Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I'm Definitely Gonna Call Kate McKinnon

Let's get one thing out of the way right now: if you don't think an all-female Ghostbusters is a good idea, just move along. I am sick of people (mostly guys) complaining that they are messing with a classic film. If I can sit through the barrage of superhero crap, you can settle for a reboot of a successful franchise.

The news broke earlier today as to which quartet of funny ladies would appear in Paul Feig's Ghostbusters reboot. Not only did he cast frequent collaborator Melissa McCarthy and Bridesmaids star Kristen Wiig, but be snagged two current Saturday Night Live cast members: Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. While I am pumped for the entire project, the inclusion of McKinnon has me the most excited. I recently declared her my favorite cast member on the AwardsDaily TV Water Cooler Podcast, so this news is especially exciting for me. 

A while back, I made a list of actresses that Feig should have considered, but that was way before I was familiar with the majesty of Kate McKinnon. She's the best character actress that SNL has to offer right now, and she can definitely hold her own against anyone in the current cast. McKinnon is the Meryl Streep of weird, sometimes-heavily-accent characters. It's also very obvious that she doesn't care about looking like in idiot--see the Jim Carrey "Chandelier" parody. 

It's also very exciting that Feig included Jones, a recently added SNL cast member. She can be brash and blunt, and it obviously helps that she can probably tower over the other girls. 

While some of the hardcore Ghostbusters fans seem to have a problem with the ladies in the reboot, I am going to focus on the idea that I do love: Kate McKinnon. If you need to be swayed, check out any of her sketches. She had me with her bulging eyes and her unapologetic tenacity. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Will a Threesome Overshadow an Important Message?

Right on the heels of GLAAD announcing their Media Award nominees, the first images from the upcoming drama I Am Michael have hit the web. The film made headlines a while back when it was announced that the film would feature a threesome between stars James Franco, Zachary Quinto, and Charlie Carver. Will the film's steamy scene overshadow the serious subject matter? 

I Am Michael tells the true story of Michael Glatze, a gay activist who publicly renounced his homosexuality following conversion therapy in the mid-2000's. Glatze formerly worked at the twink rag XY before founding the short-lived periodical, Young Gay America where he met his long time partner, Bennett, played by Zachary Quinto. After Glatze denounced his homosexuality, he went on to marry a woman in 2013.

According to Quinto, I Am Michael allows the audience to make up their own mind and doesn't push its message in your face. He says about the film, "It invites you in, it presents you with drama, conflict and emotion, and then it sends you on your way to form your own opinion about something." That's a very interesting stance for a film featuring out actors. One would imagine that the film wouldn't approve of Glatze's self-proclaimed change, but perhaps a neutral stance would make a better film. 

Michael debuted at Sundance late last week, and Variety's Peter Debruge described it as "remarkably even-handed" and "admirable in its seeming impartiality." The review also went on to praise the casting of Franco, but wasn't too keen on director Justin Kelly's clinical approach to the material. The Guardian was less kind in its review

I came across this headline today on The Huffington Post. Sure, it's total clickbait (Carver explained that the room was extremely hot), but does this kind of story undermine the issues brought up in the film? Is it just a ploy to get people interested in seeing it or generating buzz? I feel like this kind of press would get in the way of a film mainly made to create a dialogue. Perhaps if the film is getting bad reviews this is the best way to get people to see it. 

I Am Michael is set to play the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.

How Excited Are You for Emma Watson to Play Belle?

You may have heard today that Emma Watson has confirmed that she will play Belle in Disney's live-action musical adaptation of their classic Beauty and the Beast. If you're like me, you met this news with crazed enthusiasm. Belle is one of the best characters from the early 1990's Disney animation renaissance, and I distinctly remember my experience of going to the theater with my dad to see the 1991 animated film. 

It also doesn't hurt that Watson played Harry Potter's Hermione Granger for over 10 years. Disney + beloved Harry Potter actress = one happy Joey. Here are some perfectly acceptable (and HP appreciated) reactions to the news that Watson will be belting out some classic Disney.

So, how excited are you?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

7 Personal Reactions to the Oscar Nominations

There have been a lot of reaction pieces already written about this morning's Oscar nominations. Not only are they the whitest Academy Awards in almost 20 years, but there has been a general feeling of disappointment (betrayal even?) in the crop of nominees announced. Personally, I scored a 69% on my nomination predictions, so I was definitely way off on a lot of stuff. I've been thinking about the nominations all day. Normally, I just let it go, because there's nothing I can really do about it, but the announcement has stuck with me since it originally came on.

