Archive for September 2013

Worst to Best: Britney Spears’ Lead Singles   Leave a comment

Early last week, the lead single off Britney Spears’ soon to be released latest album leaked off the whole online community. The song, which was entitled Work Bitch!, is her first single in two years and a kick start song from her eighth full studio album. This has made Britney fans and pop geeks drool over to see if girl still has it in her as one of pop’s most defining princesses. In celebration of the video premiere of Work Bitch (in two days), we’d stroll back memory lane and rank all of her eight lead singles to see which ones still sound great and which ones can we start to forget. Let’s go work it bitches.

*Clicking the photo will lead you to the YT video of the said song. 🙂

Hold It Against Me

08. Hold It Against Me (2011)
ALBUM: Femme Fatale

Sure, Femme Fatale is one of her better albums by far, but is quite unfortunate that this wasn’t represented by a great opening single. Hold It is as disposable as one gets, it’s forgettable, it’s not distinct, and it doesn’t hold up to a lot of Britney’s old songs. There’s nothing about it that makes you feel it will be remembered in a long time. If anything though, it served its purpose of Brit’s fans getting excited with new material, so it ended up its way on top of the Hot 100. But upon listening to the rest of the album, Hold It is nothing special as compared to the gems of this album. But don’t worry, we won’t hold it against you, Britney.

Oops I Did It Again

07. Oops!…I Did It Again (2000)
ALBUM: Oops!…I Did It Again

Wait what did she really do again? Come up with a dancey pop song? Lyrics containing unlimited yeahs? Add ellipsis on the title of her single? Whatever it is, Oops!… is a catchy song that simply did not hold up well. Listening to the song now shows how dated it is, but then again I understand why it’s such a hit during its release time. It has the Titanic reference, she’s wearing a red dominatrix suit, and this catapulted her into pop superstardom. It’s still fun to listen to this every now and then, and it’s a total representation of her pop status in 2000.

Me Against the Music

06. Me Against the Music (2004)
ALBUM: In the Zone

It was her first song post that VMA kiss, so it’s wise of her team to stick to the Madonna reference as her opening starter for her 2004 album In the Zone. After all, Britney rarely does collaborations and duets with other singers.  This did well, though the breathy delivery of the verses is something that refrains people from jamming with it perfectly. The video was so-so as well, though it gave enough material for some MadTV skit. This makes sense as a lead single… until we found out that it was followed by Toxic which is like one of the best Britney songs ever.

Womanizer

05. Womanizer (2009)
ALBUM: Circus

For her comeback single since everything that has happened to her from 2006 onwards, Britney stayed safe by opening this era with a song that is so repetitively done but is totally in her zoneWomanizer did its job as the perfect reminder of how Britney was loved by the people during her heydays: it has a catchy hook, a colorful music video, shows her body is in top form, and gives us those dancing skills we miss from her. For that alone, this is one strategic reminder of the old Britney while also introducing her to the new crowd.

Work Bitch

04. Work Bitch (2013)
ALBUM: Yet to be announced

With seven albums now, Britney must think of a way on how to maintain interests with her material given the pop female domination now. And she does it by going the EDM way with her latest single. Work Bitch is very different from her previous singles, as it is her most “dancey” yet. It has that addictive beat that is just so inviting that you’d forgive her for trying to fit words such as governor, France, and treble in it.  I was looking for that RuPaul touch though.

Gimme More

03. Gimme More (2007)
ALBUM: Blackout

Well yeah, I’m quite indifferent that people’s biggest memory of this song is that disastrous but iconic MTV VMA opening performance. With that said, never judge a song by its debut performance. Blackout is still, by far, the best Britney album to date, and Gimme More compliments it. It’s a song that never gets old and doesn’t have an “overrated” stamp in it. Also, it contain’s one of the best opening lines in any song with her three liner of “It’s Britney, Bitch!

I'm A Slave 4 U

02. I’m A Slave 4 U (2001)
ALBUM: Britney

If Britney remained teasing with her her first two albums, she manages to play with her sexuality in her third album. And to signal that, she released I’m A Slave 4 U at that year’s MTV Video Music Awards with tiger and pythons in tow. This is personally one of my favorite Britney tracks, and the music video provided more oomph to this addictive song. What I like about it is that it’s a song that gets better with each listen and that it just flat out screams sexy and sass.

