My 2017 Oscar Picks!

And the Winner is…

This Sunday night’s 89th Academy Awards show on ABC is one of the most uncertain and open races in recent years.  First-time Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel kicks off the telecast at 5 pm, Arizona time.  Despite La La Land netting a record-tying 14 Academy Award nominations (joining Titanic and All About Eve for the most ever), Oscar Night always manages to entertain and surprise viewers.  Expect the Hollywood love story to get stiff competition from Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight for the 8 ½ pound golden statuettes.

Here are my selections for who’ll win this year’s Academy Awards, honoring the highest achievements in filmmaking:

 

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Despite not being enthralled with either Moonlight or Manchester by the Sea, both films provided exceptional performances from their talented casts.  My vote would easily go to Viola Davis in FencesLion and Hidden Figures are the best movies on this 5-picture list, but Kidman and Spencer face an uphill battle.  And Williams?  Come on, she was barely in Manchester by the Sea…but her one memorable scene may be enough to sway Oscar voters.

Viola Davis (Fences) – Winner

Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

Nicole Kidman (Lion)

Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)

Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

 

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Never one to underestimate “The Rock”, I would be surprised if Moana mounted a serious enough challenge to Zootopia.  In fact, I’d place Kubo and the Two Strings slightly ahead of the Baywatch lifeguard.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

My Life As A Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Zootopia – Winner

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

The best early indicators as to which film will take the Best Picture award is usually found in the winner’s circle of the acting, directing and cinematography categories. Without Amy Adams (Arrival) in the running for Best Actress, the edge here goes to La La Land, Moonlight, and Lion—in that order.

Arrival

La La Land – Winner

Lion

Moonlight

Silence

 

VISUAL EFFECTS

Although Doctor Strange didn’t gain tons of critical acclaim from either movie reviewers or audience members, everyone agreed that it look phenomenal on the big-screen.  The Doctor’s closest competitor is The Jungle Book, which I wouldn’t mind watching it take a well-deserved Oscar in this category.

Deepwater Horizon

Doctor Strange – Winner

The Jungle Book

Kubo and the Two Strings

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

 

COSTUME DESIGN

Early favorite Jackie still poses the greatest threat to Fantastic Beasts, followed by Florence Foster Jenkins.

(PHOTO: Russell Crowe in “The Nice Guys”.  Not nominated for any Oscars.)

 Allied

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Winner

Florence Foster Jenkins

Jackie

La La Land

 

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

If you’re going to live long and prosper in the future, you need to look good doing it.  Mr. Scott, one golden statute to beam up.

A Man Called Ove

Star Trek Beyond – Winner

Suicide Squad

(PHOTO: Chris Pine, Sofia Boutella, and the late Anton Yelchin in “Star Trek Beyond”)

 

SOUND MIXING

If Hacksaw Ridge has any hope of scoring gold in the telecast’s last hour, the World War 2 true story will need to mount a serious charge to this objective. Doubtful, but the spirit of Desmond Doss can’t be ignored or downplayed entirely.

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land – Winner

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

 

SOUND EDITING

Most winners in the Sound Mixing category run the table and take this Oscar too.  I’m counting on it.

Arrival

Deepwater Horizon

Hacksaw Ridge

 La La Land – Winner

Sully

 

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

If Bridges doesn’t walk out with the Oscar in his hands, I’m going be unearthing some west Texas oil lands to find out who stole it! The scene near the end of Hell or High Water–where Bridges takes a rancher’s rifle into his own hands—should be studied in acting classes.  His range of emotions as grief, shock, elation, and back to sadness overwhelm him is fascinating to see unfold.  In the end, though, I think Academy scorecards give Ali the win with a TKO decision.

Mahershalia Ali (Moonlight) – Winner

Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)

Dev Patel (Lion)

Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

 

FILM EDITING

So far, La La Land has been dominating Oscar Night.  This category will let us know which film has the best chance at taking the night’s top prize –Best Picture. La La Land is the heavy favorite in this category, but don’t discard Moonlight too quickly.  Outside shot…Arrival.

