Tag Archives: Best Picture

Oscar Nominations 2018 Best Picture – what’s your call?

Oscar Nominations 2018 Best Picture – what’s your call?

written by Souranath Banerjee

Oscar Nominations 2018 Best Picture: Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel (for the second time), on this March 4th evening we have a date with our beloved movies from 2017 – the nominations for the Oscars – The 90th Academy Awards ceremony traditionally presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

After last year’s La La Land hiccup and Moonlight‘s sudden triumph speculating this year’s Best Picture has certainly become more difficult a task but have to admit the fun remains the same, even more!

In total nine nominations for Best Picture and I have listed them according to my order of liking, in a way keeping my favourite one in the number 1 spot. You all do your own homework, predict, guess and wonder, and let’s see who can hit the bull’s eye!

9. Darkest Hour

A historical biography directed by Joe Wright which in total has six Oscar nominations this year!

The film revolves around the early days of World War II when Churchill was appointed the British Prime Minister and showed immense character that changed history forever.

Gary Oldman is undoubtedly an actor par excellence and his performance as Winston Churchill is awe-inspiring (every chance of winning the Male Leading Role). But I am real doubtful about the movie winning big this year.

8. Dunkirk

Directed by Christopher Nolan and brilliant music by Hans Zimmer (will probably win the for his Original Score).

Another film about World War II portraying the tensed war-front drama when soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France were at the mercy of the German Army.

In total eight nominations, though there are no acting or writing nominations and I think the movie won’t run till the end round of this year’s Oscar race.

7. The Post

The epic battle between the press and the government, a dangerous mission taken up by female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to unmask a massive coverup.

Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks together, that too directed by Steven Spielberg – this movie seems to be the perfect Oscar recipe but yet for me this is not really the Best Picture of last year.

6. Lady Bird

A delightful coming of age story of an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl and her chemistry between her friends and relatives – especially the love-hate relationship with her mother.

Directed by Greta Gerwig and brilliantly performed by Saoirse Ronan this is one film I absolutely enjoyed watching but still am not so sure about its Oscar win.

5. Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson collaborates with none other than Daniel Day-Lewis (supposed to be his last movie as an actor).

Superbly artistic, a visual treat that portrays the early world of fashion through the romance between a renowned dressmaker and his muse – a beautiful and determined young girl.

But then again the movie winning the Oscar – a bit doubtful scenario.

4. Get Out

An African-American guy meets his white girlfriend’s parents for the weekend but things are not exactly what it seems to be. There lies some dark dangerous secrets that changes his life forever.

Now a low budget horror thriller gets nominated in the Best picture category – well, that’s a first!

Jordan Peele‘s direction and Daniel Kaluuya acting are spot on; though honestly to me the film apparently doesn’t look like a tough competition as an Oscar contender but you never know, unpredictability is the name of the game!

3. Call Me by Your Name

A summertime gay romance between a 17-year-old boy and a twenty-something man who has visited Italy as the young boy’s father’s research assistant.

(Click for Review)

A beautifully shot film directed by Luca Guadagnino and superb performances by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet. Though not nominated in the direction, cinematography or editing categories it is a tough aim for the big spot but then if the movie snatches the Oscar I would  say it totally deserved it.

2. The Shape of Water

An incredible love-story between a mute lady-janitor and an amphibious creature that being held captive at a top secret research facility.

With 13 nominations, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and a superb performance by Sally Hawkins this visually stunning movie probably has the highest bets for the award. My favourite too. Fingers crossed!

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three billboards asking for justice – a mother’s unique way of challenging the authorities who failed to capture her daughter’s murder.

Directed by Martin McDonagh and a powerhouse of brilliant acting from Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell (sure will get awards for Female Leading Role or/and Supporting Male Role).

With total seven nominations, brilliantly written and shot with great precision – this is my most favourite film of last year and I hope this film gets its due i.e the Oscar of course!

Similar Interest: Best of 2017 you may have missed!

Similar Interest: Best of World Cinema 2017

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

2016 Oscar Winners leaping ahead!

2016 Oscar Winners leaped ahead! 

written by Souranath Banerjee

It is that time of the year when decisions are made and a few extraordinary artists take the leap ahead with the golden statues shining in their hands.

Pic-12Yes, the time for the 2016 Oscar winners!

The competition was exceptionally tough this year (just like any other year), and though we always like to say that everyone nominated are all winners but then sadly, only some people actually win.

Here are the movies that ruled the Oscar stage yesterday and a flashback of all these films for a quick recap.

Spotlight (Won 2 awards)

Category: Best Picture and Original Screenplay (Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy)

spotlight-poster2My Ratings: 4.4/5. 

