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.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Golden Globes: Predictions and Hopes


My last post was almost four months ago talking about another awards show so I guess it's fine if I just dive right back in the midst of awards season especially with the Golden Globes happening tonight. No extended thoughts on the nominees, but my predictions and hopes are below.

Best Director
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By the Sea

Will Win: Damien Chazelle
Alternate: Barry Jenkins
Should Win: Either one of those would be fine by me!

Best Motion Picture, Drama
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Lion
Manchester By the Sea
Moonlight

Will Win: Moonlight
Alternate: Manchester by the Sea
Should Win: Happy for either of those, but I'm low-key hoping for a LION shocker.

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
20th Century Women
Deadpool
La La Land
Florence Foster Jenkins
Sing Street

Will Win:
La La Land
Alternate: N/A
Should Win: La La Land! La La Land! La La Land! LA LA LAND!!!

Best Actress, Drama
Amy Adams, Arrival
Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Ruth Negga, Loving

Will Win: Natalie Portman (Globes likes the big name!)
Alternate: Isabelle Huppert (Globes like the foreign ladies!)
Should Win: Amy Adams (Globes do whatever they want!)

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Will Win: Emma Stone
Alternate: Meryl Streep
Should Win: Stone should really get this, but most of her fellow nominees are great.

Best Actor, Drama
Casey Affleck, Manchester By the Sea
Joel Edgerton, Loving
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Will Win: Casey Affleck
Alternate: Denzel Washington
Should Win: Viggo Mortensen. Or Andrew Garfield... but for his non-nominated role in SILENCE.

Best Actor, Musical, or Comedy
Colin Farrell, The Lobster
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Jonah Hill, War Dogs
Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

Will Win: Ryan... Gosling
Alternate: Ryan... Reynolds
Should Win: GOSLING! I like Reynolds but I swear if DEADPOOL crashes the LA LA LAND party, I might have a stroke.

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

Will Win: Mahershala Ali
Alternate: Jeff Bridges
Should Win: ALI! Maybe Dev Patel, but only if he shares his award with Sunny Pawar. But really ANYONE BUT Taylor-Johnson please and thanks.

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester By the Sea

Will Win: Viola Davis
Alternate: Michelle Williams
Should Win: What I really wish is Davis winning in Lead and Williams winning here.

Best Screenplay
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester By the Sea
Moonlight
Nocturnal Animals

Will Win: Manchester by the Sea
Alternate: Moonlight
Should Win: Again, both films are worthy and will likely get their respective Oscars so let's blow it up a bit here and say LA LA LAND.

Best Foreign Language Film
Divines, France
Elle, France
Neruda, Chile
The Salesman, Iran/France
Toni Erdmann, Germany

Will Win: Toni Erdmann
Alternate: Elle
Should Win: Unfortnately I haven't seen any of these to make a judgment call.

Best Animated Feature Film
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My life as a Zucchini
Sing
Zootopia

Will Win: Zootopia
Alternate: Moana
Should Win: A strong year for the medium that started out with a bang with ZOOTOPIA and it should be rewarded thusly.

Best Original Song, Motion Picture
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La Land
“Faith,” Sing
“Gold,” Gold
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

Will Win: The guys who wrote Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen (City of Stars)
Alternate: The guy who wrote Broadway's Hamilton (How Far I'll Go)
Should Win: I would be VERY sad if one of those songs don't win.

Best Original Score, Motion Picture
Arrival
Hidden Figures
Lion
La La Land
Moonlight

Will Win: La La Land
Alternate: Not sure...
Should Win: Hoping for a big night for this movie!




Best TV Series, Drama
The Crown
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things
This Is Us
Westworld

Will Win: Game of Thrones
Alternate: The Crown
Should Win: Ask me at different time and I can see myself (and the HFPA) say any of these, but I'll say GAME OF THRONES.

Best Actress, Drama
Catriona Balfe, Outlander
Claire Foy, The Crown
Keri Russell, The Americans
Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Will Win: I have no idea actually... Claire Foy?
Alternate: Same, um... Evan Rachel Wood?
Should Win: Russell, because see Russian comment below. But Ryder for the nostalgia.

Best Actor, Drama
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath

Will Win: Rami Malek
Alternate: Matthew Rhys
Should Win: We're letting the Russians win elsewhere, so let's give it up for RHYS!

Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Atlanta
Black-ish
Mozart in the Jungle
Transparent
Veep

Will Win: Veep
Alternate: Mozart in the Jungle
Should Win: I think this election year is giving me PTSD with VEEP so I would've voted for BLACK-ISH probably.

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
Issa Rae, Insecure
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but can we first just look at how awesome this list of nominees is?
Alternate: Sarah Jessica Parker?
Should Win: Rooting for a first-time winner... Issa Rae!

Best Actor, Musical, or Comedy
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Nick Nolte, Graves
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Will Win: Gael Garcia Bernal
Alternate: Donald Glover
Should Win: Since Bernal won last year, I'd say Glover this time around.

Best Limited Series or TV Movie
American Crime
The Dresser
The Night Manager
The Night Of
The People v. O.J. Simpson

Will Win: The People v. OJ Simpson
Alternate: N/A
Should Win: PEOPLE V. OJ certainly, but I do wish NIGHT MANAGER got its due.

Best Actress, Limited Series or TV Movie
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson
Charlotte Rampling, London Spy
Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Will Win: Sarah Paulson
Alternate: N/A
Should Win: PAULSON HAS GOT THIS.

Best Actor, Limited Series or TV Movie
Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Bryan Cranston, All The Way
Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
John Turturro, The Night Of
Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson

Will Win: Courtney B. Vance
Alternate: Tom Hiddleston
Should win: Either one of those would be good with me, but I'm low-key itching for Turturro.

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson
Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
John Lithgow, The Crown
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
John Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson

Will Win: Sterling K. Brown
Alternate: John Lithgow
Should Win: BROWN has got this easily.

Best Supporting Actress
Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Thandie Newton, Westworld

Will Win: Thandie Newton
Alternate: Lena Headey
Should Win: Both were VERY good (very deadly) this past season. But I would love for Colman to grab this in a shocker.

Let's see how wrong I am tonight!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Emmy Nominations and Predictions 2016

The Emmys are today and since I revel in procrastinating, here just now are my quick thoughts on the nominations and my accompanying predictions for tonight's award show. In general, they did pretty okay. Definitely lots of people I would have wanted to get nominated weren't, but a few others did. That's the best one can hope for.


BEST DRAMA SERIES
The Americans
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
Mr. Robot


Let's get this out of the way first, last year's Emmy champ Game of Thrones will win. It has the most nominations and they won last year for their weakest season. The two shows I can possibly see toppling it would be the two shows that broke through this year, which would be the buzzy freshman show Mr. Robot and the "should've been nominated a bunch of times already" The Americans. The latter's inclusion pretty much meant I was pretty damn happy nomination morning no matter what happened. I'm already excited about next year though when Downton Abbey *and* Game of Thrones aren't in the running. What happens then?

Prediction: Game of Thrones
Alternate: The Americans
Should Win: The Americans
Should've Been Nominated: Sense8, Orange is the New Black, The Leftovers, Marvel's Jessica Jones

BEST LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Matthew Rhys, The Americans

With Jon Hamm and Jeff Daniels out from last year, it made room for two of the new best nominations this category has had in awhile with Matthew Rhys finally getting his deserved dues and breakout star Rami Malek also getting honored. This category is actually confounding me in terms of predicting a winner especially since the category has been all Cranston (then Hamm) for the past few year. Chandler is actually the only past Emmy winner while Spacey is the Susan Lucci (outdated reference) of this category with 9 previous nominations and no win.

Prediction: Kevin Spacey
Alternate: Rami Malek
Should Win: Matthew Rhys
Should've Been Nominated: Damian Lewis, Aldis Hodge, Cillian Murphy, Justin Theroux

BEST LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Keri Russell, The Americans
Robin Wright, House of Cards

SUCH a stacked category, like it is every damn year. This list is actually the same as last year (with last year's breakout Maslany surprisingly getting a repeat nom!) with the exception of Keri Russell replacing Elisabeth Moss. Wait, let me repeat that... KERI RUSSELL IS NOMINATED FOR AN EMMY FOR HER WORK IN THE AMERICANS. She'll probably lose, but goddamn if that isn't just the best new ever. Last year's winner Viola will likely repeat and I can't complain that much since I lover her.

Prediction: Viola Davis
Alternate: Keri Russell
Should Win: Keri Russell
Should've Been Nominated: Shiri Appleby, Carrie Coon, Julianna Margulies, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Kristen Ritter

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Last year's winner Dinklage won for a season where he barely did anything so underestimate him at your peril. With that said, the "surprise" nomination for Harington shows great love for the show and he IS featured heavily in the show's "best" episode of the season so don't be too shocked if his name is called tonight. With that said, this really is the best time for them to honor Banks for his great work not only on this show, but as a tribute to what he did in Breaking Bad.

Prediction: Peter Dinklage
Alternate: Kit Harington
Should Win: Jonathan Banks
Should've Been Nominated: Joshua Jackson, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Martin Wallstrom, David Tennant

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA

Maura Tierney, The Affair
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Constance Zimmer, UnReal

After taking a refreshing breather last year, the TV Academy decided to honor Smith one last nomination for her work in Downton Abbey. Will it translate to an actual win given her strongest competitions, the three Game of Thrones ladies, might split votes? That's actually good news as well for Tierney and Zimmer (both inspired choices for nominations). That said... so damn strange to see both Uzo Aduba and Christine Baranski left out especially for the latter's final season.

Prediction: Lena Heady
Alternate: Maggie Smith
Should Win: Maura Tierney
Should've Been Nominated: Jamie Clayton, Ann Dowd, Calista Flockhart, Alison Wright


BEST COMEDY SERIES
Black-Ish
Master of None
Silicon Valley
Modern Family
Transparent
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep


I do like that slowly and surely, these comedy categories are changing with the times especially with Black-ish and Master of None breaking through. With that said, sure let's nominate Modern Family again I guess. It's not as if there's a whole list of shows they could've picked instead like Broad City, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, etc. Last year, I thought Transparent was a lock to win, but Veep won instead. This year, Veep garnered more nominations than any other comedy show by a lot... so obviously that will win.

Prediction: Veep
Alternate: Transparent
Should Win: Black-ish
Should've Been Nominated: Broad City, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, Fresh Off the Boat, Shameless

BEST LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Will Forte, Last Man on Earth
William H. Macy, Shameless
Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

If there's anyone who could beat Tambor (he won't lose regardless), it might just be Anderson. It is the more popular show and it's an easy performance to honor especially if voters think Tambor's been awarded enough. I'm just happy that Ansari broke through (lots of those happening this year) as well as Middleditch. And while this category is less heinous than in year's past, I encourage them to keep thinking outside the box.

Prediction: Jeffrey Tambor
Alternate: Anthony Anderson
Should Win: Aziz Ansari
Should've Been Nominated: Chris Geere, Andy Samberg, Randall Park, Timothy Omundson

BEST LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Veep
Laurie Metcalf, Getting On
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace & Frankie

As great as this line-up is, I was bound to be disappointed with the exclusion of Rachel Bloom, Gina Rodriquez, Aya Cash and both Broad City ladies. There's just so much damn talent out there begging to be recognized! That said, Louis-Dreyfuss will probably win unless they're sick of awarding her (they are not). There isn't even anyone that would seem to be competition to her unlike last year with both Lisa Kudrow and Amy Poehler delivering career-best work. Perhaps Ross, but that's not a gimme.

Prediction: Julia Louis-Dreyfuss
Alternate: Tracee Ellis Ross
Should Win: Tracee Ellis Ross
Should've Been Nominated: Rachel Bloom, Aya Cash, Gina Rodriguez, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Constance Wu

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
Louie Anderson, Baskets
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
Matt Walsh, Veep

Most of these are repeat nominees from last year with Adam Driver the only one not cited again and being replaced by Anderson and Walsh. I didn't see his show, but apparently Anderson is terrific while Walsh's inclusion shows the deep love the TV Academy has for Veep. Speaking of, last year's champ Hale is your likely winner, but I'm rooting hard for Braugher to finally get his comedy Emmy.

Prediction: Tony Hale
Alternate: Louie Anderson
Should Win: Andre Braugher
Should've Been Nominated: Jamie Camil, Noah Galvin, Andrew Rannells, Cameron Monaghan

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Judith Light, Transparent
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Last year, the TV Academy gave this category 8 slots so this year they've trimmed it down to just six which meant a few perennials were left out like Mayim Bialik, Julie Bowen, and sadly Jane Krakowski. That said, Judith Light is a bit of a surprise inclusion this year and might just fight for the win against last year's champ Janney. The only other person I can see possibly winning would be Chlumsky if Veep suddenly sweeps.

Prediction: Allison Janney
Alternate: Judith Light
Should Win: Kate McKinnon
Should've Been Nominated: Donna Lynne Champlin, Yael Groblas, Cecily Strong, Jane Krakowski

They've already given out the Guest Acting Awards last weekend at the Creative Arts Awards. The winners are below:
BEST GUEST ACTOR, DRAMA: Hank Azaria, Ray Donovan
BEST GUEST ACTRESS, DRAMA: Margo Martindale, The Americans
BEST GUEST ACTOR, COMEDY: Peter Scolari, Girls
BEST GUEST ACTRESS, COMEDY: Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live

What an interesting list of winners. No one predicted Azaria and Martindale barely broke a sweat garnering her second win for this role. Scolari meanwhile was a late addition to the category and still won. And of course this is Poehler's FIRST Emmy win. I'm happy for her, but she also deserved A LOT better than sharing an Emmy win for a guest stint on SNL that won't be televised.

Finally, for completeness sake, here are my predictions for the Limited Series/Movie categories:

BEST TV LIMITED SERIES: The People v. OJ Simpson
BEST TV MOVIE: All The Way
BEST ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES/MOVIE: Courtney B. Vance
BEST ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES/MOVIE: Sarah Paulson
BEST SUPP. ACTOR, LIMIT/MOVIE: Hugh Laurie
BEST SUPP. ACTRESS, LIMIT/MOVIE: Jean Smart

Monday, September 5, 2016

Surveying My Summer 2016 Movie Season

Happy Labor Day! While summer technically lasts for a few more weeks, the first weekend of September pretty much signals the end of Summer Season. Kids are heading back to school, stores are putting out their Halloween decorations, and everything is suddenly pumpkin-flavored. What's a better time to take stock of the new movies I saw this summer?

For the purposes of setting a limit, I'm considering April 15 as the start of the Summer Movie Season mostly because THREE films opened that day including one of this year's biggest blockbusters. I'm also including just movies that actually had a theatrical release this year, because I watch too many films. Let's take it month by month.

APRIL 


The third weekend of April started the season with a bang with Disney's live action adaptation of their beloved The Jungle Book keeping the bulk of the story intact while marveling audiences with incredible CGI work that other blockbuster films this year could achieve. Two smaller films also came out that weekend which I ended up seeing later (and really liking) in the summer on DVD. Sing Street is another musical tale from the wonderful mind of John Carney, a coming of age story full of wit and charm and music you can't stop humming. The other film, Green Room, is one of the last films done by the late Anton Yelchin and is also one of the tensest thrillers I've seen recently with a bunch of talented young actors and a scary turn from Patrick Stewart.

Films I wished I had seen: Keanu
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: Elvis & Nixon, A Hologram for the King
Films I purposely skipped: The Huntsman: Winter's War, Mother's Day

MAY


May technically is the beginning of Summer Movie Season and like the past few years, it's all about Marvel. This year it's their Avengers-sized Captain America: Civil War that starts the season. I saw it opening weekend of course and enjoyed most of it, but like many of their films it seems I'm more primed to look ahead instead of savoring what's in front of me especially with their great introductions of Chad Bosewick as Black Panther and Tom Holland as the NEW Spider-Man. Two films in May which came after that have a good chance of making my Top Films of 2016. The first is Love & Friendship, an Austen adaptation with all the usual period trappings coupled with darkly comedic sensibilities headlined by a never-better Kate Beckinsale. The other film is The Nice Guys, the hilarious buddy-cop movie starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe we all didn't think we needed. Gosling should do more comedies. The last film I saw in theaters this month was X-Men: Apocalypse which I actually enjoyed slightly more than Captain America (I do love me some mutants), but while it's certainly an imperfect film I feel the series' rebooted films of late have been underappreciated. Finally, I saw High Rise on DVD, but other than Tom Hiddleston's almost-naked scene that happens early on, there's not much to recommend.

Film I wished I had seen: The Lobster
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: Money Monster, Last Days in the Desert, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Weiner
Films I purposely skipped: The Angry Birds Movie, Alice Through the Looking Glass

JUNE


And the summer slowdown begins. Didn't it seem like this year summer season was frontloaded of Must See in Theater Films? I only saw two movies in theater this month, both of which are sequels to films I highly enjoyed. The first is Now You See Me 2 which unfortunately fails to capture the magic of the first movie. It was still fun and some scenes were worth the price of admission, but not the follow-up I expected. Then there's Finding Dory, which also seems to rely too much on people's love of the first film, but to me it works perfectly. Dory is one of my favorite animated characters ever and exploring her past was exactly what I wanted. Tears flowed freely by the end. And that's it. I haven't even seen any June films on DVD yet (because they're not out yet?). There were a number of films I WANTED to see in theaters, but just didn't feel motivated enough to do so.

Film I wished I had seen: Popstars: Never Stop Never Stopping
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: Me Before You, The Fits, Central Intelligence, The Neon Demon, The Shallows, Swiss Army Man
Films I purposely skipped: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, The Conjuring 2, Warcraft, Free State of Jones, Independence Day: Resurgence

JULY


The movies I saw this month all had a tinge of nostalgia to it. The first, and my favorite, was Ghostbuster starring the super talened quarter of Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. The remake of the 80s film has had A LOT of media and press about it which had nothing to do with the actual movie itself which, while not Paul Feig's best, was still great fun. The next film is Star Trek Beyond, which of course is based on the 60s sci-fi classic. I actually liked it a lot, certainly compared to its previous outing. Bittersweet to see Yelchin, but glad that he was in a film that looked like it was a hoot to make. Finally, I saw Jason Bourne, the latest film in a series that started back in 2002! I've been a big fan of this series, especially its first three films headlined by Matt Damon who is back for this latest one. But apart from the usual great action sequences, something was missing for me this time around. Maybe give the series a rest for a bit?

Film I wished I had seen: Captain Fantastic
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: The BFG, The Secret Life of Pets, Cafe Society, Bad Moms, Indignation, Nerve
Films I purposely skipped: The Legend of Tarzan, The Purge: Election Year, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Ice Age: Collision Course

AUGUST


I was away on my Brazilian/Olympics vacation so it makes sense I didn't see that many new movies this month. But the month also was pretty dire in terms of options so I actually just caught up of the rest of the summer's fare either in theater or on DVD. I still did end up seeing two VERY different animated films in theaters. There's the outrageous and raunchy Sausage Party which probably could've been 30 minutes shorter so it doesn't outstay its welcome. In the other end of the spectrum is another gorgeous stop-animation film from Laika, Kubo and the Two Strings which I actually just saw this past weekend. Casting controversies aside, the film is a must-see with its breathtaking animation and a truly heartfelt story.

Film I wished I had seen: Florence Foster Jenkins
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: Pete's Dragon, Hell or High Water, Morris from America, Don't Breathe, Hands of Stone, Southside with You
Films I purposely skipped: Suicide Squad, Nine Lives, Ben Hur, War Dogs, Mechanic: Resurrection

More random End-of-Summer honors!

BEST SUMMER FILM (that I saw): The Nice Guys
WORST SUMMER FILM (that I saw): High Rise
PEOPLE SERIOUSLY ACTUALLY WATCHED THAT: Suicide Squad
PEOPLE SHOULD REALLY WATCH THIS: Sing Street
ACTING MVPS: Kate Beckinsale, Tom Bennett, Ryan Gosling, Anton Yelchin, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon
BEST VOICEOVERS: Idris Elba, Sigourney Weaver, Ellen Degeneres, Art Parkinson

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

She works hard for the money...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.


Splash is a romantic comedy from the 80s about a guy meeting a mermaid and both falling in love. You could even say it's a tail as old as time. Directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah as the two leads, the film was one of the biggest hits of its year. The film is a bit all over the place, but the fun twist to the boy-meets-girl concept and the charming chemistry between the leads elevate it for me.

Seeing young Hanks in the film is a treat, fresh-faced and so physically expressive. Hannah, meanwhile, is captivating in spite of not being able to speak for the first third of the film and then for being kept in a tank for the last third. There's just such a joy that emanates from her for most of the film quickly endearing her character to the audience. This also makes her character's darker and deeper moments in the film that much more affecting such as her tearful/fearful avoidance of the rain in the tunnel (photo below) and her helplessness inside the tank.


But going back to happier moments, one of my favorite sequences in the film is Hannah going to Bloomingdale's (incidentally her first word) to shop for the first time. She is of course delighted by all the clothes and she is just thrilled by television. In fact, she actually learns English during her 6-hour stay, the tail-end of which we see with her gleefully dancing to a Richard Simmons workout show. It has my favorite shot from the film...

Best Shot

If I knew how to gif her dancing, that probably would be more indicative of my actual favorite shot especially since seeing her dress and hair gracefully moving to the music is a key element. But the shot above captures the motion of both indicating the fun and energy of the scene. Her teal blue dress against the salmon-tint of the screens (not to mention Simmons' bright blue workout gear and her primary-colored shopping boxes) make for a vibrant tableau that's pleasingly eye-catching. Another reason I like this scene is because it simultaneously shows her as a fish-out-of-water while also being superbly adaptable.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Boom, then crash...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.


The Get Down, the latest from Baz Luhrmann, is a new (and very expensive) Netflix show about the birth of hip hop set in the Bronx of the late 1970s. I admit that I was surprised when I heard Luhrmann was working on this, but upon further thought, the time period and topic lend themselves well to Luhrmann's highly stylized and frenetic direction.


The pilot, the only one actually directed by Luhrmann, is chock full of Luhrmann's visual panache and manic style, but the latter at times felt a bit too much especially in the first half of the extra long 90-minute episode where viewers are still trying to get a sense of the world and its characters. The tone is all over the place and the hyper editing threatened to make everything practically incoherent. Thankfully the performances held up and I'm intrigued enough to further follow the stories of Ezekiel, Shaolin, and their ragtag group of friends.

As for my best shot, I chose something that came from one of my favorite sequences in the pilot. This was one of the few times Luhrmann and company slowed it down a bit, giving us a better sense of the main character and just letting the power of words do most of the work.

Best Shot

Here Ezekiel is challenged by his teacher to recite a very personal poem he wrote talking about his dead parents. It's an evocative moment that appropriately starts off visually evocative as well with the camera panning to the left obscuring Ezekiel at the same time he's finally opening himself up. I love this particular shot as well because it highlights an Ezekiel who is literally split down the middle just as his journey seems to be. On the one hand there's his pursuit of his crush Mylene and on the other is his unlikely partnership with Shaolin. It'll be interesting to see how exactly the show handles this moving forward.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Perfect time of life...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.


The movie Julia opens the film with a solitary woman on a boat as a voice narrates, talking about wanting to remember things. It's a curious start to a movie whose title character isn't the main character at all, but instead is the object of strong fascination, or memory, to the actual main character Lillian played by Jane Fonda. Vanessa Redgrave plays Julia, Lillian's best friend since childhood. With the film mostly relegated to Lillian's point of view, we only ever really see Julia through Lillian's remembrances and daydreams thus never really becoming a character in her own right and instead becoming a sort of mythic figure.

The moments recollected when they were young shows how much Lillian idolized her older friend while the ordeals Lillian imagined Julia to have suffered through later in life displays a heroic and brave figure. All of it could be true of course, but the writer Lillian would of course want to think best of her beloved friend. So to follow her lead, my best shot pick is that "perfect time of life" for Julia...


There are women who reach a perfect time of life...
when the face will never again be as good...
the body never as graceful or powerful.


Not only is it an objectively fierce shot of Redgrave, but it's probably the image that Lillian herself keeps of her friend in her mind even after years have passed and she's sitting on a boat and wanting to remember "what was there for me once." It's a bittersweet sentiment, but also quite affecting in the end.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I want to try everything...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.


Zootopia is probably still my favorite film of 2016. And how could it not with its resonant timely message, fleshed-out leads with excellent chemistry, and staggering amount of world building.


There are so many great things about this film, but it's its world building I'd like to focus on because I sincerely believe one of the reasons this movie succeeds is the attention to detail the filmmakers had not just on the story and the characters, but the actual city of Zootopia itself. With 12 unique eco-systems and countless of species of mammals of all shapes and sizes living and working together within its city limits, the city of Zootopia would've been a real challenge for anyone to envision let alone actually show on screen. And the filmmakers did it in a matter of minutes (less than three in fact) in my favorite sequence of the movie set to the film's key song "Try Everything" by Gazelle (aka Shakira).


Judy's train ride into Zootopia, from her humble Bunnyburrow, was a genius way for the film to introduce this truly amazing metropolis not only to the main character, but to us. Judy essentially acts as the audience surrogate with her wide-eyed wonderment at the glittering city from a distance and then at all of the diverse and beautiful regions--Sahara Square, Tundratown, Rainforest District--and animals as she gets closer. And when she gets off the train, there's even more to see--hamsters using tubes to get around, hippos drying themselves after coming out of the water, giraffes getting drinks via air-tube system.

So I wish I can just cite the entire sequence as all of my favorite shots, but I know I had to pick just one. I ended up choosing a shot that captures a great moment.

Best Shot

It's when Judy passes through Rainforest District and it starts to rain and she looks up, clearly beaming at where she is at that very moment, soaking up the entire experience. That's pretty much how I felt watching the film and now all I want to do is watch it all over again. Plus I just love her super expressive face and the interplay of all the blue and greens with the rain in the background as the "camera" sweeps up. Just masterful animation work all around.

Bonus: My roommate picked her favorite shot as well! And it's giving me a lot of weird feelings regarding inter-species relationships!