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.

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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!

The Oscars Nominations Predictions 2017

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.Here we are again. The best time of the year, the Oscars time! And here are my final nominations. In few hours we’ll be hearing what the Academy picked.

BEST PICTURE

  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight
  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Lion
  • Hidden Figures
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hacksaw Ridge

  • Silence
  • Deadpool

I couldn’t pick my 10th option because I’m hopeless optimistic and actually think they would go for R-rated comic book movie. Right yeah? I kind of wanted to leave Hidden Figures out as well but this is where the final list now. At the moment it’s either La La Land’s or Moonlight’s to lose.

lalaland

DIRECTOR

  • La La Land – Damien Chazelle
  • Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Longergan
  • Hell or High Water – David McKenzie
  • Arrival – Denis Villeneuve
  • Moonlight – Barry Jenkins

  • Hacksaw Ridge- Mel Gibson
  • Fences – Denzel Washington
  • Silence – Martin Scorsese
  • Lion – Garth Davis

By far the hardest category to predict this year. The three of them are absolute locks (Chazelle, Lonergan and Jenkins) but the two others… I believe that Villeneuve is due with a nomination (I haven’t seen Arrival yet but I’m only hearing good things plus he’s done great job with previous films that were nominated, Prisoners and Sicario) but the last slot was hard to decide. I played a wild card.

ACTORryan_gosling_hot

  • La La Land – Ryan Gosling
  • Fences – Denzel Washington
  • Manchester by the Sea – Casey Affleck
  • Hacksaw Ridge – Andrew Garfield
  • Captain Fantastic – Viggo Mortensen

ACTRESS

  • La La Land – Emma Stone
  • Jackie – Natalie Portman
  • Arrival – Amy Adams
  • Florence Foster Jenkins – Meryl Streep
  • Elle – Isabelle Huppert

Loving – Ruth Negga

Because of the story of Loving, I wanted to give a slot for Ruth Negga but Huppert has been really strong and one can never leave Streep out, especially when she gave amazing speech at the Golden Globes in the middle of voting of the Oscars nominations.

SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Lion – Dev Patel 10
  • Moonlight – Mahershala Ali
  • Hell of High Water – Jeff Brigdes
  • Florence Foster Jenkins – Hugh Grant
  • Nocturnal Animals – Aaron Taylor-Johnson

  • Manchester by the Sea – Lucas Hedges

I just might be hopeful here again but if Nocturnal Animals will soar at least a bit, Taylor-Johnson will be in. And the Academy has avoid to nominate younger actors in this category like Tremblay last year. But Hedges has been strong so far, so this is a game.

aaron

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Hidden Figures – Octavia Spences
  • Fences – Viola Davis
  • Manchester by the Sea – Michelle Williams
  • Naomi Harris – Moonlight
  • Lion – Nicole Kidman

 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Manchester by the Sea
  • The Lobster
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Captain Fantastic

 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Moonlight
  • Fences
  • Lion
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Arrival

  • Hidden Figures

OK, I have a thing for Nocturnal Animals even I haven’t seen it, so again, I’m putting it ahead of probably stronger contender.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • La La Land
  • Silence
  • Arrival
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

arrival-smoke

EDITING

  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Arrival
  • Moonlight
  • Hacksaw Ridge

 

COSTUME DESIGNjackie_costumes

  • Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them
  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Allied

 

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • La La Land
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • The Handmaiden
  • Jackie
  • Arrival

 

MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Deadpool
  • Florence Foster Jenkins

  • Star Trek Beyond

I asked my make-up artist friend’s opinion here and she chose Deadpool instead of Star Trek Beyond. I’ll blame her if I’m incorrect.

SOUND MIXING

  • La La Land
  • Arrival
  • Rogue One
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Deepwater Horizon

SOUND EDITING

  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Roque One
  • Arrival
  • The Jungle Book

 

VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Rogue One
  • The Jungle Book 5
  • Arrival
  • Strange
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

 

SCORE

  • Moonlight (Nicholas Britell)
  • Jackie (Mica Levi)
  • La La Land (Justin Hurwitz)
  • The BFG (John Williams)
  • Rogue One (Michael Giacchino)

 


 

  • Lion (Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka)

I’m still a bit annoyed that Jóhann Jóhannsson is not eligible for Arrival as he is these days one of my definite favourite composers. Love his work! I wanted to leave John Williams out but you know, you just can’t. And it’s traditional that the composers branch always vote for their own and already now there are THREE new comers. I hardly see that happening but I don’t know who else to pick. Justin Hurwitz all the way, I looooooove La La Land’s soundtrack!

