Logan – Remarkably Intimate

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A film that is often hailed as The Dark Knight of its franchise, in some ways Logan is actually better than the Caped Crusader’s most beloved outing. Its tighter, more focused, far more intense, and ultimately, more emotional. Logan strips away all the extraneous elements that so often bog down super hero franchise films until nothing is left but the core of the audience’s emotional connection to the film: its characters. We don’t care about saving the world. We don’t care about super powers, explosions, or spectacle. We care about these people: Logan and Charles. This is the most intimate and authentic portrayal of these characters ever put on screen and it is by far the best film in Fox’s X-Men franchise.

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Oscar Results – 89th Academy Awards

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Well, that happened. What a colossally disappointing evening. La La Land had its Best Picture win snatched away and Moonlight took it home instead. The film everyone expected to sweep the night instead goes home with six awards to its name. I’ve been wrong before about Best Picture winners (Boyhood should have had it), but I’ve never been this sad about a result.

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Oscar Predictions – 89th Academy Awards

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Whew! It’s been a long haul, but the big night is finally here! I’ve managed to see all the nominees for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Cinematography, and a few others besides. This year presented a unique challenge in that there was a clear standout: La La Land. In my experience there’s usually one movie that scoops up all the technical achievement awards (such as Gravity or Mad Max: Fury Road) while a movie with more emotional impact or thematic depth takes Best Picture (12 Years a SlaveSpotlight, etc…) But this year, La La Land embodies both of these characteristics, tied the record for most nominations with 14, and boasts spectacular box office success to boot. Predicting who would win in each category this year was mostly a matter of trying to decide what awards La La Land would not win. So without further ado, here’s my predictions for the 89th Academy Awards!

Main Categories:

Best Picture: La La Land
Best Actor: Denzel Washington for Fences
Best Actress: Emma Stone for La La Land
Best Supporting Actor: Dev Patel for Lion
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis for Fences
Best Animated Feature: Zootopia
Best Cinematography: La La Land
Best Costume Design: Florence Foster Jenkins
Best Director: Damien Chazelle for La La Land
Best Editing: La La Land
Best Makeup and Hair: Star Trek Beyond
Best Original Score: La La Land
Best Original Song: City of Stars from La La Land
Best Production Design: La La Land
Best Sound Editing: Arrival
Best Sound Mixing: La La Land
Best Visual Effects: Doctor Strange
Best Adapted Screenplay: Eric Heisserer for Arrival
Best Original Screenplay: Damien Chazelle for La La Land

Other Categories:

Best Documentary Feature: O.J. Made in America
Best Documentary Short: The White Helmets
Best Foreign Language Film: The Salesman
Best Animated Short: Piper
Best Live Action Short: Ennemis Interieurs
Well there you have it! Last year I had 75% accuracy, so here’s hoping I can top myself! Even if I don’t, I’ll be happy so long as La La Land wins Best Picture. It is the clear standout, my favorite movie of the year, and one of my favorite movies of all time, a fact which astounds even me since I usually don’t like musicals. I’ve got it down for 10 Oscars, so fingers crossed!
Also, I hope Manchester by the Sea gets stomped into the ground.
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Best Picture Nominees Ranked

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Alright! All the Best Picture nominees have been seen and the formal reviews written. It is time to talk candidly about these films. They’re all good, but which ones are the best of the best? Which one’s should the casual movie goer bother to see before the big day and which one’s can be ignored? No more pretentious review lingo; it’s time to see how they stack up.

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Moonlight – Tactful Honesty

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Moonlight is an odd little film. Artsy without being obtuse, realist without being dull, it boasts solid performances and impressive technical execution, yet no one element is so outstanding that it overshadows the others. Similarly, the film isn’t defined by one central issue, but instead presents a multi faceted depiction of its lead character’s life. Our protagonist, Chiron lives at the intersection of multiple minority categories facing hardship and discrimination that we of the privileged majority never even consider. Technically and thematically balanced, Moonlight is as honest as it is raw, a stark reminder that life is messy, people are complex, and minority groups are not disparate things into which people can be grouped and compartmentalized, but rather Venn diagrams overlapping one another, forcing hardship onto those unfortunate enough to find themselves at the center.

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Lion – The Feel Good Film

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At the tender age of five, Saroo, an Indian boy, becomes separated from his family on the streets of Calcutta. Adopted by a rich Australian couple, he is taken from destitute poverty to a life of ease and luxury. Twenty years later, armed only with dim memories and Google Earth, he sets off on a journey to rediscover his birth family. Another Best Picture nominee vying for an Oscar on the strength of its true story, Lion delivers its heartwarming narrative through careful application of music and cinematography while giving Oscar nominees Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman time to shine.

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Hell or High Water – Remarkably Relevant Western

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A worthy nominee for Best Picture, Hell or High Water uses the story of two competing pairs of characters to explore larger economic themes, an approach which constitutes a bold and relevant interpretation of the western genre. With a duo of ruffians out on a bank robbing spree and a gruff lawman determined to run them down, Hell or High Water takes the tropes and style of a classic western and adeptly transposes them onto a modern setting. We’ve just traded horses for Fords.

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