Thursday Movie Picks – Oscar Winners Edition: Best Actor and Best Actress

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy almost Friday! It’s TMP time! The Thursday Movie Picks blogathon was spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog.

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… Oscar Winners Edition: Best Actor and Best Actress

Ok since there’s no rules as to which time period to pick from, I selected one classic and one contemporary actor and actress who I think are worthy winners. For the fun of it, I also picked one actor + actress who I don’t think deserve to win on the year they’re nominated.

In any case, here are my picks:

FAVE BEST ACTRESS WINNERS

Vivien Leigh – Gone With the Wind (1939)

Scarlett O’Hara is not exactly an easy woman to love, she’s practically an anti-heroine which in and of itself is quite revolutionary. Vivien Leigh was primarily a stage actress and was in a few plays with her second husband Laurence Olivier. She’s perhaps one of the first classic actress I’ve seen growing up… I must have been in my pre-teen when I first saw Gone With the Wind, and I’m still in awe of her performance to this day. To think that she almost didn’t get the role as producer David O. Selznick considered her to be ‘too British’ at one time. I can’t imagine another actress in the role.

Helen Mirren – The Queen (2006)

Ok so I pick another British actress, I didn’t exactly plan for that. I wanted to include someone from the 2000s and the one I thought of right away is the Dame’s performance as Queen Elizabeth I. Of course by now there have been another great memorable performance of the Queen in her later years (Olivia Colman in The Crown), but I think Helen Mirren’s portrayal is still an iconic one. Her physical transformation with the wig and glasses, complete with her facial expression and slightly downturned mouth, voice delivery, everything is just spot on. Even the Queen’s OCD behavior was accounted for based on Mirren’s research. Per IMDb trivia, Mirren was so convincing that by the end of production, crew members who had been accustomed to slouching or relaxing when they addressed her were standing straight up and respectfully folding their hands behind their backs.

___

Least Fave Best Actress Winner

Gwyneth Paltrow – Shakespeare In Love (1998)

I still think it’s practically scandalous that Paltrow won over Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth. I mean, generally speaking Blanchett can run circles around Paltrow all day long, but I’ve seen both films and in no universe did Paltrow gave a better performance in their respective films.


FAVE BEST ACTOR WINNERS

Gregory Peck – To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

Is it a surprise I picked this gentleman? If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then you’d know I was obsessed with Mr. Peck a few years ago and have blogged about him repeatedly. This was actually his fourth Oscar nominations following The Keys of the Kingdom (1945), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), and Twelve O’Clock High (1949). I’ve seen them all and they’re all terrific Oscar-worthy performances, but I think Atticus Finch so tailor-made for him that he practically become the character and be forever be known for that role. It’s no surprise The American Film Institute named Atticus Finch the greatest movie hero of the 20th century and Peck’s performance certainly helped cement that in history.

Jamie Foxx – Ray (2004)

When I first saw this film years ago, I was so blown away by Foxx’s performance. I think this was the first time I saw him in a lead role and man, did he kill it. He was so dedicated to the role that he attended classes at the Braille Institute, and he also had to wear eye prosthetics to make him look authentically blind for the entire shoot. I can’t imagine having to endure something like that, AND have to act at the same time.  Plus the musically-gifted actor also played the piano himself, though it was Ray Charles’ voice that was heard in the film. His win marked the first actor to win Best Actor in a music/musical movie since Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1964)

Least Fave Best Actor Winner

Roberto Benigni – Life Is Beautiful (1997)

I loved the film but honestly I didn’t think Benigni’s performance was Oscar-worthy. Especially given he was nominated alongside Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan and Edward Norton in American History X. His Oscar speech was a hoot though irritating at the same time. In any case, his win marked only the second time that an actor had directed himself in an Oscar-winning performance, the first was Laurence Olivier for Hamlet (1948).


So which Best Actor and/or Actress winners are your favorite?

Musings on 2021 Golden Globes nominations – Snubs + Surprises

Well, whaddayaknow. Award season is officially here, folks… though I doubt anyone is rolling out the red carpet just yet given Covid-19 (and its myriad of strains) are far from being contained.

Well, here are the full nominations below and my commentary in each category + some of my winner pick/prediction highlighted in bold magenta:

Best Motion Picture – Drama 

  • “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • “Mank” (Netflix)
  • “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) 
  • “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)

I’ve only seen two on this list so I guess I should catch up on the rest, but I really want Promising Young Woman to get recognized. It’s such a bold, provocative film that makes a strong statement of a timely topic. Perhaps one of the few films that really stayed with me long after the end credits rolled.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy 

  • “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios)
  • “Hamilton” (Walt Disney Pictures)
  • “Palm Springs” (Neon)
  • “Music” (Vertical Entertainment)
  • “The Prom” (Netflix)

I actually haven’t seen any of these yet. The only one I want to see is Palm Springs and Hamilton, so my prediction here is pure gut instinct.

Best Director – Motion Picture

  • Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
  • David Fincher, “Mank” (Netflix)
  • Regina King, “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
  • Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  • Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)

Glad to see three female filmmakers being recognized here, perhaps the first time women outshone men in this category!! I think Fennell did an outstanding job making Promising Young Woman, and it’s her directorial debut, which is all the more amazing. But Chloè Zhao’s done some extraordinary work and Nomadland is a phenomenal film in its own right, so I’d be happy if any of those women win this year.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
  • Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”)
  • Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”)
  • Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”)
  • Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”)

I think it’s safe to say I’m cheering for Promising Young Woman this year! It’s such inspired casting to have Carey Mulligan in such a provocative role and she absolutely nailed it. I do have a feeling Viola Davis and Vanessa Kirby might run away with the award.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”)
  • Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
  • Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”)
  • Gary Oldman (“Mank”)
  • Tahar Rahim (“The Mauritanian”)

Oh man!! I’m thrilled to see Riz Ahmed and Tahar Rahim both nominated and having seen both films recently, they’re the beating heart of their respective films! I can’t choose between the two so I’m just going to make a random prediction. I have a feeling the HFPA would give a post-humous award to the late Chadwick Boseman.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy 

  • Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”)
  • Kate Hudson (“Music”)
  • Michelle Pfeiffer (“French Exit”)
  • Rosamund Pike (“I Care a Lot”)
  • Anya Taylor-Joy (“Emma”)

Since I’ve only seen one of these (I Care A Lot hasn’t even been released yet!), I can’t pick anyone in this category either. I like Taylor-Joy but I don’t think she was all that extraordinary in Emma, she’s far more memorable in The Queen’s Gambit. I have a feeling Le Pfeiffer might walk away with the award here.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy 

  • Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”)
  • James Corden (“The Prom”)
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”)
  • Dev Patel (“The Personal History of David Copperfield”)
  • Andy Samberg (“Palm Springs”)

I know we’re not supposed to pick the only one performance we’ve seen, but oh well, it’s my blog, I make the rules, ha! I LOVE Dev Patel and he’s terrific in The Personal History of David Copperfield so I hope he wins!

