Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The "Ito Junji Collection"

Ito Junji is an undisputed master of horror. He is known primarily for body horror, as exemplified by his three most popular manga collections: Uzumaki, Gyo, and Tomie. But he has created many more aberrations and abominations, and international audiences have been fortunate enough to get to behold them in English-language anthologies like Fragments of Horror and Shiver. When the anime series "Ito Junji Collection" was first announced, fans like myself were obviously ecstatic. It's one thing to see these abhorrent, nightmarish images on print, it's another to see them moving and given voice.

Unfortunately, the 12-episode series (with each episode consisting of two stories) has ended up being a mixed bag, with several weak and unscary stories getting into the anthology in the place of some of Ito's stronger works. Some of the glaring omissions are the haunting "Hanging Blimp" and the silly but ultimately disturbing "Tomio: Red Turtleneck." Also, for a series based on some of the most otherworldly Lovecraftian horrors in modern literature, it has absurdly conventional opening and ending themes. It's as if the series doesn't quite know what to do with Ito's ouvre, which is a sad waste.

Still, there are gems in the collection that are definitely worth watching. I'd still recommend watching all 12 episodes, but in case you'd like to be selective, here are my rankings of and thoughts on the 24 stories.

24. "Hell Doll Funeral" (Episode 1.2)
Story: 2/5
Scare Meter: 2.5/5

It's not bad, and anyone who's scared of dolls to begin with won't find this pleasant, but it's too short to make much of an impact. Also, paired up as it is with an opener that's hardly any better, it's still almost totally unremarkable.

23. "Souichi's Convenient Curse" (Episode 1.1)
Story: 2.5/5
Scare Meter: 2/5



I get that they want to build up curse-wielding problem-child Souichi as the semi-regular that binds these nasties in a sort of shared universe, sure (he appears in a total of three shorts), but I would have wanted the series to start with something downright nasty and disturbing and THEN perhaps soften it a bit with Souichi's antics. It's a head-scratcher that almost had me giving up on the series right after this lame two-fer.

22. "Rumors" (Episode 12.2)
Story: 2.5/5
Scare Meter: 2/5

Oh look, it's Souichi again! In the last episode ever. The only thing that saves this almost-clunker is how it ends. No spoilers here, but it's rather glorious.

21. "The Circus Comes to Town" (Episode 8.2)
Story: 2.5/5
Scare Meter: 2.5/5

An interesting premise that nevertheless wastes the potential of the circus setting for genuine supernatural scares. It's a rather gruesome story, but neither exciting nor scary.

20. "Boy at the Crossroads" (Episode 3.1)
Story: 3/5
Scare Meter: 2.5/5



It's a rather interesting concept that takes its inspiration from various urban myths, but the scares from the "crossroads pretty boy" and the things in the mist could have been upped a notch.

19. "Cloth Teacher" (Episode 5.2)
Story: 3/5
Scare Meter: 2.5/5

What could have been a very frightening premise is given more comedic touches by the involvement of our favorite nail-biter (and I don't mean fingernails) Souichi, but it's not a bad approach. It isn't saying much, but this is certainly this character's most serviceable story in the series.

18. "Supernatural Transfer Student" (Episode 11.1)
Story: 3/5
Scare Meter: 2.5/5

It's like Chronicle by way of Ito Junji. The supernatural powers manifested here seem slightly out of place among the other episodes, but I wouldn't mind more stories involving the oddball Tsukano (certainly more than that other oddball).

17. "Town of No Roads" (Episode 7.2)
Story: 3/5
Scare Meter: 3/5



The transition from the first act to the longer second is a bit jarring, but once you get past that, you can appreciate the scary premise and the haunting visuals. The titular town is genuinely creepy.

16. "Honored Ancestors" (Episode 8.1)
Story: 3/5
Scare Meter: 3/5

Ito Junji is hardly known for subtlety, so it's a welcome surprise when he bothers to hide the gruesomeness of his monsters. And gruesome it truly is. Not really very scary, though.

