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73rd Golden Globe Awards Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

The Golden Globes weekend has officially started! In two days, the first televised awards ceremony of the season begins with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) announces their winners of the 73rd Golden Globe Awards in a night filled with chocolates, booze, and stars. This year, Denzel Washington is the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille distinction, as Ricky Gervais comes back as the host after three years. With Tom Hanks to Mel Gibson, and Channing Tatum to Eva Longoria expected to attend, let’s predict who will end up heading to the Globes stage to give their awards speeches on Sunday (Monday here in the Philippines) in all 25 categories.

FILM:

film drama picture

Best Motion Picture – Drama
“Carol”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”
“Room”
“Spotlight”

PREDICTION: Spolight. Despite showing some weakness, this still remains as the strongest contenders among the dramatic nominees here. It will still win this category pretty easily, and there’s a chance it can only end up winning this one ala 12 Years a Slave two years ago.

ALTERNATE: Mad Max: Fury Road. This can basically be any of the films here. Carol, albeit leading the nominations is a weak contender here and can even be emptyhanded. It can also be The Revenant after snubbing eventual Oscar winner Alejandro Inarritu last year. But Mad Max is that populist and critical choice that the Golden Globes are known for.

film drama actor

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”)
Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)
Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)
Will Smith (“Concussion”)

PREDICTION: Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”). Unlike the Oscars, the Globes haven’t been cruel to Leo winning twice in the past already. That said, being the Oscar frontrunner helps him win his third Globe come Sunday.

ALTERNATE: Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”). Fassbender is a Golden Globe winner waiting to happen, and he’s now on his third nomination in five years. In a Leo-less field, he’s probably sweeping now.

film drama actress

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Cate Blanchett (“Carol”)
Brie Larson (“Room”)
Rooney Mara (“Carol”)
Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)
Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”)

PREDICTION: Brie Larson (“Room”). Room overperformed with nominations at the Globes this year, which makes me think that Larson got this one.

ALTERNATE: Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”). Watch out for Saoirse Ronan though who’s every inch in this race and can still steal the momentum from Larson.

film comedy

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
“The Big Short”
“Joy”
“The Martian”
“Spy”
“Trainwreck”

PREDICTION: “The Big Short”. With The Big Short only getting stronger as each day passes, it can start its Best Picture road by winning this category on Sunday.

ALTERNATE: “The Martian”. The Globes has been into some hot water after placing this film in the Comedy genre, so I think it will somehow affect its chances here if it ends up winning. As a reminder, the film’s comedy placement won only by a single vote so there’s that.

film comedy actor

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Christian Bale (“The Big Short”)
Steve Carell (“The Big Short”)
Matt Damon (“The Martian”)
Al Pacino (“Danny Collins”)
Mark Ruffalo (“Infinitely Polar Bear”)

PREDICTION: Matt Damon (“The Martian”). Considering that Matt Damon hasn’t won a Golden Globe yet for acting, this makes sense as a place to reward The Martian especially if it ain’t winning Best Picture.

ALTERNATE: Steve Carell (“The Big Short”). While there’s still a path for Carell to win, the fact that they placed Christian Bale here will siphon some votes among The Big Short fans here.

film comedy actress

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”)
Melissa McCarthy (“Spy”)
Amy Schumer (“Trainwreck”)
Maggie Smith (“The Lady in the Van”)
Lily Tomlin (“Grandma”)

PREDICTION: Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”). This category feels like the dire one last year, and Lawrence is still likely the only Oscar contender here (yup, we’re still not counting on the Dame), so maybe an easy #3 for Lawgend.

ALTERNATE: Amy Schumer (“Trainwreck”). Hollywood’s it girl for 2015 is off to have an even greater 2016, and the Globes love that kind of coronation so this win is really possible.

film supp actor

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Paul Dano (“Love & Mercy”)
Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”)
Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)
Michael Shannon (“99 Homes”)
Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”)

PREDICTION: Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”). Rylance is an unlikely Golden Globe winner, but at this stage he’s really the strongest contender so I say why not?

ALTERNATE: Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”). This type of rewarding a veteran and even a huge moviestar is such a Globes-y thing to do, so count on the HFPA starfuckers to throw him a moment.

film supp actress

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Jane Fonda (“Youth”)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”)
Helen Mirren (“Trumbo”)
Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”)
Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”)

PREDICTION: Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”). They love Alicia Vikander so much that they nominated her twice, and considering she has no chance in Drama Lead Actress, they’ll reward her here instead.

