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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Actress

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Actress

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Actress

Is Frances McDormand’s Mildred in Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a film about a woman’s vigilante efforts to get justice for her murdered daughter by publicly shaming the town’s police for failing to sufficiently investigate the crime, made of Teflon? Case in point: After throwing Molotov cocktails into the town’s police station, setting it ablaze, the only reprimand she receives after being provided with the flimsiest of alibis is the side-eye of the town’s temporary police chief.

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions Actress

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Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Actress

A24

Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Actress

Will voters who secretly agree with the eternally crusty Charlotte Rampling’s tempest-in-a-teapot comments about the purported reverse racism of #OscarsSoWhite feel like tempting fate this year? Will those who don’t even care one way or the other about her performance throw her a secret vote in solidarity? She quickly recanted her comments, saying she was misinterpreted, but this is one year no genies will easily go back into their bottles. It doesn’t matter matter how great her performance may be in Andrew Haigh’s patient 45 Years. Her impatient retraction, made as Academy members are publicly sighing their collective exasperation over being called out, simply felt unconvincing. Rampling’s firm, tony demeanor on and off screen, compounded by almost exclusively highbrow critics’ enthusiasm in her favor, was probably never going to move the needle much for an AMPAS still struggling to reassure the public they’re in touch with the times. But sticking to her guns may have given the longshot her best chance.

Poster and Trailer Drop for Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Poster and Trailer Drop for Wes Anderson’s <em>The Grand Budapest Hotel</em>
Poster and Trailer Drop for Wes Anderson’s <em>The Grand Budapest Hotel</em>

Assuming he’s one filmmaker who’s heavily involved with the marketing of his movies, Wes Anderson has become a master of the fetching teaser poster, using mysteriously detailed, illustrative one-sheets that only hint at what the given film is about. Recently, the posters for his films fall somewhere in between those that peddle attractive casts and director-as-brand, and those that merely tease a brand itself. Anderson is so unfailingly unique and exciting a filmmaker that he has become his own draw, but he doesn’t seem to rely on that, nor do his marquee names seem to be scrawled across his ads just to sell his pictures. They’re doing that, of course, but given that Anderson has come to work with recurring players in a kind of company, the cast list reads more as a celebration of an ensemble, particularly when the biggest name in the lineup is Bill Murray. And how glorious it is to gaze upon a poster that is pushing nothing recognizable, no known faces or logos, but simply something curious, handsome, and new.

Twice in a row, Anderson has employed this specific approach, first with last year’s poster for Moonrise Kingdom, which we named one of the best movie posters of 2012, and now with his poster for The Grand Budapest Hotel, unveiled just days ago. Like the Moonrise Kingdom ad, we’re given a fairy-tale tableau, with an unfamiliar subject in the foreground (here, the titular inn substituted for a Hansel-and-Gretel duo), and a background that stretches off to the horizon. Furthermore, the wedding-cake-esque hotel is surrounded by numerous quirky details, like the perched buck that appears statuesque, the topiaries on the lower terrace that seem to be playing chess with one another, and the cemetery-style arch that bears the movie’s title, perhaps implying that death is afoot.

House Playlist: Sleigh Bells, Pixies, Natasha Khan & Jon Hopkins, Moby featuring Wayne Coyne, & Cults

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<em>House</em> Playlist: Sleigh Bells, Pixies, Natasha Khan & Jon Hopkins, Moby featuring Wayne Coyne, & Cults
<em>House</em> Playlist: Sleigh Bells, Pixies, Natasha Khan & Jon Hopkins, Moby featuring Wayne Coyne, & Cults

[Editor’s Note: House Playlist is a weekly round-up of all the new music we think you need to hear.]

Sleigh Bells, “Bitter Rivals”: Sleigh Bells will release the follow-up to last year’s Reign of Terror on October 8th. The title track, “Bitter Rivals,” and its music video are both appropriately playful and in-your-face—basically everything we’ve come to expect from the band.

Oscar 2008 Winner Predictions Supporting Actress

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Oscar 2008 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actress
Oscar 2008 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actress

When scrutinizing this race, pundits rarely discuss precedent. If they did, Amy Ryan’s chances probably wouldn’t be so overdetermined, because if there’s anything more eternal than Oscar’s penchant for snubbing a critic’s darling, it is its tendency to give the cold shoulder to loathsome, almost irredeemable female roles (like Something Ronan’s sniveling brat from Atonement, who is redeemed by film’s end, but by two other actresses!). Not that most of the ladies in this category have been short-listed for playing saints, but the squawking Ryan’s potty mouth reigns supreme in Gone Baby Gone: The calculated one-liners meant to elicit audience sympathy for Boston’s lower class (“I don’t got no daycare”—essentially a variation of Amy “I got one leg” Poehler’s Amber from SNL) are trumped by nasties like “Why don’t you suck a nigger’s dick, Bea,” “It smells like cock,” “Nigger please, I hid it,” “Fucks yous both,” and my personal favorite, “Who’s the faggot now, haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.” A potential win in this category with precedent is Cate Blanchett’s “Bob Dylan” from Todd Haynes’s I’m Not There, but that precedent is Cate Blanchett’s Katharine Hepburn from Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, and though pundits are right to wonder if the Academy will want to give this fussy actress a second Oscar so soon after her last one, Blanchett may lose for representing a film that comes on intellectually strong and is possibly more obnoxious than American Gangster. Which brings us to Ruby Dee, whose two or three scenes in Ridley Scott’s big and impossibly dumb drugland drama are triumphs of resilient, saving-face movie acting. Every single one of us should be praising the complexity with which Dee fights against and humanizes Scott’s movin’-on-up reductivism (that slapping scene, a scorching evocation of a mother marking her territory and asserting her right to be heard, is of a volatile emotional tenor only Tilda Swinton comes close to achieving), but the almost racist rumblings echoing from certain circles suggest that Dee’s miniscule screen time is not just a point of contention but a point of active resentment (must be all those size queens rallying behind Blanchett), and may work against her and the traction she picked up since her SAG victory. (Sympathy may be on her side because of her civil rights work and long acting career, but she wouldn’t be the only legend—paging Lauren Bacall and Gloria Stuart!—anointed by SAG but passed over by Oscar.) Does Swinton have this one almost by default? The British actress and queer icon represents the most liked film in this race, and though she plays a sketchily, almost offensively drawn archetype in Michael Clayton, Swinton brings her customary nuance to a muted, almost abstract role, humanizing her corporate baddie in such a way that voters may see more than just a villain, but a woman bumping her head against the glass ceiling—something, no doubt, Hollywood actresses can commiserate with. Forget that this would be Oscar’s way of rewarding Michael Clayton and think of a Swinton victory as Oscar’s way of honoring an actress who is finally getting the attention Blanchett has been bogarting from her for way too long.

Oscar 2008 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actress

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Oscar 2008 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actress
Oscar 2008 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actress

In November, it seemed a dead certainty that Cate Blanchett’s interpretation of Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes’s insufferably academic I’m Not There would be the sort of stunt that the critics’ awards wouldn’t be able to ignore. (The stunt being not so much that she was a woman playing a man, but rather that she played said man more femininely than she did Katherine Hepburn.) By the end of December, Amy Ryan’s performance as an unapologetically dumpy, arrogantly stupid but still aggrieved mother in Gone Baby Gone had made a near clean sweep. A few of the late-season awards finally broke Blanchett’s way (as happened with the National Society of Film Critics), but the damage was done and Ryan is clearly the one to beat. It certainly helps that she’s competing against a lot of other nasty girls. (Ruby Dee may be the only one that generates honest goodwill with a titanic slap worthy of the category’s “season vet” slot.) But Tilda Swinton’s pallid, clammy executive in over her head is more than matched by Saoirse Ronan, who (spoiler alert!) is the category’s most hateable character in a walk for being the author of Atonement itself (and even the film’s fans would have to admit that it’s Vanessa Redgrave, playing the older version of Ronan, who nets all the sympathy points). If anyone’s capable of crashing this line-up, it’s probably Catherine Keener in Into the Wild, slightly more animated than she was in Capote, but just as blandly good-hearted. It’s either her or King of Kong’s long-locked Billy Mitchell, if some voters mistake his supreme bitchery for him having an actual vagina.

Atonement: Conscience Wilts

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<em>Atonement</em>: Conscience Wilts
<em>Atonement</em>: Conscience Wilts

Atonement, Joe Wright’s version of Ian McEwan’s novel, is visually snappy but emotionally inert, and it distorts the novel’s much talked-about, already problematic, extra-narrative twist so profoundly that it left me aghast. I don’t normally think it necessary to compare and contrast a film and its literary source; films are one thing, novels another. But when the movie leaves such a nasty aftertaste, it’s worth consulting the original to see what went wrong. Here, the problem is, quite simply, Hollywood values replacing the novel’s bitter irony, which was rather cheap and manipulative in its way, but still vastly preferable to the turd pudding that Wright and his screenwriter, Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liasons), serve up in the movie’s closing moments.