10 Best MMFF Movies of the Last 10 Years   Leave a comment

Last week, the Metro Manila Development Authority headed by Francis Tolentino has announced the entries for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. And as expected, MMFF staples such as Vice Ganda, Robin Padilla, Vic Sotto, Kris Aquino, and Aiai delas Alas all have entries this year.

Once the festival home of films such as Himala, Burlesk Queen, Karnal, Itanong Mo Sa Buwan, Magic Temple, and Dekada ’70, there has been a paradigm shift in terms of the criteria on how films are chosen the past decade. Commercial appeal has been the primary agenda now and box office as a main factor on which entries will make it.

And while this has elicited a lot of criticisms, particularly the idea of prioritizing box office over “quality” films, the MMFF has still treated us with some notable films quality films over the years. This coming year, entries from Gil Portes, Antoinette Jadaone, Jose Javier Reyes, and Dan Villegas have been chosen while those of Erik Matti’s and Jeffrey Jeturian were in the waitlist categories.

Before I reveal my picks of the ten best MMFF films of the last ten years (New Wave section excluded), here are five that came close from being included:


“Ulam” from Shake, Rattle, and Roll XV (director: Jerrold Tarog, 2014) – Ulam made good use of every minute we’ve seen on screen to show the horrors and tension of a marital relationship.

“Katas ng Saudi” (director: Jose Javier Reyes, 2007) – Probably the most memorable OFW movies in local cinema depict those of a mother leaving their children behind. Here’s from a father’s perspective of coming home and realizing it isn’t what he expected.

“Pagpag” (director: Frasco Mortiz, 2013) – It’s horror by the numbers, but it tackles such a Filipino ritual one can’t help but to give in to its scares.

“Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story” (director: Daryl dela Cruz, 2011) – It got its reputation as the one that started the action comeback, but its behind the scenes director mishap got in the way for  the film to move from being good to being great.

“One More Try” (director: Ruel Bayani, 2012) – Rip-off or not, the film brags of solid performances from its four leads, particularly that of its lead actress Angel Locsin.

And as for the top 10:


10. “Parola” from Shake, Rattle, and Roll 13 (director: Jerrold Tarog, 2011) – Parola is the perfect throwback to the early heydays of the Shake, Rattle, and Roll franchise, only with better production and technical achievements. Its scares mixes that of the old and the new, giving the type of scares that the audience will definitely bite.


09. “English Only Please” (director: Dan Villegas, 2014) – It’s easy to dismiss English Only Please from the get go, it’s not from the manufactured Star Cinema factory of kilig, not does it star a tandem that has a solid following. But it has proven that it doesn’t need any of those. It gives the same kilig and “feels” without the need to fall trap to the usual rom-com clichés.


08. “Blue Moon (director: Joel Lamangan, 2005) – During the last few years when Regal Films was still obsessed with this big star-studded ensembles in family dramas comes Lamangan directing a Palanca-winning screenplay about three generation of family members with the patriarch searching for his one true love. The film is mostly fluff hiding in between the big war backdrop, but its attempt is earnest one can’t help but fall in love with it.


07. “Lihim ng San Joaquin (director: Richard Somes, 2005) – When Shake, Rattle, and Roll made a comeback in the mid-Aughts, a lot expected to feel the throwback of the early 90s horror franchise. Instead, we got that ridiculous “Poso” episode and an uneven “Aquarium” one. Then comes “Lihim ng San Joaquin”, about a young , newlywed couple transferring to a rural town. This one will keep you on the edge of your seat with its silence.


06. “Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles (director: Erik Matti, 2014) – Sure, the MMFF has been a commercial venue for the whole family to enjoy, but with Kubot, the follow up to 2012’s Tiktik, Erik Matti proved that a sequel isn’t an alibi to come up with a lackluster addition to a franchise (which most MMFF franchises are guilty of doing). While it doesn’t necessarily have to beat its predecessor, it doesn’t have to be a downgrade as well.


05. “Boy Golden: Shoot to Kill (director: Chito Rono, 2013) – The best thing about Boy Golden is that it doesn’t want to prove anything. It doesn’t take itself seriously and just wants to have fun. And boy was it a fun movie-watching experience mixing camp and action we haven’t seen in a long time.


04. “Punerarya” from Shake, Rattle and Roll 12 (director: Jerrold Tarog, 2010) – Hands down, this is one of the best episodes ever in the whole SRR franchise. Jerrold Tarog’s first output stars Carla Abellana as a private tutor to two kids from the neighbor’s funeral parlor. And as secrets were slowly revealed, the tension just escalates further. This one doesn’t get old and is a must watch.


03. “RPG Metanoia” (director: Luis Suarez, 2010) – Not for lack of trying, the MMFF has welcomed local animation in the festival. Twice, even (the first one was 2008’s “Dayo sa Mundo ng Elemento”). RPG can brag about being the first Pinoy 3D animated film, but more than that achievement, its dedication in tackling a theme highlighting the rich Philippine culture is admirable.


02. “Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo” (director: Jose Javier Reyes, 2006) – On the outside, Kasal’s biggest achievement is how it managed to be a crowd-pleasing film, yet one that critics will positively respond as well. Digging deeper, it’s really not difficult to fall in love with this film. It touches the topic of a traditional Pinoy family whose value for marriage and relationship is as valuable to the whole family, maybe even more so, than to the actual couple. Obviously, the great ensemble elevated the already strong material further.


01. “Thy Womb (director: Brillante Mendoza, 2012) – It’s silly when you think about it, that the best film of the festival of the last decade, was just a replacement choice of that year. Shot in the farthest village of Tawi-Tawi, “Thy Womb” wasn’t just the story of a midwife attempt to provide her husband a child, but it also opened us to a culture we aren’t particularly familiar with. I believe this is one of the films that will go down as the best in the history of the festival. Plus, it gave us Nora Aunor’s comeback performance.

So as much as we rant and complain about the MMFF every year, chances are there are one or two entries that will really be worth of our money. This year has the potential to deliver as well.

You can tweet me if you want to talk about this list: @nikowl

67th Primetime Emmy Awards Nomination Predictions: June 2015   Leave a comment

Hi everyone! In less than a month, John Stamos and Uzo Aduba will be announcing the nominees for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards. The long list of eligible shows and performances is finally out, so this clears up some placements and submissions from the contenders. This will be the second to the last batch of predictions I’ll be doing because the next one would be the final group of nominee predictions which will be available to the week leading to the announcement. Anyway, let’s get the ball rolling, as I also included guest acting categories, as well as writing, directing, and reality/variety.

drama series

1. Mad Men
2. Game of Thrones
3. House of Cards
4. Orange is the New Black
5. Empire
6. Downton Abbey
7. Better Call Saul

Next in line:
8. Homeland
9. Justified
10. The Americans

drama actor

1. Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
2. Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
3. Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
4. Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
5. Hugh Bonneville, “Downton Abbey”
6. Terrence Howard, “Empire”

Next in line:
7. Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline”
8. Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”
9. Clive Owen, “The Knick”
10. Michael Sheen, “Masters of Sex”

drama actress

1. Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder”
2. Taraji Henson, “Empire”
3. Robin Wright, “House of Cards”
4. Claire Danes, “Homeland”
5. Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
6. Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”

Next in line:
7. Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”
8. Kerry Washington, “Scandal”
9. Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex”
10. Taylor Schilling, “Orange is the New Black”

drama supp actor

1. Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
2. Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
3. Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
4. Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”
5. Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”
6. Ben Mendehlson, “Bloodline”

Next in line:
7. Kit Harrington, “Game of Thrones”
8. John Slattery, “Mad Men”
9. Michael Kelly, “House of Cards”
10. Alan Cumming, “The Good Wife”

drama supp actress

1. Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
2. Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black”
3. Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”
4. Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”
5. Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”
6. Lorraine Toussant, “Orange is the New Black”

Next in line:
7. Sissy Spacek, “Bloodline”
8. Carrie Coon, “The Leftovers”
9. Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”
10. Kate Mulgrew, “Orange is the New Black”

drama guest actor

1. Beau Bridges, “Masters of Sex”
2. Dylan Baker, “The Good Wife”
3. F. Murray Abraham, “Homeland”
4. Sam Shepard, “Bloodline”
5. Michael J. Fox, “The Good Wife”
6. Courtney B. Vance, “Scandal”

Next in line:
7. Robert Morse, “Mad Men”
8. David Hyde Pierce, “The Good Wife”
9. Pablo Schreiber, “Orange is the New Black”
10. Ed Asner, “The Good Wife”

drama guest actress

1. Cicely Tyson, “How to Get Away with Murder”
2. Allison Janney, “Masters of Sex”
3. Diana Rigg, “Game of Thrones”
4. Carrie Preston, “The Good Wife”
5. Kate Burton, “Scandal”
6. Margo Martindale, “The Americans”

Next in line:
7. Patricia Arquette, “Boardwalk Empire”
8. Laura Prepon, “Orange is the New Black”
9. Marcia Gay Harden, “How to Get Away with Murder”
10. Ann-Margret, “Ray Donovan”

drama directing

1. Boardwalk Empire, “Eldorado”
2. Game of Thrones, “Hardhome”
3. Empire, “Pilot”
4. Better Call Saul, “Uno”
5. Orange is the New Black, “Thirsty Bird”

Next in line:
6. Mad Men, “Person to Person”
7. Downton Abbey, “Episode 9″
8. The Knick, “Pilot”
9. House of Cards, “Chapter 39″
10. Homeland, “The Drone Queen”

drama writing

1. Mad Men, “Person to Person”
2. Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy”
3. Downton Abbey, “Episode 8″
4. Better Call Saul, “Uno”
5. Empire, “Pilot”

Next in line:
6. Orange is the New Black, “We Have Manners, We’re Polite”
7. The Affair, “Pilot”
8. House of Cards, “Chapter 39″
9. The Americans, “Stingers”
10. Mad Men, “The Forecast”

comedy series

1. Modern Family
2. Veep
3. Transparent
4. Silicon Valley
5. Louie
6. The Big Bang Theory
7. Episodes

Next in line:
8. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
9. Parks and Recreation
10. Grace and Frankie

comedy actor

1. Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
2. Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
3. Louis C.K., “Louie”
4. William H. Macy, “Shameless”
5. Matt Leblanc, “Episodes”
6. Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”

Next in line:
7. Thomas Middleditch, “Silicon Valley”
8. Will Forte, “The Last Man on Earth”
9. Billy Crystal, “The Comedians”
10. Andy Samberg, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

comedy actress

1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
2. Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
3. Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”
4. Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
5. Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
6. Lisa Kudrow, “The Comeback”

Next in line:
7. Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer”
8. Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
9. Jane Rodriguez, “Jane the Virgin”
10. Melissa McCarthy, “Mike and Molly”

comedy supp actor

1. Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
2. Tony Hale, “Veep”
3. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”
4. Hugh Laurie, “Veep”
5. Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine Nine”
6. Fred Armisen, “Portlandia”

Next in line:
7. Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
8. TJ Miller, “Silicon Valley”
9. Chris Pratt, “Parks and Recreation”
10. Laurence Fishburne, “Black-ish”

comedy supp actress

1. Allison Janney, “Mad Men”
2. Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”
3. Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”
4. Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
5. Jane Krakowski, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
6. Judith Light, “Transparent”

Next in line:
7. Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”
8. Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”
9. Merritt Wever, “Nurse Jackie”
10. Carrie Brownstein, “Portlandia”

comedy guest actor

1. Louis C.K., “Saturday Night Live”
2. Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”
3. Jon Hamm, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
4. Steve Buscemi, “Portlandia”
5. Bradley Whitford, “Transparent”
6. Nathan Lane, “Modern Family”

Next in line:
7. Martin Short, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
8. Billy Bob Thornton, “The Big Bang Theory”
9. Josh Charles, “Inside Amy Schumer”
10. Mel Brooks, “The Comedians”

comedy guest actress

1. Joan Cusack, “Shameless”
2. Tina Fey, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
3. Christine Baranski, “The Big Bang Theory”
4. Rita Moreno, “Jane the Virgin”
5. Kathy Bates, “Mike and Molly”
6. Elizabeth Banks, “Modern Family”

Next in line:
7. Tyne Daly, “Modern Family”
8. Octavia Spencer, “Mom”
9. Carol Burnett, “Glee”
10. Kyra Sedgwick, “Brooklyn Nine Nine”

comedy directing

1. Modern Family, “Connection Lost”
2. Louie, “Sleepover”
3. Glee, “2009”
4. Veep, “Testimony”
5. Silicon Valley, “Two Days of the Condor”

Next in line:
6. Transparent, “Best New Girl”
7. Modern Family, “Won’t You Be Our Neighbor”
8. Parks and Recreation, “One Last Ride”
9. Episodes, “409”
10. Grace and Frankie, “The End”

comedy writing

1. Louie, “Bobby’s House”
2. Veep, “Election Night”
3. Episodes, “409”
4. Transparent, “Pilot”
5. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, “Kimmy Goes Outside”

Next in line:
6. Silicon Valley, “Two Days of Condor”
7. Parks and Recreation, “One Last Ride”
8. Modern Family, “Connection Lost”
9. Community, “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television”
10. Jane the Virgin, “Chapter One”

limited series

1. Olive Kitteridge
2. The Honorable Woman
3. American Horror Story: Freak Show
4. American Crime
5. Wolf Hall

Next in Line:
6. 24: Live Another Day
7. Texas Rising
8. The Casual Vacancy
9. Houdini
10. The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

tv movie

1. Bessie
2. Nightengale
3. Derek: The Final Chapter
4. Killing Jesus
5. Worricker

Next in line:
6. A Poet In New York
7. Grace of Monaco
8. Stockholm, Pennsylvania
9. Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case
10. Foyle’s War

longform actor

1. Richard Jenkins, “Olive Kitteridge”
2. David Oyelowo, “Nightengale”
3. Ricky Gervais, “Derek: The Final Chapter”
4. Adrien Brody, “Houdini”
5. Mark Rylance, “Wolf Hall”
6. Kiefer Sutherland, “24: Live Another Day”

Next in line:
7. Timothy Hutton, “American Crime”
8. Bill Paxton, “Texas Rising”
9. Bill Nighy, “Worricker”
10. James Corden, “The Wrong Mans”

longform actress

1. Frances McDormand, “Olive Kitteridge”
2. Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Honorable Woman”
3. Queen Latifah, “Bessie”
4. Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
5. Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
6. Nicole Kidman, “Grace of Monaco”

Next in line:
7. Frances O’Connor, “The Missing”
8. Helena Bonham Carter, “Worricker”
9. Anna Gunn, “Gracepoint”
10. Kelli Garner, “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe”

longform supp actor

1. Bill Murray, “Olive Kitteridge”
2. Stephen Rea, “The Honorable Woman”
3. Jonathan Pryce, “Wolf Hall”
4. Michael Chiklis, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
5. Ralph Fiennes, “Worricker”
6. Michael Kenneth Williams, “Bessie”

Next in line:
7. Damian Lewis, “Wolf Hall”
8. Frank Langella, “Grace of Monaco”
9. Oliver Martinez, “Texas Rising”
10. Tim Roth, “Grace of Monaco”

longform supp actress

1. Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
2. Mo’nique, “Bessie”
3. Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
4. Janet McTeer, “The Honorable Woman”
5. Susan Sarandon, “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe”
6. Judy Davis, “Worricker”

Next in line:
7. Regina King, “American Crime”
8. Khandi Alexander, “Bessie”
9. Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
10. Zoe Kazan, “Olive Kitteridge”

longform writing

1. Olive Kitteridge
2. Bessie
3. The Honorable Woman
4. Derek: The Final Chapter
5. Wolf Hall
6. Nightingale

Next in line:
7. American Horror Story: Freak Show, “Monsters Among Us”
8. American Crime: Episode One
9. Killing Jesus
10. Texas Rising, Night 1

longform directing

1. Olive Kitteridge
2. The Honorable Woman
3. Bessie
4. Nightengale
5. Wolf Hall
6. 24: Live Another Day

Next in line:
7. American Horror Story: Freak Show, “Monsters Among Us”
8. Derek: The Final Chapter
9. The Casual Vacancy
10. American Crime, “Episode One”

reality comp

1. The Amazing Race
2. The Voice
3. Top Chef
4. Dancing with the Stars
5. Project Runway
6. So You Think You Can Dance

Next in line:
7. Rupaul’s Drag Race
8. Hollywood Game Night
9. Survivor
10. American Idol

reality comp host

1. Jane Lynch, “Hollywood Game Night”
2. Anthony Bourdain, “The Taste”
3. Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, “Project Runway”
4. Cat Deeley, “So You Think You Can Dance”
5. Tom Bergeron, “Dancing with the Stars”
6. Phil Keoghan, “The Amazing Race”

