Archive for January 2014

56th Grammy Awards Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

On Sunday, the 56th Grammy Awards will hand out their picks for the best in music. It’s quite ironic that it’s the award giving body that has the most categories (100+), but only ten categories will be presented on the main show. However, we will be treated with performances such as the collaborations of Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder, Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Madonna among others. As far as predicting goes, it’s difficult to see the trends in terms of Grammy choices as they have no precursors and they just pick anything they want. Anyway. here are my predictions in 30 different categories.


“Get Lucky,” Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers
“Radioactive,” Imagine Dragons
“Royals,” Lorde
“Locked Out of Heaven,” Bruno Mars
“Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell

PREDICTION: Bruno Mars, “Locked Out of Heaven” This contains the instrumentation that this category loves to reward, and Bruno Mars isn’t a General Field winner yet so it’s hitting two birds with one stone.

ALTERNATE: Daft Punk, “Get Lucky” This is actually the more logical choice, but I’m wary if NARAS will reward Daft Punk in all of their nominated categories.


“The Blessed Unrest”, Sara Bareilles
“Random Access Memories”, Daft Punk
“good kid, m.A.a.D. city”, Kendrick Lamar
“The Heist”, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
“Red”, Taylor Swift

PREDICTION: Daft Punk, “Random Access Memories” They’re the veterans in the group in a critically acclaimed effort, and it seems like they’re overdue for a win here.

ALTERNATE: Taylor Swift, “Red” It’s difficult to bet against Taylor Swift who’s a past victor here and in an album that came out too long ago. It says a lot that they still reward it with a nomination and probably means it’s pretty popular within the Academy.


“Just Give Me A Reason,” (Pink featuring Nate Ruess)
“Locked Out of Heaven,” (Bruno Mars)
“Roar,” (Katy Perry)
“Royals,” (Lorde)
“Same Love,” (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis)

PREDICTION: Same Love (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert). The song is too low key though competing with four big hits, but it has sort of become an anthem that speaks volumes on different issues.

ALTERNATE: Royals (Lorde). It’s very likely to upset especially if they go with a critically acclaimed hit that has a teenage writing in it. It can also serve as a reward to Lorde’s surprise domination.


James Blake
Kendrick Lamar
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Kacey Musgraves
Ed Sheeran

PREDICTION: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. I’m aware how the NARAS has an aversion to rap and urban acts in general (see Maroon 5 over Kanye in 2004 and fun over Frank Ocean last year), but they’re also too mainstream to be considered full urban.

ALTERNATE: Ed Sheeran. He seems like someone who the industry loves to reward with a win and has built up enough momentum back from his surprise SOTY nod last year.



“Brave,” Sara Bareilles
“Royals,” Lorde
“When I Was Your Man,” Bruno Mars
“Roar,” Katy Perry
“Mirrors,” Justin Timberlake

PREDICTION: Lorde, Royals 
ALTERNATE: Bruno Mars, When I Was Your Man

“Get Lucky,” Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers
“Just Give Me A Reason,” Pink featuring Nate Ruess
“Stay,” Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko
“Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell
“Suit & Tie,” Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z

PREDICTION: Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams, Get Lucky
ALTERNATE: Pink, Nate Ruess, Just Give Me A Reason

“Paradise”, Lana Del Rey
“Pure Heroine”, Lorde
“Unorthodox Jukebox”, Bruno Mars
“Blurred Lines”, Robin Thicke
“The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience”, Justin Timberlake

 Bruno MarsUnorthodox Jukebox
ALTERNATE: Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Complete Experience

“Viva Duets”, Tony Bennett
“To Be Loved”, Michael Buble
“The Standards”, Gloria Estefan
“CeeLo’s Magic Moment”, CeeLo Green
“Now”, Dionne Warwick

Tony Bennett, Viva Duets
ALTERNATE: Michael Buble, To Be Loved



“Need U (100%),” Duke Dumont Featuring A*M*E & MNEK
“Sweet Nothing,” Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch
“Atmosphere,” Kaskade
“This Is What It Feels Like,” Armin Van Buuren Featuring Trevor Guthrie
“Clarity,” Zedd featuring Foxes

Zedd featuring Foxes, Clarity
ALTERNATE: Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch, Sweet Nothings

“Random Access Memories”, Daft Punk
“Settle”, Disclosure
“18 Months”, Calvin Harris
“Atmosphere”, Kaskade
“A Color Map of the Sun”, Pretty Lights

PREDICTION: Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
ALTERNATE: Calvin Harris, 18 Months



“Always Alright”, Alabama Shakes
“The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”, David Bowie
“Radioactive”, Imagine Dragons
“Kashmir (Live)”, Led Zeppelin
“My God Is the Sun”, Queens of the Stone Age
“I’m Shakin'”, Jack White

PREDICTION: Imagine Dragons, Radioactive
ALTERNATE: David Bowie, The Stars Are Out Tonight

“Ain’t Messin ‘Round”, Gary Clark Jr.
“Cut Me Some Slack”, Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear
“Doom and Gloom”, The Rolling Stones
“God Is Dead?”, Black Sabbath
“Panic Station”, Muse

Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear, Cut Me Some Slack
ALTERNATE: The Rolling Stones, Doom & Gloom

“13”, Black Sabbath
“The Next Day”, David Bowie
“Mechanical Bull”, Kings of Leon
“Celebration Day”, Led Zeppelin
“…Like Clockwork”,  Queens of the Stone Age
“Psychedelic Pill”, Neil Young with Crazy Horse

David Bowie, The Next Day
ALTERNATE: Kings of Leons, Mechanical Bull

“The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You”, Neko Case
“Trouble Will Find Me”, The National
“Hesitation Marks”, Nine Inch Nails
“Lonerism”, Tame Impala
“Modern Vampires of the City”, Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
ALTERNATE: Nine Inch Nails, Hesitation Marks



“Love and War,” Tamar Braxton
“Best of Me,” Anthony Hamilton
“Nakamarra,” Hiatus Kaiyote
“How Many Drinks,” Miguel featuring Kendrick Lamar
“Something,” Snark Puppy, Lalah Hathaway

PREDICTION:  Tamar Braxton, Love and War
ALTERNATE: Miguel featuring Kendrick Lamar, How Many Drinks

“Please Come Home,” Gary Clark Jr.
“Geit it Right,” Fantasia
“Quiet Fire,” Maysa
“Hey Laura,” Gregory Porter
“Yesterday,” Ryan Shaw

PREDICTION: Gary Clark Jr, Please Come Home
ALTERNATE: Fantasia, Get It Right

“Best of Me,” Anthony Hamilton
“Love and War,” Tamar Braxton
“Only One,” PJ Morton featuring Stevie Wonder
“Pusher Love Girl,” Justin Timberlake
“Without Me,” Fantasia, Kelly Rowland, Missy Elliott

PREDICTION:  Justin TimberlakePusher Love Girl 
ALTERNATE: Tamar BraxtonLove and War

“R&B Divas”,Faith Evans
“Girl on Fire”, Alicia Keys
“Love in the Future”, John Legend
“Better”, Chrisette Michele
“Three Kings”, TGT

PREDICTION: Alicia Keys, Girl on Fire
ALTERNATE: John Legend, Love in the Future

“Love and War”, Tamar Braxton
“Side Effects of You”, Fantasia
“One in the Chamber”, Salaam Remi
“Unapologetic”, Rihanna
“New York: A Love Story”, Mack Wilds

PREDICTION: Rihanna, Unapologetic
ALTERNATE: Tamar Braxton, Love and War



“Started From The Bottom,” Drake
“Berzerk,” Eminem
“Tom Ford,” Jay Z
“Swimming Pools (Drank),” Kendrick Lamar
“Thrift Shop,” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz

Macklemore and Ryan LewisThrift Shop
ALTERNATE: Kendrick Lamar, Swimming Pools (Drank) 

“Power Trip,” J. Cole featuring Miguel
“Part II (On The Run,” Jay Z featuring Beyonce
“Holy Grail,” Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake
“Now or Never,” Kendrick Lamar featuring Mary J. Blige
“Remember You,” Wiz Khalifa featuring The Weeknd

Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Holy Grail
ALTERNATE: Jay Z, Beyonce, Part 2 (On the Run)

