The Oscars – Final Predictions

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Well here we are…it’s the day of the show y’all and I’ve done by best to get a look at the nominees. Out of 62 movies nominated this year, I managed to see 61 (My Life as a Zucchini, I’ll be haunted by you for the next 365 days).  If you’re looking for help filling out your Oscar ballot, take heart to my final predictions below.  This was a good year for movies and many decisions are tough choices and/or close calls…but let’s hope there are more than a few surprises tonight and voters didn’t just vote for La La Land across the board.

BEST PICTURE
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures – Should Win
La La Land – Will Win
Lion
Manchester By the Sea
Moonlight

BEST DIRECTOR
Damien Chazelle – La La Land – Will Win
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge – Should Win
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester By the Sea
Dennis Villenueve – Arrival

BEST ACTOR
Casey Affleck – Manchester By the Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences – Will Win/Should Win

BEST ACTRESS
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie – Should Win
Emma Stone – La La Land – Will Win
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight – Will Win/Should Win
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester By the Sea
Dev Patel – Lion
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Viola Davis – Fences – Will Win/Should Win
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester By the Sea

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Eric Heisserer – Arrival
August Wilson – Fences
Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi – Hidden Figures
Luke Davies – Lion
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight – Will Win/Should Win

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Mike Mills – 20th Century Women
Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou – The Lobster
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester By the Sea – Will Win/Should Win

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
A Man Called Ove – Sweden – Should Win
Toni Erdmann – Germany
The Salesman – Iran – Will Win
Land of Mine – Denmark
Tanna – Australia

BEST EDITING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge – Should Win
La La Land – Will Win
Hell or High Water
Moonlight

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Arrival – Should Win
Lion
La La Land – Will Win
Moonlight
Silence

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar – Should Win
La La Land – Will Win
Arrival
Passsengers

BEST SOUND MIXING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge – Should Win
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
La La Land – Will Win
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

BEST SOUND EDITING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge – Will Win/Should Win
La La Land
Deepwater Horizon
Sully

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Extremis
4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin – Should Win
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets – Will Win

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Ennemis Intérieurs – Will Win
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Sing
Timecode – Should Win

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl – Should Win
Piper – Will Win

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie – Will Win/Should Win
La La Land
Allied

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Mica Levi – Jackie – Should Win
Justin Hurwitz – La La Land – Will Win
Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka – Lion
Nicholas Britell – Moonlight
Thomas Newman – Passengers

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
13th
I am Not Your Negro
OJ: Made in America – Will Win/Should Win
Fire at Sea
Life, Animated

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
My Life as a Zucchini
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
The Red Turtle
Zootopia – Will Win/Should Win

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
Kubo and the Two Strings
The Jungle Book – Will Win/Should Win
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
Star Trek Beyond – Will Win/Should Win
Suicide Squad
A Man Called Ove

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Audition (The Fools Who Dream) – La La Land
City of Stars – La La Land – Will Win (I don’t love any of these songs so I’m not picking a “Should”)
How Far I’ll Go – Moana
Can’t Stop the Feeling – Trolls
The Empty Chair – Jim: The James Foley Story

Oscar Nominees: Best Makeup & Hairstyling

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Every day from now until the Oscars on Sunday, February 26 I’m going to deconstruct the nominees in each category. I’ll give you their history with the Academy, some extra thoughts on each nominee/film, who was snubbed, and what you might consider before choosing them in your office pool.

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Nominee: Eva Von Bahr, Love Larson
Film
: A Man Called Ove
Oscar History: Both have one previous nomination under their belts, for last year’s surprise nominee The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Thoughts: Old age make-up can go very wrong (hello Jersey Boys) or very right, as it did with A Man Called Ove.  This sleeper hit from Sweden also is in the running for Best Foreign Film and it justly earned both of its nominations.  The graceful aging of key characters by Von Bahr and Larson added to the film’s heart and soul as we looked back on the titular character’s life.  Whereas the other two nominees are flashy, the work here is subtle but no less memorable.

Nominee: Joel Harlow, Richard Alonzo
Film
: Star Trek Beyond
Oscar History: Harlow has been nominated twice before, winning for Star Trek.  This is Alonzo’s first nomination.
Thoughts: I missed this one in theaters but watching it at home recently I was impressed not only with the rich visuals of the third entry in the rebooted Star Trek franchise but how unique each and every character was in makeup and hairstyle.  No two beings looked alike and even if some looked like well painted sponges, there was a seemingly never ending buffet of colorfully intricate designs that passed by onscreen.  It helps that one of the nominees already won for the original reboot of the series…but then again maybe once was enough for some voters.

Nominee: Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, Christopher Allen Nelson
Film
: Suicide Squad
Oscar History: All are first time nominees
Thoughts: Boy, I really hated this movie  Hated. Hated. Hated.  It’s on my worst of the year list and for good reason – it’s an ugly, rotten film with ugly, rotten characters.  That being said, these first time nominees sure went full throttle into comic book land with new designs for the Joker, Harley Quinn, and Killer Croc.  It’s the Killer Croc design that could push this crew into the winners circle…but I personally can’t stomach the thought of Suicide Squad being forever referred to as “Oscar Winning”.

Missed Opportunity:

Should Been Nominated: Here’s another category where I think the Academy nominated the right artists.  The only other one that could have fit in here would have been Deadpool and it could have taken Suicide Squad’s place.

Any one of these could be named the winner but I’m going to throw my endorsement to Star Trek Beyond for its out of the box/world designs, though I’d be just as happy if A Man Called Ove snuck in there and snagged this one away from two loud Hollywood blockbusters. Just please…not Suicide Squad.