 

SONG

  • Moana – How Far I’ll Go
  • La La Land – Audition (The Fools Who Dream)
  • La La Land – City of Stars
  • Sing Street – Drive Like You Stole It
  • Trolls – Can’t Stop the Feeling

  • Sing – Faith
  • Hidden Figures – Runnin’

Always hard category to predict. I gave a chance to Sing Street’s 80’s sounds, it’s a gamble, I know. I hope that the song above wins, I can’t get enough of it.

ANIMATED

  • Zootopia
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • The Red Turtle
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini

  • Finding Dory

Yes, I left out a Pixar film. I’m aware.

 

DOCUMENTARYoj_madeinamerica

  • Cameraperson
  • I am Not Your Negro
  • 13th
  • OJ: Made in America
  • The Eagle Huntress

  • Weiner

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

  • Toni Erdmann (Germany)
  • The Salesman (Iran)
  • Land of Mine (Denmark)
  • A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
  • My Life as a Zucchini (Switzerland)

  • It’s Only the End of the World (Canada)

I have a feeling I should not count out Xavier Dolan but I don’t know what else to do.

 

ANIMATED SHORT

  • Inner Workings
  • Piper
  • Blind Vayasha
  • Borrowed Time
  • Pearl

 

LIVE ACTION SHORT

  • Graffiti
  • Nocturne in Black
  • Sing (Mindenki)
  • Timecode
  • The Way of Tea

 

DOCUMENTARY SHORT

  • White Helmets
  • Joe’s Violin
  • Extremis
  • The Mute’s House
  • Watani: My Homeland

 

Agree, disagree? We’ll now soon enough how I did this year.

The Oscars 2017 – The Best Pic #3

It’s been over a month since I did parts two and one. And here’s finally the last part of somewhat-early look on the best picture candidates.

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

Hidden Figures tells a story of “a team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space missions.” (IMDb). It’s starring Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson from Empire (series) and Janelle Monáe who has a part in this year’s Moonlight that has gotten great reviews. The trailer looks nice mix of emotion and vibe, not too serious but not too light either. It’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out. There’s music made by Pharrell Williams, so at least the best song category should be a lock.

Hacksaw Ridge has Rotten Tomatoes score of 85% and tells a true story of “WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to win the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.” (IMDb) Andrew Garfield seems to be having a strong year with this and upcoming Scorsese’s Silence.Hacksaw is said to be a comeback of Mel Gibson who directed the film. The film even has a average of 8.7/10 at IMDb which means it’s liked by audience and critics, so it’ll be hard for the Academy to pass it by.

I’m not sure if this should be on the list or not. It might be too much of sci-fi and to be honest, I’m not sure if Chris Pratt is that kind of an actor who’ll stars in Oscar-worthy films but I didn’t think of that of Bradley Cooper, who is now a three-time nominee, so… But anyway, Passengers also stars bona fide Oscar-girl, Jennifer Lawrence, and is directed by Morten Tyldum, who’s last film, The Imitation Game, got eight nominations, so let’s not count this out yet. IMDb describes the film: “A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.”

Live by Night is a film I just don’t want to count out as it’s directed by Ben Affleck and as a director he hasn’t made a bad film. He hasn’t even made an OK film, he has only made really good ones. So no way I’m not including this one too. The film opens widely in January but has it’s limited run in December to be an eligible. IMDb synopsis says: “A story set in the Prohibition Era and centered around a group of individuals and their dealings in the world of organized crime.” The cast is promising, besides Affleck there’s Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper, Sienna Miller, Brendan Gleeson and Elle Fanning. If the film delivers, one or two of them will be surely nominated.

