Archive for December 2015

88th Oscars Predictions: December Edition   Leave a comment

After the critics and the televised precursors unveiled their nominations, here’s the December roundup of my Oscar predictions. To say this year’s crazy is an understatement — that Spotlight Supporting Actor debacle, the rise of Trumbo, Mad Max made its case, and Joy underwhelms. Here’s my last batch of predictions before the final one in January.

best picture

best director

best actor

best actress

best supporting actor

best supporting actress

best original screenplay

best adapted screenplay

animated docu

flf original song

tech 1

tech 2

tech 3

Current tally:
10: Mad Max: Fury Road
9: The Revenant
8: Carol
7: The Martian
6: Spotlight
5: The Big Short, Star Wars: The Force Awaken
4: Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, The Hateful Eight, Inside Out, Room
3: Brooklyn
2: Anomalisa, Shaun the Sheep, Sicario, Steve Jobs

Talk to me on Twitter: @nikowl

Posted December 17, 2015 by Nicol Latayan in Uncategorized

73rd Golden Globe Awards Nominations Predictions   Leave a comment

After last night’s SAG nominations, we’re hopeful that at least Golden Globes will also bring the crazy. Last night, Trumbo went big, The Martian was snubbed, and the Spotlight guys probably split votes.  Let’s see if the Globes follow suit or if they do their own thing. Here are my predictions in all 25 categories.

FILM CATEGORIES:

film drama

FILM DRAMA
“Bridge of Spies”
“Beasts of No Nation”
“Carol”
“The Revenant”
“Spotlight”

NEXT IN LINE:Brooklyn“, “Room“, “The Hateful Eight

FILM ACTOR, DRAMA
Johnny Depp, “Black Mass
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl
Will Smith, “Concussion

NEXT IN LINE: Michael Caine, “Youth“, Tom Hanks, “Bridge of Spies“, Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo

FILM ACTRESS, DRAMA
Cate Blanchett “Carol
Brie Larson “Room
Rooney Mara, “Carol
Saoirse Ronan “Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander “The Danish Girl

NEXT IN LINE: Carey Mulligan, “Suffragette”, Charlize Theron, “Mad Max: Fury Road“, Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years

film comedy

PICTURE: MUSICAL/COMEDY
“The Big Short”
“The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
“Joy”
“The Martian”
“Trainwreck”

NEXT IN LINE: “Sisters”, “The Intern”, “Spy”

FILM ACTOR, MUSICAL/COMEDY
Christian Bale, “The Big Short
Steve Carell, “The Big Short
Bradley Cooper, “Burnt
Matt Damon, “The Martian
Joaquin Phoenix, “Irrational Man

NEXT IN LINE: Robert de Niro, “The Intern“, Al Pacino,”Danny Collins“, Bill Hader, “Trainwreck

FILM ACTRESS, MUSICAL/COMEDY
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy
Amy Schumer, “Trainwreck
Maggie Smith, “The Lady in the Van
Meryl Streep, “Ricki and the Flash
Lily Tomlin, “Grandma

NEXT IN LINE: Anne Hathaway, “The Intern“, Bel Powley, “The Diary of a Teenage Girl“, Melissa McCarthy, “Spy

film supporting

FILM SUPPORTING ACTOR
Benicio del Toro, “Sicario
Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation
Michael Keaton,“Spotlight
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies

NEXT IN LINE: Tom Hardy, “The Revenant“, Walton Goggins, “The Hateful Eight“, Sylvester Stallone, “Creed

FILM SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight
Helen Mirren, “Trumbo
Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs

NEXT IN LINE: Jane Fonda, “Youth”, Julia Roberts, “Secret in their Eyes“, Alicia Vikander, “Ex Machina

FILM DIRECTING
Todd Haynes, “Carol
Alejandro G. Inarritu, “The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight
George Miller,”Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott, “The Martian

NEXT IN LINE: David O. Russell, “Joy“, Steven Spielberg, “Bridge of Spies“, Quentin Tarantino, “The Hateful Eight

FILM SCREENPLAY:
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Joy”
“Spotlight”
“Steve Jobs”

NEXT IN LINE:Carol“, “The Hateful Eight”, “The Martian

film flf animated song

ANIMATED FEATURE:
“Anomalisa”
“The Good Dinosaur”
“Home”
“Inside Out”
“Minions”

NEXT IN LINE: “The Peanuts Movie”, “Shaun the Sheep Movie

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
Labyrinth of Lies” (Germany)
Mustang” (France)
Phoenix” (Germany/Poland)
The Second Mother” (Brazil)
Son of Saul” (Hungary)

NEXT IN LINE:A War” (Denmark), “Dheepan” (France), “The Clan” (Argentina)

FILM SCORE:
“Carol”
“The Danish Girl”
“The Hateful Eight”
“The Revenant”
“Sicario”

NEXT IN LINE: , “Bridge of Spies”, “Mad Max: Fury Road”, “Inside Out”

FILM SONG:
Earned It” (50 Shades of Gray)
Love Me Like You Do” (50 Shades of Grey)
Phenomenal” (Southpaw)
See You Again” (Furious 7)
Writing’s On the Wall” (Spectre)

NEXT IN LINE:One Kind of Love” (Love & Mercy), “Flashlight” (Pitch Perfect 2), “Cold One” (Ricki and the Flash)

