Film Review: The Circle (dir by James Ponsoldt)


Earlier today, I got off work early and I finally saw The Circle!

The Circle is a film that I’ve been curious about for a while.  It’s based on a novel by Dave Eggers, a book that I absolutely loved when I first read it.  It stars Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Patton Oswalt, and John Boyega.  It’s directed by James Ponsoldt, who may not be a household name but who has previously directed such beloved films as The Spectacular Now and The End of The Tour.  It sounded like a film to which everyone should have been looking forward but instead, even with Watson appearing in the blockbuster Beauty and the Beast at the same time, The Circle opened with very little fanfare.

Then the reviews came out and, with a few notable exceptions, they were all negative.  I did a little research and I discovered that, though filming was initially completed in 2015, The Circle spent a year and a half sitting on the shelf.  In January of this year, 16 months after shooting wrapped, a few scenes were refilmed.  That’s never a good sign.  One gets the feeling that, if not for John Boyega’s role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the excitement over Emma Watson starring in Beauty and the Beast, The Circle probably would have ended up going straight to VOD.

But here’s the thing.  I loved the book.  The book managed to put a new spin on the otherwise tired topic of how social media has changed our way of looking at the world.  The book was an Orwellian masterpiece, an homage to 1984 by a writer who, as opposed to most people who are currently claiming to appreciate the novel’s dark vision, understood what George Orwell was actually saying.

In fact, the more I thought about it, the easier it was for me to assume that most critics probably missed the point of the movie.  It was entirely possible, I decided, that the negative reaction to The Circle had to do with audiences not knowing how to deal with a movie that truly challenged their assumptions.  Naively, I assumed that the story and the themes of the novel had been brought to the screen and the critics couldn’t handle it.

Well, as I said earlier, I finally saw The Circle for myself and it turns out that I was wrong.  The Circle is an absolute mess.  Despite being co-written by Dave Eggers, this film actually has very little in common with the novel that it’s based on.  The novel was a sharply satiric portrait of a world that has become brainwashed by technology and social media.  The movie is a nagging anti-internet screed that would have felt out-of-touch in 2002.  The book ends with a powerful “and he loved Big Brother” moment.  The movie ends on a note that feels so completely false that you just know it was studio mandated.

Emma Watson plays Mae Hubbard, a recent college grad whose degree in Art History is pretty much going to waste.  (Speaking as the proud recipient of an Art History degree, I can verify that the film gets this detail absolutely right.)  Through a college friend named Annie (Karen Gillian, for once not having to disguise her Scottish accent), Mae gets a job working for The Circle, an all-powerful internet company that is pretty obviously based on Google Plus.  Through a series of silly events, Mae becomes the public face of The Circle.  The Circle wants to use technology (cameras everywhere, social media addiction, everyone carries tablet, you must have a credit card to join The Circle, oh my!) to do away with the concept of privacy.  When everyone is a member of the Circle, no one will be a stranger.  No one will have any privacy.  Anyone can be found.  Anyone can be watched.  And, of course, it’ll be easier to tell everyone what to think and who to support…

…and all of this would be shocking if The Circle had been made in a time before Twitter and Facebook.

Anyway!  The Circle was founded by three men.  Two of them (Tom Hanks, Patton Oswalt) are totally sinister.  Oswalt glowers in the background.  Hanks appears to channeling Christoph Waltz.  Meanwhile, the third man (John Boyega) has become disillusioned with The Circle.  He shows up occasionally, standing in the background and watching as Mae does stuff.

Throughout the film, Tom Hanks gives lectures to his employees.  They all applaud as he introduced the latest technology from The Circle.  These scenes are fun because it looks like Tom Hanks is appearing in a commercial for The Criterion Collection.

Anyway, Mae loves the brave new world but a few people don’t.  Her parents (Bill Paxton and Glenne Headly) are skeptical.  Though his role is small, Bill Paxton gave a good performance in this, his latest released film.  I got a bit emotional watching him, especially as he was playing a character struggling with his own poor health.  Ellar Coltrane, of Boyhood fame, plays the other voice of skepticism, Mae’s childhood friend who wants to live off the grid.  Coltrane is supposed to be the voice of reason but he gives such a strange and awkward performance that the main thing that comes across is that Luddites are weird.

Actually, with the exception of Bill Paxton and Karen Gillan, it’s hard to think of anyone who actually gives a good performance in The Circle.  (This is especially shocking when you consider that, in the past, Ponsoldt has proven himself to be an excellent director when it comes to getting noteworthy work from his cast.)  Everyone comes across like they were wishing that they were somewhere else.  Emma Watson, in particular, is bad.  That said, in her defense, Watson is also totally miscast.  Mae is meant to be someone searching for an identity in an overly complicated world but Watson plays her as just being dourly earnest.  As played by Watson, Mae’s just the boring person that you dread having to take a class with.  Neither Watson nor the film, as a whole, seems to be sure who exactly Mae is.  (In the novel, the character works because Mae isn’t meant to be likable.  The film, however, tries to have it both ways, making her both a true believer in the Circle and a sympathetic character.  It doesn’t work.)

For that matter, the film also appears to be confused as to just why exactly Hanks and Oswalt are villains.  We know that we’re supposed to distrust them because Hanks is way too quick to smile and Oswalt is always standing in the background and looking like he’s just deliberately killed all of his Sims.  But how evil are they actually supposed to be?  What are the stakes?  The film doesn’t appear to be sure.

Now, I’m not totally trashing The Circle.  There were a few moments that I did like.  I enjoyed the scenes that were meant to illustrate the cult-like atmosphere at the Circle.  There’s a hilarious scene where two enthusiastic Circle employees interrogate Mae as to why she never told them that she enjoys kayaking.  (“I enjoy kayaking!  We could have kayaked together!”)  And there’s another scene where Hanks and Oswalt talk about how, if countries allow The Circle to run their elections, they could then require everyone to join The Circle and then make voting mandatory.  Mandatory Voting is a really terrible idea, the type that is always embraced by people who should know better.  I appreciated seeing the idea exposed for being the ticket to totalitarianism that it truly is.

But, for the most part, The Circle was just a mess.  Like a lot of cautionary tales (especially ones dealing with the internet), The Circle will probably eventually become a bit of a camp classic.  But for now, everyone involved with the film has done better work in the past and, hopefully, will continue to do so in the future.

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Lisa Reviews An Oscar Nominee: Captain Phillips (dir by Paul Greengrass)


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Here’s an interesting and often overlooked fact:

It has been 17 years since Tom Hanks was last nominated for Best Actor.

When I discovered this fact, I was shocked because Tom Hanks is one of those actors who has a reputation for always getting nominated.  We tend to think of him as almost being a male Meryl Streep, an actor who will be nominated simply for showing up.  But, actually, the Academy last nominated Tom Hanks, for his performance in Cast Away, in the year 2000.

Hanks has given plenty of strong performances since then and he’s continued to appear in acclaimed and Oscar-nominated films.  And you would think, considering his apparent popularity in Hollywood, Tom Hanks would have been nominated for everything from Charlie Wilson’s War to Bridge of Spies.  But no.

Personally, I think Hanks should have been nominated this year for Sully.  But you know what Hanks performance truly deserved some Oscar recognition?

Captain Phillips.

Playing the title role in this 2013 Best Picture nominee, Hanks gave perhaps the best performance of his career.  That he was snubbed by the Academy is not only shocking but it’s actually a bit unforgivable.  Perhaps Hanks was so good that the Academy took him for granted.  Perhaps they thought that since both Hanks and Richard Phillips are decent, down-to-Earth guys, that Hanks was just playing himself.  For whatever reason, Tom Hanks deserved, at the very least, a nomination.

Captain Phillips was based on a true story.  This is another docudrama from director Paul Greengrass, filmed in his signature (and potentially nausea-inducing) handheld style.  (Actually, if any aspiring director wants to understand how to effectively use the handheld style, Greengrass is the filmmaker to study.)  In 2009, a four Somali pirates hijacked the Maersk Alabama and took its captain, Richard Phillips, hostage.  Captain Phillips was eventually rescued by a group of Navy SEALS.  Three of the pirates were killed while their leader, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), was captured and is currently serving a 33 year sentence in a federal penitentiary.

This was a huge news story in 2009 with the rescue being described as being the first major foreign policy victory for the new presidential administration.  When Phillips was rescued, people took to the streets and the “USA!  USA!” chant was heard.  “That’s right,” the media and the government and the chanters seemed to be exclaiming in unison, “America’s back!  We were abused and it’s never going to happen again!”

A lot of that jubilation was because, at the time, the term “Somali pirates” conjured up visions of cinematic villains who would be more at home in Mad Max: Fury Road than in the real world.  The reality of the situation, of course, was that the “pirates,” whose deaths were celebrated as some sort of political victory for the government, were actually poverty-stricken Somali teenagers, the majority of which worked for warlords who remained (and still remain) safely hidden away.

One of the more interesting things about Captain Phillips is that it devotes almost as much time to the Somali pirates as it does to Phillips and his crew.  Rather than presenting them as a nameless and personalityless threat, the film allows Muse and his men to emerge as individuals.  Much as Phillips spends the movie trying to keep both himself and his crew safe, Muse spends much of the movie trying to keep an increasingly out-of-control situation stable.  Both Phillips and Muse are in over their heads.  Barkhad Abdi gives a smart and intimidating performance as Muse.  The film never makes the mistake of excusing the actions of Muse or the other pirates but, at the same time, it does provide a more nuanced view of them than one would normally expect.

But really, this film totally belongs to Tom Hanks.  Captain Phillips works because of Tom Hanks.  It earned its best picture nomination on the strength of Hanks’s performance.  As an actor, Hanks could have easily coasted on the good will that the audience would have already had for him but instead, he fully commits himself to playing not Tom Hanks but instead Captain Richard Phillips.  The film’s final scene — in which Phillips goes into a state of shock and can’t stop talking — is a masterclass in great acting.  How the Academy ignored it, I will never understand.

Captain Phillips was nominated for best picture of 2013.  However, it lost to 12 Years a Slave.

 

Lisa Marie’s Thoughts On The Oscar Nominations


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Okay, I’ve had plenty of time to think about today’s Oscar nominations and now I’m ready to share my thoughts.  Obviously, my picks were a lot different from what the Academy selected.  That’s okay.  That’s the way it goes every year.  I don’t mind being a contrarian.

So, let’s take a look at what was nominated, category-by-category.

(If you need a refresher as to what was nominated, here’s a complete list of nominees!)

Best Live Action Short, Best Animated Short, Best Documentary Short: I’m sure that these three categories are full of wonderful nominees that were created by wonderful people but I don’t believe that I’ve seen a single one of them.  So, with that in mind, I can only imagine that the Academy did a perfect job selecting all 15 of these nominees!  Good work, Academy!

Best Foreign Language Film: Again, I have seen none of the nominees so I really can’t comment one way or another.  Normally, this would make me feel like a failure but I imagine that 90% of the people reading this post are in the same boat.  I imagine Toni Erdmann will win, just because of all the good things I’ve read about it.  But, since I haven’t actually seen any of the nominees, I will refrain from making any sort of prediction.

Best Documentary Feature: I’m disappointed that my favorite documentary, The Witness, was not nominated.  And, quite frankly, I’m shocked that Weiner was not nominated.  That said, I can’t complain about any of the documentaries that actually were nominated.  It was a good year for documentaries.  In fact, it could be argued that it was a better year for documentaries than for features.

Should Win: O.J.: Made in America

Will Win: 13th

Best Original Song: Not a single song from Sing Street was nominated and that is amazingly disappointing.  Original song can be surprising.  Remember last year when that terrible song from SPECTRE somehow won?  That said, I’m expecting that this year will see a huge sweep by La La Land and one of its nominated songs will probably win.

Should Win: Audition (The Fools Who Can Dream) from La La Land

Will Win: City of Stars from La La Land

Best Original Score: The Neon Demon deserved a nomination but I’m not surprised it was snubbed.  There’s no way the Academy was going to honor Nicholas Winding Refn’s subversive masterpiece.  La La Land is going to win this one easily.

Should Win: La La Land

Will Win: La La Land

Best Visual Effects: I was glad to see that Kubo and the Two Strings was nominated and I wish that Arrival had been nominated as well.  I’m going to go ahead and predict that Doctor Strange will be the first MCU film to win an Oscar.

Should Win: Doctor Strange

Will Win: Doctor Strange

Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing: Let’s be honest.  I couldn’t explain the difference between sound editing and sound mixing and, unless you specifically work in the sound department, neither could you.  As a result, these categories are always difficult to predict.  But Hacksaw Ridge has to get some love somewhere and I bet it would happen here if not for La La Land.

Should Win (Both): Hacksaw Ridge

Will Win (Both): La La Land

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: As soon as I saw that Deadpool wasn’t nominated here, I knew it wouldn’t be nominated anywhere.  Can you believe that fucking Suicide Squad is now an Oscar nominee?  I haven’t seen A Man Called Ove but I’m going to predict its victory because I just can’t imagine the Academy honoring either Star Trek Beyond or Suicide Squad.

Should Win: Star Trek Beyond (that had good makeup in it, right?)

Will Win: A Man Called Ove

Best Film Editing: I can’t complain about any of the films nominated here.  La La Land is pretty much a guaranteed winner here.

Should Win: La La Land

Will Win: La La Land

Best Costume Design: I was shocked that Love & Friendship was not nominated.  If La La Land sweeps, it’ll win here.  When I made out my list of my personal picks for the Oscars, I gave the costuming Oscar to La La Land but now that I’m looking at the actual nominees, I’m remembering just how good everyone looked in Allied.

Should Win: Allied

Will Win: La La Land

Best Cinematography: My personal pick for this award was The Neon Demon but it wasn’t nominated.  Out of the nominated films, I would go with Moonlight but I think La La Land is going to sweep.

Should Win: Moonlight

Will Win: La La Land

Best Production Design: Well, it won’t be Passengers!  How the Hell did that get nominated for anything?  I think, of the nominees, Arrival deserves the award for making science fiction feel and look like science fact.  But, again, I think La La Land is going to win here.  (Are you sensing a theme in my predictions?)

Should Win: Arrival

Will Win: La La Land

Best Animated Feature: I was happy that Kubo and the Two Strings, Zootopia, and Moana were all nominated.  I haven’t seen The Red Turtle or My Life as a Zucchini but, on the whole, the Academy has a record of nominating the right films for this award.  I loved Kubo and I think it might win, just because it picked up that Visual Effects nomination as well.  Zootopia, however, would allow the Academy to make a political point and Moana has Lin-Manuel Miranda.  I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a Kubo victory but I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these five nominees won.

Should Win: Kubo and the Two Strings

Will Win: Zootopia Kubo and the Two Strings Moana Zootopia Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Adapted Screenplay: With La La Land likely to sweep the technical awards and Manchester By The Sea and Moonlight set to pick up some acting awards, this category will give the Academy a chance to acknowledge Arrival.

Should Win: Arrival

Will Win: Arrival

Best Original Screenplay: I think this is one of the few awards that La La Land will not win.  This category gives the Academy a chance to honor Hell or High Water.

Should Win: Hell or High Water

Will Win: Hell or High Water

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis is a guaranteed winner, even though her performance was a lead role.

Should Win: Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Will Win: Viola Davis, Fences

Best Supporting Actor: I was really happy to see that Michael Shannon got a nomination because Shannon is a great actor who always seems to be taken for granted.  That said, Mahershala Ali is almost as much of a lock as Viola Davis.

Should Win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Will Win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Actress: Let’s just get this out of the way.  Amy Adams not only deserved a nomination, she also deserved the Oscar.  Arrival works because of a twist that occurs halfway through the film.  The twist works because of Amy Adams’s performance.  If not for Amy Adams, Arrival would never have been nominated for best picture.  The fact that she was not nominated will be remembered as one of the biggest mistakes in Academy history.

This morning, I was happy to see that a lot of people on twitter agreed with me about the Amy Adams snub.  What took me by surprise was how many people also agreed with me that Meryl Streep essentially took a spot that should have been given to Amy Adams.  This morning, among other things, I discovered that there’s actually a growing backlash against the annual tradition of automatically nominating Meryl Streep, regardless of whether the film was any good or not.

Could Meryl win yet again?  It depends on whether or not the Academy wants to hear another Meryl Streep speech.  Given the political climate, I wouldn’t discount that as a possibility.  Since I’m on the subject and it’s possible that everyone stopped reading a few categories ago, I’m going to go ahead and admit my unpopular opinion.  While I’m definitely not a fan of the new President, Meryl’s Golden Globe speech felt like almost a parody of upper class white liberalism.  Listening to her, it was easy to imagine Meryl at a cocktail party, bragging about how she’s on a first name basis with her maid.

But, I’m in the minority as far as that opinion is concerned.  The Industry loved Meryl’s speech and, after Donald Trump’s overreaction to it, giving an Oscar to Meryl and giving her a chance to repeat the speech on a much bigger stage would be the perfect way to give the finger to the current administration.

That said, I think Emma Stone will be carried along in the La La Land sweep.  Whether justified or not, many members of the Academy will look at her character and see themselves.

Should Win: Amy Adams in Arrival (Yes, she wasn’t nominated but she should still win, goddammit.)

Will Win: Emma Stone in La La Land

Best Actor: Could anyone other than Casey Affleck win this one?  Denzel Washington is popular and giving him an Oscar for Fences would be a nice to way to reward all of the effort that he put into bringing this acclaimed play to the screen.  Affleck was sued for sexual harassment by a producer and a cinematogrpaher and ended up settling with both of them.  However, I doubt if it will stop him from winning the Oscar.  If the allegations were going to hurt Affleck’s chances, it would have happened long before now.

As for the nominees — well, I have no complaints.  While I wasn’t as impressed with Affleck’s performance as some, I think he did well enough. I would have liked to have seen either Sully‘s Tom Hanks or Hell or High Water‘s Chris Pine nominated.  I’m glad that Andrew Garfield picked up his first nomination.

Should Win: Denzel Washington, Fences

Will Win: Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea

Best Director: I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a minor upset.  I think La La Land is going to win in a lot of categories but I think that Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins will win this Oscar.  Best Picture and Director have been split fairly regularly over the past few years and, after both the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and the 2016 presidential election, it may be felt that it’s time for a black director to finally win the Oscar.  Based on the skill shown in Whiplash and La La Land, Damien Chazelle will have other opportunities.

Should Win: Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Will Win: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Picture: Though I don’t necessarily think it was one of the best films of the year, I would have loved it if Deadpool had actually scored a nomination.  It would have been an unexpected surprise and it would have shaken up a race that’s gotten rather predictable.

But no.  Deadpool received no nominations and the expected films were nominated.  Perhaps the only thing that could be considered surprising (though not that surprising)  was that Martin Scorsese’s passion project, Silence, was not only snubbed for best picture but also only picked up one nomination. Passengers picked up more nominations that Martin Scorsese’s latest film.  When it comes to total number of nominations, Silence is tired with Suicide Squad.

La La Land is going to win.  It’s probably going to win nearly all 14 of the Oscars it has been nominated for.  My pick for the best film of 2016 was American Honey.  Of the nominees, I think Arrival is the one that deserves to win.  But La La Land is an exuberant valentine to both the Academy and the industry.

La La Lands going to win.

Should Win: Arrival

Will Win: La La Land

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What if Lisa Picked The Oscar Nominees — 2016 Edition


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations. Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated. The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not. Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year. Winners are starred and listed in bold.

(You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.)

(Click on the links to see my nominations for 20152014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010!)

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Best Picture

*American Honey*

Arrival

Hell or High Water

Kubo and the Two Strings

La La Land

Love & Friendship

A Monster Calls

Moonlight

The Neon Demon

The Nice Guys

andrea-arnold

Best Director

*Andrea Arnold for American Honey

Shane Black for The Nice Guys

Barry Jenkins for Moonlight

David MacKenzie for Hell or High Water

Nicholas Winding Refn for The Neon Demon

Denis Villeneuve for Arrival

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Best Actor

Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys

Tom Hanks in Sully

Chris Pine in Hell or High Water

Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool

*Denzel Washington in Fences

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Best Actress

*Amy Adams in Arrival

Kate Beckinsale in Love & Friendship

Viola Davis in Fences

Sasha Lane in American Honey

Emma Stone in La La Land

Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch

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Best Supporting Actor

*Mahershala Ali in Moonlight

Tom Bennett in Love & Friendship

Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water

Alden Ehrenreich in Hail Caesar!

John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane

Patrick Stewart in Green Room

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Best Supporting Actress

*Naomie Harris in Moonlight

Felicity Jones in A Monster Calls

Riley Keough in American Honey

Jena Malone in The Neon Demon

Helen Mirren in Eye in the Sky

Angourie Rice in The Nice Guys

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Best Voice Over and/or Stop Motion Performance

Auli’i Cravalho in Moana

Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Dory

Ginnifer Goodwin in Zootopia

*Liam Neeson in A Monster Calls

Art Parkinson in Kubo and the Two Strings

Charlize Theron in Kubo and the Two Strings

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Best Original Screenplay

American Honey

*Hell or High Water

Kubo and the Two Strings

La La Land

The Nice Guys

The Witch

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Best Adapted Screenplay

*Arrival

The Jungle Book

Love & Friendship

Moonlight

A Monster Calls

Sully

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Best Animated Film

Finding Dory

*Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

Sausage Party

The Secret Life of Pets

Zootopia

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Best Documentary Feature

The Confessions of Thomas Quick

Holy Hell

O.J.: Made in America

Rigged 2016

Weiner

*The Witness

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Best Casting

*American Honey

Everybody Wants Some!!

La La Land

Moonlight

Hell or High Water

Green Room

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Best Cinematography

American Honey

Arrival

Hell or High Water

La La Land

Moonlight

*The Neon Demon 

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Best Costume Design

The Conjuring 2

Hail, Caesar!

La La Land

*Love & Friendship

The Nice Guys

The Witch

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Best Editing

Arrival

Hell or High Water

Kubo and the Two Strings

*La La Land

Moonlight

A Monster Calls

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Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Captain America: Civil War

Deadpool

Doctor Strange

Everybody Wants Some!!

Hail, Caesar!

*The Neon Demon

Best Original Score

Hell or High Water

Kubo and the Two Strings

*La La Land

Moana

Moonlight

The Neon Demon

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Best Original Song

*”Audition (The Fool Who Dreams)” from La La Land

“How Far I’ll Go” from Moana

“Waving Goodbye” from The Neon Demon

“I’m so Humble” from Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping

“Drive It Like You Stole It” from Sing Street

“Go Now” from Sing Street

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Best Overall Use Of Music

*American Honey

The Conjuring Part Two

Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Neon Demon

Sing Street

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Best Production Design

Arrival

Don’t Breathe

Green Room

The Neon Demon

La La Land

*10 Cloverfield Lane

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Best Sound Editing

Captain America: Civil War

Deadpool

*Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

A Monster Calls

Sully

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Best Sound Mixing

Captain America: Civil War

Deadpool

Hacksaw Ridge

A Monster Calls

La La Land

*Sully

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Best Stunt Work

Captain America: Civil War

*Deadpool

Doctor Strange

Hacksaw Ridge

Jason Bourne

The Legend of Tarzan

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Best Visual Effects

Arrival

*Doctor Strange

The Jungle Book

Kubo and the Two Strings

A Monster Calls

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Films Listed By Number of Nominations:

13 Nominations — La La Land

1o Nominations — Hell or High Water

9 Nominations — Moonlight, The Neon Demon

8 Nominations — American Honey, Arrival, Kubo and the Two Strings, A Monster Calls

6 Nominations — The Nice Guys

5 Nominations — Deadpool, Love & Friendship

4 Nominations — Captain America: Civil War, Hacksaw Ridge, Hail Caesar!, Moana, Sully

3 Nominations — Doctor Strange, Green Room, Sing Street

2 Nominations — The Conjuring 2, Everybody Wants Some!!, Fences, Finding Dory, The Jungle Book, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Witch, Zootopia

1 Nomination — The Confessions of Thomas Quick, Don’t Breathe, Eye in the Sky, Holy Hell, Jason Bourne, The Legend of Tarzan, O.J.: Made in America, Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping, Rigged 2016, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Sausage Party, The Secret Life of Pets, Weiner, The Witness

Films Listed By Number of Oscars Won:

4 Oscars — American Honey

3 Oscars — La La Land

2 Oscars — Arrival, Moonlight, The Neon Demon

1 Oscar — Deadpool, Doctor Strange, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Kubo and the Two Strings, Love & Friendship, A Monster Calls, Sully, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Witness

Will the Academy agree with my predictions?  Probably not but we’ll find out on Tuesday!

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The Alliance of Women Film Journalists Announced Their Picks For The Best of 2016!


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The Alliance of Women Film Journalists (of which I am not a member and what’s up with that!?) announced their picks for the best of 2016 earlier this week.

And here they are:

AWFJ BEST OF AWARDS
These awards are presented to women and/or men without gender consideration.
Best Film
Arrival
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Best Director
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival

Best Screenplay, Original
20th Century Women – Mike Mills
Hail Caesar – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan
La La Land – Damien Chazelle
Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan

Best Screenplay, Adapted
Arrival – Eric Heisserer
Lion – Luke Davies
Love & Friendship – Whit Stillman
Moonlight – Barry Jenkins
Nocturnal Animals –Tom Ford

Best Documentary
13th – Ava DuVernay
Gleason – Clay Tweel
I Am Not Your Negro – Raoul Peck
OJ Made in America – Ezra Edelman
Weiner – Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegma

Best Animated Film
Finding Dory – Andrew Stanton andAngus MacLane
Kubo and the Two Strings- Travis Knight
Moana – Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams
Zootopia – Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush

Best Actress
Amy Adams – Arrival
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis – Fences
Greta Gerwig – 20th Century Women
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Best Actor
Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea
Joel Edgerton – Loving
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Tom Hanks – Sully
Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Ben Foster – Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester By the Sea
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Best Ensemble Cast – Casting Director
20th Century Women – Mark Bennett and Laura Rosenthal
Hail Caesar – Ellen Chenoweth
Hell or High Water – Jo Edna Boldin and Richard Hicks
Manchester by the Sea – Douglas Aibel
Moonlight – Yesi Ramirez

Best Cinematography
Arrival – Bradford Young
Hell or High Water – Giles Nuttgens
La La Land – Linus Sandgren
Manchester by The Sea – Jody Lee Lipes
Moonlight – James Laxton

Best Editing
Arrival – Joe Walker
I Am Not Your Negro — Alexandra Strauss
La La Land – Tom Cross
Manchester By The Sea – Jennifer Lame
Moonlight – Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders

Best Non-English-Language Film
Elle – Paul Verhoeven, France
Fire At Sea – Gianfranco Rossi, Italy
The Handmaiden – Chan-Wook Park, South Korea
Julieta – Pedro Almodovar. Spain
Toni Erdmann – Maren Ede, Germany

EDA FEMALE FOCUS AWARDS
These awards honor WOMEN only

Best Woman Director
Andrea Arnold – American Honey
Ava DuVernay -13TH
Rebecca Miller – Maggie’s Plan
Mira Nair – Queen of Katwe
Kelly Reichardt – Certain Women

Best Woman Screenwriter
Andrea Arnold – American Honey
Rebecca Miller – Maggie’s Plan
Kelly Reichardt – Certain Women
Lorene Scafaria – The Meddler
Laura Terruso – Hello, My Name is Doris

Best Animated Female
Dory in Finding Dory –Ellen DeGeneres
Judy in Zootopia – Ginnifer Goodwin
Moana in Moana – Auli’i Cravalho

Best Breakthrough Performance
Sasha Lane – American Honey
Janelle Monáe – Moonlight and Hidden Figures
Madina Nalwanga – Queen of Katwe
Ruth Negga – Loving

Outstanding Achievement by A Woman in The Film Industry
Ava DuVernay – For 13TH and raising awareness about the need for diversity and gender equality in Hollywood
Anne Hubbell and Amy Hobby for establishing Tangerine Entertainment’s Juice Fund to support female filmmakers
Mynette Louie, President of Gamechanger Films, which finances narrative films directed by women
April Reign for creating and mobilizing the #OscarsSoWhite campaign

EDA SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS

Actress Defying Age and Ageism
Annette Bening – 20th Century Women
Viola Davis – Fences
Sally Field – Hello, My Name is Doris
Isabelle Huppert – Elle and Things to Come
Helen Mirren – Eye in the Sky

Most Egregious Age Difference Between The Lead and The Love Interest Award
Dirty Grandpa – Robert De Niro (b. 1943) and Aubrey Plaza (b. 1984)
Independence Day: Resurgence – Charlotte Gainsbourg (b 1971) and Jeff Goldblum (b 1952)
Mechanic Resurrection – Jason Statham (b. 1967) and Jessica Aba (b. 1981)
Rules Don’t Apply – Warren Beatty (b. 1937) and Lily Collins (b. 1989)

Actress Most in Need Of A New Agent
Jennifer Aniston – Mother’s Day and Office Christmas Party
Melissa McCarthy – The Boss and Ghostbusters
Margot Robbie – Suicide Squad and Tarzan
Julia Roberts – Mother’s Day
Shailene Woodley – Divergent Series

Bravest Performance
Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Sasha Lane – American Honey
Ruth Negga – Loving

Remake or Sequel That Shouldn’t have been Made
Ben-Hur
Ghostbusters
Independence Day: Resurgence
The Magnificent Seven
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

AWFJ Hall of Shame Award
Sharon Maguire and Renee Zellweger for Bridget Jones’s Baby
Nicholas Winding Refn and Elle Fanning for The Neon Demon
David Ayer and Margot Robbie for Suicide Squad
David E. Talbert and Mo’Nique for Almost Christmas

Oscar Season Continues With The 2016 Phoenix Film Critics Society Nominations!


la-la-land

The winners will be announced on the 20th!

BEST PICTURE
A Monster Calls
Arrival
Florence Foster Jenkins
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester By The Sea
Moonlight
Nocturnal Animals
Sing Street

BEST DIRECTOR
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester By The Sea
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea
Denzel Washington – Fences
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Tom Hanks – Sully

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Amy Adams – Arrival
Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Ruth Negga – Loving

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Ben Foster – Hell or High Water
Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Felicity Jones – A Monster Calls
Greta Gerwig – 20th Century Women
Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Viola Davis – Fences

BEST ENSEMBLE ACTING
Fences
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight
The Lobster

BEST SCREENPLAY ADAPTED
FROM OTHER MATERIAL
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Lion
Love & Friendship

THE OVERLOOKED FILM OF THE YEAR
Anthropoid
Captain Fantastic
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Sing Street
The Lobster

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Finding Dory
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
Trolls
Zootopia

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
A Man Called Ove
Between Sea and Land
Desierto
Elle
The Handmaiden

BEST DOCUMENTARY
13th
Gleason
Oasis: Supersonic
OJ: Made in America
Weiner

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
La La Land – Audition (The Fools Who Dream)
La La Land – City Of Stars
Moana – How Far I’ll Go
Rules Don’t Apply – The Rules Don’t Apply
Sing Street – Drive it Like You Stole It

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Arrival
Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Nocturnal Animals

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Lion
Silence

BEST FILM EDITING
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Moonlight
Nocturnal Animals
Sully

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hacksaw Ridge
Jackie
La La Land
Silence

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Hacksaw Ridge
Jackie
La La Land

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Arrival
Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The Jungle Book

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
Anya Taylor-Joy – The Witch
Lewis MacDougall – A Monster Calls
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Ruth Negga – Loving

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A YOUTH
Alex R. Hibbert – Moonlight
Lewis MacDougall – A Monster Calls
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
Neel Sethi – The Jungle Book
Sunny Pawar – Lion

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Honors Moonlight!


Dallas is my home -- deal with it, haters!

The Dallas-Forth Worth Film Critics Association met today and the critics from my hometown named Moonlight the best film of 2016!

Hey, DFWFCA — why haven’t I been invited to join yet!?

Anyway, here are the winners in Dallas:

BEST PICTURE

Winner: MOONLIGHT
Runners-up: MANCHESTER BY THE SEA; LA LA LAND; HELL OR HIGH WATER; ARRIVAL; JACKIE; LOVING; 20TH CENTURY WOMEN; HACKSAW RIDGE; SILENCE

BEST ACTOR

Winner: Casey Affleck, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Runners-up: Denzel Washington, FENCES; Joel Edgerton, LOVING; Ryan Gosling, LA LA LAND; Tom Hanks, SULLY

BEST ACTRESS

Winner: Natalie Portman, JACKIE
Runners-up: Emma Stone, LA LA LAND; Ruth Negga, LOVING; Amy Adams, ARRIVAL; Annette Bening, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Winner: Mahershala Ali, MOONLIGHT
Runners-up: Jeff Bridges, HELL OR HIGH WATER; Michael Shannon, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS; Lucas Hedges, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA; Ben Foster, HELL OR HIGH WATER

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Winner: Viola Davis, FENCES
Runners-up: Naomie Harris, MOONLIGHT; Michelle Williams, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA; Greta Gerwig, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN; Judy Davis, THE DRESSMAKER

BEST DIRECTOR

Winner: Barry Jenkins, MOONLIGHT
Runners-up: Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND; Kenneth Lonergan, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA; David Mackenzie, HELL OR HIGH WATER; Denis Villeneuve, ARRIVAL

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Winner: THE HANDMAIDEN
Runners-up: TONI ERDMANN; ELLE; NERUDA; THE SALESMAN

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Winner: TOWER
Runners-up: 13TH; GLEASON; I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO; WEINER

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Winner: ZOOTOPIA
Runners-up: KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS; MOANA

BEST SCREENPLAY

Winner: Kenneth Lonergan, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Runner-up: Barry Jenkins, MOONLIGHT

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Winner: Linus Sandgren, LA LA LAND
Runner-up: Rodrigo Prieto, SILENCE

BEST MUSICAL SCORE

Winner: Justin Hurwitz, LA LA LAND
Runner-up: Mica Levi, JACKIE

RUSSELL SMITH AWARD (best low-budget or cutting-edge independent film)

Winner: MOONLIGHT