Monday, February 27, 2017

89th Academy Awards Winners

It is true, I was not excited about this year Academy Awards as knew my favorites were not going to win plus on top, I really dislike Jimmy Kimmel, and expected to fall asleep because of a boring show. Gee, I was absolutely wrong (!!!) and I'm glad that no matter all my negative thoughts before the show, I watched as to my HUGE unexpected surprise, last night show was one of the few Academy Awards ceremony I can say I enjoyed beyond all my expectations!

Before getting into the movies, have to say that the show was great as producers made the show all about movies and winners, with multiple clips of actors winning their Oscars plus a few presenters talking about other actors they admire.  That was great for me and yes, kept me awake expecting for more of the same and I got it!  Then got the nominated songs being performed and the performances were distributed along the ceremony, which also kept me awake (lol!); but the best was the performances, especially the Moana song with those dancers with flags that made beautiful flowers (even when one flag hit the singer and she continued as nothing happened); also La La Land songs were great but it was Justin Timberlake who stole the show with his show opening number that definitively set the mood and suggested the night was going to be "different" and boy, it was.

Kimmel to my surprise was okay, I laughed with some of his dumb-dumb jokes and perhaps was my imagination but got the impression that he appeared a lot more than previous ceremony hosts.  Truth is that he kept the show flowing and was an okay conductor.  The parachute gimmick was alright but somehow made me think about those life-saving parachutes in the Hunger Games (LOL).  Contrary to many I did enjoyed the so-called "cinema tourists" that went live into the show; IF gimmick was not staged or was staged is irrelevant as the idea was funny for me and as many reacted via Twitter, I was a bit jealous, wishing that happened to me! (LOL)  Not ashamed to admit that I could go star-struck with seeing Meryl Streep in person!

Let's talk about the "incident". Was getting shattered with La La Land winning top awards, started to feel the too-long lenght of the show (3 hours and 49 minutes) and almost turn off the TV; but suddenly noticed all the fuzz in the stage and yes, the inconceivable happened: I was speechless!  The only thing I could tweet was "that was awkward...".  See, just a few hours before the show I was talking with friends and said was impossible for Moonlight to win top award because it was a gay movie.  No lesbian or gay interest movie has ever won the top award, some had gotten close like Brokeback Mountain or Kiss of the Spiderwoman, but most have been ignored (like Carol last year) or have been given other Academy awards.

Today, everyone is talking about the gaffe but not many are talking about the awesome fact: a LGTB movie has finally broken the 89-years of "tradition" and won the Best Motion Picture of the Year from the most prestigious movie award in the world!!! YAY! Obviously was a gay-interest movie, but will not elaborate as wish to continue the milestone celebration, but hope soon there will be a lesbian-interest movie being honored with the same award, sigh.

Also undeniable is the fact that Moonlight is a gay movie about black men and yes, it is also the first time that an African-American movie wins and is NOT about civil rights or race relations, which is the type of African-America picture the Academy recognizes,  like 12 Years A Slave, Lincoln, In the Heat of the Night or even Driving Miss Daisy.  Another milestone.

So, no matter what all are talking today, last night show was one that those that love cinema and didn't watched (ratings are a tad down from last year) will regret it as yes, was an historic night for LGBT and African-American cinema.  Great!

Now to the the great news, one expected and another not expected.  We all knew Viola Davis performance belonged to the Best Actress category and NOT to the Supporting Actress but well, you know what publicists, producers and other industry personnel do; the FACT is Viola Davis has her so-much-well-deserved Oscar finally and I was genuinely happy for her. Most important Viola Davis has become the first black actor (ie male or female) to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony!  Maybe Viola could surprise us and win a Grammy to become a member of the very exclusive group of EGOT's.  Yes, me like many, was expecting Toni Erdmann to win as film won "everything", so imagine my surprise when one of my most-favorite contemporary directors won instead!  That was awesome!  Truth is that there was a "campaign" to promote film as winner just because of Asghar Farhadi nationality, but I'm still naive and wish to think The Salesman was honored because is a great movie!