And the last but not the least, there’s Hell or High Water that is out on DVD this week (the States). It’s raved by the critics and has RT score of 98% and impressive cast of Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster. And apparently all of them deliver. For some reason this reminds me of No Country for Old Men. I guess that’s a good thing. Synopsis says: “A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family’s ranch in West Texas.”

Here we are. Those are my picks for the Best Picture of 2017. I have already dropped one of them, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk as it sank when it opened and is rotten in Rotten Tomatoes, so let’s just forget it. And La La Land got another lovely trailer:

 

Doctor Strange Review

doctor_strange_posterI should go back to my Oscar predictions but let’s take a look to another Marvel Cinematic Universe movie first.

DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)

Directed by Scott Derrickson

Written by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill & based on Marvel comics by Steve Ditko

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams,  Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen & Benedict Wong

Synopsis: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts. (IMDb)

I didn’t know anything about Doctor Strange beforehand. I’m not a fan of comics, I find them kind of silly. I used to find comic films silly as well but Marvel changed it. Since The Avengers I always have high hopes for MCU film and sometimes I’m a bit disappointed (meaning I give a film 8 out of 10 at IMDb) but usually I’m not and Doctor Strange is not exception. It’s a solid film with great visuals, interesting story and well, with that cast, obviously strong performances.

doctor_strange-h_2016

I kept thinking during Strange that it is quite an achievement from film industry to make these huge blockbusters with actors who have been recently nominated for Oscars or some have even won some like Tilda Swinton in this case. No wonder characters in these kind of films are not bland anymore like they used to be. There is much more depth to them even if scripts are weak. The script of Doctor Strange is probably the simplest thing in it. And for some reason, villains in recent comic movies have been on the weaker side too. And Doctor Strange is no exception. But at least its villains are not black or white. What brings me to the point of Doctor Strange being accused of “white washing”. What? There’s Ejiofor, there’s Wong and there’s a woman as an Ancient One. And internationality more than most of the films.

Marvel Studios Hall H Panel

The best element in Strange is the pace. I was never bored. The story starts right away, you get the feeling who we’re dealing with Dr. Strange and Cumberbatch draws the character perfectly. We see how he deals with others, what kind of a person he is. And we don’t really like him but we get to know him and see him grow and we definitely start to care about him. I also liked a lot of McAdams’ character even though she’s quite on the side. And there are some very, very nice one-liners. As always when it comes to MCU movies.

rachel_mcadams_drstrange_beautiful

In general Doctor Strange is great! It might lose some of its magic (ha haa) when watching it again (and again which I will probably do) and on the first time, I loved it. Is it perfect? No, but it’s entertaining as hell. I recommend. Half of the star in rating is given because I got overly excited because of the first end-credits scene, it sure was the best one so far!

Rating: ****½ (out of 5)

The First Oscar Predictions 2017

Here we go again! I did some predictions last spring right after the Oscars 2016 but so much have changed since then! So, here are my endless lists. The films are in random order in every category and as you can see, there are much more of them that is allowed in every category. I will get into them during the next 10 days, so bear with me. Here’s the first look.

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.The Oscar Predictions 2017 

updated October 6th

BEST PICTURE

  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • The Birth of a Nation
  • Arrival
  • Silence
  • Fences
  • Moonlight
  • Lion
  • Jackie
  • Loving
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Hidden Figures
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Sully
  • Passengers
  • Live by Night

lalaland

DIRECTOR

  • La La Land – Damien Chazelle
  • Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Longergan
  • Silence – Martin Scorsese
  • The Birth of a Nation – Nate Parker
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – Ang Lee
  • Loving – Jeff Nichols
  • Arrival – Denis Villeneuve
  • Nocturnal Animals – Tom Ford
  • Moonlight – Barry Jenkins
  • Fences – Denzel Washington
  • Passengers – Mortem Tyldum
  • Live by Night – Ben Affleck
  • Jackie – Pablo Larráin
  • Lion – Garth Davis

ACTOR

  • La La Land – Ryan Gosling
  • devpatel_lionSully – Tom Hanks
  • Lion – Dev Patel
  • Fences – Denzel Washington
  • Manchester by the Sea – Casey Affleck
  • The Founder – Michael Keaton
  • Loving – Joel Edgerton
  • Silence – Andrew Garfield
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – Joe Alwyn
  • Captain Fantastic – Viggo Mortensen

ACTRESS

  • La La Land – Emma Stone
  • Jackie – Natalie Portman
  • Hidden Figures – Taraji P. Henson
  • Fences – Viola Davis
  • Loving – Ruth Negga
  • Arrival – Amy Adams
  • Florence Foster Jenkins – Meryl Streep
  • Elle – Isabelle Huppert
  • 20th Century Women – Annette Bening
  • Miss Sloane – Jessica Chastain

SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Manchester by the Sea – Lucas Hedges
  • Silence – Adam Driver
  • Silence – Liam Neeson
  • Sully – Aaron Eckhart
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – Steve Martin
  • Moonlight – Mahershala Ali
  • Manchester by the Sea – Kyle Chandler
  • Nocturnal Animals – Michael Shannon
  • Fences – Stephen Henderson
  • Hell of High Water – Jeff Brigdes
  • Florence Foster Jenkins – Hugh Grant
  • Fences – Jovan Adepo
  • Live by Night – Chris Cooper
  • Live by Night – Brendan Gleeson

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Hidden Figures – Octavia Spences
  • Hidden Figures – Janelle Monáe
  • Nocturnal Animals – Laura Linney
  • Nocturnal Animals – Amy Adams
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – Kristen Stewart
  • Manchester by the Sea – Michelle Williams
  • Naomi Harris – Moonlight
  • Aja Naomi King – The Birth of a Nation
  • Lion – Nicole Kidman
  • Live by Night – Sienna Miller
  • 20th Century Women – Elle Fanning

nocturnal-animals_amyadams

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Manchester by the Sea
  • The Lobster
  • Moonlight
  • Loving
  • Jackie
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Patterson
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • 20th Century Women
  • Captain Fantastic

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Hidden Figures
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Live by Night
  • Silence
  • Fences
  • Lion
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Love & Friendship
  • Hidden Figures

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • La La Land
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Silence
  • Arrival
  • Passengers
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Moonlight
  • Fences

billylynn1

EDITING

  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Silence
  • Live by Night
  • La La Land
  • Fences
  • Jackie
  • Arrival
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

COSTUME DESIGN

  • Hidden Figures
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  • Love & Friendship
  • fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-posterFantastic Beast and Where to Find Them
  • Jackie
  • Silence
  • La La Land
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Hail, Ceasar!

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Silence
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  • Rogue One
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Allied
  • Jackie
  • Arrival

MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING

  • Hidden Figures
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  • Love & Friendship
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Deadpool
  • Jackie
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Rogue One

SOUND MIXING

  • deepwaterhorizonposterBilly Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Silence
  • Live by Night
  • La La Land
  • Arrival
  • Passengers
  • Sully
  • Rogue One
  • The Jungle Book
  • Allied
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Deepwater Horizon

SOUND EDITING

  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Silence
  • Live by Night
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • La La Land
  • Roque One
  • Arrival
  • Passengers
  • The Jungle Book

VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Rogue One
  • The Jungle Book
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Arrival
  • A Monster Calls
  • Strange
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Assassin’s Creed

MUSIC

  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Silence
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Arrival
  • The BFG
  • The Light Between Oceans
  • Finding Dory
  • Rogue One
  • Hell or High Water

SONGpharrell_williams

  • Hidden Figures – Victory
  • La La Land – Audition (The Fools Who Dream)
  • La La Land – City of Stars (or some other songs…)
  • Moana – We Know the Way
  • Sing – ?
  • Trolls – Can’t Stop the Feeling
  • The Eagle Huntress – Angel by the Wings

ANIMATED

  • Zootopia
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • Finding Dory
  • Sing
  • The Red Turtle
  • Moana
  • Miss Hokusai

DOCUMENTARY

  • Fire at Sea
  • Cameraperson
  • Risk
  • Gleason
  • Miss Sharon Jones
  • Amanda Knox
  • Weiner
  • Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey
  • Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
  • Tickled
  • 13th
  • Jim: The James Foley Story
  • Holy Hell
  • Under the Gun
  • Before the Flood
  • Life, Animated
  • OJ: Made in America

fire-at-sea-poster

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

  • Elle (France)
  • Julieta (Spain)
  • Fire at the Sea (Italy)
  • Toni Erdmann (Germany)
  • Neruda (Chile)
  • The Age of Shadows (South Korea)
  • The Salesman (Iran)
  • It’s Only the End of the World (Canada)
  • Ma’Rosa (Philippines)
  • Land of Mine (Denmark)
  • The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (Finland)
  • Chevalier (Greece)
  • From Afar (Venezuela)
  • Death in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

ANIMATED SHORT

LIVE ACTION SHORT

DOCUMENTARY SHORT

  • White Helmets

Films of the Week Vol. 12

I’ve been so lazy at watching films. Then again, I’ve been working 7 days in a row and today is one more. But then I have some time off. And the last time I had time off, I watched some TV, read about it here. But during the last week I saw two films; The Hunger Games (again) and a bit newer stuff, Florence Foster Jenkins. Here’s my thoughts on them.

hungergamesposterTHE HUNGER GAMES (2012)

Directed by Gary Ross

Written by Gary Ross, Billy Ray & Suzanne Collins

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley & Lenny Kravitz

Synopsis (IMDb): “Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death”

Yeah, I know, everyone has seen the films already and bla bla bla but as I’ve reviewed three other parts already (here, here and here), then why not do the first one as well. I’ve already mentioned before I liked it, so there’s not much to add but as I still liked it, after seeing it, I don’t know, probably tenth time, I may as well say something about it.

It was a bit surprising that The Hunger Games still works. It was on TV and I watched it “live” with commercial breaks (I know! So weird.) and it took something like three hours but that time flew by. It is that good film. The pace is perfect, the introduction of situation
hot_jennifer_lawrenceis over quickly and in no time Katniss is on her way to the Capitol where they waste no time in introducing more characters and how our heroine works together with others. We even get couple of nice twists and then it’s game time. Even the emotional pace works nicely. So, well done Gary Ross, that’s the way you direct a film based on a youth novel.

And as said 1001 times, Jennifer Lawrence is perfect as Katniss. She’s strong and vulnerable at the same time but she’s also genuine and manipulative. And a spectator can’t be sure of her motives. Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta is no match to her but I’m still totally Team Peeta. He’s still somewhat endearing. And those youngsters from areas one and two actually feel dangerous.

I also like how the film is set, the production design, make-up, costumes and obviously the music are nice too. The film is a bit one-dimensional and goes on a bit too long and some of the actors are wooden but otherwise; no complaints.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

florence-foster-jenkins

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (2016)

Directed by Stephen Fears

Written by Nicholas Martin

Starring Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg & Rebecca Ferguson

Synopsis: “The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.”

I have no idea how truthfully Florence Foster Jenkins is told but if it is, it is quite amazing which lengths people would go for their loved ones. That’s beautiful and quite moving.

florence-foster-jenkins-2016-meryl-streep

First of all, Meryl Streep is still amazing actress. I’m quite sure she again will gain an Oscar nomination for this role. She’s fearless and can, apparently, act anything. I also appreciated Simon Helberg’s work here and I’m so glad he gets recognition from somewhere else too than The Big Bang Theory. And it was refreshing to see Hugh Grant playing something else than single douchebag. I’m not sure how much make-up he has here but he’s old and that’s weird.

simon_helberg_cute

Simon Helberg

I liked the way the film looked, it’s very pretty with all those clothes from 1940s and always fabulous New York and its Carnegie Hall. The film is nicely told, the pace is ok and it made me feel good. But that’s about it. I was a little bit bored, there’s not enough of story to be told, I think, and as the film is not too emotional, it’s a bit bland. I really wanted to like it more but it’s one of those films you will forget you even saw. Streep is great but as she is always, it’s nothing exceptional. Oh, there’s some nice music if you like classical music. There’s not much to say about it. I saw it and I’m quite sure I will never watch it again, it is just not interesting enough. I also wanted to give it 2,5 stars but as everything works, it deserved more.

Rating: ***