Sunday, January 21, 2018

CONTEST: See Who's Playing!


The time has come! In less than two days, this year's Oscar nominees will be announced. And as we wait in anticipation of the big day, 21 bloggers have signed up to test their predicting skills in the 6th annual Film Actually Oscar Contest. Among this year's entries are former winners Gautam and Joseph, as well as newbies like Edward Douglas from The Tracking Board. So get ready for a close competition and be sure to visit all the blogs below and show them some love. Good luck!

Me! - Film Actually
Edward - The Tracking Board
DeanyDeany Hendrick Cheng @ Medium
Heather - That Film Girl
Tony - Coogs Reviews
Stewart - Talkie Gazette
Gautam - The Cinemaholic (2014 and 2017 winner!)
Todd - All My Life I Wanted To Be a Blogster
Murtada - ME_Says (2015 runner-up!)*
Daniel - Chicago Cinema Circuit
Josh - The Cinematic Spectacle
Sam - Sam Watches Movies
Matt F. - Movie Awards Plus
Joe - The MN Movie Man
John - John Likes Movies
Joseph - For Your Consideration (2016 winner!)
Paul - Paul's Trip to the Movies
Jay - Life vs Film
Terence - Le Noir Auteur
Trevor - Trevor's View on Hollywood
Rob - MovieRob
Craig - Citizen Craig

*Winner decided on tiebreaker.

Remember:
- Your predictions are due by 6PM EST on Jan 22nd. They will then be posted here on a spreadsheet for everyone to see.
- Remember: once you have sent me the link, those will be entered as your FINAL predictions. No further changes will be accepted.

Click here for a reminder of all the rules/instructions.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

OSCAR WATCH: SAG Predictions


It's the last stop on the awards tour and it's a big one! Tomorrow night, the Screen Actors Guild will host their 24th awards ceremony and it's going to be an interesting indicator for the acting races. The 4 frontrunners - Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney - could potentially seal the deal if they win again. And I think that's exactly what's going to happen. Here's how I see it playing out:

Best Cast in a Motion Picture
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Male Actor in a Leading Role

Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”

Best Female Actor in a Leading Role
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

REVIEW: On Body and Soul


Cinematic romance is often remembered for grand gestures. A passionate kiss in the rain, a last-gasp chase at the airport, a profound declaration of love. But there are others like “In Mood for Love” which take a more restrained approach. Ildikó Enyedi’s “On Body and Soul” falls into the latter camp, telling a unique story that portrays love on a mystical level.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

INTERVIEW: Ziad Doueiri


Ask Ziad Doueiri and he will tell you that he doesn’t make political films. But when you see his latest effort “The Insult” there’s no denying a politically engaged voice behind his filmmaking. Despite controversy surrounding his previous film (which even lead to his arrest), Doueiri continues to fearlessly spotlight unpleasant sociopolitical tensions in the Middle East with this gripping courtroom drama. Recently, I spoke to Doueiri to learn more about the background behind “The Insult” and its significance. In our interview, he was very candid about how his personal experiences with censorship and politics affected the film. Below is an edited version of our discussion.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

REVIEW: The Insult


Ziad Doueiri’s “The Insult," one of 9 films shortlisted for the Foreign Language Oscar, begins with a seemingly trivial altercation. A man named Yasser (Kamel El Basha) is tasked with fixing building code violations in a Lebanese community. One day at work, he is doused by a overhead drainpipe, which is illegally protruding from the home of a man named Tony (Adel Karam). Yasser informs Tony of the violation and asks him to fix the problem, but Tony refuses. Feeling an obligation to do his job, Yasser decides to fix the pipe without permission, which offends Tony and aggravates him to destroy the new installation. Now both men feel insulted, exchanging inflammatory words. All of this could be solved with an apology – which is what Tony requests – but of course, it’s not that simple.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

INTERVIEW: Chris Overton


Depicting an important topic we don’t often think about, “The Silent Child” is one of the most poignant and meaningful of this year’s shortlisted films for the Best Live Action Short Oscar. This tender-hearted drama is directed by Chris Overton, based on a story written by his fiancé Rachel Shenton, who also stars in the film. Shenton plays a social worker named Joanne, who takes a keen interest in the deaf child of middle class family and teaches her how to communicate. As their relationship grows, both Joanne and Libby’s lives are changed for the better. Recently I had the pleasure to speak to Overton, as we discussed his tender approach to the story and the importance of its commonly neglected message.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

INTERVIEW: Katja Bentrah


If your think shorts can’t be as powerful as feature-length films, then you probably haven’t seen “Watu Wote: All of us“. Based on a true story, this Oscar-shortlisted drama follows the harrowing experience of a group of bus passengers in 2015 Kenya, where tensions between Christians and Muslims are at an all-time high. As “Watu Wote: All of us” unfolds, the reason for this disharmony is revealed with palpable intensity, as a terrorist group attempts an attack. But what happens next comes as a surprise to both the terrorists and the audience. I recently caught up with director Katja Bentrah via phone, as we discussed how she turned this amazing story into an award-winning film. Below is an edited version of that interview.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

Friday, January 12, 2018

OSCAR WATCH: Critics Choice Awards


Just when you think you've got this Oscar race figured out, the Critics Choice throws up a surprise. While it seemed like "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" might steamroll through the season, it was "The Shape of Water" that came out on top last night. Guillermo del Toro's fantasy romance won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Production Design and Best Original Score to clinch the most awards. I'm now starting to think it can go all the way. Up next is the SAG Awards, where it's not up for the top prize. So things could get even more interesting ahead of the Oscar nominations. While we continue our attempt to make sense of the season, here are this year's Critics Choice winners for your perusal:

BEST PICTURE
The Shape of Water

BEST DIRECTOR
Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

BEST ACTOR
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

BEST ACTRESS
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

OSCAR WATCH: Critics Choice Predictions


Awards season train is charging right along as we head to our next major stop - the Critics Choice Awards. "The Shape of Water" leads all films in terms of nominations, but will it come out on top? Here are my predictions for tomorrow night's show.

BEST PICTURE
Lady Bird

BEST DIRECTOR
Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

BEST ACTOR
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

BEST ACTRESS
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

OSCAR WATCH: BAFTA Nominations


In the wee hours of the morning, the BAFTA nominations were announced and they've further complicated this unpredictable awards season. While "The Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" continued to gain momentum, the Brits went out on a limb for a few other films with local flavor, including "Darkest Hour" and "Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool". It's going if any of that translates to Oscar, as BAFTA love is often a strong indicator of Academy support. Here is the full list of BAFTA nominees:

Best Film
Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Best Director
Denis Villeneuve –​ Blade Runner 2049
Luca Guadagnino – Call Me By Your Name
Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk
Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Best Actor
Timothée Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name
Jamie Bell – Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
Daniel Day Lewis – Phantom Thread
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

Best Actress
Annette Bening – Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool
Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird

Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer – All The Money In The World
Hugh Grant – Paddington 2
Woody Harrelson - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project

Best Supporting Actress

Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Kristen Scott Thomas – Darkest Hour
Lesley Manville – Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer – The Shape of Water