By Michael Schwartz
Tom Hanks has long been considered one of the most beloved American icons. Right up there with the flag and apple pie, Hanks has carved out a place in history that allows him to be the rare celebrity beloved by just about everyone in these otherwise polarizing times. He is wise. He is comforting. He is America's dad. As Hanks' latest film, "News of the World," is set to open on Christmas Day, it is interesting to look at where both this film and role factor into his place in this tumultuous year.
By Michael Schwartz
When we think of performers that are overdue for Oscar love, none is as prominent as the masterful Glenn Close, an actress who has delivered consistent excellence for over 40 years on stage and screen. With seven Oscar nominations to her name, Close has been in the conversation for decades. Yet that win has long eluded her, even when it seemed imminent. This year, the veteran actress is back in the fold for her dynamic work in "Hillbilly Elegy." But what brought her to this moment? What does the trajectory of Glenn Close's remarkable career look like as she looks to add another nomination and potential win to her record? Let's take a look back at the performances and nominations of an acting legend.
By Josh Parham
I usually thought that the idea of being heartbroken about the death of a celebrity felt like a silly endeavor. That is not to say there isn’t a place to mourn the loss of an artist and what they have contributed, but becoming so emotionally invested in the death of a person you have never met rings the tiniest bit as inauthentic. However, sometimes exceptions are made. Because there are moments when the life of one person whose path you’ve never crossed has had such a profound impact that knowing they are gone is meaningful. It had been quite some time since I last felt that. That sharp pain was felt again a few days ago when the world learned of the death of Chadwick Boseman.
By Amanda Spears
It was a shock to the whole world when it was announced on Friday evening that Chadwick Boseman died at age 43 of colon cancer at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by his wife and family. He leaves behind a short but impactful legacy that touched the lives of millions of people all over the world through his dignified performances playing real-life iconic figures in history and fictionalized characters he made historic through his dedicated work.
Boseman was born in South Carolina and would go on to graduate from Howard University and the British American Dramatic Academy at Oxford, England (The latter of which was paid for by fellow actor Denzel Washington). Like many actors, he got his start on television with a series of parts in everything from “Third Watch,” “Law & Order,” “CSI: NY,” “ER,” “Cold Case,” a 13 episode run on “Persons Unknown,” “Castle,” and “Justified.”
By Cody Dericks
Widely regarded as one of the more daring and reliable character actors working today, Willem Dafoe has carved out a unique career over the past four decades. He has portrayed heroes, villains, anti-heroes, and everything in between. And with that varied filmography has come Oscar success with a total of, so far, three Best Supporting Actor nominations and one Best Actor nomination. His four nominations are indicative of his consistently distinctive choice of roles. They are also all surprising in their own way, whether because of a lack of precursor nominations, the unconventionality of the nominated performance compared to what the Academy usually favors, or a combination of these and other factors. In honor of his 65th birthday, let’s explore these four nominations and see what makes them so special.
By Lauren LaMagna
Saoirse Ronan turned 26 on April 12th and has already accomplished a career’s worth of achievements. Within a 17-year career, Ronan has 33 acting credits to her name that range in television and film across a multitude of genres. Within pop culture and Hollywood, Ronan is one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation, but can her 26th year bring another career milestone?
By Tom O'Brien
With "Parasite," this year's Cannes winner of the Palme d'Or, now opening in American theaters, a significant number of U.S. moviegoers will be introduced for the first time to the great South Korean director Bong Joon Ho. Next Best Picture readers are, of course, familiar with Bong, but how many of his films have they actually seen? And what would be the best way to get up to speed?
Luckily, I'm here to offer you Bong-101.
By Josh Williams
When you watch a film, what is it exactly you are hoping to discover while watching? A new actor or actress? A new piece of the director, writer, cinematographer or editor's work? A mentally and psychologically challenging piece of art? Or perhaps you just would like to escape reality for a few hours and be entertained. Obviously, there's no wrong answer to this rhetorical question I've just asked but it certainly makes you wonder. Regardless of what your answer might be, we all become occupied with this when watching a movie. We allow a filmmaker to take complete and total control of our psyche through whatever it is they are showing us and they make us hear what it is they want to say.
Filmmakers want to manipulate us. Some want to point out the truth or expose a lie. Some simply want to ask a question and ask us to come up with an answer or maybe even more questions. However, there are some filmmakers who don't want to give us any answers. They present so many different images on the surface that they give off the feeling that there is something much deeper going on, only for us to never fully decipher the puzzle they have put forth. Certain filmmakers want to entice us, subject us to their deepest and darkest thoughts that not only raise questions but make us contemplate everything we have ever known. These filmmakers force us to delve into the scariest corners of our minds and explore reasoning we never even thought of prior to watching any film before. And no filmmaker challenges their audience more than David Lynch.
By Daniel Howat
A few weeks ago, a debate started among the writers of Next Best Picture: Who is the best actress of the decade? As we near the end of the 2010s, there are dozens of valid choices. We could we choose Nicole Kidman, who has had an amazing resurgence both in film and TV. Or Amy Adams, no doubt of the best actresses working today, and one of the most overdue for an Oscar. Or Viola Davis, winning an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony in this decade. All incredible women to be sure, but after much deliberation and with the release of "Dark Phoenix" coming up, I’m here to submit my choice for the Actress of the Decade: Jennifer Lawrence.
By Dan Bayer
On Monday, September 13, the world lost one of the last remaining legends of Hollywood’s Golden Age: Doris Day. The former Doris Mary Kappelhoff was America’s reigning sweetheart throughout the twenty years she spent in the movies, her apple-cheeked beauty and appealing screen presence making her one of the top box office earners of all time. She was a multiple Golden Globe nominee and was honored by the HFPA with the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1989, but received only one Oscar nomination, for 1959’s romantic comedy “Pillow Talk”.
By Danilo Castro
Keanu Reeves is a Hollywood anomaly. He doesn’t have much range as an actor. He never really transforms to play a character, and as anyone who’s seen “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” can tell you, he’s not exactly a pro when it comes to accents. He has cons that would derail most of his peers, and yet, they only serve to strengthen his universal appeal. That’s because Reeves is one of the cinema’s true underdogs. Over the course of his career, few actors have proven more adept at playing ordinary men who rise to face extraordinary circumstances.
By Josh Parham
When “Twilight” burst onto screens in the fall of 2008, I admit to not being part of that fervent fandom. Mind you, I had no ill will toward those that sought enjoyment out of the film, but an eighteen-year-old film snob just wasn’t interested. As the films increased and the popularity grew, I stayed mostly on the sidelines of the franchise and resigned myself to simply not engage. Years later, when I finally watched the films, I was not terribly impressed but did feel they improved upon each new entry. Even still, the acting was never something I considered praiseworthy, particularly from the central leads.
By Nicole Ackman
With "The Aftermath" coming out this month, it’s a good time to look back over Keira Knightley’s best performances. Her latest film falls into a pattern of her movies that could almost be its own genre: period dramas in which Keira Knightley’s character has an affair. There certainly was a wide variety of choices for this list because even though Knightley is frequently in period films, her roles show substantial range from the hysteria-riddled Sabina in "A Dangerous Method" to the fiery Elizabeth Swan in "The Pirates of the Caribbean" films.
These are my personal five picks for Keira Knightley’s best performances in a period drama.
By Danilo Castro
Ryan Gosling is one of Hollywood’s quietest superstars. His films have garnered box office success, cultural staying power, and a pair of Oscar nominations to boot. As a collection of stories, however, his films represent something altogether unique. They document a career-long character arc, a maturation of Gosling’s screen persona from heartthrob and rebel to thoughtful adult; from lovesick kid hanging atop a ferris wheel to a family man walking atop the moon. It’s rare that an actor undergoes such a lengthy metamorphosis, and rarer still that they maintain their favor with audiences along the way, but such has been the case with the Ontario native.
By Jessica Peña
She’s an Academy Award-winning actress, a global humanitarian worker, and one of the most role encompassing performers working today. Charlize Theron has made an exquisite career for herself and it doesn’t look like she’s putting a stop to it anytime soon. With an Oscar win under her belt for the daringly brilliant “Monster" (2003), it becomes quite clear that Theron takes her roles very seriously and sometimes they turn out to be engagingly exuberant. She’s a badass woman who rarely stumbles, and we can always expect to see great work from her, whether it be harrowing portrayals of a hope once robbed or the more lighthearted offerings and action-packed escapism. We can find yet another one of her best performances in Jason Reitman’s latest, “Tully,” which releases in theaters this weekend. While it takes a hard look at motherhood in a naturally candid light, it more than excels Theron’s acting as one of high caliber realness and pedigree. In 2007, she founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) in an effort to help the youth of Africa going through HIV/AIDS. She is an exemplary citizen in ventures as diverse as her acting career and this weekend, we celebrate her as she delivers another performance for the books.
Curiosity, Existentialism & Sensory Euphoria - The Work Of "Annihilation" Writer/Director Alex Garland
By Jessica Peña
As “Annihilation” pushes its way across half its production budget at the US box office and expands to Netflix internationally, there’s still time left to marvel at how a piece of science fiction film can deliver and ask a greater question about ourselves: What is it about “Annihilation” that keeps us talking? Why has it become this engrossing topic of discussion among moviegoers? Alex Garland’s second feature film is an intrepid voyage of the unknown, ultimately challenging the audience to not look away from its cerebral mastery. One could say the film is straight up psychological acid. It has a tantalizing effect that begs to ask us about ourselves. Films like this are one in a million and it makes an even bigger impact when it is resourceful of metaphysical ambiguity.
By Josh Williams
Guillermo del Toro is one of the few filmmakers with the ability to bring the world of fantasy to life. With his brilliantly accurate creature design and painstaking attention to detail in his sets, the fantasy world that del Toro has written on paper magically comes to life before our eyes. Whether it be with his large budget films like "Hellboy" or "Pacific Rim", del Toro perfectly balances style and substance. Never choosing to compromise one for the other, he is constantly focused on telling an intriguing and moving story while also setting out to dazzle us with his spectacle. And with the release of his latest film "The Shape of Water," we here at Next Best Picture have decided to take a trip into the filmography of Guillermo del Toro. So without further ado here is our ranking of Guillermo del Toro's films! You can read Matt's review of "The Shape of Water" here!
By Josh Williams & Matt Neglia
Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the most prolific actors working. He has stunned us with countless unforgettable characters time and time again. Ever since his career began in the early 90's, Gyllenhaal has been on a course with greatness. Utilizing the control he has over his vocal tones, the messages he can deliver with his face and his brute sometimes fragile physicality, he has easily become one of the greatest actors to ever step in front of a camera.
By Josh Williams
Andy Serkis has been a beloved actor for quite some time yet he has never received the attention he deserves. Serkis is a hard working, well-rounded actor that has been in the spotlight a few times but has never truly received the praise he is due. As he continues to shock the world with his motion capture performances we here at Next Best Picture decided to take a glimpse into Serkis’ approach via our most recent podcast and now here, as he mixes classic character acting with the new technology, which contrary to popular belief does not hinder the performance in any way.
By Josh Williams
Sofia Coppola is a director who has remained seemingly hidden throughout her career, yet her work has always held its head a little higher than the rest. With only six feature films under her belt, Coppola has definitely established an incredibly significant style that is purely her own. Simply making films that she wants to make and channeling something completely different than any other director working, Coppola has always managed to shine a little brighter than the rest. Since her most recent film, "The Beguiled," releases this week, we decided to take a brief stroll through the career of Sofia Coppola.
By Josh Williams
Judd Apatow is a name that carries quite a bit of weight in the world of cinema. Whether you love him or you hate him, when you hear his name, a reaction is almost instantly sparked. He has remained on top of the romantic comedy genre ever since "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" in 2005. Though it seems clear that Apatow has mastered the romantic comedy, he hasn’t necessarily received a good amount of awards attention. Some of his films get some screenplay attention here and there but that is about as far as it goes. Apatow has never really garnered any large scale awards attention but with "The Big Sick" releasing very soon, that could all change.
