It’s A Good Day To Have Bruce Willis’ Past Characters Just Die Already

Bruce Willis has been in a few of the most iconic movies of all time. So why do I forget about that every time he reprises one of his famed roles? Not every actor wants to or gets a chance to put on their old acting shoes and play a beloved character again. Bruce Willis has had numerous chances to and been quick to take them… but he’s not exactly running with them.

It just happened last weekend with the release of M. Night Shyamalan‘s sequel to Unbreakable, Glass. The original film, which came out 19 years ago, centers around Bruce Willis’ character David Dunn, an everyman who is the sole survivor of a train wreck who finds out he has superpowers and that Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) is the villain in his comic book-y hero’s journey.

Bruce Willis’ return to a Shyamalan movie could have been (should have been?) a big deal, but the actor gave the most unforgettable, stone cold performance in Glass. He was completely overshadowed by James McAvoy’s “Horde” of 20 personalities (though the character has 24 total), Samuel L. Jackson’s Mr. Glass (who was catatonic for the first half of the movie, by the way), newcomer Sarah Paulson, and the rest of the supporting cast, including Anya Taylor-Joy and Spencer Treat Clark.

Bruce Willis’ David Dunn is absolutely key to M. Night Shyamalan’s trilogy. Without the character, Mr. Glass wouldn’t believe in his abilities and fans wouldn’t have been clued into Split‘s connection to the universe. His character just kind of muddles into a puddle and allows the audience to care a lot less about one of the most intriguing roles of his past work.

It’s a bit odd, isn’t it? Bruce Willis has had some electric onscreen moments, most famously with his breakout hit Die Hard in 1988. Come on, we’re even still defending whether it’s a Christmas movie 30 years later, and the film had a undeniable impact on action flicks of today. Bruce Willis deserves a lot of credit for his work in it too. He delivered some potentially quite cheesy lines gracefully and while being simultaneously badass and charismatic.

When he reprised the role of McClane in the ’90s with Die Hard 2 and Die Hard with a Vengeance, it was welcomed… even Live Free or Die Hard was passable, but Mr. McClane should have died before 2013’s A Good Day to Die Hard. It was the kind of film that made us forget why we idolized John McClane in the first place as the unique and fun action hero he himself convinced us to believe in.

And it’s not over yet. There is reportedly another Die Hard movie in the works titled McClane, with The Conjuring writers, Chad and Carey Hayes, attached to pen the script. Last we heard, it will be a prequel/sequel hybrid with a young John McClane story being told with a different actor as Bruce Willis reprises his role in the present day as well. Ok, I know it’s easy to find the excitement, but we’ve been burned before — let’s just move on together from John McClane and appreciate the movie’s Bruce Willis has already made with the character.

I’d like to know what keeps happening. Why does Bruce Willis seem so utterly bored when he relives his yesteryears? It’s what the people want, right? If it’s what he wants, it doesn’t seem like it. Here’s a theory: maybe Bruce Willis despises the trend of constant reboot, remake, sequel trend so much that he takes the active approach to star in them to help burn them to the ground? While this would be admirable, the proper answer is just to say “no” — I don’t think they would have done them without him.

What’s worse is the actor also keeps starring in cheap knock-offs of his action hero archetype over and over, which is more often becoming this bored and uninteresting guy with a gun and a couple catchy lines to say. Oh Bruce, he once had so much more to give! He explored comedy with a memorable guest star on Friends and alongside the show’s Chandler (Matthew Perry) in The Whole Nine Yards and The Whole Ten Yards. His work with Shyamalan also opened him up to some interesting dramatic roles, that lead to war dramas Hart’s War and Tears of the Sun.

He worked with some immensely talented directors too, like Quentin Tarantino in Pulp Fiction and, more recently, Wes Anderson in Moonrise Kingdom and Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s Rian Johnson in Looper. There’s a lot of potential here for the action star to move on from what he’s so obviously bored with and show some creativity (life?) on screen.

Despite some mixed reviews across the board, so far Glass is a success money-wise. The film only had a $20 million budget and has already made over $100 million worldwide less than a week in. It could have marked a bit of a comeback for Bruce Willis for the mainstream audiences, but concerning the execution of his character, I’m sure even the biggest fan of Glass would consider his return a big ‘ol yawn.

