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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.

87th Oscars Predictions: October Edition   2 comments

We’re getting closer to the busiest months of awards prognostication as we reach the end of the year. At this point in the race, only American Sniper, Unbroken, Selma, Interstellar, Into the Woods, A Most Violent Year and Big Eyes are left among those in play for major nominations this year. But then again, we’ve had word on majority of the contenders already and we’re just awaiting for other factors to have a complete look on the race. This month, I’ve already added my predictions for the Foreign Language Film category considering that in two weeks time, we’ll hear the official complete list from AMPAS.

I’m still a bit bullish on Unbroken while quite confident in Selma, despite both being unseen. And I’m quite ready to predict that American Sniper will be Clint’s Oscar comeback. It’s also interesting to see the crowded Lead Actor race, as we’re bound to get a snub or two the way Tom Hanks was last year and John Hawkes was the year before. My current bet is on Eddie Redmayne to come close but solidify his chances for next year’s The Danish Girl, but I might still change my mind in the months to come. Anyway, here are my complete predictions in 19 different categories

picture

 

directing

 

 

lead actor

 

lead actress

 

supp actor

 

supp actress

 

screenplay

 

animated flf

 

techs 1

 

techs 2

 

techs 3
Total tally of nominations:

10 – Interstellar, Selma
8 – Gone Girl, Birdman
– The Imitation Game, Unbroken
5 – Boyhood, Into the Woods
4 – American Sniper, Foxcatcher, The Theory of Everything
3 – Exodus: Gods and Kings
2 – Big Eyes, Godzilla, Mr. Turner, Whiplash, Wild

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

87th Oscars Predictions: September Edition   5 comments

After skipping last month to pave the way for the Emmys, the monthly Oscar predictions are back (and with a new look to boot!). Now that festivals are coming one after the other (Telluride and Toronto have already started) and New York and AFI will soon come ahead of us, it’s time to clear the air on a lot of these contenders! I’ve also started to predict the rest of the categories (except Song, Foreign Language Film, and Documentary because duh, we need a shortlist for those). Anyway, here we go with the September batch of predictions!

*You can click the photos to read the write-ups in full (especially in the Best Picture category)

best picture

best director

best actor

best actress

best supporting actor

best supporting actress

Screenplay

Techs 1

Techs 2

Techs 3
Current tally of nominations:

9 – Birdman, Gone Girl, Interstellar
7 – Selma
6 – Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Unbroken, The Imitation Game
5 – Into the Woods
2 – Wild, Big Eyes, Whiplash, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mr. Turner, Godzilla, The Hobbit, Fury

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

10 Things You Need to Know About the 85th Academy Awards Nominations   4 comments

Hey everybody! How are you all doing? So yeah, Pandora’s box was finally opened as Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone unveiled the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards. For now, I’m still nursing a heartbreak due to Nicole Kidman’s snub, but then again, so are many of the supposed to be contenders. My predictions this year were just okay getting more or less 3-4 of the nominees per category (except for my 2/5 in Song and 1/3 in Make Up), but I have no 5/5 prediction for this year. Sucks to be me I guess. And by this moment, I’m wondering if you’re still reading this or you just closed the window already because what the hell am I still talking about when I can’t even get my predictions right. But so is the rest of the predictors as this has been one of the shocking years in terms of actual nominees. Anyway here  are ten things you need to know about the 85th Academy Awards Nominees:

besties

THE CURSE OF THE 2007 FEMALE OSCAR WINS

2007 Best Supporting Actress winner Tilda Swinton was shafted at the final minute last year despite getting BFCA, Globe, SAG, nad BAFTA nods for her turn as the mother in We Need to Talk About Kevin. It was the first time in awards prognostication history where in a performance hit all precursor noms only to miss in the end (likely, for Rooney Mara). That seems to be the exception to the case though. However, this year, a similar occurrence happened to (incidentally) 2007 Best Actress winner Marion Cotillard who received the same precursor support for her performance in Rust and Bone only to miss again. Mind you, both of these actresses have churned out some of the best post-Oscar resumes in history and they have been shafted countless times since their win. Swinton had Julia in 2009, I Am Love in 2010, and Kevin in 2011. Cotillard had Nine in 2009, Inception in 2010, and even in BP nominee Midnight in Paris last year. What does it take for these gorgeous women to be called back again for another nomination? Hmm.

costume

SNOW WHITE vs… SNOW WHITE?

