Saturday, October 20, 2012

Who Should Host SNL This Year?

Season 38 of Saturday Night Live is in full swing with election mockery, a comedy styling in which they are well-versed. But without the help of hilarious Digital Shorts from Andy Samberg and consistent MVP work from the brilliant Kristen Wiig, the classic series is showing signs of fatigue- the same fatigue they experienced after the departure of other greats like Jon Belushi, Will Ferrell, Phil Harman, Mike Myers, Tina Fey, and more.

Bruno Mars looks like he might have the potential to be funny, but Daniel Craig really underwhelmed and Christina Applegate wasn't given proper material. Here are a few choices of actors and actresses that have projects coming up and could help re-capture some of those rare moments of SNL glory.

1. Ben Affleck
Project(s) to promote: Argo & most likely the Oscars

2. Jennifer Lawrence
Project(s) to promote: Silver Linings Playbook & most likely the Oscars

3. Chris Pratt
Project(s) to promote: Zero Dark Thirty & Parks and Rec

4. Hugh Jackman OR Anne Hathaway
Project(s) to promote: Les Misérables

5. Lucy Liu
Project(s) to promote: Elementary

6. Mindy Kaling
Project(s) to promote: The Mindy Project

7. Jamie Foxx
Project(s) to promote: Django Unchained

8. Jason Bateman
Project(s) to promote: Identity Thief & Arrested Development

9. Aubrey Plaza
Project(s) to promote: The To-Do List & Parks and Rec

10. Chloe Grace Moretz
Project(s) to promote: Carrie

11. Tina Fey OR Alec Baldwin
Project(s) to promote: Final Season of 30 Rock

12. Sandra Bullock
Project(s) to promote: The Heat

13. Zachary Quinto
Project(s) to promote: Star Trek 2 & AHS: Asylum

14. Claire Danes
Project(s) to promote: Homeland

15. Martin Freeman
Project(s) to promote: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

16. Louis CK
Project(s) to promote: He's Louis CK, does he need a reason?

Long-Shot Wishes:
-Robert Downey Jr. for Iron Man 3
-Barbra Streissand for The Guilt Trip

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Awards Season Is Coming: Which Movies Have The Greatest Oscar Momentum?

October is here and with it brings fall, Halloween, pumpkins and Oscar watch. Now that those pesky TV awards are out of the way, it's time to really start prepping for the heart of movie awards season.

We've seen film festivals upon festivals give us tons of choices for all the award categories from Best Score to Best Picture so let's a take a look at the possible movies headed towards that Oscar stage, starting with the big ticket category: Best Picture

Best Picture
Depending on how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voters are feeling this year, we could have anywhere from five to 10 nominees. Last year the AMPAS members seemed to hate the idea of choosing less nominees so much that they picked nine... even though only four or so actually had a shot. I'll pick out 10 for now and hopefully whittle down to a nice six or seven by the time nominations are announced.

1. "Argo"
In its favor: 
-Massive crowd pleaser
-Extremely positive reviews after release and at Toronto Film Festival (95% on Rotten Tomatoes)
-Ensemble Acting Award at Hollywood Film Awards
Against it:
-Some small controversy with Canadians but the nomination is pretty much a done deal

2. "The Master"
In its favor: 
-Wonderful reception and two awards from Venice Film Festival (Best Director & Co-Best Actors)
-Supporting Actress for Amy Adams from Hollywood Film Awards
-Great reviews (85% on Rotten Tomatoes)
-Surprisingly good box-office results so far for a limited release
Against it: 
-Difficult subject matter and directing style; not easy for mainstream enjoyment
-Scientology rumors/prone to controversy

3. The Silver Linings Playbook (Releases November 21st)
In its favor:
-People's Choice Award from the Toronto Film Festival
-Rave early reviews (100% on Rotten Tomatoes SO FAR)
-Good pedigree with David O. Russell as director (The Fighter, Three Kings)
-Best Actor, Director and Supporting Actor honors from Hollywood Film Awards
Against it:
-Touchy subject with mental illness

4. Lincoln (Releases November 9th)
In its favor: 
-Good reviews out of New York Film Festival
-Steven Spielberg (come on, who doesn't know Spielberg)
Against it:
-May be too traditional and not unique enough for some voters

5. Les Miserables (Releases December 25th)
In its favor: 
-New style for musical-movies (actors sing while being filmed rather than lip-syncing)
-Pedigree of cast with Tom Hooper as director (The King's Speech)
-Classic and celebrated musical
-Fantastic reception to the trailer and "making of" featurette
Against it:
-Musicals aren't always awards friendly (see: Nine)
-When something is classic, it's hard to do it better than the original

6. Life of Pi (Releases November 16th)
In its favor:
-Pedigree of Ang Lee as director (Brokeback Mountain; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
-Beautiful, sweeping imagery
-Revered story as source material (see: book by Yann Martel)
-Good reviews (93% on Rotten Tomatoes SO FAR)
Against it: 
-Difficult story to tell
-No well-known actors (all Indian/European cast)
-Worries that it will only be good in terms of cinematography and other technical aspects but not film as a whole (aka The "Lovely Bones" Effect)

7. Zero Dark Thirty (Releases December 19th)
In its favor:
-Great action sequences
-Patriotic and lauded material (if handled correctly)
-Pedigree of Kathryn Bigelow as director (The Hurt Locker, Point Break)
-Getting a Film Editing honor at Hollywood Film Awards
-All-star cast of great acting chameleons (no one sticks out for being too famous)
Against it: 
-Controversial/difficult material (if handled poorly)
-Concern that the movie is too quick a turnaround from the actual operation
-Scandal surrounding whether or not the government gave filmmakers classified information to make the movie more realistic

8. Amour
In its favor:
-Won the Palme d'Or (Best Film) at Cannes Film Festival
-Pedigree of Michael Haneke as director (Funny Games, The White Ribbon)
-Rave reviews for film and main actors
Against it: 
-Foreign film
-About elderly people with nude scenes and all

9. Moonrise Kingdom (Out on DVD)
In its favor: 
-Very favorable reviews (94% on Rotten Tomatoes)
-Sweet/lovable story that is sure to warm voters' hearts
-Brilliant cast
-Great director pedigree with Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox)
Against it: 
-Released in the summer, may not be fresh enough in people's minds
-May be a little too weird a style for some voters (same problem with Royal Tenenbaums)

10. Beasts of the Southern Wild
In its favor:
-Big winner at Sundance
-Sterling reviews for film and cast (especially young star Quvenzhane Wallis)
Against it: 
-Really low-budget film that hasn't been seen by many
-Controversy with SAG awards: it doesn't meet the terms of the SAG low-budget feature agreement of having to use a few professional actors, which the film does not

Possible Alternatives:
Promised Land
Hyde Park on Hudson
The Impossible
Anna Karenina
Cloud Atlas
Django Unchained

Best Director
1. Ben Affleck: Argo
2. Paul Thomas Anderson: The Master
3. Steven Spielberg: Lincoln
4. David O. Russell: The Silver Linings Playbook
5. Tom Hooper: Les Miserables

Possible Alternatives:
Ang Lee: Life of Pi
Kathryn Bigelow: Zero Dark Thirty
Michael Heneke: Amour
Quentin Tarantino: Django Unchained
Robert Zemeckis: Flight
Gus Van Sant: Promised Land
Ben Zeitlin: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Actor
1. Joaquin Phoenix: The Master
2. Daniel Day-Lewis: Lincoln
3. John Hawkes: The Sessions
4. Denzel Washington: Flight
5. Anthony Hopkins: Hitchcock

Possible Alternatives:
Bradley Cooper: The Silver Linings Playbook
Bill Murray: Hyde Park on Hudson
Hugh Jackman: Les Miserables
Matt Damon: Promised Land
Jean-Louis Trintignant: Amour

Best Actress
1. Jennifer Lawrence: The Silver Linings Playbook
2. Naomi Watts: The Impossible
3. Helen Mirren: Hitchcock
4. Marion Cotillard: Rust and Bone
5. Keira Knightley: Anna Karenina

Possible Alternatives:
Quvenzhane Wallis: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Michelle Williams: Take this Waltz
Emmanuelle Riva: Amour
Laura Linney: Hyde Park on Hudson

Best Supporting Actor
1. Phillip Seymour Hoffman: The Master
2. Robert De Niro: The Silver Linings Playbook
3. Alan Arkin: Argo
4. Leonardo DiCaprio: Django Unchained
5. Tommy Lee Jones: Lincoln

Possible Alternatives:
Russell Crowe: Les Miserables
William H. Macy: The Sessions
Matthew McConaughey: Magic Mike
Dwight Henry: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Ewan McGregor: The Impossible

Best Supporting Actress
1. Amy Adams: The Master
2. Anne Hathaway: Les Miserables
3. Sally Field: Lincoln
4. Helen Hunt: The Sessions
5. Maggie Smith: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Possible Alternatives:
Nicole Kidman: The Paperboy
Jessica Chastain: Zero Dark Thirty
Francis McDorman: Promised Land
Scarlett Johansson: Hitchcock

Best Original Screenplay
1. Paul Thomas Anderson: The Master
2. Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola: Moonrise Kingdom
3. Mark Boal: Zero Dark Thirty
4. Quentin Tarantino: Django Unchained
5. Matt Damon & John Krasinski: Promised Land

Possible Alternatives: 
Michael Heneke: Amour
John Gatins: Flight
Martin McDonaugh: Seven Psycopaths
Rian Johnson: Looper

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Chris Terrio: Argo
2. David O. Russell: The Silver Linings Playbook
3. Tony Kushner, John Logan & Paul Webb: Lincoln
4. David Magee: Life of Pi
5. Tom Stoppard: Anna Karenina

Possible Alternatives: 
William Nicholson: Les Miserables
Stephen Chbosky: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Ben Zeitlin & Lucy Alibar: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Ben Lewin: The Sessions
Judd Apatow: This Is 40

Best Animated Film
1. Brave
2. Wreck-It-Ralph
3. Frankenweenie
4. Paranorman

Possible Alternatives: 
Rise of the Guardians
Hotel Transylvania
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
The Lorax
A foreign animated feature that will surprise everyone

Best Score
1. Alexandre Desplat: Argo
2. Dario Marianelli: Anna Karenina
3. John Williams: Lincoln
4. Dan Romer & Ben Zeitlin: Beasts of the Southern Wild
5. Johnny Greenwood**: The Master
Other possible 5th: Howard Shore: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Possible Alternatives: 
Alexandre Desplat: Moonrise Kingdom
Danny Elfman: The Silver Linings Playbook
Reinold Hell, Johnny Kilmek & Tom Tyker: Cloud Atlas
Gustavo Santoallalo: On the Road
Mychael Danna: Life of Pi

**Jonny Greenwood may end up being deemed ineligible for using some of his already pre-recorded music for the score which is not allowed by Oscar standards.

So as this is the first week for predictions, anything can change. We won't get big hints until end of November and early December which is when the Critics Choice, The SAG awards and the Golden Globes will announce their nominations. See you then!

Sources: Indiewire, Vulture, The Hollywood ReporterEntertainment Weekly