THIS JUST IN! Marvel’s ETERNALS first trailer

Marvel-Eternals-banner

Boy, Marvel sure takes their time in releasing the trailer! It’s nearly a month ago today that Chloe Zhao won two Oscars for directing and producing NOMADLAND, finally we got the first trailer!

The Eternals, a race of immortal beings with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years, reunite to battle the evil Deviants.

Ok, so no mention of the fact that the director is now an Oscar winner, but then again Marvel hasn’t been the kind of studio that touts the filmmakers’ cred like placing ‘From the director …’ on the posters. I suppose they’ve always relied on the project’s IP and the movie itself, which have consistently been first rate.

I have to admit the use of ‘The End Of The World‘ threw me off a bit, it just feels a bit melodramatic but then again, perhaps the movie will be more dramatic (even romantic in nature) than the usual action-packed superhero film. Naturally we an expect a ton of lush pastoral landscapes set during Zhao’s favorite magic hour. The DP is Ben Davis (Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange). Though we haven’t heard the music yet, I’m excited to hear Ramin Djawadi‘s score, glad to see him back in the MCU after the first Iron Man movie!

Eternals-Zhao-magic-hour

So details are scarce from this trailer, as it focuses more on the high-level concept of just who these beings are and why they are here on earth. Based on what I’ve read, the ETERNALS focus on these god-like ancient alien beings known as Celestials, who lived on earth and shaped its history and civilizations. They’ve provided tools to build things, water for life, etc. though they don’t seem to actually interact with humanity, more observant in nature. 

ishtargate-reddit

What’s interesting is, given the story spanned thousands of years, ETERNALS will be set far back in ancient times. Someone on Reddit posted that photo of the Babylonian monument Ishtar Gate (constructed in 575 BC) in Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq.


“We have watched and guided. We have helped them progress and seen them accomplish wonders.Throughout the years we have never interfered, until now.”

Salma Hayek’s Ajak narrates the trailer. That ‘until now’ part seems to refer to the time earthlings are being attacked by evil monsters known as Deviants, which happens after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Of course there are a bunch of questions in that regard:

Where were the Celestials when Thanos was wrecking havoc and obliterating half of humanity??!

If they’d been around for centuries and walked amongst us, were some of these Celestials affected by the snap?

And just who are the Deviants? Are they even bigger threats than Thanos to warrant the Celestials reuniting to protect us??

Perhaps they’re reveal more in trailer 2 for those non-comic-book readers.

I for one am curious to see the journey of Gemma Chan‘s character Sersi, who Marvel president Kevin Feigi himself has reportedly say as the actual lead of the ensemble. Interesting how her name is similar to Cersei Lannister of Game of Thrones, and her character is shown to be with two actors from GoT, Richard Madden and Kit Harrington. I like Gemma and was disappointed in her tiny role in Captain Marvel, so I’m glad they finally give this talented Brit a meatier role.

Eternals-gemma-chan-madden-harrington

For the most part, the trailer is pretty majestic and stately looking, but the tone switches to something more comedic after the title reveal. It reminds me of the post-credit scene in the first Avengers where the superheroes are eating shawarma together, albeit here the setting looks more like a Thanksgiving feast.

Eternals-eating-together


Who’s Who in the ETERNALS

Marvel-Eternals-full-cast

I LOVE just how diverse this cast is in terms of gender and race! It’s really about time and I hope that diversity and inclusivity in casting will eventually be the new normal. Thanks to this article, here are a quick cheat sheet as to what characters the actors are playing:

  • Angelina Jolie as “fierce warrior” Thena.
  • Richard Madden as  “all-powerful” Ikaris.
  • Kit Harington as Dane Whitman (who is human).
  • Barry Keoghan as “aloof loner” Druig.
  • Gemma Chan as “humankind-loving” Sersi.
  • Kumail Nanjiani as “cosmic-powered” Kingo.
  • Salma Hayek as “wise and spiritual leader” Ajak.
  • Lauren Ridloff as “super-fast” Makkari.
  • Brian Tyree Henry as “intelligent inventor” Phastos.
  • Lia McHugh as “eternally young, old-soul” Sprite.
  • Don Lee as “powerful” Gilgamesh.

