Month: February 2016

Oscars Week: Best Actor

The buzz–from everyone–is that this is finally Leo’s year. It’s almost unfair to the rest of the nominees, except they didn’t wear an enormous pelt and bite into bison liver, and Leo did.

And the nominees for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role are:

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

…So The Revenant is the only film of these five that I’ve seen. Yet, it’s the only film of Leonardo DiCaprio’s that I’ve liked. It’s the only film that I felt like he deserved a nomination, and possibly a win. To Leo’s Crowd, who demands an Oscar, this one time, I finally declare… I agree.

I totally agree with Katherine’s sentiment. I may be biased since The Revenant is also the only film of those nominated I actually saw, but boy did it leave an impact on me. Leo’s performance cannot be contested here when he exemplifies the spirit of human resilience both on and off screen in this role. The bear may be CGI but the freezing temperatures Leo endured were not, nor the majestic scenes all filmed in natural light. He faced many physical challenges during the filming of this role so if ever he earned an Oscar win now is the time. #giveleoanoscar  – Navani Otero

Make sure to check out all of our Oscars Week picks!

What We’re Streaming: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny


I remember the first time I saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. My mom took me to the Hoyts theater in Frederick, but didn’t tell me that it was a foreign film, and I was surprised to 1) see a foreign film in Frederick, MD (we had driven to Bethesda a few years before to see Life Is Beautiful) and 2) see a sold out crowd for a Chinese film. (We saw it in December, it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing; it won Best Foriegn Film, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Original Score.)

I better remember the second time I saw the film. BAM showed the film as part of its All Hail the King: The Films of King Hu series in the summer of 2014, and on a hot afternoon off from work I took in the “fairy tale-like epic of warriors and thieves battling for possession of Green Destiny, a mythic 400-year-old sword,” and was delighted with the grace and power of the story, the choreographed battles, and the stories of its bad ass female leads, Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) and Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi), a warrior and an aristocratic young woman yearning for adventure. I became obsessed with the Jade Fox, the murderess who has been training Jen Yu—because Jen Yu won’t wait complacently for her arranged marriage or the life that is waiting for her.

I might have sketched fan art for the Jade Fox.

And so I have been beside myself waiting for the film, even if its trailer isn’t promising. Yuen Woo-ping’s sequel finds Yu Shu Lien protecting the sword, again, as a warlord (Jason Scott Lee) pursues the sword in his quest for ultimate power. Yu Shu Lien is aided by Silent Wolf (Donnie Yen), and continues her streak of being a formidable opponent.

But the cinematography and affectation in the trailer are not great. The overall affect lacks the beauty, grace, and spirit of the original film. So my expectations are not high. Nevertheless, my nose will be pressed firmly against the glass of my small TV as I root for Yu Shu Lien, and wonder if any women followed the way of the Jade Fox in years past.

Oscars Week: Screenplays


And suddenly, there’s a bunch of strangers on the stage, making statements about the meanings of the film you did or did not root for, thanking God, and possibly an author.

The nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay are:

  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Martian
  • Room

And the nominees for Best Original Screenplay are:

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton


I’d love to see Spotlight or Straight Outta Compton, win Best Original Screenplay, which received only one nomination. I love that Room was written by Emma Donoghue, who also wrote the novel the film is based on. Like much of Room‘s nominations, I have no complaints but no vested interest. I have a big interest in Carol, as if that isn’t clear yet.
-Katherine M. Hill

I’m voting Straight Outta Compton all day for Best Original Screenplay and not JUST because this is the only award the movie is being nominated for. Okay maybe that is a small part of it. But seriously, I’ve seen this movie in the theaters three times that’s how much it moved me. Anyone who can take the real-life events of N.W.A, a group that was basically considered a public enemy and give them an honest, depiction is a winner in my book. Not only did they manage to give the characters depth but also throw in charm and relatability. The writers captured not just a biopic of a controversial group, but the beginnings of reality rap and a snapshot of America’s issues with injustice and police brutality, which sadly is still ever-present today.  -Navani Otero

Make sure to check out all of our Oscars Week picks!