And the Winners are…

2017oscarsBest Picture

Winner: Moonlight

Directing

Winner: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

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Actor in a Leading Role

Winner: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Actress in a Leading Role

Winner: Emma Stone, La La Land

Actress in a Supporting Role

Winner: Viola Davis, Fences

Actor in a Supporting Role

Winner: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Adapted Screenplay

Winner: Moonlight

Original Screenplay

Winner: Manchester by the Sea

Animated Feature Film

Winner: Zootopia

Foreign Language Film

Winner: The Salesman (Iran)

Salesman

Documentary Feature

Winner: O.J.: Made in America

Cinematography

Winner: La La Land

Film Editing

Winner: Hacksaw Ridge

Production Design

Winner: La La Land

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Costume Design

Winner: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Makeup and Hairstyling

Winner: Suicide Squad

Original Score

Winner: La La Land

Original Song

Winner: “City of Stars,” La La Land

Sound Editing

Winner: Arrival

Sound Mixing

Winner: Hacksaw Ridge

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Visual Effects

Winner: The Jungle Book

Animated Short Subject

Winner: Piper

Live Action Short Film

Winner: Sing

Documentary Short Subject

Winner: The White Helmets

Oscar Predictions 2017: Winners

2017oscarsOK, so I totally ran out of time, so let’s just cut to the chase. Here are my predicted winners and the ones that I wish would win. I missed a lot of films this year, so my wish-list is limited.

lalalandBest Picture

Winner: La La Land
Wish: La La Land

Directing

Winner: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Wish: Tie between Chazelle & Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Actor in a Leading Role

Winner: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Wish: Casey

emmastonestageActress in a Leading Role

Winner: Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Wish: Emma Stone, La La Land

Actress in a Supporting Role

Winner: Viola Davis, Fences
Wish: I don’t care

Actor in a Supporting Role

Winner: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Wish: Don’t care

Adapted Screenplay

Winner: Moonlight, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney
Wish: Arrival, Eric Heisserer

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Original Screenplay

Winner: Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan
Wish: Manchester

Animated Feature Film

Winner: Zootopia
Wish: Kubo and the Two Strings

Foreign Language Film

Winner: The Salesman (Iran)
Wish: No opinion as I haven’t seen any of these

oj_madeinamericaDocumentary Feature

Winner: O.J.: Made in America
Wish: Again, no opinion

 

Cinematography

Winner: La La Land, Linus Sandgren
Wish: Arrival, Bradford Young

Film Editing

Winner: La La Land, Tom Cross
Wish: La La Land

Production Design

Winner: La La Land, Davis Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
Wish: Arrival, Patrice Vermette and Paul Hotte

Costume Design

Winner: Jackie, Madeline Fontaine
Wish: La La Land, Mary Zophres

Makeup and Hairstyling

Winner: Star Trek Beyond, Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo
Wish: ?

Original Score

Winner: La La Land, Justin Hurwitz
Wish: La La Land

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Original Song

Winner: “City of Stars,” La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Wish: “Audition (The Fools who Dream),” La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Sound Editing

Winner: Arrival, Sylvain Bellemare
Wish: Arrival, Sylvain Bellemare

Sound Mixing

Winner: La La Land, Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, and Steve A. Morrow
Wish: La La Land

Visual Effects

Winner: The Jungle Book, Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Dan Lemmon
Wish: Kubo and the Two Strings, Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean, and Brad Schiff

piperAnimated Short Subject

Winner: Piper
Wish: Don’t care

Live Action Short Film

Winner: Silent Nights
Wish: ?

Documentary Short Subject

Winner: The White Helmets
Wish: The White Helmets

The Best Picture Reviews: La La Land & Lion

2017oscars

I wrote my thoughts yesterday on the two first nominees, read them here!  Now it’s time for the next two.

LA LA LAND (2016)

Directed by Damien Chazelle
Written by Damien Chazelle
Starring Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling

Synopsis (IMDb): “A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.”

I’ve been waiting to see Chazelle’s next move since seeing Whiplash about exactly two years ago. Whiplash blew me away, I couldn’t move after seeing it for the first time, that strong was the impact. And then I heard he is going to do a musical with the best on-screen couple of today. OMG! I only saw La La Land 10 days ago, so you can imagine how my expectations have been rising and rising. The film just couldn’t be THAT good. How unbelievably happy I’m to say it so was. This movie was made for me. Once a dreamer, always a dreamer.