TELEVISION:

tv drama

TV DRAMA SERIES
“Empire”
“Game of Thrones”
“House of Cards”
“Mr. Robot”
“Narcos”

NEXT IN LINE: “Better Call Saul”, “Homeland”, “The Leftovers”

TV DRAMA ACTOR
Terence Howard, “Empire
Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot
Wagner Moura, “Narcos
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards

NEXT IN LINE: Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul“; Justin Theroux, “The Leftovers“; Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline

TV DRAMA ACTRESS
Claire Danes, “Homeland
Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder
Taraji P. Henson, “Empire
Krysten Ritter, “Jessica Jones
Robin Wright, “House of Cards

NEXT IN LINE: Jaimie Alexander, “Blindspot“; Priyanka Chopra, “Quantico“; Ruth Wilson, “The Affair

tv comedy

TV COMEDY SERIES
“Master of None”
“Orange is the New Black”
“Transparent”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
“Veep”

NEXT IN LINE: “The Last Man on Earth”, “Casual”, “Silicon Valley”

TV COMEDY ACTOR
Aziz Ansari, “Master of None
Billy Eichner, “Difficult People
Will Forte, “Last Man on Earth
Rob Lowe, “The Grinder
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent

NEXT IN LINE: Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish“; Andy Samberg, “Brooklyn Nine Nine“; Thomas Middleditch, “Silicon Valley

TV COMEDY ACTRESS
Rachel Bloom, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Julia Louis Dreyfus, “Veep
Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Gina Rodriguez, “Jane the Virgin
Constance Wu, “Fresh Off the Boat

NEXT IN LINE: Jamie Lee Curtis, “Scream Queens“; Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie“; Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie

tv longform

TV MOVIE/LIMITED SERIES
“Bessie”
“Deutschland 83”
“Fargo”
“Show Me A Hero”
“Wolf Hall”

NEXT IN LINE: “American Crime”, “American Horror Story: Hotel”, “True Detective”

TV MOVIE/LIMITED SERIES ACTOR
Idris Elba, “Luther
Oscar Isaac, “Show Me A Hero
Jason Isaacs, “Dig
Mark Rylance, “Wolf Hall
Patrick Wilson, “Fargo

NEXT IN LINE: David Oyelowo, “Nightingale“; Colin Farrell, “True Detective 2“; Timothy Hutton, “American Crime

TV MOVIE/MINISERIES ACTRESS
Kirsten Dunst, “Fargo
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime
Nicole Kidman, “Grace of Monaco
Lady Gaga, “American Horror Story: Hotel
Queen Latifah, “Bessie

NEXT IN LINE: Rachel McAdams, “True Detective“; Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Hotel“; Saoirse Ronan, “Stockholm, Pennsylvania

tv supporting

TV SUPPORTING ACTOR
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Ted Danson, “Fargo
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones
Damian Lewis, “Wolf Hall
Christian Slater, “Mr. Robot

NEXT IN LINE: Jussie Smollett, “Empire“; Pedro Pascal, “Narcos“; Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul

TV SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black
Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones
Mo’nique, “Bessie
Regina King, “American Crime
Jean Smart, “Fargo

NEXT IN LINE: Julie Walters, “Indian Summer“; Allison Janney, “Mom“; Niecy Nash, “Scream Queens

The Golden Globe nominations will be announced tonight at 9PM in Manila time by Jeremy Piven, Kate Beckinsale, Peter Krause, and Paula Patton.

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

 

22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominations Predictions   2 comments

As we get closer to the Oscar nomination announcement, the start of the official televised season is here! This week, we’ll be learning the SAG, Golden Globe, and welp BFCA Awards nominees. The SAG Awards is the one that’s been voted by the acting guild, the largest guild voting in the Academy. That said, the actors guild is also really different from the actual Oscar actors guild considering that in SAG, more than 2000 voters are eligible including the TV stars and basically everyone who has a SAG card and has been paying their annual dues. That said, this is still a solid starter for a road to Oscar glory. Here’s what I’m predicting to be in contention for an “Actor” statuette next week.

FILM NOMINEES:

film ensemble.png

 

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE:
The Big Short
Brooklyn
The Martian
Spotlight
Steve Jobs

NEXT IN LINE: RoomBridge of Spies, Straight Outta Compton, Black Mass

The big story with the SAG committee is the screener. Sending no screener will be the kiss of death in being nominated here. That’s why films such as Sweeney Todd, Django UnchainedThe Wolf of Wall Street, and Selma weren’t nominated here is because they didn’t send screeners. This year, The Hateful Eight didn’t submit so there goes their nomination. Both Joy and The Revenant did however, but they sent it a bit late that’s why they’d likely to miss here. As for those that will *actually* get nominated, Spotlight is probably the frontrunner here as it’s also sweeping ensemble awards left and right. Then there’s the star studded cast of The Big Short doing a lot of SAG campaigning, and they surely want to invite Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell and Christian Bale so count them in. The Martian is the Matt Damon show, but they had all these other respected actors playing second fiddle so I guess we can count it safe. Brooklyn is overperforming a lot lately, and this reminds me of An Education which also scored a nomination here in 2009. As for Steve Jobs, sure it was a toxic campaign for the whole team in terms of its award chances but the SAGs are more forgiving when it comes to failed Oscar baits, and this is still a star studded cast so there’s that.

film actor

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Matt Damon, “The Martian
Johnny Depp, “Black Mass
Leonardo di Caprio, “The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl

NEXT IN LINE: Ian McKellen, “Mr. Holmes“, Michael Caine, “Youth“, Steve Carell, “The Big Short

It really feels a bit weird that I don’t have any veteran in my final five, but sometimes these things do really happen. Matt Damon is in the populist choice box office hit of the year, and you know how much the SAG loves to reward those. And while The Revenant won’t materialize in Ensemble, it solidifies its lead actor’s status in the race with its late screeners. We really shouldn’t be talking about Johnny Depp in this race at all, but I guess it’s one of those inevitable things that we really dread but is happening. WB is pushing for Black Mass so hard, and Depp is still a recognizable name so he’s happening here. Then we have a bunch of underwhelmed contenders: both Steve Jobs and The Danish Girl flopped either in box office or with critics, but these are still baity actor-ly turns that will be nominated. As mentioned, watch out for either Ian McKellen of Mr. Holmes or Michael Caine of Youth to surprise.

film actress

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Cate Blanchett, “Carol
Brie Larson, “Room
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy
Carey Mulligan, “Suffragette
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn

NEXT IN LINE: Lily Tomlin, “Grandma“, Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years“, Blythe Danner, “I’ll See You in My Dreams

Blanchett, Larson, and Ronan are all locks at this point. Jennifer Lawrence can be snubbed if enough voters didn’t see Joy in time (because of the late screeners), but considering she’s the biggest movie star in the world, still expect her to get in. The last spot I’m giving to Carey Mulligan as she really rallied around doing a lot of SAG Q&As and screenings, but the SAG is one of those who recognize early screeners and considering that the first two screeners sent to SAG this year were I’ll See You in My Dreams and Grandma, then maybe Blythe Danner and/or Lily Tomlin can crash this race.

film supp actor

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Michael Keaton, “Spotlight
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed
Jacob Tremblay, “Room

NEXT IN LINE: Paul Dano, “Love and Mercy“, Christian Bale, “The Big Short“, Benicio del Toro, “Sicario

Mark Rylance is considered as a theater god and an actor’s actor, so he’s in. He’s also the place where the SAG can recognize the whole Bridge of Spies ensemble. Then there’s the pairing of Spotlight actors Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo as sure contenders. With Creed breaking out last Thanksgiving, expect the actors guild (of all places) to embrace the comeback of Sly. As for the last spot, the SAG has been known to be the place to reward child acting performances from Keisha Castle Hughes to Freddie Highmore and Hailee Steinfeld to Abigail Breslin (remember Quvenzhane Wallis was ineligible during her year) so Jacob Tremblay makes sense in here.

film supp actress

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Jane Fonda, “Youth
Rooney Mara, “Carol
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs

NEXT IN LINE: Elizabeth Banks,”Love and Mercy“, Helen Mirren, “Trumbo“, Joan Allen, “Room

Unlike the Golden Globes, the SAGs has no power to go against category fraud. They put the contenders where the studio is campaigning them; thus both Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander will compete here. And they’re locks for nominations already. The same can be said for Kate Winslet who has won two SAGs in this category too. Jane Fonda is this year’s veteran contender, and considering that SAG only started 22 years ago, expect them to play catch up with Jane and nominate her. The last spot can go to Elizabeth Banks who the actors really seem to love and respect, Helen Mirren who’s your default filler nominee, or Joan Allen in that comeback narrative, but I expect the strong support of Spotlight to carry over Rachel McAdams in here.

TELEVISION NOMINEES:

drama ensemble

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES:
Downton Abbey
Empire
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men

NEXT IN LINE: Homeland, The Good Wife, American Crime

As per the SAG TV committee, the limited series such as American Horror Story, True Detective, Fargo, and American Crime are eligible here instead of the longform categories. But FX didn’t submit any of its shows in here, so don’t count on them. Thus expect, usual nominees Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, and House of Cards to get nominations as well as ratings juggernaut Empire, and a comeback farewell nod for the cast of multiple winner Mad Men.

drama actor

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES:
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men
Terence Howard, “Empire
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards

NEXT IN LINE: Patrick Wilson, “Fargo“, Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline“, Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul

Only Peter Dinklage and Kevin Spacey are really the locks here, but considering they love giving farewell nods (and I’m predicting it in Ensemble), so Jon Hamm makes sense as a contender. Terrence Howard is a previous multiple nominee and a SAG Ensemble winner so I can see him making it in. For that last spot, there’s Kyle Chandler and Patrick Wilson but maybe a Better Call Saul actor will be recognized, and I’ll go with the lead actor Bob Odenkirk.

drama actress

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES:
Claire Danes, “Homeland
Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder
Taraji P. Henson, “Empire
Jean Smart,”Fargo
Robin Wright, “House of Cards

NEXT IN LINE: Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black“, Juliana Margulies, “The Good Wife“, Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey

Probably the most crowded category, it’s no wonder that last year provided us with six nominees (and they’re all eligible again!) That said, I’m sticking with five this year. Current winner Viola Davis, Claire Danes, and Robin Wright both are the strongest bets here. Then there’s Taraji P.Henson in the most buzzed character in TV right now. The last spot I’m giving to Jean Smart just to have some Fargo representation, even if I can see Dame Maggie Smith easily getting that last spot.

comedy ensemble

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES:
Grace and Frankie
Modern Family
Orange is the New Black
Veep
Wet Hot American Summer