While one Snow White themed movie Blancanieves failed to connect with the Foreign Language voters, there are two other Snow White films which are in contention…for the same category. Colleen Atwood was nominated for Snow White and the Huntsman while Mirror Mirror‘s Eiko Ishioka was the other one in competition. While there’s a large possibility that both designers will lose to Jacqueline Duran for Anna Karenina, can we do a write in vote that says Snow White is the most fashionable fairy tale character? Yes?

amour

AMOUR RECEIVING A LOT OF AMOUR 

One movie that received a lot of amour (that means Love if you still don’t get it by now) is Michael Haneke’s Amour receiving four major nods this year for Picture, Directing, Lead Actress for Emmanuelle Riva, and Original Screenplay together with a Foreign Language Film nod. While the possibility of the film making it to all those categories is not far fetched, it’s still unbelievable that voters went all the way to give it nods for such. This is the first film since 2000′ s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to make it both to best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film, and the consecutive Palme d’or winner to be Best Picture nominated after last year’s Tree of Life. Of course, there are others that even won such as 1957’s Marty but what I’m referring here is back to back nods.

directed

MOVIES THAT DIRECTED THEMSELVES

Best Director is the biggest fuckery this year (and probably ever?), as both Ben Affleck and Katheryn Bigelow were snubbed after hitting BFCA, Globes, DGA, and BAFTA nods (plus critics prizes for both of them). Who replaced them? Benh Zeitlin of Beasts of the Southern Wild, and to a lesser extent, David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. While I was over the moon happy about Haneke getting in (which there was a really huge probability of happening especially with the BAFTA Director nod, and he was always in fifth place), but this category just felt weird with no Affleck and Bigelow in it especially since they’d probably be winning the televised awards. To be fair though, both Argo and Zero Dark Thirty are in a good company with the likes of The Color PurpleSense and SensibilityMoulin Rouge!The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and Inception who all received Best Picture mentions without their helmers getting the nod.

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BEST NOMINATION ANNOUNCEMENT EVAH!

Since the 60s, it has been a tradition of the Academy to have its current president together with a past Oscar acting nominee to present the nominations. It was a in a formal manner where the ten major categories are announced and the names of the nominees were alphabetically one by one mentioned starting from Best Supporting Actress up to Best Picture. However, for this year, we got host Seth MacFarlane and still Oscarless actress Emma Stone to do the presentation job and boy was it the best announcement evah. Starting from Stone’s fake entrance as if she was called to win an award to the Hitler joke in between up to Bryan Cranston’s teeth, this was such a breath of fresh air in terms of announcing. Not only that, but names were randomly announced too that adds the pleasure of the prediction process. If this is an indication of MacFarlane’s hosting stint, then count me in.

skyfall

BOND. JAMES BOND.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise, Skyfall was the first Bond movie in 31 years to receive nominations in any Oscar category. Add to that is the fact that it got five(!) nods for Cinematography, Original Score, Original Song  (for Adele’s Skyfall), Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, and it becomes the most nominated Bond movie ever. As for a quick Bond history with Oscar, prior to Skyfall, there have been only nine nominations since its inception winning two; one is for Goldfinger in Sound Effects in 1965 and a Visual Effects win for Thunderball the following year. The last nomination though was in 1981 in the Original Song category for For Your Eyes Only from the Bond movie of the same title.

silver linings playbook

MAJOR, MAJOR ACTING NOMINATIONS

Four acting nominations for a film is really possible within the Academy. In the past few years, Chicago and Doubt managed to achieve that feat. However, it’s more interesting when the four acting noms came from the four acting categories. After 31 years, Silver Linings Playbook becomes the 14th movie in Oscar history to grab nods for the four acting categories for its stars Bradley Cooper (Lead Actor), Jennifer Lawrence (Lead Actress), Robert de Niro (Supporting Actor), and Jackie Weaver (Supporting Actress). There’s a huge possibility that with this, SLP is expected to win at least one acting trophy (as per history), and our bet is on Jennifer Lawrence to take Best Actress. From the thirteen prior films that managed this feat, only two went Oscarless in all four acting categories: My Man Godfrey in 1936, and Sunset Boulevard in 1950.

riva wallis

BEST ACTRESS… OLD AND NEW

Presenter Emma Stone already mentioned this yesterday, but for Best Actress, a record was made when we had the oldest and the youngest Best Actress nominees ever and they happened to be competing with each other. French actress Emmanuelle Riva, currently at 85 (though her birthday will exactly be on the Oscar telecast), becomes the oldest Best Actress nominee ever for her turn as the wife in Amour. Previous title holder was 1989 winner Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy who was 80 when she was nominated and won the Oscar. On the other hand, the youngest now is Quvenzhane Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild who was nominated at the age of 9. It’s pretty fascinating to learn that while shooting the movie, Wallis was just 7. She beats previous record holder, 2003’s Keisha Castle Hughes, who was nominated for Whale Rider at the age of 13. Moreover, co-nominee Jennifer Lawrence became the youngest actress to receive two Best Actress nods by the age of 22.

levitt

THE JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT SCREENPLAY CURSE

If you’re an aspiring Hollywood writer, there’s no better person to write a screenplay for than Joseph Gordon Levitt. Maybe it’s because of his immense talent, or he really has just a knack for interesting stories, but for the past four years, Joseph Gordon Levitt has made films whose screenplays always receive Oscar buzz particularly in the Original Screenplay category. However, there always seems to be a hurdle at this. The buzz is there, but the nod is not. In 2009, his 500 Days of Summer despite getting WGA and NBR wins failed to make it to the final list. The same can be said for his cancer movie last year 50-50. And despite getting critics nominations and a WGA nod again, Looper also failed to make it to the final line up. You know what the exception was? The one film he starred that nabbed an Original Screenplay nom is the one where he was in supporting… Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

amy adams

ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID… FOREVER THE BRIDESMAID?

In a span of eight years, Amy Adams has already received four Supporting Actress Oscar nominations for 2005’s Junebug, 2008’s Doubt, 2010’s The Fighter, and this year again for her role in The Master. Pretty impressive achievement I must admit. However, with no such luck, she still wasn’t able to snatch an Oscar of her own for the four performances (yes, four, because Anne Hathaway has that thing locked up). Now while it’s an achievement of its own, I fear for dear Amy, sweet Amy, that she’ll belong to the list of voters just want to nominate but not win. After all, eight years is pretty quick to gain 4 Oscar nods (Julianne Moore got 4 in five years), what lies for her future Oscar chances? Among all actresses, Thelma Ritter, Deborrah Kerr, Glenn Close (the only one left still alive) hold the record for most nominations without winning (6), followed by Irene Dunner (also gone now) with five. From those living, Adams is currently in the same page as Annette Bening, Jane Alexander, Marsha Mason, and Julianne Moore that can still win despite four losses while Rosalind Russell and Barbara Stanwyck are the other four time Oscarless winners who were already departed. Here’s wishing the next time Amy Adams get nominated, she’ll finally win.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

18 Best Red Carpet Looks of 2012: Short Dresses   Leave a comment

For this day, we’d continue with our year end lists here at Tit for Tat. Today’s theme will be fashion. Among all the thousands of red carpets look that we’ve seen this year, I divided my list into two parts: one is for the short and the cocktail dresses while the second part will be for long gowns. Here are 18 of the best red carpet looks of the year that involved women in short and cocktail dresses.

17,18
15,16
13,14
11,12

09,10

07,08

05, 06

03, 04

01, 02

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

REVIEW: The Help   Leave a comment

“The Help” is a  tale of how white employers co-exist with black servants in 1960’s Mississippi. The movie talks about how how trivial one’s skin color affects one’s perception of another. Based on the 2009 book of the same title, young woman Skeeter (Emma Stone) decided to make a book that features the experiences of black servants during their time. It was her way of acknowledging their existence, as provoked by how her friends treat their black servants with prejudice and disgust. If you have seen that before, think of  The Blind Side and replace Sandra Bullock with Emma Stone, and the Aaron Quintin with Viola Davis.

For what its worth, the movie is just fine. It’s more of a comedic with some dramatic scenes every now and then. However, this is no Best Picture material. The movie tried to insert everything it can; thus, resulting to a very lengthy 2 hours and 26 minutes. There are some story lines that didn’t go anywhere and could have been edited out of the movie altogether (Skeeter’s lovelife) to pave way for a shorter and more compact output.

