2016 Golden Globes Nominations: Predix and actuals!

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My guest, Griz (in purple), joins me for a last, last minute prediction. The usual. Actual nominations in red!

The snubbing of Spotlight actors!

PICTURE (DRAMA)
Beasts of No Nation x Mad Max: Fury Road
Bridge of Spies x Carol
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight
Alt. The Danish Girl

Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Carol
Spotlight
The Revenant
Alt: The Hateful Eight


I'm rooting for the appearance of Mad Max, but I think the Globes' recent trend of snootiness means it's not going to go for the genre film. There are a number of options for this category, because the lemmings have not formed a clear line behind the few pictures just yet. I wouldn't be surprised if any other picture get in. About the only sure thing would be Spotlight? I pick Room because of TIFF's audience vote, and may the Canucks be forever in Awards' favour.

PICTURE (COMEDY/MUSICAL)
The Big Short
Love & Mercy x Spy
Joy
The Martian
Trainwreck
Alt. Spy

The Big Short
Love & Mercy
Joy
The Martian
Trainwreck
Alt: Spy


The Martian is a comedy?

DIRECTOR
George Miller - Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott - The Martian
Tom McCarthy - Spotlight
Alejandro González Iñárritu - The Revenant
Cary Fukunaga - Beasts of No Nation x Todd Haynes - Carol
Alt. Steven Spielberg - Bridge of Spies

Todd Haynes - Carol
Alejandro G. Inarritu - The Revenant
Tom McCarthy - Spotlight
George Miller - Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott - The Martian
Alt: Quentin Tarantino - The Hateful Eight


Go Georgie!

ACTOR (DRAMA)
Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs
Leonardo Di Caprio - The Revenant
Johnny Depp - Black Mass x Will Smith - Concussion
Brian Cranston - Trumbo
Eddie Redmayne - The Danish girl

Alt. Tom Hanks - Bridge of Spies

Bryan Cranston - Trumbo
Johnny Depp - Black Mass
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant
Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl
Alt: Will Smith - Concussion


The Cranston is in by virtue of love for Breaking Bad, and this being the award body that covers TV as well.

ACTOR (COMEDY/MUSICAL)
Matt Damon - The Martian
Christian Bale -The Big Short
Steve Carrell - The Big Short
Robert DeNiro - The Intern x Mark Ruffalo - Infinitely Polar Bear
Bradley Cooper - Burnt x Al Pacino - Danny Collins
Alt. Paul Dano - Love & Mercy

Steve Carell - The Big Short
Bradley Cooper - Burnt
Matt Damon - The Martian
Paul Dano - Love & Mercy
Robert De Niro - The Intern
Alt: Bill Hader - Trainwreck


The comedy actor category this year is some kind of weak sauce; that's why the Big Short should go long in this one. I think they should just get rid of comedy in general - why is this genre getting its own category, and not some other ones, like ACTION THRILLER? Because, Mad Max.

ACTRESS (DRAMA)
Cate Blanchett - Carol
Brie Larson - Room
Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn
Rooney Mara - Carol
Emily Blunt - Sicario x Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl
Alt. Alicia Vikander - Ex-Machina

Cate Blanchett - Carol
Brie Larson - Room
Charlotte Rampling - 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl
Alt: Helen Mirren - Woman in Gold


Once again, wishing for something I'm not predicting: Charlize Theron for Mad Max. Let me have it, Globes!

ACTRESS (COMEDY / MUSICAL)
Jennifer Lawrence - Joy
Amy Schumer - Trainwreck
Melissa McCarthy - Spy
Lily Tomlin - Grandma
Sandra Bullock - Our brand is crisis x Maggie Smith - The Lady in the Van
Alt. Meryl Streep -Ricki and the Flash

Jennifer Lawrence - Joy
Melissa McCarthy - Spy
Amy Schumer - Trainwreck
Meryl Streep - Ricki and the Flash
Lily Tomlin - Grandma
Alt: Maggie Smith - The Lady in the Van


SUPPORTING ACTOR
Idris Elba - Beasts of No Nation
Jacob Tremblay - Room x Michael Shannon - 99 Homes
Mark Ruffalo - Spotlight x Paul Dano - Love & Mercy
Michael Keaton - Spotlight x Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone - Creed
Alt. Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies

Christian Bale - The Big Short
Idris Elba - Beasts of No Nation
Michael Keaton - Spotlight
Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone - Creed
Alt: Mark Ruffalo - Spotlight


Why do some actors in ensemble get to be nominated as lead actors, and some as supporting? Why ask why?

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Jason Leigh - The Hateful Eight
Jane Fonda -Youth
Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs
Kristen Stewart - Clouds of Sil Maria x Alicia Vikander - Ex-Machina
Rachel McAdams - Spotlight x Helen Mirren - Trumbo

Alt. Helen Mirren - Trumbo

Jennifer Jason Leigh - The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara - Carol
Rachel McAdams - Spotlight
Kristen Stewart - Clouds of Sils Maria
Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs
Alt: Helen Mirren - Trumbo


SCREENPLAY
Spotlight
Anomalisa x The Hateful Eight
Room
Carol x The Big Short
Brooklyn x Steve Jobs
Alt. The Big Short

Carol
The Hateful Eight
Joy
Spotlight
Steve Jobs
Alt: The Martian


FOREIGN FILM FEATURE
Son of Saul
Phoenix x The Brand New Testament
Mustang
The Second Mother x The Club
Ixcanul x The Fencer
Alt. Dheepan x

Mustang (France)
Rams (Iceland)
Son of Saul (Hungary)
Taxi (Iran)
The Wave (Norway)
Alt: Dheepan (France)


This category. Hahaha. I'm making guesses of films I haven't seen, and ignoring films I've actually seen. Like, the Wave. And Rams. And Jafar Panahi's Taxi. Rams is so funny and endearing; Taxi is searing (though the concept is done already, kinda, by Abbas Kiarostami some years ago). But I guess a Holocaust film is going to win, again.

ANIMATED FEATURE
Anomalisa
Inside Out
Minions x The Good Dinosaur
Shaun the Sheep Movie
The Peanuts Movie
Alt. The Good Dinosaur

Anomalisa
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie
Alt: Minions


SCORE
Mad Max x Carol
Spotlight x Steve Jobs
The Danish girl
Inside out x The Revenant
The Hateful Eight
Alt. Star Wars!