NEXT IN LINE: Brooklyn Nine Nine, The Big Bang Theory, Transparent

The cast of Modern FamilyOrange is the New Black, and Veep are sure contenders here already. I think the old folks at SAG will recognize Grace and Frankie here despite it being a small cast considering that small cast are all respected veterans both in TV and in film. As for that last spot, just for the star studded aspect of it, I’m going with Wet Hot American Summer just because they want Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and the rest of the cast to be included in the party.

comedy actor

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES:
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family
Will Forte, “The Last Man on Earth
William H. Macy, “Shameless
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent

NEXT IN LINE: Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish“, Martin Sheen, “Grace and Frankie“, Bradley Cooper, “Wet Hot
American Summer

After his Emmy win, I find it hard to see them snubbing Jeffrey Tambor again given this role and its clout. Then there’s current winner William H. Macy and another champion in this category Ty Burrell. Jim Parsons is still one of the top comedic actors right now and The Big Bang Theory is still the ratings juggernaut so expect him here. As for the last spot, we can expect anybody from Don Cheadle to Martin Sheen, but I’d say Will Forte gets that last spot.

comedy actress

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES:
Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie
Allison Janney, “Mom
Julia Louis Dreyfus, “Veep
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie

NEXT IN LINE: Julie Bowen, “Modern Family“, Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation“, Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie

Considering they won’t recognize Lily Tomlin for her film work, then expect her to get in for her TV turn instead. Then, JLD, Uzo, and Edie Falco are strong bets as well. Considering she’s a SAG and Emmy favorite, I think that Allison Janney can finally enter the race with her scene stealing role in Mom. That said, don’t count out a farewell nod for Amy Poehler here.

movie mini actor

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A MINISERIES:
Idris Elba, “Luther
Oscar Isaac, “Show Me A Hero
Damian Lewis, “Wolf Hall
David Oyelowo, “Nightingale
Mark Rylance, “Wolf Hall

NEXT IN LINE: Bill Paxton, “Texas Rising“, Bill Murray, “A Very Murray Christmas“, Louis Gossett Jr, “The Book of Negroes

While he might not be nominated for his work in Beasts of No Nation, Idris Elba can still attend the SAGs, thanks to his TV work for Luther. There’s also Oscar Isaac in HBO’s only eligible miniseries thus far… Show Me a Hero. Following his Emmy nod earlier this year, Davod Oyelowo will also get in for his one man show in Nightingale.  Lastly, expect the yin-yang pairing of Wolf Hall actors Mark Rylance and Damian Lewis to close the race.

movie mini actress

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A MINISERIES:
Catherine Keener, “Show Me A Hero
Nicole Kidman, “Grace of Monaco
Queen Latifah, “Bessie
Mo’nique, “Bessie
Winona Ryder, “Show Me A Hero

NEXT IN LINE: Saoirse Ronan, “Stockholm, Pennsylvania“, Susan Sarandon, “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe“, Claire Foy, “Wolf Hall

With everyone else and their limited series ineligible here, you know the category is empty that Nicole Kidman in freaking Grace of Monaco is a prediction. But really, this field is THAT empty. Joining her are two pairs of actress from the other HBO films. There’s likely winner Queen Latifah and Mo’nique for Bessie and Catherine Keener and Winona Ryder (who surprised in this category here a few years ago) for Show Me A Hero.

There you have it! The nominees for the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards will happen on December 9, at 9PM (Manila time).

18 Films to Watch Out For: 88th Oscars Best Foreign Language Film   Leave a comment

Come mid-week of December, the Academy Foreign Language Film Committee will unveil the shortlist of who will proceed in getting a chance to be nominated at the 88th Oscars for the Best Foreign Language Film category. The two-month long screening started last October 19 with India’s “Court” opening this year and will end on December 14 with Latvia’s “Modris.” This year, 80 countries are eligible to be nominated after Afghanistan’s disqualification since the announcement.

As always, the process is as follows: after all the screenings are made by the foreign language film committee, the list will be trimmed down to nine: six of those were the top vote getters from popularity vote. The other three will be chosen by a special selected committee that will save three more from the rest of the film that finished seventh down to the last. From this list is where the final five nominees will be announced alongside all the other categories on Oscar nomination morning come January.

This year offers a really eclectic group of submissions ranging from Cannes favorites, past Oscar nominees in this category, and some popular picks. And while the shortlist can still surprise us every now and then with its inclusions (Estonia’s “Tangerines” last year came out of nowhere) and exclusions (remember when Spain’s “Blancanieves” was a shoo-in here?), here are 18 films you should watch out for.

Argentina

After last year’s nomination for “Relatos Salvajes“, Argentina aims a back to back nomination in this category. This year, they’ve submitted the Venice entry “El Clan” which won its director Pablo Trapero the Silver Lion. Based on the Puccio family of Argentina, the film hasn’t only been a hit with critics, but a box office performer as well. That’s a strong combo that helps the film’s chances for a Top 9 mention.

Belgium

Every now and then, the Academy decides to pick up a quirky comedy in its top nine selection. The past few years we’ve seen Sweden’s “Simple Simon” and Denmark’s “Superclasico” making the shortlist. This year, Jaco van Dormael’s Belgian fill fits the bill. The film revolves around God living in a Brussels apartment tormenting the people. It got good word when it premiered at the Directors Fortnight at Cannes and stars Oscar nominee Catherine Deneuve to boot.

Brazil

One of the most buzzed contenders this year is Brazil’s “The Second Mother” helmed by female director Anna Muylaert. Not only is this one of the more popular films of the year,but its US distributor Oscilloscope Films is campaigning the hell out of it. After all, this is picking up awards left and right starting from that acting win in Sundance up to its Audience Award in Berlin. This is the type of a crowd-pleasing film that can easily get in a popular vote.

Chile

After giving its country their first ever nomination three years ago with No, Chile submitted another Pablo Larrain film in contention this year. In “El Club“, four retired Catholic priests in a small Chilean town share a house where they reveal and open their secrets and sins. This drama seems like one that can appeal to the Academy voting crowd, so this Berlin entry stands a good chance of moving on to the next round.

Colombia

Hoping for their breakthrough nomination this year is Colombia who has submitted 22 times in the past but to no avail. This year, they went with arthouse raved film “Embrace of the Serpent” which has been sweeping a lot of  wins from different festivals around the world from India to Cannes and Odessa to Lima. The movie, about two scientists looking for a rare plant, was also nominated just last week at the Independent Film Spirit Awards.

Denmark

Denmark is one of those countries that perform well enough in this category. 12 overall nominations including a back to back win in 1987 and 1988 for “Babette’s Feast” and “Pelle, the Conqueror” is a rare achievement for any country in this category. Just in the past five years alone, four of those finished in the top 9, three got nominated, and they won their third one in 2010. This year, they went with “A War“, about a Danish military team in Afghanistan captured by the Talibans. If that’s not baity, then you don’t probably know what that means.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia is still fairly new to the Oscar race, as their first submission was only in 2010. That said, don’t underestimate this small gem, as it has narrative written all over it being the first Ethiopian film to ever participate at the Cannes Film Festival. It also screened at Toronto earlier this year, and had critics calling it “endearing.” Working that popular crowd votes, I see.

France

Gaining quick momentum right now is France’s entry “Mustang.” Never mind its Turkish contribution, as it wasn’t disqualified (which makes it an acceptable French submission by the committee). But “Mustang” has been on an upward trajectory since its Toronto screening back in September. The story of five orphaned sisters growing up in a conservative society, the film is the perfect combination of a critically backed movie that has a wide voters appeal, and I can see it challenging the frontrunners to a win if it continues to increase its buzz.

Germany

The first of the two Sony Pictures Classic entry this year is Germany’s “Labyrinth of Lies.” Germany whose last trip to the Oscars was still back in 2009 for “The White Ribbon” can see themselves in contention again for this drama film that received lots of raves at this year’s TIFF. When a young prosecutor opened a case again to bring justice to the people involved,it also opened a lot of secrets during the whole process. This type of crime drama has brought lots of nominations and even wins to some of the other countries before, so it’s likely that this German entry can be another addition to the list.

Guatemala

Like Ethiopia, Guatemala is another country that’s fairly to the whole Oscar process. 21 years after their first submission in 1994, they’re in contention again with “Ixcanul.” Winning the Alfred Bauer Prize at this year’s Berlinale, the movie which was written and directed by Jayro Bustamante tells the story of an underage woman whose unwanted pregnancy affected her own planned destiny is the type of small scale stories that might appeal to the voters.

Hungary

Probably the frontrunner in this category, if asked to pick one, is the Cannes breakout movie of the year. Son of Saul, director Laszlo Nemes’ debut feature, set in the Holocaust period is one that’s likely to sweep the Foreign Language Film winners for the year. It also helps that it’s being backed by one of the most competent distributors this year, Sony Pictures Classics. With how far the film has been out front, you know SPC would have screwed this up if it fails to win this Oscar come February.

Iceland

24 years since their only nomination in this category for “Children of Nature“, Iceland is likely looking at their overdue follow up nom. The winner of this year’s Un Certain Regard section at Cannes, this dark comedy about two brothers who haven’t spoken to each in each other in 40 years perfectly hits all targets of critically acclaimed movie, appealing to Academy demographic, and one that also boasts of competent and decent production. If the voters are sick of Holocaust already, this can be their go-to alternate.

India

Court” is a controversial choice for India this year. Don’t fret though, as it’s positive controversy. Seems like this is the film that everyone in India roots for to be submitted, and they actually did. The film speaks a lot about their own system, and that is some sort of a catnip in this category. India’s last nomination was still way back in 2001 for “Lagaan“, and this is the closest they’ve come to nomination #4.

Jordan

Aside from Holocaust, another appealing subject for Oscar to consider you in this category is a film that features a child in its subject. Just in the last ten years alone, there was that win for “Tsotsi” and nominations for “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Tsotsi.” In “Theeb“, not only is the kid the central figure of the story, but it also was set in the midst of World War I. Kids and wars is an uber combo that they probably might not resist. Its director also picked up the Best Director plum at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

Norway

Norway’s “The Wave” probably sounds like that middlebrow American disaster film, but I think that’s what adds to its appeal and chances. It’s a story of the triumph of the human spirit set in a small Norwegian town that will be devastated by a 250 feet tsunami. It’s also based on a distinct tsunami incident that happened in Norway almost 80 years ago. With competent visual effects and production, as well as an easy story to follow, this can be a crowd pleaser as it was a success story.

