Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

It’s that time again – the Oscars are tomorrow night. Below are my predictions. I’ve seen 5 of the 9 films nominated for Best Picture. I’m not sure if 1917 (which I’ve seen) will win over Parasite (which I haven’t) so I’m going with 1917. Besides, a foreign film has never won Best Picture so the odds are tipped in 1917’s favor.

The four acting categories are shoe-ins, in my mind so those were easy picks. I’m never sure in the short film category so I’m going with popular opinion.


  • ANTONIO BANDERAS, Pain and Glory
  • LEONARDO DICAPRIO, Once upon a Time…in Hollywood
  • ADAM DRIVER. Marriage Story
  • JONATHAN PRYCE, The Two Popes


  • TOM HANKS, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • ANTHONY HOPKINS, The Two Popes
  • AL PACINO, The Irishman
  • JOE PESCI, The Irishman
  • BRAD PITT, Once upon a Time…in Hollywood


  • CYNTHIA ERIVO, Harriet
  • SCARLETT JOHANSSON, Marriage Story
  • SAOIRSE RONAN, Little Women
  • CHARLIZE THERON, Bombshell


  • KATHY BATES, Richard Jewell
  • LAURA DERN, Marriage Story
  • FLORENCE PUGH, Little Women
  • MARGOT ROBBIE, Bombshell


  • HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis and Bonnie Arnold
  • I LOST MY BODY, Jérémy Clapin and Marc du Pontavice
  • KLAUS, Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh and Marisa Román
  • MISSING LINK, Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight
  • TOY STORY 4, Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera


  • THE IRISHMAN, Rodrigo Prieto
  • JOKER, Lawrence Sher
  • THE LIGHTHOUSE, Jarin Blaschke
  • 1917, Roger Deakins
  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD, Robert Richardson


  • THE IRISHMAN, Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson
  • JOJO RABBIT, Mayes C. Rubeo
  • JOKER, Mark Bridges
  • LITTLE WOMEN, Jacqueline Durran


  • THE IRISHMAN, Martin Scorsese
  • JOKER, Todd Phillips
  • 1917, Sam Mendes
  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD, Quentin Tarantino
  • PARASITE, Bong Joon Ho


  • AMERICAN FACTORY. Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert and Jeff Reichert
  • THE CAVE, Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Dyekjær
  • THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY, Petra Costa, Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan
  • FOR SAMA, Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts
  • HONEYLAND, Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska and Atanas Georgiev


  • IN THE ABSENCE, Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
  • LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WARZONE (IF YOU’RE A GIRL), Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva
  • LIFE OVERTAKES ME, John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson
  • ST. LOUIS SUPERMAN, Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
  • WALK RUN CHA-CHA, Laura Nix and Colette Sandstedt


  • FORD V FERRARI, Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland
  • THE IRISHMAN, Thelma Schoonmaker
  • JOJO RABBIT, Tom Eagles
  • JOKER, Jeff Groth
  • PARASITE, Yang Jinmo


  • HONEYLAND, North Macedonia
  • PARASITE, South Korea


  • BOMBSHELL, Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker
  • JOKER, Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou
  • JUDY, Jeremy Woodhead
  • MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten and David White
  • 1917, Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis and Rebecca Cole


  • JOKER, Hildur Guðnadóttir
  • LITTLE WOMEN, Alexandre Desplat
  • MARRIAGE STORY, Randy Newman
  • 1917, Thomas Newman


  • I CAN’T LET YOU THROW YOURSELF AWAY, from Toy Story 4; Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
  • (I’M GONNA) LOVE ME AGAIN, from Rocketman; Music by Elton John; Lyric by Bernie Taupin
  • I’M STANDING WITH YOU, from Breakthrough; Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
  • INTO THE UNKNOWN, from Frozen II; Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
  • STAND UP, from Harriet; Music and Lyric by Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo


  • FORD V FERRARI, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and James Mangold, Producers
  • THE IRISHMAN, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers
  • JOJO RABBIT, Carthew Neal, Taika Waititi and Chelsea Winstanley, Producers
  • JOKER, Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers
  • LITTLE WOMEN, Amy Pascal, Producer
  • MARRIAGE STORY, Noah Baumbach and David Heyman, Producers
  • 1917, Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall, Producers
  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD, David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh and Quentin Tarantino, Producers
  • PARASITE, Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon Ho, Producers


