Best Original Screenplay

Post-Toronto Oscar Picks

Apologies for the lack of official blog updates, y’all.

In case you missed it, Room won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Also, Paramount Pictures enters the Oscar race with Adam McKay’s The Big Short. After closing AFI, the housing-crisis drama (which may go for comedy prizes at the Golden Globes) will select locations on Dec. 11 and go wide later that month.

Anyway, here’s a quick (read: messy) rundown of where I think the race is heading.

Best Picture

  1. Carol
  2. The Revenant
  3. The Hateful Eight
  4. The Danish Girl
  5. Spotlight
  1. Youth
  2. Steve Jobs
  3. Inside Out
  4. Beasts of No Nation
  5. Room

Best Director

  1. Todd Haynes for Carol
  2. Quentin Tarantino for The Hateful Eight
  3. Alejandro González Iñárritu for The Revenant
  4. Thomas McCarthy for Spotlight
  5. Paolo Sorrentino for Youth

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  1. Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl
  2. Cate Blanchett for Carol
  3. Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn
  4. Jennifer Lawrence for Joy
  5. Brie Larson for Room

Best Actor in a Leading Role

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant
  2. Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl
  3. Michael Caine for Youth
  4. Johnny Depp for Black Mass
  5. Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  1. Rooney Mara for Carol
  2. Diane Ladd for Joy
  3. Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight
  4. Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs
  5. Jane Fonda for Youth

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

  1. Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation
  2. Samuel L. Jackson for The Hateful Eight
  3. Michael Keaton for Spotlight
  4. Tom Hardy for The Revenant
  5. Seth Rogen for Steve Jobs

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Paolo Sorrentino for Youth
  2. Quentin Tarantino for The Hateful Eight
  3. Pete Docter, et al. for Inside Out
  4. Thomas McCarthy and Josh Singer for Spotlight
  5. David O. Russell and Annie Mumolo (story) for Joy

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. Phyllis Nagy for Carol
  2. Alejandro González Iñárritu and Mark L. Smith for The Revenant
  3. Lucinda Coxon for The Danish Girl
  4. Aaron Sorkin for Steve Jobs
  5. Cary Joji Fukunaga for Beasts of No Nation

Best Animated Feature Film

  1. Inside Out
  2. Anomalisa
  3. The Good Dinosaur
  4. When Marnie Was There
  5. Shaun the Sheep Movie

Looking Ahead: Woody Allen, Lucille Ball, and More

Forgive me for the lateness of this piece. I know I’m looking ahead to next year, but still…


Steve Carell replaces Bruce Willis in Woody Allen’s next outing

Carell, who just picked up his first Oscar nomination for Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher last year, steps into Allen’s upcoming film – his first to be shot in Los Angeles since Annie Hall (1977), which won Oscars for picture, director, actress, and original screenplay. Blake Lively, Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, and Corey Stoll also star in the film. (Will Carell end up with Lively or Stewart?)

Anyway, Willis’ official reason for departure was his upcoming stint in the Broadway adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery with Laurie Metcalf, but since this is Hollywood, the truth may be more interesting than what we’re actually hearing. Vince Mancini of Film Drunk points out that Jeff Sneider called BS on the official story, suggesting that Willis was instead fired from the project.

For what it’s worth, Mancini looks through a Woody Allen filter to speculate about what happened:

For me the big question is whether Bruce Willis’ character was supposed to be pursued by Kristen Stewart or Blake Lively, and what Emma Stone did to fall out of Woody Allen’s favor. Bruce’s character was probably real depressed about something, and then Kristen Stewart wanted to bone, and he was against it at first, but after a few beautiful picnics in a sun-drenched park, he gave in.

cateblanchett_cannes2015Cate Blanchett at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival (via Tom and Lorenzo)

Cate Blanchett will lead Lucille Ball biopic written by Aaron Sorkin

The two-time Oscar winner will star as the comedienne in a film that focuses on her 20-year marriage to Desi Arnaz. Variety notes that Ball eloped with the Cuban bandleader in 1940. The two are most famous for creating and starring in the iconic sitcom I Love Lucy in 1951.

Lucy won four Emmy Awards for the series; it’s easy to imagine Blanchett scoring some awards love of her own. The casting already strikes some as curious, but Michelle Williams made enough of an impression with My Week with Marilyn (2011) to get a nomination. Sorkin on script duty seems a bit odd, too, even though he scripted one of the best films of the current decade – even after we’d preemptively dismissed it as “the Facebook movie.”