Romania

Surprisingly enough, Romania hasn’t been in an Oscar race though they’ve came close with a Top 9 mention for Cannes winner “Beyond the Hills.” This year, they’re targeting to get that elusive first nod with Silver Bear Best Director Radu Jude’s “Aferim! which gives an interesting take on history in terms of prejudices, beliefs, and nationalities. That sounded more like a beauty pageant travel, but I can see this film appealing with the voters both because of its theme and its production.

Sweden

If not Belgium, then maybe Sweden can score another comedy in the top 9 shortlist, thanks to Roy Andersson’s “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence.” After all, they came close already in entering the top nine but missing the actual nod in 2008 (for “Everlasting Moments“), 2010 (for “Simple Simon“) and last year (for “Force Majeure“) that this might be the vehicle to that 15th nomination. It’s not hard to see it getting nominated as it won Best Film in Venice and has received overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Taiwan

Third time might be the charm for acclaimed auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien after his two earlier films (1989’s “A City of Sadness” and 1998’s “Flowers of Shanghai” both failed to make the cut during those respective years. That said, his comeback film “The Assassin” is one of Cannes’ success stories this year, and with HHH himself even winning the plum for Best Directing. This is a critically backed film reaping best of the years mentions, and while there’s still a chance it can get snubbed altogether, we can count on the committee to probably save it for a Top 9 placement.

Right now, I feel comfortable in thinking that “Son of Saul“, “Mustang“, and “Rams” are the three strongest contenders. But then again, it’s difficult to pin down what they will really go for. And which country will benefit from the surprise out of nowhere mention? I’d probably ranked these eighteen films as such:

STRONG BETS:
01. “Son of Saul” (Hungary)
02. “Mustang” (France)
03. “Rams” (Iceland)

LIKELY GOOD CHANCES:
04. “A War” (Denmark)
05. “The Second Mother” (Brazil)
06. “The Clan” (Argentina)
07. “The Wave” (Norway)
08. “The Club” (Chile)

IN THE MIX:
09. “The Brand New Testament” (Belgium)
10. “The Assassin” (Taiwan)
11. “Labyrinth of Lies” (Germany)
12. “Ixcanul (Volcano)” (Guatemala)
13. “Theeb” (Jordan)
14. “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence” (Sweden)

DON’T BE SURPRISED IF THEY WERE SNUBBED:
15. “Court” (India)
16. “Lamb” (Ethiopia)
17. “Aferim!” (Romania)
18. “Embrace of the Serpent” (Colombia)

Talk to me about it on Twitter: @nikowl

58th Grammy Awards Nominations Predictions   Leave a comment

On December 7, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will be unveiling the nominees for the 58th Grammy Awards. The Grammy, currently considered as the top award in music, will be given in more than 70 different categories for the music eligibility period of October 1, 2014 up to September 30, 2015. I think Taylor Swift and The Weeknd will lead this year’s nominees. Here are my nominee predictions in 31 different categories.

GENERAL FIELD:

01 AOTY

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
“Sonic Highways” (Foo Fighters)
“To Pimp A Butterfly” (Kendrick Lamar)
“Traveller” (Chris Stapleton)
“1989” (Taylor Swift)
“Beauty Behind the Madness” (The Weeknd)

NEXT IN LINE: “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” (Florence + the Machine), “Sound and Color” (Alabama Shakes), “Black Messiah” (D’Angelo and the Vanguard), “Uptown Special” (Mark Ronson)

02 ROTY

RECORD OF THE YEAR:
“See You Again” (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth)
“Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars)
“Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran)
“Blank Space” (Taylor Swift)
“Can’t Feel My Face” (The Weeknd)

NEXT IN LINE: “Love Me Like You Do” (Ellie Goulding), “Lean On” (Major Lazer and DJ Snake), “FourFiveSeconds” (Rihanna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney), “Shut Up and Dance” (Walk the Moon)

03 SOTY

SONG OF THE YEAR:
“Girl Crush” (Little Big Town)
“Fight Song” (Rachel Platten)
“Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars)
“Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran)
“Blank Space” (Taylor Swift)

NEXT IN LINE: “Alright” (Kendrick Lamar), “Can’t Feel My Face” (The Weeknd),”See You Again” (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth), “Glory” (John Legend and Common)

04 BNA

BEST NEW ARTIST:
Leon Bridges
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor
Walk the Moon

NEXT IN LINE: Hozier, Fetty Wap, CHVRCHES, FKA Twigs

POP FIELD:

05 Pop Solo

POP SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Justin Bieber, “What Do You Mean?”
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do”
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift, “Black Space”
The Weeknd,”Can’t Feel My Face”

NEXT IN LINE: Ariana Grande, “One Last Time”, Jason Derulo, “Want To Want Me”, Meghan Trainor, “Lips Are Movin”, Pharrell Williams, “Freedom”, Tori Kelly, “Should’ve Been Us”, Rachel Platten, “Fight Song”, Sia, “Alive”

06 Pop Group Collab

POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE:
Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Rihanna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds”
Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
Meghan Trainor featuring John Legend, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”

NEXT IN LINE: Maroon 5, “Sugar”, Walk the Moon, “Shut Up And Dance (Acoustic)”, Sam Smith featuring John Legend, “Lay Me Down”, Major Lazer, DJ Snake featuring MO, “Lean On”, Ariana Grande featuring The Weeknd, “Love Me Harder”, Fifth Harmony featuring Kid Ink, “Worth It”

07 Pop Album

POP VOCAL ALBUM:
Jason Derulo, “Everything is 4”
Florence and The Machine, “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful”
Mark Ronson, “Uptown Special”
Taylor Swift, “1989”
Meghan Trainor, “Title”