Was this due to M. Night Shyamalan’s script? I don’t think so. We’ve seen it too many times from Bruce Willis for it be solely the writer/director’s fault. Let Glass be the last shard of, well, glass in Willis’ returns to his characters. I don’t want to see a Fifth Element sequel. Kindly leave Korben Dallas in the good fun of the original. I don’t want to see an origin “angel” story or sequel for Sixth Sense starring Willis. It’s great as it is.

Glass and recent John McClane endeavors prove (oh, and his short return as Hartigan in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, see I forgot another one) it’s time for Bruce Willis’ old characters to die hard. Just let them be. I would however love to see Bruce Willis take on a new iconic character someday.

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Why Black Panther Deserved An Oscar Nomination Over Avengers: Infinity War

The Oscar nominations are in, and some have beef with Black Panther‘s Best Picture nomination. Those who do find the recognition hard to swallow, especially when the immensely popular and much-anticipated Avengers: Infinity War was a possibility as well. As fine of an adventure Infinity War was, Black Panther absolutely deserved its Best Picture nomination over the ensemble film, and those who disagree should consider the following to understand why.

It’s A Self-Contained Movie

Black Panther may have made his debut in Captain America: Civil War, but there’s little to his presence in that film that is necessary to know prior to watching Black Panther. Sure, someone who hadn’t seen Civil War may not know T’Chaka is dead going in, but things are explained in Black Panther expeditiously enough that an audience can be brought up to speed without having to remember several key events from past MCU adventures.

Now, take Avengers: Infinity War, which requires a fair bit of MCU lore to accurately understand and care about. For example, someone who only caught the first Thor movie would be lost as to why he and Loki are in space and on good terms. That’s really just the tip of the iceberg, as very few character introductions or situations in the movie aren’t a callback to events that happened in previous Marvel films.

This isn’t a huge deal to the current generation of moviegoers, but I can imagine there would’ve been future generations who questioned how a film that required knowledge on several other superhero movies prior to viewing managed to find its way into the conversation for Best Picture. Black Panther, on the other hand, can be enjoyed and absorbed by even the most casual of audiences without a ton of research, which makes it the better candidate.

It Has Enormous Cultural Impact

Avengers: Infinity War may outshine Black Panther in the all-time worldwide box office gross category, but one thing it can’t outshine the Marvel adventure in is the cultural impact it had. Its massive box office success showed African-American centered stories can connect with a mainstream audience and bring in big bucks. That wasn’t something necessarily known prior to, as Black Panther is currently the only top 10 highest grossing film with a predominantly black cast.

That’s a big deal, and it’s fair to say Black Panther‘s success and achievements have shaped and will further convince Hollywood to cast minorities in major roles and tell more non-Euro-centric tales in the future. That’s quite a feat and game-changer folks may not have expected to come from a superhero film about a king who cosplays as a jungle cat when he fights crime.

Avengers: Infinity War certainly impacted the world and has inspired the industry to further explore shared universes, but it’s hard to put that impact on the same level as the things Black Panther achieved. When there are people putting its cultural significance right up there with the election of America’s first black President, it feels wrong to call it “overrated” and diminish its claim to the title of Best Picture.

It Got Audiences Excited About A Lesser-Known Hero

Who in the world would’ve imagined before last year that Black Panther masks would be on store shelves right alongside Iron Man helmets and Captain America shields? Better yet, who would’ve thought that merchandise sales would surpass expectations and put a Marvel character who’s relatively obscure to the general public on the same ground as characters who’ve been on screen for a decade prior?

To lightly touch on cultural significance again, it got the general public excited and passionate about a black superhero. After generations of children growing up to cartoons and films with heroes like Batman and Superman, there is now Black Panther for kids of any ethnicity to look up to. That may not matter to everyone, but it almost certainly matters for the young child in search of a fictional role model who looks like them.

Avengers: Infinity War essentially had six years of hype, so anything less than massive success would’ve been considered disappointing. It feels wrong to harp on how the movie isn’t self-contained again, but it’s hard to really view this entry as a “Best Picture” when so much leg work went into filling it out in other films. The feat that Marvel pulled it off is impressive, but Infinity War shouldn’t receive a Best Picture nomination solely because the film came together.

