2017 Oscar Nomination Predictions

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2017 Oscar Nomination Predictions

Lionsgate

2017 Oscar Nomination Predictions

“While it would be an exaggeration to categorize all this sound and fury about something signifying next-to-nothing 'fun,' at the very least the hubbub this Oscar year offers welcome respite from the grinding monotony of the presidential race.” So ended the introduction to our Oscar nomination predictions last year. And so ends our collective cautious optimism. Not even Alyssa Edwards's clicking tongue could summon an exclamation point sharper than the one we now feel reflecting upon the actual stakes of real life amid frivolous, self-congratulating luxury. Unlike we felt when all anyone cared about was getting an Oscar into Leonardo DiCaprio's hands. Well, we care about a lot more things this year, and so will the Academy. Which means: Expect a lot more films in the Spotlight vein to be nominated, and a lot fewer like Mad Max: Fury Road, with one frivolous exception to the rule that's going to clearly sing and dance its way to all the wins next month. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Here are our best bets to get past the first heat and maybe earn a few nasty tweets from our future POTUS.

Theater Review: Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane at BAM

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Theater Review: Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane at BAM

Stephen Cummiskey

Theater Review: Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane at BAM

Martin McDonagh is best known for plays like The Pillowman and films like In Bruges, which mix over-the-top violence with laugh-out-loud banter. But he began his career writing very Irish plays about Ireland, starting with the first in his Leenane trilogy, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, a funny and crushing production of which is now at the BAM Harvey Theater (through February 5).

McDonagh famously drafted seven plays in nine months in 1994, which formed his entire oeuvre for the next decade (until his Oscar-winning short Six Shooter, in 2005). Since then, his work has dealt with other topics, especially the function of violence in art and society, but at first McDonagh's Tarantino-reminiscent interest in the ways people hurt each other seemed pegged specifically to his heritage. (He was born and raised in London, but his parents were Irish immigrants who returned home after he was born.)

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 1, "Fair Game"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 1, "Fair Game"

JoJo Whilden/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 1, "Fair Game"

The FBI, in full riot gear, breaks down the door to an apartment in the projects of New York City, screaming at a mother (Zainab Jah) and her daughter (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut) to get down on the ground, the stove left unattended. The target is Seikou Bah (J. Mallory McCree), an intelligent, tech-savvy Muslim teenager who's been posting videos online that are critical of the United States government; when the family refuses to answer questions from the icy agent Ray Conlin (Dominic Fumusa) without a lawyer present, he abusively kicks them out of the apartment in the cold and dark of midnight so that his team can execute their search warrant. Under Keith Gordon's efficient direction, this entire sequence takes little over two minutes, and it's a jarring (and potentially critical) acknowledgment of the increasingly jingoistic actions America takes in order to protect itself.

Rise & Shine Game Review

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Rise & Shine Game Review

Adult Swim Games

Rise & Shine Game Review

As one might expect from a game that takes place on Planet Gamearth, Rise & Shine is a rather self-referential title. The first level alone, set in the ruined Candy Mall, is filled with references that range from Q*Bert to Wolfenstein's William “B.J.” Blazkowicz, and the game begins with young protagonist Rise being given his quest by a dying hero who looks suspiciously like Link. But while Rise & Shine is filled with a winking respect to video-game history, the appropriately named developers at Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team have far more on their mind than simply crafting a nostalgic side-scroller, and they use a remote-controlled-bullet mechanic to put an over-the-top spin on the classics.

Doctor Who Recap 2016 Christmas Special, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”

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Doctor Who Recap: 2016 Christmas Special, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”

BBC America

Doctor Who Recap: 2016 Christmas Special, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”

When the classic Doctor Who was first sold to Mexico in the 1960s, the show was retitled, with a stentorian voice declaiming “El doctor misterio!” at the opening of each Spanish-dubbed episode. According to Steven Moffat, showrunner of the present-day Doctor Who, this title—which the series still uses in Mexico—was the spark that served as the initial inspiration for this Christmas special, in which he creates a very enjoyable mash-up of Doctor Who and the superhero genre.

The 15 Best George Michael Songs

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The 15 Best George Michael Songs
The 15 Best George Michael Songs

When I was eight years old, my mother was forced to give me “the talk.” “I Want Your Sex,” the lead single from George Michael's solo debut, Faith, was in heavy rotation on MTV during the summer of 1987. I approached my mom, wide-eyed, and asked, “What's monogamy?” Michael writes the word in red lipstick on the naked back of his then-girlfriend, model Kathy Jeung. Quick on her feet, my mother offered a thoughtful, albeit predictably heteronormative, answer: “It's when a man and a woman are married.”

Marrakech International Film Festival I Am Twenty, Zoology, Orphan, A Talk with Abderrahmane Sissako, & More

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Marrakech International Film Festival: I Am Twenty, Zoology, Orphan, A Talk with Abderrahmane Sissako, & More

Lago Film

Marrakech International Film Festival: I Am Twenty, Zoology, Orphan, A Talk with Abderrahmane Sissako, & More

The labyrinthine security apparatus surrounding the Marrakech International Film Festival's red carpet, the high-wattage of its celebrity and auteur attendees, and the live-broadcast-TV slickness of its nightly award ceremonies made for a persistently surreal backdrop. I had to remind myself that the tributes to Paul Verhoeven and Isabelle Adjani also entailed mini-retrospectives across the festival's smaller venues, and the “Tribute to Russian Cinematography” included public screenings of over two dozen movies ranging from Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin to Andrey Zvyagintsev's Leviathan. Again, all screenings were free to the registered public. Culture: commodity or charity?

Review: Karl Schoonover and Rosalind Galt’s Queer Cinema in the World

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Review: Karl Schoonover and Rosalind Galt’s Queer Cinema in the World
Review: Karl Schoonover and Rosalind Galt’s Queer Cinema in the World

In a famous essay on Dog Day Afternoon, Fredric Jameson argues that the bank robbery at the film's core, along with its assortment of characters from different class backgrounds, forms an allegory for late capitalism in which the rebellious actions of Sonny (Al Pacino) appeal to the “manifest sympathy of the suburban movie-going audience itself.” However, as Karl Schoonover and Rosalind Galt claim, Jameson's narrative doesn't account for the film's use of “queer intimacy” within its allegory, specifically a scene where Sonny, a queer man, phones his lover. The scene's end reveals the couple's conversation hasn't been private, as others have been monitoring the call all along. Schoonover and Galt highlight that the scene's depiction of “false intimacy” and its suggestion of a world organized by “inhuman terms” demonstrates how “queerness—and its relationships to publicness and privacy, intimacy and worldliness—transpires to be at the heart of Dog Day Afternoon's allegory of late capitalism.”

Mar del Plata International Film Festival Honoring Masao Adachi, Anti-Porno, We Are the Flesh, & More

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Mar del Plata International Film Festival 2016: Honoring Masao Adachi, Anti-Porno, We Are the Flesh, & More

Arrow Films

Mar del Plata International Film Festival 2016: Honoring Masao Adachi, Anti-Porno, We Are the Flesh, & More

With its beaches and maritime climate, Mar del Plata has been hailed as the Cannes of Latin America. The Argentine city merits the title in some ways, as Mar del Plata hosts the only A-list film festival in the region, the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, which pools a considerable number of films from top European festivals. This year's slate was a fair representation of the festival's ambition to mirror Western trends, featuring Cristi Piu's Sieranevada, Oliver Assayas's Personal Shopper, Hong sang-soo's Yourself and Yours, Radu Jude's Scarred Hearts, and Lav Diaz's The Woman Who Left.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 7, Episode 8, "Hearts Still Beating"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 8, "Hearts Still Beating"

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 8, "Hearts Still Beating"

This season's start was as bleak as any in The Walking Dead's history, but the show's midseason finale closed on a major note of hope. Tested by the fire of Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) sadistic dictatorship, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and most of his core group wound up stronger than ever, determined to stand up to their tormentor—and to do it together. “Hearts Still Beating” ends on a shadowy figure who's spying on our survivors, the close-up of his (or her?) boots establishing that it's the same person who shadowed Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Rick on their supply run earlier that day.