NEXT IN LINE: Carly Rae Jepsen, “E•MO•TION”, Kelly Clarkson, “Piece By Piece”, Lana Del Rey, “Honeymoon”, Tori Kelly, “Unbreakable Smile”

DANCE/ELECTRONICA FIELD:

08 Dance Recording

DANCE RECORDING:
Alesso featuring Tove Lo, “Heroes (We Could Be)”
The Chemical Brothers, “Go”
Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne, “Real Love”
Disclosure, “Bang That”
Skrillex & Diplo featuring Justin Bieber, “Where Are U Now”

NEXT IN LINE: Calvin Harris ft. John Newman, “Blame”, Royksopp & Robyn, “Monument”, Valentino Khan, “Deep Down Low”, Zedd featuring John Bellion, “Beautiful Now”

09 Electronic Album

DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM:
The Chemical Brothers, “Born In the Echoes”
Disclosure, “Caracal”
Jamie xx, “In Colour”
Royskopp, “The Inevitable End”
Skrillex & Diplo, “Skrillex and Diplo Present
Jack U”

NEXT IN LINE: Galantis, “Pharmacy”, Hot Chip, “Why Make Sense?”, Zedd, “True Colors”, Kaskade, “Automatic”

ROCK AND ALTERNATIVE FIELD:

10 Rock Performance

ROCK PERFORMANCE:
Ryan Adams, “Bad Blood”
Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Foo Fighters, “Something From Nothing”
Hozier, “Someone New”
Mumford & Sons, “Believe”

NEXT IN LINE: Fall Out Boy, “Uma Thurman”, Muse, “Mercy”, Tame Impala, “Let It Happen”, Imagine Dragons, “I Bet My Life”, AC/DC, “Rock or Bust”

11 Rock Song

ROCK SONG:
Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
James Bay, “Hold Back the River”
Foo Fighters, “Something From Nothing”
Mumford & Sons, “Believe”
Muse, “Mercy”

NEXT IN LINE: Hozier, “Someone New”, Fall Out Boy, “Uma Thurman”, Florence and The Machine, “What Kind Of Man”, Tame Impala, “Let It Happen”

12 Rock Album

ROCK ALBUM:
Ryan Adams, “1989”
Foo Fighters, “Sonic Highways”
Hozier, “Hozier”
Imagine Dragons, “smoke + Mirrors”
Mumford & Sons, “Wilder Mind”

NEXT IN LINE: Muse, “Drones”, AC/DC, “Rock or Bust”, James Bay, “Chaos and the Calm”, Twenty One Pilots, “Bluryface”

13 Alternative Album

ALTERNATIVE ALBUM:
Alabama Shakes, “Sound & Color”
Björk, “Vulnicura”
Tame Impala, “Currents”
Sufjan Stevens, “Carrie & Lowell”
Wilco, “Star Wars”

NEXT IN LINE: FKA Twigs, “M3LL155X”, Beach House, “Depression Cherry”, Modest Mouse, “Strangers To Ourselves”, Father John Misty, “I Love You, Honeybear”

R&B FIELD:

14 RNB Performance

R&B PERFORMANCE:
Beyonce, “7/11”
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Really Love”
Miguel, “Coffee”
Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money”
The Weeknd, “Earned It”

NEXT IN LINE: Omarion featuring Chris Brownand Jhene Aiko, “Post to Be”, Ciara, “I Bet”, Drake featuring PartyNextDoor, “Wednesday Night Interlude, Mark Ronson feat. Keyone Star, “I Can’t Lose”

15 Traditional RNB

TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE:
Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Ain’t That Easy”
Lalah Hathaway, “Little Ghetto Boy”
Jill Scott, “Back Together”
Tyrese, “Shame”

NEXT IN LINE: Jazmine Sullivan, “Let it Burn”, Gary Clark Jr., “Our Love”, Babyface, “We’ve Got Love”, Charlie Wilson, “My Favorite Part of You”

16 RNB Song

R&B SONG:
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Really Love”
Empire Cast featuring Estelle & Jussie Smollett, “Conqueror”
Omarion feat. Jhene Aiko & Chris Brown, “Post to Be”
Tyrese, “Shame”
The Weeknd, “Earned It”

NEXT IN LINE: Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money”, Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”, Babyface, “We’ve Got Love”

17 RNB Album

R&B ALBUM:
Mary J. Blige, “The London Sessions”
Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Black Messiah”
Jill Scott, “Woman”
Jazmine Sullivan, “Reality Show”

NEXT IN LINE: Tyrese, “Black Rose”, Tamia, “Love Life”, Charlie Wilson, “Forever Charlie”, Gary Clark Jr., “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim”

18 Urban Contemporary

URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM:
Ciara, “Jackie”
The Internet, “Ego Death”
Miguel, “Wildheart”
The Weeknd, “Beauty Behind the Madness”
Tinashe, “Aquarius”

NEXT IN LINE: Chris Brown and Tyga, “Fan of a Fan: The Album”, Bilal, “In Another Life”, Lianne La Havas, “Blood”, Snoop Dogg, “Bush”

RAP FIELD:

19 Rap Solo

RAP PERFORMANCE:
Drake, “Energy”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”
J. Cole, “Apparently”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Kanye West featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom, & Paul McCartney, “All Day”