Baby One More Time

01. ...Baby One More Time (1999)
ALBUM: …Baby One More Time

Come on, admit it. It’s not even a competition.There’s a reason why Britney was the teen queen and the forefront of pop when she broke out. It’s definitely …Baby One More Time. From the school setting, the “baby baby“, the endless covers, and its impact to almost everyone, there’s no doubt that this unleashed and took the bubblegum pop genre to a whole new level. Needless to say, but not only is this one of the most iconic songs of its generation, but it’s also one of the best pop songs ever.

But before I leave, do participate in the poll below:

There you have it! The music video of Work Bitch premieres in two days, and if you have seen the behind the scene photos, this seems to be another banger from Brit herself!

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

86th Oscars Predictions: September Edition   7 comments

Now we’re getting closer to the Oscar precursor season especially since Venice, Telluride, and Toronto film festivals are all over. They all solidified some films’ and performances chances. Here’s the state of the race for this month:

picture

director

 

actor

actress

supp actor

 

supp actress

65th Primetime Emmy Awards Best Dressed List   Leave a comment

Now that the awards were given and the ceremony is over, let’s give a moment to those who dressed up with such class and panache that if we could have only given Emmys to showing up in top form, they’d definitely be the frontrunners.

As always, you can click the photos for them to be in their larger form. 🙂

All photos courtesy of: omg.yahoo.com

Padma Lakshmi

15. PADMA LAKSHMI in Kaufman Franco

Isn’t it amazing that a woman whose show requires her to eat a lot of food all season shows up this gorgeous at the red carpet? Loving this white Kaufman Franco look on Padma, as she puts the P in this perfect ensemble.

Anna Gunn

14. ANNA GUNN in Romona Keveza

When Anna Gunn showed up at the red carpet in this black and white Romona Keveza creation, I thought she’s missing an accessory. Glad to see her pick it up at the middle of the ceremony as she won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Breaking Bad.

Allison Williams

13. ALLISON WILLIAMS IN Ralph Lauren

Simplicity is the key to being sexy. That’s what Williams did when she showed up in this cerulean blue Ralph Laurend dress. It was a combination of simple yet stylish that made her look so effortlessly chic.

Giuliana Rancic

12. GIULIANA RANCIC in Mikael D

Who says you need to be an A lister to make a mark on the red carpet? E! correspondent Giuliana Rancic was top notch looking in this blue Mikael D gown she’s wearing. I’m a fan of the intricate details of the gown, and she’s rocking this short do that she’s currently sporting.

Edie Falco

11. EDIE FALCO in Escada

Four time Emmy winner Edie Falco finally gets it right, as she looks so comfortable in this blue Escada ensemble. It does not say try hard nor is she wearing it like a hanger. The hair looks perfect as well.

Jane Krakowski

10. JANE KRAKOWSKI in Zac Posen

Maybe I’m just a big fan of this color? But despite being empty handed for her performance in 30 Rock, one area where she certainly was a winner is in the red carpet with this Zac Posen creation. The hair is a bit Kate Walsh-ish though.

Sofia Vergara

09. SOFIA VERGARA in Vera Wang

We’re used to Vergara bringing out all the guns with her red carpet appearances. It’s probably the reason why this red Vera Wang gown worked for her: it’s restrained and gives her some soft looks and doesn’t scream as loud as Gloria Delgado.

Carrie Preston

08. CARRIE PRESTON in Romona Keveza

She might have won her Emmy for Guest Actress in a Drama Series last week, but that did not stop Preston from going out in top form in this Romona Keveza creation. I understand if you think this is similar to Debra Messing’s 2007 Emmy dress, but I love what Mrs. Michael Emerson brought to the table.

Kaley Cuoco

07. KALEY CUOCO in Vera Wang

I don’t know what is it with Vera Wang this year, but she sure did know how to choose for her actresses. Like Vergara, Cuoco looks more softened and relaxed in this plum gown. For once, she doesn’t look a tacky or a try hard which is probably her dressing motto the past few years.

Emilia Clarke

06. EMILIA CLARKE in Donna Karan Atelier

She might not have won the Emmy, but she sure made her presence felt. Daenerys was showstopping in this Donna Karan Atelier ensemble which will tame every dragon there is out there once they see this outfit.

Elisabeth Moss

05. ELISABETH MOSS in Andrew Gn

Going blonde has been one of the best fashion decisions Elisabeth Moss has successfully made. That, and wearing this black top on a white skirt Andrew Gn gown at last night’s ceremonies. Now if she can only win an Emmy, then it would have been better.

