Great Advice From The Master

 

I like how practical he is about how it should always start from writing screenplays as making a film costs a lot of money and it is hard to get funding. Write, write and write, coerce yourself to complete them irregardless of the endings and read as vastly as possible (both current novels and the classics), and gain as much life experience as possible because you can’t create anything from an empty vessel.

“The most essential and necessary thing, is the forebearance to face the dull task of writing one word at a time”

Akira Kurosawa

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50 Films To Watch Before 2016 Ends

Finally mustered the willpower and courage to write here again. There is one film and a couple of drama series that I am dying to write about and analyse but am afraid that I am unable to find the right words to convey my thoughts properly. So I will start of with these 50 films (Before 2016) that I wish to watch before this year ends to start getting the juice running. Got inspired by  BBC’s Poll of 21st Century’s 100 Greatest Films and  Frank Ocean’s 100 Favourite Films in his “Boys Don’t Cry” popup magazine.

 

  1. The Portrait Of A Lady (1996) – Jane Campion
  2. Frances Ha (2013) – Noah Baumbach
  3. My Own Private Idaho (1991) – Gus Van Sant
  4. Mulholland Drive (2001) – David Lynch
  5. Manhattan (1979) – Woody Allen
  6. Hannah And Her Sisters (1986) – Woody Allen
  7. Ran (1985) – Akira Kurosawa 
  8. Happy Together (1997) – Wong Kar Wai
  9. Tokyo Story (1953) – Ozu Yasujirô
  10. Orlando (1992) – Sally Porter
  11. Blue Velvet (1986) – David Lynch
  12. Rashomon (1950) – Akira Kurosawa
  13. Wild Strawberries (1957) – Ingmar Bergman
  14. A Brighter Summer Day (1991) – Edward Yang
  15. An Angel At My Table (1990) – Jane Campion
  16. The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) – Victor Erice
  17. City Lights (1931) – Charlie Chaplin
  18. A Passage To India (1984) – David Lean
  19. Barbarella (1968) – Roger Vadim
  20. The Red Shoes (1948) – Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
  21. Gohatto (1999) – Nagisa Oshima
  22. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977) – Steven Spielberg
  23. Wild At Heart (1991) – David Lynch
  24. White Material (2009)- Claire Denis
  25. Magnolia (1999) – Paul Thomas Anderson
  26. Blood Simple (1984) – Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
  27. Everlasting Moments (2008) – Jan Troell
  28. Country (1984) – Richard Pearce
  29. Frances (1982) – Graeme Clifford
  30. Millennium Actress (2001) – Satoshi Kon
  31. Night And Fog In Japan (1960) – Nagisa Oshima
  32. Clouds Of Sils Maria (2014) – Olivier Assayas
  33. Opening Night (1977) – John Cassavetes
  34. A Woman Under The Influence – John Cassavetes
  35. The Crying Game (1992) – Neil Jordan
  36. The Big Chill (1983) – Lawrence Kasdan
  37. A City Of Sadness (1989) – Hou Hsiao-Hsien
  38. The Verdict (1982) – Sidney Lumet
  39. Coming Home (1978) – Hal Ashby
  40. Breathless (1960) – Jean-Luc Godard
  41. Double Indemnity (1944) – Billy Wilder
  42. Barry Lyndon (1975) – Stanley Kubrick
  43. All That Heaven Allows (1955) – Douglas Sirk
  44. Persona (1966) – Ingmar Bergman
  45. Requiem For A Dream (2000) – Darren Aronofsky
  46. The Hustler (1961) – Robert Rossen
  47. Marie Antoinette (2006) – Sofia Coppola
  48. Tampopo (1985) – Juzo Itami
  49. Far From Heaven (2002) – Todd Haynes
  50. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) – Arthur Penn

 

 

 

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Oscar 2016 Predictions and Personal Wishes

Have not been writing reviews lately because of 2 reasons:

A) Work

B) My lack of cinematic fluency which makes it really hard for me to write cohesively, and I feel I need time to go read up more about the technical aspects of film.

