Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

90th Academy Awards Nominations Predictions   1 comment

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Hollywood’s biggest night is upon us once again, with the announcement of the 2017 class of Oscar nominees. After months and months of festival premieres, magazine covers, endless interviews, and awards show speeches, the newest group of Academy Award nominees will be unveiled tomorrow. For most, it will be the biggest break they can ever hope for. For Meryl Streep, it’s just business as usual.

Some of this year’s Oscar contenders had us seeing Sally Hawkins make out with a fish, Armie Hammer giving us new memories with peaches, and everyone resisting a cup of tea from Catherine Keener. It also revived interests to the likes of Tommy Wiseau and Tonya Harding. More importantly, with the timely issues surrounding Hollywood today, narratives and politics have been stronger more than ever.

I’ll try and predict all 21 film categories. You ready? Let’s begin!

BEST PICTURE

Best Picture can range from as few as five and as many as ten when it comes to nominations, but with so many contenders still qualified in the race, five films have emerged in front of the race: There’s Golden Globe and SAG winner Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, presumably our current frontrunner as of this typing, about a grieving mother who took matters to her own hands so that her voice would be heard. Guillermo del Toro’s Venice champ The Shape of Water, has just won the Producers Guild, and is likely our nomination leader. Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, a coming of age comedy that has the distinction of being the critically highest rated film, Get Out by Jordan Peele, a dark comedy slash commentary which was one of the biggest stories of 2017, and Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, a retelling of that important moment in history in probably his most awards-friendly film in his resume yet. All films are considered safe already.

Then we have these films who are all seemingly safe, but do not be surprised if you see them miss out. Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name, the adaptation of Andre Aciman’s best selling novel about a summer romance between two men, has the critics raving, but between Carol‘s snub and Moonlight‘s current win, will the Hollywood homophobes feel it’s too gay already? Steven Spielberg’s The Post has all the makings of an Oscar sweeper…if only we’re in the 90s. But then again the triumvirate of Spielberg + Meryl Streep + Tom Hanks is still strong enough to latch a nom despite an underwhelming guild run. On the flip side is I, Tonya which peaked right in the middle of Oscar nominee voting and has continued to overcome challenges one after the other. I expect these three to be called out as well.

Two more slots are still available, but I don’t see this being the year where we complete all 10 slots. The guilds have shown so much love for The Big Sick, and it’s the type of movie that can ride the love to end with a BP nom. Phantom Thread is the definition of a last minute contender and one that can get as few as three to as many as seven nominations come Oscar morning. The Florida Project has lost quite the momentum outside of Willem Dafoe, but it’s the kind that will have passionate supporters to squeak out a nomination. Maybe the British contingent will come full force for Darkest Hour, as shown by its great BAFTA showing to score a lazy inclusion in the Best Picture lineup.

Predictions:
• Call Me by Your Name
• Dunkirk
• Get Out
• I, Tonya
• Lady Bird
• The Post
• The Shape of Water
• Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

9th (but not predicted): Darkest Hour
10th (but not predicted):
The Florida Project

BEST DIRECTOR

It’s safe to go with the DGA five as it seems like we’re in for an almost clear read at this race, but then two things are stopping me: the Oscar five last matched the DGA back in 2009, and it hasn’t happened this decade yet. Second, it’s rare that we get an all-newbie lineup at the Oscars and has only happened twice in the history of the category. That said, I think at least one of those two trends will be broken at least this year. Guillermo del Toro, this category’s frontrunner, is probably the only safe name here, and I can see a scenario of everyone else missing. As mentioned, this is Christopher Nolan’s most awards-friendly film, and after being passed over twice, it seems like this is the year when he’ll finally join the club. Martin McDonagh’s direction has been the weakest among the many categories where Three Billboards is a contender, but I still think he won’t miss out a nomination here. Too much buzz has been made about the poor statistic of women being nominated for Best Directing (only happened four times – Lina Wertmuller in 1976, Jane Campion in 1993, Sofia Coppola in 2003, and Kathryn Bigelow in 2009), I think this benefits Greta Gerwig a lot and I feel like there’s pressure to nominate her given her output and narrative. For that last slot, Jordan Peele of Get Out makes the most sense, but he’s also one I see who’s the first to miss out from the consensus five. Paul Thomas Anderson fits the bill of a returning nominee that can continue this category’s history trend, but then there’s also Sean Baker of The Florida Project who directed kids in the movie – an underlying common theme between two biggest surprises in this category the past few years (Behn Zeitlin in Beasts of the Southern Wild and Lenny Abrahamson in Room). That said, between the auteurs’ support and a more international friendly Directors branch, I’m going on a limb and predict Luca Guadagnino to translate his BAFTA nomination with an Oscar one.

Predictions:
• Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name
• Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
• Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
• Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
• Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

SPOILER: Jordan Peele, Get Out

BEST ACTOR

Four names are guaranteed to be called already for Best Actor by tomorrow: there’s potential winner Gary Oldman in his second nomination (after 2011’s surprise one for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as Winston Churchill and Daniel Day-Lewis in what is perceived as his swansong performance in Phantom Thread. Timothee Chalamet has emerged as the critical pick for Call Me by Your Name and will surely add an Oscar nominee label before his name. Same goes for Daniel Kaluuya, the face of Get Out, and who has defied and collected precursor nomination one after the other. The last slot seems like a shoo-in for Golden Globe winner James Franco for his turn in his self-directed comedy The Disaster Artist, but him being a subject of the current Hollywood scandal, certainly gives a pause. That said, the issue erupted with two voting days left, and with him appearing at the SAG Awards yesterday means that he’s still pushing through with his campaign and bid, and I think that will still result to a nomination. Watch out for Denzel Washington though in Roman Israel Esq. Not only did he pick up surprise Globe and SAG nods (over the likes of Tom Hanks in The Post), but remember that he came quite really close to the win last year, and there might still be some leftover love that can translate to a nomination this year.

PREDICTIONS:
• Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
• Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
• James Franco, The Disaster Artist
• Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
• Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

SPOILER: Denzel Washington, Roman Israel Esq.

BEST ACTRESS

It’s astonishing that almost all four actresses who have hit a clear slate of precursor run of Golden Globe, BFCA, SAG, and BAFTA, are also starring in potential Best Picture nods, as compared to their male counterparts. Frances McDormand is back 13 years after her last nomination, and is bound to get her second Lead nomination since winning back in 1996 for Fargo. Saoirse Ronan is catching up with pal Jennifer Lawrence as the fastest from their generation to pick up nods as she’s in the hunt for her third nomination already playing the titular character in Lady Bird. After missing exactly a decade ago for her critically sweeping performance in Happy Go Lucky, Sally Hawkins is bound to get her first Best Actress career nod in The Shape of Water. And newbie Margot Robbie can make history by getting both acting and producing nominations for I, Tonya where she plays infamous skating figure Tonya Harding. As for who’s completing the list, the SAGs went for Judi Dench in Victoria & Abdul, a similar role that first put her in Oscar attention back in 1997. With Globe and SAG nods, this seems like an easy check for this 7x nominee, but the BAFTA snub is telling when they’ve nominated her for basically everything. In the Dame’s absence is Annette Bening getting a last minute push for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. She also missed last year for 20th Century Women, but Film Stars didn’t have any momentum or presence this whole awards season except for this BAFTA resuscitation. There’s also Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game, Michelle Williams in All the Money in the World, Vicky Krieps in Phantom Thread, but in the end, these are all futile since we know that the last spot is reserved for Oscar Queen herself Meryl Streep, now entering her 21st career nomination for The Post. While it’s hilarious to think that Streep will be missing for a Spielberg vehicle, the rule still stands that “When in doubt, predict Meryl.”

PREDICTIONS:
• Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
• Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
• Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
• Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
• Meryl Streep, The Post

SPOILER: Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

This is probably the category that has the biggest difference from what was predicted pre-awards season to where we are right now. Sure, Willem Dafoe of The Florida Project and Sam Rockwell of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri have always been ahead of the pack, but the rest range from last minute contenders to latecomers in the race. Richard Jenkins, who first received his nomination back in 2008’s The Visitor, will add another nomination under his cap, this time as part of The Shape of Water. So much statistic has been made about the “no film since 1991’s Bugsy has collected double Supporting Actor nods” and for the most part, many films came close but sizzled out in the end (Crash, The Departed, No Country for Old Men, Spotlight), but between the SAG and BAFTA nods, this stat seems like it will rest now as Woody Harrelson will likely join pal Sam Rockwell in this group. The last spot sure is a clusterfuck – the two men who were initially perceived to break the stat were Call Me by Your Names Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg but with the internal competition, both will likely miss come Oscar morning. It’s not bust yet for both to be honest – Hammer after all has been campaigning heavily and can be considered co-lead, while co-star Stuhlbarg appears in two more Best Picture contenders (The Shape of WaterThe Post) and sometimes that’s enough. Just ask John C. Reilly back in 2002. That said, it can easily go to veteran actor and Oscar winner Christopher Plummer, a last minute addition to Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, with a flashier performance and a narrative that will likely continue to be the talk of Tinseltown.