15. "Shiver" (Episode 4.1)
Story: 3/5
Scare Meter: 3.5/5

It's a fine example of body horror (stay far away if you're trypophobic!), and it's even scarier in motion than on the page. But as far as plots go, Ito has much more engaging ones than this.

14. "Marionette Mansion" (Episode 4.2)
Story: 3.5/5
Scare Meter: 3/5



It's a strong plot with particularly wicked visuals (marionettes! strings!), but with a rather bewildering, almost risible premise. Still, when you're a fan of Ito Junji, you learn to appreciate all that weirdness.

13. "Slug Girl" (Episode 3.2)
Story: 2.5/5
Scare Meter: 4/5

Now THIS is the Ito brand of body horror at its most deliciously convoluted and disturbing. Rather reminiscent of Uzumaki in its use of the spiral motif. Who cares if there's no sensible plot? It's totally wicked.

12. "Used Record" (Episode 7.1)
Story: 4/5
Scare Meter: 3/5

It's a genuinely creepy premise and is actually one of the better stories in Ito's collections. But as far as adaptations go, this is one of the weaker ones. The episode is unable to capture the terror that is much more effectively elicited on paper.

11. "Scarecrow" (Episode 11.2)
Story: 4/5
Scare Meter: 3/5

A sad, melancholic story with a disturbing tone. Some of the images will really stay with you, just as you're struck by how heavy it is.

10. "Painter" (Episode 9.1)
Story: 4/5
Scare Meter: 3/5

It's everyone's favorite wicked immortal! Tomie is, as always, frustratingly and achingly beautiful and alien, and she stirs a lot of trouble in the life of a painter who wants to capture the true essence of her beauty. Be careful what you wish for.

9. "Greased" (Episode 10.1)
Story: 4/5
Scare Meter: 3.5/5

It's more disgusting and disturbing than scary, but boy is it disturbing! Body horror with significant emphasis on bodily fluids. On both the page and the screen, you can almost smell that oil. It's horridly suffocating.

8. "Blood-Bubble Bushes" (Episode 9.2)
Story: 4/5
Scare Meter: 4/5

This is one of the odder episodes. Creepy vampiric kids start if off on the right note, and it only gets darker and more bizarre from there.

7. "Smashed" (Episode 12.1)
Story: 4/5
Scare Meter: 4/5

Talk about odd! The premise is almost risible with its absurdity, but it's so undeniably enthralling and out-of-this-world that you can't help but be shaken with both mirth and revulsion when the big reveal is done.

6. "The Ongoing Tale of Oshikiri" (Episode 5.1)
Story: 4/5
Scare Meter: 4/5



This one's more Lovecraftian than many of the other episodes. Calculated and chilling. More than the actual monsters, it's the dark implications that make this unsettling.

5. "Gentle Goodbye" (Epiode 6.2)
Story: 4.5/5
Scare Meter: 3.5/5

It's definitely a superior, powerfully emotional piece interspersed with chilling imagery. One of the better adaptations, as it fully captures the emotional heft of the original.

4. "Window Next Door" (Episode 6.1)
Story: 3.5/5
Scare Meter: 4.5/5

It's shorter than most episodes, and nothing much happens, but...it just happens to be scariest out of all of the episodes! With a mind like Ito's, he doesn't need a lot of minutes to create a piece of true, unadulterated horror. Watch for that neighbor at the window next door!

3. "Fashion Model" (Episode 2.1)
Story: 3.5/5
Scare Meter: 4.5/5



Fuchi, perhaps Ito's most famous creation aside from Tomie, the mutant fish of Gyo, and the spiral creatures of Uzumaki, is even more terrifying in anime because SHE. IS. MOVING. Her laughter, her glares, and her crazy speed are amped up by strong animation and an appropriately unsettling voice.

2. "Bridge" (Episode 10.2)
Story: 4.5/5
Scare Meter: 4/5

Ghosts are nearly always scary, especially when there's so many of them and they're waiting very, very patiently. But on top of that, this one has a powerful story of love, devotion, and tragic loss. It's mesmerizing. 

