My Oscar Picks For The 89th Annual Academy Awards

I say this pretty much every year lately but I really don’t care about the Oscar nominees & winners anymore. The Academy is so out of touch with the general public’s opinion. Okay – I admit to being a film snob so, when I say “general public”, I mean us crazy fans of cinema. I mean people like you guys, my fellow movie bloggers. We should be the Oscar voters! 😉 If we left it up to only the general public & box office take, Oscars would go to shit like Fifty Shades. But that would still almost be better than going to undeserving movies that usually win because of behind the scenes Hollywood politics.

I’ll still watch the show, though, like I have for many many years now. I even continued watching it after moving to the UK, even though it means I have to stay up all night since it’s on in the middle of the night here. Why do I do it?! I dunno. Tradition, I guess.

I also do this post every year although, once again, I’ve seen hardly any of the nominees. Only two of the Best Picture nominees! Out of eight?? That’s pathetic, I know. To be fair, we were once again a bit screwed over in the UK. Hidden Figures & Moonlight have only been out for a week here and I’ve not had a chance to go to them. I badly wanted to see Manchester By The Sea & wanted to see Portman in Jackie but they had limited showings at a time I was too busy. As always, these Oscar-worthy films get pretty quickly replaced by more mainstream films so, if you don’t get to them right away, you’re out of luck. I like the sound of Lion so will watch it eventually and I’m kind of kicking myself for not watching Hell Or High Water after the hubby went to it & said it was really good. I may have the evening to myself so am tempted to rent it tonight…

I’ll give a quick list of links to my reviews of all the nominated movies that I’ve actually seen. Haha! Looking at it now, it’s a funny list. How obvious is it that, if you have kids, they rule your life?? And I wouldn’t change that for the world! 🙂 It just means that I’ve seen pretty much every kids’ film nomininated for anything. Including that stupid Trolls movie. Yeah. Trolls is up for an Oscar but Amy Adams isn’t. Screw you, Academy!

After that, I’ll list all the nominees for each category and what I WANT to win each Oscar and what I think WILL win each Oscar. And I’m certainly making no bets this year – I’m completely clueless and uninformed. Again, though, I just do this out of tradition I guess. And, as always, I pick my favorite sounding title from things like the documentaries & shorts because I know NOTHING about any of them. 😉 Especially this year. Yep – I fully admit it. If the Oscar clips make them look good, though, I’ll then look into them.

Here we go! And I’m happy to hear opinions from those of you who watched more than just kids’ films last year. 😉 And if Arrival wins EVERYTHING like it should, I may take back all my bitchy comments about The Academy. (It won’t)

All The Nominees I’ve Seen:

Arrival
La La Land
Nocturnal Animals
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Zootopia
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
Trolls
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The Jungle Book
Piper

NOMINEES:

Best Picture:
Arrival (WANT!!!!!)
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land (WILL)
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Best Director:
Damien Chazelle, La La Land (WILL)
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival (WANT!!!)
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

Best Actor:
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (WANT & WILL)
Denzel Washington, Fences
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Best Actress:
Emma Stone, La La Land
Natalie Portman, Jackie (WANT & hopefully WILL)
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving

Best Supporting Actor:
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Dev Patel, Lion (WILL)
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (WANT)

Best Supporting Actress:
Viola Davis, Fences (WILL)
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (WANT)
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Moonlight
Arrival (WANT & hopefully WILL)
Fences
Lion
Hidden Figures

Best Original Screenplay:
Manchester by the Sea (WILL)
La La Land
Hell or High Water (WANT)
The Lobster
20th Century Women

Best Foreign Language Film:
Toni Erdmann (WANT & WILL)
The Salesman
Land of Mine
Tanna
A Man Called Ove

Best Documentary Feature:
O.J.: Made in America
13th
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life Animated (WANT & WILL. Why? I like the name the most. I don’t know what any of these are about. Although I assume the first one is about O.J. Simpson??)

Best Animated Feature:
Zootopia (If this wins, I’m gonna throw something at the TV)
Kubo and the Two Strings (WANT)
The Red Turtle
My Life As a Zucchini
Moana (WILL)

Best Film Editing:
La La Land (WILL)
Moonlight
Arrival (WANT)
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water

Best Original Song:
“City of Stars,” La La Land (WILL)
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls (WANT, although the movie sucks ass)
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story

Best Original Score:
La La Land (WILL)
Lion
Jackie
Moonlight
Passengers (WANT. Not seen it but Thomas Newman deserves an Oscar.)

Best Cinematography:
La La Land
Moonlight
Arrival (WANT & hopefully WILL)
Silence
Lion

Best Costume Design:
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Allied
Jackie (WANT & WILL)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
Star Trek Beyond
A Man Called Ove
Suicide Squad (WANT & WILL)

Best Production Design:
La La Land (WILL)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
Arrival (WANT)
Passengers

Best Sound Editing:
Hacksaw Ridge
Arrival (WANT & WILL)
Deepwater Horizon
La La Land
Sully

Best Sound Mixing:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Arrival (WANT & WILL)
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Best Visual Effects:
The Jungle Book (WILL)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (WANT)
Kubo and the Two Strings (Also Want)
Doctor Strange
Deepwater Horizon

Best Short Film, Live Action:
Timecode (WANT & WILL. Yeah, I’ve just chosen the most interesting sounding title again.)
Silent Nights
La Femme et le TGV
Ennemis Interieurs
Sing

Best Short Film, Animated:
Piper (WANT & WILL) (Very unlikely it will but it’s the only one I’ve seen & it’s adorable.)
Pearl
Borrowed Time
Blind Vaysha
Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Best Documentary, Short Subject:
Joe’s Violin
The White Helmets
Extremis (WANT & WILL. And, again, I’ve just chosen a title I like…)
Watani: My Homeland
4.1 Miles

La La Land (2016) Review

La La Land (2016)

Directed & Written by Damien Chazelle

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt

Music by Justin Hurwitz

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.

My Opinion:

So, this movie got a record 1,582 Oscar nominations yesterday (roughly). I finally saw it over the weekend & knew instantly that it would get loads of Oscar noms as this is the type of movie that’s SO right up the Academy voters’ street (and butt). Don’t worry – I’m not going to be all “this is overrated!”. Those people who go around shouting “this is overrated!” are so overrated. This is a lovely film. It’s a good film. It’s not, in my opinion, up there with the all-time musical greats such as The Sound Of Music, The Wizard Of Oz, Singin’ In The Rain, etc etc etc. It’s good! I enjoyed it and really liked Gosling & especially Stone, who are as great together as always. But I think people will realize ten years from now that La La Land doesn’t come close to touching the all-time classic musicals. (It’s also far less of a “musical” than I was expecting!)

I found the movie a little uneven. It starts out with a big musical number that has such a different sound & vibe from the rest of the film that it feels like it’s from a different movie. It’s an okay number (not my favorite & I can’t even remember the music from it right now) but it sets things up to be this epic musical when all we get are a few more “big” song & dance numbers (I did really like two of these) and several smaller-scale musical scenes. I felt bad thinking that this movie was overlong and could’ve had at least 20 minutes shaved off of it (it’s 2 hours 8 minutes) but I don’t think I’d have been checking my watch if they’d had more scenes like the musical number with Gosling & Stone in the observatory. That one was lovely & it was one of the only times I thought the film came close to the standard I expect from a really good musical.

This movie didn’t seem to have a clear overall goal or, shit, I dunno… a clear aesthetic? Don’t get me wrong – I loved the bold, primary colors and I’m still trying to decide which dress of Stone’s I liked the most (probably the green dress in the above photo). But this didn’t always fit with the other imagery or with the music when the movie tried to be more “classic Hollywood” or tried to go with a jazz vibe. Damien Chazelle was possibly trying to cram in too many different artistic & musical styles he likes instead of sticking to one main theme or at least trying to make these different styles mesh together a bit better. Being a lover of film & classic Hollywood, I was naturally more attracted to the scenes such as the lovely observatory number that attempted to imitate this (although some of the classic Hollywood scenes were somewhat derivative) than I was to the brightly colored musical numbers that felt like some 1990’s Gap ad. Or, as my hubby put it, a Feist video. 

I think what’s possibly my biggest problem with the movie (this may get me into trouble to say but, hey, no one is reading this, right?) – La La Land is a bit too “Millennial Musical” for me to really see it as all-time classic. I can’t see me wanting to watch this 52 years from now the way I’ll still happily watch all 3 hours of The Sound Of Music. FYI – I did the math to find out that The Sound Of Music is 52 years old. Then I realized that I’m sounding like the grumpy old person that I am so I did some more math and realized that I’ll most likely be dead in 52 years anyway, so… Okay, I guess if you really love La La Land & I’ve offended you with my “Millennial Musical” statement, you’ll get the last laugh when I die of old age soon. 😉

Summary:

La La Land is a good film with Stone & Gosling just as lovable together as always. I’m very happy for their Acting Oscar nominations and think they’re well deserved. I know I often come across as negative but I’m perfectly fine with all the nominations this film has received as I do think it’s a very good and, at times, almost fantastic film. It’s not like I could make a better movie! What do I make? Stupid spreadsheets! (Although I do make them almost as colorful as La La Land).

I just feel like some absolute masterpieces have actually been made in the past few years with little or no rewards while La La Land will likely win all it’s up for mainly because it’s the Academy voters’ type of “thing”. They love a musical and anything that celebrates their way of life. I truly wanted to love this movie. I wanted to be moved by a film that celebrates a “love of cinema & the arts” the way I was by Cinema Paradiso. Or perhaps The Artist or Hugo – these three films capture the filmmakers’ love of cinema in a way that La La Land never quite manages. I wanted the powerful emotional response I had to Arrival & to Room (btw – Amy Adams was ROBBED!!!). For whatever reason, though, La La Land didn’t strike a chord with me. It’s a lovely movie to take your mind off the rest of the world for a couple of hours but I didn’t walk out of it with that feeling of elation that I (and other movie nerds) get from only the truly best pieces of filmmaking.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Here’s that Feist video. La La Land is an enjoyable film but if you really don’t fancy it, I suppose you can just watch this video to get a feel for one of the three main vibes going on in it.

Plus this Gap ad:

And this is easily my favorite theme from La La Land. I do think this is beautiful and wish all the music in the film was as simple & elegant as this piece. THIS feels timeless: