Saturday, February 13, 2016

End-Of-Year: 2015 TV Winners

Slightly behind schedule, because I'm me, but after nearly two weeks since I posted my favorite TV shows, here are my picks for my favorite performances of 2015! Starting with my pick for best ensemble...

Runner-Up: Orange is the New Black
Other Nominees:
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fargo, Fresh Off the Boat, Game of Thrones, Jane the Virgin, Mad Men, Parks & Recreation, Veep

The cast of each of these shows are fantastic and so picking a favorite from among them is actually quite ridiculous. But I gave it Sense8 which made use of its globe-spanning cast to such unique effect that even though they were mostly separated from each other by long distances, it all still gelled together as a whole. My runner-up is of course the wonderfully female-skewed ensemble of Orange is the New Black which somehow just keeps getting better and better every season. The rest of the shows I've singled out are not to be lumped as honorable mentions since all of them really take pride in creating an overall sense of community with their casts.

BEST ACTOR, DRAMA: Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Runner-Up: Justin Theroux, The Leftovers
Other Nominees:
Charlie Cox, Daredevil
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans

The Hannibal boys were my top two picks last year which is probably why I decided to leave them off my list in spite of a final season that really got into their twisted relationship. Instead, I opted for newcomer Malek whose approachable strangeness is a perfect fit for the show, both giving off a coldness that's tempered with real beauty. Runner-up went to Theroux who anchored his own share of crazy (he literally died and went to limbo twice) in the bravura sophomore season of his show. Mazel tov to Hamm's final season, Cox's ability to act in those tight costumes, Odenkirk's new spin to a familiar character, and Rhys' chameleon-esque talents.

BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA: Krysten Ritter, Jessica Jones
Runner-Up: Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Other Nominees:

Hayley Atwell, Agent Carter
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

I honestly didn't know Ritter had it in her, which is my fault because her previous work most notably Apartment 23 and Breaking Bad showed she's more than capable at caustic realness and depth of emotion, which she deploys to brilliant effect in her show. Henson, in the meantime, gleefully plays one of the breakout characters of last year and is consistently the best part of her show. Shout out to Davis' courtroom dramatics, Maslany's TV-defying sister act, Moss' heartfelt goodbyes, and Atwell's ability to snark/fight in perfect hair and makeup.

BEST ACTOR, COMEDY: Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
Runner-Up: Adam Scott, Parks & Recreation
Other Nominees:

Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Jonathan Groff, Looking
Randall Park, Fresh off the Boat
Joshua Sasse, Galavant

This was an interesting category for me, because it's usually such a BUMMER category when it comes to traditional award shows. It's gotten better with the recent Amazon 1-2 punch of Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent and Gael Garcia Bernal in Mozart Jungle (both NOT on my list because I haven't seen their sophomore seasons), but still lacking. My list, of course, shows what COULD BE and I wish more people would branch out a bit. My pick this year goes to Middleditch, whose show is popular and yet he hasn't been able to break through himself even though he's SO GOOD at the awkward-bumbling-genius role. Of course there's perennial favorite of mine Scott who, like most of the members of his cast, whisked into the sunset with absolute skill and class. Big props to Sasse's mad singing skills, Park's unrecognized hilarity, Ansari's delightful meanderings, and Groff's adorable cluelessness.

BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY: Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Runner-Up: Aya Cash, You're the Worst
Other Nominees:

Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation
Constance Wu, Fresh Off the Boat

Unlike its male counterpart, this category is ALWAYS SO DAMN COMPETITIVE to the point that two years running and I still haven't made room for the AWESOMENESS of the Broad City ladies. But looking at my final short list and you can see the immense talent on display. Rodriguez was my runner-up last year, but she was certainly THE breakout actress of 2014 and has only solidified her status as one of the best actresses working today this past year. Meanwhile Cash catapulted herself in runner-up position by deftly handling a depression story arc that could've been made a mess if it weren't for her excellent performance. Give it up also for Louis-Dreyfus gut-busting intensity, Wu's pitch-perfect line deliveries, Kemper's unabashed positivity, and Poehler's presidential exit.

Now comes to Supporting/Limited categories for which I've decided to shortlist 10 people per category as opposed to just 6 with the Lead. This is #PeakTV people and there are A LOT of people doing amazing work. Rather than seeing this as a Everyone Gets a Trophy, see this as a Look at How Fantastic A Lot of People Are. And go...

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA: Miguel Angel Silvestre, Sense8
Runner-Up: James D'Arcy, Agent Carter/Broadchurch

Other Nominees:
Aml Ameen, Sense8
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Burn Gorman, TURN
Joshua Jackson, The Affair
Matt McGorry, How to Get Away with Murder
Ari Millen, Orphan Black
Jussie Smollett, Empire
Martin Wallström, Mr. Robot

First, a bit of housekeeping. I'm considering all the main Sense8 characters as "supporting" the same way the Modern Family cast consider themselves that for awards. It's a bit of category fraud in my part, but I can live with it. With that said, Silvestre as the hot-machismo-soap-opera-stud on the outside but hot-mess-of-a-hopeless-sweetheart on the inside Lito is my top pick. Second place goes to D'Arcy playing two polar opposite characters in two very different shows (well they're both two GOOD shows). Also loving McGorry's dance moves, Millen's ability to keep up with Maslany, Banks' quiet intensity, Jackson's fiery arc, Gorman's unexpected redemption, Ameen's ridiculous smile, Smollett's coming out, and Wallström's own brand of crazy.

