Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2016 Oscar Preview (JM)

Today I received this out of the blue from my friend and collaborator Jay Maronde.  Let me just say I disagree with him about Best Actor, as well as a few other choices, but I'm not going to put up my own picks.  I am not a member of the Academy either, and I don't receive copies of all of these movies in the mail and watch them as my job.  Jay and I used to write for our school newspaper, and get to go to screenings for free, but that ride ended.  As such, I cannot pick which is the "best" because I usually just pick the one I saw, so I can convince myself that I have very good taste.  However I wouldn't predict that Brooklyn or Bridge of Spies will win Best Picture.  Every year my dad holds an Oscar contest and always ends up winning because he just copies what everyone else is saying, making some kind of scientific deduction based on crowd-sourced predictions.  Frankly I don't think anyone has any business making predictions unless they've seen all of the movies in the category, and I cannot say that is the case for me in a single category.  There are many movies that came out this year that I still want to see, and eventually I'll get around to them.  I saw what I wanted to see in the theater, for the most part.  Still I appreciate Jay's thoughts, so here they are. -JK 

2016 Oscar Preview

This Sunday is Hollywood’s biggest night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards Night, or as most call it, the Oscars. These beloved awards are the biggest prize of the awards season and as such, I’m hereby making my predictions for the winners. For the record, I’m not a member of the Academy (although as a lifelong lover of movies, I would love to be) so I have no knowledge of what the actual winners will be, you’ll just have to watch this Sunday to find out.

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)::   Star Wars: The Force Awakens   --- Without a doubt John Williams wins again. The man is good, very good, maybe the best ever, and he’s got a wall of Oscars to prove it. I’ll be completely stunned if Star Wars wins anything besides this, or if John Williams doesn’t win.

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG) :: “Writing’s On The Wall,” Spectre  -- The only Oscar that this year’s James Bond film is nominated for is an esay win. TO be honest, I didn’t like the song that much, but the song got a lot of buzz and I don’t think that any of the songs that it's against have any chance.

PRODUCTION DESIGN:: Mad Max: Fury Road  -- While I expect stiff competition from The Martian  and The Revenant, Mad Max still comes out on top. The movie imagined a whole other world unlike anything Hollywood has ever seen and the outrageous cars iced the cake.

VISUAL EFFECTS: The Revenant – very very tough competition in the category. I personally believe that Ex Machina deserves the Oscar, but I’m pretty sure that the academy voters will be so impressed by Leo being mauled by a bear that this film walks away with the prize.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY) :: Brooklyn --- Again a tough category but this this film received great reviews and wide acclaim despite not being tremendously successful at the box office. The Academy voters will want to recognize it somehow, even though it has no chance at winning the big awards.

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)  :: Straight Outta Compton ---  Let me be clear. I think Ex Machina should win this prize; again the story is engaging and compelling. However, the controversy surrounding these Oscars leads me to believe that this film will win. For what it’s worth, the writers should turn their statue over to Ice Cube and thank him for making the history engaged by this film and for having in advance written/ lived  all the best lines in the film.

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:  Mad Max : Fury Road  -- again a tough pick, but I think that Mad Max edges out The Revenant in the voting.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:  Son of Saul --- there has been a great deal of buzz about this film.

SOUND EDITING: The Revenant.

SOUND MIXING::  The Revenant – As with the sound editing award I think that MAD MAX or Star Wars might have a chance, but in the end The Revenant  takes them both.

FILM EDITING: The Revenant. --  Again, bear rape is just too much for the voters to ignore.

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE) :: Cartel Land – Don’t hold me to this pick, as the Nina Simone bio-pic What Happened, Miss Simone?  could easily take the prize, but my money is on Cartel Land

COSTUME DESIGN: Cinderella --- all the way. Mad Max  and The Revenant are both very strong contenders for this prize, but I think that the beautiful classic takes the award in what amounts to a huge upset.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Mad Max: Fury Road --- While I would give the award to The Hateful 8, and many in the Academy would vote for The Revenant, I suspect that those two films split the vote and leave the groundbreaking  Mad Max the winner again.

+++++++ THE BIG PRIZES++++++++

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:  Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight.  The grit. The blood. The attitude. The brutal vulgarity. I wouldn’t necessarily call her performance ground breaking, but not since Mike Tyson needed a sparring partner has anyone taken such a beating.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Christian Bale, The Big Short  -- The Academy Loves Bale, and so do I. I’d give Tom Hardy a 1 out of 10 chance, but don’t think he can muster the support to beat an old favorite.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE::::  Jennifer Lawrence, Joy   -- I want so badly for Charlize Theron to win for her role in MAD MAX. The vision of a female fantasy movie hero has inspired so many young women. However, she’s not nominated, and everyone loves J.LAW. I will note that I wouldn’t be completely surprised if Saoirse Ronan, from Brooklyn, pulls off the miracle and goes home with the statue.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:: Matt Damon, The Martian.  Again, let me be clear: 1st, I didn’t like The Martian  that much, it was long and dragged, and it was basically Matt Damon’s sci fi version of CASTAWAY.  2nd I really, really, really, want Leo to win, The bear rape was intense and he’s certainly deserving. BUT all politics aside, the Academy loves to vote for someone who suffered a physical change for their art and Damon’s weight loss is terrifyingly impressive. There was a lot of acclaim for Bryan Cranston’s work on Trumbo, but even riding the Breaking Bad wave I don’t think he has any chance against the emaciated Damon.

DIRECTING:: The Revenant -- Alejandro González Iñárritu – This category, besides being notoriously tough to predict, features a slew of great directors; My vote goes to Iñárritu, he’s extremely popular and the film was very good.

BEST PICTURE: The Revenant – This was probably the hardest choice amongst the whole article. All of this year’s nominees were great in their own way but again I feel Iñárritu comes out with the biggest win, in admittedly a very close race. I also wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Mad Max or The Martian pull off the night's biggest upset.

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