Oscars: Mini reviews and Jess picks the winners!

RoomAloha patient blog readers! I promised in my last blog that I would review some more Oscar fodder and I am making good on that promise, albeit in a slightly tortoise-like fashion. But, it’s still before the Oscars (just – they happen Monday afternoon NZT for all those who don’t already have it in their diaries!). So, here are my last couple of reviews, and also my picks for who will (and should) win what in the big categories.

Brooklyn: It’s not often I use the word ‘delightful’, but that really does sum up this fantastic Atlantic-spanning drama about a young Irish girl who moves to New York City in the 1950s. Saoirse Ronan is simply fantastic in the lead role – and conveys both homesickness and falling in love in such a sincere way. I was expecting this to be another one of those movies I love to hate – where one girl has two guys fawning over her and I on principle hate her for being greedy. But no. Both parts of the love triangle were incredibly compelling, and I could well relate to her feeling of being torn between setting out on a new life abroad and being pulled back to family commitments. As I think most Kiwis will – though thankfully we live in an age of Skype and international flights rather than dodgy phone connections and weeks on a ship. Nick Hornby’s script is typically excellent, and it is just a beautiful film to sit back and enjoy. A solid 4 multicoloured M&Ms for me. (My one aside on this is that I can’t see it as being Oscar worthy – it’s a great film, but one of the eight best of the year? Um, not quite)

The Martian: I recently re-watched this on DVD and it really is a fantastic film. In theory it doesn’t sound like it should be hilarious – Matt Damon gets left behind on Mars and has to try and survive on quickly disappearing rations for years before NASA can rescue him – but it is one of the funniest films I saw last year. And so compelling. It’s helped by Damon’s charisma of course – I could watch him science the shit out of things all year. But the supporting cast – in space (Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara) and on the ground (Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wigg) are also insanely watchable. Again, a great script (from Drew Goddard who wrote/directed one of my fave films Cabin in the Woods) ensures this is one memorable space movie. And special props to Donald Glover (familiar to all you Community fans out there as Troy) for almost stealing the show as a super scientist. Love this film so much. Five M&Ms from me. (A positive aside here – my two eldest nieces – 8 and 10 – loved this film. So if you want your kids to have a break from animated movies, this is the one for you!)

Ok, so now down to the hard part – my picks. I am torn every year between what I think will win and should win, so here I give you both options. Feel free to disagree vehemently in the comments section (that’s what comments sections are for, right?).

Best Film:

Should win: The Big Short. As previously discussed I loved this SO MUCH and have now seen it three times at the cinema. Not only is it hilarious, but it’s also an incredibly important film. And a stellar cast.

Will win: The Revenant. Everyone is saying this is going to take it out. I haven’t seen it, so can’t say it isn’t worthy. But I will say just because a movie was hard to make doesn’t necessarily make it deserving of the Best Film statuette.

Best Director:

Should win: Adam McKay for the Big Short. As is evident I loved this film and everything about it, including the script and the direction. Give McKay all the awards I say.

Will win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu for The Revenant. See comments under Best Picture. Though he does have the best name ever.

Best Actor:

Should win: Leo DiCaprio for The Revenant. So I haven’t seen his performance in The Revenant but have only heard good things. And it’s time. He has been awesome in everything. Give him the gold man already.

Will win: Leo DiCaprio for The Revenant. I seriously think there will be some kind of riot in the Dolby Theatre if they give it to anyone else.

Best Actress:

Should win: Brie Larson for Room. As discussed in my last blog Larson was simply incredible in Room. I haven’t seen Cate Blanchett in Carol yet – and she is apparently amazing – but I still think Larson deserves this one. Cate has enough of them already 😉

Will win: Brie Larson for Room. She is on a winning streak. I will be VERY surprised if she doesn’t take it out.

Best Supporting Actor:

Should win: Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight. I love Mark Ruffalo SO MUCH. Not only is he the cutest man alive but he is also a climate change campaigner. What’s not to love? But this call isn’t based on either of those factors – it’s based on the fact he knocked it out of the park as a dogged reporter in Spotlight. Reward him already Oscar!

Will win: Sylvester Stallone for Creed. Again I haven’t seen this one, but I feel like Hollywood will give this to Sly as a bit of a ‘thanks for all your great work over the years, buddy’ moment.

Best Supporting Actress:

Should win: Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl. Ok, so I haven’t actually seen this movie – but I did see Vikander in Ex Machina where she was AMAZEBALLS and have only heard good things about her performance in this one. Plus, I am all for rewarding up and comers.

Will win: Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs. As discussed in my previous blog I didn’t love this film but Winslet was excellent in it. But more excellent than she normally is? Maybe not. But Oscar love her so she will get it for sure.

Ok, there you are – all my picks locked and loaded and ready for Monday afternoon! In the meantime all, make the most of this plethora of quality films while you can. It won’t last forever!


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