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)

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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.

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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.

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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: *** 

Stranger Things Review

I’ve been away for over three months and that I apologize. I’ll get back to that but now the stranger_things_posterreview for my new favourite TV show. Again, like usually, spoiler-free.

STRANGER THINGS (2016)

Created by The Duffer Brothers

Starring Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer & Charlie Heaton

Synopsis: “When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.” (IMDb)

Few days ago I read a review of Suicide Squad where the writer complained about that there’s no more heart in filmmaking when everyone is just following same script and making same kind of superhero movies that have worked during the few last years. And I know what that person means. It’s all been about making money lately. Who gets the biggest opening, who hires the biggest starts, who has the biggest audience and especially who makes the most money. I’ve liked quite a few of those films but then again, I’ve kind of forgotten them almost immediately. On TV side there’s been amazingly great television lately but for some reason it’s glorious and looks amazing but it’s cold, dark, brutal, sad, violent and makes you feel dirty. To be honest, Stranger Things is also dark, actually very dark, especially literally and it is sad and a bit violent and people are dirty in it. It’s also cold in it. And brutal too, I guess. But what matters the most, it has huge, beating heart in the middle of it.

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When watching Stranger Things you can feel the love. Love towards filmmaking, 80’s, Spielberg, King, fairytales, good, old-fashioned good vs. evil. All those things that made you (or at least me) to fall in love with movies. That “larger than life” thing, you know? Besides that you can feel it, it is there to see in all those big and little details. You can easily see it in those photos of the set, how they look, how the setting is and obviously story owes so much to all those stories before it but yet again, it’s original and somehow weirdly fresh. And with a lot of twists.

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It’s always risky placing a kid in the centre of your film as child actor can easily ruin your story. It’s even riskier to put a bunch of them there but in Stranger Things all kids can carry their parts and even more. I loved every character, especially the lads in the center of it all and even more specifically Finn Wolfhard as Mike as he brought such maturity to the role that kind of variety might be hard to reach even for an adult. And none of these kids have THAT long careers behind them yet. And same goes for guys who created the show, Matt and Ross Duffer aka The Duffer Brothers. As directors both of them (they’re twins) have four (!) credits in IMDb. Not much. So kudos to them; well done! I wonder if they’re both married. :p

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The Duffer Brothers

Back to Stranger Things. Besides the great cast (only Winona Ryder was a bit too much for me from time to time), set decoration, all production design is basically flawless (surely some have already found flaws); it feels like you’ve watching some strange and much, much scarier E.T. And on that mark, do remember to give this excellent series its whole credit and watch it in dark after the sun has set. And how fun it is to spot all those popular culture references? At least to me it never gets old.

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What else? Nothing really, just watch it. I don’t know anybody who hasn’t liked it. To me it was total 5/5. The best new series since Sherlock (I watched that later than GoT). I don’t know how Netflix manages to do this, finding such talents, but I do hope they will continue doing it.

Rating: ***** (out of same amount)

 

The Oscar Predictions – Winners

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

It’s been a tradition that I open up my predictions a bit before making the final ones on Sunday before the actual awards time.

BEST PICTURE

  1. Spotlight
  2. Mad Max Fury Road
  3. Room
  4. The Martian
  5. The Revenant
  6. The Big Short
  7. Bridge of Spies
  8. Brooklyn

Well, I already made it clear that I hope that Spotlight will win. I still haven’t seen Room and Brooklyn but I will watch them both before The Oscars on Sunday but I doubt either of them will be better for me than Spotlight. The Best Picture will go to Spotlight, The Big Short or The Revenant. The most of the people are predicting that it’ll go to The Revenant but I have my doubts… I might change my prediction but at the moment I’m also predicting that the eventual winner will be Spotlight.

BEST DIRECTOR

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road – George Miller
  2. Spotlight – Thomas McCarthy
  3. Room – Lenny Abrahamson
  4. The Revenant – Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu
  5. The Big Short – Adam McKay

Three words: Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu. (Ok, a slight change for George Miller, I guess but I don’t think so.)