1. "The Long Dream" (Episode 2.2)
Story: 5/5
Scare Meter: 3.5/5



Simply put: brilliant. The concept of dream-time is absolutely Lovecraftian and reminds me so much of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, one of my favorite Lovecraft stories. This episode makes me think that a Lovecraft film made by Junji Ito would be the ultimate combo in existential fear.

Friday, March 23, 2018

PREDICTIONS IN ALL CATEGORIES (91st)

"NEVER TOO EARLY" PREDICTIONS

BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR
First Man
If Beale Street Could Talk
On the Basis of Sex
Backseat
Beautiful Boy
Boy Erased
Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Black Panther
Isle of Dogs
Hereditary

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Damien Chazelle (First Man)
Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Adam McKay (Backseat)
Mimi Leder (On the Basis of Sex)
Richard Linklater (Where'd You Go, Bernadette)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Ryan Gosling (First Man)
Christian Bale (Backseat)
Steve Carell (Beautiful Boy)
Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased)
Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Felicity Jones (On the Basis of Sex)
Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots)
Toni Collette (Hereditary)
Charlize Theron (Tully)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
Colman Domingo (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Joel Edgerton (Boy Erased)
Sam Rockwell (Backseat)
Russell Crowe (Boy Erased)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Cate Blanchett (Where'd You Go, Bernadette)
Amy Adams (Backseat)
Claire Foy (First Man)
Margot Robbie (Mary Queen of Scots)
Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Adam McKay (Backseat)
Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Kunichi Nomura, Jason Schwartzman (Isle of Dogs)
Diablo Cody (Tully)
Daniel Stiepleman (On the Basis of Sex)
Oja Kodar, Orson Welles (The Other Side of the Wind)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Barry Jenkins, based on the novel by James Baldwin (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Josh Singer, based on the book by James R. Hansen (First Man)
Richard Linklater, Holly Gent Palmo, Vincent Palmo Jr., based on the novel by Maria Semple (Where'd You Go, Bernadette)
Luke Davies, based on the memoirs by David Sheff and Nic Sheff (Beautiful Boy)
Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole, based on characters created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby (Black Panther)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson)
Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird)
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (Phil Johnston, Rich Moore)
The Grinch (Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier)
Smallfoot (Karey Kirkpatrick)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Rachel Morrison (Black Panther)
John Mathieson (Mary Queen of Scots)
Dion Beebe (Mary Poppins Returns)
Nicole Pecorini (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote)
Linus Sandgren (First Man)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
Alexandra Byrne (Mary Queen of Scots)
Sandy Powell (Mary Poppins Returns)
Sandy Powell (The Favourite)
Ann Roth (The Seagull)
Ruth E. Carter (Black Panther)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
Tom Cross (First Man)
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Debbie Berman, Michael P. Shawver (Black Panther)
Bob Murawski, Orson Welles (The Other Side of the Wind)
Chris Dickens, Pietro Scalia (Solo: A Star Wars Story)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Mary Queen of Scots
Backseat
Mary Poppins Returns

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Alexandre Desplat (Isle of Dogs)
Justin Hurwitz (First Man)
Marc Shaiman, Scott Whittman (Mary Poppins Returns)
Michel Legrand (The Other Side of the World)
Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN
Neil Lamont, David Crossman, Glyn Dillon (Solo: A Star Wars Story)
James Merifield, Gina Cromwell (Mary Queen of Scots)
John Myhre, Gordon Sim (Mary Poppins Returns)
Hannah Beachler, Jay Hart (Black Panther)
Inbal Weinberg, Christin Busse, Merissa Lombardo (Suspiria)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
Ready Player One
Black Panther
Incredibles 2
Avengers: Infinity War
Mission: Impossible - Fallout

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
Mary Poppins Returns
Black Panther
Ready Player One
Isle of Dogs
The Other Side of the Wind

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
Ready Player One
Mowgli
Black Panther
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Avengers: Infinity War