ALTERNATE: Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”). The Globes are more appreciative of Tarantino performances, and this can signal that she’s still in the race like the trajectory of Christoph Waltz in 2012.

film directing

Best Director – Motion Picture
Todd Haynes (“Carol”)
Alejandro G. Iñárritu (“The Revenant”)
Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”)
George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)
Ridley Scott (“The Martian”)

PREDICTION: George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”). Surprisingly enough, this is Miller’s first ever Globe nomination so this can be his lifetime award already from the HFPA.

ALTERNATE: Ridley Scott (“The Martian”). Then there’s three-time nominee Ridley Scott who also hasn’t won here yet, and while he has already directed a Globe BP winning movie, Miller has the stronger “technical directorial achievement” narrative.

film screenplay

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Emma Donoghue (“Room”)
Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer (“Spotlight”)
Charles Randolph, Adam McKay (“The Big Short”)
Aaron Sorkin (“Steve Jobs”)
Quentin Tarantino (“The Hateful Eight”)

PREDICTION: Charles Randolph, Adam McKay (“The Big Short”). Never underestimate this contender. Like what I’ve said, it’s just on an upward trajectory for now. Considering the last three wins here are upsets, I’ll give this duo the edge.

ALTERNATE: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer (“Spotlight”). It’s a battle between the two Best Picture contenders, but Spotlight has the edge in terms of winning more awards in Screenplay thus far.

film animated

Best Animated Feature Film
“Anomalisa”
“The Good Dinosaur”
“Inside Out”
“The Peanuts Movie”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”

PREDICTION: “Inside Out”. This remains the critical pick of the year, and with huge box office performance to boot. So I’d say it’s still ahead.

ALTERNATE: “Anomalisa”. This isn’t a Globes type of pick, but it has the critics behind it, and the HFPA are more welcoming to stop motion type of animation.

film foreign language film

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
“The Brand New Testament”
“The Club”
“The Fencer”
“Mustang”
“Son of Saul”

PREDICTION: “Son of Saul”. This is still the frontrunner and no film has yet appeared to challenge it for the win. It has the prestige and the studio to nab this win.

ALTERNATE: “Mustang”. Probably Mustang comes the closest to an alternate, but I still see it falling short.

film score

Best Original Score
Carter Burwell (“Carol”)
Alexandre Desplat (“The Danish Girl”)
Ennio Morricone (“The Hateful Eight”)
Daniel Pemberton (“Steve Jobs”)
Ryuichi Sakamoto Alva Noto (“The Revenant”)

PREDICTION: Ennio Morricone (“The Hateful Eight”). They won’t let a year pass by without giving Harvey a win so it’s between his two films here. I’d give the edge to Ennio as he’s a veteran in this category.

ALTERNATE: Carter Burwell (“Carol”). This can be the place to reward Carol. After all, it’s rare for the top nomination earner movie to not take home at least one prize.

film song

Best Original Song
“Love Me Like You Do” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
“One Kind of Love” from “Love & Mercy”
“See You Again” from “Furious 7”
“Simple Song No. 3” from “Youth”
“Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”

PREDICTION: “One Kind of Love” from “Love & Mercy”. While this has been ineligible at the Oscars, it actually makes more sense considering that most winners here tend to get snubbed there.

ALTERNATE: “See You Again” from “Furious 7”. The pop songs are probably canceling each other out, but if there’s one who can overcome this, it’s a song about a Hollywood actor who passed away.

TELEVISION:

tv drama

Best TV Series – Drama

“Empire”
“Game of Thrones”
“Mr. Robot”
“Narcos”
“Outlander”

PREDICTION: “Mr. Robot”. With the HFPA’s love for cable shows, it’s not surprising if they went with this critically loved breakout show from USA.

ALTERNATE: “Empire”. One has to go back nine years ago in 2006 when the top TV drama series went to a network show and that was for ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. The closest comparison to how huge that show was in recent years was the Empire mania that has happened last year .

tv drama actor

Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama
Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”)
Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”)
Wagner Moura (“Narcos”)
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”)

PREDICTION: Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”). Nine of the last 15 years here all came from freshman shows. But considering that the Globes tend to do a package deal of awarding a show + its lead actor (Homeland and Danes, Transparent and Tambor, Brooklyn Nine Nine and Samberg, Girls and Dunham and so on and so forth), Malek makes sense as the winner here.