Ah! don't get me wrong, I liked La La Land and believe had great production design and outstanding cinematography with special emphasis in the incredibly-good use of color in the most unusual ways plus yes, I do believe Damien Chazelle deserved an Oscar but I give it to him more for what he did in Whiplash than what he accomplished in La La Land. Also confirm that enjoyed Moonlight and to my huge surprise found Hacksaw Ridge very entertaining.  If you are wondering, from those nominated films my Oscar went to Lion, the Best Actress to Viola Davis and from those nominated to Natalie Portman, Best Supporting Actress to Nicole Kidman no more than 10 minutes absolutely awesome performance, Best Actor to Viggo Mortensen (it's about time as he should won for his performance in Eastern Promises), and Best Supporting Actor to none of the nominated (lol).

Will no more talk about Isabelle Huppert as yes had hope, but realistically Elle is not La Mome, so knew chances were on the very-low side.  Sigh.

But the great news is that we survived another American Awards season and there are still more annual awards pending from other great cinema countries.  Still the greatest news is that Cannes season is more than open as of today!!! Bravo.

To check winners at official site go here.  Winners are in *BLUE.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Kubo and the Two Strings
Ma vie de Courgette (My Life as a Zucchini)
La Tortue Rouge (The Red Turtle)

Best Documentary Feature
Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea)
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
*O.J.: Made in America

Best Foreign Language Film
En man som heter Ove (A Man Called Ove), Hannes Holm, Sweden
*فروشنده  Forushande (The Salesman), Asghar Farhadi, Iran
Tanna, Martin Butler and Bentley Dean, Australia
Toni Erdmann, Maren Ade, Germany
Under Sandet (Land of Mine), Martin Zandvliet, Denmark

Achievement in Directing
Denis Villeneuve for Arrival
Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge
*Damien Chazelle for La La Land
Keneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins for Moonlight

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Isabelle Huppert in Elle
Ruth Negga in Loving
Natalie Portman in Jackie
*Emma Stone in La La Land
Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
*Viola Davis in Fences
Naomi Harris in Moonlight
Nicole Kidman in Lion
Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams in Manchester by the Sea

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
*Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling in La La Land
Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington in Fences

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
*Mahershala Ali in Moonlight
Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel in Lion
Michael Shannon in Nocturnal Animals

Best Adapted Screenplay
Eric Heisserer for Arrival
August Wilson for Fences
Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi for Hidden Figures
Luke Davies for Lion
*Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney for Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay
Taylor Sheridan for Hell or High Water
Damien Chazelle for La La Land
Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou for The Lobster
*Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea
Mike Mills for 20th Century Women

Achievement in Cinematography
Bradford Young for Arrival
*Linus Sandgren for La La Land
Greig Fraser for Lion
James Laxton for Moonlight
Rodrigo Prieto for Silence

Achievement in Film Editing
Joe Walker for Arrival
*John Gilbert for Hacksaw Ridge
Jake Roberts for Hell or High Water
Tom Cross for La La Land
Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon for Moonlight

Achievement in Production Design
Patrice Vermette and Paul Hotte for Arrival
Stuart Craig and Anna Pinnock for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Jess Gonchor and Nancy Haigh for Hail, Caesar!
*David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco for La La Land
Guy Hendrix Dyas and Gene Serdena for Passengers

Achievement in Visual Effects
Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton for Deepwater Horizon
Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould for Doctor Strange
*Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon for The Jungle Book
Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff for Kubo and the Two Strings
John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Achievement in Sound Editing
*Sylvain Bellemare for Arrival
Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli for Deepwater Horizon
Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright for Hacksaw Ridge
Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Latrou Morgan for La La Land
Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman for Sully

Achievement in Sound Mixing
Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye for Arrival
*Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace for Hacksaw Ridge
Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow for La La Land
David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Achievement in Costume Design
Joanna Johnston for Allied
*Colleen Atwood for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Consolata Boyle for Florence Foster Jenkins
Madelline Fontaine for Jackie
Mary Zophres for La La Land

Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Eva von Bahr and Love Larson for En man som heter Ove (A Man Called Ove)
Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo for Star Trek Beyond
*Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson for Suicide Squad

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
Mica Levi for Jackie
*Justin Hurwitz for La La Land
Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka for Lion
Nicholas Britell for Moonlight
Thomas Newman for Passengers

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
Audition (The Fools Who Dream) from La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Can't Stop The Feeling from Trolls, music and lyrics by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster
*City of Stars from La La Land, music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
The Empty Chair from Jim: The James Foley Story, music and lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
How Far I'll Go from Moana, music and lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Short Films

Best Animated Short
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Best Documentary Short
4.1 Miles
Joe's Violin
Watani: My Homeland
*The White Helmets

Best Live Action Short
Ennemis Intérieurs
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights

Perhaps I'm not the majority but did enjoy more the digital nominations announcement than the previous format used by the Academy as a tape production is "safer" than a live production and yes, more easy to get what we are for watching: the nominees! Still the second part of the live stream was also broadcasted by major American networks so had to turn down my TV as everything was stereo with some time delay (don't know what for). Nevertheless, my spontaneous impression is that nominations show came and went TOO-fast, fun didn't lasted long, sigh.

Will start by sharing that Venezia73 has the most nominations! Yes, this morning nominations confirm that the Italian major film festival has become the Oscars harbinger.  To me that's not good news as these films occupy spaces that should belong to other more interesting films, those that need a festival push for major world distribution.  But well, the fact is La La Land (14), Arrival (8), Jackie (3), Hacksaw Ridge (6), and Nocturnal Animals (1) premiered at 2016 Biennale; also Tanna (1) but premiered at Venezia72. Still, the festival that has more movies honored by the Academy is, obviously, Cannes 2016 as Hell or High Water (4), Captain Fantastic (1) Elle (1), The Salesman (1), Loving (1), Toni Erdmann (1), My Life as a Zucchini (1), and La Tortue Rouge (1) premiered at this festival; also The Lobster (1) but premiered at Cannes 2015.  Berlinale 2016 only has two films with nominations but one belongs to the Golden Bear winner, Fire at Sea; the other to Hail Caesar!

La La Land leads with fourteen (14) nominations to tie the record held by 1950 All About Eve and 1997 Titanic and beats the record nominations held by another musical film, Mary Poppins (13).  Arrival and Moonlight follow with eight (8) nominations each and with six (6) nominations each, Hacksaw Ridge, Lion and Manchester by the Sea.  With four (4) Fences and Hell or High Water; with three (3) Hidden Figures and Jackie; with two (2) Deepwater Horizon, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Florence Foster Jenkins, Kubo and the Two Strings, A Man Called Ove, Moana, Passengers and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

In the acting categories the best news is Isabelle Huppert getting her first Oscar nomination!  Know many were hoping but most news were guessing if she could make it and just this morning, TV commentators say that race is between Emma Stone and Natalie Portman BUT after a major news host asked about Huppert as possible winner, answer came something like this: as she surprisingly made it, then maybe she can surprisingly win! (lol).  Nevertheless, I'm very happy as there is no other female actor that works harder, travels almost all genres, has an extensive filmography, and SO-MANY extraordinary performances as Isabelle Huppert, she deserves all honors even when those came from a performance that is not her best!

Meryl Streep extends her lead as the most nominated performer with her 20th nomination, to think that someone recently call her "overrated" actress, perceptions and reality, sigh.  Seven (7) individuals are first-time nominees: Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Lucas Hedges, Dev Patel, Isabelle Huppert, Ruth Negga and Naomie Harris; while six (6) are previous acting winners: Denzel Washington, Jeff Bridges, Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Octavia Spencer.  The most obvious acting snub goes to Amy Adams in Arrival, especial when film got so many honors today.

Actors get nominations for more roles than acting and this edition has Denzel Washington being nominated for Best Actor and producer of Fences; he's the seventh individual to receive those two nominations joining Warren Beatty, Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper.  Then there is Matt Damon who becomes only the third individual to be nominated in the Acting, Writing and Best picture categories; he joins Warren Beatty and George Clooney.

Let's recall that Academy members from each of the 17 branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories -actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, etc.  In the Animated Feature Film and Foreign Language Film categories, nominees are selected by a vote of multi-branch screening committees.  All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees.

Active members of the Academy are eligible to vote for the winners in ALL 24 categories beginning Monday, February 13 through Tuesday, February 21.  The Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 26 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland center in Hollywood and will be televised on ABC from 7:00pm ET.  The Oscars will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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