“Fuckin’ Problems,” (A$AP Rocky featuring Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar)
“Holy Grail,” (Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake)
“New Slaves,” (Kanye West)
“Started From The Bottom,” (Drake)
“Thrift Shop,” (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz)

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Thrift Shop
ALTERNATE: Kanye West, New Slaves

“Nothing Was The Same”, Drake
“Magna Carta…Holy Grail”, Jay Z
“good kid, m.A.a.D. city”, Kendrick Lamar
“The Heist”, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
“Yeezus”, Kanye West

Kendrick Lamargood kid m.A.A.d city
ALTERNATE: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, The Heist 



“I Drive Your Truck,” Lee Brice
“I Want Crazy,” Hunter Hayes
“Mama’s Broken Heart,” Miranda Lambert
“Wagon Wheel,” Darius Rucker
“Mine Would Be You,” Blake Shelton

PREDICTION: Miranda Lambert, Mama’s Broken Heart
ALTERNATE: Darius Rucker, Wagon Wheel

“From This Valley,” The Civil Wars
“Don’t Rush,” Vince Gill featuring Kelly Clarkson
“Your Side Of The Bed,” Little Big Town
“Highway Don’t Care,” Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban
“You Can’t Make Old Friends,” Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton

PREDICTION: Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Highway Don’t Care
ALTERNATE: The Civil Wars, From this Valley

“Begin Again,” (Taylor Swift)
“I Drive Your Truck,” (Lee Brice)
“Mama’s Broken Heart,” (Miranda Lambert)
“Merry Go ‘Round,” (Kacey Musgraves)
“Mine Would Be You,” (Blake Shelton)

Kacey Musgraves, Merry Go Round
ALTERNATE: Taylor Swift, Begin Again

“Night Train”, Jason Aldean
“Two Lanes of Freedom”, Tim McGraw
“Same Trailer Different Park”, Kacey Musgraves
“Based On A True Story”, Blake Shelton
“Red”, Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, Red
ALTERNATE: Kacey Musgraves, Same Trailer, Different Park



“Atlas,” (Coldplay)
“Silver Lining,” (Jessie J)
“Skyfall,” (Adele)
“We Both Know,” (Colbie Cailatt, Gavin DeGraw)
“Young and Beautiful,” (Lana del Rey)
“You’ve Got Time,” (Regina Spektor)

Adele, Skyfall
ALTERNATE: Lana del Rey, Young and Beautiful

Django Unchained
The Great Gatsby
Les Miserables
Muscle Shoals
Sound City: Real to Reel

PREDICTION: Sound City: Real to Reel
ALTERNATE: Les Miserables

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

8 Oscar Turds of 2013   8 comments

In the field of awards prognosticating, there will always be films that looked and sounded promising but all potential is lost once the final product is seen on the big screen. Then there are those that can ride the coattails of the buzz they accumulated all year. However, each year produces some of the biggest awards flop such as 2005’s Elizabethtown, 2006’s The Good German and Bobby, 2008’s Evening, 2011’s J.Edgar, and last year’s Hyde Park on Hudson. Here are eight films that fit this bill from 2013’s offerings and whose accumulated Oscar nominations is a big fat zero. You know you’re pretty much toast when that obscure film Alone Yet Not Alone can attach OSCAR NOMINEE once they release the DVD right?

The Fifth Estate

8. THE FIFTH ESTATE (Bill Condon)

Bill Condon has directed Oscar nominated performances such as those of Laura Linney in Kinsey, Bill Condon in Gods and Monsters, and the award winning performance of Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls. The past few years though he was busy doing the Twilight films. But one is bound to bounce to a comeback no? In his first film post-Twilight, Condon tackled the story of the Wikileaks. In it stars supposed 2013’s breakout star Benedict Cumberbatch who will move on from his TV star stage to American cinema with this lead star role. But with the film’s pans and getting lost in the shuffle among the more successful festival films was the final nail in this film’s award chances coffin. Not only was Cumberbatch getting the one-two punch of disaster, but his co-star Daniel Brühl as well (see the list below).

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


Fun fact: Ben Stiller has already directed one Oscar nominated performance via Robert Downey Jr.’s turn in Tropic Thunder
Fun fact 2: Terence Malick’s favorite film is the Ben Stiller starrer Zoolander.

Given those, it’s easy to see that the Academy is just probably waiting for that moment to give the spotlight to Ben Stiller after all these years. It seemed probable last year when he will direct himself in this serious but charming film of a daydreamer based on the adaptation of a short film. Even the promotion of the film is done well. The only dealbreaker was when the film actually premiered and it was welcome with lukewarm to terrible reviews. It was then clear that this is not the Oscar vehicle that they are waiting for. When the film has been snubbed already even in a shortlist of ten visual effects, and a field of seven in make up which includes film like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Jackass Presents: Bad Gramdpa, it’s time to call the film’s awards prospects dead. Not even the Golden Globes came to Stiller’s defense this year. To be fair though, Jim Carrey is still waiting for his first nod.

The Counselor

6. THE COUNSELOR (Ridley Scott)

On one hand, it’s easy to note that thrillers haven’t done as well as compared to the early 90s when they scream Oscar! On the other, the people involved in this film have been so familiar with Oscar that you know they’d make an exception for it. Well maybe not. But this on paper sounds like one of those shoo-in Oscar baits. Cormac McCarthy (whose novel No Country for Old Men swept the 2007 Oscars) writes his second original screenplay and is directed by Best Picture Gladiator’s director Ridley Scott. The cast has 10 Oscar nods under their belt with wins for real life couple Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. As a matter of fact, the continuous hype over this is Cameron Diaz’ scene stealing scene that would have finally made her overdue Oscar snubs worth it. The film also boasts of baity technical achievements with the colorful costumes to the sound and cinematography that it’s bound to be noticed by Oscar. Of course the mere fact that you have read it in this list means none of those happened. In the end, it’s probably one of those films that the cast did for paycheck since no one bothered to promote it at all and has moved on to their different projects since.


5. RUSH (Ron Howard)

I don’t think this was meant to be an Oscar vehicle per se, but with Ron Howard, you’ll never know? His closest shot to an Oscar nomination since A Beautiful Mind dominated 12 years ago, this (another) biopic is one for the sports fans as it tells the rivalry of F1 legends James Hunt and Niki Lauda. The hopes went high for this one during September when things are getting solid of the race, but its box office disappointment in the US, while understandable, is still a disappointment. At the end of the day, this seems like the film that could especially when Daniel Brühl resurrected his (and the film’s) chances when he got nominated at the BFCA, GG, SAG, and BAFTA and was even a nominee for Best Picture Drama at the Globes. As predicted though, the whole Rush-urrection (if ever there was really one) came short when the guilds start to showcase their picks and Rush is nowhere to be seen. The film is simply non existent to these guilds which resulted to a shutout at the Oscars. To be fair though, it’s one of the two good films in this list.


4. DIANA (Oliver Hirschbiegel)

After getting her second Oscar nomination nine years from her first, things look really great for Naomi Watts. She made the most out of her fresh Oscar nod to work with the likes of Noah Baumbach and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. However, the only misstep she did is taking the role of Princess Diana. You know the feeling when there’s something really bad will happen and you knew it was doomed from the start? Yep, we all had the feeling. Every one that is, except Naomi Watts. This mess of a film was supposed to be her Oscar winning vehicle, but the signs already showed as early as Cannes when it took them days to find a distributor that will carry the film in the US. To make it clearer, a seven minute clip of Philomena was shown and after that, studios started to bid for the movie. Diana, showed the whole movie, yet no one still bid for it days after the event. It then went to E-One (a budding distributor in the US), but when the UK reviews started to pop in, it was very clear that disaster has indeed arrived. At that stage, probably the only thing that could have saved the faces of those involved was to hide the film altogether. To be fair, Naomi Watts received a nomination for Diana… as Razzie’s Worst Actress of the Year. I don’t think that was the trajectory they expected after last year’s The Impossible nomination.