Sequels Rarely Win Best Picture

When it comes to sequels winning the Oscar category of Best Picture, the ratio of winners versus standalone features is far from “perfectly balanced.” In the history of the category, only two sequels (Return of the King, and The Godfather Part II) have taken home the honor. So even if Avengers: Infinity War did get a nomination, history shows the Academy’s voting wouldn’t lean in its favor.

Sure, Avengers: Infinity War could’ve been the film to defy the odds, but with films like Spotlight overtaking Mad Max: Fury Road for the win in years prior, the odds don’t even seem that great that Black Panther could get the win. Granted, Black Panther has a lot of relevance outside the world of superhero films that I’ve touched on before this, which certainly gives it a shot.

The simple truth is, Best Picture does not always go to the “most popular” film, and at the end of the day, that’s why some believe Avengers: Infinity War deserved the nod over Black Panther. Perhaps if the Best Popular Movie Oscar ends up getting added to the list, Avengers: Endgame will get the Oscar, but until that day who can fault the Academy for picking the film that has the best shot at winning?

I certainly can’t but I can respect the spirit of debate and open the floor to anyone who disagrees or has other points to make down in the comments below. Those looking for a less time-consuming method to express their opinion can simply vote in our poll, and get excited over the fact that all of Marvel’s collective Oscar nominations in 2019 are further evidence the world hasn’t grown tired of the MCU.

Did Black Panther Deserve The Best Picture Nomination Over Avengers: Infinity War?

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Yes, Shazam! Really Destroyed A Ferris Wheel While Filming

This past weekend saw the release of a new Shazam! preview, and among the highlights was seeing the eponymous hero clashing with his arch-nemesis from the comics, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. Their fight is so literally electrically charged that when the two are shooting lightning at one another, a ferris wheel is falling in the background. Needless to say that Zachary Levi and Mark Strong conjuring electricity is a product of VFX work, but it turns out that the ferris wheel did really fall over during shooting.

Shazam! director David F. Sandberg shared on Instagram that he and his team actually destroyed a ferris wheel while making the movie. It probably would have been easy enough to simulate this destruction through CGI, but Shazam! instead went that practical route and toppled that monstrosity over. However, before the ferris wheel met its demise, Sandberg and cinematographer Maxime Alexandre took a ride on it as the rest of the crew looked on.

Destroying a ferris wheel is definitely going above and beyond the call of duty, but hey, if you have such an amusement park attraction at your disposal, then by all means, go for it! Of course, as you can see from the video, Shazam! didn’t shoot this scene in an actual amusement park, but simply a lot laid out to look like one in an industrial area. One would imagine that even if David F. Sandberg had arranged to take a ferris wheel off an actual amusement park’s hands, the logistics of destroying it on those grounds would be way too complicated to feasibly pull off. Better to simulate an amusement park instead.

As we saw in the latest Shazam! video, an amusement park won’t be the only location where Shazam and Dr. Sivana will fight. They’ll also take to the skies in a brutal brawl between skyscrapers that brings 2013’s Man of Steel to mind. Of course, those who are familiar with the Shazam mythology know that usually Sivana’s main weapon against the World’s Mightiest Mortal is his mind, and that’s still somewhat the case with Mark Strong’s version. However, in the DC Extended Universe, Sivana encountered the mysterious Wizard as a child, but was rejected from becoming his champion, an honor Billy Batson would earn decades later. As a result, Sivana has turned to science as an adult to unlock the secrets of magic.

We don’t know yet how Doctor Sivana will obtain special powers in Shazam!, but obviously it’ll be bad for Billy Batson, as he’s only just started getting the hang of his own abilities. Things will get even worse once the Seven Deadly Sins are awakened. Regardless, as the seventh DCEU installment, Shazam! is shaping up to an exciting superhero flick, though ferris wheel enthusiasts might want to close their eyes when the ride is destroyed during battle.

Shazam! will work its magic in theaters on April 5, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage. Be sure to also look through our 2019 release schedule to learn what movies are opening later this year.

One Big Problem Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Is Going To Have

Ever since it was first announced, theme park fans and Star Wars fans alike have been looking forward to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Now that it’s 2019 the new land is almost here in both parks, but the more I look at it the more I’m afraid this new land might be getting ready for a serious problem, the crowds. Of course, the insane crowds that are to be expected are always a problem in theme parks, but in this case the crowds may actually hinder the experience that guests are supposed to have at Galaxy’s Edge.

