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Watch the Oscars LIVE with Now Playing Podcast!

Watch the Academy Awards live with Now Playing Podcast on February 9. Download the Hot Mic app and join us!

If you’ve ever wanted to watch the Academy Awards with the hosts of Now Playing Podcast, this is your chance!

On Sunday, February 9 at 8 p.m. EST, Arnie, Stuart, and Brock will be streaming LIVE on your phone, as Now Playing Podcast partners with Hot Mic to host our first Oscars viewing party. While you watch, you can send your questions and comments to our hosts, and they’ll chat with you and the rest of the audience as the winners are announced. 

Want to join us? Here’s everything you need to know:

What is Hot Mic?

The Hot Mic app lets you sync up with your favorite hosts and watch live events together in real time. Hot Mic is launching its first Oscars streaming event on February 9 and we’re thrilled to be part of the show!

How do I watch?

To join the party, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Download the Hot Mic social app via Apple’s App Store or Google Play
  2. Tap “Sign Up” and use the invite code NOWPLAYING
  3. Create your user account and you’re done!

You can set a notification and get a reminder when our live stream begins! We’ll also post reminders on the Now Playing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds.

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast | , , | Comments Off on Watch the Oscars LIVE with Now Playing Podcast!

On Oscar eve, Now Playing Podcast hosts name their Best Picture picks

Let’s face it: Deadpool was never going to get a Best Picture nomination.

Despite the Golden Globes nom and those articles building up its Oscar chances, there was no way an R-rated superhero flick about sex and guns and unicorns was going to end up in the same category as 2016’s prestige films.

Now Playing Podcast host Arnie Carvalho put it best the morning the nominees were announced: #OscarsSoPredictable.

The Oscars are the Oscars. Movies like The Artist win Best Picture. Movies like Deadpool win MTV Movie Awards, which are still a thing all these years later.

So, in honor of the many films that won’t be celebrated at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony, the Now Playing hosts made their picks for Best Picture of 2016.

And the awards go to:

         The Nice Guys

“I rarely give any movie a perfect 5-star ranking. It seems every movie has something that could be fixed, tightened, or improved in some way. For this score I demand a movie that feels perfect immediately. This year I only ranked one movie 5-stars. Only one film had the intelligence, the entertainment, and the charm for such a ranking. It’s a film I loved when I first saw it in May, and each home viewing has deepened my appreciation.“ — Arnie 

“Ryan Gosling and Russel Crowe are surprisingly good together. Being a period piece, you never know if it’s going to come off schlocky, but this worked. This movie turned me around on Gosling, who I had not been a fan of previously. The action and drama is just the right pace to keep you in the movie. And let’s not forget Angourie Rice, who played Ryan Gosling’s daughter. She was plucky and had an amazing presence for such a young actress.” — Marjorie

           The Lobster

“Easily 2016’s most cracked and surprising discovery for me. I kept thinking as I was watching this crazy sci-fi story about people forced to mate or be changed into animals that it couldn’t possibly sustain its delirious energy for much longer… AND the thing just kept opening itself up to bold, new interpretations! You laugh because the situations are as absurd as our own deeply held conceptions of love and marriage.” — Stuart

         The VVitch

“The VVitch is an almost perfect horror film that held me in suspense as American puritanism faces off against the supernatural. The movie spends great effort on authenticity, from its stylized spelling to sets and costumes to the dialect, making it easy to get lost in its haunting atmosphere. But even better is the depth of the film with its layered subtext commenting on religion, class, and gender.” — Jakob

         Edge of Seventeen

“I think many people dismissed it as a Juno ripoff, but this movie has a big heart and Hailee Steinfeld’s performance as an outcast teen dealing with the death of her father and the inevitability of growing up is impressive and emotional. Woody Harrelson is surprisingly charming and down to earth here as well.” — Justin

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on On Oscar eve, Now Playing Podcast hosts name their Best Picture picks

Several Oscar Nominated Films Reviewed by Now Playing Podcast

<> on October 19, 2009 in Santa Clarita, California.

The Academy Award nominees have been announced, and Now Playing Podcast has reviewed (or will soon be reviewing) several nominees!

boyhoodPosterBoyhood, directed by Richard Linklater, is one of the leading films of the year.  The film earned six nominations; only three films beat that number this year.  The film, which Linklater filmed over a span of 12 years, is up for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Ethan Hawke), Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette), Best Editing, Best Director, and Best Screenplay!

Our review of is film will be posted at on Feb 10, but we start leading up to that next week!  Starting January 20th we begin reviewing Linklater’s Before trilogy of films:  Before Sunrise, Before Sunsetand Before Midnightall directed by Linklater and starring Ethan Hawke.

Big Hero 6 is up for Best Animated Film. Do the Now Playing Hosts agree? That review is out now at (additionally Feast is up for Best Animated Short and we discussed that in our Big Hero 6 review as well!)

Interstellar was blocked from the big categories but did get Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Score and, most unexpectedly, Best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing (did they hear that film right????  Were the screener DVDs mixed differently??) . That review is up now in the Now Playing archives, along with every other film Christopher Nolan has reviewed!

Guardians of the Galaxy may have won top spot in the 2014 box office, but the Academy only nominated Marvel’s blockbuster film in two technical categories:  Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Visual Effects.  (I rewatched the film over the holidays and that the film did not get Best Costume Design is a travesty–those outfits were intricate and varied).  You can hear our review of this film now!

Also nominated for Best Visual Effects were Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Pastboth of which we reviewed as part of our ongoing Marvel Movie Retrospective.

Now Playing Podcast donors who took part in our Spring Donation Drive also heard our review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but that review is no longer available as the donation drive has completed.

The full list of nominees for The 87th Annual Academy Awards are:


Best Picture

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Steve Carell for Foxcatcher
  • Bradley Cooper for American Sniper (Hear us discuss Cooper in our reviews of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Midnight Meat Train)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game (Hear us discuss Cumberbatch in our review of Star Trek Into Darkness)
  • Michael Keaton for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Hear us talk about Keaton playing a different winged hero in our reviews of Batman and Batman Returns, and he also featured in the remake of Robocop)
  • Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night (Hear us review her turn as the evil Talia al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises and also her role in Christopher Nolan’s Inception)
  • Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything (We discussed her blink-and-you-miss-it turn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
  • Julianne Moore for Still Alice (We recently reviewed Moore for her role in the remake of Carrie, as well as her work in Next and Hannibal)
  • Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl (Hear us discuss this former Bond Girl’s work in Die Another Day)
  • Reese Witherspoon for Wild

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Robert Duvall for The Judge
  • Ethan Hawke for Boyhood (Hear us discuss Hawke in the upcoming Now Playing Before Sunrise Retrospective Series, starting Jan. 20!)
  • Edward Norton for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (We reviewed Norton’s work in Fight Club, plus his one-and-done turn as The Incredible Hulk)
  • Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher (We first discussed this star of 13 Going on 30 in our review of Shutter Island, as well as his work replacing Norton as The Hulk in The Avengers and Iron Man 3)
  • J.K. Simmons for Whiplash (We reviewed the Farmer’s Insurance salesman for his role of J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films)

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Patricia Arquette for Boyhood (We reviewed her first big-screen role in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)
  • Laura Dern for Wild
  • Keira Knightly for The Imitation Game
  • Emma Stone for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)   (We reviewed her performances in both of the Amazing Spider-Man films)
  • Meryl Streep for Into the Woods

Animated Feature Film

  • Big Hero 6
  • The Boxtrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya


  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Ida
  • Mr. Turner
  • Unbroken

Costume Design

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Inherent Vice
  • Into the Woods
  • Maleficent
  • Mr. Turner


  • Alejandro G Iñárritu for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 
  • Richard Linklater for Boyhood
  • Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher
  • Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

Documentary Feature

  • CitizenFour
  • Finding Vivian Maier
  • Last Days in Vietnam
  • The Salt of the Earth
  • Virunga

Documentary Short Subject

  • Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
  • Joanna
  • Our Curse
  • The Reaper (La Parka)
  • White Earth

Film Editing

  • American Sniper
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Whiplash

Foreign Language Film

  • Ida
  • Leviathan
  • Tangerines
  • Timbuktu
  • Wild Tales

Makeup and Hairstyling

Music – Original Score

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Mr. Turner
  • The Theory of Everything

Music – Original Song

  • “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
  • “Glory” from Selma
  • “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
  • “Lost Stars” from Begin Again

Production Design

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
  • Mr. Turner

Short Film – Animated

  • The Bigger Picture
  • The Dam Keeper
  • Feast
  • Me and My Moulton
  • A Single Life

Short Film – Live Action

  • Aya
  • Boogaloo and Graham
  • Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)
  • Parveneh
  • The Phone Call

