7 DAYS OF OSCARS: DAY 6 ~ “BEST ACTOR”

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Yes, the end of my “7 Days of Oscars” is nearing it’s close. For some this might be a hard category. For me, it is the simplest one as I knew from the minute the film was over, who was going to be my pick of the year. And yes, deservedly so.

BEST ACTOR

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Being a fan of Cranston, it’s a notable performance here, but the film went pretty unnoticed by most as it was about the infamous ‘blacklist’ and I think some just thought it had been done before.

Matt Damon, The Martian
This for me, was actually a really good dramady performance by Damon. He was funny, yet serious when he needed to be. But sorry Matt, it’s going to have to be another time. 🙂

Leonardo DiCaprio, The RevenantMY PICK/WINNER
Please pick up your Golden Man.. FINALLY Mr. DiCaprio. 😀

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Good, strong job by one of my favourite actors here. Lot’s of dialogue but just didn’t hit it on the mark for me.

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Last year’s winner and another good performance by Redmayne, but not of the Oscar caliber of last years so no..I don’t think Eddie’s doing a repeat.

And with that we are approaching Day 7 – The Final Day of “7 Days of Oscars” which will be of course, Best Picture. With that being said, I’m going to the Independent Spirit Awards tomorrow, Sat. the 27th, and instead of posting my BP picks, I’m just going to briefly address the Oscar controversy and save my last for the BIG DAY!! Cheers to you all until then..
#Oscars2016 #peggyatthemovies

**Reminder that I’m giving who I think the winner will be and what would be my pick – because yes, they just might not be the same!! 😀

REVIEW: “THE DANISH GIRL” (2015) POST Q & A W/DIRECTOR TOM HOOPER

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“The Danish Girl” is not just a altogether different love story, but it’s inspiration comes from the lives of artists Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander). Einar/Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate what can only be called a groundbreaking journey, even in this day & age, with Lili becoming a transgender pioneer.
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While the film is slow-moving, I honestly found it quite touching, beautiful and sweet. It is delicate in the way it treats difficult subjects as sexuality and the discovery of one’s identity in what is surely an even more hostile period than we live in now. The fact that it is a true story makes it a bit more involving.

I don’t think the film is perfect – but the acting, cinematography, the screenplay are done well. The middle part – where all the characters try to find a way out of the problem and when for the first time they seem to be facing a fracture between them is it’s most moving.
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Obviously, no one knows how well Lili Elbe passed for a woman, but no one, and I mean absolutely no one, would mistake Redmayne’s Lili for anything else especially at first where he is mostly an awkward, clumsy male in a bad wig. However, I was impressed with Redmayne’s portrayal of the transition and transcendence and being that he is of small stature he did well here. I must say, while I don’t think this will win Eddie another Oscar, it is deserving of a nomination for me as I watched, I am impressed lately by Redmayne’s choices of roles. Truly wonderful & different for the most part.
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There were a few heart-tugging emotional scenes in the movie where I was quite struck by Vikander’s acting, being full of some raw emotion.
The rest of the cast, in particular one of my favourite actors of the past few years, Matthias Schoenaerts as Einar’s childhood friend Hans Axgil. He is a breath of fresh air in almost everything he touches for me. Amber Heard as the wild & fun, Ulla and Ben Whishaw as Henrik, add to the mystery and complicated nature of Lili’s existence.

Through a beautifully tangled love story this film opens the eyes and hearts of the audience to the harsh reality a trans-person is born into. A world that clearly is of misunderstanding, ignorance and flat out discrimination.
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As you know, many will be angered about the context of the film because they think by spewing hatred for the person portrayed in the film will make them not exist. Those same people are usually fans of Donald Trump. Enough said.

Grade: C

Screening: Thursday, November 19, 2015 ~ Courtesy of Deadline Awardsline screenings.
Playing nationwide as of Friday, November 27, 2015

POST Q & A WITH DIRECTOR TOM HOOPER/SCREENWRITER LUCINDA COXON/PRODUCER ANNE HARRISON:
Alicia Vikander was also supposed to be part of the post Q & A, but we were told to blame Matt Damon 😀 as she was held over on shooting that day of the new Bourne film. Attached is the link to the video of this wonderful post-discussion.
http://deadline.com/2015/11/danish-girl-movie-transgender-response-tom-hooper-video-1201636101/

OSCAR COUNTDOWN: BEST ACTOR

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We’re coming to the end of my Countdown to the Oscars…

BEST ACTOR:
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Michael Keaton
“Birdman”
From the first time I saw this movie to the third time I saw this movie..I loved Keaton’s performance wholeheartedly. And yes, I love a comeback and this was a damn good one and yep..he’s my pick.

Eddie Redmayne
“The Theory of Everything”
Eddie Redmayne’s performance in this film is what awards are made for. Enough said. I won’t be mad if he wins and honestly, I think he just might pull it off..

Benedict Cumberbatch
“The Imitation Game”
I’m a fan of Cumberbatch’s for some time now. Before Sherlock even he did some fantastic work..anyone ever see him & Tom Hardy in Stuart: A Life Backwards??!! Wonderful film and the message he brought forth about Alan Turing needed to be told.. is it enough to win..no I don’t think it is.
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Bradley Cooper
“American Sniper”
Whomever says Bradley Cooper can’t act really needs to see this film. He really embodies this role but I’m guessing political controversy will make it so he is not taking home a little golden man this year.. Though I think it will happen eventually in another role.

Steve Carell
“Foxcatcher”
Was Steve Carell so creepy good in this film? yes he was.. Did he play so against type you wondered at times if it was really him? yes you did. Will he win.. probably not.

My Pick: Michael Keaton
Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
Possible Win: it’s anyone’s guess at this time.

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.

++REVIEW: “THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING” (2014) Universal U.K. & Focus Features U.S.

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“The Theory of Everything” is the story of genius, of vision, and the determination and courage of “Stephen Hawking” (Eddie Redmayne), along with the woman who stood by him through most all of it “Jane Hawking” (Felicity Jones)and on whose memoir, “Travelling to Infinity ~ My Life with Stephen” this film is based.

First of all this is a love story, if a rather special one as it’s a beautiful, poignant and quite incredible story of Stephen and Jane Hawking’s life, including all the trials and tribulations that they endure during their time together. While it maybe not be the best movie of the year, I think it is destined to be one of the most remembered. It’s a sweet, touching portrait of the complicated life of both it’s main characters, along with all their imperfections. It is something to be seen by all as it sells itself and, if not altogether realistic, it’s smart considering its main character, anyway, is considered one of the greatest minds of all time. the theory 1

I will admit that while I’m no genius, hate math with a passion and still secretly count on my fingers at times for quick addition, I completely understand Stephen Hawking theologies as they are could be taken for some of my own ideas/thoughts/beliefs regarding the universe. Not that what I believe in has anything to do with this movie, but I honestly didn’t know much about Stephen’s life before he was incapacitated at all.. In my lifetime, I’ve only ever known about a man who though one of the most brilliant minds to ever exist, couldn’t speak except through a machine due to the fact he had Lou Gehrigs disease.
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But this story is Jane’s, or rather her version of it, and so it begins at where else..the beginning..with them meeting at a party at Cambridge. The film’s early scenes show charming 1950’s England, which makes the way the pair are immediately attracted to each other all the more touching. They both come from St. Albans, but with major other differences. She’s in lit, focused on Spanish medieval poetry and a devout member of the Church of England. He’s an atheist and a burgeoning cosmologist, which he explains to her as someone who works out a “theory of everything.” In another wonderful little early period touch, Stephen picks her up in an adorable little multi-colored car in which the two go to a dance and fall in love.
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Following we see the quite lazy albeit super-smart Stephen, who was one of those who could goof off with best friend “Brian” (Harry Lloyd), study about an hour a day while at Oxford, where he was a cox on the rowing team, and hardly needs to do more at Cambridge, while still being able to be held high in the estimation of the leading Cambridge physicist mentor “Dennis Sciama” (David Thewlis). This is the beginning though of him starting to stumble and drop things. Then he falls, hard, on his face, is tested, and is diagnosed with motor neuron disease (Lou Gehrig’s disease, now, but not then, known as ALS), and given two years to live. Thinking he had only this predicted time frame to live, Stephen set out to prove mathematically the black hole theory of his thesis. As he went on with his bold thinking and was able to more than defy that life sentence prediction to an extraordinary extent as he could’ve just sat back and let the predictable happen, but he didn’t and his clearly difficult but courageous story, is what is told here.
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This is also where Redmayne’s physical performance really kicks in mimicking as he does the strange walk, the curled hands and the slump, the struggle up and down stairs, the first fall into a “provisional” wheelchair, the progressively declining ability to speak. In an almost iconic sequence, Stephen walks on his own with two canes to defend his Ph.D. thesis, and stands up for his triumphant acceptance as one of his last times being able to do so. Many of his ideas here are simplified for us as again, most probably wouldn’t be able to decipher his math equations. Mind you they are not dumbing it down so to speak, but it helps as we even see years later, even though Jane doesn’t switch over to science, we find her explaining his concepts in detail that again, we all can understand.
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A huge turning point comes on Stephen’s trip to CERN, in Switzerland, in 1985, when he falls ill with pneumonia and he can only be kept alive and allowed to return home by having a tracheotomy, which Jane fights for. As heart-wrenching as it is to watch as all I could think of was that Stephen himself had no say in whether he wanted this procedure done or not. And Eddie Redmayne’s truly remarkable imitation of Hawking’s increasingly hard-to-follow speech ends here, because Stephen can no longer speak at all. At first, he’s given a board of coded letters to communicate with by blinking an eye and stubbornly refuses to do so. As we all know, the computer-driven speech system Hawking’s associated with soon arrives and in a lighter moment they all show shock that the machine speaks with an American accent, but no matter as it still makes him easier to understand than he had been for many years. It’s almost inevitable here that Stephen and what he goes on to do begins to somewhat take the place of the love story.
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The film here turns to more about how Stephen’s disease, his growing fame, and raising their three children made life complicated for his wife, till she became strongly attracted to a male friend, “Jonathan Jones” (Charlie Cox), a recent widower and her choir director, who helps care for Stephen and whose constant presence makes Stephen’s parents, family & friends wrongly suspect he fathered the Hawkings’ third child, Timothy. Then we watch as an especially strong and enthusiastic female caretaker, “Elaine Mason” (Maxine Peake) takes over his care, winning Stephen’s affections, as she is the one whom he leaves Jane for, and in 1995, Jane and Stephen are finally divorced though still it seems on friendly working terms at least.
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Having lived almost 48 years longer then he was expected to by doctors and seemly to have lived it to the fullest that we find perhaps the man himself is and was more of a prick and a narcissist than he appears in this film though from past footage it does always seem as though he has kept a sense of humour.

British physicist Stephen Hawking sits in the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games
With a strong supporting cast that helps move the film along, it is Eddie Redmayne’s fantastic winning performance here is truly one awards are made to be given to for. Felicity Jones is also quite deserving here as daunting as Redmayne’s role is as Hawking, hers is almost equally tough portraying the hardships that a spouse also has to go through both mentally & physically, in signing on for the life with a severely disabled person. The only thing I would maybe have liked to have seen touched on more is his children. We never really learn how impossibly hard it must have been to not only grow up with one disabled parent, but also to be in the shadow of the genius mind of Stephen Hawking. Was anything expected of them etc.. I’d be curious to know.

Grade: B-

#peggyatthemovies
(see grading scale)