Final Oscar Predictions, 2016

All righty, it is now officially Oscar weekend, and I’m pretty darn excited. I shall now reveal my predictions on what will more than likely win and what deserves to win, in all 24 categories.

Two years ago, I only got 2 or 3 categories wrong, but last year I missed about 5 or 6 categories. Fingers crossed for a perfect 24/24 this year.

I’ve known some people to use my predictions to choose one final movie to run out and see before Oscar Sunday (or rent on demand, in some cases). I’ve also known people to follow my predictions during the Oscars to see how accurate they are. And again, I’m hoping my predictions are 100% accurate this year.

Anyway, without further ado, here are my predictions for the 88th Academy Awards. Titles in bold have been reviewed.

UPDATE: I correctly predicted 17/24 categories accurately.  I’ve added the winners to each category.

BEST PICTURE

“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Room”
“Spotlight”

WILL WIN: “The Revenant”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “The Big Short”
SHOULD WIN: “Spotlight”

WON: “Spotlight”

DIRECTOR

Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

WILL WIN: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
POSSIBLE UPSET: George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
SHOULD WIN: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “The Revenant”

WON: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “The Revenant”

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

WILL WIN: Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”
POSSIBLE UPSET: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
SHOULD WIN: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”

WON: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

WILL WIN: Brie Larson, “Room”
POSSIBLE UPSET: Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
SHOULD WIN: Brie Larson, “Room”

WON: Brie Larson, “Room”

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

WILL WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
POSSIBLE UPSET: none
SHOULD WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

WON: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

WILL WIN: Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
POSSIBLE UPSET: Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”
SHOULD WIN: Rooney Mara, “Carol”

WON: Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“Bridge of Spies”
“Ex Machina”
“Inside Out”
“Spotlight”
“Straight Outta Compton”

WILL WIN: “Spotlight”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “Inside Out”
SHOULD WIN: “Spotlight”

WON: “Spotlight”

ANIMATED FEATURE

“Anomalisa”
“Boy & the World”
“Inside Out”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”
“When Marnie Was There”

WILL WIN: “Inside Out”
POSSIBLE UPSET: none
SHOULD WIN: “Inside Out”

WON: “Inside Out”

FILM EDITING

“The Big Short”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”
“Spotlight”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

WILL WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “The Revenant”
SHOULD WIN: “The Revenant”

WON: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

“Body Team 12”
“Chau, Beyond the Lines”
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”
“Last Day of Freedom”

WILL WIN: “Body Team 12”

WON: “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“The Big Short”
“Brooklyn”
“Carol”
“The Martian”
“Room”

WILL WIN: “The Big Short”
POSSIBLE UPSET: none
SHOULD WIN: “The Big Short”

WON: “The Big Short”

SOUND EDITING

“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Sicario”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

WILL WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “The Revenant”
SHOULD WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

WON: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

SHORT FILM, ANIMATED

“Bear Story”
“Prologue”
“Sanjay’s Super Team”
“We Can’t Live without Cosmos”
“World of Tomorrow”

WILL WIN: “Sanjay’s Super Team”

WON: “Bear Story”

ORIGINAL SCORE

“Bridge of Spies” (Thomas Newman)
“Carol” (Carter Burwell)
“The Hateful Eight” (Ennio Morricone)
“Sicario” (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (John Williams)

WILL WIN: “The Hateful Eight”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
SHOULD WIN: “The Hateful Eight”

WON: “The Hateful Eight”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

“Embrace of the Serpent” (Colombia, in Spanish)
“Mustang” (France, in Turkish)
“Son of Saul” (Hungary, in Hungarian)
“Theeb” (Jordan, in Arabic)
“A War” (Denmark, in Danish)

WILL WIN: “Son of Saul”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “Mustang”
SHOULD WIN: “Son of Saul”

WON: “Son of Saul”

VISUAL EFFECTS

“Ex Machina”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

WILL WIN: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
SHOULD WIN: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

WON: “Ex Machina”