1. No Life Itself
How can the incredible documentary about Roger Ebert not get nomination? Some people were banking on its personal touches to steal the thunder from frontrunner CITIZENFOUR, but it wasn't even included in the nominations. Why? Did people assume it would get in, so they didn't include it? Did they forget about it? 

Everyone in the industry has been touched by Ebert in one way or another, so what gives? After Blackfish was left off and now this, I have lost all feelings for this category.

2. Where my ladies at?!
Gillian Flynn wasn't nominated for adapting her own novel (Gone Girl), and Ava DuVernay was inexplicably left off the Best Director list. Are women only going to get nominated for Actress and Supporting Actress? It's a white man's world. None of the Best Picture nominees feature a female at the center. 

3. Laura Dern!!!
When Dern's name was read in the Supporting Actress category, I quite literally screamed. Clarence wisely chose her in his predictions, but I was more reserved. The mother/daughter story of Wild is my favorite story of the year, and it's fantastic to see both Dern and Reese Witherspoon nominated. 

4. The LEGO Movie
The fact that people are so vocal about LEGO's omission in the Best Animated Feature category is annoying. While I enjoyed it the first time I saw it, it's a pitcher of oversugared Kool-Aid of a movie. Cool your jets, fanboys, you still have Guardians of the Galaxy to jack off to. 

5. Best Original Song is kiiiind of familiar
Clarence and I made jokes that one needs to throw darts at the wall in order to guess the nominees for Original Song, but they are all quite familiar titles. Thankfully, "Lost Stars" got in after being omitted by the Golden Globes (which version will they perform?!?!), and Diane Warren is back in the Original Song game for her song "Grateful" from Beyond the Lights

6. Julianne Moore is one step closer...
Ever since I started watching the Oscars, I have waited to see Julianne Moore take the stage to accept an Academy Award. This is her year. Joy, pure joy. Remember when Julie Christie won a Golden Globe for playing a woman suffering from Alzhemier's in Away From Her and Marion Cotillard swooped in and won for her staggering performance in La Vie en Rose. Keep one eye open, Julianne!

7. Selma's near shutout
Selma is fiercely directed and passionately acted. The frustration around it not getting nominated for more Oscars is understandable--infuriating, even--but its lack of awards presence nowhere diminishes its greatness. This is not a film that was created to win awards. It was written and directed to incite passion and inspire. Martin Luther King Jr. has never been brought to the screen, and Ava DuVernay presented us not with a saint or untouchable. She told the story she wanted to tell, and, man, did she tell it with ferocity and dignity. Take a look at that Bloody Sunday sequence and then compare it to the scene where Coretta Scott King confronts her husband. Both scenes are handle with such care and immediacy. In my mind, she's one of the Best Directors of the year. Screw the Academy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Welcome to the First (And Only?) Oscar Nothingness Podcast!

It's that time. The Academy Awards will announce their nominations tomorrow morning, so that means that all us underlings will be feverishly trying to predict whose names will be called. Will Ava DuVernay be nominated for Best Director even though she wasn't listed among yesterday's DGA nominees? Will The Imitation Game lead the nominations? Will there be any surprises? I sure hope so!

Normally, I write out my nominee predictions, but I thought it'd be fun to record a podcast with my pal Clarence since he and I made those incredibly early predictions so many months ago. We run down every single category. That's right, folks! Even the short films that we know nothing about! So, sit back, relax, and see if your predictions match ours.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Golden Globe Predictions--Part Deux!

Ah, the Golden Globe Awards--the drunk cousin of the Academy Awards. I love the Globes because she's looser and a lot more fun than her golden counterpart, the Oscar. Celebrities get drunk and hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler provide us with a fun evening. Here's hoping that the Hollywood Foreign Press somehow wrangles them to emcee more awards shows. 

I'm much more obsessed with the Oscars, so I tend to be a lot more risky in my predictions for the Globes. My fellow AwardsDailyTV contributors and I predicted the television categories, and you can check them out here.

Best Picture - Drama - Part of me thinks that The Imitation Game will pull out a win here. The film is this big, looming threat, and, if it scores big somewhere, it will be at the Globes. But can Imitation win without a director nod? Selma could pull out a win here (especially if it wins Director), but Boyhood will probably continue its award dominance. 

