Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Wow! Did that really just happen?
In case you didn’t watch the Oscars last night, or you haven’t been on social media at all in the last 12 hours, the Oscars pulled a Steve Harvey. They accidentally awarded Best Picture to the wrong movie. La La Land was initially announced as the winner, but in the following excitement, it became apparent that they read from the wrong card. The actual Best Picture winner is the film Moonlight. Yeah, that happened…
Before I get too far into this article, I just want to say, good for Moonlight. That movie was an absolute triumph of a film! It was a look into the life of somebody who most of the general movie-going audience wouldn't be able to relate to, yet they make the character extremely relatable. The biggest success of Moonlight is how perfectly it highlights that we're all people just living our lives. We all have different circumstances, and we all have different approaches to the world, and that's okay!
Now, many people are speculating to their heart’s desire over what actually happened last night. If you’re like my father, you believe that it was all a set-up to get people talking and increase ratings. In reality, though, we don’t actually know what happened. We do know that Warren Beatty did, in fact, have the wrong envelope. He had the envelope containing Emma Stone’s Best Lead Actress win. However, Stone claims she was holding the envelope when they won. How could that be? Well, turns out they actually have duplicates of all of the envelopes just in case one gets lost. Chances are, some confusion happened backstage and Beatty ended up with the other Best Lead Actress envelope. Mistakes happen.
Take what you want from all of this, but what I believe the most disappointing thing is about all of this actually isn’t La La Land's loss (though that is a bummer). I believe the most disappointing thing about this situation is the fact that it is overshadowing the fact that, guess what? Moonlight won Best Picture! That happened! It was a major Oscar upset! Moonlight is a great movie, and I believe that it winning Best Picture should motivate a lot more people to see it! However, the situation is completely overshadowing that! Please! Go see Moonlight! It’s a movie that I believe everybody should see at least once. I feel bad for the cast and crew of Moonlight for not being able to get the experience of hearing their name called for Best Picture in a traditional fashion. That would've been a much better way to receive the award, but they won nonetheless Personally, I would’ve voted for La La Land, but hats off to Moonlight for the upset!
Though you wouldn’t believe it by reading the headlines, there was actually more to this year’s Oscars than just that big mishap. First of all, the most exciting thing to me was seeing Casey Affleck win the award for Best Lead Actor. I thought for sure that Denzel Washington was going to win; he was fantastic in Fences, and he had a lot of momentum going into the ceremony. However, Affleck took home the award for his performance in Manchester by the Sea. A performance which, I believe 100% deserved that award.
All of the other acting category wins weren’t really big surprises, but they were still great to see! Viola Davis won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fences, and she gave arguably the best and most emotional speech of the night. Emma Stone won Best Lead Actress for her performance in La La Land, and in the first award of the night, Moonlight's Mahershala Ali won the award for Best Supporting Actor! Ali’s win is particularly exciting because he has become the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar. Also extremely impressive is that all of these now Oscar-winners are first-time winners! All of these were their first Oscar wins! These performances were each fantastic, and their wins were very well deserved.
As far as my predictions went, I think that I did alright, though that really depends on what your definition of alright is. I ended up correctly guessing 11 of the 24 categories, so just under half of them. Though most of the categories I missed were the minor categories. Plus, there were several cases where the person I predicted would win lost, and the person that I thought should win ended up actually winning. So I'm by no means upset.
Before I finish this article, I just want to address one thing. Since last night’s confusion, I’ve seen a little bit of a backlash against Moonlight over its win over La La Land. I’ve seen people posting things such as “#NotMyBestPic” on social media, and other things generally dogging on Moonlight for its win. To those people I have to say, have you even seen Moonlight? Did you take the time out of your busy lives to go see this movie? Chances are, the answer is no. That speaks to an overall problem with people and the Oscars. Many people don’t see all of the films nominated, which is understandable. (Heck, even I didn’t see Lion.) However, just because you didn’t see a movie, that doesn’t give you the right to say something should’ve won instead of it. If Lion had won Best Picture instead of Moonlight, I wouldn’t be out tweeting and saying that it was ridiculous. I wouldn't have the right to since I haven't seen Lion. I would actually go watch the movie, then I would make a decision after reasonably comparing the two. The Oscars award the best films of the year, not the most popular. So I urge you, watch Moonlight. It’s an extremely powerful film. It’s very well made, and it tells a great story that I think most people need to hear.
So what did you think of last night’s Academy Awards? Did you agree with all of the wins? Let me know what you think by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter! It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Well, it’s that time of the year again. The 89th Academy Awards are this Sunday night, and this year's ceremony looks like it could be a lot of fun. Not only is Jimmy Kimmel hosting, but there were also so many great movies that came out this year! So, for the third year in a row, I’m going to give you a list of my picks to take home the Oscars this year! This is just my opinion on who should win the award, who will actually win it, and what might be some potential upsets.
Before we get into this, though, I have a confession to make. I was unable to see all of the Best Picture nominees before I wrote this article. I missed two of them. First of all, I missed Lion, which from what I’ve heard doesn’t have a good chance at winning any awards, so I’m not too upset about that. The big one is the fact that I still have yet to see Fences. Fences has a very good shot at winning several awards Sunday night, but since I haven’t seen the movie yet, I can’t say whether it should or not. I will be watching the movie very soon, and I’ll tweet out my reaction to that, so keep your eye out for that. Without further ado, here are my predictions for the 89th Academy Awards
I won’t go in depth for all of the awards, but for the smaller ones here are my predictions:
I believe that La La Land’s sweep of the Oscars this year is going to start in the category for Original Screenplay. The script for this film was one that invoked fun, emotion, and kept the film surprising and entertaining throughout. Though the film’s popularity has waned a bit recently, that’s mostly from mainstream moviegoers (i.e. not the Academy). I believe La La Land should and will win this award. If there were to be an upset in this category, I’d say it’d be from Manchester by the Sea, which also had a very strong screenplay.
Should Win: La La Land
Will Win: La La Land
Upset: Manchester by the Sea
Adapted Screenplay will be a little bit more interesting than Original Screenplay. I believe the award should go to Arrival. Arrival’s screenplay is a huge part of what makes that movie so great. It has such subtlety to it, and by the end of the film, the whole thing comes together extremely well. You can’t believe some of the things that happen in Arrival, but they work for the movie, and that’s because of the great script behind it.
Though I think Arrival should win, I’m guessing the award will go to Moonlight. Moonlight is a film that is getting a lot of love from critic’s circles around the world, deservedly so. I thought Moonlight was a great movie. It may or may not deserve all of the praise that it is getting, but it was a very powerful movie nonetheless. Moonlight could end up getting a lot of love from the Academy this year, starting with Adapted Screenplay.
Should Win: Arrival
Will Win: Moonlight
The award for Visual Effects this year is one of the few that I would consider a lock. I mean, The Jungle Book came out this year. Is there really anything else to say? Sure, Doctor Strange was crazy to look at, Kubo and the Two Strings took a lot of effort with its claymation, and there was a Star Wars movie this year. But did you see The Jungle Book? Those animals were photo-realistic! Had that movie not come out this year, this might actually be a close race, but The Jungle Book blows all these other films out of the water. No competition here.
Should Win: The Jungle Book
Will Win: The Jungle Book
Upset: Doctor Strange
More La La Land. Surprise! One of the most remarkable things about all of La La Land’s nominations this year was the fact that it was nominated for Original Song TWICE! Two separate songs! Those songs are “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”, and “City of Stars”. One of these songs will win, no doubt about it. Personally, I hope that “Audition” wins, that song holds one of the movie’s biggest moments on its back, and it doesn’t falter at all. It’s a song of pure emotion; it’s a tribute to the people who are brave enough to be stupid and chase their dreams.
Even though there is a lot of love for “Audition”, I believe the award will go to “City of Stars” purely because that’s the song that seems to be being promoted by the filmmakers and the companies behind the film. That’s the song shown on a lot of posters, and that’s the one everyone seems to talk about. So, it’ll probably win the award.
Should Win: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” -La La Land
Will Win: “City of Stars” -La La Land
Upset: “How Far I’ll Go” -Moana
Makeup and Hair
Of all of the categories to cause people to get angry on the internet, it was Makeup and Hair. Really people? In case you haven’t heard, there are many people online getting upset because Suicide Squad was nominated for this award. They think the film shouldn’t be nominated for anything other than a Razzie, but I believe that this nomination was deserved. In fact, I would say that Suicide Squad deserves to win this award! The makeup in this movie was crazy good! Did you even realize that Killer Croc was made with prosthetics? That wasn’t CGI! I don’t think it’ll win just because people don’t want to give Suicide Squad an Oscar. The award will probably go to Star Trek Beyond, which did have great makeup, but it should go to Suicide Squad.
Should Win: Suicide Squad
Will Win: Star Trek Beyond
Upset: Suicide Squad
Who would’ve thought that the Animated Feature category would be one of the most exciting categories to watch this year? Well, with films such as Zootopia, Moana, and Kubo and the Two Strings all having been released this year, this category suddenly became one to watch. If I had to pick, I’d give the award to Zootopia. That movie was so much more than I expected it to be, and oddly enough I think it’s one that everyone should see. In all honesty though, I have absolutely no clue who is going to win this. It could go to any of those three films, and I could not make a legitimate argument against it. This one is a toss-up.
Should Win: Zootopia
Will Win: Zootopia???
Upset: Kubo and the Two Strings
This is the first major category that my prediction is affected by my not having seen Fences. The Best Supporting Actress category this year is pretty stacked, with the likes of Viola Davis, Nicole Kidman, Michelle Williams, and Octavia Spencer nominated. However, I believe the award should go to Naomie Harris for her performance in Moonlight. She was unrecognizable in her role in this movie. Not because of prosthetics or makeup, but because she disappeared into her character. I believe that she deserves the Oscar for this role.
However, if all of the hype is to be believed, this award will undoubtedly go to Viola Davis for her role in Fences. I can’t attest to whether or not that is deserved, but Davis is a great actress so I’m sure it is. Again, I will be watching Fences before the ceremony Sunday night. I’ll tweet out my reaction afterward, so keep your eye out for that.
Should Win: Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
Will Win: Viola Davis (Fences)
Upset: Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)
UPDATE: After seeing Fences, I am further convinced that Viola Davis will win this award, and she definitely should. She was absolutely fantastic in that movie!
The category for Supporting Actor is always a very interesting one to watch. Every year, this category is always jam-packed with great actors. Two years ago it was J.K. Simmons, Mark Ruffalo, and Edward Norton. Last year it was Tom Hardy, Sylvester Stallone, and Mark Ruffalo again (I still disagree with Mark Rylance’s win). This year the category is no different than years past. Nominated this year are the likes of Jeff Bridges, Dev Patel, and Michael Shannon. Though, just like two years ago, this category has a clear winner. Mahershala Ali should and will win this award for his performance in Moonlight. Ali really exploded onto the scene with his talent this year, and he undoubtedly deserves this award.
Should Win: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Will Win: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Upset: Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
The one performance that I would say got snubbed this year was Amy Adams in this category for her role in Arrival. If she had been nominated, I would’ve had a very hard time picking between her and Emma Stone to win. However, she wasn’t nominated, so this year is Emma Stone’s year. Her performance in La La Land was absolutely fantastic. Emma Stone is an amazing actress, and it’s about time that she was given an Oscar. If Birdman hadn’t come out the same year as Boyhood (which Patricia Arquette rightly won for), I’d say that Stone should’ve won for her performance in that movie. She deserves an Oscar, and she'll get it for La La Land.
Should Win: Emma Stone (La La Land) or Amy Adams (Arrival)
Will Win: Emma Stone (La La Land)
Upset: Natalie Portman (Jackie)
When I wrote my reaction to the nominees of this year’s Oscars, I said that I believed that Casey Affleck would win this award for his performance in Manchester by the Sea. At the time, it was one of the few categories that I considered to be as close to a lock as you could get. However, as time has gone on, there has been a lot of love building for Denzel Washington’s performance in Fences. So much so, that this category has become a two-horse race between these two. I still believe that Casey Affleck should and will win this award, but don’t be surprised if Denzel Washington ends up sneaking in there.
Should Win: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Will Win: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Upset: Denzel Washington (Fences)
UPDATE: After seeing his performance in Fences, I now believe that Denzel Washington is going to win this award tonight. If it were up to me, I'd still give it to Casey Affleck, but I have a feeling the Academy will lean more towards Denzel.
The category for Best Director is an interesting one this year. Not only did Mel Gibson get nominated after being shunned by Hollywood for many years, but this is one that category could go several directions depending on what wins Best Picture. Personally, I’d give the award to either Damien Chazelle for La La Land or Denis Villeneuve for Arrival. I don’t think Villeneuve has any chance at actually winning, unfortunately, but Chazelle is the frontrunner. However, if La La Land does end up winning Best Picture, don’t be surprised if they end up giving this award to Barry Jenkins for Moonlight. Moonlight has a lot of momentum right now, and Jenkins undoubtedly has a legitimate shot at taking this award home.
Should Win: Damien Chazelle (La La Land) or Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
Will Win: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Upset: Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
And last but not least, Best Picture. I find it a little funny that the category of Best Picture isn’t the most exciting category at the Oscars this year. This is the big award, but it’s also the one that not a lot of people are talking about. That’s because we all assume that this award will go to La La Land. If you know me, you know that I absolutely loved La La Land, and I do believe that it should win this award. I won’t quite say that it’s a lock, but I’d estimate about a 75% chance that it wins.
That other 25% goes to Moonlight. As I said earlier, Moonlight has a lot of momentum going into the Oscars this year, and I won’t be surprised if it does have a couple of upsets. I don’t think that Moonlight should win Best Picture, but I can’t make an argument against it, other than La La Land was better in my opinion. A Moonlight upset in this category would catch a lot of people off guard, and well, the Oscars like to put on a show, so it might actually happen.
I do want to take a second and send a little love Arrival’s way. Arrival was nominated for eight Oscars, but unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll win any major ones. There is a small part of me that would love to see an Arrival upset for Best Picture, and I think it would be well deserved. This movie was #5 on my Top Ten of 2016 list when I made it, however, if I were to make that list now, it might move all the way up to #3. Every time I watch Arrival, I love it even more. It’s a brilliant movie, and if you haven’t seen it, you should definitely go check it out.
Should Win: La La Land or Arrival
Will Win: La La Land
So how excited are you for the Oscars this Sunday night? Who do you want to win? Who do you think will win? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
For today’s blog post, I thought it would be fun to just sit back and just discuss who I believe are three directors that might be some of the next big names in Hollywood. These three directors have each already shown their talents in a few films, and they could very easily become household names. They are just entering, or will soon enter the Hollywood spotlight. So without further ado, here are three directors that I believe you should be keeping your eye on. Keep in mind, this is in no particular order, so this isn't ranked by any means.
Taika Waititi is the type of director that, to put it simply, makes really fun films. He hasn’t made a lot of feature length films, though he has made many short films. In fact, in 2005 his short film Two Cars, One Night was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the Oscars. More recently, he released the critically acclaimed What We Do in the Shadows, in 2014. That film is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with an impressive 96% approval rating. In addition to that, this past year he released another critical darling by the name of Hunt for the Wilderpeople (check out my review here). That movie was an incredibly fun and original film that I would very highly recommend.
So what’s next for Waititi? Well, he’ll be entering the big blockbuster arena this fall as he's helming the upcoming Marvel film Thor: Ragnarok. We haven’t seen any footage from Ragnarok yet, but we do know that the film will also feature the Incredible Hulk, and it has an all-star cast with the likes of Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, and Jeff Goldblum on-board. We’ve already gotten a taste of how Waititi will approach the film, as he also directed those popular Team Thor promotional videos for Marvel. If Waititi can bring the same sense of originality and fun from Hunt for the Wilderpeople to Thor: Ragnarok, then you can guarantee he will direct some more big budget films down the road.
Denis Villeneuve is a director that a lot of hardcore movie fans have already been fans of for about five years now, but he is just now starting to pick up some steam when it comes to mainstream audiences. Villeneuve entered the scene in 2013 when he released two films, Enemy, and Prisoners. Both films are certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, a fact that is made even more impressive when taken into account that Enemy is his lowest rated film at 75% approval. Not too shabby. Villeneuve has since continued his streak of great movies with 2015’s Sicario, and 2016’s Arrival. Sicario was a movie that I enjoyed a lot, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you should do that as soon as you can. Arrival was also an amazing film (check out my review here)! In fact, Arrival ranked at #5 on my Top Ten Films of 2016. It is also currently nominated for Best Picture and a number of other awards at this year's Oscars.
Similar to Waititi, Villeneuve is releasing his first blockbuster film later this year. This film comes in the form of a sequel to the cult-classic 1982 film Blade Runner. This sequel, entitled Blade Runner 2049, sees the return of Harrison Ford, while also bringing in other big names such as Ryan Gosling, Dave Bautista, and Jared Leto. I must confess, at this point, I have not seen the original Blade Runner, though that is something I will be remedying very soon. The first trailer for Blade Runner 2049 was intriguing, but the biggest reason to look forward to this film would be that Villeneuve is directing.
Damien Chazelle is the definition of a director that has exploded onto the scene out of nowhere. Chazelle has only directed three feature films. The first, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, was released in 2009. That film currently holds a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. His other two films have both been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars in their respective years. His 2014 film, Whiplash, was at the top of a lot of people’s Top Ten lists of that year, and it also won Oscars for Film Editing and Sound Mixing. In addition to that, J.K. Simmons won the Oscar for Supporting Actor that year for his performance in Whiplash, deservedly so.
His most recent film is a little film you might have heard about recently called La La Land. I mentioned earlier that Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival was #5 on my Top Ten of 2016 list, well, La La Land was #1. This was a truly special film, and Chazelle’s directing really pulled the whole thing together. Though the film was over-hyped for some people, and it ended up disappointing them, I still firmly stand by my original review of the film (which you can find here). La La Land is all but guaranteed to win the Oscar for Best Picture this Sunday night, so yeah, it’s pretty good.
Chazelle’s next film currently doesn’t have a release date, though I’m very excited for it nonetheless. His next movie is called First Man, and it is a biopic about the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong. In addition to being written by Oscar winner Josh Singer, the film also sees Chazelle reteam with Ryan Gosling, who will be in the lead role. If Chazelle continues to make movies at the quality he is, he could easily go down as one of the all-time greats. Did I mention that he’s only 32?
So what do you think of these directors? Are you fans of theirs? Which are you most looking forward to seeing more from in the future? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
The Great Wall is directed by Yimou Zhang, and it stars Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, and Tian Jing. It tells the story of a couple Westerners as they travel to China in search of gunpowder in the 11th century. In their search, they encounter a fortress along the Great Wall of China and discover the purpose of the Wall is to protect China from these mysterious beasts that frequently try to attack the country. One thing leads to another, and these two end up fighting alongside the Chinese to defend the Wall.
The Great Wall wasn’t nearly as great as the wall it's based on. In fact, it’s a bit of a stretch to say that this movie is any good at all. It has its enjoyable moments, but overall the movie fails to become anything worthwhile. It feels about twenty minutes too long, which is especially bad considering the movie is only an hour and forty-five minutes long, and most of all, though, this movie is extremely boring.
The movie as a whole may be a little lackluster, but that is no fault of the first half-hour. The first thirty minutes of this movie have their minor flaws, but for the most part, they were very entertaining. All the way until just after the film’s first action sequence, The Great Wall was actually a good movie. For me, it was sitting at about a 7/10 in that segment. The action was impressive, it had a fast pace, an interesting plot, and a lot of potential. I was pleasantly surprised by the beginning of the movie, and I was ready to come out of the theater defending this movie. Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t last long.
After that entertaining first act of the movie, The Great Wall falls apart fast. Unlike the actual Great Wall of China which has amazed people and had them in awe for centuries, this film fails to keep its audience's attention for less than two hours. All of that fun and excitement from the beginning simply disappears after the first action sequence. It’s almost as it became a different movie. Even the action sequences throughout the film never match the fun of the first one. The film becomes slow and boring for the most part, and it felt like a chore to watch.
A good cast in a movie can really work wonders for it. The Great Wall has a great cast with the likes of Matt Damon, Willem Dafoe, and Pedro Pascal (whom you might recognize as Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones) rounding it out. A majority of the cast in this film seemed to only there for a quick paycheck, though, specifically, Damon and Dafoe, who are both great actors. They mailed in their performances in this movie. They weren’t awful, but they weren’t good either. The only two people in this movie that seemed to care were Pascal and Tian Jing, who played a military commander. Those two both felt like they were actually trying to salvage the movie, and despite their best efforts, they don't quite save it.
The only other good things that stand out to me from this movie are the costume design and the music. First off, the costume design by Mayes C. Rubeo used a lot of vibrant colors for the armor. Each piece of apparel in this film was intricate and well made. It’s not super important to the film as a whole, but it was noticeably good. Secondly, the music in the film really got your blood pumping. The use of drums, especially in the opening action scene, made the energy level spike. The film was scored by Ramin Djawadi who also scores every episode of Game of Thrones and Westworld, so this guy has a lot of talent and added to the movie.
As a whole, The Great Wall was less than great. It starts off on a high note and then quickly falls off. It becomes a slow, boring mess that never succeeds in capturing its audience’s attention. Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe were both in this movie only for a quick paycheck, and it really shows. Pedro Pascal and Tian Jing try their best to hold the movie up, and the costumes and music were well done, but the movie as a whole failed to be entertaining. The movie had an interesting premise, but it never quite lives up to it. I would not recommend seeing The Great Wall.
So what did you think of The Great Wall? Did you find more enjoyment out of it than I did? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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