ALTERNATE: Wagner Moura (“Narcos”). Following that pattern above, maybe its Narcos + Moura who might end up as the winners here.

tv drama actress

Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama
Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”)
Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”)
Eva Green (“Penny Dreadful”)
Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”)
Robin Wright (“House of Cards”)

PREDICTION: Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”). Just like at the Emmys, I predict that this will be a Taraji vs. Viola battle. I give the edge to Taraji P. Henson though since Cookie is the type of role that Globes are made to award.

ALTERNATE: Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”). It can easily be Viola too considering she made history with her Emmy win, but for some reason the HFPA are reluctant to reward her. She lost to Meryl in 2011 despite being the frontrunner, and when she was a shoo-in here last year, she lost to Ruth Wilson of all people. Maybe the HFPA aren’t just fans of her.

tv comedy series

Best TV Series – Comedy
“Casual”
“Mozart in the Jungle”
“Orange Is the New Black”
“Silicon Valley”
“Transparent”
“Veep”

PREDICTION: “Transparent”. The last three shows who have won multiple awards here were GleeDesperate Housewives, and Sex and the City so they’re more into dramedies here, which helps current champ Transparent to go 2/2.

ALTERNATE: “Veep”. It’s surprising to think that this is the first Series nomination of Veep, but maybe its Emmy win can help it win its Globe trophy as well.

tv comedy actor

Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy
Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”)
Gael Garcia Bernal (“Mozart in the Jungle”)
Rob Lowe (“The Grinder”)
Patrick Stewart (“Blunt Talk”)
Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”)

PREDICTION: Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”). We’re sure with besties J.Law and Schumer in the crowd, the HFPA would use the said platform to give Aziz a memorable moent when he gives his speech.

ALTERNATE: Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”). That said, it can also be an easy back to back win for Jeffrey Tambor who can just dominate the awards shows with his brave performance for this show.

tv comedy actress

Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy
Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex Girlfriend”)
Jamie Lee Curtis (“Scream Queens”)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”)
Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”)
Lily Tomlin (“Grace & Frankie”)

PREDICTION: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”). I guess we can consider that the HFPA aren’t just into Veep at all.Not even her one-two punch of film and TV work two years ago ended up with a Globe win despite getting four consecutive Emmy wins already. But this race is a weak one, and with the show getting nominated as well, maybe she can finally inch a win.

ALTERNATE: Lily Tomlin (“Grace & Frankie”). Jamie Lee Curtis makes sense as an alternate, but Scream Queens is too flop of a show that even HFPA won’t bite. So I guess they’d probably give it to Lily Tomlin who’s a double nominee that night!

tv longform

Best TV Movie or Limited-Series
“American Crime”
“American Horror Story: Hotel”
“Fargo”
“Flesh and Bone”
“Wolf Hall”

PREDICTION: “Fargo”. After their surprise victory last year, then a 2/2 is indeed possible knowing that it received the same, if not more, love this year.

ALTERNATE: “Wolf Hall”. But then sometimes, they just want to embrace their British love and award this equally acclaimed series which got the same nominations as Fargo.

tv longform actor

Best Actor in a Limited-Series or TV Movie
Idris Elba (“Luther”)
Oscar Isaac (“Show Me a Hero”)
David Oyelowo (“Nightingale”)
Mark Rylance (“Wolf Hall”)
Patrick Wilson (“Fargo”)

PREDICTION: Oscar Isaac (“Show Me a Hero”). This is the closest that the Globes can ride on the Star Wars wave, and Isaac is a breakthrough star waiting to happen so maybe he wins here?

ALTERNATE: Patrick Wilson (“Fargo”). We know the HFPA loves Idris but he has been rewarded for this role already. Maybe Mark Rylance but I have him pegged in Film Supporting Actor already. So that leaves me with Wilson here as the alternate.

tv longform actress

Best Actress in a Limited-Series or TV Movie
Kirsten Dunst (“Fargo”)
Lady Gaga (“American Horror Story: Hotel”)
Sarah Hay (“Flesh & Bone”)
Felicity Huffman (“American Crime”)
Queen Latifah (“Bessie”)

PREDICTION: Kirsten Dunst (“Fargo”). I predict that Fargo is winning an acting one alongside its Series win, and rewarding Kirsten Dunst makes more sense than Wilson in that more competitive race.

ALTERNATE: Queen Latifah (“Bessie”). Everyone’s predicting Lady Gaga just for the sheer “Globesness” of it, but I think the HFPA is serious about being taken seriously again, so I don’t think they’d go that road. Queen Latifah makes more sense as an alternate.

tv supp actor

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV Movie
Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife”)
Damian Lewis (“Wolf Hall”)
Ben Mendelsohn (“Bloodline”)
Tobias Menzies (“Outlander”)
Christian Slater (“Mr. Robot”)

PREDICTION: Tobias Menzies (“Outlander”). The surge of love for Outlander would not go home unrewarded, as I think Menzies’ very challenging dual role would end up with a Globe win for him.

