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Cinema Chat: Oscar Noms, '63 Up,' 'Bad Boys For Life,' And More


Hollywood's biggest night is on the way, and if you want information on nominations, snubs, and Vegas odds, we have them for you.  In this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair sits down with Michigan and State Theater executive director Russ Collins to talk about the latest movie news and all of the new films coming to your local movie house this weekend.


“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” – 7/4=36.4%

“1917” – 11/4=26.7%

“Parasite” – 4/1=20%

“The Irishman” – 17/1=5.6%

“Joker” – 18/1-5=5.3%

“Marriage Story” – 33/1=2.9%

“Jojo Rabbit” – 50/1=2%

“Ford v Ferrari” – 100/1=1%

“Little Women” – 100/1=1%

What Oscar Snubs and Surprises Reveal about the Race: ‘1917’ or ‘Parasite’ Could Take Best Picture

Check out what the Oscar snubs and surprises could mean for the contenders.

Oscars are always about momentum, timing, the zeitgeist — and most of all, the way 8,469 Academy members want to present Hollywood to the world.  This year, the voting body’s nominees give Oscar broadcaster ABC little to worry about with five hugely popular global hits vying for multiple Oscars, including Best Picture: “Joker,” “The Irishman,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “1917” and “Parasite.”

$1 billion-grossing R-rated DC origin myth “Joker” (Warner Bros.) dominated with 11 nominations, followed by expected frontrunners “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Sony) and “The Irishman” (Netflix) with 10, and surprise overachiever “1917,” also with 10.  “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight), “Little Women” (Sony), “Marriage Story” (Netflix), and the first Korean Oscar nominee “Parasite” (Neon) all landed six nods.

“Parasite” as a strong contender for not only Best International Feature Film, Production Design and Director, but Picture as well.  Still, in the long history of the Oscars, no foreign-language film has managed to win that elusive prize.  “Parasite” is only the eleventh non-English language film and the sixth to be nominated for both Picture and International in the same year.  Each of the previous five, including last year’s “Roma,” won for Best Foreign-Language Film, not Picture.

“Joker” is missing that crucial SAG Ensemble nod. So is “1917,” but the December release was one of the last films to be screened, and many SAG nominating committee members didn’t get to see it in time.  Also, while the two leads, George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman, give exemplary performances, the young English actors were unlikely to unseat their more established rivals.  “1917” could prove to be a SAG Ensemble exception.

“1917” has momentum that is lacking for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which debuted at Cannes and hit big over the summer; however, Brad Pitt is an inevitable winner for Supporting Actor.  (He’ll beat Tom Hanks, who finally landed another nomination, his sixth, as Fred Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” his first since “Castaway” in 2001.)  But war movie “1917” could take some wins away from the popular 1969 show-business fable, which is more comedy than drama.

“Joker” could take a key win as well, for long-overdue Joaquin Phoenix, who is collecting awards on the way to the big prize after four nominations.  Phoenix is comparable to Daniel Day-Lewis, who won for “Lincoln” partly because he made the film as great as it was.  Despite “Marriage Story” star Adam Driver’s comparative popularity and two other powerful performances this year (“Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker” and “The Report”), this one is Phoenix’s to lose.

Another likely win goes to musical performer Renée Zellweger for Best Actress, whose comeback narrative in “Judy” is not to be denied.  Among the snubbed was British Best Actor candidate Taron Egerton, who won the Musical Golden Globe. “Rocketman” was also overlooked for Hair and Makeup as well as Costume Design, and had to settle for a Best Song nod for Elton John.

Diversity was an issue this year, as “The Farewell” failed to register, and Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”) was the only actor of color to land a nomination out of 20 possible slots.  (Like “Mudbound” star Mary K. Blige, she also nabbed a Best Song nomination, for “Stand Up.”)  Arthouse stars Awkwafina and Zhao Shuzhen (“The Farewell”) and Song Kang Ho (“Parasite”) failed to register, along with more mainstream Jamie Foxx (late-breaking “Just Mercy”), Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”), and Lupita Nyong’o (“Us”). And “Black Panther” Oscar-winner Ruth E. Carter did not follow up with a nod for Netflix comedy “Dolemite Is My Name.”  Even Beyoncé was denied a “Spirit” Song nomination for “The Lion King,” which is only competing in the VFX category.

As expected, Greta Gerwig did not rack up enough votes from the male-dominated Academy directors branch to land her second nomination, but “Little Women” came in with six nominations including Best Picture, Saoirse Ronan (the second-youngest four-time acting nominee under 25, after Jennifer Lawrence), and supporting breakout Florence Pugh. Gerwig could repeat her Critics Choice win for Adapted Screenplay.

