Monday, February 8, 2016

Nobody Knows Anything...Still

Good Monday Friends and Neighbors...


Nearly two months ago I wrote a post here that recalled screenwriter William Goldman's dictum about Hollywood "Nobody knows anything" and applied it to the absolute uncertainty that existed at that time about the Oscar race.

Seven plus weeks down the road, and that uncertainty has only intensified.  Oh sure, we think we've figured out a lot of categories.  All four acting categories can probably be predicted: DiCaprio, Larson, Stallone, Vikander.  Screenplays likely are going to be rewarded for Spotlight and The Big Short.  Inside Out, Son of Saul and Amy look like near locks in the non-narrative feature categories.

But Best Picture...yeesh...

If you thought the DGA Award announcement on Saturday night was going to give us a definitive guidepost, you were wrong.  Alejandro Inarritu won the DGA for a history making second straight year (for The Revenant).  That win denied the DGA to either Adam McKay/The Big Short or Tom McCarthy/Spotlight which would have likely tipped Oscar pundits in their direction.

The Big Short had taken the catbird seat for a number of people after being named winner of the Producers Guild Award for Outstanding film and then last week's Screen Actors Guild Ensemble Award for Spotlight caused everyone to pause.  Now, with the DGA going to Inarritu, it's even more difficult to parse what the winner is likely to be in three weeks.

Following the DGA announcement on Twitter (late) Saturday night, the Oscarologists I follow most closely (Sasha Stone/Awards Daily, Kris Tapley/Variety-InContention)  seemed to initially feel that The Big Short might still have the inside track and that the DGA win may well translate to a second straight Oscar for Inarritu and another year where the Academy splits the Best Picture/Best Director prizes...which has not been the normal pattern.

The other Oscarologist that I really focus on, The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg, hasn't gone on record yet as to his thoughts about the latest twist in this year's race.

Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood was tweeting last night that she thought the Best Picture race now came down to Spotlight and The Big Short despite the Inarritu win at the DGA.

It's likely to win actor/cinematography and maybe director. Spotlight or Big Short takes BP. Miller could still win director

Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeff Wells thinks it's down to a Spotlight vs. Revenant race:

The bottom line is that we're down to the last three weeks before Oscar and in a normal year we'd have a pretty good idea what Best Picture was going to be.  This year...nobody knows anything.

Personally, I still think Spotlight wins on Oscar night but I wouldn't bet actual money on it.  Full disclosure, though, is that I want it to win so my perception is almost certainly warped by that.

Here's DGA coverage from the weekend:

Come back for more on Thursday!

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

The FAC for Eight More Oscar Categories / The SAG and Best Picture / Gold Derby Experts on Oscar and DGA

Good Thursday to All...

We're a little more than three weeks away from Oscar night (Feb. 28th).  Ballots for the final voting go out to the AMPAS membership on Feb. 12 and the voting closes on Feb. 23.

Coming up this weekend is the announcement from The Directors Guild.


Last week, I posted the first FAC for what are regarded as the eight major Oscar categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress and Actor, and Screenplays).  Today I'm posting the numbers that I ran this week on eight more categories.

For the purpose of The FAC I gather data from the publicly posted predictions of the following:

Erik Anderson/Awards Watch
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter
Joey Magidson/Hollywood News
Nathaniel Rogers/Film Experience
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Kristopher Tapley/Variety-InContention
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood/Indiewire

Some of these experts have not yet updated their predictions.  That data has been discounted.

TFF #42 films are in Bold.