While nobody has any clue just how popular Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is going to be, estimates are expecting that between 150,000-200,000 people could show up on opening day when the new land opens at Disneyland this summer. If those numbers are accurate, we can probably expect similar numbers at Walt Disney World in the fall when the same new land opens there. In the case of Disneyland, that’s somewhere between double or more the number of people that Disneyland can actually hold.

Expectations are for a lie several hours long just to get into the park, never mind the lines inside the park for getting into the land or getting onto either of the E-ticket attractions. There will also be lines for food and lines for drinks, especially anybody who wants an adult beverage, as Galaxy’s Edge will house the first location in Disneyland to serve them to the public.

While the numbers of people probably won’t be quite this insane after opening day, even if half the number of people show up, Disneyland will still reach capacity and with most of those people wanting to experience the new land, the lines there won’t be shrinking anytime soon.

This will be annoying enough for any theme park guests. While lines are to be expected, they’re never fun. But in the case of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, these lines could be much worse because they won’t simply slow down the experience of going on attractions, they could actually prevent people from experience the land the way it’s meant to be experienced.

One of the things that Disney Parks has been pushing since the very early days of this new land is the way it will be “immersive,” in a way never before experienced. While I still have a lot of questions about exactly what that means, we do have some details. The entire land is designed to be a part of the existing Star Wars universe, everything in the land will take place at Black Spire Outpost on a planet called Batuu. The events that take place, like the two major attractions, will happen after the original Star Wars trilogy but before the one that is currently being produced.

We know that even the gift shops within the new land will only sell items designed to look like they were produced on the planet. There won’t be a Star Wars t-shirt in sight.

However, the immersion is set to go even further. The Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run attraction will put a set of guests in control of the famous starship, and the experience could apparently have a number of different outcomes depending on how guests perform. It’s also been said that this performance could come up again elsewhere in the land, one example given is that somebody in Oga’s Cantina could reference it while you stop in for something to drink.

And this is where I’m afraid the crowds might cause things to break down. While the idea of going on the Smuggler’s Run attraction and then dropping by the cantina to continue the story sounds awesome, will it still be amazing if it takes half a day (or longer) to accomplish these two tasks?

Imagine standing in a five-hour line to find your seat in the Millennium Falcon cockpit, before heading over the cantina and finding there’s no room. There will certainly be a line for this as well, there frequently is at the most popular eateries, even the ones that have been open for years. Because people will be spending more time eating and drinking than they spend on any given ride, the wait could be as long or longer than the attractions.

Even once you get inside and get a chance to have whatever interaction is possible, with an animatronic bartender or whoever, will it still fell like part of an immersive story, will whatever happens be worth it considering the wait?

There will likely be more than just one or two simple interactions to help create the immersive atmosphere, but Galaxy’s Edge is going to be so crowded for so long, who knows how well anybody will be able to experience any one part of it, never mind all of it.

A land that makes you feel like you’re part of your own Star Wars Story sounds like the sort of thing many of us fans dreamed about as kids. It sounds like the most fun you could possibly imagine, but if there are parts of the experience that you can’t even get to because of the crowds, it really doesn’t matter how great it is. It’s not going to feel immersive if you find yourself moving from one line to the next with long gaps between experiences.

To some extent, this was going to be impossible to overcome. Even on what’s considered a “light” day Disneyland and Walt Disney World can still be crowded and there will always be lines, but there’s a difference between an attraction with a 40-minute wait or one that’s over two hours or more. There’s a difference between going right to your dinner table (even if you have to make reservations) and having to wait an hour for it.

At the end of the day, Disney has no control over how many people show up to Disneyland or Walt Disney World on any given day, nevermind when a brand new land is opening. Building the land to not simply accommodate, but cater to, that immense crowd, is probably impossible, but in the end the crowds could mean that the true Galaxy’s Edge experience, the way the land was meant to be seen, might not be possible to see for several years, until the crowds drop to a reasonable level.

 

How To Watch All The Major 2019 Oscar Nominees

Folks, we’ve finally made it! The end zone of awards season is upon us, as the 91st Academy Awards have dropped their nominations, and they’re as interesting as you’d expect. If you want to see the total list of nominations, you can find them elsewhere. What we’re here to discuss is something even more important: how you, the viewing public, can get to see all of this year’s nominated films in time for the big show.

