Category Archives: Academy Awards

Academy Award Nomination Predictions

‘Tis almost the season of red carpets, cheesy gratitude speeches and televised reaction shots! That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the award months are close at hand, thus making bloggers and film nerds buzz with childish excitement. The Golden Globes are lined up first, coming in early January. Britain follows closely with own BAFTA awards, both of which will culminate in one star-studded night to rule them all – the Oscars. Throughout the years I have created a ritual of sacrificing a good night’s sleep for the purpose of watching their ceremony live, which means the dead of night here in London. Next year will be no different, I shall sit on my desk with a live Twitter feed and shamelessly feast on chocolate buttons. Today, however, we’re setting a new tradition, where I’ll create a forecast of nominees, you’ll tell me if I’m right or wrong, and then we can all have a ball at the end of February. Does that sound the deal of a lifetime? I thought so.

Well here they are, my ‘expert’ predictions of winning names and faces, which will be graced with the big news in a month’s time. Let’s dig in.


 

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 10.06.12

Best Picture.png

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 10.17.07Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 10.25.21

Best Actor.png

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 10.39.56Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 10.45.02

Best Actress.png

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 10.56.48

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 11.04.20

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 11.08.13Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 11.16.37

Cinematography.png

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 11.31.17

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 11.35.56.png

thumbnail_22828

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 19.02.36

 

 

 

costume.png

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 19.13.04

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 19.18.25

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 19.22.06.png

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 19.38.33

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 19.44.10

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 19.47.57

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 19.51.01

 

Docu.png

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 20.02.01Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 20.12.54

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 20.15.46

 

 

 

 


 

Thusly, ladies and gentlemen, we conclude the 2016 nominee predictions. Now the only thing left to do is wait for January and find out exactly how many I screwed up.

Stay awesome!

Megs x

Advertisements

Film Reviews: “Joy” (2016)

maxresdefault

“Joy” has been a very long-awaited drama by David O. Russell and his usual ensemble of screen favourites, which I am sure you’ve heard of by now. It’s been gracing every underground station and double-decker bus, after all! Jennifer Lawrence has taken on the eponymous role, Robert De Niro plays her whimsical father, and Bradley Cooper is a savvy, television salesman. What an intricate, delicately-woven story writers Russell and Annie Mumolo have given creation to! Although I can tell you right now, the film deserves a prime spot on your January must-do list, let me explain why that is.

Joy Mangano is a divorced mother of two, who lives in a house with ex-husband Tony, mother Terri and gran Mimi. Their domestic abode is a chaotic mixture of financial strains, zero sleep, cheesy television operas and a daunting lack of any perspective for the future. Life is a boring, customer service work and a messy, broken home. Her father Rudy circulates dating adverts and services, coming in and out of his daughter’s life. Thinking it must be destiny, he begins a serious relationship with wealthy widow Trudy. One day Joy and her family find themselves on Trudy’s yacht, where after a wine spilling accident, Joy is left with cut-up hands. This gives her the ingenious idea of a revolutionary mop, which doesn’t need to be touched to be washed. It becomes clear that Joy has had brilliant invention ideas in the past, primarily as a child, which however, would get shut down by unsupportive parents. This time she isn’t letting go of her talent. Instead, she is more than determined to use it. Joy crafts her first Miracle Mop with help from best friend Jackie. Trudy is slowly persuaded to invest money in the product, thus giving Joy a business of her own. Step-sister Peggy is outlined as the most unsupportive and selfish being in their midst, constantly envious of any success Joy might accomplish. What the airport-worker-turned-inventor doesn’t know is that she is falling on a path of disappointments. Trudy gets her a shady contractor in California, Peggy and Rudy coil together behind closed doors, a second mortgage on the house is on the way and other people are out to steal Joy’s clever idea. Tony, being a close advisor to Joy, pushes her a slot with Neil Walker – an executive at QVC. After a small trip-up, Joy decides the bets way to sell her mop is appear on television herself. The sales begin piling, numbers keep rising. The Miracle Mop becomes a triumph. However, the world is closing in and Joy is in the centre. Most people she has trusted seem to have ulterior motives, and there’s a bigger battle waiting to be fought. Will the Miracle Mop be the answer to Joy’s prayers? Will she save her family from homelessness and bankruptcy, or are too many people trying to destroy her way to success?

Firstly, let me start off by saying this tandem is not a newly-found one. Last time we saw David O. Russell, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, they were sitting at the 85th Academy Awards. “Silver Linings Playbook” was a cinematic victory among audiences and critics alike. “Joy” pulls on some of the same strings – damaged families, broken people, subjectivity to a seemingly hopeless protagonist, who receives a chance to become their best self. In that aspect, the production is once again successful in its predecessor’s strongest points. That’s one of the reasons we’re hearing heaps of Oscar nods this year, “Joy” happens to be a safe guess for most.

Jennifer Lawrence is gentle in her madness, gracious in her blinding disappointment and fearless in the matters of her business. She is a well-developed character, who sees a lot of change and transforms along with it. Although she isn’t a glamorous, flamboyant and gorgeous figure, we still cheer the rugged housewife on. She makes the working class easily relatable, which is one of Lawrence’s greatest strengths. There is a quality in her acting, which combines the girl next door and the female warrior, intertwining their best and worst features together. In that way, she is unvanquished in “Joy”.

Virginia Madsen plays mother Terri, whose fear of bracing life after divorce is more than evident. She barely leaves her bedside and involves a great amount of time in a soap opera show so outrageously exaggerated, it manages to seep into Joy’s dreams. Madsen crafts a pitiful look at an older, single woman, who suffers in finding happiness. She manages to create an easily dislikable woman and parent, who steps up to redemption in the very last second.

That’s exactly the opposite of what I can say about Robert De Niro’s Rudy. He starts off being in the focus of better parenting. He has moved on with life, being humorous and enjoyable in light of his own, failing romantic chaos. However, as our story progresses, we peel away the layers of caring father, and reach an oblivious and reluctant man, who makes a show of love that isn’t there. We learn to feel disgusted with him and instead, realise how important Terri really is.

If this were a Shakespearian play, Peggy and Trudy would be the vile witches, while Tony and Jackie’d fill the shoes of queen guards. Although all four roles are secondary, that does not reduce their influence in the story. We connect to the sides they represent a lot better with the strength of their characters.

Over all, “Joy” is a film, which portrays struggle to regain lost hope and the possibilities life holds for those willing to enter the battle. David O. Russell tells this true story with a diverse glimpse at filmmaking and a first class script. Jennifer Lawrence is truly bathing in positive recognition for it, which is well deserved. A great January watch and perhaps even a DVD collection entry. As far as dramas are concerned, “Joy” pushes its way through to the finish line.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 01.00.27

 

Christmas Film Reviews: “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Here we are, folks, at the very end of my December countdown. It’s Christmas morning, I have my trusty coffee and a slice of Alaskan bombe. Although the streets outside are devout of snow, today feels festive enough solely in spirit. True, I wouldn’t have minded a nice pile or two to dive in, but London persistently refuses to make a habit of that. Anyway, I’ll jump straight into my film recommendation for the big night.

“It’s A Wonderful Life” is perhaps the most well-known Christmas production of all time. Undoubtedly, a classic which has withstood the tests of time and the tidal wave of quality competition thrown its way. Released back in the cold winter of 1946, this film acted as a much needed reminder of life’s beauty. Ugly pictures of war and death had been showering newspapers and television programmes for too long. Hollywood’s first step towards reflecting this recovery came in motion pictures. “A Beautiful Life” was the only movie ever completed under director Frank Capra’s independent studio – Liberty Films. His desire to break free of the Golden Age’s repressive, Capitalist exploits, gave the project five Academy Award nominations and with a reason.

itsawonderfullife1.jpg

Enter George Bailey – Bedford Falls’s most altruistic and kind-hearted resident. His only dream is to see the world, explore everything life has to offer outside the boundaries of New York. Every time a door seems to open and give him a glimpse of those desires, someone runs by slam it shut. Instead of leaving for South America before college, George stays behind to run the family business after his father’s sudden death. The boy manages to save up for tuition fees once more, but ends up giving the money away so that younger brother Harry could receive an education instead. He protects and helps Bedford Falls’s people agains the overhanging tyranny of loan shark – Henry Potter, whose cruel intentions benefit no one, but his egocentric self. However, things are looking up when George marries the love of his life – Mary, a girl he’s known since childhood. They create a family and nestle down in an old house. Years go by and children start spurting, four to be exact, their affordable housing business seems to be thriving better than ever, life is looking up. In the peak of his happiness, a disaster comes to tear the joy apart. George is painfully used to being ripped off in one way or another, he rolls with the punches and tries to keep walking. However, that night is particularly daunting, leaving him in a desperate and suicidal track. George decides to jump off a near-by bridge and end the hurt for ever. Little does he know, Clarence the angel is watching over him that night. An angel who will make a single wish come true – let George see the world as it would have been if the man had never been born. A picture of decay and misery unfolds, playing out every worst scenario the town could have imagined. George learns just how important his kindness was to everyone around and releases the tunnel vision of success for the bigger picture of humanity. Upon realising life is an amazing gift, which should never be wasted on cruelty and disregard, he begins being Clarence for a chance to go back. Once more hug from his children, one more kiss from his wife, a chance to apologise and re-estimate his values, that’s George’s biggest Christmas desire. Moreover, surprises come stacking when the man returns home, and the puzzle pieces finally fit together, because life is truly an amazing treasure.

Take this as a promise from me – this film will melt your heart. The phrase “they don’t make them like they used to” is in full effect here, proving that old pictures have a quality about them that a blockbuster just cannot replace. Its script, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett is romantic, funny, happy, exhilarating and painfully honest about pain and struggles. The dialogue flows like a river, turbulent with snappy George’s humour and rhetoric, yet calm with its authenticity. It manages to touch big themes will small sentences. “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey, that’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary,” George said on his first date with future wife Mary. Infinitely beautiful their lines are to listen and see, about that there is not a single doubt inside my mind.

James Stewart is a name that should be a part of your film repository. An actor, father, war hero and generally kind human being, Stewart could not have been a better fit for the role of George Bailey had he consciously tried to be. He is absolutely extraordinary, quiet, but understood, funny, yet truthful and serious. Nothing more could I have asked from his character or portrayal, because Stewart masters both to perfection. His blue eyes stare at you through the black and white picture, digging holes inside your soul only to bury a seed of subtle positivity and joy.

Henry Travers is in the role of Clarence, who we only get to see for half the movie. In that time, however, he manages to become irreplaceable as a plot point and influence, creating an unshakable staple of the timeless tale. The angel who wants to get his wings and gives a small-town man a second chance at life, is the sidekick every person needs. Another supporting role goes to Donna Reed, who encapsulated George’s intelligent, funny and supporting wife Mary. The two’s connection shakes the ground with forceful tremors, leaving its audience wishing they had a romance of such proportions. From that first date, to their embrace over the phone and calm marriage that followed, a picture of an ideal is painted. Although critics gave Capra a hard time about his characters’ unrealistic idealism, they later re-visited that opinion, which was inevitable. It’s a chemistry and a love story, which surpass superficial expectations.

The theme of suicide is explored in one of the film’s culminations, which leaves spectators on the edge of their seat. George is someone we have created a relationship with and having to see him pushed to the limits of disappointment hits us just as hard. Capra does not simply gloss past the issue, dwelling into it through Clarence and George’s conversations. That’s partially what makes the recovery so powerful. We’ve seen the lows, we’ve hit rock bottom, so having a kick start back into happiness in its purest form feels exhilarating.

If you hadn’t figure it out by now, “It’s A Wonderful Life” could very well be one of my favourite films, period. It holds quality, which we rarely get to see in mass cinema nowadays, its cast is more than perfect for the complex set of characters we explore, and the rollercoaster of emotions leaves us gasping with overwhelming joy. There is nothing more that I could wish for in a perfect Christmas film. This is everything and more.

Now, have yourselves a very merry Christmas!

Thank you for following my blog this past year and hopefully I can continue to entertain you throughout the next one!

Stay amazing!

Megs X