Sunday, 28 February 2016

Ladies and Gents, let's give awards to some white people!!

OK the title of this blog notwithstanding, I think this whole controversy is totally blown out of proportion. Let's keep in mind that 12 Years a Slave won a bunch of awards just two years ago, and I can't think of a more diverse film in recent memory. I didn't see a film this year with any performances from any non-white actors that deserved nominations....I realize I didn't see every film, but I saw quite a few.
As I do every year, I'm going to give my predictions on the awards as well as who I think SHOULD win. Here we go.
First off, I'm setting the over/under on time it takes Chris Rock to make a "white Oscars" joke at 4.7 seconds. And I'm betting the under.

Best Animated Feature Film

Anomalisa
Boy and the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Who will win and who should win: Inside Out

This might be the lock of the night. Yes it's the only one of these I've seen, but it was so good it actually should be nominated for the big award of the night. It would be a complete stunner if it didn't win.

Achievement in Cinematography

Carol
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario

Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who should win: the Revenant

Full disclosure: Mad Max is the only one of the Best Picture nominees I haven't seen. Absolutely no interest in it whatsoever; but it has been very well received and I'm expecting it to win a bunch of technical awards including this one. The Revenant looked so incredible that the frozen wilderness actually became a character.

Achievement in Costume Design

Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Who will win and who should win: Cinderella

I'm just copying someone else's prediction here, I have no idea. The Revenant is the only one I saw here and it won't win this one.

Achievement in Directing

The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

Who will win: Alejandro G Inarritu, The Revenant

Who should win: Lenny Abrahamson, Room

It's almost impossible to win this award two years in a row but it's going to happen here, and I feel strongly that it shouldn't. While the direction and tone of Birdman was pitch-perfect, The Revenant felt over-directed and overwrought. Room was the film of the year, and probably the film of the decade, and it wouldn't have shone so bright without every note feeling 100% authentic. That's direction, ladies and gentlemen.

Achievement in Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who should win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Another technical award for Mad Max but c'mon, Star Wars was a technical masterpiece and the sound was a character, and an important one.

Achievement in Sound Mixing

Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who should win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Ditto the above.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

Who will win and should win: Room

It's not out of the question that I will set my living room on fire if this doesn't happen. Four of these films were excellent (and I am looking forward to seeing Carol) but this is a "man-against-boys" scenario.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

Who will win and should win: Spotlight

Mad props to the team who penned the brilliant screenplay for Inside Out, but Spotlight was close to a perfect movie and would have been my choice for the best film of the year in almost every year but this one.

And what's this about the "all-white" Oscars?? The Screenplay for Straight Outta Compton was nominated!!! Clearly that is bullshit. (drops mic)

(picks up mic) The guy who wrote that screenplay is a white guy?? Never mind.

Achievment in Film Editing

The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who should win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Ditto the above. Again.

Achievment in Makeup and Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Who will win and should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Just because I didn't see the film doesn't mean I didn't see pictures of the makeup and hairstyling. Wow.

Music (Original Score)

Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who will win and should win: John Williams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Williams is a legend and an Academy darling, and oh yeah it was a great film and one of the biggest of all-time.

Music (Original Song)

“Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey
“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction
“Simple Song #3,” Youth
“Til It Happens To You,” The Hunting Ground
“Writing’s On The Wall,” Spectre

Who will win: BARF I'm actually afraid that Hip Hop idiot The Weeknd is going to win for that piece of trash song from a piece of trash movie Fifty Shades of Bunk

Who should win: Anyone but the above. Til It Happens To You is my favorite of a pretty mediocre lot.

Achievement in Production Design

Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Who will win and who should win: The Revenant

As a total movie, it's overrated, but there is no questioning the the production design. It's amazing.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Who will win: Vikander had a big year, starring in both Ex Machina and The Danish Girl and earning critical praise for both. She's my pick to win in a close race.

Who should win: Leigh. What a fabulous, scenery-chewing performance from an actress who has probably not received the credit she's deserved for a long and illustrious career filled with terrific work.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Who will win: Stallone, in a tribute to an excellent career and (from what I hear) a fantastic performance in Creed which I am looking forward to seeing soon.

Who should win: Rylance, who provided a subtle, nuanced performance that propped up a really good film. If not him, then Bale....or Ruffalo....Hardy was also great. Holy crap, what an incredible field this is.

Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Who will win and who should win: If Brie Larson doesn't win this award (she's won every major award so far) I will jump off my balcony.

Actor in a Leading Role

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Who will win: DiCaprio, who really was quite remarkable

Who should win: Damon, by a whisker. He carried almost an entire man-lost-in-space movie by himself and made it funny and entertaining and that deserves a little golden statue IMO.

Best Picture

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

Who will win: The Revenant, in a big disappointment. It has had all of the momentum and seems to be a pretty easy choice. It's not a bad film, in fact it's a very good film, but not deserving of this price.

Who should win: Room. DUH. By a freaking mile.

Lock of the night: Dicaprio

Possible Upset of the night: Jennifer Jason Leigh

Now that my predictions are over, here is my list of the best films of 2015:

10. The Revenant
9. Steve Jobs
8. The Martian
7. Bridge of Spies
6. Brooklyn
5. The Big Short
4. Inside Out
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2. Spotlight
1. ROOM

Disappointed to see so little Oscar love for Star Wars (Daisy Ridley deserved a nomination) and the lack of a Best Picture nomination for Inside Out is a crime, but otherwise, the Academy had a pretty good year, in my humble opinion.

Here's hoping 2016 is close to as good as 2015 was!

Get your popcorn ready, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

NFL Season recap and Super Bowl prediction!

Alrighty, it's SUPER BOWL SUNDAY WOOOOOOOOOOOO and I thought this was an appropriate time to review my pre-season NFL predictions and see how I did:

1. The rumours of the demise of the San Francisco 49ers have been greatly exaggerated. I've seen experts suggesting they will win as few as three games. Pu-lease. Despite having the most tumultuous offseasons in NFL history, there is just too much talent there to have such a precipitous decline. Navarro Bowman is back to lead the rebuilt defense and he is on a mission. Colin Kaepernick will have a solid season and let's face it, Vernon Davis cannot possibly be worse. Count on a 9 or 10 win season and the Niners will be in the playoff race most of the season before just falling short.

Um. Well, Navarro Bowman DID have a great season, being nominated for Comeback Player of the Year and leading the entire NFL in tackles. But, Vernon Davis WAS worse and got himself traded to Denver, and Colin Kaepernick somehow lost his starting job to Blaine Gabbert and may have played himself out of town. The Niners never got close to the 9 or 10 wins I predicted, finishing 5-11. Not so good.

2. The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots will completely dissolve and both miss the playoffs. OK that one isn't as much a "prediction" as a "dream scenario".

Well both teams made the playoffs but neither is in today's SuperBowl, so all is well in the world.

3. Alex Smith will finally shed the label of "game manager", throwing for 4000 yards (many of them to Jeremy Maclin) and cancer survivor Eric Berry will inspire the defense as the Chiefs win 11 games and win the AFC West.

Well I was honestly pretty close on this one. Smith didn't get to 4000 yards but 3,486 isn't too far away, Jeremy Maclin caught 87 passes for over 1000 yards, and all Eric Berry did was return from cancer, put up 60 tackles and 10 passes defensed, and win Comeback Player of the year. Oh, and the Chiefs won exactly as many games as I predicted - 11 - but failed to win the AFC East by one game.

4. The NFC West will reclaim it's status of "best division in football" as the Cardinals finally take that next step and win the division. The Rams will also finally make strides and win 9-10 games.

Well, nobody is calling the NFC West the best division this year, and the Rams didn't quite get to 9 wins (7), but the Cardinals did win the division.

5. The Redskins are really going to regret demoting RGIII and by mid-season, when the team is 1-7 and both Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy have been completely ineffective, fans in DC will be clamoring for his return.

Couldn't have been much farther off on this one; RGIII was only active for one game all season, Cousins had a pretty good season and the Redskins finished 9-7 and won the NFC East. RGIII will certainly be playing somewhere else next year.

6. Andrew Luck will flirt with the NFL Record of 5,477 passing yards in a season, before falling just a couple hundred yards short of Peyton Manning's mark.

Oh boy, not quite. Luck was injured early and never got close to looking like himself, and the Colts missed the playoffs.

My original SuperBowl prediction was for the Green Bay Packers to be victorious over the Colts. Not even close. So since "bold" predictions didn't work out for me too well in the regular season, let's try to make up for that with a few bold predictions for today's game.

1. No touchdowns will be scored
2. Cam Newton will spend all day running for his life, and as a result will be the game's leading rusher, but won't be able to convert in the red zone
3. Ted Ginn Jr will be open deep once for an easy TD and will drop the pass
4. Von Miller will have 3 of the Broncos' 8 sacks and will be named MVP

Denver Broncos 15, Carolina Panthers 12

Please, please, folks.....no wagering.

Enjoy the game!