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

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

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


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

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

BEST PICTURE

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

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

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


BEST ACTOR

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

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

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


BEST ACTRESS

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

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

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


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

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

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

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


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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

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

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


BEST DIRECTOR

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

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

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


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

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

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

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


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

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

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

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


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

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

Ethan Hawke in ‘First Reformed’

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

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


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

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

A Star Is Born – shot by Matthew Libatique

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

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


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

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

A still from ‘Shoplifters’

Who will win: Shoplifters
Who should win: Cold War

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


BEST FILM EDITING

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

Who will win: BlacKkKlansman
Who should win: BlacKkKlansman

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


BEST SOUND EDITING

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

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

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


BEST SOUND MIXING

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

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

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


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

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

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

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


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

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

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

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


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

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

Who will win: Shallow
Who should win: Shallow

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


BEST MAKEUP/HAIRSTYLING

Nominees:
Border
Mary Queen of Scots
Vice

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

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

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


BEST COSTUME DESIGN

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

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

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


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

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

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

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


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

Top 10 Films of 2018 + Honorable Mentions

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday and may 2019 bring you much joy, success and wonderful moments!

Well, it’s time for the obligatory Top 10 Films of 2018. Since there are still plenty of 2018 movies I have not seen yet, I should preface this post with the fact that I haven’t seen Roma, Cold War (seeing it tomorrow!), First Reformed, BlacKKKlansman, They Shall Not Grow Old, etc. which could easily alter my current Top 10. It goes without saying of course, that it’s my list, and there’s no formula as to how I pick them, it’s all based on instinct. Films are so personal that there’s no top 10 list is ever the same from person to person, so naturally there is no right or wrong list.

Well without further ado, here we go… 

Top 10 Films of 2018

(In alphabetical order)

1. A Star Is Born (review)

This film swept me off my feet. Yes it’s the fourth adaptation but it’s actually the first one I’ve ever seen (yes, really!) and so it felt fresh to me. I was floored by the performances of Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga and their palpable chemistry together. It was an emotional love story that stuck with me long after the end credits, and that’s a testament to Cooper’s excellent directing (his debut no less) as well as the wonderful original songs that add so much to the movie. As I set to make my own romantic drama of my own, I so admire to see such an emotionally-rich love story portrayed on screen.

2. Black Panther (review)

Wakanda Forever! What a phenomenal movie that happens to be a superhero film… in fact, Black Panther transcend the comic-book action movie genre and no surprise that it’s become the first of its kind to generate Oscar buzz! Chadwick Boseman led the excellent ensemble cast in a glorious journey of a man-who-would-be-king and faces an enemy worthy that matched his strength. Love all the strong, bad-ass women in this movie and appreciate that Ryan Coogler gives them a chance to shine. It’s a movie I could watch over and over, and always find something new thing to marvel at.

3. Green Book (review)

I didn’t realize this movie has proven to be quite divisive. I actually overheard a critic during a screening of another film talking about this movie in such a negative way, saying that the movie told a fascinating black man but focuses on the white guy instead. I actually didn’t see that way and actually think the movie offers a balanced view of how the two lives of Dr. Don Shirley and his chosen driver Tony Lip intersect and changed both of their lives forever. I love Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen’s performances, perhaps one of my favorite cinematic pairing ever. I think it’s interesting that one’s upbringing might view this film differently. As a woman of color and a US immigrant, I see this as a beautiful story of friendship set during the dark times in American South ripe with racial discrimination.

4. Leave No Trace (review)

I am so glad I was able to see this movie during MSPIFF before it was released publicly… AND got to chat with its writer/director Debra Granik. It’s a beautiful, restrained and graceful film about a father & daughter going ‘off the grid’ that makes you contemplate about how we approach life and our social culture. I love the quiet intensity of its leads Ben Foster and newcomer Thomasin McKenzie. I was in awe by the gorgeous, ethereal setting of the Oregon forest as the leads set off on a harrowing journey. It also boasts an ending that packs an emotional wallop without much words spoken.

5. Mission Impossible: Fallout (review)

It’s rare that a huge studio franchise actually gets better and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Tom Cruise never seems to age and despite his broken ankle (which you can actually witness in the movie itself!), he still delivers one of the most fun action movie that thrills from start to finish. Heck, he even hired Superman himself Henry Cavill who’s ironically much better here as a villain than as a Kryptonian hero. Glad that Rebecca Ferguson is back here reprising her role, and we’ve got yet another compelling female character thanks to Vanessa Kirby. I sure hope Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie continue to work together as it proves to be a fruitful collaboration.