Fruitvale Station


Every year, a spotlight is always given to the Sundance breakout film that will fight its way to the Oscars. It happened to Little Miss Sunshine in 2006, Precious in 2009, Winter’s Bone in 2010, and Beasts of the Southern Wild last year. All those received Oscar Best Picture nods alongside those that received lots of Oscar attention as well: Away from Her, The Visitor, and An Education. 2013’s breakout representative was Ryan Coogler’s debut feature film Fruitvale Station. Everything seemed destined for it to reach Oscar glory by winning in Sundance, at Cannes, and even the critics awards for Breakthrough Feature and Breakthrough Actor for lead star Michael B. Jordan. It also benefits from the timely issue of Trayvon Martin and is being handled by Harvey Weinstein. Alas, it got lost in the shuffle in a “year of black” narratives. Come televised Oscar precursors season, the film was not a presence anymore.

The Butler


So close yet so far. After the critically panned The Paperboy last year, director Lee Daniels decided to go the safe route again, and produce a biopic about the life of a black butler who served many presidents in the White House. It features Oscar winner Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey as the headlines of the film (handled by Harvey Weinstein) and will have a lot of celebrity participation to play the White House figures. In 1998-2002, that would have been a lock for Best Picture. But definitely not in 2013. What’s more perplexing about it is its awards journey. On one hand, the SAG rewarded it with nominations, then the Globe snubbed it all throughout. That has been the road for The Butler the past few months. Come Oscar nominations time, most predictors stick with Oprah as it’s hard to believe that AMPAS would deny her a mention when she literally knows majority of the voters in it. But yes, not only was Oprah snubbed for a coattail Sally Hawkins nomination, it made NOPRAH a stable nickname for her and the film this season.

Labor Day

1. LABOR DAY (Jason Reitman)

And my pick for biggest Oscar toast this season is Labor Day. Coming from Up in the Air, it seems like Jason Reitman is poised to finally win one for his next effort. Though Young Adult also did not give him any recognition, the consensus was that it’s something that the Academy finds too lightweight as compared to baitier flicks that year. However, this adaptation drama starring six time nominee and Oscar winner Kate Winslet in her supposedly Oscar vehicle comeback since her 2008 win, was literally unfelt the whole season. No promotion, no critics talking about it, nada. After it’s Toronto premiere, it just magically disappeared. The only nomination it got is a Golden Globe Drama Best Actress for Kate who didn’t even attend the ceremonies. Now I’m sure you’ve been bombed with its TV spots now featuring Rihanna’s Stay, but if you would have told me a year ago that they will snub a Jason Reitman drama of a suburban housewife that is also a literary adaptation starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, I would have totally laughed at you. Not only is the joke on me, but more on the film itself.

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

20th Screen Actors Guild Awards Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

So this weekend, the first “guilds” to announce their picks is also the largest branch in the Academy. The Screen Actors Guild, celebrating their second decade of handling out awards this year, is interesting (for the film side at least) as this will solidify the four acting races come the Oscars.


film ensemble

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
August: Osage County
Dallas Buyers Club
Lee Daniel’s The Butler

PREDICTION: American Hustle. Sure it underperformed in terms of individual SAG nominations, but this film is peaking at the right time, and all five major cast members have won (and or been nominated) by the guild individually in the past. The film is gaining such momentum, and a large part of the praises it got was for its ensemble.

ALTERNATE: 12 Years a Slave. But of course never doubt the Oscar frontrunner. Many times in the past, BP frontrunner = SAG Ensemble. Look at the wins of Slumdog Millionaire, No Country for Old Men, and even last year’s Argo. Sometimes the film is too strong that they pass over the notion of it has the best ensemble or not.

film actor

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
BRUCE DERN / Woody Grant – “NEBRASKA” (Paramount Pictures)
CHIWETEL EJIOFOR / Solomon Northup – “12 YEARS A SLAVE” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
TOM HANKS / Capt. Richard Phillips – “CAPTAIN PHILLIPS” (Columbia Pictures)
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY / Ron Woodroof – “DALLAS BUYERS CLUB” (Focus Features)
FOREST WHITAKER / Cecil Gaines – “LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER” (The Weinstein Company)

PREDICTION: Matthew McConaughey. It’s clear by now that the film has overperformed in this guild (getting in that surprise Ensemble nod), and McConaughey seems to be done paying his dues. For such a populist group, this type of career turn around is something they always acknowledge.

ALTERNATE: Bruce Dern. If not that, then they play catch up by rewarding veterans as much as they can. I mean Gloria Stuart in 1998, both Julie Christie and Ruby Dee in 2007. These are a pretty sentimental group, and if it takes them over, I can see them giving a token win to Bruce.

film actress

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
CATE BLANCHETT / Jasmine – “BLUE JASMINE” (Sony Pictures Classics)
SANDRA BULLOCK / Ryan Stone – “GRAVITY” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
JUDI DENCH / Philomena Lee – “PHILOMENA” (The Weinstein Company)
MERYL STREEP / Violet Weston – “AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY” (The Weinstein Company)
EMMA THOMPSON / P.L. Travers – “SAVING MR. BANKS” (Walt Disney Pictures)

PREDICTION: Cate Blanchett. Well she’s just gonna steamroll her way now to the win and she’s respected by her peers, so it’s a done deal now. Besides, she hasn’t won in this category yet.

ALTERNATE: Sandra Bullock. Like what I said, this group can really lean to populous at times. Imagine when Johnny Depp won here a decade ago for Pirates of the Caribbean. So if not Cate, then they’d probably go with Sandy. With that said, no one has ever pulled off two wins in this category’s history (not even Meryl), so statistics are not on her side.

film supporting actor


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
BARKHAD ABDI / Muse – “CAPTAIN PHILLIPS” (Columbia Pictures)
DANIEL BRÜHL / Niki Lauda – “RUSH” (Universal Pictures)
MICHAEL FASSBENDER / Edwin Epps – “12 YEARS A SLAVE” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
JAMES GANDOLFINI / Albert – “ENOUGH SAID” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
JARED LETO / Rayon – “DALLAS BUYERS CLUB” (Focus Features)

PREDICTION: Jared Leto. After 12 Years a Slave, Dallas is the strongest nominated film of this bunch. With that said, this transformative performance is sweeping everyone off their feet, so I see this category as another stop for Leto to win (PS: improve your speech, man! More of the BFCA and less of the Globe one!).

ALTERNATIVE: James Gandolfini. One of the things that differ the SAG though is all 6,000 voters of both television and film are voting for this award. The TV people love the late Gandolfini so much that he has been nominated 10x in the past and has won three for himself already. They can give him this posthumous recognition if they opt to.

film supporting actress

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
JENNIFER LAWRENCE / Rosalyn Rosenfeld – “AMERICAN HUSTLE” (Columbia Pictures)
LUPITA NYONG’O / Patsey – “12 YEARS A SLAVE” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
JULIA ROBERTS / Barbara Weston – “AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY” (The Weinstein Company)
JUNE SQUIBB / Kate Grant – “NEBRASKA” (Paramount Pictures)
OPRAH WINFREY / Gloria Gaines – “LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER” (The Weinstein Company)

PREDICTION: Jennifer Lawrence. Okay so she won last year, but who the fuck cares? It’s J.Law’s world and we’re all just living in it. Again, it doesn’t hurt that this current it girl is both a hit with the public and critics alike. So yes, a consecutive win here at SAG (and possible double win for Ensemble too) is really likely.

ALTERNATE: Lupita Nyong’o. But then again, the SAG can be pretty receptive as well to newcomers. They usually do that with nominations, but every now and then, they give wins to them as well. Lupita is currently riding off a huge popularity within the A-list circle and everyone loves to root for the underdog right?


movie mini actor

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
ROB LOWE / John F. Kennedy – “KILLING KENNEDY” (National Geographic Channel)

PREDICTION: Michael Douglas. Like Kevin Costner and Julianne Moore, Michael Douglas would have no problem winning the trifecta of miniseries televised awards for Candelabra. Besides, between him and Damon, he’s the veteran.