Oscar Nominees: Best Production Design

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Every day from now until the Oscars on Sunday, February 26 I’m going to deconstruct the nominees in each category. I’ll give you their history with the Academy, some extra thoughts on each nominee/film, who was snubbed, and what you might consider before choosing them in your office pool.

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Nominee: Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte
FilmArrival
Oscar History: Vermette was nominated once before, for The Young Victoria. This is Hotte’s first nomination.
Thoughts: Making a futuristic world look not so futuristic is not small feat and Vermette and Hotte aided Arrival‘s director in creating a unified vision of a not too distant future.  From the structured plain-ness of Amy Adams lakefront home to the various tents and pop up war rooms where government officials and scientists work together to figure out what some unexpected visitors want, the production design is organized and focused.  It’s actually a bit too subtle to truly contend with its fellow nominees, but overall the design is crisp.

Nominee: Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock
FilmFanastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Oscar History: Craig has been nominated 10 times before, winning for The English Patient, Dangerous Liaisons, and Gandhi.  Pinnock has been nominated five times before (twice in one year!), winning for The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Thoughts: For me, I always associate production design with the physically present sets and props the actors interact with.  While that does fall under the banner, the job of the production designer is to make cohesive all elements of the film production, including visual effects.  There’s a lot of imagination on display here and the period setting definitely helps one understand how these designers were nominated…but too much of the film feels created not crafted.

Nominee: Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
FilmHail, Caesar!
Oscar History: Gonchor was nominated once before, for True Grit. Haigh has been nominated six times before, winning for Bugsy.
Thoughts: Period pieces always tend to fare better because in the eyes of the Academy, there’s a greater degree of difficulty in the full recreation of the past.  The designers involved with Hail, Caesar! certainly got the feel and look of early Hollywood, creating not only several jaw dropping sound stages but a fully realized backlot and several glamorous beach front mansions.  Remember what I say (because I’ll be saying it often throughout the next few weeks), nothing pleases Hollywood more than to reward films about Hollywood.  

Nominee: David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
FilmLa La Land
Oscar History: First time nominees.
Thoughts: Following along in the footsteps of Hail Caesar!, La La Land also takes place on the back lot of a movie studio and makes its own dreamy trip through a soundstage featuring several genres of classic Hollywood.  There’s a more modern realism afoot and the nominees here were admirably able to clean-up Los Angeles without scrubbing it of all its underbelly touches too much.  I actually started to notice the production design more in the second half of the movie when we visit more intimate venues and glide through a fantasy sequence where the attention to the details makes all the difference.

Nominee: Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena
FilmPassengers
Oscar History: Hendrix Dyas has been nominated once before, for Inception.  Serdena has been nominated previously for Her.
Thoughts: This one is just completely odd to me.  Watching Passengers I remember specifically feeling how artificial everything looked.  The inner workings of the spaceship transporting human cargo to another galaxy is certainly grand in scope and doesn’t go the traditional route but the added visual effects tended to overwhelm the simple design elements..  Where most movies set in space have dark passageways and cold edges, the designers for Passengers balanced a brighter palate, lending some warmth to an overall chilly movie.

Missed Opportunity:

Should Been Nominated: Jean Rabasse for Jackie
Why?: I’m shocked Rabasse didn’t land a nomination for his striking recreations of historical locations in Jackie.  Perfectly blending with the work of the costume designer, the art direction was immaculate and not just the same old artist interpretation of the White House.  Rabasse had his work cut out since so many others have had a chance to put their own stamp on the Kennedy’s and their compounds…but this movie felt like it truly lept from the pages of history.  Passengers should have been swapped out for Jackie.

While I would love Hail! Caesar to nab the statue, it’s looking likely that La La Land, with its more contemporary take at Hollywood will continue its consumption of Oscars with a win here as well.

Oscar Nominees: Best Original Song

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Every day from now until the Oscars on Sunday, February 26 I’m going to deconstruct the nominees in each category. I’ll give you their history with the Academy, some extra thoughts on each nominee/film, who was snubbed, and what you might consider before choosing them in your office pool.

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Nominee: Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Song: ‘Audition (The Fools Who Dream)’ from La La Land
Oscar History: First time nominees, Hurwitz is also nominated for Best Original Score
Thoughts: Right off the bat, let me say that I wish there was a rule that there could only be one nominee per film…but that’s sour grapes on my part because, well, read on.  The first of two songs nominated from La La Land is arguably the better of the pair, though it’s also the one that does more to solidify Emma Stone’s hopes of winning an Oscar than its own.  The 11 o’clock number for Stone’s struggling actress character, it’s got a good bridge but not much of a hook.  Truth be told, it’s largely due to Stone’s earnestly honest performance of it that makes it memorable.  Taken out of context on the live broadcast (and maybe sung by someone other than Stone), I’m wondering how strong it will feel.

Nominee: Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Song: ‘City of Stars’ from La La Land
Oscar History: First time nominees, Hurwitz is also nominated for Best Original Score
Thoughts: La La Land‘s second nomination is for the song featured heavy in the trailers and promo clips.  It’s an ear-worm of an anthem, but not a terribly tuneful or great one.  Score composer Justin Hurwitz wisely interspersed the song generously throughout the film and Ryan Gosling’s laid back jazz musician actually made me think he was coming up with the words right there on the spot.  Don’t forget that Hollywood LOVES to reward material that involves them in some way and a song called ‘City of Stars’ in a movie title La La Land hits the double target for voters that can’t get enough of their own back-patting. If neither film from La La Land takes the trophy, don’t feel too bad for composers/lyricists Pasek and Paul, they have Dear Evan Hansen, a sizable hit on Broadway looking likely to win them a Tony.