Rose Byrne

04. ROSE BYRNE in Calvin Klein

Emmy nominee Rose Byrne might not be nominated this year (she was there to support boyfriend Bobby Cannavale), but she was a delight to see in this pink Calvin Klein outfit which highlighted her statuesque body.

Tina Fey

03. TINA FEY in Narciso Rodriguez

So yeah basically this is a big FUCK YOU to everyone who says Tina Fey knows no other color than black. This blue Narciso Rodriguez showed Tina has those dangerous sexy curves. And yes she won an Emmy! ❤

Julia Louis Dreyfus

02. JULIA LOUIS DREYFUS in Monique Lhuillier

Seeing what Julia will wear is like one of my most anticipated Emmy moments every year. Girl just knows how to bring it every single year. And she did it again with this very natural look in a shimmering Monique Lhuillier look. Oh and another shiny Emmy.

Michelle Dockery

01. MICHELLE DOCKERY in Prada

So yeah, this might not have been the most original look, but everything about this worked for me. The color combination? Check. The way the top part hugged her body? Check. Neat hair? Check. Michelle Dockery is a goddess, and this is another receipt to back that claim up.

So, who were your favorites last night? And what is your favorite fashion moment? You can pipe them in below!

Final 65th Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions   Leave a comment

Photo courtesy of ontheredcarpet.com

Now that everything has been said and done, it’s time to recap all the predictions for Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards. Here are my complete predictions (and alternates) in 28 categories:

Note: You can click the category and it will lead to my comprehensive analysis of it. 🙂

Drama Series: Homeland (Showtime)
Alternate: Breaking Bad (AMC)

Lead Actor, Drama Series: Damian Lewis, Homeland 
Alternate: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Lead Actress, Drama Series: Claire Danes, Homeland 
Alternate: Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel

Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire
Alternate: Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Alternate: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

Guest Actor, Drama Series: Rupert Friend, Homeland
Alternate: Dan Bucatinsky, Scandal (ACTUAL WINNER)

Guest Actress, Drama Series: Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
Alternate: Carrie Preston, The Good Wife (ACTUAL WINNER)

Writing, Drama Series: Homeland, Q&A
Alternate: Game of Thrones, Rains of Castamere

Directing, Drama Series: House of Cards, Episode 1
Alternate: Breaking Bad, Gliding Over All

Comedy Series: Modern Family(ABC)
Alternate: 30 Rock (NBC)

Lead Actor, Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Alternate: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Lead Actress, Comedy Series: Julia Louis Dreyfus, Veep
Alternate: Laura Dern, Enlightened

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Alternate: Ed O’Neill, Modern Family

Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Alternate: Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock

Guest Actor, Comedy Series: Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory (ACTUAL WINNER)
Alternate: Louis CK, Saturday Night Live

Guest Actress, Comedy Series: Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock
Alternate: Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live

Writing, Comedy Series: 30 Rock Last Lunch
Alternate: Louie, Daddy’s Girlfriend

Directing, Comedy Series: Modern Family, Arrested
Alternate: Louie, New Year’s Eve

Movie/TV Minsieries: Behind the Candelabra(HBO)
Alternate: Top of the Lake (Sundance Channel)

Lead Actor, Movie or Miniseries: Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Alternate: Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra

Lead Actress, Movie or Miniseries: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
Alternate: Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake

Supporting Actor, Movie or Miniseries: Scott Bakula, Behind the Candelabra
Alternate: Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story: Asylum

Supporting Actress, Movie or Miniseries: Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Asylum
Alternate: Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias

Writing, Movie or Miniseries: Top of the Lake
Alternate: Behind the Candelabra

Directing, Movie or Miniseries: Steven Soderbergh, Behind the Candelabra
Alternate: Jane Campion, Top of the Lake

Reality/Competition Series: The Amazing Race
Alternate: The Voice

Variety Series: Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Alternate: Jimmy Kimmel Live

There you have it! What are you predicting on Emmy night? Any shows you are rooting for? Have a happy Emmy ceremony everyone!

