Fri, 28 October 2016
Oscar Podcast #44: Viola Davis, Moonlight, Billy Lynn and Oscar Predictions with special guest Joey Nolfi
On this 44th podcast, I am joined by a special guest, Entertainment Weekly's Joey Nolfi.
We cover a lot of ground in this podcast (which hits the 2-hour mark): from Viola Davis's submission in Supporting for Fences and what that means for the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories now to Moonlight and if its critical impact will equal Oscar nominations. Best Actress, as usual, gets heavy rotation as we talk about our likely nominees; Emma Stone in La La Land, Natalie Portman in Jackie and Annette Bening in 20th Century Women but also those who round out a very rich category this year - Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Amy Adams (Arrival), Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane) and of course, Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins).
UPDATE: There is a spoiler regarding Manchester by the Sea at around the 1hr 20m mark that I forgot to edit out. I recommend that you skip forward to about 1h23m to keep from being spoiled on a specific plot aspect of the movie. I apologize to anyone who listened to the podcast and is upset by hearing the spoiler.
We dig into Best Picture and its frontrunners and wonder if there's something on the outside that we're missing. With former heavy hitters like The Birth of a Nation and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (which Joey talks extensively about) falling by the wayside, it means other contenders like Arrival and Hidden Figures become stronger while 'steak eater' films like Sully or Hell or High Water must be considered.
The podcast closes with an 'original' piece by Joey featuring Beyoncé and Diane Ladd.
Wed, 19 October 2016
Most of the conversation centers around the Best Actress category as it is a wealth of possibility this year. Natalie Portman (Jackie), Viola Davis (Fences) and Emma Stone (La La Land) land in the in 'sure thing' positions (although Kyle has some thoughts about Davis...) but what then? Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Amy Adams (Arrival and Nocturnal Animals), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins), Ruth Negga (Loving), Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures) and Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane) all seem to have paths to the final five. We talk about what role an Oscar pundit has in advocacy for a film in the race
We also talk about what role an Oscar pundit has in advocacy for a film in the race and chat about how 'Oscar Bait' has become quite the pejorative in pundit talk, using Kyle and Mark Harris' fantastic piece on it as a jumping off point. We also discuss how early major contender Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk was cut short by awful reviews at the New York Film Festival.
Check out the most up to the minute predictions from the Gold Rush Gang starting right here.
Sun, 4 September 2016
Oscar Podcast #42: Fall Festivals Kick Off Oscar Season with La La Land, Moonlight, Arrival, Nocturnal Animals
The Venice and Telluride Film Festivals have kicked off the beginning of Oscar season (even though we've been at it for months!), giving us a first look at some major fall players like La La Land, Moonlight, Arrival and Nocturnal Animals.
With my guest, Gold Rush Gang member Bryan Bonefede, we discuss how these films and their mostly stellar reviews have boosted their Oscar profiles among the Gold Rush Gang and how mixed to bad responses of Bleed for This and Wakefield have basically sunk theirs. We also talk about Sully and if this 'meat & potatoes' film will be a Best Picture contender or not.
The second half of the podcast we cover the impact of Nate Parker's rape controversy on his film, The Birth of a Nation, and how the GRG responded in terms of Oscar predictions.
Finally, I had to get out a beef from this week of the rumor going around that Paramount is planning on running Viola Davis in supporting for Fences. I don't agree and think that floating the 'rumor' as fact or information isn't the best way to have an Oscar conversation. Although the role in the original version of the Broadway play won the Tony for a Featured Actress for Mary Alice, Davis won the Tony in 2010 in LEAD and has spoken up about her role being even bigger in the film than in the revival of the play.
Tell me what you think about that and all of these subjects in the comments section or in the AwardsWatch forums.
The opening music is "City of Stars" from La La Land (Summit/Lionsgate) and the closing music is "New York City by Day" by Thomas Newman from the film Desperately Seeking Susan.
This podcast runs about 1h 45m.
