2014 Screen Actors Guild Award Winners

January 20, 2014


The SAG is the largest guild who vote for the Oscars, and that’s exactly the reason why people pay close attention to the SAG awards. The nominees for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture were:

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
August: Osage County
Dallas Buyers Club
Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Of these nominees, 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle are favorites for Best Picture, though Dallas Buyers Club is certainly gaining momentum with its support for McConaughey and Leto. But when they announced the winner, the front-runner took the award, American Hustle. Does this make it the clear favorite to win Best Picture? At the moment, yes.

Here are the other winners from the ceremony (winners are in bold):

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 a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

All is Lost
Fast & Furious 6
Lone Survivor
The Wolverine

It’s noteworthy that Jennifer Lawrence didn’t win the Supporting Actress category, falling to Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave). This will be a huge shift to what everyone thought was a lock for Lawrence to win her second Oscar. Nyong’o might be 12 Years a Slave’s best chance at snagging a Top 6 Oscar award, and people may very well vote that way.

Here are the TV awards from the night

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Matt Damon (“Behind the Candelabra”)
Michael Douglas (“Behind the Candelabra”)
Jeremy Irons (“The Hollow Crown”)
Rob Lowe (“Killing Kennedy”)
Al Pacino (“Phil Spector”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Angela Bassett (“Betty & Coretta”)
Helena Bonham Carter (“Burton and Taylor”)
Holly Hunter (“Top of the Lake”)
Helen Mirren (“Phil Spector”)
Elisabeth Moss (“Top of the Lake”)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire”)
Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”)
Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom”)
Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”)
Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Claire Danes (“Homeland”)
Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad”)
Jessica Lange (“American Horror Story: Coven”)
Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey”)
Kerry Washington (“Scandal”)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

“Boardwalk Empire”
“Breaking Bad”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”)
Jason Bateman (“Arrested Development”)
Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”)
Don Cheadle (“House of Lies”)
Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory”)
Julie Bowen (“Modern Family”)
Edie Falco (“Nurse Jackie”)
Tina Fey (“30 Rock”)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

“30 Rock”
“Arrested Development”
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Modern Family”

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series

“Boardwalk Empire”
“Breaking Bad”
“Game of Thrones”
“The Walking Dead”


2014 Oscar Nominees Announced!

January 16, 2014


So what do you think? To me there are a few surprises and snubs, first and foremost with Christian Bale‘s surprising nomination for Best Actor, beating out the likes of Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Robert Redford (All is Lost) and Joaquin Phoenix (Her). I’ll discuss this further later on.

Next, Saving Mr. Banks was expected to be nominated for Best Picture, but it was beat out by Philomena. Even more surprising was Emma Thompson being snubbed for Best Actress and Tom Hanks for Best Suppoting Actor. No love for Saving Mr. Banks.

I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’m happy to say I did predict Jonah Hill to be nominated for his supporting role in The Wolf of Wall Street, though I’m disappointed that Daniel Bruhl didn’t get the recognition he most definitely deserves. And where is Oprah?! No Oprah in the Supporting Actress category for her performance in The Butler. Instead, Sally Hawkins took the nomination.

What else? Monsters University wasn’t nominated for Best Animated Feature… does this mark the first time a Pixar film wasn’t nominated? I’ll have to check into that. And Alexander Payne over Paul Greengrass for Best Director… while I don’t mind it, I was slightly surprised.

Here is the complete list of nominees:

Best Picture

“12 Years a Slave”
“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”


Best Director

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


Best Lead Actor

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


Best Lead Actress

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


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 Animated Feature

“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2”
“Ernest & Celestine”
“The Wind Rises”


Best Cinematography

“The Grandmaster,” Philippe Le Sourd
“Gravity,” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Inside Llewyn Davis,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Nebraska,” Phedon Papamichael
“Prisoners,” Roger A. Deakins

NOTE: This is Roger Deakins’ 11th nomination for cinematography, and he has yet to win. Will this finally be the year?!


