Movie Review: Gone Girl

October 27, 2014

Gone Girl (2014)
149 minutes
Rated – R
Directed by David Fincher
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike


Grade: A-

For the record, I have read the novel before seeing the movie. It shouldn’t matter but it’s a fact that it does, especially with a plot that contains plenty of twists and turns. You can never relive that first time experience with a great story, whether you read it or you view it. So for me, I loved the book and as for the film, it was a very worthy adaptation.

Novelist Gillian Flynn also wrote the film’s screenplay, something pretty rare in the movie business. She does a great job at splicing up her book, eliminating some characters and plot points, but still retaining the dark tone and the twisty story full of surprises. Of course, David Fincher does a great job as director, truly engaging us in the action and also in the mystery that lurks behind every corner of every scene. You feel uneasy without knowing what’s being said is a lie or the truth. You feel even more uneasy when you start to understand the characters’ motives. This isn’t a film for those who love happy endings, but I think that’s pretty obvious right from the get-go.

Nick Dunne (Affleck) discovers on his fifth wedding anniversary that his wife, Amy, (Pike) has gone missing. A police investigation goes under way as Nick, his twin sister Margot, and Amy’s parents become involved. Nick and the police specifically pay attention to an anniversary tradition of Amy’s, an elaborate scavenger hunt that sends Nick to different places of sentimental value. But as the story unwinds, we learn that this supposedly happy couple have a lot of things they both have been hiding from each other.

The film does its best to imitate the novel’s back-and-forth perspective between the present day of Nick and the police investigation, and Amy’s diary entries from the past that leads up to the current situation. Masterfully, the story unravels to reveal more of the puzzle and bit-by-bit we get more evidence to a possible conclusion. This is what the film does best. The plot is so compelling that it’s impossible to somewhat ignore the characters and to be completely focused in on what will happen next. This isn’t a flaw, but it’s a method that can hide some shakiness within the characters that the movie simply doesn’t have time to go into detail about. While Affleck and Pike give very good performances, they’re over-powered by the complexity of the film and the curiosity of finding answers.

Gone Girl is also a film about manipulation, whether it’s the way married couples can manipulate each other or the way the media can manipulate the public’s view on things. And more times than not, it’s very important to be perceived well by the public, especially when you’re a man wanted like Nick Dunne finds himself to be. While half of the story is about figuring out answers to Amy’s disappearance, the other half is about how Nick can use the media to spin the story to his advantage, which he finds out time after time how difficult that truly can be.

This is an intelligent thriller that splits itself into two sub-genres: the straight up mystery thriller and the psychological thriller. While this will probably make plenty of people roll their eyes that the film is too long, with an argument that “They solved the mystery, why is the movie still running?” but what happens after the mystery is solved is just as intriguing as everything leading up to it. Gone Girl isn’t going to be loved by everyone, that’s a simple fact, but for those who want a dark, twisted, smart thriller for the modern age, this should be near the top of your list.



Movies Left to Watch in 2014

August 28, 2014

It’s been a good year so far in the world of cinema. I usually like to break up the calendar year into three movie phases. First, there is the Oscars hangover phase that usually deliver films that didn’t screen well for the awards season (like Monuments Men) and then films that didn’t want to compete with the summer blockbusters. There’s usually one film that sneaks in the first phase and comes out a real winner, but this year we had two: Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The LEGO Movie.

The second phase is the summer blockbuster phase, and it’s the season that makes all the money. Guardians of the Galaxy is on its way to becoming the biggest film of the year, and movies like Transformers: Age of Extinction, Maleficent, and X-Men: Days of Future Past aren’t too far behind. This phase also has its fair share of independent gems, such as this year’s Boyhood. For the public, this is the phase of movies they’ll remember the most, even though almost every films is some kind of sequel or reboot.

And finally, the third phase (and my favorite phase) the awards season. Typically, the awards bait films are released towards the end of the calendar year so these specific films remain fresh in Academy members’ minds. But after being brainwashed by a million ads from expensive movies all summer long, it’s easy to have no idea what films are coming out this fall/winter. That’s what I’m here for! Below are the films I’m looking for:

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (9/12)

the-disappearance-eleanor-rigbyThe trailer intrigued me the first time I saw it. Starring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, this film revolves around this young couple and how they try to will themselves to stay together after a tragedy strikes. This isn’t going to be a romantic-comedy, but instead a powerful film focused on their relationship. Last year at the Toronto Film Festival, two separate films in the perspective of the two characters were released and both were well received. This version will be a collaboration of both films, but if you want to check out the two separate films they will be released in October.