Best Picture - Musical or Comedy - How great would it be if Pride pulled out a surprise here? A few days ago, it was reported that Into the Woods was named the winner of this category on the HFPA website, but can anything really beat Birdman? I think not. 

Best Director - Richard Linklater isn't the flashiest winner, so I think it comes down to Ava DuVernay for Selma or Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman. Inarritu won this category years ago for Babel, but that was for the Drama category--directors don't usually win here for a film in the "comedy" category. If DuVernay pulls out a win here, she will be the first female director to win Director since Barbra Streisand in 1983 for Yentl. I've been going back and forth between these two, and I am going to go with Inarritu. Just barely. But who knows; Linklater could just win and blow my theory right out of the water.

Best Actor - Drama - With Michael Keaton competing in the Musical or Comedy category, it will be easy for Eddie Redmayne to win for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. The Actor category is going to be ridiculously fun to watch this year. 

Best Actress - Drama - Okay...I am saying this now. I think Julianne Moore will win for Still Alice BUT I will not be surprised if Jennifer Aniston takes it for Cake. Aniston is incredibly well liked, and Moore's votes could split between her other nomination (Actress in a Musical or Comedy for Maps to the Stars). I am emotionally prepared...I think...we shall see where the evening goes...breathe...breathe...

Best Actor - Musical or Comedy - No one is going to beat Michael Keaton. 

Best Actress - Musical or Comedy - It's interesting that Actor M/C is so tied up while this one is up for grabs. Clarence pointed out that the HFPA loved Maps to the Stars (something I didn't know), so I would accept Julianne Moore pulling a Kate Winslet as a late birthday present. The sun's not going to come out for Quvenzhane Wallis for Annie. Helen Mirren isn't going to take it for The Hundred-Foot Journey (I liked that movie a lot more than everyone else did). Are they going to give it to Emily Blunt for a movie that's more universally praised and awarded, or are they going to give it Amy Adams the second year in a row. Part of me says that if Adams can win for American Hustle, she can win for tying her shoes, but I have to go with Blunt. Put Adams' performance against just Blunt's "Moments in the Woods" and there's no contest in my eyes. 

Best Supporting Actor - J.K. Simmons will win for Whiplash. Cue the sound of me taking a shot. 

Best Supporting Actress - Here's my ballsy prediction of the day (that I will surely regret later). Meryl Streep edges out Patricia Arquette. Arquette has been winning nonstop for Boyhood, and I want her to win (she was nominated for 3 consecutive years for Medium). Streep has 8 other Globes, and she's great in front of a microphone. Do I think Streep has a win of winning the Oscar? No, but she might win here. 

Best Screenplay - Birdman. Is this starting to look like a sweep?

Best Animated Film - It should be The Boxtrolls, but it will be The Lego Movie.

Best Foreign Language Film - Ida has been winning everything, and I don't know jack. 

Best Original Score - That drum beat from Birdman is hard to forget, and it's ineligible for the Oscar. Look out for Theory of Everything or Gone Girl

Best Original Song - How the living hell could the HFPA leave "Lost Stars" off their nominees list?! It's the most heartbreaking number of the year, and it's not even nominated. It's going to be "Glory" by John Legend and Common, but if Lorde or Lana Del Rey wins, I might throw my television off the balcony.

Golden Globe Predictions--Part I!!!

I asked my ADTV pal, Clarence Moye, to predict the film categories for me. Check out his take on tonight's awards below!

It’s a fool’s errand to predict the Golden Globes.

First, the awards are given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a body of international journalists who regard film and television through a completely different filter than traditional American audiences. Second, it’s widely reported that these journalists have varying degrees of credentials, some only posting enough output to just barely meet the criteria for membership.
Finally, the HFPA rarely like a sweep. They’re in it to largely spread the wealth among the assembled stars and studios to ensure attendance on their multi-million dollar telecast. 

So, putting all of that aside, here are my predications for tonight’s Golden Globe awards with brief justifications for each. I hold no esteem in my own predictions, largely going by gut feelings or things I’ve heard from other sources.

Take all of this with a massive grain of salt.

