Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Emmy Wishlists: Limited Series/TV Movie

Once again, the Emmy nominations are tomorrow. I already posted my wishlists (Comedy and Drama) of favorite shows and performances which I wish would be nominated tomorrow. Below are similar lists for the Limited Series and TV Movie categories.

I usually leave these categories alone, but I saw quite a number of them so just wanted to give some their dues.

Big Little Lies
Feud: Bette and Joan
The Night Of
The Young Pope

Black Mirror: San Junipero
Looking: The Movie
Sherlock: The Lying Detective

Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Jonathan Groff, Looking: The Movie
Jude Law, The Young Pope
Ewan McGregor, Fargo
John Turturro, The Night Of

Carrie Coon, Fargo
Lauren Graham, Gilmore Girls
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

Bill Camp, The Night Of
Raúl Castillo, Looking: The Movie
Silvio Orland, The Young Pope
Adam Scott, Big Little Lies
Alexander Skarsgård, Big Little Lies

Kelly Bishop, Gilmore Girls
Mackenzie Davis, Black Mirror: San Junipero
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Black Mirror: San Junipero
Alison Wright, FEUD: Bette and Joan

Emmy Wishlists: Drama Categories

Before you read about my personal picks for the drama categories, check out my comedy picks here. As for drama, Peak TV means there's WAY TOO MUCH TV out there and most of them are good, so this was really tough.

Like the comedies, I've picked 10 shows and performers per category. In a few categories, I could've easily listed another 10 (or 20) names. Onwards...

The Americans
Better Call Saul
The Exorcist
The Leftovers
Orange is the New Black
Queen Sugar
Stranger Things

Apparently while all the best comedies are on network TV, all the best dramas are not. With the exception of The Exorcist, one of the more pleasant surprises of the past TV season for me, all my picks are off network. I am saddened that 3 of my picks (Sense8, Underground, The Leftovers) are ending or were cancelled, but you should still check them out. Shout out to the audacious shows I respected more than love like Legion, Mr. Robot, Westworld, Into the Badlands, and Preacher plus the much improved Doctor Who and Agents of SHIELD.

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Dominic Cooper, Preacher
Alfonso Herrera, The Exorcist
Aldis Hodge, Underground
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Dan Stevens, Legion
Justin Theroux, The Leftovers
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

As I was making my shortlist, I definitely noticed all the names of guys I may or may not have a crush on. I'd like to think I chose impartially based on acting alone, but who knows? That said, I sincerely think all of these men did a stupendous job this past TV year with special FYC on Sterling K. Brown and Justin Theroux. Shout out to two hotties that missed my shortlist, Aidan Turner and Daniel Wu. Consolation hug?

Carrie Coon, The Leftovers
Geena Davis, The Exorcist
Rose McIver, iZombie
Ruth Negga, Preacher
Keri Russell, The Americans
Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Underground
Rutina Wesley, Queen Sugar
Eleanor Tomlinson, Poldark
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Carrie Coon was in two award-worthy shows doing award-worthy acting in both of them this year so I hope she gets nominated for both (the other for Fargo). With Game of Thrones out of commission this season, I hope the Academy doesn't forget to look at genre shows specifically the shows starring Geena Davis, Rose McIver, and Ruth Negga. Shout out to Ellen Barkin, Viola Davis, and Taraji P. Henson giving performances that outsizes their respective shows as well as Kylie Bunbury who was a promising talent in a too-soon cancelled show.

Mahershala Ali, Luke Cage
Ben Daniels, The Exorcist
Joseph Gilgun, Preacher
Alex Høgh Andersen, Vikings
Ron Cephas Jones, This Is Us
John Lithgow, The Crown
Gaten Matarazzo, Stranger Things
Michael McKean, Better Call Saul
Alano Miller, Underground
Miguel Angel Silvestre, Sense8

The general theme of this category seems to be villains or at least not so good guys and you know what I LOVE that. They're definitely the flashier kinds of roles and it's a special kind of actor that can chew just the right amount of scenery without it feeling too much. But I have some sweet characters on the list as well and perhaps my FYC picks in Ron Cephas Jones and Miguel Angel Silvestre. The latter especially stands out in an uniformly excellent ensemble. Shout out to some of the men in Better Call Saul, Westworld, and Sense8 that almost made my list.