Next in line:
7. Rupaul Charles, “Rupaul’s Drag Race”
8. Carson Daly, “The Voice”
9. Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, “Top Chef”
10. Jeff Probst, “Survivor”

variety talk

1. The Colbert Report
2. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
3. Late Show with David Letterman
4. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
5. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
6. Real Time with Bill Maher

Next in line:
7. Jimmy Kimmel Live!
8. Late Late Show with James Corden

Talk to me about it by tweeting me: @nikowl

38th Gawad Urian Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

Probably the only remaining legit among the traditional awards ceremonies (sorry Golden Screen Awards), the Manunuri will be handling out their picks from the best of 2014 cinema in two days. And just like what I did last year where I got 7/12 of my predictions correct, I’ll throw my hunch on who’ll be winning the Gawad Urian for this year!

best pic

“Barber’s Tales”
“Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon”

Unlike last year when it’s an easy given that Norte is so winning the top award, this year is much more difficult to pin. These four films have amassed a total of 42 nominations, so to say that the Manunuri loved them equally is just. I would have picked Mula sa Kung Ano Ang Noon in a heartbeat especially after its Locarno victory, but if we have to base at Urian’s recent history, they’re all after spreading the wealth. So a Lav film winning back to back might be of a disadvantage. But then again, it’s not easy to dismiss any of these four films. The funny thing is a lot of these films remind me of the recent winners in this category. Just like 2012 Best Picture winner “Ang Paglalakabay ng Mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim“, both Bwaya an Barber’s Tales represent a bigger political statement which the Manunuri can find relevant. If not that, then the poetic nature of Dagitab can follow the footsteps of 2011 winner “Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa.” It’s really anybody’s ballgame, but if I have to make a prediction, I’ll go with Jun Lana’s film as my prediction.

Prediction: Barber’s Tales

best director

Giancarlo Abraham (“Dagitab”)
Lav Diaz (“Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon”)
Jun Lana (“Barber’s Tales”)
Jason Paul Laxamana (“Magkakabaung”)
Francis Xavier Pasion (“Bwaya”)
Kanakan Balintagos (“Esprit de Corps”)

No director has ever won in this category’s history for a film that wasn’t nominated for Best Picture so that tends to affect both Jason Paul Laxamana and Kanakan Balintagos’ chances here. And as last year proved, when one of the only two Urian-less directors managed to end up winning the category, the Urian loves to spread its wealth. Thus, I’m checking off Lav Diaz. I think Giancarlo Abraham has a better chance of winning in Screenplay, so that leaves me with Jun Lana and Francis Pasion, Pasion has won Screenplay in 2008 for Jay, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Urian puts him in the big leagues and go with a Barber’s/Bwaya Picture-Director split especially since the last two years have been split too. That said, I’ll stick with a Jun Lana win here to match with my predicted Best Picture win for Barber’s Tales.

Prediction: Jun Lana, “Barber’s Tales” 
Francis Pasion, “Bwaya

best actor

Robert Arevalo (“Hari ng Tondo”)
Noni Buencamino (“Dagitab”)
Allen Dizon (“Magkakabaung”)
JM de Guzman (“That Thing Called Tadhana”)
Sandino Martin (“Esprit de Corps”)
Robin Padilla (“Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo”)
Arnold Reyes (“Kasal”)
Jericho Rosales (“Red”)
JC Santos (“Esprit de Corps”)
Dennis Trillo (“The Janitor”)

There seems to be a number of overdue actors here, but first, let’s eliminate those previous winners who aren’t likely to pull off a repeat win that quick. 2005 winner Robin Padilla (whose nomination this year still makes no sense to me) and 2012 winner Jericho Rosales seem filler nominations this year. Both Esprit de Corps actors are likely to split votes which doesn’t bode well for their chances. Then we have Robert Arevalo on his fifth career nod, Noni Buencamino on his fourth, and JM de Guzman and Dennis Trillo on their third tries. I see a possibility for Arnold Reyes to win this one, but if I have to choose I’d place my bets on one time nominee Allen Dizon who’s just on a roll these last few months sweeping off Best Actor trophies both here and in the international scene. If not him, then maybe a make up win for Dennis Trillo. Remember when he was thisclose to pull off the grandslam in 2004 for Aishite Imasu after sweeping the Star Awards, FAMAS, and Luna only to be spoiled by Wendell Ramos at the Urian the last minute? This can be their atonement for him.

Prediction: Allen Dizon, “Magkakabaung” 
Dennis Trillo, “The Janitor

best actress

Nora Aunor (“Dementia”)
Angeli Bayani (“Bwaya”)
Ai Ai De las Alas (“Ronda”)
Eugene Domingo (“Barber’s Tales”)
Hazel Orencio (“Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon”)
Angelica Panganiban (“The Thing Called Tadhana”)
Eula Valdez (“Dagitab”)
Nova Villa (“1st Ko si 3rd”)

Can this be the year when Nora Aunor finally ties current leader Vilma Santos’ record of most number of Urian Best Actress wins with 7? With Aunor being the recipient of the Natatangiang Gawad Urian, methinks the answer is no and that they’ll likely wait for another year to do that. Considering they are their film’s sole nods, I think the nomination is the reward for both Aiai delas Alas and Nova Villa. It’s quite a feat that all four Best Picture nominees have their leading ladies contending in this category as well, so that puts them on equal footing, if not only current Best Actress Angeli Bayani is gunning for a back to back win here. That said, Eugene Domingo is in her fifth nomination and this can be the perfect vehicle for her to take the trophy. After all, this is a departure from her usual nominated comedic performances. And then there’s Angelica Panganiban. It felt like in Angelica’s case, getting the nomination is the biggest hurdle. Will the Manunuri go for her light fared performance? The answer was yes, and this can be a rehash of 2011 when they gave a relatively younger actress the Urian (Maja Salvador). In the end, I’d give the odds to Eugene Domingo, but I won’t be surprised to hear Angelica’s name come awards night.

Prediction: Eugene Domingo, “Barber’s Tales”
Angelica Panganiban, “That Thing Called Tadhana”

best supp actor

Nico Antonio (“Red”)
Roeder Camañag (“Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon”)
Martin del Rosario (“Dagitab”)
Joel Lamangan (“Violator”)
Nicco Manalo (“Barber’s Tales”)
Karl Medina (“Bwaya”)
Jess Mendoza (“Mauban: Ang Resiko”)
Noel Santodomingo (“Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon”)

First off, apologies for the lack of Noel Santodomingo photo. I really can’t find one and it has took me hours already trying to search for it. Moving on, the Urian Best Supporting Actor is the counterpart of the Oscar Best Actress one, I must say. If the Oscars love its Best Actress young and pretty, this category has been the home of relatively young actors. Since 2000, the category has rewarded Jeffrey Quizon (in 2000), Piolo Pascual (2002), Ketchup Eusebio (2005), Rafael Rossell (2006), Coco Martin (2008), Joem Bascon (2010), and current winner Junjun Qintana (2013). Thus, for the shallowest reasons, I predict Martin del Rosario to win this one. After all, Dagitab is bound to win at least one acting award no? So maybe this is where it happens. if not him, then maybe Joel Lamangan gets his first Urian acting win via Violator.

Prediction: Martin del Rosario, “Dagitab
Joel Lamangan, “Violator

best supp actress

Shamaine Buencamino (“Barber’s Tales”)
Iza Calzado (“Barber’s Tales”)
Alessandra de Rossi (“Mauban: Ang Resiko”)
Barbie Forteza (“Marquina”)
Karenina Haniel (“Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon”)
Gladys Reyes (“Magkakabaung”)
Gloria Sevilla (“M: Mother’s Maiden Name”)

The past two years made it easy to guess the winner considering that both Alessandra de Rossi and Angel Aquino were double nominated in this category. That’s why I’m a bit surprised that Gladys Reyes wasn’t considering the amount of love the acting from Barber’s Tales received. Maybe Barbie Forteza wins it, though the Urian hasn’t awarded a young actress here since Serena Dalrymple in 1998 and she was even younger. Iza and Alessandra both have won already, and Shamaine Buencamino is the only multiple nominee who hasn’t won yet. I guess I’ll go with Karenina Haniel here, whose role also stands out among the rest of the pack.

