Monday, March 2, 2015

More Guesses at Oscar 88/Salt of the Earth Trailer/Acquisitions of Interest

Good Monday World...hope you had a good weekend.


MORE GUESSES AT OSCAR 88



 Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood and Joey Magidson/The Hollywood News came out with their incredibly early crystal ball look at what films might be playing for Oscar glory for 2015.

Find those predictions here:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/oscar_predicts_chart


http://www.hollywoodnews.com/2015/02/27/year-in-advance-oscar-predictions/

Thompson's picks that could have some Telluride play potential include: "45 Years", "Black Mass", "Carol", "The Danish Girl", "Demolition", "Icon", "The Last Face", "Midnight Special", "Our Brand is Crisis", "The Revenant", "Southpaw", "Steve Jobs", "Demolition" "Trumbo", "Macbeth",  "Truth" and "The Hateful Eight".

Magidson's lists each Oscar category and what he views as the most likely nominees with additional possibilities listed.  He lists 10 possible Best Picture nominees plus an additional 15 films that could get a BP nomination.  From that list, these are the films with the highest Telluride potential (Many of which you'll see above on Thompson's list):

"Our Brand is Crisis", "The Hateful Eight", "The Revenant", "Steve Jobs", "Demolition", "Carol", "Black Mass", "Freeheld", "Southpaw",and "Macbeth".


TRAILER FOR "SALT OF THE EARTH"




FirstShowing.net posted a story and the trailer for Wim Wenders TFF #41 Oscar nominated documentary "The Salt of the Earth"  Check the story and the trailer here:


http://www.firstshowing.net/2015/watch-trailer-for-sebastiao-salgados-the-salt-of-the-earth-doc/



ACQUISITIONS OF INTEREST



Two deals went down this week that could conceivably set the stage for films that are in the works to ultimately make their way to the San Juans in the next year or two.  we found out that The Weinstein Company has acquired the distribution for the upcoming McDonald's mogul (Ray Kroc) biopic starring recent Oscar nominee Michael Keaton (PS...saw "Theory of Everything" this weekend...Keaton was robbed).  The film is currently titled "The Founder" and is set to be directed by John Lee Hancock ("The Blind Side").

Here's that story from Variety:

http://variety.com/2015/film/news/weinstein-co-buys-michael-keatons-mcdonalds-movie-the-founder-1201443179/


Also of interest was the news that Kino Lorber had picked up distribution for Berlin film fest winner "Taxi" from Iranian guerrilla film maker Jafar Panahi.  Kino Lorber was last represented at Telluride in 2013 with "Manuscripts Don't Burn".

Here's the announcement from Variety and Ioncinema:

http://variety.com/2015/film/news/berlin-winner-taxi-bought-for-u-s-by-kino-lorber-1201441629/


http://www.ioncinema.com/news/acquisitions-foreign-films/kino-lorber-get-behind-the-wheel-of-panahis-taxi



More on Thursday...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Telluride and Oscar in 2015/Already Oscar #88 Musings/News and Notes from Past Tellurides/Birdman Action Figure Commercial


Good Thursday everyone.

TELLURIDE AND OSCAR



As you might expect, I didn't shy away from mentioning on Monday that with "Birdman's" Best Picture Oscar win on Sunday night that Telluride has now hosted the Best Pic winner for the last five consecutive years and six of the last seven.

As you might also expect, I'm not the only one who noticed.  Kristopher Tapley, who, by the by, had the best prognostication record among the Oscar experts at 20/24 and who is an annual Telluride attendee, made note of it as well in this post that appeared earlier this week:


http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/birdman-oscar-win-again-proves-telluride-an-oscar-season-good-luck-charm


ALREADY OSCAR #88 MUSINGS



As expected, the body of the 87th Oscars isn't even cold yet, but Oscar detectives have already started mulling over the next edition with some fearless picks about what films could make the cut a year from now.  Their musings also give us some information to mull an=bout some of the films that could be programmed for TFF #42.  Check predictions from The Hollywood Reporter and The Chicago Sun Times:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/oscars-2016-predictions-best-picture-774353


http://entertainment.suntimes.com/movies/2016-oscars-guessing-game-begins/


NEWS AND NOTES FROM PAST TELLURIDES




I stumbled across a couple of interesting news bits this week that included past Telluride Film Festival connections.

