My Oscar Predictions, 2015

•February 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

People usually ask me for advice on how to fill out their Oscar ballots. For them, I have crafted this cheat sheet. I will pick the person/film I believe is the favorite to win, along with a dark horse selection– that way, if you want to roll the dice on a few categories, you can do so.

My picks:

BEST PICTURE:

Birdman

Dark horse: Boyhood

BEST DIRECTOR:

Richard Linklater

Dark horse*: Alejandro Inarritu

*- I think Pic/Director will split. If you feel so inclined, flip-flop the two, and pick Boyhood and Inarritu.

BEST ACTOR:

Michael Keaton

Dark horse*: Eddie Redmayne

*- this is a total coin flip.

BEST ACTRESS:

Julianne Moore

Dark horse: none

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

J.K. Simmons

Dark horse: none

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Patricia Arquette

Dark horse: none

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dark horse: Birdman

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

Whiplash

Dark horse*: The Imitation Game

*- another coin flip, really. I’m hopeful for Whiplash.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Birdman

Dark horse: none

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dark horse: Into the Woods

BEST EDITING:

Boyhood

Dark horse: Whiplash

BEST MAKEUP/HAIR:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dark horse: Foxcatcher

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dark horse: none

BEST SCORE:

The Theory of Everything

Dark horse: The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST SONG:

“Glory,” Selma

Dark horse: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me

BEST SOUND EDITING:

American Sniper

Dark horse: Interstellar

BEST SOUND MIXING:

American Sniper

Dark horse: Whiplash

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:

Interstellar

Dark horse: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Dark horse: Big Hero 6

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:

Citizenfour

Dark horse: none

BEST FOREIGN FILM:

Ida

Dark horse: Wild Tales

BEST ANIMATED SHORT:

Feast

Dark horse: The Dam Keeper

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT:

Joanna

Dark horse: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT:

The Phone Call

Dark horse: Parvaneh

The 2015 Academy Award Nominations (in an Ideal World)

•January 15, 2015 • 2 Comments

oscarnoms

Wasn’t this morning’s announcement of the 2015 Academy Award nominations exciting? The best part about the proceedings? Every single deserving nominee was given their due recognition! How terrific is that? We all *knew* that Essie Davis would be nominated for The Babadook, Gugu Mbatha-Raw would be nominated for Beyond the Lights, and Ava DuVernay would pick up a Best Director nomination for Selma… but even when we know it’s going to happen, it’s still intensely gratifying to see justice served and to see the Academy make their choices with the deep wisdom and sophisticated taste that we’ve come to expect from them year in and year out.

Without further ado… here is the complete list of this year’s Oscar Nominees:

BEST PICTURE:

  • The Babadook
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Inherent Vice
  • Nightcrawler
  • Selma
  • Under the Skin

BEST DIRECTOR:

  • Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Ava DuVernay, Selma
  • Jonathan Glazer, Under the Skin
  • Jennifer Kent, The Babadook
  • Richard Linklater, Boyhood

BEST ACTOR:

  • Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
  • Tom Hardy, Locke
  • David Oyelowo, Selma
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice

BEST ACTRESS:

  • Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
  • Essie Davis, The Babadook
  • Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Beyond the Lights
  • Tessa Thompson, Dear White People

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

  • Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
  • John Goodman, The Gambler
  • Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  • Toby Kebbell, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • JK Simmons, Whiplash

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

  • Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  • Jillian Bell, 22 Jump Street
  • Emily Blunt, Edge of Tomorrow
  • Minnie Driver, Beyond the Lights
  • Katherine Waterston, Inherent Vice

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

  • The Double
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Inherent Vice
  • The Trip to Italy
  • Whiplash

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Lego Movie
  • Nightcrawler
  • Selma

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:

  • The Boxtrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • The Lego Movie

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Homesman
  • Inherent Vice
  • Mr. Turner
  • Selma

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:

  • The Boxtrolls
  • Get On Up
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Inherent Vice
  • Mr. Turner

BEST EDITING:

  • The Babadook
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Inherent Vice
  • Whiplash

BEST MAKEUP/HAIR:

  • Beyond the Lights
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Inherent Vice
  • John Wick
  • Snowpiercer

BEST SCORE:

  • Godzilla
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Homesman
  • Nightcrawler
  • Under the Skin

BEST SONG:

  • “A Step You Can’t Take Back,” Begin Again
  • “Everything is Awesome,” The Lego Movie
  • “I’ll Get You What You Want,” Muppets Most Wanted
  • “Like a Fool,” Begin Again
  • “Something So Right,” Muppets Most Wanted

BEST SOUND EDITING:

  • The Babadook
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Lucy
  • Whiplash

BEST SOUND MIXING:

  • The Babadook
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Lucy
  • Whiplash

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Godzilla
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar

Congratulations to everybody! Truly these are the best results imaginable!

