Ranking ADAM DRIVER’s 10-best roles in honor of his birthday!

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Ahhhh… I almost missed Adam Driver‘s 38th birthday on Friday, November 19 if it weren’t for my photography-enthusiast husband pointing it out to me on Instagram. Apparently one of the photographers he follows on IG, Jason Belle, had wished him a happy birthday.

I’ve been crushing on this Indiana-native for some time now… it’s been a steady buildup for a few years but it kind of went into overdrive [no pun intended] after seeing Annette, specifically THIS shot…

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… which is quickly followed by rewatches of the Star Wars movies … I have a thing for dark, wavy, thick hair so when I first saw Kylo took his helmet off for the first time, I remember my heart skipping a beat 😍

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Adam DriverHow do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Actually no… it’ll be super long blog post if I go into that, ahah… but let me share just a few… I do love that he is a Midwestern boy… from Mishawaka, Indiana specifically (about 8 hours drive from where I live in Minneapolis suburbs… ehm) and clearly he’s still got that small-town charm given his upbringing.

I love how massive his stature is (he describe himself as a Sasquatch in the Peter Travers interview)… he’s easily around 6’3″ with strong postures and perfectly lean muscles… whoever has this idea for this striking Burberry commercial, God bless you!!

I love how he’s equally sexy and adorable in Mister Rogers sweater and in a dapper suit…

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I love his benevolence and philanthropic spirit … creating AITAF (Arts in the Armed Forces) after he had gotten out of the military (yet another reason I love him as very few actors served in the military)… and how passionate he is whenever he gets a chance to talk about it…

I love his deep, masculine voice and the way he can articulate his thoughts carefully… I was watching a bazillion interviews of him on YouTube and it shows so much of his character as a thoughtful and deep thinker, there’s no nonsense about him, not one iota of pretentiousness that you find in so many actors… it’s as if he doesn’t care about impressing anyone and THAT is sexy to me.

I love his incredibly luscious mane… I think even Ridley Scott realizes that, I love his long, beautiful tresses he’s sporting on the two movies he directed, The Last Duel and House of Gucci (review coming next week!)

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But what I love most about him is his phenomenal acting skills… I mean he truly is the most exciting actor working today, someone I would rush to see in whatever movies he’s done. Heck, I took a half day off from work for a morning screening of House of Gucci last Tuesday… and it was so worth it!

So in honor of this ridiculously-talented, Julliard-trained thespian… I’m going to rank 10 of his roles I’ve seen so far, and let me preface that by saying I haven’t seen Silence, This Is Where I Leave You and The Meyerowitz Stories. This ranking is going from my least to top favorite … and to clarify, I’m NOT ranking the movie, but his performance in it, as his performance is often the BEST thing about a movie and makes watching even so-so movie worthwhile. So here goes…

10. JUDE – Hungry Hearts

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The only reason I wanted to see this film is Adam and honestly, I don’t think I could have finished watching it the whole way through if it weren’t for him. The only lighthearted and humorous moment is the meet-cute in a Chinese restaurant bathroom, but the rest of the film was so insufferable and sorry, I simply cannot stand his co-star (Italian actress Alba Rohrwacher). Adam’s performance makes it worthwhile however, which is a testament that a charismatic actor can make people endure even a dreadful film.

9. CLYDE – Logan Lucky

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I saw this ages ago when he wasn’t really on my radar, but I still remember his adorkable performance. I wish he’d do more comedic roles as his deadpan humor is to die for! As Channing Tatum’s brother who’s an Iraq war veteran and an amputee, the role likely resonated with him given his military background. I don’t really like the sound of Southern accents but I could listen to Adam’s West Virginian twang for hours!

8. TOBY – The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

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What a crazy roller coaster ride this movie was… but then again, it’s by Terry Gilliam, which has been stuck in development hell for nearly two decades. I love Adam’s no-holds-barred performance that displays his comedic chops as well as his sexy leading man prowess. There are moments where former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko relentlessly seduces him to make love to her and he continues to elude her… it makes me think of Adam’s penchant of playing the reluctant-hero that he portrays so brilliantly throughout his career.

Adam is always magnetic in every role and he’s so fun to watch in all the insane adventures his character goes through. I love the sumptuous costumes and production design and he looks magnificent in the ornate 17th century fashion… reason enough to watch this movie.

7. KYLO REN – Star Wars Episode VII, VIII, IX

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Ahhh… the wonderfully meme-able Kylo Ren… I didn’t fully appreciate Adam’s performance initially, I actually thought Kylo is hilarious in his inability to control his rage… I remember laughing out loud watching him bash his helmet to shred that even the storm troopers shudder just even hearing him in another room.

But by the second SW movie, I was in awe of what Adam’s done with the role, a tragic character born out of two heroes who’s lured by the dark side… Watching him portray Kylo’s internal struggles is mesmerizing as unlike his grandpa, the mysterious Darth Vader, Kylo’s human side is palpable and while he’s powerful, he doesn’t quite have it all together. But of course he also looks fantastic in those long black coat showcasing his tall, slender frame… plus, there’s the luscious wavy hair [fan self]

6. JACQUES – The Last Duel

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I nearly gasped when I saw his character’s name as Jacques is the name of the male lead in my script Hearts Want, and at some point I had written him as a Frenchman. Jacques is described as a handsome nobleman and there are moments where women of nobility look upon him as if he were some 14th century French heartthrob… well he certainly looks the part.

No stranger to playing baddies, Jacques is the quintessential villain in that he doesn’t even think of his terrible deeds as something bad… and Jacques remains defiant right up to his final violent death. I mentioned that his despicable character threatens to ‘cure’ me out of my infatuation of him… it kind of did briefly which again is a testament to his astute performance, but of course it doesn’t last long.

5. FLIP – BlacKkKlansman

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It’s the role that nabbed him his first Oscars nomination in a supporting role, along with a Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA and Independent Spirit noms. It’s definitely a juicy role for any actor and Adam didn’t squander that opportunity. As a Jewish undercover cop named Flip Zimmerman who infiltrates a Colorado chapter of the KKK, it’s a role that requires a delicate balance of comedic and drama that he pulls off with aplomb. There’s an earnest-ness about Flip and a stealthy quality about him that makes him a good spy.

4. MAURIZIO – House of Gucci

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I saw this earlier this week so it’s still fresh in my mind. From a French knight to a member of Italian fashion royalty… Adam is convincing in ANY role. Even the House of Gucci‘s costume designer Janty Yates said he’s a shoe-in as Maurizio Gucci as he’s ‘tall and elegant.’ But it takes more than the physicality for an actor to fully embody the role. The way Adam carries himself as the heir of the Gucci fortune exudes money and power, and a hint of ruthless ambition seething underneath that transforms him from a mild-mannered, passive guy to a callous douchebag.

The movie isn’t perfect but his performance is still a highlight for me…he commands your attention right from the first moment he appears on screen… with the camera panning slowly as he’s sitting in a cafe near his office in Rome with his perfectly tailored suits and oversized Aviators. If people hadn’t been convinced of his sex symbol status by now, I think this role surely cements it.

3. CHARLIE – Marriage Story

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I saw this at the Twin Cities Film Fest and though I haven’t had a chance to fully review it, I included it in my top 10 films of 2019. I was rooting for Noah Baumbach to win Best Screenplay at the Oscars as his shrewdly-written script feels so natural and incredibly immersive. Adam’s Charlie is far from being the perfect husband and he’s got rage issues that he displays in some of the explosive scenes in the movie… some of the fight scenes with Scarlett Johansson are visceral and tough to watch, which is a testament to both of their acting prowess. I’m glad both were nominated for acting Oscars that year.

Of course one of the highlights is him singing Sondheim’s Being Alive... an utterly mesmerizing scene that resonates so emotionally. Having seen some interviews where Adam displays such aversion to singing (you could even see him panicking when he’s asked to sing), it’s incredible that he often sings in his films… further proof that he often lost himself in a role.

2. PATERSON – Paterson

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I love that Adam seeks out roles based on how he feels about the director and he clearly loves and understands Jim Jarmusch. Paterson is not a flashy role but a beautiful, soulful one that showcases Adam’s ability to act with just his facial expressions. The scenes where his poetry are written across the screen as he is doing a mundane job like driving a bus day in and day out have such a hypnotic quality. It’s not a film that concerns itself with endless action to keep people engaged and it’s such a wonderful antidote to mainstream Hollywood movies filled with random chaos. In my brief review in my Hidden Gem post, this film is a sweet celebration of life’s small joys and its oddity… I can’t wait to see this again soon.

1. HENRY – Annette

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An absolute tour de force performance that had me transfixed from start to finish. Even from the moment he appears singing with the Sparks brothers and the cast in the opening sequence, Adam was so committed in this surreal, bizarre musical. As a provocative stand-up comedian Henry McHenry, this is perhaps the most feral performance out of him. It’s also a very physical role where he uses his entire body to portray Henry’s simian characteristic… aptly known on stage as “the Ape of God.” I have to admit I was both entranced and appalled by his character, which is obviously by design.

Annette is not for everyone but if one can get past the weirdness of this sung-through musical, I love how it highlights the force of nature that is Adam Driver and I’m forever grateful. His fearless performance is truly one for the ages.


This appreciation post comes a day late… but hey, instead of having an #AdamDriverDay …. might as well make it an #AdamDriverWeekend as we can enjoy his spectacular work all weekend long!

Let me leave you with this sublime, heartbreaking performance in Marriage Story… easily my favorite scene in the film where all his emotions comes through as he’s singing it… it speaks volumes more than all his monologues and incessant yelling. Simply masterful.


So in celebration of the one and only ADAM DRIVER … what’s YOUR favorite role(s) you’ve seen so far?

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!