The former President of the Maldives who was featured in the TFF documentary "The Isalnd President" has been arrested and charged with treason in the Maldives and Clark Terry, one of the musicians involved with the doc "Keep On Keepin' On" died.  Both of those stories are here from The New York Times and Time.com:


http://time.com/3718344/maldives-president-mohamed-nasheed-arrest-protests-charges-terrorism/


http://time.com/3718438/clark-terry-obit-jazz-trumpeter-educator/




BIRDMAN ACTION FIGURE FAUX COMMERCIAL

And finally, from the whimsy department.  A commercial exists for a Birdman action figure.  Check it here:



Rope of Silicon has the story:

http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/watch-birdman-action-figure-commercial/


More on Monday...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscar in the Rear View-Birdman Wins Best Picture

Good Monday everyone,

OSCAR IN THE REVIEW



The 87th Academy Awards closed the awards season last night with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's  "Birdman" (TFF 41) winning the big prize for Best Picture.  "Birdman" also won for Direction, Original Screenplay and Cinematography.

Those were four of the seven won by Telluride programmed films.  The others were single trophies for "Feast"-Best Animated Short, "The Imitation Game"-Best Adapted Screenplay and "Ida" (TFF #40)-Best Foreign Language Film.

For the fifth consecutive year and the sixth time out of the last seven years, the Best Picture winner ran through Telluride:

2008-Slumdog Millionaire
2010- The King's Speech
2011- The Artist
2012- Argo
2013-12 Years a Slave
2014- Birdman

Other winners from Sunday night were:

"The Grand Budapest Hotel"- Best Production Design, Best Costumes. Best Makeup/Hair, Best Original Score for a total of four wins to tie "Birdman" for the largest number of wins.

"Whiplash" picked up three awards: Best Supporting Actor-J.K. Simmons,  Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing.

No other film had more than one win including the film that was thought to be the co-frontrunner with "Birdman", "Boyhood".  "Boyhood" won only Patricia Arquette's Best Supporting Actress trophy.

Other winners:

Best Actor; Eddie Redmayne/"The Theory of Everything"
Best Actress: Julianne Moore/"Still Alice"
Best Doc: "Citizenfour"
Best Adapted Screenplay: "The Imitation Game"
Best Sound Editing: "American Sniper"
Best Visual Effects: "Interstellar"
Best Song: "Glory" from "Selma"
Best Animated Feature: "Big Hero 6"
Best Foreign Language Film: "Ida"
Best Animated Short: "Feast"
Best Short Doc: "Crisis Hotline"
Best Live Action Short: "The Phone Call"


Ina very weird turn, each of the eight Best Picture nominees won at least one Oscar.

The FAC went 20/24 on the night for 83% success on predictions.  The FAC missed Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Score and Animated Feature.

That's it for Oscar coverage for this year.  The Blog returns to its full time obsession with the Telluride Film Festival and the possible players for TFF #42.

Thanks for playing...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Final Film Awards Clearinghouse Oscar Predictions/Updated Oscar Predictions from the Experts/Independent Spirits: Bird and Boy

It's Oscar morning in America Ladies and Germs...

THE FINAL FILM AWARDS CLEARINGHOUSE OSCAR PREDICTIONS

Here it is friends, the last stab at trying to sort out Oscar's choices before the show goes live tonight. As always. these predictions are strictly for fun and entertainment...no wagering...

Last year THE FAC was 22 of 24 for a 91.7% accuracy.  This year won't be that good.

Past year's accuracy:

2013: 18 of 24 = 75%
2012: 18 of 24 = 75%
2011: 17 of 21 = 81%
2010: 14 of 24 = 58.3%


The FAC  uses the published predictions of the following to develop its list of likely Oscar winners:



Kristopher Tapley/InContention/HitFix
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Bred Brevet/Rope of Silicon
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter


THE LOCKS:  These films and folks are 99% certain to pick up hardware tonight:

Julianne Moore- Best Actress for "Still Alice"
Patricia Arquette-Best Supporting Actress for "Boyhood"
JK Simmons-Best Supporting Actor for "Whiplash"
"Citizenfour"-Best Documentary
"Birdman"-Best Cinematography
"Boyhood"-Film Editing 
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"-Best Production Design

THE VERY PROBABLE...BUT...

