2013: The Year in Film and My Top

Overall, not a bad year but not great. Two films from this year make my “Required viewing” list. Surprise of the year was “Frozen”, expected to be a modest success only.

Total Films Viewed from 2013: 40

Scroll down for my Top 10

Top 10 Critically Acclaimed Films

(Source : criticstop10.com – a site that take a weighted average of about 800 lists, 350 of which are considered “Top Critics”)

  1. 12 years a Slave
  2. Gravity
  3. Inside Llewyn Davis
  4. Her
  5. Before Midnight
  6. Wolf of Wall Street
  7. American Hustle
  8. Frances Ha
  9. The Act of Killing
  10. Blue is the Warmest Colour

Winners of The Major Oscar Categories

Best Picture Nominees from 2013 (2014 Oscars)

Best Picture                             12 Years a Slave

Best Actor                                Matthew McConaughey Dallas Buyer’s Club

Best Actress                             Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Best Supporting Actor             Jared Leto, Dallas Buyer’s Club

Best Supporting Actress          Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Best Director                            Alfonso Cauron, Gravity

Original Screenplay                Spike Jonze, Her

Adapted Screenplay                John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave

Best Animated Feature           Frozen

Two performances from Dallas Buyer’s Club won Oscars. Matthew McConaughey – who did not deserve a win and gave a speech where he thanked his future self. Really, he did. And Jared Leto, who gave one of the best performances of the decades offered a heartfelt, humble acceptance speech for the ages.

Top Grossing Movies:                Iron Man 3 (Domestic )

                                      Frozen (Worldwide)

Really Good Films from 2013 You May Have Missed:

Don Jon

Blue Jasmine

Nebraska

Before Midnight

Movie from 2013 to avoid at all costs:

Grown Ups 2

Planes

Kick Ass 2 (so so so disappointing)

The Hangover Part III

Here are my Top 10 films of 2013

Runners-up: Inside Llewlyn Davis, The Spectacular Now, Saving Mr. Banks, World War Z, Dallas Buyer’s Club, Don Jon

10.  Pacific Rim

Level 7 Guilty Pleasure. Giant robots from the future get face to face with acidic-goo spewing alien sea beasts from another dimension and punch them in the face!!! What’s not to like. This is B movie silliness in the hands of skilled director to create a movie that is by no means good, but I just loved!

The “Honest Trailer” both sums up why I love and should hate this movie.

9. American Hustle

I have read a number of times that director David O. Russell is not easy to work for. True on not, he draws amazing performances from his cast. Only a handful of movies have ever had nominations in all four acting categories and he has done it twice, once with this film. A fun, raucous, 70s period piece about con artists and grifters. Wildly entertaining movie.

8. Captain Phillips

The movie that started the “Never Travel with Tom Hanks” meme. True story of the freight liner that is taken over by Somali pirates, the cunning required to stay alive and the fractious relationship that develops between the ship’s captain and its captors. The ending, based on the actual rescue mission by Seal Team 6, is nail-biting stuff.

7. Blue is the Warmest Colour

More noted and notorious for its graphic lesbian sex scenes, this film is really a wonderful, moving tale about love, loss and self discovery.

6. Before Midnight

Ever been in what seems to be an impossible relationship? If your human, then of course you have. Chapter Three of the compelling, heart wrenching tale of Jesse and Celine, unlikely lovers whose path cross rarely but intensely. Director Richard Linklater’s commitment to this project is nothing short of amazing and the three movies together are amongst the great trilogies ever made.

5. 12 Years a Slave

This year’s best picture, hard to watch but it packs a visceral, emotional wallop like few films. It became the first film to be producer, written and directed by African American film makers to win Best Picture. Director Steve McQueen draws some incredible performance from his three leads, with an Oscar for Lupita Nyong’o.

4. Her

I spend more time on my computer than I do with any one person in my life. Sad statement, I know but it makes the story of a man who falls in love with his AI Operating System not all that far fetched. Director Spike Jonze can be expected to deliver the unexpected (Being John Malkovich) and with “Her” he does not disappoint. Brilliant voice-over work from Scarlett Johannsen as Samantha, the Operating System.

3. Blue Jasmine

Two years in a row with exceptional movies from Woody Allen. Cate Blanchett won a well-deserved Oscar and there are astonishingly good performances from stand-ups Louis CK and Andrew Dice Clay. Blanchett plays a disgraced New York socialite who travels to San Francisco to seek help from her estranged sister unable to accept her new diminished status in life.

2. The Wolf of Wall Street

Leo’s best every performance in a tale of 80s excess and debauchery that could only be brought to life by the great Martin Scorsese. It’s a movie about addiction – to everything, drugs, money, sex, power. Based on the real-life story of stock swindler Jordan Belfort. Not for the light-hearted. Jonah Hill’s best movie.

1. Gravity

Saw it three times in theatres. Had to been seen on the big screen, preferably in IMAX. What an experience. Three-person cast if you count Ed Harris’ voice over. Winner of seven Oscars. Gravity clocks in at a tight 90 minutes which makes if perfect as you live Ryan Stone’s life and death journey with her nearly in real time. This movie almost never got made and went through countless casting changes (originally Robert Downey Jr. and Angelina Jolie). The end result is one of the best films of the decade.

2012: The Year in Film and My Top 10

For my money, this was a very good year in film. Five four-star films by my rating system. A couple of excellent comedies. Picking a #1 this year was quite difficult! (Bad year for animation, otherwise, quite good!!)

Total Films Viewed from 2012: 42

Scroll down for the Top 10

Top 10 Critically Acclaimed Films

(Source : criticstop10.com – a site that take a weighted average of about 800 lists, 350 of which are considered “Top Critics”)

  1. Zero Dark Thirty
  2. Moonrise Kingdom
  3. The Master
  4. Argo
  5. Lincoln
  6. Django Unchained
  7. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  8. Holy Motors
  9. Amour
  10. Silver Linings Playbook

Winners of The Major Oscar Categories

Best Picture                             Argo

Best Actor                               Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln

Best Actress                            Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Best Supporting Actor             Christoph Walz, Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress          Anne Hathaway, Les Miserable

Best Director                           Ange Lee, Life of Pi

Original Screenplay                Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Adapted Screenplay                Chris Terrio, Argo

Best Animated Feature             Brave

Top Grossing Movie:                 The Avengers (Domestic and Worldwide)

(Argo became the first movie since 1990 – Driving Miss Daisy – to win Best Picture without being nominated for Best Director. Affleck has producer credit so still won an Oscar).

Really Good Films from 2012 You May Have Missed:

Amour

Looper (Noted Critic James Beradinelli has this as #1 of 2012)

Moonrise Kingdom

Act of Valor

Movie from 2012 to avoid at all costs:

Battleship

Ghost Rider II (The things we watch on planes)

Dan’s Top 10 Films of 2012

Honourable Mention: The Dark Knight Rises, Actor of Valor, Les Miserable, Searching for Sugarman, Moonrise Kingdom, Life of Pi

10.  Ted

A great film? Not a chance. But very few comedies have ever made me laugh this hard. I am huge fan of Seth McFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad) so I am predisposed to the raunchy, crude often low brow humour that this film thrives on. A terrible ending prevented it from being even higher on the list.

9. The Avengers

Superheroes have demons, egos, problems, troubled pasts. This wonderfully fun and surprisingly touching action film hit on all cylinders and did not make the mistake of many similar films to follow and stayed a reasonable length.

8. Flight

Since I fly over 100,000 miles a year, perhaps a movie about a pilot with addiction issues is not something I should watch. But I would watch Denzel read a phone book. Gripping, shocking film with an excellent supporting role from John Goodman and for me, a deeply satisfying ending.

7. Skyfall

I have seen every Bond, all more than once. This is the best, full stop. No questions. Javier Bardem should have been Oscar nominated for his role as Silver, one of the great Bond villains. This is an extraordinary cloak and dagger action film with an exceptional emotional core.

6. Silver Linings Playbook

Back to my favourite theme of dysfunctional families, no offense to my siblings. The moment this movie ended I said out loud, I loved every second of that. One of DeNiro’s great performances. And it gives a very different kind of Hollywood ending, one that is satisfying only because the movie and really let you get to know its characters.

5. Prometheus

A thought-provoking, intelligent sci-fi movie meant to be a pre-cursor to the Alien series. Ridley Scott excels at this stuff. It leaves a lot for the audience to interpret and some may find the ending deeply unsatisfying. I loved every minute of it.

4. Lincoln

The best acting performance of the decade. One of the great of all time. This is not a love letter to Honest Abe. It is a hard edged, unblinking look at the compromises, politically and personally, that had to be made to pass the 13th Amendment.

3. Zero Dark Thirty

ZD30 was first intended to be a movie about the unsuccessful hunt for UBL, but when he was killed in Pakistan by Seal Team 6, this movie took a different turn. Methodical, not preachy. It’s a movie about war but much more than a war film. The most critically acclaimed movie of 2012.

2. Django Unchained

Not Tarantino’s best, but vintage QT. A fun, clever, blood-soaked extravaganza about a bounty hunter (Christoph Walz) travelling with a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) to see a Planation owner (Leo

DiCaprio) to rescue the freed slave’s wife. Leo plays a truly vile character, so much so, he had to take a break from filming. Django is a gorefest, a love story and also a bit of a history lesson that only QT can bring to the screen.

1. Argo

My top 10 list for 2012 has morphed over the years. Originally, I would have had this 3rd, behind Django and Zero Dark Thirty. But in this past 8 years, my admiration for this old school, classic Hollywood film has only grown. An unlikely Best Picture but it has held its own over the years. A story of how a bizarre CIA cover story was used to extract 6 Americans trapped in the Canadian Embassy in Iran. Again, another excellent supporting role from John Goodman. And an Oscar nomination for Alan Arkin.  Roger Ebert’s pick for best movie of the year, the last one before his death in 2013. 

2011: The Year in Film and My Top 10

Year in Review : 2011

# of Movies I Saw in 2011: 42

Scroll down for my Top 10

Top 10 Critically Acclaimed Films

(Source : criticstop10.com – a site that takes a weighted average of about 800 lists, 350 of which are considered “Top Critics”)

  1. Tree of Life
  2. Drive
  3. Hugo
  4. The Artist
  5. The Descendants
  6. Melancholia
  7. Midnight in Paris
  8. Moneyball
  9. A Separation
  10. Martha Macy May Marlene

Winners of The Major Oscar Categories

Best Picture                             The Artist

Best Actor                               Jean Dujardins, The Artist

Best Actress                            Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Supporting Actor             Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Supporting Actress          Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Director                           Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Original Screenplay                Woody Allen, Midnight In Paris

Adapted Screenplay                Alexander Payne (et al), The Descendants

Best Animated Feature           Rango

(Editorial Note: The Artist, by my standards, was a very weak Best Picture, not even a 10 best of the year).

Top Grossing Movie:   Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Domestic and Worldwide)

Really Good Films from 2011 You May Have Missed:

We Need to Talk About Kevin (warning, exceptionally bleak)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

A Separation

Margin Call

Biutiful

Movie from 2011 to avoid at all costs:

Arthur

Columbiana

Green Lantern

Here are My Top 10 films of 2011

Honourable Mention: Harry Potter 7 Part 2, J. Edgar, The Iron Lady, The Ides of March, Extremely Loud and Incredible Close, Martha Macy May Marlene, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Artist.

10.  The Muppets

A bad guy named “Tex Richman” played by Chris Cooper. A brilliant Jim Parsons cameo that caused the theatre to erupt in applause. This wonderfully self-aware tribute to past Muppet glory was more for parents than kids. It was funny and supremely entertaining. This despite the fact that I really don’t like Jason Segal (Love Amy!!!)

9. Margin Call

Perhaps because I work in the world of finance, I find this movie fascinating. A fictionalized yet very real look into the beginning of the mortgage meltdown. Stellar cast and Oscar nominated script, never found an audience. “There are three ways to succeed. Be first. Be Smarter. Or Cheat”.

8. Midnight In Paris

Creepy weirdo but brilliant film maker. Allen’s best movie in a couple decades. Oscar winner for original screenplay. Love the use of Van Gogh’s Starry Night in the poster. This is Woody Allen at his clever best, probably his best film since Bullets Over Broadway.

