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

arrival-villeneuve

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

LLL d 12 _2353.NEF

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

Advertisements

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.

emmastonestage

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!

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: *** 

The Oscars Review: Room & Brooklyn

I know. I’m late with this and I actually already decided not to write this post at all but as I’m now a bit lazy mood after spending hours reading others’ blogs, I’ll just go with this now. roomthemoviewithbrielarson

ROOM (2015)

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson

Written by Emma Donoghue

Starring Jacob Tremblay & Brie Larson

Synopsis (Imdb): “A kidnapped mother and son make a daring escape, and experience a dramatic homecoming provoking a look into the power of imagination and the unstoppable force of a mother’s love.”

I really, really wanted to love this little film but unfortunately I didn’t. Room was nominated for four Oscars this year including the best picture, actress in a leading role, adapted screenplay and directing. And it should have been nominated for the best actor in a leading role too as Jacob Tremblay is the star of the film (with Larson). It still bugs me that he wasn’t. But thankfully he stole the show in most of the awards shows anyway.

Besides Tremblay, Larson was on top form and I’m very glad she won the best actress. I’ve liked her since seeing her in 21 Jumps Street and in all of the films I’ve seen her since she’s been at least good and very relatable. In Room she’s fantastic. Although I didn’t really like her character. But I think that is a praise to her acting skills as her character has a hard time to adjust and acts like that. It was much easier to like Tremblay’s Jack than Larson’s Ma. The acting is anyway definitely the best part of Room.

I’m not sure if I 100% support Abrahamson’s directing nod. The film is well-done and especially interestingly shot but that’s due to cinematography, I think. It’s amazing how Room looks like before and after. Maybe it’s Abrahamson who got those amazing roles out of his two stars. I don’t know but I’m sure he’ll have bright future ahead. I’m glad Emma Donoghue got a nod for writing as the original novel is hers too. And I do think that if you’re going to nominate something for directing, writing and acting, it should be the best picture contender too, so that was OK.

Rm_D9_GK_0096.RW2

When it comes to my opinion outside of acting, I don’t know. I was a bit bored, the story became quite soon an uninteresting one and I just wished that the film would end. It didn’t go under my skin what I was expecting after all the praise. Over-hype made it underachiever to me, I guess. It’s good but nothing spectacular.

Rating: ***½ (out of 5)

Brooklyn_FilmPoster

BROOKLYN (2015)

Directed by John Crowley

Written by Nick Hornby (novel by Colm Tóibín)

Starring Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen & Domhnall Gleeson

Synopsis: “An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.”

If Room was boring to me, this was way worse! I think I took three pauses while watching Brooklyn, it just wasn’t interesting enough. Brooklyn was nominated for three Oscars; picture, adapted writing and best actress. And I don’t really know why? OK, I admit, Saoirse Ronan was great but she’s quite often great. Her character is shitty, little bitch who doesn’t appreciate anything. (See, there’s my problem with this film; I couldn’t relate to it at all!) I also think that Emory Cohen was very good, he was like I imagine good Italian boys of that time to be. His character was deffo the best thing in film. Apart from costumes, I liked those!

emorycohen_cute

When I saw the first trailer for Brooklyn, I thought it would be totally my cup of tea and usually I like this kind of stuff but this time when I wasn’t bored I was frustrated of infuriated with Ronan’s character, Eilis. How annoyingly selfish a person can be? Gosh. Come on, girl! You have your whole life ahead of you and you just whine and whine and stay miserable. Plus the character is really bland. Not good entertainment.

What did I like? Well, it looks pretty, the colours are nice and like I mentioned, I liked the costumes and Emory Cohen. And Irish accents. And New York but I always like New York.

Rating: **½ (out of 5)

newyork_fairytalepictures

New York by me back in 2009. 

The Oscars Reviews: Spotlight & The Revenant

It’s been a month since I saw these two, so it feels a bit silly to write about them now but as I will go through their Oscars chances at the same time, let’s do it anyway.

spotlight_posterSPOTLIGHT (2015)

Directed by Tom McCarthy

Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy

Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery & Brian d’Arcy James

Synopsis (by IMDb): “The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.”

I wish Spotlight would win the Best Picture on Sunday. To me it is the best picture of the season. I came out of the cinema trembling. From time to time I get physical reaction to movies and this one was one of them and the physical reaction (if not puking) is the mark of remarkable film. Spotlight is remarkable and should be awarded because of that.

When you read the synopsis of Spotlight or hear what it is about, it sounds boring, doesn’t it? And it is actually made that way. It tells a story what happened and I don’t believed it’s hugely dramatized either, it doesn’t look like it and it doesn’t feel like it, but at least to me it affected much more deeply than any other film this year. It engaged me into the story so fully and in a way that I didn’t even realise it did it before I was feeling so much it was a bit hard to bear. Masterful filmmaking.

spotlight_cast

Like I said, I hope it gets the best picture Oscar on Sunday’s Oscars. Spotlight is not parts, it’s a whole. Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams got supporting nods but they are just part of the great cast and I don’t believe any of them is better than the other. Ruffalo’s part is a bit more flashier than others and draws the attention while McAdams is basically the only woman on the screen; they’re both great but I so is the whole cast. I believe McCarthy is also worth of an Oscar but I have to admit (as you can read in the following review) that he will most probably not win it except maybe for the best screenplay where Spotlight has the best chance of winning. The editing Oscar is still wide open, I think, it could go to Spotlight or The Big Short or Mad Max.

All in all, Spotlight to me was a perfection. It’s not Star Wars, it doesn’t change your life but there’s nothing wrong with it, quite the opposite, everything works so well that it’s a bit hard to realise it. To me the best thing was that it affected to my feelings so deeply it felt bad and it should feel bad. Like said, masterful.

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

revenant-leo

The Revenant (2015)

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

Written by Mark L. Smith & Alejandro González Iñárritu

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (and Tom Hardy & Domhnall Gleeson)

Synopsis: “A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820’s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.”

There were approximately 10 minutes for me between seeing Spotlight and The Revenant. I still wonder if it affected my liking of The Revenant. I guess I only find outleo1 if I ever watch it again. And I’m not sure if I ever want to watch it again.

Well, first of all: Leonardo DiCaprio will win his Oscar this year. For sure and very much deservingly so. I still think he was better in The Wolf of Wall Street as it was comedy, something I didn’t think Leo is capable of doing, but yes, of course, his role in The Revenant is… um… Excellent? First-rate? Like he always is. Anyway, I’m glad he finally gets the statue, he’s one of the best ones in the industry. Tom Hardy is nominated in the supporting category and I’m glad he is, he’s really good in this one (but then again, isn’t he always?) but I doubt he’ll win this time.

It seems to me that it’s a bit hard for me to write this review, so I’ll just go straight ahead to the Oscar nominations and review The Revenant via them. 12 nominations including best picture, director, actor, supporting actor, cinematography, editing, makeup, costumes, 2 x sound, production design & visual effects. That’s a lot. The Revenant already won in the Golden Globes for the best picture, director and Leo as well as in BAFTAs for all of those plus cinematography and sound. Lubezki got the statue from American Society of Cinematographers too and I believe that he will get it again (third time in a row!) from the Academy and yes, he again deserves it, shooting in natural light is a pain in the ass and The Revenant looks amazing (although, I wasn’t a big fan of those “nature stills” like melting snow etc., they kind of felt like “this looks pretty, let’s put it in”…). All in all, all those technical achievements in The Revenant are top notch. I can’t deny that. And it will probably win a bunch of those awards, for sound I guess at least and I liked the makeup and hair styling, both looked authentic. The bear didn’t but I think it must have influenced my viewing that I knew it was made with CGI.

I’ve been Iñárritu’s fan since Amores Perros and I really, really wanted The Revenant to be his best work to date but unfortunately, to me, it isn’t (Amores Perros still is). It feels like he has lost “the loving feeling” when trying to achieve something that has never been done before. He is one of the best directors working today and his films are technical marvels but like Birdman last year, The Revenant also left me cold. In the end I just didn’t care who lived or who died, I just wished it would be over. But yay for Leo!

Rating: **** 

 

The Oscars Reviews: Joy & Creed

Both of these films only got one nomination each but they’re still worth of reviews, I think, so here we go.Joyfilmposter

JOY (2015)

Directed by David O. Russell

Written by David O. Russell & Annie Mumolo

Starring Jennifer Lawrence(, Robert De Niro, Isabella Rosselini, Bradley Cooper, Virginia Madsen, Edgar Ramirez & Elisabeth Röhm)

Synopsis (from IMDb): “Joy is the story of the title character, who rose to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.”

As you guess it, Joy is actually one woman’s show. Jennifer Lawrence is again amazing. If she continues working like that, making these amazing characters so alive and true, she’ll have unbelievable career ahead of her. She’s already doing more than fine and the part of Joy (loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano, the inventor of Miracle Mop) is again bona fide example of her capabilities. She also again was nominated for an Oscar, fourth time in five years. Not bad for someone who’s only 25 years old.

JOY

Other critics have been saying that the story of Joy is not that engaging and there’s not much to tell, that it’s lacking integrity. It also holds only 6.7 GPA in IMDb at the moment. I’m not really sure why. I found Joy totally enjoyable. And I was invested in it in a way that I very much wanted to strangle people in Joy’s life. One can only hope that those kind of characters were not around in real Joy’s life. Joy’s family is portrayed comically, maybe that’s one of the reasons that some are thinking that it’s lacking in genuineness, I don’t know. I found it refreshing take on them and cinematography supports the comic way of telling the story as does the script. I liked it.

joyfamily

Even though Joy is Lawrence’s show, other actors are again good like always in David O. Russell’s films. They might not be extraordinary like they were in The Fighter or in Silver Linings Playbook but they are still good. I especially was infuriated by Robert De Niro’s Dad and totally frustrated by Virginia Madsen’s Mom. The characters are a bit caricatures but I thought it worked, they made them even more insufferable. I also liked a lot how the film looked, settings and especially costumes and hair-styling. All in all, solid film but David O. Russell has made better ones.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

P.S. I also enjoyed the soundtrack like always do when it comes to Russell’s films.

creed-film-movie-poster

CREED (2015)

Directed by Ryan Coogler

Written by Ryan Coogler & Aaron Covington

Starring Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone & Tessa Thompson

Synopsis: “The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.”

Creed is also nominated for one Oscar and that’s in supporting actor category for Sylvester Stallone and I don’t know what to think of that. Sure, he’s better than he has been maybe since original Rocky but he’s really not THAT good. But unfortunately it seems at the moment he’ll get the trophy for sentimental reasons. But that is for sure not deserved because of his role in this film. And it’s kind of sad that he’s the only one nominated because both, Michael B. Jordan as Adonis and Tessa Thompson as his downstairs neighbour are both better. I especially appreciated the latter, she did extremely nice job in this one. I predict big things for her in the future, that girl knows her stuff. The best scenes in Creed were between her and Michael B. Jordan and basically quite irrelevant to the story.

creedstill.jpg

And that brings me to the thing that made me want crawl under my seat in second-hand embarrassment; the screenplay, especially the dialogue. It was SO uneven. So, so uneven that from time to time it was hard to watch and no wonder it was sometimes hard for Jordan to deliver those lines genuinely as they were so cheesy. Ugh. The story also dragged too long, I was bored before the final show-down. Good things about it, it was somewhat true to the original and in this case it was a good thing and it had small moments of honesty and few nice jokes. But in general, no.

Sylvester-StalloneBetter things in Creed: like said, Jordan and especially Thompson were good. I liked the music but it was the same like in all movies like this. And the last fight worked for me but there was nothing special in it.

Maybe I should just give up and admit myself that movies about boxing are not for me. It’s ridiculous sport with all this machismo that I find so amusing and embarrassing. And it’s OK if Stallone wins, he’s kind of sympathetic but it should go to Rylance from Bridge of Spies or Bale from The Big Short.

Rating: **½ (out of 5)

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.

alicia_vikander

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)

carolposter

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.

Carol-costumes

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)