Sun, 21 August 2016
On this 41st podcast our commentary is restricted to a single issue - the explosive week information regarding Nate Parker, the writer, star and director of Fox Searchlight's The Birth of a Nation, and the 1999 rape case he and his Birth co-writer, Jean Celestin, were involved in.
There have been think pieces upon think pieces this week that began with a very careful and concerted effort by Parker and Fox Searchlight to get ahead of the controversy by having him interview for Deadline. With that followed Fox Searchlight's immediate statement of support for Parker but very soon after came the revelation that the acquitted Parker and convicted Celestin's victim had committed suicide in 2012.
On the podcast we try and examine the case as honestly and as factually as possible and hopefully did so with respect and integrity. We cover the media's response, the nature of Hollywood to turn the other cheek, our personal opinions and what it now means for the film's financial and awards success. I encourage this to be an ongoing conversation and you can comment here on the story as well as our podcast and in the forums of AwardsWatch.
This podcast runs just over one hour with intro and outro.
Fri, 29 July 2016
In our 40th Oscar podcast, I am joined by Gold Rush Gang members Richard Anthony and, new this season, Bryan Bonafede.
With the announcements this week of the Toronto and Venice film festival lineups, that gives us lots to talk about in terms of who rises (La La Land, Arrival) and who falls (Loving, Moonlight) in our Oscar predictions. The upcoming Telluride announcement will be even more telling and we talk about some of the films expected there as well.
We detail updated predictions in Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress and wonder is Ruth Negga (Loving) is as locked as some of us (meaning I) think she is and how we build our predictions. How many performances from a single film will get Oscar nominated? Is Best Actor skewing too young and is there room for a newcomer in Best Actress? Why are Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress so bleak right now and are Liam Neeson (Silence) and Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea) going to be runaway winners?
All this and much more on this podcast that runs just about two hours.
Mon, 23 May 2016
In this 39th Oscar podcast, Gold Rush Gang member Júlia Albuquerque and I break down the winners and losers at this year's Cannes Film Festival awards ceremony where sometimes it was hard to tell the two apart.
We talk extensively about the role of "armchair" criticism of the festival and the jury's awards choices and how Cannes l'enfant terrible Xavier Dolan was able to walk away with his biggest prize yet for his worst reviewed film. Júlia also reminds us how before the festival started, jury member Arnaud Desplechin remarked that he wants to find this year's Mad Max and Son of Saul yet ended up picking Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake for the top prize. To that effect, we talk about the post-ceremony jury press conference where they defend their choices, with Donald Sutherland and jury president George Miller doing most of the heavy lifting.
Obviously we look at what films are the most likely to make it through the year to Oscar season success (hint: there's really only one).
Of course, actress talk dominates much of the podcast with Sonia Braga and Isabelle Huppert holding court there as the two biggest predicted Actress potentials that both lost to Jaclyn Jose.
We end with what, if any, of the foreign language films might end up being Oscar submissions for individual countries.
Sun, 10 April 2016
In our 38th podcast, I am joined by three Gold Rush Gang members - Júlia, Evan and Kenneth - to first discuss the name change of the Amy Adams space drama and if the film needs more or less Jeremy Renner (hint: it's the latter).
Then, onto predictions for the Cannes Film Festival announcement next week. Everything from what's confirmed, what's definitely not showing up to what we have a good idea will be. Much conversation revolves around the Jeff Nichols film Loving starring Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton and how Focus Features is positioning the film early (it doesn't do Cannes that often) and will likely hit all of the major festivals before its theatrical release. This leads to a lengthy Best Actress conversation (no, really?) that focuses mainly on Negga and Viola Davis in Fences but also on the challenge of a studio to decide which of its films to push the most, when to release it and when it's good to be seen early.
Much debate about if the Academy will take Amazon Studios and Netflix seriously this year after no nominations for a feature film happened at this year's nominations takes place, including thoughts on how the old indies (Sony Pictures Classics, Focus Features, Fox Searchlight) fell to the new indies this year (A24, Open Road Films) and where Amazon and Netflix fit, if they do at all and how those two streaming services are becoming the new home for old school indie directors. I also give a plea and shoutout to director Karyn Kusama whose film The Invitation debuted this weekend to rave reviews and deserves a major career redemption. Evan and Kenneth discuss a wealth of films they've recently seen that could end up being awards contenders come fall (as Spring movies often do) including the ever-awarded Helen Mirren in Eye in the Sky and Sally Field in Hello, My Name is Doris. Júlia shares her thoughts on the upcoming film Moonlight, starring Mahershala Ali, Andre Holland and Naomie Harris.
We also highlight something we're very proud of; an AwardsWatch forum member who has a film playing the Cannes Film Festival. Our own Aaron Salazar's film gas_n_go032416 will play the Short Film Corner of the festival. Huge congratulations to him.
Also, Nicole Kidman. Because, of course.
Mon, 7 March 2016
Oscar Podcast #37: Post-Oscar Recap; New Season feat. Silence, Fences, Loving, The Birth of a Nation
It's the first podcast of the 2016/2017 Oscar season!
Last season is barely in the ground but we're up and ready to go onto the next week. But first, since we missed on doing a post-Oscar show podcast earlier last week, brand new Gold Rush Gang member Julia and I spend the first part of the podcast breaking down the show, the wins, the losses and the controversy. It's in this part that Julia reveals something about the SAG screener Netflix sent out of Beasts of No Nation and we have the clip of it right here:
After that post-mortem we dig into the new season, full of new movies and potentially a year overflowing with movies for, by and about people of color that could (and hopefully will) radically alter the last two years of #OscarsSoWhite.
The major players we talk about are Fences, with Viola Davis and Denzel Washington reprising their Tony-winning roles. For a peek at the clip I mention in the podcast, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qt5LLLU_qew. Paramount has said it will be finished and out for an awards run but it hasn't even started shooting yet. Hopefully there isn't a Selma déjà vu in the works. The Birth of a Nation, Loving and Moonlight also get a chunk of the conversation as does the highly anticipated Martin Scorsese film Silence and Ang Lee's Billy Flynn's Long Halftime Walk.
This podcast runs about 1h 45m. Welcome to a new season!
Tue, 23 February 2016
In the final Oscar podcast of the 2015/2016 season, our 36th, I am joined by Gold Rush Gang member Jason, Evan and Kenneth to disseminate, break down and predict all 24 Academy Awards categories in searing, biting detail. A warning, there is some messiness ahead in this 2-hour+ podcast due, possibly, to wine intake. There may or may not be some sidebar shade towards Brooklyn, but you'll have to listen to be sure. I give this podcast to you unedited and raw. Why subvert the truth?
The first 20 minutes we take apart the Shorts so if that's not your thing you can skip it, but any good Oscar predictor knows these are the categories that can make or break your Oscar pool, or even better, your chances of getting into next year's Gold Rush Gang.
The majority of the podcast centers around the 10 separate battles that The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road will be on throughout Oscar night. Where will they split? Where do WE split?
Finally, we land on Best Picture which, for some, is still an open race. There are strong arguments to be made for the three main contenders (The Revenant, The Big Short and Spotlight) and we'll detail them right here.
Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy podcast.
Sun, 14 February 2016
In our 35th podcast, recording just minutes after the 2016 BAFTA awards ceremony, I am joined by three Gold Rush Gang members (James, Evan and Kenneth) to hash over the huge turn in the Oscar game with The Revenant making good on its recent DGA win and taking BAFTA's Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and more. Can anyone deny its frontrunner status now?
We also look at the continued strength of Mad Max: Fury Road (which won four awards) and the craziness of the Best Supporting Actress category, including a bit of time devoted to the one and only Diane Ladd on her "greed and corruption" accusations of leading actress performances in "her" suppawting category.
We finish by talking about the three slates of performers and presenters for the 88th Academy Awards, wonder if the chosen presenters are too thinly veiled an answer to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and try and figure out who will be presenting Best Picture.