Feb 292016
 

morricone

The Oscars are over for another year, with the 88th Awards taking place today at the Dolby Theatre. It was one of the weirdest (and longest) ceremonies in recent years. The order of the presentation this year was meant to represent the journey through a film’s production, but that made sense for a mere two awards, and the ceremony was broken up by satirical clips, bizarre interludes, a troupe of girl scouts selling cookies to the audience, and live performances of the three nominated songs. Chris Rock did a stellar job as host, tackling the criticism about this year’s lack of diversity head on from his opening monologue, and crossing the line on several other occasions. Many of the presenters and winners took the opportunity to voice their concerns about diversity, equal opportunity, climate change and sexual assault awareness.

Mad Max: Fury Road led the way with six wins, cleaning up the technical categories including Best Editing and Best Production Design. I am sure everybody wondered if this would also be George Miller’s day too. The Revenant claimed three – including Best Director for Alejandro G. Inarritu in addition to Leonardo DiCaprio (Best Actor) and Emmanuel Lubezki (Best Cinematography), who were all-but sure things. Brie Larson claimed a win for Room (Best Actress), Mark Rylance landed Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies and Alicia Vikander was deemed the Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl. The Big Short won Best Adapted Screenplay and Ennio Morricone won his very first Oscar, at age 87, for The Hateful Eight. As many predicted Inside Out, Amy and Son of Saul were honoured for Best Animated, Documentary and Foreign Language Films respectively.

But, it was Spotlight that won the first and last awards – Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture – coming through the preferential ballot on top to become one of only a handful of films to win Best Picture with only one other victory. The film’s tremendous ensemble, its important and topical subject, and the fact that it is almost universally admired contributed.

Some personal highlights from the ceremony and the complete list of winners can be found after the jump: Continue reading »

Jan 122016
 

hqdefault

With the nominees in the 88th Academy Awards to be announced in the early hours of Friday morning here in Australia, we thought we would reveal our predictions as to who those anticipated nominees might be.

These predictions have come from a mix of influences – keeping up with the race, referring to ‘experts’ commentary and tips, keeping tabs on the nominees and winners at the various critics awards, Guilds and ceremonies, and mere speculation. These do not necessarily reflect who we think ‘should’ be nominated. It has been one of the most unpredictable awards seasons in some years, so we are far from certain about any of these categories.

So, after the jump, check out who our predicted nominees are, with a series of alternatives (in order of likelihood). Continue reading »

Dec 022015
 

thehuntingground

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the 15 films which have made the short-list for the Best Documentary Feature category for the 88th Academy Awards. The 15 were selected from a list of 124 eligible films. The 5 films which will receive a nomination will be announced on January 14, 2016, along with the rest of the categories.

Amy
Best Of Enemies
Cartel Land
Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief
He Named Me Malala
Heart Of A Dog
The Hunting Ground
Listen To Me Marlon
The Look Of Silence
Meru
3 1/2 minutes, 10 Bullets
We Come As Friends,
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Where To Invade Next
Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

I have only seen 5 of the films above, and I’m very happy to see that the challenging & topical films, The Hunting Ground and Cartel Land have both made the short-list. I also enjoyed Going Clear , although I personally don’t think it reaches the heights of aforementioned films. It’s interesting, but it is very much of the Alex Gibney mold – if you’ve seen any of his films, it feels very familiar.

I really don’t get the love for Amy, which along with The Look of Silence is widely considered a front-runner for the win. Amy isn’t a good documentary for many reasons. I love Senna, but I don’t like Amy.

There was hope that the Australian film Sherpa might get a nomination, but it seems there was only room for one mountain climbing film, with the highly praised Meru making the short-list.

The biggest omission for me is Welcome to Leith, the incredible Sundance documentary about a Neo-nazi who moves into a small community and attempts to set up a haven for fellow white supremacists. As well as been beautifully shot, the film offers both sides of the story in a far more in-depth and inclusive way than the average “good side/bad side” documentary.

I’ll be trying to watch a few more of these before the end of the year, with Meru, The Look of Silence, and Listen To Me Marlon on my must-see list.

Did your favourite documentary make the list? Which film(s) would you like to see receive a nomination?