Best Motion Picture, DramaBoyhood’s seemingly inevitable march to the Oscar podium feels like it will be repeated here, but I can’t decide if the persnickety Globes want to crown it first or if they want to go their own way. Two months ago, I thought The Imitation Game wins it in a cakewalk, but they didn’t nominate its director (Morten Tyldum, the worst name of a director ever in the history of film). If Selma had that screenplay nomination, then I would pick it – settling for second place here. Boyhood triumphs here again.

Best Motion Picture, Musical or ComedyBirdman. Seven nominations in all the right places is a huge sign. It’s the closet thing we’ll have to a sweep all night.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama -  Eddie Redmayne wins here because it scores in all the right places for the HFPA: it’s showy, it’s a biopic, and he'll look great at the podium. This will be The Theory of Everything’s big (and possibly only) win of the evening.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama – Reportedly, the HFPA LOVES Maps to the Stars so I’m not so sure they’re going to award Julianne Moore here. They’ve done crazy things before (Sharon Stone over Susan Sarandon some 20 years ago rings a bell). I think they’re going with Jennifer Aniston (Cake) here, setting up some level of competition for Moore’s supposed engraved Oscar win. (Insert sound of Joey Moser crashing to the floor.)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy – No one comes close to Michael Keaton in Birdman.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy – Smart money has Emily Blunt for Into the Woods, perhaps that film’s only win. I’m thinking they will award Julianne Moore here for Maps to the Stars over her plainer performance in Still Alice. I don’t discount Moore’s possibility of winning both, though. Possible. Very, very possible.

Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture – J.K. Simmons in Whiplash. Yawn, but good for him. This will be their tempo.

Best Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – Patricia Arquette wins here in another pre-ordained award. They do love them some Meryl Streep, though. Remember they awarded her for Adaptation over the “inevitable” Catherine Zeta-Jones for Chicago

Best Director – I don’t think Richard Linklater is flashy enough a director for the HFPA who historically pick the most directed films over the most subtly directed films. Instead, they’re going to go with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman.

Best Screenplay – Flip a coin. I’m thinking they’re going to award something here that likely won’t win another award. Is that The Imitation Game or Gone Girl? I’m going with Game.

Best Original Score – No idea here. I could see any one of these films winning with the exception of Interstellar because even the HFPA wouldn’t sink that low. Birdman isn’t eligible for the Oscar, and the two Brit biopics may cancel each other out (although Desplat probably has a leg up). I’m going out on a limb with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for Gone Girl.

Best Original Song – This category almost doesn’t matter because they omitted “Lost Stars” from Begin Again – a brilliantly orchestrated song that had to stand multiple versions within the film. I’m picking Selma’s “Glory” because my wife said it was good, and she’s smart people.

Best Animated Feature FilmThe Lego Movie. I just fell asleep typing that.

Best Foreign Language Film – It’s between Ida and Leviathan, I suspect, just because those are the two films I’ve heard the most about in the last two months. After careful consideration (re: coin toss), I’m going with Ida.

For my television predictions, I’m (not giving it any more thought) sticking with my original predictions as posted on Awards Daily TV, a most excellent website that all of you should be reading.
If I may say so myself…

Monday, January 5, 2015

Are These Our Best Picture Nominees?

The Producers Guild announced their nominees for Best Picture this morning, and it was met with shocked reactions from both prognosticators and Oscar enthusiasts alike. Ava DuVernay's Martin Luther King Jr. film, Selma, failed to get screeners out to voters, and the film was left out of the ten slots. American Sniper, Clint Eastwood's tribute to Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, is starting to gain momentum. 

Is it possible that Selma, the year's best reviewed film, will be left out of this year's biggest awards race? I doubt it. Twitter was set ablaze by the omission, but that doesn't mean that where wasn't anything to celebrate this morning. David Fincher's Gone Girl is starting to appear on critics' lists and it's a huge hit. I think it's in. Why are some people discounting Grand Budapest when it's been showing up everywhere? 

The full list of nominees is as follows:

American Sniper
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game 
The Theory of Everything

Could something else sneak into the Oscar Best Picture race? I thought Into the Woods stood a chance to get nominated if it landed here at the PGA, but it seems like the Rob Marshall musical is toast when it comes to the awards season (you know, other than technical categories). Will JC Chandor's A Most Violent Year be the first film since Quills to be named Best Picture by the National Board of Review and not get nominated for the top prize? This list looks pretty solid, but in a year like this (i.e., all over the place), anything can happen.