New York Comic Con: Geeky Homecoming

New York Comic Con packed into Javits Center last week with an invitation to “Walk in, Geek Out” and that’s exactly what we at MoviefiedNYC did. Two joyful days with thousands of happy fans made up of nerds, jocks, and fans of all shapes and sizes, a crowd of all colors, boys, girls, straight, gay, queer, trans, old and very young (see Darth Vader baby below); there were US citizens and global citizens, but more importantly, there were Comic Con citizens that made one big happy, geeky family. Each year we return to NYCC, it’s like coming home. [Photos by John David West]

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Top 5 New York City Movies from the ’70s

In response to this summer’s “New York in the 70s” film festival at Film Forum, MovefiedNYC decided to repost our first list, the “Top Five NYC Movies from the ’70s.”  The choice for our first list was obvious; it had to come from our own backyard, a place and time—now perhaps mythological—of unrelenting creativity, expression, and guts.  A town broke, dangerous, black-and-white and obscured by sweat and steam: New York City in 1970’s, the place that made our love for film like a beginning buzz (from one too many cocktails) that turned into a continuous intoxication.  -JDW & MD

John David’s Top Five 1970s NYC

Broadway, high fashion, yellow cabs, prostitutes, and neurotic intellectuals who romanticize their lives in black ‘n’ white. These are some of the images that helped form my Top Five New York City movies from the 1970s.

 1. Taxi Driver (1976)

Like the bankrupt city on edge, ready to crack under the pressure of urban decay, sleaze and political distrustTaxi Driver’s Travis Bickle, paranoid and alienated from society, looks at himself in the mirror and asks, “Are you talking to me?” Is he having fun or is Scorsese speaking what’s on the viewer’s mind? Thirty-six years later we’re still imitating DeNiro’s line. This movie has all the grit of the ’70s gritty city. Taxi Driver plays like an indexical sign that proves to us today that the mythological gritty 1970s New York City did exist.

 2. Manhattan (1979)

Every now and then I find myself in one of those “Wow-I-Love-This-City” moments. Woody Allen shares those same feelings in his 1979 film Manhattan.  The city is a character that we along with Allen romanticize. Annie Hall seemed like the obvious choice, but then Manhattan stepped up, as if to say, “Really? Let’s get serious, I have New York City shot in black-and-white, widescreen Panavision aspect ratio (2.35:1) with a nine-minute montage of New York City set to George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue!” Yes, OK, Manhattan, you win: all that and that iconic 4 A.M. shot in front of the Queensborough Bridge secure Manhattan on my list.

 3. All That Jazz (1979)

Fosse submerges his autobiographical self into the character of Joe Gideon, a hyper-sexed, director/choreographer who pops Dexedrine, screws sexy dancers, neglects his loved ones, chain smokes (even in the shower) and works himself to a perfectly choreographed death. It’s the ’70s: the Me decade, cynical and all about Fosse. The opening audition scene set to George Benson’s “On Broadway” captures the desire, joy and disappointment every dancer feels who wants to be on Broadway. 

4. Klute (1971)

New York City as it enters a decade on the brink of a meltdown. Jane Fonda plays a call girl who is complex, vulnerable, and lacks that ever-expected heart of gold. Besides Fonda’s brilliant performance, what makes this film memorable is a shot from inside a stark, corporate office on the upper floor of a high-rise. Through floor-to-ceiling windows, we see the two towers of the World Trade Center under construction. A financially powerful man sits at his desk, diminished against the multiple cranes high in the air, constructing the tallest buildings in the world. The image takes on new meaning when one realizes that the mass of construction outside the window will someday fall to a heap of destruction that will affect us all. 

5. Eyesof Laura Mars (1978)

1970s disco-fashion juxtaposed against ’70s New York City grit. Ultra glamorous Fay Dunaway is Laura Mars, a fashion photographer who wields a Nikon camera to photograph sexy models in stylized violent murder settings: Columbus Circle ablaze with overturned cars on fire as glossy girls wearing lingerie and fur coats pull each other’s hair. The violence is thrust right back at Laura when a serial killer turns her photos into real murders.  The character of Laura doubles as the camera when she witnesses the murders through the killer’s eyes, while they are happening, through her own eyes.  The film’s director, Irvin Kershner, turns the movie’s view of violence on the audience: are we looking at the eyes or are the eyes looking at us?

Myrna’s Top Five 1970’s NYC

NYC as it was in the ’70s. Sex, drugs, street gangs, disco divas, politicians, the homeless, celebrities, musicians, hookers, and some major attitude. So many great films to choose from; it is almost impossible to leave any of them off this list. I went with my gut, what I liked: candy over substance most times. I took a deep breath, wrote down five titles and never looked back.

 1. The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1974)

“Respect My Ass!”  screams Mel, and I do. Neil Simon’s slice of New York city life—once again like in The Out of Towners, not a very nice place—in Prisoner of Second Avenue is rich in its mundane everyday quality, shrouded in genuine humor delivered brilliantly by the cast. The pounding New York City heat wave is so palpable it is a character in the film. The Prisoner of Second Avenue shows us witty New Yorkers on the verge of, and breaking down in, their urban habitat, pacing back and forth, drowning in the ever—relentless noise—wrapped in a high rise box.

2. The French Connection (1971)

“Doyle fights dirty and he plays rough, but that’s ok because Doyle is a good cop” —growls the trailer.  Let’s be honest: New York looks better in grit than any other city, and The French Connection’s grimy realism and downbeat ending are refreshing. Popeye Doyle—not your classic hero—violent, racist and mean-spirited. His dedication to his job, just short of dangerous obsession—a New Yorker! The film’s high point, a high-speed car chase with Doyle tailing an elevated train, was one of the most exciting screen moments of its day. The French Connection gives me the visceral charge that keeps me addicted to New York.

 3. Shaft (1971) 

I can not ignore the blaxploitation genre when talking about the New York of the 1970s. Shaft full of mood, attitude and fashion. Brought the world—the Harlem-dude look of feather-hat, platform boots and silver-top cane—what delicious eye candy! The theme song also unforgettable . Shaft took us all over the city; he lived in the Village, worked in Times Square and cruised up and down 125th Street.  Can you dig it?  