Runner-Up: Jamie Clayton, Sense8
Other Nominees:

Calista Flockhart, Supergirl
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Regina King, The Leftovers
Charlotte Rampling, Broadchurch
Molly Parker, House of Cards
Lana Parrilla, Once Upon a Time
Jean Smart, Fargo
Holly Taylor, The Americans

There were SO MANY choices in this category that I actually forced myself to not give one show more than two nods (or else you'd see more Sense8 ladies probably). Speaking of that show, Clayton was my runner-up invoking such genuine realness and vulnerability to her character. Tierney was my top pick since in a show that's all about The Acting, she seems to really play it in such a natural and effective way even when she's going Big and Dramatic. Big props as well to Flockhart's boss-level attitude, King's strong presence, Rampling's ball of pain and regret, Parker's combativeness, Headey's shame shame shamefulness, Taylor's revelatory story line, Smart's wisecracks, and Parrilla's unexpected Savior Moment.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY: Titus Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Runner-Up: Andre Braugher, Brooklyn 99

Other Nominees:
Jaime Camil, Jane the Virgin
Brett Dier, Jane the Virgin
Lamorne Morris, New Girl
Timothy Omundson, Galavant
Jeremy Allen White, Shameless
Bokeem Woodbine, Fargo
Zach Woods, Silicon Valley
Steve Zissis, Togetherness

This was a fun list to put together, because with every name I just start smiling or laughing. Certainly the top spot was a no-brainer as Burgess came out, so to speak, with all the glitter and pinot noir that he deserves and more. My winner two years ago and runner-up last year Braugher isn't too shabby as his Holt character gets more and more in touch with his ridiculous side. Shout out as well to Camil and Dier's endlessly fun bromance, Morris hot mess hijinks, White's brooding intensity, Woods' uncomfortable cadness, Zissis' confidence in his schlubness, Woodbine's unspoken threats, and Omundson's glorious hair.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY: Taryn Manning, Orange is the New Black
Runner-Up: Yael Grobas, Jane the Virgin
Other Nominees:

Donna Lynne Champlin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Kether Donohue, You're the Worst
Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
Allison Janney, Mom
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Adrienne C. Moore, Orange is the New Black
Chelsea Peretti, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Lauren Weedman, Looking

The top two spots are held by actresses playing messed-up hard-to-love (actually VERY easy-to-love) women who keeps strong despite their circumstances. Manning in particular, thanks to her show's writers as well, has been able to really delve deeper into a character that was honestly intolerable just a couple of seasons ago. Grobas' meanwhile could've easily been stuck in such a one-note role and yet the show is able to take advantage of her great presence to make her such a complicated and fascinating character. All the love as well to Dunst's Minnesotan accent, Krakowski's TV comeback, Moore's touching Jewish conversion plot-line, Peretti's everything, Weedman's soulfulness, Champlin's voice of conscience, Janney's ability to hit funny/sad so effortlessly, and Donohue's line delivery of "New Phone, Who Dis?"

Runner-Up: Alfonso Herrera, Sense8

Other Nominees:
Raul Esparza, Hannibal
Noel Fisher, Shameless
Hugh Laurie, Veep
Ki Hong Lee, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Lars Mikkelsen, House of Cards
Nick Offerman, Fargo
David Hyde Pierce, The Good Wife
Conrad Ricamora, How to Get Away with Murder

Wong had two very short scenes in the entirety of the show's first season run and yet he made such a huge impact to not only the mythology of the show, but also to its overall strangeness. Then there's Sylvestre's (see above) other half and yes I couldn't not single him out in this small way. Shout out to Ricamora's ability to stay alive, Offerman's Reagan reactions, Laurie's unassuming appeal, Fisher's touching coming out, Esparza's face-twisting role, Lee's clueless adorability, Pierce's one-on-one with Margulies, and Mikkelsen's dark presence.

BEST LIMITED ROLE, ACTRESS: Freema Agyeman, Sense8
Runner-Up: Rosario Dawson, Daredevil/Jessica Jones

Other Nominees:
Tovah Feldshuh, Walking Dead/Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Kathryn Hahn, Parks & Recreation
Eréndira Ibarra, Sense8
Margo Martindale, The Americans/The Good Wife
Cristin Milioti, Fargo
Lois Smith, The Americans
Liv Tyler, The Leftovers
Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away with Murder

Agyeman has been a favorite of mine ever since her Doctor Who days and I was so happy to see her on TV again and her character in Sense8 is in line with all of the other wonderful, kick-ass ladies she is known for. Dawson in the meantime is playing double-duty as one character in two shows and excelling in both. Let's give her a starring role soon, okay Marvel? And finally much love to Hahn's absolute disgust, Martindale's professionalism, Feldshuh's whiplash of two roles, Ibarra's penchant for gay porn, Milioti's AND Smith's grace in death, Tyson's age-defying presence, and Tyler's violent transformation.

And scene. So now all that is left is my ranked list of my Top 35 TV Shows of 2015. Based on my picks above and last week, it's easy enough to figure out my favorites.

Monday, February 1, 2016

End-Of-Year: 2015 TV Nominees

Happy first day of February or as I like to think of it, as the best time to finally start talking about my favorite TV shows and films of the past year. I just like the time to mull things over! With that said, the goal is to post everything before the Oscars at the end of the month, so let's go!

First up are my TV nominees for Best Drama, Best Comedy, Best New Show and Best Ensemble. Later this week, I'll dig into my favorite individual performances for which there are many. Onwards...


  • Agent Carter
  • The Americans
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Good Wife
  • How to Get Away with Murder
  • Jessica Jones
  • The Leftovers
  • Mad Men
  • Mr. Robot
  • Sense8

The majority of these won't ever see the light of Emmy Awards, but gosh darnit I will proclaim my love for them and genre TV (and Netflix) proudly.

  • Broad City
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Fargo
  • Fresh Off the Boat
  • Jane the Virgin
  • Orange if the New Black
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Veep
  • You're the Worst

Speaking of Netflix, here's a couple more. Plus some shows from network TV if you can believe it! Plus female-led shows! They're out there and they are amazing!

  • Agent Carter
  • Better Call Saul
  • Black-ish
  • Empire
  • Fresh Off the Boat
  • Galavant
  • Jessica Jones
  • Mr. Robot
  • Sense8
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

It was a banner year for new shows last year and this list highlights this fact. I didn't even get to include two shows from this most recent fall that delighted me greatly (Limitless, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) so you know how strong this year has been in this regard.

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Fargo
  • Fresh Off the Boat
  • Game of Thrones
  • Jane the Virgin
  • Mad Men
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Sense8
  • Veep

For this category, I pretty much looked at my favorite shows and really thought about not only if their ensemble members are great individually, but also how they all work together.

So later this week, I'll post my favorite actors from the past year including my pick for Best Ensemble. Then hopefully soon after that, I'll post my ranked list of my Top 35 shows of 2015. You may think 35 is a lot, but let's just say I watch a lot of TV. A lot.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Best Picture Tweets

Since I pay attention to my twitter more than my blog, I wanted to see what I tweeted about each of the Best Picture nominees right after I saw them. Unfortunately, there were a few films for which the only tweets of note were either me looking forward or about to see the film or something I wrote before/after that actually has little to do with the films. But anyways, here they are in the order of most Oscar nominations to least:

And for extra credit, here are some of my tweets for those non-Best Picture films but still garnered 4 or more Oscar nominations:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Critics Pick Spotlight, Mad Max, Mr. Robot, & Fargo

There were approximately a billion trillion categories given out last night (most during commercial breaks) because in their ultimate wisdom it was decided that the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association will present their winners together at one big ceremony. Host T.J. Miller was then quite fine with minimal and low-key sketches putting most of the focus on the nominees (acting clips were actually shown and speeches weren't interrupted!). Onwards to the winners...

Best Picture: Spotlight
Best Director: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Actress: Brie Larson, Room
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Best Original Screenplay: Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, The Big Short
Best Adapted Screenplay: Adam McKay & Charles Randolph, The Spotlight
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
Best Documentary: Amy
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out
Best Cinematography: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Production: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Visual Effects: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Hair and Makeup: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Score: The Hateful Eight
Best Song: "See You Again," Furious 7

These are the traditional Oscar categories which the BFCA obviously tried their best to predict who will win the Oscars. Spotlight came away with the night's top prize but time and time again it keeps getting one-upped by other films like Mad Max: Fury Road, which walked away with the most wins including Director (or The Revenant with its leading 12 Oscar nominations). The acting winners are seemingly solidifying with these four (DiCaprio, Larson, Stallone, Vikander) but we still haven't gotten to those industry awards (BAFTA, SAG) so who knows? And yes, the wins in the top categories perfectly matches with what other critics groups had to say. Finally, YES on "See You Again" winning. Suck on that Sam Smith and Oscars.

Best Ensemble: Spotlight
Best Young Actor: Jacob Tremblay, Room
Best Comedy: The Big Short
Best Actress, Comedy: Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
Best Actor, Comedy: Christian Bale, The Big Short
Best Action Movie: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Actress, Action Movie: Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Actor, Action Movie: Tom Hardy, Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie: Ex Machina

Extraneous categories are extraneous, but at least we got to see Jacob Tremblay charm the room including most of the ladies from Jane the Virgin. He also got to say Millennium Falcon and hang out with BB-8. The kid is really gunning for a Star Wars role, isn't he?

Best Drama Series: Mr. Robot
Best Actress, Drama Series: Carrie Coon, The Leftovers
Best Actor, Drama Series: Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Best Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Constance Zimmer, UnREAL
Best Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
Guest Actor/Actress, Drama: Margo Martindale, The Good Wife
Best Comedy Series: Master of None
Best Actress, Comedy Series: Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Best Actor, Comedy Series: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Best Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Best Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Guest Actor/Actress, Comedy: Timothy Olyphant, The Grinder
Best TV Movie/Limited Series: Fargo
Best Actress, TV Movie/Limited Series: Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
Best Actor, TV Movie/Limited Series: Idris Elba, Luther
Best Supporting Actress, TV Movie/Limited Series: Jesse Plemons, Fargo
Best Supporting Actor, TV Movie/Limited Series: Jean Smart, Fargo

These TV winners are fantastic and really puts SAG and Emmys to shame. So at the very least the BTJA are doing their due diligence during this era of Peak TV and championing all of these new and smart shows. I can't even pick a favorite winner though maybe Mr. Robot and its leading men come close. But there's also the Coon/Zimmer/Bloom trio which just seems amazing especially since the Emmys would NEVER. Finally, shout out to Fargo for well-deserved kudos for a great S2. And below are the rest of the categories which, really? Stop.

Best Animation Series: BoJack Horseman
Best Reality Show, Competition: The Voice
Best Reality Show, Structured: Shark Tank
Best Reality Show, Unstructured: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Best Reality Show Host: James Lipton, Inside the Actors
Best Talk Show: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Critical Consensus 2015

Today is all about the critics as the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) is the last critics group to chime in with their pick for Best of the Year. More so than any other critics group, they definitely try to predict the Oscars but it's also been a mixed process since they are NOT Oscar voters and their need to predict the Oscars also makes them do stupid things like add a Best Picture nominee after they'd finalized their nominations.

But neither here nor there. I actually want to talk less about the BFCA picks and more about what all of the other critics groups had to say these past few weeks. I love compiling all the results like this year after year just to see which films coalesce into favorites and especially which out-of-field choices, as few as they may be, critics end up championing.

This final list of 36 critics groups include the Alliance of Women Journalist (AWFJ), African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), National Society of Film Critics (NSFC), Online Film Critics (OFCS), Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) as well as critic groups from the following regions: Los Angeles (LAFCA), New York (NYFCC), Boston (BSFC), Washington D.C (WAFCA), New York Online (NYFCO), Boston Online (BOFCA), Southeastern (SEFCA), Indiana (IFJA), San Francisco (SFFCC), Austin (AFCA), San Diego (SDFCS), Toronto (TFCA), Dallas-Forth Worth (DFWFCA), Las Vegas (LVFCS), Utah (UFCA), Detroit (DFCS), Houston (HFCS), Chicago (CFCA), Denver (DFCA), Florida (FFCC), St. Louis (SLFC), Phoenix (PFCS), Oklahoma (OFCC), Kansas City (KCFCC), Central Ohio (COFCA), North Texas (NTFCA), Nevada (NFCS), Iowa (IFCA), Georgia (GFCA), North Carolina (NCFCA), Vancouver (VFCC), and Seattle (SFCA). Meanwhile, the National Board of Review (NBR) winners are marked with an asterisk.

  • Carol (2) - NYFCC, TFCA
  • The Martian - NTFCA
  • Straight Outta Compton - AAFCA
  • Creed - BFCC
Notable exclusions: The Revenant, The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Room, Ex Machina, Sicario, Inside Out

It's a bit perplexing to me how much Spotlight became such a runaway favorite with critics, but that passion coupled with the movie being about Something Important has catapulted it as the front-runner for most of this awards season. But it's also wonderful to see Mad Max with such a strong showing with them. Saddened to see not one group go to bat for other films though like Inside Out, Room, etc. And in light of #OscarsSoWhite it is noteful that Straight Outta Compton and Creed were picked by the African American Film Critics Association and Black Film Critics Circle.

  • Thomas McCarthy (7) - NSFC, NYFCO, SLFC, LVFCS, COFCA, AWFJ, IFCA
  • Todd Haynes (3) - NYFCC, BSFC, TFCA
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu (3) - DFWFCA, HFCS, NFCS
  • Ridley Scott* - NTFCA
  • Ryan Coogler - AAFCA
Notable exclusions: Adam McKay, Lenny Abrahamson, Steven Spielberg

What's most interesting here are critics splitting Picture/Director with George Miller getting the majority of love. Will more industry types like the guilds and Oscars go for the same? Or will Iñárritu sneak in for both as he did at the Globes? And where's Oscar-nominated Abrahamson? Critics loved his film, but not so much his direction?

  • Michael Fassbender (8) - LAFCA, OFCS, PFCS, HFCS, AFCA, VFCC, IFCA, NCFCA
  • Paul Dano (4) - BSFC, NYFCO, SFFCC, FFCC
  • Michael B. Jordan (3) - NSFC, BOFCA, BFCC
  • Bryan Cranston - SEFCA
  • Will Smith - AAFCA
  • Michael Keaton - NYFCC
  • Tom Hardy - TFCA
  • Jacob Tremblay - IFJA
  • Michael Caine - DFCS
  • Matt Damon*
Notable exclusions: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Mark Ruffalo, Christian Bale

Leonardo DiCaprio receives the same number of critic wins as last year's Michael Keaton, though we know what happened to him at the Oscars. DiCaprio should be in a better place though, but it is surprising to see that Fassbender is 2nd place especially since his film has seemed to leave people's consciousness give or take the surprise Globe wins. Category confusion rears its head with Dano, Hardy, and Keaton getting notices here and in Supporting. And look at Indiana being awesome giving young Jacob Tremblay his well-deserved kudos.

  • Saoirse Ronan (6) - NYFCC, BOFCA, WAFCA, SFFCC, DFCS, NCFCA
  • Charlotte Rampling (4) - LAFCA, NSFC, BSFC, AWFJ
  • Nina Hoss (2) - TFCA, SFCA
  • Cate Blanchett - OFCS
  • Charlize Theron - KCFCC
  • Teyonah Parris - AAFCA
Notable exclusions: Jennifer Lawrence, Maggie Smith, Alicia Vikander, Rooney Mara, Helen Mirren, Lily Tomlin

Early on it was Ronan vs. Larson, but the latter really ran away with it in the end. It is curious that Larson wasn't able to pick up the more prestigious critic groups, but with a Globe win and her film's better-than-expected Oscar nom tally, she does have the momentum. Shout out to Kansas for their Theron pick.

  • Sylvester Stallone* (11) - BOFCA, PFCS, SEFCA, SLFC, LVFCS, AFCA, BFCC, UFCA, OFCC, DFCA, GFCA
  • Mark Rylance (6) - NYFCC, NSFC, BSFC, NYFCO, TFCA, VFCC
  • Mark Ruffalo (3) - IFJA, IFCA, NCFCA
  • Michael Shannon (3) - LAFCA, SFFCC, KCFCC
  • Benicio del Toro (3) - CFCA, COFCA, SFCA
  • Tom Hardy (2) - HFCS, NFCS
  • Idris Elba (2) - WAFCA, NTFCA
  • Paul Dano (2) - DFWFCA, AWFJ
  • Oscar Isaac (2) - OFCS, FFCC
  • Jason Mitchell - AAFCA
  • Liev Schreiber - DFCS
  • Michael Keaton - OFCC
  • Tom Noonan - SDFCS
Notable exclusions: Christian Bale, Jacob Tremblay

What a difference a year makes! Last year J.K. Simmons steamrolled this category with three other guys being cited by critics. This year a whopping 13 actors were picked by critics (more than any of the main categories) with Stallone their pick, which I think is telling since I expected Rylance to give him more of a fight especially with this crowd. I personally prefer this to reflect better what a great year it has been. Sad that many of these aren't Oscar-nominated (especial Isaac and Elbda), but alas.

  • Kristen Stewart (6) - NYFCC, NSFC, BSFC, BOFCA, FFCC, AWFJ
  • Rooney Mara (4) - NYFCO, OFCS, DFWFCA, HFCS
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh* (2) - SDFCS, NTFCA
  • Tessa Thompson (2) - AAFCA, BFCC
  • Mya Taylor (2) - SFFCC, SFCA
  • Kate Winslet - IFCA
  • Elizabeth Banks - LVFCS
  • Greta Gerwig - IFJA
  • Rose Byrne - UFCA
Notable exclusions: Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Jane Fonda, Julie Walters

Category fraud alert! It's been the talk of the season with both Vikander and Mara campaigned here, but are debatable leads in their films. But everyone--the critics, the Oscars--bought it and here we are. This means actual supporting ladies like Stewart, Banks, Walters, etc. didn't get as much love as they should've though Stewart was right there with the critics as they kept batting for her and her early 2015 film. Lots of good stuff here though especially with inspired notices from San Francisco, Seattle, and Utah for Taylor and Byrne.

  • Inside Out (4) - WAFCA, AFCA, UFCA, GFCA
  • Ex Machina - SFCA
  • Straight Outta Compton - BFCC
  • Dope - AAFCA
  • Love & Mercy - SFFCC
  • What We Do in the Shadows - SDFCS
  • The Hateful Eight*
Notable exclusions: Bridge of Spies, Sicario, Trainwreck


  • The Martian* (5) - SLFC, LVFCS, NFCS, BFCC, UFCA
  • Carol (4) - NYFCC, OFCS, AWFJ, SFCA
  • Brooklyn - SFFCC
  • Anomalisa - VFCC
Notable exclusions: Steve Jobs, Trumbo, The End of the Tour, Creed, The Danish Girl

It's a little annoying that many critics group only award one screenplay award (thus the uneven number between Original and Adapted). With that said, Spotlight again runs away with it and should be seen as the favorite while The Big Short edged out Room late into the season to be seen as the critics favorite. Really thought Carol and Steve Jobs would've figure more prominently to be honest.

  • Anomalisa (5) - LAFCA, BSFC, SFFCC, IFJA, SDFCS
  • The Peanuts Movie - AAFCA
  • Shaun the Sheep - TFCA
Notable exclusions: The Good Dinosaur, Minions, The Boy and the World, When Marnie was There

And finally, Inside Out was the overwhelming favorite with Anomalisa a distant second. Sounds about right. The Oscars went with smaller GKids films which the critics really should try and promote more. I mean I loved Inside Out, but it's not exactly wanting of promotion and advocation.

So we'll see what the BFCA does tonight, but again it's important to note that critics are not Oscar voters. Last year the top picks amongs critic groups were Boyhood for Film, Richard Linklater, Michael Keaton, Rosamund Pike, and the screenplays for Grand Budapest Hotel and Gone Girl... none of which won their respective Oscars.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Oscar Campaign: We All Dream In Gold

The Oscar nominations are these Thursday and so all is left after that is to promote the Big Night. This new Oscar campaign and posters were released this morning and I think they're beautiful. Using the slogan "We All Dream in Gold" and highlighting previous winners is a good look. Below is my favorite featuring Lupita Nyong'o. Meryl Streep, George Clooney, and others were also used. Click here to see them all.

Bonus! The Academy also released a 30-second video narrated by Morgan Freeman:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Golden Globes Stay True to Their Brand of Crazy

Here's the thing... Ricky Gervais was not good. Just no. And a lot of the presenters had bad materials that seemed to go on for far longer than they should (I won't even repeat all the bad stuff because no). There were a few highlights like America Ferrera and Eva Longoria's incisive commentary about Latinas in Hollywood and the hot duo of Ryan Gosling and a Benjamin Button-like Brad Pitt sharing the stage together and the Spy team doing a bit, but they were few and far between. But while the actual show was a hot mess at least many of the winners ranged from good to fantastic (give or take a ridiculous win for Sam Smith). The HFPA kept true to their brand of crazy certainly, but still picked some real winners. Onwards...

Best Motion Picture, Drama: The Revenant
Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical: The Martian
Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
Best Actress, Drama: Brie Larson, Room
Best Actress, Comedy or Musical: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Best Actor, Drama: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Best Actor, Comedy or Musical: Matt Damon, The Martian
Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Best Animated Film: Inside Out
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul (Hungary)
Best Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs
Best Score: The Hateful Eight
Best Song: "Writing's on the Wall," Spectre

The Revenant was the night's biggest winner picking up 3 awards for Best Drama Film, Best Director, and Best Actor. The latter was given to Leonardo DiCaprio which unofficially begins his road to perhaps finally winning his first Oscars. Earlier in the night, his Titanic co-star Kate Winslet won Best Supporting Actress for Steve Jobs making all of us nostalgic for Jack and Rose. That film won a second award for its Screenplay beating out other films that many thought were the front-runners. The Martian was the only other film to win more than one award for Best Comedy Film and Best Actor Matt Damon. Brie Larson and Jennifer Lawrence picked up Best Actress awards solidifying one as the front-runner (Larson) and the other as possible spoiler to the Oscar short list (Lawrence). Sylvester Stallone in the meantime received a standing ovation when he won Best Supporting Actor which means if he's Oscar nominated (still a big IF), he's the favorite. My predictions were horrendous as I went 4 out of 14, but a few of my "should wins" won so I'm okay. Plus this is just yet another feather to the unpredictability of this year's awards season which yay!

Best TV Series, Drama: Mr. Robot
Best TV Series, Comedy: Mozart in the Jungle
Best Actress, Drama: Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Best Actress, Comedy: Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Best Actor, Drama: Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Best Actor, Comedy: Gael García Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Best Mini-Series or TV Movie: Wolf Hall
Best Actress, Mini/TV Movie: Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel
Best Actor, Mini/TV Movie: Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero
Best Supporting Actress: Maura Tierney, The Affair
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

Last year was all about first-time winners and the HFPA stayed true to this mantra with Jon Hamm the only repeat winner from the bunch (for Best Drama Actor which I personally thought should've gone to would've been first-time winner Rami Malek). Mr. Robot and Mozart in the Jungle picked up two wins each for Best TV Series Drama and Comedy respectively and an acting win (Christian Slater, Gael García Bernal). I was especially surprised by the latter's win, but why not? Taraji P. Henson and Rachel Bloom's wins were simultaneously shocking and yet not since their wins make sense per HFPA's usual choices. And then there's Lady Gaga beating out Queen Latifah and Lily Tomlin Kirsten Dunst for an acting award. Her speech was sincere and humble, but wowsa. Speaking of wowsa, Oscar Isaac won an award and the Internet is happy. Finally, their love affair with The Affair continues with a surprise win for Maura Tierney! Prediction-wise I went a horrific 1 out of 11 with just my bet of Lady Gaga succeeding. But like the film side, a few of my should wins won, so I'm good.

In the end, the one thing I'll remember tonight is for this tweet of mine during E!'s red carpet show making it into and USA Today:

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Golden Globes: Film Nominations

Tomorrow is the Golden Globes! And man, I've been seriously lacking awards season coverage this year. Of all years too, since it's been pretty strange and topsy turvy and thus actually exciting. In any case, will the season finally get into focus starting tomorrow? Who knows? I actually hope not. See my thoughts on the TV nominations here.

Best Director
  • Todd Haynes, Carol
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Ridley Scott, The Martian
Carol led all films with 5 nominations and so Haynes should be seen as the favorite... except McCarthy's film is the Oscar front-runner, Miller has garnered the most critic awards (if that means anything), Scott is a beloved veteran, and the Globes may want to award Iñárritu for not picking him last year. Basically, who the hell knows? Wished Ryan Coogler or Lenny Abrahamson had made it in as well.

Will Win: Tom McCarthy
Should Win: George Miller

Best Motion Picture, Drama
  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight
Really thought Brooklyn or Bridge of Spies would've made it in especially with their subject matter, but this just means strong showings for the rest especially the small film Room which makes me happy. As I said above, there's no reason why Spotlight's train will stop here. I wished I loved the film more (I like it very much), but really Carol, Room, or Mad Max would be my pick over it.

Will Win: Spotlight
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Actor, Drama
  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
  • Will Smith, Concussion
I don't have any overt complaints as to who they decided to nominate, but I still am saddened to see the lack of precursor love for Michael B. Jordan. It would've also been quite fun to have seen Jacob Tremblay show up. Weirdly enough they decided not to nominate SAG-nominee Johnny Depp. In any case, this is the first real test of DiCaprio. If he wins, this could be game over. But Cranston is coming in strong.

Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio
Should Win: Michael Fassbender

Best Actress, Drama
  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
This seems like your Oscar shortlist and I'm quite fine with it give or take Charlotte Rampling as well as whether or not Mara/Vikander would actually be nominated in this right category. Blanchett seems like the easy winner here, but for some reason the narrative seems to be Larson vs. Ronan even though Carol is the more lauded film than either of theirs. There's also the very real threat of how everyone wants to award Vikander for her superb year.

Will Win: Cate Blanchett
Should Win: Brie Larson

Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
  • The Big Short
  • Joy
  • The Martian
  • Spy
  • Trainwreck
Look, this organization has had some dire Comedy/Musical nods in the past, so this year isn't actually that bad. Of course most of these films being categorized as comedies is quite debatable, but whatever. I had high hopes for Tangerine, but alas. Kind of odd to see them ignore a musical Meryl Streep film (Ricki and the Flash). Spy really should win this, but I'm thinking the more Oscar-friendly The Big Short or The Martian will win.

Will Win: The Big Short
Should Win: Spy

Best Actor, Comedy or Musical
  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Steve Carell, The Big Short
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Al Pacino, Danny Collins
  • Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear
Pacino in what? Ruffalo in what?! I think a lot of people are STILL scratching their heads over these nods. I guess there weren't a lot of choices, but hey how about Bill Hader in Trainwreck and yeah, I don't know what else. As for a front-runner... Damon? Bale?

Will Win: Matt Damon
Should Win: Matt Damon

Best Actress, Comedy or Musical
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Melissa McCarthy, Spy
  • Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
  • Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van
  • Lily Tomlin, Grandma
Again, weird to see Meryl Streep not nominated here even for a movie that wasn't that popular. What I really wished for were the leads in Tangerine, which would've been amazing and well-deserved. I am super duper happy though still for McCarthy since she was fabulous, but sadly I think she'll lose out to either the pure star power of Lawrence or the current It Girl Schumer.

Will Win: Amy Schumer
Should Win: Melissa McCarthy (or Lily Tomlin!)

Best Supporting Actor
  • Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
  • Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed
I have no idea why Dano is being campaigned as Supporting since he was so obviously a Lead to me, but here we are. Rylance (the frontrunner), Elba, and Shannon were all SAG nominated so their Oscar spots seems assured as weird as it is for the last two. Stallone is the dark horse. It depends how many people saw Creed and really got emotional (like I did).

Will Win: Mark Rylance
Should Win: Sylvester Stallone

Best Supporting Actress
  • Jane Fonda, Youth
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Helen Mirren, Trumbo
  • Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Who even knows what's happening with this category all season? Leads stuck in Supporting, Mirren defaulting, critic favorite Kristen Stewart and SAG-nom Rachel McAdams nowhere to be seen. It's a damn crap shoot and honestly at this point I hope this mess results in a (surprise?) win for Winslet.

Will Win: Alicia Vikander
Should Win: Kate Winslet

Best Screenplay
  • Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
  • Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs
  • Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight
  • Emma Donoghue, Room
  • Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short
Spotlight has been the runaway critics' favorite all season long, but do the Globes has the same taste? Might they want to award the more famous writers like Sorkin and Tarantino? Frankly, I'm rooting for the lone woman nominated.

Will Win: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
Should Win: Emma Donaghue, Room

Best Foreign Language Film
  • The Brand New Testament (Belgium/France/Luxembourg)
  • The Club (Chile)
  • The Fencer (Finland/Germany/Estonia)
  • Mustang (France)
  • Son Of Saul (Hungary)
I haven't seen any of these and other than The Club all of these are in the Oscars long list. Son of Saul is everyone's bet to win here and at the Oscars though.

Will Win: Son of Saul
Should Win: N/A

Best Animated Feature Film
  • Anomalisa
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • Inside Out
  • The Peanuts Movie
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
I've seen the first three films and all season long it's been Anomalisa vs. Inside Out. I'm thinking the latter is the Oscar favorite, but the Globes might just want to award Charlie Kaufman's latest.

Will Win: Anomalisa
Should Win: Inside Out

Best Original Song
  • "Love Me Like You Do," 50 Shades of Grey
  • "One Kind of Love," Love and Mercy
  • "See You Again," Furious 7
  • "Simple Song #3," Youth
  • "Writing's on the Wall," Spectre
I've been campaigning for Furious 7's nomination AND win for this category ever since I saw the movie earlier last year and I'm not going to stop now when it's SO CLOSE though I'm perfectly okay if 50 Shades actually wins since the song is good. Basically anything but Sam Smith's lame song from Spectre would be fine.

Will Win: "Writing's on the Wall"
Should Win: "See You Again"

Best Original Score
  • Carol
  • The Danish Girl
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Steve Jobs
  • The Revenant
Why do the Globes even give out an award for Score? Why not Editing or Cinematography? So weird. Your guess is as good as mine.

Will Win: Carol
Should Win: Steve Jobs

Friday, January 8, 2016

Golden Globes: TV Nominations

The Golden Globes are this Sunday and so I just wanted to give brief thoughts on the nominations and give some half-hearted predictions. First the TV nominations!