Best Costume Design

“American Hustle,” Michael Wilkinson
“The Grandmaster,” William Chang Suk Ping
“The Great Gatsby,” Catherine Martin
“The Invisible Woman,” Michael O’Connor
“12 Years a Slave,” Patricia Norris


Best Documentary Feature

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


Best Documentary Short Subject

“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 Film Editing

“American Hustle,” Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
“Captain Phillips,” Christopher Rouse
“Dallas Buyers Club,” John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
“Gravity,” Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
“12 Years a Slave,” Joe Walker


Best Foreign Language Film

“The Broken Circle Breakdown,” Belgium
“The Great Beauty,” Italy
“The Hunt,” Denmark
“The Missing Picture,” Cambodia
“Omar,” Palestine


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Dallas Buyers Club,” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa,” Stephen Prouty
“The Lone Ranger,” Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny


Best Original Score

“The Book Thief,” John Williams
“Gravity,” Steven Price
“Her,” William Butler and Owen Pallett
“Philomena,” Alexandre Desplat
“Saving Mr. Banks,” Thomas Newman


Best Original Song

“Alone Yet Not Alone” from “Alone Yet Not Alone”
“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”
“Let It Go” from “Frozen”
“The Moon Song” from “Her”
“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”


Best Production Design

“American Hustle,” Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler
“Gravity,” Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
“The Great Gatsby,” Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn
“Her,” Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena
“12 Years a Slave,” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker


Best Animated Short Film

“Get a Horse!”
“Mr. Hublot”
“Room on the Broom”


Best Live Action Short Film

“Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)”
“Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)”
“Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)”
“The Voorman Problem”


Best Sound Editing

“All Is Lost,” Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
“Captain Phillips,” Oliver Tarney
“Gravity,” Glenn Freemantle
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Brent Burge
“Lone Survivor,” Wylie Stateman


Best Sound Mixing

“Captain Phillips,” Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
“Gravity,” Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
“Inside Llewyn Davis,” Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
“Lone Survivor,” Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow


Best Visual Effects

“Gravity,” Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
“Iron Man 3,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
“The Lone Ranger,” Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
“Star Trek Into Darkness,” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton


Best Adapted Screenplay

“Before Midnight,” written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
“Captain Phillips,” screenplay by Billy Ray
“Philomena,” screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
“12 Years a Slave,” screenplay by John Ridley
“The Wolf of Wall Street,” screenplay by Terence Winter


Best Original Screenplay

“American Hustle” Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
“Blue Jasmine” Written by Woody Allen
“Dallas Buyers Club” Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
“Her” Written by Spike Jonze
“Nebraska” Written by Bob Nelson

SAG Awards Nominees 2014

December 11, 2013


The Screen Actors Guild Awards are chosen and voted for by the largest guild in the business: the actors. It’s always interesting to see which movies and actors the peers are leaning towards as the best from the past year. Should we take these nominees seriously when trying to predict the Oscars?

There are only five nominees every year for the SAG Outstanding Performance by a Cast award, so during the days when there were only five Best Picture nominees, it was fun to compare. Now with more Best Picture nominees, all of these guild nominations are just hints at what the Best Picture category can look like.

Let’s take a look at the past few SAG Ensemble winners and Best Picture winners:

2012: Argo (SAG) – Argo (Oscar)
2011: The Help (SAG) – The Artist (Oscar)
2010: The King’s Speech (SAG) – The King’s Speech (Oscar)
2009: Inglourious Basterds (SAG) – The Hurt Locker (Oscar)
2008: Slumdog Millionaire (SAG) – Slumdog Millionaire (Oscar)

So based on the past five years when matching the SAG and Best Picture, you can see a on-and-off pattern. If that pattern continues, then the winning SAG Ensemble won’t match this year’s Best Picture, but that’s pretty silly. It’s better off mentioning that there’s about a 50% chance that the winning SAG ensemble will also end up winning Best Picture.

Here are the 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 / Woody Grant – “Nebraska”
Chiwetel Ejiofor / Solomon Northup – “12 Years a Slave”
Tom Hanks / Capt. Richard Phillips – “Captain Phillips”
Matthew McConaughey / Ron Woodroof – “Dallas Buyers Club”
Forest Whitaker / Cecil Gaines – “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett / Jasmine – “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock / Ryan Stone – “Gravity”
Judi Dench / Philomena Lee – “Philomena”
Meryl Streep / Violet Weston – “August: Osage County”
Emma Thompson / P.L. Travers – “Saving Mr. Banks”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Barkhad Abdi / Muse – “Captain Phillips”
Daniel Brühl / Niki Lauda – “Rush”
Michael Fassbender / Edwin Epps – “12 Years a Slave”
James Gandolfini / Albert – “Enough Said”
Jared Leto / Rayon – “Dallas Buyers Club”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Jennifer Lawrence / Rosalyn Rosenfeld – “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o / Patsey – “12 Years a Slave”
Julia Roberts / Barbara Weston – “August: Osage County”
June Squibb / Kate Grant – “Nebraska”
Oprah Winfrey / Gloria Gaines – “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

At this stage of the game, the two front-runners for Best Picture seem to be 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. Gravity’s absence for the SAG Ensemble award isn’t that big of a deal though, since it’s practically Sandra Bullock throughout. What I can make out from the five nominees is that American Hustle is making a push towards the top tier alongside 12 Years a Slave and Gravity as favorites. Also, Lee Daniel’s The Butler is doing very well and is on its way to making a serious push for Best Picture.

I am very surprised that Robert Redford wasn’t among the nominees for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for All is Lost. Also, Joaquin Phoenix didn’t get nominated while Her is receiving incredible raves from groups like the National Board of Review, the American Film Institute, along with many critic circles. But the Lead Actor category is stacked this year, so we’ll have to see how this all plays out.

Meanwhile, the Lead Actress category looks to be a lock for these five actresses, with Sandra Bullock leading the way. Some are making a case for Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, and you should never count out Meryl Streep when she’s nominated. Rounding out the nominees, I’m glad that Daniel Brühl received a nomination for his excellent performance in Rush. It was also nice to see James Gandolfini nominated in the same category. And at the end, there’s Oprah nominated for her performance in The Butler.

While this doesn’t change the predictions all that much, it definitely benefits Lee Daniel’s The Butler.

Movie Review: Dallas Buyers Club

November 26, 2013

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
117 minutes
Rated – R
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Let, Jennifer Garner


Grade: B+

Earlier this year I watched Matthew McConaughey in Mud and was thoroughly impressed by his performance as the mysterious man who befriended a pair of boys, telling them his story about the woman he loves and why he can’t be seen in public. While he played a supporting character, it was better than his performance in Magic Mike, though some would argue with me on that. But here in Dallas Buyers Club, he completely owns the movie from start to finish.

The first thing you notice is McConaughey’s physical state. He lost around 40 pounds for the role and he’s never looked worse (Christian Bale in The Machinist immediately came to mind). But once you get used to his loose skin and skelatal appearance, you dive right into his character Ron Woodroof. He’s a care-free and reckless Texan who can’t get enough of his girls, alcohol and drugs. It’s 1985 when his doctors tell him he’s diagnosed with HIV. Woodroof only knows one thing about the virus, that it’s usually something only homosexuals get, that is until further research has him finally understanding his situation clearer.

Given only 30 days to live, Woodroof desperately makes a deal to obtain a supply of AZT during its trial period by the FDA, but when his conditions worsen he visits a physician in Mexico who gives him vitamins and other pills to boost his immune system. What felt like a miracle, Woodruff’s health is stabilized, even though the medication he’s taking isn’t FDA approved. This presents the main conflict of the film involving drug companies holding hands with the FDA, looking for a sizeable profit from those with deep pockets. Woodroof provided an alternate option, the Dallas Buyers Club, where he sold drugs to patients for a $400 enrollment fee (which was much cheaper than the thousands of dollars for AZT).

Opposite of McConaughey’s Woodruff is Jared Leto’s Rayon, a transsexual AIDS patient who teams up with Woodruff to form the Dallas Buyers Club. Leto’s performance is worth mentioning because he, too, transformed himself physically to really make him stand out in the film. Leto’s playful and flamboyant Rayon is the perfect balancing factor to McConaughey’s rough and tough Woodruff. But as Woodruff understands his predicament, he begins to understand Rayon and in turn the audience opens up to the both of them and their partnership.

It’s a straight-forward and simple plot, but Dallas Buyers Club does many things right without pulling back too many punches. The film has a slightly out-of-place Jennifer Garner as a doctor who befriends Woodruff and represents the professional who finds herself on the wrong side of the line. Things become a bit hokey between her and Woodruff, but she serves her purpose in the end. Despite a few flaws, Dallas Buyers Club belongs to Matthew McConaughey in arguably his best performance in his career. His Woodruff is the life and the soul of the film and he rides this movie like a bull through the rough path of an AIDS patient until the very last scene.

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