Thursday, April 19, 2018
Things To Do

Movie Planner: Academy Awards season and 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' finally arrives

AWARD WARS: THE OSCAR AWAKENS

It's the most wonderful time of the year for Hollywood. Not Christmas; not Hanukkah. But the start of Academy Awards season. Last week's announcements of Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild award nominations were like Black Friday for studios shopping for shiny prizes.

Between now and Feb. 28, when the Academy Awards are presented, studios with contenders will build every scrap of praise and red carpet exposure into a case for Oscar posterity. The Globes and SAG awards are key elements in this celebrity shopping spree. We'll discuss the starry part later.

First, our annual reminder that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association voting on Golden Globes is a confederacy of nearly 100 journalists chiefly reporting on show biz for overseas outlets you'll never read. The HFPA does throw a heckuva party, though, always at the same time Oscar voters are making up their minds.

It's good campaigning to be invited, since the choices on a few dozen Globes ballots may become a short list for some of the academy's nearly 6,000 voters.

More than a quarter of those voters are actors, so although the vast majority of SAG members aren't academy members, that segment of Oscar voters pays attention to peer consensus. Eleven of the past 12 Oscar winners for acting were SAG winners first.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. The finish line is more than two months away, when Academy Awards are presented. Momentum is critical, and why so few contenders were released before November.

Globes and SAG results can be tailwinds for contenders, thanks to awards season scheduling.

The Golden Globes will be handed out on Jan. 10, four days before Academy Award nominations are announced. If Cate Blanchett or Michael Fassbender wins a Globe then shows up on Oscar's short list, he or she is bestowed with the favorite tag.

Two weeks after the academy's nominees are announced, the Screen Actors Guild presents its prizes — three weeks before Oscar balloting closes. If Blanchett or Fassbender wins a SAG statuette, he or she is practically a lock on Oscar night. At least in perception, but that's important for momentum.

There are other, less glamorous signposts along the awards trail — i.e. director, writer and producer guilds — making Oscar office pool guesses smarter. We'll keep you posted on those, too.

IN THEATERS THURSDAY

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Do you hear it? A disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in relief and were suddenly dazed.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PG-13) is finally here. Three decades since the last piece of the Skywalker saga that mattered, the Jedi have returned.

Picking up the action after 1983's Return of the Jedi, director J.J. Abrams is mixing classic Star Wars icons — Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill — with a new generation of Jedi, led by immediate stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega.

Advance screenings at select theaters begin at 7 p.m. today. If you don't have a ticket secured yet, you probably shouldn't bother. More than $50 million in Star Wars tickets were sold in advance online, and fans are likely queued up for next available. Click here for a review of the movie.

Sisters

If you do get shut out at the box office tonight, try Sisters (R), the new comedy starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Its screenings also begin at 7, and like The Force Awakens the movie opens everywhere Friday.

Sisters stars Fey and Poehler as polar opposite siblings whose parents (James Brolin, Dianne Wiest) are selling their childhood home. Like the Deltas in Animal House, they figure one last raging party is called for, togas optional.

Looks funny in trailers, and I do hope Fey wore her Princess Leia costume from 30 Rock jury duty to the Sisters premiere.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

As a last resort, seats are likely available for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (PG), the fourth of its child-friendly species. This time the chipmunks' pet human Dave (Jason Lee) heads to Miami to propose to his girlfriend, so the little guys follow behind.

May the Force and better movie taste be with you.

Reviews for The Force Awakens and Sisters are available at tampabay.com/movies. The chipmunks? You're on your own.

in theaters: our Top 5

Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:

1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Skywalker saga returns full Force.

