Why should the Oscar add nominees to the acting categories?

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I’m a big fan of the Oscars or also called The Academy Awards as they are commonly known. This award ceremony celebrates the best in cinema through each calendar year. The ceremony is usually held around late February or early March the next year. The Academy Awards usually have 5 nominees in each of the 24 categories. This awards ceremony is up to its 87th year in existence. Many of the awards in the show have been given out ever since the beginning. The number of nominees have been the same as well. During that time the number of film that have came out during a given year more then tripled. In 2009 the nominees of the Best Picture category were raised from five to ten nominees. This was largely in turn because quite a few people were upset that The Dark Knight, the second film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, didn’t get nominated for Best Picture the year before. Heath Ledger would win the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his riveting portrayal of the sadistic,psychotic arch nemesis of Batman,The Joker.

I’m just gonna use the last two years as an example of why I believe that the acting nominees in the Best Acting categories should be raised to six or more nominees. Last year the nominees in the Best acting category were Steve Carell for Foxcatcher, Bradley Cooper for American Sniper, Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game, Michael Keaton for Birdman and Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything. Eddie Redmayne won the award. I believe two of these nominees shouldn’t have been nominated. They are Bradley Cooper for American Sniper and Steve Carell for Foxcatcher. In my opinion David Oyelowo should have been nominated for his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King in Selma. Steve Carell was more of a supporting role as John Dupont in Foxcatcher. He didn’t need to be in the Best Actor category. Last year there could have been up to eight nominees in my opinion. Ralph Fiennes definitely should have been nominated for his role in The Grand Budapest Hotel.

This year we have already had at least three or four actors who probably deserve a Best Actor nominee. Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger in Black Mass, Matt Damon as Mark Watney in The Martian, Joeseph Gordon-Levitt as Phillipe Petit in The Walk and Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs in Steve Jobs. A fifth nominee could easy be chosen from from any of the performances coming out in the next three months or from Jake Gyllenhaal from South Paw or Tobey Maguire from Pawn Sacrifice. If you do the math before the end of the year there are easily five more legitimate performances that could or should be nominated. Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant, Bryan Cranston for Trumbo, Tom Hanks for Bridge of Spies or Tom Hardy for Legend.

Just using the last two years is enough to see that there are just  to many films and to many actors who deserve nominations. These awards have been around for to long and as time goes bye things change and the Academy Awards should be able to change with the times. If they can add five nominees to the Best Picture category then they should def add one of more nominee to the Best Actor or another acting category. If one category has a lot of great performances that year then make that category more that year and other categories less that particular year.

Dan Skip Allen

My 30 Most Anticipated Films of the Fall and Winter 2015 Pt. 2

15;Trumbo

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In 1947, successful screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) and other Hollywood figures get blacklisted for their political beliefs.

14:Creed

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Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father, boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born. However, boxing is in his blood, so he seeks out Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and asks the retired champ to be his trainer. Rocky sees much of Apollo in Adonis, and agrees to mentor him, even as he battles an opponent deadlier than any in the ring. With Rocky’s help, Adonis soon gets a title shot, but whether he has the true heart of a fighter remains to be seen.

13:Bridge of Spies

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During the Cold War, the Soviet Union captures U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Powers only hope is New York lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks), recruited by a CIA operative (Scott Shepherd) to negotiate his release. Donovan boards a plane to Berlin, hoping to win the young man’s freedom through a prisoner exchange. If all goes well, the Russians would get convicted spy Rudolf Abel, who Donovan defended in court years earlier.

12:Suffragette

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In late 19th and early 20th century, the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal state in the quest for equal rights.

11;Joy

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A story of a family across four generations, centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Facing betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, Joy becomes a true boss of family and enterprise in a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy’s inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces.

10:The Walk

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In 1974, French high-wire artist Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) attempts to walk on a tightrope attached to the north and south towers of the World Trade Center.

9:The Martian

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When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth, members of NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring him home, while his crew mates hatch their own plan for a daring rescue mission.

8:The Danish Girl

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Artist Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) undergoes a sex-change operation in the early 1900s.

7:The Hunger Games:Mocking Jay Pt 2

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Realizing the stakes are no longer just for survival, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) teams up with her closest friends, including Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Finnick for the ultimate mission. Together, they leave District 13 to liberate the citizens of war-torn Panem and assassinate President Snow, who’s obsessed with destroying Katniss. What lies ahead are mortal traps, dangerous enemies and moral choices that will ultimately determine the future of millions.

