Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Best: Oscar Nominees and Oscar Game 2017

So the nominees were announced this past week for the 89th Academy Awards.

These awards remain the most prestigious in film.  And while many of you, dear readers, are of the opinion that all awards shows are terrible and should simply be shunned, it is my perpetual hope that Hollywood will reform itself and once again nominate movies that matter.

For example, here are the top 10 grossing films of the year:

1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2. Finding Dory
3. Captain America: Civil War
4.  The Secret Lives of Pets
5. The Jungle Book
6.  Deadpool
7.  Zootopia
8.  Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
9.  Suicide Squad
10.  Sing

And if you exclude G-Rated children's films from the list, it would also include Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Doctor Strange, Jason Bourne, and Star Trek Beyond.

Keep in mind that I have always maintained that box office alone is not a statement about a film's quality.  My own top ten of the year include:

1.  Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
2. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
3. Hacksaw Ridge
4. Captain America Civil War
5. Kung Fu
6. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
7.  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
8.  The Accountant
9.  Arrival
10. Finding Dory

While I am in the minority regarding my love of the movie I think was the best picture, more than half of the ones on my list are in the top ten box office.

This year's Oscars for Best Picture?  Where do they rank?

29.  "Arrival"
65.  "Fences"
47.  "Hacksaw Ridge"
92. "Hell or High Water"
31. "Hidden Figures"
27. "La La Land"
111. "Lion"
75.  "Manchester by the Sea"
115. "Moonlight"
Not a single one is from the top ten of the year and none of them (as of now) have made over $100 million.  

This tells me 2 things:

1.  This will once again be an incredibly low-rated Oscars.  The majority of movie goers do not have a dog in this fight.  Apathy is not a big ratings draw.

2.  The winner will be insignificant.  No one will really care about the winner in a few months.  The Oscars used to be about timeless movies.  But in the last decades they are about the film industry patting itself on the back for either being incredibly clever or send the "right" message.  Spotlight, Birdman, 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The Artist... Are these all films people will still be watching in 10 years?  (Of this list, I would favor Argo, which was an excellent movie.  But Lincoln is the more timeless film of that year.)

So below are my thoughts on some (not all) of this year's nominees.  

And make sure you scroll to the bottom if you would like to participate in this year's Oscar Game!

Performance by an actor in a leading role
    Casey Affleck in "Manchester by the Sea"
      Andrew Garfield in "Hacksaw Ridge"
      Ryan Gosling in "La La Land"
      Viggo Mortensen in "Captain Fantastic"
      Denzel Washington in "Fences"

      -I've only seen Garfield's and Gosling's movies.  And while Garfield showed more emotional range, Gosling's naturalness and charisma wins me over.  But this year it will probably go to Affleck.

      Performance by an actor in a supporting role
      Mahershala Ali in "Moonlight"
      Jeff Bridges in "Hell or High Water"
      Lucas Hedges in "Manchester by the Sea"
      Dev Patel in "Lion"
      Michael Shannon in "Nocturnal Animals"

      -Did not see any of the these, but lets just go with Dev Patel as a prediction.

      Performance by an actress in a leading role
      Isabelle Huppert in "Elle"
      Ruth Negga in "Loving"
      Natalie Portman in "Jackie"
      Emma Stone in "La La Land"
      Meryl Streep in "Florence Foster Jenkins"

      -I only saw Stone's performance, but I think this might also be her year.  This is especially true if La La Land sweeps its categories.  Of course Hollywood my reward Streep for her anti-Trump speech at the Globes.

      Performance by an actress in a supporting role
      Viola Davis in "Fences"
      Naomie Harris in "Moonlight"
      Nicole Kidman in "Lion"
      Octavia Spencer in "Hidden Figures"
      Michelle Williams in "Manchester by the Sea"

      -Again, didn't see any of these.  Williams might be due, but Davis is a fantastic actress (a 2 time Kal-El winner).

      Best animated feature film of the year
      "Kubo and the Two Strings"
      "My Life as a Zucchini"
      "The Red Turtle"

      -I've heard great things about Kubo, but none of these nominees have me truly excited as in years past.

      Achievement in cinematography
      "La La Land"

      -both Arrival and La La Land were gorgeously shot, but for its use of color, I'd have to give it to La La Land.

      Achievement in directing
      "Arrival" - Denis Villeneuve
      "Hacksaw Ridge" - Mel Gibson
      "La La Land" - Damien Chazelle
      "Manchester by the Sea" - Kenneth Lonergan
      "Moonlight" - Barry Jenkins

      Villeneuve had a unique voice and Chazelle created bright, beautiful spectacles.  But I have to give it to Gibson here.  His work on Hacksaw Ridge is powerful (though Chazelle will probably win).

      Achievement in film editing
      "Hacksaw Ridge"
      "Hell or High Water"
      "La La Land"

      -This is actually a tough call for me because each film I saw did some wonderfully different things with their editing.  Arrival created great time distortions for awesome emotional impact.  Hacksaw Ridge cut the battle scenes for maximum effectiveness.  And La La Land cut the films with a toe-tapping rhythm.  If I had to choose I think  I would go with Arrival, but again La La Land will probably win.

      Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
      "La La Land"

      -La La Land.  No question.

      Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
      "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" from "La La Land"
      "Can't Stop The Feeling" from "Trolls"
      "City Of Stars" from "La La Land"
      "The Empty Chair" from "Jim: The James Foley Story"
      "How Far I'll Go" from "Moana"

      -Again, La La Land.
      Best motion picture of the year
      "Hacksaw Ridge"
      "Hell or High Water"
      "Hidden Figures"
      "La La Land"
      "Manchester by the Sea"

      -Of the ones I have seen, I would give it to Hacksaw Ridge.  Mel Gibson made one of the best war movies in years that was beautifully shot and thematically strong.  A harrowing tale of faith and courage.  (But it won't win)

      Achievement in visual effects
      "Deepwater Horizon"
      "Doctor Strange"
      "The Jungle Book"
      "Kubo and the Two Strings"
      "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" 

      -While I give the edge to Rogue One, The Jungle Book had some amazing CGI and it was filmed in LA, which might be a big deal to voters.
      Adapted screenplay
      "Hidden Figures"

      -I only saw Arrival, it was very good.
      Original screenplay
      "Hell or High Water"
      "La La Land"
      "The Lobster"
      "Manchester by the Sea"
      "20th Century Women"

      -Only saw La La Land.

      So now, if you've read this far, I would like to invite you to participate in the CatholicSkywalker 2017 Oscar Game.

      OBJECT: Get the most points!

      HOW TO PLAY:  Fill out a score sheet for each category with your choice (who you want to win) and your prediction (who you think WILL win).  


      1.  MAJOR AWARDS
      -Best Picture
      -Best Director
      -Best Actor
      -Best Actress
      -Best Supporting Actor
      -Best Supporting Actress
      -Best Original Screenplay
      -Best Adapted Screenplay
      -Best Original Score
      -Best Original Song
      -Best Animate Feature

      On the night of the Oscars, give yourself 1 point for each correct guess in MY PREDICTIONS.  If you get a prediction wrong, subtract 1 point.  Give yourself 1 point for each correct guess in MY CHOICE.  There is no penalty for incorrect guesses for MY CHOICE.

      For example:

      -MY CHOICE = Mel Gibson, "Hacksaw Ridge"
      -MY PREDICTION = Damian Chazelle, "La La Land"

      -MY CHOICE =Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
      -MY PREDICTION = Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

      -MY CHOICE = Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
      -MY PREDICTION = Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

      If Damian Chazelle Best Director, gain 1 point for a correct guess in MY PREDICTIONS, but no points for an incorrect MY CHOICE  (total points = 1)

      If Ryan Gosling wins Best Actor, gain 1 point, for a correct MY CHOICE, but subtract 1 point for an incorrect MY PREDICTION (total points = 0)

      If Natalie Portman wins Best Actress, gain 1 points for correct MY CHOICE and 1 correct MY PREDICTION.  (total points =2)

      You may NOT make a guess for a MY CHOICE in a category if you have not seen any of the films in the category.  You may, however, make a blind guess for the MY PREDICTION section even if you have not seen any of the nominees.

      -Best Editing
      -Best Cinematography
      -Best Visual Effects
      -Best Sound Editing
      -Best Sound Mixing
      -Best Makeup
      -Best Costumes
      -Best Production Design

      For these, give yourself 1 point for each correct guess in MY PREDICTIONS.   Give yourself 1 points each correct guess in MY CHOICE.  There is no penalty for incorrect guesses for MY PREDICTIONS or MY CHOICE.

      3.  MINOR AWARDS
      -Best Documentary Feature
      -Best Documentary Short
      -Best Animated Short
      -Best Live Action Short
      -Best Foreign Language Film

      For these, give yourself half of a point (0.5) for each correct guess in MY PREDICTIONS.   Since so few people have seen these, there is no MY CHOICE section.  There is no penalty for incorrect guesses for MY PREDICTIONS.


      Fill out the below score sheet in the link below.  I will be the designated score-keeper.  You may change any choice up until the broadcast begins.

      The winner will receive bragging rights and recognition on this blog.


      1 comment:

      1. I am not playing until Shin Godzilla is added to all of the lists.