Posts Tagged ‘best actress’

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2021 Oscar Predictions

April 24, 2021

I thought I was going to complete a bucket list project and watch every single film and short that was nominated for an Oscar this year. I basically went an entire year without being able to do my job, so it left me way more time to watch movies than I usually have. I kicked things into high gear starting in December and cranked out like 25-30 movies a month, but by the middle of April, I still had a handful of films I needed to watch and I wasn’t excited about any of them and poker and baseball started to dominate my time. On the eve of Oscar night, there are six films that were nominated that I haven’t seen. I did watch every international feature, documentary, and short though and that’s something I’ve definitely never done before. Below are my rankings and predictions for every category. I didn’t listen to any of the songs, so I left that category out and despite having a family member that works as an editor on big Hollywood movies Film Editing is the category I understand the least, so I left that off too. Enjoy!

Best Picture

  1. Promising Young Woman
  2. Minari
  3. Sound of Metal
  4. Nomadland
  5. The Father
  6. Judas and the Black Messiah
  7. The Trial of the Chicago 7
  8. Mank

Biggest Snub: Considering they can nominate as many as ten films for Best Pic, I think it’s crazy Soul didn’t a nomination. It was my third favorite movie of 2020 and such a feel good film, I can’t believe it’s not here. Also, I think it’s kind of strange that Thomas Vinterberg got a Best Director nomination but his Another Round didn’t get a Best Pic nom.

Prediction: I would be rather shocked if something other than Minari or Nomadland won. I think Nomadland is going to win, but Minari was a more enjoyable movie to me.

Best Actor

  1. Anthony Hopkins, The Father
  2. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  3. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
  4. Gary Oldman, Mank
  5. Steven Yeun, Minari

Biggest Snub: Delroy Lindo was so good in Da 5 Bloods that I thought he might have a decent chance at winning and he’s not even nominated. I’d rank him third on that list above.

Prediction: Chadwick Boseman has all the buzz and momentum, but Anthony Hopkins gave the performance of the year in The Father. While a posthumous Oscar would be really cool for Chadwick and his family — and he would be a deserving pick — I still think Sir Anthony gave a better performance.

Best Actress

  1. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman
  2. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
  3. Frances McDormand, Nomadland
  4. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Haven’t seen: Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Biggest Snub: There were a lot of really good performances from lead actresses last year, but I think the Academy mostly got it right. I thought Rosamund Pike absolutely made I Care A Lot and Zendaya really leveled up in Malcolm & Marie, but I’m not overly shocked neither of them are here.

Prediction: I believe Viola Davis is the favorite, but I think that’s ludicrous. Her screen time is rather limited and it’s not like she was Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs good. I’m rooting hard for Carey Mulligan here. She deserves it.

Best Director

  1. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
  2. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
  3. Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
  4. David Fincher, Mank
  5. Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

Biggest Snub: I’ll say Shaka King because his movie got a Best Pic nom while Thomas Vinterberg’s movie did not.

Prediction: It would be a massive upset if anyone other than Chloe Zhao won.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
  2. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
  3. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  4. Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
  5. Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Biggest Snub: It’s probably unfair that Lakeith Stanfield is eligible for this category. He was a lead actor in that movie (and so was Kaluuya probably). So he’s stealing someone’s spot and I’d suggest that someone should be Frank Langella in The Trial of the Chicago 7. He had me laughing that whole damn movie.

Prediction: This category is loaded, but Daniel Kaluuya has been sweeping awards season. Lock it up.

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
  2. Amanda Seyfried, Mank
  3. Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  4. Olivia Colman, The Father

Haven’t seen: Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

Biggest Snub: No one really stands out, but Dominque Fishback in Judas and the Black Messiah is probably the best performance that didn’t get nominated.

Prediction: This category is loaded too. I wouldn’t be mad if any of the top four won, but my favorite performance of the bunch was definitely Yuh-Jung Youn. Anyone that can make you laugh consistently while speaking a language you don’t understand is doing something special. I think she has stolen the momentum away from Seyfried, whom I used to think was a lock.

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Promising Young Woman
  2. Minari
  3. The Trial of the Chicago 7
  4. Judas and the Black Messiah
  5. Sound of Metal

Biggest Snub: Considering how wildly imaginative Soul was, it is crazy that it got snubbed.

Prediction: Sorkin is probably going to win for Chicago 7, but I think Emerald Fennell and Promising Young Woman are drawing live.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. The Father
  2. Nomadland
  3. One Night in Miami…
  4. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  5. The White Tiger

Biggest Snub: Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things was complete insanity. I’m not sure I liked the movie, but he unquestionably writes on a level that mere mortals are not capable of.

Prediction: Anthony Hopkins is legendary in The Father but Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton gave him plenty to work with in a brilliant script. I don’t think the script is the best aspect of Nomadland but I actually think it might be the favorite in this category as well.

Best Animated Feature

  1. Soul
  2. Wolfwalkers
  3. Onward
  4. Over The Moon

Haven’t seen: A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Biggest Snub: I’ve actually only seen the nominated films. I loved the first Croods movie so I’m a little surprised that its sequel got beat out by Over The Moon and Shaun The Sheep.

Prediction: Wolfwalkers was great, but Soul should have been a Best Pic nom and will win here easily.

Best Documentary Feature

  1. My Octopus Teacher
  2. Time
  3. Collective
  4. Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
  5. The Mole Agent

Biggest Snubs: Dick Johnson is Dead and Boys State feel like massive snubs. They’d both crack my top 5 easily.

Prediction: My Octopus Teacher blew my mind because its subject is so amazing and I think it’s unbelievably cool that they were able to catch that relationship between man and sea creature on film but… Collective and Time are far more poignant — one of those two are almost certainly going to win and I’ll say Time takes home the Oscar.

Best International Feature

  1. Another Round
  2. Quo Vadis, Aida?
  3. Collective
  4. Better Days
  5. The Man Who Sold His Skin

Biggest Snub: There’s a Korean thriller I saw on Netflix named The Call. I loved it, but it has gotten basically zero attention anywhere that I’ve seen.

Prediction: Another Round feels like a lock, especially with that Best Director nomination, but Quo Vadis, Aida? was a great movie and should give the Danish submission a run for its money.

Best Cinematography

  1. Nomadland
  2. Mank
  3. Judas and the Black Messiah
  4. News of the World
  5. The Trial of the Chicago 7

Biggest Snub: I don’t think I really liked Tenet much, but it was cool to look at, that’s for sure. Same with I’m Thinking of Ending Things.

Prediction: Nomadland is a virtual lock.

Best Production Design

  1. Mank
  2. News of the World
  3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  4. Tenet
  5. The Father

Biggest Snub: First Cow probably deserved an Oscar nomination for something and it’s production design was definitely great.

Prediction: Mank feels pretty safe here.

Best Costume Design

  1. Emma
  2. Mank
  3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  4. Mulan

Haven’t seen: Pinocchio

Biggest Snub: Probably something I haven’t seen, but the guys in One Night in Miami… were looking pretty sharp.

Prediction: Wide open between the top 3, so I’ll go with my #1 in Emma.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  1. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  2. Emma.
  3. Mank

Haven’t Seen: Hillbilly Elegy, Pinocchio

Biggest Snub: I can’t say I was a fan of Birds of Prey, but this is something it definitely did well.

Prediction: Well, I didn’t watch 40% of the nominees, but Ma Rainey seems to be a big favoite here.

Best Visual Effects

  1. Tenet
  2. The Midnight Sky
  3. Love and Monsters
  4. Mulan

Haven’t seen: The One and Only Ivan

Prediction: I was pretty mixed on Tenet but the visual effects were A+. This should be an easy win.

Best Original Score

  1. Soul
  2. Mank
  3. Minari
  4. News of the World
  5. Da 5 Bloods

Biggest Snub: I liked the score for Nomadland enough to add the soundtrack to my library on Apple Music and use it for background noise while I meditate… so… I definitely thought it would crack Oscar’s top 5.

Prediction: Soul

Best Sound

  1. Sound of Metal
  2. Soul
  3. News of the World
  4. Mank

Haven’t seen: Greyhound

Biggest Snub: Definitely NOT Tenet.

Prediction: Sound of Metal not winning this category would be insanity.

Best Live Action Short

  1. The Present
  2. White Eye
  3. Feeling Through
  4. The Letter Room
  5. Two Distant Strangers

Biggest Snub: Only saw these five.

Prediction: Before watching these, I thought The Letter Room probably had the best chance simply because Oscar Isaac was the star and it had some buzz, but as you can see above, it was far from my favorite of the noms. I think they were all pretty good and as much as I’d like to see Joey Bada$$ be part of an Oscar win (for Two Distant Strangers), The Present and White Eye are a notch above the competition here.

Best Documentary Short

  1. A Love Song for Latasha
  2. A Concerto is a Conversation
  3. Colette
  4. Do Not Split
  5. Hunger Ward

Biggest Snub: I only saw one other documentary short and I’m fine with its lack of inclusion.

Prediction: This is the first time I’ve seen all five nominees in a shorts category and, honestly, I still have no clue. The only one of these I didn’t thoroughly enjoy was Hunger Ward (and it’s not like that didn’t cover heartbreaking ground). Prior to watching these, I was under the impression that A Concerto was the favorite, but I’ll be rooting for Latasha.

Best Animated Short

  1. If Anything Happens I Love You
  2. Opera
  3. Burrow
  4. Genius Loci
  5. Yes-People

Prediction: I didn’t even enjoy the bottom two on the list and Burrow is at least one full notch below the top two. The visual of Opera was absolutely epic, but If Anything Happens I Love You is the most touching of this lot by a wide margin, plus it’s animation and music are high quality as well. Probably an easy win.

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The Imitation Game (2015)

May 17, 2015

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode
Director: Morten Tyldum (Headhunters)

Bottom Line: It was interesting timing for me to watch The Imitation Game considering I just watched director Morten Tyldum’s excellent Headhunters last week and a few weeks before that I saw Ex Machina, whose plot is largely centered around something called a Turing Test, which evaluates if a machine can exhibit intelligent behavior similar to that of a human being. I knew nothing of The Imitation Game plot prior to watching it so it was a pleasant surprise to discover it is the story of Alan Turing, a highly regarded British mathematician and cryptanalyst for whom the Turing Test was named after.

Benedict Cumberbatch gives his typical wonderful performance as Turing, a man whose awkward genius and social ineptitude isn’t that far removed Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes portrayal on his BBC series. He plays Turing with a touch less narcissism and quite a bit more vulnerability. Indeed, Turing was a homosexual in a time (the 1940s-1950s) when such a thing wasn’t just frowned upon, it was prosecutable. While the film spends time detailing his arrest for gross indecency and flashes back to his schooling as a youth and the formation of his first meaningful relationship with another boy, the majority of the film highlights his time at Bletchley Park, a British codebreaking centre, working with a team of fellow geniuses and trying to crack Enigma, a machine used by Nazi Germany to send coded military messages.

The Imitation Game is an amazing and heartbreaking story, in which one of the greatest (unknown) heroes of World War II is later vilified by his country for something we now view as socially acceptable. The film combines drama and humor exceptionally well. Turing is portrayed as a flawed, often self-centered human being, but still someone that is quite easy to root for. Cumberbatch is worthy of his Oscar nomination and Keira Knightley is also great as one of his fellow codebreakers and continues to solidify her status as what I consider to be The Next Kate Winslet.

The Imitation Game delivers on all levels with a great story and top notch acting. Alan Turing is a man whose time and contributions to our world should never be forgotten. The posthumous pardon he was granted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2009 was long overdue.

Replay Value: This is definitely a film worth watch again and probably worth owning.
Sequel Potential: N/A
Oscar Potential: Won Best Adapted Screenplay. Cumberbatch and Knightley received acting nominations, Tyldum a directing nom, and the film was also nominated for Best Picture, film editing, production design, and score.

Grade: 8/10 (Excellent)

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Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

March 3, 2013

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver
Director: David O. Russell (The Fighter, Three Kings)

Quick Thoughts: David O. Russell follows up The Fighter with another powerful film in Silver Linings Playbook. This film tackles mental disorders and broken relationships, but is still a love story at its core. Russell seems to have a knack for coaxing great performances out of his casts. After earning three acting nominations for The Fighter, the Silver Linings Playbook cast managed four. De Niro gives his best effort in at least ten years, Lawrence cements her status as the best young actress in the business, and Cooper is shockingly awesome. Truly, in most years without a Daniel Day Lewis movie, Cooper deserves an Oscar. The material handled here could easily be presented in an annoying fashion, but the cast makes it work…wonderfully. The end result is a sweet and troubled love story, the kind of which a man shouldn’t have to be dragged to the theater to see.

Viewings: 1
Replay Value: Worthy of owning.
Sequel Potential: None…however, Lawrence and Cooper have signed on to Russel’s next project, along with Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, and Amy Adams. Holy crap.
Oscar Potential: A Best Actress win for Lawrence (the first of many?), nominations for Cooper, De Niro, Weaver, Russell, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Nudity: I don’t recall, but Seth MacFarlane noted at The Oscars: “and Jennifer Lawrence’s boobs we haven’t seen at all.”
Grade: 8/10 (Excellent)
RottenTomatoes Scores: Critics: 92% Audience: 88%
IMDB Rating: 8/10
Recommendation: A fantastic movie featuring great performances. A love story both sides of a couple should appreciate.

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Winter’s Bone (2010)

February 17, 2011


Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes
Director: Debra Granik (Down To The Bone)
Quick Thoughts: Meet Jennifer Lawrence. The 20 year old actress gives one of the best performances of the year in Winter’s Bone. How often does a young and relatively unknown actor or actress completely carry movie on their backs? Not often, but that’s the case here. Lawrence plays Ree Doddy, a 17 year old country girl that finds herself struggling to get by while caring for her two younger siblings because their mother is incompetent and mute and their father has disappeared. The law comes looking for Ree’s dad and gives notice that if he doesn’t appear for a court date, they are going to have to give up their property, which sends Ree on a hunt for her father and into the dark and twisted roots of their family tree. It’s a haunting film. We’re talking about a world where its commonplace to offer your 17 year old niece a joint as a sympathetic gesture because you’re husband just got done physically threatening her and there’s nothing wrong with teaching your 12 year old brother and six year old sister how to shoot a hunting rifle because they just might have to provide for themselves in the near future. It’s a grim tale and Ree really has no one to turn to because her family, immediate and extended, are all involved in cooking up crank. And don’t fuck with grandpa cause he will have your ass beat if you start asking questions. Or maybe kill you. Oddly enough, she finds an ally in her Uncle Teardrop, played by John Hawkes in an Oscar-nominated performance. At first, Teapot is painted as your typical drug-addled, abusive hick, but Hawkes turns the character into something deeper and sinister. Speaking of Oscar nominations, Lawrence got a well deserved nomination and even though Natalie Portman is heavily favored to win the statuette, Jennifer Lawrence is a serious darkhorse candidate. At any rate, her performance is better than Annette Bening in The Kids Are Alright or Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit. Winter’s Bone is at times heartbreaking, intense, and gripping. A true sleeper in 2010 and one you shouldn’t miss.
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: More of a one time film than something you keep on repeat.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscar Potential: Four nominations: Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence, Best Supporting Actor for John Hawkes, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Nudity: None.
Grade: 8/10 (Excellent)
Recommendation: Winter’s Bone has been overlooked by the masses, but it’s one of the better 2010 films I’ve seen. A solid thriller with some standout performances.