Best TV Series, Drama
  • Empire
  • Game of Thrones
  • Mr. Robot
  • Narcos
  • Outlander
God bless the Globes love for new things. It just keeps things fresh. I think the only repeat from last year is this year's Emmy champ Game of Thrones. Weirdly enough I don't think it'll win here though. I'll place my bet with Empire or Mr. Robot. But new shows mean older shows like Mad Men, The Good Wife or The Americans don't get deserved love. Or how about The Leftovers?

Will Win: Empire
Should Win: Mr. Robot

Best Actor, Drama
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
  • Wagner Moura, Narcos
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
It's been years since the Globes has honored Mad Men so will they repeat the miracle at the Emmys to give Hamm a farewell win or will they honor one of the new kids on the block? I personally think Malek is the frontrunner here and SHOULD win, but I can easily see Moura or Odenkirk take it as well.

Will Win: Rami Malek
Should Win: Rami Malek

Best Actress, Drama
  • Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
  • Eva Green, Penny Dreadful
  • Taraji P. Henson, Empire
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards
Last year they didn't nominate the previous year's winner (Tatiana Maslany) and they do the same this year not nominating Ruth Wilson. With that said, even with the quirky choices (Outlander and Penny Dreadful? Wow!), like the Emmys this is Davis vs. Henson and either one could win. I do think Davis edges Henson out since she's more of a MOVIE STAR and also they probably regret NOT picking her last year.

Will Win: Viola Davis
Should Win: Viola Davis

Best TV Series, Comedy
  • Casual
  • Mozart in the Jungle
  • Orange Is the New Black
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent
  • Veep
What did I say about keeping it fresh? Despite a severe lack of network TV love (Parks and Rec, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat), this is an inspired list that makes the Emmys and even SAG look so tired. Last year's winner Transparent looks likely to win again, but I'm hoping Veep or Orange is the New Black could win their first.

Will Win: Transparent
Should Win: Orange is the New Black

Best Actor, Comedy
  • Aziz Ansari, Master of None
  • Gael García Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
  • Rob Lowe, The Grinder
  • Patrick Stewart, Blunt Talk
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
This has been such a weak category usually, but that's mostly because of award bodies' inability to think outside the box. So at least the Globes have done that specially with the inclusion of Ansari, Bernal, and Stewart. Of course they all will still likely lose to Tambor.

Will Win: Jeffrey Tambor
Should Win: Aziz Ansari

Best Actress, Comedy
  • Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queens
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
Even without Amy Poehler for her farewell season or Ellie Kemper or Constance Wu or the Broad City girls, I am in love with this category. Kudos for them nominating last year's winner again Rodriguez and I would very much love her to repeat, but it's more likely Louis-Dreyfus will finally win her first Globe for this show. Newcomer Bloom (that's two for the CW!) and Tomlin could surprise though.

Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Should Win: Gina Rodriguez

Best Mini-Series or TV Movie
  • American Crime
  • American Horror Story: Hotel
  • Fargo
  • Flesh and Bone
  • Wolf Hall
I've only seen Fargo and it was amazing so I'm rooting for it. It's probably the likely winner as well, but I have no idea.

Will Win: Fargo
Should Win: Fargo

Best Actor, Limited Series or TV Movie
  • Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero
  • Patrick Wilson, Fargo
  • Idris Elba, Luther
  • David Oyelowo, Nightingale
  • Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
Sorry to be crass, but man this is one fuckable category. And the funny thing is I have no earthly idea who will win. By default, I'm rooting for Wilson since his is the only performance I've seen, but Isaac has Star Wars heat right now and is everyone's boyfriend. Then again Elba. Also Oyelowo. Also Rylance. I DON'T KNOW!

Will Win: Idris Elba
Should Win: Patrick Wilson

Best Actress, Limited Series or TV Movie
  • Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
  • Queen Latifah, Bessie
  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime
  • Sarah Hay, Flesh and Bone
  • Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel
As much as I would like for Dunst to win this for her super fun role, this is obviously going to be a battle between a Queen and a Lady. One is a recent Emmy winner while the other is Lady Gaga. I just think the Globes won't be able to help themselves and vote for Gaga.

Will Win: Lady Gaga
Should Win: Kirsten Dunst

Best Supporting Actor
  • Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
  • Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall
  • Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
  • Tobias Menzies, Outlander
  • Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
I haven't seen many of these, but I think these nods are still great. Again with all the new fresh names. I have no idea who will win or even should win honestly.

Will Win: Ben Mendelsohn
Should Win: Alan Cumming

Best Supporting Actress
  • Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
  • Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
  • Regina King, American Crime
  • Judith Light, Transparent
  • Maura Tierney, The Affair
Not sure why Froggatt keeps getting nominated, but even with that, this list is pretty great. Tierney's and Emmy winner King's nominations are pretty inspired and I hope either one wins. I love you still, Uzo!

Will Win: Regina King
Should Win: Maura Tierney

Check out my thoughts/prediction for the film nominations, here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Brokeback Mountain Turns 10

Brokeback Mountain turns 10 years today. I think I've seen the film just three times. Twice when it came out and another time when I bought the DVD years later. I actually saw it a couple months before its release since my college got a hold of it somehow so I first saw it in a grand room with a bunch of college students. Oh and I cried... and cried.... and cried. Probably why I've only seen it three times, because in a lot of ways it still feels so raw and that's kudos to everyone involved especially Oscar-winning director Ang Lee, screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, and composer Gustavo Santaolalla. And of course the incomparable cast of Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, and Anne Hathaway.