Predictions:
• Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
• Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
• Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
• Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
• Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

SPOILER: Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Just like last year, mothers seem to be front and center in this category. Two of the frontrunners are mothers on the opposite side of the spectrum – there’s critically lauded Laurie Metcalfe’s loving mother in Lady Bird and Allison Janney’s outlandish turn in I, Tonya. Both TV vets are on their first career nods, and it’s great to see these character actresses taking front and center. Octavia Spencer, who was just nominated last year for Hidden Figures is likely to break history yet again and be the first black actress to earn multiple nominations after winning. She’ll also be joining co-star Viola Davis as the most nominated black actresses in Oscar history. While she has been snubbed at the SAGs, The Shape of Water‘s overall strength puts her in a distant but safe third spot. Oscar winner Holly Hunter, on the other hand, only has SAG under her credits this season, but I think her stature makes her safe enough for a nod. Both Hong Chau and Mary J. Blige picked up Globe + SAG nods and are working on the same diversity narrative that will definitely earn them points. However, Downsizing is one of the biggest flops this season, and an unknown actress like Hong Chau isn’t likely to survive that. Blige is in a better position as Mudbound is contending in other categories, but Netflix pushing it still gives me pause. I think she’ll get her nomination for Original Song instead. As for that last spot, I’m tinkering with the two British contenders that BAFTA went for – Leslie Manville for a last minute push for Phantom Thread, but I guess I’m expecting Kristin Scott Thomas (whose only Oscar nomination was for 1996’s The English Patient) to coattail Gary Oldman’s undeniable Best Actor frontrunner status. When an actor is a huge contender, chances are it’s pulling a supporting contender with it (think of Jeff Bridges getting Maggie Gyllenhaal in, Leonardo di Caprio to Tom Hardy, Cate Blanchett to Sally Hawkins). As a matter of fact, you have to go back to 2006 for the last Best Actor winner who was also the solo acting nomination for the film he won for (that’s Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland).

Predictions:
• Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
• Allison Janney, I, Tonya
• Laurie Metcalfe, Lady Bird
• Kristin Scott-Thomas, Darkest Hour
• Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

SPOILER: Leslie Manville, Phantom Thread

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

This year, majority of the Best Picture contenders are also original screenplays so it’s quite the busier of the two screenplay categories. The four frontrunners are all in play in this category, and I see all of them getting nominated. In the event of a snub, maybe The Shape of Water is the first to go since the film is lauded more for its visual experience as compared to its screenplay strength. That said, I’m still expecting it’ll get in. The last slot can go to quirky romance The Big Sick, or the talky and “important” The Post, but I feel like this is one of the categories where I, Tonya peaking on the week of the Oscar nomination voting will pay off.

Predictions:
• Get Out
• I, Tonya
• Lady Bird
• The Shape of Water
• Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

SPOILER: The Big Sick

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The weaker of the two screenplay categories, Call Me by Your Name should easily sweep the competition come Oscar time. Joining it are other contenders such as The Disaster Artist, Mudbound, and Molly’s Game, all of whom have garnered precursors in here as well. Now it’s the last spot that’s really tricky. Nothing makes actual sense or fits the mold or pattern among the other buzzed contenders. No superhero movie has ever been nominated for a Screenplay Oscar, but both Logan and Wonder Woman are in the hunt and can make history. Sadly for them, I think they’ll separate the votes and both end up missing, Stephen Chbosky has garnered precursors for The Perks of Being a Wallflower back in 2012 and still missed, so either he gets a make up nod for Wonder, but I don’t see that happening. Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool filled the BAFTA category in this spot, but the BAFTAs seem to adore that movie more and their the outlier rather than the rule. This type of empty category makes me feel that a little film with big passion can get in; thus I’m predicting The Lost City of Z to fill the last spot.

Predictions:
• Call Me by Your Name
• The Disaster Artist
• The Lost City of Z
• Molly’s Game
• Mudbound

SPOILER: Logan

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

After picking up wins from the Globes and the BFCA, In the Fade suddenly becomes the frontrunner in this category, and I think Cannes entry Loveless is in too, as well as Chilean submission A Fantastic Woman. Meanwhile, the last two slots can go to big contenders like Foxtrot and The SquareFoxtrot was initially seen as a strong frontrunner, but finds itself lacking any precursor or buzz, and not even its studio’s priority in this category, so I can see it missing the final list. With a Palme d’Or win under its belt, Ruben Ostlund is likely getting nominated too, but a part of me wants to see him snubbed so he can video his meltdown yet again, just like what happened to Force Majeure back in 2014. In their places, I went with two underdogs – Lebanon’s The Insult, handled by Cohen Media Group, also the group behind current champ The Salesman. And South Africa’s The Wound, which I can really see missing for the most buzzed contenders. But then I’d stick with this one.

Predictions:
• A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
• The Insult (Lebanon)
• In the Fade (Germany)
• Loveless (Russia)
• The Wound (South Africa)

SPOILER: Foxtrot (Israel)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

New changes in the voting pattern for the Animated Feature Film will be kinder to the mainstream efforts than to the more obscure ones. I think nominations like those of The Secret of Kells, A Cat in Paris, and Ernest & Celestine are likely not to happen anymore. That this happened in probably the weakest year for animated also makes the predicting harder. Basically, it’s Coco or bust. But then joining it are Loving Vincent and The Breadwinner — both have gained precursors over the season. It’s sad to know that Oscar nominated The Boss Baby is happening, but it seems like we’re heading towards that path. After The LEGO Movie’s snub in 2014, I don’t know if I’m ready to predict it yet so I’m sticking with Despicable Me 3, since the second one was also nominated.

Predictions:
• The Boss Baby
• The Breadwinner
• Coco
• Despicable Me 3
• Loving Vincent

SPOILER: The LEGO Batman Movie

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

City of Ghosts is the perennial favorite in this category, which is a follow-up from the Oscar nominated director of Cartel Land. If there’s one category that Netflix can claim they’re good at, it’s this one, so I feel like the Olympic-related documentary Icarus and Chasing Coral can hear themselves getting nominated.  There’s also Jane, a playful achievement of animal advocate Jane Goodall and Sundance Documentary Prize winner Last Men in Aleppo. After winning the Honorary Oscar back in November, Agnes Varda can make history and win a Competitive Oscar in the same year she won an Honorary, but I’m quite fearing that she’ll be that big snub in this category.

Predictions:
• Chasing Coral
• City of Ghosts
• Icarus
• Jane
• Last Men in Aleppo

SPOILER: Faces Places

Now as for the rest of the technical categories…

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
• Blade Runner 2049
• Darkest Hour
• Dunkirk
• Mudbound
• The Shape of Water

SPOILER: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Mudbound‘s Rachel Morrison will be the first female cinematographer ever nominated, so there’s that to look forward to. That said, I’ll be sticking with this ASC nominated five. If there’s a spoiler to the group, it’ll likely be Three Billboards who is gaining momentum here.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
• Beauty and the Beast
• Darkest Hour
• The Greatest Showman
• Phantom Thread
• The Shape of Water

SPOILER: I, Tonya

There is a stroyline in I, Tonya‘s detailing about Tonya getting better costumes, so I think that might help its chances here, but with all the other contenders getting flashier outputs, it’s hard to identify which one it will push off the group.

BEST EDITING
• Baby Driver
• Dunkirk
• I, Tonya
• The Shape of Water
• Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

SPOILER: Get Out

I tend to feel like Baby Driver and I, Tonya, both with flashy editing are targeting the same voters here so don’t be surprised to see one of them miss for something like Get Out, which is also the film’s only realistic shot at any below the line categories.

BEST HAIRSTYLING & MAKE UP
• Bright
• Darkest Hour
• I, Tonya

SPOILER: Wonder

Darkest Hour seems like the only lock in this group, and while Wonder has been getting nods left and right (and deservedly so because look what they’ve made to poor Oscar nominee Jacob Tremblay), I think it’ll miss in to something like that of Netflix’ Bright. After all, this is the same group that nominated Norbit and gave the win to Suicide Squad.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
• Darkest Hour
• Dunkirk
• Phantom Thread
• The Post
• The Shape of Water

SPOILER: Victoria & Abdul

Never underestimate Thomas Newman who scored Victoria & Abdul. He hasn’t won yet, and if there’s one musical composer who can still get in despite an underperforming movie, it’s him. Think of how he still managed to get nominated for 2013’s Saving Mr. Banks marking that film’s lone Oscar nomination.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
• “Evermore” (Beauty and the Beast)
• “Mighty River” (Mudbound)
• “Remember Me” (Coco)
• “Stand Up for Something” (Marshall)
• “This Is Me” (The Greatest Showman)

SPOILER: “Mystery of Love” (Call Me by Your Name)

I really hope I’m wrong with this one, but I think Oscar nominee Sufjan Stevens isn’t happening. Evermore, Remember Me, and This Is Me all look pretty safe here. I’m also predicting that this is where Mary J. Blige will be receiving her Oscar nomination. And to fill that slot, I’ve went with Diane Warren who came close in 2015, and has been working real hard to get an Oscar.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
• Beauty and the Beast
• Blade Runner 2049
• Dunkirk
• The Post
• The Shape of Water

SPOILER: Darkest Hour

It’s Darkest Hour vs. The Post for that last spot for me, and while I think Darkest Hour makes more sense predicting wise, I could not shake off the idea of Lincoln pulling the upset in this category back in 2012, so I must not underestimate the same team.

BEST SOUND EDITING
• Baby Driver
• Blade Runner 2049
• Dunkirk
• The Shape of Water
• Star Wars: The Last Jedi

SPOILER: Wonder Woman

This has been the same five we’ve been seeing all season, so might as well go with it.

BEST SOUND MIXING
• Blade Runner 2049
• Dunkirk
• Life
• Star Wars: The Last Jedi
• Wonder Woman

SPOILER: The Greatest Showman

I don’t think Sound Editing and Sound Mixing went 5/5 in the same year, so there’s that. This category loves musicals so The Greatest Showman is in the hunt. However, I’m thinking that the Oscars love to reward the box office success movies of the year (just like The Avengers in 2012) with a nomination and this is where I’m seeing Wonder Woman happening.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
• Blade Runner 2049
• Dunkirk
• Okja
• Star Wars: The Last Jedi
• War for the Planet of the Apes

SPOILER: The Shape of Water

I’m currently predicting an Arrival type of snub for The Shape of Water, and in its place, predicting Okja which I’ve read really got great reception in the Academy showcase of visual effects contenders.

MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS:
12: The Shape of Water
9: Dunkirk
7: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
6: Darkest Hour, I, Tonya
5: Blade Runner 2049, Lady Bird
4: Call Me by Your Name, The Post
3: Beauty and the Beast, Get Out, Mudbound, Phantom Thread, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
2: Baby Driver, Coco, The Disaster Artist, The Greatest Showman

There you have it! Happy Oscar predicting day everyone!

