Musings on 2019 Oscars nominations

Well it’s one of those mornings that cinephiles always wait for year after year… the morning Oscar nominations are announced. I for one don’t go out of my way to wake up early to see it live, but when I woke up, of course I immediately tried to see who’s shortlisted.

Right away I noticed that it’s perhaps the most diverse lineup of nominees… though it’s by no means perfect. The Academy’s more-inclusive picks would likely keep those #OscarsSoWhite hashtags at bay… at least for now.

So here are some obligatory random comments (good & bad) about 2019 nominations:

• Not a single female directors nominated?? 😦

The UN Women twitter pic above is downright disheartening, especially since I think there are a bunch of worthy films from female directors… Josie Rourke with Mary, Queen of Scots and Debra Granik with Leave No Trace, among others. While you’re at it, check out my interview with Debra on making the film.

Granik directing Thomasin McKenzie in LEAVE NO TRACE

Netflix is becoming even more of a force to be reckoned with… rivaling big studios in raking in nominees. It’s got 15 nominations thanks to Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA leading with 10 nods, including the coveted Best Picture. How awesome that first-time actress Yalitza Aparicio got a nod in Best Actress, she’s apparently a preschool teacher who didn’t know much about the film industry and barely spoke any English at the time. [Note to self: gotta watch ROMA this weekend!]

Speaking of a Foreign Language film that’s highly-personal to the filmmaker AND set in black & white, glad to see COLD WAR getting recognition with 3 Oscars, including Best Director for Paweł Pawlikowski.


I LOVE this sultry, intensely-passionate romance drama, which was inspired by the love story of Pawel’s own parents!

Whoa! Sixth nominations!! I thought her performance as Lynne Cheney in VICE (once again co-starring with Christian Bale) was terrific. Sadly I don’t think this is Amy Adams‘ year yet, I’m convinced Regina King will take home the statuette.

Happy to see documentary filmmaker Bing Liu getting an Oscar nom on his first film Minding The Gap, wow! I got to meet him last year when he received an award from MSPIFF, here he is with Minnesota’s own film legend Al Milgrom. I actually missed his film at the fest, that’s one I gotta watch real soon!

I know there’ll be all kinds of people hating on Black Panther getting a nomination. But you won’t be hearing it from me. I think it’s well-deserved… a masterful work by director Ryan Coogler that made it so much more than a superhero movie. I highly doubt it’ll actually win Best Picture though, but it’s already made history for being nominated. Oh and with seven nods, I have a feeling it’ll win a couple forBest Costume Design (Ruth E. Carter) and Best Production Design (Hannah Beachler). How awesome would it be if both black women win in those categories!!

It’s no surprise Bradley Cooper is an Academy’s favorite, but I thought he deserved a Best Director nod as much as his acting one. Can you believe it he’s been nominated for an Oscar four times?? Just like his former co-star Amy Adams though, I don’t think this is his year to win an acting Oscar.

Where’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? for Best Documentary??? The Mister Rogers biopic seems poised to be shortlisted… it certainly one of the most moving films I’ve seen all year! I’d say that’s one of the biggest snubs this year.

I know some people are outraged that If Beale Street Could Talk and First Man didn’t get more love. Barry Jenkins and Damien Chazelle were each other’s biggest rival two years ago with Moonlight & La La Land, and I heavily championed Moonlight to win. But this year, I wasn’t as in love with If Beale Street Could Talk though I find it far more moving and memorable than First Man. So no, no complaints from me that neither one of those movies get a nod.

Now I haven’t even seen You Were Never Really Here but based on what I read so far, sounds like Joaquin Phoenix AND writer/director Lynne Ramsay are both snubbed this year.

I have to catch up on three Best Picture nominees… BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody and Roma. Of the five I have seen, my least favorite is actually The Favourite [gasp!] Now, I didn’t hate the movie [please don’t resort to hyperbole like the rest on social media], I just don’t think it was as great as the critics made it to be and I actually find it irritating at times. My friend Cindy just did a post about it which highlights some of the things that bothered me. I do think all three actresses are terrific playing such hard-to-root-for characters. I’m especially thrilled to see Olivia Colman finally getting the recognition she deserved!