Ever since Scarlett Johansson first appeared on screen, moviegoers and cinephiles alike fell deeply in love with her. Not only for her strikingly good looks but also her overwhelming talented acting abilities. Johansson has proved since the beginning of her career that she is a force to be reckoned with. She started out in independent films and has continued working on the occasional indie film, but now she’s been eyed for some bigger blockbusters including the Marvel films and the most recent "Ghost in the Shell" film. Becoming one of the most popular actresses working in film today, it is no doubt that Scarlett Johansson will go down as one of the best actresses to hit the screen.
Nomadland (18) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, CIC, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, KCFCC, NDFS, NSFC, NTFCA, OFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA, TIFF, VENICE
Promising Young Woman (5) - COFCA, KCFCC, MCFCA, SCA, SDFCS
First Cow (2) - FFCC, NYFCC
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (3) - BFCC, CIC, PFCC
Minari (3) - NCFCA, NYFCO, OFCC
Da 5 Bloods (2) - CIC, NBR
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (2) - DFCS, HFCS
Another Round - EFA
Small Axe - LAFCA
Chloé Zhao (26) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BFCC, BSFC, CFCA, COFCA, DFCS, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, KCFCC, LAFCA, MSFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, NTFCA, NYFCC, NYFCO, OFCC, OFCS, PFCC, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Spike Lee (3) - CIC, HFCS, NBR
Regina King - BFCC
Darius Marder - SCA
Andrew Patterson - GOTHAM
Thomas Vinterberg - EFA
Frances McDormand (13) - AWFJ, BOFCA, CFCA, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, OFCC, OFCS, SFBAFCC
Carey Mulligan (11) - COFCA, DFCS, HFCS, KCFCC, LAFCA, MCFCA, NBR, NTFCA, NYFCO, SCA, SDFCS, StLFCA
Viola Davis (3) - BFCC, CIC, PFCC
Sidney Flanigan (2) - BSFC, NYFCC
Paula Beer - EFA
Nicole Beharie - GOTHAM
Riz Ahmed (11) - COFCA, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, HFCS, KCFCC, NBR, NDFS, NYFCO, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS
Chadwick Boseman (9) - AWFJ, BFCC, CFCA, CIC, DFCS, LAFCA, MSFCA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Delroy Lindo (8) - BOFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, NSFC, NYFCC, OFCS, PFCC
Anthony Hopkins (2) - BSFC, FFCC
Mads Mikkelsen - EFA
Steven Yeun - NTFCA
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Youn Yuh-jung (17) - AWFJ, BFCC, BSFC, COFCA, GWNYFCA, KCFCC, LAFCA, MCFCA, NBR, NCFCA, NTFCA, NYFCO, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Maria Bakalaova (11) - BOFCA, CFCA, CIC, FFCC, HFCS, IFJA, MCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, NYFCC, OFCS
Ellen Burstyn (2) - DFCS, NYFCO
Olivia Cooke - HFCS
Amanda Seyfried - PFCC
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Paul Raci (14) - BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, COFCA, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, NBR, NSFC, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Leslie Odom Jr. (7) - AWFJ, BFCC, HFCS, IFJA, KCFCC, NYFCO, OFCS
Sacha Baron Cohen (5) - DFCS, MCFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, NTFCA
Chadwick Boseman (3) - CIC, NYFCC, PFCC
Glynn Turman - LAFCA
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nomadland (10) - AWFJ, CFCA, COFCA, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, KCFCC, NCFCA, OFCC, OFCS
I'm Thinking Of Ending Things (4) - BOFCA, BSFC, FFCC, StLFCA
First Cow (3) - DFCS, PFCC, SFBAFCC
The Father (2) - SCA, SDFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2) - BFCC, CIC
News Of The World - NBR
