Me, Popcorn and the Oscars: Final Oscar Predictions

Best Picture

  1. Arrival
  2. Fences
  3. Hacksaw Ridge
  4. Hell or High Water
  5. Hidden Figures
  6. La La Land
  7. Lion
  8. Manchester by the Sea
  9. Moonlight
  • Who should win? La La Land
  • Who I want to win? Arrival
  • Who will win? La La Land. OR, Moonlight might come in, and seduce everyone with their black cast and the gay themes and the drugs. The Oscars do love all that, especially to prove the point that they are not “so white”.  Which sadly, even with a story about Jazz, La La Land is (a very white story). The only thing La La Land could’ve done better was to change Ryan Gosling for a black guy.
  • Which was the biggest snub? Silence.

Best Director

  1. Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”)
  2. Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”)
  3. Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”)
  4. Mel Gibson (“Hacksaw Ridge”)
  5. Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”)
  • Who should win? Denis Villeneuve or Damien Chazelle
  • Who I want to win? Denis Villeneuve
    Who will win? Damien Chazelle
  • Which was the biggest snub? Tom Ford (“Nocturnal Animals”).

Best Actor

  1. Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”)
  2. Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”)
  3. Ryan Gosling (“La La Land”)
  4. Denzel Washington (“Fences”)
  5. Viggo Mortensen (“Captain Fantastic”)
  • Who should win? Casey-Andrew-Denzel
  • Who I want to win? Casey Affleck
  • Who will win? Casey Affleck (although Denzel Washington could steal this one from him if the Oscars go full-on black love)
  • Which was the biggest snub? Colin Ferrel (“The Lobster”)

Best Actress

  1. Meryl Streep (“Florence Foster Jenkins”)
  2. Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”)
  3. Natalie Portman (“Jackie”)
  4. Emma Stone (“La La Land”)
  5. Ruth Negga (“Loving”)
  • Who should win? Natalie Portman (she won’t because last time she was nominated she won, and this performance or movie isn’t that great for two wins in a row). Also, Isabelle Huppert was great.
  • Who I want to win? Ruth Negga or Isabelle Huppert.
  • Who will win? If the Oscars move past Isabelle Huppert’s nationality, she’ll win. If the Oscars forget Emma’s age, she might pull a Jennifer Lawrence and win one before her thirties. Or if the Oscars go full-on black love, then Ruth Negga.
  • Which was the biggest snub? Amy Adams was the biggest snub this year. Period. Also, Annette Bening.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”)
  2. Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water”)
  3. Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”)
  4. Dev Patel (“Lion”)
  5. Michael Shannon (“Nocturnal Animals”)
  • Who should win? No one. But probably Dev Patel’s performance was the best.
  • Who I want to win?  Michael Shannon.
    Who will win? Mahershala Ali
  • Which was the biggest snub? Everyone that wasn’t nominated and should’ve been.

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Viola Davis (“Fences”)
  2. Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”)
  3. Nicole Kidman (“Lion”)
  4. Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”)
  5. Michelle Williams (“Manchester By the Sea”)
  • Who should win? Viola Davis or Michelle Williams
  • Who I want to win? Either one of them.
    Who will win? Viola Davis
  • Which was the biggest snub? Felicity Jones, but not really.

Best Original Screenplay

  1. “20th Century Women” (Mike Mills)
  2. “The Lobster” (Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos)
  3. “La La Land” (Damien Chazelle)
  4. “Manchester by the Sea” (Kenneth Lonergan)
  5. “Hell or High Water” (Taylor Sheridan)
  • Who should win?  The Lobster.
  • Who I want to win? 20th Century Woman.
    Who will win? Manchester by the Sea.
  • Which was the biggest snub? Jackie.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. “Arrival” (Eric Heisserer)
  2. “Fences” (August Wilson)
  3. “Hidden Figures” (Allison Schroeder & Theodore Melfi)
  4. “Lion” (Luke Davies)
  5. “Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney)
  • Who should win? Arrival.
  • Who I want to win? Arrival.
    Who will win? Moonlight.
  • Which was the biggest snub? Nocturnal Animals

Best Animated Feature

  1. “The Red Turtle”
  2. “Kubo and the Two Strings”
  3. “Moana”
  4. “My Life as a Zucchini”
  5. “Zootopia”
  • Who should win? Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Who I want to win? Kubo and the Two Strings
    Who will win? Zootopia or Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Which was the biggest snub? Sing.

Best Cinematography

  1. “Lion”
  2. “Moonlight”
  3. “Silence”
  4. “La La Land”
  5. “Arrival”
  • Who should win?  Arrival or Silence.
  • Who I want to win? Arrival.
  • Who will win? La La Land.
  • Which was the biggest snub? Manchester by the Sea

Best Original Song

  1. “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (Justin Timberlake, “Trolls”)
  2. “City of Stars” (Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”)
  3. “How Far I’ll Go” (Auli’i Cravalho, “Moana”)
  4. “Audition” (Emma Stone, “La La Land”)
  5. “The Empty Chair” (By J. Ralph & Sting, “Jim: The James Foley Story”)
  • Who should win? City of Stars
  • Who I want to win? Audition
  • Who will win? City of Stars
  • Which was the biggest snub? Never Give Up, Sia “Lion”

Best Foreign Language Film

  1. “Land of Mine” (Denmark)
  2. “Tanna” (Netherlands)
  3. “A Man Called Ove” (Sweden)
  4. “The Salesman” (Iran)
  5. “Toni Erdmann” (Germany)
  • Who should win?  Toni Erdmann
  • Who I want to win? The Salesman
    Who will win? Toni Erdmann
  • Which was the biggest snub? The Handmaiden

Me, Popcorn and The Oscars: The Oscars 2017 Final Nomination Predictions

I promised a nomination prediction a couple of days before the Oscars announced their nominations, and here it is. I have found that most people don’t really know or care about nominations like “Best Sound Mixing” and “Best Production Design”, and because I don’t know much about that either, I have limited my predictions to the bigger awards. I hope nobody minds this. If you do, there are a lot of other predictions you could read.

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Best Picture (First set of five)

  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight
  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge

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Best Picture (Second set of five; in the case that the Academy chooses—like in previous years—to nominate more than five)

  • Fences
  • Hell or High Water
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Silence
  • 20th Century Women
  • Hidden Figures

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Best Director

  • Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”)
  • Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”)
  • Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”)
  • Tom Ford (“Nocturnal Animals”)
  • Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”)

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Best Actor

  • Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”)
  • Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”)
  • Ryan Gosling (“La La Land”)
  • Denzel Washington (“Fences”)
  • Colin Farrel (“The Lobster)

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Best Actress

  • Amy Adams (“Arrival”)
  • Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”)
  • Natalie Portman (“Jackie”)
  • Emma Stone (“La La Land”)
  • Annette Bening (“20th Century Women”)

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Best Supporting Actor

  • Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”)
  • Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water”)
  • Hugh Grant (“Florence Foster Jenkins”)
  • Michael Shannon (“Nocturnal Animals”)
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Nocturnal Animals”)

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Best Supporting Actress

  • Viola Davis (“Fences”)
  • Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”)
  • Nicole Kidman (“Lion”)
  • Felicity Jones (“A Monster Calls”)
  • Michelle Williams (“Manchester By the Sea”)

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Best Original Screenplay

  • “20th Century Women” (Mike Mills)
  • “The Lobster” (Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos)
  • “La La Land” (Damien Chazelle)
  • “Manchester by the Sea” (Kenneth Lonergan)
  • “Jackie” (Noah Oppenheim)

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Best Adapted Screenplay

  • “Arrival” (Eric Heisserer)
  • “Fences” (August Wilson)
  • “Loving” (Jeff Nichols)
  • “Nocturnal Animals” (Tom Ford)
  • “Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney)

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Best Animated Feature

  • “Finding Dory” (Pixar/Disney)
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings” (Focus Features)
  • “Moana” (Disney)
  • “My Life as a Zucchini” (Gkids)
  • “Zootopia” (Disney)

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Best Original Song

  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (Justin Timberlake, “Trolls”)
  • “City of Stars” (Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”)
  • “How Far I’ll Go” (Auli’i Cravalho, “Moana”)
  • “Faith” (Stevie Wonder, “Sing”)
  • “Never Give Up” (Sia, “Lion”)

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Best Foreign Language Film

  • The Handmaiden (South Korea)
  • “It’s Only the End of the World” (Canada)
  • “A Man Called Ove” (Sweden)
  • “The Salesman” (Iran)
  • “Toni Erdmann” (Germany)

Me, Popcorn and the Oscars: “Nocturnal Animals”, Tom Ford’s Sophmore Film is Not One to Miss This Season

Metaphorical, cyclical, hypnotizing, “Nocturnal Animals” is a deep and different tale of vengeance and obsession. It certainly isn’t perfect, and sometimes director Tom Ford misses, but he’s always clear as to where he’s shooting.

*Obvious Spoiler Alert!*

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I will do a small recount on who is who in the movie, because it may be difficult to remember everyone by name. Again, if you haven’t watched the movie, stop reading, otherwise this might get confusing.

Susan: Protagonist in the real world.

Edward: Susan’s ex-husband.

Tony: Protagonist in Edward’s novel (played by the same actor, though).

Laura: Tony’s wife.

India: Tony and Laura’s daughter.

Ray: The rapist and killer of Laura and India.

Hutton: Susan’s new husband.

    The good things (what I liked)

  • The acting. The acting is this movie is outstanding. Not only are Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal extremely good, but every other actor in the movie shines (Isla Fisher, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon and even Laura Linney, who appears in only one scene).
  • The cinematographic juxtaposition of the two stories is something I enjoyed very much. Aesthetically speaking, the two stories in the movie are complete opposites. One is in West Texas, rough, rural, dirty, desertic. The other is an almost-futuristic look at New York: full of contemporary art, glamorous and pompous dresses, and shallow relationships.

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  • It is extremely interesting how Edward writes a novel that, although plotwise is not like his life, symbolically, it is (or at leats, it was). We never meet Edward in the present (only through Susan’s flashbacks), but in a way, it is evident he sees Susan as Ray (the guy who raped and killed Laura and India). Susan, in the real world, left Edward and aborted his child, thus Edward was left wifeless and childless. This mirrors with Tony’s search for vengeance in the novel. The novel isn’t and shouldn’t be a mystery of if Tony’s family was murdered or not, but a reflection on the hole he was left with, which is the same hole Edward was left with in the real world. Probably because Edward couldn’t really get his vengeance in the real world, he had to write this novel. Although, not to spoil too much, but in the end, he kind of sort of does get  vengeance.
  • I liked the fact that we don’t see Edward directly. We see him through Susan’s perspective in her flashbacks, but never alone, and never in the present story.
  • The scene between Susan and her mother in a flashback is really interesting. We’ve seen Susan in the future, where she is cold and much like her mother, and then we see the flashback, and it’s interesting to see how she, at one point, hated being that.
  • The ending sequence. The movie is worth watching only because of Amy Adam’s last scene. Some of you might not understand why I say this, maybe you don’t think the same as I, but let me explain. Yes, it may be hard to cry, to scream, to smile, to blush, to seem crazy, to appear naked on screen, to make dialogues believable, and here she does nothing like that; in this last shot, probably only five seconds long, Susan doesn’t say a word, and doesn’t make any exaggerated or overly dramatic facial expression, however, Adams portrays total devastation and inner destruction. Edward destroys Susan by not showing up, and she sees finally how her life will never change, and how she chose this, and how she’ll never be happy. When casting Adams, director Tom Ford told her he wanted to know how her character feels, and this is why she said she accepted the role. And this is true throughout the movie. Most of the character’s turmoils are interior and rarely spoken to someone, so Adams had to do a lot of silent scenes where she is just reading and thinking. But in no scene does this show better than in this one (the picture below is not of that scene, though. I couldn’t find the right one).

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  • This movie is by Tom Ford, and guessing by the two films he’s done (A Single Man and this one, both spectacular), you’ll want to keep on eye on this one.
  • The beginning of the movie. The first five minutes or so are long shots of fat, old women dancing naked. Ultimately, it is explained that this is part of an Art Exhibition in Susan’s gallery, but this sequence gave me a lot to think about. The movie is deeply metaphorical, so I think of this sequence as a symbol for the movie, how we sometimes try to ignore, push down and set aside those things we don’t want to confront, both in society and in our personal lives.
  • Finally, the clothes are gorgeous, the makeup is impeccable, and Jeff Koons!!!!

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    The bad things (what I didn’t like)

  • Sometimes the characters are described too straightforwardly, and with only two or three characteristics (e.g. dreamer, weak, pragmatic, etc).
  • The ending of the novel is quite unsatisfying for my taste. Tony dying is a moralistic ending, in the sense that I feel it more as a way of saying “vengeance is never good” or “vengeance doesn’t bring happy endings”. Also, it is somewhat unbelievable the way he died, falling over his own gun.
  • Okay, so in a way, Ray’s character is somewhat overly dramatic, the acting is over-the-top, and he’s extremely two-dimensional. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Normally this is bad, but here I’m not so sure. I put it in the bad things because I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, and the good side had too many things. This is why it may be okay for Ray to be an exaggeratedly disgusting and evil character: probably, that’s how Edward sees Susan. He feels disgusted by her, and he has no compassion towards her, and being that Ray is partially a symbol for Susan, then maybe Edward didn’t want to humanize him and make him likable.d29da31c2293b3d5a550baa0af439d31
  • Some story lines were flat, for example, why did Ford need to introduce Susan’s daughter if she literally had no impact on the plot, and never came up back again after her thirty-seconds scene.
  • The film needed at least, twenty to forty more minutes, or some time distribution. At times, especially at the start of the movie and with the flashbacks, the pacing was too quick. The movie needed to take its time. The novel took too much time of the movie, and I think at times Ford forgot the main story was Susan’s and not Tony’s. There were three story lines (Susan’s in the present, Susan’s in the past and Tony’s), and this was too much. The flashbacks had a lot of time jumps that made that plot line move too quickly (for example, one day she met him, the next flashback she’s married, and then the next she’s already unhappy).
  • The whole relationship between Susan’s gay brother and his wife (yes, you read that right) was interesting, but because it was never developed or talked again after they’re introduced, it seemed flat and unnecessary. It seemed more an excuse to introduce some of Susan and Hutton’s problems than an actual insight into another relationship.

    Who would I (or wouldn’t I) recommend it to

I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes interesting, complex movies, centered more on characters than plot, and movies that you want to see again, just to see if you catch something else. Also, people who like to read, or watch movies with adapted screenplays.

    Best scene or dialogue (if there was any that stood out)

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  • As I said before, that final shot at Amy Adam’s face was enough to watch the whole thing, but besides that, probably the best scene is Susan’s conversation with her mother.
  • Also, the first scene of the novel, when Laura and India are kidnapped was excruciatingly painful to watch (in a good way, for a scene so dark that’s easy to watch, is not a good scene).

    Who stole the show?

Most people think Shannon stole the show, but personally, he wasn’t the best. For a white male critic, it is obvious why Tony’s story might be more interesting, and Shannon (or even Taylor-Johnson) might be a favorite, but for me, Amy Adams stole the show. She probably won’t get nominated for this, because she has also “Arrival”, and because she is in the weird place in between Lead and Supporting actress. She is the main character, but because the novel takes out so much time of the movie, she wasn’t always on screen.

    Do I predict this movie will have any actual nominations?

Some, but not many. Maybe some for a supporting role (Taylor-Johnson got nominated for a Golden Globe, but Shannon was more talked about, so who knows). Also, probably the adapted screenplay may get a nomination, director and costumes design would also not surprise me. But I don’t think it will win any of the big 5 (Movie, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay).

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    Overall thoughts

Metaphorical, cyclical, hypnotizing, “Nocturnal Animals” is a deep and different tale of vengeance and obsession. It certainly isn’t perfect, and sometimes director Tom Ford misses, but he’s always clear as to where he’s shooting.

    How many stars?

4/5