Oscars Week: Music

Ah, music. Thanks to Best Song, we have guaranteed relief for the show if it gets stuffy. We can also root for surprise upsets (such as 2006, when Three 6 Mafia won for Hustle & Flow) and compelling performances, such as 2011’s “Man or Muppet” and and last year’s “Glory” from Common and John Legend.

And the nominees for Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song) are:

  • “Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey (Belly, Stephan Moccio, Jason “Daheala” Quenneville, and the Weeknd)
  • “Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction (J. Ralph and Antony Hegarty)
  • “Simple Song #3,” Youth (David Lang)
  • “Til It Happens To You, ” The Hunting Ground (Lady Gaga and Diane Warren)
  • “Writing’s On The Wall,” Spectre (Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith)

And the nominees for Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score) are:

 

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

John Williams, known for his iconic scores, may very well win for Star Wars, but nothing would thrill me more than Ennio Morricone’s  return to westerns for The Hateful Eight is an instant classic. Please, please, please, let Morricone win. Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes won the Golden Globe for Spectre, but would a win for The Hunting Ground set Lady Gaga on a path to an EGOT? Or Youth, a movie everyone loves but no one has seen, will take the statue home.

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

Oscars Week: Best Documentary Feature

We’ve spoken about the Best Documentary Feature already, and it’s a shame that so many powerful films simply can’t win. This year’s nominees include a films released by Netflix, and it will be interesting to see if the Academy will respect a Netflix-released documentary while it willfully ignored Beasts of No Nation.

The nominees for Best Documentary Feature are:

  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

I’m not sure where I stand here. I’d like to see AmyWhat Happened Miss Simone?, or The Look of Silence (a sequel to the nominated The Act of Killing) win. The Academy tends to lean toward political or war films, and I would not me surprised then if Winter on Fire or Cartel Land win. Regardless of who does win, I very much look forward to the acceptance speech.

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

This Weekend in Movies: 2/26/16

Welcome to This Weekend in Movies, a weekly column where we tell you what’s new at the cinema, on-demand, or through your favorite streaming service.

This week’s big releases are Eddie the EagleTriple 9Gods of Egypt, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny is the Netflix-released sequel to Ang Lee’s 2000 sensation Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Direction and choreography is from Yuen Woo-ping, who choreographed the first film. Bad ass Yu Shu Lien comes out of retirement to protect the Green Destiny sword from the wrong hands; she again finds a maybe-villainous young woman with a forbidden love as a thorn in her side. See it on Netflix.

Eddie the Eagle, a based-on-true events sports film (which makes me cry every time it shows before a film at the cinema) stars Taron Egerton as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, a self-funded British ski jumped determined to compete in the Olympics. Hugh Jackman co-stars as Eddie’s trainer.

Triple 9 is an ensemble heist thriller starring Anthony Mackie, Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Michael K. Williams, Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, and Kate Winslet. A group of corrupt cops and career criminals must murder a police officer and pull off a complex heist to please the Russian mafia.

Gods of Egypt stars Gerard Butler and Brenton Thwaites as Egyptian gods in an over-the-top, shouldn’t-they-have-released-this-in-January action flick.

Also new this weekend are Aligarh, a biographical film about Ramchandra Siras, an Indian linguist fired for his sexual orientation; A Country Called Home, a Kickstarter-funded film starring Imogen Poots as a disaffected woman who returns to her small Texas hometown after the death of her father; Marguerite & Julien, a French film about two aristocratic siblings struggling to live in a world that won’t embrace their incestuous love; King Georges, a documentary about restaurateur Georges Perrier and the closing of his restaurant, Le Bec-Fin.

Previously opened films include DeadpoolThe WitchThe Fifth WaveZoolander 2How to Be Single, Kung Fu Panda 3RisenRace, and Hail, Caesar!

Oscars Week: Production Design, Cinematography, and Editing

Welcome back to another round of awards when the at-home audience takes a break to bathe or use the restroom. Welcome to my loudest minute at home, when the Academy typically awards a shiny film like Avatar for cinematography but the stunning and perfect Inglourious Basterds loses for no damn reason at all. (This happened in 2010.) Some say that a job well done means it’s a job unnoticed; for film and art lovers however, a visually stunning film is never without merit or mention.

And the nominees for Achievement in Production Design are:

 

  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

 

 

While the nominees for Achievement in Cinematography are:

 

  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario

 

 

And finally, the Achievement in Film Editing nominees are:

 

  • The Big Short
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Spotlight
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

 

I’m still sputtering that The Big Short was nominated for film editing. How and why did that happen? It was a garbage film, and its most irritating feature was its bad, distracting, how-was-this-even-release editing? I might throw a chip so hard at my TV that it breaks if this wins. Meanwhile, The Revenant and Mad Max, which are technically perfect, absolutely must win.

As always, I continue to believe that Carol was perfect in every way, and its cinematography was gorgeous. If The Hateful EightThe Revenant, or Mad Max should win, then that’s fine too.

I find myself without opinion for Production Design, having only seen The Revenant and Mad Max, and suspecting that The Danish Girl or the mystifyingly-nominated Bridge of Spies were both more than adequate in this department. What about The Hateful Eight didn’t merit an award?

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