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Promising Young Woman (11) - AWFJ, CIC, COFCA, HFCS, KCFCC, LAFCA, NDFS, NYFCO, OFCC, OFCS, StLFCA
Minari (6) - BFCC, FFCC, NBR, NCFCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC
Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always (5) - CFCA, GWNYFCA, IFJA, NSFC, NYFCC
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (4) - CIC, DFCS, HFCS, MCFCA
Another Round - EFA
The Forty-Year-Old-Version - GOTHAM
Fourteen - GOTHAM
Nomadland (18) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, CIC, COFCA, GWNYFCA, HFCS, MCFCA, NBR, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, NYFCO, OFCS, PFCC, SDFCS, StLFCA
Mank (3) - FFCC, OFCC, SCA
Tenet (3) - BFCC, HFCS, NTFCA
Small Axe (2) - LAFCA, NYFCC
First Cow - SFBAFCC
Hidden Away - EFA
The Vast Of Night - KCFCC
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Emma. (2) - CFCA, SDFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2) - CIC, HFCS
Hidden Away - EFA
BEST FILM EDITING
Nomadland (7) - AWFJ, BOFCA, GWNYFCA, NDFS, OFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (4) - CIC, COFCA, HFCS, MCFCA
I'm Thinking Of Ending Things (2) - BSFC, CFCA
The Invisible Man (2) - MCFCA, SDFCS
The Father - LAFCA
Once More Unto The Breach - EFA
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
The Endless Trench - EFA
Mank - HFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - CIC
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Soul (14) - BOFCA, CFCA, CIC, COFCA, DFCS, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, LAFCA, NCFCA, OFCC, OFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Tenet (3) - IFJA, MCFCA, SCA
Mank (2) - HFCS, NDFS
Berlin Alexanderplatz - EFA
Minari - BSFC
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
One Night In Miami (5) - CIC, DFCS, HFCS, HFCS, MCFCA
Over The Moon - NDFS
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Mank (9) - CFCA, CIC, FFCC, HFCS, LAFCA, MCFCA, NDFS, SDFCS, StLFCA
First Cow - SFBAFCC
The Personal History Of David Copperfield - EFA
Little Girl - EFA
Sound Of Metal - HFCS
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Tenet (6) - DFCS, HFCS, HFCS, NCFCA, SDFCS, StLFCA
The Invisible Man (2) - CFCA, CIC
The Platform - EFA
Possessor - FFCC
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Soul (19) - AWFJ, BFCC, CCA, CIC, DFCS, FFCC, HFCS, IFJA, MSFCA, NBR, NCFCA, NDFS, NTFCA, NYFCO, OFCC, OFCS, PFCC, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Wolfwalkers (8) - BOFCA, CFCA, COFCA, GWNYFCA, KCFCC, LAFCA, NYFCC, SDFCS
Josep - EFA
The Wolf House - BSFC
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Another Round (9) - AWFJ, CFCA, EFA, IFJA, KCFCC, MCFCA, NCFCA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Minari (6) - COFCA, DFCS, GWNYFCA, NTFCA, NYFCO, OFCS
Bacurau (2) - BOFCA, NYFCC
La Llorona (2) - BSFC, NBR
The Life Ahead (2) - HFCS, SDFCS
And Then We Danced - NDFS
A Sun - HFCS
Beanpole - LAFCA
Collective - NSFC
His House - CIC
Identifying Features - GOTHAM
Jumbo - PFCC
Los Fuertes - FFCC
Martin Eden - OFCC
Night Of The Kings - BFCC
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Time (8) - BFCC, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, LAFCA, NBR, NYFCC, PFCC, SDFCS
Dick Johnson Is Dead (6) - CCA, CFCA, COFCA, IFJA, NCFCA, OFCS
Collective (4) - BSFC, EFA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
All In: The Fight For Democracy (3) - AWFJ, NDFS, NTFCA
Boys State (3) - CIC, DFCS, OFCC
The Painter And The Thief (2) - AWFJ, BOFCA
Beastie Boys Story - HFCS
Crip Camp - IDA
The Dissident - KCFCC
My Octopus Teacher - HFCS
The Social Dilemma - MCFCA
A Thousand Cuts - GOTHAM
The Way I See It - NYFCO
You Don't Nomi - FFCC