Nominee: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Song: ‘How Far I’ll Go’ from Moana
Oscar History: First time nominee
Thoughts: I’m just going to say it and I don’t care if you hate it.  Lin-Manuel Miranda is possibly the most overexposed celebrity alive today and if his song from Moana wins it will be largely due to the Hamilton fever that has taken over both coasts over the last two years.  There’s no doubt that Miranda is musically gifted and winning an Oscar here would make him the youngest EGOT winner ever (winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) but the man has already won everything under the sun (even a Pulitzer!) for Hamilton…voters are either going to want to make it a clean sweep or they’ll think Miranda has filled enough shelf space this year with other statuettes.  That being said, while Moana and this song aren’t my favorite in the Disney canon, it surely makes for a positive message for young girls in that it teaches them they don’t need to pine for a prince to achieve the impossible.

Nominee: Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Shellback
Song: ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ from Trolls
Oscar History: First time nominees
Thoughts: Like Pharrel’s ‘Happy’ from a few years back, this song from Trolls is the kind of get up and shake your groove thing song that will make its performance one to look forward to.  If La La Land‘s two songs split the vote and Miranda Mania doesn’t bring Moana to the winner circle, this could (and, really, should) walk away the winner. The only caveat I can see is that this one has gotten the most radio air time and if listeners/voters are sick of hearing it every day in their gym it might make it harder for them to cast a vote for it to win.  It’s a fun song with good lyrics and a great hook…a definite party song.

Nominee: J. Ralph & Sting
Song: ‘The Empty Chair’ from Jim: The James Foley Story
Oscar History: Ralph has been nominated twice before, last year for Racing Extinction and in 2013 for Chasing Ice.  Sting has been nominated three times before, for Cold Mountain, Kate & Leopold, and The Emperor’s New Groove.
Thoughts: When the nominations for Best Original Song rolled out, I can imagine many people having to blink a few times when they saw this nomination appear on screen.  Looking over all the nominees, this is still the biggest WTF moment but digging deeper maybe it was wrong to count this one out in the first place.  Both Sting and J. Ralph have been nominated multiple times in this category and Sting especially has a lot of good friends within the Academy.  Trouble is, the song is a bit of a downer as is the documentary it’s pulled from so we could be in for a bathroom break once Sting takes the stage to perform it.  The movie didn’t get much traction…in fact, I didn’t even remember that I had SEEN this movie already, having caught it when it was broadcast on HBO earlier this year.

Missed Opportunity:

Should Been Nominated: ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ from Sing Street
Why?: Oh my goodness I was SO hoping this song (or any song, for that matter) from Sing Street would make it into the nominations.  The movie has the best songs of the year in my book and any one of them could be placed in the list of nominees and outshone its competition.  Director John Carney’s previous two wide released films (Once and Begin Again) snagged nominations and Once actually won.  I think the music here is better than both of them so it’s a damn shame a song like the favored ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ couldn’t rustle enough votes to see its name announced on Oscar night.  

In my book, the Best Song of the year wasn’t even nominated.  Instead we’re left with two languid songs from the first original musical produced in Hollywood in decades, a pretty good song from a hotter than hot composer, a party anthem destined to be played in roller rinks for eternity, and a Sting track that feels like a B-Side.  So…while I’d give it to the Trolls song I’m going to go with ‘City of Stars’ from La La Land for the win.  (By the way, all five nominees were better than Sam Smith’s dreadful winning song from last year!)

Oscar Nominees: Best Visual Effects

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Every day from now until the Oscars on Sunday, February 26 I’m going to deconstruct the nominees in each category. I’ll give you their history with the Academy and some extra thoughts on each nominee/film and what you might consider before choosing them in your office pool.

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Nominees: Craig Hammack, Jason H. Snell, Jason Billington, Burt Dalton
Film
: Deepwater Horizon
Oscar History: All first time nominees, aside from Burt Dalton who has been nominated three times before, winning for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Thoughts: All of the other nominees had a bit of an advantage over Deepwater Horizon because they largely took place in worlds of fantasy or other dimensions where rules didn’t quite apply.  The visual effects artists for this one, though, had to live not only in the real world but tell a true tale of survival at sea.  An explosion on a drilling rig sets a whole host of awfulness down on its crew and provides an unrelenting two hours of nail-biting.  A move with lots of fire and rain could easily become a mish mash when seen on the smaller screen but the texture and contrast designed here gives the film an immediacy that works as well on your home screen as it did on your local IMAX.

Nominees: Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli, Paul Corbould
Film
: Doctor Strange
Oscar History: Bluff and Cirelli are first time nominees, Ceretti and Corbould were nominated before for Guardians of the Galaxy.
Thoughts: I don’t usually feel my stomach lurch much in movies but the 3D kaleidoscopic effects that featured prominently in Doctor Strange almost made me use my popcorn bag for something far less appetizing.  Though I didn’t much care for the film (I’m in the minority, I know) I have to agree with critics and audiences alike that praised this Marvel Universe entry as the most sophisticated looking.  Hopping through worlds, wormholes, and far off dimensions, this one may make you weak in the knees and stomach.

