Lion, Sharu, Saroo

Nominations:

  • Best Picture: Lion
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Dev Patel
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Nicole Kidman
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Luke Davies
  • Best Cinematography: Greig Fraser
  • Best Original Score: Dustin O’Halloran & Hauschka

I knew this movie was going to emotionally drain me, and sure enough, the tears were freely rolling down my face for 70% of the movie. Never mind the fact that I was sitting in a public theatre; I just hope my sniffles weren’t too distracting.

For the first half of the movie, in Slum Dog Millionaire-esque fashion, we meet a little boy, Saroo, living in rural, destitute India. He accidentally falls asleep on a train and ends up thousands of kilometers away in Calcutta. There we see this adorable 5 year old (Sunny Pawar) struggle to survive in a cruel city. How could you not want to save this cutie?

saroo

Eventually he gets adopted by a couple in Australia. They love him, but 25 years later he’s grown in to a curious young man (Dev Patel) who desperately wants to find the mother and brother he lost so long ago.

Admittedly, Lion hits very close to home for me as I have an adopted younger sister that, after getting lost in a marketplace in India, could never find nor be found by her mother.  Saroo managed to use Google Earth to find his family, and I hope one day my sister has the same luck.

What I definitely appreciated was the choice for Dev Patel as the older Saroo. Not only is Dev an amazing actor, but he’s incredibly good looking. How could you not cry for this man’s struggles?

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The clips at the end of the movie with the real Saroo, his adoptive mother, and his birth mother meeting for the first time were incredibly heartwarming. I don’t think I will ever go through anything so horrifying, terrifying, and emotional as Saroo did. So happy that you could be reunited with your mother and sister, and condolences on the death of Guddu.

Also, HUGE shout out to Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman! Excellent performance from all.

The Queens still have 3 best pictures to watch, but so far this is number one on my list!

-Queen M

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Hell or High Water (Or Just Hell)

Nominations

Best Picture, Hell or High Water

Actor in a Supporting Role, Jeff Bridges

Film Editing, Jake Roberts

Writing (Original Screenplay), Taylor Sheridan

Unfortunately, this is going to be one short post because, TBH, I did NOT like this movie AT ALL. Which is sad because I do love Chris Pine, but it really let me down. Pretty sure I was folding laundry during this movie because I got so bored.

Movies like this always seem pointless. Why was this movie made? What story is it really telling? In my opinion, nothing worth telling. Two brothers go around robbing various banks to try and save their family ranch. Then, Jeff Bridges comes around with his partner, says many racist things to him, and they try to catch the robbers. The partner (Gil Birmingham) gets shot, the brother (Ben Foster) also gets shot and basically the movie ends. Other things happen, but they are not worth discussing, or remembering. If this movie wins ANY awards I will be disappointed. There are SO many other films more worthy of that Oscar gold than this one.

I will end this post by saying: I still hope Chris Pine comes to the Oscars and looks dapper as always.

-Queen K

 

LaLa Land (City of Stars) Review

Nominations

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Actor in a Leading Role, Ryan Gosling

Actress in a Leading Role, Emma Stone

Best Achievement in Directing, Damien Chazelle

Best Achievement in Cinematography, Linus Sandgren

Best Achievement in Film Editing, Tom Cross

Music (Original Score), Justin Hurwitz

Music (Original Song), ‘Audition; (The Fools Who Dream); Listen to the song here

Music (Original Song), ‘City of Stars’; Listen to the song here

Production Design, David Wasco

Sound Editing, Ai-Ling Lee & Mildred Latrou Morgan

Sound Mixing, Andy NelsonAi-Ling Lee & Steve Morrow

Writing (Original Screenplay), Damien Chazelle

*Warning: Spoilers*

It’s been a few weeks since I saw LaLa Land, so let’s all watch this trailer together as a refresher.

Now, to start off, this musical movie did have two of my favorites: Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. I love that both of their careers have developed so much that they are both nominated for two of the highest awards in film. Who else remembers Emma Stone in Easy A and of course we can’t forget Ryan Gosling in The Notebook? (Hopefully everyone has seen these.)

LaLa Land starts out with a wonderfully choreographed dance scene on the crowded Los Angeles freeways, that ultimately ends with the audience meeting the two main characters: Sebastian and Mia. Sebastian is a passionate & struggling jazz musician, while Mia is an equally passionate and equally struggling actress. (How “LA,” right?) They are both trying to find their way in the cutthroat entertainment industry. Mia goes on countless auditions and Sebastian takes musical gigs that he does only to get by.

