Oscars and Razzies Recap

Well, it was a fairly uneventful Oscar night as about all the projected winners those that had already won all the other awards took home an Oscar as well. La La Land was the big winner of the night taking home 6 of the 14 awards. The biggest surprise of the night was Moonlight taking home Best Picture and it was for a surprise for everyone as La La Land was announced and then it turned out that Moonlight was the real winner. Viola Davis with her win became the most recent to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting (Emmy, Oscar, and Tony), is only the 23rd person to do so and the first African American to do it. Lin-Manuel Miranda will have to wait another year or two to get his EGOT, but now we’ve got to add Pasek and Paul to this list as it seems like Dear Evan Hansen has a chance to win them a couple Tony awards come June. The OJ Simpson documentary won an Oscar and seems like the odd on favorite to bring home an Emmy as well. Disney got another Animated Feature Oscar for Zootopia.

On Saturday at the Razzies there was also a bit of a shocker as Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party took home the big award (Worst Picture, Director, Actor, Actress) and the suspected Batman v Superman movie won almost everything else.

Oscar/Razzie Predictions

This is going to be a tough one to predict this year as I haven’t seen many of these movies, but thanks to all the other award shows it’s a bit easier. The Golden Raspberry Awards are handed out on Saturday before the Oscars are handed out on Sunday

For the Razzies it seems likely that Batman v Superman will be taking home a bunch of awards but it won’t be a sweep since there were like three women and none were very important in the film.

On to the Oscars: Will it be a La La Land sweep as many people are predicting since it’s another film about Hollywood being so amazing and they like to award these masturbatory films about themselves as seen with Argo and The Artist.

Best Picture: La La Land or It could also be one of the films about actual people like Hacksaw Ridge or Hidden Figures, however it’ll be La La Land.
Director: The guy who Directed La La Land has won this award at every other award show so Damien Chazelle is the best guess here.
Actor: This is going to Casey Affleck, although Denzel Washington could sneak in and win it.
Actress: Emma Stone might win but it might go to Natalie Portman or even Isabella Huppert it seems likely a new actress will win it.
Supporting Actor: It’s a two horse race Dev Patel took home the BAFTA but Mahershala Ali won the SAG. This is one of the harder categories to pick.
Supporting Actress: Viola Davis
Animated: Once again Disney seems to have this locked up it looks like Zootopia will bring home the award over Moana.
Song: City of Stars from La La Land has won the other awards for best song but who really knows will they just give it to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s song from Moana so he can EGOT or will he have to wait another year or two.

Oscar Nominations

It’s that time of year already. This year we have some diversity in the nominations. Meryl picked up nomination number 20, La La Land got 14 nominations and Viola Davis become the first African American woman with three nominations. That’s some pretty cool stuff going on here.

Best Picture: or Film I didn’t see this year.

Arrival: Science fiction film about linguistics.
Fences: Denzel Washington’s first step into August Wilson’s Century Cycle this is set in the 50s.
Hacksaw Ridge: Biopic about that conscientious objector, Desmond Doss who refused a weapon during WWII
Hell or High Water: a Crime\heist Western
Hidden Figures: Biopic about the female African American NASA engineers who help get us into space.
La La Land: a musical about the wonders of Hollywood and falling in love.
Lion:  sort of a biopic about that Indian child who got lost and adopted by Australian and then went to find his family.
Manchester by the Sea: Amazon’s first Oscar Nomination, Casey Affleck’s attempt to make us forget about his brother.
Moonlight: It’s sort of like Boyhood, as it is a story about a boy growing up to become a man, but it explore life and masculinity of African American men.Best Animated Film: Here we have a surprise as Pixar is not nominated at all. Disney’s Zootopia and Moana go for it against Kubo and two films I’ve never heard of The Red Turtle and My life as a Courgette.Lin-Manuel Miranda is on his way to an EGOT with a nomination in Best Song, he is up against two songs from La La Land, City of Stars which won the Golden Globe and Audition (The Fools who Dream), a song from Jim: The James Foley Story by Sting and that song by Justin Timberlake from Trolls. Although it seems like Miranda is facing an uphill climb here but perhaps Hollywood would be nice for once and let a kid from Washington Heights win an Oscar but it not I’m sure there are going to be more chances for him to take home an Oscar in the future.
The biggest surprise of the whole list has to be ESPN’s OJ Simpson miniseries making it as a Documentary feature and there is still a chance for it to pick up an Emmy nomination when those come out.  It was released in select theaters in LA and New York so it qualifies for an Oscar.

The Revenant (2015)

The Revenant or the movie that got Leo his Oscar. It is based on the story of Hugh Glass, a frontiersman who was left for dead but found his way back to society. The movie itself differs a bit from the actual events but that was a long time ago.

This film itself wasn’t that spectacular as for the majority of it the film is heavy breathing and maybe a fog of breathe on the screen. Sure the story is alright and Leonardo DiCaprio did go through a whole lot to get the film made but was his acting in this picture the most brilliant of the year or was it just because Leo needed to have an Oscar. The film also won for Best Actor and Best Cinematography this is the second time in a row for Alejandro G. Iñárritu as Director and the third in a row for Emmanuel Lubezki for Cinematography. Revenant looks amazing and the story is alright but it just seemed to take forever for anything to happen. Sort of how Tarantino’s latest movie The Hateful Eight was, it looked amazing but the story wasn’t that great.

The Little Prince (2015)

The film The Little Prince is based on the novella Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. If you haven’t read it yet, take the time and go read it now. After I read it the first time I found the movie musical version made in 1974 with music and lyrics by Lerner and Lowe it’s weird to say the least. So I was highly anticipating the release of the film from the first time I saw a trailer as it has a unique look to it. Spoilers to follow

The story begins within a framing device of a workaholic mom and her daughter move in next door to an old aviator, and the mom pressures her to succeed in life even though she is so young. Planning every single moment life down to the minute, the daughter is lonely. After the move into a new house the aviator next door try to fly his plane and the propeller flies off and into their house.  That evening while the daughter is studying in comes a paper airplane on which the story of the Little Prince is written. This begins the main story as the Aviator is the one who wrote the story. These story section of the film are unique as they are stop motion and it seems like it’s made of paper most of the time which I think make it like they just popped out from the book. So we get bits of his story of the Little Prince mixed in with the girl. It takes a beloved story and adds some more to it and makes it better in the end.

If you are a fan of animation this is something you need to check out. It is available on Netflix in the US and I believe on Blu-Ray/DVD around the globe. It won the Cesar (French Oscars) for Best Animated Film in 2015. It is a shame that no major distributor in the US wanted to release it since it is a whole lot better than some other animated films I’ve seen recently.

Oscars and Razzies recap

Saturday night the evening before the Oscars the annual Golden Raspberry Awards were handed out honoring the worst in film. This year the Worst Film of the year we had a tie Fifty Shades of Grey and Fantastic Four both took home the honor. It was the third time that there was a tie in the Worst Film Category. Fifty Shades was the biggest winner of the night taking home five awards for worst.

On the positive side Sunday evening the Oscars happened and there were some cool additions to the show this year. The boxes that popped up telling you who the actors are and what they were in/if they won an Oscar before, the other thing was the scrolling bottom line after a win listing who people wanted to thank, it was a smart idea to add that as so many times have people gone long trying to thank everyone they know. The night got off to a great start with Chris Rock’s opening monologue where he commented on the whole lack of black nominees at this year Oscars.

The biggest winner of the night was Mad Max which basically swept the technical categories. Most of the early predictions were correct. Ex-Machina took home one for Visual Effects. Inarritu won best Director for a second time repeating his win from last year, this makes him the first director to win back-to back awards since Joseph Mankiewicz in 1949/1950. Pixar picked up another Oscar win for Animated Feature. Ennio Morricone finally got his first Oscar in a competitive category for score and Sam Smith won for his Bond Song. Brie Larson won for Best Actress, Alicia Vikander won for Supporting Actress, Leo finally won for Best Actor and Mark Rylance won for Supporting Actor. The biggest surprise of the night was when Spotlight went home with the award for Best Picture. I really like how at the very end of the awards we were treated with some of Public Enemy’s Fight the Power

Oscar/Razzie predictions

As of right now anyone can be confident about a bunch of awards including Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay (Original and Adapted), Animated Feature, and Score as the same individual has won in all the previous awards.

Best Picture: Seems like The Revenant but trends didn’t work last year so it could be anything.
Best Director: This one seems like a toss up between Alejandro Inarritu and George Miller. Inarritu won this award last year. If Miller wins I think he will become the first individual to win awards for both Best Animated Feature and Director.
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio will finally win an Oscar and he can stop trying
Best Actress: Brie LarsonBest Supporting Actor: Stallone seemed like he was going to walk through award season picking up awards left and right but Mark Rylance took home the BAFTA
Best Supporting Actress: This is a two horse race Kate Winslet or Alicia Vikander will win.
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out, since it’s a Pixar film and they have won a majority of these awards since it has existed.
Best Score: Ennio Morricone finally get a real Oscar
Best Song: Not a clue, but it would be cool if the Bond song won again.
Best Screenplay (Adapted): Big Short
Best Screenplay (Original): Spotlight

Time for the Worst Picture prediction this is difficult to pick but I hope it goes to Jupiter Ascending as I could only last 15 minutes into that movie before I wanted it over.

 

The Martian (2015)

The Martian or as it could be called Matt Damon gets rescued again, I think he is the most rescued individual in modern film. Spoilers to follow.

It’s 2035 and Mark Watney (Damon) is a member of the Ares III mission who are on a 31 sol (Martian Day) mission. A huge dust storm comes and the mission is aborted Watney gets hit by debris while trying to make it to the MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle) in order to get to Hermes and head back to Earth. Watney’s fellow crew member think he’s dead and head home without him, but Watney was just punctured by an antenna which also made it’s way through the bio meter, but his blood sealed the suit so he stayed alive. Watney realizes that his only hope would be to get the where the Ares IV is scheduled to land but he need to get more food although the mission supply would last him roughly a year so Watney as a botanist decides to become a farmer, he sets up a field of martian dirt adds some fecal matter as fertilizer and plants some potatoes from the Thanksgiving meal. He gets this figured out rather quickly. Eventually he goes and upgrades his rover with the other rover and the plutonium  to make it work better. This leads him to discover Pathfinder, which just needed a battery change and works perfectly after sitting for 40 years and the technology used back in 1996 is compatible with the 2030s tech as using Pathfinder Watney can communicate with NASA  and they talk him through linking the rover to Pathfinder so they can chat that way.

All in all it’s a fun movie Matt Damon trying to survive on his own on a planet. It is Ridley Scott’s best movie in years and was nominated for 7 Academy Awards and was in several top ten list for 2015.  I think we need to have a couple of films where Matt Damon does some rescuing or they just fail to save him. The biggest problem with the movie is that after watching it you really don’t care much about anyone else or could you tell their names with the exception of Damon. That might be the biggest problem I had with the movie.

Film in 2015 (Oscar and Razzie Nominations)

So once again White People won the Oscar Awards nominations as no Black people were nominated for any of the big awards. This marks the second year running where racial diversity and the apparent lack in Hollywood has been an issue. This is even though two big film about African American, Straight Outta Compton and Creed did score nominations they were awarded to white people working on the film, the screenwriters of Straight Outta Compton and Sylvester Stallone for reprising his role of Rocky in Creed.

On to the nominations.

Best Picture:
The Big Short- The financial crisis of 07-08 the movie
Bridge of Spies- Spielberg/Tom Hanks Cold War Drama
Brooklyn- Irish girl comes to America and fall for an Italian boy
Mad Max–  It’s one long chase scene
The Martian- Rescuing Matt Damon yet again.
The Revenant- Leo DiCaprio gets mauled and survives, movie based on the life of Hugh Glass.
Room- Not a clue
Spotlight- Boston Globe breaks the story of the child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston

Best Actor:
Leo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass is seen by many to be the front runner in the race but we will see.
Bryan Cranston as Blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo
Matt Damon as lost on Mars
Michael Fastbender as Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne as the first Transgendered who went through sex reassignment surgery this seems like the other horse in the race

Best Actress:
Cate Blanchett as Carol in Carol
Brie Larson in the movie Room
Jennifer Lawrence as a divorced mother of two who invents the Miracle Mop, loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano
Charlotte Rampling in a film I never heard of before 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan as the Irish girl who comes to America

Best Director:
It seems likely that we will have a first time winner in this category unless Alejandro Inarriutu can repeat and that has been a difficult thing to do, as only Joseph Mankiewicz and John Ford have done this back in the 40s.
Lenny Abrahamson- Room
Tom McCarthy- Spotlight
Adam McKay- Big Short
George Miller-Can the director of Happy Feet win? It sure would be amazing if he does.

Best Supporting Actor seems like it’s going to Sylvester Stallone
Animated Film Once again Pixar has it locked up with Inside Out unless Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa was any good, it looked pretty interesting.
Score it would be nice is Ennio Morricone finally won a Competitive Oscar, but who know how it will pan out.

On to the Worst, The 36th Golden Raspberry Award nominations came out a day before the Oscar Nominations. This is a difficult year as there are so many bad movies the past year from Jupiter Ascending and Pixels to Fantastic Four and 50 Shades of Grey.

Network (1976)

Network is a film about the television industry and it seems to have predicted the future so well. In a New York Times piece on the film’s 35th Anniversary and the notes and papers that were donated to the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts. Aaron Sorkin wrote in an e-mail that “no predictor of the future — not even Orwell — has ever been as right as Chayefsky was when he wrote ‘Network.’ ” Sorkin went further and said “If you put it in your DVD player today you’ll feel like it was written last week,” Mr. Sorkin added “The commoditization of the news and the devaluing of truth are just a part of our way of life now. You wish Chayefsky could come back to life long enough to write ‘The Internet.’ ” As usual spoilers to follow.

This film is about a Television network UBS and a longtime anchor, Howard Beale, who is about to be fired. After Howard learns out him being dumped by the network the next broadcast he says that next Tuesday he will commit suicide live. The network isn’t thrilled by this and they ask for Howard to be sacked but Howard’s long time friend Max Schumacher ask the executives to give Howard a nice dignified exit and a chance to apologize. So when Howard gets back in front of the camera, he starts ranting about how life is bullshit. The higher up agree to exploit this and let Howard continue to rant about whatever this leads to the iconic scene where Howard calls upon the nation to all get up and open their windows and shout out “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” When Howard’s ratings plateau the head of the programming department approaches Max about developing Howard’s show into an entertainment show, Max doesn’t like this and gets fired by the UBS executives. This leads the newly named Howard Beale show into becoming the biggest hit on television. Howard’s rants seem like they could have come from anyone today.

Is it a problem when a movie from almost 40 years ago still seems fresh, especially when it’s talking about television, which we tend to think as an evolving media. Was the news any better in the age of Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor? I haven’t a clue but the satirical nature of the film looks like the norm of television news today, where people tell you how you are supposed to feel and “real news” doesn’t really exist anymore.

Network has the special distinction as being the latest film win for Best Actor, Actress and Supporting Actress this is the farthest any film has come to winning all four acting awards and Network shares this feat with A Streetcar Named Desire. Peter Finch who won for Best Actor became the first individual to win posthumously. If you haven’t seen this film and are a fan of watching news this is a match made in heaven, it is also one of the film on the National Film Registry and was on the American Film Institute’s top 100 film when the lists came out in 98 and 2007.