Doona Bae, Sense8
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Aisha Hinds, Underground
Mallory Jansen, Agents of SHIELD
Hannah Kasulka, The Exorcist
Pearl Mackie, Doctor Who
Thandie Newton, Westworld
Aubrey Plaza, Legion
Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul
Samira Wiley, Orange is the New Black

Fun Fact: Only one person here is a repeat personal nominee from last year (Rhea Seehorn). It just shows you how deep the talent pool is, especially with the women. It's also the category I can't find myself singling out just 1-2 names because ALL OF THEM did such excellent jobs this past season. With that said, Aisha Hinds was in probably the best episode of TV last season so she might have a slight leg up. Suffice to say, I could've named A LOT more Orange is the New Black and Sense8 ladies. Tough category!

Colman Domingo, Timeless
Nelsan Ellis, Elementary
Ron Cephas Jones, The Get Down
Hamish Linklater, Legion
Mark Margolis, Better Call Saul
Gerald McRaney, This Is Us
Jermel Makia, This Is Us
Denis O'Hare, This Is Us
Clive Standen, Vikings
BD Wong, Mr. Robot

So apparently This Is Us has some good guest spots, huh? Other than that, not much to really say about this category. And I think if the Academy buys in This Is Us, I think Gerald McRaney might just win. RIP Nelsan Ellis.

Laverne Cox, Orange is the New Black
Anne Dowd, The Leftovers
Calista Flockhart, Supergirl
Nia Long, Empire
Carrie-Anne Moss, Iron Fist
Sharon Gless, The Exorcist
Shannon Purser, Stranger Things
Phylicia Rashad, Empire
Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away with Murder
Alison Wright, The Americans

Justice for Barb? Perhaps or not. I think my FYC favorites here would be Phylicia Rashad who was just as fierce as I expected and Alison Wright whose brief presence this season was a true highlight. Sharon Gless' character appearance though was such a game changer for her show so I don't know!

You can check out my Comedy post here and my Movie/Miniseries post a bit later.

Emmy Wishlists: Comedy Categories

In times of absolute turmoil in the world, TV, especially comedy shows keep me just a little bit sane. So with Emmy nominations set to be announced tomorrow, I just wanted to highlight the shows and performers that I think deserved to be nominated.

First up are the comedy categories and as I said above, they keep me the most sane and I'm glad there's a plethora of choices out there. For all categories, I'll be picking my top 10 picks out of all eligible shows and actors.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Dear White People
The Good Place
Jane the Virgin
Master of None
The Real O'Neals
Trial & Error
You're the Worst

People seem to think comedy is dying on network TV especially with the relative boom of edgier comedies found on cable, premium, and streaming channels. So the fact that 7 of my 10 picks are network shows (4 from NBC alone!) caught me by surprise. Suffice to say, you should seek out all of these shows immediately and binge the hell out of them. Shout out to the quirky People of Earth, the poignant and hilarious Insecure and outstanding Speechless which just missed my shortlist.

Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Wyatt Cenac, People of Earth
Nicolas D'Agosto, Trial & Error
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Jay R. Ferguson, The Real O'Neals
Chris Geere, You're the Worst
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Thomas Middledtich, Silicon Valley
Randall Park, Fresh Off the Boat
Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

This is always the easiest category to narrow down simply because there just isn't that many to choose from. With that said, if any of these people actually get nominated I will be very happy. My biggest FYC would be Ted Danson since his character just worked on so many levels, but I won't lie that I'm excited to see if the TV Academy honors Aziz Ansari (again) and Donald Glover with nominations.

Kristen Bell, The Good Place
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Logan Browning, Dear White People
Minnie Driver, Speechless
America Ferrera, Superstore
Leighton Meester, Making History
Martha Plimpton, The Real O'Neals
Issa Rae, Insecure
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Constance Wu, Fresh Off the Boat

I thought with Broad City not eligible this year would make this easier, but there's just SO MANY great comedic female talents year in, year out. Half of my picks come from freshman shows which gives me joy since it means there are new shows and actresses to love. I think the surprise pick here might be Leighton Meester, but if you watch her crazy (sadly cancelled) show, you know she's the HIGHlarious heart of it all. Shout out to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ellie Kemper, and Tracee Ellis Ross still doing amazing work on their respective shows as well as Lena Dunham who probably had a career-best in her show's final season.

Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
Desmin Borges, You're the Worst
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Brett Dier, Jane the Virgin
Micah Fowler, Speechless
Noah Galvin, The Real O'Neals
William Jackson Harper, The Good Place
John Lithgow, Trial & Error
Timothy Simons, Veep
Zach Woods, Silicon Valley

Loathe am I to honor anything alluding to our current president, but everyone has to admit the masterful job Alec Baldwin did this year. He'll surely be nominated and likely win, but hope people don't sleep on the rest especially the beloved John Lithgow who also plays a bubbling idiot, except in a more charming way. Shout out to Titus Burgess, Jaime Camil, and Tony Hale whose schticks haven't gotten old yet.

Zazie Beetz, Atlanta
D'Arcy Carden, The Good Place
Donna Lynne Champlin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Yael Groblas, Jane the Virgin
Jameela Jamil, The Good Place
Jayma Mays, Trial & Error
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Rita Moreno, One Day At A Time
Chelsea Peretti, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Lena Waithe, Master of None

This category is always impossible to narrow down, but after some tough choices, these were the 10 that rose up. Baldwin's counterpart Kate McKinnon of course makes it in since she's a national treasure. However, if I was putting money on FYC campaigns I'd support D'Arcy Carden and Lena Waithe since they made me howl and smile respectively in strong episodes which I hoped they submitted. Shout out to the non-Rita Moreno ladies of the wonderful One Day At A time and the non-Yael Groblas ladies of the still perfect Jane the Virgin.

Riz Ahmed, Girls
Shoukath Ansari, Master of None
Josh Charles, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Daveed Diggs, black-ish
Santino Fontana, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Tom Hanks, Saturday Night Live
Hugh Laurie, Veep
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Saturday Night Live
Matthew Rhys, Girls
Jimmy Smits, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Guest categories are always fun to navigate because it has such a mix of names and talents. I do particularly love that I've picked two Hamilton alums in Daveed Diggs and Lin-Manuel Miranda and do we think they'll be nominated due to Hollywood's obsession with that show? But could anyone defeat David S. Pumpkins?

Becky Anna Baker, Girls
Angela Bassett, Master of None
Laura Dern, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tovah Feldshuh, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Rashida Jones, black-ish
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Aubrey Plaza, Drunk History
Alia Shawkat, Drunk History
Kristen Stewart, Saturday Night Live
Samira Wiley, You're the Worst

There's a Hamilton connection here as well with Aubrey Plaza and Alia Shawkat playing Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton respectively and I do hope they get nominated just for the laughs. The biggest surprises here for me are Rashida Jones in a kind of role I've NEVER seen her in and Kristen Stewart who delivered a truly excellent hosting job. Sean "Spicey" Spicer will probably win.

I'll post my thoughts on Drama and Movie/Limited Series categories later tonight.Emmy Wishlist

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Problem of the Magical Transportation Book in Beauty and the Beast

First and foremost, I actually liked the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. For the most part, the casting was right on and it really was a joy to experience this movie musical in this way. A part of me wished the movie hadn't been SO faithful to the classic animated film, but another part of me also needed to see every single thing about the animated film translated perfectly. I'm sure Disney and company struggled with this dilemma as well especially with an animated film so indelible in so many people's minds. In the end, they played it conservatively keeping a lot of the classic moments untouched while giving new touches to a few things (think the Prince's Louis XIV dance party at the beginning and the addition of the new songs).

One of the cooler new additions they made was the existence of the Magical Transportation Book that the Beast uses to transport himself away from the loneliness of his castle. In a touching scene, he shows Belle this book and in turns helps Belle go to Paris and get some closure on her mom's death. It was a kind turn from the Beast endearing himself to her while at the same time actually helping her emotionally. Also... the Magical Transportation Book is just fucking cool. Who wouldn't want one? My biggest issue is that this is the one and only time the Magical Transportation Book is used and that is an outrage.

Think about it. Here's a book that can transport you anywhere your heart desires and they don't use it ever again? Instead, oh yeah, there's the Magical Mirror that shows you whatever you want. Yes, this mirror is in the animated film, but imagine if they had just replaced the mirror with the Magical Transportation Book. It would've certainly been more cinematic. A tiny ass mirror with old-timey barely visible glass is no match to actually being transported somewhere. Remember after they danced and Belle wanted to see how Maurice was doing and the Beast showed her via the Magical Mirror that her father was in big trouble? Instead of sending off Belle to ride in the dark wearing a dress not fit for the weather AT ALL, how about using the Magical Transportation Book to teleport her directly to town? Um, oops.

Okay, okay so maybe that would've changed the plot too much. It's after all important for the Beast to actually let her go and have Belle actually ride away from him (sidenote: I love, love "Evermore" and that whole sequence).

So how about tweaking the ability of the Magical Transportation Book so that anyone who goes through it wouldn't be able to actually change anything and in fact they can't be seen or heard (actually the Enchantress gives the Magical Transportation Book to the Beast as a cruel reminder that while he's free to travel anywhere in the world, he would have to do so looking like a hideous Beast, but honestly let's hand wave that away since it wasn't really developed). That would've changed nothing of the Paris scene and the Magical Transportation Book would've been a more direct replacement to what the Magical Mirror actually did. So when Belle asks about Maurice, the Beast could've taken her to the library to the Magical Transportation Book and she (and him) could've seen the horrors up close. As I mentioned earlier, this would've been more visually interesting and the visceralness of it all would've done a lot more emotionally for Belle wanting to leave and the Beast wanting to let her go. And think about the other side of that sequence with Belle, Magical Transportation Book in tow instead of the dinky ass Magical Mirror, showing Gaston and the town folks the existence of the Beast. How intense would've that been for them, seeing the Beast in all of his glory as he broods in his dark West Wing.

In the end, what really stings for me is a truly missed moment between Belle and the Beast. Let's think about this for a second. When the Beast showed Belle his library he was nonplussed by its grandness and its contents while Belle, as we all know, thinks this is the Greatest Shit Ever. Her love of books and reading is such a core to her character. So when the Beast shows her the Magical Transportation Book for the first time, it was him reaching out to her in a way he thought she would get, by showing her the only book he truly cherishes. It's one of his greatest possessions in a castle full of priceless possessions. So now fast forward to the moment he lets her go to rescue Maurice. How much more gut-wrenchingly wonderful would it have been for him to give Belle, who I remind you loves books like she loves air, his most beloved possession in the world. And it's a damn book. I'm crying just thinking about it. UGH.

So... I praise the movie for coming up with this very nifty idea of this Magical Transportation Book. But I'm frustrated they weren't able to actually use it in a more emotionally (and cinematically) resonant way.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Happy 20 Buffy!

20 years ago today Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my favorite show of all time, premiered.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Best Picture Tweets

Happy Oscar Day! Now, I thought it was fun compiling my reaction tweets last year to when I saw each of the Best Picture nominees so I'm doing that again this year! The only film that didn't get a tweet reaction from me was Hell or High Water probably because I saw it at home and then forgot all about it afterwards. Anyways, in the order of most Oscar nominations to least:

And one more for La La Land to end it:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Thoughts on Oscar Nominations and Predictions

With just a day to go until the 89th Academy Awards, here are my thoughts on the nominations (and the snubs) as well as my personal picks to win and also my predictions. All-in-one post for efficiency!

  • Arrival (8 nominations)
  • Fences (4 nominations)
  • Hacksaw Ridge (6 nominations)
  • Hell or High Water (4 nominations)
  • Hidden Figures (3 nominations)
  • La La Land (14 nominations)
  • Lion (6 nominations)
  • Manchester by the Sea (6 nominations)
  • Moonlight (8 nominations)

It's La La Land's world and we just live in it. And I couldn't be happier. It's not often that the Oscar front-runner (with a record tying 14 Oscar nominations) is also my favorite film so I've been quite enjoying its dominant awards-season run even with the predictable backlash. If that backlash sticks though Moonlight should benefit and thankfully I really like that film too! Meanwhile don't ask me why Hacksaw Ridge or Hell or High Water were nominated.

WILL WIN: La La Land
COULD WIN: Moonlight

  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

I wished this had matched up the DGA nomination with Garth Davis (Lion) replacing Gibson, but alas we can't have everything. I think the other nominees were pretty expected and quite deserving. I'm especially thrilled that Villeneuve made it in for a sci-fi film and that Jenkins could become the first black director to win. But I think no one is beating Chazelle. I think even La La Land detractors would agree that he directed that movie wonderfully.

SHOULD WIN: Damien Chazelle
WILL WIN: Damien Chazelle
COULD WIN: Barry Jenkins

  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle

This was a very competitive year for this category that such veterans like Annette Bening and Amy Adams were left out in the cold. The safe bet here is to pick Stone with her winnings the Globes, SAG, and BAFTA. But Portman and Huppert have their staunch fans and they've picked up their share of awards as well (i.e. Stone hasn't steamrolled). And let's give it up for Negga nabbing her first nomination... and of course Streep getting her 20th (!) Oscar nomination.

SHOULD WIN: Emma Stone
WILL WIN: Emma Stone
COULD WIN: Isabelle Huppert

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

If there was an acting race, this would be the category to watch. Affleck is the slight frontrunner dominating the awards season, but there was always the hint of a scandal that never coalesced to anything concrete. And Washington is right there on Affleck's heels with his own powerhouse of a performance garnering him the SAG which feels like a shift in the race... or not. What I would give to have Gosling win in a shock (though as much as I love his film, he should've been nominated for The Nice Guys). Then again as happy as I am for Garfield's first nom (should've been for The Social Network), it really should be for Silence and not this film.

SHOULD WIN: Ryan Gosling
WILL WIN: Casey Affleck
COULD WIN: Denzel Washington

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

First and foremost I love Davis and I'm so happy she's going to win her first Oscar! And yeah, no one is going to beat her. With that said, it's so clearly a lead role and I'm just a little bit disappointed at the category fraud. She would've been VERY competitive in lead. With that said, I also can't fault her. She's a lock here. If she wasn't here I think Williams could've won her first or perhaps Harris in a "shock" win. Anyways, if Davis wasn't here, who could've snuck in? Greta Gerwig? Janelle Monae?

SHOULD WIN: Viola Davis
WILL WIN: Viola Davis
COULD WIN: Michelle Williams (but she won't)

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Ali is the frontrunner here after dominating the awards season early on, but since then the race has gotten more interesting. He lost to Aaron-Taylor Johnson at the Globes and Patel at BAFTA. Thankfully Johnson wasn't nominated (instead his co-star Shannon deservedly snuck in without much precursor support), but with Lion surging, Patel is still a threat. Bridges' nod is so damn uninspiring. Could've made room instead for Hugh Grant or Ralph Fiennes.

SHOULD WIN: Michael Shannon
WILL WIN: Mahershala Ali
COULD WIN: Dev Patel

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

At the WGA Awards, Arrival won, but it wasn't up against Moonlight which interestingly enough was in the Original Screenplay category and won that award. I think Moonlight will make history and double-dip by winning here. If anything its closest competition is probably the surging Lion or the beloved Fences (to posthumously honor August Wilson) and not Arrival.

WILL WIN: Moonlight

  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • The Lobster
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • 20th Century Women

With Moonlight in Adapted, this should be a cakewalk for Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea UNLESS the Oscars want to give La La Land all the awards which it could very well do. I don't think they will, but you never know. I *am* thrilled to see The Lobster and 20th Century Women nominated here. By far the two best scripts in film this year.

SHOULD WIN: The Lobster
WILL WIN: Manchester by the Sea

  • Land of Mine (Denmark)
  • A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
  • The Salesman (Iran)
  • Tanna (Australia)
  • Toni Erdmann (Germany)

I'm a bit sad I haven't seen any of these films yet, but I know I'll eventually see at least Toni Erdmann (the favorite to win) and The Salesman (the very strong possible spoiler). With early favorites Elle and Neruda not making it in, Toni Erdmann is the only other film to receive precursor love, but if the Academy wants to make a political statement look for Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman. Also if you haven't read the joint statement of these filmmakers, you must.

SHOULD WIN: The Salesman
WILL WIN: Toni Erdmann
COULD WIN: The Salesman

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

I think you know it's a great year in animation when a Finding Nemo sequel is just my fourth favorite animated film of the year and I'm not even sad it's not nominated. Zootopia is the favorite to win and it's also MY favorite animated film of the year, but I did love Moana and Kubo as well and the latter, with its recent BAFTA win, is nipping at the Zootopia's heels. I've also only heard good things about the other two which I haven't seen.

SHOULD WIN: Zootopia
WILL WIN: Zootopia
COULD WIN: Kubo and the Two Strings

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Moonlight

All of these are Best Picture nominees and convention says La La Land will take this (and it will deserve it!). But if they want MOST editing, they could possibly go with Hacksaw Ridge or even Hell or High Water. Arrival or Moonlight would be inspired.

WILL WIN: La La Land
COULD WIN: Hacksaw Ridge

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • La La Land
  • Passengers

Here's the thing, if it was up to me I'd give La La Land most of the categories it's nominated for. And the Academy could very well think the same thing and give it a win here. With that said, I think Fantastic Beasts and Arrival and maybe even Passengers had some precursor support. The big miss here was The Handmaiden.

WILL WIN: Arrival
COULD WIN: Fantastic Beast

  • Arrival
  • La La Land
  • Silence
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

Probably one of my favorite list of nominees this year. I just think every single nomination here is truly well-deserved as I thought these were five of the most beautiful films I saw this past year. Again convention says La La Land if they want to sweep, but I wouldn't be surprised AT ALL if Moonlight or even Lion took the trophy.

WILL WIN: Moonlight

  • "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)," La La Land
  • "Can’t Stop the Feeling," Trolls
  • "City of Stars," La La Land
  • "The Empty Chair," Jim: The James Foley Story
  • "How Far I’ll Go," Moana

Last year's winner was deplorable so the Academy can only do better this year! And it's a good list with the exception of the totally random "The Empty Chair." It probably took the spot of "Do Anything" from Zootopia or the totally awesome "Drive It Like You Stole It" from Sing Street. That said, this is La La Land versus Lin-Manuel Miranda's quest to EGOT for his Moana song. He has more than a good possibility I think especially if the two La La Land songs split votes.

SHOULD WIN: "How Far I'll Go"
WILL WIN: "City of Stars"
COULD WIN: "How Far I'll Go"

  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Passengers

As if the Academy voters aren't going to give the score award to the musical film. I think that's a pretty safe bet. If they are feeling adventurous though this would be the best chance to honor Mica Levy's work in Jackie. Or even poor Thomas Newman (Passengers) with his 14 nominations and 0 wins.

WILL WIN: La La Land

  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land 

People are saying La La Land is a safe bet here, but I know more than a few people who wasn't too impressed (they're crazy). But if that's a more widespread feeling then I would think it'd be between Jackie or Florence Foster Jenkins. Unless they feel they must award Colleen Atwood (Fantastic Beasts) with her 4th win. Light a candle for The Dressmaker.

WILL WIN: Jackie

  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Sully

Hacksaw Ridge and Deepwater Horizon were really loud. But La La Land could sweep so...

WILL WIN: La La Land
COULD WIN: Hacksaw Ridge

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Rogue One
  • 13 Hours

Someday I'll know the difference. Then again many Oscar voters don't. I'd probably just say La La Land again, but I think this will swing to another film. Arrival or Rogue One perhaps?

WILL WIN: Rogue One

  • Rogue One
  • The Jungle Book
  • Doctor Strange
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Kubo and the Two Strings

I think if I was making the ballot, these would've been my exact same five films. And yes, I'm thrilled that Kubo made it in since that film used VFX so well. Anyways, this is The Jungle Book's award to lose, but weirder things have happened.

SHOULD WIN: Kubo and the Two Strings
WILL WIN: The Jungle Book
COULD WIN: Doctor Strange

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad? Really? I would've gladly switched that out with The Dressmaker, Deadpool, or Florence Foster Jenkins. The sad thing is it's probably the frontrunner here too.

SHOULD WIN: Star Trek Beyond
WILL WIN: A Man Called Ove
COULD WIN: Suicide Squad

  • Fire at Sea
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Life, Animated
  • 13th
  • O.J.: Made in America

I've only seen the Ava DuVernay's 13th, which I implore everyone to watch. With that said I haven't heard anyone say anything bad about any of these films. Made in America is probably the slight favorite with all of its precursor support, but I still call foul on submitting a 6+ hour miniseries for Oscar consideration.

WILL WIN: OJ: Made in America


  • Extremis
  • 4.1 Miles
  • Joe’s Violin
  • Watani: My Homeland
  • The White Helmets 

I've seen The White Helmets and Extremis since they're both available on Netflix and I meant to see 4.1 Miles and Joe's Violin since they're also available elsewhere online. Without knowing too much about the race, I think The White Helmets might have an edge especially with our current political climate. Or maybe Joe's Violin.

SHOULD WIN: The White Helmet
WILL WIN: The White Helmet
COULD WIN: Joe's Violin

  • Blind Vaysha
  • Borrowed Time
  • Pear Cider and Cigarettes
  • Pearl
  • Piper

Having seen only Pearl and Piper which I thought were both good (though not amazing), I have no earthly idea which of these films is the favorite or even who should win. Your guess is as good as mine.


  • Ennemis Intérieurs
  • La Femme et le TGV
  • Silent Nights
  • Sing
  • Timecode

Saw these last weekend and I think any of them could win for various reasons. My absolute favorite is Timecode which is probably the slightest of them all story-wise, but it's also the most delightful. Sing has a very satisfying arc and some great character work. La Femme et le TGV might attract older voters and it's the only film with a recognizable star (always a plus). The latter two were my least favorites, but they were also the most topical. Ennemis Intérieurs was the better of the two but also the most inert film of the five while Silent Nights is just not good in so many sense.

SHOULD WIN: Timecode
WILL WIN: La Femme et le TGV

So where does that all leave me in terms of predictions? I predicted La La Land to walk away with a leading 7 wins including Picture/Director/Actress. With the rest of the wealth shared among a few films namely Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Fences, Arrival, etc. And I think Lion, Hell or Hell Water, and Hidden Figures will walk away with no wins. Let's all check back on Sunday and see how wrong I am!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A rat-tat-tat on my heart...

A look in somebody's eyes
To light up the skies
To open the world and send it reeling
A voice that says, I'll be here
And you'll be alright

Sunday, February 12, 2017

BAFTA Nominations and Predictions

Currently watching the BAFTA red carpet live stream which means we should be getting spoilerific updates for the actual awards in a couple of hours. But first some quick thoughts and predictions!

Best Film
  • Arrival
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

Best British Film
  • American Honey
  • Denial
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • Notes on Blindness
  • Under the Shadow

Just last year, there was no overlap between these two categories. This year there's one film I, Daniel Blake which hasn't made its way here in the US yet. Of course, awards front-runner La La Land is here and leads with 11 nods followed closely by 9 nods for Arrival.

SHOULD WIN: La La Land for Best Film, American Honey for British Film
WILL WIN: La La Land for Best Film, Daniel Blake for British Film

Best Director
  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
  • Ken Loach, I, Daniel Blake
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal Animals also garnered 9 nods, but without a Best Film nomination. It did get Best Director knocking off a possible nomination for Moonlight's Barry Jenkins. Loach could be a surprise win, but everyone's betting on DGA-winner Chazelle.

SHOULD WIN: Damien Chazelle
WILL WIN: Damien Chazelle

Best Actor
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Best Actress
  • Amy Adams, Arrival
  • Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie

Most of these names are Oscar-nominated but the ones that weren't are worth pointing out. The Brits really liked Nocturnal Animals and not so much for Fences so Gyllenhaal replacing Denzel Washington made sense. It's a bit more surprising to see Blunt replace Ruth Negga (both British so that didn't make an impact). The racial optics of both replacement isn't great. FYI, Isabelle Huppert wasn't eligible. Could Garfield surprise as a Brit in the increasingly competitive Actor category?

SHOULD WIN: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
WILL WIN: Casey Affleck, Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress
  • Hayley Squires, I, Daniel Blake
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Viola Davis, Fences

We all know Viola is winning this award, but her film didn't get much love while the others got a lot of love. Supporting Actor could be interesting as well. Ali is the favorite, but how about Globe-winner Taylor-Johnson or home-town favorite Patel and Grant?

SHOULD WIN: Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis
WILL WIN: Hugh Grant, Nicole Kidman

Best Original Screenplay
  • Hell or High Water
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lion
  • Nocturnal Animals

Moonlight is in the Adapted category for the Oscars and just won the Scripter Awards last night. But the safe bet would be Manchester by the Sea (unless La La Land sweeps) for Original and one of Amy's films for Adapted.

SHOULD WIN: Moonlight, Lion
WILL WIN: Manchester by the Sea, Nocturnal Animals

Best Film Not in the English Language

  • Dheepan
  • Julieta
  • Mustang
  • Son of Saul
  • Toni Erdmann

Best Documentary
  • 13th
  • The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years
  • The Eagle Huntress
  • Notes on Blindness
  • Weiner

Best Animated Film
  • Finding Dory
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • Zootropolis

Zootropolis should continue its season-long domination. With Documentary, I have no earthly idea while in Foreign it's 2016 favorite vs. 2017 favorite with Son of Saul and Toni Erdmann. I think Erdmann has momentum though.

SHOULD WIN: Toni Erdmann, 13th, Zootropolis
WILL WIN: Toni Erdman, The Beatles, Zootropolis

Best Cinematography
  • Arrival
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Nocturnal Animals

Best Editing
  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Nocturnal Animals

Best Production Design
  • Doctor Strange
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • La La Land
  • Nocturnal Animals

Best Costume Design
  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land

Best Make Up & Hair

  • Doctor Strange
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Original Music
  • Arrival
  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Nocturnal Animals

Best Sound
  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land

Best Special Visual Effects
  • Arrival
  • Doctor Strange
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • The Jungle Book
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

La La Land could easily sweep but there's some strong competition in a few of the categories. Plus someone else will have to win in Visual Effects and Make-Up/Hair (a weird miss for the musical IMO).

WILL WIN: Arrival for Cinematography, La La Land for Editing, Fantastic Beast for Production Design, Florence Foster for Costume, Nocturnal Animals for Make Up/Hair, La La Land for Music, La La Land for Sound, Jungle Book for Visual Effects.

Best British Debut
  • The Girl With All the Gifts – Mike Carey (writer), Camille Gatin (producer)
  • The Hard Stop – George Amponsah (writer/director/producer), Dionne Walker (writer/producer)
  • Notes on Blindness - Peter Middleton (writer/director/producer), James Spinney (writer/director), Jo-Jo Ellison (producer)
  • The Pass – John Donnelly (writer), Ben A Williams (director)
  • Under the Shadow – Babak Anvari (writer/director), Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh (producers)

Best British Short Animation
  • The Alan Dimension
  • A Love Story
  • Tough

Best British Short Film
  • Consumed
  • Home
  • Mouth of Hell
  • The Party
  • Standby

EE Rising Star Award
  • Anya Taylor-Joy
  • Laia Costa
  • Lucas Hedges
  • Ruth Negga
  • Tom Holland

I'm fairly ignorant on these British categories so I'll have to plead the fifth when it comes to commenting on them. As for the Rising Star award, could anyone actually beat Spider-Man Tom Holland?

WILL WIN: Notes on Blindness for Britist Debut, The Alan Dimension for Animation Short, The Party for Short Film, and Tom Holland for Rising Star.

Monday, January 9, 2017

La La Land and Meryl Streep Win at Golden Globes

The most important thing to happen tonight at the Golden Globes is Meryl Streep's speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement. She expertly vilified a certain unnamed president "elect," made an impassioned plea for more empathy, and paid tribute to her "dear departed Princess Leia." Like Streep's filmography, her speech had range, was mostly captivating, and certainly already iconic. Other awards were given, many to a certain Los Angeles-set musical and many more to British actors. Jimmy Fallon, with the exception of the fun opening number, stuck with his usual milquetoast bland schtick with almost anyone else going to the stage tonight displaying why they'd be a better host (Viola Davis, Sunny Pawar, Kristen Wiig/Steven Carrell were my personal favorites). Anyways, onwards...

Best Motion Picture, Drama: Moonlight
Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical: La La Land
Best Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Best Actress, Drama: Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Best Actress, Comedy or Musical: Emma Stone, La La Land
Best Actor, Drama: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Best Actor, Comedy or Musical: Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences
Best Supporting Actor: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals
Best Animated Film: Zootopia
Best Foreign Language Film: Elle
Best Screenplay: La La Land
Best Score: La La Land
Best Song: "City of Stars," La La Land

Awards season frontrunner La La Land dominated, picking up a record breaking 7 awards and winning every category it was nominated for, becoming the winningest film in Globes history. Their haul included Best Comedy/Musical and first Globes to director Damien Chazelle and leads Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The film awards were bookended with surprise wins, the first to Aaron Taylor-Johnson winning Supporting Actor (many thought, myself included, he had no right of being nominated let alone win) and the last to Moonlight for Best Drama Picture (a delightful turn of events). Isabelle Huppert, Casey Affleck, and Davis won acting awards giving their Oscar chances a boost though only Huppert was the only one that needed it (and I guess Taylor-Johnson as well but I still think/hope/pray his nomination/win here is a fluke). Predictions-wise, I think pretty great going 10 of 14 (12 of 14 with alternates). I was certainly happy that La La Land swept and I hope it happens again at the Oscars.

Best TV Series, Drama: The Crown
Best TV Series, Comedy: Atlanta
Best Actress, Drama: Claire Foy, The Crown
Best Actress, Comedy: Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Best Actor, Drama: Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath
Best Actor, Comedy: Donald Glover, Atlanta
Best Mini-Series or TV Movie: The People vs. OJ Simpson
Best Actress, Mini/TV Movie: Sarah Paulson, The People vs. OJ Simpson
Best Actor, Mini/TV Movie: Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
Best Supporting Actress: Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
Best Supporting Actor: Olivia Colman, The Night Manager

For TV, color me surprised that The Night Manager ended up as the most awarded TV show of the night with 3 wins. In retrospect, it really shouldn't have surprised anyone how much love this show would get from the HFPA (all its leads won including an Olivia Colman win that made me jump for joy). The Crown, Atlanta, and The People vs. OJ Simpson won Best Show honors as well as a key acting win each (Claire Foy, Donald Glover, and Sarah Paulson respectively). First time wins by Foy, Glover and Tracee Ellis Ross were a great sight to see. My predictions wasn't so great at 3 of 11 (6 of 11 with alternates) but in general I think the right people, mostly, were awarded.

To end, I have to again go back to Meryl Streep's speech. It's something that can be easily watched in full. You can do so below, courtesy of HFPA's tweet.