6:Sicario

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After rising through the ranks of her male-dominated profession, idealistic FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) receives a top assignment. Recruited by mysterious government official Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), Kate joins a task force for the escalating war against drugs. Led by the intense and shadowy Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), the team travels back-and-forth across the U.S.-Mexican border, using one cartel boss (Bernardo Saracino) to flush out a bigger one (Julio Cesar Cedillo).

5:Black Mass

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While his brother Bill (Benedict Cumberbatch) remains a powerful leader in the Massachusetts Senate, Irish hoodlum James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) continues to pursue a life of crime in 1970s Boston. Approached by FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), the lawman convinces Whitey to help the agency fight the Italian mob. As their unholy alliance spirals out of control, Bulger increases his power and evades capture to become one of the most dangerous gangsters in U.S. history.

4:The Revenant

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In the 1820s, a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, sets out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling. (Leonardo DiCaprio) Hugh Glass, (Tom Hardy) John Fitzgerald,(Domhnall Gleeson) Andrew Henry

3:The Hateful Eight

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While racing toward the town of Red Rock in post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh) encounter another bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson) and a man (Walton Goggins) who claims to be a sheriff. Hoping to find shelter from a blizzard, the group travels to a stagecoach stopover located on a mountain pass. After encountering four strangers, they may not make it to their destination.

2: Spectre

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A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.

1:Star Wars: A Force Awakens

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The further adventures of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). (Daisy Ridly Rey,(John Boyaga) Finn,(Oscar Issac) Poe Dameron, (Adam Driver) Kylo Ren, (Gwendline Christie) Captain Phasma,(Domhnall Gleeson) General Hux.

These are the 30 Films I am most looking forward to in the next for months. A few films I left off of my list I am still interested in seeing are Youth, Bye the Sea,Room,Our Brand is Crisis,33,Legend and Truth. I hope everyone finds this list informative and enlightening. There area lot of great films coming out in the near future so go to the theater and watch.

Dan Skip Allen

Big Year for Boxing Movies Pt.2

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The Boxer is about Terry Flynn played by, three time Oscar Winner for Best Actor, Daniel Day-Lewis. Terry takes the rap for his IRA friends and ends up in prison for 14 years. He gets out and tries to rebuild his life in his old Belfast neighborhood. Emily Watson plays his childhood friend who marry’s his best friend. He opens a gym and doesn’t cater to Catholics or Protestants  This doesn’t go over very well with his friends in the IRA who he hasn’t denounced yet. Harry the leader of the IRA group resorts to some nasty tactics to get his way.

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Million Dollar Baby is about young Maggie Fitzgerald, played by 2 time Oscar Winner for Best Actress for this role and her role in Boys Don’t Cry. Clint Eastwood plays Frankie Dunn a crotchety old trainer. He keeps telling Maggie that he doesn’t train girls but, Maggie doesn’t listen and keeps coming back. Morgan Freeman plays the counterpart to Eastwood’s Dunn in Eddie “Scrap Iron” Dupris the gym caretaker. Eastwood is a man of all trades in the rags to riches tale. He directs,acts and scores the movies music in Million Dollar Baby. He crafts a heroically tragic tale with an ending you don’t see coming a mile away. Swank and Freeman show why they have won multiple Oscars.

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Quiet Man is about an American boxer who kills and opponent. He swears off boxing and goes back to his homeland of Ireland.John Wayne plays Sean Thornton. He finds romance when he goes home with local Mary Kate played by Maureen O’Hara. He has to refrain from picking up the gloves again when Mary Kate’s brother, Victor MaLaglen who plays Squire ‘Red” Will Danaher the town bully. Sean marry’s Mary Kate but, she accuses him of cowardice when he won’t stand up for her. She threatened to leave after he won’t except he brothers challenge. Sean eventually takes the challenge and rescue’s his lady before she heads off on a train.

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Somebody Up There Likes Me is about boxing legend Rocky Marciano. Oscar winner for his role in The Color of Money as “Fast; Eddie Felson, Paul Newman portrays the great boxing champion. Going from one reform school to another he eventually picks up the gloves to earn a few bucks. He demonstrates a will to win and an intensity and unorthodox fighting style. His wife and him try and change his life for the better by excepting the challenge of becoming a champion. Newman spent months training for this role and its his first big role that got him noticed in Hollywood. Oscar winning director Robert Wise really got Marciano’s life in this great boxing bio-pic.

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Girlfight is about a young girl who discovers her one true love in the boxing ring. Michelle Rodriguez plays Diana Guzman a girl who is always fighting. She always fight with her father or the gossipy girls at school in the Bronx in New York. She finds a home at her brothers gym and Hector her trainer is hard on her. Boxing turns out to be the outlet for her anger and she realizes she very good in the ring. The true challenge is the fact that she falls for a feather weight Adrian. Karyn Kusama does a fantastic job of combining drama with the action of the boxing for a first time director.

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Other boxing or fighting movies of notice are Against the Ropes starring Meg Ryan and Omar Epps as Jackie Kallen and “Lethal” Luther Shaw.This movie is loosely based on the story of James Lights out Toney and his female manager. Gladiator starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and James Marshall.Resurrecting the Champ starring Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett and Warrior starring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as brothers Tommy and Brandon and ex-marine and and ex mixed martial arts fighter. Both have struggles of there own and end up getting involved in an mixed martial arts tournament. Tommy gets his father played by Nick Nolte to train him and Frank Grillo to train him. A really funny comedy about two old boxing opponents Grudge Match. Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone are to old competitors who reunite for a big match that will give the winner bragging writes forever. This a funny version of probably to of the biggest boxing movie stars of all time.

“Warrior is my favorite boxing/fighting film although I am not a fan of Mixed Martial Arts,I really connected with the themes of brotherhood and family that were presented in it. I remember seeing it with my brother and that made the experience that more special. There’s a lot to love about this film all topped off by its three powerhouse performances by Nick Nolte,Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton. Powerful,inspiring and moving Warrior is one of the best that came out.”-Rasika Wickramaratme

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2015 is gonna be a great year for boxing movies. First up we have Southpaw starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a fighter who is rising to the the top as his world is falling down around him. Also starring Rachel McAdams,Rita Ora,Forrest Whitaker as Titus “Tick” Wills and Naomi Harris. Southpaw is directed by Antoine Fuqua and comes out on July 31st, 2015. Bleed for This is the true inspirational story of boxing champion Vinny Pazienza. Miles Teller plays the Pazienza. He comes back from a fatal car crash and not know if he will ever walk again, makes one of the most miraculous comebacks in sports history. This film is directed by Ben Younger and also star Katie Sagal and Ciaran Hinds as his parents and Arron Eckhart as Kevin Rooney and Ted Levine as Lou Duva. Bleed for This is also out later in 2015. Ryan Coogler is screenwriter and director on Creed the spin-off of the Rocky franchise. Sylvester Stallone plays the mentor and trainer of the grandson of his arch nemesis. Creed star Micheal B. Jordan as the grandson and he and Coogler have already worked together in Fruitvale Station. Creed comes out on November 25th 2015.

Dan Skip Allen

Big Year for Boxing movies Pt. 1

The Boxing movie genre has been a good one over the years. Some of the great movies of all times have been ones based on boxing movies. Directors like Martin Scorsese,Ron Howard,Micheal Mann, David O. Russell and Robert Wise have made movies based on boxing legends like Jake LaMotta,Gentleman Jim Braddock, Irish Mickey Ward, Muhammed Ali and Rocky Graziano. Other movie directors who made boxing movies have been Clint Eastwood,John Ford,Karyn Kusama ,John G. Alvidsen and Norman Jewison. There movies include Million Dollar Baby,Quiet Man,Girl Fight,Rocky and The Hurricane. Boxing movies have been based on true stories and fiction. Most are dramas that capture the tough lives and the tough streets where these men and women come from. Later this year we will see three other boxing movies Southpaw,Creed and Bleed for this.

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Raging Bull is about the middle-weight champion Jake La Motta. Robert DeNiro plays The Bronx Bull in Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece. Jake struggles in and out of the ring with with his wives,brother and Sugar Ray Robinson. Scorsese based this film on La Motta’s own book called Raging Bull:My Story. Deniro gains sixty pounds to play the middle-weight champ. The black & white scenes were perfect to show the times the movie takes place. La Motta fought Sugar Ray Robinson six times. He was the one true adversary La Motta had in the middle weight category.Jake La Motta defeats Marcel Cerdan to become the middle weight champ for the first time. “My favorite boxing movie is Martin Scorsese’s 1980’s classic Raging Bull. The almost dream like opening of that film is one of the most haunting images you will see in cinema. Raging Bull is the ultimate rise and fall boxing film and no other will surpass it. Scorsese and DeNiro have created a timeless,dark,honest masterpiece that transcends the boxing genre.”-George McCann  I have to agree with filmmaker and writer George McCann Its my favorite boxing film as well.

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Rocky is the fictional tale of Rocky Balboa portrayed by Sylvester Stallone. Rocky is the every man who who rises to become a boxing legend. In this first Rocky movie he goes against Carl Weather’s Apollo Creed. His manager Micky is portrayed famously by Burgess Meredith and his Adrian wife is played by Talia Shire. This American tale of Rocky is one everyone can relate to. A lot of us have struggled like Rocky so its a story we all fell in love with. Rocky won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1976 and all the main Actors were nominated for Oscars that year. John G. Alvidsen won for Best director as well for Rocky. Rocky would go on to spawn  four sequels and later this year a spin-off called Creed.

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Cinderella Man is about James J. Braddock played by Oscar winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator) and his wife Mea Braddock played by Oscar winner Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain). This is a down an out man and his family. He struggles to feed them while also trying to become the boxing contender again. While working on the docks he resorts to borrowing money from the government. This film takes place in the early 1920’s and Oscar Winner Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) really captures the times and the plight of his characters perfectly. Paul Giamatti plays Braddock’s friend and manager Joe Gould and he is very entertaining and inspiring in the this role. Braddock eventually rises to fight famous boxing champ of the time Max Bear.

“I really enjoy Cinderella Man directed by Ron Howard. It tells the story of Jim Braddock, who during the depression gave America someone to root for. Russell Crowe is terrific in this film and fits the character so well. Paul Giamatti’s supporting work as his trainer was outstanding and his Oscar nomination was well deserved. This is an underrated film that more people should see, because its not just a boxing film its about hope and overcoming odds.”-Cole Boone I couldn’t say it better myself Cole.

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The Fighter is based on the life of Irish Micky Ward. Micky Ward is played by Mark Wahlberg and he’s from Lowell,Mass. His brother Dickie played by Christain Bale and Micky grow up together and are both fighters.Together they try and be a team as manager and fighter after Micky’s career ends. Once again a hard luck story off a  boxer from the tough streets  rising to become the champ. On the way Micky has his ups and down in the ring and with his brother who is a drug addict.  He ends up meeting his eventual wife Charlene played by Amy Adams  Alice Ward played by Melissa Leo tries to hold the family together. Both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo won Oscars for there respective roles as Alice and Dickie Eklund. David O. Russell really captures the struggle of this family and there journey together in this rousing film.

“I loved the Fighter because it felt authentic and not just the fight scenes. Russell really captured that hard lower class lifestyle showing the ups and downs while not being to condescending. The characters aren’t pitiable, they actually have dignity despite the circumstances and the relationships between everyone feel 100% natural.”-Rachel J. Cushing  http://www.getreelwithrachel.com/

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The Hurricane is about Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. Denzel Washington plays the wrongly accused of murder, fighter. Sentenced to life in prison for something he didn’t do. He is confronted by some people who read his memoir later in life after spending many years in prison.A teen and three Canadian’s who think he is innocent and agree to help him get out of prison. Carter came up with the famous quote “Hate got me into this place, and love got me out.”  Lesra Martin plays Vicellous Reon Shannon the boy who finds Carter’s book and then recruits Liev Schreiber’s Sam Chaiton, John Hannah’s Terry Swinton and Deborah Kara Hunger’s Lisa Peter’s to help him prove Carter innocent after twenty years. A famous song was written and sung back when Carter was imprisoned by Bob Dylan.

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Ali is the movie based on the life of legendary boxing great Muhammed Ali. Ali is portrayed brilliantly by Will Smith. This movie explores the life of Ali from his religious background to all of his three wives. Ali got involved with political activists Malcolm X played by Mario Van Peebles and Martin Luther King played by Lavar Burton.The main theme of the movie though is how Ali became the greatest heavy weight boxing off all time. Jon Voight portrays legendary ABC sports announcer Howard Cosell. Without Howard there probably wouldn’t be a Ali. His is the yin to Ali’s yang. They were perfect for each other. Feeding each other banter and popular quotes like “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”. Ali fought to keep his purse and not let boxing promoters like Angelo Dundee or Don King get the better of him. Ali really shows us the entire life of the boxing great. Michael Mann really capture his life and the people who have surrounded him throughout it. To be continued in Part 2

Dan Skip Allen