1) Inside Out
2) Anomalisa
3) Shaun the Sheep
4) When Marnie Was Here
5) Boy and the World


1) Amy
2) Cartel Land
3) What Happened Miss Simone
4) The Look of Silence
5) Winter on Fire


1) Son of Saul
2) Mustang
3) Theeb
4) Embrace of the Serpent
5) A War


1) The Revenant
2) Mad Max:Fury Road
3) Carol
4) Sicario
5) The Hateful Eight


1) The Big Short
2) Mad Max: Fury Road
3) The Revenant
4) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
5) Spotlight


1) The Hateful Eight
2) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
3) Carol
4) Bridge of Spies
5) Sicario


1) Til It Happens To You/The Hunting Ground
2) Writings on the Wall/Spectre
3) Earned It/50 Shades of Gray
4) Simple Song #3/Youth
5) Manta Ray/Racing Extinction


1) Mad Max:Fury Road
2) The Revenant
3) The Martian
4) Bridge of Spies
5) The Danish Girl

 Of the 40 nominations in these eight categories, seven are from Telluride.  Only one seems likely to be a winner and that's Son of Saul in Foreign Language.

Other comments: Prohibitive favorites...Inside Out for Animated Feature, Amy for Documentary, Son of Saul for Foreign Language , The Revenant Cinematography, The Hateful Eight for Original Score, Til It Happens To You for Original Song.  The Big Short is a substantial, though not prohibitive favorite, for Film Editing.  

The most seriously contested category of these eight seems to be Production Design.  Mad Max: Fury Road is on top but that lead appears to be vulnerable.


A lot has been written the last few days as to what conclusions may or may not be drawn by the Spotlight win for The Screen Actors Guild Best Ensemble Award.  Some commenters suggested that it has buoyed Spotlight's Best Picture Oscar prospects after the loss of the PGA honor went to The Big Short.  Other experts have pointed out that The SAG award hasn't been particularly predictive or influential as it has only matched 10 times in the 20 years that SAG has been giving its Best Ensemble prize.

I have been thinking that it might be that the SAG award might be more indicative in years when the BP race was perceived to have been close.  That's mostly because the Actors branch of AMPAS is the largest branch.  Actors, consequently, have the largest influence in Oscar voting.  

Also, it should be noted that, although the SAG has matched only 50% of the time, if we begin counting from the first match of Ensemble and Best Picture, the match has been times in the last 17 years for a bit more respectable rate of 59%.

So, here are the matches:

1998: Shakespeare in Love
1999: American Beauty
2002: Chicago
2003: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
2005: Crash
2007: No Country for Old Men
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2010: The King's Speech
2012: Argo
2014: Birdman

So SAG's Ensemble was on top of two big "surprise" years: 1998 (Shakespeare over Saving Private Ryan) and 2005 (Crash over Brokeback Mountain).  It also seemed ahead of the game in what were perceived as close years 2002 (Chicago), 2007 (No Country), 2010 (King's Speech) and 2014 (Birdman).  There are four years of matches that SAG seemed to be going with the overwhelming current: 1999, 2003, 2008 and 2012.

My perception is that this year is close between Spotlight, Big Short, Revenant and Mad Max.  So, maybe SAG tells us that Spotlight, despite the loss at the PGA, is still a serious possibility to win the big prize.

Will the Directors Guild announcement clear things up this weekend?  It might.  Should McKay (Big Short) or McCarthy (Spotlight) win, it would move one film or the other back to front runner status.  

However, I am really expecting the trophy to go to George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) or Alejandro Inarritu (The Revenant) this weekend and actually muddy up the race even more.

The DGA announces their winners on Saturday.


Pete Hammond of Deadline and Tom O'Neill of Gold Derby went on the record both visually and in podcast form this week to opine about major Oscar races and their thoughts concerning the Directors Guild announcement this week.

Take a look or listen here:

That's a wrap for Thursday....Come back for more on Monday...

Come back for more on Thursday!

Contact me at: OR OR

via Twitter @Gort2 OR to

Monday, February 1, 2016

Screen Actors Guild Awards: Another Oscar Re-shuffle? / Rooney Mara Talks Carol / Feinberg's Latest Forecast

Good Monday and welcome to February!  We're down to less than four weeks in this Oscar season and the Best Picture race took another turn over the weekend...


