Sunday, 22 January 2017

Oscar Nomination Predictions

That time of year is officially here. Oscar nominations are out in less than 36 hours. So far it's been a somewhat interesting season, but mostly (for my anyway) it's been a pretty uncertain one past La La Land. La La Land looks to be scoring tons and tons of nominations, including Best Picture. Will the Academy continue the musical loving? How much will they love films like Moonlight, Nocturnal Animals or Hidden Figures? Will Silence finally make an awards show appearance? Will the Best Director category really all be 1st time nominees? Will #oscarssowhite continue for a 3rd year? It's been a very interesting year since this year has mainly been films by relative newcomers or people finally getting their due. To remind you, last year my accuracy rate was 78%, but I didn't predict in the shorts categories. I'm expecting lots of upsets and surprises like usual, so we'll see how well this goes! Good luck to everyone else and hopefully your favourites (and the best) are nominated!

Best Picture
La La Land
Manchester By The Sea
Hidden Figures
Hell or High Water
Hacksaw Ridge

In order of likelihood, however, past Lion, I'm so unsure. There don't seem to be many movies that feel like locks this year. I could see Arrival snubbed almost across the board (minus technicals), I could see Hell or High Water missing out, Fences or Nocturnal Animals definitely have chances here. However, I feel safest with these 8 and don't dare predict more!

Best Director
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By The Sea)
Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
Garth Davis (Lion)

I've been fretting over this fifth slot for a few weeks now. Chazelle, Jenkins, Lonergan and Villeneuve seem likely but I've had a hard time making a final prediction for the 5th place. This category for the past few years has seem several surprise nominees so I'm going with Garth Davis. He surprised with a DGA nod for his first feature film so I feel like that is pretty significant (remember Morten Tyldum a few years ago?) It's not very often that DGA and Oscars go 5 for 5 with each other, but I just don't really know who else gets that fifth slot. Mel Gibson, Tom Ford, Denzel Washington or David Mackenzie (who I swapped out at the last minute) could all turn up here, but that DGA nod seems pretty key.

Best Actor
Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)
Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
Denzel Washington (Fences)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)

This is my big upset pick. Yes, I'm predicting Jake Gyllenhaal for Nocturnal Animals. Both Globes and BAFTA have loved this film more than we expected and BAFTA nominated Jake here so I'm wondering if this is telling (like it was for Gary Oldman in 2012 and Javier Bardem in 2011). Viggo Mortensen always seemed like a bit of a random pick to me anyway so we'll see. But you always have to have at least one risky pick, right?

Best Actress
Emma Stone (La La Land)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Amy Adams (Arrival)
Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Going with a pretty safe line-up here. However I'm really hoping that Taraji P. Henson is able to upset Meryl Streep here. Henson was wonderful in Hidden Figures and she deserves Oscar Nomination #2.

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
Dev Patel (Lion)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)
Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins)

I don't see Lucas Hedges getting in here and will be surprised if he does. He's very young and the Academy never seems to like young male performances. Also, Aaron Taylor-Johnson has the odds stacked his way for a nomination after his Golden Globe win. Will ATJ actually become an Oscar nominee? Really?

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis (Fences)
Michelle Williams (Manchester By The Sea)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Naomi Harris (Moonlight)
Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

This category seems the safest bet but the Academy always loves to throw curveballs. However, these ladies have been pretty widespread nominated altogether all season so I don't see it stopping.

Best Original Screenplay
La La Land
Manchester By The Sea
The Lobster
Hell or High Water
Captain Fantastic

I feel like this category exists for movie like The Lobster. While I wasn't crazy about that movie, it's screenplay was excellent and deserves a nod here. I feel like this lineup is safe, minus Captain Fantastic. Watch out for Zootopia or 20th Century Women

Best Adapted Screenplay
Hidden Figures
Nocturnal Animals

I was originally going to predict Deadpool here but realized I originally was only predicting Hidden Figures would be up for Picture, Supporting Actress and Song and didn't think it would only come away with 3 nominations (and it was originally my 6th choice here anyway). Could see Deadpool or Fences upsetting here but I'm hoping the Academy is a little more creative than nominating the copy-and-paste job that was Fences screenplay.

Best Cinematography
La La Land

I just really want Silence to get in here, if nowhere else. Also, Bradford Young more than deserves a nomination for Arrival. It's crazy to me that it would make him the first Black person to be nominated here. How is that possible??

Best Costume Design
La La Land
The Handmaiden
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I don't know a lot about the Handmaiden, but I have a weird feeling it could get in here. Another slightly risky pick but the costumes do look beautiful.

Best Film Editing
La La Land
Manchester By The Sea
Hacksaw Ridge

Again, I just really want Arrival to get in here. This is one of my biggest Oscar day wishes.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Florence Foster Jenkins
A Man Called Ove

Best Production Design
La La Land
Hail, Caesar!
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Best Original Score
La La Land
Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Original Song
"City of Stars" (La La Land)
"How Far I'll Go" (Moana)
"Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" (La La Land)
"Drive It Like You Stole It" (Sing Street)
"Runnin'" (Hidden Figures)

Best Sound Editing
Hacksaw Ridge
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The Jungle Book

Best Sound Mixing
La La Land
Rogue One; A Star Wars Story
Hacksaw Ridge
The Jungle Book

Best Visual Effects
The Jungle Book
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Doctor Strange
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Best Animated Feature
Kubo and the Two Strings
The Red Turtle
My Life as a Zucchini

Best Documentary
OJ: Made In America
I Am Not Your Negro
The 13th

Best Foreign Film
Toni Erdmann
The Salesman
Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove

Best Animated Short
The Head Vanishes
Inner Workings
Blind Vaysha

Best Documentary Short
Joe's Violin
The White Helmets
The Mute's House
4.1 Miles

Best Live Action Short
Nocturne in Black
The Way of Tea
Bon Voyage
The Rifle, The Jackal, The Wolf and the Boy

Saturday, 21 January 2017


Image result for silence poster

Silence, 2016
Directed by Martin Scorsese

Based on the breathtaking novel by Shusaku Endo, Silence is based on a true time period when Christianity was outlawed in Japan and how the Japanese tortured and executed any known Christians. We focus, however, on two Portuguese Jesuit priests who are on a mission to find their mentor, Father Ferreira, and debunk the rumor that he has forsaken their faith.

I had the privilege of finally reading Silence back in November. As a Christian, this book is incredibly profound and really got me thinking about my relationship with God, about His silence and about faith. If you have the chance, no matter your religion, this book is really great. And to be honest, I was a little nervous about seeing this film. Mostly because I haven't cared for any Scorsese movies I've seen. So I calmed my expectations, but still walked out of the movie really loving this film.

Silence, as a film, is beautiful, brutal, heartbreaking and breath-taking. Andrew Garfield is superb in this role and I feel like people looking back on 2016 will be perplexed as to why Garfield is getting nominations (including a probably Oscar nomination) for Hacksaw Ridge rather than this film. Granted I still haven't seen Hacksaw, but he is sublime here. I'm so glad to see Garfield return back to interesting films after a detour doing Spider-man. He truly is a very good actor and all the work he reportedly put into this was worth it. The character of Father Rodrigues is a complex character who is walking that thin line of trust and doubt and Garfield nails this. Adam Driver is also really good here (with a better Portuguese accent than Garfield) and it's a shame that his character disappears for a long chunk of the film. As well, Liam Neeson is also really good with the little time he is given. But another standout for me was Issey Ogata in the role of the Inquisitor. It's a shame this performance isn't getting any notices because Ogata really is great.

This was once perceived as an Oscar frontrunner but the poor box office returns and late/bad promotion seems this will be lucky to get a handful of nominations. What is potentially the most deserving nomination would be for cinematography. Rodrigo Prieto's work here is breathtaking. The opening shot stands out for me, the view of these hills covered in mist in Japan. It looks almost like a painting and it's completely beautiful, even with such violence happening at the same time. If nothing else, this is a beautifully shot movie and by far deserves a nomination (if not a win) here.

Silence is a film that I know very few are interested in, and even fewer will go see. This is too bad because it's definitely worth your time. And it saddens me hearing so many people say they "don't have time to see a 3 hour film". Please note this film is roughly only 10 minutes longer than Captain America: Civil War so you definitely have time to go see this because I know you had time to see that. This is an incredibly moving film about faith and doubt, even if you don't believe in God. It's a story about choices and what choices you make in the face of persecution and whether there are even right answers. Silence is a film worth your time.


Thursday, 19 January 2017

Hidden Figures

Image result for hidden figures

Hidden Figures, 2016
Directed by Theodore Melfi

Hidden Figures tells the little known story of the incredible black women who worked at NASA during the big space race of the 1960s. Specifically, it centers around Katherine Jackson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan and their stories.

I've been looking forward to seeing Hidden Figures for a while now, and my husband was also very excited to see this. He's a big history buff so he always looks forward to films like this, that tell little known history stories. He also just has a mass amount of respect for people who did this sort of math by hand. I mean, seriously, how did we put people in space before we even had the internet or smartphones??

Hidden Figures is a fantastic film that is both humorous, but also incredibly moving. To be honest with you all, I feel like I was on the verge of tears for a good 1/3 of the movie. This movie is wonderful and heartbreaking and uplifting all at the same time. There were only a few tiny moments that felt manipulative but for the most part, it was just telling the stories of these women who were doing things that we had no idea about.

Taraji P. Henson is truly great here. She brings so much strength and character to Katherine (not that she needed it, but Taraji still brought it). This is a much different role than we're used to seeing her do on Empire and she brings so much vitality and grace. I really, really, really want her to be a spoiler on Oscar morning and get that nomination! And speaking of nominations, I'm not 100% sure why Octavia Spencer is the one getting the love here. I mean, she's good here but I prefer both Janelle Monae (who is wonderful and hilarious here!) and Taraji. And yes, Janelle needs to continue with her film career because between this and Moonlight, she really is talented.

Honestly, one of my favourite parts of the film is how it balances the Civil Rights message, but also the women are still able to keep a sense of humor. These are women that aren't competitive with each other, and they hold each other up. They are sisters and are constantly looking out for each other. We need more films like this! It's so refreshing to see a film this diverse without some sort of white savior or male lead. People are finally voting with their wallets and studios should take note that movies starring females (and females of colour!) do actually make money and people want to see them!

Please, continue to go show studios that we want films with diverse stories. This is a wonderful movie that will both make you laugh, but also move you.


Saturday, 7 January 2017

Golden Globe Predictions!

We're at that time of year again where award season is in full steam! The Golden Globes air tomorrow evening, Oscar nominations are out in a few weeks and all things awardsy will start to get clearer. So I've finally put together my final touches on my Golden Globe Winner predictions. Predictions for the Golden Globes are always a little tricky as they're the first non-critics circle to hand out awards and the first "mainstream" group, so it's always interesting to see if films that were loved by critics groups are loved here as well. As well, this is always where the race starts so presumed frontrunner may have upsets here and new frontrunners emerge (Eddie Redmayne anyone?). So it's exciting to see where this will take us, but also sometimes difficult to predict. I feel I've stayed pretty safe in my predictions, but we'll see come tomorrow!

Best Picture- Drama
Will Win: Moonlight
Could Win: Manchester By the Sea

I flip-flopped on this for a while but figured if the HFPA really loved Manchester, they'd have nominated Lucas Hedges as well. Moonlight has been the indie critics darling and I think it may just continue here. 

Best Actress- Drama
Will Win: Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Could Win: Amy Adams (Arrival)

I feel like Jackie hasn't been received overly well to non-American audiences so I'm not too solid on this prediction but she won the Critics Choice award so I don't see why I wouldn't predict her. However, t he HFPA loves Amy and she did win with NBR and Arrival has also been doing well at the box office. I could see her surprising for the win. 

Best Actor- Drama
Will Win: Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)
Could Win: Denzel Washington (Fences) or Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)

Evidence seems to point that this is Casey's to lose, but watch out for Denzel, who's film has been playing very well at the box office right now. However, I feel like we could be underestimating Andrew Garfield. Hacksaw was much more loved than the HFPA than we predicted and this may their way of rewarding Mel without actually rewarding Mel (plus he's the only of these 3 to be playing a true life character)

Best Picture- Comedy/Musical
Will Win: La La Land
Could Win: ??? 

I don't think anyone else stands a chance here. Florence Foster Jenkins seems a distant second. 

Best Actress- Comedy/Musical
Will Win: Emma Stone (La La Land)
Could Win: Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Emma winning seems as locked in as La La Land winning Picture. Again, Meryl is a distant second. 

Best Actor- Comedy/Musical
Will Win: Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
Could Win: Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)

Ryan Gosling seems like the obvious pick here, but will La La Land really win Picture, Director, Actress, Actor, Score and Song (going 6/7)? The other Canadian Ryan seems like he could be a threat here, but I don't really see it happening. 

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Viola Davis (Fences)
Could Win: Michelle Williams (Manchester By The Sea)

This seems to be Viola's, no question. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see an upset here. Who knows? 

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Could Win: Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

I think Mahershala Ali should take this but again, I could see Jeff Bridges or even Dev Patel upsetting here. 

Best Director
Will Win: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Could Win: Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Both are relatively new to the scene but I think Chazelle takes this. La La Land is by far our overall awards frontrunner here and I think he'll take the directing prize here. 

Best Screenplay
Will Win: Manchester By The Sea
Could Win: Moonlight

Again, a battle between Manchester and Moonlight but I think Manchester By the Sea takes this one. The screenplay is beautiful, human and heartbreaking and I think they'd love to award Kenneth Lonergan this one. 

Best Animated Film
Will Win: Zootopia
Could Win: Moana

This category has seen a few upsets here in the last few years so I wouldn't be surprised to see one again but this should easily go to Zootopia. Right? 

Best Foreign Film
Will Win: Toni Erdmann
Could Win: Elle

I was tempted to put Elle since Isabelle Huppert got an acting nomination for it. I may regret this prediction later but I'm following the pack and predicting Toni Erdmann. 

Best Original Score
Will Win: La La Land
Could Win: Lion or Arrival

I think La La Land should easily take this but HFPA may go for Arrival (which was deemed ineligible by the Academy) or toss a bone to Harvey for Lion. 

Best Original Song
Will Win: City of Stars (La La Land)
Could Win: How Far I'll Go (Moana)

I mean, I'm still bitter "Drive It Like You Stole It" from Sing Street wasn't nominated here, but I think again La La Land should handily take this. However, I wouldn't be surprised if either Moana or Trolls (Justin Timberlake on stage!) steals this. 

La La Land

Image result for la la land poster

La La Land, 2016
Directed by Damien Chazelle

La La Land tells the stories of two dreamers, Mia and Sebastien. Mia dreams of becoming an actress but is working as a barista, trying to get her first break. Sebastien is a jazz pianist who dreams of owning his own jazz club, but can't even seem to keep any piano jobs long enough to save up. The two encounter each other several times before falling in love, and dancing, together. And while the two gross closer they start to wonder if they can have both each other and the things they dream of at the same time.

Whiplash was my #1 movie of 2014, soLa La Land was by far my most anticipated movie of 2016. I fell in love with each other the trailers and was hoping and hoping this would finally mean a very overdue second Oscar nomination for Ryan Gosling. And finally upon seeing this film last week, it exceeded my expectations.

Once we get past a somewhat weak though fun opening number, we launch right into the stories of Mia and Sebastien. Emma Stone plays Mia and I am really, really glad that Emma Watson didn't end up playing her  like she was originally was supposed to because Emma Stone was really perfection for this role. Stone brought so much to the role and made Mia incredibly rounded as a character. Also, can we talk about the amazing costumes she (well, and everyone else) gets to wear? The set designs and costumes are really lovely, giving it both an "old Hollywood" and a very modern feel.

And I know most people are talking about Emma Stone, but my true favourite was Ryan Gosling as Sebastien. Had Gosling been born 60 years ago, I feel like he would've been a huge musical star. He brought so much warmth, charm and grace to the role of Sebastien, yet he was also very fun and meaningful. Again, this role was perfection for Ryan Gosling and I can't imagine anyone else doing this role but him.

The music was also fantastic and never felt too cliche for musical music. This is a musical that's both nostalgic and self-aware, which I feel is a very hard line to walk but La La Land does it perfectly. It both loves the past but is also so forward-looking. Even the musical moments themselves are often self-aware of how silly breaking out into song is in movies. It's great fun but it's also incredibly introspective.

I don't really know what to say about this movie that hasn't already been said. La La Land is a crowd pleaser and that ending is truly fantastic. I won't spoil anything, but I haven't seen an ending that perfect and sad and happy and wonderful since Mommy. This is a film that leaves both with heartbreak but also a smile on your face as you exit the theatre. It's a film that can be both enjoyed on a very surface level but, like Whiplash, there is much more to discuss underneath about nostalgia and compromise and dreams and love. Chazelle does an excellent job of not just making a happy-clappy musical but a story with depth and complexity.

If anything, just go see this movie! It will be incredibly worth your time as the music is excellent, the acting is perfection and it'll leave you in a cloud of happiness. This is a wonderful, wonderful film.