7. Moneyball

The 2002 Oakland A’s had a 20-game winning streak. I new this. I new about Scott Hatteburg’s walk-off pinch hit homer. I knew how this ended and was still at the edge of my seat. That’s a good movie. Perhaps Brad Pitt’s second-best work to Inglorious Basterds. One of two Pitt films in this year’s top 10.

6. Hugo

As I wait in great anticipation to see “The Irishman”, another Scorsese mob epic, I get to write about his most unique film, unlike any he has made. No violence, no profanity, a fairy tale of sorts and a movie about love of movies.

5. A Separation

Roger Ebert’s #1 movie of 2011 and you can see why, its right up his alley. Here is a great place to start if you don’t like subtitled films. From Iran, this movie was the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

4. The Descendants

An exceptional human drama, dysfunctional family film (one of my favourite genres) with a wonderful Alexander Payne script. Some of Clooney’s best work. Set against the backdrop of Hawaii, a man must decide the fate of a family’s 9-digit fortune while unwinding and discovering the pain of his own life.

3. Drive

Unique material, compelling, edgy and violent. The opening 15 minutes of this movie would, in and of itself, make an amazing short film. This would be on the list of “Best Films You’ve probably never seen”.

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Probably my favourite movie of 2011, but I can’t say it’s a better movie than my #1. Rooney Mara should have won an Oscar, her role is nothing short of brilliant. Director David Fincher has made, in my world, a dark brooding masterpiece.

1. Tree of Life

A movie of vast, grand ambition. Tree of Life sets out to define all of existence through the lives of some ordinary people in an ordinary town in the 50s. This is not a film for everyone, its long and deeply symbolic. I loved it. I loved the depiction of the traditional 50s household (Brad Pitt’s character name is merely Mr. O’Brien, through the eyes of his children his first name is not relevant). It is one of the best pictures of the decade.

2010: The Year in Film and My Top 10

This month, I will post articles every few days reviewing each year of the last decade. This will lead up to my Top 10 of the Decade which I will publish throughout December.

Scroll down for my Top 10

Today: Year in Review – 2010

Total Films I Saw That Year: 51

Top Grossing Film: Toy Story 3 (Domestic and Worldwide)

MAJOR OSCAR WINNERS

Best Picture                              The King’s Speech

Best Actor                                Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Best Actress                             Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Best Supporting Actor             Christian Bale, The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress          Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Best Director                           Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech

Original Screenplay                 David Sielder, The Kings Speech

Adapted Screenplay                 Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

TOP 10 Critically Acclaimed Films of the Year

(Source : criticstop10.com – a site that take a weighted average of about 800 lists, 350 of which are considered “Top Critics”)

  1. The Social Network
  2. Inception
  3. Black Swan
  4. Toy Story 3
  5. Winter’s Bone
  6. True Grit
  7. The King’s Speech
  8. 127 Hours
  9. The Kids Are Alright
  10. The Fighter

Really Good Films from 2010 You May Have Missed:

Exit Through the Gift Shop

The Kids are Alright

Rabbit Hole

Love and Other Drugs

Daybreakers

Movie from 2010 to avoid at all costs:

Get Him to the Greek

Sex and the City II

The Last Airbender

Dinner for Schmucks,

MacGruber (Candidate for worst movie I saw all decade)

DAN’S TOP 10 FILMS OF 2010

Honourable Mention: The Fighter, Shutter Island, How to Train Your Dragon, Rabbit Hole, Machete.

10.  Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part I

In my books, easily the best of the Potter films. The most mature and the most compelling story. The segment of the movie with the animated telling of the origin of the Deathly Hallows is the best thing in all 8 films.

9. Kick Ass

What happens when a regular guy wants to become a super hero? Its doesn’t always go well!! Kick Ass is pervasively violent, original, funny as hell and proof that there are roles only Nicolas Cage can play.

8. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Once every 5 or 6 years, a “teen” movie comes out that defies the genre and is a truly great movie. This is it. Go see if it you haven’t. And for my fellow Kitchener residents, keep an eye out for local mega-talent Christine Watson as “Hipster Demon Chick”.

7. The Kids Are Alright

The modern dysfunctional family movie. A lesbian couple with two kids conceived through artificial insemination bring their biological father into the scene. Tour de force acting and a relevant, moving screenplay.

6. Exit Through the Gift Shop

A documentary of sorts, I guess. Two film makers try to interview and film the elusive Banksy. What you see is a side of the street graffiti art scene that is entertaining, audacious and unexpected in only ways a doc can be. Oscar Winner for Best Documentary Feature.

5. True Grit

I am a sucker for all things Cohen. Not their best work but one of the great films of the year. Jeff Bridges makes the legendary role of Rooster Cockburn (played first by John Wayne in his first and only Oscar winning role) his own. Is reminiscent of Wayne’s role, but wisely not an impersonation. It is also far truer to the original source material.

4. The King’s Speech

Every few years the Academy gets is right as they did in honouring Colin Firth. Its no small task to appear regal and feeble at the same time. The scenes with Firth and veteran actor Geoffrey Rush as his therapist bantering dialogue could go on forever. Old school, classic film making at its best. Many people would rank this as their favourite film of the year.

3. Inception

So very rare to see a motion picture based on original material. Inception is mind-bending. I have seen it multiple times and always love it. The combo of Leo and Tom Hardy were as influential on men’s fashion and the film was on the industry.

2. Toy Story 3

A nearly perfect animated film. The amazing conclusion (at that time) to the saga of Woody and Andy, introducing wonderful new characters and bringing the toy universe further to life. The scene with Mr. Potato Head disguising himself in a tortilla is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

1. The Social Network

The King’s Speech might be the best example of storytelling in 2010 but the Social Network was the best example of film making. Deftly edited between scenes of a law suit deposition and flashbacks (the majority of the movie) to the creation of Facebook. Its an extraordinary script anchored by an Oscar nominated performance from Jessie Eisenberg. Its one of those infinitely watchable movies.

Looking Back on a Decade of Movies

Without getting into a debate about when this decade actually ends (I think technically it will end 31 Dec 2020), there are just a hair under six months left in the 2010s. Around December, critics will be voicing there opinions of the Best Films of the Decades. Top 10 and 20 Lists will start popping up on a regular basis. So, I am going to start working my way towards my Best of the Decade list over the next 6 months.

Every few weeks between now and the end of the year, I will post a review of each year in film from 2010 to 2019, with a recap of the the major news, stories, popular and acclaimed films.

Each entry will happen over two consecutive days: First Day, recap of the year. Second Day, my Top 10 (and runners up) for that year.

My hope for this??

Simple, to share my love of film and maybe to bring attention so some movies you haven’t seen or have forgotten or just didn’t get around to seeing when they came out.

At this point, I am waffling between four movies for #1 of the decade. But … two of my favorite directors (Tarantino and Scorsese) have highly anticipated movies yet to come this year.

I won’t be doing a “worst 10” because I just don’t go out of my way to see bad films. But each each’s review will contain a list of “Movies to Avoid at All Cost”. Basing bad films that wasted part of my life is almost as fun as reviewing good ones.

The 2000’s were dominated the Lord the Rings and Harry Potter. This decade, Star Wars and MCU. Some of the those movies appear on my lists along with other block busters but also smaller films, indies and movies that just connected with me.

When this is done, I will update my Top 100 (there will be new entries and some shuffling of existing ones).

I have “Top 10” lists ready to go for 2010 to 2018. 90 Films I really loved of the roughly 400 I saw. They include

  • Four total Guilty Pleasures (movies that are not good but I love anyways)
  • 6 Best pictures (3 Best pic winners thus far would not have made my year’s top 10)
  • Three Movies not in English
  •  6 Superhero movies (not all MCU!)
  • 9 or 10 movies you may not have heard of
  • One movie that I am completely ashamed I even like

A couple of small hints …

The Social Network is thus far the most critically acclaimed movie of the Decade. Its not on my Top 10.

In only one year thus far was my pic for the year’s best film also the Best Picture winner at the Oscars.

 

 

 

 

Dan’s Oscar Picks 2019

This could well be the dullest year in Oscar History, with Roma sweeping in the awards and a lot of disappointed faces. I don’t see that. In years like this, history tells us there is one movie shut out (I pick The Favourite) and the rest get spread out a lot. I am just going with my gut.
I am looking forward to Gaga and Cooper but nothing more than Spike Lee’s acceptance speech.
Here are my predicted winners with a brief commentary on each category and why I am making the pick. This is based on research from about 12 different reliable pundit websites and blogs as well as my own gut in a few areas.

THE MAJORS

BEST PICTURE

Best-Picture-Oscars-2019

The race is wide open enough that none of these 8 would shock me.

This is probably the most open category and there was a great deal of late campaigning from a lot of movies. Roma is the favourite, but by no means a lock. I could see BR, The Favourite, Green Book, BlacKkKlansman or Black Panther winning. None would surprise me. Vice and A Star is Born both seem to be out of the race. All that said, Best Picture is voted with a very convoluted ranked ballot system which can produce unexpected results. (Moonlight, Spotlight). Also, there are rumblings that the Academy is not very fond of Netflix and sees them as a disruptive force. Still, the love is gushing all over Roma. If I had money on it, I would go with Roma. Green Book and BlacKkKlansman seem to be next on the list.

Who will win : Roma

 

BEST DIRECTOR

It stuns me that in a year with 8 best picture nominees, we have a Best Director nomination that is not on the best picture list. This appears to be a two-horse race between Spike Lee and Alfonso Cauron. Cauron has a win (Gravity) and Lee is way overdue. Cauron is getting wide praise for the extent of his work so my thought is that this will be the 5th year in the last 6 with a Mexican director taking home the big prize. A Spike Lee would not startle me, his film is very good and decidedly Anti-Trump.

Who will win: Alfonso Cauron, Roma

 

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

oscar_nominations-best_actor-split-h_2019

Bradley Cooper is the only one here playing a fictional character. L to R Bale as Dick Cheney. Cooper as Jackson Maine. Dafoe and Van Gogh. Malek as Freddie Mercury. Mortensen as “Tony Lip’

Rami Malek? I have a tough time with and Oscar win for a role of exaggerated prosthetic teeth and lip syncing. (I viewed Bohemian Rhapsody as a historically inaccurate train wreck with some very good concert scenes, only one of which actually happened). Four of the five nominees this year are playing real life characters. Willem Dafoe (love him), Bradley Cooper and Viggo Mortensen, the nomination is the award. The pundits and predictors show a two-way race between Rami well in the lead over and Christian Bale for Vice. Rami is not a mortal lock but certainly the odds-on pick. I call a minor upset. (Even though last five years all acting categories have gone to the favourites). Final note, do NOT count out Bradley Cooper. Well loved 7 time Oscar nominee with a massive marketing machine behind him, and he sang his own music.
Who will win: Christian Bale, Vice

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

190221092138-20190221-oscars-best-actress-super-169

Glenn’s year this year.

Lady Gaga was the front-runner in this category for a long time, until awards season actually started and Glenn Close came to the forefront. This her 7th nomination and she has done a brilliant job voicing Homer’s long-lost mother on the Simpsons. It seems to be her year in a close race with Olivia Coleman. Close should have an Oscar now for her unforgattable role in Fatal Attraction but lost to Cher in Moonstruck.

Who will win: Glenn Close, The Wife

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Green Book has faced a mountain of criticism and deflected it all and done extremely well on the awards circuit. Mahershala Ali is close to a lock. But would it not be great to see Sam Elliot win an Oscar. I can dream, can’t I?? Adam Driver was excellent in Spike Lee’s film but not enough put him over the top. If there is an upset here, it’s the wonderful Richard E. Grant for Can You Ever Forgive Me. I saw it on a plane but it was still a great performance! Plus he a very well liked.

Who will win: Mahershala Ali, Green Book

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

2019-oscars-predictions-best-supporting-actress

Likely the year’s strongest category, the fact that Regina King was overlooked for a nomination from The Screen Actors Guild makes it far more of a race than it may seem.

Regina King has wiped the slate clean in awards season, but that said she was not nominated for a SAG award. SAG members make up about 2/3 of the Academy voters. So, this is not the lock that it seems. Both Rachel Weiss and Emma Stone received wide acclaim for The Favourite as did six-time nominee Amy Adams for Vice.

This, this s King’s to lose.

 

Who Will Win: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Writing awards are often viewed as a Best Picture Consolation Prize. Original Screenplay is wide open this year with four of the five nominees a possible winner. The Writer’s Guild picked Eighth Grade which was not even nominated. Paul Shrader has written some extraordinary movies (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull to name but two) and has his first nomination this year for First Reformed. It seems to be a two-way race between The Favourite and Green Book. Co-writer Nicolas Vellelonga is the son of the character “Tony Lip” played by Viggo Mortensen.

Who Will Win: Nicolas Vellelonga, Peter Farrelly, Brian Hayes Currie for Green Book

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREEN PLAY

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Best movie of the year and arguably the best poster too.

Barry Jenkins has already won for Moonlight. Spike Lee, mortal lock. As silly as the Oscars are, there is always on award this per year that makes me jump out of my chair, this is it.

Who will win: David Rabinowitz, Charlie Watchell, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Runner-Up Prizes

BEST FILM EDITING

In past years, this award always went with best picture, not so much lately. There is no clear fave here and no long-term Academy stalwarts running. Most are first time Editing nominees. There is a lot of editing in Bohemian Rhapsody but its not good.

Who will win: Hank Corwin, Vice

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The voters will love the fact that Alfonso Cauron filmed his own movie in black and white. If there is an upset here it could be Lukas Zal in Cold War

Who Will Win: Alfonso Cauron, Roma

 

BEST ART DIRECTION

Usually goes with costume design. Not this year. Hard to call this one. You have Best Picture nominated Period Piece in the Favourite which usually wins here. I think it goes for the recreation of 1970s Mexico City.

Who will win: Eugenio Callebrero & Barbara Enriques, Roma

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Sandy Powell is a legend. She has 14 nomination in this category (including 2 this year!) and three wins (The Aviator, Young Victoria and Shakespeare in Love).

Best-Costume-Design-Oscars-2019

Five movies. 4 nominees. A combined 25 career nominations and 4 wins.

This is a category full of veterans with multiple nominations and wins. I am going against conventional wisdom (period piece) for the first African American winner here.

 

Who Will Win: Ruth E. Carter, Black Panther

 

ORIGINAL SONG

I can’t see this going any other way. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga will perform together and later Gaga will accept the award. If there is upset, maybe 10-time nominee Dianne Warren for “I Will Fight” from RBG.

Who will win: “Shallow” from A Star is Born

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Noteworthy: This is Alexandre Desplat’s 10th nomination since 2007! This award tends to go to a Best Picture nominee. That narrows it down to two.

Who will win: Ludwig Garrosan, Black Panther

 

THE “OTHER KINDS OF MOVIES”

Note : This is were the academy has the ill-conceived, silly, unnecessary and immediately withdrawn idea for Best Achievement in Popular Film. If you want a new category, how about the Stunt Crew?

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Into-the-spider-verse

Hyper-kinetic, original and just pure fun.

The Incredibles 2 is a heavyweight movie from heavyweight Pixar. I loved it. Isle of Dogs is without a doubt the weirdest movie I have ever seen. But this year, its gonna be Spidey, a movie that should have nominations in sound, screenplay and best picture and probably editing too.

Who will win: Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse

 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

This could get weird. Roma is the odds on for Best Picture so it may get overlooked here. This has another very strange balloting system and produces odd results. In 2006, the amazing Pan’s Labrynth had 6 nominations and 3 wins but did not win here. Cold War has three nominations.

Who Will Win: Cold War (Poland)

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

RGB is a sentimental favourite but the reviews called it more Hero Worship than true documentary. The year’s most acclaimed documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbour” was not nominated.

Who Will Win: Free Solo

 

TECHNICAL CATEGORIES

BEST MAKE-UP
Vice. Marking Christian Bale into a convincing Dick Cheney.
BEST SOUND MIXING
Bohemian Rhapsody. Concert Scenes were exciting and entertaining.
SOUND EDITING
Bohemian Rhapsody – see above
VISUAL EFFECTS
Avengers Infinity War – Since Black Panther for some baffling reason is not nominated.

 

SHORT FILMS (EDUCATED GUESSES)

Animated Short

Boa (going with Pixar)

Documentary Short

Black Sheep (pundit consensus)
Live Action Short

Margeruite (pundit consensus)Best-Picture-Oscars-2019

 

Dan’s Overall Predictions

The Favourite gets shut out

No runaway winner

This year’s very possible WOW moment : Black Panther for Best Picture

Count by Movie….
Roma – 4
Black Panther – 3
Bohemian Rhapsody – 2
Green Book – 2
Vice – 2
Let’s be honest, this is a weird weird year with a relatively weak set on nominees. I could very much be eating my words Sunday Night.

Describe the 2018 Oscars in One Word: “Safe”

Its not a surprise at all to me that this years show was the lowest rated Oscar telecast since the Neilsen Ratings started in 1974. Jimmy Kimmel was at best average last year. The two front running movies did not make $100 million between them. And, like it or not, TV audiences are tiring of being lectured, which seems to be an awards show staple.

This year’s Oscars had lower ratings than the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics. They were trying so hard to play it safe and not offend anyone and it showed in a rather dull telecast.

A few years ago, the Academy added more best pictures to the list of nominees to try and increase audience interest. If you look at the highest rated broadcasts of the last 30 years (1994 Forrest Gump, 1997 Titanic, 2003 Return of the King), they have well liked, financially successful movies at their forefront. This year, you have to go to 14th in the years box office to find a film with any Oscar possibilities (Dunkirk) and 47th for one with a real chance (Shape of Water). There were only about 7 nominations combined from the Top 10 films.

Gal Gadot and Luke Evans both gave performances worthy of Oscar consideration in blockbuster movies.

There was only one shock for me the whole night, that Kobe Bryant won an Oscar to a standing ovation in a MeToo world, which Hollywood wants to drive more than anything. Bryant was charged with rape and the charges dropped when his accuser, a 19 year old that Bryant admitted an extra-marital affair with, refused to testify in court. He later settled out of court in a civil suit. Casey Affleck’s accusations are very similar and was not allowed to even present.

There is an exceptional amount of hypocrisy in Hollywood that is emphasized by Bryant’s Oscar. MeToo voices like Meryl Streep and Oprah, some of the Hollywood’s most influential people, befriended and publicly praised Harvey Weinstein and cuddled up to him along with the Clintons and Obamas. They knew.

Ok, off my soap box.

All 8 major categories went exactly according to predictions. Maybe the only surprise of the night was Coco winning for best original song. (Same song writers that previously won for the ubiquitous ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen).

Their were two highlights for me. First was Roger Deakins. A brilliant, prolific cinematographer with 13 prior nominations, many for Best Pic nominees and a couple of winners, and no wins. Blade Runner 2049 was a superb film and he deserved this.

The second was Frances McDormand. She won her first Oscar in 1996 for Marge Gunderson, the plucky, pregnant policy chief in Fargo whose instincts both as a cop and a wife were uncanny. Also, that character has one of my favourite ever movie lines “I’m not sure I agree 100% with your police work there, Lou”. She created one of the most memorable characters in all of film.

McDormand is akin (in my books) to Daniel Day Lewis. Lately she is picky about her projects, few and far between and when she takes one on, she engulfs it

I loved her speech. When she called on Meryl to stand up knowing that others would follow. And then when she said “Talk to us, we have projects we want financed”. A punch of honesty right between the eyes.

She finished her speech by saying “two words … inclusion rider”.  This is relatively new to Hollywood and is really only at the disposal of A-list stars. Its a rider on their contract that stipulates that 50% of the cast (as far as it can serve the script) and crew must be women and minorities. For a self congratulating industry that seems to still largely be in denial of its problems with abuse, racism and sexism, this may have been the most poignant and effective of any speech given yet.

McDormand used her platform not to lecture and not to give a speech full of empty slogans and platitudes but as a direct call to action for people that wield her level of influence and higher. Bravo.

For the record, I was 7 for 8 on the major categories and 17 for 24 overall. I missed both music categories and Best Picture of all things.

I love the Oscars, always have and always will. There is a growing gap between films that audiences like and those the Academy chose to honour. The more this gap grows the more less relevant that long, languid show will seem. I am not sure how, but it needs to reinvent itself.