The discourse surrounding Joker has been happening for so long, you’d be forgiven if you thought the movie had already come out by this point. Long before the movie was named the (surprising) recipient of the Venice Film Festival’s coveted Golden Lion (which in years’ past has gone to films such as Short Cuts, Brokeback Mountain and most recently, Roma) there was anxiety about its impact in a world being ravaged by armed, white men. Director, producer and co-writer Todd Phillips (The Hangover) has spoken at length about why the seriousness of Joker appealed to him (Comedy was too PC for him, boo hoo!); this isn’t just another comic book origin story, Phillips wants you to know that this is a serious, gritty character drama. Then there were the stories about just how far Joaquin Phoenix went down the rabbit hole in preparation for his role as Gotham’s Clown Prince have earned him the status of frontrunner in this year’s very crowded Best Actor race. It has all been exhausting to say the least. But now the movie is finally here to be judged on its merits, for what it is and not the controversy and “what ifs.” The most offensive thing about Joker is how bland, boring and toothless it is.
We’re still about a month away from the premiere of Denzel Washington’s Fences, but Paramount isn’t wasting any time getting the film out in front of people.
After a splashy premiere at the AFI fest and several industry screenings, Fences has moved up into the Oscar race in a big way.With so much of the Academy comprising of actors, Fences should have no problem raking in a bunch of nominations. The only question now is just how big will Fences be? And can it win Washington a Best Actor Oscar, making it his third trophy?
Denzel Washington’s big screen adaptation of Fences, August Wilson’s critically acclaimed staged play, has finally been seen. To say that people loved it would be underselling it; last night’s Screen Actor’s Guild screening went over so well that many are calling the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress races over.
La La Land became the Best Picture frontrunner from the moment it premiered at the Venice Film festival. And while it’s facing some heat from Sundance darling’s Manchester By The Sea and critic’s favorite and box office anomaly Moonlight, the new trailer suggests that distributor Summit Entertainment is going all out for awards glory.
I’ve been thinking about Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight from the moment its gorgeous trailer premiered over the summer. I hadn’t heard anything about it before that, but the buzz around the film became inescapable after. Film critics and various writers were all enamored like I was, while the lucky few who had seen the film in some capacity all had the same message: This was a film to watch out for, and see at any cost.
Suddenly it was announced that Moonlight would be screening at the Telluride Film Festival, with screenings at the prestigious Toronto and New York Film Festivals to follow. It’s clear that following the success of Room and Ex Machina last year, the film’s distributor A24 was not messing around with this one and if the word of mouth out of Telluride is any indicator of what’s to come, Moonlight is in it for the long haul.
La La Land may be months away from its official US premiere, but it’s making a pretty strong case to be considered a frontrunner for every Best Cinematography award there is. Seriously, in just a little over a minute, the trailer offers up more gorgeous imagery than most films released this year have during their entire duration.
I don’t know how we got here, but it would seem like The Revenant has got the best chance at winning Best Picture at the Oscars.
The film showed a surprising strength after leading the nomination count with The Academy last month, but there was still a strong consensus around Spotlight and The Big Short. And while those two films each have a big award from an important guild (SAG and the PGA respectively), The Revenant’s unexpected win with the DGA and the BAFTAs makes the heat around it seem that much stronger.
Leonardo Dicaprio’s star power is not be underestimated; He’s been cleaning up this awards season due to a lack of competition and the “it’s time” narrative. But there seems to be an extreme enthusiasm for the film outside of Leo’s work, and director Iñárritu’s win for Birdman last year doesn’t seem to be slowing the momentum down whatsoever.
It’s clearly between The Big Short, Spotlight and The Revenant for the win; a photo finish. Each have their appeal, but if you had to ask me which film stood the best chance at winning right now, I’d say The Revenant. It has the actors, the directors, and the various crafts behind it. And while there’s a case to be made for Mad Max: Fury Road, I’m not sure there’s been enough enthusiasm from the guilds (in terms of wins) to justify that theory.
There’s always room for surprises however; I think it’s been too crazy of a year to have The Revenant take home the gold. When I say it’s going to win, that’s what the stats would suggest. My heart tells me Mad Max: Fury Road is going to win due to a 3-way split. There’s no sure way to say with how spread out the awards have been. This will be one of those years where it won’t be revealed until Oscar night.
Take a look below at the full list of winners from the BAFTAs below.
I had to sum up The Revenant in one word, it would be: grueling.
That’s not a knock on the film’s quality by any means, though it doesn’t always make for an easy viewing experience. As with his last film, the Best Picture winning Birdman, director Alejandro González Iñárritu continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible when it comes to filmmaking. It’s funny, because there are some parallels between Riggan Thomson, the main character of Birdman, and Iñárritu himself. Where Riggan was tasked with proving himself as a ‘real actor’ and adapting a novel into a stage play (which he was also the star of), Iñárritu has attempted to best himself with the largest, most visually arresting film of his very esteemed career.