AND THE OSCAR GOES TO…


top-50-screenwriting-blogsFor questions: hcasner@aol.com
First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay?  Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013.  Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
Tell me what you think.
NOTE: I’m switching my prediction for Costumes from La La Land to Jackie
blog2It’s that time of the year. The Oscars are in full bloom and their attar, more pungent that car exhaust, can be recognized all across Los Angeles.
This means it’s time to start the real weeding and make my Academy Award predictions.
I will start with a few observations.
The Academy rarely selects a bad film for Best Picture. But it usually doesn’t award it to the best film of the year either. Continue reading

…and All That Jazz: Miles Ahead and an Oscar Prediction


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay?  Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013.  Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
Warning: SPOILERS
rev 1Miles Ahead is the new biopic of Miles Davis, one of the great, if not the greatest, jazz trumpeter and composer of all times. It’s written by Steven Baigelman and the director and star Don Cheadle.  The filmmakers do everything they can, from non-linear storytelling to all sorts of directorial flourishes, to keep the audience enthralled.
And they succeed, at least for a while.  Flashbacks, jump cuts and various stylistic juxtapositions that feel inspired by jazz music, give the film a certain electric immediacy.
But it’s not long before it feels that all this tinsel and sawdust is, well, not a lot more than tinsel and sawdust, there to hide the fact that in the end, the movie, though often entertaining, is really just another, as I and a friend like to call it, typical Warner Brothers biopic, the reference being the prestige pictures of the studios made in their heydays, like The Story of Louis Pasteur, The Life of Emil Zola and even more recently, Gandhi.  All worthy, but all still somewhat bland. Continue reading

My Oscar Predictions


Tomorrow is the big day for movie nerds as the nominations for the next Academy Awards are revealed. As usual, I will try to predict the nominees in the top eight categories. I don’t expect to do that well this year. Usually I end up with an average of one wrong in each category, but this year has become more difficult as no one seems sure as to what will make the finals. But I will do my best.

 

However, I do think the winners are still more or less set. Best Picture and Director should still be Spotlight; Best Actor will be Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant; Best Actress will be Brie Larson for The Room; Best Supporting Actor will be Sylvester Stallone for Creed; Best Supporting Actress will be Rooney Mara for Carol; Best original screenplay is between Ex Machina and Spotlight; and Best Adapted Screenplay will be The Martian or Steve Jobs.

 

What do you think?

 

And The Nominees Are:

 

Best Picture:

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Carol

Mad Max

The Martian

The Revenant

Spotlight

Straight Outta Compton

 

Best Director:

Todd Haynes, Carol

George Miller, Mad Max

Ridley Scott, The Martian

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

(If not Haynes, then Adam McKay for The Big Short)

 

 

Best Actor:

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Matt Damon, The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

 

 

Best Actress:

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Lily Tomlin, Grandma

(Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl could replace Rampling or Tomlin)

 

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

(Christian Bale for the Big Short could get in, but I don’t know who he’d replace)

 

Best Supporting Actress:

Jane Fonda, Youth

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

(Helen Mirren could get in, but I don’t know who’d she replace; maybe Alicia Vikander if she gets a Best Actress nom and not a Supporting one)

 

Best Original Screenplay:

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

The Hateful Eight

Inside Out

Spotlight

 

Best Adapted Screenplay:

The Big Short

Carol

The Martian

Room

Steve Jobs

STILL ANOTHER, AND HOPEFULLY FINAL, SET OF THOUGHTS ON SELMA AND THE ACADEMY AWARDS


I think this will be my last thoughts on the Oscars this year in regard to the lack of nominations for Selma.  It’s a bit longer than the others, but hopefully I’ve gotten everything out I need to say.
I remember when I first saw For Your Consideration, the latest of Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy’s satires in the vein of Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. For Your Consideration, a story about a group of people involved in an independent film who get the idea they may be headed for Oscar glory, was not, shall we say, the most praised of their series of films.
There were people who found it funny, but for me, all I could think while watching it was that for people who are inside the movie industry, I’m astounded at how little they seemed to know as to how films become front runners or even considered in any way for the Academy. Continue reading

AN ADDITIONAL THOUGHT ON THE ISSUE OF SELMA NOT GETTING MORE SCREENPLAY NOMINATIONS


I have, yet, an additional thought on the issue of Selma not getting more screenplay nominations.  Everyone’s anger is focused on the Academy, and they have their problems and issues that need to be addressed when it comes to minorities, God knows.  But the Academy, as a whole, is the one that gave the movie a best picture nomination.  But Selma did not get a single PGA, DGA, WGA, or SAG nomination.  So instead of focusing the anger on the Academy, shouldn’t as much or even more anger be put on the various unions and guilds?  Isn’t this as much an issue, if not more, than the Academy as a whole?  In fact, in some ways, isn’t the Academy being used somewhat as a scapegoat when it comes to the real problem? Just asking.

OSCAR TRIVIA QUIZ-PART ONE-They got nominated for playing that?


imagesTo get the answer key, please go to: http://ow.ly/GWyyO
The Academy Awards are coming up so I just thought I’d have a little fun and try and come up with a few Oscar trivia quizzes. Hopefully, even if they are hard, they will be fun.
The first quiz is about various types of roles that have received nominations, some of them perhaps quite surprising and unusual for such a respected award.
Unfortunately, as much as I tried to put the answers in a box upside down at the bottom of the post, I couldn’t figure out how to do that, so I will be posting the answers in a different post starting the middle of next week.  If anyone knows how to insert a text box with upside (and much smaller text) in a post, please let me know.
Who was nominated for an Oscar and for what movie for: Continue reading