Sunday, January 31, 2016

PASSION AND REPETITION AT THE 2016 SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS

Everyone made impassioned speeches. Leo won, and got one step closer to his long overdue Oscar. Idris Elba won two Actors. Priyanka Chopra toned down her fake accent. The cast of DOWNTON did it again. And with Spotlight winning the ensemble award, I got eight out of thirteen predictions correct. Here’s a look at what else went down at the SAG Awards last night.


It was hardly a night of surprises, with several repeat winners in the TV categories, and Leonardo DiCaprio winning for The Revenant. However, it was far from dull. I always enjoy the SAGs, with all the camaraderie between the actors when they get together to celebrate each other’s work every year. And the tradition of opening the evening with anecdotes by a random selection of actors always sets the tone for a nice, fun evening. I particularly enjoyed this year’s selection. Jeffrey Tambor, Kunal Nayyar and Rami Malek were pretty cool.

It’s possible that the absence of a host or an emcee lowers the chances of disappointment, but it’s also true that with no host, the entire burden of entertaining us is on the presentations. And I thought the writer did a decent job of putting together those bits for the presenters. Not all of them were outstandingly hilarious though. For instance, I didn’t see the point in Sarah Silverman slapping on the fake mustache. But I found it really endearing the way Jason Bateman revealed the winner by saying, “Get up here, dad,” calling out to Tambor, his former on-screen dad from ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. There was a lot of passion in the presentations too. What started with Queen Latifah’s anecdote in the beginning (“I’ve been told I’m not thin enough, I’m not white enough, I’m not man enough. Damn it, I am enough!), was carried forward by those who were presenting the films nominated for ensemble cast. And then the winners took it forward using the stage as a platform to voice their support for various causes. The cast of Spotlight spoke about the abuse in the Catholic Church. Jeffrey Tambor dedicated his award to those transgender people who can’t afford to transition to the genders they identify with. Lesley Nicol, speaking on behalf of the cast of DOWNTON ABBEY spoke passionately about working on the final season of the show, and thanked America for welcoming them with open arms. Alicia Vikander’s speech made note of how an actor’s work is a product of collaboration. But I thought Uzo Aduba’s speech, inspiring young aspiring actors to continue to strive towards being able to be at a show like the SAGs, was particularly good. My favorite speech was Leo's though, especially the part where he thanked his parents for letting him go for auditions after school as a thirteen-year-old-boy. 

Among the winners, I was happy to see DOWNTON ABBEY win again, but sad to see the cast of MAD MEN not up there, or even Jon Hamm. Aside from Jeffrey Tambor for TRANSPARENT, and the miniseries/TV movie categories, all other TV recipients were last year’s winners. So that was not very exciting or new. Spotlight’s ensemble cast win doesn’t make it any easier to guess which film will win the Oscar for best picture. But I think one can safely say that Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson will win this year.

I thought it was well put-together show, appropriately paced, and I particularly loved the audio-visual of actors playing actors. Even the lifetime achievement presentation didn’t seem like the drag it sometimes is. I actually liked Carol Burnett’s speech and how she spoke about comedy TV being a man’s domain. It was also good to see a woman—Demi Moore—presenting the award for best ensemble in a motion picture, since usually best-picture-equivalent awards are generally presented by men. Now I would like to see maybe Meryl Streep presenting the Oscar for best picture next month.

Here are all the SAG Awards 2016 winners (the ** indicate my predictions):

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
DOWNTON ABBEY
GAME OF THRONES
HOMELAND
HOUSE OF CARDS
MAD MEN**

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
THE BIG BANG THEORY
KEY & PEELE
MODERN FAMILY
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK**
TRANSPARENT
VEEP

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Dinklage, GAME OF THRONES
Jon Hamm, MAD MEN**
Rami Malek, MR. ROBOT
Bob Odenkirk, BETTER CALL SAUL
Kevin Spacey, HOUSE OF CARDS

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Claire Danes, HOMELAND
Viola Davis, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER**
Julianna Margulies, THE GOOD WIFE
Maggie Smith, DOWNTON ABBEY
Robin Wright, HOUSE OF CARDS

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell, MODERN FAMILY
Louis C.K., LOUIE
William H. Macy, SHAMELESS
Jim Parsons, THE BIG BANG THEORY
Jeffrey Tambor, TRANSPARENT**

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK**
Edie Falco, NURSE JACKIE
Ellie Kemper, UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, VEEP
Amy Poehler, PARKS AND RECREATION