6. Paddington 2 (review)

I just adore this English bear, voiced so perfectly by Ben Whishaw, and his adopted family. I love how unabashedly sweet, wholesome and charming this movie is, boasted by a delightful cast including a hilariously-smarmy Hugh Grant as a washed out actor. Brendan Gleeson also provides such fun comic relief as the cleverly-named ‘Knuckles’ McGinty (classic!) I didn’t grow up with the children stories by Michael Bond, but I can’t get enough of Paddington’s adventure and its heartwarming message… ‘if we’re kind and polite the world will be right.’

7. The Rider

It’s another film I saw during MSPIFF on the big screen. It’s a sophomore feature by writer/director Chloé Zhao, starring newcomer Brady Jandreau in his breakout role. It’s an understated yet powerful character study of a man in the aftermath of a tragic riding accident. I deeply feel for his character (also named Brady) as he contemplates his life after he loses the one thing that gives him a sense of purpose. It’s an astute and exquisite piece of work from the Chinese filmmaker and not surprisingly, Marvel honcho Kevin Feige has hired her to do a movie based on the Eternals comics. I sure hope she gets to make more films in Hollywood.

8. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

If there’s one movie I didn’t think I’d watch, let alone end up on my Best list, it’d be this one. I honestly didn’t know much about this movie at all, it’s my hubby who was excited about it when the trailer was first released. I saw it on a morning advanced screening in a packed theater and was absolutely enthralled by its stunning animation and the story of Miles Morales and his fellow super-heroes/heroines. Apparently SONY has moved to patent its inventive animation technology that honors its comic book origin with thought balloon, written sound effects, etc. The voice cast is great, heck it’s even got Nic Cage as the Spider-man Noir. This movie is so full of energy, hilarious and heartwarming moments, all which made it one of the most gratifying superhero movies even in a year crowded with movies in that genre.

9. Widows

I mentioned in my Golden Globes post that the lack of love for this movie and its leading lady Viola Davis an egregious snub. Yes it’s marketed as a heist thriller and it certainly has all the workings of the genre but oh, it’s SO much more! Just because the film has a more commercial appeal than Steve McQueen‘s previous work doesn’t mean it’s less substantial. Right from the titillating opening sequence–Davis making out with Liam Neeson in bed–the taut script (co-written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn) interweaves intrigue, action and social commentary in a slow-burn but captivating manner. I’ve always admired Davis as an actress but here she easily steals the screen even amongst a stellar, award-winning cast.

10. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (review)

I didn’t grow up watching Mr. Rogers so I’m only vaguely familiar with the subject of this documentary. But after seeing this film, I totally understand why he’s such a beloved figure to both kids and adults alike. I’m truly inspired by Fred Rogers, the person behind the tv persona in the iconic cardigan. It proves that kindness and compassion never goes out of style and will never fail to inspire. I’m glad filmmaker Morgan Neville finally introduced ‘America’s favorite neighbor’ to new audiences, especially in a time where there’s so much division and negativity all around us.


15 Honorable Mentions

(in alphabetical order)

Some of the movies here I like very, very much and I have actually enjoyed more than the ones on my main top 10. Some I appreciate but I don’t really feel like watching it again.

  1. Annihilation (review)
  2. Ant-Man and The Wasp
  3. Avengers Infinity War – Part I (review)
  4. Can You Ever Forgive Me
  5. Crazy Rich Asians (review)
  6. Death of Stalin
  7. The Favourite
  8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
  9. If Beale Street Could Talk
  10. Mamma Mia Here We Go Again
  11. Mary Queen of Scots
  12. Mary Poppins Returns
  13. Mowgli
  14. Ralph Breaks The Internet (review)
  15. Vice

WORST FILMS (I saw in 2018):

  • A Wrinkle In Time (review)
    Beautiful visuals and the lead young actress is great, but ultimately the movie is a huge letdown.
  • Gringo
    Though I like seeing David Oyelowo in a comedy, the story is so vapid. What a waste of a strong cast!
  • The Little Mermaid (Netflix)
    The story intrigued me but the production looks cheap and the acting is simply atrocious! The lead actor (who was decent in the Narnia movie) looked bored the entire time.

Dodged the bullet: 

Fifty Shades Freed, Venom, Life Itself, Robin Hood, anything with Gerard Butler in it released in the past 2 years.


Best Series I saw in 2018:

  • Altered Carbon
    (check out my in-depth commentary of the show)
  • The Crown Season 1
  • Bodyguard
  • Daredevil Season 3
    (check out my top 10 reasons why I LOVE it)
  • The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (season 1)

Top 5 New-To-Me Movies I saw in 2018:

  • Brief Encounter
  • The Big Sick
  • Crazy Stupid Love
  • Risen
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas

Well, what do you think of my Top 10 list? Any of your favorites on the list?

Musings on 2019 Golden Globes nominations – and the egregious snubs

The award season is officially here… can you believe it? [I still don’t believe it’s Winter already, but well, whatchagonnado?] The Golden Globes nominations were announced this morning, and so the reactions for snubs and surprises have dominated social media. So why not add one more for the fun of it.

Before we go into my thoughts on the noms, let me say that I’m thrilled to see Sandra Oh will be hosting the telecast, along with Andy Samberg. Glad she’s amongst the nominees too, wahoo!!

Now about the nominations… per usual, in addition to my thoughts about the nominees, I thought I’d include my winner pick for some of the categories…

Here is the full list of 2019 Golden Globe nominees (via Variety)

Best Motion Picture – Drama

“Black Panther”
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“A Star Is Born”

Ok so I’ve only seen three out of five, hopefully I can catch up with Bohemian Rhapsody and BlacKkKlansman later this month. Honestly, I’m not as enamored with Barry Jenkins’s If Beale Street Could Talk the way I did with Moonlight. I actually like the acting of the two leads and Regina King, but that’s about it. I am thrilled to see Black Panther breaking new grounds as the only superhero film getting nominated, yay! It’s absolutely well-deserved and of course I’m rooting for that. I loved A Star Is Born too, but I’d give Black Panther a slight edge because it’s not only a fun, entertaining film with substance, but it’s also immensely re-watchable.

My winner pick: Black Panther (my review)


Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Glenn Close (“The Wife”)
Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”)
Nicole Kidman (“Destroyer”)
Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)
Rosamund Pike (“A Private War”)

I’ve only seen Lady Gaga’s and Melissa McCarthy’s performances, man what a list!! No doubt Close, Kidman and Pike all give worthy performances, but I was truly impressed by McCarthy’s sensitive and nuanced performance as Lee Israel. Balancing comedy and drama is so tough, and I thought she did a terrific job playing a rather unlikable character.

My winner pick: Melissa McCarthy


Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)
Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”)
Lucas Hedges (“Boy Erased”)
Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)
John David Washington (“BlacKkKlansman”)

Gaaah I have only seen Cooper’s performance here 😦 I’m not going to pick a winner as I should at least see two performances of the list. But if Cooper does win, I’d be totally ok with it as I think he delivered a tremendous performance in his directorial debut (my review of A Star Is Born)


Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

“Crazy Rich Asians”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Vice”

Ok so most of you know just how much I adore Crazy Rich Asians and how much representation of Asians (esp. Southeast Asians) in Hollywood matters to me. I have to say that Green Book also really moved me. Both films have wildly-different style and tone, but both speak about hot button issue of race with humor. I LOVE the cast in both films too, which made it all the more difficult to choose between the two!

My winner picks: Green Book or Crazy Rich Asians


Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Emily Blunt (“Mary Poppins Returns”)
Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”)
Elsie Fisher (“Eighth Grade”)
Charlize Theron (“Tully”)
Constance Wu (“Crazy Rich Asians”)

Firstly, where in the world is Viola Davis??!??! Come on HPFA! She was simply phenomenal in Steve McQueen’s fantastic ensemble cast and she’s the heart and soul of that movie. The lack of love for Widows is truly mind blowing!

Ok now that’s out of my system… given that I’m actually rather lukewarm about The Favourite (which is NOT my favorite films of the year), I really love Colman’s performance as the decidedly unlikable and bizarre Queen Anne. The film’s also decidedly riddled with historical inaccuracies (esp. in regards to her lesbian affairs), yet Colman was mesmerizing in the role. I just think Colman is such a deftly talented actress and I’m thrilled to see her finally getting more recognition!

My winner pick: Olivia Colman


Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Christian Bale (“Vice”)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Mary Poppins Returns”)
Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”)
Robert Redford (“The Old Man & the Gun”)
John C. Reilly (“Stan & Ollie”)

I’m still waiting with bated breath for the press screening of VICE (scheduled to be released on Christmas day). Just based on the trailer alone, I’m willing to bet that Christian Bale will disappear once again into his role as Dick Chenney, perhaps the unlikeliest role for the Welsh thespian even in his wildly diverse resume. It’s pure coincidence that both dreamboat actors (Batman and Aragorn) gained significant weight for their respective roles. I LOVED Mortensen’s comedic performance in Green Book, so I’d be truly happy if either one of them win!

My winner pick: Christian Bale or Viggo Mortensen


Best Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Amy Adams (“Vice”)
Claire Foy (“First Man”)
Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)
Emma Stone (“The Favourite”)
Rachel Weisz (“The Favourite”)

Hmmm, the Hollywood Foreign Press clearly is enamoured (yes I’m using the British spelling here to match the film’s title, ha!) with The Favourite. I personally would love to see one of the ladies from Widows being nominated here (esp. Elizabeth Debicki). But if I had to pick one from THIS list, I’d go with…

My winner pick: Regina King


Best Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”)
Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”)
Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”)
Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)
Sam Rockwell (“Vice”)

I have only seen Ali and Richard E. Grant who’s excellent as Melissa McCarthy’s randy bff. Everyone seems to be smitten with Timothee Chalamet (I haven’t seen enough of him to form an opinion) but Driver and Rockwell are such great character actors. I do have a soft spot for Mahershala, who’s so elegant and oh-so-regal as Dr. Don Shirley.

My winner pick: Mahershala Ali


Best Motion Picture – Animated

“Incredibles 2”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mirai”
“Ralph Breaks the Internet”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

I’m going to refrain from picking a winner as I’ve only seen Ralph Breaks The Internet (see my review and interview with the filmmakers). I am excited to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse this weekend!


Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

“Capernaum”
“Girl”
“Never Look Away”
“Roma”
“Shoplifters”

I am ashamed to say I have not seen any of these!! I was hoping to go see ROMA last month at the Film Society, but the schedule just didn’t work out.


Best Director – Motion Picture

Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)
Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”)
Peter Farrelly (“Green Book”)
Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”)
Adam McKay (“Vice”)

Um, firstly… where are the female directors?? Hello???! FastCompany listed no less than 29 female directors that did some worthy projects eligible for noms.

Oh well.

Looking at this list… I was really impressed with Cooper’s directorial debut and not surprised at all he’s nominated. However, I don’t think he deserved to win in this lineup. I’ve heard nothing but tremendous praise for Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA, which chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s, starring unknown actors. If I were a betting woman, I’d put my $$$ on the Mexican filmmaker.

My winner pick: Alfonso Cuaron


Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”)
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (“The Favourite”)
Barry Jenkins (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)
Adam McKay (“Vice”)
Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie (“Green Book”)

Yes I know the movie hasn’t come out yet, but this movie’s already leading the pack with six Globes nominations. Adam McCay could very well score another big win in the screenplay category. He’d won in 2015 for The Big Short, which also had Christian Bale AND Steve Carell in it, both looked utterly convincing as Chenney and Donald Rumsfeld respectively. Physical transformation aside, this political satire has certainly become the one to beat this award season.

My winner pick: Vice


Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Marco Beltrami (“A Quiet Place”)
Alexandre Desplat (“Isle of Dogs”)
Ludwig Göransson (“Black Panther”)
Justin Hurwitz (“First Man”)
Marc Shaiman (“Mary Poppins Returns”)


Best Original Song – Motion Picture

“All the Stars” (“Black Panther”)
“Girl in the Movies” (“Dumplin’”)
“Requiem For a Private War” (“A Private War”)
“Revelation’ (“Boy Erased”)
“Shallow” (“A Star Is Born”)

This song was stuck in my head for weeks after I saw the movie. Even listening to it again it still moved me to tears. It has everything one wants in a romantic ballad, it has a Whitney Houston vibe to it (circa The Bodyguard) … a truly beautiful and highly-emotional song.

My winner pick: Shallow


Best Television Series – Drama

“The Americans”
“Bodyguard”
“Homecoming”
“Killing Eve”
“Pose”

I’ll refrain from making my pick as I’ve only Bodyguard in its entirety. I’ve only seen season 1 of The Americans and based on that alone, I can see why it’s become awards darling for years. I hope to catch Killing Eve just to see Sandra Oh, I’m thrilled to see her finally getting recognition after putting in great work all these years.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”)
Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)
Julia Roberts (“Homecoming”)
Keri Russell (“The Americans”)

As I mentioned above, I can’t wait to see Killing Eve. But given I don’t have cable, who knows when I can finally see the BBC America series. I just read this on the NYTimes“Spy thrillers almost never cast women as both the cat and the mouse, and this one also features an equally rare female presence behind the camera: The English writer and actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge… is the series’s lead writer, showrunner and executive producer.” Just for this reason alone I’m rooting for this show to win! Miss Oh missed out on becoming the first woman of Asian descent to win an Emmy in the lead actress category, I’m hoping she has a better chance in snatching the Globe since Claire Foy is not amongst the nominees.

My winner pick: Sandra Oh


I’m going to refrain from picking my winner picks in these TV categories. Yes I have picked winners from films/shows I haven’t seen before, but I don’t have any strong hunch or feelings about the following shows and performers to make up my mind.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Stephan James (“Homecoming”)
Richard Madden (“Bodyguard”)
Billy Porter (“Pose”)
Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”)

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

“Barry” (HBO)
“The Good Place” (NBC)
“Kidding” (Showtime)
“The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)

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

Kristen Bell (“The Good Place”)
Candice Bergen (“Murphy Brown”)
Alison Brie (“Glow”)
Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”)

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

Sasha Baron Cohen (“Who Is America?”)
Jim Carrey (“Kidding”)
Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”)
Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)
Bill Hader (“Barry”)

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

“The Alienist” (TNT)
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (FX)
“Escape at Dannemora” (Showtime)
“Sharp Objects” (HBO)
“A Very English Scandal” (Amazon)

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

Amy Adams (“Sharp Objects”)
Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora”)
Connie Britton (“Dirty John”)
Laura Dern (“The Tale”)
Regina King (“Seven Seconds”)

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

Antonio Banderas (“Genius: Picasso”)
Daniel Bruhl (“The Alienist”)
Darren Criss (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
Benedict Cumberbatch (“Patrick Melrose”)
Hugh Grant (“A Very English Scandal”)


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

Alan Arkin (“The Kominsky Method”)
Kieran Culkin (“Succession”)
Edgar Ramirez (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
Ben Whishaw (“A Very English Scandal”)
Henry Winkler (“Barry”)


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

Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Patricia Clarkson (“Sharp Objects”)
Penelope Cruz (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)
Yvonne Strahovski (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

Ok so I have only seen Borstein and Newton’s (in S1 of Westworld) performances. I absolutely love Borstein’s performance as Susie in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel that I kind of want her to win every time she’s nominated!

My winner pick: Alex Borstein


Biggest Surprises

Well, for me it’d be 15-year-old star of Eighth Grade, Elsie Fisher. I haven’t heard of her before this one, and the film wasn’t exactly on my radar. Well good for her, she’s actually done a ton of projects in her young career.

I think VICE being the leader of the pack at the Globes and possibly at the Oscars could count as a surprise to most people. I really can’t wait to see that movie!!

Most egregious snubs

Well firstly, the obvious… where are the female directors?? I mentioned it above in the Best Director category, and for one I thought Josie Rourke who directed Mary, Queen of Scots might have a shot. And there’s Mimi Leder, director of On The Basis of Sex, who hasn’t directed a feature film in ages!

As for the performers… let’s start with Viola Davis in Widows.

I mean… I was quite floored NOT to see her name amongst the Best Actress category. She’s truly amazing as the leader of a fantastic ensemble cast and her performance is simply outstanding. The lack of love for Steve McQueen’s Widows baffles me. There are themes of social, economical, political and racial divides, not to mention a female empowerment story that makes it SO much more than a cool popcorn thriller.

I haven’t seen the film yet but based on the reviews of Hereditary (including ours, by Laura S), I thought Toni Collette’s nomination is a shoo-in [shrug].


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

FlixChatter Review: A Star Is Born (2018)

Once in a while, a film came along that you couldn’t stop thinking and talking about for days, maybe weeks. I may be one of the last few people in the universe who have never seen any of the three prior adaptation of A Star Is Born. Somehow I managed to avoid reading about the whole story, which adds a bit of mystery to it all. But even if you have seen all three and very familiar with this epic love drama, you still should see Bradley Cooper’s version simply because well, it’s an amazing film.

The contrast between two musicians at two opposite spectrum, one shooting up the stratosphere and the other on a downward spiral sure makes for a great cinematic adaptation.  Right from the moment the film opens, with Cooper’s Jackson Maine going up to the stage, popping pills before he performed to an audience of thousands. You can see the dread and sadness in his eyes… despite all his fame and money and success. I was immediately blown away by Cooper’s gravely voice, apparently he trained so much that he lowered his voice down one octave! The whole scene was so beautifully-filmed and the angle from the stage makes you feel like you’re actually there.

It doesn’t take long before Jackson meets the woman he soon falls in love with that would change his life forever. Lady Gaga’s Ally singing La Vie En Rose in that drag club will surely thrill her Little Monsters but as more of a casual fan of hers, I too was captivated by her. Gaga’s star quality is indisputable, but it’s after she takes her makeup off is when she truly shines. That’s another directorial decision that works perfectly in the film, that Cooper insisted Gaga strips down to her au naturel look and shows her true beauty.

The romance itself is more of a slow burn… and boy is it ever mesmerizing. I love that Cooper take the time for us to get to know both of them and actually witness two strangers fall in love. That scene in a convenience store is both funny and touching, Jackson using a frozen veggie bag as an ice pack is the stuff of rom-com meet-cute. But their romance is not cutesy, it’s intense and heartfelt. The moment Ally belted her own song in an empty parking lot was truly a memorable one. That was memorable moment to be sure, but the moment Ally got up on stage and sang a duet of The Shallow with Jackson gave me chills! This film has a phenomenal soundtrack that lives up to the fact that it’s about artists in the music industry. Every song is beautiful and emotionally-resonant, perhaps even more so because in the context of this beautifully-realized story. You feel for both Jackson and Ally. The roller coaster ride of their whirlwind relationship swells you up to cloud nine level, only to crash it down that you literally feels a pang in your heart. I packed SO many tissues going in but I still almost ran out. I was even thinking if anyone didn’t shed a tear or at least choked up watching this, one should check their pulse.

The chemistry between Gaga and Cooper has been all over the news and truly it’s something to behold on screen. It’s one of those magical cinematic pairing that’ll be talked about for ages. Obviously Gaga is already an iconic music star, but this film proves she’s got what it takes to be a movie star as well. She’s got this magnetic presence and yet somehow relatable in the way she portrays Ally who’s vulnerable and insecure. So when Jackson tells her she’s beautiful, her aghast reaction is believable, just like many of us women feel that way as well. I also appreciate the message about having an authentic voice and something real to say in an industry where artists are often dictated by producers, the media, even fans, to be something they’re not.

As for Cooper, much has been talked about his phenomenal directing debut and rightly so. I’d be rooting for him in the Best Director (and even Best Picture) category come award season, but I’d also be rooting for him to at least nab a Best Actor category. His Jackson Maine is classic leading man material… there’s a particular moment halfway in the film that’s both funny but also cringe-worthy and heart-wrenching. I don’t want to spoil it for you but the expression in Jackson’s eyes didn’t just tug my heart strings, it ripped it to shreds. Pardon the melodrama here but I feel it’s appropriate for this review.

The supporting cast is great all around. Sam Elliot definitely stood out as Jackson’s older brother. It’s quite amusing how Cooper trained to match Elliot’s trademark super-deep voice and it worked to make the casting even more believable. Dave Chapelle is fun to watch as Jackson’s bestie, wish he had more screen time though. One thing I notice though, is that aside from Gaga, there’s not a single memorable female performer in this film. It’s not really a criticism, more of an observation, but I couldn’t help but wish there’s at least one or two female supporting cast here.

Overall though, this is one sublime motion picture that defies the theory that ‘all remakes are automatically bad.’ Largely thanks to Cooper’s masterful direction and casting choice (that is casting himself and believing in Gaga as Ally), as well the sharp script by Cooper, Eric Roth and Will Fetters. The cinematography by Matthew Libatique is gorgeous and has that immersive quality. As I mentioned before, some of the concert scenes (partly filmed at Coachella Festival) makes you feel like you’re there on stage with the performers. Cooper’s vocal training paid off, but more importantly, I think his clear vision of what he wants this film to look, feel and sound proves that he’s an artist to be reckoned with. I sometimes giggle when I think he’s also the same actor voicing Racoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. Now that’s range, folks!

This is a love story for the ages… that’s actually more than just epic romance. I’m glad I finally get to see A Star Is Born that feels as timeless as ever.


Have you seen the latest ‘A Star Is Born’? I’d love to hear what you think!