kingpin Leo in what is probably my favorite Coen Brothers film Miller's Crossing.

Four of Finney's Oscar nominations were for Male Lead: Tom Jones, Murder on the Orient Express, The Dresser and Under the Volcano.  He was also nominated for Supporting Actor in Erin Brockovich.  He turned down a knighthood in 2000.

Finney was 82.

Here's Indiewire's story on Finney's death.

That's the MTFB for this Monday.  More on Thursday.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Updated Oscar Predictions for Seven Categories / New Gurus of Gold / You Can't Rule It Out / First Look at Berlin's First Film

Good Thursday to all you TFF fans...



1) Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
2) Incredibles 2
3) Isle of Dogs
4) Mirai
5) Ralph Breaks the Internet


1) If Beale Street Could Talk
2) Mary Poppins Returns
3) Isle of Dogs
4) Black Panther
5) BlacKkKlansman


1) Shallow/A Star Is Born
2) All the Stars/Black Panther
3) I'll Fight/RBG
4) The Place Where Lost Things Go/Mary Poppins Returns
5) When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings/The Ballad of Buster Scruggs


1) Roma
2) Cold War
3) A Star Is Born
4) The Favourite
5) Never Look Away


1) The Favourite
2) Mary Poppins Returns
3) Black Panther
4) Bohemian Rhapsody
5) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs


1) The Favourite
2) Black Panther
3) Mary Poppins Returns
4) First Man
5) Roma


1) Vice
2) BlacKkKlansman
3) The Favourite
4) Bohemian Rhapsody
5) Green Book


Here's the link to the latest Oscar predictions from The Gurus of Gold at Movie City News.  They're linked here.  I'm in relatively good shape in as far as the collective predictions are concerned except in Film Editing where I'm way, way in a different place than the rest of the Gurus.


I started seeing hints on Twitter the last couple of days that Martin Scorsese's The Irishman will likely have a theatrical release in September (perhaps late September) before its streaming release on Netflix, which is the money behind the film.  Jordan Ruimy of World of Reel tweeted this on Tuesday night:

Additionally, Ruimy posted a short story on his site which you can see here.

Of course, should this prove out, then the film, which is probably the most anticipated film of the year, has a window to screen at Telluride as well as Venice (if it doesn't screen in Cannes and my money says it screens at Cannes...assuming that fest and Netflix can come to some sort of mutually acceptable set of conditions-see my last post from Feb. 4th) and Toronto.

Making this all the more possible is the success this season of the Netflix produces Roma and should Roma ultimately win the Best Picture Oscar in two and a half weeks the chances of a T-ride play probably increase.

Stay tuned...


Lone Scherfig's The Kindness of Strangers will open the Berlin Film Fest today.  The film is one of the Berlin titles that seems to me to have potential to be selected for The SHOW's 2019 lineup.

Deadline reported Tuesday that the film's producers have released a trailer for the film.  You can find that story and the embedded trailer here.

The Kindness of Strangers stars Zoe Kazan, Caleb Landry Jones, Andrea Riseborough and Bill Nighy and, in addition to opening the fest, will be one of the film's in competition for the Golden Bear.

Meanwhile, here is more coverage of the Berlinale from Indiewire with a story from David Ehrlich, Kate Erbland and Jude Dry looking at what they say are the ten most anticipated titles of the fest including several that are on my TFF #46 watch list including Mr. Jones, By the Grace of God, The Golden Glove and Varda by Agnes.

That's your MTFB update for this Thursday.  I'll have more on Monday.


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Monday, February 4, 2019

The Directors Fete Cuaron / My Current Oscar Predictions in Ten Categories / Country Music In Telluride? / Rumors of a New Cannes Policy

Welcome to February Ladies and Germs...


Photo via Reuters

The Directors Guild of America awarded Alfonso Cuaron their highest honor for feature film making on Saturday night naming him the 2018's outstanding director for Roma.

Some of the Oscarati (the Oscar punditry class...of which, by dint of my presence as a Movie City Guru of Gold, I guess I am now a member) are suggesting that the win points to Roma as the likely front runner for Oscar's Best Picture trophy.

I've had Roma at the top of my predix for about a month now and the DGA win makes me breathe a little easier...but not much.  I still think the Best Picture race is incredibly fluid with Green Book, BlacKkKlansman, A Star Is Born and Black Panther...maybe even Bohemian Rhapsody as possible winners when the envelope gets opened on Feb. 24th.

At any rate, Cuaron wins his second DGA in five years (after winning for Gravity) and is very likely to win the directing Oscar now as well regardless of how the Best Picture race shakes out.  It appears Roma could win Picture, Direction, Foreign Language Film and Cinematography.  Should that happen, Cuaron might well walk off the stage with four trophies...

DGA coverage is linked here from Variety and also from Indiewire.


Here's my latest take on predicting Oscar winners in select categories...


1) Roma
2) BlacKkKlansman
3) Green Book
4) A Star Is Born
5) Black Panther
6) Bohemian Rhapsody
7) Vice
8) The Favourite


1) Alfonso Cuaron/Roma
2) Spike Lee/BlacKkKlansman
3) Adam McKay/Vice
4) Yorgos Lanthimos/The Favourite
5) Pawel Pawlikowski/Cold War


1) Glenn Close/The Wife
2) Lady Gaga/A Star Is Born
3) Olivia Colman/The Favourite
4) Melissa McCarthy/Can You Ever Forgive Me
5) Yalitza Aparicio/Roma


1) Regina King/If Beale Street Could Talk
2) Amy Adams/Vice
3) Emma Stone/The Favourite
4) Rachel Weisz/The Favourite
5) Maris de Tavira/Roma


1) Christian Bale/Vice***
2) Rami Malek/Bohemian Rhapsody***
3) Bradley Cooper/A Star Is Born
4) Viggo Mortensen/Green Book
5) Willem Dafoe/At Etrenity's Gate

***although this feels squeaky close now


1) Mahershala Ali/Green Book
2) Richard E. Grant/Can You Ever Forgive Me
3) Sam Elliott/A Star Is Born
4) Adam Driver/BlacKkKlansman
5) Sam Rockwell/Vice


1) Green Book
2) The Favourite
3) Roma
4) Vice
5) First Reformed


1) BlacKkKlansman
2) If Beale Street Could Talk
3) Can You Ever Forgive Me
4) A Star Is Born
5) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs


1) Roma
2) Cold War
3) Shoplifters
4) Capernaum
5) Never Look Away


1) RBG
2) Free Solo
3) Minding the Gap
4) Hale County This Evening-This Morning
5) Of Fathers and Sons

Final Oscar voting begins next week on Feb. 12th.


Photo via IMDb

Ken Burns latest multi-part documentary focuses on the history of country music in these United States.  The venerable documentarian's eight part 16+ hour presentation is set to premiere on PBS on Sept. 15th.

That means, as many Telluride veterans will surmise, that some of the Burns doc (or, hell, maybe all of the Burns doc) could well shoe up at The SHOW.

I certainly would be less than stunned if that were the case.  I could also foresee the possible inclusion of some of the individuals Burns includes in the doc as guests to the festival.  Maybe even a concert or two.

The Los Angeles Times posted a lengthy story about the project on Friday that you can find linked here.  Some folks that are reported to be included in the doc (and therefore fair game for TFF #46 speculation are: Vince Gill (who of late has been serving as a stand-in Eagle...but their current bookings only run to July 4th), Emmylou Harris (yes please) and Roseanne Cash.


Perhaps stung by last year's inability to strike a deal with Netflix to screen many of the films that the streaming giant had in its film pantry (such as, you know, Roma), The Playlist was reporting this weekend that the world's most famous film festival may have an offer for Netflix to consider in an attempt to lure some of its titles to the Croisette in May.

Charles Barfield wrote that a french journalist was tweeting...yes, I know, it sounds pretty shaky...that Cannes would offer to allow/invite Netflix titles to play in competition with the stipulation that should one of their films win an award that it would then be required to screen in French theaters.

The Playlist story does not suggest that the French law that requires a three year window between theatrical release and streaming would be altered in any way and that was the reported impasse in the past.

Why is this of interest to Telluride Film fans?  Because of the longtime record of films that the two fests have shared over the decades.  In the years since I've been attending (since 2006), the average overlap has been 7-8 films each year.  That's the most significant statistical correlation with any film festival.  So, what happens at Cannes almost always has some ripple effect regarding the TFF lineup for that year.

The complete story from The Playlist is linked here.

That's today's MTFB.  I'll have more on Thursday including a look at Oscar predictions for another seven categories.


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