Whether you’re a home theater buff or you need the scent of fresh popcorn wafting through the air, you’re covered with our guide to the best and brightest films 2018 had to offer! So straighten your outfits and prepare your speeches thanking us, as we run through this year’s Oscar nominated films and where to find them!

Theatrical Marathon Events

Over the past decade or so, movie theater chains have seriously stepped up their game when it comes to providing the entire nominated class to the public. In particular, AMC Theaters seemed to lead the trend over the course of 13 years. So naturally, its Best Picture Showcase is returning for the 13th consecutive year, which looks to be running in pretty much the same way it’s always been run. With that marathon, you can choose to either spread the wealth across the two weekends (February 16th and 23rd) before the Oscars, or if you’re daring, you can run the 24 hour marathon in select locations.

However, if you’re looking to pace yourself or just see select nominees in the theater, then your best bet is with theater chains like Regal Cinemas or Cinemark. For $35, you can check out as many Best Picture nominees as you want, at any time you want, through a scheduled run that takes you from the middle of February to the end of the month. Regal’s marathon runs between February 15th to February 24th, while Cinemark’s marathon starts on February 18 and ends on the same day. Though you may want to check the listings of your local locations, as availability through those chains is subject to change.

One final note before we move on: there’s one film you will probably not be able to catch in any of these theatrical line-ups: Netflix’s Roma. As it turns out, since the film was not previously licensed for theatrical distribution with AMC or Regal, so it will not be included in the Best Picture lineup for either chain. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at how you can catch each film individually.

A Star Is Born

Synopsis: A country singer (Bradley Cooper) and a rising pop star (Lady Gaga) engage in a romance that puts her on the path to fame, and him on a downward spiral.
Is It Still In Theaters: Yes. Despite its initial release last October, A Star Is Born has been brought back to theaters recently to bring in some of that awards season money.
When Will It Be Available On Digital HD/Home Video: A Star Is Born is currently available on Digital HD, with 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD releases all dropping on February 19.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Synopsis: The life and times of Freddie Mercury and Queen are told through musical numbers, video reenactments and a dramatic narrative.
Is It Still In Theaters: Yes. Being the monstrous hit that it is, Bohemian Rhapsody has gotten cozy in theaters since its run began last November.
When Will It Be Available On Digital HD/Home Video: Bohemian Rhapsody drops on Digital HD today, with 4K/Blu-ray/DVD all set for release on February 12.

Green Book

Synopsis: Thrown together by fate, Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) and Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) take a road trip in the deep South of the 1960s, becoming friends along the way.
Is It Still In Theaters: Yes. Green Book still has a theatrical presence, with its initial run starting in mid November. Though the offerings may be limited, so check your local listings carefully.
When Will It Be Available On Digital HD/Home Video: The physical release for Green Book will hit 4K/Blu-ray/DVD on March 5, with the Digital HD release set for February 19.

Vice

Synopsis: Through decades of service in Washington D.C. politics, Dick Cheney went from power broker to the second most powerful man in town, redefining an era of international relations in the process.
Is It Still In Theaters: Yes. Vice opened in theaters on Christmas Day, so there’s plenty of shelf life left on the film’s theatrical contingent.
When Will It Be Available On Digital HD/Home Video: Vice currently does not have a confirmed release date for Digital HD or home video, probably due to it being so close to the film’s theatrical release window. As soon as we have that information, we’ll update accordingly.

The Favourite

Synopsis: Two women (Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz) duke it out in an escalating rivalry, with the affections of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) acting as the grand price.
Is It Still In Theaters: The Favourite can still be found in some theaters, as it initially opened in limited release late November, with a wide release occurring not too long after.
When Will It Be Available On Digital HD/Home Video: The Favourite has no current confirmed release date for Digital HD or physical release. As soon as we have that information, we’ll update accordingly.

Black Panther

Synopsis: After taking the throne of his native Wakanda, King T’Challa must face the challenges of leadership, and a rogue faction who challenges his right to rule.
Is It Still In Theaters: No. Black Panther’s record breaking run started last February and ended not too long after Avengers: Infinity War took theaters.
When Will It Be Available On Digital HD/Home Video: Black Panther is currently available on Digital HD, as well as physical 4K/Blu-ray/DVD release. It is also available for streaming through Netflix.

