by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) in LA LA LAND. Photo Credit: Dale Robinette
Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) in LA LA LAND. Photo Credit: Dale Robinette

Multiplexes have continued to bask in the popularity of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" during January . The spin-off debuted in mid-December. However, it's receiving pressure this weekend from "Hidden Figures" and "Sing."

  "Awards Season" entries  wrapped back at the Toronto film festival in September  and now shifts nationwide. Most of the niche films start building popularity at film festivals. Distributors  pick up some films and try them in limited l releases playing in large cities or near large universities. Once critical acclaim, nominations and word of mouth builds, they spread into the Heartland supported by critical hype and number of nominations. These "niche" and/or "art" films have an emphasis on  little told stories and strong acting performances.

 

West Virginia generally receives few of these sophisticated productions, unless snatched by a film festival for a big screen viewing. Charleston, Huntington, and Morgantown due to the number of screens and nearby universities irregularly show films like "Moonlight" or "Lion" dependent upon film distributor choice and the willingness of the cinema chain to take a risk on an unknown quantity that may contractually tie up a screen for multiple weeks.

[Currently, "Manchester by the Sea" (a favorite for best picture) and "La La Land" are running regionally in the Mountain State. ]

The film exhibition and production industry has often been compared to "rolling the dice" in Vegas.  They place odds on Oscar choices, too.

Uppity big city critic organizations which sponsor major awards ceremonies generally disfavor popular, mainstream favorites. The special effect tentpoles may wind up with FX nominations but not prestigious acting, directing or best picture nomination.

The 2016 season has numerous anomalies, specifically films having played earlier during the year and a few anticipated nominees that tanked during expansion from core cities to  500-1,000 screens.

Sundance favorite "Birth of a Nation" gained a $17.5 million dollar pick up by Fox Searchlight, A period drama it follows a literate slave and preacher played by Nate Parker. However, the advance press revealed a 1999 alleged rape by director /star Parker and writer Jean McGianni Celestin. The accuser committed suicide in 2012.

Bad press cast a shadow over the widening release in mid October. The film took in only about $15 million dollars.

"Moonlight," which concerns a bullied gay African American boy who becomes a drug dealer has achieved six Globe nomination, but the film has already fallen off when exposed to a wider release of about 600 screens.  As of this writing , it has only $10 million dollars in ticket sales nationwide. A similar failure to ignite occurred with "Billy Lyon's Long Halftime Walk," contrasts the so-called glories of war heroics (in Iraq) with the realities encased in each soldier's head.

 

On the up front, a tribute to the big Hollywood musical of the 40s/50s, "La La Land" has emerged as a favorite for Best Picture. It has 7 Globe nominations.  A new take on the big Hollywood musicals of the 40s/50s, it stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Similarly, "Manchester by the Sea" received five Globe noms features Casey Affleck as a depressed Boston janitor returning to his hometown.


Numerous mainstream films that have completed their theatrical runs, such as Clint Eastwood for Sully and Tom Hanks as Best Actor are projected. Hacksaw Ridge will likely receive nominations too.


Many of the animated Golden Globe nominations are playing or have already played. They are:

 

Best Motion Picture – Animated:
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Moana”
“My Life as a   Zucchini”
“Sing”
“Zootopia”

 

The Globes, Screen Actor's and Producer's Guild Awards all have foreshadowing strength for the Oscar contest.