With the official nomination announcement just a couple short weeks away, Oscar season is in full swing, and everybody loves a surprise category spoiler. In 2015, female performers had a particularly strong showing at the movies, leading to an overstuffed slate of potential Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nominees. But actresses Kiki Kitana Rodriguez and Mya Taylor, the dark horses to end all dark horses, have recently taken on a champion of their cause who might just have the necessary public profile to push them over the top.
Oscars - Page 2
By this time of year we usually know who our Oscars frontrunners are. Last year it was Birdman v. Boyhood, and before that 12 Years a Slave and Gravity made the tops of award pundits’ ballots. This year’s race is turning out to be the most unpredictable in years. Earlier this fall Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight slid into the frontrunner spot when it debuted at the Toronto Film Festival. But it’s looking like the praise has reached a plateau now that the Oscar spotlight is beginning to point in other directions. On one hand, it’s a great thing since 2015 has given us such a variety of great filmmaking that slapping labels on films before voting begins is becoming harder and harder. On the other, it makes this race anyone’s best guess.
What exactly separates a lead role from a supporting one? Some argue screen time. Some say it’s the extent to which a character carries a film. And when it comes to the studios’ opinion, the actor with the bigger name tends to get campaigned as lead despite a co-star’s equal-if-not-greater-than prominence in the film. But the lack of strict guidelines in Oscar categories and the unusual number of performances that challenge typical categorization this year have led to a lot of talk about category fraud, two words you’ve probably heard a lot this year.
One of the most fascinating Oscar narratives to play out this season belongs to a curious film by indie stalwart Sean Baker titled Tangerine. Everything about it flips a big fat middle finger to convention: Baker cast Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, two non-professional transgender actresses, to star in the two lead roles. The film follows the pair over the course of a long Christmas Eve as they try to track down Sin-Dee Rella’s (Rodriguez) feckless boyfriend — word on the street is he shacked up with another woman while Sin-Dee was in the clink for a spell. And to top it all off, Baker shot this underground gem using an anamorphic lens hooked up to an iPhone. Tangerine is pretty much the anti-Oscar movie, and yet some are touting it as exactly the opposite of that opposite.
There are a few guaranteed things actors can do to get nominated for an Oscar. They can play someone with a disability or a disease, go to method extremes (hey, Leo), or play a transgender character. The only problem is, every major transgender role in a mainstream film has been played by a cisgender actor, or an actor who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth. Sean Baker’s low-budget indie Tangerine might change that, and make Oscar history along the way.
The 69-year-old Sylvester Stallone reprises his Rocky Balboa for the seventh time in Creed. Alongside star Michael B. Jordan, Stallone gives a memorable supporting performance that could earn him at spot in the Oscar race.
In the event that you woke up this morning feeling great about your life and your accomplishments, now may be a good time to excuse yourself and navigate to a different, safer article. Because in today’s installment of his Variety awards column “In Contention,” writer Kris Tapley has noted that one Hollywood heavy hitter stands to collect a landmark nomination in this year’s Oscar cycle. It’s not that Meryl Streep is going to earn her kajillionth nod this year — her chances with Ricki and the Flash or Suffragette are, shall we say, slim — or that the ghost of Edith Head has returned from beyond the impeccably designed veil to earn yet another prize for her costuming talents.
Star Wars is not exactly synonymous with the Oscars. Those two words, forever known as the most famous film franchise in the world, have more in common with terms like “box office,” “special effects,” “sold-out tickets,” and many other things which are usually at the other end of the spectrum of awards season fodder. But what if J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens actually turned out to be a an Oscar sleeper? Before you roll your eyes, stop reading this and go back to analyzing those new Force Awakens photos, hear me out, for the sake of the Force.
What qualities signify the best movie of the year? Could it be one that thoughtfully examines the human condition in the most striking way? Perhaps one that makes you laugh as much as it makes you cry and introspect over hard-to-swallow truths. Maybe even a movie that’s so visually dynamic its detailed beauty elevates the wonder of its evocative story. Now here’s the kicker: what if that movie was animated?
This weekend proved once and for all that people care more about the new iPhone emojis than they do about Steve Jobs. But could the biopic’s box office failure signal a struggle for it come Oscar season?