Quick thoughts on Oscars 2017… and that crazy Best Picture mixup!

oscars2017

Well this is the first year where the Oscars almost escaped me… It’s funny, there’s a line that my lead character said in my Hearts Want script, ‘I don’t give a f*** about the Oscars…’ Well, it seems his um, lack of enthusiasm seems to have rubbed off on me a bit. Suffice to say, I’ve just been so preoccupied w/ prepping my short film that I really couldn’t be bothered. In fact I stayed past 1:30 Saturday night making updates to the script. But y’know what, though I’m exhausted I don’t feel tired, I pretty much operate on adrenaline rush these days.

Before I posted about my thoughts on the Oscars though… what a sad news 😦

Ok just a few comments on the red carpet stuff…

bestdressedoscars2017

These three massively talented actors slay ’em at the red carpet!


Well, I think overall the ceremony is pretty boring… and Jimmy Kimmel is annoying generally. I did enjoy that whole bit about bringing a tour bus full of unsuspecting tourists to the Oscars. Especially these moments…

The expressions on these tourists faces are priceless… go Gary from Chicago!!

And can Sunny Pawar host the Oscars with Dev Patel next year?

Ah Taraji… she’s too freakin’ adorable!!

As for the winners…

The Oscars got it right w/ the first acting award of the night…

And finally… a classy, crazy talented lady gets her overdue moment to shine…

Beautiful, emotive lyrics too… so yeah I wish the Audition song instead of City Of Stars had won instead.

Haven’t seen Manchester By the Sea… can’t say I’m all that enthused about it.

Lest we forget…

Yep Denzel… I SO share your sentiment!

Emma’s performance in the Audition scene made me cry… so yeah, I have no problem w/ her winning. And her speech felt real and sweet. Leo presenting her the Oscar made me wonder why they haven’t worked together though.

As for the award of the night…

WOW, you’d never guess what happened!! I mean I saw it w/ my own eyes and I still couldn’t believe it!! Warren Beatty is the new Steve Harvey!!

WHOA!!! Seriously this was the craziest thing I’ve seen at the Oscars… or live TV for that matter! Well, I guess you could say the night ended with a BANG…

But yaaaaasssss!!!! I had always been #TeamMoonlight all award season…

I gotta say though, the La La Land producers, esp. Jordan Horowitz, was a good sport about the whole ordeal. I mean it must’ve been so devastating, not to mention embarrassing, to have started a speech and be told someone else had won!! But hey… in the end the Oscar voters got it right when it comes to Best Picture 😀

Yep, me too Mr. Jenkins. Me too!!


bestpicturemixuposcars2017

Well, I’m glad I tuned in to the Oscars tonight after all… otherwise I wouldn’t have witnessed the battiest Oscar moment in history on LIVE TV!

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Five for the Fifth: FEBRUARY 2017 Edition

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Welcome to FlixChatter’s blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. Whoa, the first month of 2017 has come and gone! Well, I actually almost forgot to do this month’s edition as I’ve been busy finishing my short film script. Well, so this February edition will be more of a reflection piece, if you will, so no First Look or new trailers. With that in mind, I’d like to pick your brains a bit to get to know you better as a cinematic blogger/reader friends!

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What single movie do you believe has had the single biggest impact on making you into a film buff and why?

….
2. Thanks to SlashFilm for this awesome find of a video! When I saw this beautiful video compiled of clips from every film to have won best cinematography at the Academy Awards, from 1927 to 2015, I knew I just had to feature it here. Interesting to see the evolution of cinematography over the years… crazy that the last three years had been dominated by Emmanuel Lubezki, and yet not a single clip from Roger Deakins!! 😦

What’s your favorite(s) from this amazing cinematography collection?

3. It’s only just one month into 2017 and we’ve already lost yet another acting legend 😦 The venerable John Hurt , the gravelly-voiced British actor who garnered Oscar nominations for his roles in Midnight Express and The Elephant Man, has died at the age of 77. He’s done so many varied roles in his illustrious career, but perhaps best known for the chest-busting scene in Alien.

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The roles I remember him most are in V For Vendetta, Harry Potter, Brighton Rock, Immortals, Snowpiercer, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The quintessential character actor, he always turned in a memorable performance even in small roles.

What’s your favorite John Hurt film(s)?

4. Since my head has been buried in screenplays lately (and hopefully forever), I paid more attention to that category more than the others. Out of the ten nominations in original and adapted screenplay categories, there are four I still haven’t yet: Hell or High Water, Manchester by the Sea, 20th Century Women and Fences. 

screenplay

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

Now I personally think Loving deserved a nom, more so than La La Land. Glad to see The Lobster getting recognized, now THAT is an original idea, bizarre, heartfelt, provocative AND funny!

Which 2016 movie you think deserve an Oscar Best Screenplay nomination?

5. This month Five for the Fifth’s guest is another great blogger from Down Under, Richard from CineMuse. I love his thought-provoking and ever-so-timely question…

Given the peculiar trait in American culture that makes certain topics appropriate for public discussion only if a movie is made about them…one often feels that the Academy Awards offer opportunities for expressing political sentiments that otherwise remain repressed.

(“The Politics of the Oscars”, Jonathan Rosenbaum)

The politics surrounding the Oscars threaten its legitimacy and is triggering an existential crisis: “The widespread protest over lack of diversity among this year’s acting nominees all but drowned out the usual pre-awards frivolity, and with no-shows, boycotts and “tune-outs”, on top of already declining TV viewing figures, the Oscars was, for the first time, contemplating its own irrelevance.

(The Guardian)

It is often argued that the Oscars is the most self-aggrandising and politically-loaded ritual of the film year. The reason is that the Oscars does not know if, as the Harvard Political Review puts it, “is it to recognize art or entertainment value.”

What’s your thought on that sentiment?


Well, that’s it for the FEBRUARY edition of Five for the Fifth. Hope you’ll take part!

2017 Golden Globe Awards: Thoughts on the Winners + Fave Moments of the Night

gglobes2017

Well it’s time for the obligatory award post of the year. I just tuned in right when the award presentation started, skipping the red carpet stuff. I quite enjoyed the La La Land themed opening, that was fun and that bit with Ryan Reynolds on top of the piano as Jimmy Fallon is impersonating Ryan Gosling is a hoot!

gglobesopening2017

If you missed it, here’s the video of that opening montage:

Fallon isn’t an edgy host, and the fact that the teleprompter wasn’t working properly within the first few minutes didn’t help. Overall he’s simply boring with puny attempts to be funny.

Heh could we just have Deadpool er, Ryan Reynolds to host next year? At least he’s self deprecating which I always find funny. He might not be the shrewdest actors out there but I think award hosting duties might be right his alley.


Thoughts on Winners/Losers

Best Motion Picture – Drama:

“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Lion”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight” (WINNER)

This tweet says it all…

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

“20th Century Women”
“Deadpool”
“La La Land” (WINNER)
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“Sing Street”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama:

Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea” (WINNER)
Joel Edgerton – “Loving”
Andrew Garfield – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Viggo Mortensen – “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington – “Fences”

These two tweets capture the sentiment of how I’ve been feeling this week about the stark treatments of Nate Parker and Casey Affleck, both embroiled in horrible sexual assaults accusations.

Viggo Mortensen is who I was rooting for, with Joel Edgerton as my second fave. Ah well…

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama:

Amy Adams – “Arrival”
Jessica Chastain – “Miss Sloane”
Isabelle Huppert – “Elle” (WINNER)
Ruth Negga – “Loving”
Natalie Portman – “Jackie”

I still haven’t seen ELLE yet but I have no problem with Isabelle Huppert winning as I heard her performance is astounding in the provocative thriller by Paul Verhoeven. Plus her speech was quite moving, it’s clear she didn’t think she would win. We’ll see if her win translate to the Oscars as well, if not then I think Amy Adams has a major shot at winning this.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

Colin Farrell – “The Lobster”
Ryan Gosling – “La La Land” (WINNER)
Hugh Grant – “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Jonah Hill – “War Dogs”
Ryan Reynolds – “Deadpool”

In case you haven’t read my La La Land review yet, well I said Gosling has such an inexpressive face devoid of emotion, and he’s no different in this movie. I’d rather see Reynolds win for his hilarious performance for Deadpool, but I think Farrell deserves to win!

