2017 National Board of Review Winners

The National Board of Review announced their awards winners today. Steven Spielberg’s The Post gets a huge boost winning Best Film, Actor and Actress.

Surprisingly missing are Darkest Hour, The Shape of Water and I, Tonya.

Full list of NBR awards:

Best Film
The Post

Best Director
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

Best Actor
Tom Hanks, The Post

Best Actress
Meryl Streep, The Post

Best Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

Best Foreign Language Film

Best Animated Feature

Best Documentary

Best Original Screenplay
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Best Adapted Screenplay
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist

Best Directorial Debut
Jordan Peele, Get Out

Best Ensemble
Get Out

Breakthrough Performance
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name

Spotlight Award
Wonder Woman
First They Killed My Father
Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992

Top Ten Films
Baby Driver
Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
The Florida Project
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread

Top Ten Independent Films
Beatriz at Dinner
Brigsby Bear
A Ghost Story
Lady Macbeth
Logan Lucky
Loving Vincent
Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
Patti Cake$
Wind River

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
A Fantastic Woman
Summer 1993
The Square

Top 5 Documentaries
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Brimstone & Glory
Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars
Faces Places
Hell On Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS




The Cannes Film Festival ( May 15-26) has become the unofficial start to awards season.  This is the place where movie studios, critics and bloggers get their first look at this years Fall movies.  Cannes also starts the all important word of mouth.  Good movies will get standing ovations and they will immediately be called Best Picture contenders. Others will have people walking out and the occasional boo. The Cannes crowd doesn’t mess around. They will make or break a film. A jury led this year by Steven Spielberg will chose the Palme d’or award (Golden Palm) or best picture in the festival. Last years winner AMOUR went on to get a Best Picture nomination as well as nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Original Screenplay and took home the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Cannes Facts:

– Originally conceived in 1939 as an alternative to the Fascist-influenced Venice film festival, Cannes has been held annually since 1946, apart from 1948 and 1950 when lack of funds led to its cancellation.

– In 1949, the stars arrived: Tyrone Power, Orson Welles, Norma Shearer, Errol Flynn and Edward G. Robinson all appeared that year. Brigitte Bardot made her first appearance in 1953.

– A year later, starlet Simone Silva dropped her bikini top beside Robert Mitchum in front of the photographers, resulting in the kind of racy coverage that secured the festival’s reputation.

– In 1968, film director Louis Malle, who was on that year’s jury with Polanski among others, was one of a group of film-makers who forced the festival to close in the midst of the student and worker uprisings across France. After an all-night debate marked by raging tempers and occasional fistfights, the organizers called it off.

– Jane Campion became the first female director to win the Palme d’Or in 1993 for her film “The Piano”.

The festival opens with THE GREAT GATSBY. An unusual choice considering it opened in the US last week. Maybe this was the only way to get Leonardo Dicaprio to attend? Gatsby is not in the official Cannes competition. It has received mixed reviews in the US. I don’t see it getting much Oscar attention.

The 19 films that will compete are:

A Chateau in Italy by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi

Inside Llewyn Davis by Ethan and Joel Coen

Michael Kohlhaas by Arnaud Despallieres

Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian) by Arnaud Desplechin

Heli by Amat Escalante

The Past by Asghar Farhadi

The Immigrant by James Gray

Grigris by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

A Touch of Sin by Jia Zhangke

Like Father, Like Son by Kore-Eda Hirokazu

The Life of Adele by Abdellatif Kechiche

Shield of Straw by Takashi Miike

Young and Pretty by Francois Ozon

Nebraska by Alexander Payne

Venus in Fur by Roman Polanski

Behind the Candelabra by Steven Soderbergh

The Great Beauty by Paolo Sorrentino

Borgman by Alex van Warmerdam

Only God Forgives by Nicolas Winding Refn


This years jury:

Steven Spielberg (American Director)

Vidya Balan (Indian actress)

Naomi Kawase (Japanese director)

Nicole Kidman (Australian actress/producer)

Lynne Ramsay (British scriptwriter/director/producer)

Daniel Auteuil (French actor/director)

Ang Lee (Taiwanese director/producer/scriptwriter)

Cristian Mungiu (Romanian scriptwriter/director/producer)

Christoph Waltz (Austrian Actor)

Check back often to see how these movies received throughout the festival.




Statistician Nate Silver puts together his numbers to predict Sunday’s Oscar winners.




As I try to predict this years Oscar winners, I realize what a strange year it has been. The date changes have for the first time left the Oscar voters to choose nominees before any other major awards were announced. They were for the first time “on their own”. If the date changes never happened we would have seen Katheryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck nominated for Best Director.  ARGO would win BP and Affleck for Director. Not so easy this year. Some say if ARGO wins then they really hate LINCOLN and Ang Lee will win, or it will be a split. ARGO and Spielberg, or if they Spielberg wins Director than LINCOLN will win picture. I am going with the split.

I am torn in the Best Actress category. Jennifer Lawrence is the favorite to win, but I hated Silver Linings. Lawrence is young enough to have more opportunities to win. Emmanualle Riva is 86 and has been acting most of her life. It is now or never. But the old white guys are more likely to to vote with their penis and choose Lawrence. I am sticking with Riva and I am probably wrong, but I learned last year that going with the consensus is not always the way. Especially this year.

They want to honor LINCOLN somewhere if not Best Picture, it does after all have the most nominations. Daniel Day Lewis will win Actor, but I am torn with Best Supporting. Tommy Lee Jones has won a few other awards, but has not campaigned much. While Robert Deniro is in full campaign mode. Weinstein and Co. are trying to make SLP more about mental illness than a romcom. Deniro crying with Katie Couric about David O’Russells son’s fight with mental illness. Ugh..it is a romcom and a bad one. All 5 Supporting Actor nominees have won Oscars before, so maybe it is Deniro’s time again, but I am going with Tommy Lee.

Here goes nothing:

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”
Hugh Jackman in “Les Misérables”
Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master”
Denzel Washington in “Flight”

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin in “Argo”
Robert De Niro in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones in “Lincoln”
Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained”

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva in Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts in The Impossible

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in The Master
Sally Field in Lincoln
Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables
Helen Hunt in The Sessions
Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
ParaNorman” Sam Fell and Chris Butler
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph

Achievement in Cinematography
Anna Karenina Seamus McGarvey
Django Unchained Robert Richardson
Life of Pi Claudio Miranda
Lincoln Janusz Kaminski
Skyfall Roger Deakins

Achievement in Costume Design
Anna Karenina Jacqueline Durran
Les Misérables Paco Delgado
Lincoln Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman Colleen Atwood

Achievement in Directing
Amour Michael Haneke
Beasts of the Southern Wild Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi Ang Lee
Lincoln Steven Spielberg
Silver Linings Playbook David O. Russell

Best Documentary Feature
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching for Sugar Man

Best Documentary Short Subject
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart

Achievement in Film Editing
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
A Royal Affair
War Witch

Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
Anna Karenina
Life of Pi

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
Before My Time from Chasing Ice
Everybody Needs A Best Friend from Ted
Pi’s Lullaby from Life of Pi
Skyfall from Skyfall
Suddenly from “Les Misérables

Achievement in Production Design
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

Best animated Short Film
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head over Heels
Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare

Best Live Action Short Film
Buzkashi Boys
Death of a Shadow

Achievement in Sound Editing
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Achievement in Sound Mixing
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

Achievement in Visual Effects
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
Marvel’s The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

Adapted Screenplay
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook

Original Screenplay
Amour Written by Michael Haneke
Django Unchained Written by Quentin Tarantino
Flight Written by John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty Written by Mark Boal


Argo producers George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Ben Affleck

The British version of the Oscars were held on Sunday and ARGO train is racing to the end and can’t be stopped. This list of winners could be pretty close to how Oscar night ends up:

Best Film: Argo
Leading Actor: Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis
Leading Actress: Amour, Emmanuelle Riva
Director: Argo, Ben Affleck
Film not in the English Language: Amour, Michael Haneke, Margaret Ménégoz
Supporting Actor: Django Unchained, Christoph Waltz
Supporting Actress: Les Miserables, Anne Hathaway
Cinematography: Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Original Screenplay: Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Adapted Screenplay: Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell
Original Film Score: Skyfall, Thomas Newman
Production Design: Les Miserables, Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson
Editing: Argo, William Goldenberg
Sound: Les Miserables
Best Documentary: Searching For Sugar Man, Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn
Animated Film: Brave, Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Special Effects: Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, Donald R. Elliott
Makeup and Hair: Les Miserables, Lisa Westcott
Costumes: Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
Outstanding British Film: Skyfall, Sam Mendes
Short Film: Swimmer, Lynne Ramsay, Peter Carlton, Diarmid Scrimshaw
Animated Short: The Making of Longbird, Will Anderson, Ainslie Henderson
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer: The Imposter, Bart Layton & Dimitri Doganis
Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Winner: Tessa Ross
BAFTA Fellowship: Alan Parker



Each year the USC Libraries’ Scripter Award honors the year’s best adapted screenplay and it’s source material. Saturday’s winner was ARGO. Chris Terrio and Joshuah Bearman, a journalist who wrote an article in Wired about Tony Mendez’s Iranian caper, and Mendez himself, whose autobiography The Master of Disguise was also one of Terrior’s sources.ARGO has now won the Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe, DGA, PGA and SAG awards.

ARGO can’t seem lose anything and LINCOLN cant seem to win anything. If there was any award that Tony Kushner could win for adapting Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals to LINCOLN it was The Scripter awards, but it was not meant to be. The Sripters are relatively new and don’t have a great track record predicting Oscars, but it tells us that ARGO has momentum. Next Sunday’s WGA award will either put the last nail in the coffin for LINCOLN or will keep the race interesting.