OSCAR COUNTDOWN: BEST PICTURE

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It’s HERE!!! Superbowl Sunday..of Movies that is!! #whoooohooooo And we are at the end.. the most anticipated category there is. Eight Nominees..everyone has a favourite..which is mine??!! Well read on here..read on.. and let us all enjoy the show and hope that there are a few fun upsets and that everyone has a fav. or two that wins something! Cheers!!
(Drum roll please)

BEST PICTURE:

Whiplash
Jason Blum, David Lancaster, Helen Estabrook

How to even describe this movie except that I loved it..then I saw it a second time and I loved it even more!! If there is a upset of the evening, this would be the one I would want.

American Sniper
Bradley Cooper, Clint Eastwood, Peter Morgan

I liked this movie.. it’s not my favourite but good performances especially by Bradley Cooper, make it better. Though a it’s become a politically charged film, it’s still a good movie.

Birdman
Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole

I remember the first time out of the three times I saw this movie..and walking out thinking “THAT was fucking brilliant” I still think it is and it’s just a mind-boggling fantastic film full of imagination and a story within a story that I just simply loved.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven M. Rales

This was such a fun movie. I remember noting in my review that come Oscar time, it might be nominated even though it was so early in the year to predict that.. I was right. It might not be my pick, but it’s definitely a movie to be seen.

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The Imitation Game
Teddy Schwarzman, Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky

The only movie to make me cry..both times I saw it. It was just such a heart-wrenching story for me and the fact that my family was in the war and had it not been for Alan Turing, I might not even be here. Also, the whole prosecuting such a brave, brilliant man for being gay, just broke me.

Selma
Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner

While a strong film, it was almost like a bio of MLK and while I really loved some of the performances, I think the timing of it’s release coinciding with the racially charged political climate that was/is going on, made it more relevant as when it was first screened it wasn’t scoring very high. It definitely deserves to be here, just not to win.

The Theory of Everything
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Anthony McCarten

There are times this film moves slowly and if not for the amazing story of what this man has accomplished in his life and how he’s beaten the odds ten-fold, plus it’s also a story of how strong a person his wife had to be to stand by his side throughout, and lest we not forget the brilliant performances..well..it might not be what it is.

Boyhood
Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland

This is my least favourite film of the bunch. I saw it waaay back before all the hype, and while I think the idea of it brilliant, the film itself is an average story of a boy growing up. I think so many have fallen in love with the idea of it, rather than noting it’s really just that..an average film with a brilliant idea behind it.

My Pick: Birdman (with an outside secret hope for a “Whiplash” upset 🙂 )
Will Win: Birdman
Possible Win: Boyhood

OSCAR COUNTDOWN: BEST DIRECTOR

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Another day ~ Another Oscar countdown category

BEST DIRECTOR:

Morten Tyldum
“The Imitation Game”
While I loved this movie and it’s in my top 3 of the year, Morten is just not my pick this time around.

Bennett Miller
“Foxcatcher”
Having seen this with Bennett & Steve Carell at a Q & A and Bennett just was well..not the most pleasant of people I’ve ever met.. and the film had good performances but wasn’t great. Not my pick.
best director
Alejandro González Iñárritu
“Birdman”
From the 1st time I saw this film, to the 3rd time I saw it with Keaton & Inarritu doing the Q & A, I’ve loved it. Just a brilliant, brilliant film.

Richard Linklater
“Boyhood”
An average movie with a brilliant idea behind it – which is what I think people are mixing together. And I’m a Linklater fan and again, the idea was his and it’s good..I just wish the film was better.

Wes Anderson
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
When I first saw this was back at the beginning of 2014, I loved it. Still do.. I won’t be mad if Wes wins this.

My Pick: Alejandro Inarritu
Will Win: Alejandro Inarritu
Possible Win: Wes Anderson

COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR/ACTRESS

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Continuing with the Oscar countdown ~ we are moving along to Best Supporting Actor/Actress.

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Mark Ruffalo
“Foxcatcher”
One of my least favourite performances in this category

Edward Norton
“Birdman”
i won’t be mad if Norton wins this.. not in the slightest as this was my favourite performance and I would’ve called Norton the winner…until…

J.K. Simmons
“Whiplash”
Until..I saw this performance of Simmons. Long been a favourite of mine since the HBO series “OZ” – he blew us all away with this..

Robert Duvall
“The Judge”
How do you not like Duvall.. he’s truly an acting icon.

Ethan Hawke
“Boyhood”
Love Ethan.. not my fav. movie or performance.

My Pick: J.K. Simmons
Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Possible Win: Edward Norton

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
I will be upfront here.. none of these performances WOWED me. Jessica Chastain for ‘A Most Violent Year’ was whom I would’ve picked, but yeah..not nominated. So if I have to pick…

Emma Stone
“Birdman”
It’s not Emma for me.

Patricia Arquette
“Boyhood”
Truly not Patricia for me either though she’s been sweeping everything and walking up with her lengthy piece of tacky paper to read off of letting everyone know she knew she was winning.

Meryl Streep
“Into the Woods”
Love Meryl.. but I do think they ran short of people and put her in because she IS Meryl Streep.

Laura Dern
“Wild”
I didn’t love this movie.. but Dern moved me some with her performance here, she was definitely the best part of this movie.

Keira Knightley
“The Imitation Game”
While Knightley didn’t annoy the complete bejesus out of me this go round.. she usually does and she did Laggies & Begin Again, both awful films that she should just be punished for that and all the others.

My Pick: Laura Dern
Will Win: Patricia Arquette
Possible Win: Emma Stone

Golden Globes – My picks for Film~Best Actor/Actress/Director/Supporting/Foreign

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My picks for these awards are just that..MY PICKS! 😀 This is my favourite award show as it’s both Film & TV..I mean how can you go wrong with the best of both genres drinking it up at one awards show with Tina Fey & Amy Pohler hosting. Well the answer is you can’t. I’ve seen almost all the films presented this year, even the foreign ones – though yes, I’ve missed a few as there is only so much one human-being can do! ha! You might agree or even better, you might dis-agree ~ it’s all good. I will warn you, I did pretty well last year with my picks and this year I think I’m going to do even better. So with that..I give you #peggyatthemovies 2014 Golden Globe picks! Cheers!

BEST PICTURE (DRAMA):
“Boyhood”
I loved the premise of this movie.. the movie itself was good..but not great for me.

“Foxcatcher”
I will say I was glad I went into this film not knowing to much about it. Performances were very good, but still not my pick here.

“The Imitation Game”WINNER
I loved everything about this movie. The story is so good~the much speculated and talked about inaccuracies and all. The acting even better, and alas it was the only movie to make me cry..both times I saw it.

“Selma”
Like it as it’s quite a powerful film with all it’s much talked about inaccuracies also…just didn’t love it.

“The Theory of Everything”
Really like the film..second viewing the other night was even better.. performance by both actors, especially Eddie Redmayne, is what awards are made for. Still not my top choice for best picture though.

BEST PICTURE (COMEDY/MUSICAL):
“Birdman”WINNER
From the 1st viewing to my 3rd viewing.. BRILLIANT!!

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
I enjoyed this movie as it was tons of fun and entertaining..though I might not think it’s best picture material, others might.

“Into The Woods”
Will admit to not having seen it yet..as it just wasn’t on the top of my to-see list. I will eventually get to it though.

“Pride”
This movie never came to a theatre near me as far as I know as it was on my list..if it did, it was in and out so fast I missed it. Too bad because it seems as it would be right up my alley.

“St. Vincent”
This was a fun, sweet film.. I mean how can you not like Bill Murray..and the kid was great..but still not a top film for moi.

BEST DIRECTOR:
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Wes Anderson has done some good films that I’ve really liked..and I did like this a lot, just not enough for it to be my pick in this category.

Ava DuVernay, “Selma”
Good film..love the fact that a woman director got nominated and it was great hearing her speak about the film trials & tribulations after the screening, but alas, it’s not my pick.

David Fincher, “Gone Girl”
I mean who doesn’t love David Fincher..He;s done some brilliant stuff..and I liked this film a lot as it had a good creep/twisty factor but it’s not an award winner.

Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”WINNER
But there is only one “Birdman” and this film was stunning with it’s long one-shots and imagination. I loved loved loved it…all 3 times to be exact.

Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Yes, I was stunned as I watched this film unfold as to the idea of it all..and that idea was Richard Linklater’s – but I just didn’t like the movie enough to make it my #1 .. though if Alejandro doesn’t win, he would be my 2nd choice based on just the fact it was done over a 12yr time period..that’s a huge commitment and undertaking.

BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA):
Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”
I wish I could say I’ve seen this film/performance as a lot of people are raving about it. But I blinked and missed it for the 1 week it was in like 2 theatres here.

Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Loved the film, loved the performance especially for her 1st major leading role and she was wonderful..my 2nd choice for sure.

Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”WINNER
Can we not just give Julianne the damn award already??!!! She needs to finally win it for a lead role in a film dammit!!

Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
While I’m not Rosamund Pike’s biggest fan, she was crazy creepy good in this role. But then she also did Simon Pegg’s “The Pursuit of Happyness” this year which was awful. Just for that reason alone she doesn’t deserve this. 🙂

Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
Yeah..everyone said I would be ‘WOWED’ by this film & her performance..I wasn’t. It was good..not great.

BEST ACTOR (DRAMA):
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Funny-man turned oh-so-serious and pulled it off..pretty well I might add.

Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
2014 was definitely the year of the Brits. This performance is outstanding..it really is..but it’s also my 2nd choice. I know..I know..ALREADY!

Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nighcrawler”
Jake pulled off creepy-shitshow reporter here.. but he didn’t come close to my 2 top picks performance wise.

David Oyelowo, “Selma”
Good performance..fair movie..but like Jake, just didn’t come close to the top 2.

Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”WINNER
Yes, I am giving my pick to Eddie Redmayne here..why..because simply put he was BRILLIANT BEYOND BELIEF. He embodied Stephen Hawking in every way, shape, form & speech. This performance is why awards are given. period.

BEST ACTRESS (COMEDY/MUSICAL):
Amy Adams, “Big Eyes”WINNER
Really good performance.. was it the ‘gold standard’ of American Hustle that I loved..no..but then neither was the film and sadly the actress roles were seriously lacking this year across the board. She was however good enough to win this.

Emily Blunt, “Into The Woods”
I’ve come to like Emily Blunt more & more..she was great as an action star with Tom Cruise in ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ pulling this off is harder.

Helen Mirren, “The Hundred Foot Journey”
Didn’t see this film..again, I’ve read the movie itself is mediocre but how can you not love Helen Mirren is just about anything.

Julianne Moore, “Maps To The Stars”
Again, blinked and missed this one, but I hear Julianne did a bang-up job.

Quvenzhane Wallis, “Annie”
Let’s face it..we know the genre was lacking contenders so this is a ‘fill up the category’ nomination.

BEST ACTOR (COMEDY/MUSICAL):
Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
I’m a fan of this film and of the performance, as it was fun. But it’s not a win.

Michael Keaton, “Birdman”WINNER
Let’s face it..we ALL love a really good comeback. And Michael Keaton gives it to us lock, stock and barrel in this film. He’s a fantastic actor who deserves this big time.

Bill Murray, “St. Vincent”
I j’adore Bill Murray. From ‘Caddyshack’ to ‘Groundhog Day’ to this film. How can you not? But it just wasn’t a better performance than my pick for winner.

Joaquin Phoenix, “Inherent Vice”
Ridiculous film..ridiculous performance..and I love Joaquin. This shouldn’t even be up and I’m guessing was another ‘fill in the category’ nomination

Christoph Waltz, “Big Eyes”
Good performance and while some thought it over the top..I was lucky enough to see a screening with a Q & A afterwards with cast/director where they noted it was actually toned it down. I liked it, not enough for a win though.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
The part I loved most about this was when I finally realized that they were doing this over a 12yr period and having a giggle over ‘hey, that’s when she was doing “Medium” hair-style etc. She probably did the best work of her career here and stands a good chance of winning.

Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year” WINNER
Jessica just went against type here and really came out strong in this performance for me. Very different style & film.

Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
For once Keira Knightley did not annoy the bejesus out of me..She was actually decent in this role. Though she also did ‘Begin Again’ – where she was annoying and probably one of the 5 worst movies of the year ‘Laggies’ – so she can not not not possibly deserve this award.

Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Was one of my top 3 films of the year, but definitely not a favourite performance here. It grew on me a bit more by the 3rd viewing, but still, nope.

Meryl Streep, “Into The Woods”
It’s Meryl. What else is there to say? she’s always good.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
This was a fairly good movie, and a nice performance. Though sweetly done, not a winner for me.

Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
I remember when the screening started and I thought “how does Ethan look so damn young here” and it took me a good hour to finally realize what they did here. I’ve always liked Ethan, through the good and the bad..this was part of the good.

Edward Norton, “Birdman”
I’m so torn here as until I saw Whiplash, he had my vote. hands down. but now, uuuggghhh torn, torn, torn! But he’s my 2nd choice, and it actually hurts to say that.

Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
I thought Ruffalo was out of place in this film. He’s playing someone who is clearly supposed to be so much younger and it didn’t come off for me. I know a lot of people loved him in it. He was just okay for me.

J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”WINNER
Damn this movie was good. Even better the 2nd time with a full screening and J.K. & Dir:Damien Chazelle speaking afterwards to fill it all in. I’ve been a J.K.Simmons fan since “OZ” and he blows you away in this film. He so deserves this award for everything he’s done in his career that has been so good, but most of all for bringing this character to life like no other.

BEST FOREIGN FILM:
“Force Majeure”WINNER
I was way behind on my foreign films because they were all screening at the same times and their English counterparts and I could only do so much. That being said, I saw this the other day..really good film..loved it.

“Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem”
Wasn’t able to see this yet

“Ida”
Caught this film this week, and while I know it’s the fav. I found my pick to be all-around better film.

“Leviathan”
This was an okay-good film. I know sometimes maybe a bit gets lost in translation, and while I thought visually it was beautiful, it story was scattered and lost.

“Tangerines”
Was not able to see it.

+++READ READ READ ~~ REVIEW OF “BOYHOOD” #peggyatthemovies

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OKAY, okay, okay.. So I actually saw a screening of this movie this past Sunday, 6/15. but at 166 minutes long, my tail bone was still aching from sitting in old school theatre seats!! and the crick in my neck from craning my neck around the gentleman in front of me is still there…Hence the late review!! 🙂   Oh how we quickly forget how theaters used to be set up and how spoiled we are now!! ha!

I should also note that this movie has a release date of July 18, 2014 but has been released in Europe and is generating word of mouth/reviews from there, most especially from Germany.  It also was a last minute entry in this years Sundance Film Festival where you would think the lengthy movie time would deter moviegoers, especially the film festival ones, but it’s done good box office and generated a positive response from Sundance. But let me tell you upfront, this movie requires a big commitment to see it. I went in eyes closed. after only viewing the trailer, which is usually what I do..that and the promise of a Q & A afterwards with Richard Linklater made it all the more enticing. They say hindsight is 20/20 and I will ALWAYS check the running time now as I was not prepared for it.

But if I think the audience has to prepare..it’s nothing in comparison to what an undertaking this movie truly was.  It’s the story of “Mason” (Ellar Coltrane) who we meet first at the age of 7 and watch him grow up before our eyes till the age of 18. Literally..it’s played by the same actor throughout the entire movie..as a matter of fact, every single person in this movie from his sister, “Samantha” (Lorelei Linklater) his mom, “Olivia” (Patricia Arquette) Dad, “Mason Sr” (Ethan Hawke) is played from day one and throughout the whole movie..that’s right..the WHOLE 12 YEARS, by the same people. And to watch this and realize what a huge, mind-boggling undertaking this movie was, sitting there watching it, realizing that this was the completely over the top, never been done before, ambitious plan from the beginning..Well, it’s pretty amazing.  Each year, over a 12yr. period, the cast made time to shoot this movie. Think about it for a second..they had to not only get acclaimed actors to commit to this, but CHILDREN!! and of course their parents consent, as it would span pretty much the rest of their childhood lives once a year. That could be considered a bit insane or brilliant, whichever way you choose. It was a commitment they all had to make from the very beginning and usually when you hear a director talk about the long process in a Q & A, you shake your head, nod. agree..think wow..6mos..yeah that is long..When you hear Richard Linklater talk about a 12 YEAR process..you realize what ‘long process’ and ‘labour of love’ really means.. Plus to find investors willing to be part of such a venture knowing upfront they will not see a dime for TWELVE YEARS!  I know I am repeating myself here, but I can’t help it. As I watched the movie, and I realized the jist of what I was watching, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and being kinda blown away by it.

As for the movie itself, I liked both “Mason” and “Samantha” at the beginning.. They were good kid actors. As time rolled on though, you saw them both roll into the ‘angsty’ teen actor roles and while there were big ups and downs in the movie, you realize how many people come in and out of your lives during childhood, it’s pretty fascinating to think about really. There were so many times that the screen goes dark for a moment and you think it’s over..yet there they are..back again. Sadly, during some of these moments I actually wanted it to end as it seemed fitting and to make it continue didn’t seem right or worth it and made it drag for long points of time. There are some heavy, relevant doses of pop culture that make you identify more with the characters and the movie most of the time, though a lot of will go right over most people’s heads with little references to things like ‘Bright Eyes’ or ‘Dragonball Z’.

For the most part, “Boyhood” almost seems like a documentary more than an actual movie. It connects, but  I do think males will definitely identify more with the character as it’s about a boy growing up into a young man and I’m sure most guys have gone through many of the same situations with parents, relationships and situations.

The idea of this movie was simply brilliant to me…the movie itself, much too long and a bit contrived at points.  Again, be prepared for a very long stay at the theatre for this one.

Grade: C+

GRADING SCALE: A = OSCARWORTHY; B = ABOVE AVERAGE~MUST SEE; C= AVERAGE~SHOULD SEE; D = DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY; F = YEAH..NO DON’T SEE THE MOVIE.. ( + OR – ) GIVES IT A BIT UP OR DOWN