In 2015’s buffet of brilliance, somehow the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences managed to make the same mistakes they do every year. The very industry they represent offered them one masterpiece after another, and much as they may have munched up a minority, they turned down many more, opting instead for choices that, let’s be real, are gonna look the same coming out the other end as they did going in. At least, that’s what we’d all have ourselves suppose, as we wallow in our dissatisfaction following January’s inevitable disappointment, as Oscar nominations are revealed to have excluded so many of the year’s best, brightest talent, so many of our personal favourites that nary a person in the Academy even bothered to watch.

But what if we’re wrong to feel so disappointed? What if, given all that the Academy is offered, they actually made the most of what they had to work with? #OscarSoWhite made #EverybodySoAngry, the Carol snub in Best Picture was #nagl, and what the fuck happened to the Cinderella sweep that we all know really should have happened (I mean, it’s better than The Revenant at least)? What if the Academy’s next five choices per category, the runners-up who were undoubtedly a part of the Oscar race this season, but couldn’t quite make the cut, were actually just not as deserving of nominations as the five choices that did? Or what if they were? Since I’ve utterly nothing better to do with my time, I’ve made my own choice: to speculate on what might have been, had the Academy gone the other way and picked their next five favourites instead of the five that we know now as their current nominees. And you can make your own choices too – which list do you prefer: the nominees, or the almost-nominees?
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We’re barreling towards the last gasp here for the Best Picture race and a few questions remain.

1) Can The Martian win over enough industry voters to become the first “sci fi” film to win Best Picture?
2) Is Spotlight going to be the first film about journalists to win Best Picture?
3) Can the recent celebrity push for Beasts of No Nation make it the first film by the growing cinema pioneer Netflix to get in?
4) Can Inside Out be the first animated film to get nominated for Best Picture since the Academy shrunk its nominee ballot from 10 slots to 5?
5) Will the upcoming movies Joy, The Revenant and The Hateful Eight make it into the Best Picture race after they screen this coming week?
6) Will there be four films about women in the Best Picture race for the first time since 1977?
7) Will Star Wars do what it in 1977 and get in for Best Picture?
8) Will Creed manage to do what Rocky did in 1976 and get in for Best Picture?
9) Will Todd Haynes finally manage to earn much deserved praise from the Academy with Carol?
10) Is Steve Jobs still a lock for a nomination?

My answers to these questions are as follows:
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Kris Tapley at In Contention talks up Sylvester Stallone in Ryan Coogler’s upcoming Rocky redux, Creed. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense for a perfect storm. There isn’t exactly a strong best supporting actor frontrunner right now, though plenty of contenders, and some we haven’t seen yet – who knows what will come from Tom Hardy in The Revenant or anyone in Joy or The Hateful Eight. On the other hand, come on.

Tapley writes:

With the Ryan Coogler-directed film, Stallone has now taken on the role of Rocky Balboa seven times on the big screen. He was nominated at the outset for 1976’s “Rocky” and lost to Peter Finch for the late actor’s fierce “Network” performance. But the truth is he might be even better this time around. I would be tempted to call it his best on-screen work to date as he finds such subtle, unassuming textures in the performance that both deepen a character we’ve grown to love over the last 40 years, as well as present him in a whole new shade.
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The Best Actress race has been shaken up a bit with the announcement that Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl and Rooney Mara for Carol are “going lead.” This puts them squarely in competition with the Best Actress powerhouses – in Mara’s case, up against her own co-star. How will this play out? It’s hard to say. There have been category mix-ups before. It tends to thrust the race into more unpredictable territory ultimately.
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tom hardy legend

tom hardy legend

How many movies do you see every year? I’m talking new movies and old. Some people go to the movies once a month. Some people see one a week. I’ll bet some of us here watch a movie almost every day. I’m quite sure that there are people who bought to tickets to see American Sniper who found themselves in a movie theater for the first time in months. If you’re a Brutally Honest Oscar voter, you can’t be bothered to seek out 10 good movies per year — and you brag to The Hollywood Reporter about that.

Here’s a list of 175 movies upcoming in 2015 that have caught my attention over the past few weeks. I’ve been adding new titles whenever something new percolates up to the surface and sounds interesting.

We do this every year. It’s an AD tradition the day after Oscar Night. We usually call it something like “Most Anticipated Movies of 20xx” or “Top Oscar Prospects of 20xx.” But this year let’s broaden the scope. Honestly, I know that nobody is eagerly “anticipating” some of these movies I’ve included. (Frankly, I’m apprehensively dreading a few of them). But do we really need to be confining ourselves to “Oscar prospects” when it’s not even March yet? Or EVER? Consider a couple of movies that were not Oscar prospects last year: Beyond the Lights (out on DVD today) and Babadook. Those are unquestionably two of the finest films of 2014 and the Oscars acted like they didn’t exist.

I’ve included many movies here that I probably won’t see myself, and some of those will be movies that other people are effing dying to see. While I was compiling these titles, I crosschecked with a few lists on other sites. I found one list of “20 Must See Movies of 2015” and I swear all 20 of them look like a waste of time to me. But I didn’t put this poll together trying to narrow the field. I wanted to do the opposite: stand back and survey the amazing array of movies filmmakers give us.

If you try to see all 170 movies on this list, you can expect to spend about $1500 and 340 hours of your time (that’s two solid weeks of non-stop movie-watching, so you’d better be sure to pee first). The movies industry is able to thrive because it produces a little something for everyone. That’s just smart business. Me, I personally don’t mind superhero movies because about 10% of them are actually a blast — can 10% of the 1250 non-superhero movies make the same claim? (and I’m happy when Hollywood is earning $10 billion per year because that increases the likelihood that a little of that bounty might trickle down to me.) Maybe the original Birdman franchise was a trilogy of turds, but that doesn’t mean Captain America isn’t fantastic, right?

Part of the purpose of this poll is to help us narrow this smorgasbord of choices down to 50 or 60 essentials. I’ve already dropped hints about which ones interest me most by putting the names of directors next to the ones that look most promising to me. But I’m going to try to not be the guy who excludes any movie from the conversation just because it’s not my cup of tea. This list is intentionally sprawling and spilling over with all kinds of movies for all kinds of tastes and all types of fun, highbrow to middle to low. (well, not a lot of lowbrow, sorry. I had to draw the line somewhere before we got too close to pure porn.)

So we’re calling this poll “175 Movies Worth Watching?” The question mark is our caveat — because, for sure, a lot of these will turn out to be worthless (even some of the ones with famous names parenthetically attached). You can read the “worth watching” any way you please. Maybe to you it will mean “worth watching” to keep an eye out for eventual Oscar prospects. That’s perfectly valid. Or maybe, like me, you’re the kind of person who thinks “worth watching” simply means worth spending $8 to be skillfully entertained, poked, tickled and stimulated in one of the dozens of ways movies do, for all the reasons we love all kinds of gorgeous cinematic styles and fun film genres, Oscars be damned (but not forgotten).

So please try not to get too riled up by this big sloppy embrace of every crazy thing on the horizon. Open your mind to the possibilities. You can’t stop what’s upcoming.

[Please let me know if I’ve accidentally listed a title that’s a total travesty or doesn’t qualify for whatever reason. And no doubt you will all let me know the names of at least 20 movies that I’ve overlooked that need to be here.]

You can chose up to 20 titles. Go nuts.

actress poll

You can choose as many as 10 actresses. The consensus will sort things out.

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actor poll

Choose up to 10 actors. May the best (or most overdue) man win.

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sup actress fea

Which actresses in supporting roles will rise above the rest?

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sup actor feat

Which actors in supporting roles will prevail this year?

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We’re 5 weeks away from Telluride, 6 weeks away from Toronto. Less than 45 days. As more of the top hopefuls for Best Picture are unveiled, the more we’ll be inveigled to start nailing down the locks. I love this time of year. Right now anything seems possible, the well of options is deep and wide. By next month the possibilities start to narrow, the pool of possibilities will begin to drain.

In the spirit of big-tent inclusiveness, here’s a list of nearly 40 buzzed-about films. The methodology here is simple (it’s so simple I wonder why Academy members can’t do it this way): Just tick the titles of the 10 films you expect to be nominated for Best Picture. The wheat with separate from the chaff, the cream will rise to the top. Of course right now we’re just guessing. But we’ll establish a base-line with this first swing, and then run the same poll again in a couple of months when more movies have come into focus.

(I’m sure I’ve forgotten some important movies, so just let us know what’s missing and I’ll insert anything that seems reasonable. The sooner you let me know, the better chance your suggestions be in play and not get frozen out.)

If this is fun and instructive for everyone, then we’ll build polls for all the top Oscar categories.

Please Pick Ten:


by Jazz Tangcay

Will 2015’s Best Actress race be The Year of the Redhead? It’s only July and some might consider it a bit too early to be making any predictions about who’s going to win, but we can’t help ourselves.

Amy Adams is already generating buzz for her upcoming role in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes. Julianne Moore already has one award under her arm after winning Best Actress in Cannes for Map To The Stars, and Jessica Chastain has three films that are all hot contenders for the race.

Adams, Chastain and Moore are all redheads, and all three actresses have yet to win their first Oscar.

Our Contender Tracker (http://www.awardsdaily.com/contender-tracker/best-actress/) lists all our predictions, but for now let’s take a look at our top tier actresses and the race for Oscar Gold.

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Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 12.54.57 PM

Given that our Best Picture winner will most likely emerge by October or November at the latest, but usually by the time Telluride closes its doors (September), it’s hard to see any clear frontrunner at this point, at least none that is based in reality. Sure, you can read the tea leaves and look at Oscar predictions for fun, but keep it mind it has to be only for fun. Oscar winners can’t be predicted when no one has seen the film.

Since Oscar pushed its date back by a month, the entire film schedule was also pushed back. Since then, no Best Picture winner has emerged in the old model of Oscar releases (late December).  By “emerged” that means seen by people either at film festivals or screenings.  When the film is released to the public is mostly immaterial (unless it flat out bombs).

But even still, it’s hard to find even the de facto frontrunners this year. That is, films that scream Oscar from the outset. There isn’t a Munich or a Charlie Wilson’s War.  So right now we can enjoy the moment before the moment everyone knows, or thinks they know, what will win.

I’m interested in what you AwardsDaily readers are thinking. I scoured the web for “sight unseen” Oscar predictions to find those poor films with the albatross already heaped upon their backs. Anyone predicting a movie to win right now is basically ensuring that movie won’t win because the expectations will simply be too high.  Interesting, though, that Brad Brevet’s predictions at Rope of Silicon have Unbroken in first place to win Best Picture but Angelina Jolie is fifth place to win Best Director.

Let us know what you think in the poll after the jump.

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wolf of wall st 250912

We’ll begin with 120 titles. I hope and expect to be told I’ve forgotten some that need to be added. To make this survey more manageable, I’ve tried to divide the list roughly in half. Part One holds most of the high-profile films. Call them what you want — Awards Hopefuls, Top Tier, Oscar Fodder. I’m not labeling them. Part One lists just the 65 films that we’re most familiar with. Part Two is another 75 that are lesser known — Indies, International, Animated, Genre films.

Sasha and I have talked about trying to giving more coverage this year to movies that might fall off the fast-track the Oscars but still represent fine filmmaking. Most Anticipated of 2013, Part Two shows we mean it. Some of the titles on Part Two I’m just now becoming aware of. If they’re unknown to you — because nobody is talking about them, because they’ve been dismissed as not “awards worthy” — then we’ll be trying to rectify that sorry situation.

Let me know what I left out. You can choose 12 titles from each list, after the cut.

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The Guardian has built a slide-show listing 50 movies they claim are “strong Oscar contenders.” While a dozen or so are undeniably in the running for a Best Picture nomination, the best that can be said for most others named here is that they’re, um… eligible. In the dog days of August we can always doggedly gather the shiniest objects for lists of hopefuls like this. The trick now is trying to stay excited as we come to the realization that the usual suspects beginning to carve out their slots are about all we’re going to get.

There are plenty of films here with great pedigrees that will surely blow us away, but many of these “strong contenders” will be failures. We can hold onto hopes for late-breaking surprises, but there’s no need for delusional optimism either. At this stage, wishing for Oscar redemption is a bit like praying for rain in Oklahoma.

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UPDATE: after 12 hours, here’s how the first 700 voters ranked the Top 15 Gay Films of the past 3 decades. With 170 titles on the poll, check out your choices for the Top 50 LGBT Films of the past 30 years.

Since this list kept growing the longer I fiddled with it, you can choose up to 20 of your fabsolute favorite gay films. (Incidentally this is lengthiest poll we’ve ever posted, on my laptop measuring up to roughly 9 inches per decade)

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Good gosh, at least 33 films are jumping off screens in 3-D this year. How many of them will be worth the premium ticket price? Choose 5 titles in the poll after the cut.

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With 1300 readers weighing in thus far, we’ll take a quick snapshot of the Most Anticipated Films of 2011, even though votes are still rolling in. If you didn’t yet vote, you can make your selections here.

Top 40 list, after the cut. And larger Top 40 with vote breakdown here. Reality check on the all-important nature of awareness: When we did a most anticipated poll last summer, a couple of weeks before TIFF — Tree of Life was 3rd most anticipated film of 2010 too. Black Swan was #1, The Social Network #2. And The King’s Speech was your 20th most anticipated movie, right after Welcome to the Riley’s. That’s the dreamworld we inhabited, August, 2010.

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[poll id=”62″]

supporting actress previewjpg

While many of the major categories have been dominated by early front-runners for weeks, the Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress roles have maintained a more exciting balance of neck-and-neck rivalries. Some of the biggest Oscar surprises are typically reserved for winners in supporting role, and this year is no exception. Click to page 2 to vote for the 5 names in each category that you think the Academy will choose as its nominees.

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screenplay poll sample

Choose the 10 screenplays you think the Academy will nominate (not your own personal favorites). Cast your votes after the cut.

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