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

 La La Land – Winner

Moonlight

 

 

 

 

PRODUCTION DESIGN

La La Land will withstand the test of time.  An instant classic that will continue to gain popularity in the next few decades a la Titanic.  Long shot is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Arrival

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!

 La La Land – Winner

Passengers

 

ORIGINAL SCORE

This one feels like a no-brainer.  If the popular musical can’t take the top prize in this category, they’re going to have a bad night.  A very bad night.

Jackie

La La Land – Winner

Lion

Moonlight

Passengers

 

ORIGINAL SONG

Again, this should be an easy-peasy victory for the song and dance number from director Damien Chazelle. But from here on out, La La Land will have a serious fight on its hands in the acting, directing and best picture categories.

Audition – The Fools Who Dream (La La Land) – Winner

Can’t Stop The Feeling (Trolls)

City of Stars (La La Land)

The Empty Chair (Jim: The James Foley Story)

How Far I’ll Go (Moana)

 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

I initially had given this one to Hidden Figures. But that was my heart talking, telling me that a win by the feel-good NASA true story would make Oscar’s trajectory all good in the world.  Or, perhaps, 2016’s most emotional film—Lion.  Unfortunately, the crack-addition narrative Moonlight makes her move here.

Arrival

Fences

Hidden Figures

Lion

Moonlight – Winner

 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

I’m hoping to see some west Texas justice for Hell or High Water, but think that it may actually come to Manchester by the Sea, which steals an Oscar from the City of Stars.

Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Lobster

Manchester by the Sea – Winner

20th Century Women

 

DIRECTING

As the youngest director to ever be nominated for an Academy Award, the now 32-year old Chazelle is the heavy favorite.  Moonlight’s leader Barry Jenkins is a close second. Outlier: Lonergan for his Manchester by the Sea.

Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)

Hacksaw Ridge (Mel Gibson)

La La Land (Damien Chazelle) – Winner

Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)

Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)

 

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

If were based solely on an actor’s ability to carry a film, Denzel Washington wins this easily.  Packing a stronger storyline with a larger supporting cast, Affleck’s distraught uncle character in Manchester by the Sea outshined Washington’s Pittsburgh garbage collector.

Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) – Winner

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)

Ryan Gosling (La La Land)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)

Denzel Washington (Fences)

 

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

One of the night’s biggest upsets could happen here.  Huppert’s portrayal of a rape victim in Elle has earned her numerous awards late last year and into 2017.  This remains, though, Stone’s Oscar to lose.

Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

Ruth Negga (Loving)

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Emma Stone (La La Land) – Winner

Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

 

BEST PICTURE

I only gave 3 films in 2016 an A+ letter grade—Hell or High Water, Lion, and La La Land.  But 3 of these nine nominees didn’t even make my Top 20 List for last year (Arrival, Fences, and Moonlight). Deservedly, Hidden Figures has gained momentum in recent months. Enough to earn the top award?  Probably not.  This one comes down to Moonlight and La La Land.

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

 La La Land – Winner

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Congratulations to all the winners!

 

 

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Movie Review – “Fifty Shades Darker”

Great (ben wa) balls of fire!  “Fifty Shades Darker” contains exactly one titillating (and humorous) string of events that quickly escalates from foreplay to masquerade dinner, before climaxing into mattress mayhem. 

Patrick King, REEL BRIEF

Once again, the month of February has drawn upon us and a handful of friends sheepishly asked if I were going to see this second erotic rollout based upon best-selling author E.L. James’ trilogy collection?  Yes, I unabashedly responded.  And, no, like most book-to-film endeavors, I haven’t read any of the James’ three “Shades” smut novels.

These questions point to the fact that sex fantasy films generate a whole different theater vibe and allure for viewers than a typical movie due to their more graphic sexual and kinky content. Such soft-porn movies create the need to review both the overall storyline and the over-publicized sordid sex scenes.

Great (ben wa) balls of fire!  “Fifty Shades Darker” contains exactly one titillating (and humorous) string of events that quickly escalates from foreplay to masquerade dinner, before climaxing into mattress mayhem.  Young Seattle billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) resumes his control freak persona into Anastasia Steele’s personal and professional life. This time, however, we find Dakota Johnson’s Miss Steele character never taken aback by her former lover… a more willing accomplice to Grey’s dominance between his 1800 thread count bed sheets.

Christian Grey is the same helicopter boyfriend who never allows his possessions or women to stray far outside of his arm’s reach. Everything must be available at his disposal to provide immediate gratification and stimulation. In a subtle scene as the always working Anastasia, Dakota Johnson pays a small on-screen tribute to her true-life mother, Melanie Griffith, and 1988’s “Working Girl”.

Unfortunately, this film’s story is not nearly as entertaining as last year’s predecessor, “Fifty Shades of Grey” — which I gave a B+ letter grade.  Little heartache or convincing is required of Christian Grey to pursue and compel the younger Anastasia to recommence her submissive afterhours sexual prowess.  The true culprit for the movie’s less satisfying plot resides in its lack of depth given to several competing, smaller sub-stories…none of which spurns any excitement, interest, or suspense for viewers in this installment.

While “Fifty Shades Darker” is a major drop-off from the series’ original bedroom punisher, it does faithfully accomplish its main goal of creating the potential for a thrilling finale in 2018.  Unapologetically, I will be there to review it.

Grade: C

“Fifty Shades Darker” is rated R for strong erotic sexual content, some graphic nudity and language.  Its running time is 1 hour and 55 minutes.

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Movie Review – “The Lego Batman Movie”

KAPOW!  After two dreary, less fulfilling gambits last year in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad”, leave it to this animated action pleaser to pump much-needed life back into DC Entertainment.

– Patrick King, REEL BRIEF

Three years after co-directing the wildly successful and Academy Award nominated “The Lego Movie”, Chris McKay finds himself sitting alone in the director’s chair for this sequel.  And the same can be said for Gotham City’s own Caped Crusader—as Batman headlines this Lego spin-off and must come to terms with his lonely, inner-self and inability to share his crime-fighting success with anyone else.

This adventure-comedy offers the perfect mix of funny one-liners with an explosive and emotional archrival, The Joker, who once again acts as the nemesis to Batman. The computer-generated animation film features dozens of superheroes and villains for viewers to choose from and watch throughout.  With a serious-minded human element softly added thanks to Tom Cruise’s “Jerry Maguire” character, “The Lego Batman Movie” brings smiles to viewers of all ages over its 90-minute therapy session for Bruce Wayne.

Will Arnett’s likable voice as Batman will draw easy comparisons to Facebook and YouTube viral sensation BatDad (“JEN!”).  That’s a good thing, with Arnett oozing overconfidence and an uneasiness to play well with others. Likewise, similar spectacular performers who make this film feel fresh and on top of its DC Comics’ game include Zach Galifianakis as The Joker, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl, and Ralph Fiennes as the consummate professional butler, Alfred.

Rated PG for crude humor and some action, the very few adult jokes all fly by fast and high enough to probably miss any attentive youthful ears.

KAPOW!  After two dreary, less fulfilling gambits last year in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad”, leave it to this animated action pleaser to pump much-needed life back into DC Entertainment. With rapid-fire laughs and well-timed hat tips to the 1960s “Batman” television series and Adam West, “The Lego Batman Movie” not only saves Gotham City, but, perhaps DC Comics as well. It nicely introduces us to a pair of main characters and their lesser known backgrounds, both of which have become staples in the Batman storyline.

Once again, everything is awesome.

Grade: A

“The Lego Batman Movie” is rated PG for crude humor and some action. Its running time is 1 hour and 27 minutes.

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Movie Review – “The Eagle Huntress”

“The Eagle Huntress” is bigger, though, than just one girl or what she achieves for women everywhere. It’s a charming cinematic and first-hand account of a culture that has withstood centuries of extreme cold and severe conditions.

Patrick King, REEL BRIEF.com

The uniqueness of documentary films affords us with an unfiltered, first-hand glimpse into a person’s life adventures.  These “reality” movies place us–the filmgoer–directly into the world of non-actors doing what they do best…being themselves.  Through these documentaries, we partake in history as it’s recording, warts and all, starring those who make it all happen.

In “The Eagle Huntress”, we are invited into the nomadic culture of one family living in the snow-covered Altai Mountains of Mongolia near the border with China.  This film’s deeply powerful and rich story develops as a young girl attempts to enter the competitive Mongol world of eagle hunters.

Narrated by The Force Awakens’ heroine Daisy Ridley (who played Rey in the 2015 Star Wars classic), “The Eagle Huntress” introduces viewers to a 13-year old girl named Aisholpan, as she learns the 1,000-year old trade skill of training golden eagles to help a tribe hunt for elusive foxes…a desperate source of food and clothing in Mongolia’s harsh 40-degrees below zero Asian climate.

Tackling strong stereotypes and the custom of male-only eagle hunters, this young girl must convince her father to alter her family’s twelve-generation practice of a patriarch teaching his son the time-honored art of taming predatory birds.

Gorgeous cinematography educates and inspires throughout.  With today’s over-reliance upon computer-generated imagery to create the perfect shot, it’s breathtaking to see a movie captured on the big-screen using only natural, postcard-quality outdoor scenes. In fact, while this film’s story is largely singular and focused solely on Aisholpan’s attempt to become the first woman to earn the coveted eagle huntress title, the English subtitles and amazing photography masterfully transplants us deep inside the nomadic tribal lifestyle.

Combined with its feel-good underdog narrative and mesmerizing images resides a galvanizing soundtrack that warms one’s heart and soul.  No music is more stirring than Sia’s song, “Angel by the Wings”, booming during the film’s credits and a handful of final photographs depicting Aisholpan.

“The Eagle Huntress” is bigger, though, than just one girl or what she achieves for women everywhere. It’s a charming cinematic and first-hand account of a culture that has withstood centuries of extreme cold and severe conditions.  All the while, the Mongol people have continued to thrive as a society and tribe.  And thrive they have.  We witness long-standing Mongolian norms challenged with perseverance and demonstrated skills.   For that, we can all stand and applaud one girl’s triumph.

Grade: A

“The Eagle Huntress” is now playing for a short period at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway, in Tucson.  You may call (520) 322-5638 for show times. It’s rated G for all audiences with a running time of 1 hour and 27 minutes.

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My Oscar Nom Predictions

Tomorrow morning at 8:24 a.m. East Coast time, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce their 89th Academy Awards nominations in all 24 Oscar categories at a special two-part live news conference at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

 

Here are the my REEL BRIEF predictions:

Animated Feature Film

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Zootopia

 

Cinematography

Arrival

La La Land

Lion

Moonlight

Silence

 

Costume Design

Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them

Florence Foster Jenkins

Jackie

La La Land

The Dressmaker

 

Documentary Feature

Cameraperson

I Am Not Your Negro

O.J.: Made in America

13th

Weiner

(more…)



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Movie Review – “The Founder”

“The Founder” is not a glaring 2-hour promotional commercial for McDonalds.  Aside from its business merits and trendsetting fast food branding, the tense relationships between Kroc and his wife (Laura Dern), the financiers, and the original McDonalds franchise owners are the best dishes served on the film’s menu.

Patrick King, REEL BRIEF

Sixty-three years ago, they owned the fast food hamburger market, outpacing even Burger King (Insta-Burger King at the time) nationally. Soon McDonalds offspring popped up along almost every U.S. main street nearly as fast and efficiently as their burgers, fries and milkshakes arrived at the front counter of each franchise restaurant. Now the burger giant serves 1% of the world’s population. Every day.

“The Founder” traces the chaotic mid- to late years of Ray Kroc, the Illinois salesman who sold milkshake makers–and just about everything else—back in 1954. Academy Award winner Michael Keaton nicely plays Kroc, the future head of The McDonalds Corp., as business plans and relationships form to develop the world’s model for fast food customer service.

(HO/AFP/Getty Images)

While this chronological true story feels documentary in style, it doesn’t usher many outward emotions from viewers, either good or bad.  Mostly informative in nature, only a few times during the movie are we given glimpses behind the golden arches into the unpleasantness of Kroc during his dramatic rise to Franchise King status.

The film’s interesting story parts boil down to the relationships in Kroc’s life at the time. Case in point: His discovery of the McDonalds brothers in San Bernardino, California…soaking up their revolutionary business model and floor plan ideas. Both ingredients key to an assembly line of burgers so fast, efficient, and successful it would make Japanese car manufacturers stand up and applaud with envy.

This movie is not, however, a glaring 2-hour promotional commercial for McDonalds.  Aside from its business merits and trendsetting fast food branding, the tense relationships between Kroc and his wife (Laura Dern), the financiers, and the original McDonalds franchise owners are the best dishes served on the film’s menu.  The less endearing picture painted of Kroc is underscored by his hijacking of the McDonalds trademark name and his ruthless negotiations that made it happen.

Viewers go from supporting Keaton’s earnest salesman character and chain-food vision as Kroc, to switching restaurant tables to watch his troubles get unwrapped from afar.

Unfortunately, “The Founder” storyline is slightly overcooked and drawn out.  Do not go see this movie on an empty stomach or without a caffeinated beverage in hand.  The reward is a historic look back to the beginning of the first widely successful fast food industry that decidedly paired down its meal options while streamlining its delivery method to customers.  Hidden inside this Happy Meal are relationship time bombs that prove both fascinating to understand but not necessarily enjoyable to see.

Grade: B-

“The Founder” is rated PG-13 for brief strong language.  Its running time is 1 hour and 55 minutes.

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Movie Review – “Patriots Day”

“The real star of “Patriots Day” is the city of Boston.” 

Patrick King, REEL BRIEF

No one, right now in Hollywood, is sharper at crafting heroic true-life stories onto the big-screen than Clint Eastwood or Peter Berg. Both directors have powerfully depicted ordinary people doing extraordinary acts of bravery.  Each visionary storyteller so keen at providing a deep history behind actual events that viewer blood pressure gets elevated as one’s overall fingernail length is nervously reduced. Eastwood’s tributes have shined bright with his “Letters from Iwo Jima”, “American Sniper” and “Sully” under his watchful eye. Whereas Berg’s game has been raised of late with his own heart-racing true tales: “Lone Survivor”, “Deepwater Horizon” and now “Patriots Day”. All chaotic films and, at times, funny—but each a rather large truth tablet for moviegoers to swallow in their willingness to learn more.

Based upon the book “Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph over Tragedy”, this film focuses on the 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist bombings and the ensuing massive federal, state and local inter-agency investigation. The real star of “Patriots Day” is the city of Boston. As evidenced by Mark Wahlberg’s role as a police sergeant molded into a compilation of nearly 20 Boston Police Department officers, his character the dedicated face of many—as well as the key thread woven into the film’s chilling manhunt fabric.

Roman philosopher Seneca once scribed that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Nothing demonstrates our post-9/11 world and lessons learned more graphically than Boston’s coordinated, fast-paced and lethal investigative response to an attack during their 117th annual race. To see that city’s first-responders and medical personnel react in the same manner as their New York City brothers and sisters in September of 2001, is both awe-inspiring and heartwarming.

“Patriots Day” with Kevin Bacon, Mark Wahlberg and John Goodman.

Capturing the numerous lives affected by those twin blasts near the finish line, “Patriots Day” leaves us with a better understanding of the dangerous world we live in and more thankful for the people charged with responding to those dangers.  From the fire, police and military racing towards the explosive epicenters, doctors and nurses making life and limb decisions at surrounding hospitals, and heads-up Bostonians reporting tidbits of information, “Patriots Day” underscores the city’s strength, readiness and resolve that brought swift justice to a pair of sinister culprits wearing a “black hat” and “white hat”.  Aside from the stellar job by Wahlberg representing Boston PD, “Patriot Day” shows off a collaborative team effort by law enforcement sleuths that use their combined expertise and skillsets in a successful manner that resembles a U.S. military special operations unit in its efficiency, order, and lethality.

Even knowing the eventual outcome to this true narrative, viewers will find the background stories on the real bombing victims, law enforcement officers and terrorists fascinating–yet heartbreaking–to watch unfold. But everyone should see “Patriots Day” because that will help keep America Strong.  And ready.

Grade: A

“Patriots Day” is rated R for violence, realistically graphic images of injury images, language throughout and some drug use.  Its running time is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

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Movie Review – “Manchester by the Sea”

Casey Affleck’s spectacular performance in this film earned him a Golden Globe on Sunday and should end any further speculation as to which Affleck brother has the best acting chops.  Sorry, Batman. Chatter from the Left Coast early last year told us film critics to expect a particularly stunning job from the younger Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea”.  More times than not, these humble-brags by studio execs only translates into hyperbole and unmet expectations in the end.  That’s not the case in this movie about grief and family relationships.

“Joining an irritable rash of late 2016 films like “Moonlight” and “Nocturnal Animals”, this northeast narrative sports an interesting beginning only to culminate in an unremarkable and bland ending.”

Carrying significant guilt and apprehensive upon his shoulders, Affleck’s divorced Lee Chandler character returns to his hometown of Manchester after the death of his brother, Joe. Complicating matters for the blue-collar repairman is Lee’s startling reintroduction to his now teenage nephew, Patrick, and his first contact in years with an ex-wife (played by Michelle Williams). 

“Manchester by the Sea” is a slow storyline reveal that works by tossing in timely flashbacks of a better time and life for Affleck’s handyman Lee. As guardianship issues for his nephew must be legally worked out, Uncle Lee’s uncomfortableness at returning to Manchester swings constantly between heartache and remorse.

Equally entertaining is the job Lucas Hedges does portraying the role of the now fatherless Patrick.  Together, Affleck and Hedges create a tension-filled relationship, as neither wants to have their life completely upended because of the sudden death of their loved one.

The movie does a lot of things right.  It somehow makes a slow plot reveal work without losing viewers…mostly due to its believable acting and a mysterious storytelling rollout. The film poignantly explains the extended family dynamics and its unimaginable past, delving deeper into Casey’s relationships with not only his nephew, but others. It even injects a grown-up Ferris Bueller, aka Matthew Broderick, into a small scene. 

This realistic and exceptionally well-acted endeavor, though, has a few glaring problems. Joining an irritable rash of late 2016 films like “Moonlight” and “Nocturnal Animals”, this northeast narrative sports an interesting beginning only to culminate in an unremarkable and bland ending.  When it’s all over and done, a memorable “Manchester by the Sea” journey by moviegoers never fully materializes.  Casey Affleck’s character lets down his brother, and, ultimately us with a timid, lackluster finale. 

With both Affleck and Ryan Gosling (“La La Land”) earning Golden Globe awards for Best Actor (in the Drama and Comedy/Musical categories, respectively), I’m keeping the crooner and pianist Gosling as the heavy Oscar favorite next month.

Grade: A-

“Manchester by the Sea” is rated R for language throughout and some sexual content. Its running time is 2 hours and 15 minutes. 

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Golden Globe Predictions

Tonight (or later this afternoon for those on the Left coast), the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards air on NBC, hosted by Jimmy Fallon.  And the Golden Globe winners always provide movie lovers with good chum for the upcoming Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Oscar noms (Jan. 24).

Here are film Golden Globe nominations and my predicted winners:

Best Score

“Arrival”

“Hidden Figures”

“La La Land”

“Lion”

“Moonlight”

Predicted Winner:  “La La Land”. 

This one feels like a no-brainer.  If the popular musical can’t take the top prize in this category, they’re going to have a bad night.  A very bad night.

Best Song

“Can’t Stop The Feeling”, Trolls

“City of Stars”, La La Land

“Faith”, Sing

“Gold”, Gold

“How Far I’ll Go”, Moana

Predicted Winner: “City of Stars”, La La Land

Again, this should be an easy-peasy victory for the song and dance number from director Damien Chazelle. But from here on out, “La La Land” will have a serious fight on its hands in the acting, directing and top movie categories.

Animated Film

“Kubo and the Two Strings”

“Moana”

“My Life As A “Zucchini”

“Sing”

“Zootopia”

Predicted Winner:  “Zootopia” (pictured below)

  A funny and witty movie for all to enjoy!  Never one to underestimate “The Rock”, I would be surprised if “Moana” mounted a serious enough challenge to take this from “Zootopia”.  Seems like almost “a lock”.

Foreign Language Film

“Divines” (France)

“Elle” (France)

“Neruda” (Chile)

“The Saleman (Iran/France)

“Toni Erdmann” (Germany)

Predicted Winner: “Toni Erdmann” (Germany)

This Golden Globe could easy find its way into the creative hands of either “The Saleman” or “Toni Erdmann”.  But “Elle” and the powerful performance by Isabelle Huppert placed her, and rightfully so, in the Best Actress in a Drama category.  I’d expect Huppert to give her film a slight advantage over the other foreign competitors.  Is it enough?  Probably not.  “Toni Erdmann” for the win!

 

Best Actress in a Support Role

Viola Davis, “Fences”

Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”

Nicole Kidman, “Lion”

Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”

Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Predicted Winner: Naomie Harris, “Moonlight” (pictured above)

Despite not being enthralled with either “Moonlight” or “Manchester by the Sea”, both films provided exceptional performances from their talented casts.  My vote would easily go to Viola Davis in “Fences” because the overall film is better than “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea”.  “Lion” and “Hidden Figures” are the best movies on this 5-picture list, but Kidman or Spencer were outshined by other performances in their films.  And Williams?  Come on, she was barely in “Manchester by the Sea”.

 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”

Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water” (pictured above)

Simon Helberg, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Dev Patel, “Lion”

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, “Nocturnal Animals”

Predicted Winner: Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”

If Bridges doesn’t walk out with the Globe in his hands, I’m gonna be unearthing some west Texas oil lands to find out who stole it!  Yes, Mahershala Ali did a fantastic job in “Moonlight”.  He’s the real competitor for Bridges–not Chris Pine’s character in HoHW.  Let me digress for a second…. I re-watched “Hell or High Water” last month.  And the scene near the end of the movie where Bridges takes a rancher’s rifle into his own hands is amazing.  It could be studied by film classes for years.  Watch and listen to Bridges completely nail this scene.  The swirl of emotions from grief to shock to elation and back to sadness again is truly a benchmark in acting over a 3 or 4 minute period.  Unbelievable.

Original Screenplay

“Hell or High Water”

“La La Land”

“Moonlight”

“Manchester by the Sea”

 “Nocturnal Animals”

Predicted Winner: “Hell or High Water”

It’s the best storyline.  Yes, a good argument can be made for “La La Land” to take this one.  But for overall movie enjoyment and plot twists, the modern day Western about bank robbers deserves the win.  “Manchester by the Sea”, “Moonlight” and “Nocturnal Animals” all had lousy endings in my book.

Best Actress (Comedy or Musical)

Annette Bening, “20th Century Women”

Lily Collins, “Rules Don’t Apply”

Hailee Steinfeld, “The Edge of Seventeen”

Emma Stone, “La La Land”

Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Predicted Winner: Emma Stone, “La La Land”

Should be an easy victory for Stone.  While “Florence Foster Jenkins” got more love from the Golden Globe nominations than most outlets, Meryl Streep’s only real path (slim) to victory would be from the Oscars next month.  However, this should be a clean kill for “La La Land” and Stone.

 

Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)

Colin Farrell, “The Lobster”

Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”

Hugh Grant, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Jonah Hill, “War Dogs”

Ryan Reynolds, “Deadpool”

Predicted Winner: Ryan Gosling, “La La Land” (pictured below)

I’d love to see Reynolds take this for a sensational “Deadpool” but the Comedy category favors Gosling bigly. Hell, he did his own singing AND piano work!

 

Best Director

Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

Tom Ford, “Nocturnal Animals”

Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”

Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”

Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”

Predicted Winner: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

The Golden Globes love to stand-out and be unpredictable.  Here, they could go rogue.  Safe bet is “La La Land” with yawners “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea” in close trail.  But could Mel Gibson make the dramatic comeback we all love to see?  Probably not. But you never know.

Jessica Chastain stars in “Miss Sloane”

 

Best Actress (Drama)

Amy Adams, “Arrival”

Jessica Chastain, “Miss Sloane”

Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Ruth Negga, “Loving”

Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

Predicted Winner: Amy Adams, “Arrival”

The Golden Globe voters love Amy Adams.  And although I didn’t enjoy “Arrival”, that was through no fault of Ms. Adams’ performance.  Would love to see Chastain or Huppert take this one, but Adams’ stiffest competition comes from another slow, disjointed film…”Jackie” and Portman.

 

Best Actor (Drama)

Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

Joel Edgerton, “Loving”

Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”

Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”

Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Predicted Winner: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea” (pictured above)

I’d expect more love given to out Washington by the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences come Oscar Night.  While Edgerton did a great job in “Loving”, the storyline wasn’t nearly as satisfying as the movie trailer teased.  I think Affleck did amazing work in “Manchester by the Sea”, but if Gibson and “Hacksaw Ridge” catch fire tonight, look for Garfield to take this win.

 

Best Picture (Comedy or Musical)

“Deadpool”

“La La Land”

“Florence Foster Jenkins”

“Sing Street”

“20th Century Women”

Predicted Winner: “La La Land”

I like seeing “Sing Street”, “Deadpool” and “Florence Foster Jenkins” get nominated…all 3 of the movies (and “La La Land”) made my Top 10 of 2016 list.  But “La La Land” was the best comedy and musical in this group.

 

Best Picture (Drama)

“Hacksaw Ridge”

“Hell or High Water”

“Lion”

“Manchester by the Sea”

“Moonlight”

Predicted Winner: “Hell or High Water”

Hell or High Water – Texas Rangers Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) ©2016 CBS Films

This is all personal now.  I think once “La La Land” is separated from this group and placed into the Comedy/Drama category, the winner gets narrowed down to “Hacksaw Ridge”, “Hell or High Water” and “Lion”.  Since the Golden Globe Awards like to march to their own drumbeat, I’d expect them to let “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight” potentially shine under the watchful eye of the more socially-conscious Academy Awards.  Thus, an edgier and more emotional film may rise up here to gain notice from viewers.  “Lion” is the most emotional film of 2016 and “Hacksaw Ridge” the most shocking on camera.  However, “Hell or High Water” gave us the best storyline and characters.

***



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2017!

This is such a great way to start off the new year!

Thank you, Victoria, for your 8+ years of friendship and support!

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Copyright 2017 REEL BRIEF


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