Given that, the movie is elevated by the acting of the whole cast. The director managed to make each and every one from the cast stand out despite the differences in screentime. Take for instance the magnificent Cicely Tyson, who appeared in as much as the time that Ruby Dee did in American Gangster, yet she was still memorable in that very short scene. Alison Janney proved once again how she is one versatile actress who delivers one after the other whether in TV or in the big screen. Sissy Spacek is a personal favorite of mine, and she lights up the screen EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. She probably is the one I’m looking forward to see while watching the whole  film. Bryce Dallas Howard was effective in a predictable role, and gave justice to her role.

Emma Stone continues to have the best resume among young actresses in Hollywood. She nailed the performance of Skeeter with so much enthusiasm and optimism that her whole portrayal just  translates well to the viewers. Octavia Spencer is probably the crowd favorite roles as far as all the characters go. She was effective as the loud mouth and talkative Minnie, and while her loud scenes were undeniable, it was her silent acting after she sent her daughter to the bus that stayed with me the most. This is the type of performance that garners an Oscar mention, and here’s hoping Spencer gets one.

It’s a crime that Jessica Chastain only get discovered at this point in time. Chastain’s fun blonde with a heart role is also another favorite of mine, and here, she gets to add another layer to a been there done that role. She solicits a connection with the viewers that will make you root for her. This plus her Tree of Life performance show how versatile and how lazy Hollywood is in looking for the next best actresses. But above all, it is Viola Davis who sticks the whole movie together. I find her vastly overrated in Doubt, but her turn as Aibeleen is honest and raw that she commands the screen in all of her scenes. The dedication that Davis gave to her character is very well acknowledged. An Oscar is well deserved for her.

There are many LOL moments in the film, and is pretty much effective all throughout. I don’t get why black people screams at the film as “racist” only because it portrayed a white woman helping black servants when in reality, the black servants (such as Davis and Spencer’s roles) were pretty much a heroine of themselves as well.

Moving and enjoyable, indeed, but the movie  is still a throw back to a chick flick 60s style.

Grade: B+

Posted September 5, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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REVIEW: Crazy, Stupid Love   2 comments

Good comedy usually comes only once in a  blue moon. Usually, they have to be teenage comedies (Mean Girls, Easy A) or they are too intelligent that common people miss the part why it is a comedy (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, A Serious Man). With Crazy, Stupid Love, it gets to single out the comedic parts without sacrificing the storylines of the film.

The writers of the film know what they’re doing when they wrote the screenplay of the film. It’s a movie highlight! There are parts that could have been bettered: I wish they lessened the near end graduation part, and I hope that they give Kevin Bacon some meatier story. There are also too many storylines opened by the film itself, but all that will be forgiven once your each THE scene of the movie. Just when you thought that you know everything about the film already, then I guarantee you that you’re wrong.

Steve Carell continues to prove his gem as an actor. Between this, the gay uncle in Little Miss Sunshine, and Michael Scott, he’s one of the most versatile character actors we have. This is his film and he certainly delivered. Everyone else gave perfect supporting turns. Julianne Moore is the farthest funniest actress we have but she knows how to nail all her dramatic scenes in the film. Emma Stone gets to have the best agent in town as she gets to have the bets resume out of any young actress right now. I personally liked Marisa Tomei’s scenes in the film because she demonstrated what a good actress she is by making the most of her limited screentime in the film. Newcomers Analeigh Tipton and Jonah Bobo also were remarkable in their debut roles.

I’m sorry but I have to give Ryan Gosling a paragraph of his own especially since I’m a big Gosling fanboy. The camera totally loves his face as he looks perfect in the screen. He gets to play a fun character this time around, and his chemistry with Carell is undeniable. He also gets to have the most memorable scenes in the film as summarized by these GIFs:

Anyway, this is a recommended film to everyone. What’s good is that it doesn’t cater to a specific audience only. This is an enjoyable and very entertaining film because of the story, the good ensemble, and that windmill scene. Without  a doubt, one of the year’s bests. 🙂

Grade: A-

Posted August 20, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Reviews

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