"The Grand Budapest Hotel"-Best Costumes (but an outside shot for "Into the Woods")
"How to Train Your Dragon 2"- Best Animated Feature (Spoiler: "Big Hero 6")
"Glory" from "Selma"-Best Original Song (Outside shot: "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from "I'll Be Me")
"American Sniper"-Best Sound Editing (Spoiler" "Birdman")


THE LIKELY BUT AN UPSET IS ALSO VERY POSSIBLE

Eddie Redmayne-Best Actor for "The Theory of Everything".  Michael Keaton could still surprise with  a win for "Birdman" but that's certainly NOT the way the experts see this category.  Still, I'm going to step away from my own FAC metric and pick a Keaton win here.  Mostly because it's what I want to happen here.

"Ida"-Best Foreign Language Film.  "Wild Tales" or "Leviathan" could sneak away with the award.  The FAC stays with "Ida"

"The Grand Budapest Hotel"-Best Makeup/Hair though either "Guardians of the Galaxy" or "Foxcatcher" could surprise.

"American Sniper"-Best Sound Mixing.  "Birdman" is your potential upset winner here.

"Interstellar"-Best Visual Effects.  The spoiler could be "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" or "Guardians of the Galaxy".


THE "TOO CLOSE TO CALL" BUT WE'RE GOING TO CALL THEM ANYWAY:

BEST ANIMATED SHORT: Three films with a realistic choice here.  THE FAC SAYS: "Feast" but look out for "The Dam Keeper" or "The Bigger Picture".

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: Any of the five could win.  "Parveneh", "Boogaloo and Graham", "Butter Lamp", "Aya" but THE FAC SAYS: "Phone Call".

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT:  A tight, tight race but THE FAC SAYS: "Crisis Hotline" edges "Joanna"

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE- A barn burner between "The Theory of Everything" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel"  THE FAC SAYS: "The Theory of Everything".

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: "The Imitation Game" won the WGA ans the USC Scripter awards but "Whiplash" has come on strong since it was discovered that The Academy regarded the script as adapted from an earlier short version of the film rather than an original script.  Also, there is thought to be strong support for "American Sniper".  THE FAC SAYS: "The Imitation Game"

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: It's "Budapest" versus "Birdman" versus "Boyhood"  with "Budapest" holding the edge here in the last FAC chart.  THE FAC SAYS: "The Grand Budapest Hotel".  If a "Birdman" mini-sweep evolves, and I think it could, this could end up being  a part of that.

BEST DIRECTOR:  The last FAC had this as a dead heat between Alejandro Inarritu/"Birdman" and Richard Linklater/"Boyhood" with the edge going to Linklater and a split between Best Director and Best Picture likely.  I wrote then that I was sensing a shift to an Inarritu win.  THE FINAL FAC SAYS: Inarritu!

BEST PICTURE: THE FAC SAYS: "BIRDMAN" over "Boyhood".

If a "Birdman" wave occurs, it could win Picture, Director, Actor, Original Screenplay, Cinematography and Sound Mixing.


FINAL PREDICTIONS FROM THE EXPERTS


Sasha Stone/Awards Daily: http://www.awardsdaily.com/big-bad-predictions-chart/  http://www.awardsdaily.com/main-tech-predictions/

Peter Howell/The Toronto Star:  http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies/2015/02/19/toronto-star-movie-critic-peter-howell-picks-boyhood-for-best-picture-oscar.html

MetaCritic:  http://www.metacritic.com/feature/final-predictions-for-the-2015-academy-awards



The Hollywood Reporter/Scott Feinberg and Todd McCarthy:


The Wrap/Steve Pond:





Kristopher Tapley/InContention:



Joey Magidson/Awards Circuit:



Cara Buckley/The Carpetbagger:



Richard Corliss/Time:



Tomris Laffley/Popcorn Business:





INDEPENDENT SPIRITS: BIRD AND BOY

The Independent Spirit Awards were handed out yesterday honoring the best in American independent cinema.  "Birdman" won three trophies: Picture, Actor and Cinematography while "Boyhood" won for Best Direction and Supporting Actress.  The complete coverage is here from The Playlist:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/the-2015-indie-spirit-award-winners-as-theyre-announced-20150221

 I'll have more tomorrow in my regular Monday post-post Oscar post and, as you might expect< I'll be live-tweeting tonight as the ceremony is unfolding.  Find me on Twitter @Gort2

Friday, February 20, 2015

Updated Final Oscar Predictions from the Experts

UPDATED FINAL OSCAR PREDICTIONS FROM THE EXPERTS




Gurus of Gold:

http://moviecitynews.com/2015/02/gurus-o-gold-the-final-vote-every-category-1-of-2/

Awards Circuit/Clayton Davis:


The Hollywood Reporter/Scott Feinberg and Todd McCarthy:


The Wrap/Steve Pond:





Kristopher Tapley/InContention:



Joey Magidson/Awards Circuit:



Cara Buckley/The Carpetbagger:



Richard Corliss/Time:



Tomris Laffley/Popcorn Business:



More updated predictions as they become available!!!  LOOK FOR THE FINAL FAC ON SUNDAY MORNING!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sixteen Oscar Categories/The Big Eight Again/Final Predictions from the Experts

Good Thursday Everyone...Oscar happens in 3 days!