Carol
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
The Hateful Eight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Alt: Spotlight


SONG
Spectre
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 x Furious 7
Youth (!)
Fifty shades
Love & Mercy
Alt. The other non-Weeknd Fifty shades song

Concussion
Love & Mercy
Pitch Perfect 2
Spectre
Youth
Alt: The Hunting Grounds


My score: 45/70 w/o Alternates = 64%
50/70 with Alternates = 71%

Griz's score:
47/70 w/o Alternates = 67%
51/70 with Alternates = 73%

We're not great psychics, are we? D'oh! However, Griz won, with TWO WHOLE categories correctly predicted: Animated and Director!

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Neuroscience and the experience of "losing yourself" in a film

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From Wired, the more interesting part:

Consider this study, led by Uri Hasson and Rafael Malach at Hebrew University. The experiment was simple: they showed subjects a vintage Clint Eastwood movie (“The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”) and watched what happened to the cortex in a scanner. The scientists found that when adults were watching the film their brains showed a peculiar pattern of activity, which was virtually universal.
[...]

[I]t’s also worth pointing out which brain areas didn’t “tick together” in the movie theater. The most notable of these “non-synchronous” regions is the prefrontal cortex, an area associated with logic, deliberative analysis, and self-awareness. Subsequent work by Malach and colleagues has found that, when we’re engaged in intense “sensorimotor processing” – and nothing is more intense for the senses than a big moving image and Dolby surround sound – we actually inhibit these prefrontal areas. The scientists argue that such “inactivation” allows us to lose ourself in the movie.
I've often wondered about how some people find it easy to get right into the movies, and some are more inclined to keep a distance from what happens on screen. To extrapolate on the article's highlights, then, it might be reasonable to suspect that those lacking in experiential awareness (i.e. in their bodily sensation, either due to habitual experience suppression or inability to do so in the first place) would have a harder time "getting into" the movie going experience, and continue to engage in prefrontal cortex activity, which puts a bit of a psychological distance between the self and the screen.

It makes sense given that emotional arousal (which includes bodily experience), one that is triggered by a particular aspect of the film that taps into a self-relevant subconscious / unsymbolized / unarticulated experience, can also override the prefrontal cortex activity. In other words, if you're the kind of person who finds experiential awareness challenging, you might still be able to immerse yourself in the film viewing process if there are aspects of the film that really speak to your deep-down emotional experience.

In summary, breaking news: if you're not getting the most out of your film going experience, it's either you, or the film.

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TIFF 2015 Reviews: Son of Saul and Beasts of No Nation, the heavy weights

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Géza Röhrig in Saul Fia (Son of Saul)
Saul Fia  (Son of Saul, Nemes)

Briefly, the film focuses on a group of prisoners tasked with the horrifying job of herding people to their death and cleaning up the aftermath (adding insult to injury is the fact that they themselves are waiting to be on the chopping block, and they knew it). Amongst these so-called Sonderkommando is Saul, who functions as well as anyone could under the circumstances. During one of his work shifts, he discovers a boy's body who may or may not be his son (he's convinced, but his fellow mates aren't so sure). He then sets out to acquire a rabbi who's willing to help him properly bury the boy in the Jewish tradition. The rest of his Sonderkommando mates have their own agenda, and the film goes on to pitch the need of one (Saul's humanity) against the need of many (liberation, knowledge be photographed to the world, etc.).

There's much to be admired about the craftsmanship of László Nemes' holocaust film. It recalls at its best the restrained and claustrophobic feel of Robert Bresson's A man escaped. For a subject as exhaustively done in films as this one, it's to Nemes' credit that he's able to deliver something a little different. The decision to go right into what gives the holocaust its name could have turned out quite exploitative, but his camera takes care to focus on our protagonist's shell-shocked but determined face rather than lingering on the mass of bodies strewn about. Wisely, the external horror lurks within frame, but just right on the periphery, so we can fill in the blanks with what it must have been, somewhat assured by the composed man-on-a-mission's presence.

The theme of the film's critique, if one can call it that, can be summed up in a line spoken a couple of times by one of Saul's fellow Sonderkommando: "You sacrifice our future to bury the dead" (or was it "You let down the living for the dead?"). It's literally true in the film, as his mission bears an immediate cost to the greater cause. Yet, the film seems to champion our protagonist's self-motivated actions: there implies the risk of losing our self and the spiritual growth of humanity if we were to simply dispose of our dark past. In trying to hang on to tradition, preserving the last shred of humanity in a very inhumane place, Saul's seemingly futile effort gets a living witness. One can only hope the future remembers what it has seen.

Abraham Attah in Beasts of No Nation
Beasts of No Nation (Fukunaga)

Like Son of Saul, child soldier is not exactly what one would willingly pick to sit down to view on, say, a Friday night. Unlike Son of Saul, however, the subject doesn't get much treatment of any kind in the mainstream cinemascape, so it arrives freshly picked for its viewers.

Fukunaga does a lot of good things with the film: it's horrifying without exploitative, meditative without abandoning narrative, and it imbues humanity in its characters without turning a blind eye to the evil of their actions. He spends enough time with our child soldier pre-war to ensure the viewer knows what light is like for him before darkness envelops. The performances are natural and haunting, particularly Abraham Attah in the main role of Agu. The music knows when to leave and enter the screen. The cinematography is beautiful, if not a little overly so. Unfortunately, the film falls short of greatness when it draws from the vocabulary of previously celebrated films in the war genre, namely The Thin Red Line.

The film is narrated, almost like a good yarn, by Agu, via voice-over. He's given mature, adult-like reflections and internal dialogue as he walks us along the horror he witnesses and engages in.  Never mind that it makes the film feel unnatural (a shame, given its naturalistic context), the voice over soothingly frames the story, thereby softening the blows and inadvertently distancing its viewer even as it attempts to shed light into the internal world of Agu. For such an important, relatively rare (cinematically speaking) fictional account of very real horrors, such stylistic choice seems at best redundant, and at worst, offensive. In the final confession frame, Agu is given a line that blatantly, and unnecessarily, tips off the film's moral hand. It makes the film seem a little disrespectful of its own gravity.

It's uncertain how far Beasts could've reached if it hasn't tried to simply preach to the converted. As it is, it may contend with being admired for efforts taken, rather than gripped by the depth it could've gone.

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TIFF 2015 reviews: Dheepan, exorcising the psychological wound

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Let me tell you about the surface narrative of the film for a bit. Then, I'll tell you about the other story I got out of Dheepan.

This Palm D'or winner from Jacques Audiard is constructed with a clear, traditional three parts arc. In the beginning, we see a Tamil Tiger soldier seeking escape from death and destruction in his home land. That journey begins with a necessary lie: he arrives in France with a family not his own, cobbled together from the ruins of survivors, the witnesses of human destruction. They begin their new life in what seems to be a project housing in the middle of Nowhere, France. In the second arc, our protagonist and his faux family try to figure out their new place in the current world, and we get the usual immigrant fish-out-of-water dramedy. For a while, they could pretend it's like "a movie" (as the wife character says), watching but not really being a part of it. It doesn't last, of course, as violence is embedded within their new life as well, always threatening to surface. The drama of three strangers trying to survive together unfolds as expected, and the third act deals with the inevitable disintegration of this fragile tapestry.

There's a richness to the number of possible stories here: the immigrant experience, survivors of wars, senseless violence and destruction in modern life. All of them, however, leave a bit to be desired. Each seems a little less interesting as a film on its own, without elements of other stories. As such, any interpretation relying on these separate stories may leave you wondering, "what's the big deal?" Where's the "truth", so to speak, to this exercise?

Perhaps, the truth is painted on the elephant in the film, figuratively and literally speaking.

On two separate occasions, the head of a speckled elephant appears, demarcating the middle arc from the first and the third one. Any time an animal is used in the film, it's a cued entry into the spiritual / psychological world. Without fail, as in A Prophet (Audiard's previous film that I've seen), here lies what I believe to be the experiential truth. Forget the other stories; let's retrace our step.

SPOILERS ALERT
Dheepan, one must remember, is a false name. He carries with him the trauma of the burned dead, into what is essentially a No Man's Land (at one point he declares a No Fire Zone in the film), or as it is called in the film, Le Pre (the Field). This Field, nondescript and full of lost souls, is a false world. Here, he exists without living (the film made a point of him having no sense of humour), a purgatory of sort. From a psychological point of view, trauma survivors live in a sort of limbo state of experience. The past haunts the present; every day life is a little removed, a little surreal, and always threatened by the possibility of being subsumed by what the survivors carry with them. One can also map this holding place onto the adjustment period for new immigrants, wherein the displaced people haven't quite yet found their true "present," holding onto the home land in their memory while waiting for admission into their new cultural home.

Emotion-Focused Therapy theory postulates that to have a healthy psyche again, to be able to live fully in the present experience, one needs to "correct" the maladaptive emotional experience as it is being experienced. The correction begins with the allowance for the painful, emotional experience to come alive in the present. Out of it rise the unspoken human needs and desires unmet. The correction completes with an integrated experience of the self, and a new narrative emerges from the crumbled haunts of the past.

Dheepan's pain of having lost loved ones is allowed to come alive in his new family and the new, yet familiar place of violence and disconnection. This kind of pain is a lonely one: he screams, sings, and loses control on his own at first. It is only when the circumstances present an opportunity for him to act out what he probably wishes to have done or admonishes himself for not having done, that his spirit/psyche rises to the occasion (literally up the stairs), and the need to reconnect to humanity is met. Only then, the angels sing, signalling the leaving of this limbo phase, and the arrival of a new beginning.

As it exists on this plane, the film is a beautifully realized and constructed story. Sometimes, it helps to dig a little deeper when struggling with "is this it?" coming out of a film. It may or may not place the film in a different context that's perhaps more rewarding for the viewer. There just has to be enough in the experience itself to warrant the exploration, and the elephant does it for Dheepan.

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Oscars Winners 2015 & Reactions

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So, it's, like, two weeks late. But I'm going to finish what I started, because I'm sick and apparently a stickler. First, the winners:

Birdman
BEST PICTURE: Birdman 
BEST DIRECTOR: Alejandro González Iñárritu - Birdman
BEST ACTOR: Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
BEST ACTRESS: Julianne Moore - Still Alice
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: J.K. Simmons - Whiplash
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Birdman
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Imitation Game
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Birdman
BEST FILM EDITING: Whiplash
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: The Grand Budapest Hotel
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: The Grand Budapest Hotel
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING: The Grand Budapest Hotel
BEST SOUND EDITING: American Sniper
BEST SOUND MIXING: Whiplash
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Interstellar
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: Selma, Glory
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: The Grand Budapest Hotel
BEST ANIMATED FILM: Big Hero 6
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Ida
BEST DOCUMENTARY: Citizenfour

Laura Dern in Alberta Ferretti
Ana Faris in Zuhair Murad
Emma Stone in Elie Saab
Reactions:
Best dressed: Laura Dern, Ana Faris, Emma Stone.
Best win: Interstellar, because I wasn't sure it was going to win anything, and nothing in this category is more deserving.
Best predix prowess: I killed in the technical categories. Yeah.
Best hosting surprise / gag: I really thought Neil Patrick Harris was going to play safe, but he went out there. Even if his (?) jokes were sometimes off, they were anything BUT safe. I really did enjoy the random gag with Miles Teller playing his drums while NPH ran on stage in his underwear. Brilliant.
Surprise take-over: Budapest did gangbusters on the tech side!
Undeserving win: Birdman for Cinematography?
Speechifying: Wow did they ever hit all the sob points with speeches about suicide and MS and freedom fries.
Best cheer: Seeing Wes Anderson clapping beside his ears for his fellow Budapest people made me happy.
Best cryer: Did anyone see Chris Pine shedding manly tears after Glory was sung?
Best nominee reaction: Emma Stone clutching her Lego Oscar. So cute.
WTF: I'm not sure if it was scripted or not, but man, Oscars is not doing anything for John Travolta. What was with the face touching?
WTF 2: The Lego song performance. Best thing of the night, hands down. Made me sad to remember the film wasn't nominated.
Unnecessary segment: Lady Gaga may be showing off her range, but I knew that already, and it was totally unnecessary.
Unnecessary miss: Why didn't the Oscars show any work during the In Memoriam segment? And Joan Rivers was left off - that's not classy, Oscars, even if the lady wasn't known for class.

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Oscars 2015 Winners Predix: Is it a bird? Is it a boy?

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Birdman
BEST PICTURE:

Editor:
Birdman
Alt: Boyhood

Griz:
Boyhood
Alt: Birdman

BEST DIRECTOR:

Editor:
Alejandro González Iñárritu - Birdman
Alt: Richard Linklater - Boyhood

Griz:
Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Alt: Alejandro González Iñárritu - Birdman

BEST ACTOR:

Editor:
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Alt: Michael Keaton - Birdman

Griz:
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Alt: Michael Keaton - Birdman

BEST ACTRESS:

Editor:
Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Alt: Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl

Griz:
Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Alt: Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Editor:
J.K. Simmons - Whiplash
Alt: Edward Norton - Birdman

Griz:
J.K. Simmons - Whiplash
Alt: Edward Norton - Birdman

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Editor:
Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Alt: Laura Dern - Wild

Griz:
Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Alt: Emma Stone - Birdman

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

Editor:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alt: Birdman

Griz:
Birdman
Alt: The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

Editor:
Whiplash
Alt: The Imitation Game

Griz:
The Imitation Game
Alt: Whiplash

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Editor:
Mr. Turner
Alt: Ida

Griz:
Birdman
Alt: The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST FILM EDITING:

Editor:
Boyhood
Alt: Whiplash

Griz:
Boyhood
Alt: Whiplash

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

Editor:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alt: Mr. Turner

Griz:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alt: Mr. Turner

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:

Editor:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alt: Mr. Turner

Griz:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alt: Into the Woods

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING:

Editor:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alt: Foxcatcher

Griz:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alt: Foxcatcher

BEST SOUND EDITING:

Editor:
American Sniper
Alt: Birdman

Griz:
American Sniper
Alt: Interstellar

BEST SOUND MIXING:

Editor:
American Sniper
Alt: Whiplash

Griz:
American Sniper
Alt: Birdman

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:

Editor:
Interstellar
Alt: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Griz:
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Alt: Interstellar

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:

Editor:
Selma, Glory
Alt: The Lego Movie, Everything is Awesome

Griz:
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” - Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Alt: “Glory” - Selma

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:

Editor:
The Theory of Everything
Alt: Interstellar

Griz:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alt: The Theory of Everything

BEST ANIMATED FILM:

Editor:
How to train your Dragon 2
Alt: Big Hero 6

Griz:
How To Train Your Dragon 2
Alt: Big Hero 6

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:

Ida
Alt: Wild Tales

Griz:
Ida
Alt: Leviathan

BEST DOCUMENTARY:

Editor:
Citizenfour
Alt: Last Days in Vietnam

Griz:
Citizenfour
Alt: Virunga

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Cinemaps' BEST OF 2014: That Movie Going Experience

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The Look of Silence
Even though there was a dip in frequency and quality of film experience for me this past year (compared to the previous year), I'm thankful I'm still able to be wowed at the theatre. I did cry buckets at The Look of Silence, go on a space trip at Interstellar, have a perma-smile whooshing through The Grand Budapest Hotel, get taken aback by the ASL language barrier for a non-deaf audience member like me while watching The Tribe, and wonder incredulously at just how far along the absurdity scale the car chase in Wild Tales would go. In the rush to get this post in before the Oscars ceremony, and having missed some films I'd wanted to see at TIFF (and not having them played at reasonable times/places afterwards), I'm sure this list will be modified once I see the Uncharted. Until then, I'm moderately confident that most of these spots are pretty solid. Ha, what endorsement! But, for serious, here's the top 10, and other stuff.

Force Majeure
01. The Look of Silence (Oppenheimer) ****1/2
Joshua Oppenheimmer returned to the crime scene in Indonesia to give us a necessary companion film to his previous documentary extraordinaire, The Act of Killing (Cinemaps' champ of 2013). This time, in place of shockingly content and dissociated perpetrators, we followed the grieving process of a mild-mannered optometrist whose older brother was one of these murderers' victims. Adi, our protagonist, agreed to confront his brother's killers in some of the most uncomfortable, heart-breaking, rage-provoking civil conversations I've ever borne witness to. There was so much pain, and yet so little cathartic opportunities for the audience on film that I ended up with an overwhelming ball of anger in my ribcage by the time the credits rolled. The making of these films in itself was the definition of courage, both from the people who made it and the people whose stories were told. I learned through the Q & A at TIFF (Adi & Oppenheimer were there - they were given the longest standing ovation I've witnessed) that in return for this injustice to be brought to light, so that perhaps the many people whose lives forever scarred by this senseless atrocity could have some closure, Adi paid the price of political refugees: his own family fled from the area, his parents were placed elsewhere hidden by friends. While Killing allowed for shock and awe as human's darkness took center stage, Silence gave space for exorcism, with light, love, clarity, and an enduring, unbreakable desire to live.

02. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Anderson) ****
Nobody else could have made this but Wes Anderson. In the hand of a less talented but equally precious director, this would have been too cutesy to work as an adult picture. But, here I was, watching with giddy delight at the nostalgically retold fairytale of a bygone era for the riches. Everything felt as light and scrumptious as the pastries they made in the film. Most impressive was the framing of every picture: nary an element was out of place. It even retained the kinetic energy of films from early cinematic time. And just how good did Ralph Fiennes look?! In the so-far-duds-free Anderson oeuvre, I'd rank this somewhere between Rushmore and Fantastic Mr. Fox. I think that means I loves it.

03. Plemya (The tribe; Slaboshpitsky) ****
I got majorly educated watching this intense and unique thriller (that's right) about a deaf teenager's induction into a 'tribe' at a special boarding school for deaf students in Ukraine. I learned, from this experience, how frustrating it was to watch something in a completely different language that I had no translation at hands (pun intended) for. How do deaf people see films? I'd imagine they'd read subtitles, which, as a warning, you'd not get with this film. I also learned that I got used to guessing after a while, based on my basic understanding of people in general (and teenagers in particular). Except for the very big sensory difference (which came into play as instrumental to the characters' lives in unexpected ways), the basic needs to belong and to be loved were the same for all the world over. And these forces can really pull you in places you never thought possible. I'm so glad Slaboshpitsky steered clear of sentiments and made a gritty film about people struggling with challenges, and not necessarily the one I may assume they'd have.

04. Turist (Force Majeure; Östlund) ****
The film followed a Swedish family on their five-days ski vacation, with threats of disintegration bubbling ever so carefully underneath their seemingly perfect exterior. You know that expression, "shooting fish in a barrel?"  This was like fishing starving fishes in a barrel, poking at them, releasing them, then throwing a hand grenade in there for good measures. It was cruelly relentless, and so on point. The laughs came easily - Östlund took the situation just far enough that it was still within the realm of possibility for us to recognize the relatable elements, but it was absurd enough that we could laugh at it. Well, some of us anyway (I had a brief conversation with someone who found it so brutal that it was not possible to laugh about it). Beautifully shot, well acted, and a great conversation fodder: what was the Academy problem not nominating it for best foreign picture?

05. Relatos salvajes (Wild Tales, Szifrón) ****
Six short stories, each vying to be the wilder tale in the bunch, were expertly strung together to form a tapestry of modern relationships. And it could not be a more fun yarn spinning time. My favourite was not the wedding story that built to an exclamation mark at the end; it was the road-rage story to end all road-rage stories somewhere in the middle. Almodóvar would be so pleased.

06. Interstellar (Nolan) ****
Thank goodness for Nolan's insistence on EPICNESS. Go big, or go home, eh? His movies generally aren't terribly profound, but they make up for it in their ability to transport viewers to their reality. And transported, I was. Interstellar was no 2001: A Space Odyssey. But it was no one-trick technical Gravity either. Here, as with his other films, Nolan started with a concept, an idea of "what if?" and built a groundswell of technicality around it. But unlike his other central-concept films, he opted to iron out a few story knots and adopted a rare thing for his films: sentiment. Perhaps people reacted more strongly to this unexpected development for a Nolan film, but it was perhaps an effort to secure a wide audience for the more impressive technical achievements of the film. Going through with this film, I felt like I time traveled and went to space, experientially. Just what were people complaining about? Who cares? I went to space! Space, people! Could you not feel it? The visceral experience was incredible, I did not want to leave. What a trip.

07. Under the skin (Glazer) ***1/2
Forget that Scarlett Johansson was full on nude in this hypnotic film. She stripped down further than that - under the skin, indeed - and gave us an incredibly nuanced, unrecognizable performance as an alien performing 'human' to lure victims for their, um, innards? This was almost Birth-level performance (Glazer's previous film starring Nicole Kidman in one of her best roles). I can't tell you if you'd find "eroticism" in this; you'd definitely find "strange," and sometimes, shockingly, even "beautiful."

08. En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron (A pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on existence; Andersson) ***1/2
That title, I don't know. But this was straight bananas, all impeccably framed.

09. Hanja (Snowpiercer; Bong) ***1/2
So much more fun and off-kilter than Chris Evans' presence would ever suggest (he, of such Serious variety), and deserving praise for execution in tight quarters. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi film would best be taken in figurative, symbolic sense as it tackled class-ism and politics; under realistic scrutiny, it may fall apart. I was happy to see it on screen finally, as I'd heard about its production from the director way back when I mingled with him (the perks of being a part of an international film festival, le sigh).

10. Ida (Pawlikowski) ***1/2
If I had to put into words what Ida's journey was about, I'd say it mirrored the film itself: a precisely aware form that gently inquired about the holocaust, and then went on its way. C'est la vie.

Godzilla
Grin and Pulse
The most fun I had watching a movie this past year
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Interstellar
Wild Tales
Godzilla
The Lego Movie

Director
Confident storytelling, with a touch of "wow"
Joshua Oppenheimer, The Look of Silence
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, Plemya (The Tribe)
Ruben Östlund, Turist (Force Majeure)
Christopher Nolan, Interstellar


Performance
I feel you
Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin
Yana Novikova, The Tribe
Antoine Olivier Pilon, Mommy
J. K. Simmons, Whiplash
Erica Rivas, Wild Tales

Philip Seymour Hoffman, A Most Wanted Man
Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice
Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer
Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Writing
Create interesting, layered, cohesive universe; would make for a great read on its own
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ruben Östlund, Turist (Force Majeure)
Damien Szifrón, Wild Tales
Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, Plemya (The Tribe)
Roy Andersson, A pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on existence

Interstellar
Editing
Interesting, effective cuts and stitches that support and move the story visually
The Grand Budapest Hotel
 Interstellar
Under the Skin
Wild Tales
A pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on existence

Cinematography
Takes my breath away
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Interstellar
A pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on existence
Godzilla
Ida

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Art Direction / Production Design
Transportive, impactful set design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Snowpiercer
Interstellar
A pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on existence
Birdman

Effects
Movie Magic
Interstellar
Godzilla
Edge of Tomorrow
Snowpiercer
Under the skin


Sound
Amplify the visuals and enrich my sensory experience
Godzilla
Whiplash
Edge of Tomorrow
American Sniper
Birdman

Score
Was it memorable?
Interstellar
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Under the skin
Only lovers left alive

Uncharted  
Films I've yet to see that could make a dent on the list above
Winter sleep
Tale of the princess kaguya
Babadook
A girl walks home alone at night
Clouds of Sils Maria
Maps to the Stars 

Charted

****1/2
The Look of Silence (Oppenheimer)

****
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Anderson)
Plemya (The tribe; Slaboshpitsky)
Turist (Force Majeure; Östlund)
Relatos salvajes (Wild Tales, Szifrón)
Interstellar (Nolan)

***1/2
Under the skin (Glazer)
En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron (A pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on existence; Andersson)
Hanja (Snowpiercer; Bong)
Ida (Pawlikowski )
Whiplash (Chazelle)
Foxcatcher (Miller)
Gone Girl (Fincher)
Leviafan (Leviathan; Zvyagintsev)
Mommy (Dolan)
Boyhood (Linklater)
Guardians of the Galaxy (Gunn)

***
A most wanted man (Corbijn)
Deux jours, une nuit (Two days, one night; Dardenne & Dardenne)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Russo & Russo)
The Lego Movie (Miller & Lord)
Edge of Tomorrow (Liman)
Godzilla (Edwards)
Song of the sea (Moore)
Virunga (von Einsiedel)
Nightcrawler (Gilroy)
Birdman (Iñárritu)
X-men: Days of the Future Past (Singer)

**1/2
Obvious Child (Robespierre)
The Imitation Game (Tyldum)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Reeves)
American Sniper (Eastwood)
Inherent Vice (Anderson)
The Interview (Rogen & Goldberg)
Locke (Knight)

**
The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies (Jackson)
The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Pt. 1 (Lawrence)
Only lovers left alive (Jarmusch)
The Raid 2: Berandal (Evans)
Lucy (Besson)

*
Adieu au langage (Goodbye to lanuage: 3D; Godard) 

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Oscars Nominations Reactions: not enough Dick Poop jokes

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Philip Lord, LEGO's director/writer tweeted this pic with a statement: "It's okay. Made my own."
Not the nominees reactions - we're talking about the ones that matter: ours!

Editor:
Biggest flub: See title of this post.

Biggest snub: Forget Selma, which wasn't happening anyway. You want to talk shocking snub? The LEGO movie. What. The. Heck. I've seen Song of the Sea, it was cute. CUTE. Quaint, even. In spite of my hatred for product placement, whatever, I think LEGO was actually a really decent movie. I am shocked. Although, in some ways, it really does say something about the Academy conservatism and snootiness. I guess they just didn't want to nominate something that calls itself the-toy-it's-trying-to-sell movie. A total undeserving snub.

Righteous Win in Predix: Marion Cotillard. Even she didn't expect it. But I knew. The Academy loves her.

"Well that's just plain strange turn of events": "Foxcatcher getting Director without Picture" duking it out with "Why the heck did Selma get a best picture without anything else?" (Song does not count all that much)

Sad little Snub: I was rooting for Force Majeure, and more than a little surprised that it didn't get nominated. It was such a crowd pleaser. Maybe a little off kilter, but funny as heck. It could be that the ending threw people off? That Timbuktuu has better be good.

Another Sad even littler Snub: Ralph Fiennes. He should've gotten in considering how Budapest seems to be picking up so many nominations. :(

Griz: [Are you] too distraught and depressed that The LEGO Movie wasn’t nominated for Best Animated Film?! I wouldn’t blame you!! Holy crap, what a snub! That’s gotta be the biggest one in a long, long time, in any category. What a blunder. Even if an animation voter didn’t love the story and such, surely they could see the unique style and animation approach of it? It’s hard to fault any of the films that were nominated (Song of the Sea, yay, no matter what you say!) but damn.. Everything is NOT awesome.

Yay for The Grand Budapest Hotel! Wes Anderson’s first nomination for Best Director, would ya believe it? I really didn’t think it was going to be a player at all at the Oscars a few months ago, beyond a few tech categories. So glad it wasn’t forgotten about. Oh, and Robert Yeoman got his first Oscar nomination too, I’ve adored his cinematography (especially for Wes Anderson, of course) for so long, so that’s a thrill.

Lots of weird stuff going on with these nominations though. Bradley Cooper got in for actor, but Clint Eastwood missed out despite a DGA nomination. Bennett Miller got nominated for Best Director, but Foxcatcher didn’t make it into Best Picture, despite 8 BP nominees?! What the hell? OH OH OH, and Gone Girl got ONE nomination. Just one for Nightcrawler too, poor Jake Gyllenhaal. And only two for Selma, which makes it even more bizarre that it got into Best Picture. How can a movie so unloved in all categories (except for song) get a Best Picture nomination? The power of Oprah, I guess. 

Inherent Vice got a bit of love too, which neither of us were predicting.. You can’t ever count out P.T. Anderson! I know you weren’t in love with it, but I’m still excited to see it.  

I thought long and hard about it, but ended up going with Amy Adams because she generally gets nominated for every freaking thing. I should’ve at least had Cotillard as an alt, why did I ever think Aniston had a shot?  

Anyway, ignoring the LEGO Movie snub, I’d say these were pretty good nominees? Not too much bait stuff, although surely some more worthy contenders missed out too.  

Also, since when does Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu go by Alejandro G. Inarritu? The Gonzalez part is the only part of his name that people could ever pronounce! If anything he should go by A. Gonzalez I.

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Oscars 2015 Nominations (Predix + Actual): 'tis the Eve of Moderate Surprises

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Maybe I should change this site to Awards Auteur, because all I do recently is keep up with the awards season. I have to sort myself out soon? In the mean time, here are the predix from me and my friend, Griz (in Purple).

Post announcement (PA) comments in Blue.

PICTURE
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher 
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Nightcrawler Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

American Sniper 
Birdman 
Boyhood 
Gone Girl 
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
The Imitation Game 
Nightcrawler 
Selma 
The Theory of Everything 
Whiplash

Predix: Will it be Foxcatcher or Selma? I'm going with the PGA noms, and the fact that Selma seems to be losing steam. However, there is one thing going for Griz's pick against Foxcatcher: that picture is pretty darn cold.

PA: I think Selma totally had a political nomination in the Best Picture category. The Academy couldn't have loved it that much if it got in nowhere else. If anything, this was probably the Academy trying to overcompensate for it not making the card on other categories. Foxcatcher, I can understand the lack of love for it somewhat. It's a really cold film. You may admire it (which is probably why Miller got in for directing) but I don't think you'd lurve it.

DIRECTOR
Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Clint Eastwood - American Sniper Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher
Alejandro González I ñárritu - Birdman
Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Morten Tyldum - The Imitation Game

Alt: David Fincher - Gone Girl

Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel 
Clint Eastwood - American Sniper 
Alejandro González I ñárritu - Birdman 
Richard Linklater - Boyhood 
Morten Tyldum - The Imitation Game   

Alt: David Fincher - Gone Girl

Predix: The DGA kinda set the ball in motion? It's too bad about Tyldum. The Imitation Game is not at all well directed. Though, I suppose it is better directed than it is written, which is not saying much.

PA: Eastwood inexplicably got left out of the race. I'd say the ONLY reason why Sniper is even IN the race is because of this man. Unless they really love Cooper... 

ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard - Two days, One night
Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon - Wild

Alt: Jennifer Aniston - Cake

Amy Adams - Big Eyes 
Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything 
Julianne Moore - Still Alice 
Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl 
Reese Witherspoon - Wild  

Alt: Jennifer Aniston - Cake

Predix: I haven't seen Cake, but I feel nervous going against SAG noms. I still think there's a sheen on her that says  TV ACTRESS FRIEND. We'll see in a few hours! Meanwhile, there's Marion Cotillard and Amy Adams, one in a more well reviewed film than the other, both perennial favourites. Let's split!

PA: Vindicated! My reasoning actually played out this time!

ACTOR
Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler Bradley Cooper - American Sniper
Michael Keaton - Birdman
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

Alt: David Oyelowo - Selma

Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game 
Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler 
David Oyelowo - Selma 
Michael Keaton - Birdman 
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything   

Alt: Steve Carell - Foxcatcher

Predix: This is a heavy weight category - 2014 was a year filled with many strong male performances to choose from. I'm going with SAG here, but David Oyelowo could easily take that spot. The nomination that would make me so happy though would be Ralph Fiennes for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Please please please!

PA: I guess they do really love BCoop. He has been nominated, what, thrice in a row now? Jake Gyllenhaal got shafted. Although, I have to say, his character is a little close to Steve Carrell's in that "weird psycho dude" way, and Steven's was in a better 'produced' film so maybe that hurt his chance.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Jessica Chastain - A Most Violent Year Laura Dern - Wild
Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game
Emma Stone - Birdman
Meryl Streep - Into the Woods

Alt: Tilda Swinton - Snowpiercer

Patricia Arquette - Boyhood 
Jessica Chastain - A Most Violent Year 
Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game 
Emma Stone - Birdman 
Meryl Streep - Into the Woods   

Alt: Rene Russo - Nightcrawler

Predix: I don't get the Rene Russo buzz. Beautiful lady, over the top character / performance. I could probably say the same thing about Swinton, but she was way funnier.

PA: I'm just happy the Russo thing didn't happen - not because I don't like her, but because that would've been a bad nomination. But then again, I'm pretty sure Keira got in because of the picture she was in (Game's gonna win it, watch out Boyhood!), not because of her performance (el blando). I suppose Laura Dern was a surprise nomination - I didn't see that coming, probably because I haven't seen the movie. Too bad about Tilda Swinton though.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Duvall - The Judge
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
Edward Norton - Birdman
Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

Alt: Josh Brolin - Inherent Vice

Robert Duvall - The Judge 
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood 
Edward Norton - Birdman 
Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher 
J.K. Simmons - Whiplash   

Alt: Josh Brolin - Inherent Vice

Predix: This category looks pretty set. Poor Tatum.

PA: A perfectly predicted category! I would pick Brolin over Hawke though - I've never been a fan of Hawke's characterization. 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler  

Alt: Selma

Birdman 
Boyhood 
Foxcatcher 
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
Nightcrawler   

Alt: Selma

PA: Selma should've picked up a spot here if it was a player. And we knew it wasn't.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
American Sniper
Gone Girl Inherent Vice
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Wild 

Alt: Whiplash

American Sniper 
Gone Girl 
The Imitation Game 
The Theory of Everything 
Whiplash   

Alt: Wild

Predix: Thank goodness Griz alerted me to the Whiplash debacle. It may mean Whiplash would get shafted, depending on how the Academy members voted?

PA: I'm actually surprised that Vice got in for this particular category, because it is something of a mess, especially from a traditional point of view.  If I had read more about Whiplash, I would've probably predicted it over Wild. The Academy does like to award nominations to quirky writers / directors here.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Force Majeure (Sweden)
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Tangerines (Estonia)
Wild Tales (Argentina)

Alt: Timbuktu (Mauretania)

Force Majeure (Sweden) 
Ida (Poland) 
Leviathan (Russia) 
Tangerines (Estonia) 
Wild Tales (Argentina)   

Alt: Timbuktu (Mauretania)

PA: I looked at Timbuktu trailer, and I don't get it. I should celebrate Wild Tales getting in though - who knew a collection of short, crazy Argentinian films would make it to the Oscars of all places?

ANIMATED FEATURE
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How To Train Your Dragon 2
The LEGO Movie Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Alt: The Book of Life

Big Hero 6 
The Boxtrolls 
How To Train Your Dragon 2 
The LEGO Movie 
Song of the Sea   

Alt: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

PA: As the kids say these days, I can't even.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Citizenfour
Life Itself Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
Tales of the Grim Sleeper The salt of the Earth
Virunga

Alt: The Overnighters

Citizenfour 
Finding Vivian Maier 
Last Days in Vietnam 
Tales of the Grim Sleeper 
Virunga   

Alt: The Overnighters 

Predix: A truly blind set of guesses. I'm sad The Look of Silence didn't make the list though.

PA: I believe I made a mistake with my Alt. (it should've been Finding Vivian Maier) but whatever, I'm not changing it (I hope you're happy, Griz :p ). I really should rent some of these.

EDITING
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash  

Alt: American Sniper

American Sniper 
Birdman 
Boyhood 
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
The Imitation Game   

Alt: Nightcrawler

Predix: The Imitation Game is least deserving of a nom here, but this is an important category for Best Picture winner so it has to be here if it's going to win the whole deal.

PA: DUH! I should've thought about this more and realized that editing for Birdman would've been a silly nomination, considering its claim to fame in NOT editing.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game Ida
Mr. Turner
Unbroken

Alt: Interstellar

Birdman 
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
Interstellar 
Mr. Turner 
Unbroken   

Alt: The Imitation Game

PA: I really should've paid more attention to this category (in my defense, this was really late at night, at the end of a 12 hours day that preceded by two weeks straight of such days). Of course it made sense that Ida picked up a nom here. It's in black and white!

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Into the Woods
Interstellar 

Alt: Mr. Turner

Big Eyes 
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
The Imitation Game 
Into the Woods 
Mr. Turner   

Alt: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

PA: So here's a strike against Birdman winning Best Picture. This is one of its more noticeable 'goods' and to lose out to an inferior Game here is not a good sign. If this says anything, it's that Game's got game and Birdman's pooped.

VISUAL EFFECTS
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Interstellar
Godzilla!!!!!  

Alt: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 
Guardians of the Galaxy 
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 
Interstellar 
X-Men: Days of Future Past   

Alt: Godzilla

PA: Alas, wishful thinking doesn't make it true. Sorry, Godzilla. I don't get the Captain America nomination here though. How is it any better than Godzilla? It's not. This category sucks.

SOUND MIXING
American Sniper  
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Unbroken
Whiplash 

Alt: Birdman

American Sniper 
Birdman 
Guardians of the Galaxy 
The Imitation Game 
Unbroken   

Alt: Interstellar

PA: Into the Woods: D.O.A.

SOUND EDITING
American Sniper
Guardians of the Galaxy Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash  

Alt: The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

American Sniper 
Birdman 
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar 
Unbroken   

Alt: The Grand Budapest Hotel

MAKE UP & HAIRSTYLING
Foxcatcher
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Theory of Everything

Alt: The Grand Budapest Hotel  

Foxcatcher 
Guardians of the Galaxy 
The Theory of Everything   

Alt: The Grand Budapest Hotel 

Predix: I thought about Planet of the Apes, and I'm like, this is the Oscars. They don't care for Make up! They care for prosthetic acting! Hence, un-deserving Foxcacther probably gets it. Way to go, Carell's nose.

PA: Yup, the nose triumphs, once again. It's nice to see Budapest here though - it means, the Academy actually likes this movie!

COSTUME
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game Inherent Vice
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Maleficent
Into the Woods 
Mr. Turner

Alt: Guardians of the Galaxy

The Grand Budapest Hotel 
The Imitation Game 
Into the Woods 
Maleficent 
Mr. Turner   

Alt: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

PA: I don't get Vice's nomination here. Hobbit wuz robbed.

SCORE
Gone Girl Mr. Turner
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
The Theory of Everything

Alt: Birdman  

Birdman 
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
The Imitation Game 
Interstellar 
The Theory of Everything   

Alt: Gone Girl

PA: I'm a little surprised at the over-performance of Mr. Turner.

SONG
Begin Again
Big Eyes Beyond the Lights
The LEGO Movie
Selma
The Hunger Games Glen Campbell: I'll be me 

Alt: Annie

Begin Again 
Big Eyes 
Boyhood 
The LEGO Movie 
Selma   

Alt: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

PA: This category once again goes bananas. I should've known there would be something out of the left field like ... um, Glen Campbell: I'll be me. Is that even a movie?

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Golden Globes 2015 Winners Predix: It's all just a Game of birds and balls

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Alright, here we go again.

My special guest, Griz, helpfully contributes (in purple) as usual. Actual winners tomorrow evening will be in red.

PICTURE (DRAMA)
The imitation game
Alternate: Boyhood

It is so clear to me that The Imitation Game would be the picture to beat. It feels congratulatory good to feel bad watching this film. I'm not convinced Boyhood has enough heart string tugging or star power to win the whole deal. <--- I'll be right at the Oscars...

Boyhood
Alt: The Imitation Game


PICTURE (COMEDY/MUSICAL)
Birdman
Alt. Into the Woods

I really want to have faith in Budapest winning, but it may be too quirky for Globes. <--- Oh ye of no faith, said I!

Birdman
Alt: The Grand Budapest Hotel

DIRECTOR
Alejandro González Iñárritu - Birdman
Alt. Richard Linklater - Boyhood

I predict it'll go to the most obviously directed of the two (predicted) eventual picture winners. <--- I'm not doing too well at this, am I.

Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Alt: Alejandro González Iñárritu - Birdman


ACTRESS (DRAMA)
Reese Witherspoon - Wild
Alt. Julianne Moore - Still Alice

I feel like going Wild with this one. I think the Globes still likes stars, and I'm not entirely convinced Moore would take this glitter ball when someone more popular like Reese is in the race. I could be wrong, but what an upset it would be if I was right?! <--- I really shouldn't have gone wild. Though, this means Julianne Moore is definitely winning the Oscars!

Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Alt: Reese Witherspoon - Wild


ACTOR (DRAMA)
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Alt. Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game

Spread the wealth? Spread the wealth. <--- FINALLY. I predicted something right. Jeez.

Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Alt: Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game


ACTOR (COMEDY/MUSICAL)
Michael Keaton - Birdman
Alt. Ralph Fiennes - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Batman in his underwear, fleeing in embarrassment. It's acting! I'm rooting for Ralph Fiennnnnnes, of course. That stache is pure gold in acting.

Michael Keaton - Birdman
Alt: Ralph Fiennes - The Grand Budapest Hotel


ACTRESS (COMEDY / MUSICAL)
Amy Adams - Big Eyes
Alt. Julianne Moore - Maps to the stars

I don't know why I'm predicting a double snub for Julianne - I like her! May be I'm not feeling the hype, and maybe she'd be a victim of split votes. Plus, Amy Adams. How could they not like Amy Adams?

Amy Adams - Big Eyes
Alt: Emily Blunt - Into the Woods


SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Alt. Meryl Streep - Into the Woods

I know I'm predicting against the Streep, but Boyhood may need this thing because it's not winning anything else except Screenplay.

Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Alt: Meryl Streep - Into the Woods


SUPPORTING ACTOR
J. K. Simmons - Whiplash
Alt. Ed Norton - Birdman

This category has been predetermined - Simmons' gonna get it. Nobody here is a big enough star to upset the critical weight that Simmons carries for this film.

J.K. Simmons - Whiplash
Alt: Edward Norton - Birdman


SCREENPLAY
Boyhood
Alt. The Imitation Game

I don't feel confident with this pick, at least not as much as I'd like. I hope the Imitation Game doesn't get it - that would be decidedly not funny.

Birdman
Alt: Boyhood

FOREIGN FILM FEATURE
Ida X Leviathan
Alt. Force Majeure

I haven't seen Ida, but judging on how it's the only sure thing on anyone's list so far, and with its subject matter, how can it miss? However, I wouldn't mind Force Majeure taking it. That movie's HILARIOUS.

Ida (Poland)
Alt: Force Majeure (Sweden)


ANIMATED FEATURE
Lego Movie X How to train your dragons 2 (?!WTH?)
Alt. Big Hero 6

Other than Lego Movie and Song of the Sea, I have no clue how the other ones stack up. The Lego Movie was such a surprise hit, I think they'd reward it. Future self: steal this same reasoning for the eventual Oscars winner prediction in this category.

The LEGO Movie
Alt: The Boxtrolls


SCORE
Gone girl X The Theory of Everything
Alt: Interstellar

This is a good place to throw something like Gone Girl a bone, though Interstellar may upset (not likely, I don't think. It's so dead this award season for some reason.).

Birdman
Alt: The Imitation Game


SONG
Selma
Alt. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

Consolation prize? Plus, it's Legend.

Selma
Alt: Big Eyes


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