Nominations Tally:
Black Panther - 10
First Man - 8
Backseat - 7
If Beale Street Could Talk - 6
Mary Poppins Returns - 6
Mary Queen of Scots - 6
Boy Erased - 5
Isle of Dogs - 5
On the Basis of Sex - 5
Beautiful Boy - 4
The Other Side of the Wind - 4
Where'd You Go, Bernadette - 4
Ready Player One - 3
Solo: A Star Wars Story - 3
Avengers: Infinity War - 2
Hereditary - 2
Incredibles 2 - 2
Tully - 2
The Favourite - 1
The Grinch  -1
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - 1
Mission: Impossible - Fallout - 1
Mowgli - 1
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 - 1
The Seagull - 1
Smallfoot - 1
Suspiria - 1
The Wife - 1

TECHNICAL CATEGORIES (91st)

"NEVER TOO EARLY" PREDICTIONS

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
1. Rachel Morrison (Black Panther)
2. John Mathieson (Mary Queen of Scots)
3. Dion Beebe (Mary Poppins Returns)
4. Nicole Pecorini (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote)
5. Linus Sandgren (First Man)

6. Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (Suspiria)
7. James Laxton (If Beale Street Could Talk)
8. Janusz Kaminski (Ready Player One)
9. Robbie Ryan (The Favourite)
10. Rob Hardy (Annihilation)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
1. Alexandra Byrne (Mary Queen of Scots)
2. Sandy Powell (Mary Poppins Returns)
3. Sandy Powell (The Favourite)
4. Ann Roth (The Seagull)
5. Ruth E. Carter (Black Panther)

6. David Crossman, Glyn Dillon (Solo: A Star Wars Story)
7. Giulia Piersanti (Suspiria)
8. Milena Canonero (The Sisters Brothers)
9. Lena Mossum (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote)
10. Mary Zophres (First Man)

BEST FILM EDITING
1. Tom Cross (First Man)
2. Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders (If Beale Street Could Talk)
3. Debbie Berman, Michael P. Shawver (Black Panther)
4. Bob Murawski, Orson Welles (The Other Side of the Wind)
5. Chris Dickens, Pietro Scalia (Solo: A Star Wars Story)

6. Teresa Font, Lesley Walker (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote)
7. Eddie Hamilton (Mission: Impossible - Fallout)
8. Sarah Broshar, Michael Kahn (Ready Player One)
9. Sandra Adair (Where'd You Go, Bernadette)
10. Barney Pilling (Annihilation)

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
1. Mary Queen of Scots
2. Backseat
3. Mary Poppins Returns

4. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
5. The Favourite
6. Suspiria
7. Solo: A Star Wars Story
8. Bohemian Rhapsody
9. Stan and Ollie
10. On the Basis of Sex

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
1. Alexandre Desplat (Isle of Dogs)
2. Justin Hurwitz (First Man)
3. Marc Shaiman, Scott Whittman (Mary Poppins Returns)
4. Michel Legrand (The Other Side of the World)
5. Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther)

6. Alan Silvestri (Ready Player One)
7. Nicholas Britell (If Beale Street Could Talk)
8. Michael Giacchino (Incredibles 2)
9. John Powell (Solo: A Star Wars Story)
10. Roque Baños (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
SOON!

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
1. Neil Lamont, David Crossman, Glyn Dillon (Solo: A Star Wars Story)
2. James Merifield, Gina Cromwell (Mary Queen of Scots)
3. John Myhre, Gordon Sim (Mary Poppins Returns)
4. Hannah Beachler, Jay Hart (Black Panther)
5. Inbal Weinberg, Christin Busse, Merissa Lombardo (Suspiria)

6. Benjamin Fernandez (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote)
7. Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas (First Man)
8. Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton (The Favourite)
9. Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock (Ready Player One)
10. Grace Yun, Brian Lives (Hereditary)

BEST SOUND EDITING
1. Ready Player One
2. Black Panther
3. Incredibles 2
4. Avengers: Infinity War
5. Mission: Impossible - Fallout