SIXTEEN OSCAR CATEGORIES



Here's where The Film Awards Clearinghouse is as far the "below-the-line" Oscar categories are concerned.

The FAC uses the published predictions of the following to develop its list of likely Oscar winners:



Kristopher Tapley/InContention/HitFix
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Bred Brevet/Rope of Silicon
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter



Telluride #41 films are Bold. 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

1) How to Train Your Dragon 2
2) Big Hero 6
3) The Boxtrolls
4) The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
5) Song of the Sea

Comment:  "Dragon's" lead is substantial.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

1) Citizenfour
2) Virunga
3) The Last Days of Vietnam
4) Finding Vivian Maier
5) Salt of the Earth

Comment: It's a huge surprise if "Citizenfour" doesn't win.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM



1) Ida
2) Wild Tales
3) Leviathan
4) Timbuktu
5) Tangerines

Comment:  "Ida" is out front, but any of the top three films could win.


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

1) Birdman
2) The Grand Budapest Hotel
3) Mr. Turner
4) Unbroken
5) Ida

Comment: "Birdman" easily.  Lubezki wins second in a row.

BEST COSTUMES

1) The Grand Budapest Hotel
2) Into the Woods
3) Mr. Turner
4) Malificent
5) Inherent Vice

Comment: "Budapest" is likely but "Into the Woods" could surprise.

BEST FILM EDITING



1) Boyhood
2) Whiplash
3) American Sniper
4) The Grand Budapest Hotel
5) The Imitation Game

Comment: "Boyhood's" perceived lead is huge.  Personally, I could see a "Whiplash" upset here.

BEST MAKEUP/HAIR

1) The Grand Budapest Hotel
2) Guardians of the Galaxy
3) Foxcatcher

Comment:  A "Budapest" win is very likely but not a slam dunk.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

1) The Grand Budapest Hotel (tie)
2) The Theory of Everything
3) The Imitation Game
4) Interstellar
5) Mr. Turner

Comment: This race is a dead heat with "Budapest" getting the edge based on #1 positions among the experts I analyze.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG



1) Glory/Selma
2) I'm not Gonna Miss You/I'll Be Me
3) Everything is Awesome/The LEGO Movie
4) Lost Stars/Begin Again
5) Grateful/Beyond the Lights

Comment: "Glory"   has the edge in a notoriously difficult category to predict.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

1) The Grand Budapest Hotel
2) Into the Woods
3) Mr. Turner
4) The Imitation Game
5) Interstellar

Comment: "Budapest" with a substantial edge here.

BEST SOUND EDITING

1) American Sniper
2) Birdman
3) Interstellar
4) Unbroken
5) The Hobbit: Smaug

Comment:  "Sniper" has a solid lead.

BEST SOUND MIXING



1) American Sniper
2) Birdman
3) Whiplash
4) Interstellar
5) Unbroken

Comment: "Sniper's" position is less secure here as opposed to Sound Editing...

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

1) Interstellar
2) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
3) Guardians of the Galaxy
4) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
5) X-Men: Days of Future Past

Comment: This is a close race between the top three in the category.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

1) The Bigger Picture (3 way tie)
2) Feast
2) The Dam Keeper
4) A Single Life
5) Me and My Moulton

Comment: This race is too close to call between all three of the top listed films.  "Bigger Picture" got The FAC nod as it's listed at the top by two of the experts.  Frankly, I'm leaning toward "The Dam Keeper".

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT



1) Crisis Hotline
2) Joanna
3) The Reaper
4) White Earth
5) Our Curse

Comment: a two film race between "Crisis" and "Joanna".

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

1) The Phone Call
2) Parveneh
3) Boogaloo and Graham
4) Butter Lamp
5) Aya

Comment: "Phone Call" with a slight edge in a category that any of the five could win.


