1917 (2019): Cinematographically Golden

“1917” is directed by Sam Mendes (Spectre, American Beauty) and stars George MacKay (The Boys Are Back, Captain Fantastic), Dean-Charles Chapman (Into the Badlands, Game of Thrones), Mark Strong (Shazam!, Kingsman: The Secret Service), Andrew Scott (Fleabag, Sherlock), Richard Madden (Game of Thrones, Bodyguard), Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth (Love, Actually, Mamma Mia!), and Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange, Star Trek: Into Darkness). This film takes place throughout, as the title suggests, 1917. Specifically, during events of World War I. The story follows two British soldiers, Schofield and Blake, as they are given a mission to deliver a message to the 2nd Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment to call off an attack on the Germans. If this mission fails, this would mean there would be a loss of 1600 men, including Blake’s brother.

First off, let me just say to all of you that this is my first review of 2020, and what a better way to start off the year than to talk about movie that is literally a year. This film came out Christmas Day in select theaters, but much to my dismay, not one theater in the Boston area was going to show the film until 2020, so I had no chance to see it until then. This year is also the earliest time in which I was able to catch an advanced screening of the film. So I trekked to the theater this past Tuesday with high expectations.

When I say high expectations, I mean that literally. Knowing some of the technical aspects of the film, which I will dive into later on, it makes me giddy just thinking about it. Plus, this week was also the airing of the 77th Golden Globes, where this movie was nominated for 3 awards, and ended up taking home 2, including Best Picture – Drama. Granted, the more I think about the Golden Globes as a whole, the less meaningful I find them to be (after all, their voting board is not that big and they have genre-specific categories), but to have some notable recognition definitely helps. But in life, I live by the philosophy to form my own opinions on any matter at all times. Because life is just better when I’m in control. So what are my thoughts on “1917?”

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Let’s see… Oh! It’s better than “Cats!” But that doesn’t say much, now does it?

Let me try this again by asking you a question, because it sort of relates to my experience. How often has this happened to you? You go see a movie, and maybe you feel that what you just saw was wicked intense, and said intensity hits you to the point where your body just shuts down at a point. For me, that’s what “1917” felt like. I walked out of this movie nearly unable to feel my own legs. To help explain some of my thoughts on this film, I am going to remind you of another recent war film, specifically Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk.”

While “Dunkirk” and “1917” have their differences, one thing I cannot deny is that they both stand out in terms of how effectively they convinced me that I could have been in danger. I will say, “Dunkirk” had a slight undeniable advantage during my first viewing because I did see it in IMAX and I saw “1917” on a standard cinema screen, but regardless, “Dunkirk” emphasizes on sound more than “1917” does, which believe it or not, isn’t exactly a sign of this film lacking proper sound whatsoever. In fact, the sound editing and mixing in “1917” is great. I have no problems with any of that. But while “Dunkirk” emphasizes sound, “1917” emphasizes sight. Again, I’ll state that “Dunkirk” did a good job on that side of things as well. In fact, the movie received a Best Cinematography nomination, which it deserves. The way it utilizes 70mm and IMAX technology is undoubtedly impressive.

When it comes to “1917,” the technology used for this film, specifically the camera, is smaller. In fact, it runs on digital. The entire movie is shot using an Arri ALEXA Mini LF, which, if you don’t know much about cameras, the Arri ALEXA in general is often regarded as a current industry standard in filmmaking. This does make sense given what the crew behind this movie set out to do, which is film the movie with long takes, involving lots of movement. It’s not like this is one of those movies where the camera always sits still on a tripod, pretty much the entire movie tries to put you into the frame and take you along for the ride, and I’d say this was a pretty successful task. Because pretty much the entire time, even though I barely knew the two main characters, I was rooting for them to get out of whatever dire situation they were in. The long takes made me feel like I was transported in the movie, it made me feel like I was going to get shot, maybe debris would be flying onto my head.

The stellar cinematography in this film, which in fact, is without any argument whatsoever to be the best cinematography of 2019, is done by Roger Deakins, who also took on the job for iconic films including “The Shawshank Redemption” and “No Country For Old Men.” He also did one of my favorite films of the past few years, “Blade Runner 2049,” which he won his first Oscar for. There are several shots in this film that I can imagine myself wanting to hang in my living room if I had enough money for a big house and if I can find a good 5 panel canvas. And what really shocks me is a particular technique that is utilized during the film. I mentioned that the film is designed to look like it is one shot. Let me just tell you right now, it’s not. Without spoiling anything. There is a scene where the footage cuts to black, allowing for a slight break from whatever’s happening on screen. However, according to certain sources I have read, the film does cut but I didn’t even notice it on screen. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the longest shot in the movie is eight and a half minutes. This instantly brings a sense of hypnotization and eventually, a desire to look back at the film and try to guess when exactly the cuts happened. Plus, this film was shot on location, which brings a lot of challenges for the filmmaking process including an analysis on set design and the fact that lighting shots is perhaps an impossibility. And somehow, all of this was pulled off. This to me, cinematography-wise, may be in the top 10, maybe even top 5, all-time greatest achievements related to its category. I wouldn’t say it’s #1 at this point given how I still need time to marinate, but it does come close as of now, and if Roger Deakins DOES NOT win Best Cinematography this year at the Oscars, that award in all likelihood will be nothing short of a snub.

Another reason to consider how this movie is not #1 in terms of being the greatest cinematography achievement of all time is that this has been done before. Yes, this is sort of an upping of the stakes compared to Sam Mendes’ own long take shot experience from “Spectre,” a movie in which the cinematographer was Hoyte Van Hoytema, but that’s not the point. If you have followed 2014 in film, you may be familiar that the Academy’s Best Picture that year was “Birdman,” directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, The Revenant). Having said that, I think the originality factor of that film helped me appreciate it. “1917” on the other hand is ultimately following in its footsteps. Story and concept-wise it stands on its own, but the intention when it comes to the visual aspects of the film is not completely different. Also, according to a quick Google search, the longest shot in “Birdman” goes on for fifteen minutes, compared to “1917,” which has a longest ongoing shot for eight and a half minutes.

In all seriousness though, this film, as a visual ride, is a tour de force, and I think this could be Roger Deakins’ best work just because of the daunting task at hand. And for that, I also have to give credit to Sam Mendes for helming this production. This is an experimental, ambitious film that I think will be looked back upon for years to come. In addition to all of the surroundings that make this film what it is, Thomas Newman’s score also does an effective job at adding something to the crazy experience on screen.

As for the characters, I wouldn’t say I didn’t care about them, but I am not gonna sit right here and tell you that they’re anything special. I did mention their names, but keep in mind that I glanced at them on Wikipedia as I write this review. In fact, I think the only name I recalled from the film is Colonel MacKenzie, maybe because I was paying enough attention. But at the same time, this movie is more about the journey, the effects throughout said journey, and this was one HELL of a journey. When I bring that up, part of me thinks that I almost don’t even need to know anybody’s name. In fact, I felt like *I* was a character experiencing this event alongside everyone else, therefore I am ultimately the one who should develop the most.

If I were a character in this movie, I’d say I’d start out curious, maybe a tad scared, but at the same time, I have to realize the consequences that can come from various actions. As the movie goes on, I would still be scared, perhaps even more so, but I would still tough out through whatever lies ahead. Eventually, I’d still be my terrified self, but I’ll have a feeling that I finally get to breathe. Seriously, whenever there is a moment of silence or calmness, it felt rewarding. I felt like I went through war with these characters simply because the camera’s eyes were almost like my eyes. Granted, it focuses a lot on these folks’ faces and I would probably never spend 2 hours almost continuously running backwards, but I think y’all get the point.

The film’s concept is simple, but it is also effective. Before I dive into the paragraph where I give my official rating, let me just say that this film, story-wise, is one I need to continue to think about. However, when it comes to various other aspects, it is one that I am pretty much set on. My rating could change, but anything is possible.

In the end, “1917” gave me pretty much everything I wanted. It is a beautifully shot, brilliantly directed, and solidly executed master work. It is just incredible to think about all the hard work and craftsmanship that went into this. There are a good number of war films out right now, but I’d say that this is 1,917 times as awesome as some others. I know some people who have seen a number of movies that will tell you that maybe whatever movie they saw at the theater is not worth the experience, maybe because there weren’t enough showman-esque elements in the movie or something. Let me tell you, and I’m not talking to everyone, because I understand that war films may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine, but if you don’t go see this film in a theater, it’s a crime. A bad crime. Go see this movie on the biggest screen you can, with the best sound available. It’s out right now in Dolby Cinema, so if you’re willing to pay a higher ticket price, go there. Just see it! It’s an experience! As for the story, I mentioned that I have no problems with it, but it is one where I feel like I won’t remember anybody’s name. Maybe this is a movie to me that gets better the more I watch it. But we’ll just have to see. Also, the cinematography is PERFECTION. I’m going to give “1917” a 9/10. I wanted to give the film a 1917/10, but then I’d break the scale, so 9 it is.

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that this SATURDAY, JANUARY 11TH, will be the kickoff of my multi-part countdown event, “Top Movies of the 2010s!” I’m gathering all the entries, lining them up as we speak, and even though I am admittedly cramming at this point, I am hella excited to share my lists with y’all! If you want to see this and more content from Scene Before, give me a follow! If you have a proper account in place, feel free to leave a like and comment! Also, if you have a Facebook account, feel free to like my page to get notified about the latest goings on here at Scene Before through the place where you have friends, even those you probably haven’t talked to in five or so years. I want to know, did you see “1917?” What did you think about it? Or, what do you think is the better achievement in cinematography, this movie or “Birdman?” Let me know, you have one shot to impress me with your opinions! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

91st Academy Awards Recap

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we dive into this post, I would like to kick off by offering my sincere apologies. Part of me wanted to do a post on my hopes and predictions going into this year’s Academy Awards show, but unfortunately, I literally lacked any time in the world to do such a thing. Apparently paying for my education is not enough to make my head spin, I need to be handed a bloated supply of homework as well! I wasn’t given this during the Super Bowl (REALLY DON’T CARE ABOUT THAT SHOW), so why should I get it on Oscar weekend? Anyway, earlier this week, I watched the 91st edition of the Academy Awards. I went into it with a few expectations. However, there was a part of me that thought this show was going to SUCK, and I even say that with my picks winning. Fortunately, that was not the case!

The first red flag in my sights for this year’s show is that there was no host this year. You guys may already know that Kevin Hart opted out at a point and nobody else happened to sign on. They did however announce names for a bunch of celebrities who will be present to give random speeches and nominee presentations. While not all of them were great, they did have a number of them which I was actually able to appreciate. And I can’t even believe I’m saying this.

Melissa McCarthy actually made me laugh! Throughout my 3 year experience of blogging on Scene Before, McCarthy has appeared in the #1 spot for my worst films of the year lists not just once, but twice! Although sometimes I kind of fail to give her credit where it is due, because there are a couple of occasions where she did make me laugh. When she played former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on “Saturday Night Live,” it was literally a plethora of some of the most gutbusting moments that I’ve encountered in the show’s recent years. McCarthy’s appearance during the Academy Awards ceremony was perhaps on the Sean Spicer level of funny. McCarthy comes out to present the Costume Design award. Doing so in this costume that is quite possibly inspired by “The Favourite.” She gives this speech about some of the best costumes and how they are not meant to have distracting elements. It’s just spectacular. So spectacular in fact that I almost forgot that Melissa McCarthy was a recent Razzie winner!

I will admit, when it comes to other celebrities, there are not that many other speeches worth pointing out. Although there is one moment where I appreciated John Mulaney’s line “I want these people to like me to a degree which I find embarrassing.” It’s not to say that they were bad, but there was not many others which I happened to find as interesting as say Melissa McCarthy.

When it comes to having no host, I was somewhat surprised, because I was highly skeptical going in on whether or not such a thing was going to work out. Turns out it did! Before this recent Oscars show, I thought to myself that this was all going to be a trainwreck. Without a host, it’s toast! Not anymore! But if the Academy were to announce for the 92nd show that they aren’t getting anyone to host that year, I’d just say, “Fine, whatever, you do you.” I wouldn’t care if there’s a host. Would I want a host? Certainly, but I’d be open to another Oscars show where nobody hosts. Because a couple of benefits to having no host is that the show focuses more on the awards, and it allows a diverse amounts of celebrities to present themselves to an audience. Because let’s face it. Not everyone likes Jimmy Kimmel, not everyone likes Seth MacFarlane, not everyone likes Ellen DeGeneres. Having one of those people host puts them in a certain spotlight, and even though certain people like The Oscars, they might not be satisfied with the person who may as well be taking up the biggest portion of the show’s screentime. Almost every celebrity onstage had their moment, and it allowed for a quick pace that was respectful. Granted, I am the rare find in the wild that does not mind staying up for eternity while watching The Oscars. However, there is a part of me that realizes that The Oscars is being shown to “everyone.” And there is a vast majority of people who want to see certain things throughout the show. The hostless ceremony is a good way to keep time short, and have the awards delivered as immediate as possible.

By the way, I recently saw this killer tweet from recent Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel:

I love you, Jimmy.

Now let’s move onto the awards. Had I done a prediction post a little bit ago, this would definitely be the main focal point. I’m not going to dive into every single award, but I am going to go over the ones that I found to be highlights.

Believe it or not, I have actually managed to expand my award palette this year, because just recently, specifically on February 9th, I went to a local theater in the Boston area because they were showing all of the animated short films that earned a nomination this year. They showed the five potential winners, along with some others that the Academy found to be “highly commendable.” Now I actually had a favorite of these films, but before I do that, let’s give out the nominees.

  • Bao- Domee Shi, Becky Neiman (WINNER!)
  • Weekends- Trevor Jimenez
  • Animal Behaviour- Alison Snowden, David Fine
  • One Small Step- Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas
  • Late Afternoon- Louise Bagnall, Nuria González Blanco

Now keep in mind, I actually have watched all of these films from start to finish. I actually had been exposed to “Bao” prior to seeing all of the four other films. The reason why that is is due to how it was presented before Pixar’s “Incredibles 2,” making it Pixar’s short film to present this year. I kind of liked “Bao,” but it is something that I think would not appeal to everyone. I understand the message behind it, but in reality, there are a couple of animated shorts on this list that I found to be more interesting. For example, “One Small Step.” Granted, this may be coming with a little bit of bias since I am a nerd, and nerds like space. I still found the main character’s journey to be intriguing and sort of, pun intended, down to Earth. But my personal favorite out of all of these is without question, “Animal Behavior.” This film was made in Canada, and might I just say, this film reminds me of how awesome Canada is. It gave us Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Alex Trebek, Howie Mandel, and now… “Animal Behavior.” “Animal Behavior” takes a bunch of different living creatures and puts them all in a therapy session. One of the main characters is a gorilla who is in extreme denial, and often gets very angry. The results of this film, hilarious. One of the best jokes has to do with the mantis, because for those who are unaware, praying mantises eat their mate during intercourse. There are certain parts of the short where we see that sort of thing come into play, and overall it left me feeling very impressed. Plus, one thing that made this film different compared to all of the others, is that they were all trying to be serious. This one, while still having some sort of message intact, it still goes for as much comedy as possible. Kudos to the brilliant writing! Granted, the Academy goes for more serious material, and I do respect that, but I feel like was more impressed by the comedic efforts of “Animal Behaviour” as opposed to the serious efforts of “Late Afternoon” or “Bao.”

Moving onto another category, it’s Best Documentary! Let’s look at the nominees!

  • Free Solo- Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes, Shannon Dill (WINNER!)
  • RBG- Betsy West, Julie Cohen
  • Hale County This Morning, This Evening- RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes, Su Kim
  • Of Fathers and Sons- Talal Derki, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias N. Siebert
  • Minding the Gap- Bing Liu, Diane Quon

Wait, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” wasn’t nominated?! F*ck this! Moving on!

Let’s try a different documentary category! Best Documentary Short! Let’s look at the nominees!

  • Period. End of Sentence.- Rayka Zehtabchi, Melissa Berton (WINNER!)
  • Black Sheep- Ed Perkins, Jonathan Chinn
  • End Game- Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
  • Lifeboat- Skye Fitzgerald, Bryn Mooser
  • A Night at the Garden- Marshall Curry

OK, these look much better. I haven’t seen any of these films, but they sound much better. Now I am not going to call one of these films superior to all of the others, all of my opinions related to such a thing would technically be invalid. But, the victory speech, holy f*ck. Quite possibly the best speech of the night!

“I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything! I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!” -Rayka Zehtabchi

“A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education!” -Melissa Berton

Enough said. Period. End of sentence.

Another category that stood out to me was Best Visual Effects, mainly because there was one movie that I felt should win, but didn’t win. Granted, the winner to me has extremely competent visuals, but the reality is, I had my pick. Here are the nominees.

Ryan Gosling in First Man (2018)

  • First Man- Paul LambertIan HunterTristan MylesJ.D. Schwalm (WINNER!)
  • Avengers: Infinity War- Dan DeLeeuwKelly PortRussell EarlDaniel Sudick
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story- Rob BredowPatrick TubachNeal ScanlanDominic Tuohy
  • Ready Player One- Roger GuyettGrady CoferMatthew E. ButlerDavid Shirk
  • Christopher Robin- Chris LawrenceMike EamesTheo JonesChris Corbould

Let’s take some things into perspective. While I kinda hated “Solo,” I could see it being nominated for visual effects. I didn’t want it to win, but still. “Christopher Robin” was an alright movie, nothing really that special. But then again, I have a bare attachment to “Winnie the Pooh.” The CGI characters were not bad though. “Avengers: Infinity War” was probably my second or third pick to win, right along with “First Man,” which did win. Aside from all of the huge scale glory happening everywhere on screen, you also have to give credit to the effects team for creating Thanos. To me, Thanos is up there with Smaug and Gollum as one of the greats when it comes to CGI character creations. Now with that being said, “READY PLAYER ONE” WAS SNUBBED! Granted, I already awarded “Ready Player One” myself because I now do the Jackoff Awards, but I would have given a thumbs up to the voters had they let “Ready Player One” win! Let’s take another set of ideas into perspective. “Avengers: Infinity War” has comic book style action, random computer effects flying everywhere, and a well done CGI character. I’ve seen that before. In fact, “Christopher Robin” had several of those. Granted, I liked “Infinity War’s” effects better, but still. “Solo” had several effects that I’ve seen in many other movies, and when it comes to the “Star Wars” franchise, it’s not even my favorite movie in terms of visuals. While I will say that “The Last Jedi” is actually worse than “Solo” as a movie, which I am honestly shocked to say. It actually looked nicer! “Solo” has its moments, but when comparing it to the rest of the franchise, it’s in between Obi-Wan and Anakin, because ya know, it kinda has the middle ground. For “Ready Player One,” I wanted that to win, because I felt it was the most visually unique movie of the year. Not only did it manage to visually create its own characters, but it actually recreated segments from other works of art! There is a scene in the film that actually takes place in a location from “The Shining.” Not only that, but you have two different worlds being dealt with in the movie, meaning there are two different places to insert various visuals. The effects team, personally, outdid themselves! I am not a crybaby over “First Man” getting the gold, but at the same time, I’m also wondering why it even got it because “Ready Player One” was just a unique trip. And this goes back to my recent statements. I’ve seen visuals like “First Man” in the past. I’ve seen it in “Apollo 13.” I’ve seen it in “Gravity.” I’ve seen it in “Interstellar.” Although at the same time, I said after I saw the movie that it was not my favorite movie of the year in terms of the story, but from a technical perspective, it was definitely the most well made movie of the year. So while it is not my #1 pick for visual effects, they are by NO MEANS incompetent. Granted, that comment I made after I saw “First Man,” that likely changed overtime after I saw “Roma,” but nevertheless.

Another highlight of the night, for anything but good reason (for the most part) is Best Makeup & Hairstyling. Here are the nominees.

  • Vice- Greg CannomKate BiscoePatricia Dehaney (WINNER!)
  • Mary Queen of Scots- Göran LundströmPamela Goldammer
  • Border- Jenny ShircoreMarc PilcherJessica Brooks

As I once predicted, “Vice” came out on top. The makeup might actually be the best part of the entire movie. So I was excited to see it win. Then… I saw the speech. The three winners practically did not even know what it was they were supposed to say. They had a paper in front of them, which is fine, I have nothing against that, but at least put a little preparation into your speech! At least, have a plan! Visualize! Get together on a Google Hangout or something! I mean, it was slow, it was like watching three people who had recently received amnesia! I’m just waiting for them to get hit in the head with coconuts and suddenly talk like they’re Peter Griffin after he drank Red Bull! They almost didn’t even remember anybody’s name! Ah well, still, congrats I guess.

Anyway, moving onto another category, which I guarantee has a better speech, let’s go onto Best Animated Feature. I do think it is a somewhat unnecessary category, given how it sort of diminishes the art of the animated movie as a whole, but I still want to talk about it. Here are the nominees!

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse- Bob PersichettiPeter RamseyRodney RothmanPhil LordChristopher Miller (WINNER!)
  • Incredibles 2- Brad BirdJohn WalkerNicole Paradis Grindle
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet- Rich MoorePhil JohnstonClark Spencer
  • Isle of Dogs- Wes AndersonScott RudinSteven RalesJeremy Dawson
  • Mirai- Mamoru HosodaYûichirô Saitô

Out of the five films listed, I have seen every single one except “Mirai,” but then again, it wasn’t really marketed around here so I don’t really have much to say about it overall. “Ralph Breaks the Internet” was not only enjoyable, but it honestly shocked me to no end. Because let’s be real, I thought the marketing was, *snobby voice* an abomination! I thought that movie was going to be the most obvious cash-in from Disney this past year (somehow I forgot about “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”). Turns out that it is not only a good movie experience, but also a great parody on the Disney company! Just watch what Vanellope has to go through in the film to see what I mean! Then we have “Isle of Dogs” which is the only stop-motion film on the list. Over these last months, Wes Anderson has grown on me a bit as a director, and his work in this film supports my statement. Plus, I actually hate dogs, so the fact that I like this movie actually says something! “Incredibles 2” is a worthy sequel to what is, quite literally, my favorite animated film of all-time. Not only is it a part of my childhood, but it is just a well crafted movie. For awhile, it was my favorite film of the year, that is… until the release of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!” And might I just say, JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED! Because two people behind “Spider-Verse,” specifically as writers and producers, have also worked on “The LEGO Movie.” That is one of the best movies of 2014, and probably one of the best animations I’ve ever seen. And not only did that movie not win an Oscar, it didn’t even get nominated! Sure, it was nominated for Best Original Song due to the presence of “Everything Is Awesome,” but that’s not even the best part of the movie! Heck, that wasn’t even the best song in the movie! Ah well, catchy tunes can be catchy. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller get an Oscar! They didn’t have to wait as long as say Kevin O’Connell (sound mixer who waited 21 times), Roger Deakins (cinematographer who waited 14 times), or Glenn Close (actress nominated 7 times and still waiting), but they’ve each got one! “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is one of the best superhero movies of 2018, and I’d even say it’s better than “Black Panther,” which actually received more nominations than this movie! Speaking of which, let’s talk about that.

Based on the results of the recent Academy Awards show, “Black Panther,” my fourth place pick this year for superhero films, managed to take home three Academy Awards. None of them were in super major categories. Granted, one of them was score, which to me, is usually a major factor on whether or not your movie is in my top movies of the year for some reason. If I remember your music, chances are I’m going to like your movie. Now, “Black Panther” is nowhere close to being my favorite superhero flick of 2018. But with that in mind, I still gotta give the movie respect, because it did something for comic book movies that has never been done before. Over the years, several movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have received nominations for the Academy Awards. Some include “Doctor Strange,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “The Avengers,” “Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,” and “Iron Man 3.” None of them have ever won an Oscar. Just this year, “Black Panther” changed that. Because it won 3. While I would say that for every of its categories for which the film was nominated, I was actually rooting for other films, including “The Favourite!” That actually says something because that film was nominated for best picture and I’m still not happy about it to this day! Nevertheless, it won three awards, which to me, shows that the Academy is getting more serious about the action movie genre and the comic book movie genre. They have progressively been doing such a thing in some of their more recent ceremonies with movies like “The Dark Knight” and “Logan.” Although, when it comes to comic-book based films, this is probably the best year Oscar-wise because with the MCU’s first three wins ever, they have another nomination on top of that (Avengers: Infinity War). Plus, as recently mentioned, “Spider-Verse” won Best Animated Feature. In fact, “Black Panther” was one of the eight movies nominated for Best Picture this year. I’m not saying I want more inclusion from comic-book movies, but I love how the Academy is recognizing that comic-book movies can be more than just entertainment. They can be works of art. Maybe I don’t see “Black Panther” the same way as they do, but I see where they may be coming from with it. Although I will say, I’m white. Just pointing that out. Congrats to the comic-book film genre.

Another highlight in terms of awards including some of the acting sections. Starting with Best Supporting Actor, here are the nominees!

  • Mahershala Ali- Green Book (WINNER!)
  • Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
  • Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
  • Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
  • Sam Rockwell (Vice)

Ah, seems very familiar. I nominated four of these people for the Jackoffs. If Timothée Chalamet was nominated here than that would be five. But whatever. And just like the Jackoffs, Mahershala Ali won! Ali to me is deserving of his win because of the range provided in his performance. Sam Elliott is great, the same can be said for someone like Sam Rockwell. But they seem to play the same character the whole movie. While Ali is technically one guy during the movie, he almost seems to play two. You have this robotic priest, and I won’t go into much more detail, but he reveals more emotion as he develops. Ali is well deserving of his award if you ask me.

Moving onto Best Supporting Actress!

  • Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
  • Marina de Tavira (Roma)
  • Amy Adams (Vice)
  • Emma Stone (The Favourite)
  • Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Out of all of these, I have interestingly witnessed all of these performances EXCEPT Regina King, which is too bad, because I heard good things about “If Beale Street Could Talk.” And I was watching the Red Carpet buildup before the Oscars started, and having seen people commentate on the broadcast, this made King’s win no surprise because it was practically a lock. Out of the ones I’ve seen, my personally favorite without a doubt has to be Amy Adams. She transformed into her character in “Vice!” I will give credit to “The Favourite” in the acting department, especially when you consider two of its actors are nominated in the same category, but it does not save “The Favourite” from being a less than satisfying movie. As far as Marina de Tavira goes, I almost wonder why she was nominated to begin with. I’m not saying she performed badly in “Roma,” in fact she did a great job. But it’s kind of surprising considering how she was never really nominated for the same role anywhere else during this award season.

Now onto Best Actress! Here are the nominees!

  • Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
  • Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)
  • Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
  • Glenn Close (The Wife)
  • Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Melissa McCarthy? What the?! It’s raining cats and dogs! I’ve seen three of these performances, and while there is a part of me that was able appreciate Olivia Colman as a performer in “The Favourite,” I found the performances from say Lady Gaga and Yalitza Aparicio a bit more compelling. And part of my reasoning behind such a statement may be because the two aren’t known for their acting. Gaga is primarily a singer, which also kind of means she has an advantage in her role. But what really wowed me is Yalitza Aparicio, because this is actually the first acting job she ever did in her entire life. For a first-time actor, you’d expect them to give a C performance, maybe a B performance at best. But this to me was no doubt, an A+ performance! And to be honest, part of me was expecting Glenn Close to win. Plus it would have been fascinating because she has been waiting awhile for her award. But if you have seen the Jackoffs, you might be able to gather my opinion on this. TONI COLLETTE WAS SNUBBED!

Lastly for acting, we have Best Actor. Here are the nominees!

  • Rami Malek- Bohemian Rhapsody (WINNER!)
  • Bradley Cooper- A Star Is Born
  • Viggo Mortensen- Green Book
  • Willem Dafoe- At Eternity’s Gate
  • Christian Bale- Vice

To me, Malek’s win was a no brainer. I was appreciative of this performance because of how it was able to transform this actor into a beloved celebrity of another kind. Granted, it is all him, because part of it was due to someone else doing his vocals and I think costume design and makeup go into play with my appreciation as well, but still, he was my pick to win. My second pick would have been Bradley Cooper because he had to learn to sing for his role, and it actually paid off! Out of these performances, I will point out that I’ve seen four of them, the one that I didn’t see is Willem Dafoe, but I also liked the performances from Bale and Mortensen. If I had to choose between them, I’d say Mortensen was the better performer, but if Bale had won, I would have loved to have seen his speech. Because when it comes to the crew on “Vice,” one terrible speech was already provided in the Makeup & Hairstyling category, but had he gone up, I would have been interested to see his speech. I say so because he gave perhaps my favorite speech at the Golden Globes this year, specifically where he says this:

“Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration on how to play this role!”

HAHAHAHAHAHA! How often do you hear that?! While that might make certain people upset or offended, I thought personally that was one of the highlights of that show.

We have a few more categories to go over, a couple of which include the screenplay categories. Here are the original screenplay nominees!

  • Green Book- Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly (WINNER!)
  • First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
  • Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
  • Vice (Adam McKay)
  • The Favourite (Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara)

I’m sorry, “The Favourite,” while it has some memorable lines, the screenplay was not even close to being something special. In fact, that’s one of the biggest problems I have with the movie, because this story was trying its best to be compelling, but it felt more drawn out than I expected! And I will admit, I am guy who is willing to appreciate film no matter what kind of movie we are talking about, but even for me, this was too slow! I think the biggest problem was the chapter layout. Because when I first saw it, I thought the chapters represented a three or five act structure, if I recall correctly, it was like nine. I am with “Green Book” as  the winner however. It’s a good story with compelling characters, and some quirkiness behind it too. Then again, it is hard to avoid expecting a good script from a guy who worked on “There’s Something About Mary.” If it weren’t for “Green Book” winning, I would have either picked “Roma” or “Vice.” With “Roma,” it was a script that took a bit of time to get me fully intrigued, but once I was hooked, I was not able to let go. It was investing, emotionally charged, and is capable of showing the occasional unpredictably of life. “Vice” however is rather interesting to me because while it was based on true events, it was able to have some satirical fun. One of the best written scenes of the year comes during the middle of the film where the acts like it is about to end saying the characters live happily ever after and never get in politics ever again. GEN-I-US!

As for the adapted screenplays, here are the nominees!

  • BlacKkKlansman- Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmont, Spike Lee (WINNER!)
  • A Star Is Born- Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?- Nicole HolofcenerJeff Whitty
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs- Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • If Beale Street Could Talk- Barry Jenkins

Surprisingly, while I’ve seen a number of things in the listed this categories this year, this is a category where I’ve seen only two things. To be specific, “A Star Is Born” and “BlacKkKlansman.” I missed out on “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.” As far as “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” goes, it’s on Netflix and I have don’t Netflix, nor do I ever plan to get it. Enough said. Luckily, of the two I did see, I nominated both for the Jackoffs in this exact category. Granted, I gave the 1 up to “A Star Is Born,” but “BlacKkKansman” is also worthy of your support. Interestingly, and if you watch the movie, this shouldn’t really come as a shock, Spike Lee’s speech was rather critical of Donald Trump. Let’s see how President Orange responded.

REMINDER: This guy won multiple Razzies this year!

A couple more categories to go, let’s move onto Best Director!

  • Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
  • Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
  • Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)
  • Adam McKay (Vice)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)

“The Favourite” might just be one of the best worst movies of all time, because I can clearly tell people are giving their 110% effort throughout the production, but it just didn’t work for me. The directing in the film is actually not that bad and I see why it received a nomination. In fact, all of these directors are worthy of their nominations if you ask me. Although there is no questioning it. Cuarón directed the hell out of “Roma.” Based on how he did this movie, the project felt extremely personal, and the direction felt like everything came right out of his mind. Nothing felt like it came from an outsider or a studio. I am well aware that in life you can’t always get what you want, but it’s nice to get what you want when you are look at things from a directorial point of view. Plus, Cuarón had his hands full with this film. Not only did he have a credit for directing, but he also has a credit for the screenplay, the editing, the cinematography, and even as a producer. He did a lot for one film! He’s like Tommy Wiseau, only difference is that Cuarón was able to create a critically successful movie. I hate Netflix, like with a burning passion, but I will give them credit for quite possibly saying “You know what Alfonso, you’re so f*cking talented. Make whatever movie you want!” I’m imagining something like that went on behind the scenes.

Two more categories to go, let’s pay attention towards the Best Cinematography category! Here are the nominees!

  • Alfonso Cuarón- Roma (WINNER!)
  • Lukasz Zal- Cold War
  • Matthew Libatique- A Star Is Born
  • Robbie Ryan- The Favourite
  • Caleb Deschanel- Never Look Away

And to my lack of surprise, Cuarón takes this award too! If you have seen my last Academy Awards recap, chances are that you’d know that cinematography was probably the category I was most passionate about that year. The reason was due to how one of the nominees was Roger Deakins, who FINALLY won an Oscar for his work in “Blade Runner 2049!” This year, I don’t really have the same passion for that category, but I was able to appreciate a couple of the nominees. “Roma” is a movie that I thought was technically brilliant, and its cinematography absolutely showcases that. SUPER GLAD IT WON! That movie had many shots that made me wonder how they even came about! Netflix, PLEASE. Release a Blu-ray for “Roma!” I want my bonus features! In fact, for the Jackoffs, that movie also won Best Cinematography. Speaking of which, I also nominated “Cold War,” which is unique because it featured a 4:3 aspect ratio, and like “Roma,” it’s in black and white. When I reviewed “Cold War,” I felt that the film’s technical specs were something I could appreciate more than the film’s story, and the cinematography was the biggest standout to me. I can approve of “The Favourite” being nominated, but when it comes to “A Star Is Born.” Some of the shots were nice, but I don’t see why it is nominated. Maybe the set design and the lighting stood out to me, but standard shots are not the biggest standout when it comes to “A Star Is Born.” In fact, a similar movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” actually comes to mind when I think of this nomination. There are a number of shots that truly immerse me into the film. This is especially true during the Live Aid scene. The extended run through the audience set the mood entirely for that scene alone. There are certain shots that give you a sense of scope, it’s almost mind-boggling. As for “Never Look Away,” I never saw that movie, so I have nothing to say about it.

And now, for Best Picture. This year there were eight nominees. Out of all of them, I actually had something that I truly wanted to win. Last year I wanted “Dunkirk” to win, but I also missed out on many of last year’s Best Picture nominees. This year however, I actually saw all eight of them. If you wanted to know my pick for Best Picture this year, it was “Roma.” What a f*cking movie. Anyway, here are the nominees!

  • Green Book- Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga (WINNER!)
  • Black Panther- Kevin Feige
  • The Favourite- Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos
  • Bohemian Rhapsody- Graham King
  • A Star Is Born- Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor
  • Vice- Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick
  • Roma- Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón
  • BlacKkKlansman- Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee

I’m gonna do this by talking about the movies that didn’t win first. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther?” You can honestly forget about those two! The pacing in “The Favourite” is horrible and “Black Panther” is not even the best comic book movie of the year! A lot of people go around saying that film is “socially important,” but that has nothing to do with how good a movie is. Just because your film has a black person in it, it doesn’t make it good. What matters is how it was executed. You know what comic book movie was socially important? “Wonder Woman!” And that’s a masterpiece compared to “Black Panther!” AND it wasn’t nominated for any Oscars for its respective year! When I like “Aquaman,” “Deadpool 2,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and “Avengers: Infinity War” more than “Black Panther,” you can probably tell what I’m trying to say here about it. “Vice” was pretty good, but ultimately lacking in some sort of substance that didn’t seem to be there as I watched the movie. I appreciate the work that went into it, but some parts of the movie were better than others. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is sort of interesting. I think it is a good tribute to Queen and Freddie Mercury, but it is ultimately just that, nothing more. Sure, there’s good cinematography and a rock solid performance from Rami Malek, but it doesn’t really change the game. Then there is “A Star Is Born.” I thought Bradley Cooper did a great job with that movie because he had a lot to do on it, and not just as a performer. Although when it comes to his performance skills on that film, that’s probably the best part because of how he needed to not just talk, but play an instrument and sing. “BlacKkKlansman” may have been a well written, well directed, and well acted film. But even if you remove all of those qualities from the table, you still have a great concept. An African-American police officer pretends he’s white and infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan! And it’s based on a true story!

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When it comes to the two films left to talk about, I already said what I need to say about “Roma.” It is such a masterful movie. Plus, it partially made me change my mind about how serious Netflix could possibly be in the movie theater industry. Granted, they still have some ways to go, just ask Steven Spielberg, but they’re making progress. I really wanted that film to win, and I actually had high confidence that it was going to win this year. Then Julia Roberts gets onstage, and says the words “Green Book.”

Did not expect that.

But you know what? It’s cool, that was my second pick anyway! I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding “Green Book” right now, it almost reminds me of “The Greatest Showman.” Part of me might regret watching “Green Book” for that reason alone, but I also have to keep in mind that when I did see the film, I enjoyed what I saw. I thought the screenplay was well done. The chemistry between the main characters went together like bread and butter. And the acting is superb! “Green Book” may not be my pick for Best Picture, but it was certainly worth a watch. It’s got some serious parts in it, but it is almost like a feel good story at times. It’s nice to see the formation of two unlikely friends. Plus, it’s one of those rare times where product placement WORKS. Will I watch “Green Book” again sometime in the future? Most likely. It is a fun watch, and definitely worth your time. Congrats to “Green Book!” Congrats to all of the other nominees!

Thanks for reading this post! The 91st Academy Awards was definitely a surprise! I was expect a mediocre show at best, and it turned out to be pretty good. Would I like a host next year? Certainly. But I am also now open to the idea of a hostless Oscars ceremony. Now that I’ve seen it, it worked out! I gotta give massive respect for the Academy for including all of the awards, and I also want to give a shoutout to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper for an awesome performance of “Shallow!” You guys rock! Speaking of which, Queen, great opening! Well done! When it comes to my future content, I will be doing a review of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World!” And also, as of writing this, Scene Before is now three years old! It just turned three recently, I want to do something for the three year anniversary, but if I actually manage to do something, it probably won’t be up soon, because college is keeping me busy. Like, insanely busy. I have some ideas, who knows? Maybe I’ll do the same thing as the two year anniversary? But only time will tell! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see the 91st Academy Awards? What are your thoughts? Any snubs? Great moments? Do you agree with everything? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Is the 91st Academy Awards the Least Anticipated In History?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I don’t know how this happened! But I have just discovered this year’s theme music for the Academy Awards! Check it out down below!

Welcome to the 91st Academy Awards! The most ambitious trainwreck in Hollywood history!

This Sunday is the night of the Academy Awards, and while I do have a golden vibe set inside my head, I cannot help but feel bronze. The Academy Awards is one of my favorite times of the year. It takes my favorite art form and celebrates it to the tenth degree! In fact, part of me wants to go back in time to last year’s show, because I had a GREAT time watching it. From the effective hosting job done by Jimmy Kimmel to seeing celebrities crash a movie screening to seeing Roger Deakins FINALLY get an Oscar, I had a fun time!

However, that show kind of made me wonder what was in store for The Academy’s future. Because a while after it aired, reports went around suggesting last year’s show, specifically the 90th Academy Awards, received the lowest ratings in the show’s history. I wouldn’t say this suggests that movies are dying. After all, several other awards shows suffered through the same situation. The VMAs had a massive ratings drop this year. Compared to 2017, the Primetime Emmys dropped 11% during its previous show. And according to The Hollywood Reporter, this year’s SAG Awards had ratings that were the lowest they’ve been in “at least eight years.”

Honestly, I would not be surprised if this year’s ratings for the Academy Awards were actually lower than last year.

Sure, there is a ton of competition now in the TV industry, and the entertainment industry in general. A lot more people would rather go online and find out who won either through YouTube, articles, or perhaps Wikipedia or IMDb. More people are settling for Netflix and other streaming services, all the kids are still somehow playing “Fortnite,” not everyone wants to spend a few hours watching people hold trophies, and in today’s politically heated climate, the Academy Awards might almost be unbearable to a certain number of people. Unless you’re James Woods, Gary Busey, or Clint Eastwood, chances are you can’t live/work in Hollywood and be a Trump supporter at the same time.

What I just stated is perhaps valid, but it is not all, because none of this has to do with the absolute enormous shop of horrors that can also be referred to as the buildup to the 91st Academy Awards.

Last year I did a few posts on the Academy Awards possibly implementing the stupidest idea for an award, possibly in history. They somehow thought it was a GRRREAAAAT idea to do a Best Popular Film category! How do we get more people to watch the show? Let’s f*ck excellence in the ass and just say a movie like “Black Panther” earned the all time greatest participation trophy! Thankfully, that is not happening this year, but the fact that the Academy even thought of it, and they are STILL CONSIDERING IT, gets me angry!

While that disaster may be averted (for now), then we get towards the end of the fall, and they begin announcing a host. Their choice, Kevin Hart. And I think he is a good choice to host the Oscars! He has comedy chops and he’s a big movie personality. What more is needed? However, because we live in an era where people’s lives apparently get ruined over something they said a long time ago, and seemingly done with no intentions to call anybody an idiot, Kevin Hart opted out. As time went on, the Academy never settled on a host. They couldn’t find anyone willing to take on such a position. But that didn’t stop them, because they decided to instead gather an ensemble of people to appear at random times during the ceremony. The names were recently announced through social media. Some notable names include Brie Larson, Chris Evans, Whoppi Goldberg, Maya Rudolph, Daniel Craig, and Charlize Theron. I’d be curious to see how this will work, but the idea of not having a host feels very weird. The host is that one person that will take viewers along for the ride, and now we’re hitting speed bumps. I’d honestly host the Oscars if I have a chance, even if that means someone having to dig up some big dark secret from my past. Who knows? Maybe it would make for good comedy material.

While hosting might make some Academy members apprehensive or perhaps in some cases, protective of their own past, there is something else that has recently made Academy members angry instead.

When I think of the average viewer of the Academy Awards, there is a good chance that they are going to only care about certain categories. These typically include Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Picture, and one or two others. Although the technical awards are not the ones I would usually see as categories general audiences would usually be intrigued by at first. However, as someone who reveres the film industry, I appreciate the technical awards. And I imagine other people, including some general audience members, feel the same way, even if that doesn’t mean everyone. There are perhaps some people who would prefer to see their favorite awards presented while some other awards are forgotten about. I personally would like to see all the awards presented if possible, but if not, at least keep the ones that are “important.”

With that in mind, the Academy recently decided to eliminate four categories, not from the ceremony, but from being presented live during the ceremony. These four categories were then given the intention to be presented during the commercial breaks and edited to be aired later during the broadcast. The categories included Live-Action Short, Makeup and Hairstyling, Film Editing, and Cinematography. I am honestly disappointed to see any category get pushed to the side, because I feel that everyone in their respective fields put a lot of hard work into their craft. However, EDITING AND CINEMATOGRAPHY ARE THE FOUNDATIONS OF CINEMA!

I am not alone on this argument, because you know who agrees with me? Roger Deakins (cinematographer), Christopher Nolan (director), Denis Villeneuve (director), Russel Crowe (actor), Patty Jenkins (director), Edgar Wright (director), Wally Pfister (cinematographer), and more! In fact, I was on Twitter recently, and I came across this one tweet which spoke to me, delivering immediate importance.

Holy f*ck, Elias Toufexis! That is the stuff of nightmares!

Donald Trump thinks the border wall situation is a national emergency? No! THIS IS THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY! Thankfully, for the sake of humanity, the Academy reversed their decision. Will this affect the ratings? I am honestly not sure. Because for all I know, there is a majority in agreement that this idea is complete bull, or I am just in my own little bubble. But if the Academy wanted me to watch their show, I would rather have them air all of the categories. We live in a world consisting of countries becoming more and more representative of minorities. And somehow the Academy is going through a process of ass-backwards thinking. I get that some people want the show shortened up. I get that not everyone can sit down and watch a three to four hour telecast where people say “thank you” every few minutes. But guess what? I’ve sat down to watch the Super Bowl for years, and part of me didn’t want to! In fact, after Super Bowl 53, part of me never wants to do such a thing ever again. GIVE ME MY SHOW! If I can’t have “King of the Nerds,” if I can’t have the old format of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?,” and if I can’t have “Wipeout,” then I might as well have my Oscars show!

In fact, this is not like I am hearing all of this news for the first time. Because when they first announced the Best Popular film, they also announced the commitment to a three hour show, and the idea of airing certain categories during commercial breaks. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical about the fates those categories even at that time! In my post titled “Academy Awards Adds Popularity Contest?! *AN UNACCEPTANCE SPEECH*,” I state that I don’t really know how I feel about this idea and I would have to wait until I actually see it through. I may have just been being nice at that time. The reality is that the Academy Awards is not just a show. It’s not just a chance for audience members at home to glance at all of their favorite stars, but it encapsulates the art of cinema as a whole. It is supposed to be a celebration of a whole year in film, not to mention those who worked in the industry during said year.

I am glad that the Academy listened to its members and followers and decided to remove the commercial break categories, much like when they removed the Best Popular Film category. But the buildup to the 91st Academy Awards has been a trainwreck. It’s like owning an older Xbox 360! Each one of these controversial moments is the Academy Awards equivalent to getting the red ring of death! These are unexpected, unwanted, unneeded, and most certainly, make you need anger management classes once setting your eyes upon them! I am honestly anticipating within the next few days, another cataclysmic and controversial thing coming out of the Academy’s butt. Who knows? Maybe that will be reversed too. But I honestly wouldn’t be surprised at this point. Part of me would not be surprised if some of the current showrunners behind the Academy Awards soon search for other work, perhaps even president John Bailey.

And if the Academy really wants to condense the ceremony and run it for three hours at max, I do have one recommendation. This might be controversial, because some people totally admire the speeches, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. There is a parody of the Nobel Prizes called the Ig Nobel Prizes. The Ig Nobel Prizes have been held in the Boston area every year since 1991. If you watch recent ceremonies, you may see a young girl, specially one who is slightly different every year. She is often referred to as “Miss Sweetie Poo.” She walks up to recipients of the Ig Nobel Prize. The results? This. Just to warn you, this video is not short, feel free to stop watching at any time.

As the video suggests, Miss Sweetie Poo is easily bored by grown, professional adults, ast they give long acceptance speeches. If the Academy wanted to spice up their show, and for the sake of some general audience members, shorten it up so they can go to bed earlier, they show consider implementing their own version of Miss Sweetey Poo. And it doesn’t even have to be a young, eight year old girl. It could be a young, eight year old boy. Perhaps a teenager who won’t stop staring at their cell phone. It could even be a famous celebrity. Can you imagine an Academy Awards ceremony where someone like Steven Spielberg wins Best Director and a celebrity such as Liam Neeson manages to walk onstage either talking into Spielberg’s ear saying “You’re ruining everything!,” repeatedly, or perhaps loudly snoring like a stereotypical lazy fatass dad. Or, what if they got JK Simmons to dress up as Terrence Fletcher from “Whiplash” and either yell at the speaker, bang a cowbell, or have him be in front of a drum playing it at a designated time? I know the Oscars is a family friendly show so he can’t really go too far in terms of language, but it is certainly a solid idea. Although I am perhaps biased since I came up with it.

So, Academy, if you want to spice up your show for the better, and reduce time, I think you ought to consider what I just said. I will be watching your show on Sunday (from start to finish), I will be reacting to it through social media, and I will most likely be sharing my thoughts on it afterwards in a separate blog post. But in all seriousness, you guys have been demonstrating nothing but incompetence for the past few months! Incompetence so bad that it makes Wile E Coyote seem capable of actually catching the Road Runner for once! A Best Popular film category? What the hell?! Nobody is going to host this year? Oh, great.. Taking away categories and deeming them less important than others? INCLUDING CINEMATOGRAPHY AND EDITING?! YOU PEOPLE ARE SICK!

But I guess I’ll watch anyway…

Thanks for reading this post! If you want to see more on the Oscars, fear not my friends! I will be reacting to the show on social media as it airs (most likely through Twitter), and updates may be provided if I decide to post something on here before the show airs. Although I will guarantee you all that I have some content coming soon for this blog because I’m going to see a movie today, specifically Stephen Merchant’s “Fighting with My Family.” I’m actually seeing this film early considering there is a free screening in my area, so I shall have a review of that up very soon. Be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account for content that is Oscar-worthy, and as of recently, Jackoff-worthy! I want to know, are you excited for the Oscars this year? I’m honestly a bit apprehensive about the show itself, but I’m still going to watch. Movies are my religion and the Oscars might as well be mass at church. Even if the show sucks, I would rather avoid any consequences for possible sins. Let’s just hope they don’t wreck the show! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

90th Academy Awards Recap

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we go any further, let me just say, I admittedly put this post out a little later than I once anticipated. I had my mind going around on three posts at once, part of me was begging to nap this week, some distractions have gotten in the way, and I also had this thing going on over on my Twitter where I’m giving shoutouts to women on International Women’s Day. With those things in mind, you might as well say that if this blog or my posts happened to be my kid(s), I might not be the best of fathers. I’ve been distracted, wanting to fall asleep, and just didn’t have enough of a focus on the things that matter. Speaking of parenting, let’s talk about Genevieve and Paul. Who are they? Well, they’re a couple who are currently expecting, but their journey to get there was like trying to find a way to defy gravity. Impossibly long and stressful. Ladies and gentlemen, this is all documented in “What The IVF?!”

“What the IVF?” focuses on the recently mentioned couple, Genevieve and Paul. The two are happy together and one day decide to have a baby. Turns out they realize, the process of having a baby isn’t all fun and games, and now they’ve got to deal with various problems. These problems range in areas including: Sex, math, exams, and those freakin’ needles!  The first episode of the series up right now, it’s actually the video listed above, it’s a few minutes long, so if you need to waste some time and you feel like you should watch something, this is a good deal for you. And I said to the couple that I’d promote the material, and I’m not just saying this to be nice or push their buttons or receive a fat paycheck in the mail, in fact at this point they’d probably need it for baby food or something, I actually watched the first episode, and I thought it was very well done. If you look at this video, you’re in for a well edited treat. Be sure to catch up on the latest regarding Genevieve and Paul and to help you do that, I’ll post links to various “WTIVF?” social media pages, and if you check this stuff out, be sure to tell them that Jack Drees sent you over!

WTIVF? WEBSITE: http://www.whattheivf.com/

WTIVF? YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCILXSidkzWgwrQ5Oa1py78w/featured?disable_polymer=1

WTIVF? TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WTivF

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Getting back on track, it’s official that the Academy Awards are now over, so now I can look back and say to myself, “What happened to the politics?” If you think I’m asking that negatively, think again. Because I know one thing for sure, politics and the Academy Awards associate with each other quite well, and at times, it’s not exactly annoying, but they seemed to tone it down this year. When it comes to the politics, it was basically a sigh of relief. There were barely any comments regarding our current administration and when the comments were uttered, they were actually quite funny!

“That’s not the point. We don’t make films like ‘Call Me by Your Name’ for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence.” -Jimmy Kimmel

Then again, this isn’t the Golden Globes, where political and social issues, at least from my eyes and ears, seem to be more prominent and forced. At this Oscars, the insertion of all this commentary regarding politics and society didn’t feel that awkward because while they were there, there seemed to be more of a focus on awards and film.

Not every single person made it a big deal to wear black. People either did or they didn’t. The jokes weren’t as cringe-worthy. And let me just have you know, the stuff that’s being represented in terms of social issues happens to be stuff I personally support! Racial equality! Gender equality! I mean, Barbra Streisand and Natalie Portman didn’t get up on stage and come off as depression lords. Yes, time IS up, but there are more important issues than having male nominees and winners for Best Director. One of my favorite quotes regarding social issues comes from Kumail Nanjiani, who you may know as one of the writers and actors in last year’s “The Big Sick,” which is one of my favorite movies of 2017.

“Some of my favorite movies are movies by straight white dudes about straight white dudes. Now, straight white dudes can watch movies starring me, and you relate to that. It’s not that hard. I’ve done it my whole life.”

Well said, Kumail!

One of the other highlights of the night was something I didn’t actually expect. I came in for an award show, not a game show. Now when I say that, you may expect me to follow up with something negative, that is unless you realize my fanaticism for game shows. So as Jimmy Kimmel is finishing up his opening monologue, he reminds everyone that the Oscars is “a very long show.” Before those words are spoken, he states that the first Oscars show lasted for fifteen minutes from beginning to end, he adds in humor by saying “and people still complained.” So in order to spice things up, the show was going to give away a prize. So I start hearing “The Price is Right” music and suddenly, I see Helen Mirren standing right next to a new jet ski. The total value of the jet ski is $17,999, and whoever was to give the shortest speech, will go home with the prize. Kimmel adds, “Why waste precious time thanking your mother when you can give her the ride of her life on a new jet ski?” The man claimed that he was going to be timing everyone who wins an Academy Award with a stopwatch. Once they pick up their trophy, the clock begins ticking. Some of Kimmel’s conclusive words are “And in the unlikely event of a tie, I need to say the jet ski will be awarded to Christopher Plummer.”

By the way, Mark Bridges, the costume designer for “Phantom Thread,” was the winner of the jet ski. Also, for those of you who never heard of or seen “Phantom Thread,” the main character of Reynolds Woodcock, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, is a dressmaker. So of course, a movie about making clothes, won a category which involves making clothes.

Before I tuned into the Oscars, I made a hope/prediction post, which admittedly I rushed in some parts, but overall it was a somewhat effective list coming in over 4500 words. Although to be fair, it was crunch time, and I was just trying to get my major category predictions down. Much like in that post, I’m not gonna go through all the categories and stick to talking about anything from the categories that stand out to me. In my post I didn’t talk about anything such as Best Animated Short Film, Best Documentary, stuff like that. I’m just gonna talk about a category if I have some sort of interest related to them or if there’s something to me in it that stands out compared to other categories. To start this off, I’m going to dive into a category that I didn’t discuss on my prediction post. Specifically, Best Animated Short Film.

Here are the results for Best Animated Short Film!

  • Dear Basketball (WINNER!)
  • Garden Party
  • Lou
  • Negative Space
  • Revolting Rhymes

Regardless of familiarity, this category interested me because of its winner, “Dear Basketball.” For those of you who haven’t seen or heard of “Dear Basketball,” I don’t imagine many people will blame you, including Lakers fans. It has less than 2,000 ratings on IMDb, but it appears the Academy liked it. I have no problem with them liking it. I haven’t seen the short, so I can’t judge all that much. Although the real shocker for me here is who happens to be behind this “Academy Award winner.” OK, well, John Williams composed the music, which may have partially contributed to the overall verdict. The animation was a different style than what I usually see, and while I don’t think that in itself is award-worthy, maybe the idea of being different contributed to it. The creative developer, Brian Hunt made this his first project as a creative developer, but he also had experience in the industry prior to this. Although when it comes to the entire world of diverse, differently-minded, and film-focused people, the Academy decides to give an award to…

Kobe Bryant.

Yeah, Kobe Bryant. Kobe. Bryant. KOBE… BRRRRYANT. A former NBA Basketball player who has won the NBA Finals in the past, achieved an Oscar! I’m not saying that this is the end of the world, but seriously! If you told me a week ago, that Kobe Bryant, a guy who angrily swears at his own basketball team during practice, saying that his teammates are motherf*ckers who don’t do s*it for him, was going to win an Academy Award, I’d die laughing, get up, and tell you to get out of my sight because I’d think you’re incredibly dumb.

But he did.

Although one thing I really liked about this is how Mark Hamill was presenting the award. Because for one thing, he’s f*cking Mark Hamill. And another thing, the joke he made right before “Dear Basketball” was announced.

“Don’t say ‘La La Land.’ Don’t say La La Land.'”

Speaking of animations, let’s dive into Best Animated Feature Film.

  • Coco (WINNER!)
  • Ferdinand
  • The Boss Baby
  • The Breadwinner
  • Loving Vincent

“Coco” won. What a surprise.

“The Boss Baby” lost. Big fat shocker as well, not to mention a sign that Earth is still sane.

Enough said. Moving on.

Next up is Best Actor, and here are the results!

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

In total honesty, it would have been nice to see Daniel Day-Lewis win. Not just because he’s a terrific actor, but because this is his last performance. I have not seen “Phantom Thread,” much like how I haven’t seen any of the other films listed above, but seeing Day-Lewis winning would have been a treat. I have nothing against Gary Oldman. I don’t have anything against him winning, I think he’s a fine actor, and he definitely has potential to take on some more great roles in the future. I didn’t think about this while I was doing my hope and prediction post, but I did find this out going into the show. If Timothée Chalamet ended up winning Best Actor, he would have been the youngest person to win that award. For the record, Chalamet could have possibly been a 22 year-old Oscar winner, beating out then 29 year-old Adrien Brody (The Pianist) who won an Academy Award for this specific category for the 2002 movie season.

Speaking of acting, let’s move onto Best Actress!

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

Once again, a category filled with movies that I just haven’t gotten around to watching! OK, well except one, which was “Three Billboards.” Having seen it, I approve of McDormand’s win. Very well deserved! Part of me thought at one point that Margot Robbie was gonna win for “I, Tonya” based on a clip I saw for it, but I guess not. Meryl Streep… I have nothing against her. I still have to see “The Post.” But I seriously wonder if this nomination happened just because she’s Meryl and the Academy has a fetish for nominating her. Part of me is also surprised the Academy didn’t go with Saoirse Ronan for “Lady Bird.” Although at the same time, it surprises me how many people saw the movie and didn’t like it. I didn’t see it, but I’m trying to.

One of the next categories we’re gonna get into is Best Adapted Screenplay.

  • Call Me by Your Name (WINNER!)
  • The Disaster Artist
  • Logan
  • Molly’s Game
  • Mudbound

I’ll state something similar to what I said in my prediction and hope post. “Mudbound,” to me, doesn’t qualify as a movie that associates with the Oscars. To me, the Oscars is about celebrating cinema. While there are a number of people who clearly worship this movie for various reasons, I refuse to call it a technical “Oscar film.” To my knowledge, this movie has released in a couple theaters if that. And while I do think a movie with even the smallest theatrical release can qualify to win an Oscar, it’s mainly known to me as a straight to streaming film. Now don’t get me wrong, if Amazon or someone like that distributed this film, I would have possibly supported “Mudbound” more. But instead, Netflix did. And since Netflix doesn’t give movie theaters a chance (do some research on “The Cloverfield Paradox”), I refuse to watch it, review it, and call it a movie that others seem to call it. So unless Netflix starts releasing films in theaters as a tradition and not a special occasion, I refuse to review any of their films or consider them for awards like Oscars, or if you want to be more accurate on my end, my top 10 BEST movies of the year lists. Now “Call Me by Your Name” won. I didn’t see it, therefore I was in a somewhat of a shock when its, well, name was called. I was glad it wasn’t “Mudbound,” but I didn’t really expect this film to win, and I was actually rooting for a couple of other films. One film I saw earlier this year because I couldn’t get to it last year was “Molly’s Game.” The film itself? Barely passable. The screenplay though? If this were a film class and I were teaching, I’d give it somewhere around the A range just for the diction choices and the snappy tone it provided at times. I was especially disappointed that they didn’t pick “The Disaster Artist” because humor-wise, it was the funniest movie of 2017, maybe aside from “The LEGO Batman Movie.” Not to mention the way it was written was partially realistic and another part felt like a homage. And while this is based on a true event, I totally appreciate the callbacks to some things that happened that can be associated with “The Room.” A lot of people are kind of disappointed that “Logan” didn’t win this award. I haven’t seen “Logan,” I’ve heard phenomenal things, but I haven’t seen it. Part of me wonders if this is just coming from people who either have a bias towards comic book movies or just go see comic book movies and ignores everything else, or if it’s a bunch of people who appreciate the screenplay for its differences compared to other comic book movies. It’s darker, grittier, contains more violence and foul language, and it just contains things that makes anyone who works at Disney hide in the corner. I’m not gonna focus on Best Original Screenplay, I don’t really have much to say about it. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m gonna just dive into categories which can feel more like an essay as opposed to a couple of forced complete sentences. Either that or if I feel if it has some sort of relevance to me, that will play into this sort of thing as well.

Next up is a category containing something I often think about, Best Original Score.

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

Before we get into discussion concerning the winner, let’s talk about John Williams. John Williams, without a doubt, is a great composer, and there’s a reason why people love his work. Not only has he done some of the most iconic movie scores of all (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Home Alone, Jaws), but he’s proven to be talented for many many years. Although him being nominated for his work on “The Last Jedi” is just… Bogus. I have seen every single “Star Wars” film scored by John Williams, including the latest one in the franchise, “The Last Jedi.” The movie’s mediocre overall, I admittedly overhyped it when I first saw it, it was a whole thing. When it comes to John Williams, I honestly don’t see how he could have been nominated for an Oscar other than the fact that he’s the one doing the score. You remember the score for “Rogue One?” That one was the only score for a theatrically released “Star Wars” film that isn’t from John Williams. That score, while not recognized all that much for awards, was not only a delight to hear, but a different take on what could qualify as “Star Wars” music. I’ve given some sort of praise to “The Last Jedi” for being different, but one aspect that didn’t feel different was the score. It felt like it just took themes from “The Force Awakens” and other “Star Wars” films and shoved them right into this one. I still remember the climactic scenes and I’m hearing the “March of the Resistance” song and it just felt underwhelming unlike the first couple of times. I like John Williams, I think he’s skilled, but what the hell? There are other scores that weren’t even nominated that could have qualified! “Blade Runner 2049!” “Wonder Woman!” And even though this film wasn’t really that good, I’d be fine with live-action “Ghost in the Shell” because at least various aspects of the movie, such as the music, made it sound like it was trying. “Revenge of the Sith’s” score was never nominated for any Oscars, but if you actually think “The Last Jedi” had a better score than “Revenge of the Sith,” I’m gonna force-choke you. Now onto something that matters.

I wanted “Dunkirk” to win Best Original Score. Although in the end, it turned out to be “The Shape of Water.” And funny enough, the composer for the score in “The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat was originally going to compose the music for the recently mentioned “Rogue One” before that job ultimately went to Michael Giacchino! Desplat has also scored 2014’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which I saw, enjoyed, but can’t say I liked as much other people. You know, kind of like its score. Seriously? It lost to “Interstellar?” You done goof, Academy. I’ll say this is one of those wins, much like a couple of others that really make me interested in checking out “The Shape of Water.” It would be interesting to hear what music related to a woman and fish who wanna f*ck sound like. I thought “Dunkirk” would win for its grand and fast-paced feel, but I guess not. But seriously though, no love for “Blade Runner 2049?”

Speaking of that, let’s talk about the nominees and winner for Best Visual Effects.

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

From what you can tell, I love “Blade Runner.” I love both the original film and its sequel. An enormous part of me is beyond glad that it won Best Visual Effects. I will say though, I imagine some people have these every once in awhile. They have certain categories in award shows where they don’t care who wins because they think all of them are deserving of the prize. This to me, was one of them. I will say, part of me is shocked that “War for the Planet of the Apes” didn’t win because a lot of people were impressed by that film visually. Interestingly, that was the only film of the five nominees I didn’t watch at the very least in portions. I’ve seen part of “Kong: Skull Island,” and every other film including “Guardians,” “Star Wars,” and “Blade Runner,” were ones I watched from beginning to end. Part of me even wonders how many people are thinking right now that “War for the Planet of the Apes” got snubbed. Nevertheless, I’m happy “Blade Runner 2049” won. If you have not seen “Blade Runner 2049,” you might occasionally drop your jaw at the city of Los Angeles, the fact that they did a clear recreation of Sean Young who played Rachael in the original film, and how much you’ll be immersed that a part of you might end up wanting to jump in this world. If “War for the Planet of the Apes” won, I think it would have been a very much deserved win, but I’m incredibly happy that “Blade Runner 2049” took the cake.

One category that got a number of people talking was Best Film Editing. This is partially because of not only who DID win. But also because of who DIDN’T win. Here are the five films to have been recognized for their achievement here.

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

So “Dunkirk” came out on top as you can clearly see, and as someone who has watched the movie, I can understand why it won. It was told in a non-linear fashion, which only made the film a tad more interesting than it already was. Although it’s a Christopher Nolan movie, so this puzzle-like editing isn’t exactly a shocker. One movie that people were surprised didn’t win however was “Baby Driver.” I feel like part of why this didn’t win is because the Academy usually goes after dramatic movies like “Dunkirk” instead of movies that some people would refer to as “less serious” and “fun” like “Baby Driver.” Not only that, but I’m willing to bet part of it has to do with the whole Kevin Spacey scandal that’s been brought to the world’s attention months ago. Granted, this isn’t Kevin Spacey’s nomination specifically, but still. Am I disappointed “Baby Driver” lost to “Dunkirk?” Not really, I think both films are well edited in their own little way. “Dunkirk’s” non-linear fashion makes the movie more of a challenge to watch and ultimately more fun. Although with “Baby Driver,” the editing in that movie has given us some of the best action sequences of the decade. In my review, I praised “Baby Driver” for its thrilling action sequences and how it made me want more of them once one ends. I can see why “Dunkirk” won, but some love for “Baby Driver” would have also been appreciated.

If you remember the nominees for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing, something in particular may have stood out to you.

They’re the same nominees.

Not only that…

THE SAME MOVIE TOOK BOTH AWARDS!

  • Dunkirk (WINNER!)
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Baby Driver
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

One thing I’d like to say about “The Last Jedi.” I actually beg to differ because I think it had 2017’s best LACK OF sound editing or sound mixing. Remember that scene where one ship goes into hyperspace and crashes through another ship in the process? HOLY. F*CKING. S*IT. As much as that movie could have been better, THAT. WAS. AMAZING. While I do think the general editing for “Baby Driver” was praise-worthy to the point where I can’t contain myself, the sound work is basically not a competition anymore when “Dunkirk” steps in the ring. The sound choices were authentic! The audibility was extreme! The immersion provided from all the noise was 100% pure! How can you go wrong with “Dunkirk” in these categories?! “Dunkirk” put me in a war zone, and if you tell me you missed out on seeing this movie in a theater, shame on you.

When it comes to Best Director, this was yet another one of those categories where I was left feeling a lack of a surprise.

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

So… Del Toro won. Doesn’t shock me whatsoever. I don’t know what you may have thought as the one to come out on top, but this was rather predictable to me. And I feel like a big part of it has to do with his presence at other awards shows, how much del Toro’s name has been spoken recently, and also how many Best Director awards I’ve been aware of this film getting thus far. One that really stuck out to me was the Golden Globes, mainly because of Natalie Portman’s “all male nominees” comment, which honestly would have been better left unspoken due to its awkwardness. I wanted Nolan to win, partially because he’s my favorite director, and also because of the excellent job he did on “Dunkirk.” But yeah, you can’t have everything. Although, I will say, something in the same realm as Portman’s Golden Globes utterance occurred. Last year’s winner for Best Actress, Emma Stone (La La Land, Birdman), said this:

“It is the director whose indelible touch is reflected on every frame. It is the director who, shot by shot, scene by scene, day by day, works with every member of the crew to further the story. And it is the vision of the director that takes an ordinary movie and turns it into a work of art. These four men and Greta Gerwig created their own masterpieces this year.”

This was so much better than seeing Natalie Portman onstage and having myself hear what she said. Don’t get me wrong, Portman’s a fine actress. Although let’s take a look at the situation at hand with her. She was standing next to RON HOWARD, someone who has directed a number of films. Films that by the way, are still remembered to this day! Howard even recently directed a film in the “Star Wars” franchise! A franchise which Portman was once a major part of as an actress! The two are talking, they’re about to present the award, and at one point, I hear Portman say…

“And here are the all male nominees.”

Yes, it is true that female directors aren’t usually getting as much attention as males. It is also true, that more males are directing movies as opposed to females. But to literally shame a director just because they have a penis, is just unbelievably ridiculous. How do you think del Toro felt taking that award home? I imagine he felt happy because he won, but seriously, he won after being accused of simply being a man. Emma Stone on the other hand, didn’t exactly make an awkward joke and instead quickly stated some words before moving on. It’s actually kinda funny. It was presented in a setting and manner that didn’t have a forced vibe, and I don’t have any feelings of cringe to describe to you. This comment, while it does point out the lack of women in the director’s chair when it comes to filmmaking, doesn’t feel like something that a man should be ashamed of hearing. Because for one thing, it mentions a woman got nominated. Also because it’s still technically a comment of praise. Literally pointing out that nominees are male the way Natalie Portman did almost feels like a comment meant to point out disdain towards the potential winners. Just look at the difference between the tone, delivery, and choice of words between the two people. Just look and see what I mean!

Speaking of women making achievements, one of them was involved in Best Cinematography… Although to me, that’s not even CLOSE to the best part of this category. The best part, is who finally f*cking won, after FOURTEEN nominations.

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

Best Cinematography. Sounds like a category that some people don’t care about. In reality, when it comes to filmmaking, I’m a writer. If there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a cinematographer. Although more than one name for me stood out on this list. You’ve got Hoyte Van Hoytema, who has to proven to be a great cinematographer with not just “Dunkirk” as a notable achievement, but also “Interstellar” and “Spectre.” I really admired “Dunkirk” when I saw it partially because of how well done the camerawork itself was presented from an immersion perspective, but also the fact that it was shot on mostly IMAX footage. If you didn’t go see this film in an IMAX theater, especially one with laser projection or 15/70mm projection, you may have just missed out on a one of a kind experience.

Another standout to me was “Mudbound,” and part of me thought the Academy was going to pick the cinematographer for that movie, Rachel Morrison. For the record, she was the first woman ever nominated for the award in all ninety of the Academy Awards shows. I’ll mention once again, I refuse to call “Mudbound” a movie. I have nothing against Rachel Morrison, I just have a problem with Netflix. I’d be rooting for Morrison more if she was given a movie that doesn’t associate with a company which will make me always say, as pervy as it may sound, “I’ll just take chill,” when asked the common meme-worthy question “Netflix and chill?.”

Then we have “Blade Runner 2049.” My runner-up for my favorite movies of 2017 list for a gigantic number of reasons. And speaking of gigantic numbers, let’s talk about the number 14. OK, in some realms it’s not really that huge, but you’ll see my point. Roger Deakins was the director of photography for “Blade Runner 2049.” And I imagine when some people heard his name, they got excited. Chances are, if these people have followed Deakins’ work, it might not be the first time they got excited about something like this. I can’t exactly relate, but having seen Deakins’ work in movies like “Skyfall,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Hail, Caesar!,” and “No Country For Old Men,” I agree with others when they say he’s one of the greats when it comes to cinematographers. Once again, the guy has been nominated for Best Cinematography by the Academy, FOURTEEN TIMES. Here is a list of all the times other than the one of focus when he’s been nominated. Note that the year listed is the year the film he shot came out and not the year he was nominated.

  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  • Fargo (1996)
  • Kundun (1997)
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
  • The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
  • No Country For Old Men (2007)
  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
  • The Reader (2008) (shared with Chris Menges)
  • True Grit (2010)
  • Skyfall (2012)
  • Prisoners (2013)
  • Unbroken (2014)
  • Sicario (2015)

What happened to Deakins when he was nominated those thirteen times? Well, that can be explained in a video by TIFF Originals that starts off with the statement: “Roger Deakins is a loser.” The video is called “Roger Deakins’ 13 Oscar Losses.”

After watching this video if you have done so, you probably got a thought on your mind, and it may have been “Roger Deakins is a f*cking loser.” I’ll be fair and say some of the competition he had were deserving of their awards, take “Gravity” for example. Although this year with “Blade Runner 2049,” I only thought Roger was deserving of HIS Oscar. We get to the big moment. I see Sandra Bullock holding an envelope with “CINEMATOGRAPHY” labeled on it. She says some words before introducing the nominees, and when they are introduced. I just thought this was gonna be a year where the Academy doesn’t give him the award and just gives an award to Rachel Morrison just because she has a vagina. Again, I have nothing against Rachel Morrison. She actually did the cinematography for “Black Panther” which was such a treat. It came out really well! I imagine she’s a very nice lady, but I was rooting for Roger. I’ll admit, I’m not that religious. My main philosophy is to be a nice person, I am however not that religious. But as the nominees were introduced, I had my hands, containing all sorts of cells, interlinked. I WAS PRAYING. People were cheering for Morrison, and the others seemed to get some applause, but I heard more for Morrison than anyone else. So they’re introduced, and it’s time. Sandra Bullock still has the envelope in her hand, and she says this as she quickly opens it for the result:

“And the Oscar goes to, Roger A. Deakins (crowd erupts in a roar), “Blade Runner 2049.”

My reaction to that can be described in many ways. Part of me wished I had fireworks to set off after that win! Part of me wanted to go around the house doing cartwheels after the win! Part of me wanted to find some confetti to throw around after that win! My reaction, quite possibly woke up my mother and sister. I might as well have been a young teenage girl at her favorite boy band’s concert! I might as well have been at an event where I find out my kid in school won student of the year! I might as well have been a Chicago Cubs fan at the end of the 2016 World Series, where they finally had a victory after years and years trying to get it. People may say that Leonardo DiCaprio waited a bit to get his Oscar, which I’ll say, when he won it, I kind of wanted Matt Damon to take it, but that’s just me. Although for Leo, he won it on his FIFTH nomination. When you’re nominated THIRTEEN times, it’s almost like you’ll be that one person who gets a nomination, but that’s all. What if Meryl Streep never won a single Oscar? All of her wins, “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “The Iron Lady,” they never happened. Streep received her TWENTY-FIRST nomination for a role she did just last year in “The Post.” I can imagine the crowd roaring like a bunch of T-Rexes in an argument if that turned out to be her first win. Let’s take another example, because why the hell not? Imagine the New York Yankees. Some people don’t like the New York Yankees because they always win. But they’ve been in 40 World Series Championships. Imagine all their titles where they were victorious, all gone. The 40th appearance is the charm. That’s how I feel about Deakins here, the fourteenth time’s the charm. I can wholeheartedly approve of Deakins winning not just because it took forever and a half to happen, but just look at these shots and tell me they actually look terrible. I dare y’all!

Nice shot now isn’t it?

Take a gander at this beauty.

Look at this bad boy and tell me it sucks. I’ll wait.

Is it just me or does this define the meaning of life?

This shot screams something that in some worlds, would qualify as one word. Fan-freakin’-tastic.

LOOK AT THIS SHOT!

LOOK AT THIS F*CKING SHOT!

LOOK AT THIS MOTHERF*CKING SHOT! NO! SERIOUSLY! THIS IS THE DEFINITION OF PERFECTION! THIS IS A F*CKING MASTERPIECE! I’M GOING F*CKING INSANE!

My point is made. Roger Deakins’ victory, to me, may be one of the most deserved Academy Award wins in history. THANK GOSH! So many people can sleep now and have less dreams and concerning nightmares!

And now, as mentioned, we won’t get through every single topic listed for the Academy Awards today, but here’s one that people look back on years and years from now, Best Picture. Before we get into that, you may remember the whole “La La Land” and “Moonlight” mishap from last year? Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway come up onstage to present the award, they state the nominees, they’re looking at the card, and somehow awkwardness ensues. Suddenly, Dunaway announces “La La Land” won Best Picture, but the two had the wrong card. Celebration ignites! Cheering be heard all over the Dolby Theatre, and a moment later, Jordan Horowitz, a producer behind “La La Land” is onstage and he states “Moonlight” won Best Picture. He even showed the card! Turns out Beatty and Dunaway were handed the wrong envelope. So… What happens now? What idea could be better than bringing Beatty and Dunaway back? Jimmy Kimmel had some fun before diving into the nominees. “We’re in the home stretch. Nothing could possibly go wrong from here. Here, on the 51st anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde, are Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.” They come out, Beatty says, “We’re glad to see you all again.” Dunaway adds, “As they say, presenting is lovelier the second time around.” The two continue speaking, eventually arriving at the point where they announce the nominees and the winner. By the way, they had the correct envelope this time. Here are the movies that have been nominated for Best Picture!

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

In my prediction post leading up to the Oscars, I said this was gonna be a close race to the finish between “Lady Bird,” “Dunkirk,” “The Shape of Water,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” I will say however for “Lady Bird,” that kind of changed throughout the night because it was nominated for five awards during the show, but the four that were already presented were all losses on their end. For “Dunkirk,” I thought it had a solid chance. The Academy seemed to give a lot of praise towards this film and it already won a few Oscars throughout the night. For “Three Billboards,” I figured it could win solely because it won Best Motion Picture- Drama at the Golden Globes. It also made a sweep at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. And it was nominated for a ton of Oscars beforehand, and it ended up taking home two before getting as far as Best Picture. Although if there was one I “knew” was going to win, it was going to be a movie with thirteen nominations including Best Picture. It was going to be a movie that already took home a few awards. It was going to be a movie praised by many critics and average moviegoers alike. It was going to be… “The Shape of Water.”

…And it won.

I have nothing in particular against “The Shape of Water.” From what I’ve seen in promotional material, it’s very good from a visual perspective, but I haven’t watched the movie so I can’t really say much else. Funny enough, I take a film studies class in my school, and my teacher actually asked if anyone in our class has actually seen “The Shape of Water.” Once asked, the class pretty much unanimously declined to put our hands up. I wanted “Dunkirk” to win. But hey, it’s already got some well deserved awards, especially in the sound categories. Also, remember, Roger Deakins won. So I was beyond satisfied. Although if “Blade Runner 2049” were nominated for Best Picture, you’d know I’d choose it. Or “Colossal,” that was my #1 movie of last year. Although I can understand why it’s not exactly been nominated for anything. But seriously, check that movie out if you can! It’s on several streaming services as we speak! So congrats to “The Shape of Water” and its crew. That movie is actually going to be out on home video in a number of days, so maybe I’ll watch it very soon!

Guys, that’s all I have to say for the 90th Academy Awards! It was personally a great show on my end. All of the commentary for the most part, wasn’t all that awkward. I may be in the minority, but the monologue between Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip, The Carmichael Show) and Maya Rudolph (Big Hero 6, Bridesmaids), despite how it’s on a topic regarding issues I can side with, just came off as something that would belong in a one of those “SNL” sketches that gets shoved in there when the writers have nothing else that they can come up with. It took a topic that I would, could, and should agree on, and it just sullies it. I imagine both Rudolph and Haddish are pleasant people, and I’M SORRY that Rudolph had to suffer through “The Emoji Movie,” but this just felt weird to watch. But other than that, it was one of the greatest nights ever. I’ve spent some time watching people react to their favorite team winning the Super Bowl on YouTube before, and when it comes to Best Cinematography, that’s legit how I felt. My team won the Oscars, which is MY Super Bowl. Congratulations to everyone who has been nominated and has won awards, I’m looking forward to seeing who will be in the 91st Academy Awards show, and finally. Finally. FINALLY! I can now call one of the world’s greatest cinematographers, Oscar-winning Roger Deakins. I’d like to thank the Academy for making that happen.

Thanks for reading this very long post! Pretty soon I’m gonna have my review for “Annihilation” up for you all to read, and if you are wondering, I don’t live in one of the countries where you have to use Netflix in order to watch it so if that were the case, I wouldn’t have seen the film. Also, stay tuned for my Tom Cruise “Mission: Impossible” review series which will have its first entry up this month. Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you watch the Academy Awards? What are your thoughts? Did your picks win? Did they lose? Is there someone you really wanted to win or lose? Did you make any bets? Have you decided to check out any movies after watching the show? Let me know all of that info for an unofficial possible nomination for Best Comment. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“Hey thank you, thank you. I better say something or else they’ll give me a jet ski and I don’t see myself on a jet ski somehow. I want to share this with my wife of 27 years, James, whatever. I want to share it with Andrew, Broderick, and Denis Villeneuve. Y’know I really love my job, I’ve been doing it for a long time as you can see. But y’know one of the reasons I really love it is the people I work with. Both in front of the camera and behind the camera. Some of my crew on “Blade Runner,” I’ve been working with for over thirty years. And others-others I met for the first time in Budapest. And this is for every one of them. Every one of them. In fact, I gotta say, it’s for us, because it was a team. It was really team- a team effort. Thank you. Thank you very much.” –Roger A. Deakins

90th Academy Awards Hopes and Predictions

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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.

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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!

Blade Runner 2049 (2017): Is the 35 Years Worth the Wait?

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“Blade Runner 2049” is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Arrival), stars Ryan Gosling (La La Land, Crazy Stupid Love) and Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark), and is the sequel to 1982’s “Blade Runner” which was directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator, The Martian), a movie considered by many people to be one of the greatest sci-fi films, if not one of the greatest films, ever made. “Blade Runner 2049” takes place in the year of 2049 in the US state of California, the plot is that there’s a young blade runner (Ryan Gosling) who discovers a long-kept secret which leads him into tracking down former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who’s been out of sight for three decades.

When it comes to the original “Blade Runner,” it’s a movie I haven’t actually watched until fairly recently. For the record, when I say that, I’ll have you know I didn’t even watch the original version of the film, which by the way the version I watched which isn’t original, is the one I viewed five times at this point. I say that because if you know this movie’s history, you’d be aware of how it has received endless cuts. In 1982, they started out with a movie that not many people saw but was on the rise to prove its influence to film. I mean, seriously! If you look at films and material which came out after it, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Just check out “Ghost in the Shell,” “The Matrix,” the “Star Wars” prequels, “The Fifth Element,” all of these just look at them and don’t tell me you don’t see a bit of “Blade Runner” in them. The redo of the TV series “Battlestar Galactica,” according to the producers, cited “Blade Runner” was a major source of influence to the series. It has also been parodied in material such as the British science fiction TV show “Red Dwarf.” Based on what I have told you, it’s not surprising that people revere this movie. Overtime it has gained a cult following, and has been considered one of the greatest science fiction films, not to mention one of the greatest films in general, ever made. It was nominated for two Oscars (Best Effects, Visual Effects, Best Art Decoration-Set Decoration), it was also nominated for a Golden Globe (Best Original Score-Motion Picture), which I wholeheartedly approve of because the score is probably one of my favorites in movie history. BAFTA also praised the score by nominating it, which was one of the eight nominations the movie received in that particular show. By the way, it won three. It currently has a spot on the IMDb top 250, it’s on AFI’s 10 Top 10 as the #6 science fiction film, and IGN put it as the #1 spot in its “Top 25 Sci-Fi Films of All Time.” I watched the film multiple times now, specifically “The Final Cut,” and it gets better with multiple watches. So, how is “Blade Runner 2049?” Holy crap, this movie was an experience. I went to see this movie in IMAX, and I don’t regret it, because this is one of those films that MUST be seen in a theater! You know how I kept talking about “Dunkirk” and what an amazing experience that was? This was just as great! And with that I’m gonna give you guys a little sidenote…

I don’t use Netflix, in fact, I’d go as far as to say that Netflix is slightly overrated. I may be biased because they killed Blockbuster Video, a significant memory from my childhood, but I’m gonna let you know a little information about them that you may or may not be aware of at the moment. Netflix may be known for its selection of movies and TV programs to watch which are available at your fingertips, but they’ve also done original content. They’ve done TV shows such as “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” and “Stranger Things,” all of which received positive reviews and a following by many people. That’s not to say all Netflix shows were considered watchable, there are disliked ones such as “Iron Fist” despite it having a following. They’ve also done movies such as “Gerald’s Game,” “The Ridiculous Six,” and “Beasts of No Nation.” What I’m going to say next is rather unnecessary for their TV shows, but can fit for their movies. When it comes to Netflix movies, they go straight to the streaming service. There’s no theatrical release for it, it just hops straight on over to the service, so people might get a theatrical experience depending on their setup, but chances are someone might end up watching the movie on their laptop without headphones, or heck, even their phone! Critically acclaimed director Christopher Nolan agrees with me when say that this is bullcrap, because Netflix is missing out on a opportunity for their movies to be shown in theaters, where audiences pay money to go see it in an immersive setting. Want to know something else? There’s an event called Cinemacon, which is a convention dedicated to film, it shows off what upcoming movies have in store, it also does screenings for flicks, stars show up, and it also has has a focus on cinemas themselves and technologies related to them. When “Blade Runner 2049” footage was being presented to attendees at the show, Sony chairman Tom Rothman said this…

“Netflix, my ass.”

Well said, Tom. For the record, Netflix has never presented at Cinemacon, so that shows what they stand for in the realm of cinema. At least Amazon releases content in theaters!

If this movie were released on Netflix, I would have been outraged, partially because I don’t use the service, but having seen this movie, this movie looked and sounded SPECTACULAR! Yeah, that was a long point, but I felt it had to be made. This movie was directed by Denis Villenevue, who also directed “Arrival,” one of my favorite movies from last year. I think he’s a great director, and his vision for this movie was brilliant. Every single frame had something worth appreciating. I can only imagine the detail that went into storyboarding this thing! Although, I can’t exactly say that he’s only in this fest of praise, because I gotta give kudos to Roger Deakins, the cinematographer of the film. For the record, this isn’t the first time Deakins and Villenevue worked together. They’ve also collaborated in “Sicario” and “Prisoners.” I haven’t seen those films, but I will say that Deakins is a fine cinematographer, just watch “No Country for Old Men” to see what I mean.

The original “Blade Runner” came out in 1982, and when it comes to movies with great lighting, as of right now, it’s probably the first movie that comes to my mind. The lighting in “Blade Runner 2049” personally isn’t as great as the original, but that doesn’t mean the lighting’s bad. However, from an overall perspective, much like its three decade old predecessor, “Blade Runner 2049” has terrific effects. Every single effect in the movie felt realistic. Sure, there are moments of the movie containing visuals that probably would be impractical (the giant sex doll with blue hair for example), but in all reality, even those felt like they actually existed for the universe this movie was presenting.

Speaking of things that aren’t as good as the original, I gotta say the music isn’t as great. Once again, this doesn’t mean the music was bad, the music was almost as brilliant as the 1982 film. But the thing about the 1982 film, is that it was unique. The music by the way in that film was done by Vangelis, who also did the score for “Chariots of Fire.” Also, Vangelis did not return for this movie, and yes, he’s still alive. The guy doing the score this time around is one of my favorite composers. I’ve brought him up in a number of posts this year, Hans Zimmer. Like the original score, it’s techno, and at times you do hear booms, which is pretty much the first thing you hear in the original movie when the titles show up. By the way, those booms sound amazing in IMAX. Also, this score at times felt a little more traditional than the original “Blade Runner.” The “Blade Runner” score is something you’d rarely hear, and while this newer film does have qualities of the older score, the new doesn’t have the absolute uniqueness of the old. I say that because I remember the original having moments that almost sounded like chimes, it was different. You could also hear vocalizing in the score, and I mentioned how much of an influence this had on “Ghost in the Shell” and I wouldn’t be surprised if the original movie’s score was partially influential. The vocalizing, the more I think about it, reminds me of “Ghost of the Shell’s” intro music. “Blade Runner 2049” was just released, so only time will tell how much the music, plus the rest of the movie will influence future products. Nevertheless, “Blade Runner 2049” had a GREAT score and I’d love to listen to it again and again.

Let’s talk about one of the leads in the film, specifically Ryan Gosling. This fellow has proven to be an excellent actor. By the way, there’s a couple scenes in this movie where Ryan Gosling is in front of a piano, and that’s not the only film where Gosling is in front of a piano, just watch “La La Land” to see what I mean. Gosling plays K and he’s basically this movie’s young Blade Runner. He’s given a mission at the beginning of the film, and seeing his character progress throughout the picture was entertaining and very moving. At times, Gosling’s acting chops were unleashed to full potential, which happened to be prominent during the movie’s emotional scenes which I won’t get into to avoid spoiler territory. K also had some qualities which were noticeable that could be compared to Harrison Ford’s character of Rick Deckard, who we’ll get to momentarily. K starts off in the movie as being directed by Lieutenant Joshi, a character played by Robin Wright, who in terms of looks and attitude, almost reminds me of your typical Charlize Theron role such as the ones she’s done in “A Million Ways to Die in the West” and “Hancock.” Anyway, seeing Gosling focus on his objectives was fascinating and despite this movie, like the original, appearing to be a slow burr, my eyes were never taken off the screen. Yes, this applies to more than Ryan Gosling in all technicality, but I’m just making a point. There’s also a spouse Ryan Gosling has, by that I mean a futuristic spouse, and by THAT I mean a spouse that is basically holographic, oh yeah, and she can change form. I can’t even get into the mission Ryan Gosling does in the film because I have a feeling this is something the trailers are hiding. I’ve seen all the main trailers, but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen one in particular, and I’m not sure if the hidden details are there, but for the sake of keeping some information a secret to possibly have some folks savor the movie’s flavor, I’m going to ignore uttering these details.

Now let’s talk about Harrison Ford. If you remember the original “Blade Runner,” Harrison Ford played Rick Deckard, the main character of the film. He was hunting down replicants just because he had a job to do. Speaking of the original film, we do get some callbacks. As mentioned recently, the music can qualify as a callback, but we do get some audio from the first film. During the film I heard Harrison Ford’s voice as it was in 1982, and I remember hearing Sean Young’s voice too. The origami unicorn makes a return here, which has brought up an interesting theory of whether Deckard’s actually a human or a replicant. By the way, I’d say he’s human. Also, I may have said that Ryan Gosling did a great job, but in all reality, Harrison Ford probably did better. By the way, out of all the performances I’ve seen Ford do, this might be his best one. Also, Deckard’s introduction is definitely one of the best scenes in the entire flick. You may have gotten a glimpse at it in the trailers, but there is more to it then what was there. I won’t go into detail though.

As much as I praise this movie, it’s not perfect. For example, some characters didn’t stand out as much as others, and speaking of characters, there’s one character who goes by the name of Mariette. She’s not unlikable, but she didn’t really add much of anything to the movie in terms of story except for maybe one part where she and K’s holographic wife are shown to have no clothes on. Also, this isn’t really a complaint but it’s mainly something I noticed, Jared Leto is barely in this movie. In fact I think he may have spent less time here than “Suicide Squad,” although I liked Leto better here than “Suicide Squad.” I may be nitpicking, and from experience, this is probably one of those movies I have to watch more than once to fully appreciate, so maybe I’m just imagining things. Other than what I mentioned, this movie’s pretty much a masterpiece, which is saying something considering what many people say about 1982’s “Blade Runner.”

Now I just mentioned this could take multiple watches to fully appreciate. And I’ll have you know I watched the original “Blade Runner” four times from start to finish since early September. I also saw it not long ago and I fell asleep to it, but to be fair, it was late. This is one of those movies, like the original “Blade Runner” that I’m probably gonna watch over and over.

In the end, “Blade Runner 2049” is a movie that defines how sequels should be made. This to me is 2017’s “Tron: Legacy,” by that I mean you’ve got this film which came out a long time ago, in fact the original “Blade Runner” actually came out the same year as the original “Tron.” The film now has a sequel, years in the making, and people enjoy it. Granted “Blade Runner 2049” has gotten more positive reception, but it doesn’t mean people didn’t appreciate “Tron: Legacy.” I love the film from a technical perspective, this movie and “Dunkirk,” so far, have been my two favorite cinematic experiences of 2017. Hans Zimmer created a great score, the screenplay hit every necessary emotion, the direction and cinematography are stellar, I’m glad to see Harrison Ford return as Rick, Ryan Gosling was great as well. Overall, this movie did what it needed to do. I’m gonna give “Blade Runner 2049” a 9/10. If you saw “Blade Runner” thinking that this movie could never be recreated, chances are you’ve just been proven wrong. This is a sequel worth remembering, and as far as sequels go, this is probably the best one I’ve seen so far this year. I can’t wait to buy this movie when it comes to home video, I want to see it again, possibly pick up on some details I missed, we’ll see what happens. Thanks for reading this review! As far as upcoming reviews go, I hope to see “Stronger” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, which is about a guy who manages to survive the Boston Marathon bombing, and I also am planning on reviewing “Thor” and “Thor: The Dark World” in preparation for “Thor: Ragnarok.” Stay tuned for those reviews, and more reviews! Also, if you’re into “Blade Runner,” you might be interested in checking out my post dedicated to things “Blade Runner” got right about the future. Here’s a question, which “Blade Runner” was better? The first one or the second one? Also, one more question, what is a movie that gets better the more you watch it? Let me know down below in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

WHAT “BLADE RUNNER” GOT RIGHT ABOUT THE FUTURE: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/what-blade-runner-got-right-about-the-future/