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La La Land is up to record-tying 14 Oscars and is loved by the cinema-going audience (IMDb Top-57 of all-time) as well as critics (Rotten Tomatoes score of 93%), so it would be silly to bet against it. There’s a chance that the Academy will spread the love but I still would predict that La La Land will be the big winner of the night. As I wrote yesterday, I haven’t seen all nominees yet but I hope that Emma Stone will get her Oscar, she’s dazzling. I love her anyway, so I might be a bit biased but to me she was perfect. And I’m not complaining about Ryan Gosling either but his characters in other movies are similar to Sebastian, so it is a fact he can do those roles. I did love Sebastian’s passion. Passion is the key to living, in my mind. Whatever it is, you need to have passion.

LLL d 12 _2353.NEF

When it comes to technical categories, I would predict that La La Land will take home at least editing as Chazelle knows how to use editing when intensifying the story (see Whiplash right now if you haven’t seen it yet!). It has a great chance with costume design (Jackie is, though, a real competitor), cinematography (the first scene!), production design (that is, of course, over-the-top) and sound mixing as it is a musical. There shouldn’t be competition in music categories, Justin Hurwitz should be shoo-in for the score (although I have to say, we have had great music in films this Oscar season) and I bet “City of Stars”
will win the best song, I hope it’ll be “Audition” because I like it more but I’m putting my money on “City of Stars”. Also they should stage a pier on the stage at thedamien_chazelle_a_p
Oscars where Gosling starts to sing “City of Stars”, Stone joins him and after his part he leaves and Stone performs “Audition”. I’d love that.

Like I wrote yesterday, I absolutely worshipped Arrival and its director Villeneuve. And I think I’m in love with Damien Chazelle. He is SO talented. I wish they would share the best director Oscar. As it’s not likely to happen, I bet Chazelle will win this time. His work is so purely a work of passion. And as it seems, everyone is in love with La La Land and chasing your dreams, especially in Hollywood, so I also predict that La La Land will win the best picture Oscar.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)

lionposterLION (2016)

Directed by Garth Davis
Written by Luke Davies
Starring Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham & Abhishek Bharate

Synopsis (IMDb): “A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.”

Before going to see Lion, I was told I should take a towel with me because tissues wouldn’t be enough. True enough, Lion makes you cry. You have to be one hard boiled egg, if it doesn’t. And what is the coolest point here, it’s a true story. And it’s told well.

Sunny Pawar stars in LION
Photo: Mark Rogers

To me Lion is a bit like The Imitation Game of two years ago. Very well-made, with everything working but there’s nothing spectacular. The Imitation Game was up for 10 Oscars, Lion is up for six and I agree, there is that much difference in quality. I did enjoy Lion a lot but not as much as I thought I would. I absolutely loved the music, if Oscar goes that way, I’m not complaining. I did like the cinematography a lot too, so they could win that too. It’s a hard category to predict this year. Overall Lion is beautiful to look at and listen, it breaks your heart a bit and is tremendous accomplishment for a first time director.

devpatel_hotWhich I don’t like with the Academy again is that, that Dev Patel is in the lead role. Yes, Sunny Pawar, who was robbed by the way, might have more screen-time but the story is about how the adult Saroo found his family. And still they placed Patel in supporting actor category. I like that he is recognised but those category breaches still annoy me.

Lion should be watched as it’s a good story of never giving up (although that obsession was getting to my nerves a bit). I have a lot of friends who liked it much more than I did. Maybe I just don’t get the importance of your roots or something. Anyhow, good film and even though I think it’ll go home empty handed on Sunday, I wouldn’t mind giving it a statue or two.

Rating: **** 

P.S. Dev Patel has gotten so hot!

The Best Picture Reviews: Arrival & Manchester by the Sea

2017oscarsYes, I’ve been absent again for a while but let’s get back to that later. It’s the Oscars week and I’m so behind. Here are my thoughts on the first two best picture nominees that I saw. And what are their chances on Sunday evening.

arrivalposterARRIVAL (2016)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Written by Eric Heisserer
Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner & Forest Whitaker

Denis Villeneuve’s last two films I liked a lot. His style is extraordinary and in Arrival it is on its full potential. Arrival is astonishing. I absolutely loved it! It will probably be at least in top-3 of my films of 2017 or if not, this will be helluva year. I think Arrival deserves every praise it gets and then some more.

First of all, Villeneuve obviously is the master here, it’s his vision that shines through. Also the screenplay is spellbinding. I was totally hooked. At some point I had grabbed the seat on front of me (in cinema) and was sitting right on the edge of my own seat without realising that I was doing that, I was so absorbed into the film. And that’s what I talk about when I say it is Villeneuve’s vision. Unbelievable. And to support that there’s beautiful production design, simple but effective.

arrival_cinematography

Cinematography. Well, of course. If you’ve seen the film, you know how suitable eerie it looks. And editing obviously clearly makes the pace, perfectly. Sometimes dwelling in feeling, sometimes throwing the viewer in the middle of a mess. And again here we can see how cleverly the script is written. The film never lets you off the hook. And it makes you think. And feel. And perhaps, if you think and feel hard enough, understand. It is actually hard to write about it as it is that kind of a film you need to use all your senses and no words would do honour for it.

arrival-smoke

What still makes me angry, is that Jóhann Jóhannsson wasn’t eligible for the score because it’s stunning! He is quickly becoming one of my favourite composers if not the one. In Arrival music and sounds are so, so important. And that’s why I really feel that it should win for the sound editing at least and also for mixing.

arrival-villeneuve

It bums me out that Amy Adams wasn’t recognised as she is as good as ever. She’s my favourite actress and I don’t think she’s ever bad and surely she wasn’t here. But thankfully it’s been a very good year for female leads as there were too many to choose from. Adams is the player here, everyone else is just there to make the story go further. Except the aliens. They’re important. And I never complain when I see Mr. Renner on screen.

amy_adams_arrival

So, to sum it up. I would love to see Arrival to win for cinematography, maybe editing, both sounds and as I appreciated its simplicity, also production design. And tie with directing. I think. I still haven’t seen all the nominees (yeah, I know, so late!!!), so it’s hard to say yet plus there was one that I also loved, so…But still, perfection.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)

manchesterbythesea

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (2016)

Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
Written by Kenneth Lonergan
Starring Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams & Kyle Chandler

So, I saw these two films in a row and in this order. That might have affected somehow how I viewed Manchester by the Sea. I can’t really say if I’d liked it more if I hadn’t watched Arrival just before it. Or maybe I wouldn’t have liked it as much as I did because I was already in the mood to watch great movies. I don’t know but I know I did like Manchester quite a lot. It was a good cinema day.

realmanchesterbythesea

Manchester by the Sea is nominated for six Oscars and will most probably win for the leading role for an actor as Casey Affleck is impressive. It is his show as much it is director-writer Lonergan’s. Affleck is mesmerizing. He does so little but tells so much. All those suppressed feelings are there for the viewer to see and feel. Manchester by the Sea is heartbreakingly sad story of ordinary people. People who are like anyone of us. Besides Affleck, Hedges and especially Williams have earned their nominations. That scene in the movie poster is perhaps the most moving scene in the film and it’s such a showcase for Affleck and Williams; they’re so authentic, so raw, so full of emotion. If Arrival is a story of human kind, Manchester by the Sea is a story of humans.

caseyaffleck

Besides acting, Manchester is nominated for the original screenplay, directing and the best picture. It could win for all and I wouldn’t really mind. But I think it will win for the screenplay and it definitely should. I adored it. I loved the way the story was told the way that it just began, like when meeting a new person. And then you get to know them, little by little. You start to understand why they do something, why they say something, why they like or don’t like something. Manchester is like that. At first you are like “who the f is this guy and why he is there” but then, a little by little, you start to understand and sympathize. Life is life and you just have to live it. Also, big points for the ending.

michelle_williams_elle_magazine

This has nothing to do with the film but she’s beautiful. From January Elle magazine.

One thing that I didn’t really like was the music, it’s too hard. It annoyed me. But otherwise, beautiful film and sad story about life that I think I will definitely see again. And I’ll be mad if Lonergan won’t win for the screenplay and Affleck for the lead actor, they are THAT good.

Rating: ****½

P.S. 2017 is already better movie year for me (as I’ve seen all nominees this year) than the last year was. Yay for that!