  • THE IRISHMAN, Production Design: Bob Shaw; Set Decoration: Regina Graves
  • JOJO RABBIT, Production Design: Ra Vincent; Set Decoration: Nora Sopková
  • 1917, Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales
  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD, Production Design: Barbara Ling; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
  • PARASITE, Production Design: Lee Ha Jun; Set Decoration: Cho Won Woo


  • DCERA (DAUGHTER), Daria Kashcheeva
  • HAIR LOVE, Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver
  • KITBULL, Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson
  • MEMORABLE, Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre
  • SISTER, Siqi Song


  • BROTHERHOOD, Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon
  • NEFTA FOOTBALL CLUB, Yves Piat and Damien Megherbi
  • THE NEIGHBORS’ WINDOW, Marshall Curry
  • SARIA, Bryan Buckley and Matt Lefebvre
  • A SISTER, Delphine Girard


  • FORD V FERRARI, Donald Sylvester
  • JOKER, Alan Robert Murray
  • 1917, Oliver Tarney and Rachael Tate
  • STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, Matthew Wood and David Acord


  • AD ASTRA, Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson and Mark Ulano
  • FORD V FERRARI, Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Steven A. Morrow
  • JOKER, Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic and Tod Maitland
  • 1917, Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson
  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD, Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler and Mark Ulano


  • AVENGERS: ENDGAME, Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken and Dan Sudick
  • THE IRISHMAN, Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser and Stephane Grabli
  • THE LION KING, Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Elliot Newman
  • 1917, Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy
  • STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach and Dominic Tuohy


  • THE IRISHMAN, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian
  • JOJO RABBIT, Screenplay by Taika Waititi
  • JOKER, Written by Todd Phillips & Scott Silver
  • LITTLE WOMEN, Written for the screen by Greta Gerwig
  • THE TWO POPES, Written by Anthony McCarten


  • KNIVES OUT, Written by Rian Johnson
  • MARRIAGE STORY, Written by Noah Baumbach
  • 1917, Written by Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns
  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD, Written by Quentin Tarantino
  • PARASITE, Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won; Story by Bong Joon Ho

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I know, I know. I’m really late with this one this year. Mainly because I have no idea who’s going to win the Best Picture or Best Actor categories…so up in the air. But here goes nonetheless! My predictions are in green. I’ve only seen 5 of the Best Picture nominees so my first-hand knowledge is biased. Here we go!!

Best Picture:

“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“A Star Is Born”

Lead Actor:

Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Lead Actress:

Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”


Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Adam McKay, “Vice”

Animated Feature:

“Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
“Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
“Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Animated Short:

“Animal Behaviour,” Alison Snowden, David Fine
“Bao,” Domee Shi
“Late Afternoon,” Louise Bagnall
“One Small Step,” Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas
“Weekends,” Trevor Jimenez

Adapted Screenplay:

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Joel Coen , Ethan Coen
“BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins
“A Star Is Born,” Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Original Screenplay:

“The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
“First Reformed,” Paul Schrader
“Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
“Vice,” Adam McKay


“Cold War,” Lukasz Zal
“The Favourite,” Robbie Ryan
“Never Look Away,” Caleb Deschanel
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
“A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique

Best Documentary Feature:

“Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” RaMell Ross
“Minding the Gap,” Bing Liu
“Of Fathers and Sons,” Talal Derki
“RBG,” Betsy West, Julie Cohen

Best Documentary Short Subject:

“Black Sheep,” Ed Perkins
“End Game,” Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
“Lifeboat,” Skye Fitzgerald
“A Night at the Garden,” Marshall Curry
“Period. End of Sentence.,” Rayka Zehtabchi

Best Live Action Short Film: 
“Detainment,” Vincent Lambe
“Fauve,” Jeremy Comte
“Marguerite,” Marianne Farley
“Mother,” Rodrigo Sorogoyen
“Skin,” Guy Nattiv

Best Foreign Language Film:

“Capernaum” (Lebanon)
“Cold War” (Poland)
“Never Look Away” (Germany)
“Roma” (Mexico)
“Shoplifters” (Japan)

Film Editing:

“BlacKkKlansman,” Barry Alexander Brown
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Ottman
“Green Book,” Patrick J. Don Vito
“The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis
“Vice,” Hank Corwin

Sound Editing:

“Black Panther,” Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Warhurst
“First Man,” Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan
“A Quiet Place,” Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl
“Roma,” Sergio Diaz, Skip Lievsay

Sound Mixing:

“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“A Star Is Born”

Production Design:

“Black Panther,” Hannah Beachler
“First Man,” Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas
“The Favourite,” Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton
“Mary Poppins Returns,” John Myhre, Gordon Sim
“Roma,” Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez

Original Score:

“BlacKkKlansman,” Terence Blanchard
“Black Panther,” Ludwig Goransson
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Nicholas Britell
“Isle of Dogs,” Alexandre Desplat
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

Original Song:

“All The Stars” from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA
“I’ll Fight” from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice
“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Makeup and Hair:

“Mary Queen of Scots”

Costume Design:

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Mary Zophres
“Black Panther,” Ruth E. Carter
“The Favourite,” Sandy Powell
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Sandy Powell
“Mary Queen of Scots,” Alexandra Byrne

Visual Effects:

“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Christopher Robin”
“First Man”
“Ready Player One”
“Solo: A Star Wars Story”

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Ok. Here they are people – after a ton of movie-watching and flip-flopping back and forth, I finally put my picks together for the Oscars tonight (in red below). And I’m still not 100% on the Best Picture (torn between Three Billboard and Shape of Water), but time has run out so here we are.


Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Paul Thomas Anderson (“Phantom Thread”)
Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”)
Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”)
Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”)
Jordan Peele (“Get Out”)

Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name”)
Daniel Day-Lewis(“Phantom Thread”)
Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”)
Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”)
Denzel Washington (“Roman J. Israel, Esq.)

Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”)
Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”)
Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”)
Meryl Streep (“The Post”)

Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”)
Woody Harrelson (“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
Richard Jenkins (“The Shape of Water”)
Christopher Plummer (“All the Money in the World”)
Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”)

Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”)
Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”)
Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”)
Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”)
Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”)

The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Call Me By Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Molly’s Game

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Loving Vincent

Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water

Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water

Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria and Abdul

Baby Driver
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Darkest Hour
Victoria and Abdul

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Call Me by Your Name (“The Mystery of Love”)
Coco (“Remember Me”)
The Greatest Showman (“This Is Me”)
Marshall (“Stand Up for Something”)
Mudbound (“Mighty River”)

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

“A Fantastic Woman” (CHILE)
“The Insult” (LEBANON)
“Loveless” (RUSSIA)
“On Body and Soul” (HUNGARY)
“The Square” (SWEDEN)

Dear Basketball
Garden City
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Deklab Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All of Us

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Like every year, as soon as the Golden Globe nominees are announced, I start watching the potential Oscar Best Picture nominees (since they often align with the Globes). I’ve managed to watch all but one but since I’m not sure if I’ll be able to watch the last straggler (Phantom Thread), I figured I’d share my impressions for the big categories.

Best Picture – Nominees

  • Call Me By Your Name
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Summary: You know how a movie can stay with you for weeks after you’ve watched it? Those are usually the ones that grab my attention and make my top picks. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is staying with me. I love Frances McDormand – she often plays a badass and this movie is no different.  The story was engrossing and the cast was great. Sam Rockwell’s transformation in the movie was very compelling. Woody Harrelson was also very good (he is everywhere there days – good for him!) It was an all around solid movie.

My second pick, believe it or not, is The Shape of Water. I know many people found it weird. And it was. But there was something really beautiful about it from Sally Hawkins’ powerful performance as a mute to the relationship between her and the critter, to the friendship between her and Richard Jenkins’ character, to Octavia Spencer. Another, all around solid movie.

I’m still torn about who I’d vote for between the two. I have a feeling the two lead acting categories will go to Three Billboards, and Best Picture will go to The Shape of Water for the ensemble to avoid a sweep of the top three.

The others were OK but in my opinion not Oscar worthy, although there were some stand out performances. There were many “middling” movies that seemed to make the cut because they ran out of great ones to choose from. It’s been like this ever since they increased the number of nominated films up from 5 so I guess it’s to be expected.

Actor in a Leading Role – Nominees

  • Timothee Chalamet
  • Daniel Day-Lewis
  • Daniel Kaluuya
  • Gary Oldman
  • Denzel Washington

Summary: Gary Oldman who played Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour is a shoe in for this category. Enough said.

Actress in a Leading Role – Nominees

  • Sally Hawkins
  • Frances McDormand
  • Margot Robbie
  • Saorise Ronan
  • Meryl Streep

Summary: I’m torn here too between Frances McDormand and Sally Hawkins. So tough. I think I’m leaning slightly towards Frances because of the emotion of the role. But Sally, as a mute, was able to convey so much power and emotion too, which could be considered a greater achievement than a speaking role. Very tough.


Actor in a Supporting Role:

  • Willem Dafoe
  • Woody Harrelson
  • Richard Jenkins
  • Christopher Plummer
  • Sam Rockwell

Summary: I think Sam Rockwell has it. Although – it would be a hoot for Christopher Plummer to win, especially after stepping to replace Kevin Spacey and reshooting all his scenes.

Actress in a Supporting Role:

  • Mary J. Blige
  • Allison Janney
  • Lesley Manville
  • Laurie Metcalf
  • Octavia Spencer

Summary: Allison Janney hands down as Tonya Harding’s mom.

I’ll post my full ballot closer to the Oscars – which is on March 4th this year. Set your PVRs. 🙂

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One of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit is to hunker down with a blanket and some popcorn and watch a Christmas movie. I look forward to my favourites every year. Some are sentimental, some are modern and some are downright hysterical. Depending on the mood you’re in (or trying to get out of), there is a holiday movie out there for you! I left the traditional classics off the list (e.g. It’s a Wonderful Life) because I find that I can’t watch them every year; they’re better with a couple years rest in between viewings, for me anyway.

Here’s my top ten:

  1. Home Alone
  2. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  3. The Ref
  4. Love Actually
  5. Elf
  6. Polar Express
  7. Bridget Jones’ Diary
  8. Four Christmasses
  9. The Family Stone
  10. The Harry Potter series

You may find the last one an unusual choice. It has an element of Christmas in every movie, and I enjoy a Xmas to New Year marathon so it’s become a bit of a tradition. 🙂 

The Home Alones and Love Actually are what I consider “new classics”. 

Elf and Polar Express are great holiday spirit films that will make believers out of the bah-humbuggiest out there.

If you need some laughs at this time of year, look no further then The Ref (hilarious, sharp funny writing), Four Christmasses (your dysfunctional family has got nothing on Reese and Vince’s), The Family Stone (laugh out loud) and Bridget Jones (laugh at her and with her).

I’m sure everyone has their own set of favorites and go-to Christmas movies. I’d love to hear what yours are so I can add to my list!

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On my recent flights, I got to watch several movies. See below for some reviews:


I LOVED this. I loved how fierce Laura was – yes, it was unusual to see a child being so violent but it was very cool to see a mini she-wolverine in action. I thought the story was interesting and the characters’ interactions were really entertaining. Love the chemistry between Logan and Laura, Logan and Charles, Charles and Laura. There was really funny dialogue, like laugh out loud funny. Watch it. Rating: A

Queen of Katwe

It’s a story of Phiona, a girl from Katwe, an impoverished town in Uganda, who learns to play chess and competes in various competitions. There were some great characters in this movie and it’s a pretty subdued drama – a pretty tame Disney story. Recommended for anyone who enjoys chess or movies about people beating the odds. Rating: B-

The Circle

Emma Watson and Tom Hanks star in this modern movie about The Circle, a successful company on the leading edge of social media / technology. Mae (Watson) joins an experiment to “go transparent” and broadcasts every moment of her waking life (bathroom breaks are the exception) with her followers, to great success that ends in a tragic way (no spoilers). Very interesting take on how things could be, or almost are today, really. I enjoyed it. Recommended for people who enjoy or appreciate innovation or the new age of social media. Rating: B+

The Dinner

Subdues drama about two brothers and their wives who find out about a crime their kids committed together over dinner. A solid cast and good writing kept me from switching it off. It was an OK story, and comic relief was provided by the restaurant’s antics (a really uppity place pretty full of itself) but I found it enjoyable.  It’s not for everyone though. Recommended for those who enjoy movies centered on dialogue and don’t need bells and whistles to be entertained. Rating: B-

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It’s that time of year! Once again, I went on a mission to watch all the nominated pictures so I feel pretty good about my picks. In summary, for the big categories: I felt that due to the lack of really AMAZING movies, the results will be skewed, primarily towards La La Land. It was good – different, good story, nice imagery/cinematography, nice music, likable actors – BUT – put it in another year against really great films and I don’t think it would do as well.


That said, there were some standout performances this year. Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea gave a somewhat subdued performance and his character was so tightly wound throughout the movie that I physically felt it build up and snap at the end. Not many performances can do that. In my mind, the only other contender is Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge but that’s not the typical Academy fare for Best Actor. But again, if you pair either against Russel Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, Sean Penn in I Am Sam or Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything, they would lose.

I feel like Denzel keeps playing the same character over and over again. I’m over it. Best Supporting Actor will likely go to Mahershala Ali for Moonlight, due to lack of competition and to reward the film for something. It was very similar to Boyhood. Been there done that, but this time with 3 different actors.

For Best Actress, Emma Stone was good in La La Land but again, I think she’ll win mainly due to lack of competition.  Regardless, I’m a big fan and I’m happy that she was in the right place at the right time this year to win it. Best Supporting Actress is clearly Viola Davis for Fences – without question. Just give it to her already.

And animated short HAS to go to Piper – what’s not to like? Adorbs. Watch it here – just 4 minutes and you’ll be smiling at the end.

Below are all the nominees with my official picks in red:

Best Picture

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


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

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

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

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

Adapted Screenplay

  • Arrival, Eric Heisserer
  • Fences, August Wilson
  • Hidden Figures, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
  • Lion, Luke Davies
  • Moonlight, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney

Original Screenplay

  • Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan
  • La La Land, Damien Chazelle
  • The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou
  • Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan
  • 20th Century Women, Mike Mills

Animated Feature Film

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

Foreign Language Film

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

Documentary Feature

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


  • Arrival, Bradford Young
  • La La Land, Linus Sandgren
  • Lion, Greig Fraser
  • Moonlight, James Laxton
  • Silence, Rodrigo Prieto

Film Editing

  • Arrival, Joe Walker
  • Hacksaw Ridge, John Gilbert
  • Hell or High Water, Jake Roberts
  • La La Land, Tom Cross
  • Moonlight, Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Production Design

  • Arrival, Patrice Vermette and Paul Hotte
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Stuart Craig and Anna Pinnock
  • Hail, Caesar! , Jess Gonchor and Nancy Haigh
  • La La Land, Davis Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
  • Passengers, Guy Hendrix Dyas and Gene Serdena

Costume Design

  • Allied, Joanna Johnston
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Colleen Atwood
  • Florence Foster Jenkins, Consolata Boyle
  • Jackie, Madeline Fontaine
  • La La Land, Mary Zophres

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • A Man Called Ove, Eva von Bahr and Love Larson
  • Star Trek Beyond, Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo
  • Suicide Squad, Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, and Christopher Nelson

Original Score

  • Jackie, Mica Levi
  • La La Land, Justin Hurwitz
  • Lion, Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka
  • Moonlight, Nicholas Britell
  • Passengers, Thomas Newman

Original Song

  • “Audition (The Fools who Dream),” La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls, music and lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, and Karl Johan Schuster
  • “City of Stars,” La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • “The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story, music and lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
  • “How Far I’ll Go,” Moana, music and lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Sound Editing

  • Arrival, Sylvain Bellemare
  • Deepwater Horizon, Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli
  • Hacksaw Ridge, Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright
  • La La Land, Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
  • Sully, Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Sound Mixing

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

Visual Effects

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

Animated Short Film

  • Blind Vaysha
  • Borrowed Time
  • Pear Cider and Cigarettes
  • Pearl
  • Piper

Live Action Short Film

  • Ennemis Intérieurs
  • La Femme et le TGV
  • Silent Nights
  • Sing
  • Timecode

Documentary Short Subject

  • Extremis
  • 4.1 Miles
  • Joe’s Violin
  • Watani: My Homeland
  • The White Helmets

Good luck!

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