Archive for January 2013

10 Things You Need to Know About the 85th Academy Awards Nominations   4 comments

Hey everybody! How are you all doing? So yeah, Pandora’s box was finally opened as Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone unveiled the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards. For now, I’m still nursing a heartbreak due to Nicole Kidman’s snub, but then again, so are many of the supposed to be contenders. My predictions this year were just okay getting more or less 3-4 of the nominees per category (except for my 2/5 in Song and 1/3 in Make Up), but I have no 5/5 prediction for this year. Sucks to be me I guess. And by this moment, I’m wondering if you’re still reading this or you just closed the window already because what the hell am I still talking about when I can’t even get my predictions right. But so is the rest of the predictors as this has been one of the shocking years in terms of actual nominees. Anyway here  are ten things you need to know about the 85th Academy Awards Nominees:

besties

THE CURSE OF THE 2007 FEMALE OSCAR WINS

2007 Best Supporting Actress winner Tilda Swinton was shafted at the final minute last year despite getting BFCA, Globe, SAG, nad BAFTA nods for her turn as the mother in We Need to Talk About Kevin. It was the first time in awards prognostication history where in a performance hit all precursor noms only to miss in the end (likely, for Rooney Mara). That seems to be the exception to the case though. However, this year, a similar occurrence happened to (incidentally) 2007 Best Actress winner Marion Cotillard who received the same precursor support for her performance in Rust and Bone only to miss again. Mind you, both of these actresses have churned out some of the best post-Oscar resumes in history and they have been shafted countless times since their win. Swinton had Julia in 2009, I Am Love in 2010, and Kevin in 2011. Cotillard had Nine in 2009, Inception in 2010, and even in BP nominee Midnight in Paris last year. What does it take for these gorgeous women to be called back again for another nomination? Hmm.

costume

SNOW WHITE vs… SNOW WHITE?

While one Snow White themed movie Blancanieves failed to connect with the Foreign Language voters, there are two other Snow White films which are in contention…for the same category. Colleen Atwood was nominated for Snow White and the Huntsman while Mirror Mirror‘s Eiko Ishioka was the other one in competition. While there’s a large possibility that both designers will lose to Jacqueline Duran for Anna Karenina, can we do a write in vote that says Snow White is the most fashionable fairy tale character? Yes?

amour

AMOUR RECEIVING A LOT OF AMOUR 

One movie that received a lot of amour (that means Love if you still don’t get it by now) is Michael Haneke’s Amour receiving four major nods this year for Picture, Directing, Lead Actress for Emmanuelle Riva, and Original Screenplay together with a Foreign Language Film nod. While the possibility of the film making it to all those categories is not far fetched, it’s still unbelievable that voters went all the way to give it nods for such. This is the first film since 2000′ s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to make it both to best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film, and the consecutive Palme d’or winner to be Best Picture nominated after last year’s Tree of Life. Of course, there are others that even won such as 1957’s Marty but what I’m referring here is back to back nods.

directed

MOVIES THAT DIRECTED THEMSELVES

Best Director is the biggest fuckery this year (and probably ever?), as both Ben Affleck and Katheryn Bigelow were snubbed after hitting BFCA, Globes, DGA, and BAFTA nods (plus critics prizes for both of them). Who replaced them? Benh Zeitlin of Beasts of the Southern Wild, and to a lesser extent, David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. While I was over the moon happy about Haneke getting in (which there was a really huge probability of happening especially with the BAFTA Director nod, and he was always in fifth place), but this category just felt weird with no Affleck and Bigelow in it especially since they’d probably be winning the televised awards. To be fair though, both Argo and Zero Dark Thirty are in a good company with the likes of The Color PurpleSense and SensibilityMoulin Rouge!The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and Inception who all received Best Picture mentions without their helmers getting the nod.

vlcsnap-2013-01-11-13h11m09s59

BEST NOMINATION ANNOUNCEMENT EVAH!

Since the 60s, it has been a tradition of the Academy to have its current president together with a past Oscar acting nominee to present the nominations. It was a in a formal manner where the ten major categories are announced and the names of the nominees were alphabetically one by one mentioned starting from Best Supporting Actress up to Best Picture. However, for this year, we got host Seth MacFarlane and still Oscarless actress Emma Stone to do the presentation job and boy was it the best announcement evah. Starting from Stone’s fake entrance as if she was called to win an award to the Hitler joke in between up to Bryan Cranston’s teeth, this was such a breath of fresh air in terms of announcing. Not only that, but names were randomly announced too that adds the pleasure of the prediction process. If this is an indication of MacFarlane’s hosting stint, then count me in.

skyfall

BOND. JAMES BOND.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise, Skyfall was the first Bond movie in 31 years to receive nominations in any Oscar category. Add to that is the fact that it got five(!) nods for Cinematography, Original Score, Original Song  (for Adele’s Skyfall), Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, and it becomes the most nominated Bond movie ever. As for a quick Bond history with Oscar, prior to Skyfall, there have been only nine nominations since its inception winning two; one is for Goldfinger in Sound Effects in 1965 and a Visual Effects win for Thunderball the following year. The last nomination though was in 1981 in the Original Song category for For Your Eyes Only from the Bond movie of the same title.