Gone Girl (10/3)

gone-girl-photoHow many times has David Fincher done us wrong? Not many, and Gillian Flynn’s crime thriller is a perfect match for Fincher’s style. Sure, Ben Affleck wouldn’t be at the top of my list to play Nick Dunne, but he is a superstar and will surely fill the seats with those who haven’t read the best-selling novel. Can this be the film where Fincher finally wins an Oscar?

Whiplash (10/10)

whiplashMiles Teller is arguably my favorite young actor in the business and in Whiplash he’ll take on a whole new territory in acting. He plays a young drummer who is pushed to the limit by an abusive instructor at a prestigious music school. That instructor is played by JK Simmons. The trailer captures the intensity of the plot and you can already see the chemistry that Teller and Simmons have in the movie. This one should definitely be on your radar.

Fury (10/17)

fury-filmStarring Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman and Shia LaBeouf, this is a period war film that has a lot of potential. Written and directed by David Ayer, this film follows his acclaimed movie End of Watch from 2012. Ayer seems to be at home with cop-thrillers as he’s written films like Harsh Times, S.W.A.T., Training Day, and The Fast and the Furious. If anything, Fury should be entertaining.

Birdman (10/17)

birdman-filmOne of my favorite directors is Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel, 21 Grams, Amores Perros). His new film stars Michael Keaton as a washed up superhero trying to reclaim his fame. Let’s forget that Keaton did play Batman back in the day, this film seems odd but just odd enough for Inarritu to really dig his teeth into. Also, rounding out the film’s cast are Ed Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts and Amy Ryan.

St. Vincent (10/24)

st-vincent-movieIf you’re looking for a good laugh, St. Vincent might be the perfect option. Starring Melissa McCarthy and Bill Murray as neighbors, Murray winds up babysitting McCarthy’s 12-year-old son. Yes you guessed it, Murray plays a hedonistic, war veteran. This one will most certainly have a handful of hilarious moments, though I’m skeptical if it will be well-received by all.

Interstellar (11/7)

interstellar-photoChris Nolan. Is there anything else that needs to be said? But there’s more… a pretty well-known actor named Matthew McConaughey! Though I’m not sure what the movie is about yet, it does have something to do with space. Chris Nolan and a space movie? Who wouldn’t be excited about that?! Plus Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain are in the film. After Gravity’s major splash at last year’s Oscars, will Interstellar receive the same praise?

A Most Violent Year (11/12)

a-most-violent-yearSet during the winter of 1981 in New York City, this thriller is sure to grab your attention once it’s released. Once again, Jessica Chastain is starring (does she ever take a break?!) alongside Oscar Isaac, who was brilliant in Inside Llewyn Davis. Directed by J.C. Chandor, I loved the first two films he’s directed (Margin Call, All is Lost) and I’m hoping this makes it three.

Foxcatcher (11/14)

foxcatcher-photoThis film received plenty of praise at the Cannes Festival, but was pushed away from last year’s Oscar season. This year it’s looking to be a serious contender about the U.S. wrestler Mark Schultz and the schizophrenic John du Pont. Starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum, and directed by Bennett Miller (Moneyball, Capote), this is one drama you won’t want to miss.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (11/21)

hunger-games-mockingjayI don’t know about you, but I love The Hunger Games series. It performs at the box office like a summer blockbuster, but it’s more than that. With as all-star cast led by the beautiful and talented Jennifer Lawrence, it has action, drama, suspense, and political messages to boot. This is the beginning of the end, with the last book being split into two. I’m ready for the rebellion!

Wild (12/5)

wild-movieAre you ready for a tour de force bio-pic starring Reese Witherspoon? Wild is the story of a woman’s solo journey traveling over 1,000 miles. And while I love Witherspoon in her Legally Blonde days, she’s much better when tackling challenging roles like June Carter in Walk the Line and Juniper in Mud. Oh, did I mention this is directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club). As you can see, this has a lot of potential.

Inherent Vice (12/12)

inherent-vice-photoOne of my favorite directors is Paul Thomas Anderson, so his new film is obviously one that I’m looking forward to. He’s re-teaming up with Joaquin Phoenix again, which is even better news! The film is set in 1970’s Los Angeles and is about a P.I. investigating the disappearance of an ex-girlfriend. Yeah, this one is going to be good.

Into the Woods (12/25)

into-the-woodsThis is a classic musical that won Tony awards not only for its original Broadway show, but also for its revival. If that’s not impressive enough for you, the screen-adaptation is directed by Rob Marshall, known for directed musicals such as Nine and Chicago. On top of that, it’s starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, and James Corden. Now are you interested? You should be!

Unbroken (12/25)

unbroken-movieHere’s a true story about an Olympic runner who enlists in the army and is captured and tortured for years. It’s not going to be your family-friendly Christmas movie, but with Angelina Jolie as director, with a screenplay by the Coen brothers and the cinematography by the legendary Roger Deakins, this has all the working parts in becoming an Oscar favorite.

The Interview (12/25)

the-interview-movieIn case you want to take a break from all the heavy dramas during awards season, James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg have just the movie for you. The Interview is about a celebrity TV host and his producer who go undercover by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong Un after he gives them rights to an exclusive interview. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but with Superbad, Pineapple Express, and This is the End, shouldn’t we all just be really excited for this film? Because I am!

Oscar Talk 2012: The DGA Awards are important (in case you didn’t know)

January 29, 2013


We all want to be able to correctly predict what film is going to win Best Picture. It’s something you can wildly debate about with your friends for countless hours, and then have the bragging rights if you select the winner. There are even Vegas odds and bets placed on the prestigious night. But while I’ve been in the game of Oscar watching for almost a decade now, there is still only one thing that I know: your guess is as good as mine.

I guess it’s kind of funny for me to admit that, but year after year that is what I keep saying. I’ll give my predictions and my reasons for believing in certain movies and certain upsets, but the truth is that your guess is as good as mine and as good as anyone else’s. If I somehow correctly predict 23 out of the 24 awards given out, I’ll be the first one to tell you that it was luck. Why do I keep doing it? Because it’s so much freakin’ fun.

So back to the game, this past weekend revealed that Argo seems to be back as the front-runner for Best Picture. Winning the PGA and the SAG awards is a pretty big deal. Am I ready to call it for Argo yet? No. It still has the HUGE obstacle of winning without a Best Director nod for Affleck, but if it wins this Saturday at the DGA awards and then gets the WGA, well it’ll practically be a lock then for Argo.

But just because it won the PGA and SAG doesn’t mean it’s a lock quite yet. In 1995, there was a crowd-pleasing film about an American event that went down this same path. Apollo 13 won the PGA, SAG, and even the DGA for Ron Howard (and also Howard didn’t get a Best Director nomination). It was expected for Apollo 13 to take the Oscars, but Braveheart swooped in with the upsets winning Best Picture (and Best Director for Mel Gibson, even though Howard wasn’t nominated).

Needless to say, this is a very strange road to the Oscars that we’ve been on thus far. You know what would really throw a wrench in the whole thing? If Ben Affleck or Steven Spielberg DOESN’T win the DGA. Imagine that? Because whoever wins the DGA out of those two will easily become the front-runner going into the Oscars. But let’s say… Ang Lee wins the DGA (which he’s won twice already). That would really throw a curve-ball at everyone, but at the same time it would hurt Spielberg and Lincoln more than anything else.

ben-affleck-argo      spielberg-lincoln

Okay… so where do we stand? Silver Linings Playbook has NO chance at Best Picture since it lost the SAG where it was expected to win. And unless Ang Lee can win the DGA, you can count Life of Pi completely out as well. As for Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild, well they’re just happy to be there. So it’s Lincoln vs. Argo down the stretch of the last month before the Oscars air.

Here’s a little bit of history, something like what we’ll be referring back to in the future if Argo wins Best Picture. Driving Miss Daisy is the only film to win Best Picture without a directing nod in 80 years and many people are comparing it to Argo. Born on the Fourth of July was a film that looked like was on its way to a Best Picture win. Here are the accolades for both films leading up to the Oscars:

Driving Miss Daisy
– won PGA
– won Golden Globes Comedy/Musical
– won WGA

Born on the Fourth of July
– won DGA
– won Best Director
– won Golden Globes Director and Drama

Though tradition was on Born of the Fourth of July’s side, Driving Miss Daisy made history with its Best Picture victory. Only once in the last 10 years has the Best Picture winner not matched the Best Director (Crash beating out Brokeback Mountain). So like I said earlier, there is a very good chance that history will be made… that is unless Spielberg wins the DGA and Lincoln sweeps at the Oscars. If that’s the case, we can all just have a good laugh.

Oscar Talk 2012: So Where Are We?

January 25, 2013


Remember at the Golden Globes when Ben Affleck and Argo won? Well, that has people throwing their hands up in the air with all sorts of celebratory reactions as their favorite movie of the year is finally gaining the respect they feel it deserves. But what does all of this mean with the Oscars only a month away? Does it mean anything at all?

In past years, it might not have. Here are the movies that won both Best Picture Drama and Comedy/Musuical the past 8 years at the Golden Globes:

2012 – Argo and Les Miserables
2011 – The Descendants and The Artist
2010 – The Social Network and The Kids are All Right
2009 – Avatar and The Hangover
2008 – Slumdog Millionaire and Vicky Cristina Barcelona
2007 – Atonement and Sweeney Todd
2006 – Babel and Dreamgirls
2005 – Brokeback Mountain and Walk the Line
2004 – The Aviator and Sideways

From the past 16 movies that won in the last 8 years, only 2 movies have won the Best Picture Oscar. That’s right, only TWO (The Artist and Slumdog Millionaire). So why is everyone jumping on the Argo bandwagon again? I honestly have no idea.

But this weekend the PGA and SAG will announce their winners. After this weekend, we will be able to have a much clearer projection of what will happen at the Oscars. If Argo wins both PGA and SAG, then I’ll admit that Lincoln might be in trouble. If Silver Linings Playbook (in my opinion, the biggest threat to Lincoln) doesn’t win the SAG, then it’s almost as good as dead.


Back to Argo. Here’s a fun fact for all of those Argo supporters. No director has ever won the DGA, not gotten nominated for an Oscar, and then had their film win BP. Ever. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it would be an insane feat for Affleck to win the DGA and then see Argo win Best Picture. I’m a big fan of “history repeats itself” and will stick with that mindset over anything else.

If Lincoln gets shut out this weekend and both Argo and Silver Linings Playbook wins, then I’m really going to throw a fit. This could be the most unpredictable Oscars in a very long time, and while that’s frustrating for people like me, honestly it’s the best thing that could happen to the Oscars. I’d much rather be dead wrong and see Lincoln win only one Oscar while Argo wins Best Picture and Ang Lee wins Best Director than see Lincoln sweep the major awards.


But I’ll still speak what I believe in, and that is Lincoln is the clear front-runner with every other film miles behind. Here are the reasons why:

– Lincoln has the most nominations (12)
– Lincoln has grossed the most money of all nominations
– Has 3 acting nominations and one clear favorite (Daniel Day-Lewis)
– It has ALL of the important nominations
– Steven Spielberg

While Lincoln isn’t many people’s (including mine) favorite film, you cannot ignore how well-made it is. Excellence is displayed on every level of that film, and shouldn’t films like that be rewarded?

Live Blogging: The 70th Annual Golden Globes

January 13, 2013


So it’s Sunday night and the Patriots seem to have the Texans down for the count, so all that’s left to do for the weekend is watch the Golden Globes! Of course, I have Girls, Shameless and Happy Endings on my DVR for later tonight, but here we go! This is everyone’s favorite celebrity party, mixing the television stars with the movie stars with dinner and alcohol flowing all night long. Let’s get started!

8:00 – Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are the co-hosts and give a silly opening performance. “The beautiful people of film get to rub shoulders with the rat-faced people of television.” There was also a joke for Kathryn Bigelow that targeted James Cameron and torture that received the most uncomfortable laughs and hands covering faces. Overall, a good start to the telecast.

8:09 – Christoph Waltz wins the first Globe award for Best Supporting Actor in Django Unchained. Will this be a sign for things to come? Robert De Niro wasn’t nominated, but the HFPA awarded Waltz over Tommy Lee Jones.