Prediction: Karenina Haniel, “Mula sa Kung Ano Ang Noon
Barbie Forteza, “Mariquina

And as for the rest of the categories…

Giancarlo Abrahan, “Dagitab”
Jun Lana, “Barber’s Tales

Prediction: Chito Sumera, “Barber’s Tales
Alternate: Hal Balbuena, “Esprit de Corps”

Prediction: Neil Daza, “Bwaya
Alternate: Rommel Sales, “Dagitab

Prediction: Jesse Lucas, “Alienasyon
Alternate: Mon Espia, “Dagitab

Prediction: Carlo Manatad, “Bwaya”
Alternate: Lav Diaz, “Mula sa Kung Ano Ang Noon

Prediction: Mark Locsin, “Mula sa Kung Ano Ang Noon”
Alternate: Corrine de San Jose, “Violator

The 38th Gawad Urian Awards will be shown live on Tuesday, June 16 over at Cinema One.

Talk about it and follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

Posted June 14, 2015 by Nicol Latayan in Uncategorized

67th Primetime Emmy Awards Nomination Predictions: May 2015   Leave a comment

Welp after three long months, I finally made a blog post! I thought my blog was dead already. And for quite some time, it really was. But I’m slowly starting to balance blogging and working (hopefully!), so I’m slowly trying to revive it back. Anyway, if I won’t be able to update here, you can follow my Oscar and Emmy predictions on Awards Watch since I’m doing Emmy expert and Oscar guru duties over there (heads up: that site is the best when it comes to predicting these awards stuff, and it’s the one place you should really subscribe to. Double heads up: It gets catty here and there, but trust me it’s fun there!). As TV season is about to end this month,I’ll offer my first batch of Emmy predictions in 16 different categories!



01. Mad Men (AMC)
02. Game of Thrones (HBO)
03. House of Cards (Netflix)
04. Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
05. Better Call Saul (AMC)
06. Downton Abbey (PBS)
07. Empire (Fox)

Next in line:
08. Homeland (Showtime)
09. The Affair (Showtime)
10. The Good Wife (CBS)
11. Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
12. Justified (FX)

01. Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards
02. Jon Hamm, “Mad Men
03. Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul
04. Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom
05. Hugh Bonneville, “Downton Abbey
06. Terrence Howard, “Empire

Next in line:
07. Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire
08. Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline
09. Dominic West, “The Affair
10. Clive Owen, “The Knick
11. Michael Sheen, “Masters of Sex
12. James Spader, “The Blacklist

01. Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder
02. Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife
03. Robin Wright, “House of Cards
04. Claire Danes, “Homeland
05. Taraji P. Henson, “Empire
06. Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men

Next in line:
07. Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey
08. Kerry Washington, “Scandal
09. Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex
10. Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black
11. Ruth Wilson, “The Affair
12. Taylor Schilling, “Orange is the New Black

01. Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones
02. Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul
03. Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland
04. Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey
05. Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan
06. Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline

Next in line:
07. Michael Kelly, “House of Cards
08. Christopher Eccleston, “The Leftovers
09. John Slattery, “Mad Men
10. Sam Shepard, “Bloodline
11. Alan Cumming, “The Good Wife
12. Walton Goggins, “Justified

01. Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey
02. Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black
03. Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men
04. Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”
05. Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones
06. Sissy Spacek, “Bloodline

Next in line:
07. Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey
08. Lorraine Toussant, “Orange is the New Black
09. Carrie Coon, “The Leftovers
10. Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones
11. Archie Panjabi, “The Good Wife
12. Ann Dowd, “The Leftovers”



01. Modern Family (ABC)
02. Veep (HBO)
03. The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
04. Louie (FX)
05. Silicon Valley (HBO)
06. Transparent (Netflix)
07. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Next in line:
08. Episodes (Showtime)
09. Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
10. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
11. Girls (HBO)
12. Parks and Recreation (NBC)

01. Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory
02. Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
03. Louis CK, “Louie
04. William H. Macy, “Shameless
05. Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes
06. Don Cheadle, “House of Lies

Next in line:
07. Billy Crystal, “The Comedians
08. Thomas Middleditch, “Silicon Valley
09. Will Forte, “The Last Man on Earth
10. Andy Samberg, “Brooklyn Nine Nine
11. Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish
12. Johnny Galecki, “The Big Bang Theory

01. Julia Louis Dreyfus, “Veep
02. Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie
03. Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation
04. Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
05. Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
06. Lisa Kudrow, “The Comeback

Next in line:
07. Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie
08. Gina Rodriguez, “Jane the Virgin
09. Melissa McCarthy, “Mike and Molly
10. Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer
11. Lena Dunham, “Girls
12. Emmy Rossum, “Shameless

01. Ty Burrell, “Modern Family
02. Tony Hale, “Veep
03. Hugh Laurie, “Veep
04. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family
05. Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine
06. Fred Armisen, “Portlandia

Next in line:
07. Laurence Fishburne, “Black-ish
08. Martin Sheen, “Grace and Frankie
09. Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family
10. Adam Driver, “Girls
11. Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
12. Sam Waterston, “Grace and Frankie

01. Allison Janney, “Mom
02. Julie Bowen, “Modern Family
03. Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live
04. Anna Chlumsky, “Veep
05. Jane Krakowski, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
06. Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory

Next in line:
07. Judith Light, “Transparent
08. Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family
09. Gaby Hoffman, “Transparent
10. Merritt Wever, “Nurse Jackie
11. Carrie Brownstein, “Portlandia
12. Eden Sher, “The Middle



01. Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
02. The Honorable Woman (Sundance Channel)
03. American Crime (ABC)
04. American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)
05. Wolf Hall (PBS)

Next in line:
06. Texas Rising (History)
07. Houdini (History)
08. The Casual Vacancy (HBO)
09. 24: Live Another Day (Fox)
10. The Missing (Starz)

01. Bessie (HBO)
02. Killing Jesus (National Geographic)
03. Nightingale (HBO)
04. A Poet in New York (BBC America)
05. Derek: The Final Chapter (Netflix)

Next in line:
06. Worricker (PBS)
07. Stockholm, Pennsylvania (Lifetime)
08. Hello Ladies: The Movie (HBO)
09. Grace of Monaco (Lifetime)
10. Whitney (Lifetime)

01. Richard Jenkins, “Olive Kitteridge
02. Ricky Gervais, “Derek: The Final Chapter
03. Adrien Brody, “Houdini
04. David Oyelowo, “Nightingale
05. Mark Rylance, “Wolf Hall
06. Kiefer Sutherland, “24: Live Another Day

Next in line:
07. Timothy Hutton, “American Crime
08. Damian Lewis, “Wolf Hall
09. Bill Paxton, “Texas Rising
10. James Nesbitt, “The Missing
11. Zachary Quinto, “The Slap
12. Bill Nighy, “Worricker

01. Frances McDormand, “Olive Kitteridge
02. Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Honorable Woman
03. Queen Latifah, “Bessie
04. Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Freak Show
05. Felicity Huffman, “American Crime
06. Nicole Kidman, “Grace of Monaco

Next in line:
07. Frances O’Connor, “The Missing
08. Helena Bonham Carter, “Worricker
09. Saoirse Ronan, “Stockholm, Pennsylvania
10. Anna Gunn, “Gracepoint
11. Allison Williams, “Peter Pan Live
12. Aunjanue Ellis, “The Book of Negores”

01. Bill Murray, “Olive Kitteridge
02. Stephen Rea, “The Honorable Woman
03. Michael Chiklis, “American Horror Story: Freak Show
04. Michael Kenneth Williams, “Bessie
05. Jonathan Pryce, “Wolf Hall
06. Ralph Fiennes, “Worricker

Next in line:
07. Frank Langella, “Grace of Monaco
08. Finn Wittrock, “American Horror Story: Freak Show
09. Michael Gambon, “The Casual Vacancy
10. Kris Kristoferson, “Texas Rising
11. Tim Roth, “Grace of Monaco
12. Louis Gossett, Jr., “ The Book of Negroes

01. Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
02. Mo’nique, “Bessie
03. Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Freak Show
04. Janet McTeer, “The Honorable Woman
05. Judy Davis, “Worricker
06. Khandi Alexander, “Bessie

