Kicking Off the Fall Season

For the films of 2019
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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby Sabin » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Mister Tee wrote
I guess I'm having trouble imagining what new there is to mine from the material that transcends either the '33 or '94 versions. Just doing a professional job on a time-worn property isn't enough to get me excited.

Agreed. Which is what I was thinking originally, however...

AS PER INDIEWIRE:

Gerwig and Houy are expected to do something similar with “Little Women.” Gerwig’s script is rumored to take Alcott’s chronological narrative and break it up so that the story is now told in nonlinear fashion. Gerwig’s goal is to rearrange the events of the novel so that the book’s themes are at the forefront of the movie. Expect the new “Little Women” to feel more like a thematic collage than a traditional coming-of-age movie.


I mean... I don't know if this is going to win Best Picture but it sounds pretty wonderful.
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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:14 pm

I'll save most of my thoughts for a post-festival thread, but as regards Little Women:

I'm certainly impressed with director Gerwig post-Lady Bird, but a throwaway quote from an interested party/cast member isn't much to go on.

The big issue I have with Little Women is the one I had with A Star is Born -- why is this necessary? In fact, the properties scan pretty well: each was a best picture nominee in the 30s, had a Technicolor remake in the waning studio days, a later version that revamped things substantially (Star relocating to the music industry, Women including material from Alcott's biography), and now an actor-directed version in the new millennium. Differences: Little Women had an earlier, silent version (the stuff you can find out from IMDB); It's the second Little Women but the third Star Is Born that's considered least interesting.

I guess I'm having trouble imagining what new there is to mine from the material that transcends either the '33 or '94 versions. Just doing a professional job on a time-worn property isn't enough to get me excited.

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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby Sabin » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:35 pm

Big Magilla wrote
Streep will more likely be nominated for The Laundromat.

My friend has seen it. Says unlikely.

Big Magilla wrote
Sarah Polley was not Greta Gerwig's co-writer. Polley's decade old script was rejected by the studio. As per IMDb's trivia page on the film:

Ah.
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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:45 am

Sabin wrote:Meryl Streep just proclaimed that Little Women is something in the vicinity of a masterpiece. The trailer is certainly wonderful. I remain skeptical at the notion of what must be closer to the tenth adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's book than the fifth becoming a hot ticket with the Academy regardless of who's involved...

Then I went on wikipedia to check out who was involved with the project. Yorick Le Saux is shooting. Frances Ha editor Nick Houy is editing it. We have a score by Alexandre Desplat. The combination of Desplat and Little Women sounds like an Oscar winner to me.

... then I noticed who Greta Gerwig's co-writer is.

Sarah Polley.

This is an adaptation of Little Women written by Greta Gerwig and Sarah Polley.

This might just a VERY good film.

(NOTE: also, are we thinking that Meryl Streep *doesn't* get nominated for being in Little Women?)


Sarah Polley was not Greta Gerwig's co-writer. Polley's decade old script was rejected by the studio. As per IMDb's trivia page on the film:

"Greta Gerwig was originally tasked by Sony Pictures to write a new screen adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel after the studio had rejected earlier scripts by Olivia Milch and Sarah Polley. However, after the success of Gerwig's Lady Bird (2017), Sony Pictures hastily offered Gerwig the chance to direct this film using her script in the hopes of forcing the delayed project into production after years of development hell."

Streep will more likely be nominated for The Laundromat.

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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby anonymous1980 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:54 am

If that is true, it would be really cool to see Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig up against each other in the Best Director race.

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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby Sabin » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:32 am

Meryl Streep just proclaimed that Little Women is something in the vicinity of a masterpiece. The trailer is certainly wonderful. I remain skeptical at the notion of what must be closer to the tenth adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's book than the fifth becoming a hot ticket with the Academy regardless of who's involved...

Then I went on wikipedia to check out who was involved with the project. Yorick Le Saux is shooting. Frances Ha editor Nick Houy is editing it. We have a score by Alexandre Desplat. The combination of Desplat and Little Women sounds like an Oscar winner to me.

... then I noticed who Greta Gerwig's co-writer is.

Sarah Polley.

This is an adaptation of Little Women written by Greta Gerwig and Sarah Polley.

This might just a VERY good film.

(NOTE: also, are we thinking that Meryl Streep *doesn't* get nominated for being in Little Women?)
Last edited by Sabin on Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:35 am

Yes, things are working now.

I edited my long post from yesterday to include my brief opening paragraph, but didn't attempt to put titles back in italics or use the ellipsis in Once Upon a Time...Hollywood as those things are considered "special characters" by phpBB which caused it to burp until Wesley upgraded the coding.

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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:41 am

This is the third time I tried to post this. I hope it goes through this time.

Re: Parasite.

Currently, Parasite is on its THIRD WEEK of screenings here. It's a bonafide limited release arthouse hit. It premiered to little fanfare. I suppose every film geek who knew of its Palme d'Or winning reputation and those who are fans of Bong Joon-ho all saw it in the first week. But for this to last this long is a sign that it definitely has crossover appeal and it's doing well through pure word-of-mouth. This is why I think it will likely get in Original Screenplay as well as International Feature.

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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby dws1982 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:56 am

Mister Tee wrote: Apart from the obvious Scorsese big bopper, there are no efforts that jump out as top-tier – not a single entry from the crowd that has dominated Oscar lists the past decade or so (Payne, Russell, Spielberg, Eastwood, Coens, Bigelow, Jonze, W & PT Anderson).

It may not make any more of a dent than The Mule did last year, but there's been some talk that Warner will put The Ballad of Richard Jewell out in December. Again, that release strategy didn't do anything for The Mule in Oscar terms (although it did quietly rack up a $100 million domestic gross), but I guess you never know.

Also, on the A24 front: I think that the reception that Waves got this weekend may hurt The Farewell. To say Waves got a positive response is an understatement--Variety's review essentially called it one of the best films ever made. Of course, there's no reason why A24 can't give two movies a strong presence through awards season, but if they have to choose between the two, I suspect they'll prioritize Waves, which has the prime November release date.

Edit: Yay! I'm able to post again!

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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:55 pm

It worked this time.

I took out my opening paragraph and deleted all the punctuation except for periods and commas.

Very Strange but I did figure out that too few characters meant that there were no characters because something made the whole thing disappear.

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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:53 pm

Yes, another great post from Tee. My thoughts on the major races:

Best Picture/Direction

The only surefire contender of films released to the general public thus far is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Marriage Story, judging by the initial critical response to it, will also be a sure bet. The films that look to me to be the most likely to join them at this point are 1917 and The Irishman with A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Harriet seemingly the strongest of the also-rans.

Best Actor

Early on, it looked like a three-way race between Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, but at this point all three are vulnerable. Pitt seems most likely to be nominated in support. With DiCaprio's performance deemed the lesser of the two, he could be completely overlooked. Hanks has been passed over so many times in the last two decades that he's beginning to look like yesterday's news. There are those who are predicting a supporting nod for him if anything, which is ridiculous since he is the only actor whose name appears above the title.

Strong contenders now include Adam Driver in Marriage Story, Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory and both Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes with the always praised, never nominated Pryce possibly emerging as the year's most delightful surprise.

Best Actress

Nothing at this point seems to diminish the chances of either Cynthia Erivo in Harriet or Renée Zellweger in Judy , but Scarlett Johannson's strong reviews for Marriage Story suggest it will be a tough three-way race for the prize reducing early favorites Saoirse Ronan in Little Women and Alfre Woodard in Clemency] to also-ran status.

Best Supporting Actor

Pitt is in the early lead, category fraud or not, but Willem Dafoe has three films in contention, making him a possible sentimental favorite with his third nomination in three years. Al Pacino and Joe Pesci are strong contenders for The Irishman and if Hanks isn't dumped into this category, then his co-star, Matthew Rhys has a strong claim on the fifth slot, at least for now.

Best Supporting Actress

Two of the Little Women contenders have stronger shots in other films, Laura Dern in Marriage Story and Meryl Streep in The Laundromat, leaving Florence Pugh the strongest contender among their Little Women] co-stars. Annette Bening in The Report and Maggie Smith finding new bon mots to utter in the transfer of her award-winning dowager in Downton Abbey from small screen to large, cannot be counted out at this point.

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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:14 am

Failed again with the error message that my 37 line response contained too few characters.

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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:53 am

So, already the problems are starting.

I wrote a long response to Tee's very nice analysis, hit preview and the damn thing disappeared.

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Re: Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:45 am

Great write up Mister Tee on the stakes so far.

Though I do see the possible foreign language contenders differently, at least where Portrait of a Lady on Fire is concerned.

Its going to have to be a truely terrible year for English language cinema by Academy standards for Portrait of a Lady on Fire to make any inroads into any category outside of International Film. Pain & Glory and Parasite just have too many things going for them to make them players even in a competitive year so it really doesn't have a hope in hell with those two in play.

Whilst I personally loved POALOF and I know people are having kittens over it on the internet its simply too refined and subtle for the Academy and I do think the film is something of an acquired taste. I do suspect as more people see the film the pendulum on this will shift (ie general audiences are not going to respond as positively to it as the Almodovar or Bong films). Also if the Academy could barely muster up much enthusiasm for another wildly acclaimed tale of forbidden love with Carol, they aren't going to be embracing Portrait.

And to be honest whilst of all the French films I've seen that are eligible for submission for International Film this is the best of them the French would be better off submitting Francois Ozon's By the Grace of God if they really want to get a foothold into this category.

On the other hand I'm probably totally wrong........ :oops:
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Kicking Off the Fall Season

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:43 pm

NOTE: I had this prepared for posting earlier this week, and don't have the energy to revise based on what's already happened/been reviewed. So, here are my unedited pre-game thoughts, some of which already appear to be either upheld or contradicted.


In a matter of hours, Venice will start screenings. When the weekend gets here, Telluride will cram in as many films as they can in three days. Next week, Toronto kicks off, and, by end of September, NY will showcase some of the best from these earlier gatherings, as well as debut Scorsese’s much-awaited epic. Which is to say, the Fall season is here…and it’s time for the annual where do we stand/where are we going? report.

Let me say at the start how sad it makes me that, for the first time in memory, I’m not piggybacking on BJ’s half-year review, which always did a deep dive on the early year efforts, and made it easier for me to zoom ahead. I won’t do quite the elaborate survey he did, but I will begin by looking at what we have already on the field.

Clearly, the top entry to date is Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood – one of Quentin’s most-praised efforts, and a clear box office success, it seems a lock for best picture/director/screenplay nominations, with both its main actors likely cited (in differing categories – DiCaprio lead, Pitt supporting – which may cause grousing), and some tech nods along for the ride (cinematography, production design, the sounds Quentin often gets, editing). A bona fide contender.

Not quite as strong, but with a decent shot, is The Farewell, which hasn’t jumped to breakout status, but has been way more successful than a film mostly in Chinese could have expected. I think screenplay, film, director (in that order) are possibilities, with Shuzhen Zhou and Awkwafina at least in the conversation for acting nominations.

Those two films would, I think, have been considered even back in the five-nominee dark ages. But, since we now have up to ten, we might need to add Rocketman, one of the year’s few grown-up success stories. Comparisons to Bohemian Rhapsody are inevitable, though I’m not sure in which direction – does the fact the it made far less money than the Mercury bio hurt, or will the clearly stronger reviews help? I do think the Egerton performance is far less likely to bring home a best actor trophy -- though a nomination is a possibility if the year is lean. And the film could probably score a sound nod or two, plus that over-the-credits tune could make the song list.

The only other top-category contender being touted is Lupita N‘yongo in Us, for which she did get seriously good reviews. But, despite Jordan Peele’s previous success with AMPAS, I remain skeptical about hard-core horror films breaking through for major nominations. (Toni Collette last year, despite serious critics’ push, didn’t get anywhere.)

As to the minor categories – I suppose the assorted Marvel films could net visual effects nominations (though I don’t detect winner-level enthusiasm for any of them). Maybe Aladdin gets in for costumes or production design? Toy Story 4 will probably make the animation list (in a year where it’s hard to see many legit contenders; Isle of Dogs may wish it had waited). None of these categories interest me terribly at the moment.

The next step, of course, is to deal with the shadow releases: films that have already run the critics’ gauntlet, at Sundance or Cannes, but haven’t as yet arrived in theatres. Sundance doesn’t offer as much to chew on as usual – its biggest success, The Farewell, has already advanced to full release. Beyond that, The Report was somewhat on the edge as far as critical response – good reviews in the trades, a 79 on Metacritic (though you can imagine that score softening when it hits the harsher critics). Its strongest hope is to put Adam Driver into the best actor discussion…though Driver has a stronger film upcoming (see below) that seems likely to take precedence. And then there’s Clemency, which apparently offers a strong role for the great Alfre Woodard, but doesn’t seem to have the overall strength to make an Oscar run.

Cannes was more fruitful in terms of yielding contenders, including though definitely not limited to the Tarantino effort. In terms of English-language films – which always have the upper hand in making Oscar inroads – there seems to be decent enthusiasm for The Lighthouse, most particularly the Dafoe performance (Dafoe has other efforts coming later on, suggesting this might be a big year for him). A Hidden Life seems to be Terence Malick in more-accessible-than-usual mode, and, given its World War II setting, might give him a shot at some mention (at least in his standard cinematography slot).

Then we come to the foreign-language stuff. Such films, as Uri has noted, tend to score with AMPAS only when the domestic field is barren. But last year, of course, we saw Roma and Cold War both do inordinately well, so maybe something (like, an expansion of overseas voters) is different now. We certainly have a trio of non-English efforts that received extravagant enough praise at Cannes to at least merit consideration. I mentioned at the time of the festival, I thought Pain and Glory had an excellent shot of at least getting Antonio Banderas a best actor nod – an actor very familiar to American audiences with a career-level set of raves is almost the formula for a subtitled nomination. (It doesn’t hurt that Almodovar has already proven cross-over category appeal.) The other two efforts – Parasite and Portrait of a Lady on Fire -- are more iffy in terms of salability, but I keep hearing wild enthusiasm from those who’ve been able to see the films, so who knows what they might achieve in the way of writing/directing/even best picture nominations? Offhand, I’d say Portrait has a slightly easier path – French films have had way more Academy representation than Asian ones over the year. But, of course, I’m open to surprise.

All that extensively dealt with…it’s now time to look over what’s upcoming, and what will comprise the majority of the race. I find this year rather singular: the field to date is more defined than typically (Once Upon a Time and The Farewell are the strongest pre-September tandem since Boyhood/Grand Budapest Hotel), but the future schedule is as murky as any I can recall. Apart from the obvious Scorsese big bopper, there are no efforts that jump out as top-tier – not a single entry from the crowd that has dominated Oscar lists the past decade or so (Payne, Russell, Spielberg, Eastwood, Coens, Bigelow, Jonze, W & PT Anderson). There are plenty of promising-sounding efforts, but few you’d have designated as must-watch from inception. These next few weeks will go a long way toward showing us which films, from this fairly wide and undefined field, emerge with the strongest award hopes.

Since Gravity kicked off 2013’s Venice festival, it’s become commonplace for the first couple of English-language films screened there to be among the year’s hottest in award terms: Birdman 2014; Spotlight 2015; Moonlight, La La Land and Arrival all 2016; The Shape of Water and Three Billboards 2017; Roma and The Favourite last year. The earliest English-language debuts come this Thursday, with Baumbach‘s Marriage Story (one of the most buzzed-about films of the year, which people think might get Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson acting nominations) and James Gray’s Ad Astra (about which I remain skeptical, partly because Gray’s films have never quite broken through, and because the film’s release has been delayed a worrying number of times). Friday brings Kristen Stewart playing (Jean) Seberg, which seems an idea from casting heaven. And Saturday features one of the most intriguing films on the calendar: Joker. There are a lot of reasons to be skeptical about the film: who needs another Joker movie? what has Todd Phillips ever done to provoke optimism? – but the film has Joaquin Phoenix as its center, DeNiro in support, and it’s playing the elite festivals in a way no other DC movie ever has, suggesting at least SOMEONE believes in it. So, I await critical response with great interest.

Venice will also screen Soderbergh’s The Laundromat (with Streep aboard), Michod’s The King (with Timothee Chalamet), Meirelles’ The Two Popes (Jonathan Pryce/Anthony Hopkins), as well as notable non-English efforts by Kore-eda (The Truth), Larain (Ema) and Assayas (The Wasp Network), plus a film version of Kosinski’s The Painted Bird, about which there have been encouraging murmurs.

In the midst of this, Telluride will offer its whirlwind of screenings over the three-day weekend. You can never be sure about the Telluride schedule till it’s almost at the starting gate, but among the films EXPECTED to show up…there’ll be repeaters from Venice (Marriage Story, The Wasp Network, The Truth, The Two Popes) and Cannes (A Hidden Life, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Pain and Glory, Parasite), all looking to up their Oscar profile – but also a set of new titles vying for positions of prominence. Of these, the most intriguing:

Ford v Ferrari -- a James Mangold film about a 1966 Le Mans race, with Christian Bale and Matt Damon offering serious actor/star power;
Motherless Brooklyn -- Edward Norton directing himself (to serious buzz) in an adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s novel;
Uncut Gems -- The Safdies’ latest push for a breakthrough, headlined by Adam Sandler;
Judy --directed by Rupert Goold, a do-we-really-need-another-of-these? Judy Garland biopic with Renee Zellweger in the scenery-chewing role;
and The Aeronauts – a Tom Harper period piece about hot air ballooning that offers (ugh) a Theory of Everything reunion of Redmayne/Felicity Jones. This last is being pushed heavily in certain quarters, and I fear it’s going to be the one that plagues me all season.

At last, we get to Toronto, which has been frequently upstaged in recent years by Venice/Telluride, but which this time around seems to have a decent number of strong premiere titles. Among the most promising:

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – it’s hard to believe we need another Mr. Rogers movie right after the documentary, and having Tom Hanks play the man seems near-redundant…but Marielle Heller compels interest, and people have expressed admiration for the script;
The Goldfinch – a September release has some folks worried, and the difficulties of adapting such a sprawling novel are inherent, but the cast is strong, and John Crowley deserves benefit of doubt;
Harriet – a biopic of Harriet Tubman that’s had bloggers in overdrive all year for a Cynthia Erivo best actress prize…but the trailer looks fairly uninspired, and I can’t say Kasi Lemmons’ films have ever impressed me;
Just Mercy -- Destin Daniel Cretton’s reunion with his Short Term 12 star Brie Larson in a courtroom drama…Michael B. Jordan stars, but Jamie Foxx is getting the strongest buzz;
Jojo Rabbit – from Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Taika Waititi, a whacked-out satire of Nazism that has strong advance word;
Dolemite Is My Name -- Craig Brewer directing Eddie Murphy in an inside-Hollywood chronicle of a blaxploitation hit-maker…not a typical festival entry, which makes one wonder if it’s surprisingly good;
True History of the Kelly Gang – they’re going to keep making movies about these guys and hope one finally works…a strong cast headed by Russell Crowe, but director Justin Kurzel is unproven;
The Personal History of David Copperfield -- with Armando Iannucci writing/directing, what kind of comic spin can we expect from this?; and
Lucy In The Sky – from (TV) Fargo director Noah Hawley, with Natalie Portman as an astronaut experiencing disorientation upon return to earth.

Within two weeks or so, most of those titles will have either been validated or discarded, and the tournament will be seriously underway. That’s not the end of it, of course – the films christened at the festivals will have to brave the marketplace to see if popular response matches up to the critical. And, as always, there are some titles that will appear without the festival filter – whether because they’re more commercial efforts (like Ang Lee’s Gemini Man), not yet ready (Greta Gerwig’s Little Women), or they simply prefer to hold back – this last group including Todd Haynes’s environmental court battle film, Dark Waters; Jay Roach’s take on the Gretchen Carlson/Fox News blow-up, Bombshell; and Sam Mendes’ return to prestige film-making, 1917.

Much more on all this when Toronto is in the books.


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