THE BIG EIGHT AGAIN

This is a re-post of the Big Eight categories that I posted on Sunday.  EXPECT AN UPDATE ON OSCAR MORNING!!!

BEST PICTURE



1) Birdman
2) Boyhood
3) The Imitation Game
4) American Sniper
5) The Grand Budapest Hotel
6) Selma
7) The Theory of Everything
8) Whiplash

Comment:  "Birdman" and "Boyhood" swap spots at the top of the chart as a result of "Birdman" guild wins in the past few eeks (PGA, DGA, SAG) but it is soooooo close.  The metric I use, has them separated by one point...ONE.  Four experts say "Bird": Feinberg, Brevet, Davis and Knegt. Stone, Tapley and Thompson have "Boyhood" on top.  It's a nail biter.

FURTHER NOTE: Since Sunday's original post, Tapley has gone back to a "Birdman" choice, giving the Inarritu film a little breathing room.

BEST DIRECTOR

1) Richard Linklater/Boyhood
2) Alejandro Inarritu/Birdman
3) Wes Anderson/The Grand Budapest Hotel
4) Morten Tyldum/The Imitation Game
5) Bennett Miller/Foxcatcher

Comment:  Linklater stays on top here but, again, the separation is ONE POINT between he and Inarritu.  Inarritu's DGA win weighs heavily in the closeness of this race as well.  There is an increasing speculation that The Academy may well split picture and director this year as it did last year.  That'd be weird, but the season has been weird.  What's weirder is that buzz cuts both ways with some in the biz suggesting a Bird BP win with a Linklater directing Oscar and others doing a "180" and suggesting a "Boyhood" BP win and the directing trophy to go to Inarritu.  My personal feeling, perhaps only transitionally, is that Bird/Inarritu are going to win both.

BEST ACTOR



1) Eddie Redmayne/The Theory of Everything
2) Michael Keaton/Birdman
3) Bradley Cooper/American Sniper
4) Benedict Cumberbatch/The Imitation Game
5) Steve Carell/Foxcatcher

Comment:  Redmayne's lead has opened up a bit over the last couple of weeks but it's still not enough to declare him a lock for Oscar on Sunday night.  I still think Keaton has a shot.

BEST ACTRESS

1) Julianne Moore/Still Alice
2) Felicity Jones/The Theory of Everything
3) Reese Witherspoon/Wild
4) Rosamund Pike/Gone Girl
5) Marion Cotillard/Two Days One Night

Comment: One of the three acting trophies that are locked up.  Moore wins.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS



1) Patricia Arquette/Boyhood
2) Emma Stone/Birdman
3) Kiera Knightley/The Imitation Game
4) Laura Dern/Wild
5) Meryl Streep/Into the Woods

Comment:  Ms. Arquette will have an Oscar to take to the CSI: Cyber set next week.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

1) JK Simmons/Whiplash
2) Edward Norton/Birdman
3) Ethan Hawke/Boyhood
4) Mark Ruffalo/Foxcatcher
5) Robert Duvall/The Judge

Comment: JK wins.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY



1) Whiplash
2) American Sniper
3) The Imitation Game
4) The Theory of Everything
5) Inherent Vice

Comment:  This is a competitive category with "Sniper" moving up the chart strongly over the past couple of weeks.  I could see this landing for any of the five.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

1) The Grand Budapest Hotel
2) Birdman
3) Boyhood
4) Nightcrawler
5) Foxcatcher

Comment: Also an uber competitive category.  "Budapest"  edges past "Birdman" but it's very, very close.  Also, don't count out a "Boyhood" win here.


FINAL PREDICTIONS FROM THE EXPERTS

I'm linking the "final" Oscar predictions here from any number of Oscarologists some of which I use for The FAC, some I don't.  I'll update the "Finals" section as we go through the rest of the week...



The Hollywood Reporter/Scott Feinberg and Todd McCarthy:


The Wrap/Steve Pond:



Monday, February 16, 2015

And Down the Stretch They Come/The Film Awards Clearinghouse: Less than a Week to Go/Writers Guild Awards/Berlin Winners/Birdman, Wild and Imitation Game Pieces/ Cannes Serious Speculation

Good Monday World...


AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME



Well...we're less than a week from answering all the Oscar questions.  Some categories are locked up (Best Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress).  Some categories are really thrilling: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Screenplays.  Some are obscure: Shorts: Feature, Documentary, Animated. Nevertheless, by this time next week, I'll be posting the annual Oscar aftermath/analysis and we'll all find things about which to be pleased, puzzled and outraged.