ALTERNATE: Christian Slater (“Mr. Robot”). Slater makes sense as the runner-up here, as I don’t think Mr. Robot is going 3/3.

tv supp actress

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series, or TV Movie
Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”)
Joanne Froggatt (“Downton Abbey”)
Regina King (“American Crime”)
Judith Light (“Transparent”)
Maura Tierney (“The Affair”)

PREDICTION:Regina King (“American Crime”). After that surprising Emmy win back in September, I can see the Globes following suit with a win here.

ALTERNATE: Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”). Aduba’s upset loss last year reminded me of when Jane Lynch lost the first time in 2010 only to win the succeeding year. Aduba can still follow suit to this.

So what are you predicting this year to win at the Globes? Happy Golden Globes weekend!

Talk to me about it by tweeting me: @nikowl

65th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie   Leave a comment

actor miniseries

It’s Emmy season!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting my Emmy predictions in 23 different categories before we head on the actual ceremonies on September 22. And as always, we’ll tackle one category at a time, and this year will begin with Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie.

PAST PREDICTIONS:

2005: Geoffrey Rush, “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers[CORRECT]
2006:
Donald Sutherland, “Human Trafficking[WRONG]
2007:
Robert Duvall, “Broken Trail[CORRECT]
2008:
Paul Giammatti “John Adams[CORRECT]
2009:
Kevin Bacon, “Taking Chance[WRONG]
2010:
Al Pacino, “You Don’t Know Jack[CORRECT]
2011:
Edgar Ramirez, “Carlos[WRONG]
2012:
Kevin Costner, “Hatfields & McCoys” [CORRECT]

If there’s any indication that HBO dominates the Emmys, one does not need to look any further, as this category’s nominees were all from HBO produced films. Let’s start the discussion with the Cannes entry Behind the Candelabra. Playing renowned pianist Liberace, five time Emmy nominee Michael Douglas gets career best reviews for his physical transformation as the gay musician. With the rate of these reviews are going, it’s pretty easy to say he’s the frontrunner in this category. However, most of his screentime is shared with co-nominee and co-star Matt Damon who played Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson. While both are co-leads in the film, it’s easier to see that Douglas is the main star of the show and has the advantage over Damon.

As for Parade’s End‘s Benedict Cumberbatch, he’s the obvious weak link in this group, and his nod rooted from his movie star success of Star Trek during the nomination period. It must be noted though that this is his second consecutive nomination here, as he’s also nominated for Sherlock this year, so if there’s some left over love for that, then he can possible score more votes. Isn’t it unfair that Toby Jones always has to go for the lesser buzzed versions when he plays real life people such as his Capote performance in Infamous being released shortly after Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Oscar winning performance of the same character? The same can be applied again as his role as Alfred Hitchcock in The Girl has to contend in TV movies when the feature film Hitchcock was just released last year. Anyway, Jones was Hitchcock personified in his performance, but the total lack of interest over the TV movie definitely speaks about his chances.

Then there’s Al Pacino. Pacino is 2/2 in this category winning the first time for Angels in America in 2004 and then again for You Don’t Know Jack in 2010. For Phil Spector, he donned in the wigs and transformed into the main character and was given lots of baity scenes to work on. Plus they showered the TV movie with a lot of nominations as well.  If voters are not fond of Behind the Candelabra, I can see them going for Pacino.

With that said, I still think that it’s Michael Douglas’ to lose. He’s a five time Emmy nominee who hasn’t won any Emmy yet (and his first nomination was 39 years ago) while getting career best reviews for this performance. He also gets to play a “challenging” role which involved lots of physical transformations in it. If not him, you can count Matt Damon to win his first Emmy though. Either way, Behind the Candelabra will score a win in this category.

