The Awards Season of 2015

And so, my favourite time of year- the awards season- is over. With Sunday night’s (Monday morning for some of us) 87th Academy Awards done for another year, I thought I’d take a look at who won what and how these amazing films did overall.

BEST PICTURE – BIRDMAN (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

download (7)

It was looking for a while there that Boyhood would pick up the Oscar for Best Picture! When Boyhood came away with Best Motion Picture – Drama Golden Globe award and Birdman didn’t win their category (Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy), Boyhood definitely seemed like it was the front runner, having won the BAFTA and a few other awards for Best Picture too!

Both Birdman and Boyhood were both excellent, original and revolutionary with it’s style of film-making: Birdman being a 1 take show and Boyhood being filmed over 12 years! For pure effort and dedication involved, everyone believed Boyhood would walk away with the Oscar. However, I thoroughly enjoyed Birdman, was quite chuffed that it won and I can’t wait until it’s released on DVD.

Other films I was rooting for in this category as underdogs? The Imitation Game or Whiplash.

BEST DIRECTOR – ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU (Birdman)

download (15)

A similar story as before, everyone believed Richard Linklater would’ve walked this category- he dedicated 12 years of his life to Boyhood! It was a toss up between him and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman, but again Linklater won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for Best Director, so really it was less of a close race here than for Best film. However, Gonzalez Inarritu won it and good on him!

Who I was rooting for? Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher, who won the Cannes film festival’s Best Director award.

BEST ACTOR – EDDIE REDMAYNE (The Theory of Everything)

eddie-redmayne-por_3161489c

I’m so so thrilled for British born boy Eddie for winning the Oscar! He seems like such a humble sweetheart and his portrayal of Professor Stephen Hawking was a revelation! I didn’t think much of The Theory of Everything; it was a good film don’t get me wrong, I just thought it was quite bland and nothing particularly special. But I thought Redmayne was definitely the best thing about it and he 100% deserved this award!

For a while it did seem that Michael Keaton was the bookies favourite for the Oscar. But as Redmayne won the Golden Globe, the BAFTA, the SAG and so many numerous other awards, beating all his peers, this came as no surprise to me.

In such a formidable category, with so many outstanding actors nominated, he should be proud. All the nominees, I feel, were all deserved of this award and I’ve seen all of them perform.

If I were choosing though, I’d actually have given it to Steve Carell for Foxcatcher as the chilling John du Pont. He made that film memorable.

BEST ACTRESS – JULIANNE MOORE (Still Alice)

still alice

This was unsurprising really as, like Eddie Redmayne, Moore has won all major awards before the Oscar. Though I am yet to watch Still Alice, I hear Moore and her unique portrayal of a mother with Alzheimers is mesmerising.

Despite this, if I were choosing to hand this award to someone, I would have given it to Rosamund Pike for her shocking and disturbing turn as Amy Dunne in Gone Girl.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – JK SIMMONS (Whiplash)

jk_simmons_68960

Whiplash was a hidden gem of absolute brilliance and I’m so glad it walked away with something from the Oscars! Again, a very tough acting category, with Ed Norton (Birdman) and Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) who were both nominated and both excellent. However, the best man won. JK Simmons as Terence Fletcher, the sadistic, dictator of a Jazz band conductor was utterly genius.

I wouldn’t have minded seeing Mark Ruffalo win as Dave Shultz in Foxcatcher, but the best man won here.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – PATRICIA ARQUETTE (Boyhood)

download (17)

Again, this was unsurprising, having outshone all her peers and won all major awards: Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG etc. Congrats to Patricia Arquette, who also gave a wonderful acceptance speech, calling for wage equality and equal rights for women in the United States of America. What an awesome lady!

I may have considered Emma Stone as Sam Thomson in Birdman, purely for her outburst and monologue half way through, but the best woman won here.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo (Birdman)

2015_2$largeimg523_Feb_2015_211451440gallery

Unique and comic dialogue, real-time storytelling, for it’s incorporation of the Birdman himself and it’s thin line between make belief and reality, a line that performers/film stars thread carefully – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo for Birdman deserved this award so much!

I would have happily seen it gone to E Max Frye and Dan Futterman for the intense and unnerving Foxcatcher though.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)

download (18)

Completely agree with this award, Graham Moore wrote an incredible screenplay, about Alan Turing and the Enigma code breakers at Bletchley Park in World War II, who helped win the war. A story never told yet important to tell. Alan Turing was an important, influential figure, yet forgotten by most, or some cases never even heard of. So for that and the masterful way Graham Moore told his story, he deserved to win. And he gave the most heartfelt speech. Stay weird everyone!

Anyway that rounds off the awards season. Let’s hope next year’s batch of films will be as incredible as these! What do you guys reckon? Do you agree with who won and who lost?

Don’t forget to #StayWeird!

Advertisements

Top 10: Middle Earth Moments

The three films that make up The Lord of the Rings trilogy are the best, most captivating, most impressive films I have ever seen. They are massively responsible for sparking my passion for film and are one of cinema’s greatest, ground-breaking accomplishments: Wonderful story, unique characters, love-able heroes, detestable villains, terrifying battle scenes, heart wrenching music, magnificent acting, 17 Academy Awards and a breathtaking New Zealand as Middle Earth. The trilogy is the closest to perfect I have had the pleasure to watch. With the last Hobbit film, The Battle of the Five Armies, bringing the Peter Jackson/Tolkien era to a close, I decided to do a Top 10 of my favourite moments from the 6 film franchise that is adored by myself and so many. Enjoy! (Spoilers warning!)

10. The Ents Attack Isengard– The Two Towers

merrypiptreebeard

Not the most fierce or brave looking creatures, the Ents seem to be the most unlikely to join in with the fight. But secretly, they are courageous and spirited. The Ents storm Isengard with a vengeance, lead by Treebeard with Merry and Pippin on his branches, and leave their mark. The reason this is number 10, is because the rallying of the Ents shows that even the most odd, forgotten underdogs of Middle Earth will make a stand against evil. It’s quite metaphorical and heart warming.

9. Meeting the Dwarf Company – An Unexpected Journey

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

When the first Hobbit film was released in 2012, Middle Earth lovers would have only met one dwarf so far: Gimli. However, The Hobbit is very much about the Dwarves and so An Unexpected Journey allowed you to meet all 13 of them.. All at once.. crammed into a Hobbit hole. An intimate experience indeed, I was intrigued to learn more and to visualise them on a big screen. And they were splendid! Lead by Thorin Oakenshield, they are a collective, but all 13 have their own quirks, colour, weapons and style of fighting. They are merry, funny, musical, proud and strong, and are brought to life by Peter Jackson and actors brilliantly. My favourites of the company include Thorin (the wonderful Richard Armitage), Balin (Ken Stott), Dwalin (Graham McTavish), Bofur (James Nesbitt) and Oin (John Callen).

8. Lighting the Beacons – The Return of the King

lotr-rotk-beacons

This montage begins with the audience’s eyes opening to the fact Pippin isn’t just the foolish clown of the Fellowship, but actually a courageous little Hobbit. With stunning visuals, an uplifting, exciting soundtrack to accompany it and the fires lighting high in the mountains, low on the ground and in the dead of night, travelling across Middle Earth; what can I say? “Gondor calls for aid” and this scene deserves to be in here.

7. Gollum and Bilbo’s Riddles in the Dark – An Unexpected Journey

riddles

The highlight from the first Hobbit film, without a doubt is this scene between our hero and protagonist Bilbo Baggins (the perfectly cast Martin Freeman) and our old friend from The Lord of the Rings, Gollum (Andy Serkis). Gollum is unpredictable, and Bilbo learns that quickly, humouring him with a game of riddles to wager for his life. Andy Serkis’ return is a welcome relief from the chaos that ensues in An Unexpected Journey and to watch Martin Freeman take a minute out of the madness to really sink his teeth in and act as Bilbo is a revelation.

6. Annie Lennox and Howard Shore’s Into the West – The Return of the King

Credits; The Return of the King

The soundtrack that accompanies The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit combined is truly mesmerising, iconic and one of the best. Howard Shore is responsible for the music and for giving us an emotional breakdown come the end of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and particularly by this song. Into the West is sung and co-written by Annie Lennox, and it is beautiful and poignant. When the wonderfully crafted credits roll, marking the end to the trilogy, it is accompanied by Into the West. Just sit, listen, absorb the credits, music, the lyrics and the voice of Annie Lennox.

5. The Mines of Moria and the Balrog – The Fellowship of the Ring

Balrog3

The moment in Balin’s tomb and Boromir (Sean Bean) makes the realisation “they have a cave troll”, the scenes in Moria get bigger, darker and more frightening. Moria gives you and the little Hobbits a glimmer of what they are up against on their journey, and gives the chance to see how the newly formed Fellowship adjust to each other and work as a team. As they flee from an unknown creature, the famous scene commences with Gandalf (Ian McKellen) standing on the bridge between the rest of the Fellowship and the now revealed huge, computer generated achievement, Balrog of Morgorth. Iconic and emotional, Gandalf shouts the famous line “you shall not pass” and breaks the bridge, before falling into the darkness with the Balrog. It’s memorable and upsetting, as the clearly respected and loved leader of their company is lost in able to protect the rest. It is the last of Gandalf the Grey, but who says he can’t steal another colour and come back to life eh? (Spoilers…)

4. Gollum vs. Smeagol Monologue – The Two Towers

smeagol-gollum

Andy Serkis not only acts but channels antagonist Gollum and Smeagol to life. Very much like Jekyll and Hyde, Gollum is the evil, ring obsessed side to Gollum’s former self, the innocent Smeagol (who is or was a Hobbit too). Often we witness both personalities battling each other. But there marks a moment in The Two Towers when we first fully discover this duel personality and this moment makes number 4 on my list. I believe Andy Serkis should have been Oscar nominated for Gollum/Smeagol as this scene is one of the best acted scenes in the entire 6 film franchise.

3. Smaug the Dragon – The Desolation of Smaug

smaug-the-hobbit-dragon

I’ll admit, I was disappointed by The Hobbit films. But, by far the stand out moment from the trilogy was Smaug the Dragon. It put my faith back into the films and showed me that Peter Jackson was still the master of magical creatures; he still knew how to treat an iconic moment and make it unforgettable on a cinema screen. Smaug is such an achievement! Majestically voiced by the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch (who also did motion capture movements for Smaug), Smaug is incredible and incredibly huge, nearly reaching the high ceilings of Erebor. The conversation between himself and Bilbo matched that from the book and had you on the edge of your seat. Real effort went in to perfecting him and Smaug indeed is given the best lines including the infamous: “I am fire. I am death.”

2. The Charge of the Rohirrim at Pelennor Fields – The Return of the King

Rohancharge

If I said the horn of Rohan during the Battle of Pelennor Fields to any The Lord of the Rings fanatic, I expect a gasp, a nod and maybe even a tear. Just kidding. As the Battle for Gondor, men and the city of Minas Tirith continues, the soldiers believe the fight is lost and they have been deserted by Rohan. However, when all of a sudden the horn of Rohan rings out, hope is not lost. Over the hill comes the army on horseback, the Rohirrim, lead by King Theoden (the brilliant Bernard Hill), who gives his best lines to date, his rousing speech that convinces even you at home to join the charge into the evil forces that ruthlessly seeks to destroy the world of men. Accompanied by Howard Shore’s, once again, marvellous soundtrack that crescendos throughout, the Battle of Pelennor Fields without fail sends a shiver down my spine and a tear to my eye. This is what cinema is all about.

maxresdefault

1. The Battle of Helms Deep – The Two Towers

Battle_of_Helms_Deep

coetttbs_dvd_archers1

Peter Jackson is renowned and brilliant at filming and constructing battle sequences, it is indeed his forte, which is why my number 1 and 2 are both battle sequences. The Battle over Helms Deep beats Pelennor Fields to number 1 though because of its underdog story and because it’s breathtaking. Watching 10,000 armoured, tenacious, cruel Uruk-Hai storm the Hornburg and attack the men of Rohan defending it- and of course Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and the Elves too- is a defining memory and image that stays with you. The scenes you witness are violent, hostile and quite scary, and the narrative is gripping, told through the different battle waves: ladders, crossbows, higher ladders, battle ram and the explosion. From the first patter of rain on their armour to the final charge of the Rohirrim, this is one thrilling, epic battle that marks my favourite moment in the whole of the 6 films.

images (19)

images (20)

What do you guys think? Did I miss out one of your favourites? Feel free to comment and let me know!