Category Archives: 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.


 

 

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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

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Film Reviews: “Joy” (2016)

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“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.

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The Golden Globe Nominations

Upon sundown yesterday, a tall glass of news was brewing in California’s luxurious Beverly Hills Hotel. The official nominees for next year’s prestigious Golden Globe awards have been announced, leaving us mortals to shrivel in awe of our favourite runners. Before I dive into the long list of names, here is some general information on the venue itself. For the fourth time, Ricky Gervais is set to host, which has no potential of going wrong whatsoever (despite naming Bruce Willis “Ashton Kutcher’s dad” and Tom Cruise a closeted homosexual in previous years). He’s taking the place of two-time presenters Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who were praised for their commentaries by both critics and general audiences. The ceremony will take place on January the tenth at said hotel, where I expect a lot of red velvet and semi-appropriate cultural jabs.

Anyway, without further ado, here comes the lucky bunch. Feel free to join the conversation by commenting your own predictions. We can make this into an destructive gambling addiction for the whole family. My own prognoses I have made green for winners and red for losers, so that they are easier to distinguish. Enjoy!

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Best Motion Picture – Drama
“Carol”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”
“Room”
“Spotlight”

Reasons: “The Revenant” has been poking the media’s eye since it began filming. A lot of anticipation circulates the production, which is directed by Academy Award Winner Alejandro Iñárritu. “Mad Max” doesn’t fit comfortably in the drama mould to my personal view. Compared to some of its contenders, it is doomed to lose the nomination.

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
“The Big Short”
“Joy”
“The Martian”
“Spy”
“Trainwreck”

Reasons: “Spy” was probably one of the best-acclaimed comedy films of 2015 and for a reason. It features an absolutely hilarious script fulfilled brilliantly by Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham. It has a great set of ingredients to be the undisputed winner of this category. I can’t help but think three of the five films here barely scrape a comedy and are certainly in no part musicals (nudge at top three titles).

Best Director – Motion Picture
Todd Haynes (“Carol”)
Alejandro G. Iñárritu (“The Revenant”)
Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”)
George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)
Ridley Scott (“The Martian”)

Reasons: Although I find myself torn between Tom McCarthy and A. Iñárritu, my bets are staying safe and sound with the latter. His kickstart into the blizzard of rumours guarantees high chances. As for George Miller, who undoubtedly is an amazing mind, “Mad Max” simply does not compare to some of the other nominees. Sorry, car buffs.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”)
Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)
Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)
Will Smith (“Concussion”)

Reasons: This one’s got me torn. Although I am yet to see “The Danish Girl”, my hopes are soaring high for acting treasure Eddie Redmayne. Leonardo has a history of Golden Globe wins, so hopefully you can see my reason for worry. Fingers crossed for Fassbender, too. Ah, daisies, I just can’t decide!

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Cate Blanchett (“Carol”)
Brie Larson (“Room”)
Rooney Mara (“Carol”)
Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)
Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”)

Reasons: Brie Larson is one of those stars you notice and wonder how the heck you managed to miss for so long. Her resume is an impressive selection of successful films, not in terms of box office importance, but rather critical approval.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Christian Bale (“The Big Short”)
Steve Carell (“The Big Short”)
Matt Damon (“The Martian”)
Al Pacino (“Danny Collins”)
Mark Ruffalo (“Infinitely Polar Bear”)

Reasons: Matt Damon, with the help of Ridley Scott, created a character audiences care about. He is a previous Oscar-winner, whose name stands out from the stack. A weight-loss, further emphasised in post production, will compliment the winning factor. Meanwhile, Al Pacino stands an almost zero percent chance. “Danny Collins” bombed in the box office, not even breaking even on its budget, so the prospect for a character breakthrough has dropped miserably.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy 
Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”)
Melissa McCarthy (“Spy”)
Amy Schumer (“Trainwreck”)
Maggie Smith (“The Lady in the Van”)
Lily Tomlin (“Grandma”)

Reasons: Here comes the choo-choo train of dilemmas. My bet falls on Jennifer Lawrence, even though she wouldn’t be my heart’s true desire. I expect for it to happen due to Jen being a main source of comedy in “Joy”, which was written by David O. Russell. However, Melissa McCarty created one of the most hilarious pictures of the past twelve months, which deserves some form of recognition. Maggie Smith is a niche actress, who is highly well-known in British television. Her younger contenders overshadow Mags, despite the elderly dame’s timeless talent.

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Paul Dano (“Love & Mercy”)
Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”)
Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)
Michael Shannon (“99 Homes”)
Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”)

Reasons: According to the Telegram “Mark Rylance is extraordinary.” If that quote sounds familiar, that’s because it is featured on the “Bridge of Spies” poster, which is plastered all over London. I cannot agree more with that statement. Despite acting next to legendary titan like Tom Hanks, Rylan manages to keep the spotlight. Stallone won’t win for… Lets’ say obvious reasons. No offence, Stallonians.

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Jane Fonda (“Youth”)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”)
Helen Mirren (“Trumbo”)
Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”)
Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”)

Reasons: Kate Winslet has remained fairly open about the research she put into the role of Joanna Hoffman, which was as extensive as they get. Spending time with family, countless interviews and constant dates only begin to cover it. Meanwhile, “Youth” did not receive much friction in the general audience sector, Jane Fonda has simply ceased being as relevant. 

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Emma Donoghue (“Room”)
Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer (“Spotlight”)
Charles Randolph, Adam McKay (“The Big Short”)
Aaron Sorkin (“Steve Jobs”)
Quentin Tarantino (“The Hateful Eight”)

Reasons: Much like the category for Best Actor, I think we have a clear audience favourite in the face of fan-driven Tarantino. However, due to its structural uniqueness, I am going to cast my prediction for Aaron Sorkin’s “Steve Jobs”. Do me proud, Sorkin, I believe.

Best Original Score
Carter Burwell (“Carol”)
Alexandre Desplat (“The Danish Girl”)
Ennio Morricone (“The Hateful Eight”)
Daniel Pemberton (“Steve Jobs”)
Ryuichi Sakamoto Alva Noto (“The Revenant”)

Reasons: Tarantino’s films are popular for their soundtracks. Both “Django” and “Pulp Fiction” have received cult musical status among younger generations and I expect their eight little brother to follow suit. 

Best Original Song
“Love Me Like You Do” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
“One Kind of Love” from “Love & Mercy”
“See You Again” from “Furious 7”
“Simple Song No. 3” from “Youth”
“Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”

Reasons: The production behind Sam Smith’s original track is far greater in terms of cultural significance. Although that has nothing to do with lyrics or tonalities, it is a big factor to the success of the piece. It helps that “Spectre” and “Writing’s On The Wall” compliment each other to perfection.

Best Animated Feature Film
“Anomalisa”
“The Good Dinosaur”
“Inside Out”
“The Peanuts Movie”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”

Best animated film is the only category which I have no guesses for. Having shamed by family name, I shall now kick the ball into your court. So comment bellow – let the predictions pour in.

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language 
“The Brand New Testament”
“The Club”
“The Fencer”
“Mustang”
“Son of Saul”

Reasons: “The Fencer” is fearlessly gathering positive reviews, rocking an impressive 7.7 IMDB rating as of today, so my trust is pretty set in place. Its themes are largely triggering for the right, emotional viewer.

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Best TV Series – Drama

“Empire”
“Game of Thrones”
“Mr. Robot”
“Narcos”
“Outlander”

Reasons: The reign continues, that’s all I need say. “Narcos” and “Mr. Robot” have fought to represent Netflix and Amazon Prime respectively, but they are simply no match to the gigantic competition.

Best TV Series – Comedy
“Casual”
“Mozart in the Jungle”
“Orange Is the New Black”
“Silicon Valley”
“Transparent”
“Veep”

Reasons: Once again trusting the overall viewer ratings, I’m throwing a buck in for Netflix’s creation. Throwing a healthy dose of bias in this prediction, I must admit to participating in the fanbase of OITNB. Although it does not strictly classify as a comedy series, it heavily features prison humour, which seems to be highly appreciated by audiences. 

Best TV Movie or Limited-Series
“American Crime”
“American Horror Story: Hotel”
“Fargo”
“Flesh and Bone”
“Wolf Hall”

Reasons: No one can resist a good Coen Brothers reminder. The re-make of their 1996 film of the same title has really struck on gold with modern audiences, quickly resurrecting the little Minnesota town into a household craving.

Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama
Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”)
Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”)
Wagner Moura (“Narcos”)
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”)

Reasons: “Mad Men” has has its grand run, but let’s face it, the enchantment is rubbing off. I’m not saying the series is slacking or simply not as good, but the glamour period is over.”Narcos” is a current production and Wagner Moura’s face graces every single poster for a reason.

Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama 
Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”)
Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”)
Eva Green (“Penny Dreadful”)
Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”)
Robin Wright (“House of Cards”)

Reasons: Viola Davies became a viral sensation after her acceptance speech at the Emmys this year, which featured a body of racism revelations with a dash of feminism. Her work on HTGAWM has been widely noted since the series’ release in 2014. 

Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy 
Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”)
Gael Garcia Bernal (“Mozart in the Jungle”)
Rob Lowe (“The Grinder”)
Patrick Stewart (“Blunt Talk”)
Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”)

Reasons: It has been a big year for stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari. He has conquered Madison Square Garden for an exclusive Netflix special, published a book and started a highly anticipated and well-received series. The Golden Globe would be a nice, little culmination to that journey.

Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy
Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex Girlfriend”)
Jamie Lee Curtis (“Scream Queens”)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, (“Veep”)
Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”)
Lilly Tomlin (“Grace & Frankie”)

Reasons: The original scream queen is back and this time she’s in charge of little, baby hatchlings. This one shouldn’t even be a debate.

Best Actor in a Limited-Series or TV Movie
Idris Elba (“Luther”)
Oscar Isaac (“Show Me a Hero”)
David Oyelowo (“Nightingale”)
Mark Rylance (“Wolf Hall”)
Patrick Wilson (“Fargo”)

Reasons: Idris Elba gathered large chunks of exposure for his online movie “Beasts of No Nation” and that spreading fever could very well transfer into his work in “Luther”, making him the narrow winner. If I had to choose a second option, Mark Rylance would be it.

Best Actress in a Limited-Series or TV Movie
Kirsten Dunst (“Fargo”)
Lady Gaga (“American Horror Story: Hotel”)
Sarah Hay (“Flesh & Bone”)
Felicity Huffman (“American Crime”)
Queen Latifah (“Bessie”)

Reasons: The AHS fandom exploded at the news of Lady Gaga’s upcoming feature in the fifth season of the show. They were equally stunned at her amazing talent in the role of a heartless vampiress . 

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV Movie
Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife”)
Damian Lewis (“Wolf Hall”)
Ben Mendelsohn (“Bloodline”)
Tobias Menzies (“Outlander”)
Christian Slater (“Mr. Robot”)

Reasons: I must say I have literally no opinion on the nominees here as they seem a bit bland to my liking. However, Christian Slater has been on a back-to-fame rollercoaster, so… I guess I’m hopping on that train. 

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series, or TV Movie
Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”)
Joanne Froggatt (“Downton Abbey”)
Regina King (“American Crime”)
Judith Light (“Transparent”)
Maura Tierney (“The Affair”)

Reasons: My first instinct was Judith Light, but Uzo Aduba’s irresistible Crazy Eyes has got a hold on me. The life she breathes into her character makes it one of the main reasons to even sink your eyes into OITNB.