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"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." -Inception

Monday, February 23, 2015

The 2015 Oscars: Complete Winners


(Photo: AMPAS)

That's it. The 87th Academy Awards are over. The Oscar race is done. Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Birdman is 2014's Best Picture. How did we get here? Back in August, I thought for sure Boyhood had this in the bag. But there's this curse of the frontrunner that is becoming prevalent as years go by. If the critics hail it, the Academy is sure to have its own opinion.  Therefore as you look at the best picture winners down the years, you'll notice that what was essentially the best film that year never ended up winning the big prize and sometimes it's better for it.

(Photo: Kevin Winter—Getty Images)

This year's host Neil Patrick Harris, after a solid opening musical number (and ably supported by Anna Kendrick and Jack Black), faltered in the comedy bits throughout the rest of the show. I think they forgot the part about hiring actual comedy writers to write the jokes and presenter introductions.  While part of the problem at the Golden Globes was that we didn't see Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, we kept wanting more. Here Harris was everywhere (not necessary a bad thing) but with jokes that weren't getting any laughs. It was just awkward because Neil's so winsome when he's hosted the Emmys and the Tonys. He should have just gone off script. 

(Photo: AMPAS)

But getting back to the show, it was a weird night for an Oscar show.  All the Best Picture nominees won at least one Oscar so no one was shut out. It was the Oprah effect. "You get an Oscar, you get an Oscar and you get an Oscar!".  For once, the musical numbers for the best song nominees weren't bad. Though I don't believe the Oscars were prepared or even ready for the stage performance that was 'Everything is Awesome'.  That was light years ahead of the Academy, as is evidenced by The LEGO Movie not even being nominated for Best Animated Feature.

The LEGO Movie's exclusion meant that the LEGO Oscar teased by co-director Phil Lord the day of the Oscar nominations became the most coveted statue in the Dolby Theatre. During the performance, the dancers handed them out to the celebs seated   Everyone, and I mean everyone, was happily posing with them.  Excuse me while I go Google 'How to make your own LEGO Oscar'.


My personal picks were woefully miscalculated.  I picked the nominees who I thought were going to win and was pleasantly surprised to see that who I wanted to win initially walked away with the Oscar.  Whiplash's win in editing, Interstellar's win for Double Negative's out of this world special effects and Alexandre Desplat's finally, finally winning after seven nominations, these were just a few of my hopeful picks and I'm so glad that they won. 

(Photo: AMPAS)




Last night was also the night that Hollywood brought out its activism in full force. Winners like Patricia Arquette (highlighting wage equality for women), Graham Moore (in the night's most emotional speech on being different) and John Legend and Common spoke up about marching on and fighting for what they believed in.  Legend and Common brought the Dolby audience to their feet with their performance of 'Glory' from Selma.  David  Oyelowo and Chris Pine were moved to tears.  Both of them spoke so eloquently on what the late Dr. King's march means today and why we must continue to speak up and act on the civil rights around the world. 


(Photo: Just Jared)

(Photo: AMPAS)
The night's biggest upset occurred in the Best Animated Feature category as Disney's Big Hero 6 beat out the competition (including DreamWorks' How To Train Your Dragon 2) to win the Oscar.  It was a good night for Disney Animation Studios which has regained its status as one of the top animation studios under the leadership of John Lasseter, it also won Best Animated Short for Feast. 

(Photo: Cartoon Brew)
The night also featured the battle of the Oscar winners trying to thank everyone they've ever know in 45 seconds versus that ruthless orchestra making sure they finish. Some of it was hilarious (see: Pawel Pawlikowski, the director of Ida) but sometimes orchestra, you need to chill, an Oscar moment only comes along once in a lifetime, let these people have their say.

To those who didn't win tonight, don't fret, this is indeed of the world.  Congratulations to all the winners and the nominees for their outstanding work in 2014 and let's meet back her again in a year to celebrate 2015.  Good night!

Here's the complete list of winners below.

BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR


Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything
 
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE


J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood
 
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR

Big Hero 6: Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
 
ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Emmanuel Lubezki
 
ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Milena Canonero
 
ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Alejandro G. Iñárritu

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

CitizenFour: Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
 
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1: Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
 
ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING

Whiplash: Tom Cross
 
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR

Ida: Poland
 
ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
 
ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Alexandre Desplat

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)

“Glory” from Selma
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
 
ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN

The Grand Budapest Hotel Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

Feast: Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
 
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

The Phone Call: Mat Kirkby and James Lucas
 
ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING

American Sniper: Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
 
ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING

Whiplash: Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
 
Interstellar: Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
 
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Imitation Game: Written by Graham Moore
 
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2015 Oscars: My Predictions!


The 87th annual Oscar awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will be given out on February 22, 2015. As I do every year, here's my picks for this year's Oscar winners.  I hope I'm right for a few of them. This year looks like it could be unpredictable for in a couple of categories. Have a look below!


BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR


American Sniper: Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan, Producers
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers
Boyhood: Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers
The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, Producers
The Imitation Game: Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers
Selma: Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
The Theory of Everything: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten, Producers
Whiplash: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, Producers

Will win: The current frontrunner Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (and major guild winner) looks very likely to fly away with the Oscar for Best Picture. Featuring a strong cast of actors (who won the Screen Actors Guild ensemble award), a director who can think out of the box (and also won the Directors Guild Award) and the backdrop of theatre (the original stomping ground for many of the Academy's members), Birdman was shot specifically as one long continuous take by ace cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Albeit with a different subject matter, Birdman looks to take the path as Gravity did last year going into the Oscars.  And unlike Gravity which walked away with the technical awards and best director, it eventually lost Best Picture to 12 Years a Slave. Final verdict: to quote The Hunger Games, the odds favor Birdman.


Should win: Over a month ago, I thought Boyhood had this in the bag. Well, major guilds awards later, all signs firmly point towards Birdman.  The Golden Globes and BAFTAs however have honored Boyhood so there might a slight chance that a fraction of the voting could shift its way. We won't know of the final outcome until the very last envelope is opened on Oscar night.


PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper in American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything
 
Will win: Eddie Redmayne.  The theory usually goes that young actors, when nominated for an Oscar, don't  win.  The last 'young' winner was Adrien Brody at 29 in 2002.  This category habitually honors the seasoned actor for his career (see: Jeff Bridges) or anyone named Daniel Day-Lewis.  But at 33, Redmayne took on the challenging role of world renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, charting his journey from an ambitious student at Oxford to his diagnosis of motor neuron disease and his relationship with Jane Wilde Hawking, his wife. It's an uphill task for any actor but Redmayne slips into it like second skin, looking uncannily like Professor Hawking, right down to his crooked smile. 
 
Should win: If the Oscar were going to the seasoned actor getting due this year, I would look no further than Michael Keaton who, cliché be damned, got a role of a lifetime in Birdman. A past his prime actor, who was once the most recognizable faces on the screen, Keaton goes through a whole range of emotions as Riggan Thomson trying to revive his career on Broadway. Keaton is terrific with his interactions with his fellow actors and it's been so long seeing him in a role, it would be an amazing cap on his career with sly wink to the actor who was first Batman. Plus, he would give an amazing speech if he won. 

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE


Robert Duvall in The Judge
Ethan Hawke in Boyhood
Edward Norton in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Will win: J.K. Simmons. He's a character actor whose face you recognize in popular films (Juno, Spider-Man, I Love You, Man) who's now stepping up as the co-lead in Whiplash. Without his rendition of the music teacher from hell, Terence Fletcher, the film would fall flat.  
 
Should win: J.K. Simmons. No contest.
 
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon in Wild

Will win: Julianne Moore.  She always features on those annul lists that name actors who should win an Oscar but never have as yet.  She should have won twice over for Boogie Nights in 1997 and The Hours in 2002. Moore is always likable and solid in all her films and it still feels if she wins, it will be the same as when Martin Scorsese finally won for The Departed in 2006.
 
Should win: Julianne Moore.  See above. Former Best Actress winners Marion Cotillard and Reese Witherspoon who have done fine work in their respective films won't even be considered, which is a shame.  My personal vote would have gone to Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl.  She was quite spectacular as the 'amazing' yet unhinged Amy. 

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood
Laura Dern in Wild
Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game
Emma Stone in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Meryl Streep in Into the Woods
 
Will win: Patricia Arquette.  It's not just Ellar Coltrane with whom we journey along in Boyhood, we watch both Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette mature and change as parents. Arquette was outstanding, equal parts vulnerable and fearless, as a mother trying to do the best for her kids.  She stands high above the rest of the competition today, even above Meryl Streep. 
 
Should win: Patricia Arquette.




BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR


Big Hero 6: Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
The Boxtrolls: Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
How to Train Your Dragon 2: Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
Song of the Sea: Tomm Moore and Paul Young
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya: Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura
 
Will win: How to Train Your Dragon 2.  The best animated film of 2014 (and the most successful) The LEGO Movie isn't even nominated, which makes this category into an unfair playing field.  Studio Ghibli's The Tale of Princess Kaguya (which took years to finish), Cartoon Saloon's Song of the Seas and Laika's Boxtrolls will get more viewers with their nominations but the winner here will be DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon 2 in Pixar-less year.
 
