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Janelle Monáe Announces Dirty Computer & Drops Two Music Videos

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Janelle Monáe Announces Dirty Computer Album & Drops Two Music Videos

Atlantic Records

Janelle Monáe Announces Dirty Computer Album & Drops Two Music Videos

Last weekend, Janelle Monáe premiered a teaser ahead of screenings of Marvel Studios's Black Panther announcing her third album, Dirty Computer, the long-awaited follow-up to 2013's Electric Lady. The release includes the album, due April 27, and an accompanying “Emotion Picture.” Today, Monáe released the first two singles from the project, “Make Me Feel” and “Django Jane,” with complementary music videos.

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Actor

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Actor

Focus Features

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Actor

Typically, when it comes to predicting Oscar's acting awards, we schedule out our predictions so that we can write about the easiest race first and work our way toward making the toughest call. This year, we didn't even have to wait until the results of the BAFTAs before declaring Frances McDormand a lock for raging against dirty cops, abusive spouses, and bowls of Froot Loops throughout Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. As it turned out, we could've safely knocked all four acting categories down weeks ago.

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Costume Design

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Costume Design

Focus Features

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Costume Design

That Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread spent more time on Oscar prognosticators’ shortlists as Untitled PTA London Fashion Film than it did under its actual title indicates that it probably had this award sewn up before anyone even laid eyes on it. In fact, one of the only things that would’ve given us pause about predicting it is the fact that Oscar voters have laid eyes on the ornate, complex, multi-faceted film, and now have to wrestle with their own realization that it’s far from just another runway processional. The other issue is that the last two times films explicitly centered around the world of fashion have competed in the costume design category that should’ve been a cakewalk for them, both ended up losing to regal frocks and fancy frills.

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Cinematography

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Cinematography

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Cinematography

Since Slant started making awards predictions in 2002, we've made the mistake—though not as often as others—of calling this category for Roger Deakins, feeling that Oscar was finally ready to make amends. This year, for Blade Runner 2049, this titan of the medium was nominated for the 14th time, and if he loses, he will become the person most nominated in this category without winning. Deakins's lensing of Denis Villeneuve's sequel to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner earned the cinematographer awards from both the American Society of Cinematographers and BAFTA. The last time Deakins managed that feat was in 2002, for his work on the Coen brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There, and while we predicted that Deakins would complete the hat trick on Oscar night (we even thought he was due after five nominations), he lost to Andrew Lesnie's epic-scale lensing of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which surely benefited that year from being the only film in this category that was also up for best picture.

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Visual Effects

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Visual Effects

20th Century Fox

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Visual Effects

As they say, the third time’s the charm. Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes both earned visual effects artists Daniel Barrett, Joe Letteri, and Dan Lemmon nominations in this category, and all three (along with Joel Whist) are nominated here for War for the Planet of the Apes, the ostensible final film in the rebooted Planet of the Apes series. We called this race for Rise of the Planet of the Apes way back in 2012, underestimating that Hugo, which isn’t without its own fair share of impressive visual effects, would benefit from the “prestige” factor that comes with being a best picture nominee. We learned our lesson, and four years later we rightfully called the race for Interstellar, as it was the most nominated film in this category. There is, then, a case to be made for Blade Runner 2049, which enters the Oscar race with five nominations and is a strong competitor in at least three of them. But there’s a reason why War for the Planet of the Apes both outperformed Blade Runner 2049 at the box office and at the Visual Effects Society Awards, as the photorealistic effects that dominate Matt Reeves’s pop masterpiece set a bar so high that not only is it impossible to imagine it being cleared any time soon, but they make the FX work from Rise of the Planet of the Apes seem like it’s from the Ray Harryhausen era. While it’s worth noting that the VES Awards previously gave their top prize to the first two films in the rebooted Planet of the Apes series, it’s difficult to imagine AMPAS not wanting to give Andy Serkis’s swan song as Caesar a pat on the head for a job well done across the three films.

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Editing

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Editing

Warner Bros.

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Editing

As much hash was made out of the Golden Globes's decision to file Get Out as a comedy, there were surprisingly few skeptical words directed toward the same taxonomy being given to Baby Driver or I, Tonya. After all, if there are two things as funny as the systemic devaluation of black Americans by purportedly well-meaning white power-holders, they would have to be Kevin Spacey taking a sensitive young thing under his wing and a talented working-class woman being exploited and beaten down by her family, husband, and the snobby gatekeepers adjudicating her field. The ACE Awards similarly didn't feel any compunction about grouping those three films together as comedies, even throwing noted side-splitter Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri into the same classification, a bridge too far for even the Hollywood Foreign Press Association—and we expect Oscar voters as well.

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Adapted Screenplay

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

Sony Pictures Classics

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

Usually the victory laps that play out on the stage of the Academy Awards are kicked into motion as early as a year prior to the ceremony, when a film, say, premieres at a festival and the media's whipped-up buzz incentivizes a studio to get to work on an awards campaign. Sometimes, though, the victory laps begin as early as the first time a future legend loses out on an Oscar, and then another, and then another, at which point it's only a matter of time until AMPAS gives said legend his or her so-called due. These particular laurels are handed out so reflexively that it's easy to imagine a studio's bean counters breathing a sigh of relief once a nomination has been secured. Case in point: James Ivory, who seemed destined to win this award even before he initiated an arbitration hearing late last year that led the Writers Guild of America to acknowledge that he be credited as the sole screenwriter of Luca Guadagnino's Call Me by Your Name. This year, Ivory became the second oldest person nominated for an Academy Award. The oldest? The great Agnès Varda, eight days Ivory's senior and also nominated this year, for Faces Places in the documentary category. This is Ivory's fourth Oscar nomination, his first for screenwriting, and unlike Varda, he'll arrive at the Dolby Theatre on March 4 without the distinction of being an honorary Oscar winner. Indeed, Ivory will win because he's due, and deservedly so, both for his astutely configured adaptation of André Aciman's acclaimed novel of the same name—about the love affair between two men that plays out against the background of a dreamy Mediterranean summer—and as a tribute to his 44-year working partnership (and romantic relationship) with Ismail Merchant.

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Original Song

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Original Song

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Original Song

Sufjan Stevens's nomination for Call Me by Your Name scratches an emo itch that this category hasn't truly felt since Elliott Smith's Good Will Hunting ballad “Miss Misery” was nominated two decades ago. Though some felt that Stevens's tunes were a mismatch to the surrounding soundtrack's volley between Maurice Ravel and the Psychedelic Furs, the meek “Mystery of Love” is the best song in the lineup both in and out of context, charting the impatient but hesitant undercurrent of the film's romantic leads, at the same time as it approximates their shared, vaguely pretentious cultural interests. In 1998, Smith found himself hopelessly drowned out on all sides by power pop (the eventual winner, James Horner's anthemic “My Heart Will Go On”) and cartoon showtunes. The more things change…

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Director

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Director

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Director

“Since childhood, I've been faithful to monsters. I have been saved and absolved by them, because monsters, I believe, are patron saints of our blissful imperfection, and they allow and embody the possibility of failing,” said Guillermo del Toro while receiving his award for best director earlier this year at the Golden Globes. It's a beautiful sentiment that goes a long way toward explaining the appeal of the filmmaker's The Shape of Water. Case in point, the comment left by one Marisa Damele to a Variety article announcing that del Toro had been selected to head the jury at the next Venice Film Festival: “Guillermo del Toro knows how to make us realize, with every one of his films, that some monsters have beauty inside, while some good looking humans are hiding a monster in their interior. Not everything is what it looks like. See through the package. This is the message. He is brilliant.”

Interview: Playwright Jordan Harrison on The Amateurs and Log Cabin

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Interview: Playwright Jordan Harrison on The Amateurs and Log Cabin
Interview: Playwright Jordan Harrison on The Amateurs and Log Cabin

If there's a constant in Jordan Harrison's body of work, it's his ability to surprise. For more than a decade, the 40-year-old Brooklyn-based playwright has conjured an amazing range of theatrical worlds: a house that shrinks around the characters in the mystery thriller Finn in the Underworld; the seemingly serene 1950s gated community to which a stressed-out contemporary couple retreat in Maple and Vine; and the near-future world of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist Marjorie Prime, where artificial intelligence has been harnessed to help overcome ageing and loss. For his latest, The Amateurs, currently at the Vineyard Theatre, Harrison ventures back to Europe in the Middle Ages. The play follows a valiant troupe of players as they tour medieval morality plays across a continent being decimated by the Black Death. We talked with Harrison recently about The Amateurs, as well as his forthcoming Log Cabin, which will premiere in New York this summer.