Then it'll start up again.

Honestly, it's really already started again with the Berlin fest concluding (see report below) and Cannes peeking around the corner.  We've already had a slew of "most anticipated" film lists for 2015 to chew over.  Once Oscar 2015 is in the rear view, we'll have some peeps that'll begin the early speculation about Oscar 2016.  Also coming, and in earnest, speculation about what films make the Cannes lineup and with that my Telluride #42 analysis/speculation will get more serious as well.

It's been a truly intriguing season and fun too.  When Telluride #41 was over, my favorite film of the weekend was Inarritu's "Birdman".  My belief at the time was that Keaton was going to be really hard to beat for Best Actor and that Inarritu might be have a real shot at Best Director and Original Screenplay but that the film itself might just be outside of The Academy's Best Picture comfort zone.  Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game" seemed like the most likely BP film from Telluride.

Now, at less than a week before the envelopes are open, it appears to be a two film dead heat between The Bird and The Boy (Richard Linklater's "Boyhood").  You'll see how tight it looks on the chart below.  After last year's down-to- the- wire battle between "12 Years a Slave" and "Gravity" I anticipated that we'd have a much less competitive race this year and for most of the season, it looked that way as almost every prognosticator thought "Boyhood" was the inevitable Best Picture winner. But with "Birdman's" strong Guild showing, the calculations have changed and it is, again, very, very close.

"Boyhood's" BAFTA wins last weekend seem to have turned the pundits away from a wholesale stampede to crown "Birdman" Best Picture and so, here we are.  It's a squeaker, it would seem, and The Academy's use of a preferential ballot will tell the tale.  Where do the votes go from the down ballot films once they're eliminated?  If this week's FAC is to be believed, "Whiplash" looks like the first film that'll drop off the ballot...what will its supporters have in that #2 spot?  Those votes will be re-apportioned to remaining films.

There is a threshold percentage that a film has to maintain in each round to stay in contention (I'm not certain what that is) but this process goes on until some film hits 50% plus one of the total #1 votes after a round of re-apportioning and that's your winner.

So, if all the "Whiplash" voters put "Birdman" at #2...the Bird gets much closer to flying.

A number of the real Oscar blogger types have run simulations.  I believe InContention and The Wrap have.  So, if you have an interest in a deeper look at the process, you might look at both of those blogs.  They're in my list of linked sights to the right of this column.

Personally, I still haven't caught "Boyhood".  It might really send me over the moon and I know I'll get there eventually (I actually nearly watched it Friday night but opted for "Nightcrawler" instead.  Was not disappointed.  A very good film and Jake Gyllenhaal gives what might be his best performance).  So, it doesn't make a lot of sense that I'm hoping for a "Birdman" win on Sunday night.  Maybe, with a "Boyhood" viewing, I might conclude that it really is the best film of the year.  But I doubt it.  I said in T-ride last Labor Day that I thought "Birdman" was a masterpiece and Inarritu's best film and I still think that's true.  Besides, I want the Telluride string to continue...

Last note and then it's onto the FAC for the eight major categories...

Right at this minute, I've got a warm feeling about The Bird's chances and I mean beyond Best Picture.  I have a feeling it might have a big night: Picture, Director, Actor, Original Screenplay and Cinematography.  Maybe one other.  Of course, that feeling could just as easily pass by tonight and go through multiple permutations by Sunday night...

THE FILM AWARDS CLEARINGHOUSE WITH LESS THAN A WEEK TO GO-THE BIG EIGHT



Here's the latest Oscar snapshot from The Film Awards Clearinghouse for the eight most anticipated categories.

The FAC uses the published predictions of the following to develop its list of likely Oscar winners:



Kristopher Tapley/InContention/HitFix
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Bred Brevet/Rope of Silicon
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter



Telluride #41 films are Bold.  Telluride has 18 nominations form these eight major categories.

BEST PICTURE



1) Birdman
2) Boyhood
3) The Imitation Game
4) American Sniper
5) The Grand Budapest Hotel
6) Selma
7) The Theory of Everything
8) Whiplash

Comment:  "Birdman" and "Boyhood" swap spots at the top of the chart as a result of "Birdman" guild wins in the past few eeks (PGA, DGA, SAG) but it is soooooo close.  The metric I use, has them separated by one point...ONE.  Four experts say "Bird": Feinberg, Brevet, Davis and Knegt. Stone, Tapley and Thompson have "Boyhood" on top.  It's a nail biter.

BEST DIRECTOR

1) Richard Linklater/Boyhood
2) Alejandro Inarritu/Birdman
3) Wes Anderson/The Grand Budapest Hotel
4) Morten Tyldum/The Imitation Game
5) Bennett Miller/Foxcatcher

Comment:  Linklater stays on top here but, again, the separation is ONE POINT between he and Inarritu.  Inarritu's DGA win weighs heavily in the closeness of this race as well.  There is an increasing speculation that The Academy may well split picture and director again this year as it did last year.  That'd be weird, but the season has been weird.  What's weirder is that buzz cuts both ways with some in the biz suggesting a Bird BP win with a Linklater directing Oscar and others doing a "180" and suggesting a "Boyhood" BP win and the directing trophy to go to Inarritu.  My personal feeling, as mentioned above...and perhaps only transitionally, is that Bird/Inarritu are going to win both.

BEST ACTOR



1) Eddie Redmayne/The Theory of Everything
2) Michael Keaton/Birdman
3) Bradley Cooper/American Sniper
4) Benedict Cumberbatch/The Imitation Game
5) Steve Carell/Foxcatcher

Comment:  Redmayne's lead has opened up a bit over the last couple of weeks but it's still not enough to declare him a lock for Oscar on Sunday night.  I still think Keaton has a shot.

BEST ACTRESS

1) Julianne Moore/Still Alice
2) Felicity Jones/The Theory of Everything
3) Reese Witherspoon/Wild
4) Rosamund Pike/Gone Girl
5) Marion Cotillard/Two Days One Night

Comment: One of the three acting trophies that are locked up.  Moore wins.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS



1) Patricia Arquette/Boyhood
2) Emma Stone/Birdman
3) Kiera Knightley/The Imitation Game
4) Laura Dern/Wild
5) Meryl Streep/Into the Woods

Comment:  Ms. Arquette will have an Oscar to take to the CSI: Cyber set next week.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

1) JK Simmons/Whiplash
2) Edward Norton/Birdman
3) Ethan Hawke/Boyhood
4) Mark Ruffalo/Foxcatcher
5) Robert Duvall/The Judge

Comment: JK wins.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY



1) Whiplash
2) American Sniper
3) The Imitation Game
4) The Theory of Everything
5) Inherent Vice

Comment:  This is a competitive category with "Sniper" moving up the chart strongly over the past couple of weeks.  I could see this landing for any of the five.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

1) The Grand Budapest Hotel
2) Birdman
3) Boyhood
4) Nightcrawler
5) Foxcatcher

Comment: Also an uber competitive category.  "Budapest"  edges past "Birdman" but it's very, very close.  Also, don't count out a "Boyhood" win here.

Other notes:

There's some talk that "Whiplash" could come out of the night with the most Oscar wins.  Best Supporting Actor is a lock and Editing looks fairly likely.  A win for Adapted Screenplay isn't out of the question and it has to be a serious contender for Sound Mixing.  That's four of the five it's nominated for and that might be the biggest haul of the night (last year that honor went to "Gravity").

There's another school of thought that all eight of the Best Picture nominated films might walk away with at least one trophy on Sunday night.  That would be really unusual but I can see it happening.

I still can't grasp how "Foxcatcher" missed a Best Picture nomination.  Noms for direction, screenplay, actor and supporting actor...but not Best Picture.  It doesn't make a lot of sense.  But, then it IS Oscar..."sense" don't figure into it...pardon the grammar.

COMING THURSDAY...ALL 24 OSCAR CATEGORIES RANKED FOR WINNERS IN THE ALMOST FINAL FAC!!!


WRITERS GUILD ANNOUNCES




The Writers Guild of America announced the winners of their awards for 2014 Saturday.  TFF #41 film "The Imitation Game" by Graham Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay.  Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" won Best Original Screenplay.  The WGA isn't always the best predictor of the Oscar winner in those categories due its stringent eligibility rules.  For example, "Birdman" was ineligible for consideration making "Budapest's" win less definitive.  Writers Guild coverage is linked here:

http://variety.com/2015/film/news/wga-awards-winners-2015-screenplay-tv-drama-comedy-1201434302/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/wga-awards-winners-list-773595

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/wga-awards-what-happened-at-773614

http://www.ew.com/article/2015/02/14/grand-budapest-hotel-and-imitation-game-win-wga-awards?hootPostID=c9532e7a922c816cefc0e745703441e5


BERLIN HAS WINNERS



The Berlin Film Fest came to an end Saturday with the announcement of award winners.  The Golden Bear was won by guerrilla Iranian film maker Jafar Panahi's "Taxi".  The film maker whose work is banned in Iran and yet continues to make films and smuggle them out of the country was recognized for his docu-drama.  Pablo Larrain's "The Club" was winner of the Silver Bear while acting prizes went to Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay for Andrew Haigh's "45 Years".