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Posted January 23, 2018 by Nicol Latayan in Awards, Films

Philippines’ 90th Oscar Submission: Birdshot   2 comments

BirdshotThe Film Academy of the Philippines, in charge of choosing the submission for the Academy Awards, has announced earlier today that Mikhail Red’s Birdshot is the official entry of the country for the 90th Oscars. Birdshot bested seven other movies (Die Beautiful by Jun Lana; 1st SEM by Dexter Hernandez and Allan Ibanez; Ang Araw sa Likod Mo by Dominic Nuesa; Kita Kita by Sigfrid Bernardo; Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B by Prime Cruz; Patay na si Hesus by Victor Villanueva; Triptiko by Miguel Franco Micelena; and Sunday Beauty Queen by Baby Ruth Villarama) in the process.

Birdshot is the first submission from 25-year old director Mikhail Red, son of Raymond Red, Cannes winning director for his short film Anino. The film premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival, was the opening film for this year’s Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, and a winner at the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino last month.

The film tells the story of a young Filipino teenage girl who wanders into the boundaries of a Philippines reservation forest. Deep within the reservation, she mistakenly shoots and kills a critically endangered and protected Philippine eagle. As local authorities begin a manhunt to track down the poacher of a national bird, their investigation leads them to an even more horrific discovery. The film stars John Arcilla, Arnold Reyes, and newcomer Mary Joy Apostol.

How will Birdshot fare in the Oscar game? As for starters, it’s already competing against much high-profile films including Palme d’Or winner The Square from Sweden and other Cannes entries such as BPM (Beats Per Minute) from France, Germany’s In the Fade, Russia’s Loveless, and Austria’s Happy End. There are also other high profile contenders such as Chile’s A Fantastic Woman, Israel’s Foxtrot, Denmark’s You Disappear, and Cambodia’s First They Killed my Father directed by Oscar winner Angelina Jolie. In this regard, we’re lacking way, way behind to be noticed. Four of the last six winners in this category debuted at Cannes, one from Venice, and the other one from Toronto. We really need to put it out there/

That said, the local studio handling this is TBA Productions, also the people behind our 2015 submission Heneral Luna. While the film was not nominated nor did it advance in the shortlist, they’re a team that can use previous experience to their advantage and partner with an international distributor to assist them with their Oscar campaign.

It also helps that the film has this Western appeal, something that will not be hard for the committee to like and appreciate. This has always been a “barricade” of some sort of many of our previous entries from Anak in 2000 to Ang Babae sa Septic Tank in 2011. Birdshot is a movie that can appeal both to middlebrow and highbrow movie fans, so it can be in the running for both the popular vote and the committee save. It’s also difficult to crack how the committee save will be chosen. As per a source last year, the three “saved” films were Australia’s Tanna, Switzerland’s My Life as a Courgette, and Germany’s Toni Erdmann.

When I wrote about my potential Oscar submission analysis a few weeks ago, I predicted that it will either be Die Beautiful, Pauwi Na, or Birdshot that will be chosen as the Oscar submission. All of these will be decent picks, but it’s a year that’s tough for the country to penetrate and get that elusive Oscar nomination.

Maybe 2018 will be better for us.

Posted September 26, 2017 by Nicol Latayan in Awards, Films

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90th Oscar Foreign Language Film: What Should the Philippines Submit?   3 comments

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It’s the time of the year! One Filipino film will be chosen to represent the country for the 90th Academy Awards next year. With the rise of more local film festivals such as FDCP’s recently-concluded Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, and their partnership with SM Cinema – Cine Lokal – getting the requirement of seven day commercial release seems easier nowadays as compared to previous year.

To qualify as an eligible submission, the Academy’s rule states that “The motion picture must be first released in the country submitting it no earlier than October 1, 2016, and no later than September 30, 2017, and be first publicly exhibited for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theater for the profit of the producer and exhibitor.” The country must submit its intended film before October 2, 2017.

As of this writing, only six films have submitted thus far, and none of the usual favorites have made their decisions yet. Will Submission #29 be our charm? Which film will be our best bet to advance forward to represent the country? I’ve divided them in three different categories.

DISCLAIMER: It has to be cleared that this ISN’T the final shortlist from the Film Academy of the Philippines yet, and are just mere speculations and recommendations.

FRONTRUNNERS:

Apocalypse Child

APOCALYPSE CHILD
Director: Mario Cornejo
Screenplay: Mario Cornejo, Monster Jimenez
Cast: Sid Lucero, Anicka Dolonius, RK Bagatsing, Ana Abad Santos, Gwen Zamora
Philippine Release Date: October 26, 2016

The film is set in the surfing town of Baler where Ford is wasting his youth away. Named after Francis Ford Coppola, his mother continuously hopes that the Hollywood director would someday acknowledge her son. As another surfing season is ending, he is faced to confront his past, including the myths about his life.

Winner of the Best Picture at the QC Film Festival back in 2015, Apocalypse Child only had its commercial run almost a year later of October in 2016. The film, while having a Hollywood connection in its plot, is no doubt about it one of 2015’s best offerings, but it’s just a case of something that’s not right up the Academy’s flavor. Obviously, it doesn’t undermine the greatness of Apocalypse Child, a personal favorite of mine, but just a case of oil and water not mixing together.

Area

AREA
Director: Louie Ignacio
Screenplay: Robby Tantingco
Cast: Aiai delas Alas, Allen Dizon, Sue Prado
Philippine Release Date: November 9, 2016

Named after the red light district, Area centers on Hilary, an aging prostitute, saving up money in the hopes of going to the US to find her long lost son.

Area has been hopping and collecting awards from low-key international critics, and while I don’t think it will ultimately end as a final submission pick for the country, this poverty-themed film will have its fans in the selection committee.

Birdshot

BIRDSHOT
Director: Mikhail Red
Screenplay: Mikhail Red, Rae Red
Cast: Mary Joy Apostol, John Arcilla, Arnold Reyes
Philippine Release Date: August 16, 2017

Birdshot is a coming-of-age thriller that tells the story of a young farm girl who wanders off into a Philippine forest reserve. Deep within the reservation she mistakenly shoots and kills a critically endangered and protected Philippine Eagle. As the local authorities begin a manhunt to track down the poacher of a national bird, their investigation leads them to an even more horrific discovery.

Before it opened the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival earlier this month, Birdshot has already made rounds internationally – Goteborg, Osaka Asian, Titanic Hungary, Vilnius, Taipei, Cinemalaya, New York Asian film festivals – and a victory for director Mikhail Red as Asian  Future Best Film Award at Tokyo, so there’s no denying that it can work its international presence. That plus its critical consensus and its huge potential of a crossover international appeal can certainly make it a decent, if not great, submissions for the country.

 Bliss

BLISS
Director: Jerrold Tarog
Screenplay: Jerrold Tarog
Cast: Iza Calzado, Adrienne Vergara, TJ Trinidad, Ian Veneracion
Philippine Release Date: May 10, 2017

After involving in a film production accident that leaves her crippled, Jane Ciego, a successful actress, slowly transitions into madness after experiencing horrors and torture in her own home.

Even before its local premiere last May 10, Bliss has already made rounds because of Iza Calzado’s victory at the Osaka Asian Film Festival for this performance. This + love for Jerrold Tarog, who is no stranger here after his 2015 smash hit Heneral Luna was submitted, can certainly work for this film’s advantage to be our country’s submission.

Die Beautiful

DIE BEAUTIFUL
Director: Jun Lana
Screenplay: Jun Lana, Rody Vera
Cast: Paolo Ballesteros, Christian Bables, Joel Torre
Philippine Release Date: December 25, 2016

Friends attend the wake of Trisha, a Filipino transgender woman. They look back into the her life as she faces the adversities and triumphs of living as a transgender in Filipino society

Sweeping awards left and right, which started its victory at last year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, Die Beautiful is probably the closets contender we have this year that managed to have both great commercial and critical response, something that will surely benefit it as well. At the center of the film is Urian (and Tokyo) Best Actor Paolo Ballesteros who will surely campaign for the film if it gets selected. They can also spin an LGBT narrative here with a transgender lead character, and pop culture mentions ranging from Miley Cyrus to Lady Gaga and Beyonce can also help.

Kita Kita

KITA KITA
Director: Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
Screenplay: Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
Cast: Alessandra de Rossi, Empoy Marquez
Philippine Release Date: July 19, 2017

A blind woman falls in love with a man who uses kindness and humor to make a connection with her.

Kita Kita is the box office success story of 2017 in the Philippines, no doubt about that. So don’t be surprised to see it as a possible shortlist submission entry. This Empoy-Alessandra rom-com might be seen as too fluff to be submitted (and frankly, I agree), but then if middlebrow material like The Intouchables by France can be submitted in 2013 because of its huge box office performance, then I won’t be surprised if the local Academy goes with this. After all, Intouchables made it to the shortlist of nine only to miss the actual nod.

Patay na si Hesus

PATAY NA SI HESUS
Director: Victor Villanueva
Screenplay: Moira Lang, Fatrick Tabada
Cast: Jaclyn Jose, Chai Fonacier, Melde Montanez, Angelina Kanapi
Philippine Release Date: August 16, 2017

The death of a woman’s estranged husband brought her and her family into a road that changes their lives forever.

Another crowd-pleasing comedy, this film starring a dysfunctional family on a road trip is right up the alley of previous submissions such as Ded na si Lolo, Bwakaw, and Ang Babae sa Septic Tank. This also stars Cannes Best Actress Jaclyn Jose which can work to its advantage (but then, if her in Ma’Rosa didn’t work last year, then maybe I’m just reaching a bit here).