The two meet again when Mia is out with her friends and after finding out that her car has been towed, she starts to walk home. She passes a restaurant and hears wonderful music, so she decides to pop in. (Not shockingly) it is Sebastian she hears playing the piano and she becomes fixated on his music. After he finishes playing (and gets fired for playing his own music, rather that what he is told to play), she tries to introduce herself to him, but he is not interested (rude!).

ryan-gosling-playing-piano

Naturally, that is not where out love-story ends. The two get to know each other and exchange their lofty goals and ambitions. Mia wants to become a famous actress and Sebastian wants to open his own jazz club. Sebastian ends up joining a band that starts to tour and this put a lot of stress on their relationship because Mia feels he is abandoning his dream, something she would never do. Eventually the couple realizes that their relationship is no longer working out. They end things, go their separate ways, and my heart breaks. In two.

La La Land (2016) Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone)

In the end it turns out that Mia does in fact become a famous actress and all of her dreams have come true. She is married to a great guy and has a beautiful daughter. She lives in a posh LA estate, what more could she want? But Mia isn’t the only one who has all of her dreams come true. Sebastian eventually opened his own jazz club and it’s a very successful one at that.

Sometime later (it’s not exactly clear how long, but at least a few years), Mia and her husband are out on a date and decide to randomly pull off the freeway and they end up at Sebastian’s jazz bar. Mia and her husband sit down in the crowd and just as Sebastian sits down to play the piano, he notices Mia in the crowd. He begins to play “their song” (Mia & Sebastian’s Theme) and a montage of the life they could have had starts playing.

While both of their lives turned out even better than either of them could have imagined, I’m still sad that they didn’t end up together. I thought they were good as a couple, they challenged one another, but also believed deeply in their own dreams, as well as each other’s.

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic film. Do I think Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are going to have singing or dancing careers? No. But do I think they did an excellent job and made a great movie? YES. I absolutely loved all of the singing and dancing. I think because they weren’t trained specifically in singing or dancing made the film even better for me, more realistic. If Mia had a drop-dead amazing singing voice, it would have made it harder to believe that she was a struggling actress. I also loved all of the choreography. That opening scene JUST WOW.

lala-land-opening

I don’t think there was any ONE thing that made this film fantastic for me, but it was a combination of the acting, music, cinematography, scenery, and the storyline. I’m not sure if I think LaLa Land is my favorite Oscar Nominee—I have yet to see them all, but it is definitely a contender and I would not be at all upset if it won Best Picture.

-Queen K

The Sting- BMP 1974

The 1974 Academy Award for Best Picture was by no means an easy win, against nominees American Graffiti, The Exorcist, A Touch of Glass, and Cries and Whispers.

The Sting, however, blew them all out of the water in this adventure comedy about a pair of 1930s con-men trying to find revenge and fortune in a bigwig card player.  If nothing else, the film stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford (arguably two of the greatest actors since the invention of the camera).  This duo portray Henry Gondorff and Johnny Hooker, respectively: two drifters who design a faux horse race and entrap Doyle Lonergen (Robert Shaw) into a handsome payout.  Director George Roy Hill uses film effects from the Depression Decade, incorporates anecdotal scenes from real-life gangsters, and flawlessly utilizes 1930s era decor, costumes, and music.  The effect is a 1970s film that brings you straight back to a Nickelodeon rooting for the ‘bad guys.’

The Sting overwhelmed the 46th Oscars, securing 10 nominations and 7 wins.  The movie won awards for best score, editing, costume design, set decoration, writing, directing, and Best Picture.

Queen B loved this film and thinks it deserves a spot in the Top 10 Best Picture Winners of all time.

No Country for Old Men- BMP 2008

No Country for Old Men, the Best Motion Picture choice for 2007, showed impressive acting, costumes, cinematography, and music.  While the nominees for this year provided great competition, Queen B understands why this film won Best Motion Picture over all the rest.

This movie follows the path of Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) as he discovers the abandoned scene of a drug deal gone wrong and the 2 million dollars seemingly forgotten near the corpses.  Moss takes the millions for himself, securing a spot on the top of Anton Chighur’s (Javier Bardem) kill list.  We watch as Moss stays one step ahead of Chighur throughout Texas and Mexico, and attempt to devise a way out of his self-conflicted predicament.

Directors Ethan and Joel Cohen deliver a well-crafted drug film built not on suspense or action, but rather on strategy and emotion.  While the film drags at some parts, the reliance on dialogue and plot rather than edge-of-your-seat showdowns and violence makes this an interesting outlier in a long list formulaic action films.

In 2007, No Country for Old Men beat out Juno, Atonement, Michael Clayton, and There Will Be Blood to secure its position as the Best Motion Picture of that year

Ethan and Joel Cohen additionally won awards for both directing and writing, and Javier Bardem won the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Overall, Queen B gives the film a 7.5/10.

