Oscars 2019/20 – Winners and Reaction

On what started out looking like a dull and predictable set of winners ended with a huge shockwave as Parasite swept the major awards, becoming the first ever foreign language film to win Best Picture (while also winning International Film, Original Screenplay, and Director) and becoming the most successful film of the night.

I will do a post with a full reaction to the eventful night as soon as I get some sleepπŸ˜‚ Plenty more coverage to come!

Alongside the winners is whether or not I predicted it right, and I managed to get 18/24 which I am happy for on a night with a few shocks.

Best Picture

Parasite βœ…

Best Director

Bong Joon-ho – Parasite ❌

Best Actor

Joaquin Phoenix – Joker βœ…

Best Actress

Renee Zellwegger – Judy βœ…

Best Supporting Actor

Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood βœ…

Best Supporting Actress

Laura Dern – Marriage Story βœ…

Best Original Screenplay

Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin Won – Parasite βœ…

Best Adapted Screenplay

Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit βœ…

Best International Feature

Parasite βœ…

Best Animated Feature

Toy Story 4 ❌

Best Documentary Feature

American Factory ❌

Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins – 1917 βœ…

Best Editing

Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland – Ford v. Ferrari ❌

Best Production Design

Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ❌

Best Costume Design

Jacqueline Durran – Little Women βœ…

Best Make-Up and Hairstyling

Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, and Vivian Baker – Bombshell βœ…

Best Original Score

Hildur Gudnadottir – Joker βœ…

Best Original Song

β€œ(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” – Elton John and Bernie Taupin – Rocketman βœ…

Best Visual Effects

Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, and Dominic Tuohy – 1917 βœ…

Best Sound Editing

Donald Sylvester – Ford v. Ferrari ❌

Best Sound Mixing

Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson – 1917 βœ…

Best Documentary (Short Subject)

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If you’re a Girl) βœ…

Best Short Film (Animated)

Hair Love βœ…

Best Short Film (Live-Action)

The Neighbors’ Window βœ…

My Oscars – 2019/20

My Top Nominees

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – 9

Parasite – 9

Little Women – 8

1917 – 8

My Top Winner

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – 3

Best Picture

Avengers: Endgame

Joker

Knives Out

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Uncut Gems

1917

Best Director

Bong Joon-ho – Parasite

Celine Sciamma – Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Greta Gerwig – Little Women

Sam Mendes – 1917

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Actor

Adam Driver – Marriage Story

George Mackay – 1917

Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Robert Pattinson – The Lighthouse

Best Actress

Adele Haenel – Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Aisling Franciosi – The Nightingale

Lupita Nyong’o – Us

Saoirse Ronan – Little Women

Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story

Best Supporting Actor

Al Pacino – The Irishman

Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Joe Pesci – The Irishman

Song Kang-ho – Parasite

Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse

Best Supporting Actress

Florence Pugh – Little Women

Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers

Margot Robbie – Bombshell

Park So-dam – Parasite

Zhao Shuzhen – The Farewell

Best Original Screenplay

Knives Out

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Best Adapted Screenplay

Avengers: Endgame

Joker

Little Women

The Irishman

The Two Popes

Best Animated Feature

Frozen II

Klaus

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

The Lion King

Toy Story 4

Best International Feature

For Sama

Les Miserables

Pain & Glory

Parasite

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Best Documentary Feature

Apollo 11

Diego Maradona

For Sama

Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened

Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love

Best Cinematography

Ad Astra

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

The Lighthouse

1917

Best Film Editing

Avengers: Endgame

Little Women

Parasite

The Irishman

Uncut Gems

Best Production Design

Ad Astra

Doctor Sleep

Little Women

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Parasite

Best Costume Design

Dolemite is my Name

Hustlers

Little Women

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Bombshell

Hustlers

Joker

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Rocketman

Best Visual Effects

Ad Astra

Avengers: Endgame

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The Lion King

1917

Best Original Score

Avengers: Endgame

Joker

Parasite

Us

1917

Best Original Song

I’m Gonna Love Me Again – Rocketman

Lost in the Woods – Frozen II

Not Evil – The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Speechless – Aladdin

Stand Up – Harriet

Best Sound Editing

Ad Astra

Avengers: Endgame

Joker

Uncut Gems

1917

Best Sound Mixing

Ad Astra

Avengers: Endgame

Joker

The Lighthouse

1917

Horse Girl (2020) – Review

A Netflix Original Picture, Written by Jeff Baena, Alison Brie, Directed by Jeff Baena.

It is almost impossible to describe to someone exactly what to expect when watching Horse Girl because it alternated in genre and tone at an almost alarming rate throughout, and while it definitely isn’t always successful, it is a truly fascinating experiment.

Shifting rapidly between low-key character drama, comedy, examination of mental health, and straight up supernatural horror, it is often tough to keep up and the film mostly manages to keep it together. However, if you finish the film thinking you didn’t really understand what was happening, that is very much the point. Our protagonist is seeing the world in a non-linear and non-nonsensical way, and the story told full through her eyes, therefore making it almost impossible for the audience to grasp what is reality and what is fantasy, in just the same way our protagonist struggles.

Alison Brie co-wrote and produced this film, so she was with the project from the very beginning, and that is very clear in how committed and invested she is with her performance. She proved in Glow what a versatile actress she can be, and gets another great opportunity here to show just how good she can be. Brie is one of the few actresses who manages to be both strikingly beautiful whilst also realistically portraying an ‘oddball’ or outsider, and she does it with real talent. Although this isn’t one of the best films you will ever see, I truly believe this will stay as one of my favourite performances of 2020.

Netflix can be very hit and miss when it comes to their films but I hope they continue to take chances on unique films like this.

Rating = 3/5

The Lighthouse (2019) – Review

An A24 Picture, Written by Robert Eggers, Max Eggers, Directed by Robert Eggers.

The Lighthouse is a truly singular piece of cinema, unlike anything I have seen before, and that is something I greatly respect and hope to see Hollywood continue to take these sorts of risks.

If you have seen his previous film β€˜The Witch’ then you will know that Robert Eggers isn’t a man scared of taking risks, and he takes it to the next level here.

Robert Pattinson shows yet again what a powerful and truly odd character actor he can be, delivering an awards worthy performance that gets me even more excited for his upcoming role as Bruce Wayne.

Willem Dafoe has also sadly been overlooked for a lot of awards season but he matches Pattinson and gives a bonkers, terrifying, and often hilarious performance.

The story, which I will not give much away about, includes two men and their possible descent into madness, mixed with homoerotic tension, betrayal, potential supernatural and mythic forces, and just about anything else you can think of.

The film is shot on 35mm Black and White, and presented in the unique aspect ratio of 1.19:1, and all these things combine to create a truly unique viewing experience.

The cinematography is stunning (this is the only Oscar the film is nominated for) and I hope more films experiment in the way that The Lighthouse does.

The sound mix of the film is a real stand out and makes you feel like you are right there on the island with our characters, experiencing everything they did.

This undoubtedly will not be for everyone, and some people may truly hate this, but that’s what cinema is all about, taking risks and creating singular creative visions.

Hark!

Rating = 4/5

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn (2020) – Review

A Warner Bros Picture, Written by Christina Hodson, Directed by Cathy Yan.

All the talking is over and Birds of Prey is finally here, and the result is something not even me, who was really looking forward to the film, could’ve anticipated. This is truly one of the best and most unique comic book films of all time.

This is not your usual comic book film, this is a genre film with comic book characters. It is a expletive filled, non-linear, gory, female led crime caper with a twist, being told through the eyes of our narrator, Harley Quinn.

Cathy Yan, who directs here with superb energy and a really specific style, invokes the style of early Tarantino and of European art-house cinema to provide a neon soaked world for our characters to inhabit which allows the film to stand out from anything that has come before it.

The Gotham City that Harley and co inhabit is very different to the one that we are used to Batman squaring off in, and that works for the best, as here with have a gritty and yet vibrant place for the eclectic crew to live in.

It isn’t the perfect movie, with the story itself being quite standard, but the way it is told really makes up for that and the dialogue is sharp and often hilarious, so a lot of credit should also go to screenwriter Christina Hodson, a quickly rising star who is also due to write both The Flash and Batgirl for Warner Bros.

There has been some talk about how this film isn’t ‘sexy’ enough, and while that isn’t remotely the point of the film and doesn’t need to be a factor, there is absolutely no denying that watching Robbie, Smollett-Bell, Perez, and Winstead kick ass like they do is sexy, and if you can’t see that, you’re simply coming to the film for the wrong reasons.

The soundtrack is brilliantly put together and strikes the right tone with the film, and is utilised brilliantly throughout, adding real impetus and energy to certain moments in the film, especially the action and fight scenes, which are all choreographed and performed remarkably well.

Margot Robbie has been trying to get this film made as a producer for years, and she should be incredibly proud of the end result. From an acting stand point, she is undoubtedly the lead here and delivers what I truly believe to be one of the best acting performances I have seen in a comic book film. She provides real depth to Harley’s darker moments, thrives on the comedic aspects of the characters, and brings an infectious energy to the whole film, and I can’t wait to see her play this character for years to come.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Rosie Perez both have key roles here and bring their best to the characters, and provide some of the other stand out moments of the film. There is a lot more that can be explored with each character, but they have definitely got the right people to play them for the foreseeable future. Mary Elizabeth Winstead makes for a surprisingly funny and absolutely bad ass Huntress, but she only really features in the second half of the movie and has the least to do. The scene at the end of the film promises that this trio are going to have plenty more adventures going forward, and I can’t wait to see it.

Ewan McGregor is an absolute triumph as Black Mask, he is charismatic, menacing, and hilarious, often all at the same time. He is another key reason this film works and while he’ll certainly be different, I really hope we get to see more of him in future films because he is already one of my favourite villains.

Ella Jay Basco does a solid job as ‘Cass’ although this isn’t the Cassandra Cain many fans are used to. Chris Messina also leaves a lasting impact as notorious villain Victor Zsaz.

I knew I was going to enjoy this film as soon as the animated opening sequence came on, and I had such a great time all the way through to the end. I really hope this is a box office hit as well as critical success so that we can explore much more of this world and hopefully get to see Robbie’s Harley finally interact with Poison Ivy (Harley is confirmed as bisexual in a blink and you’ll miss it moment) and a potential Gotham City Sirens film directed by Cathy Yan would be right at the top of my list if I was a Warner Bros executive.

This movie is incredibly fun and I just can’t get enough of “Harley F***ing Quinn”!

Rating = 4.5/5

Pain and Glory (2019) – Review

A Sony Picture, Written and Directed by Pedro Almodovar.

One of the bigger surprises for this years Oscar nominations was the inclusion of Antonio Banderas in the Best Actor category, and after watching this film, I totally understand why he was.

The melancholy and sense of yearning he brings to the role is incredibly powerful, and his ongoing collaboration with director Pedro Almodovar is producing some of the finest works of cinema of their respective years.

Penelope Cruz, another long term Pedro Almodovar collaborator, is very strong in the key supporting role and is big reason why this works.

There are some great developments in the story, and the film is shot with some great visual flourishes that work to compliment the overall mood and feeling.

Rating = 4/5

The Farewell (2019) – Review

An A24 Picture, Written and Directed by Lulu Wang.

The Farewell is one of the most emotionally devastating and yet cathartic films I have seen in a long time, made even more remarkable as this is based on the real life of its writer/director Lulu Wang.

The moral debate of whether someone should be spared knowing a terminal diagnosis is one I had never considered and is very fascinating. However, the real story here is the love of families.

In particular, the relationship between Billi and Nai Nai is truly heartwarming, and yet tinged with sadness as we know something one of the characters does not.

It felt very personal and made me think of loved ones I have lost, and also of loved ones I still have, and it reminds you how much you need to cherish them.

Lulu Wang is a huge talent and I absolutely cannot wait for the next project she takes on, as it’s sure to be impressive.

Both Awkwafina and Zhao Shuzhen are outstanding here, bringing heart, humour, sadness, and realism to their roles, and absolutely carrying the film.

Rating = 4.5/5

Final Oscar Predictions

These are officially my final predictions for this years Oscars, with the ceremony taking place on Sunday night. These predictions take into account months of awards shows that have been leading up to this, as well as how the academy has previously worked and how I believe the industry is currently leaning. This looks set to be a tough to predict year at the Academy awards, but I have done my best, and we will find out in a few days how well I have done…

Top Predicted Winners

1917 – 5

Parasite – 5

Best Picture

Predicted Winner = Parasite (Neon) – Kwak Sin-ae, Bong Joon-ho

Main Challenger = 1917 (Universal) – Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Callum McDougal

Best Director

Predicted Winner = Sam Mendes – 1917

Main Challenger =Bong Joon-ho – Parasite

Best Actor

Predicted Winner = Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

Main Challenger =Adam Driver – Marriage Story

Best Actress

Predicted Winner = Renee Zellwegger – Judy

Main Challenger =Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Winner = Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Main Challenger =Joe Pesci – The Irishman

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Winner = Laura Dern – Marriage Story

Main Challenger =Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit  

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Winner = Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won – Parasite

Main Challenger =Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Winner = Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit

Main Challenger =Greta Gerwig – Little Women

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Winner = Klaus (Netflix) – Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh, Marisa RomΓ‘n

Main Challenger = Toy Story 4 (Pixar) – Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen, Jonas Rivera

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Winner = For Sama – Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts

Main Challenger = American Factory – Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert

Best International Feature

Predicted Winner = Parasite – South Korea

Main Challenger = Pain and Glory – Spain

Best Cinematography

Predicted Winner = 1917 – Roger Deakins

Main Challenger = Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Robert Richardson

Best Film Editing

Predicted Winner = Parasite – Yang Jin-mo

Main Challenger = Ford v Ferrari – Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Winner = Bombshell – Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, Vivian Baker

Main Challenger = Joker – Nicki Ledermann, Kay Georgiou

Best Original Score

Predicted Winner = Joker – Hildur Guonadottir

Main Challenger = 1917 – Thomas Newman

Best Original Song

Predicted Winner = β€œ(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (Rocketman) – Elton John, Bernie Taupin

Main Challenger = β€œStand Up” (Harriet) – JoshuahBrian Campbell, Cynthia Erivo

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Winner = 1917 – Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, Dominic Tuohy

Main Challenger = The Irishman – Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser, Stephane Grabli

Best Production Design

Predicted Winner = Parasite – Lee Ha Jun, Cho Won Woo

Main Challenger = 1917 – Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales

Best Costume Design

Predicted Winner = Little Women – Jaqueline Durran

Main Challenger = Joker – Mark Bridges

Best Sound Editing

Predicted Winner = 1917 – Oliver Tarney, Rachael Tate

Main Challenger = Ford v. Ferrari – Donald Sylvester

Best Sound Mixing

Predicted Winner = 1917 – Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson

Main Challenger = Ford v Ferrari –Paul Massey, David Giammarco, Steven A. Morrow

Bonus –

Best Live Action Short Film

Predicted Winner = The Neighbor’s Window – Marshall Curry

Best Animated Short Film

Predicted Winner = Hair Love – Matthew A. Cherry, Karen Rupert Toliver

Best Documentary Short Subject

Predicted Winner = Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) – Carol Dysinger, Elena Andreicheva

The BAFTAs 2020 – Winners

Most Wins – 1917 – 7

Best Film – 1917

Best British Film – 1917

Best Director – Sam Mendes – 1917

Best Actor – Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

Best Actress – Renee Zellwegger – Judy

Best Supporting Actor – Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress – Laura Dern – Marriage Story

Best Original Screenplay – Parasite

Best Adapted Screenplay – Jojo Rabbit

Best Foreign Language Film – Parasite

Best Animated Film – Klaus

Best Documentary Film – For Adams

Best Debut – Bait

Best Cinematography – 1917

Best Editing – Le Mans 66 (Ford v. Ferrari)

Best Production Design – 1917

Best Costume Design – Little Women

Best Score – Joker

Best Make-Up and Hair – Bombshell

Best Sound – 1917

Best Visual Effects – 1917

Best Casting – Joker

Best Short – Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If you’re a Girl)

Best Animated Short – Grandad Was a Romantic

Rising Star – Michael Ward

Contribution to Cinema – Andy Serkis

Fellowship – Kathleen Kennedy

The BAFTAs – Reaction

I will do a full post breaking down each winner tomorrow, but for now I wanted to cover some of the big moments of the night.

In the screenplay categories, Parasite and Jojo Rabbit seem to now be our front runners, but don’t rule out Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or Little Women just yet.

The acting awards are absolute locks and went as expected, with Joaquin Phoenix’s scathing attack on the industry’s internalised racism being a particular highlight.

When it comes to director and picture, they both went to 1917 here, which is clearly the front runner in both categories, but don’t rule Parasite out yet either.

Overall, Sam Mendes’ epic war film dominated in the place you would expect it to most, Britain. It went home with a stunning 7 awards and looks to be the one to stop for the Oscars next week.

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