Archived entries for award season

Academy Awards winners, 2017

And now I’m almost two months late for this post commenting the Oscar wins! I really am a rubbish blogger.

Best Picture
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell Or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester By The Sea
Moonlight

What a Best Picture upset! And a brilliant one, too. La La Land was so far ahead, I didn’t think Moonlight could catch up with it, but I guess the Academy has changed since last year, and they wanted to send a strong message. Not that Moonlight did not deserve that win, because it absolutely did -it’s such a beautiful piece of art, almost like a long poem being filmed and yet dealing with such difficult subjects, the perfect balance between form and content in my opinion. I won’t say anything regarding the massive snafu during the announcement, I think so much has been said already on that subject, but truly it’s a shame the Moonlight win was overshadowed by that because it truly is a win for the books…

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Academy Awards nominees, 2017

I’m really late making this post, the ceremony is in two weeks’ time! In all honesty, I was waiting to see the main contenders before writing this post, but now I feel like I’ve seen enough of them…

Best Picture
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell Or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester By The Sea
Moonlight

Nine nominees this year -and not too bad in terms of genre and scales. My favourite of the bunch is of course Arrival but it has very little prospect of winning despite its numerous nominations. There’s one favourite looming large and ahead of everyone, and that’s of course the much-loved, fantastic La La Land. I personally loved it, although my personal preference still goes to Arrival. But I can see why La La Land is such a favourite -it’s about the industry, the manufacturing of dreams, the limitless power of those dreams. And to top it all off, it’s a musical. Not a grand musical like Hollywood used to make, but a more intimate and contemporary one. So yeah, I can see why La La Land is the big contender. Not too far behind is Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, a miraculous coming-of-age story, the epitome of artistic, independent cinema. If there is a political statement to be made, surely this would be the right way of doing it. And with Hidden Figures winning the SAG and Lion being shephered by the Weinstein Company, you just never know. However it’s a safe bet to say that with its 14 nominations, La La Land is a very strong favourite.

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Academy Awards winners, 2016

I’m almost two months late writing this post, sorry about that! Here are my thoughts on this year’s winners (you can refresh your memories of last year’s winners with my post here):

Best Picture
The Big Short
Bridge Of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

Spotlight took home the big prize, after one of the closest race in awards history ever. With the PGA going to the Big Short, and the DGA going to the Revenant (and Golden Globe), there was just no predicting which one would win Best Film… Turns out Spotlight, with a SAG ensemble cast win, managed to gather a consensus, wide enough, to get this one. The Academy’s voting system, a much-discussed preferential ballot, strongly favours films that do not polarise the audience – perhaps the Big Short was just too much a ‘comedy’ rather than straightforward drama; the Revenant, on the other hand is the typical definition of a polarising film. Does Spotlight deserve this prize? You bet it does. Both relevant and contemporary, Spotlight is a masterpiece of subdued drama, a film that doesn’t have any triumphant moment, a film that celebrates investigative and important journalism. Out of a year of strong films, it definitely is one of the strongest ones and possibly my personal favourite in the bunch with Mad Max and Bridge of Spies. So very well-deserved indeed, and well done to the Academy for picking the ‘right’ film over The Big Short and the Revenant.

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Academy Awards winners, 2015

Here are my thoughts on this year’s Oscar winners! Last year’s post is here.
Best Picture
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory Of Everything
Whiplash

Birdman takes flight and wins the top prize. One side of me is glad that the Academy is recognising a weird, arthouse, fiercely original film; the other side is a bit put off by the rampant narcissism and arrogance that this choice means –Birdman is a film about filmmakers and actors, and to me is nothing more than a glorified play with an obscure screenplay that I wasn’t able to grasp fully. I was a bit sad Boyhood didn’t win this one, as for the most of the awards race it seemed like it would, but then all the guilds started announcing their winners and that was that. Still, a shame that a film like Boyhood, which couldn’t have been further from Hollywood if it tried, didn’t end up winning, as I think it would have sent a strong message for independent cinema. Let’s face it, Birdman is an indie film, but it’s still made by Fox with an A-list cast. And of course it was lovely to have Whiplash & Selma as part of the nominees, even if they were never going to win. But I actually think that, with American Sniper and the Theory of Everything in there, this list of nominees is one of the weakest I’ve seen in years? It’s harsh to say so, but I think it is.

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Academy Awards nominees, 2015

Here are my thoughts on this year’s nominees. Apologies if a lot will sound like rambling/venting.

Best Picture
American Sniper
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

I’ll start by saying that I really don’t understand why this category was expanded –after the dismal and outrageous absence of the Dark Knight in 2008, the Academy decided to change the rules and expand the category –up to ten films can now make it in there, but WHAT’S THE POINT IF IT’S TO IGNORE CHRISTOPHER NOLAN’S FILM AGAIN? Ugh. In twenty years’ time, will people remember Interstellar or American Sniper? Sorry, I haven’t seen American Sniper, so maybe I’m being a bit unfair but I’m fed up with these choices. Birdman has artistic merit, but as a film? Very hard to make sense of. The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything seem like such obvious Oscar choices, and don’t get me wrong because I loved them both (one more than the other) but as entities, as films, it’s hard to think they will leave their mark on cinema… I’m glad Boyhood, Whiplash, the Grand Budapest Hotel and potentially Selma, which I haven’t seen, are here to fly the flag for independent, visionary film-making. And I’m relieved it does, I will be very relieved to see Boyhood triumph over all the other nominees as the Best Pic winner; there’s a small comfort in that. Because Boyhood is such an astounding piece of storytelling, and most of all, because it has such emotional strength in the way it connects with the audience –I’ll be really glad if the Academy are able to recognise that, just to prove that they’re not completely out of touch with the outside world and modern audiences. So happy Whiplash made it in also, it is hands down my second pick amongst all of the nominees.

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