6. Mortal Engines
7. Solo: A Star Wars Story
8. Pacific Rim: Uprising
9. Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom
10. Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

BEST SOUND MIXING
1. Mary Poppins Returns
2. Black Panther
3. Ready Player One
4. Isle of Dogs
5. The Other Side of the Wind

6. First Man
7. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
8. Incredibles 2
9. Avengers: Infinity War
10. Solo: A Star Wars Story

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
1. Ready Player One
2. Mowgli
3. Black Panther
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story
5. Avengers: Infinity War

6. Mortal Engines
7. Annihilation
8. A Wrinkle in Time
9. Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom
10. Pacific Rim: Uprising

Sunday, March 18, 2018

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE (91st)

SOON!

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM (91st)

SOON!

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE (91st)

"NEVER TOO EARLY" PREDICTIONS

ESSENTIAL LOCKS

1. ISLE OF DOGS (23 March, Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Kunichi Nomura, Jason Schwartzman
Producers: Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales, Scott Rudin
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Greta Gerwig, Tracy Walker, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Scarlett Johansson, Courtney B. Vance, Kunichi Nomura, Tilda Swinton

Plot (IMDb): Set in Japan, Isle of Dogs follows a boy's odyssey in search of his dog.

Pre-Oscars Citations:
None

This could easily end up being one of the most critically acclaimed films (animated or otherwise) of the year and may get a Best Picture nomination. The anticipation for it is very high among cineastes. A nomination is a pretty sure bet, but a win would be hard because of Incredibles 2.

2. INCREDIBLES 2 (15 June, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Brad Bird
Producers: Nicole Paradis Grindle, John Walker
Cast: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, Catherine Keener, Sophia Bush, Jonathan Banks, Bob Odenkirk, Isabella Rossellini, John Ratzenberger, Brad Bird, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner

Plot (IMDb): Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for Jack-Jack while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

Finally, the long-anticipated sequel of the much-loved blockbuster The Incredibles is finally upon us. It's very unlikely that it's going to end up being a disappointment, so a nomination is practically a done deal at this point. If it really wows, look for it to win this category over the less mainstream Isle of Dogs.

MOST LIKELY

3. RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT-RALPH 2 (21 November, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Directors: Phil Johnston, Rich Moore
Writers: Phil Johnston, Pamela Ribon
Producer: Clark Spencer
Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Kristen Bell, Taraji P. Henson, Mandy Moore, Auli'l Cravalho, Kelly Macdonald, Allan Tudyk, Ming-Na Wen, Idina Menzel, Ed O'Neill, Jane Lynch, Anika Noni Rose, Jodi Benson

Plot (IMDb): Six years after the events of "Wreck-It Ralph," Ralph and Vanellope, now friends, discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

Another sequel of another highly regarded animated film. This looks like it's going to be even more fun, and the addition of the Disney princesses may prove to be irresistible to the voters. This one can even upset.

MAYBE

4. THE GRINCH (9 November, Universal Pictures)
Directors: Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier
Writer: Michael LeSieur, based on the book by Dr. Seuss
Producers: Christopher Melendandri, Scott Mosier
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch

Plot (IMDb): A grumpy Grinch plots to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

Could be a hit. Certainly doesn't hurt that Benedict Cumberbatch, whose voice is so distinct, will be voicing the Grinch.

POSSIBLE

5. SMALLFOOT (28 September, Warner Bros.)
Director: Karey Kirkpatrick
Writers: Glenn Ficarra, Karey Kirkpatrick, Sergio Pablos, John Requa
Producers: Glenn Ficarra, Bonne Radford, John Requa
Cast: Zendaya, Gina Rodriguez, Channing Tatum, Common, Danny DeVito, James Corden

Plot (IMDb): A Yeti is convinced that the elusive creatures known as "humans" really do exist.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

The plot sounds like a lot of fun and probably has not-so-subtle digs at the lack of inclusivity and tolerance in today's society. It's got a pretty mean voice cast, too.