Alejandro-González-Iñárritu

BEST ACTOR

  1. The Martian – Matt Damon
  2. Steve Jobs – Michael Fassbender
  3. The Revenant – Leonardo DiCaprio
  4. The Danish Girl – Eddie Redmayne
  5. Trumbo – Bryan Cranston

No competition here, it’s finally his year. All salute to Mr. DiCaprio!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  1. Bridge of Spies – Mark Rylance
  2. Creed – Sylvester Stallone
  3. The Big Short – Christian Bale
  4. The Revenant – Tom Hardy
  5. Spotlight – Mark Ruffalo

I think and I predict that sentiment will win in this category and thus the Oscar will go to Sylvester Stallone. I don’t really know what I think about it as he’s not that good in Creed but he did come up with Rocky Balboa and didn’t win for him all those years ago. Mark Rylance was scene stealing in Bridge of Spies and all three others were better than Stallone in their films. I’d like to see Rylance to win.

BEST ACTRESS

  1. Carol – Cate Blanchett
  2. Joy – Jennifer Lawrence
  3. 45 Years – Charlotte Rampling
  4. Room – Brie Larson
  5. Brooklyn – Saoirse Ronan

This one is Larson’s to lose. I have no personal opinion yet.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  1. Carol – Rooney Mara
  2. The Hateful Eight – Jennifer Jason Leigh
  3. Steve Jobs – Kate Winslet
  4. Spotlight – Rachel McAdams
  5. The Danish Girl – Alicia Vikander

I think Kate Winslet might upset in this category. She’s been winning some precursor awards but she hasn’t been competing against Vikander’s role in The Danish Girl. Then again Vikander won SAG and she’s THE IT girl of the season. And her role was very, very good. Hmmm… I guess I’m still predicting her. At the moment at least. I thought Winslet was very good too.

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BEST SCREENPLAY (original)

  1. Straight Outta Compton – Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S.Leigh Savide & Alan Wenkus
  2. Inside Out – Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Ronnie Del Carmen & Josh Cooley
  3. Spotlight – Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer
  4. Bridge of Spies – Matt Charman & Coen brothers
  5. Ex Machina – Alex Garland

Should go to Spotlight.

BEST SCREENPLAY (adapted)

  1. Carol – Phyllis Nagy
  2. Room – Emma Donoghue
  3. The Martian – Drew Goddard
  4. Brooklyn – Nick Hornby
  5. The Big Short – Charles Randolph & Adam McKay

Should go to The Big Short. In both writing categories there is a chance to award the directors of Spotlight and The Big Short as they have writing credits of their films as well.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Mad Max Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario
  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight

Three in a row! Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you Mr. Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki! (Oh, if you didn’t know, he shot The Revenant.)

BEST EDITING

  • Mad Max Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Spotlight
  • The Big Short

Eddie Awards (given out by American Cinema Editors) went to Mad Max and The Big Short and I can’t see those two losing here either. I just don’t know which one will. Both have notable editing, even for people who usually don’t pay attention to things like that. In The Big Short it is the main story telling tool, so at the moment my money’s there. But it could be Mad Max too. I just don’t know. And I can’t decide which one I prefer, both are cool.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Mad Max Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Danish Girl
  • The Revenant

Precursors tell me that this one is to Mad Max’s to lose. I personally liked the production design of Bridge of Spies a lot. But just the sake of those cars, I predict Mad Max to win.

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BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Cinderella
  • Carol
  • The Revenant
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Danish Girl

I love Cinderella’s dresses! They’re so beautiful. But precursors say Mad Max again. And then again, like I wrote in my review, the clothes in The Danish Girl are like characters themselves. So, a bit hard one. And Carol is very much stylish. But I think I will bet on Mad Max again.

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BEST MAKEUP

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • A 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
  • The Revenant

Mad Max. At least should be. The Revenant has cool work as well. I haven’t seen the third option but I think nomination is enough for it.

BEST SCORE

  • Carol – Carter Burwell
  • Bridge of Spies – Thomas Newman
  • The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
  • Sicario – Jóhann Jóhannsson
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens – John Williams

This one has to go to Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight has cool soundtrack. John Williams also managed to compose a nice one, again. And my personal favourite is Sicario’s soundtrack but as  Jóhann Jóhannsson just won the last year, I don’t see it happen this year again. So Morricone.

BEST SONG

  • Spectre – Writings on the Wall
  • The Hunting Ground – Til It Happens To You
  • Youth – Simple Song #3
  • Fifty Shades of Grey – Earned It
  • Racing Extinction – Manta Ray

Weeknd just won Grammy for his song in Fifty Shades of Grey but I still think this one will go to Lady Gaga and Til It Happens To You (co-writer Diane Warren). Only three of these songs will be performed at the show, it’s all about the star status and stage is set only for Lady Gaga, Weeknd and Sam Smith.

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Sicario
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Mad Max, The Martian or Star Wars? Or The Revenant? I have no clue. Sound editors will have their Golden Reels awards given away only on tomorrow. I hope I’ll be wiser after that.

BEST SOUND MIXING

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Revenant

According to the precursors, this one goes to The Revenant. I don’t know otherwise and I have to admit that Bridge of Spies was the only one where I paid attention to the sound mixing, it worked really well.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Ex Machina
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

I think this one goes to Star Wars. Mad Max has a change as well as does The Revenant but still, I’m predicting Star Wars.

starwars

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE

  • Son of Saul (Hungary)
  • Mustang (France)
  • Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
  • Theeb (Jordan)
  • A War (Denmark)

Son of Saul. I haven’t seen any of these, so I got no opinion.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

  • Inside Out
  • When Marnie Was There
  • Anomalisa
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • Boy & the World

 Should go to Inside Out, anything else is a surprise.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Winter on Fire

Amy is the only one I’ve seen but it was also one of the best films that I saw last year. I hope it wins and I’m also predicting it.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

  1. World of Tomorrow
  2. Sanjay’s Super Team
  3. Bear Story
  4. We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
  5. Prologue

I hope Sanjay’s Super Team wins as it looks cool and would be one of those awards that would go to minorities but World of Tomorrow has a good change as well, I think. I didn’t really like it despite the good message.

Sanjay's_Super_Team_poster

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY

  1. Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
  2. Last Day of Freedom
  3. Body Team 12
  4. Chau Beyond the Lines
  5. A Girl in the River

I love Chau but it looks like other people like Body Team 12 or Claude Lanzmann more. According to Scott Feinberg of Hollywood Reporter, many of those voters who haven’t seen short films might just vote for Lanzmann because of his name and Shoah, so at the moment I’m predicting Lanzmann.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

  • Ave Maria
  • Day One
  • Shok
  • Stutterer
  • Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)

I have no clue. Stutterer sounds like easy one to predict.

The Oscars Reviews: The Danish Girl & Carol

In the last post it was two stories of guys, this time it’s time for the girls.

thedanishgirlposterThe Danish Girl (2015)

Directed by Tom Hooper

Written by Lucinda Coxon, the book by David Ebershoff

Starring Eddie Redmayne & Alicia Vikander

Synopsis: “A fictitious love story loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.”

The Danish Girl is beautiful. “Beautiful” is the word that describes it perfectly, this kind of distantly beautiful, a film you admire and can see its beauty but can’t really feel its warmth or sadness. The Danish Girl doesn’t really move you in the way, I think, it should. But then again, it’s really well-made and has two spectacular performances in the centre of it.

The Danish Girl is nominated for four Oscars; the best performance by actor in a leading role, the best performance by an actress in a supporting role, the best costume design and the best production design. And it deserves to be nominated in all of them. The film is very feminine and thus the costumes are also very feminine, they flow and dance around our characters, you could even say that the costumes are characters themselves as they are huge part of the transformation that our main character goes through. And as I said, The Danish Girl is beautiful and that is lavishly showed in production design. A viewer’s eyes can rest on the screen, it’s so very nice to look at. I also enjoyed how the film is shot, how the light has been used to highlight the features of faces or even figures.