silver linings playbook

MAJOR, MAJOR ACTING NOMINATIONS

Four acting nominations for a film is really possible within the Academy. In the past few years, Chicago and Doubt managed to achieve that feat. However, it’s more interesting when the four acting noms came from the four acting categories. After 31 years, Silver Linings Playbook becomes the 14th movie in Oscar history to grab nods for the four acting categories for its stars Bradley Cooper (Lead Actor), Jennifer Lawrence (Lead Actress), Robert de Niro (Supporting Actor), and Jackie Weaver (Supporting Actress). There’s a huge possibility that with this, SLP is expected to win at least one acting trophy (as per history), and our bet is on Jennifer Lawrence to take Best Actress. From the thirteen prior films that managed this feat, only two went Oscarless in all four acting categories: My Man Godfrey in 1936, and Sunset Boulevard in 1950.

riva wallis

BEST ACTRESS… OLD AND NEW

Presenter Emma Stone already mentioned this yesterday, but for Best Actress, a record was made when we had the oldest and the youngest Best Actress nominees ever and they happened to be competing with each other. French actress Emmanuelle Riva, currently at 85 (though her birthday will exactly be on the Oscar telecast), becomes the oldest Best Actress nominee ever for her turn as the wife in Amour. Previous title holder was 1989 winner Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy who was 80 when she was nominated and won the Oscar. On the other hand, the youngest now is Quvenzhane Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild who was nominated at the age of 9. It’s pretty fascinating to learn that while shooting the movie, Wallis was just 7. She beats previous record holder, 2003’s Keisha Castle Hughes, who was nominated for Whale Rider at the age of 13. Moreover, co-nominee Jennifer Lawrence became the youngest actress to receive two Best Actress nods by the age of 22.

levitt

THE JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT SCREENPLAY CURSE

If you’re an aspiring Hollywood writer, there’s no better person to write a screenplay for than Joseph Gordon Levitt. Maybe it’s because of his immense talent, or he really has just a knack for interesting stories, but for the past four years, Joseph Gordon Levitt has made films whose screenplays always receive Oscar buzz particularly in the Original Screenplay category. However, there always seems to be a hurdle at this. The buzz is there, but the nod is not. In 2009, his 500 Days of Summer despite getting WGA and NBR wins failed to make it to the final list. The same can be said for his cancer movie last year 50-50. And despite getting critics nominations and a WGA nod again, Looper also failed to make it to the final line up. You know what the exception was? The one film he starred that nabbed an Original Screenplay nom is the one where he was in supporting… Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

amy adams

ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID… FOREVER THE BRIDESMAID?

In a span of eight years, Amy Adams has already received four Supporting Actress Oscar nominations for 2005’s Junebug, 2008’s Doubt, 2010’s The Fighter, and this year again for her role in The Master. Pretty impressive achievement I must admit. However, with no such luck, she still wasn’t able to snatch an Oscar of her own for the four performances (yes, four, because Anne Hathaway has that thing locked up). Now while it’s an achievement of its own, I fear for dear Amy, sweet Amy, that she’ll belong to the list of voters just want to nominate but not win. After all, eight years is pretty quick to gain 4 Oscar nods (Julianne Moore got 4 in five years), what lies for her future Oscar chances? Among all actresses, Thelma Ritter, Deborrah Kerr, Glenn Close (the only one left still alive) hold the record for most nominations without winning (6), followed by Irene Dunner (also gone now) with five. From those living, Adams is currently in the same page as Annette Bening, Jane Alexander, Marsha Mason, and Julianne Moore that can still win despite four losses while Rosalind Russell and Barbara Stanwyck are the other four time Oscarless winners who were already departed. Here’s wishing the next time Amy Adams get nominated, she’ll finally win.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

85th Oscars: Acting Class of 2012   Leave a comment

Yeah, lots of surprises, but here are this year’s acting nominee recipients.

2012 yearbook

BEST ACTOR

BRADLEY COOPER |as Pat Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook  | 1st nomination
DANIEL DAY LEWIS | as President Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln| 5th nomination, 2 wins
HUGH JACKMAN | as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables | 1st nomination
JOAQUIN PHOENIX | as Freddie Quell in The Master | 3rd nomination, 0 wins
DENZEL WASHINGTON | as Whip Whtaker in Flight | 6th nomination, 2 wins

BEST ACTRESS

JESSICA CHASTAIN | as Maya in Zero Dark Thirty | 2nd nomination, 0 wins
JENNIFER LAWRENCE | as Tiffany Maxwell in Silver Linings Playbook | 2nd nomination, 0 wins
EMMANUELLE RIVA | as Anne in Amour | 1st nomination
QUVENZHANE WALLIS | as Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild | 1st nomination
NAOMI WATTS | as Maria Belon in The Impossible | 2nd nomination, 0 wins

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

ALAN ARKIN | as Lester Siegel in Argo| 4th nomination, 1 win
ROBERT DE NIRO
| as Pat Sr. Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook | 7th nomination, 2 wins
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
| as Lancaster Dodd in The Master | 4th nomination, 1 win
TOMMY LEE JONES
| as Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln | 4th nomination, 1 win
CHRISTOPH WALTZ  
| as Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained | 2nd nomination, 1 win

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

AMY ADAMS | as Peggy Dodd in The Master | 4th nomination, 0 wins
SALLY FIELD
| as Mary Todd Lincoln in Lincoln | 3rd nomination, 2 wins
ANNE HATHAWAY
| as Fantine in Les Miserables | 2nd nomination, 0 win
HELEN HUNT
| as Cheryl Greene in The Sessions | 2nd nomination, 1 win
JACKIE WEAVER | as Dolores Solitano | 2nd nomination, 0 wins

Posted January 10, 2013 by Nicol Latayan in Uncategorized

85th Academy Awards Nominations Predictions   14 comments

oscar

After months and months of predicting, it all boils down to this. Tomorrow, we’d figure out who the 85th batch of nominees for Hollywood’s top film awards were. This year has been pretty weird with the early announcement date, so precursors can be hit or miss this year. So before host Seth MacFarlane and the lovely Emma Stone mention the nominations tomorrow, here are my predictions on whose names will be called. For the record, I’ll be putting my sixth choice in a parenthesis just to see how coward am I in case the sixth spot eventually gets nominated (but I would not count it in my official tally score). Let’s start!

BEST PICTURE
• Argo
• Beasts of the Southern Wild
• Django Unchained
• Les Miserables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Moonrise Kingdom
• Silver Linings Playbook
• Zero Dark Thirty

10th (but not predicted): The Impossible

For the second year in a row, we’d have the unsure number of Best Picture nominees in the top Oscar category. Last year, I predicted only seven though we got nine (and a surprising Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) films all in all. As for this year, I’m sticking with nine films as well. Argo, Django, Les Mis, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver, and Thirty  are pretty safe bets and I won’t be surprised if it stops there. However, Beasts (while underperforming at the precursors) still got a PGA nod and Moonrise Kingdom with all the talent involved in it can easily land too. Both also benefits from the 5% rule. Lastly, if there’s a tenth spot this year, I’m thinking The Impossible gets in as it really resonates well with what Academy goes for: a sappy true to life fare that rekindles the faith in the human spirit.

BEST DIRECTOR
• Ben Affleck, “Argo
• Katheryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty
• Ang Lee, “Life of Pi
• Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln
• Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained

Ain’t that fifth slot a bitch? Affleck, Bigelow, Lee, and Spielberg are sure bets now. And yes, despite the Spielberg BAFTA snub, it’s not as if they’re actually fond of him in the first place. The fifth slot I guess goes to Tarantino who, despite missing a DGA nod, got in for Globe and BAFTA. It’s a flashy work that voters might actually appreciate and be compelled to rank first. In sixth place, I’d probably go with Tom Hooper who got boosted by the DGA earlier in the day only to be shafted when his own BAFTAs dismissed him. Most of the negative crticisms re: Les Mis was pointing to the direction, and that will probably cost him the nod.

BEST ACTOR
• Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook
• Daniel Day Lewis, “Lincoln
• John Hawkes, “The Sessions
• Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables
• Denzel Washington, “Flight

Truth be told, aside from DDL, no one is safe. And I can see a scenario where each of the four remaining contenders miss. After all, there’s a viable contender with The Master‘s Joaquin Phoenix. But with no one really solid that can easily be eliminated, I guess it’s safe to stick with the SAG line up.

BEST ACTRESS
• Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty
• Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone
• Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook
• Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock
• Naomi Watts, “The Impossible

Chastain and Lawrence are locks here. Then I’m also confident with Helen Mirren here. After all, this is the type of performance and role that makes these Academy voting bloc’s wives relatable. Plus, she got in in 2009 with only GG + SAG, and she even had a stronger backbone now. I’m also confident about Naomi Watts. She’s really hitting the campaign trail like crazy, and had the likes of Reese Witherspoon publicly endorsing her. As for the last spot, I see it as a battle of the Frenchies. On one hand, one must not doubt Marion Cotillard. After all, she even had a better precursor run that Mirren and Watts. But then, you have Emmanuelle Riva who’s slowly gaining momentum despite Globe/SAG snubs. I really want to predict Riva, but there’s no one I can replace here, so I’d stick with Cotillard in my final line up.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
• Alan Arkin, “Argo
• Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master
• Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln
• Ewan McGregor, “The Impossible
• Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained

And this is where gets messy. Hoffman, Jones, and Arkin are in hitting all the necessary precursors. di Caprio was the more buzzed Django contender on paper, but I see it as a The Departed scenario (woops another Leo film) where in two guys from the film got nommed for the Globes (Nicholson and Wahlberg) and both being snubbed at the SAG, then the lesser expected contender gets in at the Oscars. With that said, Waltz is stealing all of the thunder, and it’s enough for me to predict him. I just don’t see Leo getting in with solely a Globe nod. And while the logical fifth slot goes to a comeback Robert de Niro, this can also be room for a surprise contender, and with that I’m going with my NGNG prediction Ewan McGregor. in The ImpossibleI feel that voters might check both him and Watts easily especially since they got sappy Oscar clip moments in the movie. Anybody supporting Watts can easily list him for a nod as well.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
• Amy Adams, “The Master
• Sally Field, “Lincoln
• Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables
• Helen Hunt, “The Sessions
• Nicole Kidman, “The Paperboy

The triumvirate of Hathaway, Hunt, and Field can sleep safe and sound for tomorrow. They’re easily in. I see Amy Adams going fourth place with her fourth nom (and loss) with The Master. Despite missing the SAG, she has built enough momentum for a filler nomination. Speaking of SAG, Maggie Smith was once supposed lock Smith seems to be the fluke nom this year when even BAFTA did not recognize her for such an Oscar baity role. You know who got the BAFTA nod? Judi Dench. But then again, Oscars have such a hard time recognizing anything major for the Bond series. I seriously would have wanted Ann Dowd to get in, but her film’s theme is something that’s uncomfortable for these conservative voters. In the end, I went with my mind (and mostly my heart) and predicted Nicole Kidman to close the category. Globe + SAG is enough for an Oscar winner and three time nominee like her to get in the final list.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
• Michael Haneke, “Amour
• Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained
• Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master
• Wes Anderson, “Moonrise Kingdom
• Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty

This seems to be the final line up, but it breaks my heart that there exists such a Joseph Gordon Levitt curse in this category as his films probably always ended up in sixth place in this category like what happened in 2009 (500 Days of Summer), 2011 (50-50), and the same can be said this year for Looper. The only time his movie got in was in 2010 for Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
• Chris Terrio, “Argo
• Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild
• Tony Kushner, “Lincoln
• Stephen Chbowsky, “Perks of Being a Wallflower
• David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook

I’m taking a risk here with Perks of Being a Wallflower over Life of Pi. However, the writing branch isn’t as lazy as the others, and they might go and reward an author who successfully translated his own writing into another film thus giving him a nomination. If all else fails, then yeah, expect David Magee getting in here.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Amour  (Austria)
• The Intouchables  (France)
• A Royal Affair  (Denmark)
• Sister (Switzerland)
• War Witch (Canada)

Austria, France, Denmark, and Canada seems shoo-ins already. As for the last spot, I’m going with Switzerland’s entry Sister over the Chilean Gael Garcia Bernal starrer No.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
• Brave
• Frankenweenie
• The Painting (La Tableau)
• The Rabbi’s Cat
• Wreck It Ralph

This category is one that embraces foreign films the most (after FLF duh), so I’m predicting the pair of La Tableau and The Rabbi’s Cat in the top five. I won’t be surprised to see Paranorman get in over one of the two though.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
• The Gatekeepers
• How to Survive a Plague
• The Invisible War
• Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
• Searching for Sugar Man

I just listed those that performed the best among the precursors to get nominated here. With that said, Bully can still get in here.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
• Django Unchained
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Skyfall
• Zero Dark Thirty

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
• Anna Karenina
• Django Unchained
• Les Miserables
• Lincoln
• A Royal Affair

BEST EDITING
• Argo
• Les Miserables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Zero Dark Thirty

BEST HAIRSTYLING & MAKE UP
• Les Miserables
• Lincoln
• Men in Black 3

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
• Anna Karenina
• Argo
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Zero Dark Thirty

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Ancora Qui (Django Unchained)
Learn Me Right (Brave)
Skyfall (Skyfall)
Still Alive (Paul Williams: Still Alive)
Suddenly (Les Miserables)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
• Anna Karenina
• Argo
• Les Miserables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln

BEST SOUND EDITING
• The Avengers
• The Dark Knight Rises
• Django Unchained
• Les Miserables
• Skyfall

BEST SOUND MIXING
• Les Miserables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Skyfall
• Zero Dark Thirty

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
• The Avengers
• The Dark Knight Rises
• The Hobbit
• Life of Pi
• Prometheus

The following categories, I have no idea what they are so I’m just picking random names out of the list.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
• The Education of Mohamma Hossein
• Inocente
• Mondays at Racine
• Open Heart
• Paraiso

BEST ANIMATED SHORTS
• Adam and Dog
• Dripped
• The Fall of the House of the Usher
• Maggie Simpson in the Longest Day Care
• Paperman

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
• Curfew
• Death of a Shadow
• Kiruna-Kigali
• The Night Shift Belongs to the Stars
• when you find me

NOMINATION TALLY:
13 – 
Lincoln
10 –  Les Miserables
8 – Django UnchainedLife of PiZero Dark Thirty
7 – Argo
4 – Silver Linings Playbook, Skyfall
3 – Anna KareninaThe Master
2 – Amour, The AvengersBeasts of the Southern Wild, Brave, The Dark Knight Rises, The Impossible, Moonrise Kingdom, A Royal Affair, The Sessions

That’s it! Who are you predicting tomorrow? Will McGregor pay off? Can Nicole Kidman finally get a fourth nod? How many Best Pic nominees do you think will there be? Pipe them in below!

And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

85th Oscar Master List Nomination Predictions   2 comments

The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards will be unveiled six days from now, and a lot of the precursors have already released their choices in Hollywood cinema for 2012. The first master list that I did last year went actually great. In the top 8 major categories I included last year, I had a 95% correct rate in the predictions missing only Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Max Von Sydow for Supporting Actor for the same movie. 

To clear things though, this is a master list of possible predictions meaning that these are the possible final contenders vying for each category. If you are joining any Oscar nomination prediction contest, then this is pretty much what you can use as a reference point. Also, I’ll be including those shortlists from the Academy in some of the technical categories. Here we go!

picture

BEST PICTURE

Amour
Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

There’s a huge possibility that we’d get ten nominations for Best Picture this year, as there have been lots of passionate supporters of the movies we have in contention for the top honor. With that said, those who are safer are Argo, Django Unchained, Les Miserableles, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. Both Beasts of the Southern Wild and Moonrise Kingdom are safe bets, too, though they probably fit the likes of filler nominees. As for the rest, there’s a chance that we can hear them nominated but guilds aren’t too fond of Amour (let’s see how it catches up with other guilds), The Master (not even at the SAG and the art directions guild), and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (can be supported by the British bloc and the age correlation of Oscar voters).

director

BEST DIRECTOR

Ben Affleck, Argo
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Katheryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Tom Hooper, Les Miserables
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

And it all boils down to eight. Affleck, Spielberg, and Bigelow are safe for now. Ang Lee seems to be a director’s favorite, as he’s rewarded with nominations for all his past Oscar efforts. He’d also be getting a DGA nomination and has won that twice so he ahs the support of his own guild. The last spot is somehow tricky. David O. Russell seems the likeliest fifth contender, especially for all his efforts in Silver Linings Playbook. Thanks to The Fighter, it’s now easier for him to throw his name in the game. Quentin Tarantino can also fill up the last spot, as most of his efforts (especially those with Oscar buzz) has specified out his direction. It’s also a flashy performance that can resonate well with voters. Then there’s also Tom Hooper. I really don’t think he’s out per se, though that Globe snub was a big miss. He pulled off the surprise win in 2010 both at the Oscar and the DGA, so he must really have fans within the Academy. Then Paul Thomas Anderson can still sneak in his way to a nod if he maintains a solid passion among voters ala Terrence Malick last year.