6. Early Man (16 February, Lionsgate)
Director: Nick Park
Writers: Mark Burton, James Higginson
Producers: Richard Beek, Peter Lord, Nick Park, Carla Shelley, David Sproxton
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne, Maisie Williams

Plot (IMDb): Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of Dug, along with sidekick Hognob as they unite his tribe against a mighty enemy Lord Nooth and his Bronze Age City to save their home.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

7. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (14 December, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing)
Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Writer: Phil Lord, based on characters created by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve Ditko, Stan Lee, Sara Pichelli
Producer: Christina Steinberg 
Cast: Shameik Moore, Mahershala Ali, Liev Schreiber, Brian Tyree Henry

Plot: Miles Morales meets other Spider-Mans from the Spider-verse.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

8. Batman Ninja (24 April, Warner Bros.)
Director: Junpei Mizusaki
Writers: Leo Chu, Eric Garcia, Kazuki Nakashima, based on characters created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane
Producers: Leo Chu, Kamikaze Douga, Eric Garcia
Cast: Kôichi Yamadera, Wataru Takagi, Rie Kugimiya, Ai Kakuma, Hôchû Ôtsuka

Plot (IMDb): Batman, along with a number of his allies and adversaries, finds himself transplanted from modern Gotham City to feudal Japan.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

9. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (27 July, Warner Bros.)
Directors: Aaron Horvath, Peter Rida Michail
Writers: Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic, based on characters created by Bob Haney, Bruno Premiani, Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic
Producers: Will Arnett, Peter Rida Michail, Peggy Regan
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Halsey, James Corden, Will Arnett, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, Greg Cipes, Hynden Walch, Scott Menville, Lil Yachty

Plot (IMDb): A villain's maniacal plan for world domination sidetracks five teenage superheroes who dream of Hollywood stardom.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

10. Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero (13 April, Hero Fun Academy Motion Pictures)
Director: Richard Lanni
Writers: Richard Lanni, Mike Stokey
Producers: Emily Cantrill, Laurent Rodon
Cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Logan Lerman, Gérard Depardieu

Plot (IMDb): The true story of the most decorated dog in American military history -- Sgt. Stubby -- and the enduring bonds he forged with his brothers-in-arms in the trenches of World War I.

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

Other Contenders:
The Ark and the Aardvark
Attack on Titan: The Roar of Awakening
Boonie Bears: The Big Shrink
Death of Superman
Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer
Doraemon the Movie: Nobita's Treasure Island
Duck, Duck, Goose
Fireworks
Hodja and the Magic Carpet
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
Inzomnia
The Legend of Charro Negro
The Legend of Muay Thai: 9 Satra
Lu Over the Wall
Luis and the Aliens
Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
Marcianos vs. Mexicanos
Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors
Maya the Bee: The Honey Games
Mirai of the Future
The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl
Pokémon the Movie: Everyone's Story
Sherlock Gnomes
Troll: The Tail of a Tail
Uru in Blue
White Fang

Monday, March 12, 2018

BEST ADAPTED SCREEPLAY (91st)

"NEVER TOO EARLY" PREDICTIONS

MOST LIKELY

1. BARRY JENKINS, based on the novel by James Baldwin (IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK)

Oscar Record: 2 nominations (as director, writer), with a win for writing Moonlight

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

2. JOSH SINGER, based on the book by James R. Hansen (FIRST MAN)

Oscar Record: 1 nomination and win for writing Spotlight

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

LIKELY

3. RICHARD LINKLATER, HOLLY GENT PALMO, VINCENT PALMO JR., based on the novel by Marie Semple (WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE)

Oscar Records:
Linklater: 5 nominations (as director, writer, producer) no win
H. Palmo: No nomination
V. Palmo: No nomination

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

MAYBE

4. LUKE DAVIES, based on the memoirs by David Sheff and Nic Sheff (BEAUTIFUL BOY)

Oscar Record: 1 nomination (as writer), no win

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

POSSIBLE

5. RYAN COOGLER, JOE ROBERT COLE, baed on characters created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby (BLACK PANTHER)

