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Oscar Nomination Predictions: Big Tuesday for ‘King’s Speech’ and ‘Inception’

January 24th, 2011 by Gregory Ellwood HitFix.com

After months of campaigning, millions of dollars in advertising, hundreds of guild screenings and a slew of second rate awards shows, the nominations announcement for the 83rd Academy Awards is almost here. Clearly, there will be weeks of debate over who will win best picture after “The King’s Speech’s” upset win at the PGA Awards this weekend, but for now it’s all about just making the dance. Now, perhaps it’s been the thin air in Park City or the extra time to ponder possibilities in-between Sundance screenings, but there have been some last minute changes in my overall predictions which I have written about in excruciating detail since August.

In the best picture race, it looks like “Winter’s Bone” is out. At this point, there is just too much evidence that “The Town” and “127 Hours” will make the final two nominations and last year’s Sundance favorite will have to make due with an adapted screenplay honor and best actress nod for Jennifer Lawrence. However, as much as it pains me to write it, don’t be shocked if “The Kids Are All Right” is the one missing from the top ten instead. It would be a crime if it didn’t make it, but the passion may be missing from the Academy for Lisa Cholodelenko’s dramedy to get it in the 10 (but let’s hope not).

In the best supporting actress field, look for Barbara Hershey instead of Mila Kunis to land a nomination for “Black Swan.” (Yeah, we want to see Mila on the red carpet too. Maybe she’ll be a presenter.)

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams of “Blue Valentine” should crack the best actor and best actress fields respectively. That means “Get Low’s” Robert Duvall, among others, won’t make it.

John Hawkes of “Winter’s Bone” might have landed a best supporting actor SAG Award nomination, but “Social Network’s” Andrew Garfield will make the Oscar field in his place.

Besides “Incendies,” “In A Better World” and “Biutiful,” foreign language film is a crapshoot. Take your best guess for the final two selections.

Keeping that in mind, here’s a projected rundown of the films that will have the most nominations.

“King’s Speech” – 11
“Inception” – 10
“The Social Network” – 9
“The Fighter” – 8
“Black Swan” – 8
“True Grit” – 7
“127 Hours” – 5
“Toy Story 3″ – 5
“The Kids Are All Right” – 4
“Alice in Wonderland” – 4

And finally, here are my nomination predictions with one caveat, live action short and animated short are not included (if you really have to ask…).

Best Picture
“The King’s Speech”
“Black Swan”
“The Social Network”
“The Kids Are All Right”
“The Town”
“True Grit”
“The Fighter”
“127 Hours”
“Toy Story 3″

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
David Fincher, “The Social Network”
David O. Russell, “The Fighter”

Best Actor
Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
James Franco, “127 Hours”
Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”
Jeff Bridges, “True Grit”
Ryan Gosling, “Blue Valentine”

Best Actress
Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman, “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
Jeremy Renner, “The Town”
Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”
Andrew Garfield, “The Social Network”
Mark Ruffalo, “The Kids Are All Right”

Best Supporting Actress
Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech”
Barbara Hershey, “Black Swan”

Adapted Screenplay
“127 Hours”
“The Social Network”
“Toy Story 3″
“True Grit”
“Winter’s Bone”

Original Screenplay
“The King’s Speech”
“Black Swan”
“The Kids Are All Right”
“The Fighter”

“Black Swan”
“The Social Network”
“The King’s Speech”
“The Fighter”

Foreign Language Film
“In A Better World” (Denmark)
“Biutiful” (Mexico)
“Incendies” (Canada)
“Tambien la Lluvia‚” (“Even the Rain”) (Spain)
“Confessions” (Japan)

“Black Swan”
“True Grit”
“The King’s Speech”
“The Social Network”

Art Direction
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Black Swan”
“The King’s Speech”
“True Grit”

“Alice in Wonderland”
“The King’s Speech”
“The Tempest”
“True Grit”
“Tron Legacy”

Original Score
“The Social Network”
“The King’s Speech”
“How To Train Your Dragon”
“127 Hours”