The Screen Actors Guild Awards were handed out late Saturday night for both film and television work.  Tom McCarthy's Spotlight won the Best Ensemble Award besting The Big Short and possibly indicating a continuing tight battle for the Best Picture Oscar.  The Big Short was perceived by many Oscar experts as having pulled into a slight lead owing to its Producers Guild Award from last weekend.  A SAG win last for ensemble would have likely strengthened that view but the win for Spotlight has caused some re-evaluation yet again.

Add to all of this that the Directors Guild announces their award this coming weekend and it could very easily award neither McCarthy or The Big Short's Adam McKay.  Plausible cases can be made that any of the other DGA nominees might pick up the trophy: Inarritu/The Reverent, Miller/Mad Max: Fury Road or Scott/The Martian.  So, the DGA could provide a sign of clarity if either McKay or McCarthy should win, or confusion should any of those other three take the award.  Perhaps a Miller or Inarittu win get their films back near the top on the Best Picture speculation.  It'll be fun reading those tea leaves next Monday.

Meanwhile, in addition to Spotlight, other TFF #42 alumni picked up SAG Awards Saturday night as Brie Larson won Best Actress for Room and Idris Elba won Best Supporting Actor for Beasts of No Nation.

Non-TFF #42 winners were Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor for The Revenant and Alicia Vikander for Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl.  Mad Max:Fury Road picked up the award for Stunt Ensemble as it should have.

Honestly, for what's its worth, I still semi-believe Spotlight is going to win Best Picture on Oscar night.

I have linked complete coverage and analysis of The SAG results here from The Hollywood Reporter, The Film Stage, The Playlist and Deadline:


Best Supporting Actress nominee Rooney Mara talks about Carol in this half hour YouTube video proffered by The Weinstein Company last week.  Enjoy!

Rooney Mara on Carol via YouTube


The Hollywood Reporter's Oscar expert, Scott Feinberg posted his latest Oscar prognostications late last week and they came prior to Saturday night's SAG results.

Feinberg's analysis suggests that TFF #42 films are positioned thusly:

Best Pic: Spotlight trailing The Big Short and Room is in his #5 spot.
Director: McCarthy/Spotlight is #4 and Abrahamson/Room is #5
Actor: Fassbender/Steve Jobs is #5
Actress: Larson/Room at #1 and Rampling/45 Years at #3 and Blanchett/Carol at #4
Supporting Actor: Ruffalo/Spotlight at #2
Supporting Actress: Mara/Carol #3, McAdams/Spotlight at #4 and Winslet/Steve Jobs at #5
Adapted Screenplay: Room at #3, Carol at #5
Original Screenplay: Spotlight at #1
Animated Feature: Anomalisa is at #2
Documentary Feature: The Look of Silence is #4 and Winter on Fire is at #5
Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul at #1
Cinematography: Carol at #4
Costumes: Carol at #1
Film Editing: Spotlight at #5
Original Score: Carol at #4

If Scott is right TFF #42 films pick up four Oscars on Feb. 28.

Come back for more on Thursday!

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

The FAC's First Look After The PGA / More on Son of Saul / Todd Haynes Talks Carol and More...

Good Thursday Everyone...


We asked on Monday if last weekend's Producers Guild win by Adam McKay's The Big Short had changed the Best Picture Oscar race and that answer is yes...but...perhaps not as much as I would have thought.

For the purpose of The FAC I gather data from the publicly posted predictions of the following:

Erik Anderson/Awards Watch
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter
Joey Magidson/Hollywood News
Nathaniel Rogers/Film Experience
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Kristopher Tapley/Variety-InContention
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood/Indiewire

Some of these experts have not yet updated their predictions.  That data has been discounted.

TFF #42 films are in Bold.

Here's The FAC for Oscar wins in eight major categories:


1) The Big Short
2) Spotlight
3) The Revenant
4) Mad Max: Fury Road
5) The Martian
6) Room
7) Bridge of Spies
8) Brooklyn

Comment: The Big Short and Spotlight are actually tied in the FAC numbers but the Short edges in front due to more #1 votes.  SO, The FAC says it's close.  Check the Gold Derby link below and you'll see that a broader segment of Oscar experts agree that the contest is still tight.  That all could change over the next two weekends with The Screen Actors Guild Awards and then The Directors Guild.


1) Alejandro Inarittu/The Revenant
2) Adam McKay/The Big Short
3) Tom McCarthy/Spotlight
4) George Miller/Mad Max: fury Road
5) Lenny Abrahamson/Room


1) Brie Larson/Room
2) Saorise Ronan/Brooklyn
3) Charlotte Rampling/45 Years
4) Cate Blanchett/Carol
5) Jennifer Lawrence/Joy


1) Leonardo DiCaprio/The Revenant
2) Bryan Cranston/Trumbo
3) Michael Fassbender/Steve Jobs
4) Matt Damon/The Martian
5) Eddie Redmayne/The Danish Girl


1) Alicia Vikander/The Danish Girl
2) Rooney Mara/Carol
3) Kate Winslet/Steve Jobs
4) Jennifer Jason Leigh/The Hateful Eight
5) Rachel McAdams/Spotlight


1) Sylvester Stallone/Creed
2) Mark Ruffalo/Spotlight
3) Mark Rylance/Bridge of Spies
4) Christian Bale/The Big Short
5) Tom Hardy/The Revenant


1) The Big Short
2) Room
3) Carol
4) Brooklyn
5) The Martian


1) Spotlight
2) Inside Out
3) Straight outta Compton
4) Bridge of Spies
5) Ex Machina

Comments:  The closest category: Best Director.  Unanimous choices: DiCaprio, Vikander, and the screenplays for both The Big Short and Spotlight.  Stallone is not a unanimous choice but he's close. The Best Actress race seems a little closer than I would have thought.

Meanwhile, the Gold Derby experts say that Spotlight still has a small edge over The Big Short but it's tight:


Interviews and profiles of director Laszlo Nemes and Son of Saul:

The Atlantic:

The New York Times:

Eat Drink Films:


Director/writer Todd Haynes in a conversation about Carol and his career from The Playlist:

That'll do it for this Thursday.  More to come on Monday...

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Big Short Wins Big / Trailering Marguerite / THR Features Room Star

Welcome to Monday after a late Saturday night surprise...


It wasn't a total shocker late Saturday night when The Producers Guild of America named Adam McKay's The Big Short the winner of its Film of the Year Award but it's also what was not expected.  I think most interested observers felt that Spotlight would win and follow that with a Best Picture Oscar win next month.

The Big Short along with Mad Max:Fury Road and The Revenant were all thought to be possibilities but, again, if the big collective Oscar experts sites are to be believed, most thought Spotlight would win.

The PGA is regarded by many as the best bellwether for the Big Win having matched exactly the last eight years (half and half actually for its tie two years ago between Gravity and eventual Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave).  The PGA's voting process is very much like the Oscar's preferential ballot and it's hard to argue with eight years of predictive accuracy.

On a related note, I was going to run a new FAC analysis this morning for 6-8 major Oscar categories in today's post but with Saturday night's news, I've decided to wait and run that in Thursday's regular post to see what effect the PGA win will have.  SO, if you were looking for that today, my apologies.

You'd be wise to bet that The Big Short will now become the favorite to win Best Picture.

Here's early analysis from Sasha Stone/Awards Daily, Kristopher Tapley/InContention and Dave McNary/Variety:

Looking at these articles, you'll find that The Big Short will likely be at the top of the next charts from The Gurus of Gold and Gold Derby (as well as The FAC) but everyone seems at least alittle cautious because the season has been anything but predictable.  Chack back Thursday...

Here's the last Gold Derby and Gurus of Gold charts that were post nomination announcements and prior to Saturday's PGA announcement:

Of course, I have to mention that if The Big Short does win on Oscar night that the Telluride consecutive string of Best Picture winners would end (each year since 2010).


Marguerite trailer via YouTube

One of the films that I wish I had gotten to in Telluride last September was Marguerite.  It's a story loosely based on the experience of American "singer" Florence Foster Jenkins.  My brother caught a screening that weekend and really enjoyed it.  The Cohen Media Group has released a trailer with English subtitles for the film .  The film does not have a set U.S. release date at this point but has opened in much of Europe and is set to open in England on Mar. 18.  Here's The Playlist story that covers the release of the subtitled trailer:


The Hollywood Reporter has posted an extensive profile of Best Actress Oscar favorite Brie Larson.  Larson was in Telluride last Labor Day with Lenny Abrahamson's (also Oscar nominated for Best Director) Room.

Room was very well regarded at the end of TFF #42 as MTFB's People's Telluride ratings had the film at #1 with a 4.47 rating (out of a possible perfect score of five).

Laurie Sandell writing for THR:

That's a wrap for Monday...come back Thursday to see where the Oscar landscape is.

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via Twitter @Gort2 OR to

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Film Stage Hot 100 / Shining on Spotlight / New Trailer for Son of Saul

Good Thursday's what's happening in the film world as it relates to the Telluride FIlm Festival...


Much like The Playlist's list in my last post, today I'm looking at a "most anticipated" film list for the new year from The Film Stage.  Among those 100 films are 20 that have, at first blush, some Telluride potential.  Some overlap with the list from The Playlist, some don't:

#98 Passengers
#95 HHHH
#85 Wilson
#79 The Secret Scripture
#75 The Commune
#72 Comancheria
#71 The Light Between Oceans
#70 A Hologram for the King
#67 War Machine
#53 The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez
#51 Neruda
#45 Family Photos
#44 Queen of Katme
#41 Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
#32 It's Just the End f the World
#19 American Honey
#14 Salt and Fire
#9 The Salesman
#6 The Unknown Girl
#3 The Lost City of Z

The complete list from The Film Stage is here:


MTFB continues to focus on the TFF #42 films that are making their mark as we move to the end game of the Oscar season including six time Oscar nominee, Tom McCarthy's Spotlight.  Included here are interviews with McCarthy and a profile about the origins of the film:


Best Foreign Language Film nominee Son of Saul also continues to be in the forefront this Oscar season.  I have included stories that accompanied the release of a new trailer for the film (trailer included below) and interviews with writer/director Laszlo Nemes.

Son of Saul trailer via YouTube

That's your MTFB for Thursday.  More to come on Monday...including The FAC's first pass at what films/actors are out front for Oscar in six major categories.  Also, a look at this weekend's winners announcement from the Producers Guild of America.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

And Now...On with the Show (The Oscar Show, that is)... / Peering into the Future / Reaching Back to TFF #37...For Some Litigation

Welcome to the new week...Oscar's First Act has concluded with last Thursday's announcement of the nominees.  Now we move to Act Two which culminates on Feb. 28th.  This period of weeks between Oscar nomination announcement and the actual awards is always a sort pf odd limbo-esque time.  The race that has been in some motion, really since the conclusion of Labor Day weekend and Telluride's fest continues but in a much different fashion.

What has been a very broad affair including many, many films is now truncated to the nominees and  as a couple of the Big Time Oscar Pundits have said since Thursday, the campaigning continues but becomes less obvious and noisy.

At the same time, this space begins to turn, a least a little bit, to its post-Oscar (and primary purpose) which is the attempt to discern some of the films that might be on the program for TFF #43.

Today's post straddles the duality of Oscar and TFF prognostication and that's where we'll be for the next five and a half weeks...

We start with...


So here we are 96 hours, give or take, removed from the revealing of Oscar nominations.  Ridley Scott isn't nominated.  No actors of color made it into any of the 20 acting slots.  Lenny Abrahamson IS nominated.  These are among the most discussed topics for Oscar observers these past few days.  But, of course, the other question is...who/what is going to win in a few weeks?

Not surprisingly, there's non shortage of Oscarologists with their early predictions.  I have linked Kristopher Tapley/Variety-InContention, Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter, Sasha Stone/Awards Daily and (collectively) The Gurus of Gold from Movie City News and their early line on winners below.

Some observations from looking at all of their predictions:

Spotlight remains the favorite to win Best Picture but there is some serious thought that The Big Short, The Revenant and Mad Max:Fury Road are still playing.  Most believe that The Martian, Room, Bridge of Spies and Brooklyn are not likely Best Picture winners.

Prohibitive favorites seem to be (even this far out from the actual awards):

Leonardo DiCaprio/The Revenant for Best Actor
Brie Larson/Room for Best Actress
Sylvester Stallone/Creed for Best Supporting Actor
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer/Spotlight for Original Screenplay
Adam McKay and Charles Randolph/The Big Short for Best Original Screenplay
Amy for Best Documentary
Son of Saul for Best Foreign Language Film
Inside Out for Best Animated Feature

These eight picks seem pretty solid already.  Some others seem very likely (Mad Max:Fury Road looks good for Film Editing and Production Design for example) but aren't what I would call locks. Of course, some categories seem very, very competitive: Original Score and Song for example.

The FAC will be periodically updating Oscar predictions as we move through these next few weeks. Check back here.  You might remember that, last year, The FAC hit 20 of 24 categories on Oscar night and 22 of 24 in 2014.

Here are your links to The Gurus, Tapley, Feinberg and Stone:


One of the ways I get the ball rolling in earnestness about Telluride film speculation is to analyze the first of the year "Most Anticipated" film lists from a variety of outlets and look for titles that seem T-ride possible.  Today. I begin that process by looking at The Playlist's list of 100 films they're most excited about.  Among the titles they include are 20 that seem like they might SHOW up on Labor Day weekend.  Here they are with their position on The Playlist list (and an occasional comment):

#96 A United Kingdom
#95 True Crimes
#93 Trespass Against Us
#92 The Zookeeper's Wife
#89 Queen of Katme
#83 The Founder (the story of Ray Kroc and the development of McDonalds starring Michael Keaton)...It's high on my Telluride request list...
#74 Neruda
#62 The Promise
#61 Gold
#60 Comancheria
#51 HHHH
#45 Salt and Fire (Herzog returns to Telluride?)
#38 Personnel Shopper
#28 Passengers (this really isn't all that likely... save for the fact that its Morten Tyldum's directorial follow-up to The Imitation Game).
#23 American Honey
#19 The Unknown Girl
#18 It's Only the End of the World
#9 The Lost City of Z
#5 The Salesman (the latest from Iranian genius Asghar Farhadi.  After both A Separation and The Past playing Telluride, you have to believe that this is very likely.  It might start out at the #1 spot when I actually begin putting together a Telluride #43 list in June).
#3 War Machine (this lands on the list because it's in the hands of Netflix which made its debut at Telluride last year with Beasts of No Nation and Winter on Fire.  I think there's a decent shot that they'll be back).

So there are 20 films from The Playlist list.  If my past record at extrapolating from The Playlist is any indicator we can expect that five will make the Telluride lineup.  Last year's parsing of The Playlist 100 included these films that I wrote could play T-ride: Beasts of No Nation, Black Mass, Suffragette, Spotlight and Carol.  In 2014, with the same circumstances, I mentioned: Leviathan, Mr. Turner, Two Days One Night, Birdman and Foxcatcher.

Here's the link to The Playlist's complete hot 100 FOR 2016:

Thursday, I'll take a look at The Film Stage's list of  100 2016 films.


Remember Tabloid?  Errol Morris' look at one time beauty queen Joyce McKinney?  It was one of my favorite films of TFF #37(2010).

Now, it looks like we may hear about it again some five years later as the subject of the documentary, Ms. McKinney has decided to sue Morris.

Her claim is that she was lied to and disparaged in the film.  Check out the story from The Hollywood Reporter:

That's a wrap for Monday...more to come on Thursday...

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