Next in line:
07. Regina King, “American Crime
08. Susan Sarandon, “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
09. Blythe Danner, “The Slap
10. Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Freak Show
11. Zoe Kazan, “Olive Kitteridge
12. Parker Posey, “Grace of Monaco

You can talk to me about it by popping a comment below or tweeting me: @nikowl

Posted May 10, 2015 by Nicol Latayan in Uncategorized

87th Academy Awards: Best Picture Rankings   2 comments


bp 2015

Before the Oscars bestow their list of winners on Monday, it’s time to rank the Oscar Best Picture nominees for film year 2014. Unlike in 2012 and 2013 though though, it’s the first time that the Academy nominated only eight films for the top award. It’s a pretty good batch as a whole, though I have lots of reservations with the films in it, and how I wish Gone Girl made it over some of these clunkers in this batch. Anyway, here are my rankings:


Director: Morten Tyldum

In first of the two British Oscar-contending films this year, this one is about one of Britain’s uncelebrated heroes of his time. Alan Turing has a very interesting story to tell; his team was able to crack the “unbreakable” Enigma leading to a World War II victory. The achievement would be of no value though as he was prosecuted for his homosexuality. What could have been a narration of such story was put to waste with the film’s very pedestrian treatment to it. Hackneyed dialogue, cliched treatment, and uneven focus on the story made the whole film totally disengaging. As if that’s not offensive yet, Benedict Cumberbatch’s campy portrayal is equally eye-roll worthy. With subtlety not existing in his dictionary, Cumberbatch spits every syllable of every word in every line as if it’s his last. Leave it to the sublime Keira Knightley to save the film, together with Alexander Desplat’s score. What might be the biggest missed opportunity here was the film just glossing over a part of Turing’s life that deserved the most attention. Oh well.


theory of everything

Director: James Marsh

The second of the two British-Oscar contending films this year, this one is about celebrated science figure Stephen Hawking. His name, probably more known because of The Big Bang Theory above many other reasons, has an equally compelling story to tell, and director James Marsh milked it for all its worth. Theory completed the handbook of how to do an Oscar-baity movie 101 highlighting the romance and the disease and the drama in succession. I have to say that I was initially hooked but easily worn out by the film’s cinematography using endless filters that really doesn’t offer much except to inform us that hey they really do have lots of filters. The film does a successful job of reminding us that it’s the British cousin of A Beautiful Mind, and if you digged that one, chances are you’d really enjoy this as well. Unlike Cumberbatch in Imitation Game, the only thing I appreciated about the film is Eddie Redmayne’s completely dedicated performance as Hawking. There is more than just the physicality of the role that he embraced which made it work. He might not be my pick for Best Actor at the Oscars, but one can’t deny that he did justice with his character.


american sniper

Director: Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood, except for that Best Director nomination, is back to Oscar’s good graces with his latest effort. American Sniper is based on the life story of Chris Kyle — known as the deadliest marksman in the US military with 255 bodies credited under his name. Aided by Bradley Cooper’s intense performance of Kyle, he manages to carry the whole film in his shoulders in spite of the noticeable flaws in the writing. While Eastwood delivered on the technical aspects further escalating the tension and making us feel the nitty gritty of it all (the whole sandstorm part in particular), the film weakens every time it shifts to Kyle’s own personal dilemma of dealing with his PTSD. I wasn’t even bothered by its by the numbers approach nor Eastwood’s political (or apolitical, depending on how you view it) favoring of his own take on militarism in the film. American Sniper could have been a more affecting film had it managed to strike the balance of both, but where one aspect Eastwood delivered, the other lacked. For what its worth, it’s still a solid, if not a bit pedestrian, and decent tribute to someone others consider as a figure of their American hero.



Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

There’s a lot of things I loved about Inarritu’s Birdman. As for starters, there’s Michael Keaton’s comeback performance. And Edward Norton’s larger than life character. Then there’s the dark absurdity of the whole film which easily grabs your attention. Plus, the one long take approach of it. Lubezki’s cinematography and Antoio Sanchez’ underrated scoring are also top notch. While all of these seem to mesh out well to create a masterpiece, it still feels a bit underwhelming and not that exhilarating cinematic treat for me. The film has been too self-absorbed to the point that its ‘mocking’ of portraying Hollywood is as foolish as its portrayal of such. Birdman for me is a case of the individual parts being better than its sum where the gimmick hasn’t really stayed that much for me.



Director: Ava Duvernay

What makes the experience of cinema fascinating is when you witness a story, that in no way, shape, or form involves you, but touches your heart with what it presented to you. That is what Ava Duvernay did with Selma. On the outside, one might consider it as another general biopic advocating the human triumph, but what makes Selma much more sophisticated is that there is a raw sincerity with the lines, and the portrayals, and the technical peaks that it is definitely on a higher pedestal. What Duvernay accomplished here is to flaunt her cinematic potential while retelling a story whose effect aligned with the personal journey of the people during its time. Also, David Oyelowo’s snub will easily go down as one of the worst ever in Academy history. Selma is sensible and sincere that you can’t help but be affected by it.


the grand budapest hotel

Director: Wes Anderson

It’s really difficult to pin down Wes Anderson films since there’s a lot that we can discuss about his efforts, but I guess let’s start with the obvious. In true Anderson fashion, this one is probably his most deliciously looking film ever. One thing I’ve always appreciated about him is how he builds his own world and that it elevates the whole movie watching experience. In here, the Budapest hotel isn’t merely a background because it’s a star of its own with its use of wide space and set. And can we talk about Milena Canonero’s costume design here? ASTONISHING. With that said, the real deal here is Anderson’s storytelling. I’ve felt that it was his own homage to arts in general. His take on loyalty, passionate love, death, first love, and friendship among others was written with both poignancy and silly humor. Plus, of course that ever reliable ensemble with Ralph Fiennes front and center. Budapest is funny yet tragic, charming and whimsical, and a very delightful movie experience. 



Director: Damian Chazelle

A year after his short film of the same title won the Short Film Jury Prize award at last year’s Sundance, Damien Chazelle translated “Whiplash” into a full length feature film and has made the festival rounds from Sundance to Cannes and Toronto the past few months. The film tells the story of aspiring jazz drummer Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) who undergoes training under notorious jazz conductor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) who has an atypical way of mentoring his students. The film did not waste any opportunity to build the intensity as we’ve seen from the interaction of Andrew and Terence in the opening scene. And there’s no stopping from there. Well crafted for the most part, particularly its creative, albeit really showy, editing and the musical score which heightens the tension further. Chazelle directs this with such precision making his audience feel the same discomfort that his characters feel, and his screenplay did not box the people as simply black and white; instead he composed them as larger than life ones — probably juxtaposed with the characters’ ambitions. J.K Simmons was every inch scary as the foul mouthed, no holds barred perfectionist maestro and there’s a level of brutality that his presence exudes. Rhythmically in sync though was Miles Teller, who should be given equal credit as he plays to Simmons’ level letting his Andrew be intimidated yet inspired with his verbal abuse. Whiplash is a painful reminder that greatness is no easy feat and that it literally takes blood, sweat, and tears to be achieved.



Director: Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater’s 12 year in the making masterpiece is as ambitious as one can get, but the simple and organic approach in its depiction of a slice (is it even just a slice?) of life is certainly one of the most emotionally affecting movie watching experience I’ve ever had. This film follows the life of a kid, Mason, for 12 years as he experiences the highs and lows of his life. It wasn’t really alienating per se since Linklater is very much self-aware that Mason and everyone around him are as ordinary as us or the people around us. Its depiction of “life just going by” is probably one of the least pretentious yet most effective I have ever seen not because of the statement that it leaves, but by refusing to dictate such. There’s a line in the film mentioned by Patricia Arquette where she said “I just thought there would be more…”, and that perfectly sums up the film for me – that the experiences and the time that already passed by can either be a memory of what we were before and a reminder of what have become. Despite running for 165 minutes, I would have been more than fine to see two to three more hours of it. Its use of pop culture references (Pokemon! Harry Potter! Lady Gaga!) and music (Coldplay! Aaliyah! Family of the Year!) is a highlight to this experience as well. In the end, more than the achievement of such a “stunt” project (if one can even call it that), what makes Linklater’s Boyhood every inch effective and memorable is that it was able to capture the accuracy of one’s growing up beyond its literal meaning. The feelings you invested in these characters are too much and too deep that you just don’t want it to end. Well in my case, I really don’t.