But I hope to resume the writing ASAP 🙂

Meanwhile its the Oscars today. Here’s my predictions and what I am truly rooting for:

Best Visual Effects – Will Win (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Rooting For (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Best Film Editing – Will Win (Mad Max: Fury Road), Rooting For (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Best Costume Design – Will Win (Mad Max: Fury Road),  Rooting For (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Will Win (Mad Max: Fury Road/The Revenant), Rooting For (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Best Cinematography – Will Win (The Revenant Ugh!), Rooting For (Sicario !!!)

Best Production Design – Will Win (Mad Max: Fury Road), Rooting For (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Best Sound Mixing – Will Win (The Revenant), Rooting For (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Best Sound Editing – Will Win (Mad Max: Fury Road), Rooting For (Sicario)

Best Original Score – Will Win (The Hateful Eight), Rooting For (Carol)

Best Original Song – Will Win (Till It Happens To You), Rooting For (Don’t care much for this year’s nominees, but am okay with any of them winning except for that lame Sam Smith song)

Best Live Action Short Film – Will Win (Day One), Rooting For (-)

Best Animated Short Film – Will Win (World of Tomorrow), Rooting For (World of Tomorrow)

Best Documentary Short – Will Win (A Girl In the River: The Price of Forgiveness), Rooting For (A Girl In the River: The Price of Forgiveness)

Best Documentary Feature – Will Win (Amy), Rooting For (The Look of Silence)

Best Animated Feature – Will Win (Inside Out), Rooting For (Inside Out)

Best Foreign Language Film – Will Win (Son of Saul), Rooting For (-)

Best Original Screenplay – Will Win (Spotlight), Rooting For (Spotlight)

Best Adapted Screenplay – Will Win (The Big Short), Rooting For (Carol)

Best Supporting Actor – Will Win (Sylvester Stallone), Rooting For (-)

Best Supporting Actress – Will Win (Kate Winslet), Rooting For (Yes yes yes she’s in the wrong category but Rooney Mara gosh!)

Best Actor – Will Win (Leonardo DiCaprio), Rooting For (Michael Fassbender!!!)

Best Actress – Will Win (Brie Larson), Rooting For (Charlotte Rampling)

Best Director – Will Win (George Miller), Rooting For (George Miller)

Best Picture – Will Win (The Revenant/Spotlight), Rooting For (Mad Max: Fury Road)

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Oscars 2016: Supporting Roles

Kevin B. Lee’s video essays on the Supporting contenders for this year’s Oscars. Worth a view, or many views!

 

 

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Joy (2015) – When Dreams…Get Really Hard

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Of all the films that I have watched during this Oscar season, Joy is probably the most personal and imperfect one.  It’s uneven at places and yet the one that strikes at the heart most. Maybe because I could relate to the flashback of her idealistic childhood dreams of inventing things being distilled to a dreary, hectic and mundane triviality, that becomes all too painful and poignant. Surrounded by troublesome, ill-disposed family members (with the exception of Diane Ladd’s Mimi, Joy’s grandmother) and burdened with the task of supporting her family, her young ambitions were deemed forgotten until a dream catapults back her to what she has buried 17 years ago. (Something I strongly relate to.) It all encapsulates so perfectly when Joy desperately utters to her friend Jackie (Dascha Polanco, best known from Orange Is The New Black), “What happened to us Jackie, all the things we used to dream about, feel like they just keep getting further and further away…”

An accident led her to conceive the idea for the Miracle Mop, and it becomes a classic story of overcoming obstacles through sheer grit and acute intelligence, even if they involve her family members. Perhaps the best representation of them is seen in the surreal sequence of her first dream. Somehow I feel the tone is uneven; some parts are mildly zany and yet lethargic (the introduction to her family members), some are just flat (I didn’t take to the soap opera sequences even though they are suppose to be a plot motif) and some are utterly compelling (the outdoor wintry funeral). I wish the film had place more emphasis on Joy’s work life balanced with the ongoings at home, but all we got is a dissatisfied customer throwing papers on her face at the airline counter. Maybe it got cut drastically in the editing room; apparently four editors have gone through this film before final cut. Some characters are inconsistent, my main gripe being Trudy’s (Isabella Rossellini) seemingly shrewd businesswoman cautiously believing in Joy’s venture turning out to be a narrow-minded and inconsequential Negative Nancy.

Jennifer Lawrence is yet again playing a woman that is nearly a decade older than her actual age, a running quirk in her movies with David O’Russell. And she happens to be the most sane and grounded one in the film surprisingly. Her best parts are the close-ups on her face, her eyes deep and compelling, half-whispering, half speaking intently to her off-screen partner. Look out for her David O’Selznick and Jennifer Jones speech. I might not exactly buy her as a 30-something frazzled single mother turn shopping network entrepreneur (it is a semi- biopic by the way, Joy Mangano does exist though many liberties have been taken with the screenplay), but I am extremely drawn to her journey and her indomitable spirit in the face of setbacks. This is in large part due to Lawrence’s charisma and emotional acuity. The editing is quirky and sometimes patchy; you have shot/reverse shots to sudden tracking closeups in the same scene. And probably a established trademark in David O’ Russell films, we see long, Steadicam shots being used as an introduction for Joy’s family at the beginning of the film. It works at times with bursts of energy, and sometimes it just becomes distracting.

Most of the other characters are cardboard figures, with only Virginia Madsen’s Terri bearing a slight three-dimensionality. She is probably the only one other than Joy with a semblance of a character arc. The main focus after all, is Joy a.k.a Jennifer Lawrence. The last third of the film plays like a Grimm’s fairy tale, with Joy conquering immense adversities and having a happy ending in the end coupled with snow falling gloriously on our triumphant heroine. But it is tinged with inexplicable sadness. For all one knows, I wonder, that despite having one’s dreams achieved in the end, does the exhilaration and buoyancy from childhood dreams still stay on?

3.5/5 (If I’m feeling emotional), 3/5 (If I’m not)

88th Academy Award Nominations:

Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence)

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2016 Oscars: Leading Roles

Chanced upon this series of video essays in Fandor Keyframe two years ago where Kevin B Lee analyses each of the main categories for each year’s Oscars. I have been hooked ever since.

A filmmaker and critic who has done numerous video essays on cinema (check out Fandor Keyframe, a heaven for cinephiles), Kevin B. Lee has a strong and original perspective on each of the nominees that always makes me rethink the performances (acting categories) and technical merits even if I do not always agree with them. For example, he uses framing shots as a way to dissect this year’s Best Actress category.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Spotlight (2015) – Abscess Behind The Clergy

Investigative Journalism, seems to have this all-absorbing quality that sweeps one off into a tornado and never stops until you move on to the next topic of interest. The surge of wanting to right injustices and expose big corporations makes the monotonous paperwork and copious amount of research worthwhile.However Spotlight doesn’t focus on a particular group of galvanizing journalists in search to gain glory and Pulitzer Prizes (which this group did in 2003) for their work, but instead on the detailedness and unadorned nature of their process in uncovering the startling amount of Catholic priests sexually abusing children in Boston. That is not even the biggest shocker they uncover.

With a well-mapped and nuanced screenplay by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, we get to see a film depicting the 2001-2002 Boston Globe coverage of the hidden clergy sexual abuse. Its best moments are its most humane, coming from interviews between the journalists and victims. Cue to Sacha Pfeiffer, the reporter, (Rachel McAdams) meeting for the first time with one of the victims in the cafe; the latter fumbles and tries to downplay his jitters, “I have a muffin when I’m nervous”, pointing to a pile of cupcake wrappers on his plate. Touches of humour gently melding into the heavy subject matter speaks of the brilliance in their writing. The importance of specificity is crucially highlighted as Sacha presses him for details in regards to his claims of molestation, “I think that the language is going to be so important here. We can’t sanitise this, just saying molest isn’t enough”. It is one of the recurring themes in this film.