Queen M’s Oscar Predictions

If it were up to me, the following movies/people would win tonight at the Oscars. Unfortunately, the Academy doesn’t even have an inkling about who I am much less listen to me. So I had to temper my picks based on what I think the Academy will actually pick.

Queen M’s Picks

  • Best Picture: Room
    • Room made me feel all the feels and I empathized with the characters throughout the whole movie. Jacob Tremblay made the film with his excellent acting. In fact, I think Jacob should have been nominated for best actor, but that’s beside the point. Room should win.
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role: Leo in The Revenant…or Matt Damon in The Martian
    • I want Matt Damon to win because I thought he was fantastic, but in reality I think Leo will win. He was great but I’m worried that he’s going to get it simply because it’ll be a huge snub if he doesn’t.
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role: Brie Larson in Room
    • I want her to win AND I think the Academy will pick her. ‘Nuff said.
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale in The Big Short
    • I don’t have any particular allegiance to any actor in this section, but I thought Christian played his role very well. I didn’t like his character, but he played it well!
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl
    • The movie wasn’t good, but Alicia was excellent. I almost cried during the scene where she’s asking to talk to her husband. Fantastic.
  • Animated Feature Film: Inside Out
    • This movie made me laugh, cry, and say “awww!” Seriously, this was so good I wish it was nominated for best picture. Plus it has Mindy Kaling, my favorite comedian/role model, as the voice of Disgust.
  • Cinematography: The Revenant
    • I’m no expert on cinematography, but damn it was good enough in this movie for me to notice it.
  • Directing: Spotlight

The other categories I don’t know enough about to make an informed opinion so I won’t even try. Now that you know what I want to win, I’d love to hear what you think!

 

Queen B’s Oscar Predictions

Best PictureSpotlight

Between the story line, superb acting, and the the fact that it’s a true story, Spotlight is prime Oscar material.  The only real competition for Spotlight, in my opinion, is The Revenant, which may give the former a run for its money.  While the Revenant had great cinematography, directing, acting, costumes, etc…, Spotlight will win the Oscar for being greater than the sum of its parts.

See the Queens’ Review of Spotlight Here

Best Actor in a Leading Role – Leonardo DiCaprio

This prediction has nothing to do with the fact that Leo is the love of my life.  Honestly.  Leonardo DiCaprio just killed his role in The Revenant.  And compared to Eddie Redmayne, Bryan Cranston, and Michael Fassbender, this role is almost his for the taking.  The close runner-up, however, will definitely be Matt Damon in The Martian.  We’ll have to see whether the Academy wants a more intense or a more relatable performance.

Read the Queens’ Review of The Revenant

Best Actress in a Leading RoleBrie Larson

Admittedly, this is more of a strong, strong wish than a prediction.  Brie Larson’s portrayal of Joy Newsome in Room was one of the most breathtaking, powerful, and forget-its-a-movie performances I’ve ever seen.  I don’t even feel there is a suitable runner-up for this category.  I still think about her performance and get chills.

Read the Queens’ Review of Room

Best Director– Alejandro Inarritu

Alejandro G. Inarritu won last year for Birdman, and looks to be a favorite of the Academy this year for his directing in The Revenant.  To throw in my two cents, I think Lenny Abrahamson deserves the Oscar for Room.  He managed to create a world entirely through a child’s eyes, while still allowing the audience to understand the horror of the situation.

Best Actor in a Supporting RoleMark Rylance

This category is a bit of a crowded field.  Every character excelled at their parts, but nobody made a strong enough impression to declare a unanimous winner.  Mark Rylance’s character in Bridge of Spies is a Russian prisoner of war, trying to leave America and go home.  I’ve only ever seen Mark Rylance in House of Cards, and this character was such a foil, I forgot it was the same actor.  But, the Oscar is still anybody’s game at this point.

Read the Queens’ Review of Bridge of Spies

Best Actress in a Supporting Role– Alicia Vikander

A favorite of almost all film critics’, Alicia Vikander’s role in The Danish Girl was an unusual part, and she played the emotional parts very well.  I personally don’t have any allegiance to any of these actresses performances, but I think the Academy will choose Vikander over the others.

Read the Queens’ Review of The Danish Girl

Best Original Screenplay– Josh SingerTom McCarthy

These two authors of Spotlight have received numerous awards throughout the season and managed to capture the urgency and truth of the Boston Globe investigation.

Best Adapted Screenplay– Drew Goddard

This adaptation of The Martian was really well done and has received universal acclaim.  This is Goddard’s first Academy nomination, and I think he has it in the bag.

Read the Queens’ Review of The Martian