Nominees: Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean, Brad Schiff
Film
: Kubo and the Two Strings
Oscar History: First time nominees
Thoughts: Laika, the studio that relased Kubo and the Two Strings has been a frequent nominee in the Best Animated Feature category (Coraline, ParaNorman, & The Boxtrolls all netted noms) but this is the first time they’ve turned up in the visual effects discussion as well.  Blending stop-motion animation with cutting edge technology, the crew of first time nominees made this tender fable come to life in suprising ways.  All Lakia films are dark and this one had some fairly heavy messages swimming about, but the storytelling was aided by the way the figures moved and reacted.

Nominees:
Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, Dan Lemmon
Film
: The Jungle Book
Oscar History: Legato has been nominated three times before, winning for Hugo and Titanic. Valdez is a first time nominee, Jones has been nominated twice before, winning for Avatar. Lemmon has been nominated twice before.
Thoughts: As the final credits were wrapping up for this live-action update of the Disney animated classic, it might have been easy to miss the phrase ‘Filmed entirely on a lot in Los Angeles’.  Wha??  Not that I actually thought the movie was completely made up of location shooting, I guess I never stopped to think that a film with landscapes and animals created entirely by visual effects wouldn’t need to leave the US to do its work.  I saw the movie twice in theaters and both times was struck by how seamlessly the live action boy was blended with the computer generated world.  Incredible work.

Nominees:
John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal T. Hickel, Neil Corbould
Film
: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Oscar History: Knoll has been nominated five times before, winning for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Leo is a first time nominee. Hickel has been nominated three times before, winning for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Corbould has been nominated four times before, winning for Gravity and Gladiator.
Thoughts: I’m going to be honest and say that I was pretty tired and more than a little grumpy when I finally saw Rogue One: A Star Wars story so I’m recalling it through an ornery filter.  Look, this may not have been my favorite Star Wars film (how people could say this is the best one since The Empire Strikes Back is just…mystifying) but as in most of the films in this series, the visuals were top notch.  Crafting solar climates that living actors worked in quite well, these nominees have the most previous wins and nominations under the belt and you can see why.  It’s the work of pros…even if I felt the overall movie was a teeny bit of a letdown after The Force Awakens which I felt had more striking visuals that I responded to on a totally different level.

Missed Opportunity:

Should Been Nominated: Actually…I think the Oscars got the nominees right.  There was a shortlist of 10 and the five that made it in felt like the most deserving.  The other contenders were Arrival, The BFG, Captain America: Civil War, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Themand Passengers.

I think it’s safe to say that The Jungle Book has this one wrapped up.  Signaling a true step forward for visual effects creating 98% of what you see on screen and doing it seamlessly, it easily earns this award.  If I had to put a spoiler in, I’d say the stop-motion work in Kubo and the Two Strings was fairly awesome as well.  It could easily be dismissed as just an animated film…but the technical effects that went into making it smooth were amazingly well executed.

Oscar Nominees: Best Costume Design

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Every day from now until the Oscars on Sunday, February 26 I’m going to deconstruct the nominees in each category. I’ll give you their history with the Academy, some extra thoughts on each nominee/film, who was snubbed, and what you might consider before choosing them in your office pool.

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Nominee: Colleen Atwood
Film: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Oscar History: 12 previous nominations, 3 wins (Alice in Wonderland, Memoirs of a Geisha, Chicago)
Thoughts: The true veteran of this year’s roster of nominees, Atwood has had a long professional relationship with Tim Burton and with films that allow for imaginative flights of fancy. First nominated in 1995 for Little Women, the large bulk of her nominations have come from films that allow her outside of the box approach and exemplary eye for detail to shine. For her nomination this year, she successfully blended drab period clothing with a touch of colorful wizardry. Personally, I like Atwood’s work when it’s more dramatic like for Snow White and the Huntsman but her costumes here more than earned her a spot among the year’s best.

Nominee: Consolata Boyle
Film: Florence Foster Jenkins
Oscar History: 1 previous nomination (The Queen)
Thoughts: Last nominated exactly a decade ago, Boyle’s costumes for Florence Foster Jenkins never outshined their leading lady. Dressing a character that fancies herself an opera singer might suggest a more eccentric style but Boyle let fellow nominee Meryl Streep worry about the mechanics and decked her out in appropriately dramatic performance wear. Her other period costumes had nice touches and the stiffness of her shirt collars mirrored the society the title character was trying to impress.

Nominee: Madeline Fontaine
Film: Jackie
Oscar History: First time nominee
Thoughts: Jackie Kennedy has been portrayed in so many mediums that it might seem Fontaine had it easy when faced with dressing Natalie Portman and others. Not so, first time nominee Fontaine had to recreate several famous looks but give them a Technicolor vibrancy to really pop. The exquisite textures and trims were truly a remarkable sight.

Nominee: Mary Zophres
Film: La La Land
Oscar History: 1 previous nomination (True Grit)
Thoughts: A real head-scratcher of a nomination in my book, I’m guessing Zophres earned the nomination through a combination of La La Land Fever and for a sequence near the end of the film where costumes were key identifiers of time and place. Other than that, the work seemed to exist in the retro-chic clothing of now with a jazz hipster vibe. With the other nominees, I definitely remember being impressed by the costumes…but in La La Land nothing stood out as special.

Nominee: Joanna Johnston
Film: Allied
Oscar History: 1 previous nomination (Lincoln)
Thoughts: While I’m sure stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard would look good in a potato sack and Crocs, Johnston challenged herself a bit more with her elegant costumes for the 1940’s set spy tale. Having collaborated with director Robert Zemeckis on many of his films, she likely knew how to dress her actors in clothes that would provide some dazzling visuals their director couldn’t recreate on a computer. Cotillard’s evening dress in particular from a key scene alone might have netted her this nom.