That said, I thought his speech thanking his sweetheart Eva Mendes and dedicating the award to Mendes’ late brother, awwww, that wins major points in my book regardless of how I feel about him as an actor. That’s why his speech is one of my fave moments of the night…

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

Annette Bening – “20th Century Women”
Lily Collins – “Rules Don’t Apply”
Hailee Steinfeld – “The Edge of Seventeen”
Emma Stone – “La La Land” (WINNER)
Meryl Streep – “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges – “Hell or High Water”
Simon Helberg – “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Dev Patel – “Lion”
Aaron Taylor-Johnson – “Nocturnal Animals”  (WINNER)

Mahershala Ali is the one I championed! I hope he’ll be one of the Oscar pics for Best Supporting actors. It’d be cool to see Patel being recognized for his rare dramatic performance come Oscar time.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Viola Davis – “Fences” (WINNER)
Naomie Harris – “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman – “Lion”
Octavia Spencer – “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams – “Manchester by the Sea”

I’m glad to see three sublime Black actresses nominated in this category!! I had just seen Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures, it’s tough to pick between her and Naomie. Both are brilliant, so is Taraji P. Henson in Hidden Figures.

Best Director – Motion Picture:

Damien Chazelle – “La La Land” (WINNER)
Tom Ford – “Nocturnal Animals”
Mel Gibson – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Barry Jenkins – “Moonlight”
Kenneth Lonergan – “Manchester by the Sea”

I’m #TeamMoonlight (read my 5/5 review) this year so of course I’m bummed Barry Jenkins didn’t win this.

Best Screenplay:

“La La Land”
“Nocturnal Animals”
“Moonlight”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Hell or High Water”

Wait, what??!! Fine, Chazelle can keep his Best Director statue but Best Screenplay??? Come on HFP!!

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language:

“Divines” – France
“Elle” – France (WINNER)
“Neruda” – Chile
“The Salesman” – Iran/France
“Toni Erdmann” – Germany

Sadly I have not seen any of these, hope to rectify that situation soon!

Best Motion Picture – Animated:

“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Moana”
“My Life as a Zucchini”
“Sing”
“Zootopia” (WINNER)

Best Original Song – Motion Picture:

“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – “Trolls”
“City of Stars” – “La La Land” (WINNER)
“Faith” – “Sing”
“Gold” – “Gold”
“How Far I’ll Go” – “Moana”

City of Stars is a lovely song but after a while it’s getting on my nerves. Even that melody was a bit tiresome by the end of the movie.

Best Original Score – Motion Picture:

Nicholas Britell– “Moonlight”
Justin Hurwitz – “La La Land” (WINNER)
Johann Johannsson – “Arrival”
Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka – “Lion”
Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch – “Hidden Figures”

This is the one category I don’t mind La La Land winning.

Best Television Series – Drama:

“The Crown” (WINNER)
“Game of Thrones”
“Stranger Things”
“This Is Us”
“Westworld”

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy:

“Atlanta” (WINNER)
“Black-ish”
“Mozart in the Jungle”
“Transparent”
“Veep”

donaldglover

Haven’t seen any of these but wow, what a big night for Donald Glover for winning TWO awards as creator and best actor on the show, congrats!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama:

Rami Malek – “Mr. Robot”
Bob Odenkirk – “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys – “The Americans
Liev Schreiber – “Ray Donovan”
Billy Bob Thornton – “Goliath” (WINNER)

Another show I haven’t seen yet, but Thornton is a good actor.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama:

Caitriona Balfe – “Outlander”
Claire Foy – “The Crown”
Keri Russell – “The Americans”
Winona Ryder – “Stranger Things”
Evan Rachel Wood – “Westworld”

I’ve got so many shows to catch up on right now. I might watch The Crown after I finish Black Mirror.

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

Anthony Anderson – “Black-ish”
Gael García Bernal – “Mozart in the Jungle”
Donald Glover – “Atlanta” (WINNER)
Nick Nolte – “Graves”
Jeffrey Tambor – “Transparent”

Can’t comment here as I haven’t seen any of these shows.

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

Rachel Bloom – “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – “Veep”
Sarah Jessica Parker – “Divorce”
Issa Rae – “Insecure”
Gina Rodriguez – “Jane the Virgin”
Tracee Ellis Ross – “Black-ish”

Ditto in this category, but it’s cool to see such a diverse collection of people being nominated AND won this year. Let’s hope this isn’t just a trend.

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

“American Crime”
“The Dresser”
“The Night Manager”
“The Night Of”
“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (WINNER)

Definitely need to see The Night Manager, it’ll be a good break in between British monarch dramas The Crown and Victoria.

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

Riz Ahmed – “The Night Of”
Bryan Cranston – “All The Way”
Tom Hiddleston – “The Night Manager” (WINNER)
John Turturro – “The Night Of”
Courtney B. Vance – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Hiddles looks good tonight but what’s with that *short* story he told about South Sudan?? It certainly isn’t a um, swift acceptance speech 😉 Christian Slater‘s expression during his speech is EVERYTHING!

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

Felicity Huffman – “American Crime”
Riley Keough – “The Girlfriend Experience”
Sarah Paulson – “The People v. O.J. Simpson”(WINNER) 
Charlotte Rampling – “London Spy”
Kerry Washington – “Confirmation”

I really have no interest in seeing this OJ Simpson TV Movie, but Sarah Paulson is a good actress so congrats!!

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

Olivia Colman – “The Night Manager” (WINNER)
Lena Headey – “Game Of Thrones”
Chrissy Metz – “This Is Us”
Mandy Moore – “This Is Us”
Thandie Newton – “Westworld”

As I have just seen Thandie in Westworld, I was rooting for her. But I do love Olivia Colman so I’m glad she won!

Colman & Laurie in 'The Night Manager'
Colman & Laurie in ‘The Night Manager’

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

Sterling K. Brown – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Hugh Laurie – “The Night Manager” (WINNER)
John Lithgow – “The Crown”
Christian Slater – “Mr. Robot”
John Travolta – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Wow, Slater again for Mr. Robot? Yes it’s a good performance but is it that good? He already won one for the same show last year, so I would like to see someone else win in this category.


Random Commentaries

First let me say I’m flabbergasted it’s taken SO long for Meryl Streep to get her Cecil B. Demille award!! I mean how many nominations does the woman have to get before she deserves such an accolade. Heck, I bet most of the men who have gotten their awards haven’t been nominated for even half as many as Streep!

But hey, I absolutely LOVE Viola Davis’ speech introducing the award…

That speech by Meryl definitely brought down the house …

And this gif made me laugh!

Five Favorite Moments

 

 

 

 

… oh and no doubt THIS will be the kiss everyone’s talking about tomorrow 😉


So, what are YOUR thoughts on the 2017 winners & favorite moments of the night?


Award season chat: Musings on 2017 Golden Globes Nominations

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Award season is in full swing! There are a plethora of awards already announced, but in years past, I normally only talk about a few of them, SAG, Golden Globes and of course, the Oscars. By the time I got to Twitter on Monday morning, people were already chiming in on their thoughts on the noms. It’s no surprise that La La Land and Moonlight are frontrunners, with seven and six nods, respectively.

Well, I had planned on going to see Jackie tonight but I had to cancel as it’ll snow again this afternoon… and my week has been filled to the brim so tonight is the only night I could actually be home and do some household chores. But I am seeing La La Land tomorrow night, followed with Rogue One on Wednesday.

The head-scratching nom last year was The Martian being nominated under Musical/Comedy category. This year, it seems like the nomination of Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Nocturnal Animal (whilst Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon were both snubbed) seems puzzling to me, just based on the reviews I’ve read so far.

Anyway, here’s the full noms of the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards… and my short commentary on who I’m rooting for (in bold)… mostly on the FILM categories as I barely watch any TV (hoping to catch Westworld soon!):

Best Motion Picture – Drama:

“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“Lion”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”

moonlightmovie
As you’ve read in my glowing review, Moonlight is the one I’ll be rooting for all the way to the Oscars! I’m so 100% behind that film. A masterpiece of filmmaking, tackling a subject rarely seen in such a graceful, elegant and emotionally heart-wrenching way. It’ll be tough to beat that one as of now, even with a handful of other award contenders I have yet to see.

