Academy Awards 2019: Predictions

In a year where the general quality of movies left much to be desired, the Oscars may not have any movie which wins more than 4 of the coveted gongs. Here are my predictions for the winners of 2019.

You can also have a look at my predictions in the years from 2014 to 2018 here: https://couldhavebeenacontender.wordpress.com/2018/03/

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Who Will Win: ‘Roma’ but I would not be surprised if ‘Green Book’ steals it.

Who Should Win:’Roma’

Honourable Mention: ‘Green Book’. Why some movies like ‘Black Panther’, ‘BlacKkKlansman’ and ‘Vice’ have been nominated is beyond me.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Who Will Win: Rami Malek

Who Should Win: Rami Malek

Honourable Mention: Viggo Mortensen deserves some acclaim for his acting in ‘Green Book’

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Who Will Win: Glenn Close. Give that lady an Oscar please.

Who Should Win: Glenn Close

Honourable Mention: Olivia Coleman and Melissa McCarthy

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali for ‘Green Book’. You can bet your money on this.

Who Should Win: Mahershala Ali

Honourable Mention: Richard Grant for ‘Can you ever forgive me?’

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Who Will Win: Regina King for ‘If Beale Street could Talk’

Who Should Win: Regina King for ‘If Beale Street could Talk’

Honourable Mention: Dames Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone for ‘The Favourite’. I have much sympathy for Amy Adams who is on course to be the next Glenn Close: lots of nominations but no wins.

Best Achievement in Directing

Who Will Win: Who else? Alfonso Cuaron for ‘Roma’

Who Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron

Honourable Mention: Pawel Pawlikowski for ‘Cold War’.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Who Will Win: ‘Green Book’

Who Should Win: ‘First Reformed’

Honourable Mention: Why was ‘Eighth Grade’ not nominated?

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Who Will Win: ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’

Who Should Win: ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’

Honourable Mention: ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Who Will Win: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

Who Should Win: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

Honourable Mention: ‘Mirai’

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Who Will Win: ‘Roma’

Who Should Win: ‘Cold War’

Honourable Mention: ‘Shoplifters’

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron for ‘Roma’

Who Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron for ‘Roma’

Honourable Mention: Lukasz Sal for ‘Cold War’

Best Achievement in Editing

Who Will Win: ‘Vice’ in a very open category

Who Should Win: No clear favourites in this category. ‘First Man’ was not even nominated.

Honourable Mention: ‘Green Book’

Best Achievement in Production Design

Who Will Win: ‘Black Panther’

Who Should Win: ‘The Favourite’

Honourable Mention: ‘First Man’

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Who Will Win: ‘Black Panther’

Who Should Win: ‘The Favourite’

Honourable Mention: Mary Poppins Returns

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

Who Will Win: ‘Vice’

Who Should Win: ‘The Favourite’

Honourable Mention: ‘Black Panther’

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Who Will Win: I really have no clue here because ‘First Man’ and ‘A Star is Born’ are not nominated. If having a lot of music is the criteria, then ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ should win but the award may go to ‘Black Panther’

Who Should Win: None of the nominated movie have an Oscar worthy score.

Honourable Mention: ‘Black Panther’

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Who Will Win: ‘First Man’

Who Should Win: ‘First Man’

Honourable Mention: ‘Black Panther’

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Who Will Win: ‘A Quiet Place’

Who Should Win: ‘First Man’

Honourable Mention: ‘Black Panther’

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

Who Will Win: Lady Gaga for ‘A Star is Born’

Who Should Win: Lady Gaga for ‘A Star is Born’

Honourable Mention: Diane Warren for ‘RBG’

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Who Will Win: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Who Should Win: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’

Honourable Mention: ‘First Man’

Best Documentary, Feature

Who Will Win: ‘Free Solo’

Who Should Win: ‘RBG’

Honourable Mention: ‘Hale County This Morning, This Evening’

Edition 92

The Non-English Movie of The Week

Roma (Mexico, 2018) [IMDB: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 96%, My Rating: 8.5]

Trailer

Poles apart from his previous venture ‘Gravity’ in scope and temperament, Alfanso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ is a study of the unraveling of a family told through the eyes of the housemaid who herself is in the midst of a personal turmoil. Rumoured to be based on the director’s childhood, ‘Roma’ is undoubtedly the pinnacle of the director’s vision. It is a love letter to the housemaid and his childhood told with evocative images and a deep empathy for the characters at the centre of the story. The movie is also remarkable for its attention to detail. ‘Roma’ is a universal movie that would not be out of place in any time or geography. Must see.

Movies I Saw This Week 

Cold War (Poland, 2018) [IMDB: 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%, My Rating: 9.0]

Trailer

Deviating from the norm, I have included this Polish movie in this section of the blog because I loved this movie. I believe that it is one of the best movies of the year and would easily walk into the top three of the year. It is a searing love story set against the Cold War. With remarkable lead performances and memorable cinematography, ‘Cold War’ is an instant classic which is on a higher pedestal than the director’s previous work ‘Ida’. The political shenanigans and the intrigue of ‘Cold War’ are heightened by the drama and passion that the director brings into the movie. Two star crossed lovers go through hell as they cling on to the last shreds of hope when villains in the form of circumstances and people envelop them. For all my experience of watching thousands of movies, I never saw the ending coming. The climax of the movie is something that will etch this movie in your mind for a long time. Must see.

Green Book (2018) [IMDB: 8.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 94%, My Rating: 8.0]

Trailer

‘Green Book’ has been at the receiving end of a concerted campaign to discredit it ahead of the Oscars. Truth be told, this is the most topical film of the year with an excellent screenplay and commendable performances. Mahershala Ali is a shoo-in for the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ at the Oscars. ‘Green Book’ is a classic road movie which tells the true tale of an African American musician chauffeured by a Italian American in the racially volatile deep South during the 60s. ‘Green Book’ deals with important themes of racism, friendship and culture and emerges unscathed. The endearing movie is boosted by its charming sense of comedy. Overall, a very good movie which is worth your time.

Vice (2018) [IMDB: 7.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 66%, My Rating: 7.5]

Trailer

Adam Mckay holds back no punches is an all out assault on Dick Cheney in ‘Vice’. The director sticks to his signature style of film making which is a curious superimposition of the documentary style on a drama. Backed by first rate research, the movie reveals more about the events that catapulted Cheney into the driver’s seat in American politics and his links with the stakeholders. For the uninitiated, the movie also traces the depth of the relationship between the principal actors of the Bush-Cheney era. As a cinematic venture ‘Vice’ does fall flat on many occasions but it is a movie that needs appreciation for the mere fact that it was made.

The Favourite (2018) [IMDB: 7.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 94%, My Rating: 8.0]

Trailer

In a movie where all three female protagonists are evidently relishing the experience of acting to a fine script, ‘The Favourite’ tells the scheming that defined the reign of Queen Anne. Severely weighed down by her infirmities and declining health, Queen Anne is no more than a figurehead controlled by people with a plan. Her feeble attempts to assert herself only reveal the extent of her helplessness. Into the scene walks in another devious character played by Emma Stone and then all hell breaks loose. The director who rightfully receives an Oscar nomination does not paint the times in the class and elegance movies have tried to portray the times. There are frequent encounters with ‘other sections’ of the society. Ultimately, ‘The Favourite’ is a universal story of a seemingly powerful person in decline who is controlled by more nefarious elements. Realization comes late to the monarch and by then all possibilities of a course correction are exhausted. Highly recommended.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) [IMDB: 7.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 98%, My Rating: 7.5]

Trailer

Based on a true story and a bestselling book, this movie is a subversive take on the market for memorabilia. A down on her luck author, played memorably by Melissa McCarthy, conjures up a scheme to make some easy money. The movie is more of a social commentary on characters at the fringe of the society. Their small joys and a life which lurches from one crisis to another is shown with care in the movie. Watch it for Melissa McCarthy.

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) [IMDB: 8.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 88%, My Rating: 7.5]

Trailer

Bohemian Rhapsody ticks all the boxes of a biopic but what elevates the movie are the sensational soundtrack and an award winning performance from Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. Malek becomes Mercury and carries the movie on his shoulders from the first frame till the last one. The movie does not have any great surprises but is easy to watch and engaging. Recommended.

Widows (2018) [IMDB: 7.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 91%, My Rating: 7.0]

Trailer

‘Widows’ from director Steve McQeen is a heist movie with several undertones. Four women find themselves at life’s crossroads when their partners are killed in a botched up heist. Some of them team up to finish the mission which took their partners’ lives without realizing that they are only foot soldiers in a larger plot. Deftly weaving politics, corruption and other criminal elements, ‘Widows’ proceeds with a rapidly mounting body count culminating in a implausible yet satisfying finale. A special mention for the performance of Viola Davis is warranted.

The Front Runner (2018) [IMDB: 6.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 59%, My Rating: 6.5]

Trailer

Hugh Jackman plays a front-runner for the Democratic party’s ticket to challenge Ronald Reagan. The movie is based on the true story of Gary Hart who was consigned to the dustbin of history after the scandal that engulfed his campaign saw the wheels come off his juggernaut. The movie tries to play up the events in the story as a turning point in American politics but that argument does not hold up to scrutiny. The major problem with the movie is that Gary Hart is shown as a smooth talking politician with a vacuous personality lacking in any courage of conviction. His duplicity does not help the case of the movie.

Documentary of the Week

The Panama Papers (2018) [IMDB: 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 100%, My Rating: 7.0]

Trailer

The inside story of the courageous journalism that drove the leak of the Panama papers. Could have been better but still worth a watch.

Eagerly waiting for: The Oscars

Did you know: The Golden Globes are decided by the 93 voting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association whereas the Academy Awards have more than 6,000 voters.

Academy Awards 2017: Predictions

Oscar statuettes are displayed at Times Square Studios 23 January 2006 in New York. The statuettes will be presented to winners of the 78th Academy Awards 05 March 2006 in Hollywood.

The coveted Oscars will be handed out tomorrow. My attempt to see the future this year. You can also have a look at my predictions in the previous years here: 2016 , 2015 and 2014.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Who Will Win: ‘La La Land’

Who Should Win:’Manchester by the Sea’

Honourable Mention: ‘Moonlight’

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Who Will Win: A toss up between Denzel Washington and Casey Affleck. I would love to see Casey Affleck win.

Who Should Win: Casey Affleck

Honourable Mention: Denzel Washington could spring a surprise. I also liked Ryan Gosling’s performance.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Who Will Win: Emma Stone because Hollywood loves its princesses and Emma carried the biggest film of the year on her shoulders.

Who Should Win: Isabelle Huppert because her performance in Elle is nuanced and perfect.

Honourable Mention: Natalie Portman for ‘Jackie’

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali for Moonlight

Who Should Win: Jeff Bridges for ‘Hell or High Water’

Honourable Mention: Michael Shannon for ‘Nocturnal Animals’

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Who Will Win: Viola Davis for ‘Fences’

Who Should Win: Viola Davis for ‘Fences’

Honourable Mention: Michelle Williams for ‘ Manchester by the Sea’

Best Achievement in Directing

Who Will Win: Damian Chazelle for ‘La La Land’

Who Should Win: Damian Chazelle

Honourable Mention: Kenneth Lonergan for ‘Manchester by the Sea’

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Who Will Win: Manchester by the Sea

Who Should Win: Manchester by the Sea

Honourable Mention: La La Land

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Who Will Win: Moonlight

Who Should Win: Fences

Honourable Mention: Arrival

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Who Will Win: Zootopia will win. I would not be surprised if ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ wins. Kubo is the better movie but Zootopia is a love letter to diversity and tolerance (and this is 2017).

Who Should Win: Kubo and the Two Strings’

Honourable Mention: Moana

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Who Will Win: Close call between ‘Toni Erdmann’ and ‘The Salesman’. For a politically charged season the likely winner is ‘The Salesman’ from Iran.

Who Should Win: A Man Called Ove

Honourable Mention: Land of Mine

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Who Will Win: Linus Sandgren for ‘La La Land’

Who Should Win: Linus Sandgren

Honourable Mention: Greig Fraser for ‘Lion’ and Rodrigo Prieto for ‘Silence’

Best Achievement in Editing

Who Will Win: Mad Max: La La Land

Who Should Win: La  la Land

Honourable Mention: Hacksaw Ridge

Best Achievement in Production Design

Who Will Win: La La Land

Who Should Win: La La Land

Honourable Mention: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Who Will Win: Jackie

Who Should Win: Jackie

Honourable Mention: La La Land

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

Who Will Win: Star Trek Beyond

Who Should Win: Star Trek Beyond

Honourable Mention: A Man Called Ove

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Who Will Win: La La Land

Who Should Win: La La Land

Honourable Mention: Moonlight

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

Who Will Win: La La Land

Who Should Win: La La Land

Honourable Mention: None

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Who Will Win: The Jungle Book

Who Should Win: Star Wars: The Jungle Book

Honourable Mention: Kuboe and the Two Strings

Best Documentary, Feature

Who Will Win: OJ: Made in America

Who Should Win: OJ: Made in America

Honourable Mention: 13th

Academy Awards 2016: Predictions

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It is that time of the year when Hollywood hands out its most coveted gongs. At the risk of sounding naive after three days, here are my predictions for this year’s Oscar winners.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Who Will Win: This is a very tricky category. For a long time ‘Spotlight’ was the front-runner but ‘The Revenant’ seems to have gathered the steam in the final laps of the race. I will put my vote on ‘Spotlight’ and it is more than likely that I will be wrong.

Who Should Win:’Spotlight’

Honourable Mention: ‘The Big Short’

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Who Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio. No questions asked.

Who Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio

Honourable Mention: I liked Bryan Cranston in ‘Trumbo’ a lot but this is Leo’s year.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Who Will Win: Brie Larson. In a strong field she has that little extra that makes her performance stand out.

Who Should Win: Brie Larson

Honourable Mention: Saoirse Ronan in ‘Brooklyn’ gives a well calibrated performance. So do Charlotte Rampling and Cate Blanchett.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Who Will Win: Sylvester Stallone. Let us give an Oscar to Rambo.

Who Should Win: Mark Rylance in ‘Bridge of Spies’

Honourable Mention: Mark Ruffalo

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Who Will Win: Alicia Vikander for ‘The Danish Girl’. She puts in another solid performance in ‘Ex-Machina’.

Who Should Win: Rachel McAdams

Honourable Mention: Kate Winslet

Best Achievement in Directing

Who Will Win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will create history by winning back to back Oscars

Who Should Win: George Miller for ‘Mad Max’, a work of sheer genius

Honourable Mention: Tom McCarthy

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Who Will Win: Spotlight

Who Should Win: Spotlight

Honourable Mention: Inside Out

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Who Will Win: The Big Short

Who Should Win: The Big Short

Honourable Mention: Room

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Who Will Win: Inside Out. Sealed and delivered.

Who Should Win: Inside Out

Honourable Mention: Anomalisa

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Who Will Win: Son of Saul. First win for Hungary.

Who Should Win: Son of Saul

Honourable Mention: Mustang

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Who Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki for ‘The Revenant’

Who Should Win: Emmanuel Lubezki

Honourable Mention: Roger Deakins for ‘Sicario’

Best Achievement in Editing

Who Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Honourable Mention: Spotlight

Best Achievement in Production Design

Who Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Honourable Mention: The Martian

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Who Will Win: Carol

Who Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Honourable Mention: Cinderella

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

Who Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Honourable Mention: The Revenant

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Who Will Win: Ennio Morricone for ‘The Hateful Eight’. A long overdue competitive Oscar for a legend.

Who Should Win: Ennio Morricone

Honourable Mention: Thomas Newman for ‘Bridge of Spies’

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Who Will Win: The Revenant

Who Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Honourable Mention: Bridge of Spies

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Who Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Who Should Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Honourable Mention: The Revenant

Best Documentary, Feature

Who Will Win: Amy

Who Should Win: The Look of Silence

Honourable Mention: Cartel Land

Oscar Predictions 2015

Oscars 2015: Predictions

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

This is one of the toughest years in Oscar history where many of the major categories are too close to call. Still, I will put my reputation at stake.

Here is my list of bets for 2015 Oscars.

Best Motion Picture  of the Year

Who will win: ‘Boyhood’ because it is a feel good movie even when it feels like a long television series. ‘Birdman’ is touted as the closest competition but it is too unconventional for mainstream audiences. If I had a vote, it would have been cast for ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’.

Who deserves to win: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’.

Darkhorse: ‘Birdman’.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Who will win: Eddie Redmayne

Who deserves to win: Eddie Redmayne.

Darkhorse: Michael Keaton. Though the challenge by the thespian is said to be more than formidable, his only hope of victory is by gaining some sentimental votes.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Who will win: Julianne Moore all the way.

Who deserves to win: Julianne Moore even though a special mention must be made of Marion Cotillard.

Darkhorse: Absolutely no competition.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Who will win: J K Simmons. Sealed and delivered.

Who deserves to win: J K Simmons

Darkhorse: An honorable mention for Mark Ruffalo.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Who will win: Patricia Arquette for her heartwarming performance. An Oscar is long overdue.

Who deserves to win: Patricia Arquette.

Darkhorse: Other nominees including Meryl Streep are just filling in the nomination slots.

Best Achievement in Directing

Who will win: The toughest category to predict this year. Should Richard Linklater be awarded for his commitment and passion for ‘Boyhood’ or is it Alexandro Innaritu who deserves acclaim for the unconventional ‘Birdman’? My vote is for Richard Linklater but I won’t be surprised if Innaritu pulls off a surprise.

Who deserves to win: Richard Linklater

Darkhorse: Wes Anderson.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Who will win: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’.

Who deserves to win: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Darkhorse: ‘Boyhood’.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Who will win: ‘The Imitation Game’. A close contender is ‘Whiplash’.

Who deserves to win: ‘The Imitation Game’

Darkhorse: ‘American Sniper’.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Who will win: ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’

Who deserves to win:’ The Lego Movie’ but it is not even nominated.

Darkhorse: ‘Princess Kaguya’

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Who will win: I want ‘Leviathan’ to win and my vote is for it but it seems ‘Ida’ may walk away with the prize. Going by the nature of voting in the Academy ‘Ida’ will be the winner.

Who deserves to win:’Leviathan’

Darkhorse: ‘Wild Tales’

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Who will win: Emmanual Lubezki for ‘Birdman’

Who deserves to win: Dick Pope for Mr. Turner

Darkhorse: Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski for ‘Ida’

Best Achievement in Editing

Who will win: ‘Boyhood’

Who deserves to win: ‘Boyhood’ and ‘Whiplash’ are equally good.

Darkhorse: ‘Whiplash’

Best Achievement in Production Design

Who will win: ‘‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Who deserves to win:’The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Dark horse: ‘Interstellar’

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Who will win: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Who deserves to win: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Darkhorse: ‘Into the Woods’

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Who will win: ‘Alexandre Desplat’

Who deserves to win: ‘Alexandre Desplat’

Dark horse: ‘Johann Johannsson’

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Who will win:‘Glory’ (Selma)

Who deserves to win: ‘Glory’ (Selma)

Dark horse: ‘Everything is Awesome’ (The Lego Movie)

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Who will win:Whiplash

Who deserves to win: Whiplash

Dark horse: American Sniper

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Who will win: ‘American Sniper’

Who deserves to win: ‘American Sniper’

Dark horse: ‘Birdman’

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Who will win:‘Interstellar’

Who deserves to win: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Dark horse: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Best Documentary, Feature

Who will win: ‘Citizenfour’

Who deserves to win: Citizenfour

Dark horse: Finding Vivian Maier

Week 46 : 2014 Oscar Predictions

Oscars 2014: Predictions

It is that time of the year when I have to put my money where my mouth is. Here is my list of bets for 2014 Oscars.

Please note that the blog will return to its normal format next week.

Best Motion Picture  of the Year

Who will win: ’12 Years a Slave’. This category is facing one of the closest contests in years but this film could clinch it because it could otherwise end up without any awards. True to recent form, the Academy likes to spread the winners in a year where there are no overwhelming favourites. Moreover, voting for a movie on slavery is the politically correct thing to do.

Who deserves to win: ‘Gravity’ because it was really the best.

Darkhorse: ‘American Hustle’ because some sections of the Academy just love it.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Who will win: Matthew McConaughey because it is the kind of performance that gets the members nod in approval.

Who deserves to win: DiCaprio because he has been more consistent over the years and deserves his place in the sun.

Darkhorse: Chiwetel Ejiofor because the other votes could be split.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Who will win: Cate Blanchett because there is no competition and she was simply awesome.

Who deserves to win: Cate Blanchett

Darkhorse: No one

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Who will win: Jared Leto not because his was the best performance.

Who deserves to win:Michael Fassbender because he is a better actor and he put on a better performance.

Darkhorse: Barkhad Abdi

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Who will win: Lupita Nyong’o. This is a very tough category to call because Jennifer Lawrence has also put in a very good performance.

Who deserves to win: Jennifer Lawrence may not deserve to win but she is a very popular figure among the voters but her major handicap could be the victory she had last year. She is too young to have two Oscar wins.

Darkhorse: No one

Best Achievement in Directing

Who will win: Alphonso Cuaron for ‘Gravity’ because he was the best.

Who deserves to win: Alphonso Cuaron

Darkhorse: Steve McQueen

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Who will win: Really a tough call between ‘Her’ and ‘American Hustle’.

Who deserves to win: ‘Her’ because it was really original.

Darkhorse: ‘Blue Jasmine’

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Who will win:’12 Years a Slave’

Who deserves to win: ‘Before Midnight’ because that series deserves at least one Oscar.

Darkhorse: ‘Captain Phillips’

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Who will win: ‘Frozen’

Who deserves to win:’The Wind Rises’

Darkhorse: ‘Ernest and Celestine’

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Who will win: ‘The Great Beauty’ because it is the best film in the category. It is classy, contemporary and will be remembered for a long time.

Who deserves to win:’The Great Beauty’

Darkhorse: ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ because tearjerkers move voters.

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Who will win: ‘Gravity’

Who deserves to win: ‘Gravity’

Darkhorse:’Inside Llewyn Lewis’

Best Achievement in Editing

Who will win: Very tough to predict a winner in this. It is a toss up between ‘Gravity’ and ‘Captain Phillips’. My vote is for ‘Captain Phillips’ but ‘Gravity’ may just clinch it.

Who deserves to win: Again a tough call between ‘Gravity’ and ‘Captain Phillips’.

Darkhorse: No one

Best Achievement in Production Design

Who will win:The Great Gatsby’ because that was a standout feature (as I had written in my review of the film much before the nominations were out) in an otherwise lousy film.

Who deserves to win:’Gravity’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ were equally good.

Dark horse: No one

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Who will win:The Great Gatsby’

Who deserves to win: ‘The Great Gatsby’

Darkhorse: ‘The Invisible Woman’

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

Who will win: ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

Who deserves to win: Nobody because the nominees have only done average work.

Darkhorse: No one

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Who will win: ‘Gravity’

Who deserves to win: ‘Gravity’

Dark horse: ‘Her’ has really good background score and would have won in a normal year but this is not a normal year.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Who will win:‘Let It Go’ for ‘Frozen’

Who deserves to win: ‘Let It Go’ for ‘Frozen’

Dark horse: “Ordinary Love” from ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Who will win:‘Gravity’

Who deserves to win: ‘Gravity’

Dark horse: ‘Captain Phillips’

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Who will win:‘Gravity’

Who deserves to win: ‘Gravity’

Dark horse: ‘Captain Phillips’

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Who will win:‘Gravity’

Who deserves to win: ‘Gravity’

Dark horse: No one

Best Documentary, Feature

Who will win: This year has been particularly good for documentaries. This makes it a very tough one to predict. I would like to see ‘The Act of Killing’ triumph because it is one of the truly remarlable documentaries ever made but ’20 Feet from Stardom’ is a Hollywood favourite.

Who deserves to win: ‘The Act of Killing’

Dark horse: No one

Week 12

Movies: Non- English

Merry Christmas (France, Germany, 2005) [IMDB: 7.7/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 81%]

merry-christmas-joyeux-noel-poster-0

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkKkAg4Ew-s

Based on true events, the film tells the story of enemies united by music and the spirit of Christmas. During the First World War, German, French and Scottish soldiers momentarily stop fighting on the eve of Christmas and celebrate it together. It is little difficult to describe because it looks surreal. If I were at the scene, I would have pinched myself. They just lie down their arms, exchange hugs, sing, celebrate Christmas and then go back to fighting. Nominated for Oscar in the best foreign language film category. Did not win. Even the Academy voters would have found the story too good to be true.

Mediterraneo (Italy, 1991) [ IMDB:7.1/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 90%]

mediterraneo

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hU4G6mfyvhM

Exquisitely shot anti-war romance. Italian soldiers land in a Greek island during the World War 2. The story develops as they come in contact with the people (some of them too gorgeous) of the island. Picturesque locations and the laid back life of the islands have an enduring effect on the soldiers. Though set during the World War, it is a light movie which moves at a leisurely pace. Only thing that can hold you back from watching this Oscar winner is the damning fact that it was produced by Silvio Berlusconi (yes, the Bunga Bunga guy). On a serious note, worth a watch.

Hollywood Retrospective

A Fish Called Wanda (1988) [IMDB: 7.6/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 96%]

fish called wanda

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqAJUlSRCwo

The thing about ganging up to commit robbery is that trust between the gang members is an absolute essential. The uproarious British comedy explores what all could go wrong when each member of a four member gang tries to double cross one another. Jamie Lee Curtis is in the role of a lifetime in this film which has comedy at its core but also has a story to tell. The sad thing is that many Indian movies have unashamedly stolen scenes from this movie. Otherwise, perfect weekend entertainment.

Raging Bull (1980) [IMDB: 8.3/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 98%]

raging-bull

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiVOwxsa4OM

The original boxing classic based on the life of Jake LaMotta. LaMotta reaches the heights by channeling his rage and anger on the boxing ring but as he climbs the charts, the same flaws take a heavy toll on his personal life. Robert De Niro deservedly won an Oscar for his performance but Scorsese had to wait till ‘The Departed’ to land his first one. The movie is a lesson on life. Don’t miss the title sequence in the beginning. I would have given Scorsese the Oscar just for that.

The Searchers (1956) [IMDB: 8.0/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 100%]

searchers

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WI2AZb04HAc

A man’s search for his last remaining relative who has been kidnapped at a tender age. His persistence and focus also leads to morally ambiguous situations. After years of staying away in a different culture would the girl still want to come back? Will he take her back when she discovers that she is no more like the girl he was searching for? Tough questions. Watch the movie which is often cited as the best Western ever made.

Movies I Saw This Week

Upside Down (2012) [IMDB: 6.3/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 41%]

upside down

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkYvYGR7Ys4

A boy and a girl fall in love. Then they are separated. The boy does not let go and pursues the girl. Simple story. Only issue is that they live in different worlds which have opposite gravity. Since digitally everything is possible, we have a plastic world where things are so beautiful that you know they don’t exist. Since the science is spurious, the story also feels fake. Maybe, you can take your partner to the cinema, eat popcorn, discuss few things and occasionally look at the screen.

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) [IMDB; 6.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 61%]

Oz_-_The_Great_and_Powerful_Poster

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DylgNj4YQVc

The initial idea behind big budget animation films was that kids will drag their parents to the cinema and help sell those extra tickets. Disney has laughed all the way to the bank on a couple of occasions milking this idea. Now things are not so simple. So they have to throw in Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams to attract the right kind of audience. The grown ups can ogle at the beauties while the children can have the real fun. The movie is strictly for kids. They may enjoy it.

Raanjhanaa (India, 2013) [IMDB: 8.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 50%]

tum-tak-raanjhanaa-2013-trailor-full-720p-multi

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER9vmhxFucg

One line verdict: Not a bad film by the standards of Bollywood. Now the real thing (Spoilers ahead). If you think about it, ‘Raanjhanaa’ is a regressive film. The Muslim girl cannot marry any Hindu guy even when she has a choice of two. The leading lady is manipulative and does not really love any of her suitors. Truth be said, the film is about the love story of two different men for the same girl but it is all one way traffic. One of them is dumb enough to try his luck at marriage by posing as a Muslim and the other gets into politics of which he has no clue. The most sincere scene in the movie is when the men bond at the hospital bed of Abhay Deol. I have not lived in Uttar Pradesh but I can safely say that wrist slashing at the drop of a hat is not the preferred mode of wooing a girl in any part of the country. Come to think of it, Dhanush’s character is a bigger psycho than Shahrukh Khan of ‘Darr’. Here the stalking is direct and so in your face. Unfortunately Dhanush looks so earnest in his performance that you are willing to give him some sympathy but if you want to see why he won the National Award for best actor, watch ‘Aadukalam’. The good thing is that the movie does not really bore you and A R Rahman’s music helps the cause. Moral of the story for men: You cannot force anyone to love you and when you understand that get out of the scene. Otherwise you may find yourself in a coffin and the girl won’t even cry.

Documentary Pick of the Week

Man on Wire (2008) [IMDB: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 100%]

man on wire

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIawNRm9NWM

Some people have too much courage or are they plain crazy? In which category would you place someone who walks 200 feet on a wire between two buildings at a height of 110 storeys? That too, without any safety features. One guy did it in 1974 and this is the documentary on him and his activities. Don’t try at home.

Eagerly waiting for: ‘The Lone Ranger’ because of Johnny Depp.

Did you know: The African Americans who acted in ‘Gone With the Wind’ were not allowed entry to the premiere of the movie.