Also, I’ll be live tweeting the Emmys, so if you’d like to be updated, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

65th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Drama Series   Leave a comment

drama series

PAST PREDICTIONS:

2005: Lost [CORRECT]
2006: 
Grey’s Anatomy” [WRONG] 
2007: 
The Sopranos” [CORRECT]
2008: 
Mad Men” [CORRECT]
2009: 
Mad Men” [CORRECT]
2010: 
Mad Men” [CORRECT]
2011: 
Mad Men” [CORRECT]
2012: 
Downton Abbey” [WRONG] 

And we’ve finally come to the end of this month long series of Emmy predictions. This is the last part of the 23+ categories that I’ve been writing for the past month or so. It is indeed wise to save the best for last with the top Emmy category for achievement in drama. There have been no serious major snub in this category this year, though HBO’s Boardwalk Empire finally bid out of this race and Netflix’s House of Cards took its place.

Last year, I predicted Downton Abbey for the win just because I thought it will be the gamechanger since it literally swept a lot of nominations. After all, it’s coming from a strong second season and was seen as the cool “it” show of last season. None of those factors work here anymore, so if they can’t win with a much buzzed season last year, I doubt it will pull off a late win for this one.

Mad Men has won four consecutive back to back series from 2008-2011 and it had its first major shutout last year. I think the trend will continue this year, though they’ll have the extra year to still pull off a fifth series win and a possible acting victory with the news of their last season being divided into two parts.

Netflix made history with its first series nod via House of Cards. However, unlike 2008 when cable (that is not named HBO) managed to win the top award, I don’t the situation is ripe yet for a Netflix victory. After all, in 2008, it wasn’t only Mad Men who benefits from a cable advantage. There were also Damages, Breaking Bad, and Dexter benefiting from the said narrative, so they are well represented. This year, its nomination is the reward for the huge gamble.

Game of Thrones just finished their best season yet in terms of critics and audience with the Red Wedding episode being the season’s highlight. It would have put them near the frontrunner status, but I don’t think it is enough to overcome the genre bias of the voters. As a consolation though, it is the closest they’ve ever been to in terms of chances in their three year stay in this category.

In the end, it’s still a battle between current champ Homeland defending its position, and current it show Breaking Bad with their second to the last season. On one hand, Homeland despite receiving mixed reception for their second season can still not be compared to the sophomore slump of other shows. Besides, the key here is submission, and they submitted really well. The show had an increase in nominations and the Emmys usually tend to stick longer to a show as compared to the critics who shift picks from season to season.

On the other, Breaking Bad benefits from the fact that the voting season happened during the release of their finale season. So odds are, the buzz is higher than ever. The nominations also increased this year with them finally conquering the writing categories (and with two nominations at that). It is clearly a show that is too big to ignore that it’s already a shoo-in for next year’s Drama Series award even if all the other contenders aren’t starting their seasons yet.

In the end, I think that will put Homeland at a slight advantage over Breaking Bad. Sure, the buzz right now is deafening, but I don’t think they’ll reward it for the first part of a divided season. Even The Sopranos waited for the last season when it got its second win. With the show ultimately being a lock for next year’s category, they’d more likely wait for it by then to reward it. In that manner, they can give another win to Homeland which is clearly another show that they love.

Prediction: Homeland
Runner-Up: Breaking Bad

Full Rankings:
1. “Homeland
2. “Breaking Bad
3. “Game of Thrones
4. “Downton Abbey”
5. “Mad Men
6. “House of Cards

You can see my other Emmy predictions here.

Meanwhile, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

65th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Comedy Series   Leave a comment

comedy series

PAST PREDICTIONS:

2005: Desperate Housewives[WRONG]
2006:
The Office”[CORRECT]
2007:
The Office[WRONG]
2008:
30 Rock[CORRECT]
2009:
30 Rock[CORRECT]
2010:
Modern Family[CORRECT]
2011:
Modern Family[CORRECT]
2012:
Modern Family[CORRECT]

We’re down to the last two categories of this year’s Emmy awards, and we’ll begin with the highest honor in Comedy. With no Curb Your Enthusiasm eligible this season, one slot was available and critical darlign Louie made it in over 3x nominee and 2004 Arrested Development and a lauded sophomore season of New Girl. 

The two HBO comedies managed to hold on their spots for a consecutive year now though Veep over performed with two more acting nominations despite no directing and writing nods under its belt. Girls, on the other hand, underperformed with no writing nod now, though it managed to add one more acting nom for Adam Driver and another directing nomination. Sadly for them, they’re also the two weakest nominees in this category.

Speaking of no directing and writing nods, The Big Bang Theory is enjoying an all time high of Emmy love for a critically and commercially well received sixth season. Winning from the Critics Choice and the TCAs this year, the show is doing very well and has been the landmark of network comedies in the midst of a struggling rating natures. With that said, its lack of directing and writing nods will hurt, as only one show managed to pull off that feat in 2002 and that was NBC’s Friends. Now one can claim that both depended on the huge ratings factor under their name,  but Friends was on an all time pop culture status at the time it won the award. I don’t think Big Bang can survive the lack of directing and writing nods to pull off the win.