‘Since All the President’s Men in 1976, I think this film here, Spotlight, has taken the theme of ‘reporters unveiling a conspiracy theory’ to a new height of extraordinary.’

‘Written and directed by Tom McCarthy (his directional debut The Station Agent is one of my all time favorite), and here also, he has done a tremendous job. The pace and the overall effect of the film is so intense that it gives you the feel of a classic thriller. ‘

 

The Revenant (won 3 awards)

Category: Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Director (Alejandro Inarritu) and for Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki)

revenant-poster2My Ratings: 4.4/5.

‘there is an immense amount of expectation for Mr. Iñárritu’s latest film The Revenant, and then again, when the ever-impressive Leonardo DiCaprio is in the lead, tagging with him all that debate about – can this be finally Leonardo’s Oscar moment or not?’

‘the film is shot by ace cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki who has already won two Oscars for his brilliant camera work in films Birdman and Gravity.’

 

Mad Max: Fury Road (won 6 awards)

Category: Best Editing (Margaret Sixel), Best Sound Mixing (Chris Jenkins, Greg Rudloff and Ben Osmo), Best Sound editing (Mark Mangini and David White), Best Production Design (Colin Gibson), Best Costume Design (Jenny Beavan) and Best Make Up and hair Styling (Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin).

mad-max-poster6My Ratings: 4.1/5.

‘A two hours non-stop action extravaganza, a roller coaster ride of brutal excitement, insane adrenaline rush and high-octane drama.’

‘a super-fast editing by Margaret Sixel and Jason Ballantine perfectly complements the mood of the film.’

‘Minimal use of dialogues, quick introduction of characters and real horrific violence – Mad Max: Fury Road is a treat for action genre lovers. Undoubtedly the best action flick of recent times.’

 

Room

Category: Best Actress (Brie Larson)

room-poster1My Ratings: 4.4/5.

‘Specially Brie Larson who as the protective mother, dealing with her certitudes and also her vulnerabilities has given one of the best performances I have seen in a long time!’

‘Essentially it’s a thriller that involves the account of a daring attempt to slip away from the clutches of a ruthless kidnapper but on a deeper note the film is a complex sensitive drama and an expert dissection of human psychology.’

 

The Big Short 

Category: Best Adopted Screenplay (Charles Randolph and Adam McKay)

big-short-poster2My Ratings: 4/5.

‘Based on the book with the same name by financial journalist Michael Lewis, co-writer and director Adam McKay has been successful in adding enough humor to dilute the financial jargon and make the film coherent for everybody.’

‘focuses on a group of people who noticed and predicted the devastating financial crisis well ahead and even profited from it!’

 

The Danish Girl

Category: Best Supporting Actress (Alicia Vikander)

danish-girl-poster1My Ratings: 3.8/5.

Only such powerful acting could hold the film together with enough distinction.

‘to an utter surprise to his wife Gerda, Einar has a sudden urge to change his sexual orientation and reveals that he actually wants to be Lili in her real life; he claims that he seems to be a women trapped in a man’s body!’

 

Bridge of Spies

Category: Best Supporting Actor (Mark Rylance)

bridge-of-spies-poster1My Ratings: 3.8/5.

‘Bridge of Spies is actually a biopic on American insurance-attorney James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks)’

‘Firstly, he had to defend a captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) in the American court of justice and then, he was recruited by the CIA and sent to the-then hostile Germany (Berlin being partitioned) to negotiate a spy-exchange mission between the two rival countries – America and Russia.’

 

Ex Machina

Category: Best Visual Effects (Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett)

ex-machina-poster3My Ratings: 4/5.

‘But the real winner in this 1 hour 48 min futuristic drama is the brilliant use of visual effects. The amazing special effects give the film it’s much necessary believability.’

‘A bit slow paced maybe, and mostly dialogue based but in spite of not being personally a fan of Sci Fi movies, i find it pretty impressive.’

 

Spectre

Category: Best Original song (Song: Writing’s On The Wall, music and lyric: Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith)

spectre-poster6My Ratings: 3/5.

‘Though music by Thomas Newman is as usual effective and blends well with Hoyte Van Hoytema‘s cinematography.’

‘Spectre starts with a thrilling helicopter sequence in Mexico that promises a power pact film but unfortunately, by the end of it’s almost two and a half hours run time, the film struggles to keep you entertained.’

 

Inside Out

Category: Best Animated Feature Film (Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera)

Inside-Out-Poster2My Ratings: 4.5/5.