Sound Editing

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken

Sound Mixing

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken
  • Whiplash

Visual Effects

Writing – Adapted Screenplay

  • American Sniper by Jason Hall
  • The Imitation Game by Graham Moore
  • Inherent Vice by Paul Thomas Anderson
  • The Theory of Everything by Anthony McCarten
  • Whiplash by Damien Chazelle

Writing – Original Screenplay

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) by Alejandro G Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo
  • Boyhood by Richard Linklater
  • Foxcatcher by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson, Story by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness
  • Nightcrawler by Dan Gilroy

January 15, 2015 Posted by | Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Several Oscar Nominated Films Reviewed by Now Playing Podcast

Argo screw yourself Oscars! My Total B.S. Guide to Losing Your Office Betting Pool


Though the time has come to join the fray on handicapping this Sunday’s Academy Awards, it must be stated right off the bat that my Oscar losing streak is almost as long as Martin Scorsese’s.  I haven’t won a single betting pool for this show since I first anted up my piggy bank with family during the 1991 telecast (when I was dead certain that Bugsy would beat Silence of the Lambs for Best Picture).

Some years my Oscar hopes were dashed by an unpredictable dark horse – Marissa Tomei’s surprise My Cousin Vinny win or Shakespeare in Love besting shoo-in Saving Private Ryan.  For sweep years like Titanic, where every participant had the same picks, it all came down to the lucky guesser of an obscure category like Best Documentary Short.  And then sometimes I just get an idea in my head about what I think Academy members respect and become blind to reason.  Just ask Arnie… he made $100 off me after I foolishly gambled on Burt Reynolds’ Boogie Nights performance trouncing Robin Williams’ Oscar-baiting work in Good Will Hunting.  (In my defense, the man was coming off Flubber!)

So don’t take anything you’re about to read as a proven formula for predicting winners.  My method is to break each of the 24 major categories into three possible outcomes:   Losers (no need for these folks to prepare a speech… it just ain’t happening this year), Outliers (unlikely dark horses that could sneak out a win), and The Real Race (those that have the best shot at the Gold Guy).  I’m usually pretty good at this stuff.  It’s when I have to narrow the field to one Winner that I choke.  My tendency is to use my head and not my heart – I never think my personal favorites are going to be victorious.  It’s the person who throws out cynical ideas about the Academy’s tastes, and banks on the undeniable appeal of some movie or performance that doesn’t have frontrunner status, who usually takes home the winnings.

Academy members’ tastes may be a bit stodgy – they tend to shun works that are too artsy, gutsy, or violent.  And they hate giving Spielberg anything that isn’t connected to WWII.  But that may all change this weekend.  The history of the Oscars is not the history of the best films ever made, but it is a compelling Hollywood self-portrait that always has the potential to surprise and delight.  And if Scorsese now has a statue, maybe this is the year where I turn my fortune around.  Here’s hoping the 2013 Winners are….


Best Picture
Losers: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild & Django Unchained
Outliers: Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook & Zero Dark 30
The Real Race: Argo vs. Lincoln
The Winner: Argo is a crowd pleasing, multi-award winning celebration of Hollywood saving the Iranian hostages.  How could Tinseltown resist?


Best Director:

Losers: Ben Zeitlin (Beasts Of The Southern Wild)
Outliers: David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) & Michael Haneke (Amour)
The Real Race: Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) vs Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
The Winner: Spielberg.  But Ben Affleck would easily take any of these names if he were on the ballot


Best Actor:
Losers: Everyone else
The Winner: Daniel Day Lewis.  This is the only race I’d bet $100 on.


Best Actress:
Losers: Naomi Watts (The Impossible) & the little girl with the unpronounceable name from Beasts of the Southern Wild
Outlier: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
The Real Race: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) vs. Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
The Winner: Lawrence had a big year with this and Hunger Games.  Plus Silver Linings probably won’t win anything else.

Best Supporting Actor:
Losers: Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master) & Alan Arkin (Argo)
Outlier: Christoph Waltz (Django)
The Real Race: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) vs. Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook)
The Winner: Jones stole scenes from Daniel Day Lewis. 

Best Supporting Actress:
Losers: Amy Adams (The Master), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), & Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)
The Real Race: Anne Hathaway vs. Sally Field
The Winner: Hathaway.  Ask Jennifer Hudson if one big song can get you this statue.  Plus Sally already has two of these.

Best Original Script:
Losers: Moonrise Kingdom & Flight
Outlier: Amour
The Real Race: Django Unchained vs. Zero Dark 30
The Winner: Zero Dark 30.  As controversial as the torture was in this film, it pales next to Q’s irreverent slant on slavery.


Best Adapted Script:
Losers: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Outliers: Silver Linings Playbook & Life of Pi
The Real Race: Argo vs Lincoln
The Winner: Lincoln.  Both movies fudged history to contrive drama… but Tony Kushner had the harder job because there were no firsthand accounts to model.


Best Editing:
Losers: Life of Pi & Silver Linings Playbook
Outlier: Lincoln
The Real Race: Argo vs Zero Dark 30
The Winner: Argo.  The Best Picture winner typically takes this trophy.


Best Cinematography
Losers: Anna Karenina & Django Unchained
Outlier: Lincoln
The Real Race: Life of Pi vs. Skyfall
The Winner: Skyfall.  Roger Deakins must win one year… and this may be his best looking film.


Best Production Design
Outlier: Hobbit
The Real Race: Anna Karenina vs. Lincoln vs. Les Miz vs. Life of Pi
The Winner: Lincoln.  This category is really up for grabs, but I’ll go with the film with the most nominations.


Best Costumes
Losers: Snow White and the Huntsman & Mirror, Mirror
Outlier: Lincoln
The Real Race: Anna Karenina vs. Les Miz
The Winner: Les Miz.  All I know is that Snow White will be going home empty handed.


Best Make-Up
Loser: Les Miz (I couldn’t stand looking at all those rotten teeth and wigs in close up!)
Outlier: Hitchcock
Best Visual Effects
Loser: Snow White And The Huntsman
Outlier: Prometheus
The Real Race: The Avengers vs. The Hobbit vs. Life of Pi
The Winner: Life of Pi.  All deserve it, but Pi’s SFX were pivotal to the drama.


Best Sound Editing:
Outliers: Argo, Django Unchained, Life of Pi
The Real Race: Skyfall vs Zero Dark 30 (lot of noises in this one)
The Winner:  Skyfall.  I’m feeling like this will be 007’s year to get 004 Oscars.
Best Sound Mixing
Outliers: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln
The Real Race: Skyfall vs. Les Miz (they did the singing live on set)
The Winner: Skyfall.  If it wins one sound award, it will win the other.
Best Score
Losers: Anna Karenina & Skyfall
Outlier: Argo
The Real Race: Lincoln vs Life of Pi
The Winner: Life of Pi.  John Williams doesn’t have shelf space to display another Oscar.


Best Song
Loser:  Chasing Ice
Outliers: Life of Pi & Ted (hey, Seth is hosting.  He’d have an opportunity to stuff the ballot)
The Real Race:  Skyfall vs. Les Miz
The Winner: Skyfall.  Adele is nearly unstoppable.


Best Animated Feature
Loser: The Pirates!
Outliers: Frankenweinie & Para-Norman
The Real Race: Brave vs. Wreck-It Ralph
The Winner: Wreck-It Ralph.  Didn’t see any of them.  Pixar usually wins, but Ralph nabbed the Annie.


Best Animated Short
Loser: Fresh Guacamole
Outliers: Head over Heels & The Longest Daycare (could the Simpsons ever win an Oscar?)
The Real Race: Adam and Dog vs Paperman
The Winner: Paperman.  It won the Annie


Best Live Action Short
Losers: Buzkashi Boys & Henry
Outlier: Asad
The Real Race: Curfew vs. Death of a Shadow
The Winner: Curfew.  I’ll be honest… I Googled a bunch of other Oscar handicappers and this was consistently voted the best.


Best Foreign Language Film
Loser: A Royal Affair & War Witch
Outliers: Kon Tiki & No
The Winner:  Amour.  If it’s up for Best Picture, winning this category should be a ake walk.


Best Documentary Feature
Loser: 5 Broken Cameras
Outliers: How To Survive A Plague & Invisible War
The Real Race: The Gatekeepers vs Searching For Sugar Man
The Winner: Gatekeepers.  Sugar Man is the sentimental favorite… but docs tend to win for subject matter.  Gatekeepers’ provocative interviews about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict widen more eyes.


Best Documentary Short
I NEVER know what wins in this category.  Let’s make a guess based on the subject matter:
Rwandan children getting heart surgery (Open Heart) beats homeless Mexican teen (Inocente) beats women with cancer at a hair salon (Mondays at Racine) beats senior citizens retired in Florida (Kings Point) beats people who recycle bottles and cans (Redemption).
The Winner: Open Heart.  Are you really going to deny sick African kids an Oscar?!!!

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Movies, News, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , | Comments Off on Argo screw yourself Oscars! My Total B.S. Guide to Losing Your Office Betting Pool