My 2015 Oscar Predictions


BEST PICTURE:                                                                 The Revenant

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:                             Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:                         Brie Larson, The Room

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:                    Sylvester Stallone, Creed

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORRTING ROLE:             Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

BEST DIRECTING:                                                              The Revenant

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:                                      The Big Short

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:                                     Spotlight

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:                                 Inside Out

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:                                 Amy

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:                              Son of Saul

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:                                            The Revenant

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:                                             Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST FILM EDITING:                                                       Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST MAKE UP AND HAIR STYLING:                          Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST MUSIC ORIGINAL SCORE:                                  The Hateful Eight

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:                                      Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST SOUND EDITING:                                                 Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST SOUND MIXING:                                                  Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:                                                 Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:                                                 Til It Happens to You, The Hunting Ground

BEST SHORT FILM ANIMATED:                                   Sanjay’s Super Team

BEST SHORT FILM LIVE ACTION:                                Ave Maria

BEST SHORT FILM DOCUMENTARY:                          A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

 

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 12/4-12/11/15


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 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. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r,

 

And check out my script consultation services http://ow.ly/HPxKE

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 11/27-12/4/15

from here to eternityON NETFLIX: Adapted by Daniel Taradesh from James Jones’ novel and directed by Fred Zinneman, From Here to Eternity was one of the new adult movies (even though it was watered down from the book) that Hollywood started making in response to the new freedom in foreign films and an audience that was looking for more grit in their films after going through World War II. It follows various characters around a naval base in Hawaii in the days leading up to Pearl Harbor, especially the story of a private (Montgomery Clift) who refuses join the boxing team and is persecuted for it. And all start cast including Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Ernest Borgnine, Donna Reed (as a bar hostess because she couldn’t be a prostitute), and Frank Sinatra (in the role that supposedly a horse’s head got for him). It showed all these actors in a new light and won Oscars for Sinatra and Reed. Thirteen Oscar nominations (including five for acting) and the winner of eight.

betty blueON HULU: Betty Blue is Jean-Jacques Beineix’s follow up to his breathtaking film debut Diva, coming after the incredibly disappointing misstep of Moon in the Gutter. A study of two young people in love, often sexually frank. Zorg is a handyman who one day finds Betty, a wild and free spirit. But as their relationship goes on, Betty spirals more and more out of control as her mental state becomes more and more unstable; can Zorg’s love for her save her and their relationship. From a novel by Philippe Djian.

chi raqFIRST RUN and OPENING: Chi-Raq, Janis: Little Girl Blues, Night Owls, Theeb, Hitchcock/Truffaut, Youth, Creed, The Good Dinosaur, Brooklyn, Carol, James White, Legend, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2, Room, Spotlight, Trumbo Continue reading

LOSING OUR RELIGION: Spotlight


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

 

spotlight 1I am the first to admit that the Oscars are rarely given to the finest in the art of film, but much more likely to the loftiest of middlebrow entertainment (with some edginess thrown in on occasion for good measure).
At the same time, I think we do have one thing to be grateful for when it comes to the Academy. Since the balloting closes the first of the year, more and more, fall and early winter leaves behind the cheek of tan, tent pole blockbusters of summer (films forced into as many of the four quadrants as it may fit) and gives way to producers who, like the changing colors of leaves, turn to releasing their prestige pictures, the ones they believe have the best chance at garnering the attention of the gold statuette who hides his genitals with a sword.
These films are the ones that producers and studio executives feel they don’t have to apologize or make excuses for and instead can brag that they actually had a hand in their making.
One of these films, Spotlight (or All the Cardinal’s Men as a friend of mine called it) is now being spoken of as the one to beat come spring. And, taking everything into consideration, they could certainly do far worse, because, however else you may feel about it, Spotlight is the epitome of middlebrow taste, and, even better, is crackerjack entertainment. Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 11/20-11/27/15


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 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. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r,
 
And check out my script consultation services http://ow.ly/HPxKE
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 11/20-27/15
piegeonON NETFLIX: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is basically Kaurismaki meets Monty Python. Written and directed by Roy Andersson, the movie is basically a series of skits with deadpan actors in often absurd situations. It’s Norwegian, but is Sweden’s entry in the Foreign Language Film Category for the Academy Awards.
american grafittiON HULU: Written by Gloria Katz, Willard Huyck and director George Lucas, American Graffiti was just about an instant classic the way it effected the audience at the time with its knowing nostalgia even though it took place in the year of its release. It follows a group of high school teens as they take one last cruise down their small town memory lane as they make decisions about their future as summer ends.
army of shadowsSPECIAL ENGAGEMENT: A restored print of The Army of Shadows will be playing this week. Adapted from a novel by Joseph Kessel by writer/director Jean-Pierre Melville, it follows a group of resistance fighters during WWII. What makes the film so powerful is the difficult moral questions that the characters must decide on in a distinctly amoral situation. Perhaps Melville’s greatest film and he did Le Cercle Rouge, Bob la Flambeur and Le Samourai. Not to be missed.
carolFIRST RUN and OPENING: The Night Before, Brooklyn, Carol, James White, Legend, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2, Meditterenea, Room, Spotlight, Trumbo Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 11/13-11/20/15


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 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. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r,
 
And check out my script consultation services http://ow.ly/HPxKE
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 11/13-20/16
allenON NETFLIX: Woody Allen: A Documentary is an engrossing and exciting study written and directed by Richard B. Weide, who also produced Curb Your Enthusiasm. It’s one the finest of the documentaries made for the PBS’ series American Masters.
MON HULU: Based on a real person, M, written by Thea von Harbou and Fritz Lang, who also directed, is a powerful and often frightening film about a child molester/murderer. Starring Peter Lorre in one of his greatest performances.
33FIRST RUN and OPENING: The 33, By The Sea, Miss You Already, Room, Spectre, The Peanuts Movie, Brooklyn, Spotlight, Trumbo, The Martian Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 11/6-11/13/15


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 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. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r,

 

And check out my script consultation services http://ow.ly/HPxKE

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 11/6-13/16

high noonON NETFLIX: High Noon, written by Carl Foreman and directed by Fred Zinnemann, is one of the greatest westerns ever made with Gary Cooper’s performance one of the best in American film. Playing Marshall Will Kane, he is about to leave on his honeymoon, but instead remains in town to take out a group of gunmen bent on revenge, though no one in town will help him. Tensely directed (the movie takes place within the real time of the events) and just as tensely written, it’s a must see for anyone interested in movies. Often seen as a metaphor for the McCarthy era in Hollywood.

man escapedON HULU: A Man Escaped is one of writer/director Robert Bresson’s best and most accessible film. Tense and fascinating, it is made in the distinct Bresson style, non-actors in the roles and underplaying the emotional aspect of the scenes. During WWII, a French resistance fighter is arrested and put in a Nazi prison. His only hope to escape a death sentence is to escape the prison.

afiSPECIAL NOTE: The AFI Film Festival plays Oct. 5-12. This is a great festival, especially since all the tickets are free.

spotlightFIRST RUN and OPENING: Spectre, The Peanuts Movie, Brooklyn, Spotlight, Trumbo, Welcome to Leith, Miss You Already, Heart of a Dog, Love, Room, The Martian

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: AFI Fest

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: Love, 11/6-8; Billy Liar, The Night Porter, 11/11

LACMA: This Gun for Hire, 11/10

NEW BEVERLY: Mad Max: Fury Road, 11/6-9; Mikey and Nicky, Machine Gun McCain, 11/11-12

UCLA ARCHIVES at the Hammer Museum: Remorques, L’etrange Monsieur Victor, 11/6; Paths of Glory, 11/7

 

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