Sun, 30 January 2022
On this 88th podcast I am joined by Kenzie Vanunu to talk about the upcoming BAFTA nominations.
Kenzie and I break down the writing, acting, directing and Best Film categories as well as try and tackle the always difficult to predict Rising Star nominees. Throughout the podcast we detail the changes in BAFTA voting that were enacted last season (that also gave us wild snubs like Gary Oldman, Carey Mulligan and Olivia Colman), how those new rules will impact this year's results and who will be helped and hurt by BAFTAs choices.
Best Actress is one of this year's most contentious categories and at BAFTA we're very likely to see many of the top Oscar contenders missing - outside of the chapter-voted top two - in favor of more local-grown talent. But who's getting snubbed - Lady Gaga? Jessica Chastain? Kristen Stewart? ALL of them?
Support for this podcast and the following message comes from MGM Studios’ and United Artists Releasing’s RESPECT. Jennifer Hudson is Aretha Franklin in the true story of the icon’s musical and spiritual journeys. She overcomes controlling men and inner demons and, empowered by family friend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., becomes a civil rights activist. With Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, and Audra McDonald. Critics say this is “Another Oscar worthy performance from Jennifer Hudson” that has been hailed as “electrifying.”
For Your Consideration in all categories including Best Actress - Jennifer Hudson.
This podcast runs 1h 45m with intro and music.
Sun, 23 January 2022
On this 87th podcast I am joined by AwardsWatch staff writer Zach Gilbert to break down the big guild nominations - WGA, DGA and PGA - that are happening this week.
With the Writers Guild eligibility list omitted several top contenders, including Oscar frontrunners, Zach and I agree on most of our predictions with a few outliers seeking one of the final spots. Same goes for the Directors Guild, in both the main award and the First Time Feature award, where we are 4/5 in agreement in two very competitive categories.
The Producers Guild of America nominations is where things get tough as we align on 8/10 in a year where the Oscars return to a straight 10 nominees. Not even in the first two years of 10 nominees (2009 and 2010) did PGA and Oscar lineup exactly so the race is on between House of Gucci, No Time to Die, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Nightmare Alley, The Tragedy of Macbeth and more for those spots, both at PGA and Oscar.
Nominations for the Writers Guild, Directors Guild and Producers Guild are Thursday, January 27.
Support for this podcast and the following message comes from MGM Studios’ and United Artists Releasing’s No Time to Die, produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Daniel Craig concludes his five-film portrayal of James Bond in No Time to Die. Joining forces with his MI6 team and a new generation of agents, Bond faces the highest stakes of his espionage career and emotionally explores the sacrifices of heroism.
Critics are hailing - “No Time to Die will be remembered for its emotional impact above all.” You can watch it everywhere you rent movies. For Your Consideration in all categories including Best Picture of The Year.
This podcast runs 1h 1m 30s with intro and music.
Fri, 14 January 2022
Interview: Nicolas Cage digs deep about 'Pig,' his favorite and most underrated of his own movies, and the role he'd love to play
For over to forty years, Nicolas Cage has given us one of the most diverse filmographies of all time. While being one of cinemas greatest action heroes with hits like The Rock, Gone in 60 Seconds, Con Air and Face Off, Cage also excels in prestige dramas about complex, emotionally rich characters in films like Leaving Las Vegas (for which he won the Oscar), Matchstick Men, Adaptation, and Joe. He can make you fall in love with him in films like Moonstruck and Raising Arizona, while discovering and protecting historical American secrets. Basically, the man can do anything and knock it out of the park, thus makes him one of, if not, the best actor of his generation.
But with his latest film, Pig, Cage takes his range and dramatic work to a whole new level as Rob, a reclusive chef who must confront his past after his beloved truffle hunting pig is kidnapped. Written and directed by Michael Sarnoski, and co-starring Alex Wolff and Adam Arkin, Cage is stunning in this film. When I reviewed Pig back July, I stated that “it’s not just one of the best performances of the year so far, but how it is the best work he has ever done,” and after seeing the film again, that statement firmly holds up. This sentiment was fleshed out a month later in an FYC piece for Cage to get a nomination for Best Actor at this year’s Oscars, noting that what the legendary actor was doing in this part was “an astonishing achievement” and that he delivers “a bloody, broken, delicious showcase that lingers well beyond the briskly efficient 92-minute runtime.”
After writing about this performance all year long, it only seemed fitting to go to the source and sit down to ask the actor about his incredible, career defining work in this movie. In the interview below, I spoke with Cage about his time making Pig, the bonds with Sarnoski and Wolff that grew on and off set, the lessons he learned in playing a chef, and his love of cinema. At the end, we concluded our chat with some interesting rapid-fire questions with answers lifelong fan of his movies have always wanted to know, as well as take a look at what he has coming in the not too distant future.
This interview runs 24m 31s.
Pig is available to rent or buy wherever you stream movies.
Fri, 14 January 2022
AwardsWatch Oscar Podcast #86: SAG nominations and BAFTA longlist reactions with Christina Jeurling Birro
On podcast #86 I welcome, for the first time, Christina Jeurling Birro, from Pop Culture Confidential. You probably know Christina from her PCC podcast, which I've guest on several times but she's finally here and I couldn't be happier.
In just an hour, Christina and I break down the Golden Globes winners and non-ceremony last Sunday, and the one-two punch of BAFTA longlist and Screen Actors Guild nomination announcements announcements that happened within an hour of each in the early hours of Wednesday morning. We dive into the surprise SAG mentions for Bradley Cooper and Ben Affleck at the expense of the Belfast boys, the shocking snub of Kristen Stewart and who showed up at BAFTA and why it matters.
Support for this podcast and the following message comes from MGM Studios’ and United Artists Releasing’s House of Gucci. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Lady Gaga, Adam Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, with Salma Hayek, and Al Pacino,House of Gucci is inspired by the true story of the family empire behind the Italian fashion house of Gucci.
Critics have hailedHouse of Gucci as “One of the best films of the year. A supremely entertaining and revealing drama from Ridley Scott.” and that the cast displays a “masterclass in acting” with “the best performances of the year.” Nominated for 4 Critics Choice Awards and 3 Screen Actors Guild Awards including Best Supporting Actor Jared Leto and Best Actress Lady Gaga, winner of the New York Film Critics Circle for Best Actress Spanning three decades of love, betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately murder, we see what a name means, what it’s worth, and how far a family will go for control.
For Your Consideration in all categories including Best Picture of the Year.
This podcast runs 1h 5m with sponsorship, intro and music.
Tue, 11 January 2022
Interview: ‘Respect’ hair and makeup designers Stevie Martin and Lawrence Davis on transforming Jennifer Hudson into Aretha Franklin
Stevie Martin and Lawrence Davis are two very well-established makeup and hair designers, having traversed the worlds of film and television with equal success and yes, respect.
Martin made her start in makeup designing when she started doing makeup for magazines before building her way to TV and film. She was one of the key makeup artists on projects such as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, then returning for Mockingjay – Part 2, The Nice Guys and Sleepless, where she grew a reputation of her minimalist style and using no prosthetics.
Davis comes from a very ranged background of work, having even won an Emmy for his work on Hairspray Live! He went on to being one of the key hairstylists for daytime and primetime TV shows and specials like the Grammys, the Academy Awards, American Idol. From this he went onto movies and became a key hairstylist for projects such as In Time, Flight and Dumb and Dumber To. Through all of this he started working frequently with Jennifer Hudson, which is how he landed the role of Hair Designer Head for Respect.
We were curious how they both went about the daunting task of transforming Jennifer Hudson and Marlon Wayans into their respective roles as Aretha Franklin and Ted White, especially when the filmmakers asked for no prosthetics. Benji Bury had a sit-down discussion with them about how they climbed this high mountain.
Respect is currently available to rent or buy wherever you stream movies.
Tue, 4 January 2022
When Ridley Scott calls, Janty Yates answers. 2021 brought not one, but two Scott projects - The Last Duel and House of Gucci - and Yates was by his side on both. With The Last Duel, we are transported back into medieval France to meet Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) and Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) as they fight for the truth. As for House of Gucci, we meet Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) in the late 1970s as she begins her relationship with Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver). Yates’ costumes are standouts and she is receiving some of the best reviews of her career.
Yates is no stranger to the awards attention. In 2001, she was the winner of Academy Award for Best Costume Design for Gladiator. She was also nominated for a Satellite Awards (where she is 4x nominee), a Saturn Award (where she is a 3x nominee) and a BAFTA. In addition to these accolades, she is also a 2x Costume Designers Guild Awards nominee (The Martian and De-Lovely).
Yates has been racking up nominations left and right for critics prizes for both of her films of this year, including a Hollywood Critics Association nomination and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards nomination.
Their collaboration continues with Kitbag, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte. Jodie Comer was originally cast as Joséphine Bonaparte but had to drop out due to COVID-influenced scheduling conflicts.
This audio interview runs 25m 19s.
Tue, 4 January 2022
To this day, 3x Oscar nominated production designer Arthur Max continues to transport us to his beautifully constructed worlds. In 2021, he took us to the castles of medieval France with The Last Duel and to the bustling streets of Italy in House of Gucci. Through tireless research and close collaboration, Max has been frequent go-to of Ridley Scott for over two decades.
His three Oscars were for Best Achievement in Production Design (The Martian), Best Achievement in Art Direction (American Gangster) and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Gladiator). The accolades don’t stop there. He is also a 2x BAFTA nominee (1x winner for Gladiator), 7x ADG nominee (2x winner for The Martian and Gladiator), NBR Award winner for Gladiator, and many more.
Their collaboration continues with Kitbag, starring Jodie Comer and Joaquin Phoenix as Joséphine Bonaparte and Napoleon Bonaparte.
House of Gucci is out in theaters today and stars Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, and Al Pacino. The Last Duel is on VOD today and stars Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer and Ben Affleck.
This audio interview runs 59m 27s.
Sat, 1 January 2022
AwardsWatch Oscar Podcast #85: Screen Actors Guild nomination predictions with The Oscar Expert and Brother Bro
On this episode, I am joined by the twin team of Cole and Justin, better known as The Oscar Expert and Brother Bro, who return to the AwardsWatch Oscar Podcast to talk about the Screen Actors Guild and offer our predictions.
We hit all categories and dive into both likely nominations, weird SAG-only possibilities (like Viola Davis and Sandra Bullock in The Unforgivable) and break down how many nominations Belfast and The Power of the Dog can score. Each stand a chance to to get in 3 or even 4 individual actors plus the SAG Cast category. The all-time record still stands at 5 nominations for a single film and we could see it happen once, or even twice, this year.
West Side Story is a big part of the conversation, which was recorded on December 26, because at the time no screeners, digital or physical, had been sent to the SAG nominating committee for voting. As of this writing, digital screeners have now reached the 2000-2500 voters but is it too late? Voting opened on December 6 ends on January 9 and many might have already submitted their picks, deciding not to wait on 20th Century/Disney to drop those screeners. Our predictions for WSS reflect that here.
Support for this podcast comes from Amazon Studios, presenting Being the Ricardos. Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) are threatened by shocking personal accusations, a political smear, and cultural taboos in Academy Award-winning writer and director Aaron Sorkin’s behind-the-scenes drama Being the Ricardos.
A revealing glimpse of the couple’s complex romantic and professional relationship, the film takes audiences into the writers’ room, onto the soundstage, and behind closed doors with Ball and Arnaz during one critical production week of their groundbreaking sitcom I Love Lucy.
Featuring J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, Jake Lacy, Linda Lavin, Ronny Cox, and John Rubinstein. Now nominated for three Critics Choice Awards for Best Original Screenplay Aaron Sorkin, Best Actress Nicole Kidman, and Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons. Variety raves the film is “intoxicating; a beautiful illustration of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz." Being the Ricardos is streaming now on Prime Video.
Support for this podcast also comes from Amazon Studios’ The Tender Bar, which tells the story of J.R. (Tye Sheridan), a fatherless boy growing up in the glow of a bar where the bartender, his Uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck), is the sharpest and most colorful of an assortment of quirky and demonstrative father figures.
As the boy’s determined mother (Lily Rabe) struggles to provide her son with opportunities denied to her — and leave the dilapidated home of her outrageous if begrudgingly supportive father (Christopher Lloyd) — J.R. begins to gamely, if not always gracefully, pursue his romantic and professional dreams — with one foot persistently placed in Uncle Charlie’s bar.
The Tender Bar is based on the best-selling memoir of the same name by J.R. Moehringer. The Los Angeles Times calls the film “a nostalgic coming-of-age drama lovingly directed by George Clooney... Affleck has never been better." The Tender Bar is in theaters now and streaming January 7 on Prime Video.
This podcast runs 1h 20m with music and sponsorship content.