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The best parts in The Danish Girl are still the performances of Eddie Redmayne and especially Alicia Vikander. Redmayne greatly achieves to portrait the torture Lily is going inside and his looks are just perfect for the part. And as we should already know, he’s very talented actor. But the find here (and in Ex Machina also) is Alicia Vikander, she’s astonishing and should win the Oscar for her performance. It’ll be robbed if she doesn’t. She was already robbed by putting her in supporting when her role is obviously leading lady. While Redmayne’s character is a bit off-putting in her selfishness, Vikander’s Gerda is more rooted, more real, more emotional of those two. It’s easier to understand her suffering and the reactions she gives in situations. If that story is true, how that incredible woman took his husband’s change, I have nothing but admiration towards her. What a woman!

While The Danish Girl is too distant for my taste, it still should be seen just because of those two performances. And as we all know, the lives of transgender people are more than relevant at the moment and here is a story that might shed some understanding on the matter.

Rating: ***½ (out of 5)

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Carol (2015)

Directed by Todd Haynes

Written by Phyllis Nagy, novel by Patricia Highsmith

Starring Rooney Mara & Cate Blanchett

Synopsis: “An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman.”

Another case where there is total category fraud in the Oscars again. Rooney Mara IS the leading lady here. More so than Blanchett but to be honest, they both are. It is a story of two women who face the hard reality of life when they fall for each other. Besides that they should both be in a leading category for actresses, they both are worth of that. 2015 was a great year for ladies and all of them more than deserve their nominations and recognition they are getting. Hopefully the salaries will follow the suit.

Carol is nominated for six Oscars. I predicted it would get nine nominations, I was wrong with the director, production design and best picture. The latter especially surprised me as it’s still nominated in several categories and to me that means it’s one of the best films of the year. But I guess it’s not nominated because of the weird voting system of the Oscars (explanation here at Gold Derby). Because it definitely is not the best film of the year. To me it wasn’t even near. Yes, it has everything is should have but I just didn’t really care. Blanchett’s character is not very nice, she seems uninterested in others’ feelings. Mara is good and vulnerable but for some reason she has always been great at picturing distant characters and again she does that well. If The Danish Girl was too emotionless, Carol was even more so and what’s even worse; it was also a bit boring, I checked my watch way too often.

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But like I said, everything is there. The costumes are striking and especially Blanchett carries them like a true queen. I liked the script, it felt real but it is understated like the whole film. I really didn’t like the cinematography, it is (I guess) suitable for the era but not to me, it looks dirty and old and nah, I didn’t like it at all, especially because I’ve just seen The Danish Girl (I saw these two in a row) that I liked to look at a lot. On the other hand, I’m very happy that Carter Burwell was nominated for the Oscar, he very much deserves it and the music in the film is suitable and supports the story well and this is his first nominations in the Oscars. But like in the case of The Danish Girl, the performances are THE reason to see Carol. And I guess if you like other films of Todd Haynes, you’ll probably like this one too. I don’t like his films and I should just finally realise it.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

The Oscars reviews: Bridge of Spies & The Big Short

bridgeofspiesReviews, as promised.

BRIDGE OF SPIES (2015)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Written by Ethan & Joel Cohen & Matt Charman

Starring Tom Hanks & Mark Rylance

Synopsis (via IMDb): “During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.”

Bridge of Spies is nominated for six Oscars: best picture, supporting actor, original screenplay, production design, original music and sound mixing and to me this film is worthy of all of those nominations. I predicted it will get five out of those six and I only left music out as there just wasn’t enough slots for Thomas Newman who scored the film. But the soundtrack of Bridge of Spies is beautiful and deserves to be nominated. And even possibly might win as Newman has been nominated for 13 times but has never won. Though, unfortunately for him, I doubt he will win this year either. Morricone’s music for The Hateful Eight is just way too good.

Bridge of Spies is guaranteed Spielberg. By far it’s not his best work but solid still. Spielberg doesn’t really do bad films, does he? I don’t think so… Oh, well, the last Indy. Ugh. OK, so he does but not often. Bridge of Spies is quite close to Spielberg’s last effort, Lincoln. It’s more entertaining and light and doesn’t have that many long monologues but it also doesn’t have Daniel Day Lewis. Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks, the everyman, in the role of James B. Donovan. And he nails it but it’s nothing spectacular. Then again, Mark Rylance as Rudolph Abel is a perfection, I loved his work and despite the fact that all the guys in supporting category are probably deserving, I hope Rylance will win, he’s so good. Other actors are irrelevant to the story and I don’t really even remember their faces anymore. But all solid, obviously, it’s Spielberg’s film after all and I doubt his casting has ever really gone wrong.

ST. JAMES PLACE

The writing is interesting enough and actually well-done as I was so frustrated to Americans while watching this. The flow of the film works. But it will not win the Oscar. But I hope it will win for the Production Design, it deserves it. Nice job! And even though I’m not the girl to truly understand sound design, in this film I did pay attention because it felt real. All the noises around that you hear were there and they felt real, like a traffic outside of your apartment. All in all, Bridge of Spies is good but not spectacular. I was moved by it and felt a bunch of other emotions, so that’ll do. Plus it looks very good.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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THE BIG SHORT (2015)

Directed by Adam McKay

Written by Charles Randolph & Adam McKay, book by Michael Lewis

Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, John Magaro & Finn Wittrock

Synopsis: “Four denizens of the world of high-finance predict the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s, and decide to take on the big banks for their greed and lack of foresight.”

The Big Short kind of came out of nowhere. Surely as soon as they announced that the film will be out this year, it got some hype already because of the actors but then nothing and then suddenly it was getting nominated all around. And finally for the Oscars where it is nominated for five Oscars including the best picture, supporting actor, directing, adapted screenplay and editing. Big ones! And again, deservedly so.

Since Whiplash this has been the biggest surprise to me and in a positive way for sure! I had my doubts, it’s a film about housing market collapsing after all, how exciting that can be? Apparently, very. I wasn’t at all fond of Adam McKay, the director, before seeing The Big Short and I really didn’t believe that this film can be any better than his previous films. I’m glad to say, I was wrong. The Big Short is a very, very good film. It’s entertaining, thrilling, fun, sad, frustrating and glitzy at the same time. And very smart. The writing is top-notch and I wish it’ll win for the best adapted screenplay, it earns it. I still can’t believe how they managed to explain those complicated financial matters involved in housing markets to us less aware of stock exchange or insurance markets. And doing it by very entertaining way. Thumbs up! Besides writing, I think it will take home the Editing award, it should. It’s THE thing in this film that drives it forward and makes it as fast-paced as it is. Super important and extremely well-done.

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I tend to always forget how good of an actor Christian Bale is when I don’t see his films for a while. He just is, really good, a chameleon. Great supporting role here again. Others are good too, but he’s better.

I don’t know what else to say. I loved The Big Short, I think I want to see it again. It’s that entertaining. And surprisingly relevant, read the last texts.

Rating: ****½ 

The Oscar Nominations – how did I do and what else went wrong?

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.It’s been few days and let’s reflect now how I did with my predictions and other thoughts concerning the Oscar nominations 2016.

All in all I did ok. BUT I should never trust my gut feeling or change things during the last couple of days because apparently they will go wrong. I was 75% correct this year. Not my best but not my worst either.

BEST PICTURE I predicted following:

  1. Spotlight
  2. Mad Max Fury Road
  3. Carol
  4. The Martian
  5. The Revenant
  6. The Big Short
  7. Bridge of Spies
  8. Inside Out
  9. Brooklyn
  10. Straight Outta Compton

I got Carol, Inside Out and Straight Outta Compton wrong and left Room out. I’m genuinely surprised by Carol’s omission, I thought it would be shoo-in. I saw Carol tonight and well, I’m not that surprised anymore. I’ll write a review later. I’m glad Room is in, I believe it’s worth of it even though I haven’t seen it yet. And I’m sad Inside Out is out. I still need to see half of the best picture nominees until I can have proper opinion here. HERE you can see all the nominations.

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BEST DIRECTOR

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road – George Miller
  2. Spotlight – Thomas McCarthy
  3. Carol – Todd Haynes
  4. The Revenant – Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu
  5. The Martian – Ridley Scott

I had two wrong ones; Ridley Scott and Todd Haynes. I’m a bit surprised of both but especially Scott, he should be there but it’s nice that Lenny Abrahamson of Room got in and well, now, after seeing The Big Short last night, I’m very happy that Adam McKay got in. The film is great!

