Blog: News & Views

Experts' updated Oscars predix: Ejiofor over Redford for Best Actor but McConaughey, Hanks in play

By Gold Derby News Desk
Oct 09 2013 09:16 am

Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave") continues to stay just ahead of Robert Redford ("All is Lost") in the increasingly tight Best Actor race as per our Oscarologists' updated predictions. However, watch out for Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club") and Tom Hanks ("Captain Phillips") who have seen support rise as their movies screen. 

Eleven Experts still expect Ejiofor to prevail: Thelma Adams (Yahoo), Dave Karger (Fandango), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Mary Milliken (Reuters), Michael Musto (Out, Gawker),Christopher Rosen (Huffington Post), Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily), Alex Suskind (Moviefone), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) and Jeff Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere).

Seven pundits continue to back the bid by Redford: Scott Feinberg (Hollywood Reporter), Thom Geier (Entertainment Weekly), Guy Lodge (HitFix), Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Steve Pond (TheWrap) and  Glenn Whipp (L.A. Times).

McConaughey picked up one vote as Edward Douglas (Comingsoon) joins Susan Wloszczyna ( while Hanks has the support of Gold Derby's Paul Sheehan.

See the Experts' latest rankings here. Latest racetrack odds: Ejiofor's lead has narrowed to 9 to 4 (from 23 to 10) while Redford is now at 14 to 5 (down from 13 to 5). McConaughey and Hanks have seen their odds get better at 5 to 1 and 15 to 2 respectively. See the full breakdown here.

RELATEDExperts' updated Oscars predix: 'Slave' holds, 'Gravity' rises, 'Wolf' drops

Below, some pundits explain their Best Actor predix.

Scott Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter: This is a guy who has starred in a zillion movies that are regarded as all-time greats, but been nominated for acting only once -- 40 years ago! Moreover, he's as great as ever in the one-man show that is 'All Is Lost.' Just picture the moment that Jennifer Lawrence announces the best actor winner ... he will receive a 5 minute long standing ovation.



Experts' updated Oscars predix: Blanchett still leads Best Actress, Bullock rising fast

By Gold Derby News Desk
Oct 09 2013 08:36 am

While Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine") maintains her frontrunner status for Best Actress in our Oscarologists' updated predictions, Sandra Bullock is on the rise as "Gravity" soars with critics and audiences alike. 

Seventeen Experts are behind Blanchett: Thelma Adams (Yahoo), Edward Douglas (Comingsoon), Scott Feinberg (Hollywood Reporter), Thom Geier (Entertainment Weekly), Dave Karger (Fandango), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Guy Lodge (HitFix), Michael Musto (Out, Gawker), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Steve Pond (TheWrap), Christopher Rosen (Huffington Post), Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily), Alex Suskind (Moviefone),  Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Glenn Whipp (L.A. Times) and Susan Wloszczyna (

Three pundits are now backing Bullock whereas last week it was just one: Mary Milliken (Reuters) and Gold Derby's Paul Sheehan and Tom O'Neil

And Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere) is predicting Emma Thompson ("Saving Mr. Banks"). 

See the Experts' latest rankings here. Latest racetrack odds: Blanchett lead has narrowed to 8 to 5 while Bullock is now at 10 to 3 and Judi Dench ("Philomena") remains in third place at 6 to 1.   See the full breakdown here.

RELATEDExperts' updated Oscars predix: 'Slave' holds, 'Gravity' rises, 'Wolf' drops

Below, some pundits explain their Best Actress predix.

Edward Douglas, Comingsoon: It's pretty much Cate Blanchett vs. Sandra Bullock and the only way we might get a first-time Oscar winner is if Amy Adams is exceptional in American Hustle, which at this point, no one has seen.  Adams' four time nominations in supporting proves she's well liked and she has the hottie factor that always seems to drive the Academy but the two veteran actresses are both very good.



Help Justin Timberlake decide which '20/20 Experience' album to push for Grammys? (Poll)

By Gold Derby News Desk
Oct 08 2013 11:44 am

In March, Justin Timberlake debuted his first disc in seven years -- "The 20/20 Experience" -- to good notices (75 at MetaCritic) and great sales. Although it remains the best seller of the year, it could have competition from the just-released "Part 2."

However, while the new album may also top the charts, this sequel did not prove to be the equal for all reviewers, earning an MetaCritic score of just 60. But it still could be music to the ears of Grammy voters, who may favor its harder sound as noted in the reviews excerpted below.  

Timberlake contended for the top Grammy prize -- Album of the Year -- for both of his first two solo discs: "Justified" lost to "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" by Outcast in 2004 while "FutureSex/LoveSounds" was bested by the Dixie Chicks' "Taking the Long Way Home" in 2006. 

To reap another Album bid, he may have to decide which of these two discs to tout to Grammy voters. After reading the reviews for both below, help him decide by voting in our poll at the bottom of this post. 

'Part 2' reviews

As Mikael Wood (LA Times) notes, "Where the initial '20/20' carried a suave, gentlemanly vibe -- one reflected in the classic tuxedos Timberlake wore during appearances on the Grammy Awards, "Saturday Night Live" and in at least one Target commercial -- the new set aims for something darker and dirtier.

Observes Kyle Anderson (EW), "The Drake-assisted 'Cabaret' builds a symphony of mouth noises that recalls Aaliyah's 'Are You That Somebody?,' and 'True Blood' is so 1997 that it's shocking there's not a guest verse by Mase (that's a compliment). Those throwback blasts give 2 of 2 a more immediate punch than its predecessor."



News Nuggets: Networks pushing sexual boundaries more than ever

By Chris Beachum
Oct 08 2013 11:20 am

entertainment news nuggetsColumnist Brian Lowry says networks are pushing sexual and violence boundaries even more today so their shows can stand out. He points out examples of "Girls" and "Masters of Sex" on the pay cablers and "Hannibal" and "The Following" on the networks. Variety.

entertainment news nuggetsConnie Britton says a "Friday Night Lights" film script has been written, but that Emmy winner Kyle Chandler isn't interested in being part of it. In the NBC/DirecTV drama series, Chandler played Coach Taylor for a Texas high school football team. TV Guide.

entertainment news nuggetsA new book about legendary talk show host Johnny Carson is already stirring up trouble. One story says he divorced his second wife because of her affair with football star Frank Gifford. Vulture.

entertainment news nuggetsThree TV writers take a look at the fall season with what is working ("Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," "The Blacklist," "Sleepy Hollow") and what is not ("Hostages," "Ironside"). The Wrap.

entertainment news nuggetsThe TV Academy honors prolific director James Burrows with an evening devoted to his career. Watch video featuring stars from "Cheers" (John Ratzenberger, George Wendt), "Friends" (Jennifer Aniston), "The Millers" (Beau Bridges, Margo Martindale), "Taxi" (Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd), and "Will and Grace" (Eric McCormack, Debra Messing). ATAS.

entertainment news nuggetsVeteran actor Christopher Lee will receive this year's BFI Fellowship at the BFI London Film Festival on October 19. Lee started his film career in 1948 and has had over 250 acting roles. Deadline.



Experts' updated Oscars predix: 'Slave' holds, 'Gravity' rises, 'Wolf' drops

By Tom O'Neil
Oct 08 2013 09:42 am

"12 Years a Slave" continues its hefty lead in the Best Picture race, according to Oscarologists' recently updated predictions. Support for "Gravity" has risen sharply, while "The Wolf of Wall Street" has lost all first-placed votes.

Twelve Experts now back "12 Years a Slave": Thelma Adams (Yahoo), Edward Douglas (Comingsoon), Thom Geier (Entertainment Weekly), Dave Karger (Fandango), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Mary Milliken (Reuters), Michael Musto (Out, Gawker), Steve Pond (TheWrap), Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily), Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere), Glenn Whipp (L.A. Times) and Susan Wloszczyna (

Five pundits remain loyal to "American Hustle": Scott Feinberg (Hollywood Reporter), Christopher Rosen (Huffington Post), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Alex Suskind (Moviefone) and me.

Last week "Gravity" had no first-placed votes, but now it has three: Guy Lodge (HitFix), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood) and Peter Travers (Rolling Stone). "The Wolf of Wall Street" just lost its two backers, who they switched ponies.

See the Experts' latest rankings. Latest racetrack odds: "12 Years a Slave" leads with 4-to-1 odds, "Gravity" follows with 11/2, then "American Hustle" at 6/1. See more.

Below, some pundits explain their predix.

Edward Douglas, Comingsoon: "'12 Years a Slave' and 'Gravity' are Best Picture frontrunners for sure and it'll all come down to whether the Academy wants to herald an important movie about the country's history, not a very glamorous part of it mind you, or whether they want to honor cinematic achievement. I don't think 'Gravity' will win Best Picture because it's very much this year's 'Avatar,' but I could see another year where Best Picture and Director are spilt and Cuaron wins rather than Steve McQueen."



76 nations officially enter Oscar race for Best Foreign Film

By Tom O'Neil
Oct 07 2013 16:31 pm


A record 76 countries have entered the Oscar race for Best Foreign Film. Moldova and Saudi Arabia are competing for the first time. Montenegro is submitting for the first time as an independent country. Here's the official list.

Afghanistan, "Wajma: An Afghan Love Story," Barmak Akram, director;

Albania, "Agon," Robert Budina, director;

Argentina, "The German Doctor," Lucía Puenzo, director;

Australia, "The Rocket," Kim Mordaunt, director;

Austria, "The Wall," Julian Pölsler, director;

Azerbaijan, "Steppe Man," Shamil Aliyev, director;

Bangladesh, "Television," Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director;

Belgium, "The Broken Circle Breakdown," Felix van Groeningen, director;



Oscars lift-off: 'Gravity' rises in Best Picture race

By Tom O'Neil
Oct 07 2013 11:00 am

"Gravity's" Oscar odds have risen greatly in the past few days and now -- for the first time this derby season -- some of our experts are picking it to win Best Picture: Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood) and Guy Lodge (Hitfix). See the updated ranking of all 22 Oscarologists here

Notice its trajectory on the chart above where the orange line representing "Gravity" continues a steady upward thrust throughout the season to date. Currently, its racetrack odds are 13 to 2.

RELATED: How many Oscars will 'Gravity' land (Poll)

Back in August, "Gravity" wasn't even making the top 10. It emerged onto the list around Sept. 3 after it screened to acclaim at the Venice filmfest. By the 15th -- following an equally well-received reception in Toronto-- it was up in the fourth slot. And by month's end it rose to third, but no experts actually picked it to prevail.

Get Gold Derby's free news alerts and predictions

Now, with that one-two combo of critical acclaim and boffo box office, it has momentum and is likely to overtake the second place contender -- the still-unseen "American Hustle." Will it knock "12 Years a Slave" off of the top of the chart? Stay tuned.

What do you think will win Best Picture? Vote below using our easy drag-and-drop menu. 



News Nuggets: Should Justin Timberlake give up his film career?

By Chris Beachum
Oct 07 2013 10:35 am

entertainment news nuggetsAfter another big film flop ("Runner Runner"), writer Ramin Setoodeh says that Justin Timberlake is not ever going to be a film star and should stick to his music career. Variety.

entertainment news nuggetsTwo-time Oscar winner Quentin Tarantino ("Django Unchained," "Pulp Fiction") proclaims his top 10 films of 2013 (so far). The list includes expected fare like "Blue Jasmine" and "Gravity" but also the critically-panned "The Lone Ranger." Hollywood Reporter.

entertainment news nuggetsSusan Wloszczyna discusses the probabilty of another Oscar nomination for Sandra Bullock ("Gravity") and how her career resurgence is due to taking risks. Indiewire.

entertainment news nuggetsOscar winning director Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist") has been shooting his follow-up film "The Search" in complete secrecy. It is based on the 1948 post-war drama of the same title and will star his wife Berenice Bejo and Annette Bening. Cinema Blend.

entertainment news nuggetsFresh off of his six years and four Emmys for "Breaking Bad," Bryan Cranston is now headed to Broadway for his shot at a Tony. He has been portraying former U.S. President Lyndon Johnson in the one-man play "All the Way" outside of Boston, which will next debut in New York. The Wrap.

entertainment news nuggetsTess Lynch discusses the "impressive" double duty performance on "Saturday Night Live" by guest host and musical guest Miley Cyrus. Grantland.



'Wadjda' is a revolutionary Oscars entry

By Tom O'Neil
Oct 07 2013 10:10 am

Haifaa Al Monsour has pulled off the impossible in the Oscar race for Best Foreign Film. She created a film ("Wadjda") that Saudi Arabia submitted to the contest (a first for the Arab country) even though it's a nation without movie theaters.

Even more extraordinary: the film depicts female rebellion against the culture's male supremacy enforced by conservative religious doctrine. How'd she do it? Answer: By employing a non-threatening approach.

"Wadjda" tells the tale of a sweet 10-year-old girl who strives for something simple, but forbidden – she wants to buy a bicycle, but doesn't have the money. Her solution: Try to win the cash in a Koran-recitation contest. It's a simple story that wins over even conservative hearts.

"Using a child gave me a lot of freedom as a writer," Haifaa Al Mansour tells Gold Derby in our webcam chat. "They don't take things for granted. They have this fresh look at things that we, as adults, just accept …. She's optimistic because she wants something and she didn't acknowledge the limitations."

Haifaa Al Monsour didn't accept limitations when striving to make her film with government approval.




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