Oscar Record: No nomination

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

6. Joel Edgerton, based on the book by Garrard Conley (Boy Erased)

Oscar Record: No nomination

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

7. Brad Bird, based on characters created by Brad Bird (Incredibles 2)

Oscar Record: 4 nominations (as writer and for animated feature), with wins for The Incredibles and Ratatouille

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

8. Fabien Nury, Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, based on the comic book by Fabien Nury, Thierry Robin (The Death of Stalin)

Oscar Records:
Nury: No nomination
Iannucci: 1 nomination (as writer), no win
Schneider: No nomination
Martin: No nomination

Pre-Oscar Citations:
Nomination, Best Screenplay (Adapted), BAFTA (2017)

9. Lynne Ramsay, based on the book by Jonathan Ames (You Were Never Really Here)

Oscar Record: No nomination

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

10. Beau Willimon, based on the book by John Guy (Mary Queen of Scots)

Oscar Record: 1 nomination (as writer), no win

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

Potential Major Players Currently Without Distributors (any of these can easily displace the lower-ranked contenders above once release dates are officially announced):
Kirsten Dunst, Nellie Kim, based on the novel by Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
Robin Bissell, based on the book by Osha Gray Davidson (The Best of Enemies)
Isabel Coixet, based on the novel by Penelope Fitzgerald (The Bookshop)
Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Jason Reitman, based on the book by Matt Bai (The Front Runner)
Steve Zaillian, based on the book by Charles Brandt (The Irishman)
Tony Kushner, based on the novel by David I. Kertzer (The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara)
Debra Granik, based on the novel by Peter Rock (Leave No Trace)
Janece Shaffer, Colen C. Wiley, based on the novel by Walter Dean Myers (Monster)
Desiree Akhavan, Cecilia Frugiuele, based on the novel by Emily M. Danforth (The Miseducation of Cameron Post)
Geoffrey Fletcher, based on the magazine article by David Grann (Trial by Fire)

Other Contenders:
Alex Garland, based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation)
Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel, Kevin Willmott, based on the book by Ron Stallworth (Black Klansman)

Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty, based on the memoir by Lee Israel (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Robert Rodat, based on the book by Nicholas Dawidoff (The Catcher Was a Spy)
Alex Ross Perry, Allison Schroeder, Tom McCarthy, based on characters created by A.A. Milne (Christopher Robin)
Sebastián Lelio, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, based on the novel by Naomi Alderman (Disobedience)
Gus Van Sant, based on the book by John Callahan (Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot)
Kristin Hahn, based on the novel by Julie Murphy (Dumplin')
Alice Johnson Boher, Sebastián Lelio, based on original characters by Sebastián Lelio (Gloria)
Andrew Haigh, based on the novel by Willy Vlautin (Lean on Pete)
Terry Gilliam Tony Grisoni, based on the novel by Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote)
David Magee, based on the books by P.L. Travers (Mary Poppins Returns)
Callie Kloves, based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling (Mowgli)
Ian McEwan, based on the novel by Ian McEwan (On Chesil Beach)
Semi Chellas, based on the book by Lisa Klein (Ophelia)
Arash Amel, based on the magazine article by Marie Brenner (A Private War)
Zak Penn, Ernest Cline, based on the novel by Ernest Cline (Ready Player One)
Stephen Karam, based on the play by Anton Chekhov (The Seagull)
Jacques Audiard, based on the novel by Patrick Dewitt (The Sisters Brothers)
David Kajganich, based on characters created by Dario Argento, Daria Nicolodi (Suspiria)
Shaun Grant, based on the novel by Peter Carey (The True History of the Kelly Gang)
Chanya Button, based on the play by Eileen Atkins (Vita and Virginia)
David Hare, based on the book by Julie Kavanagh (The White Crow)
Jane Anderson, based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer (The Wife)
Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, based on the novel by Richard Ford (Wildlife)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY (91st)

