CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
Film Feature: HollywoodChicago.com’s 2016 Oscar Predictions
CHICAGO – Okay kids, time to jump into the 2016 Oscar Pool. There are “predictors,” and then there is HollywoodChicago.com! That’s right, critic contributors Spike Walters and Patrick McDonald have the inside scoop to who will win on Oscar night, because they have a DeLorean time machine – in their dreams!
Eight films – “Bridge of Spies,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Revenant,” “Spotlight,” “The Martian,” “The Big Short,” “Room,” and “Brooklyn.” – will vie for the 2016 Best Picture Award, and multiple white faces will compete for the acting categories. Spike and Patrick will opine on BEST Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor/Actress and Director. As in previous years, the prognostications are broken down into thoughts on who WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN and SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED (for one last gasp of desperate dissent). The predictors will also take on a wild card guess for two other categories, and the latest odds on the rest of the field will be highlighted to fill out your ballot for Oscar Night. Happy Oscar!
PREDICTOR GUIDE: Spike Walters = SW and Patrick McDonald = PM
Will Win: “The Revenant” (SW, PM)
Should Win: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (SW), “Room” (PM)
Should Have Been Nominated: “Steve Jobs” (SW), “Love & Mercy” (PM)
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox
Both prognosticators go with the Big Bear, not in the “Room”…”Personally, I’m not a big fan of ‘The Revenant,’ but it’s sweeping to victory because obviously there are folks in the Academy who love bears, and their ability to maul Leo.” (PM) “All that grunting in ‘The Revenant’ seems to have put the Academy in a trance, and it seems to the one with momentum right now even though it’s my least favorite nominee. ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ was a true technical and cinematic marvel. And while for me the most dynamic and exciting movie of the year, ‘Steve Jobs,’ wasn’t nominated.” (SW)
Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio “The Revenant” (PM, SW)
Should Win: DiCaprio, (PM), Michael Fassbender (SW)
Should Have Been Nominated: Tom Courtenay “45 Years” (PM), Michael B. Jordan “Creed” (SW).
Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘The Revenant’
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox
It’s Leonardo’s year, we’re just sharing it with him…”Leo simply overshadows a fairly straight forward group of performances. Courtenay should have joined his on-screen ’45 Years’ partner Charlotte Rampling, but it would have made no difference in the year of Leo.” (PM) “Leonardo Dicaprio will win this year but for all the wrong reasons. He’s due, and ‘The Revenant’ was an understandably difficult shoot. But I’d rather watch Michael Fassbender embody and bring to life the prickly pioneer a hundred times rather than sit through ‘The Revenant’ again.” (SW)
Will Win: Brie Larson “Room” (PM, SW)
Should Win: Cate Blanchett, “Carol” (PM), Larson (SW)
Should Have Been Nominated: Charlize Theron “Mad Max: Fury Road” (PM, SW)
Brie Larson in ‘Room’
Photo credit: A24
Brie Larson gets the nod here, and Charlize Theron gets some love, emerging from the adrenaline-fueled Max universe…“Except for JLaw, this is the strongest group of performances, with any of the other three deserving of gold. What distinguishes Blanchett, Rampling and Ronan from Larson (who was terrific) was that they completely had to carry their films, but Cate especially was the whole of ‘Carol.’” (PM) “Brie Larson gets and should win the award because she makes palatable what didn’t sound like an appealing premise. It takes a lot for an actress to basically hold the screen while trying to get by stuck in a single room and survive, but Larson pulls it off. Charlize Theron was truly a surprise in the big budget blockbuster and proved more than able to carry the film, turning Mad Max into a supporting player in his own movie.” (SW)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Will Win: Sylvester Stallone “Creed” (PM), Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Should Win: Stallone (PM), Ruffalo (SW)
Should Have Been Nominated: Pierce Brosnan “No Escape” (PM), Michael Stuhlbarg “Steve Jobs” (SW)
Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone in ‘Creed’
Photo credit: Warner Bros.
The predictors are split, the predictors are split!…”Cue endless playings of the ‘Rocky’ theme, Stallone is honored full circle. Catch Pierce Brosnan if you can in the underrated ‘No Escape,’ as he portrays a somewhat demented James Bond.” (PM) “While prognosticators have Sly Stallone taking home Oscar gold for playing Rocky (for the 7th time) I smell an upset here – perhaps it’s the lingering resentment from having to sit through too many bad Stallone pictures over the years. Ruffalo has the most Oscar ready reel in an entire cast full of stellar supporting players in Spotlight, and he deserves it. Stuhlbarg never had a chance, but I thought his subtle and delicate work while holding the screen with one of the titans of technology was worthy of an honor.” (SW)
BEST SUPPPORTING ACTRESS:
Will Win: Jennifer Jason Leigh “The Hateful Eight” (PM), Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl” (SW)
Should Win: Leigh (PM), Kate Winslet “Steve Jobs” (SW)
Should Have Been Nominated: Alicia Vikander “Ex Machina” (PM), Jennifer Jason Leigh “Anomalisa” (SW)
Alicia Vikander in ‘The Danish Girl’
Photo credit: Focus Features
Ha Ha Ha, the wildest split possible. Jennifer and Alicia switch roles and positions between two guesses in two categories…”This is one of my famous (and mostly wrong) ‘split the vote’ predictions. Kate has faded since the Globes, and Vikander is nominated for the wrong film, thus the showy JenJay takes the gold. Yep.” (PM) “Vikander was nominated this year but for the wrong role. She gets a nomination and probably the award for a forgettable piece of Oscar bait. Winslet disappeared into her role and had a way with dialogue that turned it from technical jargon into pure poetry. Jennifer Jason Leigh is another actress nominated this year but for the wrong role, when she was truly striking in the animated ‘Anomalisa.’” (SW)
Will Win: Alejandro González Iñárrittu “The Revenant” (PM, SW)
Should Win: Adam McKay “The Big Short” (PM), George Miller “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Should Have Been Nominated: Alex Garland “Ex Machina” (PM), Danny Boyle “Steve Jobs” (SW)
Director Alejandro González Iñárrittu On Set for ‘The Revenant’
Photo credit: Warner Bros.
It’s a clean sweep for “The Revenant” in this category, and SW continues his “Steve Jobs” love…”Visually and technically, ‘The Revenant’ is an achievement. Story, not so much, but give Iñárrittu credit for swaying the Awards Season two years in a row. Todd Haynes for ‘Carol’ just missed the should-have-been. ” (PM) “I am hoping against hope for an upset here, but Iñárrittu’s showy self-satisfied-yet-ultimately-arduous-and-meaningless meander through the west will probably make him a back-to-back winner.“ (SW)