How many have you seen from this year’s batch? Which are your favorites? And who would you be rooting for come Oscar night? Talk to me about it by tweeting me: @nikowl



57th Grammy Awards Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

On Sunday (Monday morning here in Manila), music’s biggest night is about to happen. Well that’s an exaggeration of some sort truth be told, but hey despite what we rant about the Grammys 100+ categories or how there are more performances than awards every single year, we still give them a free pass when they give us moments like that of Daft Punk’s cool performance that had everyone bopping, or the reggae tribute two years ago with Sting, Bruno Mars, and Rihanna. So before we watch this year’s telecast that will feature performances from Kanye West, Rihanna, and Sir Paul McCartney to the Selma tribute of John Legend, Beyonce, and Common, we predict those who will be ending the night as Grammy winners in nine different fields.


Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Sia, “Chandelier”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)”
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”

PREDICTION: “Shake It Off” (Taylor Swift) Shake It Off doesn’t really fit the mold of a ROTY winner, but then again this is a pretty weak lineup. I don’t see Fancy or All About That Bass winning this and Chandelier is more of a SOTY mold. You know we’re bound to get a Taylor ROTY now or in the future right? So let’s just keep this one off the Grammy’s bucket list already.

ALTERNATE: “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)”  (Sam Smith) I don’t know if the Darkchild version will confuse voters or not, but if they love Sam Smith and will shower him with Grammys on that night, then expect at least an Adele type of winning for this ballad.


“Morning Phase”, Beck
“Beyonce”, Beyonce
“X”, Ed Sheeran
“In the Lonely Hour”, Sam Smith
“GIRL”, Pharrell Williams

PREDICTION: Beyonce, “Beyonce” This whole Beyonce era has been life-giving in so many ways that I think this is the perfect coronation night for Grammy’s most-nominated woman.

ALTERNATE: Beck, “Morning Phase” But hold on that weave, Bey. Sometimes, not because you’re the biggest artist means you’re taking the biggest award easily (see Arcade Fire over Eminem in 2010?). Beck has the respect and the critics to back him up. Either way, we’re getting a fantastic winner with these two.


“All About That Bass,” (Meghan Trainor)
“Chandelier,” (Sia)
“Shake It Off,” (Taylor Swift)
“Stay with Me,” (Sam Smith)
“Take Me To Church,” (Hozier)

PREDICTION: Chandelier (Sia). I think Sia becoming a go-to songwriter of the biggest popstars gives her a bit of an advantage here. And not to discredit the song itself, it’s an equally deserving SOTY material.

ALTERNATE: Stay with Me (Sam Smith). That said, Stay with Me is such a Grammy catnip here that I won’t be surprised if they go with the straight ballad in this group.


Iggy Azalea
Brandy Clark
Sam Smith

PREDICTION: Sam Smith. They could have mailed him the actual Grammy since the announcement for all I know.

ALTERNATE: Brandy Clark. Never underestimate the country bloc especially someone who has been churning out hits for some of the biggest country names right now.



John Legend, “All of Me (Live Version)”
Sia, “Chandelier”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
Pharrell Williams, “Happy (Live Version)”

This one would be an easy win for Sam Smith regardless if he goes home with many Grammys or not. Maybe he’s shoo-in category after Best New Artist. Watch out for Oscar nominee John Legend though in one of the year’s biggest hits and vocal venues.

PREDICTION: “Stay with Me” (Sam Smith)
ALTERNATE: “All of Me (Live Version)” (John Legend)

Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Coldplay, “A Sky Full of Stars”
A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera, “Say Something”
Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj, “Bang Bang”
Katy Perry feat. Juicy J, “Dark Horse”

What an absurd category. It seems like except for Bang Bang, you can make a case for any of these songs. Fancy has the General Field nomination, but somehow it’s not a guarantee here. Let’s just go with the AC catnip here of Say Something.

PREDICTION: “Say Something” (A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera)
ALTERNATE: “Fancy” (Iggy Azalea ft. Chrali XCX)

Coldplay, Ghost Stories
Miley Cyrus, Bangerz
Ariana Grande, My Everything
Katy PerryPrism
Ed Sheeran, x
Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour

With two Album of the Year nominees here, it’s definitely between these two Brits. I give the advantage to Ed Sheeran though, as I see it is a consolation for his great year. Plus you know they’re dying to reward him with a Grammy already.

PREDICTION: “X” (Ed Sheeran)
ALTERNATE: “In the Lonely Hour” (Sam Smith)

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek
Annie Lennox, Nostalgia
Barry Manilow, Night Songs
Johnny Mathis, Sending You a Little Christmas
Barbra Streisand, Partners

This one’s a bit tricky. The easiest name-checking would definitely be Bennett and Gags especially since Bennett is a regular winner here. But don’t underestimate Barbra Streisand’s strong narrative on her successful comeback album. I can see this one getting really close.

PREDICTION: “Cheek to Cheeck” (Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga)
ALTERNATE: “Partners” (Barbra Streisand)


dance recording

“Never Say Never,” Basement Jaxx
“Rather Be,” Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne
“F For You,” Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige
“I Got U,” Duke Dumont featuring Jax Jones
“Faded,” Zhu

Again, this one is a two-way race. Rather Be is the biggest hit in the lineup, but F for You has the name recognition. I give the slight edge to Rather Be,

PREDICTION: “Rather Be” (Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne)
ALTERNATE: “F For You” (Disclosure feat. Mary J. Blige)

dance electronica album

“Syro”, Aphex Twin
“while(1<2)”, deadmau5
“Nabuma Rubberband”, Little Dragon
“Do It Again”, Royksopp & Robyn
“Damage Control”, Matt Zo

PREDICTION: “Syro” (Aphex Twin)
ALTERNATE: “while(1<2)” (deadmau5)


rock alternative

“Gimme Something Good”, Ryan Adams
“Do I Wanna Know?”, Arctic Monkeys
“Blue Moon”, Beck
“Fever”, The Black Keys
“Lazaretto”, Jack White

The logical choice is Beck, but if they’ll spread the wealth, this is the place where I can see them giving the win to another contender via Arctic Monkeys.

PREDICTION: “Do I Wanna Know?” (Arctic Monkeys)
ALTERNATE: “Blue Moon” (Beck)

Paramore, “Ain’t It Fun”
Beck, “Blue Moon”
The Black Keys, “Fever”
Ryan Adams, “Gimme Something Good”
Jack White, “Lazaretto”

This one is an easy Beck win though regardless of competing against other familiar names and pop(!) hits.

PREDICTION: “Blue Moon” (Beck)
ALTERNATE: “Lazaretto” (Jack White)

Ryan Adams, Ryan Adam
Beck, Morning Phase
The Black Keys, Turn Blue
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Hypnotic Eye
U2, Songs of Innocence

’tis a part of the Beck’s deserved Rock field sweep, so there ‘ya go.

PREDICTION: “Morning Phase” (Beck)
ALTERNATE: “Songs of Innocence” (U2)

“This is All Yours”, alt-J
“Reflektor”, Arcade Fire
“Melophobia”, Cage the Elephant
“St. Vincent”, St. Vincent
“Lazaretto”, Jack White

St. Vincent has the most critical backing in this group, but I think that would be put into the sidelines when competing against two favorites. Thus, I gave the edge to Jack White here.

PREDICTION: “Lazaretto” (Jack White)
ALTERNATE: “Reflektor” (Arcade Fire)



“Drunk In Love,” Beyoncé featuring Jay Z
“New Flame,” Chris Brown featuring Usher & Rick Ross
“It’s Your World,” Jennifer Hudson featuring R. Kelly
“Like This,” Ledisi
“Good Kisser,” Usher

Bey and Jay easily.

PREDICTION: “Drunk in Love” (Beyonce feat. Jay-Z)
ALTERNATE: “Good Kisser” (Usher)

“As,” Marsha Ambrosius & Anthony Hamilton
“I.R.S,” Angie Fisher
“Jesus Children,” Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Lalah Hathaway & Malcolm Jamal Warner
“Nobody,” Kem
“Hold Up (Wait a Minute),” Antonique Smith

Robert Glasper pulled off an upset two years ago, so he’s definitely on the radar. Add the fact that Lalah also did last year, so maybe this is one underrated powerful collab?