BEST ACTOR

  1. The Martian – Matt Damon
  2. Steve Jobs – Michael Fassbender
  3. The Revenant – Leonardo DiCaprio
  4. The Danish Girl – Eddie Redmayne
  5. Trumbo – Bryan Cranston

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  1. Bridge of Spies – Mark Rylance
  2. Creed – Sylvester
  3. Beasts of No Nation – Idris Elba
  4. 99 Homes – Michael Shannon
  5. Spotlight – Mark Ruffalo

The best actor I got 5/5 and with supporting 3/5. I’m sad that they passed Idris Elba, the Academy should have included him. Well, I love Hardy and Bale who got in instead, so can’t complain a lot. And after seeing Bale’s performance yesterday, well, he’s fantastic in The Big Short. Then again, isn’t he always?

BEST ACTRESS

  1. Carol – Cate Blanchett
  2. The Danish Girl – Alicia Vikander
  3. 45 Years – Charlotte Rampling
  4. Room – Brie Larson
  5. Brooklyn – Saoirse Ronan

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  1. Carol – Rooney Mara
  2. The Hateful Eight – Jennifer Jason Leigh
  3. Steve Jobs – Kate Winslet
  4. Spotlight – Rachel McAdams
  5. Trumbo – Helen Mirren

With the best actress I got Alicia Vikander wrong and I think that’s wrong. Both, Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander should be within the leading ladies. Their parts are HUGE! Mara’s even bigger than Blanchett’s… Idiotic. But I like Jennifer Lawrence and she’s great in Joy which to me was generally more enjoyable film than The Danish Girl or Carol. In supporting I had Mirren wrong which I’m glad about. I still need to see Spotlight of those in supporting category but I hope Alicia Vikander will win, she’s extraordinary in The Danish Girl. Review coming later.

BEST SCREENPLAY (original)

  1. The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino
  2. Inside Out – Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve & Josh Cooley
  3. Spotlight – Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer
  4. Bridge of Spies – Matt Charman & Coen brothers
  5. Ex Machina – Alex Garland

BEST SCREENPLAY (adapted)

  1. Carol – Phyllis Nagy
  2. Room – Emma Donoghue
  3. The Martian – Drew Goddard
  4. Steve Jobs – Aaron Sorkin
  5. The Big Short – Charles Randolph & Adam McKay

 In original screenplay category I got 3/5 correct and in adapted 4/5. In the latter I’m hugely amazed that Aaron Sorkin was left out, I have no idea what happened there?! No words for that. I’m also surprised that Tarantino was left out in original category especially because the writing of Straight Outta Compton is a bit clumsy… Oh well. My favourites to win are Inside Out and The Big Short. Any film that has Margot Robbie in a bubble bath should win an Oscar.

margotrobbie_inabubblebath

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY I got 5/5

  • Mad Max Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario
  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight

BEST EDITING was 4/5 The Force Awakens replacing The Martian

  • Mad Max Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • The Martian
  • Spotlight
  • The Big Short

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN was also 4/5 The Martian replacing Carol which I easily understand now after seeing Carol tonight.

  • Mad Max Fury Road
  • Carol
  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Danish Girl
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST COSTUME DESIGN again 4/5 The Revenant replacing Brooklyn

  • Cinderella
  • Carol
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Danish Girl

BEST MAKEUP

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Holmes
  • The Revenant

Here I should have predicted  A 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared because it was so “out-there” option. So, 2 out of 3.

madmax_makeup

BEST SCORE

  • Carol – Carter Burwell
  • The Danish Girl – Alexander Desplat
  • The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
  • Inside Out – Michael Giacchino
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens – John Williams

Well, here I had 3/5 and I’m a bit sad that Alexander Desplat is not nominated for The Danish Girl, it’s beautifully composed. And I predicted Giacchino for Inside Out but I’m soooooo much happier that Jóhann Jóhannsson got nominated for Sicario because that is one of my favourite soundtracks of the year. That guy is becoming one of my favourite composers quickly. Yay!

BEST SONG I got 3/5 correct here which is good enough for me as this category is always so tricky. I’m sad for See You Again because it’s a great song. I hope Lady Gaga wins.

  • Spectre – Writings on the Wall
  • The Hunting Ground – Til It Happens To You
  • Youth – Simple Song #3
  • Fifty Shades of Grey – Love Me Like You Do
  • Furious 7 – See You Again

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Hateful Eight
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST SOUND MIXING

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Revenant

 In sound editing I had 4/5 missing Sicario and putting The Hateful Eight in. And in mixing I had 5/5. Cool.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Jurassic World
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

I missed Ex Machina which I changed back to Jurassic World during the last day. I should never do that!

star-wars-mad-max-revenant

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE I got one wrong. That was Theeb from Jordan that won over Labyrinth of Lies from Germany. Not so surprising actually.

  • Son of Saul (Hungary)
  • Mustang (France)
  • Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
  • Labyrinth of Lies (Germany)
  • A War (Denmark)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

  • Inside Out
  • Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
  • Anomalisa
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • The Peanuts Movie

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • Best of Enemies
  • Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

The animated feature category keeps surprising me and I should probably remember that the next year. I also have no opinion here except that I wish Inside Out will win. I got 3/5 also in documentary category. I’m a bit surprised that scientology doc Going Clear didn’t make it… Maybe so many of those Academy members are actually members?

 BEST ANIMATED SHORT I had 4/5, Carface instead of We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

  1. World of Tomorrow
  2. Sanjay’s Super Team
  3. Bear Story
  4. Carface
  5. Prologue

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY was also 4/5, Minerita instead of Body Team 12 (I don’t even know why I chose that?)

  1. Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
  2. Last Day of Freedom
  3. Minerita
  4. Chau Beyond the Lines
  5. A Girl in the River

 chaubeyondthelines

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

  • Ave Maria
  • Bis Gleich
  • Shok
  • Stutterer
  • Winter Light

In the last category I got two wrong, they were Bis Gleich and Winter Light and the nominees are instead Day One and other German short Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut). Again I have no opinion.

That’s it folks. I will continue reviewing the nominees for the next month and write other Oscars stuff. Again, HERE you can see the nominees and later on also my own wishes for the winners and my eventual predictions before the Gala on 28th of February.

The Oscar Predictions 2016 #4

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.And the last predictions are here before the actual nominations announcement.

BEST SCORE

  1. Carol – Carter Burwell
  2. The Danish Girl – Alexander Desplat
  3. The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
  4. Inside Out – Michael Giacchino
  5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – John Williams
  6. Mad Max: Fury Road – Junkie XL
  7. Sicario – Jóhann JóhanssonSpotlight – Howard Shore
  8. The 33 – James Horner
  9. Bridge of Spies – Thomas Newman

Composers are known to vote the same guys (yes, guys) every year. It’s very hard to break into this category. Carter Burwell has never been nominated for an Oscar but he has been nominated for BAFTA, Golden Globe and Emmy, so I reckon this is his year. All of the others have been nominated, John Williams for 49 times (he has won five times). This year I believe it’ll be Morricone’s. The music of The Hateful Eight was the best in the film. I do hope Junkie XL would make the cut but I doubt it. Sicario’s score is really good, so I kept it there but Jóhann Jóhansson just won the last year, so maybe they won’t nominate him again. James Horner unfortunately died last year in an accident and he might get a nomination because of that. Such a loss. Shore is always an option and so is Thomas Newman who’s been nominated for 12 times but never won. We’ll see.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  1. Mad Max Fury Road
  2. Carol
  3. Bridge of Spies
  4. The Danish Girl
  5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  6. Cinderella ???
  7. The Martian
  8. The Revenant
  9. Crimson Peak

artisansbridgeofspies_clean

Again some question marks. I have been going back and forth with this category. Cinderella and Crimson Peak both look amazing and I also appreciate how Mars looks in The Martian. And apparently The Revenant works too. But I think this one goes to Bridge of Spies, its set decoration is beautiful and everything is in its place. But I haven’t seen Carol and The Danish Girl yet, so I might chance my mind.

7fa5a9336e440c4abab068973ebbbd5fBEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  1. Carol – Rooney Mara
  2. The Hateful Eight – Jennifer Jason Leigh
  3. Steve Jobs – Kate Winslet
  4. Spotlight – Rachel McAdams
  5. Trumbo – Helen Mirren ????
  6. Clouds of Sils Maria – Kristen Stewart ????
  7. Ex Machina – Alicia Vikander
  8. Youth – Jane Fonda
  9. Love & Mercy – Elizabeth Banks

7e736b8dd9de643fc32fd6ea542bcbf7BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  1. Bridge of Spies – Mark Rylance
  2. Creed – Sylvester
  3. Beasts of No Nation – Idris Elba
  4. 99 Homes – Michael Shannon
  5. Spotlight – Mark Ruffalo
  6. The Big Short – Christian Bale
  7. Spotlight – Michael Keaton
  8. Love & Mercy – Paul Dano
  9. Sicario – Benicio del Toro

My two least favourite categories this year. Not because they’re bad but because I can’t decide. As you can see there are too many possibilities. And I’m not sure at all I chose correctly. With guys all of them are deserving, all nine of them what I’ve read and seen. I’m gambling on Shannon even though in the end the last spot will probably go to Bale or Keaton but this is my gut feeling and I’ll go with it. And when it comes to ladies, I have Vikander in leading category now with The Danish Girl and I really, really wanted to put her here too but as I can’t see Rachel McAdams missing the slot and I think older folk of actors branch will vote for Mirren, I just couldn’t fit her there because the first three are definite. But to be honest, if any of these people get the nod, I’m happy (except maybe in case of Mirren because I thought she over-did her character in Trumbo). Mara and Rylance for awards. I think..?

BEST DIRECTOR

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road – George Miller
  2. Spotlight – Thomas McCarthy
  3. Carol – Todd Haynes
  4. The Revenant – Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu
  5. The Martian – Ridley Scott
  6. Bridge of Spies – Steven Spielberg
  7. The Big Short – Adam McKay

george_miller_mad_max_MAIN

Everyone’s betting on McKay after BAFTA, Golden Globe and Directors Guild nominations. Well, I disagree. I believe that Miller will get a lot of number one votes because Mad Max has been such a long production from the idea back in 12 years ago or so. I also believe that Scott, Iñarritu and McCarthy are shoo-ins and that leaves only Haynes’ place open and I think he deserves it more. To me the real dark horse is Spielberg and I have a tiny feeling that I’m just underestimating how liked he is. Heck, I love the man myself and would probably give him all the prices you could. He is the best director of all time if I just check the ratings I’ve given to his film. And I love his enthusiasm.  And Bridge of Spies is not bad. Still, I predict he’s out this year. How’s going to win? Your guess is as good as mine…


BEST PICTURE

  1. Spotlight
  2. Mad Max Fury Road
  3. Carolstraightouttacompton
  4. The Martian
  5. The Revenant
  6. The Big Short
  7. Bridge of Spies
  8. Inside Out
  9. Brooklyn
  10. Straight Outta Compton
  11. Room
  12. Trumbo
  13. Sicario
  14. Steve Jobs
  15. The Hateful Eight
  16. Ex Machina

16 films in the running. Still. Maybe 14 if I take out Steve Jobs and Ex Machina that are really long shots which is stupid especially in case of Steve Jobs that will be nominated for the best actor, supporting actress and screenplay at least. Possibly also editing. So it kind of must be one of the best of the last year… Room I took away only today and replaced it with Straight Outta Compton. I don’t believe Compton is better but it’s different and I hate to say this, but it is the only film that has African Americans in the leading roles. Plus it was a pleasant surprise. I think the first six are locks and from the next seven I could put into top-10 any of them. Inside Out is there because I have a gut feeling that this is the one of those rare years when animation will make it to the Best Picture. And winner? Spotlight. The Martian? Mad Max (I wish!). Carol? Or The Revenant? I don’t know. We’ll see.

That’s it folks! Here you can see only the ones that I’m predicting without bubbling unders. Have a happy Oscar time! The stream of  the announcement for the nominations tomorrow (14th) at 5.30AM Pacific Time (that’s 2.30 in Amsterdam, 1.30 in GMT and 3.30 in Finland) can be found here.