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Miles Ahead is the new biopic of Miles Davis, one of the great, if not the greatest, jazz trumpeter and composer of all times. It’s written by Steven Baigelman and the director and star Don Cheadle. The filmmakers do everything they can, from non-linear storytelling to all sorts of directorial flourishes, to keep the audience enthralled.
And they succeed, at least for a while. Flashbacks, jump cuts and various stylistic juxtapositions that feel inspired by jazz music, give the film a certain electric immediacy.
But it’s not long before it feels that all this tinsel and sawdust is, well, not a lot more than tinsel and sawdust, there to hide the fact that in the end, the movie, though often entertaining, is really just another, as I and a friend like to call it, typical Warner Brothers biopic, the reference being the prestige pictures of the studios made in their heydays, like The Story of Louis Pasteur, The Life of Emil Zola and even more recently, Gandhi. All worthy, but all still somewhat bland. Continue reading
Tomorrow is the big day for movie nerds as the nominations for the next Academy Awards are revealed. As usual, I will try to predict the nominees in the top eight categories. I don’t expect to do that well this year. Usually I end up with an average of one wrong in each category, but this year has become more difficult as no one seems sure as to what will make the finals. But I will do my best.
However, I do think the winners are still more or less set. Best Picture and Director should still be Spotlight; Best Actor will be Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant; Best Actress will be Brie Larson for The Room; Best Supporting Actor will be Sylvester Stallone for Creed; Best Supporting Actress will be Rooney Mara for Carol; Best original screenplay is between Ex Machina and Spotlight; and Best Adapted Screenplay will be The Martian or Steve Jobs.
What do you think?
And The Nominees Are:
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Straight Outta Compton
Todd Haynes, Carol
George Miller, Mad Max
Ridley Scott, The Martian
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
(If not Haynes, then Adam McKay for The Big Short)
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Lily Tomlin, Grandma
(Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl could replace Rampling or Tomlin)
Best Supporting Actor:
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
(Christian Bale for the Big Short could get in, but I don’t know who he’d replace)
Best Supporting Actress:
Jane Fonda, Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
(Helen Mirren could get in, but I don’t know who’d she replace; maybe Alicia Vikander if she gets a Best Actress nom and not a Supporting one)
Best Original Screenplay:
Bridge of Spies
The Hateful Eight
Best Adapted Screenplay:
The Big Short
I think this will be my last thoughts on the Oscars this year in regard to the lack of nominations for Selma. It’s a bit longer than the others, but hopefully I’ve gotten everything out I need to say.
I remember when I first saw For Your Consideration, the latest of Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy’s satires in the vein of Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. For Your Consideration, a story about a group of people involved in an independent film who get the idea they may be headed for Oscar glory, was not, shall we say, the most praised of their series of films.
There were people who found it funny, but for me, all I could think while watching it was that for people who are inside the movie industry, I’m astounded at how little they seemed to know as to how films become front runners or even considered in any way for the Academy. Continue reading
I have, yet, an additional thought on the issue of Selma not getting more screenplay nominations. Everyone’s anger is focused on the Academy, and they have their problems and issues that need to be addressed when it comes to minorities, God knows. But the Academy, as a whole, is the one that gave the movie a best picture nomination. But Selma did not get a single PGA, DGA, WGA, or SAG nomination. So instead of focusing the anger on the Academy, shouldn’t as much or even more anger be put on the various unions and guilds? Isn’t this as much an issue, if not more, than the Academy as a whole? In fact, in some ways, isn’t the Academy being used somewhat as a scapegoat when it comes to the real problem? Just asking.