Oscar Picks 2017

Just for the hell of it, here are my picks for who/what should win at the Oscars tonight. La La Land leads all nominations with 14. Is it naive of me to hope that Oscars will share the love between a handful of films, as opposed to awarding everything to just one movie? Maybe, but a girl can dream.

BEST PICTURE

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester By the Sea
  • Moonlight

LA LA LAND! I know some people who didn’t like it and thought it was cheesy. That doesn’t change the fact that *I* love it and I love how it makes me feel. It’s the presumed frontrunner and I completely agree. That’s not to say that I didn’t love any of the other films nominated. In fact, I think this is one of the stronger years, with each film making a solid case for itself. [Sidenote: I watched all but one, Hacksaw Ridge, because I really did not care to watch it] I loved Arrival and Moonlight, both of which I saw at TIFF last September, and still stuck with me. Lion, which I didn’t get a chance to see at TIFF, hit me in a way that I totally didn’t expect (in a good way). Hidden Figures was so enjoyable and inspiring. Fences was a great all-around film. Manchester By the Sea was a little slow for me, but I can still see why people liked it because it was a real character study. I’m not normally one for Western-type films, but Hell or High Water surprised me.

BEST ACTRESS

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

I’m still shocked that Amy Adams didn’t get nominated for Arrival. She was spectacular in that movie (not that she isn’t always awesome) and gave such a nuanced performance, I honestly would’ve put her as my pick to win. But since she’s not nominated, naturally my second choice is Emma Stone. Emma brought a lot of facets to her character Mia, and La La Land is really Emma’s movie. I have to be honest though and say that the only other performance I saw was Natalie Portman in Jackie. I thought Natalie did great work as Jackie Kennedy, but something about the movie just didn’t work for me. You know who else I wish got nominated here? Taraji P. Henson for Hidden Figures.

BEST ACTOR

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester By the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

I love me some Ryan Gosling, but surprisingly enough, he’s not my pick to win. For a while, it looked like Casey Affleck was running away with the award, but Denzel is coming in strong and making a play for his third Oscar. I think Denzel is going to eke out the win, but I personally would love to see Viggo Mortensen win. I feel like he doesn’t get as much recognition as he deserves, and his Captain Fantastic character feels so different for him.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester By the Sea

In a case of category fraud that surpasses Alicia Vikander’s own nom and win last year, Viola Davis is somehow nominated as Supporting. Nope, she’s just as much a lead as Denzel in Fences. Granted, both the Actress categories are so stacked, it’s ridiculously awesome and frustrating at the same time. Because if it wasn’t for Viola being nominated here, my pick would most certainly be Naomie Harris. So amazing for what she did in THREE days filming Moonlight.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester By the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Mahershala Ali was my pick to win from the moment I saw Moonlight and I still stand by it. He gave such a subtle but strong performance, and even though he’s only in the first third of the film, he left an impression. Before I even saw Lion, it puzzled me to no end why Dev Patel was being categorized as Supporting, seeing as how ads for the film use his face, but after watching it, I finally got it. I just hope this leads to more opportunities for Dev to really show off his skills as an actor.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By the Sea
  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

I think Chazelle will win, making him the youngest winner in the category. As a fan of Villeneuve, I’d love to see him win. But ultimately, my pick is for Jenkins, who did such incredible work on such an incredible film.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling!,” Trolls
  • “City of Stars,” La La Land
  • “How Far I’ll Go,” Moana
  • “The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story

It almost happened. At the start of the awards season, I thought to myself: “What if all the songs nominated were not only songs I knew, but also loved?” The Critics Choice Awards was my first glimmer of hope, with 5 out of 6 nominees being songs I indeed loved (including one from my preciously overlooked Sing Street), and I dreamed and hoped those five would make it to Oscars. Alas, it didn’t happen, though I’m still left with FOUR songs I love and adore being nominated. So who do I pick to win? Are you kidding me? I CAN’T CHOOSE!! We have songs from La La Land! Lin-Manuel Miranda is nominated!! JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE IS NOMINATED!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!!! Am I, JT superfan, seriously not picking JT to win? But, LA LA LAND!! But, EGOT for Lin-Manuel! COME ON!!!

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Jackie – Mica Levi
  • La La Land – Justin Hurwitz
  • Lion – Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka
  • Moonlight – Nicholas Britell
  • Passengers – Thomas Newman

Despite my love of music, I’m not typically a score person. I know the importance of a great score, but I don’t usually pay attention to it. And honestly, this is the first year since Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ nomination and win for The Social Network score, that I’ve cared. That’s because like the movie it belongs to, I fell in love with Justin Hurwitz’s score for La La Land. I have to say though that I’m surprised Pharrell didn’t get nominated for the Hidden Figures score because I think he did a great job overall with all the music in that film as well.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Arrival – Eric Heisserer
  • Fences – August Wilson
  • Hidden Figures – Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi
  • Lion – Luke Davies
  • Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney

In an attempt to share the love, my ideal choice to win is Eric Heisserer’s screenplay for Arrival, though I think Barry Jenkins will win, and that’s not a bad thing at all! Actually, any of the nominees here could win and it would be okay.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan
  • La La Land – Damien Chazelle
  • The Lobster – Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou
  • Manchester By the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan
  • 20th Century Women – Mike Mills

For all the La La Land love, I’m not sure I’d want it to win here. Not to say it’s not deserving because Chazelle did such a spectacular job creating a new and original musical, which is such a hard sell these days. My pick to win is Kenneth Lonergan’s screenplay for Manchester By the Sea, and I have a feeling voters may go this route as well.

BEST ANIMATED MOVIE

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

Keeping in mind that it’s not all about mainstream hits here, I never heard of My Life as a Zucchini. I’m surprised Finding Dory didn’t get nominated. A little less surprised that Trolls wasn’t nominated, even though I love that movie and am clearly biased about it. Want me to pick between my two other Disney favourites, Moana or Zootopia? It’s difficult, but I think I may have to pick Zootopia.

I’m not great with some of these technical categories, but I’m going to give it a shot anyways (picks in BOLD).

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Arrival
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Silence

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land

BEST FILM EDITING

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Moonlight

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • La La Land
  • Passengers

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Sully

BEST SOUND MIXING

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Doctor Strange
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

As for the Documentary (Feature and Short), Foreign Language, and Short Film (Animated and Live Action) nominees – unfortunately, I haven’t watched any of them, so I can’t really comment.

 

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2016 Oscars Nominations and Predictions

The long movie awards season is finally coming to an end with the Oscars tonight. It’s been an interesting awards season to say the least. Usually by now, after all the critics and guild awards, you pretty much know who’s going to win at the Oscars. But this year, there’s a lot that is up in the air (except for two, that are 95% sure things) and that’s pretty exciting…or as exciting as an Oscar show can be.

BEST PICTURE

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

Before the nominations were announced, I had already seen 6 of the 8 films nominated, so I was so happy to be ahead of the game this year. It’s been a really strong year for movies, but I can’t even begin to express how disappointed I am that even with the possibility of 10 nominated films, there were a number of REALLY GREAT movies (and actors) that got snubbed. The #OscarsSoWhite controversy is so disheartening and really deserves its own post, so I’m not going to dwell on it here.

Focusing on the nominees at hand, it really is the most exciting Best Picture race in years. We’ve had years where one movie leads the pack throughout the entire awards season making things rather anti-climactic come Oscar night. Most years we have two movies (maayyybe three) that go back and forth in the standings. This year, we’ve got four solid front-runners, with a couple underdogs. My personal pick to win is Spotlight and its got a SAG Award win for Best Ensemble behind it, among other accolades. Like the journalists at the center of the story, Spotlight was about the facts, it was to the point, no frills, effective and emotional. I had an innate feeling that this movie was going to be special before I saw it; I only wish I had gotten to see it sooner when it premiered at TIFF. Now I understand the appeal of the three other front-runners with big guild and critics wins. The Big Short, which won the Producers’ Guild, is without a doubt a really good movie, that makes a boring topic entertaining. The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road, even with all their technical accomplishments, are just movies I can’t get behind and they just weren’t movies I was into. On the other hand, Brooklyn, The Martian and Room were all movies I loved, all for different reasons; but of those three, I believe Room has the better chance of rising beyond its underdog status in the category. Bridge of Spies, though a very solid movie in the very classic sense, may be a little too old school in its way to make much impact.

BEST ACTOR

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

One of the surest bets of this awards season is that Leonardo DiCaprio will undoubtedly win his first Oscar. Though I admire his performance in the movie, I don’t think it’s anywhere close to being his best, but he’s overdue for a win, so all the signs lead to Leo. I unfortunately haven’t seen Trumbo, so I can’t comment on Bryan Cranston’s performance. Matt Damon and Michael Fassbender were really wonderful in their films. Eddie Redmayne, once again got a transformative role, that is pure Oscar-bait, but back-to-back wins seems unlikely (even though there is precedent, but come on…)

BEST ACTRESS

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

For a while, the race seemed to be between Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan, and in my mind, it still is, namely because I can’t decide who I want to see win. Both actresses gave incredible performances that made me cry, and I’m not usually one who cries watching movies and shows. But as the season went on, it’s looking more and more like this is Larson’s to lose. That’s not to say Cate Blanchett wasn’t fabulous as usual in Carol. Same goes with Jennifer Lawrence in Joy, even though it really bothered me that she was supposed to be playing someone way older than she actually is (though that’s more of a movie issue than a J.Law issue). And then there’s Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years, which I didn’t see.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed

A case can be made for any of the actors nominated here, though in such a competitive category, there could’ve been an entirely different list of nominees and it still would’ve been amazing. Early on in the season, Mark Rylance was looking like the frontrunner, but that was before Creed came into play and Sylvester Stallone is now looking like the sentimental favourite. I would love to see Mark Ruffalo win, not just because of my love for Spotlight, but because I think Ruffalo doesn’t get enough recognition for all his work and he really deserves it here.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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

“Category fraud” aside, I want Alicia Vikander to win. She was just incredibly fantastic in The Danish Girl (not to mention Ex Machina) and she’s just going to be such a huge star going forward. Jennifer Jason Leigh is surprisingly a first-time Oscar nominee, but again, I haven’t watched Hateful Eight so I can’t comment. Kate Winslet is great as usual in Steve Jobs, but she’s already a winner. I hate to count out my Canadian girl Rachel McAdams, whom I love in just about every movie she’s done, but I think she’ll win only if there’s an overwhelming love for Spotlight; her day will come eventually. Rooney Mara did some incredible work herself in Carol, working alongside Cate Blanchett, and she’s the one that’ll give Vikander a run for the Oscar win.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Lenny Abrahamson, Room
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • Adam McKay, The Big Short
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

I think one of the most surprising things about this list of nominees is that Ridley Scott was left off of it, for his great work on The Martian. I was among the many who thought he was a lock for a nomination and even possibly a win. With the omission of Scott, the odds on favourite to win is George Miller, which would be a well-deserved win for the Hollywood vet but first-time nominee. Like I said before, I wasn’t really into Mad Max, but you can’t argue with the creativity involved in creating that universe on screen. If Miller doesn’t win, some are saying that overwhelming support for The Revenant could get Inarritu a back-to-back win in the category.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Bridge of Spies – Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Ex Machina – Alex Garland
  • Inside Out – Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Ronnie del Carmen
  • Spotlight – Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer
  • Straight Outta Compton – Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus

Well, two of these five screenplays are nominated for the big prize, so odds are it’s going to come down to Spotlight or Bridge of Spies, with Spotlight ultimately taking it. It should be noted however, that the three other screenplays in contention should also have been nominated for Best Picture because they were all amazing and inventive in their own ways. Ex Machina is such a simple thriller in concept, but a whole new take on the genre in execution. Pixar continues with its tradition of making grown adults cry with Inside Out, and honestly how can you fault them for that? Then there’s Straight Outta Compton, a biopic done right that shines a light on one of the defining rap groups of all-time.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • The Big Short – Adam McKay, Charles Randolph
  • Brooklyn – Nick Hornby
  • Carol – Phyllis Nagy
  • The Martian – Drew Goddard
  • Room – Emma Donoghue

I used to make an effort to read the books that a lot of movies are based on, but in recent years, I just haven’t had the time. Because of its seeming front-runner status, The Big Short is the favourite to win here, for turning a dull (but relevant) topic such as the financial crisis, and making an entertaining film. I do think there’s something to be said about an author adapting her own novel into a movie screenplay and succeeding, as Emma Donoghue has done with Room.

Oscars 2015 – Recap + Thoughts

Last night, movie awards season came to an end with the 87th annual Academy Awards. It was a really interesting year for film, with a lot of REALLY GOOD movies, but none that really stood out and took hold of frontrunner status. Still a good year, nonetheless.

BEST PICTURE

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman – WINNER
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

Before the show itself, there were a lot of people saying that any one of these movies could win. That being said though, Birdman and Boyhood were believed to be the frontrunners, with American Sniper right behind them. Personally, Whiplash was my favourite, but my favourite movie never wins (hello, The Social Network!). I was actually quite proud of myself for actually being able to watch all of this year’s nominees, though they all truly interested me. Well, exception being The Grand Budapest Hotel – I wanted to watch to see what all the fuss was about, but I’ve never been a fan of Wes Anderson’s work. This is what my rankings would’ve looked like: Whiplash, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, American Sniper, The Grand Budapest Hotel. In the end, Birdman came out victorious, which isn’t all that surprising. Hollywood likes a good movie about itself (makes the entire award just seem kind of on the selfish side, huh?)

BEST ACTOR

  • Steve Carrell, Foxcatcher
  • Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
  • Michael Keaton, Birdman
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of EverythingWINNER

Much had been said about the Best Actor race, in what was a very competitive year. When the actors who didn’t make the cut could add up to another ballot in and of itself (like Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler, David Oyelowo for Selma), you know it was a hard year. In the end, most bets were placed between Keaton and Redmayne. I think the favourite going in was Keaton, because of his long career, this being his first nomination, and the idea that he probably won’t get another role like this. But Redmayne was absolutely incredible in his portrayal of Stephen Hawking, that when it came down to it, you had to reward his performance.

BEST ACTRESS

  • Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
  • Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
  • Julianne Moore, Still Alice – WINNER
  • Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
  • Reese Witherspoon, Wild

While the Actor race was a tough race to call from top to bottom, the Actress race was pretty much done. As far as the nominations went, the only “surprise” was Cotillard’s inclusion, as some had pegged Jennifer Aniston for her role in Cake to take the fifth slot. But the overall predictability of the nominations highlighted the fact that there really aren’t a lot of GOOD roles for women right now in the industry. The real meaty roles seem to fall on these wonderfully talented women’s male counterparts. That being said, it was without a doubt Julianne Moore’s year to win, after four previous nominations. I was so bummed I didn’t get to see Still Alice premiere at TIFF (scheduling issue, so friends got the tickets), but thankfully managed to squeeze in a screening of it right before the Awards. Moore was incredible, portraying a character diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s, and brought out a scary truth about the disease and how it affects the person and everyone around them.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Robert Duvall, The Judge
  • Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  • Edward Norton, Birdman
  • Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
  • J.K. Simmons, Whiplash – WINNER

The hype surrounding Simmons and Whiplash was definitely warranted; he was terrifyingly good. I’ve got nothing else.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Patricia Arquette, Boyhood – WINNER
  • Laura Dern, Wild
  • Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
  • Emma Stone, Birdman
  • Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

To me, it seemed like this category could’ve been filled in many different ways, which is a good and bad thing. The good is that there are roles for women in Hollywood, but on the flip side, most of the time it is in Supporting a male lead. An argument could have been made to put Arquette in Best Actress, but then she wouldn’t have been guaranteed the win. Meryl Streep, as much as a legend that she is, is getting nominated simply for being Meryl Streep. Because if you look at it, we could’ve had Jessica Chastain in the mix for A Most Violent Year, Carmen Ejogo for Selma or longshots like Rene Russo for Nightcrawler and Tilda Swinton for Snowpiercer. Back to Arquette though, I really do think she should’ve been put in lead actress because Boyhood was just as much about her character as a single mom, trying to do right by her kids, as it was about the title boy. Arquette really gave a layered performance that was bolstered by the fact that we get to see her age naturally.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Alexandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman–WINNER
  • Richard Linklater, Boyhood
  • Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
  • Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

At the beginning of Awards season, there was the possibility of two female directors being nominated: Angelina Jolie for Unbroken and Ava DuVernay for Selma. Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out. When looking at the nominees, it was clear that it was going to come down the same way as Best Picture – Birdman or Boyhood. Many, including myself, thought we were once again going to see Director and Picture go to different films (How I wish that happened in 2011. Fincher was robbed that year! I digress). Iñárritu gave the movie a very distinct look, with its seamless transitions that made it seem as though it was one take. But Linklater had such a creative mind to do this film that took 12 years to make, and not just a movie taking place in a 12 year time span. I thought for sure Linklater was going to take it here, with Birdman winning (as it did) Best Picture. I was wrong.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo – WINNER
  • Boyhood, Richard Linklater
  • Foxcatcher, E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
  • Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy

It’s Original Screenplay, anything could’ve happened. Birdman vs. Boyhood. The Grand Budapest Hotel with Anderson’s off-beat vision. I was hoping for Nightcrawler, but alas, Birdman won.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • American Sniper, Jason Hall
  • The Imitation Game, Graham Moore – WINNER
  • Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson
  • The Theory of Everything, Anthony McCarten
  • Whiplash, Damien Chazelle

First of all, Whiplash really should’ve been in Original, instead of here, but the Academy has such weird rules. In this case, they made the claim that Chazelle adapted it from his short film, when in fact the short film (essentially a scene from the original screenplay) was made simply as a tool to get the film made. Weird, I tell ya. Anyways, I also can’t believe Gillian Flynn did not get nominated for adapting Gone Girl, her own novel! There were so many ways in which the movie couldn’t have worked, because of how the book was set-up, but Flynn managed to do it brilliantly. As for Moore, who won for The Imitation Game, I certainly feel like he did a great job in bringing the story to life. Because honestly, if you just look at the basic story, the movie could’ve ended up being really boring and pretentious. The outcome was far more thrilling and obviously a little bit Hollywood-ized to get there, but enthralling and intriguing nonetheless. In a lesser year, it probably could’ve made a proper claim for Best Picture.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

  • Big Hero 6 – WINNER
  • The Boxtrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Tale of Princess Kayuga

The Lego Movie was robbed! Everyone knows that (except the Academy, apparently). I’ll admit though, I hadn’t seen any of the actual nominated movies, soooo I can’t really say much about it.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
  • “Glory” from Selma – WINNER
  • “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
  • “Lost Stars” from Begin Again

I’ve made my love for Begin Again and “Lost Stars” known over the past year, so of course I was over the moon that it got nominated here! But as much as I love it, there was no way it was winning, since it was up against the emotional powerhouse song that is “Glory.” Plus, considering “Glory” was the last song performed before the award was handed out, and the reaction it received after the performance, it was a done deal.

Ending Thoughts:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I feel like there’s no winning with the telecast itself. No matter how hard they try, something always seem off. This year’s show was no exception. We’ve seen Neil Patrick Harris host a multitude of other award shows, so we figured he’d be dependable, but some of the bits fell a little flat.

I love me some musical numbers to liven up the show a little, but I say just stick to the Best Original Song nominees. I mean, I only got 2 minutes of “Lost Stars” (which should’ve included a bit of Keira Knightley singing) and Adam was kinda not on his game, though still nice to see the rest of Maroon 5! And I think everyone could’ve used a little bit more “Everything Is Awesome” (Love the Lego Oscars!) But, as has been the case in recent years, extra time has been allotted to a musical performance that adds nothing to the show. The purpose of watching these award shows is to celebrate the past year in film, not honour classic films of years/decades past. So despite Lady Gaga sounding perfectly good singing The Sound of Music, it was a completely unnecessary time filler.

This year’s telecast featured a lot of statements being made within the acceptance speeches, acknowledging that the world we live in is nowhere near perfect. Some people had issue with these “political statements” being made at an award show, but I was happy to hear it. It’s inherent that actors would thank their families and team of people, but to use the opportunity of being up on that stage as a platform for awareness is a really good thing for them to do.

“Comic book movies” are rarely ever recognized at these award shows, but watching the telecast you (meaning me) had to wonder: what’s the ratio of actors who are/have been/will be in comic book movies vs. those who aren’t? Because we had (nominees and presenters): Keaton & Affleck (Batman); Ruffalo & Norton (Hulk); Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson); Cooper (Rocket Raccoon); Stone (Gwen Stacy); Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange); Cotillard (Talia al Ghul); Jones (Felicia in Amazing Spider-Man 2); Chris Evans (Captain America/Human Torch); Scarlett Johannson (Black Widow); Chris Pratt (Star Lord); Zoe Saldana (Gamora); Paltrow (Pepper Potts); Miles Teller (new Mr. Fantastic); Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn in BvS); Jared Leto (Joker in BvS); Kerry Washington (Alicia Masters in Fantastic 4); Idris Elba (Heimdall in Thor); Nicole Kidman (Dr. Meridian in Batman Forever). Phew!

So another Oscars on the books! Any surprises? Still reeling from any snubs? Favourite part of the telecast? Sound off!

Oscars 2013 Winners

Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Christoph Waltz

It was an exciting year for movies, which made for an equally exciting awards season that came to an end with Sunday’s Academy Awards. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane hosted the show with great laughs and amazing self-awareness, giving the show a new and fresh feeling that was much-needed by the producers of the show.

A run-down of the night’s winners…

BEST PICTURE: Argo 

With the movie picking up pretty much all the precursors leading up to the Oscars, it was nearly a sure thing that it would win the big prize. That, however, didn’t make it any less exciting to see it actually win and getting to hear producer/director/actor Ben Affleck’s incredibly touching speech. And can you believe that it’s been nearly 15 years since Affleck and Matt Damon won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting? He has come such a long way.

ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln 

One of the few locks to win, Daniel Day-Lewis became the first actor to win 3 Oscars in the category. Though I myself could not watch Lincoln in its entirety (I’m just not the right demographic for it), I have to admit that he put in an incredible performance. I suppose there’s something to be said about being really careful in choosing the right roles in the right films.

ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

When I had made my initial comments upon hearing the nominees, I had thought the race would come down to Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts. Of course at the time, I had yet to see Silver Linings. Leading right up to the show, I still believed that it was a really tight race, but I was really happy about Lawrence’s win. For 22, Lawrence really continues to impress us all with just how real she seems and she handled herself wonderfully after her fall up the stairs to collect her award.

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

It was anybody’s guess who would win the award, amongst a group of former winners. In the end, Waltz came out on top for yet another Tarentino role that seemed made for him.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

There was no doubt that Hathaway wasn’t going to win. There’s really nothing else to say about it.

DIRECTOR: Ang Lee, Life of Pi

With Ben Affleck absolutely snubbed in the category, the race ultimately came down to Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg, both great directors. While some believed that Spielberg would add a 3rd Oscar to his collection, I had the sense that Lee would win in the end. Everyone kept on talking about how Lee was able to make a movie based on a book that was deemed unfilmable. If filming the impossible doesn’t get you a win, I don’t what would.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Quentin Tarentino, Django Unchained

For some time, it seemed that Mark Boal’s script for Zero Dark Thirty would win, but having won the award for his The Hurt Locker script just three years ago (against Tarentino’s script for Inglourious Basterds, no less) and continued controversy over the story and the facts, Boal’s chances of winning were diminishing. Tarentino’s penchant for original stories ultimately gave him a win – his first since winning for Pulp Fiction.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Chris Terrio, Argo

With the swell of support for Argo, Terrio’s script based on a Wired magazine article and Tony Mendez’s book “The Master of Disguise” was clearly the favourite to win against David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook script and Tony Kushner’s script for Lincoln.

ORIGINAL SONG: “Skyfall” by Adele and Paul Epworth, Skyfall

It’s Adele. Was there really any doubt that she wouldn’t win?

ORIGINAL SCORE: Mychael Danna, Life of Pi

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Amour

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Brave

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Rick Carter and Jim Erickson, Lincoln

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi

COSTUME DESIGN: Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina

FILM EDITING: William Goldberg, Argo

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Searching for Sugar Man

DOCUMENTARY SHORT: Inocente

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell, Les Miserables

SOUND MIXING: Andy Nelson, Mark Patterson, and Simon Hayes, Les Miserables

SOUND EDITING: (TIE) Per Hallberg & Karen Baker Landers, Skyfall; Paul N.J. Ottosson, Zero Dark Thirty

VISUAL EFFECTS: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott, Life of Pi

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: Paperman

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: Curfew

Once again, with the great amount of movies in 2012, it was nice to see that wealth was spread, and not just one movie swept. Despite the expected long running time, the overall show was well-produced and provided some great moments. Here’s to hoping that 2013 will provide another great pool of movies by which audiences and critics alike will enjoy.

In the meantime, what were your thoughts on the show? Happy with the winners? How did Seth MacFarlane do as host? Since MacFarlane has already stated that his hosting gig was a one-time thing, who should helm the show next year?

2013 Oscar Nominations

Nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were announced this morning by host Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone. As always, the announcement came with some surprises and shocking snubs. So without further ado, the nominees, plus some thoughts

BEST PICTURE

  • Amour
  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

With the new Academy rules in effect, anywhere between 5-10 movies could have been nominated; this year was a strong showing with 9. To me, I think 6 of the movies were a given, considering all the buzz and accolades they had gotten. Amour is a lesser known movie, albeit having gotten rave reviews, so wasn’t sure of its chances. Beasts of the Southern Wild is the little movie that keeps picking up steam, as more people discover and fall in love with it. I know I shouldn’t be so surprised by the inclusion of Django Unchained, but I am. Coming off of Inglourious Basterds, which was fantastic, Tarantino’s latest just fell a little short for me. Most years, there’s usually a frontrunner that you can tell. If we go by pure numbers in nominations for the awards show, Lincoln (with 12 total nominations) would be it. But for the first time in years, anybody could win this. Granted, as we get closer to the ceremony and other awards get handed out, we might be able to get a sense at who’s got the best chance at winning Oscar gold. For now, it’s refreshing to see that there’s not one or two movies that is taking all the spotlight.

BEST ACTOR

  • Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
  • Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
  • Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
  • Denzel Washington, Flight

I think the biggest, yet only slightly shocking surprise here is that Joaquin Phoenix got nominated. I haven’t seen The Master myself, but after the movie played at TIFF, a lot of people were saying that the performances by all the actors in the film were incredible. However, Phoenix then made a statement that he thought campaigning for awards was stupid, leading many to believe that he just hurt his chances Oscar chances – clearly, not the case. As it stands, it seems that Daniel Day-Lewis is the frontrunner to win again, but as it the case for Best Picture, I think any one of these fine actors could win it.

BEST ACTRESS

  • Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
  • Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Naomi Watts, The Impossible

The biggest news to come out of the announcement is that we have both the oldest (Riva) and the youngest (Wallis) nominees ever in the category. At 22, Jennifer Lawrence is already better than all of us, scoring her second Oscar nod. Naomi Watts also earns her second nomination, while Jessica Chastain moves up from her Best Supporting nod last year. The only surprise in this category was that Marion Cotillard didn’t get nominated for her incredible performance in Rust and Bone, but besides that, it was a strong year for nominees. I think it’s going to be between Chastain and Watts for the win.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Alan Arkin, Argo
  • Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

As Emma Stone so dryly noted when announcing the nominees, we’ve got a category full of past Oscar winners. All of these actors were expected to be nominated, though I thought Leonardo DiCaprio would’ve been the pick over Christoph Waltz for Django.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams, The Master
  • Sally Field, Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
  • Helen Hunt, The Sessions
  • Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

My take on awards season is that the closest thing to a frontrunner we have this year is Anne Hathaway, for her performance in Les Miserables – everyone keeps talking about it. At this point, the only other person who could possibly beat Hathaway is Sally Field.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Michael Haneke, Amour
  • Ang Lee, Life of Pi
  • David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
  • Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Who would’ve thought the biggest shockers would come out of the Best Director category? Zeitlin was definitely the biggest surprise nomination here. With such a strong year for movies, it was shocking to not see Kathryn Bigelow (for Zero Dark Thirty), Tom Hooper (for Les Miserables), and most of all, Ben Affleck (for Argo) not being nominated. I thought Affleck was a lock for a nomination, thereby truly solidifying his role as a Hollywood power player.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Amour, Michael Hanake
  • Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
  • Flight, John Gatins
  • Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
  • Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal

Clearly showing signs of sci-fi bias, Rian Johnson’s script for Looper was robbed of a nomination. Looper was one of the most original stories to come out of Hollywood in recent years, totally up there with Inception in terms of originality.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Argo, Chris Terrio
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
  • Life of Pi, David Magee
  • Lincoln, Tony Kushner
  • Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell

The biggest snub here was Stephen Chbosky for adapting his novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. That was a wonderful movie and deserved to get some recognition.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

  • Brave
  • Frankenweenie
  • ParaNorman
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits
  • Wreck-It Ralph

Hollywood churned out some great animated features this past year, as not one of the nominees was a small/foreign animated film. I’m certainly a little surprised that Pirates! got nominated, as I didn’t think much of it, but I suppose the Academy likes themselves some stop-motion animation.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice, music and lyric by J. Ralph
  • “Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted, music by Walter Murphy; lyric by Seth MacFarlane
  • “Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi, music by Mychael Danna; lyric by Bombay Jayashri
  • “Skyfall” from Skyfall, music and lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
  • “Suddenly” from Les Misérables, music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

There were doubts as to whether the theme song from Skyfall would be eligible, as the beginning of the song sounds eerily similar to an old school Bond song. Regardless, Adele received a nomination for the song, and how nice is it to see more than two nominees in the category?

There you have it folks, a quick look at this year’s Oscar nominations. What were some of the surprises and snubs for the nominations? Who do you think are the frontrunners? Sound off below! For a complete list of all the nominees, visit Oscar.com.