Prediction: Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra
Runner-Up: Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra

Final Rankings:
1. Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra
2. Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra
3. Al Pacino, “Phil Spector
4. Toby Jones, “The Girl
5. Benedict Cumberbatch, “Parade’s End

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

66th Cannes Film Festival Winner Predictions   1 comment

 

Photo courtesy of  Zimbio

In just a few hours, the 66th Cannes Film Festival is about to close. After almost two weeks of non-stop film premieres, the biggest movie festival in the world will soon end. And it is up to jury head Steven Spielberg, together with members Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee, Christoph Waltz, Lynne Ramsay, Naomi Kawase, Cristian Mungiu, Daniel Auteuil, and Vidya Balan, to reveal their choices on the winning films and performances for this year. It’s definitely one of those up in the air years, as there were a lot of films that gained positive response from the media and the Cannes audience this year. And of course, there’s also those surprising choices that came from movies that received cold reception.

I’ll give my shot on who I think will end up as winners in the festival this year. However, it is noteworthy to emphasize that it is really difficult to predict these things since there’s no trend to follow as the jury members change every year. But with that said, here are my predictions for the seven categories to be awarded at the closing festivities:

SCREENPLAY:

Prediction: Ethan and Joel Coen, “Inside Llewyn Davis
As of now, the Coens’ latest entry is turning up to be the best reviewed American film of the year thus far (with a perfect 100 score), and Llewyn seems to be destined to win something in the festival. While chances of directing, actor for Oscar Isaac, and even the Palme d’Or (critics are comparing it to Barton Fink which won them a Director prize), I think they will spread the wealth and reward it with a Screenplay win.

Alternate: Asghar Farhadi, “Le Passé
Farhadi is shaping out to be one of the notable names in festivals and his follow up to 2011’s A Separation also gained notable mentions from the critics. If Farhadi won’t win the top plum this year, then they can pick up multiple wins including this one for screenplay.

ACTOR:

PREDICTION: Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra
While odds for a tie are slim, I’m predicting the team up of Matt Damon and Michael Douglas to pick up the top male plum for this year. It really sucks that this won’t get a theater premiere (which easily eliminates them from Oscar contention), but Douglas’ unanimous reviews (and even mentions of his all time best work) is definitely a shoo-in for an Emmy already. It’s also likely that it will solely be Douglas who will win, but with Damon working with Spielberg in the past, he can easily sneak Damon for the win too.

ALTERNATE: Bruce Dern, “Nebraska
If not Douglas, then one can expect Bruce Dern to snatch up the Actor prize for his work in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska. This can be some sort of a prelude to his possible Oscar season, and they can also tag team Will Forte as well, in case they give Behind the Candelabra a higher award.

ACTRESS:

PREDICTION: Adèle Exarchopoulos, “Blue is the Warmest Color
If the jury doesn’t connect to a consensus choice of Blue… being the Palme d’Or, then it can find its way to recognition by winning the Actress award via Adèle Exarchopoulos’s unanimously praised performance. If the Damon/Douglas tie don’t work in Actor, then expect a consecutive tie here (after last year’s victory from Beyond the Hills ladies) between Adèle Exarchopoulos and co-star Lea Seydoux.

ALTERNATE: Marion Cotillard, “The Immigrant
After failing to win this category last year for Rust and Bone, Cotillard can see herself in contention and even a win for this year, thanks to James Gray’s The Immigrant. Cotillard is a famous French star who has been a regular at Cannes for the past few years. This can also be The Immigrant’s win especially if the movie divides the jury.

DIRECTOR:

PREDICTION:  Paolo Sorrentino, “La Grande Belleza
Sorrentino surprised everyone when he got overwhelming positive response for this year’s The Great Beauty. Reviews specify the good combination of breathtaking visuals and the strong direction, which leads me to believe that if Sorrentino wins anything from the festival, it’ll most be likely this one.

ALTERNATE: Steven Soderbergh, “Behind the Candelabra
Soderbergh is one of the true Cannes breakouts. His career started out with sex.lies.videotape in 1989, and this could be a statement from the jury for Hollywood passing up on the film because of its theme. Also, Soderbergh hasn’t won in this category yet, and this can be his first prize here.

JURY PRIZE

PREDICTION: Hirakazu Kore-eda, “Like Father, Like Son
Kore-eda’s drama about the nature vs. nurture of two children switched at birth was a hit at Cannes, and Jury Prize seems to be the most fitting category to reward it. Rumor also have it that Kore-eda is already back at Cannes, which means that it’s likely that the film will be rewarded for something. It also seemed to be getting raves from the jury with Spielberg quoted as emotional to the film’s theme.

ALTERNATE: James Gray, “The Immigrant
Gray is such a divisive filmmaker. His works is always between a love it or you hate it. It’s either for you or not. With that said, I can also see a scenario where they give him the Jury Prize in order to satisfy members of Jury who wants it to be rewarded with something while also satisfying those members who do not like it, as it won’t get the top prize.

