89TH Annual Academy Awards- My Predictions

2017_oscars_posterTonight is the 89TH Academy Awards a.k.a. the Oscars and the buzz around the land is with the musical La La Land which has garnered the most nominations with 14 overall. The question going into the night is whether that film really deserves all the nods and if it deserves any wins. One film in my opinion that deserves a win is the film Lion which was directed by Garth Davis and stars Dev Patel in this heart wrenching story of a 5 year old boy from India who is separated from his family only to be adopted by an Australian family and when he becomes a man he searches for his original family. It was such an amazing story and film that truly tugs on the heartstrings. Then there are films like Fences which was directed and stars Denzel Washington, the suspenseful Sci-Fi film Arrival, an amazing tale of a man who goes to war without a gun in the Mel Gibson directed Hacksaw Ridge, to other deserving films like Manchester By The Sea, Hidden Figures, Moonlight, and Hell Or High Water. What I do know is that the films I listed last without description will not win while Mel Gibson will be snubbed due to his past and I just can’t see Arrival winning. So, the award will come down to Lion, La La Land, and Fences.

download-1I do think that Casey Affleck has a big chance to win best Actor in a Leading Role and his only competition in my mind will come from Denzel Washington (Fences). I am not taking anything away from Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), or Ryan Gosling (La La Land), but they don’t stand a chance. Meryl Streep will be looking for her third Oscar win a she is nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role, but she has tough competition from in my opinion Emma Stone (La La Land), and Natalie Portman (Jackie). If I had never seen Lion, I would have given the Best Supporting Actor award to either Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals) or Jeff Bridges (Hell Or High Water), but Dev Patel (Lion) could be a shoe in, but don’t count out Mahershala Ali (Moonight) either. One of the only categories I am completely unsure of is the Best Supporting Actress award which sees Michelle Williams (Manchester By The Sea), Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) all up for the award and each one is just as deserving as the next one. Out of all the Best Animated features, the only one I have seen is Zootopia, but somehow I think that Moana could be the serious contender.

I just feel that the rest of the awards are going to get cleaned up by La La Land like best director, cinematography, costume, film editing, music (Original Score and Original Song), Sound editing and Mixing, etc. The only problem with the awards is that I haven’t seen any of the foreign films, documentaries, and shorts. I feel I can’t really form an opinion about them, but I’ll try my best when it comes to predictions. One film that I feel deserves to win an Oscar is Doctor Strange for best visual effects because it had some amazing effects, but Rogue One: A Star Wars Story could prove to be a worthy adversary. Here are the rest of my predictions for the show:

Best Picture- La La Land

Best Director- Damien Chazelle- La La Land

Best Actor- Casey Affleck

Best Actress- Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor- Dev Patel

Best Supporting Actress- Viola Davis

Best Original Screenplay- Manchester By The Sea

Best Adapted Screenplay- Lion

Best Cinematography- La La Land

Best Original Score- La La Land

Best Original Song- City Of Stars- La La Land

Best Animated Feature- Moana

Best Production Design: La La Land

Best Film Editing: La La Land

Best Sound Editing- Hacksaw Ridge

Best Sound Mixing- La La Land

Best Visual Effects- Doctor Strange

Best Foreign Film- Toni Erdmann

Best Make-up and Hairstyling- Star Trek Beyond

Best Documentary Feature: O.J.: Made in America

Best Live-Action Short: Ennemis Intérieurs

Best Animated Short: Piper

Best Documentary Short: Extremis

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Day 344: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

nocturnalWhenever there are movies released that feature Jake Gyllenhaal (Demolition), I tend to flock to the local theater to see it because he’s amazing. That was definitely the case for today’s film when I saw that he was starring in the film Nocturnal Animals. Amy Adams (The Arrival) plays art gallery owner Susan Morrow, a woman with too much on her mind who is haunted by her wrongdoings to her ex-husband (Gyllenhaal). 20 years after she left him, he delivers a book for her to read and she soon realizes that it symbolically represents their past relationship in a very twisted way. The story in the book follows a man whose wife and child are abducted, raped, and killed and he seeks revenge for what has happened to them. The film also stars Michael Shannon (Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice) as Bobby Andes, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Ray Marcus, Ilsa Fisher (The Brothers Grimsby) as Laura Hastings, Ellie Bamber (Pride And Prejudice And Zombies) as India Hastings, Armie Hammer (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Hutton Morrow, Karl Glusman (The Neon Demon) as Lou, Robert Aramayo (Game Of Thrones) as Turk, Laura Linney (Sully) as Anne Sutton, Michael Sheen (Alice In Wonderland) as Carlos, and the film was directed by Tom Ford (A Single Man).

nocturnal-animals-2016-michael-shannon-aaron-taylor-johnson-jake-gyllenhaal2Spoiler Alert: There may be some information leaked in this paragraph that could give away the film. So either proceed with caution or do not read any further, but you were warned. First of all the film starts off with an uncomfortable sequence of heavily obese women dancing naked and I get it it’s art and that we shouldn’t judge, but it’s just hard to watch. After that, it’s smooth sailing through the rest of the film that is just absolutely amazing and so well written. There is nudity from now and again, but it’s almost in an artistic way and if you love red heads like me then you love this film. Then there is the performances int he film that are just all around amazing from no matter who. Aaron Taylor-Johnson does an amazing job playing a West Texas creep while Michael Shannon plays the detective who will go to any lengths to get his man because he’s dying anyways. Amy Adams is absolutely terrific in the film as this woman who realizes that everything in the book is symbolic of what happened in her life. That is what I loved about the film because the further it goes, the more you realize how connected everything is even though it may not seem that way. For one the story is about a rape and murder of a wife and child and it’s a reflection of their time together. The cinematography is amazing with the different tones that are incorporated into the film and just the overall scenery which becomes a part of the story. This may be one of my favorite films of the year and another Gyllenhaal film that I absolutely loved. I am going to give the film an A+ for a final grade.