‘This 94 min film gives the children their beloved world of funny characters and colorful fantasy but at the same time it offers enough scope for serious thoughts (and admiration) for the grown-ups.’

‘Superb voice overs by a variety of talented artists. Animation quality at it’s best but again that is kind of expected from a Pixar feature. But the best part of Inside Out is its concept – so brilliantly innovative!’

 

Bear Story – Animated Short Film (Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala)

The Hateful Eight – Original Score (Ennio Morricone)

Stutterer – Live Action Short Film (Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage)

Pic-11Amy – Best Documentary – Feature (Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees)

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness – Best Documentary – Short Subject (Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy)

Son of Saul – Best foreign language film (Country: Hungary; Directed by László Nemes)

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comoscar.go.com.

2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

written by Souranath Banerjee

On Sunday, February 28th, it’s that time of the year when they give away those awards!

Yes, on this day, the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences will hand over the most prestigious awards of the entertainment world – the Academy Awards or the Oscars.

On the basis of the ‘preferential voting’ system (democratic and unbiased), all the nominees are chosen each year for the various award categories and then they simply wait, hope and pray to win!

This year Chris Rock will be hosting the award ceremony on ABC.

In total 305 feature films are competing for Best Picture nominations. Though the final and official seven/eight nominated ones will be announced on Thursday, January 14th, it’s always fun to guess, predict and anticipate a little before hand.

So let the predictions for the ‘Best Picture’ category begin!

10. Beasts of No Nation (Netflix)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xb9Ty-1frw

beasts-of-no-nation1An African country at war, where violence is routine and murder is the law.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, this is the story of a kid who is forced to join a group of soldiers and take up the gun to fight and kill people.

A raw and deadly film that shows the emotional turmoil of a child soldier. And surely a favorite in the Oscar race.

9. Carol (The Weinstein Company)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4z7Px68ywk

carol-poster1The combination of New York in 1950s and Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and a perfect love story.

Full of emotions and breathtaking visuals, superb music and brilliant acting – the film is a complete package of aw

Directed by Todd Haynes, this one is a favorite of mine as well as the Oscar nominees. 

8. Youth (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T7CM4di_0c

Youth-poster2Michael CaineHarvey KeitelRachel Weisz and director Paolo Sorrentino cooks up one of the best mouthwatering cinema of this year.

(click for the review)

A film that reflects on the youth and relishes the old age with the same intensity. It deals with friendship, love, marriage, lust, professions, emotions and above all emotions. I bet my

7. The Hateful Eight (The Weinstein Company)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnRbXn4-Yis

hateful-eight-posterQuentin Tarantino is back with his 8th film and along with Samuel L. JacksonKurt RussellJennifer Jason Leigh and Tim Roth among others this one gets as gritty and violent as you can expect it to be.

Powerful performances with awesome visuals and a superbly entertaining story line.

An Oscar favorite because ‘No one comes up here without a damn good reason’. 

6. Brooklyn (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15syDwC000k

brooklyn-poster11950s Brooklyn as the backdrop, the film is about an Irish immigrant’s life, her love story and her past, and the choices she makes.

Directed by John Crowley, and outstanding performance by Saoirse Ronan, this is a film that breadths perfection.

My personal favorite and I wish it all the luck for the tough Oscar chart ahead.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Brothers)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEJnMQG9ev8

mad-max-poster5In the year 1979 Mad Max was established – a drifter, a loner and of course mad as hell. And this is the latest addition to the popular franchise.

(Click for the review)

Powerful, dramatic and full of energy, directed by George Miller, this is undoubtedly the best action flick of 2015 and a leader in the Oscar race for the ‘Best Picture’. 

4. The Revenant (20th Century Fox)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoebZZ8K5N0

revenant-posterDirected by Alejandro González Iñárritu (whose film Birdman won the ‘best director’, ‘best picture’ and ‘best screenplay’ awards last year), has come up with this brilliant tale of an explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio).

A fur trading expedition in the 1820s; inspired by true events this is an epic adventure, a quest for survival and also a sure favorite in this year’s Oscar.

3. The Big Short (Paramount Pictures)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDlYm15ztK4

big-short-posterWhen Christian BaleSteve CarellRyan Gosling and Brad Pitt come together – you know it’s worth it. 

Directed by Adam McKay, this is a biographical account of the time (mid 2000) when there was a financial crisis in the US, and four individuals decided to fight the greedy banks for their lack of foresight.

Looks like a pretty sure thing for the award ceremony. Watch out!

2. Room (A24 Films)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_Ci-pAL4eE

room-posterAdopted from Emma Donoghue‘s famous novel, this is one unique story of a five-year old boy who is told by his loving mother that their 10-by-10 foot ‘room’ is the only world that exists! 

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, a brilliant film that surely is becoming people’s favorite and a likely contestant for the Oscar.

Brilliant performance by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay

  1. Spotlight (Open Road Films)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwdCIpbTN5g

spotlight-poster1Probably the most significant cinema on ‘journalism’ made after the epic All the President’s Men (1976).

Directed by Tom McCarthy, this is one film that is considered certainly as the top favorite in this year’s Oscar game.

With Mark RuffaloMichael KeatonRachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber among others this is one safe film to put your money.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most popular one).

+1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Disney)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGbxmsDFVnE

star-wars-posterThe recently released ever popular addition to the Star Wars franchise and a sudden favorite for the Oscars.

Directed by J.J. Abrams, this film with it’s immense fan following has the potential to be a game changer in the race for this years ‘Best Picture’ Academy Awards.

By the way, this film has recreated the U.S. box office record beating James Cameron‘s Avatar!

And now the films though not included in my list but are certainly fair competition for the award: Straight Outta ComptonCreedTrumboSon of SaulBlack MassThe Danish GirlLove & MercyTangerineSicarioSteve JobsThe MartianBridge of Spies and Joy.

And finally – A Thank You to the movies of 2015.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Selma (2014)

My Ratings: 4.2/5.

The Imitation GameWild, American Sniper, Mr.TurnerBig EyesFoxcatcherUnbrokenThe Theory Of Every ThingFuryKill The Messenger – and among these never-ending list of biographies produced in 2014, Selma turns out to be the one with the most impact.

selma-poster1The film Selma vividly depicts the unfortunate times when equality and respect in the society depended on one’s race and color.

Presently with a Black President behind the desk it is hard for us to imagine the amount of sacrifice and torment the Black community of United States went through in the past, the sacrifice they had to make just to claim their basic rights as a citizen.

But then again, it was the time to change the course of history forever.

It was 1965 and Martin Luther King leaded the epic march from Selma to Montgomery (Alabama), a nonviolent protest demanding for the right-to-vote for all black men and women in the country.

While under the orders of George Wallace (the then Governor of Alabama) countless innocent men and women (of all ages) were harassed, brutally beaten and even murdered but that didn’t stop Martin Luther King from keep demanding his rights (peacefully though).   

selma-posterPresident Lyndon Johnson finally had to give in and it was victory – a victory of both equality and humanity. 

The film Selma directed by Ava DuVernay brilliantly manages to portray the emotions and sentiments of the people who fought  for what they believed was right.

And such a powerful film is evidently backed by some outstanding performances – David Oyelowo (as King, he is simply brilliant), Carmen EjogoOprah WinfreyTom WilkinsonGiovanni RibisiTim Roth and others.

Selma with four Golden Globe Award nominations (won for Best Original Song) was also nominated for Best Picture and won Best Original Song at the Oscars this year.

A film that will undoubtedly touch your heart. Watch it.

Foxcatcher (2014)

My Ratings: 4.2/5.

Foxcatcher is a film that tells the tale of two troubled souls, a multimillionaire and a wrestler, both disturbed and consumed by their own ambition and distorted personal lives.

Bennett Miller who has previously made films like Capote and Moneyball this time wins the Best Director Award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival with his latest release Foxcatcher.

Wrestling enthusiast John du Pont (Steve Carell) who also happens to be a multimillionaire invites the Olympic gold medal-winning wrestlers duo – Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his brother Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), to join his sports team called ‘Foxcatcher’ with an offer to sponsor their training for the 1988 games in Seoul.

A generous gesture as it may seem but soon the coach-athlete alliance takes an unexpectedly dangerous turn.

Foxcatcher deliberately takes a calm and composed route that lures us into the disturbing depths of human psyche and finally leads to a disastrous conclusion.

FOXCATCHER-POSTER2Winning a good many awards and critic’s admirations Foxcatcher already has three Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Picture.

Tremendous exhibition of acting capabilities by both Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo who spent extensive six months professional wrestling training for their parts.

In a particular scene Channing Tatum became so intensely involved into his character’s struggle that he actually bashed a mirror with his head which was originally not in the script!

But again the real surprise package in Foxcatcher is Steve Carell himself, the famous comic actor we know from past films like Crazy, Stupid, LoveDate NightDan in Real Life ; though this time i can assure you he is not in the mood to make you laugh.  

Foxcatcher doesn’t fit the mainstream, melodramatic sport-movie pattern but after watching i am sure you will be thankful it didn’t.

A slow paced psychological thriller that shouldn’t be missed.