GRAND PRIX:

PREDICTION: Jia Zhangke, “A Touch of Sin
Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin seems to be perfect for the Grand Prix category. It’s not a total standout to win the Palme, but it gains specific supporters that can push it for this. He was also spotted already back in Cannes, and he’ll probably get something tomorrow.

ALTERNATE: Abdellatif Kechiche, “Blue is the Warmest Color
I can see this following the scenario of The Master over at Venice last year. It’s the unanimously praise film that gets the jury pumped up. But since the top prize can’t win anything else, they’d have to settle giving the runner up prize to it in order to accommodate other noteworthy things about the film such as rewarding the lead actresses. It can be a battle between giving a sole top prize or settling for second with multiple mentions to go home.

PALME D’OR:

PREDICTION: Asghar Farhadi, “The Past
And I guess the top prize will be given to Farhadi’s The Past. It’s French, it has Farhadi, it’s the conventional choice, it made jury member Kidman in tears after leaving the screening. The Past seems to be the logical choice that will not be hated; after all, it got solid reviews, it’s not as particularly polarizing from the other commendable entries, and you know everyone is just in love with Asghar Farhadi right now. While this is no sure thing, I can see this getting the consensus pick among the jury members.

ALTERNATE: Abdellatif Kechiche, “Blue is the Warmest Color
Lo and behold, this is really the film that towered among everyone else in terms of critical reception. It has already gained buzz and world interest, and the reviews are really staggering and far and away from the other contenders. The thing though that makes it an easy choice to win is that the theme might alienate others. We still don’t know for sure what type of jury is this, and we don’t know if they’re really gonna go for something as bold as this to receive the top prize. But as always, it can easily snoop in the top prize if it gets the jury fired up.

That’s it. I’m really excited to see a lot of entries from this year’s batch, as it’s one of the most lauded in years. I’m also gonna miss Legend Kidman’s red carpet appearances and teaching everyone how it’s done. I’m looking forward to the closing and awarding ceremonies later. Now, who are you rooting and predicting to win? Post it there in the Comments section.

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

REVIEW: Contagion   Leave a comment

Doctor: Unfortunately, she did die.

Matt Damon: Okay, so can I talk to her?

The movie starts with Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) who came from a business trip from Hong Kong. After coming back, she starts to feel that something’s wrong with her, and as you can see in the movie poster, she died. What happened next is a jumping multiple storyline that involves how her husband (Matt Damon) dealt with the death of his wife. Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) has a very surname but more than that, he starts an investigation about the random cause of death (that started with Beth) of different people in different parts of the world. With him is Dr. Erin Mears who conducts the actual investigation of it in Minneapolis, and from World Health Organization is Dr. Leonora Orantes who went to Hong Kong to trace the virus itself. To complete the list is blogger Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) who thinks that this is just one whole conspiracy.

Steven Soderbergh is no stranger to large ensembles, and this is definitely no exception. He gets to squeeze the best among his casts and once again, he proved that there are no small roles for big actors. While Paltrow dies at the start of film, her presence is still felt until the last scene in the film. Laurence Fishburne and Matt Damon gets to have the meatiest roles and the longest screen times. It would have been better had they given more focus to Marion Cotillard as that seems to be the weakest among all the stories in the film. That’s my major issue aside from the too much scientific lingo that will either send you to sleep or to confusion.

Technically though, the film can brag everything about it. The cinematography is awesome, and I love how playful Soderbergh is with some of the shots in the film. Editing is also commendable as the film shifts from one story (and country) to another, and the whole atmosphere of the film is fantastic. My favorite, though, is the musical score. It was riveting and intense. The sound brings life even in the simplest scenes in the film. The score brings energy and suspense to what could have been quiet scenes, thus, fulfilling a very convincing and remarkable addition to the overall output.

There are scenes that has been there-done that marked all over it, but they’re pretty forgivable. I don’t understand the need to IMAX this film though since the film is shot in 3D, and all you will see are Gwyneth Paltrow’s pores (decent) and Laurene Fishburne’s (horrible). Also, you get to see how ugly Jude Law’s teeth were (though they say it’s not his real set used in the film). The movie is very timely and effective I also like how the movie went full circle in the end.

To sum it up, this is the type of film that relies on a story and though it could have done better, it still delivered. No one from the cast is award-worthy, but all were good in it. It is one big paranoia experience that will left you feeling uneasy after watching it.

Grade: B+