Olivia Colman in The Favourite

My last comment is on a highly controversial movie Green Bookwell, I’m glad it got nominated! I’ve mentioned it on my Top 10 list post that I see this movie as a beautiful story of friendship set during the dark times in American South ripe with racial discrimination. I’m also thrilled to see Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali each get an acting nod! I’ll be torn between Viggo and Christian Bale in the Best Actor race… my gut says this will be Bale’s year to get another Oscar.

Well, there are more that could be said about this year’s nominees but if I continue, I’ll never post this thing.


The 91st Annual Academy Awards will air on Feb. 24 on ABC.


Well, everyone’s got an opinion. What are your thoughts on the Oscars nominations?

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

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

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

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

oscars2016banner1

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

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

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

Let’s start with the positive …

The Good

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

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

Oscars2016_noms8

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

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

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

Bale_Hardy_noms
Bale in The Big Short and Hardy in The Revenant

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

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

• YAY for Sly Stallone too!

Creed_SlyStallone

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

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

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

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

Oscars2016_noms6

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

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

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

The Bad

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

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


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

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

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


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

• Bummed to see Charlize Theron overlooked once again in Mad Max: Fury Road 😦
FuriosaScreams

For some reason there’s no love for Emily Blunt in Sicario. I’m sooooo tired of seeing Jennifer Lawrence, she’s nominated AGAIN this year, sheesh! I sure hope she won’t win this time!

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

MustangFilm
French drama ‘Mustang’

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

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

The WTF

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

Oscars2016_noms13

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

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

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

• Last but not least, poor Sir Ridley Scott!

PoorRidley

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

 


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


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

2015 Oscar Nominations: The Good, the Bad and the WTF

Oscars2015BannerSome movie bloggers (myself included) must be masochists in some ways. I mean, I haven’t quite recovered from some of the disappointments of the Golden Globes and now we’re subjecting ourselves to another disgruntlement of Oscars nominations! 😛

Same like last year, I didn’t make a post of my nomination predictions this year, I only tweeted who’d be nominated for Best Picture and a few other categories.


Well, I guessed correctly that it’d be 8 nominations, but apparently I got one wrong, which is the one film I was REALLY hoping would make the cut! (It’s the #2 pick on my Top 10 Movies of 2014)

Oscars15_BestPicture

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

ActingNominationsOscars2015

Yes yes, of course EVERYONE should be nominated based merit (though at least a couple of the noms here don’t really deserve the noms). Anyway you want to look at it, the diversity gap is really quite staggering:

Anyway, you can see the full nominations here. Let’s start with the positive …

The Good

So I guess it’s a good year for Indie Films. I was listening to a critic on NPR saying that the total box office take of ALL the Best Picture nominees combined would probably only top $200 mil, which is drop in the bucket for something like Transformers.

  • Thrilled to see SELMA made the Best Picture list and got Best Original Song nomination for Glory! Sadly it’s the ONLY two good things The Academy bothered to recognize.
  • Happy to see Birdman getting a NINE nominations, yay! It’s pretty much nominated in every major category, including Best Picture, Director, AND three acting nods. Of course Michael Keaton has been a lock for some time but still happy to see him here. It’ll come down to him and Eddie Redmayne (both won Golden Globes), but fingers crossed Keaton will emerges as the winner!!
  • Congrats to Colleen Atwood for her 11th Best Costume Design Oscar nominations. Hey she’s catching up on Meryl, though she’s definitely far far more deserving than Meryl is in their respective categories. The costumes are indeed gorgeous in this movie!

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  • YAY for Marion Cotillard amongst the Best Actress nominees instead of Jennifer Aniston! I mean nobody I know has seen Aniston’s performance and from some of the reviews I heard of Cake, it’s not even a good movie. I haven’t seen Two Days, One Night, one of the two possible performances she could be nominated for, but sounds like it’s a more challenging role than The Immigrant.
  • I know that Julianne Moore seems to be the favorite to win for Still Alice, but I’m still rooting for Rosamund Pike all the way!
    GoRosamund
  • I’m glad to see Citizenfour shortlisted for Best Documentary! Now I haven’t seen the other four that are nominated so I can’t say who’s most deserving, but still nice to see this fascinating doc getting major recognitions. It’s currently on my Top 10 of the year!
  • Overall I agree with pretty much ALL of the Best Actor nominations, though I haven’t seen Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking nor Bradley Cooper as the late sniper Chris Kyle. I just realized that ALL four nominees portrayed real-life people, except for Michael Keaton‘s fictional character Riggan Thomson. It makes me root for Keaton’s performance all the more considering how good and how unique it is.
  • Glad to see Big Hero 6 in the Best Animated Feature category! I really do love this movie, if only The LEGO Movie is nominated along with it…. more on that later.
    ///
  • Lots of amazing talents in the Cinematography category. Roger Deakins is one of the few who weren’t snubbed for Unbroken. So this marks his 12th nomination! But I’m rooting for Emmanuel Lubezki (yes again, as I was rooting for him for Gravity last year) to win for Birdman though. Those single long tracking shots are practically iconic and is crucial to the story-telling piece. Here’s a great article on his astounding work.
    Lubezki_Birdman
  • WOW, congrats the ever-prolific and constantly-amazing Alexandre Desplat for getting DOUBLE nominations for The Grand Budapest Hotel AND The Imitation Game, both of them are on my Top 10 Favorite 2014 Scores. Also thrilled for Hans Zimmer for his 9th nomination! I LOVE his score for Interstellar, it just seems to get better the more you listen to it.

The Bad

  • Ok, let’s start with the most egregious one. It’s just a bad year for diversity. What a difference a year makes. Seems that Oscar was quite progressive last year with THREE non-white actors being recognized in the acting categories and 12 Years A Slave won Best Picture. This year NONE of the acting nominees consist of an actor/actress of color, I mean not a single one! Now, shouldn’t the noms be based on merit? Why yes course it is, and both Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo are both worthy of recognition. It’s DuVernay’s direction that made Selma a powerful and stirring film and Oyelowo truly embodied Martin Luther King Jr., delivering a compelling performance that’s fiery, vulnerable and emphatically human.
    Oyelowo_DuVernay_SELMA
    I’d also argue that Gugu Mbatha-Raw‘s stunning performance in both Belle and Beyond The Lights far surpasses Reese Witherspoon’s in Wild.
  • Seems that it’s a bad year for women too. I’ve mentioned DuVernay, but Angelina Jolie got no love for Unbroken, either. No Gillian Flynn in Adapted Screenplay category, and none in the Best Score nor Best Cinematography category. I’ve been hearing great things about the cinematography of Tracks by Mandy Walker, and I absolutely adore Rachel Portman‘s score for BELLE (one of my Top 10 Fave 2014 Scores).
  •  Everything is awesome…. NOT!

    But what’s awesome is how its director is such a good sport!!

  • Hoyte Van Hoytema is robbed once again for his amazing cinematography work in Interstellar (he was also overlooked last year for his work in Her) I mean come on!! Now, I didn’t expect Chris Nolan nor his film would get much Oscar love, but the absolutely mesmerizing visuals is one of the film’s greatest strength, and certainly one of the most memorable of the past year.
    InterstellarCinematography
  • Speaking of robbed, where is Ralph Fiennes?? His first ever comedic leading role, in which he was sensational, went unrecognized. The Academy must have a thing for Bradley Cooper as he’s nominated for the THIRD time in a row for Best Actor!

The WTF

  • Ok now, did The Academy has something against Gone Girl?? I mean look at the trifecta of snubs here. First there’s no love for Fincher for directing nor Gillian Flynn for writing, but the Academy also snubbed Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross for their fantastically atmospheric score!
  • No offense Morten Tyldum, as I love your Danish thriller Headhunters, but sorry I can’t fathom how he’s considered a better director than David Fincher! Yes I included The Imitation Game in my Top 10, but there is no way was it as crafty and bold as Gone Girl.
  • I had the exact reaction last year about Meryl Streep‘s nomination over Emma Thompson in Saving Mr Banks! Well now she’s back for her 19th nomination(!!) for her over-the-top performance in Into The Woods. It’s yet another scenery-chewing performance as she did in August: Osage County as the toxic-spewing matriarch. This time she played a witch, so there’s not much difference in terms of character arc is there??! [sigh] I’d have LOVED to see Carmen Ejogo getting a nod in Meryl’s spot for her heartfelt performance as Correta Scott King in Selma.
    CarmenEjogo_SELMA
  • Now, I haven’t seen either one of the films but I think it’s safe to say that Jake Gyllenhaal got robbed! I mean I’ve read countless reviews praising his chilling psychotic performance in Nightcrawler. Again, was Bradley Cooper really THAT good of an actor that he warrants three Best Actor noms in a row??

The 87th Academy Awards will air on February 22 on ABC.


Well, that’s my reaction to the 2015 nominations. What are your Oscars-related delights and gripes?

2014 Oscar Nominations: The Good, the Bad and the WTF

Oscars2014

WOW, has it been a year already?? I felt like I was just doing this Oscar prediction thing not that long ago! Well, the stars might not have even recovered from the Golden Globes, for better or for worse. Methinks there’d be a mix of old veterans and newcomers all vying for taking the golden bald dude home.

As I’ve been doing the past couple of years, this is the fun time for movie bloggers to scrutinize the nominations to death, ahah. I actually woke up extra early so I could catch the telecast of the nomination itself, with Thor erm Chris Hemsworth making the announcement with the Academy’s president Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

I didn’t make a post of my nomination predictions this year, I only tweeted who’d be nominated for Best Picture. I guessed that it’d be 8 nominations instead of 9 last year, but apparently the number ended up being the same.

So apparently I was off by one and I had guessed that Blue Jasmine would make it, instead it’s Philomena. I haven’t seen either one though, so I can’t say which one I’d prefer. The other nom I haven’t seen is Dallas Buyers Club.

Oscars2014BestPicNoms

  1. Gravity
  2. 12 Years a Slave
  3. American Hustle
  4. Captain Phillips
  5. Her
  6. Nebraska
  7. Dallas Buyers Club
  8. The Wolf of Wall Street
  9. Philomena

 Anyway, you can see the full nominations here. Below’s my thoughts:

The Good

  • I’m most pleased seeing Spike Jonze getting three nominations: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Song The Moon Song, which was sung by Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson in the film.


  • Happy to see Christian Bale getting a Best Actor nomination, didn’t see that coming. But it truly was an excellent performance and an Oscar-worthy role from the consistently stellar actor.
    Bale_Abdi_Oscars2014
  • Congrats to Barkhad Abdi for as close to being the Christoph Waltz of the year, he’s been nominated by pretty much every major awards out there: BAFTA, Golden Globes, SAG, and now Oscars! It’s even more impressive as this is his first EVER role in any format, as he’s never done a stage or even TV acting before. I sure wish him all the best and hope that this would NOT be the last time we see him on screen!
  • YES for The Hunt up for Best Foreign Language Film! Thank you the Academy for not overlooking that one, now if only we could get a win out of that one as well, it’d make up for not seeing Mads Mikkelsen in Best Actor category. I’d think he’s eligible even if the film is not amongst the main Best Picture noms? I don’t know, maybe an Oscar expert can enlighten me on this one?
  • Joshua with one of The Act of Killing's producers Werner Herzog
    Joshua with one of The Act of Killing’s producers Werner Herzog

    I’m thrilled to see The Act of Killing was shortlisted for Best Documentary! I remember talking to director Joshua Oppenheimer last August in my interview that he would be submitting his film to the Oscars. It’s one of my Top 10 films of 2013, and I can’t recommend it enough. Trust me, you’d never see a documentary like it before.

  • Overall I agree with pretty much ALL of the Best Actor nominations, though I haven’t seen Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyer’s Club (the only one I’ve missed so far), I really think he warranted the nom and perhaps the frontrunner of the pack. Of course I’d rather see Joaquin Phoenix amongst the nom, as I for one didn’t think too highly of Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street. Yes the physical comedy bit was hysterical but overall it’s not THAT different from other performances he did where he played an unhinged character. I think he’s done better performances in the past that might’ve merited the nom more than this one.
  • YES for Frozen in the Best Animated Feature category! It’s like last year’s Brave as my favorite animated film of the year, one I don’t mind seeing over and over again!
    Frozen_BestAnimOscars
  • I’ve seen all of the films in the Best Cinematography category except for Prisoners. Sorry Roger Deakins, I know this marks your 11th nomination, but I’d love to see Emmanuel Lubezki win this thing as his work for Gravity is absolutely superb.
  • I’m rooting for William Butler and Owen Pallett for their score for Her. I honestly didn’t think John Williams‘ work is all that great in The Book Thief , but I really respect his work as a composer so I’m not going to complain too much.

The Bad

  • As I’ve said above, I had been rooting for Joaquin Phoenix to get a nom 😦
  • EmmaThompson_SavingMrBanksOh and where is Emma Thompson?? Come on Academy! You’d rather give it to Meryl Streep for the 18th time?? Ok so she was good as the pill-popping, toxic-spewing matriarch of the Weston family in August: Osage County but there’s as much scenery-chewing in that performance than actually good acting. Thompson is more deserving to be included here! A bit of trivia here according to Josh the Oscars expert, whilst this is Meryl Streep’s 18th nomination, it would’ve been Emma Thompson’s FIRST nomination in 18 years 😦
  •  Hoyte Van Hoytema is robbed for his amazing cinematography work in Her. Seriously, it’s one of the most enchanting visual storytelling I’ve seen in a long while that enhances the story so much. I found this article talking about Hoytema’s process of capturing the right mood for Jonze’s film, “Van Hoytema used an array of glass that would allow him to capture the intimacy of the characters’ relationship, as well as the physicality of light, something the cinematographer says was integral to the character Samantha’s experiences of seeing things for the first time. I was literally in awe and mesmerized by the distinctive look of the film as I was watching it, more so than any other film nominated in this category.
  • Speaking of being robbed, seriously, where is Daniel Brühl??! Yeah I know he’s probably going to lose to Jared Leto, I mean without seeing the performance, if I were a betting woman I’d put my money on Leto. But at the very least Brühl should’ve been in the running. Even Niki Lauda himself would’ve vouched for him as he wasn’t simply imitating the F1 star with his fantastic performance. Jonah Hill‘s flashy performance is sooo overrated it’s not even funny! Heck, I’d rather see Will Forte get a nomination instead of him as he was pretty darn good in his first dramatic role in Nebraska. No scenery-chewing necessary.
  • WOW, no love at all for Lee Daniels’ The Butler?? I thought it was a solid drama, even better than Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom which I’m not surprised nor bummed it didn’t get a nomination. Hmmm, I wonder if The Weinstein Company’s snafu over the title could’ve been one of the reasons?

The WTF

I think most people who care about the Oscars are likely to care as much about who gets snubbed than those who got in. Some of them I’ve mentioned above but these list are dedicated for the dishonor of the award season. Once again, look no further than the Directing category…

  • Last year the *honors* went to Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow for being snubbed for ARGO and Zero Dark Thirty respectively. This year it’s Paul Greengrass! His excellent thriller Captain Phillips made the Best Picture list but he’s not amongst Best Director noms. Heh, good thing the American Cinema Editors recognized his work, he’s to be awarded its filmmaker of the year award on February 7 (per Variety).
    HanksGreengrass_OscarSnub
  • Speaking of the Captain, neither is Tom Hanks! I’d rather see Hanks get in than Leo personally, yes even at Joaquin Phoenix’s expense I would not have minded as much. In the same camp is Robert Redford, who everyone seems to have been praising, but I haven’t seen All Is Lost so I can’t say.
    ///
  • As for the rest of the acting snubs, according to Indiewire, Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks and Daniel Bruhl all got nods from SAG, BAFTA, the Globes and the Critics Choice. To get all four of those and still miss out on Oscar is a very rare occasion.
  • Sad to see one of my favorite songs of the year Young and Beautiful got overlooked again! It’s such a gorgeous song… here I’m putting this again though I had posted it in my Music Break post:


  • So the F1 thriller/drama RUSH was pretty much left out of the track all together. I’m not as bummed about Ron Howard not getting a nod than not seeing Daniel Brühl, as I’ve mentioned above. He’s far better than both Bradley Cooper AND Jonah Hill!
  • OscarIsaac_OscarSnubNow, I wouldn’t have put Inside Llewyn Davis amongst Best Picture nominees, but Oscar Isaac should’ve been in the running for Best Actor! He’s an incredible actor who’s proven his talents many times before and I was hoping this would’ve been his real big break! His name IS Oscar AND capable of Oscar-worthy performances, heck he should’ve won one by now!
  • Another snub for Inside Llewyn Davis is in the Best Score and Best Song category! Man, I thought the music is phenomenal, certainly my favorite part of the film aside from Isaac’s performance.
  • Lastly, I quite enjoyed American Hustle but truthfully, I don’t know if it’s THAT good to lead the nomination pack with 10 nominations (tied with the far more deserving Gravity?!) I sure hope Jennifer Lawrence won’t win Best Supporting category.

    Yes I know it’s perhaps more far-fetched than the premise of Her, but I’d have liked to see Scarlett Johansson getting a surprise nod for her amazing voice work as the OS Samantha. It’s so integral to the success of the film. But oh well, since she’s not even in the running, I’m rooting for Lupita Nyong’o. My second preference: June Squibb.


The 86th Academy Awards will air March 2 from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, it’ll be shown live on ABC.


Well, that’s my reaction to the 2014 nominations. What are your Oscars-related delights and gripes?

The 85th Oscar Nominations: The Good, the Bad and the WTF

85thOscar

It’s a big morning in Hollywood… and it’s a life-changing moment for some filmmakers and actors alike. Take Bradley Cooper, he’s now going to have ‘Oscar nominee’ before his name is spoken in his movie trailers. Being nominated for the same film as Robert DeNiro’s got to be extra sweet!

Now, as I did last year, now that the cat’s out of the bag, it’s time to scrutinize analyze it to death, ahah. Before I get to that, I’m glad to report that my Oscar predictions is not too far off. I predicted 10 noms, but there are only nine and I didn’t have Amour on my list. I also predicted Moonrise Kingdom and The Master would make the list.

BEST PICTURE NOMINATIONS

  1. Amour
  2. Argo
  3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  4. Django Unchained
  5. Lincoln
  6. Les Miserables
  7. Life of Pi
  8. Silver Linings Playbook
  9. Zero Dark Thirty

Anyway, you can see the full nominations here. Below’s my thoughts on most of the major nominations:

The Good

  • Nice to see David O. Russell got a nod for Silver Linings Playbook, his first film after The Fighter, which he also got directing nomination. It’s one of my favorite 2012 films and I do think it deserves the kudos. He captures the bizarre family dynamics brilliantly, and the film is both entertaining and deeply moving at the same time.
  • While we’re on the subject, I think it’s cool that Silver Linings Playbook get four-for-four noms.
    SLP_cast
    That is nominations in all FOUR acting categories: Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (Robert DeNiro), and Best Supporting Actress (Jackie Weaver). It’s perhaps the first time in Oscar history that three actors portraying members of one family all got nominated!
  • I’ve always been a fan of Jessica Chastain, so even though I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty yet (will do VERY soon), I’ll go out of a limb to say that the nom was well-deserved.
  • Hunt_TheSessionsWoo hoo! Helen Hunt for Best Supporting Actress in The Sessions. She was tremendously brave in that role, I can’t say I’m too surprised to see her here. It wasn’t that she was brave to be fully nude, but it’s the emotional part of her role that I found really affecting. That scene on her last day of the session when she cried in her car, that was heartbreaking.
  • I think this is the first time I actually agree with pretty much ALL of the Best Actor nominations (and no overrated actor this time, yay!), even though I’ve only seen one of the performances. I just think all five of those talented actors have either been overlooked previously and based on what I’ve been reading, have amazing dedication to their roles (especially Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln).
  • YES for Brave in the Best Animated Feature category! You know I adore that movie!
  • YES for Mr. Roger Deakins for Skyfall!
    Deakins_SkyfallSet
    That’s the best looking movie I’ve seen in a long time, surely! I do hope he takes home the Oscar this time, I mean he’s the Susan Lucci of cinematographers, being nominated 9 times previously but never won once!
  • YES for The Hobbit for the Best Makeup and Visual Effects nods, very well-deserved I’d say. I’d love to see Richard Armitage and his band of dwarves make an appearance at the ceremony 😀

The Bad

  • As much as I like Joaquin Phoenix and that I think it’s good that the Academy voters disregard how he feels about award season, I’m still bummed that John Hawkes didn’t get an Oscar nod. I mean it was a tremendous performance to act just with your face alone!
    Hawkins_Sessions
    In case you didn’t know about Phoenix, he called Oscar campaigning utter and total bullsh*t in last year’s Interview Magazine, saying this about Award season: “I don’t want to be part of it. I don’t believe in it. It’s the worst-tasting carrot I’ve ever tasted in my whole life. I don’t want this carrot.” (per THR)
  • I guess there’s really room for TWO supporting actors in one film is there? I was really rooting for John Goodman to get a nod for ARGO, I think he was as excellent and memorable as Alan Arkin. He does it so effortlessly. I think he should’ve gotten a best supporting actor nod for The Artist as well.
  • None of my three favorite British Dames got nominated. I was hoping that Maggie Smith might get a nod for either Quartet or The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Judi Dench for Marigold Hotel or Skyfall, and Helen Mirren for Hitchcock. The last one especially bummed me out, Mirren was truly the best thing about Hitchcock.
    ….

The WTF

Time for the most-uttered four-letter-word-during-award-season to make an appearance once again. Snub this, snub that… so who gets the dishonor this year? Well look no further than the Directing category… which brings me to the burning question I’ve always had during award season… perhaps one of you could enlighten me??

How could a movie get a Best Picture nomination but its director is NOT??
I mean, wasn’t the director the one who called the shots to make the film work the way it did?

  • Both Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow are both snubbed for ARGO and Zero Dark Thirty respectively.
    AffleckBigelowOscarSnubs
    I think a lot of people are very surprised since both are nominated by Directors Guild Awards! According to THR, the DGA has historically been the single best predictor of the nominees for and winners of the best director Oscar — and the best picture Oscar. It’s curious that both are political thrillers, and has their shares of controversies. Heh, I’m really rooting for ARGO for the win this year 😦
  • WOW, not a single nomination for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises?? I’m not expecting it to nab a Best Picture nod (not that it deserved it), but at the very least in the Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography for Wally Pfister, or Hanz Zimmer for Best Score?
    ….
  • The Intouchables absent from the Best Foreign Language category. WOW, all of the reviews I’ve read so far suggests that this is a shoo-in in this category. The story sounds really heartwarming and uplifting, plus since Amour has made it to the Best Picture category, shouldn’t this film replace that one in the Foreign Language category?? [scratch head]

Some 2013 Oscar Trivia:


This seems to be the nomination of ALL ages, from 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis (good luck to those who have to present the Best Actress category on pronouncing THAT!) for Beast of the Southern Wild to 85-year-old Amour‘s lead actress Emmanuelle Riva.
Riva_Wallis_BestActressNoms

Thomas Newman earns his 11th nomination with his score for the James Bond film Skyfall. The Newman family — Alfred, Lionel, Emil, Thomas, David and Randy — now have 87 nominations altogether.

Michael Kahn is the most nominated film editor; he receives his eighth nomination this year for Lincoln.

Similarly, Roman Coppola, who was nominated with Wes Anderson for their original screenplay for Moonrise Kingdom, is the sixth member of the Coppola clan to receive a nomination — he joins Carmine Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola, Talia Shire, Nicolas Cage and Sofia Coppola — bringing the family total to 24 nominations.

[Source: LA Times]


Well, that’s my reaction to the 2013 nominations. What are your Oscar delights and gripes?

Musings on the 2010 Oscar nominations

Well, the biggest day of the movie biz has arrived, where the words ‘snubbed’ or ‘robbed’ become a staple around cinephiles and those who give a hoot about what the Academy thinks. Anne Hathaway revealed the nominees of the 82nd Oscar Tuesday morning, and for the first time we have 10 Best Picture nominations instead of 5. I didn’t bother making predictions because for one, I’ve only seen half of the movies nominated, so that hardly makes me a good judge. I’m going to make it a flix-resolution to see the rest of the five by Oscar time, perhaps if I’m ambitious enough, to see the nominated performances of all the actors … which equals to twelve movies I’ve got to catch up on in about a month!

For a full list of nominees, check out MadHatter’s or Caz‘s blog.

In the Best Picture category, I’m glad to see Avatar and District 9, though sci-fi films are usually snubbed so The Hurt Locker probably has a better chance of taking home the golden bald dude. It completely escaped me that The Hurt Locker‘s director Kathryn Bigelow was once married to James Cameron! WOW, what a showdown that’ll be, as people have dubbed it the David vs. Goliath as the small art house flick about a bomb disposal unit in Iraq will vie against the behemoth blockbuster that is Avatar. Both of them are also up for Best Director, though with Bigelow already winning Best Director at Directors Guild Award gives her the upper hand here.

Sharlto Copley in District 9

I’m quite surprised to see The Blindside being singled out, though I’m not entirely averse to it like some bloggers out there. I just think that though it was good, it’s not exactly Oscar caliber. I thought that (500) Days of Summer would get a shot, and I would’ve liked to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the Best Actor noms, as opposed to George Clooney. I read somewhere earlier today that put this better than I ever could, “Clooney in Up in the Air is essentially playing himself… but he does it really, really well.” But if Gordon-Levitt didn’t even stand a chance, there’s no way District 9‘s Sharlto Copley would get recognized. That’s too bad, I thought he easily gave one of the most memorable performance I’ve seen, and he was truly the heart of the movie. I’m going to hold my tongue, or fingers in this case, about Morgan Freeman/Matt Damon acting nod combo for Invictus as I haven’t seen the movie. It’s just they seem kind of obligatory if you will, given the characters they’re playing. Whilst carrying a movie entirely on your own like Sam Rockwell did as a forlorn astronaut in Moon is by no small feat by any means. MTV movie blog even went so far as calling the movie criminally-underrated, which could very well be the case.

The Young Victoria

I also agree with Cinematical about (500) Days being left out in the Best Original Screenplay category. At least it didn’t lose out to Avatar, though I have yet to see The Messenger to see if it’s indeed a more deserving pick. The other one is District 9 for Best Makeup, at least one other nod the movie should’ve gotten besides Copley’s acting. It’s arguably ‘easy’ to make Emily Blunt look flawless in The Young Victoria, but Wikus’ shocking transformation in the South African sci-fi was one you won’t soon forget. I can see the period drama winning Best Costume Design though, whilst I wasn’t impressed at all by the frocks Abbie Cornish wore in Bright Star, though it’s hardly the movie’s biggest flaws.

Wow, lots of love for Up I see. I’m more in the Wall-E camp myself, though I’m not saying I dislike Up, I just think though the first part was so poignantly moving, the whole experience was rather underwhelming to me. Interesting how the Pixar flick is up for (pardon the pun) both Best Picture and Best Animated Feature.

Glad to see the dreadful Avatar song ‘I See You’ wasn’t in the Best Original Song category. The score is pretty good, though not as memorable as say Hans Zimmer’s work in Gladiator, at least it won’t give me migraines every time I hear it.

Anyway, it’s late so I’m going to wrap things up here. Here are a few other Oscar chatters from my blogger friends at Anomalous Material (Red over there apparently has an amazing crystal ball about the Oscar) and M. Carter @ The Movies ponders on who got snubbed (pre-rapper Joaquin for one) by the Academy.

Edit: The Huffington Post published this article title The Forgotscars, and I got to admit I like their picks far better.

Well, what do you think readers, any thoughts on the Oscar picks/snubs this year?