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Idris Elba, LUTHER
Ben Kingsley, TUT
Ray Liotta, TEXAS RISING
Bill Murray, A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS
Mark Rylance, WOLF HALL**

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Nicole Kidman, GRACE OF MONACO**
Queen Latifah, BESSIE
Christina Ricci, THE LIZZIE BORDEN CHRONICLES
Susan Sarandon, THE SECRET LIFE OF MARILYN MONROE
Kristen Wiig, THE SPOILS BEFORE DYING

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Beasts of No Nation
The Big Short
Spotlight**
Straight Outta Compton
Trumbo

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Johnny Depp, Black Mass
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant**
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room**
Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Jacob Tremblay, Room**

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl**

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Saturday, January 30, 2016

THE 2016 SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS – PREDICTIONS

Before the winners of the 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are announced, let’s take a look at the nominees, as I take a stab at guessing who’ll win


The cast of Spotlight
The SAGs are always a bit of a surprise, with unlikely nominees taking home Actors year after year. It often happens that the frontrunners that don’t end up winning the Oscar will have already won the Actor. That’s a little disappointing for the Actor winners, in a way. But what’s more disappointing are the TV categories. I say it almost every year, and I’ll say it again. The combined acting categories—lead and supporting—limit the recognition of some brilliant performances. I would say that instead of segregating drama and comedy, they should segregate lead and supporting. That should really make things interesting, because no major TV awards every put drama and comedy together. Anyway, for now, this is what we’ve got…

Jon Hamm in the series finale of MAD MEN
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
DOWNTON ABBEY
GAME OF THRONES
HOMELAND
HOUSE OF CARDS
MAD MEN**

GAME OF THRONES could win. It was recognized at the Emmys, but not at the Globes, so its chances aren’t as strong. The SAG-AFTRA loves MAD MEN and DOWNTON, so it could be either of them. However, this is MAD MEN’s last year, so I think they’ll give it to MAD MEN. (DOWNTON’s penultimate season is being considered this year, since its last season is currently on the air in the US.)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
THE BIG BANG THEORY
KEY & PEELE
MODERN FAMILY
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK**
TRANSPARENT
VEEP

VEEP should win in my opinion, but I doubt it will. MODERN FAMILY’s cast is equally deserving, but their award-winning days seem to be over. They could give it to TRANSPARENT, but I think it’ll be ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK again.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Dinklage, GAME OF THRONES
Jon Hamm, MAD MEN**
Rami Malek, MR. ROBOT
Bob Odenkirk, BETTER CALL SAUL
Kevin Spacey, HOUSE OF CARDS

Kevin Spacey could win again, but the awards love for Jon Hamm since MAD MEN ended has been quite abundant, and I think he’ll finally win an Actor for his amazing and meticulous performance as Don Draper.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Claire Danes, HOMELAND
Viola Davis, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER**
Julianna Margulies, THE GOOD WIFE
Maggie Smith, DOWNTON ABBEY
Robin Wright, HOUSE OF CARDS

It’ll be Viola Davis again, I’m quite sure. Because I think the SAG-AFTRA is done giving awards to Julianna Margulies, Maggie Smith and Claire Danes.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell, MODERN FAMILY
Louis C.K., LOUIE
William H. Macy, SHAMELESS
Jim Parsons, THE BIG BANG THEORY
Jeffrey Tambor, TRANSPARENT**

Jim Parsons has never won in this category, so I think it should be him. They could give it to Bill Macy a second time, but I think, like Ty Burrell, he’ll end up being a one-time winner, because this year, I suspect they’ll give it to Jeffrey Tambor.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK**
Edie Falco, NURSE JACKIE
Ellie Kemper, UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, VEEP
Amy Poehler, PARKS AND RECREATION

Julia Louis-Dreyfus should win. Maybe even Amy Poehler (this is probably literally the last time she’ll be nominated for PARKS…) should take it away, but Louis-Dreyfus stands a better chance. However, I think Uzo Aduba will take it away this year again. The SAG-AFTRA loves to repeatedly and consecutively award novel performances.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Idris Elba, LUTHER
Ben Kingsley, TUT
Ray Liotta, TEXAS RISING
Bill Murray, A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS
Mark Rylance, WOLF HALL**

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Nicole Kidman, GRACE OF MONACO**
Queen Latifah, BESSIE
Christina Ricci, THE LIZZIE BORDEN CHRONICLES
Susan Sarandon, THE SECRET LIFE OF MARILYN MONROE
Kristen Wiig, THE SPOILS BEFORE DYING

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Beasts of No Nation
The Big Short
Spotlight**
Straight Outta Compton
Trumbo

This is a tough one. I think I’m going go with Spotlight. But I’m quite sure that this won’t be one of the years when the best picture Oscar goes to the picture that won in this category at the SAGs.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Johnny Depp, Black Mass
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant**
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

This is Leo’s year. I doubt there are many who think anyone else will win.

Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson in Room
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room**
Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back

Brie Larson was quite good. She managed to convey gut-wrenching emotions and frustration without overdoing it, so I think she’ll win. Saoirse Ronan could also be the winner, in which case, Larson will definitely win the Oscar.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Jacob Tremblay, Room**

I’m not too convinced about my guess here, but the boy was brilliant in Room, and if the SAG-AFTRA has recognized his work, they might go all out. It could be Mark Rylance, it could be Idis Elba.

Alicia Vicander in The Danish Girl
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl**
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Alicia Vikander’s was an outstanding performance, with a perfectly delivered mix of intensity and restraint, and she might lose to Kate Winslet at the Oscars, but I think she will win at the SAGs. Vikander really should have been in the leading actress category. 



Thursday, January 14, 2016

THE 88th OSCARS: NOMINATIONS


Best motion picture of the year
“The Big Short” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
“Bridge of Spies” Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
“Brooklyn” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Doug Mitchell and George Miller, Producers
“The Martian” Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, Producers
“The Revenant” Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, Producers
“Room” Ed Guiney, Producer
“Spotlight” Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo”
Matt Damon in “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett in “Carol”
Brie Larson in “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”

Achievement in directing
“The Big Short” Adam McKay
“Mad Max: Fury Road” George Miller
“The Revenant” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
“Room” Lenny Abrahamson
“Spotlight” Tom McCarthy

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Christian Bale in “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy in “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone in “Creed”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara in “Carol”
Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”

Best animated feature film of the year
“Anomalisa” Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
“Boy and the World” Alê Abreu
“Inside Out” Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
“Shaun the Sheep Movie” Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
“When Marnie Was There” Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Achievement in cinematography
“Carol” Ed Lachman
“The Hateful Eight” Robert Richardson
“Mad Max: Fury Road” John Seale
“The Revenant” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Sicario” Roger Deakins

Achievement in costume design
“Carol” Sandy Powell
“Cinderella” Sandy Powell
“The Danish Girl” Paco Delgado
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Jenny Beavan
“The Revenant” Jacqueline West

Best documentary feature
“Amy” Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
“Cartel Land” Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
“The Look of Silence” Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
“What Happened, Miss Simone?” Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Best documentary short subject
“Body Team 12” David Darg and Bryn Mooser
“Chau, beyond the Lines” Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” Adam Benzine
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
“Last Day of Freedom” Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Achievement in film editing
“The Big Short” Hank Corwin
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Margaret Sixel
“The Revenant” Stephen Mirrione
“Spotlight” Tom McArdle
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Best foreign language film of the year
“Embrace of the Serpent” Colombia
“Mustang” France
“Son of Saul” Hungary
“Theeb” Jordan
“A War” Denmark

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
“The Revenant” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
“Bridge of Spies” Thomas Newman
“Carol” Carter Burwell
“The Hateful Eight” Ennio Morricone
“Sicario” Jóhann Jóhannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” John Williams

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”
Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
Music and Lyric by David Lang
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre”
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
Achievement in production design
“Bridge of Spies” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
“The Danish Girl” Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
“The Martian” Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
“The Revenant” Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

Best animated short film
“Bear Story” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
“Prologue” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
“Sanjay’s Super Team” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
“We Can’t Live without Cosmos” Konstantin Bronzit
“World of Tomorrow” Don Hertzfeldt

Best live action short film
“Ave Maria” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
“Day One” Henry Hughes
“Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)” Patrick Vollrath
“Shok” Jamie Donoughue
“Stutterer” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Achievement in sound editing
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Mark Mangini and David White
“The Martian” Oliver Tarney
“The Revenant” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
“Sicario” Alan Robert Murray
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Achievement in sound mixing
“Bridge of Spies” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
“The Martian” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
“The Revenant” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Achievement in visual effects
“Ex Machina” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
“The Martian” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
“The Revenant” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

Adapted screenplay
“The Big Short” Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
“Brooklyn” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“Carol” Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy
“The Martian” Screenplay by Drew Goddard
“Room” Screenplay by Emma Donoghue

Original screenplay
“Bridge of Spies” Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
“Ex Machina” Written by Alex Garland
“Inside Out” Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
“Spotlight” Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
“Straight Outta Compton” Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff