Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Academy releases official list of eligible Oscar nominees

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, who organize the Academy Awards, has very specific criteria for a film's eligibility to receive an Oscar nomination, and they have now released their official list of eligible Oscar nominees.

In general, to be eligible in most categories, the film must be released in a motion picture theater in Los Angeles County that is open to the public for at least seven consecutive days within the calendar year. This means that the final day to release an eligible film is Christmas Day, which is exactly seven days before the end of the year. The one notable exception is the Foreign Language Film Award, which has its own specific criteria, including being officially submitted from the home country, but need not be released in the U.S.

Many of the categories have their own specific rules. In the acting categories, for example, Academy voters are on their own to decide whether a performance is best suited for Leading or Supporting nominations. This is the same with the Cosmos, but with one important exception: unlike the Cosmos, which allow for dual nominations, the Academy has special rules to determine which category an actor will be nominated for if he or she received enough nomination votes for both. In addition, the Academy, unlike the Cosmos and the Golden Globes, only allow actors a single nomination per category. The Academy recognizes voice-over performances, like for animated features, but an actor whose entire dialog is dubbed over by another actor (as opposed to just their singing) is not eligible. So for example, had Darth Vader been nominated for the Star Wars films, the nomination would have gone to James Earl Jones, who voiced Darth Vader's dialog, rather than David Prouse who provided the physical movements. The Academy also apparently doesn't allow for acting nominations in documentaries, also unlike the Cosmos.

We mention this because the Cosmos use the the Academy's list as a general basis for our eligibility, but with some flexibility. If a film only appeared in the film festival circuit but then was available on DVD, we'll allow it to be considered. If it was technically released in L.A. in time for the Oscars, but our voters didn't have a legitimate chance to see it, we might push its eligibility to the following year.

Some interesting stats about the Academy's list of eligible films:


  • 288 films meet the Academy's general eligibility requirements
  • 22 films (probably all documentaries) did not have an eligible acting performances
  • 8,352 different actors had an eligible performance (though Security Guard #3, while technically eligible, is never going to get an Oscar nomination)
  • Of the eligible actors, over 91% (7,620) only appeared in a single eligible film
  • Only two actors (Douglas M. Griffin and Terrence Howard) appeared in seven eligible films.
  • Three actors (Han Soto, James Franco, and Joe Chrest) appeared in six eligible films. Twelve actors appeared in five eligible films, 34 in four films, 129 in three films, and 551 in two films.


So check out the Academy's reminder list, but just know that we'll have our own vetted list available before our nominations begin.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ellen's Oscar promo

Ellen Degeneres, a previous Cosmo winner for Finding Nemo, will be hosting the 86th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, March 2, 2014 and the Academy has released a catchy new trailer to promote the show. Check it out.


The trailer, directed by Paul Feig, features the song "The Walker" by indie pop band Fitz and The Tantrums.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Peter O'Toole (1932 - 2013)

We're so sad to report that celebrated actor Peter O'Toole has passed away according to his agent. He was 81.

O'Toole received 8 Oscar nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role, the most-nominated actor to never win. In 2003, the Academy honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Oscar. He initially declined, stating that he was still young enough to win a competitive Oscar, but he relented when the Academy insisted they would award it to him whether he was there or not.

He is much loved by Cosmo voters. At the first Cosmos, he was nominated for Best Individual Performance by an Actor for his performance in The Lion in Winter. He was nominated for the Best Actor of All Time Hall of Fame at the 2004 and 2010 awards before being inducted at the 2012 awards. He also shares in the Sexiest Ensemble win for Troy at the 2004 awards.

In addition to Troy, which won three of its nine nomination, O'Toole appeared in several other Cosmo-nominated movies. Lawrence of Arabia, which made him a star and earned for him his first Oscar nomination, was nominated for Movie With the Best Background Scenery at the first Cosmos and a Best Film of All Time Hall of Fame nomination at the 2012 awards. And in addition to his Best Individual Performance of All Time nomination for The Lion in Winter, the film has also received eight other nominations over the years, including three nominations for the Best Films of All Time Hall of Fame.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Trailer: Interstellar (2014)

Paramount has just released the first teaser trailer for Interstellar, a science fiction film from director Christopher Nolan starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, and Anne Hathaway that Hitfix thinks could be an Oscar contender next year. The film is currently scheduled for a November 2014 release.

In the film, a group of astronauts use a newly-discovered wormhole to explore interstellar space. But all of that is barely hinted at with this teaser.

Check out the trailer:

San Francisco Film Critics Circle nominations announced

The San Francisco Film Critics Circle has announced their nominees for their annual movie awards, and 12 Years a Slave leads with nine nominations. Their awards are one of the ones that the Cosmos use to calculate our Best Director nominees.

The nominees include:

Best Picture
"American Hustle"
"Gravity"
"Nebraska"
"12 Years a Slave"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"
Spike Jonze, "Her"
Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"
David O. Russell, "American Hustle"
Martin Scorsese, "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Best Actor
Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Robert Redford, "All is Lost"

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"
Judi Dench, "Philomena"
Adèle Exarchopoulos, "Blue is the Warmest Color"
Brie Larson, "Short Term 12"
Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County"

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"
Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave"
Harrison Ford, "42"
Will Forte, "Nebraska"
James Franco, "Spring Breakers"
Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"
Lea Seydoux, "Blue is the Warmest Color"
Octavia Spencer, "Fruitvale Station"
June Squibb, "Nebraska"

Best Adapted Screenplay
"Before Midnight"
"Philomena"
"The Spectacular Now"
"12 Years a Slave"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"

Best Original Screenplay
"American Hustle"
"Gravity"
"Her"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
"Nebraska"

Best Foreign Language Film
"Blue is the Warmest Color"
"A Hijacking"
"The Hunt"
"The Past"
"Wadjda"

Best Documentary
"The Act of Killing"
"The Armstrong Lie"
"Blackfish"
"Stories We Tell"
"20 Feet from Stardom"

Best Animated Feature
"The Croods"
"Despicable Me 2"
"Frozen"
"Monsters University"
"The Wind Rises"

Best Cinematography
"Gravity"
"Her"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
"Nebraska"
"12 Years a Slave"

Best Art Direction/Production Design
"American Hustle"
"Gravity"
"Her"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
"12 Years a Slave"

Best Editing
"All is Lost"
"American Hustle"
"Captain Phillips"
"Gravity"
"12 Years a Slave"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"


Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Daily Beast's 13 Most Overlooked Movies of 2013

Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan costar in Kill Your Darlings
The Daily Beast has an interesting roundup of the 13 most overlooked movies of 2013. Their list includes:

  • No - A Chilean drama starring Gael Garcia Bernal
  • Upstream Color - A sci-fi drama which, to be honest, I personally could not get through.
  • Shadow Dancer - A historical thriller set in 1993 Belfast.
  • Frances Ha - Black and white comedy-drama
  • Before Midnight - Sequel to 2004's Before Sunset, for which Julie Delpy just received a Golden Globe nomination
  • The East - Spy thriller starring Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, and Ellen Page
  • Much Ado About Nothing - Joss Whedon's modernized take on the Shakespearean classic
  • The Spectacular Now - Comedy/drama about a hard-partying high school senior who decides to change his life
  • Ain't Them Bodies Saints - Western starring Casey Affleck and Ruth Guthrie
  • Short Term 12 - Brie Larson stars in this drama about a foster care facility supervisor
  • Rush - Ron Howard's film is about so much more than Formula One racing
  • Kill Your Darlings - Allen Ginsberg biopic starring Daniel Radcliffe
  • The Counselor - Ridley Scott crime thriller starring Michael Fassbender
I've only seen three of these, and the one that I would recommend most heartily is Kill Your Darlings. How many have you seen?


Head on over to The Daily Beast to check out their descriptions of why they're worth watching.

Golden Globe nominations announced

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced the nominees for the 71st Golden Globe Awards, and 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle lead the motion picture nominations with seven nominations each. Lee Daniels' The Butler, which fared well at the Screen Actors Guild nominations announced yesterday, was shut out and did not receive a single Golden Globe nod.

The winners will be announced at a televised ceremony on Sunday, January 12, 2014.


Best Picture, Drama:
"12 Years a Slave"
"Captain Phillips"
"Gravity"
"Philomena"
"Rush"

Best Picture, Musical or Comedy:
"American Hustle"
"Her"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
"Nebraska"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"

Best Director:
Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"
Paul Greengrass, "Captain Phillips"
Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"
Alexander Payne, "Nebraska"
David O. Russell, "American Hustle"

Best Actor, Drama:
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Idris Elba, "Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom"
Tom Hanks, "Captain Phillips"
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Robert Redford, "All Is Lost"

Best Actress, Drama:
Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"
Judi Dench, "Philomena"
Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr. Banks"
Kate Winslet, "Labor Day"

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy:
Christian Bale, "American Hustle"
Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Oscar Isaac, "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Joaquin Phoenix, "Her"

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy:
Amy Adams, "American Hustle"
Julie Delpy, "Before Midnight"
Greta Gerwig, "Frances Ha"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Enough Said"
Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County"

Best Supporting Actor:
Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"
Daniel Bruel, "Rush"
Bradley Cooper, "American Hustle"
Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave"
Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"

Best Supporting Actress:
Sally Hawkins, "Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"
Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County"
June Squibb, "Nebraska"

Best Animated Feature Film:
"The Croods"
"Despicable Me 2"
"Frozen"

Foreign Language Film:
"Blue Is the Warmest Color"
"The Great Beauty"
"The Hunt"
"The Past"
"The Wind Rises"

Best Screenplay:
"12 Years a Slave"
"American Hustle"
"Her"
"Nebraska"
"Philomena"

Best Original Song:
"Atlas," performed by Coldplay - "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
"Let It Go," performed by Idina Menzel - "Frozen"
"Ordinary Day," performed by U2 - "Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom"
"Please Mr. Kennedy," performed by Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver - "Inside Llewyn Davis"
"Sweeter Than Fiction," performed by Taylor Swift - "One Chance"

Best Original Score:
Alex Ebert, "All Is Lost"
Alex Heffes, "Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom"
Steven Price, "Gravity"
John Williams, "The Book Thief"
Hans Zimmer, "12 Years a Slave"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Screen Actors Guild nominations announced

The Screen Actors Guild has announced their nominees for the 20th Annual SAG Awards, and 12 Years a Slave leads with four nominations, followed by Lee Daniels' The Butler with three, including nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for both, an ensemble award that is the SAG equivalent of Best Picture.

The SAG Awards also includes an ensemble award for Best Stunt Cast. Whaddya think, should we include that category ourselves?

The full list of the awards, which cover both motion pictures and television, can be found on the SAG Awards website. Here are the motion picture nominees:

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE

"12 Years A Slave"
"American Hustle"
"August: Osage County"
"Dallas Buyers Club"
"Lee Daniels' The Butler"

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years A Slave"
Tom Hanks, "Captain Phillips"
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Forest Whitaker, "Lee Daniels' The Butler"

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"
Judi Dench, "Philomena"
Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County"
Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr. Banks"

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"
Daniel Bruhl, "Rush"
Michael Fassbender, "12 Years A Slave"
James Gandolfini, "Enough Said"
Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years A Slave"
Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County"
June Squibb, "Nebraska"
Oprah Winfrey, "Lee Daniels' The Butler"

OUTSTANDING ACTION PERFORMANCE BY STUNT ENSEMBLE MOTION PICTURE

"All is Lost"
"Fast and Furious 6"
"Lone Survivor"
"Rush"
"The Wolverine"

The awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, January 18, 2014.


What movies should I watch?

We're getting down to the home stretch, with just a few more weeks left for films that want to be considered for a 2013 Cosmo (or Oscar) need to be released.

I've seen 39 movies released in 2013 so far this year. There are 63 more on my list of film I want to see (some I'm more eager to see than others). Help me prioritize and make sure I don't miss anything great!

Here are the 2013 films I've seen so far...

Bridegroom Movie 43
Carrie Much Ado About Nothing
Errors of the Human Body Mud
Gangster Squad Now You See Me
Girl Most Likely Olympus Has Fallen
Gravity Oz the Great and Powerful
The Great Gatsby Pacific Rim
Hansel and Gretal: Witch Hunters Parkland
A Haunted House Safe Haven
The Hunger Games: Chasing Fire Side Effects
Identity Thief Sound City
Iron Man 3 Star Trek Into Darkness
Jack the Giant Slayer This is the End
John Dies at the End 21 and Over
Kill Your Darlings Upside Down
The Last Exorcism: Part II Upstream Color
Lee Daniels' The Butler Warm Bodies
Lovelace The Way, Way Back
Man of Steel What Maisie Knew


There are numerous additional films that I hope to see before it's time to vote on 2013 Cosmo nominees. Here's the list of things I hope to see -- though if I manage to see all of them, it will be about 100 films from one calendar year, which would be a personal record. So please, use the comments to help me prioritize what's on this list, and also mention anything overlooked here that you highly recommend.

(I know, I should have them in some sort of prioritized order, but I haven't done that yet. Some are ones that could be top Cosmo contenders. Others are here because they could be considered for niche categories like Sexiest Ensemble or Most Overrated Film. So here they are in alphabetical order.)

Adore Her
All Is Lost The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
American Hustle Hours
August: Osage County Inside Llewyn Davis
Blackfish The Invisible Woman
Blancanieves Jobs
The Bling Ring Kiss Ass 2
Blue is the Warmest Color Kissing Darkness
Blue Jasmine The Lone Ranger
The Book Thief Monsters University
C.O.G. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
The Canyons Mysogynist
Captain Phillips Nebraska
Charlie Countryman One Direction: This is Us
Cloned: The Recreator Chronicles 100 Degrees Below Zero
The Colony Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Dallas Buyers Club Phantom
Despicable Me 2 The Philosophers
Diana Prisoners
Don Jon Romeo and Juliet
Drinking Buddies Rush
Elysium Saving Mr. Banks
Ender's Game Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's
The English Teacher Self Storage
Eurotrapped Stag
The Family Straight A's
Family Weekend Teen Beach Movie
The Fifth Estate Triple Crossed
Frozen 12 Years a Slave
Fruitvale Station The Wolf of Wall Street
Geography Club The Wolverine
The Hangover Part III The World's End

Post a comment with your thoughts about what I should see.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Oscar predictions by category

Who do you think is most likely to win the Oscar for Best Picture? Will it be a Cate Blanchett v. Sandra Bullock showdown for Best Actress?

Gold Derby polled 25 professional film critics and had them rank their predictions for likely Oscar nominees by category. I downloaded their data and weighted it by ordinal, giving more value to top-slot predictions.

Here are the results for the top six categories (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress) plus the screenwriting categories. Or you can download the full set of predictions here:


The Academy has new, complicated rules for Best Picture nominees that allow for at least five and up to ten possible nominations. The number of nominations can fluctuate because potential nominees in the top 10 also need to meet other vote minimum standards. Last year there were nine nominations. For our purposes, we've assumed all 10 slots will be filled.

Each film was assigned a score based on the number of critics who predicted it would get a nomination as well as how high the critic ranked the film.

Best Picture


RANK BEST PICTURE SCORE # LISTS
1 12 Years a Slave 237 25
2 Gravity 225 25
3 Captain Phillips 154 24
4 American Hustle 144 22
5 Saving Mr. Banks 126 18
6 The Wolf of Wall Street 93 18
7 The Butler 76 18
8 Inside Llewyn Davis 72 20
9 Nebraska 61 19
10 Fruitvale Station 32 8
11 Her 30 8
12 Blue Jasmine 24 8
13 August: Osage County 23 8
14 Philomena 19 6
15 Dallas Buyers Club 12 4
16 All is Lost 11 4
17 The Book Thief 8 2
18 Prisoners 6 1
19 Rush 5 1
20 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 5 2
21 The Place Beyond the Pines 3 1
22 Before Midnight 2 2
23 Enough Said 2 1
24 Blue is the Warmest Color 1 1
25 The Past 1 1

Best Director


RANK BEST DIRECTOR SCORE # LISTS
1 Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity 224 24
1 Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave 224 24
3 David O. Russell - American Hustle 148 19
3 Paul Greengrass - Captain Phillips 133 19
5 Martin Scorsese - The Wolf of Wall Street 81 11
6 Alexander Payne - Nebraska 40 6
7 Joel and Ethan Coen - Inside Llewyn Davis 31 5
8 Spike Jonze - Her 19 3
9 John Lee Hancock - Saving Mr. Banks 14 2
9 J.C. Chandor - All is Lost 13 2
9 Ryan Coogler - Fruitvale Station 13 2
12 Woody Allen - Blue Jasmine 8 1
12 Asghar Farhadi - The Past 6 1
12 Nicole Holofcener - Enough Said 6 1

Best Actress


RANK BEST ACTRESS SCORE # LISTS
1 Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine 244 25
2 Sandra Bullock - Gravity 219 24
3 Judi Dench - Philomena 164 22
4 Emma Thompson - Saving Mr. Banks 148 21
5 Meryl Streep - August: Osage County 124 18
6 Amy Adams - American Hustle 47 7
7 Adele Exarchopoulos - Blue is the Warmest Color 22 3
8 Brie Larson - Short Term 12 20 3
9 Berenice Bejo - The Past 6 1
9 Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Enough Said 6 1

Best Actor


RANK BEST ACTOR SCORE # LISTS
1 Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave 230 25
2 Robert Redford - All is Lost 226 25
3 Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club 196 24
4 Tom Hanks - Captain Phillips 167 23
5 Bruce Dern - Nebraska 93 14
6 Forest Whitaker - The Butler 45 7
7 Michael B. Jordan - Fruitvale Station 18 3
8 Joaquin Phoenix - Her 13 2
9 Idris Elba - Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom 6 1
9 Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street 6 1


Supporting Actress


RANK SUPPORTING ACTRESS SCORE # LISTS
1 Lupita Nyongo - 12 Years a Slave 230 25
2 Oprah Winfrey - The Butler 215 23
3 June Squibb - Nebraska 126 17
4 Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle 107 14
5 Octavia Spencer - Fruitvale Station 99 13
6 Julia Roberts - August: Osage County 75 11
7 Margo Martindale - August: Osage County 50 7
8 Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine 47 7
9 Sarah Paulson - 12 Years a Slave 15 2
10 Scarlett Johansson - Her 12 2
11 Jennifer Garner - Dallas Buyers Club 6 1
11 Lea Seydoux - Blue is the Warmest Color 6 1
11 Melissa Leo - Prisoners 6 1
11 Melonie Diaz - Fruitvale Station 6 1


Supporting Actor


RANK SUPPORTING ACTOR SCORE # LISTS
1 Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club 236 25
2 Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave 217 24
3 Tom Hanks - Saving Mr. Banks 146 18
4 Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips 92 13
5 Daniel Bruhl - Rush 72 11
6 Bradley Cooper - American Hustle 58 8
7 James Gandolfini - Enough Said 45 6
8 John Goodman - Inside Llewyn Davis 34 5
9 David Oyelowo - The Butler 20 3
10 Matthew McConaughey - Mud 18 3
11 Chris Cooper - August: Osage County 14 2
11 Harrison Ford - 42 14 2
11 Jonah Hill - The Wolf of Wall Street 14 2
14 George Clooney - Gravity 7 1
14 Jeremy Renner - American Hustle 7 1
16 Paul Dano - Prisoners 6 1


Original Screenplay


RANK ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY SCORE # LISTS
1 Blue Jasmine 179 21
2 American Hustle 171 18
3 Inside Llewyn Davis 155 19
4 Nebraska 127 16
5 Her 88 12
6 Saving Mr. Banks 79 11
7 Gravity 77 10
8 Fruitvale Station 70 10
9 Enough Said 40 6
10 Dallas Buyers Club 8 1
11 Rush 6 1


Adapted Screenplay


RANK ADAPTED SCREENPLAY SCORE # LISTS
1 12 Years a Slave 246 25
2 Before Midnight 176 22
3 The Wolf of Wall Street 149 18
4 Captain Phillips 128 17
5 August: Osage County 113 15
6 Philomena 74 11
7 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 46 7
8 The Book Thief 22 3
9 Lone Survivor 13 2
10 Blue is the Warmest Color 6 1
10 Labor Day 6 1

Download the full set of Oscar Predictions by Category.

Prioritizing your must-see Oscar hopefuls

Unless you're a film critic or as Oscar voter on the mailing list for screeners, most of us don't have a chance to see every Oscar nominee. But some of us do try to see at least the top-nominated films. That can be a tall order when there's little over a month between announcing the nominees and the Oscar ceremony telecast.

Some of my fiends have asked me who I think will get nominated so that they could try to get a head start. I started to give recommendations based on anecdotal buzz. Then I tried to focus just on the more likely Best Picture nominees. 

Finally I devised a more scientific method. I went to GoldDerby.com, which handicaps predictions for entertainment-related betting. They polled 25 experts on their predictions of likely Oscar nominees in most categories (Best Original Song was omitted and other categories may have as well). In addition, each critic ranked their predictions, putting their most likely nominee first and least likely last. So I downloaded their data and assigned each film a score based on how many critics thought the film might get a nomination in a given category and how likely they felt it might get that nomination. I omitted the shorts categories but included the feature-length documentary category.

I should mention that I suspect Gold Derby's data could change. They might add more critics, they might survey more categories, or they might allow critics to change their minds. This is just a snapshot of how things measured up a week or so ago.

Based on their thoughts, here's the prioritized list of what to see. (In a separate post, I'll break the predictions down by category.) I've broken out data for the top six categories (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress) for those who want to prioritize by that, and also provided data spanning all categories where Gold Derby polled experts.

Most have a range. The low end of the range is the number where a consensus of critics think a nomination is likely for a particular category. The upper end of the range includes outliers -- additional categories where some critics, but not a majority, think the film might also score a nomination.

# Film Top 6 Categories All Categories
1 12 Years a Slave (5 to 6) (14 to 15)
2 Gravity (3 to 4) (10 to 12)
3 Captain Phillips (4 to 4) (9 to 10)
4 American Hustle (3 to 6) (6 to 12)
5 Rush (1 to 2) (6 to 10)
6 Saving Mr. Banks (3 to 4) (5 to 9)
7 Nebraska (3 to 4) (4 to 8)
8 All is Lost (1 to 3) (3 to 7)
9 The Butler (2 to 4) (3 to 6)
10 Inside Llewyn Davis (1 to 3) (3 to 8)
11 The Wolf of Wall Street (2 to 4) (3 to 7)
12 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 0 (3 to 4)
13 Blue Jasmine (1 to 4) (2 to 5)
14 Dallas Buyers Club (2 to 4) (2 to 6)
15 The Great Gatsby 0 (2 to 6)
16 August: Osage County (1 to 5) (2 to 6)
17 Fruitvale Station (2 to 5) (2 to 6)
18 Oz the Great and Powerful 0 (2 to 5)
19 Philomena (1 to 2) (1 to 4)
20 Her (0 to 4) (1 to 8)
21 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (0 to 1) (1 to 6)
22 Frozen 0 (1 to 3)
23 Before Midnight (0 to 1) (1 to 2)
24 The Wind Rises 0 (1 to 1)
25 Pacific Rim 0 (1 to 3)
26 Monsters University 0 (1 to 1)
27 The Book Thief (0 to 1) (1 to 4)
28 Despicable Me 2 0 (1 to 1)
29 The Croods 0 (1 to 1)
30 Elysium 0 (1 to 1)
31 Enough Said (0 to 4) (0 to 5)
32 Ernest and Celestine 0 (0 to 1)
33 Iron Man 3 0 (0 to 2)
34 The Invisible Woman 0 (0 to 2)
35 Prisoners (0 to 3) (0 to 5)
36 Star Trek Into Darkness 0 (0 to 3)
37 Blue is the Warmest Color (0 to 3) (0 to 4)
38 Short Term 12 (0 to 1) (0 to 1)
39 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 0 (0 to 2)
40 Mud (0 to 1) (0 to 1)
41 42 (0 to 1) (0 to 1)
42 The Past (0 to 3) (0 to 3)
43 Lone Survivor 0 (0 to 1)
44 Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (0 to 1) (0 to 2)
45 The Lone Ranger 0 (0 to 1)
46 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 0 (0 to 1)
47 Labor Day 0 (0 to 1)
48 Man of Steel 0 (0 to 1)
49 Stoker 0 (0 to 1)
50 The Grandmaster 0 (0 to 1)
51 To the Wonder 0 (0 to 1)
52 World War Z 0 (0 to 1)
53 The Place Beyond the Pines (0 to 1) (0 to 1)

I should also mention that there are some films these critics ignored that will almost certainly make my Cosmo list, with Kill Your Darlings being the most notable.

You can download PDFs with more details here:
I'll post the per-category predictions in a separate post.

How ensemble nominations affect the best of the best

The Cosmique Movie Awards have two ensemble categories: Best Ensemble, which rewards an entire cast for their collective acting (the Screen Actors Guild's equivalent of a Best Picture), and Sexiest Ensemble, rewarding the cast as a whole for their overall attractiveness (shallow, but fun).

Usually when we speak of most-nominated actors and actresses, we generally focus on their individual achievements. Rosalind Russell has had 13 individual nominations, winning three of them, making her the person with the most individual nominations and tying with Meryl Streep and Charlize Theron for the most individual awards.

But how do those figures change when ensemble nominations are factored in?

Rosalind also has shared an ensemble win for The Women (1939), which won Movie With the Best Ensemble Cast at the first Cosmos, bringing her to four wins out of 14 nominations.

But it's Cate Blanchett whose ensemble awards put her at the top. She's won two of her 12 individual nominations, but she's also shared in winning two out of five ensemble nominations, bringing her to four Cosmos out of 17 total individual and ensemble nominations.

Nipping at her heels is her Lord of the Rings costar Ian McKellen, whose eight ensemble nominations (and two wins) -- more than any other actor thanks to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and the X-Men franchises -- are paired with another eight individual nominations (one win), giving him 16 nominations with three wins.

Rosalind's collective 14 nominations are followed by Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, who each have 13 collective nominations. Meryl won three of her 10 individual nominations but none of her three ensemble nominations. Nicole has eight individual and five ensemble nominations, but has never won.

They're followed by Anne Hathaway with a four awards out of eight nominations, winning two of her seven individual nominations and two of her five ensemble nominations.

Orlando Bloom has a total of 11 nominations, four individual and seven ensemble. All four of his awards were ensemble wins (two for Lord of the Rings films, one for a Pirates of the Caribbean film, and one for Troy). And our list is rounded out with Natalie Portman, with two awards for her collective 10 nominations. Both of her awards were for individual performances out of seven individual nominations. She has shares in three ensemble nominations.

When ensemble awards are factored in with individual awards, five actors are tied for the most awards, with four awards each: Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, and Rosalind Russell. All required ensemble wins to round out their wins. Rosalind Russell has the most individual awards, while Orlando Bloom is unusual in that he's tied for first for overall wins, but all of his awards are for ensembles.

That's where the vote totals stand after nine years of Cosmo Awards. We'll see what happens next year. Will Rosalind Russell receive another Hall of Fame nomination? Will Cate Blanchett be recognized for Blue Jasmine? And three of these actors appear in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, a favorite franchise for Cosmo voters that could well get more individual or ensemble nominations. We shall see.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Who has appeared in the most Cosmo-nominated movies?

Which Cosmo-nominated actor or actress has appeared in the most Cosmo-nominated movies? The answer might surprise you.

We don't mean the person who has received the most individual nominations (that would be Rosalind Russell, with 13 individual nominations). We're looking for the person who has appeared in the most films that have received at least one Cosmo nomination, even if the nomination wasn't for that actor. (Could be an actress who appeared in a film whose sole nomination was for Actor's Character You Most Would Like to be Intimate With.)

The answer is ... Ian Holm!

Ian Holm's sole nomination (and win) was for Best Villain for his appearance in From Hell (2001). But he has appeared in a total of 13 movies that have received Cosmo nods, including, in chronological order of film's release:


  • Alien (1979) 
  • Brazil (1985) 
  • The Fifth Element (1997) 
  • eXistenZ (1999) 
  • From Hell (2001) 
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) 
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) 
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) 
  • The Aviator (2004) 
  • The Day After Tomorrow (2004) 
  • Garden State (2004) 
  • The Cabin in the Woods (2012) 
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

It's unclear whether he will be in the upcoming The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (IMDB lists him but Rotten Tomatoes does not), but it seems like that he will be in next year's The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

Ian's 13 nominations are followed by Helena Bonham Carter and Jude Law, who have each appeared in 12 Cosmo-nominated films, and then by Alec Baldwin, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Jim Broadbent, Johnny Depp, and Judi Dench, who have all appeared in 11 Cosmo-nominated films.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Trailer: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

The Amazing Spider-Man received eight Cosmo nominations in 2012, including Best Costume Design Or Make-Up, Best Visual Effects, Best Performance by a Young Actor or Actress (Max Charles), Favorite Male Heroic Character (Andrew Garfield), Actor’s Character You Would Most Like to be Intimate With (Andrew Garfield), Actress’ Character You Would Most Like to be Intimate With (Emma Stone), Best Action/Adventure Film, and Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Film.

Now the trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has been released, starring Cosmo winner Andrew Garfield, Cosmo winner Emma Stone, and Cosmo nominee Dane DeHaan. Coming to theaters in 2014. Check it out!



Best mashup of 2013 films

Every year, people far more talented than I am create mashup videos of some of the best movies of the year.

This year, someone on Youtube called The Sleepy Skunk has posted one that I think may be the best movie mashup of all time, using 324 clips from 197 different films. The clip-by-clips credits are listed on his Tumblr.

Here's the video:



The complete list of films featured include:
The ABC’s of Death; About Time; The Act of Killing; Adore; After Earth; All Is Lost; American Hustle; Anchorman 2; Another; August: Osage County; Bad Grandpa; Baggage Claim; Battle of the Year; Beautiful Creatures; Before Midnight; Berberian Sound Studio; Best Man Down; The Best Man Holiday; The Big Wedding; Black Nativity; The Bling Ring; Blue is the Warmest Color; Blue Jasmine; The Book Thief; Broken City; Bullet to the Head; The Butler; Byzantium; The Call; The Canyons; Captain Phillips; Carrie; Charlie Countryman; Chinese Zodiac (CZ12); Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2; The Colony; The Conjuring; The Counsellor; The Croods; Dallas Buyers Club; Dark Skies; Dead Man Down; Delivery Man; Despicable Me 2; Dhoom 3; Don Jon; Drinking Buddies; The East; Elysium; Emperor; Ender’s Game; Enough Said; Epic; Escape From Planet Earth; Escape From Tomorrow; Escape Plan; Evil Dead; The Family; Fast and Furious 6; The Fifth Estate; Filth; 47 Ronin; 42; Frances Ha; Free Birds; Frozen; Fruitvale Station; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Gangster Squad; The Gatekeepers ; Getaway; Gloria; God Loves Uganda; A Good Day to Die Hard; Grace of Monaco; The Grandmaster; Gravity; The Great Beauty; The Great Gatsby; Grown Ups 2; The Hangover Part III; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; A Haunted House; The Heat; Her; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; Homefront; The Host; How I Live Now; Hummingbird (Redemption); The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; I Give It a Year; I’m So Excited; Identity Thief; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone; The Informant; Inside Llewyn Davis; Insidious: Chapter 2; The Internship; Ip Man: Final Fight; Iron Man 3; Jack the Giant Slayer; Jobs; John Dies at the End; Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain; Kick-ass 2; Kill Your Darlings; The Kings of Summer; The Last Exorcism: Part II; The Last Stand; Last Vegas; The Lone Ranger; Lone Survivor; Lords of Salem; Machete Kills; Mama; Man of Steel; Man of Tai Chi; Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom; Metallica: Through The Never; Metro; Monsters University; Mood Indigo; The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; Mr, Nobody; Mr. Nobody; Much Ado About Nothing; Mud; Nebraska; Now You See Me; Oblivion; Oldboy; Olympus Has Fallen; Only God Forgives; Out of the Furnace; Oz: The Great and Powerful; Pacific Rim; Pain and Gain; Paranoia; Parker; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; Philomena; The Place Beyond The Pines; Planes; Populaire; Prisoners; The Purge; R.I.P.D.; Red 2; Riddick; Romeo and Juliet; Room 237; Runner Runner; Rush; Saving Mr. Banks; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; Shadow Dancer; Shanghai Calling; Short Term 12; Side Effects; The Smurfs 2; Snitch; The Spectacular Now; Spring Breakers; Stand Up Guys; Star Trek Into Darkness; Stoker; Stories We Tell; Texas Chainsaw 3D; This is the End; Thor: The Dark World; The To Do List; To The Wonder; A Touch of Sin; Trance; Turbo; 12 Years a Slave; 21 and Over; 22 Bullets; 2 Guns; The Unknown Known; Upside Down; Upstream Color; V/H/S 2; Violet and Daisy; Walking With Dinosaurs; The Wall; Warm Bodies; The Way Way Back; We’re The Millers; White House Down; The Wind Rises; The Wolf of Wall Street; The Wolverine; World War Z; The World’s End; and You’re Next.

Again, you can find the clips listed in order on his Tumblr.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Paul Walker (1973-2013)

We're so sad to hear that actor Paul Walker died in a car accident yesterday. He was 40 years old.

Walker, who has worked steadily in Hollywood since he was a young teenager, is probably best known to audiences for the Fast & Furious franchise, the sixth of which was released this year and a seventh is in production. Other 2013 films include Pawn Shop, Vehicle 19, and the upcoming Hours, which is scheduled for limited release in December.

At the second Cosmo Awards, his film Joy Ride was nominated for Best Mystery, Suspense, Horror, or Thriller Film of 2001. If categories like Sexiest Ensemble, Intimate Actor, or (Gratuitous?) Nudity existed then, it surely would have received more nominations.

Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Should we split the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category?

Every so often, we poll our voters on potential Cosmo Award category changes. And one that keeps coming up is the idea to split the Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Film category into two separate categories: Best Science Fiction Film, and Best Fantasy Film.

There are pros and cons to this, of course.

Pros


  • Science fiction and fantasy films are hugely popular among Cosmo voters (most of the top-nominated films of all time have been in these genres), and are the ones voters are most likely to have seen.
  • Separating into two categories allows us to recognize the achievements of more films.
  • Many are fans of one of the genres but not both. Fans of hard-core science fiction sometime find their favorites crowded out by superheroes, and vice versa.

Cons

  • The number of categories is already pretty overwhelming.
  • It can be sometimes challenging to decide whether a film like The X-Men belongs in science fiction or in fantasy (though when lines are blurred, it's conceivable a film may get nominated in both).
So ... what to you think? Vote in our poll and feel free to explain your thoughts in the comments.





Monday, November 25, 2013

Movie Reviews: Mud (2013)

Director: Jeff Nichols

Writer: Jeff Nichols

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Paulson, Ray McKinnon, Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon, Paul Sparks, Joe Don Baker


Matthew McConaughey first came to my attention in 1997 with Contact, a film I loved so much that I saw it in the theaters four times, and it was the first DVD I ever bought.

But that promising start didn’t seem to go anywhere. He did a series of unworthy romantic comedies, like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and his two Cosmo nominations were for Worst Performance (Reign of Fire at the 2002 Awards and Failure to Launch at the 2006 Awards).

In recent years, however, he’s had better opportunities to flex his acting muscles. Some critics had him on their “dark horse” lists as a potential Oscar nominee for fan-favorite Magic Mike. And he wowed me with The Paperboy and Killer Joe. This year, critics are suggesting he could get his first Oscar nomination for either Dallas Buyers Club or The Wolf of Wall Street … or for Mud. Critics (98% of whom gave Mud a positive review) are repeatedly using terms like “confirmation of a career” and “career redemption” about his performance in Mud, and it’s well deserved.

My first impression of the film was that it felt like a modern take on Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and it turns out that wasn’t an accident. Writer/director Jeff Nichols fostered that impression deliberately, even naming one of the characters, Tom Blankenship (Sam Shepard) after the real life childhood friend that served as Mark Twain’s inspiration for Huck Finn.

Tye Sheridan shines as Ellis, the young teen who, with his friend Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) discovers a loose-with-facts homeless outlaw named Mud (McConaughey) while seeking the wreck of a boat and the potential for ensuing adventures. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was much more of a kid’s adventure story, while Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – called by many critics as the first Great American Novel – was much more serious and thought-provoking. While Mud has some of the adventure and rites of passage of Tom Sawyer, it ultimately strives for and achieves to be a more impactful film like Huckleberry Finn.

This will certainly make my list for quite a number of Cosmo Awards, including Best Performance by a Young Actor or Actress (Tye Sheridan). In fact, there are so many worthy nominees in that category that I’m tempted to split it into separate male and female categories. And the entire cast – Matthew McConaughey (Mud), Tye Sheridan (Ellis), Jacob Lofland (Neckbone), Reese Witherspoon (Juniper), Sarah Paulson (Mary Lee), Ray McKinnon (Senior), Sam Shepard (Tom Blakenship), Michael Shannon (Galen), Paul Sparks (Carver) and Joe Don Baker (King) – are well deserving of a shared Best Ensemble nomination.

Mud is one of the big surprises of the year, in my opinion – a film that hadn’t made my “must see” list but should have.

Rating: 4 stars