No one in my business has a crystal ball. No one really knows what they’re talking about even if we pretend we do. There are a few things worth noting, however, from today’s Film Independent nominations. The Spirits gave a big boost to two films that really could use it – Cary Fukunaga’s uncompromising, brilliant masterpiece Beasts of No Nation, and Charlie Kaufman/Duke Johnson’s equally brilliant, uncompromising masterpiece Anomalisa. Both films represent the very best in independent film because they represent the true independent spirit. Both were put together on a wing and a prayer – with Anomalisa raising much of its funds through Kickstarter and Beasts of No Nation finally getting picked up by Netflix after every studio in town passed on it.

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The Spirit Awards have leaked or simply are on their website prior to their announcement this morning. They have really redefined what film awards mean with these, honoring films that are experimental, trying different rollouts and all but helping the film industry thrive and adapt. Tangerine, Beasts of No Nation, along with Carol (two Best Actress performance nominations!).

Best Feature
Beasts of No Nation

Best Director
Sean Baker, Tangerine
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Todd Haynes, Carol
Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, Anomalisa
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
David Roger Mitchell, It Follows

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Denzel Washington will be honored by the HFPA on January 10, 2016 with the Cecil B. DeMille award. He will follow George Clooney, Woody Allen, Jodie Foster, Morgan Freeman, etc. Press release after the jump
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And I hope he takes no prisoners. Ricky Gervais caused much controversy the last time he hosted the Globes but those of us in the cheap seats were snickering along. Anyway, he’s back. Press release, as follows:
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Debbie Reynolds, Gena Rowlands and Spike Lee will be recipients of this year’s honorary Oscars. Reynolds will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Oscar. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President said, “The Board is proud to recognize our honorees’ We’ll be celebrating their achievements with the knowledge that the work they have accomplished — with passion, dedication and a desire to make a positive difference — will also enrich future generations.”

The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”
The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, also an Oscar statuette, is given “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”

The Governors Awards will take place on November 14 at the Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood.

  • Fun Home: Best Musical
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Best Play
  • The King and I: Best Revival of a Musical
  • Skylight: Best Revival of a Play
  • Michael Cerveris, Fun Home: Best Lead Actor in a Musical
  • Kelli O’Hara: Best Lead Actress in a Musical
  • Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Best Lead Actor in a Play
  • Helen Mirren, The Audience: Best Lead Actress in a Play
  • Richard McCabe, The Audience, Featured Actor in a Play
  • Christian Borle, Something Rotten!: Featured Actor in a Musical
  • Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I: Featured Actress in a Musical
  • Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You: Featured Actress in a Play
  • Sam Gold, Fun Home: Best Director of a Musical
  • Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time:
  • Best Director of a Play
  • Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris: Best Choreogrpahy
  • Lisa Kron, Fun Home: Best Book of a Musical
  • Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, Fun Home: Best Score
  • Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two: Best Costume Design of a Play
  • Catherine Zuber, The King and I: Best Costume Design of a Musical
  • Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Best Lighting Design in a Play
  • Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Best Scene Design in a Play
  • Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris: : Best Scene Design in a Musical
  • Natasha Katz, An American in Paris: Best Lighting Design in a Musical


The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced today key dates in its awards calendar as well as a date for the 2016 Golden Globes Awards. The 73rd Annual Golden Globes will take place on Sunday January 10, 2016.

Other key dates in the calendar include:

Friday, October 30, 2015                      Deadline for submission for Golden Globe Motion Picture and Television entry forms

Wednesday, November 25, 2015         Deadline for nomination ballots to be mailed to all HFPA members

Wednesday, December 2, 2015           Final screening date for Motion Pictures

Saturday, December 5, 2015               Final date for Motion Picture press conferences

Monday, December 7, 2015                Deadline for receipt of nomination ballots.

Thursday, December 10, 2015             Announcement of nominations for the “73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards” at 5:00am/pt (8:00am/et)

Monday, December 21, 2015              Final ballots mailed to all HFPA members

Wednesday, January 6, 2016             Deadline for receipt of final ballots.

Sunday, January 10, 2016                 Presentation of the “73rd Annual Golden Globe® Awards


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts have announced the dates for the next three years of the EE British Academy Awards.

The 2016 EE British Academy Film Awards will air on Sunday February 14. The 2017 will take place on February 12, 2017 and the 2018 awards will take place on Sunday February 18.

The EE British Academy of Film and Television Arts take place at the Royal Opera House in London. The awards air on BBC in the UK and on BBC America in the USA.

This year’s recipients included: Eddie Redmayne, J.K. Simmons, Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette who all went on to win Academy Awards for their roles.

The BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards ceremony will take place on Friday, October 30 this year at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.


Most of us think we’re on the losing side, which is how the Oscar race often flips from the most critically acclaimed film of the year to the sudden and unexpected popular choice. Suddenly the loser becomes the winner and the winner goes back to being the loser. Calculating how people think of your film is the publicist’s job and every one of them knows that if you come out of Telluride with people thinking you’re the winner, your goose is mostly cooked as human nature has voters picking what they think is the underdog.  No year has been more of a heartbreaker for that myth played out than this one.

All the same, it was a delight to see Michael Keaton’s genuinely happy face when the Birdmen team took to the press room, their statuettes in hand, claiming the season as the Miss Right Now.  He looked happier than anyone I’d seen for some reason. Maybe because he thought, like everyone else did that the independent spirit was embodied most thoroughly in Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which was put together on nothing but faith, stitched carefully together with a devoted team of filmmakers and actors, and that surely these voters would recognize that even if the industry could not and would not. Alas, the Spirit Awards, like the Gothams earlier in the season, picked Birdman over Boyhood.

A journalist I’d been speaking to off and on had seen Boyhood five times. She had such a personal attachment to it and was hoping it would take the top prize. The sense in the press room was that most everyone felt that way.  A crowdpleaser, though, is a crowdpleaser is a crowdpleaser and there just isn’t anything you can do about it.

2014, like 2010, has to be thought of as a year with two winners. The same way it was ludicrous to assume 2010’s Best Picture was really The King’s Speech after The Social Network had won everything else leading up to the industry votes, Boyhood can also be thought of as the film the critics and the British film industry chose, while Birdman was the favorite of the Hollywood industry.  Just like the 2010 race, I will always think of 2014 that way.

Should the Oscars choose to split the awards, like the Spirit Awards did, that would be a fair compromise, just as there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that David Fincher should have won, at the very least, Best Director in 2010.  I do not know if tonight’s awards will play out as fairly as the Spirits did. My experience tells me that delightful surprises like last year’s split are so impossibly rare you can’t depend on them. What I do know is this: the trick is not minding.

I’ve long since figured that awards should mean something more than just to represent a snapshot in time, who people were, how they defined themselves, what they defined themselves AS, what they worshipped, on whom they chose to project their dreams and aches. The most apt comparison I can think of is high school in the US. Is it simply human nature that requires that we segregate the popular people from the huddled masses?

Back in the 1980s you didn’t become a cheerleader because you were the best dancer or the most enthusiastic athletic supporter. You became a cheerleader because you represented the prettiest girls at school.  I wish I had the kind of brain that could tune out stuff like this because honestly it breaks my heart each and every time I attend any awards show. It just the same thing playing out: we like to watch the pretty people, to put ourselves beneath them, see them rewarded with statues, attach ourselves to their career plight, or their lack of recognition. Can’t someone make my brain just quiet the fuck down?

Woody Allen captures it best in Stardust Memories. He captures hungry and overly interested fans. He captures apathetic celebrities who don’t do anything near important enough to warrant such worship. He captures the hunger just to dwell among them. Mostly he captures that glossy-eyed look we humans are stricken with when gazing at those we’ve designated better than ourselves.