ALTERNATE: Matt Damon. Just in case they decide to go with youngster. It will be quite surprising though.

movie mini actress

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
ANGELA BASSETT / Coretta Scott King – “BETTY & CORETTA” (Lifetime)
HOLLY HUNTER / G.J. – “TOP OF THE LAKE” (Sundance Channel)
HELEN MIRREN / Linda Kenney Baden – “PHIL SPECTOR” (HBO)
ELISABETH MOSS / Robin Griffin – “TOP OF THE LAKE” (Sundance Channel)

PREDICTION: Elisabeth Moss. Well it’s quite the process of elimination here. Hunter would have stood a chance if she was not against her leading co-star. Mirren was a semi-supporting role in a panned series while Bassett gets that token annual random Lifetime nod. I guess I’ll be going with Moss given she’s pretty popular with her TV projects.

ALTERNATE: Helena Bonham Carter. I doubt she even cares at this point? Or that she’d even show up? But if people think she’s sort of due to give any speech (raise your hand with me), then there’s a slight chance of this happening.

drama actor

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

PREDICTION: Bryan Cranston. Is this even a contest? The other four can even bother to not attend the show anymore.

ALTERNATE: Peter Dinklage. For formality’s sake. He’s one of those respected character actors and SAG has shown some love for him in the past.

drama actress

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
CLAIRE DANES / Carrie Mathison – “HOMELAND” (Showtime)
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham – “DOWNTON ABBEY” (PBS)

PREDICTION: Claire Danes. When there’s too many possible alternates and in doubt, stick with the current winner.

ALTERNATE: Kerry Washington. They’ve shown lots of love to Shonda Rhimes actors before (back to back individual wins of Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson as for starters), and again, this is a populist group. So being on the highest rated show helps.

drama ensemble

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

PREDICTION: Breaking Bad. Five months since its finale, it’s still the hot talk of the town. Also, their last chance of awarding this fantastic ensemble.

ALTERNATE: Downton Abbey. Or they’d just stick with the current winner. The SAGs love to extend their love for repeat winners in their ensemble categories.

comedy actor

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy – “30 ROCK” (NBC)
DON CHEADLE / Martin “Marty” Kaan – “HOUSE OF LIES” (Showtime)

PREDICTION: Jim Parsons. Technically, he’s the one remaining representative of lead actor comedy here that people actually know. Big Bang is slowly climbing that guild recognition ladder, and this can be the good indication of that.

ALTERNATE: Alec Baldwin. Or just like the past seven years, why not give it to Alec Baldwin who NEVER.LOST.THIS.CATEGORY.SINCE.2007. I mean at this stage it’s even crazy that I’m betting against him. The man literally has won the past seven years. The only thing that will top that ridiculous statistic is that he can even win an eighth one for a show that lasted SIX seasons. Ugh you have no idea how I’m so tempted to switch now.

comedy actress

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
EDIE FALCO / Jackie Peyton – “NURSE JACKIE” (Showtime)
TINA FEY / Liz Lemon – “30 ROCK” (NBC)
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / Vice President Selina Meyer – “VEEP” (HBO)

PREDICTION: Julia Louis Dreyfus. Julia has been in a wild career peak now that it shutdown all this Seinfeld curse talks. The Ensemble nod for Veep gives me more confidence that she’ll finally win her first SAG since Seinfeld.

ALTERNATE: Tina Fey, The mere fact that they let the show  be eligible despite missing the actual number of episodes needed means they love the show.

comedy ensemble

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
30 Rock
Arrested Development
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family

PREDICTION: Modern Family. I’m actually not confident with this prediction, but they seem to have a huge amount of following within the guild. If ever they win, it will be their fourth and will catapult them as the most number of wins in the history of this category.

ALTERNATE: The Big Bang Theory. With nominations for both Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik, the show is slowly finding their way to some guild respect. Besides, they’re the most popular show on television, and in this time where everything else is suffering from ratings, this can be a reward to them.

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

86th Academy Awards Acting Class   Leave a comment

oscar photo




CHRISTIAN BALE |as Irving Rosenfeld in “American Hustle” | 2nd nomination, 1 win
BRUCE DERN | as Woody Grant in “Nebraska” | 2nd nomination, 0 win
LEONARDO DI CAPRIO | as Jordan Belfort in “The Wolf of Wall Street” | 4th nomination, 0 win
CHIWETEL EJIOFOR | as Solomon Northup in “12 Years a Slave” | 1st nomination
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY | as Ron Woodroof in “Dallas Buyers Club” | 1st nomination


AMY ADAMS | as Sydney Prosser in “American Hustle” | 5th nomination, 0 wins
CATE BLANCHETT | as Jasmine Francis in “Blue Jasmine” | 6th nomination, 1 win
SANDRA BULLOCK | as Ryan Stone in “Gravity” | 2nd nomination, 1 win
JUDI DENCH | as Philomena Lee in “Philomena” | 7th nomination, 1 win
MERYL STREEP | as Violet Weston in “August: Osage County” | 18th nomination, 3 wins


BARKHAD ABDI | as Abduwali Muse in “Captain Phillips” | 1st nomination
BRADLEY COOPER | as Richie DiMaso in “American Hustle” | 2nd nomination, 0 win
MICHAEL FASSBENDER | as Edwin Epps in “12 Years a Slave” | 1st nomination
JONAH HILL | as Donnie Azoff in “The Wolf of Wall Street” | 2nd nomination, 0 win
JARED LETO | as Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club” | 1st nomination


SALLY HAWKINS | as Ginger in “Blue Jasmine” | 1st nomination
JENNIFER LAWRENCE | as Rosalyn Rosenfeld in “American Hustle” | 3rd nomination, 1 win
LUPITA NYONG’O | as Patsey in “12 Years a Slave” | 1st nomination
JULIA ROBERTS | as Barbara Weston in “August: Osage County” | 4th nomination, 1 win
JUNE SQUIBB | as Kate Grant in “Nebraska” | 1st nomination

Posted January 17, 2014 by Nicol Latayan in Uncategorized

86th Academy Awards Nominations Predictions   Leave a comment

And it all comes down to this. After months and months of predicting and waiting and criticizing 2013’s offerings, the nominations will finally be revealed tomorrow. Tomorrow’s 5 AM will definitely be the most alive Hollywood will ever be for the whole year as AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Chris Hemsworth announce the 86th Academy Award nominations. Here’s who I think will be adding “2013 Oscar nominee” label under their names in all 21 different categories.

• American Hustle
• Captain Phillips
• Dallas Buyers Club
• Gravity
• Her
• Nebraska
• Saving Mr. Banks
• 12 Years a Slave
• Wolf of Wall Street

10th (but not predicted): Philomena

For this year, four films are what I consider really safe already: American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and Captain Phillips are surely the top four contenders at this point and they’ll easily get nominated. Since there are five films minimum that will be nominated in this category, I’d go with Nebraska as the fifth film in contention. After all, Alexander Payne’s last two efforts were Best Picture nominees, and About Schmidt would have definitely made it under this season. Then we have the next three in line: Spike Jonze’s Her, Jean Marc-Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club, and Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street. Dallas has overperformed in terms of guild support getting in at SAG, PGA, and WGA, so the support for the film is actually there. Her is the critics film this season, and while I still can see a scenario where it misses (yes, especially if the Academy voters aren’t fond of the film’s topic), but I’ll still include it here. Wolf of Wall Street started slow but is currently peaking after its BAFTA performance, so I don’t think the voters will resist this Marty film. Now with eight contenders in tow, I still think we’d get one of those middlebrow films that gets in despite not reaching the intentional awards buzz. This year, we have three: Saving Mr. Banks, Philomena, and Blue Jasmine. Typically, Best Actor or Actress frontrunners carry their film towards a Best Picture nomination (The Blind Side, The Reader) but Jasmine, despite PGA and WGA nods, is too weak of a film to be carried. That leaves me with Philomena, who scored GG + BAFTA Best Picture nods in a Harvey Weinstein film, or Saving Mr. Banks, who got in PGA and lots of tech guilds support. While both can get in (since it’s a field that will nominate up to ten films), I’d go with Banks to fill that ninth spot.

• Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity
• Paul Greengrass, “Captain Phillips
• Spike Jonze, “Her
• Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave
• David O. Russell, “American Hustle

SPOILER: Martin Scorsese, “Wolf of Wall Street

This category can be limited down to seven names fighting for five spots. After the Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow debacle last year, I don’t think anyone is actually safe? Or maybe they’d go the different route this year and be safe with their nods? Anyway, of course there’s the three frontrunners now: Alfonso Cuaron, Steve McQueen, and David O. Russell. All three are the most likely to survive the shock snub this year. In fourth place is Paul Greengrass. While he was able to nab all precursors (like the other three before him), the last three years all featured directors who nabbed all precursors only to miss the actual Oscar Directing nom. It’s true that Greengrass is the likeliest of the group to be snubbed, but I think Phillips has gathered enough fans to survive this. The last spot is a toss up between Alexander Payne who’s quite the Academy’s type of tea, Martin Scorsese who got BAFTA + DGA nods in his favor, and Spike Jonze. I went with Jonze in the end since it seems that there’s always a room for the auteur type of direction from this club, and he seems to fit that bill.

• Bruce Dern, “Nebraska
• Leonardo di Caprio, “Wolf of Wall Street
• Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave
• Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips
• Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club

SPOILER: Christian Bale, “American Hustle”

On the outside, this list is likely set in stone now. Chiwetel Ejiofor, unexpectedly, is not the strong frontrunner we all assumed he will be, but he is still the flagbearer of the 12 Years a Slave team and has the British bloc behind him to get that nod. After his Golden Globe win and an impressive two year career turn around, it now pays off for Matthew McConaughey as he’ll finally hear his name with an “Oscar nominee” attached before it. If luck is on his way, he can even spin a narrative to take the golden man all the way. Since his Cast Away nomination 13 years ago, Tom Hanks hasn’t been invited as a nominee again, but between Banks and Phillips, he’ll surely get that sixth Best Actor nod this year. Bruce Dern is likely to be the receiver of the “veteran slot” in this category. Between his comeback narrative, Nebraska being a BP nominee, and Jack Nicholson campaigning for him, his follow up acting nod 35 years after his first is a done deal now. As for that last spot, it seems like momentum is on Leonardo di Caprio’s side now. After years of failed Oscar chances, it’s fitting that he comes back with his career best performance. However, I won’t still be surprised if he misses as it seems like it’s the story of his miserable awards life. While I’m predicting di Caprio, I won’t be surprised if Christian Bales completes the Hustle four nods in four acting categories achievement this year, or Robert Redford miraculously appears in for his All is Lost one man show (though that movie seems dead now).

• Amy Adams, “American Hustle
• Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine
• Sandra Bullock, “Gravity
• Judi Dench, “Philomena
• Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks

SPOILER: Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County

While they can ship the actual Oscar over at Cate Blanchett’s doorstep already, they still need to complete the line up of who will be clapping for her as she walks her way to the podium. Sandra Bullock is sure to be one of them and is probably the closest to an alternative (ironically, a very distant one though) for her one woman show in Gravity. Then for her first successful entry in Lead, Golden Globe winner Amy Adams is also in contention. While she seems to be the toast in this batch, her current BAFTA nod and Globe win in this BP frontrunner makes it a done deal for her to receive her fifth nod (and first in lead) in nine years. As for the remaining two spots, we have Dame Judi Dench in this heartbreaking true to life story of Philomena. She has Harvey in her corner this time which resulted to five or her six Oscar nominations. Now make that six out of seven I guess. And while Emma Thompson is looking for her first nod in 18 years as P.L Travers in Saving Mr. Banks, this category is notorious the last three years for Oscar winning contenders sweeping precursor nods only to miss the actual Oscar nod (Tilda Swinton, Helen Mirren, and Marion Cotillard), so there’s still a chance for Meryl Streep to get in her 18th nod here. After all, it’s hard to bet against Meryl Streep in a baity role in a film backed by Harvey Weinstein. But I guess I’ll still stick with Thompson here for that last slot.

• Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips
• Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle
• Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave
• Jonah Hill, “Wolf of Wall Street
• Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club

SPOILER: James Gandolfini, “Enough Said

In what seemed as an open Oscar race at the start of the precursor season, it all evaporated quickly when three men picked up all precursor nods (Barkhad Abdi, Daniel Brühl, Michael Fassbender) while two of them picked three out of four (Jared Leto, Bradley Cooper). The consensus seems to be those five men will be the final list of nominees, and there’s a big chance that will actually happen. But I’m only going with Abdi, Fassbender, Cooper, and Leto in my predictions. Rush seems to be a very dead film now with no support, and Brühl can be that contender who gets lost in the shuffle. Also, this category is ripe for an upset for a contender that did not get any precursor nod but surprises come Oscar morning. With that I’m currently predicting  Jonah Hill, a previous nominee, who’s the second lead in a film that is peaking at the right time. It also doesn’t hurt that his is a character that this category loves. If not Jonah Hill, then a posthumous nod for Enough Said‘s James Gandolfini. Sure, he only got SAG and BAFTA nods for the said performance, but that combination of precursor usually takes first time nominees in this category all the way to an Oscar nomination.

• Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine
• Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle
• Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave
• Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County
• Oprah Winfrey, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler

SPOILER: June Squibb, “Nebraska

Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o are the two lock contenders in this category. No matter what combination ends up as the Oscar nominees, those two names will have no problems getting nods this year. All the other contenders are on the same boat. Julia Roberts received all precursors needed but it seems like August: Osage County is not resonating well with voters, and though this is her first shot at an Oscar comeback since her 2000 win, there’s still a chance she will miss if voters did not respond to their film altogether. Oprah is actually in a strong position now, thanks to her BAFTA nod. After all, her only miss was for the populist Golden Globes who dismissed her film altogether. She got in at SAG, BFCA, and surprisingly at BAFTA so it’s likely we’ll see her in the final nomination list. Then there’s June Squibb, whose role in Nebraska is what this category is tailored for, but between being an unknown veteran and that Payne underperforming statistic every time he has a contending film, I went with Sally Hawkins as the final nominee though. Her surprising Globe nod over Oprah, and finally breaking through at BAFTA indicates good coattail nod for her. Blanchett might not carry Jasmine all the way to a Best Picture nod, but she can certainly bring Hawkins a to the party with a nod for her.

• Eric Singer, David O. Russell, “American Hustle
• Woody Allen, “Blue Jasmine
• Spike Jonze, “Her
• Ethan Coen, Joel Coen “Inside Llewyn Davis
• Bob Nelson, “Nebraska

SPOILER: Melissa Wallic, Craig Bortern, “Dallas Buyers Club”

While this seems to be the consensus five, there’s a potential for so many films to penetrate this field instead. There’s Gravity who can carry a Screenplay nod to it especially if AMPAS really loved the film. Enough Said can also make a case since Nicole Holocefner is in a much better position way back from her 2010 Please Give debut. Then the duo of Saving Mr. Banks is writing about a film that is about making a film so I can see it getting some passionate votes as well. Even the dead Frutivale Station can still score a nod here if they want to reward the film as a whole since Ryan Coogler is both the director and writer of the film. Then there’s the WGA nominated pair of Dallas Buyers Club who kicked the Coens butt out of that WGA nod. But in the end, I guess I’m sticking with the combination of American Hustle/Blue Jasmine/Her/Inside Llewyn Davis/Nebraska as the nominees.

• Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, “Before Midnight
• Billy Ray, “Captain Phillips
• Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope, “Philomena
• John Ridley, “12 Years a Slave
• Terence Winter, “Wolf of Wall Street

If Original Screenplay still offers a wild variety of feasible nominees, this one seems set in stone already. I won’t even offer an alternative because this five seems like the final line up and there’s not even a strong contender that will pose as a threat here.

• The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
• The Great Beauty  (Italy)
• The Hunt  (Denmark)
• The Notebook (Hungary)
• Omar (Palestine)

SPOILER: The Grandmaster (Hong Kong)

With no Wadjda, The Past, and Gloria here, the field looks emptier and more open to surprise nods. Outside of The Hunt and The Great Beauty, I’m going with The Broken Circle Breakdown and The Notebook which seems to be this committee’s cups of tea. The last slot I’m giving to Omar over The Grandmaster since I think the former is a film that will resonate more to the voters while the latter is prone to just impressing them with the visuals.

• The Croods
• Ernest & Celestine
• Frozen
• Monsters University
• The Wind Rises

SPOLER: Despicable Me 2

I keep going back and forth between Despicable Me 2 and The Croods for that final slot, but I still can foresee a scenario where both gets in while Ernest & Celestine or Monsters University misses. While this category loves animated feature films, last year’s line up shows that they can go all American production as well if they have five films that they like.

• The Act of Killing
• Blackfish
• The Square
• Stories We Tell
• 20 Feet From Stardom

SPOILER: Tim’s Vermeer

The documentary feature category is such a big “no idea” so the clue is throw in some frontrunners (meaning which critics awarded) and then include some odd balls in between. In the event that Tim’s make it, I expect it will be at the expense of The Square. Who knows? Maybe God Loves Uganda can still pull off a surprise here.

• Gravity
• Inside Llewyn Davis
• Nebraska
• Prisoners
• 12 Years a Slave

SPOILER: The Grandmaster

The cinematographers guild took a cop out and nominated seven films instead, and one can make a case for each of the seven films to get nominated. On The Grandmaster‘s side, foreign films nominated by them always makes the cut though what gives the pause is that it is a field of seven and not a field of five. I also foresee an all or nothing scenario for it meaning it gets in both at Foreign Language Film and here or zilch.

• American Hustle
• The Great Gatsby
• The Invisible Woman
• Saving Mr. Banks
• 12 Years a Slave

SPOILER: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I’m not confident with The Invisible Woman here truth be told, but this is one guild that embraces flop Oscar bait films as long as they’re from period pieces. Not only do they nominate them (W.E, Anonymous), they even give wins to some of them (Marie Antoinette, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Young Victoria). Other than that, they can also go gaga over Catching Fire or go contemporary every now and then and nominate Blue Jasmine here.

• American Hustle
• Captain Phillips
• Gravity
• 12 Years a Slave
• Wolf of Wall Street


The duo of Rush actually makes sense since they got in even for Howard’s lesser fare Oscar outputs such as Cinederella Man (over Brokeback Mountain(!) in 2005), so you can choose any of the five above to miss and pick Rush instead.

• American Hustle
• Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
• Lone Ranger

SPOILER: Dallas Buyers Club

With the addition of Hairstyling here, I’m pretty sure they’ll emphasize the fact that they give it as equal importance as that of Make-Up which leads me with my American Hustle prediction. I don’t know which way they’d go with Make-Up if they’ll prefer the natural looking ones (which bodes well for Dallas Buyers Club) or the heavy showy ones (which then benefits Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters). Eitherway, we’re off to some snubs in this category.

• The Book Thief
• Gravity
• Philomena
• Saving Mr. Banks
• 12 Years a Slave

SPOILER: All is Lost

After Alex Ebert’s win at the Globes this year (in addition to his BAFTA nod), it seems like not all is lost yet for All is Lost (sorry terrible pun) to make a case for a nomination. But in that case, I guess I’ll stick with mostly old fashioned picks and baitier picks to be chosen by the Oscars and go with the five above.

I See Fire (The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug)
• Let It Go (Frozen)
The Moon Song (Her)
• Ordinary Love (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
• So You Know What It Feels Like (Short Term 12)

SPOILER: Young and Beautiful (The Great Gatsby)

The only reason I’m not predicting Lana del Rey here is so I won’t jinx her nomination tomorrow and I’d rather risk my prediction to see her getting a nod. After all, this category is such a wasteland the past few years and is in dire need of an overhaul. As a matter of fact, I’m not convinced that The Moon Song will be nominated but I’m just filling up random songs here.

• American Hustle
• Gravity
• The Great Gatsby
• Saving Mr. Banks
• 12 Years a Slave

SPOILER: The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

If The Hobbit really finds its way here, then expect Banks to miss the list, though I think the back and forth worlds of P.L. Travers is something that the Academy eats up. Maybe they even think that they built a Disneyland just for this film. But there’s also a chance of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire making it here especially if they go gaga over the film and shower it with a lot of technical nominations (Costumes, Make Up are also probable). Even Her is likely at this point.

• Captain Phillips
• Frozen
• Gravity
• Iron Man 3
• Lone Survivor

SPOILER: All is Lost

I do not know how dead All is Lost at the moment, but I can see it bumping off any of the three nods above except for Captain Phillips and Gravity. Even Rush has a chance to spoil here and the other sound category.

• Captain Phillips
• Gravity
• Inside Llewyn Davis
• Lone Survivor
• 12 Years a Slave


Like what I posted above, Rush can still be resurrected by the sound guild here and get both Sound nominations. They’re also fond of animated films, so that’s good for Frozen‘s chances.

• Gravity
• The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
• Iron Man 3
• Pacific Rim
• Star Trek: Into Darkness

SPOILER: Lone Ranger

The visual effects guild nominated the same five films but they rarely do yield the same results so expect the populist World War Z or Lone Ranger to make it in. I have no idea who to bump out though that’s why I’m sticking with the five above.

12 Years a Slave
10 –  American HustleGravity
8 –  Captain Phillips
5 –  Saving Mr. Banks, Wolf of Wall Street
4 –  Her, Nebraska
3 –  Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, Frozen, Inside Llewyn Davis, Philomena
2 –  The Great Gatsby, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, Lone Survivor
August: Osage County, Before Midnight, The Book Thief, The Croods, Ernest & Celestine, The Invisible Woman, Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa, Lee Daniel’s The Butler, The Lone Ranger, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,  Monsters University, Prisoners, Short Term 12, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Wind Rises

Happy Oscar nomination day tomorrow! I’m personally rooting for Emma Thompson, anything Her, Lana del Rey, James Gandolfini, and Margot Robbie (no chance but she’s my current favorite) the most, but I’m sure they’ll bring in the crazy. Just less of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and more of Tree of Life and Amour please.

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

71st Golden Globe Awards Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

On Sunday (Monday morning here in Manila),  awards season officially begins with the Golden Globe Awards. It’s the first televised awards show of the season and my favorite thus far because everyone just wants to get drunk to give us memorable moments to cherish. This year, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler serve as the hosts for the second consecutive year. Here are my predictions in all 25 categories.


film drama pic

“12 Years A Slave”
“Captain Phillips”

PREDICTION: GravityFor the biggest award of the night, it’s surprising that we still have a race. Consensus has it that 12 Years a Slave will sweep up all the way, but I think the populist HFPA group can’t resist to reward a box office critically backed up performer like Gravity ala Avatar in 2009.

ALTERNATE: 12 Years a Slave. Like what I said, it’s the more logical option and probably the safe prediction as well.

film actor drama

Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years A Slave
Idris Elba, “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, “All Is Lost

PREDICTION: Chiwetel Ejiofor. Regardless if 12YAS sweeps up or not, Ejiofor will start his road to the Oscar podium with a win here.

ALTERNATE: Matthew McConaughey.  HFPA loves ’em stars, and he’s in a totally baity performance. It’s totally right up their alley.

film actress drama

Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
Judi Dench, “Philomena”
Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks”
Kate Winslet, “Labor Day”

PREDICTION: Cate Blanchett. On a night that will put a spotlight to Woody Allen, it’s fitting that his latest leading lady will also win on the same night.

ALTERNATE: Sandra Bullock. If the HFPA goes Gravity heavy, then expect this major actress to win her second in this category.

film drama mc

“American Hustle”
“Inside Llewyn Davis”
“The Wolf Of Wall Street”

PREDICTION: American Hustle. Most nominated film in this category and Oscar’s Best Picture co-frontrunner.

ALTERNATE: Nebraska. HFPA are big Alexander Payne fans with this last two films winning their respective Best Picture categories. It also received five nominations indicating a huge Globes support.

film actor mc

Christian Bale, “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Oscar Isaac, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Her”

PREDICTION: Leonardo di Caprio. Leo is someone who HFPA loves to nominate. This is his eighth nod and his film is peaking at the right time, so I won’t be surprised if they let the starfuckers in them shine and give it to him instead.

ALTERNATE:  Bruce Dern. It’s really gonna be close especially since this is a crowded category, but I’m thinking that since they didn’t go gaga for Wolf of Wall Street, while Nebraska was overnominated, and this can be the only place where they can reward it.

film actress mc

Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight”
Greta Gerwig, “Frances Ha”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Enough Said”
Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”

PREDICTION:  Amy Adams. I never thought this day would come that Amy Adams will be giving a speech, but it seems like stars are aligned for this five time but still Globeless actress unless…

ALTERNATE: Meryl Streep. HFPA’s most nominated and most winning actress is up for a Harvey material. This is only Weinstein’s best chance of a major win here. They’ve rewarded her for Adaptation, Angels in America, Devil Wears Prada, Julie and Julia, and The Iron Lady just the last ten years, so she’s always in contention.

film supp actor

Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
Daniel Bruhl, “Rush”
Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender, “12 Years A Slave”
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

PREDICTION:  Jared Leto. Also the Oscar frontrunner in this category, I see Globes going with the flow here.

ALTERNATE:  Michael Fassbender. He was nominated already once for 2011’s Shame, and he’s a big star in his own right that can be swept up if HFPA shows some 12YAS major love.

film supp actress

Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years A Slave”
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”

PREDICTION: NOPRAH! Loljk. Jennifer Lawrence. Every now and then, there comes an actress that suddenly becomes an HFPA favorite to the point that it doesn’t matter if they just rewarded her years ago. Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, and Renee Zellweger were some of those. J.Law’s about to enter the circle this year.

ALTERNATE: Lupita Nyong’o. She’s the only alternative here and if she manages to win, then she’s looking good at the Oscars.

film director

Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
Paul Greengrass, “Captain Phillips”
Steve McQueen, “12 Years A Slave”
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
David O. Russell, “American Hustle”

PREDICTION:  Alfonso Cuaron. Gravity is such a director’s achievement that even if 12YAS wins best Picture, Cuaron still wins here.

ALTERNATE: Steve McQueen. Okay just in case they really love 12 Years a Slave.

film screenplay

“12 Years a Slave”
“American Hustle”

PREDICTION: American Hustle. After years of getting lots of nominations, David O. Russell is bound to get his first Globe win.

ALTERNATE: Her. If they’re in the mood to spread the wealth, they’d give this film a win.

foreign language film

“Blue is the Warmest Color”
“The Great Beauty”
“The Hunt”
“The Past”
“The Wind Rises”

PREDICTION: Blue is the Warmest Color. Despite being ineligible at the Oscars, this Palme d’or winner has gained so much buzz to lead this to a Globe victory.

ALTERNATE: The Past. Sure it was snubbed at the Oscars, but this Iranian French drama is from the same director of the 2011 victor in this category.

film animated

“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2”

PREDICTIONS: Frozen. Done deal it’s not even a competition anymore.

ALTERNATE: Despicable Me 2. If they find the minions too irresistible, then they’d go for it.

“Atlas,” Coldplay (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”)
“Let It Go,” Idina Menzel (“Frozen”)
“Ordinary Love,” U2 (“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”)
“Please Mr. Kennedy,” Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver (“Inside Llewyn Davis”)
“Sweeter Than Fiction,” Taylor Swift (“One Chance”)

PREDICTION: Ordinary Love. This win will hit all the right spots: a Harvey victory, a music legend like Bono, and a win for Mandela. This makes sense especially if they pass up on that Frozen song.

ALTERNATE: Let It Go. Frozen wins its second Globe, though this usually marks the kiss of death at the Oscars so maybe it can maintain its frontrunner status.

“All Is Lost”
“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
“The Book Thief”
“12 Years A Slave”

PREDICTION: Gravity. I personally hated the film’s score, so this probably means it will end up winning.

ALTERNATE: 12 Years a Slave. Just like Best Picture Drama, they can give both categories to the same film or spread the wealth instead. My instinct says Gravity wins both.


tv drama

“Breaking Bad”
“Downton Abbey”
“The Good Wife”
“House of Cards”
“Masters of Sex”

PREDICTION: Breaking Bad. It took so long for the Globes to give in to the Bad love, but I think they won’t let the chance pass to reward it as well.

ALTERNATE: House of Cards. This is the type of prestige freshman project that Globes fall hard for, so it can sneak up a win as well.

tv drama actor

Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Michael Sheen, “Masters of Sex”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
James Spader, “The Blacklist”

PREDICTION: Kevin Spacey. For all it’s worth, it’s still surprising that Spacey despite many awards on his mantle is still zero at the Globes. This might be his first legit chance to nab one.

ALTERNATE: Bryan Cranston. Unless they go crazy for Breaking Bad. In that case, Cranston will join those complete with the acting trifecta list of Globes, SAG, and Emmy.

tv drama actress

Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
Taylor Schilling, “Orange is the New Black”
Kerry Washington, “Scandal”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

PREDICTION: Kerry Washington. TV’s current it girl is on her way to pick up her first award as Olivia Pope. This is such a very Globes-y choice I’d really be surprised if she lose.

ALTERNATE: Tatiana Maslany. If there’s only no Kerry Washington in tow, this multiple personality online cult favorite actress is on her way to win her Golden Globe.

tv comedy

“The Big Bang Theory”
“Brooklyn 99”
“Modern Family”
“Parks and Recreation”

PREDICTION: Girls.  With basically no competition, the HFPA might show continuous love to this despite a less buzzed sophomore season.

ALTERNATE: Brooklyn 99. Unless the Globes move on from Girls quickly, it’s the only freshman show in the bunch they can reward.

tv comedy actor

Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
Michael J. Fox, “The Michael J. Fox Show”
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Andy Samberg, “Brooklyn 99”

PREDICTION: Michael J. Fox. He last won for Spin City more than a decade ago already, plus he loaned his son as mr. Golden Globe last year. This will be his indirect payment for that.

ALTERNATE: Andy Samberg. Technically, he’s the only one who still hasn’t won an individual Globe here. Plus he’s the young budding comedian they want to be the first to reward.

tv comedy actress

Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl”
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”

PREDICTION: Julia Louis Dreyfus. You know it’s such a weak year when there’s no newbie nominee in contention. But then again between this and her Actress in a Comedy/Musical nod, Julia Louis Dreyfus is bound to get her second Golden Globe.

ALTERNATE: Lena Dunham. Lena might be their new Sarah Jessica Parker and just sweeps up awards for Girls.

tv movie mini

“Behind the Candelabra”
“Dancing on the Edge”
“Top of the Lake”
“White Queen”

PREDICTION: Behind the Candelabra. It’s not even close.

ALTERNATE: Top of the Lake. Likely not gonna happen but just for the sake of an alternate.

tv movie mini actor

Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra”
Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge”
Idris Elba, “Luther”
Al Pacino, “Phil Spector”

PREDICTION: Michael Douglas. He’s so ahead of this game it’s not even funny.

ALTERNATE: Matt Damon. The only way we see this is unless there’s a tie.

tv movie mini actress

Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton and Taylor”
Rebecca Ferguson, “The White Queen”
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector”
Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”

PREDICTION: Elisabeth Moss. This still Globe unrewarded actress might be Top‘s consolation trophy come Sunday night.

ALTERNATE: Helena Bonham Carter. If the HFPA’s hard-on for their movie stars can’t be controlled, then awarding Helena Bonham Carter for a Liz Taylor performance is hitting two birds with one stone.

tv supporting actor

Josh Charles, “The Good Wife”
Rob Lowe, “Behind the Candelabra”
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”
Corey Stoll, “House of Cards”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”

PREDICTION: Corey Stoll. An actor of his unknown caliber getting in at the Globes mean that they really like this performance, so I guess I’m going with it.

ALTERNATE: Jon Voight. Legendary Oscar winning actor who has won 3 Globes in the past will likely earn his fourth one.

tv supporting actress

Jacqueline Bisset, “Dancing on the Edge”
Janet McTeer, “White Queen”
Hayden Panettiere, “Nashville”
Monica Potter, “Parenthood”
Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”

PREDICTION: Monica Potter. Since the Globes are on NBC, they might give this one instead to their most applauded performance among their dramas.

ALTERNATE: Hayden Panettiere. Who would have thought she’d get in the second year? Maybe this once TV it girl will get her first award.

I’m so excited for the Globes, and let the cray cray begin! As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

Top Local Movies of 2013   3 comments

Last year, I opened my list by saying that 2012 was an enjoyable year in local cinema. Turns out, I was speaking way too soon because 2013 turned out to be an even better one. To say it is great is probably a hyperbole, but at the same time, I say it with much conviction (and even an understatement). The medium of cinema has never been more exciting and adventurous in the past few years than what the 2013 batch has offered. That goes without saying that it didn’t have its share of misfires and mess, but then again, this year is too strong to focus on that. Three titles you wouldn’t see on the list, however, are Lav Diaz’ Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan, Alvin Yapan’s Mga Anino ng Kahapon, and Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s Ang Huling Chacha ni Anita, because I was foolish enough to miss them during their run. With that said, here are my 15 picks for the best in 2013 local cinema:

15. Tuhog

15. TUHOG (Veronica Velasco)

Maindie is one of those terms that sounded so forced you don’t want to hear it ever again, but this Veronica Velasco film of three intertwined stories connected by an unfortunate incident gives it a free pass to be used just this time. Each of the three sub-stories provided interesting characters and back stories that any of them could have been further fleshed out to a whole film. But then again, maybe that’s one of the film’s asset? The movie also boasts of a fitting soundtrack to its story, and the end result is one of 2013’s most fresh mainstream or in this case, maindie, offerings.

14 Otso

14. OTSO (Elwood Perez)

Otso is director Elwood Perez’ first film in ten years, and in this case, it is really worth the wait. I think that doesn’t apply on waiting for Elwood’s comeback only, but for the film as well. Otso started in scenes that were still in multicolor, but it just sets up for an even better film once it turns black and white. I don’t think I’ve necessarily picked up everything that the film wants to show, but it’s part of its appeal. It lures you to its world where the crazy and the wicked happens, and you’re simply hooked.

13. Babagwa

13. BABAGWA (Jason Paul Laxamana)

One of the two Audience choice winners at last year’s Cinemalaya, it’s easy to see why a lot fell in love with this film. Its humor is one that appeals to everyone. But digging deeper, I think it speaks a lot to the curious and inquisitive nature of ourselves. In here, we see two people fleshing out two different personas of each, and we, as the audience, are the witness to all of it. It’s such an engaging scenario that by the time the slow reveal at the end happens, you probably have an idea of what’s about to happen yet you still want to see it happen. It also boasts of an inspired screenplay and one that speaks of the current times.

12. Boy Golden

12. BOY GOLDEN SHOOT TO KILL: The Arturo Porcuna Story (Chito Rono)

I’ve been quite dismissive of this MMFF entry just because it’s Jorge Estregan with a leading lady almost half his age yet again, but I guess surprises do come when you least expect it. Not only does this film serve as a perfect throwback to the yesteryears of enjoyable action flicks, we’re also served with its topnotch technical achievements. The twists and turns of thew characters here, plus that out of nowhere scenes that provided the camp makes it a good reminder that every now and then, never judge a movie by its horribly made poster.

11. Kabisera

11. KABISERA (Alfonso Torre III)

Yes I’m not here for that Breaking Bad comparisons simply because they are two different films that happened to have some similarities. it happens, but I don’t see any “copying” between these two. In Borgy Torre’s directorial debut, Kabisera shows us how one family man’s dreams happen and its good and bad repercussions not only to him but to the people around him. Anchored with a commanding performance by Joel Torre (one of his two this year) and a really great supporting ensemble, Kabisera is really thrilling as it can get.

10. Quick Change

10. QUICK CHANGE (Eduardo Roy Jr.)

Eduardo Roy Jr.’s follow up has a dark humorous tone in it that is simply irresistible. Just like how the characters in the film get totally pumped over having those “shots” that lead character Dorina provides to them, we are really drawn and addicted to what happens. It gives us a peak into this world which not many of us are particularly adept about, and it does a great job in doing so. That of course, and lead actor Mimi Juareza’s haunting turn in it.

09. Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na


One of the common themes I noticed among the Cinema One Originals entries this year is that the films are more experimental in nature. Jet Leyco’s Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na provides a mysterious atmosphere that makes you more interested as the film goes on. It is weird and eerie and that’s what make it work. The film, in its own nature, has a great grasp of what it wants to show in a really inspired manner (the handheld camera effect, black and white parts, gunshot sounds), and it  makes the whole viewing more enjoyable. It’s one film I think I’ll enjoy more in repeat viewings.

08. Purok 7

08. PUROK 7 (Carlo Obispo)

A portrait of an optimistic girl living in small rural town was vividly depicted in Carlo Obispo’s debut feature Purok 7. As we follow the story of 14 year old Diana and her younger brother, we were given an escape, thanks to the eye catching scenery of the country side. But more than that, we witnessed and felt the agony of two kids who have long wanted to be a part of something and be a part of a family. The simplicity of it all is what makes this whole thing fresh, endearing, and leaves a lasting impression.

07. Transit

07. TRANSIT (Hannah Espia)

As the overall winner of last year’s Cinemalaya New Breed category, Hannah Espia’s debut effort Transit is an achievement on so many levels. Not only does its display of technical achievements noteworthy, but its storytelling was also seamlessly interwoven. It’s not everyday that we see this kind of potential on a first time full feature, but for this particular effort, Espia manages to hit the right buttons. And as a bonus, it even ended up as the country’s Oscar Foreign Language Film submission.

06. Blue Bustamante

06. BLUE BUSTAMANTE  (Miko Lovelo)

OFW movies have been done to death already during the past decade, but first time director Miko Livelo puts a new spin on it in his Cinema One Originals entry Blue Bustamante. The expected dramatic scenes were instead replaced with an earned sentimentality that just wins you over. As main protagonist George, Joem Bascon was such a delight to watch as he finds a replacement work in Japan that will not only bring in the money but an even closer bond to his son and family who are miles apart. It’s definitely one of the most fun times I had at the movies for 2013.

05. Debosyon

05. DEBOSYON (Alvin Yapan)

Hypnotizing right from the start, this tale of one’s faith and acceptance  – may it be because of love or commitment or just one’s mere existence – is one that lingers even after the credits roll.  The film, which also is aided by minimal dialogues but really magnificent visuals, takes its viewers to some breathless imagery. The movie rested solely on its two lead’s but they did more than what they were asked for. Plus, the last 20 minutes of this film is still one of the bests I’ve see for this year.

04. Iskalawags

04. ISKALAWAGS (Keith Deligero)

Like OFW films, coming of age films have been done to death now, but Keith Deligero’s refreshing approach in the Cinema One entry Iskalwags puts a more inspired approach to it. It’s not hard to fall for the film as it certainly evokes an environment that is light and not totally sentimental. It sparks a certain touch of youth and playfulness that is rarely captured this well on screen. The voice over also adds a more interesting spin, and it features an ensemble whose innocence translates in a totally natural manner.

03. On the Job

03. ON THE JOB (Erik Matti)

Probably one of the most buzzed films of the year, this picture depicts a setting of a dirty and very complex government; one which needed more than just a person who has an optimistic view to eradicate it and start anew.  It is through this core notion where these characters live and breathe, as Erik Matti gives us a more than satisfying crime action thriller that is gripping and at at the same time, really, really timely. It’s one of the rare movie experiences that makes you even sadder as you come out of the theaters because of how easy one can reflect and connect it to what’s really going on.

02. Sana Dati

02. SANA DATI (Jerrold Tarog)

The cinema has given us lots of love stories. Most of them with happy endings, while some were flat out tragedies.  In Jerrold Tarog’s closing effort to his camera trilogy, he uses the notion of whether to stay stagnant or to let go as a path to understand how love really works. In the case of Lovi Poe’s Andrea, it’s a hard task, especially when you’re ready to move on yet a reminder of the past shows up hours before you’re ready to take the jump. Sana Dati is one of the best stories about love I’ve seen in a long time. And there’s no other way to end the film that with Up Dharma Down’s Indak.

01. Badil

01. BADIL (Chito Rono)

At one point, it doesn’t even seem that this would make it at the Sineng Pambansa festival last August. But thankfully, it did. Chito Rono’s entry which focuses in a small Samar town on the eve of election day is as arresting as one can get. Like On the Job, it’s a depiction of what’s wrong in a society, but this one is less technically polished but of the same, if not even more, intensity. It’s a film that has a lot of long continuous shots, probably making the whole experience more captivating. It also has a good ensemble with a very intense Jhong Hilario leading the ship.  Badil was an entry in the All Master’s Edition of the Sineng Pambansa, and with his controlled and almost restrained direction, Rono definitely lives up to the challenge.

You can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl