...And The Awards Race is On

With the 2014 Golden Globes right around the corner this Sunday, January 12th and with nomination announcements from the PGA (Producers Guild Association), WGA (Writer's Guild Association), SAG (Screen Actors Guild Awards), TMC (The Movie Critics  Choice Awards) and BAFTA's (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), I thought this would be a good time to look at who has the best chance of snagging Oscar noms on January 16th. Leading the pack of nominations is the Steve McQueen directed true life story of Solomon Northrup - "12 Years A Slave"  and  Director David O' Russell's " American Hustle" .   Right behind them are "Captain Phillips", "Gravity", "Philomena", "Saving Mr. Banks", "Wolf of  Wall Street", "Blue Jasmine", "Rush", "Inside Llewyn Davis", "Nebraska", "The Butler", "August:  Osage County", "Dallas Buyers Club" and "Her".  Almost all of these films began their awards journey at Sundance this same time last year.

Actors with multiple nominations include...Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita N'yongo, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Michael Fassbender, Judi Dench, Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Emma Thompson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Daniel Bruhl, Bruce Dern, June Squibb, Oprah Winfrey, Matthew McConaughy and Jared Leto.

In the world of animation, "Despicable Me 2", "Frozen" and "Monsters University" are cleaning up noms along with the documentaries "20 Feet From Stardom", "Blackfish" and "The Armstong Lie".

So without going into the insanely long list of how many each project has received, I will go straight to my predictions for this 2014 season...

Best Director - Since Scorsese and Allen have had numerous awards bestowed upon them throughout the years, I think it is safe to say that this year it will be a very intense horse race between Steve McQueen and David O'Russell.

Best Picture/Film - Y'all...2013 was by far the best year for cinema that I have witnessed in quite some time.  However, with some of these films, the acting was better than the actual film.  For that reason, I feel like "12 Years A Slave" should win, but since "Gravity" was the highest grossing dramatic film of 2013 and just won The People's Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic Movie it has a pretty good shot at taking home the prize.

Best Actor - Due to the stellar performances of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Bruce Dern, Robert Redford, Matthew McConaughy, Tom Hanks, Forest Whittaker, Leonardo DiCaprio and Joaquin Phoenix it is soooo incredibly hard to choose just one.  However, my guess is that if sentimentality goes with the legends -- Forest, Tom, Bruce and Robert will be duking it out.  If not, then I say it's real tight race between Ejiofor and McConaughy.

Best Actress - Seriously, they should just call this category "The Meryl" 'cause she just chews up the scenery  in every role she inhabits on-screen.  Having said that, although Meryl "should' and "deserves to take it yet again...I would suffice to say that it may very well be a fight to the finish between Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Oprah Winfrey and Sandra Bullock.

Best Supporting Actor - There are a multitude of great performances in this category notably by Barkhad Abdi and Jared Leto.  It's safe to say that Jared Leto totally has this category on lockdown.  His performance in "Dallas Buyers Club" is the role of a lifetime.

Best Supporting Actress - In my opinion, this is probably the toughest category of them all with stellar performances by June Squibb, Lupita N'yongo, Julia Roberts, Sally Hawkins and Jennifer Lawrence.  However, it would be a surprise if Lupita N'yongo didn't sweep this.

Much to my disappointment, neither "Fruitvale Station", director Ryan Coogler or its stars Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer were recognized for their stellar work.  It's a small film that I feel got lost in the shuffle of many good films released in 2013.

Although Dane DeHaan is a BAFTA Rising Star nominee (as is Lupita N'yongo) for his role in the indie "Kill Your Darlings", he has been overlooked right along with Margo Maritndale and Julianne Nicholson in "August:  Osage County".  I was also a little salty that Allison Janney and Greg Kinnear's work in the highly touted "The Way, Way Back" wasn't recognized, but again this was a really competitive year for film.

So here are all the dates and know that I will be tweeting live for each one under my twitter handle @CaRenata.

Here we go...

January 12    THE GOLDEN GLOBES

January 16th  ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCEMENT and 1st Day of SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

January 19th  PRODUCERS GUILD AWARDS

January 25th  DIRECTORS GUILD AWARDS

February 1st  WRITERS GUILD AWARDS

February 12th BAFTA AWARDS

March 2nd      OSCARS!!!!

2013 Toronto Film Festival

august-osage-countyThe Toronto Film Festival is winding down over this weekend and now it looks like the best picture race could include “12 Years As A Slave,” “August: Osage County,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Fruitvale Station,” “Gravity,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,”  “Philomena,”  “Prisoners” and “Rush.  That doesn’t even include the dark horses, which could be  any of the following: “42,” “All is Lost,” “Blue Jasmine,” “The Fifth Estate,” “Invisible Woman,” “Kill Your Darlings,” “Labor Day,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” and “Nebraska.” Having been at a disadvantage of not being able to attend these festivals, I rely heavily on info reported on their respective  websites and the journalists that ARE privileged enough to attend.

According to THR correspondent Steve Pond, there are few things learned from the Toronto Film Festival thus far...

1)  Size matters … But not always in the right way.

This year’s festival had 288 features, more than 100 screenings a day, and a vast selection of movies of every shape and size and genre.

2)  It’s a good year.

You’d be hard-pressed to find any critical bombs on the TIFF schedule this year. “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” lived up to their buzz, “Prisoners” ,“Labor Day”, “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Enough Said” won many devotees, and this past Sunday night Ron Howard’s “Rush” got a standing ovation for its kinetic look at the rivalry between two legendary Formula One race car drivers.

Meanwhile, the festival showcased little gems like  “The Lunchbox,” “Ida” and “Gloria,” the documentaries “Tim’s Vermeer,” “Midway” and “Burt’s Bees,” the near-wordless survival drama “Canopy” and the wholly unclassifiable “Under the Skin,” a bizarre, creepy and oddly moving sci-fi puzzler with Scarlett Johansson as an alien who picks up men for reasons that have nothing to do with sex.

3)  Buyers want friendly movies.

Sure, Toronto is known for Best Picture winners, for foreign films, for docs and dark indies. But what’s selling so far? Crowd-pleasing movies.

By far the biggest deal for a TIFF title was the Weinstein Company’s acquisition of John Carney’s “Can a Song Save Your Life?,” a delightful blend of drama and comedy from the director of “Once.”

With musical numbers ably performed by Keira Knightley, Adam Levine and others, along with a marvelously rumpled Mark Ruffalo as a down-on-his-luck record industry exec, the film drew standing ovations at its public screenings and is the kind of fresh, feel-good movie that seems destined more for the multiplex than the arthouse cinemas.

You could say something similar about “The F Word,” which sources say has received multiple bids this weekend. The film is a small gem, a 21st Century spin on “When Harry Met Sally” with Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan as best friends who might be more than that.

Radcliffe is quickly putting Harry Potter in the rearview mirror, and Kazan, a year after deconstructing the rom-com genre with “Ruby Sparks,” embraces it – and as usual, she is a delight.

Meanwhile, Focus Features picked up Jason Bateman’s “Bad Words,” a gleefully profane lowbrow comedy that won’t be seen anywhere near awards season, but could be nasty enough to draw a few crowds.

Movies like these are the reason Toronto isn’t like Telluride or Venice, and why it attracts far more money than those festivals.  Instead of careful curation, TIFF offers one-stop shopping – and for now, to what should be the surprise of no one, the people with money are stopping and shopping in the commercial-movie aisle.

Based on all the buzz, I decided to share trailers from the films with the most buzz...AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, 12 YEARS AS A SLAVE & GRAVITY...All clips can be found on youtube.com

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!