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture 

  • Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
  • Olivia Colman (“The Father”)
  • Jodie Foster (“The Mauritanian”)
  • Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”)
  • Helena Zengel (“News of the World”)

Whoa!! Nice for Helena Zengel to get nominated here, as I mentioned in my review of News Of The World, the 12-year-old German actress held her own against Tom Hanks! She’s got tough competition here, though having seen The Mauritanian, I don’t think Jodie Foster’s performance was anything special. Given the recent buzz around Minari, I thought Youn Yuh-jung would nab a nomination in this category.

Tom Hanks + Helena Zengel in News of The World

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

  • Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
  • Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)
  • Jared Leto (“The Little Things”)
  • Bill Murray (“On the Rocks”)
  • Leslie Odom, Jr. (“One Night in Miami”)

Ok, I’m definitely going to see One Night in Miami this weekend!! I’ve only seen On The Rocks, and no I don’t think Bill Murray deserved a nomination, let alone win. My gut says Daniel Kaluuya will run away with the award, and he seems to be a shoo-in for an Oscar as well.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture 

  • Emerald Fennell – “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
  • Jack Fincher – “Mank” (Netflix)
  • Aaron Sorkin – “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
  • Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton – “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Chloe Zhao – “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)

Thrilled to see Emerald Fennell getting recognized for her bold + witty writing in the dark comedy. She wrote several episodes for Killing Eve, one of the edgiest, most entertaining thrillers of recent memory. To go against Aaron Sorkin in her first feature screenplay is quite a feat. Oh and is this the first time a father and son get nominated for the same film? Kudos to Jack and David Fincher!!

Best Original Score – Motion Picture 

  • “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) – Alexandre Desplat
  • “Tenet” (Warner Bros.) – Ludwig Göransson
  • “News of the World” (Universal Pictures) – James Newton Howard
  • “Mank” (Netflix) – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
  • “Soul” (Pixar) – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste

So many double nominees this year… but Trent Reznor + Atticus Ross are one of the best composers working today. Talk about range… Mank + Soul are two very different movies. I think they’d walk away with one of them.

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language 

  • “Another Round” (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
  • “La Llorona” (Shudder)
  • “The Life Ahead” (Netflix)
  • “Minari” (A24)
  • “Two of Us” (Magnolia Pictures)

Can’t believe I’ve only seen The Life Ahead on this list, which is a lovely movie. I really want to see Minari but it’s not available on streaming yet. Another Round also looks really good based on my fellow bloggers’ reviews, another fruitful collaboration between Thomas Vinterberg and Mads Mikkelsen.

Best Motion Picture – Animated 

  • “The Croods: A New Age” (Universal Pictures)
  • “Onward” (Walt Disney Pictures)
  • “Over the Moon” (Netflix)
  • “Soul” (Walt Disney Pictures)
  • “Wolfwalkers” (Cartoon Saloon)

Yay! Two of my fave animated movies of 2020 are nominated!! Hard to choose between the two, but if I must, I’d vote for Wolfwalkers.


Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

  • “Emily in Paris” (Netflix)
  • “The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max)
  • “The Great” (Hulu)
  • “Schitt’s Creek” (CBC)
  • “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV Plus)

The only one I’ve seen here is Emily in Paris but only for a single episode because it was practically unwatchable! I definitely don’t think it deserves any kudos, it’s just so silly and shallow… I mean if they must nominate a French comedy, why not Call My Agent! (Dix Pour Cent) which is head and shoulders above the Darren Star creation, ugh.

Best Television Series – Drama 

  • “The Crown” (Netflix)
  • “Lovecraft Country” (HBO Max)
  • “The Mandalorian” (Disney Plus)
  • “Ozark” (Netflix)
  • “Ratched” (Netflix)

Yay for The Crown and The Mandalorian!! They couldn’t be more different in style and tone but both are excellently-crafted. I really need to see Lovecraft Country!

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama 

  • Olivia Colman (“The Crown”)
  • Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”)
  • Emma Corrin (“The Crown”)
  • Laura Linney (“Ozark”)
  • Sarah Paulson (“Ratched”)

I’m confused how Olivia Colman and Emma Corrin are both considered lead in The Crown. Colman is always excellent but Corrin as Princess Diana is no doubt the breakout star of the latest season. I also love Jodie Comer in Killing Eve but I haven’t been caught up in the latest season yet.

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

  • Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
  • Josh O’Connor (“The Crown”)
  • Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
  • Al Pacino (“Hunters”)
  • Matthew Rhys (“Perry Mason”)

I adore Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles in The Crown but man, Matthew Rhys is outstanding in Perry Mason and he has been so grossly underrated in everything that I want him so badly to win this thing!

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy 

  • Lily Collins (“Emily in Paris”)
  • Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”)
  • Elle Fanning (“The Great”)
  • Jane Levy (“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”)
  • Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”)

Seriously, Lily Collins??! I could see the show getting a nod for Best-but-Most-Impractical-Clothes category, but that dumb show shouldn’t even be nominated in any category, come on!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy 

  • Don Cheadle (“Black Monday”)
  • Nicholas Hoult (“The Great”)
  • Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
  • Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”)
  • Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”)

I’m so behind on so many shows, but just based on the buzz on Schitt’s Creek, I think one of the Levys would probably nab an award.

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television 

  • “Normal People” (Hulu/BBC)
  • “The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix)
  • “Small Axe” (Amazon Studios/BBC)
  • “The Undoing” (HBO)
  • “Unorthodox” (Netflix)

I really want to see Small Axe, man too many shows too little time! But The Queen’s Gambit was simply amazing, one of the best miniseries I’ve seen ever. So yeah I’m rooting for that!

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television 

  • Cate Blanchett (“Mrs. America”)
  • Daisy Edgar-Jones (“Normal People”)
  • Shira Haas (“Unorthodox”)
  • Nicole Kidman (“The Undoing”)
  • Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”)

Ok so I said earlier that I don’t think Anya Taylor-Joy was all that great in Emma, but she was phenomenal in The Queen’s Gambit!! She’s in nearly every single scene and carried the show so effortlessly in a breathtaking performance.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television 

  • John Boyega (“Small Axe”)
  • Brendan Gleeson (“The Comey Rule”)
  • Dan Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
  • Jim Parsons (“Hollywood”)
  • Donald Sutherland (“The Undoing”)

So many shows to catch up on!! I’ve heard great things about Small Axe though, that’s one I’m most looking forward to seeing.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television 

  • Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown”)
  • Julia Garner (“Ozark”)
  • Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
  • Cynthia Nixon (“Ratched”)

When I was watching the latest season of The Crown, somehow I knew Gillian Anderson and Helena Bonham Carter as the two Margarets would be vying for awards. The latter has portrayed Princess Margaret brilliantly in the previous season, but Anderson underwent such a transformation, down to her distinct voice, to play Margaret Thatcher, so my money is on her this year.