Pauwi Na

PAUWI NA
Director: Paolo Villaluna
Screenplay: Paolo Villaluna, Ellen Ramos
Cast: Bembol Roco, Cherry Pie Picache, Meryll Soriano, Jerald Napoles, Chai Fonacier
Philippine Release Date: August 16, 2017

The film follows a family who decide to use pedicabs so they could “pedal” their way back to the province. A series of unfortunate events occur that will either test their determination or distract them from their journey home. ‘Pauwi Na’ is a tragic-comic portrait of a dysfunctional family and the disquieting blind faith they invoke as they dream of going home.

Also titled as Pedicab, this heartwarming drama with a strong ensemble headlined by Bembol Roco and Cherry Pie Picache has already received Best Film at the Shanghai International Film Festival. I feel that this is a movie that can appeal to the international community that has the most ‘local’ flavor so to speak. While it has a tendency to be lost in the shuffle when competing against other countries, this is a good, possible submissions for us.

eRespeto

RESPETO
Director: Treb Monteras II
Screenplay: Treb Monteras II, Njel de Mesa
Cast: Abra, Dido dela Paz, Loonie, Chai Fonacier
Philippine Release Date: TBD

Hendrix dreams of hip-hop greatness, but  he’s spiraling down a rabbit-hole of crime and poverty until he meets Doc, an old poet still haunted by his martial law past. Respeto is a celebration of the underground Pinoy hip-hop world and how we find the words to find ourselves.

Winning the top plum at Cinemalaya earlier this month, Respeto teases a commercial screening already, and while there is no definite date given yet, it needs to have a seven-day run by September 30. While hip-hop and fliptop is something that can appeal to a foreign audience, I fear for a “lost in translation” scenario on how this will be received internationally as compared to the love it got here.

Sunday Beauty Queen

SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN
Director: Babyruth Villarama Gutierrez
Cast: Rudelie Acosta, Mylyn Jacobo, Leo Selomenia
Philippine Release Date: December 25, 2016

Beneath Hong Kong’s glittering facade, Filipinas working as domestic helpers work in relative anonymity and for near slave wages. In a beauty pageant like no other in the world, five helpers give themselves makeovers for a day and gleefully reclaim their dignity.

There’s already a narrative written for this because it can be the first ever documentary submitted by the country for Oscar consideration. The last documentary feature to be nominated for a Foreign Language Film Oscar is 2013’s The Missing Picture from Cambodia. It’s also helped by the idea that the concept of OFWs is so Pinoy in culture, and we’ve submitted those in the past too (2000’s Anak comes to mind).

POTENTIAL SHORTLIST MENTIONS:

header 2

While I don’t think these films will end up as submissions, don’t be surprised to see any of these in this group to make it in the final shortlist:

2 COOL 2 B 4GOTTEN
Director: Petersen Vargas
Screenplay: Jason Paul Laxamana
Cast: Khalil Ramos, Jameson Blake, Ethan Salvador, Ana Capri
Philippine Release Date: March 15, 2017

Winning Best Picture at the Cinema One Originals 2016, this coming of age story of a young boy has done some international festival rounds (even winning an Audience Choice in Italy), but its too small scope will certainly hinder its chances.

HAMOG
Director: Ralston Javier
Screenplay: Ralston Javier
Cast: Zaijan Jaranilla, Therese Lamvar, OJ Mariano, Lou Veloso, Anna Luna
Philippine Release Date: August 16, 2017

Like, 2 Cool 2 Be 4goten, Hamog might be seen as more of a low-key contender, which can be quite the challenge if it faces and more buzzed entries from other countries.

ANG HULING CHACHA NI ANITA
Director: Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
Screenplay: Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
Cast: Therese Malvar, Angel Aquino, Jay Bordon
Philippine Release Date: June 16, 2017

There have been instances from previous years when we included films from older years to make the shortlist on their actual year of commercial release (Boses in 2012, Alagwa in 2013) so this one certainly fits the bill.

PAGLIPAY
Director: Zig Dulay
Screenplay: Zig Dulay
Cast: Garry Cabalic, Anna Luna, Joan dela Cruz
Philippine Release Date: August 16, 2017

Again, another film that might be perceived as too low-key for a submissions entry but is certainly deserving to be up for consideration.

SAVING SALLY
Director: Avid Liongoren
Screenplay: Carlo Ledesma, Charlene Sawit-Esguerra, Avid Liongoren
Cast: Rhian Ramos, Enzo Marcos, TJ Trinidad
Philippine Release Date: December 25, 2016

While this type of animation can work on its advantage when attracting the international crowd, the story might be seen as too lightweight which can hinder its overall chances. Romantic light stories aren’t really the Academy’s cup of tea.

SEKLUSYON
Director: Erik Matti
Screenplay: Anton C. Santamaria
Cast: Ronnie Alonte, Rhed Bustamante, Phoebe Walker
Philippine Release Date: December 25, 2016

For an MMFF film, this one got solid reviews and even swept the Gabi ng Parangal of last year. This is also from the Dan Villegas and Jennylyn Mercado team-up, which reminds us that English Only Please, was part of the short-list that year.

SLEEPLESS
Director: Prime Cruz
Screenplay: Jen Chuaunsu
Cast: Glaiza de Castro, Dominic Roco, TJ Trinidad
Philippine Release Date: May 26, 2017

With its surprising box office receipts and a good to great critical reception, this can fit the slot of the rom-com slot that has included films such as English Only Please and That Thing Called Tadhana.

ELIGIBILITY ISSUES:

header 3

The other big winner at this year’s Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival is Kiko Boksingero from director Thop Nazareno, a small gem of a film about an aspiring boxer who met his father. The critical standout at the ToFarm Film Festival is What Home Feels Like which stars indie favorites Bembol Roco and Irma Adlawan. Both of the said films have no commercial releases yet since their festival run. Meanwhile, Sheron Dayoc’s Women of the Weeping River, the biggest sweeper at this year’s Gawad Urian including the top Best Picture plum (among more Best Picture prizes), will definitely get a commercial release from TBA, though date of release isn’t publicly revealed yet. If eligible, it’s a strong contender for the submission.

FINAL VERDICT:

After last year’s bloodbath of competition between frontrunner Ma’Rosa by Brillante Mendoza and the late gamechange Ang Babaeng Humayo by Lav Diaz, this year looks tame in comparison. Of course I’m talking about the international buzz-level and does not reflect the quality of these films mentioned above. 2016 was probably the strongest presence we had in the international scene with Competition entries at the Big 3 festivals and winning a prize in all three too. As for this year’s entries, I’d trim it down to three – Birdshot which I can see having a really great international appeal (its toughest challenge is putting itself out there which it has already started to do), Pauwi Na (heart tugging family film that has won Shanghai’s top prize already), and Die Beautiful. If I were the one deciding, my vote goes to Die Beautiful, as I think it’s right up the Academy’s alley – great acting performances, has this crossover crowd pleasing appeal, and possible narrative for its central transgender character.

Share your thoughts with me! You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

40th Gawad Urian Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

The Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, people behind the annual Gawad Urian Awards, is celebrating the awards show’s 40th year. Started back in 1977, the award-giving body has recognized more than 200 Filipino films and 300 actors and actresses in all 12 of its categories. What I like most about the Urian is their complete archiving history and that they’re the only one of the four major award giving bodies to have maintained some sort of credibility. This year is pretty special for the group with Vilma Santos as the recipient of the Natatanging Gawad Urian. Personally wishing that they do some sort of a Gawad Urian Family Album of all the acting winner recipients thus far, ala Oscar family album style. Anyway, as per annual tradition, here are my prediction on who’ll end up as winners in 13 of their categories.

best pic urian

 

BEST PICTURE
“Ang Babaeng Humayo”
“Baboy Halas”
“Ma’Rosa”
“Paglipay”
“Pamilya Ordinaryo”
“Women of the Weeping River”

This year, Women of the Weeping River received the most nominations and what works in it favor is that the Urian is totally open arms when it comes to recognizing regional cinema, as shown by wins of Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria in 2010 and Ang Paglalakbay ng mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim in 2012. Giving it competition are Cinemalaya breakout Pamilya Ordinaryo which swept last year’s Cinemalaya Awards and is a consistent critical favorite from last year. That said, two films have put our country to world cinema spotlight last year: Cannes entry Ma’Rosa by Brillante Mendoza and Golden Lion recipient Ang Babaeng Humayo by Lav Diaz. It’s victory at Venice makes me think that Diaz is ahead, even by a hair only, in this race.

Prediction: Ang Babaeng Humayo
Alternate:
Ma’Rosa

direction

BEST DIRECTOR
Sheron Dayoc (Women of the Weeping River)
Lav Diaz (Ang Babaeng Humayo)
Zig Dulay (Paglipay)
Bagane Fiola (Baboy Halas)
Avid Liongoren (Saving Sally)
Lem Lorca (Ned’s Project)
Brillante Mendoza (Ma’Rosa)
Eduardo Roy Jr. (Pamilya Ordinaryo)
Paolo Villaluna (Pauwi Na)

In recent years, the Urian doesn’t really care if the same film gets Best Picture and Best Director, as I think they’re more keen on spreading the wealth. That said, Lav Diaz has won this category only twice (in 2001 for Batang Westside and 2014 for Mula sa Kung Ano Ang Noon) that they’d be inclined to give him a third win here. Watch out for Sheron Dayoc as most possible to pull off the upset.

Prediction: Lav Diaz (Ang Babaeng Humayo)
Alternate: 
Sheron Dayoc (Women of the Weeping River)

actor

BEST ACTOR
Tommy Abuel (Dagsin)
Paolo Ballesteros (Die Beautiful)
Garry Cabalic (Paglipay)
Ronwaldo Martin (Pamilya Ordinaryo)
Khalil Ramos (2Cool To B 4gotten)
Bembol Roco (Pauwi Na)
Pepe Smith (Singing in Graveyards)

If we’re going with buzz, then Paolo Ballesteros seems like a shoo-in for this category already. His Tokyo International Film Fest winning performance in Die Beautiful is the stuff of which awards are made of. That said, this somehow reminds me of how Dennis Trillo, only an Urian left to grandslam, suddenly lost his category after being considered as the biggest lock for Aishite Imasu back in 2004. Sometimes, when a winner looks so obvious, the Manunuri tends to go to a different direction. With that, I’m currently predicting Ronwaldo Martin, younger brother of Urian winner Coco Martin, to net the Best Actor trophy for his performance as a street robber in Pamilya Ordinaryo.

Prediction: Ronwaldo Martin (Pamilya Ordinaryo)
Alternate: 
Paolo Ballesteros (Die Beautiful)

actress

BEST ACTRESS
Irma Adlawan (Oro)
Nora Aunor (Hinulid)
Ai-Ai Delas Alas (Area)
Angeli Bayani (Ned’s Project)
Jaclyn Jose (Ma’Rosa)
Hasmine Killip (Pamilya Ordinaryo)
Elizabeth Oropesa (Mrs.)
Cherry Pie Picache (Pauwi Na)
Charo Santos Concio (Ang Babaeng Humayo)
Precious Laila Ulao (Women of the Weeping River)

The Urian surely loves their female acting categories this past year as both categories had 10 nominees each, definitely more than their male counterparts. Nora Aunor, Angeli Bayani, Cherry Pie Picache, and Elizabeth Oropesa have all won before for far stronger vehicles as compared to the ones they’re nominated for this year so I think they’re sitting this one out. Newbie Hasmine Killip would have made sense in a far weaker year, not this one with equally amazing co-nominees (also in line with my narrative, I’m already predicting Ronwaldo Martin, and I don’t see Manunuri loving Pamilya Ordinaryo that much to give it both lead wins). There’s a path for Precious Laila Ulao to win this one (as it reminds me of Fe GinGing Hyde’s win for Sheika in 2010, but again, that was a year with no strong frontrunner, again unlike this year. Both Irma Adlawan and AiAi delas Alas are strong contenders but the fact they they are both their  films’ sole nominations gives me pause (for the record, the last Best Actress winner for a non-Best Picture nominated film was Maja Salvador in Thelma in 2011, but that was the year when they recognized the up and coming teens in the lead acting categories). In the end, I think this one is between Jaclyn Jose and Charo Santos. Jose is an Urian darling with 15 nominations under her name and five previous wins (her last was for Sarong Banggi in 2005) nominated for a role that bagged her the elusive and historic Cannes Best Actress win. Meanwhile, Charo Santos is an iconic figure in the industry in her acting comeback since the 70s in the Best Picture frontrunner. This is the perfect narrative to give her an Urian Best Actress win. I’d love to say that they’d go for a cop-out and give both Jose and Santos a much-talked about tie, but for predictions sake, I’d go safe with the Cannes winner Jaclyn Jose.

Prediction: Jaclyn Jose (Ma’Rosa)
Alternate: 
Charo Santos Concio (Ang Babaeng Humayo)

supp actor

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bables (Die Beautiful)
Nonie Buencamino (Ang Babaeng Humayo)
John Lloyd Cruz (Ang Babaeng Humayo)
Taha Daranda (Weeping of the Weeping River)
Julio Diaz (Ma’Rosa)
Jess Mendoza (Hinulid)

This category loves breakout young actors (unless you’re Dennis Trillo) and I’m more confident with Christian Bables to win here than his onscreen bestfriend Paolo Ballesteros. Bables is a breakout performance that garnered him awards and accolades already, and I see the Urian following suit. That said, it won’t surprise me if they decide to reward Women of the Weeping River and give Taha Daranda a win, or even a second consecutive Urian to John Lloyd Cruz for Ang Babaeng Humayo.

 

Prediction: Christian Bables (Die Beautiful)
Alternate: 
Taha Daranda (Weeping of the Weeping River)

supp actress

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sharifa Pearlsia Ali-dans (Women of the Weeping River)
Rhed Bustamante (Seklusyon)
Joan Dela Cruz (Paglipay)
Lotlot De Leon (Mrs.)
Barbie Forteza (Tuos)
Janine Gutierrez (Dagsin)
Anna Luna (Paglipay)
Lui Manansala (Ned’s Project)
Mariam Zimadar Haji Caranay Raper (Women of the Weeping River)
Meryll Soriano (Pauwi Na)

First up, apologies for the lack of a Mariam Raper photo. Even Cinema One’s promos for Urian lack her photos so I can’t seem to find one. That said, this is one category where there’s a lack of a clear frontrunner the same way that Paolo Ballesteros, Jaclyn Jose, Charo Santos, and Christian Bables are in their respective categories. Save for Meryll Soriano, none of these women have won an Urian and only Barbie Forteza is a previous nominee prior to this year. In a category as open as this one, I can see them going more adventurous (and by adventurous, I mean a young actress) with their picks leading me to predict a Barbie Forteza win for her role in Tuos. If not her, then Rhed Bustamante’s creepy kid in Seklusyon can join Serena Dalrymple’s 1998 win here as the other child acting performer in this category.

Prediction: Barbie Forteza (Tuos)
Alternate:
Rhed Bustamante (Seklusyon)

Now as for the rest of the categories…

SCREENPLAY:
Prediction:
Lav Diaz, Ang Babaeng Humayo
Alternate:
Eduardo Roy Jr.,Pamilya Ordinaryo

PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Prediction: Ryan Cuatrona & Celine Belino “Hinulid
Alternate: Angel Diesta, “Die Beautiful

CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Prediction: Albert Banzon, “Paglipay
Alternate: Raphael Meting & Mark Limbaga, “Baboy Halas

MUSIC:
Prediction: Kit Mendoza, “Women of the Weeping River
Alternate: Jema Pamintuan, “Tuos

EDITING:
Prediction: Carlo Manatad, “Pamilya Ordinaryo
Alternate: Lav Diaz, “Ang Babaeng Humayo

SOUND:
Prediction: Albert Michael Idioma, “Ma’Rosa
Alternate: Albert Michael Idioma & Immanuel Verona, “Women of the Weeping River

DOCUMENTARY:
Prediction:
Sunday Beauty Queens (Baby Ruth Villarama)
Alternate: Forbidden Memory (Gutierrez Mangansakan)

The 40th Gawad Urian awards will happen on July 20 and will be shown on Cinema One.

Posted July 18, 2017 by Nicol Latayan in Awards, Films

Tagged with , ,

89th Academy Awards Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

It’s that time of the year! The biggest and most prestigious night in Hollywood is coming this weekend. It’s time to hand out Oscars to the most popular and best campaigned films and performances of the previous year. The biggest story this year is all about La La Land and how this musical romance story nabbed 14 nominations tying with Titanic and All About Eve as the most nominated in Academy history. Now, while it stands a really great chance of nabbing that Best Picture win, the real question begs: how many Oscars will it take along with it? Here are my final predictions in all 21 categories.

adapted-screenplay

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

Just a few months ago, the Academy deemed both Moonlight and Loving as adapted screenplays as compared to their initially campaigned original ones. This becomes some sort of the de facto award for Moonlight to win after being the runner-up all season. It even solidified its status as a strong frontrunner here after winning the Best Original Screenplay recognition from the Writers’ Guild Awards, beating stronger frontrunners La La Land and Manchester by the Sea in the process. The only possible spoiler here is BAFTA winning screenplay of Lion. But at this stage, we might even consider it as a distant second to Moonlight.

PREDICTION: Moonlight (Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney)
ALTERNATE: Lion (Luke Davies)

orig-screenplay

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

One of the few remaining up in the air categories is the Original Screenplay category. So far, the rundown is that the Globes went for La La Land while BAFTAs went with Manchester by the Sea. The BFCA didn’t help as it gave a tie to the two aforementioned films. While the WGAs went with Moonlight. What works for Manchester is that it’s a writer’s type of movie — it’s a focused character study and can also serve as a way to reward Manchester by the Sea (more on this later). However, we don’t know what the extent does the Academy adore La La Land because this can simply be a part of the sweep. One can’t also consider the spread the wealth considering Birdman won this one two years ago at the extent of rewarding both Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel. As much as it’s a nailbiter, I guess I’ll have to go with…

PREDICTION: Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
ALTERNATE: La La Land (Damien Chazelle)

supp-actress

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Before I go to predicting this rather easy category, let’s acknowledge the two achievements this year’s nominees had. First up, it’s the first year ever where an acting category had three black actresses to be nominated (Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, and Octavia Spencer). Speaking of Octavia Spencer, she became the first female black acting Oscar winner to receive a follow up nomination after winning five years ago for The Help.  Anyway, probably the only acting category that we can sign, seal, and deliver, this one is Viola Davis’ to lose! After two turns at being the runner-up finisher (losing to Penelope Cruz in 2008 and to Meryl Streep in 2011), Viola is the latest addition to the winner of the Triple Acting Club with this impending Oscar win as the wife in Fences. Don’t be surprised if she siphons at least 95% of the total votes here, leaving the rest of the nominees with 5% to share apiece. For runner-up, I’d say Michelle Williams (now going 4-0) is the next in line for a win.

PREDICTION: Viola Davis, Fences
ALTERNATE: Nicole Kidman, Lion

supp-actor

SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Given how easy Supporting Actress to predict is, the same can’t be said about its male counterpart. Supporting Actor is a tad of clusterfuck actually. Let’s begin with the Globes where non-nominated Aaron Taylor-Johnson pulled off the upset. Sadly for him, despite BAFTA nomination in his name, it was his co-star Michael Shannon who nabbed the Oscar nod for the film. SAG went by going with Mahershala Ali of Moonlight, which was an easy get for him. Come BAFTA, they went their own way and rewarded British Dev Patel for his turn in the Harvey Weinstein-backed Lion, possibly throwing another curve to Ali’s frontrunner status. Three things: it has to be emphasized that Oscar voting this season started the day after Patel won the BAFTA so that could help things. Second, Dev is also the closest possible contender to continue the trend of ‘winning for a real life person‘ narrative which has continues since 1998. Third, it’s the second consecutive year where Globes (Sylvester Stallone), SAG (Idris Elba), and BAFTA (Mark Rylance) all went different routes and last year, BAFTA prevailed. That said, I think Mahershala Ali is still the frontrunner (albeit a really not strong one), and that he can still pull off the win even by a hair for his turn in Moonlight. Always watch out for Dev Patel until Alicia Vikander opens that envelope.

PREDICTION: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
ALTERNATE: Dev Patel, Lion

lead-actress

LEAD ACTRESS:

It’s probably one of the strongest years for Lead Actress contenders that there isn’t enough room for the likes of Amy Adams in Arrival, or Annette Bening in 20th Century Women, both of whom would be really competitive in any other year that’s not 2016. After her BFCA win, it seems like Natalie Portman went on a different trajectory for Jackie losing further momentum. It also didn’t help that the movie didn’t latch on well enough in terms of picking up above the line nominations. Who replaced her as the alternate? Golden Globe winner Isabelle Huppert for Elle. SPC has really managed to turn an impressive campaign thus far for this French legend, and while others are toying with the idea of a possible upset on Oscar night, she’ll be a strong runner-up. It didn’t help that the British studio didn’t do any efforts to submit Elle in time to be eligible for the BAFTA, and that she was SAG snubbed despite being eligible. This one is Emma Stone’s to lose, as she ticks many of the boxes that fit the winning criteria — young actress, previous nominee, at the peak of her career, very charming and has campaigned well in the Best Picture frontrunner. As much as we want Oscar winner Isabelle Huppert to happen, it’s Emma Stone’s name written in that envelope.

PREDICTION: Emma Stone, La La Land
ALTERNATE: Isabelle Huppert, Elle

lead-actor

LEAD ACTOR:

Up until two weeks ago, it’s all but Casey Affleck’s to lose. He won two of the critics trifecta (and was a runner-up at LAFCA), won over 40 recognition for his performance in Manchester by the Sea including the Gotham, the BFCA. and the Golden Globe (much to the stress of Brie Larson). Then Denzel Washington won the SAG and there’s no turning back. He just stole all the momentum moving forward, and now it’s a nailbiter come Oscar evening. Affleck won the BAFTA afterwards, but it’s a Dezel-less field, and the latter’s snub probably helped him siphon more votes in the end. Affleck’s chances aren’t also helped by the idea that his sexual assault story is popping up during the last stage of the campaign period. You know what this race seems like? The Best Actor 2001 race. Actor A has received all accolades and precursor sweep then, until personal issues against him were brought up. Oscar winning actor B was seen as the alternate, and when the envelope was opened, it was his name written there. Actor A is Russell Crowe and Actor B, as you guessed it, is Denzel Washington. This reeks too much of a coincidence that between the industry love for him, the #OscarsSoWhite, and his legacy, we’ll see a 2001 redux and Denzel goes on to win his third Oscar.

PREDICTION: Denzel Washington, Fences
ALTERNATE: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

directing

DIRECTOR:

I don’t think there’s any room for upset in this category already, as he literally swept all precursors leading to the Oscars. After all, the movie he’s directed is seen as a directorial achievement above anything else. And his two closest competition will likely be rewarded in the Screenplay category. So I say it’s an easy win for La La Land‘s Damien Chazelle.

PREDICTION: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
ALTERNATE: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

animated-feature

ANIMATED FEATURE:

This year doesn’t really have that strong of a lock contender as compared to let’s say Toy Story 3 in 2010, Finding Nemo in 2003, or Inside Out last year, but Zootopia is a strong frontrunner to say the least. It has the box office performance, the critical backup, as well as the precursor win to go land an Oscar. Its only possible hurdle, albeit a small one, is Kubo and the Two Strings who performed and picked up steam in the latter part of the season. That said, this is still Zootopia‘s to lose.

PREDICTION: Zootopia
ALTERNATE: Kubo and the Two Strings

foreign-language-film

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:

It’s really a strange category if there’s one. The consensus seem to go to Germany’s Toni Erdmann with its critical performance. It might not have won the Globe but it lost to snubee Elle. It did not win BAFTA as well, but it lost to last year’s Oscar winner Son of Saul so it does not count too. However, this category, since its change of winner process determination, has been kinder to crowdpleasers which Toni Erdmann is not. That certainly helps Sweden’s A Man Called Ove to the equation. After all, it also received another nomination for Best Make Up & Hairstyling. Then comes Asghar Farhadi’s ban issue which coincidentally happened during the voting process. Voting for Farhadi’s nominated film The Salesman can be seen as a vote of statement against Trump, and if there’s one thing that Hollywood loves he most, it’s making a statement. I don’t know if that’ll be enough, but it can be a memorable moment in the show.

PREDICTION: The Salesman (Iran)
ALTERNATE: A Man Called Ove (Sweden)

documentary

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:
Here’s another category where I’ll see the voters rallying around and make a statement, so it probably means it will go to either 13th, an exploration of race and justice system in America, or I Am Not Your Negro tackling the history of racism in United States. That said, between the renewed interest with the OJ Simpson case (all thanks to the Emmy winning series “People v. OJ Simpson“), I think the eight-hour documentary event OJ: Made in America will pick up the win in the end.

PREDICTION: OJ: Made in America
ALTERNATE: 13th

Here are the rest of the categories:

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Consider this as an easy sweep for the that small unknown musical called La La Land
PREDICTION: La La Land
ALTERNATE: Lion

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
There couldn’t have been a more perfect and ideal moment for Hollywood to honor it-man Lin-Manuel Miranda than this year especially after the juggernaut that is called Hamilton. Guess what’s an equally juggernaut piece there is? It’s that small unknown musical called La La Land.
PREDICTION: “City of Stars“, La La Land
ALTERNATE:How Far I’ll Go“, Moana

BEST FILM EDITING:
The flashy war scenes in Hacksaw Ridge can be tempting as hell, but I don’t think there’s stopping La La Land to get that closest precursor tech category to nab with its Best Picture win.
PREDICTION: La La Land
ALTERNATE: Hacksaw Ridge

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Sure, the ASC went with the more natural and outdoor type of cinematography that Lion did, but when it comes to the overall voting body of AMPAS, they might not resist the charm of good old’ Hollywood and include this in the sweep.
PREDICTION: La La Land
ALTERNATE: Lion

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
PREDICTION: La La Land
ALTERNATE: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Probably the trickiest to predict, it would have been an easy win for La La Land had it not been a modern-set traditional musical in the likes of those huge Broadway sets. it won the Costume Guild, and it’s the only winner that’s a nominee this year. That said, the BAFTAs went for the more traditional ones, with Jackie, a recreation of the iconic fashion that the late Jackie Kennedy left us. BAFTA has a strong correlation in this category correctly predicting the winners since 2007. I’ll probably stick with that stat. But then, you know La La Land is just lurking around the corner.
PREDICTION: Jackie
ALTERNATE: La La Land

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:
I still can’t believe that the make-up branch who have embraced trash time and again resisted to go for baity Deadpool in here. That said, expect the more obvious and flashy make-up and hairstyling of Star Trek: Beyond to dominate here, after winning for the first movie back in 2009.
PREDICTION: Star Trek Beyond
ALTERNATE: Suicide Squad

BEST SOUND MIXING:
Chicago, Ray, Dreamgirls, and Les Miserables are four of the winners in this category’s history. See a pattern there? Add this up to the La La Land train then!
PREDICTION: La La Land
ALTERNATE: Hacksaw Ridge

BEST SOUND EDITING:
If Film Editing can’t do it for Hacksaw Ridge, then maybe Sound Editing can. After all, this is one aspect of La La Land that has really received lots of negative criticisms. That said, you’ll never know with the Academy. How many of the whole body can even distinguish Sound Editing from Sound Mixing? How many will just namec heck the most popular film in the bunch? if it managed to get that nomination (which it surisingly did), then why not make it all the way to a win too?
PREDICTION: Hacksaw Ridge
ALTERNATE: La La Land

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
Remember how this category usually is connected to the Best Picture frontrunner? Much to the surprise of a lot of people, Arrival missed an easy get here. While the flashiest here is Doctor Strange, I think the whole narrative of The Jungle Book being both a commercial and critical success will help it gets its Oscar win in this category.
PREDICTION: The Jungle Book
ALTERNATE: Doctor Strange

And lastly, the big one of the night:

picture

BEST PICTURE:

Unlike the complexity of the past year where it was basically a three-way race between Spotlight, The Big Short, and The Revenant, this one is pretty easy. La La Land is poised to sweep the biggest trophy of the night alongside eight other Oscars. It has basically achieved record after record, winning the most Golden Globes ever, being the first Best Picture winner to miss the SAG ensemble lineup, and joining Titanic and All About Eve as the most nominated films in academy history. As much as people are sick and over it, the movie still written on the envelope will be La La Land.

PREDICTION: La La Land
ALTERNATE: Moonlight

There you have it! The 89th Academy Awards will be on Sunday (Monday morning here in Manila) to be shown on HBO.

89th Academy Awards Nominations Predictions   Leave a comment

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With months and months of speculations, all predictions will finally be decided upon as the Academy unveils its 89th Academy Awards nominations tomorrow night, Manila time. This season, just like the previous one, brought in lots of crazy moments as we progress the past few months. Frontrunners like Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, and Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation both sizzled mid-way. Viola Davis competed in Supporting after talks of being in Lead a year before, and who knew that Mel Gibson can still do a Hollywood comeback after all these years? Anyway, here we go, I’ll share my predictions in all 24 Oscar categories.

BEST PICTURE

As you may know, Best Picture is a fluid category which can have as many as ten and as low as five nominees. We have a really strong triumvirate heading to Oscar season with Damien Chazelle’s LA-set musical La La Land, Kenneth Lonergan’s small drama Manchester by the Sea, and critically acclaimed Moonlight from Barry Jenkins. All three led the season in terms of critical acclaim and precursor performance. Consider three all set and locked in.

Next up, two films which really overperformed all season, overcoming doubts and possible barriers throughout their campaigns. The Amy Adams-starrer Arrival has managed to sweep both critics, audience, and guilds off its feet, beating possible “genre bias” against it. And despite all the behind the scene shenanigans over The Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein proves he still has it in him pushing Lion to a distant but comfortable fifth place spot.

And then it gets tricky. I’d say that Hell or High Water is sixth, with its whirlwind of a performance, getting remembered when it was very low-key, and getting snubbed for guilds when it started to pick up some steam. That said, I think it’s one of the few films that target the dude-bros/majority of the AMPAS membership so I think it’s safely in. next up are two POC led films whose sequel Hidden Fences has been repeated a lot this season (sadly, not in jest). Fences, directed and starred by Denzel Washington is a film adaptation of a Broadway winning play, while Hidden Figures, who defies box office expectation each week peaks at the right time during voting. While I won’t be surprised if one of these two gets snubbed (because these + Moonlight and Lion will mean half of the eight nominees are about POC and as much as Hollywood claims they are embracing, the past two years proved otherwise), I’m still sticking them both in and close my predictions at eight.

In the event that these surpass the eight, I think Mel Gibson’s sorta Hollywood comeback Hacksaw Ridge which surprisingly did well the last few weeks, can fill in the AMPAS membership quota targeted at old, white grandpas. After Clint Eastwood’s Sully sizzled, this can be their feel good movie of the year. Then there’s also Martin Scorsese’s opus Silence which was a victim of Paramount handling three strong films this season; thus coming really late to the party.

Predictions:
• Arrival
• Fences
• Hell or High Water
• Hidden Figures
• La La Land
• Lion
• Manchester by the Sea
• Moonlight

9th (but not predicted): Hacksaw Ridge
10th (but not predicted): Silence

BEST DIRECTOR

It’s really not safe to stick with the DGA five considering that the only time that happened was back in 2000. That said, the last time it also happened was a group of all first-time nominees, which also reflects this year’s batch. Well, it only becomes a problem when you consider that the biggest spoiler to this group is welp… another first timer. I think Damien Chazelle, Kenneth Lonergan, and Barry Jenkins are all safe here, while Denis Villeneuve strikes me as one who’ll finally get his welcome to the club mention. After all, his previous films have been slowly getting Oscar nominations, so it’s just a matter of time to finally get one for him. Last spot I see is between Garth Davis who pulled off that surprise DGA nod (over favorites such as Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, and Mel Gibson) or David Mackenzie (whose film did not submit for the DGAs.) Toss a coin to get your answer and mine right now says Garth Davis.

Predictions:

• Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
• Damien Chazelle, La La Land
• Garth Davis, Lion
• Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
• Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

SPOILER: David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water

BEST ACTOR

Casey Affleck is back nine years after receiving his first nod for The Assassination of Jesse James, but not only is he back as a nominee, moreso a frontrunner to win the Oscar this year for Manchester by the Sea. Two of his closest contenders include Denzel Washington, on his way to pick up his seventh career nod for his role in Fences and Golden Globe winner Ryan Gosling, the effortlessly charming pianist in La La Land, whose only Oscar nod was exactly a decade ago for Half Nelson. With two major films this year, more exposure can only help Andrew Garfield to finally include “Oscar nominee” before his name, but with Silence coming in too late in the game, all his previous mentions were for his role as the lead soldier in Hacksaw Ridge. The last spot can go to Joel Edgerton in Loving, or maybe a late gamechanger Jake Gyllenhaal for Nocturnal Animals, but I’d play safe and predict Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic, as he has earned Globe, SAG, and BAFTA nods for this already.

PREDICTIONS:
• Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
• Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
• Ryan Gosling, La La Land
• Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
• Denzel Washington, Fences

SPOILER: Joel Edgerton, Loving

BEST ACTRESS

If we’re being diplomatic about it, it’s a “good” problem to not figure out the Best Actress lineup this year when it was the easiest to do so the last few years. That means great roles for women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s have all been receiving great ink for their memorable performances. But for prediction’s sake, it’s still difficult to pin down how this category will be like. I guess we better start with Emma Stone then, as she’s probably the safest here and the likely recipient of this award come Oscar night. As much as we salivate over the possibility of a Portman snub (after those really career-best notices), it’s not gonna happen. Pencil Natalie’s turn as Jackie Kennedy another sure contender here. After that, I’m tempted to say Meryl Streep is third. This role, in another “transformative” performance is something the members of the Academy will eat up. Add the fact that her iconic Golden Globe speech came right during voting period just surely helps her more. Now this is where it gets tricky. I’d put Isabelle Huppert for Elle in fourth, and while I think it’s the pessimist in me talking, I’m still open to the idea of a possible snub. After all, it’s a movie that’s not a priority watch with an actress in her 60s carrying the film in one of the strongest years of this category. I really should comfort myself with the fact that she earned the critics trifecta, the Drama Globe upset, and SPC’s priority but I;m just preparing myself for the worst here. Then there’s Amy Adams, who’s some sort of a name-check but not in a Meryl or C/Kate level yet. This will be her sixth nod in 12 years and that ratio is good to predict her. That said, we had an extra week of voting which could help Annette Bening in the little and underseen 20th Century Women or Taraji p. Henson as the face of Hidden Figures to spoil the party, and in the event that happens, I’d say Adams is the first one good to go.

PREDICTIONS:
• Amy Adams, Arrival
• Isabelle Huppert, Elle
• Natalie Portman, Jackie
• Emma Stone, La La Land
• Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

SPOILER: Annette Bening, 20th Century Women

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Proving to be the category that provides the clusterfuck, Supporting Actor can either be as easy as 1-2-3 or as confusing as that Math lady meme we’ve all used by now. I feel like Moonlight‘s Mahershala Ali, Hell or High Water‘s Jeff Bridges, and Lion‘s Dev Patel are already sure locks here. Hugh Grant feels like it can go eitherway. He fits the bill of someone nabbing precursor nods only to come short in the end, but then he also fits the bill of a filler, carried over nod. But when the one who drags your nod is none other than Meryl Streep, then I guess he’s in too. Now that last spot is indeed very tricky. The obvious option is Golden Globe winner Aaron Taylor-Johnson who also picked up a BAFTA nod for his turn in Nocturnal Animals. If not him, then maybe Lucas Hedges of Manchester by the Sea. But then this is the category that has provided us Jonah Hill in Wolf of Wall Street and Tom Hardy for The Revenant, so a coattail is very much in talks here. Possible performances that fit the bill are Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals, Issei Ogata for Silence, and Ben Foster for Hell or High Water.

Predictions:
• Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
• Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
• Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
• Dev Patel, Lion
• Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

SPOILER: Ben Foster, Hell or High Water

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Probably the most “boring” of the four acting categories, this one seems like it’s set in stone. Davis, Harris, Kidman, and Williams have appeared in all precursors by far. Critics went for Lily Gladstone whose film isn’t even being campaigned. The BAFTAs went with Haley Squire of I, Daniel Blake which is the BAFTA-est pick they can go to at BAFTAs. Thus, it benefits Oscar winner Octavia Spencer who picked up GG and SAG nods for Hidden Figures. I don’t see a scenario of Greta Gerwig spoiling the race especially considering that her possible coattail Annette Bening is struggling to get hers too. Maybe Spencer’s co-star Janelle Monae is the only alternate here, as she’s helped by starring in both Hidden Figures and Moonlight. That said, Octavia is the more established name here, and a good narrative to boot as the first black actress to receive a nomination after her win.

Predictions:
• Viola Davis, Fences
• Naomie Harris, Moonlight
• Nicole Kidman, Lion
• Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
• Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

SPOILER: Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Count on the Writer’s branch to revive the lesser buzzed films in contention this year, and I think The Lobster has that slot all filled up. Thus, as much as I, Daniel Blake makes sense as an Oscar morning surprise, I’ll stick with the consensus of La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Hell or High Water, and Captain Fantastic in here.

Predictions:
• Captain Fantastic
• Hell or High Water
• La La Land
• The Lobster
• Manchester by the Sea

SPOILER: I, Daniel Blake

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Yes I’m predicting a Fences snub here which makes sense and doesn’t make sense simultaneously. First up, I think Moonlight, Lion, and Arrival are semi-locks here already. While Hidden Figures surprisingly got in a nice haul of Adapted Screenplay mentions from the BAFTAs to the WGA up to the USC Scripter and BFCAs. The last spot can easily go to Fences (which is the safe choice to be frank about it), or to Silence (which was once perceived as the frontrunner here). I went with Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals here instead because the baity adaptation can probably overcome the writers’ judgment of Ford being a writer.

Predictions:
• Arrival
• Hidden Figures
• Lion
• Moonlight
• Nocturnal Animals

SPOILER: Fences

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

I think at this stage it’s already hard to deny that Toni Erdmann is probably winning this one, so a nod is already assured for this FLF frontrunner. Denmark has a successful streak in this category this decade as well, and Land of Mine appeals to such an AMPAS demographic I think it’s getting in. Sweden’s A Man Called Ove strikes the perfect balance between comedy and drama, and is reminiscent of the other nominees in this category the past few years. Paradise is a bit of an  out of the box pick, but I guess they can’t resist another World War II film in contention from the Venice Best Director of last year. And the only reason I had The Salesman in here is because of Asghar Farhadi’s 2011 victory in this category that we’ve had some sort of reception already to his works. That said, don’t be surprise to see Xavier Dolan joining the race as this type of family melodrama and him working with a lot of Hollywood actors can certainly push him to a nom.