NEXT IN LINE: Nicki Minaj feat. Drake & Lil Wayne, “Truffle Butter”, Eminem, “Phenomenal”, Big Sean featuring Drake, Kanye West, “Blessings”, Rae Sremmurd, “No Type”

20 Rap Sung Collab

RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION:
ASAP Rocky featuring Rod Stewart, Miguel and Mark Ronson, “Everyday”
Big Sean featuring Kanye West & John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World”
Common and John Legend, “Glory”
Kendrick Lamar featuring Bilal, Anna Wise, & Thundercat, “These Walls”
Nicki Minaj featuring Drake, Lil Wayne, & Chris Brown, “Only”

NEXT IN LINE: Jidenna featuring Roman GianArthur, “Classic Man”, Wale featuring Usher, “The Matrimony”, Meek Mill ft. Chris Brown & Nicki Minaj, “All Eyes On You”, Chris Brown & Tyga , “Ayo”

21 Rap Song

RAP SONG:
Common and John Legend, “Glory”
Drake, “Energy”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Nicki Minaj featuring Beyonce, “Feeling Myself”
Kanye West featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom, & Paul McCartney, “All That”

NEXT IN LINE: Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”, J.Cole, “Apparently”, Wale featuring Usher, “The Matrimony”, Big Sean featuring E-40, “I Don’t Fuck With You”

22 Rap Album

RAP ALBUM:
Drake, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”
Dr. Dre, “Compton”
J.Cole, “2014 Forest Hills Drive”
Kendrick Lamar, “To Pimp a Butterfly”
Nicki Minaj, “The Pinkprint”

NEXT IN LINE: Big Sean, “Dark Sky Paradise”, Fetty Wap, “Fetty Wap”, Drake & Future, “What A Time to be Alive”, A$AP Rocky, “At.Long.Last.A $AP”

COUNTRY FIELD:

23 Country Solo

COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Sam Hunt, “Take Your Time”
Kacey Musgraves,”Dime Store Cowgirl”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Carrie Underwood, “Smoke Break”
Keith Urban,”John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16″

NEXT IN LINE: Luke Bryan, “Strip It Down”, Eric Church, “Talladega”, Blake Shelton, “Sangria”

24 Country Group Collab

COUNTRY DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE:
Don Henley featuring Dolly Parton, “When I Stop Dreaming”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Kacey Musgraves featuring Willie Nelson, “Are You Sure”
Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe, “Lonely Tonight”
Zac Brown Band, “Homegrown”

NEXT IN LINE: Luke Bryan featuring Karen Fairchild, “Home Alone Tonight”, Lady Antebellum, “Long Stretch of Love”, Florida George Line, “Sun Daze”

25 Country Song

COUNTRY SONG:
Luke Bryan, “Strip It Down”
Sam Hunt, “Take Your Time”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Kacey Musgraves,”Dime Store Cowgirl”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

NEXT IN LINE: Zac Brown Band, “Homegrown”, Eric Church, “Talladega”, Carrie Underwood, “Smoke Break”, Blake Shelton, “Sangria”

26 Country Album

COUNTRY ALBUM:
Sam Hunt, “Montevallo”
Little Big Town, “Painkiller”
Kacey Musgraves, “Pageant Material”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Zac Brown Band, “Jekyll + Hide”

NEXT IN LINE: Luke Bryan, “Kill the Lights”, Jason Aldean, “Old Boots New Dirt”, Garth Brooks, “Man Against Machine”, Ashley Monroe, “The Blade”

MUSIC VIDEO/FILM FIELD:

27 Soundtrack

SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA:
Common and John Legend, “Glory” (from Selma)
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” (from 50 Shades of Grey)
Lady Gaga, “Til It Happens to You” (from The Hunting Ground)
The Weeknd, “Earned It” (from 50 Shades of Grey)
Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again”(from Furious 7)

NEXT IN LINE: Sam Smith, “The Writing’s on the Wall” (from Spectre), Jessie J, “Flashlight” (from Pitch Perfech 2), Coldplay, “Miracles” (from Unbroken), Pink, “Today’s the Day” (from Ellen), Empire Cast,”No Apologies” (from Empire)

28 Soundtrack Album

COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK ALBUM:
50 Shades of Grey
Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1
Into the Woods
Music from Love & Mercy
Pitch Perfect 2

NEXT IN LINE: Home, Southpaw, Furious 7, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1, Beyond the Lights

29 Score Album

SCORE SOUNDTRACK FOR VISUAL MEDIA:
Antman
Birdman
Jurassic World
Inside Out
Interstellar

NEXT IN LINE: Mad Max, Cinderella, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Fury

MUSIC VIDEO/FILM FIELD:

30 Music Video

MUSIC VIDEO:
Big Sean featuring Kanye West & John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Sia, “Elastic Heart”
Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”

31 Movie Film

MUSIC FILM:
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, “Cheek to Cheek”
Foo Fighters, “Sonic Highways”
Ed Sheeran, “Live at Wembley Stadium”
James Taylor, “There We Were: The Recording Of James Taylor’s “Before This World””
Neil Young, “The Monsanto Years”

NEXT IN LINE: Miley Cyrus, “Bangerz”, Nicki Minaj, “YMCMB & Beats By Dre Presents: The Pinkprint Movie”, Annie Lennox, “Nostalgia: An Evening With Annie Lennox”

Talk to me about your predictions by leaving a comment below or tweeting me: @nikowl