Yesterday at the Spirit Awards I heaved my body up atop my high heels to clack clack clack outside of the press tent to use the “facilities.” When you’re a woman, and if you choose to dress up, everything hurts all night long until you take it all off at the end of the night.  We were almost done and I was almost home where a pair of well worn Birkenstalks were calling my name.   I happened by Paul Thomas Anderson standing with his cast from Inherent Vice. There they were, a couple of feet away. Genna Malone, Catherine Waterston, Benicio Fucking Del Toro.

You think you’re above it all until you are suddenly not above it all. There were clusters of people watching them in wide-eyed amazement, as though they were seeing a newly born litter of rare snow foxes in the Antarctic.  The smell of champagne wafted out of the billowing tent, along with scattered laughter and applause. Behind the tent a crowd had gathered to watch even farther back. Beach dwellers, mostly, star gazers.  The real star of the event, the Pacific Ocean, churned in the distance, as the clouds parted to invite pointed sunbeams, setting the surface of the ocean alight with a glittery sheen.

At one point, Jared Leto popped his tent in the press tent, with that ubiquitous playful look on his face, he said “Hi everyone! You miss me?” He laughed, tickled at the whole thing like he always is. Leto seems to note the surreal circus that it is and he just has a great time. I remember how funny he was last year to the press people. That jacket, that hat.

Later, Bennett Miller wandered into the press room after Foxcatcher had earned some kind of tribute award. Why, I have no idea. Perhaps to honor Megan Ellison, who uses her wealth to promote and build independent film.  “I don’t know what I’m doing here,” he said. He wasn’t required to talk to the press – but he stood there anyway.  A reporter in the front row asked a question which I didn’t hear. It was something about Steve Carell.  “I’m sorry,” Miller said. “But I’ve heard that question too many times.”  The reporters chuckled a little but then it got uncomfortably quiet as it sometimes does when anyone goes off script.  “I’m happy when people talk about the movie, when it means something to them,” he said but dashed out as soon as he was given the opportunity.

I don’t think anyone thinks any of this means anything. You can’t, right? It is a way to arrange and categorize who we are. We rank members of our species based on wealth, good looks and popularity. That is what awards shows are usually about.  Though this one was especially funny because of its hosts, Kristen Bell and Fred Armisen who seemed to be the only ones willing to poke fun at Birdman.

When Justin Simien won for Dear White People he took the moment to encourage other filmmakers to have their voices heard to become “part of the culture.” A brave and ballsy soul, he is. Here’s to hoping he keeps kicking down doors the same way Ava DuVernay has.  Clearly, the Spirit Awards were not going to do an about-face and suddenly reward Selma. Remember, people want to be on the winning side so once one thing starts winning, well, it usually can’t be stopped. All other priorities rescinded.

“So why do you do it if you hate it so much,” I always get asked.  I want to answer that with “It’s hard out there for a pimp.” But instead I usually say that I feel that what I do is worthwhile. There are enough people who report on the awards and there are plenty of fans — most people love to hate them, or certainly how they turn out. I know that I’m lucky. I’ve worked hard to be allowed a ticket to the show.   Hate is much too strong a word, though. How can you hate something that is barely there in the first place? I don’t have to hate the work to hate the final outcome of the season. And when I think about hating the season I’m just going to remember Michael Keaton’s happy face. That Julianne Moore is finally winning what she should have won ages ago. That Patricia Arquette always takes a moment to talk about what matters and is one of the few actresses who isn’t starving herself to be on the red carpet so that the ordinary among us can look at the extraordinary and not feel so much like we’re on the “other train.” It’s the little things.


The Spirit Awards are becoming part of the awards consensus overall. Part of that is that anyone can join. So you’re kind of looking at a hipsters People’s Choice. The DGA is mostly an “anyone can join” establishment now so it, too, is a version of the People’s Choice.  The industry is just a cluster of the same kinds of people who all live and work in the entertainment business, which makes up much of the population of Los Angeles.

The last awards show of the season is waiting for me in a couple of hours. Until then, Oscarwatchers, until then.

spirit winners 3

In a couple of hours the 30th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards will commence. Sasha will be there live-tweeting the festivities. Now’s a good time to take another look at the Spirit Award nominees, after the cut, and think about how much better they feel than the Oscar nominees?


“Boyhood”, Richard Linklater

Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

Michael Keaton, “Birdman”

Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”

Justin Simien, “Dear White People”

“CitizenFour”, Director-producer: Laura Poitras

INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
“Ida” (Poland) Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
“Nightcrawler”, Director: Dan Gilroy

“Land Ho!” Writers-directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens

Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman”

Tom Cross, “Whiplash”

Chris Ohlson,


Predict the Spirit Awards here

This year, there isn’t a lot of distinction between the Spirit Awards and the Oscars. This, because the industry mostly turned its back on big studio fare earmarked for the Oscar race, from the mixed to poorly reviewed Unbroken, Interstellar, and Into the Woods to the well reviewed Gone Girl, Foxcatcher and Nightcrawler. They mostly stuck to the independents, making this one of the weirdest Oscar races I’ve ever seen.

Essentially, you’re looking at another Birdman and Boyhood showdown, with Selma the likely upset in the major categories.  The Spirit Awards do tend to vote for more popular films than you’d think they would, as they went for Silver Linings Playbook over Beasts of the Southern Wild, for instance.  Last year they went for 12 Years a Slave, which many believed meant it wouldn’t then go on to win the Best Picture Oscar. There is less and less difference between the two these days because Oscar voters are stubborn about evolving the way the big budget film industry is.

Most of our readers by a very wide margin think Boyhood will prevail. That was the thinking at the Gothams as well when the first really weird thing about the year happened when Birdman won there.  I have a feeling it’s going to be Birdman, myself.  I just think it’s the kind of movie that crowd is going to like best.  But it’s a toss-up, truly. I hope I am wrong because if they pass up a chance to award Richard Linklater I just don’t know how I will cope with that.

Spirit award voters aren’t critics and they aren’t industry professionals as much as they are MOVIE FANS. That can sometimes translate to “most popular” wins the day.  If it were me I’d vote for Selma and Ava DuVernay without thinking twice about it. I just don’t know how this group will go – if they did reward Selma that would be the bigger news story the next day.


“Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
“Boyhood” — Predicted winner
“Love Is Strange”

Damien Chazelle “Whiplash”
Ava DuVernay “Selma”
Alejandro G. Iñárritu “Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Richard Linklater “Boyhood”, Predicted winner
David Zellner “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”

Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski “Big Eyes”
J.C. Chandor “A Most Violent Year”
Dan Gilroy “Nightcrawler” – Predicted winner
Jim Jarmusch “Only Lovers Left Alive”
Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias “Love Is Strange”

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
“Dear White People” Director-producer: Justin Simien
“Nightcrawler” Director: Dan Gilroy — Predicted winner, Stone, AwardsDaily readers
“Obvious Child” Director: Gillian Robespierre
“She’s Lost Control” Director-producer: Anja Marquardt

Marion Cotillard “The Immigrant”
Rinko Kikuchi “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”
Julianne Moore “Still Alice” – Predicted winner, Stone, AwardsDaily readers
Jenny Slate “Obvious Child”
Tilda Swinton “Only Lovers Left Alive”

André Benjamin “Jimi: All Is by My Side”
Jake Gyllenhaal “Nightcrawler”
Michael Keaton “Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Predicted winner Stone
John Lithgow “Love Is Strange”
David Oyelowo “Selma”

Patricia Arquette “Boyhood” — Predicted winner
Jessica Chastain “A Most Violent Year”
Carmen Ejogo “Selma”
Andrea Suarez Paz “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors”
Emma Stone “Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Riz Ahmed “Nightcrawler”
Ethan Hawke Boyhood
Alfred Molina “Love Is Strange”
Edward Norton “Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
J.K. Simmons Whiplash — predicted winner

Darius Khondji “The Immigrant”
Emmanuel Lubezki “Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” — Predicted winner
Sean Porter “It Felt Like Love”
Lyle Vincent “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”
Bradford Young “Selma”

Sandra Adair “Boyhood” — Predicted winner
Tom Cross “Whiplash”
John Gilroy “Nightcrawler”
Ron Patane “A Most Violent Year”
Adam Wingard “The Guest”

DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)
“20,000 Days on Earth” Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
“CitizenFour” Director-producer: Laura Poitras – predicted winner
“Stray Dog” Director: Debra Granik
“The Salt of the Earth” Directors: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders
“Virunga” Director-producer: Orlando von Einsiedel

INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
“Force Majeure” (Sweden) Director: Ruben Östlund
“Ida” (Poland) Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
“Leviathan (Russia) Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Mommy (Canada) Director: Xavier Dolan
Norte, the End of History (Philippines) Director: Lav Diaz
Under the Skin (United Kingdom) Director: Jonathan Glazer – predicted winner


Craig Kennedy gives his “Should Wins” instead of predictions, because: idealist

Pic: Selma
Director: DuVernay – Selma
Screenplay: Jarmusch – Only Lovers Left Alive
First Feature: Amirpour – A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
First Screenplay: Simien – Dear White People
Cassavetes: Blue Ruin
Female Lead: Swinton – Only Lovers Left Alive
Male Lead: Oyelowo – Selma
Female Supporting: Arquette – Boyhood
Male Supporting: Norton – Birdman
Cinematography: Khondji – The Immigrant
Editing: Cross – Whiplash
Doc: Stray Dog
International: Ida


Ryan Adams shows us the choices he chose on his his actual ballot, because he ponied up the $99 to become a voting member this year, because “Spirit award voters aren’t critics and they aren’t industry professionals as much as they are MOVIE FANS.” …also, for the nice packet of screeners. [- says Ryan Adams]


Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”, Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

Justin Simien, “Dear White People”

“Blue Ruin”

Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”

Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

Alfred Molina, “Love Is Strange”

Lyle Vincent, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”

Sandra Adair, “Boyhood”

DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
“Force Majeure”


We’ll be posting our predictions a bit later but wanted to give you a crack at the predictions contest. The winner received a $100 gift card to



  • BOYHOOD Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland


  • BOYHOOD Richard Linklater


  • JULIANNE MOORE Still Alice


  • EDDIE REDMAYNE The Theory of Everything




  • J.K. SIMMONS Whiplash






  • WHIPLASH Tom Cross


  • THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING James Marsh, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten




  • BIRDMAN Emmanuel Lubezki


  • THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock




  • THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Alexandre Desplat


  • WHIPLASH Thomas Curley, Ben Wilkins, Craig Mann




  • INTERSTELLAR Paul Franklin, Scott Fisher, Andrew Lockley


  • THE LEGO MOVIE Phil Lord, Christopher Miller


  • CITIZENFOUR Laura Poitras


  • IDA Pawel Pawlikowski, Eric Abraham, Piotr Dzieciol, Ewa Puszczynska


  • THE BIGGER PICTURE Chris Hees, Daisy Jacobs, Jennifer Majka


  • BOOGALOO AND GRAHAM Brian J. Falconer, Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney

THE EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)



bafta 2

Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Team Boyhood and others.




(lower quality video — will try to find better replacements)















UPDATED: Much better quality clip

Just for fun, here’s Mike Leigh in 2010, with a few choice words to say about the BAFTAs and the Oscars


The good news is that the BAFTAs haven’t happened yet – the bad news is we lost our old contest forms during a website hack that occurred yesterday. That means if you’re still interested in predicting the BAFTAs you can either use the return receipt that was sent to you to calculate your own score or you can re-enter here. Good luck!

(Thanks to Craig and Ryan for helping to put it back together)


This Sunday, the British Academy will have their say as to what will win. Predicting the BAFTAS is always a tricky thing to do because they genuinely can be unpredictable. Making them even more unpredictable is that their voting practices have changed so many times over the years that it’s hard to find any sort of patterns. For instance, they pushed their date to be before the Oscars only in 2000. In 2012 they swapped their nomination procedure to being more like the Oscars, wherein the various branches chooses the nominees and the whole body votes for the winners. Before that they did it in the opposite fashion.

So, to a degree, they should be easy to predict, right? The consensus is, so far, the consensus. In 2012, they went for Argo and last year they went for the agreed upon split between Alfonso Cuaron for Director and 12 Years for Picture. Since our own Academy has an ongoing love affair with all things British, they keep nominating British people, thus the Oscars are full of British voters, which makes the BAFTAs fairly reliable in terms of picking potential upsets.

This site has their predictions up and they’re going for:

Imitation Game for Adapted Screenplay
Grand Budapest for Original
Rosamund Pike for Best Actress
Eddie Redmayne for Best Actor
JK Simmons and Patricia Arquette for supporting

The only real surprise there is that there is no Birdman in any of the major categories. I’m not sure that’s how it will go but if it does, you can probably scratch Birdman off your list for Best Picture win at the Oscars.

I am not so sure it will go that way. I think it could split but I just don’t know which way it will split. I just don’t know how popular Birdman is at the BAFTAs. I do know it also does not have an editing nomination there. Grand Budapest Hotel seems to be their favorite movie as it’s represented in nearly every category.

That makes me wonder if Wes Anderson might not pick up the top prize there. Since Budapest beat Birdman at the Globes that is also a peculiar development in the race. Birdman is popular with the actors, for sure, and they make up the Academy’s largest branch. Birdman also beat the other films at the PGA, but they use a preferential ballot and BAFTA does not.

Budapest is going to take votes away from some movie – I just don’t know which.

The only lament I have and hope that it will come true is that the BAFTA will not follow the usual pattern of awards season by not awarding Gillian Flynn for Gone Girl just because it lacks an Oscar nod. The entire awards race should not always bow down to the Motion Picture Academy. I do not think that puts thousands of minds to good use. I hope they resist the urge to fold under the limited consensus.

I will be sitting this one out because I really have no skill when it comes to predicting the BAFTAs. I never have, in fact. Hardly anyone ever gets them right.

But here is your chance to be a shot if YOU know how they will go.

[please check back in a bit – we’re upgrading the software – apologies!]

hack the vore

That awkward moment when the HFPA listed the Golden Globes nominees conveniently ranked in order of voter support. On the morning of December 11, 2014, several sharp-eyed awards junkies noticed something unusual about the layout of the official site of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. On the fancy page where all the Golden Globes nominees were itemized on a beautiful chart, none of the names were in alphabetical order. Instead, it sure looked like all the consensus favorites were named in the #1 slots. And all the likely rivals came along in very tidy groupings — 2, 3, 4, 5 — each rung of the ladder representing the relative strength of the nominees we had all come to agree was falling into place.

This Dec 11 chart showed us the results of the nominations phase of the Golden Globe process, but clearly the relative strength of each movie was already getting locked down. Locked down so tightly that they barely varied at all for the next 5 weeks (until final voting took place last week).

One of our readers here at Awards Daily brought this to our attention in the comments. I can’t recall who it was, but I’ll find out to give him credit for the catch. This seemed like a coup. It looked like the perfect Golden Globes cheat sheet. If it was indeed a slip-up leakage then I figured the HFPA wouldn’t leave it online like that for long. So I took a screenshot of all the categories. I put the jpg in an archive for safekeeping, just in case it meant what we thought it did. Then I forgot about it. No way to prove it, so we put it out of our minds.

Last night our suspicions seem to have been confirmed. To make this more clear, I have removed 4 of the lesser categories that did not match up. (I extracted both music categories, animated feature and foreign language film — because there was slippage and divergence in those categories.)

Of the 10 remaining major bigtime movie categories, 9 times out of 10, the original Dec 11 chart matched up perfectly with last night’s actual Golden Globe winners.

9 globes
(HFPA website, Dec 11, 2014)

I glanced over the TV nominees too, and they appear to match up with close to 80% accuracy.

The HPFA never released any statement about what happened. But in the days following the Dec 11 leak, the layout of the Golden Globes chart got shuffled in various ways. Every day it was different, but never alphabetical. Cute. Nice try. If anything this only made me more certain that they were trying to cover up their blunder.

Two caveats. Voting tallies for nominees will of course differ a little from the tally for the final winners. Because voters chose from 30 titles to select nominees, but to chose winners they select from the top 5. Also bear in mind that 5 weeks is a long time, and whatever support most movies had on Dec 11, we can expect that there would be some shifting allegiances as the race evolves.

I’ve heard that some astute pundits may have used this Dec 11 leak as a helpful guideline when making predictions. For example, Gold Derby has told me that they gave the leak some “guarded consideration” when they built their predictions.

So, anyway, that happened. Almost all the Golden Globe winners were announced on Dec 11.

We didn’t make a big deal about this at the time because (a), we had no proof, and (b) we didn’t really see how it would be any fun to ruin the Golden Globes for everybody.

But now that it’s all over, Sasha and I thought that maybe you guys would like to take a look to see the evidence.

Let’s hope this is new annual Golden Globes tradition!



If there was anything worth taking away about last night’s Globe telecast it was the following:

1) Best Actor is still open — now down to Michael Keaton for Birdman and Eddie Redmayne for Theory of Everything. The SAG will likely decide it but Keaton’s speech was one for the ages.

2) Birdman was not as beloved with the HFPA voters as it might be with the industry overall but The Grand Budapest Hotel is very much beloved by both. Look for it to do very well at the Oscars, particularly in the design categories but perhaps in other categories, like Original Screenplay where it will go up against Birdman.

3) Jennifer Aniston had a lot of love in the room. Julianne Moore likely has this but Aniston is definitely in the running. Again, the SAG could be the decider. It feels like it’s finally Moore’s year and that’s a powerful motivator to vote.

4) Freedom of Speech is going to be the big thing at the Oscars. That, along with the In Memoriam tribute should make for an emotional night at the Oscars.

5) Because The Imitation Game and Gone Girl did not get any awards does not mean they are not popular with the industry. The Golden Globes are not the industry.

6) The surge of Selma will have no impact on the Oscars because ballots were turned in before the Globes telecast, but the love in the room was palpable. Selma will do just fine – what a speech given by Common and one of the more memorable moments of the night.

7) It’s still a wide open year. Even with Boyhood winning Picture and Director there is no telling if the Producers Guild and Directors Guild will follow suit. But probably we’re looking at a juggernaut on the level of The Artist, which can’t be stopped. We’ve been predicting Boyhood since the beginning of the season and have had no other film in the number one spot. The last time that happened I could not tell you. Arquette gave among the best speeches of the night, securing her frontrunner status; she has no challenger.

8) The biggest surprise of the night was Grand Budapest Hotel besting Birdman. It’s not that surprising, given the flavor of the HFPA — and the exotic, international flavor of the film. Birdman is much more American, more industry, less foreign press. We’ll have to see how that one plays out in the long run.

9) The race does seem to have a basic shape, at least for now, with only Best Actor and the Screenplay categories in question. Original will be very competitive between Birdman and Grand Budapest, while Adapted will have Gone Girl vs. The Imitation Game vs. Theory of Everything vs. Wild. Flynn deserves to walk away with the award but one never knows how this thing will go when people want emotional and mushy. That she adapted her own novel to the screen and will be the only female in all of Oscar history to do that (the others have adapted plays) that should count for a lot.

10) It was a night for Boyhood, putting it in that nervous-making spot where The Social Network was in back in 2010. It needs to win the bigger industry votes to take it all the way. Its heavy presence on a widely-watched television program will go a long way towards helping them make the final leap.


Our readers who have entered the contest (so far) believe it will go like this. Most of the races have a clear frontrunner. Some categories are more competitive than you’d think. Here are the pie charts indicated what readers believe will win tonight.














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