Thursday, March 02, 2017

89th Academy Awards: Prediction Scores and Thoughts

Well, that was a crazy ceremony. Too bad Warren Beatty's and Faye Dunaway's appearance as a tribute to Bonnie and Clyde was rather marred by the mistake of the Academy's long-time accountants (and the two legends' own befuddlement). Still, the big upset, Moonlight winning over the juggernaut that was La La Land, was just the shocker that an otherwise predictable night needed to end on. The winners were all deserving, as La La Land also would have been, but we live for the surprises (as much as we want our prediction scores to be high). Predictions for the 90th Academy Awards will be up soon, but in the meantime, here are the winners and my prediction scores. Those that I had predicted correctly have asterisks.

Predicted Winners:

PICTURE
MOONLIGHT

Predicted La La Land but had Moonlight as the potential spoiler. La La Land is a bigger technical achievement but I will not begrudge Moonlight, a wonderfully directed and acted film that has more emotional heft, this well deserve Oscar.

DIRECTING
DAMIEN CHAZELLE (LA LA LAND)*

At least he won this one. If at least for the epicness of the film's razzle dazzle, he truly deserves it.

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
CASEY AFFLECK (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA)

Predicted Denzel Washington (Fences) but of course had Affleck at #2. None of the others really had a chance (which is sad for Viggo Mortensen, because he was the most deserving of the win IMO).

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
EMMA STONE (LA LA LAND)

Predicted Isabelle Huppert (Elle), which was rather too hopeful and naive in retrospect. Emma is one of those actresses who just has to wait for the right role but has had an Oscar win written in the stars for her early in her career. She was unstoppable. And was it just me, or was the applause for Isabelle during the ceremony rather lukewarm? Seems like the Academy members aren't as impressed by her resume and status in global cinema as we regular fans of film are.

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
MAHERSHALA ALI (MOONLIGHT)*

Classy guy. Not my personal choice, but a worthy winner nonetheless.

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
VIOLA DAVIS (FENCES)*

Slay! One of the world's greatest living actresses finally has an Oscar. And no, she was NOT in the wrong category. She may have had a long screentime but hers was clearly a supporting character to Denzel's. Dev Patel's Best Supporting Actor nomination was the only true case of category fraud this year.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Barry Jenkins, based on the play by Tarell Alvin McCraney (MOONLIGHT)*

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
kenneth Lonergan (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA)

ANIMATED FEATURE
Byron Howard, Rich Moore (ZOOTOPIA)*

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
THE SALESMAN (IRAN)

I had a strong feeling that The Salesman was going to win it after the shitstorm that Trump precipitated in the US, but I hesitated to predict against Toni Erdmann at the last moment.

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Linus Sandgren (LA LA LAND)*

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
Coleen Atwood (FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM)

Is this the first Oscar win for any of the films in the Harry Potter universe?

ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
John Gilbert (HACKSAW RIDGE)

ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson (SUICIDE SQUAD)

Suicide Squad now has one more Oscar than thousands of film classics. But what the heck, I can't say it didn't deserve it. Let the haters hate. I love this branch for not caring what the others think.

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Justin Hurwitz (LA LA LAND)*

Samuel L. Jackson really hated the movie, huh? He couldn't even fake enthusiasm when reading Justin's name.

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
"City of Stars" (LA LA LAND)*

I still wish Ryan and Emma had performed this. John Legend's rendition was underwhelming.

ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN
David Wasco (Production Design); Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (Set Decoration) (LA LA LAND)*

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
Sylvain Bellemare (ARRIVAL)

Yey Arrival! Glad to have been wrong in this one. That film deserved many more Oscars.

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace (HACKSAW RIDGE)

Kinda weird that the musical didn't win it, especially as it was such a behemoth coming in. But it's great that Kevin O'Connell is finally an Oscar winner after over 20 nominations.

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon (THE JUNGLE BOOK)

I just now realized that I had predicted Rogue One instead of this. I don't even know why. Silly me. It was probably always between The Jungle Book and Doctor Strange. Or Kubo. This branch loves CG animals (explains the win for the otherwise shunned The Golden Compass).

TOTAL SCORE: 9/20. Terrible score, but I had fun predicting against the grain like with Huppert over Stone.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2016 Film-Otaku Awards: Horror Edition

Here are my choices for this year's best in horror:

BEST HORROR FILM
The Witch

The Love Witch
Train to Busan
The Conjuring 2
Under the Shadow
Don't Breathe
The Wailing
10 Cloverfield Lane
Evolution
Seklusyon

BEST HORROR FILM DIRECTOR
David Eggers (The Witch)
Anna Biller (The Love Witch)
Yeon Sang-ho (Train to Busan)
Fede Álvarez (Don't Breathe)
Babak Anvari (Under the Shadow)

BEST HORROR FILM ACTRESS
Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring 2)

Blake Lively (The Shallows)
Anna Taylor-Joy (The Witch)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Rhed Bustamante (Seklusyon)

BEST HORROR FILM ACTOR
Do-won Kwak (The Wailing)

John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Ralph Ineson (The Witch)
Stephen Lang (Don't Breathe)
Yoo Gong (Train to Busan)

BEST HORROR FILM SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Kate Dickie (The Witch)

Maria Bello (Lights Out)
Laura Waddell (The Love Witch)
Roxan Duran (Evolution)
Jung Yu-mi (Train to Busan)

BEST HORROR FILM SUPPORTING ACTOR
Harvey Scrimshaw (The Witch)

Jun Kunimura (The Wailing)
Ma Dong-seok (Train to Busan)
Jung-min Hwang (The Wailing)
Neil Ryan Sese (Seklusyon)

BEST HORROR FILM SCREENPLAY
Robert Eggers (The Witch)
Anna Biller (The Love Witch)
Babak Anvari (Under the Shadow)
Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damien Chazelle (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Anton C. Santamaria (Seklusyon)

BEST HORROR FILM CINEMATOGRAPHY
Jarin Blaschke (The Witch)

Flavio Martínez Labiano (The Shallows)
M. David Mullen (The Love Witch)
Manuel Dacosse (Evolution)
Neil Bion (Seklusyon)

BEST HORROR FILM SCORE
Anna Biller (The Love Witch)

Mark Korven (The Witch)
Francis de Veyra (Seklusyon)
Marco Beltrami (The Shallows)
Roque Baños (Don't Breathe)

BEST HORROR FILM ART DIRECTION/PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Love Witch

The Witch
Don't Breathe
Under the Shadow
The Conjuring 2

BEST SCARED AS SHIT PERFORMANCE
Jane Levy (Don't Breathe)

Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring 2)
Madison Wolfe (The Conjuring 2)
Kate Siegel (Hush)
Corbin Reid (Blair Witch)

BEST "MONSTER"
Black Phillip (The Witch)

Djinns (Under the Shadow)
The Blind Man (Don't Breathe)
Zombies (Train to Busan)
The creature (Blair Witch)

BEST SCENE/SEQUENCE
Timing the crossing of the train cars (Train to Busan)

Opening scene, body being dragged across the street (Don't Breathe)
Mating ritual on the beach (Evolution)
Elaine's dance of darkness and rainbow (The Love Witch)
Nightmare: Djinn through the crack in the ceiling (Under the Shadow)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Call Me By Your Name

The film Call Me By Your Name was hailed by critics and audiences in the recent Sundance Film Festival and got a similarly enthusiastic response as it closed the Berlin Film Festival just two days ago. Next year's Oscar favorite? Maybe, if the homosexual nature of the story (it's an intense romance between two men, played by Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer) doesn't put off the voters the way it did with Brokeback Mountain and, more recently, Carol. But acting nominations are probably in the bag for Chalamet, Hammer, and maybe even Michael Stuhlbarg, who plays the father of Chalamet's character Elio.
Had to read the book as soon as I learned of the raves coming from Sundance. It is exceptionally beautifully written. The prose of writer André Aciman is staggering. Seems a perfect fit for the aesthetics of Italian director Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash, and the upcoming Suspiria remake). I just can't help but wonder how he'll pull of some scenes, especially a certain one involving a peach...

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

BEST DIRECTOR 2018

COMING SOON!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS 2018

COMING SOON!

BEST ACTRESS 2018

COMING SOON!

Oscar Nominations: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

THE GOOD

Isabelle Huppert, a legend of French cinema, is finally an Oscar nominee!

Mel Gibson, who's an amazing filmmaker, is back in the good graces of the Academy.

20th nomination for Meryl Streep, the "most overrated" actress according to one Donald Trump.

Eight nominations for Arrival!

I failed to predict it but the production design of Passengers is astonishing.

With those two nominations in the Best Original Song category, Emma Stone will very likely sing twice during the Oscar ceremony.

THE BAD

After getting all sorts of pre-Oscar citations, Deadpool couldn't muster even one nomination in at least Makeup and Hairstyling.

Only one nomination (Doctor Strange for Visual Effects) for MCU films this year.

No nominations for Emily Blunt, Amy Adams, and Hugh Grant.

"We Know the Way," the superior song in Moana (IMO), was not nominated.

Not a single nomination, even in the technical categories, for The Witch, still one of 2016's greatest films regardless of genre.

THE UGLY

Only one nomination for the work of art that is Silence.

Your Name was shut out of the Best Animated Feature race after winning among Los Angeles critics and being the best-selling Japanese animated film of all time in the world.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

89th Academy Awards Nominees

PICTURE
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Score: 9/10. Predicted Silence as the 10th nominee.

DIRECTING
Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Score: 4/5. Predicted Martin Scorsese (Silence) instead of Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge).

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
Denzel Washington (Fences)

Score: 5/5.

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Ruth Negga (Loving)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Emma Stone (La La Land)
Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Score: 4/5. Predicted Amy Adams (Arrival) instead of Ruth Negga (Loving).

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
Dev Patel (Lion)
Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Score: 4/5. Predicted Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins) instead of Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals).

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Viola Davis (Fences)
Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Score: 5/5.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Eric Heisserer, based on the short story by Ted Chiang (Arrival)
August Wilson, based on his play (Fences)
Allison Schroeder, Theodore Malfi, based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly (Hidden Figures)
Luke Davies, based on the book by Saroo Brierley (Lion)
Barry Jenkins, based on the play by Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight)

Score: 4/5. Predicted Silence instead of Hidden Figures.

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water)
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou (The Lobster)
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
Mike Mills (20th Century Women)

Score: 4/5. Predicted Jackie instead of 20th Century Women.

ANIMATED FEATURE
Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings)
Ron Clements, John Musker (Moana)
Claude Barras (My Life as a Zucchini)
Michael Dudok de Wit (The Red Turtle)
Byron Howard, Rich Moore (Zootopia)

Score: 4/5. Predicted Your Name instead of The Red Turtle.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Land of Mine (Denmark)
A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
The Salesman (Iran)
Tanna (Australia)
Toni Erdmann (Germany)

Score: 3/5. Predicted Paradise (Russia) and My Life as a Zucchini (Switzerland) instead of Land of Mine (Denmark) and Tanna (Australia).

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Bradford Young (Arrival)
Linus Sandgren (La La Land)
Greir Fraser (Lion)
James Laxton (Moonlight)
Rodrigo Prieto (Silence)

Score: 4/5. Predicted Jackie instead of Lion.

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
Joanna Johnston (Allied)
Colleen Atwood (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Consolata Boyle (Florence Foster Jenkins)
Madeline Fontaine (Jackie)
Mary Zophres (La La Land)

Score: 3/5. Predicted The Handmaiden and Silence instead of Allied and Florence Foster Jenkins.

ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
Joe Walker (Arrival)
John Gilbert (Hacksaw Ridge)
Jake Roberts (Hell or High Water)
Tom Cross (La La Land)
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders (Moonlight)

Score: 4/5. Predicted Silence instead of Hell or High Water.

ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Eva von Bahr and Love Larson (A Man Called Ove)
Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo (Star Trek Beyond)
Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, and Christopher Nelson (Suicide Squad)

Score: 1/3. Predicted Deadpool and Florence Foster Jenkins instead of A Man Called Ove and Suicide Squad.

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Mica Levi (Jackie)
Justin Hurwitz (La La Land)
Dustin O'Halloran, Hauschka (Lion)
Nicholas Britell (Moonlight)
Thomas Newman (Passengers)

Score: 4/5. Predicted Moana instead of Passengers.

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
"Audition: The Fools Who Dream" (La La Land)
"Can't Stop the Feeling" (Trolls)
"City of Stars" (La La Land)
"The Empty Chair" (Jim: The James Foley Story)
"How Far I'll Go" (Moana)

Score: 3/5. Predicted "Runnin'" (Hidden Figures) and "We Know the Way" (Moana) instead of "Can't Stop the Feeling" (Trolls) and "The Empty Chair" (Jim: The James Foley Story).

ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN
Patrice Vermette (Production Design); Paul Hotte (Set Decoration) (Arrival)
Stuart Craig (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration) (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Jess Gonchor (Production Design); Nancy Haigh (Set Decoration) (Hail, Caesar!)
David Wasco (Production Design); Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (Set Decoration) (La La Land)
Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design); Gene Serdena (Set Decoration) (Passengers)

Score: 2/5. Predicted The Handmaiden, Jackie, and Silence instead of Arrival, Hail, Caesar!, and Passengers.

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
Sylvain Bellemare (Arrival)
Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli (Deepwater Horizon)
Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright (Hacksaw Ridge)
Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan (La La Land)
Alan Robert Murray and Bob Asman (Sully)

Score: 2/5. Predicted Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story instead of Arrival, Deepwater Horizon, and Sully.

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye (Arrival)
Kevin O'Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, and Peter Grace (Hacksaw Ridge)
Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, and Steve A. Morrow (La La Land)
David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio, and Stuart Wilson (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, and Mac Ruth (13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi)

Score: 4/5. Predicted Moana instead of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton (Deepwater Horizon)
Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli, and Paul Corbould (Doctor Strange)
Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Dan Lemmon (The Jungle Book)
Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean, and Brad Schiff (Kubo and the Two Strings)
John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel, and Neil Corbould (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)

Score: 3/5. Predicted Arrival and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them instead of Deepwater Horizon and Kubo and the Two Strings.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America
13th

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
"Extremis"
"4.1 Miles"
"Joe's Violin"
"Watani: My Homeland"
"The White Helmets"

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
"Blind Vaysha"
"Borrowed Time"
"Pear Cider and Cigarettes"
"Pearl"
"Piper"

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
"Ennemis Intérieurs"
"La Femme et le TGV"
"Silent Nights"
"Sing"
"Timecode"