This year’s most critically lauded show, Louie, is also FX’s first time in this category. There’s no doubt that Louis CK is a god among Emmy voters, and that he is the it thing now. But I’m not yet confident that they’ll hand it the top prize. Maybe in the next few years, but this one is a triumph of acknowledging the show for the top category instead of giving it the win already. Let’s see how the show will be received on Sunday to gauge its future chances (though it’s off to a good start with Melissa Leo’s win earlier this week).

As for the last two contenders here, both Modern Family and  30 Rock are contending for a fourth Emmy win. 30 Rock has the advantage of going with its last season, and it is the last time to reward one of Emmy’s most loved shows of the aughts. But if history is any indication, only one show in the last decade has won for its final season (Everybody Loves Raymond in 2005). 30 Rock has been winning nothing for the last two three years, so I’m having my reservations if they’d go reward it again all of a sudden. I think they’ll give its due some category else and not here.

Given all that conditions, I’d say that in the end, Modern Family will skate in for a fourth consecutive win. This might have been their most vulnerable win if ever, but let’s gauge if there will be a fatigue of the show already. I’m not bothered with their lackluster submissions since it has been a habit for the show to do that, and I’m also not bothered with their lack of Creative Emmys win since that also happened in Season 2 yet they swept all their nominated televised awards. The thing is, if one needs to unseat MF from this category, we need one strong viable alternate, and not multiple semi-strong ones, as its tendency is that the anti-MF votes will scatter all over the place. So yes, for this year, I’m predicting a Modern Family fourpeat.

Prediction: Modern Family
Runner-Up: 30 Rock

Full Rankings:
1. “Modern Family
2. “30 Rock
3. “Louie
4. “The Big Bang Theory”
5. “Veep
6. “Girls

You can see my other Emmy predictions here.

Meanwhile, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

65th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series   Leave a comment

actor comedy

PAST PREDICTIONS:

2005: Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development[WRONG]
2006:
Steve Carell, “The OfficeWRONG]
2007:
Steve Carell, “The Office[WRONG]
2008:
Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock” [CORRECT]
2009:
Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock[CORRECT]
2010:
Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm[WRONG]
2011:
Steve Carell, “The Office” [WRONG]
2012: Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” [WRONG]

Now it’s time to dissect the last acting category of the year, and at the forefront are the six funny men of comedy. This is a fairly weak category, though I love the inclusions of Jason Bateman who managed to get in despite the lacking presence of Arrested Development this season and Matt LeBlanc since I’m a big Friends fanboy, and I love seeing them rewarded for anything post-show. Sadly though, there’s not enough space left for New Girl‘s Jake Johnson who was lauded for his career best work last season. Anyway, ;et’s go to the nominees.

Alec Baldwin is in for the last time for his stint in 30 Rock. After winning in 2008 and 2009, he stopped submitting competitive episode (at times because he want co-nominees to win or maybe he stopped bothering at all). The same can be said for his submission this year A Goon’s Deed in a Weary World, where in he’s in the B storyline of the episode. With that said, Baldwin is still a force of a name in television and he’s the only person who won seven straight years at the SAGs. So that might account to something.

Oscar nominee Don Cheadle receives a second consecutive nod for House of Lies. Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of the show, as its humor simply doesn’t stick with me. However, I have to give him credit for coming up with a submission that at least made me chuckled. It’s a vast improvement from his submission last year. I’d still put him dead last though and stick by the idea that he just got in for his movie star status.

Surviving the Arrested Development snub is lead star Jason Bateman. Bateman benefits from the character-centric nature of the season, as he shines with the most screentime in this category. As for his submission Flight of the Phoenix, I think it did not do him any favors that his Michael is far from the typical Michael that we’ve seen from the past season. In this one, he’s clingy, desperate and unlikable which does not work well in his favor.

Aside from Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons  is also gunning for his third Emmy win in this category. But unlike Jack Donaghy, Parsons clearly knows what to submit. He went for a throwback drunk episode which puts him the win n this category in 2010 for The Pants Alternative. By submitting The Habitation Configuration, that makes him an easy frontrunner in this category.

