90th Academy Awards Hopes and Predictions

mv5bmgu2ngnlmtqtzta5yi00nju5ltlmzgmtmgnlngjkymu1ndc0xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynti5njiymw-_v1_sy1000_sx675_al_

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! On March 4th, which is this Sunday, which is also today, the Academy Awards will take place. The Super Bowl for movie buffs, and for at least the next few years, for a handful of people who enjoy hearing Trump jokes. Speaking of which, I can assure you that this Sunday’s Oscars show is gonna YUGE, and I’m not joking around. This year is the 90th show in the event’s history.

mv5bnjm2ndq0odm0of5bml5banbnxkftztgwndi3nte0ndm-_v1_sy1000_cr007561000_al_

Despite being a big number for the Oscars, I’ll say something I said for the 75th Golden Globes this year after it aired. “Seventy-five, undoubtedly, is a big number for any event, however this felt like other “Golden Globes” shows I watched with a 75 shoved in the title.” I imagine I’ll feel the same way for the Academy Awards, although I think it’ll be a much more comfortable and less awkward experience than the Golden Globes. While the Oscars can get, and has gotten, political, my recent experience tells me that vibe is present a bit more at the Golden Globes. In fact, when it comes to the political jokes during the Oscars, I honestly found those to be funnier and more memorable. If you recall last year’s show, the host, Jimmy Kimmel said somethings not necessarily about Donald Trump but TO Donald Trump. What better way to say something to Trump than what might be his all-time favorite form of communication than tweeting. The tweets are located below, and believe me, they were the greatest tweets you will ever see. The only people who hate these tweets are Crooked Hillary, the Mexicans, and Alex Baldwin!

Nowadays, the world essentially has been riddled with jokes about Donald Trump, and out of all the ones we’ve gotten, this is one that is difficult to top. Although if we were gonna get any more Trump jokes this year, I can assure you they might have a little joke sibling that I’m thrilled to see.

If you watched the Academy Awards last year and stayed tuned towards the end of the show, where it was time to reveal the winner for Best Picture, you may remember how that went down. You may have been screaming at your TV hoping for your pick to win either because you support a certain movie, or you just want to win a bet against your stupid friend, I dunno. I was hoping “Arrival” would win, but in reality, that probably wasn’t going to happen. “La La Land” was my second choice however, having seen that movie and loving it. So Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are onstage, and they have a card ready. A card that will change everything. So the nominees for Best Picture are presented, the two appear somewhat confused as they’re about to read the card, and suddenly, Dunaway announces “La La Land.” Once I heard that name, my prediction for Best Picture was right, and I thought it was a fair choice. The crowd is roaring, and as everyone affiliated with that project is arriving onstage, it hasn’t sunk in for everyone, but something happened. Jordan Horowitz is onstage and he shouts to everyone something that I can’t even believe I heard. “La La Land” DIDN’T win Best Picture, “Moonlight” did. This made me think I had to see “Moonlight,” and WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! Turns out someone was too busy on Twitter instead of trying to hand the correct card. This win made me tempted to see “Moonlight” nearly a couple weeks later, and I was unfortunately met with underwhelming results. It’s a good movie, but it’s not THAT GREAT.

Even so, you know how at the end of 2015, the Miss Universe pageant was held and Columbia was the assumed winner, and it turned out to be Philippines? It’s almost hard to tell which screw-up was crazier because the Miss Universe one was the host’s fault, not to mention upon personal review, THE CARD LOOKED F*CKING CRAZY! Here however, you have a screw-up between a staff member working for the show, Warren Beatty along with Faye Dunaway, and it affected not just one person, but an entire crew who worked on something together. Also, remember Jordan Horowitz? The guy who was onstage revealing the true Best Picture? Well, he was a producer for “La La Land,” so this must have been hard for him to do. He took it like a good sport, which I couldn’t even believe, which only makes me admire Horowitz even more!

So yeah, it appears the Beatty and Dunaway are presenting Best Picture again, so my first hope/prediction is that they get it right this time!

Speaking of nomination categories, let’s move onto some that I feel are worth tackling. Starting with… Best Supporting Actor. Here are the all-male nominees!

  • Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
  • Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
  • Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World)
  • Willem DaFoe (The Florida Project)
  • Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water)

Out of these, I’ve only seen Harrelson’s performance and Rockwell’s performance from beginning to end. So of the ones I’ve seen, I’ll go with Harrelson. Of the ones I haven’t seen, I’m either thinking Willem DaFoe or Christopher Plummer will take the cake. I haven’t seen “The Florida Project,” and I don’t have too many good things to say about DaFoe other than hearing positive remarks about his performance. Although think about what the crew behind “All the Money in the World” had to do regarding Christopher Plummer. If you have been living under a rock when it comes to news about Kevin Spacey, let me just say you might be living a happier life than some other people who live in this world because Kevin Spacey, as this world now knows, is a sexual predator. Spacey was originally going to be featured in “All the Money in the World” as the character of J. Paul Getty. Now that Spacey has his dark secrets revealed, Plummer was going to take Spacey’s place, which meant a frenzy of reshoots. Keep in mind, Spacey’s case was revealed on October 29, 2017, LESS THAN TWO MONTHS before the release of the picture! How did he do in the film? I don’t know, I haven’t seen it, but with a story such as that, I think Plummer has some potential. Sure, part of it involved more than just acting, but acting plays a key component into all of this.

Next up is Best Supporting Actress. And the nominees are…

  • Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)
  • Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)
  • Allison Janey (I, Tonya)
  • Mary J. Blige (Mudbound)
  • Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread)

Of everyone listed, I’ve seen NONE OF THEIR PERFORMANCES. But if you want my guess, I gotta go with Laurie Metcalf. I’m hearing a lot of good things about “Lady Bird.” From the acting, to the writing, to the directing, everything. I didn’t see it on opening weekend because let’s face it, “Thor: Ragnarok” was gonna crush it. Part of what people seem to like about “Lady Bird” is the realism it seems to convey, and I imagine that Metcalf’s performance plays a part in that. In all honesty, I don’t see Blige winning because “Mudbound” was distributed by Netflix and I imagine it would have to be in a larger number of theaters for the Academy to accept it. But anything can happen. One actress I thought unbelievably snubbed for this category is Holly Hunter (The Big Sick). When I saw “The Big Sick” this year, I thought Holly Hunter might have been the best part of the movie, and she fit the role of a gritty white mother quite well. She was part of why I thought the movie was “top 10 list” worthy when I did my end of the year “top 10 BEST movies” list. Ah well, you can’t have everything.

Moving onto Best Actor, the nominees are…

  • Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name)
  • Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)
  • Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread)
  • Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.)
  • Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)

Out of all of these, there are a few that stand out. A lot of people are rooting for Gary Oldman, so that gives him a chance. Daniel Day-Lewis, one of the most revered actors ever, is nominated for not only a role that people praised, but the last role he’ll ever do on screen, so maybe that and some respect for his chops will land him a win. Daniel Kaluuya was in one of the most talked about movies of the year, and he’s black, which gives him an extended probability of winning. I have not seen any of these films, but if there were one I think would win, it would be between these three. I personally wanted James Franco and Harrison Ford to make this list, but that didn’t happen now didn’t it. Sure, Franco’s allegations could have SOMETHING to do with it and I may be in the minority when it comes to Ford due to my love for “Blade Runner 2049.” Although if you haven’t seen “Blade Runner 2049,” I personally consider that Ford’s all-time best performance I’ve seen.

Onto Best Actress, let’s take a look at the nominees…

  • Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
  • Meryl Streep (The Post)
  • Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
  • Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)
  • Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)

OK… Meryl Streep has been nominated again… Big surprise. I have nothing against Meryl Streep, but I’m just making a point that she’s basically been nominated countless times. I don’t think she’ll win though. As for Margot Robbie, I’m SLIGHTLY surprised she was nominated. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a great actress, but I don’t remember her performance being the ultimate highlight of “I, Tonya.” I didn’t see “I, Tonya,” but from what I heard, that’s what I’m gathering. I think this will be either another “Lady Bird” win with Saoirse Ronan, or a win for “Three Billboards” with Frances McDormand. I bought “Three Billboards” on 4K today and I ADORED McDormand’s performance. I thought it was rather jaw-dropping at times, she had the right mannerisms, and it just screamed art. Will she win? Hopefully. Make it happen!

Next, we have Best Original Screenplay. These are…

  • The Big Sick (Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon)
  • The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor)
  • Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)
  • Get Out (Jordan Peele)

As far as the fact that “The Big Sick” is on this list goes, I’m happy, but rather puzzled. Sure, this wasn’t based on a book, video game, comic book, anything like that, but it is based on true events. I mean, I guess it can belong there if “Spotlight” belonged in that category a couple years back. Even so, I hope it wins out of all of these. Maybe I’m overthinking on the nomination process, but even so, I figured I’d say what I wanted to say. Although I can imagine all of these have a good chance, but “The Shape of Water” is on the lower end of the spectrum. “The Shape of Water,” while people are praising it, is more of a gem according to people from a visual perspective. It is getting praise for its story, but the visuals are more of a standout. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” was rather haunting and intriguing at times. “Get Out” is actually rather relevant and it has been that way for months now. “Lady Bird” is once again, from what I imagine, realistic. All of these have a shot, it’s just a matter of votes. However one thing I’ll mention about “Get Out” that I’ve yet to mention, is that there’s apparently stories going around about older Academy voters not considering it “Not an Oscar movie.” I haven’t seen the movie, but I know a lot of people disagree. I actually saw a couple of funny tweets yesterday putting “Get Out” alongside “The Boss Baby,” which was nominated in the Best Animation category.

Speaking of screenplays, let’s move onto Best Adapted Screenplay.

  • Logan (Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green)
  • The Disaster Artist (Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber)
  • Call Me by Your Name (James Ivory)
  • Molly’s Game (Aaron Sorkin)
  • Mudbound (Dee Rees, Virgil Williams)

Alright, once again, “Mudbound’s” a Netflix movie, therefore reducing its chances and that’s all I’m gonna say about it. I did see “Molly’s Game.” I never read the book it’s based on, but the adaptation for it contained a fast-paced, jumping all over the place kind of feeling screenplay and I felt the movie was all the better for it. I also saw “The Disaster Artist,” another book I didn’t read, but it did get a terrific adaptation. In fact, it made my top 3 films of 2017! “Logan” could win as well, but as far as I know, the Academy probably doesn’t usually view comic book movies the way others do. If I had to choose one that I WANT to win, it’s “The Disaster Artist.” Will it win? I don’t know. But I hope it does, its screenplay MADE the movie. It’s one of the funniest screenplays of the decade!

Now we’re moving onto Best Cinematography and THIS, my friends, is gonna be a big one for me. Here are the nominees…

  • Blade Runner 2049 (Roger Deakins)
  • Dunkirk (Hoyte Van Hoytema)
  • The Shape of Water (Dan Laustsen)
  • Darkest Hour (Bruno Delbonnel)
  • Mudbound (Rachel Morrison)

Now before we get into what I’ll call “the big guns,” let’s talk about Rachel Morrison. She’s done cinematography for “Mudbound,” as suggested above. And part of me thinks she has a legitimate shot at winning. I know it’s a Netflix movie, I know what I mentioned about it, but there’s a reason she could win and it’s as simple as this. It’s because… she’s a she. This is the ninetieth Oscars show, and it’s the first one where a woman’s been nominated for Best Cinematography. Part of me thinks that some of the more progressive voters behind the Academy will go for her, not to mention it would make for a good story. I don’t think she’ll come out on top, but that’s because part of me’s stuck on three people, including her. One of the other people is “Dunkirk’s” Hoyte Van Hoytema. I went to see “Dunkirk” in IMAX 70mm, I bought it the day it came out on home video, I watched it twice on Blu-ray and twice on 4K. You can obviously tell I ate “Dunkirk” up like pizza. The cinematography was a highlight for me. This is because this movie was shot on IMAX film cameras and standard 70mm cameras. Not to mention, the way various shots on land, water, and air were presented. The dogfight sequences from the perspective of the camera was absolutely astounding for example! Watching this in IMAX 70mm made it even better because multiple sequences once again, were shot using IMAX technology. Although there’s one film I think is much more deserving of an Oscar in this category and that is, “the big guns,” otherwise known as, “Blade Runner 2049.” If you follow this blog, I’ve talked about “Blade Runner 2049” many many many times, so it should be evident by know that I clearly love it. Part of it has to do with the cinematography. I thought it was not only the best cinematography from a 2017 movie I’ve watched, but also some of the best I’ve seen in my entire life. The camerawork was done by a guy named Roger Deakins. If that name sounds familiar to you, I wouldn’t be extremely surprised. Deakins has done cinematography for films such as: “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Fargo,” “No Country For Old Men,” “True Grit,” “Skyfall,” “Prisoners,” “Sicario,” movies like those! He’s been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Cinematography category FOURTEEN TIMES. With this being some of my all time favorite cinematography, if Deakins loses, I’d be OK with Hoytema winning, but if anyone else wins, I’ll riot. You can say I either want Deakins to win for my fanaticism for “Blade Runner” or just his story when it comes to the Oscars, but I can also argue you haven’t seen “Blade Runner 2049.” By the way, WATCH IT!

Now let’s focus on Best Original Score, with nominees including…

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (John Williams)
  • Dunkirk (Hans Zimmer)
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Carter Burwell)
  • Phantom Thread (Jonny Greenwood)
  • The Shape of Water (Alexandre Desplat)

Out of all of these, I think the one that has the least chance of winning is “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge “Star Wars” fan, and there many people out there who either like “Star Wars” or its music. Personally speaking, and perhaps speaking for a lot of other people out there, “The Last Jedi” might be the worst “Star Wars” score of all time. It’s all subjective, but to me, it just felt repetitive and unoriginal. “Three Billboards” could have a chance, but you never know what could happen. Although I will say, if “Dunkirk” wins, I wouldn’t be too surprised. It’s my second favorite score of 2017 (below “Blade Runner 2049”), it suits the tone of a war film, and upon experience of watching “Dunkirk,” the way it is edited also plays a bit into it. So yeah, go “Dunkirk!”

As for Best Animated Feature, I’m not even gonna go into detail about it. Everyone knows it’s gonna be “Coco.”

Also, why would “The Boss Baby” be nominated instead of something like “The LEGO Batman Movie?” No, seriously, WHY?! Ah well, at least it’s not “The Emoji Movie.”

I will however expand the lack of detail when it comes to Best Production Design…

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • The Shape of Water
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk

Out of all these, I think the first three I listed have the best shot of winning. Maybe “The Shape of Water” in third place, but critics are eating it up so you never know. You probably know I’d be choosing “Blade Runner 2049” right now. If the sets didn’t look great already at home, imagine them all in the theater! I actually watched the bonus features and these sets still astound me! They’re unbelievable!

Now let’s go onto Best Visual Effects, and the five of these I personally believe were all very well selected.

  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • War for the Planet of the Apes

A lot of people have been talking about “War for the Planet of the Apes” when it comes to the visuals, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they won in this category. And funny enough, I’ve seen at least a small portion of all of these films except for that one! Honestly, I’m fine with any of these winning. If there’s a film I think WON’T win, it’ll be “Kong: Skull Island,” but it did deserve a nomination in my book.

As for Best Film Editing, let’s take a look at those nominees.

  • Baby Driver
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • I, Tonya
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I’ve seen three of these films, and all them are ones I feel are competently edited. “Baby Driver” however, I believe will take the cake, and if it does take the cake, I’m cool with it. The way it edits its music and action sequences is superb and I feel that the “Fast & Furious” franchise, as much as I enjoy some of those movies, can take some notes from it in order to improve their films. “Dunkirk” comes close, but no cigar.

The next two categories have to do with sound: Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. And believe it or not, the same exact movies were nominated in both categories, so let’s look at them.

  • Blade Runner 2049 (EDITING: Mark A. Mangini, Theo Green) (MIXING: Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Mac Ruth)
  • Dunkirk (EDITING: Richard King, Alex Gibson) (MIXING: Gregg Landaker, Gary Lizzo, Mark Weingarten)
  • Baby Driver (EDITING: Julian Slater) (MIXING: Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (EDITING: Matthew Wood, Ren Klyce) (MIXING: Michael Semanick, David Parker, Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce)
  • The Shape of Water (EDITING: Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira) (MIXING: Christian T. Cooke, Glen Gauthier, Brad Zoern)

Yes, I credited people here and not in other places, but I don’t care. As for both of these categories, I think the big three rivals are “Baby Driver,” “Dunkirk,” and “Blade Runner 2049.” The sound recordings fit each film, they were great to hear, and when you mesh em all together, you get something fantastic. I would personally be satisfied with any of those three films winning in either category. The same can be said for “The Last Jedi,” but it’s not quite there…

Next we have Best Makeup and Hairstyling, which if you’ve watched last year’s show, you may remember the possibly hilarious and somewhat controversial win for “Suicide Squad.” This year, no comic book movies have been nominated. However, three other movies have.

  • Wonder
  • Darkest Hour
  • Victoria & Abdul

I’ve seen one movie on the list this year, and I don’t think it’ll win (Wonder) and as for the winner, I’m just gonna guess based on what I’ve seen in images. So with that being said, I’ll go with “The Darkest Hour.”

Moving onto Best Production Design, the nominees are…

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • Darkest Hour
  • The Shape of Water

I already talked enough about “Blade Runner 2049” from a visual standpoint, so you probably know my answer there. I think the actual winner will be either “Beauty and the Beast” or “The Shape of Water” but only time will tell.

Now for Best Original Song, we have…

  • This is Me (The Greatest Showman)
  • Remember Me (Coco)
  • Mighty River (Mudbound)
  • Stand Up for Something (Marshall)
  • Mystery of Love (Call Me by Your Name)

This will probably a two-horse race between “Remember Me” and “This is Me.” I’ve seen neither of these films, but given their popularity and likability factor from what I heard, that could help in potentially getting a win.

Next up is Best Costume Design, which includes…

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Victoria & Abdul
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Shape of Water
  • Darkest Hour

Out of all of these, I believe a few have a shot. “Darkest Hour,” “Victoria & Abdul,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” “Darkest Hour’s” costumes seem to fit the vibe of the film from what I’m looking at. The same can also be said for “Victoria & Abdul.” Although when it comes to “Beauty and the Beast,” that also has potential because it seems to have transferred its costumes over from its animated predecessor quite well, and as costumes, they look elegant. So we’ll have to wait and see.

Next up, we have Best Director, and there are some names that I think are worth discussing here.

  • Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)
  • Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
  • Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)
  • Jordan Peele (Get Out)
  • Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread)

All of these have potential from what I can tell. These all come off as competently made movies, and the direction seemingly appears to play into all of them. Although the big three here to me are Nolan, Gerwig, and del Toro. I mean, del Toro, from what I heard, is getting a lot of attention right now. Critics are loving “The Shape of Water,” people are rooting for him, and you may also remember, he won a Golden Globe in this category for that movie. This could be another win for him. For Greta Gerwig, I’ll say once again, a couple of actors stand out in this film, and part of it may be due to Gerwig’s realistic take and overall direction for it. Not to mention, Gerwig’s a woman, which could not only make an interesting story, but also a lot of people happy. I’m personally rooting for Christopher Nolan. For those of you who don’t know, Nolan is my favorite director of all time. He’s done so many great films and the man overall may just be a genius when it comes to storytelling. When it comes to “Dunkirk,” his vision was experimental and it made the movie all the better for it. So will the Academy choose Nolan? I don’t think so, it’ll probably be del Toro, but we’ll find out!

And last but not least, we have the biggest category of all, Best Picture…

  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Call Me by Your Name
  • Darkest Hour
  • Lady Bird
  • The Post
  • Get Out
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Phantom Thread

As for the ones that are probably not gonna win, I’m gonna say those are “Get Out” and “The Post.” Once again, I’ll bring up how older Academy voters aren’t viewing “Get Out” as an Oscar film. As for “The Post,” while it is getting lots of positive reception, it doesn’t have too many nominations overall compared to some of the other movies on that list. The ones that I feel have absolute potential of winning are: “Dunkirk,” “The Shape of Water,” “Lady Bird,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Not only have these films come off as great films to viewers and critics alike, they have all received a high number of nominations compare to some other films you’ll see on here. If I had to choose one film that I want to see win it would probably be “Dunkirk.” It has potential due to a high number of nominations and I personally want it to win based on the replay value it has and how it’s presented from an experimental and technical standpoint. My winner for voter picks would be “The Shape of Water,” because let’s face it, people are talking about it. It was nominated for thirteen Oscars, and it already won Best Picture at the Critics Choice Awards. My runner-up for both the critic picks and personal picks would be “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” I really enjoyed watching the film. I thought it was well shot, terrifically acted, and well written. For the critics, you have to consider past experience regarding this film. This won a Golden Globe for Best Picture in the drama section, and it basically made a sweep at the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) awards. Could it win? I don’t know. It’s hard to say what will ultimately take the cake. We’ll have to see when the awards arrive!

If you are actually reading this before the Oscars begin, I actually kind of congratulate you because they actually start VERY SOON. If you’re reading after, I just hope you’re enjoying my somewhat irrelevant content. I don’t know if I’ll be summing up my final thoughts on the Oscars once the show ends, only time will tell. Besides, I’m already busy doing another review which I’ll talk about in a second, but until time allows me to make a final decision, we’ll just have to see where the road leads. Thanks for reading this post! Be sure to stay tuned for my review for “Annihilation.” I just saw the film earlier today, and I cannot wait to talk about it. I’ve already started the review before it came out, because I figured some topics having to do with the movie (that can be talked about without having seen it) are relevant and I wanted to spit those out. Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, if there’s still time to type them em in, what are some of YOUR hopes and predictions for the 90th Academy Awards? Also, which is better? “La La Land” or “Moonlight?” Me personally, I’d choose “La La Land!” Leave that info down below and please make sure you’re not too busy sending out important tweets, otherwise I might possibly have some false comments on my hands, so be careful! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Also, one more thing…

GIVE ROGER DEAKINS HIS OSCAR ALREADY!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s