BlacKkKlansman

Synopsis: Based on the true story of Ron Stallworth and Flip Zimmerman’s infiltration into the Ku Klux Klan, Black Klansman tells the story of one of the most outrageous sting operations ever.
Is It Still In Theaters: No. Black KkKlansman started its theatrical run in August, so the film is well outside of its typical theatrical run.
When Will It Be Available On Digital HD/Home Video: BlacKkKlansman is currently available for streaming on Digital HD, as well as in a physical release on 4K/Blu-ray/DVD.

Roma

Synopsis: A slice of life in 1970’s Mexico, Roma tells the story of Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a housemaid for a family going through tumultuous times in a chaotic period of their nation’s history.
Is It Still In Theaters: If you want to see Roma on the big screen, you’ll want to check your listings carefully. Netflix has released the film in a limited theatrical run, which will more than likely be at your local art-house cinema.
When Will It Be Available On Digital HD/Home Video: Roma is currently streaming on Netflix, with no immediate plans of a physical release.

So there you have it. A field of eight of 2018’s most notable films, ready for you the eager public to devour. Don’t forget to check local theater listings and read the fine print on those film festival packages very carefully. Otherwise, happy hunting, you golden gods you!

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Watch Black Panther’s Costume Designer React To Her Oscar Nomination

For years, superhero movies have often been ignored by the Academy, but that definitely wasn’t the case today, as Marvel’s Black Panther netted a Best Picture nomination. Fortunately, Black Panther‘s hopes of walking away with some gold doesn’t only hinge on the night’s biggest award, because Ryan Coogler’s film received multiple nominations, including Best Costume Design for Ruth E. Carter. The costume designer was all smiles in her reaction to her nomination. Take a look:

It might have been an early morning since the nominations are announced at the crack of dawn for… reasons, but an Oscar nomination is a better pick-me-up than even the strongest cup of coffee, and the news clearly has Ruth E. Carter bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. As she says in her Twitter video, the morning’s news has her ready to declare that the game can be called because today is, in fact, the best morning of all time to be alive.

I’m not sure how everyone else feels, but it was certainly a great morning to wake up as Ruth E. Carter. While many were expecting and hoping that Ruth E. Carter would get nominated for her acclaimed work in Black Panther, snubs can and do happen, so to know that she officially received her nomination is something to celebrate.

Black Panther has many achievements, but a huge part of what made the film such a phenomenon and ‘Wakanda Forever’ part of the zeitgeist is how Ryan Coogler and company created a believable world, complete with its own culture and history. Ruth E. Carter’s costume work was a huge part of that.

From the different looks of the Wakandan tribes, to the armor of the Dora Milaje, to the ceremonial attire of the priests and the formal wear of the characters, every outfit in Black Panther evoked a country that developed apart from the outside world and yet is deeply African. Ruth E. Carter’s costumes helped bring the vibrant world of Wakanda to life, and her Oscar nomination is well deserved.

This is not the first Oscar nomination for the costume designer either. She was previously nominated in 1993 for Malcolm X and 1998 for Amistad. Ruth E. Carter did not win either of those times, but she get another chance to go home with a statue thanks to her work in Black Panther, so maybe third time’s the charm.

To do that though, she will have to beat out a field of contenders that includes period pieces, a fantasy film and a western. The other nominees in the Best Costume Design category are Mary Zophres for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Alexandra Byrne for Mary Queen of Scots and Sandy Powell for both The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns.

The 91st Academy Awards airs on February 24 on ABC. Check out our 2019 release schedule to keep track of the biggest movies heading to theaters this year and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all your Oscar coverage.

How To See The Lego Movie 2 Early

While normally it’s rare that the average moviegoer can catch a highly anticipated movie early, but The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is the latest example in recent months of studios holding special screenings days or weeks before the public premiere. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Bumblebee and Aquaman all had early screenings (the latter two as part of an Amazon Prime promotion), and on January 12, Glass was shown early at Alamo Drafthouse locations as part of a marathon showing Unbreakable and Split beforehand. The Lego Movie 2 is one of the biggest family-friendly releases of 2019, so I can’t blame Warner Bros for wanting to get in front of some eyes a few weeks ahead of time to get word of mouth buzz going… assuming it’s good, of course.