Matt LeBlanc is in a different situation altogether. Despite gaining no buzz for the show, they still manage to reap nods for writing and acting the same way they did two years ago. That says something with how popular the show is towards the people that matter (the nominating and voting people).  In his submission, he was in a conflicted situation as he force to give his agent a car, until the secret behind his act was revealed. LeBlanc played this role well, and I think it’s unwise to underestimate him.

And then there’s Louis CK. As each year passes, the love for his show Louie increases. Just for this year alone, he collected a total of nine nominations. With that said, I don’t know how big of a hard on the Emmys has on him since the nature of his show has a history of not winning for acting. If another Emmy favorite Larry David can’t snatch one for Curb Your Enthusiasm, then I’m adamant that they’ll lean to Louis CK’s performance. I really can’t think of a solid way to describe his chances.

I guess in the end it’s a battle of the first one to enter the three time category winners. On one hand, there’s Alec Baldwin who’s on his last shot to do so. I don’t think Baldwin can be stopped by a weak submission especially since this is their last shot to reward him. However, Jim Parsons is enjoying an all time high of critical and commercial love for the show. If anything, he can be the token recognition of Emmys acknowledging the show. But then again, I’m pretty sure 30 Rock is bound to win something, and since it did not happen with Stritch, and I’m thisclose to moving Louis CK as my winner in Writing, then this category makes sense. I go back and forth with the two, but I guess I’d go with Baldwin.

Prediction: Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock
Runner-Up: Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory

Full Rankings:
1. Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock
2. Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory
3. Louis CK, “Louie
4. Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”
5. Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development
6. Don Cheadle, “Louie

You can see my other Emmy predictions here.

Meanwhile, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

Philippines’ 86th Oscar Submission: Transit   11 comments

1001587_708370515842957_1956497868_n  Just yesterday, the Philippines announced their official pick as to what the country will submit for the Best  Foreign Language film category at the 86th Academy Awards. First time feature director Hannah Espia’s Transit, a drama about an OFW family in Israel having to deal with the current policy of deporting non-Israelian kids from the country. It is a late inclusion from an original field of nine shortlist which you can find here.

Transit is definitely one of the year’s best films, there’s no doubt about that. It is a great film and I even personally have that as one of the five best films of the year (by far). It managed to sweep last month’s Cinemalaya Film Festival ending up with ten trophies. It has great technical achievements and is an exceptional debut feature from young director Hannah Espia. I’m also glad that the FAP is responding more to female directors, as she becomes the third female director (after Marilou Diaz Abaya and Rory B. Quintos) to have a film being submitted for this. In short, it’s a great film. Period.

But quality can only take you so far.

We all know it’s just not about the quality. Arguably, one can even say that it’s more on the campaigning of the film. With 70+ contenders from films all over the world contending. an all out big campaign must be launched. After all, Transit, hasn’t been a part of the big three festivals (Cannes, Venice, Berlin) nor a participant of the other smaller festivals like Toronto, Tribeca, Sundance, or Telluride. When it comes to Oscar, those are all the only festivals that matter. And an exposure to any of that (and a film’s performance in that said participation) is the kickstarter for its buzz.

This is the type of film that benefits only in the voting process of the actual winner already, since there’s no doubt that it has a huge appeal to the demographics of Oscar voters. But before reaching that stage, it needs an aggressive campaign that will lead it to the said position, which I’m skeptical of it achieving. That is the film’s biggest hurdle. How can they handle to make everyone consider to see it and prioritize it among the dozens and dozens of films in contention.

Now last year I wrote it here, that if I will sum up Bwakaw‘s chances, I’d say its biggest and farthest road that it can travel is the top nine shortlist. After all, same time last year, it already had a Toronto screening, thus the Oscar prognosticating sites (particularly Nathaniel Rogers’ The Film Experience raving about it) keep its small buzz alive. So unless they have some tricks left up in their sleeves, then yes, I guess it’s possible. If I have to make a prediction this year, a top nine is a long shot and it will take a huge miracle of some sorts if it managed to do that.

All in all, while there’s no doubt that we submitted a great film, if we’re really in it to finally get the country a nod, then we should consider more how this policy really works. This is no beauty pageant, we don’t need a film that shows the good side of the country to represent us. If we really want to nab an Oscar nod, then they must start to learn how the tricks of the trade work. This is not a year that we must just get contented that we submitted a great film. We already did that last year with Bwakaw. This year, we have something in contention that could have done much better. Oh well, off to next year I guess.