Original Song
“Shine” from “Waiting for ‘Superman'”
“If I Rise” from “127 Hours”
“You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from “Burlesque”
“I See the Light” from “Tangled”
“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3″

Sound Editing
“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”
“Iron Man 2″
“Toy Story 3″
“Tron Legacy”

Sound Mixing
“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”
“Black Swan”
“The Social Network”
“Tron Legacy”

“Waiting for ‘Superman'”
“Inside Job”
“Waste Land”
“Exit through the Gift Shop”

“Alice in Wonderland”
“The Fighter”
“The Wolfman”

Visual Effects
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”
“Iron Man 2″
“Tron Legacy”

Animated Feature
“Toy Story 3″
“How To Train Your Dragon”
“Despicable Me”

Look for complete nomination coverage beginning at 8:30 AM EST/ 5:30 AM EST and all day long on HitFix.

For more on award season and entertainment buzz and news follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter @HitFixGregory.

Last comment: May 3rd 2012 1 Comment

HitFix Review: ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’

January 21st, 2011 by Drew McWeeny Film Editor, HitFix.com

To kick off our focus on this year’s Sundance Film Festival, we asked HitFix.com’s film editor, Drew McWeeny to share his review of Thierry Guetta’s Exit Through The Gift Shop, best known these days as “the Banksy movie.” It’s now available on Hulu.com and Hulu Plus (watch it commercial-free if you’re a Hulu Plus subscriber); you can find this title and dozens more highlighted on our Sundance Favorites spotlight page. We’ll be adding interviews and headlines from Sundance throughout the weekend. In the meantime, we’ll let Drew share his Gift Shop experience.

At the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, I made sure I was in the audience for the secret screening that turned out to be The Girlfriend Experience. When the 2010 festival’s secret screening rolled around, I wasn’t interested. I heard the description of Exit Through The Gift Shop from someone and I opted for something else instead.

It’s taken me almost a year to make up for this mistake.

The film begins as the story of Thierry Guetta, a boutique owner who loved to record everything with video cameras as a hobby. He did that aimlessly for a while until he encountered a street artist named Invader and became interested in his work. I get it. I love Invader’s work. And honestly, I think my attitude to street art comes down to execution. You get points for doing anything well, and there’s a lot of street art that I think is dazzling, amazing, a transformation of a mundane space into something exceptional. I’ve been involved in my share of late-night adrenaline-fueled adventures, and Exit Through The Gift Shop does a lovely job up front of capturing that feeling, the seductive nature of being involved in something like this.

As the main character, Thierry, starts to get more involved in what Invader is doing, he even meets Shepard Fairey. And here’s the thing … I don’t know how much of this is real and how much of this is a put-on, but the material about Fairey is all captured before his Obama image made him infamous. They deal with his Andre the Giant picture, the ubiquitous “Obey” that was everywhere in Los Angeles, and it’s really interesting to see this thing that became part of the texture of my city explained and humanized.

So, then it’s Fairey who becomes Thierry’s main fascination. He begins to follow him around the world, doing everything Fairey does, shooting some amazing stunts. It’s great stuff, and it’s exhilarating to watch. There are more street artists he meets like Neckface, Sweet Toof, Ron English, Dotmasters, Swoon, and he manages to get most of them to talk about what they do. They explain their tagger names like Borf or Buffmonster, and he breaks law after law with them. And through it all, Banksy is treated like Bigfoot… fabled but never seen.

But even that really doesn’t sum it all up, and that’s what makes Exit Through The Gift Shop a compelling experience. Over the past year we have seen many films that have been debated due to their relationship with reality, like Catfish or I’m Still Here, but the only one that left me genuinely puzzled and enjoying that feeling at the end was Exit Through The Gift Shop. It’s a mystery, a game, a joke, and dead serious, and it might all be a put-on or it might all be exactly what it professes to be.