Should win: The LEGO Movie. Respect!

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Emmanuel Lubezki
The Grand Budapest Hotel: Robert Yeoman
Ida: Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
Mr. Turner: Dick Pope
Unbroken: Roger Deakins
 
Will win: Emmanuel Lubezki goes for back-to-back Oscars with his astonishing camerawork in Birdman.
 
Should win: While Lubezki seems to be the overwhelming favorite, I can also Robert Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski (Ida) possibly upsetting Lubezki on Oscar night.

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Milena Canonero
Inherent Vice: Mark Bridges
Into the Woods: Colleen Atwood
Maleficent: Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
Mr. Turner: Jacqueline Durran
 
Will win: Milena Canonero.  Just look at the eccentric cast of character spread across The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Hands down favorite.
 
Should win: Milena Canonero for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Just wish we would see more contemporary films in here. It's not as if costume directors don't exist for them.

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Boyhood: Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher: Bennett Miller
The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson
The Imitation Game: Morten Tyldum


Will win: Richard Linklater. Although I feel Birdman's Alejandro G. Iñárritu might be play spoiler here.
 
Should win: Richard Linklater.  I think if I read one more article that mentions that Boyhood was 12 years in the making, I'd scream. 12 years notwithstanding, Linklater's focus in staying course and his belief in his project is nothing short of amazing and kinda of awesome.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE


CitizenFour: Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
Finding Vivian Maier: John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Last Days in Vietnam: Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
The Salt of the Earth: Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier
Virunga: Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara
 
Will win: CitizenFour. The buzz has been mostly about this powerful documentary about Ed Snowden and the NSA leaks. Possibly causing an upset here could be Virunga which has big celebrity support from Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo Di Caprio and Mark Ruffalo.
 
Should win: CitizenFour.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1: Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
Joanna: Aneta Kopacz
Our Curse: Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
The Reaper (La Parka): Gabriel Serra Arguello
White Earth: J. Christian Jensen
 
Will win: Joanna.  The emotional story of a mother with a terminal diagnosis looks to be a frontrunner here.  Fun fact: Former Oscar winner, Jan A. P. Kaczmarek, composed the music for the short.  His score for 2004's Finding Neverland is one of my all-time personal favorites. 
 
ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING

American Sniper: Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
Boyhood: Sandra Adair
The Grand Budapest Hotel: Barney Pilling
The Imitation Game: William Goldenberg
Whiplash: Tom Cross
 
Will win: Sandra Adair for Boyhood. I can't even imagine the amount of footage she had to wade through over 12 years (there it again!). While the rule of thumb usually means that whoever wins editing wins Best Picture, it hasn't really counted these past couple of years. Boyhood looks to prevail here.
 
Should win: While it's a shame that Birdman (slyly and cleverly edited by Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione) isn't nominated, I'm secretly rooting for Whiplash. Those music sessions were intense!

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR

Ida: Poland
Leviathan: Russia
Tangerines: Estonia
Timbuktu: Mauritania
Wild Tales: Argentina
 
Will win: Ida. Golden Globe winner Leviathan or Cesar winner Timbuktu could give it some competition. Wild Tales from Argentina (which in recent years had a winner in wonderful The Secret in Their Eyes) could be the dark horse in the race. 
 
Should win: Ida.
 
ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING


Foxcatcher: Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
The Grand Budapest Hotel: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
Guardians of the Galaxy: Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White
 
Will win: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier for The Grand Budapest for disguising Tilda Swinton beyond recognition. 
 
Should win: See above.

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Alexandre Desplat
The Imitation Game: Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar: Hans Zimmer
Mr. Turner: Gary Yershon
The Theory of Everything: Jóhann Jóhannsson


Will win: Jóhann Jóhannsson for The Theory for Everything.  The score is just lovely, soft and soaring in the right places.
 
Should win: Double nominee Alexandre Desplat for something! Desplat is consistently good and his score on The Imitation Game is very good, but is it good enough to win Jóhannsson? I'm not sure. 

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)

“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from Selma
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again
Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
 
Will win: The slightly older Academy members might be leaning to vote for Glen Campbell's 'I'm Not Gonna Miss You'. 
 