Frankly, I think all three films mentioned above, in addition to Bill Condon's "Mr. Holmes" all have a real shot to make the trip to Telluride over Labor Day.

Linked below is some serious Berlin Awards coverage:

http://variety.com/2015/film/news/berlin-film-festival-golden-bear-winners-announced-1201434184/

http://www.indiewire.com/article/jafar-panahis-taxi-wins-the-golden-bear-in-berlin-20150214

http://www.awardsdaily.com/blog/2015/02/taxi-and-45-years-top-winners-at-berlinale/

http://www.thewrap.com/jafar-panahi-wins-berlin-film-fests-golden-bear-for-taxi/

http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/jafar-panahis-taxi-wins-golden-bear-at-2015-berlin-film-festival


BIRDMAN, WILD TAKES AND IMITATION GAME PIECES



As noted above, we're coming down the Oscar homestretch and I have linked some more of the late-in-the-game pieces for "Birdman", "Wild Tales"  and "The Imitation Game" here.

The first "Birdman" piece focuses on an extended clip from the film.  Variety has that here:

http://variety.com/2015/film/news/birdman-extended-scene-keaton-vs-the-critic-1201432945/

Meanwhile, Kristopher Tapley at InContention "digs a little deeper" into the film here:

http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/exclusive-dig-a-little-deeper-into-birdman-with-the-oscars-on-the-horizon

The New York Times published this "Making of" piece about Damian Szifron's Oscar nominated "Wild Tales" which is wildly considered the only film with a shot to deny "Ida" the Foreign Language Oscar.  It's here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/movies/awardsseason/the-making-of-wild-tales-an-oscar-nominee.html



Finally, two pieces both focused on "The Imitation Game" helmer and Oscar nominated Morten Tyldum.  One from IndieWire and the other from Gold Derby:


http://www.indiewire.com/awardsspotlight/mortem-tyldum-explains-why-alan-turing-was-the-right-subject-for-his-first-english-language-film-20150206

http://goldderby.libsyn.com/oscar-nominee-morten-tyldum-on-imitation-game-alan-turing-sex-and-awards


CANNES SERIOUS SPECULATION



And as mentioned above as well, the serious speculation about what will unspool at Cannes is heating up and took the form of this post from Cineuropa this week.  It's interesting but is also such an enormous list as to be not all that illuminating.

Titles that grabbed my attention included:

Stephen  Frears' "Icon" (his Lance Armstrong film)...though it is currently and ambiguously set for an August release in the U.S. which would mean no Telluride.

Thomas Vinterberg's "The Commune".  The article also mentions Vinterberg's "Far from the Madding Crowd" but that already has a U.S. release set for May 1st.

Matteo Garrone's "The Tale of Tales".

Todd Haynes' "Carol" starring Cate Blanchett

Jacques Audiard's "Erran".  Sundance Selects has already locked up the U.S. distribution for the film which should keep it in the Telluride conversation.  Last year the company was represented at Telluride by Ethan Hawke's "Seymour: An Introduction" and The Dardennes Brothers' "Two Days, One Night.

Denis Villeneuve's "Sicario" He's been programmed Telluride recently with "Prisoners" and "Incendies".

Justin Kurzel's "Macbeth" with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.  The Weinsteins ("The Imitation Game") are distributing and See Saw Films is the production company ("Shame", "Tracks").

Sean Penn's "The Last Face" starring Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem and Adele Exarchopolous.  Penn' last directing effort "Into the Wild" played Telluride in 2007.

Barbet Schroeder's "Amnesia".  Schroeder has had a long relationship with Telluride but hasn't been represented at the festival since 2007's "Terror's Advocate".

There are a lot more titles to mull.  Look here:

http://cineuropa.org/nw.aspx?t=newsdetail&l=en&did=286876



More coming on Thursday including the complete 24 category Film Awards Clearinghouse Nearly Final Oscar Predictions.