Saturday, February 10, 2018

27 Days of Oscar, Day 5: catching up on the Spirits, WGA (and Best Picture) and Scripter previews


Oxford Film Festival continues on, and so do the 27 Days of Oscar.

If you're in Oxford, please go out and see the remaining LGBTQ films playing at the festival. "Alaska is a Drag" plays at today, Saturday, the 10th 5:45PM and "Between the Shades" plays at 8:00PM (with an encore screening tomorrow, Sunday the 11th at 5:00PM).

Despite the film festival, I managed to watch 2 Spirit Award nominated films today. "Oh Lucy" and "Marjorie Prime." I also made what may turn out to be a foolish decision to finish watching the Best First Feature Spirit Awards nominees.

That means, in addition to the 4 remaining films I planned to watch before next Friday's voting deadline I will add "Ingrid Goes West" and "Patti Cake$." Interestingly enough, those were two films I was beyond excited to see at one point or another, but as the awards race began to weigh down on me, I had decided they weren't necessary. Such a strange beast awards season.

I began the day with "Oh Lucy!" starring Shinobu Terajima, Josh Hartnett, Kaho Minami and directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi. It is nominated for Best First Feature and Best Female Lead. Described at IMDB: A lonely woman living in Tokyo decides to take an English class where she discovers her alter ego, Lucy. The lonely woman is played remarkably by Shinobu Terajima and the teacher is Josh Hartnett, also fantastic. The film is funny, heartbreaking, beautifully shot and wildly entertaining. Check out the trailer:




Next was "Marjorie Prime" a very unusual, somewhat daring, and moderately well acted film that I found incredibly boring. Lois Smith is nominated for Supporting Female for playing a woman near the end of her life who is able to communicate with a computerized younger version of her dead husband. That's not where the communication with the dead ends, but I won't spoil that here. Needless to say, as lovely as Lois Smith is, neither she nor her costars: Jon Hamm, Geena Davis and Tim Robbins can elevate the material, and the director Michael Almereyda can't quite take these actors from good to great. Perhaps it worked better as a play.



Tonight there are two more Oscar precursor awards (some of the last as we continue into Phase 2), the Writers Guild Awards and the Scripter Awards.

Here are the WGA nominees. Remember, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" was not eligible.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Big Sick, Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani; Amazon Studios
Get Out, Written by Jordan Peele; Universal Pictures
I, Tonya, Written by Steven Rogers; Neon
Lady Bird, Written by Greta Gerwig; A24
The Shape of Water, Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor; Story by Guillermo del Toro; Fox Searchlight

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Call Me by Your Name, Screenplay by James Ivory; Based on the Novel by André Aciman; Sony Pictures Classics
The Disaster Artist, Screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber; Based on the Book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell; A24
Logan, Screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold; Based on Characters from the X-Men Comic Books and Theatrical Motion Pictures; Twentieth Century Fox Film
Molly's Game, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin; Based on the Book by Molly Bloom; STX Entertainment
Mudbound, Screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees; Based on the Novel by Hillary Jordan; Netflix

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY

Betting on Zero, Written by Theodore Braun; Gunpowder & Sky
Jane, Written by Brett Morgen; National Geographic
No Stone Unturned, Written by Alex Gibney; Abramorama
Oklahoma City, Written by Barak Goodman; American Experience Films

Many sites are declaring tonight's Original Screenplay award and the Original Screenplay Oscar to be a strong predictor of what might win Best Picture. I am not on board with this quite yet.

Here's the thing. I think "Lady Bird" is going to win tonight, and although I'm not quite ready to declare "The Shape of Water" winning Best Picture, I simply can't see "Lady Bird" taking the Best Picture Oscar when it has won almost nothing other than the Globe for BP Comedy.

One thing to keep in mind..."Lady Bird" has had plenty of chances to win. It wasn't a late breaking film like "The Post" or "Phantom Thread." I think it has the strongest chance to win the WGA award tonight, and I'm feeling Greta Gerwig will also take home Original Screenplay at the Oscars. And that will be the only award the film wins, which means that "Get Out" will more than likely go home empty handed on Oscar night, unless something really wild happens and Daniel Kaluuya wins Best Actor due to a Gary Oldman/Timothee Chalamet split.

If "The Shape of Water" or even "Get Out" wins tonight, that will mean more in terms of Best Picture than if "Lady Bird" does.

If "Call Me By Your Name" loses, well, I'm not sure what it will mean for Oscar, but it will most certainly get ugly here at Awards Wiz.

For documentary, I'm guessing "Jane."

I wish I could be at the Scripter awards tonight. Remember, the Scripters award not only the screenplay but the material on which the screenplay is based. As a huge fan of "Call Me By Your Name," the film and the novel, I hope very much they award it the prize. It has some tough competition though with both "Wonder Woman" and "Logan," especially when you take into account the source material, but I believe they will more than likely count each other out. Again, if "Call Me By Your Name" loses...not good.

USC Scripter Nominees

FILM ADAPTATION

Call Me By Your Name
(Sony Pictures Classics and Picador)
Screenwriter James Ivory and author Andreì Aciman

The Disaster Artist
(A24 and Simon & Schuster)
Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber and authors Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell for their nonfiction book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside ‘The Room,’ the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made”

Logan

(20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics)
Screenwriters Scott Frank, Michael Green and James Mangold, and authors Roy Thomas, Len Wein and John Romita Sr.

The Lost City of Z
(Amazon Studios and Simon & Schuster)
Screenwriter James Gray and author David Grann

Molly’s Game
(STX Entertainment and Dey Street Books)
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and author Molly Bloom

Mudbound

(Netflix and Algonquin Books)
Screenwriters Virgil Williams and Dee Rees and author Hillary Jordan

Wonder Woman

(Warner Bros. and DC Comics)
Screenwriter Allan Heinberg and author William Moulton Marston


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