8:12 – Maggie Smith wins Best Supporting Actress for a Series, Mini-Series, or Film Made for Television in Downtown Abbey. Can Downtown Abbey win Best Television Drama? I wouldn’t be too surprised.

8:17 – Best Mini-Series or TV Movie goes to Game Change. HBO is still king of the TV Movie.


8:21 – Julianne Moore wins Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie. I still prefer Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin though… and I prefer Moore as an adulterer.

8:29 – The president of the HFPA asks the cameras to pan the crowd of tv and movie stars, but that never happens.

8:33 – Damian Lewis wins for Best Actor in a TV Drama, in a very talented and packed category. I wonder if Homeland is going to sweep its way through the Globes like it did at the Emmys.

8:35 – Paul Rudd and Salma Hayek have nothing to read on the teleprompter and couldn’t even ab-lib. Anyway, the award was for Best TV Series and Homeland wins. Will Claire Danes finish the trifecta? For the record, while I loved the second season of Homeland, it wasn’t as good as the first and was it really better than Downtown Abbey, Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire?

8:43 – Tony Mendez and John Goodman announces Argo, one of the year’s best films and up for Best Drama Film.

8:45 – Mychael Danna wins for his tremendous score in the film Life of Pi. Also, Jason Statham is so strong he practically rips the golden envelope in half!

8:48 – And Adele continues her insane popularity with a win for Best Song for “Skyfall.” Is it me or is almost every winner so far British?

8:55 – Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie goes to Kevin Costner in “Hatfields & McCoys.” Speaking of Kevin Costner, what has he been up to? Last thing I remember him from was Mr. Brooks, but that was in 2007.

8:59 – Bill Clinton gets a standing ovation and announces Lincoln.

9:03 – The only thing funnier than Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig’s announcement of the Best Actress – Musical or Comedy nominations was the close-up of Tommy Lee Jones totally miserable. And Jennifer Lawrence ends up with the Golden Globe award! She really is the hottest actress in Hollywood at the moment and there’s a very good chance she can ride this wave of success all the way to the Oscars.

9:12 – Is it really fair to group the supporting actors in television in one category? Did Max Greenfield really stand a chance against Ed Harris?

9:15 – Anne Hathaway wins for Best Supporting Actress, basically for singing “I Dreamed a Dream” in Les Miserables. This is her first Golden Globe win in three nominations. She is certainly the favorite going into the Oscars for Best Supporting Actress, which would be her first win in her career.

Sometimes you can tell when an acceptance speech is going to be awesome or not. For instance, Hathaway’s speech made me cringe and she went on far too long, but I swear if Amy Poehler wins for Best Actress they better not cut her off no matter what!

9:24 – Why would they combine Original and Adapted Screenplays? And I’m utterly surprised that Quentin Tarantino beat out the likes of Tony Kushner and Chris Terrio. Like he just said, “Wow, I wasn’t expecting this!” No one was.


This does raise some questions now at the Oscars. Does this put Tarantino as favorite to beat out Haneke and Boal for Original Screenplay? It just might.

9:27 – Don Cheadle wins for Best Actor in a Comedy for Television. So are you guys keeping count? Because it seems like Showtime is kicking some ass right now. Even though I haven’t watched House of Lies, it’s got to be good to beat out Jim Parsons and Louis C.K.

9:34 – Amour wins for Best Foreign Film and no one is surprised. Note: Michael Haneke is awesome.

9:37 – Claire Danes wins for Best Drama Actress in TV. Homeland wins the trifecta! But the real thing to note on is what the crap is up with Lea Michele’s tan?

9:46 – Sacha Baron Cohen yelled about his co-stars in Les Miserables and then announces Brave to win Best Animated Picture.

9:49 – Just watched the 30-second clip of Life of Pi and it reminded me of how brilliant that movie was. It’s unlikely, but Ang Lee would win my vote for the year’s best director.

9:50 – Aziz Ansari is acting high from “biscuits” that the cast of Downtown Abbey gave him. Anyway, Lena Dunham wins for Best TV Actress in Girls. Speaking of, the second season premiered tonight and I still have yet to realize all the hooplah about the show.

Note: Whenever a first time winner pulls out a piece of paper, you should just cue the music immediately.

