Review/Predictions - Best Picture Nominees










The Best Picture Nominees did not disappoint this year.  I can't say for sure that the "whitewash" scandal of last years nominees has anything to do with the numerous African American nominated films this year or if there were just more African American quality films this year.  Nonetheless, all the nominees are very deserving this year. LION  Five year old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of miles across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home. This was a tear jerker for sure.  Outstanding acting by an unknown child actor and Dev Patel.  If you loved Slumdog Millionaire you will love this movie.   HELL OR HIGH WATER  Two brothers -- Toby, a straight-living, divorced father trying to make a better life for his son; and Tanner, a short-tempered ex-con with a loose trigger finger -- come together to rob branch after branch of the bank that is foreclosing on their family land.  As the brothers plot a final bank heist to complete their plan, a showdown looms at the crossroads where the last honest law man and a pair of brothers with nothing to live for except family collide. This was an alright movie,  definitely not a contender for this award.  The country music soundtrack definitely made this movie.  LA LA LAND  The story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, struggling to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts. With modern day Los Angeles as the backdrop, this musical about everyday life explores what is more important: a once-in-a-lifetime love or the spotlight. I saved this movie to watch last as I was skeptical about a musical and don't usually hop on the bandwagon when a movie gets as much attention as this one.  Alas, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and now understand the big deal.  The original music was outstanding and very catchy.  Performance by both Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are definitely Oscar worthy.  This will be the 'Grease' of this generation. HIDDEN FIGURES  The incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson - brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big. I loved this movie!! True stories are always my favourite, this was no exception.  The all star cast did not disappoint.  The soundtrack was sex for the ears.   FENCES  Fences is the story of Troy Maxson, a mid-century Pittsburgh sanitation worker who once dreamed of a baseball career, but was too old when the major leagues began admitting black players. He tries to be a good husband and father, but his lost dream of glory eats at him, and causes him to make a decision that threatens to tear his family apart. This film had outstanding performance by both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.  I'm surprised Denzel didn't get nominated for this role.  This movie is filled with long dialogues and because of this I felt this movie is better suited for the stage.  Baseball fans will love all the baseball metaphors used throughout the movie. ARRIVAL When mysterious spacecrafts touch down across the globe, an elite team - lead by expert linguist Louise Banks - is brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers - and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity. I enjoyed this movie but don't think it was worthy of a nomination.  A little slow to start but the study of languages was probably the best part of the movie, in my opinion. HACKSAW RIDGE  The extraordinary true story of conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss who saved 75 men in Okinawa, during the bloodiest battle of WWII, without firing a single shot. Believing that the war was just but killing was nevertheless wrong, he was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon. As an army medic Doss single-handedly evacuated the wounded near enemy lines - braving enemy fire and putting his own life on the line. He was the first conscientious objector to ever win the Congressional Medal of Honor. Mel Gibson has another directorial success with this movie.  Loved this movie so much.  Everything from Andrew Garfield's performance to the sound editing was amazing.  The graphic battle scene was one of the best I've seen in a long time.  This movie earned all its nominations. MOONLIGHT  At once a vital portrait of contemporary African American life and an intensely personal and poetic meditation on identity, family, friendship, and love, MOONLIGHT is a groundbreaking piece of cinema that reverberates with deep compassion and universal truths. Anchored by extraordinary performances from a tremendous ensemble cast, Barry Jenkins's staggering, singular vision is profoundly moving in its portrayal of the moments, people, and unknowable forces that shape our lives and make us who we are. I needed to watch this movie twice as I found it too slow the first time.  The second watch showed me why this film was nominated.  A great story about an African American boy growing up with all the struggles you expect plus the struggle of figuring out his sexuality.   MANCHESTER BY THE SEA  Lee Chandler is a brooding, irritable loner who works as a handyman for a Boston apartment block. One damp winter day he gets a call summoning him to his hometown, north of the city. His brother's heart has given out suddenly, and he's been named guardian to his 16-year-old nephew. As if losing his only sibling and doubts about raising a teenager weren't enough, his return to the past re-opens an unspeakable tragedy. losing his only sibling and doubts about raising a teenager weren't enough, his return to the past re-opens an unspeakable tragedy. Another movie I saved for last because I heard it was depressing.  It was depressing but not as dark as I was imagining.  Casey Affleck definitely deserves the oscar nod for his performance.   PREDICTIONS  Who I want to win - I'm torn between Hacksaw Ridge and Lion Who will win - La La Land and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers

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