Biggest Surprises

Let’s start with the good surprises first…

  • Helena Zengel as one of the youngest nominee in News Of the World
  • Three female directors in the Best Director category, woo hoo!!
  • Emerald Fennell getting a Best Director AND Best Screenplay nods!! Yes, she deserved it!!

… now the wtf bad surprises

  • James Corden in the Best Actor category in Prom??! Wait what? I thought the buzz has been that it was the worst casting ever and that he’s the worst thing about the show.
  • Lily Collins in Emily in Paris, oh geez! Nothing against Lily but come on, that show is just plain silly, more froth than the latte she sips on those Parisian cafè!

I think the biggest head-scratcher that’s neither good or bad is… MUSIC in the Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Kate Hudson in Best Actress category. Ummm, what in the world is that movie?? Never even heard about it before until today. I had to look it up on IMDb. Apparently it’s directed by Australian singer Sia and it’s about music and autism. O-kay.

Most egregious snubs

  • Based on what I’ve read so far, I’m stunned that Spike Lee wasn’t nominated for Da 5 Blood, which many, including my friend/contributor Ted deemed as his best work.
  • No Steven Yeun for Minari??
  • I’ve written my review for The Life Ahead that I’ll post later this month. I thought Sophia Loren was wonderful in a comeback role, so I was surprised she wasn’t nominated and neither was the film.
  • I was also impressed by Zendaya in Malcolm and Marie (review coming later this week!). I really thought she’d be nominated here.
  • Tom Hanks already took home a bazillion awards in his illustrious but still I’m surprised he didn’t get a nomination this year.
  • I’m still shaking my head that HFPA thought the fluffy Emily In Paris was somehow better than the edgy, funny and downright entertaining Bridgerton! I just cant…🙄

Note to self: Gotta check out I May Destroy You.

Thanks to Buzzfeed for recommending 16 other shows better than Emily in Paris – heck I’m sure there are even more shows than that! Even the writer of Emily in Paris agreed that I May Destroy You should have been nominated!! (I don’t subscribe to The Guardian but even the title of the article says it all.

Oh well, I guess every year the HFPA gives us plenty of reasons to talk about. We’ll see what other shenanigans are in store come February 28. The broadcast will be bicoastal this year with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting from NYC and LA.. Fey will host her segments from Rockefeller Center, while Poehler will do hers from the Beverly Hilton. These are interesting times indeed!


So what are your thoughts on the Golden Globes nominees? Who do you think are snubbed and who are you rooting for?

20 Thoughts on 2020 Golden Globes’ Memorable Moments

Happy Monday everyone! Did you watch the Golden Globes last night? I was late to watch the telecast, so I missed the entire opening monologue. Here it is…

Well he did say ‘Let’s all have a laugh… at your expense.’ Ok I don’t exactly subscribe to Ricky Gervais‘ beliefs and his brand of comedy can be brutal, but I have to agree about keeping politics off acceptance speeches.


I don’t have the energy to do a lengthy post this time so I’m just going to post 20 commentaries in tweets/gifs … starting with THIS:


First winner of the night happens to be one of my favorite actors… who I hope will get a cinematic comeback real soon! My heart goes out to him and Australians who are impacted by the devastating bush fires.

In any case, I thought John Lithgow was good as Roger Ailes, though he’s far more memorable to me as Churchill in The Crown.


Tom Hanks‘ reaction to Gervais’ brutal opening monologue… definitely the first popular meme of 2020.


Mr. Aquaman just raised the temperature of the room by his um, unconventional black tie attire…


The great news: Jason Momoa was presenting.
The bad news: He already put his jacket on.

But hey, the Queen aka Olivia Colman always gave such a delightful speech!!


As an Indonesian growing up watching mostly Hollywood/European films, I’m so used to subtitles. I’d take that any day over dubbed movies!!


Everyone’s favorite ‘everyman’ deservedly won the Cecil B. DeMille award… and crying over how blessed he feels for his family. Tom Hanks is not just the nicest guy in Hollywood, he’s a class act.


Former Bond-turned-Colonel-Sanders Pierce Brosnan had turned up earlier introducing his two sons as Miss, er Mr. Golden Globes (???)… but it’s his second appearance with Will Ferrell that’s far memorable. Suddenly I’m hungry for some fried chicken!!


Ok so yeah Brad Pitt won Best Supporting Actor in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, but all people were waiting for was Jen Anniston‘s reaction during his speech, so here we go…



I haven’t even seen a single episode of Fleabag yet I’m glad to see it won!! (that show is on my to-watch list!)


If I have to make a comment about fashion at the Globes last night, it’d be that I LOVE Ana De Armas‘ sparkly sapphire dress.

I enjoyed seeing her and Daniel Craig in Knives Out, so it’s cool that they’re working together again in No Time To Die.


I have to say I didn’t quite love the JOKER’s score but I’m thrilled to see a female composer win last night!!! It still doesn’t make up for the lack of any female director nominated though, HFPA! Not even a little bit.


Thank you Ellen DeGeneres for all you do… and for constantly making us laugh. That was a wonderful montage that showcased why she absolutely deserved the Carol Burnett Award.


Note to self: Must. Watch. Succession.

Can’t believe I just realized Sarah Snook is on that show!! Been a fan of this Aussie actress since Predestination.


Ha!! We all want to SHIP these two!!


I’m happy to see Taron Egerton‘s continued meteoric rise! He’s a fun bloke and obviously super duper talented! Even in a frivolous action flick like KINGSMAN he was so watchable. LOVE his gracious, genuinely emotional acceptance speech… he acknowledged the young fellow nominee Roman Griffin of Jojo Rabbit AND thanked his mom… classy! Elton John’s reaction pure joy of seeing him win said it all.



I predicted Joaquin Phoenix would win and I think he deserved it. I do think he’s rambling on his speech but he did make Adam Driver laugh (the only actor in the room who I’d believe doesn’t have any beef with anyone if he lost an award).


And the last award goes to…

I haven’t seen 1917 yet but I’m now really curious to see it! Looks like a real innovative filmmaking style, and I sure hope Roger Deakins FINALLY win Best Cinematography at the Oscar!!


So, what are YOUR thoughts on the 2020 telecast?


Musings on 2020 Golden Globes nominations – who got snubbed?

Happy Monday everyone! I just came back yesterday afternoon from a three-day shoot of my third short film that I produced. So I’ve sort of been out of it in terms of award season. Well it’s officially here!! Snow and awards nominations, two things one can expect in December (yep, the white stuff is falling as I’m typing this!)

So the nominations were announced this morning by Tim Allen, Dakota Fanning and Susan Kelechi. In terms of which studio got the most noms, well Netflix definitely leads the pack with a whopping 34 nominations, 17 for films and 17 for different tv series. In fact, it’s definitely the era for streaming giants, as for the first time ever, not a single program nor performer from major networks were nominated.

Now per usual, in addition to my thoughts about the nominees, I thought I’d include my winner pick for some of the categories… this isn’t necessarily who I WANT to win, but who I think WOULD win, but sometimes it’s both.

Here is the full list of 2020 Golden Globe nominees…

Best Motion Picture – Drama

1917
The Irishman
Joker
The Two Popes
Marriage Story

I’m SO behind this year so I’ve only seen Joker and Marriage Story. I absolutely LOVED the latter and had me thinking about it for weeks. It’s definitely one of the best dramas I’ve seen, not just this year, and I’m glad Noah Baumbach is getting a Best Screenplay nominations. For sure I’ll be rooting for him to win in that category!

My winner pick: Marriage Story


Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Renée Zellweger, Judy
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell

Man, I’m kicking myself that I’ve only seen ONE of these (well, Little Women‘s press screening isn’t until next week). Scarlett was incredible in Marriage Story, and I have heard great things about all the other performers so this is one tough category!! But if I absolutely had to pick one who I think would win… well I feel like the HFPA loves Renée and everyone loves a comeback.

My winner pick: Renée Zellweger


Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Ok I’ve seen three performances of this list (Driver, Phoenix and Bale). I LOVE all three of them, but given all the buzz surrounding Joker, I have a strong feeling Joaquin Phoenix would nab the award. I think it’s a safe bet he’d rake in ALL of the awards in the Best Actor category this year. Though I’m not in love with the film, Joaquin is an excellent actor and this win would be well deserved.

My winner pick: Joaquin Phoenix


Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Dolemite Is My Name
Knives Out
Jojo Rabbit
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Rocketman

Somehow I thought Rocketman would be in last year’s category?? In any case, I LOVE Jojo Rabbit (read my review), but somehow I have a hunch that Rian Johnson’s star-studded Knives Out would win this category. I’m hoping to see it this weekend and everything about it just looks SO good!!

My winner pick: Knives Out 


Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Awkwafina, The Farewell
Ana de Armas, Knives Out
Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart
Emma Thompson, Late Night

Firstly, woo hoo for Awkwafina!! I was worried she would be snubbed, so I’m thrilled to see her here along with Emma Thompson in Late Night. I’m sad for the lack of love for that film, but Emma was wonderful as a talk show host. It’s been quite a year for miss de Armas, but I can’t wait to see her in Knives Out. I read she almost turned down the role? She’d have to send a huge thank you note to Rian Johnson for convincing her to accept it AND for giving her a juicy role. Now, for this category, my winner pick is one I’d WANT to and SHOULD win.

My winner pick: Awkwafina


Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Daniel Craig, Knives Out
Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Taron Egerton, Rocketman
Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

Wow, what a week for Daniel Craig. The GG noms and first trailer for No Time To Die are released on the same week! He looks like he’s having an absolute blast in Knives Out, though he faces some tough competition in this category. No surprise to see Leo here, I do think he deserves a nom in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, though again, it makes me smile seeing Eddie Murphy‘s name on here, glad to see him make a strong comeback.

My winner pick: Eddie Murphy


Best Supporting Actress 

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Annette Bening, The Report
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Seeing this list just made me sad I’ve only seen ONE from the list Laura Dern, and she’s definitely memorable as one of the slimy divorce lawyers. I’ve heard so many terrific things about everyone else’s performances (except for Bates who I didn’t even know is in Richard Jewell). So this pick is more based on instinct…

My winner pick: Jennifer Lopez


Best Supporting Actor 

Al Pacino, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes

Wow, every single one of these actors in this categories are older white men. Brad Pitt is the youngest at 55 years old, with Anthony Hopkins as the oldest at 81 (hey, it’ll be a Meet Joe Black reunion at the GG telecast, ha!) I LOVE Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, but seeing him here just makes me think where is director Marielle Heller and Matthew Rhys in the Supporting Actor Category?? (more on that later).

My winner pick: Brad Pitt


Best Motion Picture – Animated

Toy Story 4
Frozen II
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Missing Link
The Lion King

I feel like How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was released quite a while ago. I have only seen that one and Toy Story 4 which exceeded my expectations. I know I REALLY don’t want to see The Lion King win somehow, and honestly I’d rather go back and watch the 1994 animated classic.

My winner pick: Toy Story 4


Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

Parasite
The Farewell
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Les Misérables
Pain and Glory

I’m kicking myself that I had a conflict when Les Misérables was screened at TCFF. It looked absolutely intense from the trailer. I haven’t had a chance to see Parasite either, which has been raking all kinds of film festival awards including Cannes’ Palme d’Or. I’d say Bong Joon Ho‘s film is the one to beat this year.

My winner pick: Parasite


Best Director – Motion Picture

Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
Sam Mendes, 1917
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Ok I can’t believe I’m gonna say the same thing as last year… Um, firstly… where are the female directors?? Hello???! LA Times listed the female directors who should’ve been nominated this year: Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Alma Har’el (Honey Boy), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), among others.

Oh well.

Looking at this list… I guess I see the usual suspects that makes me go ‘meh.’ Todd Phillips?? Really?? I thought I’d see Robert Eggers‘ name on there given how well-received The Lighthouse has been.

My winner pick: Bong Joon-ho


Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, Parasite
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman

As I mentioned before, I REALLY love Marriage Story. I feel like it’s the kind of film where the “special effect” IS the script. The dialog and how the film is structured is simply amazing, and the no-frills filmmaking style and naturalistic acting just made the words come to life. I have yet to see the others nominated here, but Baumbach’s script set such a high bar that at this point, I can’t imagine wanting someone else to win.

My winner pick: Marriage Story


Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Alexandre Desplat, Little Women
Hildur Guðnadóttir, Joker
Randy Newman, Marriage Story
Thomas Newman, 1917
Daniel Pemberton, Motherless Brooklyn

Well I know which one I DID NOT love, Guðnadóttir’s Joker, which I found a bit distracting. I was so immersed in the dialog in Marriage Story I barely notice the score (which I suppose is a good thing!), but I did remember Daniel Pemberton‘s gorgeous score in Motherless Brooklyn. I have a hunch it wouldn’t win however, somehow I have a feeling this could be Newman’s year (he’s been nominated for Oscars 13 times but have yet to win one, he’s like the Roger Deakins in the composer category).

My winner pick: Thomas Newman – 1917


Best Original Song – Motion Picture

“Beautiful Ghosts,” Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cats
“Into the Unknown,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, Frozen II
“Spirit,” Beyoncé, The Lion King
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Elton John, Rocketman
“Stand Up,” Cynthia Erivo, Harriet

I don’t really have a particular favorite out of this, but I have a feeling this might be the only category Rocketman would bring home an award.

My winner pick: (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again, Elton John


Best Television Series – Drama

Big Little Lies
The Crown
Killing Eve
The Morning Show
Succession

I’ll refrain from making my pick as I’ve only seen The Crown (all 3 seasons) and season 1 of Killing Eve. Kinda surprised to see The Morning Show as I heard it isn’t that great? But glad to see Brian Cox’s Succession is nominated, he’s such a formidable actor and that show looks marvelous.


I’m going to refrain from picking my winner picks in most of these TV categories, except for a handful of categories. The one I think would win is in bold. Yes I have picked winners from films/shows I haven’t seen before, but I don’t have any strong hunch or feelings about the following shows and performers to make up my mind. 

Best Actor in a Drama Series

Brian Cox, Succession
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Tobias Menzies, The Crown
Billy Porter, Pose

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
Olivia Colman, The Crown
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Bill Hader, Barry
Ben Platt, The Politician
Paul Rudd, Living With Yourself
Ramy Youssef, Ramy

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kirsten Dunst, On Becoming a God in Central Florida
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series

Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
Kieran Culkin, Succession
Andrew Scott, Fleabag
Stellan Skarsgård, Chernobyl
Henry Winkler, Barry

Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series

Patricia Arquette, The Act
Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
Toni Collette, Unbelievable
Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
Emily Watson, Chernobyl

Best Actor In a Limited Series or TV Motion Picture

Christopher Abbott, Catch-22
Sacha Baron Cohen, The SpyRussell Crowe, The Loudest Voice
Jared Harris, Chernobyl
Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

Best Actress In a Limited Series or TV Motion Picture

Kaitlyn Dever, Unbelievable
Joey King, The Act
Helen Mirren, Catherine the Great
Merritt Wever, Unbelievable
Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon


Biggest Surprises

Well, for me it’s Roman Griffin Davis for Jojo Rabbit. He’s only 12 years old, though he’s not the youngest ever to be nominated. According to this article, Jackie Cooper was the youngest to be nominated in Best Leading Actor category at 9 years old for his performance in Skippy. I thought Davis was excellent, though I think Thomasin McKenzie warrants a nom as well in the Supporting Actress category.

I remember going to a film fest gala earlier this Fall and saw someone who just went to Telluride and I asked him what his favorite film was. He said The Two Popes. But then I forgot all about it, so in terms of Best Picture, that film was a huge surprise to me. The film hasn’t opened until later in December, but I’ll probably wait ’til it’s on streaming. I don’t have any strong feelings one way or the other, it was more like ‘wait what??’ I thought I’d see The Lighthouse in the Best Picture noms list, which brings me to…

Most egregious snubs

I’m keeping what I’ve written last year [sigh] Well firstly, the obvious… where are the female directors?? In a year with a bunch of strong female contenders, it’s so disheartening.

Out of the five possible female directors to be nominated that I mentioned above, I’m most dismayed for the omission of Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) and Lulu Wang (The Farewell) Heller was snubbed last year too for Can You Ever Forgive Me? 

The filmmaker power couple Greta Gerwig and her partner Noah Baumbach are both shut out of Best Director category. I wonder if this is going to be the same at the Oscars??

As for the performers… last year I was disappointed Viola Davis didn’t get nominated for Widows. Well, this year it’s another exceptional black actress, Lupita Nyong’O for Us.

In the male categories, where are Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe?? Did HFPA have something against The Lighthouse? Maybe it’s too off the wall for them?? I’d think one of those actors is a shoo-in this year in the leading and supporting category.

I also think Matthew Rhys was snubbed. He’s such an underrated actor and he’s fantastic as the bitter journalist in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. His transformation towards the end is so deeply moving, and he more than held his own against Hanks.

I know people are upset for the lack of noms for Robert De Niro (The Irishman) and Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems). I am surprised by that given all the buzz, esp De Niro since his two co-stars (Pesci and Pacino) are nominated, but not exactly up in arms as I’m not the biggest fan of either of them.


So what are your thoughts on the Golden Globes nominees? Who do you think are snubbed and who are you rooting for?

Musings on the Spielberg VS Netflix Debate

Hello readers! Today is the fifth and up until a couple of years ago, it’s customary that I post five random movie news/tidbits/query under the Five for the Fifth series. Well, this topic would certainly be part of that series today!

I had thought about this quite a bit since I heard about Steven Spielberg’s plan to push for the Academy to ban Netflix from Oscars at its annual post-Oscars meeting. Spielberg is the Academy Governor of the directors branch and this is what his company Amblin spokesperson is quoted as saying:

“Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation… He’ll be happy if the others will join [his campaign] when that comes up [at the Academy Board of Governors meeting]. He will see what happens.” (per Variety)

I didn’t know this but apparently Spielberg has said in the past that Netflix films should only be eligible for Emmys rather than Oscars. Again per Variety, this is what he said back in 2018: “You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.”

This news was first reported by Indiewire, and it lists some of the complaints from Hollywood studios against the streaming service. Among others, the fact that Netflix doesn’t report box office and that it doesn’t respect the 90-day theatrical window. ROMA only spent spent 3 weeks in the theatre before it’s shown on Netflix.

Now, this is what Netflix responded with on Twitter a couple of days later, without mentioning Spielberg by name…


Now, when I first read Spielberg’s comment, I was already unnerved by it. My initial reaction is that he’s just a big Hollywood elite who does not like change, especially one that threatens his own status and tradition he holds dear. No doubt that ‘threat’ got bigger when Netflix’s ROMA got no less than 10 nominations at the Oscars this year AND won three, including Best Foreign Language film.

Now, I don’t have to be a filmmaker to realize how tough it is not only to get a film made, but to get it distributed. An indie filmmaker would be lucky to get even a limited theatrical release, and few could expect to get a wide release the way a standard legacy (studio) system would. The title of the IndieWire article alone says it all about what this ‘battle’ means for the underdogs, aka indie filmmakers…

The Spielberg vs. Netflix Battle Could Mean Collateral Damage for Indies at the Oscars

I recognize that many of the films Netflix campaign aggressively for Oscars were about people of color AND were made by people of color who are still very much a minority under the Hollywood legacy system… Beasts of No Nation (Cary Joji Fukunaga), 13th (Ava Duvernay), Mudbound (Dee Rees), and Roma (Alfonso Cuarón).

So naturally, as a filmmaker of color myself who’s trying to get a feature made, I experience it firsthand how arduous it is to get the chance to make a film. Indie filmmakers don’t get the privilege to expect ANY theatrical release, and many consider getting even a streaming release as a huge accomplishment. Thus I see Netflix as an ally to independent filmmakers, and also filmmakers of color. Based on the films they’ve made/distributed, they seem committed to inclusive storytelling which can only be a good thing for film fans everywhere. But of course that’s still somehow seen as a challenge to the ‘status quo’ who only says they support ‘diversity’ if it aligns with their own success and pocketbooks.

As a film fan, I have increasingly choose to see films on my TV rather than going to the theater. Yes, as a press member I do get invited to advanced screenings, but if I miss some of those films, I often choose to wait until it’s available on VOD. Now, when I know it’s a Netflix film or an Amazon Studio film, I’m glad to know that I can see it sooner and without paying extra because I already have subscriptions to both streaming services. So to me, the quality of a film and its legitimacy to be regarded as a motion picture (read: its Oscars-eligibility) has no bearing on where it’s presented. Spielberg seems to say that there is one way to see a movie and that is on the big screen. I think that communal way of film viewing will never go away, and I still do enjoy seeing some films on the big screen (even in IMAX if it’s made specifically for that giant screen), but there is really no wrong way to see a movie.

Many Hollywood studios don’t like the fact that Netflix doesn’t report theatrical grosses. They are starting to share some metrics of audience viewerships (per BGR.com) so perhaps they’d do the same with theatrical release numbers in the future? Not that it matters to me, the audience member, nor should it have any bearing in the quality of a film.

Even before the Spielberg news came out, Alfonso Cuarón already weighed in on this subject to Variety:

There needs to be greater diversity in how we release our films. Distribution models need to be more flexible, depending on the film. You cannot impose the release strategy of a tentpole film on a smaller film. You may need fewer theaters and longer runs or models in which the so-called window is shorter. We’re thinking in one single paradigm. It’s a moment to start opening up paradigms. Right now it’s a confrontation between economic models. It’s not like one model benefits cinema, and the other does not.


Now, I’m NOT writing this because I’m on the side of a multi-billion dollar streaming company. In fact, I’ve been a longtime fan of Spielberg, but his comments shows him as being out of touch and elitist who wants to maintain his status quo. He’s a product of the studio system where minorities (women, people of color, disabled, etc) struggle to get in and tell their story.

I came across this thread from Franklin Leonard, the founder of The Black List (an annual survey of Hollywood’s executives’ favorite unproduced screenplays), and it’s hard to argue with his points…


Yes I realize some of you might argue that Netflix is not an ‘underdog’ company that deserves our sympathy. After all it spent about $50 million for Roma‘s Oscar campaign alone. So perhaps the argument should be about limiting spending on Oscar campaigns? I personally can’t stand studio’s award campaign, that’s one of the worst things about award season for me. But if the film Netflix or other streaming service is promoting is a worthy one, who’s to say it’s not eligible to be included in the Oscar race??

As I have just seen a Netflix Original Film last night, TRIPLE FRONTIER. It’s the first time I saw a Netflix film on the big screen, surely the first of many. At the film premiere, no doubt this topic was all the buzz. One of the film’s star who’s also a filmmaker, Ben Affleck, is naturally supportive of Netflix, saying that “they’re helping define the future of cinema and distribution” (per Deadline).

Per Cinema Blend, Affleck spoke of his rationale why he wouldn’t be in Spielberg’s camp in trying to disqualify streaming films (even those that has limited theatrical release) from competing at Oscars…

We certainly approached [Triple Frontier] as any other movie. There’s no difference when you’re making it between what the platform is that it’s going to be seen on. I do think Netflix is doing more interesting stuff in creating a more cinematic experience for the home. More people, more viewers, bigger TVs, bigger sound. They’re doing Dolby Cinema color correction, they do Dolby Atmos sound mixes. So they’re sort of synthesizing the theatrical with the home viewing experience in a kind of interesting way. It’s all changing very fast.


Netflix continues to work with big names in filmmaking, (One of Triple Frontier‘s executive producers is Kathryn Bigelow) and they’ve got Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman with its all-star cast (DeNiro, Pacino, Harvey Keitel) which will likely get an even wider release than ROMA. I personally think it’s an exciting time as a film fan as we have more options for content and how we want to see them.

So in conclusion, I’m glad there are streaming services like Netflix exists. I’m lucky that I live in a city where there are plenty of cinemas. But even so, there are always smaller films that I want to see that don’t get shown or they’re shown only in 1-2 theaters in Minneapolis for 2 weeks tops. I’d imagine people in rural or remote areas don’t even get that same privilege, but it’d be easier for them to subscribe to streaming services like Netflix.

In the end, I believe in options… I like to be able to see movies wherever and whenever I want. In the ideal world, the theatrical and streaming model should co-exist. Just because something has been done one way for so long doesn’t mean it has to be the ONLY way.


So what do you think of this Spielberg VS Netflix debate? Let’s hear it!

 

Oscars 2019 – Reflections on winners, memorable moments

Quick confession: I’m copying this post from 2015. Well whaddayaknow, four years later, I am still loyal to tradition of watching the Oscars in my PJs live tweetin’ with my laptop!!


Well, first things first…

How did I do on my predictions?

  1. Best picture: ROMA Green Book
  2. Best director: Spike Lee Alfonso Cuarón
  3. Best lead actor: Cristian Bale Rami Malek
  4. Best lead actress: Olivia Colman
  5. Best supporting actor: Sam ElliotMahershala Ali 
  6. Best supporting actress: Regina King –If Beale Street Could Talk
  7. Best animated feature: Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse
  8. Best adapted screenplay: Can You Ever Forgive Me? BlackKklansman
  9. Best original screenplay: The Favourite Green Book
  10. Best original score: Black Panther
  11. Best cinematography: A Star Is Born ROMA (Alfonso Cuarón)
  12. Best Foreign Language Film: Shoplifters ROMA
  13. Best original song: Shallow (A Star Is Born)
  14. Best Film Editing: BlackkKlansman Bohemian Rhapsody
  15. Best Make Up and Hair Styling: VICE
  16. Best Production Design: Black Panther
  17. Best Costume Design: Black Panther
  18. Best Sound Editing: First Man Bohemian Rhapsody
  19. Best Mixing: First Man  First Man Bohemian Rhapsody
  20. Best Visual Effects: Avengers: Infinity War First Man

Well, I did a pretty awful job this year, ahah. I only got 7 right out of the 20 categories I predicted.

The one I’m surprised by the most is Mahershala Ali as his first Best Supporting Actor win was just a few years ago, but hey I’m by no means disappointed.

 

Red Carpet Stuff

I didn’t actually watch this LIVE on TV, just following Twitter for the Oscars red carpet coverage, as I do year after year.

These are some of my favorite dresses of the night:

I LOVE seeing colors on the red carpet. There might be some I missed but of the ones I saw in my timeline, these are the ones that I think are the prettiest.


I feel like Cate Blanchett often wear sea-foam green color on the red carpet and she looks absolutely gorgeous in this floral number. Amy Adams looks like a mermaid in that pearl gown and it highlights her figure nicely. Michelle Yeoh & Angela Bassett both proof you can look perfectly glamorous at any age!

Dapper men on the red carpet!

Well, let’s just get to the main event shall we?

Favorite Speeches:

Olivia’s reaction when she heard her name was priceless… then came her speech. Endearing. Adorable. Humble. Hilarious. Moving. If there’s a Best Speech award, this Queen wins it hands down!

“God is Good ALL the time… and ALL the time, GOD IS GOOD!” – AMEN Regina King!!

I so wanted Ruth Carter to win because I adore every single one of those Black Panther costumes!!!

This is the one category I want A Star Is Born to win… Shallow is a beautiful, emotional song and boy… that Oscar performance was something else!


Fave Moments

Woo wee!! Captain America is my fave hero of the MCU… and Chris Evans is the absolute embodiment of him. Not to mention he’s looking dapper af!! 😉

I literally just watched BlackKlansman last night, just in the nick of time before the Oscars telecast. Thrilled to see it won Best Adapted Screenplay! But that great moment is topped by Spike Lee jumping Samuel L. Jackson on stage before he received his award. Yeah!!!

Confession: It’s only my second Spike Lee movie (yes I gotta rectify that soon, starting with Do The Right Thing!)

Is there a more iconic musical performance duo??

Final Thoughts

I know lots of people are upset with two of the categories… Best Actor (Rami Malek) and Best Picture (Green Book).

Haven’t seen BohemianRhapsody yet but can’t help but really astounded/baffled/ bewildered by Malek’s win. Was hoping anyone but him in this category, especially Bale.

As for Best Picture… well I actually enjoyed Green Book and didn’t learn about the controversies until later. I still stand by that it’s a good movie (it’s on my Top 10 of the year) though after having seen BlacKkKlansman last night, I think that Spike Lee film should’ve won over Green Book!!

We can debate endlessly about who should or more deserving to win, etc., but y’know what, it makes me glad to see the diversity of the winners. Here are four of the acting category winners…

Rami Malek, Olivia Colman, Regina King, Mahershala Ali – Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage

Let’s hope the diversity and inclusion extends to FEMALE FILMMAKERS in the future!! Come on The Academy, there are a plethora of great work by female filmmakers worth to be in the Best Picture category, especially Leave No Trace.

Lastly, about the host-less Oscars… I don’t really miss it, but hey if we have to have a host again, we should have these three funny ladies host next year!


So what’s your thoughts on the 2019 Oscar winners and what’s your pick of best/worst moments?

2019 Oscars Winner Predictions – Who will win, who should win

The telecast is just one week away – and this year, the weeks leading up to it has been marked with one controversy after another. Starting with the plan to add a baffling Most Popular Film category (huh??) back in August (which is now delayed & hopefully gone forever); to the hosting debacle with Kevin Hart in December which leads to no host this year; to the audacity of actually planning to award four categories —Cinematography, Editing, Make-Up/Hairstyling and Live Action Short — during commercial time in order to shorten the telecast… boy it seems like the Academy is off its rocker!

Naturally there’s an uproar by the public as well as members of the Academy that made them to finally reverse the decision (d’oh!) so now ALL 24 Award categories will be presented on stage in the Dolby Theatre, and included in the broadcast. It was interesting seeing all the reactions on Twitter, this one illustrates it best just how ludicrous it is to exclude cinematography and editing category…


As for the no-host thing, I personally don’t mind that at all. I mean why is it necessary to have a big long opening monologue? They could even move one of the musical numbers to the beginning. If the goal is to shorten the telecast, the intro should be the one area to trim.

In any case, per usual, it’s time for me to post my predictions for the winner, as well as which one I’m rooting to win. Apparently 32 nominations went to 12 films on the list of the top 50 grossing movies of the year (per Useless Daily).

BEST PICTURE

Nominees:
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
Roma
A Star Is Born
Vice

Who will win: ROMA
Who should win: A Star Is Born

Out of this list, I’ve only seen five but hopefully I’ll get to see Roma and BlackkKlansman before Oscar night. I have a soft spot for A Star Is Born and considering it’s from a first-time director, Bradley Cooper, it’s all the more astounding. However, though many thought that A Star is Born would be the favorite to win Best Picture, after the nominees were announced, the movie began to lose steam and the current favorite seems to be Rome from Alfonso Cuaron leading with odds at -110.


BEST ACTOR

Nominees:
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Who will win: Christian Bale
Who should win: Christian Bale

I actually don’t mind anyone else winning in this category, though I have only seen Rami Malek in Mr. Robot and though he’s good there, I’m just not enthused about seeing Bohemian Rhapsody. VICE is not a perfect movie but Christian Bale’s performance was simply astounding, such a chameleon actor who once again proved his chops in disappearing into a role.


BEST ACTRESS

Nominees:
Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Who will win: Olivia Colman
Who should win:  Olivia Colman

I have been a longtime admirer of Olivia Colman and she’s truly astounding in The Favourite. Having won Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG (pardon my error, Glenn Close actually won SAG this year) but Colman also won British Independent Film Awards. I think it’s safe to say she’ll go home w/ the Oscar statuette this year too!


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Nominees
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

Who will win: Sam Elliott
Who should win: Richard E. Grant

This is the first nomination for Sam Elliot, which I find hard to believe. I thought he was terrific in A Star Is Born, and I have a feeling he’d get the most Oscar votes. I was wowed by Richard E. Grant’s performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me? which mixes repulsion and pathos perfectly.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Nominees:
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Who will win: Regina King
Who should win: Amy Adams

I can’t believe this is Amy Adams’ sixth Oscar nomination!! Now I don’t want her to win simply because of that, but I think her performance as Lynn Cheney is a worthy one. I have a feeling this might not be her year again, somehow I feel like Regina King would win this category. I don’t have a problem with that, she’s definitely memorable in If Beale Street Could Talk.


BEST DIRECTOR

Nominees:
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Adam McKay, “Vice”

Who will win: Spike Lee
Who should win: Spike Lee

Firstly, I think Bradley Cooper is SNUBBED!! Apparently A Star Is Born directed itself as it garnered Best Picture nom and seven other categories 😉  Now, out of this list, the one I don’t think deserved to win is Adam McKay as VICE is such an uneven film, but my gut says first-time nominee Spike Lee (finally!) is likely to win Best Director.


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Nominees:
Incredibles 2, Brad Bird
Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson
Mirai, Mamoru Hosoda
Ralph Breaks the Internet, Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Who will win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Who should win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

After watching Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I knew it would get major award nominations and really it’s the best of the bunch! In terms of technicality, the unique animation style AND the engaging, moving story, it kind of leads the pack by a long shot.


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Nominees:
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel Coen , Ethan Coen
BlacKkKlansman, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins
A Star Is Born, Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Who will win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Who should win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

It’s always so tough to predict the screenplay category, and I haven’t seen the first two on the list. I’m not as enamored with If Beale Street Could Talk as I did with Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight. I love A Star Is Born, which absolutely moved me, but Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which centers on celebrity biographer Lee Israel, has such sharp wit and makes for such a compelling story of a flawed character. It’s won Writers Guild Award which usually is a good predictor for the Oscars.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Nominees:
The Favourite, Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
First Reformed, Paul Schrader
Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
Vice, Adam McKay

Ethan Hawke in ‘First Reformed’

Who will win: The Favourite
Who should win: First Reformed

Now, I haven’t seen First Reformed yet, but again, I’m astonished that Paul Schrader has never been nominated for an Oscar before. I mean he’s written such classics as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, etc. It seems unlikely however, I think it’ll come down to between The Favourite and Green Book.


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Cinematography:
Cold War, Lukasz Zal
The Favourite, Robbie Ryan
Never Look Away, Caleb Deschanel
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
A Star Is Born, Matthew Libatique

A Star Is Born – shot by Matthew Libatique

Who will win: A Star Is Born
Who should win: Cold War

I have yet to see Never Look Away, but six-time nominee Caleb Deschanel should’ve won for his work in The Passion of the Christ (which also should’ve been nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, etc). Out of the ones I have seen, I thought A Star Is Born and Cold War were visually ravishing. I put down Cold War as the one I’m rooting for, but I’d be equally thrilled if A Star Is Born wins.


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Nominees:
Capernaum (Lebanon)
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico)
Shoplifters (Japan)

A still from ‘Shoplifters’

Who will win: Shoplifters
Who should win: Cold War

I feel like if Roma won Best Picture, then the award in this category would go to Cold War. I have heard great things about Shoplifters however, so I have a feeling that one would be Cold War‘s biggest rival.


BEST FILM EDITING

Nominees:
BlacKkKlansman, Barry Alexander Brown
Bohemian Rhapsody, John Ottman
Green Book, Patrick J. Don Vito
The Favourite, Yorgos Mavropsaridis
Vice, Hank Corwin

Who will win: BlacKkKlansman
Who should win: BlacKkKlansman

I feel like this is such an important category that no doubt people were livid that they were going to exclude this from the broadcast! I mean, people often say that in the editing room is ‘where the magic of filmmaking happens.’ Out of the ones I have seen, I really have no preference/inkling who’d win, so I picked BlacKkKlansman simply out of what I’ve read so far about it and pure gut feeling.


BEST SOUND EDITING

Nominees:
Black Panther, Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker
Bohemian Rhapsody, John Warhurst
First Man, Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan
A Quiet Place, Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl
Roma, Sergio Diaz, Skip Lievsay

Who will win: First Man
Who should win: First Man

First Man is one of those films I saw this year that was a bit of a disappointment, perhaps because I had such a high expectations. But technically I thought it was a marvel so I predict it’ll win the two sound categories.


BEST SOUND MIXING

Nominees:
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
First Man
Roma
A Star Is Born

Who will win: First Man
Who should win: First Man

It’s always a challenge predicting the sound category, I just don’t feel I have the ear for it. So based on what I said above, I think First Man would get this one as well.


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Nominees:
Black Panther, Hannah Beachler
First Man, Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas
The Favourite, Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton
Mary Poppins Returns, John Myhre, Gordon Sim
Roma, Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez

Who will win: Black Panther
Who should win: Black Panther

I have to say that even from the first time I saw Black Panther, I was in awe by its production design. It’s truly something to marvel at even the 2nd and 3rd time I saw it! The world of Wakanda is futuristic but still has the beauty and texture of Africa, I especially love the look of Shuri’s state-of-the-art lab. The world building in this fictitious country is truly astounding as it also looks and feel organic and real.


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Nominees:
BlacKkKlansman, Terence Blanchard
Black Panther, Ludwig Goransson
If Beale Street Could Talk, Nicholas Britell
Isle of Dogs, Alexandre Desplat
Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

Who will win: Black Panther
Who should win: If Beale Street Could Talk

I love, love Black Panther‘s score and was humming it over and over after I saw it for the first time. But I thought Britell’s work in If Beale Street Could Talk is truly moving and adds so much to the romantic as well tragic moments of the film.


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Nominees:
All The Stars from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA
I’ll Fight from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson
The Place Where Lost Things Go from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
Shallow from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice
When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Who will win: Shallow
Who should win: Shallow

Despite not being a fan of Lady Gaga (I just don’t pay attention to her music before this), I absolutely love Shallow. I couldn’t stop humming it weeks after I saw it. Having won a bunch of awards already (including Golden Globe and BAFTA, also nominated for a Grammy), this seems to be the one to beat this year. The Place Where Lost Things Go is my favorite from Mary Poppins, though overall the movie itself didn’t really leave a lasting impression on me.


BEST MAKEUP/HAIRSTYLING

Nominees:
Border
Mary Queen of Scots
Vice

Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth in ‘Mary Queen of Scots’

Who will win: Vice
Who should win: Mary Queen of Scots

I wish Mary Queen of Scots would garner more nominations than this, but they truly deserved to be nominated just for the makeup on Margot Robbie alone, especially the chicken pox scene! I do think Vice might win this category though, for making Christian Bale look believable as Dick Cheney!


BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Nominees:
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Mary Zophres
Black Panther, Ruth E. Carter
The Favourite, Sandy Powell
Mary Poppins Returns, Sandy Powell
Mary Queen of Scots, Alexandra Byrne

Who will win: Black Panther
Who should win: Black Panther

I kind of have a feeling this category would come down to The Favourite and Black Panther. I love the look of Black Panther and the costumes are definitely intricate and unique, plus it doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever seen. Like the production design, it’s fitting that the clothes from a country with such cutting-edge technology would look revolutionary and futuristic, yet faithful to the African roots.


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Visual Effects:
Avengers: Infinity War
Christopher Robin
First Man
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story

Who will win: Avengers: Infinity War
Who should win: First Man

It’s the only category Avengers: Infinity War is nominated for and with a budget that’s practically infinite, it’s no doubt the visual effects is astounding. It’s entirely possible the Academy would give this one award to Disney, though I thought First Man did an astounding job making the journey to the moon so believable and so visceral.


Well, those are my predictions. Feel free to let me know who you think would/should win in the comments!