Oscar 2016 predictions

Tonight sees the red carpet rolled out once more for the biggest award ceremony in the movie industry, the Academy Awards, which is the 88th celebration so far. This year has been unfortunately marred with controversy, many claiming that the Oscars are racist. It’s a shame when this happens as it takes something away the great work done by so many tremendously talented people. However, I’m sure it won’t get in the way of tonight’s festivities, especially with Chris Rock hosting. I’ll be live blogging the whole event through the night, I’m so glad I’ve got Monday off, staying up until 5am and then working all day? No thanks.

88-Academy-Awards-2016-Oscars-List

So here are my predictions of a few awards being handed out this weekend, let’s see how close I come to getting them right, for once!

Best Film

Nominations

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

And the winner is The Revenant

Out of those which have been nominated, no film is better. The story, screenplay, shots, costume, acting and more make this the best film of the year. Alejandro González Iñárritu has done incredible job, each sequence shot is a masterpiece in its own right, the attack on the beach is a particular favourite of mine. Hearing that he shot only at a certain time of the day to get the right light, putting Leonardo DiCaprio through such a hellish ordeal, the track shots throughout, the cinematography that made you feel just a bit colder than normal in a movie theatre, it’s all a testament to on of the best films ever made. 

Best Director

Nominations

Adam Mckay – The Big Shiort

George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro G Inarritu – The Revenant

Lenny Abrahamson – Room

Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

And the winner is Alejandro G Inarritu for The Revenant

Well, what more can I say? He has created a masterpiece that has been talked about for so long now, it feels like this movie has been with us for quite some time. Inarritu has had a very solid history of making acclaimed movies from last years Birdman, to 2010’s Biutiful, to 2000’s Amores Perros and several more. He’s got a brilliant eye for what makes a good story and then executes it with perfect diction and a lot of the time his work will really make you think.

Best Actor

Nominations

Bryan Cranston – Trumbo

Matt Damon – The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

And the winner is Leonardo DiCaprio

As much as I enjoyed almost all of these performances, there’s no doubt at all that this is Leo’s year. It’s his fifth nomination and it’s finally going to happen for him. For those of you who have seen The Revenant, you would have witnessed a man being put through some very trying circumstances in which he not only had to endure but he had to act through as well, it’s a really superb performance. Well done Leo, you finally did it.

Best Actress

Nominations

Cate Blanchett – Carol

Brie Larson – Room

Jennifer Lawrence – Joy

Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

And the winner is Brie Larson

I have loved every single performance in this category but for me, my money is on Brie Larson who starred in the incredible Room, bringing an emotional performance like no other. The story involves a mother and son, locked in a room together for years with no way out. The mother, Ma, has been kidnapped and given birth to Jack whilst in this dungeon. Larson gives a deeply emotional performance in which she depicts the trauma of a kidnapping victim in a remarkably realistic way and she has a bond with Jack that’s different to any other mother and son relationship. A really amazing film with a superb performance by its lead actress.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominations

Christian Bale – The Big Short

Tom Hardy – The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight

Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone – Creed

And the winner is Mark Rylance

He won the BAFTA for his performance in Bridge of Spies and there’s no question that he not only deserves the Oscar, but that he has earned it. His performance as Rudolf Abel is smart, witty, understated and surprisingly funny. He delivers some incredible lines, written by Matt Charman along with the Cohen brothers, no wonder there are so many oddly humorous moments in this spy thriller. But the lines would be nothing without Mark Rylance. He is working with Spielberg again on The BFG and I’m sure we can expect yet another stellar performance.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominations

Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara – Carol

Rachel McAdams – Spotlight

Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

And the winner is Kate Winslet

This is the most difficult one to predict however I’ve gone with Kate Winslet as it does feel like she has the edge over my second choice of Rachel McAdams. She’s brilliant as Joanna Hoffman in the extremely underrated Steve Jobs (I can’t tell you how annoying it is that this film has not received the appreciation it deserves, especially when it comes to the screenplay. How was Aaron Sorkin not nominated?!) She’s the voice of reason when Jobs (Michael Fassbender) is losing it with his staff, the mother of his daughter and his daughter. Winslet does a great job of keeping her accent (what is it with some actors who try and fail this so many times) and keeping her cool with each escalating situation. Let’s hope she wins.

Best Animated Feature

Anomalisa

Inside Out

Shaun the Sheep

Boy and the Wild

When Marnie Was There

And the winner is Inside Out

No question when it comes to this one, Inside Out was a stand out film in so many ways. Pixar have a history of making us feel something very real for animated characters, no other studio can compare with their current work.But this time they have used emotions to make us feel emotional. The concept of using the emotions within a girl going through a major change in her life really hit home for a lot of older viewers who can see themselves in Riley. It’s a very relatable story which anyone who has ever had something big in their life completely change and anyone who has ever grown up! Moving on from your imaginary friend, going through changes, making new friends, it’s all in there and it’s all why this film will win the Oscar this year.

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Top 10 movies of 2015

2015 was an incredible year for films, we were spoilt with a plethora of huge blockbusters. Lots of films released from established franchises including new ones from Bond, Star Wars, Mad Max, a couple from Marvel, Jurassic World and one of the best Pixar films we’ve ever seen. But there were also new and fresh stories to be told, other worlds to be taken to and other times we haven’t seen before.

It’s hard to come up with a top 10 of the year however I feel these were the best movies released in 2015. What do you think?

  1. Still Alice

The movie the won Julianne Moore an Oscar for Best Actress (one of the few awards which was handed out to the right person during that particular ceremony), here she plays Alice Howland, a professor of linguistics whose life slowly seems to be deteriorating due to Alzheimer’s. It’s a real mark of an actor when they can be as accurate as possible when playing a character with such a debilitating disease and Moore did just that. Her research went above and beyond to ensure that she treated those who had it with respect and with that came a heartbreaking performance that will never be forgotten.

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road

A dam good choice to replace Mel Gibson as the title character, Tom Hardy is Max in this blisteringly brilliant reboot. It was praised for having a tough female character in Charlize Theron’s who rebelled against the oppressive regime of Immortan Joe. Theron’s performance was different to most female characters we see on our screens these days, she was tough, fearsome, had a not-to-be-messed-with attitude, even when it came to the brutality of Max. Director George Miller mostly shunned visual effects and all of the vehicles were built as we see them and made to work. The stunning landscape shots were created by Cinematographer John Seale, who was able to show the harsh realities of surviving in a baron wasteland, an incredible achievement. The small part of VFX that was used is in the sky where they changed the colour, pretty much. It’s nothing and that’s one of many reasons why this film is so enjoyable.

  1. Steve Jobs

It was very surprising that this film made it into production after the lead actor and first choice director both changed hands a couple of times. How they pulled of something as entertaining and smart as this is beyond anyone. Well, it’s not beyond the likes of Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin. A dream duo team, who proved you can make a good Steve Jobs film. Not only is it good, it’s great, it’s funny, it’s whip smart, it has trademark Sorkin lines and fast talking in it, it has Boyle’s direction. It’s hard to find fault with this film at all. It takes place at three product launches all of which Jobs, played by Michael Fassbender, is involved in. The story is everything that’s happening in the background of these launches, his confrontations with various people in his life which is pretty much everyone. The beauty in this film lies within the script, one which I described as a Sorkin sharp script in my review. The one liners he has composed along with his exceptionally long speeches (yet another Sorkin-ism) for the characters are quintessential traits for the writer and something that makes all of his movies and TV scripts a joy to watch.

STEVE_JOBS_reflection

  1. The Martian

There was a lot of buzz surrounding this one, mostly because of how accurate most parts of the book were. The author, Andy Weir, did a painstaking job when it came to research by posting bits of his book online and asking those within the science community for feedback on his books authenticity. After a while he had a brilliant and almost accurate piece of science fiction in his hands. This became The Martian last year, starring Matt Damon as the lead character who needs to be saved from Mars after a few things go wrong. Damon is a very reliable star, however we rarely see him do comedy, but it turns out he’s dam good at it! The Martian has plenty of laughs in it, as well as on the mark scientific terminology, but not so much that it bores you. It keeps you entertained with the fact that it’s not dumbed down, smart enough to keep you interested, you become emotionally invested in Damon’s Mark Watney as he shows what astronauts are probably really like when they go on a mission. Frankly it looks like a lot of fun! (Minus the peril, obviously.)

  1. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

A horror movie without the horror, pretty much. This vampire movie is set in the fake Bad City and creates an atmosphere just like any other horror film but with a couple of added twists. This isn’t a film who sexualises its main character, she a vampire out to kill, simple as that. And that’s what she does. It’s a black and white film and told mostly from the perspective of The Girl who goes after those who have wronged anyone else. She seems to be a peace keeper in her own way, even following a delinquent young boy just to threaten him. Within the film, there are some stunning shots and an even more stunning soundtrack, using the song Death by White Lies in a scene that almost looks like it could be written for the track. A horror movie with little horror shouldn’t work but the director, Ana Lily Amipour has almost created a sub-genre: the non-horror horror.

  1. Star Wars. Episode VII: The Force Awakens

I don’t have to say too much about this but it has now become the biggest grossing movie of all time. But this isn’t a surprise and it’s not the reason why it’s in my top 10. I get occasionally nervous before watching a film and for this the anticipation was incredibly high, but I did wonder if we would have something as disappointing are the prequels. Fear not, you should always have faith in J.J. Abrams. What were given was a true return to form, an end lightsaber battle for the ages, enthralling action and a great new cast who mix well with the old ones. It makes me excited to see what’s coming next but it’s safe to say the Jedi has returned. For my full review, click here.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: BB-8 and Rey (Daisy Ridley)..Ph: Film Frame..? 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: BB-8 and Rey (Daisy Ridley)..Ph: Film Frame..? 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

  1. Inside Out

One of the best Pixar films we’ve ever seen, Inside Out was yet another emotional ride for anyone who watched it. Who else cried when the toys almost died in Toy Story 3? Pixar are far too good at doing this most of the time. Inside Out was the film that used emotions to play with our emotions, those clever guys! It showed what it’s like to grow up; not knowing much about life, not knowing why things are happening, not knowing who you are. We’ve all been there when growing up and it’s brought to the screen so eloquently. From the imaginary friend, to emotions bonding with one another, to the turmoil the girl is put through, it’s presented in a relatable way that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you appreciate the childhood you had. This is one of the best films you will see.

Disney?Pixar's "Inside Out" takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, "Inside Out" is in theaters June 19, 2015.

Disney?Pixar’s “Inside Out” takes us to the most extraordinary location yet – inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, “Inside Out” is in theaters June 19, 2015.

  1. Sicario

The premise of Sicario sounds very generic, as if we’ve been here so many times before: a task force is taking on the war on drugs between the U.S and Mexican borders. Not much to it right? Wrong. This is one consistently created an extremely tense atmosphere in several scenes, used one piece of music which sounds like a heartbeat, the landscapes are stunning whilst at the same time being hot and harsh. Sicario will put you on the edge of your seat and leave you there with your heart beating faster than before.

  1. Bridge of Spies

From the trailer, you wouldn’t expect this film to be funny at all. It had the feel of a Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy thriller but this was far from the case. Bridge of Spies turned out to be a brilliantly witty, smart take on the spy movie genre, with Mark Rylance being the best thing about it. His delivery and timing of the lines fed to him by the Cohen brothers and Matt Charman was spot on and the constant calming look across his face was a delight to watch. Directed by Steven Spielberg and also starring Tom Hanks, this felt like a totally different spy movie, that turned the genre on its head, it didn’t have as many intense scenes. There were conversation, explanations and interesting interactions, but they saved they best until last with the end scene creating an intensity that it had slowly been building to throughout the movie.

Brooklyn lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) meets with his client Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), a Soviet agent arrested in the U.S. in DreamWorks Pictures/Fox 2000 PIctures' dramatic thriller BRIDGE OF SPIES, directed by Steven Spielberg.

Brooklyn lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) meets with his client Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), a Soviet agent arrested in the U.S. in DreamWorks Pictures/Fox 2000 PIctures’ dramatic thriller BRIDGE OF SPIES, directed by Steven Spielberg.

  1. Amy

I had been looking forward to watching this ever since I heard they were making it and it did not disappoint. The death of Amy Winehouse shocked me and didn’t surprise others; her constant abuse of drink and drugs, to some, made this inevitable. But not to me, I was saddened and in a state of shock. Mostly because she hadn’t fulfilled her potential as a recording artist. There was so much more to give, so much more to do, so much more to record. This documentary shows her slow decline and how it happened without pointing the finger too blatantly. Asif Kapadia, the man behind Senna, has created a film out of archive footage, new and old interviews, mobile phone clips and unheard tracks. It’s a superb documentary that appears to remain neutral about its subject matter.

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London Film Festival: Steve Jobs, review

Every now and then, we see two movies that are being made at roughly the same time which are about virtually the same subject matter. Looking at movies such as Armageddon with Deep Impact, White House Down with Olympus has fallen, one pair was about a mankind killing asteroid and the other is where the White House is under siege. It’s happening again right now with the two in-production Jungle Book adaptations . There seems to be a need to tell the same story twice.

Jobs (2013) and Steve Jobs (2015) are both about the founding member of Apple, both tell the story in their own unique ways. Why two movies were being made is anyone’s guess. The former starred Ashton Kutcher and the latter stars Michael Fassbender as the man himself, it’s directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin. On paper, putting these three together should equal in a cinematic masterpiece, and it pretty much has.

STEVE_JOBS_reflection

Steve Jobs tells the story from the release of the first Macintosh all the way up to the launch of the iMac, the computer which brought Apple back from the brink of bankruptcy. While some may think this is yet another feature length advert for Apple, it doesn’t come off as that at all. What this film does is show you all sides of Steve Jobs ranging from colleague, father, inventor, showman, all portrayed effortlessly by Fassbender. The film is cut into three acts, all taking place at a product launch, be that with Apple or the company he founded after being forced out, NeXT. From 1984 to 1998, we see his relationships change, grow, evolve and dissolve. These launches were the first Macintosh, then his next venture NeXt (perfect black cube) and then his return to Apple where he sends the iMac out into the world.

Danny Boyle is someone you can ordinarily rely on to put some grit into his film, something that’s normally hard to watch however it’s not like that at all. It doesn’t feel like a Boyle film at all but that’s not a bad thing. He’s never had a script like this before, one which is so dialogue heavy that through speech is where you see the tension, drama and action. With Boyle’s films, these are usually done with stunning visual aids but what we get here are people walking and talking, quite a bit, yet it works. Boyle has directed one of his finest films yet due to its simplicity of mostly taking place backstage with a handful of people. The complexity of his movie is in just how simple these scenes are.

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A sharp Sorkin script ensures that this is full of witty memorable lines, long conversations and brilliant put-downs. In a scene with Seth Rogen’s Steve Wozniak, Jobs is asked what it is he does. “Musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra.” Just one example of how highly regarded Steve Jobs is to Steve Jobs. Sorkin has created dialogue that is inviting to listen to and fascinating to see performed. This isn’t the first time he has tackled a tech genius. The Social Network was yet another example of his work that was well received thanks to his snappy lines. The thought of a film about Facebook and then another about a man who started a computer company don’t sound like they would be the most riveting views but Sorkin can create a script that actors will love to work with and speeches audiences will enjoy.

This is a fast-talking, dialogue driven film that only slightly dumbs down the technical computer lingo in order to have several sharp scenes in which they can discuss these issues in length without the audience furrowing their brows, wondering what’s going on. The movie cleverly bounces from the product launches to key moments in his life using flashbacks such as working in his garage, his sacking from Apple and asking John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) to be CEO of Apple. Steve Jobs was a man who pushed forward in tech world with his ideas and foresight but this is not a celebration of a man, this is showing a man at his best and his worst, seeing what he’s like with key people in his life. If you thought you knew Steve Jobs, think again.

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