I so want this film to win not because it’d somehow *make up for* the #OscarSoWhite controversy last year, but because the outstanding work absolutely merits it.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

“20th Century Women”
“Deadpool”
“La La Land”
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“Sing Street”

Where is Hunt For the Wilderpeople?? I’d nominate that over Florence Foster Jenkins or Sing Street. I’ve finished my review of Wilderpeople and that’s one of the rare 5/5 rating I’ve given in a long time. I don’t know which from the list I’d root for, I’ll update it after I see La La Land tomorrow night.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama:

Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea”
Joel Edgerton – “Loving”
Andrew Garfield – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Viggo Mortensen – “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington – “Fences”

captainfantastic_viggo
This is Viggo’s third Globes nomination. Boy I can’t believe he hasn’t won a single one!! I sure hope his well, fantastic performance in Captain Fantastic finally earns him one this time around. I’m sure glad Edgerton’s got recognized for his quiet, soulful performance in Loving.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama:

Amy Adams – “Arrival”
Jessica Chastain – “Miss Sloane”
Isabelle Huppert – “Elle”
Ruth Negga – “Loving”
Natalie Portman – “Jackie”

amyadams_arrival
This is Adams’ seventh Globes noms and she’s won two. There’s some tough competition here, especially from Natalie Portman, but I’d love to see Adams nabs the statue. Glad to see Chastain being recognized for her confident, powerhouse performance in Miss Sloane.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

Colin Farrell – “The Lobster”
Ryan Gosling – “La La Land”
Hugh Grant – “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Jonah Hill – “War Dogs”
Ryan Reynolds – “Deadpool”

TheLobster_img2
Wow Jonah Hill again?? I like Reynolds, Grant and Farrell out of the ones I have seen, but I’m definitely rooting for Farrell for his understated but hilarious performance in The Lobster. I’d have loved to see the film recognized, and it could pretty much fit in either drama or comedy.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

Annette Bening – “20th Century Women”
Lily Collins – “Rules Don’t Apply”
Hailee Steinfeld – “The Edge of Seventeen”
Emma Stone – “La La Land”
Meryl Streep – “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Heh, I have only seen Streep’s performance so far, which I knew for sure will nab a nomination. After all she’s gonna pick up the Cecil B. Demille award. Now I don’t know if that means it lessens or increase her chance of winning in the individual award category, but I don’t really care for her winning again to be honest.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges – “Hell or High Water”
Simon Helberg – “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Dev Patel – “Lion”
Aaron Taylor-Johnson – “Nocturnal Animals”

Mahersala Ali
Mahershala Ali is one of my fave talent discoveries of 2016, so you bet I’m rooting for him!! I also adore Helberg’s and Patel’s performances, nice to see Patel being recognized for his rare dramatic performance.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Viola Davis – “Fences”
Naomie Harris – “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman – “Lion”
Octavia Spencer – “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams – “Manchester by the Sea”

Naomie Harris
I’m so impressed w/ the entire ensemble cast of Moonlight, so I’m glad Naomie got a nod! To think that she did this role during the undoubtedly glamorous press tour of the mega-budgeted Bond flick Spectre. She’s virtually unrecognizable (who’d believe she’s Money Penney!), but it’s not just the looks, but it’s a deeply-emotional performance that makes this indie gem shines.

Best Director – Motion Picture:

Damien Chazelle – “La La Land”
Tom Ford – “Nocturnal Animals”
Mel Gibson – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Barry Jenkins – “Moonlight”
Kenneth Lonergan – “Manchester by the Sea”

barryjenkins
Ah, so it seems Gibson’s officially back on Hollywood’s good graces again? Well, I think based on how I feel about Moonlight, it should be no surprise who I’m rooting for. An impressive sophomore feature film effort from Jenkins, I sure hope he continues to make movies.

Best Screenplay:

“La La Land”
“Nocturnal Animals”
“Moonlight”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Hell or High Water”


I’m gonna sound like a broken record here but I’m rooting yet again for Moonlight. It’s a coming-of-age drama with a real emotional punch. That revelation of adult Chiron in the end killed me… I literally gasped and sobbed in that scene. A great screenplay has the ability convey strong emotions with little words spoken. I aspire to be able to write that well one day.

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language:

“Divines” – France
“Elle” – France
“Neruda” – Chile
“The Salesman” – Iran/France
“Toni Erdmann” – Germany

Sadly I have not seen any of these 😦 I missed the press screening of Elle as it was at 10 o’clock in the morning. It’s too dark a film to see so early in the day anyway, but I’m so curious to see it.

Best Motion Picture – Animated:

“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Moana”
“My Life as a Zucchini”
“Sing”
“Zootopia”

Zootopia_judyhopps
I missed Kubo and the Two Strings and gonna miss the press screening of SING as well, as it conflicts with another film. But I adore Zootopia, so I guess right now that’s what I’m rooting for. Judy Hopps FTW! 🙂

Best Original Song – Motion Picture:

“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – “Trolls”
“City of Stars” – “La La Land”
“Faith” – “Sing”
“Gold” – “Gold”
“How Far I’ll Go” – “Moana”

Hmmm, where’s Shakira’s Try Everything from Zootopia? It’s actually written by SIA and it’s a really fun, catchy tune that fits nicely w/ the film’s topic. I have a feeling I’d enjoy the music of La La Land though, just based on some of the featurettes and trailers I’ve seen so far.

Best Original Score – Motion Picture:

Nicholas Britell– “Moonlight”
Justin Hurwitz – “La La Land”
Johann Johannsson – “Arrival”
Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka – “Lion”
Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch – “Hidden Figures”

Wow, I had no idea Hans Zimmer is one of the co-writers of Hidden Figures! I can’t wait to see that in January. Well, my fave here that I remember most is Moonlight. For some reason I didn’t really remember much of Arrival‘s score, I should definitely take a listen again as I LOVE Johannsson’s work in Sicario.

Best Television Series – Drama:

“The Crown”
“Game of Thrones”
“Stranger Things”
“This Is Us”
“Westworld”

strangerthings
Can’t really comment on any of these as I’ve only seen Stranger Things. I don’t know if it’s the BEST of the bunch but sure glad it’s got a nod.

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy:

“Atlanta”
“Black-ish”
“Mozart in the Jungle”
“Transparent”
“Veep”

Haven’t seen any of these.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama:

Rami Malek – “Mr. Robot”
Bob Odenkirk – “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys – “The Americans”
Liev Schreiber – “Ray Donovan”
Billy Bob Thornton – “Goliath”

rhysamericans
I actually have only seen a handful of episodes of season 1 of The Americans. But I was so impressed w/ Rhys’ performance and he’s generally a massively-underrated actor anyway. So even though I think Malek’s terrific in his breakout role in Mr. Robot, I feel like Rhys’ work as a Russian spy deserves equal recognition. Malek’s won an Emmy already though, so he probably wins this one as well.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama:

Caitriona Balfe – “Outlander”
Claire Foy – “The Crown”
Keri Russell – “The Americans”
Winona Ryder – “Stranger Things”
Evan Rachel Wood – “Westworld”

russellamericans
Wow, talk about a comeback role for Winona Ryder! I feel like she’s either scared or worried in the entire show though, but I guess it’s a memorable performance. I personally would like to see Keri Russell win in The Americans. How awesome would it be if the pair playing married KGB spies win ’em this year!

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

Anthony Anderson – “Black-ish”
Gael García Bernal – “Mozart in the Jungle”
Donald Glover – “Atlanta”
Nick Nolte – “Graves”
Jeffrey Tambor – “Transparent”

Can’t comment here as I haven’t seen any of the performances. Never even heard of Graves before, either.

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

Rachel Bloom – “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – “Veep”
Sarah Jessica Parker – “Divorce”
Issa Rae – “Insecure”
Gina Rodriguez – “Jane the Virgin”
Tracee Ellis Ross – “Black-ish”

Ditto in this category, though I have seen a few episodes of Veep and Louis-Dreyfus is such a hoot!

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

“American Crime”
“The Dresser”
“The Night Manager”
“The Night Of”
“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Gah, I really want to see The Night Manager and The Night Of!! Been hearing great things about both.

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

Riz Ahmed – “The Night Of”
Bryan Cranston – “All The Way”
Tom Hiddleston – “The Night Manager”
John Turturro – “The Night Of”
Courtney B. Vance – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

hiddlesvsahmed

Again no comment here, but nice to see Brits Hiddles and Ahmed in the same category (their shows’ titles sound so similar too!). I’m really glad to see Ahmed getting more recognition (especially after Rogue One). Been a fan of his since The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

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

Felicity Huffman – “American Crime”
Riley Keough – “The Girlfriend Experience”
Sarah Paulson – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Charlotte Rampling – “London Spy”
Thandie Newton – “Westworld”

Can’t comment on the performances yet, but I find it baffling that Newton is nominated here under the ‘Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television’ category, whilst Evan Rachel Wood is nominated under ‘Television Series – Drama’ Huh?? Again, bonkers categorization of the HFPA.

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

Olivia Colman – “The Night Manager”
Lena Headey – “Game Of Thrones”
Chrissy Metz – “This Is Us”
Mandy Moore – “This Is Us”
Kerry Washington – “Confirmation”

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I haven’t even seen The Night Manager yet but I’m already rooting for Olivia Colman! She’s another underrated actor I wish would get more recognition. I LOVE her in Broadchurch in which she won a BAFTA for Best Leading Actress.

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

Sterling K. Brown – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Hugh Laurie – “The Night Manager”
John Lithgow – “The Crown”
Christian Slater – “Mr. Robot”
John Travolta – “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Wow, Slater again for Mr. Robot? Yes it’s a good performance but is it that good? He already won one for the same show last year, so I would like to see someone else win in this category.


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Quick thoughts on Snubs and Surprises:

  • Surprised to see Martin Scorsese‘s SILENCE got snubbed. It sounds like one of those films the HFPA and Academy would be into, especially given it’s a Scorsese’s picture, too. I guess one of the biggest surprises is seeing Mel Gibson‘s name… and Aaron Taylor-Johnson‘s (as I’ve mentioned above).
  • Seeing Simon Helberg‘s name up there is a pleasant surprise though, he’s such a hoot in Florence Foster Jenkins!
  • Boy I feel like it’s been ages since Deadpool came out, but I’d think it warrants its nom in the comedy category. It sure has been a good year for Ryan Reynolds!
  • I know lots of people are dismayed not seeing Tom Hanks nominated for Sully, but really the man has won numerous accolades over his career. I’m not saying he wouldn’t be deserving it, but sounds like there are some really strong performances in that category as it is.
  • Hmmm, no Michael Keaton in The Founder? There’s virtually zero buzz for that film, too.
  • Based on what I’ve seen even in the trailers, Taraji P. Henson killed it in Hidden Figures. Looks like an extremely different role from her hit TV show EMPIRE.
  • Last but definitely not least, as Vulture astutely pointed out, where’s the female-led films?? They’re all pretty much snubbed in the drama categories… I mean, not even Arrival?? I’m no Gibson hater but is Hackshaw Ridge better than Arrival? Really?Snubbing both Jackie AND Hidden Figures… I agree w/ this sentiment “For the HFPA to snub two films that center on pivotal women in American history, in favor of hypermasculine narratives, feels especially icky this year.” 😦

Well, what are your thoughts on the Golden Globes nominations? Let’s hear it!

It’s a wrap! ‘Moonlight’ and MN-made ‘Blood Stripe’ won TCFF 2016 top awards

It’s a wrap!!

tcfflogoThe 2016 TCFF has concluded Saturday night with a festive closing night party.

I saw four films Saturday night. Starting with two great documentaries Actors Of Sound and Free Cece, followed by two powerful emotional dramas, Lion and Moonlight.

I had been crying so much watching Lion, a wonderful depiction of an incredible true story, and Moonlight was an even more emotional experience. It was a well-written, well-acted and simply powerful film about Black sexuality, featuring the kind of deep emotional intimacy I haven’t seen in many films, regardless of race and gender.

I also enjoyed the short film that preceded Actors of Sound called Boom Up!, it was hilarious! I won’t have the reviews of the films I saw in last two days of TCFF until later in November, but let’s just say I recommend all the four films I saw on closing night!

Concluding a star-studded showcase that featured more than 100 films spanned over 11 days, this is perhaps the largest-ever Twin Cities Film Fest ever with over 130 films, including shorts and documentaries! Top awards went to the critically-acclaimed coming of age drama Moonlight, which had been hailed by critics as the best film of the year and will hopefully gain more traction until the Oscars next year. Just like Room and Brooklyn last year, TCFF continues tradition in screening critical darlings that went on to win accolades at the Oscars.

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Here are the winners from Twin Cities Film Fest 2016:

Best Short Film: Lend a Hand For Love, directed by John and Amy Thompson

Audience Award – Short: Waabooz, directed by Molly Katagiri

Best Documentary: I Do? directed by Joe Brandmeier

Audience Award – Documentary: Iron Will, directed by Sergio Valenzuela

Indie Vision — Breakthrough Non-Fiction Film: They Call Us Monsters, directed by Ben Lear

Indie Vision — Breakthrough Feature Film: No Light and No Land Anywhere, directed by Amber Sealey

Indie Vision — Breakthrough Performance: Kate Nowlin (Blood Stripe)

Best Feature Film: Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins

Audience Award – Feature Film: Blood Stripe

I’m so thrilled for Remy Auberjonois and Kate Nowlin who won the Audience Award in the Feature Film category. As you know from my review of Blood Stripe, I was so impressed with this film. It’s so well-written, well-directed AND phenomenally-acted by Kate Nowlin, who deservedly also won Best Breakthrough Performance this weekend. I certainly think Kate’s performance is Oscar worthy!

Kate & Remy receiving the award from TCFF exec director Jatin Setia
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Kate with TCFF artistic director Steve Snyder

Another well-deserved award, that is the TCFF North Star Award goes to the massively talented indie actor Dominic Rains. You may not know who he is yet folks, but mark my words, you will! He’s already won Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film at Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year for his performance in Burn Country (originally named The Fixer), which also screened at TCFF, along with two others, Funeral Day and The Loner.

Dominic Rains with Steve + Jatin

I have seen two of the three films he’s in and was really impressed by his strong screen presence and versatility as his role in the thriller/drama Burn Country (as a former Afghan journalist) and the comedy Funeral Day (as a rather obnoxious American realtor) couldn’t be more different from each other, but yet he pulls off both roles effortlessly. Stay tuned for my in-depth interview with Dominic on his career, as well as with Funeral Day‘s director Jon Weinberg!

As I’ve mentioned in this post, I’m glad to see quite a few female filmmakers as well as female-driven films represented at TCFF! One of the finalists for Breakthrough Feature Film that I was really impressed with was Claire In Motion, which was directed by a pair of female filmmakers, featuring a terrific performance by Betsy Brandt.

It was already close to 11pm by the time I came out of the Moonlight screening, TCFF’s final film, but I couldn’t miss the award ceremony at TCFF lounge. I was only there for an hour or so and I had a blast hanging out with my friends, Kirsten Gregerson and Emmylou Barden.

me with Emmylou & Kirsten
me with Emmylou & Kirsten

I don’t know how long the party went on but clearly everyone had a great time! I’m glad I got a chance to congratulate Kate Nowlin for her award, my interview with her and her husband/collaborator Remy Auberjonois are certainly one of the highlights of covering TCFF, not just this year but of all seven years I’ve been with the film fest! Just before I left for the night, I even got a chance to chat with Remy about the enigmatic ending of Blood Stripe. Once you see it, I think you’ll know what I mean!

Thanks to my darling hubby for taking pictures of the closing party festivities! Check out his Instagram for his awesome travel photography (and I’m not just saying that ’cause I’m his wife) 🙂


Congrat Jatin, Bill, Dani, Steve and Naomi for another great year!
It was so gratifying to be a part of TCFF once again… watching, discussing & celebrating indie films and the art of filmmaking.


Musings on the TCFF 2016 Award finalists … championing indie films & women in film

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I haven’t had even an hour to blog all day today as I was watching films, interviewing talents and socializing at the mixer at the beautiful festival lounge at the Shoppes at West End. My head is still spinning as I’m writing this… my body is exhausted but my spirits are high from the exhilaration of meeting so many great people. My day started with an a delightful interview with actor Dominic Rains, and got to meet Jon Weinberg (the director and star of Funeral Day) whom I had interviewed the night before. Then in the afternoon I got to meet the director of The Babymoon Bailey Kobe, as well as Kate Sloate who’s in the film’s producing team. I will post more pictures in my wrap post!

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I stopped by TCFF lounge for a couple of hours, which was even busier as the night went on. For sure the closing night party tomorrow will be a blast, and I sure wouldn’t want to miss the Award Ceremony!

Speaking of award, Twin Cities Film Fest has announced the TCFF award finalists a few days ago here. I’m so thrilled for so many of these indie filmmakers, whether it’s shorts, features or documentaries, that their hard work are being recognized. For many of them, their indie films are their sweat, blood and tears… as most of these films are made with shoestring budgets. This is why I LOVE covering TCFF, as I get to see more indie films than I otherwise would in a given month! As I meet filmmakers and talents, it’s apparent to see that the limited budget/resources just made them more innovative and creative! This is why I will always support indie films and indie filmmakers!!

2016 TCFF FINALISTS

Best Feature Film:

  • “Blood Stripe,” directed by Remy Auberjonois
  • “Burn Country,” directed by Ian Olds
  • “First Girl I Loved,” directed by Kerem Sanga
  • “Lion,” directed by Garth Davis
  • “Moonlight,” directed by Barry Jenkins.

Best Documentary:

  • “Denial,” directed by Derek Hallquist
  • “The Eagle Huntress,” directed by Otto Bell
  • “Free CeCe!” directed by Jacqueline Gares
  • “I Do?” directed by Joe Brandmeier
  • “IRON WILL: Veteran’s Battle with PTSD,” directed by Sergio Valenzuela.

Best Short Film:

  • “Duffy’s Jacket,” directed by Brian Hoesing
  • “I Want You Inside Me,” directed by Alice Shindelar
  • “Lend a Hand For Love,” directed by John and Amy Thompson
  • “The Story,” directed by Cameron Digwall and Carolyn Pender
  • “Twinsburg,” directed by Joe Garrity.

Indie Vision — Breakthrough Feature Film:

  • “Claire in Motion,” directed by Annie J. Howell and Lisa Robinson
  • “The Eyes of My Mother,” directed by Nicolas Pesce
  • “Girl Flu,” directed by Dorie Barton
  • “June Falling Down,” directed by Rebecca Weaver
  • “No Light and No Land Anywhere,” directed by Amber Sealey

Indie Vision — Breakthrough Non-Fiction Film:

  • “In Pursuit of Silence,” directed by Patrick Shen
  • “IRON WILL: Veteran’s Battle with PTSD,” directed by Sergio Valenzuela
  • “Prison Dogs,” directed by Geeta Gandbhir and Perri Peltz
  • “Tarkovsky: Time Within Time,” directed by PJ Letofsky
  • “They Call Us Monters,” directed by Ben Lear

Indie Vision — Breakthrough Performance:

  • “Blood Stripe,” Breakthrough: Actress Kate Nowlin
  • “Donald Cried,” Breakthrough: Actor Kris Avedisian
  • “First Girl I Loved,” Breakthrough: Director Kerem Sanga
  • “Hunky Dory,” Breakthrough: Actor Tomas Pais
  • “The Other Kids,” Breakthrough: Director Chris Brown
  • “Lend a Hand For Love,” Breakthrough: Directors John and Amy Thompson
  • “Moonlight,” Breakthrough: Writer Barry Jenkins.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Lea Thompson

I’m so glad I got to chat with Lea when she was in town last month for TCFF gala. I also got to interview Jim Hemphill whose wonderfully-crafted drama The Trouble With The Truth was screened at one of TCFF’s Insider Series!

In addition to the staff and audience awards, the 2016 event is also bestowing two North Star Awards to visiting actors Tim Guinee (in town to celebrate the 10th anniversary of “Sweet Land”) and Dominic Rains (starring in three TCFF films now touring the festival circuit — the James Franco-Melissa Leo mystery “Burn Country” screening Saturday night, the neo-noir thriller “The Loner” screening Friday, and the dark comedy “Funeral Day” showing Saturday morning).


Now, I haven’t seen all of the films nominated, as there are only so many hours in a day and I still had to work at my full time job the first week of TCFF. But of the ones I have seen, I definitely agree with most of the choices! I’m especially thrilled to see SO may female filmmakers and talents being represented AND recognized. I think people who read my blog and connected w/ me on Twitter know that I’m not only a big champion of indie films, but also women in film! It’s clear that indie films are the place for women and diverse talents thrive… so I’m glad I got to see many of them thanks to TCFF!

Whether in front of or behind the camera, it always perks me up to see women storytellers, creating and/or portraying multi-dimensional, fully fleshed-out female characters and bringing their stories to life. One of my all time favorite performances is Kate Nowlin in Blood Stripeand having chatted with her in person, she is an inspiration both on and off screen!

Both Prison Dogs and The Eagle Huntress have become two of my all time favorite documentaries! I can’t review the latter until mid November where it’s released here in Minnesota, but I can’t recommend it enough. I guarantee you’d fall in love with 13-year-old Aisholpan who defied the odds to become a champion eagle huntress!

mnwiftIt’s always a blast hanging out with friends and new people you meet at TCFF lounge. But tonight is especially awesome as I got to hang out with two ladies from Minnesota Women in Film and Television (MN WIFT), Joanne Liebeler and Deborah Fiscus. I love their positive energy and warm personality, it’s always encouraging and inspiring to be around such wonderful people!

I feel so blessed to have met to these smart, accomplished, yet warm & lovely ladies, so thank you to my pal Kirsten Gregerson for introducing us! I’m definitely going to join the organization and learn from local women who work in film, television, and new media in Minnesota.

mn_wft
with MN WIFT’s Joanne, Deborah and my pal Kirsten Gregerson

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Well, tomorrow is the last day of TCFF already! It’s a jam-packed closing day with three gala screenings: LION, Moonlight AND Burn Country, with its star Dominic Rains attending!

I’ll be seeing FOUR movies tomorrow, starting with the documentary on foley artists, Actors Of Sound at 10:15AM, which ends with the closing film Moonlight at 8:30PM! I’m writing this past midnight and in dire need of sleep, but I’m excited for what’s in store for me tomorrow!

 


My 2016 Oscar recap… in tweets, gifs and clips

OscarsTelecast2016

Ahhh the morning after… So did you see the telecast last night? I went downstairs to my entertainment room at 6:30 and was hoping the whole thing would just start at 7pm, but heh of course we had to get through all the red carpet stuff first. Someone tweeted that the Oscars is really just a whole bunch of commercials interrupted by an award show, heh isn’t that the truth!

Anyway, it must’ve been quite a whirlwind night for these four acting winners.

poses in the press room during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at Loews Hollywood Hotel on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California.
Photo courtesy of ABC.com

I did live tweet last night, but honestly I just didn’t have the energy (nor desire) to do a full writeup as I usually do, so I figure why not just do it w/ social media?

Red Carpet Stuff






The monologue & things…

For the most part I enjoyed the telecast, despite being so award fatigue by now. I have to say I was most curious to see how Chris Rock would fare as host. Well, I kind of have mixed feelings about it, though I did laugh at his no-holds-barred approach to the whole #OscarsSoWhite issue.

ChrisRockOscars

Right away he addressed the massive elephant in the room full of industry folks…

“You realize if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job! You’d all be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.” 

In response to those who called for him to quit the hosting gig…

I thought about quitting. I thought about it really hard. But I realized they’re gonna have the Oscars anyway. They’re not gonna cancel the Oscars because I quit. And the last thing I need is to to lose another job to Kevin Hart, okay?”

He didn’t just roast The Academy and Hollywood however, he took some jabs at his own Black peers which I thought was hilarious!

“Everybody went mad [this year] … Jada [Pinkett Smith] got mad. Jada said she’s not coming. Isn’t she on a TV show? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”

“I understand you’re mad. I’m not hating. … Jada’s mad her man Will [Smith] was not nominated for Concussion. I get it … It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. You’re right. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West, okay?”

Double ouch! It didn’t stop there for Jada and Will as later on there’s a whole segment about Black History Month and it’s as if Angela Bassett was talking about Will Smith, but it turns out the person the Academy was honoring was Jack Black. ha!


I gotta say that the skit spoofing how hard it is for black actors to land a role in white Hollywood had me in stitches! Especially this one w/ Tracy Morgan spoofing The Danish Girl. Even Eddie Redmayne was laughing when the camera panned to him.


But the most discombobulating and cringe-worthy moment of the night goes to:

StaceyDashOscars2016
“I cannot wait to help my people out, Happy Black History Month!”

Rock introduced Stacey Dash, who’s known for her role in Clueless and is now a Fox News commentator, as the “new director” of the Academy’s “minority outreach program.”

Yes I knew about her controversial remark back in January when she declared that there should be no Black History Month or BET, but somehow the joke just didn’t jibe and it seems off the mark as most people are baffled by the appearance.

So what does Rock really think about Hollywood?

Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. But it’s not the racist you’ve grown accustomed to. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, ‘We like you, Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.’”

Rock certainly didn’t shy away from tackling the race issue head on, though all of this diversity stuff seems to be more about black vs white, whilst there are a slew of other races under-represented in Hollywood… and of course it goes beyond race as women still don’t get anywhere close to the same opportunities as men.

I do hope that as much as it’s uncomfortable and perhaps annoying to some that this diversity issue keeps coming up, perhaps it’ll signal change in the ‘inclusion crisis’ (which is a more accurate term to describe this whole diversity issue) that started long before any Oscar ballot was cast.


Now about those awards…

If all you care about is the four main categories…


Best Original & Adapted Screenplay Awards

I had put these two down as the who WILL and SHOULD win the two writing awards, so yeah I’m happy w/ the results!


Not a fan of Ryan Gosling/Russell Crowe combo, but…


Ugh, Sam Smith is singing that awful Spectre song!


Alicia Vikander won Best Supporting Actress!


First of SIX awards for ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Best Costume Design

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In the end, ‘Fury Road’ won the 6 Oscars in these categories:

  1. Film Editing: Margaret Sixel
  2. Costume Design: Jenny Beavan
  3. Makeup: Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
  4. Sound Editing: Mark Mangini and David White
  5. Sound Mixing: Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
  6. Production design: Production design by Colin Gibson; set decoration by Lisa Thompson

This i09 article describes my sentiment perfectly…

i09_FuryRoad_Oscars


So… Best Cinematography went to Emmanuel Lubezki.
He’s won THREE years in a row. Poor Mr. Deakins.


Best Film Editing


Best Visual Effects


Best Animated Feature


Best Supporting Actor

Ok so I was rooting for Sly Stallone to win this but I can’t really be disappointed by Rylance win though, it’s not like he didn’t deserve it.


Best Documentary Feature

It goes to AMY. I haven’t seen it yet but Asif Kapadia did the excellent doc SENNA. I have only seen ONE from the five docs nominated!


AlanRickmanInMemoriam


Best Presenter Duo of the Night

Beasts of No Nation‘s Abraham Attah and Room‘s Jacob Tremblay, hands down. Both delivered Oscar-worthy performances in their own right, too!

JacobTremblayAbrahamAttah


Lady Gaga performed a powerful and emotional rendition of her Oscar-nominated song Til It Happen To You from the sexual assault documentary The Hunting Ground. It gives me goosebumps watching it and it deservedly received a standing ovation.


But WTF, it’s followed by one the most underserving wins of the night, ugh!

Best Original Song


Best Director

It went to Alejandro González Iñárritu once again [sigh] Soooo bummed for George Miller 😦

THIS.


Best Actress

I thought Brie looked radiant in a blue gown last night… and she gave a gracious speech, thanking everyone from her co-star Jacob Tremblay & boyfriend Alex Greenwald to the moviegoers who saw it.


Best Actor

So Leo DiCaprio finally catches a break! 😉


Best Picture


My Oscar predictions tally

Well, out of the 16 categories I predicted, I got 11 right, so not bad!

Of ALL of the categories I put down for SHOULD WIN, I’m most disappointed by George Miller losing and Roger Deakins losing yet again for the 13th time. Sheesh!!

RogerDeakins
The legendary Mr. Deakins hard at work


Some of my fave gif-worthy moments of the night:

Tremblay_SWdroids

Methinks Jacob Tremblay would like to be in the next Star Wars movie. How ’bout that Disney?

Winslet_girlscoutcookies

LOVE that whole girl scout cookies thing, it always makes for some amusing gifs afterwards!

Keaton_spotlight

LOVE Keaton’s performance in Spotlight, I suppose if Fury Road didn’t get it, I’m glad it went to this film!


That’s it folks, the culmination of Hollywood award season is now over… thank goodness!


So what did you think of last night’s ceremony? Glee, gladness & gripes? Let’s hear it!

The obligatory Oscar predictions post: Who will win & who should win

Oscars2016

Well, it’s that time of the year again… tax season and the Oscars. We’re in fact doing our taxes just before I worked on this post. Both are unavoidable and obligatory, well for most of us blogging/writing about movies anyway.

This is the first year I’m actually looking forward to the opening monologue more than the main event. I can’t wait to hear what Chris Rock‘s going to say about the whole diversity issue. But hopefully the whole thing won’t be too heavy handed and we get to see him poke fun at a bunch of celebs, as to be expected.

ChrisRock

To be honest with you, even though it’s Oscar week, I hadn’t really been thinking much about the Oscars. In fact, I hadn’t been seeing anything Oscar-related the past couple of weeks, though we wanted to see Shaun of the Sheep movie last night, which was nominated for Best Animated Feature but there’s a connection issue so we watched another episode of Jessica Jones instead.

oscar-ballot-2016I’ve posted my thoughts on the nominations, but now that the big event is near, I thought I’d pick who will and SHOULD win the Oscars this year. I’m not predicting ALL of the categories though, just the ones that I have actually seen. Click on this handy Oscar ballot from EW.com if you want to see the full nominees.

So here we go:

BEST PICTURE

Who will win: The Revenant

Who should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

No doubt The Revenant is the frontrunner this year in many categories, but once the dust of award season’s settled I think Fury Road is one people will remember more in the end. It’s such a singularly unique film that’s spectacularly-crafted all around.

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ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Who will win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Who should win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Even without having seen his performance in full as I have yet to see the film, I think it’s safe to say this is Leo’s year.

Leo_Brie
Methinks we’ll see a repeat of Leo-Brie pairing in the leading performance category

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

 Who will win: Brie Larson, Room

 Who should win: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Having won pretty much every other award in this category, I think Brie will be this year’s Jennifer Lawrence. I still want to see Ronan win it though, as I think Ronan’s understated performance leaves a more lasting impression to me. It’s not a flashy role which takes an astute performer to pull it off so beautifully.

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ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Who will win: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Who should win: Tom Hardy, The Revenant

I had been championing Stallone from the get go and I’m not surprised he’s the frontrunner in this category. However, part of me thinks that Hardy’s been overlooked in general despite his astonishing performance in no less than three films: Legend, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant, which I read is just as compelling as Leo’s and that his character is actually more complex in the film.

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ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Who will win: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Who should win: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

I have only seen two performances in this category and I for one don’t think Rachel McAdams is THAT great to be nominated. I mentioned before that I actually wished for Kristen Stewart to be recognized for Clouds of Sils Maria instead of McAdams. So I’ll pick Winslet in this lot as I was impressed by her performance.

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DIRECTING

Who will win: Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

Who should win: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

I’m going to borrow Variety‘s Justin Chang’s reasoning for what he called ‘a tour de force visual storytelling’… “[Miller] gave us far more than just a master class in how to block, frame, shoot and edit action.” Amen to that, let’s hope he’s properly recognized.

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CINEMATOGRAPHY

Who will win: The Revenant

Who should win: Sicario


Fury Road
and Sicario are both spectacularly shot. But I give Sicario the edge because Roger Deakins’ visual mastery has been overlooked time and time again. This is his thirteen nominations with not a single win so far. I read this article on Deakins and his approach to his work and how his imagery is done to serve a larger purpose is why he is such a legend.

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ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Who will win: Inside Out

Who should win: Anomalisa

Though I wasn’t blown away by the story of Anomalisa, I think it deserves to win for being such a unique piece of art. It’s one of the most lifelike claymation and the story is unconventionally dark and moody for this genre.

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COSTUME DESIGN

Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who should win: Cinderella

I think Fury Road has won many awards in this category and I certainly won’t be fuming if they win again at the Oscars. But I’d LOVE to see Sandy Powell win in either category, especially Cinderella, given the incredible amount of gowns she has to design. I’m more enamored by Cate Blanchett’s dresses, though of course Cinderella’s sparkly ballgown in iconic in its own right.

CInderellaCostumes

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MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Who will win: The Revenant

Who should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

I think Leo’s severe flesh wounds from the bear attack will likely garner a win for the makeup artist. But the look of the characters in Fury Road is simply astonishing and unforgettable.

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MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

Who will win: The Hateful Eight

Who should win: Sicario

One can’t deny the masterful work of Ennio Morricone, who like Deakins have never won a single Oscar for an individual piece of work (he did won an honorary Oscar in 2007). But I was blown away by Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score in Sicario, which adds so much tension and dread to the film.

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MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

Who will win: Writing’s On The Wall, Spectre

Who should win: Till It Happens To You, The Hunting Ground


Anything other than Sam Smith’s song please!! I think the melody of Writing’s on the Wall is fine but the song w/ his whiny voice is more like writhing against the wall. I actually just listened to Lady Gaga’s song Til It Happens To You and it’s a powerful one on an important subject.

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PRODUCTION DESIGN

Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

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It’ll be Fury Road hands down in this category. I mean, the set pieces of Fury Road is unlike any other film I’ve seen. The vehicles alone are incredible, as you can see in this top 10 list. They actually built every single one of those, instead of relying on CGI effects.

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VISUAL EFFECTS

Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who should win: Ex Machina

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I certainly won’t have any qualms if Fury Road wins again in this category. But I was thrilled to see the ‘little film that could’ Ex Machina, with its $15 mil budget get in the race. I’d love to see it win this thing because it’s a visually spectacular film that looks more expensive than it is. The look of the robot Ava alone is so unique in a plethora of robot movies in Hollywood. This film also happens to boast the first female nominee in the visual effects category in more than a decade!

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WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

Who will win: The Big Short

Who should win: The Big Short

The Big Short won best adapted screenplay at the Writers Guild Awards and also took the top prize at the Producers Guild Awards, so I’d think it has a big chance of taking home the Oscar. It’s really an unconventional take of a financial crisis, but the risk paid off. I wouldn’t mind The Martian or Brooklyn winning either, esp. the latter.

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WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

Who will win: Spotlight

Who should win: Spotlight

I was simply blown away by this meticulous, sharp and understated film. Powerful without resorting to sensationalism or emotional manipulation. This is my second pick after Mad Max: Fury Road to win Best Picture, and if it won in this category, it’ll have a major chance of winning the top prize.

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I have a feeling this year there might not be a single film that’ll sweep all of the awards, but if that happens, I hope that’ll be Mad Max: Fury Road!

So that’s it folks. I’m only predicting 16 out of the complete 24 categories.We’ll see how many I’d get wrong tomorrow night 😉


Ok, so what are some of your Oscar winner predictions for this year?

2016 Oscar Nominations: The Good, the Bad and the WTF

Normally I’m excited for Oscar nominations, but this year it was overshadowed by a couple of things that happen around the same time. Just before I went to bed last night I heard news of terrorist attacks in my homeland Jakarta in multiple locations. One of the first bombs that went off was so close to my two nieces’ schools!! I immediately texted my brother and he was right in the middle of picking up his three girls from two different schools. Thank God they’re ok. It’s truly a scary world we live in.

And then of course in the morning I heard of the passing of one of my all time favorite actor Alan Rickman 😦 My heart is heavy. I shall do a tribute for Mr. Rickman this weekend.

Ok, well I suppose life must go on. So here’s my thoughts on this year’s Academy Awards nominations…

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Same like last year, I didn’t make a post of my nomination predictions this year, I only tweeted who’d be nominated for Best Picture and a few other categories. Well, I guessed correctly that it’d be 8 nominations, but apparently I got two wrong, but the two films that did get in were two I really like.

So instead of Carol and Anomalisa, Brooklyn (which was in my top 3 of the year!) and Bridge of Spies (which is in my top 20) were nominated.

Anyhoo, at 5:30 PCT, actor John Krasinski, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, and filmmakers Guillermo del Toro and Ang Lee revealed the nominees. View complete nominees list here.

Let’s start with the positive …

The Good

• YES, prayer answered!! Thrilled to see Mad Max: Fury Road nearly swept the Oscars with 10 nominations! I love hearing its name mentioned over and over as I was listening to it this morning [happy dance] 2 nominations short compared to The Revenant… and both starred Tom Hardy! 😀

• Happy to see George Miller amongst Best Director nod, yes!!!!

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• Speaking of the British hottie – YAY for Tom Hardy getting an acting nomination for Best Supporting Actor in The Revenant, woo hoo!!

• YAY for Spotlight! My #2 film of the year will probably be the biggest competition to The Revenant this year.

Nice seeing Batman and Bane both getting nominations 😉 Their roles couldn’t be more different, and their names were announced one after another this morning, too!

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Bale in The Big Short and Hardy in The Revenant

Both Christian Bale & Tom Hardy are the best actors of their generation, they’re such chameleons who look so different from film to film.

• YAY for Saoirse Ronan amongst the Best Actress nominees! I’m rooting for her even though I think it’s going to be down to Cate Blanchett vs Brie Larson this year.

• YAY for Sly Stallone too!

Creed_SlyStallone

I had mentioned in my Creed review that it’d be interesting (and awesome!) if he did end up being nominated for an Oscar, as he did in 1976 for the first Rocky film. I’d think would mark some kind of record that the same actor is nominated twice playing the exact same role.

• Congrats Leo!! I surely believe this is his year. I mean, The Revenant swept the Oscars with 12 nominations and the Best Actor race is arguably not as strong as in previous years and amongst Cranston, Damon, Fassbender and Redmayne, I think DiCaprio is the frontrunner and if I were a betting woman, I’d put my money on him.

• Now, if you think Leo is the Susan Lucci of the Oscars, heh he’s got nothing on Roger Deakins! He’s been nominated 13 times, and every single one has been amazing too which adds even more insult to injury! Cinematography golden boy Emmanuel Lubezki’s nominated again and considered the frontrunner, but he’s got TWO Oscars in the bag two years in a row. Come on Academy, stop yanking Mr. Deakins’ chain and get him his overdue Oscar!

• The only one I haven’t seen out of this list is Straight Outta Compton. YAY for Ex Machina and Spotlight, quite surprised to see Inside Out and Bridge of Spies here, but both are very good films.

Oscars2016_noms6

• This is perhaps the rare year where I’ve seen ALL of the supporting actor nominees and  I agree with ALL of the Best Supporting Actor nominations. It’s a pleasant surprise to see an acting nominee from Spotlight, and Mark Ruffalo did get one of the showiest roles in the ensemble.

• I’m glad to see Cartel Land and The Look of Silence shortlisted in the Best Documentary category ! Now I haven’t seen the other four that are nominated so I can’t say who’s most deserving, but what Joshua Oppenheimer did with The Act of Killing was astounding, so no doubt he did an equally brilliant job with its follow-up doc.

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• Lots of GREAT composers amongst the Best Score nominees, wow! I mean Ennio Morricone and John Williams are practically legends. Now, Mr. Morricone is yet another ‘always a bridesmaid, never a bride’ nominee with 5 previous nominations, let’s hope this is his year also!

The Bad

• Well, I think the hashtag #OscarSoWhite will be trending again this year [shrug].

Here’s what the 20 acting nominees look like this year:


Another bad year for diversity. Just like last year, NONE of the acting nominees consist of an actor/actress of color 😦

My daily industry news reading led me to this reaction post by Variety:

But the most disappointing outcome is that, for the second consecutive year, all 20 of the acting nominees are white. No Michael B. Jordan or Tessa Thompson for “Creed”? No Idris Elba or Abraham Attah for “Beasts of No Nation”? No Will Smith for “Concussion”? And despite a best picture nomination, the cast of “Straight Outta Compton” was all shut out. No doubt, yet another year of an all-white Oscars, which is being widely criticized on Twitter, will be addressed by host Chris Rock at the Feb. 28 telecast.


• I was convinced to see Idris Elba‘s name on the list for Beasts Of No Nation, which from what I’ve read should’ve been recognized here. I think Michael B. Jordan was a very strong performer as well in Creed, though I think the Leading Actor category is more crowded than the Supporting one, so Elba surely had a much better shot and it’d be a deserving nomination too, not just to fill a diversity quota!

• Bummed to see Charlize Theron overlooked once again in Mad Max: Fury Road 😦
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For some reason there’s no love for Emily Blunt in Sicario. I’m sooooo tired of seeing Jennifer Lawrence, she’s nominated AGAIN this year, sheesh! I sure hope she won’t win this time!

• Not a good year for female talents either it seems. Only ONE female filmmaker gets a nod this year, that is Deniz Gamze Ergüven who directed the French-film Mustang. It sounds similar to Girlhood which is in my top 10 of the year (also a French film directed by a woman) so I should check it out!

MustangFilm
French drama ‘Mustang’

The buzz for Suffragette by Sarah Gavron seems to have sizzled before it even opened in major cities. I also heard tons of great buzz for The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Marielle Heller and got plenty of Critics and Film Festival noms, but it was overlooked by both Golden Globes and Oscars. Apparently 36% of Sundance Film Competition was directed by women according to Indiewire, well that sure sounds like a heck of a lot when female filmmakers are largely absent from major awards.

• Two actors who seem to have been overlooked are Paul Dano in Love & Mercy and Jason Siegel in The End of the Tour. I’ve only seen the latter and thought that Siegel did an excellent performance as David Foster Wallace.

The WTF

• Ok now, Writing’s On the Wall for Best Original Song?? REALLY?? Heh, I think the melody of the song is nice but gah, I can’t stand Sam Smith’s whiny voice and now it sounds like we’d all have to listen to him sing at the Oscars ceremony! Of ALL the years to recognize a Bond song, the Academy chose the most-maligned one that sounds more like writhing on the wall.

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The comedy/musical category is the most baffling thing about the Golden Globes but Oscar’s most baffling category is the downgrading of actors’ role prominence. As in the case with Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl. Anyway you look at it, her role is a lead more than a supporting, but she’s nominated in the Supporting Actress category.

• Where’s Oscar Isaac?? No offense Mark Ruffalo, I think he’s an excellent actor but as much as I love Spotlight as a film, I feel like I’d rather see Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina who’s sooo much more memorable. Ah well, at least we have this awesome dance sequence to console us 😉

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• Oh and I never thought I’d say this but I’d have loved to see Kristen Stewart gets a nod for her performance in Clouds of Sils Maria. She became the first American actress to win a César Award in the role. I think she gave a far stronger performance than Rachel McAdams in Spotlight. Ok it sounds like I’m ripping Spotlight but I’m not, and if the two acting nods increase its chances to win Best Picture, then I guess I’m happy about that. But still it’s baffling that McAdams get a nod whilst Michael Keaton‘s left out.

• Last but not least, poor Sir Ridley Scott!

PoorRidley

The four-time Oscar nominees is overlooked despite his best directing effort in years. The Martian was a return to form for the 78-year-old filmmaker. Heh, let’s hope he gets another shot again as he’s no spring chicken.

 


The 88th Academy Awards will air on February 28 on ABC.


Well, that’s my reaction to the 2016 nominations. What are your Oscar-related delights and gripes?

2016 Golden Globes Coverage: Thoughts on the Winners + Best & Worst Moments of the Night

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Happy Monday everyone! Did you watch the Golden Globes last night? Well it’s tradition that I watch a couple of award seasons per year and GG and Oscar are the only two televised ceremonies.

As host Ricky Gervais put it, “Nobody cares about those awards as much as you do, so don’t get emotional, ok?” Ahah, it’s funny ’cause it’s true!

MEMORABLE TWEETS

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Speaking of Oscar Isaac, he said something truly important the press room after he won for his series Show Me A Hero about the lack of diversity in the film biz. Let’s make it happen Hollywood!

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RED CARPET STUFF

I’ve only started tuning in about a half hour before the show started, but thanks to Twitter, here are some notable dresses of the night:

Best Dressed Ladies:

Now, for some reason there are plenty of white dresses and normally I’m not crazy for that color but I quite like what Lily James, Alicia Vikander & Taraji P. Henson (she wore a cape, nice!)

Most dapper guys:

When a bad dress happens to a good actress

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I love her but miss Cate, what are you  wearing???
Of ALL the dresses you could have in the world, you picked THAT?

….


Thoughts on Winners/Losers 

But before I get to that…

 

Best Motion Picture – Drama

  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant (WINNER)
  • Room
  • Spotlight

I was rooting for Mad Max: Fury Road and Spotlight, but I kind of have a feeling The Revenant would win. I sure hope Fury Road would get an Oscar nomination though.

Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy

  • The Big Short
  • Joy
  • The Martian (WINNER)
  • Spy
  • Trainwreck

Ok so I’m over the fact that this musical/comedy category is just hilarious but it’s funny that even Matt Damon & Ridley Scott who won for acting and directing are obviously amused by it.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (WINNER)
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
  • Will Smith, Concussion

GG2016_Leo

I haven’t seen The Revenant yet but seems that Leo did an amazing performance. Will that elusive Oscar is finally within reach for him? I guess we’ll see this Thursday when Oscar nominations are announced.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Brie Larson, Room (WINNER)
  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

I was rooting for Saoirse but really, Brie was terrific in a difficult role in Room, so yeah I’m happy for her that she won!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical/ Comedy

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Steve Carell, The Big Short
  • Matt Damon, The Martian (WINNER)
  • Al Pacino, Danny Collins
  • Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear

I predicted Damon to win and I think he did a good job here, so no complaints from moi on this one.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical/ Comedy

  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy (WINNER)
  • Melissa McCarthy, Spy
  • Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
  • Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van
  • Lily Tomlin, Grandma

Ok, I’ve only seen one performance here (McCarthy in Spy) but is Lawrence really the best of this category??

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

  • Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
  • Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed (WINNER)

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2016 must be the COME BACK year. Christian Slater had won earlier for Mr. Robot, then Stallone won for Creed, yes!! Oh, even Mel Gibson is presenting the Golden Globes.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs (WINNER)
  • Jane Fonda, Youth
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Helen Mirren, Trumbo
  • Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

I was rooting for Vikander here as she was excellent as the robot in Ex Machina, but Winslet was a pleasant surprise in Steve Jobs.

Best Director

  • Todd Haynes, Carol
  • Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant (WINNER)
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Ridley Scott, The Martian

I was soooo rooting for George Miller! I mean, in a year of comebacks, it’d be lovely to see him win this thing. Seems that Fury Road and The Revenant had incredibly grueling shoots.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

  • Emma Donoghue, Room
  • Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, Spotlight
  • Charles Randolph, Adam McKay, The Big Short
  • Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs (WINNER)
  • Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Interesting that Steve Jobs bombed at the box office but was a pretty big winner tonight. I do think Sorkin’s script was fantastic, the dialog was so absorbing, that is if you’re willing to overlook the fact that um, most of the events never took place in real life.

Best Animated Feature Film

  • Anomalisa
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • Inside Out (WINNER)
  • The Peanuts Movie
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie

I really like Inside Out but I didn’t love it the way I loved other Pixar movies like the Toy Story trilogy, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, Brave, etc. but I’m still glad a Pixar movie won. I for one am not enamored w/ Anomalisa as most people are.

I barely watch any TV so not much commentary on the TV front, but LOVE seeing Oscar Isaac won for Show Me A Hero.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

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Random Commentaries

Ok so I’m not the best Gervais’ fan but there were a few that did make me LOL!

“GG doesn’t have an In Memoriam segment to depress you all, that’s why we have the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press for that.”

When introducing Matt Damon…

“He’s also the only person that Ben Affleck hasn’t been unfaithful to…”

When introducing Ken Jeong and Kevin Hart…

“When Brad and Angelina see Kevin Hart and Ken Jeong, they’re gonna want to adopt them.”

Most Worthy Award of the Night

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Amazing body of work this man had… and he’s one of the classiest actors in Hollywood.

BEST MOMENTS

Leo vs Gaga

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Leo’s expression just cracks me up every time!

Taraji P. Henson winning Best Actress in a Drama Series in Empire

….

WTF MOMENTS

TheBear_GG2016

As if Channing Tatum’s horrifying hairdo wasn’t enough, Jonah Hill was poking fun at the bear in The Revenant.

“I’m a two-year-old bear from the Sierra Mountains, and you took a chance on me”

Jane Fonda was NOT impressed.
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Quentin Tarantino was elated when Ennio Morricone won Best Score for The Hateful 8, but in comparing him to Mozart, Beethoven, and other classical composers, he pretty much said he doesn’t deserve to be stuck in the “ghetto” of film scorers. WOW!

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When Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling tried to be funny whilst introducing The Big Short. Meh.

Same with these guys. Their schtick just falls flat.

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Gender inequality is no laughing matter, and Gervais poking fun at the huge pay gap between men & women in Hollywood is such poor taste. “I’m being paid the same as Tina and Amy last year. It’s not my fault if there’s two of them, and they want to share the money!” Oh and that jab about the Ghostbusters’ all-female remake isn’t funny either.

But nothing is more cringe-worthy than the whole exchange between Gervais and Mel Gibson. The whole thing just reeks of mean-spiritedness, ugh.

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In any case, now we’ve got the Oscar nominations coming Thursday. All I’m hoping for is for Fury Road and Spotlight to get their chance to shine this time!

 


So, what are YOUR thoughts on the 2016 winners & best/worst moments of the night?