Commercial: Kerri Russell is looking mighty fine in her new show, The Americans.

10:03 – Cecil B. DeMille Award for Jodie Foster, the two-time Oscar winner. What a beautiful speech.

10:16 – Ben Affleck wins Best Director! A nice consolation for being snubbed at the Oscars, something that no one could have predicted for his incredible film, Argo. When it comes down to it, Ben Affleck belongs with the group of the year’s best directors and has really showcased his talent behind the camera in the recent years of his career. He has become one of our generation’s best mainstream directors and there’s no doubt he’ll receive his due from the Academy in the near future.

10:22 – Girls wins for Best TV Comedy/Musical. Robyn’s music plays while the cast of Girls walks through the entire hall to receive their award. This is the first cable-show to win Best TV Comedy in five years. Will the Emmys follow suit or will the Emmys continue to award Modern Family?


10:30 – Hugh Jackman wins for Best Actor – Comedy/Musical. Les Miserables has won two acting awards, but again the Globes separate the Comedy/Musical from the real movies. Still, Hugh Jackman gave a great performance in Les Miserables and there is no other actor that could’ve played Jean Valjean like he did.

Don’t you think that the Golden Globes should be aired on cable so they can allow the actors to curse as they please? I think there’s a big audience for that.

10:40 – Les Miserables wins for Best Comedy/Musical. I still feel Silver Linings Playbook is one of the biggest competitions for Lincoln, and in a way it’s good that it didn’t win the Golden Globes because in the past eight years, there have only been two Best Picture winners at the Oscars that won the Golden Globes Best Picture (Drama or Comedy/Musical).

10:47 – Jessica Chastain wins for Best Actress and now the Chastain vs. Lawrence discussion will really heat up. Note: Chastain gives the best acceptance speech of the night (not counting Foster).

10:50 – SURPRISE! Daniel Day-Lewis wins for Best Actor… okay obviously it wasn’t a surprise and it won’t be when he wins his third Oscar in February.

10:57 – Argo wins Golden Globes as expected. So that means this awards season is shaping up like in 2011 when The Social Network won the Globes’ Directing and Picture while The King’s Speech only won for Best Drama Actor (Colin Firth). And we all know that The King’s Speech wound up winning four of the major Oscar awards including Best Picture and Best Director.


The Golden Globes was a fun ceremony. The big winners were Girls, Homeland, Argo and Les Miserables. Now it’s time for me to watch the Girls premiere since the HFPA thinks its the best comedy on the air.

The DGA Nominations 2013

January 8, 2013

It’s not like it’s a big deal, but I did manage to correctly predict all of the nominees for the DGA Awards, which were announced today. Everyone knew four of the five directors who were going to get in, but that last spot was definitely up in the air and everyone was divided with their prediction. According to a poll in Awards Daily, both Quentin Tarantino and David O. Russell were favorites over Tom Hooper and that completely makes sense. But like they say, sometimes you just gotta go with your gut.

So here are the nominees for the DGA Awards (taken from Awards Daily):

(Warner Bros. Pictures)
Mr. Affleck’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager:  Amy Herman
First Assistant Director:  David Webb
Second Assistant Director:  Ian Calip
Second Second Assistant Directors: Clark Credle, Gavin Kleintop
First Assistant Director (Turkey Unit): Belkis Turan

This is Mr. Affleck’s first DGA Feature Film Award nomination.

Zero Dark Thirty
(Columbia Pictures)

Ms. Bigelow’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager:  Colin Wilson
First Assistant Director:  David A. Ticotin
Second Assistant Directors:  Ben Lanning, Sarah Hood
First Assistant Director (Jordan Unit): Scott Robertson
Second Assistant Directors (Jordan Unit): Jonas Spaccarotelli, Yanal Kassay
Second Second Assistant Director (Jordan Unit): Tarek Afifi
Unit Production Manager (India Unit): Rajeev Mehra

This is Ms. Bigelow’s second DGA Feature Film Award nomination.  She won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The Hurt Locker in 2009.

Les Misérables
(Universal Pictures)

Mr. Hooper’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager:  Patrick Schweitzer
First Assistant Director:  Ben Howarth
Second Assistant Director:  Harriet Worth
Second Second Assistant Director: Dan Channing Williams

This is Mr. Hooper’s second DGA Feature Film Award nomination.  He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The King’s Speech (2010) and was previously nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television/Mini-Series for John Adams in 2008.

Life of Pi
(Twentieth Century Fox)

Mr. Lee’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager:  Michael J. Malone
Unit Production Manager (Taiwan): Leo Chen
First Assistant Directors:  William M. Connor, Cliff Lanning
Second Assistant Directors:  Robert Burgess, Ben Lanning
Unit Production Manager (India Unit): Sanjay Kumar
First Assistant Director (India Unit): Nitya Mehra
Second Assistant Director (India Unit): Ananya Rane
Second Second Assistant Directors (India Unit): Namra Parikh, Freya Parekh
Second Assistant Directors (Montreal Unit): Derek Wimble, Renato De Cotiis

This is Mr. Lee’s fourth DGA Feature Film Award nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and was nominated for Sense and Sensibility in 1995.

(DreamWorks Pictures/Twentieth Century Fox)

Mr. Spielberg’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager:  Susan McNamara
First Assistant Director:  Adam Somner
Second Assistant Director:  Ian Stone
Second Second Assistant Directors: Eric Lasko, Trevor Tavares

This is Mr. Spielberg’s eleventh DGA Feature Film Award nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film three times for Saving Private Ryan (1998), Schindler’s List (1993) and The Color Purple (1985). He was also nominated in this category for Munich (2005), Amistad (1997), Empire of the Sun (1987), E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Jaws (1975). Mr. Spielberg was honored with the DGA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

So now we just have to wait and see if the same five are nominated for the Oscars this Thursday. Once again, I’m going with my hunch by saying it will be the same five.

DGA Nominees This Tuesday

January 7, 2013

So what do we know? There are certainly some definites to be nominated on Tuesday and those include:

Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
Ben Affleck (Argo)

These are locks and they are also locks for a Best Director nomination when the Oscars announce their nominations this Thursday. But what about the last two spots? This was one heck of a year and there are quite a few directors trying to sneak in.

Ang Lee (Life of Pi) is probably your best bet at receiving one of the last two nominations. He’s very popular in the DGA and has already won two awards from the guild and one Oscar for Best Director.

Who’s fighting for the last spot? First there is Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) who is still very fresh from his award-winning, The King’s Speech. Taking on the very challenging and beloved musical could definitely pay-off with a DGA and an Oscar nod, but it’s not quite set in stone like you would’ve believed earlier this year. Despite the risky decision to have his actors sing live during shooting, Les Miserables had a few missteps. But it’s still a great epic that wouldn’t surprise anyone if he snuck in.

Then there’s Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), the beloved and quirky director who continues to have fun with the amount of violence he could pour into a film. His last film, Inglorious Basterds, was his most mainstream film in his career and was all over the map during the Oscars. It’s hard for me to see Django Unchained being unanimously liked in the Academy, but Tarantino is definitely a veteran who hasn’t received his due yet, so that’s always something to factor in (if you don’t think that matters, just look at Kate Winslet’s win for The Reader).

Then there is David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), who has one of the most crowd-pleasing films this year. There is always a dramedy that the Academy loves and Silver Linings Playbook is it. He was nominated a few years ago for The Fighter so he’s no stranger to the awards circuit, but even so he’s relatively new and the Academy might go for a veteran instead.

Then there is Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom), an outside shot at receiving any nominations for directing but still worth mentioning. As a veteran and beloved director, Anderson delivers a lovable and mainstream(ish) film that has a some awards buzz surrounding it. Will the DGA push him to finally receive some recognition?

Then there is Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master), who in the middle of the year I could’ve sworn was a shoe-in for Best Director. But The Master is very polarizing among critics and the public. Exactly what was the film about? You can’t deny that it’s a wonderful work of art with great acting performances, but does PTA deserve a directing nomination?

My DGA predictions:

Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ben Affleck, Argo
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Tom Hooper, Les Miserables

I know that the Weinstein Company are major players during awards season, but Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained are from the Weinsteins. I’m just not sure which movie they’re going to support more at this point. I also believe that Les Miserables will be a major player in the Oscars, so it’s hard to imagine Tom Hooper not being involved in the mix.

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