SHORT FILM, LIVE ACTION

“Ave Maria”
“Day One”
“Everything Will Be Okay”
“Shok”
“Stutterer”

WILL WIN: “Ave Maria”

WON: “Stutterer”

ORIGINAL SONG

“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey” (music/lyric by Belly, Stephan Moccio, Jason Quenneville, The Weeknd)
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction” (music by J. Ralph, lyric by Antony Hegarty)
“Simple Song #3” from “Youth” (music/lyric by David Lang)
“Til It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground” (music/lyric by Lady Gaga and Diane Warren)
“Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre” (music/lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith)

WILL WIN: “Til It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”
SHOULD WIN: “Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”

WON: “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”

PRODUCTION DESIGN

“Bridge of Spies”
“The Danish Girl”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”

WILL WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “The Revenant”
SHOULD WIN: “The Revenant”

WON: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

CINEMATOGRAPHY

“Carol” (Ed Lachman)
“The Hateful Eight” (Robert Richardson)
“Mad Max: Fury Road” (John Seale)
“The Revenant” (Emmanuel Lubezki)
“Sicario” (Roger Deakins)

WILL WIN: “The Revenant”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
SHOULD WIN: “The Revenant”

WON: “The Revenant”

COSTUME DESIGN

“Carol” (Sandy Powell)
“Cinderella” (Sandy Powell)
“The Danish Girl” (Paco Delgado)
“Mad Max: Fury Road” (Jenny Beavan)
“The Revenant” (Jacqueline West)

WILL WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “Cinderella”
SHOULD WIN: “The Revenant”

WON: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

MAKEUP

“The 100-Year-Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”

WILL WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “The Revenant”
SHOULD WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

WON: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“Amy”
“Cartel Land”
“The Look of Silence”
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

WILL WIN: “Amy”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “The Look of Silence”
SHOULD WIN: “Amy”

WON: “Amy”

SOUND MIXING

“Bridge of Spies”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

WILL WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
POSSIBLE UPSET: “The Revenant”
SHOULD WIN: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

WON: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Winners: The 4th Annual Cinemaniac Awards

I’m not sure how to preface this, other than to say that picking these winners required making a lot of close calls.  Like I’ve said many times before, 2015 was a really great year for movies.  That’s pretty difficult to represent with awards.  Just take a look at the Oscars. Carol and Straight Outta Compton were two of the best films of the year, and they were in the runnings for Best Picture, but when it comes to the nominees, you can only single out eight of the years best films.

It’s even more difficult when choosing the winners, because you’re not just choosing the best of the year; you’re choosing the best of the best.  For a year like 2011, this would have required little to no thought.  But for a year like 2015, naming just one film the best of its category requires some serious contemplation.

As you can see, I’ve finished my contemplation, and I have settled upon my choices–the winners of the 4th Annual Cinemaniac Awards.  Let’s start off with the non-competitive categories, which I did not introduce when I announced the nominees on January 8th:

OUTSTANDING FILM OF THE YEAR: Spotlight

OUTSTANDING ANIMATED FILM OF THE YEAR: Inside Out

OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY FILM OF THE YEAR: Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

OUTSTANDING NON-AMERICAN FILM OF THE YEAR: Youth

OUTSTANDING FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR: Two Days, One Night

And now, without further ado, the competitive categories for the 4th Annual Cinemaniac Awards:

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs

Xavier Dolan, Mommy

Clint Eastwood, American Sniper

Todd Haynes, Carol

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Ridley Scott, The Martian

Paolo Sorrentino, Youth

Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

The Winner:

Ridley Scott, The Martian

BEST LEAD ACTOR:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS1

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Matt Damon, The Martian

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Will Smith, Concussion

Jacob Tremblay, Room

The Winner:

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS2

Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation

Walton Goggins, The Hateful Eight

Michael Keaton, Spotlight

Jason Segel, The End of the Tour

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

The Winner:

Michael Keaton, Spotlight

BEST LEAD ACTRESS:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS3

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Brie Larson, Room

Rooney Mara, Carol

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

The Winner:

Brie Larson, Room

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS4

Elizabeth Banks, Love & Mercy

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

The Winner:

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

BEST SCREENPLAY:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS5

American Sniper: written by Jason Hall; based on the book by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, and Jim DeFelice

Carol: screenplay by Phyllis Nagy; based on the novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith

Inside Out: original story by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen; screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley

Love & Mercy: written by Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner; based on the life of Brian Wilson

Mad Max: Fury Road: written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris

The Martian: screenplay by Drew Goddard; based on the book by Andy Weir

Room: screenplay by Emma Donoghue; based on her novel

Spotlight: written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy

Steve Jobs: screenplay by Aaron Sorkin; based on the book “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Trainwreck: written by Amy Schumer

The Winner:

Steve Jobs: screenplay by Aaron Sorkin based on the book “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

BEST SCORE:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS7

Brooklyn (Michael Brook)

Carol (Carter Burwell)

The Hateful Eight (Ennio Morricone)

Inside Out (Michael Giacchino)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (John Williams)

The Winner:

The Hateful Eight (Ennio Morricone)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS8

Beasts of No Nation (Cary Fukunaga)

The Hateful Eight (Robert Richardson)

Mommy (André Turpin)

Mr. Turner (Dick Pope)

Youth (Luca Bigazzi)

The Winner:

The Hateful Eight (Robert Richardson)

BEST FILM EDITING:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS9

American Sniper (Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach)

Carol (Affonso Gonçalves)

Mad Max: Fury Road (Margaret Sixel)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon)

Steve Jobs (Elliot Graham)

The Winner:

Steve Jobs (Elliot Graham)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS11

Beasts of No Nation

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mr. Turner

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Winner:

The Hateful Eight

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS12

Jurassic World

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Terminator Genisys

The Winner:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST SOUND EDITING AND SOUND MIXING

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS13

American Sniper

Amy

Beasts of No Nation

Love & Mercy

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Winner:

Beasts of No Nation

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS14

Brooklyn

Far from the Madding Crowd

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mr. Turner

The Winner:

The Hateful Eight

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:

The Nominees:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS15

American Sniper

Cinderella

Concussion

Mad Max: Fury Road

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Winner:

Mad Max: Fury Road

***

Agree?  Disagree?  Comment!

The 88th Academy Awards – Nominations

You may or may not have read my post last Saturday, where I predicted the Oscar nominations.  I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with myself.  I made those predictions a day before the Golden Globes and several days before the Director’s Guild Awards, and I still managed to pin more than three-quarters of the Oscar nominees.

I’d like to say that the nominees are accurate this year.  A lot of them are.  But there’s also a very surprising number of snubs this year.  Below is a list of the nominees in all 24 categories for the 2016 Oscars.  For each category, I’ve included my thoughts.

And now, without further ado, the nominations:

BEST PICTURE

“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Room”
“Spotlight”

What I’m rooting for: “Spotlight”, all the way.
Surprises: “Room” has been falling behind a little in the recent weeks of the Oscar race, but it’s an excellent film, so I’m very glad it was nominated.
Snubs: I refuse to accept that “Carol” was not even nominated.  Per a new rule in 2009, the Academy can nominate as few as 5 and as many as 10 films for Best Picture, depending on how strong the support is for the potential nominees.  It shocks me that “Carol”—one of the most acclaimed films of the year, with a Palme d’Or and an extremely rare 96% on Metacritic—did not find enough support from the Academy.

BEST DIRECTOR

Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Who I’m rooting for: Again, “Spotlight”.  It’s an amazing film, and if you haven’t seen it, you’re really missing out on something spectacular.
Surprises: Again, I’m surprised but glad to see that “Room” landed a nomination.  Also a little surprised that Adam McKay landed a nomination.  (Side note: Even though I’m going to continue to avoid “The Big Short”, I’m still proud to see that someone from my neck of the woods got a nomination.  I’ve actually competed in academic team matches at McKay’s former high school!)
Snub: Ridley Scott was the frontrunner here for “The Martian”.  But I guess the Academy looked past him, somehow.

BEST ACTOR

Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Who I’m rooting for: Matt Damon.  But it doesn’t even matter, because there’s pretty much a consensus that Leonardo DiCaprio is finally going to win his first Oscar this year.

BEST ACTRESS

Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

Who I’m rooting for: Most definitely Brie Larson.  The performance she gave in “Room” is one for the ages.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Who I’m rooting for: Sylvester Stallone!  And I want him to shout, “I DID IT, ADRIAN!!” in his acceptance speech.
Snubs: I really wanted to see Michael Keaton earn his second consecutive nomination.  He was great in “Birdman”, and now he’s outdone himself in “Spotlight”.  Alas, the Academy looked straight through him this year.  Also, where is Idris Elba in this category?  He actually kept me awake during “Beasts of No Nation”, which doesn’t even seem possible.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

Who I’m rooting for: I really, really, really want Rooney Mara to win.  But I’d also really love it if Jennifer Jason Leigh won.
Snubs: Rachel McAdams for “Spotlight”, and Alicia Vikander for “Ex Machina”, even though she was nominated anyway for “The Danish Girl”.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“Bridge of Spies”
“Ex Machina”
“Inside Out”
“Spotlight”
“Straight Outta Compton”

Who I’m rooting for: Once again, I’d like to see “Spotlight” win this one.
Surprises: “Straight Outta Compton”.  It was an outstanding film, but I didn’t expect to see it earn a nomination on its screenplay.
Snubs: “Trainwreck”.  I got really excited seeing that one make its way up in the Oscar race.  Such a letdown that it missed its nomination.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“The Big Short”
“Brooklyn”
“Carol”
“The Martian”
“Room”

Who I’m rooting for: “Carol”, probably.  Or “Room”.  I can’t choose.
Snubs: Excuse me, but why wasn’t “Steve Jobs” nominated?  That almost doesn’t make sense.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

“Anomalisa”
“Boy & the World”
“Inside Out”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”
“When Marnie Was There”

Who I’m rooting for: “Inside Out”, of course!
Surprises: Not sure what this “Boy & the World” film is, but I guess it must have been good enough to earn a nomination.
Snubs: “The Good Dinosaur”, anybody?

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

“Embrace of the Serpent” (Colombia) in Spanish
“Mustang” (France) in Turkish
“Son of Saul” (Hungary) in Hungarian
“Theeb” (Jordan) in Arabic
“A War” (Denmark) in Danish

Who I’m rooting for: I haven’t seen any of these yet, but given that it’s been the frontrunner for a few months, I’d be surprised if “Son of Saul” didn’t take home the Oscar.

BEST DOCUMENTARY — FEATURE

“Amy”
“Cartel Land”
“The Look of Silence”
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

Who I’m rooting for: “Amy” is the only one of these that I have seen, and it was amazing, so let’s go with that one.

BEST DOCUMENTARY — SHORT SUBJECT

“Body Team 12”
“Chau, Beyond the Lines”
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”
“Last Days of Freedom”

Who I’m rooting for: I’m hoping to watch the Oscar nominated shorts this year, but until I do, I don’t really have any say.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

“Ave Maria”
“Day One”
“Everything Will Be Okay”
“Shok”
“Stutterer”

Who I’m rooting for: Again, I don’t really have much of a say, but “Everything Will Be Okay” sounds reassuring, so let’s go with that.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

“Bear Story”
“Prologue”
“Sanjay’s Super Team”
“We Can’t Live without Cosmos”
“World of Tomorrow”

Who I’m rooting for: Disney often distributes their movies with short films that play right beforehand, and for “The Good Dinosaur”, that short film was “Sanjay’s Super Team”.  I didn’t like it, but it’s the only one I’ve seen, and it’s the frontrunner, so I guess I’ll just hop on the bandwagon and go with that one.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

“Bridge of Spies” – Thomas Newman
“Carol” – Carter Burwell
“The Hateful Eight” – Ennio Morricone
“Sicario” – Jóhann Jóhannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – John Williams

Who I’m rooting for: Ennio Morricone’s score for “The Hateful Eight” was a wonder to behold.  I’m kind of caught between him and John Williams though, because John Williams (along with Steven Spielberg) was the one who made me love movies for the first time, back when I was in fourth grade.  That’s also why I do not, by any means, want “Bridge of Spies” to win for Best Original Score.  Steven Spielberg has done more than forty films, and “Bridge of Spies” is his second film (after “The Color Purple”) to not be scored by John Williams.
Surprises: Didn’t expect to see “Sicario” here.
Snubs: No “Inside Out”?

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey” – Belly, Stephan Moccio, Jason Daheala Quenneville, and The Weeknd
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction” – Antony Hegarty and J. Ralph
“Simple Song #3” from “Youth” – David Lang
“Til It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground” – Lady Gaga and Diane Warren
“Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre” – Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Who I’m rooting for: I loved “Youth” quite a bit, but unfortunately, I don’t remember that song.  I’m stuck between “Earned It” and “Writing’s on the Wall”, both of which, in my opinion, are underrated.
Surprises: I’ve been following the Oscar race for a while now, and I haven’t heard of “Racing Extinction”, nor have I heard of that “Manta Ray” song from it.
Snubs: That final scene in “Furious 7” where we heard “See You Again” could make a grown man cry.  I guess there really aren’t any grown men in the Academy.

BEST SOUND EDITING

“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Sicario”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

What I’m rooting for: “Mad Max: Fury Road”.  I saw it in Cinemark X D on opening weekend, and let me tell you, it sounded pretty darn awesome.
Surprises: “Sicario” only appeared to be a major contender in the Cinematography race, so I’m pretty impressed to see it earn a nomination for Sound Editing.

BEST SOUND MIXING

“Bridge of Spies”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

What I’m rooting for: Again, “Mad Max: Fury Road” has my heart in this category.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

“Bridge of Spies”
“The Danish Girl”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”

What I’m rooting for: At two hours, “Mad Max: Fury Road” was the longest chase scene I have ever seen, and by far the most artfully beautiful.
Snubs: No “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” or “The Hateful Eight”?

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

“Carol” – Ed Lachman
“The Hateful Eight” – Robert Richardson
“Mad Max: Fury Road” – John Seale
“The Revenant” – Emmanuel Lubezki
“Sicario” – Roger Deakins

What I’m rooting for: Roger Deakins and Emmanuel Lubezki are my two all-time favorite cinematographers, but I haven’t seen “Sicario” or “The Revenant” yet, so I can’t exactly root for them.  Anyway, “Carol” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” were both gloriously filmed, but I really want “The Hateful Eight” to win this one.  Robert Richardson’s cinematography captures Quentin Tarantino’s vision of the film sublimely.
Snubs: Cinematography had quite a terrific year this year, and as a result, there was a whole lotta snubbin’ goin’ on.  Cary Joji Fukunaga for “Beasts of No Nation”, Mike Gioulakis for “It Follows”, Yves Bélanger for “Brooklyn”, Hoyte van Hoytema for “Spectre”, Darius Khondji for “Irrational Man”, Charlotte Bruus Christensen for “Far from the Madding Crowd”, Dariusz Wolski for “The Martian” and “The Walk”, Yorick Le Saux for “Clouds of Sils Maria”, Rob Hardy for “Ex Machina”, Dan Mindel for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, Robert Yeoman for “Love & Mercy”, and Luca Bigazzi for “Youth” – all of them were snubbed.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

“The Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”

What I’m rooting for: “Mad Max: Fury Road”, the only nominee in this category that I have seen.  And given how great the makeup in the movie is, I really do hope it wins.
Surprises: What on earth is “The Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”?  Is that a sequel to “The Englishman who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain”?
Snubs: “Mr. Holmes” had some pretty darn good makeup.  The hairstyling was pretty great, too.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

“Carol”
“Cinderella”
“The Danish Girl”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”

What I’m rooting for: “Mad Max: Fury Road”.  (Did you expect something else?)
Snubs: No idea why “The Hateful Eight” was absent in this category, not only for the nominees, but virtually in the entire Oscar race.  In my opinion, it was by far the best costume design of the year.

BEST FILM EDITING

“The Big Short” – Hank Corwin
“Mad Max: Fury Road” – Margaret Sixel
“The Revenant” – Stephen Mirrione
“Spotlight” – Tom McArdle
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

What I’m rooting for: “Spotlight”.  But “Mad Max: Fury Road” or “The Revenant” will probably win.
Snubs: No love for “The Martian”?  How brutal the Academy can be.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

“Ex Machina”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

What I’m rooting for: There is no question about it, I am rooting for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.
Surprises: I’m really glad to see that “Ex Machina”–an independent British film–was nominated over dumb Hollywood eye candy like that “Avengers” movie.
Snubs: I’m all alone here, since I’m the only one who liked “Terminator Genisys” even remotely, but I was kind of blown away by how well Arnold Schwarzenegger’s physique was digitally transformed to make him look three decades younger in that film.  I was convinced that footage had been salvaged from the original “Terminator”, but apparently it was all visual effects.

Agree?  Disagree?  Comment!

Oscar Nominations: My Predictions

The nominations for this year’s Oscars will be announced this Thursday, January 14th.  Just waiting for them feels like waiting for paint to dry.

In the meantime, I’ve been gathering my predictions, which I have decided to post today.  The Golden Globes aren’t until tomorrow, and the nominations for the Directors Guild Awards aren’t until Tuesday, so it’s a pretty bold move on my part.  But bold people tend to make bold moves, don’t they?

Anyway, below are my final predictions…drum roll:

Best Picture:

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Spotlight

If there are 9 nominees: Room

If there are 10 nominees: Straight Outta Compton

Best Director:

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott, The Martian
Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies

Other contenders:
Todd Haynes, Carol
Adam McKay, The Big Short

Best Actor:

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Other contenders:
Johnny Depp, Black Mass
Will Smith, Concussion

Best Actress:

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Other contenders:
Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road
Lily Tomlin, Grandma

Best Supporting Actor:

Christian Bale, The Big Short
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Michael Keaton, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Other contenders:
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes

Best Supporting Actress:

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Other contenders:
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

Best Original Screenplay:

Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out
Spotlight

Other contenders:
Straight Outta Compton
Trainwreck

Best Adapted Screenplay:

The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
Room
Steve Jobs

Other contenders:
The Martian
Trumbo

Best Cinematography:

Bridge of Spies
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario

Other contenders:
The Hateful Eight
The Martian

Best Costume Design:

Brooklyn
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road

Other contender:
The Hateful Eight

Best Film Editing:

The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Spotlight

Other contender:
Bridge of Spies

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Black Mass
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Other contenders:
Concussion
Legend
Mr. Holmes

Best Production Design:

Bridge of Spies
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Other contender:
The Danish Girl

Best Original Score:

Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Other contender:
Inside Out

Best Original Song:

“Love Me Like You Do” (Fifty Shades of Grey)
“See You Again” (Furious 7)
“Simple Song #3” (Youth)
“Till It Happens to You” (The Hunting Ground)
“Writing’s on the Wall” (Spectre)

Other contender:
“Earned It” (Fifty Shades of Grey)

Best Sound Editing:

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Other contenders:
Bridge of Spies
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out

Best Sound Mixing:

The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Other contenders:
Bridge of Spies
Jurassic World

Best Visual Effects:

Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Walk

Other contenders:
Ant-Man
Ex Machina

Best Animated Feature:

Anomalisa
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet
Shaun the Sheep Movie

Other contenders:
Minions
The Peanuts Movie

Best Documentary Feature:

Amy
Cartel Land
The Hunting Ground
Listen to Me Marlon
The Look of Silence

Other contenders:
Best of Enemies
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
He Named Me Malala

Best Foreign Language Feature:

The Brand New Testament (Belgium)
Labyrinth of Lies (Germany)
Mustang (France)
Son of Saul (Hungary)
A War (Denmark)

Other contenders:
The Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
Theeb (Jordan)
Viva (Ireland)

Agree?  Disagree?  Comment!

Nominations: The 4th Annual Cinemaniac Awards

It’s that time of year again: awards season.  The Oscar nominations are announced in less than a week.  Today, the far-less-prestigious (but just-as-fun-as-the-Oscars-hosted-by-Ellen) Cinemaniac nominations are announced.

This is my fourth time nominating movies for the annual Cinemaniac Awards.  I saw far more movies released in 2015 than I have any other year, so I have quite a number of films to nominate.  I’ve been drafting my list of nominees for about two or three months now, and let me tell you, it’s not easy.  2015 was an amazing year for movies.  Particularly with actors, actresses, and cinematography (this was the year for amazing cinematography in movies, in my opinion), I’ve had to make some tough calls.

Some of the nominations you’ll agree with, some of them you won’t.  I’d love to hear where you stand on as many of these as possible.  I doubt you’ll have seen all the films here, but if you get the chance to, please do.  They’re all nominated for a reason.  Even two films (Beasts of No Nation and Mr. Turner) that bored me to freaking tears still had some qualities that I could not resist nominating.

So without further ado, I give you the nominations for the 4th Annual Cinemaniac Awards:

Outstanding Director:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS

Lenny Abrahamson, Room

Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs

Xavier Dolan, Mommy

Clint Eastwood, American Sniper

Todd Haynes, Carol

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Ridley Scott, The Martian

Paolo Sorrentino, Youth

Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Best Lead Actor:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS1

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Matt Damon, The Martian

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Will Smith, Concussion

Jacob Tremblay, Room

Best Supporting Actor:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS2

Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation

Walton Goggins, The Hateful Eight

Michael Keaton, Spotlight

Jason Segel, The End of the Tour

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Lead Actress:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS3

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Brie Larson, Room

Rooney Mara, Carol

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best Supporting Actress:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS4

Elizabeth Banks, Love & Mercy

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Screenplay:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS5

American Sniper: written by Jason Hall; based on the book by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, and Jim DeFelice

Carol: screenplay by Phyllis Nagy; based on the novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith

Inside Out: original story by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen; screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley

Love & Mercy: written by Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner; based on the life of Brian Wilson

Mad Max: Fury Road: written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris

The Martian: screenplay by Drew Goddard; based on the book by Andy Weir

Room: screenplay by Emma Donoghue; based on her novel

Spotlight: written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy

Steve Jobs: screenplay by Aaron Sorkin; based on the book “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Trainwreck: written by Amy Schumer

Best Score:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS7

Brooklyn (Michael Brook)

Carol (Carter Burwell)

The Hateful Eight (Ennio Morricone)

Inside Out (Michael Giacchino)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (John Williams)

Best Cinematography:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS8

Beasts of No Nation (Cary Fukunaga)

The Hateful Eight (Robert Richardson)

Mommy (André Turpin)

Mr. Turner (Dick Pope)

Youth (Luca Bigazzi)

Best Film Editing:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS9

American Sniper (Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach)

Carol (Affonso Gonçalves)

Mad Max: Fury Road (Margaret Sixel)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon)

Steve Jobs (Elliot Graham)

Best Production Design:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS11

Beasts of No Nation

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mr. Turner

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Visual Effects:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS12

Jurassic World

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Terminator Genisys

Best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS13

American Sniper

Amy

Beasts of No Nation

Love & Mercy

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Costume Design:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS14

Brooklyn

Far from the Madding Crowd

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mr. Turner

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

CINEMANIAC AWARDS15

American Sniper

Cinderella

Concussion

Mad Max: Fury Road

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Agree?  Disagree?  Comment!

R.I.P. Omar Sharif

sharif-omar-02-g

Yesterday, the great actor Omar Sharif passed away in a hospital in Cairo, after suffering a heart attack. He was 83.

Sharif is remembered for his performance as the titular character in “Doctor Zhivago”, for which he received a Golden Globe award. He has also garnered two Golden Globe awards and an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Sherif Ali in “Lawrence of Arabia” three years prior; and a César Award for his portrayal of the titular character in the French film “Monsieur Ibrahim” (2003).

Sharif appeared in as many as 70 films throughout his career of more than 60 years. He has performed in films from a variety of countries, including Egypt, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For his final film role, an upcoming, animated, British, educational short called “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham”, he delivered a voice role as the film’s narrator. His final full-length film was a French-Morroccan drama called “Rock the Casbah”, released in 2013.

Outside of film business, Sharif led a career as a contract bridge player, and was at one point among the top 50 players in the world. He has written about bridge in numerous books, as well as a column for the Chicago Tribune. He remained a regular at French casinos until his death.

Sharif is survived by his son Tarek El-Sharif and his grandsons Omar Sharif, Jr. and Karim Sharif. He continued to work in the film industry until May of 2015, when it was reported that he was suffering Alzheimer’s disease.

Spielberg, Jaws & Why I Write Movie Reviews

Public Service Announcement ahead.

For those who don’t use Twitter, don’t read the news, or just plain are not aware, today is the 40th anniversary of Jaws.  It was the first movie to cross $100 million at the box office, and it stayed at #1 for 13 weeks–from its release on June 20, 1975, all the way through September 21.  That’s damn impressive.

It’s also the reason many of you don’t go in the water, and it’s also the reason I write movie reviews.  One of them, at least, but if there’s any one filmmaker I will credit for igniting my love for all things cinematic, it’s Steven Spielberg.  And if there’s any one movie that got me interested in Spielberg (and all of the facets of film production, believe it or not), it was Jaws.  This was back about 8 years ago that I first saw it, and I’ve seen it many times since, but somehow, never during my time as a blogger.  What a perfect night to finally give it the 6th or 7th go.  Right?

So I urge all y’all to join me.  Rent Jaws tonight, or if you happen to have it on home video, then pop it into the DVD player (or Blu-ray player, VCR, LaserDisc player, etc.) and watch along.  It certainly is one of the greatest movies ever made.

R.I.P. Christopher Lee

christopher-lee-uk-premiere-skyfall-01

Earlier this morning, the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital issued a statement that Christopher Lee had died on June 7, 2015.  Lee had been admitted recently for respiratory problems and heart failure, and celebrated his 93rd birthday in the hospital just over two weeks ago.  Still, his death comes as a major surprise.  Lee, a heavy metal singer on top of his vast work in film, had just released an EP titled Metal Knight this past December.  His final film, Angels in Notting Hill, is due to be released sometime in 2015.

Shortly after serving the Finnish and British militaries from 1939 to 1946, Lee began acting in B-movies.  His career spanned nearly seven decades, over which he turned in more than 250 performances in television and film.  Lee is best remembered for his height (6’5″) and his demeanor, both which have distinguished him as one of the most legendary movie villains in movie history.  He became recognizable in the late 1950’s for his portrayal of Dracula in the film of the same name, and played the character ten more times between 1966 and 1976.  His roles in recent films include Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, and other roles in Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryHugoThe Golden Compass, and Dark Shadows.  Though his transition from B-movies to Hollywood is somewhat recent, Lee has nonetheless established himself as an integral part of mainstream cinema.  He is most certainly missed.

Hiatus Update

Hey all,

I didn’t expect to be saying this, but for various reasons, I am extending this hiatus.  Instead of Tuesday, March 31st, I will be returning Monday, April 20th.  (In other words, you can celebrate something else that day, along with Hitler’s birthday and National Pot Day.  I kid, I kid.)

See you then, and apologies that I’m unavailable for so long.  Though if I find that I’m able to return before the 20th, I most definitely will.

Thank you all for understanding.

– The Cinemaniac