65th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series   Leave a comment

actor drama

PAST PREDICTIONS:

2005: Ian McShanw, “Deadwood” [WRONG]
2006: 
Kiefer Sutherland, “24” [CORRECT]
2007: 
James Gandolfini “The Sopranos” [WRONG]
2008: 
James Spader, “Boston Legal” [WRONG]
2009: 
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” [CORRECT]
2010: 
Hugh Laurie, “House” [WRONG]
2011: 
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” [WRONG]
2012: 
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” [WRONG]

Now we’re off to one of the most highly contested categories at this year’s Emmy awards: Drama Actor in a Lead Series. Almost everyone here has a narrative going in for them, and this is already a busy category on its own despite Steve Buscemi missing for Boardwalk Empire and perennial nominee Michael C. Hall’s supposed sixth consecutive nod. Anyway, off to the nominees…

After picking up Globe and SAG nods earlier this year, Jeff Daniels received his first Emmy nomination for The Newsroom. And despite submitting the show’s pilot (which is probably his best shot, so kudos to him for doing so), it seemed that he’s one of those filler nods that deserves a nomination but you can rule out for the win. If anything, this is the best scenario that works for the concept of “the nomination is the reward.”

Surprisingly making it again for the second time, despite everyone (including yours truly) undermining his chances is Downton Abbey‘s Hugh Bonneville.  Bonneville went with Episode 5 of the show’s third seasons, which is a breath of fresh air from his co-stars who went with the season opener. But then again, he’s such a non-factor in this race that it won’t even matter.

Then  you have multiple nominee Jon Hamm. Despite multiple nods under his name, he still wasn’t able to snatch a golden Emmy of his own whether for his work here in Mad Men or his guesting stint on 30 Rock. For this year, he submitted the season ender In Care Of. Now with the announcement of Mad Men‘s final season being divided into two parts, this gives Hamm (and everyone else in the cast) two more shots to get nominated and give the show its first acting win. I just don’t see it happening this year.

Bryan Cranston aims to win his fourth Emmy for his role as Walter White for Breaking Bad. While it’s not wise to count him out of the conversation, winning the fourth Emmy is a harder feat than what it looks like. In this category’s history, only one performance managed to scoop up four Emmys for it. A lot of them came close such as James Gandolfini in The Sopranos, and James Spader in Boston Legal only to be defeated in their last time. Now I have no doubt that Bryan Cranston can easily tie it… but he’ll have to wait for next year I guess.

That leaves us with current winner Damian Lewis. His season might be uneven in general, but remember that when it comes to the Emmys, you only need one surefire episode to batch you that Emmy gold. And he clearly has one with Q&A.  This is a very competitive episode that is tailor made to win an Emmy. And I have no doubt that this will not be put into waste, as Lewis is one of the two frontrunners this season.

Lastly, there’s two time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey. His first foray into television series is put into good fruition, as he instantly gets nominated for an Emmy for it. Spacey is no stranger with the Emmys since he has been nominated for 2008’s TV movie Recount, but this is his first shot to end up with one. Emmy voters also tend to be starstrucked with movie stars and Oscar winners, so that works well in his advantage. For this year, his only semi downside is submitting Episode 1 instead of his baitier tapes into the season. As Julianna Margulies proved in 2010, buzz can only take you so far and a winning tape can beat you in an instant.

All in all, I see this as a three way race among Bryan Cranston, Damian Lewis, and Kevin Spacey. I’m more dismissive of Cranston’s chances since it is more fitting to see him win is record tying one on the last season of the show next eligibility year. That leaves me choosing between Oscar winner Spacey and current winner Damian Lewis. This is where Spacey is at a disadvantage, since his tape pales in comparison. With that said, I’m going with Damian Lewis for a consecutive win too.

Prediction: Damian Lewis, “Homeland
Runner-Up: Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards

Full Rankings:
1. Damian Lewis, “Homeland
2. Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards
3. Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad
4. Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
5. Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
6. Hugh Bonneville, “Downton Abbey

You can see my other Emmy predictions in other categories here.

Meanwhile, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

65th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series   Leave a comment

actress drama

PAST PREDICTIONS:

2005: Glenn Close, “The Shield[WRONG]
2006:
Geena Davis, “Commander in Chief[WRONG]
2007:
Minnie Driver “The Riches[WRONG]
2008:
Glenn Close, “Damages[CORRECT]
2009:
Glenn Close, “Damages[CORRECT]
2010:
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife[WRONG]
2011:
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife” [CORRECT]
2012:
Claire Danes, “Homeland[CORRECT]

After the very funny ladies of comedy, we move on to the dramatic actresses of the past TV season. Aside from comedy supporting actress, this is the other category that has a tie in the final nominations resulting to seven nominated performances. Despite that, it is still shocking that supposed perennial nominee and 2011 winner Julianna Margulies missed for the Good Wife when she could have trumped three to four performances here. Oh well, off to the actual nominees.

This bunch of women can be divided into two parts: the supporting borderline competing in Lead women and the actual lead females of their respective shows. Let’s start with the former. After receiving her first nod last year, Michelle Dockery easily sneaks in a consecutive nod for the show. Truth be told, it’s one of the expected noms since she managed to get in at the Globes and SAG earlier this year as well.  For her submission, she went with the season opener (which co-stars Maggie Smith and Jim Carter also went with). I don’t think much of her chances since it’s an easy filler nod this year.

Two time nominee this year Elisabeth Moss receives her fifth consecutive nomination for the show. It is really interesting to note that for the past three years, both she and co-star Jon Hamm have been submitting the same episode for consideration. This year, they both opted for the season finale In Care Of. While this is an okay submission for her, Moss wasn’t given much to do this season that merits her possible Emmy. If anything, she better puts all her odds for Top of the Lake since she’s one of the frontrunners there.

We also have Robin Wright as one of the newbie nominees this year for her work in House of Cards.  I was always skeptical of Wright’s chances as a nominee, since it’s pretty clear that she has better chances if she competes in Supporting. But it seems as if this move worked for her better since she also got nominated here. She went with Episode 10 of the season which is one of her stronger episodes, but once again, I’ll be going back to the notion that this would have been a more competitive tape in supporting.

Now let’s go to the leads of their shows. Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga gives A&E a reward for a fruitful campaign as she gets in for Bates Motel. While this genre isn’t something that is usually noticed by the ATAS, I think the movie star pedigree of the actress paved the way for this nomination. I also like that she went with the pilot episode of the show because it’s the best way to introduce her character, and while others might turned off with what happens to her character in the middle of the episode, it shows Farmiga’s range in it.

Speaking of submitting the pilot, Connie Britton surprisingly receives her fourth nomination in a row for a record of three different shows. This time, her role as country diva Reina James in Nashville gives her the nomination. I’m really awed with how Britton managed to snatch this nod, but I’ve figured that she probably has been a semi-favorite now by ATAS in terms of getting nominations. Still, I think the soapy nature of her show will limit votes to come her way.

Lastly in this group, we have current TV it girl Kerry Washington for her fierce performance in ABC’s Scandal. Washington has always been one of my sure to predict nominees since it’s the first time in a long span of time that a black actress was nominated in this category. That narrative alone will apply for her already. That said, she wisely submitted their season’s most buzzed episode Happy Birthday Mr. President. Like Britton, I think the soapy nature of her show plus the fact that it’s really not a tour de force acting showcase will get her close to the prize but not ultimately going home with it.

And as for the single rose who carries her show but with a shared co-star, current title winner Claire Danes aims to be the next back to back winner here since Glenn Close in 2008 and 2009 for her layered role as Carrie Mathison in Homeland. There’s nothing much left to be said about Danes since this is probably the best role in television right now, and she has the receipts to back it up. This is also the type of role that gets multiple awards, and with her sweeps at televised awards since last year, it will be an easy feat for her. She submitted Q&A, which some might argue as more of Damian Lewis’ episode, but their tag team works best when they act against each other, and this set up benefits them greatly.

Now as for who’ll win, I’d say it’s an easy number two for Miss Danes. The Emmys won’t easily dispatch Homeland and in case they might give away some of their wins last year to other shows this year, this is probably their safest category. Coming off to a distant second is Vera Farmiga who I can see pulling off a Bryan Cranston type of win back in 2008: a small trial season show for a known veteran in a very baity role. But in the end, yes, it’s still Claire’s to lose.

Prediction: Claire Danes, “Homeland
Runner-Up: Vera Farmiga, “Bates Motel

Full Rankings:
1. Claire Danes, “Homeland
2. Vera Farmiga, “Bates Motel
3. Kerry Washington, “Scandal
4. Connie Britton, “Nashville”
5. Robin Wright, “House of Cards
6. Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men
7. Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey

My predictions in the other Emmy acting categories are available here.

Meanwhile, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl