Sunday, February 23, 2014

86th Academy Awards ... Here We Go!

The Biggest Movie Event of the Year
Well, it’s that time of the year when I don my firangi movies ka hat and start blabbering about who’s hot and who’s not up for the 86th Academy Awards AKA The Oscars. Won’t be reviewing them but will surely give you pointers so that you can decide whether to watch them later or not. Happy Movies ;)

Out of the many brilliant and few boring movies that came out in 2013 these are the 9 that are up for the
'Best Film - Oscar'. The Race in my honest opinion is actually just between 'Gravity', 'American Hustle' and '12 Years a Slave'. Personally, I feel 'American Hustle' is over-rated and has been getting all the attention mainly because of the 4 leads, out of which 3 gave pretty impressive performances but the movie in totality doesn't stand out and more importantly doesn't stand against the MIGHT of 'Gravity' or '12 Years A Slave' .

This very well might be the FIRST time in the 85 years of Oscar History that we might just have a TIE for the Best Film. The probability of that happening is very minute but you never know ;)
 Here are the nominees for '86th Academy Awards Best Film' (In a very particular order):

  1. Gravity - Dir : Alfonso Cuaron ('Children Of Men' , 'Y Tu Mama Tambien')

     2. Dallas Buyers Club - Dir : Jean-Marc Vallee ('Cafe De Flore' , 'C.R.A.Z.Y')
  3. Her - Dir : Spike Jonze ('Being John Malkovich' , 'Adaptation' , 'Where The Wild Things Are')

  4. Nebraska - Dir : Alexander Payne ('Sideways' , 'Citizen Ruth' , 'About Schmidt' , 'The Descendants')
5. Wolf Of Wall Street - Dir : Martin Scorsese (It's F-in Scorsese .. So obviously whole filmography is EPIC)

6. 12 Years A Slave - Dir : Steve McQueen ('Hunger' , 'Shame')
7. Captain Phillips - Dir : Paul Greengrass ('United 93' , 'Bourne Supremacy')


8. Philomena - Dir : Stephen Frears ('High Fidelity' , 'The Queen')

9. American Hustle - Dir : David O Russell ('The Fighter' , 'Silver Linings Playbook')
Best Film:

Who Should Win : Gravity
And this would just ruin my day :  12 Years a

Best Director:

Last year we had
Ang Lee winning the Best Director for his highly visual effects laden fantasy-drama 'Life Of Pi', about a person who gets stranded at SEA whereas this year we have the GENIUS of Alfonso Cuaron (Children Of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien & Harry Potter - Prisoner Of Azkaban) finally coming out with his Magnum-opus venture which took him 6 years to make, about a person who gets stranded in SPACE!
Both movies display the directing craft at its highest level of artistic and technological dazzle. Out of the 8 Harry Potter movies that came out, 'Prisoner of Azkaban' still stands out as my favourite.
Now with
Alfonso Cuaron winning the 'Directors Guild of America', Globes and The Bafta - Best Director, it’s almost done and dusted.

Who Should Win Alfonso
for 'Gravity'  
Alfonso Cuaron
Surprise: Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave)
Just like last year, here’s a list of movies that you might have missed for various reasons (time constraints, the title sucked, the cast was just plain damn boring or Yify didn’t upload it on torrents when you checked, etc etc):
1.   Rush - How in the HELL did the Academy snub this one? I have no freaking clue. Daniel Bruhl – Best Supp Actor, Hans Zimmer – Best Music, Ron Howard – Best Director. ‘Rush’ is hands down one of Ron Howard’s best works and I’m talking about a guy who has ‘Apollo 13’, ‘Edtv’ ‘A Beautiful Mind’, ‘Cinderella Man’, ‘Frost/Nixon’ in his filmography.
2.   Prisoners - The brilliant hollywood/english debut of Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (‘Incendies’). It’s sad and partly shocking to think that the script for ‘Prisoners’ had been doing rounds of various studios since 2009. Aaron Guzikowski's script for 'Prisoners' appeared on the Black List of the best unproduced screenplays of the year in 2009, but it took him and Jake Gyllenhall four years to bring the 2 1/2-hour kidnapping thriller to the screen. Prisoners has a brilliantly written screenplay with hard-hitting performances by Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhall & Paul Dano
3.   Disconnect - Intense and upsetting at times, this multi-story movie talks about the digitally obsessed world we live in. You could even say it’s the ‘Crash’ or ‘Babel’ for the current internet-crazy generation.
4.   Behind The Candelabra - First let me have a go at Steven Soderbergh (Director). Why the hell did you release this directly on VOD (Video-On-Demand) rather than having a theatrical release? You do know that you have robbed Michael Douglas of his 2nd acting Oscar right? Douglas, not just acts brilliantly but he LIVES as Liberace, the flamboyant American entertainer who was renowned for his skills on the piano as well as on vocals. Douglas’ performance is so deep and sympathetic that I personally don’t think he has EVER done a better role than this. This thoroughly entertaining biopic is unsettling yet lovable.
5.   The Spectacular Now – I’ll tell you when I kind of knew that this might end up on my personal best list of 2013, the moment in trailer when this comes up From the writers of ‘500 Days Of Summer'". Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber together had given us “500 Days…” way back in 2009 but it still and I guess it will forever remain one of those movies that is just too close to my heart. That one, had catapulted the career of a relative newbie (Read: Joesph Gordon-Levitt Alias Robin) and this one I am sure is going to take one Mr Miles Teller to greater heights. It tells us the story of Sutter (Miles Teller), a high-school life-of-the-party who falls for a nerdy nice girl Aimee. I know what you guys are thinking, “We have seen this kind of $**t N-number of times on screen” but trust me on this guys, you’ll like it. Screw it, you won’t just like it, you’ll love it. Let me sum it up by saying that “If you liked ‘Perks Of Being A Wallflower’ which came out last year and was easily one of THE Best movies of 2012 then you will definitely fall in love with ‘The Spectacular Now’.
6.   $50K, A Call Girl: A Love Story – These are the kind of movies that give us a reason to believe and have faith in the “Indie Movement” and in independent film making. Story revolves around a man with 30 days left to live, goes on a wild road trip with a call girl his older brother and his fiance, who use their wedding fund to pay for the journey. Very rarely do you come across a film that feels so real with such genuine performances that you start getting a feel that you are watching a documentary instead of a scripted feature. All the main leads involved (who were also the Writer/Director and Producers of the film) seemed so real that if I hadn't read beforehand that they were actors, I would have seriously thought that this was all real. Kudos to the whole team for pulling that off. 
7.   Mud - Written and Directed by Jeff Nichols (‘Take Shelter’), a coming-of-age expressive and adventurous story about 2 young boys who encounter Mud and form a pact with him to find and reunite him with his true love. It’s smart, witty, and has a Mark Twain-ish approach throughout, talks about boyhood on the brink of adolescence. Amazing cinematography with spectacular visuals of Mississippi. Oh! ya one more thing, It has Matthew McConaughey playing Mud. Am sure that would get you guys to watch it.
8.   The Best Offer – Written and directed by the great Guiseppe Tornatore, film buffs all around the world remember him for ‘Cinema Paradiso’ and tired-teens remember him for making ‘Malena’. A truly great writer/director, this time comes up with a truly artistic Hitchcockian caper. The suspense unfolds in a truly elegant way; music by the GENIUS Ennio Morricone is an added advantage which takes the movie to a higher level.
9.   The Kings of Summer – An indie coming of age drama about 3 teenage friends. It’s a poignant and witty at places and conveys to us the yearning for freedom and independence. This one is the ‘Stand By Me’ for the current generation.
10.  Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa – British dark humour and Steve Coogan at its best! Coogan reprising his portrayal of Alan Partridge, a fictional presenter he has played on various BBC radio and television shows since 1991.  Alan finds himself at the center of a siege, when a disgruntled fellow RJ (Colm Meaney) decides to hold their station hostage after learning that he's getting sacked by the new management. The characters have great amount of irreverence about them along with that they are just laugh-out-loud funny. 
     Special Mentions:
  •          Bad Grandpa – One of THE funniest movies to come out in 2013.
  •          The Great Gatsby – Leonardo DiCaprio just owned the role.
  •          Stoker – Hollywood debut of South-Korean gutsy director Chan-wook Park, famous for Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, Thirst. Watch it for the amazing acting by the leads and for its Cinematography.
  •          The Art of the Steal – Who doesn’t like a fantastic heist movie?
  •          Don Jon – Writing and Directorial debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Need I say more? Well, it also has Scarlett Johansson.
  •          East – Now why wouldn’t you watch a solid hard-hitting thriller that’s co-written and directed by a guy who’s named Zal BATMANglij?
  •         The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty - A project that many wanted to try out but eventually was helmed by Ben Stiller and honestly, has done a brilliant job.         
  Some really great movies from that came out of my motherland in 2013 (Contains Hindi/Tamil/Malayalam and English films released in India):
  •          Kai Po Che (Hindi) – One of those RARE occasions where the movie surpasses the book it’s based on.
  •          Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Hindi)   A brilliant bio pic on the life of Indian athlete Milkha Singh.
  •          Madras Café (Hindi)   A Fictional take on the assassination of an Ex-PM of India. Brilliantly executed by director Shoojit Sircar (Vicky Donor)
  •          Raanjhanaa (Hindi)   National award winner Dhanush makes an impressive hindi acting debut, along with that add the brilliance of musical genius AR Rahman and a bit of UP-flavour.
  •          The Lunchbox (Hindi) – Well what can I say about this “controversial” flick? A brilliant film that could have got us the Best Foreign - Oscar.
  •          Ship of Theseus (English) – Well-crafted and beautifully executed indie film but pretentious at certain places.
  •          Amen (Malayalam) – 3rd Directorial venture of Lijo Jose. A layered screenplay with intelligent story that has amazing cinematography, different music and powerful performances by the leads.
  •          Thira (Malayalam) – A taut thriller by Vineeth Sreenivasan and his team that talks about illegal human trafficking.
  •          Drishyam (Malayalam) – A chilling crime-thriller that’ll keep you on the edge.The first Malayalam movie to enter the 50 Cr Club. Soon to remade in 3 languages. (Tamil-Telugu-Hindi)
  •          Soodhu Kaavum (Tamil) - Quirky characters in weird situations.
Now I’ll get on with the other Oscar categories:
Best Actor - Leading Role:

It's not that difficult to say that all 5 of the nominees have given their CAREER BEST performances this year. And being a Leo
DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street) fan myself, I don't know what more he could do to get his hands around the statue, but this year, one man is miles ahead of the other 4 nominees. For a guy who for 20 years has been struggling and was deemed as just another "Rom-com-stud-with-no-talent", this guy has made one of THE greatest comebacks ever seen in Hollywood. I'm talking about Matthew McConaughey, who has not just given a memorable performance as an AIDS victim but is definitely way ahead of his contemporaries. (Really looking forward to his association with Christopher Nolan, 'INTERSTELLAR' comes out on Nov 7th, 2014) He hasn't lost out a single award this year and the way things are going; he's sure to win his first Oscar from his first nomination and will go onto give an amazing acceptance speech starting with his trademark “Alright, Alright, Alrighhhht”. 

Who Would/should
Win: Matthew McConaughey for 'Dallas Buyers Club'
Matthew McConaughey
Biased Personal Opinion: Leonardo DiCaprio for 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'
"I'll have my Oscar, in this life or the next."
Best Actress - Leading Role:

This is one category which is all but locked. There is just no doubt who's going away with this. The moment I walked out after watching 'Gravity' I was pretty damn sure that it's going to be
Sandra Bullock's year but then few weeks back, I got around to watch eccentric genius' Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine' which stars Cate Blanchett in the lead role as a fallen, delusional, deeply troubled and in denial New York socialite.
In nearly 50-years of writing and directing movies, Woody Allen has conjured some of cinema's most vivid and lively female characters including 'Annie Hall', 'Hannah & Her Sisters', 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'. Strong and memorable women have become a hallmark of his movies and almost nothing connects these characters except that they have all sprung from the mind of the same gifted filmmaker/writer/director,
Woody Allen.

Who Should Win:  Cate
Blanchett for 'Blue Jasmine
Surprise: Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)/ Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
I know, I know, the whole world loves and adores Meryl Streep so do I but sometimes I just get the feeling ..

Best Supporting Actor:

This is another one of those categories where all 5 nominees have given their utmost best and sublime performances. Specially, Michael
Fassbender in '12 Years a Slave' and Jonah Hill in 'Wolf Of Wall Street' who just lived through their roles. Can’t freaking believe Jonah Hill got sodomized by the devil in 'This is the End' and also got nominated for an Oscar in the same year, very well my fellow pot-loving friend. 2 years back 'Moneyball' and this year a Scorsese film, you sure seem to be getting stronger and stronger every year.And then you have Jared Leto, who had "almost" retired from movies 4 years back, making an unbelievable comeback. His role in 'Dallas Buyers Club' as an HIV positive transgender woman required Leto to lose a lot of weight (20Kg to be precise!!) and spend a good while in the make-up chair. He’s won everything going so far, from the Globes to the SAGs, and looks to be in prime position to have everything his own way on Oscar night.

Who Should Win:  Jared
Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Now that's called a transformation
Surprise: Michael
Fassbender (12 Years A Slave)

Best Supporting Actress:
This is one category that might very well get decided on the sheer power of lobbying. Couple of months back we had Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) going as the strongest contender then later on we had the crowd favourite Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) winning quite a few awards and taking the lead. The definite showdown seems to be between these two. But the question is will the Academy really want to give Lawrence two Oscars in two years? It sure could happen, but Lawrence herself doesn't seem that interested and hasn't been lobbying much. Personally, I would have just straight away given it to Scarlett Johansson for being the voice of the Artificial Intelligence OS that Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with in 'Her' but surprisingly she hasn't even been nominated.
Who Should Win: Scarlett Johansson (Her) - This is also this years BIGGEST Oscar. 
Who would Win: Lupita Nyong'o / Jennifer Lawrence Dark Horse: June Squibb (Nebraska)
Best Original Screenplay:
Spike Jonze, this ones yours. Don't think anyone's going to snatch this one from you. You sure deserve it for the splendid original screenplay. In 'Her' you have a lonely man falling in love with his Operating system. Story about love and life that is heart-achingly brilliant and powerful. 
Who Should /Would WinSpike Jonze (Her)
Surprise : Bob Nelson (Nebraska)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Now with 9 nominations '12 Years a Slave' has to go home with at-least couple of Oscars and this is one of those categories that will be in its kitty. My personal choice would have been the master-piece 'Before Midnight' written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke which completes the 18-year long brilliant 'Before Trilogy' which showed us the journey of Jesse and Celine who just randomly meet on a train and fall in love (Before Sunrise). Some might consider this trilogy to be boring as majority of the story is conversations but I feel the writing is fun, clever, witty and really romantic.
Who should win: Richard Linklater 'Before Midnight'
Who would win : John Ridley '12 Years a Slave'

Best Cinematography/ Best Visual Effects :
I thought it would be better off to just combine these two categories as it has almost become like a tag-team event. Like last two years, even this year we will have the same team winning both the Cinematography and Visual Effects. It's high time the Academy starts to differentiate between "Camera Work" and "CGI".
Cinematography :
Who should win: Bruno Delbonnel (Inside Llewyn Davis)
Who would win: Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)
Visual Effects :
Hands down 'Gravity'
Now let me sum up rest of the categories as quickly as possible :
'Gravity' :  Best Editing (Alfonso Cuaron & Mark Sanger) , Best Production Design , Best Original Score (Steven Price) , Best Sound Editing , Best Sound Mixing.
Well I guess you got the hang of it. YES! according to me 'Gravity' deservingly is going to make a clean sweep at the 86th Academy Awards.
Comment, share, abuse me if you think I've totally messed it up , tell me what your predictions are.
Would love to hear. See you at the Oscars ;)
Telecast: March 3rd, 6:30 AM (IST) - Star Movies 

Oscar Nominees Luncheon


Anonymous said...

Excellent work Bro! Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog... enjoyed reading it... there are a number of movies I have missed for sure... thanks to u, I will be watching the missed out movies soon. You have done an awesome job rahul... keep up the excellent work. :-)

Harsh P said...

Terrific blog! some great personal finds like Rush and Mud which missed out? have you seen the Place Beyond the Pines, that was also quite good, same guy who made Blue Valentine

Rahul Menon said...

Thnx bhai :D

Rahul Menon said...

thnku remya :)

Rahul Menon said...

oh yaa .. luvd 'Place beyond the pines' .. Ciafrance ryt .. damn good director he is .. thnx fr the read bhai :)

AkAM0tS said...

One stop guide to the Oscar 2014! Great work man. And yeah even I have a biased opinion about Leo :D

Rahul Menon said...

Thnx a lot dude :) Ya i guess thr r plenty of us out thr who r just waitin fr the day Leo gets his hand around tht statue :D

shibin_mao said...

Aliyo gud job ... !!

Rahul Menon said...

thnx a lot brdr :)

kumar vivek said...

Yaar, Sorry for the delay, but truly you made my day.. first time i think we both are on same page, in most of the catagories :P
Just that i feel meryl streep should be handed oscar just for one scene she does "after her husband dies ( master piece acting)"
And for best adapted screenplay 12 years of slave might just have a edge because of its elaborate acting.
Wanted few movies you might want to add
CHILD'S POSE(Romanian movie)
only lovers left alive
These few movies I have seen in recent times, want you to just check them out. Might like those

Overall hats off for the effort you took to compile this stuff.

Rahul Menon said...

Thanks a lot fr checking out the post and for commenting :) double thanks fr recommending those movies ... will surely b watching them this weekend .. well just 3 more days to go and then we'll have the answers right in front of us :)

ரூபக் ராம் said...

Great job in making the list very simple.

Rahul Menon said...

Thanx a lot dude :)