lead actors

BEST ACTOR

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
Richard Gere, Arbitrage
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Jean Louis Trintignant, Amour
Denzel Washington, Flight

Technically, this is just a six way race for the nomination but before we shock ourselves with a Daniel Day Lewis sweep within the next few weeks, here’s a more interesting race to look at. Daniel Day Lewis is in. No questions about that. Then, I’d say Bradley Cooper is also in. He got all the necessary precursors, won a critics award, newbie nominee, and has Harvey Weinstein on his back. That’s as sure as one can get. The next few slots can be tricky, but here’s the way I see the race. Hugh Jackman is in third. Les Mis is a box office juggernaut now, and  its critical appeal is slowly rebuilding its momentum. Plus he’s like the most likable man in Hollywood now. Denzel Washington comes next. He’s a major Hollywood superstar in a comeback Oscar vehicle. Think of it as a sure but filler Oscar nomination. The last spot is between John Hawkes and Joaquin Phoenix. Hawkes plays an Oscar weakness role but is in a really small movie. Meanwhile, Joaquin is funded by Harvey but the nature of his role plus his utter bluntness about the whole Oscar fare can affect his chances. It’s really a battle. As for Richard Gere, congrats on your Globe nod, and Trintignant on your EFA win!

lead actress

BEST ACTRESS

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea

Best Actress is also crowded this year. First, we have the frontrunners Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence. They’re in. No Matter what happens, they’re getting in. Next will probably be Naomi Watts and Marion Cotillard. Both are the flagship accolades that their movies can get and has hit all precursors so far. The fifth slot can be tricky and is between five women. Helen Mirren can get in especially since she only needed a Globe and SAG nod when she got nominated for The Last Station and she got the same nods now. Quvenzhane Wallis is one of the year’s biggest breakthrough talents, and if there’s really a Beasts following, then it’s hard to see her miss. Emmanuelle Riva has the LAFCA win behind her, but no other precursors. However, it had the likes of Nicole Kidman buzzing about her performance. Then we have Rachel Weisz too, who got a Globe nod along her NY critics win, so she’s still in the race as well.

supporting actor

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Robert de Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Leonardo di Caprio, Django Unchained
Dwight Henry. Beasts of the Southern Wild
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Now this is the most crowded major category for this year. I still think there’s room for a few more contenders that were not mentioned here, and I won’t be shocked if this will ruin (once again) my predicting skills this year. The only safe man here is Tommy Lee Jones. The rest can still miss though we’d have (in alphabetical order) Alan Arkin who was rewarded for a similar role so Oscar might not bother this time, Javier Bardem who was memorable in Skyfall but was rewarded for a far more iconic villain in this category  in 2007. Both Django Unchained guys can cancel themselves out especially in a crowded category like this. Hoffman is an actor’s actor, and he can get in even if the movie’s not a hit, but he can also cancel himself this year as The Master isn’t getting any support at all. de Niro also is a huge possibility, but with all the accolades focusing on lead stars Cooper and Lawrence, he might sit this one out as well. Lastly, Henry is the newbie we might be waiting here (since there’s always a newbie in the line up since the category’s inception), but he can also easily miss due to lack of precursor support for the performances in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

supporting actress

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy Adams, The Master
Judi Dench, Skyfall
Ann Dowd, Compliance
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Hathaway, Field, and Hunt are sure bets. There’s no way they’re missing for a nod this year. However, the last two spots can still be a race for five actresses. Amy Adams seems like a sure thing, but with a SAG miss this year, she haven’t had any past Oscar nom that translated despite a  SAG snub. This might be telling. Judi Dench can get a farewell nom for her Bond work, and this can also their way of recognizing her good year. But then again, Bond films doesn’t attract serious buzz within the Academy. Ann Dowd is slowly gaining momentum, but the nature of the film can hurt her the way it hurt Tilda Swinton last year despite getting all precursor nominations. Nicole Kidman got Globe + SAG nods, and while it’s actually a strong combo, the dislike of the film and her role in it can turn off some voters. Lastly, Maggie Smith got a SAG nod only in her name, but she’s Dame Maggie Smith, and that can be enough campaign for her… or not.

As for the rest of the race:

original screenplay

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Amour
Django Unchained
Flight
The Intouchables
Looper
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

adapted screenplay

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Miserables
Lincoln
Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Sessions
Silver Linings Playbook

animated feature

ANIMATED FEATURE

Brave
Frankenweenie
From the Poppy Hill
Hotel Transylvania
The Painting
Paranorman
The Pirates: Legend of the Misfits
The Rabbi’s Cat
Rise of the Guardians
Wreck it Ralph

foreign language film

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Amour (Austria)
Beyond the Hills (Romania)
The Deep (Iceland)
The Intouchables (France)
Kon-tiki (Norway)
No (Chile)
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
Sister (Switzerland)
War Witch (Canada)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Bully
Chasing Ice
Detropia
Ethel
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
The House I Live In
How to Survive a Plague
The Imposter
The Invisible War
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
Searching for Sugar Man
This is Not a Film
The Waiting Room

BEST MAKE UP AND HAIRSTYLING

Hitchcock
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables
Lincoln
Looper
Men in Black 3
Snow White and the Huntsman

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

The Amazing Spider-Man
Cloud Atlas
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
John Carter
Life of Pi
Marvel’s The Avengers
Prometheus
Skyfall
Snow White and the Huntsman

As for my Oscar nominations predictions, they’ll be posted here on Tuesday. Happy Oscar predicting!