2 Room: A unique experience, with terrific performances by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay.

3 Spotlight: The finest movie about newspaper reporters doing their jobs since All the President's Men.

4 Creed: Worthy successor to Rocky Balboa's underdog boxing title, and maybe an Oscar nod for Sylvester Stallone.

5 Chi-Raq: Spike Lee's antigang, antigun satire is his strongest fiction in years.

UPCOMING RELEASES

(dates subject to change)

Dec. 23: The Big Short

Dec. 25: Joy; Carol; The Hateful Eight; The Danish Girl; Concussion; Daddy's Home; Point Break

Jan. 8: The Revenant

Jan. 15: Ride Along 2; 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi; Where to Invade Next

Jan. 22: Dirty Grandpa; The 5th Wave

Jan. 29: Kung Fu Panda 3





   
Comments
Joey Fatone’s hot dog food truck is coming to Plant City this weekend

Joey Fatone’s hot dog food truck is coming to Plant City this weekend

We're still a few weeks from Justin Timberlake's nearly sold-out concert in Tampa. Until then, you'll have to make do with Joey Fatone's hot dogs in Plant City.Timberlake's 'N SYNC bandmate has a burgeoning wiener empire in Orlando, Fat One's Hot Dog...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

ST. PETERSBURG — In the coming season, Freefall Theatre is rolling out a world premiere, a different take on Christmas, a sharp comedy and a recent work by Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage. The theme for the 2018-2019 season, "A Brighter Tomorrow," color...
Published: 04/19/18
Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Do you see what I did there? The comma and extra "E" in my byline?One last pun, just for fun.It’s the end, fin in French, and something unfortunately ruder in Swedish.Time to retire, nearly 25 years to the day after starting work as the Times’ movie ...
Published: 04/19/18
Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

For nearly 60 years it was breads, cakes and pastries, up before dawn for the Perrone family in Armenia Garden Estates. For a minute it looked like Tampa’s Housewife Bake Shop was going to close, but third-generation owner Tena Perrone said on Wednes...
Updated: 3 minutes ago

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBaseballOrioles at Tigers1 p.m.MLBBlue Jays at Yankees6:30 p.m.MLB; 1040-AMMarlins at Brewers8 p.m.FSFBoxingFeatherweights: Roach vs. Cruz9:30 p.m.ESPN2College baseballFlorida at Kentucky7 p.m.SECVanderbilt at Missouri8 p.m.ESPNUGolfPGA Europe: ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Plan your weekend: Kenny Chesney, ‘The Producers’ in the park, Mainsail Art Fest, Sugar Sand Fest, Earth Day

Plan your weekend: Kenny Chesney, ‘The Producers’ in the park, Mainsail Art Fest, Sugar Sand Fest, Earth Day

The top things to do April 20 to 22 in Tampa, St. Petersburg and the whole Tampa Bay area.
Updated: 11 hours ago
SoundBytes: Steel Panther, Surfer Blood, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and more

SoundBytes: Steel Panther, Surfer Blood, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and more

— Florida's own indie rockers Surfer Blood are returning to Crowbar on Aug. 24, with the Blonde Tongues opening. Tickets are $13 and up. Click here.— Hair metal satirists Steel Panther are coming to Jannus Live on Aug. 16. Tickets go on s...
Published: 04/18/18
Mainsail Art Festival returns to Vinoy Park. Artists to look for, where to park and more.

Mainsail Art Festival returns to Vinoy Park. Artists to look for, where to park and more.

The Mainsail Art Festival feels like an old friend. The festival has been bringing fine art and fine craft to St. Pete for almost as long as I’ve been alive. Since the first event in 1976, the festival has repeatedly been named one of the "100 Best A...
Published: 04/18/18
The newest trend for Tampa date nights? Indoor ax throwing

The newest trend for Tampa date nights? Indoor ax throwing

Axe Throwing Tampa and Raider Axe Lodge are bringing the axe-throwing trend to the Tampa Bay area.
Published: 04/18/18
Mainsail Art Festival returns to Vinoy Park. Artists to look for, where to park and more.

Mainsail Art Festival returns to Vinoy Park. Artists to look for, where to park and more.

Everything you need to know.
Published: 04/18/18