Yes, Sam Elliott’s Oscar Nomination Response Involved An F-Bomb

As of this morning, this year’s Oscar nominations have been announced, and while there were a few snubs and surprises, Sam Elliott‘s recognition for A Star is Born wasn’t one of them. Check out Elliott’s funny and humble reaction to the exciting news:

Sam Elliott has been delivering memorable performance for over 50 years, so what’s more shocking is that 2019 marks the first time the 74-year-old actor has been nominated for an Oscar. Some of the actor’s best known movie appearances include in 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1989’s Road House and 1993’s Tombstone.

Sam Elliott is in Oscar contention for Supporting Actor in Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star Is Born, which received a total of eight nominations this morning, including for Best Picture, Best Actor for Cooper, Best Actress for Lady Gaga, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing and Best Original Song for “Shallow.”

He gave an emotional performance as the brother and manager to Cooper’s character Jackson Maine, Bobby, especially toward the end of the film when heavier themes of addiction and loss are played out on screen.

Along with his initial reaction to his Oscar nomination, Sam Elliott described to Deadline the number of elements in A Star is Born that he believes has contributed to the film’s success among critics and audiences alike.

Although last year’s movie is the fourth version of the Star is Born story, Elliott said the combination of the music, the story of love and loss and theme of addiction throughout make it universally relatable to people. He continued with these words:

Sam Elliott shares his Supporting Actor nomination with two other first time nominees: Adam Driver for BlackKklansman and Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me? Oscar winners in the Supporting Actor category from the last two years were also given a nod this morning: Sam Rockwell for his role of former U.S. President George W. Bush in Vice and Mahershala Ali for Green Book.

Sam Rockwell took home the Supporting Actor prize last year for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Mahershala Ali the year prior for Moonlight. Judging by the award season thus far, Ali is the frontrunner is this category, but we’ll have to see on Oscar night, which unfolds February 24 and will be televised by ABC.

5 Oscar Nominations We Should All Be Excited About

Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards were announced this morning, and while there are plenty of people who can be upset at the fact at they were overlooked (hello, major snubs!), there are an equal number of places we can point at and say, “The Academy got this right.” Marvel Studios has their first Best Picture nominee! Netflix is proving to be a major player (thanks to Roma and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)! Amy Adams continues to be an Academy darling… but can she finally win?

Here are the five Oscar nominations (or group of nominees) that have us very excited this morning. What are yours?

The Best Original Song Nominees

It’s not that the songs chosen by the Academy are particularly brilliant. In fact, right after it was revealed that “Shallow” was the song chose from A Star is Born, a heated debate immediately broke out in the CinemaBlend GChat about which songs from Bradley Cooper’s movie are better. Instead, it’s about the fact that most of these selections could lead to incredible live moments during the Oscars telecast.

I have been arguing that — because there’s no host this year — the Academy Awards should begin with a performance of “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. That would be better than any monologue from a hired-gun comedian. And if Emily Blunt gets up to sing “Where the Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns, I will become a blubbering puddle of emotions. Toss in Tim Blake Nelson riding a horse across the stage singing “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” and this year’s crop of songs could make the Oscars very special.

Roma’s Cinematography

Overall, it was a spectacular day for Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. The movie leads all nominated films with 10 total recognitions — tied with The Favourite, which also racked up ten. To me, it’s more impressive that Roma found such success with the Academy today because it is a foreign-language, black-and-white film with NO name actors upon which to sell the story, and it’s produced by a streaming giant… a no-no with the Academy. (Or so we thought.)

However, the one Oscar nomination out of the 10 that has us most excited is for Roma‘s cinematography. Director Alfonso Cuaron originally planned to collaborate with famed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (himself a three-time Oscar winner), but schedules prevented them from linking up on Roma. So Cuaron DP’d the film himself, and he created a visually stunning work that’s worthy of Chivo’s eye. You can lose yourself in still frames of Roma, and if there is ONE Oscar it most deserves, it’s this one.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for Best Animated Feature

There’s a fear that, if a movie is released too late in the game, it gets overlooked by the sheer crush of Oscar contenders packing theaters at the end of the year. Ironically, there’s also a fear that if you get released too early in the year, you get forgotten, as well. What is that “Oscar release date” sweet spot? No matter the timing, overall quality and positive word of mouth put Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on the Academy’s radar, and we’re thrilled it is in the Animated Feature category.

Mind you, this tends to be a category that is dominated by Disney and Pixar over the years. And Spider-Man will have to fend off both, as Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet received nominations as well. But in our opinion, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the better film. It’s the best interpretation of the Spider-Man mythology put to the screen. And it revolutionized what storytellers can do with animation. It deserves an Oscar this year.

Sam Elliott for A Star is Born

It was a good day, overall, for A Star is Born. Any time you can emerge with a Best Picture nomination, you are at the top of the game. Yes, Bradley Cooper was a massive snub in the Best Director category, but A Star is Born nabbed Best Actor and Actress, as well as Adapted Screenplay and Cinematography.

Which is great. But the one that we’re very excited about is Sam Elliott, a legend of the silver screen who picks up his first Oscar nomination, even though he has been in an incredible number of great films over the years. And because he was overlooked by a couple of organizations leading up to the Oscars, there was concern that the Academy might miss him. They didn’t, and we are thrilled. At the very least, it means that we will get his 12 notes speech as his Oscars clip.

Black Panther for Best Picture

As mentioned above, it was an historic day for superhero movies at the Oscars. And they didn’t even need a superfluous Popular Movie category to make headlines! Marvel Studios now has a Best Picture nominee in Black Panther, with the origin story earning 7 total nominations, including the top category. Very impressive. And in a year where the field is wide open, with no real movie calling itself a comfortable frontrunner, the race for Picture truly begins now.

But where can Marvel go from here? That’s what I find most invigorating. No longer are they simply peddling blockbuster fluff. They have shown the potential to produce Oscar-caliber films, and it feels like they are ready to continue pushing the envelope in Phase Four (if that’s what Phase Four is called). Seeing Black Panther in the Best Picture race was a pleasant surprise, but also a comforting sign of bigger things to come, we believe.

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Looks Like DC’s Batman Movie Still Has No Title

The DC live-action universe has had a fascinating run in theaters. There’s been peak and valleys, although the future looks bright as the studio is floating on the massive success of James Wan’s Aquaman. There’s an exciting slate of films ahead, including Shazam!, Birds of Prey, and Wonder Woman 1984. There’s also the long gestating Batman solo flick, with Matt Reeves attached to direct.

Not much has come from Warner Bros. about the state of the Dark Knight’s starring moment in the DC Universe. A script was reportedly being worked on for quite some time, although the film’s contents and cast are a mystery. And a new report indicates that the movie still hasn’t landed on a title, in opposition with the rumored one, The Batman.

This latest report comes to us from Twitter by influencer who reportedly has insider access to Warner Bros. plans. While unconfirmed, the Batman solo movie is still in early stages of development, so it may not have landed on a title. DC has also offered no timeline as to when the movie should arrive, or whether or not Ben Affleck would be returning to play the Caped Crusader.

Following disappointing performance of Justice League, the future of the DC Universe was a mystery. The universe doesn’t offer Phases of planned movies like the MCU, so nothing was guaranteed regarding each character’s solo flick. While Aquaman moved forward to become DC’s second critical success, it also broke records and made a ton of movie at the box office.

But the other members of the League haven’t all been so lucky. Ezra Miller’s Flash movie continues to be pushed back, after losing a slew of directors. There also doesn’t appear to be any plans for a Cyborg movie or Man of Steel follow up.

In fact, it’s unknown is Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck will return to their roles in the universe. This would no doubt be heartbreaking for the fans, as the early stages of the DCEU were built on those actors’ shoulders. But the reality of show business is ever changing, and nothing’s ever guaranteed.

DC fans are also hoping that the Batman solo will still move forward, as the rogues of Gotham City take a more prevalent through Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) and Suicide Squad 2.

If Matt Reeves moves forward with the (possibly) untitled project, it doesn’t necessarily need to star Ben Affleck, or be set within the larger DC Universe. Warner Bros. is branching away with non-serialized stories with Todd Phillips’ Joker. That movie is unconnected with the rest of the universe, where Jared Leto was seen playing the Clown Prince of Crime in Suicide Squad.

CinemaBlend will keep you updated on all things Batman, and the goings on within the DC Universe. Be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.