Banksy is a great artist, in my opinion, because of the way his art provokes and transforms and confronts. He’s like Bugs Bunny with a spray-paint can, dancing away from every Elmer Fudd that dares to join the pursuit. And once Thierry meets Banksy and starts to bond with him, the film contains some wild footage, including a trip to Disneyland that almost ended in disaster. Thierry ends up making a film out of the footage he’s been shooting for eight years by that point, and “Life Remote Control” turns out to be an experimental static nightmare, leading Banksy to wade in and ask if he can try to cut something else out of the rough footage. Thierry starts doing his own street art under the name Mr. Brainwash, and in a twist worthy of Nicolas Roeg, Banksy starts shooting a film about Thierry and his work.

It’s a hall of mirrors, and there’s not a single moment it’s not interesting. My biggest problem with I’m Still Here has nothing to do with whether it’s “real” or not; the film’s sort of dull, all things considered, a litany of bad behavior and self-pity that is just boring to sit through. There are many things I think Exit Through The Gift Shop says about art in our modern media age, things that are much broader than the world of street art, and it’s really well-crafted.

Energetic, exciting, entertaining, and at times illegal, Exit Through The Gift Shop is a wicked treat. — Drew McWeeny, Film Editor, HitFix.com

You can follow Drew’s blog, Motion Captured, on HitFix.com.

Final Golden Globe Awards Predictions: Lots of ‘Likes’ for ‘The Social Network’

January 14th, 2011 by Gregory Ellwood HitFix.com

Yes, it’s that time of year again. A time in Hollywood where the worlds of movies and television become one, thanks to the incredible magic of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Whether the HFPA’s 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards are really a bellwether for the more prestigious Academy Awards honestly depends on the year. This season? Not so much, but it’s an excellent opportunity for stars from the big, small, and even smaller screens to celebrate each other’s work, drink, and be merry.

(Well, at least until a little over two weeks from now when they do it all over again at the SAG Awards.)

As in past years, the battle for best picture has come down to the power and influence of two men: uber producer Scott Rudin and longtime awards maestro Harvey Weinstein. With True Grit bizarrely left in the cold having received zero nominations, Rudin is pushing his critics’ wonder The Social Network. On the other side of the battlefield, Weinstein is firmly behind this year’s audience favorite, The King’s Speech. Occasional collaborators (“never say never” with these two), but usual competitors, the New York-based movie men are two of the fiercest awards season campaigners around. And when there are only 80 or so voters for the Globes to influence as opposed to approximately 6,000 for the Oscars? Well, we’d suggest getting out of the way of their crosshairs.

The TV categories are always incredibly difficult for even the most seasoned television experts to pick. That’s mostly because a majority of the HFPA voters cover the movies and not TV, but since they can all vote for the winners, it leads to some interesting and sometimes perplexing picks. In theory, acclaimed shows such as Modern Family and Mad Men should dominate the winner’s circle. This Sunday evening, however, that might not be the case.

With that in mind, check out this pundit’s predictions for the 68th Annual Golden Globes.

Best Picture – Drama

Black Swan
The Fighter
The King’s Speech
The Social Network

Winner: The Social Network
Upset Contenders: The King’s Speech
Lowdown: If you speak to some HFPA watchers they will tell you that Network is going to win. If you speak to other HFPA watchers they will tell you that Speech will win because Harvey Weinstein knows how to schmooze them better than anyone else in town. It’s close for sure, but when it comes down to it, more than anything, the HFPA do not like to be embarrassed. And considering almost all the other critic’s groups in the country have picked Network for best picture, they should do the same.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Alice in Wonderland
The Kids are All Right
The Tourist

Winner: The Kids Are All Right
Upset Contenders: Alice in Wonderland
Lowdown: A pretty dreadful list of contenders with Kids being the only worthy awards picture in the bunch. However, word is the HFPA love Alice in Wonderland, and there is a very slim chance they go with Disney’s $1 billion hit.

Best Actor – Drama
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter

Winner: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Upset Contenders: Jesse Eisenberg, Social Network; James Franco, 127 Hours
Lowdown: If you’re an HFPA member and voting Network for picture, you have to make sure to reward King’s Speech and this is where the organization tries to make everyone happy. The very deserving Firth is pretty much a lock here, but if the Network love is legit, Eisenberg could sneak in — or their longtime admiration for Franco could find him an unexpected winner, as well.

