I guess I don’t really need to do this article anymore, but what the hell. I’m here.
I put zero effort into Globes predictions, because they really don’t matter outside of being a potential harbinger of what’s to come and just a small piece of what’s gonna go into Oscar predictions. But, if anything, this helps me set my own expectations for what I expect them to do so I can either feel like what I think is gonna happen will happen or realign my expectations based on the new information.
So here are my completely uninformed and specious guesses as to what I think the Hollywood Foreign Press is gonna do this year: (more…)
Pic of the Day: ♫ “With the wheels a-singin’ westward ho / Right from the day I heard them start / ‘Cross the Kansas plains from New Mexico / I guess I’ve got a little gypsy in my heart / When I’m old and grey and settled down / If I ever get a chance to sneak away from town / Then I’ll spend my busman’s holiday / On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.” ♫ (75th Anniversary)
I love doing this article every year even though I always leave myself mountains of work to be done in very little time. Fortunately this year I started compiling scores two months in advance, started listening to them just after New Year’s, had a rudimentary version of this list by the end of January and even finished writing this article two weeks ago. Which is way better than how things usually go with me. Usually a month out I’m like, “Oh shit, I need to do scores.” And then I rush and get everything and the whole thing is done in the span of like, three weeks. But I do it because I love listening to film scores. I have almost 40 gigs of film scores on my computer. I’m not bullshitting you. I really do like this stuff. That’s part of the reason I started writing this article.
The other part is because, when I would look up what the best film scores of the year were, I’d only ever find one of two lists: the list that’s just mainstream movies and designed to get people to engage with the site and doesn’t remotely care about the scores themselves, or the ‘cool kids’ list that’s almost exclusively festival darlings, one or two really obvious foreign films and then scores by underground indie music artists that you’d know about if you lived in Bushwick. And sometimes, god help you, you got the third list, which is when a site would lump a staff of 3-4 people in one article and have them talk through their favorites. So you’d end up with some weird mutant stepchild version of lists A and B, but worse, because it would be in paragraphs, so now you’re skimming through trying to figure out where the fuck one entry ends and the other begins. And on top of all of this? There are only like seven total lists! Maybe things have gotten better since I stopped looking and just started doing it myself, but at the time there were only a couple of actual lists and everyone else parroting those. And they all had the same scores on them. To the point where you just felt like no one was actually listening to the scores. So I said ‘fuck it. I’ll do it myself’. Because I’m doing this stuff anyway. Maybe it would’ve been 40% less than it is now, but I still would’ve done it. And unlike everyone else, I don’t give a fuck if anyone reads this. I’m in this for love of the game.
I’m very up front about how I do this. I don’t know much of anything about music except knowing what I like. Sometimes I can say something smart but a lot of the time it’s just simply liking stuff. I have no idea how similar or different my list ends up being to everyone else’s but at least I know that I did listen to a broad spectrum of stuff (this year was 73 scores, which is a lot for someone who doesn’t make that their primary duty as a filmgoer and probably 50-60 more than most people who put out a scores article), actively considered each one on its own merits and picked the ones that sounded the best to me, based solely on my own ears and my own opinions.
In a year where movies generally fell by the wayside given all the real-world stuff going on, film scores for sure were gonna get overlooked. So here’s a bunch that I felt are worth a listen. Here are my favorite film scores of 2020: (more…)
Pic of the Day: ♫ “Your heart’s on the loose / You rolled them seven’s with nothing lose / And this ain’t no place for the weary kind / You called all your shots / Shooting 8 ball at the corner truck stop / Somehow this don’t feel like home anymore / And this ain’t no place for the weary kind / And this ain’t no place to lose your mind / And this ain’t no place to fall behind / Pick up your crazy heart and give it one more try.” ♫
The Art Directors Guild announced nominations today. If it feels like we’ve barely gotten any guild precursors to this point, it’s because we haven’t. But starting next week, they’re gonna start coming fast and furious. Next week I think is like three out of five days and then after that it’s almost a full week straight of something new every day.
But, at the moment, we have this. This is gonna help us out in Production Design, and I’m keen to see what they’ve nominated, given the fact that this feels like a pretty ho-hum kinda year with only about six or seven major contenders out there. So I’m curious to see what they give us and if there are some films that I’m not expecting that can make this a race.
As a reminder, the BFCA list for Production Design was Emma, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, News of the World, The Personal History of David Copperfield and Tenet, and your BAFTA longlist includes Ammonite, The Dig, Emma, The Father, Ma Rainey, Mank, Midnight Sky, News of the World, Promising Young Woman, Radioactive, Rebecca, Secret Garden, Tenet, Trial of the Chicago 7 and Wonder Woman 1984.
And here’s what the Art Directors Guild has for us: (more…)
Okay. So a little bit of a reverse of how this normally goes, but I wasn’t aware of the existence of this list beforehand. You already know the shortlist of ten, but here’s the full list of 96 eligibles for Animated Short.
I’m gonna go through and watch all the ones I can and then look at trailers for the rest and see which ones look great. All I’m really trying to do here is expose myself (and others) to some great animated shorts, which I feel are one of those things that we grow up with and then just sort of abandon along the way because we become less exposed to them. And we forget just how amazing they are to watch.
So, use this as a springboard to remind yourself of how great animated short films are. (more…)
And now Best Animated Feature. And you might be saying to yourself, “Mike, there’s only ten films on this shortlist and they’re all shorts. You probably could have done this one before some of the others.” And that’s true. Probably could’ve done it on day three or four if I wanted. But, I have a story to tell you…
On the day the shortlists came out, I was sitting around waiting for them to be released. I figured they’d put them out around 11/12 o’clock LA time. But they didn’t. They ended up putting them out at 3. And in those four hours in between as I was waiting I thought, “Let me see which ones people think might be nominated so I can try to get a hold of them preemptively.” Since the minute stuff gets shortlisted, they pull them down offline. Happens every year. So I start looking. Then, I find a list of all the eligible shorts for this year, which is a list I didn’t even know they released. But someone did. A list of all 96 eligible shorts.
Long story short, I decided to try to find all 96, ended up finding half of them and later on today I’m gonna post a full article going over all 96 eligible shorts (95% of which I either have seen fully or have seen a trailer for). Because I can and because it’s fun and because animated shorts are lost treasures among the filmgoing experience and I want to try to help bring them back. But before that, we’ll go over the shortlist. This is the dinner, that’ll be the dessert.
Here’s your animated feature shortlist:
If Anything Happens I Love You
The Snail and the Whale
And we end with the Documentary Feature shortlist, because that was the one I decided was the one I was gonna focus on for this article. Because, back around Thanksgiving, I decided to start compiling everything I thought could potentially get nominated in the category so that when they eventually did release this shortlist, I’d already have a bunch covered and not have to worry about then finding them. It worked out, since I already had ten of the fifteen docs on hand and ready to go and then immediately found two more that day. And, even better, I knew the final three were ones I could see fairly easily.
So, long story short, I’ve watched all 15 of these in the past two weeks and am gonna give a full breakdown in this article, which will make my life easier in future articles and discussions about this category.
Here’s your Documentary Feature shortlist:
All In: The Fight for Democracy
Dick Johnson Is Dead
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher
The Painter and the Thief
The Truffle Hunters
Welcome to Chechnya (more…)
Today is Best International Feature. Because I kidded myself that I was gonna be able to find and see all 15 of these by the time this article went up. And honestly, I had other categories I was more focused on and I really only need to see as many as I can for nominations and not for this. So I’m just gonna do what I did with Live Action Short and Doc Short and just guess my way through it and see everything later.
Here’s your International Feature shortlist:
Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The Mole Agent (Chile)
Charlatan (Czech Republic)
Another Round (Denmark)
Two of Us (France)
La Llorona (Guatemala)
Better Days (Hong Kong)
Sun Children (Iran)
Night of the Kings (Ivory Coast)
I’m No Longer Here (Mexico)
Dear Comrades! (Russia)
A Sun (Taiwan)
The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia) (more…)
Pic of the Day: ♫ “Have I been sleeping? / I’ve been so still / Afraid of crumbling / Have I been careless? / Dismissing all the distant rumblings / Take me where I am supposed to be / To comprehend the things that I can’t see / ‘Cause I need to move / I need to wake up / I need to change / I need to shake up / I need to speak out / Something’s got to break up / I’ve been asleep / And I need to wake up / Now.” (15th Anniversary)
Pic of the Day: ♫ “Come on along and listen to / The lullaby of Broadway / The hip hooray and ballyhoo / The lullaby of Broadway / The rumble of a subway train / The rattle of the taxis / The daffodils who entertain / At Angelo’s and Maxi’s / When a Broadway baby says good night / It’s early in the morning / Manhattan babies don’t sleep tight / Until the dawn.” ♫
Today we’re going over Live Action Shrot because, as much as I want to wait to see if I can find most of these, not only have I been unable thus far to do that, there’s also no chance I’d actually have done it by the time this article went up. So we’re just gonna go over it now, because the other categories actually do have stuff I’m watching. Plus, let’s not pretend like 98% of people give any fucks about this category (even though there’s usually some good stuff on it).
Here’s your Live Action Short shortlist:
The Human Voice
The Kicksled Choir
The Letter Room
Two Distant Strangers
White Eye (more…)
Pic of the Day: ♫ “Unbelievable sights / Indescribable feeling / Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling / Through an endless diamond sky / A whole new world / Don’t you dare close your eyes / A hundred thousand things to see / Hold your breath; it gets better / I’m like a shooting star / I’ve come so far / I can’t go back to where I used to be.” ♫
The Makeup & Hairstylist Guild announced their nominations today. As a reminder, this is your Oscar shortlist:
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
The Little Things
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
One Night in Miami
Let’s see what the guild has to tell us about how this category is likely gonna play out: (more…)
And now Documentary Short, a category that’s usually immensely easy to guess because it’s all about what the issues are. The two almost guaranteed types of winners in this category are: people with mental or physical illnesses overcoming them to create art or people in third-world countries overcoming their surroundings to do something inspiring. Then you have the occasional Holocaust or hot-button issue thrown in. But by and large, you can tell which ones feel like what they normally go for.
So let’s see what they’ve given us this year. Here’s your Documentary Short shortlist:
Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa
Call Center Blues
A Concerto Is a Conversation
Do Not Split
A Love Song for Latasha
The Speed Cubers
What Would Sophia Loren Do? (more…)
The WGA nominations were announced today. And this is our main help in the Screenplay categories, with only BAFTA still to come (and the other primary help in the category).
Of note for the WGA, before I even look at what got nominated — they’re the one guild that routinely has major contenders (and even winners) not nominated because they require nominees to be guild members. So a lot of stuff is rendered ineligible this year. Which, for our purposes, includes: Ammonite, The Assistant, Emma, The Father, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, Onward, Pieces of a Woman and Soul.
So, just from that alone, I see five potential (and even probable) nominees not eligible here, which means you’re gonna get a lot of extra nominees that may not actually have a chance in the end, which is why stuff like BAFTA and BFCA is so important. Because usually the Screenplay categories only have about six or seven major contenders (maybe you get to eight in a strong year) and you can usually reason your way through most of it fairly easily. So it’ll be interesting to see what the WGA used to fill in those gaps and how any red herrings get thrown into the mix that people will get baited on.
So, knowing all that, here are your WGA nominations for this year: (more…)