And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

Top Local Movies of 2012   8 comments

2012 in cinema is probably one of the most enjoyable in a while. I liked a lot of the movies that I’ve seen this year, (though maybe I really avoided the bad ones? LOL), and a lot of these films would have topped any other weaker years. On top of that, we’ve also seen a lot of impeccable performances from these films. Mind you, while I have seen 60+ local films this year, there’s a lot left still to be seen. Despite that, I feel that 2012 is one of the better years in recent Filipino cinema, and here are 12 reasons why:

Unofficially Yours

12: UNOFFICIALLY YOURS

Arguably, the best output from commercial filmmaking this year is this Cathy Garcia Molina’s relationship story between two people that sprouted from a one night stand. Molina has really mastered how to make supposedly conventional studio produced films more engaging and interesting. Also, watch out for John Lloyd Cruz and Angel Locsin’s palpable chemistry here.

MNL 143

11. MNL 143

I’m a sucker of travel/road movies. With that said, Emerson Reyes’s first feature length film is a poignant love story of a man (Allan Paule) who’s looking for the woman of his life is something that’s easier to relate to; not the search per se, but the longing and the optimism for it to finally arrive is a familiar feeling that can resonate well to its viewers.

Requieme

10. REquieme!

Loy Arcenas’ consecutive Cinemalaya entry is a dark comedy that focuses on Swanie, a barangay captain who involves herself as a relative of a suspect in an international murder case. With a witty screenplay and Shamaine Buencamino’s effective portrayal as Swanie and breakthrough talent Anthony Falcon, the movie is definitely one of 2012’s brightest spots.

Pascalina

09. PASCALINA

This Cinema One Originals winner which was also Pam Miras’s feature debut about one’s self discovery about her monsters within is one of the surprise entries in my list. Not because it is bad, but because I liked and appreciated it better days after seeing it. Oh, and if Maria Veronica Santiago’s performance in the title role won’t charm you enough, then I don’t know what will.

Ang Nawawala

08. ANG NAWAWALA

Another first feature effort this year, this time by Marie Jamora, Ang Nawawala is bound to be a cult classic. Yes, it probably caters to a younger crowd, to those in the middle status, or to those who are into local music scene, but one universal thing that I sure can relate to is how it connects you back to yourself. Plus points for the eye candy production design and the compilation soundtrack.

Bwakaw

07. BWAKAW

The Philippines’ submission to the Oscar Foreign Language Film category this year (and its best submission in years, I must say) is this little gem by Jun Lana about an old gay man living alone with only his dog named Bwakaw, and how he tries to make the most out of his remaining days. It’s just one of the most heartfelt films of the year that makes you laugh and cry while watching. Also, Eddie Garcia’s performance is to watch for here.

Thy Womb

06. THY WOMB

Brillante Mendoza’s Venice entry this year is also the comeback vehicle of one of the Philippines’ greatest actresses to date, the Superstar Nora Aunor. I guess my favorite aspect of the film is how it showcased to us this little gem of a place called Tawi-Tawi, and how the film introduced us to its culture. That, and of course La Aunor’s towering performance in it.

Ang Paglalakbay ng Mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim

05. ANG PAGLALAKBAY NG MGA BITUIN SA GABING MADILIM

My favorite from the whole Cinema One Originals bunch this year is Arnel Mardoquio’s feature about the escape of three Muslim rebels, together with a ten year old child in the midst of the Bangsa Moro issues in Mindanao. But unlike any previous Mindanao related war-themed films, this one stands out because it’s  does not lecture you. And within this silence is where the actual emotions linger.

Give Up Tomorrow

04. GIVE UP TOMORROW

This Filipino/Spanish/American production directed by Michael Collins on what was labeled as the trial of the century in the Philippines (the involvement of  Paco Larrañaga to the disappearance of the Chiong sisters) is one film that probably triggered the most emotions while watching. The film for the most part was half maddening and half heartbreaking. But it probably contains one of my most favorite quotes of the year when Paco said “If you want to give up, give up tomorrow. When tomorrow comes, then give up tomorrow.

Aparisyon

03. APARISYON

Vincent Sandoval’s Cinemalaya entry about the secluded lives of nuns in a monastery in 1972. The film’s strength lies in its capability to build an atmosphere that was intense and arresting that once the movie hits it middle part, you just feel as if you’re a part of it. If you’re into the technical aspect, this movie also boasts of a complete top notch production values: neat production design,  applicable costumes, captivating cinematography, polished editing, and haunting score.

Graceland

02. GRACELAND

Ron Morales’s Tribeca entry about a loyal driver caught in the middle of his congressman employer’s paying of sins is as intense as one can get. Fifteen minutes in, there’s already a shooting scene. And the rest of the movie was packed with emotional punches, as it dwells with questions about one’s choices in life. Is this the correct choice? What happens when it’s not? Where do we go next? Also, Arnold Reyes’s terrific performance as the driver is a must see.

Kalayaan

01. KALAYAAN

And my top pick for local cinema this year is Adolf Alix’s Kalayaan. On the outside, it’s about a soldier solely stationed in the Kalayaan islands and a run on his daily activities, until two additional soldiers were sent there with him. The first hour of the film solely shows on the day to day routine of Julian. Rarely any dialogue was spoken in it, but the message was effectively sent. Once the credits rolled, you feel that you’ve known enough yet it will also prompt you to ask some more. Definitely my favorite film of the year!

Well that’s it! What are your favorite local movies of the year? In case you are wondering, the reason why there’s no top international picks yet is because I’m still catching up on a lot of the Oscar movies til the next two months. So I guess, you can expect my list by March.

And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

12 Best Live Musical Moments of 2012   Leave a comment

Hi everybody! It’s back to work day today. Luckily for me, I’m not required to go back to work yet (I still have my work from home card on me. Hahaha). January is a busy month for me as an awards prognosticator, as we’ll have the American award giving bodies steamroll one after the other. On January 10, nominations will finally be unveiled. So expect my last update for the nominations and the final predictions in the coming days.

As for now, forgive my late posts, but I’ll post the remaining 2012 year-end lists that I had. I still have three lists remaining (this one included), so just for effort’s sake, I’ll still be doing a write up of each. For this one, we’ll be focusing on the different musical moments that were created the past year. A live performance can make or break an artist. Think of Ashlee Simpson in Saturday Night Live or Lana Del Rey, who was once poised to be the next big thing… until we saw her SNL number. Then we have the likes of Lady Gaga who tops each performance she have bringing her artistry with each live performance that she does.

With that said, here are 12 musical moments that we’d sure remember from 2012:

You can click the name of the performance and it will bring you to the YouTube clip of it. 

pink

12: Pink, (“Try”) – American Music Awards 2012

Pink has already solidified herself as one of the best live acts among her contemporaries. Who can ever forget her Grammy performance of Glitter in the Air in 2009? That definitely is one of the best performances to ever grace the Grammy stage. This year, she did the whole acrobatic thing once again, but with a different approach; Pink, barefooted and with patches of paint all over her body, with a partner were just doing random catching and splitting and lifting in an interpretative dance-like number of her new single, Try. And to top things off, her vocals was spot on during the whole number. Amazing, really.

alicia keys
11: Alicia Keys, (“Brandy New Me/No One”) – 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy Concert

New York native  Alicia Keys was one of the hundreds of singers who volunteered to be a part of the Hurricane Sandy concert last December 12. Belting out a crossover of the songs Brandy New Me and No One, it was such a delight to hear her just like how she used to slay them all off. And don’t you just love how she invited the whole audience to raise their phones during the No One part? Plus, her intro about how she was raised and how she’ll forever love New York is just the icing on top of this sweet cake.
rihanna
10: Rihanna, (“Diamonds”) – Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2012

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is probably the meanest event of every year, as it makes all women worldwide feel bad about themselves. But if there’s one good thing that it has given us this year, it’s Rihanna’s performance of Diamonds.  Clad in a Adam Selman creation with Chanel vintage pearl sungless from Depuis to boot, Riri is every inch a model herself as she belts out one of the catchiest songs of 2012.

esperanza spalding

09: Esperanza Spalding, (“What a Wonderful World”) – 84th Academy Awards

Grammy Best New Artist Esperanza Spalding led the In Memoriam segment at last year’s Academy Awards with her rendition of What A Wonderful World. Together with the Southern California Children, this jazzy yet really touching performance as Esperanza served as background voice while pictures of the departed from Sidney Lumet to Elizabeth Taylor were flashing is one of the best highlights of the year.

psy

08: PSY and MC Hammer, (“Gangnam Style”) – American Music Awards 2012

Definitely the biggest song worldwide this 2012, Gangnam Style by Korean singer PSY has been literally everywhere the past few months. From CNN to the Europe Music Awards, it was also the most overperformed song of the year. What makes this number a stand out among all the endless versions of this is that it has MC Hammer in it. It can be credited as a number of one hit wonders, but I’m sure everyone was up their feet during this closing number at the American Music Awards.

christina aguilera

07: Christina Aguilera, (“At Last”) – Etta James Funeral

It was January of 2012 when we  lost one of the many music legends the past year. Etta James, more known as the singer of classics such as At Last and I’d Rather Be Blind, passed away due to a hepatitis C. Of course, there’s no one more fitting to perform her instant classic than one of the best vocals of the younger generation and a self proclaimed fan of the late Etta James herself, Christina Aguilera. Christina belted out At Last in true Etta fashion, and leaking spray tan issues aside, this performance got a standing ovation even before it ended.

jessica sanchez jennifer holliday

06: Jessica Sanchez and Jennifer Holliday, (“And I am Telling You I’m Not Going”) – American Idol Season 11 Finale

Despite the fact that Jessica Sanchez wasn’t crowned the Idol title during its eleventh season, this goosebumps performance of her and one of her most vocal fans, Tony winner and Broadway legend Jennifer Holliday, of the iconic diva song And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going sent shivers all over the world. It was one thing to do a number of it, but it’s another to diva-off with the original singer herself. Now if only they invited Jennifer Hudson as well, all roofs would have been blown after that performance.

The Voice

05: Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, CeeLo Green, and Christina Aguilera, (“Hallelujah”) – The Voice Finale Performance Night

The aftermath of the Connecticut shootings left the whole world in shock, but more so, in tears. Thus, it was expected that all shows would pay tribute to the countless lives that we lost there. Probably the best tribute that I’ve seen was the two minute version of Hallelujah by the four The Voice coaches. Together with the rest of the finalists (both eliminated and not), hosts Carson Daly and Christina Millian, each of them holds a name tag with the names of the victims of the shooting. Then we’d hear Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, CeeLo Green, and Christina Aguilera belt out this Leonard Cohen classic. It was simple, heartfelt, and I bet there’s not a dry eye in the room that night.

adele

04: Adele, (“Rolling in the Deep”) – Grammy Awards 2012

Yes, we’ve all heard that she was under operation because of too much smoking during the last year of 2011. But like a true pro, you know that we’d still hear that voice back. And there’s no better way than to showcase it to the world with a performance of her Grammy winning song Rolling in the Deep at the Grammy Awards itself. Not only was she the Queen of Grammys that night (winning a perfect six trophies out of six nominations), but this performance received a long standing ovation with everyone from Rihanna to Sir Paul McCartney cheering for her.