"NEVER TOO EARLY" PREDICTIONS

MOST LIKELY

1. ADAM MCKAY (BACKSEAT)

Oscar Record: 2 nominations (as director, writer), with a win for writing The Big Short

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

LIKELY

2. WES ANDERSON, ROMAN COPPOLA, KUNICHI NOMURA, JASON SCHWARTZMAN (ISLE OF DOGS)

Oscar Records:
Anderson: 6 nominations (as director, writer, producer), no win
Coppola: 1 nomination (as writer), no win
Nomura: No nomination
Schwartzman: No nomination

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

MAYBE

3. DIABLO CODY (TULLY)

Oscar Record: 1 nomination and win for writing Juno

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

POSSIBLE

4. DANIEL STIEPLEMAN (ON THE BASIS OF SEX)

Oscar Record: No nomination

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

5. OJA KODAR, ORSON WELLES (THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND)

Oscar Record:
Kodar: No nomination
Welles: 3 nominations (as director, writer, actor), with a win for writing Citizen Kane

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

7. Tamara Jenkins (Private Life)

Oscar Record: 1 nomination (as writer), no win

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

7. Caroline Thompson, Robert Zemeckis (The Women of Marwen)

Oscar Records:
Thompson: No nomination
Zemeckis: 2 nominations (as director, writer), with a win for writing Forrest Gump

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

8. Ari Aster (Hereditary)

Oscar Record: No nomination

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

9. Scott Z. Burns (The Mercy)

Oscar Record: No nomination

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

10. Jonathan Bernstein, James Greer (Unsane)

Oscar Record: No nomination

Pre-Oscar Citations:
None

Potential Major Players Currently Without Distributors (any of these can easily displace the lower-ranked contenders above once release dates are officially announced):
Andrew Heckler (Burden)
Ian McEwan (The Children Act)
Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade)
Sarah Ruhl (My Life On the Road)
Bryce Kass (Lizzie)
David Gordon Green (Newsflash)
Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)

Other Contenders:
Jean-Claude Carrière, Julian Schnabel (At Eternity's Gate)
Peter Hedges (Ben is Back)
Ethan Hawke, Sybil Rosen (Blaze)
Justin Haythe, Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Richard Glatzer, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Wash Westmoreland (Colette)
Marcus Hinchey (Come Sunday)
David Zellner, Nathan Zellner (Damsel)
Xavier Dolan, Jacob Tierney (The Death and Life of John F. Donovan)
Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi (Destroyer)
Paul Schrader (First Reformed)
David Auburn (Georgetown)
Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga (Green Book)
Rupert Everett (The Happy Prince)
Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau, Nick Laird, Zadie Smith (High Life)
Lars von Trier (The House That Jack Built)
Mike Makowsky (I Think We're Alone Now)
Helen Edmundson, Philippa Goslett (Mary Magdalene)
Oja Kodar, Orson Welles (The Other Side of the Wind)
Lone Scherfig (New York Winter Palace)
Paul Greengrass, Åsne Seierstad (Norway)
Matthew Orton (Operation Finale)
David Mackenzie (Outlaw King)
Sally Potter (The Party)
Mike Leigh (Peterloo)
Oren Moverman (Puzzle)
Terrence Malick (Radegund)
Woody Allen (A Rainy Day in New York)
Lindsay Shapero (Red Joan)
Aneesh Chaganty, Sev Ohanian (Search)
Steven Knight (Serenity)
Taylor Sheridan (Sicario 2: Soldado)
Crystal Moselle, Jen Silverman, Aslihan Unaldi (Skate Kitchen)
Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You)
Jeff Pope (Stan and Ollie)
Steven McGregor, David Tranter (Sweet Country)
David Robert Mitchell (Under the Silver Lake)
Behn Zeitlin (Wendy)
Elizabeth Chomko (What They Had)
Darci Picoult (Where Is Kyra?)
Logan Miller, Noah Miller, Andy Weiss, Steve Kloves, Scott Silver (White Boy Rick)
Steven Knight (Woman Walks Ahead)