“Personal Shopper,” A Ghost Story For the Modern Age

I hope Olivier Assayas and Kristen Stewart plan on making a dozen more films together; I would easily watch 100 more if I could. Stewart, who has been extremely selective with her roles since leaving the world of sparkling vampires behind, has found a match made in heaven with the French auteur. He directed her to a César award in Clouds of Sils Maria, making Stewart the first American actress to ever win one, and has once again captured a truly exceptional performance in Personal Shopper, which finally expanded into my town’s independent theater this past weekend. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the film since I had the pleasure of watching it on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I walked in knowing close to nothing about the film besides the fact that much of my Twitter timeline has been filled with raves about it since its continued to open in theaters around the country, which is probably the best way to experience it. In a genre that is filled with clichés and story beats that have beaten to death, Personal Shopper is a chilling and thought-provoking piece of work.

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Is Frances McDormand This Year’s First Best Actress Contender?

I’m still reeling from the anointment of our current Best Actress winner, Emma Stone of La La Land, which is all but a month old but that doesn’t mean I can’t get hopeful about the next crop of potential nominees. And after watching the trailer for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri which stars the always incredible Frances McDormand, what a way to start things off.

The last time McDormand was Oscar-nominated was for 2006’s just alright North Country for a performance she probably could have done in her sleep. Since then, she’s done some work with Wes Anderson and scooped up a million and a half prizes (including an Emmy!) for the excellent Olive Kitteridge. But it’s been awhile since the actress has had a proper, leading, film role. This film looks to be the one that not only changes that, but could potentially earn her yet another Oscar nomination. 

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“Beauty and the Beast” Feels Like A Wasted Opportunity

It feels like Disney’s live-action remakes of their animated classics have all been leading to this moment. Though everyone is sure to have a different favorite, Beauty and the Beast is the most iconic of their catalog, next to The Little Mermaid (which is next to receive the remake treatment). The original was the first animated film to ever be nominated for Best Picture, and even managed nominations in Sound Mixing and three for Original Song. Alice in WonderlandSleeping BeautyCinderella and The Jungle Book have all been remade with varying degrees of critical success and huge, record breaking returns at the box office. Beauty and the Beast is bound to be their biggest endeavor yet.

And yet, for all of the hype, star power and magic, Beauty and the Beast winds up being just a straight and very soft pitch down the middle, never slipping into train wreck territory but never achieving the moments of grandeur and greatness that it so clearly desires. 

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Final Oscar Predictions: Who Will, Could and Should Win

The big night is just hours away, and I have to say I’m happy this long awards season is finally over. What started out as a promising year for awards season turned into a dull steamroll for La La Land, which confuses me given its competition. Then again, we are talking about the Oscars after all, so maybe it’s not all that shocking. 

So yeah, La La Land will probably win everything it’s fun to think about Moonlight or Arrival upsetting in a few of the major categories. So while I’ve tried to be “realistic” and predicted Damien Chazelle’s movie musical to win just about everything from Picture, Actress to Editing and Production Design, I’m holding out for some surprises. 

But aren’t we all? 

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Grammy’s: Who Will and Should Win

This year’s Grammy’s will be a clash of the titans: Adele vs. Beyoncé, with some steep competition from some other big names like Rihanna, Drake, and Justin Bieber in the other major categories. 

But who will come out on top? Who could spoil? And who deserves to? That’s what I’m here to find out. Let’s take a look through some of the major categories. 

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“Hidden Figures” Wins Best Ensemble At SAG Awards

Hidden Figures won big at the Screen Actor’s Guild awards after the cast was awarded the Best Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture, besting the favorite to win Moonlight. It just crossed the $100 million mark at the box office this weekend too. I thought that if Moonlight lost this it would cement La La Land’s win, but coupled with this win, it shouldn’t be counted out of the Best Picture race especially since La La Land was not nominated here. The Oscars love their crowdpleasers, and much of La La Land‘s campaign has been built on it being one. And sure, it has a PGA win, but Hidden Figures is every bit of the crowdpleaser that La La Land is, better even and the race is far from over. Watch out.

The other big “shocker” of the night came when Denzel Washington beat Casey Affleck in Best Actor. Many were predicting Affleck to continue his sweep here but I had a hunch Washington would win here; he had never won an award here before, which is absolutely insane to think about. 

The rest of the categories went pretty much as expected: Emma Stone began her march towards an Oscar by repeating her win at Golden Globes. Any hopes of a late surge for Natalie Portman seem entirely unrealistic now. Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis won in their respective categories. 

See the full list of winners below. 

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Screen Actor’s Guild Predictions: Can “Moonlight” Emerge As “La La Land’s” Biggest Competition?

We have now entered Phase 2 of awards season: Oscar nominations have been announced, and now it’s about threading a narrative to create/build and/or maintain enough momentum to win an Oscar.

Last year, we saw the tide turn quickly against The Revenant, which came into Oscar night with a whopping 12 nominations and losing Best Picture to Spotlight and other technical awards to Mad Max: Fury Road. The same thing happened to American Hustle a few years ago; it scored 13 nominations and a ton of late breaking heat from the Golden Globes and Screen Actor’s Guild and won nothing on Oscar night. This year is obviously much different than those years, with La La Land being much more of an Oscar-friendly and consensus title than the other ones I mentioned. 

Curiously enough, La La Land only managed nominations for Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and did not appear in the line up for Best Ensemble which is worth noting. It’s true that La La Land is a lot of just Stone and Gosling, but that hasn’t stopped SAG from nominating films with smaller ensembles before (remember Beasts of No Nation last year? It only had three actors cited). The Producer’s Guild also announces their winner this weekend, which La La Land will almost certainly win. But SAG represents the actors, which outnumber the producers that vote within the Academy which is why I think Moonlight can emerge as a big threat this weekend (but more on that later). 

Let’s go through the categories. 

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