Either way, we expect Blanchett and Sorkin to get some Oscar attention – for Todd Haynes’ Carol and/or James Vanderbilt’s Truth, and Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs, respectively – this year.


Box Office: War is Hardly Friendly


Straight Outta Compton held the top spot for a third consecutive weekend with $13.134 million, becoming only the third film this year to do so, after Furious 7 and Jurassic World. With a domestic cume of $134.02 million, F. Gary Gray’s N.W.A biopic became the highest-grossing music biopic at the domestic box office before adjusting for ticket-price inflation – and the third-highest after making such adjustments.

Scott Mendelson of Forbes notes that Compton should pass Walk the Line’s (2005) inflated domestic cume of $151 million in the coming weeks, but should fall short of Coal Miner’s Daughter’s (1980) inflated $202 million. Both biopics took best-actress Oscars; while Compton won’t do the same (the film lacks substantial female roles), the raves, audience love, and a successful motion-picture academy screening suggest it could go far in the race.


Open Road Films Rereleasing Dope on Friday


NOTE: This post has been updated to state the reason why Dope was seen as a box-office disappointment upon its initial release.

Open Road Films will rerelease Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope in theaters across the United States on Friday.
The acclaimed Sundance comedy has made $16.76 million on a $700,000 budget, but has been considered a box-office disappointment, given the $7 million acquisition and (at least) $20 million promotion.

Anyway, Shadow and Act wonders if Open Road believes the film can land some awards love this Oscar season. If nothing else, Dope should land a spot on the National Board of Review’s (NBR) list of top 10 independent films and maybe some Indie Spirit nods.

Angelina Jolie Pitt’s By the Sea to Open AFI


Angelina Jolie Pitt’s marital drama By the Sea will open the AFI Fest, which runs from Nov. 5 through Nov. 12. The film centers on a dancer and her writer husband (Jolie Pitt and real-life husband Brad Pitt, respectively) as they travel France during a rut in their marriage in the mid-1970s. Universal Pictures will give By the Sea a nationwide release on Nov. 13.

Awards Watch reminds us of the last five films to kick off AFI – none of which received major Oscar attention when all was said and done. Bold indicates films recognized by the motion-picture academy:

  • 2014: A Most Violent Year (Golden Globe-nominated for supporting actress)
  • 2013: Saving Mr. Banks (nominated for original score)
  • 2012: Hitchcock (nominated for makeup and hairstyling)
  • 2011: J. Edgar (Golden Globe-nominated for drama actor; SAG-nominated for leading male actor and supporting male actor)
  • 2010: Love and Other Drugs (Golden Globe-nominated for comedy/musical actress and actor)

Miles Ahead May Be Miles Away


When Sony Pictures Classics picked up Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead, two thoughts entered the minds of us who pay way too much attention to this stuff: 1) Maybe SPC isn’t so confident in I Saw the Light, after all, and 2) Get that Oscar, Cheadle!

But maybe we rushed into that kind of thinking, as the distributor has indirectly announced a 2016 release for the Miles Davis biopic. SPC told Gold Derby to keep the film off its predictions options, apparently.

Of course, SPC may change its mind – as it just recently did with Maggie Smith vehicle The Lady in the Van – and opt to give Miles, if nothing else, a qualifying release.

Box Office: Hardly Ultra


With a take of $26.36 million, Straight Outta Compton enjoys a second weekend on top. This exceeds the debuts of all three new wide releases (Sinister 2 – $10.54 million, Hitman Agent 47 – $8.33 million, American Ultra – $5.45 million) combined, more than doubles the weekend grab of runner-up Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation ($11.45 million), and can only help its Oscar campaign as awards season is right around the corner.

At the specialty box office, Paul Weitz’s Grandma $115,540 from four locations. Lily Tomlin has scored fantastic notices for her work in the Sundance dramedy. That the word “Oscar” pops up in a lot of reviews means critics hope this small film gets Tomlin to the podium – or at least to the Dolby. But will she stand out enough for that to happen? An Emmy win for Grace and Frankie next month could certainly boost her campaign.

Check out the weekend top 10 below.

  1. Straight Outta Compton: $26.36 million
  2. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation: $11.45 million
  3. NEW!!! Sinister 2: $10.54 million
  4. NEW!!! Hitman Agent 47: $8.33 million
  5. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: $7.32 million
  6. NEW!!! American Ultra: $5.45 million
  7. The Gift: $4.28 million
  8. Ant-Man: $4.055 million
  9. Minions: $3.83 million
  10. Fantastic Four: $3.73 million