88th Academy Award Nomination Predictions

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Jan 122016


With the nominees in the 88th Academy Awards to be announced in the early hours of Friday morning here in Australia, we thought we would reveal our predictions as to who those anticipated nominees might be.

These predictions have come from a mix of influences – keeping up with the race, referring to ‘experts’ commentary and tips, keeping tabs on the nominees and winners at the various critics awards, Guilds and ceremonies, and mere speculation. These do not necessarily reflect who we think ‘should’ be nominated. It has been one of the most unpredictable awards seasons in some years, so we are far from certain about any of these categories.

So, after the jump, check out who our predicted nominees are, with a series of alternatives (in order of likelihood). Continue reading »

2016 Golden Globe Winners

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Jan 112016


The Hollywood Foreign Press Association have selected the winners for the 2016 Golden Globe Awards, presented today. I didn’t get the chance to catch any of the ceremony, again hosted by Ricky Gervais, and apart from snippets of tweets and the odd photographed celebrity (Kirsten Dunst was particularly eye-catching) the winners were the business at hand. The Revenant and The Martian took out Best Motion Picture – Drama and Musical or Comedy respectively, claiming five awards between them, with Steve Jobs joining them as the only other film to end the night looking greedy.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu won his second straight Golden Globe (Best Director for The Revenant to follow up Best Screenplay for Birdman), while Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson staked their claim as the Oscar favourites, winning for their widely-acclaimed performances. Sylvester Stallone was honoured for Best Supporting Actor for his career-best work in Creed, while another veteran, Ennio Morricone, was also celebrated for his original score contribution to The Hateful Eight. 

So, what do these victories mean for the Academy Award nominations? Nothing. The voting for those nominees has now closed. What it does do is shift the momentum for certain films and individuals. The crossover between the two is becoming less predictable, but this is shaping up to be one of the wildest, most unpredictable award seasons in recent years. It is expected that today’s winners will at least receive an Oscar nomination, but apart from perhaps DiCaprio, who looks the likely Best Actor winner, the Academy could go a whole different way.

The Revenant’s success was surprising. It is an extraordinary film, and thoroughly deserved to win, but considering the loud negative reaction we didn’t foresee a large body of voters agreeing on it. The Martian’s victory (and Damon’s for Best Actor-Comedy) in an ill-suited category is less significant, but the fact that it beat the film with the most momentum and the widely predicted winner in The Big Short, does make one re-evaluate The Martian’s chances. Jobs too has been quietly landing acting nominations for cast Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, and Aaron Sorkin’s script, but both victories today (for Winslet and Sorkin) were unexpected. Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight is the film that lost a lot of momentum today. When it failed to win Best Screenplay, that film’s big trump card, we knew it was in trouble.

The winners in the film categories are after the jump. For the rest of the winners, visit the Golden Globes website: Continue reading »

2015 WGA Nominees

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Jan 072016


The Writers Guild of America this morning announced their nominees for Best Original and Adapted Screenplay, and the selections are strong and diverse. As usual, Oscar prognosticators shouldn’t get too excited about these nominees because there are some major films ineligible for consideration, but it has made the race even more interesting.

Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies



Straight Outta Compton


Not eligible for the nominations were genuine Oscar chances Inside Out, The Hateful Eight, Ex Machina and Son of Saul, but one would expect that Bridge of Spies and Spotlight will almost certainly be recognised by the Academy. Sicario and Straight Outta Compton follow up their PGA nominations with more recognition here, which makes their chances much stronger than they were a week ago.


Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short


The Martian

Steve Jobs


Not eligible were Room, Brooklyn, Anomalisa and 45 Years, but I can only see one of these making it into the Oscar field. The Big Short, Carol, Steve Jobs and The Martian seem like sure things now, with either Brooklyn or Room (depending on which scores a Best Picture nomination, and that is looking more like Brooklyn at the moment) joining them. Trumbo has been favoured, scoring multiple SAG nominations, and can’t be discounted for a Best Picture nomination either.

The Writers Guild of America Awards will be held February 13.

2015 PGA Nominees

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Jan 062016


The 2015 Producers Guild of America have named their nominees for 2015 in film. With a large crossover with the Academy voters, this is a pretty solid guide.

While the favourites Spotlight, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian are all present and accounted for, there are some pleasantly surprising inclusions – notably Ex Machina and Sicario. While they have been appearing on many critics’ Top 10 lists, their Oscar chances seemed relegated to the technical categories at best.

In terms of nominees, between the PGA and Oscar Best Picture there is rarely a film for film match (Nightcrawler and Foxcatcher were both nominated by the PGA last year), so there is still hope for exclusions Carol (?), Room, The Hateful Eight and The Force Awakens. But the winner of the PGA almost always goes on to win Best Picture so we’re pretty certain our winner is listed below. Inside Out was acknowledged in the Animated category so it still has a shot of making the eventual Best Picture field.

While some nominees like The Big Short and Straight Outta Compton may seem like a surprise, they have been building up momentum, and the Ensemble Cast nomination at the SAG Awards is another one they share.

Here are the nominees:

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies


Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant



Straight Outta Compton


The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:


The Good Dinosaur

Inside Out


The Peanuts Movie

Oscars: Foreign Language Short-list Announced

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Dec 182015

son of saul

9 feature films have been selected from a list of 80 to advance to the next round of voting for the foreign Language Film category for the 88th Academy Awards. While Hungarian entry Son of Saul. and France’s Mustang both advanced as expected, several critically-acclaimed titles have missed out. Surprisingly, the entire Asian region has been entirely shut out of the competition. It was expected that at least Taiwan’s The Assassin (directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien) would make the cut. While I am not a huge fan of the film, it has been highly praised. The Assassin was announced as BFI Sight & Sound magazine’s number 1 film of 2015.

South America and the Middle East are represented by one film each, Columbia’s Embrace of the Serpent, and Jordan’s Theeb respectively, with the remaining 7 films from the short-list coming from Europe. Although Europe is the most represented, there are some big films missing. The wonderfully dark Rams from Iceland was widely tipped to make the cut, as was Sweden’s A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence from director Roy Andersson.

As I am yet to see a single film from the list below, I am unable to have an opinion on any of them. The 5 films which will compete for the Oscar will be announced along with the other nominees on January 14.

The short-list is:

Belgium, “The Brand New Testament,” Jaco Van Dormael, director;
Colombia, “Embrace of the Serpent,” Ciro Guerra, director;
Denmark, “A War,” Tobias Lindholm, director;
Finland, “The Fencer,” Klaus Härö, director;
France, “Mustang,” Deniz Gamze Ergüven, director;
Germany, “Labyrinth of Lies,” Giulio Ricciarelli, director;
Hungary, “Son of Saul,” László Nemes, director;
Ireland, “Viva,” Paddy Breathnach, director;
Jordan, “Theeb,” Naji Abu Nowar, director.

2015 Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations

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Dec 102015


The 2015 nominees from the Screen Actors Guild have been announced. The nominees here are often a very accurate guide of who will be the eventual Oscar nominees. We suspect that this year might be an exception as a number of these nominations are very surprising, given the reactions to the films.

Some of the Best Picture contenders, like Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian are going to be recgonised in other areas, but it was still a surprise to not even see Matt Damon amongst the Best Actor nominees, having been credited the award by the National Board of Review last week.

Trumbo led all nominees with three – for Lead Actor: Bryan Cranston, Supporting Actress: Helen Mirren and Ensemble Cast. Mirren also received a Lead Actress nomination for Woman in Gold, another surprise, considering the strength of that category. No Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years? Johnny Depp continues to defy expectations by gathering a Best Actor nomination for the cooly received Black Mass, while Leo DiCaprio scores his first big nomination for his amazing performance in The Revenant. Another cooly received film to score love was Tom Hoopers’ The Danish Girl, with nominations for last year’s Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (Lead) and Alicia Vikander (Supporting).

Both Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett were expectedly recognised for Carol, while Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan maintained their co-favouritism (they have been splitting awards) for Best Actress. Only Christian Bale and Rachel McAdams were individually and deservedly recognised for The Big Short and Spotlight respectively, but their wonderful ensemble casts were no-brainer nominations.

Interesting to note: supporting Actor has become a rather competitive category. Steve Carell (The Big Short), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight) and Sylvester Stallone (Creed) could all have made it into the already-strong field here and not felt out of place.

Lead Actor
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Johnny Depp, “Black Mass”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Lead Actress
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Helen Mirren, “Woman in Gold”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Sarah Silverman, “I Smile Back”

Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Michael Shannon, “99 Homes”
Jacob Tremblay, “Room”

Supporting Actress
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”
Helen Mirren, “Trumbo”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

“Beasts of No Nation”
“The Big Short”
“Straight Outta Compton”

Stunt Cast
“Furious 7″
“Jurassic World”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation”

For the full list of TV nominees, visit the SAG website.

5th AACTA Award Winners

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Dec 092015


The 5th Annual Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (the AACTAs) took place in Sydney this evening, with Mad Max: Fury Road taking Best Film and Best Director; and The Dressmaker scooping three of the four acting awards (for Kate Winselt, Judy Davis, & Hugo Weaving), as well as the people’s choice award. The fourth acting award (Best Lead Actor) was won by Michael Caton for Last Cab to Darwin.

It is fitting that Fury Road and The Dressmaker were the big winners. The two films were the highest performing at the Australian Box Office this year and were both critically praised.

At the industry awards held last month, Fury Road took home six awards including Best Visual Effects or Animation, Best Score, and Best Production Design. The Dressmaker picked up Best Costume Design.

AACTA Award For Best Film
The Dressmaker
Holding The Man
Last Cab To Darwin
Mad Max: Fury Road WINNER
Paper Planes

AACTA Award For Best Direction
The Dressmaker – Jocelyn Moorhouse
Holding The Man – Neil Armfield
Last Cab To Darwin – Jeremy Sims
Mad Max: Fury Road – George Miller WINNER

AACTA Award For Best Lead Actor
Patrick Brammall – Ruben Guthrie
Michael Caton – Last Cab To Darwin WINNER
Ryan Corr – Holding The Man
Sullivan Stapleton – Cut Snake

AACTA Award For Best Lead Actress
Roby Butler – Now Add Honey
Ningali Lawford-Wolf – Last Cab To Darwin
Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road
Kate Winslet – The Dressmaker WINNER

AACTA Award For Best Supporting Actor
Mark Coles Smith – Last Cab To Darwin
Alex Dimitriades – Ruben Guthrie
Anthony LaPaglia – Holding The Man
Hugo Weaving – The Dressmaker WINNER

AACTA Award For Best Supporting Actress
Judy Davis – The Dressmaker WINNER
Emma Hamilton – Last Cab To Darwin
Deborah Mailman – Paper Planes
Sarah Snook – The Dressmaker

AACTA People’s Choice Award for Favourite Australian Film
Mad Max: Fury Road
Last Cab to Darwin
The Dressmaker WINNER
Paper Planes

A full list of all the winners, including the television, documentary, and industry awards, can be viewed at the AACTA website

2015 Award Season Round-Up: Gotham, NBR & NYFCC Winners

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Dec 052015


The 2015 Awards Season has started and for those out there wondering what films are going to receive Oscar attention this year, the below winners suggest that it is going to be a very open and unpredictable year. Spotlight, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian and Carol are all amongst the big winners at the Gotham, National Board of Review and New York Film Critics Circle Awards – and all look to be legitimate contenders for a coveted Best Picture slot. Check out the lists of all the winners, and some commentary, after the jump:  Continue reading »