Should win: Biased vote here: The world's most awesome anthem in 'Everything Is Awesome'.  If 'It's Hard Out There for a Pimp' can win an Oscar, it's hard not to root for 'Everything is Awesome'.  I wouldn't be bummed if the truly wonderful 'Lost Stars' from Begin Again won as well.  

ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN

The Grand Budapest Hotel Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
The Imitation Game Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
Interstellar Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
Into the Woods Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
Mr. Turner Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts

Will win: The best looking film hands down, The Grand Budapest Hotel.  It's as pretty as Agatha's confections in the film. 
 
Should win: See above. 


BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM


The Bigger Picture: Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
The Dam Keeper: Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
Feast: Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
Me and My Moulton: Torill Kove
A Single Life: Joris Oprins
 
Will win: The Dam Keeper. This short made by former Pixar animators has the most buzz about it. 
 
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

Aya: Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
Boogaloo and Graham: Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak): Hu Wei and Julien Féret
Parvaneh: Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
The Phone Call: Mat Kirkby and James Lucas
 
Will win: Parvaneh.  Have read a lot of good stuff about this particular short online.
 
ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING

American Sniper: Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
Interstellar: Richard King
Unbroken: Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro
 
Will win: American Sniper.  I don't know, films about war usually win here.

Should win: Would have loved to see Interstellar win here.  I appreciate its purposeful use of silence in the film.

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING

American Sniper: John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
Interstellar: Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
Unbroken: Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
Whiplash: Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley
 
Will win: Whiplash.
 
Should win: Whiplash. Fingers crossed.

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
Guardians of the Galaxy: Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
Interstellar: Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
X-Men: Days of Future Past: Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer
 
Will win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Weta and Andy Serkis looks to be winning combination.
 
Should win: Really rooting for either Interstellar or Guardians of the Galaxy to break through.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

American Sniper: Written by Jason Hall
The Imitation Game: Written by Graham Moore
Inherent Vice: Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything: Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
Whiplash: Written by Damien Chazelle
 
Will win: Damien Chazelle's Whiplash. Although recent Writer's Guild winner The Imitation Game could give it real competition here. 
 
Should win: Gillian Flynn for Gone Girl.  I'm still bitter about it.  

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
Boyhood: Written by Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher: Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel: Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler: Written by Dan Gilroy
 
Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was one of my favorites last year. What a crazy, wonderful, hilarious and entertaining movie. 
 
Should win: Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel. It's about time. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

New Trailer: Cameron Crowe's Aloha


Bradley Cooper seems hell bent on rescuing the rom-com genre. First with Silver Linings Playbook and now with writer-director Cameron Crowe's latest Aloha. With that smile, I say, let him!

Cooper is Brian Gilcrest, a military contractor who returns back to Hawaii after a failed mission.  Therein he meets his ex Tracy (Rachel McAdams) who knows he hasn't changed and a young airforce liaison (Emma Stone) very eager to learn from him. Bradley Cooper sure knows how to pick his scripts. With a great supporting cast (Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride) and what looks like great chemistry with Stone (but let's face it, she's great in everything), Aloha hopefully can bring a win back for romance.

As the trailer's tagline says, 'Sometimes you have to say goodbye, before you can say hello.'  Aww, Bradley, you really did have us at aloha! Crowe's first feature in four years, Aloha releases on May 29, 2015.  

New Trailer: Cinderella


Downton Abbey's Lily James experiences life downstairs as she takes on the lead in Disney's Cinderella. With an evil stepmother (the amazing Cate Blanchett) watching her every move, Ella dreams of escaping her life. The new trailer shows a chance encounter with the handsome prince (Richard Madden) in the forest leads to a series a fortuitous events we've all grown up hearing about: fairy godmother, the ball and oh yes, that glass slipper. Co-starring Helena Bonham Carter, Stellan Skarsgard and Sophie McShera and directed by Kenneth Branagh, Cinderella bows in theatres March 15. Don't be late because you'll miss the new Disney short Frozen Fever playing before the film.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New trailer: Pitch Perfect 2



The Super Bowl trailer last week was only a sneak peek. The Barden University Bellas are truly back with a full trailer that shows... their fall from grace! With a wardrobe malfunction of epic proportions, the Bellas are suspended and replaced by Das Sound Machine. What are these pitch perfect Bellas supposed to do? Simple, win the world championship (same as the current champions Das Sound Machine) and get reinstated. Oh, and there's a lot dancing, sleepovers and of course, singing!! It's time to be pitch slapped!!  Directed by co-star and producer, Elizabeth Banks, Pitch Perfect 2's Bellas head back to theaters May 15, 2015.

Spider-Man joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Now What?


The big news to reverberate among Hollywood and movie fans across the globe was the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, namely an old friend called Spider-Man.  It was announced today that Sony Pictures and Marvel reached a deal that would introduce Spider-Man next in a Marvel film, rumored to be the next installment of the Captain America films.  The web slinger would then appear in his own film on July 28, 2017 co-produced by the two studios.   

This indicates that Sony Pictures' Sinister Six plans have been scrapped and Andrew Garfield who played Spider-Man in the current reboots would no longer be a part of the upcoming films. This shakeup also means that Marvel's lineup of films gets pushed back a bit to accommodate Spidey. Thor: Ragnarok which was supposed to release on July 28, 2017, moves now to November 3, 2017.  We will have to wait until 2018 to see Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther which moves from November 3, 2017 to July 6, 2018.  And finally Captain Marvel moves from July 6, 2018 to November 2, 2018 and Inhumans from November 2, 2018 to July 12, 2019.

This agreement was reached after Sony Pictures' many troubles (the hacking scandal, The Interview's release hullabaloo and studio head Amy Pascal's recent exit) and points towards a regrouping within. Pairing up with Marvel (and in effect, Disney) is wise as each of their superhero films has proven itself at the box office. Even Guardians of the Galaxy, essentially a non-popular franchise, was the top grosser last summer and scored on all pop culture fronts (clever lines, '80s nostalgia and a rocking soundtrack). Spider-Man is one of the most beloved, and relatable, comic book superheros in the world and allowing the character to join the world, nay the galaxy's biggest, superheroes in the Avengers is eventually going to pay off.

As long as Spidey gets his own film (and baddies to fight against!), I'm happy. He's been left a very dark place at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. What do you guys think? Is it a yay or a nay on Spider-Man finally joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

And the 2015 BAFTAs goes to...!


The British 'Oscars' aka the BAFTAs were held Sunday night in London. Stephen Fry, who almost seems like a permanent fixture at the BAFTAs, was back to host the delayed ceremony. The awards used to air after the Oscars, but in recent years are now held before the Academy Awards.  Therefore, the BAFTAs are now seen as a good indicator of any big upsets leading up to Oscar's big night.

In that sense, Boyhood can be considered back in the race as it won both Best Picture and Best Director.  The PGA, SAG ensemble and DGA winner Birdman walked away with one award, for Emmanuel Lubezki's incredible cinematography.  The Theory of Everything's Eddie Redmayne asserted his frontrunner status with yet another win for best actor.  The film was also judged the best British film of the 2014.  Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel pretty much swept the technical awards, with wins for best costume, music, makeup and hair, and production design. The director himself won the best original screenplay. 

Starred Up, '71 and  Unbroken star Jack Connell was voted EE Rising Star by the public.  And as for the other acting awards, they went to the sure bets this awards season, Julianne Moore, Patricia Arquette and JK Simmons for Still Alice, Boyhood and Whiplash respectively. 

Here's the full list of winners below.

Best film


Boyhood Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland


Outstanding British film


The Imitation Game Morten Tyldum, Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, Teddy Schwarzman, Graham Moore

Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer


Stephen Beresford (writer), David Livingstone (producer) Pride

Film not in the English language

Ida Paweł Pawlikowski, Eric Abraham, Piotr Dzięcioł, Ewa Puszczynska


Documentary

Citizenfour Laura Poitras

Animated film

The Lego Movie Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Director


Richard Linklater Boyhood

Original screenplay

The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson

Adapted screenplay

The Theory of Everything Anthony McCarten

Leading actor


Eddie Redmayne The Theory of Everything

Leading actress

Julianne Moore Still Alice


Supporting actor

JK Simmons Whiplash

Supporting actress

Patricia Arquette Boyhood

Original music


The Grand Budapest Hotel Alexandre Desplat

Cinematography

Birdman Emmanuel Lubezki

Editing


Whiplash Tom Cross

Production design

The Grand Budapest Hotel Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock

Costume design

The Grand Budapest Hotel Milena Canonero

Make-up and hair

The Grand Budapest Hotel Frances Hannon


Sound

Whiplash Thomas Curley, Ben Wilkins, Craig Mann

Special visual effects

Interstellar Paul Franklin, Scott Fisher, Andrew Lockley

British short animation

The Bigger Picture Chris Hees, Daisy Jacobs, Jennifer Majka

British short film

Boogaloo and Graham Brian J Falconer, Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney

The EE rising star award (voted for by the public)

Jack O’Connell

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