Shit. Just. Got. Real: 2016 Cinema in Review

It takes a long time to get a movie made: Martin Scorsese had been thinking about making Silence for over 30 years and had various false potential production starts; Fences was once slated to be made in the ‘90s with Eddie Murphy as the lead; and Damien Chazelle had wanted to make La La Land since before he made Whiplash. So, given how long it takes to make a film it’s obvious that they could not have predicted how much the world would change on November the 8th of the year they were ready to be released.

Following the events of this particular day, I went through a patch of depression that was unlike anything that I had gone through before. During this time I kept thinking why should I bother with movies, television, music, or art in general when the world was crumbling right in front of our eyes and so many people were celebrating it. Yet, I kept on watching because I had nothing else, but just about everything felt tainted.

The first film I watched in theaters since then was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I had to drag myself out of the house, and I had to treat my self to a large popcorn and soda (which I never do). The film is not particularly great but watching a simple good versus evil story on the big screen where the good guys win while I’m gorging on salty popcorn and a sweet Coca-Cola was cathartic. That right there is how the real world should work, and I felt like standing up and cheering at the most basic of triumphant moments.

Since then, I cannot look at movies in the same way. Moana and Hidden Figures no longer are just movies about extraordinary women of color doing extraordinary things, but rally cries for real women of color to stand up and do even more extraordinary things. Moonlight is now a call for empathy and understanding. Even Star Trek Beyond, with its world where races and species of all kinds live in harmony feels like a daring future to strive towards.

This of course cannot be said of every film in 2016, let alone my top 25 (Everybody Wants Some!! Is still just about bro-dudes doing stuff and I love it for it), but that’s okay. Even so, art will never be the same, at least through my eyes. Continue reading

The Oscars in Retrospect: 2013 Best Animated Feature

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While the 2012 race was exciting due to large number of films actually having a chance at being nominated and the final race being wide open, 2013 was a bit of a let down. A number of truly great films were actually nominated, but besides those, the nomination stage was pretty boring. Continue reading

The Oscars in Retrospect: 2008 Best Animated Feature

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Though this year’s set of nominees was until then one of the strongest the category had ever seen, looking at the set of eligible titles we once again see that we got pretty much the only ones worth nominating. On the studio side, there were two films that in absense of one of the nominees would have been a good filler nominee: Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! and The Tale of Desperaux. Both were visually impressive, particularly the latter, but overall they were very forgettable. Continue reading

The Oscars in Retrospect: 2006 Best Animated Feature

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2006 was a huge step up from the previous year in this category as far as the nominees go. The whole field was also a bit stronger even though only a couple of them truly deserved to be in contention.

First, Dreamworks had two contenders. The one that was most likely to be nominated was Over the Hedge, which is one of the most underrated films in the studio’s canon. The other was Aardman’s first foray into computer animation: Flushed Away. Given that Aardman/Dreamworks won the previous year for Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-rabbit, it would have been easy to think that they’d at least be in the running for a nomination. However, the film is as good as a certain something that is flushed away every day. Continue reading

The Oscars in Retrospect: 2004 Best Animated Feature

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As it’s the case in these early years, given the low number of eligible films, and what those titles actually are, it’s easy to see why the final nominees made it there.

Despite the long history in children books and television of “Clifford the Big Red Dog”, was there really a chance for Clifford’s Really Big Movie to make it? The same goes for Disney’s Teacher’s Pet. Did anyone at the time even watch the show it was based on? Seeing how it was a huge flop, apparently no one did. It did get a warm critical reception, so maybe it was in the running. Continue reading

The Oscars in Retrospect: 2001 Best Animated Feature

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Because the Best Animated Feature category will celebrate it’s fifteenth year during the next Oscars, and because I don’t want this place to be as neglected as it currently is, I decided to look back at the nominees and winners of the category on a year-by-year basis, as well as say what else should have been nominated (though I’m not going to watch every short-listed film that I’ve missed). So, I plan to do this once or twice a month. Let’s see if I don’t just abandon it. And I may not do them all I order. I’ll try but If I want to stick to my schedule I’m going to have to skip 2002 until the Blu-ray release of Spirited Away this June.

So it’s only appropriate that we kick things off with the one that started it all: 2001. This year the nominees two films that would become iconic, and the first of many eyebrow-raisers that the category would see. Continue reading

Oscars 2011: Final Winner Predictions

Today is the last day Oscar voters have to turn in their ballot. So, I will not delay my predictions as they have been pretty much locked since Cannes last year. Before each category I give some thoughts as to why each film will win, etc.

The Artist should easily dominate this Sunday, no doubt, but read on to see my predictions, which are really just stating the obvious.
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My Final (and Mostly Crazy) Oscar Predictions

Here are my final Oscar predictions. I wanted to do like a whole write up per category and whatnot, but nah, this season is too predictable. For this same reason, I’m going to make some official crazy picks. I know sunday I will look like a fool, but whatever.

FYI, I might tweak them a bit as the week goes on.

Best Picture: Toy Story 3 (It will actually be The King’s Speech, but it feels like the perfect year for a huge upset)

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network

Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Best Actress: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right (I hope I’m wrong)

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom (again, perfect year for a huge upset)

Best Original Screenplay: The King’s Speech

Best Adapted Screenplay: Toy Story 3 (Yes, Sorkin’s dialogue will win, but I just want to have fun)

Best Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland

Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland

Best Cinematography: True Grit

Best Foreign Language Film: In a Better World

Best Sound Mixing: Inception

Best Sound Editing: Inception

Best Visual Effects: Inception

Best Documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop

Best Documentary Short: Stranger No More

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3

Best Animated Short: Day & Night

Best Live Action Short: Na Wewe

Best Editing: The Social Network

Best Original Score: The Social Network

Best Original Song: “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3

Best Makeup: The Wolfman

Final Tally:

Toy Story 3- 4 (It wont’ happen, but whatever)

The Social Network, Inception- 3

Alice in Wonderland, The King’s Speech-2

The Kids Are All Right, The Fighter, Animal Kingdom, The Wolfman, True Grit, In a Better World, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Day & Night, Na Wewe, Poster Girl- 1

Oscar Nominations: AMPAS bit the “King’s Speech” Bait, Nolan Snubbed Again

BEST PICTURE
127 HOURS (Fox Searchlight)
An Hours Production Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight)
A Protozoa and Phoenix Pictures Production Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
INCEPTION (Warner Bros)
A Warner Bros. UK Services Production Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
A Relativity Media Production David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features)
An Antidote Films, Mandalay Vision and Gilbert Films Production Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Co)
A See-Saw Films and Bedlam Production Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Sony Pictures)
A Columbia Pictures Production Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
TOY STORY 3 (Walt Disney)
A Pixar Production Darla K. Anderson, Producer
TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
A Paramount Pictures Production Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
WINTER’S BONE (Roadside Attractions)
A Winter’s Bone Production Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

Almost as I predicted. I’m glad 127 Hours did not get snubbed, although I must say that I do not like that Winter’s Bone got nominated here.

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