Predictions:
• Land of Mine (Denmark)
• A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
• Paradise (Russia)
• The Salesman (Iran)
• Toni Erdmann (Germany)

SPOILER: It’s Only the End of the World (Canada)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Still ahead of this race is Zootopia which had both the critical and audience backing to be one to beat in this race. Hot on its heels though is Kubo and the Two Strings which has overperformed a tad during this previous guilds run. I actually can see a scenario of them pitting it as the non-Zootopia vote. With it hitting both the Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Film shortlist, I expect My Life as a Zucchini to at least nab one, and since I’m not predicting it in FLF, I’ll go ahead and insert it here. Moana, which was supposed to be a last minute challenger to Zootopia just fell short in the end and while its decent box office performance and pop culture impact push me to predict it, I won’t be surprised to see it get snubbed on Oscar morning.Lastly, The Red Turtle seems more of a personal preference than a prediction here, but we’ll be needing the traditional animated representative in this category and I’m leaning to it by a hair over the hit animated film Your Name.

Predictions:
• Kubo and the Two Strings
• Moana
• My Life as a Zucchini
• The Red Turtle
• Zootopia

SPOILER: Sing

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

At the start of the season, O.J.Made in America can suffer a bit of a backlash since its a seven hour documentary feature that originated from TV. But it seems like it has the support now to not only get nominated, but even go all the way to a win. Joining it willbe the foreign documentary Fire At Sea, two films that will probably speak close to the voters due to their “cinematic” themes: Cameraperson and Life, Animated. And in the race (no pun intended) for that last spot are two documentaries that tackle about race — Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro and Ava Duvernay’s 13th. The latter seems like one who’s bound for a snub so I’m going with the former.

Predictions:
• Cameraperson
• Fire At Sea
• I Am Not Your Negro
• Life, Animated
• O.J.: Made in America

SPOILER: 13th

Now as for the rest of the technical categories…

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
• Arrival
• La La Land
• Lion
• Moonlight
• Silence

SPOILER: Nocturnal Animals

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
• Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
• Florence Foster Jenkins
• Hail, Caesar!
• Jackie
• La La Land

SPOILER: The Dressmaker

BEST EDITING
• Arrival
• Hell or High Water
• La La Land
• Manchester by the Sea
• Moonlight

SPOILER: Lion

BEST HAIRSTYLING & MAKE UP
• Deadpool
• A Man Called Ove
• Star Trek Beyond

SPOILER: Florence Foster Jenkins

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
• The BFG
• Kubo and the Two Strings
• La La Land
• Lion
• Moonlight

SPOILER: Jackie

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
• “Audition” (La La Land)
• “Angel by the Wings” (The Eagle Huntress)
• “City of Stars” (La La Land)
• “How Far I’ll Go” (Moana)
• “A Minute to Breathe” (Before the Flood)

SPOILER:  “Drive It Like You Stole It” (Sing Street)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
• Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
• Hail, Caesar!
• Jackie
• La La Land
• Silence

SPOILER: The Handmaiden

BEST SOUND EDITING
• Arrival
• Deepwater Horizon
• Hacksaw Ridge
• Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
• Sully

SPOILER: Hell or High Water

BEST SOUND MIXING
• Arrival
• Hacksaw Ridge
• La La Land
• Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
• Sully

SPOILER: Silence

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
• Arrival
• Doctor Strange
• Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
• The Jungle Book
• Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

SPOILER: Passengers

MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS:
13: La La Land
9: Arrival
8: Moonlight
7: Lion
6: Manchester by the Sea
4: Hell or High Water
3: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Fences, Florence Foster Jenkins, Hacksaw Ridge, Hidden Figures, Jackie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2: Captain Fantastic, Hail Caesar!, Kubo and the Two Strings, A Man Called Ove, Moana, Nocturnal Animals, Silence, Sully

Philippines’ 89th Oscar Submission: Ma’Rosa   Leave a comment

ma-rosa-posterYesterday, the Film Academy of the Philippines announced Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’Rosa as the country’s submission in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 89th Academy Awards that will happen on February 2017. The film bested nine other entries which includes Berlin winner Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, Cinemalaya Best Picture Pamilya Ordinaryo, and the last minute addition Ang Babaeng Humayo by Lav Diaz.

This is the first time for director Brillante Mendoza who has been shortlisted thrice before (2009 for Kinatay, 2013 for Thy Womb, and 2015 for Taklub). Mendoza has also won Best Director at Cannes Film Festival back in 2009, also for Kinatay. In a way, he’s – for lack of a better term – overdue for an Oscar submission. Why he hasn’t represented us thus far is really surprising.

Ma’Rosa, tells a day in the life of a poor family, headed by their matriarch Rosa (played by Jaclyn Jose), as they scramble to find the money to pay off the corrupt policemen that have arrested them or dealing drugs. Back in May, it competed at the Cannes Film Festival Main Competition section where it pulled off the historic Best Actress win for Jose, being the first Filipina and Southeast Asian actress to do so. Certainly, it has the clout and the festival exposure.

Now let’s dissect its chances. Can Ma’Rosa pull off that elusive first nomination for the Philippines? For those counting, we’ve submitted 27 times in the past — back from our very first in 1953 for Manuel Conde’s Genghis Khan up to last year’s Heneral Luna from Jerrold Tarog) to no avail. No nomination and no shortlist mention.

As mentioned above, one of the things going for Ma’Rosa is its festival exposure. Not only did it take a home a prize at Cannes, it also played at the Toronto Film Festival. It has partnered with sales agency company Films Distribution which also distributed current Best Foreign Language Film winner Son of Saul. Impressive, right? Well not in the sense you’re thinking of. It has to be clarified though. Films Distribution is not an Oscar-campaigner studio per se. It’s not the same as Focus Features or Fox Searchlight or even The Weinstein Company. Son of Saul‘s win last year was due to being campaigned by Focus Features which handled its whole awards run campaign. Ma’Rosa doesn’t have that.. yet. In reality, the most Films Distribution can do is to help the movie gain more festival exposure. Going by a quick search shows that after Toronto, it’s also heading to BFI London, which is good. More festival exposure is always better.

Reviews by foreign critics is always a factor too. It has to be mentioned first that Mendoza is really as divisive when it comes to foreign critics. Remember when the late Roger Ebert mentioned that Kinatay surpassed Vincet Gallo’s The Brown Bunny as “the worst film in Canes history?” So it’s a  bit of delight that Ma’Rosa is probably one of the better-reviewed films in his filmography. While critics still had reservations, they were more welcoming than the usual. THR mentioned “Thankfully, and as in his other features, Mendoza again manages to turn his locations into a character in its own right. ” Variety’s Maggie Lee summed it best when she said “Boasting a simple, coherent plot shot with real-time, handheld verismo, it’s a work of understated confidence that will not disappoint his festival acolytes, but probably won’t win many new converts.

A lot has been mentioned about how we, at a certain extent, can be helped by our own country’s narrative right now. As the world probably knows already, we’re very vocal in our battle with the issue of drugs. And many feel that the movie is timely and that can help buzz. Historically, not really. This category really doesn’t care about that, to be frank. A year after Brokeback Mountain lost Best Picture, a significant amount of queer films were submitted for Best Foreign language Film including our own Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros. The total number of gay films nominated that year? Zero. In 2010, an election year in many countries, a lot of them rode that narrative, again including us when we submitted Dondon Santos’ Noy and Brazil went with Lula. Number of election themed nominated movies that year? Zero. This whole controversy reminded me just three years ago when we went with Transit as our submission (make no mistake, still a great film, just not a great Oscar entry) over the snubbed On the Job and the FAP’s reasoning was that they don’t want to submit a film that showed the negative side of the country. Submitting Ma’Rosa I guess is a huge leap to the other direction, if that means something.

The biggest factor that can probably help Ma’Rosa is its Cannes win. Sure its only Best Actress (and by only I mean that in the hierarchy of Cannes wins, its in the lower tier alongside Best Actor and Best Screenplay. This sentence, by no means, does not intend to take anything away from the marvelous Jaclyn Jose), but a win is still a win. And that it’s still buzz. For a movie that was perceived as a non-event of some sort at Cannes (it was one of the least buzzed films of the competition, but then it’s pretty understandable since he’s competing with the likes of veterans and/or those with Hollywood cast), how it ended up going home with a win is a win itself already.

Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Three days ago, it was announced that Lav Diaz’ Ang Babaeng Humayo will go for a September 23 release, which would make it eligible for this year since it’ll be meeting the necessary requirements to contend. The huge amount of buzz over its historic Golden Lion win (the highest honor ever received by a Filipino movie in history) is too much to ignore. Sure, it’s a Lav Diaz film which means it runs for more than three hours, and that didn’t help Norte two years ago. That said, foreign critics being unanimously positive about it, plus the film being called as his most accessible (especially since Diaz is another name that’s divisive to foreign critics), with a sure huge company to back its campaign (Charo Santos was the president of the biggest TV network in the country), it’s basically a decision too obvious to make by that time. That’s why it’s a tad surprising that the announcement happened yesterday. This prompted Humayo to move back to a September 28 screening, which will make it ineligible for next year’s submission too. That, and the buzz over Golden Lion and the Toronto inclusion will be old news by then. Let it be clear though that none of this should be pointed against Ma’Rosa, Mendoza, or any of his team, since decision wasn’t really theirs.

A few weeks ago pre-Venice Film Fest, I wrote about the possible submissions and strongly felt that none of the films would do the trick. In that case, why not throw a bone to Mendoza’s Ma’Rosa. But the whole Golden Lion win affected everything. My final verdict says that nope we ain’t getting that nomination nor that Top 9 mention.  If anything, my takeaway with this year is that we’ve finally acknowledged and submitted Mendoza’s work (which was already beyond deserving back in 2009 when we had that tragic Ded na si Lolo submission), but at the expense of a stronger contender. I’d love to be wrong though.

Off to next year.