Posted in 2010-2019, Film Feature

88th Academy Awards- Predictions

 

Oscars
Image credit: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Well it is that time of year again! Awards season in the world of movies, and Hollywood’s biggest night in the form of the Oscars has arrived!  The bow ties will be being tied, the dresses will have been chosen Well what a year of movies we have had! The 2007/08 housing crisis, A return to a galaxy far far away, eight angry strangers stuck in a blizzard, the scandal of the Catholic Priests abuse, the return of an icon of cinema in Rocky Balboa, Cold War drama, and a romance between two women and many more. Lots of great movies and great performances, but as usual a lot of snubs too, most notably in the acting categories

Controversially, for the second year running, all 20 of the acting nominees are white, leading to the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag trending throughout social media. Some have elected to even boycott the ceremony in response to this snub. While there were opportunities for the Academy to nominate some incredible performances from some talented black actors and directors, the problem is more to do with Hollywood itself rather than the Academy.  It is important that the Academy is taking measures to do something about this, because it is a problem, and one that you would hope we don’t see again when it comes to the 89th Academy Awards in 12 months time.

Anyhow, tonight will be the night that the all the hard work of all the actors, directors, composers, cinematographers, costume designers, sound editors, visual effects will be recognised, but of course there can only be one winner in this category, and so I give you my hopes and predictions for this year’s awards, as well as some of those who I feel could have been nominated. Let’s get started!

Best Supporting Actor:

5 remarkable performances from all here, and perhaps the most open category of all the acting nominations, Stallone and Rylance have both been claiming the honours throughout awards season, so one would think it’s between them. Tom Hardy was a massive surprise nod, given he did not at all feature in any of the awards shows previously, but his inclusion is well deserved, whilst Mark Ruffalo’s turn in the journalism drama Spotlight was heart-wrenching to watch, but very powerful and arguably a career best work from him. I would like to see Ruffalo triumph but I think this one is Sly’s for the taking.

Who I think will win: Sylvester Stallone

Who I think should win: Mark Ruffalo

Who I think should have been nominated: Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) or Jacob Tremblay (Room)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh- The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara- Carol
  • Rachel McAdams- Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander- The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet- Steve Jobs

Another very open category, and again a good batch of performances. Kate Winslet has been taking some of the awards for her work in Steve Jobs, but Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara have received wide praise for their work in The Danish Girl and Carol respectively, but some have argued that these ladies should be in the lead actress categories, while Vikander should arguably be nominated for her magnificent work in Ex Machina. While Jennifer Jason Leigh’s work in The Hateful Eight was also excellent, and was one of the standouts in a very well acted film. It’s going to be a very tight contest.

Who I think will win: Kate Winslet

Who I think should win: Jennifer Jason Leigh

Who I think should have been nominated: Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)

Best Original Screenplay

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton

This category is not the strongest it could be, Quentin Tarantino’s work on The Hateful Eight  is a notable absentee from this list, and while I immensely enjoyed his work, it was not his finest writing not by a long shot. The clear favourite among this year’s crop is Spotlight, a movie that was driven by dialogue that was just enthralling to watch, and really made you think when the credits began to roll, it’s odds on and one would have few complaints should it emerge victorious. That said, Ex Machina was also insanely gripping, while Inside Out, as well as being my favourite movie of 2015, could arguably lay claim to be Pixar’s finest work. Nevertheless, this is Spotlight’s to lose.

What I think will win: Spotlight

What I think should win: Spotlight

Best Adapted Screenplay

A category that is much stronger than its counterpart. The Big Short has been taking many awards in this awards season, and while it was funny it places, I really feel it fell flat in places as it just overloaded the audience with too much economical mumbo jumbo that unless they were well versed in the subject, it would sail over their heads. Emma Donoghue’s Room was a dark but uplifting tale, while Drew Goddard made one man’s solitude on Mars, a lot funnier than it could and maybe should have been. The Big Short is definitely the favourite though.

What I think will win: The Big Short

What I think should win: The Martian

What I think should have been nominated: Aaron Sorkin- Steve Jobs

Best Animated Feature

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

This seems to be a two horse race between Inside Out and Anomalisa, which is yet to reach UK shores, but has received a lot of praise. However I cannot see anything dethroning Pixar’s work of utter genius.

What I think will win: Inside Out

Best Original Score

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

As much as I enjoyed John Williams’s score for our return to a far away galaxy, Ennio Morricone’s work on The Hateful Eight was incredible and will probably take home the award.

Who I think will win: The Hateful Eight

Who I think should win: The Hateful Eight

Best Costume Design

  • Carol- Sandy Powell
  • Cinderella- Sandy Powell
  • The Danish Girl- Paco Delgado
  • Mad Max Fury Road– Jenny Beavan
  • The Revenant- Jacqueline West

Who I think will win: Cinderella

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
  • Mad Max Fury Road
  • The Revenant

Who I think will win: Mad Max Fury Road

Best Visual Effects

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

Who I think will win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who I think should win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

What should have been nominated: Ant Man

Best Film Editing

  • The Big Short- Hank Corwin
  • Mad Max: Fury Road- Margaret Sixel
  • The Revenant- Stephen Mirrione
  • Spotlight- Tom McArdle
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens- Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

The editing in The Big Short really bugged me and is one of my main gripes about the film, its editing is scrappy and made to look almost like a documentary, whereas it just looked really scrappy. The editing in Mad Max was crisp, likewise with the Force Awakens, so I would like to see either of those two win, although Big Short is the favourite, undeservedly so in my opinion.

Who I think will win: The Big Short

Who I think should win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Cinematography

  • Carol- Ed Lachman
  • The Hateful Eight- Robert Richardson
  • Mad Max: Fury Road- John Seale
  • The Revenant- Emmanuel Lubezki
  • Sicario- Roger Deakins

Despite an incredible 13 nominations and not a single win, Roger Deakins is one of the finest cinematographers working today. Yet I cannot see anything usurping Emmanuel Chivo Lubezki from claiming a hatrick of Oscar wins, and it would be well deserved as The Revenant is visually breath-taking with every single shot, although a win for Deakins would be well deserved.

Who I think will win: Emmanuel Lubezki

Who I think should win: Emmanuel Lubezki

Best Sound Editing

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

Who I think will win: Sicario

Who I think should win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens or The Martian

Best Sound Mixing

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

Who I think will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who I think should win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Director

  • Adam McKay- The Big Short
  • George Miller- Mad Max Fury Road
  • Lenny Abrahamson- Room
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu- The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy- Spotlight

Last year’s in this category, Mr Iñárritu is looking good to win again for his terrific work on the Revenant, and his main competitor is probably George Miller. The Australian showed how to film and direct an action movie, and he did it without a shaky camera in sight. Lenny Abrahamson’s work in Room was also quite an acheivement to be fair, A win for one of those three would be more than a fair decision but I think Alejandro Iñárritu will do the double.

Who I think will win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Who I think should win: George Miller

Who I think should have been nominated: Ryan Coogler (Creed) or JJ Abrams (Star Wars- The Force Awakens)

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett- Carol
  • Brie Larson- Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence- Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling- 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan- Brooklyn

While she remains one of my favourite actresses, and her performance was the bright spark, Jennifer Lawrence does not deserve to be the one clutching the statue this time around, and for me is fortunate to be nominated at all. Cate Blanchett did do some amazing work in Carol, but it would be a major shock if Brie Larson doesn’t triumph. Her work in Room was heartbreaking to watch, but she gave a terrific performance that is absolutely deserving of an award. However, two ladies I do think deserved nods here are Charlize Theron and Daisy Ridley. The former outshone Tom Hardy in Mad Max, while Ridley delivered a superb breakthrough performance in the year’s biggest movie. She stole the show and even though it’s a blockbuster, she deserved it. Even if they had both been nominated, this is Larson’s trophy.

Who I think will win: Brie Larson 

Who I think should win: Brie Larson 

Who I think should have been nominated: Charlize Theron (Mad Max Fury Road) and Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

 Best Actor

  • Bryan Cranston- Trumbo
  • Matt Damon-  The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio- The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender- Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne- The Danish Girl

Like the lead actor category, this one is almost certainly nailed on to be the moment Leonardo DiCaprio FINALLY wins that Oscar. He would absolutely deserve it as his work in the Revenant was truly extraordinary. I mean, eating raw liver to get into the role is commitment. Michael Fassbender did do a great job as Steve Jobs, and Matt Damon’s work in The Martian was also top notch, but I cannot see The Academy giving this award to anyone other than Leo, sixth time’s a charm (hopefully)

Who I think will win: Leonardo DiCaprio 

Who I think should win: Leonardo DiCaprio 

Who I think should have been nominated: Michael B Jordan (Creed)

Best Picture

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

With ten slots open I don’t understand why the Academy chose to nominate only eight as there were more than enough good films to give the final two slots to. And while I feel that the majority of these movies do deserve to be up for this award, The Big Short is for me extremely fortunate to be up there. Nevertheless, out of those scrapping for the honour, the three top contenders in my eyes, are The Revenant, Spotlight and Mad Max Fury Road. While Mad Max did fall a bit short for me in terms of its script (weak villain mainly) it was an enthralling time and impressive given its long spell in development hell. The Revenant has got its BAFTA triumph going for it but Spotlight has been taking some crowns along the way too, so it’s an open race. Any of the three would be deserving winners but I have a sneaking suspicion that The Revenant will take the top prize, but Mad Max or Spotlight may yet sneak a win.

Who I think will win: The Revenant

Who I think should win: Spotlight or The Revenant

Who I think should have been nominated: Inside Out, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Ex Machina

 

Whatever happens, the movie world should be in for a fun and enjoyable evening!

Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Spotlight (2015)

spotlight-poster
Image rights belong to Anonymous Content, First Look Media, Participant Media, Rocklin/Faust and Open Road Films

Spotlight – Film Review

Cast: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber, Brian D’Arcy James

Director: Tom McCarthy

Synopsis:  Telling the true story of a group of journalists working for the Boston Globe newspaper who uncover the horrific details of child molestation at the hands of Catholic priests and the subsequent attempts to hush everything up.

Review: Every so often in the world of news and current affairs, along comes a story that is so shocking and galling for a number of reasons, it would cause you to read your newspaper, watch your television, or listen to the radio with just disbelief and horror that such an event came to pass. Many stories revealing such wickedness often slip under the radar, and do not see the light of day, and that may have been the case for the subject of this powerful drama of the scandal that rocked not only the Catholic Church, but the entire world to its core. It may well have not reached the public’s attention, if it wasn’t for the grit and graft of some brave journalists.

The screenplay, penned by McCarthy and Josh Singer, which was on the 2013 Black List of unproduced screenplays pulls no punches whatsoever. The story is gripping, and disturbing at the same time. When nudged by an incoming new editor in the direction of the scandal, the team of journalists quickly begin to find something deeply disturbing, and as the film goes on, interview after interview, the full extent of the scandal emerges on the team and the full realisation of the crimes that have been committed come into view.  The dialogue scene to scene keeps the attention of the viewer transfixed on the screen. With each conversation, whether with a lawyer, some victims, some people within the church, or whoever it may be, the team show great tenacity to dig deeper and deeper scratching every surface they can until there’s a story for them to run. It’s a dialogue driven film, but when it’s written this well, it’s riveting to watch.

The ensemble cast each deliver truly excellent performances, but it’s the performances of the Spotlight team in particular that shine the brightest. After his Oscar nominated turn as a washed up superhero in Birdman, Michael Keaton delivers another excellent performance as the editor of the team that comprises of Rachel McAdams’s Sacha Pfeiffer, Mark Ruffalo’s Michael Rezendes and Brian D’Arcy James’s Matt Carroll with John Slattery’s Ben Bradlee Jr. and Liev Schreiber’s newly appointed editor Marty Baron keeping a watchful eye over things. All excel but the standout performances are that of Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, who have both gained well earned Oscar nominations for the Best Supporting Actor and Actress respectively. Ruffalo in particular has an almost Hulk-esque moment at one point when the full depravity of the scandal comes becomes very crystal clear.

With such a delicate and controversial subject matter, approaching this film cannot have been easy for McCarthy and Singer, yet it is handled tremendously well. The direction is subtle but it emphasises is firmly on the need for justice for the victims. The reporters are not patting themselves on the back and having a drink celebrating at such a big scoop, instead they’re just aghast at what they have observed during their investigation. It is uncompromisingly brutal when the penny drops and there is a need and a desire to print their story and bring the perpetrators to full justice. In this day and age when the internet is taking over the journalism and publishing industry, it just goes to show that through real grit, determination and hard work, shocking truths such as these, can be brought to the attention of the public, and full credit to the brave journalists who did so.

Uncompromisingly brutal when it comes to the subject matter, with terrific performances and excellent well written dialogue, Spotlight will shake you to your core.

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