My Oscar Nomination Predictions, 2015

•January 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted (as you can see by my Recent Posts list on the right, nearly a year), but a lot of people ask me about the Oscars every year– who I think will get nominated, who I think will win– so I decided to come out of quasi-retirement to post up my predictions for tomorrow morning. These are who I think WILL be nominated, not who I think SHOULD be nominated (a future post, perhaps?).

Feel free to debate my picks with me on my Twitter, and for those of you interested in my reviews, I recommend you add my film-going diary to your bookmarks list. I don’t post reviews, but I post my thoughts on all the new releases I see. Thanks to everyone who continues to ask me about this blog.

Without further ado, my predictions for tomorrow morning. I’ve placed asterisks by any inclusion I consider a mortal lock. I’m also including a “dark horse” selection, someone who could sneak into the mix and bump one of my non-asterisked selections.

BEST PICTURE:

  • Boyhood*
  • Birdman*
  • The Imitation Game*
  • Selma*
  • The Theory of Everything
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Whiplash
  • American Sniper
  • DARK HORSE: Nightcrawler

BEST DIRECTOR:

  • Richard Linklater*
  • Alejandro G. Inarritu*
  • Morten Tyldum
  • Ava DuVernay
  • Wes Anderson
  • DARK HORSE: Damien Chazelle

BEST ACTOR:

  • Michael Keaton*
  • Eddie Redmayne*
  • Benedict Cumberbatch
  • David Oyelowo
  • Jake Gyllenhaal
  • DARK HORSE: Ralph Fiennes

BEST ACTRESS:

  • Julianne Moore*
  • Reese Witherspoon*
  • Rosamund Pike*
  • Felicity Jones
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • DARK HORSE: Amy Adams

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

  • J.K. Simmons*
  • Edward Norton*
  • Ethan Hawke*
  • Mark Ruffalo
  • Robert Duvall
  • DARK HORSE: Miyavi

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

  • Patricia Arquette*
  • Emma Stone*
  • Keira Knightley*
  • Meryl Streep
  • Jessica Chastain
  • DARK HORSE: Rene Russo

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

  • Boyhood*
  • Birdman*
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel*
  • Selma
  • Nightcrawler
  • DARK HORSE: Foxcatcher

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

  • The Imitation Game*
  • Gone Girl*
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash
  • Wild
  • DARK HORSE: American Sniper

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:

  • The Lego Movie*
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2*
  • The Boxtrolls
  • Big Hero 6
  • The Tale of the Princess Kayuga
  • DARK HORSE: The Book of Life

BEST FOREIGN FILM:

  • Leviathan*
  • Ida*
  • Force Majeure
  • Wild Tales
  • Timbuktu
  • DARK HORSE: Tangerines

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:

  • Citizenfour*
  • Life Itself*
  • Last Days in Vietnam
  • Keep On Keepin On’
  • Virunga
  • DARK HORSE: The Case Against 8

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

  • Birdman*
  • Unbroken
  • Interstellar
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Mr. Turner
  • DARK HORSE: Gone Girl

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:

  • Into the Woods*
  • Maleficent*
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel*
  • Mr. Turner
  • Belle
  • DARK HORSE: The Imitation Game

BEST EDITING:

  • Boyhood*
  • Birdman*
  • Whiplash
  • Interstellar
  • The Imitation Game
  • DARK HORSE: Gone Girl

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR:

  • Foxcatcher
  • Maleficent
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • DARK HORSE: Guardians of the Galaxy

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:

  • The Theory of Everything
  • Gone Girl
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken
  • DARK HORSE: The Homesman

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:

  • “Glory,” Selma*
  • “Lost Stars,” Begin Again*
  • “Everything is Awesome,” The Lego Movie*
  • “Big Eyes,” Big Eyes
  • “Yellow Flicker Beat,” Mockingjay Part 1
  • DARK HORSE: “Mercy Is,” Noah

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel*
  • Into the Woods*
  • Birdman*
  • Interstellar
  • The Imitation Game
  • DARK HORSE: Mr. Turner

BEST SOUND EDITING:

  • Interstellar*
  • Whiplash*
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Unbroken
  • Fury
  • DARK HORSE: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

BEST SOUND MIXING:

  • Interstellar*
  • Into the Woods*
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Unbroken
  • Whiplash
  • DARK HORSE: Fury

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:

  • Interstellar*
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes*
  • Guardians of the Galaxy*
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Godzilla
  • DARK HORSE: Transformers: Age of Extinction

Who To Root For In Sunday’s Academy Awards

•February 28, 2014 • 1 Comment

My hiatus from extended review writing sadly continues, but with the Academy Awards coming up, I wanted to reveal who I’ll be rooting for during the ceremony. These are not my predictions of who WILL win (which can be found right here, if you need to win your Oscar pool), these are ranked lists of my personal preferences. 1 is what will send me leaping from my seat and overflowing my champagne flute in celebration; the higher the number, however, the less I want it to win. Without further ado:

Best Picture:
1. The Wolf of Wall Street
2. Her
3. Captain Phillips
4. Gravity
5. Nebraska
6. 12 Years a Slave
7. Philomena
8. Dallas Buyers Club
9. American Hustle

Best Director:
1. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
2. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
3. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
4. Alexander Payne, Nebraska
5. David O. Russell, American Hustle

Best Actor:
1. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
2. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
3. Bruce Dern, Nebraska
4. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
5. Christian Bale, American Hustle

Best Actress:
1. Sandra Bullock, Gravity
2. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
3. Judi Dench, Philomena
4. Amy Adams, American Hustle
5. Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Best Supporting Actor:
1. Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
2. Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
3. Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
4. Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
5. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress:
1. Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
2. Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
3. June Squibb, Nebraska
4. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
5. Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

Best Original Screenplay:
1. Her
2. Nebraska
3. Blue Jasmine
4. American Hustle
5. Dallas Buyers Club

Best Adapted Screenplay:
1. Before Midnight
2. The Wolf of Wall Street
3. Captain Phillips
4. 12 Years a Slave
5. Philomena

Best Animated Feature:
1. The Wind Rises
2. Frozen
3. The Croods

Best Documentary Feature:
1. The Act of Killing
2. 20 Feet From Stardom

Best Score:
1. Gravity
2. Her
3. Philomena
4. Saving Mr. Banks

Best Song:
1. “Let It Go,” Frozen
2. “Happy,” Despicable Me 2
3. “The Moon Song,” Her
4. “Ordinary Love,” Mandela

Best Production Design:
1. Her
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. Gravity
4. The Great Gatsby
5. American Hustle

Best Cinematography:
1. Prisoners
2. Gravity
3. Inside Llewyn Davis
4. The Grandmaster
5. Nebraska

Best Makeup & Hairstyling:
1. The Lone Ranger
2. Bad Grandpa
3. Dallas Buyers Club

Best Costume Design:
1. The Grandmaster
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. The Great Gatsby
4. American Hustle

Best Editing:
1. Gravity
2. Captain Phillips
3. 12 Years a Slave
4. Dallas Buyers Club
5. American Hustle

Best Sound Editing:
1. Gravity
2. All Is Lost
3. Captain Phillips
4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Best Sound Mixing:
1. Gravity
2. Inside Llewyn Davis
3. Captain Phillips
4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Best Visual Effects:
1. Gravity
2. Iron Man 3
3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
4. The Lone Ranger
5. Star Trek Into Darkness

Until I return full-time, please follow the following:
1. On Letterboxd, I briefly review every movie I see, even movies that aren’t new releases.
2. On Twitter, I tweet during nearly every work break I have.
3. On iTunes, I host a podcast called The Long and Late Movie Show, in which weekly we review all the new releases.
4. On Instagram, I post pictures of my dog and, on occasion, my own wacky hijinks.
5. Unrelated to cinema, I love college basketball and also take part in a weekly podcast called 2.1 Seconds to Madness, reviewing the previous week in NCAA hoops.

Thanks again for reading, everyone. I hope to be back very soon.

Russell

An Update With Good News, Reviews, and Apologies

•December 13, 2013 • 3 Comments

To my delightful readers,

Thanks to everyone who continues to check the site. As many of you know, I moved last year to Los Angeles to pursue a career writing for film. Within the last month or so, things have escalated here, momentum is in my favor, and I am aiming for shooting some of my own work in the spring. As exciting as that is, it means this blog has taken a backseat, and those who read it have gone without my recommendations.

Let me fill in the gaps of the last month or so of moviegoing with this: my Letterboxd diary. There, I update after every movie I see with some brief thoughts and a ranking on a 5-star system. No, it’s not the wonderful 4-kernel rating I’d perfected over the years… but until I get to update the blog, it will have to do. In a pinch, if you’re looking for my thoughts on new releases, please go there.

Also, rest easy: I shall hopefully update this blog with a slew of reviews very soon, including my usual list of Top Tens that I post at the end of every film calendar year. But if you were wondering where I’d disappeared to, and you were jonesing for some of my thoughts on film– now you know.

Please feel free to follow me on Twitter– http://twitter.com/russellhfilm— and ask me any questions on any recent film you may have. I’d be delighted to talk to you.

Thanks again for reading. I can’t believe I’ve had this blog for nearly five years. In all likelihood, I wouldn’t care nearly as much if I hadn’t gotten such generous feedback and donations over the course of the last year or so. I love you all.

Yours,

Russell Hainline

Mini-Reviews: Nebraska, The Wind Rises

•November 29, 2013 • 1 Comment

Nebraska:

Some of Alexander Payne’s post-Election work has struggled to find the balance between loving satire and outright mockery. About Schmidt, Sideways, and to a lesser degree The Descendants, have some lovely character work and keenly observed human behavior… only to then be undone by cartoonish moments and mean-hearted characterization. However, with Nebraska, Payne’s newest work, he finally figures out a way to satirize the world of his characters while never losing his affection for them. Perhaps the color film was holding him back, as the crisp black-and-white cinematography perfectly fits his tone. We meet Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), an old man in Montana with a nagging wife (June Squibb), an underachieving son (Will Forte), and a dreary existence. Suddenly, he finds hope– he receives a letter from Publishers Clearinghouse that says he may have won a million dollars. Instead of replying in kind (he doesn’t trust the mail), he sets off to Nebraska to collect his money. After failing to convince Woody it isn’t real, his son decides to take him there himself, stopping briefly in Woody’s hometown. There, they see family, explore his roots, and his son grows to learn and respect more about his father. I’ve some familiarity with the Midwest, and I know these people: the men drinking beer and watching football, the women who know the business of everyone in town, the way that small news becomes big news. While it’s easy to poke fun at, it’s even easier to feel Payne’s love for this world, and the final five-to-ten minutes are a joy. This film has a small scale, but it feels big– it’s Payne’s best in a decade, easily.

Continue reading ‘Mini-Reviews: Nebraska, The Wind Rises’

Thor: The Dark World: Far From Dark, This Sequel Is Heavenly

•November 7, 2013 • 9 Comments

Marvel has figured it out. They know precisely the tone they want their films to have, and they strike their chord with masterful precision time and again. For those who like their comic book movies breezy, action packed, and, y’know, FUN (i.e. fans of The Avengers and Iron Man 3), I’m overjoyed to report that Thor: The Dark World is cut from the same cloth. New director Alan Taylor must have been like a child in a sandbox full of toys, as he fleshes out Asgard, Thor’s family and friends, and the Nine Realms with zeal and humor. This may in fact have more jokes per minute than any Marvel film to date, something fans of the first may be surprised to hear. Yet despite all the laughs and the big-time action sequences, the characters shine through. Hemsworth and Hiddleston continue to be terrific as Thor and Loki; they’re the beating heart of this extravaganza. Marvel hit a grand slam with The Avengers and nailed Iron Man 3, so I expect that there will inevitably be a film that drops in quality. This isn’t it: Thor: The Dark World is great fun.

Continue reading ‘Thor: The Dark World: Far From Dark, This Sequel Is Heavenly’

 
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