Best Actress – Drama
Halle Berry, Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman, The Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Winner: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Upset Contenders: None
Lowdown: This is pretty much set in stone. The HFPA adore Kidman, but did not like Rabbit Hole. That pretty much seals the deal for Portman.

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy
Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland
Johnny Depp, The Tourist
Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version
Jake Gyllenhaal, Love and Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack

Winner: Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland
Upset Contenders: Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version; Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack
Lowdown: Another miserable category this year, but it does allow the HFPA to reward Johnny Depp one more time (he’s got nine nominations and only one win so far). If for some reason Depp doesn’t win, it will be because there was more support for Giamatti or Spacey than expected. Like, a lot more.

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs
Angelina Jolie, The Tourist
Emma Stone, Easy A
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right

Winner: Annette Bening, The Kids Are Alright
Upset Contenders: Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right; Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs
Lowdown: Pretty much Bening’s to lose. Anne Hathaway is the biggest competition, but the members were not big fans of Love and Other Drugs (as evidenced by the dramedy not making the Best Picture – Musical or Comedy category).

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Mila Kunis, Black Swan
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Winner: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Upset Contenders: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Lowdown: Awarding the Globe to Leo allows the HFPA to reward The Fighter, which they are big fans of. Weaver would be the only nominee who could really surprise here.

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Winner: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Upset Contenders: Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
Lowdown: As much as they’d like to sympathetically bring cancer survivor Douglas to the stage (which would make for great TV, by the way), it’s going to be hard for them to ignore Bale. Again, they don’t like to be embarrassed. Eighty people can form one pretty insecure group.

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David O. Russell, The Fighter

Winner: David Fincher, The Social Network
Upset Contenders: Christopher Nolan, Inception
Lowdown: Fincher will win, but if there is a prevailing feeling monster hit Inception needs more recognition, Nolan could sneak in.

Best Screenplay
Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids are All Right
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David Sieber, The King’s Speech
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

Winner: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Upset Contenders: Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Lowdown: Pretty much a slam-dunk for the former West Wing creator, but the HFPA also loved 127 Hours and Boyle in particular. This may be the only category where they can recognize the picture.

Best Animated Feature
Despicable Me
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Winner: Toy Story 3
Upset Contenders: Um, no.
Lowdown: Just book it. Although we wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the Disney/Pixar table if DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon wins instead.

Best Foreign Language Film
The Concert
The Edge
I Am Love
In a Better World

Winner: I Am Love
Upset Contenders: The Concert
Lowdown: Tougher call than in previous years, but critical acclaim and Tilda Swinton’s amazing performance should bring I Am Love the statue. However, the Weinstein’s The Concert could be a possible upset player here too.

Best Original Song
“Bound to You,” Burlesque
“Coming Home,” Country Song
“I See the Light,” Tangled
“There’s a Place For Us,” Dawn Treader
“You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” Burlesque

Winner: “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” Burlesque
Upset Contenders: I See the Light, Tangled
Lowdown: “You Haven’t” songwriter Diane Warren was repped by longtime publicist Ronni Chasen, who was murdered last month in an attack that left most of Hollywood in severe shock. Add in the Cher factor, and only “I See the Light” could upset the Burlesque ballad.

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, The King’s Speech
Danny Elfman, Alice in Wonderland
AR Rahman, 127 Hours
Hans Zimmer, Inception
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network

Winner: Hans Zimmer, Inception
Upset Contenders: Alexandre Desplat, The King’s Speech
Lowdown: One of the few places they can reward Inception. It’s also quite deserving and Zimmer was also a client of Chasen’s (it sounds callous, but sometimes it’s just how these things work out).

Best TV Series – Drama

Boardwalk Empire
The Good Wife
Mad Men
The Walking Dead

Winner: Boardwalk Empire
Upset Contenders: Mad Men
Lowdown: The HFPA love Martin Scorsese. The HFPA love HBO. As good as Mad Men was last season, the new kid on the Boardwalk should take home the gold Sunday night.

Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House

Winner: Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Upset Contenders: Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Lowdown: Rule #1 when predicting HFPA TV voting: If there’s a movie star in the field it’s a good bet they’re gonna win. Why? Well, most of the membership don’t cover television, but just film. So, when they get a chance to vote for all the categories they tend to go with what they know. That usually leads to some classy, if not surprising picks. In this case, Buscemi over previous winners Jon Hamm and Michael C. Hall.

Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Piper Perabo, Covert Affairs
Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

Winner: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Upset Contenders: Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Lowdown: In an even less competitive category than last year, Margulies wins again.

Best TV Series – Comedy
30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory
The Big C
Modern Family
Nurse Jackie

Winner: Glee
Upset Contenders: Modern Family, 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory
Lowdown: It’s close between Glee and Modern Family, but we just think the HFPA can’t get enough of those singing and dancing teenagers.

Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy
Toni Collette, The United States of Tara
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Laura Linney, The Big C
Lea Michele, Glee

Winner: Laura Linney, The Big C
Upset Contenders: Toni Collette, The United States of Tara or Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Lowdown: If you follow the HFPA’s unspoken movie star rule then Linney or Collette should win. We think being the new kid on the Showtime block gives Linney the edge.

Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Steve Carell, The Office
Thomas Jane, Hung
Matthew Morrison, Glee
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Winner: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Upset Contenders: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Lowdown: Are the HFPA really going to honor Baldwin for this role for the fourth time in five years? It makes more sense that Parsons breaks through and duplicates his Emmy win.

Best Supporting Actor – Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
Scott Caan, Hawaii Five-0
Chris Colfer, Glee
Chris Noth, The Good Wife
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
David Strathairn, Temple Grandin

Winner: Chris Colfer, Glee
Upset Contenders: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family; David Strathairn, Temple Grandin
Lowdown: Here’s the thing, somebody’s got to be the first group to recognize Colfer. We say the HFPA are that group. Just a hunch.

Best Supporting Actress – Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
Hope Davis, The Special Relationship
Jane Lynch, Glee
Kelly MacDonald, Boardwalk Empire
Julia Stiles, Dexter
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Winner: Kelly MacDonald, Boardwalk Empire
Upset Contenders: Sofia Vergara, Modern Family; Jane Lynch, Glee
Lowdown: We’re taking the Boardwalk train and going with Kelly MacDonald. It’s a hunch, but we’d also not be surprised if Lynch repeated her Emmy win here.

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
The Pacific
Pillars of the Earth
Temple Grandin
You Don’t Know Jack

Winner: The Pacific
Upset Contenders: Carlos; You Don’t Know Jack
Lowdown: Let’s be clear, the HFPA may love Carlos and it’s a credit to the organization’s overall taste that it made the cut, but they do not want to embarrass Pacific producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. It’s that simple.

Best Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for TV
Hayley Atwell, Pillars of the Earth
Claire Danes, Temple Grandin
Judi Dench, Return to Cranford
Romola Garai, Emma
Jennifer Love Hewitt, The Client List

Winner: Claire Danes, Temple Grandin
Upset Contenders: Um, no.
Lowdown: Just book it (and she’s winning the SAG Award for this one too).

Best Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for TV
Idris Elba, Luther
Ian McShane, Pillars of the Earth
Al Pacino, You Don’t Know Jack
Dennis Quaid, The Special Relationship
Edgar Ramirez, Carlos

Winner: Al Pacino, You Don’t Know Jack
Upset Contenders: Edgar Ramirez, Carlos
Lowdown: Former Cecil B. DeMille and 14-time nominee and two-time winner Pacino should repeat his Emmy Award win here. However, there is a slight chance Ramirez upsets so the HFPA can claim they were one of the few orgs to actually recognize Carlos in some way.

Gregory Ellwood is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of HitFix.com. After almost a decade or working for Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox, he left the dark side to become a journalist. In the years since, he got sucked into the Oscar beat and has written for MSN, The Los Angeles Times and Variety. Follow Ellwood’s Awards Campaign blog here on HitFix.