If her partner Noah Baumbach were to win Original for “Marriage Story,” that would be a delicious Oscar moment.  But Original is more likely to go to two-time category-winner Tarantino (who is eager to win Director or Picture as well).  “Marriage Story” is guaranteed just one win, for Hollywood royalty Laura Dern as Best Supporting Actress.  In another year, Scarlett Johansson would win for her tragic mother role in “Jojo Rabbit,” as she is also nominated for Best Actress for “Marriage Story.”  But it’s Dern’s time.

Watch out for Netflix’s “The Two Popes,” which scored three nominations, more than expected, including British stars Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins and screenwriter Anthony McCarten, who landed a spot in the less competitive Adapted Screenplay category (he missed the WGA, which put him in Original).  He could give Waititi and Gerwig some competition.

Netflix also overperformed in the animated feature category, landing two slots for “I Lost My Body” and “Klaus,” which was a surprise, costing Disney an expected nominee, sprawling sequel “Frozen II,” which had to settle for Best Song contender “Into the Unknown.”

In the documentary category, Netflix outperformed its rivals, scoring slots for two films, Chinese-American culture clash “American Factory” and Brazilian political exposé “The Edge of Democracy.”  And two powerful Syrian films were included:  “The Cave” (NatGeo) and “For Sama” (PBS).

A24 whiffed in its bid for nominations for Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell,” but landed one surprise slot for Best Cinematography for “The Lighthouse.”  In that category, at least, black-and-white is an asset. Meanwhile, three-year-old distributor Neon boasted not only six nods for “Parasite” but two for the Macedonian beekeeper saga “Honeyland,” which was nominated for both Best Documentary and Best International Feature Film, an Academy Awards first.

Now that fully 20 percent of the Academy voters are international, we could see some surprises on February 9. The two films with the most perceptible momentum heading for the big night are “Parasite” and “1917.”



In the latest installment of the groundbreaking, award-winning documentary series from director Michael Apted("Gorky Park," "Gorillas in the Mist"), we return to visit the people whose lives have been followed since they were seven.  Featuring more of the original line-up than ever before, we discover what has happened to the group over the last seven years, what life has thrown at them in their sixties, and their hopes for the future.  



This film plays Friday, January 17 at 9:30 PM at the Michigan as a part of our Late-Night Film Series.  Audiences are encouraged to quote-along and interact with the film!  “And in the morning, I’m making waffles!”  Once upon a time, in a faraway swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) whose precious solitude is suddenly shattered by an invasion of annoying fairy tale characters.  They were all banished from their kingdom by the evil Lord Farquaad (voiced byJohn Lithgow).  Determined to save their home — not to mention his — Shrek cuts a deal with Farquaad and sets out to rescue Princess Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz) to be Farquaad’s bride.  Rescuing the Princess may be small compared to her deep, dark secret.

Late-Night– Fridays at 9:30 PM grab some popcorn and come watch our favorite late-night movies. 

"Extreme Job"

This film plays Saturday, January 18 at 1:00 PM at the Michigan as a part of the Korean Cinema Now Film Seriespresented by the Nam Center for Korean Studies.  FREE and open to the public!  Narcotics detectives work under cover in a chicken joint to try and bust a gang of organized criminals.  Things take an unexpected turn when their new recipe suddenly transforms the run-down restaurant into the hottest eatery in town.

"All My Sons"

This event will be broadcast live on Sunday, January 19 at 7:00 PM at the Michigan as a part of the National Theatre Live Series presented in partnership with UMS.  Academy Award-winner Sally Field ("Steel Magnolias," "Lincoln") and Bill Pullman ("The Sinner," "Independence Day") star in Arthur Miller’s blistering drama.  In 1947 America, Joe and Kate Keller are a success story, despite hard choices and even harder knocks.  They have built a home, raised two sons, and established a thriving business.  But nothing lasts forever, and their contented lives — already shadowed by the loss of their eldest boy to war — are about to shatter.  With the return of a figure from the past, long-buried truths are forced to the surface, and the price of the American dream is laid bare.  A co-production from The Old Vic and Headlong.  Directed by Jeremy Herrin.


This film plays Monday, January 20 at 7:00 PM at the Michigan.  FREE and open to the public!  It is the story of a movement.  The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (played by David Oyelowo) led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition.  From Director Ava DuVernay and starring Carmen Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson, Common, Tim Roth, and more!

