Thursday, January 30, 2014

Academy Awards scandal - Oscar nomination rescinded!

Many entertainment pundits were shocked when the obscure religious film Alone Yet Not Alone came out of nowhere to receive a Best Original Song Oscar nomination for a song of the same name. 

But now in an extraordinarily rare move, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has rescinded the nomination, arguing that the song's author, Bruce Broughton, improperly lobbied Academy voters, according to People Magazine. Broughton is a former member of the Academy's Board of Governors and a current member of the Music Branch executive committee, and the Academy argues that a "for your consideration" letter that he sent to Academy members may have broken strict Academy guidelines and improperly implied an official Academy endorsement of the film.

Revoking an Oscar nomination is very rare and has only happened a handful of times, according to Entertainment Weekly. In 1992, Uruguay's official Best Foreign Language Film nomination for A Place in the World was rescinded after it was discovered that the film was produced in Argentina. In 1972, The Godfather received a Best Original Score nomination, but when it was revealed that part of the theme had been used in another movie, the music branch had a revote and it did not get nominated the second time around. And in 1968, the documentary Young Americans was declared ineligible after already winning the Oscar, and the award was subsequently given to runner-up Journey Into Self.

The Academy has announced that it will not replace the nomination, and that the remaining four nominees will compete against each other for the award. Those nominees are:
  • "Happy" from Despicable Me 2
  • "Let It Go" from Frozen
  • "The Moon Song from Her
  • "Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Broughton claims he did nothing improper. Check out this news clip for more:

Monday, January 27, 2014

In Memoriam 2013

In 2013, many giants in Hollywood were lost, including Roger Ebert, perhaps the most famous movie critic of all time, and eight-time Oscar nominee (and recent Cosmo Hall of Famer) Peter O'Toole.

Here is the Cosmique Movie Awards' tribute to some of those lost to us in 2013.

In Memoriam 2013 from Kevin Goebel on Vimeo.

Rest in peace: Conrad Bain; Robin Sachs; John Kerr; Richard Briers; Mindy McCready; Lou Myers; Dale Robertson; Bonnie Franklin; Frank Thornton; Henry Bromell; Harry Reems; Richard Griffiths; Milo O'Shea; Jean Sincere; Roger Ebert; Annette Funicello; Jonathan Winters; Allan Arbus; Deanna Durbin; Ray Harryhausen; Jeanne Cooper; Steve Forrest; Arthur Malet; Jean Stapleton; Maxine Stuart; Esther Williams; James Gandolfini; Gary David Goldberg; Richard Matheson; Jim Kelly; Joe Conley; Cory Monteith; Dennis Burkley; Mel Smith; Dennis Farina; Eileen Brennan; Suzanne Krull; Michael Ansara; Karen Black; Eydie Gorme; Lisa Robin Kelly; Gia Allemand; August Schellenberg; Lee Thompson Young; Elmore Leonard; Julie Harris; Tommy Morrison; Patricia Blair; Richard C. Sarafian; Marta Heflin; Tom Clancy; Kumar Pallana; Ed Lauter; Nigel Davenport; Hal Needham; Marcia Wallace; Lou Reed; Al Ruscio; Sheila Allen; Doris Lessing; Diane Disney Miller; Jane Kean; Paul Walker; Eleanor Parker; Tom Laughlin; Daniel R. Escobar; Peter O'Toole; Joan Fontaine; Wojciech Kilar; James Avery

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Catching up on your Oscar list

So this year you're determined to see as many Oscar-nominated films as you can before the awards ceremony on March 2nd. You said that last year, too, but this year you really mean it.

But you've got to be organized, right?

Not to worry, we have you covered. 

First, download our spreadsheet for Oscar Watch List. On the "Films" tab, use the pull-down menu to indicate which films you've seen. The "By Category" tab will help you see which categories most important to you still need to be rounded out.

Now check the list below to see where you can find the nominees. Some are out on DVD or soon will be. You may be able to borrow them for free from the San Francisco Public Library. Some are available from Netflix Streaming. Some are still in theaters.

Feature Films

Release dates marked in red won't be available until after the Oscar (though you still might want to catch them should they receive a Cosmo nomination).

Film  Noms  DVD Release Other Availability
All is Lost 1 11-Feb-14 Google Play
Alone Yet Not Alone 1 not announced Nominated Rescinded! 
American Hustle 10 est March 2014 Theaters
August: Osage County 2 est April 2014 Theaters
Before Midnight 1 Released
Blue Jasmine 3 Released
The Book Thief 1 11-Mar-14
Captain Phillips 6 21-Jan-14 SFPL
The Croods 1 Released SFPL
Dallas Buyers Club 6 4-Feb-14 Theaters
Despicable Me 2 2 Released
Ernest and Celestine 1 Released
Frozen 2 18-Mar-14
The Grandmaster 2 Released
Gravity 10 25-Feb-14
The Great Gatsby 2 Released
Her 5 not announced Theaters
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 3 est April 2014 Theaters
Inside Llewyn Davis 2 est March 2014
The Invisible Woman 1 not announced
Iron Man 3 1 Released
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa 1 28-Jan-14
The Lone Ranger 2 Released
Lone Survivor 2 est March 2014
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom 1 18-Mar-14
Nebraska 6 25-Feb-14
Philomena 4 4-Mar-14 SFPL
Prisoners 1 Released
Saving Mr Banks 1 est April 2014
Star Trek Into Darkness 1 Released
12 Years a Slave 9 est March 2014 Theaters
The Wind Rises 1    Theaters
The Wolf of Wall Street 5 est March 2014

Feature-Length Documentaries

Fortunately, all of the nominated feature-length documentaries have been released on DVD. In addition, four of the five are on Netflix streaming and the fifth is available at the San Francisco Public Library.

Film Other Availability
The Act of Killing Netflix streaming
Cutie and the Boxer Netflix streaming
Dirty Wars Netflix streaming; SFPL
The Square Netflix streaming
20 Feet from Stardom Theaters; SFPL

Foreign Films

The Best Foreign Language Films are currently the hardest to track down. One is already available on Netflix Streaming. Another will be in limited release in theaters starting in February. We'll keep this list updated as more information becomes available.

Film Other Availability
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark) Netflix streaming
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Omar (Palestine) In theaters Feb 21


Of all of the shorts, only one (Ferel) is readily available. It can be purchased on Vimeo on Demand. However, some larger cities will be having screenings where all of the shorts can be seen. In addition, they are all expected to be available on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video within the next few weeks.

Film Other Availability
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me) coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
Avant Que de Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
Cavedigger coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
Facing Fear coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
Feral Purchase on Vimeo on Demand
Get a Horse! coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
Helium coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
Karama Has No Walls coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
Mr Hublot coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
Possessions coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
Room on the Broom coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video
The Voorman Problem coming soon to iTunes & Amazon instant video

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Movie Reviews: Errors of the Human Body (2013)

Mutation. Experimentation. Regeneration.

Director: Eron Sheean

Writers: Shane Danielsen (screenplay), Eron Sheean

Stars: Michael Eklund, Karoline Herfurth, Tómas Lemarquis

Synopsis: This brooding, psychological thriller could have survived its terribly slow pace if the payoff had been worth it.

Errors of the Human Body begins with an interesting premise – the study of a top-secret human regeneration gene that promises to be the basis of this sci-fi thriller. We don’t object too much to the languid pacing because the cinematography beautifully captures Dresden, Germany, and the ominousness of the research lab.

It’s easy to get lost in these shots as the story unfolds. Unfortunately, there’s not much of a story to unfold. And in the end, the climactic dramatic reveal isn’t all that surprising and isn’t nearly enough of a payoff to merit sitting through this film.

But I do have one question (our watchers were split): did the mouse grow a tail, or did the tail grow a mouse?

Rating: 2 stars

Movie Reviews: Girl Most Likely (2013)

She has a lot to live up to. And a few things to live down.

Directors: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini

Writer: Michelle Morgan

Stars: Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, Darren Criss

Synopsis: Tepid romantic comedy with a talented cast wasted on a script that is more flat than funny.
IMDB lists Girl Most Likely as a 2012 film, but it didn’t get a U.S. release until July of 2013, and even that was a limited theatrical run. That should have been my first clue that it wasn’t exactly a worthy successor of Kristen Wiig’s Bridesmaids.

But I loved Bridesmaids. It was unexpectedly funnier than the typical rom-com. Annette Bening is a two-time Best Actress Cosmo winner.  And I was so curious to see “Glee’s” Darren Criss in a feature film. So after confirming that it was technically eligible for the 2013 Cosmique Movie Awards, I put it in my Netflix queue.

Sadly, it just didn’t work. The talented cast was wasted on a script that was more flat than funny. I love Darren Criss’ fresh innocence, but he and Kristen Wiig had absolutely no chemistry. They seemed more like good friends than romantic interests.

I really don’t know where this might end up on my Cosmo ballot. Not bad enough to merit Worst Movie, but not good enough for even a Guilty Pleasure nod unless I’m desperate. It was just … eh.

Rating: 2 ½ stars

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Prioritizing your Oscar queue

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced their nominees for the Oscars, and if you're like most people, you've probably only seen a handful of them.

And if your time is limited, chances are you'll only be able to catch a handful more before your Oscar party on March 2, 2014.

So how to prioritize?

We've created a prioritized list that ranks films based on the total number of Oscar nominations the film has received and then further prioritized based on the number of nominations in top categories (Best Picture, Director, and the Lead and Supporting Acting categories), and then by prioritizing feature-length films over shorts, which are often hard to track down for casual viewers.

Here's our prioritized list of films to see:

Priority Film Top 6 Shorts Other Total
1 American Hustle 6 4 10
2 Gravity 3 7 10
3 12 Years a Slave 5 4 9
4 Nebraska 4 2 6
5 Dallas Buyers Club 3 3 6
6 Captain Phillips 2 4 6
7 The Wolf of Wall Street 4 1 5
8 Her 1 4 5
9 Philomena 2 2 4
10 Blue Jasmine 2 1 3
11 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 3 3
12 August: Osage County 2 2
13 Despicable Me 2 2 2
13 Frozen 2 2
13 Inside Llewyn Davis 2 2
13 The Grandmaster 2 2
13 The Great Gatsby 2 2
13 The Lone Ranger 2 2
13 Lone Survivor 2 2
20 Before Midnight 1 1
21 Ernest and Celestine 1 1
21 The Croods 1 1
21 The Wind Rises 1 1
24 Prisoners 1 1
25 The Invisible Woman 1 1
26 20 Feet from Stardom 1 1
26 Cutie and the Boxer 1 1
26 Dirty Wars 1 1
26 The Act of Killing 1 1
26 The Square 1 1
31 Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa 1 1
32 Saving Mr Banks 1 1
32 The Book Thief 1 1
34 Alone Yet Not Alone 1 1
34 Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom 1 1
36 All is Lost 1 1
37 Iron Man 3 1 1
37 Star Trek Into Darkness 1 1
39 Omar (Palestine) 1 1
39 The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium) 1 1
39 The Great Beauty (Italy) 1 1
39 The Hunt (Denmark) 1 1
39 The Missing Picture (Cambodia) 1 1
44 Feral 1 1
44 Get a Horse! 1 1
44 Mr Hublot 1 1
44 Possessions 1 1
44 Room on the Broom 1 1
49 Cavedigger 1 1
49 Facing Fear 1 1
49 Karama Has No Walls 1 1
49 Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall 1 1
49 The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life 1 1
54 Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me) 1 1
54 Avant Que de Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) 1 1
54 Helium 1 1
54 Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) 1 1
54 The Voorman Problem 1 1

Monday, January 20, 2014

Nominations are OPEN for the 10th Cosmo Awards!

It's time to vote! Nominations are now open for the Tenth Mostly-Annual Cosmique Movie Awards.

The deadline to vote is Friday, February 21, 2014 at midnight, so that gives you about a month to make notes, catch up on last-minute considerations, and fill out your ballot either in MS Word, plain text, or online.

Don't worry if you haven't seen a lot of the Oscar-bait movies. We've always maintained that the Cosmo Awards are as much about what we're drawn to watch as they are about what we enjoyed watching. Whether you're into Oscar hopefuls, high brow indie art films, summer blockbusters, chick flicks, trashy sexploitation comedies, epic historical films, sword and sorcery flicks, superheroes -- whatever you're into, your opinion still matters to us. And we'll keep your votes confidential.

Remember, it's okay to vote early. If you change your mind about anything, simply email a note explaining your changes to the email address listed in the ballot form.

Category Changes

This year, we're making two changes to categories, both expansive.

  1. Last year, we revived the Best Performance by a Young Actor or Actress category after a ten year hiatus. This year we've decided to expand it into separate male and female categories. 
  2. Many of the most-nominated films in Cosmo history are either Science Fiction or Fantasy films, making that category often one of the most competitive. Recognizing that, we've decided to split it into separate Best Fantasy Film and Best Science Fiction Film categories.

Nomination Process

You are allowed to vote for up to five different nominees in each category. You do not have to fill in all five slots if you don't want, and you can ignore entire categories if you want. You cannot vote for the same nominee multiple times in a single category. However, passion counts, and for that reason we allow you to mark one of your nominees with a Power Vote, which has the effect of giving it extra weight. The Power Vote is optional and can only be used for one of your five nominees, not for a sixth different film or performance.

We have provided some scope notes for each category, but ultimately it's up to each individual voter to decide whether a particular performance counts as Leading or Supporting, whether a film appropriate fits in a particular genre category, and so forth. If you have an unconventional opinion about a particular nominee, you are free to lobby your fellow voters.

Nomination Resources

The nomination process can be challenging and intimidating. We've pulled together some resources to help you make your decisions.
  1. Download our List of Eligible Films and make notes about which ones you've seen.
  2. Download the Ballot Worksheet in PDF or MS Word formats to make notes about how you plan to vote. The worksheet includes scope notes for each category, including list of potential nominees that have received buzz from other award shows.
  3. Consider reading some of our reviews of 2013 films for other ideas. 


Ballots are due by Friday, February 21, 2014. There are a few different ways to vote:

  1. Download a ballot in MS Word or Plain Text format, complete it, and email it to
  2. Vote online: 
If you want to change any of your nominations before the February 21 deadline, simply email the email address listed on the ballot form and explain the changes you want to make.

Happy voting!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Academy Award nominations announced

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced the 86th Annual Academy Awards, and American Hustle and Gravity lead with 10 nominations each, followed by 12 Years a Slave with 9 nominations.

Winners will be announced at a live broadcast on March 2, hosted by Cosmo winner Ellen Degeneres.

The complete list of nominees:

Best Picture

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Nebraska
  • Philomena
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Director

  • Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
  • Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
  • Alexander Payne, Nebraska
  • David O Russell, American Hustle
  • Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor

  • Christian Bale, American Hustle
  • Bruce Dern, Nebraska
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
  • Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress

  • Amy Adams, American Hustle
  • Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
  • Sandra Bullock, Gravity
  • Judi Dench, Philomena
  • Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Best Supporting Actor

  • Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
  • Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
  • Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
  • Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
  • 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 Adapted Screenplay

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Before Midnight
  • Captain Phillips
  • Philomena
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Original Screenplay

  • American Hustle
  • Blue Jasmine
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Her
  • Nebraska

Best Animated Feature

  • The Croods
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Ernest and Celestine
  • Frozen
  • The Wind Rises

Best Animated Short

  • Feral
  • Get a Horse!
  • Mr Hublot
  • Possessions
  • Room on the Broom

Best Cinematography

  • The Grandmaster
  • Gravity
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Nebraska
  • Prisoners

Best Costume Design

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • The Grandmaster
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Invisible Woman

Best Documentary Feature

  • 20 Feet from Stardom
  • The Act of Killing
  • Cutie and the Boxer
  • Dirty Wars
  • The Square

Best Documentary Short

  • Cavedigger
  • Facing Fear
  • Karama Has No Walls
  • The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
  • Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

Best Editing

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity

Best Foreign Language Film

  • The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
  • The Great Beauty (Italy)
  • The Hunt (Denmark)
  • The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
  • Omar (Palestine)

Best Live Action Short

  • Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)
  • Avant Que de Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
  • Helium
  • Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
  • The Voorman Problem

Best Make-up

  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
  • The Lone Ranger

Best Music

  • The Book Thief
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Philomena
  • Saving Mr Banks

Best Production Design

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Gravity
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Her

Best Song

  • 'Alone Yet Not Alone', Alone Yet Not Alone
  • 'Happy', Despicable Me 2
  • 'Let It Go', Frozen
  • 'The Moon Song', Her
  • 'Ordinary Love', Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Best Sound Editing

  • All is Lost
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Lone Survivor

Best Sound Mixing

  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Lone Survivor

Best Visual Effects

  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Iron Man 3
  • The Lone Ranger
  • Star Trek Into Darkness

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

SF Film Critics Circle winners announced

In a previous post, we reported on the nominees for the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards. Those awards are one of other awards we use in our algorithm for determining the Cosmique Movie Awards' Best Director nominees.

Here are their nominees with the winners bolded:

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"