Spice Girls

03: Spice Girls, (“Wanna Be/Spice Up Your Life”) – 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony

90s kids, represent!!!! London did a really good job hosting the Olympics this year with their showstopping opening and closing ceremonies. What takes the cake though is the reunion performance of the Spice Girls doing a medley of Wanna Be and Spice Up Your Life on top of cars as they go around the huge stadium. It might take a long time before we see this again, so I guess we’d have to cherish this performance as if it’s the last.

Jennifer Hudson

02: Jennifer Hudson, (“I Will Always Love You”) – Grammy Awards 2012

A day before the actual Grammy Awards ceremony, the whole world was stunned when news broke out that The Voice herself Whitney Houston passed away. That’s probably the most difficult thing to hear on a day before music’s biggest night. So with no time left to do a tribute, it was just a simple number. But Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson made sure that it will be a tribute that will never be forgotten. Just Whitney’s picture, a mic stand, and her soaring vocals in one of the most popular songs ever, Whitney definitely was smiling up from the heavens after this performance.

Bridgestone Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show

01: Madonna (with LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, MIA, and Ceelo Green), (“Vogue, Music, Party Rock Anthem, Sexy and I Know It, Gimme All Your Luvin, Like a Prayer”) – Superbowl 2012 Halftime Show

And let’s all bow down to The Queen. Proving that she is still a force to be reckoned with, Queen of Pop Madonna showed all these artists how it’s actually done when she performed at the halftime of the Superbowl this February. With matching visual floors and coming from a throne, there’s no entertainer more fitting to do this year’s job than Madonna. Singing a medley of her most prominent hits from Vogue to Music to Like a Prayer, and inviting friends like LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, MIA, and CeeLo Green, this fourteen minute performance is nothing but a showstopper, all provided to you by Madonna herself.

What were your favorite performances from the list? Did you think I missed something? Pipe them in below at the Comments section.

And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

2012: The Year in Lead Actresses   7 comments

2012 lead actresses

Hey there everyone! And Happy New Year once again from Tit for Tat! 😀

There’s no better way to kick off 2013 with a blog post that covers a topic awards prognosticators love the most: BEST ACTRESS. The past few days, I have been covering acting performances in local cinema, and we’ve already tackled supporting actressessupporting actors and lead actors. To complete the list, here’s my coverage of lead actress.

LEADERS OF THE PACK

There’s no better person more fitting to begin this coverage with the one and only Superstar herself Nora Aunor. After years of absence in local filmmaking scene, she is back with Brillante Mendoza’s Thy Womb as midwife Shaleha who wants to grant her husband’s wish of having a child. Aside from La Aunor, Gina Alajar‘s role as the matriarch in Adolf Alix’s Mater Dolorosa gives her a huge possibility to have an awards comeback as well. A pair of Kapamilya actresses can find themselves contending at different award giving bodies: Angel Locsin will definitely be nominated either for her role as the sultry Princess in Unofficially Yours though my bet is she’ll get nods  for her role as a mother who will do anything for her son in the MMFF entry One More Try. Bea Alonzo‘s most mature performance to date as the title role in Olivia Lamasan’s The Mistress can reap some nods as well. As for the fifth spot, a consecutive visit at award giving bodies is plausible for veteran actress Shamaine Buencamino, this time, for her comedic turn in Loy Arcenas’s Requieme.

MIDDLE TIER

Aside from the five names above, other noteworthy lead actress performances the past year were from Jodi Sta. Maria as the newest member of Adoracion Convent in Aparisyon, Pokwang as another mother who sacrificied as an OFW in the US in A Mother’s Story, and French actress Isabelle Huppert having the most vital role in Brillante Mendoza’s Berlin entry Captive. Vilma Santos can get in based on name status alone for her movie last year, The Healing, while Lauren Young as the psycho best friend of Maxene Magalona in Catnip can break through the awards circuit too. Other performances that gained buzz this year were Cinemalaya Best Actress winner Ama Quiambao in Diablo, Erich Gonzales who is in search of her sister in Manila in Mariposa sa Hawla ng Gabi, Veronica Santiago who plays the charming  title role in Pascalina, LJ Reyes who resorted to being the town prostitute in Intoy Syokoy ng Kalye Marino, and Judy Ann Santos as the owner of the diary in Mga Mumunting Lihim.

THE REST OF THE RACE

As for the rest of the race, there’s also Anne Curtis, not as the other woman, in A Secret Affair, the pair of Fe GingGing Hyde and Glorypearl Dy trying to escape in Ang Paglalakbay ng Mga Bituin ng Gabing Madilim, Mylene Dizon as the other nun in Aparisyon, and Cinema One Originals Best Actress Mara Lopez in Palitan. There’s also the performances of Erich Gonzales as the unang aswang in Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang, Angelica Panganiban as the naive Majoy in Every Breath U Take,  and real life sisters Assunta and Alessandra de Rossi in Baybayin. Lastly, Angel Aquino can also see herself nominated either for her performance as the torn mother in Amorosa: The Revenge or as the reporter who everybody thought was dead in Biktima.

That’s it. Who are your bets this year? Are you excited for the coming award giving bodies? I sure am! 🙂

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl