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Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions Actor

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Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Actor

Roadside Attractions

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Actor

Maybe it’s a symptom of living life in the age of Donald Trump that today’s Oscar prediction article is more than two sentences long. We’re all getting used to keeping our sanity in check on a strictly day-by-day basis, convinced that every single new development and how we react to it represents the moment that’s going to seal our fate in history books alongside German hausfraus circa 1933. How else to explain why we’re now wavering ever so slightly in our confidence that Casey Affleck will take home the Oscar, simply because Denzel Washington pulled a shocker by winning the SAG award?

Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor

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Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor
Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor

Let’s pretend, for a second, that Jared Leto, a vain campaigner who can’t even be bothered to remember the names of critics groups that honor him, won’t be the Supporting Actor strutting to the podium on Oscar night, and making some jokey, offensive gesture like daintily tossing his hair back. Who, then, is next in line to overtake Leto for his turn as a trans woman—or, as Katie Couric would call her, a “transgender”—in Dallas Buyers Club? Methinks it won’t be fellow lock Michael Fassbender from 12 Years a Slave, who’s fine but unexciting as a pathetic slave owner, but one of two damn-near-locks who represent foreign underdogs: Daniel Brühl in Rush and Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips.

A Movie a Day, Day 35: The Killer Inside Me

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A Movie a Day, Day 35: <em>The Killer Inside Me</em>
A Movie a Day, Day 35: <em>The Killer Inside Me</em>

Even if it weren’t directed by Michael Winterbottom, I’d have gone to The Killer Inside Me just to see what gets people riled up over movie violence these days. The first question after it screened at Sundance was from an outraged woman who asked why the festival had shown it, and the discussion since has focused mainly on whether or not the film is unforgivably violent and misogynistic.

Well, I’ve seen it now, and I don’t understand the objections. No doubt, violence is too common and way too commonly sanctioned in our society. And yes, movies are partly to blame, since they’re a big part of the way we communicate with each other about violence—not to mention the way we exploit and glamorize it. But I believe movies are more a reflection than a cause of our love affair with violence, so our protests against movie violence are usually a matter of killing the messenger. That seems to be the case here.

Tribeca Film Festival 2010: The Killer Inside Me

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Tribeca Film Festival 2010: <em>The Killer Inside Me</em>
Tribeca Film Festival 2010: <em>The Killer Inside Me</em>

Writing in 1998 about the early films of British director Michael Winterbottom, critic Michael Atkinson described the filmmaker’s work as being “shot and cut like a heart attack.” He was referring to the “acidic, uncompromising” quality he found in Butterfly Kiss, Jude, and Welcome to Sarajevo, which he claimed made these exercises in overfamiliar genres “seem so new you feel as if you’re inventing them with your eyes, right now.” While, in the decade-plus since Atkinson’s article appeared, Winterbottom has continued to make startling, inventive films that often rethink familiar forms, there’s little in that critic’s evaluation that one could meaningfully apply to the director’s latest effort, The Killer Inside Me. Adapting Jim Thompson’s novel into a stylish if conventionally minded genre piece, Winterbottom’s period psychological thriller features two scenes of startling violence, but they’re far more unpleasant than shocking, light years from the meaningful jolts that enliven the best of his work.

There Will Be Choice: Why Gone Baby Gone Is the Best Film of 2007

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There Will Be Choice: Why Gone Baby Gone Is the Best Film of 2007
There Will Be Choice: Why Gone Baby Gone Is the Best Film of 2007

I always believed it was the things you don’t choose that make you who you are: your city, your neighborhood, your family. People here take pride in those things.—Patrick Kenzie

Gosh, what a great year 2007 was for movies. You could wipe out the Academy’s five Best Picture nominees, replace them with five others, and still have an honorable rack of best-picture candidates. One of those second five could easily be Ben Affleck’s directorial debut Gone Baby Gone—my personal vote for best film of the year.

Oscar 2008 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor

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Oscar 2008 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor
Oscar 2008 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor

Silencio. Whereas the almost assured winner of the Best Actor trophy might consider thanking the fact that none of his competitors ordered milkshakes of their own, the Best Supporting Actor nominees’ chances are just about inversely proportional to their loquaciousness. So Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tom Wilkinson will probably have to settle for the knowledge that their performances would’ve been slam dunks at the Emmys, and the soft-spoken Casey Affleck will finally see the lead-in-support maneuver backfire when the two-and-a-half-odd hours of accumulating verbiage weighs in. We do have to admit that Wilkinson’s odds are bolstered by the fact that his honking outbursts are impossible to outright ignore and may thusly represent sad-sack Michael Clayton’s best opportunity for a win in the top six categories. (Then again, no one will bat an eye when the movie comes up empty either.) Wilkinson is hot-blooded in a cool, detached movie. Javier Bardem is ice cold in a bloody movie, and he has about six lines of dialogue, but it’s often difficult for Oscar to ignore a single actor when they emerge as the sole representative of an entire ensemble in a big Oscar contender. (Again, paging Daniel Day-Lewis.) Bardem’s track record is as solid as Julie Christie’s, with none of the splintered support that is making the Best Supporting Actress race the one to watch. Still, there are no doubt some Academy members who will feel alienated by Chigurh’s uncompromising lack of a character arc, and perhaps pass it off as a case of one-note acting. (A Defamer behind-the-scenes backstory would be enough to balance out the empathy vacuum if we thought voters read anything other than the trades.) Contrarians that we at Slant are (accused of being), we have to admit this is one of the few categories we’d rather see No Country for Old Men come up short, as Hal Holbrook’s quiet authority (dude summons the sun!) and heartrending dignity in Into the Wild’s best 10 or 15 minutes, not to mention his selfless career, have us hanging up our own hang-ups about career achievement awards in disguise. (Bardem even agrees with us.)

Oscar 2008 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor

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Oscar 2008 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor
Oscar 2008 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor

There is no category this year whose lineup—and winner—is closest to being set in stone than Supporting Actor. Ignored by the Golden Globes, Hal Holbrook’s heart-wrenching performance in Into the Wild was not forgotten by the Screen Actors Guild, which has, of late, become a shrewd predictor of the eventual Oscar nominees. SAG also backed Casey Affleck for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men, Philip Seymour Hoffman for Charlie Wilson’s War, and Tom Wilkinson for Michael Clayton. The weakest link is likely Hoffman, though he does have the luxury of representing the only picture of 2007 to address the War on Terror not to get audiences’ cold shoulder. That Wilkinson, as Michael Clayton’s Queen of Shiva, is a lock speaks to the Academy’s affinity for hambone performances, suggesting that Tommy Lee Jones’s muted turn in No Country for Old Men has less of chance of squeaking in than John Travolta in Hairspray. Though the Hairspray cast was honored by SAG, as was No Country for Old Men’s, meaning Jones and Travolta are probably running a closer neck-and-neck race for the fifth spot than we would like to believe, Travolta may be the only actor this Oscar season who could have used the publicity of the Golden Globes airing this year. But it’s not like most actors take Travolta more seriously than Hoffman anyway, and a vote for Hoffman in Charlie Wilson’s War is also a vote for Hoffman in The Savages.