So based on what I’m seeing so far, I’m even more excited to see this movie! ETERNALS is released in the US on November 5th, 2021. Can’t wait!!


So, what do you think of ETERNALS’ first trailer? 

Musings on 2021 Oscars – The Good, The Bad + the WTF

It’s Oscars Sunday and I actually don’t feel as overwhelmed as I had been as year’s past as I actually remember Oscars is on tonight so I had time to prepare and set up my laptop downstairs instead of scrambling to live tweet, ahah. Now, I wish I had timed my laundry on time as I still had to pick up my load during commercials! Nothing like mundanity of real life to go with all the glitz and glamour! 😀

I have to say though that I quite like the more low-key ceremony with tables so people can social distance… it feels more relaxed, cozy and intimate. But unlike the Golden Globes, still no drinks, ha! I also like the fact that the song performances were shown before the actual telecast to cut time, and the fact that they were done outdoors are pretty cool as well. This is actually my favorite song nominated this year… written by the legendary Diane Warren!

 

I love Regina King doing the opening monologue wearing one of my favorite Oscar dresses of the night! I expected Minneapolis would got a mention… wish it were for another reason though. In any case, if you missed it, here’s the video: 

THE GOOD

First Oscar went to a woman, yay!!

Incredible that Emerald Fennell won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for her feature directorial debut Promising Young Woman –  similar to Diablo Cody who won for JUNO in 2008. But she also directed AND produced the film, all while she was pregnant, wow!!

emerald-fennell


Two more women won within the first half hour, both for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom!!

marainey
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020): Viola Davis as Ma Rainey. Cr. David Lee / Netflix

Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson won for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling AND Ann Roth won for Best Achievement in Costume Design!


I’m still kicking myself that I haven’t seen MINARI, yet! But Yuh-Jung Youn didn’t just win for her performance in Minari, but for having the most adorable Oscar speech of the night! Her expression when her name was called is priceless!!


Chloe Zhao is having a moment… the woman is such a force that I know this is just the beginning for her!!


The phenomenally talented Trent Reznor + Atticus Ross are double nominees tonight for MANK and SOUL. I’ve only seen the latter and I absolutely LOVE the score for SOUL, so yeah!!


Nomadland and Chloé Zhao making all kinds of history tonight just made my heart soar!!! One of the only two Best Picture nominees I saw on the big screen before it was actually released. Thanks to Twin Cities Film Fest!!


[Added 4/26] – Since I posted it right after the ceremony ended. I went to bed hoping I’d see a video of Sir Anthony Hopkins‘ Oscar speech. Well here it is… the Welsh thespian is as gracious as ever, even paying tribute to fellow nominee Chadwick Boseman who everyone thought would’ve won this year.


THE BAD

  • What’s with Brad Pitt not helping Yuh-Jung Youn from her podium when the 73 year-old woman clearly could use some help… and even if she didn’t, it would’ve been the chivalrous thing to do.
  • I’m not crazy with the fact that they didn’t show clips of the nominees, only a few categories including Best Picture were shown clips.
  • I didn’t care for the trivia bit, overall it just felt awkward and they could’ve given more time to other things we actually care about.
  • They’re rushing through everything in the final hour… especially during what’s supposed to be a solemn IN MEMORIAM sequence. It’s egregious to rush THAT sequence, but it’s especially terrible given how many people we lost in 2020.
  • What’s with the BEST PICTURE being presented before the Best Actor + Actress announcement?? The Best Picture has always been the last award of the night, that is tradition. I mean WHY?? It doesn’t exactly save time to change the order and it just didn’t feel right. I feel like they also didn’t allow the winning team, in this case NOMADLAND, to bask in this achievement somehow.

THE WTF

Now, this category isn’t automatically bad… they’re just completely out of left field!

Ok so I haven’t got around to seeing Judas and the Black Messiah but happy for the talented Daniel Kaluuya. He was rambling quite a bit in his speech but hey, that made for one of the funniest moments of the night!


Well, expect a new Glenn Close meme coming on Monday, folks!! I guess this is one of the fun things that came out of the whole trivia bit.


Though I was flabbergasted that I did not hear Chadwick Boseman‘s name called in the Best Actor category who deserved the post-humous nomination NOT because he’s gone but because he gave an outstanding, heart-wrenching performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom… but no, I’m not going to complain that Anthony Hopkins won (or worse, getting mad at the actor for winning like some people on Twitter – SMH) I was in awe of his performance depicting a man suffering from dementia in The Father… and the fact that he wasn’t even campaigning at all during award season just showed what a gracious person he is. He didn’t even appoint anyone to accept the award on his behalf!


Last but not least…

Now, I don’t think anyone saw it coming that Frances McDormand would win Best Actress!! I mean, despite my love for Nomadland, I didn’t think Frances’ performance was out of this world the way Viola Davis and Carey Mulligan did in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Promising Young Woman, respectively.


Ok I’m hoping Marvel is listening!!


In conclusion…

Heh, what a night! Despite some historic wins that made me happy, the ceremony itself is bonkers!! There are just too many weird things… some of the speeches went on way too long (wish someone cut off the last bit of Kaluuya’s speech), and some barely got enough time in. Again, the announcement weird switcheroos made no sense at all… and what’s with the abrupt end after they realized Anthony Hopkins weren’t present?? At the very least they could’ve shown a clip of his performance?? Something??

Some were saying that whoever directed the event must have been convinced Chadwick Boseman would win Best Actor, and that’s why they re-arranged so that his category is last. Well if that is the case, that’s just a terrible decision that proves to be a disservice to everyone.


Oh, speaking of my predictions I posted on Saturday, I only got 14/23 categories I predicted correctly. That’s actually pretty good considering I haven’t seen SO many and mostly these are based on gut instincts, ahah.


So did you watch the Oscars? Well, what did YOU think?

2021 Oscars Predictions – Who Will Win, Who Should Win

Ok so it’s one day before Oscars telecast tomorrow night, so I’m obviously kinda late to the party, but what the heck. I suppose, before those envelopes are opened, it’s still fair game, right? 

I actually haven’t seen ALL of the nominees, but hey, that hasn’t stopped me from making predictions in years past, so it’s not going to stop me this year, either 🙂 Also, in case you’re wondering, this prediction is based on gut instinct, so not exactly scientifically based. The SHOULD WIN category is who I would like to win, as in the one I’m rooting for this year (except for in categories where I have not seen ANY of the nominated films).

In any case, here we go:

Best Picture

The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
Minari
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Nomadland
WHO SHOULD WIN: Nomadland

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
David Fincher, Mank
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

WHO WILL WIN: Chloé Zhao
WHO SHOULD WIN: Chloé Zhao

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

WHO WILL WIN: Chadwick Boseman
WHO SHOULD WIN: Chadwick Boseman

Best Actress

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

WHO WILL WIN: Carey Mulligan
WHO SHOULD WIN: Viola Davis

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

WHO WILL WIN: Daniel Kaluuya
WHO SHOULD WIN: Paul Raci

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

WHO WILL WIN: Yuh-Jung Youn
WHO SHOULD WIN: Olivia Colman

Best Original Song

“Husavik (My Hometown),” Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
“Fight for You,” Judas and the Black Messiah
“Io Se (Seen),” The Life Ahead
“Speak Now,” One Night in Miami…
“Hear My Voice,” The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Speak Now
WHO SHOULD WIN: Io Se (Seen)

Best Original Score

Da 5 Bloods
Mank
Minari
News of the World
Soul

WHO WILL WIN: Soul
WHO SHOULD WIN: Soul

Best Cinematography

Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
News of the World
Nomadland
The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Nomadland
WHO SHOULD WIN: Nomadland

Best Adapted Screenplay

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
The Father
Nomadland
One Night in Miami…
The White Tiger

WHO WILL WIN: Nomadland
WHO SHOULD WIN: One Night In Miami

Best Original Screenplay

Judas and the Black Messiah
Minari
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Promising Young Woman
WHO SHOULD WIN: Sound of Metal

Best Animated Feature

Onward
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

WHO WILL WIN: Soul
WHO SHOULD WIN: Wolfwalkers

Best Documentary Short Subject

Colette
A Concerto is a Conversation
Do Not Split
Hunger Ward
A Love Song For Latasha

WHO WILL WIN: A Love Song for Latasha

Best Documentary Feature

Collective
Crip Camp
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher
Time

WHO WILL WIN: My Octopus Teacher

Best International Feature

Another Round
Better Days
Collective
The Man Who Sold His Skin
Quo Vadis, Aida?

WHO WILL WIN: Another Round

Best Film Editing

The Father
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Nomadland
WHO SHOULD WIN: Nomadland

Best Costume Design

Emma
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Mulan
Pinocchio

WHO WILL WIN: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
WHO SHOULD WIN: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Hair and Makeup

Emma
Hillbilly Elegy 
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 
Mank
Pinocchio 

WHO WILL WIN: Mank
WHO SHOULD WIN: Mank

Best Production Design

The Father
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
News of the World
Tenet 

WHO WILL WIN: Mank
WHO SHOULD WIN: The Father

Best Visual Effects

Love and Monsters
The Midnight Sky
Mulan
The One and Only Ivan
Tenet

WHO WILL WIN: Tenet
WHO SHOULD WIN: Tenet

Best Sound

Greyhound
Mank
News of the World
Soul
Sound of Metal

WHO WILL WIN: Sound Of Metal
WHO SHOULD WIN: Sound Of Metal

Best Animated Short Film

“Burrow”
“Genius Loci”
“If Anything Happens I Love You”
“Opera”

WHO WILL WIN: If Anything Happens I Love You

Best Live Action Short Film

“Feeling Through”
“The Letter Room”
“The Present”
“Two Distant Strangers”
“White Eye”

WHO WILL WIN: The Letter Room


Ok let’s see how many I get right tomorrow night. HAPPY OSCAR WEEKEND, everyone!!

Trailer Spotlight: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

shang-chi-poster

Woo wee!! Thank you Marvel Studios for dropping this high-energy trailer on a sleepy Monday!! This is one of the most anticipated Phase Four of the MCU and if it weren’t for Covid, we should’ve seen Shang-Chi movie by now but the February release had been delayed to September 3, 2021. Poster looks good too, though I can’t help but think of the Olympics with all those rings!

Here’s the short premise per Wiki:

When Shang-Chi is drawn into the clandestine Ten Rings organization, he is forced to confront the past he thought he left behind

Well, behold its first trailer!

Well my first reaction is WHOA!!! I mean it’s a Kung-Fu movie so naturally I’m expecting some high-octane, gravity-defying moves and that’s what we got in this trailer. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12, Just Mercy) from a screenplay by David Callaham (Expendables, Mortal Kombat), the film has a mostly-Asian cast led by Simu Liu, including Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Ronny Chieng, and Michelle Yeoh. Having just seen In The Mood For Love recently, I was expecting Leung’s co-star Maggie Cheung to show up here as Shang-Chi’s mother!

Now, based on some videos of Simu Liu I’ve seen so far, he seems like the right actor for the part. The Chinese-Canadian actor seems charismatic and witty in interviews, which I think it important beyond just having the martial art skills. 

shang-chi-simu-liu

Visually it looks impressive, which is to be expected given the Marvel budget. Some of the scenes reminds me of Inception and The Matrix

… as well as Zhang Yimou’s movies like HERO, House of Flying Daggers, etc. There’s even a scene that reminds me of the neon-lit fight scene in Skyfall. I take it the storyline will take place in multiple timelines, mixing the production design from various ancient/modern. The DP is Bill Pope who’s no stranger to fantasy/comic-book movies

 

Timeline-wise, I’m curious where Shang-Chi fits in within the MCU timeline. It’s possible that it takes place before Avengers: Endgame after the Snap?

It’s a pretty short teaser consisting mostly of action/fight sequences, but I’m hopeful there’ll be a compelling story just like most of movies in the MCU. I have to admit, not being much of a comic reader, I had to search for some videos about the character’s history. This one did a pretty good job explaining it:

One thing for sure I like the casting of Tony Leung who always looks elegant and dignified as Shang-Chi’s father aka The Mandarin/Wenwu who is the leader of the Ten Rings.

shang-chi-tonyleung

Now, thanks to Wiki, apparently Marvel replaced the comic-book version named Fu Manchu with Wenwu, citing it as a “problematic character” associated with racist stereotypes whom Marvel Studios does not hold the film rights to. I certainly am glad they didn’t stick with Ben Kingsley as the character, that just wouldn’t be right.

shang-chi-brucelee

Looking at the way the character is drawn in the comics (released in 1973 by Steve Englehart & Jim Starlin), no doubt the inspiration was Bruce Lee. Per this article, Paul Gulacy, the artist for several issues of Master of Kung Fu, spoke about his desire to honor the legacy of Bruce Lee in his work in an interview for Comic Book Artist Collecti on. The link between Lee and Shang-Chi was so prominent that when plans for a live-action adaptation were in the works, Bruce’s son Brandon Lee was the original actor eyed for the role. Unfortunately, Brandon Lee died on the set of The Crow in 1993 from an on-set accident. I have faith Simu Liu in bringing Shang-Chi character to life. 


I’m certainly excited for this one and can’t wait to see it on the big screen!

How about you?

Musings on 2021 Oscars Nominations – Snubs + Surprises

I was reading some articles about the Oscars and I just realized that last year’s telecast, which aired on February 9, was one of the earliest dates in the show’s history. Covid-19 wasn’t exactly on most people’s radar at the time yet, at least not in North America… I mean, I was still in a packed DisneyWorld in early March! Who knew that weeks later, practically the entire world was in lockdown mode.

Well, so the 93rd Oscar nominations are now here!

Click here to jump to the full list below. And here are my thoughts on the nominations:

Firstly…

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
David Fincher, Mank
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

Finally the Academy seems to be catching up to the call for diversity! About damn time! After the social media hashtag #OscarSoWhite circulating the past couple of years, it’s nice to see a more diverse list of nominees including female directors AND talents of color!

Congrats Emerald Fennell + Chloé Zhao!! Glad to see their names amongst the nominees… and Lee Isaac Chung too! Two filmmakers of Asian-descent in Best Director category is historic… not to mention the fact that Zhao is the first woman of Asian descent to ever pick up a directing nom. I haven’t seen Minari yet, but based on the rapturous response from critics and audiences alike, I have no doubt his nomination is well-deserved!!

Best Actress

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

Heck yeah Viola Davis!! I have plenty of films to catch up on but as a longtime fan hers, I’m always thrilled to see her get recognized. I was hoping to see The United States vs. Billie Holiday but didn’t get a chance to, I read everywhere she’s truly the reason to see that film!

The two performances I have seen, McDormand’s and Mulligan’s, are both astounding, so yeah!!

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

The posthumous nomination for Chadwick Boseman is a shoo-in this year and I’m happy for that! Another shoo-in is Anthony Hopkins is absolutely amazing in The Father (which I just reviewed).

Thrilled to see Ahmed got in, I think his performance in Sound of Metal is his best work yet. Jumping for joy seeing Steven Yeun‘s name as well… I mean, as a blogger of Southeast Asian descent, obviously I’m delighted to see an Asian-American actor FINALLY getting some recognition!!

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

In the Supporting Actress/Actor category, I’m soooo happy to see Olivia Colman AND Paul Raci got in!! LOVED both performances, and I was afraid they’d nominate Jodie Foster over Colman and Raci would also be overlooked.

I’m kicking myself that I still haven’t seen Minari yet, but ‘ve been hearing great things about Yuh-Jung Youn’s performance. How awesome it is to see not just one but TWO Asian talents getting nominated for the same film!!

Interesting to see two extremely talented black actors Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield vying for Oscar in the same category AND from the same movie. I’m happy for them as they’re really two of the best actors of this generation, but if they’re both in the supporting category, the biggest question in my mind is…

Just WHO is the lead of Judas and the Black Messiah??

Best Adapted Screenplay

Sacha Baron Cohen and Co-Writers (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)
Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton (The Father)
Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)
Kemp Powers (One Night in Miami)
Ramin Bahrani (The White Tiger)

What a year for Chloe Zhao!! Not only did she become the first female filmmaker of Asian descent ever shortlisted in the directing, she also picked up a nominated for her screenwriting work!

I’m very impressed with Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton‘s script in The Father. I know their play won a bunch of awards and considered the most acclaimed new play of the last decade. It’s still rare to see the film version of a play garnering similar acclaim all the way to Oscar glory, but hey I think it’s well-deserved!

Best Original Screenplay

Will Berson, Shaka King, Keith Lucas, and Kenny Lucas (Judas and the Black Messiah)
Lee Isaac Chung (Minari)
Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)
Derek Cianfrance, Abraham Marder, Darius Marder (Sound of Metal)
Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7)

So Lee Isaac Chung also picked up another nomination in the Best Screenplay Category!! Man, imagine if him AND Chloe Zhao walk away with Oscars this year… what a sight that would be for so many Asian filmmakers who have been overlooked for way too long!

Best Animated Feature

Onward
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

Ok, so Disney + Pixar are dominating the Best Animated Feature category… surprise, surprise! But I’m rooting for WOLFWALKERS!!! It’s such a beautiful movie and it’s got a wonderfully-moving story as well, can’t recommend it enough.

Now, on to the snubs + surprises…

It wouldn’t be the Oscars morning after without reading the word ‘snub’ all over social media and film sites. I’m generally pretty cool with this year’s nominations, but still I think a few people were overlooked.

  • Wow, no love for Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods? I saw the #JusticeForDelroyLindo hashtag the past few days, surely lots of people are going to be upset about that. I know my pal Ted rated Delroy Lindo‘s performance highly in his review.
  • I was also expecting to see Regina King‘s name in Best Director list… I’d think at the very least, One Night In Miami… would be shortlisted in the Best Picture category.
  • I’m surprised to see Thomas Vinterberg amongst the Directors nominee, but then again last year Pawel Pawlikowski was nominated for Cold War and the film was nominated in Best Foreign Language category. I haven’t seen Another Round yet but Vinterberg has made some great films with Mads Mikkelsen before, i.e. The Hunt.Speaking of Mads, some people might say he’s overlooked for Best Actor in Another Round.
  • Ok so I’m really not that interested in seeing The Hillbilly Elegy, it just doesn’t appeal to me and based on the reception, it’s best to avoid that one. So I’m surprised to see Glenn Close making the cut, but no Amy Adams? I feel like Adams is overdue for an Oscar, but surely there’ll be better roles for her in the future!
    Given their wardrobe epitomizes the cozy, work-from-home attire we’re all sporting, shouldn’t they be nominated for Best Costume Design? 🤣
  • I know many people did not like Close making the cut, I personally would’ve loved to see Sophia Loren in the Best Actress category. It was quite a comeback for her in a beautiful performance in The Life Ahead. I wish the uplifting drama got more love but I don’t think many people have even seen that one.
  • No love for News of the World? Yes I know it’s more conventional and not as edgy as some films that got nominated, but it’s a terrific film with wonderful performances by Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel.
  • Now, in the Best Actor category, I think one of the biggest snubs is Tahar Rahim in The Mauritanian. Rahim’s sensitive performance never descends to over-sentimentality and is genuinely moving, he truly gave the film its best moments. Oh well, glad the BAFTA did recognize Rahim’s performance as well as Mads Mikkelsen’s!
  • Lastly, I know TENET didn’t exactly wow critics nor audiences alike, I was kind of lukewarm about the film too, but what I did like is the synth score by Ludwig Göransson. The song called The Plan by Travis Scott is sooo good!! Probably one of my faves of the year! Too bad neither made the cut this year 😦


Full List of Oscar Nominees

In case you missed the live telecast of the nominees announced by Priyanka Chopra + Nick Jonas (it’s too early for me to wake up for, ahah), here’s the video:

Best Picture

The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
Minari
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
David Fincher, Mank
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

Best Actress

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

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

Best Original Song

“Husavik (My Hometown),” Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
“Fight for You,” Judas and the Black Messiah
“Io Se (Seen),” The Life Ahead
“Speak Now,” One Night in Miami…
“Hear My Voice,” The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Original Score

Da 5 Bloods
Mank
Minari
News of the World
Soul

Best Cinematography

Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
News of the World
Nomadland
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Adapted Screenplay

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
The Father
Nomadland
One Night in Miami…
The White Tiger

Best Original Screenplay

Judas and the Black Messiah
Minari
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Animated Feature

Onward
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

Best Documentary Short Subject

Colette
A Concerto is a Conversation
Do Not Split
Hunger Ward
A Love Song For Latasha

Best Documentary Feature

Collective
Crip Camp
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher
Time

Best International Feature

Another Round
Better Days
Collective
The Man Who Sold His Skin
Quo Vadis, Aida?

Best Film Editing

The Father
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Costume Design

Emma
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Mulan
Pinocchio

Best Hair and Makeup

Emma
Hillbilly Elegy 
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 
Mank
Pinocchio 

Best Production Design

The Father
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
News of the World
Tenet 

Best Visual Effects

Love and Monsters
The Midnight Sky
Mulan
The One and Only Ivan
Tenet

Best Sound

Greyhound
Mank
News of the World
Soul
Sound of Metal

Best Animated Short Film

“Burrow”
“Genius Loci”
“If Anything Happens I Love You”
“Opera”
“Yes People”

Best Live Action Short Film

“Feeling Through”
“The Letter Room”
“The Present”
“Two Distant Strangers”
“White Eye”


Well, 2021 Oscars ceremony was originally scheduled for February 28, but it’s been pushed to April 25. 


Well, what are YOUR thoughts about the Oscars noms + snubs this year?

New Netflix Movies/Miniseries To Watch in February – Malcolm and Marie | I Care A lot | Red Dot | The Last Paradiso | Layla Majnun | Behind Her Eyes

There are SO many things to watch on Netflix that I always struggle to figure just WHAT to watch. Now, this is not a comprehensive list of ALL that’s coming to Netflix which includes older movies that’s been released before, i.e. The Bank Job, Inception, The Patriot, War Dogs, Captain Fantastic, etc. but these are NEW stuff from the streaming service, part of the 70 new original content Netflix promised to release in 2021. There’s an extra dose of romantic-themed content released in February because of Valentine’s Day, but there’s a comedy + thriller thrown in.

In any case, so here are 5 new movies + 1 limited series coming to Netflix this month:

Malcolm & Marie

Releases February 5 – read my review

A director and his girlfriend’s relationship is tested after they return home from his movie premiere and await critics’ responses.

One of the best things about TENET is John David Washington and I like Zendaya based on the two things I saw her in, The Greatest Showman and Spider-Man Far From Home. I haven’t seen her in Euphoria yet, which is created by the director of this film, Sam Levinson (who happens to be the son of Barry Levinson who won an Oscar directing Rain Man).

Some of you might have seen this by now as it was released last Friday. Let me know what you think if you have seen it!


The Last Paradiso (L’ultimo paradiso)

Releases February 5, 2021

In 1950s Italy, a passionate free spirit dreams of love, justice and a better life till a forbidden affair threatens everything. Based on real events.

Of course seeing the title reminds me right away of Cinema Paradiso, one of my all-time favorite non-English language films. This one is also a love story, a forbidden affair no less, that’s based on a true story. I recognized the lead actor Riccardo Scamarcio from John Wick 2, he’s got such an intense stare that’s hard to forget. I’m down to be swept away to the South Italy’s countryside for a couple of hours. Love, passion, rebellion… hopefully would make a memorable drama.


Red Dot

Releases February 11, 2021

When Nadja becomes pregnant, they make an attempt to rekindle their relationship by traveling to the north of Sweden for a hiking trip but soon their romantic trip turns into a nightmare.

I’ve enjoyed quite a few Nordic thrillers, such as The Hunt, Headhunters, though I should watch more. Scandinavian filmmakers sure know how to make effective noirs. This one comes from Swedish filmmaker Alain Darborg, and it has that ominous, atmospheric vibe to it.


Layla Majnun

Releases February 11, 2021

While in Azerbaijan, Layla, an Indonesian scholar, falls for Samir, an admirer of her work — but her arranged marriage stands in the way.

I rarely blog about Indonesian movies (despite the fact that my late dad used to work in the Indo film industry), but this one caught my eye. I’m not familiar w/ any of the cast but the setting in Azerbaijan and the familiar-yet-still-enticing forbidden love story sounds like a perfect one to watch around V-day.

I Care A Lot

Releases February 19, 2021

A shady legal guardian lands in hot water when she tries to bilk a woman who has ties to a powerful gangster.

I’m intrigued just reading the description and the cast: Rosamund Pike, Eiza González, Dianne Wiest, Peter Dinklage.I love Rosamund Pike and it’s nice to see her in a dark comedy, playing a shady character no less. This film premiered at TIFF and currently has a 93% Rotten Tomatoes rating, praising Pike’s a wicked performance. Can’t wait!


Behind Her Eyes (miniseries)

Releases February 17, 2021

A single mom becomes entangled in a twisted mind game when she begins an affair with her psychiatrist boss while bonding with his mysterious wife.

Want a bit of twist with your Valentine romance? How about a psycho-sexual thriller with a good looking UK cast? I’m a huge fan of Tom Bateman who’s the epitome of tall, dark & handsome and also super talented. I’ve just seen Eve Hewson in Tesla and really like her, looking forward to seeing the love triangle between these two and Simona Brown.

The miniseries is produced by Left Bank Pictures, the production company behind the prestigious drama The Crown.


What do you think of these two movies?

3 new Netflix movies I can’t wait to see this month

I guess it’s no longer a surprise that Netflix has become such a studio behemoth, but now I’ve found myself anticipating Netflix movies as much as those from other studios. I mean it’s free anyway since I have the subscription and with movie theaters closed, obviously more studios have decided to release their movies on streaming.

Well, thanks to Wiki, there’s quite a list of movies coming in 2021, but it’s only January so I’m just focusing on the ones coming out in the next two months. I have blogged about The Dig, starring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes, so I’m not going to mention it again here. Action, crime thrillers, emotional drama, comedy, romance… there are definitely something for everyone here.

Outside the Wire

Releases January 15

In the near future, a drone pilot sent into a war zone finds himself paired with a top-secret android officer on a mission to stop a nuclear attack.

My first thought when I first saw this was… ‘So Falcon now becomes even more powerful than Captain America!’ He won’t be needing the shield as as a cyborg. Not clear how becomes an android officer, but he obviously still looks and sound very human and the character tells the drone pilot that he still feels more than you think. Well, it looks intriguing enough, and I like Anthony Mackie so this should be worth a look. The movie also stars British actor Damson Idris and Danish actor Pilou Asbæk, and directed by Swedish director Mikael Håfström (Escape Plan, The Rite).

The White Tiger

Releases January 22, 2021

The epic journey of a poor Indian driver who must use his wit and cunning to break free from servitude to his rich masters and rise to the top of the heap.

This one is based on a debut novel of the same name by Aravind Adiga, an Indian-Australian writer and journalist, which won the 2008 Man Booker Prize. I’m intrigued partly by the director, Ramin Bahrani who made the excellent drama 99 Homes. This one also deals with a similar theme of a down-on-his-luck person rising up to power, escaping from the life he was born to. It looks more like a dark comedy than a heavy crime drama, starring Adarsh Gourav, Rajkumar Rao and Priyanka Chopra-Jonas. Queen’s I Want to Break Free is quite an interesting choice that’s somehow perfect for the trailer.

Penguin Bloom

Releases January 27, 2021

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, the film tells the story of Sam Bloom a young mother whose world is turned upside down after a shocking, near-fatal accident leaves her paralyzed. Sam’s husband, her three young boys and her mother are struggling to adjust to their new situation when an unlikely ally enters their world in the form of an injured baby magpie they name Penguin.

This one is also based on a novel AND a real life story. Honestly, I’m usually not too keen on sad movies and this one definitely looks like a tearjerker. After watching the trailer though, I’m curious enough to give it a shot. I haven’t seen Naomi Watts in anything lately, though it seems like I’ve seen her in similar role like this one. Looks like this one is an Australian production, with an Aussie filmmaker and mostly actors from Down Under: Watts, Jacki Weaver and Rachel House who’s from New Zealand. Andrew Lincoln is British though, nice to see him take a break from all the Walking Dead projects. I’ll be sure to have tissues handy when I watch this one.


What do you think of this lineup? Is there one you’re looking forward to seeing?