"An American in Paris"

This film plays Wednesday, January 22 at 7:00 PM at the Michigan brought to you by Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events.  Jerry Mulligan (played by Gene Kelly) is an American ex-GI who stays in post-war Paris to become a painter and falls for the gamine charms of Lise Bouvier (played by Leslie Caron).  However, his paintings come to the attention of Milo Roberts, a rich American heiress, who is interested in more than just art.  In addition, this classic will be accompanied by an exclusive introduction from TCM hosts who will provide insight, background and more, making this an event that movie lovers won’t want to miss.


This film plays Thursday, January 23 at 7:30 PM at the Michigan as a part of the Art of the Camera Film Series sponsored by The University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies.  During 16th century civil wars, village potterMasayuki Mori("Rashomon," "The Bad Sleep Well," "Floating Clouds") decides to follow the money and leave wife Kinuyo Tanaka (star of fifteen Mizoguchi movies) behind to sell his wares in town, there to be seduced by ghost princess Machiko Kyo(the rape victim of Kurosawa’s "Rashomon").  But when the spell is finally broken, he returns to a devastated village.  Adapted from Akinari Ueda’s 1776 collection of tales of the supernatural — and a de Maupassant story.  Venice Silver Lion winner (Mizoguchi’s second in a row) and for many years a regular on Ten-Best-of-All-Time lists.  Will also feature an introduction from a University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies lecturer about the featured cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa.

Art of the Camera – Celebrating Japan’s great cinematographers Thursdays at 7:30 PM from January to April.


"Little Women"

At the Michigan: Nominated for 6 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actress – Saoirse Ronan!  Writer-director Greta Gerwig ("Lady Bird") has crafted a Little Women that draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott and unfolds as the author's alter ego, Jo March, reflects and forth on her fictional life.  In Gerwig's take, the beloved story of the March sisters - four young women each determined to live life on her own terms -- is both timeless and timely.  Portraying Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth March, the film starsSaoirse RonanEmma WatsonFlorence PughEliza Scanlen, with Timothée Chalametas their neighbor Laurie, Laura Dern as Marmee, and Meryl Streep as Aunt March.

"Knives Out"

Oscar- nominated for Best Original Screenplay!  Acclaimed writer and director Rian Johnson ("Brick," "Looper," "Star Wars: The Last Jedi") pays tribute to mystery mastermind Agatha Christie in this film.  When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (played by Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (played by Daniel Craig) is enlisted to investigate.  From Harlan’s dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death.  Also stars Chris EvansAna de ArmasJamie Lee CurtisToni ColletteDon JohnsonMichael ShannonLaKeith StanfieldKatherine Langford, and Jaeden Martell.

"Fantastic Fungi"

This film, directed by Louie Schwartzberg and narrated by Brie Larson, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.  Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael PollanEugenia BoneAndrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offer us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges. 


At the State: Nominated for 10 Oscars including Best Director – Sam Mendes and Best Picture!  In this film, at the height of WWI, two young British soldiers, Lance Corporal Schofield (played by "Captain Fantastic’s" George Mackay) and Lance Corporal Blake (played by "Game of Thrones’" Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission.  In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers, Blake’s own brother among them.

"Uncut Gems"

From acclaimed filmmakersJoshand Benny Safdie comes an electrifying crime thriller about Howard Ratner (played by Adam Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score.  When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win. 

"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"

This film is produced, co-written, and directed by J. J. Abrams.  It will be the last installment of the Star Wars saga, which began in 1977.  A year after the events of "The Last Jedi," the remnants of the Resistance face the First Order once again—while reckoning with the past and their own inner turmoil.  Meanwhile, the ancient conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its climax, altogether bringing the Skywalker saga to a definitive end.

"Jojo Rabbit"

Nominated for 6 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress – Scarlett Johansson!  Writer-director Taika Waititi ("Thor: Ragnarok," "Hunt for the Wilderpeople") brings his signature style of humor and pathos to his latest film, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (played by Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic.  Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (played by Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism. 


Nominated for 6 Oscars including Best International Film!  Bong Joon Ho brings his work home to Korea in this pitch-black modern fairytale.  Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth.  And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else.  Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity.  Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist, to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. 


"Bad Boys for Life"

The Bad Boys Mike Lowrey (played by Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (played by Martin Lawrence) are back together for one last ride in the highly anticipated sequel.  The two old-school cops team up to take down the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel.  The newly-created elite team AMMO of the Miami police department, along with Mike and Marcus, go up against the ruthless Armando Armas.


In this film, Dr. John Dolittle (played by Robert Downey Jr.), lives in solitude behind the high walls of his lush manor in 19th-century England.  His only companionship comes from an array of exotic animals that he speaks to daily.  But when young Queen Victoria becomes gravely ill, the eccentric doctor and his furry friends embark on an epic adventure to a mythical island to find the cure.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu

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