The tedious amount of paperwork and grinding research these Spotlight journalists do in the movie is surprisingly engaging to watch. Tom McCarthy, the director, has expertly weaved this into a rich tapestry of cinematic fact-finding that gradually completes the picture of what the clergy in Boston (known as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston) has been up to.

Situated at the basement is where the Spotlight team resides. Their office is plainly furnished, filled with files and papers stacked on tables and corners that adumbrates the network of intimacy between the co-workers. Much like Tom McCarthy’s direction. Spotlight is practically the antithesis of Birdman (long tracking shots and obstrusive close-ups) in terms of stylistics; the camerawork is unfussy and framed not too tight, giving enough space for the actors to do the investigative work in their environment. Howard Shore’s score brings forth to mind the opening/closing themes in procedural law and hospital dramas on television, but perhaps it fits the overall subject matter of the film. It is unobtrusive, subtle but tinged with a sense of urgency that builds throughout.

 

Spotlight

The ensemble is strong and varied, the standout being Michael Keaton as Walter “Robby” Robinson who should have been nominated instead of Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo relies mainly on physical tics and is somewhat off-putting in his portrayal of the real life Michael Rezendes; is he trying to do an impersonation?  On the other end, Keaton gives a complete turnaround from the high-strung and neurotic actor in Birdman, his Robby is the centre of calm in the storm leading the Spotlight team. Yet he is the one with the biggest arc throughout the inquest and they are all masterfully conveyed through the subtle shifts in his vocalisations and facial expressions. Other notable performances include Liev Schreiber as the taciturn new editor-in-chief who seemed to carry an unspoken weight on his shoulders, and Brian d’Arcy as the sardonic Spotlight reporter who unexpectedly realises the personal impact of their findings. Rachel McAdams got a nomination, but other than being highly empathetic and attentive in listening, I am not sure what else she brings to her role. Maybe I need to watch this film a second time to fully appreciate it.

Perhaps a big takeaway from Spotlight is about having fiery passion for one’s job, which can make even the most mundane and laborious act seem compelling. Because  ultimately, even when the pinnacle has been achieved, work still continues as per normal. The scene when they came back to man the phone lines on a Sunday after the climax embodies that work philosophy. And also, the issue of having a hierarchical system in religion. Do they really serve to protect the helpless and needy or are they simply self-serving to their own ends?

4/5

88th Academy Award Nominations:

Best Picture, Best Director (Tom McCarthy), Best Original Screenplay (Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy), Best Editing (Tom McArdle), Best Supporting Actress (Rachel McAdams), Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo)

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Room (2015) – When Trauma Doesn’t Just End There

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PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) sufferers sometimes believe that when the ordeal is over, it’s truly gone and things will get better from hereon. Unfortunately, the fear memories are ingrained and becomes a spectre at the back of their mind, causing them to be hypersensitive to things and situations that triggers replays of the already ended trauma. Anxiety, followed by guilt at being unable to pull away from the nightmare and the resentment over why it happened To Them, and the vicious cycle continues. Ma (Brie Larson), who we come to know as Joy Newsome later in the film, experiences some of that in the latter half of the film. It is something I am hesitant about how it is portrayed in Room and will touch on it later.

Adapted from Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel Room by the author herself (I have yet to read the book), it’s a story about a young woman who has been kidnapped, confined and repeatedly raped in a dingy, small shed for 7 years. Jack (the wonderful Jacob Tremblay) her feminine looking, curious and winsome 5 year old son is the product of the sexual abuse. The first half of the film is a tremendous, gripping tale about a young mother’s need to create a protective world around her son from the stark horror of their situation, while walling up her festered emotions and psychological lacerations that sometimes seep through the the cracks. One of the highlights in Room is the production design of the squalid area they lived in. The crew has created a space so resourcefully detailed which becomes a physical journal of their lives together, and developing it as an immersive world of its own that pays off at the end of the film.

Brie Larson, whom I first got to know from the short-lived TV show United States of Tara and whom I love in Short Term 12 (one of my Favourite Films of 2013), gives us an unflinching, loving but yet brimming with personal demons performance of Ma. Look at her eyes as she coddles and plays with Jack, the glaze of anguish and frustration is permanent. She has great rapport with Jacob Tremblay, and I daresay even guiding him more competently through scenes than Lenny Abrahamson the director. Jacob Tremblay is however the one holding the fort together, especially in the weaker half of the film. I don’t know what it is but this young boy has the acting instincts of a pro, and though it is apparent he is being gently steered by Larson (more so) and Abrahamson (less so) through certain emotional beats, he remains utterly believable in mapping out his own adjustments to the Outside World after Ma starts to grow detached from him to deal with her own inner tug of war.

The second half of the film loses some steam and maneuvers into more conventional routes. The flow of Ma’s scenes depicting her PTSD has a predictability to them (I blame the direction) save for the argument between Ma and her mother (Joan Allen, who does subtle, empathetic work with her limited role). What could have being a raw, turbulent and interesting look into the aftereffects of such heavy trauma becomes fairly rote and safe. Stephen Rennick’s score becomes jarring at times as it seems to amplify the emotional moments clumsily rather than infusing deftly with them as one (For an exquisite example, go listen to Carter Burwell’s score for Carol).

Perhaps what I took away most from the film is the line Jack playfully reminded Ma during their time in room which becomes a questioning point rather than a maxim in the entire film  , “If you don’t mind it, it doesn’t matter”.

3.5/5 

88th Academy Awards Nominations:

Best Picture, Best Actress (Brie Larson), Best Director (Lenny Abrahamson), Best Adapted Screenplay (Emma Donoghue)

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Category Fraud Prevails…and #OscarStillSoWhite

Before I go on about the just released nominations, would like to pay tribute to Alan Rickman. I most remembered him as the tortured and ultimately misunderstood Professor Snape from the Harry Potter series, and the shy, older Colonel Brandon who fell for Kate Winslet’s Marianne in Sense and Sensibility. And this just comes after the demise of  David Bowie. I admit I am only superficially aware of the latter’s influence in pop culture and music and am ashamed to say that I am just starting to explore his discography proper.

Oscar nominations.They came and…they disappointed yet again not without springing up a few pleasant surprises. Gender representation is getting better based on the slate of nominations  (Phyllis Nagy and Emma Donaghue! ) but diversity is still a huge problem.

An unexpected critically acclaimed biographical film with an all – African American cast chronicling the rise and fall of a hip-hop group, a successful reboot of a faltering sports saga starring an African-American protagonist and a LGBT romance film dominated by two female leads got TOTALLY snubbed from the Picture and Director categories (TODD HAYNES !!??).

 

Well here goes.

 

Picture 

Spotlight | Star Wars: The Force Awakens | The Revenant | Carol | Mad Max: Fury Road | The Martian | The Big Short | Room

6/8 – Brooklyn and Bridge of Spies instead of Carol and Star Wars.

Seriously is the Academy adverse to stories outside the WhITE MAN’s TALE or they simply aren’t interested. I know they have been inducting fresh blood into the Academy but it seems the old white guard still holds fort. But I take heart that 3 of the nominees feature prominent female leads. Okay maybe Rachel McAdams too.

Director

Ridley Scott – The Martian  | Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant | Todd Haynes – Carol | George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road | Tom McCarthy – Spotlight |

3/5 – Lenny Abrahamson and Adam Mckay (erm) instead of Ridley Scott and ToddHaynes

This is ridiculous, denying Todd Haynes’ genius yet again after Far From Heaven. Pretty shocked that supposed front-runner Ridley Scott go snubbed despite getting DGA nom.  The Martian was fun and entertaining but personally I didn’t fall in love with it.  Rooting for George Miller to get this for his singular and searing vision in Mad Max. Plus I really dislike the narrative behind The Revenant’s campaign; intense suffering for art doesn’t necessarily makes it a masterpiece. The truth is Inarittu probably put his crew and cast through hell for his “vision”. That said, I love Birdman hee.

Actress

Brie Larson – Room | Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn | Cate Blanchett – Carol | Rooney Mara – Carol | Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years

4/5 – Jennifer Lawrence instead of Rooney Mara

I guessed correctly that if Rooney failed to overcome Category Fraud, it’s JLaw’s spot to take. And yes..immensely delighted for Charlotte Rampling’s 1st nom , I truly hope she takes this one though Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan are the presumed frontrunners. Haven’t watched 45 Years but the trailer was so emotionally devastating and clips of her filmography in YouTube shows she’s an underrated gifted actress.

Actor

Leonardo DiCarprio – The Revenant | Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs | Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl | Matt Damon – The Martian | Michael B Jordan – Creed

4/5 – Bryan Cranston instead of Michael B Jordan.

My wildcard guess failed lol. Just have to say that Trumbo looks awful based on the trailer.

Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight | Jane Fonda – Youth | Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina | Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs | Rachel McAdams – Spotlight

3.5/5 – Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl instead of Jane Fonda and Alicia Vikander in Ex-Machina.

*Category fraud lives on forever, boo. At least her role in Ex-Machina straddled the line between lead and supporting whereas in Danish Girl she is plainly a lead. Actors’ branch played into dumb campaigns instead of voting with much needed sense and evaluation. The likes of Jane Fonda and Cynthia Nixon (genuine supporting actress roles) might have gotten in instead argh. Still happy for JJL for her first nomination , her role as Daisy Domergue has being divisive but I will reserve my opinion till I watched The Hateful Eight.

 

Supporting Actor

Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight | Jacob Tremblay – Room | Sylvester Stallone – Creed | Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation | Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

3/5 – Tom Hardy and Christian Bale instead of Jason Tremblay and Idris Elba.

Wow they snubbed Idris Elba , the only potential African American nominee (and probably the likeliest) to lend some diversity into this slate. Could it be that the film was too hard to watch or voters are still not welcoming to the Netflix’s model. 

Original Screenplay

Spotlight – Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer | Straight Outta Compton – Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, & Alan Wenkus | Inside Out – Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, & Meg LeFauve | Ex Machina – Alex Garland | The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarentino

4/5 – Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen instead of Quentin Tarentino

Really surprised about Quentin Tarentino’s omission. Thought he was a surefire nominee. Perhaps the backlash over his film being misogynistic and the fact that he already has 2 Oscars for this category (I really dislike Django Unchained by the way, even though he is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers) could explain this snub.

Adapted Screenplay

Carol – Phyllis Nagy | The Big Short  – Adam McKay and Charles Randolph | Steve Jobs – Aaron Sorkin | The Martian – Drew Goddard | Room – Emma Donoghue

4/5 – Nick Hornby instead of Aaron Sorkin

Happy and ecstatic for Emma Donoghue and Phyllis Nagy. Totally deserving even if this means booting out Aaron Sorkin (who last won for The Social Network). One of my favorite categories, featuring 2 female screenwriters and 3 films with female protagonists.

Cinematography

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

5/5 – 😀

My only perfect score lol! I am actively rooting for Roger Deakins for his gorgeous and intense palatte in Sicario, this is is 13th nom without winning for goodness’ sake! And Chivo already has 2 consecutive wins. 

Film Editing

Margaret Sixel – Mad Max: Fury Road | Tom McArdle – Spotlight | Pietro Scalia – The Martian | Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Mary Jo Markey & Maryann Brandon | Stephen Mirrione – The Revenant

4/5 – Hank Corwin over Pietro Scalia.

Mad Max: Fury Road please.

Production Design

Mad Max: Fury Road -Colin Gibson, Katie Sharrock, Lisa Thompson | Carol – Judy Becker | Bridge of Spies -Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo, Bernhard Henrich| Star Wars: The Force Awakens -Rick Carter, Darren Gilford, Lee Sandales | The Martian – Arthur Max,  Celia Bobak, Zoltan Horvath

3/5 – Eve Stewart/Michael Standish and  Jack Fisk/Hamish Purdy over Judy Becker and Rick Carter, Darren Gilford and Lee Sandales.

Star Wars: The Juggernaut Awakens was such a thrilling and exhilarating experience, and that includes its production sets. Oh well.

Costume Design

Carol – Sandy Powell | Cinderella – Sandy Powell | Brooklyn -Odile Dicks-Mireaux | Mad Max: Fury Road -Jenny Beavan | Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Michael Kaplan

3/5 – Jacqueline West and Paco Delgado over Odile Dicks-Mireaux and Michael Kaplan.

The Revenant again? What’s good?

Score 

The Hateful Eight – Enno Morricone | Spotlight – Howard Shore | Carol – Carter Burwell | Straight Outta Compton – Joseph Trapanese | Bridge of Spies – Thomas Newman

3/5 – Jóhann Jóhannsson and John Williams over Howard Shore and Joseph Trapanese.

Pleasantly surprised over the Sicario inclusion. Have been listening to it at work along with Ex-Machina and Carol’s soundtrack. Its quiet boding of danger culminating into a sense of dread just creeps into my gut and brings me back to the desert landscapes ofthe film. I am anticipating Enno Morricone’s score but will only do so after viewing the film as Quentin tends to include soundbites in his soundtrack  containing spoilers. Would be elated to see Morricone, Burwell or Jóhannsson taking this.

Song

Love Me Like You Do – Fifty Shades of Grey | See You Again – Fast and Furious 7 | Till It Happens To You – The Hunting Ground | Simple Song #3 – Youth | Waiting For My Moment – Creed

2/5 – Earned It, Manta Ray, Writing’s On The Wall instead of Love Me Like You Do, See You Again and Waiting For My Moment.

So other than a Golden Globe winner, Lady Gaga is now an Oscar nominee. Earned It instead of Love Me Like You Do? What?

Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road –  Mark Mangini and David White | Star Wars: The Force Awakens -Matthew Wood and David Acord | The Martian – Oliver Tarney | Sicario -Alan Robert Murray | The Revenant -Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender

5/5 – 😮

Oh so I have another 5/5! Strong category with The Revenant being the only film I have yet to watch.

Sound Mixing

Mad Max: Fury Road | Star Wars: The Force Awakens | The Revenant | Straight Outta Compton | The Martian

4/5 – Bridge of Spies instead of Straight Outta Compton.

Visual Effects

Star Wars: The Force Awakens | The Martian | Mad Max: Fury Road | Ex-Machina | Jurassic World

4/5 – The Revenant over Jurassic World.

Animated Feature

Inside Out | Anomalisa | Shaun The Sheep Movie | When Marnie Was There | The Prophet

4/5 – Boy and The World over The Prophet.

Foreign Language Film

Son of Saul – Hungary | Mustang – France | Ladyrinth of Lies – Germany | Theeb – Jordan | The Brand New Testament – Belgium

3/5 – A War (Denmark) and Embrace of The Serpent (Colombia) over Ladyrinth of Lies (Germany) and The Brand New Testament (Belgium).

Documentary Feature

Amy | The Look of Silence | The Hunting Ground | What Happened, Miss Simone | Cartel Land

4/5 – Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom instead of The Hunting Ground.

A pity about The Hunting Ground snub, it’s nomination might help increase exposure over the rampant sexual assaults going on in American colleges.

Hair and Makeup

Mad Max: Fury Road | Black Mass | Mr Holmes

1/3 – The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared and The Revenant (again??) over Black Mass and Mr Holmes.

I have never heard of The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared to be frank. 

 

Well to cap things off:

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Last Minute Oscar Nominations Predictions 2015

To kickstart things off, I shall delve into the 88th (auspicious eh) OSCAR NOMINATIONS that will be streamed live in a matter of hours. 2015, fortunately, was a year of unpredictablity in terms of film awards trajectory which is an anomaly given the past 15 years or so. After following most the precursor awards and guild nominations, this list is based on a mix of my own personal preferences and external results.

*Will not be predicting the Shorts category as I have no idea about their buzz and what goes, unfortunately.

Picture 

Spotlight | Star Wars: The Force Awakens | The Revenant | Carol | Mad Max: Fury Road | The Martian | The Big Short | Room

Predicting 8 only. If there are 10 nominees, the last 2 will be Creed and Inside Out.

Director

Ridley Scott – The Martian  | Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant | Todd Haynes – Carol | George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road | Tom McCarthy – Spotlight |

Yes Haynes got snubbed by the DGA but I believe HE WILL  prevail here FINALLY by the Academy.

Actress

Brie Larson – Room | Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn | Cate Blanchett – Carol | Rooney Mara – Carol | Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years |

Mara will overcome category fraud and be nominated here…I hope. If not it’s going to be Lawrence for her work in Joy. Though I’m hoping for a small miracle that Mulligan will get in for Suffragette😟.

Actor

Leonardo DiCarprio – The Revenant | Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs | Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl | Matt Damon – The Martian | Michael B Jordan – Creed

*The last one is a wildcard prediction but I believe the popularity of Creed and resurgence of Stallone will pull MBJ through.

Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight | Jane Fonda – Youth | Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina | Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs | Rachel McAdams – Spotlight |

*If Mara fails to bypass category fraud, she will replace Fonda’s position.

Supporting Actor

Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight | Jacob Tremblay – Room | Sylvester Stallone – Creed | Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation | Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

*Keaton could take Tremblay’s place for his work in Spotlight.

Original Screenplay

Spotlight – Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer | Straight Outta Compton – Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, & Alan Wenkus | Inside Out – Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, & Meg LeFauve | Ex Machina – Alex Garland | The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarentino

Adapted Screenplay

Carol – Phyllis Nagy | The Big Short  – Adam McKay and Charles Randolph | Steve Jobs – Aaron Sorkin | The Martian – Drew Goddard | Room – Emma Donoghue

If either Nagy or Donoghue don’t get in, it just goes to show the prevalent sexism in the Academy, especially Nagy. I still feel the sting when they snubbed Flynn last year for her first-time but excellent screenplay adaptation of her novel Gone Girl.

Cinematography

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

Film Editing

Margaret Sixel – Mad Max: Fury Road | Tom McArdle – Spotlight | Pietro Scalia – The Martian | Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Mary Jo Markey & Maryann Brandon | Stephen Mirrione – The Revenant

Production Design

Mad Max: Fury Road -Colin Gibson, Katie Sharrock, Lisa Thompson | Carol – Judy Becker | Bridge of Spies -Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo, Bernhard Henrich| Star Wars: The Force Awakens -Rick Carter, Darren Gilford, Lee Sandales | The Martian – Arthur Max,  Celia Bobak, Zoltan Horvath

Costume Design

Carol – Sandy Powell | Cinderella – Sandy Powell | Brooklyn -Odile Dicks-Mireaux | Mad Max: Fury Road -Jenny Beavan | Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Michael Kaplan

Score 

The Hateful Eight – Enno Morricone | Spotlight – Howard Shore | Carol – Carter Burwell | Straight Outta Compton – Joseph Trapanese | Bridge of Spies – Thomas Newman

Song

Love Me Like You Do – Fifty Shades of Grey | See You Again – Fast and Furious 7 | Till It Happens To You – The Hunting Ground | Simple Song #3 – Youth | Waiting For My Moment – Creed

Sound Editing

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

Sound Mixing

Mad Max: Fury Road | Star Wars: The Force Awakens | The Revenant | Straight Outta Compton | The Martian

Visual Effects

Star Wars: The Force Awakens | The Martian | Mad Max: Fury Road | Ex-Machina | Jurassic World

Animated Feature

Inside Out | Anomalisa | Shaun The Sheep Movie | When Marnie Was There | The Prophet

Foreign Language Film

Son of Saul – Hungary | Mustang – France | Ladyrinth of Lies – Germany | Theeb – Jordan | The Brand New Testament – Belgium

Documentary Feature

Amy | The Look of Silence | The Hunting Ground | What Happened, Miss Simone | Cartel Land

Hair and Makeup

Mad Max: Fury Road | Black Mass | Mr Holmes

 

 

 

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