PREDICTION: “Jesus Children” (Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Lalah Hathaway & Malcolm Jamal Warner)
ALTERNATE: “As” (Marsha Ambrosius & Anthony Hamilton)

“Drunk In Love,” Beyonce ft. Jay Z
“Good Kisser,” Usher
“New Flame,” Chris Brown ft. Usher & Rick Ross
“Options (Wolfjames Version),” Luke James ft. Rick Ross
“The Worst,” Jhené Aiko 

Again, thanks for trying everyone but no one comes close to Bey and Jay.

PREDICTION: “Drunk in Love” (Beyonce feat. Jay-Z)
ALTERNATE: “Good Kisser” (Usher)

Islander, Bernhoft
Lift Your Spirit, Aloe Blacc
Love, Marriage & Divorce, Toni Braxton & Babyface
Black Radio 2, Robert Glasper Experiment
Give The People What They Want, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

I think the throwback to these two 90s R&B names would be enough to give them comeback Grammys since their last wins over a decade ago. Watch out for Aloe Blacc though just because he has the crossover appeal of The Man.

PREDICTION: “Love, Marriage & Divorce” (Toni Braxton & Babyface)
ALTERNATE: “Lift Your Spirit” (Aloe Blacc)

Jhene Aiko, Sail Out
Beyonce, Beyonce
Chris Brown, X
Mali Music, Mail Is
Pharrell Williams, G I R L

Sorry Pharrell, but Beyonce has this one locked.

PREDICTION: “Beyonce” (Beyonce)
ALTERNATE: “GIRL” (Pharrell Williams)



“3005,” Childish Gambino
“0 To 100/ The Catch Up,” Drake
“Rap God,” Eminem
“i,” Kendrick Lamar
“All I Need Is You,” Lecrae

Rap God. End of discussion. EMinem might just steamroll to another Rap field Grammy domination.

PREDICTION: “Rap God” (Eminem)
ALTERNATE: “i” (Kendrick Lamar)

“Blak Majik,” Common ft. Jhené Aiko
“The Monster,” Eminem ft. Rihanna
“Tuesday,” I Love Makonnen ft. Drake
“Studio,” ScHoolboy Q ft. BJ The Chicago Kid
“Bound 2,” Kanye West & Charlie Wilson

Let’s just go with the biggest hit in the group. And maybe a consolation since they lost for Love the Way You Lie in 2010. Otherwise, Kanye is the other big name here so maybe him.

PREDICTION: “The Monster” (Eminem and Rihanna)
ALTERNATE: “Bound 2″ (Kanye West feat. Charlie Wilson)

“Anaconda,” Nicki Minaj
“Bound 2,” Kanye West & Charlie Wilson
“i,” Kendrick Lamar
“We Dem Boyz,” Wiz Khalifa
“0 to 100/The Catch Up,” Drake

After his shutout last year, and with no Eminem in competition this year, then maybe it’s finally bound for a Kendrick Lamar Grammy win… unless they give Kanye another one.

PREDICTION: “i” (Kendrick Lamar)
ALTERNATE: “Bound 2″ (Kanye West)

The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Eminem
Because The Internet, Childish Gambino
The New Classic, Iggy Azalea
Blacc Hollywood, Wiz Khalifa
Oxymoron, Schoolboy Q
Nobody’s Smiling, Common

Eminem has the biggest album of the bunch, and this field loves to rubberstamp winners so there ‘ya go. Imagine the pandemonium among the people and the rap community though if Iggy Azalea wins this. LMAO.

PREDICTION: “The Marshall Mathers LP 2″ (Eminem)
ALTERNATE: “The New Classic” (Iggy Azalea)



“Give Me Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church
“Invisible,” Hunter Hayes
“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert
“Something In the Water,” Carrie Underwood
“Cop Car,” Keith Urban

Miranda has the biggest hit of the bunch, and her only Grammy is for a vocal performance, so I’m quite complacent with this one. Carrie poses a big threat, but last year proved she still loses (and even gets snubbed!) in this category.

PREDICTION: “Automatic” (Miranda Lambert)
ALTERNATE: “Something in the Water” (Carrie Underwood)

“Gentle On My Mind,” The Band Perry
“Somethin’ Bad,” Miranda Lambert with Carrie Underwood
“Day Drinking,” Little Big Town
“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s,” Tim McGraw ft. Faith Hill
“Raise ‘Em Up,” Keith Urban ft. Eric Church

These are two of their favorite vocalists, so I say easy win for Team Girl Power?

PREDICTION: “Something’ Bad” (Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood)
ALTERNATE: “Raise ‘Em Up” (Keith Urban & Eric Church)

“American Kids,” Kenny Chesney
“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert
“Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell
“Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” Tim McGraw ft. Faith Hill

I think they’ll throw Eric Church a bone for having a great year as well so either this and/or Album would be the place to reward it.

PREDICTION: “Give Me Back My Hometown” (Eric Church)
ALTERNATE: “Automatic” (Miranda Lambert)

Riser, Dierks Bentley
The Outsiders, Eric Church
The Way I’m Livin’, Lee Ann Womack
12 Stories, Brandy Clark
Platinum, Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert seems to be the default frontrunner, but she always seems to be sidetracked at the Grammys, so I’m going with either Eric Church or Brandy Field who has the General Field support.

PREDICTION: “The Outsiders” (Eric Church)
ALTERNATE: “12 Stories” (Brandy Clark)



“Everything is Awesome,” (Tegan & Sara with The Lonely Island) from The LEGO Movie
“I See Fire,” (Ed Sheeran) from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell) from Glen Campbell: It’ll Be Me
“Let It Go” (Idina Menzel) from Frozen
“The Moon Song,” (Karen O) from Her

To the other nominees, let it go. There’s no way you’re winning this over the instant fairy tale classic.

PREDICTION: “Let It Go” (Idina Menzel) from Frozen
ALTERNATE: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell) from Glen Campbell: It’ll Be Me

American Hustle 
Guardians of the Galaxy
Get On Up: The James Brown Story 
The Wolf of Wall Street

Being one of the most-selling albums in this day and age would be enough to assure that this is another Frozen win, unless the sympathy is really high for the late James Brown.

PREDICTION: “Frozen” (Various Artists)
ALTERNATE: “Get On Up: The James Brown Story” (James Brown)

Frozen (Christopher Beck)
Gone Girl (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Alexander Desplat)
Gravity (Steven Price)
Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)

At this point, I’m just predicting they’re gonna continue the Frozen love. But Steven Price must be considered as well as he’s the only other one with no wins in this category yet.

PREDICTION: “Frozen” (Christophe Beck)
ALTERNATE: “Gravity” (Steven Price)


music video

“We Exist,” Arcade Fire
“Turn Down for What,” DJ Snake & Lil Jon
“Chandelier,” Sia
“Happy,” Pharrell Williams
“The Golden Age,” Woodkid ft. Max Richter

This one seems like an easy win for Sia especially if she doesn’t win in her other nominations. Consider this as the template place to reward her.

PREDICTION: “Chandelier” (Sia)
ALTERNATE: “Happy” (Pharrell Williams)

music film

Beyoncé & Jay Z: On The Run Tour, Beyoncé & Jay Z
Ghost Stories, Coldplay
20 Feet From Stardom, Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer & Judith Hill
Metallica: Through The Never, Metallica
The Truth About Love Tour: Live From Melbourne, Pink

Sorry Jay and Bey, but you have to sit this one out. You’re competing against the Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature. I’m sure one Grammy less won’t hurt your shelf.

PREDICTION: “20 Feet From Stardom” (Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer & Judith Hill)
ALTERNATE: “On The Run Tour” (Beyonce)

Talk to me about the Grammys by tweeting me: @nikowl




21st Screen Actors Guild Awards Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

After the Golden Globes two weeks ago, let’s go to the other awards ceremony that awards both TV and movie performances, the Screen Actors Guild. With thousand of members that comprise the SAG-AFTRA group, the SAG Awards is an award given to actors by their own peers. This year, let’s see who’d end up winning the nude Actor trophy in 13 different categories.


film ensemble

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

PREDICTION: Boyhood. This one is quite tricky. There are years when the SAG goes their own way and award the most ensemble-y nominee of the group (see: Sideways, American Hustle, The Help) but then there are years where the default Best Picture frontrunner just skates by (see: Argo, Slumdog Millionaire, No Country for Old Men), I think this year we’d get the latter and have the four-member cast of Boyhood take the top trophy.

ALTERNATE: Birdman. But still, we can see a scenario where Birdman emerges as the top winner here. After all, it’s a film about actors, and that might resonate well in this branch. With three individual acting nominations and an ensemble full of many prominent Hollywood names in it, a case can be made for them winning.

film actor

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
STEVE CARELL / John du Pont – “FOXCATCHER” (Sony Pictures Classics)
BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH / Alan Turing – “THE IMITATION GAME” (The Weinstein Company)
JAKE GYLLENHAAL / Louis Bloom – “NIGHTCRAWLER” (Open Road Films)
MICHAEL KEATON / Riggan – “BIRDMAN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
EDDIE REDMAYNE / Stephen Hawking – “THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING” (Focus Features)

PREDICTION: Michael Keaton, Birdman. Keaton fits the veteran bill that this category loves to reward. He plays a struggling has-been which a lot would surely find relate-able. Plus, him getting this break at the state of his career is every actor’s inspiring story. This is very crucial to Keaton. If he loses this on Sunday, then it’s over for him at the Oscars.

ALTERNATE: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything. He has BAFTA wrapped around his little finger already, so if he wins this one, then he’d surely be ahead of Keaton as Oscar comes in. This game is closer than what we probably think, and he’s very much into the race. Remember that his film scored an Ensemble nod even if it’s basically him and co-star Jones on the forefront.

film actress

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
JENNIFER ANISTON / Claire Bennett – “CAKE” (Cinelou Films)
JULIANNE MOORE / Alice Howland – “STILL ALICE” (Sony Pictures Classics)
ROSAMUND PIKE / Amy Dunne – “GONE GIRL” (20th Century Fox)
REESE WITHERSPOON / Cheryl Strayed – “WILD” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

PREDICTION: Julianne Moore, Still Alice. Let’s just stick with the veteran who hasn’t won this category yet. It’s basically a smooth train ride all the way to the Oscar so just prepare your speeches, Jules.

ALTERNATE: Jennifer Aniston, Cake. Bleh who cares if she was Oscar snubbed. When half of the voters are from the TV actors guild, Rachel Green can surely still rake ’em votes.

film supporting actor

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
ROBERT DUVALL / Joseph Palmer – “THE JUDGE” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
ETHAN HAWKE / Mason, Sr. – “BOYHOOD” (IFC Films)
EDWARD NORTON / Mike – “BIRDMAN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
MARK RUFFALO / Dave Schultz – “FOXCATCHER” (Sony Pictures Classics)
J.K. SIMMONS / Fletcher – “WHIPLASH” (Sony Pictures Classics)

PREDICTION: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash. After working the circuit during majority of his career, a coronation of some sort for this long time hardworking character actor at the SAG is very much fitting.

ALTERNATE: Edward Norton, Birdman. Maybe a lot of these voters can remember a thing or two from Norton’s character no? He’s the alternate, albeit a very weak one.

film supporting actress

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY / Joan Clarke – “THE IMITATION GAME” (The Weinstein Company)
EMMA STONE / Sam – “BIRDMAN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
MERYL STREEP / The Witch – “INTO THE WOODS” (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
NAOMI WATTS / Daka – “ST. VINCENT” (The Weinstein Company)

PREDICTION: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood. There isn’t even any competition anymore for this longtime working actress as she’ll just glide all the way to Oscar night.

ALTERNATE: Emma Stone, Birdman. Just because she’s the biggest name and the only possibility for a surge of Birdman love in the guilds.


actor tv movie

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
ADRIEN BRODY / Harry Houdini  – “HOUDINI” (History)

PREDICTION:Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo. He’s the only Fargo acting nomination this year so that might be a bit of a reach, but there seems to be passion for Thornton’s Lorne Malvo, and this is a pretty weak competition he has this year.

ALTERNATE: Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart. After losing the Emmy and the Golden Globe, the whole of Normal Heart simply isn’t just resonating well with voters. But who knows, maybe this can be a substitute award since he’s not winning Film Supporting Actor.

actress tv movie

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
ELLEN BURSTYN / Olivia Foxworth – “FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC” (Lifetime)
CICELY TYSON / Carrie Watts – “THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL” (Lifetime)

PREDICTION: Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge. I’m really not sure with this one as I had her pegged for the Globe only to see her lose, but she’s a respected veteran who has won Best Actress for Fargo in 1997 so there’s at least a precedent.

ALTERNATE: Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman. Or it can just be like the Globes where Maggie does a repeat making her a strong case at the Emmys this year.

tv drama actor

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
KEVIN SPACEY / Francis Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)

PREDICTION: Matthew McConaughey, True Detective. So I’ve predicted McConaighey for the Emmy only to see him lose to Bryan Cranston. Then I’ve predicted him for the Golden Globe where he then lost to Billy Bob Thornton. I don’t even know why I’m predicting him for a third time. Maybe I’m jinxing him actually.

ALTERNATE: Kevin Spacey, House of Cards. After his Golden Globe win two weeks ago, is SAG following suit? If the voters aren’t really up for some McConaughey crowning, expect 2x Oscar winner Kevin Spacey to benefit from it.

tv drama actress

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
CLAIRE DANES / Carrie Mathison – “HOMELAND” (Showtime)
TATIANA MASLANY / Sarah/Coxima/Alison/Rachel/Helena/Tony/Jennifer and Various Others – “ORPHAN BLACK” (BBC America)
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham – “DOWNTON ABBEY” (PBS)
ROBIN WRIGHT / Claire Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)

PREDICTION: Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder. I’m really shocked by her nomination considering how newer performances don’t easily get nominated that quick here, but she seems to be an actor’s actor type of performer who generate command and passion from her peers.

ALTERNATE: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey. Or might as well just stick with the current (still a no show) winner.

tv drama ensemble

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards

PREDICTION: Downton Abbey. None of these really strikes to me as a winner. Boardwalk has won twice before and isn’t winning here for sure. Homeland hasn’t but it has ran past its course. Game of Thrones doesn’t necessarily scream a best ensemble winner template even if it has a large ensemble. Thus I’m sticking with the Brits who pulled off this upset win in 2012.

ALTERNATE: House of Cards. If not them, then let’s just go with the only new  nominee from the bunch, even if it’s basically the Kevin and Robin show.

tv comedy actor

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
LOUIS C.K. / Louie – “LOUIE” (FX)
WILLIAM H. MACY / Frank Gallagher – “SHAMELESS” (Showtime)

PREDICTION: Ty Burrell, Modern Family. With no strong frontrunner here plus the fact that they love repeat winners in their TV categories, let’s just stick with the only man who gave Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock his only SAG loss.

ALTERNATE: William H. Macy, Shameless. Macy is the veteran of this group, and if there’s a lot of name checking here, he’d be one who’d benefit the most.

tv comedy actress

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren – “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK” (Netflix)
EDIE FALCO / Jackie Peyton – “NURSE JACKIE” (Showtime)
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / Vice President Selina Meyer – “VEEP” (HBO)

PREDICTION: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep. This doesn’t scream to me as a one-time winner only so an easy repeat win for the current champ.

ALTERNATE: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black. When a striking scene-stealer makes some pop culture waves, the SAG usually bites (see Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson in Grey’s Anatomy), but if the Globes didn’t even bite to the Aduba bandwagon, it would take more than that to overcome Julia’s run.

tv comedy ensemble

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Brooklyn Nine Nine
Modern Family
Orange is the New Black

PREDICTION: Orange is the New Black. For some reason, this seems like the Matthew McConaughey thing again. I predicted it at the Emmys only to lose to Modern Family, then I went with it at the Globes because it’s such a Globes-y thing to do to reward it and they went with Transparent. Maybe the 40 group ensemble would be enough to finally secure a major win for the show?

ALTERNATE: Modern Family. Say what you want, but this ensemble still works six seasons after. They have a perfect 5/5 record at the SAGs and if there’s one show who’ll break that record, it’s this.

You can talk to me about this on Twitter: @nikowl



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