Missed Opportunity:

Should Been Nominated: Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson for The Dressmaker
Why?: For a film all about the effect haute couture has on the residents of a small town in the Australian outback, I’m surprised there was no nomination for these two.  Wilson is credited as the designer of star Kate Winslet’s gorgeous clothing but Boyce crafted some fiery looks herself.  The Dressmaker fizzled out when released here but at least the two were recognized by the Australian version of the Oscars for their designs.

So…four deserving nominees and one that doesn’t quite fit with the rest. The Academy has long eschewed giving the award for a contemporary film so but I’m not entirely sure La La Land is out of the running. My vote would be for Jackie with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them or Florence Foster Jenkins neck and neck for second place.

Oscar Predictions 2017

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Well, here we are again…it’s the day before the Oscar nominations are announced and I’m going out on a limb with my picks for who will get nominations early Tuesday morning.  It’s been a good year for movies though I’m a bit puzzled how some films and performances have gone the distance while others haven’t even been a part of the conversation.  Always a little bitter with the sweet, right?

Thanks again to Shane over at Film Actually for organizing a little contest between online critics!

Here are my picks for the 2017 Oscar Nominations…keep in mind these aren’t necessarily who I WANT to be nominated.  I’ll talk more about that tomorrow after the nominations are announced.

BEST PICTURE
1. Arrival
2. Fences
3. Hacksaw Ridge
4. Hell or High Water
5. Hidden Figures
6. La La Land
7. Lion
8. Manchester By the Sea
9. Moonlight

BEST DIRECTOR
1. Damien Chazelle – La La Land
2. Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
3. Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
4. Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester By the Sea
5. Dennis Villenueve – Arrival

BEST ACTOR
1. Casey Affleck – Manchester By the Sea
2. Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
3. Ryan Gosling – La La Land
4. Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
5. Denzel Washington – Fences

BEST ACTRESS
1. Amy Adams – Arrival
2. Isabelle Huppert – Elle
3. Natalie Portman – Jackie
4. Emma Stone – La La Land
5. Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
2. Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
3. Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins
4. Lucas Hedges – Manchester By the Sea
5. Dev Patel – Lion

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Viola Davis – Fences
2. Naomie Harris – Moonlight
3. Nicole Kidman – Lion
4. Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
5. Michelle Williams – Manchester By the Sea

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
1. Eric Heisserer – Arrival
2. August Wilson – Fences
3. Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi – Hidden Figures
4. Luke Davies – Lion
5. Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. Matt Ross – Captain Fantastic
2. Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water
3. Damien Chazelle – La La Land
4. Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou – The Lobster
5. Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester By the Sea

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
1. A Man Called Ove – Sweden
2. Toni Erdmann – Germany
3. The Salesman – Iran
4. Land of Mine – Denmark
5. My Life as a Zucchini – Switzerland

BEST EDITING
1. Arrival
2. Hacksaw Ridge
3. La La Land
4. Manchester By the Sea
5. Moonlight

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
1. Arrival
2. Jackie
3. La La Land
4. Moonlight
5. Silence

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
1. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
2. The Handmaiden
3. La La Land
4. Jackie
5. Silence

BEST SOUND MIXING
1. Arrival
2. Hacksaw Ridge
3. The Jungle Book
4. La La Land
5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

BEST SOUND EDITING
1. Arrival
2. Hacksaw Ridge
3. La La Land
4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
5. Silence

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
1. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
2. Florence Foster Jenkins
3. Jackie
4. La La Land
5. Silence

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
1. Mica Levi – Jackie
2. Justin Hurwitz – La La Land
3. Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka – Lion
4. Nicholas Britell – Moonlight
5. Michael Giacchino – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
1. 13th
2. The Eagle Huntress
3. I am Not Your Negro
4. OJ: Made in America
5. Weiner

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
1. Finding Dory
2. Kubo and the Two Strings
3. Moana
4. The Red Turtle
5. Zootopia

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
1. Arrival
2. Doctor Strange
3. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
4. The Jungle Book
5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
1. Deadpool
2. Florence Foster Jenkins
3. A Man Called Ove

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
1. Audition (The Fools Who Dream) – La La Land
2. Runnin’ – Hidden Figures
3. City of Stars – La La Land
4. How Far I’ll Go – Moana
5. Drive it Like You Stole It – Sing Street

2016 – Best of the Best, Worst of the Worst, Grand Totals

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Well hello there!  

So here we are about to start the SIXTH year of this blog!  Hard to believe it and boy, does time fly.  Below I’ve compiled my list of the best and worst of 2016.  In all honesty, by the time it came to make this list things became a bit of a jumble and I decided to choose the movies that I had the strongest reaction to when I saw them.  I don’t revisit movies often but anything in the Top 5 are films that I’d add to my collection.  

As always, I’ve appreciated your feedback, your patronage, and your general presence in my blog. Even if you read this everyday but have never commented or made contact I can still tell you’ve been here and that means a lot.  My readership and subscriptions continue to increase every month/year and it’s all thanks to your word of mouth, likes, and shares.  If you haven’t already, make sure to follow this blog, follow me on Twitter (@joemnmovieman), and like my Facebook page so you can help me continue spreading the news about The MN Movie Man.

Best Wishes to you and yours for a most Happy New Year!

~Joe (The MN Movie Man)


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5. Zootopia – no one, least of all me, was thinking Zootopia was going to be any kind of blockbuster at the box office but this intelligent and riotously funny entry from Disney animation hit a perfect bullseye.  Equally entertaining for adults as it is for children, it has your typical Disney moral but it’s disguised cleverly in a plot that encourages parents to have a deeper discussion with their children on the ride home. From a DMV run by sloths and a running joke parodying The Godfather, I don’t think I laughed harder (or longer) in any movie this year.

4. Sing Street – as he’s shown in his previous films Once and Begin Again, director John Carney knows how to seamlessly weave music and story together to form a not-quite musical but not-quite non-musical feature. For me, this is his best effort yet.  Focusing on a merry ragamuffin band of teens in Dublin during the 1980s, Sing Street wore its heart on its sleeve and won me over nearly from the start.  The songs are wonderful (much better than the ones in Moana or La La Land, in my opinion) and the performances warmly winning. This got completely ignored during its theatrical run but I have a good feeling it will have a long life once people find it on streaming/on-demand services.

3. Pete’s Dragon – oh boy was I NOT looking forward to this remake.  The original was a nostalgic personal favorite of mine but, let’s be honest, was no classic.  Still, I just couldn’t fathom why or how Disney would redo Pete’s Dragon when there are new movies to be made.  Turns out this is one reimagining that managed to respect the past while making its own path…and what a wonderfully moving path it was.  Buoyed by director David Lowery’s sensitive script and across the board excellent performances, all these months later I still remember the unmitigated joy this one brought me.

2. Manchester By the Sea/Moonlight – I’m cheating, I know but I just couldn’t decide between the two.  Though both movies couldn’t be more different (culturally, at the very least) they shared an uncanny understanding of human nature and emotion few films can grasp.  Manchester’s tale of a troubled man called back to his hometown to take care of his nearly orphaned-nephew forced to face his demons is chock full of superlatives: performances, script, direction, ambiance.  Moonlight’s triptic of the life of a black man coming to terms with his sexuality and rising above the pain of his past is representative of the bold, staggering filmmaking all films should aspire to. There’s good reason both movies are going toe-to-toe in end of the year awards talk as each film leaves a lasting impression resonating in your heart and mind.

1. The Nice Guys – I don’t remember the last time a movie ended and I wanted a sequel immediately. Though I’m sure The Nice Guys wasn’t imagined as a franchise starter and its meager box office might not inspire its studio to fund another entry, I’m praying for another two hours to spend with these characters.  A mystery set in 1970s California, the movie starts with a bang and rarely takes a breath as it piles on dead bodies, twists, and turns.  Chemistry in movies is so important and no one nailed it better in 2016 than Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe who seemed like they’d been working together forever.  Writer/director Shane Black created the Lethal Weapon series…maybe The Nice Guys could follow suit?  Pretty please?

Honorable Mentions: A Monster Calls, Jackie, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Eye in the Sky, Everybody Wants Some!!, The Invitation, The Meddler, The Shallows, Kubo and the Two Strings, Green Room

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5. The Divergent Series: Allegiant – unwisely split into two movies, this third entry in the Divergent series was so bad and performed so poorly, the second half is now likely to skip theaters and go straight to video.  If I had my druthers, they’d just stop now and let this agonizingly awful series fade from memory. With terrible effects and even worse performances, this series has always been a rip-off of The Hunger Games but with this chapter it comes off like a parody of itself…and no one is laughing. Titanically terrible.

4. Suicide Squad – in all honesty, I was more than half-hoping Suicide Squad would be the movie that helped DC Comics get their footing back after the critical drubbing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice took earlier in the year (for the record, BvS:DoJ wasn’t a bad movie at all…so there).  Sadly, Suicide Squad isn’t just more of the same…it manages to somehow be even worse.  All sound and fury that yields literally nothing, it’s got a strong cast and talented director whose vision was clearly neutered by the studio. An extended edition of this was released on video but I’m not sure how anyone could have fixed what was never whole to begin with.  A waste of time, resources, talent, and air.

3. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – funny that in 2012 Jack Reacher was on my list of favorite films and this turd of a sequel nearly made it to the top of my worst of the year report.  This seven-car pile-up of an action film broke the box office winning streak of Tom Cruise and with good reason. There’s literally nothing commendable or recommendable about Cruise’s second go ‘round as the titular character.  I have carpet squares more talented than Cruise’s co-star, Cobie Smulders, and the rest of the supporting cast isn’t any better. Painfully trite and exceedingly dull, I was looking for the exit before the opening credits were complete.

2. Mother’s Day – Director Garry Marshall died shortly after this movie was released.  That should tell you something.

1. The Bronze – supposedly this film was a huge hit at various film festivals, inspiring a bidding war between independent studios but I can’t for the life of me figure out why. The most singularly repulsive film I saw in 2016 earns that honor by having zero redeeming qualities or likable characters, least of all Melissa Rauch’s one-joke (told badly) lead performance.  Rauch co-wrote the film with her husband and both should be fined somehow, someway for this crime against black comedies.  I don’t walk out of films ever but if someone were to have granted me a free pass to leave any film this past year, I would have grabbed my golden ticket less than fifteen minutes into The Bronze.

Dis(Honorable) Mentions: London Has Fallen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Inferno, Rules Don’t Apply, Anomalisa

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Most Misunderstood: The Magnificent Seven (2016) – Despite it’s big stars, this remake of The Magnificent Seven failed to catch on with audiences or critics and I’m still scratching my head as to why.  A respectable Western that takes its time to carve out some otherwise stock characters should be celebrated instead of dinged for being too slow.  I actually enjoyed the pace of director Antoine Fuqua’s ensemble guns and guys gathering and if nothing else it’s a worthwhile experience just to see the normally stoic Denzel Washington loosen up a bit and have some fun.  It’s not as criminally misunderstood as previous choices but I was bummed out this one didn’t go further.
Honorable Mention: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Joe’s Humble Pie Award of 2015: The Choice – I’ve been burned and bored by many Nicholas Sparks films over the years so I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to get a look-see at The Choice.  Not featuring any big names and arriving with little fanfare, this turned out to be surprisingly strong and maybe the best adaptation since The Notebook.  True, it follows the Sparks pattern without deviation but I was taken with the characters and soaked up the beautiful location filming.  I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll revisit this one and feel differently than I do now, but for the time being I’ll give the film its due and say that I went in thinking I’d hate it but came out more than decently pleased with what I saw.
Honorable Mention: The Boss

Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen But Should

Captain Fantastic

Circle

Holding the Man

Housebound

I Smile Back

Imperium

Jenny’s Wedding

Kristy

Short Term 12

Tallulah

The Invitation (2015)

The Wave (Bølgen)

Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Click HERE for a full listing of films seen in 2016
Total Movies Seen in the Theater96
Total Movies Seen at Home212
Grand Total for 2016 (not counting films seen multiple times)305
Where I Saw the Most Movies – Showplace Icon (48!)

Interview ~ Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, & Blake Jenner from Everybody Wants Some!!

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Though I’d always been interested in movies and how they are made, I’ve strangely never felt the need to be the one that sits down and talks to filmmakers, actors, and production crew to get the skinny on what efforts went into making the film.  I figured I’d leave that to those with a bigger vocabulary, better follow-up questions, and less inclination to get too star-struck.  However, in my time as a Midwest movie critic I’ve had several opportunities to have some face to face conversations with the actors and/or creative personnel and found that I’ve started to enjoy the chance to ask the questions I, as a critic and more importantly a fan, wanted to know.

This latest interview with three of the stars of Everybody Wants Some!! felt like I had snagged an invitation to the cool kids table.  Here were three handsome actors on the rise that had a unique experience in making the film and though one of them appeared a little sleepy (understandably so) when they stopped by the Hard Rock Cafe in the Mall of America, all three were gracious with their time and thoughtful in their responses. They may have been asked similar questions on their whirlwind promotional tour but they sure made their answers feel individualized and not the least bit like a canned reply dictated by their studio.

In a group interview with fellow local critics Ryan Sanderson of Minnesota Connected,  Paul McGuire Grimes of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, and Jonathon Sharp of WCCO, Ryan Guzman (The Boy Next Door, Jem and the Holograms), Tyler Hoechlin (best known for MTV’s Teen Wolf), and Blake Jenner (TV’s Glee and Supergirl) reflected on their time on the set of Everybody Wants Some!!, what it was like to work with director Richard Linklater, how they prepared for their roles as college kids in the days before school begins, and what they took away from the process.

Everybody Wants Some!! is being promoted as a “spiritual sequel” to Linklater’s cult favorite from 1993, Dazed and Confused.  While Dazed takes place on the last day of high school in 1976, EWS!! follows a team of college baseball players over the course of a long weekend in 1980 before school starts up again.

Asked about the different approach Linklater took between high school and college, Guzman responded “I think high school is more ‘succumbing to the man’, being told what to do, living under a regime. College is more of a free experience, finding out what you’re capable of. Two different experiences, two different time periods, two different ways of telling a story.” Much of the cast isn’t that far removed in age from the characters they’re playing, though living three decades after the film takes place means there were different take aways for each guy.  Jenner commented that “with all of the distractions there are today with social media, Twitter, Instagram, everything’s so abrupt and direct and immediate. You find yourself thinking about the past and the future a little bit more than you should. I think what this movie does so well is teach everyone to live in the now, and be grateful for the first three days of something because it could affect you for the rest of your life. You might look back on it and write a movie about it.”  Guzman added, “I think there are many messages throughout the whole film. There’s a couple that stick out to me. One is letting your inner strange out, not letting judgment force you or put you in a corner. Just being true to yourself and going that route, among other messages.”

As the more senior member of the trio, Hoechlin reflected that he loved “the way Rick {Linklater} can have a movie that’s this much fun but have so many moments that are profound. You sit there and think, “Oh wow, that makes me think and feel something.” One of my favorite scenes is where Wyatt Russell’s character is speaking with Blake’s character and says ‘just be weird’ and when you do that you bring who you are and never who they want and that’s when it’s fun. There’s something great about that. It’s just so much more fun when you stop trying to be something that’s an expectation as opposed to embracing what you are and running with it.”

Everybody Wants Some - Movie Trailer Review - Visit MovieholicHub.com

In reading the press notes before the interview, I noted that all three of the guys had some history with sports before the acting bug bit (or in the case of Hoechlin who started acting at 9 before focusing on a baseball career, re-bit).  Since the movie deals so much with sports and the camaraderie between players, I wanted to know how their history with sports influenced their acting. Hoechlin felt that “Baseball, specifically, is such a game of failure, and you learn more from your failures than success. It definitely helps with being persistent. You have a bad game, go 0-4, and you have to get up the next day and play again. It’s the same thing with acting. You have a lot of auditions, and you get a few of those jobs. I think the mental aspect to just brush it off and keep going has been the most helpful thing for me.  Guzman was a pitcher in college and learned that you have to take it “second by second. A good hitter these days is hitting .300. He’s only getting 3 out of 10. That’s kind of crazy, so the competitive aspect too. I always compete with myself rather than anyone else. The second I try to outdo someone else’s performance; I take away from my own. There are different things to take and give from the athletic word to the theatrical world.”

What struck me the most about the movie was how well cast it was and how it seemed to me like everyone had formed a backstory of relationships that came across throughout the film.  After the audition process which, Jenner remembered, consisted of “an interview talking about yourself, your hobbies, what you liked to do, what kind of person you are. After that, we were invited back to play with some dialogue. We were asked to put a baseball tape together of our baseball experiences/talent. Then after that, a couple of more auditions and that was it,” Linklater gathered all of the men at his Texas compound for a few weeks of male bonding where the group would watch movies (Animal House was a favorite, as were documentaries on baseball legends Doc Ellis and Augie Garrido), play baseball, and workshop the script in which they ultimately helped shape their characters (they even selected items from a make-shift costume shop to pick clothing they felt their characters would wear) .  All three found this process to be most unique, as Hoechlin recalled that “we had three weeks of rehearsal beforehand, and then we would go have a script reading every day. Some days we would work more on the page but he would encourage us to talk about different ideas away from the reads to see what we would come up with. Some days he would say, ‘Feel free to try some stuff this time,’ and if he liked it, he would make notes and it would be in the next draft of the script. We worked it out really well. Every once in a while on set something would happen, and he always encouraged that if an accident happened to go with it to see where it goes.”  “We lived together for two and a half weeks at Rick’s place in bunk beds,” recalled Guzman, “We were literally sleeping on top of each other and just hanging out. Anytime we weren’t working, we would come to set and hang out and watch, cheer the guys on. Those were some of the best times I’ve ever had being part of a production.”  Jenner agreed, “I always say 100% that some of the most important homework we could have done was living together for two weeks so we could really get to know each other and really got to form a bond. We got to form our own little inside jokes. I’m totally grateful for that time.”

Fans of Linklater’s previous films, when asked to single out their favorite it turned out that each guy had their own unique choice among their director’s roster.  Hoechlin favors Linklater’s landmark 2014 film that was nominated for six Oscars, “I really loved Boyhood. I thought that was such an amazing accomplishment. I love the fact that it’s one of those movies that over the course of that many years, you would assume that there would be that one moment in the movie that would be that life-shattering altering moment, and I loved that by the end of it, it was just these little moments and conversations in life that can shift it and that can skew your opinion about something and make you who you are. I loved it. Absolutely loved that about the movie.”  Guzman couldn’t land on just one so he gave us three, “Dazed and Confused. I love the Before series (Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight). A Scanner Darkly.”  Jenner is surprised no one mentioned School of Rock but even though he has a musician’s past, it’s not Jenner’s favorite but “it’s one of them. One that I really enjoy watching is Waking Life. I really dig that; tapping back to what I said about living the now. There’s something a little different that anyone could take away from it when they watch it.”

With the film wrapped and the guys on to new projects (Hoechlin will appear in the two sequels to Fifty Shades of Grey while Jenner is onboard September’s The Edge of Seventeen), Hoechlin was asked to reflect on how his time on the set compared to working with Paul Newman and Tom Hanks on the 2002 Sam Mendes film Road to Perdition. “What was great on that set was that those guys were, in a weird way, similar to Rick in that they were very much trusting that I was able to do what I was supposed to do and needed to get done. So really what I got was through observing. They were more than happy to have a conversation about whatever would come up, but it didn’t feel like I was being watched and judged by my coaches. That’s what we were doing here too, just trying to find a way to make a great movie.”

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Read my review of Everybody Wants Some!!

 

 

2016 Oscar Predictions

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OK…so here we are in the home stretch. Seems like the nominations were announced decades ago and, if I’m being honest, I’m a little Important Movie-d out right now.  I’ve been craving mindless entertainment instead of historical dramas so I let a lot of my usual Oscar coverage fall by the wayside…chalk it up to being a little less than inspired this year.  It’s a good year for movies, no question, but when the time came to dig deep into the ins and outs of Oscar 2016, I just didn’t have the heart for it all.

In any event…I still have to make my predictions…so here we go!

BOLD = Will Win
*** = My Choice

BEST PICTURE
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road ***
Room
Spotlight
The Big Short
The Martian
The Revenant

BEST DIRECTOR
Adam McKay, The Big Short
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road ***

BEST ACTOR
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant ***
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room 
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years ***
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed ***

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight ***
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

BEST EDITING
Mad Max: Fury Road ***
The Big Short
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Revenant

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina ***
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Brooklyn
Carol
Room
The Big Short 
The Martian ***

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
A War
Embrace of the Serpent
Theeb
Mustang
Son of Saul ***

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road ***
Sicario
The Martian
The Revenant

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road ***
The Danish Girl
The Martian
The Revenant

BEST SOUND MIXING
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
 ***
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian
The Revenant 

BEST SOUND EDITING
Mad Max: Fury Road ***
Sicario
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Carol
Cinderella ***
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Bridge of Spies
Carol
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens ***
The Hateful Eight

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Amy ***
Cartel Land
What Happened, Miss. Simone?
The Look of Silence
Winter’s On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Anomalisa
Inside Out ***
Shaun the Sheep Movie
Boy and the World
When Marnie Was There

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens ***
The Martian
The Revenant 

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
Mad Max: Fury Road ***
The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
‘Manta Ray’, Racing Extinction
‘Writings on the Wall’, Spectre
‘Earned It’, Fifty Shades of Grey
‘Til It Happens to You’, The Hunting Ground ***
‘Simple Song 3’, Youth

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
Shok 
Stutterer ***

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Bear Story ***
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Body Team 12

Chau, beyond the ines
Claude LanzmannL Spectres of the Shoah
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom ***