This has probably been the most dramatic and political Oscars in history, which will forever be cemented in the minds of everyone for its notorious Best Picture mix-up: La La Land was mistakenly announced as the Best Picture winner. What the producers of La La Land went through after the mistaken announcement no one should ever have gone through. It was a plain disrespect shown to the La La Land and Moonlight production crews. And, if the mistake was spotted immediately, as the organisers claim, why three La La Land producers, one after another, had all the time in the world to give their three humble and moving acceptance speeches? By allowing such an mix-up, the Academy (that should bear its responsibility alongside PwC) really debased itself. Irrespective, this year, the competition for the coveted Academy Awards was very high. Only in the Best Picture category we have had nine amazing films and each of them could be described as inspiring, moving and thought-provoking. However, I still consider Scorsese’s epic Silence and Amy Adams’s performance in Arrival the biggest snubs at this year’s Oscars. Here, I will comment on the winners in the following categories: Best Picture; Best Actress; Best Actor; Best Supporting Actress; Best Supporting Actor; Best Director; Best Cinematography; Best Animation; Best Foreign Language Film; Best Original Song and Best Original Score. Continue reading The Academy Awards 2017
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Today, the Academy announced its 2017 Awards’ nominations. Many nominations were predictable, e.g., “La La Land”, while some omissions/inclusions were surprising. Here, I will briefly comment on 7 categories: (1) Best Picture; (2) Best Actress; (3) Best Actor; (4) Best Animation; (5) Best Foreign Language Film; (6) Best Documentary; and (7) Best Original Song.
- Best Picture
- Hacksaw Ridge
- Hell or High Water
- Hidden Figures
- La La Land
- Manchester by the Sea
In my review of “La La Land”, I said how the movie was a perfect Academy Awards material, celebrating what is, in fact, Hollywood, well…even the Academy Awards itself. So, it is no surprise to see so many (14!) nominations for the movie. That is, of course, on top of the fact that “La La Land” is an excellent movie in its own right. “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight” are predictable nominations, but, I think, that “Lion” was nominated on the strength of its story, rather than on the quality of the film per se. Going through the list I did not expect to see there “Nocturnal Animals”, and it was not included, but I think the movie was unjustly bypassed in some other categories, such as the Best Actor/Director/Score categories.
La La Land (2016)
Universally acclaimed, “La La Land” is the kind of a film which could melt the most cynical and toughest of critics. As romantic as it is visually stunning, the main charm of the film lies in its simplicity: a guy, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), and a girl, Mia (Emma Stone) both dream of professional success in Hollywood, and first find true happiness in each others’ arms before the practical realities of their chosen star professions separate them. With an uncomplicated plot and an absolutely stunning soundtrack, “La La Land” has all the appeal of an old musical, while keeping things interesting and original with notes of modern music, the showcasing of modern technologies and with the demonstrations of a competitive side of today’s Hollywood business. In “La La Land”, Damien Chazelle (director) shows that, in the 21st century, it is still possible not only to make a financially successful old-school musical-comedy, but also to produce a real gem of a movie capable of leaving the audience breathless with its heart strings’ pulling and sheer inventiveness.
A Dutch director known for “Basic Instinct” (1992) and “Total Recall” (1990), Paul Verhoeven, has produced his first French-language film to date – “Elle”, based on a novel by Philippe Dijan (who is also known as a book writer behind “Betty Blue” (1986)). “Elle” has already competed for a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2016, and deals with a very sensitive topic of a rape perpetuated on a successful businesswoman Michele Leblanc, whose complex relationship with her family and the deeply-seated psychological childhood trauma lead her to have an unconventional response to the attack. This film is as disturbing as it is engrossing, and, overall, proves to be a very satisfying experience, thanks to the outstanding performance by Isabelle Huppert (“The Piano Teacher” (2001)) and to the masterful (though also confusing) mix of a psychological thriller, a Hitchcockian detective story and French black humour.
The rumours about Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” have been circulating for a long time now, especially regarding the forthcoming Academy Awards. On 29 November, his historic film about a Jesuit missionary’s persecution in the 17th century Japan premiered at the Vatican. Personally for me, the presence of Andrew Garfield, who is a good actor, will be distracting in the movie because of all the associations I have with him in the most diverse films, from comical “The Amazing Spider-Man“(2012) to modern “The Social Network” (2010)…How to shed these?