Day 224: Midnight Special (2016)

MIDNIGHT-SPECIAL-QUADThis wasn’t really on the list of must see films that I made up the other day, but I remember a friend of mine strongly recommended the film. The film that I am talking about is the Sci-Fi movie Midnight Special which was released earlier in the year and it was available via Redbox. Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) is a very special eight year old boy with very special powers that one side believes that he is the messiah while another side believes that he is a dangerous weapon. Roy (Michael Shannon) believes that his son is special too and will do anything that it takes to get him to where he needs to go before either the cult or the FBI gets to him. The film also stars Joel Edgerton (Exodus: Gods And Kings) as Lucas, Kirsten Dunst (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) as Sarah, Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Sevier, Sam Shepard (Black Hawk Down) as Calvin Meyer, Bill Camp (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)) as Doak, Scott Haze (The Sound and the Fury) as Levi, Paul Sparks (Boardwalk Empire) as Agent Miller, David Jensen (Ocean’s Eleven) as Elden, and the film was written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Mud).

midnight-special-022-featuredThe thing I loved most about the film was the actual story itself because for the most part you’re wondering what is this kid? Is he human, mutant, or alien? For the most part, you don’t really know what he is and they don’t really tell you for most of the film. Then there is the human element of the film where there are people that truly believe in this child’s ability that they will go all out for him. One thing that I did want to comment on is that the filmmakers make Kirsten Dunst look old (I don’t mean super old) in the film which just amazed me. She actually looked like someone in her mid to late 30’s in the film, but for the time she is on screen she does a great job. The real MVP of the film besides Jaeden is Michael Shannon who plays the father that will do whatever it takes to protect his son and get him to the destination no matter the cost. I have to be honest in saying that there really isn’t a bad performance from anyone in the film. Everybody knows their role and they play it right like Adam Driver who is the NSA agent who just thinks all of this is cool. The special effects are very cool especially the scene with the satellite crashing to Earth was cool. The film definitely asks the age old question of are we really alone in the universe? Is there other life forms somewhere we don’t know? If you are a fan of Sci-Fi movies then you owe it to yourself to at least check this one out. I am going to give Midnight Special an A- for a final grade.

Day 70: The Night Before (2015)

The-Night-Before-Poster-Christmas-sliceThere is nothing I love more in this world than Seth Rogen (Pineapple Express) and comedies that he is involved in. So, naturally when I saw that The Night Before was available to rent, I definitely jumped on the opportunity to watch it. Issac (Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have been spending the last ten Christmases with their friend Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) ever since his parents passed away. The only problem is that things change and people grow up, but Ethan hasn’t it while the other two have moved on. Now, it’s the last Christmas the three friends are ever going to spend together and they’re going to be spending it at a ball that they’ve been trying to get into for the last ten years, but will they make it in one piece? The film also stars Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street) as Betsy, Lizzy Caplan (Hot Tub Time Machine) as Diana, Heléne Yorke (Masters Of Sex) as Cindy, Mindy Kaling (Inside Out) as Sarah, Michael Shannon (Man Of Steel) as Mr. Green, Ilana Glazer (Broad City) as Rebecca Grinch, James Franco (Pineapple Express) as James Franco, Tracy Morgan (Cop Out) as the Narrator, and the film was written and directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50).

The-Night-Before-Seth-RogenI want to start this paragraph out by saying that this film reminds me of why I loved Seth Rogen movies in the first place. Seth Rogen on drugs equals some of the funniest moments of a film because he plays it so well. When he is freaking out on shrooms in the film is some of the funniest material and his interaction with James Franco is priceless. This film could seriously be the new Christmas classic that we have all been looking for since Home Alone or Die Hard, and Big which are both mentioned in the film (almost like an homage). The film even manages to fit in some Scrooge kind of stuff with Michael Shannon playing essentially the ghost of Christmas past, present, and future all in the form of a drug dealing Great Gatsby. Believe me, it will all make sense to you once you watch the film for yourself. One of the funniest scenes in the whole film is the church scene with Seth Rogen,  couldn’t stop laughing it was so funny and what a great choice to play his wife in the film in Jillian Bell who is pretty funny in the film. Listen, you know exactly what you are getting from a Seth Rogen comedy, there is nothing smart about it other than that it’s just funny. You have to naturally have a sense of humor to love comedies like this and I have to say that this should’ve been a hit at the box office. The addition of Mackie and Levitt were icing on the cake ad the chemistry between the three was there and it just felt natural. The film is available online and in Redbox so check it out if you need some good laughs. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.