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'Prisoners' captures attention of Oscar voters at Telluride

By Paul Sheehan
By Paul Sheehan
Aug 31 2013 03:31 am
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Mar 31 2015 01:44 am
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Three years ago, French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve came to Telluride with "Incendies." That compelling mystery ended up contending for Best Foreign Language film. While he lost the Oscar to the Danish entry, "In a Better World," Villeneuve got a pretty good consolation prize: the chance to make a major studio movie.

That Warner Bros. release -- "Prisoners" -- screened at Telluride Friday in advance of its official debut at the Toronto filmfest next week. This sneak peek proved to be a smart move as the first reviews are raves, vaulting this thriller into the top tier of Oscar contenders. 

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The intense drama stars Oscar nominees Hugh Jackman as Terrence Howard as fathers divided over the lengths they will go to find their missing daughters. Their wives -- played by Maria Bello and Oscar nominee Viola Davis respectively -- are torn as to what is required, especially after the police detective (Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal) is stonewalled by the prime suspect (Paul Dano) and his overly protective aunt (Oscar champ Melissa Leo). 

On paper, this might seem like just a popcorn picture as Jackman's character turns violent vigilante. But, the initial reviews make clear that the film is much more than that. They laud the deft helming, the twists and turns of Aaron Guzikowski's original script and the atmospheric lensing by 10-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins.

Among the cast, which receives praise across the board, Jackman and Gyllenhaal are singled out for their lead and supporting performances. While other committments kept them from attending Telluride, they will be making the rounds in Toronto and beyond, especially if further notices are like those below. 

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Weinstein Co. may push Meryl Streep back up to lead Oscar race

By Tom O'Neil
By Tom O'Neil
Aug 30 2013 11:05 am
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Mar 22 2015 08:51 am
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August: Osage County Meryl Streep Toronto International Film Festival entertainment news

On Aug. 12, a Weinstein Co. Oscar warrior told Gold Derby that Meryl Streep would be campaigned in the supporting slot for "August: Osage County." Even though the film had not yet been seen by industry and media wags, an outcry followed based upon familiarity with the role in the original Broadway play. Back in 2008, Deanna Dunagan won the Tony Award for Best Actress as the pill-popping, tart-tongued Violet, beating her costar Amy Morton as Violet's frazzled daughter Barbara (played by Julia Roberts on screen). Pitting Streep vs. Roberts in the lead Oscar race seemed risky – perhaps they'd both have better chances to win if separated into different categories?

Now the Weinstein rep tells Gold Derby that the Oscar strategy may change based upon reactions to a final cut of the movie that's currently being screened to select industry insiders. On Sept. 9, it will debut to a large crowd at the Toronto International Film Festival too, and it's expected that the general consensus will be that Streep should be bumped back up to lead. Stay tuned. A "final decision" will be announced within days.

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Will 'Labor Day' work Oscar magic for Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin?

By Paul Sheehan
By Paul Sheehan
Aug 30 2013 03:50 am
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Mar 31 2015 01:44 am
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Despite building great buzz at Telluride for both "Juno" (2007) and "Up in the Air" (2009), Jason Reitman skipped the festival circuit two years ago with "Young Adult." That comedy-drama starring Oscar champ Charlize Theron made minimal impact, reaping little awards attention and just so-so box office.  

Reitman returned to Telluride this year with his adaptation of Joyce Maynard's "Labor Day," the story of a single mother (Kate Winslet) and her son (Gatlin Griffith) who give shelter to an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) in the late summer of 1987. 

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The first reviews are promising and certainly make the movie one to watch when it screens at the much larger Toronto film festival next week. 

Peter Debruge, Variety: In the early going, Reitman struggles to balance the competing feelings the scenario evokes. He can count on Winslet, who has long since mastered the role of affection-starved wife in “Little Children” and “Mildred Pierce,” to communicate Adele’s fragility in a matter of a few short scenes, but it’s much harder to accept that a wanted man can be as sensitive as Frank. 

Chris Willman, IndieWire: Winslet does as fine a job of keeping her inherent strength under wraps as possible, but Brolin has little to work with character-wise as he ever has on the big screen, playing an unfailingly righteous, tender and impossibly sexy figure who'd be the perfect man if he could ever leave the house. (Actually, his 24/7 presence makes him even more swoon-worthy). The most impressive turn comes from Gattlin Griffith as the mom-worshipping 8th grader whose shy insularity suggests deeper layers than Brolin's strong, silent type is good for. 

While Winslet works to make the cut in the competitive Best Actress race, Brolin is already in fourth place for Best Supporting Actor. He contended in this category back in 2008 for "Milk," losing to the late Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight"). 

Do you think Brolin will win Best Supporting Actor? Vote below using our easy drag-and-drop menu. 

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Can 'SNL' stars rally in the Emmy race for Best Guest Comedy Actress?

By Daniel Montgomery
By Daniel Montgomery
Aug 29 2013 22:46 pm
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Mar 31 2015 08:03 am
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Emmys predictions guest comedy actress entertainment newsWill the Emmy matchup for Best Guest Comedy Actress be a repeat of the 2012 race?

The similarities between this year's nominees and last year's lineup are eerie. Like last year, a pair of "Saturday Night Live" guests hosts are in contention – one of them Melissa McCarthy and the other a returning alum – and they are also pitted against a bawdy performance by an Oscar winner. Last year it was the Oscar champ who prevailed (Kathy Bates, for playing the ghost of Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men"). Is that bad news for the "SNL" women?

Despite last year's loss, "SNL" has had a strong track record in Emmy's guest categories since hosts began competing there in 2009. Five out of eight guest acting prizes have gone to "SNL," including two out of four wins in this race (Tina Fey in 2009, Betty White in 2010).

McCarthy was nominated last year for her first hosting stint on "SNL" and maintains a perfect record with this year's bid for her return. Like previous winning hosts – except Fey, who won for spoofing Sarah Palin – McCarthy has the advantage of playing multiple comic characters over the course of a 90-minute show built mostly around her. Emmy voters are suckers for actors playing multiple roles, who get to flaunt their range and versatility, allowing the TV Academy to honor several performances for the price of one.

McCarthy has proven she's already well-liked by voters, who awarded her Best Comedy Actress in 2011 for "Mike & Molly," though she was left out of that category this year after just two nominations in that race.

Kristen Wiig is also well liked by Emmy voters, having earned four previous Comedy Supporting Actress noms (2009-2012) as a regular cast member on "SNL," and an additional Voice-Over Performance bid last year for "The Looney Tunes Show." She left the show in May 2012, but returned as a guest host in May 2013 and earned her sixth career bid.

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Wiig was never able to win the supporting category, possibly because screen time on "SNL" is typically divided among cast members more or less evenly, leaving her limited opportunities to shine in a single episode submission. As a host, however, Wiig gets to play a broader range of new and familiar roles, resulting in more screen time than anyone else in this category, and perhaps putting her in her best position yet to win Emmy.

But last year, McCarthy and another "SNL" alum (Maya Rudolph) were both defeated by Bates' much briefer performance on "Two and a Half Men." Bates, as Sheen's ghost, smoked a cigar and told off-color, scatological jokes. That's similar to the crassness of the character potrayed by  Melissa Leo. In the episode of "Louie" she submitted to Emmy judges, she's chain-smoking bar hag who demands oral sex from Louis C.K. after she pleasures him in the front seat of her car. But unlike Bates, who was overdue after nine unsuccessful nominations, this is only the second Emmy bid for Leo, who previously earned a 2011 Movie/Mini Supporting Actress bid for the HBO miniseries "Mildred Pierce."

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Emmy cliffhanger: Could Vera Farmiga scare up Best Drama Actress for 'Bates Motel'?

By Daniel Montgomery
By Daniel Montgomery
Aug 29 2013 20:38 pm
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Mar 31 2015 08:03 am
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vera farmiga bates motel claire danes homeland emmys drama actress

According to our racetrack odds, Claire Danes is the strong favorite to win her second Best Drama Actress Emmy for her role as a bipolar CIA analyst on Showtime's "Homeland." Eight out of 13 experts, 20 out of 24 top users, and 69% of all users place her out front.

But could there be an upset in the works? After watching the episodes submitted to Emmy judges by the seven Best Drama Actress nominees, three Gold Derby editorsTom O'Neil, Chris Beachum, and I – are currently betting on Vera Farmiga to win for playing Norma Bates, the mother of future serial killer Norman Bates, on A&E's freshman drama "Bates Motel."

Farmiga submitted the pilot episode, which opens with the sudden death of Norma's husband. Afterwards, she moves her son to a small community to rehabilitate a run-down motel only to be threatened and later raped by the property's former owner. After killing her attacker in a vengeful rage, she and her son cover up the crime and dump the body.

Says Beachum of the episode, "I had no expectations at all for 'Bates Motel' ... Farmiga is outstanding in the pilot episode, with a full range (covering anger, fear, humor, and motherly love), impact, and empathy. That surprise element won me over, and I suspect a few Emmy voters might put her at the top as well."

Though Norma can be overbearing, we sympathize with her attempt to start a new life, which is so quickly thwarted by her vicious assault. And there are two key moments of impact: her rape, which appears both physically and emotionally grueling; and later dumping the body with young Norman, to whom she apologizes for being a bad mother.

"Bates Motel" airs on the A&E network, which has yet to prove itself at the Emmys for series television, and it competes against shows with far greater buzz and media attention, but the same could have been said for Bryan Cranston when he won his first Emmy for AMC's "Breaking Bad" in 2008. That year, he also submitted an emotionally dynamic pilot episode, and he was up against three-time Emmy-winner James Spader ("Boston Legal") arguing before the Supreme Court, as well as a pair of overdue actors ("Dexter's" Michael C. Hall and "House's" Hugh Laurie), and fellow AMC star Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") whose series at the time had more attention from critics and Emmy voters (and would win the first of four Best Drama prizes that night). In that case, the Emmy submissions proved to be the great equalizer.

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News Nuggets: 10 fall films that could be surprise Oscar contenders

By Daniel Montgomery
By Daniel Montgomery
Aug 29 2013 11:53 am
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Mar 31 2015 08:03 am
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enough said invisible woman james gandolfini julia louis dreyfus felicity jones oscars

entertainment news nuggetsOliver Lyttelton names 10 under-the-radar fall films that could be surprise Oscar contenders, inclduing "The Book Thief," "Enough Said" (pictured left), and "The Invisible Woman" (pictured right). IndieWire

entertainment news nuggetsEmmy-winning voice-acting legend June Foray -- known for "The Bullwinkle Show," "Dudley Do-Right," and "The Smurfs" -- will receive the TV Academy's 2013 Governors Award, which will be presented to her on September 15 during the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony.

entertainment news nuggetsTwo-time Emmy-winner Chandler Massey talks to TV Guide about his abrupt dismissal from "Days of Our Lives."

entertainment news nuggetsScott Feinberg makes his first Oscar forecasts. Hollywood Reporter

entertainment news nuggetsAndrea Martin will leave her Tony-winning role in "Pippin" on September 22 to star in the Canadian comedy series "Working the Engels." Playbill

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Now you can look up old predictions at Gold Derby

By Tom O'Neil
By Tom O'Neil
Aug 29 2013 10:52 am
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Mar 22 2015 08:51 am
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Oscars Emmys predictions

Beware, Oscarologists: you can no longer hide from your old predictions. Now Gold Derby unveils a new section where readers can look up past predix made by our experts, editors and users. This link is now accessible from our "Leaderboards" menu in the horizontal gold bar above.

A handy new function even permits readers to scroll back day by day to see how each prognosticator called old races. Chck out the calendar in the top left corner of Expert and Editors' page – see arrow below.

To find the past predix of regular Gold Derby users, search for them in our "Find Users" area in the gold menu bar above. On the left column of each user's account page you will see "Archive" where you can find their predictions.
 

Oscars Emmys Predictions

old oscar predictions

 

Emmy experts vs. editors: Will 'Modern Family' or 'Louie' win Best Comedy?

By Gold Derby News Desk
By Gold Derby News Desk
Aug 29 2013 10:11 am
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Mar 22 2015 08:51 am
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emmys best comedy series modern family louie

There's a sharp divide in the Primetime Emmy race for Best Comedy Series. Nine out of 13 experts polled expect "Modern Family" to win for the fourth year in a row: Robert Bianco (USA Today), Debra Birnbaum (TV Guide Magazine), Scott Feinberg (Hollywood Reporter), Daniel Manu (TV Without Pity), Steve Pond (The Wrap), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood), Ken Tucker, and Glenn Whipp (LA Times).

But has fatigue set in for "Modern Family" after three consecutive victories in the top race? Five out of our eight Gold Derby editors think so, betting on first-time nominee "Louie": Rob Licuria, Matt Noble, Tom O'Neil, David Schnelwar, and Paul Sheehan. "Louie," which airs on FX, would be only the second cable series to win the prize, following HBO's "Sex and the City" in 2001, and it would be the first basic-cable program to do so.

Our users are divided, but a majority side with the experts: 41% favor "Modern Family" to win, while 27% think it'll be "30 Rock" that claims its fourth Best Comedy prize. 13% side with editors in picking "Louie" as the likely champ.

Our top 24 users mostly fall in line with their fellow users: 13 predict "Modern Family," eight pick "30 Rock," and only one favors "Louie."

Can "Louie" or "30 Rock" come from behind, or will "Modern Family" continue to dominate? Make your Best Comedy predictions below:

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Emmys Inside Track: Who'll win Best Comedy Actor -- Louis C.K. or Jim Parsons?

By Riley Chow
By Riley Chow
Aug 28 2013 18:09 pm
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Mar 22 2015 08:51 am
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Louis CK Jim Parsons Big Bang Theory TV entertainment news

Gold Derby's Experts put Louis C.K. ("Louie") out front to win Best Comedy Actor, following up on his recent victories at the Critics' Choice Television Awards and Television Critics Association Awards.

Only rarely do stand-up comics win acting Emmys (Ray Romano, Roseanne Barr), but Louis C.K. submitted a strong episode to judges. In "Daddy's Girlfriend, Part 1," he delivers a touching, self-deprecating speech while asking a bookstore worker out for a date. Emmy voters often rally around good speeches because they are consolidated acting showcases that are easily remembered and rousingly powerful.

Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") won in 2010 and 2011 and now has the second-best odds. His episode submission "The Habitation Configuration" features Parsons in a classic Emmy bait storyline: getting drunk. Voters are suckers for booze-fueled performances, including one Parsons gave in 2010 when he whipped off his pants while giving a slurred speech to an awards group. Unfortunately for Parsons, his drunk performance this year is subdued and brief by Emmy standards.

Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock") recently reaped  his seventh consecutive Screen Actors Guild Award, demonstrating the actor's impressive popularity with peer-group awards. Baldwin bagged Emmys in 2008 and 2009 and now faces his last chance for starring in this peacock laffer. His submitted episode is "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World," in which his character searches for his replacement as president of NBC, finally selecting nitwit page Kenneth (Jack McBrayer). The explicit homages to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" are playful and humorous, but the episode almost positions Jack as a supporting character to Kenneth.

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Showtime's "Episodes" took last year off, so Matt LeBlanc was ineligible then, but now repeats his 2011 nomination. LeBlanc doesn't have much screen times on his submission to the judges: the second episode from the second season, sometimes branded as "The Affair" by fans. LeBlanc's character — a fictionalized version of himself, like Louis C.K. — spends the episode attempting to buy the forgiveness of a colleague with a new car after LeBlanc had an affair with his wife. The material provides little opportunity for emotional range and is essentially a single joke repeated.

The "Flight of the Phoenix" episode of "Arrested Development" entered by Jason Bateman provides him with more screen time than anyone else in the category, but he ranks fifth according to the Gold Derby collective. Bateman owes much of Gold Derby's non-confidence in him to the low nomination haul that "Arrested Development" achieved upon its return to the Emmys after Fox cancelled it seven years ago. Even though "Flight of the Phoenix" does showcase Bateman's comedic chops, the humor of "Arrested Development" may no longer suit the academy's tastes.

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