4. Saturday Night Fever (1977)

John Travolta strutting down the streets of Brooklyn to his dead end job changed the world as we knew it. No one ever walked down the street the same way again. He escapes to the local disco, where he is/was King and dreams for a better life in Manhattan. Don’t we all? Fever is dripping with a  gritty sense of the ’70s economic malaise that plagued New York. Dance numbers, the Bee Gees soundtrack and Travolta’s white-suited presence all set in the city of dreams. “They had me at hello” 

5. All That Jazz (1979)
“It’s showtime!” Director and choreographer Bob Fosse takes a Felliniesque look at the life of a driven entertainer (some say his own life)—Joe Gideon. The ultimate work-and-pleasure aholic. All That Jazz shows the merciless price you pay to be an entertainer, taking us from realistic dance numbers to extravagant flights of cinematic fancy with Gideon as our guide; he meditates on his life, his women and his death. A ll That Jazz is a  fiercely personal personal film. Roy Scheider’s brilliant performance as Joe Gideon leaves me wanting for more every time.

 

Movie-Still Monday: O.J.: Made in America

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O.J.: Made in America is ESPN’s stunning eight-hour series somehow manages to break new ground in the often told case of the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

O.J.: Made in America is not only a heartbreaking viewing experience, but it explores its subject with incredible length, breadth, intelligence, and sensitivity. The eight-hour running time might seem daunting, but it is absolutely engrossing, fleshing out the details of the trial, and also the larger stories of race, celebrity, and misogyny that intersected around Simpson. This is a sports documentary, a true-crime work, and a searing history of America’s institutional racism wrapped up in one.

 

Opening This Weekend June 17

June 17 PicMonkey Collage

What? No Marvel nor DC superhero films opening this June? I feel a tiny bit faint, but not to worry, we have a ton of good and maybe some not so good reasons for you to go and enjoy your local movie theater – The Conjuring 2, The Fits, Independence Day: Resurgence, Free State of Jones and Finding Dory just to name a few. So whether you choose to checkout that indie movie you’ve heard so much about, or the latest big studio release, don’t forget to click on the movie title below to view the trailer. We want to make sure you know what you are getting into before you head to the theater.

-Myrna E. Duarte

June 17

Central Intelligence

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Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Aaron Paul, Kevin Hart
Directed By: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Synopsis: After he reunites with an old pal through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant is lured into the world of international espionage.
Our Two Cents: Another Kevin Hart money maker.

Pixar’s Finding Dory

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Stars: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Idris Elba
Directed By:  Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Synopsis: The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
Our Two Cents: 

Clown (Limited)

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Stars: Andy Powers, Laura Allen, Peter Stormare
Directed By:  Jon Watts
Synopsis: A loving father finds a clown suit for his son’s birthday party, only to realize that it is not a suit at all.
Our Two Cents: I’m just too scared pf clowns to even comment.

The Last King (Limited)

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Stars: Anders Dahlberg, Åsmund Brede Eike, Elg Elgesem
Directed By: Nils Gaup
Synopsis: In the year 1206 Norway is raged by civil war. The King’s illegitimate infant son, Håkon Håkonsson, which half the kingdom wants killed off, is guarded in secrecy by two men. A story which changed the course of the country’s history.
Our Two Cents: Norwegian Game of Thrones?

MoviefiedNYC’s in-your-face Oscar Predictions: Who Will and Should Win!

Oscar Predictions 2016Here we are again, just a few short days away from the 88th Academy Awards.  For those of you who are doing some final research for that office pool and want to make a truly informed prediction, the Moviefied NYC team has done all of the leg work.  Managing Editors John David West and Myrna Duarte share their predictions along with Award Season Guru Ariadne Ansbro.  Below are our picks for who will win and which of the nominees should win, cause, as we know, Oscar can be a fickle mistress.

Best Picture: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight.

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  • David: Who will win: This is one of the toughest years in recent memory to predict the winner—and I like it that way! I’m going to go with The Revenant winning, making Alejandro G. Iñárritu the first director to direct back-to-back Best Picture winners. Who Should Win: Spotlight was the most evenly excellent and riveting movie of the year.
  • Myrna: Who will and should Win: The Revenant
  • Ari: Who will Win: How is it that this is the toughest category for me to predict?!  The Big Short won the Producers Guild Award, Spotlight won the Screen Actors Guild Award, and The Revenant won the Golden Globe.  Statistically, the Producers Guild has correctly predicted the Best Picture winner in the eight of the last ten years, where as the SAGs have correctly predicted six of the last ten years. I am going to go out on a limb and say Spotlight.  To hell with statistics!  Who Should Win: For me the movie of the year was Spotlight.  Even though the audience knew exactly what the Boston Globe reports would find, this journalistic thriller still kept us rapt.

Best Director: Adam McKay, The Big Short, George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant, Lenny Abrahamson, Room, Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

George Miller directing Mad Max: Fury Road
George Miller directing Mad Max: Fury Road
  • David: Who will win: This year’s directors are quite strong, so this is a tough one but I’m going to go with George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road. Who Should Win: I’m leaning towards Adam McKay for The Big Short.
  • Myrna: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road – Teach those whipper snappers how to make a movie George.
  • Ari: Who will win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu will be the first director since Jospeh L. Mankowitz to receive back-to-back directing Oscars for The Revenant.  Who Should Win: Lenny Abrahamson somehow took a book with an extremely depressing premise and directed a hopeful story in Room.

 

Best Actor: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo, Matt Damon, The Martian, Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant, Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs, Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl.

The Renevant
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Renevant
  • David: Could, should, and will Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant. Missing from the nominees: Paul Dano, Love and Mercy.
  • Myrna: Leonardo DiCaprio‘s day has arrived.
  • Ari: Let’s face it, Leo is winning for his raspy voice and eating raw bison liver.  However, I really loved Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs.

 

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Carol, Brie Larson, Room, Jennifer Lawrence, Joy, Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years, Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Room
Brie Larson, Room
  • David: Who will win: This year’s Oscar for pretty blond girl goes to Brie Larson. Who should Win: Cate Blanchett, Carol. Missing from this list is Rooney Mara, Carol and Alicia VikanderThe Danish Girl.
  • Myrna: Brie Larson, RoomBecause BLar might even be cooler than JLaw and good.
  • Ari: Who will win: Brie Larson‘s heartbreaking performance as a kidnap victim will rain supreme on Oscar night. Who should win: Saoirse Ronan‘s beautiful portrayal of an Irish immigrant in 1950s Brooklyn was the performance of the year.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Big Short, Tom Hardy, The Revenant, Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight, Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies,  Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Sylvester Stallone in Creed
Sylvester Stallone in Creed
  • David: Who will win: Supporting Actor category is really tough this year—and this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Sylvester Stallone for Creed. Who Should Win: Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight, and or Mark Rylance. Possible upset: very deserving Tom Hardy for The Revenant.
  • Myrna: Sylvester Stallone, Creed but I would not mind a Rylance upset.
  • Ari: Who will win: Honestly, this is the toughest of the big categories for me.  The actor who won the SAG award was not nominated in this category and the actor who won the Golden Globe was not nominated by the Screen Actors Guild.  However, I am going to follow the party line and say that Sylvester Stallone will win for playing the underdog character that he created 40 years ago.  Who Should Win: Mark Rylance‘s nuanced performance as a Soviet spy in Bridge of Spies.

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight, Rooney Mara, Carol, Rachel McAdams, Spotlight, Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl, Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs.

Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs
Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs
  • David: Who will Win: This year’s Young Pretty Actress Award goes to Alicia Vikander for her excellent (lead roll) performance in The Danish Girl. Who Should Win: Kate Winslet for her (Supporting) roll Steve Jobs. Upset: Jennifer Jason Leigh.
  • Myrna: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs because she is so loved but my heart belongs to Rachel McAdams, Spotlight.
  • Ari: Who will Win: Again, I am torn. This is truly a toss up between Kate Winslet and Alicia Vikander.  Winslet has won several awards for this film already, however, Vikander will probably win for the substantial role she played in The Danish Girl.   Who Should Win: Winslet was fantastic as the heart of Steve Jobs, the film and the man.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short, Brooklyn, Carol, The Martian, Room.

The Big Short 2
Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • David: Who will and should win: The Big Short.
  • Myrna: Who will Win:  The Martian. Who Should Win: The Big Short.
  • Ari: Who will Win: The Big Short will most likely get one of its only wins of the night in the category.  Who knew watching the demise of the American housing market could be so much fun?! Who Should Win: I read Brooklyn, I loved Brooklyn, so, Brooklyn.

Best Original Screenplay: Bridge of Spies, Ex Machina, Inside Out, Spotlight, Straight Outta Compton.

Spotlight
Spotlight
  • David: Who will and should win: Spotlight. Upset: a win for Straight Outta Compton could make things interesting.
  • Myrna: Ex Machina I ♥ Alex Garland
  • Ari: Who will and should Win: Spotlight (starting to see a trend here?)

Best Animated Feature:  Anomalisa, Boy and the World, Inside Out, Shaun the Sheep Movie, When Marnie Was There.

Inside out 1

  • David: Inside Out will and should Win
  • Myrna: Who will Win: Inside Out  Who Should Win: Anomalisa
  • Ari: Who will Win: Inside Out will continue Pixar’s domination of this category.  Who Should Win: Shaun the Sheep Movie was adorable!!!!  I kinda loved it.

 Best Animated Short: Bear Story, Prologue, Sanjay’s Super Team, We Can’t Live Without Cosmos, World of Tomorrow

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World of Tomorrow
  • David: Who will win: Sanjay’s Super Team Who should win: World of Tomorrow
  • Myrna: World of Tomorrow hands down!
  • Ari: Who will win: World of Tomorrow Who Should Win: Bear Story. What can I say?  I like bears.

Best Cinematography: Carol, The Hateful Eight, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Sicario.

Carol 1
Carol
  • David: Who will win: If The Revenant wins this will three years in a row for Emmanuel Lubezki. Who Should Win: Edward Lachmann’s stylized look for Carol.
  • Myrna: Who will win: Tough category, The Revenant will win but Sicario is nipping at its heals.
  • Ari: Who will win: The Revenant will most likely win, for its use of natural light and beautiful photography.  Who Should Win: Carol was eye candy for me.  That is the true winner.

Best Costume DesignCarol, Cinderella, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant.

The Danish Girl
The Danish Girl
  • David: Who will win: the winner is The Mad Costume Showcase  Cinderella. I kid! I think the winner will be The Danish Girl. Who should win: Mad Max for its mad-creative, found-object costume design.
  • Myrna: Who will win: Carol Who Should Win:  Mad Max: Fury Road‘s design is mind blowing.
  • Ari: who will and should Win: Carol’s gorgeous 1950s designs were exquisite.  I am all for this win!

Best Documentary — FeatureAmy, Cartel Land, The Look of Silence, What Happened, Miss Simone?, Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.

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Amy
  • David: Who will Win: Amy.  Who Should Win: This is tough, as they were all quite good, but I have to go with The Look of Silence.
  • Myrna: Who will Win: Amy,  I loved getting to know her. Who Should Win: What Happened, Miss Simone? A woman so head of her time.
  • Ari: Who will Win: Amy will most likely win for its look into at an artist who could not handle her fame.  Who Should Win:  I really enjoyed Winter on Fire, so I will have to go with that.

Best Documentary—ShortBody Team 12, Chau Behind the Lines, Claude Lanzman, A Girl in the River, Last Day of Freedom

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A Girl in the River
  • David: Who will win: A Girl in the River.  Who should win: The nominees in this category are all very compelling documentaries, but A Girl in the River felt immediately important, stirring, and insightful.
  • Myrna: Who will win: A Girl in the River.  Who Should Win: Body Team 12.
  • Ari: Who will and should win: A Girl in the River feels a lot like a previous winner in this category, Saving Face (2011) about women in the Islamic world whose husbands throw acid on them.  Another film which makes me appreciate all of the freedom that I have.

Best Film EditingThe Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Spotlight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Ryan Gosling plays Jared Vennett and Jeffry Griffin plays Chris in The Big Short from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises
The Big Short
  • David: Who will win: The Big Short. Who should win: The Big Short.
  • Myrna: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road 
  • Ari: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road will reign supreme.  Who should win: The Big Short was put together in a way that made me feel a bit like I actually understood sub-prime mortgages.  That is Oscar worthy.

Best Foreign Language FilmEmbrace of the Serpent, Mustang, Son of Saul, Theeb, A War.

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Son of Saul
  • David: Who will win: Son of Saul.  Who should win: Son of Saul.
  • Myrna: Who will win: Son of Saul.  Who should win: Mustang.
  • Ari: Who will and totally should win: Son of Saul.

Best Live Action ShortAve Maria, Day One, Everything Will Be Okay, Shok, Stutterer.

Shok 1
Shok
  • David: Who will win: I’m predicting Shok. Who should win: Shok.
  • Myrna: Who will win: Shok  Who should win: Day One
  • Ari: Who will win: Shok  Who should win: Stutterer, I have a soft spot for movies about characters with speech impediments.

Best Makeup and HairstylingMad Max, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared, The Revenant

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Mad Max: Fury Road
  • David: Who will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road, Who should win: Mad MaxIt’s insult to all the brilliant Makeup and Hairstylist that the Oscars can’t find five nominees.
  • Myrna: Who will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road  Who Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road two words, War Boys!
  • Ari: Who will and should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road had some pretty amazing makeup on every single character.  This will most likely be one of many technical awards Mad Max will win.

Best Original ScoreBridge of Spies, Carol, The Hateful Eight, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Hateful Eight 1
The Hateful Eight
  • David: Who will Win: For sure Ennio Morricone will win his first competitive Oscar for The Hateful Eight. Who should win: Morricone!
  • Myrna: Who will Win: The Hateful Eight.  Who Should Win: Sicario
  • Ari:  Who will win: Ennio Morricone has been nominated six times since 1979 and has never won a competitive Oscar (He received an honorary Oscar in 2007).  Look for him to win for his career as opposed to just the work he did on The Hateful Eight.   Who should win: I honestly was not blown away by any of the scores this year.  I will abstain.

Best Original Song: “Earned It,” 50 Shades Of Grey, “Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction, “Simple Song #3,” Youth, “Til It Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground, “Writing’s on the Wall,” Spectre.

The Hunting Ground
The Hunting Ground
  • David: Who will win: The Oscars love to award a pop stars, so this year it will go to Lady Gaga, Diane Warren for “Til It Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground. It’s been a good year so far for Gaga! Who Should Win: Gaga!
  • Myrna: Who will Win: “Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction. Who should win: “Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction.
  • Ari: Who will Win: “Til It Happens to You”, The Hunting Ground.  I am sure that the Academy will continue its trend of awarding superstars with Oscars in this category (see Adele, Eminem, Three 6 Mafia).  Congrats, Lady Gaga.    Who Should Win: “Writing’s on the Wall”, Spectre.  Hey, it was the only thing good to come out of Spectre.

Best Production DesignBridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant.

Mad Max @
Mad Max: Fury Road
  • David: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road. Who should win: Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Myrna: Who will and should:  Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Ari: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road  Who should Win: Creating the terrain of Mars in The Martian was pretty incredible.  I really wish that the film would receive accolades for that, however, it won’t.

Best Sound EditingMad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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Mad Max: Fury Road
  • David: Who will and should win: Seems like a no-brainer to me, Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Myrna: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road.  Who should win: Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Ari: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road will continue to rake in the technical awards.  Who should win: I think that The Martian should see some love in this category.

Best Sound Mixing: Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Mad Max: Fury Road
  • David: Who will win: it’s going to be a tech sweep for Mad Max: Fury Road, and it should be that way!
  • Myrna: Who will win:  The Revenant. Who should win: Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Ari: Who will win: Mad Max: Fury Road, again who should Win: The Martian.

Best Visual EffectsEx Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Ex-Machina
Ex-Machina
  • David: Who will Win: This could be the one chance for Star Wars: The Force AwakensWho Should Win: Ex Machina.
  • Myrna: Who will win:  The Revenant  Who should win: Ex Machina
  • Ari: Who will win:  I am pretty sure that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will walk away with this one. Who should win: Ex-Machina was so cool!!!!!  This is a category where cool should win!

The 88th Academy Awards will be announced on Sunday, February 28 on ABC. Join MoviefiedNYC for live streaming at @MoviefiedNYC

 

MoviefiedNYC Best Movies of 2015

It’s finally on, MoviefiedNYC‘s Ten Best Movies of 2015. The year proved to be a pretty good year for movies, a good year for women in film, a good year for LGBT movies, and a very good year for testosterone-induced action films with depth, craft, and fun! It was, indeed, a fun year at the movies! Here are the Ten Best of 2015 as seen by Myrna Duarte and John David West. 

John David’s Best

1. Spotlight

Spotlight 1Spotlight is one of those rare films that seems to have the right balance of everything excellent: direction (Tom McCarthy), dialogue, and a believable ensemble cast —I could be convinced that Keaton, Ruffalo, McAdams are still all working on their next piece at the Boston Globe. Spotlight is not an epic cinematic feature that begs to be seen on the biggest screen in town, but it’s simply great storytelling—and captivating cinema, a complete film. More than anything it’s downright riveting. You know what’s going to happen, yet you are sucked in and moved, disturbed, angered, scared, and above all amused.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad MaxWhat is it about Mad Max: Fury Road that hit all the right notes? It’s a dystopian, blow-things-up, action flick, adrenaline rush, jaw dropping with a capital J film—my best friend, recently reminded me of how I looked (jaw dropped happy) as she sat next to me as we experienced Mad Max in the theater. Beyond the breathtaking live stunts, richly textured score, awe-inspiring cinematography, and solid performances (Charlize Theron proves again that she’s one of the best—and baddest—out there), it’s a emotionally stirring film, an odyssey that has more going on than just a wild car chase—it has authenticity that is palpable: real cars, real people doing real stunts, sparse talking and more showing. Director George Miller lets the visual medium of film be almost exclusively that.

3. The Big Short

The Big Short 1Who would’ve thought that Synthetic Collateralized Debt Obligation could be so funny, sexy, and maddening? Director, Adam McKay (Anchor Man) manages to take the nearly impossible job of turning Michael Lewis’ (Money Ball) non-fiction book on the rise and fall of the 2008 U.S. Housing market and a group of guys who saw it coming and made millions. The Big Short is a stylized, caffeine-with-a-Red-Bull-chaser induced trip. It’s a lesson in economics with the help of such unlikely celebs as Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain and Selena Gomez along with economist Richard Thaler; it’s also a laugh-out-loud, knee-slapper (if you like economics, wit, and irony) comedy; it’s a director’s showcase and it’s a well acted ensemble piece thanks to some great material, and superb performances by Steve Carell and Christian Bale; it’s a disturbing exposé on the excessive predatory greed, corruption and unfairness (only one person served time for fraud) that leaves you sad to know that such injustice is accepted, but it also leaves you with a bit of hope. This is the type of film that in thirty years and beyond could serve as a time capsule and a symbol of the greedy corrupt Turn of the Millennium. But beyond the moral commentary of capitalistic greed, The Big Short is an entertaining movie with much to enjoy.

4. Carol

Carol 2 In typical 1950s tradition Carol, brilliantly played by Cate Blanchett, lives in a world where everything is seemingly perfect, ordered, and definitely stylish. All is as it should be or at least it appears so on the surface, as Carol conceals the secret of her sexuality. She is accommodated more than one might expect, as her husband, Harge (Kyle Chandler) is aware of her past relationships with women. Todd Haynes has explored this world before, in the luscious Douglas Sirk homage, Far From Heaven (2002), a film filled with colorful autumn-rich wide-angle shots. Carol is a bit more subdued, honest, and quite cold. Rather than wide vibrant shots, Carol is filled with isolating close-ups, notably of faces, toys, and shiny vintage 1950s cars; and it’s a cold lonely winter that fills the screen. Perhaps this is not the most inviting world for the viewer, but Blanchett’s brilliance for conveying great depth without saying a word is evident in the film’s final shot, a simple yet impactful, delicate moment that lives far beyond the playtime of this movie.

5. The Revenant

The Revenant 3Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is back, proving that he is one of today’s top directors. Inarritu changes the pace from last year’s constantly moving, one-long-continuous shot Birdman with its manic modern Midtown Broadway theater setting to a slower, harsh, cold Rocky Mountains setting of 1820’s Wyoming. This time the central character isn’t fighting for his career against egotistical actors and cruel theater critic but against the forces of nature—mainly a bear.  While the bear attack in The Revenant is significant in this film; Inarritu’s direction is exceptional and Leonardo DiCaprio is, as always, compelling.  The cinematography by Birdman’s Emmanuel Lubezki is spot on (despite one distracting moment of “look! I’m being artistic with my cross cuts!”). The sense of location, time, and temperature are consistently effective. One could sit in a 90-degree theater and feel the sting of frostbite while watching this movie.

6. Son of Saul

Son of Saul 2Directed by László Nemes and featuring Géza Röhrig as Saul. Nemes’ first feature film is a powerful and unique look at the horrors of Auschwitz. Shot in 35mm, in academy ratio, with shallow focus, and long tracking shots; Son of Saul provides an immersive human experience that sticks with you long after the film is over.

7. Güeros

Gueros 1Director Alonso Ruizpalacios’ first feature-length film, Güeros, is part road movie, part social-historical inquiry, and part quest film that explores youth in the early days of the 1999 National University strike in Mexico City—a city shown as both a complicated character (friend and foe), and a place to drive around without purpose.  A partial shout-out to French New Wave and photographer and documentarian Robert Frank, Güeros is beautifully filmed in black and white, using 4:3 aspect ratio, which embellishes it with the look and feel of a photograph that’s brought to life and infused with poetry, humor, and idleness.

It’s safe to say that Ruizpalacio is a daring new voice in Mexican cinema; he dares to shoot in “artsy” black and white, break the fourth wall, and frequently submerge the narrative to allow the cinematic moments to breathe. This is the stuff that repels financiers, but it’s also the stuff that elevates the art of cinema and satisfies those of us who like a bit of meta, silence and poetry in our films.

8. Inside Out

Inside out 1Pixar, once again, takes viewers—young and old—into a surprising world of unexpected imagination. Inside the head of a young girl, we come to know her various feelings through anthropomorphized emotions that are not only brilliantly realized and entertaining, but also comforting—in the sense of, “hey, I have those same struggles as well.”  While there’s a lot for kids to enjoy in Inside Out, it often felt like a movie for adults, and how satisfying it is for we flawed humans.

9. Brooklyn

bosbrooklynBrooklyn is kind of a perfect little movie. There’s nothing new or groundbreaking happening in Nick Hornby’s script. It’s a common story, Irish immigrant girl who enters New York City through Ellis Island, falls in love with an Italian-American boy, and then returns to her home in Ireland where things—once not so promising—have improved for her. It felt like the making of America, a tale from any random immigrant who passed through Ellis Island. With the pitch perfect performances by Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen, and carefully paced direction by John Crowley, Brooklyn is across the board fine filmmaking.

10. The Martian

the-martian-TIF_RSS_0001_fr_n_left-1001R_rgbDirected by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, The Martian is based on Andy Weir’s best selling book of the same name, Matt Damon plays astronaut and botanist Mark Watney who is left behind on Mars and thought as dead when the crew encounter a violent sandstorm and are forced to abandon their mission and make an emergency lift off from the red planet.

The Martian is both a crowd-pleasing movie and a smart science fiction film. It’s action packed fun and gorgeous to watch, and arouse thoughts like “come on NASA, let’s get back into space travel” —perhaps The Martian will inspire future missions to Mars astronauts and scientists. Unlike Gravity, Drew Goddard’s script succeeds in making the events plausible. The movie is packed with interesting science facts that don’t feel jarringly expositional, perhaps due to the comedic script and Damon’s charismatic performance. Ridley Scott succeeds in weaving a complicated story that is, at times visually poetic, at other times hilarious, but always consistently engaging. His use of 3D is subtle and thankfully not distracting by being annoyingly self-aware. It sometimes comes dangerously close to having moments of schmaltzy Hollywood-feel-goodness (a few too many shots of cheering crowds in the control room and on the streets), and many characters are rather one-dimensional, but once you get past that The Martian is just elegant, fun, filmmaking.

It was a good year, here are a few more honorable mentions:
Tangerine
Amy
Love and Mercy
Steve Jobs
Ex-Machina
Room

Myrna’s Best

1. Mad Max Fury Road

Nux-Mad-Max-Fury-Road-680x478

Mad Max Fury Road is undeniably one of the great cinematic triumphs of the year and more visceral than any other picture in 2015, veteran director George Miller’s old-school post-apocalyptic spectacle dazzles the eye, this visual treasure represents a director at the top of his game unleashing a feverish and voracious film. Tom Hardy certainly delivers as the new Mad Max, Charlize Theron (Imperator Furiosa), with few words delivers a dazzling performance but it is Nicholas Holt (Nux) as a War Boy that is the heart and tortured soul of the story.

2. Spotlight

rachel-mcadams-mark-ruffalo-brian-dg-arcy-michael-keaton-and-john-slattery-in-spotlight-cred-kerry-hayes-open-road-films_wide-a9ace4a3a9d3d271a45d19c7c220201b7656c7eb-s900-c85

Spotlight is an elegant and smart portrayal of the journalistic craft addressing one of the most unspeakable criminal conspiracies in modern history, with a remarkable cast, whom are worthy of award consideration. It wasn’t a few people, not even a large group of people — it was a global hierarchical organization bearing down with the full force of its power and influence, to cover up violent attacks on children for decades, perpetuating the horror story. Spotlight never turns away from ugly truths, demanding accountability, calling for immediacy and emotional turmoil at every step.

3. The Revenant

the-revenant-trailer

Leonardo DiCaprio could finally take home an Oscar for his lead performance, in this survival and revenge western. What appears to be man against nature truly becomes man against man (Tom Hardy), with nature as man’s ally in his quest for survival. The cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki – Gravity, Birdman and Children of Men) is exquisite, hands-down the year’s best. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu has created such an immersive experience out of The Revenant that you can almost feel the sense of chill on your skin and the danger that lurks around every corner of in the woods.

4. Ex Machina

Ex-Machina

Ex Machina is evocative, almost mesmerizing. In this, director Alex Garland’s debut film, he never underestimates the viewer delivering an intelligent, entertaining and disturbing film. Previously Garland had been better known for his a screenplays (28 Days Later, Sunshine, The Beach and Ex Machina). Handsomely filmed with striking art direction, sharp cinematography, Ex Machina is a simple yet disturbing story that leaves you perplexed and fascinated.

5. Chi Raq

chi_raq2

Spike Lee, one of the most important film makers working today, delivers the only film this year addressing one of the most important social issues facing our nation. Gun violence, and the link between policing and racism that still pollutes our culture and justice system, are challenged head-on with honesty and satire. Radically artistic, featuring one of the best soundtracks of the year it looks and sounds unlike anything else you’ll see all year. A marvelous picture filled with fantastic performances, the indie film everyone to want and love, about issues everyone insists they care about and want to solve. Yet here it is, and how many award voters or viewers are giving it the attention it deserves? That’s a question we might ask about the real issues it addresses, also.

6. Tangerine

photo_06

The fact that Tangerine was shot entirely on a beefed up iPhone is forgotten before we reach the end of the first scene. The film takes us on a hectic journey through a gritty Los Angeles as we follow phenomenal and flawed characters on an insane day that you feel they will just wake up and do all over again. Fueled by spicy performances that overflow with energy, Tangerine is a bittersweet tale built on a powerful sense of empathy and affection.

7. Sicario

sicario_image_2

Sicario, the film by the French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve is a sizzling thriller about the drug trade that combines skilled action and suspense with the other emotional and moral ramifications of violence. Cinematographer Roger Deakins and Villeneuve’s collaboration here is great with a story and setting defined by dry desert tones, cheap buildings, and vast dusty blue skies. Sicario’s web of compelling characters, its muscular style and top of the line cast, truly delivers a surprising cartel thriller.

8. Diary of a Teenage Girl

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Director Marielle Heller’s debut film is one of the most astute films yet about that harrowing journey we all make through those awkward years. Adapted from Phoebe Gloeckner’s 2002 novel about a 15-year-old’s coming of age in the swinging San Francisco of the 1970s. The film is gently radical not because it dares to threaten us so much but because it doesn’t. This is a story of small power plays, big feelings and huge moments, told via intimate gestures. Bel Powley (Minnie) offers a breakout performance, Alexander Skarsgård, the boyfriend (Monroe), and Kristen Wiig, the mom (Charlotte) deliver subtle engaging performances. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is honest, bold and pulls no punches, it’s wonderful.

9. Amy

Amy-Winehouse-blake-AMY-Movie-trailer

The sparkling and tragic life of the London-born singer, Amy Winehouse unfolds before you in every song she wrote and now it plays out in the documentary by filmmaker Asif Kapadia. The film is edited together from footage both private and public of the indomitable Winehouse, with the recollections of family, friends and colleagues playing over the images. The way the film tells it, first this seemingly harmless man stole Amy’s heart, ironically inspiring her best music, then he stole her soul by introducing her to hard drugs. Relentless media scrutiny is also shown to have played its part in her downfall and in many ways makes us all complicit in her death. Amy pays tribute to a great performer, leaving little doubt that she possessed one of the great jazz voices of our time.

10. Inside Out 

inside-out-2

Inside Out (I’m pretty close to calling it a Pixar masterpiece) hits home the most with those in possession of their own emotionally conflicted preteen and those us of who are still very in touch with that inner preteen of our own. Young Riley and her family are moving, and inside her head we meet the five primary emotions of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger that show us how Riley is dealing with it.  The film is a hilarious and creative take on the human being thought process. Joy and Sadness go on an adventure deep inside the mind; but we get a nice sampling of all five throughout the story. Amy Poehler and Lewis Black stand out as Joy and Anger respectively; but the crew working together really make the story tick. It’s more than just a return to form for Pixar; Inside Out  might be one the best films they’ve ever made.

Honorable Mentions:

World of Tomorrow – the BEST 17 minutes you will spend.

White God – I’m still disturbed by this film.

What We Do in the Shadows – “Werewolves NOT Swear-wolves!”

It’s on! MoviefiedNYC’s 2014 Daring Oscar Predictions and who we think SHOULD WIN!

It’s Oscar time again, and not a moment too soon. I don’t know about you but I can’t really take another awards show. But before we close the door on 2013 and finally move on with 2014, MoviefiedNYC celebrates Hollywood’s glitzy prom night known as The Academy Awards with our Oscar predictions—and dreams (we include the snubs)—for some of 2013’s best movies.  Will Matthew McConaughey and Cate Balchett be crowned as this year’s Prom King and Prom Queen?

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell), Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen), Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack), Her (Spike Jonze), Nebraska (Bob Nelson)

  • David:This is a tough one but I think Her will and should win but don’t be surprised by an American Hustle win.
  • Myrna: Her will win and should win, but I believe American Hustle could sneak it out from under Spike Jonze.
  • Eddie: Her is about a guy falling in love with his operating system and the award is for best original screenplay. Will win: Her; Should win: Her.
  • Sinann: Her hands down! American Hustle is in the running but Spike Jonze deserves the win! 
Her


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke), Captain Phillips (Billy Ray), Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope), 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley), The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter)

  • David: 12 Years a Slave will win and should.  However, um, Go, Before Midnight!
  • Myrna: 12 Years a Slave will win but it should go to Before Midnight, though my heart belongs to The Wolf of Wall Street.
  • Eddie: The Wolf of Wall Street is the most outrageous screenplay of the year, but I don’t think it will be able to overtake 12 Years a Slave even though that movie came alive more through the performances than the script. My choice would be Philomena for being deftly funny and touching within moments without ever feeling schizophrenic. Will win: 12 Years a Slave; Should win: Philomena
  • Sinann: The Wolf of Wall Street was phenomenal, Philomena was touching, and Before Midnight has a place in my heart that only the final piece of a trilogy can take but 12 Years a Slave is the clear winner here.
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight)

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds), Iron Man 3 (Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Dan Sudick), The Lone Ranger (Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier), Star Trek Into Darkness (Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton)

  • David: Gravity; Who should win: Gravity
  • Myrna: Gravity should and will win.
  • Eddie: Not every day does a film come around that changes moviemaking. Will win/should win: Gravity
  • Sinann: Gravity. No doubt.

Gravity

 

.BEST SOUND MIXING: Captain Phillips (Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro), Gravity (Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, Tony Johnson), Inside Llewyn Davis (Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland), Lone Survivor (Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, David Brownlow)

  • David: Gravity, Gravity, Gravity
  • Myrna: Gravity should and will win. Sorry Llewyn Davis.
  • Eddie: Sandra Bullock’s breathing sold half the movie. Will win/should win: Gravity.
  • Sinann: Gravity. It’s got some good competition but nothing that’s going to come close.
Inside LLewyn Davis


BEST SOUND EDITING: All Is Lost (Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns), Captain Phillips (Oliver Tarney), Gravity (Glenn Freemantle), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Brent Burge, Chris Ward), Lone Survivor (Wylie Stateman)

  • David: Gravity will and should win.
  • Myrna: Will win and should win Gravity. Space was actually silent!
  • Eddie: See above. Will win/Should win: Gravity.
  • Sinann: Again, Gravity. Although, Captain Philips is worth a mention as its breath stopping tension is due, at least in part, to it’s sound editing.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) (Esteban Crespo), Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) (Xavier Legrand, Alexandre Gavras), Helium (Anders Walter, Kim Magnusson), Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) (Selma Vilhunen, Kirsikka Saari), The Voorman Problem (Mark Gill, Baldwin Li)

  • David: That Wasn’t Me (Spain) left me wanting more than just its short 24 minutes. Just Before Losing Everything (France) kept me on the edge of my seat, it could win; but, I predict Esteban Crespo the director of That Wasn’t Me’s will take home a well deserved Oscar. 
  • Myrna: The Voorman Problem will win. Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) should win.
  • Eddie: I abstain due to ignorance.
  • Sinann: The Voorman Problem. Martin Freeman wins all.

 

The Voorman Problem

 

BEST ANIMATED SHORT:Feral (Daniel Sousa, Dan Golden), Get a Horse! (Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim), Mr. Hublot (Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares), Possessions (Shuhei Morita), Room on the Broom (Max Lang, Jan Lachauer)

  • David: Sadly this is not a great selection, but the cute and charming Room on the Broom will win. My “should” vote goes to the visually scrumptious Mr. Hublot
  • Myrna: I think Room on the Broom will win, but Mr. Hublot stole my heart and I think was beautifully animated.
  • Eddie: I got nada.
  • Sinann: Mr. Hubolt should win, but I imagine Room on the Broom will win.
Mr. Hublot

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILMThe Croods (Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco, Kristine Belson), Despicable Me 2 (Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin, Chris Meledandri), Ernest & Celestine (Benjamin Renner, Didier Brunner), Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho), The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki)

  • David: Frozen will win, I can’t forget the beauty and depth of Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises
  • Myrna: The Wind Rises should and will win.
  • Eddie: Frozen is this generation’s The Little Mermaid, reminding people that Disney (not just it’s Pixar arm) can make animated classics. Will/should win: Frozen.
  • Sinann: Despicable Me 2 is adorable, The Wind Rises is a masterpiece but the Disney machine will once again prevail with Frozen.
The Wind Rises


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: American Hustle (Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler), Gravity (Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, Joanne Woollard), The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn), Her (K.K. Barrett, Gene Serdena), 12 Years a Slave (Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker)

  • David: The Great Gatsby will likely win, but I give it to 12 Years a Slave.
  • Myrna: The Great Gatsby should win ( I love Catherine Martin). Gravity will win but Her could also sneak in there.
  • Eddie: There is subtler work being done here like in Her, but the glitz and glamour of the world of Gatsby was exactly as intoxicating as it was supposed to be. Will win/should win: The Great Gatsby.
  • Sinann: The Great Gatsby will win, and deservedly so, it’s just made for Academy recognition. However, the subtly futuristic world of Her and could surprise us all. 

 

The Great Gatsby 

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “Happy” (Despicable Me 2), “Let It Go” (Frozen), “The Moon Song” (Her), “Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) 

  • David: “Let It Go” should and will win.
  • Myrna: It is Pharrell’s year; “Happy” will and should win.
  • Eddie: “Let It Go” is a musical comeback for Disney Studios, despite the pure joy of Pharrell’s “Happy.” Will win/Should win: “Let It Go”.
  • Sinann: Pharrell’s Happy has been contagiously catchy but everyone and their mother have being making covers of “Let It Go”. It’s this years winner.
    Best Original Song 2013 – Adele for SkyFall

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: The Book Thief (John Williams), Gravity (Steven Price), Her (William Butler, Owen Pallett), Philomena (Alexandre Desplat), Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)

  • David: Gravity will and probably should
  • Myrna: Her should win a haunting score. Gravity will win.
  • Eddie: Gravity’s score was exactly what the movie needed to keep you on the edge of your seat. Will win/Should win: Gravity.
  • Sinann: Her was pretty memorable for it’s score, if you’ve seen the film you’ll remember that scene on the beach.


BEST MAKE UP & HAIR: Dallas Buyers Club (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews), Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Stephen Prouty), The Lone Ranger (Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua-Casny)

  • David: Dallas Buyers Club will win. American Hustle should win (The HAIR–just pick a character!).
  • Myrna: Dallas Buyers Club will win and should win.
  • Eddie: I get concerned when subtler work is up against things like making Johnny Knoxville look like an old man, but I think cooler heads will prevail. Will win/Should win: Dallas Buyers Club.
  • Sinann: Dallas Buyers Club will win. Johnny Knoxville’s make up was fantastic but the world just isn’t ready to hear the words “And the Academy Award goes to Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.”
The Lone Ranger

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium), The Great Beauty (Italy), The Hunt (Denmark), The Missing Picture (Cambodia), Omar (Palestine)

  • David: It’s been 15 years since Italy last won this category. The Great Beauty should give one more to the country that’s won the most Foreign Language Oscars (13 so far). Who should win: Blue is the Warmest Color or Wadjda but they didn’t make it to this year’s awards
  • Myrna: The Great Beauty (Italy) will win, The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium) could win. Post Tenebras Lux should win.
  • Eddie: Let’s say Omar. Why not?
  • Sinann: The Great Beauty.
The Great Beauty


BEST FILM EDITING: 
American Hustle (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, Alan Baumgarten), Captain Phillips (Christopher Rouse), Dallas Buyers Club (John Mac McMurphy, Martin Pensa), Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger), 12 Years a Slave (Joe Walker)

  • David: Gravity will win. American Hustle should win.
  • Myrna: Gravity will and should win, seamless long gorgeous shot of space.
  • Eddie: American Hustle rested on the ability to bring that whole story together and make it seems cohesive, but Gravity‘s general flash might make it unstoppable in the technical categories. Will win: Gravity; Should win: American Hustle.
  • Sinann: America Hustle should win but Gravity will get it.
American Hustle

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen), Cutie and the Boxer (Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher), Dirty Wars (Richard Rowley, Jeremy Scahill), The Square (Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer), 20 Feet from Stardom (Nominees to be determined)

  • David: 20 Feet from Stardom has all the attention, it’s a safe choice. The Act of Killing is one of the year’s best picture, it should win.
  • Myrna: The Act of Killing should win, 20 Feet from Stardom will win and The Stories We Tell should be on this list.
  • Eddie: The Act of Killing; who should win: 20 Feet from Stardom
  • SinannI loved 20 feet from Stardom and it’s definitely worthy of its nomination but The Act of Killing just seems to have more of an award buzz around it.
The Act of Killing

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: CaveDigger (Jeffrey Karoff), Facing Fear (Jason Cohen), Karama Has No Walls (Sara Ishaq), The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed), Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (Edgar Barens)

  • David:Karama Has No Walls will and should win. Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall is a close for its effectively powerful and intimate look at the elderly in prisons, WW II war heroes, and race healing (all that in 40 minutes). 
  • Myrna: Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall should win, Karama Has No Walls will win.
  • Eddie: I abstain.
  • Sinann: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (Edgar Barens)

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: American Hustle (Michael Wilkinson), The Grandmaster (William Chang Suk Ping), The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin), The Invisible Woman (Michael O’Connor), 12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris)

  • David: Who will win? Gatsby. Who should win? American Hustle for its subtle, effective, yet ’70s fun costumes.
  • Myrna: The Great Gatsby will win. American Hustle should win; they did the ’70’s with class.
  • Eddie: I’d love to see American Hustle take this one because it managed to be very ’70’s without being a joke. However, The Great Gatsby is more the type of picture that takes this kind of award. The Great Gatsby; Should win: American Hustle
  • Sinann: The Great Gatsby swept the nation, it influenced fashion shows, celebrities and the public alike. Gatsby parties are now a thing. It will and should win.
The Great Gatsby

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd), Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki), Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel), Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael), Prisoners (Roger A. Deakins)

  • David: Gravity to win. For its gorgeous, soft focus, faded-color look, I say Inside Llewyn Davis.
  • Myrna: My “should win” is not even nominated Her. It’s Gravity’s to lose.
  • Eddie: Not to put too fine a point on it, but the cinematography in Gravity was mind-blowing for the way it, huh, defied gravity. Will win/should win: Gravity
  • Sinann: Gravity.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence ( American Hustle), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Julia Roberts (August Osage County), June Squibb (Nebraska)

  • David: This is tough but I think Lupita Nyong’o is going to win. Who should win is Lupita Nyong’o.  
  • Myrna: Lupita Nyong’o should win, Jennifer Lawrence will win,  she is Hollywood’s new favorite.
  • Eddie: I have to say that I loved Julia Roberts’ performance in August: Osage County – I think it was her best ever performance. That being said, I, like most people, am torn between Lawrence’s mesmerizing turn and Nyong’o’s heartbreaking performance. I give Lawrence the slight age, because the screen erupts whenever she is on it. Will win: Lupita Nyong’o; Should win: Jennifer Lawrence.
  • Sinann: I love Jennifer Lawrence in both her personal sentiments, interviews and ideas as well as her acting. She’s fantastic. However, Lupita Nyong’o deserves it. Whether she get it though, is another thing entirely. I just don’t know.
    Michael Fassbender,  Lupita Nyong’o

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

  • David: And the winner is Jared Leto, full stop!
  • Myrna: Jared Leto hands down.
  • Eddie: Jared Leto is flat-out revelatory. And he’s the heart of what can sometimes be a very frustrating film. Will win/Should win: Jared Leto.
  • Sinann: Jared Leto. Rayon won all our hearts.
Jared Leto

 

BEST ACTRESS:  Amy Adams (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), Meryl Streep (August Osage County)

  • David: Cate Blanchett has owned this trophy since Blue Jasmine was released last summer. Who should win: Cate Blanchett
  • Myrna: Cate Blanchett will win, though I would love to see Amy Adams walk away with it.
  • Eddie: For me this is a four-way tie (sorry, Meryl). The reason that Gravity is more than just a technical triumph is because of Bullock’s layered performance, but it’s being overshadowed by a variety of other things and I just flat-out loved Judi Dench in Philomena. In the end, Blanchett’s devastating infuriating performance will take the prize, but my vote would go to Amy Adams for her riveting performance that was equal parts Junebug and The Fighter. Will win: Cate Blanchett; Should win: Amy Adams.
  • Sinann: Cate Blanchett, no question about it. It’s tough luck for Bullock who would have shined if not for Blue Jasmine.
Cate Blanchett

BEST ACTOR: Christian Bale (American Hustle)Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

  • David:This is Matthew McConaughey’s year! DiCaprio should win for his for his unforgettable performance, it’s time and well deserved! All five men are fantastic! What a year for the Actors!
  • Myna: This is tougher than in other years both McConaughey and DiCaprio have turned in career changing performances.  McConaughey will win, DiCaprio should win.
  • Eddie: While there’s no denying that McConaughey is great in Dallas Buyers Club, Leonardo DiCaprio gave the performance of the year. And while I’m at it, I’d vote Chiwetel Ejiofor because his performance made me forget I was watching a movie. Will win: Matthew McConaughey; Should win: Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Sinann: The internet is just dying for Leonardo DiCaprio to win, and after all, doesn’t he deserve it? However, can his glamerous role compare to Chiwetel Ejiofor’s sole wrenching performance in 12 Years a Slave? Will win: Matthew McConaughey. Should win: Chiwetel Ejiofor. Little part of me wants to win: Leo DiCaprio. Sadly, Bruce Dern has been side lined and I genuinely keep forgetting that Christian Bale is even in this category.
Matthew McConaughey

 

BEST DIRECTOR: American Hustle (David O. Russell), Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón), Nebraska (Alexander Payne), 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen), The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)

  • David: Alfonso Cuarón will win, managing special effects wins the Oscars these days. Who should win: Martin Scorsese, it’s his best work in years.
  • Myrna: Alfonso Cuarón will win. Who should win Steve McQueen but my heart belongs to Marty.
  • Eddie: No question: Will win/Should win: Alfonso Cuarón.
  • Sinann: Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón
Alfonso Cuarón

 

BEST MOTION PICTURE: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street

  • David: I’m happily going with 12 Years a Slave to win. Out of this group of nine, Her is my best picture of 2013.
  • Myrna: 12 Years a Slave will win and I’m OK with that. Might win Gravity. But deep down in my heart I believe Her should really be the winner. Spike Jonze is a story teller at the height of his powers.
  • Eddie: Tough race. American Hustle is the more entertaining choice and I was unexpectedly charmed  and moved by Philomena. However, I think after Gravity sweeps the technical categories, 12 Years a Slave will be rightfully rewarded for the magnitude of its subject matter and the precision of its storytelling.  Will win/Should win: 12 Years a Slave
  • Sinann: Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave will and should win.
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)